Monday, November 02, 2015

Master inker Joe Sinnott appreciation post

As I suspected I did not get to make a special Halloween post but after the avalanche of posts last month - 16  to be exact - I think I am almost out of horror or horror related topics. We covered practically everything.

We got Marvel horror with Creatures on The Loose , we got DC horror with The Phantom Stranger , we got the mother of them all, EC horror with The Vault of Horror , we got german horror with The recycled covers of Gespenster Geschichten and we even have a special Werewolf comic covers post . And there have been lots of horror related videos in all the posts as well. So all things considered you can safely say that I´m almost Halloweened out and I think the same goes for my readers. That said there are still things I have to add or correct about the last few posts.

In my post about the new female Thor ( ugh ) I posted that Eric Masterson became Thor´s new alter ego during The Black Galaxy Saga which is not true. Yesterday I was leafing through my old issues of Thor and I realized that it happened in issue 408 after Eric had been mortally wounded by the Mongoose. So sorry for that little snafu. I still haven´t gotten around to read the Thor issues I was missing from this run, which is the crossover with Excalibur but also The Black Galaxy Saga and THOR issue 411 which is extremely pricey because it´s an Acts of Vengeance crossover AND the first appearance of The New Warriors team - although on the last panel.

Now the only way to get issue 411 now is to either pay ten to twenty bucks or get the ACTS OF VENGEANCE omnibus. Which I could possibly stomach even if great parts of the crossover were not so terrible. But the thing is that the story was divided into two hardcovers, one with the main story and one with all the crossovers. So all the issues I want are not in one book. No, you got John Byrne´s AVENGERS WEST COAST, CAPTAIN AMERICA and THOR in the main book and Ann Mocenti´s DAREDEVIL ( for some reason only two issues of Daredevil are included although all other series contribute three issues ) and Jim Lee´s UNCANNY X - MEN trilogy that introduced the asian Psylocke in the crossover book. So the main book is out of the question right now because I can´t find it anywhere for less than a hundred bucks. And while I was willing to pay that kind of money for the SECRET WARS II omnibus I don´t think I can do it with ACTS OF VENGEANCE. First off SECRET WARS II was a much better crossover that also reads better in an omnibus compendium format.

Secondly, the crossover issues involved are of a higher quality than most of the ACTS OF VENGEANCE tie ins with better writers and better artists.

Third is the fact that except for two issues - ROM SPACEKNIGHT 72 and MICRONAUTS 16 - which could not be included because Marvel no longer has the license the SECRET WARS II omnibus contains the complete story in one volume. Which brings us to the last point : the SECRET WARS II omnibus is over 1100 pages thick while the ACTS OF VENGEANCE omnibus books have between 744 and 768 pages. Sorry guys, but in my opinion you should not pay more than 75 bucks for a book with only around 750 pages.

Now I COULD get the crossover book from amazon´s New and Used Books section for 60 bucks plus 3 for packaging and shipping but I´m not sure if two issues of DAREDEVIL and three issues of UNCANNY X - MEN are worth spending that kind of money. Yes, it would be nice to have more Daredevil issues by Ann Nocenti and John Romita Jr in a nice hardcover edition but I´m absolutely not going to spend 63 bucks on five issues I already have.

So I hope that Marvel DOES continue with the Epic Collections of Thor with the issues after 400 - at least until they reach issue 411 and beyond.

They could do a nice one that just fills the gap between the War of the Pantheons book and The Black Galaxy Saga. Yes, I know that I said that I´m not a big fan of the Epic Collections but what can a comic collector do ? Disney has cancelled the ESSENTIALS - which by the way would not get me the issues in the full color version - I don´t know if the MARVEL MASTERWORKS will ever get to this point ( I´m still waiting for HULK to reach the Sal Buscema / Ernie Chan issues ) and even then I could not afford them. On the other hand I want to have them in a handy trade which I can read now and then even if I have to deal with gutter loss.

Speaking of gutter loss, Marvel seems to have this problem before the Epic Collections started because the Incredible Hulk - Pardoned trade that is still lying on my to read pile has the same problem as the Fantastic Four - All in the family Epic Collection I got this week. And I´m thinking that maybe the HULK trades Pardoned, Regression and Crossroads were some kind of test balloon for the Epic Collections since they are all around 400 pages thick and cost 40 bucks. Compared to that the Epic Collections are priced okay with their average page / dollar ratio of 450 / 500 pages for 35 / 40 bucks but the gutter loss is not as bad in the Hulk trade.

That said I have to admit that you can open All in the family easier than most DC omnibus books and I have flipped through the pages a few times and it still shows no signs of deterioration except a slight curving of the outer pages. It´s not falling apart like the dreaded pocket books by german publisher Condor which self destructed after a few readings.

Now I was reluctant to order another Epic Collection but I didn´t think I was going to find it anywhere for less than 24 bucks. And I wanted to get the UNCANNY X - FORCE trade Let It Bleed which is currently available at the bargain books section for 3 EUROS which is 1 EURO less than you have to pay for the first issue alone. So I got All in the family which closes one gap in my collection - FANTASTIC FOUR 299 - and also Annual 20 and the FANTASTIC FOUR VS X - MEN mini series which I´ve only read in spanish.

