Archive for Marvel Comics

AWESOME-tober-fest 2013: Marvel’s Simon Garth: The Zombie!

Posted in comic books, monsters, pop culture, zombies with tags , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2013 by Paxton

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In 1953, the forerunner of Marvel Comics, Atlas Comics, released the fifth issue of their horror anthology title, Menace.

Menace 5

In this issue, in a standalone story written by Stan Lee and drawn by Bill Everett was the debut of a character known only as, The Zombie.

The Zombie

The short story offered no background, just the simple setup of a zombie walking the swamps who is controlled by a mysterious evil man in a hidden cabin. After the story first appeared the character sort of disappeared.

Then in 1974, editor Roy Thomas plucked the character from obscurity and made him the star of his very own horror themed magazine called Tales of the Zombie.

Tales of the Zombie 01

The magazine re-printed Lee’s original Menace story, but then Thomas had Steve Gerber and Joe Buscema craft a prologue story, Altar of the Damned, to fill out the zombie backstory and give the character a name; Simon Garth. Gerber and Buscema then did another story called Night of the Walking Dead to continue the character’s adventures forward.

New stories in each issue of the magazine were mostly done by Steve Gerber and Pablo Marcos.  Other notable contributers included Doug Moench and Chris Claremont.  Simon Garth’s final appearance in this magazine would be in issue 9 which awesomely culminated in a story arc at his daughter’s wedding.

Tales of the Zombie 09

The magazine would actually go release issue 10, but it featured the character Brother Voodoo and not Simon Garth.

Since the 70s, Simon has popped up in appearances all over the Marvel Universe including Spider-Man, Blade, Dracula and, most recently, was a main character in Marvel Zombies 4.

He’s not had his own series again, but he did get a few mini-series in 2007 under the Marvel MAX imprint.


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

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2013: Marvel Zombies (2005-current)

Posted in comic books, monsters, pop culture, zombies with tags , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2013 by Paxton

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In Dec 2005, Marvel published a 5 issue mini-series written by Robert Kirkman and drawn by Sean Phillips called Marvel Zombies. It was essentially an “alternate universe” tale about the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe contracting a virus that turned them all into zombies.

Ult Fan Four 21 Ult Fant Four 22 Ult Fan Four 23

The whole idea originated in a story arc in Ultimate Fantastic Four issues 21-23 (Sep 2005).  Reed Richards is tricked by a duplicate of himself from another dimension into bringing over him and his alternate dimension FF teammates.  Turns out, that version of the Fantastic Four is actually infected with a super-virus that turned them into zombies and their dimension has run out of their food source; brains and human flesh.  The Zombie Four wish to enter this new dimension that is full of tasty brains to eat.  Reed and the Ultimate FF defeat the zombies, but only barely and only with the help of Victor Von Doom.

The Marvel Zombies mini begins on this alternate universe of Marvel Heroes a small while after the Crossover story arc.  Some of the details before this story arc would be fleshed out in a later one-shot written by Robert Kirkman called Marvel Zombies: Dead Days.  But the first Marvel Zombies series takes placed right after Crossover.

Marvel Zombies 1 Marvel Zombies 4

Magneto destroys the cross dimensional portal that Reed used during the Crossover story to bring the zombie FF over to the other dimension. Magneto is then killed by all of the zombies. The Silver Surfer arrives on the planet to announce Galactus’ arrival, but he too is overwhelmed and killed by the zombies who then each absorb some of the Surfer’s Power Cosmic. The zombies with the Power Cosmic kill and devour the non-powered zombies to remove the competition for food. Galactus arrives and barely fights off the zombie hordes. Giant-Man, Iron Man and Bruce Banner develop a machine to harness and increase the Power Cosmic they all have and they use this to finally injure and devour Galactus. Galactus’ power is absorbed by the surviving group of zombies who use this power to leave the planet and start scouring the Universe for planets with more food.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I read this but it’s pretty awesome.  I discovered Robert Kirkman first through his Astounding Wolf-Man and Invincible comics.  I knew about Marvel Zombies, but when I discovered Kirkman wrote the first two mini-series, I grabbed both of them as well as the Dead Days prequel and devoured them (pun intended) immediately.  These first Kirkman produced books are nothing short of amazing in their storytelling.  I can’t recommend them enough.

