Well, this time I almost managed to do this on the actual birthday but because the weekend didn´t turn out as planned I didn´t get to do this post on Saturday. So I am extending AVENGERS WEEK for a little bit more.
For those who are wondering about the title, besides his lengthy stint on FANTASTIC FOUR - from 1991 to 1996 - he is also best known as the only artist to draw AVENGERS and AVENGERS WEST COAST at the same time.
While maintaining a monthly schedule and not slowing down in the art department either. Most of Today´s artists could learn a thing or two from that example. I guess when they made Paul Ryan they just broke the mold.
Now, since we are on the subject of the late Paul Ryan longtime readers might wonder what happened to my weekly FLASH FRIDAY WITH PAUL RYAN series. Have I run out of material ? Or interest ? Not really. But as you must be tired of hearing already my posting schedule has gone down seriously and Friday is not a day that is very opportune for writing posts right now.
There are only a few issues from Paul Ryan´s FLASH run left - including the last chapter of the crossover with GREEN LANTERN and GREEN ARROW - and I will get back to that someday. The new season of THE FLASH starts next month so I hope that will help to invigorate my Flash fanaticism.
But what happens when I run out of FLASH material from Paul Ryan ? Now while I have enough material to make a dozen FLASH posts from the post - Crisis series with Wally West I am not sure if I want to keep Friday as the day for that. What I really would like to do is once I have finished the FLASH FRIDAY WITH PAUL RYAN posts to continue my homage to one of my favorite artists with FANTASTIC FOUR FRIDAY WITH PAUL RYAN. I had already planned to re - read his entire run now that I finally managed to get all the issues and since I still haven´t had the time to do that it might be a great experience to read them while simultaneously writing a weekly series.
As usual I will have to wait and see how that plays out once I get there and there is one final thing I want to add about Paul Ryan. While there is no omnibus collection of his stuff you can get some of his AVENGERS issues as part of the now impossible to find ACTS OF VENGEANCE omnibus and since a lot of those were written by John Byrne a big chunk of them is included in the AVENGERS BY JOHN BYRNE omnibus. Which was a special treat for me since I do not have the necessary moola for the ACTS OF VENGEANCE omnibus. I did however spring for the ACTS OF VENGEANCE - CROSSOVERS omnibus because it has some DAREDEVIL issues by John Romita Jr and is available for 57 bucks from amazon Germany and boy, are there a lot of Jim Lee issues in that book. Between the PUNISHER books and his UNCANNY X - MEN issues did Jim sleep at all during that time ?
As for Paul Ryan´s FANTASTIC FOUR issues there is no omnibus in sight but there is the Epic Collection FANTASTIC FOUR - STRANGE DAYS although for the life of me I can´t fathom why they started with the end of his run instead of the start. But that´s enough preamble for now so let´s take a look on Paul Ryan´s work on the comic books of Earth´s Mightiest Heroes.
Paul Ryan certainly wasn´t afraid of filling big boots as he took over AVENGERS from John Buscema and AVENGERS WEST COAST from John Byrne. With the last one he even continued in the midst of a story arc that put the Scarlet Witch through the wringer. I don´t know what it is about her character that seems to bring out the worst in comic writers.
On the other side it is no secret what all the villains of the Marvel universe want with the Scarlet Witch as her huge hotness was established from the get go. From all the villains always taking her as a convenient hostage and trophy sex slave for their secret lair, to her father ( or not depending on who retconned what this week at Disney ) faking amnesia so he could use and abuse her at his leisure, to an android getting a boner from her porn star body Wanda Maximoff is just oozing sex appeal. Heck, Wonder Man even came back from the dead to have sex with her. So it´s no wonder that when Immortus looks for a new companion to rule all of the timey wimey things he looks no further than to the Avenger´s scarlet sexbomb.
Since I already wrote at length about all the perverted stories with the Scarlet Witch in other posts ( and because I might do a special post on that down the way ) let´s get back to the villains during Paul Ryan´s run on the Avengers titles. I don´t know if it was foreshadowing or a test by Jim Shooter to see how his Dr. Doom would look so he could decide on if to offer Paul Ryan the FANTASTIC FOUR book but the monarch of Latveria had a guest appearance. Even if it turned out to be a Doombot at the end.
Speaking about robots of course the Avengers very own robotic rogue can not stay away. Who was built by Hank Pym and not Tony Stark I might add for all those readers who only know the movies. I guess the Hollywood guys were confused why Tony Stark didn´t build him " But isn´t Iron Man supposed to be the Marvel tech guy ? " but in my opinion they threw away a lot of potential by making movie Hank Pym more one - dimensional. This is his main regret and his biggest claim to shame besides beating up Janet.
