Tuesday, January 02, 2018

It´s Jerry Ordway Man of Tomorrow Tuesday

It looks like 2018 starts off like 2017 ended : with another belated birthday post paying homage to one of my favorite artists. And I finally get to continue my series about John Byrne´s Superman reboot from the 1980s which is long overdue if you keep in mind the name of this very blog.

So, we made it through 2017 which for me is an accomplishment in itself since a few people have told me I would not survive long enough to reach the age of 50 but here I am still kicking. I know things have not been going as smoothly on this blog either and with 93 posts I only managed to do half as many as I did last year. Strange coincidence though that I did exactly half as many. Anyway, if you keep in mind that I was in this course from the Jobcenter at the Karlshöhe from most of April until now which took of most of my time and the fact that my posts have been getting longer and longer lately ( and that I sometimes worked on them up to two weeks on and off ) I would say it´s a wonder that I managed to post that often.

Speaking about the length of posts I want to make the entertainment section a bit shorter which was one of the reasons why the posts have become so long. One reason for that was that with posting only three or four times a month there were so many things I wanted to address that I crammed it in too few posts. My problem here is that I don´t get that much reader response so I don´t know how many of my readers actually read that part and how many could do without it. With that being said a big majority of the comments I DO get are about stuff from that section so there are people out there who read it or at least found my blog through that content and I don´t have that many readers so I really can´t afford to close down that avenue. Plus after a hard day - and I´ve had a lot of them in 2017 - writing that section helps me to relax. So on one side I am hoping that I can post more often now ( we will see about that since there is another thing from the Jobcenter waiting for me Tomorrow which could be just as - if not more - time consuming as the course I just finished ) and spread that out over more posts and on the other side I don´t want to repeat myself so I will try to forego any things I have already posted.

Since we are on the subject of the post addendum, one of the things I did at the end of 2017 was go through my stuff on the laptop and eliminate a lot of animated GIFs - mainly of sexy women - as well as a big part of my babe picture archive. The thing is that I just hoarded too many of those pictures and if I have them the temptation to post them can sometimes be too big. Because I´m just a giving person. But there were many that I did not like that much or where I knew that I could not post them and still keep things safe for work. So I decided to throw out anything that is not necessary for posting since I need more work space on my laptop. In any case, some of my readers will be pleased to read that while I know that another part will be very disappointed. But don´t fear, I said that I will cut down on the babe factor - not that I will completely eliminate that. So there will still be the occasional hot babe in the post which will of course include Yaya Han. I still have not managed to buy her calendar for 2018.

Okay, at this point you are already bored to dead with reading about me so let´s get to the subject of Today´s post. The reason why I decided to do a post about somebody who celebrated his birthday last year is that I had already picked out most of the stuff for the post. With a lot of the birthdays I could not cover last year it was a question of time and not a question of what to post so expect a few of those in the next weeks - including one about Mark Texiera which will probably be my next post.

Another reason why I chose Jerry Ordway is that initially I just wanted to do one post. When I do the birthday posts I either do one with art from many different series or one about one series in particular or I post a specific issue. So longtime readers may remember that I started a series about the excellent THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD reboot by Mark Waid and George Perez which kind of fizzeld out after issue five. I did post issue 8 as a special FLASH FRIDAY post but at the moment that series is on hiatus.

Well, if I HAD continued with that series I would have eventually come to issues 11 and 12 which are still part of the second story and which were drawn by Jerry Ordway. There is also issue 13 which is also by Jerry Ordway and which could also become a special FLASH FRIDAY post since it features a team up between Batman and the original Flash, Jay Garrick, who most people out there only know from the very successful THE FLASH tv show.

So because I still hope to continue with that series I didn´t want to just post one of those issues even if it would have been easier and less time consuming. But since when have I ever done the sensible thing ? As usual I went through my folders to collect what I think is the best Jerry Ordway stuff and when I had to decide which pieces of artwork to include there was almost too much stuff to choose from. At first it looked like I could bring it down to two posts - one about his work at DC and one about his work at Marvel - but then I run into a bit of a snag with his DC stuff.

You see, as I said in the beginning there is this series of posts about John Byrne´s Superman reboot that I am still hoping to continue one day. So I did not want to use any art that I might need for future posts. Luckily I remembered that he had done the covers for the MAN OF STEEL trades.

I´m a big fan of them and except for the first one I bought each one of them because a. ) my issues are a bit beat down and here I have them in a much better condition and b. ) when I read them I skipped the issues by Jerry Ordway ( what can I say ? I was young and didn´t know better ) and only bought the ones by John Byrne so now I get to read the full story.

