Tuesday, October 31, 2023

How long is Don Quixote; I really should just read that now.

We'll see if this post ends up on Halloween, or something else: I ended up taking some time off, but I have to have my pipes reamed or something...that's not a metaphor, my kitchen sink's been clogged up for days, and drain cleaner has done nothing but fill my house with the refreshing odor of drain cleaner. I feel like I watched a ton of horror movies, but not sure any really knocked my socks off. (So Sweet...So Perverse, When Evil Lurks, and the Night Strangler were probably the last few; although I watched the Puppetman after those, and it wasn't bad!) Is this an appropriately Halloween book? Sure, why not? From 1975, Weird War Tales #37, "The Three Wars of Don Q.!" Written by Arnold Drake, art by Leopoldo Duranona.
Pre-WWII, recently fired war correspondent Nick Taylor discovers German soldiers secretly fighting in the Spanish civil war, which would be the kind of scoop that could get him his job back, if he can avoid getting murdered. Hiding out in a castle's crypt, he meets a strange little man that claims to be Sancho Panza, and he believes Nick to be Don Quixote! (We've mentioned it before here, but I still don't think I've read the actual original.) Sancho has a moment where it seems like he's going to murder the false Don, but shakes it off, since they have to ride against the Moors in the morning. After getting armored up, Nick tries to protest that he wasn't Don Quixote, but Sancho ignores that, and gives him "the talisman of the horned cat!" that Quixote had got when he saved a witch's life. Neat, but can that help him...?
Sancho sees a Moorish "falcon of war" coming for them: it's really a German fighter plane, although Nick even seems to see it as a falcon, when he takes a run to throw a spear at it. And takes it down, which even Nick considers unlikely. He then sees a 'dragon,' that then returns to the form of a German tank, which Nick also takes out; but he and Sancho are then captured. That's no big deal, though, since the talisman can get them out, like it always does--and it does, seemingly teleporting them to freedom, or the local equivalent, in the 15th century...After fighting some Moors, Nick and Sancho are again captured, but the talisman saves them from execution; this time taking them to the future, 3254!
Humanity was long gone by that point; and Nick gets dragged into a war between two groups of apes and such, with a scheme to use an old King Kong display to plead for peace. He realizes the apes weren't trying to bring about peace for its own sake, but so they could rule; and Nick destroys their time scanner and sends himself and Sancho back to 1938. Well, himself, anyway: Sancho and the talisman have seemingly aged to nothingness when he wakes up. He rushes to a phone, to call in his story; only to be told he was too late: it was now 1939, and he had lost an entire year! Nick's old boss as much as calls him a drunk; but that was a pretty loopy story and I can't blame him. 

The blurb on the cover proclaims this issue "Special! An Unusual Full-Length War Novel!" which I don't think the book did often. Which might be just as well, this reads like a fever dream.
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Monday, October 30, 2023

I couldn't even guess how many times I've watched the Evil Dead movies--I know I watched ED2 the other day! And I've probably seen Re-Animator and its sequels a few times as well. Perfect time for this, then! From 2022, The Army of Darkness versus Reanimator: Necronomicon Rising #5, written by Erik Burnham, art by Eman Cassallos. I got the Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 tribute cover, but there were 4 others for this issue alone!
I read the first couple series when they came out, then later got a ton of these on digital from Humble Bundle, and can't recall if I've read this particular series...probably? Look, a lot of the Army of Darkness/Evil Dead books have a bit of a formula: Ash lands somewhere new, makes a few enemies, maybe a few friends, the Deadites show up and probably eat all of them, and Ash gets sent to the next exotic location. The hook for this series was Herbert West--the Reanimator--gets his hands on the Necronomicon; and horror ensues into the future, where an unkillable and even more insane version of West is a science tyrant. Ash is forced to play the curse card: he 'drops' the Necronomicon, then hammily plays up that he'll get it back and nothing can stop him, which of course brings Deadites out of the woodwork after it.
Ash and a girl--I don't think I saw her name this issue, but she gets possessed by a Deadite, after opening a time portal. Ash kills her, but ends up stuck in medieval times again. (Possibly for like the third or fifth time in the comic continuity!) Tyrant West is left to the tender mercies of the Deadites, but a younger version of West is also transported through time, ending up at Miskatonic University in Massachusetts--in 1928! Well, that just frees him up to continue his experiments; he cared about little else.
(Why were both of these comics on top of my scanner?) These are usually a bit of fun: I know I got this and part of the crossover with Bubba Ho-Tep in a big order from Midtown Comics; so every so often I get a few. Those crossovers reminded me, I wouldn't mind reading (or re-reading?) the Darkman crossover: wow, that was from 2007? If the Army of Darkness books had proper numbering, I wonder where they would be now. Careful though; there are variant covers up the wazoo. Don't end up buying the same issues over and over...I haven't yet, which seems more like chance than anything. Read more!

