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

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I went back to the source (i.e., Jim Starlin's Captain Marvel) for the origin of the Titans (or "Titanians" or whatever they're called) before their classic Greek origin was retconned to classic Kirby. Starlin's original origin drew heavily on mythology. Zeus and Alars were the sons of Chronos, but the changes run deeper than simply substituting "Zuras" for Zeus and "Kronos" from Chronos. Zeus was warlike, for one thing, and Alars was a peaceful scholar. The parting of the two brothers was acrimonious, whereas, although Zuras and Alars had their differences in the revised version, their dispute was resolved and a leader was chosen peacefully via the Uni-Mind. Also, Eros (a.k.a. "Starfox") is no longer Hercules' first cousin.

There is a story page in some comic book which replicates Starlin's original page layout and substitutes Zuras for Zeus, but I can't find it. I thought (with 99% certainty) that that scene was from Avengers #246-248, but it's not. If anyone knows the source of the page I'm thinking of, I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know.

THE RHINEGOLD: I just finished a back-to-back comparison of the prologue to two comic book adaptations of Richard Wagner's "Ring Cycle" (i.e., The Ring of the Nibelung), one by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, the other by P. Craig Russell. It's always interesting to see two very different creative teams' interpretation of the same source material, but it's impossible to declare which is "better" because that's so subjective. I will say that the Russell version is a bit more "decompressed" in its style. I usually use that term as a pejorative, but in this case I mean it as a compliment. The Thomas/Kane version is divided into four prestige format issues of equal length, whereas the Russell version (four limited series of varying lengths) is as long as long as it needs to be. There are a few additional (but not intrinsic) scenes in the Russell version, plus he often dedicates panels (or even pages) to scene which would not even be included in a typical America comic book. Thomas's version concentrates on the narrative, whereas Russell's is more of a translation of music into pictures. My intention is to cover one part of both adaptations each day until Monday.


"There is a story page in some comic book which replicates Starlin's original page layout and substitutes Zuras for Zeus, but I can't find it."

On second thought, I don't think the comic I'm looking for exists. what I think happened is this: the first time I read the Starlin issues after I read Avengers #246-248, I mentally inserted Zuras for Zeus, etc. and I'm remembering that as an actual comic book.

Hulk/Thing: Hard Knocks - I personally wanted some more fighting between the pair, but it was alright.

THE VALKYRIE: I've now read both comic book adaptations of the second part of The Ring of the Niebelung. In order to get the Ring back from Fafnir, Wotan sires twins, Siegmund and Sieglinda. they are separated as children, but later meet as adults and fall in love. But Sieglinda is already married, and her husband prays to Fricka, Wotan's wife and the Goddess of Marriage, for revenge. Under pressure from his wife, Wotan orders the valkyrie Brunnhuilde to slay Siegmund, but she spares him instead. Wotan himself slays Siegfried and puts Brunnhilde asleep atop a mountain ringed in fire, to be wed by the first man who finds her. As in the first volume, P. Craig Russell goes into a bit more detail than Thomas/Kane.

I'm finding it slightly difficult to disengage the square peg of Marvel Comics' continuity (which I read recently) from the round hole of Wagnerian opera.

When I first started reading ERB's Tarzan novels way back when,  I became aware of a faction of fans who held the Johnny Weissmuller in distain. They felt that Weissmuller's portrayal was an insult to the character, but it was those movies which led me to the books, so I am able to hold them apart from each other. It's the same way with Marvel's version of The Ring in comparison with the original.

Re-read The Daleks, a collection of the Dalek comic strips that appeared in TV Century 21 from January 23, 1965 to January 14, 1967. Although credited to Dalek creator Terry Nation, it was written by David Whitaker and Alan Fennell, and drawn at various points by Richards Jennings, Eric Eden and Ron Turner.  

Due to rights issues, the strip featured no mention of the Doctor, his companions, the TARDIS, or anything from the Doctor Who TV series, with the exception of the Mechonoids from "The Chase".

The strip begins with the origin of the Daleks - substantially different from the one later shown in "Genesis of the Daleks", and then follows the exploits of the Skaroene Scourge as they cement their control of their homeworld and make their first moves out into space.

