Friday, September 26, 2008

"Post No. 552"

Found 4 more J. T. Chick Tracts I didn't have today, which (counting a half a dozen foreign editions) makes around 85 of them in my collection now. After taking my mom to the doctor today I went by Waldenbooks to get some new comics, but they didn't have anything that I normally buy, plus most of the new stuff is a whoppin' $3.99 now. (Guess my days of buying just right off the stand are over at that price.) In fact, I had a 30% off coupon to use if I bought $10. worth and was going to pick up the current Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide with that, but went away empty-handed.

Today was the day my mom was supposed to have her stomach scoped to see how well the recent stapling took after she had that bleeding artery. We got up at 4:45 A.M. to drive the 50 miles as the test was scheduled early and the place we had to travel to was an hour ahead of us. When we got there and she finally got back in the examination room, they discovered her heart beat was abnormally high. Too high, in fact, to do the procedure, and instead sent her over to a heart specialist to examine her. He discover one ailment (due mostly to her age) and a slightly closed valve, and wanted to put her back in the hospital for a few days up there. But mom protested and he finally gave her medication to try to regulate this problem and told her to get some blood work done at our local hospital and have that faxed back to him.

Finally arriving home around noon, I took her to the hospital for the blood work after she'd eaten and taken the medication. Then, around 3P.M., I get a phone call from the heart doctor who wanted her to RE-give the blood work because the medication he'd given her had caused abnormal readings (grrrrrr). So...tomorrow she'll have to go have that done again, and then I'll have to take her back to the heart doctor next Tuesday for 5 hours of testing at his office. And she'll eventually have to have that stomach rescoped when they get all of that fixed.

In other news...sometimes I know I get a little political on this blog, but I try not to be bias towards one candidate or another. As far as I'm concerned, they BOTH stink of big money and empty promises, and yet again, another election where the voters have little choice but to decide which candidate is a lesser evil, or simply not vote at all. But there's one guy that blogs...No, I won't say "who" but I think many people read his stuff regularly, that just goes out of his way to find bad aspects about the Republican Party and those who belong to it. (In fact, I have a link to his blog.)

To me, it doesn't really matter who gets in; in 4 years, we'll all hate him as well. But I grow tired of, not only him, but everyone else nit-pickin' on items of little or no importance.

One item that's recently urked me is the deal about Sarah Palin's daughter being pregnant out of wedlock. I haven't heard a single Democrate stand up and complain about the thousands of unwed mothers drawing welfare checks. Usually their reply is, "Oh, that brave young woman raising a child on her own!" Nor do I hear anyone saying it's shockingwhen some celebrity has a child out of wedlock. In fact, they fight one another to get that first shot of the little bastard to splash all over some tabuloid. To use such tactics as "ammunition" is pretty dirt politics and nothing more than a smear campaign, and they need to channel such energies towards better use for this country, and to plaster it all over the tube for a week is a waste of what little time The Good Lord gives us all .

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Post No. 551"

Got This in the mail today in my effort to collect a few Copper Age keys ("John Stewart becomes Green Lantern"). I figure it might be a good comic to hold on to for some day when I get so old I can't turn a comic book page any more and it would sell well.

This has been some day. I knew I'd be busy, but I didn't think I'd be at it ALL day. It began at 7AM when I got up and got myself awake enuff to get ready to start raking the leaves in this yard (a useless task since they'll only have to be raked again; in fact, in a few hours you couldn't even tell I touched it to begin with), and I was at that task for about an hour and a half when mom called, saying that someone had cancelled their apointment at her foot doctor and that she could get in if she could get over there in an hour, so I quit what I was doing and took her.

Getting back I returned to the yard and worked yet another 1-1/2 hrs. on that, finally getting them all raked into neat piles which I raked onto a tarp and in a couple of large loads got them dragged back to the brush pile at the far end of our yard.

