Sunday, November 10, 2019

Reviews- PRODIGY. VOL. 1: THE EVIL EARTH, PLANET OF THE APES ARCHIVE VOL. 2: BEAST ON THE PLANET OF THE APES, THE IMMORTAL HULK VOL. 1: OR IS HE BOTH?, and THE IMMORTAL HULK VOL. 2: THE GREEN DOOR


PRODIGY. VOL. 1: THE EVIL EARTH (Image, First Printing, 2019; Softcover)

Collects Prodigy. #1-6 (cover dates December, 2018- June, 2019)

I like Mark Millar. His stuff doesn't always fry my mind but there is usually enough of a hook to intrigue me enough to keep going. I'm not sure if I'm in for the next volume or not. This is close to his Nemesis series, and I enjoyed that one a lot more than I did this one.



PLANET OF THE APES ARCHIVE VOL. 2: BEAST ON THE PLANET OF THE APES (Boom, First Printing, 2017; Hardcover)

Collects material from the Planet of the Apes Magazine #1-11, 21 (cover dates August, 1974- June, 1976)

I am hoping that Disney buying Fox means that Marvel will eventually get the Planet Of The Apes license back and we can get proper, comprehensive reprints instead of Boom's arranged by storyline method of collecting. While these are nicely done books I prefer material to be collected in publication order. I'm glad that these were finally reprinted. They have since been falling out of print and are now commanding some money on eBay. I'm keeping mine.



THE IMMORTAL HULK VOL. 1: OR IS HE BOTH? (Marvel, First Printing, 2018; Softcover)

Collects Avengers #684 and Immortal Hulk #1-5 (cover dates May-November, 2018)


THE IMMORTAL HULK VOL. 2: THE GREEN DOOR (Marvel, First Printing, 2019; Softcover)

Collects Immortal Hulk #6-10 (cover dates November, 2018- February, 2019)

I had heard endless great things about this title, so when I saw them at the library I had to give them a spin. Wow! This is very similar in tone to the first six issues of The Hulk by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, only infused with modern sensibilities. The original take on The Hulk was Horror/monster-tinged, Cold War paranoia. This take is similar, replacing The Cold War paranoia with the horror of humanity and conspiracies involving our own Government, who seek to weaponize the methods which made Bruce Banner turn into The Hulk.

The Absorbing Man appears in the second book, and he is one of those villains that never ceases to make me smile when he shows up to fight someone. They have reissued both of these trades in one hardcover. I will pick this series up at some point in some format. Time and money are both in shorter supply these days for me when it comes to comic books, but this is a series that I would like to reread.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Review- DEAD MAN LOGAN VOL. 1: SINS OF THE FATHER, RELAY VOL. 1: REALITY DENIED, Questprobe #1-3 and Marvel Fanfare #33, THE MAGIC ORDER VOL. 1



DEAD MAN LOGAN VOL. 1: SINS OF THE FATHER (Marvel, First Printing, 2019; Softcover)

Collects Dead Man Logan #1-6 (cover dates January-June, 2019)

Good stuff that should have just been more issues of Old Man Logan. But hey kids, a new #1! I am trying to not bag on the industry, but these endless relaunches seem to be a case of diminishing returns and jumping off points for older readers without a mass influx of new readers. We are at a point where we should just go to cover dates instead of issue numbers.


RELAY VOL. 1: REALITY DENIED (Aftershock, First Printing, April, 2019; Softcover)

Collects Relay #0-5 (cover dates May, 2018- April, 2019)

Brilliant stuff. There has been no news of any more issues, which stinks. Let's hope that we'll see more sooner than later.

Questprobe #1-3 and Marvel Fanfare #33 (Marvel, cover dates August, 1984- January, 1987)

Computers were for nerds in 1984. My family being able to afford a computer in 1984 was as far fetched as my family being able to afford a rocket ship. Plus, what on Earth could we possibly need a computer for? The old world is pretty funny in retrospect.

I bought issue 2 off of the spinner rack in October of 1984. I still say that it was intended to be issue 97 of Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man and was recut at the last minute to include the Chief Examiner. Go back and reread it, you'll see what I mean. The portions that tie in are almost entirely on separate pages and seem spliced in. Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #97 was essentially an inventory story with little ongoing subplots. Questprobe #2 was way more tied into the current series with the supporting cast featured. Marvel Fanfare #33 was intended to be the fourth issue but was cancelled when the computer company who made the video game went bankrupt. It was released a couple of years later in that inventory story clearing house series.


THE MAGIC ORDER VOL. 1 (Image, First Printing, 2019; Softcover)

Collects The Magic Order #1-6 (cover dates June, 2018- February, 2019)

Magic seems to have been reduced from childhood fantasy to the dustbins of history. Children, with their home computers and surround sound television, no longer have a need for magic. Magicians used to be a popular thing at kids' birthday parties. Technology has killed magic.

