I loved the old Marvel Fanfare, back in the day it worked as a unique little anthology book. Featuring some lesser known, as well as big name superheroes in their own little self contained unique adventures. Printed on glossy paper and featuring often times more unconventional stories in the way they were presented. They also of course had some knockout covers, this one, from Marvel Fanfare #22 from 1982 features a unique moment where we see Doctor Octopus and unlikely villain for Iron Man completely intimidating him with a gang of dangerous supervillains all getting ready to gang up on Tony Stark! I’ve always loved to see comic books where superheroes face off against villains who they might not normally be associated with. This one is a great representation of that as we see Iron Man truly vulnerable, in a deadly situation beautifully illustrated by Ken Steacy in this iconic fold out cover! Oh how I miss the 1980s…
I have so many great memories of being a kid back in the eighties. Many of those memories involve my comic books that I took with me everywhere. I’m not going to lie, I was a Marvel Comics kid & easily my favorite superhero was The Incredible Hulk.
The other night I was paging through one of my old beat up comic books and ran across a cool holiday advertisement in between the pages. This brought back a whole bunch of memories of some of these Christmas themed advertisements from yesteryear that I used to see all the time in my favorite comic books.
Here’s a few of them that will bring a little bit of Christmas cheer likely if you’re around my age, oh the sweet memories of being advertised to….
Here’s another installment of ‘Creepy Comic Book Covers’! This week as we grow closer to Halloween it’s only obvious we’d check out a odd battle that took place way back in 1977 between Iron Man and yeah…Frankenstein’s Monster!! As it states on the cover he’s “the most unexpected foe of the year” and I always loved it when Marvel would pit it’s classic superheroes up against classic monsters. This is an excellent cover that features Tony Stark in some deep shit as Frankenstein’s Monster just got done serving him his ass on a platter! What I really love are Frankenstein’s Monster’s weird ass little minions crowding around Iron Man armed with wooden clubs and out for blood! A great halloween flashback from comic book art legends Val Mayerick & Dave Cockrum!
I can’t begin to tell you just how much I love this particular comic book cover and how much as a child I loved this particular issue of ‘What If?’!! It really make sense as we get one of the greatest comic book artists ever responsible for this masterpiece, Bill Sienkiewicz doing an unforgettable rendition of the jade giant on issue #45. ‘What If?’ was an incredibly fun comic book back in the classic Marvel days and this issue from 1984 was one as a kid I carried with me everywhere. This one retells the classic origin story but in this reality Banner fails to save Rick Jones from the gamma blast and while Rick doesn’t die the Army ends up killing him-Sending the Hulk into a crazy rage. The Hulk freaks out and takes down the Fantastic Four and Iron Man killing several them in the process. It’s a great, surprisingly violent issue and in the end The Hulk’s rage costs him his own life. Anyway this cover will always remain one of my faves, Sienkiewicz never fails when doing comic book covers, with the pencil and ink in his hands you always knew you were going to get something truly special!
I’m really enjoying the latest Marvel Netflix original series ‘Jessica Jones’ and I totally loved Daredevil. It really got me thinking about why these shows seem so far (at least to me) so much better than the Marvel cinematic experience!
After a little thought I decided to nail down my five reasons Marvel should send some of their more popular characters down the same path as Jessica & Matt Murdok!
1.Better Character Development:
It’s clear one of the main reasons why I’ve liked the tv shows more so than the movies is simply because we have so much more time to really get to know the characters inside and out. It can be tough sometimes within only a couple hours to really get a character to the point where you actually understand them and their true motivations without everything feeling a bit rushed.
Netflix gives us the time we need without boring us to really fall in love with the characters. It plays out much more like a comic book taking the time it needs to tell a great story. Some of the Marvel movies simply try and pack way too much shit into too small a time. Not only that but Marvel movies are so concerned with tying everything together between franchises that sometimes you get lost in a big sloppy plot. Imagine for a minute if Captain America would have been a tv series, how much more it would have meant to see Bucky come back as the Winter Soldier after spending a whole season with him and Cap in World Ward II?!
