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

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SWAMP THING:

The next run in my Swamp Thing reading project is not from his own title at all, but from Challengers of the Unknown #81-87.

I first learned about this run about 15 years ago when my wife began her great Swamp Thing reading project. At the time, I tried to fill in the issues of the original series which I did not have, and I discovered the character moved over to Challengers of the Unknown after his own eponymous series was cancelled. (Speaking of which, issue #24 had a blurb for #25 which would have featured Hawkman.) I started picking them up here and there as I encountered them, and although I acquired the last of the seven some years ago, I never read them until now.

The first thing I discovered was that, although #81 was the first issue of the revival of the series, the story itself continued from the Challengers’ feature in Super-Team Family #8-10. (Those issues were adequately recapped, though, so I won’t be seeking those out. Besides, they have nothing to do with Swamp Thing, anyway.) Swamp Thing appears briefly, in flashback only, in #82, which also features a profile of artist Mike Nasser and “Richard Nixon” as a used car dealer.

#81-82 were by Gerry Conway and Mike Nasser, but Keith Giffen took over the art in #83. When Swamp Thing’s series ended with #24, he had reverted to Alec Holland. Challengers #83 introduces Holland to the story and features his transformation back into Swamp Thing. #84 adds Deadman into the mix (and features the villain Multi-man), and #85 guest-stars Rip Hunter. This bi-monthly series has so far contained “done-in-one” stories for the most past, with some continued plot elements, but #85 begins a continued storyline which will continue to #87, the last issue.

Last caption: “And upon returning, the Challengers are once again reunited. Rip Hunter and crew, the swampt Thing and Deadman bid farewell to the death-cheaters and leave to pursue their individual fates—each going each going his separate way into the pages of history.”

I don’t think these issues should have been included in the omnibus edition, but it would have been nice if they included #83 to explain how Alec Holland transformed back to the Swamp Thing before the beginning of Saga of the Swamp Thing #1.

SWAMP THING ANNUAL #1:

This is the comic book adaptation of the 1982 movie I reviewed yesterday in the “Movies I Have Seen Lately” thread. As such, it is an adaptation of an adaptation… and a rather tepid one at that. If I thought Challengers of the Unknown #83 probably should have been included in the Swamp Thing Omnibus, then here’s one that could have been left out. It was released in conjunction with the revival of the series (Saga of the Swamp Thing), and does “kinda/sorta” lead into the ongoing series (except that the series is in continuity and the annual is not). But the editor of the omnibus did not place it between #24 of the original series and #1 of the revival, but at the end of the book (maybe as an “afterthought” that doesn’t really belong…?). It does provide a better “ending” to the volume than the first Alan Moore story (appropriately titled “Loose Ends”), plus it’s as far removed from the Wein/Wrightson origin by page count as possible, as far as it is artistically.

Next I'll be continuing into the Saga of the Swamp Thing series.

I have added two new projects to my reading list, one rather ambitious, the other not so daunting.

SKY MASTERS OF THE SPACE FORCE: This one [temporarily] replaces Lee/Kirby Thor on my schedule. I’ve been waiting for this cold war era space race comic strip to be reprinted (in its entirety) for years. It ran for about 2½ years between 1958-1961. It is penciled by Jack Kirby, inked by Wally Wood. Both artists were at the top of their game these years. Some of the panels have a definite “Kirby” feel, other are more “Wood”, some are equal parts Kirby and Wood. The art reproduction is inconsistent, ranging from merely adequate to amazingly precise, due to it being reproduced from a number of different sources.

The strips are signed “Kirby & Wood” although some of the later strips are inked by Dick Ayers and some by Kirby himself. That’s because the “Wood” in the credits belongs to scripters Dick and Dave Wood, not Wally.

It’s interesting to compare the real science in these strips to the science-fantasy in Chester Gould’s “Moon period” strips, still fresh in my mind.

the volume I'm currently reading collects the dailies; the Sundays are to be collected in a volume solicited for release a week from today.

POGO: There are five (of a projected six) volumes collecting Walt Kelly’s Pogo from Animal Comics, plus four (so far) collecting the syndicated comic strip. It is my intention to read all nine of these. This project replaces Li’l Abner on my schedule. I feel Walt Kelly is a good counterpoint to Al Capp. Whereas Kelly pokes fun at human foibles via his characters, he definitely includes himself as one of us. With Capp, I get the impression he is making fun of everybody else, but holds himself above. Both cartoonists use celebrities in their strips, but whereas Capp often used movie stars, Kelly would come to use specific politicians.

Tomorrow: a look at racism in the early Pogo comic books.

I've been slowly making my way through those late Silver Age/early Bronze Age Spider-Man comics you sent me.  It's very interesting to finally get a chance to read these.  The main criticism I would offer is that certain of the characters -  Aunt May and J.Jonah Jameson, particularly - are cut from the purest cardboard.  When you read a year's worth at one sitting, one does detect a tendency to repeat the same situations over and over again, but then these were never meant to be read that way.