This was good enough for me to buy a Volume 2 if or when it happens. I still like magicians and all that jazz.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Reviews: ANT-MAN/ GIANT-MAN EPIC COLLECTION VOL 1: THE MAN IN THE ANT HILL, WOLVERINE: OLD MAN LOGAN VOL. 10: END OF THE WORLD, CRIME PATROL ANNUAL VOL. 2, FANTASTIC FOUR BY JOHN BYRNE OMNIBUS VOL. 2


There is no longer a void for this blog to fill. Talking about binding, paper, and restoration is now the norm, not the exception. My work is done in that regard. There are endless YouTube reviews, message boards, etc. I will pop in with pellet reviews. Consider this the “how I spent my summer vacation” book report.


ANT-MAN/ GIANT-MAN EPIC COLLECTION VOL. 1: THE MAN IN THE ANT HILL (Marvel, First Printing, 2015; Softcover)

Collects the Ant-Man/Giant-Man stories from Tales To Astonish #27, 35-59 (cover dates January, 1962- September, 1964)

While this is one of the “lesser” titles of the Silver Age, it was still a lot of fun to read. Readers with modern sensibilities will dislike the “you're just a girl, Wasp” vibe to some of the earlier stories, but this was a pre-women's lib era. I have a soft spot for Egghead and The Human Top. Seeing Ant-Man transition into Giant-Man was pretty cool.


WOLVERINE: OLD MAN LOGAN VOL. 10: END OF THE WORLD (Marvel, First Printing, 2018; Softcover)

Note: Book actually released in 2019.

Collects Old Man Logan #46-50 and Old Man Logan Annual #1 (cover dates October-December, 2018)

Good stuff, although it was pointless to end the series here. Rebooted numberings lose readers in the long run.


CRIME PATROL ANNUAL VOL. 2 (Gemstone, 2000; Softcover)

Collects Crime Patrol #12-16 (cover dates June-July, 1949- February-March, 1950)

EC remains the gold standard for comic books, even here in the “Pre-Trend” era collected here. The first steps toward EC becoming a Horror comic company happened here, with the introduction of The Crypt Keeper in a handful of stories until the final issue, which was basically the first issue of The Crypt Of Terror. Within a few issues that title would change into the more familiar Tales From The Crypt.

Gemstone used some pretty kick ass glue. This book is almost 20 years old and doesn't even creak when you open it.


FANTASTIC FOUR BY JOHN BYRNE OMNIBUS VOL. 2 (Marvel, First Printing, 2013; Hardcover)

Collects Fantastic Four #261-295, Fantastic Four Annual #18, 19, Alpha Flight #4, Avengers Annual #14, Thing #10, 19, and material from Epic Illustrated #26-34, Thing #7, What If? #36, and What The--?! #2, 10 (cover dates November, 1983- January, 1991)

1984 and 1985 were the zenith of western civilization. The spinner racks at 7-11 were filled with gold month in and month out. I thought that it would last forever, as children tend to do. Little did 10-11-12 year old me know that this was the second golden age of Marvel, and arguably the last time that every single title was hitting high marks at the same time. John Byrne remains a favorite of mine, and this stuff still holds up decades later. Hard to pinpoint a favorite issue, but #276 was one I read several times on the Christmas break from school in 1984.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Review- The Replacer


The Replacer (Aftershock, cover date April, 2019)

Writer: Zac Thompson

Artists: Arjuna Susini

Colorists: Dee Cunniffe

Marcus is a young boy whose loser father has a stroke. The real question is was it a stroke, or was dad possessed by a demon who tricks everyone into believing that his father had a stroke? Or is young Marcus mentally insane? I'm not answering that here, but the story plays it right down the middle and lets you decide for yourself. I have my own personal answer. This was a good read with decent artwork.


The OCD zone- This is the part where I go into tactile sensations and materials used in physical media. Those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or women who are pregnant should exit my blog at their earliest convenience, as their safety cannot be guaranteed beyond this point.

Binding: This was solicited as a graphic novel in Diamond Previews. When it was released it was a saddle stitched (read: stapled) “64 page graphic novella”. Seems like a bait and switch to me. Even the Aftershock website lists it as a “64 page prestige format graphic novella”. It's a fat stapled comic with a cardstock cover, folks.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Review- STRANGER THINGS: THE OTHER SIDE


STRANGER THINGS: THE OTHER SIDE (Dark Horse, First Printing, 2019; Softcover)

Collects Stranger Things: The Other Side #1-4 (cover dates June, 2018- January, 2019)

Writer: Jody Houser

Artists: Stefano Martino and Keith C. Champagne

Colorist: Lauren Affe


If any series lends itself to the comic book format, it is the nostalgic Netflix series Stranger Things. This four issue mini-series shows what happens to Will while he is trapped in The Upside Down. Key moments in the series are shown from the other viewpoint, and it's really cool. Fans of the series will eat this up. If you haven't read the series I am not certain if this will make a lot of sense, especially at the end.

