Friday, April 29, 2011
The Creeper is one of those 70's creations that I have always liked. I get a kick out of the garish look that Steve Ditko gave him as well as his identity as a somewhat smarmy TV show host. I thought that was a nice angle for a secret identity, as it is a great springboard for a variety of stories. The Creeper has had several shots at his own series, and I always try them out - but none seem to last very long. Hopefully a creative team will come up with a version that clicks, because I think he is too cool a character to be relegated to occasional guest star status.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
I have an appreciation for all types of music, but for me, The Beatles are hands down the greatest band in history. My older siblings were very much into the Beatles, so there was never a time I was not exposed to their music. It's amazing to me how many different musical styles they went through in their relatively short career together. I quite enjoy their solo works as well, but there was something extra special when they all got together.
I remember seeing Yellow Submarine when I was very young, and it freaked me out at the time. I found the giant hand and the Apple Bonker guys to be pretty scary! It would be many many years before I would watch it again and gain a whole new appreciation for it. There are a lot of truly inventive sequences in there, not to mention the fantastic music. I heard that the recently discussed CGI remake of this film has been cancelled, and that's probably a good thing. I doubt any new version could really improve upon the original.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
I figure that Robotman and The Thing would definitely be on a first-name basis with each other. These are two heroes that have a lot in common. Both are rough and tumble regular joes who get transformed into powerful new forms and are considered the heart of their respective teams despite their inhuman visage. They even have similar speech patterns and color schemes! Yup, Cliff Steele is another certain member at Ben Grimm's poker table.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Here's another all-Kirby cover. The Challengers of the Unknown have one of the cooler names ever given to a comic book team. The concept of a group of adventurers who feel they are living on borrowed time facing off against fantastical hidden menaces is pure fun. I like that they are among the handful of characters that kept the heroic spirit alive between the disappearance of the golden age heroes and the emergence of the silver age. I think that Ben Grimm would fit in well with the Challengers crew, even if he had never been transformed by cosmic rays.
Monday, April 25, 2011
This was a cover concept I've had in mind ever since I started with Marvel Two-In-One. Whenever I would see The Thing in his classic trench coat and sunglasses get up, my mind would flash back to The Blues Brothers. Music films don't come much better than this - so many quotable lines and great performances. In this age of Glee and High School Musical, I really miss films like this!
Friday, April 22, 2011
I really loved the first couple of years of The Authority. I don't think I had ever seen comics told in such a widescreen, cinematic style before. The concepts were huge and the artists were fantastic. The first few runs on that series made for a very tough act to follow and while I have given most of the Authority relaunches a try, nothing has really come close to the original stories by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch and then Mark Millar and Frank Quitely.
Here's a Bryan Hitch page from his time on JLA:
Thursday, April 21, 2011
A pretty simple cover this time around. It probably could have used a caption or a word balloon but I liked the simplicity of the image and didn't want to clutter it up with one of my bad puns! The Atom has always been one of my favorites. I used to get excited when he would show up on an episode of Super Friends. He is just now coming into his own again after years of being bogged down in depressing storylines and being replaced by a "younger, hipper" version. I liked how he was utilized on the animated JLU series and the minor tweaks they gave to his costume. They kept the iconic Gil Kane design, but made the fabric shiny and gave him all white, Batman-type eyes. I thought it gave him a more modern look and would like to see it used in the comics.
Here's a cel of the Atom from his appearances on the Superman/Aquaman Hour:
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Having been a huge fan of the Justice Society, I was very happy when All-Star Squadron first debuted. Finally, here was an Earth-Two series where all the characters were in their prime! I loved that it gave a spotlight for lesser known characters like Johnny Quick, Robtman and The Shining Knight, and that it featured a more serious version of Plastic Man than the one I had seen before. Add to that gorgeous artwork by Jerry Ordway and covers by Joe Kubert, and you had a comic that always made it to the top of my stack. Writer Roy Thomas could sometimes get a bit wordy and bogged down by continuity minutia but his vast knowledge of the title's expansive cast more than made up for those minor quibbles. This series was clearly a labor of love for him. It's a shame that All-Star Squadron could not last after the ramifications of Crisis on Infinite Earths and I hope someday we will see a new take on the concept.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The whole Judas Contract Saga from New Teen Titans was one of the great comic book reading experiences of my youth. The rise and fall of Terra made for some excellent cliffhangers and dramatic moments. Marv Wolfman and George Perez were truly at the top of their form - and that's saying something! I can only imagine how the twists and turns in that storyline would be spoiled in todays day of internet coverage. I know the animated Teen Titans featured a version of this storyline during one of their seasons, but that was changed quite a bit from the comics. I'd like to see DC devote one of its direct to video animated films to the saga, with a much more faithful adaptation. I'm betting that DC doesn't want to create market confusion with its currently running Young Justice series, so it will probably be a while before we see any DTVs starring the 80's Teen Titans.
