Hey happy damn 4th of July America! So today it’s just all about the USA right? You bet! Well let’s take a quick break from all of the red, white & blue festivities to pay some tribute to four lesser known superheroes who are NOT Captain America that also have an unhealthy but awesomely bizarre obsession with the United States! There’s just nothing quite like a patriotic weirdo superhero on the 4th!
The Spirit of 76
Yeah this guy is indeed a weirdo, I mean look at his utterly ridiculous costume he came up with and thought would scare the bejeezus out of all of the nasty supervillains who come to threaten the good ol’ USA! William Naslund came on the Marvel Comics scene back in 1977 and for a very brief period even assumed the mantle of Captain America! WOW. He has no superhuman powers but did manage to fashion himself a bulletproof cape!
Ok so if you thought Spirit of 76 had a dumb look, well DC Comic’s Uncle Sam has taken the patriotic thing to the god damn extreme! This guy would put fear into the hearts of evil doers just by the possibility of how crazy he’d have to be to don a costume that ridiculously yet awesomely pathetic! He first appeared WAY back in Quality Comics in 1940 and then was brought into the DC universe officially in 1973. Get this, Uncle Sam is described as a spiritual entity created through an occult ritual by the Founding Fathers. Damn, no wonder why he’s so freaky. Sam’s got super strength, invulnerability, the ability to alter his size, enhanced speed, along with some degree of clairvoyance. He also can teleport to a pocket dimension called ‘The Heartland’. Whatta guy huh?
Well here’s a dude who I can finally get behind. American Eagle is a total badass and deserves more love in Marvel Comics. Born as Jason Strongbow, a name he should have just used instead of American Eagle IMO, he first appeared in a team up with The Thing back in 1981. A member of the Navajo Nation, American Eagle possesses superhuman strength, enabling him to bench press approximately 15 tons! He also possesses superhuman speed, agility, stamina, and sturdiness as a result of radiation-induced mutation. He later got a less cultural looking costume:
He’s featured, along with our next hero in one of my favorite modern Marvel Comics stories featured in Thunderbolts #112-115 from 2007 that is a MUST read!
Here’s another guy who just could never quite get the recognition of his idol Captain America. He even settled for a second rate moniker to fight crime. Yet Jack Flag is still a pretty cool guy, even if he’s obsessed a bit too much with his country. First appearing on the scene on 1994 as part of Captain America’s computer hotline network, Flag has proven himself to be an interesting character, who was inspired by his hero Captain America to become one himself. In that same Thunderbolts run I mentioned above, where Jack Flag like The American Eagle both stand up for their Constitutional rights against the United States government during the superhuman registration act! As you can see in the picture he has been noted to go the full distance dying his hair red white and blue!
So the big news on the Indiana Jones front is that Harrison Ford has officially fianlly started filming the latest installment of the franchise! I’ll admit, I consider ‘Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ a guilty pleasure, but by no means do I consider it a great Indiana Jones film! I’m really hoping that they will get this final installment, with the original actor portraying the iconic 80s hero right this time for one last hurrah. I ‘m always down for some Indiana Jones and even recently went back and revisited some of the 90s ‘Young Indiana Jones’, which isn’t quite as good as I’d hoped it to be. So this now leads me down a new path: the 1980s Marvel comic series ‘The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones’ and here today I’m showcasing one of the series best covers beautifully done by Bret Blevins… I’ve never read an issue of this but this amazing cover certainly has inspired me to!
Mike Zeck in my opinion is easily one of the BEST comic book cover artists of all time! Now with the news of Spider-man’s arch nemesis Kraven the Hunter being cast with Aaron Taylor Johnson in the role, I thought it’d be the perfect time to revisit one of the classic covers of the 1980’s limited series. Check out The Amazing Spider-man #293 from 1987’s brilliant cover by Zeck. Hopefully the cinematic version of Kraven will honor not only this iconic look but also pay homage to the classic storyline. This cover truly shows just how great Zeck is with this brilliant work of art!
I recently pulled out my old ‘Machine Man’ limited series from 1984, some thing I do pretty regularly because it’s just that damn awesome. The series brings Machine Man into the future of 2020 where he faces off with the evil Arno Stark, the next Iron Man! The thing that sets this series apart from a lot of the stuff back then is the fact that Barry Windsor Smith showcases how much of a bad ass he is with his stunning artwork on not only the cover but the inside as well. The series of 4 covers is pretty amazing as it shows his circuitry transforming him into his original form. Here’s issue #3:
They reissued the series again a decade later and then issued a trade paperback with yet another amazing cover by Barry!!