Friday, October 27, 2023

Actually, that does seem like a cool ride!

Hmm. The last few years, I've been taking Halloween off, to spend the day watching horror movies and eating Boo Berry, as God intended. But with it falling on a Tuesday this year, I'm not sure if I'll do that, or something else. In the meantime, why not flip through a horror comic and pretend I planned this? (That would be scary!) From 1975, House of Mystery #238: cover by Luis Dominguez and Bill Draut, which I mention because my copy is terrible: the '8' in '238' is cut off!
The first story is titled "A Touch of Evil," which for some reason got MST3K episode "The Touch of Satan" stuck in my head, but this is more like Twilight Zone episode "What You Need." A shifty grifter forces his girl Evelyn to marry a hick junker, so they can get his hidden cash. The junker brings Evelyn a little present one day, an odd idol with a mysterious inscription: "What you desire, I cannot grant by magic, wish or deed! But this I promise, if I'm yours, I'll give you what you need!" The grifter, pretending to be Evelyn's brother, scoffs, but when the statue is accidentally dropped, it knocks loose a floorboard and they find the money. Coincidence? Maybe. But then while discussing what to do with the junker, a sledgehammer seemingly appears out of nowhere, which obviously means they should use it to knock out a crane bolt, and squash the junker like a bug.
Evelyn then shows a bit more initiative than usual for one of these stories, though: she had taken the money before the grifter could, and bought herself something she had always wanted. A roller coaster! The grifter, furious, later uses the idol, which seemingly shows him coaster tickets, and he lures Evelyn onto the track so she can have a little accident. At this point I'm not sure the idol does anything, these two just might not be super observant. The cops then show up: Evelyn had left a letter, fingering the grifter for the junker's murder, in case something happened to her: wow, sure she died, but again more than a lot of girls got to do in these stories. With the idol, the grifter fights his way out, managing to get a cop's gun at the right time, but he's later gunned down in a running shootout, with his body landing in a coffin at a funeral parlor, exactly what he needed...(Story by Jack Oleck, art by Jess Jodloman.)
Next, typos galore, in "Headlines of Doom!" Written by David Michelinie, art by E.R. Cruz. The sour old editor of a small-town paper is furious with his typesetter: the replacement press they were using was so old Ben Franklin might've used it, and test or no, "Fountain Lion kills Two!" wasn't a great headline. Until, outside the editor sees a horrific accident, as a crane lurches into gear, and knocks a lion off a park fountain--killing two! Coincidence...or...? Yeah, whatever the press prints comes true, but an unfortunate typo comes back to bite the editor in the pass. Er, ass. Cain closes out the story, saying the press was back where it belonged: the House of Mystery, printing up stories! Read more!

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Food $200 Data $150 Rent $800 Gold coatings $295,000 Utility $150 someone who is good at the crime economy please help me budget this.

