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 found my tpb of Marvel Zombies which was written by The Walking Dead's Robert Kirkman. It was pretty good and very disturbing. There was some good characterizations  of  familiar, yet corrupted heroes. There were plot-holes, of course as it seemed like humanity was devoured in its entirety in a very short span of time. Then again, terrible things happening in condensed timelines is a Kirkman writing device. 

Here the Zombies aren't mindless. When temporarily sated, they regain their minds, and plot and scheme and even bemoan their fate! 

"I ATE MY AUNT MAY!"

I dug up some follow-ups but thought the premise was milked for all its worth and still being milked to this day.

I also found my MARVEL APES which played out a lot like MARVEL ZOMBIES and just as violent and nihilistic. I really wasn't thrilled by the physical change to the Gibbon as it made him look like more of a joke. 

Silver Volume 3
Stephan Franck
Dark Planet, 2017

I contributed to the Kickstarter campaigns for this collection as well as the previous one, so clearly I'm on board for this creative vampire/pulp/gothic/noir mashup. Our team of crooks is out to rip off Dracula's secret treasure, and one of them is a Van Helsing descendant. Which sounds like it could be a stylistic mess, but Franck totally makes it work. The heist/con concludes in this installment, and there are surprises right up to the end. Plenty of chances for the enterprise to go off the rails, too, so the tension is almost constant. Looking forward to the series conclusion in Volume 4.

SHAZAM!: I’m currently working my way through Captain Marvel Adventures #2-3 reprinted in SHAZAM! Archives vol. 3. Like Captain Marvel Adventures #1 (which featured art by Joe Simon & Jack Kirby), #2-3 also feature art by someone other than C.C. Beck, in this case, George Tuska. The next time I decide to read these archives, I’m going to skip all of the non-Beck material and stick with Whiz Comics. #2 features a text recap of the first chapter of the Adventures of Captain Marvel movie serial, and in #3 Billy Batson is sent to review it.

SPIRIT: The February 1, 1942 installment reveals what the Spirit was doing on December 7, 1941. Wanna guess where he was?

WALLY WOOD: In addition to the EC Archive Came the Dawn I have added Wally Wood’s THUNDER Agents so that I may compare his art from two different decades side by side. I have yet to finish reading all of the THUNDER Agents Archives, but this is the third time I have read this particular volume since it was published in 2014.

FANTASTIC FOUR #68-71: These issues comprise the first full FF story Jack Kirby drew since Marvel switched to the new smaller original art boards. I mentioned once before how a change in in art style could be detected after the switch, but the change demonstrated here is very subtle. At this time, Kirby was laying out the majority of his pages in three tiers (either six equal panels, or maybe four equal square panels and one long rectangular one), sometime punctuated by a four-panel page of a full-page panel. In later issues he started using fewer and larger panels per page, but in these four issues he generally sticking to three-tier pages. The difference is the characters depicted within each panel seem to be bigger, as if he were “zooming in” on the action.

Y’know how I said each time I re-read these issues I notice something new? Well, this time it’s a six-panel page of issue #70 in which Mr. Fantastic fist fights the Mad Thinker without using his stretching ability. It’s as dynamic and action-packed as any fight scene Kirby ever drew for Captain America.

Also, I took a little break between Kirby Monsters omnibus volumes one and two, but now I’m reading them in conjunction with FF for a side-by-side comparison.

FANTASTIC FOUR #72-73: Issue #68 was not only the first issue drawn on the new, smaller original art pages, it also marks Kirby’s decision to “hold back” on creating original characters (such as the New Gods) and “giving” the to Marvel. He was determined not to give them another Silver Surfer. So, from this point on, he pretty much stuck with toys already in the box, but what a toy box it was. #68-71 featured the Mad Thinker, #72 the Silver Surfer, and #73 was the “Giant Guest Star Bonanza!” featuring Daredevil, Thor and Spider-Man.

Silver Surfer #18 ended with the Surfer vowing to attack mankind, a plot never really resolved (except via lip service in his next guest appearance in FF). I never really thought about it before but, although FF #72 was released before the Surfer’s solo series even began, it really almost provides a resolution of sorts to Silver Surfer #18 because the Surfer has decided to attack humanity in order to cause us to set aside our differences and unite against him.