Of course, this really didn't start today, but last night after I worked my usual 9 hrs. at my regular job, after which I came home and got up on the roof and emptied my gutters of leaves, then went down to mom's, emptied her gutters and trimmed her entire hedge which, altogether, took probably a good two hours total.

So, back at mom's today after a lunch break, I raked up all of the trimmings from that scrubbery and bagged that, then raked probably 75% of her front yard to get up thousands of little twigs which I was tired of mowing over all the time and bagged up all the twigs as well and hauled them to the edge of the road and called the "city people" for pickup on it.

Then I remembered the large limb that I had to move out of the way when I emptied her gutters and decided to cut that; a monumental task using a 2 h.p. electric chain saw. In fact, I finally had to get out a circular saw to cut some deeper grooves until I was able to get that down. Yet another good 2 hour job total.

Then I mentioned I was going home to pick up my grocery list and go to the grocery. Well, of course mom needed "something, so I had to pick that up as well, and then, just as I was about to leave, she asked me to go by and pick up some medicine at the local pharmacy, too.

Getting all of that I dropped off mom's medicine and groceries and finally came home and, pretty much, collapsed. I hadn't really slowed down for eleven hours.

Got to work a full day again tomorrow, then off Friday to take mom to have her stomach rescoped, which will more than likely be an all day affair, and I can't find anyone that's off that day to go with me to help keep me company. I certainly will not just sit in that waiting room 4 or 5 hours for her; instead, I'll go to the local mall to the bookstore to see what new comics are out. Maybe even buy a TPB or a new Overstreet (since I've got a 30% off coupon at Waldenbooks).

And speaking of trade paperback collections, I have read both the second ("Lust for Life") and 3rd. ("Year of the Bastard") Transmetropolitan ones now, which reprint issues #4 thru 18. The stories in these concern Spider Jerusalem getting a new assistant, having certain people trying to kill him, and his covering the current presidential election of his time.

As usual, I wasn't disapointed by Mr. Warren Ellis's writing. This two series had a pretty nice surprize "shock" sort of ending, and I think what Ellis is really writing about is more his personal ideaologies and views on politics more than anything else. In these stories he seems to convey his own disatisfaction with the BS that politicians always deliver, and parallel my own views that sometimes one must just trade the devil for the witch simply because "the devil's better".

But then...what do I know. I don't think I've ever read an interview that's been done with him on Transmetropolitan. Maybe he just wanted to write some interesting stories which differed from the usual yawn-inducing stuff we get from "the long-john" sort of comic books.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"Post No. 550!"

"Tell you how coincidence, "E.S.P." (whatever) works. It's real subtile.

Today as I drove to our local, little flea market, I passed a laundrymat and I had to recall how, when I was a kid of 15 or so, there was this old man who had a "junk" shop there (which had been later torn down to build the laundrymat). And one day while looking at his wares, I came across a stack of nine copies of Amazing Spider-man #9 (1964), one of which was totally coverless, and the other eight all missing their front covers. The guy wanted a nickle each for them, so I ended up buying the stack.

Later on today I walked downtown to wander around in the Hertiage Festival, which is a celebration this town puts on each year, and one of the stores had a yard sale running inside of it. Of course I walked in to see what they had, and what would be starring me right in the face, but THIS. ("Odd, ain't it?")

Well I finally got that full set of the DC-Milestone title, Xombi in the mail yesterday. Nice complete run of issues #'s 0, 1 thru 21, and all in VFN-NR.Minty conditions. I'll eventually get around to reading all of those, but it'll be a while since I'm still wading thru that full run of the DC-Vertigo Transmetropolitan written by Warren Ellis.

I have read the first trade paperback which collected issues #'s 1 thru 3, plus both of the specials, and perhaps a half a dozen odd issues that I had before I acquired this complete run.

This first collection tells how the central character, "Spider Jerusalem", had abandoned the city and was living quite like a hermit in the wilderness. Rather than the clean shaven version we're all so accustomed to seeing, he first appears as a bit of a naked, wildman with long, stringly, unkept hair and beard, and appears to have not bathed in quite a while.

