Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Comic Reader Résumé Podcast #15

Summer Job

(July - 1985)


Internet ArchiveMP3Anchor

ré·su·mé [rez-oo-mey, rez-oo-mey] noun 1. a summing up; summary. 2. a brief written account of personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience, as that prepared by an applicant for a job.
In Comic Reader Résumé, I use Mike’s Amazing World of Comics to travel back through time via his virtual newsstand to the genesis point of my lifelong collecting of comics. From there, I can offer a “work history” of my fandom through my active purchasing of (relatively) new comic books beginning in January of 1982, when my interest in the medium went from sporadic and unformed to routine on through compulsive accumulation. To streamline the narrative and keep the subjects at least remotely contemporaneous, I will not generally be discussing what we call back issues: books bought long after their publication date. Sometimes, I will cover a book published on a given month that I picked up within a year or so that date, and I give myself an especially wide berth on this aspect in the first couple of “origins” episodes. We’ll get more rigidly on point as my memories crystallize and my “hobby” spirals out of control into the defining characteristic of my life (eventually outpacing squalor and competing neuroses.) It’s part personal biography, part industry history, and admittedly totally self-indulgent on my part.

This episode includes All-Star Squadron #50, Bananas #31 & 69, Blue Devil #17, Crisis on Infinite Earths #7, DC Comics Presents Annual #4, Dreadstar and Company #5, Elfquest #3, The Encyclopedia of Superheroes, Longshot #2-3, Mad Magazine #264 & 270, Marvel Age #8, 16, 22, & 27, Secret Wars II #5, Nathaniel Dusk II #1, The All New, All Daring Peter Parker, the Spectacular #107, The World Encyclopedia of Comics, and more!

“Transcripts” Back to the Future, Blue Devil, Cracked, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Lifeforce, Longshot, Mad, Marvel Age, Matt Houston, Scholastic, Secret Wars, Spider-Man, Squadron Supreme, Star Comics, Supergirl, Superman, V, Comic Reader Résumé

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

DC Films Special Podcast: Sundowning the DCEU

To permanently save this episode’s MP3 file to your computer or other listening devices, right-click the link below to bring up sub-menu and select “Save Target/Link As…” Pick where you want it to save to, and you’re set.

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Rolled Spine Podcasts are on iTunes, Anchor, Stitcher Radio, and the Internet Archive.

Coarse Language: Listener Discretion is Advised

Meanwhile... Diabolu Frank, Mr. Fixit, & Illegal Machine discuss the failure of Shitzam! Black Adam, and the radical changes coming from James Gunn and Peter Safran as the new heads of DC Films at Warner Bros. Discovery.

We Think You're Special!

Aquaman, Black Adam, DC Special, DC Special Podcast, DCEU, Justice Society, Lobo, Podcast, Shazam, Superman, Wonder Woman

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Comic Reader Résumé: August, 1985

Loathe as I am to acknowledge it, by August of 1985 we're past the halfway point of Secret Wars II. We've done the everyone wants to kill the Molecule Man issue, the Peter Parker teaches The Beyonder to poop one, the one where the omnipotent being tries to buy hookers and private investigators with solid gold buildings that immediately, perilously collapse, and the ones where he becomes a horny yuppie with a dye job wearing Michael Jackson's castoffs. We've pioneered the contrived cameos in every title of the line for months, even Transformers, making Millennium look like Watchmen in the process. With this month's #5, we see our moping demigod hopelessly devoted to Dazzler, and the world is gifted teenage mutant Boom-Boom. I must insist that I never read any of this dreck, only flipping through my brother's copies. Jim Shooter always struck me as straight edge, so I can't come up with a consciousness altering substance that would have made him think that The Man Who Fell To Earth was a sound basis for a mega-crossover.

Yet another 1985 title that I need to briefly touch upon is Squadron Supreme, Marvel's alternate universe dystopian super-hero maxi-series that predated, and some say informed, Watchmen. I mean, they're both riffing on famous half-century old Aldous Huxley and George Orwell novels, but sure. I won't be referencing Watchmen here for some time, if ever, as I didn't read it until the mid '90s. My brother bought copies of the much less regarded Mark Gruenwald/Bob Hall/Paul Ryan epic, which I found to be so crushingly boring visually that I never even attempted to read a single issue. It's basically what if the JLA did an Identity Crisis in the Bronze Age, and even with these dollar store analogues, not-Batman is still the hero against the oppressive forces of not-Superman. To me, it takes the worst elements of Elseworlds, which were already reheated What Ifs, and Dan Didios them into actual, if distaff, continuity. No thanks.

