Thursday, January 05, 2017

Not exactly a Thorsday with Erik Larsen

The more things change the more things stay the same, as the french say. So it should not surprise you that in the first post of 2017 I am still dealing with stuff I had planned to do back in 2016 but did not get around to do.

Now if you are a regular reader of the blog you know that I have not been totally inactive these past few days and that indeed there HAVE been new posts but they have disappeared from the blog after being finished.

Well, the reason for that is simple : those were cult siren re - posts which I wrote in advance and which will be on the blog at the proper date. As I have mentioned a few times I don´t always feel in the mood to talk about comics and rather than delivering an uninspired and probably boring post I write one of these. Also, it helps to get more regular content on the blog as they should be quick to write. I´m saying should because that is not always the case. Anyway, there are 3 celebrity birthdays where I did an updated version for this year in advance. There is one where I just went over last year´s post because there really was nothing new to add and the last one - well, since I already did posts on that particular celebrity for a few years I will decide if it warrants a new post when the time comes. I also found a few new clips of a real life Power Girl that I want to include in the next few posts but I want to do a few animated GIFs and because of the video size I have to make them frame by frame so that is on the back burner. In any case, I have most of the cult siren posts for this month covered - unless something unexpected comes up which so far always happened - and I´m trying to not overdo it with the hot sexbombs. The biggest problem will be to do the posts in - between on a regular basis.

Because lately I have tried to get out of bed earlier and do the posts in the daytime but as you can see from the lack of posts since December that has not worked out so far. I really have no idea how to improve that as I also have not been feeling too well since Christmas. Speaking about Christmas, that is another thing that fell totally flat and I´m not meaning just The Big Christmas Contest which did not happen. All year long I am on the lookout for good material for different posts and after collecting a lot of stuff in a special CHRISTMAS folder I did not even get to do one proper Christmas post. Okay, over the last 10 years I have done enough Christmas posts but still it would have been nice to do something special this year.

That is also one of the reasons why I haven´t done a look back on 2016 - there is not much to add. Although there may be a post in the next few weeks about what 2017 holds in store for us because quite frankly the comics that have excited me most are those coming in 2017 starting with the new BATMAN & THE OUTSIDERS hardcover at the end of February.

The monthly titles I still read can be counted on the fingers of one hand and I am slowly but surely leaving the big two behind wrapping up my trade reading list. At Marvel I am now officially done with DAREDEVIL so the only title I´m following is SILVER SURFER - for the moment. It is THE best Doctor Who comic without Doctor Who in it and as long as we don´t get Mike Allred on a proper Doctor Who book this is as good as it gets.

Which doesn´t mean that I won´t be buying any Marvel books this year, quite the contrary. But it´s not going to be new titles. What I have on my list are trades that contain old material especially a few Epic Collections.

I know that I was not the biggest fan of the Epic Collections when the format started and there still has not been any change in the narrow gutters. But at least you can open the books up all the way and so far none of the pages have come out. Which may be the right moment to do a bit of bargain book pimping. This is more for my german readers than for anybody else as amazon Germany offers AMAZING SPIDER - MAN : COSMIC ADVENTURES and MOON KNIGHT : SHADOWS OF THE MOON for 26 EUROS.

The first collection contains all of Spider - Man´s ACTS OF VENGEANCE crossovers so if you want to read those stories and don´t want to cough up 100 shekels for the omnibus hardcover here is your chance. The art is the usual mix of Erik Larsen, Sal Buscema and Alex Saviuk from that time with a bit of Gil Kane thrown in for good measure. The final piece of resistance however is the MOON KNIGHT Epic Collection. Most of the 19 issues are drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz and you can see him evolve from a great Neal Adams clone to the artist he would become on NEW MUTANTS.

Both of these books clock in at over 500 pages and do I have to mention that they usually go for around 40 bucks ? There are 5 copies left of each.

Speaking of NEW MUTANTS, the first of the Epic Collections coming out this year I want to mention is NEW MUTANTS - RENEWAL which collects MARVEL GRAPHIC COLLECTION 4, which introduced the team and the first 12 issues of the ongoing title by Claremont, Bob McLeod and Sal Buscema.

