Jul 31, 2012

Let's talk about He-Man.

Ever notice how in some action sequences in comics involving birds to show agitation or intensity they'll have feathers flying off from the bird? I know someone who's noticed this: penciller Phillip Tan on DC's new He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series.

For some reason He-Man has no eyes...
I thought this was an 80s concept not a
90s one...

Oh, you haven't heard of DC's new He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series? Oh, well let me quickly do a synopsis of the first issue for you. In issue one a young woodsman named Adam dreams of being a hero, so he sets out into the wide world only to find it's more dangerous than he expected.

Actually, y'know what? Stuff the synopsis stuff, I'm gunna do a summary of EVERY SINGLE THING that happens in the issue. Let's get started!

Jul 30, 2012

Zoning Issues

So it's safe to say that we like toy comics around these parts. Having picked up a bunch of different titles over the years, I noticed that DC's licensed comics in the '80s had one thing over their brethren at Marvel: the inclusion of "extras". Text pieces often appeared in the back pages of these books to provide world-building material, usually character bios, sometimes more. Across the four issues of the Tonka Spiral Zone tie-in, these were done as memos to the U.N. Security Council, all four of which are included here. Whether the information in these memos jibes with the show itself, I don't know - Spiral Zone has been one of the harder shows of the '80s for me to track down.

As an aside, possibly the strangest thing about the Spiral Zone mini was that it was drawn by ex-DC Comics editorial director Carmine Infantino, the man responsible for ushering in the Silver Age Flash and "New Look" Batman. I'm not sure if it's more or less weird than Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko being on Chuck Norris and the Karate Kommandos, though...

Jul 21, 2012


At some point in the late 1990s, a small publisher named Bench Press Studios tried to get a license to publish G.I. Joe and Transformers comics. From the Transformers side of things, negotiations don't seem to have gotten very far - Simon Furman has said in the past that the company contacted him, not much more than that - but discussions on the G.I. Joe end seem to have proceeded apace.

Bench Press apparently snagged Marvel G.I. Joe scribe Larry Hama and ex-Infinity Gauntlet/Silver Surfer artist Ron Lim for their proposed G.I. Joe book, and together they produced a cover and four pages worth of material. I don't know how these got into the hands of the G.I. Joe fandom, but I ran into these pages on the YoJoe.com mailing list some years back, and for posterity's sake, am reproducing them here.

Most interesting in this line-up is the inclusion of Dodger, the only surviving member of Battle Force 2000, and the fact Cover Girl has blond hair a la her cartoon miniseries appearance. Plus, hey, Tunnel Rat before he got the big franchise pushes in Sigma Six and Renegades.

Jul 17, 2012

Spider-Man's Greatest Villains #160-151

Peter Parker's greatest foe: the necktie.
(Amazing Spider-Man #546, written by Dan Slott, art by Steve McNiven and Dexter Vines)
It's time to take a look at ten more of Spider-Man's most aggravating adversaries!  As always, check out the full list of Spider-Man's Greatest Villains right here!

Jul 16, 2012

Spider-Mannotations: Amazing Spider-Man #673

Alas, we've come to the end of Spider-Island, with a mere single issue to go.  Dry your eyes and read on!

Amazing Spider-Man #673

Spider-Men No More!
(art by Stefano Caselli)

Sal's Sunday Punch #18

Well now, let's talk about Sal Buscema punches in terms of degrees. See sometimes it's a full-on massive group of monsters getting bitch-slapped by the Hulk. Like so:

From Incredible Hulk #248 by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema.

It's violent, it's explosive, but it's also kinda justified. After all these monsters are threatening Jarella and stopping the Hulk from getting to the real threat...

Jul 15, 2012

Green With Evil

"Yellow fear space-bug, you say? Sure, Hal! All is forgiven. Here, have a movie starring Ryan Reynolds."  

Zero Hour #1, by Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway.

The Metamorphosis of Dr. Kafka

With issue 185, J.M. DeMatteis took the reins of Spectacular Spider-Man, kicking his run off with the dark, creepy The Child Within, a story that focused on Harry Osborn becoming the Green Goblin again, and on the escape of the cannibalistic rat-man, Vermin.  In the first few pages, we're introduced to Vermin's therapist, Dr. Ashley Kafka.  As seen here, Dr. Kafka is pretty clearly middle-aged.

" - get six figures worth of plastic surgery before my next appearance!"
(Spectacular Spider-Man #184, written by J.M. DeMatteis, art by Sal Buscema)

She kept turning up beyond that story, and became a full-blown Spider-Man supporting character.  And it is not a good thing to be a Spider-Man supporting character.  All sorts of things can happen to you; you could become a supervillain, or you could marry a supervillain, or your son might become a werewolf, or maybe you'll just get chucked off a bridge and die.  But something even stranger happened to Dr. Kafka.

Jul 10, 2012

It Came From the Dollar Bin: Brute Force

I have finally returned from drafting a novel, working on an urban fantasy lesbian romance comic book script, self-pubbing some *cough* other short fiction, and playing far, far too much Dungeons & Dragons to give you more...

You're sure this isn't Transformers?
It Came From the Dollar Bin!

In honor of this week's eagerly anticipated Transformers Regeneration One #81, I present a comic published by Marvel with characters and concepts created by Bob Budiansky, a script by Simon Furman, and art by José Delbo. Transformers? Oh no. (You can tell because the colors aren't by Nel Yomtov.) I'm talking about a book that got a whopping four issues out of its initial 4-issue limited series, a toy comic with no actual toy to tie in to...Brute Force! Read on for a look at Marvel's short-lived foray into creating their own toyetic non-superhero IP, including an interview with series writer Simon Furman.

Jul 9, 2012

Spider-Man's Greatest Villains #170-161

That's some unfortunate tail placement, Scorpion.
(Spider-Man: The Parker Years #1, written by Evan Skolnick, art by Joe St. Pierre and Al Milgrom)
The countdown continues!  Plus, new this instalment (because I forgot to mention it last time): see the whole list so far in one place!

Layout and About

I have kind of an ambivalent relationship towards Scott McCloud. I think Understanding Comics stands as a solid examination of the comics art form, and Making Comics contains a variety of worthwhile technical advise. Sandwiched between them, though, is Reinventing Comics, a book that… well, it tried to offer visions for the expansive possibilities of comics on the internet, but mostly it came off like the illustrated version of a really pretentious blog post.

This particular section of Reinventing Comics, showcasing examples of various comic page layouts, was the most worthwhile thing I found in the book. Others might feel differently. *shrug*

Jul 5, 2012

Spider-Mannotations: Venom #8, Amazing Spider-Man #672, Spider-Island: Amazing Spider-Girl #3, Spider-Island: Cloak and Dagger #3, Spider-Island: Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #3

It's finally here!  The penultimate instalment of Spider-Island Spider-Mannotations!  And most of these books concentrate on wrapping up the plot and engaging in huge fights, so there isn't quite as much continuity in them - meaning that I can mannotate five different books in one post!

Venom #8

It's a Giant Spider Island of savings at Menard's!
(art by Tony Moore)

Jul 3, 2012


This is my absolute favorite page from Jack Kirby's run on Forever People. It is, in fact, probably one of my favorite single comic pages of all time; seriously, I want that second panel on a shirt.

Scan from an early 2000s-era trade paperback of Forever People, originally published in Forever People #2.