Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Review- PLANET OF THE APES: WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE



PLANET OF THE APES: WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (Boom, First Printing, 2019; Softcover)

Collects Planet of the Apes: The Time Of Man #1 and Planet of the Apes: The Simian Age #1 (cover dates October- December, 2018)

Writers: Jeff Jensen, David F. Walker, Ryan Ferrier, Dan Abnett, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, and Matt Kindt

Artists: Jared Cullum, George Schall, Lalit Kumar Sharma, Carlos Magno, Morgan Beem, and Matt Smith

Colorists: Jared Cullum, George Schall, Gabriel Cassata, Gabriel Cassata, Morgan Beem, and Joana Lafuente


This book compiles two giant-sized one-shots which were both anthologies of various points in Apes history. One was set in the original quadrilogy (sic?) continuity, the other in the more recent trilogy continuity. It's a fairly mediocre bunch of stories, perhaps the laziest Apes offering that Boom has done yet. It's like they are trying to kill the brand with these uninspired rehashes. The only ones that seemed worthwhile were the nod to the original Marvel black and white Apes magazines storyline Terror On The Planet Of The Apes and the Cloud And Rain story which showed Koba's subversion in action.


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 coated stock.

Binding: Sewn binding.

Dustjacket and Hardback Cardstock cover notes: Thick cardstock with a matte finish.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Review- Shogun Warriors #1-20



Shogun Warriors #1-20 (Marvel, cover dates February, 1979- September, 1980)

Writers: Doug Moench and Steven Grant (#15 only)

Artists: Herb Trimpe with Inking by Dan Green, Al Milgrom, Jack Abel, Mike Esposito, Steve Mitchell, Bruce Patterson, Mike Vosburg (Pencils #15 only), and additional cover art by Terry Austin, Walt Simonson

Nostalgia is a funny thing. There are times when it's warm embrace is like a trusty old blanket, and then there are times when fond remembrances are best left in childhood. Like a lot of fortysomethings, I had Shogun Warriors toys as a kid. I had Raydeen and Great Mazinga in the '70s and loved them. They were solid toys that a kid could beat the heck out of and they kept on trucking.


I owned issues 1 and 14 as cheapo back issues circa 1983. I have been wishing and hoping for an Omnibus of this book for years. Over the years I pieced together a run of this title for little money, and started reading the series a while back.


The verdict? Well, Doug Moench is a fine writer who has done a lot of good work elsewhere. Herb Trimpe shines with silly Jack Kirby inspired monster stuff, and giant robots fighting giant monsters are right up his alley. The title has a certain pedigree of talent. The general vibe is that not a lot of effort went into this since it was a cheesy kids comic, which is fine since that was the intended audience for the toys and this comic book. There are times when the series is entertaining but by and large it, much like Marvel's Godzilla comic, were simply bottom rung Bronze Age titles which are now held in high regard solely based on nostalgia. That said, I can't wait to buy this in hardcover someday. Someday science will come up with a name for my malady. I offer the term Shaw Syndrome to science.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Review- MS. MARVEL EPIC COLLECTION VOL. 1: THIS WOMAN, THIS WARRIOR


MS. MARVEL EPIC COLLECTION VOL. 1: THIS WOMAN, THIS WARRIOR (Marvel, First Printing, 2018; Softcover)

Note: Book was actually released in 2019

Collects Ms. Marvel #1-14, Marvel Team-Up #61, 62, and Defenders #57 (cover dates January, 1977- March, 1978)

Writers: Chris Claremont and Gerry Conway

Artists: Jim Mooney, John Buscema, Sal Buscema, with John Byrne, Keith Pollard, Carmine Infantino, George Tuska, Dave Cockrum, Joe Sinnott, Dave Hunt, Tom Palmer, Frank Giacoia, Steve Leialoha, Sam Grainger, and Dan Green


The original series has held up really well, less damsel in distress and more strong independent career woman determined to make it, both as an editor of a magazine and as a superhero.


I was pleasantly surprised to see how forward thinking the writing was, but with Chris Claremont in charge for most of the book I should have known better. Claremont was ahead of his time in more ways than one.


The artwork is good, solid Bronze Age fun done by the usual journeymen of the day. I really enjoyed reading this book.


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: This is the same restoration found in the Marvel Masterworks hardcovers. High def all the way.

Paper stock: Matte coated stock. This is a pinch whiter and glossier than what we have been getting in Epics so far but it's still nice.

Binding: Perfect bound.

Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Review- GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: TOMORROW'S AVENGERS VOL. 1


GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: TOMORROW'S AVENGERS VOL. 1 (Marvel, First Printing, 2013; Softcover)

Collects Marvel Super Heroes #18, Marvel Two-In-One #4, 5, Giant-Size Defenders #5, Defenders #26-29, and Marvel Presents #3-12 (cover dates January, 1969- August, 1977)


Writers: Arnold Drake, Steve Gerber, Roger Stern, Gerry Conway, Roger Silfer, Len Wein, Chris Claremont, Scott Edelman, and Stan Lee

Artists: Gene Colan, Sal Buscema, Don Heck, Al Milgrom, and John Buscema, with Mike Esposito, Frank Giacoia, Vince Colletta, Pablo Marcos, Howard Chaykin, Terry Austin, Bob Wiaceck, Dave Hunt, John Tartaglione, and Joe Sinnott


Reading this book was about as much fun as chewing chalk. Mediocre is the kindest word I use when describing these stories. This book is for masochists and completists only.


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.

It was acceptable for parents to hit their kids in the '70s. Believe me. 

Linework and Color restoration
: Fair but not Marvel Masterworks level. It doesn't matter though, as the material is weak and the best restoration in the world couldn't save it.

Paper stock: Matte coated stock. This is my favorite of all of the paper stocks, as it feels high end yet looks like a comic book.

Binding: Perfect bound.

Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Review- MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE X-MEN VOL. 6


MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE X-MEN VOL. 6 (Marvel, First Printing, 2014; Softcover)

Collects The X-Men # 54-66 (cover dates March, 1969- March, 1970)

Writers: Roy Thomas, Arnold Drake (#54), Linda Fite (#57), and Denny O'Neil (#65)

Artists: Neal Adams, Don Heck, Werner Roth, and Sal Buscema with Inking by Tom Palmer, Vince Colletta, and Sam Grainger


How many times can one person buy the same material? Let us count the ways. My first exposure was the X-Men Visionaries: Neal Adams trade paperback. While the stories blew my mind, the unfaithful coloring made me ill. I dumped it to buy the first upgrade, which was...


Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men Vol. 6, a nice book marred by wretched glued mousetrap binding. The awful tight binding made the next dip more palatable.


The X-Men Omnibus Vol. 2 not only boasted sewn binding, but was remastered again, even over the Masterworks! Wow, where do I sign, or so I thought at the time.


I then bought this book, which boasted the state of the art restoration, albeit it in softcover. I've also dipped again with the second X-Men Epic, although that was to get the remaining issues I lost when I dumped the second Omnibus. Clear as mud?


In any case, this is top shelf stuff and is eclipsed only by the Claremont and Byrne run. I am done with all of these endless dips for this material. This version is nice enough. At least Marvel cares enough about their material to revisit it every time superior source material appears. DC does restoration once and leaves it, which is unfortunate since they never try to fix subpar restoration.


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.

I loved the softcover Masterworks line, as the books are wider than a standard trade paperback. Marvel since went the Epic route, but I would have been happy buying softcover Masterworks.

Linework and Color restoration: This is the same upgraded linework and color restoration found in the second Omnibus.

Paper stock: Matte coated stock. This is my favorite of all of the paper stocks, as it feels high end yet looks like a comic book.

Binding: Perfect bound.

Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Review- The Owl #1 and 2


The Owl #1 and 2 (Gold Key, cover dates April, 1967- April, 1968)

Writer: Jerry Siegel

Artist: Tom Gill


This was a campy retread of the 1940s Dell series designed to ride the wave of campy Golden Age nostalgia in the wake of the 1966 Batman TV series. I enjoyed the heck out of the complete lack of self awareness combined with absurd, unnecessarily elaborate exploits. Gold Key Comics were always decidedly old fashioned and out of step yet charming, and these are no different. If you were a kid jingling some coins in your hand at the newsstand then this would have been buried by anything Marvel or DC were doing at the time. I guess that it never stood a chance, which is too bad since these were fun reads with solid artwork.


Apparently the character was revived as part of Dynamite's Project Superpowers universe a few years ago. That universe is comprised of public domain Golden Age superheroes who are retooled. There is also a more recent relaunch in inDELLible Comics' All New Popular Comics, another public domain riff.


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.


Old comic books smell great. They should make a candle that smells like rotting pulp paper.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Review- LEONARD STARR'S MARY PERKINS ON STAGE VOL. 9



LEONARD STARR'S MARY PERKINS ON STAGE VOL. 9 (Classic Comics Press, First Printing, 2012; Softcover)

Collects Mary Perkins On Stage newspaper strips originally published from November 20, 1967- May 10, 1969

Writer and Artist: Leonard Starr


Everyone, this is what you should be reading. This series has some of the best writing in the history of the medium. Leonard Starr is no slouch in the artwork department, either. Top shelf stuff that belongs in everyone's library. There are only 15 volumes to buy. Child's play!


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 restoration: I do not have source material to compare, but I do know that Charles Pelto spends a ton of time making these books look terrific. The only drawback to this book is that the Sundays are in black and white rather than full color as they were originally published.

Paper stock: Uncoated matte stock, great for late night reading by incandescent light.

Binding: Perfect bound.

Cardstock cover notes: Cover has a matte finish to it which feels a little “frosty”. I am not sure how to describe it but it feels dry, like frosted glass bottles.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Review- FANTASTIC FOUR BY JOHN BYRNE OMNIBUS VOL. 1


FANTASTIC FOUR BY JOHN BYRNE OMNIBUS VOL. 1 (Marvel, First Printing, 2011; Hardcover)

Collects Avengers #233, Fantastic Four #209-218, 220, 221, 232-260, Fantastic Four Annual #17, Marvel Team-Up #61, 62, Marvel Two-In-One #50, and Thing #2 (cover dates August, 1979- November, 1983)

Writers: John Byrne with Roger Stern (Avengers #233), Marv Wolfman (#209-217) (Bill Mantlo (#217, 218), Stan Lee (back-up story #236), and Chris Claremont (Marvel Team-Up #61, 62)

Artists: John Byrne with additional Inking by Joe Sinnott, Bjorn Heyn, Dave Hunt (Marvel Team-Up #61, 62) and pencils by Ron Wilson ( Thing #2) along with the Jack Kirby (back-up story #236)


This double and sometimes triple* dip weighs in at seven pounds. I bought all of these issues in the Fantastic Four Visionaries: John Byrne trades in the previous decade. This is top shelf material and I am currently buying it in “high def” Marvel Masterworks format.


*My mom bought me #210 and 214 at Farmer Jack when they came out. I still have that original copy of #210 from when I was a little kid.

Bad light glare in the basement due to the LED bulbs. I read by incandescent light bulbs in my bedroom.

Note that this review is for the first printing with the Direct Market variant dustjacket. The current 2018 printing uses thinner paper and cheaper casewrap on the boards and weighs less as well as having a different dustjacket.

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: The overall restoration is a bit...rustic by modern standards. Some of it has since been remastered in high-def in Marvel Masterworks (#209-218) and that will resume with this fall's release of Vol. 21. I am looking forward to upgrading this material, as Byrne's run is the second golden age of the title. This book is like early DVD restoration in a 4k world.

Paper stock: Thick coated stock with a slight sheen.

Binding: Sewn binding. The book block has a slight sag to it after a few years, a common ailment for these Omnibus books. Some folks wouldn't notice it, but I do and so would you since you are reading this.

Reading the book resulted in these ugly creases on the spine. 

Dustjacket and Hardback cover notes
: Laminated dustjacket. The casewrap has the faux leather grain and foil stamping which you will not find on the 2018 edition.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Review- ROY THOMAS PRESENTS: THE HEAP VOL. 2


ROY THOMAS PRESENTS: THE HEAP VOL. 2 (PS Artbooks, First Printing, 2013; Hardcover)

Collects The Heap stories from Airboy Comics Vol. 5 #5-12, Vol. 6 #1, 12, Vol. 7 #1-8, 10, 11 a/k/a #52-60, 65-79, 81, 82 (cover dates June, 1948- December, 1950)

Writers: Carmine Infantino, Ernest Schroeder, and other unidentified writers

Artists: Carmine Infantino, Leonard Starr, Mike Roy, John Belfi, Clement Weisbacker, Bob Butts, Dan Zolnerowich, Frank Bolle, Paul Reinman, and Ernest Schroeder


This batch of stories with the original comic book swamp monster aren't as enjoyable as the earlier ones found in Volume 1. The artwork remains good throughout, and the writing has honest to gosh continuity, an uncommon occurrence for the era. This was a fun read in smaller doses.


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.


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.


This book has the ever delectable sweet, sweet toxic Chinese printing press smell, likely the result of paper sourced from virgin Amazon rainforests and ink which is a concoction of lead paint chips, broken and pulped asbestos tiles, mercury from recalled thermometers, and the final magical ingredient: the blood, sweat, and tears of the children working the sweatshop printing presses. If loving these books is wrong then I don't want to be right!


The sweet smell seems to go away from these books after a few years, so huff them early and often.

Linework and Color restoration: Like any PS Artbook, the quality varies issue by issue. This looks decent for a scan and print collection.

The raw scan presentation has the benefit of the feeling of reading the original comic book. The drawback, which is a huge one subjectively speaking, is that all of the shortcomings of the primitive four color printings presses are apparent. Line bleed, off register printing, and other anomalies are all present. It's a warts and all approach. Your mileage may vary and it all boils down to your preference.

Paper stock: Bright white matte stock.

Binding: Sewn binding.

Hardback cover notes: Matte casewrap with spot varnish. No dustjacket. Images printed directly onto the casewrap.