Wednesday, August 10, 2022

"Tan."

I don't think I've ever had Point Beer, despite having known about it for years from old issues of Badger. I'm not sure I'd know a good beer from moose piss anymore, though: I like a Guinness every so often, but used to have a system where I would start the evening with 'good' beer, like Henry Weinhards or such, and over the course of the evening keep reducing the quality (and price) of my drinks until I was swilling PBR at four in the morning. Read more!

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

The colors, Duke, the colors!

Like so, so many Gold Key books, the cover is way better than the story inside, but this entire book had been printed before? Did another of the stories here get the cover then? From 1976, Twilight Zone #71, cover by George Wilson, reprinting 1972's Twilight Zone #45 in its entirety! It could have the same ads, it could have the same staples, I don't know...
And of course, I'm still goddamn looking for TZ #70...Anyway, in "Art for Art's Sake," art by John Celardo; a contractor cuts a deal with a starving artist to provide some murals for his new building: in this case, 'murals' being a psychotronic nightmare on every exposed surface in the joint! The contractor gives the artist the bum's rush, but then the buyer's wife loves it and they're going to pay him double--okay, even in the Twilight Zone, that's never happened. The contractor tries to cut the artist out of the deal, and you know where this is going. Twilight Zone comics have a higher mortality rate than What If? I was flipping through this while watching a Hunter Thompson documentary, and had an inexplicable flashback to a Popsicle ad from '97-98, that I was not positive was actually real. They played this for kids, or cartoon watching twenty-somethings...moreso the latter, I'm guessing. Read more!

Monday, August 08, 2022

SDCC was last week as I type this, and I was a little underwhelmed with the Marvel Legends teased? The Disney+ She-Hulk figure looked great, as did the trailer; and while I know there's a few out there thrilled for Razorback, it didn't really do it for me. Feel like he needs a Pig Rig semi or whatever to really do him justice...Not much else grabbed me, but I may be sour because I've got about a dozen figures on pre-order, and Galactus; all of which will show up whenever. Anyway, today we've got the first appearance (maybe?) of a character that hasn't got a figure yet, but shouldn't feel bad since Sony will probably give him a whole-ass movie. From 1991, Amazing Spider-Man #344, "Hearts and Powers" Writen by David Michelinie, pencils by Erik Larsen, inks by Randy Emberlin.
Spidey is dodging guards at a warehouse, getting pictures of chemicals purchased legally but often used to process cocaine. There are a number of guards to keep reporters and/or meddling kids out, then the sudden arrival of...Cardiac! Spidey stops him smashing up the place, and while Cardiac is up for a team-up, the chemicals were technically legal? Cardiac takes out the roof, then disappears in the commotion. While Peter meets up with reporter Joy Mercado, we see Cardiac, unmasking, lamenting that his actions seemed to run across his oath as a doctor. While Peter watches Mary Jane on an early shoot for "Secret Hospital," Dr. Wirtham arrives at the tower with his name on it, part of a large hospital; but he, Peter Parker, and Justin Hammer are all increasingly concerned with Sapirdyne Chemicals. (This is old-school, megalomaniac miser Hammer; not young, hip, wants-to-be-liked MCU wannabe Hammer.) And, a little subplot hyped on the cover: in prison with his cellmate Cletus, Eddie Brock continues to work out since he needs to be in peak condition to avenge his symbiote, which is of course not as bad off as that.
That night, as Spidey patrols, Cardiac goes to take out Sapirdyne, but gets stonewalled by the Rhino! Ah, that's a lucky break, Rhino's a good get for a fledgling hero. He's tough but beatable, and has a great rep for a guy that averages less wins than the Washington Generals. Off the top of my head I can think of two Rhino/rookie fights, and you can probably think of more. Rhino actually climbs up a rope to chase Cardiac on a catwalk, but that just puts him into position for Spidey to kick him. Rhino, surprisingly, has a new trick today: a new membrane attachment to his mask, to keep webs out of his face. That appeared to be a new market for Hammer, Scorpion had gotten something similiar earlier.
During the fight, a ton of live wires are knocked loose, and Cardiac blasts open some chemical barrels; advising Spidey they would almost certainly explode. Rhino hears that and bails, and Spidey has to follow suit. Sapirdyne is leveled, but checking the reports the next day, Hammer realizes Spidey wants Cardiac stopped as much as he does: why not put him on the payroll? Ugh, he'd probably get paid less than the Chessmen. Or an unpaid internship. Anyway, this was a cheap pickup and not a completely minty issue, so I probably won't make a killing when Cardiac gets his own slightly underwhelming movie... Read more!

