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Archive for April, 2011

Comic Book Cover Swipes Exposed #55 Swamp Thing

19 Apr

After looking at hundreds of comic book covers, it becomes quickly apparent that not every cover is 100% original. Whether done intentionally or even underhandedly, there’s something about uncovering these “swipes” that adds a new element of fun to reading and collecting comics.

This swipe inserts Swamp Thing’s wife into the famous cover from his 1st appearance.

House of Secrets #92
House of Secrets #92
July 1971
Bernie Wrightson
the Saga of the Swamp Thing #33
the Saga of the Swamp Thing #33
February 1985
John Totleben

On Ebay: Swamp Thing
On AtomicAvenue: Swamp Thing

 

One-Shot At Greatness #55 Spider-Man vs Vampires

18 Apr

Because publishers want you to buy their product every month, comics are typically serial in nature. However, occasionally (and more often nowadays than ever before) publishers launch a comic title that is only meant to last for one issue. While ongoing series often have multiple chances to hook in new readers, the comics highlighted in this ongoing investigations only had One-Shot At Greatness!

Spider-Man vs Vampires #1Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: December 2010
Cover Price: $3.99
Writer: Kevin Grevioux
Artist: Roberto Castro

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

Negus, a vampire lord, captures Spider-Man and Blade and infects them with “Fang”, an addictive drug that temporarily turns people into vampires. Negus then pits our heroes against each other in his underground fight club. Can our heroes break free from the effects of “Fang”, fight through Negus’ vampire forces and put an end to the vampire lord’s criminal empire? I guess two out of three will have to do.

This one-shot pulls together the entire story that was originally available only via digital content. It’s written by Kevin Grevioux, well-known for his involvement in the Underworld movies. It’s clear that this story is meant to capitalize on the growing importance of vampires in the Marvel Universe but, it fails to actually incorporate any of the main story elements of Marvel’s current rise of vampires. It involves a small part of the vampire culture and therefore its importance to the ongoing storyline is neglible, at best. That, coupled with the inconsistent art-style, keeps me from giving this a strong recommendation.

On Ebay: Spider-Man | Blade | Kevin Grevioux
On AtomicAvenue: Spider-Man

 

Minimate Spotlight #48

16 Apr

coming soon

 

Guide to Marvel Comics Presents #4

15 Apr

Marvel Comics Presents launched in 1988 as an ad-free anthology showcasing four eight-page features, stuffed inside a wrap-around cover. This guide will tell you everything you wanted to know about the series – and more!


Marvel Comics Presents #4
Cover Date: Early October 1988 | Cover Price: $1.25 | Cover Artist: Al Milgrom with PCR


Wolverine in “Save the Tiger” part 4
written by Chris Claremont
art by John Buscema with Klaus Janson

 
Wolverine is now the captive of Mr. Roche, the main crimelord of Madripoor. Roche bids his servant, the Inquisitor, to torture Logan until he reveals all he knows about the Tiger - Roche’s newest competition. After hours of inflicted pain, Logan’s left alone and he soon manages to break free using his claws. However, his escape is cut short by Razorfist, when he’s met outside the compound. A seemingly lethal stab in the neck, followed by a lengthy drop from a waterfall leads Razorfist to conclude that Logan is now dead.

Man-Thing in “Elements of Terror” part 4
written by Steve Gerber
art by Tom Sutton

 
Senator Wycombe continues to mutate from the experimental process he’s undergone. Meanwhile, on the edge of the Casagata swamp in Florida, the occultist, nicknamed Demon, advances her plans for the mutated Man-Thing.

Master of Kung Fu in “Crossing Lines” part 4
written by Doug Moench
art by Tom Grindberg with Dave Cockrum

 
Shang-Chi and Black Jack Tarr discover that the people who have kidnapped Leiko Wu are also the same people behind the Terror Alliance that they want to take down. To accomplish their goal, they enlist the aid of Shen Kuei, the Cat.

