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Archive for February, 2012

Celebrity Cameos #26 Jay Faerber & Jamal Igle

29 Feb

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!

In New Warriors vol. II #10 (cover date: July 2000), the creative team, of Jay Faerber (writer) and Jamal Igle (artist), shows up as Hollywood producers/directors that are interested in working on Nova & Speedball’s script.

On Ebay: New Warriors
On AtomicAvenue: New Warriors

 

Comic Book Cover Swipes Exposed #100 Spider-Girl

28 Feb

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.

What If vol. II #105 introduced Spider-Girl (and a host of other characters), who went on to star in her own solo title for 100 issues! That title was canceled to make room for her second ongoing title, the Amazing Spider-Girl. Her second series ended with issue #30 and was followed by the Spectacular Spider-Girl, a four issue mini-series.

What If?! vol. II #105
What If?! vol. II #105
February 1998
Ron Frenz
the Amazing Spider-Girl #30
Amazing Spider-Girl #30
May 2009
Ron Frenz

On Ebay: Spider-Girl
On AtomicAvenue: Spider-Girl

 

One-Shot At Greatness #100 Thorion

27 Feb

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!

Thorion of the New Asgods #1Publisher: Amalgam Comics
Cover Date: June 1997
Cover Price: $1.95
Writer: Keith Giffen
Artist: John Romita Jr

When the DC and Marvel Universes merged in Marvel vs DC, a new one was created: the Amalgam Universe. This one-shot combined Thor with Orion (of the New Gods).

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

In a bid to unleash Ragnarok upon the Asgods, Thanoseid sends L’ok D’saad to set free the architects of the “end day”: Surtur, Kalibak, Ymir and Mangog. But, Thorion manages to defeat the villain and, by fusing the four giants together with himself, he becomes the Celestial!

It’s a pretty basic plot but there’s some fun action to be had here: trolls and other creatures invading Asgod; Thorion vs L’ok armed with the Mother Cube. But, perhaps what is most intriguing is this mysterious new creature formed from Thorion and the world-ending giants. What powers and goals does this enormous Celestial possess? That’s a mystery that may forever remain unlocked – but I shouldn’t wouldn’t mind seeing it explored!

On Ebay: Amalgam | Keith Giffen | JRJr
On AtomicAvenue: Amalgam Comics

 

Guide to Marvel Comics Presents #50

24 Feb

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 #50
Cover Date: 1990 | Cover Price: $1.25 | Cover Artist: Erik Larsen


Wolverine in “Life’s End” conclusion
written by Erik Larsen
art by Erik Larsen

Spider-Man and Wolverine recuperated from last issue’s blast and resume their battle against Critical Mass and his Band of Baddies. In the battle, Spidey discovers that the guy dressed as a burglar is his dentist! The kidnapped girl uses her blasting powers to take down the warehouse and when Spider-Man comes to, everyone else is gone without a trace. After discovering two of these villains are related to him somehow, and with the knowledge of other friends-turned-villains (like the Green Goblin), Spider-Man can’t help but wonder if his presence is somehow coincidentally turning people in his social circle into villains.

Comet Man in “A Family Affair” part 1
written by Bill Mumy with Miguel Ferrer
art by Kelley Jones

Comet Man is aboard a Fortisquian Starcruiser orbiting Earth’s moon, searching for the man who ruined his life, the Superior - his own brother. A teleconference with Reed Richards confirms that there is no trace of his brother to be found. After the call, Comet Man’s mentor, Max, decides it’s time to take a break from training and return to Earth. Max intends to enjoy Earth culture as Comet Man tracks down his son. And, as Comet Man returns to his family’s neighborhood, he stops a drunk-driver from hitting a biker.

Captain Ultra in “I Just Flew In From Poughkeepsie And Boy Are My Ams Tired
written by Scott Lobdell
art by Dennis Jensen

Doc Samson cures Captain Ultra of his pyrophobia and he goes on a joyride through Poughkeepsie, unintentionally destroying some parts of the city. A friendly cop convinces Captain Ultra that any real super-hero belongs in New York City. So, moving to a new city, Griffin Gogol (Cap’s alter ego) decides to pursue a career as a stand-up comedian. Too bad the club he’s performing at is being frequented by Ekl’r – the Demon Without Humor. Looks like this is a job for … Captain Ultra! And, using his Ultra-Potential, he can do anything better than anyone else – so he destroys the demon with an Ultra-Joke.

Silver Surfer in “You Can’t Go Home Again
written by Ed Simmons
art by Jack Sparling

 
Flying through space, the Silver Sufer combines with a singularity (a black hole) and crash lands on a small planetoid that orbits the black hole. He’s revived by a young woman named Rava and she explains that her people are prisoners of the Marauder - the conqueror who controls the singularity. Can the Silver Surfer defeat such a powerful villain now that his board has gone missing?