So I get to read FANTASTIC FOUR VS X - MEN in the original version that poses an interesting topic : Did Reed Richards willingly expose himself and his friends to cosmic radiation in order to develop a super race to defend the Earth against the onslaught of evil super powered aliens ?

In the series this is eventually invalidated which is kind of sad because nobody continued this train of thought after that and when you look at it rationally it makes more sense than a man with Reed Richard´s intellect making a mistake. One of my brothers thinks that it´s the only possible explanation that makes sense. Why else select a girl that is much younger than you but can be easily manipulated because she has a crush on you to go on an untested space craft ? It also explains why you take her brother who has no significant skills on board. Josef Mengele made his atrocious experiments on twins because they have almost identical DNA and taking a girl and her brother Reed can better examine the effects of cosmic radiation on humans. And you also need a baseline which is where Ben Grimm comes in. He´s also a pilot and Reed´s best friend so he can also be easily persuaded. So who knows if it was not a big science experiment.

Okay, back to All in the family, I think that the period on Fantastic Four right after John Byrne left has gotten a bad rep like the Thor issues right after Walter Simonson left that title and in both cases it´s undeservedly so. Yes, the material here came right after one of the exceptional runs on the book and compared to the John Byrne issues they are not as good. But they are still solid issues continuing the story lines of Ben having to deal with the fact that Johnny and Alicia are now together and becoming the team leader after Reed and Sue decide to spend more time with their son.

And the creative team is not by any means composed of second stringers. We have Steve Engelhardt, Roy Thomas and Roger Stern writing with John Buscema doing the pencils and Sal Buscema and Joe Sinnott providing the finishes. The John Buscema / Sal Buscema brother combo is just totally Airwolf and I´ll take any comic with Joe Sinnot inks in a heartbeat.

For me Joe Sinnott is one of the unsung heroes who built the Marvel universe and who has given books like FANTASTIC FOUR a consistent quality through various changes in the penciling department. One of these days I have to make a post on him which should not be too difficult because he did the inks on a lot of my reading material like the second West Coast Avengers omnibus, All in the family and Hulk - Pardoned.

Speaking of Hulk - Pardoned, Joe Sinnott is one of the reasons why I bought it although I already have some of the issues - in the american version AND in spanish. Not only do I get to cover a big gap in my HULK collection with the issues 269 to 285 ( the ESSENTIALS stopped at issue 248 ) but the Hulk´s battle against the U - Foes in issues 276 and 277 and against the Leader in issues 281 to 284 - in which the Hulk has to collect a timelost team of Avengers - are some of my favorite HULK stories. 

I mean how can you not love an intelligent Hulk who fights alongside his old Avengers pals ? Peter David was not the only writer who had the idea of an intelligent Hulk. The reason why it didn´t last very long during this period is that Marvel didn´t know what to do with an intelligent Hulk.

So they had Nightmare make the Hulk go on a rampage which ended with the Banner persona leaving the Hulk forever - which didn´t last that long - and Doctor Strange exiling the now mindless Hulk to the dimensional crossroads. Which admittedly lead to a decent run with Mike Mignola in his pre - Hellboy phase doing the pencils but you have to wonder what they could have done with an intelligent Hulk. I´m not sure if I will be getting the Regression and Crossroads trades since that is about the time I started reading the original issues of HULK ( talk about starting with a high pedigree run ) and I already have most of the issues I care about.

Since we are on the topic of the Crossroads story line I have to mention ALPHA FLIGHT issue 28 and HULK issue 313. I already mentioned the first one because it´s included in the SECRET WARS II omnibus although only two pages of the issue actually deal with the ramifications of SECRET WARS II. But like I said, I´m not complaining if Marvel decides to include an issue of John Byrne´s brilliant ALPHA FLIGHT series because of this.

Now I also have the issue as part of the third volume of ALPHA FLIGHT CLASSIC ( which has the highest possible recommendation - buy it now ) which also includes HULK 313 because it ties into the Alpha Flight story.

In one of the funniest misunderstandings in comic history EVER Walter Langkowski shows how stupid even smart people can be by managing to ensnare the body of the Hulk in the other dimension which he plans to use as a new host body after his Sasquatch form was destroyed. The only problem is that there is already somebody else time sharing the Hulk´s body : Bruce Banner. After it looked like Hulk was finally rid of Bruce Banner his persona managed to emerge again only to get the boot by Walter who forces the soul of Bruce Banner out when he enters the Hulk.

Bruce sees this as an opportunity to be finally free of the monster that has haunted him for so many years but Walter thinks that Bruce is making a heroic sacrifice to save his life. Walter is moved so much by this - misunderstood - heroism that he decides to take the big plunge which once again fuses Bruce Banner and the Hulk. But not only has Walter destroyed any hope of Bruce ever getting rid of the big green monster.

