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Comic Book Marathon

Thursday, July 21, 2005

My Comics Can Beat Up Your Comics - 07/20/05

Well, my local store is starting to feel the effects of the shutdown of its closest (and more mainstream) competitor, as a half-hour after they opened on Wednesday, there were a number of people in the store complaining that they were sold out of Astonishing X-Men and House of M. (The manager was placing reorders like mad, so it looks like he will be able to make everyone happy). None of that affects me, but when they run out of PLASTIC MAN, that's just not right! No, I kid because I love, and I wish my store the best with its new influx of Marvel zombies!


The drier-than-dry humor of Michael Kupperman, the man behind Snake 'n' Bacon Cartoon Cabaret, is back and it is like nothing else out there. Difficult to describe and almost impentrable to your average Everybody Loves Raymond fan, strips like "Uncle Billy's Drunken, Bitter Guide to the Animal Kingdom," "Mickey Rourke's Public Hair Stencils for Men," "Cut Out N' Play Soccer Joust," "Cousin Grampa," and "Amoeba Car Grampa" make me laugh and shake my head at the same time. So wrong and so strange, and yet so great. If you've never read his stuff before (or seen his cartoon shorts on TV Funhouse) here's a cheap pamphlet of goodness for your sampling.


Well, here it is, my two pre-teen comic book favorites (Dr. Strange and the Giffen-era Justice League) smooshed into one comic. Can't say that I saw that coming. Anyway, arch-villain Nightmare warns of an impending an unstoppable doom that will come to be Dr. Strange's greatest challenge, in the form of Dormammu and Umar seeking to invade the earth creatively (again!). The seams of the plot are terribly obvious (Strange can teleport the Hulk into danger, but not out of it? Wha huh?), but this being a Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire book, the plot is expected to take a back seat to characterization and humor. And that's all right for what it is, except Nightmare's personality graft is wholly unconvincing. The recruitment scenes are well done and some of the jokes are laugh-out-loud funny, but this book needs more room to convince me that these versions of the characters will work. The proof will be in the next few issues.


Featuring classic stories from the cast of The Defenders that also serve to advertise for the Marvel Masterworks hardcovers.

First up is Dr. Strange from Marvel Premiere #3: This Stan Lee tale is a definite classic, a solid magical suspense one-off by Lee from when his hands-on writing was rare in the early 70's. Arch-villain Nightmare warns of an impending and unstoppable doom that will come to be Dr. Strange's greatest challenge (sound familiar?). It's gorgeously illustrated by the man now known as Barry Windsor-Smith with some amazing colors that were missing in the recent Essential Dr. Strange Vol 2. However, if you already have the Marvel Visionaries: Stan Lee volume, you already have this reprint and you can probably pass on this.

Since that tale takes up more than half the issue, the rest of the content is short stories from Fantastic Four Annual #5 (Lee & Jack Kirby on Silver Surfer), Marvel Comics#1 (from the Golden Age with the Sub-Mariner), and Hulk #3 (a 3-page origin re-cap by Lee & Kirby). Even though I find Golden Age Marvel to be unreadable and the Hulk tale is inconsequential, this issue is worth it just for the Dr. Strange story in glossy color and the fun Silver Surfer story, if you don't have them already.


The problem? The dead are coming back to life, in possession of thousands of teenagers. The solution? A million words of exposition as our protagonists walk through some investigative procedural work on the "problem" with the smartest man in the world. The result? I am dulled to death.

P.S. John McCrea is a very imaginative artist, even if he isn't very flashy. So why does he keep getting assigned to projects that require very little imagination? John McCrea's talking head sketchbook is not really what I'm looking for in a comic book.


Well, my store ran out of them, but should have more next week. What's your excuse?

Other Stuff of Interest

Lost of reasons to wait for the trade this week: DAREDEVIL #75, DETECTIVE COMICS #808, EX MACHINA #13, GIRLS #3, GOON #13, HELLBOY THE ISLAND #2, ULTIMATES 2 #7, X-MEN KITTY PRYDE SHADOW & FLAME #2

THE PULSE VOL 2 SECRET WAR TP - Flip-throughs on this book make it hard for me to believe that this is really the natural successor to Bendis's Alias. It seems similar to taking the twisted characters from a Coen Brothers movie and having them star in a generic Law & Order-type show. It's not that it wouldn't be quality, but what's the point?

Mickey Rourke's Pubic Hair Stencil #18: Death of a Bullfighter
"This one I started as a novel, but then I realized the story would work better within the medium of pubic hair"


This is not an excuse, but I accidentally recycled my plastic man. Save the nature!

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