Throwback Superhero Cartoon of the Day: Prince Namor the Submariner #10


Namor fans will likely agree that this gent rarely gets the respect he deserves. That’s certainly how we feel, which is exactly why we’ve chosen to put Namor in the spotlight for today’s throwback cartoon of the day.

Check it out below, it’s pretty friggin’ awesome!

Returning to ‘The Amazing Spiderman (Volume 2) #35-#38’ and Reliving Aunt May’s Game Changing Discovery


I’ve spent the last few days going through my countless Spiderman comics (not print, as I’m a poor gent who’s been relegated to purchasing valueless – at least in fiscal terms – digital copies), working to assemble a list of the 10 greatest Spiderman storylines.

Initially my plan was to cover Spidey’s triumphs and heartbreaks from the beginning, back in 1962, right up to modern-era tales. But the truth is, I’d prefer to stay away from most of the contemporary story arcs, as there really aren’t too many I’m in love with. It’s the vintage yarns that still give me goosebumps.

The decision was made to turn my 10 Greatest Spiderman Storylines article into 10 Greatest Classic Spiderman Storylines. But there’s one particular story – a tremendously important one – that a decision like that excludes. This one fits into the modern era category, so I’m going to utilize this particular piece to focus on one single arc. The classic article will have to wait until this coverage, of a few amazing books, is wrapped.

The books in question are Amazing Spider-Man #35 through #38, from the second volume.

Released circa 2002, this tale could easily be considered as the most important arc of the last two decades. That’s obviously debatable, but what isn’t debatable is the fact that this is an insanely relevant and rewarding portrait that feels expansive and impactful. So, it seemed only right to put some shine on this small handful of books.

These four issues show us Aunt May’s response to discovering that her geeky, lovable nephew Pete actually spends his free time moonlighting as the famed hero of New York, Spiderman. But there’s a lot more to this story than that, and it really begins with Peter looking to help one of his students, a troubled young lady by the name of Jennifer.

But before we jump into Jennifer’s story, we’ve got to scribble a few pertinent details of the arc. Even if some of these revelations can be blended into the mix of all things Parker, there are a few moments that really jump from the page, delivering a passionate slap to our drowsy faces.

First, Morlun forces Spiderman to truly – on a very deep and intricate level – contemplate mortality. He’s proposed a silent opportunity: Will you cross that threshold and allow yourself to be marked a killer, or will you fight to maintain your wholesome image and let me walk away from this situation alive? It’s not an easy decision to make, and it has quite the effect on Spidey.

And then there’s the mourning for the innocents lost one mild September day. This portion of the story is almost snuck between the cracks of the book, while it may fly right over the heads of young readers, it’s very pronounced to anyone who knows a damn thing about 9/11. That’s an underdeveloped element (perhaps not underdeveloped so much as a truncated subplot) of the story, and while I’m glad such a horrific incident was included in the book respectfully, as something of a nod to the countless who suffered in the wake of one of history’s most gruesome attacks, I’m actually of the mind that this aspect of the plot probably should take a backseat in the grand scheme of things. I’m not big on politic-heavy books, and while few of us alive to see the terrorist attacks of 9/11 will ever actually forget them (we shouldn’t, for the record), it’s a scab that I’d personally prefer not to scratch.

Amazing Spiderman

Back to Jennifer, whose broken life, in some ways, mirrors Parker’s. Her parents have abandoned her. She’s left to fend for herself, all the while looking to keep her older brother from descending deeper into the seedy world of drug use and criminal behavior. Although Pete didn’t necessarily have to deal with a sibling, he did carry the burden of looking after his Aunt May, after the loss of his own parents. At an early age he was required to be the man of the house. That parallel between Pete and Jennifer helps to create a bond between the two. And Peter, though plenty troubled, shows a very real interest in seeing the young lady overcome the shortcomings that often accompany poverty and shattered households.

This is a beautiful story, and it’s got plenty of layers to it. But let’s be honest with ourselves for a second. If there’s one, major development in this specific arc that truly, truly hits us in the heart, it’s Aunt May’s discovery.

After too many years to count, Aunt May finally learns that her little angel, Peter Park is Spiderman. Aunt May, as one would expect, is completely flabbergasted by the discovery. Her mind races a million miles per hour, she’s uncertain of how to deal with it. And then she and Peter sit down for a heart-to-heart. A very revealing heart-to-heart.