While some stories deal with Dalek invasion of other worlds, others deal with them being invaded themselves, generally be races as obnoxious as themselves, so it's less objectionable when they win. Still others deal with internal dissension  among the Daleks, and others see them facing natural disasters.

The closest thing ths strip had to a protagonist was the Dalek Emperor, a character who later appeared in somewhat different  form in the TV program itself.

The strip ended with the Daleks discovering the location of Earth, as TV Century 21 lost the rights to the characters, leaving them free to join the "Doctor Who" strip then being published in TV Comic.

Overall the strip is fairly interesting, showing us more of what the Daleks were like amongst themselves than the show had up to the point.  While the Daleks are never sympathetic as characters, you do become interested in seeing how they overcome the various obstacles they encounter.

The art's not too bad, the overall style is typical of what I have seen of British adventure comics of that time.

Worth a look, especially if you're at all interested in the early years of Doctor Who.

I would like to read reprints of the early strips of the Hartnell Doctor and his two grandchildren.

I've heard they're pretty bad. 

I've read the British Star Trek strips. they're as bad as the Gold Key comic books. Gloriously so.

Marvel UK published a comics title called Doctor Who Classic Comics in 1992-1994 that collected old comics stories. Some of the issues had Hartnell comics reprints. The comic sold in newsagents here. I've no idea if it was distributed to comics shops in the US.

Daleks comics stories were also created for the Dalek gift books of the era.

SIEGFRIED: The child of Siegmund and Sieglinde slays the dragon Fafner, obtains the Ring, the Tarnhelm and the Rhinegold, and sets off to waken Brunnhilde, the one woman worthy to be his bride. For both of them, it is love at first sight, a love destined to decide the fate of the gods.

Yesterday I cited a "lesser" work (Tarzan movies) which led me to discovering a greater work (Tarzan novels). More germane to this topic might be A Clockwork Orange (the soundtrack of the movie, anyway). The music of the Kubrick film really opened me up to the world of classical music; now i can barely stand to listen to it (unless I'm in the right mood), but that's beside the point. I've also gained a greater appreciation for the book in comparison to the movie, as well. 

TWILIGHT OF THE GODS: For the past couple of days I've been drawing comparisons between "lesser" works (comic books, movies) which have led me to an appreciation of "greater" works (books, classical music). Now an example of how a cartoon ("What's Opera, Doc?") led to an appreciation of opera.

As far as the story is concerned, Siegfried arrives at the castle of Gunther and Gutrune. Their half-brother, Hagen, is also the son of Alberich, the dwarf who launced this whole cycle by stealing the Rhinegold in the first place. He suggests that Gutrune marry Seigried, but she won't until Gunther is married. At Hagen's urging, Gutrune gives Seigfried a potion which robs him of all memory of Brunnhilde, then he convinces him to use the Tarnhelm to disguise himself as Gunther and "rescue" Brunnhilde. This he does, and when he sees the Ring on her finger, he takes it from her. 

After they return to the castle, a double wedding is held. When it is noticed that Seigfried is wearing the ring, Hagen kills him through treachery, by stabbing him in the back. (Brunnhilde had previously cast a spell of protection over Siegfried, but neglected to cover his back on the assumption that he would never run from a foe.) Hagen claims the Ring but Gunther objects. Hegen kills Gunther, leaving both Gutrune and Brunnhilde widows. Brunnhilde organizes a funeral pyre for Siegfried and, when it's blazing, rides her horse into it herself. 

The Ring sinks to the bottom of the Rhine where it is reclaimed by the Rhinemaidens at last. Hegan dives in after it and is drowned by the Rhinemaidens. All of this leads to Gotterdamerung (a.k.a. Ragnarok) because Wotan failed to protect Siemund in the first place way back in Part One.

As Bugs Bunny once said: "What do you expect in an opera? A happy ending?"

Comics that I have enjoyed reading today: Department of Truth #8, Nuclear Family # 3, Crossover #6, Marvels #1, Taarna # 3- 5  & Happy Hour #6. 

THE MARVELS #1: The story this issue is tied to Viet Nam. It has several vignettes set in various time periods stating in 1947. The second one takes place "17 years ago" and features a pre-Fantastic four #1 Reed Richards and Ben Grimm. And the third takes place "12 years ago" against the backdrop of Daredevil #47 (1968) before skipping ahead to "Now." Does that mean Daredevil was entertain the troops in Viet Nam in 2009? Or is "Now" 1980? That would set the pre-FF #1 scene in either 2004 or 1963. 