Erik Larsen’s Spider-Man/Wolverine story concludes and utilizes a concept that comic fans have been commenting on for years: it seems awfully strange that so many friends/acquaintances of super-heroes become super-powered individuals, themselves. And, in the last page, Wolverine sends off the kidnapped girl and her father but, take note of the clues about his identity:

1. He says “Holey Moley”.
2. He reveals that he’s an orphan.
3. Wolverine refers to him as “Captain” and “Mr. Beck”.

Fawcett Comics’ Captain Marvel was co-created by C.C. Beck whose catchphrase was “Holey Moley”. Additionally, his alter ego was an orphan named Billy Batson. Soooooooooo this is an unauthorized guest-appearance by Captain Marvel (who, at this point, was owned DC Comics). Now, as fun as the art was in this three-parter, the storyline wasn’t all that great – aside from asking a question that we’ve always wondered about. Naturally, no answer is provided.

It’s neat to see Marvel following up on a minor character with this Comet Man feature. He had his own mini series in the 1980s and later appeared in a few Fantastic Four issues. Even better? It utilizes the same creative team as his mini-series (the writer is Bill Mumy; Will Robinson from Lost in Space).

Another one of Marvel’s minor characters is featured in this very issue: Captain Ultra. This character was also featured in the Fantastic Four, years ago – and is brought back here by writer, Scott Lobdell who also has performed as a stand-up comedian (just like Captain Ultra’s alter ego).

And, how about that Larsen cover? Supposedly, it features every character that has appeared in MCP so far. And – it must have taken him days to put together!

On Ebay: Marvel Comics Presents | Wolverine | Comet Man | Captain Ultra | Silver Surfer
On AtomicAvenue: Marvel Comics Presents | Wolverine | Comet Man | Silver Surfer

 

Famous Fanmail #99 Robert Rodi

23 Feb

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”!

Robert Rodi is a novelist who’s also worked on comics like Loki, Rogue and his creator-owned title Codename: Knockout. Ge got a letter printed in Fantastic Four #155 (cover date – February 1975), applauding tying Thundra’s history into previously established work in Savage Tales.

Fantastic Four letters page with Robert Rodi

On Ebay: Fantastic Four | Robert Rodi
On AtomicAvenue: Fantastic Four

 

Connecting Covers #16 Night Thrasher

22 Feb

A fun aspect of comic books is that sometimes their covers combine to make an even larger image. Here’s a look at some connecting covers.

In this two-part storyline, Night Thrasher decided to do business with an old villain-gone-legit named Scorch. But, his ex-girlfriend, Silhouette, and half-brother, Bandit, weren’t too happy about the decision.

Night Thrasher #13 14

On Ebay: Night Thrasher
On AtomicAvenue: Night Thrasher

 

Comic Book Cover Swipes Exposed #99 New Warriors

21 Feb

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 New Warriors were a group of teen-heroes for the 1990s that was a ton of fun with great writing by Fabian Nicieza and art by Mark Bagley. The team was made up of Nova, Namorita, Speedball, Marvel Boy, Firestar and Night Thrasher. Psionex was a group of villains they faced off against and, in Annual #4, they decided to go straight and be a new team of super-heroes.

New Warriors #1
New Warriors #1
July 1990
Mark Bagley
New Warriors Annual #4
New Warriors Annual #4
1994
Stephen Jones

On Ebay: New Warriors
On AtomicAvenue: New Warriors

 

One-Shot At Greatness #99 Punisher 2099

20 Feb

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!

Punisher 2099 #1Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: November 2004
Cover Price: $2.99
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Pop Mhan

This is one of several one-shots that envisions what the Marvel Knights relaunches would have been like if they were published in 2099. In this future version of the Marvel Universe, the government re-enacted the Mutant Registration Act. The super-heroes joined together to defy the government but were eventually overpowered and went underground.

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

Cassandra Natchios (the daughter of Elektra and the Punisher) has followed in her father’s footsteps by continuing his war on organized crime as the Punisher. Up until now, she’s kept this hidden from her son, Franklin, but now that she’s been diagnosed with cancer, Cassandra decides that he has to continue the family legacy. So, she takes him with her on her hunts. He’s right there with her, learning how to shoot, who to shoot, what to blow up – but he’s conflicted. He just doesn’t seem to be into it. He feels that he doesn’t have the heart to continue this war by becoming a ruthless killer. But, when his mother finally passes away, will this trigger a change of heart or will the Punisher legacy die with her?

The concept of a “legacy” hero has been around in comics for a long time. Green Lantern. The Flash. Even Batman & Superman have their proteges. Here, Robert Kirkman introduces the concept to the Punisher – which is kind of a strange fit since his war on crime was so personal because the mob killed his family. It’s kind of hard to pass that passion on to someone else who wasn’t as severly affected by crime. And, that’s kind of the concept the Kirkman runs with here. Franklin understands that there are bad people out there – but he doesn’t feel strongly enough about it to go around killing them for it. It’s a neat way to approach the concept and because of its “finite-ness”, I’m not left wanting any more. But, in this case, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

If you came into this thinking you were getting a comic about the real Punisher 2099 (aka Jake Gallows) – then you got punked!

