Tom Kalmaku first appeared in 1960 and Alaska had just became a state in 1959, so he was a then "topical" character. He wasn't as accident-prone or silly-for-silly's-sake as Jimmy Olsen but he had his moments. Terrible nickname and descriptions aside, he was portrayed as a lot more useful than most sidekicks treated as comic relief.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
BEAUTIFUL STORIES FOR UGLY CHILDREN v2: "Diary of a Depressed Tap Dancer"
GREEN LANTERN ARCHIVES, v2 (#6-13): I have already mentioned elsewhere that Tracy finds that Hal Jordan's parents did not give him an alliterative name as they did their other two boys to be completely unbelievable. Political correctness aside, "Pieface" is a stupid nickname. (I rank it right up there with "King Faraday" and "Tom, Dick & Harriet.) Personally, I find the term "little Eskimo grease monkey" (which Broome uses at least once each issue) to be more offensive. The covers of each of these issues stands out in my memory, but the splash pages are quite distinctive and memorable as well. I have learned to skip all of the footnotes (as well as the oath) in order to avoid repetition.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
BASKETFUL OF HEADS #1-7:
I want to read this, but am waiting for a collection. So far I only see a hardcover for $25 with no discount on Amazon. I'll be waiting for a softcover or a used decent copy.
BEAUTIFUL STORIES FOR UGLY CHILDREN v4: "The Black Balloon (A Happy Story)"
I got from storage The 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time which reprints readers' picks for the top 25 Marvel books...OF ALL TIME! The last, #10 (D'01), featured the #1 spot winner of Amazing Fantasy #15 (Au'62). Of course, that's the first appearance of Spider-Man and it had and will continue to be reshown in multiple books in multiple formats.
But this was different than most reprintings as it contained the entire book and not just Spidey's part of it! There were three more Stan Lee/Steve Ditko tales:
1) "The Bell-Ringer!", a story about a pious man who must ring his church bells despite a volcanic eruption!
2) "There Are Martians Among Us!", one of several "Martians are invading" stories with its own unexpected twist ending.
3) "Man in the Mummy Case!", my favorite which features a "Living Mummy" over a decade before the actual Living Mummy series! Another great twist ending and a clever way to get around the Comic Code!
The mummy offers a fugitive crook safety in his mummy case but the crook is dubious! "I've seen movies about this kind of thing! You ain't makin' a mummy out of me!"
BEAUTIFUL STORIES FOR UGLY CHILDREN v5: "The Crypt of the Magi"
GREEN LANTERN ARCHIVES v3 (#14-21): Up until this point, all stories had been by John Broome and Gil Kane, but in this volume, Gardner Fox writes one story (of two in each issue) in #16, 17 and #21. Also, in #18, Mike sekowsky pencils six pages (over Gil Kane layouts). The Gardner Fox story in #16, "Earth's First Green Lantern," is remarkable in that it answers the question, given that a Green Lantern can fly through space via his or her power ring along, why was Abin Sur travelling in a spaceship in Showcase #22? fox provides a convoluted explanation regarding energy creatures called Larifars and the theft of "I-factors" from victim races.
What makes this story remarkable is that Alan Moore provided a completely different explanation in Tales of the Green Lantern Corps #2 (1986). As I recalled these two contradictory stories, I preferred the one by Alan Moore... until I re-read them both in the course of this project. Whereas both stories use the explanation that Abin Sur is using a spaceship because he's worried about his ring losing its charge, in the Fox story, he does so as a ruse so (for convoluted reasons, as I mentioned) Larifars do not see him recharge his ring' "Earth's First Green Lantern" knows his ring will remain charged until the time limit is up. Alan Moore's story, as entertaining as it is otherwise, does not account for this fact, so I must change my favorite to the earlier Gardner Fox story.
Thinking ahead... I'm putting all other "projects" (Badger, Nexus, Zot) on temporary hold while I blast through Green Lantern so I can comment on Deck Log #228 while it's still fresh on everyone's mind. after that, I will probably move on either to the Mike Grell Green Arrow omnibus, or the Silver Age Spectre omnibus. If I go the "Spectre" route, I will likely follow it with the Ostrander/Mandrake series, which will in turn lead back to... Hal Jordan! That's a lot of comics, though,and my plans often change before I finish such lengthy projects.
Also, my LCS is spreading FCBD releases throughout the summer. I don't know if the ones I saw new today are the same ones at your shops, but there's a free preview of Tom Scioli's Jack Kirby biography. 'Nuff said!
