Friday, April 29, 2016

2016 Comic Challenge 158 Married with Children:Lotto Fever #01

TITLE-Married With Children:Lotto Fever #01

Coming out sometime in the fall of 1994,NOW had a habit of issues shipping late or never even being published,this is one of the last Married With Children comics to come  out. During the time that NOW had the publishing rights they churned out 2 regular series,most of which included posters of Kelly Bundy,and piles of mini series. Some of these mini series never got completed. Like Lotto Fever.

Geoffrey White is the scripter.Tom Richmond handles the pencils. And it took 3 people to ink this issue. The art on the cover is the exact same style as the interior art so I am gonna assume Tom Richmond did it.

The story is simple.After a horrible day selling shoes at Gary's Shoes,Al heads home. Remembers why he hates his family and heads out to get some beer. For some reason when discovering that the store he went to only has one six pack of Al's favorite beer,instead of maybe going to one of the other hundreds of stores in Chicago that sell beer,ends up in a foot race down the aisles of a corner store. Racing this big fat dimwit redneck.Al gets beat. And ends up with the rednecks lotto ticket.This ticket wins Al 48 million bucks. He tries to sneak home and pack,why bother packing when you got 48 mill,but of course Peggy and the kids spot him. Then the house gets surrounded by people that want to borrow money from Al. And in the final panel Al declares that the family is moving.

For $2.50 NOW really didn't give you much.The story is pretty bare bones and feels padded.The paper has a weird feel and smell to it. Even the cover has a strange texture.NOW did include a poster of the cover in the center of the comic. Which is nice. But IIRC in fall 94 your average comic was $1.50,so if you are gonna charge me an extra buck I want to see something added.

I do wonder how the story would have went. Might see if I can track down Geoffrey White. Who knows if any other issues even made it to the plotting stage,

Married with Children:Lotto Fever #01 gets a Pass.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

2016 Comic Challenge 157 Tales from the Crypt #02 Gladstone run

TITLE-Tales from the Crypt #02
PUBLISHER-Gladstone/The Bruce Hamilton Company

Somehow this short lived run of EC horror reprints from Gladstone escaped my attention.It wasn't until 2 years later and Russ Cochran took over the reprints that I really got into collecting these affordable reprints of some of the best horror comics to ever come out.

Under the great Jack Davis cover,there is eight stories.The lead story has the Crypt Keeper as our host,makes sense to me since Tales from the Crypt was CK's title.And this story has some beautiful Jack Davis.Plus is were the cover image comes from.

Up next is a Vault Keeper hosted story.Joe Orlando provides the art,and I have always loved all the horror stuff he has done.And since the first story focused on a werewolf,the Vault Keeper is bringing us a story about vampires.

CK is up again with "Busted Marriage"Jack Kamen does the art. He was known for his gorgeous women. EC did lots of bad marriage stories in their horror titles,and this isn't one of the better ones.

A mummy story,hosted by the Old Witch,is next.Ghastly Graham Ingels handles the artwork.With Ingels the gorier the better. So I was a bit disappointed he got a mummy story.Since those usually do not have huge amounts of gore.

Ahhh OK seems the second half of the issue is a reprint of an issue of Crime SuspenStories.The Russ Cochran reprints would do this. The cover is by Johnny Craig.And shows a man freezing to death in a meat locker.While a sinister butcher looks on. What I don't like is they removed the issue number off the cover.

"Out of the frying pan..." has Johnny Craig art. For some reason he uses his Jay Taycee pen-name.It is your typical EC crime story. This time I didn't guess the twist before it happened.

Jack Kamen appears again with "A Trace of Murder".This one is better than the previous story.And again we get some more of Kamen's gorgeous women. Something about Kamen's art reminds me of Matt Baker's art in the Golden Age.

"The Escaped Maniac" is a very forgettable story. EC would put out a dud some times. And when they did they were really bad. The art is credited to George Bell,who is a name I do not remember seeing associated with EC.

