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

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As I said earlier, I was inspired by the comments of Jeff and John to buy Spider-Man: Life Story. I was lucky that my LCS had both issues 1 and 2, which I just finished reading. I have minor quibbles with the 1966 setting of war protests and dirty looks Flash describes being directed at him in uniform. I suppose this may have happened this early in isolated areas of the country, but it certainly wasn’t widespread in 1966, the year I graduated high school. I understand that my high school had protests a couple of years later. The fashion of blaming the generally helpless soldiers for the perceived illegality of the war came along later. In 1968 after I received my “greetings” I walked around in Los Angeles in uniform and never had any problems whatsoever.

Having said all this, I greatly enjoyed the Watchmen-style tinkering with characters and events. Things were surprising and yet plausible. I can’t wait for the next four issues.

MAJOR X #2: I was prepared to go into issue #2 with my brand-spankin’ new attitude when I discovered Liefeld didn’t even do the art. He bailed after a single issue. I feel cheated!

PLANET OF THE NERDS #1: I liked this this one. The art is really interesting, what I would describe as a cross between Kevin Maguire and Ed Piskor (if you can imagine such a thing). I came to the end of this issue way too soon.

SPIDER-MAN LIFE STORY #2: [SPOILERS] This series deviates quickly from established continuity (and reality) and I imagine it will continue to do so as the series goes on. The story spans the years 1977 and 1978 when Peter is in his early 30s. He works for Reed Richards and is married to Gwen Stacy, who works for Miles Warren. Norman Osborn is in prison, and Harry is a rich (if not happy) businessman who is dating Mary Jane Watson. By the story’s end, Harry has assumed his father’s mantle as the Black Goblin. Gwen Stacy does die (but not in the way we are familiar with), and there are clones of Peter and Gwen, whose ultimate fate likewise varies from what we might expect.

MMW AVENGERS: This volume contains the infamous issue #200, a.k.a. “The Rape of Ms. Marvel.” The introduction is written by Davis Michelinie. He doesn’t make excuses for it, but he does suggest that some unnamed writer or editor may have overheard office chatter about his proposed plot and inadvertently used it in an issue of What If…?

Marvel released a whole bunch of Ms. Marvel stories in their $1 True Believers line recently and while they did not choose Avengers #200 (big shock there!), they did include Avengers Annual #10 retitled "Captain Marvel Betrayed!" 

Claremont didn't have to add anything to Carol Danvers' ordeal but, to be fair, the Avengers did have concerns over her pregnancy (at least, Cap and Iron Man did) and Hawkeye was right when Carol said that she wanted to go back to Limbo with Marcus. They might have missed the "subtle boost" bit or not fully understood it but they did follow her wishes. For the wrong reasons but could they have stopped her either way?

Reading through the Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman hardcover, I got to "The Strange Experiment of Dr. Erdel," the origin of the Martian Manhuter. And it struck me... for the lead-up to a detective feature, it's not much of a story, is it? Erdel performs his experiment, summons J'onn, dies almost immediately afterward, and then J'onn demos a couple of his powers and floats around unseen for a while and decides to become a detective. We don't see why he's qualified for the job, we don't see him solve a case... he just shows up as John Jones and a police officer wonders what the rookie's first case will be... and then it's See you next issue, kids! 

I'd have much rather have seen a lesser-known story from later in his run, where he actually solves a crime. At least we got to see Air Wave and Roy Raymond do that! (Not so much with Pow-Wow Smith, but at least his origin isn't one we know the beats of in our sleep.)

COMIC STRIP CORNER:

LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE: A couple of you have inquired about my “Annie” updates. March is the busiest month of the year in my department and I couldn’t keep up with them. Also there’s an ongoing project which is keeping me busy. I hoped to have that wrapped up soon, but in the meantime I’ve been reading the latest volume of…

DICK TRACY: We’re up to 1970. The “Moon Era” nuttiness is being phased out, but Gould has introduced “hippie” cop Groovy grove. After that I began reading read the volume eight of…

WALT & SKEEZIX: 1933-1934 concentrate almost exclusively on Skeezix and his gang, "The Secret Six." Blossom is barely in it at all. Walt (with Skeezix) and Phyllis (with corky) take separate vacations this year. By the time they return, she has gained a considerable amount of weight.

After thia I hope to get back to Annie.

MMW DAREDEVIL Vol. 3: This is where “my” Daredevil really begins. The first “Daredevil” comic book I ever bought new was either Giant-Size Daredevil #1 (which reprinted Daredevil Annual #1) or Marvel Adventures #1 (which reprinted Daredevil #22), whichever was released first. [NOTE: I did buy Giant-Size Triple Action #1 (which reprinted Daredevil #21 among others), too, but I don’t consider that a “Daredevil” comic.] I also acquired backissues of Marvel Super-Heroes (which reprinted earlier issues of Daredevil), but that was later.

I didn’t buy any other issues of Marvel Adventures until after I discovered Frank Miller’s Daredevil when I was in high school, when I picked up the entire run. When I was in college, I started collecting backissues of Daredevil where Marvel Adventures left off, and I eventually replaced the reprints with originals. After that lengthy preamble, ….

Volume three begins with a two-part team-up of the Masked Marauder and the Gladiator. I used to think that #22 was not a good issue to begin a series (Marvel Adventures) or a Masterworks edition because it begins by resolving a cliffhanger, but actually it dispenses with old business very quickly (2½ pages including the splash) and then moves on. Issue #24 features Ka-Zar once again. #25 features another 1950s era Captain America villain, retooled as the Leap Frog. Daredevil’s rogues gallery gets little respect, but as handled by Lee and Colan, these were serious threats. (Just look at the portrait on page nine.) It is only in the hands of lesser talents that Daredevil’s villains became jokes.