Kurt Busiek's editorial essay, at the end of the issue, takes a stab at explaining what the hell is going on, but that screwy timeline yanked me right out of the story. Actually, in retrospect, I don't think the story took place in Viet Nam at all, but rather some Marvel Universe stand-in for Viet Nam. (Wasn't Sin-Cong used last year in The History of the Marvel Universe?) Honestly, I think Busiek made a mistake setting the first scene in a real time and place (French Indochina, 1947), then switching to a well-established time and place within the Marvel Universe (Daredevil #47, Viet Nam, 1968).

The POV character is a young man named Kevin Schumer who runs a NYC tour (#Kshoom) using an old "flying bathtub" Fantasticar (missing a component) he picked up from who knows where. Busiek re-introduces the Prince-like character, Ace (for some reason) and a new character named Threadneedle. It's not that I think it was a bad comic. I appreciate what he's trying to accomplish, it's just that trying to make sense of the timeline ruined the experience for me. If you decide to try this one, do yourself a favor and read Busiek's essay first.

X-MEN LEGENDS #3: Gee, it was nice seeing Walt Simonson drawing X-Factor again. Then I read his wife's story and was reminded why I didn't like that series very much in the first place. 

HAPPY HOUR #6: If you've been considering trying this series but haven't, you might as well wait for the trade at this point because this is the last issue. I have no idea how I expected this story to end, but this issue lived up to my every expectation. (?) A weird ending to a weird story.

STEVE CANYON -1967-1968: This is the eleventh volume in the series, "N" on the binding. A twelfth volume is solicited at the end. I wonder what letter (if any) will be on the binding...?

UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER-MAN OMNIBUS: Remember when this series was new and people used to say it was the best Spider-title currently being published? I think it still holds up. It tells stories set between issues #6 and #24 of Amazing Spider-Man. It includes the entire series, the annual and the "-1" issue (featuring Peter Parkers parents and Wolverine drawn by John Romita, Senior), plus Amazing Fantasy #16-18 (1995; a three issue series which takes place between AF #15 and ASM #1), a story from ASM Annual #37, and Strange Encounter (a one-shot with Dr. Strange I don't even remember. For people like me, it also had a guide how to read this series in combination with the original series, although I wouldn't recommend actually doing that. (Take it from someone who has tried.) This is a complete alternate look at Spidey's early years. Recommended. 

I got my hands on Strangers in Paradise Pocket Book 1, which has the first three-issue miniseries and then Vol. 2, which ran for 13 issues. Sets up the premise, establishes that Katchoo has a gloriously messy past with bad people out to get her in the present. Not too far into the eeeEEEVIL government conspiracy stuff that turned me off. 

ClarkKent_DC said:

I'm going through The Complete Strangers in Paradise, Volume 3, Part 3. This was a series I completely missed when it was "live." A few years back, I read an introductory trade paperback that had the first strips, and a couple years ago, I read The Complete Strangers in Paradise, Volume 3, Part 2. I kind of liked it.

It was kind of soap-opera-ish, but the story of the unrequited and very complicated love between BFFs Francine and Katchoo was interesting and compelling. Francine and Katchoo have know each other since high school. Francine wears her heart on her sleeve, and her self-esteem is so low that she steps on it all the time. Katchoo -- Katina Choovanski -- is a "bad girl" but she's that way because she has a abusive background. She has walls up against everyone but Francine, and she's a lesbian and loves Francine .... who is not a lesbian, but loves Katchoo more than anything. It's very complicated.

But in The Complete Strangers in Paradise, Volume 3, Part 3, things take a weird left turn at Albuquerque. It stops being about the relationship between Francine and Katchoo and there's all this out-of-nowhere stuff about industrial espionage and crime cartels and manipulation of the financial markets and revenge and Katchoo is some kind of spy trying to get out of that life and her enemies keep trying to strike at each other through her or strike at her through Francine. It's even more bizarre than that stretch in Christopher Priest's Black Panther when it stopped being about T'challa, King of Wakanda, and instead was about some wannabe who was an NYPD detective fighting corrupt officers in his precinct. It might have been interesting -- in another title. Here, it's just out of place.

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