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:

If you have a copy handy, check out the first two panels of page two of #129 and tell me that doesn’t look exactly like the scene from Star Wars (The Empire Strikes Back) in which Han Solo is encased in carbonite.

The #129 scene makes me wonder if Odin's imprisonment of Loki there was supposed to be the backstory for his situation at the start of Journey into Mystery #85. I can explain the mismatch between the two sequences by the theory that Lee intended the scene to link up with the earlier issue and Kirby didn't handle it that way.

The imprisonment of Loki is from myth: the gods chain him with a serpent dripping poison on his face after he arranges the death of Baldur.

I was wondering about that myself. The "carbonite" punishment is so different from the JiM #85 one that I can't believe they were intended to be the same. I assume that, at some point, Loki escapes the punishment imposed in #129 (a scene which was never depicted), and at some unspecified point in the future he is imprisoned in the tree from which he escapes in #85.

Some good collections worth mentioning were released last week.

YOE MUMMIES: Craig Yoe edits the wonderful bimonthly Haunted Horror anthology as well as several “themed” hardcovers (such as zombies, snakes, devils, etc.). This tpb combines the entertainment of a hardcover and the value of a softcover in a volume dedicated to mummies. In addition to an informative introduction, this book also includes many covers of stories not collected, pulps, and from other pop culture.

SHAZAM! (LEGENDS) HC: A couple of weeks ago I put a Captain Marvel reading project of mine on temporary hiatus. This collection might put me in the mood to get me back into it. An informative introduction by Roy Thomas tells some behind-the-scenes stories of why this four-issue mini-series was not picked up as an ongoing. Also includes a serial from Action Comics Weekly.

MARK WAID CAP OMNI: Waid/Garney I should say; the entire run (plus other stories not illustrated by Garney) between two covers.

JLA DETROIT OMNI: Gerry Conway’s introduction pulls no punches in describing what went wrong with this not-fan-favorite series. He takes on the lion’s share of blame himself, but he also blames a weak and inexperienced editor. (He initially pitched the idea to Len Wein, but it was eventually assigned to Alan Gold.) Chuck Austin quit because of disappointing reaction. I liked this series, myself. I never thought of it as the JLA per se, but rather a new team book featuring (mostly) second stringers. The wrap-around cover is interesting. When people think of this era it is probably the “kooky quartet” of Vibe, Steel, Vixen and Gypsy which comes to mind. Three of the four are consigned to the back cover (along with the original members in the background). Only Vixen gets to share the front cover with Batman, Aquaman, Elongated Man and Zatanna. Conway correctly points out that readers who started with this version of the JLA still like it today, and all four of the new members have made the transition to television. I wish everyone here had the opportunity to read Conway’s introduction, at least.

X-MEN CLASSIC OMNI: I pre-ordered this volume thinking it was only the new back-ups created for the Classic X-Men (later X-Men Classics) reprint series, but it is so much more than that. First of all, it is that, but Classic X-Men also added extra panels and pages to the original story, supplementing it and fleshing it out. That artwork is added as well. The cover of the original issue (as well as the reprint, of course) is included, along with a synopsis. Also, all editorial changes made to the original panels are presented in a side-by-side comparison, along with an explanation of why the change was made. Finally, the book ends with reproductions of all the X-Man reprint series ever. Not to mention we get to see John Bolton’s art reproduced a much nicer paper. This is a very complete collection and a fine complement to the X-Men Omnibus series.

I'm happy that you also enjoy the Craig Yoe books. They are very much a product of their time, but I really like them for what they are. I don't necessarily think I enjoy them the way the writers had intended when they wrote them, but I love how bizarre they are.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Some good collections worth mentioning were released last week.

YOE MUMMIES: Craig Yoe edits the wonderful bimonthly Haunted Horror anthology as well as several “themed” hardcovers (such as zombies, snakes, devils, etc.). This tpb combines the entertainment of a hardcover and the value of a softcover in a volume dedicated to mummies. In addition to an informative introduction, this book also includes many covers of stories not collected, pulps, and from other pop culture.