#25 also introduced the concept of Matt Murdock’s “twin brother” Mike. Apparently, Spider-Man had figured out Murdock’s secret and sent him a letter (!?), which Karen and foggy opened. Mike Murdock was the imaginary brother Matt concocted on the fly to be Daredevil’s alter ego. This was an ill-conceived notion and didn’t last long (then again, long enough). #26 features the Stiltman and ther Masked Marauder and Leap Frog, and the Masked Maruader’s up-until-then secret identity was revealed. (Big deal.) It wasn’t too hard to have figured out since Lee and colan didn’t give us too many suspects.

In #27 the Masked Marauder dies, and #28 features an out-of-place 1950s-style alien invasion story. #29 features the now-deceased Masked Marauder’s gang. #30-32 features Thor villains Cobra and Mr. Hyde, with a brief appearance by Thor himself in part one. Daredevil masquerades as Thor in a sequence Gene Colan simply didn’t pull off convincingly. The volume ends with King-Size Special #1 introducing “Electro and his Emmisaries of Evil” in a clear imitate the success of the “Sinister Six” from Spider-Man’s first annual. It didn’t have much of a plot, but gave Colan the opportunity to cut loose artistically.

My first issue of Daredevil was #3, but after Wally Wood left I only tolerated the book (and almost dropped it on multiple occasions) until Frank Miller came along. I was much more patient in those days, I guess.

And JD, John Lennon was born in 1940, so he was just the right age to be a Captain Marvel fan!

My earliest memories of Daredevil was #116 versus the Owl and teaming with the Black Widow who I always think of as "Matt's girl" (sorry, Elektra!) and Marvel Team Up #25 versus the Unholy Three/Trio/Ani-Men.

I missed the first year or so of Miller's run but I bought a lot of the pre-Miller issues (#80-157) fairly cheap at conventions!

Frank Miller's first issue was #158(MAY79). At this point I was either about to or already had gone cold turkey on buying comic books*. My work had become very demanding and I had become increasingly interested in revival house and new movies. Comics were piling up and I reluctantly just stopped buying. My only experience to date of the Miller Daredevil is through the Ben Affleck movie and the Netflix show.

*I never stopped buying Comic Buyer's Guide, so I knew what was out there.

I occurs to me that Mr Hyde and the Cobra were more suited to be Daredevil villains than Thor villains. It's unlikely they would have given Thor more than five minutes of trouble.

I always liked the look of the Ani-Men. I think their headsets gave them an unique look.

My Martian Manhunter collection began in House of Mystery, when every issue he fought some new monster from the Idol Head of Diabolu, which was unlike his Detective run. Plus I had his Justice League of America appearances -- which, again, were unlike his Detective run. Every once in a while, DC would reprint "The Strange Experiment of Dr. Erdel." But other than that one story, for years I had no knowledge of MM's Detective run.

Then DC published the Showcase Presents: Martian Manhunter, and I finally read those stories. And, boy, were they bad! The "Erdel" story might be the best of them! I will give you that he did solve crimes in those stories (sometimes), but usually by suddenly developing a new super-power. At least that's how I remember them!

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Reading through the Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman hardcover, I got to "The Strange Experiment of Dr. Erdel," the origin of the Martian Manhuter. And it struck me... for the lead-up to a detective feature, it's not much of a story, is it? Erdel performs his experiment, summons J'onn, dies almost immediately afterward, and then J'onn demos a couple of his powers and floats around unseen for a while and decides to become a detective. We don't see why he's qualified for the job, we don't see him solve a case... he just shows up as John Jones and a police officer wonders what the rookie's first case will be... and then it's See you next issue, kids! 

I'd have much rather have seen a lesser-known story from later in his run, where he actually solves a crime. At least we got to see Air Wave and Roy Raymond do that! (Not so much with Pow-Wow Smith, but at least his origin isn't one we know the beats of in our sleep.)

Last night, I read a few comics that I had dug up a couple weeks ago.

Trencher #1-4: From Image in 1993, I'm not sure I had actually ever read these issues, the only four parts of the series from Keith Giffen. This was pretty unlike most of the Image comics coming out at the time, but they were very much like another creation of Giffen's, Lobo. Trencher is kind of a repo man for the dead, if that makes any sense. If it doesn't, track these down in a cheapie box and buy them up, you will get it.

This was a lot of fun, and the art is Giffen at his Giffen-est. I love this style, and I haven't seen it used all that much from him. I think somewhere I have the issues of Shadowhawk by Giffen, so I look forward to finding those and reliving the madness.

DICK TRACY FOREVER #1: This issue seems to take its inspiration from 1930s era gangster movies moreso than the Dick Tracy comic strip. #1 contains three stories, none of which end so much as simply stop. Tracy’s written out of character, using slang he never used in the comics. Tess Trueheart is in two of the three stories and refers to Tracy as “Richard” no fewer than seven times. In 46 years, I don’t think she called him “Richard” even once. (The only one who did so was Vitamin Flintheart on occasion.) I can’t imagine who this is aimed at. If one is familiar with Dick Tracy, he’s bound to come away disappointed; if one is not, there are plenty of authentic Chester Gould reprints available one should read first.

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