Saturday, January 29, 2011

Best "Best Man Speech" Ever....

...or at least until I find a version of someone doing the St. Crispin speech from Henry V.

Friday, January 28, 2011

"You can look it up."

This week's trivia question at Here in Bongo Congo is "Who is the only person in Major League Baseball history to have worn the uniform of all four of the New York-area major league clubs-the Yankees, Giants, Brooklyn Dodgers and the Mets?"

If you know the answer, zip on over and win yourself a $10 gift certificate to the BEST comic book and entertainment store in all of New England, That's Entertainment in Worcester.

I actually knew this one.....look away if you do not wish to know...

The late, great Casey Stengel!

Having just got back from Worcester yesterday (and failing to win last week's gift certificate) I am not going to enter this one.  I just thought it was a good question.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A vote for Spock...

... is a vote for Bubbashelby of Toyriffic!

According to chunky B at electorama (he of the recently swindled at Target fame), Bubbashelby has entered one of his photos in a local photo contest online and voting is going on now! So go and vote for Spock and Bubba at the link here

As we say in The Union, "Vote early and vote often!"

Iron Giant Ending (SPOILERS!)

"You are who you choose to be."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dollar Bin Comic Finds!

Several blogs I follow have recently bemoaned the loss of the once ubiquitous quarter bins at comic book stores and conventions.  While my local shop DOES have a 25 cent bin, there is NEVER anything worth picking up.

However, our local mall recently acquired a new of those "collectible" stores, that does have some dollar boxes.  EVERY time I go, I find something worth picking up and tonight was no exception.

First, I grabbed this copy of Superman 123 for Logan.  He recently bought himself an action figure of this version of Superman.  BONUS: The cover glows in the dark!!!

Authority (Vol 1) 1-A by WildStormAuthority (Vol 1) 4-A by WildStormAuthority (Vol 1) 5-A by WildStorm

I found "The Authority" 2-5 in one box, toyed with the idea of getting them, but put them back.  I moved to the back of the store and found issue #1, so I ran back and got all five.  This is one of those "dark" and "gritty" "realistic" series I missed when it first came out, but for $5, I had to grab them just for the read.

I have recently developed a weakness for 1980's era Superman comics and have started to dabble into some Legion of Super-Heroes issues.  I actually told Nan recently I might drop two or three titles from my pull list and buy $1.00 from Comic Collector Live or eBay.  I got these three issues to keep me happy for now.

DC Comics Presents 25-A by DCSuperboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes 245-A by DC

But my greatest find tonight was a copy of Brave and Bold #38!

I would say it is in probably Good to Very Good condition, BUT it is now the oldest comic in my collection, cover dated November 1961.  (My previous oldest comic was Avengers #5 from May 1964.)  It is also the only 10 cent in my collection (not counting recent "gimmicks") and the LAST 10 cent issue of The Brave and The Bold!  Kind of a cool cover and a great find and addition to my collection!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tom Selleck Trailer

I think this MIGHT have been better as "Magnum PI: The Movie"....but still enjoyable.

Monday, January 17, 2011

3 Minutes

I am sure this has been seen already, but I am just plowing through my Google Reader after a week of being sick.

via Acrobatic Flea

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Last Wishes of Mark Gruenwald

Bleeding Cool is reporting that on Wednesday at 9pm, Investigation Discovery's The Will: Outrageous Final Wishes will have a segment on the last wishes of Mark Gruenwald.  Gruenwald was an editor at Marvel Comics from 1978 until his death in 1996, at age 43. His will dictated that his ashes would be mixed in with a print run of the Squadron Supreme trade paperback. Even though I had bought the series when it first came out, that trade paperback was the first collection I ever bought!  It is on my bookshelf upstairs!

His Wikipedia entry reveals quite a few things that I did not know:

The Amalgam Comics book The Exciting X-Patrol #1 is dedicated to his memory. In the DC Universe, a building in Gotham City was named the Von Gruenwald Tower.   In the novel Captain America: Liberty's Torch (written by Tony Isabella and Bob Ingersoll), the lawyer kidnapped to defend the similarly kidnapped Captain in a mock trial before a militia is named Mark Gruenwald, and is described with the same general physical attributes and personality as the real Gruenwald. The lawyer acts heroically throughout the story.
In the pages of Fantastic Four, writer/artist Walt Simonson created the Time Variance Authority, a cosmic bureaucracy that regulates the Marvel Multiverse. Simonson paid homage to Gruenwald by having the TVA's staff all be clones of Gruenwald; no one could keep track of everything but him.
In volume four of Nova from Marvel Comics, the new director of Project Pegasus is named Dr. Gruenwald.
In 2006, Gruenwald was officially named the "Patron Saint of Marveldom" in the new "Bullpen Bulletins" pages.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011

30 Days Of Comics: Day 30: The Last Comic You Read

Batgirl #16

So that is it.  I kind of enjoyed blogging about comic books.  Loved the feedback and comments.  There were other headers I skipped as I picked and chose the ones that appealed to me most so maybe I will see if I can do another 30 at some point.

