Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"Post No. 613"

That copy of the 1972 DC Comics' Weird Mystery tales #2 came in (see above and click onto for larger image), and it was really more interesting than I thought. Started off with a host called "Maas", who reminds me a bit of Charlton's "Dr. Graves" doing an intro to a tale of a barbarian chief who's bent on destroying an industrial complex. Whether this is set in the past before recorded time, or actually in the far future, Kirby leaves up to the reader to decide. Quite good, actually, with a lot of detail and of a sort not common to the work he was otherwise doing at DC at that time.

This was followed by a tale of The Titanic, pretty loosely based (although it is stated it's based on a true story) of a survivor of that tragedy whose father tells him to stay out of the water as it had claimed his father and his father before him, and would now claim the son as well. Well, the boy survives but stays clear of the water until he's a grown man whose plane goes down in the ocean, but he finds an old life preserver on a floating iceberg that he clings to and it saves his life. Ironically, the preserver was from (You guessed it) The Titanic. After this incident, the man never has a fear of the ocean taking his life, but years later, he still dies in a boating accident.

The cover to this issue was rather striking. It's one of those latter and scarce grey-toned ones DC became well-known for in the 1950-60's, with The Titanic sinking as passengers paddle away in life boats, and the spectre of death in the background against a royal blue sky (as shown above).

Another comic that arrived was the Millie the Model Queen-Size Special #7 (Marvel/1968), which was the first humorous-type Millie special since 1964 (those between years the character becoming one of romance, instead). Such a time-piece this is capturing what the artists and writers seemed to think, at least, the "hip" generation looked like, with Millie in a mini-skirt and go-go boots, and her boyfriend, "Clicker", in a nehru jacket, looking at pop-art posters in a store run by a hippie.

Thus, two more books in now from two sets I'm on the way to completing; the 70's DC Kirby run and the silver-age Marvel Giants.

In other news... on one of my days off this week I went down to my mom's house and cut out a good four foot stack of smaller trees growing amid her backyard bushes, bagged up trimmings left over from January's ice storm, removed the last metal post from her backyard (that my late father had sunk to hold riks of wood), and other general yard cleanup for her. I still have a little to finish on the bushes, and then attempt to at least cut down level to the ground two old posts which at one time were used for clothes lines so I can have a easier and smoother yard to mow come this Spring. The only way I know to do this is use the chain saw to cut these down to about eight inches, and then quarter them and knock them out. I certainly will not be digging them up as they're more than likely yet another two foot into the ground and set in cement. Also I still have at least one old stump I'd like to remove from there. (Always somethin'.)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"Post No. 612"

Trying to complete a 1970's Kirby collection of books he worked on between the time he left Marvel (circa 1970) and worked for DC, then returned to do covers for Marvel (as well as titles such as Machine Man, Devil Dinosaur, etc.) for Marvel again, wasn't as easy as I had hoped.

When one thinks of Kirby's 70's DC work, automatically such titles as Mister Miracle, The New Gods, Kamandi, and The Forever people come to mind. But, there was so much more.

There were 40 issues of Kamandi, 18 issues of Mister Miracle, and 11 issues each of New Gods of The Forever People. Then there were 15 issues of Jimmy Olsen, 6 issues of The Sandman (either the covers or interiors or both), 2 reprint issues of The Boy Commandos and 9 reprint issues of Black Magic, 16 issues of The Demon, 3 issues of Weird Mystery Tales, 11 issues of Our Fighting Forces, around 9 issues of Challengers of the Unknown plus a DC Giant reprint, 8 issues of OMAC, a Kung Fu Fighter, 3 issues of Justice, Inc., Kobra #1, plus a small amount of other reprint issues, as well as the two one-shot magazines he did for Hampshire Publications: In The Days of The Mob, and Spirit World. That's a huge amount of an artist's material to be presented in such a short span of years. To my count, at least 170 different comics in around 20 titles (and I'm sure I've forgotten something in that list).

