Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Venom joins the Crew

So, you all know by now (or should) that I’ve been collecting a group of Marvel toys that come in — what can only be described — a “Bubblegum Machine” (and no, there is no actual gum in the machine, or with the toys), each of the figures is packaged inside of a sealed plastic bag that is placed in side a plastic egg, which is then loaded into the machine. Four quarters inserted into the pay slot (turn the handle), and you have your very own Marvel figurine.

Each of the toys comes in several pieces, and requires some assembly. Cool, eh? Yeah, I thought so as well, which is why I’ve buying them.

I have already fully collected the first set of these figures, and am currently working on the second set. This set consists of eight characters, and I currently have five of them (a pair of Spideys, Sandman, Green Goblin, and (just this week), Venom.

Unfortunately, I have also acquired a number of duplicates:

• 1 Hulk (from the previous set)
• 2 Sandmans
• 2 Spideys (w/“railing” base)
• 1 Spidey (w/“brick” base)

I’ve already given a couple of my dupes away, but I still have more, so I’m willing to trade these for the ones that I’m missing (a third “sliding” or “backwards-leaning” Spidey), Doc Ock, and whatever the eighth character is (we still don’t know, but we are told that there are eight).

I have it on good authority that a third set will be available in December.

Rusty Haller, R.I.P.

It is with a sad heart that I pass along the information, that a friend of mine, Rusty Haller, creator of Ace & Queenie, and former cartoonist of Marvel’s Star Line passed away in his sleep last night. Rusty’s mother had passed away earlier this ...year, forcing Rusty to re-locate to Ohio to live with a friend. It was his friend & roommate that discovered Rusty’s body. That's all I know at the moment.

The artwork is an original piece of Rusty’s art that I had commissioned from him just before he left for Ohio.

When I have more info about Rusty I’ll pass it along.

Comics for Girls?

I’m sure that there are comics for girls, I’m equally certain that (unfortunately) this isn’t one of them. Oh, sure, I do believe that the people who developed and produced Models, Inc. certainly intended it to be a comic for girls. I just think that they failed miserably in their attempt to do it.

Ostensibly, the story is about Patsy Walker, Milly the Model and a bunch of other Marvel fashion stars who are simply attempting to further their fashion careers. (Which begs the point, where the heck is Super-Star Fashion Model, Mary Jane Watson (nee: Parker?) I can understand why Janet Van Dyne-Pym isn’t there, she died at the end of Secret Wars) Well, anyway, the story really doesn’t read mush like a comic that girls would be interested (Archie comics, Spider-Girl, certainly others, but not this).

Further, part of the selling point on this comic was including Fashion Guru Tim Gunn in the back-up story (where he is designing superhero costumes for Fashion Week, then gets to don Tony Stark’s armor to beat up some bad guys).

Now you would think that if Marvel was going to do a tie-in with Fashion Week, and Tim Gunn, they would make a big deal about it (which they might have), but outside of Gunn’s appearance on The Daily Show, I saw not one bit of press about this.

Sure, sure comics are for kids, but did Marvel even try to get a story in W or any of the high-end fashion mags? I’m not sure that they did. All of which goes to prove my point that we are a dead industry because no one seems to understand that if we keep (marketing comics to only a comicbook audience), then where will the next generation of comicbook readers learn about how cool comics really are?

Your guess is as good as is mine.

Funnybooks, Funnybooks, who’s got Funnybooks?

So over the past couple of months or so I’ve been reading comics (duh) and, well, there are a few that I’d like to talk about for a bit:

First up, I’d like to talk about a couple of IDW comics that I really enjoyed. Grimjack: The Manx Cat is not only the revival of the First Comics character, Grimjack (as penned by his co-creators, John Ostrander & Timothy Truman). To those who know, Grimjack is the street name of John Gaunt, a sword-for-hire, ex-paramilitary, war veteran and ex-child gladiator. He operates from Munden’s Bar in the Pit, a slum area of Cynosure, a pan-dimensional city to which all dimensions connect.

