Thursday, September 30, 2021

What did Dear Abby say happens when you assume? Conan would probably agree!

Even though I don't think I've read a bad issue of it, I wasn't picking up Dark Horse's Conan regularly; possibly because I assumed they were going to cover a lot of the Robert E. Howard stories I had already seen at least once from Marvel. (And I've long since paid money for other versions of those classics, like the Cimmerian: the Man-Eaters of Zamboula.) But this issue is a new story, picked up on the strength of the guest-writer, even though I almost always enjoy Kurt Busiek as well! From 2006, Conan #26, "The Toad" Written by Mike Mignola, art by Cary Nord, color art by Dave Stewart. Wish I had that Mignola cover, though.
An angry Gunderman leads a line of men in pursuit of Conan, who slept with the local magistrate's wife and robbed his house; although the Gunderman claims to have a personal score to settle with Conan. He's none too pleased with his men, either; who claim the area is haunted. Well, if it wasn't before, it would be now: a grinning Conan lures the Gunderman into a tripwire, dropping a lot of rocks on the men. Conan leaves, content the Gunderman was squashed, but he survived, to receive a warning from a dead soldier, ending with "beware the toad."
Conan is later distracted by a noisy red toad living in a skull; as the Gunderman tries to stab him in the back: Conan doesn't think that's fair, but the Gunderman wasn't thrilled about the rocks, either. During the fight, the Gunderman slips on the red toad, and takes a nasty fall. Conan advises him to "have the good sense to stay dead" this time, and gets back to thievery, as there was supposed to be a jade serpent with emerald eyes there. There is also, an alarming number of toads. He knocks the biggest one down with a rock, which seems to shut up the rest, until a dark something appears...to be continued!

Just like Conan assumed the Gunderman was dead, I assumed Mignola would just be guest-writing a one-shot! I'll have to keep an eye out for the conclusion, then.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

"Squirrel."

After setting up this strip, I think I see why Squirrel Girl was sold with a scooter: that tail was somewhat of a bother to pose, it's fairly heavy. She was hardly the worst 'actress' we've ever had here, though; I may just have to use a base for her if she appears again. I don't think she's a mutant right now, although that's the kind of thing that could as easily be undone as done: she's currently a 'mutate,' not unlike Spider-Man, although I'm at least 60% sure she wasn't bitten by a radioactive squirrel. Maybe 50%.

Are there animals on Krakoa? I don't even know, but you'd think they'd be needed to move pollen around or fertilize the plants or whatever. And as I type this, my Sentinels haven't even shipped! Which is fine, really, I don't have time for it right now; but still...


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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Twelve years later!

Back in 2009, Tigra got a Wal-Mart exclusive Marvel Legend; and today she has a new one! Just a quick picture to mark the occasion. Read more!

"The jewels and scepter of my manhood..." There's an aphorism I didn't need today.

I've scheduled Warlord posts for years out, but let's hit one now! From 1985, Warlord #93, "Devil's Wings" Written by Cary Burkett, art by Ron Randall. (This was a guest-spot for Randall, he would become the regular artist with #104.)
The New Atlantean invasion of Skartaris continues, as an old mountain man scout sees them moving an army through a pass, and rides to warn the Warlord, who is training with his men--and maybe giving a bully sergeant the what-for. If that army joined the main forces, Skartaris was doomed; but Morgan has a plan to divert them. First, they set up a fake camp, to lure the Atlanteans into a trap; then they retreat, but leave a trail straight into "Devilwing Canyon." General Sabertooth thinks he finally has the Warlord's number, as he leads his men into the aforementioned devil-wings, angry bat-creatures who take a pretty big bite out of his forces. Morgan and his men drop a bunch of rocks on them too, with Morgan telling Sabertooth he'll never find his secret mountain base that definitely exists...! He'll be looking for that for a while.
As usual, some subplots continue: Jennifer Morgan had saved Tinder and his weird-caveman friend from the gem of the Evil One, and asks prince of thieves Ashir to keep him occupied and away from it, as she tried to use the gem's power against the Atlanteans. Ashir gives Tinder a lesson in cheese-filching, which involves more lock-picking than you might expect. (Tinder had been a thief before, he may already have had some skills, but someone learns something there...) And later, as Tara goes for a swim, Tinder notices her taking off a certain armband, that had once been his: Travis Morgan's wristwatch! Tinder steals it back, leaving Tara crying, mourning the memento of her lost son, not realizing he wasn't lost and was closer than she would think. (IT'S TINDER; that plotline would go on for just about ever.)
Also this issue, a U.S. Postal Service Statement of Ownership: Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 99,331, plus about 1,500 in subscriptions.
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Monday, September 27, 2021

