Thursday, January 31, 2008
In a way it’s kind of liberating. Keep a small pull list and then check out the rack and see what catches the eye. Don’t worry about keeping up with a run. Don’t worry about finishing the story because frankly you weren’t enjoying it anyway. Just fly free and easy and if those issues of Captain Marvel look kind of neat go ahead and grab them. If you like the various books then that’s great; if not, hey it was worth a shot. I’ve skirted around this with the other blogs and podcasts and such that I do but in all honesty one of my goals this year when it comes to comics is to kind of go back to the way I used to collect back in my younger days.
So here’s the list, Blue, Red and Green first, though sadly no green this week.
Oh, you’re going to notice a lot of trades this week. Rachel and I did our Valentine’s Day shopping early and if you want to know why then read THIS. Anyway, on with the show…
Action Comics #861
Ultimate Spider-Man #118
Amazing Spider-Man Swing Shift Director’s Cut #1
Spider-Man: With Great Power… #1
Ultimate Spider-Man Vols. 3-5 TPB
Mighty Avengers #8
Avengers: The Initiative #9
New Avengers Annual #2
Young Avengers Presents #1
Avengers Disassembled Oversized Hardcover
New Avengers Oversized Hardcover Vol. 1
Wolverine: Evolutions Premiere Hardcover
Captain America #34
Captain America: The Chosen #6
Captain Marvel #s 1 and 2
Green Lantern #27
Death of the New Gods #5
Black Adam #6
Project Superpowers #0
Amazing Spider-Man Swing Shift Director’s Cut was a solid read. I have the Free Comic Book Day edition, but it is buried, so it was nice to get this version because I wanted to re-read the story. Frankly I liked it and I think that book is probably responsible for me starting my Spider-Man kick. Avengers: The Initiative #9 was enjoyable as hell and I am glad I started picking this book up.
Yeah I bought Captain America #34. I figured why fight it. Guess I have to get the issues I’ve missed.
Outside of Action Comics, Green Lantern, Death of the New Gods, Black Adam and Captain America: The Chosen (I wanted to see how it ended) the rest of my purchases were complete larks. Stuff I just wanted to read. I’ve been curious about Avengers Disassembled and the early New Avengers for some time, but never had the real desire to pick it up or track the issues down, but between my recent Marvel thing and the upcoming Secret Invasion I thought it was time. I’m looking forward to reading those hardcovers too.
And they will look awesome.
The Ultimate Spider-Man trades are my preparation for a solid run of the book that I am going to be buying in the next few weeks. I bought the first oversized hardcover years ago, so I figured I would buy the trades up until the starting point of the run I will be getting and that would be a good way to get caught up.
Man, this is a great time to have the off handed desire to read something because it’s probably in a trade, especially if it’s a Marvel book from the past nine years.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Here's the stack:
So despite having a few extras (they came as a set and I figured that I could donate the others to a library or use them as prizes on my show) I am fat with Essentials. They are:
Essential Spider-Man Vols. 1-6
Essential Fantastic Four Vols. 1-4
Essential Avengers Vols. 1-3
Essential Silver Surfer Vol. 1
Essential Hulk Vols. 1 and 2
Essential Iron Man Vol. 1
Essential Captain America Vol. 1
The book shelf is going to look very nice. I am fat with reprints. Soon they will have their own representation in Congress like my comic collection does.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Anyway, not knowing why really I e-mailed Peter David thinking maybe he had heard something about this. Maybe it was a widespread problem, I reasoned, and others had contacted him as well. Turns out they hadn't, which I had pretty much figured on but it was worth a shot right?
In the reply e-mail Peter asked me who the collected editions editor was and I e-mailed him back with a list of the people I thought fit the description. Tonight when I got home from the gym I found this e-mail in my inbox.
I just check our office sample against a printed copy of issue #372, and all the pages are there. I think you must just have purchased a defective copy of the book, which unfortunately happens from time to time; your best bet is to return it to the store where you bought it and exchange it for a new one.
Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you, and I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying the line!
Senior Editor, Special Projects
Marvel Entertainment, Inc.
So that was pretty cool. Sure I have to take the book back, but it's good to know that mine is an isolated incident.
And getting an e-mail from someone at Marvel has some coolness attached to it as well.
