Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"Post No. 603"

Oh, pleaseeee, Paul. So it isn't SO!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Post No. 602"

I was thinking that perhaps Marvel had released that "Fantastic Four Lost Adventure" as an actual comic, but wasn't sure. However, a friend told me that they did, so I'll probably pick up a copy. Always easier to read it in that format.

Finally got in a lot of 21 misc. books; some magazines and the rest mostly alternative-type titles. A real "mish-mosh" of stuff that ranged from the 1970's thru the early 1990's.

The earliest of this lot was a copy of Smile #2 (1970), published by Krupp, and falls in the underground comix catagory. Already had this but will probably keep the extra issue as it's a Beatles' app. (on the back cover); one in my Beatles stuff and one in the "regular' collection. Some nice early work in this by Dennis Kitchen.

There was also one of the "Zippy Quarterlies", a character that I always get a kick out of, and a
National Lampoon from '73 w/Bode' and Jeff Jones (I don't own a whole lot of issues of NatLamp these days so it's always good to get back an early copy). And there was a mid-70's Heavy Metal w/Mobius among other oddities, but the best of the magazine-size stuff was a 1980 Australian reprint of DC characters called Creature of the Unknown which is 96 pages in length, and reprints (in B&W) stories from Swamp Thing V1 #'s 15 thru 18, plus Rip Hunter...Time Master #15 (see above scan).

In the regular-size comics there were items such as a 4th. Print. of Kevin Smith's Clerks, which was pretty funny, actually. All about those guys trying to make a fortune off of "Star Wars" short-packed action figures, and Death Rattle #7, a Matt Wagner/Mike Allred issue of Grendel B&W #3 (which completed a set of those for me), a couple of issues of Peter Bagge's Hate, a Hotstuff #4 w/Morrow work (NOT the Harvey humor character, but an underground), a DC Justice, Inc. L.S. #1 w/Baker art, a Star*Reach #10 (an issue I didn't have) and some misc. A good batch of reading.

I also will be getting in the rest of the issues from V1 of Marvel's The Ultimates soon and will be reviewing same.

And since I didn't have anything better to do today I decided to re-list a few lots on ebay just to "test the current watrs" for sales. (For those interested you can view them Here.)

Hoping that we'll miss the worst blunt of an approaching Winter storm moving in Monday-Tuesday this week!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Post No. 601"

The above pic is courtesy of Urlesque as their choice of the single worst comic book panel they're recently seen. As one person commented on it, "It outta be made into a t-shirt!"

Something interesting I noticed here lately. Remember that cover of Classics Illustrated Special Edition "The Story of Jesus" #129 (1958) that I post here occasionally at Christmas and Easter? My own personal copy from my collection? Well, upon looking at listings for CISEs, I noticed that they didn't have that variation in their gallery. They had the one where Jesus is standing on the mount, but not the 3 camels cover. So I submitted a scan of mine and, lo & behold, they are currently using it. Yes, This Scan is my actual copy. (How's 'bout dat?)

Sure has been cold here of late. So much so that we went and bought an extra electric heater for the living room; one with a thermostat and the tip-over cut-off safety feature. Sure helps knock off the chill (even if I do prefer gas heat) and our kitty cat is assured of staying warmer when we're not home. In fact, he's already taken it over and made him a permanant spot to lay in front of it.

We even got our first little dusting of snow the other morning; not more than a half an inch, which quickly melted off the roads, but lingered on in the shady spots for a few days. We've been pretty lucky so far in these parts this Winter, save for the bone-chilling temps (especially at night). I had people comment on it being only 15 degrees, one afternoon at work, and I asked them what their complaint was? That was 15 times what the temperature was when I got up at 5:30 that morning!

Unfortunately, I have heard of a possible Winter storm heading our way. Just hope we miss that!

And...on to other things...

