Saturday, February 27, 2010

Closing in on it all

So, I spent today in the City, at the NY Comicbook Marketplace, siting at the Atlas Unleashed table with both Mark Mazz and Shawnti Therrien. Well, while I was there I did get the opportunity to wander around the place for a bit, and while doing so, I managed to pick up three issues of Amazing Spider-Man that I was missing.

So now I have ASM (V2) #s 19, 22, & 25. This means that I am only missing three issues of ASM to complete my full run of this series.

Seriously, how cool is that?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Back in print again!

Yep, you read that right, The Official Index to the Marvel Universe #14 just came out this week, and — once again — I contributed to the Spider-Man entries.

Still, all good things come to an end, and so too does this series, or, more specifically, this volume of this series. Starting up in a couple of months Marvel will launch the second volume which will cover Thor, Avengers, and Captain America. Fortunately, I am already hard at work on my contributions to that series, as I work on Captain America entries.

Needless to say, as soon as they start coming out, I’ll let you all know so you can rush out and get you own copies.

And in this corner...the Iron Spider!

Just to be up front about this, I’m not talking about the Steel Spider (who lives in the MC2 Universe) and looks like this and, well, this, but rather, I’m talking about the Iron Spider, who was first introduced in April, 2006 in Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 529
and last seen (as worn by Peter Parker) in Choosing Sides Vol 1 1 in December 2006.

I don't know about the rest of you Alices, but I really kind of liked that spider-armor, and was very happy that it was brought back in The Initiative Vol 1 3 (as worn by the MVP clones). Although, I do feel it necessary to point out that I was a tad disapointed that the powers taht be chose to refer to it as “Scarlet Spider” because, as far as I’m concerned, Ben Reilly is Scarlet Spider, and his blue & Red sweat suit number is the proper Scarlet Spider outfit.

Still, I was glad to see the suit (if not the name) returned to active duty. Needless to say, I recently acquired a Superhero Squad version of Scarlet, and added (just yesterday), an Iron Spider Superhero Squader.

Now, let me say right up front that this is a wicked-cool toy, and I’m very pleased to have discovered and won purchase of it on ebay, I’m really miffed that whatever toy designer that designed this thoroughly disappointing bit of plastic, did so in such a way so that it is entirely impossible for it to actually stand up unaided. Which of course, is a damn shame. I remember some 20 years ago talking to Tom Brevoort who was the Toy Editor for Marvel.

Yeah, I know, I reacted pretty much the same way — a toy editor? — Well, as he told me, their needed to be someone at marvel who made sure that toys that were designed by third-party licensees accurately portrayed the character they were licensing, I can’t help but to think that has someone like Tom been in place today to have overseen the creation of this toy, he would have said something to the effect “Hey, you’ve done a nice job, but this toy would work much better if it could actually stand up, go back to the drawing board and fix it for me.”

But then again, what do I know, eh?

A new world’s record!

OK, if this don’t take the cake. Just a couple of days ago we reported that Action Comics #1 had set a new record for the sale of a single comicbook (a million bucks!), and, well, we though that was totally awesome. Imagine our surprise today when we learned that that most astounding record has been broken already, by none other than Detective Comics #27 — the first appearance of the other half of the Brave and Bold team — none other than Batman himself.

Yep, that’s right, it has just been reported that Detective Comics #27 just sold for $1,075,500 (US) at an auction. Apparently the owner of the comic bought it back in the 1960s for $100.00.

Now that’s what I call a sound investment.

Me? I own Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of the Amazing Spider-Man. Wonder how much that will go for 20 years from now?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Captain America in the Tea Party???

Yeah, well, given the fallout over the events in Captain America #602, you can imagine my surprise when I saw this photo in my local newspaper the other day

Tristan Kelley, of Stamford, dresses at Captain America as he joins the Greenwich-Stamford and Ridgefield chapters of Tea Party Patriots during a rally outside of the Ferguson Library in Stamford, Conn. on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. Photo: Kathleen O'Rourke / Stamford Advocate |

I’ll spare you the political rhetoric, and simply state that the Cap in photo should either bulk up, or next time, get a smaller sized costume.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

OK, now THAT’S seriously Super!

This just in, Action Comics #1 (the first appearance of Superman), has just been reported as having been sold for $1,000,000.00. Yep, that’s one million dollars. How cool is that?

A copy of the first comic book featuring Superman, considered the holy grail of comic collecting, sold for $1 million US on Monday.

The sale, on auction site, set a record for a comic sale. The previous record was estimated at just over $400,000 US.

The buyer Monday was a New York-based collector, according to a spokesman.