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(Via Comic Vine)

There were several non-Kirkman sequels after Marvel Zombies 2.  Marvel Zombies 3 (2008) and 4 (2009) were written by Fred Van Lente and drawn by Kev Walker.  They are appropriately over-the-top and fun.  Part 3 has the character of Machine Man as it’s protagonist and Part 4 uses the Midnight Sons (Morbius, Man-Thing, Werewolf by Night, Damien Hellstrom and Jennifer Kale).  Now that I’m looking it up, it seems Van Lente actually also wrote a Marvel Zombies 5 in 2010.  I haven’t read that one, but 3 and 4 are fun and zany stories that don’t aspire (nor really need to) to the scope of the first two mini-series.  Plus, it could be that the concept is spreading itself a little thin by the third sequel.

After this a collection of one-shots were released called Marvel Zombies Return as well as Marvel Zombies Supreme and a one shot called Evil Evolution which is a crossover between Marvel Zombies and Marvel Apes.  So yeah, Marvel is milking the hell out of this zombies thing, but it’s still really popular.  And I keep reading them, for sure.  I’ll definitely continue on with part 5.


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

Nerd Lunch Episode 70: Non-Super Hero Comics

Posted in comic books, podcast, pop culture with tags , , , , , , on January 29, 2013 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

Welcome to Episode 70 of the Nerd Lunch podcast. This week we are joined by Michael May of Michael May’s Adventureblog and Robot 6. Michael joins us on this episode to talk about comics. Non super hero comics.

Lady Cop Seeker 3000

You know, the stuff without super heroes. Yes, there are comics without super heroes. We talk about stuff like Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth, Y: The Last Man, Groo, Conan, monster comics and a bunch of other sh*t I never read.

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or listen to it online right here.

Movie Board: My Favorite Movies of 2012

Posted in movies with tags , , , , on January 9, 2013 by Paxton

Movie Board

This will be the first year that I don’t actually have a physical “white board” in which I wrote down all of the movies I saw this past year.  My movie list is kept all digital now with Google Spreadsheets (like my book list).  So, it’s sad, but for the most part I think I’m retiring my literal “white board”.  Who knows, maybe I’ll bring it back.  We’ll see.  To see previous years’ picks, click the image above.

Anyway, I combed through my movie log and picked 5 of my favorite movies released in 2012.  Notice I’m not saying “best”.  That is so subjective, I’m just telling you my “favorite” movies of 2012, in no particular order.


Marvel’s The Avengers – Who am I kidding? This is my favorite movie of the year. It’s probably the greatest movie ever filmed.  I can’t add anything more to what’s already been said.  You’ve seen it or you are in a coma.  And I’m sorry for you coma people because you’re missing the best movie ever made.


Django Unchained – Just got a showing of this movie in under the wire and HOLY SHEEEEE-IT, it’s amazing. I think I like this one even better than Inglourious Basterds.  Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio are the reasons to see this movie, but I don’t mean to discount Jamie Foxx or Samuel L Jackson.  This is one well acted, well written movie and…IT’S A WESTERN!  Yes, maybe this will cause Hollywood to try it’s hand at more of them.  However, I am concerned that Disney’s The Lone Ranger may kill that notion, quick.  But I hope not.


Skyfall – Is this the best Bond film of all time? No, it’s not. However, it’s probably the best Craig Bond film. For me, right now, it ranks up there, possibly in the top 5 of all time Bond movies. We’ll see, though, time will tell if that holds up.  Fantastic movie.