Now the automatic assumption would probably center on Pete’s decades-long lies, but Aunt May has also been hiding something. It turns out both Pete and May have been carrying guilt as a direct result of Uncle Ben’s passing. We all know that Pete feels responsible, as he afforded the hoodlum that killed Ben the opportunity to do so. But what we didn’t know, is that Aunt May has spent all these years blaming herself for Ben’s death.

It all began with an argument between May and Ben. Ben left the house to clear his head and ditch the anger. And it was on that specific day, during that trek from the house, when Ben was killed. It’s been eating at May since the moment she learned of Ben’s passing, but being able to admit that to Peter works wonders for the woman, as well as her nephew. The encounter is a therapeutic one that feels as if it knocks down partitions that have already been erect far too long.

Traditionally, I like my comics stuffed full of action. It typically takes explosive imagery to really hold my attention. But this story is different… this specific storyline is extremely light on the action, but it’s rooted in so much passion and sprouting charm like you wouldn’t believe. When it comes to (fairly) recently released Spiderman tales, they just don’t get much better than this.

To J. Michael Straczynski, who wrote the story, John Romita Jr., who illustrated the books, Scott Hanna who inked and Dan Kemp, who handled the coloring – thank you all. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. You’ve put together something extremely special, and as a longtime Spidey fan, I’m honored to read this riveting tale!

Throwback Superhero Cartoon of the Day: Fantastic Four (1967) Episode 1


Just as we’re fans of vintage comics, we’re fans of vintage cartoons.

We thought it would be cool to begin featuring a throwback superhero cartoon each and every day (or until we run out of vids to share). And really, why not start with an awesome piece like this, the first episode – Klaws –  of the 1967 Fantastic Four series?

Check it out below, for some this will be “new”, for others, a flashback to a finer time!

 

‘Old Man Logan #1’ Review


Old Man Logan offers readers a look at a Wolverine that we’re not all too familiar with. See, Logan wakes to one day realize the world seems to be nothing as he knows it. He’s a stranger in a strange land, until the memories come flooding in and he’s forced to accept a future he would have once balked at.

The villains of the world finally got their act together, formed a massive alliance and not only obliterated superheroes, but just about anything in their path. What remains of those who were once gifted, fighting the good fight, is slim to say the least.

But the reality of it all is burrowing deep in Logan’s mind, and that’s never a good thing Logan dwells. He always has. And this time, he’ll dwell with a chance to change the future, as he’s somehow seen the clock rewound to a time just before the menaces of the world would take place as the alphas of the world. And only one remains: Can Logan change a dreadful future before it becomes a nightmarish present?

Jeff Lamire fires big, right out of the gate. And he does a stellar job of making Logan, a man once feared by anyone on the wrong side of his own stance, the law or the well-being of decent mutants, all but helpless. Domesticated and fragile, Logan will have his hands full if he hopes to get to the bottom of things and right a ship already losing course.

Artist Andrea Sorrentino does a great job of giving us something of a guerilla-style visual. Image details often masked by shadows, villains blending into one another, wide and expansive backgrounds, the perfect setup for focus on our heroes and villains. And Sorrentino doesn’t accomplish the look alone, colorist Marcelo Maiolo adds a great deal of depth to the book.

As a longtime fan of Wolverine, I’m always on the hunt for a new spin. A place Logan hasn’t yet ventured. A villain Logan has yet to collide with. Old Man Logan offers up a lot of the very things I search for.

Grade-A work, right here!

Order issue #1 right here.

Rating: 5/5

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Douglas Rushkoff will Release Occult Graphic Novel ‘Aleister & Adolf’


Dark Horse continues to push the envelope, releasing game-changing books and monumental tales on a regular basis. The next Dark Horse release that’s going to turn heads is Aleister & Adolf, a compelling piece that will be available later this calendar year.

Dig on a little bit of addition info from the Press Release:

This fall, Dark Horse Books is set to publish a perception-altering narrative from media maverick Douglas Rushkoff: Aleister & Adolf!

 

In Aleister & Adolf, media theorist and documentarian Douglas Rushkoff weaves a mind-bending tale of iconography and mysticism, set against the backdrop of a battle-torn Europe.

 

This all-new original graphic novel, beautifully rendered by Michael Avon Oeming (The Victories, Powers), views real-world history through a psychedelic occult lens.

