Report what comic books you have read today--and tell us a little something about it while you're here!

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  • .Continuing mycomments on DEATH'S HEAD, the whole thing had a bit of a taste of yesterday's futurism, which dates - At one point a character says to Death's Head, " You look like something my parents would've spent money on in 1987! '. I heartily applaud this and would like more!...

This morning I read Forbidden Worlds #115 (ACG, 1963.) The stories are very child-friendly tales in which ordinary people encounter something fantastic. This was ordinary for ACG in this period.

The story has two 8-pagers. Comic Book Plus, following the GCD, ascribes the scripts of both to editor Richard Hughes. He was ACG's editor, and wrote most or all of ACG's output in this period.

The opening story involves a boy who looks normal but does fantastic things. He quickly wins friends, but it turns out - twist end spoiler warning - that he's a scout for genocidal aliens! The tale can be viewed as a variation on the Herbie formula, and was drawn by Herbie artist Ogden Whitney. This was the point when Herbie was beginning to appear regularly - he appeared in #114 and #116, and got his own title the next year - so the similarity may have been deliberate.

The cover story is set in the Old West and involves a ranch hand who turns out to have wings and fantastic powers. He saves the lady rancher from an attack by evil ranch hands and Indians. What struck me was his explanation of his powers:

I'm...the product of a strange and ancient evolution, an evolution...that produced creatures who resembled humans...but they weren't. They were...different!

"Millions of years before man made his appearance, we had already evolved..."

"We were different in more ways than our power of flight. Very early, we developed super-science..."

"Finally, our science helped us to master our environment. Humans might have called it magic, but to us, it was the application of natural force..."

"But we were gentle, non-aggressive...so much so that fierce tribes, striking by surprise, wiped us out almost completely!"

There are differences, but this is of a piece with the explanation of the Inhumans in their debut story from Fantastic Four #44-#48 (1965). Art by Pete Costanza.

The issue also has a 3-pager drawn by John Rosenberger in which images in mirrors lead to the apprehension of a criminal - I read another ACG story like this recently - and a 4-pager with art by Tom Hickey which stands in a tradition of stories about mysterious individuals who presage death.

The final two items are short stories of strange events. Pre-and post-Code horror comics often had filler items like this. They were often drawn from a store of circulating strange-but-supposedly-true stories our culture has. The issue's 1-pager is of this kind. It's an account of how Goethe passed an apparition of himself on the road. Wikipedia says the story ultimately comes from his autobiography. Comic Book Plus doesn't know the artist. I think the remaining tale, a 2-pager about a disappearing mountain cabin, was invented for the issue. It starts with a date and name ("On January, 17, 1954, Dirk Svenson, one of the finest skiers in Sweden"), but Google didn't find mention of it for me, and it has more of a finished story character. Art by Emil Gershwin.

(corrected)

...Death's Head was featured in that Marvel UK line of titled in America...Which, aside from their utter incomprehensibility*, were built around this very early Internet)acid house-rave era concept of " futuristic "... 

  *-The stories of those characters that appeared in American-format Marvel UK comic books in 22-page stories in which mainstream Marvel Universe characters made guest appearances were published for the British market in shorter versions minus the MU guest stars (I presume in a British-fkrmst bigger-oages anthology with multiple stories?) - Entire sub+plots added just for these publications...No wonder they made no sense!!! Does anyone have any memories of them or old copies. Or have there been contemporary books of them?

I read a spiffy bargain bin find of a 2012 #1 from DC'sshort-lived?? National Comics line, ETERNITY. It was a reworking of Kid Eternity, of course.

Wow, I don't even remember this!

Emerkeith Davyjack said:

I read a spiffy bargain bin find of a 2012 #1 from DC'sshort-lived?? National Comics line, ETERNITY. It was a reworking of Kid Eternity, of course.

"Huh? Namor has always been half-human. When was he human?"

It's a development from the current Invaders storyline. With Captain America and the Sub-Mariner stranded together on a desert island, I threw that explanation in for the benefit of those not reading the title who might ask, "Why didn't Namor simply swim away?"