I think this guy probably committed his first costumed crime, then realized he spent five times as much on his outfit, but shrugged and said something like "you gotta spend money to make money." As someone who can put tons of work into things nobody cares about, I feel that. From 1982, Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #62, "Gold Fever!" Written by Bill Mantlo, pencils by Ed Hannigan, finishes by Jim Mooney.
Prepare your sense of disbelief for a pounding today: the costumed criminal Gold Bug negotiates with the Mafia Maggia for a partnership, and all he has to do is a little gold heist, from some second-rate college science lab. Empire State University sucks, go State! But ESU is getting a veritable ton of gold lent to it, for a science experiment, by a promising researcher: Peter Parker! As a teaching assistant, he had a dismal attendence record, and was currently late for his own experiment, but his department head Dr. Sloan thought his paper on radiation absorption properties of precious metals had promise. Still, while Peter goes on about how important that job and science overall was to him, he spent so much time being Spidey that it was hard not to see his studies as an afterthought. Especially since he also seems like he's there to meet girls, since he's working Marcy Kane and Deb Whitman, before getting to actual work.
While Peter is irradiating the gold...for science reasons? Gold Bug approaches ESU in his Blue Beetle-like ship, and laments his high overhead: he used real gold in all his stuff! Which seems ill-advised, as does his deal with the Maggia: they got 80% of the take; but GB acts like that was his only way forward. Dr. Sloan leaves Peter to finish his work, but before he can de-irradiate the gold (...through science?) Gold Bug smashes the roof in on top of him, pinning him in his radiation suit. Gold Bug then blasts two security guards, then accidentally, Deb Whitman, with his "gold-gun," covering them in a hardened shell of gold dust to suffocate! That seems horrible and wasteful. With a clever resin-plastic carrier, Gold Bug hauls the gold away in his ship; while Peter gets free, throws a spider-tracer on the ship, then scrambles to mix a chemical solution to free the guards and Deb. Dr. Sloan returns and doesn't immediately point fingers, but is dismayed since the gold would have been radioactive enough to kill anyone handling it unprotected. Sounds like a problem that'll fix itself, then!
After the cops finish questioning Peter--that would have been never--Spidey follows his tracer to Gold Bug's hideout, and interrupts his meeting with the Maggia. In the fight, Spidey takes Gold Bug's gloves off, to show him the sores and radiation burns he already had from handling the gold. If Gold Bug is upset by being "poisoned by gold!" the Maggia goons are more so, and gun him down when he goes for his gold-gun. He goes into the river, and seemingly sinks like a stone. A furious Spidey, too late to save him, turns to beat the tar out of the goons, but the cops had turned up by that point, and Spidey seems to spend the rest of the night swimming around, looking for Gold Bug. 

Gold Bug--I'm used to it being 'Goldbug,' but it was the former this issue--is probably best known for a brief appearance in the Civil War comic, where he gets shot by the Punisher. I was a bit more sympathetic to him before this issue: killing someone with that gold-gun seems messed up. I swear I had seen another comic where he went into the water, maybe in a gold-mobile or some stupid thing; but easier to miraculously survive something like that than the Punisher shooting you in the face...
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Wednesday, October 25, 2023


The Agatha Harkness figure doesn't come with her black cat, Ebony; I'm pretty sure that cat came with a Black Cat! But I don't know that we've seen her familiar lately, in any version. I looked it up the other day and I think there was some story where Agatha had to sacrifice Ebony--ah, nuts to that--but the cat would come back. If Agatha's young again, maybe Ebony is too? I was thinking she (he?) would be a fuzzy little kitten, that could probably grow to the size of a house. Getting killed by a giant kitty would doubtless not be fun! 

Also, Agatha's alluding to some current continuity, from the tail end (so to speak!) of Legion of X, where Kurt's foster mom Margali makes yet another alarming heel turn--that's maybe her fourth? I'm not sure Mystique has attacked Kurt that often. And Kurt again has a magic sword he can pull out of himself--which is at least the second time that's happened to him. (I don't plan on playing with that angle as of yet; although if he gets a figure in the Spidey outfit he could be wearing that here for years.) 

Anyway, we may or may not see them at some point, but the other reason I wanted the Agatha figure was she came with two heads (and a big backpack piece!) intended for the Build-a-Figure Hydra Stomper. I was going to take the not-Chris Evans animated Steve not-Cap Rogers head, and put it on one of the two Everett Ross figures I have, to pad out the agent-types. The Hydra Stomper head fits on that body as well, though!
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Tuesday, October 24, 2023

I'm pretty sure this was my second issue of Judge Dredd, but this was Quality: previously I had read Eagle's Judge Dredd #8, and it would be yeeeeeeears before I got to read like that last 8 damn pages of "The Cursed Earth!" But this particular issue was all standalone stories, even if a few referenced past continuity I wouldn't have seen at that point. From 1987, Judge Dredd #7, written by Alan Grant and John Wagner.
"The Greatest Story Ever Told" starts with a cult forming forming around the late Fergie, then escalates to a giant robot Fergie, and ends with a crazed robot programmed by an insane director to finish his epic film. Don't think being a robot will save you from a lengthy sentence! But, I hadn't read the old progs with Fergie yet, nor had I read the tale of Mega-City 1's current mayor, Dave the orangutan. Despite not being able to talk (or perhaps because he couldn't) Dave was an immensely popular figurehead: I don't think the mayor actually had any power or control over the Judges; but he comes to a bad end in "Death of a Politician." (Art for both by Steve Dillon.)
Dredd makes a wellness check on a couple not seen for a couple weeks, and discovers "Something Abnormal about Norman," their robot servant. Who thought they would be happier if they didn't complain all the time, so he strangled them, and they seem much happier now! Dredd is mildly disgruntled when told Norman probably isn't a one-off defect, but a design flaw...probably affecting maybe 14 thousand robots. There's a recall, and Dredd comes down on the head of the robot company, although 10 years for negligent manslaughter feels a bit light: usually, he would be like 10 years, per count, and there were 7 deaths. (Art by Cam Kennedy.)
Lastly, a story featuring Max Normal, one of Dredd's informants. Eh, not great, but it's probably either Brett Ewins or Brendan McCarthy on art. Ah, but the ads throw the doors open for good stuff: Halo Jones, book three! Alan Moore and Alan Davis's D.R. & Quinch's Totally Awesome Guide to Life! Dredd reprints with Bill Sienkiewicz covers! Strontium Dog and Slaine getting their own regular books! And it's a reprint, but there's also a Judge Death special listed; which a brief search didn't turn up online. I know Quality would reprint those stories later, but that looked like a nice package to have them in. The Midnight Surfer book was also hyped, that definitely did come out, but checking this list of Quality titles, maybe that Judge Death didn't make it out the door.
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Monday, October 23, 2023