#73 is all action. It continues directly from Daredevil #38, in which Doctor Doom’s mind had been transferred into Daredevil’s body and vice versa. By the time FF #73 opens, their minds had been switched back, but the FF doesn’t know that. Ol’ Hornhead enlists the aid of Thor and Spider-Man to convince the FF he’s who he says he is. This issue really gives a sense of a shared universe. Not only does the story cross over directly from Daredevil, but Thor’s scenes occur between pages of issue #150 of his own title in the midst of his battle with the Wrecker. The continuity isn’t quite as tight with Spider-Man, but it’s always a treat to see the Kling draw Spidey, which didn’t happen often.

The Complete Black Panther by Christopher Priest v4

I ran out of interest towards the end of v3 many moons ago and it took a much more recent appearance of Kevin/Kasper Cole to send me scurrying back tyi complete the collection .

I am very glad that I did and this then-fresh spin on the Black Panther/White Tiger is impressive and engaging with some quality artwork too!

Rounded out by the original 'Crew' miniseries - if you let this pass you by back in the day - take a new look.

Recommended

Namor references the Surfer's threat in his own title when they teamed up with the Hulk against Thor, Iron Man, and Goliath, but the Surfer pretty much just says he got over it. 

Would have been interesting seeing Jack do a Spider-Man story, just to see what he came up with.


 
Jeff of Earth-J said:

FANTASTIC FOUR #72-73: Issue #68 was not only the first issue drawn on the new, smaller original art pages, it also marks Kirby’s decision to “hold back” on creating original characters (such as the New Gods) and “giving” the to Marvel. He was determined not to give them another Silver Surfer. So, from this point on, he pretty much stuck with toys already in the box, but what a toy box it was. #68-71 featured the Mad Thinker, #72 the Silver Surfer, and #73 was the “Giant Guest Star Bonanza!” featuring Daredevil, Thor and Spider-Man.

Silver Surfer #18 ended with the Surfer vowing to attack mankind, a plot never really resolved (except via lip service in his next guest appearance in FF). I never really thought about it before but, although FF #72 was released before the Surfer’s solo series even began, it really almost provides a resolution of sorts to Silver Surfer #18 because the Surfer has decided to attack humanity in order to cause us to set aside our differences and unite against him.

#73 is all action. It continues directly from Daredevil #38, in which Doctor Doom’s mind had been transferred into Daredevil’s body and vice versa. By the time FF #73 opens, their minds had been switched back, but the FF doesn’t know that. Ol’ Hornhead enlists the aid of Thor and Spider-Man to convince the FF he’s who he says he is. This issue really gives a sense of a shared universe. Not only does the story cross over directly from Daredevil, but Thor’s scenes occur between pages of issue #150 of his own title in the midst of his battle with the Wrecker. The continuity isn’t quite as tight with Spider-Man, but it’s always a treat to see the Kling draw Spidey, which didn’t happen often.

LETTERS COLUMN THEORY: (It’s more of an observation, really.) Most of the time, when I read the letters column of a comic from the Silver Age, I don’t know anyone. But if there’s one letter from a future comic book professional, there are often two in the same column. I don’t know why this is, but it happens often enough for me to have noticed the pattern. Case in point: Fantastic Four #74. The letters page includes letters from both Tony Isabella and Don McGreggor.

Kirby did the story in The Amazing Spider-Man #8 where Spider-Man picks a fight with the Torch, and the Spider-Man/Torch team-up in Strange Tales Annual #2.

It makes sense that Kirby would draw the Strange Tales annual, since ST was the Torch's book at the time. I wonder if the story in ASM #8 was intended to appear in Strange Tales or Fantastic Four? It doesn't read like a Spidey story. Ditko did a good job inking it, not trying to change Kirby's style.

Luke Blanchard said:

Kirby did the story in The Amazing Spider-Man #8 where Spider-Man picks a fight with the Torch, and the Spider-Man/Torch team-up in Strange Tales Annual #2.

A commenter at Supermegamonkey suggests it was done for Fantastic Four Annual #1 and replaced by the retelling of Spider-Man's first encounter with the FF. (They're the same length, 6 pages.) He must be right: the Strange Tales Annual #2 story has a final caption that reads "For another brief encounter between the Torch and Spider-Man, don't miss the Fantastic Four Annual--on sale now!"

My first guess was it was replaced because it depicts Spider-Man as a trouble-maker. But perhaps instead Lee thought the story too good to waste. It's the shorter story in The Amazing Spider-Man #8, but it's more prominently featured on the cover.