Oh well, tragedy averted. All is well here at the Fortress of Baileytude.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Superman Confidential #11
JLA Classified #51
Superman: Redemption TPB
Amazing Spider-Man #548
Spider-Man: Birth of Venom TPB
World War Hulk: Damage Control #1
She-Hulk # 25
Hulk Visionaries: Peter David Vol. 5 TPB
Ultimates 3 #2
Marvel Zombies 2 #4
Fifty-Two Aftermath- Crime Bible: Five Lessons of Blood #4
X-Men: Onslaught The Complete Epic Vol. 1 TPB
Thanks to some extra cash from my first ever manager bonus (yay big sales) I also picked up the following Showcases which have been sitting in my box for a few weeks now:
Brave and the Bold Vol. 2
Justice League of America Vol. 3
Robin The Boy Wonder Vol. 1
Supergirl Vol. 1
Unless it is Superman related those may be my last Showcases for a while. I like the concept and the format, but my interests have been more Marvel-centric lately, so the money goes where the fannish heart is willing. Still, neat to have.
So far I have read JLA Classified, Superman/Batman, Amazing Spider-Man, and Ultimates 3. The first two I will be reviewing for the Superman Homepage this week. Amazing wrapped up Brand New Day nicely and now that the story is over I'll get that review done. I'm looking forward to the rest of the books as well. Birth of Venom is a fat trade paperback for only thirty bucks. The much slimmer Onslaught book also has me interested, so I'll probably read those pretty quick.
Ultimates 3 #2 was FREAKING AWESOME. There's no other way to describe it.
So another week gone and I only bought the comics I actually wanted to read. It has worked out pretty good so far. Look for reviews and links to reviews over the next week.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Head on over to the Superman Homepage for the full details.
And to this I say...
Yeah, that about covers it.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
On Tuesday I was sickish. I woke up that morning with the world swimming around me. I had a dizzy spell a few months ago and this was a really nice repeat of the nausea, the room spinning and the throwing up, so even though I went to work I still didn't feel like doing much of anything else.
On Wednesday I spent the day with my wife doing...a whole lot of nothing. I slept in. I worked out a problem I had with the bank. I made a late breakfast; sausage, eggs, French toast made with raisin bread, an orange. Good stuff, I tell you. Good stuff. Then we watched TV and I took a shower and that was pretty much the extent of my moving around for the day.
Today I went back to work and Rachel is feeling ill, so again I haven't done much of anything.
I will hopefully be back on track in a few days. I still want to write a review of Hulk #1 and I have a few other things up my sleeve.
Until then I am off to bed. It's supposed to be a cold one tonight, which I love and everyone else thinks is terrible.
I am a man living in the south yet raised in the north. I take my cold, winter days and night when I can.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Amazing Spider-Man #547
Amazing Spider-Girl #16
Hulk #1 (Ed McGuinness Variant Cover)
Incredible Hercules #113
World War Hulk: Aftersmash- Warbound #2
Justice League of America #17
Booster Gold #6
I've already read Amazing Spider-Man and it was freaking awesome. I am totally digging this story. I know that I promised a review of the previous issue, but I figured it would probably be better to allow for all three issues to come out and then review them all at once. I figure it might be better to let the whole story unfold and then give my opinion so I can avoid jumping the gun and with the book coming out three times a month it makes it easier to do such a thing.
The Hulk #1 was a complete impulse buy. Chuck at Titan Games and Comics got some in this week and cut me a deal on the second McGuinness cover. Apparently it is one of the rarer covers but that really didn't factor into my decision. I like the fact that it is an homage to the original Incredible Hulk #1.
And you couldn't beat the price with a stick.
The other books look promising. This is my first outing with Amazing Spider-Girl, but I am willing to give it a shot. I enjoyed the first part of the Incredible Hercules storyline, so this was an easy buy. Warbound didn't thrill me last month but I am willing to give it another chance. I'll be reviewing Justice League for the Superman Homepage this week, so I'll pimp that when it hits. Booster Gold has been fantastic from the start so I expect more of that this issue. Finally, as far as standard comic purchases go, Chuck Dixon makes his return to Robin this month, so I just had to get that.
I did buy one more thing this week. I just had to. It is part of Marvel's Essential line and contains one of the first comics I ever bought (or rather had my parents buy) off the rack.
The book? Essential Marvel Saga: The Official History of the Marvel Universe.
The comic it contains that I bought back in the day? Marvel Saga #2.
Oh yeah, this is going to be all about the awesome I kid you not.
More on that Marvel Saga later. Now I am off to bed as I worked a fifteen hour shift with an hour lunch so it was really like fourteen hour shift but why quibble?
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
I mean he's my favorite. How could I ignore him like that?
More to follow.
PS: The Comic Images Spider-Man cards I got on eBay arrived today. They are the awesome. Pictures and comments soon.
