Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween special : Jim Aparo´s Spectre

Most readers probably expected me to continue with Avengers 300 - or start for that matter since I didn´t really begin talking about it - but since it´s Halloween I thought I should do a special post for this occasion.

For ages I wanted to continue with my posts about Jim Aparo´s issues of THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD and just Yesterday I found some pictures about the hidden easter eggs in his later issues. So I thought I should do a post about one of the fun nerd games you can play while reading the issues called " spot the secret clue to next issue´s guest star " but since it´s Halloween Today I decided to do a post about Jim Aparo´s creepier comic series and what could be creepier than THE SPECTRE by Michael Fleisher ( what an apt name, in german Fleischer means butcher ) and Jim Aparo ?

So I decided to post the entire story THE WRATH OF THE SPECTRE from ADVENTURE COMICS 431, the very first issue this creative team did.

Normally I don´t do posts with entire issues but this is a special post so I´m taking a page out of the book - or blog in this case - of fellow blogger Old Groove from DIVERSIONS OF THE GROOVY KIND. In fact, I´m taking more than one page, I´m taking exactly 12 pages since he posted the story before . But this wouldn´t be TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN if I didn´t put my unique twist on things so I´m continuing my BLACK AND WHITE posts by posting the colored pages beside the black and white original pages which I found at comicartfans which you should definitely check out if you are interested in original art pages. And now without further ado here´s the story, I hope you enjoy it and happy Halloween !

Now if you want to read more about Jim Aparo´s THE SPECTRE head on over to Groove´s blog and check out his synopsis on the series , these fantastic splash pages or you can read The Anguish of The Spectre ! , The Gasmen and The Spectre ! or Grasp of the Killer Cult ! from THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD issue 116 where The Spectre teams up with The Batman.

Time for videos. I already posted SHOWCASE PRESENTS - THE SPECTRE so here´s the original Captain America cartoon series. Those guys at Marvel pretend that motion comics is some brilliant concept they just came up with but Stan and Jack did that way back in 66, beyotches !

Up to this day there has been no Dragonball live action movie that really kicks ass and if you watch this trailer you know it´s because there´s not one guy in Hollywood whose head is not stuck into somebody´s rear end.

Speaking of Hollywood, here´s another video with Melina Pendulum ( and her very distracting cleavage ) about deconstructing tropes in movies.

And last but not least you might want to watch - or re watch - one of the classic horror comedies GHOSTBUSTERS that just celebrated its 30th anniversary this year about which ComicBookGirl19 made a long review.

This is the end of Today´s post. Since they still don´t celebrate Halloween in earnest in Germany I won´t put on a costume and go trick or treating but I will watch some horror flick - CREEPSHOW 3 if I can find it or the TALES FROM THE CRYPT movie from the 1970s I posted not too long ago.

Happy Samhain and may the Goddess and the Green Man bless you.

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I´m afraid of no ghost.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Everything old is ... well, still old but cool

Well, I have thought a long time about what the topic of my 500th post should be. I would have liked to continue with the Yaya Han post but she still gets me too excited to keep it PG so I´m going to elaborate on a topic that I last mentioned on this blog´s eighth year anniversary.

With the way comics are right now I thought it appropriate to go into more detail about this 64 page spectacular which you could purchase back then for the price of only 1.75 US dollars and I bet you can still get it at some comic shops for that price - or at least much less than the 4 bucks you pay for the 22 pages of comic story entertainment from the big two.

Another reason why I wanted to do this post is that I went so far in my preparation for this post as to actually get the physical copy from the folder with my old AVENGERS comics. Which means I climbed on some unsafe contraption to get the folder from my book shelf and it has been lying on my chair for six months or so. And it´s really about time that I can put it back because I just unearthed more old comics last weekend.

Now when I say unearthed I don´t mean that I dug a hole - which would have been easier than what I ended up doing -  but I did what no sane man should do. I went ahead and moved my desk so I could get to all the old comics that were in the back and which I couldn´t reach otherwise.

Now you might ask why no sane man would do that since it sounds logical to move the desk if I can´t get to the comics otherwise. The thing is that the desk is one of those old desks that weighs a lot on its own as it is and since it´s filled with comics its probably weighs a ton. If a sane man - and I mean a man in the physical prime of his youth - tried to move this desk he would have trouble. If somebody like me who has an injured knee, a bad shoulder, tendonitis in both hands and not enough sleep tries to move it it becomes something akin to suicide or at least self inflicted trauma. And I should also mention that my desk has these huge piles of CD Roms with Doctor Who episodes, comics, hardcovers and all kind of stuff I got at Erlangen on top of it. So the actual weight is more around two tons.

