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

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COSMIC GUARD: In anticipation of Dreadstar Returns I read some of Jim Starlin's more recent work (including Kid Kosmos) with 'Breed III waiting on deck. 

OUR GANG #16: In the first story of the third volume of Fantagraphics' Walt Kelly's Our Gang, the "little rascals" end up thwarting some black marketeers, but it starts out with them planning to put on a minstrel show. I have also been watching a lot of Our Gang shorts from this era. Nearing the end of their run, the plots have devolved to the kids "putting on a show" in nearly every one, including, yes, a minstrel show.

THE SPIRIT - 9/20/42: My recent reading (The Great Comic Book Heroes, A Smithsonian Collection of Comic-Book Comics, The Comic-Book Book) has led me back to Will Eisner's Spirit Archives. I picked up where I left off 13 years ago, in the middle of volume five, which is entirely done by ghosts while Eisner was serving in the Army. Knowing that his best work on the feature is generally considered to be the post-war years, I expect the next volumes will be be a bit of a slog. In 1988, Kitchen Sink Press issued a set of 36 trading cards. I didn't collect the entire set, but my LCS at the time sold loose ones, I bought the ones I was interested in and used them as bookmarks. I just rediscovered my Spirit "bookmark," card #1 in the set. 

PS ARTBOOKS: CLASSIC ADVENTURE COMICS VOL. 2

This one's a bit of a potpourri, collecting as it does a random group of books whose unifying theme seems to be that they feature book-length stories.

A Feature Presentation #5 (Fox, Apr 50)

"The Black Tarantula" is an original tale from an unknown author, drawn by somebody the GCD identifies as Ken Battefield. It's a vampire tale that isn't thought through very well, as the lead vampire likes to change people into vampires, only that's the only way they can kill him. In this story, he turns a princess who wants to marry a commoner, but she won't stay with him unless he also turns her lover, which gives the latter the power -- and more motivation -- to kill Tarantula. Oops! You can probably guess the general direction of this story.

The title comes from the fact that the vampires turn into German shepherd-size tarantulas when they feed. That would be pretty cool if Battefield had any idea how to draw a tarantula.

Numbering continues from Fox's Women in Love.

Feature Presentation Magazine #6 (June 50)

"Moby Dick": A book I found one of the more boring of the classics we were forced to read in high school, and while I haven't read it since, the chapters devoted to explaining the details of 19th century whaling still stand fresh in memory as some of the most useless lore to be forced into my brain.

The adaptation could be worse; the "how to whale" chapters are omitted, but the narrative is so choppy and erratic that if I didn't know the story by heart I'd have had to guess who the main characters were. The art (E. Harper Johnson) is somewhere between mediocre and unreadable.

There's a cover by Wally Wood, though, albeit not his best work. And a 3-pager at the end titled "This Wreck, This Hesperus," which has nothing to do with the Longfellow poem and I think is supposed to be heartwarming.

Numbering continues from Fox's A Feature Presentation.

King Solomon's Mines #1 (Avon, 1951)

This is an adaptation of MGM's movie, King Solomon's Mines (1950), starring Stewart Granger and Deborah Kerr, which was itself adapted from H. Rider Haggard's novel, King Solomon's Mines (1885). The art is passable and the adaptation easy to follow (or at least easier to follow than Moby Dick, above), but the depiction of natives in these old stories is always hard to swallow in the 21st century. Still, a fairly rousing adventure story.

Jack the Giant Killer #1 (Bimfort, 1953)

Jack is only 8 pages, and the books is fleshed out by some other stories for children, "The Four Musicians of Bremen," "The Prince and His Five Servants," "The Boy Who Couldn't Shudder," a "Fun Page" and a 2-page text story. None of it is worth your time. Childish nonsense, badly done, the lot of it.

Superior Stories #1 (Nesbit, May-June 1955)

This book features an adaptation of H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man (1897), or perhaps the Universal movie adaptation of the same name (1933). Since I've never read the book I don't know, but the comic does follow the movie much as I remember it. And it's drawn by Pete Morisi (Peter Cannon ... Thunderbolt) so it's decent. Best story in the book.

Superior Stories continued for three more issues, also drawn by Morisi, and I'm curious they weren't included instead of the lame material that was. Perhaps it's being held to give us something to look forward to in Volume 3.

PS ARBOOKS SOFTEE: FORBIDDEN WORLDS VOL 13

I usually let the ACG collections go by without comment (I also read PS Artbooks Softee: Adventures into the Unknown Vol. 17 this week, and have nothing to say), but this one had some surprises. Collecting Forbidden Worlds #77-82  (Apr-Sep 59), this collection boasts an Al Williamson story and three John Buscema stories!

Other than the joy I felt finding those, the rest of the book held no surprises, with vaguely charming stories and artwork by ACG's usual cast of regulars and journeymen (Ogden Whitney, John Rosenberger, Paul Reinman, John Forte, Pete Costanza, etc.).