Another classic villain - although usually an opponent of the Fantastic Four - was Blastaar in a story that somehow did involve the Eternals. I think.
Speaking about Uncle Sal´s favorite Kirby title, THE ETERNALS, it has been a while since I read those stories so my memory a bit fuzzy on the details of how exactly it happened but both Sersi and the infamous Gilgamesh ( I better mention him or Gilgamesh mega fan Terry Hooper will rip me a new one ) were among the Avenger´s illustrious roster at that time.
Speaking of the guy ... I forgot his name ... something with g ? John Byrne took over the writing chores with issue 305 which featured the lava men and during the melee Gustav ... or was it Gandalf ... was seriously injured.
I don´t think John Byrne chose the Avenger´s first opponents during his helmsmanship at random since they first appeared way back in issue 5.
Speaking of polarizing members, former New Warrior Rage joined the team who was just your stereotypical black guy with a chip on his shoulder in the beginning. Things made a lot more sense when it was revealed that much like Billy Batson in the Captain Marvel comics he was just a kid that was turned into an adult super hero. Although he couldn´t change back and forth between his adult super hero persona and his young kid self.
Yes, the Avengers had a lot of members during that time period ( and I mean period in both senses of the word ) which is something that might have scared away other artists but was handled extremely well by Paul.
Even the bigwigs at Marvel must have caught on how much luck they had to get an artist of the caliber like Paul Ryan because the double page splash above was turned into a poster - with some slight alterations.
Paul Ryan gave the Avenger books a consistency that was much needed and made the transition to later runs when Steve Epting finally came on board as the regular penciler smooth. Of course it did help that Tom Palmer continued with the inks which had started during John Buscema´s second run on the book and lasted until Steve Epting´s final issue AVENGERS 375.
Like I said, with two monthly titles they had more Avengers than you can shake a stick at ( although I´m not quite sure of how many Avengers you CAN shake a stick at since most of them could easily pummel me if I tried that ) even Spider - Man who brought a lot of banter and humor to the team. I mean even Thor tried his luck at cracking some jokes at the villains expense. Too bad they had to resort to the usual " Oh, I´m just your friendly neighborhood webslinger and too overwhelmed with all the universe - threatening menaces the Avengers face on a daily basis. "
Which is complete BS. Spider - Man faces as many if not more all powerful threats and he is more seasoned than other Avenger members like Rage, Quasar, Sersi or Captain Marvel at this point. John Byrne was really lazy in this department. I mean, if he doesn´t want Spider - Man as a permanent member he COULD say that he is just too busy to hang around Avengers Mansion all the time. Not only is he in four to five books at any given month he also has to juggle his super hero activities with earning some bread snapping pictures for the Daily Bugle, being married to one of the best known photo models Mary Jane Watson ( when he was still married ) and taking care of his Aunt May. But no, we have to resort to the old " Oh, the Avengers are sooooo tough and Peter just can´t hack it. " nonsense.
Despite some stories that were tolerable at best this was a fun time to follow the Avenger´s adventures because with so many members you did get to see them in their private lives partake in some team spirit forming activities and competitions or just eating some pizzas during the weekly member reunions which is always most interesting for the readers. Which sadly is something Disney seems to have forgotten or chooses to ignore.
For those keeping count this is my 880th post which means that post number 1,000 is only 120 posts away. With the actual posting rate that means that by then I will have finished with the course I am currently doing for the jobcenter so with any luck I can do the next Best Of The Best post that I originally planned to do with the 700th post, then the 750th post, the 800th post or finally the 850th post. But only time will tell.
Since I mentioned Gilgamesh in this post I want to start the link section with a few interesting things I found through the research for this post. If you have followed the link for Terry Hooper´s post on Gilgamesh above you know the basics of the story but if not there is also a comprehensive post by Rufus F. on ORDINARY GENTLEMEN and my spanish readers might want to check out the really exhaustive post on TARINGA that also mentions the comic book adaption by Robin Wood and Lucho Olivera of which you can find issue 3 here ( there´s also a link to more posts of the series ) .
Of course there are a plethora of adaptions of the story of Gilgamesh in comic book form to be found from Jojo Seams´ condensed two pager on DeviantArt to Alexis Fajardo´s current Kid Beowulf series and you can find an interview with the creator conducted by Alex Dueben on THE BEAT .
You never know what kind of interesting things you will find when starting your research and I want to include three links that do not have to do with the topic of this post but might entertain my readers nonetheless.
