Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Review- JUDGE DREDD: THE COMPLETE CASE FILES VOL. 9



JUDGE DREDD: THE COMPLETE CASE FILES VOL. 9 (2000 AD, Second UK Printing, 2008; Softcover)

Collects the Judge Dredd stories from 2000 A.D. #424-473 (cover dates June 29, 1985- June 7, 1986)

Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant

Artists: Steve Dillon, Carlos Esquerra, Ian Gibson, John Higgins, Cam Kennedy, Barry Kitson, Brendan McCarthy, Cliff Robinson, Ron Smith, and Brian Talbot



Curse the 2012 film Dredd!!! It was that movie that compelled me to gobble up the entire run of these books in a matter of months, leaving me still trying to catch up on reading them four years later.

Judge Dredd is the greatest black humour comic of all time. Much like Stephen Colbert, those who want to believe it as straight up commentary will do so, while the rest of us see it as the satire that it truly is. Dredd's the straight man, the absolute rule of law, might makes right testosterone-laden caricature with minimal characterization. In short, the order of the day for the 1980s. There's no need for depth or humanity here, as Dredd mirrored the material girl decade to a T.



I enjoyed the Nosferatu arc. Dredd often drifts into Horror territory, as the science fiction dystopian future is only a notch away from that anyways. Many of the arcs in this volume are lighter fare, less epic and more tongue in cheek fun than what came before. There are even some done in one stories here, like Love Story. In that one we find Dredd reaffirm his one true love: the law, going as far as to arrest a lovesick woman who wastes a judge's time, itself a criminal offense. There is another done in a few issues story where a Judge goes rogue when he falls in love. I guess that those are the most “human” stories in the book. The Warlord arc finds the '80s' fascination with martial arts on full display.

John Higgins turns in some stellar artwork on Beggar's Banquet. He of course went on to do the coloring for Watchmen and Batman: The Killing Joke. In many ways 2000 AD is like Saturday Night Live. New and unproven talent break out and leave here for the big time but are not afraid to come back once in a while.



This was an uneven yet entertaining read. Like I said, little in the way of character development but lots of action. I am okay with this, as it is better than a dumb comic which pretends to be smart. This is a smart comic that pretends to be dumb.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The OCD zone- There is gutter loss on the double page spreads. Some word balloons are swallowed up in there, resulting in you trying to pry the book a little to try and read what is written.
This book is wider than a standard trade paperback. The material is still reprinted smaller than the original publications, as UK comics were larger than US comics.
Linework restoration: Everything looks clean, although the handful of pages that were originally in color look like they were scanned from the original issues and look murky.
Paper stock: Thick uncoated stock. The paper has a coarse feeling to it which I find to be unpleasant to the touch.
Binding: Sewn binding.
Cardstock cover notes: This book has that dull matte frosted feeling coating which scuffs if you breathe on it too hard.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Review- DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES



DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (Boom, First Printing, 2015; Softcover)

Collects Dawn Of The Planet of the Apes #1-6 (cover dates November, 2014- April, 2015)

Writer: Michael Moreci
Artists: Dan McDaid with Inking by Adam Gorham
Colorist: Jason Wordie



This mini-series takes place two years after the Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes movie. It shares the name of the second film in the re-rebooted Apes franchise, but it's more of a bridge between the two films.

The story centers around a family of three at the end of the old world. Power systems are failing and people are reduced to an almost Mad Max, post-apocalyptic roving band of marauders cliché. Further complicating matters is that Rita has contracted the simian flu. Malcom wants to leave their home and travel to Austin, where there are rumors of a cure. I won't go into certain plot points here because they would spoil the story.

Koba's ambition to usurp control of the apes from Caesar is already apparent, as he conspired with Pope to go behind Caesar's back and leave the ape city to investigate. Koba is ruthless, as anyone who saw Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes knows. The rest of the gaps of the hows and whys of the second film are all set up here. I just wish that this series came out before the film.