Action Comics #1 (which originally sold for 10¢ in 1938) sold for $317,000.00, just last year. Though ther had been comicbooks prior to the publication of this comic, the comic is generally credited with kicking off the comicbook revolution, and spawned thousands of imitators and knockoffs.

I guess the recession is officially over, eh?

Monday, February 22, 2010

The morning after the night before

Man do I love the after-holiday sales that discount stuff 50-90% off, that (and a very understanding wife), is how I scored this nifty-cool (extra) box of Spidey Valentine’s Day cards and pencils.

Pretty cool, eh?

Yeah, I kinda thought so too.

To be sure, it is sometimes risky to wait until after any particular holiday to snap up the Spidey-related products of your choice (you could always try hiding them on a shelf — and going back for them the day after, but I don’t recommend that — I’m just sayin’).

Anyways, that’s not what happened here, my wife just spotted this in the store yesterday, and picked it up for me.

Isn't she wonderful?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Have yourself a little Twirl!

Well kids, this is week three of Spidey at Burger King, and this week, it is Doc. Ock who gets the nod as the toy of the week. The figure is a Dr. Octopus clip that spins when you pull down on the fob.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ragnarok's gonna get ya if you don't watch out!

I've always been a big fan of mythology, Greco-Roman, Norse, American Indian, I love mythology. The stories of gods and goddesses, of godlings, demi-gods, mythical creatures, and things that may or may not exist just beyond the pale of our understanding. I grew up reading of the exploits of of great and fearful creatures. I grew up reading mythical tales of the formation of the world; The Great Turtle who carried the world on his back; Atlas holding up the heavens on his massive shoulders; the Coyote trickster; Loki the god of mischief; his half-brother, Thor, the god of lightning & Thunder; Aries, the god of War (called Mars by the Romans), Pan, the companion of the nymphs, god of shepherds and flocks; Deadlus, who's son, Icarus, flew too close to the sun on wings of feathers and wax, and died a fiery death.

I read early on many of the world myths that were told by the ancients who needed to describe the world around them using the words that they had to describe that which they didn't understand. Perhaps this is why to this day I am so entranced by comicbook heroes, and epic movies. This is why I believe in heroes.

To paraphrase Voltaire before me, I have long held that “If there were no Heroes, it would have been necessary to invent them.” Yes, I have mentioned it before, but I am a Heroist. I am a believer in the cult of heroes. I love the great world-myths; perhaps this is why I craft stories about the world around me. I use fiction, romance, and stories to describe the world around me, as those who preceded me in this, my preferred craft.

Personally, I prefer Norse mythology to Greco-Roman; perhaps that is because the Greco-Roman is the more familiar lore. So it was natural that the mere title to Greg Van Eekhout's breakout novel, Norse Code, in and of itself, was a huge draw for me.

According to the author's description of the book:

As human civilizations crumble, Valkyries prepare for Ragnarok by using DNA testing to select perfect warriors for their army of the dead. Resurrected NorseCODE operative Mist loses faith in the project after a tragic accident, and she goes AWOL. After Mist encounters the near-forgotten god Hermod as he investigates portents of doom along the California coastline, the two journey into the afterlife of Helheim, where they make some unexpected allies. With deities scheming and ancient prophecies coming true, can a reluctant Valkyrie and a world-weary god prevent the apocalypse?

Van Eekhout crafts an engaging and delight story of the end of the world as foretold by the Norns and filtered through SoCal culture and mores. Having read the tales of old, I was entertained and thrilled by how well Van Eekhout managed to weave his apocalyptic vision replete with his modern-day revisionism, and still keep it true to its ancient roots. The story was well-told, and compelling all the way through, with the ultimate resolution, being not quite what you expect.

well worth the investment of time and money.
OK, I know that this has been widely reported elsewhere, but as Keven Smith is is not only a favorite filmmaker of mine, and a writer of comics, I felt that I wanted to talk a little bit about this as well. Just recently Smith boarded a South West Airline plane and, the pilot cames up to him and told him to get his lard ass off the plane because he was too fat to fit inside their jumbo jet. Yeah, nice, eh?

As many of you already know -- because Tweets travel faster than airplanes -- Kevin Smith, the portly film director of the movie "Clerks" and the upcoming film "Cop Out," was "politely" asked to disembark from his Southwest flight from Oakland to Burbank because he was too large to fit in the seat.

Okay, let's be frank: He was kicked off the flight. The reason he was given was that his size infringed upon the space of the person sitting next to him and it could cause a safety risk in case of an emergency.

Well, Smith is something of a media-savvy kind of guy, so he wasn't about to take an affront this, ah, huge, sitting down (or walking off, as it were). Plus, as a very popular director, writer, and all-round digitally-plugged in guy, he immediately alerted his fans.