Well, this issue marks the first appearance of Grimjack under the IDW banner in a deal that was cut with ComicMix to co-publish some comic titles. Perhaps the best part of this story is that it jumps right in to the tale without wasting much time explaining who John Gaunt or the people who swirl around him are. Ostrander jumps right in and delivers a ripping yarn that harkens back to the glory days of the series.

As it turns out, Grimjack is hired to steal back a stolen bit of merchandise, only his task isn’t as simple as it sounds at first. Needless to say, it is a thoroughly entertaining tale. I highly recommend that you pick up a copy. this stuff is classic.

Another fun comic is Hero Comics, a compilation of short stories that was assembled by the folks at The Hero Initiative. This very cool comic delivers a pile of very cool stuff, including a new Howard Chaykin American Flagg, alongside the works of Gene Colan, Bill Willingham, Gene Ha, William Messner Loebs and others.

The Proceeds of which go towards The Hero Initiative which is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation that is dedicated strictly to helping comicbook creators in need. The fund helps creates a financial safety net for the creators of yesterdays who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It’s a chance for all of us who enjoy this industry to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment.

There are two different covers for this issue, one by Matt Wagner (Grendel), and a second by J. Scott Campbell (Eve).

Next up, I discovered Days Missing (Archaia) is based on a concept by a Roddenberry executive named Trevor Roth, and tells the stories of a mysterious being known only as “The Steward” who has the ability to literally “fold” the days of time that he has allowed him to secretly remove critical days from our shared history in order that he has forever changed the course of mankind.

I’ll be honest with you, what first attracted me to this title was it’s 99¢ price tag. Yep, that’s right, the initial issue was under a buck, and hey, I just can’t pass up a deal like that. Needless to say, even a cheap price cover price won’t keep me around if the story or art blows. Needless to say, Days Missing was absolutely riveting right from get-go. Phil Hester’s script is wonderful, and truly sucked me right in from the first page, and I can’t say that about many comics I read these days.

I’m strongly urging you all to rush out and pick up this book. You’ll thank me.

This month also marks the return of Vampirella, once again from Harris Comics. This is the first issue of a four-issue mini that re-launches the character for the new millennium. I’ll be honest with you, I was never a real big fan of this character, but I will say that this re-launch looks certainly interesting, and (to be sure), I gave it a look because my good Friend Mark Mazz had a hand in the Harris version of this character during the ’90s.

While Mark didn’t have anything to do with this version, I figured that I’d give it a look and see what was up. I’m only one issue in, so I’ll have to see where it goes from here.

Another 99¢ book that I recently picked up was Mark Waid’s Irredeemable (Boom!) The story is good enough (although I am a bit lost as I’m set in the middle of an on-going story), the concept of putting a comic on the stands for a lost-leader purchase price, is still a great idea.

The story was fun and I’m considering checking out some of the other issues.

Well, now it is time for me to move on, and look at some other other stuff, now that this pile is off my desk.

Have fun kids.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Superhero Mathematicians? You bet!

So I just came across this book review in the New York Times, about a comic book that apparently revolves around the quest for a logical certainty in mathematics. According to The Times the story crosses the decades from the late 19th Century to the dawn of World War II. This is a period when the very nature of mathematical truth was being furiously debated by scholars and mathematicians. The cast of this tome is headed up by Bertrand Russell and includes the greatest philosophers, logicians and mathematicians of the era, along with several wives, mistresses, a couple of homicidal maniacs, an apocryphal barber, and well, Adolf Hitler.

Improbable material for comic-book treatment? Not really. The principals in this intellectual drama are superheroes of a sort. They go up against a powerful nemesis, who might be called Dark Antinomy. Each is haunted by an inner demon, the Specter of Madness. Their quest has a tragic arc, not unlike that of Superman or Donald Duck.

For the rest of this review, check out the full review.

