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

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That was when the Martian Manhunter hardly appeared, of course. I think well of the "Warworld" one. I've not read the Spectre one.

According to Len Wein Mongul was his creation. I take it Starlin helped shape him: in the "Warworld" story he's very Thanos-y.

His backstory in #28 parallels the fall of the Shah.

Starlin also did the Superman/Starman/Mongul story in #36, but with Paul Levitz. It has a no-holds-barred Superman fight I thought awesome at the time. #37 was plotted and drawn by Starlin and scripted by Roy Thomas. The Mongul story was wrapped up in the disappointing #43, by Levitz and Curt Swan.

Re Kirby's "Barda and Her Female Furies" proposal, this blog post argues it predates her inclusion in Mister Miracle.

“I think well of the "Warworld" one.”

“Horseraces,” I guess.

“I've not read the Spectre one.”

It seemed (to me) to be tacked on as an afterthought.

“Starlin also did the Superman/Starman/Mongul story in #36, but with Paul Levitz.”

I have the original of that filed in my (‘90s) Starman box.

“Re Kirby's "Barda and Her Female Furies" proposal, this blog post argues it predates her inclusion in Mister Miracle.”

Yes, I’ve heard that, too. I’m going to have to go back and take a closer lookat that blog post when I have more time. Thanks for the link!

I read some Goodwill store acquisitions (99c I think):

THE LAST PHANTOM #8

METAL MEN #2 

ZERO HOUR #2

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #15 (2££8?)

THE UNIVERSAL SOLDIER #3 (newsstand)

John Byrne’s JACK KIRBY’S FOURTH WORLD: After finishing Kirby’s actual “Fourth World” books, I re-read this entire series.

...More Goodwill...

  POWERS#30

  YOUNGBLOOD #4 (Image - Malibu-distributed)

  BRIGADE #4 - (Image - not Malibu distributed)

The Flash #1 ($1 Comics)
Crisis on Infinite Earths 100-Page Giant #2
The Daily Bugle #2
Classic Pulp #2 (Detectives)
Shazam! #11
Far Sector #4
Basketful of Heads #5

Say Jeff. WHICH Flash #1 was that?

1987, post-Legends, Wally West Flash by Mike Baron and Butch Guice.

Marvel #1

Described as Alex Ross' original vision for Marvels, I found this pretty enjoyable.  The basic idea seems to be to take handpicked creative teams and let them play around in the nostalgic retro-world of Marvels.  So here we see Frank Espinosa of Rocketo fame doing a throwback animation treatment of Spider-Man and some really nice Steve Rude art on a vintage Avengers story.  Future issues will have work by Adam Hughes, Bill Sienkiewicz, Dan Brereton etc...

Leviathan: Dawn #1

For me, this has been the best thing Bendis has done at DC.  These are the kind of characters/stories that are most in his wheelhouse.  I would love to see a solo Question series by this same team.

I was at the comic shop yesterday for the first time this year (!), and wondered at Marvel #1 and Marvels #1 on the stands. I had read about them, but didn't realize they were different products. I had conflated them in my mind and when I saw them as separate ones I didn't know what I'd read applied to which. Do I want them?

Superman: Villains #1: I read this one without having kept up with Superman since he revealed his identity, but evidently I didn't miss much. This whole issue deals with the secret ID fallout at the Daily Planet and among Superman's villains. It isn't a special so much as another brick in the wall of the larger story.

Interesting take on Mongul: He is always Mongul, son of Mongul, who killed his father. Evidently, each generation of Mongul sires a nearly identical son he names Mongul who eventually kills him and takes his job as Warworld boss and galactic conqueror. That's sort of been implied, but this made it canon. It's very Greco-Roman, but it also raises the question of why a Mongul ever allows a son to live past childhood. Even Saturn was smarter than that!

