Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! There’s love in the air today so we’re going to have to go way back to the 1990’s, particularly 1997, which admittedly was an era where I wasn’t religiously reading comics books like I was in the 80’s and early 90’s. Here though is an actual Valentine’s Day special from Marvel that I thought was particularly interesting for the choice for one particular couple featured on the cover..,,Titania & The Absorbing Man!! They strangely feature poor Daredevil and Venus all by themselves, we of course get the obvious couples of Spidey and M.J. & Cyclops and Phoenix. But the inclusion of the powerhouse duo of Absorbing Man & Titania is pretty unexpected, even though they were (are still?) a true match made in heaven. They met all the way back in ’84’s classic ‘Secret Wars’, eventually ended up getting married and continued to kick ass all over the place together. I’ll admit I’ve never read this one, but my interest is peaked as I’m pretty curious if the two of them actually get a little story of their own!
MORBIUS!!! He’s suddenly all the damn rage! The C-list Marvel anti-hero is now generating major hype and I find it kinda hilarious that at all the Youtube/Nerd sites out there all supposedly so excited for their favorite character…….MORBIUS to hit the big screen!! Let’s face the facts here, to most except for die hard Marvel fans Morbius isn’t exactly anywhere near a household name. If I didn’t know otherwise I’d think they’d all been big fans for decades, it’d be like if I was claiming to be a die hard “Batroc The Leaper” fanatic. Most of these Youtubers/Nerd sites are simply told what to be excited about, and yeah contrary to popular belief, many of them didn’t have a damn clue who this “Living Vampire” dude was a couple months ago. But hey who am I to comment though, as John Campea would refer to me as simply a “Hobby Blogger”. Well due to all the sudden love for Morbius I thought it’d be cool to showcase a cover to for all of those big pop culture MCH hyping sites, who probably still think Morbius is some brand new character, here’s a classic cover, that actually features ‘Blade’ in his old school duds all the way back from 1974, Adventure Into Fear #24!
True Believers, it’s never been a more perfect time for the ‘Great Lakes Avengers’ to make their grand entrance into the MCU! Ok, I know many of you casual Marvel movie fanatics out there are likely wondering just who and what the hell I’m talking about, but the “GLA” as they’re also referred to have been around since the late 80’s and have on a couple occasions attempted to actually replace The Avengers, most notably when they tragically disassembled in 2004 in the comics. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin based team are most well known as the ultimate gang of blundering misfit superheroes and when the Avengers disbanded they figured they’d simply take the mantle of the team for themselves to reap all the glory for themselves. Of course they quickly found out they weren’t quite qualified when it came down to taking out major threats to the planet. So why introduce these guys now into the MCU huh?
Well at the current moment in the movies The Avengers aren’t really a thing anymore, at least for the moment. With Cap old & retired and Tony Stark dead, it’d be the perfect time to check out the origin story and rise of ‘The Great Lakes Avengers’. In fact with the ‘Disney+’ streaming service there’s the platform needed to tell their ridiculously madcap story. Since 1989 when writer/artist John Byrne introduced the underdog team to the Marvel Universe (West Coast Avengers #46), I’ve been a big fan. In fact I listed them before as one of the obscure Marvel teams I thought would make a great movie or better yet today a comedic Disney+ series after the success of the D-listers The Guardians of the Galaxy. To me the team has so much more potential than GOG, with their origin story alone being a helluva good adventure, if even at times more of a dark comedy.
The name of the team alone would spark immediate interest and originally back in the comic books they’d even been coached by Hawkeye and Mockingbird who desperately tried to whip them into shape. You could even have Jeremy Renner make a cameo in an episode as Hawkeye to do just that. Considering the team’s ranks were filled from a classified ad in the newspaper would open the door to so many great comedic scenarios as well.
Then there’s the team themselves, which consists of Mr. Immortal, a mutant with a super-superhuman healing factor and the ability to survive the most gruesome deaths, Bertha who’s the most popular fashion icon in Milwaukee WI who has the ability to bulk up like the Blob, Dinah-soar the flying female reptilian, Doorman a mutant who can create doorways using alternate universes to pass through solid objects and finally Flatman, the team’s current leader & openly gay two dimensional version of Reed Richards. But wait the team was also home to the now iconic Squirrel Girl and this would be the perfect place for her to make her official MCU debut!
