Friday, March 31, 2006

"Some Constructive Time Off"

Well (drat it all) it looks like I will indeed have to work some this weekend. It won't be too bad. We're so short on help that I left at noon today and will work till 1PM tomorrow. Same amount of hours and it gets everyone thru their lunch breaks. This actually worked out well for me since I had some misc. things needing doing around the house today, all of which I've gotten done now and can relax the rest of the afternoon and evening.

One of the "things" I needed to do was to get out in that mess of a garage and try to find some "California Raisin" figures my father-in-law gave me probably a couple of years back. He asked me if I'd give them back so his granddaughter to have them. No big deal, except that when he gave them to me, they were duplicates of what I already had of them, (plus I didn't know he'd ever want them back) so I put them in a baggie and stored them somewhere in one of the 50 odd boxes of the same sort of stuff (PVCs, toys, etc.) and haven't laid eyes on them since. Got out there and dug around a while, but to no avail. I really need a nice day where I could drag all of that stuff out and go thru each box at a time. Might be better to just have him describe what they looked like and replace them from people at the local flea market.

Then, another thing that needed done was straightening up all these clothes my wife owns, all piled in a pyramid in the bedroom. I swear, the woman has so many of them that I asked her if King Tut was entombed somewhere in the middle of the pile. Anyway, I got several boxes and tried to straighten out and seperate that mess. I'm sure it won't stay "neat" very long, though. It didn't from the last time I finally got tired of seeing and tripping over it and took on the chore myself.

And tomorrow, weather-permitting after I get off work, I want to drag out the mower and see if it's still operable since the grass on my front lawn it now at a heigth that rabbits could hide in it.

And lastly, I needed one last book to fulfill my enrollment obligation in the Science Fiction Book Club (before I cancelled my membership), so I choose Men of Tomorrow, a novel documentary by: Gerald Jones, published by "Basic Books" in 2004. It's the scoop on various, well-known comic creators, like Seigel and Shuster, Bill Finger, Jack Kirby (and others) in the 1930s & 40s. So far, it's proved very interesting reading.

This photo from 1935 I thought very interesting from the book. It's of a very young Jake Kurtzberg (aka: Jack Kirby) with his fellow newsmen when he was working at the Boy's Brotherhood Republic (Kirby in Upper Right Corner of photo).

Thursday, March 30, 2006

"Just A Quickie"

Short comments today due to lack of time, but I must say it's been a beautiful day here with temperatures right at 80 degrees and a clear, blue sky. Shame I was inside most of the day at work where I couldn't enjoy it. In fact, I may try to mow the yard for the first time this year come Saturday if the grass isn't too wet (because bad storms are predicted for tomorrow).

And I'm off this weekend, thankfully, since they're having a "Big Sale" and we're short of help. Let someone else deal with it this time.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"Comic Comments"

Got in several issues of the 1960's Charlton title, Thunderbolt recently. I liked the costume design of this character: reminds me a lot of the old Lev Gleason "Daredevil" character from the 1940's. Plus he's one of several Charlton characters that didn't actually have what you'd call a super-power. Like "Judomaster" and "The (Ditko version) Blue Beetle", "Sarge Steel", "The Fightin' 5", "The Shade", and "The Peacemaker" (albeit I will admit some of those other characters used a few gimmicks), he relied more on his fighting skills.

For anyone not familiar with Thunderbolt, he was the creation of Peter A. Morisi (who signed his work under the initial pseudonym of "P.A.M.), and the title ran from 1/66 to 11/67; a total of eleven issues.

T-Bolt started with a "No.1", then the second issue was actually #51, continuing the numbering of another Charlton hero, "Son of Vulcan" (who had continued HIS numbering from Mysteries of Unexplored Worlds; typical Charlton move there).

Around the middle of this run, Pay Boyette took over the art chores, and Serguis O'Shaugnessy (a pseudonym for Denny O'Neil) took over the writing.

T-Bolt fought many oriental-type villians such as "The Dragon", & "The Tong", but also "Mongols", "Pigmy Warriors", "Dum-Dum Barnes", and "Man-Apes".

The back-up stories were fairly interesting. For a few issues a group of heroes called "The Sentinels" appeared, a "rock" group turned super-heroes which was a total "Fantastic Four" rip-off, each character in conflict with the other and one nothing more than a "Ben Grimm" imitator.

