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July 31, 2012

Comic Book Cover Swipes Exposed #122 Hawk & Dove

Filed under: Swiped: Comic Book Cover Swipes Exposed! — Doorman @ 8:28 am

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 Hawk and Dove cover is paying homage to Copperhead’s first appearance in the Brave and the Bold #78.

the Brave and the Bold #78
the Brave and the Bold #78
July 1968
Bob Brown
Hawk and Dove vol. III #9
Hawk and Dove vol. III #9
February 1990
Greg Guler

On Ebay: Brave and the Bold | Hawk and Dove
On AtomicAvenue: Brave and the Bold | Hawk and Dove

July 30, 2012

Guide to Marvel Two-In-One #19 the Thing & Tigra

Filed under: Guide to Marvel Two-In-One — Doorman @ 11:43 am

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 #19Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: September 1976
Cover Price: 30¢
Writer: Bill Mantlo
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.

Tigra – Greer Grant underwent an experimental process to gain superhuman strength. Soon after, she found herself dying from exposure to radiation. The Cat People offered her a chance at survival through a combination of science and sorcery. She was transformed into Tigra – a human/cat hybrid.

WHAT happens?

Tigra seeks out the Thing‘s help in defeating the Cougar – a villain who has gained control of the Null-Bands. But, before she can even fill him in on the details, they’re attacked by the Cougar’s goons. The Cougar is a renegade member of the Cat People – they’ve sent Tigra to hunt him down before he uses the bands to win domination over them. After they defeat the Cougar’s thugs, Tigra and the Thing find one of Reed Richards’ devices that allows them to home in on the energy released by the Null-Bands.



Tigra and the Thing track down the Cougar using Reed’s device but, he’s ready for them – he subdues them with knockout gas. When they come to, they discover that Tigra has been chained to the wall. Additionally, the Thing has been placed within some complicated machinery that will allow the Cougar to drain his power. But, before the transfer can take place, the Thing bursts free and releases Tigra, as well. In the ensuing battle, the two heroes find it difficult to defeat the villain since he’s armed with the Null-Bands. He is ultimately defeated but, not by the Thing or Tigra. Sheila Conklin (the fiancée of Curt Ranklin – the Cougar’s secret identity) shoots him when she discovers her villainous husband-to-be has gone mad with power.

WHERE does the story take place?

This story jumps around New York City from the Baxter Building to Conklin Industries’ lab.



WHEN does the villain next appear?

This is the Cougar‘s first … and last … appearance.

WHY is Tigra the guest-lead?

Tigra took over the lead feature of Marvel Chillers with issue #3 (cover date: March 1976). This issue of MTIO was probably intended to give her a boost in sales with a little added attention but it appears it was too late. Marvel Chillers was cancelled with issue #7, which was published just one month after this issue.



HOW was it?

This was a very straight-forward “recruit the Thing” for help team-up story. Lots of action but low on characterization. On the plus side, it tied into both heroes: the villain was one of the Cat People and the Null-Bands he used were taken from a Fantastic Four villain named Tomazooma. Keen eyes will notice that occasionally the Cougar slips up and refers to the Null-Bands as Nega-Bands. Man is he off! Marvel Zombies know the Nega-Bands allow Rick Jones to summon forth Captain Marvel.

Note: This issue’s letters column features commentary on Marvel Two-In-One #16.

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

July 27, 2012

Wait! … What?! #1 Fin Fang Foom

Filed under: Wait! ... What?! — Doorman @ 7:46 am

As a totally biased comic fan, I can say that comic books are usually at the front lines of everything that’s great and cool. It pains me to say this but every once in a great while … they’re not…

Fin Fang Foom is a giant, green dragon … with purple pants. But, don’t be misled – that’s not my concern here. After all, it’s common knowledge that green monsters have to wear purple pants. In fact, two purple-pantsed green monsters squared off in a one-shot from the 2000s. Check it out!

