Wednesday, July 31, 2013


"Hyperdrive" from The Omega Men vol.1 #5 (DC, 1983) by Roger Slifer, Keith Giffen and Mike DeCarlo
The first few issues of Omega Men, featuring Giffen art, made present-day outer space DC look a heck of a lot like the 30th century. Giffen was obviously using the same style. I suppose he kept that up in LEGION. I hear the good issues are the ones by Todd Klein and Shawn McManus from the second year on, but my almost zero interest in these guys meant I missed them.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

No Sound Effect Can Do It Justice

"No Sound Effect Can Do It Justice" from OMAC vol.4 #5 (DC, 2012) by Dan DiDio, Keith Giffen and Scott Koblish
The new OMAC series has some cool Kirby stylings, though I WAS initially disappointed it wasn't about Buddy Blank in that crazy future. AND I never liked the tropical fish look. But I was happy to support the book because of all the crazy cool ideas it contained and Giffen's dynamic Kirby riffs. Obviously, it wasn't a good seller.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Build-a-Friend Factory

"Build-a-Friend Factory" from OMAC vol.1 #1 (DC, 1974) by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer
OMAC's was the first, but by no means the last, Kirby Omnibus I bought. Pure awesome. The action is monstrous, the future world creepy, the concepts clearly the insane "pure comics" stuff developed in the Fourth World books. I can't believe no one's really been able to do the One Man Army Corps justice after this, and shake my fist at the sky that 70s audiences didn't support the book past its 8th issue. Sure, it doesn't take place in the mainstream DC Universe, but neither did Kamandi, and that survived much longer. Ah well.

And when I say no one did it justice, I should clarify I did enjoy John Byrne's prestige black and white ziptone experiment, but in he's done so many time travel stories like it since then, it's lost its spark for me. The less said about the OMAC stuff of the 2000s, as absurd Batman-related creations, the better.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Finally Nightwing Again

"Finally Nightwing Again" from Nightwing vol.3 #1 (DC, 2011) by Kyle Higgins, Eddy Barrows and J.P. Mayer
Dick Grayson built up so much good will with me as the new Batman that so long as he felt like the same character, it would guarantee my patronage no matter who wrote him. Good news, Kyle Higgins GETS Nightwing and has produced one of the more solid titles in the (large) New 52 Batman Family of books. In no small way, he's been helped by Eddy Barrows, an artist I enjoy more and more with every comic I see from him. But Nightwing has survived the loss of Barrows, and even a few issues by Brett Booth whose art I dislike intensely. Can it survive the announced loss of Higgins, however.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Acrobat-Induced Vertigo

"Acrobat-Induced Vertigo" from Nightwing vol.2 #2 (DC, 1996) by Chuck Dixon, Scott McDaniel and Karl Story
Volume 2? Yes, because there was a terrible Ed Benes-drawn mini about a year before Nightwing started on his pretty massive 154-issue run. Though Scott McDaniel has become way too cartoony and abstract in later years, I dug his early work on Dick's book, like a kind of more joyful Frank Miller that would have worked as well in black and white. One of the smart things about the series was having Nightwing move out of Gotham and giving him his own cesspool to work in. Blüdhaven may have had an over-obvious name, but an old, corrupt whaling town held great promise as a vigilante hero's home base. I lost track of the book sometime before Devon Grayson took over the writing, but from what I heard, she stuck to the title's emphasis on character.

Friday, July 26, 2013

(The) Hell (I Suffer) Seems a Heaven

"(The) Hell (I Suffer) Seems a Heaven" from Night Force vol.2 #4 (DC, 1997) by Marv Wolfman and Eduardo Barreto
Wolfman revived Night Force for DC's so-called "Weirdoverse" line of dark-but-not-Vertigo books in the late 90s, along with Scare Tactics, Challengers of the Unknown and Book of Fate, most of which lasted a mere 12 issues (18 for the Chals). Though I used a Barreto splash above, he only did the one issue. Brent Anderson started on the book and seemed as good a descendent of Gene Colan's as Tom Mandrake on the more recent mini-series (as a mini, I won't splash it here), but the book quickly fell to more stylishly extreme artists (good but unlike Colan). By this point, Wolfman's horror work read somewhat old-fashioned.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