Smith — the Red Bank-born director known for his "Silent Bob" character in "Clerks" — unleashed a barrage of more than 200 Twitter posts and produced a lengthy podcast slamming Southwest for kicking him off the plane for being too obese to fit in his seat.

"I’m way fat, but I’m not there just yet," Smith twittered.

Yeah, Smith is exactly the kind of guy that I'm going to want to embarrass.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Toy Fare

So this past weekend I went to Toy Fare in NY City, and got to walk around the Javitz Center for a bit. I'll have to admit that it has been a while since I
6ve been to Toy Fare, and I do remember it as being cooler. Still, it was kind of fun, and I did get to see a couple of old friends (including Dave Ryan who is now working with Shocker toys). Still I did get to see some cool stuff, including life-size Lego replicas of Iron Man, Buzz Lightyear and Woody.

Still, there were some “normal-sized” Lego figures as well, such as this Darth Vader giveaway I scored:

This wooden toy puzzle.

And this Spidey Valentine candy (which you saw yesterday).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Give Spidey Your Heart!

Well St. Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and here are some of the Spidey-themed items that I acquired.

A box of Valentine’s Day Cards:

A (talking) mailbox of Valentine’s Day Cards

A great Big Valentine’s Day Spidey card.

A Spidey Valentine.

And a Spidey bag into which to put them all.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Too much coffee; Man!

One of my all-time favorite series is Shannon Wheeler's Too Much Coffee Man. It is a brilliantly witty, and darkly sardonic strip that spoke to the heart of coffee drinkers everywhere. I recently submitted darkly humorous strip to Jim Main’s THE BIG BOOK OF SMALL PRESS, which is due out early this year. The wonderful art if by Jack Bertam and, well, here is page one.

Needless to say, the story was inspired by Wheeler’s work, and hopefully he will find it amusing and not hurt me.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Spidey in the morning

As I noted in an earlier post Around the time of Spider-Man 2 Kellogg’s issued a bunch of in-package toys with their Spidey-related tie-ins. A couple of these items were Spidey wrist-lasers or somesuch (I think that there were a total of four of them). Well, I have recently acquired two of the four. The first one appeared in that post I mention at the beginning of this entry, and this is the second one here.

Both of these items have mercury batteries inside the toys, so CT Attorney General Dick Blumenthal had them pulled at the time (some nonsense about the mercury being potentially hazardous to the health of small children). Well thankfully Mr. Blumenthal(who is an otherwise most excellent Attorney General for the Great Nutmeg State of Connecticut), only was able to pull the toys from, well, CT, and now — through the magic of ebay — I am able to acquire some of th3e Spidey toys that were denied to me back in 2004.

As stated, there very well might be two more of these “wrist lasers” out there, but for now I am (somewhat) mollified.

On a side note, I also did acquire a Superhero Squad “Iron Spider” figure, but it (unfortunately) arrived broken (one of the spider legs was lose and snapped off in my hand as I was removing it from the package). Needless to say, I contacted the seller who has very graciously has offered to replace the item for me.

Nice to know that there are still honorable merchants out there. When the good figure arrives, I'll share pics of that as well.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Disney is Evil!

While I’m not saying that this particular project is in the works, it is, however, entirely possible...

Spidey is the King

As indicated Spidey is visiting the King of Burgers, for some lunch (and where he’ll be hanging out for at least a couple of more weeks).

Today we have a (real) swinging Spidey who is hanging from a gargoyle that (as we know) are protruding from rooftops all around the Big Apple.

We noted that this series of toys is tied into the Spectacular Spider-Man animated TV show. From what we can tell thus far, these are rather cool-looking toys (although we still have some issues with the inclusion of the backback clips in these sets, as we personally prefer figures as opposed to the clips, but I can understand that the folks who make them are under the impression that young kids like to have these clips).

At any rate, I’m always just happy to have the toys themselves. I figure that these Spidey toys will lead into the enevitable Iron Man set (tying — naturally enough — into the Golden Avenger’s upcoming movie, which is due out May 7).

Anyway, that’s it for now. I’m hoping to hit a different BK over the weekend and score the next toy in the series (sometimes the franchises offere the toys in different sequences.

Manga is a crime?

No, really, I was just made aware of this report where a comicbook fan named, Christopher Handley, was sentenced on Wednesday to six months in the federal prison system for the “possession of obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children,” (that is to say, manga).

