Monday, October 23, 2017

I can think of two or three examples, maybe not a trope yet.

I swear this used to come up in old DC comics more often: aliens at war, who would decide that the best way to deal with other aliens would be to launch an entire planet at them. If said planet-to-be-launched is inhabited, so much the better! And it's usually earth. I don't know why. Maybe it's just so throwable. That was the plan in Showcase #100, I could've sworn it was part of the plot in Justice League: Starcrossed, but it comes up in today's book! From 1982, Green Lantern #156, "Judas World!" Written by Mike W. Barr, art by "premiere GL artist" Gil Kane!

The aliens this month plan on using earth as the weapon to destroy the other aliens they're fighting, but they've taken a couple of extra steps: first, disguising themselves as earthlings, the better to infiltrate and plant their planet-moving apparatus. OK, makes sense. I'm not sure why they had to rearrange their planet so the continents looked like earth, though. In fact, that attracts Green Lantern, mostly because at this time, the Guardians had told him to patrol the rest of Sector 2814 and leave earth.

Huh, the aliens had Carol Ferris and Pieface lookalikes...for some reason. With the help of one that opposes the plan, Hal is able to gather up the aliens, and force them into a peace conference with their enemies, who were themselves preparing a friendly little number they called "genocide gas." Hal disposes of that and the planet-moving apparatus, then tells the leaders of both worlds maybe they should fight it out with knives and clubs. A very Star Trek response, but it would've been hilarious if they had taken him up on it. Luckily, like many alien wars, it had gone on long enough that they no longer knew what it had been about, and are amenable to peace. Hal tells them he'll be keeping an eye on them, and stop copying earth, okay?

Yeah, I'm sure re-arranging your continents was a big undertaking, but put 'em back.
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You have to reach level 45 to unlock Danny the Street.

I've wanted to make this for a bit: a Doom Patrol arcade game, based on Babb Tarr's cover to Doom Patrol #1!

But while interesting, Tarr's design wasn't symmetrical, so I tried an old logo and the cover of Doom Patrol Archive #2 for the other side. If it had turned up in my local arcade, I'd have played it! "Level 5, Monsieur Mallah and the Brain; Level 6 the Brotherhood of Dada...the hell?:

Meanwhile, I wrote a bunch of posts recently, but they're all for the end of the year. I also picked up about 32 pounds of comics in Florida a couple weeks back--wait, that number isn't accurate. It includes bags and boards, so it was less than that, and now I'm sad. Heavy as all get out to lug home, though. We'll grab something out of the pile for tomorrow!

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Friday, October 20, 2017

Yay, I found the issue I was missing! Now, where the hell are the rest of them...

I have a ton of limited series missing a single issue. I could probably find another example or two over the years, but I don't often fill in the gaps. Today we do! We glanced at the rest last year, but now we've got 2010's Doomwar #2, written by Jonathan Maberry, pencils by Scot Eaton, inks by Andy Lanning and Robert Campanella. We now join Dr. Doom's takeover of Wakanda, already in progress.

Because it's not like Dr. Doom is going to get killed in this thing, current Black Panther Shuri and currently deposed king T'Challa get to go to murdertown on the Desturi high council: I don't think the Desturi were necessarily collaborators with Doom as much as tribal rivals of T'Challa, but going against the crown is frowned open there. Nightcrawler is somewhat dismayed at the carnage, but keeps his game face on to teleport T'Challa to the vibranium vault; yet they are blocked by Doom. In said vault, Doom is holding a gun on T'Challa's mother's head, but in a perfunctory manner: although Storm is defiant, Doom feels like he's seen all of T'Challa's moves and has already won.

As Shuri continues slaughtering her enemies, Nightcrawler questions her a second time: later, he asks if she wants her regime to be only known for bloodletting. Shuri tells him it couldn't be any other way: Wakanda has had to fight like hell for everything it has, like a panther. Doom faces the vault's final lock, which proclaims "Only through purity unencumbered by pretense may you pass." Storm doesn't think Doom's ever getting through that one, and when T'Challa arrives to confront Doom, Doom orders him to open the vault or Storm dies.

