Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A World of Arcane Tortures!
(that you'll really enjoy!)

And Lo!
It shall come to pass that the Earth shall be engulfed in the heat of the Sun - until it become like unto a Living HELL!!!

I don't know where you are reading this from, but HERE, in the Northeast of the USA (NY & PA are where I share my time) it has been 90 degrees Fahrenheit for the past few days.
And it's been too hot to do much else but sit and watch my eyeballs melt.

In APRIL.

And it SNOWED a mere week or two beforehand (on my birthday, as it usually does).
So, don't try telling me that we aren't near some kind of mystical apocalypse.
I'm not buyin' it.

What I DO recommend buying (if you have yet to do so) is the new 3rd season - in DVD or Blu-Ray (or, for that matter, the first two seasons as well) of the VENTURE BROS animated series!
I received it for my birthday and have been diggin' the hell out of it!
(Of course, I HAVE to get Venture Bros stuff... due to my "6-Dimensions of Dr. Strange" fetish.)

You should get it too!
(product sales carousel presented for your shopping convenience)



The primary reason (well, aside from it being 1,000 kinds of awesome,) is that it has it's very own version of DOCTOR Stephen STRANGE; Master of the Mystic Arts, in the personage of DOCTOR Byron ORPHEUS; Master Necromancer. *

I could post pics and clips here all day, but I'll just toss up ONE (a montage of some the good Dr's earlier appearances) and a link to more of Orpheus' video goodness {HERE}.

Enjoy the clips, but if you DO wish to acquire any of the DVD's, CD's or swag, if you would make your purchase from my blog, I'd be most grateful.




*
In many interviews and commentary tracks, the creative team behind the show; Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer, have stated emphatically, that Dr. Orpheus IS their version of Dr. Strange.
And once you've watched and heard Orpheus in action, you can't help but imagine that voice and mannerism for Strange.
Try it. You won't be able to help yourself.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

CLEA LOVES SEX - 3rd Input:
It's All About the Benjamin!

---

*WARNING*
This blog-post contains some mild sexual innuendo.


---

The third in a series of entries wherein we take a look at Clea's desire for ...er... physicality - (previous input in this series can be found at these links: 1st entry & 2nd entry).

---

This entry - is from Doctor Strange; Master of the Mystic Arts # 18, by Steve Englehart and Gene Colan.

---

As someone who spent most of her long (lifespan which, as a Faltinian-based dweller of the Dark Dimension is far longer than an Earth-616) life in a realm of semi-solid quasi-reality, under the strict yoke of a tyrannical demon-sorcerer, Clea had no contact with men. At least, seemingly not until she came to Earth to spend her days as the disciple and lover of Dr. Stephen Strange.

THEN, she couldn't get enough.

However, as we'll see in this installment, if Strange is too preoccupied to properly "attend" to his young lady-friend, she's more than capable of entertaining other... "options".

Perhaps, the most oft-broached incident was where, while on a journey throughout time, Dr. Strange and Clea met Benjamin Franklin; one of the "founding fathers" of these United States of America. *

So, while Strange is laying some history on Clea, he is also, unknowingly trumpeting the cause for a rival suitor.
Strange sparks Clea's interest in Ben, but it obviously doesn't take long for the silver-haired (and silver-tongued) elder statesman to fan that spark into a flame.

---

It doesn't help that Stephen, much like a businessman who spends too much time at work, away from a young bride, is always preoccupied by one thing or another.

Like, say... a giant sea-monster with the power of a time-traveling cosmic wizard?
Yeah. Little stuff like that.

---

So, it's not long before Clea grows tired of playing second-fiddle for Strange's attentions.

Most busy men understand this point, right? How many times have you had a conversation similar to this with your significant other?

Of course, it is only a hair's breadth away from her uttering these next few words:

"Do you love me?"
Trust me... there is only one way to answer that question; "Yes." If you put any other words after that, especially starting with "But...", you're just asking for trouble.

No matter WHAT it is that you might offer forth as a reason/excuse/explanation for your seeming lack of attention, your cabin will fall silent for the night as well.

---

Now, Benjamin Franklin was a wise, wily and womanizing man... with a keen eye and a honed sense to clue him into the best ways to approach ANY negotiations.
Just see how he's eyeing Clea. He knows that any rocking of the boat last night had nothing to do with Strange.
And besides... Doc would soon be occupied with other things. Other wet holes to fill, so to speak.

---

While Strange heads off to deal with the life-threatening danger, Benjamin offers Clea a little... old-world "hospitality".
Now, remember, while inside his cabin the scene is one of refined elegance, outside things are far less than idyllic. But that doesn't throw Ben off his game.
Nor does Clea seems ill affected, but that may be attributed to Ben's "bedside manner".

---

But what is Strange doing all this while?
Oh, not much...
Just battling a sorcerer/monster at the bottom of the sea. A sea that, now that the evil power has been defeated, the spell holding the wall of water at bay has been negated.

Rising to the surface, Strange has a little too much "water on the brain" to be able to perceive the obvious. At best, all he can think is a feeble "Huh?"... as Clea helps handle Ben's dinghy.


---------

* In a disappointing turn of editorial/new-writer edict, this entire awesome story arc by Steve Englehart (and edited by Archie Goodwin) was negated by new writer/editor Marv Wolfman with a clumsy retro-fit making the evil sorcerer Stygyro responsible for all the recent events "to cause Strange to doubt himself".

Dr. Strange; Master of the Mystic Arts # 19
Marv Wolfman / Alfredo Alcala

So, Ben Franklin never made it with Clea. It was Stygyro (either in disguise or an illusion) who wooed her.

OR, it truly WAS Ben Franklin on the ship, but everything that happened between he and Clea (perhaps on the ship or most definitely) in the issue afterward, was Stygyro.

Still, Clea didn't know that.


(I'm sure this will once again attract many google searchers who are searching for more... explicit content. These "Clea Loves Sex" posts tend to have higher hit-counts than many other entries. I've also noticed that it can affect the Amazon selections in my 2nd sales window on the sidebar. So, if you're reading this post and images of a sexual nature cause you some dismay, do not look at the 2nd Amazon sales box - below the longer 1st box, which is filled with safe comicy goodness.)

Friday, April 24, 2009

A visit to the Dimension of Dreams
- or -
I may need to seek counseling for this.


If "blogging about blogging is a sin" then "blogging about other bloggers is circle-of-hell worthy".
Factor in that the event which I am about to relate occurred in a dream, and we're on our way to a scenario of Virgil-guided proportions.

Yes. That's right. I've been thinking of the blog so much lately that I'm not only dreaming of my content, but also the other bloggers with whom I may share some common interest.

Trust me. I'm just as disturbed by that as you are.

I'll throw the basics of the dream here for amusement's sake, and perhaps to save on therapist fees.

---

I was supposedly meeting with Mike Sterling for some sort of comic's related reason.
Probably just a gathering to shoot the shit about comics (discussions of a more physical variety than the two virtual "conversations" I had posted here quite recently - seen [HERE] and [HERE]) .

It seems that we were meeting on Sterling's west coast turf, as it was more rural-suburbia than my old New York City (or Long Island) environs and less rural-"out-in-the-woods" of my own more recent PA habitat; the view out his dreamscape house's back door - beyond the neighbor's expansive yard, with their tan and gold long-haired setter pacing by the chain-link fence - showed mountainous regions on the horizon.

Mikester was expecting an additional party member to show up as well, someone we'd both never met, so while he was otherwise occupied getting refreshments (or something) he thought it would be funny if I answered the door, pretending to be him.

However, since neither of us had met the expected individual, not only would he not know that I wasn't Mike Sterling, but I wouldn't know if he was the guest Mike was expecting!

So, when I answered to the door and saw someone standing there, and I'm trying to figure out who he is... my own charade was being exposed as well.

However, it was (supposedly) Neilalien at the door, and he (- as would anyone who has read Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin long enough, and as such has seen a photo of his face-) knew that it wasn't Mikester answering the door, but somehow, instinctively - with eyes narrowed and a sidelong glance cast my way, as he took to the few steps on the front porch to enter the house - surmised my identity.

Now, as for Neilalien, I have yet to have the pleasure of meeting personally, and have no idea what he looks like, and so my mind gave him the appearance of a late 20-something to early 30's white guy, standing about 5 foot 9 inches tall, approximately 140 lbs with sandy brown hair, cut short and sorta spikey (but not too much so, nor styled as such via gel or any such "product". Just not long enough to lie down upon itself).
(I know... where the hell did my mind pull ANY of that from?!?
For all I know he's grey with giant eyes and spindly arms with a penchant for probes, but my mind gave him those aforementioned features. Just roll with it.)