Another 1985 oversight was the comics adaptation of the NBC television series V. These had a swell if minimalist ad campaign exploiting the spray-painted V logo, and I would occasionally spy them at the mall bookstores. I was and remain a huge fan of the first two television event mini-series, and some of the covers were nice, but I could not stomach the late and lacking career low art of Carmine Infantino. I've come around to a lot of revered silver age greats that were in no way my speed as a child, but Infantino's appeal is still largely a mystery to me. I see a lot of George Tuska in his work, but I prefer Tuska, and I'm not that big a fan of his, either. I'd already tried and swiftly abandoned the ongoing, single season V TV series, and the comic was a supplement to that, playing out somewhat like a newspaper strip. I did pull one or two of these out of quarter bins a few years later, but they were consistently disappointing mistakes. The post-apocalyptic relaunch of the weird western hero Jonah Hex had an even better ad campaign, but even worse market penetration. I think I saw it every once in a while at the mall, but not consistently, and never making it to the register.

A final overview before returning to monthly coverage, for Star Comics. The Marvel kiddie imprint began in 1984, with the comic book adaptation of The Muppets Take Manhattan. Continuing with the Jim Henson licenses, Fraggle Rock had a brief run under the imprint. Comic strip icon Heathcliff fared better, lasting 21 issues. The proper launch with original characters was at the start of 1985, offering a sci-fi take on Richie Rich in Planet Terry. I pleaded poverty, not buying an issue until a local shop offered copies for a dime each in the 2010s. I might have tried a Wally the Wizard at the same time and rate. Top Dog wasn't even that lucky, missing me entirely despite a desperate Spider-Man guest appearance. It was obvious that Marvel was trying to take on other publishers for the dwindling youth market, recycling the look and talent from companies like Harvey and Archie, but Royal Roy was a bit too blatant. Where most of these non-starters played out a year's worth of leash, he was only given half that length. I dabbled in some of the Star licensed fare, though Strawberry Shortcake didn't quite make the cut, and the Marvel creations lacked even her scant appeal. But I did give them a toss at the convenience store, so I figured they rated some mention, and I think the Hickman Secret Wars brought them into some semblance of continuity. A lot has been made of the New Universe's failure being tied to the dimming of Jim Shooter's star ahead of his dismissal in 1987, but I do wonder if his absence also killed the publisher's support of their baby branch.

You can't say that the DC Challenge wasn't promoted. It seemed like every one of their titles had a house ad for the exquisite corpse, upscale format, direct sales only, round robin maxi-series. The conceit was that there would be a different creative team with each issue, privy only to information from the previous issue, trying to stump the band with cliffhangers dumped into the lap of the next team. I was always terribly intrigued by the project, and while vising a small Oklahoma comic shop after the birth of my nephews, I picked it up as a set. For all its twists and turns, the one reveal they couldn't keep under wraps was that the result would be a complete mess and waste of talent. That'll happen when you progress from a gimmick rather than a story. Speaking of talent, the black and white magazine relaunch of Savage Tales offered a lengthy installment of The 'Nam drawn by Michael Golden, and other creators were no slouches. I remember tossing through it on the stands, but it didn't fit neatly into any nerd genres, and the $1.50 cover price was probably prohibitive. I was still a bit too gentle for all that macho aggression, and to this day haven't read anything from its brief run.

Blue Devil Summer Fun Annual #1 was more my speed, as the book's original creative team gathered together a misfit occult outfit out of The Creeper, Man-Bat, Black Orchid, the Demon Etrigan, Madame Xanadu, and The Phantom Stranger. It was a nice mix of obscurities I was already familiar with and first being introduced to, although I'm a little fuzzy on the timeline. Was this a flea market buy or a back issue from Third Planet in '87?

Less perplexing, Tales of the Teen Titans #59 came off the stand at a convenience store, marking the end of new material under that title. It instead offered a reprint of the rather expensive bonus book that introduced the New Teen Titans, as well as a Speedy team-up story that had appeared in a 1981 Best of DC digest. Hey, it was all new to me, unlike the reprints of the Baxter series that would follow. One of the worst decisions in DC history was to turn their top selling team book and only real competition against the X-Men into a direct market only title that would get recycled into a shoddy newsstand edition with a year's delay. It killed pedestrian traffic to a book already suffering the loss of the artist that built the brand in the first place.

