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

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THIMBLE THEATRE: This is the pre-Popeye work on E.C. Segar, all Sunday pages in full tab size, printed by Sunday Press (which also prints collections of Dick Tracy, Little Nemo, Krazy Kat, etc.). It has a cloth binding with no printing on it. The collection starts with the first Sunday (January 25, 1925) and runs through the first appearance of Popeye in the Sundays (March 2, 1930). I will say that this collection is for completists only… not that the strips are bad (they’re not), only that no one who doesn’t already own all six volumes of Segar’s Popeye (collecting dailies and Sundays) has “no business” with this volume. As a matter of opinion, I like the pre-Popeye Sundays more than I do the Popeye ones (but not more than the Popeye dailies). I really didn’t intend to read the whole volume at this time, but I did. I’ll get back to Little Orphan Annie and Prince Valiant as soon as possible.

THE WRONG EARTH #4: I rank this as my favorite “Ahoy! Comics” comic, followed by High Heaven, Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror and Captain Ginger, in that order. It’s been awhile since I have been as interested in a comic book’s textual content as its comics… not since Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, maybe.

DOOMSDAY CLOCK #8: My favorite part was the JSA cameo. It strikes me that Geoff John’s Superman is closer to “my” Superman than Brian Michal Bendis’s is. If this series ultimately and officially scraps Flashpoint and the “New52” I’ll be happy.

GREEN LANTERN #2: I re-read the first issue (skipping the first non, non-Hal Jordan pages) before delving into this one, and I’m glad I did. It reads much better that way, and I blush to admit I completely missed the appearances of Dr. Manhattan and the F-Sharp Bell the first time around. Issue #2 features a visually stimulating volcano-headed Green Lantern. I’m not sure whether his look comes from the pencil of Liam Sharpe r the imagination of grant Morrison; it could go either way. Same thing with the planet of New Oa. I was surptised to see Evil Star back. The issue ends with Green Lantern on the Moon, but the Earth is missing (which makes me wonder about the Moon’s orbit).

SHAZAM! #1: Before I read this one I re-read 2012’s Justice League #0, the first appearance (I think) of Geoff John’s Captain Marvel… or I should say “Shazam”; “Shazam” is no longer just the magic word Billy Batson speaks to transform into his heroic persona, it is now his name. I don’t know if this bugs anyone else as much as it does me (feel free to chime in either way), but when I was a kid, there were two things I was sure of: 1) “Frankenstein” is the doctor, and 2) “Shazam” is the Wizard. But I digress.

I honestly don’t know is “Shazam” has appeared since 2012 (I imagine so), but things have changed somewhat. The Justice League #0 story is summarized (in captions) on the first three pages; Freddy Freeman is now blond (for some reason); and they both belong to the same foster family (Billy and Freddy plus four others, and they’ve just had their one-year anniversary) as the rest of the “Lightning League” (or “Thunder Squad”… they’re still working out the details). All of the kids share the power. The final splash page of the main story is designed to be a shock, so don’t flip ahead.

The manga-style back-up story recaps the origins of Mary and Freddy. It also takes place behind-the-scenes of the main story and features the origin (?) of Hoppy the Marvel Bunny.

IMMORTAL HULK #10: Hulk goes to “Hell.”

“THE BEST DEFENSE”—HULK: I haven’t read Doctor Strange in a while, so when the Hluk discovers his skeleton, well… that could account for his absence on Earth-J. The story is punctuated by panels from the first six issues of Hulk’s fist series. NAMOR: I haven’t read Namor since he had his head cut off. Good story. Good art. Believable underwater civilizations. This story is apparently unrelated to the Hulk one, but it leads into the Silver surfer one at the end.

I read three Batman-related things over the weekend. It would have been four, but I couldn’t fit in “Batman and Jimmy the Boy Wonder” from the Golden Age Omnibus Vol. 6.

ARCHIE & BATMAN ’66 #5: No comment (see last month’s review).

BATMAN & THE MAXX: ARKHAM DREAMS #5: No comment (see last month’s review).

BATMAN: KINGS OF FEAR #1-4: I finally got caught up to reading this series. The Scarecrow psychoanalyses the Batman. It is everything I expect from Kelley Jones. The writer left lots of room for wordless (or nearly wordless) sequences, giving the art the opportunity to shine. It’s like a good BM:LOTDK storyline. It reads really well in a single sitting.

STRANGER THINGS #3: Three down, one to go. I wish the first season was fresher in my mind. I wish they’d get to another season before the kids go to college.

DIE!DIE!DIE! #1-5: This is the most “violent” series I have read since Frank Miller & Geoff Darrow’s Harboiled. I really like this book. I really don’t like the kind of people who like this book (at least not the ones who write letters to the editor). #3 is the most thought-provoking issue, but it must be read in context of the rest of the series so far.

THE WALKING DEAD v12 (#133-144): I hope to finish one volume per week during hiatus.

...What happened in between then and now?

  To-day:

  ARCHIE 1941 #3

  ARCHIE #700

  TITANS #28

Richard Mantle said:

I loved Titans Hunt but  I sadly feel they've done nothing with the concept set up since.

Emerkeith Davyjack said:

TITANS HUNT #1-8 miniseries 

Holy crap, #5? It seems like just a few days ago that I decided to just go ahead and trade-wait this one after buying and not reading issue #1.

Let me know what you thought of it, Jeff. I'm not quite sure what to make of it.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

BATMAN & THE MAXX: ARKHAM DREAMS #5: No comment (see last month’s review).

“I loved Titans Hunt but I sadly feel they've done nothing with the concept set up since.”

“What happened in between then and now?”

“Nothing,” apparently. :)

“Let me know what you thought of it, Jeff.”

I can tell you what I think of the whole series so far (not just issue #5). It’s more of a “Maxx” story than it is a “Batman” story. It’s a Maxx story with the Batman in it. It’s a lot more accessible than the original The Maxx was. Secrets we had to wait months to learn initially are revealed right off the bat (no pun intended). That’s okay AFAIAC; that makes it accessible to both old and new readers alike. Plus, we get to see Sam Keith’s take on the Batman. I would recommend it to fans of The Maxx and/or Sam Keith, but not necessarily to fans of the Batman. I’ll be filing it with my Maxx comics.

LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE—OCT/NOV 1935:

“Daddy” is out of the picture and Annie is back on the run. She is befriended by suave theatrical agent Mr. Updown. He gets her a job at Kolassal Studios as stand-in for child star Tootsie Snoots. Annie does all the difficult stunt work while stuck up Tootsie gets all the acclaim. Annie makes friends with out of work actress Janey Sparkles and becomes her roommate. Annie’s stunts become increasingly difficult: waterfalls, rapids, whirlpools. At the premiere, Tootsie gets all the credit. With the picture over and Annie out of work, she and Janey try to make ends meet.

Updown shows up with the offer of a starring role for Annie, playing a mermaid in a color picture. The script is written, sets are being built, filming is to start in days. Annie is optimistic but Janey is cynical. Mr. Trance (a.k.a. “Little Seizure” by the crew because of all of hisbrainstorms) is hired as advisor and scraps the mermaid movie in favor of something complately different.

Meanwhile, Tootsie has broken her contract with Kolassal and signed on with Gamble Features to do a jungle film, where she will be expected to do her own stunts with wild animals. Annie has been trying to get a job with Gable with little luck, until an elephant breaks loose and goes wild. Surprisingly, the elephant is Pee-Wee from Annie’s circus days. Annie is the only one who can control him, and is given the part of a native princess. Tootsie is extremely jealous. A live-in set is built on the lot so Annie can look after Pee-Wee 24/7.

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