No, Alpha Flight also manages to bring the Hulk back to earth where he shows his gratitude by destroying Canada. Aww, who cares about them ?

So this is how they brought the Hulk back to Earth in the regular Marvel universe and it still cracks me up every time I read it. The creative teams of both books switched after this and while that brought us a few brilliant issues of Hulk Alpha Flight was never as good again as with John Byrne. 

By the way, another reason for all the comic geek chique types to get Hulk - Pardoned is that it contains the very first appearance of Rocket Racoon.

And here is where I have to wrap up things. There are a few more things to say about Thor, Fantastic Four and Hulk, which all have inks by Joe Sinnott. I don´t know how he does it but he´s practically in every series I wrote about Today. Well, maybe except for ALPHA FLIGHT. Anyway, as usual this post has not gone in the direction I had originally planned so we will have to do the Halloween recap at some other time. I hope you had a fun Halloween party and you can´t celebrate Sammhain without Elvira.   

Today´s post did not go as planned so it should be no surprise that the links for this post are equally all over the place. As always a big thumbs up goes to the guys from SUPER MEGA MONKEY`S MARVEL CHRONOLOGY for providing all the useful links I posted throughout this text. I tried to pick posts to further elaborate what I have written and to help out those readers who don´t have an extensive comic collection find out what all this stuff is about. You guys are the best. But now to the links I found during my research - topic related and otherwise. First up Peter Saturday at UNIVERSAL DORK tells us that John Byrne is the BEST ARTIST EVER , THE PEERLESS POWER OF COMICS ! analyses the relationship between Bruce Banner and Doc Samson in My Therapist, My Enemy ! , RADIACAO GAMA has a review of INCREDIBLE HULK 313 which provided some of the pics I used in this post ( I think the blog is from Brasil but I´m not sure ) and finally this post explains Why Guy Gardner Is F - wording Awesome.

I want to start Today´s video section with another correction. In my last post I wrote that softsex actress Shannon Whirry played Mike Hammer´s secretary Velda in the tv movie Songbird but after watching the Halloween episode from the first Mike Hammer serial Mike Hammer, Private Eye I have come to the conclusion that she DID play the role of Velda in that series. Shannon Whirry is not a name Today´s tv audience is familiar with but for people of my generation she is famous for showing her stunning body in such cineastic erotic masterworks like Body of Influence, Private Obsession, Animal Instincts, Animal Instincts II and Mirror Images II.

This was back in the days when you got your porn - or at least your erotic movies - from the tv or the video store instead of the internet. And the good guys from PRO7 showed an erotic movie each Friday, then each Wednesday and finally they stopped. But you knew every time Shannon was the main lead that this was one for the ages. Back to Mike Hammer.

After watching the Halloween episode ( to which I posted a link in my last post ) I have to say I´m not sure if the first serial was ever shown in Germany because I was not familiar with any of it. Maybe it was but none of it rings a bell. Even the intro was vastly different then I remembered.

Now after watching just one episode of Mike Hammer, Private Eye I´m no expert but I can see why it didn´t have so much success. Even though most of the basic elements were there it still doesn´t click as the later series. So it´s understandable that they changed all of the cast except for Stacy Keach. I can only speculate why they let an ultimate sexbomb like Shannon Whirry go and replaced her with Lindsay Bloom - maybe Shannon was too busy with her movies. They also replaced Mike´s police cop with a younger and fitter version and amped up the sex factor considerably. I think this intro is from the first season of The New Mike Hammer.

And last but not least here is the Mike Hammer I´m most familiar with.

There are still a few Halloween themed videos left so I want to continue the series with the Masters Of Horror horror movie documentary.

The next video is animated though it is not a cartoon. I always like to include a longer film and this is The Wizard of Speed and Time from 1988 about a guy who does special effects. I haven´t seen it yet myself but I don´t think the big breasted woman from the preview picture actually appears in the movie. Then again, I might be wrong. You never know.

Since master inker Joe Sinnott and his comic work was mentioned so much in this post I thought you might enjoy this look at his drawing table.

So last night I wanted to continue my Hammer movie marathon with The Curse of Frankenstein, The Horror of Frankenstein and Frankenstein vs Dracula but instead I ended up watching a lot of videos from THE VOICE.

Which had the positive effect that I could replace two videos that have vanished from a post. The downside is that you have to suffer through a lot of music videos from these audition shows the next months. I used to think that all competition shows suck but after my stay in Bad Rappenau I have come to the conclusion that only the ones from Germany suck. Well, except for THE VOICE KIDS to which I got kind of addicted. Normally it´s hard to beat these addictions but because my mother has returned from Spain there is no chance in hell I will get to watch anything like it on tv.

Thankfully there is the internet where I can watch clips from all over the world. I wanted to start with the usual clip of an underdog surprising the judges but then I had to go with this clip of Babette from THE VOICE OF HOLLAND because she is the total package. Sometimes the cover really DOES match the book and before you say that I´m blinded by her sexy figure go to YouTube and watch some of her auditions from 2012. Then you know that she put some hard work into her 2015 performance.

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