With a Jolt, My Mind Awakens…Chapter Seventy-Two: Connections, Man, Connections…

Last night, I dreamt I was the Beastmaster. However, I was wearing more than just the loincloth Marc Singer adorned in 1982, so don’t call an adult thinking you need supervision to read this post. Chances are strong you’ve never seen “The Beastmaster” without commercial interruption, for I discovered this legendary sword-and-sorcery trailblazer via a WPIX Channel 11 Movie of the Week about thirty years ago and have only re-watched the movie on this network (which seemed to air it at least four times a year), Superstation TBS, and the USA Network. As great as this movie was, we must not overlook the co-star of this adventure, the oddly-cast-yet-goddamned-brutal John Amos, several thousand miles away from any good times…for your benefit, a rare portrait of John Amos from this movie, one so awesome it is unlikely to ever see its parallel:

I hope John Amos made that his Christmas card. In my dream, I maintained a farmhouse/dungeon in rural Nebraska where I held captive the actors of the Brat Pack and demanded they re-make all their pictures featuring Jon Cryer as the Anti-Christ. You will be shocked to know Judd Nelson was truly enthusiastic about this idea. Molly Ringwald was less thrilled.

Yeah, hang on tight, baby, and don’t let go. That grip couldn’t halt Judd’s march towards “Suddenly Susan”. I don’t know what was worse, “Friends” or the vomit of “Friends”, those subsequent NBC sitcoms that tried to copy the formula (“The Single Guy”, “Jesse”, “Veronica’s Closet”, “The Naked Truth”). Well, whatever vomit of quickly-cancelled sitcoms NBC mops up, rest assured USA sneaks into HQ and wrings the putrid substance from the mop for their devious, early-morning, crap-a-thon purposes. Two shout-outs for the ol’ USA Network in one post. I should be getting paid for this gratuitous grenade tossing.

Today marks the 85th anniversary of the first appearance of Popeye, the Sailor Man. Maybe I should just refer to him as Popeye. Otherwise, he sounds like a World Wrestling Federation mid-carder from 1996. No one needs to be reminded of that…which I just did. Well. What an unpleasantly-tasting pie in the face. Happy Birthday, Popeye!

In 1982, I wanted to dress as Popeye for Halloween, but my mother detested the violence of his cartoons, as well as the violence inherent in Tom & Jerry and Woody Woodpecker cartoons, so the lot was prohibited in the household. Balance: watching a bloody Indian strap match between Chief Jay Strongbow and Sika the Wild Samoan or a chain match between Bruiser Brody and Carlos Colon…sure, son, if your homework is done. This woman would sit with me while I watched “Space Ghost and Dino Boy” and “Battle of the Planets” but turned into the prison warden if she saw Tom bothering that poor, little mouse. This existence is splintered with incongruency. Featured below: a group shot of Space Ghost’s version of the Legion of the Doom, the Council of Doom, comprised of (l to r) Zorak, Brak, Metallus, Zoltar, The Creature King and the Spider Woman –

For Halloween 1982, I was Lumberjack E.T. I had a plastic mask, Dad’s purple and black flannel shirt, Grandpa’s red suspenders and construction boots. Mom’s contribution was the rejection of my request to carry a dulled axe. After devoting my kindergarten years to the daily consumption of paste, she would no longer tolerate, nor would her weak, weak heart endure, any more soberly admonitory and perfectly creased notes of concern from my teachers. Grandma suggested I carry a whisk. I went to school with the E.T. mask, the shirt, the suspenders, the boots, and the whisk, prepared to change into my costume after lunch for the Halloween Parade. I couldn’t stop thinking about the whisk, how inappropriate it seemed. Then this thought would be scolded by the Other Powerful Thought, Mom’s Weak, Weak Heart. Shame, shame, shame on me. After lunch, I changed into my costume and discovered the eyeholes on the mask were too small. I used the classroom scissors to enlarge the holes, but a classmate startled me, resulting in a jagged line in the mask, running two inches from the right eye to the mask’s side. During the parade, I kept my eyes closed, wishing I could do the same with my ears. At the class party, I ate my english muffin pizza and my brownie in silence. I remember placing the whisk in my bookbag, but somehow it never came home with me. Mom wasn’t upset; she said whisks were cheap. The damage to the mask caused more grief, as there wasn’t time to go to K-Mart for a new costume before Mom took me and my brother around the neighborhood. The mask was scotch-taped, but I returned the shirt to Dad and the suspenders and boots to Grandpa. I borrowed Dad’s New York Mets cap and told anyone who asked me I was now M.E.T. This was met with general smiling approval. After I gave away my Halloween candy to my brother (retaining my tiny boxes of raisins), and before I went to bed, I remembered a word my Grandpa said that day and decided to look it up. Halloween 1982 concluded with my comprehension of the word, ‘defeatist’. I would say this was the only victory of that day, but that M.E.T. thing was actually pretty nifty.