What I hadn't known was, there were to be many others in attendance that day; I can only gather who were all fellow bloggers, commenters and comic's aficionados alike.

By that point, my sleeping mind just assigned random faceless features to the others.
Sometimes they'd have features and faces, other times not.
I had the feeling that they were supposed to be the many bloggers whose works I read on a consistent basis (see the blogroll on my sidebar for many of them), but no names were readily given.

All I know is by this point in the "party" I had sat back and took the position of "observer" and just watched the happenings. I'm not as "bona fide" a blogger as many of they may be, and I know that I felt as if I should stand back and defer to the experienced voices in the room - perhaps to learn a thing or two.
Someone had produced forth a portfolio collection of published comic pages, someone else a stack of comics from a backpack, and still another, hands waving furiously, described his treatise on the various subjects of his interest.

By the time that I was being addressed and asked to step forth, the sense of unreality had set in.
I'm well attuned with my subconscious enough to know that when an anomaly presents itself in the "reality" of the dream that my sleeping self recognizes it as such, and then, knowing full well that I am dreaming, does one of three things:

  • Ignores it and just rolls with it (a rarity for me - I'd have to be REALLY tired to do so - which I was. I was utterly wiped out last night - or else the whole Neilalien thing would have been enough to raise the mental alarm right then and there).

  • Changes and replays the events in numerous ways to seek the most satisfying course of events. (My very own "choose-your-own-adventures" book, so to speak.)

  • Signals me to wake up.

This time around, I awoke - fully knowing what I had dremt, but slowly losing some of the specifics (except what I related here) as my dream self dissipated after it departed the dream dimension.

So, what's the point of all this?
I have NO idea.

It was just an interesting thing to share with you all.

I've been fully aware that I've strayed away from what I should be blogging about lately, my content as of late has been of a more personal nature (recollections of past histories, as well as some future content I'm gathering; based on comic artwork that I drew, long ago in the dim past of my pre-to-early teenage years, as well as some stuff from the past decade or so - ALL Dr. Strange-related imagery, of course) and as such my mind connected the blog, the content (if you note, all the things that were being discussed and shown in the dream-party are things that I'm working on for the blog) and the "audience" all in one.

I need to take a deep breath and continue writing my multi-part treatise on "the Search for, Nature and History of the Sorcerer Supreme". However, I know that it's exactly because I haven't finished that series that my mind has been plagued by thoughts of the blog - reaching even into my slumber.

This must have been the interweb equivalent of dreaming of standing naked in front of your class if you hadn't finished writing that report on world history, or something.

However, I promise - I will not share any naked dreams here.
I mean, I wouldn't want to give anyone else nightmares.



By the way, Mike Sterling and Neilalien
both produce excellent blogs that I visit daily - as should you!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

GAZE INTO THE FUTURE : 2009 JULY

(What?!? Another month has gone by? How the heck did THAT happen? Gah!)

The MAY 2009 solicits are up
(for stuff shipping JULY 2009)
so what are we waiting for?
Let's journey forth...into... the FUTURE:


=============

"Greetings, my friends.
We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I
are going to
spend the rest of our lives..."

... while reading comics.
"Official" graphic for this feature; "doctored" image from the cover to Strange Tales # 156
(original art by Marie Severin)

=============


First, let's take a look at the items where DOCTOR STRANGE will appear, then we'll move onto the other "6-Dimensions".


=============

---
Doctor Strange IS DEFINITELY in ---

=============

well... nothing!
At least nothing specified.

What the hell is up with THAT?!?


=============

---
Doctor Strange SHOULD be in ---

=============


DOC... or, uh...The "New Sorcerer Supreme" is in:

NEW AVENGERS #55


Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Pencils & Cover by STUART IMMONEN

Ultimate Spider-Man artist Stuart Immonen rejoins series regular Brian Bendis for this all-new blockbuster Avengers story. One of the Hood's gang has found a way to power drain the New Avengers and it turns the tides of the Dark Reign in ways no one would have expected it. Plus the new Sorcerer Supreme has a lot to learn, and they're going to learn it from...Spider-Man?
32 PGS./Rated A …$3.99


=============

---
Doctor Strange MIGHT be in ---

=============


Dormammu and the Hood are in:

DARK REIGN: THE HOOD #3 (of 5)


Written by JEFF PARKER
Penciled by KYLE HOTZ
Cover by MARKO DJURDJEVIC

From the pages of NEW AVENGERS and DARK REIGN: THE CABAL!
An insider to the occult underworld gives The Hood the lowdown on the dread Dormammu, the power behind his power! Can Parker Robbins possibly break the hold this infamous entity has on him—and will he even want to when he sees some of the benefits of giving into it? While his inner struggle dominates his attention, a vicious foe from The Hood’s past regroups for a final showdown!
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$3.99

---------

OFFICIAL INDEX TO THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #7

Written by VARIOUS

Continuing the chronicle of the Marvel Universe, starting with Spider-Man (from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN # 302 on), Iron Man (from IRON MAN #231 on) and the X-Men (from UNCANNY X-MEN ANNUAL #6 on). Follow the history of the Marvel universe as it unfolds month by month with the All-New Official Index to the Marvel Universe. Each issue provides synopses for dozens of individual comics, including back-up strips, introducing you to the characters, teams, places and equipment that appeared within, providing vital information about first appearances, where they last showed up and where they appeared next!
64 PGS./Rated A …$3.99

---------

Unless he's already DEAD (which, I'm pretty sure he will be) Ultimate Doctor Strange may be in:

ULTIMATUM # 5

The Story: Is this what the end of the world looks like? You better believe it!!
As only Emmy & Eisner award-winning writer Jeph Loeb and superstar artist David Finch can deliver, it’s an apocalyptic conclusion where every, and we mean EVERY, score is settled! The Ultimate heroes have faced their final judgment…and when the dust settles will they be found wanting? If you can handle the growing body count, stick around as ALL is answered in this explosive series finale that will shock fans for years to come!
Rated T+ …$3.99

---------

ULTIMATE COMICS SAMPLER

Written by ARUNE SINGH

After Ultimatum, the Ultimate Universe is forever changed—enter Ultimate Comics, from the minds of Jeph Loeb, Mark Millar and Brian Michael Bendis! Who is Ultimate Spider-Man? Who are the New Ultimates? Who will join the Ultimate Avengers? And just what is the Ultimate project so top secret, so earth-shattering, that we can’t even mention its name? Get your first look at the comics that’ll have everyone’s jaws on the floor this summer!
32 PGS./Rated T+…FREE
NOT FINAL COVER

(heh heh... "from the 'minds' of... Loeb, Millar & Bendis". heh.)

---------

There's always a chance for a tiny cameo of Doc in:

MARVELS: EYE OF THE CAMERA #6 (of 6)

Written by KURT BUSIEK
Pencils & Cover by JAY ANACLETO
*Black and White Variant Also Available

The grand finale! As the X-Men face a splashy televised death in Dallas, Phil Sheldon and his family have a quiet and unexpected late-night reunion. Will it be their last time together as a family? What will it mean for Phil's legacy, and his book? This issue brings the second great story of Phil Sheldon and the Marvel Universe to an unforgettable conclusion.
32 PGS./Rated A …$3.99

=============

MAN-THING
& the "6-DIMENSIONS" characters
appear in
these comics:

=============


MAN-THING, Dormammu, The Hood & the Midnight Sons (and possibly Zombie Dr. Strange) are in:

MARVEL ZOMBIES 4 #4 (of 4)


Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Penciled by KEV WALKER
Cover by GREG LAND

The Midnight Sons battle against the terrifying new mutation of the zombie virus side-by-side with...The Hood! Why does the trigger-happy Cabal member now fight for humanity? Could it have anything to do with the fact the dread Dormammu has abandoned him for a new, even more powerful minion? Or the frightening fact that the plague of undead is going to lay waste to the entire Marvel Universe?
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$3.99

... which is continued (sorta - I have no idea if any of the other characters will also be featured) in the pages of:

---------

DEADPOOL: MERC WITH A MOUTH #1

Written by VICTOR GISCHLER
Penciled by BONG DAZO
Cover by ARTHUR SUYDAM
Variant Cover by ED MCGUINNESS

