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.

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