***READ THE TITLE OF THE POST, PEOPLE…***

For Halloween 1983, I was Blackjack Mulligan. The man born Robert Windham was a villainous pro wrestler, a “heel”, whose son, Barry, was starting to earn his reputation in the business. Blackjack was a big guy, tough and intimidating, who used an “iron claw” to squeeze his opponent’s face until he gave up. He also had a mean, thick black mustache, a feature previously featured on my Dad’s face that disappeared on Labor Day weekend. Dad told me it simply had to go. “You can’t get far in life with a mustache”. I remember thinking about the U.S. Presidents of the later half of 19th century: Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland, Harrison. Perhaps he was right. I still wanted to grow that mustache. Mom wondered why I had chosen this particular guy to emulate, and I told her about my need to be a giant for fifteen minutes. Grandpa mentioned Andy Warhol, and I didn’t know what he was talking about. I purchased a black cowboy hat and an Indiana Jones “bullwhip” (plastic replica) at the Great American Party Store. I would paint a handlebar mustache on my upper lip with shoe polish. At school, the outfit revealed me as an outlaw, but no one knew who Blackjack Mulligan was. My teacher, Ms. Curving, thought I was Black Bart and advised me not to use the bullwhip on anyone (I didn’t). The art teacher, Mr. Panarotto, said I looked like Doc Holliday and gave me a high-five. His hairpiece shifted as I slapped his hand. I knew the name Doc Holliday because I had seen a black-and-white TV show where an actor had that role, but I couldn’t remember the title. Later that day, Grandpa told me I had watched “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp”. After school, I went trick-or-treating with my brother, who was dressed as a hobo. I thanked everyone who gave me candy, tipping the brim of my hat with a declaration of mostly “Ma’am” or occasionally “Sir”. The next day, Mom and I saw Mrs. Kyritz at the Shop-Rite, who told us that I was the most polite outlaw she’d ever seen in these parts. I remained an outlaw for a few more days, as I had complemented the shoe polish with black Sharpie marker. Polite, yes. Bright, no. For the record, I didn’t use the “iron claw” on anyone, either. Perhaps I should’ve been Wyatt Earp.