Monday, April 18, 2011
I made this cover months apart from Friday's Swamp Thing entry, so I get a kick out of the fact that they both feature Ben and his co-star battling dinosaurs! I'm gonna consider this an unofficial two-parter, that would be a story I'd really like to read.
I think the time is right for another cinematic take on Tarzan. Despite all of the movies that have come and gone, I don't think any has really captured the character correctly. Disney's animated version actually comes the closest, if you can ignore the songs and silly sidekicks. With today's special effects and a story faithful to the source material, a live action Tarzan could once again be a theatrical hit.
Friday, April 15, 2011
It looks like Swamp Thing is about to get a little more focus as he was only recently reintroduced to the mainstream DC Universe, after having been confined to the Vertigo Imprint for many years. I for one thing this has been long overdue. I'm not sure what was accomplished by separating the Vertigo characters from the rest of the DCU, and I think a strong argument can be made that the best Swamp Thing stories were told before he became for "mature readers only". I tried out the Vertigo Swamp Thing titles a bunch of times, but they never grabbed me the way the Len Wein or Alan Moore tales did. Now, don't get me wrong - I don't want to see Swamp Thing join the Teen Titans or anything, it's just good that he is finally once again an active and important member of the DCU.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
I am really looking forward to the upcoming Man of Steel film. Fans seem to be divided on Zach Snyder as a director, but I think he is an intriguing choice. If nothing else, I expect that it will look great and be the most action-packed Superman film ever. Some of Snyder's previous efforts have had script problems, but hopefully the guiding hand of Christopher Nolan as Producer will help avoid those this time around. So far I love the casting, every actor mentioned for a role so far really seems to have the chops. I am a little concerned that the villain has been stated to be General Zod once again, I would have preferred someone we haven't seen in cinemas yet like Brainiac... who knows, he may be in the mix as well. Ihave heard complaints that the film will also include Superman's origins again, but I imagine this will be about at close to the Donner version as Batman Begins was to Tim Burton's Batman origin, so that doesn't bother me as much. At any rate, this is one film on the horizon that I can't wait for. Fortunately we have a nice summer of superhero films just about to kick off, so that'll tide me over for now!
Here's an Ivan Reis page featuring Superman (and friends):
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I have to admit that this cover did not come together as well as I had hoped. The image of Supergirl I used was just too blurry and I couldn't sharpen it in enough to quite fit with the rest of the cover. Oh well, live and learn.
DC has finally gotten Supergirl back to a place where I am enjoying the character again. I still remember the death of Supergirl back in Crisis on Infinite Earths being such a huge moment, especially because it wasn't spoiled months in advance like most big events these days. When DC introduced Matrix, a character that stepped into the Supergirl role for several years, they told a lot of entertaining stories - but it just wan't the same thing as the original. DC decided to send that version off into the sunset and just never refer to her again so as not to interfere with the reintroduction of the "real" Supergirl in the pages of Superman/Batman (now translated into an animated feature). I was glad this latest version was so much closer to the character's roots, but did not care for the over-sexualized manner in which she was all to often portrayed. I found that inappropriate and was glad when DC made a concerted effort to dial that back a few years ago.
Here's a Supergirl page by the very talented Ed Benes:
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I thought that it was a mistake to remove Superman's time as Superboy from DC's post-Crisis continuity. It unraveled Legion of Super-Heroes continuity and took away an aspect of the character that made him unique among most other superheroes. It seems that some of those Superboy adventures have been retconned back in following DC's latest timeline shift, and who knows how the upcoming Flashpoint time changing series with leave things. One reason I liked to read those Superboy tales as a kid was that the stories took place in Smallville rather than Metropolis and it was easier to identify with Clark Kent's home life. Plus, his sidekick was his dog! Too cool.