Monday, January 14, 2008
It was also less than ten bucks, so I didn't feel like I was losing much by buying it.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
I mean I'm not saying it was released just to snow us, but looking at it I have this odd little voice in the back of my head that screams, "This is too spot on. Don't believe it! Don't believe it!"
Consider this random thought butt coverage on my part in case it turns out to be a clever ploy to get the fanboys buzzing.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
I've been reading a lot of Spider-Man books recently. I'll get into why at some other point but for whatever reasons the character has just grabbed me lately. Grabbed me as a reader in a way he never did before.
One of the stories I've read lately (or re-read as I have probably gone through it about a dozen times in my life) is the origin story from Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962). Many people have written about what a groundbreaking origin story this was for a super-hero and frankly I agree with them. Looking at that story in the context of the times it was published it is an amazing leap forward for what can be described somewhat pretentiously as the super-hero genre. It was the next step after the Fantastic Four. The FF got their powers through an accident and immediately set about helping people with them. The fact that they bickered and that Sue Storm was actually a viable member of the team is what set them apart but in their first issue they all put their hands in and declared their intention to help mankind.
Spider-Man was different. Stan Lee and Steve Ditko took two pages to establish what a bookwork and outcast Peter Parker is, which may not sound like a lot of space but in the early sixties in an anthology book in an eleven page story that was a lot of time to devote to character development. He received his powers from an accident involving radiation (standard for the day and pretty much the next decade or so) and the first thing he did was test his powers out at a wrestling match, which went well enough for him to grab the attention of a TV producer. From there Peter designed and sewed the costume, developed the web fluid and shooters and went on television. Through the dialog you get the sense that Peter is kind of a bitter and angry young man and with the comments made by his classmates at the beginning of the story it is little wonder he felt this way.
Then it happens.
The thief runs by him after robbing...something. Peter doesn't stop him. The same thief ends up robbing the Parker household and killing his Uncle Ben. With great power comes great responsibility.
The origin has been re-told over and over again so many times in variety of mediums. If you read enough Spider-Man comics you see it again and again and again. So much so that after a while it kind of loses its power as an origin. You forget Peter being mocked by his classmates and the resentment he feels and the love Ben and May Parker had for their nephew. It's almost like Batman and the death of the Waynes. You see that enough and the concept that a little boy watched his parents die violently in front him gets forgotten. After awhile both origins are a means to an end.
That was one of the thoughts that ran through my head as I re-read Amazing Fantasy #15.
Here's the other:
The origin of Spider-Man wasn't a super-hero story.
It was a science fiction story.
If you've ever read any of the horror and science fiction books put out by EC Comics in the fifties then you know that they follow a certain pattern. Establishing character development followed by something weird or horrific happening followed by twist ending. This is not to diminish those stories. I love them with the best being the ones in my opinion being the horror books, but the science fiction tales were great as well, but they did have a formula like most comics of the time had some kind of story engine. After the formation of the Comics Code EC was forced to find a new direction, which didn't work out and with the exception of *Mad*, which eventually shifted to magazine format, all of it's titles were canceled.
This didn't stop other publishers from copying the formula albeit in a watered down, code approved version. In 1961 the company that would become the Marvel Comics as we know it today put out a comic called Amazing Adventures, which was an anthology book that told monster and science fiction stories including an adventure character who dealt with the weird and wacky named Doctor Droom, who would be brought back later in the seventies as Doctor Druid. With the seventh issue the titled was changed to Amazing Adult Fantasy, that was supposed to be a more mature title brought home by the little caption on the cover that read, "The Magazine That Respects Your Intelligence."
Number fifteen was the title's last issue with yet another name change, this time to the simpler Amazing Fantasy. It was here that Stan published a concept that from all accounts was a bone of contention between Lee and his publisher, Martin Goodman. Goodman hated this concept of a super-hero who was not only a nerd but a teenager with problems and hang-ups. I don't know how apocryphal that story is. It's hard to tell what really happened and what made for a better story later, but in any case the concept was apparently looked down upon so Lee stuck it in this little anthology book that was going to be canceled anyway and thus a legend was born.
The thing is that if you read the story...I mean really read the story it fits perfectly within the format of the science fiction story with the twist ending. Ordinary kid who is mocked and ridiculed. Loving family. Suddenly he is involved in an accident that gives him the powers of a spider. He takes advantage of those abilities and tries to make money but doesn't step up to help when that help was needed because he was looking out for no one but himself. Then his Uncle Ben, a man he loved and who loved him, is killed by a robber and after cornering the man Peter discovers to his horror that it was the very same man who he failed to stop when he had the chance. The only thing that really separates it is the super-hero style costume, which is mocked at the beginning of the story with the little blurb that read, "Like costumed heroes?Confidentially we in the comic mag business refer to them as 'long underwear characters'!" Without that caption at the beginning this story would have been right at home in a science fiction anthology title.