FAR SECTOR #1: Often, when writers come from another field, storytelling is stilted because they don’t know how to let their artists tell the story. That is not the case here. The storytelling is fresh and original. Recommended.

FLASH FORWARD #3: Good cover! But the iside still features Brett Booth art. The threat his issue is the “Justice League of Vampires.” As Don Thompson used to say, “If this is the kind of thing you like, then you’ll like this.”

JIMMY OLSEN #5: Batman gets the fraction/Lieber treatment. Worth it.

ARCHIE: 1955 #2: Another comic about a redhead. Also worth it.

IMMORTAL HULK #27: Unusual storytelling as three simultaneous stories merge into two, then resolves. It ends with yet another change to the Hulk’s transformation.

BASKETFUL OF HEADS #1: Bought this one because of recommendations from this board. It’s off to a good start. Kind of low key. Not what I expected.

FIVE YEARS #5: Worth reading.

SECOND COMING #4: Worth discussing.

EDGAR ALLAN POE’S SNIFTER OF TERROR v2 #2: Another Action Comics #1 cover pastiche.

UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER-MAN #1 and MARVEL TEAM-UP ANNUAL #1:

This story, by Roger Stern and John Romita, Sr., involves Peter Parker’s parents and Wolverine. The tongue-in-cheek plot is loosely based on the song “Secret agent Man” by Johnny Rivers. At the end, the Parkers learn that Mary is pregnant and they retire from being secret agents.

Untold Tales told the story of Wolverine’s first (and only) meeting with Peter Parker’s parents; the Team-Up annual told the tale of his first meeting with their son.

The cover tempts me to say that it explains why Peter liked Betty Brant so much.

I'm halfway through Archie: The Married Life 10th Anniversary, a six-issue sequel to the "Archie Marries Veronica/Archie Marries Betty" storyline in Archie #600-#606 (October 2009 – April 2010) and the spinoff title Life With Archie (Volume 2): The Married Life (July 2010-July 2014).

The original story had Archie going up Memory Lane instead of down, which showed him the diverging futures. The first three issues had Archie married to Veronica; the next three, Archie married Betty. I recall there was a lot of public squawking about Archie definitively choosing Veronica (as definitively as one can in an Imaginary Story), which I expect was based on the belief that he made the wrong call.

(For my money, of course choosing Veronica was the wrong call. It's like Ginger vs. Mary Ann.)

The spinoff Life With Archie: The Married Life was successful and really popular here in the Comics Cave. I liked that it was an adult title that didn't define "adult" as sex, violence and gore; it was about relationships and the kinds of problems you don't have when you're teenagers hanging around Pop's Choklit Shoppe -- like being the owner of Pop's and trying to turn it into a national franchise. 

Sequels are all the rage, at least on TV, which has had revivals of Roseanne, Mad About You, and Will and Grace, among others, in recent years. And like those shows, Life With Archie ignores what transpired in the previous finale. That said, I'm not particularly pleased with this sequel. Mostly because it's drawn by one of the lesser Archie artists, Dan Parent, and the new story isn't terribly compelling.

FF GRAND DESIGN #2: Fantastic Four: Grand Design is similar to X-Men: Grand Design in many ways yet it is also quite different. Fantastic Four: Grand Design is an exhausting read. Tom Scioli hits all the highlight in tiny little panels, but it is more of a fast-paced condensation of the series rather than a story in its own right. I found it entertaining, but I wouldn’t recommendi it to anyone not already well-versed in FF lore. After he gets to a certain point (roughly 2/3 through the Lee/Kirby run), FF:GD bears more of a likeness to Spider-Man: Life Story as Scioli condenses the next few decades worth of stories. There is a time twist at the end of the series, but it is not nearly so effective as that in X-Men: Grand Design.

BATMAN vs. RA’S AL GHUL #3: The gist of the story is that Bruce Wayne/Batman has been split into his two “component parts,” i.e., Bruce Wayne and Batman. Only Neal Adams can get away with scripting a Baatman who says, “Damn skippy!”

I was thinking the same thing.  Are Pete and Betty secretly siblings?

Richard Willis said:

The cover tempts me to say that it explains why Peter liked Betty Brant so much.

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