Under normal circumstances this is something I would never attempt but since I already had to scrap my plans for the day ( my mother tricked me into leaving the house ) I tried tried it and the damn thing really moved.

Okay, maybe I have to explain this. I was just lying in bed, happy as a clam trying to catch up on episodes of ARROW. When the series first aired - which was before it aired on german tv - I got all the episodes of the first season from the internet so that I could enjoy it together with my family. But the others weren´t so enthusiastic about it and I only got them to watch the first episode. Later I watched episodes two and three but I waited with the rest still hoping my family would show an interest since the series is good. As things progressed the show was broadcast on german tv but I missed the first episodes and since I never got around to continue watching ARROW I ended up being the one who got left behind.

Well, the thing is that they just started again showing new episodes of ARROW on german tv but like always it´s on at the same time as other channels are showing new episodes of SUPERNATURAL and HAWAII FIVE - O. With SUPERNATURAL me and my brother are still at least half a season behind ( we are the only two watching this and I think we still have half a dozen episodes from last season on the tv tape thing ) but we are current with GRIMM which airs after ARROW. So I got the 4th season of HAWAII FIVE - O from the internet ( I found some episodes in the spanish dubbing which I´m watching with my mother ) but I wanted to catch up on ARROW so I can finally watch the new episodes of it together with the rest of my family instead of having to do something else before GRIMM is on tv.

And they are showing the big finale of HAWAII FIVE  - O season 4 Today.

Oy, there is either nothing on tv or all the good shows air at the same time which I think is one of the reasons why people buy the DVD sets.

That and the constant commercials they slap on tv while you are watching anything. But I don´t want to go into all the DVD sets I still have to watch. So I was catching up on ARROW and was making a food break but there was no bread - which is typical since there is always something missing whenever I try to prepare a meal - and my mother told me I had to leave the house and buy bread if I wanted to have breakfast. What she didn´t tell me was that one of my brothers was already gone to the shop across the street to do the shopping. So I had to interrupt watching ARROW and after I had gotten something for my breakfast ( which naturally failed to get approval from my Mom although she tricked me into buying it in the first place ) I thought it would be a good idea to see if I can move the desk to find out where my old issues of MASTERS OF KUNG FU were.

I never expected to be able to move it but call it luck or the few pounds I gained since becoming unemployed it did move and instead of watching all the episodes of ARROW I spent Saturday pulling all my old issues of ROM, GHOST RIDER or MOON KNIGHT out of the desk, then cleaning up all the dust that had gathered behind my desk ( something my Mom always tells me to do but without the part of reading the old comics for hours ) and then bagging the comics and putting them back again. I do not know how other people arrange their comics but in my case I always put them somewhere where I can easily reach them - until I have to rearrange my furniture or move into another room. The thing is my desk used to be sideways in my room so I could still reach all the comics in the back. But then I had to move it so the back was against the wall and I´m cut off from the good stuff. Which is why I didn´t put them all back.

Okay, I had to put the desk against the wall if I wanted to sleep in my bed on Saturday but moving it was no easy task and while it was nice to put most of the comics in bags so they are protected ( I ran out of bags on the last four comic piles ) who knows when I will be able to do it again ?

So the first thing I checked were the old issues of MASTERS OF KUNG FU and like I expected there was issue 100 although my copy was in much worse shape than the one I bought at the comics shop so it wasn´t a total loss. The other issues I found were number 116, the first one I ever got and where I colored the Spidey face in the corner with markers, issue 102, the first one with Gene Day penciling, issue 81 by Mike Zeck and THE RETURN OF SHANG - CHI from 1990 with art by David and Dan Day.

Then I put those aside that I want to read again like the issues of DC´s VIGILANTE that I bought the last time at the Comic Action. I know that my brother has some spanish collections ( and when I say collections I mean just four or five issues that are glued together ) and I might also have one or two spanish issues but I think the series is better than it gets credit. There is also the DEADMAN - DEAD AGAIN mini series which I will mention in my DEATH IN COMIC posts although I have written about it before on the blog and the same goes for the WARLOCK reprints and the INFINITY books with the SILVER SURFER tie in issues I still have. I had at least 22 to 80 but I got rid of most that didn´t tie in with INFINITY stuff.

And the word infinity is really a mission statement because with INFINITY GAUNTLET, INFINITY WAR, INFINITY CRUSADE, INFINITY WATCH, INFINITY ABYSS and what not there really is no end in sight. I mean Disney just released the original graphic novel THE INFINITY REVELATION which I haven´t read yet but at least it´s written and drawn by Jim Starlin.

