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

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Aquaman Rebirth v2 Black Manta Rising

I've really rated this Aquaman series - I fear DC are going to swap him in for a more gruff/bearded/less history-laden version as we drift into Justice League film territory - shame as this version deserves credit.

I didn’t post anything to this discussion yesterday, so I’ll post two today.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #149-152: Beginning: a reevaluation of the issues I traded away in while in college. These four issues give us Batroc the Leaper, a New Stranger, and the Scorpion & Mr. Hyde. Batroc is pretty much always boring; this “Stranger” is like the Kirby character, one dimension removed; and the Scorpion/Mr. Hyde story didn’t really thrill me, either. Sub-plots include Police Sgt. Muldoon giving rookie cop a hard time, and Nick Fury’s gal Val making a play for Captain America.

Lee and Romita introduced the concept of Captain America going undercover as a rookie cop back in issue #139. Steve Rogers’ relationship with police Sgt. Muldoon mirrored his relationship with drill Sgt. Duffy back in WWII. It was an interesting couple of issues, but once the initial case had been solved, maintaining that status quo was a mistake as future writers had no idea where to go with it. And the less said about the infantile love triangle between Cap and Val and Fury the better.

These four issues are written by Gerry Conway. Whenever a 1970s dipped in quality for a couple of issues, invariably those issues were written by Gerry Conway.

MONSTERS OMNIBUS: I love Marvel monster comics of the late ‘50s/early ‘60s. Always have. Not only did they used to turn up as filler in sundry “Giant-Size” comics of the ‘70s, but I also used to buy the monster reprint titles such as Monsters on the Prowl. Back in the 1990s, before I had accrued enough seniority in my job to take holidays off, I had to work one particular Thanksgiving. Fortunately, the weekend before I attended a show and bought up a stack of those reprints for a buck apiece. There was little to do a work that day, so I spent that holiday getting paid double time and a half to read old Marvel monster stories. I tried duplicating that experience the following years, but never quite replicated it… until now. It may not be Thanksgiving, but I’m certainly thankful Marvel chose to reprint all of Kirby’s monster stories between two covers (actually four, because a second volume is forthcoming).

Street Angel: After School Kung Fu Special: This was a hardcover book that looks and feels about like a children's picture book. It was about my old friend, Street Angel, from the book by Jim Rugg. This was a very short story about a homeless girl who attends high school and has to face a bully. I love how nonplussed she is by the threat, and her solution to it. The art here was awesome, and the story was pretty good. If you see this in your local library, get it!

I read the first story of Brave and Bold #183 this morning, a Batman team-up with the Riddler. It's a fun story, by Don Kraar (misspelled as Don Krarr) and Carmine Infantino, in which a mystery author is kidnapped and Batman and Riddler are forced to team up together to solve the clues to find him. But MAN, is it about the wordiest Batman story I've ever read -- and I've read Batman prose stories. When I have a chance, I'll take some pictures of some of the more egregious panels. The poor letterer.

Batman/The Shadow 1: This was fantastic. I really liked the addition of Batman's forensic robot. This is a great story with a nice mystery by Scott Snyder (whose wordiness is kept in check) and Steve Orlando, with fantastic art by Riley Rossmo.

Batman 22: The Button continues in this issue, continued from The Flash. I'm looking greatly forward to the next issue to see where this story is going. So far so awesome.

CREEPSHOW: I honestly don’t remember why I didn’t buy this graphic novel when it was first released in 1982, but a new printing shipped last week. Possibly it was because I didn’t see the movie. Maybe I passed because I was a “purist” and considered it to be a “rip-off” of EC comics, but I don’t think that’s the reason. Creepshow was originally published in 1982, and I didn’t read my first EC until 1985 (IIRC). More likely it was because of my dislike for comics adaptations of movies or TV shows. I needn’t have worried, though. The interior artwork is by Berni Wrightson. When I finally saw the movie a couple of years later, the graphic novel was no longer available. So if you haven’t read Creepshow, don’t make the same mistake I did. Buy it now while you have the chance.

ALSO: Reading the comic last night put me in the mood to see the movie again (for the second time. It should arrive in the mail today.

