Sunday, July 26, 2009

Originally posted on my myspace blog on 12/14/2008 and 1/1/2009

It is no secret that I hate professional sports. I don't mind it when people get together to play basketball or baseball, but dislike the idiots getting paid millions for doing nothing exceptional. My biggest issue with professional sports comes more so from the fact that public tax dollars are used to build these stadiums. Why? The Palace of Auburn Hills was built with private money, so the Pistons can consider themselves excused from my hate parade here. Some of these owners have a net worth somewhere in the neighborhood of a billion dollars, and yet we pay for their stadiums. Adding insult to injury, they then sell the naming rights and pocket the money. Worse still are the overpriced concessions, which are staffed largely by unpaid volunteers. So let me get this straight...they charge $5 for a pop and then get a tax write off for the person selling it to you, all the while I am footing the bill for the building and not getting some sort of resident discount off of my ticket. *GAAAaaAAAhhHHHHhhhhH!!* (blood vessel bursts in brain) Wake up people! The Lions losing every game makes me laugh. They should hire me. I would've lost every game and charged them significantly less to do so. I'd charge, say, $2 million to lose every game for them. I do have a solution on how to fix professional sports: change the way that players are paid. We need to go back to Roman gladiator times, people, where the losers are done away with and the winners are showered with spoils. You want to see these spoiled 'rock star' athletes play hard? Pay them $500 per game if they lose, $500,000 if they win. The game then becomes life or death. If they lose, they live in Delray, but the winners, they can live in Birmingham or whatnot.

Collects Sub-Mariner Nos. 33-42 (cover dates April, 1954- October, 1955).
This reprints Bill Everett's amazing run on the title, and his artwork is amazing and very detail oriented. This book falls under the category of "never in a million years could I afford to buy and/or find all of these issues".

Collects Fantastic Four Annual No. 11, Marvel Feature Nos. 11, 12, Marvel Team-Up No. 47, Marvel Two-In-One Nos. 1-20, 22-25, Marvel Two-In-One Annual No. 1 (cover dates September, 1973- March, 1977).
This phone book is chock full of Bronze Age goodness by the usual suspects, i.e. Roy Thomas, Steve Gerber, Gil Kane, Sal Buscema and many other comic book journeymen of the day.

IRON MAN: WAR MACHINE (Marvel, 2008)
Collects Iron Man (Vol. 1) Nos. 280-291 (cover dates May, 1992- April, 1993)
This is solid, entertaining stuff written by Len Kaminski, who I am unfamiliar with. The artwork varies in quality, but the pacing and action sequences are decent.

Collects Fables No. 1, Invisibles No. 1, Lucifer No. 1, Preacher No. 1, Sandman Mystery Theatre No. 1 (cover dates April, 1993- July, 2002).
Collects Army @ Love No. 1, Crossing Midnight No. 1, DMZ No. 1, The Exterminators No. 1, Jack of Fables No. 1, Loveless No. 1, Scalped No. 1 (cover dates December, 2005- May, 2007).
These are $4.99 sampler trades that the off-brands will offer to entice new readers. Honestly, Vertigo is hardly some small indie company, though; they are merely an imprint of DC, who is owned by Warner Bros., so much like much other so-called "indie" stuff, this is merely marketed that way so that people who wouldn't buy something mainstream, i.e. DC, would buy this. Fables was enjoyable enough, but maybe not enough to make me want to buy the series. I love the cover artist, whoever he/she may be. Invisibles seemed adolescent at best. I suppose if I were 15-21 it would "speak" to me. At 35, it's been there done that, grown out of it. Lucifer was so-so. Again, I will keep my cash in fist for other things. Preacher was good, although I am not rushing out to buy it. Sandman Mystery Theatre was very enjoyable, and I did pick up the first trade of it and enjoyed it. Army @ Love, DMZ, and Loveless all sucked, and Crossing Midnight, The Exterminators, Scalped, and Jack of Fables were decent, but not enough to convince me to pick them up. I find it disturbing that these are marketed as "sophisticated" comic books. What is so sophisticated about profanity, nudity, excessive graphic violence, and titillation? To me those traits are very adolescent; hardly what anyone would rightly consider being adult literature. I tried these out for something different, and while they are certainly different from my more mainstream superhero tastes, I ultimately found them wanting as intelligent reads. My search for sophisticated comic books continues. Any suggestions?

Collects The Zombie: Simon Garth Nos. 1-4 (cover dates January- March, 2008)
The follow up mini-series to 2007's Zombie has excessive violence, gore up the wazoo, and a '70s Horror "hero"…what in this sentence does not appeal to you? Totally enjoyable fun for the whole family! Kyle Hotz and Dan Brown (no, not that Dan Brown) deliver an impressive read that should appeal to old and new Horror comic fans alike.

Collects Batman Nos. 10, 11, and selections from Detective Comics Nos. 62-65 and World's Finest Comics Nos. 5, 6 (cover dates Spring- July, 1942).
Lots of fun Golden Age Batman reads here, with several stories featuring the Joker. There are also early appearances by the Catwoman and the Penguin. These issues are fascinating from a historical perspective and are entertaining in their own right. Still no Batcave as such yet, just the abandoned barn entrance. The Bat signal is featured here also.

Collects Indiana Jones and the Golden Fleece Nos. 1, 2, Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix Nos. 1-4, Indiana Jones and the Sargasso Pirates Nos. 1-4, Indiana Jones and the Shrine of the Sea Devil and Indiana Jones and the Spear of Destiny Nos. 1-4 (cover dates June, 1994- March, 1996).
These are all outstanding issues with superb writing and artwork throughout. Any one of these would have made a better movie than …Crystal Skull. I love the Dark Horse Omnibus format, which is smaller than a regular trade while being larger than a digest and is printed on nice paper in full color. This one weighs in at 370 pages for $24.99 MSRP.

Collects A Case of Blind Fear Nos. 1-4 and Scarlet By Gaslight Nos. 1-4 (1988, 1989).
This was a rare impulse buy for me, and luckily it panned out. This collects two mini-series originally published by Malibu Comics. Excellent writing by Martin Powell and solid black and white artwork by Sappo Makinen make this a joy to read. This trade is out of print but will be reissued Fall 2009.

Collects Silver Surfer: In Thy Name Nos. 1-4 (cover dates November, 2007- April, 2008)
This was a well done mini-series that was written in a non-decompressed manner. It was almost shocking to see a modern Marvel Comic done in such a way. I just wish that Marvel would quit doing umpteen Silver Surfer minis and instead do sporadic "season" type releases while keeping the same numbering.

Collects Ex Machina Nos. 1-5 (cover dates August, 2004- December, 2004)
Collects Ex Machina Nos. 6-10 (cover dates January- June, 2005)
My friend loaned me the first trade and I loved it, so much so that I bought the first 6 volumes in one fell swoop on eBay for $20.00. I have been much more open minded and receptive to new comic book ideas in 2008 than I have been in the past, and it is paying off. This is such a great read, I cannot recommend it enough. Brian K. Vaughn has come up with another winner here, with fully formed characters and a great premise. Tony Harris and Tom Feister deliver crisp artwork that serves the story very well. This is a more sophisticated read than Y: The Last Man or Runaways (other BKV titles), yet remains accessible. This is on DC's Wildstorm imprint, whose trades are printed on nice paper stock. Why are many 'classic' DC trades and Vertigo trades printed on such crappy paper? Wouldn't DC have all of their trades made at the same place? Sorry, but my comic book fan OCD cannot stand such makes me lay awake at night. Kidding!

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