Won a good size lot of the 1980's Comico comic book series, by Matt Wagner, Mage and as usual will be happy when that arrives. Some 23 books total. This was my personal favorite of the Wagner series, next being probably "Grendel" (the 3 issue plus Primer app.'s), and then probably that 4 issue mini series of The Demon DC Comics did some 20 year ago. It's sad that Comico didn't last longer tha it did, that is, publishing on a regular basis. They got in trouble when they went for newstand distribution, and that resulted on a lot of unsold returns, which eventually led to their doom. There was much talent that came out of this company, and they were definately one of the better alternate press companies (along with Pacific, Eclipse, Warp Graphics, etc.) of the 1980's.

But, as I said, those haven't come in yet, so let's talk about something that did arrive. Today I got in a "Silver Surfer" figure produced in 2007 which came with a DVD which contains "The Lost Fantastic Four Story". You see, in 1970 Stan Lee and Jack Kirby talked over the plot that was going to become Fantastic Four #102. Jack drew the pencils, but when Stan got them, he didn't feel that they matched what he had discussed with Jack, so he put them aside. Parts of that story later appeared as "flashback" scenes in Fantastic Four #108, but the rest remained unpublished, and the pages had never been put together until this DVD. With the help of Jack Kirby's estate, Marvel reassembled most of that story, Stan rescripted it, and Joe Sinnott inked pages that weren't inked before.

Ron Frenz filled in on pencils for any gaps in that existing material, and worked in Kirby's classic style. What impresses me is that this isn't a CD ROM, but an actual DVD that you just pop into your DVD player. I'm sure if one had a pretty large screne t.v., it'd be most impressive! (One can control the page flow simply by pressing either a < or > button on your DVD remote.)

This shows the original artwork (minus word balloons), then the artwork in color, each page followed by a text breakdown of each individual panel. Kirby's (nearly last)FF artwork looks crisp and well-defined, even more so that issues a dozen before it. The ending of the story as well as the plot is different than suggested in FF 108 (which, incidently, appeared on the newstands at approximately the same time of his DC New Gods #1). For those who want to see this lost work, it's well-worth the purchase price, plus as a bonus one gets a pretty neat, nicely detailed, seven inch "Silver Surfer" figure with a base ready for display.

Monday, January 19, 2009

"POST NO. 600 !!!"

Yes. Here in less than 36 hours you won't have a Bush to beat anymore, but rather you'll be part of The Obamanation. And I say, the best to our new president, although I'm going to rather miss G.W. He was the first funny president we'd had since Clinton.

Of course, Obama has already started going back on his campaign promises. "Big surprize". I haven't seen anyone running for the precidency yet that's ever really kept any they've made, or, at least, kept them exactly as promised.

Obama's made three such promises: To improve the economy, Get out of the current war, and Have an affordable health care plan for everyone in this country. So, let's look at those promises.

Let's take affordable heath care first. It's impossible. Bill Clinton gave us this promise way back when, but quickly discovered he just could not deliver on it. And there's reasons why this won't work. Look at countries that have a socialized medical system. A large percentage of their doctors have moved here to the U.S. because here they can charge whatever fees they wish, rather than have a ceiling on such services. To know this is true all one has to do is visit any hospital and see how many of the doctors there are Asian, Canadian, East Indian, etc. The American Medical Association pours millions upon millions of dollars into our government each year just to keep socialized medicine OUT of this country. Our government, in turn, pours a great sum of money back into medical research. It's a scratch my back I'll scratch yours situation that's just not apt to ever change. And, when you start looking into that "affordable" health care system that you see advertised on television or whatever, you'll still find that it'll cost you from $450.-$550. per month for their most simple plan. This is far from affordable especially for those who are making minimum wage. All you can hope to do is wait until you reach age 65 and get medicare and perhaps some sort of affordable suppliment, but even that suppliment goes up and up every year. Currently, even one from A.A.R.P. will cost you in the $200.+ range per month.

