Two Weeks’ Comics

A good batch of comics this week.  Here’s what I’m looking at.

  • 50 GIRLS 50 #1 (OF 4) – Only for Frank Cho.  Only for Frank Cho…
  • ASTONISHING SPIDER-MAN WOLVERINE #6 (OF 6) – I’m missing one issue from being able to dive into this.  I imagine Jason Aaron’s Spider-Man is awesome, because his Wolverine is.
  • BATMAN BEYOND #6 – I’m caught up through BB #4 and enjoying this as much as I did the mini.  Starting off the ongoing with a Justice League appearance was a good call in establishing Terry’s place in the DCU.
  • FEAR ITSELF #3 (OF 7)
  • FF #4
  • GODZILLA KINGDOM OF MONSTERS #3- This title is everything I could possible want from a Godzilla book.  The monsters are emerging and they’re not going to let humans stand between them and…well, doing whatever they want.  The highlight of issue #2 was Anguirus turning into a spiky ball and rolling through the countryside.  In this issue the monsters get named for dubious reasons, but at least we’re getting them named.  The political  commentary is boring me, but the story is still progressing nicely.
  • HERC #4
  • HULK #34
  • KIRBY GENESIS #0 – “Even better than seeing Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross team up again is seeing them doing it with Jack Kirby’s characters. I’m really looking forward to this.” I wrote that last week, then I read the book.  The creators are  top-notch, but these are a hodge-podge of Kirby characters you’ve never heard of and don’t care about.  I’m also tiring of the Kirby homages.  To really honor the man, create a new universe from scratch, don’t recycle his.  And yes, Ross and Busiek have both done this, so it’s a somewhat inconsequential exercise.
  • SUPER DINOSAUR #2 – This is the only book on the list I’m not picking up.  Issue #1 and the FCBD Orign Special were fine and all, but seemed to be a bit more dumbed down that necessary, even for an “all-ages” book.  In fact, it reads more like a pilot for Cartoon Network’s Saturday programming than anything else.
  • VENOM #3

Unlike Super Dinosaur, Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors is an all-ages book done right.  I picked it up on a whim, but I’m glad I did.  The story is fun and uncomplicated, but not in a way that makes it a burden for a grown-ass man to read.  Mark A. Smith’s story is not overly-complicated, but also not dumbed down.  That is, just right.  Armand Villavert’s art is stylized a la Mike Oeming, and he creates more cool, unique throwoff characters in the background than we could hope for.  This book is a treat, and the secret behind Gladstone and the school leaves enough mystery to leave me
eager to find out where it goes next.

That’s it for this week.  What are YOU looking at?

The List goes GREEN

What are superheroes and villains doing to go green in the 21st century?

Man-Thing tapped as First Lady's expert on school nutrition.

Heat Wave retires due to Global Warming concerns.

Captain Cold retires due to Global Cooling concerns.

Apokolips fire pits no longer burn old growth forests.

Unstable molecules now made from 100% post consumer products.

Carbon footprint of all LexCorp doomsday devices and killer robots now equivalent to that of three iPods.

Aquaman not standing in front of the refrigerator with the door open deciding what he wants to eat.

1% of each heist given to microlending in developing economies

Wayne Foundation now planting 1 tree for every tooth knocked out by a member of Batman, Inc.

Iron-Man suits now run on grain alcohol.

Villain costumes no longer green and purple, now green and green.

Latveria abandons oil for a magic based economy. While no longer producing greenhouse gasses, magic based cars only get 20 miles to the spell.

Avengers' Mansion no longer powered by burning tires.

Spider-Man’s webbing now derrived from eco-friendly hemp.

Medusa to stop using aerosol hairspray.

All speedsters sign a pledge to stop contributing the the eventual heat death of the universe.

Nightcrawler to retire his signature “BAMF” and cloud of brimstone.

Lois Lane now using both sides of the pages of her notebook.

Game Tape: Vacation Edition

This week and next I’m out of town and away from my LCS. So I have no new books to review; that’s the bad news. The good news is that there is something I can review… well two somethings.

Somewhere around the time I bought an issue of Uncanny X-Men for the third time I realized it was time to create a more faithful list of my comics than the one in my head. I looked into simply using an Excel spread sheet, but that’s no good when you’re deal with the volume of data we’re talking about with a collection bordering on 8,000 books. I saw it as impractical to input all of that with the various fields I wanted (creators, plot notes, story arc/crossover info). Plus, I wanted cover images for shopping convenience. That’s when I started looking to see what was out there already. Surely some programmer has already created the databases I’d need to access and is willing to sell it to me along with a handy viewing/ report generating feature. Turns out there are several. They range from little more than spreadsheets to the ideal collecting compendium. Today I’m looking at two on the latter end of the spectrum.

In the beginning, I was managing my comic book collection using ComicBase, and I love this program. LOVE IT. Each edition has been more streamlined than the last. ComicBase offers four versions of each edition: Free (limited to entering 500 comics), Express (handles any size collection and has 5,000 cover images), Pro (28,000 images and syncs to various portable devices and smartphones), and Archive (20 gigs of images and a few other whistles and bells that the others don’t have. They range in price from fifty dollars to three hundred dollars. All versions support scanner wands for entering you collection by scanning the UPC, but the greatest thing that all of the versions share is the pdf report generating abilities. You can generate lists of what you have or want lists, they’re also customizable by the pre-programmed fields. So it’s pretty handy when you plan on doing some shopping at a convention. Finally, if you’re interested and keep up, the program calculates the value of your collection. It can also tell you the number of issues you own by publisher. There are only a few drawbacks to ComicBase.

1. It’s a big program and database that takes up a pant-load of RAM. On my slightly older machine this meant occasional crashes.