My brother would pick up Incredible Hulk #312, the notable and notorious Bruce Banner abusive childhood issue, a few years down the line. Barry Windsor-Smith has accused Bill Mantlo of plagiarizing the plot from a Hulk graphic novel that he was developing, and wouldn't ultimately see print until 2021's Monsters, likely to serve as his final major work in comics. Although both men are still alive, Smith moved into fine art decades ago, and Mantlo suffered debilitating brain damage in the early '90s. Anyway, that issue made an impression on myself and others, helping to define Peter David's dozen years on the character, and the 2003 Ang Lee Hulk film. However, it was the next issue that I got out of a three-pack. The one where he's traveling the multiverse with sprites and Gerry Talaoc continues "fixing" Mike Mignola's art. Not so memorable.

One of the things I find so impressive looking back on Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #108 is how much it acts as a bridge between Dennis O'Neil's last, best Daredevil stories as he moved away from aping Frank Miller into his bitter noir style deployed on The Question, but also to Miller's revered return to that title for the "Born Again" arc. "The Death of Jean DeWolff" made some waves in its time, but is almost entirely forgotten today. Matt Murdock is even a supporting character throughout the story, and you don't get much more grim & gritty than a serial killer gunning down a priest in a confessional. Literally only one of the Sin Eater's victims was an established character, but David & Buckler imbue the rest with enough life in their brief appearances to make the killing spree feel momentous. Mark Gruenwald was also laying the groundwork for his Scourge of the Underworld around this same time, so I wonder if this is a chicken & egg, Things Man and Swamp thing?

Ah, the moment I didn't know enough to dread, the surprise reveals in Dreadstar and Company #6. "Plan M" is finally revealed, offering a new twist on Jim Starlin's theocratic exploration begun in Warlock. On its own merits, not the strongest issue of the run, but a solid enough stopping point if you're going to announce that this was the last issue of the newsstand reprint series. See, I complain so much about Tales of the Teen Titans, but Epic giving a second life to a cult hit science fantasy series from several years earlier? Like Elfquest, a worthy effort, and it's not like Starlin hasn't benefited from expanding the audience of his works through constant reprints. Besides learning that I wouldn't be able to get any more issues of my favorite comic until I gained access to a proper comic shop, I was also bummed that the lead story was truncated and bolstered by a Bernie Wrightson back-up starring... Aldo Gorney?

Oh hey, I guess my dabbling in Star Comics wasn't as donzo as I thought. Meet Misty, star of her own six-issue mini-series plainly targeting the Barbie crowd, and I was probably one of the very few little straight boys who showed up instead. Misty Collins was a blonde haired, blue eyed Aryan dream teen who happened to also be the niece of Milly the Model, not that I would have known anything about what that meant. Trina Robbins went fully nostalgic for Marvel's old teen comedy strips, even including credit caption boxes for the outfits the characters wore, though there were obviously a lot more pastels and random geometric shapes in the mid '80s. Among the paper dolls was Misty's best friend Shirelle, a b-b-b-b-b-black girl, another marker of the changed times since Patsy & Hedy were pulling this shtick.

Oh mama, it's finally here, The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition #1. Where I'd only toss through Who's Who at the mall, I devotedly picked up the new and improved OHOTMU off the newsstand every month going forward. So many stats and descriptive texts! I can't honestly say I ever read a single issue from cover to cover, but on any given pass I was liable to skim through an unfamiliar entry. It was like a book, but for comic book characters! And it was such a huge value for that $1.50 I withheld from Savage Tales! Double sized, in color, no ads, and any given edition could while away an entire afternoon. Take my money! Admittedly, the character selection in "Abomination to Batroc's Brigade" wasn't the best, but the Avengers entry alone!

I don't recall if I bought my own copy of Web of Spider-Man #9 off the stand or if I read my brother's copy sometime later. The Kyle Baker in Sienkiewicz mode cover might have sold me, even if it was black suit Spidey wrangled with an oversized redneck and an old man in a corny super-hero costume. I think probably I wanted more Web-Head tales like Spectacular, and while this one definitely has an ice cold take on man bites dog news reporting by David Michelinie, it's woefully undermined by Vince Colletta assimilating the attempted art of Geof Isherwood. I just can't get past the Dazzlerness of it all.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Comic Reader Résumé: July, 1985

I'll need to take a moment to orient myself to July of 1985. The gap between my buying comics from this period new and a few years after as back stock is narrowing, and I technically haven't written a blog post for this project in nearly a decade, with age assuredly a greater factor in my recall capacity. I'm pretty sure All-Star Squadron #50 was in 1988's grocery sack o' comics, but it was conceivably in a 1989 quarter bin as well. Either way, the draw was a tie-in to Crisis On Infinite Earths, and not the hoary old farts that populated that book on the monthly. I specifically remember checking out the archival covers at the back of the book, and there was a time years later when I became very invested in DC history. Even at its peak, I doubt I could have slogged through a book this drab for continuity minutia so immediately irrelevant. More assuredly in a bin was DC Comics Presents Annual #4, a much better looking book thanks to the combination of Ed Barreto and Jerry Ordway, but even less a consideration with its tale of Superwoman and Pre-Crisis Luthors plagiarizing the Sivanas one last time. Nathaniel Dusk II #1 was the second time I would start and not finish a mini-series starring the eponymous Depression-era private investigator by Don McGregor and Gene Colan. If more than two issues of either had been in the bins, maybe things would have worked out different.