Oh, this is helpful! I have fallen so far behind reading PS Artbooks I don't think I'll ever catch up. It had gotten to the point where I tried to read at least one story per volume, but by this point I'm lucky if I read one story per series. The CLASSIC ADVENTURE COMICS and CLASSIC SCI-FI COMICS series, as collections of one-shots, are hard to gauge, so I'm thankful for the guide. 

FORBIDDEN WORLDS: I stopped buying Forbidden Worlds in 2016 when they stopped the HC format. That was v12, which reprinted #71-76. Now the "softees" have reached that point and I've got a decision to make.

VOODOO: Here's a "heads up": Volume two shipped last week before volume one, BUT... Craig Yoe of YoeBooks published three volumes of The Complete Voodoo from 2015-2017, so be careful not to double up if you've already got those.

Still no sigh of the DB's Frankenstein slipcase on the horizon, but I'll let you know as soon as I see it. 

Funny you should mention Voodoo, in that I'm puzzling over it right now.

Volume One has published. I know this because it's on my bookshelf. What I don't have is Volume Two. Or maybe I do and just can't find it. Because last week Instocktrades offered the slipcase and Softee, but not the HC. Checking Amazon, they say the HC came out in January. I can find no record of having ordered it in January, or any memory of having the opportunity.

So I'll probably order it on Amazon, which is selling the HC for the same price as the slipcase on Instocktrades. (And then I'll find another copy at the bottom of a pile in 2028, or something.) Volume Three is on my list from Westfield as ordered but not arrived, so I can rest easy on that score.

As to the Craig Yoe Voodoo series -- yep, I've got it. But when PS Artbooks began their series, I decided to get it, because the Yoe books don't have the frontispieces, text pieces, ads, etc., and the PS books do. Further, PS likes to flesh out page count in their books with otherwise unreprinted one-shots, and I didn't want to take the chance on missing one of those. (It doesn't look like they're going to do that in Voodoo Vol. 3, but I didn't know that when I ordered Volume One.)

The life of a collector infected with Completeness Disease is filled with such pointless and expensive minutiae. Pity us, mentally healthy comics readers who are unafflicted!

Anyway, I'm also keeping an eye out for the Frankenstein Vols. 1-2 boxed set, and also Blackhawk Vol. 1 Softee. (It baffles me that Blackhawk, which will surely be one of PS Artbooks' best-sellers, has no HC version. Maybe I should go Gwandanaland instead.)

"Volume One has published."

Could be it shipped and my LCS didn't pull it for me because I didn't pre-order it. So many have shipped out of order in recent weeks that I just assumed that that was the case. then when v2 shipped, it was put in my P&H because someone at my LCS just assumed. 

So we're both missing a volume of Voodoo of the two volumes, but not the same one. It's like ... some sort of curse.



Captain Comics said:

So we're both missing a volume of Voodoo of the two volumes, but not the same one. It's like ... some sort of curse.

FLORIDA MAN #1: Type "Florida Man" into your web browser. That's what this comic is about. My Pick of the Week.

SHAOLIN COWBOY #3: I'm saving this one to read later.

DEFENDERS BEYOND #1: Loki leads a new lineup consisting of Blue Marvel, America Chavez, Tigra, Taaia and the Beyonder, yet this is not the worst Defenders lineup ever. For those interested in knowing which were worse, please send a SASE along with your request to facilitate processing. It's by Al Ewing and Javier Rodriguez, so those familiar with their previous work know pretty much exactly what to expect.

NEW FANTASTIC FOUR #2: Worth it for Spider-Man's new battle cry alone.

SHE-HULK #5: I like this series.

THE MARVELS #12: The best Marvel series in recent memory. Final issue.

G.I.L.T. #4: Probably the most complicated current series I am reading. Fun.

Hmm... four Marvels, three others from different publishers, no DCs. Interesting. Oh! I was going to buy Maestro #5 but my LCS was shorted. Make that five Marvels. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

FLORIDA MAN #1: Type "Florida Man" into your web browser. That's what this comic is about. My Pick of the Week.

A few years ago, The Washington Post Magazine did a cover feature on the "Florida Man" phenomenon, going so far as to track down where it began, and questioning what it means to keep it going: "Is It Okay to Laugh at Florida Man?"

So... is it okay to laugh at Florida Man? The article doesn't really say. Hill does a good job of pointing out all that's wrong with the image, but by the end of the article he relates some instances of former "Florida Men" who are trying to take the image back. I don't follow the internet to any degree; all I know about "Florida man" is when a story breaks through to the mainstream media (or a late night talk show). I do think the proliferation of "Florida man" stories is the direct result of that states "sunshine laws." As the someone quoted in the article points out, "We are all Florida Man." 