So, I’m fine with a giant dragon wearing pants. We can’t have Marvel artists drawing ginormous dangling dragon bits, can we? Kids read these things! … right?

Nope – that’s not my issue. My concern is an appearance of Fin Fang Foom in Astonishing Tales #24. Now, you’ve got to remember that this book came out in 1974. At the time, Kung Fu (starring David Carradine), was all the rage. Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon had premiered the year before and martial arts were cool in America. At this time, comics weren’t on the front lines of all that’s awesome. In fact, they often followed trends … and the Kung Fu trend hit hard. Marvel launched three kung fu titles in 1974: Iron Fist, the black and white magazine Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, and Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu. But that wasn’t enough! The writer of Astonishing Tales, Tony Isabella, decided that Fin Fang Foom was also a martial arts expert. Take a look:

Fin Fang Foom - Karate Master?

So, we’re to believe that this ancient, slumbering dragon took the time to study martial arts? I don’t buy it. Plus, Foom’s 32′ tall! For real – I’ve measured! What does a giant dragon need a martial arts fighting strategy for? When you’re that big (and equipped with “fire breath”, no less) it’s just all about smash! smash! smash!

But, I guess we’ll let this one slide. After all, this storyline was only his second appearance since he debuted in Strange Tales #89 (October 1961) so the character hadn’t been fleshed out much by this time. However – let’s keep Foom as a dragon … not a “karate killer”!

Fin Fang Foom - Karate Master?

On Ebay: Fin Fang Foom
On AtomicAvenue: Fin Fang Foom

Guide to Marvel Comics Presents #72

Filed under: Guide to Marvel Comics Presents — Doorman @ 7:12 am

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 #72
Cover Date: 1991 | Cover Price: $1.25 | Cover Artist: Barry Windsor-Smith


Wolverine in “Weapon X” prologue
written by Barry Windsor-Smith
art by Barry Windsor-Smith

Logan’s holed up in a sketchy hotel called the Prophecy. His night of hard drinking is calling up some painful memories of being experimented on in a laboratory.

Shanna in “The Bush of Ghosts” part 5
written by Gerard Jones
art by Paul Gulacy

Jeremy‘s after poachers. Dubose is after diamond smugglers. And, Shanna‘s after the zoo animal slaughterers. She suspects that they’re all looking for the same person: Sir Guy Cross-Wallace. Her suspicion is that he is having animals captured alive and stuffing diamonds into their throats. Then, when they’re exported overseas, they’re slaughtered and the diamonds are sold. The three of them head down the river together towards their target, led by their guide, Mchele. On the way, they discover a Tanzanian border patrol that has been slaughtered. Further down the river, a tribe of Africans lay dead in their village.

Daredevil in “Redemption Song” conclusion
written by Sandy Plunkett
art by Sandy Plunkett with Dwayne Turner

DJ Travis T. Hipp (aka Ellington) promised something wild and explosive at dawn. Before the sun begins to break, Daredevil discovers the wild dogs who had invaded the city have all died. He suspects they were killed by the experimental intelligence-boosting drugs they were injected with. And, if the drugs eventually killed the dogs – it’s safe to assume they’ll do the same thing to Ellington, soon.

Out in the harbor, Ella Pinkwater, the President of Octagon, is searching for Ellington and she’s joined by Daredevil. They finally find his boat as the first rays of sunlight begin to hit the city. Ellington’s voice travels the radio-waves, summoning the New Yorkers out of their apartments – inviting them to unite hands as they extend around the island of Manhattan.

Back at Ellington’s boat, Daredevil breaks in and discovers the radio transmitter is playing a tape of Ellington’s voice – a note is attached begging Daredevil not to stop the tape. On cue, with hands clasped, the New Yorkers raised their voices together in song – creating a blanket of peace that had long evaded the city worn down by the recent heatwave. This was to be Ellington’s legacy.