And if you are writing about death in comics there´s no way to do that without mentioning Jim Starlin or Thanos. No matter if you put the INFINITY GAUNTLET in there or not, those two are just obligatory.

Speaking about the INFINITY GAUNTLET, I was thinking about getting the omnibus but I think I will re - read the whole series first before making that decision. I guess if George Perez had finished the series I wouldn´t give it so much thought but that would have been a big incentive. On one side it is a bummer that George didn´t finish the book although I can understand that it might not be very motivating if most of the issues are just the heroes ganging up on Thanos, then they get beat by him, then they attack him again, he defeats them again, rinse, repeat so to say.

On the other side it was a big chance for Ron Lim ( one of my favorite artists ) who gave all the following series a cohesive look by staying so long. Okay, by this time you have probably realized that we are not going to talk about AVENGERS 300 so I might as well change the title and wrap things up. I already mentioned George Perez and another series by him I didn´t put back into the desk is SACHS & VIOLENS. Maybe not to read it again but to put them into better comic bags - as soon as I have some new ones. I also set aside the issues of JACK KIRBY´S FOURTH WORLD by John Byrne I got so far ( one of them I just got at Erlangen this year ). Again, a book that has flown under most people´s radar and probably undeservingly so. This is definitely a book I will keep an eye out for.

What else ? Oh yeah, Bob Layton´s IRON MAN run. After doing three posts on the topic I couldn´t resist putting them aside for another read. Some of the issues are not in the good shape I hoped they would be but others - like John Romita Jr´s ARMOR WARS II issues and the following issues by Paul Ryan - look like they just came out from the comic shop Yesterday.

And since I mentioned Paul Ryan the biggest chunk of reading material I set aside is his run on FF which began with issue 356 and lasted until issue 414. There is definitely a post about the death of Reed Richards that took place during that time coming but also about all the rest of the crazy stuff like Lyja laying Johnny´s egg, time travel and the Watcher.

So after putting all the other books back into the desk or into the comic boxes I didn´t get as much sleep as I hoped this weekend and I´m still aching all over - especially my back - from moving the desk which is the reason why I didn´t write another post this weekend. And this post didn´t exactly go as planned either. I was hoping since I got most of the material prepared ahead of time I could stay on topic but why should this post be the exception to how things go down on TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN ?

In any case, this was post 500 and who knows what the next one will be about : Yaya Han Top Ten costumes ( finally ), more death in comics, crazy Fantastic Four stories, maybe both and maybe even Avengers 300.

Since this is not a normal post I can´t put any links here like usual since most of the stuff I researched were pictures of Grace Park from Hawaii Five O or previews and reviews of Jim Starlin´s Infinity Relevation which I will post when I have talked about that subject. But I just have to post the original cover that inspired the homage cover above by Paul Ryan.

Since the post was so all over the place I want to add a few videos that I couldn´t post so far because they didn´t fit the topic. The first one is from Britain Got Talent so my readers in the UK may have seen this but for all others here´s one that I think deserves to be seen : Attraction, the hungarian shadow theatre group with their first audition on the show.

Continuing the theme of animated cartoons with latino dubbing here´s BRAVESTAR. LA LEYENDA, one hour and twenty minutes of fun. I hope.

I also want to continue the theme of german kabarett from last post ( there is a difference between cabaret and kabarett which is kind of a political stand up that has a long tradition in Germany ) with one of the best know : Hans Dieter Hüsch who sadly has already passed away.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

It´s the weekend so these must be the links

Yes, it is once again time for another of those link posts where I throw everything but the kitchen sink in that´s all the rage with the kids. Not what you might expect for my 499th post but the links have just been piling up and not all of them can be put in a specific topic. So let´s start.

Our pal Old Groove is still continuing his MASTER OF KUNG FU MONDAY posts and I don´t think I have posted the links to the latest posts about issue 80 " The Pride of Leopards " , issue 81 " Breathless " , issue 82 " Like a God Weeping Fire " and finally issue 83, the first chapter of the Warriors of The Golden Dawn Saga titled " The Phoenix and the Snake " .

