Archive for DC Comics

Year End Book Report: The Best Books I Read in 2011

Posted in books, comic books with tags , , , , , on February 7, 2012 by Paxton

Badass Book Report

Here we are, I finally begin my year end round up articles. In February. Sorry about that. I wanted to do it earlier but I wanted to give myself a little bit more time to finish off some movies and books that are eligible for this list. But, apologies aside, my lists are here.

As you know, back in 2009 I started keeping a book log with everything I read. It makes looking at this list easier. I keep it in a Google Spreadsheet so I can access it from any computer.

Here it is.

My Book Log

You can click the image to view it or just click here.  So I perused this list and made my selections.  Below are the best books I read last year (not including re-reads).

Unlike last year, I’ve split this list into books and comics/trade paperbacks.  I read enough of both of them to create their own lists and it was hard to weed out stuff just because it was a comic in order to make room for a book.  So, last year I only read three books that were actually released during the 2011 calendar year.  Did they make the list?  Read on to find out.

So without further ado, here are my favorite books I read in 2011.

Lost Hero Son of Neptune
Heroes of Olympus series – Rick Riordan – This is the sequel series to Riordan’s Percy Jackson series which made my inaugural best of list in 2009. It is currently up to book 2.  Son of Neptune is one of the three books that was released in 2011 that I read. I loved the first book in this series, The Lost Hero and Son of Neptune is almost as good. Riordan has created a fascinating world and I long to return to it when book 3 comes out.  And despite what Riodan had said earlier, Percy Jackson is all over this series.  Especially Son of Neptune.

The Magicians
The Magicians – Lev Grossman – Wow, this book is really good. It’s billed as sort of a Harry Potter in high school, and I see the parallels, but this story is tonally a 180 from Harry Potter. From the friendships to even how magic is actually executed, it’s just completely different. And great. This book is great. I look forward to checking out the sequel, The Magician King.  I’ll probably check out a few of Grossman’s other books, too.

Darth Bane 1 Darth Bane 2 Darth Bane 3
Star Wars: Darth Bane trilogy – Drew Karpyshyn – This series was recommended to me years ago by my friend Dr Mike, but I was reluctant to read it because it was about a bunch of Star Wars characters I didn’t know in a time period I knew nothing about.  Boy was I wrong.  It’s amazing.  This series needs to be the template for all the Star Wars books that want to focus on a specific character.  Interesting origins, cool bits of Sith history.  It’s just great.  If you read Star Wars (or science fiction) at all, read this series.

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Nerd Lunch Episode 21: Comic Book Scenarios

Posted in comic books, podcast with tags , , , , , on January 25, 2012 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

Episode 21 has gone LIVE, my friends. This week we are down a man as Jeeg has flown off to Europe to find himself. In the meantime, we invited Vanessa and Erika from Girls Gone Geek to join us for a lively discussion about comic books.

Phantom Eagle

Specifically we are talking about comic book scenarios. What sidekick would we like to have? What would we do if we ever got super powers? What character would we kill and make sure stays dead? These are the nerdy questions we ask ourselves and sometimes answer with very little geeky rambling.  Well, some rambling.

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner. And yes, we are still on the Zune Marketplace.

5 Reasons why the 1987 John Byrne Superman kicked ass

Posted in 80s, comic books, nostalgia, pop culture, Superman with tags , , , , , on January 11, 2012 by Paxton

Superman Week

Last year I talked about the 25th anniversary of the John Byrne mini-series Man of Steel.  That 1986 mini-series was a post-Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot of Superman which updated his origin and character and served to make him a little less powerful and thus, more interesting.

The reboot led to a revamp of Action Comics, a renaming of the old Superman book to The Adventures of Superman as well as the launch of a brand new Superman book.  The new Superman book as well as Action Comics would be written and drawn by John Byrne.  The Adventures of Superman would be written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by Jerry Ordway.  And this month, the post Crisis Superman reboot celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Here is a DC in-house ad advertising the launch of the new Superman titles.

DC House Ad - Superman reboot

The three issues that started the reboot and featured in this ad are Superman #1, The Adventures of Superman #424 (previously titled Superman) and Action Comics #584.  This reboot was a pretty big event and DC advertised it to the hilt.

For the most part, I wasn’t a fan of the Marv Wolfman Adventure issues, but I was a HUGE fan of the Byrne Superman and Action Comics titles.  His art and action packed writing style made Superman fun to read.  I still have many of the original issues.

