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

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Jeff of Earth-J said:

CBG #1612-1613: I am always ready to revise/refine my view of comic books "Ages" in light of new evidence (or a new way of looking at the evidence). the "Guest Shot" in #1612 was given over to one Jerome Wenker, whose thoughts closely parallel my own and whose arguments I will be incorporating into my own definitions. (Whereas I am always willing to discuss Ages, I find that I am rarely ever eager to write about them.) In #1613, Dave Blanchard (who sees Ages not only as a a period of time in which comics were published, but also a style or writing or drawing) denotes the entry into the Silver Age of 24 titles published by National.

NEW FUN COMICS #1: As a side note, I have never been too interested in defining any kind of pre-Action Comics #1 "Platinum Age" or "Proto-Age" or whatever one wishes to call it. An example of "new evidence" such as I mentioned above would be actually reading an issue under consideration, case in point: New Fun Comics #1. I recently was given to opportunity to actually read it (thanks to DC reprinting it earlier this year) and have come to the conclusions that, while it is an historically significant publication in the development of the American comic book, it is not what i think of as a "comic book" per se

...Why don't you consider " NEW FUN #1 a comic book? Is it " too much like a Sunday comics section, not a ' comic book ' "? By the way, doesn't it include an Oswald The Lucky Rabbit strip?

9Yesterday, I read six pick-ups from the LCS visit I mentioned below, two dollar reprints that I think I'd mostly read before, two FCBD comics, one full-price and one a TPB of an 80s story new to me:

  BATMAN #429, part 3 of " A Death In The Family " reprinted. I don't think I'd read this since I sold my original TPB of it when I was low on $ one day back in Green Bay, WI. I'd forgotten about the Ayatollah stuff. I think you could argue that the previous installment, in which Robin's death actually happened, was more the historic issue.

  TRUE BELIEVERS: THE OTHER HULKS

  The Stan Goldberg-drawn story back I g this up is new to me. Has it been reprinted before? I suppose all TB comucs gave been converted to book reprints and been in a book before they're a TB.

  BLOODSPORT FCBD. I reviewed this elsewhere today.

  FIRE HANDS FCBD by Robert Kirkman and (artist(. I'll say .ore later.

  MARVELS SNAPSHOTS: SUB-MARINER. How many of these MARVELS SNAPSHOTS are there? Will review elsewhere.

  SILVER SURFER: PARABLE TPB by Stan and Movie is. Later for comments.

  Time is running out for me and I have a ride to a medical appointment coming up soon so I don't have time to re-check credits here before I get this up.

"Why don't you consider " NEW FUN #1 a comic book? Is it " too much like a Sunday comics section, not a ' comic book ' "?"

That, plus it's size, plus it's in black and white, plus it has multiple magazine-like text features. It's an interesting piece of history, but not what I would call a "comic book"; a precursor, maybe. And yes, Walt Disney's Oswald Rabbit runs as a strip across the bottom of six pages.

"How many of these MARVELS SNAPSHOTS are there?"

I've seen three so far.

NEXUS - NIGHTMARE IN BLUE: As a cost-cutting measure, Dark Horse released this four-issue mini-series in black and white. But it was not like the original three Capital magazine issues which were never intended to be colored; it was simply Rude's regular art style uncolored. the "talking heads" scenes worked okay in b&w, but the "cosmic" scenes were really lacking. 

Having said that, this story is far better than I remembered it. Mostly what I remembered was the "gimmick" of having the readers decide who Nexus' next victim would be, from five choices in a mail-in poll. (More on that presently.) I had forgotten that Mike Baron excels at writing women characters. In addition to Sundra Peale (Nexus' girlfriend) and Ursula Imada (the mother of Nexus' twin girls), there is the wau he handles the girls themselves (Scarlet and Sheena) as well as the Loomis sisters (Lonnie and Michana). Baron is second to none (except possibly Terry Moore) when it comes to realistic depictions of female characters. 

In addition to the vote for Nexus' victim, this series deals with Ylum's Presidential election. Also, the mystery of the ruins in the catacombs of Ylum deepens, In addition, Sundra learns that she is pregnant. "Tom Cruise" is cast as Tom Zeus, "W.C. Fields" plays a minor role, and there are cameos by Elvis Presley, Jack Kirby, The Guardian, Robbie the Robot and Grimjack as well.

[The rest of this post contains SPOILERS for both votes.]