Like all previous posts this is just a joy to read and it sadly reminds us how much ass Marvel kicked in the Bronze Age. To quote Old Groove :

As we thrill to Shang - Chi and company's ever deepening and deadly march toward all - out war with Fu Manchu, courtesy of Doug Moench, Mike Zeck, and Gene Day, natch, let's just put into context just how powerful Mighty Marvel was at the time Master of Kung Fu #82 was published. In August 1979, Moench and Bill Sienkiewicz were giving us new Moon Knight tales in the back of THE HULK ! magazine, Bill Mantlo and Michael Golden were at the helm of The Micronauts, Project Pegasus was winding down in Marvel Two - In - One, David Michelinie, John Romita Jr., and Bob Layton trapped Iron Man in The Devil in the Bottle storyline, Roger McKenzie and Frank Miller were transforming Daredevil, and Chris Claremont and John Byrne were gearing up for The Dark Phoenix Saga in X - Men. T'was a great time to be a Marvellite, baby!

Truer words were never spoken. In fact, I did some posts about that period myself : The PROJECT PEGASUS saga was covered in this post ( I just added some new material recently), these two posts pay homage to Chris Claremont´ and John Byrne´s UNCANNY X - MEN run in particular Phoenix : The Untold Story and Days of Future Pasts and this post is all about Sal Buscema´s and Ernie Chan´s Hulk. But what about Iron Man ?

Fear not, I started pimping the big IRON MAN by David Micheline, Bob Layton and John Romita JR Omnibus back in this post when it was still available at amazon for 57 EUROS and I continued with the topic on his birthday post that year . I also did one this year but we´ll come to that.

Now the purpose of this post is not to pimp my own posts, I just thought I should include them for the newer readers who want to read more about the Bronze Age and who might have missed these posts. But back to MASTERS OF KUNG FU : I had kind of a MASTERS OF KUNG FU MONDAY myself this week although I didn´t get to continue my series of posts. But I was at the comic shop and while one of the few series remaining on my pull list did make a comeback - USAGI YOJIMBO - there were not a lot of new issues in my box. Right now I have four regular series left so I decided to go down into the catacombs and look for some back issues. I had - of course - already checked out the Old Comics per Kilo section but apart from another ATALANTE comic that I already had there was nothing worthwhile there. So I ventured down below to look for issues of FLASH.

Being a big Flash fan I decided to put together a complete run from when the series was restarted after the events of CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS ( the Death of Barry Allen is still planned for the continuation of my DEATH IN COMICS series ) which is not as delusional as it sounds since I already had some scattered issues and all the issues beginning with issue 76.

Right now I´m missing 13 issues to have a complete set from issue 1 to issue 172. It would have been uninterrupted until to issue 230 if Scott Kolins hadn´t taken over the book until issue 200. Maybe I will get the Scott Kolins FLASH issues just to complete the set if I find some of it in dollar bins but I doubt it since I already have some of the issues in the german translation and the excellent BLITZ storyline in trade. It´s also a money issue since I´m going to be unemployed soon ( I still have no news from the jobcenter ). I thought about getting one of the Omnibus since they are very cheap at amazon at the moment : number 1 and 2 just 54 EUROS and number 3 only 45 EUROS. That´s not very much for a 75 dollar hardcover with over 600 pages, okay, the first one only has 448 pages, but still a good bargain. Anyway, since I already have most of the issues and I don´t have that much money to spend right now - and we are talking about a lot of issues by Scott Kolins here - I decided against it.

Back to my visit to the comicshop, as I said I went to the basement to look for back issues of FLASH but they had none I was missing. I had found some in Erlangen and I got some with my last order from Andis Comic Express but I´ll have to rely on luck with the rest. With the Comic Börse in Stuttgart gone my biggest venue for finding back issues is gone and since I´m not going to other comic conventions like the Comic Action in Essen I´ll have to start looking on german comic messageboards. So I had no luck with back issues of FLASH and I didn´t even bother with back issues of Jim Aparo´s OUTSIDERS since I had already maxed out on them.

Also I skipped the back issues for TEEN TITANS since you need a score card to know which ones are missing from the Omnibus editions. And I still cling to the hope that DC will put them out in trade or at least in an upcoming SHOWCASE PRESENTS. So without any luck on that front I decided to get some issues of MASTERS OF KUNG FU by Mike Zeck - since Marvel is never going to reprint them as trades or ESSENTIALS - and I started with his last issue 101 and work my way backwards since I already had the some of the issues from WARRIORS OF THE GOLDEN DAWN and beyond. Yes, it´s the spanish version but since they are still in good condition and spanish translations are way better then the german ones I´ll hold off with the issues until I have all the issues I haven´t read.

