Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Wish I had some Jim Aparo in my pocket

Originally I wanted to continue with the Christmas cover posts but since I can´t stop writing about Jim Aparo - even when I´m doing a post on Alan Davis - I thought why trying to avoid it and instead just go with the flow ?

Especially since I´m almost finished with reading the DC SHOWCASE PRESENTS : BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS trade. I started reading it after being halfway through the ESSENTIAL POWER MAN 2 which took me over a week. In other posts I have said that buying the ESSENTIALS is always a good investment but I´m also glad that I didn´t buy the first volume.

Don´t get me wrong, I was very curious to read the issues but after I did I have to say that one reason why the POWER MAN & IRON FIST series is so revered is that both solo series benefit immensely from the merger and POWER MAN even more than IRON FIST. The art on POWER MAN is not very consistent and the writing is what I would call dated. There is a lot of social commentary in it and while I can acknowledge that Marvel´s writer were trying to bring social issues into the comics - and I guess a comic with an urban setting like POWER MAN is predestined for that - at times the text in the caption boxes has nothing to do with the story and even distracts from it. But I´m not trying to do a review of POWER MAN here. What I wanted to point out is that while BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS is not a new comic it still holds up to Today´s reading standards which is in no small part thanks to Jim Aparo´s timeless art. The stories could as well take place Today judging from the buildings, cars and clothing.  

Speaking about the SHOWCASE of BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS I found out that the material from that was used for the reprint of BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS 5 in the NEW TEEN TITANS BY GEORGE PEREZ omnibus.

In my post Christmas with Batman and the Outsiders I posted the splash page for that issue and you may notice that it say in the first caption box " Are you in luck ! For only 75 c, you have a ringside seat for the deaths of BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS and THE NEW TEEN TITANS. " Well, in the DC SHOWCASE of BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS that was changed to 16.95 $ because that is the price of the trade. Originally it was 75 cents because that was the price of comic books when the issue came out but somebody thought it better to change it to 16.95 $ either as a little in - joke or because he thought it would make more sense. Anyway, in the omnibus they either forgot to change it again or they thought that " for only 75 $ " sounded like they were making fun of the readers who had paid that much for the book. In any case it´s an interesting bit of comic trivia.

But Today I don´t want to talk too much about Jim Aparo´s BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS. Much rather I want to talk about THE BEST OF DC, a series I stumbled upon while looking for a better scan of this cover.

Or better yet, I stumbled upon AGAIN. You see, my brain is more like a sieve lately because I totally forgot that not only did I read about THE BEST OF DC in issue 76 of TwoMorrows Publishing´s BACK ISSUE they also had a feature on the Super Juniors in that same issue by comic writer / pop culture historian Andy Mangels who contributed to a lot of issues .

Like all issues BACK ISSUE 76 has a theme which is Let´s Get Small so they feature comics about small characters like Ant - Man and the Wasp, Gold Key´s Microbots, The Atom in the Bronze Age and Sword of the Atom and of course Micronauts but also on THE BEST OF DC which was a digest sized reprint series that started in 1979 and went on until April 1986. 

The price of these was between 95 cents and 1.50 dollars ( on the last issues ) and the page count was somewhere between 100 and 150 pages for most of the issues. I´m not sure but I think this may have been the source for a lot of the pocket books Ehapa published in Germany because a lot of them have similar covers like this one by the great Ross Andru.

And most of the material can be found in SUPERMAN TASCHENBUCH 31.

One of these days I really have to do a post on Ross Andru. Not only did he draw Spider - Man when that series returned to german comic readers thanks to Condor of which I just got another MARVEL MASTERWORKS.

At DC I can´t even mention all the stuff he did but he was the artist on WONDER WOMAN for nine years and THE FLASH for three, drew a ton of covers when he returned as an editor in 1978 and together with Robert Kanigher he created the METAL MEN of which he drew the first 29 issues. 

Back to THE BEST OF DC, they have issues dedicated to TEEN TITANS

the JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA ( what a great cover by George Perez )


and more than a half dozen featuring THE LEGION OF SUPER - HEROES which was one of the really big sellers with comic readers back then.

There are also Christmas related anthologies

and a whole slew of YEARS BEST COMIC STORIES.

Coming back to Jim Aparo, while he only provided the two covers I posted above on those issues THE BEST OF DC 69 reprinted BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS 29 and issue 9 reprinted the entire BAT MURDERER epic.

