Sunday, June 19, 2016

2016 Comic Challenge 189 The Complete normalman

TITLE-The Complete normalman
PUBLISHER-Image Comics

After having heard of normalman for years I broke down and ordered this trade. That claims to contain every appearance of normalman.

In 12 issues plus an annual Jim Valentino managed to homage and parody pretty much every genre and trope of comic books.And Jim does a damn good job at this. The art looks nothing like his later stuff. It has a kind of Fred Hembeck cartoony style that I prefer to Valentino's later stuff on Guardians of the Galaxy or Shadowhawk.

The scattered one shots and cameos normalman did after his series ended are not as good as the ongoing series was. But at least Jim was at least doing something with the characters.

I am guessing that not only didn't the normalman series not sell that well,but this trade also didn't sell well. That I am basing on how easy it is to find it brand new online for 5 bucks plus shipping.

So if you can handle the beloved genre of superhero comics being parodied grab a copy of this trade.

The Complete normalman gets a BUY!

2016 Comic Challenge 188 Spiderman versus Wolverine

TITLE-Spiderman Versus Wolverine
PUBLISHER-Marvel Comics

It is odd what things will trigger forgotten memories.After getting about 10 pages into this comic all of the sudden I rememebered not only where I bought it. But my first time reading it.

It was 87 and while I was going to the comic shop in Biloxi once a month,I still got most of my comics at K&B Drugs in Pascagoula MS.

It was the best store in the area for comics. They not only had 2 spinner racks. But 2 other racks hanging on the walls.Plus they seemed to carry all the magazine sized comics.

I clearly remember buying this at K&B,and thinking $2.50 was a stupid high price but it had Wolverine fighting Spiderman so I had to read it. Then after leaving the drug store I went straight to Burger King grabbed something to eat and read the comic while eating.

Written by Christopher Priest,back when he was still Jim Owsley,and with Mark Bright doing the pencils and the great Al Williamson on inks. We get a bit of history on Wolverine.Someone ,at the time thought to be minor,in Spidey's cast dies. And there is a great fight in a graveyard between Spidey and Wolverine.

Looking back on it now while it was good no way was it worth $2.50 back then. And IIRC this comic quickly went up in price. Many a cons I would see it as a $10 wall book. But with some digging you can find a reader copy for a buck or 2 tops. Which is it totally worth.

Spiderman vs Wolverine gets a buy.

2016 Comic Challenge 187 Sonic Super Digest #14

TITLE-Sonic Super Digest #14
PUBLISHER-Archie Comics

A few times a year I will find and grab one of Archie's digest sized reprints of their long running Sonic the Hedgehog comic. Mostly cause for years I kept hearing how good the comic was.

This issue has a few hundred pages and a stack of stories. With a few of them either being complete in this issue or wrapping up in this issue. But of course to get ya to want to buy the next issue a few of the stories have cliffhangers that got me to try to find the next issue.

The art is good. But no matter the artist the characters have a similar look. But you expect that out of most stuff from Archie. The stories are good. And not just crap written to sell to kids. The writers include enough stuff for an older audience to keep them reading.

Sonic Super Digest #14 gets a borrow.

2016 Comic Challenge 186 Shi #02 Fan Appreciation Edition

TITLE-Shi Fan Appreciation Edition #02
PUBLISHER-Crusade Comics

This is another of my X amount of random comics in a bag for cheap finds. I had read a handful of issues of Shi back when it was coming out. And did enjoy it. But never really followed it.

Bill Tucci handles the art and writing. You can tell he has at least the entire first story arch plotted out.

Now I want to track down and read at least this entire first story arch of Shi.Which to me is a good sign of a comic.

I am gonna hold onto this comic.Mostly cause I like the cover. But as for the rest of the series I am gonna look for trades.

Shi Fan Appreciation Edition #02 gets a borrow.

2016 Comic Challenge 185 Secret Origins #028

TITLE-Secret Origins #028

I have loved this title since it first hit the newstands. And at least for me the issues with lesser known characters were the better ones.