And on to another promise; getting out of this current war. Six months just is not going to do it. I haven't seen a U.S. involvement yet that didn't leave some sort of established troop in any country in which they've fought. You may see troop withdraws, but you won't see them totally leave. Which brings us to the third promise.

Solving our economic crisis. With servicemen returning to The States, many will leave the armed service. Where are these men and woman going to get work? If you think unemployment figures are bad now and it's tuff to find even a minimum wage job, wait until those leaving the service start applying for jobs. Employers automatically give preference to those who have had military service before they will you. There's reasons for that. Military people know how to take orders. They've got discipline. They've been trainined to "take care"of situations and solve them. They've been trained in other skills. Naturally, an employer will look at them for a possible employee before one that hasn't had military service, and, besides, they fought for this country (and that goes a long way).

So all of this I see being in the way of keeping these three promises, But, I still wish the new president much luck as he'll definately need it. Perhaps the first thing he should have done is tell the inauguation committee to have a private swearing in ceremony (and this goes for ANY new president). This would have saved the tax payers over $150 Million. What you say? That's helping the economy? Perhaps in Washington D.C.. Perhaps to a lot of big airline companies. Not doing much for anyone here in the middle of Nowheresville where I live. Yes, I'd say by tomorrow night, ol' G.W. will be sitting somewhere comfortably laughing his ass off at all of those who have put him down here these past few years, thinking,"It's YOUR baby now, B.O.. YOU burp it!"

But...enuff o' dat.

Let's talk about something really important. The opening episode of "Smallville". This past week we got to see the first new episode where "The Legion of Superheroes" came back into the past to visit with Clark Kent. And I must admit that it was done exceptionally well save that they screwed up with "Lightning Lad". As one friend of mine stated, he was too much of a fan boy; very true. This isn't the character that sacraficed his life in those early 1960's tales of The Legion in Adventure Comics. He should have been played much more seriously. Otherwise, I was very pleased with this episode. If only they could quit making this such a soap opera I could enjoy it even more. Looks like soon it'll be a battle with "Doomsday", and finally, Clark may actually fly. I figure that "whenever" he gets the costume, they'll end this series.

Been some great people that have passed from this realm of life recently.

Artist Andrew Wyeth, whose work I very much admired.

Actor Ricardo Montalban, the only person that could make me want to buy a Cordoba ("KKKKKHHHHHAAAAANNNNNNN!!!"). Loved his performances.

And actor, Patrick McGoohan. I think I watched every episode of both "Secret Agent" as well as "The Prisoner" back when. The last thing I saw him in was as Billy Zane's father in "The Phantom" flick of some years past.

All will be missed.

Friday, January 09, 2009

"Post No. 599"

It occured to me in the last post when I was mentioning birthdays, that each of those I mentioned has actually had their images on the covers of various comic books.

Revolutionary Comics published the ones on Bowie, Archie Comics did the Soupy Sales, and Dell published several issues of "F Troop" back in the 1960's, some of which featured on their covers, actor Larry Storch. Interesting...

But, what I'm here to talk about today is this past year's Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide (2008-38th. Edition) that I finally picked up on discount at a bookstore the other day. I don't purchase a new OPG every year. Older comics seem to not rise in value in the various grades I have much over 30% for 2 or 3 years, and I think my previous one is a 2004 edition.

But the first thing I noticed with this book (besides the increase in price) was how heavy it's become. And, for good reason, because there's at least 100 pages of nothing but advertisements in the thing. Probably more since I tend to try to ignore all of the filler. A good 75 pages of various micsellani-i and ads just before you ever get to any listings.

And then we have all of this comic book history, which I suppose is interesting to some people, but a lot of it's just repetitive of previous volumes.

Then we have to wade through many pages of listings of "victorian age","platinum age", Big Little Books, etc., before we get to the real comic books. Along the way we have these various comic strips attempting to explain even more history of comic books. I suppose this is all well and good for the comic book collecting novice, but I wonder how many actual dealers in comics read this stuff? You know, the guys that's found a bunch of comics (usually worthless ones) that get a OPG and look through it to see if their comics are worth anything?

