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

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Red Sonja and Vampirella Meet Betty and Veronica #1-2: Well, this rather odd team-up involves Red Sonja and Vampirella investigating something supernatural, which leads them to Riverdale. Of course, Betty and Veronica are also "investigative reporters" for their high school newspaper, and are investigating the same goings on.

I did not enjoy this, and won't be reading any more of it. I thought it would be fun, but it's just silly without any of the seriousness that would make it fun. For instance, during a football game, Red Sonja just joins the team and the coach just lets her. And the other coach has no problem with it, and they win the game.

The art isn't great either. It's not my taste. I'm sure this comic is for someone, but it's not for me.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

SUPERMAN: YEAR ONE #1: (*snip*)

John Romita’s artwork is expectedly top notch, and the coloring is phenomenal. (It is not often that I mention a comic’s coloring unless it really catches my attention.

Detective 445 said:

I think we part ways on the Romita art though. Admittedly, I've never liked his stuff. He's the main reason I quit reading X-Men back in the 80s. Sometimes (Kick Ass comes to mind) I can tolerate him, but I don't like his approach here. It felt to me like he was resorting to a cartoony approach when rendering childen's faces but then other times he was working in a more conventional Kirby/Romita Sr hybrid style.

I remember when John Romita Jr. was starting out on Iron Man, with Bob Layton inking. It was clear he was learning to draw as he went along, but he did get significantly better. Later, Romita Jr. was the regular artist on Amazing Spider-Man with Jim Mooney doing the inking, which is when I would say he was at his peak. Since then, his style has changed, and not in a good way.

I remember reading Amazing Spider-Man #600 and wondering if he was recovering from a stroke or something. His art was off, with horribly bad anatomy, disproportionate heads, lousy perspective. It didn't look rushed, or sloppy, or lazy, and it didn't look like he got old and his skills diminished -- it looked wrong. And it hasn't gotten any better.

I picked up the Walt Simonson Thor Omnibus a while back, and the other day I tucked into it for a few issues. I'd completely forgotten about the Last Viking storyline, in which Thor discovers Eilif, a Viking hidden for ages away from civilization, who tries to trick the god into killing him so he can earn a place in Valhalla. Instead, Thor enlists him to fight the dragon Fafnir as it threatens New York, and eventually Eilif dies a true hero's death. (And in a great scene, Thor lifts the body of Fafnir and puts it the feet of Eilif's funeral pyre, in accordance with the tradition with sending a dog along with the departed, and then lights it with lightning.) 

A few other things:

1)  In this day and age, I'm even more impressed with Simonson for the steady drumbeat of "DOOM" pages as Surter forges his sword. This is very, very patient storytelling, especially for the 1980s.

2) One of the ways Simonson's Asgard feels more true to myths than other comic depictions of it is the heroic gods willingness to engage with the more villainous or mischievous gods.  It's a departure from more simplistic comic-book storytelling, in which everyone's individual motivations matters more than which "side" they're on. So there might be something Baldur can learn from Karnalla, or when scheming Lorelei tries to team up with Fafnir, instead she's overpowered by him and used as bait. 

It's been too long since I've read these stories, so I'm glad I have a chance to revisit them. 

Last week I was really pressed for time when I posted that reaction to Superman: Year One. I couldn’t think of the right words to describe with Frank Miller or John Romita. I remain impressed with the coloring, and unimpressed with the writing. Regarding the art, some people like Romita’s style and others don’t. I do, but not as much as I used to. What I wish I had said was something along the lines of “Romita’s artwork was as expected.” That should have been something everyone could agree with, pro or con.

And I’m still curious to hear other opinions.

I see how people don't like Romita's art, but I tend to like it... even these days. It's quirky and odd-looking, but I like its energy and its overall feeling. But I haven't read the book, so I can't comment on it (or anything else) in Year One.  

I really had no intention of reading Superman: Year One, but I was working at my LCS yesterday, and had some free time. I've been saying for close to 20 years I don't need another origin for Superman. I've read so many versions of it already.

Anyways, I didn't like it. However many issues it is, is too many. I did like the first couple of pages, but then it was downhill from there. It just felt like a movie that seemed too long. I was really wondering how many pages were left, while I was reading it. It was really boring.

I also didn't like John Romita Jr's art. Some of those heads were so big, they were damn near Peanuts characters. A total waste of time.

A number of Legionnaires have recommended comics from Ahoy! Comics, so I gave the first volume of THe Wrong Earth a shot. Definitely, one of this best books I've read this year. I absolutely loved it, so kudos to my fellow Legionnaires. I've always been a fan of Tom Peyer, and the story here is great. He mixes in the humor perfectly, and captures the two different worlds perfectly. The ending was a perfect set-up to another story.

Jamal Igle's art is just beautiful. The best I've ever seen it, and if this is what he can produce on a monthly basis, then he should be on a key book at one of the big two. Well, if he wanted to. Highly recommended.

I also read Norwegian creator Jason's new collection O, Josephine. I've been a big fan of Jason for years, and this is easily the weakest effort from him, IMO. It contains four stories.