Justice League #42: I didn't read the first two issues of the new writing team, so I don't know the details of what's going on, although I can guess well enough that it didn't ruin anything for me. This team is less wack-a-doodle than Snyder/Tynion -- seriously, the Perpetua story devolved, for me, into nonsensical, incoherent psycho/techno-babble -- but Eradicator is showing powers and power applications I've never seen before, which is sort of out of the blue, a thing writers sometimes do with villains to up their threat level that kinda bugs me, especially since Eradicator was already kinda unbeatable. Still, Flash got an impressive spotlight, which is nice to see in a JL title, where the Big 3 usually dominate.

Strange Adventures #1: I kinda see what King is doing here -- it's similar to his Mister Miracle in a broad sense, with two competing realities happening at once -- but the story doesn't advance enough for me to decide if I want to keep reading or not. I guess I will, until I decide. :)

Silver Age Classics: Outer Space v2, Pre-Code Classics: This Is Suspense v2, Pre-Code Classics: Space Adventures v2, Pre-Code Classics: Strange Suspense Stories v3: All of these books collect Charlton books of the mid-1950s (on both sides of the Code). I don't know if that's coincidence, or PS ArtBooks suddenly got access to a bunch of Charlton material, or what, but I read them all back to back, and being very similar in many ways, don't really distinguish one from another now.

I will say I enjoyed them more than I expected I would. Partly that's because some of the post-Code material and even some of the Pre-Code material experimented with narrative and story structure, as you'd expect with the Code coming, so various stories didn't end as I expected them to. That was refreshing. (Frankly, I've read so many pre-Code horror books that I can usually predict the end a few panels into each story.) Also, one or two stories still ended in a horrific fashion, including one where two fat guys were served like pigs to aliens, naked on a plate with an apple in their mouths. Whoa! That's harsher than Charlton normally got, so it was a real surprise. Also, you could stumble across a Ditko gem at any time. Anyway, the quality of the writing was a few steps above what I expected from what I read of Charlton in the '60s and '70s.

The art wasn't bad. It was sort of a Sal Trapani Showcase -- the guy was everywhere, writing or inking, and where he wasn't, somebody was drawing like him. Was he maybe the art director at the time? Or just the house style? Anyway, Trapani's art isn't flashy and sometimes a little dull, but it's inoffensive and competent. I have no complaints.

I've also gotten accustomed to just how gawdawful 1950s SF comics are. Sure, they were operating at an earlier time, when less was known about space and space travel. But, honestly, they get the known science of the time preposterously wrong, and the stories are numbingly predictable (basically Westerns in space, with space marshals chasing space rustlers/bandits, and everyone putting the word "space" in front of ordinary nouns to make them sound future-y). But even so, I managed to get through Charlton's work without my attention flagging (much), so either I'm getting used to it, or once again the writing is a level above what I normally expect. I honestly think it's the latter (but I could be wrong).

One (odd) complaint about PS ArtBooks is the packaging. There's some sort of waxy layer on the gray (pre-Code) books, so that if you hold them normally you get what looks like greasy fingerprints on the back cover. These cannot be removed. I don't know what it is, but short of wearing gloves, the only way I can read the books without damaging them is to prop them open somehow and not hold them at all. Irritating.

House of Secrets The Bronze Age Omnibus v2: This took me a while to get through, as I was reading all the other stuff, launched a new project at work and went to Mardi Gras for a few days. But that doesn't mean I had no interest. I really enjoyed it.

For one thing, as a kid I thought House of Secrets was somehow an inferior product to House of Mystery. Turns out editor Joe Orlando used the same exact pool of creators on both books. They were, for all intents and purposes, identical. Upshot is that while I occasionally bought House of Mystery when I had an extra 30 cents, I almost never bought House of Secrets, so all of these stories were new to me.

Also, the covers were often dull. Why did Orlando use Luis Dominguez and Bill Draut to draw covers? Man, they were boring. And Ernie Chan wasn't much better. If it weren't for the occasional Berni Wrightson beauty, the covers aren't worth looking at. There's that upshot again: The boring covers reinforced the Li'l Capn's low opinion of House of Secrets, so he never bought any, and everything here was new. (Didn't House of Mystery usually have Neal Adams or Nick Cardy covers? I seem to remember that, but I'm not motivated enough to look it up.)