Monday, April 11, 2011
I have been a fan of Sergio Aragones ever since I was a kid and would squint to see all of the tiny marginal cartoons in Mad Magazine. I would love to see all of those marginals collected in one volume some day. Aragones' contributions to that magazine were easily my favorite part. I would even watch Dick Clark and Ed McMahon's Bloopers and Practical Jokes just to see the little animated sequences by Aragones. I was always happy to see him working with Marvel and DC, be it in Plop!, Bat Lash, House of Mystery or his parody specials... he just has one of those cartooning styles that never fails to brings a smile to my face.
I've posted this on the blog before, but it is appropriate here - a Groo and Rufferto sketch by the man himself:
Friday, April 8, 2011
My favorite character to come out of the Death of Superman event has to be John Henry Irons. I thought he had a unique look and viewpoint and was glad that he caught on enough as a character to warrant his own series. I'm not sure if it was the lackluster Shaquille O'Neal film adaptation's influence or not, but for some reason Steel has kind of faded into the background in the past decade or so. He was featured in the 52 maxi-series and since then hasn't seen much action. I'd like to see him gain a larger prominence in the DCU, as he has a lot to offer.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
I had only read a few Static comics when I became a real fan by watching his self-titled animated series. That was very well done and I was glad to see them tie it into the DCU animated shows, featuring crossovers with Batman and the Justice League. I'm sure that Static creator and comics and animation writer Dwayne McDuffie had a lot to do with that. I was very saddened to hear of McDuffie's sudden passing recently. He was a great writer and instrumental in getting a lot of comic characters and story lines into other media. He had created quite a legacy with all the stories he has penned and his creations with Milestone, so I am sure his presence will be felt in comics for a long time to come.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I looked at the publicity images for James Robinson's Starman series with a very dubious eye. Here was a take on one of DC's classic characters that looked to be throwing out everything that I liked about the property. I am glad I gave the series a shot though, because my first impression could not have been more wrong. Jack Knight was indeed hesitant of many of the superhero trappings that his father had, but that made for an excellent character arc where he learned to respect his heroic legacy. Jack's distinct personality coupled with the amazing Tony Harris artwork made this a can't miss series for me. DC seems to hold it in high regard as well - other than a few Robinson-penned appearances as a member of the new Justice Society of America, Jack knight has been able to retire in peace (without being killed off), a rarity in comics.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
I've included a lot of heroes that I think would fit right in at Ben's poker table... well here's a heroine that I think could easily pull up a chair. Ben always seemed to appreciate powerful ladies who aren't afraid to storm into battle when necessary. Starfire still seems to be maintaining a low profile these days... She is a member of R.E.B.E.L.S. but that is currently one of DC's lower sellers so I don't know how much visibility that translates into. I understand that Cyborg is being given a big push in the upcoming Flashpoint event, which is long overdue. I hope that his former teammate, Koriand'r, can get a similar treatment soon. DC has far too many female heroes that aren't simply versions of existing male heroes, and she deserves more exposure.
Monday, April 4, 2011
I was a big fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation during it's run. The first couple of seasons were fun, but by the third the show had really started to hit its stride. I can always tell if a rerun is going to be good by if Riker has a beard in it or not. My favorite episodes focused on either Picard or Data as those were my favorite characters. I also loved any episode concerning frequent guest star Dwight Schultz as Reginald Barclay, those were always interesting. The TNG films have been a mixed bag, but I do feel that First Contact is one of the best Star Trek films with any cast. Star Trek: TNG's two-part episodes were always the highlight of the season. The Best of Both Worlds, which introduced the Borg and Unification, featuring Spock, are a couple favorites. Of course to me the absolute best Star Trek:TNG epsode is the finale, All Good Things. In fact, I would have to pick that as my favorite final episode for any series... it really was a great send-off.
Friday, April 1, 2011
I really liked the latest Star Trek film with the new cast quite a lot. I thought it was great how they used Leonard Nimoy to tie the two different realities together, making the classic TV shows and films still canon and living on through Spock Prime. It will be much more fun watching the continuing adventures of the new Trek reality knowing that the classic one has not been made redundant. I thought the cast did very well in evoking the original actor's mannerisms while adding their own take as well. I look forward to a sequel and wonder who the antagonist will be. I'd like to see Klingons, and I have read rumors of Khan... but how on earth could anyone top Ricardo Montalban in that role?