Speaking of Craig Yoe titles, last night I read…

WEIRD LOVE: “Siren of the Tropics,” Heart Throb #2, OCT 1949; “The G.I. and the Fraulein,” Dream Book of Romance #5, 1953; “Old Maid’s Love Story,” My Romantic Adventures #142, MAR 1962; “My Love was Auctioned,” True to Life Romances #14, NOV 1952; “The Experimental Kiss,” Great Lover Romances #20, JAN 1955; “Fast Girl,” also from Great Lover Romances #20, JAN 1955.

Black Science Vol. 5: True Atonement
Rick Remender, writer; Matteo Scalera, artist; Moreno Dinisio, colors
Image Comics, 2016

Scientist Grant McKay spent the previous volume getting himself back together, finally resolving to reunite his scattered family from all over the Multiverse. His first stop is his estranged daughter Pia, who has become a world leader, having brokered a peace between three races that have been at war for eons. In typical fashion Grant comes crashing in (literally) destroying the three ancient artifacts that were being reunited for the first time in a thousand years. Oops. Pia is not happy to see him. But Grant persists in trying to make things right, finally seeking out an artifact held by the dread Doxa the Witch. He gains the artifact, but must give his intellect in trade. His new mental status (and Doxa possessing the secret of Black Science) will likely both have future implications. Pia decides to come with him after all, so he opts to return her to their home dimension before going after her brother Nate. They are in for a shock. Former teammate Kadir (who Grant had stabbed as a traitor) is married to Grant's wife Sara, and has become the scientific face of Block Industries. Block holds Grant to learn the secrets of inter-dimensional travel--which Grant no longer remembers--and sends out teams to plunder the Multiverse. There's more, and this is in only four issues. The series has seemed slow at times, but not here.

KINGDOM ON AN ISLAND OF THE APES: I bought Planet of the Apes Archives Vol. 2 last week which reprints Marvel’s adaptation of the first two movies, but it also reprints the three original Derek Zane stories. Like “Terror of the Planet of the Apes,” “Kingdom” is written by Doug Moench with art by Rico Rival. The first two-parter was originally intended to run as a double length annual, but when plans for the annual were scrapped, it was split into a two-parter.

Derek Zane is a 20th century man who built a time machine for the specific purpose of following astronouts Taylor, Dodge, Landon and Stewart, who he (correctly) theorizes went through a “Hasslien Curve” and ended up in the future. In the first part, his girlfriend breaks up with him and NASA expresses no interest in the time machine. In desperation, he tries it himself from his fifth floor apartment. In the future, his apartment building no longer exists, and he falls five stories to the ground. He was unhurt but his machine was destroyed.

He arrives three of four years prior to Taylor’s arrival. I’m sure where he is geographically, not even if he’s on the east or west coast, but he flees uniformed gorillas on horseback to an island on which humans can speak and live in relative peace with apes. Also, their society is based on the legend of King Arthur. Moench’s stories take great liberties with the original concept. (His “Future History Chronicles” takes place on a ship the size of a small city.) I think all of these concepts have a place in the POTA universe. “Ape City” in the original movie didn’t seem to have much contact with other settlements. What was happening on the west coast at that time? What was happening in Europe?

Having said that, “Kingdom” didn’t really appeal to me much when I first read it as a kid. I didn’t like the concept and I considered Rico Rival’s art to be “sharp” looking and unpleasant. A third story was published and I’m pretty sure I never read it until last night. The art on that third story was by Herb Trimpe, a favorite of mine, but his style was not well-suited to the milieu. I learned from the introductory material that Moench has intended Derek Zane to be the main feature of POTA magazine, and had it plotted through issue #60. (The magazine was cancelled with #29, after the movie adaptations were complete.) His plots were summarized in the accompanying article, and his scripts are available online. I don’t see “Kingdom” replacing “Terror” as the main feature, but I liked the three published chapters much better as an adult than I did as a kid.

Last night I read...

BUG! #6: My LCS sold out before I got there last week, so I didn't get this until Wednesday. This is the final issue of a mini-series. It was very different from the current Mister Miracle, but I consider it equally as good. This one is heavy on philosophical elements and tackles some "big questions" of the DC Universe, such as: What is the relationshipo between the "Source Wall" on New Genesis and the "Source Wall" at the edge of reality? Whose hand is it that writes on the Source Wall? Does it have a body? Is it a hand?