“HEAD TRIP,” Part 1 of 6
It’s the Merc with two mouths! Deadpool travels to the Savage Land to retrieve what might be the deadliest bio-weapon the universe has ever seen. What is this deadly object? Well, Deadpool's employer is being a little vague about that. Let’s just say when the secret is finally revealed, it's enough to throw even the Merc with two Mouths for a loop…Oh hell, we can’t keep a secret, it’s the severed-but-still-hungry head of the Marvel Zombies Deadpool! To save the universe, Deadpool must team up with himself to dodge Hydra operatives, dinosaurs, cavemen and zombie cavemen as he attempts to take his not-so-precious cargo back where it came from: the Marvel Zombies Universe. Plus, a bonus reprinting of the first apperanace of Deadpool from New Mutants #98!
48 PGS./New and Reprints/Parental Advisory …$3.99

---------

Black Knight, Blade, Dracula, Captain Fate, Lilith and more are in the pages of the AWESOME:

CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI13 #15


Written by PAUL CORNELL
Penciled by LEONARD KIRK
Cover by MICO SUAYAN

“VAMPIRE STATE”
The final battle with Dracula is here! Can what’s left of MI13 possibly defeat the most brilliant military strategist alive (or at least undead)? Who is Gloriana and what role does Dr. Doom play in this whole thing? Do not miss this cataclysmic conclusion! Part 6 (of 6)
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

---------

UNCANNY X-MEN #513

Written by MATT FRACTION
Pencils & Cover by TERRY DODSON
Variant Cover by SIMONE BIANCHI

“UTOPIA: CHAPTER 2”
WHO ARE THE DARK X-MEN? He has his own Avengers team and now Norman Osborn has his own X-Men team. The other shoe has finally dropped and Emma Frost has betrayed Cyclops and the rest of the X-Men. And that’s just one of the huge surprises in “UTOPIA”. Is that Namor? Cloak and Dagger? Professor X?! The thing that you aren’t ready for is that Osborn is right.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

---------

DARK AVENGERS #7


Written by MATT FRACTION
Pencils & Cover by MIKE DEODATO
Variant Cover by SIMONE BIANCHI

"UTOPIA: Chapter 3"
The DARK AVENGERS/UNCANNY X-MEN crossover continues!
San Francisco teeters on the brink of absolute chaos and the X-Men keep getting in the way of Norman's vision of law and order. So Norman takes his game to the next level: who are the DARK X-MEN? And will Norman's Avengers play nice with Norman's X-Men? Here's a hint: no.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

---------

DARK X-MEN: THE BEGINNING #1 & 2 (of 3)

Written by PAUL CORNELL, JAMES ASMUS & others
Penciled by humberto ramos & others
Covers by JAE LEE
60s DECADE VARIANT by TBA
UTOPIA TIE-IN
Who are the Dark X-Men and how did they come to be? FIND OUT HERE! Each issue has 3 11-page stories, each dedicated to one of the Dark X-Men and how they came to be part of the team. This first two issues focus on Emma Frost, Mimic, Cloak & Dagger, Daken, Weapon X and Dark Beast!
40 PGS.(each)/Rated A …$3.99 (each)

---------

Nick Fury, Hellfire, Druid and others are in:

SECRET WARRIORS #6

Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS & JONATHAN HICKMAN
Penciled by STEFANO CASELLI
Cover by JIM CHEUNG
70s DECADE VARIANT by TBA

The shocking conclusion to the earth-shattering first arc of Marvel's coolest new series in years! It's the ultimate Marvel super-hero spy experience.
No one is safe! Don't believe everything you've been told! You will be lied to!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

---------

The Hood seems to be in:

AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #26

Written by CHRISTOS N. GAGE
Penciled by RAFA SANDOVAL
Cover by Matteo de Longis

A shocking new era begins for the Initiative! Where Camp Hammond once trained future Avengers, Camp H.A.M.M.E.R. now trains tomorrow's Dark Avengers! Under orders from Norman Osborn, your new Principals are Taskmaster and the criminal kingpin, the Hood. They’re registering villains as heroes and spreading Norman’s empire across the nation with such specialized classes as How to Fake Being Champions While Fleecing the Citizens You’re Supposed to Protect! But the heroes who once made up the Initiative aren't about to let this happen. Hunted by the law, hidden from sight, a resistance movement has formed...and they're out to stop a Dark Reign from falling over the Fifty State Initiative...by any means necessary!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

as well as:

---------

DARK REIGN: MISTER NEGATIVE #2 (of 3)

Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Penciled by GIANLUCA GUGLIOTTA
Cover by JAE LEE

The streets of Chinatown run red with blood as The Hood sends in his entire villain army to take out the Last Villain Standing who refuses to submit to his rule, Mister Negative! The only thing that can save him is the latest ruthlessly violent enforcer he's converted to his cause: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN! Wha-huh? Plus: as Betty Brant gets ever closer to uncovering the terrifying secret behind Mr. Negative's origin, is she unwittingly sealing her own doom?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

and also:

---------

PUNISHER #7

Written by RICK REMENDER
Penciled by TAN ENG HUAT
Cover by MIKE MCKONE

"DEAD END" Part 2 of 5
Having tapped into the ancient and demonic evils that corrupt his soul, the Hood has drawn together a band of long-dead villains, all with personal investment in the execution of the Punisher. Meanwhile, Frank Castle struggles with a ghoulish offer that may hold his final chance for redemption.
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$2.99

---------

Silver Surfer is in:

BETA RAY BILL: GODHUNTER #2 (of 3)

Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by KANO
Cover by PATRICK ZIRCHER

Is Galactus...worried? Even…scared? Does he think the last of the Korbinite's unprecedented plan may succeed? That would explain why, on his approach to another idyllic world, the ever-hungry one sends his mightiest servant to stop Beta Ray Bill from interfering. But it'll take more than the Silver Surfer's Power Cosmic to make Bill turn back now...
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

---------

Namor is in:

AGENTS OF ATLAS #7

Written by JEFF PARKER
Penciled by CARLO PAGULAYAN & GABRIEL HARDMAN
Cover by LEINIL FRANCIS YU
70s DECADE VARIANT by TBA
Journey to the Deep!!
The Agents and the Sub-Mariner face not only a deadly attack beneath the ocean, but Namor and Namora’s budding relationship is hit with some ugly facts of Atlantean history. Also: what does a Lung Dragon dream? Peer into the most treacherous space imaginable, the ancient and diabolical mind of Mr. Lao!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

---------

Hulk is in:

AGENTS OF ATLAS #8

Written by JEFF PARKER
Penciled by CARLO PAGULAYAN
Cover by LEINIL FRANCIS YU

Jimmy Woo picks a bad time (or maybe a GREAT time) to leave on a personal mission with M-11-- when one of ATLAS' operations comes across something BIG and GREEN and out of control! The Atomic Age heroes meet the original gamma ray giant and learn the meaning of HULK SMASH!!!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

---------

Hulk is also in:

INCREDIBLE HULK #600

Written by JEPH LOEB
Penciled by ED MCGUINNESS
Cover by ALEX ROSS
50/50 Variant Cover by ED MCGUINNESS
Variant Cover by TIM SALE

WHO IS THE RED HULK?!
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN IS GOING TO TRY AND FIND OUT!
GREEN HULK! RED HULK! SPIDEY! SECRETS REVEALED!
A STORY SO BIG IT CAN BARELY BE CONTAINED IN THE INCREDIBLE 600TH ISSUE OF HULK! ALL THIS AND A STARTLING SURPRISE ENDING TO TOP ALL THE OTHER SHOCKING SURPRISES THIS HULK BOOK IS KNOWN FOR!
The chart-topping team of Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness bring you a 600th-issue celebration guest starring your friendly Neighborhood Web-Head as the original Incredible series returns! Plus, back-up story by Fred Van Lente featuring the Savage She-Hulk! And representing the first issue of the Loeb/Sale HULK: GRAY series,
104 PGS./38 All-New Pages & Reprints/Rated A …$4.99

---------

Nekra and others are in:

DARK REIGN: LETHAL LEGION #2 (of 3)

Written by Frank Tieri
Penciled by Mateus Santolouco
Cover by Tommy Lee Edwards
Put up your dukes as Wonder Man joins the fight…or is that starts one? Find out what was big enough to bring heroes and villains together, who thinks they’re powerful enough to bring down Norman Osborn! The mystery unravels as the Lethal Legion gets closer to finding the traitor in their midst and it’s every man for himself!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