First, the fan vote. As big of a Nexus fan as I am, I did not participate because I objected to the writer turning such an important story point over to the readers. We found out later that Baron had to write the script of issue #4 while rude was still penciling issue #1, IOW before anyone even saw the poll, much less voted. Baron simply assumed the readers would pick Usula, the choice which would cause the most dramatic tension. (As a matter of record, she came in second.) In any case, in the story Ursula won, and Nexus ended up executing everyone except her.

The three main candidates for President of Ylum were incumbent Tyrone, Sundra and Vooper. (All three had run before and Tyrone retained his position.) this time, Sundra wins, but when she finds out she is pregnant she turns it down and the Presidency goes to Tyrone, who finished second. This is the last issue of Nexus published by Dark Horse. the year is 1997.

... The three SNAPSHOTS are?

Sub-Mariner, Captain America and the Human Torch (Johnny Storm).

SCOUT #19-24: "Battle of the Bands" (#19) is the last story before the five-issue "The Final Battle" which ends to first series and details the beginning of the Second American Civil War. In #19, Missy is singing with Lex Lucifer and the Blue Scream Rather than Guitar Man and the New Disciples due to an old contract she once signed. The titular "battle" is staged to settle the matter once and for all. The comic book was originally packaged with a flexidisc with writer/artist Timothy Truman's own band, The Dixie Pistols, performing the music inside the comic. It is a somewhat different arrangement than the one on their first (and only, that I know of) album.

Following the events of "Mount Fire" (the previous arc), the missing atomic warhead was detonated over Las Vegas by an unscrupulous politician, killing millions. In what was described as a "police action" tp protect her borders, the nation of Communist Mexico staged an invasion into the United States along the Texas and New Mexico borders, leading to a Second Civil War. A former U.S. senator leads the Southwest Free States and the former Vice-President (who assassinated the former President) is leader of New America.

At this point, Scout is replaced by two four-issue mini-series, Swords of Texas and New America, which detail the 10 years of the Second Civil War. After that, Scout returns in a new series, Scout: War Shaman. This seems like a good point to take a break.

NEXUS: SPACE OPERA: Ten years after the last issue, Nexus returned in a supposedly monthly series (which was to have been four issues), under Steve Rude's own Rude Dude Productions. By the official count, the second issue of this series was the 100th overall. (By my count, Nightmare in Blue #4 was.) Sundra had her baby in Space Opera #1 (they named it Harry), and in any case, 10 years is a long time to be pregnant. Until now, Nexus had taken place in more or less "real time," but only eight months had taken place story time in the ten years between issues.

Another six months was to elapse before the second issue (or #100, if you prefer) was released. Excuses reasons were given, but I personally didn't buy them; I had my own suspicions of the reasons behind the delay. Even back in the First Comics days, Steve rude had difficulty maintaining a monthly schedule. At one point it was determined that Paul Smith would be his regular fill-in artist, on an "X" months off, "Y" months on basis. By the end of their run at First comics, it had been decided that never again would Nexus be produced by Baron and Rude. 

I don't know what happened to Mike Baron but, although writing the series, he was largely absent from behind-the-scenes commentary and editorial content (except photographs). Eventually, issues #3-4 (or #101-102) were released with a cover date of June 2009... two years after the monthly series began. It had been decided that, due to the unprecedented delay, the final two issues would be combined (which I number as a double-size issue and number #103). In it [MAJOR SPOILER], Ursula kidnaps and attempts to kill Harry, forcing Sundra to kill her former mentor and mother of Nexus' girls. 

NEXUS: INTO THE PAST AND OTHER STORIES

Nexus surfaced next back at Dark Horse in 2012, not in a series of his own but as part of an anthology. The new Dark Horse Presents was pretty expensive; not if one looks at the price per page, but rather the price per page of the serials I'm interested in. By the time Nexus started to appear, earlier serials had already been assembled in collections of their own. I am the biggest Nexus fan I know, but even I decided to tradewait this one.

I was rewarded for my patience in 2015 when Dark Horse released a tpb collecting the Nexus stories from issues #12-15 ("Bad Moon Rising"), #23-26 (Infestation and the Insect Under the Stone") and #29-34 ("Into the Past"). To be perfectly honest, I was still feeling pretty burned at the time from the "Space Opera" fiasco and decided to save "Into the Past and Other Stories" until... not a pandemic, specifically, but a "rainy day." This marks not only the first time I have ever read these stories, but the first time I have read "Space Opera" in a single sitting. Here are some observations.