For Halloween 1984, I was Robot Cowboy. I was directly inspired by the Superfriends episode, “Outlaws of Orion”, in which intergalactic bounty hunters try to cash in on Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Batman and Robin. Dad complimented me on my ingenuity and also stated if I ever wanted to be The Boy Who Combed His Hair, Mom would likely faint. Being a Robot Cowboy meant I had to work on perfecting what I called “The Cold Dead Stare”. I had to look like I meant business with that stare, that’d I’d make your Daddy move to Brooklyn, your Mommy run away screaming, and your Grandma spontaneously combust. I spent hours in front of the mirror, scowling, growling, sneering, leering. I had to put the absolute fear of extinction in anyone who crossed my path. The first person to cross my path (the carpet in my room) was my brother. However, he proved immune to the scowl, as he merely chuckled and told me I looked like I need to have a BM. That night, he wrapped himself in aluminum foil and invited me to a showdown at 8:00 PM. “Too bad,” Dad said, “8:00 PM is Bedtime for Robot Cowboys”. Mom was displeased that my brother wasted the aluminum foil on his outfit; she wasn’t assuaged by my exclamation, “He’s puttin’ on the foil, coach!”, a reference to the Paul Newman hockey movie, “Slap Shot” (which Dad acknowledged). At school, my costume consisted of last year’s cowboy hat, overindulgence of silver body paint, stiff body movements, and various clicks, whirs, and tics. I ate three english muffin pizzas that year, using a knife and fork so my make-up wouldn’t smear. “Robot Cowboy was hungry,” said Mrs. Pellegrino, the class mother. A cheap toy pistol completed the outfit for trick-or-treating. I must’ve been intimidating since my candy collection was especially high. I tried a fun-sized Snickers bar, but the caramel didn’t agree with me, and I spat it into the garbage can. “Does-not-compute, does-not-compute, does-not-compute” was added for dramatic measure, before I “shut down” (went to bed) after a good bath. Robot Cowboy never returned – the Snickers fouled the works. Actually, I missed a few spots of body paint and ruined my “Return of the Jedi” bed spread…C-3PO’s Revenge.

“There is freedom within, there is freedom without/Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup”
— “Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House

With a Jolt, My Mind Awakens…Chapter Twelve: Summary of Existence (Words by Mocha Mott’s Coffee, Pictures by Warner Bros.)

He woke on Monday morning, ready to conquer the world, or, at a minimum, harness nature for his steady progress:

He knew his war with Intemperate Technology – amok, fire-breathing, megalomaniacal, and insidiously steadfast little gremlins – would be measured battle by battle, but he’d claim the ultimate victory when he rose from the debris:

He understands, with regret, that the enemy will utilize surreptitious and underhanded methods that may drive him to madness:

He also knows … that ain’t no thang

He’ll struggle, but he won’t relent. He’s seen all manner of supervillainous behavior; he’s not going to resort to Neverending Drink:

Heck, isn’t this all a dream, anyway? Yes, this must all be a dream – one in which your action figures are ready to jump off the shelves and assume action when they hear the call for justice:

Therefore, the only advice I have for you is – Enjoy the Dolphin Ride…

…and accept no substitutes.

This Week’s Comics Haul: Just Hook it to my Veins!

Click covers to embiggen! L to R: Before Watchmen – Rorschach 01, Wonder Woman 12, Pigs 08 (so good and so underrated), Saga 06, The Walking Dead 101, AvX 10 (just please be over already!), Amazing Spider-Man 691, Daredevil 17 (welcome aboard Mike Allred!), The Dark Tower – The Man in Black 03, Harbinger 02 and Bloodshot 02 (possible tie for best covers of the week). What are you planning on picking up?

With a Jolt, My Mind Awakens…Chapter Four: Behold, For He Has Walked From the Light to Return to the Shadows…

Gamechanger.

Jim Aparo at his finest. Look at the faces of the rejected Justice League of America. Flash is aghast – Sorry, Barry, your pain has just begun. Stretchy McPickle and Flamecoif are numb – Wonder Woman is abandoned at the altar by her Own True (Batty) Love. Superman, the Angry Kryptonian, curls a scowl as Batman verbally liquifies the relationship. Check out Black Lightning and Metamorpho – there’s your Solid Gold Comeuppance, b*tches. There’s the Karma Train driving right through your living room as you and the clan are enjoying your Hamburger Helper. Beauty. I am a huge John Byrne fan, but…I really feel Aparo is the only artist who could’ve accurately portrayed the Shift of Power. Sales of “BATO” skyrocketed…”Justice League of America” began the slow, goopy, oozy slide to the Michigan Years. I fondly recall this comic as a real gamechanger to me, even at the young age of seven. The Lesson?

There’s always another way.

Yeah, I hear your mumbling…I know Batman walked away from the Outsiders three years after this cover. He know there was another way, too. It All Comes Full Circle.

