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Archive for April, 2012

Guide to Marvel Two-In-One #5 the Thing & the Guardians of the Galaxy

16 Apr

Marvel Two-In-One launched in 1974, teaming the Thing with a different hero each month. This guide will tell you everything you wanted to know about the series – and more!

Marvel Two-In-One #5Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: September 1974
Cover Price: 25¢
Writer: Steve Gerber
Artist: Sal Buscema

WHO stars in this issue?

the Thing - Benjamin J. Grimm was bombarded by cosmic rays in a space exploration flight, alongside three friends. The cosmic rays gave each of them different powers, and they formed the Fantastic Four. Ben underwent the most physical change of the foursome: his skin mutated into orange rock and, as a result, he gained super-strength.

Captain America - Steve Rogers was give the experimental Super Soldier Serum that turned him into the star-spangled war hero of World War II. After the war, he was frozen in suspended animation and later revived in the modern era.

Guardians of the Galaxy - lone survivors of four lost worlds pledged to destroy the Badoon. Major Vance Astro: a psychokinetic of Earth. Charlie-27: super-strong last survivor of Earth’s Jupiter colony. Yondu: the master of weaponry from Earth-colonized Centauri-IV. Martinex: the crystal man from Earth’s Plutonian colony.

WHAT happens?

After their capture last issue, the Thing, Captain America and Sharon Carter are brought before Drang - the Badoon sovereign of New York City. When the Thing comes to, our heroes manage to slip loose from their captivity and battle their way out of the Badoon capitol building. They stick to the shadows, hoping to find the pocket of human resistance they heard about.



Meanwhile, Tarin has sought out Zakkor, the leader of the resistance, with the intention of rallying humanity against the Badoon now that there can be renewed hope, with Captain America’s presence in their city. Zakkor summons the Guardians of the Galaxy from Earth’s orbit – and they join forces with the Thing, Cap and Sharon against the Brotherhood of the Badoon. With high hopes and the extra help, the Badoon of New York are soundly defeated.

Our heroes are transported back to their original time, leaving the New Yorkers of 3014 A.D. and the Guardians of the Galaxy with the belief that the Badoon can eventually be driven from the entire Earth now that they’ve achieved victory in New York.



WHERE does the story take place?

New York City – of the 31st century!

WHEN do the Badoon next appear?

The Badoon next appear in a multi-issue story arc from Defenders #26-29 (as well as Giant-Size Defenders #5), which also guest-stars the Guardians of the Galaxy.

WHY are the Guardians of the Galxy the guest-lead?

As revealed in last issue’s notice, Marvel was engineering a revival of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Their first (and last) appearance was in Marvel Super-Heroes #18, which was published five years prior in 1969. This is their second appearance and the Guardians showed up in the afore-mentioned Defenders storyline less than a year later. That same year, their first appearance was reprinted in Astonishing Tales #29 (cover date: July 1975). And, beginning in Marvel Feature #3 (cover date: February 1976), the Guardians of the Galaxy got their own lead feature – which lasted until the title was canceled at #12.



HOW was it?

There was certainly a lot of action to be had as the Thing, Cap and Sharon first busted out of the Badoon capitol building – and then back in with the aid of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Gerber provided a brief summary of the Guardians that filled us in on the important facts and provided further insight into Major Astro’s origins. However, there wasn’t much that would have convinced me to pick up a Guardians solo title, if I had been reading at this time. Nor was there much in the way of characterization for the Thing or Captain America. So, let’s take it for what it is: a huge action, adventure story. And, to that end, it served its purposes well.



Note: This issue’s letters column features commentary on Marvel Two-In-One #3. Additionally, this comic includes Marvel Value Stamp #93 (Silver Surfer).

On Ebay: Marvel Two-In-One | the Thing | Captain America | Guardians of the Galaxy
On AtomicAvenue: Marvel Two-In-One | the Thing | Captain America | Guardians of the Galaxy

 

Guide to Marvel Comics Presents #57

13 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 #57
Cover Date: 1990 | Cover Price: $1.25 | Cover Artist: Dale Keown


Wolverine in “On The Road” part 4
written by Michael Higgins
art by Dave Ross

Logan wakes up in Springfield General Hospital after his seeming death at the hands of the police (in between this and last issue). Meanwhile, the Hulk is driving a car he stole right out from under the police’s noses when he hears over the police band that a man has hostages holed up in a pharmaceutical factory – and the man fits Wolverine’s description. Hulk rushes to the scene to confront the man who looks like Wolverine – complete with crazy hair and claws – but isn’t Wolverine. However, the man hints that he and the Hulk have met in the past.