Since I just recently completed my NEW MUTANTS CLASSIC trades I will probably not buy this myself but I cannot recommend this highly enough.

Forget the All - New, All - Different Marvel NOW stuff which is oh - so relevant and oh - so political correct. THIS is the best teen team book Marvel has ever made and there is nothing past, present or in the future coming out from Disney that comes even close. This is the gold standard that all the following titles aspired to be and failed miserably and there will never been teen mutant angst, adventure, romance or camaraderie on this level of excellency again. Chris Claremont was at the height of his game and a phenomenon onto himself writing all the mutant titles back then and the continuity was still tight like you wouldn´t believe. With the final issues of this collection Sal Buscema takes over the pencils ( well, his name is going to come up a lot when you talk about these books since he drew the entire Marvel universe at one time or another ) but the biggest chunk is glorious Bob McLeod art. He´s one of the veteran´s who doesn´t get much work lately - probably because people think his style doesn´t fit the grim and gritty realism of the Marvel NOW and DC REBIRTH worlds - but he is one of the best artists out there and I have always enjoyed his work, be it on Marvel´s merry mutants or DC´s post - Crisis Man of Tomorrow.

Back to the Epic Collections, the NEW MUTANT trade comes out on March the 21st which is one full week before the next humdinger : EXCALIBUR - THE SWORD IS DRAWN by Chris Claremont ( I told you he wrote all the mutant titles back then, didn´t I ? ) and the often underrated Alan Davis.

Now there might be some readers out there who would veto this and tell me that he did some issues of the Frank Cho Hulk abomination but while that may be true he was not the title´s first choice as regular artist. Say what you want but among all the announcements of new flashy Disney titles to dazzle the comic book reading audience the name of Alan Davis doesn´t come up very much. He is not their first choice when it comes to big series and apart from some short mini series like the recent INFINITY ENTITY by Jim Starlin fans have to search his work with a magnifying glass.

Which is one of the reasons why I´m so thrilled that EXCALIBUR finally is available to a new generation. There have been some trades but they are all out of print and if you can find one it always goes for ridiculous prices.

It is one of the cruelest jokes of fate that the title never found the large audience it deserved just because it was named EXCALIBUR instead of X - CALIBUR but for those few that didn´t let that small distinction deter them the reward has been incalculable. If you are one of the fortunate few who have discovered the series it is one of your most cherished treasures - for all else it is the best comic series you never read. Now I could go on praising the book for hours but that would be boring and in the end words really fall short to bring across the complete Airwolf - ness that is EXCALIBUR. Luckily I did  a post on Alan Davis´ birthday this year with the complete EXCALIBUR SPECIAL EDITION so you can read that to wet your appetite. Apart from that special the Epic Collection has the first 11 issues of the ongoing series ( which means it stops just before The Cross Time Caper starts ) plus material from other Marvel publications.

Man, back when I did the Alan Davis birthday post I wrote that maybe this could prompt Disney to do if not an omnibus or a hardcover at least an Epic Collection and now it will happen. Now this is either an incredible coincidence or only a matter of time since they are putting out a lot of these and sooner or later there have to be some that appeal to me. But I still wonder if my constant demand to reprint certain runs has not had some kind of influence. Case in point : THOR - IN MORTAL FLESH which comes out in August and collects THOR issues 401 to 418 and ANNUAL 14.   

How many posts have I written about the THOR run by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz ? How often have I mentioned that this run undeservedly gets shoved to the side when people talk about great runs on THOR because it had the misfortune to follow on the heels of Walter Simonson´s iconic THOR epos ? Heck, all the posts that I wrote about how the Eric Masterson Thor was MY Thor that is how the whole THORSDAY series started. Like with the NEW MUTANTS Epic Collection I already have all - or most of it since I am not always sure with my THOR issues - in single issue form. But I still might get this because it would look so nice on the shelf next to THOR - WAR OF THE PANTHEONS. Ah, what the heck, I will probably also buy the EXCALIBUR collection just so I don´t have to unpack my precious floppies.

Once again it is time to wrap things up for Today and while I didn´t even get started on the long road that led me to THORSDAY WITH ERIK LARSEN I did manage to write about Thor so this does qualify as a THORSDAY post.