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Year End Book Report: The Best Books I Read in 2012

Posted in books, comic books with tags , , , , , on January 7, 2013 by Paxton

Badass Book Report

Here we are, my year end recap of the books I’ve read this year. You can check out my Google Spreadsheet for the full list of books I’ve managed to read in 2012 (and every year prior).

So, like last year, I’ll list out the top 5 books I read and the top 5 comics I read this year. I’m excluding re-reads in my evaluations. I’m only including books I read for the first time in 2012.

Here we go.  In no particular order.

Books


Ready Player One – Ernest Cline – Okay, I’m immediately going to call myself a liar.  I said these were in no order, but I’m telling you right now, this was the best book I read in 2012.  Hands down.  There was a lot of buzz going around about the book and I had several people recommend it to me.  Which usually makes me not want to read things.  However, my friend Trish over at Love, Laughter and Insanity believed that I would love it so much that she actually traveled to a bookstore in which Ernest Cline was signing, had him sign a copy of the paperback and then mailed it to me.  And that’s why she’s awesome.  Thanks, Trish.  Your hard work paid off and it has been named as my favorite book of the year.  Seriously, this book is the truth.  Don’t read anything about it or the story.  Just experience it.  You’re welcome.


Star Wars: Darth Plagueis – Honestly, this was the best book I read for most of 2012.  Then, in early July, I read the above book.  But even if this isn’t my #1, it’s absolutely in my top 5.  This is probably also in the top 5 of Star Wars books of all-time.  This book had been planned, started, stopped and delayed several times.  Finally, James Luceno grabbed the reins and drove this baby home.  It’s a very ambitious novel.  Focusing on the behind the scenes machinations of Darth Sidious and his master, Darth Plagueis.  It’s fascinating to see the rise of Plagueis, his meeting with Palpatine on Naboo, and their cultivating the plan that will eventually be unleashed in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.  This book is so good it makes The Phantom Menace a better movie.  Luceno was never one of my favorite Star Wars writers but this book and Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader have changed that.  I’m now on the lookout for what Luceno plans to do next.


11/22/63 – Stephen King – I’ve been a fan of King’s work for years.  My favorite stuff are his short story collections but I’ve read most of his other seminal novels.  Earlier in 2012 I had decided to finally read The Stand.  I didn’t just love it.  And after 1130+ pages of that, I was reluctant to read another King book that tops 800 pages.  But I acquired this hardback in early 2012 at a used library book sale for around a dollar.  I’ve always been fascinated with the Kennedy assassination and time travel, so this was a perfect topic for me.  And the story delivers.  King really outdoes himself with this book.  King meanders a bit in the middle, but honestly I didn’t mind because the characters were so engaging.  Really, the Kennedy assassination is almost an afterthought.  But when it finally comes it’s awesome.  This book blew me away.  I highly recommend giving it a shot.  Especially since the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s death is Nov 22, 2013.  But get the eBook version.  An 800 page hardback is a little tough to read.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2012: Marvel Comics’ A Nightmare on Elm Street magazine (1989)

Posted in A Nightmare on Elm Street, comic books, Freddy Krueger, magazine, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2012 by Paxton

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In 1989 Marvel comics released the magazine Freddy Krueger’s A Nightmare on Elm Street.

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The magazine had gorgeously painted covers by Joe Jusko.  The interior art was in black and white and done by Rich Buckler and Tony DeZuniga.  Tony DeZuniga also worked on the awesome MGM’s Marvelous Wizard of Oz magazine I’ve talked about before for my Oz series.  The interior stories were written by Steve Gerber.  The magazines were published around the release of Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.  At the time, comics were coming under fire for being too violent and Nightmare 5 was getting protests in LA for this very reason.  This general backlash caused Marvel to decide to cancel the magazine after issue #2.  Marvel wasn’t receiving pressure from anyone and the magazine actually sold fairly well, Marvel just wanted to avoid any problems so they quietly folded the magazine.

