Saturday, November 26, 2016

Support Joe Martino's 20th Anniversary Edition of Shadowflame

Comicbooks (or as my uncle used to call them “Funnybooks”) tend to be filled with all-powerful heroes and world-conquering madmen, however, when we first meet Joe Martino’s everyman character, Tom Wyatt (soon to be known as Shadowflame), he was just a regular guy; This first meeting is memorable for us as it is just a month after the death of his wife, for which he feels responsible )as well he should) and he all but ready to put a bullet in his head over it. As can be expected, Wyatt is something of a total wreck, and isn’t ready to go to the store to buy milk, forget about being granted unlimited power and potentially become the savior of the human race, yet that is precisely what happens.
For comicbook fan and creator Joe Martino, seeing his creations come to life first in a series of independently-produced comics, and now collected together as a graphic novel — complete with a cover illustration by his personal inspiration, Comicbook Legend John Byrne — is something of a dream come true. “Let me tell you. This is the guy that inspired me to pick up a pencil and draw. So having him do the covers to the Shadowflame trade is like a dream come true. I have the original hanging up in my apartment and every once in a while I stop and look at it and just say ‘Wow’ He really said yes.”
For Martino, Shadowflame has that same fun, free-spirited feeling that the Marvel comics from the 1980s and early 1990s had for him. He has chosen to pay homage to this era in comics, because, for him, that’s when comics really had magic. “I am not trying to reinvent the wheel. I am just writing and telling the stories that I would like to read.” Martino feels that in today’s modern-day, “reality-fueled” world, that comics have seemed or have lost some of the sparkle that made them magic that they had when he was younger. Nowadays, everything needs to be explained and changed to make sense. According to Martino, comics should be about losing yourself in something that is bigger than you, about reimagining yourself in the role of the hero. “When we were kids, how many of us tied a towel to our backs and pretended to fly? Shadowflame is about THAT magic.” 

Today’s mood!

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

With the 135th anniversary of the first flight of Gustave Whitehead fast approaching (August 14, 1901) I want to remind everyone that Gustave flew two years prior to the Wright brothers).

I learned about Gustave through my high school science teacher, Andy Kosch, who went on to build and fly a replica of  of Gustave's Old #21 back in 1985. He is currently building a couple of other replicas in order to duplicate his (and Gustave's) successful flight(s).

In 2013 historian John Brown researched and coorberated that Gustave did indeed fly two years prior to the Wright brothers. His findings were subsequently published in Jane's All the World's Aircraft.

When I first heard this story from Andy (when I was still in high school) I thought that this would make for a great comicbook. Well, it took me 35 years, but I finally published that comic. So, if you are at all interested, here is a comicbook that I wrote about Gustave Whitehead.

You can purchase copies of the comic from IndyPlanet.

Congressman John Lewis’ Long March Toward Justice: March: Book One

Congressman John Lewis (GA-5) is considered by many to be something of an American political icon. Lewis’ own commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper’s farm to the halls of Congress itself. He was first elected to Congress in November of ‘86 and has faithfully served as Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District ever since. Not only was he one of the key figures of the civil rights movement of the 1960s but he actually met and worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during that time. Congressman Lewis’ story began in 1940 as the son of sharecroppers. He went to school in a segregated Alabama schoolroom and became inspired by the Montgomery Bus Boycott as well as the words of Dr. King he became involved in the Civil Rights movement, eventually becoming a nationally recognized leader. In ‘63, he was dubbed one of the Big Six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement when, at 23, he was not only an architect of but a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington.

March is Lewis’ personally-told, extremely vivid, first-hand account of the Congressman’s lifelong struggle for individual dignity, civil and human rights, and accountability. Beginning during the days of Jim Crow Laws and segregation, and firmly rooted in Lewis’ own story, March deals both reflectively and intimately on the highs and lows of the much larger civil rights movement. As Lewis spins his tale of growing up in the repressive South as a Black man who was bound and determined to become educated so as to live a better life, we (as readers) come to better understand the hardships and struggles through which he and others went through to achieve (even a small) measure of equality.