Since Tomorrow is a holiday AND somebody in my family celebrates her birthday I don´t know if I can do a FLASH FRIDAY post so the next post - which will be post number 799 - might be the Linda Kozlowski re - post.

Before we come to the usual array of links, birthdays and videos I want to add a little something for the followers of the DEJA VUE section. While the cover of BATMAN & THE OUTSIDERS 10 is just one of the many covers where two groups face off against each other it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cover to which it pays homage - if indeed it does - but the cover for SILVER SURFER 4 by Mike Allred is a tribute to MARVEL TWO - IN - ONE 96.

And with that we are all set to dive into the link section. As we are starting a new year I am trying to post as many of them as possible so I don´t have so much backlog from last year. And since I don´t know when I will get to write about it - if at all - we start with the links for Acts Of Vengeance : the GENTLEMEN OF LEISURE have an x - amination of the crossover event in four parts ( part 1 / part 2 / part 3 / part 4 ), THE M0VIE BLOG serves up an retrospective of the series with individual posts on the X - Men´s , the Fantastic Four´s and Daredevil´s part of the story and if you still want to buy the crossover for your comic collection read Kris Shaw´s review of the omnibus on JUNK FOOD FOR THOUGHT first.

As the Epic Collections have now successfully replaced Marvel´s ESSENTIAL phonebooks there is probably no need to hold on to STEVE DOES COMICS post about this cheap chunks of collected comics any longer and speaking of the Epic Collections, if you are not completely sure if you should add Thor : In Mortal Flesh to your comic book collection because you might already have some of the issues CRUSHING KRISIS list of Collecting Thor Comic Books As Graphic Novels surely helps. Since I mentioned both Spider - Man and Mike Allred in the post you might want to check out BRONZE AGE BABIES post on the Untold Tales Of Spider - Man Annual 96 and a lot of the Moon Knight covers by Bill Sienkewicz in the other Epic Collection I pimped are on this list at DIVERSIONS OF THE GROOVY KIND

Before the links I mentioned Mike Allred´s homage cover for Silver Surfer 4 which is my clue to mention that the tv show Supergirl recreated one of the most iconic comic covers of all time at the start of the second season.

Speaking of Supergirl, David Opie over at MOVIEPILOT explains Why Tyler Hoechlin´s Superman Is Already Better Than Henry Cavill´s in BvS while Ebonstorm on A MATTER OF SCALE defends the new movie version of Superman in his Man Of Steel Lament. So far I was hesitant to post this because a.) I have already covered the topic and b.) while he does make a few valid points - like the fact that Superman has killed in comic books before - he starts from a wrong assumption and so comes to an equally false conclusion. Superman did kill in the comics BUT it disturbed him so deeply that he developed schizophrenia and went into a space exile because he didn´t think he was longer fit to life on earth among humans.

You did not see that in BvS.

And yes, Today´s audience might be clamoring for a new kind of super hero, a post Vietnam, post Afghanistan, post 9 - 11 he is not your Daddy´s kind of super hero, a dark and gritty super hero with an edge. The only problem is that kind of super hero is not Superman and he never will be.

Now you might say that is just my opinion - or of a few comic fans who are still clinging to Yesteryear. But in that case I would direct Mr. Ebonstorm to Joe Kelly´s What Is So Funny About Truth, Justice And The American Way ? from Action Comics 775 or Mark Waid´s Here´s Why Superheroes Don´t Kill . As longtime comic writers they know a bit about how superheroes work and killing - if considered at all - should be THE last resort. Not the first choice. If you can´t understand that you probably also think the members of the Suicide Squad are heroes not villains. Because they are not the worst heroes ever. They are not heroes at all. They are villains.

That is why they were chosen for the squad in the first place. They are villains and so nobody will care if they die because they are expendable.  

After this little unexpected rant we continue with the links and you can find more homage covers at THE OUTHOUSERS . This post was originally intended to be about Erik Larsen so I want to acknowledge that at least in the links with Ben Herman on IN MY NOT SO HUMBLE OPINION who has a post on Love And Marriage For Savage Dragon and BEYOND THE BUNKER .

