Tuesday, January 19, 2016

more comic collecting; Marvel's TARZAN

This weekend, I scoured the 50 cent bins at a local comic shop. I am now two issues away from owning a complete set of Roy Thomas's & Ernie Colon's ARAK, Son of Thunder. I don't have a lot in mint, but they are all serviceable.

I've been reading the Marvel omnibus of the 1970s run of JOHN CARTER, Warlord of Mars. At the same time that was happening, Roy Thomas was working on Marvel's TARZAN, Lord of the Jungle. There were only 29 issues and 3 annuals, and they have yet to be collected in trades or an omnibus.

I picked up Annual #2 and Annual #3 this weekend. They were enough fun that I think I might just aim to collect the Marvel TARZAN run, too. Hopefully I can find them in the cheap bins, too.

Monday, January 18, 2016

recent read; Caped

Caped, edited by Ian Thomas Healy

Caped is an anthology of superhero stories. They range in tone from serious to humorous. I found every story had something to offer, and as a whole the anthology works very well. There are 18 stories. I won't go through every one (Amazon page has synopses for every story, if you're wondering.) I'll highlight some of my favorites from the bunch.

"Pinning Portugal" by Elliotte Rusty Harold
Sueprvillains learn that you can develop superweapons for fun and profit.

"Damn the Dark, Damn the Light" by K. H. Vaughan
Good story about a league of superheroes who start fraying at the edges. Some interesting supervillains in this one, too.

"Dax and the Red Eyes" by Adrienne Dellwo
This is the darkest tale of the set. A disabled child is the only one who can see the evil of his sibling.

"And Introducing the Scarlet Scrapper" by Leonard Apa
A radio actor must step up and play the real hero off-stage. Nice tribute to Golden Age radio shows.

"Dum Dum" by Leod D. Fitz
This was a delight. A bit of a block-headed, superstrong villain sits down for a prison interview. Wonderful ending.

"Heart of the Matter" by Robert J. Mendenhall
A Superman-like hero has an inoperable heart condition. Is it time to retire or go out fighting?

"Capacity Crowds" by Paul McMahon
What happens when everyone is so enamored of your heroics that no one wants to be your supervillain? Nice twist here that I don't want to give away.

"The Faces of the Wind" by Laura Lamoreaux
After World War II, superheroes are repressed by the government and searching for purpose. Think of it as The Incredibles with a serious twist for the Golden Age heroes.

"Sovereign's Last Hurrah" by David Court
The superheroes and supervillains of the past find a common goal - making their life in the nursing home bearable. Not as humorous as it sounds, it's actually a poignant tale.

Caped is a fun anthology. I enjoyed it.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

recent viewing; Justice League: Gods and Monsters

Justice League: Gods and Monsters was the latest release in the DC Universe Animated Original movies. It has brought Bruce Timm back into the fold after he took some time off from the franchise.

This is not your father's Justice League. It is Bruce Timm's League. One of the things that pulled him back was the opportunity to do something different. Very different. This goes beyond the usual "Elseworlds" or alternate universe ideas that have come before. We don't get skewed Bruce Waynes or alternate Clark Kents here. We get a clean slate.

Superman is the son of Zod, not the son of Jor El. He is raised in a harsh life of Mexican migrant workers, and he is Hernan Guerra, not Clark Kent. Batman is Kirk Langstrom - known in main DC continuity as the Man-Bat. Here, he is a biologically created vampire. Wonder Woman is Bekka, a lesser known New Gods character, who has exiled herself to Earth.

The Justice League operate outside of the law, with compliance from the US government. But as a mystery unfolds and the League are framed for multiple murders, the government and League alliance breaks down. The League races to find the true villain, before the violence escalates out of control.

Monday, January 11, 2016

recent reads; Batman:Haunted Knight and Superman: Kryptonite

New Year Reading Goal; make a dent reading the graphic novels & collected trades I've been acquiring over the past few years (largely thanks to sales.)

Batman: Haunted Knight

Collects three stories of the Dark Knight, all centered on Halloween. Yesterday was a rainy & windy day and these tales were a perfect match for the mood. The first story has Batman tangling with the Scarecrow. The second story, Batman is taking on The Mad Hatter and trying to save Gordon's daughter from the villain. The third story brings in Penguin, Joker and Scarecrow, but they are not what they seem - they are spirits and the story is a Halloween & Batman take on A Christmas Carol.

Superman: Kryptonite

Darwyn Cooke does good DC work. He's very renowned for his work on a semi-historical take of the Justice League in The New Frontier (which also was adapted as an animated movie.)

Here, Cooke tackles a revamp of Superman's discovery of his weakness to kryptonite. (Cooke only did the writing on this one, art is by Tim Sale - who also did the art on Batman: Haunted Knight.) Though the story setting is modern (cell phones) there is a retro feel throughout, and it winds back the clock to Superman's early superheroing. A mobster is opening a casino in Metropolis, and he brings with him a large green stone. Lex Luthor bides his time, testing Superman and waiting to take out his criminal rival.

There is nice layering here with Superman, his life as Clark, his relationship with Lois Lane and his relationship with his adoptive parents, the Kents.

Again, my highest compliment to any DC story is a desire to see it animated. I wouldn't mind seeing either Batman: Haunted Knight or Superman: Kryptonite adapted to animation. They're enjoyable reads.