Category: Back-Issue Gold

Back Issue Gold 1985: When John Byrne Split The Hulk in Two!

Ahhh yes I can still remember how stoked I was as a kid waaaay back in 1985 when John Byrne took over writing and drawing The Incredible Hulk for a far too short of a run. I was only 11 years old, but I seriously adored John Byrne, he was hands down my favorite comic book artist and The Hulk was my favorite comic book character. Byrne had been writing and drawing Alpha Flight, which of course I was a die hard fan of too, when he switched to full on Hulk mode with issue #314. I was thrilled!

I must have read that issue a hundred times and the cover itself couldn’t have been more awesome as it featured the Jade Giant in all of his Byrne-esque glory along with a gang of his deadliest villains behind him ready to start some shit. The Leader, Modok, The Rhino, Abomination & The Juggernaut! Byrne’s highly detailed artwork pushed The Hulk to new levels of awesomeness, the character was more massive than he’d ever been too. Though the villains on the cover end up being just part of Hulk’s over active imagination, the Byrne run fully  made up for that with making Hulk-centric character Doc Samson one of, if not the main character of his short run. From that point in in Hulk history Doc Samson quickly became one of my favorite Marvel characters, the series also improved upon Doc’s costume, giving him a new one, ditching his classic but sorta awful lightning bolt suit he’d worn previously.

In the past we’d seen Samson tangle with the Hulk but never quite like this. I absolutely love how Byrne’s Hulk completely dwarf’s Samson in size like never before, yet he proves just how much of a bad ass the character really is with not only his brawn but also his brains. This issue is essentially one big fight between the two and begins with a more mindless version of the Hulk who’d been missing in another dimension called The Crossroads, exiled by Doctor Strange for over a year (those were great issues too!). Samson cleverly defeats The Hulk and makes Hulk history using his genius scientific intellect to actually separate Bruce Banner from The Hulk as two living breathing entities.

This was a great era of Hulk history and let’s face it John Byrne was easily one of the best comic book writers and artists of  the 70’s & 80’s if not of all time. During this run he pumped out 8 issues, one being an awesome Marvel Fanfare where’s Byrne’s stunning artwork proved he was easily one of the best of all time when it came to drawing the jade giant. Another was The Hulk annual #14 which he wrote but master Hulk artist Sal Buscema drew. I love the Byrne era Hulk and apparently he’d had big plans for the series but was thwarted, there’s actually a great story about what went down here with the Byrne Hulk run for all of you Hulk-a-maniancs. Also check out ‘Incredible Hulk: Visionaries #1‘ Trade Paperback  which features the whole output of Byrne 80’s Hulk. Ahhh those were the good ol’ days….

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Creepy Comic Cover of the Week: Frankenstein’s Monster vs Iron Man?!!

Here’s another installment of ‘Creepy Comic Book Covers’! This week as we grow closer to Halloween it’s only obvious we’d check out a odd battle that took place way back in 1977 between Iron Man and yeah…Frankenstein’s Monster!! As it states on the cover he’s “the most unexpected foe of the year” and I always loved it when Marvel would pit it’s classic superheroes up against classic monsters. This is an excellent cover that features Tony Stark in some deep shit as Frankenstein’s Monster just got done serving him his ass on a platter! What I really love are Frankenstein’s Monster’s weird ass little minions crowding around Iron Man armed with wooden clubs and out for blood! A great halloween flashback from comic book art legends Val Mayerick & Dave Cockrum!

Comic Cover of the Week: Shang-Chi Meets H.P. Lovecraft!

There are certain comic book covers that just pop right off the page at you when you see ’em & Master of Kung Fu #75 is one ’em! This cool cover way back from 1979 shows again just how damn good of an artist the master Mike Zeck is! This one shows Shang-Chi doing battle with a giant fish man that looks straight out of an H.P. Lovecraft story. I love the simplicity of some covers and this one gets straight to the point with an amazing underwater struggle facing the Master of Kung Fu. There are some truly jaw dropping covers in the Master of Kung Fu comic book back catalogue & Zeck’s done a great deal of them, ah those good ol’ days…

Comic Book Cover of the Week: Totally 80’s Wonder Man!

One of the greatest comic book artists of all time is unarguably Bill Sienkiewicz, to prove my point once again I’m posting a pretty mediocre one shot from 1986, with a simply stunning cover by Bill. Step aside Wonder Woman cuz here’s……..Wonder Man?! Yeah, here’s one of my favorite Avengers that simply never got enough love. Wonder Man was a mega strong kick ass dude who sported one of the coolest looks in the comics, nobody could sport that stylin’ red jacket any better! Also known as Simon Williams, he quit the Avengers to pursue an acting career something not many other superheroes would ever dare attempt. Originally a bad guy created by legendary villain Baron Zemo to take on The Avengers in 1964, Wonder Man ranks as one of the strongest Avengers too and Bill Sienkiewicz provides the character with his most glorious appearance on this  classic, forgotten piece of cover art!