Throughout this emotionally-moving story we become a part of his struggle for equality, where he received beatings from state troopers, to ultimately, receiving the Medal of Freedom in 2010 from the first African-American president, Barack Obama. Now, with this graphic novel, Lewis, has chosen to share his remarkable story with a new generation, he has penned March, relating his own, very personal story. The book — written in collaboration with co-writer Andrew Aydin (who is a staffer for the Congressman) and illustrated by New York Times best-selling artist Nate Powell (winner of the Eisner Award and LA Times Book Prize finalist for Swallow Me Whole).

This is actually just the first installment of a planned trilogy that covers Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing, initial meeting with Dr. King, the birth of the Nashville Student Movement (which he helped found), and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall. Throughout the story, we read about the atrocities perpetrated upon Lewis and his fellow protesters as they struggle to simply achieve the basic human rights that have been denied to them because of the color of their skin. Given the events in Ferguson, as well as the 2014 biopic Selma (which chronicled the events in that city when Dr. King, Lewis, and others marched across The Edmund Pettus Bridge for civil rights in 1965, forever altering the political and social landscape in America), the release of this book, is a very important publication that should be read by anyone interested in politics, current events, history, and social equality.

Congressman Lewis relates in this first book of March, how he grew up poor on a rural farm in Georgia, and the struggles with which he, his family, and the other Blacks from that time and that place were confronted with. He talks about his struggles to get an education as he fought against racial inequality. The book spans John Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, leading up to his life-changing meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as his involvement with the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and that organization’s fight to end segregation through their many nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, and culminates in a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall. All of this is told against the backdrop of Lewis attending the initial inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2008.
In the back of the book, there is a text feature that reveals how many years ago, Representative Lewis and the other student activists who worked with him drew inspiration from the 1958 comicbook entitled,  Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story

Now, Lewis presents his own story in his own comic in order to bring those days back to life for a new audience, testifying to a movement whose echoes will be heard for generations. Top Shelf (publisher of March), has re-issued that Dr. King comic, and both are currently available from Top Shelf, as is the second volume of March.

A third volume of the Congressman's autobiography is due to to be released in October of 2016 and will also be available from both Top Shelf as well as on Amazon, Barns & Noble and other book sellers.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Superhero Cakes

So, I was in Dunkin’ Donuts today, and I noticed that DD is offering a quartet of superhero-themed cakes, two featuring Spider-Man

And a pair featuring Batman.

So, I'm thinking that with Father’s Day and My Birthday both still happen this year, Someone is going to deserve a couple of Spidey Cakes soon.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Seriously, You call this writing?

OK, so I realize that today everyone is either talking about DC Rebirth or the fact that (apparently) Captain America has been an agent of Hydra all these decades since his inception, but personally, I'm still stuck on this issue of Batman 52 (which frankly I'm still not entirely sure is Batman from the New 52, Batman #52 or simply Batman 52 (the indicia wasn't all that clear to me).

In any event, it really doesn't actually matter, because with the frequency with which comicbook series are rebooted, renumbered, and reimagined, none of that (unfortunately) really has no actual value — in fact we’re really surprised that comicbook companies don’t simply kjust call a spade a spade and call each and every comic published issue #1 — but, like peter David, I digress.

Leaving that all behind for the time being, we’d like to focus on the story, only there really doesn’t appear to be much of one in this issue, because what we have is yet another re-telling of the origin of Batman. The frequency of which comicbooks are rebooted and origins retold, it is no wonder why every time there is a film made about one of our four-color heroes that the filmmakers feel that they need to include an origin story.

Well, at any rate, the story involves a thief named Crypsis who has a hi-tech suit that allows him to phase through walls. turns out that Crypsis is looking to steal something of immense value belonging to Bruce Wayne, so Crypsis  breaks into some guy’s office to steal a key that is to the safety deposit box where this item is stored. So, Crypsis breaks into the guy’s place, steals the key, then breaks into the bank, and uses the key to open the box to steal the item; which then sets up the fight between him and Batman.

We really just have one question. If the suit allows Crypsis to phase through walls, then why did he need the key? Couldn’t he just have phased through the safety deposit box? We call this bad writing.

