Ahhh yes I can still remember how stoked I was as a kid waaaay back in 1985 when John Byrne took over writing and drawing The Incredible Hulk for a far too short of a run. I was only 11 years old, but I seriously adored John Byrne, he was hands down my favorite comic book artist and The Hulk was my favorite comic book character. Byrne had been writing and drawing Alpha Flight, which of course I was a die hard fan of too, when he switched to full on Hulk mode with issue #314. I was thrilled!
I must have read that issue a hundred times and the cover itself couldn’t have been more awesome as it featured the Jade Giant in all of his Byrne-esque glory along with a gang of his deadliest villains behind him ready to start some shit. The Leader, Modok, The Rhino, Abomination & The Juggernaut! Byrne’s highly detailed artwork pushed The Hulk to new levels of awesomeness, the character was more massive than he’d ever been too. Though the villains on the cover end up being just part of Hulk’s over active imagination, the Byrne run fully made up for that with making Hulk-centric character Doc Samson one of, if not the main character of his short run. From that point in in Hulk history Doc Samson quickly became one of my favorite Marvel characters, the series also improved upon Doc’s costume, giving him a new one, ditching his classic but sorta awful lightning bolt suit he’d worn previously.
In the past we’d seen Samson tangle with the Hulk but never quite like this. I absolutely love how Byrne’s Hulk completely dwarf’s Samson in size like never before, yet he proves just how much of a bad ass the character really is with not only his brawn but also his brains. This issue is essentially one big fight between the two and begins with a more mindless version of the Hulk who’d been missing in another dimension called The Crossroads, exiled by Doctor Strange for over a year (those were great issues too!). Samson cleverly defeats The Hulk and makes Hulk history using his genius scientific intellect to actually separate Bruce Banner from The Hulk as two living breathing entities.
This was a great era of Hulk history and let’s face it John Byrne was easily one of the best comic book writers and artists of the 70’s & 80’s if not of all time. During this run he pumped out 8 issues, one being an awesome Marvel Fanfare where’s Byrne’s stunning artwork proved he was easily one of the best of all time when it came to drawing the jade giant. Another was The Hulk annual #14 which he wrote but master Hulk artist Sal Buscema drew. I love the Byrne era Hulk and apparently he’d had big plans for the series but was thwarted, there’s actually a great story about what went down here with the Byrne Hulk run for all of you Hulk-a-maniancs. Also check out ‘Incredible Hulk: Visionaries #1‘ Trade Paperback which features the whole output of Byrne 80’s Hulk. Ahhh those were the good ol’ days….
So I recently checked out the Wonder Woman movie and to my surprise it was pretty damn good, for a modern day superhero movie. I only really say this because the first time we saw Gal Gadot in the role was in the wretched Batman V Superman. Uggh I tried to erase that horror story from my memory.. BUT It seems to me that DC finally did it right and impressively releasing the, waaaaaay long overdue first fully female fronted superhero movie. Let’s face it, this was a big win and now I’m sure Marvel is thinking even more seriously about the future of the female fronted superhero flick. Sure they have Captain Marvel in the wings for 2019 but I’ve read recently that another female director is hoping she can score a job behind making a She-Hulk movie.
Yep Rachel Talalay who’s directed the likes of Tank Girl, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, episodes of Supergirl, The Flash, Sherlock and most recently Doctor Who has expressed major interest in She-Hulk. She stated: “I have such a strong vision of what She-Hulk should be,” Talalay told Vice. “The difference between She-Hulk and Hulk is that she loved being She-Hulk. She was the Tank Girl of earlier days in terms of being able to say what she wanted, and when she became She-Hulk, it was like an opening of the door to freedom, to be the person that you wish you could be. That you’re stopped from being as a woman. And that’s the version of She-Hulk that I would love to embrace.” Continue reading
Well it’s officially election day and it’s been one helluva mess this election season that’s for sure! It seems like this election has been going on forever and even stranger are the two candidates at the forefront of it all. Both Trump & Clinton are the most disliked candidates in ALL of American history. It seems that the people just couldn’t find and honest or non-offensive person any where near the Democratic or Republican party in 2016 (Wait there was a guy called Bernie Sanders running at one point). It made me remember a classic comic way back from 1980, Captain America #250. Yeah that’s when Steve Rogers gave serious consideration of running for president as Captain America. Now there’s an unbeatable candidate huh? I’d like to see Trump or Hillary try to win that contest!
I really liked the idea of Cap running, and it was cool that in this issue he was hanging out with a third party called the Populist Party whom he save from a terrorist attack. He’s given the idea by them that he himself should be indeed running for President as their candidate. Cap at first thinks it’s a bit of a foolish idea but then gets to really thinking about it and starts giving it some serious consideration. The newspapers get wind and begin printing stories about his campaign, which pushes Rogers even further into thought about it.
Reporters & people are going nuts around the idea and I guess you could say the ‘Cap for Prez’ movement started going “viral”! He talks to his fellow Avengers about it and get their feedback, some supportive and others discouraging. In the end he decides against it, realizing he’d be really unable to fight for America the way he does best. Perhaps he just needs to wait until he’s like seventy years old like most politicians?!
It’s a great issue and if there’s ever been the perfect time to read it I’d say it would be tonight! It’s got a truly iconic cover & art by John Byrne and this issue always just begged for a ‘What If?’ story- “What if Captain America did indeed run for President?” Anyway check out Cap # 250 it’s a total classic. I hope in 2020 Steve Rogers finally reconsiders and comes back on the scene for the Populist Party!