We had previously blogged some of his appearances in 2001: A Space Odysssey as well as his 1999-2000 solo series, but I don't think we've hit any of his first series. From 1978, Machine Man #9, "In Final Battle!" Written, drawn, and edited by Jack Kirby; inks and letters by Mike Royer.
The army seemed to no longer consider rogue robot Machine Man an enemy, but they weren't sure what to make of him entirely, as he returns from allegedly being blown up by an atomic bomb. He cheerfully gives a little demonstration how he survived, and it's more convincing than Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, anyway. Dr. Spaulding and Colonel Kragg are also reunited with Machine Man; after Kragg has to admit he'd come to admire that robot.
Meanwhile, agent Konik of the Corporation is given a new task: capture Machine Man. Konik is a high-tech gun nut, and drools at the thought at getting his hands on him. Back at the base, Machine Man plays a bit of baseball: he's trying to be cheerful and personable, maybe even trying too hard. Later, he and Spaulding have a meeting with a lawyer, who suggests the case against him might go better if he was disarmed, to make him the underdog. Removing his face, Machine Man presses down on his model number, X-51, to disarm his weapons...then suggests his lawyer do the same, since it's really Konik! Since his telescopic limbs still work, Machine Man is able to capture Konik momentarily, until Spaulding accidentally starts a fire with Konik's trick monocle. Konik escapes, intent on trying again for the Corporation...
This was the last issue of Machine Man...almost! The letters page notes Kirby was leaving to do storyboard work for the 1978 Fantastic Four cartoon. Machine Man (and the Corporation) would appear again in Incredible Hulk #235, then his series would continue with #10 in August 1979. Read more!

Friday, September 24, 2021

Same here, guys, same here.

I almost thought I blogged this one already; or maybe I just read it and set it back in the blog pile. From 1981, Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #491, reprinting from 1949, "Donald Duck's Worst Nightmare" Story and art by Carl Barks.
Donald is in a bad way here, as he is being plagued with recurring nightmares--actually, I guess they aren't recurring, he seems to have a different terrible one every time he falls asleep! When sleeping pills don't help, the nephews get him to a doctor for "remedy number two," to work at something he hates until he wears himself out. That turns out to be crochet, which the "he-man" Donald sees as beneath him. When hours of crocheting doesn't help, Huey, Dewey, and Louie are down to remedy number three: frighten Donald with something worse than his nightmares! They don't have a lot of luck with that: they try to scare him with a bearskin, but Donald had just had a doozy about the zoo leaving the lion cage open, and a mean old bear doesn't compare!
Daisy happens by, to ask what's up with the bearskin, and the boys mention Donald's crocheting, which Daisy just has to see for herself, with the local women's crochet club! (Geez, Daisy, you could at least pretend to be concerned for him for a minute!) Forced to flee, Donald gets himself in a number of predicaments, none of which scare him more than being forced to give a talk on crocheting. A fun story with a fun ending; although I must say I don't recommend any of the three remedies for your nightmares, sorry. Read more!

