Tuesday, July 31, 2012

1988 - Anatomy of a cover - Marvel Comics Presents #3

Monday, July 30, 2012

1983 - The Amazing Spider-Man #238

 Amazing Spider-Man #238 
"Shadow of evils past!"
March 1983
Writer: Roger Stern
Artists: John Romita Jr./John Romita Sr.

In retrospect, Amazing Spider-Man #238 was the most important issue of Spider-Man of the 1980s. At the time though, no one was expecting the birth of a new supervillain who would plague Spider-Man for years to come.

This issue featured the first appearance and origin of the Hobgoblin and set into motion a storyline that would keep readers guessing his real identity for years. That’s right, the real identity of this new antagonist was kept a secret, much like the early appearances of the Green Goblin. Using the familiar but new approach, writer Roger Stern had this new antagonist find a Green Goblin’s weapon cache (you might recall that back in the 1980s, Norman Osborn was still dead) and use these weapons to pick up where the Goblin had left off.

Amazing Spider-Man #238 was a great jumping on point for new readers. Roger Stern, approaching the peak of his run on the title, wove a wonderful story that brought out Peter Parker’s character with a clear and distinct voice. Stern always made great use of Peter’s supporting cast, making them seem far more real and playing stronger roles than the usual cardboard cutouts.

And in the art department, this issue featured the legendary art team-up of John Romita Jr. and John Romita Sr.. Their style is so clean, dynamic, and classic. The Stern and Romita run of the 1980s will always stand as my favorite take on Spider-Man.

Not bad for $0.75 Canadian. Can’t believe that was almost 30 years ago! This issue can be picked up these days for just over $100.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Uncanny X-Men #175 recreation by Arthur Adams

Grabbed from the Fans of Arthur Adams facebook page, here's Adams' recreation of Uncanny X-Men #175, originally by Paul Smith.

Todd McFarlane's The Amazing Spider-Man #328 Cover Original Art Sells for $657,250.00

Wow, just wow. McFarlane's 1990 cover for Amazing Spider-Man #328 sold for $657,250.00 yesterday! I bet McFarlane wishes he had hung on to more of his original art! http://bit.ly/MJfogP 

Monday, July 23, 2012

1984 - Daredevil #208

Daredevil #208 - "The Deadliest Night Of My Life"
July 1984
Writers: Harlan Ellison/Arthur Byron Cover
Penciler: David Mazzucchelli
Inker: Danny Bulanadi

Daredevil #208 stands as one of those comic books I’ve read far too many times. I still have the issue I bought off the shelves of the local convenience store. It’s beat-up and its spine is worn, but its all signs that it was a comic book I loved, and still love.

The outspoken and award-winning author, Harlan Ellison, whose work has transcended the writing medium into movies and television, stepped in to fill in for regular DD writer Dennis O’Neil. Ellison had also written a few issues of the Avengers and the Incredible Hulk in the 1970s. Arthur Byron Cover adapted Ellison’s story to fit the comic book medium.

This issue has Daredevil lured into an complex series of death-traps. What Ellison managed to do within these pages was really tap into Daredevil’s enhanced senses and add an almost additional texture to the story. As Daredevil progresses through these death-traps, they become more and more deadly and finally at the breaking point, he has to turn to his training and focus beyond the strain and the pain and find the strength needed to foil this elaborate revenge plot.

The storytelling in this issue is superb, delivering dynamic action sequences that grab you from the very beginning and don’t let you go until you’ve reached page 22. What’s also amazing about this issue is that there’s isn’t any fight sequences, but rather Daredevil vs the environment obviously built to kill him. The plot itself is thin and doesn’t have much depth, but it doesn’t have to as it succeed as a great thriller.

The art is by David Mazzucchelli and Danny Bulanadi. It’s some of Mazzucchelli’s earliest work, but the panel construction and flow seems to be the work of a veteran. Unfortunately, I felt that Bulanadi's heavy inks tended to overpower Mazzucchelli's art

1986 - Anatomy of a cover - Uncanny X-Men #202

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Daredevil - Born Again: Artist's Edition

A big tip of the hat to my pal, Michael Kasaboski (thementalkavity.blogspot.com), for these photos displaying this Artist's Edition in all its beautiful glory!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Anatomy of a cover - Nightmask #1

Here's an alternate cover by John Romita Jr. that never saw print... Not sure what the rationale was, but the published cover seem to be trying to do too much.

And here's the on that saw print...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Anyone going to SDCC this weekend?

... and would be kind enough to pick up something there for me? :)

Unfortunately with some home renovations, I won't be able to make the big trip out West to attend SDCC.