Jeff of Earth-J said:

I have added two new projects to my reading list, one rather ambitious, the other not so daunting.

SKY MASTERS OF THE SPACE FORCE: This one [temporarily] replaces Lee/Kirby Thor on my schedule. I’ve been waiting for this cold war era space race comic strip to be reprinted (in its entirety) for years. It ran for about 2½ years between 1958-1961. It is penciled by Jack Kirby, inked by Wally Wood. Both artists were at the top of their game these years. Some of the panels have a definite “Kirby” feel, other are more “Wood”, some are equal parts Kirby and Wood. The art reproduction is inconsistent, ranging from merely adequate to amazingly precise, due to it being reproduced from a number of different sources.

The strips are signed “Kirby & Wood” although some of the later strips are inked by Dick Ayers and some by Kirby himself. That’s because the “Wood” in the credits belongs to scripters Dick and Dave Wood, not Wally.

It’s interesting to compare the real science in these strips to the science-fantasy in Chester Gould’s “Moon period” strips, still fresh in my mind.

the volume I'm currently reading collects the dailies; the Sundays are to be collected in a volume solicited for release a week from today.

POGO: There are five (of a projected six) volumes collecting Walt Kelly’s Pogo from Animal Comics, plus four (so far) collecting the syndicated comic strip. It is my intention to read all nine of these. This project replaces Li’l Abner on my schedule. I feel Walt Kelly is a good counterpoint to Al Capp. Whereas Kelly pokes fun at human foibles via his characters, he definitely includes himself as one of us. With Capp, I get the impression he is making fun of everybody else, but holds himself above. Both cartoonists use celebrities in their strips, but whereas Capp often used movie stars, Kelly would come to use specific politicians.

Tomorrow: a look at racism in the early Pogo comic books.

"When you read a year's worth at one sitting, one does detect a tendency to repeat the same situations over and over again..."

About two years ago I re-read all of Spider-man collected in omnibus and MMW format from the beginning (up though #150 or so). I came to the conclusion at the time that I need never re-read the complete Lee/Ditko run again. However, having said that, I found it difficult to stay on target after I finished the Ditko run. At some point in the future I may re-read the last of Ditko's run, then, rather than moving on to Romita's, following Ditko on to his Charlton and DC work. Watching his political and philosophical ideals develop over time is fascinating to watch.

POGO: A couple of weeks ago I raised the question of whether or not Will Eisner’s Ebony White was a racist depiction. [ANSWER: Yes.] Now I’m going to apply what I’ve learned to Walt Kelly’s early Pogo comic book stories. Pogo appeared in every issue of Animal Comics except #4, #6 and #7, and the character Bumbazine appeared in the first stories through issue #12. Bumbazine was a much more benign depiction of a young black boy than Ebony white had been, but as the books introduction makes clear, it was still a racist depiction.

The introduction traces the literary tradition of racism from Little Black Sambo, to Joel Chandler Harris’s Uncle Remus tales, to Harrier Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, to Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, then goes on to look at Bumbazine in particular.

“Bumbazine’s exodus from Animal Comics reflected a shift in race relations in postwar America that led to dramatic changes in in images of African Americans. The contradiction of America fighting racism in Europe while tolerating a segregated military and a segregated home front became increasingly untenable. Thus there was a concerted drive toward racial integration in the postwar period: African Americans began serving in integrated military units, and in 1947 Jackie Robinson became the first black man to play National League baseball. Jazz and bebop music also saw blacks asserting a new sense of affirmative racial identity. In this context, racial stereotyping was no longer as acceptable as it had been a few years before. The NAACP protested cartoons like Warner Bros.’ Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfsin 1943, and in 1946 opposed Disney’s Song of the South featuring Uncle Remus and his Br’er Rabbit tales. Comic books followed suit: Will Eisner droped Ebony white from The Spirit, Walter Lantz character Li’l Eight Ball was taken out of New Funnies, and the black minstrel stereotype Steamboat was removed from Captain Marvel Adventures.”

Did you know that Little Black Sambo was Indian and not African?

I did not. At least I don't think I did. I had an illustrated version as a child but I can't clearly recall.

The tigers are the giveaway. No tigers in Africa.

Also, I'm giving serious thought to not continuing to follow the current Avengers storyline, it's not living up to expectations.

Doomsday Clock is on probation, as well.

"The tigers are the giveaway. No tigers in Africa."

I wouldn't have know that as a child. was there a tiger in it? I barely remember the story. All I remember is sometnhing ran around and around a tree until it turned into butter(?).

Regarding Avengers and Doomsday Clock, I'm planning to continue reading both, so you can read discussion here if you decide to drop.

I think there was tigers in it. I'm pretty sure there was tigers in something I read when I was a kid,

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