This Week’s Comics

Nothing for me this week, but that’s okay, because it gives me the chance to snipe from the sidelines.  Here are this week’s commentable books.

  • ACTION COMICS ANNUAL #13 – If it weren’t for the $5 price tag I would be all over this, the first meetings between Lex Luthor and Ra’s Al Ghul and Darkseid.  Who am I kidding…I may pick it up anyway.
  • DC COMICS PRESENTS BATMAN BEYOND #1 – If you’re interested in getting into the Batman Beyond books without digging through back issue bins, this is the place to get started.  DC provides a good intro for $8. Well done.
  • GORILLA MAN TP – And on the side of how to collect things wrong, here’s Marvel.  Even at the ridiculous cover price of $4 per issue, buying this entire series will only cost you $12.  This trade is $20.  Unless there’s some significantly valuable additional material (each issue also had reprints of stories about earlier Gorilla Men) there’s no reason to pick this up instead of the individual issues.
  • VERTIGO RESURRECTED WINTERS EDGE #1 – I really enjoy the Vertigo anthologies, as they point me at titles I may not otherwise sample. This one may make it home, too, since I’m pretty far removed from most of Vertigo’s offerings these days.

I wanted to disagree with Matt’s review of Batman and Robin #17, but I couldn’t.  Paul Cornell’s story is a very by-the-numbers Batman tale and Scott McDaniels’ art is passable but not great.  I think he was the right artist at the right time for his run on Nightwing, probably his best book.  Chuck Dixon (and this is no slam) writes  straight-ahead action stories without much dialog or nuance, leaving plenty of room for the art.  This fits  right in McDaniels’ wheelhouse in a way none of his more recent work has.  Still, I hope this doesn’t put  anyone off Cornell’s other books, namely the Knight and Squire mini (on stands now!).

Batman Beyond and Avengers and the Infinity Gauntlet both came to satisfying conclusions last week, and are well worth picking up.  I haven’t cracked Batwoman yet, but am looking forward to it.  As for Fantastic Four…Well, if my pick last week or Matt’s Game Tape hasn’t convinced you yet, nothing will.  This book never fails to please.
That’s it for me.  What are YOU looking at?

Random Links For Your Weekend

This Week’s Comics

Wow…I’m not actually picking anything up this week.  That’s okay, there are still some things worth talking about.

  • DC COMICS PRESENTS GREEN LANTERN #1 and JACK CROSS #1 – I’m really curious to see how these DC Presents books turn out, as they’ll be reprinting decent-sized chunks of comics for $8.
  • GHOST RIDER BY JASON AARON OMNIBUS HC – I’ve mentioned a few times how much I’ve loved Jason Aaron’s Ghost Rider run, and now you can get the whole thing here in one big chunk.  It’s pricey, and you can probably find the individual issues for less, but you can only bludgeon small varmints with this volume.
  • IMAGE FIRSTS HAUNT – I was fairly impressed with this book until I got further in and became convinced it’s just more of the same McFarlanage.  Still, if you’re curious or like your comics Spawny, this is a good way to give it a try.
  • UNCANNY X-FORCE #1 – A new X-Force team vs Apocalypse?  I like the idea, just not the price tag.

I was fairly unimpressed with Skullkickers #1 from a couple weeks ago. Having a book with two unnamed protagonists is unnecessarily complicated, and I didn’t find the story or art to be especially easy
to follow.  I haven’t been able to bring myself to read the last issue of Atlas.  I’m no good at saying goodbye.  Somehow, Deadpool Team-Up slipped under my radar two weeks ago.  Written by Jeff Parker and co-starring Gorilla Man, I really like the idea of this book teaming Wade up with all sorts of characters AND having them written by the people who know them best.  Good call Marvel.  I’m looking into diving into this one.

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

Get Down and Get Funky

Everybody and their mother knows about (and has most likely done) the Batusi.  “Doin’ the Metamorpho” was it’s own craze in the Swingin’ Sixties.  But more superheroes than that had their own dances.  For this week’s LIST we submit a sample of the most overlooked or lost superhero dances.

In larger cities, in the 1940’s, a popular dance craze was the Miraclo Shuffle. While there was no set of steps for the dance, there were rules. Simply, a mob of dancers and a group of musicians would get hopped up on cocaine or some other upper. They would then proceed to dance non-stop for an hour. No breaks, no switching songs, just drug fueled dancing…and occasional accidental trampling.

When doing The M11, a version of the Robot for competition, dancers shoot death rays at other competitors.