Holy Bat-Tangent! If you’re gonna read Adam West’s “Batman: Back to the Batcave”, the counterpart must, too, be absorbed: Burt Ward’s “Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights” The perspectives of both productions are best defined by the covers:

Good reading to y’all.

Stripped Down Icons

Kerrith Johnson has turned heroes and the ideals that they embody into minimalist motivational posters that are really quite clever. Check out more of Kerrith Johnson’s art on his deviantART page. (all via Comics Alliance)

The Modern Borefare Interview: Ryan & Eastin from Spaceship Long Island (Part 2)

Welcome back to the second installment of the Modern Borefare Interview with the creators of Spaceship Long Island.  In case you missed it (for shame!), part one is here.

Modern Borefare: What does the next year look like for SSLI? How far out do you have the series plotted and do you stick to that plan pretty rigidly or do you find yourself going off on tangents?

Ryan: More like what does next week look like. It kind of feels like we have just finished clearing our throats when it comes to the story.We have always had a lot ideas floating around, but until recently we weren’t always clear on how to get our characters from point A to point B. For instance, we have had a story to tell about Brooklyn since day one, but I don’t think we could have told it before now.I think it took us this long just to figure out who our characters were, where they were going and what they wanted. Now that we have a clearer sense of that I think we can start mapping out a bigger picture.

Eastin: The Hell arc was supposed to be three strips long. It turned into eleven. We knew the ending, so we just kept it going until we could reach that point naturally. So, we have a basic idea, but if something needs to be cut short or drawn out, we’ve got no problem doing either.

MB: What are your favorite webcomics?

R: No surprises. The ones I never miss are Penny Arcade and PvP. My favorite at the moment is probably Hark a Vagrant, just like everyone else on the planet. I also was sort of obsessed with this comic called Art Animals for a while. It was compelling in the same way as watching a car crash, I couldn’t make myself look away..With most other webcomics, like The Abominable Charles Christopher or Chainsawsuit, I tend to just swoop in every two months and make a run through the archives.

E: Yeah, everything Ryan listed plus xkcd. I also really dig Battlepug. Love the art in that.

R: Wow, xkcd, that is so underground.

E: I usually like to Instagram xkcd strips.

MB: What, if any, webcomic trends bother you? What annoys you about webcomics? Conversely, what excites you about webcomics?

R: I hate comics about people’s everyday lives. There are exceptions to this rule but biographical comics mostly suck. Too often biography just means wish fulfillment or self-aggrandizement. I crave characters.

E: Yeah. Not really a fan of one-panelers with ironic captions, either. What I like though? I love that people are willing to create, do, and then put it out there for the world to see. It’s kind of like all those crazy ideas you had as a kid finally have an outlet, and some of them out there are pretty damn awesome!

R: Eastin just told me that he hates Sorry Comics. Now I hate him. Sorry Comics is great because rather than being wish fulfillment it is an unblinking confessional of all the times the creator fucked up.

E: ^ Rude.

R: What excites me about webcomics is that there is literally no gatekeeper for webcomics. Anyone can make one. Imagine if that was true of video games? Movies? Academia (cough, cough)? Anything else really? I guess it is starting to happen to novels with the Kindle, but I think it is still easier to put out a webcomic and get it in front of a lot of people than pretty much anything else.

MB: Any advice for people looking to start their own comic?

R: You just have to do it. Even if you are writing a shitty biographical comic that I am going to hate, you just need to make a publishing schedule and stick to it. The hardest part is making sure there is a new comic on the site every week.In that regard, it helps to have a partner who you are responsible to. No one wants to be the guy who draws the comic at his girlfriend’s house, but then forgets the scanner at home resulting in a late strip. Not that Eastin did that.

E: Get ready to give up your weekends. Forever. Get on the social networks and talk to other creators, a lot of them are really cool and willing to spread your work if you just ask. There’s actually a really supportive community out there.

MB: What are your favorite non-webcomic comics?

 R:: I am working my way up the ladder to claim the title of the world’s biggest Thor fanboy.