Want to know what else we call bad writing? This week on Arrow was the final showdown between Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) and (Neal McDonough) — no, we’re not going to give away any spoilers — during the confrontation, Green Arrow fires an arrow at Darhk winging him, and putting a nice scar on his cheek. Now while we don't quite understand how the greatest marksman in the world could miss a stationary target standing like 20' in front of him, but the story never addresses that standing like 20' behind Darhk, there is a tightly-packed mob of civilians and the arrow apparently didn’t hit any of them either.

Next Arrow’s superhero friends show up to help and Darhk calls upon his own hoard of minions and a great big brawl erupts, which is interesting because every other time this goon squad shows up they were touting automatic weapons, which makes you wonder why they didn’t bring their this time as well.

Again, bad writing. There’s more in this episode, but we’re already exhausted, so we’ll leave it at that for now.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Munster Memories

Back in 2014 I contributed to Butch Patrick's coffee table book, Munster Memories. Well, just today I finally got my contributor's copy to the book (Thanks, Rich!). 

Butch Patrick's "Coffin Table" book

Here you can see my name in the credits and as author of the two articles that I penned.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Batman V Superman: a different (Humorous) view

OK kids, I already posted my review of Batman V Superman (over here) but apparently I wasn't the only one who weighed in on this film (go figure). One of the people who reviewed the film was Peter K. Rosenthal from the satirical website, The Onion. I note his review because Rosenthal (straight-facedly, but hilariously humorously) compared the fight between these two World’s Finest heroes to the break-up of his parents. Which is not only especially funny, but actually makes sense when you actually examine the film’s name.

Batman v Superman

You see, when two names are juxtapositioned like that (opposite a “v” as opposed to a “vs”  (as in Mad Magazines Spy vs. Spy) it is considered a legal matter (as in a divorce) as opposed to just a fight between two foe-men (Frazier vs Ali). leaving us to assume one of two things:
  1. Director Snyder didn't understand the technical differences between the two uses, or
  2. He really did mean for this to be a legal battle
Hence Rosenthal’s review:

So, yeah, that is actually pretty funny, but then again, so are these two cartoons dealing with the difference between DC and Marvel comicbook fans when movies about their chosen heroes hit the Silver Screen.

I’ve actually had this conversation...

And well, there’s also this:

Friday, March 25, 2016

More Superhero Hot Wheels cars from McDonald’s

OK, we totally checked out the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film last night and then today we (once again) headed over to McDonald’s to score some more superhero-themed Hot Wheels toys.

There are two more cars to this set and I hope to score them over the weekend.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Batman Vs Superman: General Mills Edition

OK, we just posted about how the new Batman/Superman film is appearing at McDonald’s with Hot Wheels superhero cars, well it is also appearing in General Mills Cereals with a quartet of pint mini comics. Here re the first two:

OK, now I have issue #3 as well!

Batman vs Superman @ McDonald’s

OK Kids, unless you’ve been living in a Spider hole for the last couple of cycles y’all already know about the big upcoming Batman/Superman slug-fest that is coming up soon enough (Thu, Mar 24). Well, in the meantime while you are still waiting for the film to drop, you can head over to McDonald’s to score some superhero-themed Hot Wheels toys.

The promotion apparently just started, so you should be able to score a full set. Here is what I grabbed up so far.

Here are the four cars I currently have are Flash, Superman, Green Lantern, and Batman

In addition to the Superhero Hot Wheels cars there are Barbies.

So, yeah, I picked up my toys this morning, and grabbed me a Shamrock Shake in the process.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

NYC’s Big Apple Con Returns Saturday March 5, 2016

Well, it looks like this is going to be another great weekend time for comicbook fans in the NY Tri-state area as Mike Carbonaro (“Mike Carbo”) throws yet another of his legendary Big Apple Cons The comicbook show is the longest-running Pop Culture convention in New York City. As usual, the show is happening at Penn Plaza Pavilion (401 7th Ave @ 33rd Street — opposite Madison Square Garden). The show launches Saturday, March 5, 2016 and runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. This show is (as usual) an amazing confluence of comicbooks, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, and Cosplay (costume play for the uninitiated — where fans dress up as their favorite heroes).