I've been working on my 70's DC Kirby collection now for around 4 years, trying to be as much of a completist as possible, and believe I've finally gotten it down to 10 comics, which are 6 misc. issues of Our Fighting Forces, and 4 issues of Black Magic. Along the way I've completed the runs of such titles as The New Gods and Mister Miracle that were done by other writer/artists, several issues of V2 (and limited series of) The Demon, Mister Miracle, New Gods, etc., and, some odds and ends of Kirby's work that was related to his 70's DC stuff published in the 1980's, and feel that it won't be complete until I get at least a copy of "The Hunger Dogs" graphic novel also published later on.

I'm glad that I started on this set when I did since many of those early 70's books have risen in value and book price where if I'd started this set presently I probably could never have afforded such.

There's still two other sets I'm trying to complete too, i.e., the runs of 1960's DC & Marvel 25 cent Giants, but I've finally about got those licked. I just need the '62 Rudolph Giant for DC, and in Marvel, less that 10 of those (Strange Tales Annual 2, Millie Annual 1 & 8, Mighty Marvel Western 6, 7, Silver Surfer V1 #'s 2, 4, 6 & Mad About Millie Annual 1). With luck, I'll have at least half of those before the end of this year.

As to what I'd try to "go for" after these three sets are finally completed I haven't the slightest clue. I know I still need around 4 or 5 of the Warren/Kitchen Sink The Spirit magazines and I wouldn't mind having sets of both Creepy and Eerie magazines (and Blazing Combat) up to certain numbers.

I'd love to have full runs of some esoteric magazines and fanzines from the 1960's, but that price range these days is just a bit too much out-of-reach. Issues of Wally Wood/Bill pearson's Witzend, and Larry Ive's Monsters and Heroes, plus Castle of Frankenstein magazines seem to be sky high anymore (as are Warren's earlier issues of Vampirella and Famous Monsters of Filmland, Screen Thrills, etc.).

Another goal I'd like to set for myself is to actually get my Red Star on eBay in my feedbacks, but that's still 14 points away and I've currently run out of anything to sell (and the PayPal account's getting awfully low to buy), so that just may be unreachable this year. It would be nice though to feel I've averaged 100 points per year in this past ten years I've bought and sold from that service.

Comics that have come in this week: the Spirit World magazine #1, published by Hampshire in '71. "What sort of drugs" Kirby was on at that time must have been good ones. This is pretty much just an exploration in imagination with a little bit of historical documentation, and a poster that looks like a peyote hallucination. The experimentation Kirby did with this book is rather interesting, however.

Mighty Marvel Western #5 (Marvel/1969) doesn't contain anything in the way of Kirby or Jack Davis reprints. Not even Ogden Whitney graces these pages, but instead, the usual amount of Jack Keller and Larry Leiber art which kept those Marvel westerns going for years on end, and it's topped with a new cover by Herb Trimpe.

With that comic I got two bonus freebies: Images's Vanguard #6, and Dark Horse's Comic's Greatest World Week 2: "Hero Zero". The Image book is their usual crap from that time, but the CGW had some nice Lee Week's artwork.

Amazing Spider-man (Marvel/2009) # 583 Printings No. 3 & 5, both of which have Obama on them, the difference being that one's called "the flag" cover whereas the other sports in the background The Lincoln Memorial. Obama appears in the backup story (interior's the same on both books) which is Marvel's most over-hyped comic this year. The seconary story was badly drawn and pretty silly, with Spider-man appearing at the inauguration to confront an imposter Obama, who turns out to be (duh!) "The Chameleon". Looks like if Marvel's going to do a comic of such great importance as they think, they'd spent a few extra bucks on the team creating such.

Fantastic Four: The Lost Adventure No. 1 (Marvel/2007) is that issue I reviewed previously here that came on a DVD, and I guess you'd have to call this the "hard copy" of it. A lot easier to read, and would have been more enjoyable to me if they'd written it in a retro style rather than updating the script a bit to relate to modern fans. It has more of the feel of a bastardizing of a silver-age story, than an homage to a great creator.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"Post No. 611"


When last I posted I rambled on about the reasons why I didn't care very much about Marvel's The Ultimates series, how the characters were just too "dark" for this old-timer to enjoy and how I was going to avoid any of this sort of thing from the company in the future.


It doesn't mean that I don't enjoy some of their main-stream titles, one of which is the Amazing Spider-man. I've been reading through a lot of approx. 30 issues ranging from #471 (aka V2 #30) to #539, all written by J. Michael Straczynski and really enjoyed them.