So far I haven´t seen any issues from THE BEST OF DC anywhere so I guess they are pretty rare and pricey. I would really like to get my hands on some issues not only because they contain some material that´s hard or impossible to find now but I´m also curious how they compare to the pocket books I know in regards to printing and production quality.

And since I mentioned TwoMorrows Publishing´s BACK ISSUE I wanted to add that I just got issue 85 all about Christmas in the Bronze Age.

For more about Ross Andru you can check out his entry on wikipedia and comicbook db , COMIC BOOK RESOURCES article about Underappreciated Artist Ross Andru , COMICS ALLIANCE´s tribute to Ross Andru , our pal Steve W at STEVE DOES COMICS confesses that his favorite Spider - Man era was the one drawn by Ross Andru and takes a look at Ross Andru´s SUPERMAN VS THE AMAZING SPIDER - MAN , Old Groove at DIVERSIONS OF THE GROOVY KIND website has three posts on his Amazing Spider - Man splash pages ( part 1 / part 2 / part 3 ) and there´s 20TH CENTURY DANNYBOY´s great post on the Ross Andru & Mike Esposito art team

There are always some Jim Aparo links I haven´t posted yet but since you never know when you can find the time for another post here is a small selection. ART & ARTIFICE has a post on Jim Aparo with a lot of links , BLOG INTO MYSTERY features the seminal A Death in The Family, SCANS DAILY has a post on BATMAN 416 - the first meeting of Dick Grayson and Jason Todd and DIVERSIONS OF THE GROOVY KIND once again provides complete Jim Aparo stories with The Phantom Crew from GHOSTLY TALES 65 and Bat - Murderer ! from DETECTIVE COMICS 444. That classic story is also the topic of this post on COMIC BOOK BRAIN and for more info go to this post at BARE.BONES e-ZINE which takes a look at all Batman books published from January to March 1975. And last but not least BRONZE AGE BLOG offers Warrior in a Wheelchair from THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD 100 and The Corpse That Wouldn´t Die from THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD 115.

Also check out DIGEST COMICS to learn more about DC´s digest reprints.

Since this post was all about pocket books we start the video section with a musical video that shows that the best things come in small packages.

It seems that I have to watch JESSICA JONES after all since David Tennant is going to play the Purple Man. Man, is he busy after DOCTOR WHO or what ? So he´s got BROADCHURCH which is in its second season, he was on the american remake of that called GRACEPOINT which was cancelled after the first season ( this article looks at what might be the reason for it but in my opinion the americans just change too much to make it succcessful with american audiences and when you compare it to the original series there is not much left from it like with LOS MISTERIOS DE LAURA and THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA ) and now he´s on JESSICA JONES.

With all the videos I posted about DOCTOR WHO I can´t believe that I never posted something about the spanish tv show EL MINISTERIO DEL TIEMPO ( The Ministry of Time ). This is what german tv will never be able to achieve and what TORCHWOOD could have been if they had any cojones. Here is the trailer for the second season which is probably going to be more awesome than season one. You can also find the episodes of season one on YouTube but they are in spanish and because of the length ( at least one hour ) the quality is rather bad. Nevertheless here is the link for the first episode from season one and I just hope the americans never get their hands on this because you know they would f - word that up bad.

Since Ghibli studio founder Hayao Miyazaki celebrates his 75th birthday on this day here are the Top Ten Anime Movies which include 5 of his masterpieces. If you haven´t seen them you are only depriving yourself.

From animes to another of Today´s juvenile delinquents favorite past times : video games. I knew that the DEAD OR ALIVE series was more famous for the bouncing action of the female characters but so far I hadn´t seen anything from the game. Well, I came across a few videos some days ago - which explains what I have been doing between posts - and I have to say I had no idea. My favorite character is Lisa - who was clearly modeled after cinema sexbomb Halle Berry - and at first I thought my favorite outfit was the gold swimsuit. But then I saw the Arthemis, well, it´s not really a swimsuit more dental floss with jewels .... see for yourself, it´s the second outfit in this video from DEAD OR ALIVE 5.

I read that her character was whitewashed in the latest version but for all who want to remember her like she ought to be here´s her lapdance from the second game from the series ( for all those who think maybe only part 5 is full on perverted ). I don´t know about you but I´m just going to put it on full screen and pretend that this is the sexy dance of Halle Berry we should have gotten in THE LAST BOY SCOUT instead of the short strip.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest / best of the best

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