Here’s a flashback to late 1980s indie comics who’s covers pack a punch (or more so a KICK)! Wisconsin superhero Badger was always a favorite of mine, for one reason because the cheese state, from which I hail, never got much attention in the superhero spectrum. Mike Baron’s ‘First Comics’ creation was a truly unique spin on the genre. This incredible cover was one as a Wisconsinite always stuck in my mind! Badger was truly reppin’ the Midwest! A dynamic cover from 1988 by Steve Rude is one of my faves hands DOWN!
The Badger has definitely returned to form in the latest second issue from Devil’s Due / 1First Comics! It’s always nice to read a solid debut these days but it means a lot when the second issue in many cases is better than the first and this is the case in the latest reboot of the legendary Badger series from creator Mike Baron. You can read my review of issue #1 right here.
Anyway the second issue brings back a more familiar feel to the cult 80’s indie icon. We’re really seeing more of a modern retelling of the origin story of Norbert Sykes, which is thus far packed with the perfect amount of that familiar Baron style of quirky comedy and a degree of realism that make this comic thus far one of my favorite recent monthly titles. I actually think the current writers of Deadpool could learn a thing or two from Baron’s tasty recipe on this title.
So what do we get this issue? Well Norbert and his buddy Ham are mysteriously released from the mental ward, partly due to Ham’s “magical” abilities as an ancient druid. Ham also purchases an old castle on the outskirts of Madison Wisconsin where the two of them plan to live. Ham however reveals he’s got a a serious problem with a powerful wizard rival none other than Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Or could Ham just be batshit cray?!
Well things get worse when a Russian enforcer breaks into the castle ready to kill, good thing Norbert Sykes has got multiple personalities, one of which is the Kung Fu ass kicker The Badger! Lastly we get a glimpse of Putin himself as he and his crew of scientists are thawing out a prehistoric mammoth in a glacier. Yeah it’s crazy shit and also a ton of fun.
I’m really happy this character is being given a chance in 2016, so far the series has great potential, I’m not a huge fan of the artwork in issue two, I personally think Badger deserves better. It looked a bit rushed, I wish they could land someone like Paul Pope or old schooler Mike Zeck as a regular on the series. Aside from that I totally dig it as a whole and will definitely be back for issue #2. Ask your local shop to carry Badger as I don’t think this series is getting enough attention!
I just read the first issue of the latest reboot of 80’s indie superhero Badger recently released by Devil’s Due and the formerly defunct First Comics. Seeing it and it’s retro looking cover on the shelf brought back some great days of hanging out in weirdo dingy comic book shops in the 1980’s with my brother in Wisconsin. Badger took place in Wisconsin and back in the day I used to collect this series, admittedly a bit confused by it’s incredibly offbeat characters and story arcs at times back then. Still the character was always unique, a mentally ill crime fighter with multiple personalities who lived in a castle in Wisconsin with a wizard named Ham. I mean what’s not to love right?
Well Mike Baron the original creator is back with a current retelling of the character’s origin in a pretty neat-o first issue. Issue one starts off with Norbert Sykes (our protagonist) as he signs up for the military and heads off to Afghanistan where he quickly begins to go crazy. He’s paired up with dog named Otis, who he clearly relates to more than any of the soldiers and heads off into the battlefield. It’s not long before his animal companion becomes a casualty of war and Norbert’s taken captive by enemy forces. While held prisoner he’s visited by a spirit animal, in the form of you guessed it a Badger! He agrees to devote his life fighting for the rights of the animals of earth and then embarks on a crazy killing spree against the enemy. He’s soon detained, shipped back to the good ol’ USA and institutionalized. It’s here where we first start to see again this is by no means your average origin story.
The issue was a good debut, however I think they could have really spread this one story over two issues to really build his origin in an even more powerful way. It felt a bit rushed at times and I hope they slow the pace down just a bit and really let us get to know just what makes this dude tick. The story was also a darker more serious tone than what I was originally expecting which honestly ended up being quite a pleasant surprise as this character has proven before he can lead a compelling tale if that’s the type of one Baron wants to tell at the moment.