The first one is an article by John R. Fultz on BLACK GATE on the adaption of Robert E. Howard´s Valley Of The Worm by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane in Supernatural Thrillers 3. As longtime readers know I am a big fan of Gil Kane and while it has been a while since the last Gil Kane - centric post there will be more on him in the not too distant future. Speaking of the future, SPLINTER`S REVIEWS tackles the first Yoko Tsuno adventure The Trio Of The Bizarre and as everyone who has read the series knows Yoko does travel to the past AND the future during the series. Since most of the albums are now available in a luxurious complete edition with lots of bonus features I have decided to get the whole series but as they are rather expensive I can only afford to buy one once in a while with my regular monthly comic order. As with Gil Kane there will be definitely at least one Yoko Tsuno post down the line. And if you have some free time left Alison Sampson has another comic by Robin Wood on her blog SPACE IN TEXT , Helena ( in spanish ) with wonderful art by Ernesto Garcia Seijas.
Speaking about time, I did not have the necessary time to go over the exact contents of the Acts of Vengeance - Crossovers omnibus in detail - since that was not Today´s topic - but if you are thinking about buying it too you should check out the review on JUNK FOOD FOR THOUGHT . Now since one of the artists on many classic issues of Avengers is Sal Buscema ( which is no wonder since he practically has worked on every Marvel title there is ) I want to include a few links in regards to everyone´s pal Sal.
First ALCHERTRON, the free social encyclopedia has an extensive file on the man, then Patrick A. Reed has a tribute to Sal Buscema on COMICS ALLIANCE and Bill Reed ( are they related ? ) pays another tribute to Sal as number 128 of 365 Reasons To Love Comics on COMIC BOOK RESOURCES .
Besides his ten year stint on The Incredible Hulk and his 104 consecutive issues of Spectacular Spider - Man he did the first fifty issues of one of the most beloved comics of the 80s, ROM : Spaceknight which is number 25 of Marvel´s Most Wanted Omnibuses of 2016 over at CRUSHING KRISIS .
IDW currently has the rights for the ROM property and many say that the chances for an omnibus are not good because there are tons of Marvel characters who appear throughout the series but I think that there must be some way to come to an agreement with Disney. I mean, who would have thought we would ever get to read Shang Chi, Master of Kung - Fu in omnibus format ? I have checked out the Free Comic Book Day issue of ROM but so far I am underwhelmed. I don´t know if the original series was just too good but the most interesting thing was the Action Man story. I also had some hope that they would get Sal Buscema to do an issue or two but so far all he did was a variant cover. I am not sure but as far as I know Sal is not working on any monthly title right now so he would be available.
And speaking of availability and Disney, are they ever going to continue with the Spectacular Spider - Man issues beyond 150 ? I just recently read the Tombstone trade paperback and I´m anxious to continue. The trade ended with - kind of - a cliffhanger and like I said, with 104 consecutive issues by Sal Buscema there is no danger of running out of material soon.
Now people ask me how I decide who I include in this section because there is probably at least one playmate birthday every day and my criteria is playmates I know where there is something I have to say about ( and hopefully some picture that is safe to post on the blog ). If I have to look her up that means I don´t remember her and she won´t be mentioned.
That´s definitely not the case of Kerri Kendall, PLAYBOY´s Playmate Of The Month for September in 1990 who turns 47. Besides her nude pictorial she was in 30 PLAYBOY special editions, numerous videos - especially in the Wet & Wild videos - and she was one of the few who got her own videocassette. I bought it at the Karstadt in Stuttgart because they had a different selection of videocassettes than in Ludwigsburg together with a few movies and when the guy in front of me saw the videocassette he said " Daimn, I should have bought that instead of " well, whatever movie his woman made him buy. I´m positive he came back really quick to get it.
Like myself Kerri was constantly daydreaming in school and she must have developed at an early age because she started modeling at the age of 15.
In Kerri´s own words : My first appearance in front of a large group of people was in the Miss Mission Beach Contest. I was the youngest contestant and with out a doubt the Crowd Favorite. I didn't win the title of Miss Mission Beach but I took home a trophy for People´s Choice. I think I was more proud of that than if I had actually won the title. I saw it as " Well, six judges on the panel chose that girl over there but two thousand people on the beach chose me ... hmm ... I can live with that ! "
Two years later at 17 I entered the contest again and took home the title.
They didn't give me the People's Choice title this time, but the whole crowd was chanting my number. The prize for winning Miss Mission Beach was an all expense paid trip to Jamaica. I stayed at the Hedonism II resort in Negril and upon leaving, I vowed to return ! I am still determined to honor that vow and when I do you'd better believe I'll be doing some live web - cam chats from there and I'll post pictures galore all over the site.