 

In a story spanning generations and featuring some of the most notable and notorious idealists of the twentieth century, legendary occultist Aleister Crowley develops a powerful and dangerous new weapon to defend the world against Adolf Hitler’s own war machine—spawning an unconventional new form of warfare that is fought not with steel but with symbols and ideas. But these intangible arsenals are much more insidious—and perhaps much more dangerous—than their creators could have ever conceived.

 

Warren Ellis, author of Gun Machine, Red, Trees, and Transmetropolitan, says Rushkoff is “a cultural treasure and an eccentric author of big, strange ideas, never less than fascinating and always entertaining.”

 

Aleister & Adolf (978-1-50670-104-2) is in stores November 2, 2016. Preorder your copy today at your local comic shop or through these fine retailers:

 

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound

Aleister & Adolf

Image Says Cheers to ‘Alpha King’!


My knowledge of 3 Floyds, or Alpha King, for that matter, is next to nonexistent. But one look at the press release that just came trickling down the pipeline and I’m mighty curious. This book sounds wicked good, so we had to share the news that Alpha King #1 will be headed our way in just a few brief months!

Here’s some info from the official press release:

One thing that legendary cult microbrewery 3 Floyds is consistently is “not normal,” and in celebration of this originality, pub-crawling creators Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets, Dark Knight III: The Master Race) and Simon Bisley (Hellblazer, Lobo) have teamed up with 3 Floyds founder and brewmaster Nick Floyd along with colorist Ryan Brown and letterer Jared K. Fletcher to delve into the twisted mythos behind the brand in ALPHA KING. Issue #1 will be on tap this May.

 

“This book is what happens when beer and comics conceive on a barstool,” said Azzarello. “I’m a proud poppa.”
ALPHA KING is set a long time ago in a metropolis far, far away (Hammond, Indiana), where Brewer and CiCi are producing a home-brew so distinct that it attracts the attention of a monstrous king and his horrid minions from another dimension. Swords are unsheathed, lines are crossed and sieges are laid for the rise of the Alpha King.

 

Featuring the insanity created by 3 Floyds—from their bottle washers to head brewers—this all-new series is a heavy metal mad mash-up through a futuristic medieval apocalypse. Zombies? Check. Barbarian hordes? Check. An Arctic Panzer Wolf? Sure, why not?

 

“I love the smell of hops in the morning…” added Floyd. “It smells like victory.”

 

As any Beer Geek can tell you, 3 Floyds brews some of the best and instantaneously memorable beers going today. Azzarello and Bisley bring their vision to the strange and wild characters created by 3 Floyds… guaranteed to be a hardcore epic that is “not normal” from the first page to the blood-and-beer-soaked conclusion. Cheers!

 

ALPHA KING #1 (Diamond Code MAR160510) will hit comic book stores on Wednesday, May 4th. The final order cutoff deadline for comic book retailers is Monday, April 11th.

Alpha King

‘Postal Volume 2’ Review


The second volume of Postal differs greatly from its predecessor. While the focus of volume 1 is the connection of key players, a reunion between a violent man – thought long dead – and his son, who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s also about the town of Eden and its slow shift in trajectory. Eden isn’t going to look quite as peaceful as initially perceived, but from the looks of things it’s going to take some time to reach an outright unravelling point, or, for that matter even a simple changing of the guard.

In Volume 2 writers Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill create a slew of new subplots, but, unfortunately, push Mark’s problems a bit further into the background than I’d personally care to see. Where Volume 1 was focused on Mark first and foremost, Volume 2 is stretched to focus on a series of other personalities and budding struggles.

There’s a slight tonal change between each volume, and though our characters still feel like they felt in the first volume, the plans, and steps required to see those plans through, are beginning to feel markedly different.

Ultimately we’re left with more questions than ever before. The first volume produced some compelling answers while keeping secrets alive. Volume 2 spreads inquiries across a number of differing ideas. In this book we take a lengthy examination at a child killer, new tactics from the FBI and a plan to commit cold-blooded murder. These are but a few of the mysteries. Many more are thriving within these pages.

While I can’t claim to be as engrossed in Volume 2 as I was in Volume 1, there are still some fine qualities to admire. And again, Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill keep our characters on the human side, illuminating qualities and flaws. Isaac Goodhart is also still living up to his end of the arrangement, giving us more beautiful artwork to gawk at.

I enjoyed Volume 2 quite a bit, but I’ve also got hopes that we bring Mark, his mother, Eden’s mysterious patriarch and the lovely waitress Maggie, back into more contained plots – truly together again, if you will. Postal is beginning to feel extremely broad, which comes across as a bit odd, as the first book kept the narrative very tightly spun, and that made our characters and their own conflicts and demons considerably more hypnotic.

