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Archive for July, 2011

Guide to Marvel Comics Presents #19

29 Jul

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 #19
Cover Date: May 1989 | Cover Price: $1.25 | Cover Artist: Rob Liefeld


Cyclops in “the Retribution Affair” part 3
written by Bob Harras
art by Ron Lim

 
Master Mold reveals to his hypnotized captive, Moira Mactaggert, that he is actually Stephen Lang – a human mind trapped within the Sentinel robot, after Cyclops destroyed his mortal body. His companion computer, Conscience, discovers that Sean Cassidy has contracted the mutant-killing Retribution Virus that Master Mold made Moira create. Late in the night, Master Mold dispatches his Servitors to capture the virus-stricken Sean Cassidy (aka Banshee) and Mary Campbell (a young telekinetic). Their large numbers are too many for even Cyclops to stop them all!

Black Panther in “Panther’s Quest” part 7
written by Don McGregor
art by Gene Colan

 
In this issue, we’re introduced to Sarah Slade, wife of Patrick Slade (the informant that lured Black Panther to South Africa on promises of news about his mother). The Black Panther ventures to the Slades’ artifact shop after thanking Zanti for his help and setting him loose from any obligation he might feel to continue helping. But, on his way home, Zanti discovers a militia man on the lookout and can’t keep himself from getting involved on the Panther’s behalf. And, while the Panther converses with Sarah Slade, the militia unleashes tear gas upon the area.

Dr. Strange in “Nightmare in Suburbia” part 1
written by Fabian Nicieza
art by Mark Badger

 
Doctor Strange travels to Minerva, Ohio to rid Mary Windhart’s home of the demon infestation that she is somehow unaware of. And, after defeating her infested son, Bobby – the husband arrives home … and he’s not looking too healthy, either.

Damage Control in “Overture
written by Dwayne McDuffie
art by Ernie Colon

 
After the super-heroes and villains destroy the city during their battles … who cleans up the mess? Why, Damage Control does! Rival super-clean-up broker, John Porter, is looking to horn in on their business, though. His latest stop is Josie’s Bar, where Daredevil and Turk are battling it out. After the bar gets leveled by a grenade, Damage Control steps in and replaces it near-instantly! Mrs. Hoag catches up with the ambitious Porter and offers him a job with Damage Control as Account Executive. Needless to say, his story is continued in the first Damage Control mini series (issue #1 also a cover date of May 1989).

This is it! The first appearance of Damage Control. Now, it’s not a mainstay title but, they’ve had four mini series over the years so they do have some importance in the Marvel Universe. Topping off this issue is a cover by Rob Liefeld (who had not yet exploded due to the Image boom).

On Ebay: Marvel Comics Presents | Cyclops | Black Panther | Doctor Strange | Damage Control
On AtomicAvenue: Marvel Comics Presents | Cyclops | Black Panther | Doctor Strange | Damage Control

 

Famous Fanmail #69 Steve Gerber

28 Jul

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”!

Steve Gerber was an important addition to the comics community. Not only did he create Howard the Duck (and many other characers including Omega the Unknown and Sludge) but he was an early champion for creator’s rights – they eventually revolutionized the industry. He got a letter published in Fantastic Four #19 (cover date – October 1963).

Fantastic Four letters page with Steve Gerber

On Ebay: Fantastic Four | Steve Gerber
On AtomicAvenue: Fantastic Four

 

Comic Book Easter Eggs #2 Kaboom

27 Jul

With any medium, the more you know about it, the more you can appreciate it. Naturally, the same is true of comic books and now that fans who grew up reading comics are working in the industry, we’re treated to more in-jokes and nods more than ever. Here’s a look at another, cool Comic Book ‘Easter Egg’!

Marvel’s X-Factor title underwent a lot of changes. Initially it featured the original five X-Men reunited again. Then, beginning with issue #71, it followed a government-sponsored team of mutants. That concept evolved into Howard Mackie’s paranoia-infused run, some of which featured excellent artwork by Jeff Matsuda. One such issue was #132 (cover date: March 1997). Matsuda slipped a little plug for his upcoming creator-owned series, Kaboom. It launched mere months later with a cover date of September 1997.

X-Factor #132 with Kaboom plug

On Ebay: X-Factor | Kaboom
On AtomicAvenue: X-Factor | Kaboom

 

Comic Book Cover Swipes Exposed #69 Avengers

26 Jul

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.