This team and their story would make for the perfect superhero series, there’s so many interesting angles to explore. From forming the team, to training to be the new “Avengers”, to their many failed missions and their attempt to square off against a real superhuman threat. There’s something truly charming about exploring an underdog group of down on their luck superhuman characters. The comedy practically writes itself and they’d be a surefire win in a series of their own as there’s nothing quite like them out there yet. So what do you think? Do you think now’s the time for this weird-o gang of midwest superheroes to enter into the fold?! If I’ve peaked your interest a good launch point of the team is the six issue mini series from Dan Slott from 2005 called “GLA: Misassembled”, I think that would be a perfect blueprint for a Disney+ series….
I just got done reading the ‘ALPHA FLIGHT: True North’ Marvel Comics one shot and it got me a bit excited about the possibility of an ongoing series. Yeah Alpha Flight has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid in 80’s and after the first John Byrne series it’s never been quite the same, so hearing that a new one shot was coming out made me decide to head up to ‘Cosmic Monkey‘, (Portland Oregon’s best comic book shop), to grab a copy and see for myself. It’s been a few years since I bought new comic books, I quit a while back cold turkey, as their just too damn expensive and many of them don’t grab me like they used to honestly. However, Alpha Flight always gets another chance!
So ‘True North’ was a pretty decent little dive back into the lives of the diverse Canadian superhero team, it features three short stories with various members of the team. The first featuring classic Alphans Talisman & Snowbird as they travel to a remote area of in the Arctic Circle to investigate a supernatural presence. It’s an intriguing little tale that could have really spanned the whole issue. I definitely enjoyed the artwork in this one by Max Dunbar as well.
The next story is a small slice of life featuring everyone’s favorite little person badass ‘Puck’ and the fish woman ‘Marina’ as they walk a lonely beach on a sunny day. Puck shares a story from his past and the two of them spend some time bonding. A neat little short overall but I wasn’t a real big fan of the artists depictions of Puck and Marina, who basically just made them look like a short guy and a green woman devoid of most of her fish like qualities. The last story features Heather Hudson aka ‘Vindicator’ as she hides from the Canadian government for crimes committed while under the mental control of long time Alpha Flight villain ‘The Master of the World’. It’s a pretty interesting short story too and also features her husband James ‘Guardian’ Hudson with plenty of underlying relationship drama bubbling below the surface. Overall this one was nice refresher of just what an Alpha Flight ongoing series could feel like in 2019.
The other members were missed though, classics like Sasquatch & Shaman weren’t even in it at all and Northstar and Aurora only spoke a couple lines. I was hoping for a cool one shot with the whole team showing their current relationship as a team, but regardless it was still a pretty good teaser, even if it was priced at whoppin’ 5 bucks! DAMN!! I’ve always thought the team under the right writer again could be developed into a great modern series. The team’s super diverse cast has a lot of rich history to explore. ‘True North’ strikes some good chords but I’m not sure it was really quite compelling enough to drum up the magic needed to push Alpha Flight into a new ongoing series. I’d like to see Wolverine return to the team and maybe bring some drama into Heather and James’ rocky relationship. It’s always been softly suggested he might have some feelings for Heather. You never know! I’m also still hoping for an Alpha Flight movie as well, I think they’d be an instant hit in the MCU!
John Byrne’s run on the Fantastic Four in the 80’s is arguably the best the title has ever seen. One of the biggest changes the legendary team encountered during his run was when The Thing left the team & She-Hulk replaced him. It was a risky move at the time, but Jennifer Walters rounded out the female ratio quite nicely with her brute strength, beauty and charming sense of humor. We all know that Byrne was a huge fan of She-Hulk and Fantastic Four #275 features the character in one of my favorite covers. She-Hulk, especially in the 80’s had to deal with a LOT of sleazy men gawking over her, this cover features a prime example of exactly that. I’m also looking at this cover and thinking this depiction of the character would be a great one to base look of the upcoming MCU tv series character on. There’s so much you could do with She-Hulk in a live action series and I’m hoping it adds the comedic elements of Byrne’s classic version of the character. I’ve always loved John Byrne and to this day his iconic 70’s and 80’s comic book art, in my opinion, is easily some of the best of the era. This cover is truly classic SHE-HULK!