They contained various storylines such as: some new supporting character and villian introductions, "Sins Past" and "Skin Deep". Some of this I enjoyed more than others, but one really was pretty odd, i.e., the "Sins Past" where we find that Peter Parker's old girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, had an affair with Norman Osborn (sans, "The Green Goblin"), went to Europe where she gave birth to twins and that was the whole reason "why" the GG went after her wayyyyy back in #129 (circa 1972 or so). She didn't want someone like Osborn to raise her children, and he said that if HE couldn't have her and the children, Peter Parker wouldn't as well..

Didn't do much good though, as after he resurreted himself he got his butt over to Europe and took charge of the children, filling them with lies such as Parker actually being their father and that he'd just abandoned Gwen after discovering she was pregnant.

The twins were born two months premature, however, they were still fully termed due to Osborn's GG formula in their blood, which also gave them accelerated strength and speed. Little side effect there: they also had a growth accelation causing them to turn to adults within just a few years and now will eventually burn themeselves out way before their time.

Spider-man finally gets, at least, the girl of this duo to understand this, but the lad's much like his old man, finding one of the GG's old costume stash's, injecting even more of the GG formula into his system (making him even more looney), and taking off after Spidey as a new GG persona, The Grey Goblin. Naturally Spider-man defeats him, and the boy loses his memory (at that time) of all events and the girl takes off on her own.

This gives Parker at least a little closure after so many years of blaming himself for Gwen's death and begins a better chapter in his web-slingin' life.Dammmit. Dammit, dammit, dammit! Why did Marvel Comics have to be actually a good read again? Now I'm hooked on The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, AND The Amazing Spider-man. Will there be no end to this madness?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"Post No. 610"

Alright, so I know I'm a day late on "Valentines Day", but give me a break. I was just too tired and busy last night to post the above, which is a vintage "Wacky Valentines" card from the early 1960's. Actually, I'm not sure if that's what they were called. I once purchased a set of 16 different ones of these, and they all seem to have a bit of the Wood-ish, Woogon-ish, Jack Davis-ish type artwork, which is possible since I know at least a couple of those artists did such jobs in the early 1960's. They are around 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" in size and printed on some of the cheapest newspaperstock type paper I've ever seen. (Anyone got any additional information of those???)

But...that's not what this post is about. I wanted to give my opinions on the first volume of Marvel Comics' The Ultimates.

Yeah. I'm not really sure if I liked it or not.

And yes, I know it's by the team that I'm always raving about on The Fantastic Four, i.e., Mark Millar, Bryan Hitch, Paul Neary (and on early issues the inking's by Andrew Currie), of which I have absolutely no complaints regarding the artwork. It's fabulous! VERY realistic at times.

No. My complaints would be on how the various characters are treated. And, in case you've been in a hole somewhere and not familiar with this title, it's a modern version of the origin of "The Avengers".

But, let's begin with the points of this storyline that I DID enjoy first.

"Iron Man", that being Tony Stark, was right on the money as the industrial business man-playboy-alcoholic that we've all grown to know and love. His armor looked good, in fact, perhaps a bit underplayed at times. And there was this cute exchange between him and his butler, "Jarvis" regarding Batman's butler, "Alfred" that actually made me chuckle.

Characters such as "The Black Widow" and "Hawkeye" were intelligently portrayed and played some key roles in this story, and...

That's about all of the "up" side. Now the bad news.

As an updated Avengers' origin, it followed not much more than a scant outline of the original telling of such from The Avengers #1 (1963). In that telling, The Avengers got together to stop what they thought was one of "The Hulk's" outrages which turned out to be all caused by "Thor's" mischievious and evil step-brother, "Loki". And, in a way, The Hulk ala "Bruce Banner", sort of does that with this tale, but the main instigator is "Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D." (or, the current version of him). Let me breakdown my various opinions of the characters here:

HANK PYM="Antman-Giantman". We always knew that Hank and Janet Van Dyke (aka "the Wasp") had a somewhat disfuctional relationship, but nothing on this scale. Here, Hank Pym's shown as a physically abusive husband to Jan whom he's know since college (no mention of his first wife as told in the original tales).