It would have been cool if this were presented and framed like a 1983 comic book with flat colors, cheap pulp paper, and “Ben Day” dots. Then again, this series skews to a younger demographic than this fortysomething old man, and those kids seem to dislike the presentation of old comic books.


I read this book in one sitting with my 12 year old son, who loves the series. Heck, I even got him the action figures for his birthday last year. He's at the right age where the vibe of the show clicks with that sense of wonder we all have at that age before life grinds us down to a stump. He loved this book and so did I. I'm looking forward to more Stranger Things comics, and I am really, really looking forward to Season Three. Is it July 4 yet?

The OCD zone- This is the part where I go into tactile sensations and materials used in physical media. Those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or women who are pregnant should exit my blog at their earliest convenience, as their safety cannot be guaranteed beyond this point.

Paper stock: Thick glossy stock.

Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.

Cardstock cover notes: Matte coating with spot varnish. The matte portions have sufficient protection from scuffing, a problem many matte finish covers seem to have. This is good, since copies of this book are likely to circulate through libraries across the country.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Review- WOLVERINE: OLD MAN LOGAN VOL. 9- THE HUNTER AND THE HUNTED


WOLVERINE: OLD MAN LOGAN VOL. 9- THE HUNTER AND THE HUNTED (Marvel, First Printing, 2018; Softcover)

Collects Old Man Logan #41-45 (cover dates August- October, 2018)

Writer: Ed Brisson

Artists: Francesco Manna (#41-42) and Juan E. Ferreyra (#43-45)

Colorists: Carlos Lopez (#41-42) and Juan E. Ferreyra (#43-45)


This volume consists of two stories over five issues rather than a bloated six part arc. Things move fast, make their point, and we all move forward. I like it. The first two issues collected here show Old Man Logan take on Kraven The Hunter. Come to think of it, it really doesn't make sense why Kraven had never hunted the greatest animal of them all, does it? It's a match up that is so obvious that you smack your head wondering why nobody had ever done it before.


The rest of the book shows OML's rematch with Bullseye. As much as I enjoyed the more cerebral era of this title early on, I have to admit that the more straight up superhero fare is great fun. Seeing an older Wolverine realizing the limitations of age unfortunately rings more true with me with each passing day. Like Old Man Logan, my prime is in my rearview mirror. And like Old Man Logan, I'm also too damn stubborn to fold.


The OCD zone- This is the part where I go into tactile sensations and materials used in physical media. Those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or women who are pregnant should exit my blog at their earliest convenience, as their safety cannot be guaranteed beyond this point.

Paper stock: The semi-glossy coated stock Marvel uses is getting thinner and thinner as time goes on. I get it, rising paper costs, diminishing demand for paper, etc, but I can still grumble about it.

Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.

Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock. The cardstock Marvel uses is also thinner these days, although it helps to make the book sit in your hand like a fat periodical, so it's not all bad.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Review- DREAMS OF THE RAREBIT FIEND


DREAMS OF THE RAREBIT FIEND (Dover, 2013 Printing; Softcover)

Collects sixty Dreams Of The Rarebit Fiend strips which were originally published in the New York Telegram 10/07/1904- 8/31/1905

Writer and Artist: Winsor McCay


This is the 2013 printing of the 1973 facsimile edition of the original 1905 hardcover. As of this writing one could get a 1905 original for a mere $10,000 on eBay. Or you can do what I did and buy the 2013 reprint which is still floating around out there for under 20 bucks.


As in the 1905 hardcover and 1973 facsimile edition, the strips are reprinted here in black and white. They are shrunk down from their original publication size, although the Dover editions are 10% larger than the 1905 hardcover. Like the 1973 edition, this 2013 printing omits the final strip due to its unfavorable portrayal of minorities.


Rarebit is apparently some sort of toasted cheese snack, and these unfortunate folks ate them before bed. Apparently this Welsh rarebit gives folks nightmares which probe their innermost fears and desires. This predates McCay's signature strip, Little Nemo In Slumberland but treads the same boards: the realm of dreams. Unlike Nemo, this is not a fun, surreal read, but a bizarre probing of anxieties.

The OCD zone- This is the part where I go into tactile sensations and materials used in physical media. Those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or women who are pregnant should exit my blog at their earliest convenience, as their safety cannot be guaranteed beyond this point.