 

Comic Review: ‘LAST SONG’ #1 Is a Must For Anyone Who’s Been In a Band!

It seems Black Mask is at it again, releasing cool comic books! Yep ‘Last Song’ is out July 12th and it’s yet another excellent debut issue. There’s a lot of heart pumped into the story of Last Song and if you’ve ever played music and especially ever been in a band this one should really resonate. I spent a good portion of my life so far playing in bands, touring and dreaming at times of hitting it big. This awesome 64 page debut follows two guys who grow up together, learn to play music together and eventually attempt to give the rock n’ roll lifestyle a serious whirl. The two main characters Drew and Nicky have done pretty much everything together and decide to move out to L.A. in search of adventure instead of heading off to college to sign up for the mundane working grind. Nicky worries about his future, never being a kid again and states “I want to like what I’m doing so much that money doesn’t matter” as a teenager in the 80’s. He also lost his father at a young age to suicide which is sure to make this journey a bit more difficult down the road.

We follow the pair through high school and into their twenties as they finally attempt to patiently put together the perfect band. What I love about this book so far is how they portray the often epic journey of forming a band. I’ve seen comic books in the past try to hit the right notes on the topic but it’s never truly felt authentic in the approach. This however is a highly relatable story and it makes me wonder if writer Holly Interlandi has experience herself? It showcases the highs and lows of attempting a band, which is nearly identical to being in a one on one relationship with a lover. In the beginning it’s filled with excitement and passion but often times those initial feelings are hit with the realities of the world. Egos and personalities collide as time marches on.

This one captures the feelings of being in a band when the world is your oyster or at least that’s what we believed. It starts off giving us a look at what appears to be the band in the aftermath of a nasty break up. How could these two inseparable best friends have gotten to such a negative space in life? Well the first issue gives us a glimpse into the trouble that likely lies ahead and does so with a strong sense of melancholic urgency on the sidelines. There’s a lot to digest here as we get a pretty strong look into the characters hopes, dreams & impending fears.

‘Last Song’ has some serious substance to it, yeah I enjoyed the book’s extended length (ah..if only all single issue comic books were this long and meaningful), simply because I’m a bit tired of reading a new comic book that literally takes 5 minutes to breeze through that costs 4-5 bucks. It’s also got some excellent black & white artwork from Sally Cantirino as well that fit’s the book’s vibe immaculately. You get your money’s worth. I’m totally eager to check out what happens next here, to me a band breaking up can be just as devastating and heartbreaking as a split between lovers. So I’m curious where this all goes and just exactly what goes down. Check it out, even if you’ve never tried to rock your life away in a band, but if you have it’ll most definitely strike a familiar chord. A great read….the only bad thing about this is now I really wanna hear what their band sounds like!!!

 

Comic Cover of the Week: Wonder Woman vs. The Joker!

With all the excitement over the latest movie sensation that is Wonder Woman I thought it’d be cool to show off a couple of my favorite covers by the master himself Brian Bolland. It’s no secret that Bolland is easily one of the best comic book cover artists of all time and of course after his classic artwork in The Killing Joke it’s apparent no one can capture the clown prince of crime quite like he can. I dig these two Wonder Woman covers as well because it’s not every day that you see Diana facing off against The Joker.

The first one Wonder Woman #97 is from 1995

 

….and the second a bit more recent #41 from 2015.

 

A couple of my favorites!

Big Trouble In Little China: Remake or Sequel?!

I heard recently that John Carpenter is co-writing an official sequel comic book series to his classic “Big Trouble in Little China” called “Old Man Jack”. It’s set in 2020 and follows the further adventures of the now 60 year old Jack Burton as he once again does battle with evil forces looking to conquer the Earth. Coming this September, this new series from Boom! Studios is getting the internet talking about getting Carpenter to adapt the comic to the big screen by long time fans. Sounds like a god damn bonafide slam dunk huh?!

Well not so fast movie maniacs! What a lot of people have forgotten is that 20th Century Fox has been threatening all of us fans of the original movie with a remake starring Duane “The Rock” Johnson as the new Jack Burton. Now don’t get me wrong, I actually like The Rock, but when it comes to the choice of a sequel to ‘Big Trouble’ with Kurt Russell at the very least written by Carpenter, it’s a no brainer. At the very least, give us the damn sequel first!! You can always reboot that shit later. I’d hope at this point Hollywood gets the very simple fact that people want sequels (done with integrity mind you) for their favorite movies rather than another throw away, cookie cutter, “here today gone tomorrow” remakes of a cult classic they keep servin’ us up. It should be proof enough with sequels to Star Wars, Blade Runner & tv shows like Ash vs Evil Dead that prove people don’t really want a full on remake. They want the story to continue. The solution to the problem at hand is simple, just add Duane Johnson to the damn cast of the sequel, have him team up with Kurt Russell! DUH! Continue reading