Archive for the comic books Category

Year End Book Report: The Best Books I Read in 2016

Posted in Batman, books, comic books, movies, pop culture, Star Wars with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2017 by Paxton

Year End Badass Book Report

Here I go, writing another one of these year end round up articles that I’m shocked to be writing every year. 2017. CRAZY. What a ride 2016 was. Hopefully 2017 will give us a bit of a break.

This past year was an interesting year for my book/comics list.  After so many years of logging my books and comics reading via Google Spreadsheet, I actually converted my logs over to an online data tool called Airtable. It’s similar to Access in that it is a relational database but the user entry interface is very simple to create and similar to Excel. Plus being able to link specific information between tables really helps in cross referencing and spelling.  You have no idea how many times I misspelled author names throughout my logs.

Here’s what my book log looks like now on Airtable.  I’ve converted all my logs back to when I first started in 2007.

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The blue colored fields in the screenshot are actually linked to another table.  I was able to also create the Rating field on the right with different color coded ratings to make it easy at a glance to see what is going to make my year end list and what isn’t.  Plus, Airtable makes all of this data entry even easier with a nice app for my iPhone or iPad that makes it easy to log entries on the go.  Google Sheets had one as well but Airtable’s works better.

So that’s all the behind the scenes stuff.  I had a better year for novels.  I was able to pick 5 this year.  Again, comics were booming and I had a tough time paring down to 5.  But I did it.

So, without further ado, here’s the list!

Books


The Old Man and the Sea (1952) – Ernest Hemingway – I don’t read classics as often as I used to.  I really need to remedy that.  There are two reasons why I read this.  #1, it was featured in the movie The Equalizer starring Denzel Washington as a book he’s reading. #2, Steph checked it out from the library with a bunch of other books and I, on a whim, picked it up to read.  It’s actually really good.  I quite enjoyed it.  I’m probably not going to pick up any other Hemingway, but I’ll definitely try to read more classic lit this coming year.  I’ve been wanting to re-read Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, so maybe I can get that done.


Steve Jobs (2011) – Walter Isaacson – I’ve now read two of Isaacson’s famous biographies and let me say that I’m hooked. Back in 2014 I read his biography of Benjamin Franklin and it nearly made my year end best of list.  This one about Apple founder Steve Jobs actually cracks the list. It’s not only a great portrait of a complicated man, but it’s also a great look at the beginnings of our technological age we live in now.  I would love for Isaacson to tackle Bill Gates in a full book, but I’m not sure that’ll happen.  Isaacson did write a book called The Innovators that really digs into the people who created the computer and the Internet; going as far back as Alan Turing and jumping forward to people like Larry Page and Bill Gates.  That will probably be next on my Isaacson reading list and the closest I’ll get to a full Gates biography by him.


Star Wars: Catalyst – A Rogue One Novel (2016) – James Luceno – The “New Canon” of Star Wars books since Disney has taken over has been very…hit or miss.  Since those books started in Fall 2014, only one has made my year end list.  And honestly, I think that one novel (Star Wars: Tarkin), also written by James Luceno, would work perfectly as a side-quel to this book.  This is the written prequel to the movie Rogue One and it’s pretty great.  It digs deep into the relationship between Galen Erso and Director Krennic.  It also explores a bit more the rivalry between Krennic and Tarkin all while adding in backstory to how the Death Star was built and how it works and what they use to power the planet killing laser.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.


Magic Kingdom for Sale–Sold! (Landover series Book 1) (1986) – Terry Brooks – I talked about this book earlier in my High Fantasy Month article back in March.  It’s a different setup for a fantasy series and I really enjoyed it.  I had bought the collection of the first three books in the series, but I’ve not delved into the second book yet.  However, it’s on the plan for this year.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: Angel vs Frankenstein (2009)

Posted in comic books, Frankenstein, Halloween, holiday, horror, monsters, TV shows, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2016 by Paxton

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Back in 2011, when I did Dracula/vampires for my theme, I covered the appearance of Dracula in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  This included several comic book appearances with Buffy and Spike.  So, I thought I should next cover another Buffy character teaming up with another classic monster.  Let’s see if this one fares any better.