And of course, there's a comic con exclusive Heroclix figure available for sale. I'm a huge Heroclix fan and would love to get my greedy little paws on it.

Please email me if you can, thanks!

Marvel Comics' October 2012 Solicitations - Some 1980s Love!


Concluding John Byrne’s legendary run! Canada’s mightiest heroes face threats of all sizes, ranging from the overweight Pink Pearl to the maniacal alchemist Diablo! And when the terrible secret of Sasquatch’s origin is revealed, Alpha Flight must battle the Great Beasts in their own realm — and pay a fearsome price! Then, Alpha Flight’s former leader, Guardian, returns from the grave — or does he? What’s he doing palling around with the villainous Omega Flight? And where does the Beyonder fit in? Finally, when Alpha Flight goes fishing in another dimension, they accidentally hook the Incredible Hulk! Will the jade giant smash the heroes beyond all repair? Only the series’ new creative team knows! It’s north-of-the-border action just the way you like it!

Collecting ALPHA FLIGHT (1983) #20-29 and INCREDIBLE HULK (1968) #313. - 280 PGS./$24.99

Not quite the 1980s, but has some great Bryne work... 


Writer/artist John Byrne’s retro take on the X-Men — set between their Silver Age series and their All-New, All-Different incarnation — comes to a calamitous conclusion! The original X-Men take on the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, mutant-controlled Sentinels, Angel’s evil uncle Burt, the long-lost Yeti, Kraven the Hunter and the mysterious mutant group the Promise — and it all concludes in a seamless “crossover” with a classic Lee/Kirby/Romita FANTASTIC FOUR tale! Plus: The original version of that FF saga, featuring the menace of Magneto and the Sub-Mariner! And the classic Atlas Era and Silver Age appearances of the Promise!

Collecting X-MEN: THE HIDDEN YEARS #13-22, FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #102-104, and material from YELLOW CLAW #2 and AMAZING ADULT FANTASY #14. 304 PGS./$34.99

Guest Blog: A Spider-Woman for the 1980s Part 2

By Jef Willemsen  
An avid fan of Chris Claremont and Marvel comics in general, Jef Willemsen blogs about the many, many, many times Chris Claremont has resorted to mind control in his 40+ years in the business. Check out his reviews at: http://clarmindcontrol.blogspot.com

Everybody was kung fu fighting
Claremont’s fondness for the martial arts resulted in it becoming a recurring theme in many stories. While foiling a Yakuza plot, Spider-Woman fought Deathstroke and his shadow ninjas in issue #39. This earned her a spot on the crime syndicate’s hitlist. They sent the super powered assassin known as Flying Tiger after her in issue #40, who left her for dead after an ambush.

Barely surviving this confrontation, Jessica sought out a local sensei who taught her martial arts and self defense which allowed her to overcome her foe. During her time in the dojo, she discovered a disturbing secret about San Francisco police detective Sabrina ‘Bree’ Morrell.

It pays to plan ahead
Despite his reputation for improvisation and writing on the fly, Claremont had a clear vision of where he wanted the book to go. The Bree Morrell/Yakuza plot thread for instance was introduced in issue #40, and took a full year before it finally played out in issue #46 (by then the book had become bi-monthly). Yet, all the dangling storylines got neatly tied up, resulting in a satisfying pay off.

Saying goodbye
Ann Nocenti took over the book with issue #47. She prefered slightly darker, creepier stories in the style of one of Claremont’s predecessors Michael Fleischer. Sales dropped significantly and the book was fatally cancelled six months after Chris’ departure.

Apocryphal arachnid envy
Spider-Woman´s solo book ended with Jessica dying, which was quickly undone by Roger Stern in an issue of Avengers. But for some unknown reason she had lost her powers after her resurrection, forcing her to retire from superhero life. Yet, Marvel soon introduced a new Spider-Woman during the first Secret Wars who went on to become a member of Freedom Force. She was part of the team that tried to apprehend the X-men during their stay with Jessica in San Francisco and thís happened.

I can’t help but think that’s a little stab at the powers that were…

Here we go again…
Never one to let a good character languish in comics limbo, Claremont established Jessica Drew as a private eye on the rogue island of Madripoor when he started the first Wolverine soloseries. Jessica had even regained a measure of her former Spider-Woman powers, but she wouldn’t don her familiar red and gold costume until late 2004… even though, in retrospect, that was the Skrull queen Veranke posing as Spider-Woman.

“He loves you…” was the mantra all the Skrulls uttered during Secret Invasion. And yes…Chris Claremont sure loved Jessica Drew during the 1980s.


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