2. Believable Special Effects:
Sometimes when I’m watching a Marvel movie I feel like I’m watching a frikin’ cartoon. There’s soooo much CG and special FX work that it ends up a bit feeling like I’m watching ‘Roger Rabbit’. The Netflix shows have really done a spectacular job with the special effects and they flow nicely alongside the story and the action sequences.
They haven’t required the amount of CG that say The Avengers used but sometimes I really wonder if these big bloated shiny CG stuffed spectacles really need to be telling stories that need that much in the way of FX. More is NOT always better folks and some of these Marvel movies just have NOT aged well and it hasn’t even been that long.
One thing the Marvel movies do NOT have going for them are good villains. The Netflix series works hard at giving us reasons to love and at times really hate the villains. We never really get much in the way of character development for the bad guys in a Marvel movie. Usually they’re just merely there as a reason to see some crazy ass battle go down.
The Netflix series give us the time with the bad guys that we need to really understand them or just really wanna see them get their asses served up. I haven’t once given two shits about any villain in a Marvel movie. And folks your superheroes are only as good as their evil counterparts. So if you ain’t got a good bad guy you ain’t got shit.
Yep, the Marvel movies are all about money and selling boatloads of shit to the kids. Making a killing with merchandise means the movies can never go too dark. However the Netflix Marvel stuff doesn’t have to worry about that, they can cuss, draw blood and have tons of sex if they want to.
The Marvel movies don’t dare go too dark or violent, perhaps that’s one reason why their villains just suck so bad? They’re not allowed to really get all of their evil out onscreen, now imagine the what the Red Skull would have been like in a Netflix series…
5.They Don’t Follow the Marvel Movie Formula:
Let’s all face it, the Marvel movies most definitely have a bit of a tired and predictable formula. I really liked Ant-man but it really felt so “2008”, while watching it’s plot unfold I thought “man we’re really doing this whole thing again?” It felt pretty interchangeable with any other Marvel movies I’ve seen. Good guy gets powers, boring bad guy who has similar powers, cute love interest in danger, big CG fight at end. Blah blah blah..
Or if you’re The Avengers movies you have them all fight a super blah bad guy and then at the end of the movie a big CG slugfest, in a big city, fighting a bunch of similar looking CG clones. The second Avengers movies was really just a retelling of the first, instead of Loki you had Ultron and instead of the hordes of CG Chituari Warriors you had the horde of CG Ultron clones fight at the end in Sokovia instead of New York.
The Netflix shows have broken away from the usual mold at least for the moment and that’s god damn refreshing. Hmm….But then again there is this now:
Here’s some really rad Christmas themed comic book covers from yesteryear to get you into the holiday mood! Check out these 24 holiday comic book covers and have an awesome Christmas eve night! Ho Ho Ho!!
I know, The Avengers: Age of Ultron probably doesn’t need any more hype, as it’s clearly on it’s way to probably being the most successful movie of all time. But to not chime in a little on this one would be a crime right? I was a big fan of the first one, it was a damn fun movie, I finally got a pretty decent Hulk (though I still am not a fan of an entirely CG character) and it merged all the other Marvel movies together seamlessly. Now I’ll say this I’m not sure that The Avengers with all of it’s slick computerized fx will age very well and I to be honest I wasn’t a huge fan of Loki & The Chitauri as the films main villains. But regardless now we have the first trailer for the second installment and it looks pretty damn awesome! So here it is again, like this fucking thing needs any more attention with it’s near thirty million views in like 2 days…
It’s clear the movie is going for a darker almost apocalyptic vibe to it. It’s tone is much more serious and the trailer clearly lets us know this movie is filled with secrets and clues to future Marvel movies. The first look at Ultron was chilling too, he’s a creepy ass robot the way he should be, so I’m tickled pink that they got that right. It promises to an epic battle between The Hulk and Iron Man (or possibly Iron Man’s armor under the control of Ultron?) that I can’t wait to see. It’s clear there’s some sort of problem with Tony Stark in this one that I suspect could set up the movies for the Civil War plot they have been talking about. I also see potential for maybe a Planet Hulk flick coming out of this one. I cannot wait to see the Vision! And this messed up romance!
