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

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The Nite Owl Society #1: This was okay. It's one of IDW's creator-owned comics, which is evidently a new thing. The art in this one reminded me a lot of David Aja (and then, at the end, the artist said that Aja was one of his influences...). It's about a group of kids from a school of some kind--a prep school? Anyway, one of them figures out something mysterious is going on, and rounds up a bunch of ragtag fellow students to figure out just what it is. This reminded me a lot of Gotham Academy, and if I wanted that, I would still be reading that book. I wish the creative team nothing but the best, and I hope they keep getting better and better at the craft.

Loose Ends #2: Yesterday, I bought the final issue of this one from Jason Latour and Chris Brunner, so I was reminded about the other issues in my stack. This was perfect. I loved it. It's a romance comic in the way that a romance plays out at a kind of scary party where many people there have questionable backgrounds. If you can't identify with that, then you've never been in college! (Okay, Christian Bible Colleges don't count in that statement...).

This weekend my comic book reading consisted of last week’s new comics, finishing off the Bronze Age JLA Omnibus, and Captain America #126, 134-148.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: Inspired by Nick Spencer’s current run on Captain America: Sam Wilson, I decided to re-read the issues when Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson were officially partners, picking up (more or less), where “Randy Jackson reads Captain America” recently left off. Captain America was one of the first three series I completed my collection of before I graduated high school. [For the record, the other two were Avengers and Hulk.] There were quite a few among this run, #120-192, I did not care for and, by the time I got to college, decided I could live without. I trade them to my LCS at the time for store credit. I got 15 cents apiece for them, which I put toward back-issues of Jack Kirby 1970s runs of Marvel comics which were a quarter apiece. I had since come to regret that decision, but now that MMW has fills all the holes I created I don’t feel so bad about it.

Issues #126, 134-138 show the early days of the partnership. Sam Wilson is a social worker in Harlem; his main villain is a crime lord named Stoneface; he has a sister, a nephew named Jody and a Cat named Figaro. Gene Colan was the penciller for this run of issues except for #138, which John Romita drew. #137-138 constirute a two-parter guest-starring Spider-Man, the highlight of these issues.

Issues #139-143 tell a five-part story in which Steve Rogers becomes an undercover police officer. #139 also introduces Leila, a militant love interest for Sam Wilson. Steve’s investigation leads to the Grey Gargoyle, which in turn leads to SHIELD and the destruction of the original helicarrier. The Red Skull is revealed as the mastermind behind the racial unrest in Harlem.

Issues #144-148 are another five-part story featuring Hydra. #144 starts with art by Romita, ends with art by Gray Morrow, and features the debut of the Falcon’s new red and white costume. Then Sal Buscema takes over. The Kingpin, his wife Vanessa and their son cross over from Spider-Man, but the Red Skull (him again?) ends up to be the one pulling the strings.

I will say that none of these 16 issues were among those I got rid of in the ‘80s. I plan to continue reading Captain America and the Falcon through #192.

My comic book reading has consisted of the following series: Enormous by 215 INK, Claw the Unconquered and Hercules Unbound by DC comics and My Greatest Adventure(original series) #2, #9 and #8 of the Howard the Duck (black and white magazine).

BRONZE AGE JLA OMNIBUS OVERVIEW:

First, a little personal background. When I was a kid, I had three consecutive issues of the JLA, #110-112, but I did not begin collecting the title regularly until 1984 with Annual #2 and the introduction of the “Detroit League.” Around that same time, I lucked into a large stack of back issues between #1 (actually, #15 was the earliest) and #100 or so, including nearly the entire Fox/Sekowsky run. It was also around that time I began actively seeking back issues to complete the collection, which I eventually did (not necessarily with original issues; I count reprints).

Many times over the years I have experienced creative changes on favorite titles, not always to my liking. I am a big fan of the Fox/Sekowsky era and have re-read it more than any other, but by the time I started reading, all of the changes were a matter of public record. Reading issues #71-113 (I backed up a few before the collection began because #71 felt like a more natural “jumping on point” to me), I experienced for the first time what it must have been like for readers at the time to have experienced these creative changes as they were happening. If you were a new reader in 1969, you might have felt exited by the arrival of Denny O’Neil and the change of thrust he represented. If you had been reading JLA since the beginning, though, you might have resented the emergence of the “Young Turks,”

The type of stories Denny O’Neil told at first were not so very different in style from the later Gardner Fox ones, but there was a difference. If you were a fan of the JLA, though, you liked the team and decided to stick with it. Then Mike Friedrich took over and the trend continued. You may have just been getting used to Young Turk O’Neil’s style, when Young Turk Friedrich came in and continued what you now see as a downward trend.