An action-packed issue, even if Conan spends most of it in bed.

Not that kind of action, pervs! From 1987, Conan the King #39, "The Tower" Per the GCD, written by Don Kraar, pencils by Judith Hunt and Mike Manley, inks by Art Nichols.
The wizard Crassus's attempt to use Conan's son Taurus to kill him has failed, but the king has been grievously injured by a crossbow bolt and couldn't be moved. The witch Zelata gives him a potion to sweat out the poison, and now it was up to Conan if he would live or die. Crassus sends a bunch of demons and devils, to try and shift the balance, and seems to narrate Conan's slow ride down the river to Arallu, or hell.
Conan's jester, Rufio, leads a last-ditch attempt to hold off the demons; then is joined by Conan's daughter Radegund, who wanted to reconcile with her dad before anything happened, and Radegund's new love Deryck, who was trying to get over the fact that Conan had killed his dad. Hearing Radegund's voice helps Conan break free from Crassus's spell, and he wakes up in time for the last push until daybreak, when the demons melt. Deryck asks for Radegund's hand in marriage, and Conan's fine with it: it's not like she'd ever listened to him, good luck, guy.
And in Zingara, Crassus is exhausted and frustrated, before he hears that Taurus had escaped as well. But he wasn't ready to give up yet...I know he wasn't the big-bad for the last few issues of the series, but I'm not sure how much longer he lasted. Or how many more issues Rufio or Deryck had in them, either. Read more!

Friday, October 20, 2023

What do Lone Wolf and Cub and Marvel Adventures Avengers have in common? Well, I've probably got all of both of them, spread out across like four different formats. Today we've got one of the collections that I believe were sold at Target, per the indica: Target Avengers: Mischief, reprinting Marvel Adventures: Avengers #5-8, written by Tony Bedard, pencils by Shannon Gallant, inks by John Stanisci, Cory Hamscher, and Norman Lee.
As always, these are fun, light adventures; with a line-up I kind of like: mainstays Cap, Iron Man, and Janet Van Dyne as Giant-Girl; Wolverine and Storm, Spider-Man and the Hulk. Most of these issues feature Loki, creating foils for the team just to see what would happen: this was pretty close to the Wrecker's usual origin, and he fits into Juggernaut's as Cain Marko's guide "Loquito" and points him at the temple of Cyttorrak. Loki later disguises himself as Cap and the Juggernaut as the Hulk, as they breakout the recently created U-Foes to join their little team. (It's easy when you can pick up four members at once!) Loki leads an attack on Avengers Tower, in a flying middle school (Irving Forbush!) reasoning they wouldn't know what to make of it, until it was too late! Still, Cap works out what Loki wanted--to regain reverance over "twerps" like Spider-Man--and embarrasses him on national TV as a bully.
This collection is a hair bigger than a usual comic, but I also have several of the digest-size books. I didn't have this one, though; in fact I had less of them than I had thought! A lot of that shelf were the later collections which usually spotlighted Spidey, Cap, Iron Man or Thor; or some team-up pairing thereof. But, I have some as they were originally published, as regular comics. I might have to take a bit to re-read the last collection of the series--there was a relaunch afterwards--and the team had added Tigra by that point, which is even better! Read more!

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Call this a cold-cut comic, since it's mostly baloney.