Red Wolf in “Flesh of my Flesh
written by Fabian Nicieza
art by Javier Saltares

William Talltrees, the Cheyenne super hero known as Red Wolf, weeps for the death of his companion, Lobo at the hands of Bengal. Now, Red Wolf uses Lobo’s hide as his “costume”. He and his wolf-brother are forever bonded in this symbolic outfit. Nearby, some rednecks have gone out shooting at a mother wolf and her cubs. The shots catch Red Wolf‘s attention and he arrives on the scene to avenge the deaths of the wolves. Only one wolf cub remains alive – it seems that will be Lobo’s replacement at Red Wolf’s side.

This issue begins the investigation into how Logan was turned into Wolverine. Shanna’s story has a clear, central focal point now and the Daredevil feature ended on an inspirational note. It appears the death of Lobo happened “off-screen” as it’s only mentioned here in a flashback. With that in mind, this issue is important for Red Wolf fans – he finds his new “Lobo”.

On Ebay: Marvel Comics Presents | Wolverine | Daredevil | Shanna | Red Wolf
On AtomicAvenue: Marvel Comics Presents | Wolverine | Daredevil | Shanna | Red Wolf

July 26, 2012

Famous Fanmail #121 Don McGregor

Filed under: Famous Fanmail — Doorman @ 10:30 am

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”!

Don McGregor has written a lot of comics. He’s also written a lot of good comics (an important distinction). Two of his most well-regarded runs were the Killraven features from Amazing Adventures (loosely based on H.G. Wells’ the War of the Worlds) and the Black Panther: Panther’s Rage storyline from Jungle Action. His graphic novel, Sabre: Slow Fade of an Endangered Species was actually published months before Will Eisner’s A Contract With God (which is widely considered “the first graphic novel”) and went on to later become an ongoing series. McGregor also went on to write non-super-hero comics, which was a bold move, at the time. He got a letter published in Fantastic Four #33 (cover date – December 1964).

Fantastic Four letters page with Don McGregor

On Ebay: Fantastic Four | Don McGregor
On AtomicAvenue: Fantastic Four

July 25, 2012

Connecting Covers #30 Painkiller Jane

Filed under: Connecting Covers — Doorman @ 6:32 am

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.

Painkiller Jane debuted in the pages of 22 Brides and quickly moved on to her own series, published by Event Comics in 1997. In December 2005, SciFi adapted the character into a made-for-tv movie that led to a single-season television series. With the newly-acquired attention, Dynamite Comics launched a second Painkiller Jane comics series. By the time they followed that up with her third series, they had also acquired the rights to publish Terminator comics and both characters were thrown together in a crossover story. The story began in Painkiller Jane vol. III #4 but continued into this issue (and the Terminator, as well).

Painkiller Jane vol. III #5

On Ebay: Painkiller Jane | Terminator
On AtomicAvenue: Painkiller Jane | Terminator

July 24, 2012

Comic Book Cover Swipes Exposed #121 Superman

Filed under: Swiped: Comic Book Cover Swipes Exposed! — Doorman @ 7:54 am

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 rematch between Guy Gardner and Superman is a direct swipe of their first battle. Although, it should be mentioned that the first battle (in #688) was between Guy and the Eradicator (who was posing as Superman). At that time, Superman was “dead” but don’t you worry! He came back … with a mullet.

Action Comics #688
Action Comics #688
July 1993
Kerry Gammill
Action Comics #709
Action Comics #709
April 1995
Butch Guice

On Ebay: Action Comics | Superman
On AtomicAvenue: Action Comics | Superman

July 23, 2012

Guide to Marvel Two-In-One #18 the Thing & Scarecrow

Filed under: Guide to Marvel Two-In-One — Doorman @ 8:54 am

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 #18Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: August 1976
Cover Price: 25¢
Writer: Bill Mantlo with Scott Edelman
Artist: Ron Wilson

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.