FANTASTIC FOUR #74-77: “Together Again for the First Time!” Both the Silver Surfer and Galactus had been used since the original “Galactus Trilogy” which introduced them, but this story marks the first time they were reunited. Apparantly Galactus hasn’t been too successful finding edible planets on his own, so he returns to Earth to force the Surfer back into service. The Surfer appeals to the FF for help, then, taking inspiration from Mr. Fantastic’s current experiment, flees into the microverse. Galactus appears, perfectly willing to renege on his pledge not to consume Earth unless the Fantasic Four (well, three… Sue is excused from active duty due to her pregnancy) find and deliver the Surfer to Galactus.

Reed had been studying the microverse ever since they encountered the Psycho-man in FF Annual #5. After tracking the Surfer to the microverse, Mr. Fantastic eventually convinces him to return to the “macroverse” to save Earth, while he, the Torch and the Thing stay behind to deal with the Psycho-man. The Surfer finds a suitable, uninhabited, planet for Galactus to consume, then asks for his freedom. Galactus refusesm however, and returns him to his exile on Earth in case Galactus should need his services again.This is a rollicking good yarn despite the fact that no new characters or concepts (except, arguably, the microverse) are introduced. This is the last appearance of the Surfer before Stan Lee spun him off into a solo series drawn by John Buscema, not Kirby.

SHAZAM!: Whiz Comics #21 features the first appearance of the politically incorrectly named Lieutenant Marvels, modeled after Fawcett staffers Paul Pack (Tall Billy), Ed Hamilton (Hill Billy) and Frank Taggert (Fat Billy). In his introduction, Michael Uslan points out the implausibilities of the story: “The setup for [the] first tale of the Lieutenant Marvels is ludicrous and flies in the face of any shot at continuity or logic. It seems like the rules of ‘Shazam!’ changed as the writers needed them from issue to issue. Here, three guys all named Billy Batson say the word ‘Shazam’ together when Billy’s voice is being drowned out by noise. Over the din, they are loud enough not only for Billy to morph into captain Marvel, but for the three of them to transform into Marvels too. Unexplained to the readership in the process are such oddities as: how the three Billys knew that Billy Batson Batson was secretly Captain Marvel [actually, they learned it from reading Whiz Comics]; why would the magig word ‘Shazam!’ work for them just because they shared the same name; why doesn’t Billy change into Captain Marvel if he utters the magic word but there’s a loud noise in the room (who has to ‘hear’ him say it?...); why their united voices make the magic work; and why does it then work for all of them?” Presaging “With great power comes great responsibility,” Captain Marvel warns his lieutenants, “Great powers should be carefully used!”

THE SPIRIT: In the story “Dolan for Mayor” (3/14/42), Police Commishoner Dolan is nominated for mayor by the “Good Old Days” party. Dolan doesn’t want to be mayor, though, so the Spirit suggests that he sabotage his chances by saying and doing all sort of reprehensible things during the campaign. The scheme backfires, though, because the more obnoxious Dolan behaves, the more the voters like him. Eventually, for public appearances, the party has him replaced with a double who behaves lecherously toward Dolan’s daughter Ellen. Obviously this story is completely unrealistic.

FANTASTIC FOUR #78-80: These three issues do feature two new characters, but not very memorable ones. Issue #78 reintroduces the Wingless Wizard (Why ‘wingless?’ I always thought. Do wizards generally have wings?), #79 introduces one of the Mad Thinker’s android’s I had completely forgotten about, and #80 introduces a robot replica of Tomazooma, a god of Wyatt Wingfoot’s tribe. For some reason, the Mad Thinker’s android zeroes in on the Wizard’s gloves. It’s almost as if Lee and/or Kirby were conflating the two characters.

KIRBY MONSTERS: Journey into Mystery #70 featured the monstrous Sandman, a precursor to the super-villainous one.

Marvel often recycled characters from the “monster age” into different characters in the “Marvel age”. Because Steve Ditko had no hand in the monstrous version, I wonder if the villain might have been solely Stan Lee’s idea…? (Of course, that doesn’t address the question of whose idea the monstrous Sandman was in the first place.)

CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED: This weekend I bought four issues of the original Classics Illustrated from the ‘40s: Hamlet, Frankenstein, David Copperfield and The Invisible Man. Two of them cost $1 and two of them cost $2. They were all in good condition. Not that I’m complaining, but why would these Golden Age comics cost so little when others go for hundreds if not thousands of dollars (or rather the reverse)? Low demand, I guess. I read the Hamlet and David Copperfield ones already. Next up: Frankenstein.

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