The most interesting of the back-ups however was in the last issue, #60, where O'Neil and the (late) Jim Aparo presented "The Prankster" (See above illo). This was really well-written, and had some of Aparo's best silver-age artwork. It's a shame we didn't get to see further installments.

Other items that have arrived include a copy of the 1983 Aardvard-Vanaheim one-shot special, Strange Brew, which is a collection of material, mostly previous published, done by Michael T. Gilbert, and this came out right before he went on to create his most popular character, "Mr. Monster".

It did contain one new story with his old Spirit-take-off character, "The Wraith"(which was the LAST Wraith tale ever published). There's also one story which he wrote which was illustrated by Jeff Bonivert, whose art-deco style you can always spot a mile away. Many of these tales were reprinted from earlier independent titles from the 1970's, such as New Paltz. A great all-around "read".

In, as well, was a copy of Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. V1, #12 from 1969, written by Stan Lee and drawn in the early artwork of Barry (Winsor-) Smith. This was from a time that Smith was still trying to imitate the styles of both Kirby and Steranko, but I must say that it was some of the first work of his that impressed me during that era. Of course, it wasn't much longer afterwards that anyone that read Marvel Comics knew his name very well when he started drawing the Conan comics.

One comic ( which I've just won this week so it'll be a while before it arrives) is a book I didn't know existed. Well...I knew the book existed, but I didn't realize "what" was in it, and that's DC's Ghosts #97 (from 1981). I had always thought that the only Aparo series of "The Spectre" had appeared in issues of Adventure Comics (in the 1970's), but issues 97 thru 99 also has him drawing the Spectre VS. "Dr. 13", so I'll be on the lookout for the other two issues now.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

"Sin City, on DVD"

With an unexpected little time extra here, I think I'd like to comment a bit on the Sin City flick I finally saw last night on DVD.

To begin, the movie looks just like a Frank Miller graphic novel; the effects on this are right down to a "T". Fast-paced to me throughout the entire film, whereas some reviews said it was slow in the middle.

It is definately NOT a movie for everyone, but then, not everyone reads the books either. This is extremely graphic in its violence as are the graphic novels. But for someone who is a big fan of Miller's work (such as myself), it's a delight! Scenes look just like the drawings in most cases, and a fine bunch of actors chosen to play the various characters.

Oh, I "could" gripe a little about Marv not being as bulky as I imagine (in his upper body), and maybe not chuckling enough right after they tried to fry him the first time, but who am I to comment about that if Miller liked it? I give it an A+ all the way, and look forward to any sequel.

And this brings me down yet one more flick on my "wanna-see-list" that I haven't gotten to yet, with the others being things like: "The Fantastic Four","Sky High", and "Kill Bill Parts 1 & 2" (and the elusive "Greater Napalm"). Plus movies that are currently out or being made at the moment like: "V for Vendetta", "X-Men 3", and "Superman Returns". I eventually see all of these flicks, but rarely get to the theatre with ever-rising ticket costs. I find I can usually purchase previously-viewed copies and just own them for about as cheap if I'm patient a few months later.

Monday, March 27, 2006

"Just a Note"

More bad news regarding my father-in-law's health today. Looks like he won't be able to take the radiation or chemo. I think my estimate of 4-6 months may be well too long and it could just be a matter of weeks. As always, your thoughts and prayers are appreciated.

I'll comment longer as soon as I can between family situations and work stress. Thanks!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Less Than 9 Months Till Christmas"

Looks like now the best chance for the airing of that Justice League Unlimited episode with "Supergirl & The Legion of Super-heroes" is either April 8th. or 15th., depending on your location (so be sure to check your listings).

That dealer at the flea market that told me he had 1,500 (modern) comics he wanted to sell me's at it again. He told me he'd sell me all of those 1,200 books today. I said, "1,200?! I thought you told me it was 1,500!" "Well, it's actually 1,200, and I'll take .50 each for them." Which totals of course to $600., which I told him was too much. "But...there's $3.50 books in there!" I'm sure there is, maybe, a handful worth that much (IF you could get someone to buy them), but the majority in such a lot is worth from a dime to a quarter each, and "perhaps" the lot's worth $350., so naturally once again I passed. After all, I could take $350. to my local comic shop and go thru their fifty cent boxes, and cherry pick them as well.