---------

(Scarlet) Witch is a member of the:

EXILES #4

Written by JEFF PARKER
Penciled by CASEY JONES
Cover by DAVE BULLOCK
The latest team of Exiles find themselves on a much more binary Earth than the last, and the Tallus still isn't being much help. How did Machine Man, Vision and Ultron become the new rulers of America, and what chance do six people have against a nation of Machines?
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$2.99

---------

The (not-really-her) Scarlet Witch is in:

MIGHTY AVENGERS #27

Written by DAN SLOTT
Pencils by KHOI PHAM
Cover by MARKO DJURDJEVIC
50s DECADE VARIANT by TBA

Doom, Thor, Black Bolt, Black Panther, Ka-Zar, Namor...There are many monarchs in the Marvel Universe, but only one so powerful and so reviled that he had to be written out of history. He is THE UNSPOKEN. And his return will have dire consequences on both our world and worlds beyond.
The start of a new storyline that will bring dishonor for one Mighty Avenger, redemption for another, a family reunion, and ties to both DARK REIGN and WAR OF KINGS.
32 PGS./Rated A …$2.99

---------

Dr. Doom and his Masters are in:

FANTASTIC FOUR #569

Written by Mark Millar & JOE AHEARNE
Pencils by STUART IMMONEN
Wraparound Cover by Bryan Hitch

Double-Sized Finale to “The Masters of Doom!” featuring the last stand of the ragged FF before the triumphant Marquis of Death, as only the mind of Mark Millar could conceive it! And should Marvel’s first family survive that, they’ve got the wedding of the Thing to look forward to!
48 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

---------

Doom is also in:

THOR #603


Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils and Cover by Marko Djurdjevic
The people of Asgard are fractured, as Loki’s scheming plans start to bear poisonous fruit. In Latveria, Balder and his loyal followers have a home at the tender mercies of Victor Von Doom. Out in the wide open world, Thor and his followers in exile roam without a country. As Loki puts the final calculated moves in play…will the spirit of Asgard itself be destroyed? Don't miss the critically acclaimed, fan-favorite, multiple-Eisner-nominated THOR!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

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Hellcat is on the prowl in:

MARVEL DIVAS #1 (of 4)


Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Art by Tonci Zonjic
Cover by J. SCOTT CAMPBELL
70s DECADE VARIANT by TBA

Diva (dee-vah), noun: An unusually glamorous and powerful woman. See: Patsy "Hellcat" Walker; Felicia "Black Cat" Hardy; Angelica "Firestar" Jones; and Monica "Photon" Rambeau. What happens when you take four of the Marvel Universe's most fabulous single girls and throw them together, adding liberal amounts of suds and drama? You get the sassiest, sexiest, soapiest series to come out of the House of Ideas since Millie the Model! Romance, action, ex-boyfriends, and a last page that changes everything! Let your inner divas out with this one, fellas, you won't regret it!
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$3.99

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ALL of Marvel's Pantheons are featured in:

THOR & HERCULES: ENCYCLOPAEDIA MYTHOLOGICA


Written by ANTHONY FLAMINI, FRED VAN LENTE, PAUL CORNELL & GREG PAK
Cover by MICO SUAYAN

For the first time ever — all of Marvel's mighty pantheons, all in one handbook! Thor and Hercules aren't the only gods in town, as the ENCYCLOPAEDIA MYTHOLOGICA spotlights everything from Aztecs to Zoroaster! Brush up on the eternal rivalry between the Green Knight and the Red Lord! Meet Anitun and the Diwatas, the gods of the Philippines! Learn the dark origin of Mikaboshi, the Shinto god of evil! Explore the mystical dimension of Otherworld! Plus: Panther Gods, Lion Gods and Snowbirds!
64 PGS./Rated T+ …$4.99

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COLLECTED EDITIONS
HARDCOVERS & TPB's

=============


MARVEL 70TH ANNIVERSARY TPB

Written by BILL EVERETT, JOE SIMON, STAN LEE, LARRY LEIBER, STEVE DITKO, ROY THOMAS, BOB LAYTON, DAVID MICHELINIE, CHRIS CLAREMONT, FRANK MILLER, PETER DAVID, KURT BUSIEK, BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS & ED BRUBAKER
Penciled by BILL EVERETT, JACK KIRBY, GENE COLAN, STEVE DITKO, JOHN ROMITA, NEAL ADAMS, JOHN ROMITA JR., JOHN BYRNE, FRANK MILLER, TODD MCFARLANE, ALEX ROSS, GEORGE PEREZ, MARK BAGLEY, JIM CHEUNG & STEVE EPTING
Cover by ALAN DAVIS

Celebrate a senses-shattering 70 years of Marvel Comics with this fitting tribute to the storied history of the House of Ideas! This keepsake edition showcases the creative evolution of the Marvel Universe like never before by collecting some of the best stories from each of the past seven decades. With input from the True Believers themselves – the mighty Marvel fans – this is Marvel history as it was made! Collecting material from SUB-MARINER #1, CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #2-3, JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #2, TALES TO ASTONISH #13, AMAZING FANTASY #12; and FANTASTIC FOUR #13, STRANGE TALES #115, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #50, AVENGERS #93, IRON MAN #128, UNCANNY X-MEN #132, DAREDEVIL #168, INCREDIBLE HULK #340, MARVELS #0, AVENGERS #4, ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #13, NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI #1 and CAPTAIN AMERICA #25.
344 PGS./Rated A …$24.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3743-6



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TOMB OF DRACULA OMNIBUS VOL. 2 HC

Written by MARV WOLFMAN, STEVE ENGLEHART & DAVID KRAFT
Penciled by GENE COLAN, TOM PALMER & VIRGILIO REDONDO
Covers by KALMAN ANDRASOFSZKY & GENE COLAN

Trap him in Hell or trap him in humanity, Dracula will fight to the finish, fang and claw! But after centuries of being haunted by his demonic daughter, the Transylvanian tyrant faces an even worse family skeleton: A son who's an absolute angel! Plus the menaces of Dr. Sun, Dr. Frost, and Sorcerer Supreme Dr. Strange! Guest-starring Blade, Hannibal King, and the Silver Surfer! Collecting TOMB OF DRACULA #32-70, GIANT-SIZE DRACULA #5 and DR. STRANGE #14.
808 PGS./Parental Advisory …$99.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3576-0

TOMB OF DRACULA OMNIBUS VOL. 2 HC VARIANT COLAN COVER (DM ONLY)
808 PGS./Parental Advisory …$99.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3577-7

TOMB OF DRACULA OMNIBUS VOL. 1 HC STILL AVAILABLE!
$99.99 (ISBN: 978-0-7851-2778-9)




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MARVEL MASTERWORKS: ATLAS ERA MENACE VOL. 1 HC

Written by STAN LEE & MORE
Penciled by BILL EVERETT, RUSS HEATH, JOE MANEELY, GENE COLAN, JOHN ROMITA, JOE SINNOTT, GEORGE TUSKA, WERNER ROTH, PAUL REINMAN, SHELDON MOLDOFF, JOHN FORTE, ROBERT Q. SALE, TONY DIPRETA, AL EADEH, BOB POWELL, JACK KATZ, SEYMOUR MOSKOWITZ & MORE
Cover by BILL EVERETT

In 1953 horror comics were king and Atlas editor-in-chief, Stan Lee, launched a new title to make a bid for the throne—and that title was MENACE! Backed by the best of the best in his art stable—Bill Everett, Russ Heath, Joe Maneely, Gene Colan, John Romita, Joe Sinnott, George Tuska—Stan’s new title became a high-water mark for pre-Code horror. Chock full of page after page of werewolves, vampires, zombies, ghosts, ghouls, double-dealing women and stone-cold killers with a sense of morality as dark as the ink on the page, MENACE lived up to its name—and how! It also showed hints of the Mighty Marvel future to come with running editorial commentary by Stan, reader contests, and characters like the infamous Zombie by Stan and Bill Everett, who would become the Marvel Age’s own killer zombie, Simon Garth. MENACE is a must-have for all aficionados of comics’ rollicking pre-Code days and the perfect entry point for readers looking to take their first adventure into the Atlas Era! Collecting MENACE #1-11
304 PGS/All Ages …$59.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3509-8

MARVEL MASTERWORKS: ATLAS ERA MENACE VOL. 1
— VARIANT EDITION VOL. 126


304 PGS/All Ages …$59.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3510-4

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RUNAWAYS: TEENAGE WASTELAND PREMIERE HC


