Catching up with some books I let accumulate. First up is Refrigerator Full of Heads, which I can happily report is a worthy follow up to Basketful of Heads. It's a new team behind it -- Joe Hill and Leomacs did the original, and the sequel is by Rio Youers and Tom Fowler. It's a return to Brody Island a few years later, and the axe is joined by four other magic viking artifacts. Even better, the first disembodied head that gets chopped off is the head of a giant great white shark, which keeps chomping away as it hangs in a boathouse where it's hidden. Youers's story is more over-the-top than the original (which was still pretty wild!), and Fowler's art is a winning follow-up to Leomacs, full of energy and verve. A real treat.
I'm halfway through Regarding the Matter of Oswald's Body, a JFK assassination thriller by Christopher Cantwell and Luca Casalanguida (and published by Boom! Studios), as a mysterious figure (working for the CIA? who knows!) recruits four down-on-their-luck specialists to find a body double for Lee Harvey Oswald. I'm only a few issues into this, but things are going south fast. This is definitely one to seek out.
I remember reading Badlands by Steven Grant and being very impressed by it back in 1991. Moving to Texas in 2001 reinvigorated my interest in the JFK assassination and I began to study up on it. the I reread Badlands. Pure fantasy.
CAPTAIN AMERICA (STEVE ROGERS) #2: I think I'm going to drop the "Sentinel of Liberty" and "Symbol of Truth" subtitles from these two series and refer to them instead as "Steve Rogers" and "Sam Wilson" respectively. This one continues with the nothing burger that is the "It's not your symbol" story, a phrase repeated at least four times in this issue alone. The story does make some attempt to smooth over the continuity differences between Myron MacLain (the Gruenwald character I couldn't recall last month and didn't both to look up) and David Agboje, a new character who is now considered to be the shield's designer. (MacLain did the actual "industrial design," but Agboje did the "alloy finishing.") The grammar (even Captain America's) is atrocious, but I suspect I'd be less inclined to notice it if the story was better. At the end, Bucky tracks down a young and vital [SPOILER WARNING] Peggy Carter [END SPOILER].
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #5: Off the top of my head I can think of at least three other times Spider-Man has done the "gangland war" storyline, and I'm sure Marvel has done it at least once while I was not paying attention. Spider-Man truly out-thinks Tombstone in this issue, though, which was nice.
THE X-CELLENT #5: I'm reading this series for the art and the character design, not the plot or the script or the story in general. I really can't recommend it.
DARK CRISIS #2: This series is dark, in tone as well as palette. I cannot imagine anyone reading this series for fun.
BATMAN '89 #6: Now that this series has ended, I need to decide whether to file it in the same box with Batman '66 and Superman '78 or with the Batman movie adaptation. Decisions, decisions...
DOCTOR WHO: ORIGINS: Is anyone else reading this series? I had planed to, but forgot. I didn't notice the first issue last month, and the second shipped this past Wednesday. It features the so-called "Fugitive Doctor" whom I am curious about. The comic book is not necessarily canon, but those kind of things are more closely coordinated these days. Maybe I'll tradewait at this point.
While there are pitfalls and drawbacks to the process*, some Golden Age material can be acquired online for your e-reader, but who is (was?) printing replicas, what was the original asking price per issue and how complete are they?
*E copies sometimes, like the earliest issues of Action and Detective Comics, only feature the lead story instead of the whole issue. Okay if you just want the Superman or Batman tale. Otherwise...
"...but who is (was?) printing replicas, what was the original asking price per issue and how complete are they?"
You ask too many questions.
Besides natural curiosity, I ask in case they're still available at a reasonable price so I can acquire a few for my collection because right now the oldest issue I have is a readable copy of Sensation Comics #92 I purchased years ago at a convention for $5 (five) American.
Ah. I don't know the story behind who printed/sold them originally or how much he asked. The person who sold them to my LCS bought them off "the internet" (that's all I know). Technically, I suppose, they are bootlegs and not strictly legal; then again, they may be in the public domain for all I know. I don't generally advocate bootlegs (comics or albums or videos) unless it is a product not available commercially otherwise. If I were to acquire a bootleg product, I always buy a "legitimate" copy if/when it becomes available. Most of the ones I bought are not available in any other format (no e-reader for me, thank you), and the ones that are (such as All-Winners #1 and Leading Comics #1), I have already bought and paid for the legitimate version. As to how complete they are, they are replicas of the entire issues, including ads. Most of them are clear, but a few are lightly smudgy (as with the publications offered by Gwandanaland). I will be curious to find out how many are left by Wednesday.
The only bootleg thing I ever bought was a VHS tape of The Wizard of Oz with the soundtrack replaced by Dark Side of the Moon.
I don't generally buy the bootlegs I have. I deal with like-minded collectors who give them to me. Among the bootlegs I have replaced are Chicago's unreleased (until 2009) 1993 album, Stone of Sisyphus and Walt Disney's Fantasia on VHS. I still own Phantom of the Park on VHS, which I would gladly replace with an official release should KISS ever see fir to release it (which they won't). I once had a roommate who was a collectibles dealer. Every year he would make a "circuit" of all the cons by cvar and I wouldn't see him for three months. One time, two representatives from the MPAA Piracy Division came looking for for him. "Sorry, he's in Florida right now." He once told me of a room party he had at one con or another back in 1989 (it must have been). Either Peter Laird or Kevin Eastman (possibly both) was there and my friend asked, "Hey, you wanna see a copy of your movie?"