2. There is no version for Macs. Since I moved to a Mac last year, I’ve been pretty much screwed.

3. There’s a subscription involved if you want to keep up with current issues and pricing information.

The second program is one that LEMUR friend Rakmo suggested to me. Collectorz Comic Book Database is pretty decent. The Mac version came out a couple of weeks ago, and I’m using some of my vacation to fiddle with it before getting home to do the major work on my collection. So far I’m liking it. To begin with, Collectorz has several other database products; they’ve tailored a basic program to fit different collecting needs. They’ve streamlined it and it isn’t a drain on the RAM. Like ComicBase, this one supports scanner wands. In Collectorz favor over ComicBase is that this program’s interface is much more visual and in some ways easier to navigate. Searches are easier, and the information per issue is not presented in the spare spreadsheet form. These are definitely major advantages over ComicBase’s drab look. Collectorz will also synch with more smartphones. The downside is a big one though. The reporting features are severely handicapped. Basically you can have a list of what’s in your collection or what you are looking for to fill your collection. Not bad by any means, just a big drop off from ComicBase. Collectorz is also significantly more net dependent. If you’re not online, you’re cut off from much of the information (including cover images for all individual issues). Price wise, this one is a bit more attractive. The standard edition is thirty dollars while the higher end pro edition is fifty. So far I’m liking the Collectorz. We’ll see how it goes when I start entering large amounts of books.

If you’re looking for some way to keep track of you books, these are the two I can recommend. It’ll come down to how much you want to spend and which features are most important to you. If you’ve got one you can recommend, post it in the comments section.

Delicious Fruit Filling

In the 70’s and 80’s Marvel and DC teamed up with Hostess to promote fried pies.  Inevitably, a villain terrifies the city, only to be captured when the hero and some children distract him with fruit pies.  There’s always a highly recognizable hero starring in these features, but never a villain you’ve ever seen before.  For this week’s LIST we present Hostess Villains You Almost Saw, But Didn’t.
  • Cap’n High Fructose Corn Syrup

  • Li’l Debbie

  • The Ding-Dong Daddy-O

  • The Unleavener

    This poor sonofabitch got his ass handed to him by Hawkman.

  • Cirque de Merengue

  • Lord Tasty Kakes

  • Richard Simmons

  • Dirty Hippy

  • The Age of Aquarius

  • The Fruitman

  • Lex Luthor’s out of work dietician

  • Snaximus: Roman god of high-caloric sweet treats

Mr. Mxyzptlk… Secrets

It's actually pronounced, "Fred."


Rhode Island... that's all me.


I trawl college campuses for young female grad students with ideals and daddy issues.


Superman...sometimes I just don't know.


I'm the 23rd flavor in Dr. Pepper.

Game Tape

FACT: nothing puts me to sleep faster than thinking, reading, or talking about the alien races in the Marvel Universe. Shi’ar = snooze… Brood = boring. That said, I really enjoyed Astonishing X-Men #38. Leaving aside team in Japan, we see a rescue mission to help out Beast and save some S.W.O.R.D. agents. Gage does a great job with characterization and plot. In spite of the Brood being the focus of the issue, everything was pitch perfect. This was the first time I’ve felt the book lived up to its superlative. Now’s a good jumping on point if you’re looking for one.

Oh Bendis… Avengers #13 is all over the place and certainly late to the party. The underwhelming majority of this book is talking heads. Sometimes they’re sort of almost telling or hinting at a narrative in the present. Other times it’s the past and irrelevant. The best parts of this issue were the Jarvis parts and the brief moment with the Red Hulk. On top of the talking heads, we had a rehash of the first few pages of Fear Itself #1. With issue 3 on the way, did we need to be reminded of the speech Tony delivered at the beginning of issue one? If you’re looking for Bendis circa 2000, brother, this is the issue for you.

In Brief:

Transformers #19 was written expressly for the 9 people who are fans of Wheelie. It wasn’t terrible, but for a start to a new story arc, it wasn’t great.

GI JOE: Real American Hero #166 is solid, but nothing new or remarkable, this making this brief review pointless.

GI JOE: Snake Eyes was well paced and fun considering that it takes place entirely on the side of a mountain.

This week’s Booster Gold ties in to Flashpoint in a tangential and boring way.

Thunderbolts: WOW.

Guest Review: Bear

Friend of the Blog David is probably — aside from our families — the only other person Matt and I still see that we’ve known as long as each other.  It only makes sense, then, that he be our first guest poster.  He emailed us the other day to tell us about this new comic he stumbled across, and he was so convincing we asked him to write something up.


Bear follows the quirky adventures of a teddy bear…
He’s Bear, He’s Bear…As he faces the hyper-violent antics of his owner’s cat Looshkin.
… He’s made of human hair,
Poke his nose and his head grows,
He’s Bear, He’s Bear, He’s BEAR!  It’s Garfield on crack.  Read a story:

Each issue of Bear has:

  • Beautiful painted cover!
  • 3+ feature and backup stories!
  • Disturbingly cute images!
  • Cutely disturbing images!
  • Fun crammed into every available space (and sometimes orifice)!
  • British slang!

Bear is the first published work of Jamie Smart. The comic ran 10 issues from 2003-2006, published by Slave Labor Graphics (also the publisher of one of Bear’s inspirations Milk & Cheese).  It’s since been collected into two trade paperbacks and released online (without the backup stories).  And more might be coming.

I rescued 6 issues of Bear from the discount bin.  There’s *always* treasure in the discount bin.  I thought my wife would like it, and both she and I love it.  Now I need to get the other 4 issues…

More Bear Recommendations:
Looshkin coins the term “little fuzzy kidney”:
Parody of Pride and Prejudice:

David (Guest post)