Saturday, May 07, 2016

Better late - A Happy Jon Bogdanove Day !

I know I´m practically coming in under the wire but I had another of those days when my health needs to catch up and I had to go through a lot of folders to find all the material for Jon Bogdanove´s 58th birthday post.

I know that lately most of the birthdays - even comic related birthdays - are relegated to the video section because there is either not much I can say about a certain writer or artist or it would probably not be much different, except less eloquent then what you can read on other websites.

And in the case of all the cult sirens it´s sometimes better because I´m always running the risk of having too much of that kind of content. I don´t want them to take over the blog and in most cases the posts from my old blog don´t have that much text anyway. But - returning to Jon Bogdanove - here is a case where an artist was a big part of my monthly reading diet which also let´s me reflect on the golden days of Superman heavy months when there were four ( ! ) Superman books each month.

But before we come to the part where I bemoan Today´s sorry excuse for the Man of Steel we go back even further in time to the beginnings of Jon Bogdanove. His comic beginnings I mean. Which were not at DC but at Marvel where he started drawing POWER PACK with issue 22 and stayed on the book for the next four years. Which doesn´t happen anymore.

Jon Bogdanove´s next project for Marvel should be a bit better known not in the least because the four issue mini series FANTASTIC FOUR VS THE X - MEN was part of the recently released Epic Collection Fantastic Four - All In The Family about which I already wrote in this post and to which I will - hopefully - return in a follow up post. Initially I was a bit bummed because I felt that they added it as padding but it was nice to be able to read the original since here it was part of the much dreaded Condor pocket books.

If you haven´t read that go out and get the Epic Collection or any of the many trades that reprint the mini series. The story comes at the heels of MUTANT MASSACRE and has an interesting premise ( for more details use the link to the post above - I don´t want to spoil too much ) that puts both teams at odds - plus Jon Bogdanove draws a mean Doctor Doom.

For the next part I had to consult the internet because I was not sure what happened first and it was the creation of SUPERMAN : THE MAN OF STEEL, the 4th monthly Superman title that would come out on the week after ACTION COMICS, ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN and SUPERMAN.

While I wasn´t so keen on Jon Bogdanove´s art ( I have to admit it had to grow a bit on me ) I was thrilled to be able to read a fourth Superman book each month now. At that time I had a considerable pull list at my trusty comic shop of choice ( I may be excused if I´m not sure which one it was since it was 25 years ago ) and I had all the Superman books on it.

As you may know if you have read my previous posts on John Byrne´s revamp of the Superman books in the late 80s I came in when it was in full swing and I only read the Superman titles drawn by John Byrne. Which is one of the reasons why I am buying the MAN OF STEEL trades. Not only do I get the John Byrne issues in a much better condition than the old, battered copies I have, I also get to read all the stuff that happened in - between. The only instances I got issues which were not done by John Byrne was when I bought the german translations or when a story crossed over into the other titles like the SUPERMAN - EXILED story which I will cover in a future post, I promise. This was around the time when I still did not have a steady comic shop to go to and had to hunt for most of my Superman issues at comic fairs like the STUTTGARTER COMIC BÖRSE or conventions like THE INTENATIONAL COMIC SALON in Erlangen. When John Byrne left the Superman titles I followed artists like Kerry Gamill and George Perez but it wasn´t until stories like TIME AND TIME AGAIN ! ( which I have just recently bought as a trade - what can I say, I just love a timey wimey story and compared to Today´s comics it´s dirt cheap ) and PANIC IN THE SKY that I read all three Superman titles on a monthly basis.

So the fourth title was a welcome addition because it delivered more of what I liked about the Superman books of that time. I know it must have been a kind of editorial nightmare to have four Superman books come out each month - on schedule - that all were part of a bigger story but which all could be read individually without getting the feeling you were missing something. I don´t know how they did it but that writing is a lost art.

And even though they were doing a revamped version compared to the Pre - Crisis comics they kept the spirit of the original supporting cast.

Okay, in some cases they were more successful than in others.

I know some people didn´t like the way Jon Bogdanove drew women, especially Lois Lane but I never thought she looked that masculine. 

He did more muscular women but always chose the right characters.

Anyway, it was an exciting time to read the Superman titles and while I wasn´t so keen on some of the more weider issues of MAN OF STEEL like the ones with super arsonist Cerebus things were only picking up speed.

Because what followed was Death of Superman, Funeral for A Friend and Reign of the Supermen which brought us four possible reborn Superman candidates and Jon Bogdanove created the " Man of Steel " he should be associated for the most part of his career, John Henry Irons a.k.a STEEL.

After the end of that story two of the new Supermen got their own titles, Superboy and Steel, and Jon Bogdanove followed writer Louis Simonson from MAN OF STEEL which he drew for nearly eight years until issue 85.

While Louise Simonson wrote STEEL on and off until issue 31 ( issues 17 to 19 were written by David Micheline, issue 20 by Ruben Diaz and issue 28 by Peter Tomasi ) Jon Bogdanove only co - wrote the first 3 issues and did the first 5 covers. And this is the point where we mention the movie. 

Yes, before Halle Berry ever donned her famous " hit me, whip me, call me animal names " sado - maso outfit from BLOW UP SEX DOLLS R US in the 2004 fiasko CATWOMAN there was a DC comic adaption that was so bad that they should have learned that it´s never a good idea to take a comic property and then get rid of the comic connection to make a film.