Thursday, September 23, 2021

I know there were DC Direct figures, but I've always been super-annoyed Mattel didn't make figures for Superman's supporting cast. Lois Lane seems like a given, but this issue makes a strong case for his pal, too. From 2019, Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #1, written by Matt Fraction, art by Steve Lieber.
This one's a lot more cheery and fun than the last Jimmy Olsen book we saw here, even though it opens with Jimmy's great-great-grand-something Joachim Olsson cheated and murdered by an ancestor of Lex Luthor's, in the settlement that would eventually become Metropolis. In the present, Jimmy is up to his usual ratings-grabbing hijinks, with a daring attempt to skydive from orbit without a parachute, using genetic engineering and Metamorpho cells. (Metamorpho makes a cameo, looking like Jimmy absolutely talked him into a trainwreck of an idea.) This naturally involves Jimmy turning into the traditional giant turtle monster, as Lex Luthor has manipulated this one to destroy local landmark "the Monarch of Metropolis." (Traditionally that sort of thing would be repaired by Superman in one panel on the last page of the story, but does anyone fix anything anymore?)
Perry White has had more than enough of Jimmy's nonsense, and is on the verge of firing him yet again, when an I.T. guy points out the punchline: Jimmy's nonsense is the only part of the Daily Planet that makes any money, even after a staggering amount of expenses. With the insurance adding up, the publisher suggests embedding Jimmy "somewhere far far far far away." How about across the bridge in Gotham? That might as well be China. In a horrible, bat-infested apartment, Jimmy wonders how it came to this...as he tacks up the front page of the Planet asking "Who Killed Jimmy Olsen?"
I feel like I usually pick up the fun books that DC puts out and no one buys, like Bat-Mite or the last Bizarro series (that also featured Jimmy) but slept on this one. Read more!

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

"Bump."

That may be the last strip for the armored Daredevil: his ankles were tight, and I often had trouble getting him to stand. I also don't know if I intended for this plot to go on another couple of strips--the A.I.M. soldier with the Hood head could've gotten the Crimson Dynamo armor first, then handed it to his superior, the A.I.M. Scientist Supreme, who would've still been wearing his beekeeper hat. It's 50-50 wrapped for real-world concerns, slash because-I-wrote-myself-into-a-corner.

I read a bit of Jason Aaron's Avengers over the weekend, because I knew he had used Ursa Major, but I didn't know if he had become an Avenger. (Spoiler: nyet!) Too bad, since I thought it would be fun for Moon Knight to argue with a bear over who is or isn't an Avenger.


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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

One thing Way of X managed to do, was sell me a Marvel Legends Legion: I've never been a big fan of his, but he is the second lead in the book. I knocked this one out on the fly for Twitter like three weeks back, still trying to figure out how Onslaught became Nightcrawler's problem. Which seemed largely unnecessary: Krakoan society is bound to have some growing pains, as well as just being weird in general; and it might've been more interesting to watch Kurt try to sort it out without any sort of "big bad" behind things. 

 Anyway, in real comics, X-Men: the Onslaught Revelation #1 is out tomorrow; which may be the conclusion to the first 'season' of Way of X, if not the wrap-up of the series altogether. We'll see.
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Monday, September 20, 2021

Finally, some comics that aren't taking up space around here!

I do enjoy Humble Bundle, as they've given me access to a ton of books over the years: over the last seven years (!) I've gotten long stretches of Transformers, Star Trek, and Dungeons & Dragons comics, among many others. The most recent Bundle: from Titan Comics, including more Star Trek and a ton of Robotech; but what sold this one was Peter Milligan's take on The Prisoner. Come to think of it, my Prisoner action figure from Wandering Planet should be coming soon. 

As of right this second...I have no idea what I'm doing for the next two weeks. And then the month after that. But the Lilac City Comicon returns October 2-3! If you're in the neighborhood, say hi; I'm the guy in the mask buying all the cheap comics.
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Friday, September 17, 2021

Conversely, it's probably a good idea to tell your girlfriend you're a werewolf, too.

Conveniently, this was pretty close at hand, from the latest big pile of random comics: from 1988, Werewolf by Night #2, "Life in the Fast Lane" Written by Paul Jenkins, art by Leonardo Manco. 

