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

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SHAZAM! ORIGINS: A couple of months ago, when the new Shazam! series began, I remarked that Justice League #0 was the only post-Flashpoint appearance of the character (no longer known as Captain Marvel) that I knew of. What I said was true, but the first issue of the new series made it clear that I obviously had missed something. The recent tpb collects everything a new reader needs to know to enjoy the new series. Issue #0 wasn’t even the character’s first appearance. The tpb collects stories from Justice League #7-11, 0, 14-16 and 18-20. This updating of the legend (by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank) is like no Captain Marvel (when he was known as Captain Marvel) you have read before.

It is unclear whether Johns is using the “Seven Deadly Sins” of Catholic dogma or the “Seven Deadly Enemies of Man” of the comics. Only five of them are named [Pride, Envy, Greed, Wrath (replacing Hatred) and Sloth (replacing Laziness)]. That leaves Gluttony and Lust (or Selfishness and Injustice) unaccounted for. All seven are visually depicted, but the one who looks like Gluttony to me is identified as Greed. No mention whatsoever is made of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles or Mercury. I can’t really fault DC for dropping the name Captain Marvel (not in the movies, anyway). Just yesterday I overheard a co-worker discussing a “Marvel movie” she could remember the name of. Turns out it was Aquaman.

Honestly, after the demise of Fawcett comics, I think there have been very few successful attempts to bring Captain Marvel/SHAZAM! into the mainstream DCU. I really liked Jerry Ordway’s version, and Johns’, while quite different, is my favorite other than that.

I read The Grim Knight #1, which is a part of The Batman Who Laughs miniseries (somehow), written by Scott Snyder (and, again, I assume James Tynion IV) and drawn by Eduardo Risso. Risso's art goes a long way toward helping this issue out, but unfortunately, most of it is done in his painted style which he used a lot in his Vertigo autobiography of Paul Dini. In my opinion, his line work goes much further than his painted material. Still, this Batman comic felt important; I will be interested to see if the Batman Who Laughs becomes just another Joker. I can't imagine how mad the Joker would be to find out he had a rival for Batman's love.

Weirdly, Sensei, your post reminds me of watching Gotham last night. My wife and I are a little behind, and are catching up, and, in general, we really enjoy Gotham. And we're reallu enjoying this run in particular, since the show is wrapping things up.

But in this particular episode one of the bits was that Jeremiah Valeska (in full Joker mode) was re-creating the murder of Bruce's parents, and it was obviously supposed to be a suspensful scene, full of emotional import. and ...

I discovered I was bored.

Yes, Bruce Wayne's parents were killed. Bruce responds with a lifelong career as a vigilante. OK, good -- I like Batman comics. But can we move on from the murder, please? Anyone still obsessing over that (looking at you, Bruce) isn't in his right mind. I want Batman to be someone I can admire, not someone who stropped growing emotionally at age 8 and is still obsessed by events that happened in that year. Yes, it's a powerful motivator. But anything other than that is an unhealthy obsession that makes my teeth itch.

Point is, I don't want to read any more about the death of the Waynes. Frank Miller added the pearls, which are a terrific symbol-cum-metaphor, but nothing worthwhile has been added since. Honest, I never want to see that scene again. I've seen it way too many time already, and nothing since the '80s has added to my appreciation of it -- in fact, most recent scenes have the opposite effect, as they irritate/bore me.  (Same with Spider-Man's origin.)

Also, I'm tired of the Joker. So much so, that I read as little of "The Batman Who Laughs" as I can

I do recognize the twist on TBWL -- he's the Batman, plus he's the Joker. That's like, twice-Joker, or something. But isn't the original still around? And hasn't he proved to be Batman's equal all by his lonesome? To paraphrase you, Sensei, I don't see what this new "Joker" adds that we haven't already seen from the original -- and wouldnt't the original put an end to this pretender, or die trying?

Anyway, as to what I'm reading, it's a lot of 1940s-50s Blue Beetle. God help me. But I'm also reading EC Archives: Piracy, and it's awesome. The stories tend to be repetitive (just like EC's Aces High), but the artwork is astonishing. I noticed Wally Wood and Reed Crandall doing some of the best work of their careers, and that's saying something. I honestly wish I read this when I was younger, and my vision was better. I know I'm missing a lot. But what I do see is stunning.

SPIDER-MAN LIFE STORY #1: First, a nitpick concerning the advertising copy (which also is repeated on the first, non-story, page): “In 1962, a 15 year old boy…” I have read the Lee/Ditko Spider-Man many times and nowhere is it mentioned that he was 15 years old. I get the impression that he is probably a high school senior, but three years into the run, Peter Parker graduated high school. Assuming he was 18 then, someone simply counted backwards, assuming the comic took place in real time.

That assumption, however, could not be further from the truth (as the entire point of this series, which does take place in real time), tends to support. I don’t know who came up with that “15 years old” fallacy, but it wasn’t Chip Zdarsky, the series writer. Within the first two pages we learn: 1) it is 1966, 2) Peter has been Spider-Man for four years, and 3) he is a junior in college.

