Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!


The fact that this comes from DC Comics (from Plop # 5 Spring 1974) and is illustrated by Superman mainstay Murphy Anderson makes it all the funnier to me!

(via Bully!)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Blogging from A to Z: Y is for...

Y-The Last Man




This was the comic that convinced me I could move beyond super-heroes.  While Fables started two months earlier, that had a built writer whose work I liked.  This had to stand on its own.


The premise of Y: The Last Man is simple:  what would happen if every man on the planet was simultaneously and instantly killed by a mysterious plague. Every man except one: Yorrick Brown. The 60 issue series follows Yorrick and his eventual band of travelers as they cross the globe trying to determine why Yorrick is the only man to have survived the plague.


And some gorgeous covers by J.G. Jones and Massimo Carnevale...












[If you are feeling click happy, check out Nan's site....she is doing the Challenge but did not sign up in time!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Blogging from A to Z: X is for...


X-Men King Size Annual #4


If push comes to shove, my all time favorite character is Nightcrawler. There was something smooth and suave about him. I loved the look of the character. I loved the simplicity of his costume. I loved his power and the mystery that surrounded him.

There was a time when comic book companies would put out an "Annual" issue. It was usually bigger and better than what could fit into a monthly book. It was something to look forward to.

This annual was released in 1980. It came out shortly after the death of Jean Grey and just as Kitty Pryde had joined the team. It was written by regular X-Men writer Chris Claremont, with art by John Romita Jr and Bob McLeod.

In this story, Nightcrawler is celebrating his 21st birthday. A mysterious gift arrives. This gift is a trap and Nightcrawler is apparently killed. Shortly after, the rest of the X-Men and Doctor Strange are sent to Hell to free him.

I'm not doing the story justice. It is a loose take on Dante's "Inferno" and added a great deal to Nightcrawler's backstory. To my 13 or 14 year old mind, it "read" like something more than just a comic book. To this day, it remains one of my all time favorite single issues.

It even caused the young teenager "me" to attempt to READ some Dante....I scurried back to the comics pretty quickly!


[If you are feeling click happy, check out Nan's site....she is doing the Challenge but did not sign up in time!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Blogging from A to Z: W is for

Courtney Whitmore aka Stargirl




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 falls into her own category.  I wasn't really aware of her until 2005 or so and besides her main series, Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E., I never "followed" her per se.  She does appear in other comics I own, but she is not a character I seek out.


She eventually made it onto the Justice League cartoon and the show Smallville.


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?


[If you are feeling click happy, check out Nan's site....she is doing the Challenge but did not sign up in time!
http://nanmock.blogspot.com/]

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Blogging From A To Z: U is for

Uncanny X-Men #175


One of my favorite comic book covers ever...



So many covers these days have little to nothing to do with the story inside.

Unlike the Uncanny X-Men 175 cover.


When I bought this issue, I had only been "officially" collecting for two or three months. I had no idea of the back story of this issue, having only bought three issues of the series. But I've always been wowed by this cover.


I love the colors, the action, and the fact that it does tie-in to the story inside. Of all the elements, I think the "claw" and the "rubble" are the most striking to me. Just glancing at the cover, you can pretty much figure out each character's abilities. You know who the "bad guy" is.


This cover was created by Paul Smith, who is often over-looked when mentioning the artists who drew the X-Men. I understand why when names like Jack Kirby, Neal Adams, Dave Cockrum, John Byrne and Jim Lee are attached to such a storied franchise. Smith only penciled 10 issues of the X-Men (#165-175, except #171) and he only worked 21 total covers for ANY comic in my entire collection (17 on his own and 4 with someone else inking him).


Regardless, this is the cover that stands out for me when I think about my collection.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Blogging From A To Z: T is for

Terra


Who?  Last post was Superman and now....Terra?

She's the first girl to break my heart.

Terra first appeared in New Teen Titans 26.


She eventually joins the Titans in issue 30.


For two years she was a Titan.  I always thought she would be the Kitty Pryde of the team....that despite the hints, foreshadowing and mini-reveals, the story would end differently.

It is tough to post much without spoiling.  And the title of the story arc pretty much tells you all.

But these four issues turned my comic world upside down.  This was pre-internet...pre-Wizard...there was no community of comic fans spoiling stories....I was lucky to find new issues in one of the two or three stores that carried comics on their spinner racks in town...





It turns out that Terra's joining the Titans and acting like a hero was all a ruse.  The whole time she was working with the Titans' enemy, Deathstroke the Terminator, in order to betray and kill them.  




The eventual reveal




And the inevitable...tragic ending...



(Too small to read, but you get the gist)

A detailed, better synopsis can be found HERE and Terra's history is HERE.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Blogging From A To Z: S is for

Superman for All Seasons





This was a tough one.  I have more "S" comics than any other letter in my collection..  So many great characters start with the letter.

But if you want an "S" comic starring an "S" character, you could do worse than this one.  The Armchair Squid is a recent comic convert and has express his...not so much disdain, but disinterest in the character of Superman.

This is the book I should have recommended to him.  It is not an origin story, per se, but a fleshing out and rounding of who the character is and who he can be.  Each "season" is narrated by a different supporting character from the Superman mythos, which only adds to the picture.  You are never in the head of Superman himself.

And each issue is beautifully painted and colored by Tim Sale and Bjarne Hansen.

Of all the collaborations between Loeb and Sale, this is one of the best.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Blogging from A to Z: R is for...

Rutland, Vermont


Where?

In addition to being my hometown, Rutland, Vermont is the site of a large Halloween Parade.  While the parade is still impressive today, it pales in comparison to the production "back in the day."

"Okay, MOCK", you might say, "Get with the comic books...."

Well, what you might not know is that starting with Avengers #83 (Cover date December 1970, on the stands the month I was born in October 1970!), Rutland was the site of about 25 comic book appearances!

In the 1970s, organizer Tom Fagan began giving the parade a super-hero theme, and several comics creators would attend the parade and subsequent parties. This became something of a comics legend after it was written into comic books from a number of companies, notably Marvel and DC but also Whitman, Charlton, and Warp.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Fagan a few times and actually worked one parade with him.

You can read about him HERE.  You can read a synopsis of each of the following issues HERE.

Here are the comics I own which feature Rutland...

Avengers 83

Batman 237

Marvel Feature 2

Thor 206

Amazing Adventures 16

Thor 207

Justice League of America 103


Avengers #119


Thor #232


The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor #18


Freedom Fighters #6


Justice League of America #145


DC Super Stars #18


Freedom Fighters #13


Ghosts #95


Defenders #100


Thunderbunny #5


Animal Man #50


Generation X #22


Superboy and the Ravers #16


The following REALLY isn't a "Rutland Issue"...I actually bought it by chance, but in the letters page is a letter that asked  "Does Rutland, Vermont annually become a nexus of realities similar to that existing in the swamp near Citrusville, Florida?" The Watcher's answer was "While the nexus in Citrusville is a natural aperture, the nexus near Rutland is an artificial one that fluctuates in size and accessibility. For reasons that I have not investigated, it has not been opened in recent years."

What If #22
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