The Miss Mission Beach title brought a lot of attention my way. I started doing bikini and hot legs contests all over San Diego, averaging 2 contests a week even through the winter. The day after my 18th birthday I had a photographer shoot some nude photos and submit them to Playboy. I had wanted to be a Playmate for so long I was not going to waste any time !
Finally I was a Playboy Playmate of the Month. I was even so lucky as to have my birthday month as my centerfold month. Wow, what a rush.
Though I was shooting quite a bit and going out on a lot of promotions I chose to keep my ' regular job ' at an outpatient surgery center. It was always important to me not to get caught up in the fantasy world of Hollywood and modeling. I think the
combination of Libra and Year of the Dog demands a constant state of balance for me. I can never go too far off in one direction. If I have a regular job I have to supplement it with the fantasy, glitzy modeling jobs and if I'm modeling a lot I make sure I do something closer to the ground to keep me centered and balanced.
Catherine Zeta - Jones celebrates her 48th birthday and last year I posted an animated GIF from The Mask of Zorro because I had just written about Antonio Banderas´ birthday but this year I´m going with her best scene from Entrapment. I really think it´s the movie´s only redeeming quality and as a musical fan it is weird that I still haven´t seen Chicago. Like last year I selected a video for her where I can kill two birds with one stone.
Because also celebrating his birthday and only one year older with 49 ( unless the rumors are true that Catherine Zeta - Jones lied about her age ) is Will Smith who has been in movies with superheroes based on comic books like Suicide Squad and movies with superheroes not based on comic books like Hancock as well as in movies based on comics like the Men In Black movies. He became famous all over the world when he played the lead role in the 80s mega sitcom success The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air.
Of course a big part of that show´s success and continued appeal around the world ( there are probably only a few people on the face of the planet who can´t recite the lyrics to the title song in their sleep ) is Tatyana Ali who grew from a cute little girl into an incredible sexbomb over the course of that series and who got to show her musical skills.
Much to the chagrin of the show´s producers she really bOObed all out in later movie appearances like The Clown at Midnight or Fall Into Darkness .
Anyway, back to Will Smith I wanted to post the video of The Graham Norton Show with Gary Barlow where Gary plays the theme to The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air but like with all good videos embedding was disabled.
That miffed me a bit but Will is such a frequent guest on the show that not only did I find an episode with him and Catherine Zeta - Jones but also one with him and Michael Douglas who turns 73 Today. I was ready to flip a coin to decide which one to post but the embedding on the episode with Michael Douglas was disabled so you have to click this link to watch it in HD anyway. Since the video I DID finally post last year has been deleted ( it seems like YouTube is actively torpedoing my attempts to post good Will Smith videos ) I have no idea which one it was but here is one where he is also on the same show as Catherine Zeta - Jones and Ryan Reynolds.
As the video above includes Catherine Zeta - Jones I am adding another video for Will Smith especially since it gives me the opportunity to make the music video of Today another Teens React video with the ( currently ) reigning champion of react girl with the biggest boobs, Sydney. I thought I had already posted this but I am so behind on posting and overwhelmed with all kinds of stuff that I made the animated GIF below and forgot it.
Speaking about animated GIFs, my plan was to cut back a bit on the ones for the react girls because it takes up a lot of time I really don´t have and also I do not want this section to become too pervy ( yeah, too late on that front my feller ) since most of them are still underage. Which readers may have noticed since I just cut out a large portion of text and GIFs I had posted here because of the heavy sexual content. Anyway, I was going to just include the GIFs I had already made in the next posts like the one of Sydney or include some videos where I would not make GIFs anyway. But then I made a quick GIF of rack - tastic Becca who is already competing for Sydney´s throne. I mean, she is not even seventeen and she already could star in a Russ Meyer movie so I have no idea how huge her twin torpedoes will be be at the age of eighteen if her current growth spurt continues.
Some readers may have seen the first GIF I made of Becca and I thought that I could already move on but then I spent a whole day making the new one above. It seems I just can´t help myself. As I could not help myself with posting some inappropriate comments but at least I managed to cut them from the post. So not to get myself into any more trouble the only comment I want to add is that Will Smith has become a legitimate actor since most of the teens in the video completely forgot that he´s also a musician and only know him from movies or The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air.
