Thursday, 20 February 2020
The Archie Comics line of superheroes has always had a difficult time maintaining publication despite valiant attempts over the years. I first came into contact with their output in the sixties when they attempted to "ape" Marvels style with the "Mighty Comics Group".
Sadly their handful of titles didn't last long and though a few made it into my hands most of their material was obtained via black & white reprints in The Alan Class range of comics.
One of the heroes that stood out was The Shield, a patriotic character that actually pre-dates the more successful Captain America, shield n' all first appearing in Pep Comics #1 way back in Jan 1940.
However most readers will be more familiar with the more modern incarnations via the Mighty Comics/Red Circle/Archie Adventure Series and latterly the Dark Circle of comics put out by Archie. All had short lived runs but to this day The Shield has his hardcore fans.
One of these fans a certain Joe Higgins has produced The Shield G-Man Club Fanzine which is printed to order by Ka-Blam comics in the USA. It's a very professionally produced magazine with plenty of nostalgic art, adverts and essays, one of which is about characters currently in the public domain which is recommended.
There's plenty of illustrations and fan art plus imaginings by the author. The only real downside to this publication is the cost. The magazine is cheap enough but combined with postage from the States ended up costing me over fifteen quid. (The digital copy is obviously cheaper to get but being old fashioned I don't collect digital stuff!) Worth it to people like me who are real fans of The Shield and the MLJ/Archie superheroes but not one for the casual reader in the UK. (If you're in the USA just buy it!)
Obtain via: indyplanet.com
Rating: 4 Stars
Tuesday, 4 February 2020
The Mighty Thor #200 (Marvel)
Stan Lee (w) John Buscema (a)
At long last the cover of the two hundredth issue of Thor promises us Ragnarok, the end of everything and the fall of the Gods of Asgard. Their worlds will shatter.....except
At the end of the last issue Thor was lying unconscious at the feet of Pluto and about to feel the final blow before his death and departure to Valhalla except his fate is being watched by three old crones from afar. They realise that this is not what the fates have decreed and show us the real future that was foretold.
Odin having summoned both his sons including the vile Loki, Prince of Mischief has Volla the Prophetess foretelling the future. One where the evil Loki will lead an army upon the gleaming city of Asgard and the first to fall will be faithful Heimdal guarding the Bi-frost bridge. With his last strengths he shatters the connections with Midgard meaning that all is lost. Ragnarok is finally here.
AS Loki leads his hordes against the Asgardians he clashes with Thor who faces off against the Midgard Serpent. But no weapon forged even by the gods can fell the beast. All falls and Surtur the God of Fire burns all that remains.
The aeons pass and new Gods arise. As it ever has been as it ever should be. Odin decrees it so.
In realising the death of Thor at the hands of Pluto will change the future the The three Norns, the harbingers of fate intervene and destroy Pluto's axe saving the day.
Thor will live to face his final fate no matter how far into the future this may be.
Sunday, 2 February 2020
It's that time of month again when we look at the upcoming releases in the comic shop catalogue Previews. As usual these are my personal choices and much more budget limited these days as a pensioner sadly!
Previews is always worth picking up especially since no comic shop can stock everything and if you want something from a smaller publisher you will have to pre-order it in advance due to low print runs. Indeed as some comics don't receive enough orders they might not even get published.
First up this month is DC with two cracking anniversary issues. It's The Jokers's 80th Birthday and there's a 100 page special to celebrate (plus the movie which I'll be waiting for on DVD). He's not alone either there's also another 80th Anniversary issue for Catwoman! Both these will be in my pile come this April!
Other DC titles on my list include Strange Adventures #2 (Adam Strange mini-series). Legion of Super-Heroes #6, Superman #22, Wonder Woman: Dead Earth #3 (Black Label) and John Constantine: Hellblazer #6 and a DC Facsimile Edition: DC Superstars #17 with the first appearance of The Huntress.
And finally to complete the story (I've not read the individual issues due to having missed some whilst in hospital) is Doomsday Clock Part 2 Hardcover which comes with a free slipcase to keep Part 1!
Nothing new in Marvel that catches my attention and in any case they publish far too much with far too many tie ins these days. However the latest issues Spider-Woman, the Fantastic Four and Conan the Barbarian remain on list.
Meanwhile IDW bring us some new Star Trek: Deep Space Nine with a four issue mini-series.
Also out in April is Star Trek: Year Five #13 (of the original crew) and if you missed it the collected prequel story of Star Trek Picard: Countdown. Having collected the three issue mini series I recommend it. The TV show looks fantastic.
