Friday, May 31, 2024

I don't know that I have any jokes for Zabu; I just wanted him!

Super behind schedule all week, and tomorrow is the Lilac City Comicon! I had time to put Zabu together, though. We'll check back next week, and see what we get. Have a good weekend! Read more!

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Pluto TV started their Universal Monsters channel a couple months back, and ever since it's been on in the background here most of that time. Lon Chaney's Larry Talbot/the Wolf Man is probably my favorite, but even some of the lesser lights have their moments: I kinda like the 1941 gorilla-suit number the Monster and the Girl. A mild-mannered church organist tries to save his sister when she's forced into prostitution in the big city (!) but gets framed for murder and sentenced to death. Some scientists ask if they can have his brain when he's, y'know, done using it; and transplant it into a gorilla; who later goes on a murder spree against the crooked D.A. and untouchable mobsters. One of the 'tough-guys,' a sneering gunsel, freaks out after a couple bodies are found, crushed into pulp: "I don't wanna be mangled!" Fearing the gunsel had lost his nerve and might talk, the bosses are forced to have him, 'taken care of,' but yeah, still gets mangled.
Actually, I was going to talk about Dracula, since that channel runs a good-sized block of it: they start with the 1931 Bela Lugosi version, then the 1979 Frank Langella Dracula (which has music by the great John Williams, which just feels wrong!) then the 1931 Spanish Dracula, that was filmed nights with Lugosi's. Also, sometime in the last couple months, I know Svengoolie ran the Jack Palance TV movie from 1974. So I've seen or read more than a few versions of Dracula, but partially because it varies, I always forget what happens to Jonathan Harker. He's more central in some tellings, but I usually think when he goes to Transylvania, he's not coming back out. Let's see how he does today! From 1976, Marvel Classics Comics #9, "Dracula" Adapted from the novel by Bram Stoker, script by Naunerle Farr, art by Nestor Redondo. Cover by Gil Kane, in the classic Marvel style!
This was actually a reprint, from an 1973 English adaptation. (Which I thought predated Marvel's Tomb of Dracula, but no!) Per one source, out of 36 issues of this series, 12 of them were reprints from other publishers. It has the square, typeset-style word balloons that probably seem weird to American readers, but is otherwise a pretty good retelling of the story. Harker does survive; after his encounter with Dracula's three women, he manages to climb out of the castle, but is unsure if any of that actually happened when he wakes up in a hospital later. Hey, the Demeter referred to by name! I feel like it either wasn't, or a different name was used in the '31 movie; I still want to see Last Voyage of the Demeter.
Mind you, I don't know if most versions have a sequence straight-up outlining Dracula's powers like this, but you know what, for comics that's pretty standard, right? Anyway, I liked seeing a more classic Dracula: I know Marvel's in the middle of a big vampire thing, but they're still using the red armor look, which has to be 'inspired' by 1992's Bram Stoker's Dracula; and I don't think anybody likes it. At all. It's been around 15 years, and hasn't won me over yet. Read more!

Wednesday, May 29, 2024


Maybe close to the beginning of April, I mentioned I was waiting for the 'clearance' prices for Karnak and Marvel Boy to go down, and about 4/20 they did! I bought them, and Kamala, for $10 each: the prices weren't even changed on their boxes, but they rang up cheaper, so OK! I may or may not have been able to hold out further, but we'll see in a month or so. Surprisingly, that puts me pretty close to completing the Totally Awesome Hulk BaF: close enough that I'd shop pieces around on eBay or Mercari, but I haven't made headway there yet. (Note to self: I'm missing the head and the left leg.)

So, Kamala is mostly here because she was bought at the same time as Noh-Varr: I don't think they've interacted in the comics yet. But, I also wanted to have her get to do something fun, since I've previously written her as a bit of a scold here: a little too earnest. I don't know that she'd actually go out with Noh-Varr either, but I'm not sure she is. 
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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

This month, Conan vs. climate change.