My half-brother had a mild interest in Firelord, the herald of Galactus with the flaming Q-Tip, so he probably had a copy of either Amazing Spider-Man #269 or #270, but he didn't care enough to have both, and I didn't care enough to keep track of which. The debut issue of the yearlong Eternals was definitely something I flipped through on the newsstand and never touched again, beginning a lifelong disinterest in that property. I still think Alan Kupperberg gets a bad rap in general, but it probably didn't hurt my more favorable opinion that Mark Farmer inked him on Blue Devil #17. That said, he's a bit too "straight" for the lighthearted misadventures, leaning too seriously into a Crisis tie-in revolving around The Fisherman and seemingly sentient raindrops. For reasons unknown, I skipped or was deprived of the following issue. Brian Bolland's Black Book #1 definitely got fished out of the cheapie bin for the reliably sumptuous art, but this child of the '80s was only going to get so much out of color reprints of British anthology lifts of '60s Hammer Horror tropes. By choice or not, it swiftly left my possession.

I knew I remembered Whilce Portacio inking Arthur Adams at some early point in their careers, and there's no other embellisher to obscure that fact in Longshot #2. Both admittedly improve by leaps and bounds from this point, but there's something about the dark edge Portacio lends Adams that is never recaptured after this. Again, I read my brother's copies of the mini-series, most likely in 1986 or '87, and it was scarring. Longshot stumbles into a job as a stuntman, and when he's grievously injured in the job, the director discreetly dumps his body in a bayou. I remember well the press coverage of the tragic deaths on the set of the Twilight Zone movie, and while John Landis technically remains one of my favorite directors from that period, I retain a great deal of animosity toward his smug face to this day. It's not hard to see the parallel Ann Nocenti was barely reaching for, and there's even a passing physical resemblance, although he's clearly amalgamated with Spielberg and Lucas. The third issue also supposedly shipped this month, though that's difficult to fathom with the level of detailing going into every page. You can really see the influence Adams had on J. Scott Campbell and Rob Liefeld in these early efforts, not that either artist ever reached even this level of craft. The story is a twisted take on It's a Wonderful Life, where a schlimazel tries to take his own life, but lands on Longshot's floating body. The alien has some sort of healing factor, and proceeds to demonstrate his inherent, obscene good luck on a misadventure where the schlimazel takes every knock. In the end, he's so battered and disaffected that suicide holds no more interest, as he'd rather return home to the suddenly desired voices of the nag and brats that first drove him to the attempt.

Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 is assuredly a prime collecting memory, for the month, year, and ever. I never cared a lick about football, but I managed to grow into and would quite soon at this point grow out of a Houston Oilers winter coat with a blue breast, silver sleeves, and red cuffs. Some teenage girls were running the counter at the mall Waldenbooks, and thought I was so cute with my Nicholas Bradford haircut that they gave me a copy of the double-length key issue featuring the death of Supergirl. I took the copy with me on a Greyhound bus ride from Houston to Colorado Spring to visit my stepfather's brother's family, the occasional comics fans from whom I'd gotten and never returned that Spider-Man team-up treasury. I think the younger brother held a grudge, because he was nasty towards me the rest of the time I barely knew him. Anyway, the sci-fi scale and air of tragedy from Crisis permeated my action figure play in a way Secret Wars never had. The art by Perez & Ordway was incredible, I got a primer in essential DC/Green Lantern lore, and was introduced to scores of new characters in the best possible presentation within the minuscule space. I've read enough entertaining Maid of Might stories to not diminish her by calling this her best, but certainly there are few super-hero deaths that still resonate as much as this one. The less effective but longer lasting death of the Barry Allen Flash in the next issue was part of my buddy's grocery sack bounty.