All the Senses Matter

"All the Senses Matter" from Night Force vol.1 #4 (DC, 1982) by Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan and Bob Smith
Marv Wolfman tried to recapture his success at Marvel with Tomb of Dracula by teaming up with Gene Colan again on this series about the enigmatic and ruthless Baton Winters who collected broken people (including a member of the Van Helsing family) and sent them on missions smacking of the supernatural, sometimes to their deaths. It didn't catch on, lasting only 14 issues, but those I've read have been pretty solid PG horror material.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What Do You Think?

"What Do You Think?" from New Titans #55 (DC, 1989) by Marv Wolfman, George Perez and Romeo Tanghal
George Perez is an awesome artist, but I question many of his costume designs. Troia, Jericho, even Deathstroke is a nightmare when you think about it. Looks like only Starfire is enchanted.

New Titans was a continuation of New Teen Titans from #51 to #130, before being replaced by the new ongoing Teen Titans in 1996 that starred a rejuvenated Atom and a bunch of forgettable newbies.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wish Fulfillment: Trigon Fries Jericho

"Wish Fulfillment: Trigon Fries Jericho" from New Teen Titans vol.2 #1 (DC, 1984) by Marv Wolfman and George Perez
I first experienced the direct sales-only series of the New Teen Titans through reprints in Tales of the New Teen Titans, about a year later (so Who's Who would routinely spoil the story, but it was stuff I didn't care that much about like Kole's death), and I know I've gone on record lately saying I had little interest in revisiting these stories. A lot  of the excitement was over soap opera elements, continuing arcs and such, more than any single story that I can remember, and while that's great month to month, going back doesn't really interest me. But it's probably worth it for the art alone! When it wasn't Perez, it was people like José Luis Garcia-Lopez and Eduardo Barreto, but y'know, I think the New Titans' best stories were almost all in volume 1.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Titans in This Picture Aren't the Giant Lizard Men

"The Titans in This Picture Aren't the Giant Lizard Men" from New Teen Titans vol.1 #1 (DC, 1980) by Marv Wolfman, George Perez and Romeo Tanghal
I can't believe New Teen Titans started as far back as 1980! But then I came in very late on the book, by which time it had already become "Tales of", though before it started reprinting the Baxter series. Still, with George Perez handling the art on many issues, it's nice to go back. The title makes me wonder if "Teen Titans" was somehow tainted that it needed that clumsy "New" in front of it. I mean, they stayed the NEW Teen Titans or NEW Titans for years and years. They outgrew the Teen, but not the New? Who was YOUR favorite new Titan? If I can't say Robin/Nightwing or Wonder Girl (old Titans), I guess I'd have to say Cyborg. The clearest concept and frankly deserving of the attention DC is almost spending on him right now.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sky Dogs

"Sky Dogs" from New Talent Showcase #1 (DC, 1984) by L.B. Kellogg and Tom Mandrake
Andy Kubert did the letters too. Well before Vertigo, editor Karen Berger was into finding new talent and worked on this series, which produced unremarkable strips for the most part (and I don't think any used DC properties) but featured talents who would indeed become better known, like Norm Breyfogle, Tom Grindberg, Karl Kesel, Steve Lightle, Mindy Newell, Graham Nolan, Rick Magyar, Eric Shanower, and Tom Mandrake (above).