The U.S. Attorney described Handley in his sentencing brief in a way that could probably describe many manga fans. “His primary means of social interaction with others has not been involvement in the community, but has been playing online role-playing games,” the brief said of Handley. “Mr. Handley recognizes that these hobbies have been a compulsion, causing him to incur ‘significant debt from buying various Japanese art forms’ and ‘upgrading his computer system.’” The sentencing brief also described the results of a psychological exam of Handley.

The prosecution’s sentencing brief also listed the seven manga that were in the package intercepted by the postal inspector:

• Book 1) “unfinished school girl” (presented by TAMACHI YUKI) (LE Comics);
Book 2) “I ! DOLL” (MAKAFUSIGI presents) (Seraphim Comics);
Book 3) “for ESSENTIAL 3" (THE ANIMAL SEX ANTHOLOGY Vol.3) (Izumi Comics);
Book 4) “NEKOGEN, Neighboring House Family” (MD Comics);
Book 5) ISBN4-89465-172-6 (No English language title found) (Seraphim Comics);
Book 6) ISBN4-89465-222-6 (No English language title found) (Seraphim Comics); and
Book 7) ISBN4-89465-193-9 (No English language title found) (Seraphim Comics).

This is a serious travesty.

Spider-Man made me gay

Say what you want about the following clip. I think it is hilarious!

And now, watching this, he has made you gay as well!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Date Set for Spider-Man #4

Yep, I just read how Spidey IV has a release date of July 3, 2012, plus it is slated to be filmed in 3-D.
Sony made the release date official today, and added that the film will debut in 3-D when it premieres. Production on the project, which has yet to name an actor for the lead role, is expected to begin later this year. The studio announcement also indicated that the film's title hasn't been finalized yet — though we're pretty sure the name "Spider-Man" will be in there somewhere.
Still, the part of this report that I find interesting is that it indicates that no one has been chosen to replace Toby Maguire, yet a week or so back we read (and posted) a report that had named actor Zac Efron as being set to step into Spidey’s web. So, who knows what the real word is in this matter.

I just know that if this new director, Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) thinks that bigger = better, we could be in for a train-wreck of a film. Personally, I believe that a scaled back version of the next film — rather than an over-blown, everything-including-the-kitchen-sink, film can only help to ruin the franchise, rather than help it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Taking the coward's way out

Several years ago (early-to mid ‘90s) So youngster got his hands on a Marvel trading card for the Red Skull that identified him as a Nazi. Well being a bright and curious lad, he asked his father what a Nazi was. Well, surprised and shocked the father took exception to Marvel having the audacity of using something so innocuous as a trading card and supervillain to teach his precious, and innocent youngster about the worst villains from the 20th Century (especially something that he would eventually learn about in history class), and complained to Marvel.

Well, as you can imagine, Marvel chose to — instead of standing on principal and who the character had been for half a century — chose instead to whimper and cower in the corner. They issued an edict that — moving forward — The Red Skull would simply be referred to as a really bad man, and any trace of his former atrocities would simply be wiped from his history.

Well, move forward 20 years and, yep, it is happening once again, and (interestingly enough) once again in the pages of Captain America:

In issue No. 602 of Captain America, the hero and his ally the Falcon find themselves at a rally where protesters hold signs that read “Tea Bag the Libs Before They Tea Bag You!” and “Stop the Socialists!” Captain America remarks that the assembly appears to be an “anti-tax thing,” and the Falcon, who is black, says he probably would not fit in with “a bunch of angry white folks.”

The sequence incited complaints from Tea Party officials who say it is an unfair criticism of their movement. In an interview with, Michael Johns, a board member of the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, called the characters’ apparent jabs “juvenile,” adding: “The Tea Party movement has been very reflective of broad concerns of all Americans. Membership is across ethnic, religious and even political lines.”

Some irate Cap fans have pointed out that during his heyday, Cap’s comic upset members of the German American Bund (in 1941). At that time everyone from publisher Martin Godman (who was usually given to flight rather than fighting when profits were involved), to NYC Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia encouraged creators Joe Simon & Jack Kirby to stand their ground and not compromise.

Unfortunately, these days the company has chosen to swallow its corporate and creative pride over what amounts to a single throwaway panel that (save for the accurate spelling of all the words on the various protest signs) accurately depicts the sentiments and slogans of the Tea Baggers.

One can only hope that Stephen Colbert (to whom Joe Quesada himself once Captain America’s fallen shield), will become aware of this, and lampoon it for the idiocy that it is. Go get ‘em Stephen!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Cool Spidey Stuff

I recently acquired a couple of very cool Spidey stuff that I wanted to share with you all. First up is a Spider sticker for my car that actually got a while back and I showed you already, but it is a window cling that I attached to my car:

If you look close at the second picture, you'll see my reflection in the window behind Spidey.

