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Showing posts from January, 2021

Back Issue Keys –The Incredible Hulk 364

Today's Key issue I picked up from an LCS (Local Comic Store) 30 minutes from where I live. I'd never been there before and had very little time as the family was waiting for me in the car. There were a lot of slabs and some decent back issues. It seemed to be functioning the way a comic shop should; the owner/operator who is friendly and looking to make a sale without pressure and some local comic heads who might just be there to say hi, and feel part of the community. I didn't have the cash to drop on a slab so I told him I was looking for some good back issue keys. Under time pressure and a text from my wife I quickly sifted the bins and pulled out a 1989 copy of The Incredible Hulk 364. I didn't check the interior pages because I never assume they are white, it's nearly impossible on the classic newsprint style paper. The book did have a near-perfect spine, no rollover, and nice staple alignment. The edges and corners were also excellent. I'm not an expert,

Express Review – Future State: The Next Batman

For the sake of time, I'm only going to focus on the first story in the oversized 64 page - Future State: The Next Batman issue #1. As a reader, I needed more set up to care about the new Batman Tim Fox. The character is showing some real promise, but writer John Ridley just threw us into the story which felt more of a tell than a show. I will say there are good points. Ridley wrote some convincing moments with the Bane-litos gang recruiting new members and an interaction between ex-partner street cops. I will also give Ridley credit in that the page count he was working with was dismal. Shame on DC for not at least allowing the writer to develop the full 64 pages for the new Batman.  The drawing was good for this first story. Nick Derington has some really decent pages in here, especially with the action shots. Denington makes consistent use of shadows, which is a must to maintain the look and fee l of Gotham City. Some panels also had a Judge Dredd tone (which is a good thing) mi

Express Review Dos – Spiderman 56 & 57

Let's just tackle two Spiders with one review. I'm probably never going to abandon the Amazing Spiderman, it was one of the first comics I bought with my own money and I wish I had all of those issues today – such is the life of a collector. Back in the '90s (when I was much younger) I couldn't get enough of all the Spiderman / Ben Reilly 1994 - 1996 clone stories. At the time Mark Bagley designed the Scarlet Spider costume and I vividly remember his style of drawing.  Well, here we are decades later and Bagley is drawing Spiderman again. Bagley's work is consistent but is starting to feel a little outdated, and not in a nostalgic way. I love old Romita Sr, Buscema, and Kirby comics just to name a couple – I'm having a harder time with Bagley this year. An example would be Arthur Adams, even though he seemed a bit snarky to me at a convention I went to, there is no doubt Adams' work is both masterful and has become better with age. Bagley's work feels st

Express Review – Immortal Hulk 42

The Immortal Hulk 42 is scratching my comic itches, and it took me a little while to put the elements together. The writing is solid with good dialogue that moves you through the story and keeps a good pace. Al Ewing (the writer) seems to be laying a foundation for the next issue as there wasn't much action in this one, but something interesting is happening with the Jackie McGee character that could make this a Key issue or at least preluding to one in the next couple of months.    The art was slightly mashed as the credits show four artists working on this standard 28-page issue and I think the colorists help hold the line for continuity where the art changes weren't too jarring. The page layouts weren't flashy or minimal (which I appreciate) and the pacing, art, and story have an old school Swamp Thing vibe going on – if you don't know what I mean those earlier Swamp Thing runs are worth a read. I'm not saying this book is the second coming of Alan Moore, but I a

Express Review – DC Future Snooze

DC Future State: Superman Worlds of War is an oversized 64-page format issue with four stories. I sprung for the cardstock Federici variant cover which ran me about $12 Canadian dollars at a comic shop I frequent. As a collector, it looked like an awesome cover and the oversize format was expensive either way, card stock or not. After a full read-through, I will not be picking up the second issue. This book is a hot mess that went nowhere. All the stories inside were mediocre and it's the equivalent of buying a Spongebob Comic only to realize there is no Sponge or Bob to be seen.  Superman was in a couple of frames and they cut that part of the story off before anything happened. Some of the "Superman" story (if you can even call it that) seemed like social check boxing with snoozy dialogue from characters that appear from nowhere. These characters then pontificate and theorize for multiple pages about Superman's attributes and possible death. I honestly did not want

Express Review – The Woman Without Fear

 Here's a train I'd like to jump on, just to see where it goes. When I heard that Daredevil 25 was out again as a second printing I was intrigued. Daredevil has always been a fascinating character to me, both as a reader and collector. As a collector, second prints in the past were like crushed stale potato chips, first prints are typically where it's at and that usually holds true even now. Something strange has been happening in the already bizarre world of comics though, and my theory is that because second prints are now often released with new cover variants you just can't guarantee which print might fetch the higher price. If a book is hot nowadays it's probably worth picking up the 2nd print, if the cover is a decent variant.  Daredevil 25 2nd Printing (purchased) Daredevil 25's creative team (Chip Zdarsky writing & Marco Checchetto drawing) overall did good work on the issue. The first half of the book had good pacing and had sufficient dialogue and

May the roll be with you

 For years Darkhorse published Star Wars comics. There were some bright spots here or there in their publishing, but as a whole, I just never connected my Star Wars enthusiasm to the Darkhorse runs. There could have been many things that contributed to that feeling; mediocre art, disjointed writing, inconsistent timelines, or just sub-par editing. I never want to downplay anyone's hard work and making comics can be very labor-intensive if done right.  Darkhorse Star Wars just lacked the excitement and sense of adventure, place, and scope that made the Star Wars films so awesome. There was a different horse before the dark one held the license. Trusty old Marvel comics published Star Wars between 1977 and 1986 and are now publishing the franchise again, re-acquiring the rights in 2015. Here is where my collecting bells go off, and not the bad ones either. When you can crossover the love of comics with the film/TV/action figure bedrock that Star Wars encapsulates it spells out potent

Donny Cates not Wahlberg

 Don't get me wrong, I respect Donny Wahlberg's work as well, I was actually alive when New Kids on the Block were a thing. Today is all about awesome writing in the form of Donny Cates, writer of current titles at Marvel like Thor, Venom, & the King in Black limited run. My introduction to Cates' work is very recent and so I will approach it from that perspective, which for some readers might be more beneficial if you're looking for a new writer to follow. Writing can really make it or break it for a comic-head. No matter how glorious the art might be, many people will drop an ongoing series from their subscription box like a hot rock if the story doesn't do it for them. Earlier this month I popped into a comic shop and asked what's new and hot, as I flipped through the back issue bin, trying to scroll and match with the Key Collector App – Cates' name was dropped and I got them to point out his issues.  *Two of the Donny Cates issues I bought* I ended

Factors of Return

        W hen I recently decided to drive out of my way to visit a comic shop, as the one close to my house stopped selling comics months ago, I was returned to a world both familiar and exciting. I am an artist and writer myself and both of those skills started as a direct result of digesting comics in my youth. I'll admit I was a bit out of the loop and a little hesitant to pick up some of the titles I used to read in the past. I haven't been living under a rock when it comes to recent social/cultural movements, and I do not share the view that every nuance of life has to be viewed through, or serve a political agenda. Nor do I think that every word or interaction is a quest for power, as post-modern theory would have us believe. I would never fault someone for writing from their heart and mind, no matter what their personal or political views are. However, taking a well-known and even beloved character (without knowing the nuanced historic layers built up by artists or write