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Kamalku Ascending

"Kamalku Ascending" from New Guardians #10 (DC, 1989) by Cary Bates, Pat Broderick and Ralph Cabrera
A product of Millennium, the New Guardians beg the question as to whether teams like this ever work. I'm reminded of the Blasters who debuted in the very next crossover, Invasion! Same deal. Mostly new characters with disparate powers and a common origin, with a former supporting player cast in the role of superhero/leader (Snapper Carr instead of Tom Kamalku). At least the Blasters didn't go beyond a Special. The New Guardians ran a whole year, and in that still-brief span, still tried to "fix" itself into a series worth our time, killing off members, butching up Extrano's stereotypically gay act, and deciding in the end to completely change the Guardians' mission by dropping them on an island of mutants, from which I can't remember them escaping. Why DC would choose to resurrect their NAME in the New52 is anyone's guess.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Good and Evil Collide

"Good and Evil Collide" from New Gods vol.4 #12 (DC, 1996) by John Byrne and Bob Wiacek
After a necessarily disappointing run on Vertigo's Doom Patrol, there was little chance of me reading Rachel Pollack's New Gods. From what I've read, it was more than a bit disjointed and left the franchise in a strange place. John Byrne, always one of the most able of Kirby's emulators, brought the series to an apocalyptic close I DID read. But again, you can't keep the New Gods down for long. Their planets got better.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Orion Was Always His Own Greatest Enemy

"Orion Was Always His Own Greatest Enemy" from New Gods vol.3 #13 (DC, 1990) by Mark Evanier, Paris Cullins and Willie Blyberg
Mark Evanier, a good friend and sometime assistant of Kirby's, seemed a good choice to continue the New Gods' saga, and he did initiate the title's longest run (28 issues), but none of the issues I've read have been all that remarkable. Maybe it's that Paris Cullins, an artist I normally like a great deal, can't approach the kind of grandeur Kirby brought to the series. It's all a little cartoony for me. But perhaps I need to revisit the series in its entirety.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


"OPEN FIRE!" from New Gods vol.1 #7 (DC, 1972) by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer
By now, I don't have to tell you that this blog has a Kirby fixation. In the Fourth World cycle, the New Gods are the closest to Kirby working on Thor again, though without the limits imposed by one particular real-world mythology. His pantheon is inspired by science fiction (with the occasional skier thrown in for good measure) as much as it is by old-timey religion. While the series didn't originally do well, it somehow became highly important to the post-Crisis DCU, so much so the New Gods kinda had to be killed multiple times before it took! And then Darkseid was the New52's first villain, so they were never going to go out quietly. (Note: In 1984, DC reprinted the series as 6-issue mini-series with a new ending.)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What Do You Mean That's Not Dr. Fate?

"What Do You Mean That's Not Dr. Fate?" from New Adventures of Superboy #25 (DC, 1982) by Martin Pasko, Kurt Schaffenberger and Dave Hunt
My relationship with this title is was predicated on two things, neither of which had anything to do with Superboy. 1) The Gil Kane covers that got me to buy some of the later issues, and 2) the Dial H back-up that kept me buying to the end. The Superboy stories were okay, and I did like some of the antagonists created in the series (Dyna-Mind, Sunburst), and how the the H-Dials crossed into the Superboy universe in #50, but most of them were like the above, featuring Not-Dr. Fate, if you know what I mean.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Uncle Sam - Bigger Than Life

"Uncle Sam - Bigger Than Life" from National Comics vol.1 #16 (Quality, 1941) by Will Eisner and Lou Fine
This Golden Age series from Quality Comics ran through the 40s and introduced WIll Eisner's Uncle Sam and also made use of other "public domain" characters like Paul Bunyan and Merlin the Magician. National also featured original characters, most notably Quicksilver (the character who became Max Mercury in the DCU). Apparently, issue 18 features an attack on Pearl Harbor by the Germans, a month before the Japanese attacked the same (that's not it above).

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Bus Rooftop Was Not Wide or Long Enough

"The Bus Rooftop Was Not Wide or Long Enough" from Nathaniel Dusk II #3 (DC, 1985) by Don McGregor and Gene Colan
Some gorgeous Gene Colan art in this 1930s private dick's pair of mini-series, which DC published without inking. It creates a mood perfect for the piece. Well worth seeking out on the basis of that alone, though McGregor's scripts are worthy enough of the treatment.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Will the Real Space Cabbie Please Stand Up?

