Here’s a cool cover I’ve always been a big fan of that’s more relevant today than ever! Yeah it seems all we’re hearing about is how bad the Russians are and it’s looking like a conflict in the real world with the russians is closer than ever before. Well it just so happens in the Marvel Comics universe the Russians have their own awesome version of the Avengers by way of the Soviet Super Soldiers! I’ve always thought this was one bad ass super team and back in 1992 Marvel did indeed try to give them their own series. Today though that seems like the last thing Marvel would want to do, they just might revive them if things keep heating up and have them square off with The Avengers, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that though in the real world. Anyway issue #258 of The Incredible Hulk was their first appearance way back in 1981. The epic cover was epically drawn by the legend Al Milgrom a truly awesome battle for the Hulk!
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!
I have been pretty open about the fact that I really don’t read any Marvel Comics anymore these days and part of the problem for me is that they just don’t intrigue me the way they used to even a decade ago. I guess I was inspired to write my thoughts here as a bit of a response to the recent news that now Tony Stark will be retired as Iron Man soon. That’s fine by me but It seems that Marvel just can’t stop changing their classic characters races and genders. Now don’t get me wrong, I do think it’s always been an interesting concept to take a character like Iron Man even back in the 1980’s & have James Rhodes take over the suit or Bucky & The Falcon taking over the mantle of Captain America. However more recently it appears that Marvel is on a mission to change up nearly every classic character’s identity in some way shape or form. I mean the Fucking Hulk has even changed into The Totally Awesome Hulk with Amadeus Cho as the alter ego.
I totally understand that Marvel is trying go a long with current social issues by trying to incorporate more diversity into their comic books. I really do commend them for the effort but after numerous changes to the gender, race and identities of Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Wolverine and now Iron Man (there are likely more) it’s beginning to seem like Marvel has just run out of good stories for their classics. Or perhaps people indeed are really fucking bored with the traditional Marvel universe? Marvel these days seems more worried about what race and gender their classic character’s are than giving people truly intriguing stories.
I don’t mind a little change up here and there, in fact I totally dig it (heck I loved when Heather Hudson took on the role of Vindicator and lead Alpha Flight-it was a smooth, intelligent totally righteous transition) but it seems that Marvel has largely forgotten that they could simply bring more existing characters into the limelight rather than giving all of their classics a brand new identity? I think it’d be equally exciting to get some some brand new superheroes on the shelf rather than constantly changing the classics. I know times have changed and more people than ever read comics, it’s not just the stereotypical geeky men of yesteryear buying them up, so naturally they may want to rethink their strategy. I get it.
It’s actually become somewhat of a predictable move for Marvel in 2016, deciding to ditch Tony Stark and reboot a new series with a female Iron Man but (a bit odd to still call the book “The Invincible Iron Man” with a female lead, it must be because they don’t want to risk losing any money ditching the name?). I don’t think it’s really that odd of an idea for a woman to design her own Iron Man armor and start kicking ass. Though it seems like Marvel might trying a tad too hard to be relevant in 2016. We all know controversy does sell quite well…
For me there has always been a lot of pleasure in picking up a comic book and reading stories that take me away from our daily routines, media trends, political ideals, online debates and reality in general. I want as much diversity in comics as possible but it’s not feeling real genuine to me these days from the big Marvel cash machine doing anything it can to make a quick buck. I’ve heard as well the debates now heating up about the race and gender of the writers and that they’ve got to match the characters of the comic book they are writing…At some point I think all of this becomes a bit of a drag.
We’re talking about characters that were intended for kids that now have become somewhat of hot button for everyone and their mother & father to get all up in arms about. The landscape of comic books has changed quite a bit over the years and at least Marvel’s approach feels like they’re desperately trying to fit in. Perhaps it’s true people are tired of the old gang of Tony Starks and Bruce Banners. Perhaps their story has already been told and feels tired but I’m hoping Marvel will at some point settle on “who’s who” and let us all just get on with some incredible superhero stories. What do you think? Are you bored with the classic characters? Is Marvel setting bold new trends? Let me know what you think!
I’ve been a bit torn lately on the the upcoming third Wolverine movie which is slated to also be Hugh Jackman’s last appearance as the legendary mutant. Why? Well ever since we got word of this final flick being based upon the popular ‘Old Man Logan’ series it’s been a major issue that the story wouldn’t be able to use the key characters from the comics due to issues with studio property rights. I think they should wait another five or so years to do Old Man Logan, when Hugh IS actually older. I’ve also stated before that a totally original story would be pretty awesome for the third movie as they seem to almost always slaughter any story they rip from the comic books. I mean how can you do Old Man Logan without the fucking Incredible Hulk?!! Well now there’s word that this third movie will feature some classic villains which have me back on board for Wolverine 3.