So I found a lot of original art from that but as always I am including the colored versions too. But for each piece of that I had to throw out a cover form his excellent THE POWER OF SHAZAM series so there will be a special post just with stuff from that series. Because it´s one of the best series about the original Captain Marvel - at least in my humble opinion - and I am sure nobody of the new generation of readers has ever heard of it.

And speaking of underappreciated things, another reason for putting a little spotlight on Jerry Ordway is that I think it´s a shame that you have to pick up a copy of SPONGEBOB COMICS to see new artwork by the man.

Don´t get me wrong, I´m as big a Spongebob fan as the next man - if the next man is a big Spongebob fan - but is this really the best the comics industry can do for him ? This guy worked on CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS !

Which is not only one of the best company crossovers and basically the one that set the gold standard for all the crossovers to come after it. No, it also brought two of my favorite DC characters to the forefront once again - Power Girl and Guy Gardner. I have written a lot about Power Girl in my last post so I won´t repeat it here ( see how it already works ? ) but Guy Gardner existed previously and was brought back from comics limbo to be the pain in the neck we have all come to love and hate since then.

Which again is something we will cover more extensively in future posts about George Perez and DEATH IN COMICS. Another series Jerry Ordway had a big part in is one of Terry Hooper´s favorites books : ALL - STAR SQUADRON and there might also be a post about that title in the future.

So there will be another Jerry Ordway post about his work on FANTASTIC FOUR with John Byrne and because I had to eliminate so many of his covers from THE POWER OF SHAZAM another one about that series.

With that said let´s finally come to the art for this post starting with his covers for MAN OF STEEL. The original artwork and the colored versions.

And here are the covers from THE POWER OF SHAZAM that were too good to throw out. Again, there will be another post about that but in the meantime you should definitely check out the series because not only is the regular artist Peter Krause an exceptionally good fit. To start the book Jerry Ordway did a fully painted 96 page graphic novel that is wonderful beyond words and rightly won the Comics Buyer´s Guide Fan Award for Favorite Graphic Album of 1994. Yep, another recommendation for a series from the dreaded 90s and a rather cheap one since you should not have to pay more than two bucks per issue. Sorry, but there are no trades from the series as good books are not always as successful as they deserve.    

Like I said in the beginning, I did a little housecleaning on my laptop which includes some bookmarks and other stuff. There are still a few I have to keep for particular posts but apart from that I will put a lot of old links in the posts from now on. Which combined with the links I found through research for this post are more than I expected so let´s dive right into it.

To keep things easier to grasp I think it´s best to starting in chronological order and while I have mentioned Crisis on Infinite Earths in several posts I never made a spotlight post on it. So there are probably a lot of people who still have not read it - or have never even heard about it - and want to know what´s it all about and if it´s worth reading. And while I am not cramming an exhaustive encapsulation of the whole 12 issue mini series in this section ( there is this thing called wikipedia and I´m sure there are already more than enough posts about that on the internet. Plus it would take various posts just to list all the characters who appear in this series. ) where the art is concerned SCANS DAILY comes to the rescue with some George Perez goodness from issue 1 , issue 2 , issue 3 , issue 4 , issue 5 , issue 6 , issue 9 , issue 10 , issue 11 and issue 12 . Yes, that´s right, I am not including the links for issues 7 and 8 because I am saving them for special posts. Those people who have read the series already can guess what two of my upcoming DEATH IN COMICS posts will be about ( although one issue is technically a mash - up between DEATH IN COMICS and FLASH FRIDAY ) and I do not want to spoil it for those who have not read it.

The same goes for John Byrne´s Superman revamp so for those who are not familiar with that era Jason Shayer muses about the original 6 part miniseries Man of Steel on TALES FROM THE LONGBOX ( by the way, thanks to Zack Snyder appropriating the title for his complete violation of the entire Superman mythos the big majority of stuff that turns up with google search now are related to that cinematic train wreck ) while Dan Greenfield over at 13TH DIMENSION explains Why John Byrne´s Superman was the greatest Man of Steel EVER and Paul C at LAST OF THE FAMOUS INTERNATIONAL FANBOYS tells us why he loves the revamp and offers his picks for Top Ten Best Superman Stories EVER !  . For those who want to know more about the individual issues BRONZE AGE BABIES provides some comments on issue 1 , issue 2 , issue 3 , issue 4 , issue 5 and issue 6 and LADY, THAT`S MY SKULL has a special Mother´s Day post on the final issue.