"Will the Real Space Cabbie Please Stand Up?" from Mystery in Space #57 (DC, 1958) by Otto Binder, Gil Kane and Bernard Sachs
Mystery in Space isn't just Adam Strange, people! It's Knights of the Galaxy! It's Interplanetary Insurance Inc! It's Star Rovers! It's Hawkman! It's Space Ranger! It's Jan Vern, Interplanetary Agent!, it's Ultra the Multi-Alien! And yes, it's freaking SPACE CABBIE! 'nuff said!

Friday, July 12, 2013

City Under the Sea

"City Under the Sea" from My Greatest Adventure vol.1 #15 (DC, 1957) by Jack Kirby
Best known for debuting Doom Patrol with issue 81, the world's strangest heroes represent a very small fraction of what the book did, i.e. short tales usually narrated by the adventurers who lived them. Those early issues featured work by Wally Wood and Jack Kirby, and you know how much I'm a sucker for the latter's work. After all, he's one of only a few artists who have their own clickable label on this blog!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Mystery Is Why This Makes Some People Uncomfortable

"The Mystery Is Why This Makes Some People Uncomfortable" from Ms. Tree Special #9 (DC, 1992) by Max Allan Collins, Terry Beatty and Gary Kato
The hard-boiled detective with an axe to grind with the mob ended her story at DC in a Quarterly ("Special" on #9 and 10) ten years after crime novelist Max Allan Collins started it at Eclipse Comics, and continued it at Aardvark-Vanaheim and then Renegade, where she enjoyed the longest run. About the splash: Ms. Tree Quarterly wasn't a very splashy series, but I think sometimes it's nice to feature a day-in-the-life image to contrast with all the superhero action pin-ups.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Five Days That Shook a City

"The Five Days That Shook a City" from Mr. District Attorney #1 (National, 1948) by Sam Citron(?) and Charles Paris
A popular radio drama that lasted from 1939 to 1951 (and then briefly on television), Mr. District Attorney also spawned a 67-issue comic book series, running from 1948 to 1959, so much longer than even the show's syndicated broadcasts (which didn't go beyond 1953). Each issue, so far as I can tell, featured several full cases prosecuted by the originally nameless D.A. (dubbed Paul Garrett when TV got involved).

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Johnny Quick and His Magic Formula

"Johnny Quick and His Magic Formula" from More Fun Comics #78 (Detective, 1942) by Joe Samachson(?) and Mort Meskin
The first comic book to feature all new material (cover dated Feb. 1935), New Fun, then More Fun, then finally with #9, More Fun Comics. Of course, most comics fans only start to care when superheroes started appearance. That's with #52 and the Spectre, though Siegel and Shuster's Dr. Occult appeared from 6 to 33. More Fun was also the home of Dr. Fate, Johnny Quick (and his magic formula, above), Green Arrow, Aquaman and Superboy. Had this not been one of the first comics, it might have had a more supernatural-sounding name, it looks like! After all those important premieres, it's kind of sad the book was turned into humor book from 109 to 127 (1947), sending its still-running superheroes to the new Adventure Comics.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Monster to Tame

"A Monster to Tame" from The Monolith #1 (DC, 2004) by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Phil Winslade
Palmiotti and Gray might have resurrected the Golem from Primal Force, but... yeah, who remembers that doomed little series? Not that The Monolith fared much better, lasting a mere 12 issues. Even Batman's obligatory appearance in a three-issue arc couldn't save it. Too bad. I'd love some Golem-y comics to be around today. Maybe it's because I so enjoyed The Adventures of Cavalier and Clay.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Tube to Earth-2

"Tube to Earth-2" from Mister Terrific #8 (DC, 2012) by Eric Wallace, Gianluca Gugliotta and Wayne Faucher
Didn't like the costume (or at least, the weird mask), but I think I was one of New52 Michael Holt's few fans. To me, it read kind of like an episode of Doctor Who every month. I love supergenius heroes and the science was just this side of Grant Morrison in terms of madness. Plus, Power Girl, though she hadn't showed off her powers by the time Mister Terrific was cancelled. At least Holt got a second lease on life when he was sent to Earth-2. That storyline's been on a slow burn, but he's just appeared in the latest issue, so here's hoping for more Mr. T.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Big Barda vs. Wonder Woman

