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
Remember when Wolverine was truly awesome?! No? Well it’s been a long while since Wolverine was a mysterious, weird looking, bar brawlin’, little runt with indestructible razor sharp claws. Now he’s Old Man Logan because X-23 is the female Wolverine. Now he’s been in a bunch of mainstream movies with a tall, hot, hunky leading man playing him. He’s been way overexposed over the years so Marvel could fully cash in on big time profits. He’s hardly a mysterious character anymore. Wolverine is much like say, the band Metallica in 2016, a watered down, bland, tired version of the badass metal band they were in the 1980’s. Wolverine however didn’t always used to be this way believe it or not way back when he was the epitome of cool. He was so damn awesome back in the 1980’s even the indie comics couldn’t come up with a character who was half as kick ass as ol’ Logan. Yep Marvel had their shit fully together and they knew it. Back in the 1980’s the X-men were something special and over the years they’ve become a gang of predictable, mega mainstream pop culture icons. Well back when Wolverine was a scary dude the X-Men was really the only place you could find this character monthly until 1989 when he finally got his own series. Here’s an example of how awesome the character was in the 80’s. Another amazing cover from the master Barry Windsor Smith….
Here’s an incredible piece of artwork from an awesome 80’s horror movie called The Spookies. I’ve always loved this cover and remember it from waaaaay back when I was a kid in the video store. I only recently saw the movie and it was a damn fun time. I come to find out that the movie was actually supposed to be called “Twisted Souls” and had financial problems causing post production on the movie to come to a halt in 1984. A year later the movie was pieced together with a different director filming additional story lines to finalize the movie in a somewhat cohesive manner with the existing footage. If you get a chance to check out The Spookies it’s worth it, especially if you were a fan of the video for Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. It feels like these guys must have been big fans for sure!
Back in 1986 a cool little series came out from Aricel / Adventure Comics for those D&D nerds called The Adventurers! It was a great comic book jam packed with swords, sorcery, monsters galore and yeah…ninjas. My brother collected this series and though I was a Marvel & DC kid at the time I’d often sneak his much more daring and graphic indie comics any chance he’d leave the house. It was interesting as a kid learning that there indeed was more out there than the “big two”. This rad cover is from the first issue of The Adventurers by Peter Hsu and make no mistake each issue had incredible painted covers. I’m going to have to dig these out again cuz I’m feeling the need for some serious adventures lately!
I dusted off a VHS copy of ‘Thunder Run’ from 1986 last night and we got to see a hotshot 67 year old action star kickin’ major ass in his souped up semi truck! Yeeehaw! Yep this one was a total blast, if you’re looking for some seriously over the top action and crazy car chase trucker mayhem then you just won the fuckin’ lottery!
Forrest Tucker is the man here, a retired truck driver named Charlie who’s asked by an old friend/ Gov’t operative to drive a load of plutonium across a barren Arizona highway to lure out some psychotic terrorists and take them out once and for all. Sounds like a fool proof plan huh?
Nope this one doesn’t give us Jean Claude Van Damme or a Chuck Norris type kicking ass, instead you get an elderly bad ass geezer who tricks out his rig with a bunch deadly secret weapons he can activate via dashboard flip switches. We’ve got some classic bad guys too, their leader, a poor man’s Michael Ironside look alike with a nasty attitude and of course naturally a nasty facial scar (because we all know evil people sport nasty facial scars) does his best to be the perfect evil 80’s villain. The best part of the flick though is when the actual dangerous drive cross country begins and Charlie discovers his grandson is hiding in the cab and is fully ready for duo tag team terrorist ass whoopin!
So once the action kicks into high gear it really just does not let up. Nope this one has crazy terrorists coming after the big rig from every direction on motorcycles, fake cop cars, weaponized Volkswagon Beetles & rival semi trucks. Charlie and his grandson get down and dirty roasting terrorists with flame throwers that they’ve installed into the sides of the semi, battering rams and some truly outrageous big rig road antics.
This is the type of flick where it don’t take much more than a scratch to blow the fuck out of car with huge amounts of fire shit flying everywhere. It’s nice to actually see real explosions again in a damn movie that’s for sure. One scene in particular where they jump the 18 wheeler (with plutonium in back mind you) over a moving train! Oh and the finale through the ridiculous laser tunnel is a total blast as well. So check this one out if you’re jonesin’ for a different type of action flick and action hero as ‘Thunder Run’ will deliver the goods on all cylinders and then some! This one’s worth hunting down!
It seems the Critters back! There’s rumors going around that Warner Bros is getting ready to revive the 1980’s classic flick with a reboot or sorts. Well we all know that this new version of critters will most likely be nothing like the original movies, but a fan took matters into his own hands and came up with this awesome short film, Critters: Bounty Hunter.
This is pretty rad and it feels just like the 80’s Critters franchise we have grown to love over the years. Jordan Downey put this cool little six minute film together and if Warner wants to get the spirit of the original they should really be taking notes on this sweet little short! This is the type of Critters that we want. I’m starting to feel like the fan made movies are better than what Hollywood is coming up with these days- Check this shit out!
I love digging up cool comic books that took place around Christmas time and Daredevil #229 fits that bill quite perfectly! This is an especially rad cover of a time when Matt Murdock went homeless on the streets of Hell’s Kitchen due to the Kingpin ruining his entire life. This has got to be one of the lowest points in the characters history as Murdock is down on his luck in this grim story arc written by Frank Miller before he turned into a crazy douche bag. This issue also has one of the most brutal fights between Murdock and the Kingpin as they go head to head in Fisk’s office. It’s bloody and Matt gets his ass kicked big time…damn I’m feeling as I type this the urge to read these issues again immediately! The cover is brilliantly drawn back in 1986 by one of my fav artists David Mazzucchelli and clearly shows how crappy Christmas was that particular year for Daredevil….