So sooner or later The Joker was bound to get tired of Gotham and Batman! 1987’s Superman #9 has one hell of an awesome cover by John Byrne and the story is pretty fun as The Joker stops by Metropolis to make people go crazy with his deadly laughing gas! He’s also managed to bring along a robot Superman with a freakin’ nuclear bomb inside, thats when Superman steps onto the scene! He easily foils the Joker’s plan asking point blank why he came to Metropolis, Joker simply laughs and says “Ooh Superman…Why not?”
What I really love here is just seeing seeing The Joker on the cover of a Superman comic, something we rarely, if ever, had seen before this. It’s always great I think when we see a traditional villain of one superhero square off against another. Byrne captures the Joker in his own unique way here on this amazing cover I want on a t-shirt! My only issue is I wish The Joker had been able to give Superman a better run for his money!
I’ve been saying it here literally for years, the MCU is missing the boat on one of their most outrageously hilarious superhero teams: The Great Lakes Avengers! Since the Avengers are still all the rage and essentially dismantled at the moment, it’d be the perfect time for the comedic gold of Wisconsin’s very own superhero team to get a series of their own on Disney Plus. The team was created way back in 1989 by none other than comic icon writer and artist John Byrne and their introduction back then meant a lot to me at the time being a Wisconsinite myself. Essentially a band of misfit z-grade superheroes who decide to start an Avengers team of their own to rep the Midwest, only problem is their crime fighting skills aren’t exactly “Avenger’s level”. Nope the team’s got A LOT of work to do-but none of that’s gonna stop em’ from tryin’ dammit!
Even at one point Hawkeye and Mockingbird attempt to train them, which of course proves to be quite challenging in itself. The team went on to later appear alongside Deadpool and also had a great 4-issue miniseries by Dan Slott that’s a must read. They more recently tried to give them their own monthly book, but it really lost the dark comedy angle and edge of their previous appearances and was cancelled. This great cover by John Byrne shows once again how effective simplicity can be as we got our very first look at the mighty Great Lakes Avengers!~
WandaVision seems to be the talk of the town, whether you like it or not it’s Disney +’s MCU big kick off series and from what I’ve heard it’s quite daring in it’s storytelling. I still haven’t checked it out, something about it just hasn’t pulled me into setting aside time to give it a try. Maybe when all the episodes are out I’ll dive in. But before all this hype of WandaVision we had this nifty 12 part limed series with the famous superhero couple released waaay back in 1985. Maybe I’ll give this one a spin again before I dave into more Disney + schlock, I’ve got to admit the first issue sure did look promising from the cover alone don’t you think? If this was what had been marketed for the MCU series I’d be 100% down from the very damn start!
First let’s get this out of the way-HAPPY DAMN NEW YEAR! Let’s hope 2021 is leaps and bounds better than 2020, I mean things can’t get worse can they? Well back in 1973 Batman had one shitty ass New Years in issue #247. He and Robin had their hands full trying to stop a weirdo in a holiday sweater who’s planted canisters of nerve gas all around Gotham! Phew I’m glad I’m only suffering from a hangover and not doing THAT today. Check out this blast from the Caped Crusader’s troubled holiday past with this sweet classic cover drawn by Dick Giordano & Gaspar Saladino!
Happy Thanksgiving to all Universal Dorks out there!! Today hopefully people will be able to at least cook up some good food to take the edge off of the pandemic worries we’ve all felt lately? Well if that’s the case perhaps you’d consider a few recipes straight from the classic Marvel superheroes themselves! Yes in 1977 Marvel released the ‘Mighty Marvel Superheroes Cook Book’!!
This was way back when things were a bit simpler and people had more of a sense of humor about stuff in a way that people of the Earth in 2020 can’t quite seem to comprehend. Now I’m not quite sure just how tasty these recipes actually are but they’re certainly fun to check out. It’s got the art of Joe Giella who also did the Marvel fitness book which is awesome too. Anyway take a gander at some of these hilarious recipes when superheroes were still full of wonder and just plain fun..
One of the true all time greats as far as comic book artists go is most definitely Bill Sienkiewicz! His style is like none other and as far as comic book covers go, he is one the BEST! Anytime you’d get a cover from Bill you knew you were in for something several notches above what was normally brought to the table. Here are 5 covers he did for the Marvel 1983 adaptation of Return of the Jedi, a bit different from his normal output in being they’re much more simplistic than what he’s normally known for. However his final painting for the trade paperback (the last image) showcases his epic classic style, this all brings me back to a time when Star Wars had limitless potential. Oh what could have been…..