The tale begins as he received a notice from his publishing company that he'll be sued if he doesn't send them books he's already been paid to write, which forces him to come back to "the city", and clean up his act a bit as he's already spent all of the advanced funds from that deal. He gets a job writing a column for the newspaper, The Word, who gives him pretty much unlimited credit and an apartment when he uses a device something on the level of a particle "shower", and the settings are perhaps set a bit too high since it strips he completely of all body hair!

Then he obtains the eyewear so unique to the character, which is, in reality, a recording camera, and starts out to find material for his first piece.

What he discovers is a group of individuals who are using genetic engineering to transform themselves into beings more alien than human. The attempted extermination of these people by the law enforcement is what ends up being the prime subject of his material to write about in his first column.

I can't give anything but an excellant rating to anything written by Ellis that is NOT mainstream comic book material. He style of writing is geared towards the extreme understanding of such a nature and this, my favorite of his series, quite shows his genius.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Post No. 549"

I picked up a few copies of the 2004 Marvel Comics/"Marvel Knights" series, Strange and have been reading through them.

Although I wasn't overly-impressed with the scripts by J. Michael Straczynski (someone whose work I generally look forward to reading), I must admit that I was indeed very impressed by the cover painting on issue No. 1 by Brandon Peterson(above illustration, and a much larger reproduction Here; much more so than his interior artwork (which looks so much like many other modern comic book illustrators). He excells on the various covers I've seen, but perhaps he just takes more care with those since it's the first thing one sees when viewing comics on the stands and the primary grab point to get you to pick up the comic and buy it.

This cover, though, I felt transended the ordinary cover work I've seen in the past few years, and bridges on the point of fine artwork; something suitable for framing and displaying in one's own home. It has the "explorer feel", and high detail of beauty which quite took me by surprize.

Now, the reason I didn't care too much for the scripts is because, once again, someone tries to re-write the origin and history of an iconic comic book character into their own image. Not that the occasional updating of a character to fit more modern times and become more relavant to its readers isn't a necessity "at some point", but poor ol' "Dr. Strange" has, quite bluntly, been put through the wringer one too many times.

The original origin presented by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko back in Strange Tales #115 (1963), was pretty muich perfect and complete for its time. Strange is an aloof surgeon who cares more for the money than his amazing ability to heal people, and that over confidence and "nose-up-in-the-air" attitude eventually causes him to become reckless, and he has an automobile acident which damages his hands, causing him to no longer to able to handle a scalpel.

Over the years this changes to where Strange wasn't alone in the auto, but also had his wife who was carrying his yet unborn child, and the latter two were killed.

In this version now, Strange didn't have an auto accident at all, but is severely injured in a skiing accident. "Why" this unnecessary change was made, I don't know, but it's sort of just...silly.

We also find that "Clea" is now some sort of martial arts expert designed to protect Strange, and that "The Ancient One" is no longer this frail, old man, but dresses in designer clothing and is the supreme protector of keeping the chaos from our otherwise normal plain of existence.

Overall, I'd give this series no more than a "Fair" rating; a 3 on a scale from 1 to 5. The first issue is worth the buy just "for" the Peterson cover art. Other covers in the series impressed me not as much. Might be something one would want to read as a collected TPB rather than hunting for back issues.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Post No. 548"

Been pretty busy here of late. Between work and taking care of mom it's taken up much of any spare time I may have had, such as today when I took her back for a follow-up visit with her surgeon. Seems that all well. In fact, he told her she could eat anything she wanted. On the way back home I stopped by and got her a Diet Coke (something's she's longed for for the past 6 weeks.) I was right across from Waldenbooks where I usually buy new comics, but didn't stop by there; just didn't want to fight the traffic, plus I was awfully tired from the long trip and all and just wanted to head back home.

