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Comics I Read: End of 2010 Lightning Round

Generally, even though I don't consider what I do here proper "reviews", I do go back through the issues to remind myself of details and to pull out a scene or a quote to reference. But I'll never get through all the books I haven't had time to write about if I do that, so I'm just going to go through the pile and give whatever impressions I remember. If there's anything you'd like me to go into in more depth, let me know in the comments and I'll try to go back to it.

Action Comics 890-896: Paul Cornell's doing a great job with Luthor, and Pete Woods' art is great as usual. The slight tweak to Lex's character after "Blackest Night" makes him a little vulnerable, and therefore more interesting, and I like the hints that higher powers are interested in what he's up to. The Death appearance in #894 was great, and if Cornell didn't get dialog help from Gail Simone for the Secret Six crossover in #896 then he managed to get…

Next Avengers: Friday 12/31 on Disney XD

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I'm working on a couple of entries for later in the week: A "lightning round" post to clear out all the comics I haven't written about yet this year, and a compare-and-contrast of "Superman: Earth One", "Superman: Secret Origin", "Superman: Birthright" and "Absolute All-Star Superman". In the meantime, since it's relevant to the first six issues of Brian Bendis' "Avengers", I wanted to mention that Disney XD is running the animated "Next Avengers" movie this Friday (12/31) at 4pm. It's the best of the Marvel DVDs so far (not counting "Hulk vs.", which I haven't seen) and I'm told that kids especially enjoy it. (That's how the characters wound up in "Avengers" actually, Bendis' daughter loved the movie.)

Indie Comics Autobiography = Simon Says

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THE 120 DAYS OF SIMON  (Top Shelf, April 2010 graphic novel)  subtitled: A Graphic Odyssey Through Sweden.  Written and illustrated by Simon Gardenfors.  Black and White.  Paperback edition, 416 pages.  $14.95  www.topshelfcomix.comFOR MATURE READERS.Consider the lifestyle of Simon Gardenfors first before you draw any conclusions about the lifestyles of modern Sweden.   Gardenfors  is a “self-advertised, couch-surfing freeloader”as described by Peter Bagge on the back-cover testimonials.  Can the values of young adults and Swedish society be that free-wheeling?  I’m a little amazed, and maybe a little jealous.  (If I was a lot younger I’d be very jealous – and considering a move to an art community in Sweden). Casual sex comes very easily to Simon, and he doesn’t mind sharing his bedroom experiences right out in the open in THE 120 DAYS OF SIMON.  But the sharing doesn’t stop there.  Gardenfors seems to have no qualms about sharing everything that occurred on his 4 month adventure, ev…

DECEMBER TITLES: More BOOM! for your buck?

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THE TRAVELER #2  (Boom! Studios, December 22, 2010 release)  Concepts by Stan Lee. Written by Mark Waid. Drawn by Chad Hardin. Colors by Blond. Letters by Ed Dukeshire. Covers by Scott Clark and Chad Hardin.By necessity, TRAVELER Issue #1 was fast and furious.  Now that the set-up details have been taken care of - - just give Mark Waid a little breathing room and watch him go!   He starts to flesh out the characters more, give some more detail but also hold some back in order to build  the mystery, all while never forgetting the action that keeps everything moving.  Also, now that artist Chad Hardin has had one issues’ worth of experience to get familiar with drawing the primary characters - - he also stretches and expands his style, especially in the awesome action scenes .      It’s a nice change of pace to have some super-hero titles that aren’t based in major metropolitan areas (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc).  TRAVELER occurs in Richmond, Virginia - - although as depicted i…

BAT - ‘er up! - - - - getting into Grant

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I don’t read BATMAN titles on a regular basis.  I did come back for awhile right after BATMAN: R.I.P. (which I haven’t read yet) and sampled the new DETECTIVE COMICS, BATMAN AND ROBIN (Issue #1), BATGIRL, STREETS OF GOTHAM, RED ROBIN and BATMAN (Dick Grayson)  - - and even wrote about some of them here.  I liked all of them  - - just made a budget decision not to try and follow them all.  Eventually I weaned every one of those titles from my monthly buys. However, reading them prompted me to check out the back history and a noted Bat-scholar (name of Bill) told me I needed to start with the BATMAN AND SON trade paperback.  So, I’ve been buying some of those trades and stock-piling them for that rainy day. Recently, I picked up BATMAN, INCORPORATED  #1 out of the blue (should that be out of the black?) and BATMAN: THE RETURN one-shot and read them without benefit of having gone through all that back-story first  (including THE RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE, which I was also stock-piling).  I t…

Getting an ear full: comic book podcasts (part two)