I spoke with The Armchair Squid today and decided I needed to just finish.  I have a stack of unread comics (still!) on the desk and ordered a whole slew of others off of The Internet last weekend.  But this was that last one I read and updated in my software.

I like this new Batgirl title.  The story is fun, the writing is good and the art is decent.  I am about to purge my pull list again and this is one book that will survive.

I am going to buy some of the collected books for my daughter.  She has recently made the jump from exclusively reading the "kids" books and is open to trying other titles.

The Squid and I keep batting around the idea of tackling the 30 Days Of Music list but both admit we won't be doing it anytime soon....both for different reasons, I suspect.

So, thanks for reading these last 30 posts....I do hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse into my insanity as much as I actually enjoyed letting some of that insanity out....

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

30 Days Of Comics: Day 29: A Comic That Best Demonstrates Your Taste In Comics

Marvel and DC Present: Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans

If I was going to use the stats of my collection, then the issue that best represents my taste in comics would have to be written by Brian Michael Bendis or John Byrne, with pencils by John Byrne, inks by Art Thibert or Joe Rubinstein and colored by Glynis Oliver Wein.  It was published by Marvel Comics, probably in 2005 (even though I bought it in 2003), and although it stars Superman (A DC character!) it was probably an Avengers book (A Marvel title!).

That being said, the above book WAS co-published by Marvel and was colored by Glynis Wein, but that is about it.

I like this book for a lot of reasons.  It came out when I was collecting both titles so it was neat for me to see the teams together.  At that point, work between Marvel and DC was quite rare so this was more special.  It also gave hope to those of us expecting to see the long promised Justice League of America/Avengers crossover (though it would take 20 years to see that one!!).

The two different universes were blended seamlessly.  Characters seemed to have a knowledge of each other and shared some history....and they worked together (after a short, seemingly required fight).

And if you knew your comic book history, you had even more of a treat, as the story had some nice little nuggets embedded in it.  And the villains.....


Gorgeous art, tight (nearly) self-contained story.  Great characters and a cosmic scope.....a great book.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

30 Days Of Comics: Day 28: A Comic That Introduces A Great Character

Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. # 0

This was another topic that I struggled with.  There are characters I like who have had a hard time at the hands of some writers (Hawkeye and Vision) and others I like that I haven't really followed them for all that long even though I went and bought their first appearances at some point (Stephanie Brown and Time Drake).

The character of Stargirl (Courtney Whitmore) falls into her own category.  I wasn't really aware of her until 2005 or so and besides this series, I never "followed" her per se.  She does appear in other comics, but she is not a character I seek out.

I am including Stargirl for one big reason.  I love how she was "created".

Straight from Wikipedia:

"The character is a creation of Geoff Johns, who based her personality on that of his sister, also named Courtney, who died in the explosion of TWA Flight 800 in 1996. Johns is an avid fan of Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew and Courtney's original outfit is similar to Zoo Crew member Yankee Poodle's; in the comics, this is explained by Courtney being a fan of Yankee Poodle."

You can't really beat that, can you?

Monday, January 3, 2011

30 Days Of Comics: Day 27: An Issue #1 You Bought The Month It Came Out

Golden Age #1

Before this project got derailed, I had mapped out the topics I was going to do and which issues went with each post.  I had chosen a couple of "negative" topics but after writing the last post, I decided to try and skew these last few in a more positive light.

I had skipped this topic initially as I was struggling with which number one to spotlight.  I thought about Marvel: 1602 or Kingdom Come but the former series had an unsatisfying conclusion and the latter has been slightly sullied through repeated revisions and revisits.  I missed Y: Last Man and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by a month each and had to pick up the first issues 30 days later.  The first Wolverine mini-series, Alpha Flight, Superman: Man of Steel, and Crisis on Infinite Earths all almost made the cut.  Fairly iconic covers and stories that I still enjoy.

Instead I decided to go slightly more obscure.


When this came out in 1993, there were not many stories dealing with DC's "Golden Age" characters, those that came about in the 1930s and 1940s.  I had heard that this series was coming (with no great fanfare) and asked it to be added to my pull list.