Werewolf in “Children of the Beast” part 4
written by Len Kaminski
art by Jim Fry

Layla reveals why she was referring to Jack Russell as “dad”. Years ago (back in Werewolf by Night #6), she and the rest of her pack (“the Braineaters”) challenged his territory. Jack, in werewolf form, tore through them – when they came to, they realized they had inherited his “blood gift”. And, while Jack still hasn’t accepted his lycanthropy, the Braineaters revel in it! It is this dangerous, revelry that has attracted Silver Dagger’s condemnation. This embrace of evil has also turned off Werewolf by Night – as the moon rises and Jack gives into the beast, he rages against the group. And, when the moment presents itself, he runs away from the pack – an outcast among his own kind.

Sub-Mariner in “Neptune’s Eye” part 1
written by Robert Denatale
art by Mike Collins

Mourning the loss of his beloved Marrina, Namor ventures near Neptune’s Eye - a violent and dangerous whirlpool raging in the Atlantic Ocean. As he ponders delving into its mysteries, a nearby underwater film crew is attacked by sea beasts. Namor comes to the rescue but not in time to save Peter. He brings the survivor, Sandra, back to her base to meet with the leaders of her project. They reveal that they’re part of a joint international project that has come to Neptune’s Eye to determine if they can tap it as a new energy source. Sandra Rains, who was commissioned to film the project’s work, convinces Namor to lead an expedition right into the eye. Unfortunately, she can’t convince the rest of the project to join them – so it looks like it’ll be a small team: just her and Namor.

Black Cat in “The Crown Jewel Caper
written by Dwight Zimmerman
art by Mike Harris

The Black Cat has been hired to find the lost Crown Jewels of France but she soon discovers she’s been set up as her shady dealings have landed her in hot water with the local police. She uses her physical prowess and good luck powers to get away and then figures out a way to get back at the man who set her up.

The Wolverine/Hulk feature still hasn’t gotten any better but the promise of a mystery identity of the villain has piqued my curiousity. I’m still enjoying the Werewolf feature and I really dig that it ties into his previously established continuity. Sub-Mariner’s story looks like it might be a neat adventure filled with a mysterious locale and strange deep sea creatures. The Black Cat story was completely forgettable and had poor, unfinished-looking art. Fortunately, the cover features work by a more accomplished artist.

On Ebay: Marvel Comics Presents | Wolverine | Werewolf | Sub-Mariner | Black Cat
On AtomicAvenue: Marvel Comics Presents | Wolverine | Werewolf | Sub-Mariner | Black Cat

 

Famous Fanmail #106 Peter Sanderson

12 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”!

Peter Sanderson isn’t a comics writer but he’s certainly a Marvel historian. He’s helped write the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe along with several other guide books. He got a letter printed in Fantastic Four #204 (cover date: March 1979), pointing out why FF #200 was a flawed anniversary issue.

Fantastic Four letters page with Peter Sanderson

On Ebay: Fantastic Four | Peter Sanderson
On AtomicAvenue: Fantastic Four

 

Connecting Covers #19 Nadesico

11 Apr

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.

CPM Manga’s Nadesico has a few covers that connect together. Here’s one set.

Nadesico #22 23

On Ebay: Nadesico
On AtomicAvenue: Nadesico

 

Comic Book Cover Swipes Exposed #106 Hawkman

10 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.

In Hawkman #6, Hawkman discovers Illoral – “The World Where Evolution Ran Wild” – filled with strange creatures like flying gorillas!

Hawkman #6
Hawkman #6
March 1965
Murphy Anderson
DC Comics Presents: Hawkman #1
DC Comics Presents: Hawkman #1
September 2004
Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

On Ebay: Hawkman
On AtomicAvenue: Hawkman

 

Guide to Marvel Two-In-One #4 the Thing & Captain America

09 Apr

Marvel Two-In-One launched in 1974, teaming the Thing with a different hero each month. This guide will tell you everything you wanted to know about the series – and more!

Marvel Two-In-One #4Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: July 1974
Cover Price: 25¢
Writer: Steve Gerber
Artist: Sal Buscema

WHO stars in this issue?

the Thing - Benjamin J. Grimm was bombarded by cosmic rays in a space exploration flight, alongside three friends. The cosmic rays gave each of them different powers, and they formed the Fantastic Four. Ben underwent the most physical change of the foursome: his skin mutated into orange rock and, as a result, he gained super-strength.

Captain America - Steve Rogers was give the experimental Super Soldier Serum that turned him into the star-spangled war hero of World War II. After the war, he was frozen in suspended animation and later revived in the modern era.

WHAT happens?