One of the stories in the volume is left incomplete.

The Merk has been returned to his original status quo. Whether this is the first or the second of the third Merk is not clear, but he certainly acts the same as the first. 

The villain of "Into the Past" is Clayborn, a serial killer Nexus has killed twice before. (This discrepancy is addressed in the script but not resolved.)

Nexus travels into the past and meets Sherlock Holmes (!) and H.G. Wells.(Wells actually owns a time machine.) 

"David Letterman" is "cast" as talk show host Oscar Id.

Nexus daughter Sheena has assumed the costumed identity "Origami" (because she "likes to fold things").

Kreed "retruns" as Kreed's son.

At the end of the story, Nexus, sundra and Harry leave Ylum to go live on Procyon with Nexus' daughters Scarlet and Sheena. I am disappointed that, not only are the twins' feeling for their mother's killer not resolved, they are not even addressed. I guess they're okay with it.

At some point, Steve Rude apparently gained "controlling interest" over the development of Nexus. His afterword confirms much of what I alluded to that I suspected was going on behind the scenes. (Mike Baron's remarks were as conspicuously absent from "Into the Past" as they were from "Space Opera.") Rude admits that he and Baron disagreed over the direction Nexus should take. Rude himself rewrote Baron's ending to "Into the Past" (and I know that the delay between issues #1 and #2 of "Space Opera" was, at least partially, due to Rude's demand of plot changes. (I also suspect his general slowness was also a factor, and he was trying to shift the blame to his partner.) 

The most (unintentionally) funny Rude wrote in his afterword was a reference to their days at First Comics, "usually with me being one step ahead of deadline." I, for one, would like to know when Rude has ever been ahead of a deadline. 

Surprisingly, this is not the end.

NEGAN LIVES!: For those of you missing The Walking Dead, both the TV show and the comic book, here's one last Negan story for you. I recommend it anyone who has all of the other TWD comics, but if you don't the the character, you can safely give it a pass. 

PULP: Don't judge this Ed Brubaker / Sean Phillips graphic novel by its cover (a large headshot of a cowboy above with a smaller figure of a cowboy on a horse). The story is set in New York City, 1939. The main character is a former gunslinger from the Old West who now makes his living writing thinly disguised pulps of his own adventures. I am familiar with the super-hero work Brubaker did at Marvel some years ago and liked it very much, but I never sought out his crime noir work such as Fatale and Criminal. I would not have read this had it not been recommended to me by the owner of my LCS. I'm reluctant to reveal any more details because each reader should experience the twists, turns and surprises for himself. Trust me on this. If the description above sounds at all compelling to you, you should try it. Recommended. $17, HC.

NEXUS: THE COMIC STRIP: Every time I see Nexus in print I expect it will be the last; indeed, "Into the Past" had a certain finality to the story itself. Not too long after it was completed, however, Steve rude started a kick-starter campaign for his latest project, a weekly Nexus publication styled on full-size Sunday comics sections. (Think DC's Wednesday Comics but larger and with thicker paper stock.) Knowing Rude's reputation for slowness, I was reluctant to contribute to the kick-started campaign. Taking my cue from Marvel and DC, I was even reluctant to subscribe until the entire thing was in the can. It was announced that a collection would be offered when it was done, so I decided to wait.

It wasn't offered through Previews, but Rude was offering a "starter package" free to retailers, so I asked the owner of my LCS if he would be willing to look into it for me. He got the package, which included a copy of the first issue, but ultimately decided to give it a pass because the agreement required him to order more copies of each issue than he had ever sold of any Nexus comic book when there were still being published. He gave the starter kit to me, though, free of charge.

I didn't hear anything else about the project for years, even though I'm a regular subscriber to Rude's "newsletter" (I put that in quotes because it's little more than solicitations for art and commissions). One day, though, I saw the long-ago-promised HC as well as a tpb in Previews solicited for early April 2020 release. COVID screwed that up, but I began re-reading some of the more "recent" (i.e., post-First Comics) Nexus comics and reviewing them here. I have enjoyed the project, for the most part, but when I checked on the collection it had been cancelled. 

I'm keeping my eyes peeled for a resolicitation, but I am not holding my breath.