My experience is IF they actually purchase a price guide, they ignore anything in it but the listings, and then ignore such items as grading, and put the highest possible price OPG lists for the comic.

This guide really needs a bit of slimming down. Really, anything prior to 1934 should be in some seperate guide, as well as BLB's. The next thing you know they'll start a section on pulps. And this volume is waaayyyy to heavy and awkward to carry around, say, at a convention or back issue comic shop just to see "if you're getting a deal". And besides, whatever gets paid for a comic really determines its value.

One might have a comic that's listed as a $100. book, but if no one will pay that for it, then what's it worth? (Nadda.)

Or one may have a valuable comic, but EVERYONE has a copy of it. Then what's it's value? (Nadda, again.)

And although it's interesting to see what "they think" my old comics are worth, when I personally go to purchase back issues, I never check the OPG beforehand. No. If I want the book and I think it has a reasonable price, IF I can afford it, I buy it. Case closed.

Sometimes I've even been known to pay OVER guide for a comic, IF I want it bad enuff. Constant raising of prices, speculating, slabbing, etc., to me, just takes all of the fun out of collecting comics. The best thing to me in the OPG is the reproductions of comic book covers in the rear of the book (and some of those I don't think are worth the reproduction effort).

I think it's time those in charge of "The Guide" need to rethink what they're doing.

And, since I'm on a ranting rage today, let's talk about The History Channel this week.

It's all "doom and gloom" with this t.v. channel lately. If it's not predictions of the end of the world, it's depressing things like "the seven deadly sins", "the next depression", etc. Geez. Enough already! The economy's bad, gas prices are back on the rise, we don't know how our next president's going to react to various world issues, there's more and more war in The Middle East (and, par usual, this country is sticking their nose right in the middle of it), businesses are closing their doors, whole companies are going bankrupt, and people are out-of-work with no money to buy food or pay for a place to live. There's great unstabilization currently in the world. Do they really know something WE don't? Is the Mayan Calendar running out (which I kid about occasionally telling everyone how many days until 12-21-12), and Biblical and Nostradamus predictions all coming true? Or, is this just another load of BS we have to wade through like we did with the scare the media gave everyone about pc's crashing when it became 2000?

If I want to be depressed, I think all I have to do is watch the nightly news broadcast these days. Television is supposed to entertain us, and not depress us. And the key word in "The History Channel", IS history, and NOT speculation.

And, finally...Just got a notice from eBay about some new seller's rules. By mid-March you've MUST specify return policy's and handling times, and Remove any references to checks and money orders from your listing descriptions. Starting January 15 these listings will be taken down.
So, before you HAD to list Paypal as an option. Now it's a seller's ONLY option. As a seller, I resent being told that I can't offer my buyers other options besides Paypal. Some of them simply don't use debit/credit cards or have a PP account. Neither do I personally use PP unless I have money already in it from where someone paid me that way, to purchase anything on eBay. eBay thinks they're being smart with this. They give everyone the explanation that paying this way is safer than using any other method, when in fact, all you're doing is giving eBay more of your personal information, and allowing them to get more kick-backs on both one's listing fees as well as the percentage a seller must give up when someone uses PP to pay them. They're saying that everyone buying off of eBay must be untrustworthy; that their checks will be bad. That the USPS must also be untrustworthy if they can't buy anything using a postal money order, or other sorts of money orders (including Western union)
. Don't think that Paypal's security is free. To file a claim costs money. It used to be $25.; maybe more now. So if you didn't pay some high price for an item, putting in a claim for it being "non-sent" is a mute point. To me, this will mean just less buying and selling on eBay. I grow weary of their triple kick-back system for sellers. First they get you on a listing fee, secondly a percentage of your sales, and finally (since they own PP), a percentage of that as well. Where's the seller's profit margin at all?

