With a Jolt, My Mind Awakens…Chapter Forty-Two: Forgetful of the Shadow’s Speed…


Carmine Infantino, Silver Age comic book illustrator known for time with DC Comics’ “The Flash” and “Detective Comics” (among other titles), passed away on April 4 at the age of 87. The NY Times article is above, my favorite pictures below…For me, I will especially remember his legendary run with Barry Allen through the end of the title’s run in 1986…R.I.P.

America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, badass speed.Will Ferrell

With a Jolt, My Mind Awakens…Chapter Six: Mud and Money, Money and Mud, The Batman’s Boots are Caked In Blood…

Batman’s dealt with his fair share of Sociopathic Crud. However, none were as monumentally enchanting as the Goopy Goonies identified as the Mudpack, as drawn by the underrated artist who took Detective Comics’ readers into the 1990s…Mr. Norm Breyfogle.

I purchased three copies of Detective Comics #604: one for enjoyment, one for the collection, and one for the surgical excision of the advertised poster insert, seen below:

I love the cover of Detective Comics #604, as its creepy simplicity (simple creepiness?) is a delightfully murderous throwback to the cinematic thrillers & chillers of the 1930s-1940s, the Era of Evil for Basil Karlo, the original Clayface. Karlo orchestrates the release from incarceration of Preston Payne, Clayface III, with the assistance of Sondra Fuller, Clayface IV. The excitement of resurrecting arguably the most popular Clayface, the shape-shifting Matt Hagen, slithers from Karlo’s pestiferous paws like protoplasmic inchworms, as science cannot restore the fricasseed Hagen (remember his one-panel demise in Crisis on Infinite Earths #12? His death was a foreground affair shared with the zap-from-continuity of the Bug-Eyed-Bandit!! This ancillary treatment is one of Comicdom’s Most Notorious Injustices). Karlo, Payne, and Fuller inevitably lose their battle against Batman & Looker, but Clayface III & IV initate a legendary comic romance and eventually produce Clayface V (don’t cite me on that appellation). “Batman vs. The Mudpack” was a wild storyline that certainly kept me racing to the local comics shop (now a Pep Boys…grrrrr…) and was The Last Great Batman Story of the 1980s.

I discovered Norm Breyfogle with the “Fever” storyline of Detective Comics #583 & #584, the introduction of the Ventriloquist. The artist depicted Gotham City and its residents in Non-Stop Rage: fluid motion, loud imagery, vivid and profound insanity — Gotham City on Red Bull. I don’t believe this interpretation, so true to our thoughts of Daily Life in Gotham City, had yet been provided by previous Bat-Artists. Perhaps Breyfogle, before Alex Ross and the return of Neal Adams, gave us Reason to Stare, Awestruck, at the Comic Book Pages…”oh, a story? Are you saying there is a story amidst this madness? OK, I will find the story…later…” Further along in his Detective Comics Days, he contributed to the advent of Anarky and Zsasz. Mind you, chickadees, I had Norm Breyfogle’s Gotham City guiding me out of the relative misery and misunderstanding of my Indefensible Teenage Years; the origins of Anarky of Zsasz, sewn together, presented as they were, mayhaps kept me off a Precipice or Twelve when I was Mentally A-Tilt. Breyfogle’s Batman remains my Standard of Excellence for the Caped Crusader. I’ve written about Jim Aparo, and I will not discount the Unparalleled Congruent Ferocity of Neal Adams, but Breyfogle’s Batman is the Bat-Guy and his Turf in a Blender agitated by the collective speed of all the Running Men (and Women) of the DCU…each swirl selling real estate in Beautiful Downtown Gotham. Hey – bite on this:

One final observation: Sometimes, a turkey can soar higher and more magnificently than an eagle. Proof?

This Week’s Comics Haul – A Fourth of My Paycheck

The important take away this week is thatwhen I say I’m not going to buy a book anymore, more often than not…I’m still going to pick it up.  Case in point with:

Wolverine 310 – arts improved but what do you expect when Simone Bianchi is back on the title. I don’t think Loeb’s really bringing it this issue but I’m definitely intrigued as to how & why Sabretooth came back. He was killed via the Muramasa by Logan himself (apparently the only weapon that can kill Wolverine dead.) and once more in Hell.  Yet he’s back, popping up the last few months. Other points of interest: a)Who could possibly pick this book up and figure out what’s going on? This is a perfect example of why a reboot is needed.  Completely choked with bizarre continuity. b) So they’re up in Alaska and Logan’s savior shows up in a one piece bathing suit.  You’re not cold?? c) Once more back to Silver Foxes and back to Weapon X. How many times is this material going to be revisited?

AvX 7 -Magick v. Scarlet Witch; this should be interesting.Here’s my problem with Wanda: her powers are so ill-definied that they could be anything. So she’s shooting hex bolts one minute, then wiping out 99% of the mutant race, then completely neutralizing the Phoenix? BE CONSISTENT. Speaking of, what did Clint shoot at Emma to completely scramble her? I know he continued on that road by soccer kicking her, Pride-era Shogun Rua syle.  But then it ends poorly for Mr. Barton, but what did you expect, you kicked a demi-god in the face!Favorite line of the issue goes to The Black Panther and “…the Black Panther prowls the boundary between super science & magic”.  Has anyone else noticed that they can never draw Hope right. Sometime she looks like a super model and other times ( like this issue) she looks like a 12 year old. Interesting move by Emma which leads to a fantastic splash page to close out the issue.  Anyone else notice the cool little touch of Namor crushing the balcony he was holding on to after his disagreement with Cyclops?