To end the issue we get a final story. This one with Ghastly Graham on the art chores.And it is a Haunt of Fear tale hosted by the Old Witch. And ends up being the best story from this reprint of Crime SuspenStories.

I really have no clue what a copy of all these late 80s thru mid 90s EC reprint comics would cost ya on Ebay or one of the many online comic shops. I just know I find them fairly often in comic shop/convention cheap bins. This issue I dug out of the dollar bins at a local comic shop. And for a buck or two you really can't go wrong with reprints of pretty much anything from EC.

Tales from the Crypt #02 gets a Buy.

2016 Comic Challenge 156 Chainsaw Vigilante #01

TITLE-Chainsaw Vigilante #01

I enjoyed the Chainsaw Vigilante appearances in the various Tick comics I had read. So finding this issue for 50 cents I had to get it.

Well honestly the cover is the only reason this is worth the 50 cents I paid. The issue is mostly Chainsaw dealing with being defeated by the Tick in The Tick #10. Most of the issue he is out of costume and having long boring as fuck discussions with some woman.

I found it odd that almost every page had between 7 and 9 panels. And so many panels meant the art looked cramped. Seems Zandor Cannon does the art and story. Maybe if he focused on just one this would be a much better comic.

Chainsaw Vigilante #01 gets a Pass.

2016 Comic Challenge 155 Warriors of Plasm #01

TITLE-Warriors of Plasm #01

Plasm/Warriors of Plasm was the start of the Defiant universe. And also the one title from them I had never read anything of. I own the issue zero,that came as a trading card set,but have never read it. Dug issue #01 out of a cheap bin recently.

Set in an alternate universe,were everything is organic based,Lorca is a prince like asshole.Then we find out that Lorca is a rebel. And has discovered our world. So is stealing people from our world. To give powers and use as army against the ruling class.I am guessing this 6 or so humans that end up on the Plasm world and have powers are going to be our titular heroes.

Pretty much everything else I have read from Defiant had a good story and ok art.Warriors of Plasm is the opposite. The art,by Dave Lapham is gorgeous. But the story by Jim Shooter is a jumbled,over written mess.

Warriors of Plasm #01 gets a borrow.

Monday, April 25, 2016

2016 Comic Challenge 154 The Punisher Meets Archie #01

TITLE-The Punisher Meets Archie
PUBLISHER-Marvel Comics/Archie Comics

Nope this is a real comic. One that I wanted to get when it first came out. But I refused to pay the almost $4 cover price. So it wasn't until years later at a con that I found it for 10 cents and grabbed it.

Not sure if you can tell from the above picture but the area around Archie's head is cut out. When you open the cover you get.
This 48 page,with no ads as the cover proclaims,comic is written by Batton Lash. With John Buscema handling the Punisher side of the pencils and Stan Goldberg doing the Archie side. And Tom Palmer is on inks.

The story is simple and actually works fairly well. A crook,Mel Jay AKA Montana Bob AKA Freckles and currently known as Red Fever has managed to escape the Punisher. And is now hiding out in Riverdale. And shocker he looks a lot like Archie Andrews.

So we get a mixture of typical Archie style comedy mixed with Frank Castle chasing down this killer. It sounds like it wouldn't work and would be horrible. But Batton Lash does a great job and makes this one of the best and oddest comic crossovers I have read.

Quickly funny story about this issue. I got it at a con cheap as I said. During the con I end up staying with my cousin. So that night I get back to her house and her 10 year old wanted to see what I bought. He is looking thru the comics sees this issue and asks me "Who is Archie?"

The next day of the con he came with me I mentioned to the dealer I got this from,who I was also buying another 50 bucks worth of comics from,about my cousin's lack of knowledge of Archie.The dealer dug thru his bins pulls out right at 15 issues of various Archie titles.Which the dealer gave to him for free.

The Punisher meets Archie #01 gets a Buy.

