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

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I scratched my itch to read Animal Man with his first appearance (Strange Adventures #180, 1965) and the 2009 mini-series by Gerry Conway and Chris Batista. "The Man with Animal Powers" (by Dave Wood and France Herron) is not even worth reading. The art (by Carmine Infantino and George Roussos) is quite pedestrian as well. The story has been retconned out of existence, anyway. My advice: read the retcon.

I have never been a big fan of Gerry Conway... not until this series, at least, which is probably the best thing he's ever written. I began to reevaluate his work after first reading this series in 2009 and, although I did find a new appreciation for it, he's still among my least favorite Marvel writers of the '70s. This series is, to the best of my knowledge, the last series Conway has written. 

It's a look at the near future from 13 years in the past, but there are some editorial discrepancies. For example, there are several references to it being set in 2014 (including the cover of #6, posted above). This cannot be true because certain events said to have happened "10 years ago" hadn't happen yet as of 2009. Also, one of the facilities featured in the story was said to have been built in 2018. A later reference sets the story in 2024, and everything else falls into place. Other than that, it's a good story with great art and Brian Bolland covers. 

I haven't read this week's new comics yet, but yesterday my recent comic book reading led me to JLA #192-200.

THE WRONG EARTH: FAME & FORTUNE: This is the second of five one-shots featuring Dragonflyman of Earth Alpha and Dragonfly of Earth Omega. Richard Fame is the alter ego of the heroes on both Earths, and both versions are financing a new stadium in Fortune City on their respective Earths. As someone who has gone through this twice before (in St. Louis, Mo. where I worked and Arlington, Tx. where I live), I found this issue particularly insightful. My Pick of the Week.

FICTIONAUTS #3: Not comics how they were, but how we remember them. Reminiscent of several series, yet unique. This is the conclusion of the story, but I hope not of the series.

BATMAN '89 #5: I have touted this series as following it's own continuity rather than that of the movies (Billy Dee Williams rather than Tommy Lee Jones as Two Face, for example), but this issue features Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman.

GREEN LANTERN #12: My enthusiasm for Far Sector carried me into this new Green Lantern series, but petered out a couple of issues in. This issue is the last, however, and I feel someone should mention [SPOILER] that John Stewart takes on a new heroic identtiy, the Emerald Knight [END SPOILERS] in this issue. 

BATMAN MYSTERY COOKBOOK: I was skimming this week's Comic Shop News and I misread "Batman Mystery Casebook." Too bad; I would have bought a comic titled "Batman Mystery Cookbook" in a Gotham City minute. 

FLASHPOINT BEYOND #0: I actually almost considered buying this, but then I realized Flashpoint was what drove me away from DC comics in the first place. Besides, Mark Russell (in My Bad #5) gave me a new way of looking at these prolix crossovers. 

X-MEN '92 #1: Along with the unwieldy subtitle "House of XCII", it was mainly the art which drove me away from this one.

MOON KNIGHT OMNIBUS v1: Back in 1980, after collecting only three titles for three years via subscription, I ventured into a comic book shop for the very first time. At the time, Marvel was offering three titles via direct distribution only. I eventually tried and liked all of them, but Moench & Sienkiewicz's Moon Knight was my favorite title for a time. The character had been bopping around various and sundry series in the MU for some time before being awarded his own series. This volume contains all of those early appearances, plus the first 20 issue os his own eponymous title. I like to see the evolution of the character in those early appearances, but frankly I would have preferred the entire solo series in a single volume of its own. 

Interesting.  "Emerald Knight" is the name taken by the recent Earth-3 John Stewart.

Green Lantern 12 is going to be my last GL issue for a while, too. When it comes back, in whatever form, I'll be holding off until it reaches DCU Infinite.

I have a feeling that I'll be pulling back on a lot of DC series -- slowly, as they reboot or change creative teams. That's my plan with Suicide Squad, too, and I'm already following Wonder Woman and Teen Titans that way. And Swamp Thing, when I get around to it. The new Ram V/Rafael Albuquerque Detective Comics is tempting... but I don't know if it's going to meet the "print threshhold" for me. (On the other hand, World's Finest did, and I'm enjoying it. And the large-size Black Label series are more likely to pull me in, because I love the format.)

Jeff of Earth-J said:

BATMAN '89 #5: I have touted this series as following it's own continuity rather than that of the movies (Billy Dee Williams rather than Tommy Lee Jones as Two Face, for example), but this issue features Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman.

I'm not getting this series, but that is consistent in that it's still following the characters in the first two movies (Tim Burton directed).