And, one didn't have to to a psychic to know what was to happen at work today. Of course, my partimer-help called in sick, which makes him somewhat of a "no-timer" since he hasn't been there now in 2 weeks, and it was busier than yesterday. I dread to see the work schedule for next month.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

..."And a Bad Saturday"

It always seems to happen right after I have a decent day off, that the next day's always very hectic at work. Today was no exception, with my part-timer "help" calling in sick and leaving just two of us to do a day's worth of work equal to all the weekdays put together.

If it wasn't someone wanting to purchase a trailer, it was someone else wanting something from the back, and the hecticness lasted right up until the time of closing.

No one had gotten coin change for us, leaving us to "rob" the soda machines just for quarters, and having finally to find a person to go to the bank before it closed at noon.

We had times where only one of us could be in the store due to having to help someone outside, or trying to eat our lunches; just the same old general BS of which I've become accumtomed to having at times there.

The weather didn't give us much of a break either with it never getting out of the 40's, and actually snowing just a bit off and on. Tomorrow I predict will be more of the same, and Monday the usual "nightmare"of restocking. I'm counting down my days until Vacation Time.

Friday, March 24, 2006

"A Good Friday"

Went to visit my father-in-law today in the rehab center, and I must say that he's doing better than expected. He's lost 25 lbs., and he's still pretty ill from both the operation and other cancers in the abdominal area, but I believe he'll behin chemo and radiation treatments in the coming weeks. We (my wife and I) had a very nice long visit with him today and he's in the best of spirits. Your kind thoughts and prayers towards him (Bill Gibson) would be apprectaed.

After the visit we went by both Wallyworld and the antique mall. At the former, I found yet two more of those digest-size magazine B&W reprint editions Marvel published in 2005. This time it's: Hulk: Smash (which reprints the original Hulk series from 1962-63, #'s 1-3), and X-Men: Children of the Atom (which reprints the original 1963 issues of #'s 1-3). This is five different ones of these I've discovered so far, with the others being reprints of Fantastic Four, Spider-man & The Avengers.

At the antique mall I found a number of items of interest to me. For one thing, a DVD copy of the flick Sin City, which I've wanted since it's release. Cost me a whole lot less as well than attempting to buy one that wasn't previously viewed!

Also picked up about 20 comics from the bronze to modern age. The more interesting ones included the following:

Action(DC) 565 (Giffen "Ambush Bug" app.)

Airboy And Mr. Monster (Eclipse) 1

Andromeda (Andromeda Press) 4 (1978)

Dalgoda (Fantagraphics) 1 (1984) Always loved that series!

DC Presents (DC) 72 (Superman/Joker/The Phantom Stranger) & 80 (Supes & The Legion)

The Demon L. S. (DC) 1 (by Matt Wagner)

Eclipse Monthly (Eclipse Comics) 3 (with Rogers work)

Jonah Hex (DC) 34 (a "Christmas" cover!)

Night Force (DC) 13 (Origin of "The Baron")

The Omega Men (DC) #1

Son of Ambush Bug L.S. (DC) 4

Star*Reach (Star*Reach Publ.) 13

Superman V2 (DC) 21 (1st. full app. of the "Matrix-Supergirl"!)

and Time Bandits Movie Adaptation (Marvel) 1 (with George Harrison credits! Another book for my Beatles in Comics Collection!

So, all in all, a very nice Friday off from work.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

"The Deal About Today Is..."

I really wish I had something new and interesting to say today, but the fact is that this has been just another Thursday at work, ordering items for my section and putting them out, and assembling items for sale plus new displays; nothing special. I did get off a little early just to keep from getting "OT" (which they're pretty picky about there).

I'm also off tomorrow and my wife and I plan to go see her dad in the rehab center, weather permitting (as there's talk about some snow). Guess I'll swing by the antique mall and look thru some comics while I'm at it. So maybe I'll have some new books to talk about tomorrow.

A couple of items I did win recently and was glad of it was the first two issues of Smilin' Ed Comics by Raoul Vezina (published back in the 80's). There were 4 issues in that series so I'll be looking to complete another set of those for my current collections. Vezina was one of those great talents from that time, who unfortunately, died before he should have in 1983. I had one correspondence from him dated about a year and 1/2 before his death, where he thanked me for some comments on his stuff and did a little "signature piece" of the Smilin' Ed character (one of my favorite pieces of original artwork that I'll always treasure).

(Interestingly enough, in the first issue of SE, there's a strip called The Dog by sum guy named Hembeck; wonder whatever happened to him? (*heh*.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

"The Scans"

I was looking through all the CD's I have around here that I've had people burn copies of various comic book runs on for me, or purchased on CD's, and was, quite frankly, amazed at how many I had these days. I figure something like 1,300 different books and magazines (part of which includes the first 300 issues of MAD comics/magazines.