And honestly if the strip hadn't proved successful it would have been just another story with a snap ending. Instead with retelling after retelling and over forty years of comic book stories, movies, television series and the rest it has become an archetypal origin story.
In any case it's still a solid little story. Sure times and sensibilities have changed but it still holds up surprisingly well.
Weird aside; two months before Amazing Fantasy #15 was published a Stan Lee/Steve Ditko story titled Goodbye to Linda Brown could be found in Strange Tales #97 (June 1962). The story concerned a young, wheelchair bound girl who lived with her uncle and aunt in a beach front setting. I won't give away the details of the story (though it was kind of neat) but there was one strange bit of business thrown in. The uncle and aunt were named Ben and May Parker. And they looked just like Peter's Aunt May and Uncle Ben.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Amazing Spider-Man #546 (both covers)
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Monday, January 7, 2008
"Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes Chapter 3: Lightning and Shadows" -22 pages
Writer: Geoff Johns
Johns threw in some great character bits as well. I liked Polar Boy. The pacing of the scene where he is freed, right down to the temperature plummeting, made for a dramatic and kick ass moment where you know that for Polar Boy it's on. Polar Boy was also used to reinforce why Earth-Man and his Justice League are the bad guys. They wanted the same acclaim that the Legion had but didn't want to work for it like Polar Boy and the other substitutes did. I mean that's a criminal right? The type of person that wants the reward but none of the sacrifice. So they abandon trying to work within the system create this myth that Superman was human and use that to force the Legion and all other alien races of the planet. It played nicely and brought the point home without beating the reader over the head with it, which I liked. The action was intense as well, but then again this is a Geoff Johns book and after reading several months worth of Green Lantern and Sinestros killing each other I shouldn't be surprised. The fighting is relatively restrained though and the build up to the final fight of the issue played beautifully with Earth-Man taunting the group telepathically before the assault began. It allowed for more exposition and didn't slow the pacing down at all, which again is kind of rare in today's comics.
My only pet peeve with this story is the art. I know that a lot of people are happy beyond belief that Gary Frank is on this book and normally I would agree. And it's not that I don't like the art because in all honesty it has been nice to have as long a run of consistantly good art on the Superman books as we've had. There is just something about the way Frank's style has changed. I know this is fannish to say but I prefered his style on the Incredibe Hulk. A little slicker. A little cleaner. Here just about everyone looks as if they haven't slept for days. I don't know if it is Sibal's inking or just the natural progression of Gary's style. It's just a little off for me.
Not that I want him off the book. Frankly if we get a regular creative team on this book that can bring it in on time month after month I'll take some "I just spent the last drinking coffee by the metric ton to stay awake" looking characters.
So overall I was very happy with this latest issue. It furthered the story along, added to the tapestry and had that good cliffhanger ending I mentioned before.
Now if only I could feel the same way about Busiek on Superman.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Or maybe I'm over thinking this. Always a possibility with me.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Welcome to what is quite possibly the strangest comic blog on the Internet.
I don’t say that out of any sense of egotism or hype or any of that. That’s not the type of person I am and I don’t want the overall personality of this blog to be akin to car commercials from the radio. That’s annoying. I hate those commercials so I won’t subject you to that sort of thing.
No I say that this is quite possibly the strangest comic book related blog on the Internet because there is a chance that it is the first blog to focus not on the author’s thoughts regarding the industry as a whole or one particular company, character, team or franchise but on three very different super-heroes and their worlds. It might seem a bit odd to do such a thing because it seems like focusing on one would be enough but there is a perfectly logical and reasonable explanation for me having this little corner of the Internet devoted to the Man of Steel, Ol’ Webhead and the Jade Giant all at once.
I could not decide which one to produce a hopefully daily blog about. I really couldn’t. It started as a Superman blog but then I got into Spider-Man in a big way and thought, “Well, I could do one about the two characters and call it The Blue and The Red. Yeah, that would be cool. I mean they’re both icons of not only the genre but their respective companies and have a lot in common with each other (more on that in a future post) and they’re both red and blue (mostly) so that made sense color wise too. Also they’re both on my Top Ten Favorite Super-Heroes of All Time list, so that makes it even better.”
Everything was going along swimmingly when another hero from that list knocked on my proverbial door.
(And now for a dramatic recreation of that moment).
ME: (opens door) Yes.
HULK: Are you, Michael Bailey?