The first one The Wicklow Way is just boring as we go along with Jason traveling along the Wicklow Way in Ireland.. L Cohen: A Life a satirical retelling about the life of Leonard Cohen, to me, isn't funny at all. Then we have The Diamonds, which is a mess, but there is something there. It may have worked as a longer stand alone story. Finally, we get O, Josephine, which goes through a relationship between Napoleon and Josephine Baker. It was the best of the bunch, but even it wasn't really that good.

There is usually a kind of dry humor and gallows humor in Jason's work, and it is largely missing here. This was a big miss for me.

Just finished Batman & Superman in World's Finest Comics: The Silver Age Volume 2. Robin tags along too in all of the stories.

This was in the days when Batman and Superman were fast friends and nobody thought it would be more "realistic" if they weren't.*(Or, rather, that it would be better if Batman was such a smurfhole that he didn't have any friends, just people he would boss around.)

A lot of these stories (circa 1958-1961) are the same kinds of bug-eyed monster stories then running in Batman and Detective Comics, with Superman added to the mix. (So why can't don't they reprint those Batman and Detective Comics stories? People want to see them!)

Accordingly, although the covers are all done by Curt Swan (some inked by Stan Kaye, others by Sheldon Moldoff), most of the stories are drawn by Dick Sprang. One of the best Batman artists, Sprang is perfect for providing the kind of bizarro monsters and kinetic energy these stories need. A few of the tales are drawn by Swan -- including one that is mislabled as a Sprang story -- and although it is competently drawn, it's not the right fit. (Like if you were to have John Severin draw a Doctor Strange story.)

Plus: the book reprints the covers, and many of them I have seen in old house ads in DC comics but hadn't seen the stories that went with them. Now I have.

Another plus: one of the tales features Bat-Mite and Mr. Mxyzptlk offering their special brand of irritating "help." Bat-Mite creates monsters and gets his jollies watching Batman and Robin stop them, which annoys those two -- and he also won't let Superman help them. Mxyzptlk intends to annoy Superman with the monsters he creates, and thinks Bat-Mite is getting in the way of his fun, bothering Batman and Robin with menaces that Superman tries to stop. It all sorts out in the end; this is a done-in-one tale, like all of them. 

* In my book, "realistic" ≠ "better."

I read the first chapter of John Byrne's OMAC: One Man Army Corps. Yes, this was a thing back in the late 80's. And it wasn't that bad, but it was pretty unexpected. It's a version of OMAC who is fighting to protect the people of a village on behalf of the Global Peace Agency in a post-apocalyptic world. It's in black and white, and it is based around Kirby's original idea, with really nothing left out. The only thing I would say was left out was the costume, which is gone, except for the mohawk, which remains.

I won't say I'm in a big hurry to read the remaining three issues, but this is one in my little box of late-80's/early 90's prestige miniseries that I had been meaning to get to for a long time.

...LOONEY TOO S #249




...CRIME DESTROYER #2 - All Time Comics

SHAM COMICS: I somehow missed this when it was solicited and when the first issue shipped although it is right in my wheelhouse. I saw issue 32 on the shelves last week, and luckily, my LCS still had the first issue in stock as well. It is one of those comics that takes comics from the Golden Age and adds new dialogue and captions, but this one is edgier (and funnier) than most. It is of Golden age dimensions with a cardstock cover and printed on white paper stock. Apparently, each issue spoofs a different genre: #1 was super-heroes, #2 was titled “Our Love is a Sham” and features stories by Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert and Frank Fazetta.

X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN: I’ve spoken highly of this series in the past, but the conclusion is really quite clever. [SPOILERS] I didn’t even notice, but after the “Days of Future Past” storyline (circa 1980), this series began tracing the lineage of the alternate timeline. In other words, this series details the history of the dystopian timeline “our” X-Men were able to prevent (or at least postpone). The real split occurs circa issue #272. Prior to that, Kate Pryde did not travel to the past to take over her younger self. The timeline plays out pretty much as we’ve seen, but after the United states bombs Genosha, all bets are off. The end of the series circles back and continues in the X-Men #143 of “our” universe. Pretty cool.

DICK TRACY FOREVER: Issue #3 of this series by “Not Chester Gould” shows us a Tracy who is balding and a Tess who is a detective. In Gould’s Dick Tracy, the villains are gruesome simply because they are evil; in Michael Avon Oeming’s version, he feels the need to “explain” their looks (which are caused by gene editing). His villains (mostly throwaway) include Jung Kim (a.k.a. “Manscape”), Derpy Dan (a.k.a. “Charlie Bumpnuts”), Phyllis Roundsuckle (a.k.a “Knob Nose”), Samantha Seriously (a.k.a “Syrsly Sam”), Flatface, Muffintop, Hashtag, Trigger Warning, Auntie Vaxx, Instal Goram (a.k.a “Fomo”), Jesus O’Reilly (a.k.a. “Tom thumb”), Gerard Sinclair (a.k.a. “Foto Bonb”) and Henry Joe Billy Bob Hank (a.k.a. “Hangry Hank”). It’s almost as if Oeming set out to prove he could create villains just as bizarre as Gould’s, then failed miserably to do so. The next issue will be set in the year 2031.

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