Yeah Old Man Logan is rumored to feature “The Reavers” who just happen to be some of my favorite bad guys from the X-men comic books. A futuristic road trip Mad Max style Wolverine movie with these blood thirsty cyborgs on their trail sounds fantastic to me! My only concern is that they’re also supposedly going to try and bring back Liev Shreiber as Sabretooth….uggh. Continue reading
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!
Ok so I saw the latest Deadpool flick and though I was never a huge fan of the character (aside from him in the Remender X-Force books which I totally dug) in this case I’ll actually say I think Deadpool works better on the silver screen than in the funny books! Yep, I really quite enjoyed the Deadpool flick, heck I thought this was the first good movie Ryan Reynolds starred in as the lead. It was action packed, well written, never boring, surprisingly funny and was about as over the top as you can get.
It’s also responsible for getting us an upcoming R-rated Wolverine flick by golly, something I’ve hoped for forever. So yeah, nice work for once Hollywood! Anyway I keep reading all these articles about how Deadpool was the first major superhero to “break the fourth wall” in the comics, something many think is the key to his success as he and the audience are “in it together”. Well I got news for you! For those of you who may have forgotten the late 1980’s She-Hulk run from John Byrne you need to bust out the back issues asap! She-Hulk, you betcha was “doing the Deadpool” before he was even created!
Yep back in 1989 The Sensational She-Hulk came out and it was one of the best comic books ever. In fact Dead Pool comedy-wise in the comic books can’t hold a candle to Byrne’s She-Hulk.
Remember those old “Power Records” vinyl comic book rock records of the 70’s?! No? Well when I was a kid I had several of these, they were amazing and they’d provide hours and hours of entertainment. They were basically a radio show of your favorite comic book put on a record complete with sound effects , music and voice actors. There were more of these released by Peter Pan records as well so at the time this was quite a popular trend, it was so cool to hear what your favorite heroes & villains actually sounded like!
Yep you could read along to them too because they included a super cool comic book of the story you were reading! These days people just watch a video on Youtube, but back in the day this was quite an experience and at the time there might not have been a way to actually watch your favorite comic book cartoons on the tube. You had to warm up the record player and listen to them come alive with the crackle of a record you played way too many times…
Power Records put out a ton of different titles too from DC stuff like Batman, Superman to Marvel stuff like The Incredible Hulk, Spider-man, Fantastic Four, Man-Thing and random stuff like Star Trek, The Six Million Dollar Man, Dracula and The Wolfman, Planet of the Apes!!
You can find this stuff online on ebay and a cool site called My Comic Shop for damn cheap! Like they always say COLLECT THEM ALL! Come on Power Records, bring us some new vinyl superhero adventures already!!!
You can check out a bunch of these on You Tube as well this is a great Superman adventure so you you can relive that magic again!
Also watch and listen as Batman and Robin take on The Joker!!
One of my personal favorites as a kid (I wore this record out BIG time!) The Incredible Hulk at Bay!!
I have to admit until today I’d never heard before of the legendary Great Garloo! Well now I come to find out he was the grooviest monster of the 1960’s! Yep this big green monster toy looked like cross between The Incredible Hulk and Fred Flintstone.
Sounds like a great guy to me personally and he was there to obey your every command as long as you had the batteries to keep him at bay. This here vintage commercial from 1961 shows just how bad ass he really was:
Um how awesome was that commercial?!
But wait there’s more…Let’s revisit another forgotten monster from 1990’s: Gorzak! First off I’m not sure who’s got a better name between the two, but damn Gorzak is one cool 90’s dude. Like the Great Garloo, Gorzak also obeys your commands and up until today I’d never heard of this guy either!
So if you’re a fan of old toys like me (and as a kid AND as an adult today I’m still crazy about monsters) it’s got me combingT Ebay looking to possibly track down these two guys to do my bidding in 2016! 😉 So check out this old Gorzak commercial from 1994:
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:
We’ve got some artists in the comic book industry who really were meant to draw certain characters and one who always needs mention when it comes to The Incredible Hulk is Dale Keown!! Yep it really doesn’t get much better than Keown’s version of the Hulk & from 1990 to ’92 when he took over the art on the title it was clear his version of the Hulk would go down in history as one of the best. He’s right up there with Sal Buscema and John Byrne in my book as all time best Hulksters. In fact back in 1990 his artwork on Hulk reminded me a lot of Byrne’s version of the character. Keown would go on to Image to introduce us all to his own “Hulk” type character, “Pitt”. Anyway Here’s a great Keown cover from 1990 that shows he’s one of the best Hulk artists of all time!!
Oh and if you still don’t think Keown was one of the best Hulk artists ever here’s a few more images to prove my point!