The original solicitation for the comic book described Florida Man as "laugh-out loud funny and unapologetically offensive, but with a heart of gold." That description appealed to me. One of my favorite comic-book series from the '90s was Beautiful Stories of Ugly Children in which writer Dave Louapre and artist Dan Sweetman left it up to the reader to determine which parts of each story were beautiful and which were ugly. Florida Man writer Mike Baron describes his main character as "a decent guy at heart, and someone who would give you the shirt off his back. The challenge was to make Gary inappropriate, hilarious, and sympathetic." 

The comic book is based on a series of three novels (which were intended to be a comic book in the first place). "That first Florida Man novel says 'vile and profane' right on the cover," points out Baron, "yet it still gets the occasional one-star review." That statement prompted me to go to Amazon.com where 365 reviews (with an average rating of four stars out of five) have been posted. I didn't read all the reviews, but I did read all the one-star reviews. There is also a lengthy section of the audiobook one can listen to. Also, the comic book prints an excerpt of the book as well. 

When I finish the book I'm reading now I plan to move on to the Florida Man trilogy next. 

GENIS-VELL CAPTAIN MARVEL #1: There was a time Peter David was my favorite comic book writer. Then he started injecting "humor" into his stories. At one point, he told a "joke" in Captain Marvel that was so lame it sucked all of the enjoyment out of the series for me, which is too bad because, although the character has a bad rep, I kind of liked him. Fabian Nicieza, during his run, did a good job explaining how the nega-bands works. Then along came Peter David and arbitrarily changed the comic book science from Negative Zone-based to Microverse-based. Eventually, Genis-Vell was killed off. But now he's back from the dead, and apparently Rick Jones is, too. They're respective deaths are mentioned, but brushed aside ("Yeah, like that ever lasts") because who really cares about continuity anymore? My hope is that PAD can focus enough to avoid telling "jokes" for the duration of this mini-series.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: SYMBOL OF TRUTH #3: Captain America's investigation of vibranium smuggling leads him first to Latveria, then to Wakanda. Meanwhile, the Falcon breaks his cousin out of a government facility where her unwilling role in the smuggling operation was being investigated. So far, this new Captain America title is far better than the other one.

ANT-MAN #1: I really enjoyed Avengers #161, but that led to "The Trial of Yellowjacket" (#213) and things have been going downhill for Hank Pym ever since. But the brilliant Al Ewing may just reverse that unfortunate trend in this new mini-series, each issue of which focusses on a different man who has assumed the identity over the years. The framing sequence takes a comical look at what comic books may look like in the 26th century, and the main story is set during the Tales to Astonish run and is told in a faux Silver Age style, featuring one-off villains from #37, 41, 43 & 47. Good stuff! This would be my "Pick of the Week" if not for...

SUPERMAN: SPACE AGE: BOOK ONE: What were you doing when JFK was assassinated? Clark Kent (not yet Superman) was still living with his folks on their farm; Lois Lane just happens to be in Washington, DC covering some fluff piece; Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor were at the Pentagon bidding on a defense contract. That's where the story begins and it proceeds from there against an historical backdrop: the Beatles, Barry Goldwater, George Wallace, the Civil Rights Movement, etc. Pariah first appears in 1964. At one point, Clark Kent (still not Superman) attempts to fly into Soviet airspace and Air Force pilot Hal Jordan shoots him down as a UFO to avoid an international incident. He even fires on Abin Sur's ship as it enters the atmosphere. (No pacifistic Hal Jordan in this one!) Lex Luthor tries to jump start WW III by destroying Coast City. By the end of Book One, Bruce Wayne has built a Hall of Justice as a meeting place for Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. In Book Two the Flash will join.

Space Age is obviously its own continuity. I had high hopes from Mark Russell (a writer whose work I always follow) and Mike Allred (an artist whose work I always follow), but the sum of the parts has far exceeded my expectations, a bargain at #10. Highest possible recommendation

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #900: Waitaminute... Last month was #5. This month Marvel has apparently skipped the intervening 894 issues and gone straight to #900. Wonky numbering aside, if Superman: Space Age is this week's biggest $10 bargain (and it is), the Spider-Man "900" is its biggest $10 rip-off. The Living Brain (from #8) makes a surprise return appearance, and the Super-Adaptoid mimics the powers of the Sinister Six. There are three short back-up stories, none of them worth reading, really. 

THE WRONG EARTH: MEAT: The thing about The Wrong Earth is that Earth Alpha and Earth Omega are supposed to be rendered in two different artistic styles. This was is illustrated in the same, dark style throughout. Doesn't work.

SHAM COMICS v2 #4: this month's theme: crime comics. Art by Simon & Kirby, Leonard Starr, Alex Toth and Matt Baker. 

According to my mother, I was out back in a Jolly Jumper.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

What were you doing when JFK was assassinated?

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