Anyway, in celebration of the 25th anniversary, here are 5 reasons why the John Byrne Superman titles kicked so much ass.

Superman vs Teen Titans Superman vs Superboy Superman vs Legion

Superman got into fights with EVERYONE – Under John Byrne, Action Comics essentially became a free-for-all.  It turned into a team up book starring Superman and another character (a la Brave & the Bold for Batman).  Within the majority of those issues, Superman wound up getting into a fight with his co-stars, usually over some misunderstanding.  But Byrne drew the fights with awesome jaw cracking detail.  The regular Superman title was the same way with Supes fighting the Legion, Metallo, Supergirl and a giant mutant ape.

Superman fights 1 Superman fights 2 Superman fights 8

Superman fights 6 Superman fights 7 Superman fights 5

Superman fights 9

Superman didn’t always win his fights (Bizarro, Metallo, Superboy, Rampage, Supergirl) – So, as I said,  Superman fought a lot.  And surprisingly, he actually got his ass kicked…a lot.  At least every other issue featured a panel of Superman getting either smacked in the face or being hit so hard he flies through the air.  Check out the myriad of comic panels above showing the Man of Steel on the receiving end of a Bronx haymaker.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: Batman vs Dracula

Posted in Batman, comic books, Dracula, Halloween, holiday, monsters, pop culture, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2011 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

This the is final day of AWESOME-tober-fest 2011 comic book week in which I look at comic books featuring the character of Dracula. Today I’m going to look at the epic battle between the Lord of the Vampires and the Dark Knight Detective.

Batman vs Dracula

Today’s comic is Batman & Dracula: Red Rain from 1991.  Yes, Batman vs Dracula in an Elseworlds tale.  How badass is that? The book was written by Doug Moench and illustrated by Kelley Jones. This was a very popular graphic novel and spawned a cartoon movie that was loosely based on the story.

This graphic novel has Batman investigating a series of murders affecting Gotham’s homeless population. Batman discovers that the murders are by a family of vampires led by Dracula himself. Batman recruits a female vampire named Tanya who recently left Dracula’s family to help lure the vampire legions to the Batcave. Batman is accidentally bit by a vampire but still manages to destroy the majority of the vampire family except Dracula. Dracula kidnaps Gordon and Batman goes after him. Dracula and vampire Batman battle and Dracula is impaled on a broken tree trunk. Batman laments that Bruce Wayne is dead but states that now, vampire Batman can continue forever.

Batman vs vampires

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Review of DC’s The New 52 – Justice League #1

Posted in Batman, comic books, reviews, Superman with tags , , , , , , on August 31, 2011 by Paxton

Cavalcade Comics

Well, for those that don’t know, I’m off to Vegas tomorrow.  My wife and I are renewing our vows for our 10th anniversary and there’s no better way to do it than to do it in Vegas by Elvis.  So that’s happening for me this weekend.

I wanted to jump in today with a quick comic review.  The first of DC’s “New 52” came out and I got my hands on it.  It was Justice League #1.

Written by Geoff Johns and drawn by the awesome Jim Lee, this comic begins DC’s journey into Rebootville. I wasn’t for sure what to expect going into this. I was  a little excited, a little apprehensive.  I just wanted a good start to this whole thing.  Plus, I didn’t know where they would begin.  Will we see the origin of the JLA, or will everything begin further back and we’ll eventually get the full-fledged JLA.  Let’s see.

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7 Got Milk? ads featuring movie versions of comic book super heroes

Posted in advertising, Batman, comic books, movies, pop culture, Superman, Superman Returns with tags , , , , , , , on August 25, 2011 by Paxton

I love the various advertising campaigns for milk.  From as far back as the 80s, they’ve had some of the more consistently entertaining commercial and print ads ever. There’s just something about them I enjoy.

Everyone remembers Michael Bay’s “Aaron Burr”.  Or the fun “Milk it Does a Body Good” commercials.  Or the ubiquitous “Got Milk?” print ads.  Classic advertising.  I especially like the ones I’m going to show you today. They are all print ads for the “Got Milk?” or “Body by Milk” campaigns and they all feature movie versions of comic book super heroes.  I love explosions of pop geeky culture like this.  I found many of these while thumbing through old magazines I had in my garage.

Please to enjoy.