Just tons of stuff by one of my favorite writers, Alan Moore, including all of his DC stuff ("Swamp Thing", "V for Vendetta", "Watchmen", etc.), plus his Image stuff, & full runs with all the specials of such Vertigo titles as "Transmetropolitan" and "Preacher", the first 30+ issues of "Fables", the first 50+ issues of "Lucifer", 200+ issues of "Hellblazer" (plus specials), and other nice runs.

Like the first 25 issues of "Miracle Man" (plus specials), all three volumes of Marvel's "What If?" titles, "Ultimate X-Men" 1 thru 60, "Ultimate Spider-man" 00 thru 67, and such nice Silver-Age DC runs as the first 100 issues of "Strange Adventures", and "World's Finest" No.'s 73 thru 110 (which begins with the first Superman/Batman & Robin team-ups). If I were to sit down and read just one book scan per day, it'd still take me 3-1/2 years just to read them all!

Thing is, I never thought I'd like comics on CD's. I mean, I'm from that old school that likes the feel and smell of comics in that "hard copy". But they DO have some advantages.

For one thing, it's a heck of a lot cheaper to purchase full runs this way to read. Plus, they take up so very little space to store (in fact, I could fit all of these scans into an empty Klenex box). There's also the fact one doesn't have to bag & board them. Having them in this format also keeps the temptation from one to sell them! Lord knows what all of the originals would be worth that I have on scans.

Okay. So they'll never replace other collection-types I like, such as "The Archives", or "Masterworks", or even "The Essentials", but they have yet one more good advantage.

While you're reading the scans you can eat and drink as well and never worry about soiling your comics!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

"To'Kill'A Tuesday"

My mental alarm clock woke me up early this morning even on my day off from work, so I got up and went into the living room and turned on "the tube", only to find the AMC Channel showing the 1961 Snow White and The Three Stooges (a bad flick even by MY standards). It's bittersweet to see the aging Stooges in their final years, but it's a flick I recall my folks taking me to the local Drive-Inn to see when I was 9 or so.

After yesterday's strange bout of weather, I'm thankful that at least it wasn't like March 22nd., 1968, when here locally we had a record snowfall. That was the year it got so mild in early March that I went with my dad to the local lake and actually went swimming due to it warming up the lake waters so much. Then, the bottom fell out and back to Winter again.

Seems like schools were out for at least three days (something that used to be a rare thing for them to do just from snow in these parts). Hard to recall "exactly" what I did during that time off, but I'm sure I sat on the sofa and watched game shows on one of the three or so channels we could pick up on what was (I think) my folk's first color t.v. in those pre-cable days, or put on some Beatles' music on the old record player.

I'm sure that I dug out a stack of comics to read, or even dared to drive downtown to our local drug stores to see what new titles were out on the stands that week. May have gone sled riding on my old flyer (which my mom still has to this day and uses as an outdoor decoration each Christmas).

I'm sure there were a lot of bad memories from that period of my life, but 40 years hence it's difficult to recall anything except the good ones.

Since it was cold and rainy like day, I pretty much stayed in all day until noonish, then went and mailed some stuff and stopped by the local book store where they have a spinner rack this one guy keeps filled with fairly modern comics he's purchased in lots. The usually run from $1.50-$3., and "occasionally" I actually find something worth reading. But today I was just bored and wanted to kill an hour with a few comics, so I looked through the rack and pulled out three books: Batman Gothic Knights 60 (2005), Marvel team-Up 144 (1984), and X-Men 164 (2005). This is the first issue I've ever bought of "Batman Gothic Knights", but, as with the other two comics, the cover looked interesting so I thought I'd give it a try. From the way it looked I thought Batman was fighting with "The Unknown Soldier" since his foe's face was covered in bandages, but it wasn't. It's a villian called Hush, which I'd heard about but never seen. An okay-type Bats tale with the villian capturing the wayne butler, "Alfred", just to get to "Bats".

The "Marvel Team-Up" has Spider-man (in his black Venon costume) and "Moon Knight". Even though I've always liked MK, this story was only the typical mid 80's Marvel so-so tale. It was inked by Mike Esposito, however, so I suppose it had "some" worthiness.