I did, however, get in those two lots of misc. books I'd won on a couple of auctions. They were a mixture of a little bit of everything, and totaled around 140 comics, approx. 40 of which were duplication. Even so, from that duplication I was able to upgrade at least 10 comics that were already in my own collection, or kept them due to their being either a newstand or direct version and I had the other (which I'll usually just keep both).

There was around 40+ DC's and a bit more than that of Marvel, plus some bronze age Gold Keys, Harveys, Charlton, and the like. Some of the better comics was a half dozen bronze age DC Teen Titans V1, a Swamp Thing 49, a Marvel Classics Comics #15, a Miller Daredevil, several bronze Thor's, various issues of Aquaman from myriad lmt. series including a V1 #58 (origin issue), a Green Lantern V1 #183 (early John Stewart Green Lantern app.), All-Star (DC) 70 (1st. full app. "The Huntress"), Iron Man, Godzilla, DC Presents, etc., etc. Lots of fun reading material.

Other comics of interest was the first 4 issues of DC's Adam Strange (2004 series), Avatar Publications Stranger Kisses #1 & Wildstorm's Global Frequency #1 (both written by Warren Ellis), American Century #'s 1 & 3 (Vertigo; by Chaykin), The Inhumans #8 (Marvel/1976/Gil Kane & Perez), ...many, many more.

Unfortunately I'm out of both bags and backing boards again, and I think next time I buy any I'll grab 400 of each and maybe that'll last me a while and help me catch up on all of these "free range" comics I have laying around.

In other news...we had some pretty bad winds here a couple of days past and it knocked down a limb from one of our trees that was at least 20 ft. long and probably weighed a good 400 lbs. It knocked down a cable line that went somewhere (not ours), and was a nice little mess for me to discover when I came home from work last night. So I drag out the trusty chain saw, which is electric and can't cut thru anything more than a two or three inch limb, and trim the thing down and drag all of that out to the sidewalk and call the city department which picks up such things, reported the down line to the cable company, rolled the "log" back over onto my property and raked up all the mess, and then this morning finally was able to cut down the rest of the limb and gave the wood to a neighbor who burns such. The mess is now cleaned up save for the city picking up the odd limbs and all looks like it never occured. The fortunate thing about this was that my wife didn't have her van parked over in that area, as it'd probably have smashed in her front windshield.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

"Post No. 547"

Sum Stuff I've picked up recently:

Superman (DC) #679 (10/08). How I missed as many as ten issues (the last I'd read was #669) is beyond me, but this issue pretty much had it all, from the Alex Ross cover, to Superman battling an old Jack Kirby creation, "Atlas" (who first appeared way back in 1st. Issue Special #1 in 1975). Supes pretty much gets his ass kicked by Atlas, and Supergirl tries to help only to get knocked silly by some beam of energy from outer space, and then, the kicker with a surprize app. by...??? Can't give that away, but the clue is, "What is white, has four feet and a red cape"? Really good read! I wanna see what happens in #680!

Fantastic Four (Marvel) #559 (09/08) had its usual excellance by the Millar-Hitch-Currie team and it features a new version of "The Defenders" who end up capturing both Dr. Doom as well as The Human Torch. For what reason is yet to be revealed, but believe me; they've got the "power source" to pull it off as one concludes the reading of this issue. I enjoy this Marvel title very much, but I do wish they'd give the stories a little more meat as they seem to read too quickly (but, maybe that's just because they're really good!)

Futurama (Bongo) #38 (late 2008) features Lela, Fry and Bender crashing on an alien planet full of computer geeks and Lela taking over as the geeks's Queen, parodying such things as jungle girl stories, "Ka-Zar" and even "Iron Man". This is always a worthwhile title and reads much like watching an animated adventure.

Justice League of America (DC) #24 continues the JLA's battle against "Amazo", some good use of "Zantanna", the return of "The Red Tornado" (again), and even the quest to figure out why both "The Vixon" and "Animal Man's" powers have gone a bit wacky here of late. Just the usual very good issue.