As far as I know I don't have any bootlegs within any of my various collections either. I was hoping that the Golden Age Comic Book reprints that started this discussion were authorized.
Since Conde Nast pulled the reprint rights from Anthony Tollin to release James Patterson's novel, someone in Europe(?) has been issuing paperback reprints of every Shadow novel ever published in the original pulps. I have no idea whether or not those are authorized but the few people I know on Facebook who ever bragged about having some of them are very mum about their source(s).
"...the few people I know on Facebook who ever bragged about having some of them are very mum about their source(s)."
I was right the first time. You do ask too many questions.
DAREDEVIL "#1": I haven't read Daredevil regularly since the "old days" of Mark Waid (2011). I've lost track of how many "new number ones" Marvel has launched since then, but I like to check in from time-to-time just to keep my toe in the Marvel pool. (This could have been #649.) There are a couple of "false flags" within the story itself, but I'm going to ignore those and look just at the status quo as the "new" series begins.
Daredevil has a secret identity again, but at the cost of Matt Murdock who is presumed dead. He is now (at least for the time being) pretending to be "Mike Murdock" and is associated with a gangster named Butch Pharris who is apparently the Kingpin's son. Speaking of the Kingpin, Wilson Fisk is presumed dead by the public at large but he is not. Daredevil is preparing to leave NYC for good, and he makes a final sweep of Hell's Kitchen with Spider-Man to let the criminal element know it is still protected.
Matt Murdock went to law school with Robert "Goldy" Goldman, who also prosecuted him for murder, but now stands revealed as Matt's "guardian angel."
Daredevil is now partners with Elektra, who now wears a Daredevil-like costume. She is in the process of setting up their new headquarters on an island claimed by both Russia and Japan. It is apparently the place where The Fist got its start. Daredevil and Elektra's old sensei, Stick, is there as well.
This "toe in the pool" dip cost me five bucks (less discount), but at least I have learned it's safe to continue avoiding this title, at least until the next "new number one" which ought to be in another year or two.
JUSTICE WARRIORS #2: Not as good as Top Ten; better than Law Dog. On the editorial page, Tom Peyer (finally) explains why AHOY! Comics carry short stories. Of course! It all makes perfect sense now.
My problem (one of them, anyway) is that my "reading projects" can be so long that they often take weeks or even months to complete (if I finish them at all). for example, I might one day decide to read all of Swamp Thing or something. What I'm trying to learn to do is to pick projects of a shorter nature for a little more variety. Yesterday I read Don Thompson's chapter of The Comic-Book Book but, instead of being inspired to read eight volumes of Plastic Man Archives or 26 volumes of The Spirit Archives, I decided to read a couple "Millennium Editions" instead.
POLICE COMICS #1:
THE SPIRIT #1:
I'm very much liking the latest version of She-Hulk. I was very big on the identically titled She-Hulk from 2014 by Charles Soule and Javier Pulido, and this one begins in a similar vein: Jennifer has lost everything and is starting over as a lawyer. Rushing to her new job, Jennifer is confronted by Titania, who picks a fight just because ... really ... she's got nothing better to do. Jen tries to talk her out of it, but Titania won't back down, so they mix it up (after Jen kicks off her shoes and takes off her only suit because she doesn't want it ruined).
As they trade blows, Jen tells Titania she would be grateful to have what Titania has (a husband, her own home) and wouldn't throw it away, and admits she likes their occasional battles ("There aren't many people I can hit with a telephone pole without feeling guilty about it"). And while Titania is insistent that they fight to the end ("You know the rules: We're not done until one of us can't get up"), Jen persuades her to change the rules, and just meet up once a week to spar and blow off some steam.
Titania answers, "This isn't a trick? You aren't going to show up with cops?"
"As long as you're not wanted by the law."
"To your knowledge."
"To my knowledge."
With the punching/hitting/kicking stuff out of the way, Jen puts her clothes back on and arrives at her new job. It's with legal rival Mallory Book, who bluntly says she's not doing Jen any favors; this is so she won't have to face her in court.
Afterward, Jen meet up with Janet van Dyne, who generously lends her the use of one of her penthouse apartments, which she has done before.
The issue ends with a clifffhanger, and a mystery: the return of Jack of Hearts!
In issue 2, we are reminded that Jack flew into space in the "Avengers: Disassembled" storyline and exploded because of the buildup of radiation in his body. Somehow, he survived and was captured and placed in a chamber that kept collecting that radiation. Frustrated at being a prisoner -- again -- he busts out and makes his way back to Earth to find Jen, although he's fuzzy as to why.
This and the next few issues deal with Jen and Jack rekindling their friendship and her helping him figure out what he truly knows. As such, it's light on punching/hitting/kicking, which is fine by me. Writer Rainbow Rowell has a sure hand with characterization and dialogue. She's captured Janet van Dyne better in eight panels than I've seen in years. (Jennifer tells Jan she can't shop at Old Navy, and Jan says, "I get it. You don't want to get papped. You're keeping a low profile." Jennifer has to point out nothing is in her seven-foot size.)
And artist Rogê Antoniô is great with personality and expression, in character faces and in posture and body language. Titania feels sorry for Jen and Jen feels sorry for herself, and both Titania and Jan offer Jennifer a loan, which she declines, and these exchanges are rendered with nice subtlety.
I have to admit I wondered a bit (no, a lot) why Jen is broke and starting over, but then I remember that ill-considered run from 2016 in which Jennifer was a gray rage-monster, and think, "Do I really need to know? No." I'm just going to enjoy this series.