This book is wider than a standard graphic novel.

Linework restoration: I don't have any source material to compare.

Paper stock: Matte stock.

Binding: Perfect bound.

Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Review- MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE AVENGERS VOL. 14


MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE AVENGERS VOL. 14 (Marvel, First Printing, 2014; Hardcover)

Collects Avengers #129-135, Giant-Size Avengers #2-4 (excluding reprint back-up stories), and Foom #12 (cover dates November, 1974- June, 1975)

Writers: Steve Englehart and Roy Thomas (#132 and GSA #4)

Artists: Sal Buscema, Dave Cockrum, Joe Staton, George Tuska, and Don Heck with additional Inking by Joe Giella, Frank Chiaramonte, and John Tartaglione


Us old guys like to bemoan the crossovers. Things were so much better way back when, we say as we sit around the Internet equivalent of playing checkers on checkerboard on top of a barrel at the general store. This book is proof positive that these sort of sales gimmicks are nothing new, as fans were required to buy both the monthly title and the double-sized, twice as expensive Giant-Size issues as well every month in order to get the complete story.


This was a double dip upgrade over the long out of print Celestial Madonna trade paperback. I think that I enjoyed the story more this second time reading it, as the Swordsman/Cotati/tree marriage bit was harder for me to swallow the first time around. Whenever I see stuff like that now I just shake my head and think Ah...the '70s. To be fair, none of these guys expected to have their work dissected in deluxe hardcover decades later or to ever appear on the big screen. We've come a long way, folks.


I am sucker for Kang and all of his timeslip ret-con goodness. This is nowhere near as confusing as all of the timeslips in Avengers: Endgame, though. Mantis was never done right on the big screen.

While this particular book is out of print you can get the same material with the same restoration (and a ton of other issues) in The Complete Celestial Madonna trade paperback. I will stick with this book. No more dips for me.

The OCD zone- This is the part where I go into tactile sensations and materials used in physical media. Those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or women who are pregnant should exit my blog at their earliest convenience, as their safety cannot be guaranteed beyond this point.

Linework and Color restoration: These books are so expensive because of the level of restoration done to the material. The beauty of it is that folks like me are willing to pay the premium and then the material is later reissued in cheaper formats. Everybody wins!

Paper stock: Coated stock with a slight sheen.

Binding: Sewn binding.

Dustjacket and Hardback cover notes: Laminated dustjacket with spot varnish. The hardback has faux leather grain and dye foil stamping.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Review- THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN OMNIBUS VOL. 2


THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN OMNIBUS VOL. 2 (Marvel, First Printing, 2012; Hardcover)

Collects The Amazing Spider-Man #39-67, Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3-5, The Spectacular Spider-Man #1, 2, and the Spider-Man stories from Not Brand Echh #2, 6, 11 (cover dates August, 1966- December, 1968)

Writer: Stan Lee

Artists: John Romita, Sr. with Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jim Mooney, Marie Severin, Mike Esposito, Bill Everett, and Frank Giacoia


While I love Steve Ditko, I prefer the artwork of John Romita, Sr. a whole lot more. I remember teenage me arguing with some nerds at the comic shop circa 1987. This guy said Ditko all the way. I argued that Ditko is great and laid the foundation, but it was John Romita, Sr. who defined the contemporary Spider-Man that we know and love. This was right before Todd McFarlane would do a hard reset and make Ditko the only acceptable reference point for the character for decades to come. Those of us who were Bronze Age children know Romita's version as the one who adorned t-shirts and luncboxes.


This stuff is art of the highest order. There are too many highlights for me to do a blow by blow, but I'll take a shortcut and tell you that if you are not familiar with this run that it is top shelf material and it belongs in everyone's library.


The OCD zone- This is the part where I go into tactile sensations and materials used in physical media. Those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or women who are pregnant should exit my blog at their earliest convenience, as their safety cannot be guaranteed beyond this point.


PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FOLLOWING APPLY TO THE 2012 FIRST PRINTING OF THIS BOOK.

Linework and Color restoration: There are a couple of issues here which look like they could be improved upon if better source material surfaced. I am uncertain if the second printing of this book used any original artwork which may have surfaced since this book was released.


Paper stock: Coated stock with a slight sheen. This is closer to glossy than matte.

Binding: Sewn binding. Like many older Omniboo, this has developed the dreaded Omnibus sag due to gravity and the weight of the book block. Some folks use post it note pads to prop up the block, others store them spines down. I like to live dangerously and store my books vertically.

Dustjacket and Hardback cover notes: Laminated dustjacket. The hardback has faux leather grain and dye foil stamping. The second printing does not have that.


The hardback has ugly creases on it after reading it.