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!
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!!!
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!
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
Damn do I miss me some old school Hulk adventures! The Hulk comics will never quite be the same it seems and I don’t expect them to be I mean it’s goddamn 2017 and we’ve now got “Totally Awesome Hulk” instead. That’s fine, but long gone are the days of the crazy old school sci-fi superhero adventures of the Jade Giant. I just love the look of these old vintage covers and Incredible Hulk #213 from 1977 capture exactly the vibe I’m referring to. I mean, hell, how awesome is The Quintronic Man?! What a classic weirdo Hulk villain. I love this era of Hulk comics where you’d just be super stoked to see the Hulk’s next big brawl as some super powered mad scientists pester him into a total rage. A total classic cover by Rich Buckler and Ernie Chan! Oh those were the days!!
Here’s the second installment of the all time greatest one shot comics, featuring small self contained stories that begin & end all within the span of one single issue! Today we’ve got an excellent story from 2001 in The Incredible Hulk #26 (vol. 2) written by Sean Mckeever and drawn by one of my personal favorites, the amazing Kyle Hotz. I immediately had a soft spot for this issue as it takes place in Wausau, Wisconsin (and even features ‘Eagle River’ on a highway sign, a place where my family’s had a cottage for ages) a state that we don’t normally see superhero adventures taking place. I had a feeling that Mckeever must’ve been a Wisconsin native to include such random small towns in this story and I was right as his Wiki page states he’s from Appleton (I used to live there!).
Anyway the story features The Hulk as he wanders aimlessly through the night on a lonely highway being drawn to a nearby city’s lights in the distance. The Hulk appears to be at peace in the quiet night, but hey we all know for the jade giant tranquility never lasts long. The cool thing about this particular issue is that Hulk kinda takes a back seat as the story really follows the exploits of b-lister down on his luck supervillain ‘The Killer Shrike’ and his wife Nadine who’re traveling the country aimlessly in his beat up van. I love what this one brings to the table as we’re able to see Simon Maddicks (The Killer Shrike) life as a real person. We witness the struggle of a woman who’s stuck by her mate as he’s chosen a life as a superhuman criminal constantly on the run from the law. She’s tired and ready to live a normal boring life. Shrike’s promising her soon he’ll be ready and willing to give up the life of crime and pulls into Wausau claiming that it could be the city for both of them to settle down in.
It doesn’t take long for her to realize Simon’s lying through his teeth as he eyes up a convenience store and tells her he’s got a new plan. Rather than looking for the big score like he has for years he’s gonna hit small towns hard where there’s no superhuman resistance. We get a real glimpse in to what life might really be like for a supervillain who at his core is just a regular small time crook. There haven’t been too many comics that have covered this topic so intimately and really given us a look at the starving supervillain’s daily life. It’s too bad The Killer Shrike doesn’t realize this small city’s also harboring the most powerful brute force on the planet-The Hulk. We get a compelling introspective into just what makes The Hulk tick and where his thoughts wander to when he’s in a state of peace with his surroundings. There’s a lot of great dialogue packed into this little story and Hotz’s unique artwork really brings this tale to life
The Killer Shrike suits up in his van and hit’s the convenience store with an easy small time score, or so he thinks. On his way out with the cash he nearly runs head on into you guessed it…good ol’ green jeans himself. The Shrike in sheer panic attacks The Hulk, who really just wants to be left alone. He’s doesn’t let up either as he’s convinced he can take down The Hulk himself, he keeps on striking until he levels an entire building upon the jade giant. The Killer Shrike however quickly realizes that very building also crushed his getaway van with his lover, Nadine inside. As things often go wrong when puny humans decide to pester the Hulk, this issue delivers a heartfelt punch to the gut as we witness one fateful night in the life of Simon Maddicks. I wish Marvel could capture this type of depth in their characters and villains more often as The Incredible Hulk #26 would be great issue to present to Marvel executives today as they ponder upon why their comic book sales have declined so much recently. Check this issue out next time you’re at the comic shop roaming through the back issue boxes, it’s a damn fine little slice of storytelling! P.S. here’s an old Marvel Universe profile for the Killer Shrike!
Over the years we all have enjoyed and sometimes hated the giant “epic” multi title crossovers and mini-series that are so damn popular these days. However some of my personal favorite comic book stories are short and sweet. They often times have nothing to do with the major story arc you’re currently reading in that title and especially back in the 70’s & 80’s these self contained stories that had a beginning and end to them all in one book were sometimes more heavy hitting than any crossover could ever be. So I’ll be showcasing some of my favorites and the first one that came to mind might be my favorite of them all.
Flash back to 1986 when X-Men #205 hit the shelves. This issue is easily one of the best Wolverine stories of all time, and it’s all in just one issue. A brilliant epic crafted by Chris Claremont and Barry Windsor Smith remains one of the darkest and most brutal issues of X-men to date. Let me clarify that this was during a time when Wolverine was rarely seen in solo adventures and the character was still deeply mysterious.
The story was called “Wounded Wolf” and featured Lady Deathstrike’s first appearance as a super freaky ass cyborg as well as her three Reaver mercenary minions. It also featured Katie Powers from the mutant kid team ‘Power Pack’ who during a snow storm encounters Wolverine who’s beaten to a pulp, covered in blood and nearly naked. Soon the two of them are both on the run from Lady Deathstrike and her cyborgs who’re out for bloody revenge. It reminds of a Wolverine movie storyboard Ridley Scott might have anticipated directing in the 80’s. Continue reading