Speaking of BRONZE AGE BABIES, with all the improvements John Byrne´s updated version of Superman gave the readers there is one corner of the DC universe where it left only scorched earth. His approach to really make Superman the last and only surviving Kryptonian had some merit because it was kind of strange that Superman always was spouting to be the last Kryptonian and at the same time he could pop back to Krypton whenever he wanted, he had a full bottle of Kryptonians ( even if they were tiny ) in his Fortress of Solitude ( which was filled with Kryptonian technology and artifacts that included the projector for the Phantom Zone a prison for criminal Kryptonians ), he had his cousin Supergirl and his dog Krypto.

So while it made sense to get rid of all that I am not sure if it was really necessary to change Superman´s history so that there had never been a Superboy. Granted, to Today´s reading audience those stories may seem kind of silly so it is understandable that John Byrne decided to get rid of it. But without a Superboy there will never be a Legion of Super - Heroes since he was the inspiration for them. Supergirl also was a big part of the Legion but the main problem here is taking away Superboy. Now according to John Byrne he was told by the editors at DC that there would be no problem with getting rid of Superboy so he went ahead and did it and that it was only after the fact that somebody burst into his office because he just realized how much this would eff up the Legion of Super - Heroes.

Which was one of DC´s big sellers at that time. People are always surprised to hear that but the Legion has always sold extremely well and they also have the most dedicated fans. So now they had to fix this mess ( and I have already written a bit about some of the problems that fixing caused in this post ) which John Byrne tried to the best of his ability in a two part story that was framed by two issues of the regular Legion book. John Byrne´s part makes sense in his new Superman reality and there is the argument that even though there now has never been a Superboy there still could be legends in later centuries about a Superboy since legends always have a big part that is not necessarily true. As Neil Gaiman once said, just because it never happened it doesn´t mean that it´s not true.

Anyway, as a big Legion fan I wish that John Byrne had never gotten rid of Superboy but what´s done is done. Some people also say that there was pressure to eliminate Superboy since there have been several times where DC tried not to pay the heirs of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster for the use of the Superboy character but I´m sure that didn´t come into consideration for John Byrne. Okay, that is enough foreplay and the reason why I felt I had to mention this is that BRONZE AGE BABIES has posts on all four parts of that last post - Crisis Superboy story ( at least for a time ) starting with Legion of Super - Heroes issue 37 and continuing in Superman issue 8 and Action Comics 591 before the big finale in Legion of Super - Heroes 38 .

They also have posts on what according to the new DC continuity have been adventures of the pocket - dimension Superboy and the Legion in Superboy and the Legion of Super - Heroes 208 , Superboy and the Legion of Super - Heroes 231 and Superboy and the Legion of Super - Heroes 233.

By the way, not only is the cover of Superman 8 a homage to Jon Byrne´s cover for Fantastic Four 249, since Marvel´s equivalent of the Man of Steel - the Gladiator from the Shi´ar Imperial Guard - tussles with the Fantastic Four in that issue Superman fights the Legion members that most closely resemble Marvel´s first family : Blokk ( the Thing ), Sun Boy ( the Human Torch ), Invisible Boy ( Invisible Woman ) and Brainiac 5 ( Mr. Fantastic ).

We have one final callback to the pre - Crisis DC universe as Tim Hanley on STRAITENED CIRCUMSTANCES brings us the moment in World´s Finest 204 When Wonder Woman And Superman ALMOST Hooked Up In The 70s . 

It´s not really related to Today´s topic but Sikoid at DAILY SPLASH PAGE has a splash page of the Manhunter series from 2008 as a reminder that back then DC used to back a small series just because it was well written. It lasted 38 issues and has been the favorite of many readers but with its deep roots in DC history - the main character is a legacy hero with ties to various DC heroes - it didn´t fit into the everything is better now that we start from scratch NEW 52. Maybe with REBIRTH bringing back so many of the previous versions of heroes there is another chance for Kate Spencer. 

There are no comic related birthdays since my last post which I already did cover in previous years so we go directly to Today´s birthday list. We have a few cult sexbombs who celebrate an anniversary but I mentioned all of them before so I would only re - post my old stuff. There is one german celebrity MILF where I had some videos and made some animated GIFs in advance but I threw all that stuff out when I did my big cleaning day. I never watched much of her talk show anyway and she got most of her ratings because of her big boobs rather than for her skills as a talk show host. It´s probably no coincidence that her first name rhymes with " tit ". I´m still undecided which benefit the world more - when her talk show was finally cancelled or when she got naked for the german PLAYBOY. Her real skills lie with the latter. In any case there are a few things I could add but since it would be nothing new we go straight back to comic books.

