Archive for comic books

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.

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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.

Cavalcade Comics #11 – The Frankenstein Monster vs The Winter Olympics

Posted in comic books, Frankenstein, monsters, nostalgia, pop culture with tags , , , , , , on December 16, 2015 by Paxton

Cavalcade Comics

I’m temporarily sticking my head out from where I’m hibernating during the winter to post up this newest cover in my Vintage Comic Throwdown series.

This month’s cover isn’t necessarily holiday themed, as I don’t really have a “Christmas” themed cover in my back log.  But I do have a “winter-y” themed cover I can use.  Peep your ‘balls on The Frankenstein Monster vs The Winter Olympics.

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I’m sort of in love with the concept as well as the execution of this cover.  It was birthed almost entirely out of one awesome Marvel Treasury front cover as well as the back cover pin-up.  Check out that cover’s double sided awesomeness right here (click to see BIGGER).

Marvel Treasury cover

This is Marvel Treasury Edition #25 from June 1980.  The front cover was drawn by Al Milgrom and Jack Abel.  The back cover “pin-up” was drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz and Bruce Patterson.  So much action-y goodness that I couldn’t pass up using the majority of the elements in this layout.  You can see all of them in the cover.  The skiers, the snow, the broken light pole, the building in the background with the crowd.  All re-purposed for my Frankenstein gone amok cover.

An element that I didn’t use from the Marvel cover is the Frankenstein monster himself, which comes from Marvel’s The Frankenstein Monster #7 from Nov 1973.  Drawn by the great John Buscema.

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I love doing these monster mashups. I have another Frankenstein monster mashup stashed away as well as a return for Ghost Rider! But is it the old gunslinger Ghost Rider or the Hell Cycle ridin’ demon? You’ll have to wait to find out.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: Scarlet in Gaslight (1987)

Posted in comic books, Dracula, Genres, horror, monsters, nostalgia, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , on October 29, 2015 by Paxton

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This week, instead of the Invisible Man, I am revisting some of my earlier AWESOME-tober-fest themes. Today I’m looking back at Dracula, whom I covered back in 2011.

The comic Scarlet in Gaslight was released by Eternity Comics in 1987-1988.

Sherlock Holmes SIG01

This comic is a Sherlock Holmes mystery where the detective meets the Prince of Darkness, Dracula. It was written by Martin Powell and drawn by Seppo Makinen.  If they sound familiar these are the guys who did the Sherlock Holmes vs Invisible Man comic I talked about earlier, A Case of Blind Fear.  They actually did this Dracula comic a few years before they did the invisible man mystery.

Sherlock Holmes SIG03

In style and execution this comic is very similar to A Case of Blind Fear.  Only, sadly, it isn’t quite as successful.  The story tries to incorporate Sherlock Holmes into the events of the Bram Stoker novel which, like in A Case of Blind Fear, would cause changes to the novel’s events as well as the outcome.  In the comic you see Lucy suffering in her room where Dracula has been visiting her.  You see Van Helsing trying to help her by covering the room in garlic.  We also see Dracula has the look from Stoker’s novel with the mustache, but it just isn’t working as well for me as it would a few years later with A Case of Blind Fear.

Lucy gets a bigger part and you see Sherlock having lots of issues with all of the supernatural things going on.  He even has sort of a breakdown in the middle of the comic because his precise mind can’t process what it sees.  This stuff is interesting but also, in the full run of the comic I was mostly bored reading.  I just couldn’t connect to this comic the same way I connected with the later invisible man story.  A lot of that may be my issues I have with the Bram Stoker novel itself, but I can’t be sure.  Taken at face value, some of this comic is pretty cool, it just has trouble keeping that coolness flowing throughout the four issue story.


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

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: The Dell Comics Monster Squad

Posted in comic books, Dracula, Frankenstein, Halloween, holiday, monsters, pop culture, werewolf with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2015 by Paxton

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Yesterday, with my review of Dell’s Frankenstein, I finally completed all three infamous 60s Dell superhero monster comics reviews (Here’s Dracula and Werewolf).  I love all three of these zany re-imagining of the classic monsters.  And as I mentioned in my reviews, the only thing that was missing was a team up.  We did see Frankenstein pop up briefly in a one panel cameo in Dracula, but other than that, no other crossover ever happened.  It’s time I rectify this situation.

So, issue #10 of Cavalcade Comics features the debut of the Dell monster super heroes in a team up.  Finally we get the Dell Comics Monster Squad.

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How did this never happen? I’ll tell you how, the comics never sold. It’s why we only got three issues of each title. I would love to see these characters come back in a cool retro reboot. I don’t even know who owns the license to them anymore, but with the right writer and tone, they could be fantastic.

I had only three covers of each of the three heroes to try to make work, but I luckily found Marvel’s Where Monsters Dwell #3 (1970) which works as a really nice base image for this cover.

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I love all those 70s horror comics from Marvel. Such good cover artwork and great to use as a base for these types of Photoshop projects.

The Dell Monster Squad logo was going to be a re-interpretation of some awesome original art by Nathan Milliner.

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Nathan created these awesome EC-style vintage comic covers I just love.  I really wanted to use that logo, but no matter how I manipulated it, it didn’t fit in the 60-70s vintage comic cover I was trying to create, so I sadly had to abandon it. I then went back to the original Where Monsters Dwell logo and just created the new logo off those letters and I think it turned out pretty good. I’m happy with it.