In 2009, IDW released a one-shot called Angel vs Frankenstein. It was written and drawn by the great John Byrne.

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The story takes place after Mary Shelley’s novel, which we get a brief recap of in the comic. It also takes place before Angel is cursed by the gypsy to have a soul.  So, after Frankenstein discovers Victor dead in the arctic at the end of Shelley’s novel, he decides to return to his home to claim the right as the last heir of Frankenstein.  However, the monster realizes he can’t do it alone, so the monster hires Angelus to return to Castle Frankenstein with him to help. However, Angelus has different ideas and throws the monster out of the stagecoach and over a cliff.  He then goes to the castle to claim the fortune for himself. But the monster didn’t die, and it makes its way back for his revenge. Queue Frankenstein vs Angelus fight.

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It’s a pretty good story. I like the setup. I love Byrne’s art. I enjoyed reading it. It’s only a one-shot, so it’s short, but Byrne makes the most of it.

Then in 2010, IDW released a sequel called, appropriately, Angel vs Frankenstein II.  This one-shot was also written and drawn by John Byrne.

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This takes place many years after the first comic. Angelus is now just Angel. He’s in America and working as a janitor at a mental hospital. He discovers the monster bound up in a hidden set of rooms in the hospital. Angel tries to sort out the mystery of how the monster got there but when the monster sees Angel, he goes off on a rampage thinking it’s Angelus and Angel has to stop him from tearing apart the city. We also learn a few secrets about the nature of this Frankenstein monster.

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Again, this is a good, if a bit more understated comic story. It’s another one shot, but Byrne makes good use of the characters and his art is great. I like the wrap up of the Frankenstein monster here. I’d definitely recommend these comics to a fan of Angel.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: Cavalcade Comics #13 Halloween Edition!!

Posted in comic books, Halloween, holiday, monsters, pop culture, vampires, werewolf, werewolves with tags , , , , on October 24, 2016 by Paxton

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Here we are, the final week of AWESOME-tober-fest. It’s this week the last few years that I’ve started a tradition to diverge from my overall theme to do a sort of “greatest hits” of my previous topics.  So instead of more mummies, I’m happily going to be doing other things like vampires, werewolves and movie maniacs.

Another sort of tradition I’ve started to debut during this week is a brand new Cavalcade Comics vintage throwdown cover. Last year I did the Dell Monster Squad featuring three of Dell Comics’ monster superheroes.  I was actually pretty proud of that cover.

This year, I’m going a little bit more generic but still featuring 2 of those monsters in the form of Werewolf vs A Planet of Vampires!

Cavalcade Comics #13

It’s poetic that I’m debuting issue #13 of these covers during my Halloween celebration.  I love that it worked out like that (no, I didn’t plan it that way).  Also, this particular cover was actually developed very early on when I started this feature.  It was probably the fourth or fifth cover I actually did but for some reason I just sat on it until I decided now is the time to reveal it.

The werewolf part of this cover in the background is taken from Werewolf by Night #19 (1974).  One of my favorite covers from that series. The vampire and his victim in the foreground are from Atlas Comics’ Planet of Vampires #2 (1975).  However, the Planet of Vampires logo is actually from issue #3.

Werewolf by Night #19 Planet of Vampires #2

I still have several other covers done that I haven’t released yet. One of them is actually the second cover I ever did and just never released it. We’ll see when, or if, that one ever comes up.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: Asher Cobb from The Sixth Gun

Posted in comic books, Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, monsters, mummy, pop culture, Western with tags , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2016 by Paxton

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Today I’m going to talk about a specific mummy character from one of my favorite comic series, The Sixth Gun, by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt.
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The comic is a horror western about six cursed pistols and the battle between good and evil to possess the guns and prevent them from destroying and remaking the world. There’s so much stuff running through this comic like gunfighters, undead Civil War generals, dark swamp gods, skinwalkers, black magic, ghosts and a 9 foot tall mummy. It really is worth a read and I can’t recommend it enough. The series as a whole ended this year with issue #50 and I recently did a re-read of the entire series from Book 1 up to the final issue and I loved every bit of it.  The comic really gets deep into its own mythology and I really liked how it ended.