The art by Jim Fern was pretty solid too, if maybe a bit stiff at times or that could just be in contrast to the incredible cover art by Paul Pope. I’m gonna be back for issue two to see exactly where this one goes. I’m quite curious to see if the elements of the 80’s Badger come into play and how they approach some of the more offbeat characters and settings from the original series. I’m also curious about this Badger/Putin fight rumored to happen soon. Either way it’s comforting to see a familiar face back on the shelves in 2016 with a solid debut I felt a bit like it was 1986 all over again…
It’s now the new year YAY! 2015. Everyone has now felt the heavy hangover that comes along with New Years once again. Everyone attended parties and got wild and crazy! So lately I’ve been thinking about my favorite superheroes and if I were throw a party, just which of them I’d invite. It’s an interesting idea figuring out who’d get an invitation and as much as I love The Incredible Hulk he’s the last guy you want at the party. First off Banner would be a total bore, that is unless he got pissed off, then you’d have real trouble on your hands! Plus imagine The Hulk wasted, it’d be nearly impossible to have a conversation with his already limited vocabulary! People like Captain America and Superman can stay home too, drink milk and nibble on cookies because the last thing you need at a party are a coupla’ goody two-shoes!
So just who the hell are the best of the best to party down with? Well use my guide next year and make sure these superhumans are on the A-list! They’re certain to provide plenty of entertainment to any party! So let’s get started!
Number 10. Iron Man
Who the hell doesn’t want a rich playboy at their party? Hell, Tony Stark is one of the most famous alcoholics in comic book history! He also could fund the entire thing himself for you, and bring al of his hot ladyfriends along with him to really liven things up. The only problem could be that Tony may not know when to quit and could end up lingering at your house far into the afternoon of the next day. You’d have to be careful because he’d most likely be the guy who’d have you back partying in the A.M. leaving you with a heavy week long hangover to recover from. Bottom line Stark just don’t know when to quit!
Also just make sure he’s not depressed, he’s known to be quite an annoying drunk when he’s down and out. Invite with caution!
Number 9. The Sandman
What? You didn’t know ol’ Sandy was a party animal? You betcha, though he’s a bit of a rogue he’s a great guy to invite to the party! He’ll come equipped with a bunch of interesting stories and he’s always willing to bring the beer! Little known fact the Sandman is a drinking bud of Ben Grimm and has even visited Grimm in the hospital….with a bunch of beer! Sandman is a good guy to know but a bit of a wild card, he’ll be a lot of fun but you may have to keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn’t steal your cash from outta your wallet while you’re taking a leak!
Number 8. The Badger
Yep this guy will most definitely make your party interesting and he’s from my home state of Wisconsin to boot. Badger is quite an interesting character who just so happens to love partying! Being from the land of cheese he’s quite able and willing to down as much beer as you can put in front of him but he also has multiple personalities, lives with a Wizard named “Ham” and has an odd habit of calling everyone “Larry”. He also can speak to animals so if you have any pets you can be rest assured that they’ll have a great time as well! He’s probably the only superhero who’s played tug a war with Spuds MacKenzie for a beer. The only problem is he’s completely bat shit crazy-wait is that a problem?
Number 7. She-Hulk
Hell yeah we need some female energy at the party for sure and why the heck shouldn’t it be She-Hulk? She’s super funny, a total babe and incredibly flirtatious! You know she’s gonna show up to the party dressed to impress too!
Plus she can drink any party bro under the table but watch out cuz she’s been known to hit on guys pretty hard too after drinking a bit too much, just check out how she threw herself on The Thing! Dang this would not fly in 2018!
This week here I just had to post one of my favorite comic book covers beautifully drawn by one of the best artists the industry has ever seen-Mr. Mike Zeck (if you doubt me on rad of an artist he is you best check out his website)! What makes this even more special is that it’s his rendition of Wisconsin’s most beloved psychotic super hero, Madison’s very own Badger!! This cover from 1988 was always a favorite of mine, this legendary comic book put Wisconsin on the comic book radar when it started in 1983 and the comic book’s creator Mike Baron lived right there in Madison. Perhaps Baron needs to make a new Badger mini series where he takes down Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s regime and storms the capitol with a pack of enraged farm animals! How’s that for an idea??!