Oh, I didn't think of it that way. Given the title, I assumed it was using only the first movie as a source. I hope they don't try to pull in the Danny DeVito version of the Penguin at the last minute; I hated that version.

HARVEY KURTZMAN'S JUNGLE BOOK: I have been thinking about launching a "Harvey Kurtzman" discussion for some time now, bur haven't because I didn't think I would be able to do it justice. I am currently actively working toward completing my collection of Harvey Kurtzman comics and am re-reading a few in anticipation. Harvey Kurtzman's Jungle Book (1958) is the first volume in the "Essential Kurtzman" series from Kitchen Sink Books (2014), an imprint of Dark Horse Comics. It contains four stories: parodies of the Peter Gunn and Gunsmoke television shows, a satire of the publishing industry as it existed in the late '50s, and a semi-autobiographical story of prejudice in "the warm-climated part of the country." Are they funny? Not really, no, but the original paperback volume was highly influential to a certain class of cartoonists such as R. Crumb and Peter Poplaski. One should not approach Kurtzman work looking for humor, but rather truth. Of the four stories, the fourth, "Decadence Degenerated" (and Kurtzman's own second favorite), holds up best today.

I remember going to a NY Comicon panel on Kurtzman around when Jungle Book was rereleased. It was a great panel, but I never got around to reading it. I'll have to check it out!

I just tore through The Ghost In You, the latest Brubaker/Phillips Reckless OGN. This one focuses on Anna while Ethan is out of town, as she investigates what might be a haunted house for a former Scream Queen and TV horror hostess. I love it every bit as much as the previous ones, and am already dying to read the next installment in October.  

CAPTAIN AMERICA #0: It has been a while since I last regularly read a Captain America comic book series. The last one was that "Captain Hydra" thing which, I admit, was well-written and fascinating to read, but it ultimately turned me away from the character as surely as the one-two punch of "Sins Past" and "One More Day" turned me away from Spider-Man. Every once in a while I lament the loss of fantastic elements from modern comic books (such as those regularly found in old Lee/Kirby FFs for example). Whereas this comic involves Arnim Zola's "Zolastic rocket" (hidden inside a skyscraper facade) being launched intp space to be activated by the sun's rays to activate a "hyperrevolution compound" which will transform humanity into "Zolasauruses", it is just a throwaway concept an doesn't quite work (due, I suspect, in large part to the hyper-realistic art). 

Whereas I don't generally approve of the concept of "zero issues", this one performs the dual function of introducing the upcoming two new series without actually being an integral part of either (although the last two pages are wasted unnecessarily as lead-ins), a true "zero" (because nothing of consequence really happens). There is a metatextual sequence in which Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson discuss, if they're both going to be Captain America, which one gets which adjective. As it turns out, Sam Wilson's book will be sub-titled "Symbol of Truth" and Steve Rogers' "Sentinal of Liberty". Sam will have his own (human) Falcon partner, and Steve will have Bucky Barnes. I will continue to read both series, at least for a while, just because I miss Captain America... and soon i will have two. Despite my ambivalence, my Pick of the Week

BLUE & GOLD #8: The last issue of the limited series. The identity of the villainous "Black Beetle" is revealed and Blue & Gold Restoration gets a new lease on life thanks to an unexpected investor. "Definitely NOT... the END!" we are told.

J. WERNER PRESENTS CLASSIC PULP: ROBOTS: This was almost my "Pick of the Week" but I wanted to go with something new rather than a reprint. Just look at that cover (Alex Shomberg newly colored by Josh Werner himself)!

The issue gets off to a good start with a classic Jack Kirby story you probably haven't read unless you bought the "Science Fiction" volume of The Simon & Kirby Library. That story is followed up by a unique adaptation of the 1939 movie serial "The Phantom Creeps" starring Bela Lugosi.

What makes this adaptation so unusual is that it is presented as a fumetto, using still photos from the screen version with hand-drawn backgrounds. After that is a black and white story (which looks to my eye as if it was rendered by pen rather than brush) with about 24 pages of story crammed into 12 pages. It rounds out with a five page Joe Gill/Steve Ditko mini-masterpiece whose twist ending would probably be twistier if not presented in a "robot-themed" comics (although it is a double-twist ending at that). 

SHAM COMICS (v2) #1: Sham is, quite simply, the MST3K of comics. This issue features stories by such creators as Jack Kirby and Bob Powel, as well as Conad the Aryan Barbarian and the ever-present Bozo the Robot. 

Oh, man, if I hadn't been in a hurry at my comic shop yesterday, I would have given Classic Pulp a second look and bought it! I let it slip through my fingers...!!

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