I’ve been super pumped for the new Great Lakes Avengers ongoing series for quite a while now and this weekend I picked up a stack of new comics and this was one of them. I’ve been a big fan of the team from way back when they were introduced in 1989 for a few reasons. First they were created by the legendary John Byrne, who’s been my favorite comic book artist since I was a kid, second The Great Lakes Avengers are from my home state of Wisconsin (a place where superhero stories rarely take place) and finally I love the pure oddity of these misfit, underdog, d-list characters. I always thought they could be a hit if they were given the proper chance and I STILL think Marvel could make an amazing movie/tv series with this team. So anyway was this debut issue worth the wait for a die hard fan like myself?
I’ve gotta be honest here, I was a bit underwhelmed with issue #1. One reason being perhaps that I recently decided to reread the Dan Slott GLA mini series from 2005, which I think was fantastic. Here we have in 2016 a bit of a more of a lighter playful take on the team rather than the dark comedy that Slott brought us. This new series is obviously trying reeeeaaallly hard to funny and personally I don’t think many of the jokes really land. It can be hard to make pure comedic gold in comic book form and I’ll say I think Slott & Byrne accomplished this more much more solidly. Continue reading
It’s October and it’s time to get creepy with the comic book covers of the week! Here are actually two awesome creepy covers from one of my favorite little Captain America stories of all time. Both covers are drawn by my all time favorite legend of the biz Mr. John Byrne! This creepy 2 part classic starts in Captain America #253 with a resurrection of one of his oldest foes, the vampire Nazi Baron Blood. It’s a cool little mystery and also reunites Steve Rogers with his old World War 2 Invaders ally Lords Falsworth the legendary Union Jack, who’s now like ninety years old.
Then Issue 254 turns up the heat as we see the showdown brilliantly drawn by Byrne and we see Union Jack somehow return to the action. The cover features the old as fuck Union Jack trying to get in on the action! Hunt this cool classic Cap story down it really doesn’t disappoint and is perfect for the Halloween season!!!
Byrne did a variant cover years later for the classic showdown in black and white.
John Byrne had an amazing yet short run on The Incredible Hulk in 1985 and back then I was more than thrilled that he’d taken over the title as write AND artist! Byrne’s my favorite comic artist of all time and The Hulk my favorite superhero so this was to me a match made in heaven. Issue #314 was a great start and had great simplistic cover of the Jade Giant front & center along with some of his most devious villains! Yeah Modok too by Byrne is also a treat! Covers like this one prove that keeping it simple can be incredibly effective sometimes. I totally miss these awesome old school style Hulk stories. Today we have the Hulk killed off and replaced with the Totally awesome Hulk who’s alter ego is Amadeus Cho. Not a fan. I’m hoping someday Marvel can get back to what really worked for the Hulk and worry less about pandering to the mainstream narratives by changing their superheroes into other people. Ahhh…well at least I’ve got the classics to revisit!
Ok after all of my recent Marvel Comics bashing I had to take a minute here to mention that I’m actually pretty pumped about the upcoming Great Lakes Avengers ongoing series! Since 1989 when John Byrne (one of my top comic book idols) introduced the underdog team to the Marvel Universe in West Coast Avengers #46, I’ve been a big fan. In fact I listed them as one of the obscure Marvel teams I thought would make a great movie or better yet a comedic Netflix series after the success of the D-listers The Guardians of the Galaxy. Of course I have my bias as well, growing up in Wisconsin, that’s where this team is from. If you ask me the Midwest just doesn’t get enough love in the comic books. So the fact that these guys are still representin’ means a great deal to me.
I highly suggest checking out some of their earlier appearances, the classic Byrne West Coast Avengers is a great place to start but back in 2005 Dan Slott gave us an excellent 4 issue series as well. Most notable from the series today was the inclusion of Squirrel Girl to the team in that series, who we all know now is one of Marvel’s hottest titles.
That’s a great place to start and you get a chance to see in ‘Misassembled’ the origins of the team as they take on some serious Marvel Villains who arrive in their neck of the woods to raise some hell. The team finds themselves in serious trouble as they face a real threat for the first time. It’s cool little story with some great humor.
This new series finds the original core group back together in smaller numbers this time as Squirrel Girl has left the team and original member Dinah Soar died in battle over a decade ago. The team consists of Mr. Immortal, a mutant with a superhuman healing factor and the ability to survive the most gruesome deaths, Big Bertha who’s the most popular fashion icon in Milwaukee WI & has the ability to bulk up like the Blob, Doorman a mutant who can create doorways using alternate universes to pass through solid objects and finally Flatman, the openly gay two dimensional version of Reed Richards.
In the new series the team have been anointed official Avengers and are stationed in Detroit to keep the region safe. The team on the cover of the first issue appear to be milking the fact that Squirrel Girl was part of the team and are seen carrying around a cardboard cutout of her. I’m hoping that they can convince Squirrel Girl to join the ranks again, it’d be a selling point for the book but more so she was a perfect addition to the team.
It’s clear we’ll be getting quite a humorous depiction of the team once again and I can’t wait to see what kind of mischief they get into. The new series comes out this fall by Matt Gorman & Will Robson.