Beyond that, this story deals with the familiar but changes it in a unique way I have never experienced before. When Marvel was publishing Spider-Girl, OI used to pretend that it was the story of Spider-Man if he had aged in real time. Even then the math didn’t quite work, but this series is off to a good start. In this issue, Iron Man and, by the end, Captain America are fighting in Viet Nam (also not necessarily for the side one might expect in one case). Viet Nam weighs heavily on Peter Parker’s mind. Do his “great powers” not obligate him to the “great responsibility” of fighting for his country? Flash Thompson’s enlistment (in the original he was drafted) also plays a role. The main superheroic part of the story is the defeat of Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin, and the circumstances under which he discovered Peter’s secret and what he does about it. The situation is familiar, yet entirely new.

One additional note: the cover depicts the commonly accepted explanation of what the heck Spidey is swinging from as the end credits roll in the 1968 cartoon. I can hardly wait to see what happens next. This is my new favorite current Marvel title.

IMMORTAL HULK #15: I rarely page ahead in a comic book before I read it, and when I do I rarely have cause to regret it. I haven’t read this one yet but I did page ahead. My advise to you is: don’t. More next week.
...I do seem to recall a reference - a cover blurb? - in early Spidey that stated Peter to be 15. Remember, too, Betty Brandt , even when retcknned in the Nineties to be a mate-end teenager, was even then " older woman " against Peter.
I am back in San Francisco (It may take time to change my ID) and I have a new LCS. They're on " truly " indie/local stuff. read today a $2 mini-comic from PHX Jam Comic from 2016, MR. DO, from various San Francisco artists. Clever packaging sold me a other mini--comic, " 8 ridographed comics by @dkcpop!". I've read just one now. I read the back part of a 2028 DONALD AND MICKEY from Boom, William Van Horn and Carl Barks/John Lustig stories - the latter just a one-page gag but it out the.Barks' name on the cover!

I also bought MINI-COMICS MIX TAPE, a numbered ultra-cutely packaged bag of " 8 risographed comics by @docpop! " and gave read a bit as yet.

Earlier this morning, I read a DC miniseries called Enginehead from 2003. The creative team is Joe Kelly and Ted McKeever. This was an odd, dark, but really enjoyable book. Ford Corrado is a former villain from a group called the Toolbox. Evidently, this is a real thing in the DCU. His name was Jackhammer. Long story short: He is talked into taking part in an experiment in combining with five other DC characters to become a robot named Enginehead. Enginehead is made up of Jackhammer, Dr. Cyber, Rosie the Riveter, Automan (who I thought was Robotman at first), Dr. Hamilton from Superman, and Brainstorm. All of these characters are either robots or at least part cybernetic to start with. Tin from the Metal Men doesn't accept the offer to become a part of Enginehead.

Corrado also has a robo-primate friend named Grease Monkey.

During this miniseries, we get guest-villain spots by Metallo and Electrocutioner. Corrado also has a brother who is a pedophile, but a very reluctant and ashamed pedophile. It's a very unique interpretation which makes him almost sympathetic, particularly after Ford finds out that their father sexually abused him. He says that it doesn't make him any less of a scumbag, but he just wanted Ford to know about it. This is after he was punished by having his pelvis removed (seriously).

Mr. Bones of the DEO is a part of the story as he tries to enlist EH, and we also have a very strange appearance by The Human Bomb (as you've never seen him before or since). In the last issue, we get a close-out including the Metal Men and the Justice League.

This story actually has kind of an uplifting ending. I really hope that, out there somewhere in the DCU, Irontown still exists and can be revisited one day.

As a story, it explores a lot of sad subjects, like age and decay, and the whole thing is like an island of misfit toys, which makes me have a soft spot for Irontown and its inhabitants.

I read the Batman/Flash/Heroes In Crisis crossover, "The Price", which was in #64-65 of each of their titles. It was much better than their previous one, the over-hyped and disappointing "The Button".

This story was more emotional, naturally, dealing with the loss of those who emulated them. Did they have the right to try to stop these young people from following their example or the obligation for the common good to let them? There's no correct answer but there were always secrets. The notion that secret identities protect their love ones has proven false far too many times. Now they are left to pick up the pieces of lives left shattered by their hubris, particularly Batman's (big shock there!).

...I read AVENGERS #16 and 17 recently.
A 1997 magazine-sized fanzine comic with ama-strips titled SUNVE that I found I. a thrift shop. $3.25 then, 75c now.

IMMORTAL HULK #15: No spoilers here because I know Sensei is tradewaiting, but the story is more explicit about the so-called “Joker-Hulk” introduced a couple of issues back (#12?). He is referred to as the “devil-Hulk” but honestly, it just another, somewhat slightly different persona. The Hulk has been mischaracterized so often over the years, I hesitate to refer to it as a “persona” so much as a “mood” he’s in. He does have a particular mad on concerning the effect nuclear weapons have one the environment, which leads Doc Samson to jokingly refer to him as the “green” hulk.

Marvel's 3-D reissue of X-MEN #268
Some of AMERICAN SPLENDOR - a twofer movie edition reissue of Iguess the first to AS collections. I'd mostly read later AS. Is there an index anywhere as to whether all the material from the AS comics was printed in the books? Much of REEFER MADNESS, the Craig Yoe-edited anthology from Dark Horse of marijuana exploitation comics.

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