Showing posts from 2017

JLA and the creative process it took...

Written by Chet on November 23rd: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We saw it. It's official - Wonder Woman is definitely a better leader than Batman. At least, the O'Neil edited Batman. 
It is obviously not the movie that preview audiences saw. Darkseid is completely missing, Superman is never under Darkseid's control, Diana's part (as well as the Amazons' plot point) is increased, at least one of the epilogues is a different teaser, and the dark scenes that didn't need to be dark were enhanced - almost all of which could be done in the editing stage. (Robert Wise, for instance, was a master at directing his movies in the editing room.) 

Oh, and it had the proper shield on Superman's chest. Haven't seen that on the big screen since "the Quest for Peace." Now if only someone could find his red shorts for him, because he STILL looks like a frozen Kryptonian with no gonad…
My Favorite Vampire
With Halloween just around the corner, I've revived the annual tradition of watching some scary movies and reading some classic horror. In recent years, I've rewatched movies like The Thing and Little Shop of Horrors and read Shirley Jackson, H.P. Lovecraft and Mary Shelley, though I confess to having more affection for Bernie Wrightson and Boris Karloff's portrayals of the Frankenstein monster than Shelley's. I generally like to watch at least one classic Universal monster movie every year, and/or read the source material that inspired it.

This year, one of the things I've been reading is Marvel Comics' classic Tomb of Dracula run from the 1970s by the creative team of Marv Wolfman (words), Gene Colan (pencils) and Tom Palmer (inks). All three did an amazing job for an extended period of time and created an amazing synergy working together. Three different writers for the first six issues got the book off to an admittedly rocky start, held …

Len Wein: SNIKT! You'll be missed.

Meeting Len Wein 
It was one of those moments I wish I was recording footage.  One of my most favorite superhero characters of all time, Colossus, his co-creator passed away.  Now don't get me wrong, Wolverine has done his share and then some.  Maybe too much. Colossus didn't appear in multiple films, but something about that armored Russian spoke to me.  A hard outer shell with the soft artist inside.  Someone I could strive to be like.  Len breathed life into that character and for one of those myths that connect with you, I finally had an idea of what it was like to have armor skin.

It's that hero power that Len needed during his last days.  He explained to me how he broke his neck.

"I tripped.  That's it.  There was a fold in the carpet I didn't see and I landed on my head.  They fused it (his neck) but I'm in a awful lot of pain now."

Len was often seen holding his head but always found a way to genuinely smile for every photo.
Not the conversatio…

The Thin Black Line

A highlight from our kamikaze raid on the San Diego Comic-con 2017.
Lynn doesn't hold any punches when I bring up Colletta.  Being a Kirby guru and probably next of kin at this point, Lynn's perspective is astute, educated, well read, memorized, and dare I say "fanatic" about the King of Comics.  So it naturally begs the question: Who might be considered Kirby's Arch-Nemesis then?
If Kirby drew it, this guy erased it.  If Neal Adams wouldn't let the man in the same room as his art and had to redo one of his pages because that standard wasn't adhered to, we are closer.  If Gil Kane says this man was his 2nd favorite inker only to "anybody else" being his first, we have a winner.
A staffer at the Two Morrow's publishing booth handed me this book and with a knowing smile let me know I was being asked to partake in something that gets under the skin of a lot of comic creators: a biography of the in…

Love that Chaykin...

Howard Chaykin is at it again and I'm loving it.
I got to meet the iconic reputedly curmudgeon artist at last year's comic con in San Diego.  From the countless horror stories I've heard about the infamous writer / artist I held my heart deep in my chest as I saw him from across the hall.
His reputation was gruff, offensive, rude, and downright mean, but I had no personal qualms so I approached the juggernaught and stayed to the side as I overheard his conversation with another attendee.
When they other group left I had him to myself and was able to get to know the man.  We talked about oppression, depression, and he opened up with his personal thoughts about his own mother that would make Whistler start from scratch.  He got comfortable and I got to know him a little more than most I think.  
At the end of a really enticing and explorative conversation, he gave me his card and offered to k…

CBLDF supporting LGBTQIA - Add an "S" for STRAIGHT please!