I just read the last 3 (digital-only) issues of The Terrifics. I tend to like Gene Yang's work...but after two writers and 30 issues, I think -- now that the book has finally breathed its last -- that the team as a whole just didn't work for me. By the end, almost every character was duplicated in some way. Mister Terrific was echoed by Tom Strong...and, eventually, Mrs. Terrific. Plas and Metamorpho echoed each other -- and then compounded that by bringing Offspring on board. Phantom Girl was echoed, to a certain extent, by Tesla Strong. No one was special; no one had space to shine.
Issue 25, though, was a choose-your-own-adventure style issue. I'll keep that one. The rest are going on the to-sell pile (if I haven't sold them already; I can't remember).
Stumptown Volume 4: The Case of the Cup of Joe wraps up the series to date. Being a coffee addict I was able to relate to the subject of the case much better than the previous soccer-oriented one. Of course the coffee connoisseurs at the core of the story would never refer to coffee as "a cup of Joe," but Dex doesn't get the fascination, so the title makes sense. Nice showdown at the climax, with Dex outsmarting everybody so she can deliver for her client. Letting her sister run off with thousands of dollars in gold in the end leaves a huge unresolved plot point, though. Surely the rich guy she conned would want his money back. The fifth issue in the collection is another case, a done in one which is largely wordless. A little confusing at times, but nicely resolved.
BEAUTIFUL STORIES FOR UGLY CHILDREN v6: "Happy Birthday to Hell"
ASH & THORN #3-4: I had no idea where this story was going after reading #1-2 (a good thing). I didn't foresee where it is going, and I'm not sure I approve, but I'm going to stick around and find out how it resolves iteself. Besides, it's an AHOY! comic, and I'm enjoying the short stories.
FIRE POWER #2-3: One thing I like about this series (in addition the the story/art itself) is that Robert Kirkman and Chris Samnee devote a page or two each issue to discussing what they were trying to achieve and how they set about it. Great insight into the comic book making process! There is also a non-FCBD version of issue #1, and apparently it has commentary as well. I don't think the free version did. I may have to buy a regular copy of #1 just for the commentary.
STRANGE ADVENTURES #5:I liked this issue more than any other since #1. I think I will enjoy this whole series more once I have done a comprehensive read of Adam strange from the beginning, a project on my list. This issue ends with a quote from Murphy anderson, one which I plan to post here when I get to the Wrath of the Spectre omnibus.
GREEN LANTERN ARCHIVES v4 (#22-29): Within these eight issues, John Broome wrote five stories, Gardner Fox wrote ten. The comics themselves were published without credits, but that information is provided in the table of contents. It's fun to guess which stories were written by witch writer. [HINT: The distinctive way Fox uses nouns as verbs is a dead giveaway, as is his use of the term "star-sun." He also tends to through in more theoretical physics.) Also this volume includes: the third appearance of Hector Hammond (#22), the first appearance of the Tattooed Man (#23), the first two appearances of the Shark (#24 & #28), (arguably) the first appearance of Mogo (#24), the return of Sonar (#25), the return of Star Sapphire (#26), the first appearance of Black Hand (#29), a cameo appearance by the Justice League of America, and more. The first solo Green Lantern story I ever read ("The House that Fought Green Lantern" reprinted in a 100-Pager in 1974) originally appeared in #28. Tracy finds it even more implausible that Hal wasn't given an alliterative name after the introduction of Judge Jeremiah Jordan. No "weenie-ization" of Hal Jordan yet. I plan to continue reading this series for some time to come; I think I'll move these posts into a thread of their own.
BEAUTIFUL STORIES FOR UGLY CHILDREN v7: "Ricky the Doughnut Boy"
BEAUTIFUL STORIES FOR UGLY CHILDREN v8: "Die Rainbow Die: A Story of Hope"
I just got back from my LCS. Light week.
GREEN LANTERN: SEASON TWO #7: I'm still a couple of issues behind reading this series. It was one of the series I was considering dropping, but I figured if I'm going to continue reading Far Sector I might as well see this one through to the end, too.
SHAZAM! #14: I bought this one last week (I think), another series I had considered dropping. Flipping through it I noticed a big ol' :END" on the last page and figured it was the last issue. can any one confirm?
HAWKMAN #27: This is a series I have not been reading (I bought only the first two or three issues), but the Justice Society of America on the cover drew me in. the art throughout looked really good, and the last page said "Final Justice, Part One" so I figured I'd stay for the storyline if I liked the first part. There's no editorial information telling the reader anything about the plan, but today's Comic Shop News says that #29 will be the last issue of the series, so I guess I can stick it out that long.
One other note: all of this month's DCs advertise Detective Comics #1027, "Celebrating 1,000 issues since the Dark Knight's First Appearance!" I'm thankful they didn't say "1000th anniversary" or I would have had to scream. Of course, none of DC's issues numbering in the 1000s got there through legitimate, consecutively numbered issues.