A day at the zoo turns to chaos when Wundarr decides that the animals should be freed from their cages. And, as the Thing rounds up the wild animals the zoo workers and visitors rush off to safety. Some hoodlums decide to take this opportunity to loot the deserted concession stands but they’re defeated by another heroic zoo-goer, Captain America.



And, as if that wasn’t enough Marvel Heroes to be at the same zoo at the same time, Namorita‘s there, too. She shares that she’s moved off of Hydrobase and is now going to College in Long Island. With her new living situation, she decides she’s better suited to take care of Wundarr and teach him about the world.

Now that things have been brought back to normal, the Thing invites Captain America and his zoo-date, Sharon Carter, back to the Baxter Building for some coffee and relaxation. But, it doesn’t last long – moments later, alarms are sounding from Reed’s lab. Following the sirens, they discover a woman has been transported there by the accidentally-activated time machine (it used to belong to Doctor Doom).



She reveals her name is Tarin and she’s from our future – the year 3014, to be exact. In that future, Earth has been conqured by the alien race, the Badoon - although a small pocket of human resistance still stands, led by the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Manning the time machine, Reed sends Tarin back home accompanied by the Thing, Captain America and Sharon Carter. Soon after they arrive, they’re quickly overwhelmed by a Zom Patrol and the Monster of Badoon. Tarin is the only one who is able to flee to safety while the others are taken captive by the alien forces.

WHERE does the story take place?

The story begins in Central Park Zoo but ends in New York City – of the 31st century!



WHEN do the Badoon next appear?

They’ll show up in the very next issue since this story is … to be continued!

WHY is Captain America the guest-lead?

This tale, set in the far-flung future, will be able to serve as a fitting tribute Marvel’s patriotic hero. Not only has he served his country proudly in World War II and in the modern era but, we discover that he will continue to inspire hope long after he’s gone. Even in the year 3014, Captain America serves a symbol of liberty for the last vestiges of humanity. The Guardians of the Galaxy have gone so far as to name their ship after him.



HOW was it?

It seems strange to me that Wundarr would be so quickly written out of this series. I mean, let’s face it – this book has enough going on without a Namorita/Wundarr subplot so I doubt we’ll be following that development. And, since Gerber is still going to be writing the next few issues, it really makes me wonder why he brought the character in as a supporting character only to dismiss him so quickly. On top of that small issue, my biggest concern was the “coincidental” meeting the Thing, Captain America and Namorita in the same zoo at the same date/time. This seems a bit of a stretch – but, I’m not going to dwell on it any longer.

More importantly, this issue revisits the 31st century Earth that was first (and last) seen in Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (the first appearance of the Guardians of the Galaxy) – so, with that in mind, I hope you’re prepared for the second appearance of the Guardians in the very next issue. As for me, I’m quite excited to read such an early part in their history. However, the way that the Thing’s adventure into the 31st century kicks off is certainly frustrating. It’s due to yet another coincidence (in this case, he accidentallly flips on Doom’s time machine that later retrieves Tarin from the future) which seems like a lazy plot point, to me. I also wish more would have been shown of the despair of a Badoon-conquered Earth. In fact, the New York City of the 31st century looks incredible! Tarin notes that there is a pocketful of human resistance to the aliens but, we don’t get any visual confirmation of mistreatment by the Badoon. I think this would have confirmed the threat more. Not that the Badoon don’t present a threat to our heroes – this is clearly not the case as the Thing, Cap and Sharon are quickly attacked by the Zom Patrol and the Badoon’s Monster. I’m hoping that more will be revealed next issue.



Note: This issue’s letters column features commentary on Marvel Two-In-One #2. Additionally, this comic includes Marvel Value Stamp #88 (the Leader).

On Ebay: Marvel Two-In-One | the Thing | Captain America
On AtomicAvenue: Marvel Two-In-One | the Thing | Captain America

 

Guide To Marvel Comics Presents #56

06 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 #56
Cover Date: 1990 | Cover Price: $1.25 | Cover Artist: Steve Lightle


Wolverine in “On The Road” part 3
written by Michael Higgins
art by Dave Ross

Logan wakes to find himself imprisoned but, he quickly busts out. His body is in immense pain and he tracks down large amounts of pain killers to stop it. Meanwhile, Bruce Banner has been picked up by four teenagers in a red convertible. When they get caught speeding, Bruce tries to flee the scene but he’s picked up by the local police. On their way back to base, they’re called to another scene by the dispatcher. When they arrive, they discover Logan has been surrounded by police – they think he’s wanted for murder. And, as the sun sets, Banner turns into the Hulk, who rushes to Wolverine‘s side.