Now as cool as Ultron looks I wish and hope that there’s more to flick in way of super villains. I love Ultron, but the whole idea of The Avengers fighting another huge ass group of guys who look the same (ahem the Chitauri in the first film and army of Ultrons this time)) again might be the one thing that I am not too thrilled with. I really would love instead to see some Avengers villains really get into the next movie. Give me The Masters of Evil, Baron Zemo, The Super Skrull, The Absorbing Man, The Leader, M.O.D.O.K., The Wrecking Crew for cryin’ out loud!! Where are all these great villains dammit?
I wanna see the Avengers take on a team of bad guys like in the comic books-Let’s get a roster of great actors for the third movie with a final superhero/villain battle unlike anything we’ve ever seen on film. I cross my fingers for part three to deliver this and more. In the meantime though I am pretty damn pumped about The Age of Ultron, it somehow looks leaps and bound more exciting than the first one. It seems Marvel just can’t be stopped, let’s see Fox or Sony or hell even DC top this! It’s an exciting time to be a fan of the superhero…
As a kid I loved the Fastner & Larsen superhero paintings they did back in the 1980’s which were often sold as portfolios! These two started out drawing fantasy & scantily clad sci fi pin up girls and muscle bound dudes, I’d imagine that Frank Cho must have had mega inspiration from these two. Eventually they were approached by Marvel to do some work and boy did they ever! As a kid I had these portfolios and they still today remain some of my favorite pics of some of my favorite superheroes. Today these guys still do amazing art check out their website, and check out some of these classic comic book paintings from yesteryear! Stuff like this is why I love comic books today sooo much!
The verdict is in! The Guardians of the Galaxy have moved from C to D list superheroes to A list superstars literally overnight! I had my doubts about it, I mean who wouldn’t considering their previous popularity or should I say unpopularity in the comic books. But the movie was a ton of fun, it had great effects, a neat-o story, excellently executed characters and a ton of laughs! It also had another thing going for it-it stood on its own with out needing to constantly reference The Avengers!! It was honestly a breath of fresh air to see a Marvel flick that wasn’t (at this point) trying to tie in or crossover into The Avengers. I like the whole crossover cinematic movie universe that Marvel has created but does everything always need to tie into something else? The answer is no even though it seems now everyone is getting the idea that they want to crossover and create one big movie universe for their separate franchises.
Don’t get me wrong I love The Avengers-it was awesome. But I can’t tell you how happy I was that this had nothing to do really with Thor, Captain America & Iron Man! I hear the plan is to have the Guardians meet The Avengers. When I think about that, it really doesn’t excite as much as I thought it might. maybe because I simply enjoyed The Guardians so much that I’d just love to see them hit space on their own, Avenger free so to say. I think they should tie in a little bit with Thanos but do we really need a movie jam packed with ten plus superheroes crammed into space? I don’t think so! Right now I’m just excited to this movie again and I’m this close to saying I like the Guardians movie even more than The Avengers! Nice work Mr. Gunn!!!
Avengers #201 from 1980 has a truly memorable cover by George Perez & Terry Austin! It’s not often you see Jarvis showcased as the lead in any comic book much less and Avengers issue. This however features the legendary butler ready to action telling the Avengers to “stand back”! So just what is it that Jarvis feels is a job only he can handle? Well it turns out that he takes on an adult bully named “Bruiser” while he visits his mother! Bruiser is terrorizing her neighborhood when Jarvis decides to take matters into his own hands. Yep Jarvis finally gets his own arch nemesis which he makes short work of! I always liked the Jarvis character and it’s too bad they decided to make him an “operating system” to Tony Stark in the movies. Perhaps they were afraid he’d just come off as a cheap version of Batman’s Alfred? Also, Captain America kinda pisses me off as on the cover of issue #201 he’s clearly laughing at Jarvis-what a dick!! Show some respect Rogers!