I have no idea what is next for Boom's Apes series. They seem to have devolved into silly crossovers with Star Trek, Tarzan, and now Green Lantern, all of which I am boycotting because crossovers suck. They don't seem to be putting out any new material otherwise. They did announce a line of Archives which are going to reprint Marvel's black and white magazine by storyline rather than order of publication. I am excited to see them finally reprinted, and I hope that they publish them in the original magazine dimensions like Dark Horse and Dynamite have done with the Warren Magazines (Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella).



With another Apes film due next summer I'm hopeful for more new, non-crossover comics. BOOM has done right by the property thus far.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The OCD zone- Unlike most Chinese made books, this one does not have that sweet toxic smell. I was kind of disappointed, to be honest with you. Huffing toxic Chinese made books is my favorite past time.
Paper stock: Thick glossy coated stock.
Binding: Sewn binding in a softcover. I'm not sure how much more durable sewn binding is on a glued softcover, as it isn't attached to cloth, but it sure makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside anyhow.
Cardstock cover notes: Matte coating on a thick cardstock cover. Unlike many “frosted” matte coatings, this does not scuff easily. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Review- ACG COLLECTED WORKS: ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN VOL. 4



ACG COLLECTED WORKS: ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN VOL. 4 (PS Artbooks, First Printing, 2013; Hardcover)

Collects Adventures Into The Unknown #16-20 (cover dates February-June, 1951)



Writers: Richard Hughes and other unidentified writers

Artists: Ogden Whitney, Ken Bald, Lin Streeter, Emil Gershwin, Richard Case, Charlie Sultan, Al Camy, Paul Gattuso, Edvard Moritz, Bob Jenney, John Belfi, George Wilhelms, Paul Cooper, Richard Brice, Frank Siminski, Art Gates, W.G. Hargis, and John Rosenberger



This series gets better with each volume. The supernatural elements are continually ramped up as the competition from other publishers increased. These stories are more intense than any found in the first three volumes of this series. I suspect that this will only increase as we inch closer to the 1954 Senate sub-committee hearings which killed Horror comics off for a decade.



The recurring Spirit Of Frankenstein feature continues in #16, previously appearing in this series in #5, 8-10, and 12. The robot Frankenstein is basically a superhero type fighting other monstrosities by this point. Think of it in this regard as a precursor to Marvel's Bronze Age Horror comics like Werewolf By Night and Monster Of Frankenstein. There are no further appearances in this book, so I wonder if this is the end of the line. We shall see.

Zombies were becoming a recurring theme in Horror comic books by 1951. 


I found #17's Beast From The Beyond to be a fascinating read, as it felt very familiar. That's because it is an adaptation (authorized or not...) of John W. Campbell's 1938 pulp novella, Who Goes There? Science Fiction fans know the movies which were adapted from that story, The Thing From Another World and John Carpenter's godlike The Thing. This version is closer to the original story (much like Carpenter's movie) than the 1951 film which would hit theatres shortly after this issue hit the stands.



#19's The Hands Of Horror is great, a tale of a pair of artists and ambition gone wrong. It's a great story with the ironic twist ending that EC had already made their hallmark. Let's just say that all of the publishers of the day liberally borrowed from one another and from various other sources (books, movies, etc.).



All of the stories in this book have good writing and above average artwork. I am really enjoying these books, even if the restoration leaves a lot to be desired at times.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.25 out of 5.

The OCD zone- I enjoy huffing these Chinese made books. PS Artbooks smell the best. Whenever I crack one open I sit there and snort it...Oh yeah, that's the stuff.
Linework and Color restoration: Raw scans with minimal tinkering. They remove all color from the word balloons, leaving them as bright white as the paper stock. The original printed comics had shoddy printing, and that is presented here warts and all. Off register printing and line bleed are all present, just like they were back then. This one even has one panel where a child wrote on it in pencil. I chuckled when I saw that.
The scan quality seems to vary from one issue to the next. Issues 16 and 18 look abysmal, like they were either scanned at an incredibly low resolution or sourced from microfiche. It's a blurry, nearly unreadable mess. My friend has the Dark Horse Archive with these issues and it blows this one out of the water, as it boasts a full blown restoration job.
Paper stock: Uncoated bright white stock.
Binding: Sewn binding. Lies mostly flat.
Hardback cover notes: No dustjacket. Image printed on casewrap with matte finish and spot varnish. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Review- Halloween ComicFest 2016 offerings