Friday, August 05, 2022


As often the case around here, things have been on blog-o-pilot for the last week or so: I've been out, and it's the brief stretch where it's really hot locally. Maybe this comic will make things seem cool by comparison! From 2008, Reign in Hell #4, featuring "Counterstrike!" Written by Keith Giffen, pencls by Tom Derenick, inks by Bill Sienkiewicz; and "Half Measures" Written by Keith Giffen, pencils by Justiniano, inks by Walden Wong.
No opening recap here, as war in Hell continues, with the Demon and Blue Devil smacking each other around. That's...kind of good on Danny, for going toe-to-toe with Etrigan; but on the other hand, remember when he used to be fun? Two lower-level devils cut out as the fighting gets too close, as that could maybe release something worse...Elsewhere, Dr. Fate visits, I think that's Lady Blaze? about the ongoing Neron problem, but may have said too much and gets attacked by her she-devils. Zauriel meets with part of the Shadowpact, regarding a resistance in Hell, which may also involve Zatanna.
Back on earth, the Etrigan-less Jason Blood is hitting the spell books, trying to find a way to keep the Demon from ever being bound to him again. Good luck with that! But he's visited by Deadman, who warns of Ruma Kushna losing balance: all "infernal" things had been purged from earth, but that was driving her insane. Boston advises, an intervention. Finally, the Etrigan/Blue Devil brawl hits "deep detention," something it took all of Hell to imprison in a "runespout," which of course they then fall into. After a massive explosion, a familiar figure emerges from the smoke...none other than the main man himself, Lobo! The next issue box praised the "frag-tastic" return of the "real" Lobo; what, was there a fake? I was thinking of the later New 52 version, but that was years away.

The second feature continues Dr. Occult and Yellow Peri's journey deeper into Hell, in search of Occult's "soulmate" Rose. They appear to be coming up on a weird techy part of Hell, but not much to that one.


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Thursday, August 04, 2022

Hmm, it's taken us 15 years, to blog 3 consecutive issues of Thor.

Starting with #236 in 2007, then #237 three years later. Moreover, we brought up Kamo Tharn (or Tharnn) a bit ago, and I'm sure you've been clamoring to see his first appearance...I don't care, we're doing this anyway. From 1975, Thor #235, "Who Lurks Beyond the Labyrinth!" Written by Gerry Conway, pencils by John Buscema, inks by Joe Sinnott. 

Y'know, when Thor gets stuck in the rain, he's only got himself to blame, right? Actually, he's moping, since Jane Foster was fading fast. Losing his temper, he knocks a chunk off the side of the roof, then has to finesse his hammer to save people from the falling debris. He's not the only one in a sour mood, though, as the returning Absorbing Man was trying--and largely failing--to keep a low profile, so he could put his master plan against Thor into action. (OK, it's a plan, you have to give him that much.)
Thor meets with Odin's Vizier--I feel like he should have a name other than 'Vizier,' but not sure he's ever given one--to discuss Jane's plight: she's seemingly lost a chunk of her soul, the will to live, something. The only hope is hopeless, as the Vizier has sent Hercules and Sif across the universe, in search of the Runestaff of Kamo Tharnn. After fighting through his ape-like guards, they find...what appears to be a blind hobo squatting in a library. There's something more to him, though; as he uses the Runestaff to deafen Herc! But, the staff's blasts aren't enough to keep him down, and he and Sif return to earth with the staff; only to find Thor was fighting the Absorbing Man, who had gotten close enough to touch Mjolnir and imitate its power. Hercules wants to join the fray, but Sif worries Kamo Tharnn could track them down, and they need to use the staff and save Jane now...
While Tharnn's story seems pretty wrapped up in #335, he has turned up since, since he somehow gets Elder of the Universe status. Somehow. I want to say he's in Englehart's Silver Surfer, but had to check: he wasn't one of the Elders bodied by Thanos in Thanos Quest. Also this issue: a John Severin Sgt. Fury Marvel Value Stamp and a Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation: Paid circulation, actual number of copies of single issue published nearest to filing date, 230,311.
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Wednesday, August 03, 2022

"Grog."

This was originally scheduled for mid-February, when we got Quasar and knocked a quick post out with him; and the next three strips were already scheduled. They were sequential, this one wasn't, figured I could bank it. And while I'm on vacation seems like the time to use it!