Written by James Robinson with art by the GREAT Paul Smith, the series opens just after World War II has ended and the heroes of the time are adjusting to peacetime life.  One hero, Tex Thompson, known as Mr. America (he first debuted in Action Comics #1, the same issue that brought us Sticky Mitt Stimson, Chuck Dawson, Zatara, Scoop Scanlon Five Star Reporter and Superman!), returns from the war as a hero, having eliminated all of Germany's super-beings.  He enters politics, is elected a senator, and has eyes on the presidency.

Thompson uses his clout to form a new group of heroes to protect America from the Soviet menace.  These heroes include Johnny Thunder, Atom (both of whom still long to be heroes), Robotman and Dan The Dyna-Mite Kid.  The Dyna-Mite Kid was once a sidekick to a hero called TNT (who has since died).  He is "lost" since the death of his mentor and is subjected to a variety of experiments (overseen by Senator Thompson) that lead him to become the incredibly powerful Dynaman.

As the series unfolds, we see other heroes struggling in the post-War era.  Some have married and divorced.  Others are brought before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.  Most have retired.

We meet Paul Kirk, who was a costumed adventurer known as Manhunter, return from Europe suffering from memory loss.

There is a sense of tension through the build up of the series.  SOMETHING is wrong, but we do not know exactly what.

Kirk eventually enlists the help of Hawkman to discover the source of his amnesia.  While under a trance, Kirk remembers he was working behind enemy lines with Thompson. As it turns out, Paul Kirk, not Thompson, was the one who eliminated Germany’s super-beings. Kirk also sees once more the horrifying sight that had led to his nightmares and amnesia.

On a mission to assassinate one of Hitler’s scientists, Kirk infiltrates a Bavarian castle, where he discovers that his target is none other than the brain-swapping fiend the Ultra-Humanite, as evidenced by the brainless body of his last host, actress Dolores Winters, lying lifeless on a lab table.

Even worse is the realization of where the Ultra-Humanite’s brain was now residing: the body of Tex Thompson. Kirk barely escapes with his life.

At the same time, Thompson's lover, the former hero Miss America, has become concerned by his increasingly erratic behavior.  She steals his diary and learns the same terrible secret.

In the story’s final chapter, a war council of the mystery-men who know Thompson’s secret is convened and a plan is made: during the upcoming ceremony at which all of America’s superheroes are supposed to go to Washington to swear their loyalty, they will expose the truth about Thompson before the superhero community and the eyes of the world.

And there is one last reveal waiting at the ceremony....

...that the deranged Robotman prevents Miss America from revealing, that I can't spoil after all.  

The only action in the entire series really takes place in the fourth book.  It is a HUGE super-being fight.  In the effort to bring down Thompson and Dynaman, dozens of heroes die.  And every death holds meaning, is done SO well.

The whole series is well written and superbly drawn.  Paul Smith does a great job of making the heroes look human and distinct.  You can tell who is who as the threads are woven together and seeming disparate characters begin to interact.

If you haven't read this series and are even tangentially interested in comics, do yourself a favor and find a copy of the collected edition (Copies on eBay, with shipping, can be had for less than $5!!).  Get your library to buy it for you!

If you need to know how it ends, check out the Wikipedia entry.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

30 Days Of Comics: Day 26: A Black and White Comic You Love

Bizarre Adventures #27

This pick is sort of a cheat.  I think the intent with this day was for me to pick something small or indie, but there are only one or two of those in my whole collection and neither of them hold the place this one does in my memory.

Of the now 7,904 comics in my collection, only 32 are listed as being in Black & White.  Seven of those are reprints of the UK Captain Britain magazine, eleven are a "dirty" sword and sorcery book by Bill Willingham, and four are John Byrne's OMAC series from 1991.

There is a "Thunderbunny" that I hunted down because it takes place in my hometown of Rutland, VT (I now own 20 Rutland Issues!) and a few other random books.

But this one is the one.  Start with that cover.  Beautifully painted by Paul Gulacy with some nice touches (Iceman's translucency is nice and subtle) it lets you know you are in for three good stories.

And what stories they are!

The first story, "The Brides of Attuma", is both a classic Marvel adventure story coupled with a human element, as Jean Grey's sister starts to come to terms with the death of her sister.  The story also gives us more of Jean's origin in a way that still gives me the willies.

Next is "Winter Carnival" featuring Iceman.  One of my favorites, George Perez, penciled this fun romp at Dartmouth.  The thing that still holds true for me today is that it is an Iceman story that is actually pretty good. Bobby Drake was a character I really didn't think much about (His portrayal on "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends" was sort of my template for him!) and this story brought him out into the spotlight very nicely.


Last is "Show Me The Way To Go Home" featuring my favorite X-Man, Nightcrawler.  It is a silly little romp where he and another teleporter end up in a land where men are a rare commodity.

Three great stories, told in Black and White, that I have owned FOREVER.

However, I still prefer my comics in color!

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