Spidey #1: Halloween ComicFest 2016 Edition (Marvel, cover date December, 2016)

Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Nick Bradshow
Colorist: Jim Campbell

This is a reprint of the latest in a long line of all-ages reboot/ retellings of the earliest days of Spider-Man, designed to get kids into comic books. The fact of the matter is that awareness of these characters is at an all-time high, and everyone realizes that the source material is the comic books. Getting kids into comic books should be simple. A character like Spider-Man should be an easy sell to kids, and yet they continually try to peddle a pandering, “kiddie” version when kids (like my son) know that this isn't the “real” Spider-Man and aren't interested. This title will be cancelled within 18 issues.

This latest mash-up of movie and comic continuity falls flat on its face. In the Ultimate Spider-Man re-imagining 16 years ago they created a lot of contradictory continuity to the main Marvel Universe. Continuity which was co-opted by the movies and accepted as canon by the civilians. This re-imagining does nothing to set this right. It's entertaining to a degree, but I will never understand why Marvel can't sell a regular Spider-Man comic book to kids.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3 out of 5.



Harrow County #1: Halloween ComicFest 2016 Edition (Dark Horse, cover date October, 2016)

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Tyler Crook with Owen Gieni (Tales Of Harrow County one-page back-up feature)

Everyone has been raving about this series, nearly calling it the second coming or Horror. After reading this, I'm not sure that this lives up to the hype, but it is intriguing enough to read more issues. My OCD homeskillet Ferjo Byroy has all four trades and has offered to loan them to me. I may have to take him up on it.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.75 out of 5.



Tomie: Halloween ComicFest 2016 Edition (Viz Media, cover date December, 2016)

Writer and Artist: Junji Ito

I am largely ignorant of Manga, more so in terms of the Manga sub-genre of Horror. While I dislike the right to left method of reading Manga, this was a decent enough read that it overcame this limitation. It's still not my cup of tea but if you are into Manga or Horror then this should be right up your alley.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3 out of 5.



Black Eyed Kids #1 Black & White Halloween Special (Aftershock, cover date October, 2016)

Writer: Joe Pruett
Artist: Szymon Kudranski

Okay, now this is the real deal. A Horror comic filled with suspense and highly effective artwork. I did a quick peek of the artwork online after reading this, and I feel that Szymon Kudranski's artwork works better in black and white than in color. The color version seems to strip his artwork of it's moodiness. In any case this was a terrific read that makes me want to pick it up and read more.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.5 out of 5.



Haunted Mansion #1: Halloween ComicFest 2016 Edition (Marvel, cover date December, 2016)

Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Jorge Coelho
Colorist: Jean-Francois Beaulieu

I rode this ride when my family went to the Disney magic Kingdom near Orlando, FL three years ago. This is a fun read that I wouldn't hesitate to check out from the library and read for free.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3 out of 5. 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Review- THE GREEN LANTERN OMNIBUS VOL. 2



THE GREEN LANTERN OMNIBUS VOL. 2 (DC, First Printing, 2011; Hardcover)

Collects Green Lantern #22-45 (cover dates July, 1963- June, 1966)

Writers: Gardner Fox and John Broome
Artists: Gil Kane with Inking by Murphy Anderson, Frank Giacoia, Joe Giella, and Sid Greene



Comic books are a wonderful escape from reality. It doesn't get any more escapist than the absolute good versus evil, white hat versus black hat mentality of Silver Age DC. DC were behind the times. Cross town rivals Marvel Comics were steeped in the zeitgeist, reflecting the changes of the day with their more sophisticated output.