The Joker is a dance that has come and gone in several eras of music. Dancers alternately mimic hitting their partners over the head with giant pantomime mallets and squirting each other with pantomimed acid flowers. More advanced dancers will actually bring mallets and squirting acid flowers to the dance club.

The Flash, a staple of the late-80’s and early 90’s, was essentially the Running Man, except it requires tapping into the Speed Force and approaching the speed of light.
Hotsteppers doing The Shazam are really doing a modified two-step in which one of the dance partners hits the other with a taser, thereby simulating a bolt of lightning that will transform them into The World’s Mightiest Mortal.

The Bat-Bomb has dancers rhythmically moving to the music while pretending to run with a giant bomb hoisted over their heads.

The Sandman (now called The Golden Age Sandman), was especially popular at after-hours parties because participants pulled out pillows and napped on the dance floor for 6 minutes.

Many of these dances included special costumes, but only The Mxyzptlk required covering your entire head with an animal mask so you could party like a lycanthrope.  Some revelers opted to go with the enlarged cranium, but that tended to be a Central City variation.

A popular punk rock dance from the 1980’s was the Shadowcat. Participants would vigorously throw themselves at the walls and other hard surfaces in attempts to pass through them.

The Super-Samba was the only dance where a key step is twirling your partner so fast they spin the Earth backwards and turn back time.

Where was the best place to see the best super-heroic dance steps in the 60’s?  Why, on Ben Grimm’s local New York City dance show “It’s Polka’in’ Time!” A combination of American Bandstand and The Lawrence Welk Show, this was the first television show to showcase the dances themselves and not the songs accompanying them.  Only Mr. Grimm and his frequent co-host Aunt Petunia could make a show with polka in the title cool for the kids.

Of the many dances to appear on “It’s Polka’in’ Time!,” none received more fan-mail that the Paste-Pot Pete Polka. This dance involved covering both partners in mucilage, polka dancing around the floor and attempting to pick up as many other couples, tables, chairs, band members, and others items. The couple at the center of the largest ball of stuff won a silver-loving cup.

If the Paste-Pot Pete Polka was the most popular polka on Ben Grimm’s show, the least popular came about when the show and its host were hijacked by Dr. Victor Von Doom. Set to a cacophonous song, “Richards
is a fool,”
those forced to participate were expected to alternately laugh maniacally over each other and raise their arms in the air in frustration… mimicking Doom’s triumph and the inevitable defeat of Reed Richards.

Game Tape, Huzzah!

A second consecutive week of comics and Game Tape? I thought it a thing of the past too, brothers and sisters. Yet it is here waiting for you. Jump into the internet’s 35th least read weekly comic book review blog.

Agents of Atlas #5 was out this week. It marks the end of another Jeff Parker title. Forgive me for not reviewing it. Even writing this much has me a bit verklempt.

Having forgotten my copy of Fantastic Four last week, I fixed the error. This is one of those books that I’m always looking forward to when it comes out. Since Hickman took over writing chores, this title has made the climb to the top of the read pile; it’s that good. I see what Jesse means about Doom being a part of the family. I’d never thought of it that way, but it makes sense. I’ve also always been curious to see if a writer would further develop/exploit the connection between Doom and Valeria that Waid established in his run with the late great Wieringo. I’m glad Hickman is picking up that little thread. How many Galactus bodies are there floating around now?

While I haven’t yet read the whole thing, I object to IDW’s GI Joe: Cobra Special #2. On principle, I do not appreciate that we got 22 pages of comic story and 33 pages of prose that is actually a preview/sample from a new collection of prose GI Joe stories. It might be the best thing I’ve ever read, but it’s still a 33 page house ad. No… just no.

On the other hand, Action Comics #893 impressed and entertained on so many levels. All you need to know about the main story is encapsulated in a quote by Gorilla Grodd, “Kneel before Grodd! You have walked into my ambush! And I have brought my biggest combat spoon–to eat your tasty brains!!!” This is the brilliance of Paul Cornell, and brother if that don’t butter your popcorn, don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you. I even enjoyed the second feature starring Jimmy Olsen.

Superman’s pal is one of those ideas I really love but have rarely liked past the Silver Age. Modern stories with Big O are rarely executed well. Most writers have him come off as either a doofus or a hipster. He a bit of both with some many other interesting layers. Nick Spencer has found these layers and crafted a character that is interesting to read. I tip my hat to Mr. Spencer for making me care about a story that featured Jimmy Olsen and was billed as being the “first comic book appearance of Chloe Sullivan of Smallville“…whatever. It’s a nice beginning for a story. I’m looking forward to seeing it resolved as much as I am seeing the resolution of the main Luthor story.