JANET VAN DYKE/PYM="The Wasp" is Hank's victim, a mutant who lays eggs in bed, and has somehow changed her race from a caucasian to an asian (neat trick) with a denial complex.

BRUCE BANNER="The Hulk" has become a monsterous, murdering, horney, homophobic psycopath.

THOR is (dear Lord) a hippy-type now which no one believes he's actually a Nordic god. They've replaced the years as "Don Blake", who eventually discovers he's been turned from the god of thunder into a lame and frail man by his father, "Odin", to learn humility, to his discovering this when he was about 10 years old which resulted in spending much time in an institution as a child. Gone now also his his mallet-type hammer and replaced with something of a style that would make "The Death Dealer" jealous.

STEVE ROGERS-"Captain America" is no longer discovered in a block of ice by The Avengers, but rather, by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and Bruce Banner helps bring him back to life. "Bucky Barnes"never dies but ends up being an old man now, and in his youth, not Cap's sidekick but rather a field phototographer for the Army. Bucky also married Cap's old girl-friend after thinking him dead.

Two of "Magneto's" evil mutants, "Quicksilver & the Scarlet Witch" are now shown as part of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s agent, but even worse, there's many hints of incest indicted between this brother and sister.

And to top it off, most of the evil in this world since the latter 1770's has been caused by those shape-shifting alien invaders, "The Skrulls", who in this story basically began World War II and created the nazis.

There's a LOT of murder and mayhem in this series, and would, to me, rate much more than a PG-13 rating.

Okay. I do relize that it's now well into the 2000's, and not the 1960's. Comic were simple 45 years ago, but---damn.

When these stories were told in the 1960's, there were a lot more memorable and enjoyable.

I'm sure there's just a slew of younger comic book fans that think this series is great.

I'm sure that there's just a slew of OLDER comic book fans that think this is a great series.

I'm just an old fogie.

So perhaps, just maybe, it's this is the future of what Marvel Comics is to be and gauged by and imitatied in the future, it's also time for this antique Merry Marvel Marcher to stop buying and reading anything new, and instead simply cherish the memories of the past.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Post No. 609"

"Happy 200th. Birthday Honest Abe!" You did well for an ol' Kentucky boy.

I'll have to admit that I've done a pretty good job at selling off my comic book duplication. I started off with around 750 comics and have now gotten down to approx. 200. This was, of course, due to multiple eBay listings mostly, but I did have one buyer who purchased three lots of 50 comics @, and then turned around and asked for an additional 3 lots which cleaned out a little over 300 (including the bonus books I just tossed in on the deal).

I think I'll re-list what I have left where a buyer can pick from the list a specific number of comics, and then I suppose whatever's left over will be consigned to my first yard sale this year (as the weather and any "extra" time permits).

The best upside to this, naturally, is that now I actually have some cash in my Paypal account and can buy ME something I really want. Oh...decisions...decisions..... Sumtimes dats the hardest part.

Well, okay. I did already buy me one thing I wanted. A copy in VG+ of the 1971 Jack Kirby magazine, Spirit World No.1, published by Hampshire at the same time Kirby was beginning his work in the 1970's for DC. It was one of two such he produced at that time, the other being In the Days of The Mob No.1 (which I already have). I'd been trying to complete a set of everything Kirby did between the time he left Marvel in '71, then returned to do covers after his DC stint. (I'm closing in on that set.)
Well, I got in that lot I had purchased of 40+ misc. comics. This lot includes The Ultimates 2 thru 13 complete, 25 or various issues of The Amazing Spider-man, all of which were written by J. Michael Straczynski, a copy of Thor Son of Asguard #2, World War Hulk 1 & 3, and Ultimate Secret #1. Now just maybe I can figure out what all the hub-bup is about with Marvel Comics these days. I'd heard quite a bit of good stuff regarding Straczynski's Spider-man, and recalled reading a couple of those and liking them, and of course, I can now finish up reading that first volume of The Ultimates and a couple more WW Hulk's (that I KNOW I like).

And hoo-zahh! A friend of mine's sending me 500 free slightly used comic book bags absolutely free! Maybe even some backing boards! And myself, not being one that's ever looked a "gift horse" (or, a gift bag, for that matter) in the mouth, I'll take them and appreciate them and maybe even get some of these loose comics I have around here in order for a change! Now I just need to buy me at least 7 long boxes and get them out of all of these Staples copy paper boxes (that are the overflow from my "long" boxes).