Written by BRIAN K. VAUGHAN
Penciled by ADRIAN ALPHONA & TAKESHI MIYAZAWA
Cover by JO CHEN

Still on the run from their super-villain parents, this motley crew of super-powered kids finds a kindred spirit in a daring young stranger and welcomes him into their fold. But will this dashing young man help the teenagers defeat their villainous parents...or tear them apart? One troubled member finds out, as she leaves the group's hideout with their new recruit, who reveals his startling secret, putting the entire team in jeopardy! Plus: Who do you send to catch a group of missing, runaway teenage super heroes? Marvel’s original teen runaway crimefighters, Cloak and Dagger, making their first major appearance in years! Collecting RUNAWAYS #7-12.
144 PGS./Rated T+ …$19.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3973-7
Trim size: standard



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MEPHISTO VS. PREMIERE HC



Written by AL MILGROM
Penciled by JOHN BUSCEMA
Covers by JOHN BOLTON & JOHN BUSCEMA

The Fantastic Four! X-Factor! The X-Men! The Avengers! What threat could menace all four major Marvel teams of the 1980s? Can you say...the Devil? Mephisto wants super-hero souls, and he's out to collect them all! With their worst nightmares AND their wildest dreams at his command, he's not getting cast out of THIS fight! How can he lose...when it's HIS series? Collecting MEPHISTO VS. THE FANTASTIC FOUR #1, MEPHISTO VS. THE X-FACTOR #2, MEPHISTO VS. THE X-MEN #3 and MEPHISTO VS. THE AVENGERS #4.
112 PGS./Rated T+ …$19.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3804-4
Trim size: standard

MEPHISTO VS. PREMIERE HC — VARIANT EDITION VOL. 32
112 PGS./Rated T+ …$19.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3778-8

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DOCTOR DOOM AND THE MASTERS OF EVIL GN

Written by PAUL TOBIN
Penciled by PATRICK SCHERBERGER
Cover by ROGER CRUZ

You’ve gotta ask yourself: If Doctor Doom’s the most evil guy ever, how much more evil’s it gonna get when he puts a whole TEAM of VILLAINS to work? It's the series where the bad guys get their say, and the Sinister Six are saying they aren't sinister enough! So, what's the solution? How about Kraven stealing a vibranium staff from the Louvre? Sweet! And how about Electro designs a new suit to better channel his powers? Great idea! And how about ramping up Mysterio's powers by breaking into Stark Industries to steal a miniaturized super-component, battling both Iron Man and Dr. Strange in the process? Collecting DOCTOR DOOM AND THE MASTERS OF EVIL #1-4 AND MORE.
120 PGS./All Ages …$12.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3844-0



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SPIDER-MAN: FAMILY TIES TPB

Written by J.M. DEMATTEIS, KARL KESEL, KEITH CHAMPAGNE, JOHN ARCUDI & ABBY DENSON
Penciled by ALEX CAL, RAMON BACHS, RON FRENZ, SHAWN MOLL, RAMON BACHS, VAL SEMEIKS & COLLEEN COOVER
Cover by MIKE DEODATO JR.

One spider, two spiders, three spiders, four! SPIDER-MAN FAMILY has stories galore! Pulling together several fun Spidey stories for all ages, Spider-Man: Family Ties will introduce you to different perspectives of everyone’s favorite wall-crawler! From “Untold Tales of Spider-Man” and the Spectacular Spider-Monkey, to “The Private Life of Peter Parker” and a scintillating saga featuring a showdown between Spidey and the shambling muck monster, the Man-Thing! Plus Aunt May and more! FAMILY TIES is the kind of collection you’ll want to use to introduce Spidey to the kids in your life — or perhaps even reintroduce yourself to your old friend, the Amazing Spider-Man! Collecting AMAZING SPIDER-MAN FAMILY #1-3 and SPIDER-MAN: FEAR ITSELF.
160 PGS./Rated A …$14.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3517-3



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WEREWOLF BY NIGHT: IN THE BLOOD TPB

Written by DUANE SWIERCZYNSKI
Penciled by MICO SUAYAN
Cover by MICO SUAYAN
For 28 days of the month, Jack Russell leads a normal life. He’s got a beautiful wife and a baby on the way. He’s the picture of happiness. On day 29, however, he turns into an uncontrollable, bloodthirsty monster. But as the saying goes, the best-laid plans of wolves and men…Plus: this edition also includes the epic two-part story of Jack Russell’s first encounter with Dracula! Collecting DEAD OF NIGHT FEATURING WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #1-4, TOMB OF DRACULA #18 and WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #15.
136 PGS./Explicit Content …$16.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3280-6



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GHOST RIDER: TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS TPB

Written by JASON AARON & SIMON SPURRIER
Penciled by TONY MOORE & MARK ROBINSON
Cover by MARK TEXEIRA

Hit the highway with four stories starring the Spirit(s) of Vengeance! The all-new Caretaker struggles to pick up the pieces of her life, but the mad-dog man-mountain called the Deacon has other plans. Plus: Caretaker leads a special guided tour of the long sordid history of the Spirit of Vengeance in America. Learn the legend of the Highwayman, the hellbilly terror of the hammer lane — a former trucker who was cursed by the devil and now drives a mystical black rig, preying on the souls of anyone foolish enough to drive his highways. See what happens when Johnny Blaze tries to get away from it all in a sleepy fishing village in Japan, where the locals have some demons of their own. And welcome to Mercy, Idaho, a small town in the hills with more than its fair share of secrets: a winged terror that haunts the woods; an irresistible pull on the desperate and the suicidal; and now a stranger on a low-slung chopper, with fire in his eyes. For Johnny Blaze, searching for a way to wage war against heaven itself, the frozen forests of Mercy might just provide a path through the Pearly Gates. Collects GHOST RIDER #33-#35 & ANNUAL #2.
120 PGS./Parental Advisory …$12.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3911-9



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ESSENTIAL MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE VOL. 3 TPB

Written by MARK GRUENWALD, RALPH MACCHIO, MARV WOLFMAN, STEVEN GRANT, TOM DEFALCO, DAVID MICHELINIE, A. BRODSKY & ALAN KUPPERBERG
Penciled by JOHN BYRNE, JOE SINNOTT, GEORGE PÉREZ, GENE DAY, CHIC STONE, JERRY BINGHAM, RON WILSON, PABLO MARCOS, MICHAEL NETZER, FRANK SPRINGER, ALAN KUPPERBERG, JIM CRAIG, BOB BUDIANSKY & BRUCE PATTERSON
Cover by BOB BUDIANSKY

Life's not one thing after another, it's the same THING over and over again! Join Benjamin J. Grimm, Quasar, Giant-Man, and FF members and X-Men alike against foes old and new, all-powerful and somewhat less powerful! With several sensational storylines in one volume, including Project: PEGASUS, the Beyonders and the Serpent Crown! Plus: the fate of the Hydro-Men! War in the Negative Zone! Time paradoxes, secrets of alien procreation, dinosaurs, disco, dementia and more! Guest-starring the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Inhumans, the Howling Commandos and others! Collecting MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #53-77 and ANNUAL #4-5.
592 PGS./All Ages …$19.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3069-7



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ESSENTIAL PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN VOL. 4 TPB

Written by BILL MANTLO, ROGER STERN, AL MILGROM & BOB DENATALE
Penciled by AL MILGROM, RON FRENZ, GREG LAROCQUE, DAVE SIMONS, FRED HEMBECK, KERRY GAMMILL, SAL BUSCEMA & RON RANDALL
Cover by AL MILGROM

Dr. Octopus and the Owl, good guys can end up hurt...BAD! But Spider-Man's at his fighting best when things look worst — and with his heroine hospitalized, he's readier than ever to clean Doc Ock's clock! Back on her feet, the Cat convinces Spider-Man they can be a crimefighting couple — but are the likes of the Hobgoblin, the Fly, the Cobra and Mr. Hyde too much for her? Unexpectedly, Spider-Man's off to the end of the universe for the Secret Wars — but while the spider's away, the cat will...what? The Spidey/Cat relationship's meltdown begins here! Plus: the Kingpin AND the Blob! Journalistic jeopardy with J. Jonah Jameson! The Punisher gone madder than usual! Secrets from Aunt May's youth, with a rare flashback to Spidey's Uncle Ben! And, yes, the credits said Fred Hembeck! Guest-starring Cloak and Dagger! Also featuring the Fantastic Four and the Avengers! Collecting PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #75-96 and ANNUAL #4.
576 PGS./All Ages …$19.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3071-0