Nightshade gets the first story. Robert Greenberger,no idea who this is,is the writer. And in what has to be one of his earliest published pro work the penciler is Rob Liefeld. You can see small pieces of what would later become the major flaws in Liefeld's art. At the first time I read this I knew nothing about Nightshade. Now years later,hell almost 30,I have read a handful of her Charlton stuff and a bit of her in Suicide Squad. This is a decent origin/revamping for a very underrated Charlton heroine.

Midnight is the latter story. Roy Thomas is the writer,so you know unlike hacks like Geoff Johns,he will try his best to keep the character in line with his Golden Age stuff. Then the great Gil Kane handles the art. I knew of Midnight thanks to Who's Who. But this was the first I read of him. And he is a 3rd rate Spirit clone. Which is why he has barely been used since DC got the rights to him.

Overall an average issue of Secret Origins. But then for me at least I want to own every issue.

Secret Origins #028 gets a borrow.

2016 Comic Challenge 184 One Man's War #01

TITLE-Preacher Special One Man's War #01
PUBLISHER-Veritgo a DC Imprint

Under that gorgeous Glenn Fabry cover,why was this never released as a poster?,is the origin of Herr Starr.

OK real quick there might be spoilers for the Preacher TV show up ahead,but since that show seems to be Earth 2 Preacher who knows.

Starr is part of German Special Forces,think Spetnaz or Delta Force,and during a mission meets a new compadre. Who ends up asking Starr to join The Grail.

The Grail is a secret,and I think Catholic ran,organization that has protected Jesus's bloodline for centuries. Yep in the Preacher universe Jesus had children. And to keep the bloodline pure the Grail has allowed them to only mate within the bloodline. Their main plan is to have a failed nuclear strike happen when the year 2000 starts. Then bring out the great great great great great great great great great great great great great great grandson of Jesus as the new Messiah. But of course if you keep people breeding within their immediate family well you are gonna end up with a very very special needs Messiah.

Realizing that no one will buy this kid as the new Messiah,Herr Starr starts a group within the Grail that will take it over soon. And replace the Messiah with Jesse Custer.

As with everything connected to Preacher,Garth Ennis writes this issue. And Peter Snejbjerg handles the pencils. The art is nice and looks a bit like Steve Dillon's art in the main series.

Pretty sure you can still find this for cover price or less at a decent comic shop. And it is reprinted in one of the Preacher trades and hardcovers. So no reason if you are a comic fan to not track this down.

Preacher Special One Man's War #01 gets a BUY!!!

2016 Comic Challenge 183 Mage The Hero Discovered #11

TITLE:Mage the Hero Discovered #11

Somehow this damn good series passed me by in the 80s. It wasn't until the early 2000s when I found a bunch of issues cheap that I read what is the first volume of a supposed 3 volume series.

Matt Wagner handles most of the creative end of this series. Sure the art in the early issues of this title is a bit meh. By issue 11 it is pretty decent.

What really sucks is this series ended not long after issue 11. With volume 2 planned to come out in about a year. Then Comico went under. It took years for Wagner to fully get back his rights to the series. When he did Image published volume 2,and reprinted the first volume. IIRC this was the late 90s. And so far as of early summer 2016 volume 3 hasn't come out. Hell I haven't heard any news on it in 10 years or so.

Since I read volume 1 all in one sitting it is kind of hard for me to rate each issue.But this time all I read was this single issue. That I got in a 3 pack of comics from Dollar Tree.

Knowing what happened before and after this issue,reading just one issue in the story worked for me. But I would not recommend someone reading this issue without at least reading the previous 10.

Mage The Hero Discovered #11 gets a Buy.

2016 Comic Challenge 182 Kickers INC #03

TITLE-Kickers Inc #03
PUBLISHER-New Universe a Marvel Comics imprint

Yeah as I slowly make way through all of "Shooter's Folly" I am gonna have to read total shit like Kickers.

Kickers Inc was a group of football players. Who's quarterback gets superpowers and now they are like a kind of super hero team/bounty hunters.