Scarecrow – The Scarecrow is a magical entity that resides with a painting of a laughing scarecrow owned by Jess Duncan. He is the guardian of an interdimensional doorway that materializes through the afore-mentioned painting. His main purpose is to keep the demon, Kalumai, from corporealizing on Earth through the doorway. The scarecrow seems impervious to all harm (except for fire) and is silent (aside from his haunting laughter). In later years, he’s become known as the Straw Man, in an effort to differentiate him from the villain named Scarecrow.

WHAT happens?

The Thing accompanies his girlfriend, Alicia Masters, to a gallery opening hosted by Jess Ducan. At the event, Jess and his girlfriend, Harmony Maxwell, attempt to convince the Thing that a heroic Scarecrow watches over them (events seen in Dead of Night #11 and Marvel Spotlight #26). Despite all he’s seen in his life as a super-powered adventurer, Ben Grimm doesn’t buy their story of a vigilant spirit that emerges from a painting.



He doesn’t buy it, that is, until the Scarecrow emerges to take on a spirit sent to Earth by Kalumai. And, while the Scarecrow takes on Kalumai’s minion, Jess Duncan reveals to the Thing that the Scarecrow is a guardian, keeping the demon Kalumai from coming to Earth. The Thing acts upon this new knowledge and joins the Scarecrow in defeating the golden-skinned minion.

WHERE does the story take place?

This story takes place within Jess Duncan’s art gallery in SoHo.

WHEN does the villain next appear?

Kalumai is destroyed by the Scarecrow in a flashback sequence from Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #31 & 32.

WHY is Scarecrow the guest-lead?

This Scarecrow debuted in the final issue of Dead of Night (#11; cover date: August 1975). His second appearance followed months later in Marvel Spotlight #26 (cover date: February 1976). These two stories were initially going to be issues #1 & 2 of a Scarecrow solo title that never got going. It seems that the character wasn’t popular enough to maintain his own feature so concluding his story in an issue of Marvel Two-In-One was an easy way for Marvel to finish his story and ensure that the book would sell.



HOW was it?

After a few lame issues, this one seems to put the title back on track. First off, we’re treated to several pages of the Thing being grumpy since he’s been dragged to an art exhibit. And, he only gets more ornery when Jess and Harmony try to convince him of the Scarecrow’s existence. I really like that even though he’s faced down many alien and scientific threats, the Thing still isn’t comfortable with supernatural entities or events. It kind of makes a strange bit of sense.

Seeing as how this issue serves to wrap up some loose plotlines from the previous two Scarecrow stories, I was impressed that the Thing’s involvement wasn’t minimalized. In fact, he got plenty of limelight in this issue. And, even better, it was “characterization” limelight – not just “clobberin’ time” limelight (which can be fun, too – don’t get me wrong). And, while it resolves some of the Scarecrow’s tale (which was left as “to be continued … someday” in Mavel Spotlight #26), it serves to advance it, as well. Unfortunately, the mysteries and questions raised of the Scarecrow mythos in this issue were never answered. BUT, that’s a problem for Scarecrow followers (of which there probably aren’t many anymore since the character has languished in obscurity) … not Marvel Two-In-One fans.



Note: This issue’s letters column features commentary on Marvel Two-In-One #15. Additionally, this comic includes Marvel Value Stamp [Series B] #3 (part of the Captain America puzzle).

On Ebay: Marvel Two-In-One | the Thing | Ka-Zar
On AtomicAvenue: Marvel Two-In-One | Ka-Zar

July 20, 2012

Guide to Marvel Comics Presents #71

Filed under: Guide to Marvel Comics Presents — Doorman @ 8:06 am

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 #71
Cover Date: 1991 | Cover Price: $1.25 | Cover Artist: John Byrne


Wolverine in “Acts of Vengeance” conclusion
written by Howard Mackie
art by Mark Texeira

After Deathwatch finds out that Langley has commandeered his forces, he snaps the man’s neck – ridding himself of the dissension in his ranks. Now that that problem’s been solved – he’s still faced with Wolverine, Ghost Rider and Brass looking to save some innocent hostages. Deathwatch makes Ghost Rider an offer: kill Wolverine and Brass … and the innocents go free. Feigning compliance, Ghost Rider tosses Wolverine around through many walls until they find where the hostages are being kept. With their friends located, the group beats a hasty retreat before Deathwatch blows the building up.