THE BRAVE & THE BOLD (#74-78):

In review, B&B started out as an adventure title in 1955 featuring the Silent Knight, the Golden Gladiator and the Viking Prince. Four years later it converted to a try-out book and introduced features such as the Justice League of America, Suicide Squad and Hawkman. With issue #50 it became a team-up book and, fueled by “Batmania” generated by the television show, it eventually became a Batman team-up title. After the last two non-Batman team-ups in #72-73, the title featured Batman in every issue from #74 on. It is at this point The Bronze Age Brave & Bold Omnibus begins.

The omnibus reprints issues #74-109, all but two of which were written by Bob Haney. Bob Haney wasn’t too concerned with continuity (even if the hero Batman teamed with was from another Earth), but his stories were “well structured, with a threat, a reason the characters came together and a resolution” (as described by Robert Greenberger in his introduction to the volume). As of issue #74, B&B was edited by George Kashdan and the art was by the team of Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. I have only recently come to appreciate Andru’s style on Amazing Spider-Man, but if it was cartoony there, it’s downright comedic here.

Issues #74-78 featured the Metal Men, the Spectre, Plastic Man, the Atom, and Wonder Woman & Batgirl together. From my post-Crisis perspective, seeing Batman teamed up with the likes of the Spectre and Plastic Man didn’t bother me too much, although I’m sure it would have bugged me had I been a reader at the time. Right around the time of the final episode of Batman on TV, B&B got a new editor, Murry Boltinov, and the tone of the series was about to change. Although the stories would continue to be written by Bob Haney, the art was about to change drastically.

NEXT: Neal Adams

The Spectre had just teamed up with the Earth-One in Brave & Bold #72 (Jl'67) so there was a precedent.

And Plastic Man had his own series in the mid-sixties though it may have already been cancelled when B&B #76 came out. As bad as it was, it got worse with his next appearance!

All these stories were chocked filled with goofiness at various levels with the world being populated by many sentient robots, ancient Asian demons, circus folk capable of defeating super-heroes and the peril of pretending to fall in love!

Here's a look at one of those overstuffed panels from The Brave and the Bold #183. The letterer is John Costanza, who earned every red cent of his paycheck here.

The writer, Don Kraar, wrote a lot of Conan comics for Marvel. Since the established style of those books, under Roy Thomas, was already pretty wordy, he probably fit right in. As they used to say on those old anti-drug PSAs -- "I learned it from YOU, Dad!"

You should also get Creepshow 2 movie which is just as well done as Creepshow.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

CREEPSHOW: I honestly don’t remember why I didn’t buy this graphic novel when it was first released in 1982, but a new printing shipped last week. Possibly it was because I didn’t see the movie. Maybe I passed because I was a “purist” and considered it to be a “rip-off” of EC comics, but I don’t think that’s the reason. Creepshow was originally published in 1982, and I didn’t read my first EC until 1985 (IIRC). More likely it was because of my dislike for comics adaptations of movies or TV shows. I needn’t have worried, though. The interior artwork is by Berni Wrightson. When I finally saw the movie a couple of years later, the graphic novel was no longer available. So if you haven’t read Creepshow, don’t make the same mistake I did. Buy it now while you have the chance.

ALSO: Reading the comic last night put me in the mood to see the movie again (for the second time. It should arrive in the mail today.

I didn't even know there was a Creepshow 2. We'll see if my wife likes the first one.She's seen it before, but not since it was first released. She's still grossed out by the cockroach story.

STRANGE TALES (#147-152): I’m a fan of Steve Ditko, but I’ll be the first to admit he’s an acquired taste. After his seminal run on the series, the first artist to take his place was none other than “Wild” Bill Everett. I am a huge fan of Bill Everett (no acquired taste there), and I think Dr. Strange never looked better than in this six-issue run. There… I said it! Bill Everett is a better artist than Steve Ditko. Two of these issues were reprinted in the first Doctor Strange treasury edition, but I haven’t read them in 40 years. I have accumulated some of the others but have never read them. For all intents and purposes, this is my first time through this run.

#147 begins a new story. It doesn’t end in #152, but #153 begins the tenure of another artists, so it seemed like a logical place to take a break.

MARVEL MONSTER OMNIBUS: I’m up to 1959. (Started at 1954.) So far, the earliest ones have mostly been sci-fi with a twist. I’m only just entering the phase of giant monsters. Sometimes Kirby did the covers but not the interior. Some of the covers he illustrated in 1959 were of giant monsters, but inside the stories he illustrates are mostly sci-fi.

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