Wait, there's one exception. I bought House of Secrets #140, because supposedly it was going to launch a Patchwork Man series, a character who had debuted in the Berni Wrightson-drawn Swamp Thing #3. I was on board for sure! But while the story was continued, and had a "next issue" blurb, the next issue didn't include a Patchwork Man story. In fact, he never appeared in House of Secrets again. That story was written and drawn, though, because it's included in the back of this omnibus. So why wasn't it used? What happened to sour DC on the planned Patchwork Man series? Anyone know?

Another mystery: I really enjoyed these stories, much more than I did as a kid. Have my tastes changed that much? Do I just see the craft involved and appreciate it more than I did as a kid? Is it just because I'm reading "new" material from old favorites who are now dead (Len Wein, et al) or retired (Gerry Conway, et al)? I don't really know. Maybe some psychoanalysis would help.

And speaking of that:

EC Archives: Psychoanalysis v1: I read the first issue of the four that exist. I reallllly didn't enjoy it. It's going to take some effort to force myself through the next three. I will, but not soon.

“I had read about them, but didn't realize they were different products… Do I want them?”

I understand your confusion. I’ve read them both (I think) and I can’t keep them apart, either. Expect the waters to be muddied even further when the Marvels: Snapshot series is added. If Marvels #1 is the follow-up to the Marvels limited series with Nova (Richard Ryder) in it, it’s worth it. I found Marvel #1 (reviewed by ‘Tec, above) to be a mixed bag. I really didn’t care for the Spider-Man story at all; the art just turned me off cold. The Busiek/Rude Hulk/Avengers story is another matter. The story was rather pedestrian, but the art was fantastic. Both stories are framed by a Nightmare story by Alex Ross. I imagine this series is going to be hit or miss from issue to issue.

I didn’tr even realize I had missed Superman: Villains. I read the “Heroes” one and intended to buy the other but, oh well. This is the third or fourth issue I’ve missed lately and I find myself not really caring all that much.

“…who eventually kills him and takes his job…”

Don’t the Sith operate that way, too… one master and one aprentice who eventually kills the master and takes his place?

I read everything you write about PS Artbooks, but I’m hopelessly far behind. Same with the Houses of Myteries and Secrets. I want<.i> to like EC Psychoanalysis and have started it several times over the decades (consequently I’ve read the first issue multiple times), but I’ve never finished it.



Captain Comics said:

I was at the comic shop yesterday for the first time this year (!), and wondered at Marvel #1 and Marvels #1 on the stands. I had read about them, but didn't realize they were different products. I had conflated them in my mind and when I saw them as separate ones I didn't know what I'd read applied to which. Do I want them?

Marvel (the company) has done their best to make this as confusing as possible, but I believe it breaks down as follows:

Marvels (1994):

The original Alex Ross/Kurt Busiek series which views the Marvel Universe through the eyes of a photojournalist.

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Marvel (2020)

A semi-sequel to Marvels (1994). Basically an anthology title that takes place within the world of the original Marvels series.

Marvels X (2020)

A prequel to the Earth X Trilogy that basically has nothing to do with Marvels (1994) except that Alex Ross is involved. 

The Marvels (2020)

Not released yet. This appears to be an ambitious ongoing series by Kurt Busiek which spans the entirety of the history of the Marvel Universe. It looks like Busiek will jump around to various points in history and possibly give us some continuity implants or revisions as he goes. Truth be told, it kind of looks like Astro City with Marvel characters.

Marvels Snapshot (2020)

Not released yet.  Also by Busiek.  It's a limited series which is also a bi-monthly anthology title that appears to focus on specific characters as seen through the eyes of pedestrians and features different creative teams. The first one has a Sub Mariner story by Alan Brennert!! with Jerry Ordway art.

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