...Thank you, Jeff. I've seen the Subby one, and the Fantastic Four, with the Torch one seemingly advertised at the end of Namor's.

...The last several days I read a number of FCBD/dollar comic/True Believer/FCBD issues:

  BATMAN #497 (Bane breaks Bay's back - I don't think I'd read this before)

  THE TICK FCBD 

  That Ed Brubaker Image " real superhero " series FCBD - Great, I've forgotten its name.

   KIKI AND MAYA/THE HOUND AND ??? Split FCBD from Tokyopop. Forgot, not handy.

  HEAD OF BANNER #1 True Believers. (THE INCREDIBLE GULK #6)

  SPIDER-MAN FCBD

  ANNIALATION: ANNIULUS #1 True Believers (Maybe I read this in 1973 when it was FANTASTIC FOUR #140)

  Six stories or so in the Am Williamso%Archie Goodwin SECRET AGENT CORRICAN Vol. 3 HC. That was the one I partly bought with green stamps.

  

SWORDS OF TEXAS #1-4

NEW AMERICA #1-4

BADGER #5-11

NEXUS (v1) #1-3; (v2) 1-11

ZOT #1-10

COMIC BUYER'S GUIDE: I am starting to regret my hardline "recycle-after-re-reading" policy. But I need that shelf space! On the "bright" side, it's taken me 15 years to re-read them once and, given my genetics, it's unlikely I'll be alive to re-read them again in another 15. Plus, I don't want to saddle Tracy with something else of mine to dispose of. So into the bin they go! Just this morning I finished reading #1618, a Wonder Woman-themed issue. It's interesting because Cap defended WW's killing of Max Lord, PAD abhorred it. Both opinions were well supported. My current favorite column has become Beau Smith's "Dottin' the Eyes."

ATLAS AT WAR: I was somewhat disappointed in the MMW edition of Battlefield, primarily because I thought it was a mistake for Marvel to branch out into other genres before completing the GA superhero runs (primarily Captain America), but Atlas at War! cherry-picks the best of several different titles. Unlike the recent DC Goes to War, this volume is much more EC-like (Two-Fisted Tales, Frontline Combat). Plus it is reprinted on more appropriate paper stock. Depending on how you like your war comics (assuming you do at all), I would recommend either one or the other over Sgt. Rock Archives or Sgt. Fury Masterworks (again, depending on your tastes).

MMW MARVEL TEAM-UP v5: Several months ago, during our "Spider-Man" discussion, I mentioned how surprised I was to discover (years ago, in my favorite backissue guide), that someone thought the the deaths of Gwen Stacy and the Green Goblin in Amazing spider-Man #121-122 "precipitated the most consistently excellent period of Spidey's career, topped by the superlative Jackel war running intermittently through to #150." (Personally, I'd peg it to be John Romita's run through "The Stone Tablet Saga.") Until the post-Michelinie/McFarlane era, I would have pegged that the worst period of stories. I've never subscribed to that "Golden Age is 12" bull$#!t, but I think it does come into play here. Gerry Conway's appreciation of Ross Andru in the MMW edition reprinting this run gave me new appreciation for it, but it just goes to show you: every era is someone's favorite. 

Case in point: Bruce Canwell, in his introduction to MMW MTU v5 starts off by saying: "During their lengthy histories, every significant comic book feature has at least one 'renaissance,' a period when creators combine characters with conflicts, crafting clever stories that stand that test of time." Yes, right; I'm with you. for Marvel Team-Up I'd say it would be the Claremont/Byrne run. Where Canwell and I differ if that he picks the issues reprinted in this volume, #41-52 (plus), which raises the question in my mind, "what, where you 12 when these came out?"

I have read some of these issues previously, but not all of them. Specifically, when I collected "Killraven" as backissues when I was in college, I also picked up MTU #45; when I collected "Deathlok" I also picked up MTU #46. There was nothing particularly special about these issues, but they were part of a storyline which stretched back to #41. this is my first time reading them from Spidey's POV. "The Death of Jean DeWolfe" was a big nothing burger for me, but the character's first appearance can be found in this volume. I also bought MTU #52 as a "crossover" (in the loosest possible sense of the term) with Jack Kirby's Captain America, but it's non-essential. The Hulk appearance in #53 is foreshadowed (which I bought as a supplement to backissues of Warlock, but is non-essential here), but that's not in this volume.