After a lapse in Web-Head interest, I came back strong for The All New, All Daring Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #107. It was a pretty mean feat for semi-disgraced swiper Rich Buckler and that one moonlighting guy from marketing working under Marvel's only African-American editor. The story would end up revealing the death of Jean DeWolff, a literally disposable gender-swapped Commissioner Gordon at a time when Spidey's main squeeze was a Catwoman lift. The amount of blood and the framing of Captain DeWolff's murder were so shocking that I showed it to my comics disinterested girlfriend. Daredevil shows up partway through, and the tone of his title seemed to be borrowed as well. Jim Owsley would catch all kinds of hell for this bold new direction, but he was on to something with this Peter David guy, and anyway, Owsley would eventually literally make a whole other name for himself as Christopher Priest.

Unbeknownst to myself, Dreadstar and Company #5 presented the penultimate issue of that newsstand reprint series of the 1983 Baxter format direct sales only title. While still plentiful in its violent action and advancement of plot, it still becomes a welcome comic romp by the midpoint, necessary after several uncommonly bleak issues. Marvel Age Annual #1 had the novel and likely costly idea of having the creative teams of most of their current comics produce a single page story to advertise current events in their titles. This was followed by mostly text-only teasers for upcoming events in those titles and the broader Marvel production slate. I read my brother's copy at a later date, which I suppose was my first taste of intentionally watching commercials on YouTube that I gladly skipped when they were actually airing on television.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

DC Television Special Podcast: Warner Bros.’ The Sandman Season of One (2022)

To permanently save this episode’s MP3 file to your computer or other listening devices, right-click the link below to bring up sub-menu and select “Save Target/Link As…” Pick where you want it to save to, and you’re set.

Download MP3

Rolled Spine Podcasts are on iTunes, Anchor, Stitcher Radio, and the Internet Archive.

Coarse Language: Listener Discretion is Advised

Meanwhile... Diabolu Frank and Mr. Fixit finally address Neil Gaiman's Morpheus, Death, and other members of The Endless in comics and film, as seen in the Netflix adaptation...

We Think You're Special!

Podcast, DC Special, DC Special Podcast, Morpheus, Death, The Endless, Vertigo

Friday, November 11, 2022

Comic Reader Résumé Podcast #14

The Business Year

(Second Quarter - 1985)


Internet ArchiveMP3Anchor

ré·su·mé [rez-oo-mey, rez-oo-mey] noun 1. a summing up; summary. 2. a brief written account of personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience, as that prepared by an applicant for a job.
In Comic Reader Résumé, I use Mike’s Amazing World of Comics to travel back through time via his virtual newsstand to the genesis point of my lifelong collecting of comics. From there, I can offer a “work history” of my fandom through my active purchasing of (relatively) new comic books beginning in January of 1982, when my interest in the medium went from sporadic and unformed to routine on through compulsive accumulation. To streamline the narrative and keep the subjects at least remotely contemporaneous, I will not generally be discussing what we call back issues: books bought long after their publication date. Sometimes, I will cover a book published on a given month that I picked up within a year or so that date, and I give myself an especially wide berth on this aspect in the first couple of “origins” episodes. We’ll get more rigidly on point as my memories crystallize and my “hobby” spirals out of control into the defining characteristic of my life (eventually outpacing squalor and competing neuroses.) It’s part personal biography, part industry history, and admittedly totally self-indulgent on my part.

This episode includes Ambush Bug #2-4, Blue Devil #14-16, Dreadstar and Company #2-4, Elfquest #1-2, Fantastic Four #281, Fist of Khonshu: Moon Knight #4, G.I. Joe a Real American Hero #37-38, Longshot #1, The Losers Special #1, Ms. Tree 3-D #1, Muppet Babies #2, Secret Wars II #1, Tales of the Teen Titans #55, Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe Volume VI, and more! Plus a look at Spring films & television of 1985...

“Transcripts” Ambush Bug, Blue Devil, Chevy Chase, Cocoon, Daredevil, Dreadstar, Elfquest, Fantastic Four, G.I. Joe, The Goonies, Grimjack, James Bond, Ladyhawke, Longshot, The Losers, Moon Knight, Ms. Tree, Muppets, New Teen Titans, Pale Rider, Return to Oz, Richard Donner, Secret Wars, Sectaurs, Super Powers Collection, Who's Who, Wolverine, X-Men, Comic Reader Résumé

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

DC Films Special Podcast: To The Batpole... A Batman Film Ranking (1943-2022)

To permanently save this episode’s MP3 file to your computer or other listening devices, right-click the link below to bring up sub-menu and select “Save Target/Link As…” Pick where you want it to save to, and you’re set.

Download MP3

Rolled Spine Podcasts are on iTunes, Anchor, Stitcher Radio, and the Internet Archive.