In other news...
Watched Obama's speech the other night. He seems to have a lot going on in his plans to fix some of the things in this country, but you know? I never heard any definate plans for such. All I kept hearing was words to the effect that "this and that" will have to be done, "this needs something", another needs "another something". The truth be told, he can't fix what's wrong with this country. No one man can do it. He'll have to have everyone in Washington on his side, and folks, that just ain'ta gonna happen. The country is going to have to fix itself.

Will people care enough to do this? I don't know. The really poor won't because they're too spoiled to getting everything just handed to them. When one gets it all for free, "why" work for it?

He mentioned getting health care to those unemployed, but still no mention to supplying health care to a lot of people that really deserve it, such as the lower middle-class which can't afford it as well as the elderly who many times have trouble even paying for their medicines. And when the middle-working-class gets too sick to work, we're only going to fall ever deeper into that bottomless pit because it's those people who are the backbone of this country's economic recovery. The retail people, the farmers, the small business owners. These are people who really need help currently, as well as all of these people who are still trying to just recover from this Winter's bad weather.

And, lastly here, just took my mom to see her heart doctor who's around 45 miles from this place. She got a fine report and won't have to go back for a good three months now. Stopped by Barnes &Noble and picked up copies of The Invincible Iron Man 9, Amazing Spider-man 684, & Detective 685. Also went by the old Waldenbooks location. Very sad to see it now closed up there in the mall with black plastic over the windows. Stepped into the "Hot Topics" store and looked at their "Watchmen" stuff. They have a zip up hoodie for $48.00, with large block lettering up one side in yellow, and the slogan, "Who Watches The Watchmen" on the reverse, as well as posters and keychains of the flick.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

"Post No. 608"

Above is the "Further Adventures of Little Oscar". Just click onto the pic and it'll bring it up larger. And over on the "My Unpublished Work" link on the top of the right column, I've posted a new piece of artwork from a comic strip I'm currently working on. As usual, you can click onto the little red arrow at the bottom right of the artwork and it'll bring it up to a larger size as well.

Saturday and Sunday were certainly the difference between day & night from our recent ice storms here in S-Central, KY., with temperatures rising into the 60's and lots of sunshine. Saturday the winds were pretty high though; around 30 MPH. This brought down yet another two larger limbs from our trees, but fortunately they just landed in the yard and did no damage. But that one really large tree over my driveway and lines is broken and just "hanging on". I wish it'd just go ahead and break and get it over with as it's sort of dangerous and we're certainly not parking under it!

I've got several comics that'll be coming in, maybe this week, that include the rest of volume one of Marvel's the Ultimates, as well as several issues of Volume Two of the Amazing Spider-man. Anxious for them to arrive as I've run out of anything new in the way of comics to read.

This past weekend at our local flea market I found some nice store copies of some DVDs I wanted. Got the first "Fantastic Four" flick, plus "Iron Man", and the trilogy set of "Starship Troopers". Although the latter is certainly a long shot from a true adaptation of the work of the late sf writer, Robert Heinlein, I always found the first in that trilogy to be very entertaining, starring Casper Van Den. Casper wasn't in the second flick (which I watched), but it was an okay sci-fi flick and retained many of the aspects of the original film. He's back in the third one (which I've yet to view at the time of this posting) and I'll more than likely get around to a review of the set sooner or later.

I'm also expecting in the mail soon around 500 modern comic book bags which a friend on a chat board is graciously giving me, and perhaps this will get all of these comics bagged that I've purchased in the past several months that are just lying there loose in boxes here in the pc room. May not even buy backing boards for the things, but I do need to get around to eventually buying at least 7 "long boxes" just to get my collections in order these days. I still have this Secondary Collection, seperate from the main boxes of titles/issues that I've never put in alphabetical order. Since I have something like 50 long boxes of comics, this takes up a whole lotta room and that's a chore I may accomplish only once every couple of years. Perhaps I'll get around to it (IF I get the boxes I need) when I take my week's vacation this time.