Sounds stupid doesn't it? Well it is. IIRC this lasted 12 issues. But then half of the original 8 New Universe titles only lasted for a years.

Kickers Inc #03 gets a Pass.

2016 Comic Challenge 181 Freex #06

TITLE-Freex #06
PUBLISHER-Ultraverse a Malibu Imprint

Freex was the Ultraverse version of the X-men. A group of outcast teens with powers. I have at least 10 or so issues of the series. But this is one of the few I have read.

So not only is this issue tied into the Ultraverse Breakthru crossover,which was kind of shit,but Night Man shows up.Night Man was the Ultraverse's total ripoff of Shadowman. But somehow Night Man got a syndicated live action TV show that lasted at least 1 season if not 2.

So how was the issue? The art is decent. But with the story being part of a bigger crossover and my not knowing that much about the Freex it didn't entertain me that much.

Freex #06 gets a pass.

2016 Comic Challenge 180 Cassidy:Blood & Whiskey #01

TITLE-Preacher Special Cassidy:Blood & Whiskey #01
PUBLISHER-Vertigo a imprint of DC Comics

Yep  another Preacher one shot. And again it has a beautiful Glenn Fabry cover. This time not only is Garth writing it,but they also got Steve Dillon to handle the pencils.

Set before issue 1 of the main series,Cassidy is hitchhiking when on I-10 near New Orleans he smells something he hasn't smelled before. Another vampire. So he gets dropped off,tracks the other vamp down. And they have adventures.

IIRC this came out right before the main series took a 5 or so issue trip to New Orleans. So this one shot was used to explain some upcoming stuff.

But really what makes this stand out to me is the main theme. The other vampire Cassidy meets is obviously a clone of Lestat from the Anne Rice series of novels. I get the feeling Ennis is like me and hates all the horrible clones of what was at one time a decent character. So he takes the piss out of all the tropes from the Anne Rician Vampires.

Cassidy:Blood & Whiskey #01 gets a BUY!

2016 Comic Challenge 179 Baron Weirwulf's Haunted Library #070

TITLE-Baron Weirwulf's Haunted Library #070
PUBLISHER-Charlton Comics Group

I never read much of the Charlton horror anthology comics back when they were coming out. Then in the late 90s my local comic shop got in a huge stack of reader copy condition of them. The shop owner had said how much he wanted an issue but was offering a decent discount if you bought at least 10. So I went thru the stack found 20 that caught my attention and went up to the counter. The shop owner chuckled and said "Yeah I knew when I got them you would go after the one with the Ditko cover."

Now I haven't bothered doing much research for this issue. But under that Ditko cover you get your normal Charlton horror short stories. They never reach the levels of say the greatest stuff from EC or all the 70s DC horror titles or even Creepy and Eerie. But they are almost always worth a read. And usually have some good art.

Seems over the past decade the demand for these titles has went up. And I am seeing more and more shops/con dealers wanting $5 an issue for a beat up copy. Now for me yeah I would pay $5 for a reader copy version of this issue.Mostly cause of the Ditko cover.

Baron Weirwulf's Haunted Library #070 gets a borrow.

2016 Comic Challenge 178 Airboy #05

TITLE-Airboy #05

Years and years ago when I discovered the cheap bins in comic shops,back when cheap bins were either 10 cents a comic or maybe 25 cents a comic,this issue of Airboy was one I grabbed for cheap. Just goes to show you what a good cover will do. And this cover is done by the late great Dave Stevens,RIP Sir RIP.

Of course over the years I lost that copy. But I keep finding more copies in cheap bins or flea markets. Got the one pictured above for a quarter.

The story is pretty good. The Airboy of this series is the son IIRC of the Golden Age Airboy. And this is the first time in this series that the old Golden Age enemy/friend Valkyrie appears.

And yeah the comic has good art,that sadly pales when compared to the cover.Plus the story is well written. But honestly I picked this up again just cause of the cover. I have started framing various comics to hang on my walls and this was one I had to have for framing.

Airboy #05 gets a BUY!