Sunday, 23 April 2017
My Greatest Adventure #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
Bill Willingham (w) Cezar Razek (a)
A "pulp fiction" spectacular takes place with the teaming up of Edgar Rice Burroughs' various creations. Tarzan & Jane, John Carter & Dejah Thoris, Carson of Venus Korak, son of Tarzan and man more some more familiar than others.
A spaceship crashes in the jungle helpfully just where Tarzan happens to be out and about with a few of the natives and the news arrives of an alien plot. The race is on to beat these villains to the Eye of Judgement, a gemstone that powers a weapon, one that may threaten all.
Tarzan gathers all his adventurers for what he simplys "the venture" and readers are given a two page splash of the team with explanations of who all these people are for those not familiar with all of Burrough's characters.
Here's a taste of what promises to be a very entertaining story!
Monday, 17 April 2017
Angel and The Ape #1-4 (DC)
Phil Foglio (w) K. S. Wilson (a)
During the sixties DC Comics came up with some oddball titles such as Angel and The Ape and the Inferior Five the latter of which was supposedly an X-Men parody but had a life of its own. Well for a 12 issue run. Having limited pocket money I guess many kids like myself didn't consider trying these titles since pocket money was limited, so it's only in recent times I have even got around to reading issues of these comics.
I came across this four issue mini-series quite by accident when looking for other stuff which wasn't in stock and being a Bank Holiday weekend worth a try.
Now I'm hooked.
Angel and The Ape now makes sense. Sam (the Ape) comes from Gorilla City (which will make sense to fans of the Flash and the Justice League since that is where super-villain Gorilla Grodd comes from. Sam has a mild mind controlling power which allows him to exist in homo-sapien society.
This story also co-stars Dumb Bunny, the super-strong but not very bright member of the Inferior Five who also show up. DB is in need of a boyfriend who is strong enough so she doesn't break him. Literally I'm afraid and the male superhero community don't take her very seriously as seen when DB tires ringing the JLI for help and gets laughed at by Guy Gardner.
Oh and we discover Angel and Bunny are sisters. Well half sisters......
They need help you see. Gorilla Grodd is kidnapping Sam as he needs his powers to help "cull" humanity and make the Gorillas the main intelligent lifeform on the planet. It seems the task of saving humanity is down to the Z-List heroes.
A nice very inexpensive addition to anyone's collection that ties these amusing characters into the DC universe proper. I look forward to seeing them all again soon. After all Merryman appeared in Grant Morrison's Final Crisis and even err..Captain Carrot has been seen whizzing around the multiverse!
Sunday, 16 April 2017
Up until now I have been occasionally reading adventures of The Rook in Eerie Magazine. However I thought it was about time to dip into his solo comic and picked up one of two issues available in my local comic shop.
The artwork by Lee Elias in the lead Rook story is superb and the story co-starring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Jules Verne grabbed my interest so over time I will be seeking out further back issues.
The backup stories in this issue however left me nonplussed. Voltar might grow on me though.
Sadly this comic magazine only lasted 14 issues despite strong sales worldwide. Currently the licence is held by Dark Horse Comics where new material is appearing from time to time.
I also recommend this website for fans of the Rook: The Master of Time which contains far more material than I can ever hope to publish!
Saturday, 15 April 2017
The latest addition to my ever-growing black & white magazine collection is a copy of Planet of the Apes #1 though this copy was printed in Australia. It's creative content is I am assured the same as the US edition which is fine by me. A wee bit "well read" but then not only has it travelled half-way around the world it's been through one of those Exchange Bookshops that were a great source of reading material until they went the way of the dodo.
There are two stories The Lawgiver set after the films when Ape and were living in peace, that is until a band of gorillas start guerilla warfare plus the first part of an adaptation of the original film. The original story is well worth a dip but I'm not a fan of adaptations, especially when the cast are unrecognisable. Well the human cast anyway...
The US version lasted 29 issues and some of the material found it's way into the British Planet of the Apes weekly comic even though this magazine was aimed at adults. I could find no information on the Australian monthly published by Yatta though Newton published a more regular edition.
Here's one I'll try & pick up in the near future. Viking gorillas. Oooh.
Friday, 14 April 2017
Starting with WHAM! in 1964 Odhams publishers eventually launched a whole range of titles which became know as "Power Comics" and aped a similar editorial style to Marvel Comics whose material they reprinted in all their titles.
The second, most successful and longest lasting of their comics was SMASH! This lasted 162 issues in it's original format before being sold to IPC/Fleetway whos decided to revamp the title and make it a much more standard British "boys" comic.
Like may children of the sixties I have fond memories of these comics. WHAM!, SMASH!, POW!, Fantastic and Terrific were all great reads introducing many readers to the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Thor, Hulk and the whole range of Marvel super-heroes then taking off under Stan Lee in the USA.
Originally WHAM! and SMASH! were renowned for their brand of anarchic humour before the super-heroes came along and remained a mix until the end.
The lead story in the final issue was The Swots and the Blots, other favourites included Bad Penny, Grimley Feendish and The Nervs! Adventure included Brians Brain, Bunsen's Burner and of course Thor and the Fantastic Four.
This issue advertised a big change in the following issue. More pages, more adventure and a new direction that gave the comic fresh life for a further couple of years until it was merged with Valiant.
Both incarnations are well worth collecting.
Sunday, 9 April 2017
Captain Marvel #36 (Marvel Comics)
Reprint: Stan Lee (w) Gene Colan (a).
New material: Steve Engleheart, Jim Starlin & Bill Mantlo
Although not the first comic book character to be called Captain Marvel, this is the original Captain Mar-vel, the rebellious Kree warrior sent to Earth to punish mankind, ends up as a super-hero and becomes "protector of the universe.
In fact this is probably the best introductory issue you can find for the good Captain. It reprints the whole of Marvel Super-Heroes #12 from the sixties and gives readers a two page potted history of Captain Marvel's subsequent developments including his lifeforce being fused with that of Rick Jones and having to continually swap places with him in the negative zone.
Yeah I know, it's complicated.
This runs into a three part story in which the villain of the piece appears to be a murderous Watcher. Go figure, no spoilers here. And anyway I still have #38 & #39 to read at the time of writing so I can't tell ya yet!
Considering Captain Marvel had only had 36 issues by this point so much has happened to him. Great character much missed.
Saturday, 8 April 2017
Originally launched as a digest sized prose magazine which flopped, Haunt of Horror was subsequently relaunched as a black & white comic magazine as part of Marvel's foray into the more "adult" orientated magazine market.
This second issue introduces readers to Gabriel: Devil Hunter, a former priest turned exorcist embroiled in a case of possession involving a former colleague in the Catholic church. Very much a story of the times as this is followed by a feature on the "most terrifying film of all time"The Exorcist.
However the best story in this issue is the one off Grandma Died Last Year penned by Doug Monech with top notch art from Gene Colan & Frank Chiarmonte which follows the descent of a young boy into despair following the death of beloved grandmother. Domestic violence, child abuse and the ultimate vengeance with a twist.
There are two Satana stories, one of which is prose (and I skipped, not what I buy comics for), the latter of which A Fire in Hell sees our heroine exiled from Hell by her father's enemies seek help to return and warn him against a plot to dethrone the Lord of Flies himself.
Not a bad magazine but only lasted five issues as Marvel flooded the shelves with too many similar titles.