"The X-Men", a book I rarely ever buy at all anymore, looked pretty good from first glance as it shows "Wolverine" fighting "Sabretooth". Very misleading; didn't see this scene anywhere within the pages. much for Tuesday.

Monday, March 20, 2006

"Welcome Spring!"

And today in South-Central, KY., Spring welcomed us with bizarre weather.

The morning started out with "BB"-size ice pellets which quickly turned into quarter-sized snow flakes and accumulated to about 2 inches. Then the rain began as it warmed up and washed all of that away.

You just never know around here.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

REVIEWING: "The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist"

"This trade paperback reprints/collects the limited series published by Dark Horse Comics in 2004, and it's by Michael Chabon (tilt your head to the right and look at the cover illo above for perspective).

I was really hoping for something much more from this series. When I first read about it, I thought perhaps someone had done a modern version of "Mr. Miracle", because, after all, it's about an escape artist. The character does much more than that though; he helps all those who are oppressed.

Sounds like a good concept, but I found the tales contained within these pages rather dry and unimaginative. The artwork ranges from good to fair, and is a real mixture of styles that range from the average sort of thing you might see in an early Image title, to manga. There seems no real thread to hold these stories together. And I really hate to say that about this series because it has so very many great people working on it. Fine creators like Howard Chaykin and Jim Starlin and Gene Colan and Kyle Baker and many others whose work I usually always enjoy. But perhaps the only artist that seemed to capture any of this character's style was Chaykin, whose 1930-ish art seems suited any at all for this theme.

The origin of the character is that his father was one of many such "escapists" throughout history, passing this legacy down from father to son, and naturally there's the typical "league of evil" that's trying to make slaves of the world. Pretty much, that's it.

I shouldn't give all the credit to this series to Michael Chabon just because his name's on the cover, since Kevin McCarthy writes just as much or more of the stories within.

Chadon and McCarthy create a psuedo-comics history of the character and imaginary publishers, and name drop so many actual publishers and creators that it amazes me they are not riddled with a hundred law suits.

I'm sure they meant all of this as a tribute to all the fine artists and writers from both the Golden and Silver Age of Comics, but it simply just didn't hit the mark. I can only give it a personal rating of a fair "C" for effort, but hardly consider it worth the $17.95 cover price for the trade paperback."

And so went my original review of The Amazing Advs. of The Escapist, and I really hated this review because of all the great contributors to this series. Surely with the likes of Chaykin, Baker, Mike Baron, Val Mayerik, Bill Sienkiewicz, Starlin, Gene Colan and others, I was missing something in reading this collection? So with this in mind, I went back and RE-read it, or, at least parts of it.

I found one story that after a second read, I liked very much, called "Old Flame", which involves the character Luna Moth, written by Kevin McCathy and beautifully painted by Dan Brereton. The story concerns this beautiful female character being pulled into a mystical book and having an attraction to a demon, or like the demon says it, "There is no other love affair so timeless or as destructive as that between moth and flame!"

Then I looked at the Starlin story again; one caled "Reconings", which is done mostly without words and it reminded me of his great bronze-age period of artwork with many a scene of "Death". Those were scenes in which he excelled and obviously favorites of his own as well.

And the pin-up pages at the end of this collection were very nice.

I still don't consider this being worth nearly twenty bucks, but you may think differently. I'll raise my grade from a "C" up to a "B", and recommend you read other reviews of it besides my own.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

"Notes on Saturday"

Picked up a copy of the above pictured pc game at the local flea market today. It's called: Freedom Force VS. The 3rd. Reich, and it attracted me because it's done primarilly for those who enjoy comic books. In fact, the illustrations have a distinctive Kirby-esque look to them, all done by Robb Waters, which if you'll click on his name there it'll give you more information regarding him.

The interior box illustration really shows that "Kirby-style" even more so. This game comes with a booklet, of course, full of even more illlstrations in this style; most of which resemble Kirby work, and others more like John Byrne. It was released by Irrational Games in 2005, and there's since been a sequel made to it.

Re-watched the Constantine flick today, and after a second viewing I think I'd upgrade my opinion of this flick from a "fair" C to a passing "B"; it could have been so much more, but then, it could have been a whole lot less as well. I have sort of a love-hate relationship with this movie because I truely love the material on which it was based, but just never thought the changes made in the film, no matter how trivial they may have been considered by some, were ever a necessity.