2016 Comic Challenge 153 The Ren & Stimpy Show #029

TITLE-The Ren & Stimpy Show #029
PUBLISHER-Marvel Comics

I loved the show. But never really bothered with the comic. And had no idea it ran for a fairly long time.

The issue starts off with the cover story. Sherlock Hoek and Steeped are called into to solve a locked room mystery. It looks like Steeped has destroyed a vital piece of evidence the mystery is instead solved.

And the other story has the duo in Scotland. After running thru every kid friendly Scottish stereotype in a page,they find out there is a big reward for proof off the Loch Ness Monster. So off they go. Stimpy does find the Monster. But after hearing of the reward,the Monster heads off to collect it himself.

While the comic looks like the cartoon.And even has wacky stories like the cartoon,it isn't nearly as good.Ren's accent loses a lot when read instead of heard.

The Ren & Stimpy Show #029 gets a borrow.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

2016 Comic Challenge 152 Crossed+100 #02

TITLE-Crossed+100 #02

Our group of scavengers ends up in Memphis. And after running into a herd of elephants,they stumble upon what they think is the Governer's mansion. Which is actually Graceland. While exploring it they find another shrine like they found in Jackson.

Again Moore has dropped quite a few clues as to were this story is heading. But they are subtle. Very subtle.

Crossed+100 #02 gets a Buy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

2016 Comic Challenge 151 Crossed +100 #01

TITLE-Crossed +100 #01

Yeah after reading Badlands 95 I wanted to go back and re-read the Moore run on  Crossed +100.

We are introduced to a group of humans 100 years after the Crossed outbreak. They are traveling by a coal powered Bus/train/wagon hybrid. And this mission is to get info. Books,films,whatever they can  find. They stumble upon a public library. And are busy gathering books when a family of Crossed attacks.And as far as they know there isn't any Crossed south of the Mason Dixon.

I love the idea of taking the already well established Crossed universe and jumping ahead 100 years. By doing this Moore also got a chance to create a new language. They use words we know. But they have new meanings now. At first it makes this a hard read. But you slowly manage to puzzle it out.

Also since I have already read this,going back I am seeing all the clues Alan Moore left us. First time reading this run I was kind of shocked at the big reveal. But now I am seeing he leaves major clues even in the first issue.

Crossed +100 #01 gets a Buy.

2016 Comic Challenge 150 Crossed Badlands #095

TITLE-Crossed Badlands #095

So the traitor is now helping Smokey,the Crossed name for the big dude with the fireax,build a sustainable Crossed society.

And it feels to me like this story might end up being majorly connected to Crossed +100 series. Maybe we are seeing here the start of the Crossed society Alan Moore showed us in his short run.

I heard a rumor that this series is ending with issue 100. And with the way I think this will go next issue I can see maybe these last few issues used to fill in  more gaps between Badlands and +100.

Crossed Badlands #095 gets a buy.

2016 Comic Challenge 149 Jughead #04

TITLE-Jughead #04
PUBLISHER-Archie Comics

Jughead is back in school,and still suspects something major is going on with all the personal changes at Riverdale High School.

Like with every other issue so far Jughead goes into his fantasy world. This time it is pirate themed. But the lady from the time police in issue 2 shows up near the end of Jughead's fantasy. So I am wondering these dreams are just dreams or are they leading to something in a future issue.

Jughead is sure the new principal is up to something. So he talks Dilton into installing a device on the new Principal's computer. So that they can see everything he does on the computer. Jughead invites the entire gang over to Dilton's to prove the new principal is up to evil. And quickly finds out the principal knows what Jughead did. But this is enough to convince the Riverdale gang that something is strange.

Jughead #04 gets a buy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

2016 Comic Challenge 148 The Walking Dead #153

TITLE-The Walking Dead #153

Picking right up from where the last issue ended. We got Rick and a few others knowing that Negan has escaped his cell. Maggie leading a big group of people back to Hilltop. And Dwight training a new group of soldiers.

