Friday, January 20, 2017

Not a leg to stand on.

We interrupt our regularly scheduled...whatever I do, to bring you a reminder about sticking to a system. Even if it only makes sense to you...

I blame Dale for this. And OAFE. Both said that the new Iron Fist figure was so great. So I sprung for him on clearance. But hey, then you might as well go all in and finish Dormammu, right? Sure, that means a Dr. Strange variant that's really, really pretty much like one we already have and a slightly underwhelming astral version--does that even glow in the dark? Weak.

Anyway, I ordered Enchantress early-on when this series came out, and picked up Bandersnatch Curlicue--I mean, movie Strange when they hit stores. Mordo and Voodoo were $12 each at Walgreens, and Nico was six-fifty the other day, so that should be all the pieces...hmm, seven. Four here, three in the packages I just bought. (Pause to pick up a box, count the figures in this series, eight.) (Followed immediately by an absurdly loud profanity.)

I've been spoiled a bit of late: the Juggernaut Build-a-Figure, for example, I got with a full case of X-Men Legends. No running around, no buying him piecemeal, put him together same day. Dormammu I didn't think I was going to complete at all, so the chest that came with Enchantress was just thrown in the desk drawer I keep all my Build-a-Figure, Collect-and-Connect orphan parts. (Oddly, it's the same drawer I sock away last issue comics for "The End" posts!) There's a good portion of the Ultra-Humanite in there, a spare Thanos head, Killer Croc pieces that may not match, a Jubilee arm...I worry about sad little homeless BaF pieces that will never be put together. Which I freely admit is ridiculous, but I still do.

The leg that came with the movie version of Dr. Strange wasn't in there, though. And it was killing me. To the point of, I considered several options. One: buy another movie Dr. Strange. Immediately. Two: see if one was on eBay, Buy It Now. Three: start digging through the boxes, containers, and shelves that comprise my collection. This would be a needle in a large, and frankly freezing, garage of a haystack; except I had a vague idea of where it had been before I moved. Which was actually more helpful than you might think: it wasn't the first place (or fifth place) I looked, but I had left the leg in a small bin with some of the figures I had bought the same day as my last Hastings run. Which actually was up in my room.

I don't think of myself as the obsessive sort, but sometimes. If I could have possibly justified it, I would've called in sick and looked until I found that leg. I found it on my lunch break, but then couldn't put it together since now I had to blog about it. But then, the gnawing was gone by that point. Anyway, lesson learned: Build-a-Figure parts need to go where they belong, the drawer. I guess the larger lesson could be, put things in their proper place, but one step at a time here.

And yet...while looking for that leg, I found an accessory and a figure I was going to need for an upcoming strip; a piece that full off my Iron Man wall light; and a toothbrush. (That last one wasn't in with my toys, but still.) Digging around is part of my process, and it's almost always fun...when I find what I was looking for.
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Thursday, January 19, 2017

"Friendly Neighborhood Morbius" doesn't seem to have the right ring.

I was vaguely aware of this book when it came out, but didn't pick up any issues until Hastings' clearance sales. Which means I could be culpable in the title's low sales and subsequent cancellation, but honestly a lot of books I actually pay money for get cancelled too. From 2013, Morbius, the Living Vampire #2, written by Joe Keatinge, art by Richard Elson, color art by Antonio Fabela.

After escaping from prison in a Spidey crossover (around about the start of Superior Spider-Man, I think) Morbius plans on heading to Horizon Labs and curing his condition, and on the advice of a helpful homeless man lays low in the superhero-free neighborhood of Brownsville. The homeless fellow admits the people and the cops aren't exactly making it a great place either; but Morbius pretty quickly runs afoul of the local crime boss, Noah St. Germain. Who straight-up looks like a bad guy from Double Dragon or Final Fight; but in best videogame--or comic--tradition, he's nowhere near the final boss. A mid-80's Spidey villain would turn up around issue #5, although I have no idea if he was the original or a replacement; and there was a new (and previously unmentioned?) big bad behind him.

For his part, Morbius admits he's not a great person, and that he's made bad choices, and will probably make more. He shows slightly more restraint than I'd have expected here, possibly so St. Germain lasts more than three pages. Despite the above, he wasn't quite done yet!...pretty much though, yes. I think this run of Morbius ran about nine issues, but now I suspect finding the last few could be a problem, since the print runs were probably a bit low...

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Sadly, the panel with the two Hobgoblins, was supposed to have a third one: I still have the previous version from the Spider-Man line of some years back. (We see him in an episode of "Timing," an old series here that got away from me like this one!) I think it would compare pretty favorably with the new Marvel Legends version, and might even have a better glider.

I kind of liked the Baron Mordo figure from Dr. Strange, although he didn't come with his Staff of the Living Tribunal, just a stick. He also seemed like too classy a guy to give Satana a lot of hassle.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

So every year I go on about how my Year in Toys totals could yield some valuable information, and they might have! Namely that nine times out of ten (or eleven) the first figure I buy any given year is from clearance. (One year was an eBay purchase, but our first recorded purchase in the year-end totals was from January 1, 2006; the classic Toy Biz Hulkbuster Iron Man, still a helluva figure.) This year continues the clearance trend, as we start 2017 with the Funko Magic: the Gathering Jace Beleren and Marvel Legends Nico Minoru.