Needing to order something from The Science Fiction Book Club to fulfill my membership obligation, I got in a copy of the trade paperback collection of the 2004 Dark Horse Comics' series, the Amazing Adventures of The Escapist, by: Michael Chabon. So far I've "waded" through about 2/3rd.s of the 150 pages of this and must say that so far I am unimpressed. Whenever I finish it I'll give it a review on this blog.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"...and A Cooler Tuesday"

And today, Good News! The doctors were able to take care of the blockage in my father-in-law's intestines, and now he's back to where he was before, and will probably be leaving the U of L Hospital once again this week and returning back more to Elizabethtown. Poor guy; he must be starting to feel like a yo-yo. My wife and I will be going up to visit with him later on this week.

More notes on "Mr. Monster". Michael T. Gilbert has repeatedly informed us that he based that character on an old Golden-Age character which appeared in, to his knowledge, only one comic: Super Duper Comics (F. E. Howard Publ.) #3. But later on, he discovered that "MM" had had another appearance in Triumph (Bell Publ.) #31. Thing is, the issue of Triumph was actually his first app., having been published in 1946, whereas the Super Duper was in '47.

But there are twists and turns to this I've discovered as the Triumph issue was a Canadian comic! So, I guess the Super Duper #3 is his first U.S. app. and the second app. "anywhere", whereas the Triumph was his first appearance. This is the only case I can recall of a comic book character starting out (in NON-reprinted material) in one country, then being picked up and regularly published in another, unless maybe one counts "Captain Canuck"? Anyway..."Mr. Monster", as we know him today, really began in 1983 in the Pacific Comics title, Vanguard Illustrated #7 since Gilbert changed him around so much.

We all seem to forget that DC ALSO had a character by that name which appeared, as far as I know, in only one issue of a comic: Wonder Woman V1 #155 (1965), but it was totally different sorta thing.

Sat around and watched both Pitch Black AND The Chronicles of Riddick flicks today. I think I really liked "Chronicles of..." a bit better; just a faster paced flick, and more $ spend obviously on special effects. "Chronicles of..." neatly picked up from the previous flick without discrepancies, unlike many sequel films have done (the worst coming to mind being the 2nd. "Highlander"), tied up any loose ends but still gave us room at its close for us to imagine yet a 3rd. to be made in the series. Recommended watching.

A fine and sunny day here in South-Central, KY., albeit on the cool side, and I noticed that the grass on the front lawn has started growing a bit. Won't be long until, once again, it's that time of the year.

Monday, March 13, 2006

"Stormy Monday"

Just as we thought my father-in-law was well on his way to recuperating, he's now developed a blockage in his intestines and had to be taken back to the U of L Hospital In Louisville last night. Since the cancer operation was done there, none of the doctors in the city where he lives would touch it, so now he's on IV's and tomorrow they will be starting him back on a liquid diet and see how that goes for a couple of days. Then they'll just "go from there".

And here locally we had heavy torrents of rain off-and-on all day, but we should be thinking that a lucky break considering what Missouri has suffered in particular with over 100 tornados covering the state causing destruction, havok and loss of life. This is still early in the year as well with at least another couple of months of potential hazardous weather.

Read the trade paperback collection of the Dark Horse Publications Mr. Monster: Origins, which was written & illustrated by Michael T. Gilbert. Gilbert is one of my favorite creators that I best recall work from during the time of alternate titles of the 1980's, first seeing his work in such titles as Quack and some of the FantaCo stuff. I think the first story I ever read by him involved his character, "The Wraith", and then following his work throughout the ten issues of "Mr. Monster" first published by Eclipse Comics.

Although "Origins" is quite good, I felt it a bit overly complicated. Perhaps I think he went overboard on the complexity of the character's origin ? Hard to put into words, but his earlier work on "MM", to me, was just much better if not just a bit less finely illustrated. Still, a very nice read.

And I've finally about gotten all over my bout with the flu from last week. Never did actually miss any work from it, but it did a bit of a toll on my health. Even today, a week later, I have some congestion and aches and pains from the ordeal. I really hope this is the last time I'll have to deal with it for the season.

Friday, March 10, 2006

"Why I Hate Winter"

Naturally just when I thought maybe the coldness of Winter was about over along with all the little nasty ailments one gets during this time...BAM! Last Monday Night I get hit for the second time in just a couple of months: the flu!

Obviously, I had a temperature all night because I couldn't stop shaking, and violently! It was just like someone was grabbing me by the sholders and shaking me hard all night long. Needless to say, neither I (or my wife next to me in bed) got any rest at all.