I hate to sound like a broken record but first in our Dearly Departed section is an artist who was instrumental in building the Marvel Age of comics who is criminally underrated by Today´s comic readers, Don Heck.

He drew all those early issues of X - Men, Captain Marvel, Daredevil, Ghost Rider and Submariner although his longest stints were on Iron Man and Avengers where he drew the first appearances of characters like Wonder Man, Hawkeye, the Black Widow, the Mandarin, Count Nefaria and co - created the Swordsman, the evil Power Man who later became Atlas on the Thunderbolts, the Collector whom most people know from Guardians of the Galaxy, Bill Foster a.k.a. Black Goliath, the Living Laser and Mantis.

Speaking of the last one, he also did the pencils on Giant - Size Avengers 4 the culmination of the Celestial Madonna Saga in which the Vision and the Scarlet Witch finally got hitched and the Mantis married the corpse of the Swordsman which was re - animated by a living tree. Don´t ask, comics.

For me the one Avengers comic by Don Heck that stands out is King - Size Special 2 which pit the new Avengers against the original five founding members and introduced the Scarlet Centurion. Who in this incarnation turned out to be just another version of Kang and who later was the other identity of Kang´s son Marcus. You know, the guy who brainwashed Miss Marvel Carol Danvers so he could rape her and she would later give birth to him with the consent of the assembled Avenger members. In any case, coming back to King Size Special 2 ( or Annual 2 ) one of the splash pages was an homage to a cover of All - Star Comics 35 which is a nice segueway.

Because Don Heck began working for DC in 1970 drawing Rose and the Thorn, Batgirl, Flash, Wonder Woman, the pre - Marv Wolfman / George Perez Teen Titans, Steel the Indesctructible Mam ( whom he co - created with writer Gerry Conway ) and from 1982 on Justice League of America including that year´s 5 - part crossover with the All - Star Squadron. Now last year I finally gave in to the urge to buy more comics with the Justice Society of America and other World War II heroes and got both Showcase presents : All - Star Comics and Showcase presents : All - Star Squadron. 

As usual I read the amazon reviews first and a few complained that the All - Star Squadron volume didn´t include the 3 Justice League of America issues that are part of that crossover. The reason for that is that there are different collections which are aimed at different audiences. Showcase presents collects issues from one particular series in black and white and unless it´s a theme driven collection like The Great Disaster there are no crossover issues included. IF you want to read the crossovers between the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America there is the Crisis On Multiple Earths trade paperback collection for that. And if you are a George Perez fan and only want to read the Justice League of America issues by George Perez from that period there are two overpriced volumes of DC Comics Classic Library for that. So depending on what you want or don´t want to read you have to choose the right reprint series.

Speaking of reprint series, I am not sure if it´s entirely because shows like The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow ( which is basically a Justice Society of America show ) are so successful but lately DC has put out a lot of stuff with the JSA and anything they can get their hands on from JLA. Just last month the Detroit League omnibus was released ( which is a bit too pricey for me at the moment ) which probably was heavily influenced by the fact that Vibe, Gypsy and Citizen Steel all were members at that time. Where the JSA is concerned there is still the America vs The Justice Society of America trade out there which is a visual feast thanks to Alfredo Alcala´s inks and the series is a great encapsulation of the history of the team.

There also is the new The Last Days of the Justice Society of America trade and for 2018 an omnibus with the JSA legacy characters of Infinity Inc was announced where Jerry Ordway was one of the driving forces.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the title Dennis A. Amith on MY COMIC BOOK JOURNEY has a brief introduction to the background of the group and you can find a review of issue 3 on HELENA WAYNE HUNTRESS .

It is one of the comic books that hasn´t made it to Germany so far and the only issues I know are those I read in the spanish version. As with all JSA - related books there is a good amount of Power Girl in it ( which is always a good thing ) and there even is an issue where the peed - off Superman of Earth 2 starts a drag - out - fight with Kara and beats her up pretty badly.

Anyway, back to Infinity Inc, I am looking forward to read the issues ( some day when I can afford them ) which brings me to my first video for this post and my reading recommendation for my german audience. I hate to pimp PANINI because they put out so much of the unreadable Marvel and DC stuff but they did the german versions of the Crisis on Multiple Earths trades of which I had to buy volumes 5 because the original trade is out of print. Well, here in Germany the series is called Justice League of America : Crisis - to give the readers a connection they know - and there is a volume 7 that is exclusive to the german market. At least I have not seen any announcements for a 7th volume of Crisis on Multiple Earths.