1988’s ‘Magic of the Universe’ (Originally released as ‘Salamamgkero’ in 1986) is one HELL of a bizarre horror adventure! Shot in the Philippines and chock full of dark creepy tropical locations, you surely get a lot more than you bargained for with an odd film that clearly must have had a pretty decent budget to work with. The plot itself is pretty sweet & simple, a talented circus magician named Jamir while doing his seemingly routine disappearing act to an eager crowd, accidentally makes his assistant/daughter disappear not only into thin air but from our reality entirely.
Perplexed, Jamir decides to search for answers, heads off in search of a creepy, mysterious shaman whom he’s heard rumor of residing deep in a nearby forest. The Shaman mixes him up a concoction of some sort from the severed head of a monkey (some serious ‘Temple of Doom’ tones here) and then ventures into a danger filled alternate dimension, to try and rescue his lover & kid sidekick who also go missing shortly after his daughter does. I’m guessing the monkey brain drink (some sort of DMT type concentration) opened some sort of portal, enabling Jamir to cross over. Once on the “other side” he discovers his loved one are captives of a powerful witch named “Mikula” who’s got a huge, sweaty pulsating head and commands a grotesque army of freakish animal people minions, swamp monsters and a plethora of gooey, gross things that go bump in the night.
The whole romp is a giant, cheezy ass fever dream, full of fog, colorful yet dark sets draped in blue & pink lighting and of course some unsettling puppet creatures. One in particular is “Globo”, a weird ass gremlin type puppet with a tv screen for a stomach. Globo’s even featured in the opening credits as “himself” as they decided to show every actor in their role, with their characters names in the opening credits of the movie, something you’d expect normally at the very end. There’s so much weird shit going on here once Jamir heads off into the alternate dimension that whatever story it’s supposedly trying to tell becomes utterly lost, making the whole thing seem even more dreamlike with every minute that passes. There’s even a weird ass party / dance scene with a full band that curiously resembles GWAR in all their monster glory. I guess I’d say this flick also brings to mind a more demented & confusing version of ‘Labyrinth’ and I mean that in the best way possible. Also at a lean running time of 84 minutes the pace rarely lags, there’s easily enough eye candy to go around here to keep horror fans guessing what oddities will present themselves next onscreen. It’s main villain, (the witch Mikula) is pretty damn entertaining too, I never got tired at looking at her fleshy bulbous head bubbling and come the end of the movie you get some great gooey, 80’s style neon action in the final battle.
If you’re a fan of weird ass cinema ‘Magic of the Universe’ definitely won’t disappoint, it’s tropical, humid nightmarish sets are worth the price of admission alone. Director Tata Esteban is fully ambitious here with his grand horror fantasy vision, perhaps not the most easy to comprehend but hey, this is a perfect movie to check out with a few too many drinks & a gang of trashy cinefiles on a Saturday nite! No one will need to pay too much attention to plot either! It’s available to watch on Youtube or you can also hunt down the dvd version of the movie on a horror double feature! I’m certain there’s a VHS copy of this one out there somewhere still but it’s probably a challenge to track down. I watched this one from my Netflix DVD service (yeah, I still do that! For movies like this!) Check it out if you’re feelin’ crazy..
One of the things I really enjoyed about ‘Avengers: Endgame’ was the “Professor” Hulk finally making his big screen appearance. I’ve gotta admit I was a bit disappointed that this version of the Hulk really didn’t do any smashing and even more of a let down was that we never got to see Hulk and Thanos get a rematch. Just because the Hulk’s got Banner in the brain doesn’t mean he still can’t kick some major ass! Regardless it brought back memories of the character as a kid when “Banner Hulk” was introduced and for me it was shocking to see the character this way. Incredible Hulk #285 was always a favorite of mine, where we really see Banner Hulk in full effect.
I mean the cover and the first page feature Hulk with his classic Banner attire and even some sweet ass combed hair!! Back in 1983 I was in awe that this could even ever be a thing for Hulk, the character during this period feels a lot like the ‘Endgame’ Banner Hulk, where he was a lot more reserved about doing any serious ass kickin’. Later in the 90’s we got Professor Hulk yet again, though he was much more of a bad ass often using guns instead of fists to fight his enemies. Still this great cover is a total classic from artist Ron Wilson and inker Joe Sinnot and of course who doesn’t love a classic showdown with one of his greatest villains-ZZZAX!!! Check out the first page of this issue, it’s one of my all time favorite depictions of the Professor Banner Hulk! He never looked so damn smart and sophisticated!!