Doom gets a chuckle out of T'Challa's refusal, and releases Storm: he's already emptied the vault.

This was prior to Nightcrawler getting killed off, and while I feel like he has more to do here than any of the X-books of the time; I think it was part of a long stretch where his suggestions were usually reasonable but always unheeded. This issue is also probably the exact moment T'Challa and Storm's marriage collapsed; I don't know if Doom ever faced any consequences for that. It might be fun if Doom, as the Insufferable Iron Man or whatever he is now, had to fend off Storm finally looking to complete her vow to kill him.
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Thursday, October 19, 2017

This was almost an 80-Page Thursdays post, and then I realized while I may have picked up a spare copy, I had already bloggged Justice League Quarterly #12. So instead, we've got the one figure I picked up on my vacation: DC Direct's Legion of Super-Heroes Invisible Kid! (For the love of Rao, do not pay that Amazon price! I got him for almost less than what they were asking for shipping!)

He is, ah, not the most dynamic of DC Direct's figures; but that's fitting in a couple ways: their Legion offerings were done as to resemble their 50's-60's stories, and the character was in-story a bit shy and reserved. Lyle Norg, the original Invisible Kid, would be killed by Validus in Superboy #203; but since there have been multiple reboots since then, he might be alive again. Maybe. Depending on when you ask.

My hodgepodge Legion continues to grow, slowly: Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy, and Ultra Boy are all from DC Direct like Invisible Kid. (I also have their version of Timber Wolf, not pictured here.) DC Direct started stronger: the first series of Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl had stands, flight belts, full-size flight ring replicas, and accessories; later series came with squat! Much later would come Starman (from his appearances in JSA) and a more modern Mon-El from the terrible Superman: New Krypton storyline. (Again, Amazon prices, do not, etc.) Timber Wolf and Matter-Eater Lad are loose figures, purchased from eBay, from Mattel's DC Universe Classics Legion set, which also included Invisible Kid--sort of. There's a blank package in there for him; he's invisible, get it? Doesn't do a lot of good if you open the set, but there you go.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Adam was originally created by the mad scientists of the Enclave, so I guessed he would take a dim view of that type, once he had all his marbles back. Also, if you give the new Adam Warlock figure the staff and cape from the old one, it really makes the old one look sad. And I think the old one's neck is a little long, so the cape sits better but he looks off without it.

I'm pretty sure usually, when the Magus or the Goddess, or Adam for that matter, are killed, it's a big cosmic explosion and doesn't leave anything as mundane as a corpse. Wait, I guess there was a body the first time Adam died. Hmm.
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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

That should put me off eating those. It totally doesn't.

I mentioned yesterday I was looking for "in-universe" comics: the comic books that would exist inside a fictional comic book universe. After that, I was searching Hostess parody ads: there were a few I remembered, like the Thunderbolts, Preacher, or Radioactive Man. (I found it on Google, but I posted it? Senile old goat...) But there were some I didn't recall or hadn't seen, like ones for Breaking Bad, Watchmen, and Nexus! But I didn't immediately see this one, from the back cover of 1990's What The--?! #7. Story and art by Marc Siry.

There are a couple bits this issue that still crack me up, including one I'm saving until later in the year--not the terrible Christmas carol parodies. Also, the Alpha Flight story is titled "Awful Flight," it should be "Awful Plight!" C'mon, it's right there! Geez! (Written by Marc McLauren, pencils by Donald Hudson, inks by Jeff Albrecht.)

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Back from vacation, so time to shape up and eat right, the Ben Grimm way!

Well, maybe. From 2000, Marvels Comics: Fantastic Four #1, written by Karl Kesel, art by Paul Smith, Carlos Pacheco, Tom Grummett, Joe Jusko; and above, Mike Wieringo and Karl Kesel.