The stories are formulaic and often predictable, but this is said from my armchair fifty years later. Audiences are more sophisticated today, for better and often worse. The artwork is the real draw here though. Gil Kane is a god. His artwork matures here, becoming more refined with each passing month, until he reaches his true voice that fans of his Marvel Comics work know and love. I will go as far as saying that no one except for Kirby was doing it as good as Gil Kane in 1966. *Guards face from rocks and tomatoes*



I enjoyed every single issue in this book, but I will list the ones that really grabbed me. I loved the battle with The Shark in #24. I loved the fight that he and Green Lantern had in the Wein/Gibbons run in the 1980s, and it was great to read his first appearance and his rematch with Green Lantern in #28. We see Gil Kane break the fourth wall in issue 29 for no real reason. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby did this over at Marvel a handful of times, so we'll just chalk it up to goofy Silver Age fun and move along.



#35's battle with The Golden Mask was a blast to read. Kane's action sequences really moved by this point. Folks like to throw words like dynamic around to describe Jack Kirby's artwork during this time. Kane was one of Kirby's few peers in 1966, and dare I say that he even gave the King a run for his money. Kane of course lacked Kirby's wild imagination, but for bone-crushing action Kane is right on the money.

Not everything here is timeless fun. Overly sensitive readers will find the portrayal of Hal Jordan/ Green Lantern's friend and confidant, Thomas Kalmaku (or Pieface as he is called) to be, shall we say...not as culturally sensitive as he is portrayed today. It's not a horribly racist caricature, but calling “his Eskimo friend” Pieface isn't something that would fly today.



Aside from that, this is brilliant stuff that was just what the doctor ordered for me. I welcomed the escape from reality that this book provided. DC is going to be reissuing this book as well as the first Omnibus in a hernia-inducing single volume titled Green Lantern: The Silver Age Omnibus Vol. 1, so if you missed out on this one or hate the tight binding (see The OCD zone for more information) on this book I strongly recommend that you grab it. I'm done with endless double dips and upgrades, so I'm sticking with this glued abomination.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.

The OCD zone- DC's earliest entries into the Omnibus market were filled with missteps. To be fair, so were Marvel's. DC has since rectified the complaints in binding that I have below, so please understand that the complaints are about THIS BOOK, not about their Omnibus program as it currently stands, which is fine aside from not remastering their material.
Linework and Color restoration: The linework is excellent, as DC took very good care of their film. The color palette, while faithfully maintained here, is plagued by awful gradient blends instead of the more abrupt blends found in the original comics. If DC recolored their comics “by hand” on computer they could have rectified this.
Paper stock: Thick matte coated stock. I like the paper used in this book a lot.
Binding: Rage inducing glued mousetrap binding. It is so tight that this book should be kept away from small children. I wouldn't let my son near this book alone because it is a two fisted read. If you let it go it shuts fast. SNAP! He could break his finger or hand that way. This is some serious glue though. This book will never fall apart.



This book inspired me to make a video many moons ago. Bleeding Cool posted it, and it is the reason that many people discovered this here blog. I don't take myself too seriously, but this video is pretty bad. It makes me laugh.

Front cover. You can barely see it but Green Lanrern's power battery is stamped onto the front cover. DC's cheap feeling boards make me a sad panda.



Dustjacket and Hardback cover notes: DC's matte boards feel so cheap. No foil stamping, nothing. The dustjacket has a thick lamination. 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Review- ACG COLLECTED WORKS: ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN VOL. 3



ACG COLLECTED WORKS: ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN VOL. 3 (PS Artbooks, First Printing, 2012; Hardcover) Note: Book actually released in 2013

Collects Adventures Into The Unknown #11-15 (cover dates June/July, 1950- January, 1951)

Writers: Charles Spain Verral and other, unidentified writers

Artists: Edvard Moritz, Ken Bald, Pete Riss, Howard L. Larsen, Al Camy, Charles Sultan, Art Gates, Ogden Whitney, John Cerlardo, Lin Streeter, Leonard Starr, Emil Gershwin, Bill Ely, and Fred Guardineer



I love Pre-Code Horror comics, but a lot of them tend to blend together after a while, which is not necessarily a bad thing. They are solid, well crafted Horror comics. The closer you get to 1954 the more things get ramped up in terms of gore and violence, so we are still in the early days here. This book features stories steeped in vampires, deals with the devil, werewolves, voodoo, ghosts, and of course, zombies. Zombies were creeping into comics in a major way as the '50s wore on, and this was nearly two decades before George Romero would burn them into the minds of the masses with his movies.