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Continuing a series featuring select comics-themed podcasts, I return to another one of rather local origin:  COMIC BOOK DINER. http://www.sky-dog.com/comicbookdiner/ Subtitled “The Art And Business Of Comics”  this podcast is different from the others I’ve been listening to.  Rather than focus on reviews or analysis of current books, writers and/or artists COMIC BOOK DINER concerns itself with matters related to independent creators, and is geared towards providing assistance, guidance and tips. You don’t need to be actively involved as a writer, artist or creator to appreciate the content, as COMIC BOOK DINER is mostly informal and remains interesting to anyone who wants a little glimpse “behind the scenes.”  All the presenters are likeable and “down to earth” rather than aloof or preachy.  They have all collaborated on various works or participated in workshops and convention appearances together, so there is a familiarity and friendship that comes across in their discussions.The C…

THE RANDOMISER 3 - - - December 15, 2010

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Just random ramblings, that’s all . . . . . but a little author-focused this timeOne of the joys of this  comic book hobby is the “fresh find” - - - picking up a new title or first reading/viewing of a writer or artist that impresses or delights you.   In a time of penny-pinching and monthly comics budgets, it’s especially comforting when the discovery rewards your investment of time and money.  Many of us, after discovering a writer or artist that we enjoy want to explore more of their work. There’s always a risk and a reluctance to do so - - “if I pick up this other title will I be able to easily comprehend the continuity and back-story?  . . . . Or will I understand it, but then get involved in a complex (but interesting) storyline that requires me to keep buying more issues?” One of those “fresh” discoveries for me was a new title, SOLDIER ZERO from Boom!, and writer Paul Cornell.  When I learned that he was scripting ACTION COMICS at DC my interest grew.  After hearing that the d…

Bad Time Stories for Horror Hunters

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BEDTIME STORIES FOR IMPRESSIONABLE CHILDREN  #1  (Moonstone Books, November 2010 – black and white)  Created by J.C.  Vaughn. Various writers and artists. Covers by Mark Wheatley and Jacob Jordan.The horror anthology comic seems to be making a comeback.  First the revived CREEPY debuts at Dark Horse Comics.  Then Monsterverse  releases BELA LUGOSI’S TALES FROM THE GRAVE.  The latest, BEDTIME STORIES FOR IMPRESSIONABLE CHILDREN, is the new  entry from Moonstone Books.  Add to this the five-issue EDGE OF DOOM min-series of stand-alone horror tales from IDW and you have a quirky quartet of tales to chill and thrill.  Hopefully, these books will make enough of a sales impact to merit their continued publication.  I’d like to see that, as they are all worthwhile. BEDTIME STORIES FOR IMPRESSIONABLE CHILDREN is the brainchild of J. C. Vaughn, who also created the narrator/host and writes the transitional segments between the stories.   This book has a humorous bent to it, albeit dark humor. …

THE RANDOMIZER 2: December 11. 2010

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Random rants and raves on various books seeming chosen at random.WARLORD OF MARS #2  (Dynamite, December 2010)  “A Tale Of Two Planets, Part 2” written by Arvid Nelson; illustrated by Stephen Sadowski; colored by Adriano Lucas; lettered by Troy Peteri.  Based on the stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs.The fine work begun in Issue #1 of adapting the classic John Carter Of Mars series continues here, following the pattern in the debut issue of  splitting the book in half and featuring background on the two main characters  (who have yet to meet – and is anticipated to happen in Issue #3). The art and coloring are very nicely done, and reason enough to pick this book up. The incidents that befell John Carter in the Arizona hills prior to his arrival on Mars are detailed. He narrowly escapes slaughter by angry Apache Indians and flees to the mysterious cave that acts as his transport to Mars.  In the telling we learn of  his courage and loyalty.  He emerges through the cave exit onto the red …

The Hotel Fred: Buy Early, Buy Often

The Hotel Fred: Buy Early, Buy Often: "First item: Thor the Mighty Avenger Volume 1: The God Who Fell to Earth is out this week, collecting the first four issues of the comic wri..."

Getting an ear full: comic book podcasts (part one)

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I love reading comics for pure enjoyment, as do many of us.  I also like to read critiques of books and occasionally to participate in group discussion (the semi-regular BC Refugees gatherings)  - - or at least hear what others are thinking about one of my favorite hobbies.   The wonder of the internet makes doing all this so accessible, with a variety of sources to choose from.  Beginning with this article, I plan to share my internet discoveries here on an irregular basis.  After listening to several comics-related podcasts for the past several months, the newest and latest has prompted me to finally write about them - - especially due to the local nature and origin of this one  --  my favorite comic store haunt in Delaware.     FROM THE BOOTH is very new, just three podcasts old.  It was started by three regular customers of Captain Blue Hen Comics in Newark, Delaware  - - and actually originates from the former Woolworth’s in-store restaurant booth  now located and utilized at Cap…