On Ebay: Punisher | Robert Kirkman
On AtomicAvenue: Punisher

 

Guide to Marvel Comics Presents #49

17 Feb

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 #49
Cover Date: 1990 | Cover Price: $1.25 | Cover Artist: Erik Larsen


Wolverine in “Life’s End” part 2
written by Erik Larsen
art by Erik Larsen

Spider-Man and Wolverine find the kidnapped girl and take on her captors: Critical Mass and his Baddies (Whiplash, Bloodlust, the Savage Fin and an unnamed burglar). And, as our heroes start to win the day, the mutants make the little girl user her (previously unrevealed) powers to stop Spidey & Logan.

Devil-Slayer in “Lost Souls” conclusion
written by Dwight Zimmerman
art by Rodney Ramos

Devil-Slayer is met in battle with the triple threat of the Flying Dutchman, Colonel McCloskey and Colonel Ramirez. The Dutchman opens an abyss that serves as the entrance to Mephisto’s realm – and, in their fight, Colonel Ramirez plunches into it, head-first. Colonel McCloskey almost meets the same fate but, he manages to cling to the edge with one hand. Before he can fall, Devil-Slayer defeats the Dutchman with a bottle full of Holy Water and then saves McCloskey’s life. The Flying Dutchman is wounded and retreats, leaving Devil-Slayer with his soul still intact. Eric Simon Payne then decides that he’s been granted a second chance at life and will give up being the Devil-Slayer.

Daredevil in “White Messiah
written by John Figueroa
art by Ron Wilson

In his latest attempt to bust up a drug-deal, Daredevil comes face to face with the villain named Scope. He’s got hyper-sensitive senses, too … but he’s not blind! How’s Daredevil going to get himself out of this one?

Gladiator in “the Unbeatable Foe
written by Len Kaminsky
art by Don Heck

Gladiator has sworn to serve she who sits upon the Shi’ar Empire’s throne. Currently, the ruler is Deathbird who has taken the throne from her sister by force. And, even though he is not happy about it, Gladiator continues to uphold his vow of service. Torn by his actions, he flies to Sector 9511 of the Shi’ar Galaxy to blow off some steam by flying through stars and destroying the landscapes of dead planets. On one of these planets he’s attacked by a Devonian Xontar - a foe whose powers are fed by its enemy. The more you struggle, the stronger it becomes. It takes a while – but, eventually, Gladiator realizes that the only way to beat this foe is to give up and stop struggling. And, by surrendering his rage, the attack has ended. He is free to pursue loftier goals – as is his heart.

Well, this is an MCP first! It’s the second consecutive cover done by the same artist. This “award” goes to Erik Larsen, who’s also the writer and artist on the Spider-Man/Wolverine feature. His story seems to include some strange coincidences. It takes place in the abandoned warehouse where Spider-Man first tracked down his Uncle Ben’s killer. Spider-Man recognizes the villain, Critical Mass, as a kid from his fourth grade class. And, the unnamed burglar bears a striking resemblance to the one who killed Uncle Ben (but, didn’t he die in Amazing Spider-Man #200?). Topping it off, there’s also the debut of the Savage Fin who looks very similar to Larsen’s creator-owned Savage Dragon (his title hit stands two years later). Zimmerman’s Devil-Slayer feature is intended to be a true ending to the saga of the Slayer – this is certainly not how I thought this tale would end but it’s neat to see our hero at peace with himself. Will it last? The Daredevil solo was pretty bland but Gladiator’s was a great feature of his abilities and also added some interesting character moments as his great rage was quelled.

This issue included the USPS Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation that revealed some interesting numbers:

Total Number of Copies Printed (net press run). Avernage number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months. 281,765. Single issue nearest to filing date: 245,225.

Paid Circulation: 1) Sales through dealers and carriers, street vendors and counter sales: Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 163,295. Single issue nearest to filing date: 132,100. 2) Mail subscriptions: Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 230. Single issue nearest to filing date: 300.

Copies Not Distributed: 1) Office use, left-over, unaccounted, spoiled after printing: Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 600. Single issue nearest to filing date: 600. 2) Returns from News Agents: Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 117,515. Single issue nearest to filing date: 114,100.

On Ebay: Marvel Comics Presents | Wolverine | Devil-Slayer | Daredevil | Gladiator
On AtomicAvenue: Marvel Comics Presents | Wolverine | Devil-Slayer | Daredevil

 

Famous Fanmail #98 Peter B. Gillis

16 Feb

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”!

Peter B. Gillis is a comics writer that’s worked on the “weirder” Marvel titles like the Eternals, Doctor Strange, the Defenders and his own creation, Strikeforce Morituri. Ge got a letter printed in Fantastic Four #155 (cover date – February 1975), applauding Marvel’s embrace of the theory of multiple possible futures.

Fantastic Four letters page with Peter B. Gillis

On Ebay: Fantastic Four | Peter B. Gillis
On AtomicAvenue: Fantastic Four