We saw the Spider-Man version years ago: this was from the "Marvels Comics" event, six issues set as what the comics would be like, within the Marvel Universe. (I was searching the other day for "comics within comics" and did not get especially fruitful results!) The FF book would, in-story, be licensed and theoretically feature some input from the Four: I imagine Reed gives detailed notes, while the Thing occasionally belches out the answer to a reader's question or something. The X-Men book was ugly anti-mutant propaganda, Spider-Man (and possibly Daredevil, I didn't read that one) were basically horror comics, and Thor imagines the title character as a science hero unrelated to anything mythological. I seem to recall Peter David wrote the Captain America one as if Rick Jones was writing it and Steve Rogers was the artist--a callback to Mark Gruenwald's run, where Cap freelanced on his own comic! It kind of goes off the rails, though.

This is a fun little issue, with really pretty art; and Kesel had more than a couple short bits with the Fantastic Four that showed he might not be a bad choice if and when the team returns. Hint, hint. I did think there was a Hostess parody ad in here somewhere though: it may be cliche, but still some fun. I did find one of those elsewhere; and we will have more FF in the next week or so.
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Friday, October 13, 2017

Hey, it's time for another exciting episode of young Bruce Wayne's hero, the Gray Ghost! (Takes closer look.) Wait a minute, that's not right at all! This is a very different Gray Ghost, from 2010's Jonah Hex #59, "Riders on the Storm" Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, art by Jordi Bernet. Ugh, Doors reference...

There had been more than a few Gray Ghosts in this series, and most of them didn't survive their first run-in with Hex; but it was a mantle taken by Confederates looking for revenge against their former comrades who they felt "betrayed the southland." After a few pages of catch-up and set-up, the scene shifts to a nondescript Western town, where Jonah Hex rides through--and past--a clumsy ambush: he sees the gunmen, but it's not for him. At the local cantina, he gets the story: an outlaw was going to take out his brother, over a woman. Jonah was there for the outlaw's bounty, and offers to throw in with the brother, but one small hitch: the wanted poster said 'alive.'

Although the outlaw is captured with a minimum of shootout, things get complicated immediately thereafter: a dust-storm blows into town, and the Gray Ghost rides in shooting. Multiple Gray Ghosts, in fact, four in matching masks; versus Hex with a tomahawk. The only one the Ghosts manage to kill, besides themselves, is the brother's woman, and that's by accident. The brother then tries to kill Hex, and while his gun jams, Hex had already thrown the tomahawk that would kill him. And the outlaw had escaped, leaving Hex surrounded by bodies, with nothing to show for it.

Although I found the Batman: the Animated Series Gray Ghost on Wikipedia easily, I didn't see any reference to the Confederate version. Just as well. It's a fitting name, but I don't know if I would've used it there, for fear of associating the good version with this one.
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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Six or eight reboots, they might catch up to the Legion.

It's the nature of any science fiction story set in the future: after a few years of science marching on, it can start to look a bit dated. Computers and communicators and fashions start to seem clunky and antique. The alternative, I suppose, would be for the future to be in constant flux. Like today's book! From 2015, Guardians 3000 #5, "Just Like Old Times" Written by Dan Abnett, art by Gerardo Sandoval, color art by Edgar Delgado, cover by Alex Ross. (Oddly, I hadda scan that cover into the GCD; I'm always surprised when that happens.)

In the year 3014, the Guardians of the Galaxy are fighting a guerrilla war against the Brotherhood of the Badoon, a fight they had previously won! The timeline having reset, they may have fought that battle multiple times; as evidenced by their new team member Geena Drake, an earth girl who somehow sensed the temporal distortions. This issue, while in battle with the Stark--not the aliens that got Tony Stark's tech this time, as seen in the 90's Guardians book, now they were full-on robots--half the team is saved by Star-Lord. Who is still Peter Quill, but with his original helmet and Ship, in the future! Kinda cool. The other half is saved by the sudden return of a teammate they don't remember: Nikki Gold! Maybe they don't recognize her because she isn't rocking her usual flame-hair do, like she has on the cover. She also has the Captain America, or maybe a Captain America: it shares the name with the Guardians' original ship, but was a different model; underscoring for the heroes that the timeline was super garked up, to use the technical term. (Further evidenced in that Vance had Cap's shield and the star-logo communicators; both of which I think came in the 90's book, long after the Badoon were defeated.)