We’ll see where this trio take the story next!

Order Volume 2 right here.

Rating: 4/5

Postal Volume 2

‘Postal Volume 1’ Review


Welcome to Eden, Wyoming. It’s a quiet community of just over 2,000. It looks comfortable. It looks welcoming. It looks safe. Looks can be deceiving.

Mark is the local mailman, afflicted with Asperger’s Syndrome, in love with a waitress named Maggie, and curious. Too curious. See, Mark is determined to learn the secrets of his town, and when a strange young lady surfaces, dead as John Denver (God rest the man’s soul), Mark’s life takes a sudden and terrifying turn.

The identity of the deceased is eventually learned, as Mark, as dedicated as he’s ever been, follows the breadcrumbs until he’s standing at the door to another existence. It’s an existence that will change his every perception of life, and an existence that will bring his unknown past to the surface.

But does Mark truly want to learn of who is? Of who his mother, the shady Mayor, is? Or how about his father, mysteriously absent from his life, does he really want to know the fate of his father, and what will it do to his already fragile mind, learning the truth?

I’m working hard to avoid spoilers, as this is such a magnetic and engrossing read that spoiling the details of the story feels criminal. I can’t bring myself to do it, but I can tell you this: From the moment Mark solemnly speaks the words “I’m used to the way you hurt me, mom,” you realize that Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill are brilliant talents, capable of turning a graphic novel into an emotional experience.

There are few books as impressive as Postal on the market today. Isaac Goodhart is another piece of this awe inspiring puzzle, as his artwork is a refreshing and enlightening element of the book that deserves a wealth of respect. He gives us the kind of visuals that empower a narrative, and this particular narrative is already so powerful that it needs no assistance. Needless to say, with Goodhart involved, Postal ascends from the ranks of an excellent book to the ranks of a beautiful masterpiece.

This mysterious thriller will have you tearing through the pages (figuratively speaking, of course), frantic to uncover answers. Fortunately for fans of darker, mystery driven comics, Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill are nurturing this story with the utmost care. We’ll have our answers, but we’ll be guided through much more chaos before we reach our destination. This is a ride I’d like to take forever.

Order Postal Volume 1 right here.

Rating: 5/5

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Get Another Awesome Dynamite Bundle for Pennies on the Dollar


If you’re not keeping up with Humble Bundle, you’re missing some stupefying deals (I’ve made a few purchases myself, and to say that I’ve been pleased with my purchases is a huge understatement). These guys are practically giving away hundreds of comics, and there are some absolutely amazing titles in their bundles.

Dig books like The Shadow, Splinter Cell, Justice Inc., Shaft, Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Ghoul Goblin or The Twilight Zone? Then you should head over to the official Humble Bundle page and drop a few bucks in exchange for a few thousand pages of brilliance!

Here’s a little more information from the press release:

Dynamite Entertainment again partners with Humble Bundle for one of the most jam-packed collections of comics and prose yet! This latest offering features some of the biggest authors in the publisher’s catalog, giving readers approximately $250 in content for a fraction of the cover price for fans to PAY WHAT THEY WANT for each bundle, and introduce themselves to Dynamite’s library of literary titles!

 

“It’s always a lot of fun to work with our good friends over at Dynamite,” says Kelley Allen, Director of Books at Humble Bundle. “This promotion is chock-filled with mega star authors, artists and creators to the hilt!”

 

“Dynamite has been incredibly fortunate to work with some of the greatest names in fiction,” says Dynamite CEO/Publisher Nick Barrucci. “This year marks the fifth anniversary of New York Times Bestseller Charlaine Harris’ first-ever graphic novel adaptation of her series, Grave Sight, as well as the anniversary of Dean Koontz’s incredibly suspenseful graphic novel adaptation of Fear Nothing. We wanted to mark the occasion by gathering together the work of numerous phenomenal writers into one great bundle, titles like Shaft: A Complicated Man (the 2015 Glyph Award winner by writer David Walker) and Legends of Red Sonja (a celebration of so many sensational authors, spearheaded by the talented Gail Simone). This will give fiction fans a low-cost way to check out Dynamite’s wide catalog of literary all-stars, and all in support of three charitable organizations: the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and Doctors Without Borders.”

An Unwavering Love of Comics

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