The Secret Invasion tie-ins were filled with classic cover swipes. This is probably the most recent swipe of the tie-ins. The original cover debuted a year prior.

New Avengers: Illuminati vol. II #1
New Avengers: Illuminati vol. II #1
February 2007
Jim Cheung
New Avengers: Illuminati vol. II #4
New Avengers: Illuminati vol. II #41
September 2007
Jim Cheung
New Avengers #44
New Avengers #44
October 2008
Aleksi Briclot

On Ebay: Avengers | Secret Invasion
On AtomicAvenue: Avengers | Secret Invasion

 

One-Shot At Greatness #69 Ghost Riders

25 Jul

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!

Mavel Mangaverse: Ghost Riders #1Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: March 2002
Cover Price: $2.25
Writer: Chuck Austen
Artist: Chuck Austen

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

After the events of Marvel Mangaverse: New Dawn, the Godzilla-sized Hulk is on the loose in New York City. Adding to the monster’s destruction, Satanna and her minions are running loose. Curiously enough, while chaos is consuming the city, Damon Hellstrom calls a meeting with John Blaze, to reveal that they are brothers. He also empowers Blaze to become the Ghost Rider and they set out to fight Satanna and her demons. The super-sized evil mistress may be too big for them to take down … but, the Hulk’s enormous stature may just do the trick!

Normally, I like fun and humor in my comics but, this seems to have just way too much of it. It relies on humor much more than action. And, with a book centered on these specific characters, the exceeding amount of humor just doesn’t seem to fit. Add to that the strange artwork, which mixes very cartoony character designs with burgeoning CGI technology (this was 2002, after all), and I just can’t give this book a high recommendation.

* It should be noted that dissatisfaction with this book starts at the very cover. Even though Werewolf By Night is prominently featured on the cover, he doesn’t appear in this story at all.

On Ebay: Mangaverse | Chuck Austen
On AtomicAvenue: Mangaverse

 
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Posted in One-Shot At Greatness

 

Guide to Marvel Comics Presents #18

22 Jul

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 #18
Cover Date: Early May 1989 | Cover Price: $1.25 | Cover Artist: John Byrne


Cyclops in “the Retribution Affair” part 2
written by Bob Harras
art by Ron Lim

 
The next day, Cyclops and Banshee both have the same feeling that something is wrong on Muir Island. The Irish super-hero shares his concerns about Moira’s odd behavior. Moira MacTaggert interrupts their meeting with news that Mary Campbell has fallen ill. The young girl belongs to a family that rents their home from Moira. When the three of them go to investigate, Mary’s brother Bobbie claims that the “Little People … the people in the lights” caused his sister to come down with this deadly infection. Later that night, the “light” attacks Cyclops while Moira, in a daze again, meets with Master Mold! The alpha sentinel explains that both Mary & Bobbie were exposed to the virus but, because Bobbie is human, it didn’t affect him.

Black Panther in “Panther’s Quest” part 6
written by Don McGregor
art by Gene Colan

 
South African Magistrate, Anton Pretorius, meets with Corporal Percy Boraine to discuss the Black Panther‘s presence in their country. He puts the country on alert that an intruder has infiltrated their nation and reinforcement troops are dispatched to the Panther’s last-known location. Meanwhile, in that same area, the Black Panther and Zanti Chikane have reached their goal: the Panther’s sonar glider.

She-Hulk in “X-Mas Tease…
written by John Byrne
art by John Byrne

 
This tale begins as She-Hulk is struggling against that worst of foes: boredom! So, she phones Ben Grimm – otherwise known as the Thing from the Fantastic Four – and she explains how fun it’d be to take on Doctor Doom, Magneto and then Galactus. All in the same day! After her phone call, she reaches under her tree to open a present from Marvel Comics. It’s a box full of Sensational She-Hulk #1′s. We’ve been had – this was all just to promote her then-upcoming series (it debuted this same month).

Willie Lumpkin in “A Christmas Card
written by Glenn Herdling
art by Richard Howell

 
The events of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol are about to befall J. Jonah Jameson but the Ghost Of Christmas Past accidentally loses the ol’ codger’s address! So, he mistakenly descends upon the Fantastic Four’s mailman, Willie Lumpkin. As the Spirit takes Willie through moments in his life, it becomes evident that he’s one of the nicest guys out there. The Spirit has made a huge mistake … but will he realize it before he shows Willie how he dies?