Dynamite has nothing new of interest to me but then with all the Red Sonja/Vampirella comics including team ups with Betty & Veronica and the Chaos characters I get enough of their stuff being a big fan of these two. Here's the ones I have on regular order:
Told you I was a fan.....
Meanwhile as I wait for the first issue of Twin Worlds to arrive (seems a wee bit late) the fourth issue of theis Lord of the Rings meets Independence day type adventure has been solicited.
I'll probably order this but maybe just for the first issue from American Mythology Productions as it looks like a fun distraction:
Archie has a new Sabrina mini-series:
Also out from Archie (and on my list) are:
The next instalment of J Michael Straczynski's The Resistance mini series for newcomer AWA/Upshot is due out.
And finally from British publisher Titan comes the latest issue of Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor (Season Two).
Friday, 31 January 2020
After Doctor Who my other sci-fi passion is none other than Star Trek which has become a world-wide phenomenon. Starting in 1969 World Distributors started publishing Star Trek Annuals, the first being cover dated 1970 as was the usual British practice of dating them for the following year to extend their shelf lives.
This was the fourth annual which ran nearly every year until 1986 with all but two (1981 & 1983) being published by World Distributors. The other two annuals were published by Stafford Pemberton utilising the Marvel licence and adaptations of the first two movies.
All the World Distributor editions contain reprints of the Gold Key comics version of Star Trek. (The 1973 edition reprints issues #11,12 & #13)
And to finish, a trailer for one of the original shows. Great stuff.
Sunday, 26 January 2020
Doctor Who: Time Out Of Mind TPB (Titan)
Jody Houser (w) Various (a)
The latest offering from Titan is a collection of the Free Comic Day edition and the two over-sized Christmas specials so this is a seasonal story offered a bit late in the day but still worth a read especially if you are like me a big Doctor Who fan and never get to one of those Free Comic day events.
The story starts as the Doc and her team seek a holiday and find an alien funfair but not all is at it seems (well this is the Doctor's Universe) and they return to the Tardis only to discover what they thought they remembered was not true. Even the Tardis did not remember.
A mystery to be resolved that involves an elf, some smiley aliens and a certain Mr Henderson.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Friday, 24 January 2020
Red Sonja: Age of Chaos #1 (Dynamite)
Erik Burnham (w) Jonathan Lau (a)
As if there wasn't enough Red Sonja comics to buy at the moment Dynamite have launched yet another mini-series (and one more has already been solicited) this time featuring our favourite redhead with the characters of the old Chaos Comics universe that the company purchased the rights to a while back sans Lady Death which remains the property of her original creator Brian Pulido.
I mention this because it does make a difference the replacement Mistress Hel isn't really up to the mark and the new interpretation of Evil Ernie doesn't impress either. Of all the old Chaos characters I still think Chastity is the only one with potential. At least she appears in this oddball crossover.
The story involves a remnant of the evil sorcerer Kulan Gath who just won't stay dead. Red Sonja had cast his last remnants into the ocean way back in the Hyborian age but as continents change and seas rise and fall this relic has ended up in a museum in New York.
Mistress Hel sets her fellow Chaos villains against each other to collect the relic and gain it's power. meanwhile back in the distant past Chastity is somehow lurking where Red Sonja walks.
Not a bad story at all but Dynamite are over-exposing and over -using Red Sonja. Even a completist like me is getting weary.
As usual this issue is published with a multitude of alternate covers. As a young child once said to his mate in the Forbidden Planet some years ago "It's the same comic inside". Words of wisdom from someone so young. One cover one comic. well maybe a cosplay edition but other than that!
Rating: 4 Stars Recommended despite my criticisms of Chaos reborn.
Tuesday, 21 January 2020
Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Volume 2, Hidden Human History (Titan)
Jody Houser (w) Roberta Ingranata & Rachel Scott (a)
Following the release of the new Thirteenth Doctor by Titan comics I decided to pick up one of the collected volumes featuring Jody Whittaker and her team who I have become quite fond of. This adventure sees our heroes dash across different time zones on Earth with each appearance at a lesser known moment in history.
There is a pod cast broadcasting stories of these less well known historical events and all the team except the Doctor including the Tardis (!) seem to be fans. What exactly is going on? The Doctor does not get involved in the events themselves just near to where they take place starting with an apparent damsel in distress, Magda.
The team soon discover that all that is dangerous if not necessarily evil as carrion eaters enter the scene. Where did they come from?
The whole TPB is devoted to this entertaining story which highlights the possible worlds of time travel and what can happen as a result of those that undertake such journeys.
I may well pick up some more of these. Watch this space!
Rating: 4 Stars (Recommended)