Hell, I'm pretty sure I have some of the rest of this series from when Hastings went down; and there are still a couple issues missing on the GCD as I write this! I want to say Marvel gave it a shot--the Ross covers are a bit more than the company has done for other titles--but it ran right into Secret Wars. I know there was some miniseries activity with the future Guardians team then, but not much now.
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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Imagine lifting a piano over your head, while on a bike seat. Worse than that.

There's an old issue of Avengers that I've wanted to blog here for years, but maybe don't have any more, and haven't gone out of my way to buy it again yet: I think it's #305 or so, and the Lava Men have raised the Avengers' current headquarters, Hydrobase, high into the air on a pillar of rock...maybe. That's off memory; Hydrobase is perilously hanging up there, though. Wonder Man flies into action, keeping the massive structure from tipping to its doom: very dramatic, except...well, Wonder Man couldn't fly then, he used a belt-jet rig. You can check out a scan from the original Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe here, and while "control circuitry" is noted there, I'm not aware of any explanation as to how Wonder Man controlled or even steered those things, and that's not even my biggest issue with it: even if those little jets could have generated enough thrust to support Wonder Man's strength--which was upper echelon for Marvel, the 100+ tons range--the design of the belt's harness means all that thrust was basically lifting him by the crotch. Wonder Man was way tougher than you ever gave him credit for.

Anyway, here's another book with maybe those groin-destroying jets: from 1989, Avengers #303, "Reckoning!" Plot by Mark Gruenwald, script by Ralph Macchio, breakdowns by Rich Buckler, finishes by Tom Palmer. This was the conclusion of wow, a three-parter versus Super-Nova, an aggrieved (and giant) survivor of the planet Xandar, which had been destroyed by space pirate (and Thanos's alleged granddaughter) Nebula: he was trying to get information on her whereabouts for vengeance, but was generally being a dick about it. Here, when Hawkeye calls him on it, the archer is seemingly disintegrated! Nah, he's saved by Quasar; although Hawkeye is far too blustery to show any gratitude. Still, when the Fantastic Four arrives, the Thing at least is glad to see his old friend. Later, we see the Thing, She-Thing Sharon Ventura, and Wonder Man go at Super-Nova's feet: aw, Wonder Man mentions his jet belt getting smashed and now I'm all disappointed.

Before Super-Nova rage-explodes and destroys Chicago, then-Avenger Mr. Fantastic has Quasar give him a lift back to Four Freedoms Plaza to pick up Dr. Doom's time machine: Reed knew Nebula had been lost in the time-stream, and offers Super-Nova the chance to go after her, even if he didn't have a snowball's chance of finding her. And he wouldn't; Reed would see Nebula again first in Walt Simonson's superlative FF run, but I don't think Super-Nova ever appeared again. Heck, his planet Xandar has come back since then; and maybe been destroyed again too for that matter. (Looking it up, as Garthaan Saal he would return, and also appear in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie!) The issue ends with Reed getting congratulated for saving earth while Captain America gives him the stinkeye for not clearing his plan with him, a dumb subplot about the Avengers' chain of command that would last throughout Reed's short term with the team. Hmm, just noticed the Thing, who was then leading the FF, also gives Reed a glare. Team effort, guys, c'mon. Oddly enough for a guy that named himself "Mr. Fantastic," Reed really isn't the gloryhound type; so them being mad doesn't sit right.

I may be looking for cheap Avengers back issues as this posts. My wife tried to assure me Wonder Man's belt probably wasn't that uncomfortable, but then asked why his pants didn't catch fire from the jets. A good question, that I completely let slide...
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Monday, October 09, 2017