Uncanny X-men 15 – Assault on Sinister! If Marvel’s 616 universe is happening in one analogous to ours, albeit with super heroes, how does anyone take them seriously? You’re telling me that the Marvel U 616 Conan isn’t making cracks at Cyclops’ red thong? Fox & Friends aren’t calling Emma a tramp? The Phoenix Five’s (still hate the name) condescension and verbal head-patting of the other X-Men is pretty funny.  “Don’t get up, we’ve got this”.  Somehow I expect Sinister to hand them their asses and need a save.  But that’s just me.

Animal Man 11 – Very cool call back to the original Animal Man series to open this issue.  Buddy gets a warning from his quas-saviors to “Be still, this will hurt very much. ” Alberto Ponticelli might be the perfect artist for this series; his drawings of The Rot are truly grotesque.

Swamp Thing 11 -We’re finally on the cusp: The Green & The Red vs. The Rot begins next issue! This issue is just the final set-up push to get there.  Not really feeling Marco Rudy’s art for this series though, much preferred Yanick Paquette.

Thief of Thieves 6 – A question for anyone reading this book: The hand image that makes up a portion of the title on both the cover and the credits page…is that a famous image from something, possibly Hitchcockian? That image also makes up a Tumblr & WordPress theme so it has to be fairly well known.  This seems like a bridge issue too; the big payoff looks to be (but probably won’t be) next issue. Which I think will help determine where this series is headed.  Because right now it seems like this could just be a 7 issue mini-series.

Amazing Spider-Man 688- Synchronicity ( and not The Police album)! The Lizard shows up just in time to coincide with the release of the Amazing Spider-Man. Here’s a question: how does Spider-Man heal? He gets the piss beat out of him on the reg but as far as I know he doesn’t have any sort of accelerated healing powers. My favorite part of this issue is when Mary Jane called out P.parker for his incredibly dumb new motto “When I’m around, no one dies”. I think she’s the mouthpiece for the comic book community because that is just the absolute thing SM has ever said. Another issue: does SM have some sort of voice modulator in his mask or something?  He bursts into Horizon labs where he works with people (geniuses, mind you) that he begins shouting at.  How do they not match Spidey’s voice with Parker’s? C’mon!

Amazing Spider-Man 689 – Moebius drooling over bloodwork is a perfect tough, as is The Lizard pretending to cry.”What is the proper human response to the? Ah. Flailing limbs. Wet eyes. Mewling.” Madame Web lives in my neighborhood (Astoria!!).

More after the jump, including the Book of the Week.

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This Week’s Comic Haul With BONUS Reflections

This is what happens when you slack off; you have to combine two posts into one.  NOW YOU KNOW.  Let’s get to it:

Animal Man #10 – The exceptional run continues.  Buddy Baker’s wife continues to ignore good advice, his son with the exceptional mullets meets someone unexpected, flying dogs to the rescue and Buddy finding out what’s in store for him…good issue.

Avengers vs. X-Men #05 – GAH.  My brain…definite points for coming up with an ending I did not see coming.  Whether that ending is any good…I’ll discuss further in the comments to keep this as spoiler free as possible.

Before Watchmen: The Minutemen #01 – So torn on buying this book but in the end, what are you going to do? Not buy it?  It’s Watchmen, for chrissake.  Even if it is a complete and utter train wreck.  But you know? I didn’t hate this issue.  There were some interesting allusions made, some tentative groundwork laid.  HOWEVER. Was Watchmen so successful due in some part to the fact that you didn’t have the complete story?  That even after 12 issues, you had to drawn your own conclusions?    Whatever this series becomes (I’m talking about the entire Before Watchmen plan DC’s got) I’m hoping it doesn’t trample upon the original too much.  I’ll definitely be reading the original 12 after these all wrap up.

Detective Comics #10 – Seemed like a placeholder title, honestly.  I’ll give it until #12 before I decide whether to continue reading or not. The villain had a cool design at least.

Harbinger #01 – YES. SO AWESOME.  I have zero idea how old you are or how long you’ve read comics, but I first became aware of Valiant Comics through my local comic shop & Wizard back when I was still buying every shit derivative Blood/Fire/Death/Hell/Stryke book Image was putting out.  By then it was too late; the early books were way too scarce and way too expensive for someone with a 20 hour a week minimum wage job to pick up.  But the sense that these were somehow different and better  definitely permeated the first few years of Valiant, before they expanded their line, got caught up in the creative and production death spiral that was Deathmate (look it up), started pumping out double chromium covers on everything and eventually got bought by Acclaim before finally dying an ugly death.  WELL.  Now it’s back and back to basics and it F’N RULES.  Buy this.  X-O Manowar too.  So excited to see where these go from here.  Toyo Harada is a bad mutha.

Swamp Thing #10 – This also had the feel of a tweener issue. The artist also swapped out for the book, so that was a bit disconcerting.  I’m intrigued by Anton Arcade though.  Seeing as how he killed Swamp Thing and all this…

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #11 – Like Phil Collins said, I don’t care anymore.  Sorry Miles, I’ve been with you for 11 issues and I’m getting your book out of habit more than anything else.  Time to break on out of here.

Uncanny X-Men #13 – I think Marvel wants me to stop giving them my money.  At least for X titles.  Storm narrating how her husband The Black Panther beat the shit out of her? “He eventually got his K.O.”? Is this a video game? Then Rulk snapping Psylocke’s arm via joint manipulation?  LIKE HE WOULDN’T HAVE JUST TORN IT OFF AND BEAT HER TO DEATH WITH IT.  GTFO.  Then some story about some X third stringers I don’t care about.  Then a last page appearance by Super Slut Force. (See comments as I don’t want to give any spoilers here).

XO Manowar #02 – Can I just read this every week? So awesome. In case I didn’t say it strongly enough earlier, you should really be reading these Valiant books.  Especially with Bloodshot and Archer & Armstrong on the way.