FUTURE QUEST PRESENTS #5: This is a "Birdman" issue written by Phil Hester and drawn by Steve Rude. It takes liberties with the catroon status quo (*what little of it there was) by presenting "Falcon 7" as a computer-generated image. (Falcon 7 is, in reality, a beautiful woman.) Falcon 7 and Birdman are attrached to each other, but Birdman remembers almost nothing of his life before he gained his powers. They're fleshing our an origin story, though, which is more than the cartoon ever did. Another new addition is that Birdman and Avenger now communicate telepathically. (It's better than I'm making it sound.)

The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 5: Imperial Phase Part 1

Kieron Gillen, writer; Jamie McKelvie, artist; Matthew Wilson, colorist; Clayton Cowles, letterer

Image Comics, 2017

Ananke is dead. With their den mother gone, the gods have to decide how to go forward. And is "The Great Darkness" she warned about a real thing? The first issue in the collection is the magazine issue, a mock version of Pantheon Monthly featuring interviews with five of the gods (including a posthumous one with Lucifer) and an article about Ananke's death. It's a wonderfully creative concept: Gillen recruited several real journalists to conduct the interviews, playing the part of the gods himself. While there are some interesting insights into the individual gods and the dynamics of the Pantheon, it got tedious for me after awhile. I found I just wanted to get on with the story. Though they have agreed to cover up the truth about the murder, they still want to know what she was planning, especially the purpose of the huge machine she had Woden build for her. Baal is the nominal leader now, but he is unable to achieve consensus. So we're left with willful gods, mostly behaving badly. The Great Darkness appears (in the form of a great shadowy form) and it's all the gods can do to fight it off--but they are still not convinced they need to unite against it. And no one is really sure if they will all die in two years. As usual the collection contains a lot of bonus material: alternate covers, plus a raw transcript of the Lucifer "interview."

So I'm a Spider, So What?, vol. 1, art by Asahiro Kakashi, based on a light novel by  Okina Baba.  An un-named Japanese high school girl is sitting in class when there a bright flash of light and a stab of searing pain. When she recovers, she finds that she has been re-born as a low-level spider-creature in what seems to be a dungeon in what appears to be a cross between World of Warcraft and Pokémon. She must use her knowledge of how such games operate in order to survive. Interesting stuff.

THOR #145: I first read Thor #145 reprinted in Stan Lee’s Origins of Marvel Comics. It was one of the first Thor stories I ever read. I wish I could say I liked it at the time, but the truth is it didn’t do much for me. I like it much more now and can understand why Lee chose to include it. First, it presents a clear counterpoint to the origin story (as all of the choices do respectively). It shows Thor interacting with a crowd in a soda shop and it also features grandiose visions of Asgard with full-panel pages and the like. But I wasn’t thrilled with Balder, Sif and the Enchanters. I felt as if I was getting only part of a story.

LI’L ABNER: I’m reading through the latest collection (featuring dailies and Sundays from 1951-52) now, and it strikes me the Donald Trump is the new Al Capp. Both enjoy huge popularity from their base, yet both seem to be inclusive of it while distaining it at the same time. I suspect Capp saw the vast majority of his audience as “hillbillies,” yet they sided with him laughing at the “other” hillbillies.

THE WALKING DEAD: I hope to get caught up with this series (at least the hardcover collections of it) by the time the TV show returns in February. I had to back up a few volumes to get to a good “jumping on” point. Last night I started reading v10, which reprints #109-120. I think the collections are up to v13 by now.

I can’t believe I forgot to post this earlier.

STAR TREK: NEW VISIONS #19 – “The Hunger”

The Enterprise and crew encounter a planet which had been attacked by… Galactus?

Spock relates the “Lee-Kurtzberg theory on the origins of life”: “Two centuries ago they postulated an as yet undiscovered form of energy which makes it possible for planets to support life. The idea is largely discounted by serious planetary scientists.” Mr. Scott adds: “The notion of a ‘special energy’ that makes life possible [is] my best definition of hoo-doo.” Yet, among Star Trek’s best episodes are those which flout the laws of known science. And this planet certainly looks as if it had been drained of its “life force.” What will happen when the Enterprise catches up to the entity responsible for this destruction?

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