Shanna in “The Bush of Ghosts” part 4
written by Gerard Jones
art by Paul Gulacy

Looking for Sir Guy Cross-Wallace, Shanna meets up with Dubose Wilson (he’s also after Cross-Wallace since the man took his money but failed to deliver the diamonds in their deal). Meanwhile, journalist Eric Heller is on the trail of black market diamond dealers, as well. So, he recruits a local named Jeremy to help him. Jeremy’s on the trail of poachers but, Heller convinces him that they may be searching for the same people. By the end of this issue, Shanna joins Jeremy on his search down-river.

Daredevil in “Redemption Song” part 3
written by Sandy Plunkett
art by Sandy Plunkett with Dwayne Turner

Daredevil breaks into the Octagon building to find out more about their involvement in the deaths of three of their scientists. And, after a quick battle with the security force, he comes face to face with Octagon’s President: Ms. Pinkwater. When he confronts her about Ellington and the other scientists, she reveals that Ellington is the mysterious DJ, Travis T. Hipp. He’s been using the radio and his powers to amass a following. A following that he’s urging to gather together tomorrow … but for what?

Warlock in “Warlock and the Fleshtones
written by Scott Lobdell
art by Scott McDaniels

F.B.I. agent, Patty Kurlychek, is injured in a car chase, trying to capture a trio of renegade scientists. Fortunately for her, Warlock is nearby and rescues her before her care explodes. She recruits him in her mission to find the scientists, but she fears they’ve already injected themselves with their illegal bio-toxins. She reveals that Doctors Mason, Moore and Most were conducting experiments that would give them complete control over their every molecule (kind of like Warlock!). And, it turns out her fears are not unfounded: they have, indeed, mutated and are now calling themselves the Fleshtones. He’s able to defeat them by luring them into some tar pits and then drying the tar around them quickly, keeping them from shapeshifting.

Although the Wolverine/Ghost Rider story took a neat turn at the end, it wasn’t enough to make it all that interesting. Although, Mark Texeira’s art was a nice treat. The Shanna story continues to come together as the Daredevil feature is primed for its conclusion. Scott Lobdell turns in an all-ages, fun Warlock tale that’s a little cheesy – but, since it’s Warlock, it really seems to work. He’s got the voice of the character down perfectly. I enjoyed this the most of the four features this issue.

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

Total Number of Copies Printed (net press run). Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months. 230,744 (down 18% from the previous year). Single issue nearest to filing date: 214,528 (down 12.5% from the previos year).

Paid Circulation:
1) Sales through dealers and carriers, street vendors and counter sales: Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 131,788 (down 19% from the previous year). Single issue nearest to filing date: 124,100 (down 6% from the previous year).
2) Mail subscriptions: Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 413 (up 79.5% from the previous year). Single issue nearest to filing date: 500 (up 66.67% from the previous year).

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: 97,843 (down 16.75% from the previous year). Single issue nearest to filing date: 89,228 (down 22% from the previous year).

On Ebay: Marvel Comics Presents | Wolverine | Daredevil | Shanna | Warlock
On AtomicAvenue: Marvel Comics Presents | Wolverine | Daredevil | Shanna | Warlock

July 19, 2012

Famous Fanmail #120 Mike W. Barr

Filed under: Famous Fanmail — Doorman @ 8:46 am

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 Astonishing Tales #3 (cover date – August 1970), praising the then-new title.

Astonishing Tales letters page with Mike W. Barr

On Ebay: Astonishing Tales | Mike W. Barr
On AtomicAvenue: Astonishing Tales

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