Beyond that I love Conan the Barbarian comics. That means both the old Savage Sword of Conan stuff with its copious side boobs and the new Brian Wood/Becky Cloonan stuff. Obviously, I also like Wood’s Northlanders since it is essentially Conan + Thor.

My tastes are pretty omnivorous though. I will read anything. I just started reading Bone which I have wanted to get to ever since I saw it being serialized in Disney Adventures at age 12.

E: This list could go on forever. Taking a graphic novel class with Scott Snyder (RYAN: Name dropper.) really turned me into a DC fanboy, but lately, I’ve been branching out.

I’ll just throw out a few of my favorites:

Batman (Snyder and Capullo)

Animal Man (Lemire)

Sweet Tooth (Lemire)

Invincible (Kirkman)

Wonder Woman (Azzarello)

Wolverine and the X-Men (Aaron)

Peter Panzerfaust (Wiebe)

Action Comics (Morrison)

More and more I’m finding a lot of really good creator owned stuff, which is really exciting to see. There are comics about everything–so don’t ever let anyone tell you they have no interest in reading a comic book.

Oh and a really weird and depressing book that is beautifully illustrated is Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid on Earth. It’s worth taking a look.

MB: Going to NYCC this year?  If so, do you plan on doing anything differently from last year?

R: Definitely! Last year we had no idea what we were doing. We just kind of wandered around handing out flyers and temporary tattoos. It was pretty sad actually. I think in total we got like 50 hits from all our “marketing.”

This year I think our approach will be more about networking and less about promotion. NYCC is such a sensory overload that no one is going to remember some webcomic guys who gave them a flyer. If we can link up with some other creators this year I would consider that a victory.

E: I’m totally pumped for it! Like Ryan said, last year we had no idea what we were doing. We probably passed by some really great writers and artists and had no clue who they were. I feel much more prepared this year.

And I just love browsing the vendors from the small ones to right on up to Midtown Comics.

Let’s get those badges!

MB: Do you see yourself eventually going to a 2 or even 3 times a week schedule?

 R: We would love, love, love to do this. Hell, we’d put it out seven days a week! Once we successfully run a $100k Kickstarter and are able to quit our day jobs we will get right on it!

Truthfully though, three days a week would probably be the sweet spot for a strip like SSLI. We like doing longer strips, so a daily would be too ambitious.

The once a week thing is more a result of the time we are able to put in rather than a conscious choice.

MB:Anything I forgot to mention that you’d like to bring up?  Feel free! (Rants are fine but I draw the line at screeds.)

 SELF-IMPOSED QUESTION #1: Which of you is more handsome?

E: Ryan.

R: You’re really too kind, but who could argue?

SELF-IMPOSED QUESTION #2: What time is it right now?

R: 1AM

SELF-IMPOSED QUESTION #3: Which of you is still awake?

R: Not Eastin.

After the jump check out the original outline for the end of the Multar fight:

Continue reading

Modern Heroes as Ancient Gods

From artist Tim Maclean, superheroes recast as Roman & Greek gods.

Haul Thoughts: Surprises (Bad) & Surprises (Good)

Let’s do this! Don’t forget to chime in in the comments below.

AvX 08 – IMPERIOUS REX!!! Namor has shown up in Wakanda looking to tear The Avengers a collective new butthole and he very nearly succeeds.  The opening splash page is as menacing as Namor has looked in recent memory and you see that this is not something that Wakanda will be recovering from anytime soon. Iron Fist is indignant that Iron Man and The Thunderer skip out to K’un-Lun without him, meanwhile Wakandans are being devoured by Atlantean seas serpents.  Typical rich guy.  Meanwhile Cap is all “I knew Cyclops was a dick! Forget all these corpses, I was right all along!” Typical unfrozen World War II science experiment. Anyway, Cap calls the Avengers, whom Namor proceeds to go H.A.M. on, even taking full powered blows to the dome from Red Hulk, Thing, Mjolnir, Dr. Strange and The Vision.  NAMOR AIN’T CARE and he goes on to prove this by breaking the Red Hulk’s arm like it was one of my brittle, bird-like wrists. Then he decides to set the rest of the Avengers on fire. Then super Deus Ex Machina a.k.a The Scarlet Witch shows up, somehow (ed.note: With her ill-defined powers, that’s how!) defeats Namor whom the Phoenix Force decides to ditch, flowing into the other members of the Phoenix Force. Charles Xavier’s floating bald head shows up to scold Cyclops; Cyclops tells Chuck to “Cram it with walnuts, ugly”; Cap cries. Buy? Sure, if you’ve bought the earlier seven.