Actually been watching "Smallville" on a regular basis this season, and it looks like they're finally getting shed of "Lana Lang", which pleases me like punch as she's just excessive baggage left over from the original DC Superboy title, and with Clark finally getting to Metropolis and working for The Daily Planet as a reporter, it's a character this show really doesn't need around. And, anyway, they've screwed with the Superman legend so very much with tis series that it's also time to straighten this mess out before he finally becomes Superman, dons the costume, etc., and the series eventually comes to a close.

Still haven't figured out exactly whatever happen to "Kara (Supergirl) Zor-El" from the previous season. In fact, I just sort'a got the clue of "why" J'onn Jon'zz" no longer has his powers. And I'll be damned if I can figure out why characters such as "The Flash", "Green Arrow" and "Black Canary" are in this storyline wayyyy before they were ever supposed to appear, but then, the entire Smallville series has been nothing more than a continuous soap opera since its inception, with this ever-playing love-life (of sorts) between Clark and Lana that has drug on forever and needs to come to a close.

The 1980's Superboy live-action show, which didn't last all that long, was so much closer to this mess. Even "Lois and Clark" was more faithful to the material on which it was based. And if one's going to adapt supr-hro material to a regular weekly television show, one should make it as faithful to the characters as possible, or is it that "they" deem their younger audience just too hip. to understand what a comic book is all about? Still seems simple enough to me. You don't make it this overly-dramatic soap opera UNLESS that's the way it is in the comic. You don't make it overly campy (like the 60's "Batman" show), UNLESS it's that way in the comic. You simply make a script from an actual decently written comic book and then adapt it to the screen. And, yes, it might bomb. It might be commercially unsuccessful. But it'll be true to the material.

But then, that's what it's all about, huh? If you don't make the bucks, then you can't sell the show. Something like comic books are today. And I'm such a nostalgic that I'm sure I'd be a dismal failure at putting on a successful t.v. show with my own ideas on how it "should be", just because I wouldn't cater to the "hip new generation's" taste.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

"Post No. 607"

The runs of Matt Wagner's Mage finally came in and I've read them all. There was two sets; one was the 8 issue Image reprint series of the original 1980's 15 issue Comico title: Mage the Hero Discovered, and the second series was the Image 15 issue run of Mage the Hero Defined.

Honestly, I had not read the original series since I originally purchased them in the 1980's. They were published at a time when we had a neat comic shop in Bowling Green, KY., called "Hard to Find Books", where I (as well as many of my local comic collecting buddies) would weekly visit to purchase whatever new was out. Comico was a relatively new publishing company at that time, and I had purchased other titles by them, including Comico Primer, in which was the first place I'd ever seen any work by Matt Wagner in a strip called Grendel.

When Mage came out I already knew I liked Matt's work and took a chance on the first issue. I was very delighted with my choice as I really got into this storyline of the reluctant hero, "Kevin Matchstick", and amoured with the other characters such as "Edsel", "Mirth", and "Sean" (the ghost) as the series continued.

When this series finally came to an end in 1986 or so with issue #15, I was happy to read at the end of this that there was another series planned. I had to wait a long time until I finally got to read it, however.

Published a good ten years ago, I just read "The Hero Defined" this past week.

Now there were several things that I liked about the original series. The artwork, for one thing, was really good and the coloring was excellant, and when Sam Kieth came onboard with issue #6, the pencils got really tight and rivialed anything that any other comic book publisher had on the stands at that time.

The characters all seemed to mesh really well and play off of one another. When Edsel died towards the end of this series, I had a genuine sense of sadness at her passing.

One started getting the hang of what this series was all about after more than a couple of issues. It wasn't just about some guy who discovers he's some sort of super powered hero, but that all of the characters in this play represented reincarnations (if you will) of other legendary beings. Mirth was "Merlin", Kevin was "Arthur", and even Edsel was "The Lady of The Lake", and the weapon she carried (a baseball bat form of green magic) was actually meant for Kevin, and in the final issues turned from green to white as we learned that this was a representation of the sword, "Excalibur".

Re-reading this I got, not only more the second time around, but that same joy I received when I read it twenty some odd years past.