This was Jack Russell's short-lived second series, and he seems to have lost some of his supporting cast (and support system) and replaced them with booze. He also seems pretty tight-lipped about his condition, since he plays pool with a priest and later ducks out on his girlfriend when the full moon was coming; and neither had any idea. (His girlfriend's name is Roxanne, which made me wonder if he was seeing Johnny Blaze's girl...) Jack takes a little drive--with a bottle of bourbon as his co-pilot--to a creepy mansion in Texas, where he's turned away by an armed guard.
As Jack transforms in the woods, a cult in the mansion sacrifices a man, then the Werewolf smashes through a window, in a very nice two-page spread. The Werewolf tears through the cultists, as their wheelchair-bound leader attempts to flee, and takes a header down the stairs. Jack, seemingly in control, confronts him for information about the "wolfsblade," with which he could take complete control. But the wolfsblade is only one of three parts...
Later, at a carnival with Roxanne, while she goes to the bathroom Jack is greeted by someone claiming to represent parties that would like to work with Jack, and could show him where to find the other two pieces. They're in the "Ghost Train" attraction, which may actually be a gateway to hell. Jack is only given seventeen seconds to decide, but seems to just shrug and mosey on in.

I'm not sure I love the plot, but I always think Leonardo Manco should be a bigger name. He's a guy that always seems to understand the assignment!
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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Pre-Twilight, it was considered good form to tell someone if you thought they were dating a werewolf.

Not Jack Russell or that dreamy John Jameson, it's still yet another werewolf or two hassling Spidey, in today's book: from 1989, Web of Spider-Man #53, "Wolves in the Night" Written by Gerry Conway, pencils by Mark Bagley, inks by Keith Williams. 

Spidey gets a tip on a truck full of stolen army guns, and makes short work of some of the Lobo Brothers' boys. Questioning them, En EspaƱol, he learns they were declaring war on "el hombre gordo," the fat man, the Kingpin. Spidey passes the news back to his tipster, the Arranger, but also advises that was their problem. The Arranger had tried to get the Punisher to kill the Lobos, but that had panned out, and grudges may have been held. 

Later, Peter Parker visits the Daily Bugle, currently under J.Jonah Jameson as publisher and editor-in-chief since Robbie Robertson was in jail awaiting appeal. Unsurprisingly, JJJ is generally being a dick to everyone, and on another of his usual anti-Spider-Man tirades. Actually, perhaps that should be 'crusade' rather than 'tirade,' as he seems more restrained, less chatty. (I may be misremembering, or confusing this with another time, but I suspect JJJ has been replaced by the Chameleon.) Peter is a little depressed at JJJ's giving him the brush-off: he had earned city editor Kate Cushing's trust, but of course things can't go too easy for him. Waiting for the elevator, Peter is stopped by Joy Mercado, who wants to talk to him about their mutual friend, Glory Grant. Joy was worried about Glory's new boyfriend, Eduardo Lobo; one of the aforementioned Lobo Brothers! Peter takes that on, pretty sure that was going to be a problem. 

The next page, oh, maybe that's why I thought JJJ had been replaced by the Chameleon: because the Chameleon reveals just that in a meeting with Hammerhead! Next, as promised on the cover, "What's the matter with Kristy?" Kristy who? MJ's young cousin, staying with the Parkers and Aunt May. I'm not sure she had been around long, but she had a crush on Peter and bulimia at this point. Mary Jane probably should have seen both of those coming, in retrospect. 

Meanwhile, at Glory's apartment, Spidey finds shredded men's clothes, with an 'L' belt buckle, and a receipt for an aircraft hanger rental. Since a wolf-creature had attacked him a few times around the Lobos, Spidey's starting to put it together by the time he swings to the hanger and faces off with the usual gunmen. He wasn't expecting both brothers to be werewolves, though! He makes a good effort, but is unable to stop the Lobos from taking off in an assault helicopter, on their way to the Kingpin's, and Spidey ends up ditched in the river!
And back at Aunt May's, Kristy is passed out in the bathroom...to be continued, in Spectacular Spider-Man #153! Wait, looking at that cover, is that right? Maybe the Lobos' helicopter attack did not go well at all. And Kristy's bulimia storyline is probably a bit rote, but I'm going to give Conway credit for trying to present it as a legit problem and hopefully not hopping on a bandwagon...
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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

"Fits."

Darkstar and Ursa Major are core members of the Soviet Super-Soldiers team, which first appeared in Incredible Hulk #258: that's a Frank Miller cover, with a Crimson Dynamo closer to the 'modern' design giving the Hulk the business. The fourth member, Vanguard, has not received a figure yet; unless you fudge it! 