Anyway, the part of this comic I want to discuss today is the aforementioned 9 foot tall mummy. His name is Asher Cobb.

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Asher first shows up in the series in the collected edition Book 3: Bound.  Specifically in the final page of issue #12.

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He shows up out of nowhere and steals the coffin containing the undead corpse of the evil General Hume.  He fights spectacularly for the next issue and a half.  Then, in issue #14, we finally get his origin as told to us by an old carnie.

Asher Cobb was born deformed. He was oversized, which made him an outcast.  To add to that, he also received visions.  Visions of the future.  He was befriended only by a nice girl named Ruth who he fell in love with.  One day he received a terrible vision of Ruth’s death.  So to prevent the death of the girl he loved, he sought out some old witches and made a devil’s bargain to cheat death.  But to do that, he had to endure death.

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Unfortunately Asher was not able to prevent Ruth’s death so he is constantly wandering, driven crazy by his unnaturally long life and the knowledge that he couldn’t prevent Ruth’s death.  He is at first used by the forces of evil as a tool, but Asher would show up much later helping out the good guys and hoping that whomever acquired the guns and remade the world, would also bring back his beloved Ruth.

Asher is a pretty great character, both in the story but also visually.  He is super strong, gets visions of the future and just looks awesome.  He’s just one of the reasons I love this comic.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: A tomb full of mummy covers

Posted in comic books, monsters, mummy, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2016 by Paxton

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We’re getting towards the end of my mummy themed weeks.  Next week, the final week of AWESOME-tober-fest, will be my usual “greatest hits” articles where I revisit previous topics in the history of my Halloween celebration.

But, now, let’s continue our slow, creeping walk down mummy lane with a variety of mummy covers for comics and magazines.

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I spoke about this character earlier in the month, so here are two more covers for The Living Mummy’s appearances in Marvel’s Supernatural Thrillers.  (Supernatural Thrillers #7, 1974, John Romita cover, Supernatural Thrillers #11, 1975, Frank Brunner cover)

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Here’s the Living Mummy teaming up with The Thing in a cover by Ron Wilson and Chic Stone (Marvel Two-in-One, 1983).

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The Gold Key Star Trek title even got in on some mummy action. (Star Trek #21, 1973)

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Wonder Woman battling mummies in a cover by Ross Andru (Wonder Woman #161, 1966).

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The Shadow wants in on some of that battling mummies action. Cover by Frank Robbins. (The Shadow #8, 1974).

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I’ve reviewed other Dell comic monster adaptations with Frankenstein, Wolf Man and Dracula.  Here are two covers for Dell’s adaptation of the Universal Mummy movie. Unfortunately Dell didn’t try to turn the mummy into a super hero.

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If you listen to the Nerd Lunch Podcast, you should remember the character of Fantomah. I talked about her on episode 197 where we were modernizing Golden Age comic characters. CT assigned me Fantomah.  Well, Fantomah was rebooted several years after her “wild jungle girl” phase into an adventurer who was descendant of ancient Egyptian royalty.

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Here are two Hammer Horror magazines featuring cover stories on the Hammer mummy movies.  I love that Mummy’s Shroud painted cover on the right.

 


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: Marvel’s The Living Mummy

Posted in comic books, monsters, mummy, nostalgia, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2016 by Paxton

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Marvel has had a long history with monsters.  I’ve covered several monster titles from Marvel for previous AWESOME-tober-fests like Tomb of Dracula, Frankenstein and Werewolf by Night.  Well, not surprisingly, Marvel also had a mummy character.  He was called The Living Mummy and he debuted in the horror anthology series Supernatural Thrillers, issue #5, August 1973.