Written by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou
Illustrated by Alecos Papadatos and Annie Di Donna
347 pp. Bloomsbury. $22.95

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Moon over

I came across this pic and, well I had to add it to my page, as — given my interest in werewolves — I felt that it would be fun to share.

You say it (was) my birthday...

Yeah, well, a week or two back it was my birthday, and as usual, I received some more Spidey stuff.

First up, is the obligatory Spidey card (this one in shimmering 3D)

Then, so I have something to do, a Spidey Activity book:

And last but not at all least, I got a brand new Spidey-bop bag:

I actually already have one of these, but the one I have is probably 20+ years old, and packed away somewhere.

Oh yeah, I also got some Shiny Spidey Stickers.

Then, for myself,I went to my local comicbook shop, and scored a pile of Spidey back issues that I was missing. I'm currently only missing two comics from the original run (#s 431 & 436) and 18 from the (short-lived) reboot (all from the lower numbers).

How good it is to be me, eh?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another county heard from

PVP, the long-running, hysterical, online comic that stands at the forefront of what an excellent online comic should be, recently had this observation of Kirby’s claim of ownership over certain Marvel characters.

OK, now I’ve seen everything!

This Kenyan lizard, the flat-headed rock agama, has become the newest trendy pet because its coloring so closely resembles your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, reports the Daily Telegraph. It can climb walls, but can't spin webs.

Who, who, created the book of Marvel

Yeah, Yeah, we all know the answer to that, but in the midst of the Disney buyout of The (former) house of ideas, the question of the hour is no longer who created what, but who’s heirs will reap the rewards for that which what was created.

Confused? You shouldn’t be.

As any funnybook fan should know, Stan has always partly credited Jack Kirby with the creation of Spider-Man. He has even said that Jack was originally was supposed to have been the original artist on the character, but Stan really didn’t like the over-muscled character that Jack made Peter. Stan wanted Peter to not look like the typical hero, so he turned the character designs over to Sturdy Steve Ditko. Well, Jack’s heirs have heard and, well, added a claim on Spidey to their copyright infringement suit claim.

Yep, that’s right, folks, Kirby’s heirs are claiming the rights to Spidey himself, the cornerstone character and Iconic logo to the entirety of the Marvel Universe.

It's been confirmed that that Jack Kirby's heirs are, indeed, including Spider-Man and supporting characters in their list of Marvel characters that they want the rights to. The only problem with that? Well, Kirby didn't really create the character.

According to The Hollywood Reporter:

The reasons Kirby didn't end up drawing the book [Spider-Man] are lost in the mists of comic history, with some claiming Lee didn't like Kirby's more muscular depiction and others believing Lee was just too busy. (Kirby did end up drawing the cover to Spider-Man's first appearance, "Amazing Fantasy" #15.)

According to several accounts, Kirby, with his Captain America co-creator Joe Simon, did create a character called the Silver Spider, whose alter ego was an orphaned boy living with two elderly people, and that character was morphed into Spider-Man. Other accounts have the Silver Spider becoming the Fly for another comic company.

Regardless, the Spider-Man copyright termination notice filed last week by Kirby¹s four children lists Amazing Fantasy #15 as a work that belongs to Kirby. But included on the list of possible characters and story elements that should be recaptured by Kirby¹s heirs are Aunt May, Uncle Ben, J. Jonah Jameson, Flash Thompson and the Daily Bugle, as well as villains the Chameleon, the Vulture, the Tinkerer and the Lizard. Many of those characters were not originally published until 9 to 12 months after Spider-Man's first appearance and are considered to be Lee-Ditko creations.

Anyways, Kirby’s heirs claim is based on Kirby's rejected work - which didn't resemble the character as he eventually appeared, other than the name - and a claim Kirby made in a 1982 interview with Spirit creator Will Eisner, where he stated “Spider-Man was discussed between Joe [Simon] and myself. Spider-Man was not a product of Marvel.”