I had thought Vanguard was still dead, killed off in the not-very-good Quasar-centric crossover book Starblast; which then led to his dad the Presence and sister Darkstar trying to murder Quasar in his last issue. I forgot, the Presence managed to resurrect Vanguard in Avengers #43, the second half of Kurt Busiek's run on the book and some of my favorite comics! I didn't think the resurrection stuck, like Presence brought him back as a zombie or something. Much, much later, in comics I didn't read, Nikolai Kyrlenko would take the mantle of Red Guardian, the eighth, in his sister's title Darkstar and the Winter Guard. Per Avengers #10 (volume 8!) he appears to have retaken the Vanguard name but kept the old Red Guardian costume and shield. And here we are!

There is another Soviet Super-Soldier that received an action figure, if you look sharp: the Gremlin, who was packed in with the Hulk Classics Mecha-Hulk! He was the pilot of the robot, which may have been a callback to Iron Man #229, where the Gremlin piloted a more streamlined version of the Titanium Man armor. (And another, 'modern' Crimson Dynamo on that cover!) Sadly, the Gremlin was killed in battle with Iron Man in his stealth armor--a fairly horrible death, that he has not returned from as of yet.


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Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Being that I'm getting on in years, I remember when Image Comics first started, and reading new books like Cyberforce and WildC.A.T.s, both of which wanted to be X-Men so bad. So much so that I don't recall either of them reading like anything was set up: both teams are already built at the start of the story, with mysterious backstory to be backfilled later. They wanted to be X-Men, without having to do all the pesky set-up work. Today's book, seems to have the opposite problem, if I can articulate it. From 2012, Legion Lost #7, "When Katia Cries--!" Written by Tom DeFalco, art by Pete Woods. 

This was a New52 launch title, but took it's title from a 2000 miniseries that gave some new life to the group. I don't think any of the previous lost were missing again, though: seven Legionnaires, picked to live in a house...wait, that's not right. They were sent back from the 31st century to stop the terrorist Alastor from releasing a virus; but were cut off from the rest of the team and I believe presumed dead. Arriving in New York this issue, the team had already failed to stop Alastor from releasing "hypertaxis," even if what it would do seems unclear; and was trying to figure out what to do next. Some members wanted to try to return to the future, others to be more "proactive," and some are distracted from that discussion entirely: the telepath Tellus makes contact with a young woman in trouble, but she was in fact in a coma after a texting-and-driving accident. Timber Wolf catches a street hustler that had seen the team's true looks, then follows a tip to take down a drug warehouse and confiscate their cash so the team didn't have to keep psychically cheating people. 

The Legion used to go back to the past all the time back in the Superboy days, but had much fewer (if any) non-human team members. Chameleon Girl could 'pass' (when her powers were working) but Tellus and Gates had a harder time; and Wildfire and Dawnstar were conspicuous as well. That seems like poor planning, even if Tellus could usually cover for them. 

This was supposed to be a reboot, but like WildC.A.T.s and Cyberforce, this wasn't like the team was brand-new. Originally the Legion debuted in 1958; then Timber Wolf in 1964 (although he wouldn't join the team until 1968's Adventure #372, with the ill-fated Chemical King) then Wildfire in 1973 (he wouldn't join until 1974!) and Tyroc in 1976 and Dawnstar in 1977. (Did the latter two join in their first appearances? Maybe?) This 'relaunch' was seven issues in, but all those guys were there from the start! DC probably didn't want to have to go back to Legion: day one. 

The Legion has a bad--and frankly, somewhat undeserved--rep for being an impenetrable quagmire of continuity, but every time they try to get rid of it...they don't really want to jettison all of it. They want to try and keep the interpersonal relationships that took so long to build up and maybe clear out some of the deadwood. Or, throw out everything and start over; which I kind of think the current Legion book is doing since I don't recognize the characters now. If it works for them, I wish them well.

Ah, I feel like I've beat this dead horse before, but it's more interesting to chew on than this particular issue; sorry. 
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