I swear I didn't alter that panel; and I'm willing to bet they got letters on that one. From 1982, Savage Sword of Conan #72, "The Colossus of Shem" Written by Bruce Jones, pencils by John Buscema, inks by Ernie Chan.
A humble farmhouse, and some humble farmers, are squashed flat by something giant; while Conan makes plans to ride to Zamora, in search of a rumored buried treasure. He's mildly dismayed when the countryside, which should be lush and green, is far drier than usual; then when the rabble of a small town try to kill his horse, so they can drink its blood--not in a vampire kind of way, they were just desperate to drink anything. Conan escapes into the parched land, later finding the crushed farmhouse, and saving a girl trapped within. Elsewhere, in a verdant park, a group of youngsters play ball, until they accidentally lose it over the forbidden wall...
Conan and the girl, Larna, press on, finding a footprint of a massive creature. After fighting off more thirsty bandits, Conan leaves her with a group of farmers on a search for a hidden city that might have water. Which might be Founton, a city worshipping a turtle statue, which young Sarla is starting to question: she is cast out, and Dhan jumps after her, since he didn't think she deserved that. Dhan finds himself in a desert, face to face with a god--no, just a surly Conan. Together, they later catch up with a group that's found the hidden city, which resembles Founton but Dhan thinks it couldn't be: his city never welcomed strangers. The hidden city Rhoulan is run by another hooded priest like Founton was, who had an army of demons he used to enslave workers, but lived in fear of his estranged brother, and a giant tortoise that destroyed his old city. (Conan's escape is aided by a slave girl, who I think was supposed to be Larna but is called Gina here!)
Later, Conan and Dhan find Sarla, then are set upon by a massive tortoise that makes Gamera look like a hatchling! Why its trying to kill them is unclear, they were tiny; but leading it away from the kids, Conan manages to lure it into charging off a cliff. (Hey, it worked in Tremors!) He's then further surprised to discover, within the wreckage, the now-demolished city of Founton! He finds the dying priest, who explains their city was built to wander the desert, living off the wells there, but must have gone off-course and sucked the land dry in its wake. Conan plays messiah for a bit, leading the survivors to a new life in a not-mobile city; where they might have to work a bit more, but they'd get by. Read more!

Monday, May 27, 2024

I was reading this back in the day, but was surprised to stumble across a copy in a dollar bin the other week: from 2001, Deadpool #53, "Talk of the Town, part 2" Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Buddy Scalera, pencils by Anthony Williams, inks by Andy Lanning. Cover by J.H. Williams III, which feels like he's slumming?
This was between Priest and Simone's runs, back when Deadpool was just a mid-range book chugging along; and this was the conclusion of a two-parter with Pool vs. a pair of murderous schoolgirls. And it's largely played straight? There's some sarcastic remarks, but that's about it. In the previous issue, the Mercy Sisters sandwiched Pool--with cars, you perverts--and while he was pretty wrecked, so was one of the sisters, who sadly lacked a healing factor of her own. Pool manages to drag himself to the subway, then home, and then orders a wheelchair and some help from friendly nurse Veronica, who Wade confronts: she was really his longtime on-and-off girlfriend Vanessa, a.k.a. Copycat.
The uninjured sister has to put down the hurt one when the cops get too close, then Pool plays a bit of Rear Window while goading her into position to blow her head off. The sisters are shown to have a substantial body count, and one kills a dog as a distraction here, so you don't feel too bad when they get it. But, the next issue set-up is interesting, as the will of Ma Gnucci is read, leaving everything to her nephew, if he whacks whoever killed her...the Punisher! I'm 60% sure the nephew could've contested that; I don't think you can make an illegal act a condition of a will. Which would probably make for a less-interesting comic, granted. Read more!

Friday, May 24, 2024

Feels like he was more interested in writing A.I.M. than the Avengers; or evil Avengers more than that.

This issue had two covers: you could either get the one I got, with the Avengers fighting a giant Super-Adaptoid; or one with Thanos and his crew. Neither of which are in this issue; so we're not off to a great start here. From 2014, Avengers #27, "Only Dirt...Six Feet Deep" Written by Jonathan Hickman, art by Salvador Larroca. This was a stretch when they had recap page, a sort-of diagram of the available team members, and a title/credits page.
There are Super-Adaptoids in this one, just not in that classic form; and I wouldn't have recognized Superia either, as she and Advanced Idea Mechanics seem to have been rummaging around through the multiverse for interesting crap, and found themselves the Avengers. Ant-Man is killed in the fight, but don't worry: these are Avengers from an eee-vil universe; as we see when Dr. Banner interviews their Mr. Banner, who confesses that he's a (semi)-lobotomized sociopath, that his teammates took turns controlling, but maybe wasn't entirely blameless either. While A.I.M. makes plans to fix their mistake, the Avengers have engaged the Avengers: the alt-Iron Man is quickly revealed as a "monster," Jarvis; who in his timeline killed the Starks after the first armor was built. Alt-Thor is a jerk, who asks regular Thor to join him in subjugating the world, but is caught from behind by Hyperion. Captains America and Marvel face "General America," who at least doesn't seem to be a Nazi, just evil.
A.I.M. catches the whole lot of them in a time bubble, then gathers up the evil Avengers (although I'm fairly sure they've grabbed our Hulk by mistake) to cover their involvement. And back on A.I.M. Island, the Adaptoids seem to have started their own mission of multiverse exploration, which seems a noble enough goal but is probably going to immediately go south. 