Man, I almost wish Hasbro would make a new Blob figure, so Nightcrawler could try to cram that shark in it!  

But, I just had to go back through my year-to-date figures, since the last month or two has felt dry. Possibly because I have a ton of stuff on preorder, that'll show whenever it goddamn feels like. Whenever I preorder from Target, for example, it never shows up in one batch. As I type this, I think Vulcan and Siryn showed up two weeks ago, and I haven't bothered to open them? OK, I'm kind of waiting to build Bonecrusher, but that still doesn't feel great. 

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Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Like many Conan comics from this time, this one definitely falls under the 'bought three times' rule, so better get to it! From 1984 , Conan #163, "Cavern of the Vines of Doom!" Written by Michael Fleisher, pencils by John Buscema, inks by Charles Vess. Great cover by Ernie Chan!
Conan and his one-armed pal Fafnir are riding through the countryside after a recent earthquake, when they come across a village about to burn an innocent-looking blonde at the stake. Usually Conan would rush right in, but he was slightly older and wiser here, leaving that to Fafnir; perhaps feeling his friend had lost some sense with his arm. The rescue goes well enough, although Fafnir is a little groggy afterwards, and they stop at a stream. Conan notices, but can't quite believe, that as the girl Krylxxa (obviously a millennial...) wades in the water, the water level seems to go down? There's no time to consider that, as Krylxxa is then attacked by a bear: Fafnir leaps in but gets swatted away, while Conan has to wrestle it and snap its neck. Krylxxa still only has eyes for Fafnir, though. That night, Conan excuses himself to "get some firewood," somehow not giving Fafnir the Hyperborean thumbs-up; but while Krylxxa makes her move, Fafnir gets groggy again, and worries that in losing his arm he's also lost his...ahem...virility.
On their way to return Krylxxa to her village, they pass a smith owned by a family Fafnir knew. The blacksmith and his sons greet him cooly, claiming not to know him, or even have horseshoes. Thinking it a joke, Fafnir checks the chest for horseshoes--and finds the bodies of the smith and his sons! The replacements attack, although Krylxxa implores them not to hurt her love: Conan and Fafnir defeat them, but they don't bleed blood, but...water? Conan had heard Krylxxa, and suspects she knows more than she was letting on, but Fafnir defends her. Then, in the caverns, they were attacked by her 'people,' green potato-like lumps! Conan and Fafnir are captured, and are subjected to an exposition drop: The lumps were an intelligent race that existed alongside the dinosaurs, but had retreated underground when the climate changed. Centuries later, most avoided sunlight, but some had taken to the surface with an old power: to kill something or someone, and take its form. Krylxxa had killed a serving girl, but felt so bad about it she never wanted to take another life. She also explains her 'exhalations' were good for plants but bad for people, explaining Fafnir's groggy spells.
The lumps don't have any grudge against Conan or Fafnir, but can't have them tell anyone about them, and tie them up with vines. Conan manages to break free, and Krylxxa joins their escape: she won't leave Fafnir, even though leaving the caverns would mean her death if she didn't suck the life out of something else. She asks Fafnir to look away, as she dies and wilts into her true form. Fafnir says she isn't really dead, as long as his heart is beating; Conan seems less sentimental. 

Weirdly, we've seen Conan vs. body snatcher-types before; and I'd almost wager you could probably find some more like that if you read a ton of issues. Better get started!
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Monday, August 01, 2022

Surprisingly, I didn't have to buy another copy of this.