Maybe there was going to be a big reveal later, or maybe the next writer was told to take things in another direction, but a lot of this issue would later be recanted, walked back, or retconned; and that's putting aside the stuff we know is lies! From 2001, Uncanny X-Men #400, "Supreme Confessions" Written by Joe Casey; pencils by Cully Hamner, Ashley Wood, Eddie Campbell, Javier Pulido, and Sean Phillips; inks by Scott Hanna.
The X-Men, in their black leather days, are facing the Church of Humanity, a well-equiped racist militia with more overt religious iconography than usual. They had already murdered most of the mutants working the brothel cheekily titled "X-Ranch" but a survivor, Stacy X, was working with the X-Men: here, she's handling a captured bigot's fancy uniform, and gets teleported away by it.
Wolverine was questioning the bigot, a rank-and-file soldier, who spills the Church's dogma, which wastes art by Eddy Campbell and Sean Phillips. It's a lengthy cock-and-bull story that makes golden plates seem plausible: the man that would become the "Supreme Pontiff" was the child of a frontiersman and a native bride, and they dabbled in the occult and summoned a buffalo-headed "beast from a parallel reflection of reality," who would later murder the frontiersman and seduce the bride. The future pontiff would kill the beast, but "his hatred for all things inhuman was born there." Wolvie is dubious, but the story goes on, with the pontiff somehow getting near-cosmic powers during the industrial revolution. Sure.
Also dubious, is the Supreme Pontiff, as he questions Stacy X, who tells of how her life changed when her mutant powers emerged. She seemingly tells it straight, up to the point where Professor X recruits her as one of the original X-Men! Where she did everything Jean had done, including Cyclops, until she was asked to go undercover (figuratively and literally!) at the X-ranch. Stacy later zaps a guard with her pheromone powers, but the X-Men were already arriving to save her, and tear into the Church's goons. Teleporting in, Nightcrawler gets zapped by the Supreme Pontiff, who seems intrigued that he was "a man of the cloth," and the team finds Kurt unconscious, with no memory of what had happened. Later, back at the mansion, Wolverine tries to comfort his friend: "You ain't an X-Man if you ain't dealing with a memory lapse or two..." Kurt almost hopes he never finds out...
...but he would, when this plotline would be wrapped up about two years later in Uncanny #424, under the book's next writer, Chuck Austen. I think most of the Supreme Pontiff's story, and his powers, were revealed to be a hoax, illusions the Church of Humanity forced a mutant captive to cast. This probably wasn't where Casey was going with it--Austen's plot involved installing Nightcrawler as a priest to create a "false rapture" that the Church would then use to take power and wipe out mutants for good. So this wasn't my favorite run of the book, but compared to what was to come, well... Read more!

Wednesday, October 18, 2023


So I know Agatha Harkness is, well, even younger and hotter looking than this in recent comics, because comics. I was going to say I hadn't read any yet, but that's not true; I guess she was in that Moon Knight Annual, part of Let's You and Them Fight er, Contest of Chaos. I'm not sure why she was doing that, or if there was a narrative reason for her being young again. Still, glad to get her in here before Halloween! Probably more from her next time, even though I don't think anyone calls her "Aggie," of course Ch'od would.

Agatha's referring to Satana's look from Witches in 2004--that long ago?  It was Satana, Jennifer Kale, and Topaz teamed-up, for...reasons? Was that a swipe on Charmed? But, we've mentioned before, Deadpool Team-Up #892 is a load-bearing point of continuity around here; Sat mentions being forced back to her old style, which she's seemingly stuck with ever since.  

I was kidding, but I think Tarantula was hunted by Kraven recently! It maybe involved Kraven gathering up a bunch of assorted animal-themed Spider-Man villains and chasing them around to make himself feel big and making you feel bad when fifth-stringers like the Gibbon get got. I forget if Kraven got completely too swell-headed and went after ostensible teammates like Chameleon, Rhino, or Doc Ock. (Doc Ock would not put up with that crap!) 

Is King Cobra in the wrong for wanting to stick to the tried-and-true theme? The Serpent Society was a business, and had a lot more sunk into marketing and infrastructure, like their snake-saucers and crap. Feel like they wouldn't want to just throw that away like Twitter throwing away "tweets" and everything. I don't know that we've ever seen Constrictor and Tarantula together; but they're at about the same level, so it made sense to me they'd at least be acquainted. (Don't ask if this is the original Tarantula or the later one: I know the Spidey books brought back heaps of dead guys and I think they've definitely lost track over which ones were considered 'clones' and which were considered 'real.')
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