#11's Realm Of The Mist Gods is one of those cautionary tales about the greed of man. The Spirit Of Frankenstein ongoing feature resumed with Issue 12. It was previously featured in #5 and 8-10. It is a lame concept and has worn thin by this point in time, and it doesn't appear again in this book. We'll have to see if it resurfaces whenever I read Volume 4.



#13's Menace From Mars is a typical Cold War metaphor. Communism and Russia was the greatest threat facing the United States at this time, and space aliens became the go to plot device in these exercises in fear and paranoia.



This was a great escapist read that helped get me in the mood for Hallowe'en. You can certainly do much worse than these comics.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.

The OCD zone- I enjoy huffing these Chinese made books. PS Artbooks smell the best. Whenever I crack one open I sit there and snort it...Oh yeah, that's the stuff.
Linework and Color restoration: Raw scans with minimal tinkering. They remove all color from the word balloons, leaving them as bright white as the paper stock. The original printed comics had shoddy printing, and that is presented here warts and all. Off register printing and line bleed are all present, just like they were back then. The scan quality seems to vary from one issue to the next.
Paper stock: Uncoated bright white stock.
Binding: Sewn binding. Lies mostly flat.
Hardback cover notes: No dustjacket. Image printed on casewrap with matte finish and spot varnish. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Review- ACG COLLECTED WORKS: ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN VOL. 2



ACG COLLECTED WORKS: ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN VOL. 2 (PS Artbooks, First Printing, 2012; Hardcover)

Collects Adventures Into The Unknown #6-10 (cover dates August/September, 1949- April/May, 1950)

Writers: Lynneal H. Diamond, J. Yakayima, Robert Brice, E. Nelson Bridwell, and other unidentified writers

Artists: Edvard Moritz, Robert Brice, Jon Blummer, Paul Gattusso, Charlie Sutton, John Celardo, Bob Lubbers, R.S. Pious, Johnny Craig, Harry Lazarus, Bob Jenney, George Klein, and Ed Good



This series was the first ongoing Horror comic book, predating even EC's entry into the field by a year. This series runs through the usual Pre-Code Horror gamut, with scenarios such as deals with the devil, ghosts, vampires, knowledge forbidden in the Western world (such as tribal voodoo, witchcraft, swamis, etc.), ancient curses, mummies, etc.

#5's Spirit Of Frankenstein became an ongoing strip in this series, with the characters and their “Frankenstein” robot appearing again in #8, 9, and 10, with a promise of more in the next issue. I guess I'll find out if that's the case when I read Volume 3 in this line of books.



Issue 6's The Mummy's Cloth features artwork by EC great Johnny Craig. I always enjoy stories like #9's The Thing At The Bottom Of The Sea. The writing and artwork are all solid and typical for the era. I'm still in the early pre-boom part of the series.

Dark Horse launched their own line of Archives for this series since it is in the public domain. The primary difference between their line and this line is that this book has raw scans of original comics and the Dark Horse one has full blown restoration. My friend bought both and we have compared them side by side. I was already several volumes into this run and decided against the double dip. The Dark Horse line stalled, presumably because most people bought this line first and were reluctant to double dip.



A lot of these 1950s Horror comics are admittedly interchangeable, but I enjoy them all. I am glad that PS Artbooks is rescuing these lost gems from obscurity. I just wish that they didn't pump them out so dang fast. I can't keep up on buying them, and I certainly can't keep up on reading them. I'm pretty sure that my Halloween reading is all set for the next 40 years.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.