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INCREDIBLE HERCULES

The Story: When the Hulk returns to Earth for the senses-shattering events of World War Hulk, we can all guess which puny humans will fight against him. But which of Earth's heroes will fight for the Hulk? Don't miss the shocking revelations as Amadeus Cho, the boy genius who took on Reed Richards on behalf of the Hulk in INCREDIBLE HULK #100, confronts She-Hulk and Doc Samson – and precipitates a gamma-powered smash-fest in the wilds of Jersey! Then, the dust has settled after WORLD WAR HULK and Hercules and Amadeus Cho find themselves outlaws, a situation further inflamed by Cho’s grudge against the super-spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D. and Herc’s feud with his estranged half-brother — Ares, god of war, who isn’t above abusing his new federal clout for the sake of sibling rivalry. It’s Marvel’s mightiest manhunt, guest-starring Wonder Man and the Black Widow. Then, the Greek Goliath gathers the most powerful super-team ever assembled to counter-attack the Skrull gods! Face front, True Believers, and prepare for the pantheon-pounding premiere of...THE GOD SQUAD! All this plus an untold tale pitting Hercules against the Incredible Hulk! Collecting INCREDIBLE HULK #106-112, INCREDIBLE HERCULES #113-115 and HULK VS. HERCULES: WHEN TITANS COLLIDE. All Ages …$29.99 ISBN: 978-0-7851-3698-9 Trim size: oversized

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MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE SUB-MARINER v3

The Story: Imperious Rex! Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner has returned for another MARVEL MASTERWORKS adventure! Writer Roy Thomas and a trio of definitive Sub-Mariner artists are going to take comic’s first anti-hero on one of his greatest adventures of all time! It’s Atlantean vs. Inhuman when Namor faces off against Triton. Then, our hero must march through Attuma and the bloodthirsty Tiger Shark, in his first appearance, but the truly epic confrontation begins when the man called Destiny returns and his Helmet of the Ancients is revealed to be the powerful Serpent Crown. It’s evil influence threatens the lives of Namor and his love, the Lady Dorma, and sends them across the seas to Lemuria to destroy the Crown or be destroyed by it! We couldn’t forget the all-time classic, earth-rattling face-off between Namor and the Thing, not to mention the touching return of one of the Atlantean prince’s friends from all way back in comics’ Golden Age. It’s Marvel’s mer-man at his very best! Collecting SUB-MARINER #2-13. All Ages …$54.99 ISBN: 978-0-7851-3487-9
VARIANT : ISBN: 978-0-7851-3488-6

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SPIDER-MAN NEWSPAPER STRIPS HC


Written by STAN LEE
Penciled by JOHN ROMITA
Cover by JOHN ROMITA

ALL THE STRIPS THAT ARE FIT TO PRINT!
And since we’re talking about strips written by Stan “The Man” Lee and drawn by “Jazzy” John Romita…that means ALL of ’em! Reprinting all of Stan and John’s Spider-Man newspaper strips in chronological order, Spider-Man Newspaper Strips brings you the earliest classic panels that hit the daily and Sunday papers of the late 1970s! All the daily strips are printed in the original black and white, and all the Sundays in their original color, featuring remastered linework in a deluxe hardcover format that will spin a web of enchantment upon anyone who reads them! Collecting Stan Lee/John Romita's Spider-Man daily strips and Sunday pages, originally published from 1977-1980
352 PGS./Rated A …$39.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3793-1
Trim size: oversized



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=============

Whew!
That seems to be it for this month.
If you see anything that interests you, be sure to pick it up when it ships.

If you like any of the Collected Editions, a kindness of ordering through my Amazon links would be greatly appreciated.
Heck, check them out for anything you might be looking for.

-------------

Feel free to discuss these solicits in the comments section.

(all new comic cover images yoinked from Marvel.com)

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So, once again, my friends... I'll see you... in the future...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Son of Origins!
An Origins Sequel.
(or addendum if you will)

There was another formative experience that would utterly hook me into the world of comic books.
One aside from (although, sort of at the same time - or a little later than) the "origin" tale that I related in my most recent entry; the Special 125th Edition post, entitled;


For you see... (and this is offered forth through the foggy haze of poor memory of 30+ years or so gone by)... even before I was wading into the world of actual comic BOOKS, I was already an aficionado of those four-color comics found in the the newspaper (aka; the "FUNNIES").

However, aside from the usual gag strips I would soon become a huge fan of two in particular;

The Star Wars strip, which was based on the "first" film; A New Hope (and then adapting the various paperback spin-off's of the "Han Solo Adventures" that were hot on the shelves) to keep the kiddie's hooked, long before the sequel(s) could start running...

- and, even before that -

The Amazing Spider-Man strip.
Written by Stan Lee and drawn by John Romita Sr.



THIS was my real - true first experience with "collecting" comic books (of a sort).
I had known of Spider-Man himself from the 1960's animated TV cartoons, the live action television show starring Nicholas Hammond - (which I seem to be alone in my professed love of that show) and Spidey's stint on the Electric Company educational, tv kiddie-show.

However, while the various television shows would fade to black after their credits rolled, the newspaper strip was mine to keep - collect and re-read as many times as I'd like.

I had a shoe box filled with clipped-out comic strips; the dailies and color Sunday editions of the Star Wars and Spider-Man comics.

For many years I kept them, archiving them in various manners over time, always being amazed by their quality.

---

Now, for the most part, the Star Wars strip only interested me because I had actually read and enjoyed the Han Solo books (Han Solo at Star's End, Han Solo's Revenge and Han Solo and the Lost Legacy, as well as the other early adaptations, like Splinter of the Mind's Eye).



I was never much of a Star Wars fan otherwise.

But the fact that I was familiar with those books, the comic was an excellent continuation of the enjoyment that I felt from the actual paperbacks, and so... I read, clipped and collected them.

---

The Spider-Man strip was something entirely different.

I was really pretty hooked on that strip.
The artwork was so crisp and perfect. I had never seen it's like.
Having never seen Ditko's Spidey at that time, I thought that surely John Romita Sr. was the ONLY guy qualified for the job.

I can only remember a few scant details of them today; the introduction of the PROWLER and the headers.

Especially the one with Spider-Man lifting the bus!
That image has been burned into my mind and will be with me all the days of my life as "THE" most awesome Spider-Man pose. It really gave him some "oomph"!

Check it out!


There were other images that would rotate in placement atop the strip, acting as header, but the bus one was tops for me.


Although, I did (and do) like the quiet, studious and mysterious nature of the "mixing web-fluid" vignette.



The only thing that seemed "wrong" to me, was that for a guy named "Spider-Man", Romita drew him as very muscular and bold. I'm sure I didn't think it consciously, because Romita's Spider-Man was truly perfect to my young mind.
I especially liked how uniform and dimensional he made the webbing on the costume, especially on the arms and boots.


Sometime shortly afterwards, I would be out grocery shopping with my mother and she would purchase "ALL" laundry detergent, and there on a promotional blurb was Spider-Man!

I had to have it.

The promo came with 3 "magic" marker pens and a comic book (although, I don't recall if the comic was somehow attached to the product or if it was a mail-away offer).

But when I received that comic (a reprinting of an early issue featuring Spidey and the Human Torch vs the Beetle - with some cool bonus material) I saw that it was drawn by someone entirely different than John Romita.
Some guy named Steve Ditko.

I wasn't sure WHAT to make of it, really... except... that I fell in love with the fluidity of his Spider-Man.

Romita's rendition was physically PERFECT, and heroic looking (as well as having Peter Parker being quite the handsome young man, and the women were very attractive).
However, Ditko's characters MOVED!
They looked flawed physically and facially... a little too weird for my young self (especially the bug-eyed Betty Brandt and other female love interests) but Spider-Man and the Torch (and even the boxy Beetle) were FLUID!

(And, when, a few years later, I would discover some of the history and back-issues of Doctor Strange, the name of Steve Ditko was one that was immediately recognized by me and he brought that same fluidity and sense of motion and urgency to the mystic master as well.)

So, I was now able to appreciate more than just Romita's style as "the" Spider-Man artist.

However, those newspaper strips would stay with me as my foundation for the print character to this very day.

So, when I read that an omnibus of sorts for the newspaper strip was being offered, I was excited!