Friedrich was around 20 years old at the time, and his writing style was somewhat… “over-burdened” shall we say? The phrase “crashpounding of the creative soul” comes to mind. That’s an actual phrase Friedrich used, but if I had been taking notes at the time I was reading these stories, I could have provided many more examples. His stories were “message” stories and not to my taste. When Len Wein took over it was a welcome change. I wouldn’t like to choose between O’Neil and Wein’s stories, but Friedrich’s were definitely my least favorite. Still, the omnibus provides an insightful look into the comics of the time and how the art form was changing.

Just read X-Men Blue #1-2. They were okay but they sure altered the dynamics of the original X-Men.

As for the stinger, well we've already seen that multiple times!

The latest Scooby-Doo Team-Up unites the team with Green Lantern and Green Arrow -- and the whole book has some fun with the Hard-Traveling Heroes era -- starting with a great gag in the opening panel, which shows a sign at the outskirts of town: "Welcome to Karma Corners. Population: We Are All One."

There are some moments from that run that are echoed in the story, there's a Black Canary cameo, there are a couple jabs at Ollie's catchphrase on Arrow, too -- it's a ton of fun. 

Wandering Sensei said:

Vigilante #50: This is the first time I have read this issue, and I thought it was very nerve-wracking and disconcerting. I have been watching a few episodes lately of Black Mirror, and I have to say I had the same feeling throughout this book. 32-year-spoiler, he commits suicide in the end. I was surprised by what this book was able to get away with, and not just the ending. Was this a mature readers title? I didn't know they had those in 1984.

Somehow clicking on the notification email took me to this 2016 page (page 265).

When I got back into comics in 1989 my first one was the debut of Legends of the Dark Knight. It (like Vigilante) had no code seal and I believe only was sold on the direct market. I think the first one like like was Camelot 3000. They don't say "mature readers" but the absence of the seal means pretty much that.

Hmm, I didn't realize LotDK didn't carry the seal. I have actually been reading the original arc of that book, a story called "Shaman" by Dennis O'Neil and Ed Hannigan. I really like it. It amazes me that, as far as I know, it hasn't been reprinted. It's definitely not a story you ever hear mentioned, but I think it's great.

Shaman was one of the LotDK arcs to get a tpb, but it's probably out of print now.  

Jason led a conversation about it here.

I have overextended myself again.

The Brave and the Bold: Starting with issue #50, the team-ups.

Strange Tales: #142-168. (Many of these issues I have not read.)

Captain America: #149-168. (I got rid of most of this run in college.)

Monsters!: Lee/Leiber/Kirby monsters in commission order.

Star-Lord: My third time through this mash-up of a series in 15 years.

Ultraman: Manga.

Creepy: Temporarily supplanted by…

The Walking Dead: Volume 13

The Legion of Regrettable Super-Heroes: Spectacular Sisterhood of Super-Heroes waiting on deck.

Details to follow in the days ahead.

There's a good interview with the author of the League of Regrettable Super-Heroes on Wordballoon.

I've got a lot of back issues to read that I picked up at East Coast Comicon -- just read an old Secret Society of Super Villains issue last night. (And if that wasn't a catch-all series, nothing was! There's literally a scene of Trickster (who appeared in the previous issue) showing up at a fight scene to steal an artifact, but then seeing all the commotion and turning tail (I'm pretty sure never to be seen again in the series). A (remarkably sane) Creeper takes his leave this issue, too. Anyone from the DCU drops in for a moment, then usually zips away just as quickly. 

But also, I realized I never read the entirety of the Sandman prelude series from a couple of years ago, trailing off because of the delays. So now that I've wrapped up my re-read of American Gods, it's my next Gaiman! I read the first two this morning, and its lush and wondrous as I remember.  

Oh, crap. I typed that wrong again. I meant to type Legion of Regrettable Super-Villains.

The Legion of Regrettable Super-Heroes I give an A.

The Legion of Regrettable Super-Villains is not quite as good. I’d give it an A- or a B+. It’s written by the same guy and the format and sense of humor is the same, but the material is not as good (i.e., the villains are not as joke-worthy as the heroes). Also, the entries a shorter overall. The LORSH had a mix of 2- and 3- page entries, but the LORSV is mostly 2-page entries.

The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superheroes is by the same publisher and the trade dress is similar (except it has an acetate overlay dustjacket), but it’s written by a different author. The entry format is a little different and I think it’s more serious than the other two. I can’t really say, though, because I haven’t started reading it yet.

As with LORSH, I’m reading LORSV jusr a few entries at a time. When I’m finished, I’ll move on to SSOS.

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