Supernatural Thrillers #5

You may remember the comic Supernatural Thrillers as I reviewed issue #2 last year which contained an adaptation of HG Wells’ The Invisible Man.

The first four issues of Supernatural Thrillers were mostly adaptations of existing work; Stephenson’s Jeckyll & Hyde, Robert Howard’s Valley of the Worm, Sturgeon’s It! and the aforementioned The Invisible Man.  With issue #5, editor Roy Thomas had Steve Gerber create a new original character to be run as a feature.  While issue #6 would contain a somewhat sequel to Irving’s Sleepy Hollow, issues #7-15 would solely feature the character The Living Mummy.

Living Mummy

The Living Mummy started out as N’Kantu, son of the Chief of the Swarili Tribe in ancient Cairo.  He is 21 and is preparing to become a tribal warrior by taking the Test of the Lion.  While away on a hunt, N’Kantu returns to his tribe to discover that the Pharoah Aram-Set has conquered his tribe and enslaved them to work building monuments. N’Kantu helps plot a rebellion, but his planning is discovered and he is sprayed with a paralyzing liquid that renders him immobile. Then his blood is replaced by a special alchemical embalming fluid, he is wrapped in bandages and put in a coffin to lay, immobile, for the next thousand years.

Living Mummy origin

After about a thousand years, the paralyzing liquid wears off and N’Kantu escapes from his coffin, however, he is completely insane due to being trapped immobile in the dark for a millennia. So he goes on a rampage in “modern” Cairo.

He gets electrocuted which knocks him out, then is electrocuted AGAIN and is revived.  Goes on another rampage.  Meets an archaeologist who cures his insanity, but unfortunately N’Kantu is then sent to another dimension. And in this dimension, we get a few stories of The Living Mummy…wait for it…IN SPACE.

Mummy in space!

Yep, he’s trapped in space fighting aliens.  Doesn’t get much more awesome than that, ladies and gentlemen.

After the mummy shenanigans in Supernatural Thrillers, N’Kantu would break out and guest star in other titles like Spider-Man, Marvel Team-Up and Deadpool Team Up.  He made the jump to television in the animated series Ultimate Spider-Man, Super Hero Squad and Hulk and the Agents of SMASH and even joined The Legion of Monsters at one point.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

Fourth of July Showdown: Uncle Sam vs Captain America

Posted in comic books, holiday, nostalgia, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2016 by Paxton

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Happy 4th of July! To celebrate today I’m back with a quick holiday themed Cavalcade Comics cover. If you remember, July 4th last year, I showed you Uncle Sam: The Ultimate Ninja. Well, I thought it was time to bring Uncle Sam back. But instead of my Ultimate Ninja version, I’m bringing you a more traditional version of the character. And he has a few words for Captain America.

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Yikes, Sam, that’s gonna leave a mark. I thought this idea was too perfect to pass up on this, the celebration of America’s Independence Day.  And I thought labeling it Civil War II was appropriate since Marvel is actually doing Civil War II right now.

So, where did I get the images? I found Uncle Sam from the cover of Freedom Fighters #8, June 1977.  The cover was done by Rich Buckler.

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Captain America was taken from his own title, issue #124 from 1968. It was drawn by Marie Severin.

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I had to jockey around a few things but for the most part the images fit together nicely. Now, the background. I’ll admit, I had the HARDEST time finding a background that worked. I originally wanted the background from Freedom Fighters but it was a generic city street. I wanted something more “Washington DC”, like the White House or Capitol Building. I was close to using The Flash #200 from 1970 as it had the dome in the background.  But then I happened upon another Cap issue, #444 from 1995.  And I decided to roll with that.

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As you can see, it’s got the nice government building in the background and I thought it would be great to have Cap and Sam slugging it out on the steps of that building.  I had to change the perspective a little and use layers upon layers to hide Cap’s shield, but I think it turned out nicely.