The OCD zone- I enjoy huffing these Chinese made books. PS Artbooks smell the best. Whenever I crack one open I sit there and snort it...Oh yeah, that's the stuff.
Linework and Color restoration: Raw scans with minimal tinkering. They remove all color from the word balloons, leaving them as bright white as the paper stock. The original printed comics had shoddy printing, and that is presented here warts and all. Off register printing and line bleed are all present, just like they were back then. The scan quality seems to vary from one issue to the next.
Paper stock: Uncoated bright white stock.
Binding: Sewn binding. Lies y flat in one hand when reading.
Hardback cover notes: No dustjacket. Image printed on casewrap with matte finish and spot varnish.  

Monday, October 10, 2016

Review- WEREWOLF BY NIGHT OMNIBUS



WEREWOLF BY NIGHT OMNIBUS (Marvel, First Printing, 2015; Hardcover)

Collects Marvel Spotlight #2-4, Werewolf By Night #1-43, Marvel Team-Up #12, Tomb Of Dracula #18, Giant-Size Creatures #1, Giant-Size Werewolf #2-5, Marvel Premiere #28, and selections from Monsters Unleashed #6, 7 (cover dates February, 1972- March, 1977)

Writers: Roy Thomas, Jean Thomas, Gerry Conway, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, Mike Friedrich, Tony Isabella, Doug Moench, Don Perlin, and Bill Mantlo

Artists: Mike Ploog, Werner Roth, Ross Andru, Tom Sutton, Gil Kane, Gene Colan, Don Perlin, Pat Broderick, Virgil Redondo, Yong Montano, and Frank Robbins with Inking by Frank Chiaramonte, Frank Bolle, Jim Mooney, Paul Reinman, Tom Palmer, Mike Royer, Vince Colletta, Klaus Janson, Sal Trapani, Howie Perlin, and Steve Gan



This book has been a dream of mine ever since I reentered this hobby in 2003. I had (and still own) some of the originals of this series from days as a quarter box diver in 1983. I also bought, and subsequently sold when this book was announced, the black and white phonebooks Essential Werewolf By Night Vols. 1 and 2. I've read this stuff before and read this book slowly over the course of eleven months.

The series launched after a trio of Marvel Spotlight issues, which was Marvel aping DC's “try out book” format. If someone picked up issue 1 of this title off of the stands in June of 1972 they would find themselves in the middle of a story. For those of you new to the character, here's the gist. On Jack Russell's 18th birthday he inherited his father's curse...a father who comes from a long line cursed with Lycanthropy. Jack never does find a cure for his affliction in this book but towards the end becomes able to manage it and even talk(!) in his werewolf form.



One of the nagging questions that I had when I started reading this book was the pronunciation of Jack's sister's name, Lissa. As a kid I always pronounced it Lissa, as in short for Melissa, but as an adult I wondered if that were correct. I Tweeted her creator, Gerry Conway, and he confirmed that the correct pronunciation is indeed Lissa, as in short for Melissa. This is why the Internet rules.

I like how the Werewolf is often overpowered by foes and gets out of predicaments by dumb luck or an ironic twist. Seldom does his animal instinct win the day. This series is probably the first ongoing comic book to use first person narrative. All comic books today use it, but in the early 1970s it was groundbreaking. It gave the book an offbeat flavor. Our “hero” was not even heroic. If he saved the day it was almost always by accident.

Note the Will Eisner homage.


Mike Ploog is the original artist, and he got better with each issue. My favorite issues in the book are non-Ploog ones, believe it or not. I found #8 and 9 in a quarter box in 1983. I didn't have many comics back then, so the ones that I had I read so many times that I would memorize them. I can still recite those two issues word for word for the most part. #8's “The Lurker Behind The Door!” is a Len Wein masterwork. Werner Roth and Paul Reinman handled the artwork, and little did ten year old me in 1983 realize that those cats were turning out some serious artwork in the 1950s. I read this issue so many times as kid, and Wein really nails a foreboding atmosphere. I love the ending, which I won't spoil for you. Suffice it to say that Krogg, The Lurker From Beyond rules. #9 introduced me to the work of the legendary Tom Sutton. I had no idea what a lucky kid I was.