As for the monster heroes themselves; Dracula comes from Dell Dracula #4, Frankenstein comes from Dell Frankenstein #2 and Werewolf from Dell Werewolf #1.  

I also had to change the background a bit and add the night sky with the full moon which I believe I got from Marvel’s Werewolf by Night #11.


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

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: The Nobody by Jeff Lemire (2009)

Posted in comic books, Halloween, holiday, monsters, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , on October 7, 2015 by Paxton

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The Nobody is the first graphic novel for Jeff Lemire. It was published by Vertigo in 2009.

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The whole comic is sort of a re-imagining of HG Wells’ The Invisible Man novel. The setting is changed from the English countryside to a small town in what I presume is the New England area of America.  We have this drifter named Griffen, covered in bandages and wearing goggles, mosey into the tiny fishing town of Large Mouth and by just being there he causes a stir.

People speculate about why he has bandages and he generally becomes the gossip around town.  Griffen winds up befriending the town sheriff’s daughter, Vickie.  They strike up a platonic friendship that sort of grounds the book.  Soon, a few strange occurrences happen around town and all of a sudden everyone wants to blame the weird bandaged drifter.  Queue town mob and frantic search for the truth.

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I’m a fan of Jeff Lemire, especially as a writer. He’s written a lot for DC including being heavily involved in the New 52 including the titles Superboy, Justice League Dark and Animal Man. He has a quirky, dark style that I kind of enjoy so when I discovered that he had written a re-telling of The Invisible Man for Vertigo, I had to check it out. And to be honest, the only reason I found it was because I was doing The Invisible Man for AWESOME-tober-fest. So, thank you for the billionth time AWESOME-tober-fest.

The story is quirky but endearing.  It’s slow moving but fun.  It’s light until the very end when it gets a bit dark with a great “sort of” twist ending.  The artwork perfectly reflects the tone of the story.  Stark blacks and whites, tons of shadows with accents in blue and simple yet oddly complex drawings and page layouts.  This whole comic is quirky and odd but in a perfect way.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and it’s fun to see the slight parallels to the source novel, but make no mistake, it certainly goes it’s own way in a pretty cool story that I’m glad I discovered for this Halloween.


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

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: Batman vs the Invisible Man (2009)

Posted in Batman, comic books, monsters, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2015 by Paxton

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You may remember a few years ago when I did vampires for AWESOME-tober-fest 2011 that I covered a Batman vs Dracula comic by Doug Moench and Kelley Jones called Red Rain.  Well, 18 years later, Moench and Jones reunited to pit Batman against another monster.  The Invisible Man.

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Batman Unseen was released in 2009 as a 5 issue mini-series.  It seems very appropriate they got Moench and Jones to do this particular story.  Especially Jones.  I’m not a huge fan of Jones’ particular style when it comes to normal Batman stories.  He’s all odd angles, deep shadows, giant cowl ears and ridiculous f**king capes that’s more weird than it is enjoyable.  However, that style works perfectly in these off-kilter Elseworlds tales that mix Batman with the supernatural (vampires, ghosts, invisible men, etc).

The gist of the story is that The Black Mask has hired a scientist who has been fired and disgraced from his previous job to work for him.  His task?  Continue work on an invisibility serum and get it to work.  The story follows the scientist as he works on the serum and uses himself as the guinea pig.  The serum starts to work but it also drives the man insane as he constantly has to administer an overdose of the chemicals to keep the effect working for longer periods of time.

Batman Unseen - Invisible Man

I really like how the creators have the scientist working on making each body layer invisible a bit at a time.  First he makes his skin invisible, then his musculature, then his skeleton, then his organs, etc, etc.  As the serum’s effectiveness (and the scientist’s insanity) progresses, he begins taking advantage of his invisibility by getting revenge on people he believes has wronged him.  Batman follows the trail of dead bodies and the eye witnesses who say they only saw floating gloves or knives.  Can Batman get to the scientist in time?

The story is very good.  It’s also fairly violent.  Batman takes a beating from the invisible scientist.  Hardcore.  Plus there are several graphic murders.  All perfectly in tone with the story Moench (and Jones) is trying to tell.  Moench also does a great job of deftly working in layers of story elements.  Besides the scientist’s revenge plot, there’s a subplot about Batman losing his intimidation factor among the criminals in Gotham.  It seems they’ve become used to Batman being around and they aren’t scared of him anymore.  Batman is worried about this and tries to think of ways to fix it.  It drives some of Batman’s motivations at the end of the comic.  Very fun and atmospheric read.

Like I said, the art works perfectly for the story they are trying to tell.  But damn, Kelly Jones likes his cape porn.  I thought McFarlane loved to draw capes, but Jones may have him beat.  Some of the panels in this comic have some of the most ridiculous Batman capes that have ever been drawn.

Batman Unseen - Cape Porn

How would Batman get around with a cape like that? It’s absurd.  And that’s just one example.  Jones also likes to draw giant shish-kebob ears on the cowl.  Like I said, not really my favorite but honestly, it mostly works in this book because of the subject matter and tone.

I would recommend this book, especially if you enjoyed Moench/Jones’ previous Batman and Dracula team up.  It’s a cool, weird little story.  But lots of fun.


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