They previously pissed me off regarding some of their postage rules. I was trying to sell paperbacks in lots, and I always mail everything priority due to it being the quickest and safest way for a buyer to receive his merchandice. So I list a lot of 10 paperbacks IN the paperback catagory, but beforehand, I prepacked them and took them to the post office so that I could list exact postage costs. Sometimes this runs into the $10.+ range. What happens? eBay won't allow that saying that the postage is too much for that item. That $4. is for the limit on such a thing (making a loss already of at least $6. on the item).I had to wiggle around that by listing, say, "Peanuts" pbs under their "cartoon character" listings instead, and of course the result was a whole lot less exposure for the item. I can see absolutely nothing wrong with listing an exact fee for the rate. If someone bids on an item with that fee listed, they're expected to pay the fee listed.

(End of rant day.)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

"Post No. 598"

A Happy 74th. Birthday to the deceased "Captain Marvel Jr." fanatic. As stated in the movie, Pulp Fiction, "One is either an Elvis person, Or, A Beatle's person." That is, you can like them both, but when it comes down to it, you're either more a fan of one or the other.

Well..I think everyone here knows which I personally prefer, and also I sort'a feel like the title of The King of Rock & Roll is more appropriate for someone like Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard or Buddy Holly. But I will admit that I'm a fan of the music Elvis presley produced prior to his induction into the army in the latter 1950's, and even The Beatles said that his music inspired them (although their one meeting and jam session didn't go very well).

And this is ALSO the birthday of "Ziggy Stardust" aka" DAVID BOWIE! 50's t.v. commedien, Soupy Sales! And even that very funny old actor, Larry Storch!

NEW COMIC BOOK REVIEWS (Note that most of these are just some comics I've picked up to read and not part of my usual buying collective):

ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #59 (Marvel/02-09/Joe Pokaski, writer, Tyler Kirkham, artist). I haven't read an issue of this title since, oh...way back around #12, so I really haven't a clue as to what's going on with this alternate FF title comic these days, save that this tale involves The Thing, and, The Mole Man (of all characters) skrinking themselves down along with a space ship and having them injected into the body of Susan Storm (sans "Fantastic Voyage" style) to cure her of some nano-bot-insects. The story's decent enough and entertaining, and Kirkham seems to be of the Michael Turner school of art which is pleasing enough to the eye. There's a lot of extra "origin" type material here regarding Sue Storm indicating that she may even be more intelligent that her husband Reed Richards (which, in this title, they're only engaged to be married). Lotta continuity lost to me from the past nearly 50 years the FF's been around.

IRON MAN/HULK/FURY #1 (Marvel/02-09/seperate stories of The Hulk, Iron Man and Nick Fury by various writers/artists). The Iron Man story's sort of fun. Mostly revolves around Tony Stark, or, at least the version they like of him in this past year's movie. has him and Rhodey pal'lin around and picking up some hot chicks. The Hulk tale has Banner trying to mind his own business in a bar, and Nick Fury coming along to see what sort of power he really has by provoking him into turning into The Hulk. Not sure if I can ever get used to this current version of Fury being a bald, black man. What happened to The Howling Commandos? What happened to World War II? (God, I hate some of the changes Marvel's done.) But the solo Fury tale's not bad with overtones of memories of The Cold War era.

HULK CHRONICLES #6 (Marvel/2009/Greg Pak, John Rominta Jr./Jeff Parker/Leonard Kirk) reprints issues of Incredible Hulk (V2) #111 &World War Hulk 5, and as I stated before, the whole "Planet Hulk" and "World War Hulk" was the most interesting of continuing storylines that Marvel's presented in the past few years. This issue pretty much brings all of that to a conclusion. Rominta's artwork is really prime these days. Enjoyed it very much.