Coarse Language: Listener Discretion is Advised

Meanwhile... Diabolu Frank, whose "Batman phase" ended in the '90s, terrorizes Gotham City with a countdown of live action Caped Crusader cinema, as Mr. Fixit and Illegal Machine are more or least held captive to his mania! Expect singularly unpopular opinions and trolling...

  1. Batman and Robin (1949) 00:02:34
  2. Batman (1943) 00:04:39
  3. Batman & Robin (1997) 00:06:14
  4. Catwoman (2004) 00:19:48
  5. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) 00:24:33
  6. Justice League (2017/2021) 00:27:17
  7. Suicide Squad (2016) 00:30:00
  8. Batman: The Movie (1966) 00:31:22
  9. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) 00:39:50
  10. Batman (1989) 00:47:40
  11. Batman Begins (2005) 01:09:07
  12. The Batman (2022) 01:17:35
  13. Batman Forever (1995) 01:26:11
  14. The Dark Knight (2008) 01:41:40
  15. Batman Returns (1992) 01:51:37



We Think You're Special!

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Comic Reader Résumé Podcast #13

The Business Year

(First Quarter - 1985)


Internet ArchiveMP3Anchor

ré·su·mé [rez-oo-mey, rez-oo-mey] noun 1. a summing up; summary. 2. a brief written account of personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience, as that prepared by an applicant for a job.
In Comic Reader Résumé, I use Mike’s Amazing World of Comics to travel back through time via his virtual newsstand to the genesis point of my lifelong collecting of comics. From there, I can offer a “work history” of my fandom through my active purchasing of (relatively) new comic books beginning in January of 1982, when my interest in the medium went from sporadic and unformed to routine on through compulsive accumulation. To streamline the narrative and keep the subjects at least remotely contemporaneous, I will not generally be discussing what we call back issues: books bought long after their publication date. Sometimes, I will cover a book published on a given month that I picked up within a year or so that date, and I give myself an especially wide berth on this aspect in the first couple of “origins” episodes. We’ll get more rigidly on point as my memories crystallize and my “hobby” spirals out of control into the defining characteristic of my life (eventually outpacing squalor and competing neuroses.) It’s part personal biography, part industry history, and admittedly totally self-indulgent on my part.

This episode includes Amazing Spider-Man #264, Blue Devil #11, Captain America #305, Daredevil #220, Dreadstar and Company #1, Ewoks #1, G.I. Joe a Real American Hero #36, Kitty Pryde and Wolverine #6, New Mutants #29, Rocket Raccoon #1, Sectaurs #1, Tales of the Teen Titans #52 & 54, Uncanny X-Men #192-193, Web of Spider-Man #1, and more! Plus a look at early films & television of 1985...

“Transcripts” Ambush Bug, Blue Devil, Captain America, Captain Britain, Daredevil, Dreadstar, Dune, G.I. Joe, Kitty Pryde, Moon Knight, New Teen Titans, Police Academy, Robotech, Rocket Raccoon, Sectaurs, She-Hulk, Spider-Man, Star Wars, Wolverine, X-Men, Comic Reader Résumé

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Comic Reader Résumé Podcast #12

Recall (Winter 1984)


Internet ArchiveMP3Anchor

ré·su·mé [rez-oo-mey, rez-oo-mey] noun 1. a summing up; summary. 2. a brief written account of personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience, as that prepared by an applicant for a job.
In Comic Reader Résumé, I use Mike’s Amazing World of Comics to travel back through time via his virtual newsstand to the genesis point of my lifelong collecting of comics. From there, I can offer a “work history” of my fandom through my active purchasing of (relatively) new comic books beginning in January of 1982, when my interest in the medium went from sporadic and unformed to routine on through compulsive accumulation. To streamline the narrative and keep the subjects at least remotely contemporaneous, I will not generally be discussing what we call back issues: books bought long after their publication date. Sometimes, I will cover a book published on a given month that I picked up within a year or so that date, and I give myself an especially wide berth on this aspect in the first couple of “origins” episodes. We’ll get more rigidly on point as my memories crystallize and my “hobby” spirals out of control into the defining characteristic of my life (eventually outpacing squalor and competing neuroses.) It’s part personal biography, part industry history, and admittedly totally self-indulgent on my part.

This episode includes Amazing Spider-Man #262, Conqueror of the Barren Earth #1, Fantastic Four #275, G.I. Joe a Real American Hero #31-33, G.I. Joe Yearbook #1, Kitty Pryde and Wolverine #3-5, Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #10-12, The New Defenders #141, New Teen Titans #4, Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #99, Robotech Defenders #1, Thing #22, Uncanny X-Men #191 and more! Plus a look at Fall films & television of 1984...