In this issue, the continuing sagas build some more steam but the one and done tales fall flat.

On Ebay: Marvel Comics Presents | Cyclops | Black Panther | She-Hulk | Fantastic Four
On AtomicAvenue: Marvel Comics Presents | Cyclops | Black Panther | She-Hulk

 

Famous Fanmail #68 Kevin Dooley

21 Jul

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”!

Kevin Dooley is a former editor for DC Comics who also wrote a few issues of Mister Miracle, Green Arrow and other titles. He got a letter published in Green Lantern#188 (cover date – May 1985).

Green Lantern letters page with Kevin Dooley

On Ebay: Green Lantern | Kevin Dooley
On AtomicAvenue: Green Lantern

 

Celebrity Cameos #21 Sean Young

20 Jul

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!

Sean Young is probably best known for her role as Rachel in Blade Runner. She was originally cast as Vicki Vale in Tim Burton’s Batman but, an injury caused her to drop out – she was replaced by Kim Basinger. Intent on being in a Batman film, Young later appeared on the Joan Rivers Show wearing a Catwoman outfit, in an attempt to be cast as the character in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. Supposedly, she even showed up at the Warner Brother offices in the costume, trying to land the role.

In Peter David’s excellent run on X-Factor, Strong Guy claimed that he had spent some time with Young. And, in issue #79, she showed up for a date … in the Catwoman outfit.

On Ebay: X-Factor
On AtomicAvenue: X-Factor

 

Comic Book Cover Swipes Exposed #68 Avengers

19 Jul

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.

The Secret Invasion tie-ins were filled with classic cover swipes. This one pays homage to the Avengers’ second annual that pitted the new team versus the old team and debuted the Scarlet Centurion.

Avengers Annual #2
Avengers Annual #2
September 1968
John Buscema
New Avengers #43
New Avengers #43
September 2008
Aleksi Briclot

On Ebay: Avengers | Secret Invasion
On AtomicAvenue: Avengers | Secret Invasion

 

One-Shot At Greatness #68 Exciting X-Patrol

18 Jul

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!

the Exciting X-Patrol #1Publisher: Amalgam Comics
Cover Date: June 1997
Cover Price: $1.95
Writer: Barbara Kesel
Artist: Bryan Hitch

When the DC and Marvel Universes merged in Marvel vs DC, a new one was created: the Amalgam Universe. This one-shot combined X-Force with Doom Patrol and Teen Titans.

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

Brother Brood and his Brood have captured Niles Cable. Now, it’s up to his team, X-Patrol, to free him. This time, the team (consisting of Elasti-Girl, Shatterstarfire, Beastling, Dial H.U.S.K. and Ferro Man) have a new recruit named Jericho (a gray version of the Fantastic Four’s Thing with a glowing eye). And, although Elasti-Girl recommends him – the rest of the team is unsure of his trustworthiness.

Meanwhile, back in Zenosha, the captive Niles Cable has been infected with a Brood implant that will eventually overtake his body and consciousness. He has the power to destroy the implant but, doing so will release his control over the techno-virus that infects his body. Killing the implant would mean finally succumbing to the infection that he’s faced for decades!

When the team finally reaches Zenosha, they face off against the Brood, Terra-X the Destroyer (a neat combo of Terra and Galactus’ herald, Terrax), and the Brood. While they’re distracted, the brood implant has nearly overtaken Niles Cable and he is forced to fight his own team. However, Jericho sheds his rocky outer shell and reveals who he truly is: [a young, techno-virus-free Niles Dayspring - which explains that glowing eye], come to save the future from Brood infestation. This powerful mutant destroys Brother Brood and frees Cable of his brood implant.

Plenty of fun action to be had here and powerful art by Bryan Hitch. Same as last time, the Beastling provided some much-needed humor and fun but, unfortunately, Elasti-Girl was much more serious this time around. The story really seems to draw strongly on the Cable mythos, so fans of his will probably have a stronger appreciation for this issue. And, who doesn’t enjoy a good mystery hero?

On Ebay: Amalgam | Barbara Kesel | Bryan Hitch
On AtomicAvenue: Amalgam Comics