May 30, 2012

Spider-Man's Greatest Villains #190-181

WARNING: Foes within may be less lethal than advertised.
(Lethal Foes of Spider-Man #3, art by David Boller)
Continuing our countdown of Spider-Man's fiercest foes!  Who can lay claim to being Spider-Man's 186th best villain?  Find out after the jump!

May 29, 2012

The Phantom and Australia.

The Phantom is Australia's longest running comic book. It started being published in 1948 and continues to be published today. In fact the issue count for the Phantom puts American books like Uncanny X-Men or even Action Comics to shame, with the current issue of the series being #1633.

(Admittedly comics like Action Comics have stupidly low issue counts at the moment because of the reboots...)

So what has made the Phantom such an enduring character, so popular in Australia? I'm not really sure. Part of it is that it's actually a really damned good comic, but I think there's more to it than that. There's a feeling of familiarity in the Phantom. He's such a... colonial character, that he just suits Australians down to a tee.

Part of why Phantom is such an enduring character in Australia is down to Frew's efforts. They put out a new comic every couple of weeks, and make sure to pepper each issue with information and editorials which make the Phantom a really approachable character for new readers. But I don't really want to talk about the Phantom as he is now, I wanna talk about the past.

May 28, 2012

Serpentor in Cobra-Lalaland

And then there was that time the United Kingdom's Action Force Monthly decided to do a tie-in story to promote the release of G.I. Joe: The Movie Action Force: The Movie, resulting in a scene where Serpentor gently caresses Destro's metal mask when he hallucinates that Destro is Pythona. Which was, so far as I know, Pythona's only appearance in a comic book until Devil's Due did their G.I. Joe/Transformers crossovers around 2004.

Scans from G.I. Joe: European Missions #6, "As Thick As Thieves!". Story by Mike Collins, art by Robin Smith.

May 27, 2012

Girl-On-Girl Action

So, Pride Week's coming up, and in honour of that (and to shamelessly troll for hits), we're going to take a quick look at the Black Cat backup feature in 1995's Web of Spider-Man Super Special.  Written by Karl Kesel, with art by Patrick Zircher and Jeff Albrecht, it's an interesting ten-page story with an undercurrent you don't see much in mid-'90s Spider-Man comics.  The Black Cat, currently a private investigator, is staking out a fancy Manhattan restaurant; she's received a tip that it's going to be robbed by supervillains, but the owner refused her reasonably-priced security services.  She's mad, so she's planning to sit back, watch the place get robbed, and then charge the place a ridiculous finder's fee when she gets their stuff back.  Her resolve to do nothing lasts until she sees her ex-boyfriend, Flash Thompson (you'll remember those two used to date, which wreaked havoc on their fashion sense) there with a date; she still retains some fondness for the big lug, and she doesn't want his night out to get spoiled, so she leaps into action against our villains - the deadly duo of Leather and Lace!  Let's take a closer look at them, shall we?

"Softball special, bub!"

May 24, 2012

Equal Opportunity Punching?

(scans are in left to right reading order)

So I’ve been reading through Yoshihiro Togashi’s YuYu Hakusho, a series about a juvenile delinquent who gets drafted by the netherworld to become a spirit detective. The first couple of volumes surprised me with their level of quality, featuring some more-emotional material that didn’t make it into the anime adaption. Midway into volume 3, though, we run smack dab into a fighting tournament, and the series consists of a whole lot more punching from there on out.

In volume 6, our heroes Yusuke and Kuwabara make their way through a mansion protected by demons to save an ice maiden who’s being held captive and tortured for the jewels she generates when she cries. One of these demons is Miyuki, whose main appearance I’ve scanned here. Miyuki is a male demon who dresses like a woman, but our protagonists don’t find this out until Yusuke, uh, checks for himself.

I’m… not really sure what message the author is trying to get across during Miyuki’s defeat.

“You beat me up because I’m different!” “You’re not a REAL crossdresser - you just can’t make up your mind!” *slump* “You’re so right…”

Not a… real crossdresser? Wha? Are demon crossdressers unionized in Japan, or something…? Is Yusuke questioning Miyuki’s dedication to his craft…?

I am confused.

May 13, 2012

Spider-Mannotations: Amazing Spider-Man #670, Venom #7, Herc #8, Spider-Island: Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #2

Bust out those backissues and hardcovers, Spider-fans, because it's time to look at another chunk of Spider-Island!

Amazing Spider-Man #670

Another cover homage - this time to Amazing Spider-Man #646!
(art by Humberto Ramos)

May 10, 2012

Advertising Age: Popples

From 1983 to 1994, Marvel Comics used Marvel Age magazine to shill everything it was making. Among other things, it featured behind-the-scenes looks at Marvel's books, promo pieces on oncoming projects, and updates on what Marvel Productions was doing out in California. Marry this monthly mouthpiece with the rampant licensing Marvel was doing in the '80s, and you end up with a lot of things like this - a two-page spread on a Popples comic that was canned after four issues.

It's an eventual goal of mine to scan and post every licensed toy-related article that was published in Marvel Age; it's fair to say that's a ways off. For now, though, we can all bask in the article's sage advice to never kick anything "that looks like a muff".

Wait, what?

May 7, 2012


RIP MCA.  Please, enjoy Dan Slott, Fred Van Lente, and Stefano Caselli's tribute to the Beastie Boys' finest diss track from Amazing Spider-Man #659:

May 6, 2012

Spider-Man's Greatest Villains #200-191

This makes slightly more sense in context.
(Amazing Spider-Man (volume 2) #8, written by Howard Mackie, art by John Byrne and Scott Hanna)
So, as Andrew embarks on his own quixotic quest to acquire every Fantastic Four appearance ever, I too have taken on (at his sadistic suggestion), a celebration of Spider-Man's greatest villains!  One of the things that makes Spider-Man the world's greatest super hero is his villains; no other hero has such a diverse and awesome rogues gallery (sorry, Batman, but I'm with Jacob). Plenty of sites will give you the top 25 villains, and sure, that's cool.  But you know what's cooler?  200 villains.  Yes, in celebration of Spider-Man's 50th anniversary (and, let's be honest, probably his 51st, given how fast I write these things), I, Rob London, Canada's foremost Spider-Manologist, will count down a bicentennial of Spider-foes.

The criteria will be:

May 1, 2012

Spider-Man's Greatest Villains!

In this issue, Spider-Man travels through time, reliving every fight he's ever fought, just to get back home.  And he wins, because Spider-Man is awesome.
(Amazing Spider-Man #500, written by J. Michael Straczynski, art by John Romita Jr. and Scott Hanna,)

In honour of Spider-Man's 50th anniversary, I, Rob London, will do what no other Spider-Maniac has done before - count down a bicentennial of the web-slinger's greatest foes!  For those of you keeping track at home, this will be the master list of every villain so far.  Click through to learn who these guys are, where you can read about them, and why they're Spider-Man's Greatest Villains!