Here's the solicit text:

SPIDER-MAN NEWSPAPER STRIPS HC
Written by STAN LEE
Penciled by JOHN ROMITA
Cover by JOHN ROMITA
ALL THE STRIPS THAT ARE FIT TO PRINT!
And since we’re talking about strips written by Stan “The Man” Lee and drawn by “Jazzy” John Romita…that means ALL of ’em! Reprinting all of Stan and John’s Spider-Man newspaper strips in chronological order, Spider-Man Newspaper Strips brings you the earliest classic panels that hit the daily and Sunday papers of the late 1970s! All the daily strips are printed in the original black and white, and all the Sundays in their original color, featuring remastered linework in a deluxe hardcover format that will spin a web of enchantment upon anyone who reads them! Collecting Stan Lee/John Romita's Spider-Man daily strips and Sunday pages, originally published from 1977-1980
352 PGS./Rated A …$39.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3793-1
Trim size: oversized


It brings a smile to my face to think that soon I'll plunk down the cash for it (since I had long since lost my clippings) and reminisce about a better, simpler time, and a more perfect Spider-Man!


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sorcerers, Spacemen & Swamp Beasts; "Oh, My!"
- or -
Dorkwin; The Origin of the Geeksies.

To paraphrase a famous blogger - who once wisely stated words to similar effect...
"Why you no post, Ptor?"

Well, I've been meaning to, but the lack of available time (or, at least enough "consecutive, pre-midnight non-bleary-eyed time", as I tend to call it) kept me from being able to be lucid enough, long enough to get this in the can.

There were a few opportunities to present some odds and ends, but I opted not to because this is a my 125th post, and I didn't want to "waste" it on something trivial.

And so... I waited until I had the time to do (right) something that was (hopefully) worthy of the "big number" (especially since I MISSED my 100th post).

Thus, I say...
Welcome back, dear friends and readers, to this, my
SPECIAL 125th POST!!!
-------------

As a change of pace around here, I thought I'd toss up a slightly "interactive" activity, of sorts on ye olde blog. Something to help get everyone a little closer and inspire some activity in the comments section.

Now, even on this blog's slowest days, I easily get well over 100 "unique" hits per day (much more than that on occasion), so I expect to get at least a few replies to this, OK?

We're going to walk back down the primrose path of our halcyon "golden" years... when we first discovered comics... and offer up some memories thereof.

In this way, we can share our origins in this hobby / interest / obsession we call "comics"...if you don't mind sharing memories of your "formative years".

I will, of course, proffer my personal anecdotes as well.
It's only fair.


When did you, my friends and readers:

1)
- Start reading (or discover) comics?
  • a) Do you recall any of the circumstances around that "fateful day / event / time of life"?
  • b) Why and/or how you got the issue(s) in question?
  • c) What your first comics WAS? (If you can recall the specific issue(s).)
2) - When did you first read DOCTOR STRANGE (or- alternatively, if you are here because of your love of one of the OTHER "6-Dimensions" characters, then... THEM)?
  • a) Was the title &/or character on it's own or as a team-up / cross-over / continued story from another title?
  • b) Did you like the title &/or character at first or did it grow on you later?

That's all for this go-round.
I think that should be enough to spark some discussion, don't you?

--------------

Now, for proper etiquette (netiquette?) I'll share my formative story with you all...
I'll go into some crazy in-depth detail for the benefit of the blog... (but don't feel you have to make your answers as long as mine. Just whatever you feel like sharing).

*************
To answer the
# 1) a), b), c)
portion of my questions;


I first started reading comics in the late 1970's - at around 10 years of age. As near as I can recall, I started tentatively in 1977. Maybe there were a few scattered issues as far back as 1975, but by 1978 I was in full-swing.
I'm sure my first few comics were random, individual issues. Nothing specific. These arbitrary issues were most likely brought home for me by my father, who worked in the Postal system.
Maybe they were subscription issues that lost their mailing sleeve, or perhaps they were brought in by a co-worker. I can't say. With the exception of X-Men # 71 (which must have been a co-worker offering, since it's from 1971) , Marvel Super Action # 1 and Marvel Triple Action # 16 (which I absolutely love(d) and had definitely fueled my interest in the Avengers), I don't recall many of those random issues. At least, not consciously.



My parents knew of my love of all manners of reading material, and while my mom would almost exclusively give me books to read, my dad used to have comics when he was a kid (supposedly very early issues of War-era Captain America and other War Comics - all of which were tossed out by his mother when he joined the Army), so some comics probably seemed as innocent reading fodder.

My own foray into buying comics came via the odd's-n-ends from the multi-packs that were sold in 5-and-dime stores at the time.

They were a great value, 3 (to 5 - depending on the type of multi-pack) fairly recent comics (anywhere from 4 months to a year old) in a sealed baggie, for a bit less than cover price of the originals added up.

There were a few instances, I recall, sneaking out to the Roosevelt Field Mall - which was verboten as a solo trek - and buying the multi-packs at the Woolworth's 5-and-dime.

Some of the first issues I obtained were:

Defenders # 63 (part 2 of the 3-issue "Defenders for a Day" story)
A glorious clusterfuck of an issue! It intrigued me, to be sure, but by itself, it was unfathomable since I had no idea who many of these masses of costumed lunatics were!
Problem was, with no comic stores anywhere around, and this issue already a few months old, I would have to wait - easily a decade or so - until I would be able to read the entire arc.
(To think this was my first Defenders issue and NO DOCTOR STRANGE to be found in it! I was so close... but wouldn't meet the Doctor named Strange for a little while yet.)

.
Iron Man # 115
This was my first introduction to Iron Man (with the possible exception of the Marvel 1960's "animated" cartoons - and the "cool exec with the heart of steel"), and while I seem to remember wondering what would happen next issue, it didn't really "click" with me, and I promptly forgot about it. Madame Masque and the Ani-Men seemed interesting though.


Marvel Two-in-One # 44 (Thing & Hercules)
Good lord, I loved this issue. I just re-read it a few moments ago (ah, nostalgia) and it's a fun romp! Basically, Ben Grimm retelling a "tall tale" of sorts to a bunch of delinquent kids at "Camp Run-A-Muck". It got it's hooks in me as a lad (especially that cover), and provided a few good grins for the adult me, as well.
(Sadly, I missed the Man-Thing appearance of the issue before.)


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Marvel Team-Up # 58 (Spider-Man & Ghost Rider.)
The cover is memorable enough. The story? Don't remember anything about it. But I'm pretty sure it got me interested in Ghost Rider! Just not enough to spend the money on G.R. back-issues, when I eventually did wade into the collector's mindset.


These...among many others were my first recollected memories of my earliest comics.
Every so often I'll be rummaging through the longboxes (or searching online for something) and come across an issue that I had as a kid and the cover would burst forth straight through my cerebellum, demolishing it's way through 30 years of temporal distance, grabbing hold of my brain-box to bring me right back to the late 1970's.
I'm sure there are other great issues that I should be including in this brief run-down, but sadly, I can't place them off-hand.

While there WERE some DC's in there, (issues of WEIRD WAR TALES and HAUNTED TANK,) the only DC comic that I remember was
SUPERMAN FAMILY # 193.
While I honestly have no idea where that issue came from, I'll share my half-remembered thoughts on the issue here.
If you wish to skip that, just jump to the next set of "---" dash-bars

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The lead-in Superboy story could not have left me more disinterested if it tried, with some half-assed villain with the traditional DC-trope of "oversized-props-used-as-weapons" shtick, but the Supergirl story, with appearances by "The Human Cannonball" (and his goofy-looking afro-like cannonball helmet) was a bit more to my tastes.
A mad villain, strange anti-gravity craziness in a foreign locale (London), a bit of a "mystery" (something simple but trivia that has stuck with me to this very day; ie; the villain claims that the answer is found in Big Ben, but no one can gain access to the famous clock tower. Until Supergirl (iirc) recalls that the moniker of "Big Ben" is the name of the BELL not the clock or the tower - heh. It's strange, the stupid stuff that one remembers, hmm?)... all good stuff.
There was also a last panel appearance by the DOOM PATROL and I found myself very eager to learn more about that group. They seemed so much the opposite of the simple, straightforward Super-family. Sadly, with no comic stores anywhere nearby, and no idea how to get more of these weird comic-things, I never got another issue of Superman Family. As soon as I read the issue to literal pieces, I gave up on that title and my love of the Doom Patrol would have to wait for about a decade until the Grant Morrison incarnation would earn my monthly funds.