HULK FAMILY #1 (Marvel/02-09) contains individual tales of "She-Hulk" with The Hulk, "Skaar, Son of Hulk" (by the warrior alien woman, "Caiera"), "Daughter of Hulk" (also a feminist warrior from a mating, obviously, with "Thundra"), and perhaps another daughter called "The Scorpion", which has something to do with a mating of sorts between Hulk and "Monica Rappaccini". The She-Hulk tale was really good where she's in Las Vegas at a class reunion and meets up with the Hulk-persona, "Joe Fixit" (the old grey-Hulk version from years ago). She helps The Hulk take down a couple of baddies, but in the end (although she does recognize him in this appearance), she states she doesn't because he's so brutal and unlike her cousin, Bruce. This also gives a retelling of the origin of She-Hulk.

The other stories are all okay, but really confussing with all of these various Hulk-offspring tie-ins currently. The back-up tale is a reprint of Savage She-Hulk #1 (1979) which was her first app. & origin, and worth picking up just to read that if you've never done so.

Well! A Straight-Shot of Marvel Reviews for a change! (Now THAT'S different for me!)

Speaking of which...a local video-rental store's going out-of-business and I was able to pick up a store copy of the "Doctor Strange" animated flick on DVD. Even came with the original hardbox and cardboard slip case. Sitting here letting it play again the the back ground as I write my blog.

Looked through some of their DVD promo posters as well and found one for "Stardust", a Neil Gaiman/Charles Vess series I enjoyed quite a bit from Vertigo-DC, and not too bad of a flick.

An odd thing I've won lately on an auction is The Silver Surfer figurine which comes with a CD Rom version of "The Lost Kirby Fantastic Four", which I'll be anxious to review once it finally arrives. (And please excuse any typos today 'cause...I'm REALLY tired.)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

"Post No. 597"

And...Into 2009 we go---

Batman VS. Dracula (90 min.,animated) was better than I expected. I had watched just parts of this animated flick before, never setting through the whole thing and thought I'd give it a chance. On a par with other animated Batman flicks it holds up well, although I've never been a fan of the way "The Joker" is drawn with the green dreadlocks, but "The Penquin", "Vicki Vale" and others are done okay. Bruce Wayne may look a bit too high school jock-ish, but at least they eliminated that annoying pointed chin as he was depicted in earlier episodes of the regular series. Good fight scenes with Dracula. Worth the watch.

At the end of this showing, Cartoon Network ran an episode of the new Batman: the Brave & The Bold half hour series. It began with a short sequence where the current incarnation of DC's "The Blue Beetle" was helping Bats fight "The Sports Master" in a bowling alley, and progressed into a Christmas themed main episode of "The Red Tornado" aiding Batman and attempting for his androidic brain to comprehend the true meaning of Christmas. It was well made and written, but it may be a while before I get used to the 1950's style Dick Sprangish sort of way Bats is drawn in these. I'm sure I'll enjoy it more as I see future episodes.

Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skulls (2008, 2 hrs.+, Harrison Ford) surprized me as to how good it was. It's hard for me to decide whether I liked the first movie in this series, and this final one the best (HATED the second one), as this new movie ties in several aspects related in "Raiders of The Lost Ark", and I'm amazed at how well an actor now in his 60s pulled off the aging character. (SPOILERS AHEAD!!

This flick is set in the 1950's and begins at the warehouse which we saw at the closing of "Raiders" where the ark had been stored. Now instead of nazis, Indy has communists to contend with, and they're there to steal a top secret item from the place, of course, making Jones use his knowledge to locate it in such a vast array of crates.

You just know that "somewhere" along the way, Indy's going to see that crate with the ark in it, or some such thing, and they don't disapoint. Although he doesn't notice it personally, a section of the crate is blown away, revealing it's that same storage box (to the delight of this Indiana Jones fan).