The Negan parts were my favorite of this issue. And after that last page I am really wondering what the hell Negan's plan is.

Now it might just be my bad memory,but I really didn't know any of the people that were part of Dwight's training session.

Anyways once again another month and another damn good issue of TWD.

The Walking Dead #153 gets a Buy.

Monday, April 11, 2016

2016 Comic Challenge 147 The Three Stooges #01

TITLE-The Three Stooges #01
PUBLISHER-American Mythology Productions

Never heard of the publisher before,but I have been a 3 Stooges fan since I was 5 or 6.

This issue has 2 new stories and one reprint. The first story has the Stooges working at a baseball park. Typical Stooge hijinks's happen. Up next is a noir story. With the Stooges being hired by a Kim Basinger in LA Confidential lookalike. They have to get some private photos of her back from some mobster. This story had much better art than the first one. But the actual story was kind of lacking.

Then it is the reprinted story. From Dell Four Color #1170 we get a story of the Stooges going to the circus. A ex-carnie lets a tiger loose. And after seeing how Curly Joe handles the tiger,the ringmaster hires Joe to be the lion tamer for the evening. The art is OK. But doesn't look that much like the Stooges. The story is decent.

Besides the three stories,there is also a page of Stooge facts. Then a couple of pages of production art and sketches of the cover.

The Three Stooges #01 gets a borrow.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Captain America Civil War Cereal

 While doing some grocery shopping the other day I ran into a new cereal,Captain America Civil War cereal. Normally I don't bother with movie tie-in cereals,but this one was on sale.Plus it has Cap on the front. How can I pass it up?
 On the other side is that drunk traitor Iron man.I for one am looking forward to Cap beating the shit out of Iron Man in the film.
This is the side panel that actually had something on it. The other is just the nutritional facts.I actually like the image of Cap and Iron Man fighting above a giant bowl of cereal.
Well the cereal is your typical generic Kellogg's stuff. Pieces of sugar flavored corn stuffs. Then a few colored marshmallows.
Yeah I know there isn't nearly enough marshmallows in the mix. Now I eat all my cereal dry.Mostly cause milk and my body do not agree.And dry cereal makes a decent quick meal.

The cereal is OK. The corn pieces taste decent.The marshmallows have very little flavor. Also why isn't there a toy or something in the box. A poster,trading card or even a Cap themed spoon. But I got nothing.So unless you just gotta have every piece of Civil War merchandise skip this cereal.

Friday, April 8, 2016

2016 Comic Challenge 146 Wild West Cowboys of Moo Mesa #02

TITLE-Wild West C.O.W.Boys of Moo Mesa #02
PUBLISHER-Archie comics

I remember this franchise. Never had any of the toys,and until a few months ago never saw the cartoon. But it was obviously inspired by TMNT. Set in a wild west setting,this is about a team of bovine cowboys. Who fight crime in the western town of Moo Mesa.

As you can see in the pic Doug Brammer,never heard of him,gets scripting credit. And Gary Fields and Ron McArdle handle the inks and pencils. This is the second part of a three part story. Our leads are running towards town and away from a angry T-rex. Through out the issue we learn that last issue one of the CowBoys found a baby dinosaur in a very Turok like hidden valley of dinosaurs. And the Cowboy brought the baby triceratops to town. Which they assume is the reason why the T-rex is heading towards town.

So the issue is pretty much the team being split up. Some of them going to get the baby dino and return it to the hidden valley. While the rest of the team tries to stop the T-rex from doing massive damage and possibly killing someone.

And by the final few pages of this 22 page story,not only is the baby dino returned to it's mother but the T-rex returns to the hidden valley. Then the entrance to the valley is destroyed.

There is a few things that stood out besides the main story.
 Somehow in the second issue there is actually a letters page.Which either means Archie sent out preview copies of the issues or the letters are just made up. I know that made up letters in a comics letter page aren't that uncommon. But the way this is done it is pretty obvious that the letters are made up.