There are always links that you find AFTER writing the post like this article about Bernd Pfarr on MUSENBLĂ„TTER and no matter how meticulously I go over my bookmarks some always fall through the cracks. When I did my last Norm Breyfogle birthday post I went through them all and I still somehow missed the interview on JAZMA ONLINE and of course I found the gallery of early Carlos Pacheco covers for the spanish editions of Marvel comics by Forum on FANTOMAN after I finished the Carlos Pacheco birthday post .

Speaking of Marvel heroes made in Europe, what I also haven´t been able to post yet is a link to THE BRONZE AGE OF BLOGS which has the SILVER SURFER story The Narrow Gate produced for the company that published Marvel comics in such publications like Fantask or Strange. The story was written by Navarro and illustrated by J. Y. Mitton and appeared in Nova issues 25 and 26 in February and March of 1980. It was originally produced exclusively for the french market but there seems to be a german edition in one comic book. There is however no english edition of this. And you thought Moebius´ Parable graphic novel was the first french Silver Surfer. 

And apropos Marvel comics published in France, my french is not that good but as far as I can ascertain this page on GRINGO SAN PROD contains the first 20 issues of Special Origines Strange and information on which stories were reprinted therein. I always like to include something funny so here is a list by Dave Stopera on BUZZFEED although I am not sure if these are really 21 Jokes So Clever You Probably Won´t Understand Them.

Today´s birthday list starts with Massimo Caputi who turns 56 and whose name is totally familiar to all who have watched Quelli Che Il Calcio or L´ Isola Dei Famosi both starring italian mega MILF Simona Ventura. Now that I have made a separate post for Monique Sluyter and the Tutti Frutti girls I might do a shortened version of her post - since the amount of GIFs is murder on the page uploading time - and maybe add a few new GIFs.

Simona Ventura really got a whole lotta shaking going with her big 36DDs almost popping out of her dress ( which sadly doesn´t happen ), which is my not so elegant segueway to Jerry Lee Lewis, one of the musicians in this jam session with Little Richard who celebrates his 85th anniversary.

We start our Dearly Departed section with Johannes Heesters who lived to the ripe age of 108 years, which is about how old I want to be when I die. He was what Harald Juhnke always tried to be but never achieved : a talented singer and dancer and a ladies man. The only thing where Harald surpassed him was the drinking but with all things in his life he didn´t do it in moderation and turned into a drunkard worse than Anthony Stark.

Normally I wouldn´t mention Steve Wasserman but he was one of the producers of Beverly Hills, 90210 which starred 37DD Tiffani Amber Thiessen who celebrates her 43rd birthday at the 23th of this month.

Today we also have a comic related anniversary with Russ Manning and if I had more material I would have done a post about him Today. His Tarzan was my comic book Tarzan like Johnny Weissmuller was my movie Tarzan.

I couldn´t find any videos of his Tarzan work but he also created the original Magnus Robot Fighter for Gold Key Comics back in the 1960s.

A shoutout also goes to cult movie filmmaker Fritz Lang among whose cineastic oeuvre is the double feature The Tiger Of Eschnapur and The Indian Tomb with the stunning Debra Paget who deservedly surpassed sexbombs Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe in popularity afterwards.

Now while I would have liked to add those movies to the post I could not find it in good quality and as shocking as it may be these films are not the first ones that come to mind when I think about Fritz Lang. In fact I totally forgot that he made these two ( sorry, Debra ). What I think about when I hear Fritz Lang are his early black and white movies like Metropolis or M and especially his Doctor Mabuse series. I remember watching them when I was too young and being terrified. This is what I always associated with the term of mad genius and when I realized that the Lex Luthor in comics was not half as scary the criminally insane lost a lot of credibility in my eyes. This is what I always pictured Gotham´s Arkham Asylum to look like.

Our last birthday candidate is Walt Disney and I wonder what he would think about what is currently happening with Marvel Comics. Alas, that is idle speculation so here is the Nostalgia Critic with a review of the Duck Tales cartoon of which I did not see as many episodes as I would´ve liked.

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

No one has any idea what kind of phenomenal, superhuman mind has come to an end with Dr. Mabuse's death.

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