"Big Barda vs. Wonder Woman" from Mister Miracle vol.3 #6 (DC, 1996) by Kevin Dooley, Mike Collins and Barbara Kaalberg
The third series tried to more or less continue the story of Scott and Barda's marriage/destiny. Barda goes to Paradise Island after some marital strife, and then the story continues in the New Gods book of the time, fighting premature cancellation after #7.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Neemo, Skeemo, Preemo

"Neemo, Skeemo, Preemo" from Mister Miracle vol.2 #2 (DC, 1989) by J.M. DeMatteis and Ian Gibson
Scott Free shot out of JLI to a series of his own once again, this time a sort of domestic comedy set in suburbia where it was clearly impossible for Scott and Barda to have a normal, peaceful life. Not when the New Gods or Forever People are always dropping by for a barbecue. Looking at it now, none of the art is too spectacular after Ian Gibson's original arc, but I don't remember minding at the time. If neither Blue nor Gold could have their own series, then Mister Miracle, ever the third man in their little comedy team, would do very well, thank you. And hey, at 28 issues, it's still the longest-lasting attempt at a Miracle series!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Greatest Show Off Earth

"The Greatest Show Off Earth" from Mister Miracle vol.1 #11 (DC, 1972) by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer
I didn't become a big fan of Mister Miracle through the original Kirby comics which were before my time, but rather through his membership in Justice League International (more on that tomorrow), but going back to them in my old age, it's probably my favorite of the Fourth World books (Jimmy Olsen is right on its heels though). The whole idea behind a Messianic escape artist who preaches freedom through deeds is incredible, and I love that he's married to Big Barda, a reformed Fury and (essentially) freed slave who towers over him in both stature and power. This unlikely couple easily fits into a list of comics' greatest couples. Crazy visuals, a willingness to toy with the basic premise (bringing in an apprentice Mister Miracle, for example), and Oberon (OMG OBERON!)... All of which reminds me I never finished ready my Fourth World Omnibi. Maybe this summer!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


"Bloop?" from Millennium #7 (DC, 1987) by Steve Englehart, Joe Staton and Ian Gibson
Millennium... the series they couldn't wait 13 years to tell. The series that put a Manhunter into everybody's home. The series that gave us the New Guardians, real game changers. I mean, the canceled Booster Gold for THAT?! 8 weekly issues at least meant it was all over in 2 months, right? Still, I have a personal connection to this series, but a manufactured one. See, when I was running a 1980s-based DC Heroes RPG, I put my players through the crossover (my own character was replaced by a Manhunter robot) and in the sequence starting with the above, at the underwater Manhunter base, it was my players who saved the day, stealing Booster Gold's thunder and denying him the chance to show he wasn't working with the bad guys. This would, in fact, have longer-lasting consequences as some of my showboats got lucrative advertizing contracts Booster had subsequently lost.

Here's a question: Who was the best/most surprising Manhunter agent in our heroes' midst? Lana Lang? Dr. Jace? Who was the worst? Overthrow, surely. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Something Just Came Up

"Something Just Came Up" from The Mighty #9 (DC, 2009) by Peter J. Tomasi, Keith Champagne and Chris Samnee
Everybody seems to want to do a "Dark Superman" story, well THIS is how you do it, through an analog. The Mighty's Alpha-One was featured on Reign of the Supermen.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Will the Real Metamorpho Stand Up?

"Will the Real Metamorpho Stand Up?" from Metamorpho vol.1 #5 (DC, 1966) by Bob Haney, Joe Orlando and Charles Paris
Sometimes I think I should do a Chronological Bob Haney on the Blog of Geekery or something. I've done a lot his material already, mostly Teen Titans and Brave and the Bold. Metamorpho has escaped examination up 'til now though. Hey, what is it about shape-changers? Like Plastic Man and the Metal Men, Rex too has that tongue-in-cheek, cartoony quality that almost pushes his adventures into the realm of the humor comic. Certainly, for a book that only went 17 issues, it's got a really fanciful and memorable supporting cast.