“Transcripts” The Defenders, G.I. Joe, Kitty Pryde, New Teen Titans, Secret Wars, She-Hulk, Spider-Man, Wolverine, X-Men, Comic Reader Résumé

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Comic Reader Résumé Podcast #11

Sabbatical (Fall 1984)


Internet ArchiveMP3Anchor

ré·su·mé [rez-oo-mey, rez-oo-mey] noun 1. a summing up; summary. 2. a brief written account of personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience, as that prepared by an applicant for a job.
In Comic Reader Résumé, I use Mike’s Amazing World of Comics to travel back through time via his virtual newsstand to the genesis point of my lifelong collecting of comics. From there, I can offer a “work history” of my fandom through my active purchasing of (relatively) new comic books beginning in January of 1982, when my interest in the medium went from sporadic and unformed to routine on through compulsive accumulation. To streamline the narrative and keep the subjects at least remotely contemporaneous, I will not generally be discussing what we call back issues: books bought long after their publication date. Sometimes, I will cover a book published on a given month that I picked up within a year or so that date, and I give myself an especially wide berth on this aspect in the first couple of “origins” episodes. We’ll get more rigidly on point as my memories crystallize and my “hobby” spirals out of control into the defining characteristic of my life (eventually outpacing squalor and competing neuroses.) It’s part personal biography, part industry history, and admittedly totally self-indulgent on my part.

This episode includes Buckaroo Banzai #1, Alpha Flight #17, Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #8-9, Blue Devil #6-7, Kitty Pryde and Wolverine #1-2, Thing #19, X-Men Annual #8, G.I. Joe a Real American Hero #29-30 and more! Plus a look at more summer films of 1984...

“Transcripts” Alpha Flight, Blue Devil, Buckaroo Banzai, G.I. Joe, Kitty Pryde, Secret Wars, Wolverine, X-Men, Comic Reader Résumé

Saturday, March 19, 2022

DC Special Podcast: DK Encyclopedia Diaries 12

Volume XII
The Drunken Guide To The Characters Of The DC Universe

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A
Air Wave 0
Iris Allen / Linda Park 2
Amazing Man 4
Amazo 9
Ambush Bug 11
Andromeda 25
Angle Man 28

B
Black Zero 8

D
Doctor Psycho (New 52) 8

L

The League of Ancients 11
Legion of Super-Heroes (New 52) 20

P

Linda Park / Iris Allen 2

S

Superboy Jonathan Lane Kent 11
Superboy Kon-El (New 52; cont.) 0

W
Wild Girl 27
Wildsiderz 22
Wonder Girl Cassie Sandsmark (New 52) 3


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Ambush Bug, Wonder Girl, DC Comics Encyclopedia, DC Special Podcast, JSA, Legion of Super-Heroes, Podcast, Superboy, Wildstorm, Wonder Woman,

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

DC Films Special Podcast: Warner Bros.’ The Batman (2022)

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Meanwhile... Mr. Fixit, Illegal Machine, & Diabolu Frank ask, "...and where is The Batman?" While we couldn't omit all references to Nolan or Snyder, we more or less stick to the movie at hand, and keep the talk down to about a third of the, let's be honest, unreasonably long running time of the film. How do Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Colin Farrell, and Paul Dano stack up in these iconic roles? Somehow, Andy Serkis' Michael Caine impression doesn't come up. Not much in the way of hot takes, with a disproportionate focus on director Matt Reeves, grunge appropriation and... tattoos?

We Think You're Special!

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

DC Special Podcast: DK Encyclopedia Diaries 11

Volume XI
The Drunken Guide To The Characters Of The DC Universe

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Rolled Spine Podcasts are on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Anchor and the Internet Archive.

Coarse Language: Listener Discretion is Advised


G
Gen¹³ 31

J
J.J. Jakeem Thunder 11
Johnny Thunder 7

R
The Ravagers (cont.) 20

S
Static Shock 0

T
Teen Titans (New 52; cont.) 13

W
White Canary 17


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Black Canary, DC Comics Encyclopedia, DC Special Podcast, Gen13, JSA, Milestone Media, Podcast, Teen Titans, Wildstorm,

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

2021 “Primal Force” fanfic commission art by Brad Green

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Spinning out from “Lords of the Ultra-Realm” and continuing along similar lines as “Justice League Extreme #1”, I got so jazzed about playing with DC's obscure and unfamiliar sword & sorcery characters that I ask to expand to a diptych. Since I was more or less doing a comics adaptation of the Warlord toy line with the first one, this was a lot less formed of an idea. I hadn't realized when I made the ask that the artist wasn't even advertising commissions at the time, and I here I was asking for two without having a clear idea of exactly who I'd even want.

