Monday, May 25, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 059 Astro City Tarnished Angel

TITLE-Astro City The Tarnished Angel
AUTHOR-Kurt Busiek

I didn't start reading Astro City until around issue 8 of the second volume.And I read it until there was very very long delays between issues. With the Tarnished Angel storyline being the last one I read. Then back in 2008 I had managed to Stump the Rios on the Comic Geek Speak podcast 2 times. So I got an email from Peter Rios asking me what I would like as my 2 prizes. I wanted a CGS shirt and then asked him what trades/hardcovers they had as prizes. Saw they had this one and asked for it. About a month later I got it.

Originally published as issues 14 thru 20 of volume 2 of Astro City. This is the story of Steeljack. A super villain that has skin made of some kind of weird metal. Which means he can not be harmed easily. Plus he has super human strength. At the beginning of the story he is getting out of jail after spending right at 10 years for some crime.

Steeljack wants to got straight. He moved back to the slums of Astro City. But finds out no one wants to hire a super powered ex-con. And his parole officer basically tells him to just leave the country.

Then the families of various super villains he worked with in the past make him  a deal. It seems someone is killing off the low level super villains. And because of who they are the cops aren't really bothering to look into this. So their families hire Steeljack out to find out who is behind these killings.

Over the course of the 7 issues we get to learn so much about the various villains of this comic universe.Steeljack really really wants to put his criminal habits into his past.And the main thing in his past he wants to correct is that his mother never got a tombstone.

Steeljack figures out who is behind the killings. And tries to get some of the various heroes that populate Astro City to help. But because of his past they ignore him. So it is up to him to save the lives of a huge group of low level criminals.

The story is so well written. The mystery of who the big bad villain is can be solved with just the clues the reader is given. But it isn't so easy to figure out that you guess it as soon as you meet the person.

The artwork is amazing. The covers are all done by Alex Ross.With Brent Anderson doing the interior art. I love how Ross and Anderson make Steeljack look like Robert Mitchem. And the image on the cover was created just for this hardcover.

After the issues we get 14 pages of character sketches from Alex Ross. It is always neat to see how the character's look evolve between their creation and when they first appear. Then there is 14 pages devoted to sketches and pictures showing how Ross did the covers.

Plus you got the neat extras for this hardcover. Like the dust jacket. That seems to be made out of heavier paper than most dust jackets are. And I really like the built in ribbon bookmark.

Astro City Tarnished Angel gets a 4.11 outta 5.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 058 Gigantor volume 1

TITLE-Gigantor Volume 1
AUTHOR-Ben Dunn and Fred Ladd
FORMAT-Trade paperback
PRICE-25 cents

I discovered Gigantor when in the early 90s Sci Fi was showing the old b/w cartoon early in the weekday mornings. I would watch it while having breakfast and got into the show.

I had heard there was some manga based on the show. So while at a local junkstore I found this trade. And had to get it. Worked out a bundle deal with the owner.

It wasn't until I started reading it that I found out it is American made manga. With Ninja High School creator Ben Dunn doing the writing,with some assistance from Fred Ladd. Who I think had something to do with the old cartoon when it was brought over to the states.I love all the parodies and inside jokes about American comics Dunn put in this book. Like his parody of DR Doom.

We get Gigantor's origin.Which I do not think was every told on the cartoon. And finally it is explained why such a deadly weapon was put in the hands of a 10 year old boy.

The artwork by Ben Dunn,David Hutchinson and Ted Nomura looks just like the cartoon. The shading,which is super important for a black and white comic,is very well done. And adds so much depth to the art.

Gigantor Volume 1 gets a 3.86 outta 5.

3 toys from the Junk Box 05/25/2015

Sorry it has been a bit since I  have done one of these. I was wanting to wait until I got 3 toys in. But looks like that will be at least a few more weeks. So since I can't sleep I wrote the following.

Got this Oliver Queen Green Arrow in a three pack. Along with Hal Jordan Green Lantern and Black Canary.I have always preferred the Mike Grell Arrow costume. Which is one reason why I wanted this figure. The bow he comes with looks really good. And the paint job is well done. The articulation is pretty good. Plus I couldn't pass up 3 figures for $8 IIRC.Just a few years ago most people that saw this figure had no idea who he was. Hell most of them thought he was Robin Hood. Now thanks to the CW hit Arrow people do seem to know who he is. Even if he looks nothing like the Arrow on the show.
A few years back I went to this great thrift store with my cousin. She was looking for cheap work clothes for her husband. I of course looked thru the books and then toys. Found a bag of random Happy Meal toys. I saw this figure and a stuffed Triple H toy. With the bag priced at 50 cents I grabbed it.I first saw the Disney animated film Robin Hood when I was 4. And it became my favorite Disney movie. Because my father is a bowhunter,I have always liked heroes that use bows.The paint on this is a bit scuffed up.Only articulation is his shoulders and neck. I love how they made his tail out of fur.
I got lucky and found this WWE Super Strikers Slam and Launch ring at Dirt Cheap. Normally this ring is 40 to 50 bucks. But thanks to Dirt Cheap I got it for around $8.The two corners with the silver posts are launch pads. You put your figure in front of the post. Slam your fist down on the silver button and they are launched way up in the air. The shit above the ring has a chair on it. If you hit the WWE symbol the chair is dropped into the ring. I do like how the shit above the ring can be removed easily.Now I just need to get some wrestling figures the right size for this ring.
As always no idea when the next of these will appear. But I hope yall enjoyed another post about toys from the junk box.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 057 The Drawing of Three

TITLE-The Dark Tower II The Drawing of Three
AUTHOR Stephen King
FORMAT-Oversized Trade paperback


With this book in the Dark Tower series we get away from the world building and start expanding the main cast. Roland ends up on a beach. And gets attacked by monster lobsters. He loses a few fingers and his bullets get wet. So now he is handicapped and his one weapon's ammo is unreliable.
He learns that there are 3 doors on this beach. Each one connecting to our world. And he is going to draw three people over to his world.

Behind the first door he finds Eddie. A heroin addict who is in the middle of smuggling some smack back into the states for a big time Mafioso. During this part there is plenty of really good scenes. With the gunfight at the Mafioso's HQ being so well done.

Behind the second door Roland finds Odette. A civil rights activist who thanks to an accident is trapped in a wheelchair. But the gunslinger learns she has a split personality.

And behind the third and last door. Roland finds the man that killed Jake from the first novel.

For the people that read the Dark Tower series this is usually the first novel in the run that they really enjoy. I believe this is because the first novel while shorter was much more dense. And you spend lots of time trying to figure stuff out. With The Drawing of Three you already know a bunch about Roland's world. Plus with a good chunk of the book happening in our world. In NYC in various time periods,you have a connection and understanding that isn't there with Roland's wasteland of a world.

I own 2 versions of this book. I got the hardcover and this oversized trade paperback. Both of which come with great artwork from Phil Hale. This artwork is sadly missing from the mass market paperback. Looks like the oversized trade paperback can still be found for a decent price. I got lucky and found it at a used bookstore. The owner wanted to get rid of it because the odd size of the book made it hard for her to rack it.

The Dark Tower II The Drawing of Three gets a 4.82 outta 5.