 Since the story is only 22 pages,and the cover price was a bit higher than normal,Archie threw in a few pin up pages. Out of the two in this issue the above is much better.
 One thing I have always enjoyed about the various comics Archie published years ago was they in almost every issue printed some fan art. And in this issue there is 2 pages of it. The stuff on the left is almost as good as the art in this issue. The other page,well the age of the artists is pretty young so I will just say it is decent for how old the artists are.

Wild West C.O.W.Boys of Moo Mesa #02 gets a borrow.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

2016 Comic Challenge 145 Planet of the Apes & Dracula Lives #90 UK release

TITLE-Planet of the Apes and Dracula Lives #90
PUBLISHER-Marvel Comics

I had heard of various UK b/w weeklies that reprinted and even published new stories featuring all kinds of stuff Marvel had the rights to over the years. But I had never seen or heard of a title that combined Planet of the Apes with Marvel's take on Dracula.

 Under the cover there is this nice pin up on the inside front cover. It is signed in the bottom right corner but I have no idea who it is.

 I am guessing this lead off story is reprinted from the Marvel Planet of the Apes magazine.Doug Moench handles the story chores. And the always great Mike Ploog does the art duties. There is 7 pages of Ploog's gorgeous artwork. And these 7 pages just confirmed that I need to track down more issues of the POTA magazine from Marvel.

 Dracula Lives has been reprinted,but slightly censored,in the Essential Tomb of Dracula trades. I have read the color comic,but never this B/W magazine.This 8 pager has Doctor Sun and even Blade,looking nothing like he does now.The late Gene Colon and Tom Palmer get the art credits. And Marv Wolfman,who also wrote the color comic,gets the writing credit. It is not a bad little story. I wish there was more. But I can understand that with this being a weekly title they gave you short pieces of more stories.
Third is the Man Thing story NIGHT OF THE LAUGHING DEAD!!This was originally in the color Man-Thing series.And was even made into a Power Record read-along record.The late Steve Gerber wrote the story. And Mike Ploog is once again doing the art. IIRC this story was 2 issues of the comic. So getting only 6 pages is kind of a rip. I still can't hate on a comic that got CCA approved,and made into a read along record for young kids,would have this sequence.
Yep a circus clown wanders out into Man-Thing's part of the Everglades. And the clown commits suicide.
Kazar is not only the last comic in the title,but also has the most pages with 10 pages.The final page is on the inside back cover. Never been a Kazar fan. No clue what this is reprinted from.I am guessing made from some of the Kazar stuff in the Astonishing Tales magazine. Gerry Conway is the writer. And John Buscema and Alfredo Alcala are the artists. The art is nice,but the story is blah.

One of the things that really stood out to me in this comic is how few ads there is.In the 33 pages there is 2 ads. Yeah 2 ads.
I remember having a few Corgi diecast cars. But never knew there was a Kojak's Buick model.
I really have no clue what this is. If anyone remembers this product or knows more about it please contact me here on the blog.

Outside of the Kazar story,this was a good read. Good to great artwork. And I like the format of getting a mixture of genres.

Planet of the Apes and Dracula Lives #90 gets a Buy.

Monday, April 4, 2016

2016 Comic Challenge 144 Batman VS.Superman The greatest battles

TITLE-Batman VS.Superman The Greatest Battles

Ok yeah this time it is a trade instead of a single issue. Found this at Walmart for like 8 bucks. Saw it had 7 stories,3 of which I had read before,so grabbed it.

And what issues does it reprint? What battles do we get?

Up first is Batman #612.Part of Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee's Hush story line. This is the best issue of that horrible piece of shit. And it is just average. Loeb is a average at best writer,usually being way below average. Lee is ok for covers and posters. But to me his art has no storytelling,no emotion or real passion.