Even though I don't play the game, I did end up with all six of those Magic figures. They were alright; maybe could've done with another paint app or two and some quality control. Jace's face paint is a bit iffy, perhaps reasoning he'd almost always be displayed wearing his hood; but I'm not sure his elbows loosened up to the point that I could move them. Meanwhile, Nico I might've passed on if she hadn't been $6.50; but now I've got what, five of the eight pieces for Dormammu. If I found the two Dr. Strange figures and Iron Fist for that price, I'd probably cave, but haven't yet. And could I do without the shoulder pad piece that came with Iron Fist? Everyone says he's a great figure, but...

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Monday, January 16, 2017

They stretched this story out to two issues...sorry.

The last time we checked out a classic Flash back-issue, I didn't have the next one. Still don't! Nor do I have the next issue after this one: the Flash #252, "Double-Dose of Danger!" Written by Cary Bates, pencils by Irv Novick, inks by Frank McLaughlin.

This issue guest-stars Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man, and his wife Sue, who's looking for the missing sleuth. Sue goes to the Allens for help, even though an editorial footnote points out Sue doesn't know Barry is the Flash here. Ralph was going to stretch his face into a disguise to go undercover and try and infiltrate the criminal Chane Gang, but as he was going to toast his wife with the gingold extract that gave him his powers, he disappeared. After Sue leaves, Barry sheepishly has to explain to Iris he knows how Ralph disappeared: he picked him up on the fly to go after the Chane Gang as they escaped from a bank robbery, on foot. It's a little more effective than you'd think, since the gang members are phantoms, Flash and E-M can't grab them! They quickly deduce 3-D holograms, of course, and catch one with a projection rig in his jacket. So obvious! Except, when they return the money, it's only half-there: who got away with the rest? Elongated Man goes to investigate, and that was the last Flash saw of him.

Flash searches the city, but didn't know Ralph would be in disguise. With a classified ad, Ralph sets up a meet with the Chane Gang: identical twins, both using the holographic projectors. Chane intends to kill to protect his secret, but Ralph twists his gun like taffy? How? The next day, on the news Sue sees Ralph's disguised face in the crowd at the arrival of a supersonic transport; Flash catches the same report, as someone melts the plane, with his "elastic touch!!" Calling himself the Molder, he gives Flash a good fight, but when punched out reverts to Ralph. Then reverts back to the Molder when he recovers, and pounds Flash into jelly! Almost literally, in this case.

It's obvious drinking Gingold while being carried at super-speed didn't do Ralph any favors, but I still want to see how this wraps up! Another next issue to watch out for.
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Friday, January 13, 2017

Could've done with a bigger shelf...

I bought a detolf from Ikea a couple months back, and although the year-end group picture was on the top shelf, I hadn't got around to filling it up yet. But we've remedied that, by filling a shelf with the bulk of my Nightcrawler collection! Or at least a good chunk of it...

It's a bit cramped, and I'd still like to take some time for individual pictures of some of the foreign pieces. That and I think I was actually looking for the faux-Lego one from X-Men: Apocalypse. Did I put that with my other Legos? Well, something to keep an eye out for, then. Still, out early so I can work on next week's strip!
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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Is this a mockbuster, then?

There are few comics that burned as much goodwill with me as DC's Identity Crisis, which ran from August 2004 to February 2005. But right next to it on the racks was today's book, from August to December 2004: Marvel's Identity Disc. Specifically, we've got #2, written by Rob Rodi, pencils by John Higgins, inks by Sandu Florea.

There's a pretty good recap page: claiming to work for fabled super-criminal mastermind Tristram Silver, mystery woman Valeria Merrick brings together Sabretooth, Sandman, Juggernaut, Deadpool, Bullseye, and the Vulture. Using blackmail and threats, she wants them to help her get the fabled Identity Disc, which supposedly contains the secrets of every hero in America. Sandman doesn't buy it, and chafes at the threat to his mom; and Valeria kills him. (Yeah, like Sandman doesn't die every third appearance.) The bulk of this issue is not unlike a typical caper story, with Sabretooth and Vulture doing a smaller job for intel against A.I.M, while Deadpool and Bullseye hit a computer lab for a special decryption key, and Juggernaut watches an A.I.M. installation.

I kind of suspect both Pool and Bullseye are lying here, about their "blackmail stories." It's a little stalker-y even for Deadpool, while I can't imagine Bullseye caring if a dozen syndicates were after him: that's just more targets for him. And is it feasible to blackmail someone with no shame or fear of consequence? Bullseye tries to do a little research on Merrick, but after they hear a Tristram Silver story from a bartender, Bullseye decides he's out, double-crossing the others on his way by stealing the key. And finding pretty quickly he bit off more than he could chew, as Juggernaut and Sabretooth demolish him. (With Pool delivering a kick or three while he's down.) Merrick arrives before any permanent damage is done, taking the key and telling the team the timetable has been moved up...

We've mentioned "mockbusters" before: they usually mean the knock-off films meant to capitalize on a blockbuster film, like Trans-Morphers. Was Identity Disc intended as such, getting sales by confused comic buyers? This is a trifle compared to Identity Crisis, but at least it doesn't try to be more than it is. Namely, a riff on a modern classic crime movie, the name of which I won't mention since it could be considered a spoiler! Although, I think this post on one issue is longer than the Wikipedia entry for the entire series. And even more oddly, the disc was apparently legit! I was betting it was horsecrap at this point.
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