Thankfully, Brad Green put up with my nonsense (again) and delivered another dynamic piece (again again.) The main reason I wanted to do this was because I was so impressed with Beowulf's 1970s design, and I knew Anj would love to see the Dragon Slayer again. I was such a pain about art direction on the first commission that I tried to keep quiet this time, but I was pleased that Green recognized the same aesthetic appeal and fore-fronted the dude.

I kind of robbed Claw the Unconquered and skewed the premise, but I just really prefer John Chan's design over Valcan Scaramax's Conan repaint. I also was reliant on prexisting logos for the project, and Primal Force was a great fit. The Asian representation was a bonus, but more so, Green threw so much into Claw (especially his sick namesake extremity) that I'd argue this is the best drawing of the character ever. The original Starfire checked a lot of the same boxes, including stretching the gag, but I think including her just enriched it with the Moorcock vibe her co-creator David Michelinie strove for in connecting her to Star Hunters and Claw.

Stalker #1 was one of the first comics I ever owned, so this was my greatest sentimental favorite. Between the two pieces, I also got to revisit a bunch of characters I'd been tantalized with by the 1983 DC Sampler, so Arion helped to round out the lot. Aside from an insane artistic rookie season that included a young Bernie Wrightson, I never had much in for Nightmaster, but his premise and swordcraft sure fit this scene. The only real oddball is Anima, but her dual nature and dark fantasy ties kept drawing me to use her. She weirdly fits here, and with the Marvel Family, another player in my premise. She's even kind of a Johnny Thunder revamp, and you may have noticed that I have a spot for New Bloods.

I continue to admire Brad Greens ability to not only balance out bunches of diverse (and conversely somewhat repetitive) characters, but to find ways to give each their own spotlight while doing things that are visually interesting. Five of these people have swords, but they're all swinging in different directions, striking unique poses, telling you a bit about themselves as individuals. I like to change things up and work with different artists, but when Ive got the opportunity to get a piece from someone this good, it's hard to pass that up!

Brad Green & Company

Monday, December 27, 2021

2021 “Lords of the Ultra-Realm” fanfic commission art by Brad Green

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Continuing along similar lines as “Justice League Extreme #1”, I asked digital artist Brad Green to produce another mock cover to promote a fanfic figment of mine. This time I wanted to Enter the Lost World of The Warlord, the cheap knock-off Masters of the Universe figures produced exclusively for K-Mart by Remco Toys that I loved as a kid. Several characters from Mike Grell's Skartaris were assigned to me for Who’s Editing #14: No Man Escapes the Editors, so I went whole hog and involved the entire line (even The Warrior Beasts.)

I've got to be honest, from personal experience, I usually hire African-American artists to draw Black characters because other artists seem to struggle with that subject. Thankfully, Green does not have that problem, as he accurately and attractively rendered Bloodwynd and now Machiste. The warrior-king is featured prominently here, with lush rendering in the muscles that recalls the Philippine artists responsible for most of these Frazetta-type titles the the '70s & '80s. He ended up being a pivotal figure in my story, the leader of the group, so I'm glad that was reflected here.

Next we have a lovely Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, who was not in the toy line. However, she was slated to star in one of her own in the mid-80s, until She-Ra, Princess of Power stole her thunder. So besides adding some gender representation, her inclusion is also a nod to what could have been. A shredded Travis Morgan, namesake of the line, is my favorite of the figures present.

I was tempted to use the short-lived Mohawk Arak Red-Hand from when I was introduced to him in the DC Sampler. Green favored the more classic visage of the Son of Thunder from the toy line, plus I ended up using his lookalike descendant Arak Wind-Walker in the story, so it was all to the good. We get a huge Hercules Unbound, and where some would have wanted the ornate late-series redesign by Walt Simonson, I favored the earlier José Luis Garcia-Lopez/Wally Wood look. Finally, one of my all-time favorite toys was named for Mikola Rostov, but the had little in common. I was sorely tempted to send Green toy reference, but that wouldn't have been a remotely accurate take on the comic character, and I felt like that would be too much of a liberty with the premise.

I needed logos for my project, and it made sense to recycle DC IP. I always thought Lords of the Ultra-Realm looked metal and had boss house ads. As research, I finally read the mini-series, and even did write-ups for Comic Vine. It wasn't great, but the premise was very promising, so I borrowed liberally from it for this project. Seeing Green's presentation art shape up really got me jazzed, and as usual, he did an excellent job with the illustration. It was so nice, in fact, that I asked him twice. That's a story for next week, though...

Brad Green