People in Hollywood always think they are especially clever because they have this great idea of making a Catwoman movie without having to pay for the rights to use the Batman license or making a Steel movie without having to pay for the rights to use the Superman license but the most important part of a movie is a story. And when you have a story about a woman with " cat powers " ( whatever that might be ) without Batman you just have a cheap and - apart from Miss Berry´s sensational physique - not very entertaining knock off. And when you have Steel without the Superman connection you just have a former weapons designer turned super hero which makes him a cheap Iron Man knock off. And Iron Man was rich and had a better armor. To use the famous words from Hayao Miyazaki´s PORCO ROSSO : " A flying pig that does not fly is just a pig. "

I don´t want to talk about the movie more than necessary so I will just add that while I can understand why Shaq wanted to play " black street level Superman " the result will remain a dark stain on DC movies. Or it will be redeemed by the even worse quality of the new DC releases. 

Back to Jon Bogdanove, I know he drew SUPERMAN & SAVAGE DRAGON : METROPOLIS and according to wiikipedia SUPERMAN / ALIENS II : GOD WAR which I totally forgot. He also drew a new Superman story in DC RETROACTIVE : SUPERMAN - THE 90S. I´m not sure what he´s doing now but he did an issue of BATMAN ARKHAM NIGHT and BATMAN ´66 in 2015. 

Since I couldn´t put them in the text I´m adding a few more covers by Jon Bogdanove for the Dino issues of SUPERMAN which came at a time when I was a bit weary of the Superman franchise. I admit it : even though I have followed The Man of Tomorrow for a long time there are periods where his comics are not as good and the german issues by Dino cam out at the right time. So I had a good excuse to read them since I was supporting a german publisher keeping Superman at newsstands.

Which sounds kind of grandiose but every little bit helps. And the Dino Verlag rewarded its readers by putting out more Superman content with their extra issues of SUPERMAN SONDERBAND and what may have been the biggest invention in german comics : the SUPERMAN TIME WARP.

This was one journey through time and space for which you didn´t need a Tardis. Because the german issues were so far behind that it would take very long to catch up to the current US issues Dino published a slipcase containing six issues of the SUPERMAN series together with stickers, little stand - up displays, posters and all sorts of goodies. You could not buy these issues without the slipcase and they did three TIME WARP slipcases.

By the way, thanks to writing this post I have another comic on my " to buy " list, STEEL issue 33 with art by Jim Aparo and Dick Giordano. I´ll leave you with a few more choice covers by Jon Bogdanove. Kampai !

Not many links for this post but if there are people out there who don´t know the STEEL movie and don´t believe me how bad it is there are reviews on THE HYPERSONIC55`S REALM OF REVIEWS AND OTHER STUFF ( talk about keeping it short ), COMIC BASTARDS and THE OTHER VIEW .

For three days I´ve now been working on the video section so let´s see if we can finally finish this Today. Our first celebrity birthday is Traci Lords who to Today´s generation is that hot blonde with the killer body who guest starred twice on Married with Children, ( that old tv sitcom Ed O´Neil used to do before Modern Family ) who used to be a porn star.

Guys from my " time period " knew her as the hot chick who had her boobs done and lied about her age to do porn. She turns 48 Today and initially I wanted to add Jim Wynorsky 1988 movie Not of This Earth to this section but after re - watching the movie - only in tribute and not to see Miss Lord´s spectacular rack - there was more nudity than I remembered.

Honestly, I only remembered the parts with Traci Lords so I decided against it. You can find that movie easily on YouTube and if I risk my blog again it might well be for a worthy reason like to post Russ Meyer´s Up !

Our next anniversary is more for my german readers as Gerhard Polt celebrates his 74th year on this world. He is of course best known for his appearances on the cult kabarett show Scheibenwischer opposite Dieter Hildebrandt. When I was in school I watched this series as often as I could and I remember there even was an episode where the Bavarain network switched off in mid - broadcasting. Here is an episode with Gerhard Polt.

Today is also the anniversary of Gary Cooper´s birthday who is best known for starring in westerns, the most famous among them being High Noon. Towards the end of his career he also did Man of The West which initially was not a success but over the years this dirty and realistic tale about a man who is brutally confronted with his past as an outlaw has become kind of a cult movie. For those who never heard of Anthony Mann´s movie DVD TALK has a review and you can also find a german review on DER WAHLBERLINER . Should it worry me that I found the entire Not of This World on YouTube but only this small part of Man of The West ?

Now I would do my readers a big disservice if I didn´t mention this, but part of the appeal of the movie is full blooded - and full bodied - ( 37C !!! - 24 - 36 ) cult siren Julie London who plays the role of former saloon girl Billie in what could otherwise be the stereotypical woman in western. Even though the fates don´t have many good things in store for her her captivating performance lifts the quality of the movie at least one level.

You can find a plethora of pictures and posters from that movie ( as well as everything else you would ever want to know about Julie London ) at JULIELONDON.ORG and since it would take me a few days to do her entire strip from Man of the West here is the full length scene from YouTube.

Today would also have been the anniversary of famous russian composer Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky´s birthday. Even if you are not an opera fan you know this little number which is often used in movies like Fantasia.

There may be some people who have no idea what Porco Rosso is so here are the Top 10 Anime Movies. You should have seen all the animes on this list and if you haven´t - act immediately and do something about it.

Yes, from porn and skin flicks to german kabarett, cult westerns and opera to animes - Today we run the full gamut in the video section. So a review of STEEL from the Nostalgia Critic is the only thing we´re missing.

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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