And while - as Crayton says in his review - there are no earth - shattering stories in here it does collect a few tasty tidbits for connoisseurs of the history of the JSA and the JLA. The first two issues are issues 219 and 220 of Justice League of America which contains the " true " origin of Black Canary. It is a bit complicated but I wrote more about it in this post from my CASTING THE JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA MOVIE series. The next issues are Justice League of America 231 and 232 with another crossover between the two teams and the only remarkable thing here is that it was written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by Alan Kupperberg. The volume finishes with two actual crossovers - or better lead ins - to Crisis on Infinite Earths : Infinity Inc 9 and Justice League of America 244. The first part has early Todd McFarlane art and the second offers great visuals by the great Joe Staton. I have always enjoyed his art and when I was reading the Grüne Leuchte series from Ehapa he was the regular artist. He also did a lot of Superman team - up stories in those Superman Taschenbuch pocket books.

Of course Joe Staton worked on All - Star Comics and a lot of other series related to the Justice Society of America and so drew a lot of stories with Power Girl ( somehow I always come back to her ) like the Huntress back up stories from Batman Family 18 , 19 and 20 and Wonder Woman 271 to 276 , 277 , 278 - 280 , 281 - 283 , 284 , 285 , 286 , 287 , 289 , 290 , 294 and 295 that are collected in the Huntress : Dark Knight Daughter paperback.

Today is also the birthday of sci fi legend Isaac Asimov who laid down much of the basic principles of science fiction. And while I did not find a good video with Isaac Asimov there is at least a quote by him at the beginning of Gandahar. It´s another animated movie by René Laloux who also did two other animated feature films I posted : Fantastic Planet and Time Masters which was designed by the late french comic icon Moebius.

I did find a better version but it is the original french movie and you have to read the english subtitles. So here is the english version which has a small frame but better picture quality and if you want to see the uncut french version with the original movie soundtrack you can find it here .

As Today´s post is very DC - heavy ( and it´s probably going to be a while before I will write another Green Arrow post ) I´m including a fanfilm I´ve kept for a very long while, in fact it is one of my oldest bookmarks on the laptop. But not because it´s so bad. No. Quite the opposite. The problem is that when they finished shooting it the Arrow tv show was announced so that their whole project became obsolete over night. I still want to showcase it because I really like the Green Arrow costume which is very different from what they started with on the tv show although they have now incorporated the long sleeves from the comics. The fight scenes are also very good and I like the personality they gave Ollie in this. There are actually a lot of good fanfilms out there and some of them even put the current crop of DC movies to shame. Which is not saying a lot but if you have not seen it there is a brilliant Return of the Dark Knight that adapts the first issue and I would totally go to a movie theater to watch a full length movie of that. Okay,I would not go to an actual movie theater because those are filled with kids who are too stupid to switch off their phones when they watch a movie but I would buy the DVD or Blue Ray.

The downside of foregoing most of Today´s celebrity birthdays is that it can be really difficult to choose the videos for the post. If you include the birthdays of the day it´s rather easy because you just add any video with the correlating celebrity and I was really tempted to just include a hot chick, some k - pop sexbombs or a bikini contest / wet t - shirt contest to remind my readers that there will be better times. Anyway, in the end I decided to include another video that I have bookmarked literally years ago. I haven´t kept up with this series and apparently it has been on hiatus although it seems to have wrapped up. Which makes me a bit sad.

But we are not completely without female content thanks to our final music video. This is not a video that I have kept for a long time because quite frankly up until Yesterday I haven´t found a good version of this. The song is Hang On Sloopy by The McCoys and the talented rumpshaker is Liz Brewer. I first saw this when I was in Realschule and I didn´t get to tape it on videocassette with the vcr which should tell you how long ago that was. Anyway, this video has been on my most wanted list since then.

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

Faster than a streak of lightning ! More powerful than the pounding surf ! Mightier than a roaring hurricane !


Daring Dragoon said...

I really enjoyed your post on Jerry Ordway today. His artwork is excellent! As for your blog, I look forward to it whenever it does come out.

Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

Had a 20 minutes long chat with Ordway in the 1980s at a UK Comic Art Convention. He turned out to be very nice and very knowledgable on a number of subjects. Great post

SUBZERO said...

Thanks, I try not to write such long posts but things not always work out that way. And is there anybody Terry Hooper hasn´t met ? Seriously. I always get envious when you name drop.