Still, some of this information is a tad misleading, as the Kirby/Simon “Spider-Man” never actually saw print, but instead became the 1959 character The Fly, which was a reworking of a previous Joe Simon character (co-created with artist CC Beck) called the Silver Spider. Simon has gone on record having suggested that the discussion of a character called “Spider-Man” — or actually “Spiderman,” according to an unused logo from that time — led to Kirby suggesting the name to Stan several years later when he worked for Marvel.

According to the comicbook historian, Al Nickerson, as recently as early 2009, Lisa Kirby (Jack’s daughter) rejected the idea that her father was involved with the creation of Spider-Man.

“I had asked Lisa Kirby (daughter of Jack and Roslyn Kirby) about her father's connection to the creation of Spider-Man. Lisa told me: "Neither one of my parents ever mentioned that my father created him, in fact I have heard my mother correcting people if they alluded to that fact.”

So what does this all mean? Who knows, other than the fact that the end of this story is nowheres in sight.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lego Assassing Rule!

I’ve loved Lego since I was a kid. Got my son hooked on them when he was a kid. If you share my love of these toys, you’ll watch this.

Is that über-cool or what?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Kirby heirs vow to reclaim copyrights from Marvel and Disney

The Spirit of Jack is still with us all!

Heirs to the comic-book artist Jack Kirby, who has been credited as the co-creator of characters and stories behind Marvel mainstays like the “X-Men” and “Fantastic Four,” among many others, last week sent 45 notices of copyright termination to Marvel, Disney, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures and others who have been making films and other forms of entertainment based on the characters.

The legal notices expressed an intent to regain copyrights to some creations as early as 2014, according to a statement from Toberoff & Associates, a Los Angeles firm that helped win a court ruling last year returning a share of the copyright in Superman to heirs of the character’s co-creator, Jerome Siegel.

Reached by telephone on Sunday, Mr. Toberoff declined to elaborate on the statement. A spokeswoman for Marvel had no immediate comment. Disney said in a statement, “The notices involved are an attempt to terminate rights seven to 10 years from now, and involve claims that were fully considered in the acquisition.” Fox, Sony, Paramount and Universal had no comment.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Halloween is coming!

That’s right kids. It isn’t too early to start thinking about Halloween, especially with a quintet of mini comics that are now available at your local comic shop. I discovered them myself when I visited the shop yesterday. The five mini comics are Popeye (Fantagraphics), Betty Cooper Confidential (Archie), Domo (Tokyo Pop), Caspar/Little Lulu and Star Wars (Dark Horse).

These are all 7.5" x 5.5" 12-page books (plus covers), and while I can imagine getting one of these for Halloween (hey, I already have!), but I’m guessing that if you haven’t already ordered a boat-load of these comics, you simply won’t have enough to give them away.

Needless to say, all of the minis are essentially preview copies for up-coming series (or square bound collections) of up-coming material.

Dark Horse is preparing to issue bound volumes of Caspar and Little Lulu, plus it always has a number of on-going Star Wars series in the works.

Archie Comics always has comics featuring the ever-lovely Betty Cooper (even though Archie has apparently married Veronica Lodge!?), but there is also a new upcoming comic that delves into her secret diary.

Fantagraphics continues its long tradition of bring back and collecting complete volumes of classic newspaper strips with a collection of E.S. Segar’s Popeye work.

And then there’s Tokyo Pop that is bringing Domo the Manga to the American shores for the first time.

I’m suggesting that the next time you good folk visit your local comic shop you check out these free giveaway minis, and then, look for the books that they are promoting in the coming months.

I know that in the past other comicbook companies (Marvel included) have resorted to producing Halloween mini giveaways, and I’m really glad to see that this tradition is continuing with these comics, as it gives me (and, well you) the opportunity to check out some comics that you might not be reading,. but just might, if you could get a taste.

I heartily endorse the practice, and urge other companies to follow suit. Plus it just might lead to a bigger turnout of Free Comic Book Day (or a FCBD 2.0 version)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Marvel/Disney Buyout: Time to Ratchet up the Parody level!