Over at Slay, Monstrobot of the Deep, with the recent reveal of Mr. Oz, Snell wonders "of DC's growing hatred of Krypton." It's been going on for a while and is somewhat troubling: Superman, raised by humans, turned out all right; Supergirl did the same with her cousin as an example. And just about every Kryptonian you meet besides them, ranges from inept and corrupt to genocidal madman, and that's not even counting the Phantom Zone villains. It's even more pronounced in movies and TV but certainly wasn't always the case: Kandor, while tiny, used to be cool; and even had it's own superheroes Nightwing and Flamebird. Then again, I'm not going to paint a rosy picture of a society that gave us this douchebag: from 1964, Adventure Comics #320, "Revenge of the Knave from Krypton!" Written by Jerry Siegel and Otto Binder, pencils by John Forte and George Papp, inks by Sheldon Moldoff, George Papp, and Al Plastino. (Reprinted in digest form in Best of DC #44, and that might even be a reprint of a reprint.) The story also reprints some material from Adventure Comics #287, "War of the Superboys" Written by Jerry Siegel, art by George Papp.

"Knave" is a rather outdated word, even for comics; I'm surprised they didn't go with "rogue" or even "scofflaw." Except alliteration, duh. "The Juvenile Delinquent from Krypton!" wouldn't exactly sing on the page either, but that's Dev-Em in a nutshell. Living next-door to the El's before Krypton exploded, Dev-Em was a troublemaking, thieving vandal who had his parents snowed into thinking he was a genius, by stealing inventions and passing them off as his own for a laugh. (I guess your parents might go easier on you if they think you're a genius, maybe.) Dev even babysat a young Kal-El, who we see playing with Krypto, and they catch the knave later breaking into Jor-El's lab. Jor-El gives him the boot, but doesn't report him to the Science Police or his parents out of respect for said parents: Kryptonian privilege. Still, Dev-Em had seen that Krypton was going to explode, and decides to save himself and his family, which puts him two up on Jor-El.

Years later, Dev-Em's makeshift spaceship lands in Smallville--like 90% of everything from Krypton. Waking up with super-powers (and leaving his folks sleeping in suspended animation) he wastes no time utterly destroying Superboy's life; banishing him to the Phantom Zone, then disguising himself as S-B and going on a rampage. (Dev-Em seems to stop just shy of murdering anyone, probably because this isn't a modern DC story...) Afterwards, when humanity hates Superboy, Dev-Em releases him from the Zone, knowing that would be unbearable torment to the Teen of Steel; then promptly pisses off to the future, sleeping parents in tow. There really isn't any reason given why he should go to the future, except then he could show up in a Legion of Super-Heroes story. Superboy is up a creek, until supporting character MVP Chief Parker tells the public it was red Kryptonite that made Superboy temporarily bad; knowing the real truth would be too hard to swallow.

Recapping Dev-Em's first appearance takes up about five pages in this one; but Superboy is surprised to catch Dev-Em in the future, breaking into the Legion's headquarters! A serious crime, which would normally get the perp turned over to the Inter-Stellar Counter-Intelligence Corps; except the ISCIC ICC gave Dev-Em that assignment! Now reformed since "wrong-doers always lose out!" Dev-Em had been working undercover, to break Molock the Merciless's Cosmic Spy Legion, all of which is fleshed out about as much as this paragraph. Yeah. Verifying Dev-Em's assignment, the ICC head asks Superboy to take over, as he was more experienced in counter-espionage. I was going to question that, but he had passed himself off as Clark Kent all those years, so I guess so. Supes takes the mission, wondering if he's undercutting his old enemy.

Disguising himself as Dev-Em, Superboy takes some Legion trinkets, to pass off as "security measures" to Molock. Molock double-crosses "Dev-Em" almost immediately, removing his powers with gold Kryptonite, which permanently removes a Kryptonian's powers! (Which I always thought was too much; not just because if it did, Lex Luthor would've gotten himself a grill of the stuff...) Except Super-Pet Proty, having read a warning in Dev-Em's mind, tagged along and subbed himself in for the gold-K, and Superboy wipes the floor with the Cosmic Spy Legion, which might just be four guys. Dev-Em is offered Legion membership (even though in theory, duplicate powers aren't allowed) but he declines. He would appear occasionally in Legion comics over the years, but only sparingly; of course there are post-Crisis, post Infinite Crisis versions that are more criminal or depraved than the original, but Dev-Em hasn't appeared post-New 52 yet. Considering how evil the average Kryptonian has been getting, that might be for the best. Worse, I'd be afraid they'd bring him back as "the Millennial from Krypton!" I don't know if he ever woke up his parents, either...