The Invincible Iron Man 521 – Think I mentioned this before but WHOA. The Invincible Iron Man is awesome. If you haven’t been reading this title, go back to #500 and read them all.  I never cared for Iron Man; sure the movies got me interested and I think I picked up the book at an ideal time. So, if you’re planning on following my lead and picking up the earlier 20 issues, SPOILERS HERE Tony Stark is super-boned and the super-boner (ed.note: Really?) is non other  than the Mandarin.  Some observations: apparently 6 months have passed since issue #520 and all sorts of shenanigans have gone on, chiefly that Stark is working for the Mandarin. Side note: is the Mandarin the Marvel Universe equivalent of a beholder from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons? Seriously, check it out:

Beholder powers:

BEHOLD...er

Mandarin ring powers:

Where's the duck sauce ring?

Back to the issue at hand, literally.  Resilient (formerly Stark Resilient) takes some shots at the crappiness of the cloud and introduces their solution, the swarm (which Warren Ellis introduced in Transmetropolitan a decade ago…).  That’s one of the reasons this book is so excellent; it’s not all tights, capes & punchy-punchy.  There’s corporate espionage, futurism, science, rad armor, clever banter..so good.  Just buy it. Buy? Duh. Also, if I can’t have the Infinity Gauntlet, I’d gladly take the Mandarin’s rings.

Before Watchmen – Silk Spectre 02 – I really  like Amanda Conner’s art on this book. In fact, I feel this is tied with Ozymandias  as the Before Watchmen book with the best art. Definitely an Archie vibe going on. That being said…what the hell?! The first issue was so good where this one is…not. Not as good. The spirit of the book hasn’t really changed, but something this issue seems off.  I did like the analogs of The Beatles and the Rolling Stones as well as an appearance from Kid Charlemagne himself, Owsley Stanley and what is possibly supposed to be Frank Sinatra? I don’t know, the innocence and free-spiritedness of the first issue gets muddled with some subplot about causing Haight-Ashbury hippies to embark on acid-fueled shopping trips. Also, the Silk Spectre’s costume is highly impractical. That’s not a reason to knock the book, it’s just that even fictional teenagers are idiots. Buy? Yes, as it’s not enough to derail the series (plus you’re already halfway through at this point). But don’t prepare for the high notes of last issue.

Daredevil – 15 – High hopes for Murdock this week; was he able to meet them? Welllllll….was the arc resolved? For the most part, as it’ll most likely wrap up next month. Was the premise clever? Daredevil sans senses? Sure.  Was there anything outwardly terrible about this issue? Not especially.  So…? Can’t help you dude. Then is it a Buy? It’s not the highpoint of this excellent series, but neither was the Punisher/Spider-Man crossover.   It’s not a jumping on point, that’s for sure.

Fables 119 – Even if this series had nothing else going for it, it still has the best covers in the industry.  Before I started reading, I was really hoping that this arc would wrap up this issue or next.  But then I started reading; wow. If you’re a Fables fan, you won’t be disappointed.  Things to note: a pretty shocking death, an Angry Birds cameo and my new favorite phrase, “shit fire on Pop-Tarts”! Buy? Have you read the previous 118 issues? Then you pretty much have to, don’t you?

Justice League 11- Not going to lie, I’m kind of lost with this book.  I’m not thrilled at the supernatural bent the it’s taken either; isn’t that the purview of the Justice League Dark? The high point for this issue was probably Wonder Woman calling the Green Lantern a dickless bitch, in so many words. Also, Diana’s problem solving starts and ends with decapitation. They’ve really made her one of the most compelling characters in the whole New 52. Also a nice touch: Cyborg: “I’m not partly dead, am I?” Batman:”…of course not”. What a dick! Buy? If you’re not invested in the series at this point? It’s a pass.

Saga 05 – I’m oddly compelled to keep getting this book.  It’s clearly been building up for the past four issues and there is a bit of payoff here, but not in an equivalent amount to the rising action.  The book opens with the television-headed prince who is a/the protagonist? Antagonist? All I know is that in the future/past, robots poop.  Also, the two sides in the giant war that I (and I assume other readers) are trying to puzzle out art the “horns” and the “wings”, and a clutch of winged shock troopers drop down on our narrator  and it’s parents Alana and Marko.  SPOILERS Marko breaks his vow of nonviolence and goes apeshit, slicing through all of the shock troopers and is about to really start cutting heads, forcing Alana’s hand. END SPOILERS.  Far more happens and I think this book is finally starting to pick up.  I seem to remember Vaugh’s Runaways was a bit of a slow starter as well. Buy? At this point, while it’s still early in the series, yes, but only if you pick up the other four.  Or wait a few months and pick up the first six issues in a collected format.

The Dark Tower – The Man in Black 02 – As I’ve already read all of The Dark Tower  books, it seems a bit foolish to then buy them in serialized comic format.  But it’s still a powerful series and Robin Furth & Peter David are doing extremely solid work on this and all the previous Dark Tower  series.  Buy? If you like The Dark Tower, all the trades are worth picking up.  It definitely fills in gaps that were only hinted at in the series.

Wonder Woman 11 – Sometimes I get my comics & video games confused, like with all the Olympians showing up in WW and I find myself thinking, “Didn’t Kratos kill all you?”. This issue isn’t as good as the previous two in Hades, but it seems to be setting the stage for a pretty epic confrontation with Apollo and Hera, so I’ll check in next month. Buy? Not as a starting point, but this isn’t an issue that’ll make you drop the book either.

X-O Manowar 03 – The payoff! Aric and the X-O Manowar class armor make nice (it grows Aric’s hand back, he disintegrates aliens) until an explosion sends them flying outside of the ship. Aric apparently has his Dorothy moments, as he clicks his gold-and-powder blue heels together, disappears from deep space and reappears above modern Rome, where he crashes into the Coliseum. I’m interested to see if they go back to the “unfrozen viking business magnate” schtick Valiant used the first time with X-O. Buy? No brainer. Get the other two while you’re at it and transport yourself back to ’94.

Whew!  Sound off in the comments about your thoughts on my thoughts, on what you picked up this week, on what you refrained from picking up this week or just general what-have-you’s.  Goodnight Cleveland, where ever you are!

This Week’s Comics Haul – Sweltering in the City Edition

It’s too hot to even move; best thing to do is find solace in some air conditioning with a stack of comics. What I picked up this week (And a rare show of restraint!); what did you get? Tell us in the comments!

AvX 08

Before Watchmen Silk Spectre 02

Daredevil 15

Fables 119

Invincible Iron Man 521

Justice League 11

Saga 05

The Dark Tower: The Man in Black 02

Wonder Woman 14

X-O Manowar 03

Books I’ve picked up in the past but this week I was able to show restraint and not buy:

Wolverine ($5 bucks??! C’mon) & Fantastic Four. . Granted it’s only two but it’s a start!

A strong crop of books this week; it’s difficult to pick out which one or two could be the stand-outs this week. But picking two, I’d say it’ll be X-O Manowar and… Daredevil. Daredevil ?!? Yes, DD. I like the current arc, hell, I’ve liked the entire relaunch. It’s a fun book that still feels dangerous for the characters. It’s a delicate balancing act and Mark Waid pulls it off.
Reviews and thoughts on these in the next few days, along with the kick off of the MB Interview series!

This Week’s Comics Haul featuring MILLIONS OF DOLLARS MILLIONS OF DOLLARS MILLIONS OF DOLLARS

AvX #6 – – reminiscent of The Authority.  Cyclops still auditioning for lead singer of Cameo. Hope actually looks like a teenager. Emma is wearing something wholly impractical. Thor v. Cyclops! Ok, this book has definitely redeemed itself, especially with the final panel & Cyclops pronouncement. This could actually be leading to something bad-ass! I will definitely stay tuned.

Before Watchmen: Comedian #01 – I’m starting to come around on these Before Watchmen titles. This offered some interesting twists on established ’60’s myths, so I applaud them for that.  The one thing that always bugged me about Watchmen  was, if seemingly everyone knew Eddie Blake was The Comedian at one point in time, why was everyone then so mystified & amazed when Rorschach uncovered Blake’s secret costume stash in Watchmen#1? Did everyone forget? Answers people! I need them!

Daredevil # 14 : A Date with DOOM!: Ok, it’s not really called that, but Dr. Doom does show up up.  In fact, last we saw Matt he was trapped in a box in Castle Doom in Latveria. HOW. WILL. HE . ESCAPE? I ain’t saying nuthin’ beyond “clever premise.”

Fables #118 – a terrifying twist I didn’t see coming. Much creepier than expected.

Grim Leaper #2 – Still an interesting premise, but the last panel, while disgusting, also introduced a brand new character  that had me leafing back through the book trying to figure out exactly who was being talked about. Hate that.  Though I dug the little 4 part EC Comics-esque story in the back, which featured a whole new disgusting way to kill someone.

Saga #04 – I guess Vaugh takes a while to get going.  The story is definitely ramping up and there’s super bizarre things popping up in every issue.  I just hope he starts to unveil a bit more of the narrative soon.

The Dark Tower: The Man in Black #01 – First off, The Stand  is one of my ALL-TIME favorite books (the unabridged version, of course). Odd then that it took me until just two years ago before I picked up The Dark Tower. While the comics were cool and some beautifully illustrated, they just felt like re-treads on something I’d just read.  I picked this up as a way to hopefully shine more light on one of King’s strongest creations, Randall Flagg a.k.a The Main in Black a.k.a The Walking Dude.

The Punisher #12 – Frank still has one eye, but that doesn’t stop him from stomping his female quasi-partner senseless in a trash-filled alley over a picture. Why am I still reading this?

The Walking Dead #99 – Set up set up set up.  Issue #100 promises to be huge.  At this point, how can they not kill Rick?  I think that’s the safe bet.  Or even crazier, EVERYONE gets eaten and they just end the series that way, on the darkest note possible.

Uncanny X-Men #14 – Did Mr. Sinister just say he was a eunuch? Regardless, an XCELLENT (see what I did there? That’s called laziness.) return to form here.  Mister Sinister, here in his current role as devilish 19th-century English gentleman, shines as a an almost unparalleled mastermind.  Really, like Lex-Luthor-from-Red-Son type shizz. From the interesting twist on “let loose the hounds!” to learning how far his genetic manipulation & cloning goes, Sinister as a serious threat is back. Pick this issue up.

Wolverine #308 – I can already tell this is going to be terrible…(opens cover) yep, I was right.  This is clearly House of 1000 Corpses / The Devil’s Rejects, just set in the Marvel U. & starring Wolverine.  It also seems that the “brain-wash Wolverine to be a secret killer thing” has gone beyond trope & into the realm of cliche. This was was much better done in Mark Millar & John Romita Jr’s Wolverine: Enemy of the State. 

Wonder Woman #10 – Not as good as past issues but it does feature an interesting escape from Hell and a dog-headed medusa gets head-butted by an Englishman. HEADBUTTS FOR ALL.

Side Note: What’s with the MILLIONS OF DOLLARS MILLIONS OF DOLLARS MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ? Read With Leather’s Best & Worst of Raw to find out.  It’s one of the highlights of my Internet week.