It’s a shame the magazine was canceled.  The story was pretty interesting.  The first issue even has a few pages devoted to its own version of Freddy’s origin involving Amanda Krueger’s entrapment, beating and rape within the walls of a mental hospital.  The art is pretty good too, especially in the first issue.  The second half of the second issue, though, the art becomes a little uneven and a little inconsistent.  Sometimes it’s nicely inked and sometimes it looks like pencil drawings.  A little weird.

Check out two samples of the art.  On the left is a nicely inked page from early in the issue and on the right is a page that looks more “pencil-like” with very little inking. You can click the images to see them BIGGER.

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It goes on like that for the last 10 pages or so. Sometimes only one panel on the page will have the “pencil” look. I guess they knew the mag was being canceled and just rushed it out.  Which makes sense since the second issue of this magazine is extremely hard to find.

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8 Comic covers right before/after a famous first appearance

Posted in Batman, comic books, pop culture, Superman, The Flash with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2012 by Paxton

Cavalcade Comics

First appearances of famous comic book heroes/villains are highly sought after in the comic book world.  Who wouldn’t love an Action Comics #1 or a Detective Comics #27?  But what about Action Comics #2?  Or Detective Comics #26?   Are anyone seeking these titles out?

To me, it’s fascinating to look at very famous comic titles before or after they’ve debuted a very famous character.  They may not look like even the same title.  It’s weird to see an issue of Detective Comics with Slam Bradley or the Crimson Avenger on the front and not Batman.  You feel like you’re in the Fringe universe.  Let’s check out some of these fun comic covers and you can see how strange and foreign they look to you.

Action Comics #1Action Comics #2
Action Comics #2Action Comics is probably one of the most iconic titles of all time. Who doesn’t know that Superman debuted in issue #1 of Action Comics (left) in 1938? Well, interestingly enough, Action Comics was originally meant to be an anthology adventure comic with several other adventure characters. So even though Action Comics is now strictly a Superman title, back then, Supes was just one of the featured characters. Therefore, issue #2 (right) didn’t feature Superman on the cover at all. Issue #3 didn’t feature Superman either.  As a matter of fact, Superman wouldn’t make another Action Comics cover appearance until issue #7 (SIX MONTHS later).

Detective Comics #26Detective Comics #27Detective Comics #28
Detective Comics #26  and #28 – Detective Comics is as intimately associated with Batman as Action Comics is with Superman.  However, Batman didn’t debut until issue #27 (middle), so there were 26 issues of Detective without Batman on the cover or in the book.  As you can see, in the issues before (#26, left) and after (#28, right) Batman you get standard covers of police officers and gangsters that you would normally appear on crime comics of this time.  While Batman would return to the cover for issue #29, he would be absent again for issue #30.

All-Star Comics #2All-Star Comics #3All-Star Comics #8
All-Star Comics #3 and #8All-Star Comics is a very famous Golden Age title. It features the first appearance of The Justice Society of America in issue #3 (middle) which is the first team-up of super-heroes into a single team in history. In issue #2 (left), you can see they still feature the heroes on the cover, but not collected together as one team as designated by issue #3’s giant round table with the team name embossed on the top.  All-Star Comics #8 (right) is an interesting issue also.  You wouldn’t know it by the cover, but that issue is the first appearance of Wonder Woman in an 8 page insert that was used to test the interest of Wonder Woman as a hero.  Wonder Woman would join the Justice Society in issue #11…as their secretary (but she would make the cover!). She would prove popular enough to headline her own book, Sensation Comics, a year later.

Showcase #3Showcase #4Showcase #5
Showcase #3 and #5 – The debut of The Flash in Showcase #4 (middle) was one of the defining moments of the Silver Age. Showcase was a tryout book by DC to determine who would get their own series. As you can see, the issue before The Flash debuted (#4, middle) featured a story about deep sea divers called The Frogmen (#3, left). And even though The Flash was a huge hit, he wouldn’t appear in Showcase #5 which featured Manhunters (#5, right). The Flash would reappear on the cover for Showcase #8. The Hal Jordan Green Lantern would debut in Showcase #22.

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