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

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When Marvel stuck its smallest toe into faux-horror with Man-Wolf and Morbius I was not happy. If they waited a little longer they could have used actual werewolves and vampires.

THE WALKING DEAD v15 (#169-180): I read these issues once before but I wanted to read them once again before I read the final volume, the last, because HC v15 is a good jumping on point. I can hardly wait until the television show catches up to the “Commonwealth” storyline. After that, it’s “virgin territory” and I’m looking forward to that, too. This volume introduces Juanita Sanchez, better known as “Princess.” Princess is divisive among fans; they either loathe her or love her. Me, I love her, but my wife stopped reading the previous volume because she was so turned off by the character.

ALL THE PRESIDENTS: When I was a kid, I collected “President Picture Cards” in specially marked boxes of Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts. I was able to acquire the nearly the whole set except for three. (Although they came in sets of two, there was some trading involved.) My mom eventually wrote to the Kellogg Company and told them we had been eating Pop-Tarts “until they were coming out our ears” (her words), and they graciously sent the ones I was missing. I still have them.

All the Presidents evokes nearly the same amount of enthusiasm that Kellogg’s President Picture Cards did all those years ago. These illustrations, by Drew Friedman, contain only a modicum of information (birth date, death date, party, term, age at inauguration and a “fun fact”), but the portraits themselves are the real draw.

BATMAN & RA’S AL GHUL #2: Another “bonkers” story from Neal Adams. Most of this issue is devoted to Dick and Tim trying to convince Bruce and Damian that they are Batman and Robin.

INVADERS #10: As the series barrels headlong toward conclusion, I find myself eagerly anticipating the story solicited for next issue. (You’ll see.)

Lois Lane #2-3: Rucka plays with an underbelly of relationships, barely skirting what would be appropriate vs. inappropriate according to society. We have the Superman/Lois "affair", which we know is not actually an affair...we have a mild (very mild) flirtation between Renee Montoya and Lois, and just in case you thought maybe you were reading too much into this theme (as I did), we get Lois Lane drawn to the silhouette in the shower--she thought it was Clark, but it turned out to be her son.

I know I'm probably reading too much into this, but I think it's kind of funny if that is what Rucka is doing. I also have issue four, but I haven't touched it yet. It's somewhere else in my pile. I do look forward to reading it. The actual story-story is crawling pretty slowly, but the tawdry eye-winks are doing a good job of entertaining while we wait.

Wandering Sensei: Moderator Man said:

.....we get Lois Lane drawn to the silhouette in the shower--she thought it was Clark, but it turned out to be her son.

I've been watching reruns of The King of Queens. In the beginning, Doug's young sister-in-law moved into their house at the same time as his father-in-law. Only one bathroom. Doug did a lot of mugging when he was reluctantly watching her silhouette in the shower while he was shaving. In the next scene he had obviously cut himself in several places. They dropped the sister-in-law within a few episodes. Like Richie's older brother in Happy Days, she disappeared without comment.

THE VAULT OF SHAM (SHAM COMICS #5): This month is a horror theme (obviously). The stories are “Pool Thing,” originally from Tales of Horror #2 (1952), “Beware the Mojepe,” Fantastic Fears #8 (1954), “the wolf Whisperer,” Attack on Planet Mars (“Art by Wally Wood having a bad day,” 1951), “Don’t Bogart that Nightmare,” Weird Tales of the Future (Basil Wolverton, 1952) and “50 Shades of Green,” Tales of Horror #2 (1952).

EDGAR ALLAN POE’S SNIFTER OF TERROR – SEASON TWO #1: With the third flight of AHOY! Comics I’m going to drop the “Whichever one I’m reading is my favorite” trope for more specific reactions. “The Tell-Tale Black Cask of Usher” is a mash-up of several EAP stories and would serve as a good introduction to the series for anyone unfamiliar with it. The cover is a parody of Captain America Comics #1 (Poe smacking Hitler in the jaw).

MARVEL 80 FOR 80: This book of iconic images is similar to a lightweight version of 2008’s Marvel Chronicle from DK Publishing. It is also similar to the recent Marvel Comics #1000 in that it invites the reader to “Experience 80 Iconic Images Representing 80 Years of Marvel” as the cover blurb proclaims. Each year is represented with two pages. The page on the right is the image itself (usually a cover or a splash page). The left page itself is divided in half, the right half being text and the left half featuring commentary from a notable expert plus an additional smaller image. As with any project of this nature, I’m sure it will spark debate about what has been included vs. what has been left out.