Man of Steel #3 by John Byrne is second. Read this whenever it came out years ago.Hell what 30 years ago now? It's OK. I have never liked Byrne's art that much on anything outside Marvel. And his Batman just looks off to me. Still it is a neat first meeting of Bruce and Clark in the post Crisis universe.

Who would win from Superman/Batman #78 is the third issue reprinted. And the first I hadn't read.Joe and Jack Kelly tell a great story of two 8 or so year old boys debating who would win between Superman and Batman. Ed Benes draws it. And the touch  at the end is cute.

The second issue of the New52 Justice League title is next.Geoff Johns and Jim Lee produced a nice to look at but honestly shallow as a kiddy pool story.

The first 2 parts of the Batman:endgame story is the next battle. Scott Snyder is an Ok Batman writer. Thankfully Greg Capullo pencils and Danny Miki's inks make up for Snyder's shortcomings.

Then we end the trade with one of the earliest serious Batman vs Superman fights and one of the best. Dark Knight Returns #4.Not much I can say about this,since I figure most people reading this have read the comic or at least seen the DTV adaptation. But it is a great way to end this collection.

One last little thing. The trade came with a sticker on the front that said Walmart exclusive. And mentioned a Batman V Superman movie poster. So the poster....
Yeah it sucks. Oh well.

Batman VS.Superman The Greatest Battles gets a borrow.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

2016 Comic Challenge 143 Ace Comics #119

TITLE-Ace Comics #119
PUBLISHER-David McKay Publications

Got this recently for a stupid cheap price. I knew the kid on the cover had been part of the Katzenjammer Kids comic strip.So guessed this was a collection of comic strips.

From doing a bit of research,seems this came out around Feb 1947. And was near the end of Ace Comics run. Ace was one of the earliest series that reprinted newspaper comic strips.Seems this title was pretty much nothing but King Feature Syndicate strips.

I opened it up and after a text piece on the inside front cover I was happy to see the first of the reprints was a few pages of Lee Falk's The Phantom.

I enjoy the Phantom. And seeing 5 or so pages of what I am guessing is Sunday reprints was worth what the comic cost me.The art is so good. And I am gonna have to track down the rest of this story line.

The second strip was the Katzenjammer Kids. I have heard of this strip. Mostly cause it was one of the more popular strips to get reprinted in comic book form. It is typical little kid annoys older person comedy. Think a more primal Dennis the Menace. The art is good,has that kind of loose anatomy that works well with humor strips.
Tim Tyler is an adventure strip I have heard a bit about. Looks decent. And it a ok read at best.
Pete the Tramp is one that is unknown to me. Jungle Jim I have heard of,thanks to Dynamite's revival last year and I think there was at least one Jungle Jim serial. Plus these reprints have Alex Raymond artwork. No idea if this is before of after his classic Flash Gordon run.
This Barney Google strip mostly is about Snuffy Smith. Who is in the military.I do wish there was more than this one page in the comic. Snuffy Smith is a comic character I have loved since an early age.
Then onto pages of Blondie. I read the comic strip as a kid. And saw lots of the old Blondie B/w movies. So seeing a strip I like,and episodes I doubt I have ever read,was another nice surprise.
Teddy and Sitting Bull is another unknown to me. We get a young kid that likes to pretend to be a Native American. With his pup playing along with him. Nothing special but not horrible.
Tille the Toiler is once again totally unknown to me. And was the worst strip in this book. I see why I only got 1 page.
And Ace Comics saved the best for last. About 6 pages of classic Prince Valiant reprints. Prince Valiant is another that I got into last year thanks to the Dynamite series. The art is gorgeous. The story is well paced and makes me want to read more.

The inside back cover is news pieces the readers of the comic sent in. A thing I remember the Archie titles doing when I was a kid.
And finally the back cover. Which is a humor strip I seem to remember hearing about years ago.

I enjoyed the hell out of this comic. All but the Telly strip were at least worth reading. With the Blondie,Phantom and Prince Valiant stuff being the biggest stand outs for story and art.

Ace Comics #119 gets a buy.