I'm afraid that I can't say the same for "The Hero Defined". Although it was pretty decent, storywise, the pencils were nowhere as tight, and the coloring was distracting in places. But kevin emerged into a character that I didn't think him to be; that is, somewhat selfish.

In this second series (the above cover just being one that I liked a lot), "Mirth" (at first) is nowhere to be seen. Instead, Kev's traveling the country with his friend, "Joe", who is the reincanation of "Coyote" (his powers being that he can run really fast). In this saga he meets up with other hero reincarnations such as "Heracles", and "Prester John". He meets an old bum who claims to be his new mentor, which Kev takes pretty lightly until later in this series.

Kev meets a giant married to a witch, and then one of her sisters from a coven of with which he falls in love. He fights some nasties that turn out to be old villians, and finally becomes the hero he was meant to be, but not without some tragic loses of friends along the way. And finally discovers the truth behind what magic's supposed to mean. Finally, in the end, he grows up.

There's a third series of "Mage" that's planned by wagner, not yet published, called "The Hero Denied", and I'm hoping that perhaps when he decides to do this one, he'll drop a slew of his other projects to concentrate on it and bring it back to the greatness of the original run. (Perhaps, even REdo the second series.) I'm still a fan of Matt's work, and a fan of the "Mage" characters and stories. Hell, it still beats 90% of what's out there.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

"Post No. 606"


A week ago last Tuesday, Kentucky got hit with the worst ice storm seen since 1994. Hundreds of thousands of people were without electricity, and then to compound the situation, the electricty failed at our local water pump station putting thousands of households without water as well.

Never have I seen such a run on bottled water during that, and, although I personally was never completely without water, a boil water advisory went out until last Monday. This was finally lifted in my town, but it's still in effect for much of this county.

Kentucky's governor requested a disaster declaration for the entire state and it was granted, giving them the power to activate The National Guard. These guys are really angels bringing thousands of bottled water to needy people, plus going literally door-to-door to check on everyone. They are a very unappreciated bunch, as well as the many, many people who work for the electric and telephone companies, facing the bad weather in an attempt to restore power. Sure. I know they get paid for their work, but believe me, I personally wouldn't do it (or couldn't, for that matter).

My family and I were extremely lucky in the effect of having little or no real damage to our property. Several large limbs fell in our yard as well as that of my elderly mother (who lives down the street), but no lines were ever brought down and the most damage I had was one larger limb knocking a side gutter loose where I had to put that back up yesterday (when the weather gave us a little break temperature-wise). I was also able to get all of the larger limbs in both places hauled to the end of the road for city pickup and rake both entire yards of the tiny debris.

Our good neighbor from across the street came and sawed up anything that was too large for the city to mulch up to give to his son for burning wood. Some here in the neighborhood weren't so lucky.

An elderly lady across the street had half a tree fall, taking out most of her front pourch. Many old trees were lost.

State-wide there's been approx. 20 deaths attributed to this ice storm. The shelters have been over-filled. Many wonderful people have come even out of state to help in the clean up and rescue efforts.

Later this week we're supposed to finally have a little break in the low temperatures. I know, I've tried to get my mother to a doctor's appointment for a check up for the past two weeks now, and failed both times. First time the appointment fell on the day of the ice storm, and then this week, further north from us there was a good two inches of snow and ice on the roads to the point that we got about 20 miles from here and had to turn back and return home.

South-Central KY. doesn't have that much bad weather, even in the Winter, but man, if they do then it's a whopper!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

"Post No. 605"

Watched The Spirit flick.

Sadly disapointing.

Whereas Frank Miller's style worked fine with his own material ("Sin City"), it failed to capture the essence of the late, great Will Eisner.

The photography was overly-dark and action sequences quite quirky. Lots of little bits and pieces of various subplots all mixed together to form one movie. The acting was almost too campy (hard to get away from that aspect), although Sam Jackson did the best he could playing the role of the villian, "The Octopus", the height of this silliness and total political incorrectness was having him dressed in a nazi uniform. When he captures The Spirit, he rambles on (and on) worse and longer than Isaac Asimov trying to explain "why" a ray gun works.

The Octopus's henchmen was low-grade replicas of the villians from the 1960's Batman t.v. show right down to having their names written across the chest of their outfits.

The origin was screwed with to the point of "YOU made ME? I made YOU!" Once again a classic story re-written to fit the image of a creator of which Miller's not worthy of to lick the dog crap from Will Eisner's boots. And as this flick drug on (and on and on and on) I kept wondering how long it'd be before I ejected the disc from the player and sent it hurling through space in an attempt to put an end to my misery.

Frankly, the version done in the 1980's that was a "made-for-t.v." flick holds up better as a closer adaptation of the character. This new version reminds me of a badly made B-Grade flick such as "The Evil Dead" (which was actually probably better done for the budget it had), or other poorly done 1970's movies.

All wrapped up with such a cliche closing monologue that I was able to quote the actor's words before he spoke them.

Very (very) sad. I was hoping for better. But, in all fairness, I think trying to do such a flick is akin to doing film adapations of The Bible. If it isn't adapted the way one's been preached to all their lives, it turns out to be blasphemy. Perhaps if Miller had gone back and really looked at how Eisner laid out his Spirit stories a little better, it would have helped

Not all of the strips are all dark and moody. There was quite a bit of "light" in those, and a whole lot of humor. I'd personally have to rate this movie as a "D+", but, as usual, it's a personal opinion (but that of a guy who has always loved the material it was based upon).

Monday, February 02, 2009

Sat down and watched Kevin Smith's Clerks II last night, which is a flick from a couple years past, I know, but one I'd never seen. And you know, I'd like Smith's silliness okay if he'd just quit cramming his DVD's with all of this extra crap that doesn't interest me. I mean, who really needs a 90 minute documentary detailing the making of this stuff?

He says he wants to give the people who buy his DVD's more "bang for the buck", but if he's going to give us an extra disc to watch, let's put something on it worth the watch. He could have put some of his animated Clerks episodes, which didn't get a whole lot of air play anyway. For that matter he could have crammed it full of "Popeye" cartoons from the 1940's and it'd been more interesting as extra material than his anal rambling ons.

The flick itself was alright. This time the Quickie Mart burns down and the guys have to get a job at a fast food restaurant. One's getting married; the other is all piussed off 'cause he's losing his best friend. There's all sorts of romantic involvment between Dante and his sexy female manager, and some pretty grose stuff involving a Tiajuana "donkey show". The usual insanity with Jay and Silent Bob as a support cast. As usual, everything's back to whatever these guys term as "normal" in the end. Nowhere as good as the original Clerks, but if you're addicted to Smith's continuous adventures of these mutants it's an entertaining ride.

And so far I'm halfway through the DC Countdown series, where so far I've read tales of "The Monitors" trying to kill off what they term as anamolies in the multiple universe, like Jason Todd, The Joker's daughter (who turns out not to be his daughter at all), some of the new Gods, etc. One Monitor's siding with the anamolies and the others are all against him. In this multiple saga he see Harley Quinn now reformed and joining The Amazons on Paradice Island, a quest to find Ray (the original "Atom") Palmer (who is supposed to be the key to this whole new Crisis thingamaguckey), "Mary Marvel" turning into a bad girl and pissing off Zatanna and just about doing in "Klarion the Witch Boy", finaly arriving at the gates of Eclipso, who now possesses the body of Jean Loring. It's a confusing mess, that if you don't try to read like I'm doing at 5 or 6 issue stints, you'd probably forget who the hell's going on from one storyline to the next. Lord, give me strength to endure finishing this set.

In udder news... I see where people are asking the rediculous price of upwards to $100. for copies of Amazing Spider-man 583, simply because Obama's in it. Yes, in a year or two this will join the infamous ranks of Superman 75, Thor 337, and the like as an over-hyped and much over-priced comic which has already gone through as many of 4 printings, each with variant covers. Sell your copies NOW, boys before you get stuck with 50 copies of it like I know one guy still has of The Man of Steel limited series #1.

I keep wondering...Hey? The Dell Giant The Life of Lincoln is all about a president who died for his country, freed the slaves, the comic is 50 years old, and his 200th. Birthday is almost here! THAT book should be worth a fortune!!! (Yeah.

Happy Groundhog Day. "Phil" says there's going to be another 6 weeks of Winter. Time to shoot that varmit and hang is carcus on a fence post as a warning to the other "Whistle Pigs".