Sunday, June 13, 2010

Valley of the Junk Food For Thought

No longer am I just a nut who rants and raves about comic books in his blog. Now I am a nut who rants and raves about his blog and has been published. That's right, I am this month's fan reviewer in Comics Buyer's Guide #1668, available at comic book specialty shops and finer newsstands everywhere on June 16. They altered one of my sentences in my review for Vincent Price Presents #17, and now it makes no sense, and spell-checked 'cartoony' for cartooned in my review for Creepy #3. Regardless, it was an absolute thrill to see print. Now, back to our regularly unscheduled program...

IRREDEEMABLE VOL. 1 (Boom, 2009)
Collects Irredeemable Nos. 1-4 (cover dates April- July, 2009)
This was an X-Mas present, and while it was entertaining and intriguing, I am going to say 'no' to the rest of this series for the time being. I only have so much discretionary income for these things, and enough is enough. Sorry Mark Waid and Boom Studios, nothing personal, I just can't keep up with everything going on in this hobby anymore.

Collects Excalibur (Vol. 1) Nos. 51-58 and Excalibur: XX Crossing (cover dates June- Early December, 1992)
The issues where Alan Davis actually draws the title are great. The ones where he doesn't...not so great. There are a couple of issues which were plotted by Alan Davis, but scripted by Scott Lobdell, a third rate writer who overwrites everything. When Davis is in the driver's seat, though, this is a good time. I love his action sequences, as their is a fluidity to them that is just amazing. You can almost 'see' the movement in your mind. I can't wait for Volume 3.

Collects Marvel Fanfare Nos. 30, 38, Moon Knight (Vol. 1) Nos. 31-38, Moon Knight: Fist of Khonshu Nos. 1-6, and material from Marvel Fanfare No. 39, Marvel Super Heroes Spring Special No. 1 and Solo Avengers No. 3 (cover dates May, 1983- May, 1990).
Quality stuff by various writers and artists. Moon Knight was 'adult', 'dark' and 'gritty' even before Watchmen and other comic books made it fashionable.
It's funny how time changes your perspective on things. I recalled buying Moon Knight "for a while" in the '80s, but in actuality I bought Moon Knight: Fist of Khonshu Nos. 1-3 off of the spinner racks at 7-11 circa 1985. 3 whole issues. The thing is, back then I read each comic book that I bought around a dozen times, so each issue that I bought seemed more important than now, when I read something once and hope that one day I will read it again. I am likely among the last of the Amish children, as I grew up in a household with no cable TV, the Internet was something out of science fiction, and interacting with other comic book fans meant talking to my two other friends who bought comic books... positively Little House on the Prairie to the kids out there today.

Collects material from Jumbo Comics Nos. 31, 51, 81, 84, 87, 92, 99, 107, 131 (cover dates September, 1941- January, 1950).
I got this in a $5 trades box, which is sort of like the quarter box equivalent for all of you floppy buyers out there. I was blown away by the quality of the artists of the Eisner/ Iger Studios. I was also blown away by the sexual overtones and graphic violence for the era, chuckling as I read this because this was marketed to children. Too funny. I would love to see some company sell this stuff to a child today. This is also as politically incorrect as every other Golden Age comic book. They feature another Jumbo back-up feature, Sky Doll by Matt Baker (credited as Bill Gibson) as a bonus, and I would love to read more of that stuff too. I am going to hunt down Vol. 1 of GA Sheena.
The restoration of the material in this book is interesting. High resolution scans with slight color correction to take the yellowing out of the pulp paper and printed on slick paper. For some reason, these contrasting presentations work very well together. I like seeing the dots, the line bleed, the imperfections of the aged paper itself. I love fully restored and remastered collections of vintage material, and I love this warts-and-all approach as well.

X-MEN LEGACY: EMPLATE (Marvel, 2010)
Collects X-Men Legacy Nos. 228-230 and X-Men Legacy Annual No. 1 (cover dates November, 2009- February, 2010)
This was middle-of-the-road X-Men. Nothing groundbreaking or terribly interesting happening here. Gambit still sucks and needs to be killed off, though.

Collects The Astounding Wolf-Man Nos. 13-18 (cover dates February- August, 2009)
*SIGH* Only one more trade left, and then this series is done. Bummer. I actually enjoy reading this title, and look forward to seeing things unfold.
This trade was delayed some 5-6 months from it's original solicitation date because Image did a last minute switch from printing it in Canada to China. Like many Chinese made trades, this has a wonderfully intoxicating fragrance. I imagine 8-9 year old children working in sweat shops, pouring broken asbestos tiles, lead paint chips, and mercury from recalled thermometers into a vat and mixing it with a big stick to make the ink that they use to print this book on paper made from virgin rain forest trees. Also, the book has sewn binding. Having a softcover with sewn binding is not an every day occurrence, but I would gladly welcome it. We need to keep those poor little Chinese children employed, you know.

Collects Frontline Combat Nos. 1-6 (cover dates July/August, 1951- May/June, 1952)
This was finally released in September of 2009, after 11 months of delays from its original solicitation date. Then there were the delays due to my backlog, and here we are some 10 months since it came out, and I have completed reading it. The reason that this book was delayed so long was because of Gemstone's financial troubles which have ultimately resulted in them losing the EC license. I guess that the book was ready to be released on time, but since the printer bills were not paid they kept this book hostage in a warehouse somewhere. I am really bummed out, because I want the entire 'New Trend' in hardcover format. There will be a total of 66, and so far 13 have been released with no word on when we will see the rest.
Like all EC Comics, these are among the finest comic books ever produced. EC mopped up the competition with their superior writing and artwork. In a few short years after these issues were published a jerkoff by the name of Fredric Wertham would help spearhead this company's demise.

Collects Fantastic Four Nos. 204-214 (cover dates March, 1979- January, 1980)
Wow, this is like a junior Marvel Masterworks, clocking in at around 204 pages with nice paper and sewn binding. This is a pretty entertaining read from my "golden age" of comics, with writing by Marv Wolfman and art by Michigan's own Keith Pollard, Sal Buscema, and a heaping helping of John Byrne goodness. I got issues 210 and 214 from those old three-packs that Marvel used to sell via Whitman's non-newsstand distribution. Back then comics were .40, and the bags were labeled 3 for $1.09. They would have one or two A-list titles, and the third was always some turkey like Thor or Ghost Rider, whathaveyou. My brother had issue 208, which he gave to me along with the rest of his collection in the '80s. I still have that copy of issue 210, and man is it beat up. I was like 5 or 6 back then, so what do you expect? In any case, fun reads and a fun trip down memory lane.

NEW AVENGERS VOL. 12: POWERLOSS (Marvel, 2010; Hardcover)
Collects New Avengers Nos. 55-60 (cover dates September, 2009- February, 2010)
Regular readers of my blog know of my general disdain for all things written by Brian Michael Bendis, but I've got to tell you, this arc... this arc was not bad. I found myself actually enjoying it. These issues are crammed with far more dialogue than past issues, and while I don't particularly enjoy all of his 'witty' wise-ass banter, some if it works here. Some of it also simply his stylistic cue, so like certain things that, say, Chris Claremont does that drives me nuts and I overlook, I am also trying to do with Bendis. Again, I am not 'down' with the B, but this didn't suck, either.

Collects Mighty Avengers Nos. 27-31 (cover dates September, 2009- January, 2010)
Waitaminute, did my bus stop on the Bizarro planet? Bendis' Avengers were a better read than Dan Slott's?? Say what? I am serious, you guys. This time out, things were just decent in Slott's book, although artist Sean Chen (Issues 30 and 31) is pretty darn amazing with them pencils.

1 comment:

  1. While it's not inaccurate to say that Jumbo Comics featuring Sheena was originally "marketed to children," one must remember that adults made up a significant part of the comic book readership of the 1940s and 1950s -- and publishers cashed in with material aimed at adolescents and up. This portion of the readership was both important to overall sales and influential as to which genres were succeeding (crime, GGA, horror, etc.).