ME: (hesitant since the Incredible Hulk is standing in my doorway) Yes?
HULK: Good. May I come in?
ME: (still hesitant since, you know, the Incredible Hulk is standing in my doorway) Sure.
HULK: (sits down on couch, breaks it) Sorry about that.
ME: (pulls up chair and wonders how I’m going to explain this to the wife) That’s fine. So, what brings you by, Hulk?
HULK: Well, Mike…I can call you Mike right...Thanks. Mike, I came by because frankly I’m a bit hurt.
ME: You? Hurt? I thought the madder the Hulk got the stronger the Hulk got and all that. I’ve seen you brush off everything from bullets to being ground zero at a gamma bomb blast.
HULK: I’m talking a different kind of hurt, Mike. I’m talking on the inside. Word on the street is you want to do some kind of Superman and Spider-Man blog.
ME: I was thinking about it.
HULK: Well I have to ask, Mike; what about me? I mean we’ve been tight ever since you were a kid. You watched my show. You watched my cartoon. You’ve read hundreds of my comics. You even had that home made Cabbage Patch Kid your grandmother did for you not mention the Mego figure when you were younger and that wonderful Gray Hulk statue where he’s reading Jekyll and Hyde that Rachel got you for a wedding present.
ME: That’s true. Mama Gertie did make me that Hulk Cabbage Patch doll. And I do love that statue.
HULK: So what’s the deal? Why do I get left out? It’s just not right, I tell you. Not right at all.
ME: (thinks for a moment) I see your point. I mean the whole Spider-Man thing is relatively recent. It seems rather unfair to not have thought of you as well.
HULK: That’s what I’m saying.
ME: So what do you think I should do?
HULK: Well, Mike, I’ll be honest with you. Either find some way to include me in this whole mad cap scheme of yours or I’ll level your house. I’ll let you get your wife and the dog out first, but after that this place is going to go from nice, ranch style dwelling to pile of rubble.
ME: Are you threatening me?
HULK: Pretty much, yeah.
ME: Bit of a temper you have there.
HULK: (stares for a moment)
ME: Right. Kind of obvious I guess. Look, threats of ruining my home aside I think I can do the blog about Superman, Spider-Man and you. Would that make you happy?
HULK: Like a kid in a candy store. (Gets up and begins to walk towards the front door) I knew you would see it my way.
ME: (under breath) Not that I had much of a choice.
HULK: What was that?
ME: Nothing. Go. Have fun. Get back to whatever it is you were doing. You’re in the blog.
(End dramatic recreation)
And so because of that hallucinogenic visit the Hulk became part of this blog and what was once The Blue and The Red became The Blue, The Red and The Green, which is kind of nice anyway because the former title sounded like a political blog and while I have nothing against such things that’s just not my thing to write about.
So what can you expect from this blog? Well, commentary mainly. The plan is to write reviews for the latest Superman, Spider-Man and Hulk books in addition to their related titles. Actually I don’t know if I will get to all of the related titles but I’ll give it a shot. I mean I don’t know if reviews of the Marvel Adventures titles will pop up but hey, you never know. The only Superman book you won’t see reviewed here is Superman/Batman, but that’s because I review that monthly over at the Superman Homepage, but I’ll post a link to it once it goes live. Expect the reviews the Monday or so after the book comes out in case you are the type of person that likes to read the book before reading the review.
I also plan to write articles/editorials about past Superman, Spider-Man and Hulk stories. Some may be short and some may have multiple parts. Some may have to do with the comics and some might be reviews of past prose, film and television efforts. I’m also going to make an effort to keep up with the latest hype surrounding the characters and throw in my two cents about what I think. I’m not the biggest person on judging something before seeing or reading the final product, but sometimes I have a problem controlling the raging fan that dwells within me.
Aside from that I thought it would be kind of fun to sometimes post pictures of the various collectibles I have lying around the house. I just took some stuff out of the storage shed today as a matter of fact, so I should be getting out the old digital camera and snapping some pictures in the next week or so.
I have a few other plans that I don’t want to reveal as of yet because they are either not fully formed or I haven’t gotten all of my ducks in a row yet. Until then check back every day as I hope to post that often unless real life intrudes.
One more thing before I depart; I am a big fan of people leaving comments or e-mailing their thoughts and feelings about the things I write about, so feel free to do this. While I do this mainly for my own amusement if you enjoy what you see and read or disagree with me or whatever I’d like to know.
Until then with great power there must also come great responsibility so the never ending battle to contain the fury that dwells within me continues.
Yeah, that was a bit much, but kind of amusing, at least to me.