As with most of these types of multi-media, Pop Culture events, the New York Big Apple comicbook show brings together top-flight not only numerous fan-favorite comicbook creators along with media celebrities, but combines them with a metric tonne of vendors all of whom have gathered together in this one location in order to sell unique and interesting items of interest, along with panel discussions each targeting various aspects of comicbook, collectible, and multi-media culture. There will also be a costume contest, as well as many more additional attractions all gathered together in one place for their fans to enjoy. Carbonaro himself assures us that there will not only be hundreds of tables offering comics, toys, posters, videos, original art, t-shirts and other collectibles all available for purchase.

The show also includes a number of special panels and programming that will highlight the 50th anniversary of the Batman TV show, the first appearance of Marvel’s Black Panther (who will be featured in the upcoming Captain America Civil War film), as well as the history of Charlton Comics, Star Wars, plus the Winter Indie Film Awards animated shorts, and NY Jedi.

In addition to the multitude of vendors that will be appearing at this year’s Big Apple Con, the event will also feature a full-to-the-brim Artists Alley of comicbook and trading card creators, including: Jim Steranko (Captain America, Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD), Neal Adams (Batman, Green Lantern/Green Arrow), Mark Texeira (Wolverine, Ghost Rider), Ramona Fradon (Aquaman, Super Friends), Erik Larsen (Spider-Man, Savage Dragon), Rich Buckler (Fantastic Four, Deathlok), Reilly Brown (Deadpool, Daredevil), David Lloyd (V For Vendetta, Aces Weekly), Joseph Michael Linsner (Vampirella, Cry For Dawn), John Cebollero (Captain America, Batman), Sean Chen (Iron Man, Valiant Comics), and Brian Kong (Leaf Trading Cards, Cryptozoic Entertainment).  

In addition to all of the comic and collectible guests, headlining the show will be a number of media guests form films and television, including Lori Petty (Tank Girl, Orange is the New Black), Laurence Mason (Gotham, The Crow), Jason David Frank (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Sweet Valley High), Kathy Garver (Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Family Affair), Karyn Parsons (Static Shock, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), Johnny Brennan (Family Guy, Jerky Boys), Debbie Rochon (Tromeo & Juliet, Santa Claws), as well as Pro Wrestlers The Nasty Boys, Scott Steiner, and Ryan Shamrock from the WCW and WWE.

Still, perhaps one of the most anticipated highlights of the show will be Captain Zorikh’s Costume Contest which will once again bring together the most amazing costumers and Cosplayers for a fast-paced, exciting show of creative excellence and costume design. So, shake off the winter blues, and come on out as your favorite character in comics, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, cartoons, anime/manga, video games, or simply make up your own. There will be prizes awarded by audience applause to the event’s best costumes. So come on out and enjoy the day, Saturday, March 7th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Penn Plaza Pavilion; located at 401 7th Ave. @ 33rd St. in midtown Manhattan. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Stan Lee's Marvel Cameos

We all know that Stan Lee is Marvel’s ultimate showman, and that he has appeared in a number of Marvel's recent films. Here is a compilation of nearly all of his cameos...

Here is Stan’s “Appearance” in the cartoon Big Hero 6.


Friday, January 01, 2016

Comicbook Movies of the Millennium

Back in 2000 (the year that Marvel’s first X-Men film came out, and fundamentally altered the way that both Hollywood and — by extension — all of pop culture) viewed the comicbook genre. There have been between four and a dozen comicbook-related films released per year. Over the past decade-and-a-half we have been tracking comicbook movies, (As you'd know if you've been following this blog for any length of time — we have a 30+year history or reporting of actual comics). 

In 2015 there were five comicbook-related movies that hit the theaters. As we’ve reported in previous installments of this column, we are only discussing live-action films that a) either started off in comics, b) are clearly influenced by comicbooks themselves, or c) by comicbook superheroes. Films that we are not considering for this series include anything that originally appeared on TV (live action or animated), theatrically-released animated films, or films based on properties adapted into comics, but were best known for initially appearing in another medium (e.g.: toys). We are also not considering films that were released direct to video or DVD.

The first set of links list an overview of films categorized as the titles indicate. Those links are followed by links to the films chronically by year with the most recent year listed first: We began to post this list over at, but as we are no longer associated with that website, we will continue to post the list over at Hubpages (where we currently post our reviews).

So, here you go, effendi, enjoy!

Other articles in this series are located via the below links: