Monday, August 3, 2009

The All-New, All-Different Junk Food For Thought

OK, not really. What I meant to say is that this is the first all-new blog post since I signed up for Blogspot last month. All of my other posts have been re-posts from my myspace blog (RIP). My last post over there was on July 4, and since then I have been sitting on my reviews. Here we go...
THE ZOMBIE FACTORY (Idea Men Productions, 2007)
Collects selections from Tales From The Tomb (Vol. 2 ) No. 2, (Vol. 4) Nos. 4, 5 (Vol. 5) No. 1, Tales of Voodoo (Vol. 3) Nos. 1, 2, Terror Tales (Vol. 2) No. 5, (Vol. 3) No. 3, (Vol. 4) No. 6, (Vol. 6) Nos. 1, 4 (Vol. 9) No. 1 and Witches’ Tales (Vol. 6) No. 1 (cover dates January, 1970- January, 1978).
This is an interesting collection of mostly B and C level black and white Horror from the '70s. Credits are nearly non-existent, which is a pet peeve of mine. It would be nice to know what issue which story came from, as well as who wrote and/or penciled it. The scans are way too dark, likely done to compensate for the deterioration of the pulp paper used back then. I'm sure that a C-level publisher like Eerie (no relation to Warren Publishing's superb Creepy and Eerie) didn't bother archiving their stats for later use. This is an okay read if you can find it, although I would have preferred a more comprehensive hardcover collection.

Collects Captain Britain and MI13 Nos. 5-9 (cover dates November, 2008- March, 2009)
This series is worlds better than most of the current stuff being put out by Marvel. It's a shame that this wasn't the first arc, rather than the always gimmick-y crossover spin-off that it had. Maybe if Marvel would let a series find its own footing rather then being shoved into crossover after crossover we wouldn't see the amount of launches, re-launches, and cancellations that we currently do.

Collects Sin City: That Yellow Bastard Nos. 1-6 (cover dates February- July, 1996)
SIN CITY VOL. 5: FAMILY VALUES (Dark Horse, 2005)
Collects Sin City: Family Values Original Graphic Novel (cover date October, 1997)
Collects Sin City: The Babe Wore Red, Sin City: Silent Night, Sin City: Lost, Lonely & Lethal, Sin City: Sex & Violence and Sin City: Just Another Saturday Night (cover dates November, 1994- October, 1998).
SIN CITY VOL. 7: HELL AND BACK (Dark Horse, 2005)
Collects Sin City: Hell and Back Nos. 1-9 (cover dates July, 1999- April, 2000)
This is a super fast paced read, and it works for this type of series. Frank Miller's artwork is growing on me, as he makes excellent use of black and white and solids. The occasional color inserted into the black and white color scheme is interesting as well. I really like the paper that these books are printed on, as it has an intoxicating smell. I like how all of the characters and settings all circle around and intersect in each other's stories without becoming directly involved with each other, and without it being necessary to know any of the previous stories. One could literally pick up any book in the series and have an enjoyable read.

BLAZING COMBAT (Fantagraphics, 2009; Hardcover)
Collects Blazing Combat Nos. 1-4 (cover dates October, 1965- July, 1966)
The Warren magazines were the natural successors to EC Comics. Frontline Combat and Two-Fisted Tales depicted the horrors of war in often unfavorable ways, and this series ups the ante with it's early anti-Vietnam angle. The title was blackballed by distributors and cancelled, which is a damn shame considering the quality. The EC stable turns in fantastic artwork all around, and Russ Heath does what is, in my opinion, his finest work ever. The book is a super high quality presentation, with superb uncoated, thick paper stock, spotless art transfers from pristine sources, and luxurious sewn binding, all in hardcover to boot. The only gripe that I have is that the Frazetta covers are shrunk down to 1/4 page in the back of the book. Aside from that, this is the definitive document on this series for the ages. Interviews with James Warren and Archie Goodwin provide invaluable insight into the minds of the men who made it happen.

Collects Swamp Thing (Vol. 2) Nos. 65-70 (cover dates October, 1987- March, 1988)
Collects Swamp Thing Nos. 71-76 (cover dates April- September, 1988)
This series doesn't seem to miss a beat after the departure of Alan Moore. I was delighted to see Alfredo Alcala's finely detailed artwork grace these pages.

THE MONSTER OF FRANKENSTEIN (Idea Men Productions, 2006)
Collects The Monster of Frankenstein Nos. 18-33 (cover dates March, 1952- October/November, 1954)
This collects the obscure series by Dick Briefer, and is outstanding! Gruesome, gory and violent, this is not some campy or watered down version of the monster. Briefer's artwork is unusual, but has a style that is pleasing to the eye. I wish that this series was collected in a full color, high end hardcover rather than this black and white trade. Oh well, when you are dealing with comics as obscure as this, you have to take what you can get. I highly recommend this book to all fans of Horror comics.

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