Thor in “Silent Thunder
by Al Milgrom
 

 
The latest target for the Fear-Eater is the Mighty Thor! In this final installment, the story takes much the same steps as the previous three did. The Fear-Eater creates some mental images designed to induce fear but it only spurs our hero to summon even more courage to overcome the initial feeling of despair. Finally exhausted and near-starvation, the alien picks one more target. A target that needs to produce some fear for him to feast upon otherwise he’ll die of starvation. Too bad he doesn’t realize that his next target is Daredevil … “the Man Without Fear”.


Note: the alien race of Fear-Eaters was again seen in Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #39 (published in 1992).

Note from the Format Dept: this issue’s cover is not in the single image wrap format established by the first issue.

On Ebay: Marvel Comics Presents | Wolverine | Man-Thing | Shang-Chi | Thor
On AtomicAvenue: Marvel Comics Presents | Wolverine | Man-Thing | Master of Kung Fu | Thor

 

Famous Fanmail #54 Mike W. Barr

14 Apr

You may not be surprised to learn that most people in the comic business grew up reading comic books. However, you might be interested in knowing what they were reading. Here’s a look at “Famous Fanmail”!

Mike W. Barr‘s comic writing credits are quite varied but, I remember him best for his run on the Ultraverse’s Mantra. He got a letter printed in Eternals #11 (cover date – May 1977).

Eternals letters page with Mike W. Barr

On Ebay: Eternals | Mike Barr
On AtomicAvenue: Eternals

 

Celebrity Cameos #16 Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

13 Apr

Some of the best parts of movies like Old School and Zombieland are their unexpected celebrity cameos. The same thing happens in comics, every once in a while. Here’s a look at another Celebrity Cameo!

John Storm and a recently depowered Ben Grimm hit the town in Fantastic Four #584. Their “early dinner with friends” turns out to be with Stan Lee and Jack Kirby!

On Ebay: Fantastic Four | Stan Lee | Jack Kirby
On AtomicAvenue: Fantastic Four

 

Comic Book Cover Swipes Exposed #54

12 Apr

After looking at hundreds of comic book covers, it becomes quickly apparent that not every cover is 100% original. Whether done intentionally or even underhandedly, there’s something about uncovering these “swipes” that adds a new element of fun to reading and collecting comics.

This swipe was a great way of signaling that the “bwa-ha-ha” era of the League was over and the book would be returning to a more traditional approach.

Justice League of America #1
Justice League of America #1
November 1960
Murphy Anderson
Justice League America #61
Justice League America #61
April 1992
Dan Jurgens

On Ebay: Justice League
On AtomicAvenue: Justice League

 

One-Shot At Greatness #54 Doctor Strange From the Vault

11 Apr

Because publishers want you to buy their product every month, comics are typically serial in nature. However, occasionally (and more often nowadays than ever before) publishers launch a comic title that is only meant to last for one issue. While ongoing series often have multiple chances to hook in new readers, the comics highlighted in this ongoing investigations only had One-Shot At Greatness!

Doctor Strange: From the Marvel Vault #1Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: April 2011
Cover Price: $2.99
Writer: Roger Stern
Artist: Neil Vokes

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

This tale takes place years ago and begins with Stephen Strange purchasing a brownstone in New York’s Greenwich Village – despite the real estate agent’s warnings that its supposedly haunted. While looking around, Doctor Strange notices that he’s not alone in his new dwelling. After further investigation, he discovers that Tyanon‘s familiar is in the house, attempting to open a portal for his mistress to enter into the Earthly plane. Can our freshly trained sorcerer figure out how to prevent an invasion stemming from his new house?

This was a fun story with neat illustrations by Vokes that seem to mix Mignola with Saturday Morning cartoons. It’s a neat, previously untold tale of Doctor Strange’s first day in his now-famous brownstone. Interestingly enough, this story was set to be printed in 1998′s Marvel Universe - but that series was canceled before this issue was published. Luckily, it’s been brought out of the Marvel Vault and dusted off for our enjoyment!