HEY GRANDUDE!: This isn’t actually a comic book, but close enough. It’s a children’s book written by Paul McCartney and illustrated by Kathryn Durst. Four siblings have a cool grandfather who drops by with a stack of postcards and a magic compass. The compass (and their imaginations) transports them to the locations depicted in the postcards, until they get in trouble and have to go someplace else. I bought one for my nephew and would recommend it to anyone with a beginning reader on his gift list.

MMW DOCTOR STRANGE v9: This volume reprints issues #47-57 plus a story from Marvel Fanfare #6, a six plate Michael Golden portfolio and loads of other extras. Most importantly, v9 comprises the Roger Stern/Marshall Rogers run in its entirety, as well as stories with art by Gene Colan, Paul Smith, Brent Anderson, Michael Golden, Kevin Nowlan and Charles Vess. In addition, Roger Stern’s introduction is chock-full of behind-the-scenes stories. I’m sure many of you reading this will remember the 1981 house ad promoting the new run by Stern and Frank Miller. Stern explains why that series never happened and fills in lots of other details as well.

For example, #47 was written with Miller in mind, but it ended up being penciled by Colan; #48 was written for Colan but penciled by Rogers; #54 needed a fill-in, but the one they had ready no fit into recent continuity; #56 was plotted for rogers but penciled by Smith; #57 was plotted for Smith but penciled by Nowlan. That sounds like chaos, but the results are impressive. Stern asked Rogers for input, and his introduction reveals multiple plot elements that were Rogers’. There is no understating how gorgeous Rogers’ art looks on high quality paper stock in comparison to newsprint. If you were to own only one volume of MMW Doctor Strange, this would be a good one to have.

Along with Daredevil, Doctor Strange is one of four major Marvel titles whose runs I hadn’t filled by the time I left college. When I’m finished with Daredevil (which won’t be for a while yet), Doctor Strange is waiting on deck.

Been re-reading  Marvel Firsts: WWII Super-Heroes, the first appearances of several characters from that era. Interesting as a "historical document", but I've gotta say, a lotta these characters were not very interesting in and of themselves.

I love Marvel Firsts: WWI Super-Heroes, not for the stories per se but, as you say, as an :historical document." It provides an accurate picture of Martin Goodman's publishing philosopy.

SUPERMAN: YEAR ONE #3: Most of this issue is neither particularly good nor particularly bad (although the coloring is phenomenal!). About 2/3 of the way in, though, Batman comes into the story and Miller is in his wheelhouse. By the end of the story, Wonder Woman has brought them together. Then superman flies into space in search of Brainiac. I find myself wishing I had bought the Miller covers rather than the Romita ones. Oh, well.

X-MEN XXL: This is one of those HUGE HCs, in this case collecting Jim Lee’s X-Men, specifically Uncanny X-Men #256-258, #268-269, #274-277 and X-Men #1-3. These issues were from a time I was growing increasingly frustrated with the X-Men, which had the not-always-deserved reputation of being a “hot” book at the time. I would have thought Jim Lee did more than 12 issues, but I guess it seems like more because they were so spaced out. Story-wise, these issues are included in the arc following the “Siege Perilous” nonsense during which the X-Men were scattered across the globe. I see now that Jim Lee was assigned certain characters: Wolverine and Jubilee, Rogue, etc.

My plan for this weekend had been to get ahead on my reading projects, but I spent too much time trying to finish X-Men XXL<>. Unfortunately, I didn’t even finish that. I am at least caught up with my projects, just not ahead. I didn’t even finish reading last week’s new titles. I may fold them into this week’s.

Pumpkinheads-- no relation to the 80s horror movie-- is a fun 2019 YA graphic novel by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks. A pair of teens have worked at a Fall seasonal attraction (you know, corn maze, haunted house, petting zoo, and so forth) every season, and every year, Josiah has pined over the hot girl who works at the fudge stand. On the last night of their last ever shift (they're seniors now), Deja convinces Josiah that (1) they need to enjoy the place and (2) Josiah needs to talk to the Fudge Girl. This leads them into a night of goofy misadventures. Basically, it's a very PG teen comedy in graphic novel form, and enjoyable, if a little predictable. As always, Hicks's art really makes it work.

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