New title review: STARBORN Issue # 1

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So far, the debut issues of Stan Lee and POW! Entertainment’s new super-hero titles at BOOM! Studios are batting three for three.  I like them all and want to keep following the first story arc in every one.  The latest, STARBORN, debuts this Wednesday . . . . . . . . . STARBORN #1  (BOOM! Studios, 12/08/2010) . . . Grand Poobah Stan Lee. Written by Chris Roberson. Art by Khary Randolph.  Colors by Mitch Gerads.  Letters by Ed Dukeshire. Covers by Gene Ha, Humberto Ramos, Khary Randolph. The characterization is what I liked best about SOLDIER ZERO in its’ first two issues.  The story line and premise intrigued me more with THE TRAVELER.  And, with STARBORN , it appears to be a combination of the two.  STARBORN is a title that in it’s first issue travels along the fine line between fiction and reality, weaving in and out enough that they seem to cross over into each other. It’s not hard to identify and understand the main character, Benjamin Warner.  He’s a young,  likeable office work…

Young Justice (Cartoon Network)

Movie Trailers - Movies Blog
The other major superhero cartoon of the season is "Young Justice", which premiered on Cartoon Network last week as a one-hour feature, with half-hour episodes to follow after the first of the year. As much as I've been enjoying "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes", this is a much better show. From the very first scene (shown above with about 6 minutes of other footage), you know you're watching something great. The writing -- led by "Spectacular Spider-Man" & "Gargoyles" veteran Greg Weisman -- is a nice mix of the familiar and the surprising, with some great voice acting making the characters distinct. Fittingly, the team starts with Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad with a couple of members added during this first hour and more to come. (Zatara is included as a JLA member, so maybe we'll see his young daughter at some point?) WB's animation is exceptional as usual, with some nice character desi…

Give Thanks Today

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One of the many things I am thankful for is BC Refugees blog site, which provides an outlet for my writing on comics.I liked this email greeting and wanted to share it with you today:Have a peaceful and relaxing Thanksgiving . . . . . .pghhead

David Lapham – Profiling The Profiler: A Craving For Depravity

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Beginning a series of articles on the works of David Lapham After attending a recent gathering of The BC Refugees I learned of a mutual admiration for this worldly writer.  That inspired me to write about my explorations into the dark areas of modern society as presented by the one and only original chronicler of the crude, the profiler of the perverted  =  David Lapham. During that conversation which centered around his amazing work on the current run of G.I. JOE: ORIGINS (which I haven’t seen yet), I spoke of the various comics he scripted that I enjoyed.  They seemed to have one common element = after reading them I felt dirty, as if I needed a cleansing shower.  Lapham is a skilled realist  and can make you feel how ugly things can get in modern society.  PUNISHER MAX TINY UGLY WORLD  (One-Shot)  #1   (Marvel Max Comics - EXPLICIT CONTENT)  David Lapham, writer;  Dalibor Talajic, artist; Matt Hollingsworth, colorist; VC’s Cory Petit, lettererFor anyone not familiar with Lapham, th…

Horror Hunter 11/22/2010: A smattering of stuff

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EDGE OF DOOM #1  (IDW PUBLISHING, October 2010)  Steve Niles, writer; Kelley Jones, art; Jay Fotos, colors; Robbie Robbins, lettersWow!  Look at that art!  This is definitely going to make my list of nominations for “Cover Of The Year 2010” if and when there is a first annual BC Refugees Awards. The combination of Steve Niles and Kelley Jones on a horror story is unbeatable.  EDGE OF DOOM is better at evoking the mood of CREEPY and EERIE with just a twisted touch of strange - -  it would have been a perfect tale for the revived CREEPY except for its full-issue length. The art is part Richard Corben, part Steve Ditko in its vivid and horrific imagery.  It made me remember and miss those weird back-issue tales (usually with art by Ditko) that used to end up in the concluding pages of the old Marvel monster comics from the early 1960’s. Richard Stallman is depressed and drunk.  His wife left him, and he’s about to lose his job and possibly his home.  When he strikes a large stone in his …

Travels with Lee: Waid up!

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THE TRAVELER #1  (Boom Studios – November 24, 2010)  Stan Lee, grand poobah; written by Mark Waid; art by Chad Hardin; colors by Blond;  letters by Ed Dukeshire  (covers by Scott Clark, Chad Hardin, and Joe Benitez)The first issue of THE TRAVELER raises more questions than it answers in a furious, fast-paced debut.  That’s in contrast to the first issues of Stan Lee’s other creation, SOLDIER ZERO, which seems more character-driven.  However, with Mark Waid at the scripting helm I expect some fine character development once the setting and plot elements become established.  For now, it seems smart policy to concentrate on introducing some of the players and quickly putting them through their paces. Since Issue #1 seems singularly focused on action, action, action - - the best way for me to tell you about this book is to summarize some of those details:The art by Chad Hardin is outstanding, and perfectly suited for the incredible amount of action/battle that goes on in Issue One.  The c…