OK, I just had this one pointed out to me, and well, yeah, I just had to re-post it here:

Needless to say, even though it really has nothing to do with the Marvel/Disney deal, the above-posted vid, lead me to this one, which was equally entertaining.

Both vids are up on Youtube and are the product of the madness that is ItsJustSomeRandomGuy.

If you aren’t watching this guy’s vids, you should.

Another district is heard from...

Buddy of mine (the guy who actually got me hooked into fandom), sent me the attached image. It was kind of neat, (he just discovered Facebook, and “friended” me). I liked it, and wanted to share it with the rest of you.

...Next he’ll get a dog and a cat

Over at DC, their lead character (Super-Duper-Man) had numerous pets (more when I was younger than these days), and I always thought it was cool. Marvel Never got so much into the pet versions of their major characters (Pet Avengers aside). These days I can see that the pet heroes (and all those gorillas) were probably target to grab the attention of younger readers (as I was in those days).

Anyway, I came across this link recently, and well, I just had to share it with all of you. The person behind this site has decked out their My Little Ponies in numerous superhero get-ups, including Batman, Iron Man, Captain America, and others.

Needless to say, this one is my favorite.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Spidey is a personal friend of mine

As I mentioned., Spider-Man (and friends) were at the Norwalk Seaport’s Oyster Festival and well, I got backstage, and and well:

Kanye West News Flash!

This just in: Kanye West just announced that Jim Rhodes’ turn as Iron Man was much better than Tony Stark’s.

In a related story, Kanye West is still a douche bag.

More on this as it develops!

G-Man Rules!

That’s right, you heard me! G-Man is simply put the coolest comic currently being published!

Chris Giarrusso the writer/artist of the series, is perhaps best known as the very talented cartoonist who brings us Mini Marvels, which (as you already all know) is the long-running series appearing irregularly over the past several years in numerous Marvel Comics. The strip very successfully re-imagines the Marvel characters as superheroes, but as young kids (usually delivering Newspapers).

Always funny and extremely entertaining the strip usually plays off whatever current story lines are occurring in the comics. He also has had a long-running series (similar in nature) which has been appearing over at Image. the G-Man comic (featuring Chris’s original characters), is an outgrowth of those stories.

I’ve been picking up the series (slated to run five issues) and it is very entertaining. I highly recommend it.

The G-Man comic explores the origins of magical cloth that give both G-Man and his older brother Great Man their super-human powers. Cute, funny, insightful, and wonderfully illustrated, the series is everything that a comicbook should be.

If you have a youngster who you want to get into comics, put one of these comics in his or her hands. They will love it, and thank you for turning them onto this extremely entertaining series.

Oh yeah, there are a couple of back-up strips that are contributed by friends of Chris’s and fellow cartoonists. They are also entertaining; and if you go to Chris’s site, you’ll get Chris’s upcoming convention schedule.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Yep, I met Spidey again this weekend!

So, some of you might remember that last year at the Oyster Festival I met Spider-man and his friends. Well this year I met them again.

The kid-friendly show played to a packed-to-overflowing house on Sunday, and was ecclesiastically greeted by all fans. Last year Spidey and friends talked about the importance of being nice and how to deal with bullies, while this year the message was about the environment. (Interestingly enough, there were a couple of calls to the Seaport office from “offended” parents who felt the message was some sort of “indoctrination” to the kids (read: they objected to one of their kid’s heroes telling the kiddies that they should be driving hybrids instead of SUVs and conserving energy).

I’m telling you that it is getting harder and harder to do something positive, uplifting, and innocuous these days.

Anyways, this year, Joining Spidey was Captain America and Iron Man (as well as the villainous Green Goblin. Here is the (autographed) card I got from them at the event. I have more photos (including one of me with the characters) as well video, and as soon as I can figure out how to get the vids off my phone, I’ll post them as well (the photo of me and the gang was taken by someone else, and when I get it sent to me, I’ll do that as well).

In the mean time, enjoy these...