Speaking about issues I haven´t read, I´m not sure issue 100 qualifies for that because I have the distinct feeling that this one may already be in my collection. Or I have just seen it somewhere. Right now I can´t check that because they are in the back of my work desk and there is too much stuff on it - and inside of it - to move it. So I´m not exactly sure which issues of the original american version of MASTERS OF KUNG FU I have right now. As I said, I had enough money for 10 issues ( my comicshop has priced them at 2.50 EUROS which is still cheaper than any issue of a current comic sold by the big two ) so I got issues 101 to 98 ( issue 97 was just in too bad shape to shill out 2.50 EUROS ), 96 to 93, 91 which is the GANG WAR story, one of the best written issues of the run and 89 THE DRAGONS the big finale of the WARRIORS OF THE GOLDEN DAWN saga.

In a way it´s funny that one post on my blog started another blog going with a series of posts and has now in turn made me seek out those old back issues. I know it´s too much to hope that we can shame Disney into reprinting these but it´s nice to see how popular the series has become again with mentions on ComicGeekSpeak and other websites. One of the most underrated Bronze Age books finally gets the attention it deserves.

And to think that it all started here. No, I´m not kidding. Here at TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN we don´t follow the trends - we make them. And when I say we I mean me, SUBZERO. Don´t believe me ? Just take my latest post about Bob Layton´s Iron Man which was mostly about the superb ARMOR WARS storyline ( I told you we would come back to it ).

Only 11 days after it went online Andrew Porwitzky over at SIDEKICKCAST started a series on the story where you can read about it in more detail than on my post ( so far he did issues 225 , 226 and 227 ) and now even Disney is going to do a new comic version of it as a big event in 2015 .

And I´m not really surprised about that since Marvel has copied ideas from this blog for a long time now. You might think me crazy but I do not believe in coincidences and it is just too convenient that Marvel brought out new trade collections of the Roger Stern / John Buscema AVENGERS run after I mentioned in this post that not putting out the issues in trade form or even hardcover is passing up a chance for making some money.

And it also cannot be a simple coincidence that the BRIDE OF ULTRON hardcover was released after I wrote in my blog that I would pay good money to have it as a hardcover even if I already had it in one of those nice pocketbooks by Panini UK. One of these days I really have to make a post on them. But you can see that all kind of things start right here.

And they also end like this post right here since it´s again time to wrap things up. I wanted to include much more links but I guess I´ll have to put them into another post Tomorrow or whenever I can do a new post this weekend. Which is highly unlikely since I have just so much stuff to do like catching up on Doctor Who new and old. Because my brother doesn´t seem so interested in New Who at the moment I´m two episodes behind and I just finished watching the Sylvester McCoy episodes of Classic Who.

I wanted to start with the reconstructed episodes Yesterday ( Marco Polo is the first one of those stories ) but the picture frame is just too tiny to watch it on the television. So I´ll have to watch it on the laptop instead.

Now this is the point where I usually put up the links that helped me make this post but since this is a link post anyway I want to include a few more posts of interest from DIVERSIONS OF THE GROOVY KIND since we started this post with them. Another Marvel series that will never be reprinted is ROM, SPACEKNIGHT so it´s brilliant that issue 3 can now be read here .

You can also revel in the black and white adventures of Morbius the Living Vampire from Marvel´s Vampire Tales 1 and 2 , Marvel Two - In - One 34 features a team up with The Thing and Nighthawk that asks the question what makes a monster and this collection of splash pages from 35 years ago illustrates the point how much ass Marvel kicked in the Bronze Age.

And for Terry Hooper and all other fans of the old ATLAS COMICS ( and I´m not talking about old Marvel comics ) here´s TARANTULA 1 and 2 .

I don´t know what my next post will be about but I thought it´s about time I started on the big Yaya Han post since I can probably not fit it into one single post. And what would be better for the 500th post ? I just have to be careful to keep it Safe for Work. Anyway, it seems that the blog is going well since I have finally passed the one million views mark and the daily view rate has also been going up :  3.014 last Saturday, 3.149 this Tuesday and 3.359 last Sunday. Now this may be because I worked on some posts or because my readership has gone up. In any case I want to thank my loyal readers and I´m eager to see what post 500 will be about.

My last post ended with Fredl Fesl, one of Germany´s best known entertainers ( at least for my generation ) so I want to continue the kabaret theme with the promised Insterburg & Co video. It´s a mix of different shows but the thing you can clearly see is the difference between a musician and an artist : a musician dominates one instrument or more while for a true artist everything can be used as an instrument.

And for more of Germany´s finest entertainment here´s Antonia aus Tirol who´s famous for her big .... talents and her trademark bouncing action.

And to close things out with something comic related here´s a scary fan film called SPAWN : THE RECALL which you should not watch after dark.

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