That’ll wrap it up for this light week. Except for two special shout outs.

H.D., long time supporter of Jesse related madness, celebrated a birthday this week. So happy birthday to you; I sang “O’ Dem Golden Slippers” in honor of the anniversary of the day of your birth.

Reader and frequent commenter, Saint Walker, also celebrated a birthday this week. For you, I shall sing “Camp Town Races.”

This Week’s Comics

Another light week, and a sad, sad day for comicdom.  I’m picking up one book this week, ATLAS #5, which brings that series to a close. Since Jeff Parker has brought Jimmy, Ken, and pals with him on other books he’s written I don’t think this will be the last we see of them, but it’s disappointing that such an excellent book can’t find the sales numbers it needs to stay running.

Last week saw some very good books come out.  Fantastic Four continues Jonathan Hickman’s incredible run, with new artist Steve Epting on-board with his stellar pencils.  I was especially impressed by the scene with Doom, where it really dawned on me that Victor is a part of the family as much as anyone else.  Sure, he’s the crazy uncle nobody talks about, but despite multiple murder attempts it’s clear that he’s as much a part of the family as Ben Grimm.  Just not, you know….welcome.

Going into this issue Galactus is dead and Doom has lost his intellect.  Are these hanging plot threads from Mark Millar’s run?

And speaking of Millar, I continue to be pleasantly surprised with Nemesis.  The book has plenty of action, enough twists to keep me engaged, and the characters are in precarious enough positions that it doesn’t feel like one issue is going to be enough to wrap everything up.  Knowing Millar, it will be just enough.

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

This Week’s Comics

Well, this is somewhat disappointing.  I’m only picking up one comic this week — GORILLA MAN #3 — which wraps up that mini.  There’s not much more harping on Jeff Parker, Agents of Atlas, or Gorilla Man I can do at this point.  I haven’t gotten to read last week’s comics yet, focusing instead on working my way through Joe Casey and Ashley Wood’s Automatic Kafka, which I’ve been trying to complete for several years now.

Since I have the opportunity (and it worked so well last time), I’ll throw today’s post open to comments: what should I check out?

The last time I did this I got some killer recommendations from Friend of the Blog Larry, who suggested DMZ and Nightly News among others. I’m on the 6th DMZ trade now and it just gets stronger with each collection.  I’ve only been able to track down the first issue of Nightly News, but so far it’s incredible: everything Brian Wood’s Channel Zero promised to be but didn’t deliver on.

I say this every week, but what are YOU looking at?  All suggestions will be considered, but anything coming out this week that has a $3 cover price will probably get picked up. Fire away!

This Week’s Jumbo-Sized Comics!

It is, remarkably, a pretty heavy week of comics for me this week! It’s pretty exciting since that almost never happens these days. Here’s what I’m looking at this week.

  • 1 FOR DOLLAR HELLBOY SEED OF DESTRUCTION – Every friend I have loves Hellboy, and I can’t handle it.  Mike Mignola’s art is just too heavily-inked and blocky for me to enjoy.  But I’m coming around to the fact that the writing might be stellar, which might be enough to get me around the art style.  For a buck, I’ll take the plunge. Thanks, Dark Horse!
  • ATLAS #4 – Nothing more to be said here, except this is the penultimate issue, giving us the 3-D Man answers everyone has been looking for since What If? #9.
  • AVENGERS & INFINITY GAUNTLET #1 (OF 4) – The original Infinity Gauntlet remains one of my favorite comics of all time.  It must have been seeing a villain truly win for the first time by KILLING all of the Marvel heroes at once, it was chilling to middle-school Jesse. Because the original was so good (and still so readily available), I have a hard time seeing the necessity of this.  However, after hearing Brian Clevenger talk about this book on War Rocket Ajax (including the addition of U.S. 1, who was certainly never in the original) I’m going to give it a try.  At least the way Clevenger describes it, it sounds great.
  • BATMAN BEYOND #3 (OF 6) – The Terry McGinness story isn’t setting my world on fire, but it’s solid Batmanery and more McGinness is better than no McGinness.
  • EX MACHINA #50 – I’m fairly certain this is the final issue of West Wing superheroics, but I’ve been burned on this before.  It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen a new issue, so my memory of what’s happening is pretty spotty.  Still, it’s maintained high quality (and Tony Harris art) so I’m anxiously awaiting the conclusion.
  • IMAGE UNITED #3 (OF 6) – And speaking of spotty releases, it’s been roughly 37 months since issue #2 came out.  Issue two, and the reprint of the IU buildup as Issue #0 have dramatically reduced the enjoyment I took from #1 as I’ve gotten used to the by-the-number Image-style superheroics.  But I’m still pretty much hooked at this point, at least to keep going a little while longer.  But shame on Image for getting schooled by The Rob, who’s putting out something like half of Marvel’s Deadpool output right now.
  • THUNDERBOLTS #147 – I don’t know why (it’s possibly just Man-Thing and Juggernaut), but I love this book.  Pick it up, you will too.