Werewolf in “Children of the Beast” part 3
written by Len Kaminski
art by Jim Fry

As the Silver Dagger lunges in for the kill, Jack Russell transforms into the Werewolf By Night. Sensing the potential killer’s outfit covered in actual silver, the Werewolf runs off into the woods with Silver Dagger chasing behind. Wounded and exhausted, the Werewolf passes out but not before his eyes are met by a large pack of werewolves with the female in front referring to him as … her father?!

Stingray in “Family Matters” conclusion
written by Len Wein
art by Jim Fern

Stingray attempts to dig his wife out from the collapsed cavern but his suit doesn’t have the strength left to do it alone. His only hope is to convince Tiger Shark to help by reaching the human side of the villain that he has been trying so hard to suppress.

Speedball in “Any Number Can Play
written by Steve Ditko with Jo Duffy
art by Steve Ditko

Springdale has an ordinance against costumed heroes and villains but, Speedball doesn’t seem to give it much credit. Nor do the masked men he’s just discovered each with unique mask displaying different die configuration (one, two, three, four, etc). They also appear to be double-crossing each other – Trio is killed first! Can the Masked Marvel defeat the others and leave the scene before the police show up? You betcha!

I’m still not convinced that this Wolverine/Hulk story will be all that interesting, let alone coherent. Werewolf by Night got kicked up another notch – I’m really interested to see if this is an actual daughter or “figurative” offspring. After Stingray’s less-than-appealing story last issue, this one really makes up for it and shows a side of Tiger Shark that we don’t often see. And, finally, Speedball was pretty terrible. After suffering through all ten issues of the Masked Marvel’s ongoing series, I thought I’d never have the displeasure of reading another Ditko-Speedball story. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

On Ebay: Marvel Comics Presents | Wolverine | Werewolf | Stingray | Speedball
On AtomicAvenue: Marvel Comics Presents | Wolverine | Werewolf | Speedball

 

Famous Fanmail #105 Cat Yronwode

05 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”!

In the 1980s, Catherine Yronwode served as Editor-in-Chief of Eclipse Comics. Her tenure as EIC brought forth such notable works as Alan Moore’s Miracleman, Dave Stevens’ the Rocketeer and Scott McCloud’s Zot! After Eclipse went bankrupt, she worked in Claypool Comics’ production department. She got a letter printed in Fantastic Four #202 (cover date: January 1979), giving high praise to Bill Mantlo’s script on FF Annual #13.

Fantastic Four letters page with Cat Yronwode

On Ebay: Fantastic Four | Cat Yronwode
On AtomicAvenue: Fantastic Four

 

Cyberspace Comics Market Report #20 April 2012

04 Apr

Here’s a look back at the previous month in online comic sales.

Number of listings in eBay’s “comics” section: 1,634,620 (+5.56% from last month; +7.55% from last year)
Number of those that are Cyberspace Comics listings: 8,496 (-7.22%; +19.34%)
My “market share” of comic listings on eBay: 0.51975% (-12.10%; +10.96%)

Number of eBay comic listings that are auctions: 179,165
Percentage of eBay comic listings up for auction: 10.96%

My current eBay feedback (unique): 15,351
My current eBay feedback (total): 30,503
My postive eBay feedback score: 99.9%

Position Dollar Sales # of Current Listings
First Marvel Comics Marvel Comics (1,346 listings)
Second Marvel (Bronze Age) Bad Girls (868 listings)
Third Underground TPBs (726 listings)
Fourth TPBs Image Comics (673 listings)
Fifth Bad Girls (↑) Underground (645 listings)

 

Throughout the entire month of March, eBay offered free auction listings to eBay store suscribers. That’s why the auction market is at 10% of the total market, as opposed to the normal rate of 5 to 6%.

 
Number of listings on Atomic Avenue: 1,542,381 (-0.09%; +16.86%)
Number of those that are in the Cyberspace Comics Store on Atomic Avenue: 46,438 (+1.14%; +64.90%)
My “market share” of comic listings on AtomicAvenue: 3.0108% (+1.23%; +41.10%)
My estimated “market share” of AtomicAvenue orders: 5.23% (+0.58%; -9.04%)

As you can see from these huge annual gains, my inventory on AtomicAvenue has increased greatly in the past year!

 
Number of members on ComicCollectorLive: 84,956 (+0.62%)

 

Comic Book Cover Swipes Exposed #105 Green Lantern

03 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.

Brian Bolland pays tribute to one of those goofier silver age Green Lantern covers.

Green Lantern #31
Green Lantern #31
September 1964
Gil Kane
DC Comics Presents: Green Lantern #1
DC Comics Presents: Green Lantern #1
September 2004
Brian Bolland

On Ebay: Green Lantern
On AtomicAvenue: Green Lantern