More spoilers here if you've not seen it:
Indy is contacted by a teenage boy whose mother has sent him to find Indy to rescue her, which turns out to be the woman from the first flick and the teenager actually Indy's son. We see some scenes liken to "Raiders" with chases, much "whip action" from Jones, a few humourous sections, and lost empires on a grandeur scale as these characters along with a professor who's been lost in The Amazon go on the quest to locate other crystal skulls and discover more than they can chew off, as we as do the communists trailing them. And we have an ending similiar to both "Raiders" and "Holy Grail" where the villians get their upins for trying to use such power wrongly.

In the end, Indy gets married and his son begins to put on the famous Indiana Jones hat, which Jones quickly takes from him, giving one the idea that Jones is thinking, "There can be only ONE Indiana Jones!"

It's a grand adventure, and although I had my hesitations about this being made well here around 20 years since the last flick, I'm glad it was as I enjoyed it very much.


In the way of recent acquisitions, I won 49 of the 51 issues of DC's Countdown series, which are read backwards from #51 and followed the previous series called "52". Unlike 52, these issues all have tie-ins with various other DC titles and are summerized in another title called DC Universe #0 (after which yet a third title was done called Final Crisis which set the stage for the laterest version of the DCU).

Also won are issues of DC's The Spirit completing a full run up to issue #21, and one Marvel Comic: Spider-man Collectible Series Vol.24.

You may recall a couple of years ago, some of the newspapers around the country had this Spider-man reprint insert, weekly in their Sunday editions for a consecutive 24 weeks. I had a full run except for the last issue, and now that's completed. (The reprints were from Amazing Fantasy #15, and Amazing Spider-man Vol. 1, #'s 1 thru 11.)

The latter I won for a whole total of .01. Yep. A whole penny! The seller had started it out at that price and I was the only bidder. In fact, it almost wasn't worth the win of the comic due to it probably not being worth more than a buck, but I'd won the other issues very cheaply as well and I figure I came out better had I been able to buy all of the Sunday newspapers in which they were contained.

Surfing the web recently I came across the site of Brandon Bird and found his artwork very nice! Check it out! (There's some funny links as well such as his "Letters to Chris Walken".)

Silver-Age DC artist, Al Plastino, recently turned 87. His artwork really influenced my mind as a kid, and he did some pretty classic covers, such as Action Comics 252 (1st. app. of "Supergirl") and Adventure Comics #247 (1st. app. of "The Legion of Super-Heroes"), both of which have been swiped and homaged numberous times over the years. He, along with such as Wayne Boring and Curt Swan were the Superman artists "back in the day".

On Christmas Eve while sitting at home relaxing after a seven day stretch straight at work, mom called and said she'd had a nagging cough all day and some other problems, which prompted me to take her down to the local emergency room for a couple of hours to get checked out. Fortunately it wasn't pneumonia; just some broncial condition which the doctor gave her some antibiotics to clear up. On Christmas day my wife and I went to visit with her and fix dinner and exchanged presents. Mom gave me some much needed new clothing, and one very special gift. A small, green metal and glass lantern which belonged to my father who acquired it at age 2, which would have been in 1924. It now sets behind the safety of glass and wooden doors in the china cabinet here at home.

My wife made out like a bandit, as usual, from the gifts I gave her this time. She gave me an adjustable art desk which I'd wanted to replace the bulky old one I'd had since I was a teenager, plus other necessities of life. We watched one showing of "The Christmas Story", plus the Disney parade, then returned home to do some chores around here and get a bit of rest.

Eartha Kitt passed away this past Christmas. Not my favorite of the actresses who played "Catwoman" on the 1960's Batman t.v. show, but she did have a great quality to her. Definately a different version from the part played by either Julie Newmar or Lee Meriwether

Our t.v. finally went out so we went over to Wallyworld and picked up a new 20" RCA. Took a while to reprogram the thing but the picture looks really good and we no longer have to squint to see the channel info as I had drug in the 10" set from the pc room to just have something to watch. Having that small set next to my pc works out just fine since all I watch on it are DVDs, but in here it's only about 2 foot from the computer. In the living room it was sitting a good 12 foot from the sofa! Would have loved to had purchased a nice flat-screen but, geez! Even the smallest ones they had were $500.