Also this issue: a bonus book of All-New Invaders #1. I thought Robinson had a good handle on Jim Hammond; who is hiding out but maybe not in a good place at the start of this one. Then, a Kree attacks him, and forces him to have a flashback to events he doesn't remember, including a fight against Hela and the death of his teammate, Major Liberty...? Refreshingly, I don't think the answer for that one was "the multiverse," for a change.

Hey, this is the 18th anniversary of this stupid blog! Even if we're not here today; thanks to everyone who's ever stopped by. 
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Thursday, May 23, 2024

I'm going to be out of the office for a couple days, so we're leaning heavily on the random part of our method, with a dollar book picked up last Friday, featuring a character I can't believe I have two action figures of: from 1977, Amazing Spider-Man #173, "If You Can't Stand the Heat..." Written by Len Wein, pencils by Ross Andru, inks by Jim Mooney.
I don't know what was going down the previous issue yet, but Spidey is trying to get out of the basement of apparently the most hardcore hospital on the eastern seaboard, as he gets shot by a security guard, then nearly dropped by a doctor taking "mail-order kung-fu lessons!" He had good form, although why is everyone so mad at Spidey? (Actually, this just reminded me of the World is Not Enough, which I don't think is anybody's favorite Bond film; but Bond is fairly injured at the start, which does little to level the playing field against him.) The web-slinger barely escapes, and considers this the Molten Man's fault--which sounds like a super-villainy thing to say. "Curse you, Molten Man! This is all your fault!" Meanwhile, across town at a pharmaceutical company, the Molten Man has broken in, and forces a lab tech to be his hands: he was too hot to handle chemicals himself. The tech does a good job for him, but the injection they prepare only restores Mark Raxton to normal for a moment.
Across town, Spidey's supporting cast has just picked up Liz Allen from jail--Joe "Robbie" Robertson fronted her bail, good guy. And the cops come to get her again, but not for anything she did, but because Mark Raxton was threatening to blow up a pharmaceutical building unless he spoke with Liz. (Oh, now you need my help? Blow.) A wounded Peter gets a call from Robbie, to go get pictures; and puts together why Liz had been arrested: she had been taking chemicals for Mark. Liz bravely goes in, to see her step-brother, who believes he was dying, and didn't want to die alone. Spidey sneaks in as well, but the radiant heat weakens the ceiling, and he falls; and the Molten Man is more than willing to throw down with his old foe. MM gets knocked into tanks of liquid oxygen, which then blow: Spidey's hurt arm was useless, and Liz was nearly knocked out. Spidey saves Liz, despite Mark's protests: he wanted to be the one to save her, to die with him? Kind of a mixed message there, but he's pretty distraught, before he eventually explodes, after a proclamation about forcing Liz to steal, that no one could have possibly heard but let's pretend they did.
Liz feels like she had killed her step-brother, and runs off into the night, leaving her future husband Harry crying about being alone. Geez, make it all about you, Harry. Mark would of course return, more than once; and while he often seems like a lug that had been put into a bad situation, there might be a bit more edge to him than this issue shows. Read more!

Wednesday, May 22, 2024


I think I mentioned before that we got Marvel Boy, right? Eh, he's okay. Better than that "Protector" figure he got, anyway; although it feels weird to have two figures of him. 

 Also, despite having once been very into music, I don't think I've ever been to Pitchfork? Huh.
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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

While I often pick up random issues of Marvel Comics Presents to blog later; this one I picked up because it had an interesting cover. One of them, anyway: the Vengeance/War Machine cover is almost interchangeable with the next issue's cover! I wasn't expecting the stories within to be...kind of grotty? From 1994, Marvel Comics Presents #167.
Strangely enough, once again we blogged the next issue some time back, but I didn't even scan a page of the conclusion to the Spider-Woman serial? This issue is the second of three parts, and I think it wraps up pretty quickly in the next one, but this chapter is deeply creepy, as Julia Carpenter drives to pick up her daughter, while her stalker makes the same drive to kill her, shooting her in front of her daughter. She doesn't seem to have a secret identity anymore, so this happens immediately? Julia also has a completely human reaction to a gun in her face; that a guy super-hero would never ever have in a comic; and I think the stalker's face isn't shown the whole serial, to make the point that it could be anyone, but seems like its making him more than he was...I don't like this one. "The Great American Mall Shoot-Out, part 2 of 3," written by Nel Yomtov, pencils by John Czop, inks by Tim Dzon.
I don't know if he did any other comic work, but Paul Johnson did the cover I liked, and art for a Man-Thing serial: "Behold, the Man, conclusion" Written by Simon Jowlett, art by Paul Johnson. The Man-Thing rampages through the characters of a blocked writer, a writer named...Ted Sallis? Ted seemingly breaks through the illusion, returning to the reality of being a mindless swamp monster. Pyrrhic victory there.
"Old-Time Religion" sets up a War Machine vs. Vengeance fight, as a televangelist stirs up bad feelings, and gangs based on War Machine and Vengeance tear up Los Angeles. The "Revengers" are described as "wanting vengeance for the riots that swept L.A." which makes me think they might be kinda racist? Vengeance tries to talk them down, which fails miserably; although I'm not sure a Ghost Rider-type like that ever even tried talking things through before, but of course War Machine isn't interested in listening, either. (Written by Chris Cooper, breakdowns by Reggie Jones, finishes by Fred Harper.)
Lastly, the conclusion of a Turbo two-parter, guest-starring the Pantheon: they wanted to see if whoever wearing the Turbo-suit could be trusted with it, and while they don't think the guy Mike could, they're more impressed with the girl, Mickey. She was so much better at it, and still improving; while I think Mike would later be revealed to be a Dire Wraith or something. ("Cutting Class," written by Evan Skolnick, pencils by Guy Dorian, inks by John Stokes.) Read more!