So I was supposed to work Tuesday and be off Wednesday, but when I got to work I felt just so very bad that I called and swapped that day with another employee, went back home and laid down on the sofa, and pretty much just passed out. In fact, according to my Caller ID, at least 7 people tried to call me that day, but I never heard the phone at all being dead to the world, until my wife came home from her own job around 2:45 that afternoon.

I woke up, pretty groggy,and stayed up for a little while, ate a little applesauce, and fell back to sleep until 6:30 PM, when I finally managed to drag myself off the sofa and into the bathroom to clean up, then went back to bed (in my regular bed, this time) and didn't wake up until 5 AM Wednesday morning.

Still feeling pretty rough, I went ahead and worked the whole day in a "zombie-like" state, going through nearly a box of tissues from my sneezing and coughing. But I kept belting cough medicine and some day time cold & flu stuff. Couldn't seem to eat though, and anything with any similance to being "sweet" tasted like crap. Coming home finally at 5:30 PM, still eating nearly nothing, I cleaned up and went back to bed again and slept, for the most part, throughout the night.

I managed to make it through Thursday as well, and was doing better until it hit the warehouse area and the dust started me to sneezing and coughing again. Bet I sneezed at least 200 times yesterday.

I'm home and off work today, but probably everyone at work has it now and it'll try to reclaim me again if I'm not careful. My sinus's have at least mostly dried up and I'm eating and actually tasting everything "right" again.

The above drawing I did of "Wolverine" from the X-Men (copyright MCG) is sort of unusual for me to pick as a character to draw, I guess, not being much of a fan of the series today, but I've always wanted to see what I could do with the character, and for what it's worth, that's how it turned out.

And while I was out and around this morning I stopped by a pawn shop and found several movies on either DVD or VHS of which I've wanted copies. Batman Begins(2005), Constantine(2005) were the DVDs, and Pitch Black(2001), and The Chronicles of Riddick(2004) were the tapes.

Of these four movies, the only one I've seen so far is the Constantine flick, of which I was very disapointed, not just from who was chosen to play the character from the DC-Vertigo Hellblazer series, but from "other" changes" which I thought simply unnecessary. For anyone that's never read an issue of the comic, it's a fairly fast-paced, action-packed, good VS. evil flick with nice special effects, and at least the lighting in the movie's bright enough it doesn't make you feel like you've watched 90 minutes in a fog, but DON'T take it as any sort of adaptation of Alan Moore's work. I personally just wanted one for my collection of movies that adapt comic-book characters, and I got all four of these flicks cheap (like, $17. for ALL of them), otherwise I'd never bought this flick at all.

This afternoon I plan on watching Batman Begins, but I already know I hate the new "Batmobile". Thankfully, "others" have told me to ignore the odd vehicle and enjoy the rest of the flick, so I'm sure I will.

I've never seen either Pitch Black (the 1st. of the Riddick flicks), or Chronicles of..., but as well, they've both been recommended to me by people I trust with good taste in movies to watch, and I'll save them for another day (or weekend) when I'm off and can devote time to watching them back-to-back. I've also read some good things regarding the lead actor, Vin Diesel, and even though I've never seen him in XXX, I have indeed seen The Fast and The Furious (which I liked).'s movie time. Sumbodi bring me a large popcorn w/plenty o'butter and salt and a large Diet Coke, 'cause, I'm settlin' in!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

"Some Animated Comments"

One of the more interesting things about watching episodes of Justice League Unlimited I've discovered are the closing scenes as the credits roll. There's always different characters from an up-coming episode yet to be seen.

At the close of the new one last night, there was a glimpse of "The Legion of Super-Heroes". Not sure if that was from an episode I've missed or one yet to come, but it'd definately be one I'd want to watch as I've never seen them animated before.

Also shown, were versions of BOTH the white-gloved versions of Supergirl AND the character with the familiar Superman-style outfit. Makes me wonder that since DC's gotten shed of the latter Peter David version and she has a new series, if some changes won't be made there as well?

JLU was okay, last time; always good to see Bizarro in an episode, as well as the original DC Magneto,i.e., Sonar (who's costume has changed drastically over the years). "The Red Tornado" finally got a little more play in the episode as well as "Dr. Fate", but par usual, they continue to overuse the John Stewart "Green Lantern".
What I would like to see are more episodes concentrating on lesser used members of the JLA, and fewer of those starring Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, The Black Canary, Jonn Jonzz and The Flash (tho', more Wonder Woman ones would be nice), and try to stay away from so much of "The Legion of Doom" battles since it's starting to remind me too much of The Super Friends.