Fantastic Four (Marvel) #561(01/09) The team of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch continue to entertain me on this title which I have been regularly buying and reading again now for nearly a year and a half, starting right before they took over the book when Michael Turner was doing the cover atwork. The story continues from where the "future" Defenders (composed of the last son of The Hulk, The future version of Susan Storm and others) have traveled back in time after capturing Galactus and using him (literally) as a power source for a time machine to save the billions of people on future Earth. In previous stories we found them capturing Johnny Storm as well to syphon power from him to achieve this goal, and in this conclusion (of sorts) all of this finally comes to a head, but not without casualties. No. I won't say which ones get "killed off", but it has it's usual surprize ending which leads into yet another storyline, and there's one of the future Defenders that turns out to be quite a surprize as to who he is. I still recommend this title.

Justice League of America (DC) #27 (01/09) is by McDuffie and Benes, and although I've missed a few issues here and there in this run, each seperate issue brings one into continuity of what's been going on here. Conflicts in the love life. between "Red Arrow" and "Hawkgirl", and a cross-over of the Milestone characters, "The Shadow Cabinet" into the regular DCU as they kidnap the current version of "Dr. Light" (for yet reasons unknown). There's a funny scene where someone asks "Black Lightning" if he's the father of "Static", and he replies something like, "Why do I always get that?!" Still a pretty decent comic.

Supergirl (DC) 36 (02/09) is yet another title I've missed issues of, and now in some of the Superman-related comics DC's doing this "New Krypton" storyline. In this issue, Kara's father, "Zor-El", gets killed, and her mother, "Alura", seems hellbent on war. We get a surprize visit from "SuperWOMAN" (a character I haven't seen in the DCU since the 1980's). The team of Gates, Igle and Champagne really don't impress me "that much" on this title, but they still have managed to keep me interested in it enough to continue purchasing future issues.

Superman (DC) 682(01/09) also has the "New Krypton" storyline going in it. The version I got has a really nice Alex Ross cover, but there's a variant with a cover by Rodolfa Migliari. Personally I prefer Ross's fine work (but that's all a matter of personal taste). This issue is pretty crammed full of app.'s by a lotta characters: Bizarro, Mon-El, The Prankster, The Toyman, The Silver Banshee, as some super-powered Kryptonians start eliminating threats to Superman's life. Along the way they kill some innocents and "Alura" seems to just consider they casualties of war! And we see the old bronze-age Kirby character by Jack Kirby, "Atlas", who had formerly appeared pretty much as a one shot in First Issue Special being used interestingly. Superman remains a strong title for DC.

The Spirit (DC) #'s 14 thru 21 (mostly 2008 issues) had a variety of tales by the likes of Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier, and the majority of the artwork was by Paul Smith. Tales involve everything from jeweled tiaras from a beauty contest being smuggled into the country to valuable bonds being smuggled as the wrappings of mummies, and even trained dolphins used to retrieve sunken valuables. Over-all they were pretty decent, albiet one or two stories that didn't seem as well plotted as others. There's sort'a a funny tale about a comic book artist being stabbed multiple times by his co-workers due to them saying he was destroying a classic "character" (a satire I'm sure of what's been done with Eisner's own). All-in-all, it's not Will Eisner, but I'll still read them.

Zombie Jamboree (Adapted, drawn and published by David Allen Jones/small press publication, An "Archives of Oblivion" Production, B&W, digest-size, 8 pages, original price=50 cents;1986) is a fun adaptation of the Harry Nilsson song from his 1976 l.p. "That's The Way It Is". This publication features classic Jones work from way back nearly 23 years ago, mostly full page pen and ink illustrations. For those interested in obtaining a copy you need to contact him at his blog site as fellow bloggers know him as "Johnny Bacardi". (Neat stuff!)