Friday, September 11, 2009

This just in...

Buddy of mine called me this morning and told me that Warner Bros. Entertainment (the parent company of DC Comics) has apparently created DC Entertainment Inc., a brand new company that is being founded to fully realize the “power and value of the DC Comics brand and characters across all media and platforms.” This new company will be run by Diane Nelson. This announcement was made today by Barry Meyer, Chairman & CEO, and Alan Horn, President & COO, Warner Bros.

DC Entertainment, a separate division of WBEI, will be charged with strategically integrating the DC Comics business, brand and characters deeply into Warner Bros. Entertainment and all its content and distribution businesses.DC Entertainment, which will work with each of the Warner Bros. divisions, will also tap into the tremendous expertise the Studio has in building and sustaining franchises and prioritize DC properties as key titles and growth drivers across all of the Studio, including feature films, television, interactive entertainment, direct-to-consumer platforms and consumer products.The DC Comics publishing business will remain the cornerstone of DC Entertainment, releasing approximately 90 comic books through its various imprints and 30 graphic novels a month and continuing to build on its creative leadership in the comic book industry.

Yeah, I’m not sure what it all means either, but the Bloggers are already on it, comparing it to the Disney buyout of Marvel.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Another Month for Belkis

Yep, it is now September, and that means yet another page on my NovaStar Studios, Fantasy Art Calendar (featuring Belkis), you can contact James Rodriguez (who put the whole thing together) over at his site, and while you are there, ask him about his up-coming sci-fi comicbook. You can even stop by and see him at the upcoming Wizard World/Big Apple con this October.

Any way, this month’s featured artist is my good pal, Ed Traquino. In spite of his British upbringing, Ed is actually a very talented guy. He is a muchly-published graphic artist who has been allowed to remain in “The Colonies” while he toils away in near obscurity in the Bronx, hoping against hope that the INS doesn’t locate him. A superb draftsman he has the passion and enthusiasm for visual narrative, especially comics. Currently he has brought his immensely diverse background in the London comic art scene (where he contributed to several publishers) to his new position as the Production Manager for Guild Works Productions. Here in the States Ed has not only self-published, but has contributed extensively to GWP’s flagship title Psychosis! as both an artist and a letterer. For his film work he is represented by Famous Frames. You can find out more by visiting his (recently updated) website.

The New Index is in!

That’s right kiddies, if you haven’t already acquired your newest The Official Index to the Marvel Universe #9 (with portions of the Amazing Spider-Man section written by your humble narrator), then you need to rush out to your local comic shop and do just that!

As it looks now, we will continue with this volume to around issue #12 (capping Spidey’s ASM run at #600), and then begin anew with a trio of new titles. At this moment we haven’t heard back what issue number will be the final one for this volume. As soon as I learn, I’ll let you all know.

Now I’m off to write the cover copy to yet another marvel hard cover collection.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Stan Lee & the Clintons

I love the Inrternet, you can find out all sorts of things that are both true and , well, suspect. This is particular story seems to have merit.

Is it true? will it affect the Marvel/Disney buyout? who knows, but people are talking.

Photoshopping the Disney/Marvel Mashup

Well, we’ve already seen some of these images, and one would suppose — given both the nature of the deal and the fact that there is a very strong artist community attached to both houses — that there will be way more of these as time goes on, and more folk try their hand.

Here is a link to a pile of wicked-cool images that delivers some very neat images (and believe me when I tell you that I’ve seen some horrendous images by some folk who shouldn’t be allowed to own art tools — and I’ll spare you from them).

“Hulk Up!” anyone?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

A horse of a different color

Here is an interesting video that was sent my way...

I’m betting that this is just starting to get interesting

Super (Funny) Jew

So, if you saw Judd Apatow’s latest film, Funny People (staring Adam Sandler), you spotted funnyman Seth Rogen wearing this T-Shirt:

The movie itself is very funny, and if you want to purchase this very cool T, you can go to, and get one for yourself for $24.00.