It's got a cameo of my favorite character, but this issue is dark. Well, that might not be entirely accurate; but it's definitely not sunshine and lollipops--damnit, that's half-wrong, too. Let's just see: from 1984, Micronauts: the New Voyages #3, "In the Country of the Blind!" Written by Peter B. Gillis, pencils by Kelley Jones, inks by Bruce Patterson. The cover blurb is "Spawn!" Um, not that one.
This one starts out cheerily enough, with Bug playing a holographic chess game with Nightcrawler--or at least a hologram of him, that switches to Wolverine after Bug beats the computer. Despite multiple encounters across the Marvel universe in their first series, aside from the Beyonder appearance in #16 (the mandated Secret Wars II crossover) I believe this was the only time Marvel characters would show up in New Voyages. In hindsight, I can't help but wonder if that hurt sales. Bug also makes an offhand comment to Commander Rann, asking if this meant there wasn't going to be any good bars in the section of space they were exploring; that would be reiterated by a later letter-writer, noting the book's transition from Star Wars style space adventure, to a slightly harder sci-fi.
Rann is puzzled, since this section of the Microverse had traditional planets orbiting suns; not the molecule-chain shaped worlds they were familiar with. (Rann had explored the Microverse for about 1,000 years; apparently seeing molecule-worlds the whole time?) Meanwhile, Marionette has just smashed the hell out of Endeavor II's sickbay. While looking for a possible cybernetic replacement for Rann's recently severed hand, she instead found the legacy of Baron Karza: body banks, filled with organs harvested, willingly or unwillingly, from the citizens of Homeworld. ('Willingly' isn't exactly accurate, 'lost gambling' would be closer.) Mari is distraught, and Rann gives Biotron an earful. Biotron points out the body banks were standard issue: Karza had ruled the Microverse for a thousand years or so, and what was the point of throwing the parts out now? Especially since the Micronauts need--Rann cuts him off, not about to hear it, and disappointed this new Biotron didn't seem to share the principles of his fallen friend.
In the engine room, Acroyear was not especially comfortable with the ship's new power source, an alien egg. (Not the facehugger kind...hopefully.) He discusses Huntaar's recent mutation with him: while Karza had turned him into a living weapon, an alien intelligence had now made him "a living sculpture or painting." Huntaar found a peace in it. Later, Rann decides to take the crew down to check out a planet, mostly just to get off the ship for a bit. His announcement wakes Mari from an uneasy sleep, but she doesn't notice blood on her pillow...unsettling. That scene creeped me right out when I read this originally!
The alien planet doesn't have a great atmosphere, and seems oddly bright; forcing the 'Nauts except Huntaar to wear survival armor, another remnant of Baron Karza's. (It would be like Luke or Leia having to wear Stormtrooper armor somewhere! Also, they seemed to have a variety of sizes.) The alien life seems to be coating itself with a mercury-like reflective layer, and when Bug tries to take a plant sample, a laser is reflected back at him! Meanwhile, back on Endeavor II, Biotron and Microtron clean up the carnage in sickbay, and worry about their masters: with the exception of Huntaar, they were all dying of radiation sickness taken the previous issue. The 'bots had considered replacing everyone's organs in their sleep, since they would never have taken replacements willingly. Without them, the Micronauts would be dead within days.
If not sooner: after larger, bug-like creatures damage their shuttle, the 'Nauts realize the atmosphere of the planet amplifies light into lasers. Which could maybe recharge Endeavor II, if sunrise wasn't coming up! Rann calls the 'bots to pick them up, and hurry; but then the ground shifts as colossal solar panels shift towards the sun. The shuttle is brought in by a metal grapple, as Endeavor II is caught in the laser sunrise...! 

The radiation sickness subplot had a few more issues to go, and while it was rather harrowing, in retrospect it was practically a cakewalk compared to later issues. The only lighthearted issue of the series was #6, which, while fun, was largely imaginary and still had radiation sickness lingering over it!
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Friday, July 29, 2022

As I write this, I just turfed it on my bike, and I'm typing to make sure my hand doesn't lock up! I'm also trying to recall if this was the last comic I bought at the last show: I don't think so, but it was in my car for some time, anyway. Fortunately, it doesn't have a fancy cover; those do not take the heat well. From 2016, Green Lanterns #7, "Family Matters, part one: Kitchen Nightmares" Written by Sam Humphries, art by Ronan Cliquet.
We saw the next issue some time back, but today Jessica battles her anxiety as she...has to hang out with her partner Simon and his family. Jessica tries to nope out, but Simon manages to persaude her to stick around and help him with the ma'amoul, Lebanese cookies. Who amongst us could resist cookies? Meanwhile, their guest Guardian, Rami, continues his weird mediation in the guest room, as Simon's nephew Farid takes advantage. If that kid had found a sharpie that would've showed on blue skin, Rami would've had a mustache and black eye that would've lasted a thousand years...
Simon also has a freakout, when the ma'amoul doesn't turn out: Jessica points out that's usually her speciality; but Simon's actually nervous about his mom. While she was super-demanding and eventually drove him to rebel (and get in some trouble he wasn't proud of) his mom was still his hero, and he wished he was a better son, like one that could make some damn cookies. Jessica wonders if being a superhero wasn't more impressive, but whatever, they have power rings! With some creative substitutions, they manage to get a couple batches into the oven; then she encourages Simon not to worry about who he used to be, show mom who he was now.
And Simon does, greeting his mom in full uniform: she immediately asks if he's going trick-or-treating with the nephew. Maybe not the best time, but she comes around; even if she's a little disappointed he has to cover his handsome face. But enough home life, as Rami awakens, blurts out "the Dominators are coming!" and takes off... 