Have either of you been following the efforts of the CBLDF? I'm curious about your thoughts on it. Just glancing at a recent printed update they put out, it seems to be very largely a LGBTQIA (actual quote, no letters added) advocate, rather than an organization merely dedicated to helping pay legal fees of artists and comic shop owners who have run into trouble with the law. Many of their battles now seem to be about getting books back into public schools (both libraries and curriculums) that were banned for including sexual lifestyles that just a few years ago were completely societally unacceptable. Many of these books are for the elementary school level.
I remember a couple of decades ago visiting a store in Glendale, California that carried a large number of books that were sexually explicit. I didn't have a problem with that, but I did have a problem with the fact that, rather than separating out the R or X rated books, all of their books were organized alphabetically. Th…

In time of the new "IT" trailer we pull focus to an amazing series: Astro City by Busiek, Anderson, and Ross!

This week's group reading is Astro City  Vol 1: #1 and Vol 2: #4 - 10

What the hell is a "Frog Thor", and other life's mysteries resolved. (Ok not the life's mysteries part, but at the least Frog Thor stuff.)

When reading through this micro-epic Thor story featuring a
tumefied frog, the first question I had was: "Did our Thor ever change to a frog in the actual Norse Mythology?" Turns out... he didn't, BUT...

Simonson's Thor might as well be our updated version of the Norse God's mythology.

That's a belief I accept.

Cyriaque Lamar from Gizmodo has the exclusive with Simonson when it came from the mouth of the horse...

"One of the lessons I got from Stan and Jack when I was a reader in the 1960s was that if you keep a straight face, you could do anything. I didn't want to do camp, but with Frog Thor, there were several things going on. I'm an enormous Carl Barks fan...I wanted to do something as a tribute to Carl Barks. Those were funny animals, but they were straight, smart stories that were accessible to adults and kids." 
(see the full interview here.)

The first thing I acknowl…

Thor Croaks! Comments About Thor 363-366

Thunder Frog Theme Song (sung to the tune of Underdog theme song: )
There’s no need to fear, thunder frog is here!
turned to a frog by Loki’s curse how could things get any worse? his belt of strength still keeps him strong so he can still right any wrong speed of lightning, roar of thunder
fighting all who rob or plunder
Thunder frog. Thunder frog!
when big mean rats in New York try to poisonthe water tank their evil plan does no man know to whom can the poor park frogs go? to Thunder frog!Thunder frog!Thunder frog!Thunder frog! Pow’r of lightning, god of thunder
fighting all who rob or plunder
thunder frog. thunder frog!

Okay, it’s a silly song, and most of it was stolen from the original Underdog theme song anyway but I had fun with it and enjoyed singing the chorus while reading the thunder frog story that started on the last page of The Mighty Thor #363 and wraps up in issue 366. I think Walt had a ton of fun writing and drawing the story…
Mar. 6, 2017 will be the one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Spirit creator Will Eisner. That week is now annually celebrated as Will Eisner week, and a few major cities have events. I think it would be appropriate to read something by him to discuss, even if it's just a couple of Spirit short stories, but we could do one of Will's later works as well. Any suggestions?
Waiting For the Frog

Some weeks back, Ian suggested we do a review of the issues of Walt Simonsons’s Thor run in which Thor, Prince of Asgard, is turned into a frog. It’s one of the most controversial Thor stories of all time, and I think the only Simonson Thor story that is disliked by anybody. I don’t think any or our reviewers have had a chance to read the story since it came up, and I’m not sure when Ian is going to schedule it, so I’m not going to review it … yet. Instead I want to talk about the almost 700 pages of Thor stories written and mostly drawn by Simonson before the controversial Frog story, and Simonson’s work that preceded that.
Back in the 1970s, when I was in about fourth grade, I remember speaking on the phone to my one comic book reading friend, Darrin, about my then-favorite comic book artist, Neal Adams. Darrin told me that his favorite comic book artist was Walt Simonson, and, as I recall, this opinion was entirely based one reading one comic book, an issue of …