This volume does include the 1976 Mighty Marvel Bicentennial Calendar in it's entirety But the real selling point, for me anyway, is the framing sequence for the 1976 Giant Superhero Holiday Grab-Bag, which I had never read. I used to buy all of the Marvel and DC "treasury" editions, but I had bailed by this point. Little did I know this volume contains what has now become my favorite FF vs. Avengers story ever, in which the two teams engage in a snowball fight in Central Park. If that's not enough, the story segues (following the Silver Surfer flying overhead) to the Defenders in Doc Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum, then via Matt Murdock to the Black Widow and the Champions, who have a snowball fight among themselves. 

As to whether or not I'd recommend the volume overall, that depends if you read these stories when you were 12.

Jeff, I read most if not all of the Dark Horse's initial output of Nexus. (I never read the the stories that came later in DHP). From what I recall I liked them well enough at the time, but none of them stood out to me. Of course for me Nexus, is one of the characters I like the idea of liking them, more than I actually do.

I've been on vacation, so I've done quite a bit of reading the past few days. Including:

The Resistance #3 (of 6) - From AWA or Upshot or whatever the publisher is called. J. Michael Straczynski returns to comics with Mike Deodato Jr. This series touches on some of the same themes as Rising Stars. Funnily, the first two issues came out before the shut down. This comic deals after a pandemic hits the world, and a small percentage of survivors develop super powers. This issue deals with one person who goes to the company who is helping people develop there super powered identity. Name, costume, and even if they are going to be a hero or villain. He is disenchanted with the whole ordeal as it mainly focuses on public appearances and such. Not actually helping people. So far so good with this series.

Amazing Spider-man #45 - The Sin-Eater is back and taking out more of the C-list bad guys, and he has new powers going. This is the first new Spider-man book I've bought off the shelf in years. This looked like a good jumping on point. After one issue, I liked it.

The Kill Lock #6 (or 6) - The conclusion to this miniseries, and it was great. 4 robots are convicted of crimes, and they are given a the kill lock. If one of them dies they all die. Three of them agree to find a cure to help the fourth who is innocent. This is one series I was really sad that go delayed because of the lockdown. Highly recommended with story and art by Livio Ramondelli, it came out of IDW.

Blade Runner 2019 #8 - This is a conclusion to the second arc, with Ash and Cleo far off in space. They are still trying to escape Cleo's father Alexander Selwyn. They are aided by British Blade Runner Hythe. Another series I've really be enjoying, and a really satisfying conclusion to this arc.

Spider-Man Noir #2 - The first issue came out soooo long ago I barely remember it. It was okay I guess.

Legion of Super-heroes #7 - Oh look another issue where the the characters just stand around talking. And a lot of the dialogue is terrible. Another snooze fest.

Nailbiter Returns #3 - I am so glad this series is back. The creators are rally ramping it up, with people pretending to be some of the Buckaroo Butchers of old in some sort of weird, deadly game. I loved the first series, and three issues in this have been good too.

That Texas Blood #2 - Written by Chris Condon and art by Jacob Phillips(son of Sean) this would feel right at home in the Brubaker/Phillips crime books. This takes place in Texas obviously so you get a feel to films like No Country For Old Men and Hell Or High Water. This issue deals with Randall returning to his old home town after the death of his brother Travis. Randall has tried to make himself a better person, but the townsfolk haven't forgotten his old ways, nor what his brother did as well. I try not to get too excited 2 issues into a series, but I really liked this. As a bonus there is a QR code in the back of the book that takes you to a Spotify playlist that serves as a soundtrack for the issue. I found that a lot of fun.

And some back issues:

Giant Size Master of Kung-Fu #1-4 - The first the issues have art by Paul Gulacy, and I think that really helps. The running inner dialogue of Shang-chi gets a little too tedious at times. I've actually read issue #4 before. I thought it was terrible then, and I think is is still terrible now, which I think colors my opinion of Keith Pollard's art which is actually good. He is just saddled with a bad story. Each issue also includes a reprint of  Yellow Claw, who was basically Fu Manchu, from the 50s, so that was neat from a historical perspective.

Finally I read the trade of the ABC Warriors: The Mekinificent Seven. Probably the first time I've read an ABC Warriors story since '86 or '87. These are there first stories written by Pat Mills Plus, we get art by British superstars like Kevin O'Neill, Dave Gibbons, and Carlos Ezquerra. I liked this. Kind of a mixture of western and sci-fi.

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