Issue 12 introduced us to Raymond Coker, Jack's neighbor in his new apartment. Coker is caustic, and there is something about him that raises a flag for Jack. By #18 we learn what that is: Coker is also a werewolf! Coker is featured throughout the series, even curing his werewolf affliction at one point using voodoo. #18 was another quarter box find from 1983, also coincidentally with Don Perlin artwork. Issue 13 introduces Topaz, who would go on to become Jack's love interest throughout the series.



Future Avenger Tigra makes her first appearance in Giant-Size Creatures #1. Glitternight is the most ridiculous villain in this series, a problem made worse by Doug Moench heaping even more importance on him toward the end of the series. He is fun in an offbeat, only in the Bronze Age of comics sort of way. I used to own Giant-Size Werewolf #4 as a cheapo back issue in the '80s. I bought it for probably .35-.50 because it had Morbius The Living Vampire in it. These old monster comics were worthless back then.

Doug Moench wrote the majority of the series. While Moench is best remembered for Shang-Chi, Master Of Kung Fu and his work on Batman this is where he made me a fan. If I had to pick a favorite issue of his run it may have to be Giant-Size Werewolf #5. It's filled with all of the Hollywood inspired faux occult goodness that you could possibly want. Yong Montano's artwork on that issue is exquisite. He was a Filipino comic artist who did some work in the '70s and one or two things after, but other than that is among the largely forgotten artists from the Filipino comic book scene who did so much good work in the Warren Magazines in the '70s.



Another thing that Moench is remembered for is his co-creation Moon Knight, who first appeared in #32 and would go on to become a fan favorite. He is a mercenary who was hired by The Committee, an ongoing threat to the Werewolf throughout the series, but revolts after he is paid and sets the Werewolf free. Moench ramps things up, but the radical shift in tone at the very end of the series is evidence that he was trying to bring the Werewolf more into the main Marvel Universe by featuring Brother Voodoo and then Iron Man. The second issue of the two-parter with Iron Man, #43, was another quarter box find for me in 1983. Unbeknownst to me and every other reader of that issue at the time, it was the final issue of the series. Moench explains on that issue's letters page, reprinted here. In a pre-Internet world I wondered how many issues there were in this series, and now I knew. I found it in a quarter box as a kid and was bummed with the series ending. The book ended on a whimper, with Iron Man being the final one on stage, so to speak. It bothered me as a 10 year old kid how the series ended, and it bothers me now. Obviously the plug was pulled with little notice, and I always wonder what would have happened next if Marvel would have allowed him to wrap things up.

The only downside to these Bronze Age monster comics is that they are set within a superhero framework. It's always fun to see monsters duke it out, so who's complaining? Werewolf By Night was considered crap by the “serious” comic collectors who scoffed at this scruffy kid poring over quarter boxes at Magina Books back in 1983. I always thought that the joke's on you; you don't get it. All these years later it appears we were both right. It is crap compared to serious comics of the day, but it is fondly remembered fun crap. This title remains a not-so guilty pleasure of mine and I will always scream it's greatness from the top of the rooftops of the Internet.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.25 out of 5.

The OCD zone- I have a love/hate relationship with the Omnibus format. On one hand, it's great to get everything available to you in one fell swoop. On the other hand, these books are heavy and unwieldy.

The recoloring is very good but not Masterworks perfect.




Linework and Color restoration: The linework is good. Not Masterworks good, but very good overall. The original color palette is faithfully maintained. I did comparisons with the original comics side by side and was pleased with the accuracy of the recoloring, although the trained eye can spot errors all over the place.

The original comic.

The Omnibus.


Paper stock: Marvel switched the paper stock in their Omniboo a while back, but this is the first book that I have read with it. It is noticeably thinner but it still has a fair weight to it. It's bright white coated stock with a slight sheen. The plus side to the thinner paper is that the book block weighs less. Heavy blocks can pull away from the casing, causing the condition known as “Omnibus sag”.
Binding: Sewn binding. Lays flat like all 2007-on Marvel Omnibus hardcovers.

Front cover sans dustjacket.


Dustjacket and Hardback cover notes: The dustjacket has a glossy lamination. The hardback has a paper wrap with a matte coating which is sufficiently resistant to scuffing. 

Back cover sans dustjacket.