On Ebay: Doctor Strange | Roger Stern | Neil Vokes
On AtomicAvenue: Doctor Strange

 

Minimate Spotlight #47 Mr. Fantastic & Dr. Doom

09 Apr

Action figures have long been a perfect compliment to comic books, since every kid (or kid at heart) has that natural desire to act out adventures with their favorite heroes off the drawn page. Every so often, a unique style of figure comes along that breaks the mold, so to speak. Each Saturday, Donny B will be showcasing various offerings from Art Asylum’s take on the ‘block figure’, with a weekly spotlight on Minimates.

Accessories do a great deal to make a figure awesome, especially when they showcase a character’s unique powers or abilities.
Over the years, Minimate fans have been given a few different versions of Reed Richards, A.K.A. Mr. Fantastic - and if there is any one character who can benefit from creative accessories, it’s Reed! His first release came packed with elongated arms that could bend to shape, and later releases also threw in a base to simulate the lower half of his body wrapping around an adversary. It’s details like these that make Minimates truly fun!


Behind the Image:

How many different ways are there to photograph toys? I’d rather not get myself stuck in one or two specific approaches when it comes to presenting images of Minimates, so every once in a while I try something a little different. With this image, I went for a sort of ‘vintage painting’ feel.
I google’d a painting that I felt had the right tone, and then superimposed a photo and messed around with some color/texture filters to get it to look as if it belonged with that background.

On Ebay: Fantastic Four
On AtomicAvenue: Fantastic Four

 

Guide to Marvel Comics Presents #3

08 Apr

Marvel Comics Presents launched in 1988 as an ad-free anthology showcasing four eight-page features, stuffed inside a wrap-around cover. This guide will tell you everything you wanted to know about the series – and more!


Marvel Comics Presents #3
Cover Date: Late September 1988 | Cover Price: $1.25 | Cover Artist: John Romita Jr


Wolverine in “Save the Tiger” part 3
written by Chris Claremont
art by John Buscema with Klaus Janson

 
Wolverine recounts his previous encounter with Jessan Hoan and is puzzled when he discovers that she has changed quite a bit – and doesn’t even remember him. After she escapes from him, he’s attacked and subdued by Sapphire Styx and Razorfist.

Man-Thing in “Elements of Terror” part 3
written by Steve Gerber
art by Tom Sutton

 
Well, it turns out that Senator Wycombe wasn’t murdered – but he was captured! And, he’s going to be the latest experiment in Project: Glamour - the very same operation he was asking about last issue. Project: Glamour intends to rediscover the Super Soldier Serum that Ted Sallis was trying to unlock years ago. Sallis’ experiments played a part in his transformation into the Man-Thing. Meanwhile, back in the swamp, the Man-Thing’s empathic nature leads him to an occultist who believes the monster will create a great opportunity for her.

Master of Kung Fu in “Crossing Lines” part 3
written by Doug Moench
art by Tom Grindberg with Dave Cockrum

 
Days after her Leiko Wu’s capture, Shang-Chi is still hitting the streets – looking for information that will bring him closer to his first love. When he returns to homebase, Black Jack Tarr invites the Master of Kung Fu to join him in his war on terrorism. Later, a package arrives addressed to Shang Chi, containing Leiko Wu’s severed left hand!

the Thing in “the Measure Of A Man
by Al Milgrom
 

 
The alien Fear-Eater sets his sights on the Thing - putting him through the emotional wringer. He uses Ben Grimm’s grotesque appearance against him – hoping to set in fear of being stuck in his monstrous form forever. But, the first inkling of adversity leads to a great feeling of honor and self-esteem that quickly defeats any negative feelings – leaving the alien near starving to death.


Note: in this issue, the Thing is in his “pineapple Thing” appearance – easily my favorite look for the character.

Note from the Format Dept: this issue’s cover returns to the wrap format established by the first issue.

On Ebay: Marvel Comics Presents | Wolverine | Man-Thing | Shang-Chi | the Thing
On AtomicAvenue: Marvel Comics Presents | Wolverine | Man-Thing | Master of Kung Fu | Thing