Batman Begins The Dark Knight
Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008) – Two of the greatest Batman movies we probably will ever see.  The Dark Knight is great, however, for re-watchability, I pick Batman Begins every time.  I love the sequel, I really do, but when I want to watch a Batman movie I put on Batman Begins.

Superman Returns
Superman Returns (2006) – I love Brandon Routh.  However, this movie sucked.  One giant missed opportunity.  The lead was great and the effects were awesome.  But everything else was wrong.

Green Lantern
Green Lantern (2010) – This movie ended up exactly like Superman Returns.  The lead was great and the effects were awesome, but everything else was a fumbled missed opportunity.  Kudos for a great looking ad, though.

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25th Anniversary Review of John Byrne’s Man of Steel Part I

Posted in 80s, Batman, comic books, pop culture, Superman with tags , , , , , , , on July 6, 2011 by Paxton

Superman Week

John Byrne’s historic six issue mini series, The Man of Steel, just turned 25 years old.  It was released during the Summer of 1986 to “clean up” the ever increasing super powers and ever more complicated back story of DC’s flagship super hero. For years, this series was the official origin of the post-Crisis Superman.  What’s “post-Crisis”?  Glad you asked.

Twenty six years ago (Apr 1985), DC released their multiverse changing event Crisis on Infinite Earths. I discussed the genesis of that historical mini-series over on Strange Kid’s Club in a very special installment of Forgotten Favorites. That megaseries changed the landscape of the DC Universe. It ushered in a time of change. Heroes died.  Heroes lived.  But after all was said and done, everyone had to pick up the pieces and move on.

Crisis #1

DC was using the event to update and modernize their heroes. After the event was over,  George Perez would relaunch the post-Crisis Wonder Woman.  Batman’s origin would be expanded and revamped in Frank Miller’s famous Batman: Year One. And it also was time for DC to give Superman a new start. In the years leading up to Crisis, Superman had become entirely too powerful. I talked about some of his more ridiculous “super powers” earlier this week. The time of Superman igniting suns with his heat vision and juggling planets had come to an end. Crisis writer Marv Wolfman pitched DC on a Superman reboot that would eliminate the super pets, the surprisingly large number of Kryptonian survivors and power down the Man of Steel to more “normal” levels. Wolfman even wanted to eliminate Superman’s adventures as Superboy. Surprisingly, Wolfman made a similar pitch to DC back in the 70s but they rejected it. Now DC was all ears.

Wolfman decided to hire popular writer/artist John Byrne (who had just left Marvel) to help him flesh out the details of the story. Wolfman and Byrne sequestered themselves away and came up with a multi-year plan for the new Man of Steel.  A month or so after the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths, John Byrne would kick off Superman’s triumphant return with a 6 issue mini-series (re)introducing the new post-Crisis Superman to comic readers.  At the end of that series, Byrne would take over writing and drawing Action Comics and the new Superman title and Marv Wolfman would take over writing Adventures of Superman with Jerry Ordway drawing.

Man of Steel 1b

Each issue of Byrne’s 6 issue series would re-introduce aspects of the Superman mythos back into the DC Universe.  I’ll take a quick look at the first 3 issues today, then I’ll look at the final three issues tomorrow.  I haven’t read this series since the mid ’90s, so it’ll be interesting to see if it’s still any good or if it’s totally dated.

Let’s find out.

MOS 1a
Issue 1’s prologue begins on Krypton and we learn that this new Krypton is very similar to the Richard Donner version from the movies. It’s very scientific, the landscape is antiseptic and the people are detached from each other. However, despite being highly evolved, their planet is dying. Jor-El is making preparations to rocket his son to Earth. He explains to Lara that he chose Earth because the yellow sun would super charge his Kryptonian cells, making him a “super” man and superior to humans so he can one day rule the planet. The rocket takes off, we see the planet explode and then the prologue ends. We pick up with Clark in high school. He’s a football star. A jock. And kind of a douche. And he’s unaware that he’s an alien. Pa Kent shows him the crash site and explains how he was found in the fields after crashing to Earth. Clark must come to terms with not being human and learning to deal with his burgeoning powers. In the epilogue we see Clark, with help from Ma and Pa Kent, create his super suit and the disguise for Clark Kent. The suit is normal fabric. We learn that Clark emits a force field around his body that protects things close to him, like his clothes. Things outside the field, like his cape, can be torn up or destroyed.

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