And...after seeing a report on the 1988 issue of Time Magazine which featured a cover article about Superman Turning 50, I thought I'd do a search for that issue on on-line auctions and see what dealers were asking for a copy of it. Found several listed, placed a small minimum bid and won one for probably what it originally cost on the newstand. I've never actually owned a copy of this mag before, although I recall reading the entire article once while at my doctor's office. It does indeed have a lot of nice artwork and photos, and I've looked through numberous piles of older magazines at flea markets, etc. to see if I could find one, but never did. I figured either those who did get one either kept it or tossed it over the years. So now it'll be good just to add this to my collection of Supes' stuff.

And if you remember, that was nearly 20 years ago! My how time do fly. Here in just 2 years, the character will turn 70 (and when I first started reading his adventures, circa 1958, he'd only turned 20! Gaaahhhhh!).

BTW, I always hated that commercial by U.S. News & World Report where they hold up that issue and the guy says, "Superman Turns 50...Who cares?!", to which I personally respond, "U.S. News & World Report...Who Cares?!". Ever since they did that ad I've never bought or read an issue of their rag.

Friday, March 03, 2006

"Here At Last!"

My father-in-law will get to come back to the city where he lives this Sunday, which is 40+ miles closer for us to go visit with him. He'll have to stay at a Rehab Center for a while. He's doing much better, but still pretty sore. They're starting him back on solid diet and he's been walking quite a bit, sitting up, sitting in a chair, etc. Still has a way to go yet though before he can return home and back to his old routines.

And, just to sorta set the record straight, I did win that copy of Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD #12 that I posted last time, which is "why" I posted the pic (otherwise I wouldn't just lift one from somebody's on-going auction). Just in case anyone was wondering...

Well. It's finally the weekend, and the one I'm off work. Thank goodness, 'cause it's been one looonnngggg week at work. I'm determined to get out of this town this weekend, and not just sit around here watching the tube or on the computer all the time. I really need a change of scenery.

Was sort of hoping that lot of "Mr. Monster's" would be awaiting me in the mail today, but no such luck. Boarded another 50 or so comics. Still need about that many to catch up on the ones without.

The local flea markets haven't started up much yet. The indoor one stays open all year, but nothing new going on at it save that it's under new ownership now, and he won't open it until 1PM on Sundays and 9AM all other days, so it'll be rare that I visit it on the weekends any more.

Over on "Robby Reed's" Dial B For Blog site the other day, he told about how a character that appeared in two issues of DC's early bronze title From Beyond the Unknown contained a redone story that was supposed to have been a Showcase issue tryout for the Mattel character, "Matt Mason". Oddly enough, I personally collect issues of that title and had just won the second (and last) app. of such (he was in #'s 7 & 8; already had a #7). Interesting article regarding this for those who have the time to click on that link and read it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

"Welcome to March"

Had this been a Leap Year, today would have been February the 29th., rather than March the 1st., and according to the answer to some inquiring fan back in the 1960's page of either an issue of Superman (or, maybe it was Action Comics), it'd be The Man of Steel's birthday. Since 2008 will be a Leap Year, and Supes was introduced in 1938, that'll still make him only 17-1/2 years old. Guess he'll have to wait around till 2012 just to be legal.

The above photo is of, of course, Nick Fury #12 (Circa 1969). It was the only issue drawn by Barry (Winsor-) Smith in the 18 issue run. Interesting in a way because Smith was trying his best to copy the styles of BOTH Jack Kirby AND Jim Steranko for that issue.

Sort of a funny story involving Smith's early work. When I first saw it in The X-Men 53, I thought it was horrible! The Agent of SHIELD 12 I thought interesting, but the prototype of Conan in Chamber of Darkness looked bad; too darkly inked. In fact, I didn't start becoming a Smith fan until Conan #3. But around the time when the title first started, Don Newton did a cover for the RBCC(aka: "The Rocket's Blast & Comicollector" fanzine) of the character and I wrote them a letter-of-comment (which they printed) where I stated that I thought Newton's version looked better than Smith's. Well, I must have hurt poor Roy Thomas's feelings back then 'cause he tore the letter out of his own personal copy of that 'zine, wrote on it: "Are you kidding?!" and mailed it to me! (Ahh...old "fanboy" memories are such a hoot!)