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Friday, October 06, 2017

I think I bought this issue thinking it was the last issue of the series, but it's not, we saw the last ish some years back! So today we've got from 1995, Star Trek #77, "Deadlock" Written by Kevin J. Ryan, pencils by Rachel Forbes-Seese, inks by Mark Heike. And a nice cover from Peter Krause and Jerome Moore.

Set during the original five-year mission, the Enterprise is investigating attacks near the Neutral Zone and is fired upon by a Romulan ship: the Romulans at the time using the ship design normally associated with the Klingons. Both ships are disabled in the battle, and are scrambling to make enough repairs to destroy the other; until long-range sensors reveal a third-party ship was out there, and had attacked a Romulan freighter. Alone they would be sitting ducks, but together they might be able to defend themselves against the mysterious other ship...

A dense and somewhat wordy issue, but solidly plotted. There are a couple bits I especially liked: while making repairs, much of the crew appear to go with coveralls over their uniforms--with the exception of Scotty, who usually worked in his red shirt! And Scotty also suggests a trick I know I've seen in another Trek comic, Next Generation's "Worst of Both Worlds," namely loading a shuttlecraft full of explosives and launching it at somebody! Kirk and his crew would figure out the mystery in a few issues, it wasn't left hanging. I'm doing the scans for this while waiting for Star Trek: Discovery to come on; can't wait to see it!
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Thursday, October 05, 2017

The real monster here is guilt. Or maybe the Werewolf.

Spider-Man's kryptonite is basically guilt. Peter David's kryptonite might be jokey titles. Like today's book! From 2006, Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man #17, "Hair of the Dog that Bit Ya" Written by Peter David, pencils by Mike Norton, inks by Norman Lee.

After a homecoming rally he didn't want to go to, glorifying his bully Flash Thompson; Peter Parker sees Flash take a dare to go into the allegedly-haunted old Russell house...where he's attacked by a werewolf! The Werewolf By Night, to be exact, since "by night" I guess separates him from all the other werewolves...Spidey gets Flash to the doctor, Dr. Strange to be exact; who says he can cure him with some of the werewolf's fur, if done before the sunrise. Even though he's been driven by guilt almost constantly since becoming Spider-Man, Pete has a hard time finding the motivation to give a crap what happens to Flash.

Nonetheless, Spider-Man ends up fighting the Werewolf, who was wearing the remains of chains and restraints: Jack had secured himself, but broken loose, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Werewolf got out because Flash got in there and agitated it. With the sunrise, the Werewolf reverts back to Jack; and Spidey is kicking himself for letting down Flash, who didn't deserve to become a werewolf. (Didn't he, though? A little?) Getting a lump of fur back to Strange, a dejected Spidey feels like he didn't try his best and failed; but Strange tells him he needed the fur before the next Romanian sunset, since that was where the curse originated, and still had like fourteen hours. Still, lesson learned for Spidey, who resolves if someone needs his help, he will always do his best. Even if it's for a total tool...
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Wednesday, October 04, 2017

"Labor Intensive."

I had a hard time finding reference for this online, but in Howard Chaykin's American Flagg!, the handgun of choice was the .666 Magrum. I didn't read it very often, but I've had a copy of Hard Times for years: it reprints the first three issues, with some additional material.

Deadpool's homebrew pistol is completely made up; with about thirty seconds of online searching for gun buzzwords. I used to hunt, and once in a couple years will go shooting with the Wife; but I'm not a big gun guy. I'm not anti-gun, either; but I do hate the NRA...Ah, but for something good, Io9 (or somewhere) had a link a couple weeks ago to's collection of classic sci-fi Galaxy Magazine! A couple Sundays ago I spent the afternoon reading Alfred Bester's "The Stars My Destination," which I used as the namesake for this series! And to tie it all together, Howard Chaykin did an adaptation of that as well! I did like Bester's "The Demolished Man" better, but there are some other old ones I plan to check out later.
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