The only other part of the issue that I found interesting was a middle-segment of a story arc dealing with those heroes of the bottled city of Kandor; Nightwing and Flamebird.
While still fairly whitebread, their tale had an edge, with the two characters locked in mortal combat with each other over some act of imagined betrayal.
The only way to stop the fight was for the one who still regained his senses to feign death, hoping that the shock would free the mind of the maddened teammate.

I recall my interest being piqued by their segment.
Sadly, I've never seen or read another Nightwing and Flamebird story since then.


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Usually, after my trek to the land of bulk bagged comics, I'd walk over to a row of shoppes and warehouses (on the nearby "Voice Road") and while waiting for my sister to get off work, I'd sit on the loading bay of the Paper & Plastics store where she worked at that time, and read the day's haul. This would definitely be by 1978... still about a year before I'd find my local stationery store would start carrying new issues. Closer to home and with a selection I could actively peruse.

All of those multi-bagged comics got me pretty hooked, but the one that really pulled me in was
Uncanny X-Men # 116.

That one got me to actually start hunting down and collecting the back-issues.

And even more importantly, it's the comic that started me CREATING my own comics and characters.
I recall being drawn to Cyclops and Nightcrawler the most, and in my first created comic-team (which I called "X-FACTOR" , obviously many loooooong years before Marvel did so) I had analogues to those two X-men, plus a few of my own totally original characters.

What's truly odd, is that issue was brought home to me by my mother (and younger brother), who while out shopping, received this comic from a new store (probably Heroes World) that was giving away free issues as a promotional gimmick.

Strange, thinking back at it now, since my folks (especially my mother) soon would hate my growing love of the medium, to the point where I would have to sneak my comics hauls into the house under ridiculous effort and wily means.
However, it was really THEY who first introduced me to them.
Irony at it's finest.

The only saving grace, as far as my parents were concerned, was that I had little or no resources to acquire many more of these vile things, apart from the small selection of pre-bagged multi-packs.
That was manageable enough.
And even I wouldn't buy a multi-pack if the contents were nothing that interested me.
Of course, the trick was to somehow try to see what the middle comic was, that was sandwiched between the outer, visible two.
Usually, these were lame comics, but luckily for me, I loved the lame ones even more!
But, even under the best of conditions, it was damned near impossible to discern what that comic was, and so, if at least one of the visible comics wasn't of interest, I'd usually walk home empty handed.

Occasionally, I'd stumble upon a hidden cache of comics and treasury editions in some forgotten back-section of a 5-and-dime or corner mini-convenience stand.
That's how I found Marvel Triple Action # 33, and
Marvel Special Edition: Close Encounters of the Third Kind
movie adaptation!



Still, my mania over this medium would grow, fueled, in part, by a small group of friends who had also been bitten by the comic-bug.
Every month or so, one of their mother's would take us in a car-load to one of the growing number of comic specialty shoppes that were cropping up in the neighboring towns. Shoppes, the likes of which named as; "The Bat-Cave", "Mike's Comic Hut" and "Creation" were my stepping stones to a much larger world of accessibility.

Another resource opened up when we found that the local permanent flea-market had several vendors who specialized entirely in comics!
Ye Gods! This was a twice-a-week venue within walking distance!
So, we'd frequently hop the 10 foot tall chain-link fence (because to pay the dollar or two entrance fee would mean less money for comics!) and serpentine, dashing our way through the cars and vendors spaces to avoid the security patrols and make our way to the glorious longboxes within.
(On some occasions, some or all of us would be nabbed - either going in or out of the market, and be forced to cough up the entrance fee, but most times, we'd make it unmolested.)

Sadly, I never really had a lot of extra cash to buy expensive back issues- although, they weren't too high priced, looking back now. A mint copy of Spider-Man # 1 was less than $300 at the time. Giant Size X-Men # 1 was about $60.
But still, that was seen as a lot of money for a single comic book.
My friends all had allowances or some other resource for money to spend on their comics, while I only had what I could scrounge up - or earn from a pennysaver paper delivery route.

So, my friends were buying near-mint copies of their faves;
(John D's fix was Spider-Man, Mike G's flame was stoked by Ghost Rider, Rosario V's attentions were always toward what was the most popular and/or strongest; so Uncanny X-Men & Thor were his choices), while I ended up dredging the 25cent bins.

This turned out to be a good thing, as I was a fan of the off-beat, the strange, the mystical and monstrous (and... most crucially, the INEXPENSIVE), so I would soon fall for the original run of the Macabre MAN-THING!

Those early Mike Ploog illustrated issues still bring me mentally right back to the dank and dusty quarter bins of old.
Truthfully, while I would have loved to have been able to buy shiny bagged comics from the wall behind the register, the discount bins were home to many overlooked and underestimated titles.

Man-Thing was just the one that I would grow to love the most.
My only true regret at the time was that there were only back-issues of Man-Thing to collect. He was no longer being published.

Although, that was soon to change.

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Now, to address the

# 2) a), b)
section of the show;

As I stated in the first part of this post; I discovered comics in the mid to late 1970's, started really COLLECTING them by 1978 and 1979.
By 1980, I would soon be a regular buyer and reader of MAN-THING & ROM (among others).

After re-reading my 25cent bin collection of original Man-Thing issues a multitude of times, I walked into the local stationery store (where I had discovered a few months earlier had started to carry new comics), I was looking through the spinner rack, with it's ubiquitous "Hey, Kids! COMICS!" header, and saw something that would set my eyes alight!

MAN-THING volume 2 # 2!

I was soon able to score the first issue from my friend John D., whom I seem to recall thinking that it was a bit heavy handed in the writing. Truthfully, he was right, but it's such a sappy tale that it always gets me to choke up a little.


Among the many new titles that were hitting the stands was something that would grip my shit pretty hard; ROM; SPACEKNIGHT!

My first issue of ROM (as I related in my previous post on the ROM "doll" - [HERE]) was issue # 3,
but I quickly scored issue # 1.

(# 2 was nearly impossible to find and took me more than several months to locate.)

Here's where DOCTOR STRANGE comes into the scheme of things;

As you know, ROM # 5 had that Doctor Strange cameo appearance (which I touched upon in an old post [HERE]).
That MIGHT have been my first real introduction to DOC.
I thought that was very cool, and was interested in finding out more about this mysterious, mystical character.



Then, one month later, in issue # 4 of MAN-THING, Doc had a cross-over from his mag, so that I had to buy the issue before (# 40) and issue after (#41) to follow the story.


The intensity of the issues and the epic battle between these mystical forces was all I could hope for in a comic.

Needless to say...that's all it took.
I was hooked on Strange!

So, I began to buy then-recent back-issues as well as the new ones as they came out, which was perfect timing on my part, because the cover artist for the next few issues was
Michael Golden,
who completely altered how I would perceive comic art!



Soon enough, I was hunting down back-issues, and built up a good collection.


My friend John D. presented me with Doctor Strange # 169, explaining to me that it was actually a # 1 for Doctor Strange (which at the time I had a hard time understanding - not that I cared much, because never before or since had I seen such a perfectly awesome comic book cover!) and things just kept escalating from there.



Shortly thereafter I got the 1980 calendar ("used" - since by then, it was closer to 1981) - which I used as a "map" of sorts to help find appearances - as I related in the post in which I featured the 1980 calendar in toto [HERE].

With the aid of that, and the editorial boxes, I was slowly able to piece together much of DOC's appearances, and I never looked back.

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I had, on one occasion in the mid-1980s (1983, 1984, perhaps), given up on comics "cold turkey", and sold off nearly all of my collection.
However, as with all things done "cold turkey", the cravings would come back and eventually, I would succumb to them - even more determined to amass a complete and all-encompassing collection
, to the point where NOW I have almost certainly nearly every single appearance of Dr. Strange ever put to print.

(Not to mention my growing love and fascination with the medium as a whole, and the many titles, by numerous publishers, large and small, that would spark my interest... and eventually, however, fall by the wayside, either by their own demise, or my ever focused view on the worlds of Doctor Strange and the so-called "6-Dimensions" characters.)

By the mid 1980's I started getting into the swag and collectibles.
However, It wasn't until the late 80's - mid 90's that I started REALLY losing my mind.

But, that is a subject for a future post.

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So, that's my origin tale.
What's yours?

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Most comic cover images from Grand Comic Book Database.
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