Sometimes I think about the history courses I've taken in my life, and how they were across the board utterly useless. What do I know about Lebanon and its culture? Just about nothing! Maybe history should start with cookies: these are the sweets people in this area make, because these ingredients are what's in the neighborhood, and here's when and why they have them, and go from there. People pay more attention to cookies, and I think just establishing that everybody across the world likes cookies or whatnot would humanize them more than just some blotch on a map.
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Thursday, July 28, 2022

This is another mini-series not unlike DC's Sword of the Atom, in that I feel like I buy it every time I come across a cheap issue, but I may or may not have a full run floating around anywhere. For all I know, I could have twelve copies of today's book: from 1986, Solomon Kane #3, "Blades of the Brotherhood" Adapted by Ralph Macchio, from the story by Robert E. Howard, pencils by Bret Blevins, inks by Al Williamson. Cover by Bill Sienkiewicz.
Lurking on a beach in England, Solomon Kane meets young hothead Jack Hollinster, who is sour over winning a duel without killing local blackheart Sir George Banway: Banway had been badmouthing his girl Mary, while also coveting her for himself. Kane has been eyeballing a ship, barely visible from shore, that may or may not belong to Jonas Hardraker, aka the Fishhawk--"Hardraker" seems like a cooler name, man. Kane is hoping to settle an old score, and is probably only half paying attention to Jack.
Later that night, both Jack and Mary are separately, and easily, duped into going out to the Banway place. Banway plans on keeping Mary for two months, then turning her over to Hardraker, who would also dump Jack's body somewhere it would never wash up. The poor couple needs an act of God to save them, and get it with the arrival of Kane, who had been hunting Hardraker for two years: he had killed the young daughter of a friend of his, driving him mad with grief. With no other family to avenge the daughter, Kane took up the job; as Hardraker calls him "Sir Galahad." Kane is more than willing to just shoot him, but Hardraker argues with the "Puritan" that he deserves a chance: Kane gives it to him, one-on-one, with knives. Jack and Mary are freed, and cover the other pirates with pistols, as Kane and Hardraker fight: Kane makes short work of him.
When the other pirates make a try for it, Kane, Jack, and Mary are forced to flee; and Mary is quickly recaptured by Banway, who walks off a point-blank pistol shot. Jack manages to catch up with them on the beach, as the other pirates don't hang around. Jack fights well, but Banway had been wearing armor under his shirt--probably at the duel as well, which wouldn't have been cricket--and Jack breaks his sword. Banway thinks he's going to be able to murder Jack and have his way with Mary, but may have forgotten Kane, who stabs him in the face: "When a man sets foot on the adder, he asks not its size." 

Although the couple wish Kane would stick around, he's got the Lord's work to do: walk the earth, slam evil, etc. Which is a lot like Caine in Kung Fu, come to think of it. I really like Bret Blevins' art, but I don't think he ever did a long run on anything I read: probably had some of his New Mutants issues at some point, though.
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Wednesday, July 27, 2022

"Dibs."

...Does anyone still say "Dibs"? I don't think I've ever heard it in real life! Jake saying it, well, maybe. Especially if he's just Marc Spector's idea of what a cabbie talks like. 

Tigra was an actual cat for a bit, wasn't she? That seems potentially darker than the Void. If she hadn't been cat-sized at the time, I shudder to think what her bodycount would've been. "Dark Quasar" could potentially be the biggest bad of all: in that vein, I loved Adam Warren's Dirty Pair: Fatal but not Serious. A bad guy activates Yuri's clone, tells her this was a simulation, go kill the Dirty Pair. 'Bad' Yuri asks, what are the parameters? How hard should she go? The bad guy doesn't care, which gives her a blank check for mayhem: since she thinks it's a sim, she doesn't have to worry about property damage, innocent bystanders, common decency; she can do whatever to complete the mission. And taking those restraints off, she goes hard. Quasar, without any morality? Could be scary!

Namor didn't just fall out of the last shot; I think he would not be as sentimental as the rest. Even if he thought he would forget, he doesn't care enough to remember. On the other hand, Jake probably seems the toughest, but is pure marshmallow inside. Cries at movies, sad pet videos, etc. 
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