The Jersey Devil Press Sampler III

April 10, 2014 Comic Books, Writing Comments (0) 295

JerseyDevilPressSampler3These arrived in the mail today. They look awesome–great work by the folks at Jersey Devil Press.

As a reminder, you can get your own copy of this very limited edition only at the Asbury Park Comic Con this weekend. The guys from Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash / Comic Book Men will be giving them out FREE on a first-come, first-serve basis.

As a second reminder, if you come into possession of one of these bad-boys and send me a photo with it (via Twitter, perhaps?) I will try to think of some cool way to reward you–beyond just a simple retweet.

Also, if you can’t get to the Con (and alas, I don’t think I’m going to make it myself) you can read The Watchers in the Dark in its Lovecraftian entirety free at Jersey Devil Press.

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More Silver Age Marvel (AKA Iron Man’s Rocket Skates)

February 27, 2014 Comic Books, Pop Culture Comments (0) 399

iron man roller skates

We’ve now had four Iron Man movies (counting The Avengers) by three different directors, and not once has he deployed his rocket skates. I can only assume they were saving that big reveal for the battle against Ultron. Or maybe Galactus. At what point does one reveal the trump card that is a pair of rocket skates?

I just cannot express how much I am loving the Kree-Skrull War. I definitely need to pick up more Silver Age comics, because I didn’t realize how much fun they could be.

poltroon

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Silver Age Comics

February 26, 2014 Comic Books, Pop Culture Comments (0) 227

Ronan_Accuser_Love

Yesterday I stopped by JHU Comics in Midtown and picked up some Silver Age comics from the 1970s (specifically, the Avengers Kree/Skrull War storyline) and I’m just enjoying the hell out of them. The dialogue and narration are so overblown and hackneyed, and yet full of energy and enthusiasm, and the art is incredible.

I started reading comics in the late 80s (I still remember the first comics I bought, from the X-Men Muir Island Saga) and the peak of my comics readership came in the mid-1990s. My concept of what comic art should be came from Jim Lee, but I was a huge fan of Joe Madureira, and later Mike Mignola and Chris Bachalo. I remember thinking how comparatively awful the art was in comics from the 70s and before–and now I’m realizing how wrong I was. Neil Adams is just phenomenal, and I find myself wishing constantly that I had his command of anatomy and proportion.

There’s also something to be said for Silver Age coloring. Modern comic coloring (done on computers) is an art unto itself

The inspiration behind my purchase? I’m a regular listener to the Nerdist Writer’s Panel podcast, and my favorite episodes are when Len Wein appears to talk about his incredible career in comics. I’m pretty sure my next acquisition will be a collection of Wein’s early work on Swamp Thing.

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My brief X-Men: First Class Review

June 9, 2011 Pop Culture, Reviews Comments (0) 187

Comic book movies can be broken into three categories: Watchable, Really Pretty Good, and Godawful. Fans of comic books and/or action movies will enjoy the Watchable ones, while Really Pretty Good movies can be enjoyed by almost anyone capable of suspending disbelief for two to three hours. Only the biggest die-hard fanboy in denial or brain-dead special effects addict can sit-through, let alone praise, films in the Godawful variety.

A few examples: Recent watchable comic book movies include the first Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, Bryan Singer’s Superman, and the first two Spider-Man movies. Really Pretty Good selections include both Christopher Nolan Batman movies, the Bryan Singer X-Men movies, Iron Man 1 and maybe Iron Man 2. Ang Lee’s Hulk, X-Men 3, Spider-Man 3, Ghost Rider, and Fantastic Four 2 were Godawful.

I am pleased to say that X-Men: First Class is Really Pretty Good, though I can’t agree at all with the folks who are claiming it contends for “best comic book movie ever.”

What X:FC does well is to introduce a historic context and a retro-feel into the super-hero milieu, better than any movie except perhaps Brad Bird’s under-appreciated “the Incredibles.” Comic books themselves are, after all, a bit of a holdover from a bygone era, and while most super-hero movies have planted a flag squarely in the “gritty hero” era of the late 20th Century, the Golden Age of comic book heroes was undeniably the decades following World War 2. Placing the origins of the X-Men against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis is inspired – it gives the franchise depth and history, allows the production to play with costuming and sets in a genre where costumes and sets have become hackneyed and boring, and permits the writers to blend bits of plot lines from X-Men comic books published 30 or 40 years apart. I award a few bonus points for managing to work in a couple of very brief cameos by former X-Men cast members Rebecca Romijn and Hugh Jackman that actually fit the narrative and make sense (provided, in Jackman’s case, that you know some background about the character). While my fanboy heart does break a little bit that they scrapped the original team according to comic book canon, they were able to pay tribute to some classic X-Men ignored by previous movies. Continue Reading

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