Monday, May 20, 2024

The Watcher is here; in his traditional role as hype man.

Not to disparage the writers or letterers, but the preview for this issue, without word balloons, was more fun; because it really made it look like Kurt was mmmmmaybe pretending to be more hurt than he was, so Psylocke wouid hold him. Oh, the pain! From 2006, Uncanny X-Men #473, "Family Lies! The First Foursaken, part 2 of 3" Plot by Chris Claremont, script by Tony Bedard, pencils by Roger Cruz, inks by Victor Olazaba.
This was nearing the end of Claremont's third, and final, run on Uncanny; which I had mostly enjoyed but had maybe been spinning its wheels for a bit. Kurt's squad, with Psylocke, Rachel, Bishop and...ugh...Cannonball; up against the very, very hyped-up Jamie Braddock. The Watcher appears--and allows himself to be seen, before dropping a bunch of exposition, which feels like they're really trying to sell Jamie as a dangerous, unstoppable force of nature, and nah. Jamie also has a posse, his old crew of bad kids and hangers-on, that have powers too; and they all have very Claremont British names like "Godfrey Calthrop," and I'm kind of hoping Chris named them after brats he knew in school. There's a big sky beam, which I guess would've been novel back then and hadn't appeared in like 90 movies yet? (Watch a bunch of Honest Trailers and drink every time there's a sky beam!) There's ghostly salamanders that can pull someone's spirit out of their body; and there's another Claremont standard, as Kurt realizes Jamie has made Psylocke invisible to his old crew, so she can stop them? But everyone gets sucked into a vortex in the end...There's a blurb for "Loose Ends!" next issue, but the letters page is already hyping up #475 and new writer Ed Brubaker. (Enh...)
Also, this was back when Nightcrawler had pretty strict limitations to his powers, that seem to have completely fallen by the wayside in the years since? There's an episode of X-MEN '97, where Cyclops says "Kurt can teleport us (from the mansion) to Muir Island," and I blurted out "HE'S NOT A ####ING BUS, SCOTT." Read more!

Friday, May 17, 2024

There's next year's Halloween costume right there!

This story made me wonder if the Beagle Boys had acheived folk-hero status in Duckberg, as dressing up like a burglar doesn't seem to raise any eyebrows. Then again, I don't think I've ever seen a devil costume outside of an old Three Stooges. From 1990, Walt Disney's Donald Duck Adventures #7, "It's in the Bag!" Story and art by William Van Horn.
A not-so-friendly bet goes predictably awry, as Donald bets the nephews he could get scads more candy then them at Halloween. The boys scoff that Donald couldn't lug a pound of candy around without collapsing from exhaustion, and it's on: Donald throws on a handy devil suit, from when he was a tamale salesman in La Jolla...are we sure this isn't Daredevil's secret origin? Donald gets 'trick' repeatedly, from locals who think he's too old to be trick-or-treating. When outright theft fails, Donald is forced to change tactics, and tries to hit up the upper-crust section of town...where a burglar is already making the scene! A fun one, where Donald comes up on top in the end.
Another burglar strikes, in "Bedtime Spooks," then it's first aid vs. archaeology in "Duck-ankhamen," where the boys tape Donald up like a mummy to get their Junior Woodchuck badges-slash-shut him up for five seconds. Donald then falls into a dig, proving a local professor's pet theory about a connection between ancient Egypt and Duckberg...somehow. The details are still fuzzy, but a mummy's pretty good proof, right? And the safety pin, why, that's been around for...thousands of years...Someone is so fired. (Dialogue by Bob Foster, art by Vicar.) Read more!