That’s it for me!  What are YOU looking at?

This Week’s Comics

It’s all-Marvel (and mostly kvetching) this week at your number one site for Golden Age Aquaman history. Here’s what I’m looking at this week.

  • DEADPOOL #1000 – If anyone deserves to mock the recent spate anniversary issues, I suppose it deserves to be Deadpool, who has turned into the Marvel U’s answer to Ambush Bug. Still, in light of Marvel’s creative accounting when it comes to tallying up issue numbers, they’re shining The Harsh Spotlight of Truth (TM) on themselves more than the industry.
  • GORILLA MAN #2 (OF 3) – I’ll take a new tack this time around. Rather than talking about the genius of Jeff Parker, I’ll talk about the genius of Ken Hale, the Gorilla Man. It would be all-too-easy to turn him into a despondent, woe-is-me reluctant hero, a la Ben Grimm. Instead, we get a funny, action-seeking hero who has embraced the reality of his situation and seeks to make the best of it. Parker’s look at the origin of Hale shows us that his life was never easy, but he has the strength of character to best of his situation. Also, the art is PURTY.
  • MARVELMAN FAMILYS FINEST #2 (OF 6) – When the first issue came out I was very excited to get the chance to read some classic Marvelman, but when I actually picked it up (just before setting it right back down) on the stands I was disappointed. For $4 Marvel reprints these stories in black and white on the cheapest newsprint I’ve seen in a comic in a long time. A cynical man would say Marvel figured anyone who actually cared to pick this up would do so regardless of cost or production values, so I should probably just be relieved they didn’t throw in 3 pages of text by Bendis and charge $5.
  • SHIELD #3 – Fortunately, Marvel saves some face with the new SHIELD book. I’m not entirely sure what the point is, but the ride so far has been worth it.

While I’m on the topic of Jonathan Hickman books, I’ve been filling in the gaps of his Fantastic Four run. I was particularly impressed with his first arc, “Solve Everything,” featuring the ultimate team-up of the Reed Richards’ of the multiverse, but every issue seems to top the one before it. It’s fun, adventurous, and scientific; pretty much everything an FF book should be. Last week’s issue kicks off what looks to be a pretty massive time travel arc, and the only quibble I can find is that it’s occasionally hard to tell the bearded characters apart. Don’t forget to stick around for the letter page, featuring Franklin and Val.

Well, that’s it for me. What are YOU looking at?

This Week’s Comics

I’m running a day late due to a L.E.M.U.R. Comics Blog family reunion, as Matt and I sat around my living room talking comics rather than blogging about them. There are some really solid books out this week. New stuff to try, the conclusion of one of the best series of the 00’s, and more. Here’s what I’m looking at this week.

  • ALAN MOORE NEONOMICON #1 (OF 4) – I tend not to care about most books put out by Avatar. Creators tend to take the lack of editing (or maybe more accurately, standards and practices,) as a reason to come up with the most disgusting books they can. Still, a new mini by Alan Moore is cause for celebration, and I’ll probably be snagging this one.
  • ATLAS #3 – In light of last week’s new that Atlas will be ending with issue 5, if you haven’t read this yet, start with the first collections and pick this book up once it’s collected. I suspect this won’t be the last we see of our agents, though, since Jeff Parker will still be working in the Marvel Universe and he tends to bring his best characters with him.
  • BATMAN BEYOND #2 (OF 6) – I enjoyed the first issue, though I’m not really sure if this comic has legs. I’ll be picking up #2 to make sure.

    With the Scott Pilgrim movie almost here, Bryan Lee O’Malley gives us the final book of the Scott Pilgrim saga. So far each book has been better than the one before, so I’m expecting big things from this one.

  • THUNDERBOLTS #146 – Jeff Parker, Juggernaut, and Man-Thing. If that doesn’t sell you, nothing can.
  • TIME MASTERS VANISHING POINT #1 (OF 6) – I’m not sure if I’ll wind up picking this one up, but this kicks off the DCU side of Return of Bruce Wayne, and we’ll learn why Superman and Booster Gold are trying to stop Batman from returning to the present. Um, Clark? You can’t.

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