Then then is a Scarlet Spidey Superhero Squad figure (very cool, as I hadn't been able to locate one of these — and wouldn’t have save for the magic of ebay). Now I just need to score an “Iron Spider-Man” Superhero Squad (as well as an action figure which I also don’t have).

And finally, here is a Spidey “wrist laser” that was available as a giveaway from Kellogg’s around the time that Spidey 2 was out (2004). I attempted to acquire the item at the time, but, well, CT Attorney General Dick Blumenthal forced Kellogg to pull the toy from cereal boxes due to the mercury battery inside the toy.

Kellogg Co. has stopped shipping cereal boxes with Spider-Man 2 premiums to Connecticut under pressure from the state's attorney general.

The Spidey-Signal toys have mercury batteries, which are illegal under Connecticut's Mercury Reduction Act and the Child Protection Act. Kellogg also stopped shipments to New Hampshire to comply with that state's environmental laws. Packages already on-shelf are being replaced now, says Kellogg spokesperson Celeste Clark.

I recall being very upset at the time, but, well, since I have one (and a second on the way), I’m feeling much better about it now.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Funny business in the Funny pages

Now I know how small a community cartoonists are (for the longest time, most of them lived in Westport, CT, now many of them and their kids still live in the immediate area). Still I always find it entertaining when two or more cartoonists hit on the same gag in the same day.

Now I’m not talking about gags that revolve around calendar events (Superbowl Sunday, Thanksgiving, religious holidays), or in-season sports (Baseball, basketball, etc.), I’m talking about random, gags about random events, like Dennis the Menace and Close to Home from Feb. 5th.

Here is that portion of the funnies from my local newspaper (The Family Circus is included simply because it sits between the two aforementioned comics).

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Spectacular Spider-Man visits with the King

As we mentioned yesterday, there are Spidey toys (four of them) currently at Burger King (yes, they are here now!). Here is the first of the four toys; a Spidey with webbing under his arms (finally!). I also included the instruction sheet (his arms will pop up when you push a button).

The other toys are a Venom, a swinging Spidey, and a Doc Ock clip-on.

Yesterday I wasn’t sure of the tie-in, but now that I see the toys, it seems that the specific tie-in is the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon

And now, for a clip of the cartoon itself:

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Spidey goes to Burger King!

Hey! I just learned that there are Spidey toys at Burger King this month (Feb). Not sure what the real-world media tie-in is for these (the last time Spidey appeared at a fast food place it was Micky D’s and it was tied to the new animated TV show).

Here is what the toys look like. I’m going to run out later today to grab up as many as I can, and then give you pics of the toys themselves (this image came from an ebay auction, which is already offering the toys for sale).

* * * UPDATE! * * * UPDATE! * * * UPDATE! * * *

I just learned that the Spidey toys apparently won’t be available until the weekend ( believe that Friday is the day where the toy is changed at BK). More as it develops.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

More Marvel dustjackets & other stuff

I would like to present you with some of my latest work for Marvel. First up, a trio of dustjackets for hardbound collections to which I penned the cover copy. These are TimeStorm 2009–2099, and a pair of House of M collections (one staring staring Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and the X-Men, and the second featuring Wolverine, Iron Man, and the Hulk).

Next is my latest foray into attempting to index the entirity of the Marvel universe (and no, I’m not doing it either on my own, or even the lion’s share of it, but rather a small portion of the Spider-Man section.

Seriously tho, ain't it wicked-cool?

Monday, February 01, 2010

Closing in on Amazing Spider-Man!

I have long had this Spider-Man fetish ( No! Really?) I have been reading his adventures since Amazing Fantasy #15 back in ‘62. Still, I didn’t really start aggressively purchasing comics until I reached High School (‘71 or thereabouts). I parted ways with the field in ‘95/‘96 for economic reasons (I found myself suddenly unemployed), and didn’t rejoining active collecting until 2001 (just before the first Spidey movie). Since that time I have been very intently and methodically filling in that gap. Well, this past weekend I moved significantly closer as I acquired ASM Vol. 2 #s 11, 20, and Annual ‘99.

A week or so back I scored ASM Vol. 2 #11 and a Wizard Spidey ashcan giveaway (Sensational Spider-Man)

This leaves me only ASM #431, ASM Vol. 2 #’s 19, 21, 22, 24, 25, and Annual ‘00 (seven issues) to finish off the the entire run of Amazing (I have to still have to do a count of the other titles to see how many I need to finish off all runs of all titles).

Needless to say, I’m very excited about all of this.

I’ll (naturally enough) keep you all posted.