The Hulk Chronicles (Marvel) #2(11/08) continues to reprint the best Hulk storyline in the past 40 years with a retelling of The Incredible Hulk V2 #107 and World War Hulk #1. And for those who never read these original issues, it goes such as this: Reed Richards, Black Bolt, Doctor Strange and Iron Man get together and decide that Hulk is too dangerous a being and teleport him to another planet, where with his strength, he becomes that planet's ruler and falls in love, only to have it blown to crap by Richards et all, killing Hulk's queen, and now Hulky is really pissed and comes back to Earth to really raise some Hell. (It ain't yo mama's Hulk.) This resulted in probably as many cross-overs and spin-off titles as Marvel's "Civil War", but it was much better, and if you don't want to go to all the trouble looking for the enormous amounts of tie-ins to this storyline, there's a slew of TPBs that reprints it all.

And, in back issues, I recently got hold of issues #'s 208, 210-212, 217 & 218 of DC's The Flash V2, which I already had a TPB which reprinted the story from 207-211, 213-217, but it was actually the two issues in this run that were skipped over in the reprinted format which impressed me the most, which were #'s 212 & 218 (pictured above). These gave updated origins of such Flash villians as "The Mirror Master II", and "Heat Wave".

Both villians end up joining a government organization to battle crime and be the "good guys" for a change. One of them double-crosses the feds. The stories in each of these issues surpasses the quality in the main storyline that surrounded or predated them. It just shows that, sometimes, a good villian is better than a good hero, especially when it comes to "why" they became as they did.

Finally..."it's been said" that I only give at least a "good"review to the comics I list here. That's probably true since I always buy comics that I know I'll enjoy. I mean...why waste time on crappy comics? And brother, I've read a LOT crappy comics! But believe me; IF I read something I don't think is worth your time and bucks, I'll be the first to tell you about it.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Post No. 546"

I think every comic book collector has at least one of those quirky sort of titles they like to read. Something another collector would probably make fun of and think worthless.

For myself, it's always been the Gold Key/Whitman Super Goof.

Super Goof first appeared in Gold Key's The New Adventures of The Phantom Blot (an old Mickey Mouse villian) #2, in early 1965. And, the character of course, was Walt Disney's "Goofy" (the dog) who in this first appearance as a super-powered being gained his powers by accidently drinking a glass of chemicals concocted by that wacky inventor, "Gyro Gearloose". Obviously, Super Goof was a hit because it wasn't very long at all, Oct.(cover date),'65 in fact, that Gold Key gave him his own title.

Between these issues, his appearance and origin changed somewhat. Originally in PB 2 he wore just the red longjohns with a white "G" on his chest, and a blue cape. By SG #1 he reacquired that silly "Goofy hat", probably just because the Disney readers more identified him with such. And in Super Goof #1, his powers originated from peanuts he'd eaten, grown in his backyard garden. This later became the infamous Super Goober he'd eat when he wanted to change from Goofy to Super Goof. The powers would last for a while, then he'd have to down another 'nut.

He also looked differently on the cover of PB #2 than he did in the Super Goof title, as in that first app. the colorist reversed the red and blue on his cape and 'johns (although on the interior story they were the same as in SG #1).

SG's powers were pretty much just like Superman's, naturally, since that's the character he was spoofing. He had the usual super strength, telescopic vision, flying, invunerability, etc., etc. And all from eating a peanut. (And no, I won't go so low as to say he really got a nut from that!)

You would think that this silliness would play out pretty quickly, but SG's title lasted a full 74 issues spanning the mid to late Silver Age, the complete Bronze Age and into "the Modern" (1965-1984), changing from Gold Key to the Whitman imprint in the number 50's, a couple of reprint issues under the Top Comics (a Whitman imprint) banner in 1967, and there was even a "Dynabrite" (yet another Whitman imprint) special ("Super Goof Meets Super Thief"; 1979) published, giving him immortality among the ranks of other real"longjohn characters" such as "Herbie", "Supersnipe", "Forbush Man" and "Mrs. Hunkle" (the original Red Tornado).