Staying with hit tv show stars Heather Locklear turns 56 but since I always was more of a Dallas guy than a Dynasty guy and more a Heather Thomas fan than a Heather Locklear fan I have no story to add. I never saw any episodes of T. J. Hooker which was shown in Germany around the time when private networks started and they were desperate for material to fill the time slots so they broadcast any old show they could get their hands on. I DID see her in Melrose Place, which I watched because of Alyssa Milano ( I finally managed to pay tribute to her two years ago but I had to split it into two posts - the main post and the bonus round with her best episodes on Charmed - because I might have gone a bit overboard with the GIFs ) with whom she reunited on the set of Spin City. Spinning this a little further she was on that show together with Michael J Fox AND Charlie Sheen and they both appeared in an episode of Two And A Half Men. She doesn´t have as many comic book movies under her belt as Will Smith but she was in the second Swamp Thing movie which I´d have to re - watch to make an adequate statement about the quality of that movie.
Today there are really all kind of weird connections in this section as Will Smith is most famous for The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air and our next celeb birthday candidate is Michael Madsen who celebrates his 59th birthday and was in a movie called The Prince Of Air. And while one of Michael Douglas´ biggest hits is Basic Instinct Michael Madsen starred in a movie called Fatal Instinct. I don´t know what inspired whom here but Michael number two is best known for his appearances in Reservoir Dogs and the Kill Bill movies with Uma Thurman. Speaking of Uma Thurman, Michael Madsen had his share of hot sexbomb co stars as he worked with Natasha Henstridge on both Species movies, with my favorite Bond girl Halle Berry in Die Another Day and in My Boss´ Daughter with all wet Carmen Electra.
As for comic book movies, the actor who guest starred on Hawaii Five O and who was in Quentin Taratino´s The Hateful Eight - which I just saw a few weeks ago - had a role in the first Sin City movie, he also played Supershock on Powers ( which was a bit disappointing ) and was the voice of Baby Man in Axe Cop and of Kilowog in Green Lantern : First Flight.
Now it had to happen at some point that I managed to miss Bob Layton´s birthday and I would have done a post for his 64th anniversary if I hadn´t already lined up all the material for this post. But I think since I already did so many posts about him we can go one year without a special post on his birthday and I´m sure he will come up in one of my next posts anyway. For those that want to check out the old posts I think you should start with the one where I pimped the Iron Man by David Micheline, Bob Layton and John Romita Jr omnibus hardcover back when it was sold at amazon for 57 EUROS ( I guess with the prices the omnibus books are going now all those who did not buy it are angry at themselves right now for missing that ).
I continued the topic of his run on Iron Man in my first real Bob Layton birthday post in 2013 - where I almost forgot his birthday but managed to get a post in under the wire - while the 2014 post concentrated on the return to greatness when I started reading american comics and Bob Layton and David Micheline engaged in the first Armor Wars. The post also included some art pages from issue 232 by the great Barry Windsor Smith.
In 2015 I got on a bit of tangent because I know that money is always tight for comic readers so the post was mainly about which issues of Iron Man have already been reprinted where and last year I even decided to take a break from Iron Man and do a spotlight on his great Hercules mini - series.
Mark Hamill turns 66 and I just found another video about the short lived 90s Flash tv show where he played the Trickster. Somehow Hollywood didn´t know what to do with him after Star Wars, a fate that seems to have befallen Tobey Maguire after the Spider - Man movies. It seems Germany is not the only country to waste the potential of good actors.
I couldn´t rightfully call myself a spanish man if I didn´t acknowledge Pedro Almodovar´s 68th birthday in any form. There is clearly a before and after not only in spanish cinema or in european cinema but in cinema period.
After Mark Hamill I want to give a shoutout to another inspirational hero from my youth that delivered hope on the big screen, Christopher Reeve who for me is still the definitive Superman. Dean Cain and Tom Welling did well on the small screen but so far only Tyler Hoechlin from the new Supergirl tv show comes even close to holding a torch to the main man.
Speaking of the original Superman movies, so far also no actress has surpassed Valerie Perrine as Luthor´s aide / sexbomb Miss Teschmacher.
Isn´t it strange how the guys at Hollywood always act like all the old movies are tame compared to Todays entertainment that´s so cutting edge and risky yet because of the political correctness BS the last version of Miss Teschmacher was a sexually non threatening girlie with as much charisma as a glass of milk while we had a Playboy cover model in the original version who was the first actress to purposely display herself nude on american television ? Since I did not get to mention her on her 74th birthday which was on the 3rd of this month I wanted to pay homage.
Since this section is already heavy on the DC side besides this being a post about the Avengers I want to conclude with a video about one of the best DC cartoon shows. I know that Today´s kids only know the awful Teen Titans Go !, Superhero Girls and Justice League Action and boy, they have no idea what they are missing out on. That should be an episode of the Kids React videos : have the boys and girl watch some Superman, Batman and Justice League cartoons. That would definitely make them freak out.
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Gods of Galador !