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

"Post No. 545"

This may well be one of the most important post links you'll ever see from me, and perhaps, as a comic book fan, one of the most important ones for you to ever view. So please click on the following video link and watch "Save Superman's House".

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

"Post No. 544"

Yeah, yeah....I know! I was supposed to be giving my review of DC's Hawkgirl #'s 50 thru 59 and still haven't gotten around to it. But, give me a break.

I'm just too tired to get into all of the reasons "why" I really enjoyed those issues (especially #'s 50 thru 56 with the dazzling Howard Chaykin artwork and excellant stories by Walt Simonson). But needless to say, they were all good, even the last three in those numbers that Chaykin didn't illustrate, and I highly recommend them. Sometime I'll probably try to round out that set by picking up the other issues of that title (60 thru 66) that I don't have.

And, I wouldn't be so dang tired had not this been a rather rough Labor Day weekend for me at work (Yes; "some" of us have to work on those days.) In fact, today is the first full day I've had off in about a week, and it certainly wasn't one where I could relax.

Beginning with a fitful night "sleep" which was constantly interrupted by pains from the goute in my foot and my dear, sweet wife constantly hogging the bed, I was awakened at 5:30 A.M. by "Bob" (our cat) wanting me to get up and clean his litter box (always such a delighjtful thing to see and smell first thing out of bed and half asleep) and feed him. I never did get back to sleep. I just sat there on the couch inhaling coffee and watching the 1966 campy "Batman" movie showing on AMC.

Then at 8 A.M. I finally got the energy to start building a handicap ramp for my mother, who will be coming back to her home to live after a stay recupperating in the local nursing home for the past month. She ought be be home by sometime next week.

So I worked on the ramp from 8AM-2PM, and still didn't get it but about half finished, having run out of materials, and this project will have to be completed after I work my usual 8-1/2 hrs. every day this week because I don't have another day off until Saturday.

After finishing what Icould do with that, I then went to the nursing home to visit with her for a little while, helping her fill out checks for her bills, taking those to mail, until at last I came home and sat down for a bit.

When the mail ran today I got in a small lot of comics which included some back issues of The Flash V2 (the "Wally West" series), a few misc. titles written by Warren Ellis, Marvel's The Ultimates #1, and Ultimate Nightmare 1-3, #'s 2 & 3 of DC's 2003 Aquaman series (which I read thru first thing as I'd been curious as to when Aquaman got a "shave and haircut"), and some other stuff.

Also got notification that I won a pretty neat lot of over 100 misc. 70-80's (mostly) comics; one of those surprize lots which I always like 'cause there's usually some fun stuff in them.

In other news...
Isn't the above photo of Boris Karloff nice? A good classic pose from the latter years of his life, and an 8X10 I found for a buck at the local flea market last Saturday.

At age 21, Karloff went to Canada as a farmhand and acted in supporting roles. Came to the U.S. in the 20's and did better as a villian in films. Of course, cast as "The Frankenstein Monster" in his most famous of roles in 1931, he also had much Broadway success in such plays as "Arcenic and Old Lace", and "Peter Pan". He may have been an old co*k$suc*er (as Lugosi, who didn't like him, would call Karloff), but he did make 144 films, plus had an early 60's t.v. show that I always enjoyed called "Thriller".

I'm not sure "which" of the Karloff films is my favorite. Hard to decide with such classics as "The Bride of Frankenstein", and "The Black Cat", and so many, many others I've enjoyed. And..."sorry, Bela"...but I liked more of the Karloff films than I did yours in general.


R.I.P. Jerry Reed. "When you're dead, you're dead, Jerry". I hope you're not "hot" now.