Archive for April, 2011

Friday Night Fights: Mangled Miracle!

Okay, kiddios, if it’s late Friday afternoon, and we’re in the mood for some random comic book violence to kick off the weekend, then it must be time for FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle comes from October 1973’s Fantastic Four #139 by Gerry Conway, John Buscema, and Joe Sinnott, as Ben Grimm takes on some guy called the Miracle Man.

Short and sweet — and now you’re ready to head out and punch your weekend’s head off, too!

Y’all be good — or not so good, if you’d prefer — and I’ll see you back here on Monday.

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Down the Rabbit Hole

The Unwritten #24

We get another break from the main storyline to return to the intensely freaky tale of Pauly Bruckner, reluctant and foul-mouthed storybook rabbit. After escaping from a children’s story set in idyllic Willowbank Wood, Pauly finds himself trapped on a surreal and deeply depressing endless staircase with a bunch of other storybook animals, all trying to climb to a possibly mythical Golden Door. Pauly eventually winds up taking over the group and leading it his own way, but is there really any way out for him?

Verdict: Thumbs up. So very, very weird. I wish Pauly Bruckner had his own series — he’s just so wonderfully bizarre.

Hellboy: Buster Oakley Gets His Wish

So who is Buster Oakley? He’s an awkward teenager dabbling with his friends in witchcraft and Satanism, hoping for amazing power. Hellboy is called out to his small area of Kansas after he and his friends disappear and after a bunch of cows disappear and later turn up mutilated. Hellboy is expecting to have to deal with Satanists… but he gets one heck of a surprise when he gets abducted by aliens. Of course, we can expect that Hellboy will come out of this okay, but can we say the same thing for Buster?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nice, action-packed story with a giant dollop of humor on top. We don’t often — or ever, really — see Hellboy fighting bug-eyed aliens from outer space, so this is one heck of a change of pace. And Kevin Nowlan’s artwork is a ton of fun, too. If you haven’t gotten this yet, go do so as fast as you can.

Batman and Robin #22

The White Knight intends to kill off as many relatives of Arkham inmates as he can, because he believes they’re all tainted by their association with their crazy, criminal relatives. Batman and Robin save as many as possible, then follow the White Knight to Arkham Asylum itself, where he intends to drown all the inmates. We get the White Knight’s origin, including his connection to Dr. Phosphorus, and we get a furious punch-a-thon to close out the storyarc.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good action, very nice artwork, and a pretty good conclusion. My only quibble — we never learn exactly how Robin manages to save all the drowning inmates.

Secret Six #32

So the Secret Six have gone to Hell — this time, in a luxury elevator operated by Etrigan the Demon. And their primary foe is their former teammate Ragdoll, who has been made a Prince of Hell. And besides his army of demons backing him up, he’s also got his old deceased friend Parademon on hand. Ragdoll worries that he’s going sane, Catman goes looking for his father, Bane learns that he’s likely hellbound, despite his attempts to live an honorable life, and Ragdoll reveals a surprising ally.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good action, good characterization, and lots of twists and turns.

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Dungeon Keeper

Dungeons & Dragons #5

Adric Fell’s gang of adventurers have discovered what’s going on in the old dwarven ruins — a bunch of enslaved eladrin (high elves, to you and me) have been forced to create a stable portal to another dimension, so an invasion force led by a monstrous cyclops can invade the world. And the cyclops knows they’re watching him, so he sends his hobgoblin minions after them. So while Adric and Varis the elf try to destroy a furnace that’ll flood the caverns with lava, and while Bree the halfling thief is trying to decide whether to warn the citizens of Fallcrest or just to skedaddle and seek her fortune everywhere, and while Khal the dwarven paladin tries to trick the cyclops into keeping him alive for another few minutes… while all this is happening, what’s Tisha the tiefling up to? Well, apparently, she’s dead. Oopsie.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again — this series has outstanding action, great dialogue and characterization, excellent artwork, and is pretty much a bucket of fun from the first page to the last, every single issue. Whether or not you’re a fan of D&D the game, you should be reading this awesome fantasy comic.

Herc #1

A new beginning for the Prince of Power — after the end of the Chaos War, Hercules has lost his immortality and most of his superpowers, but he still has an arsenal of magical weapons from the ancient world. Will they be enough to keep him in the crimefighting game? He meets some new friends — a Greek restauranteur, his daughter, and his gorgeous bartender, and he meets a new foe — namely, the Hobgoblin.

Verdict: Thumbs up. No powers, no Amadeus Cho? Ehh, so what, it’s still written by Greg Pak and Fred van Lente, so it’s still gotta be worth reading.

B.P.R.D.: The Dead Remembered #1

A flashback to pyrokinetic Liz Sherman’s first mission with the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense — when she was just 14 years old and still recovering from the emotional trauma of accidentally killing her family the first time her powers activated. Professor Bruttenholm takes her along, mainly to give her a break from the inside of the BPRD facilities, as he investigates a Massachusetts haunting tied to the witch trials in the late 1600s. Some of the house’s bumps and groans startle Liz into accidentally conjuring a fireball out of the chimney, and while the damage is minor, she heads for the woods, hoping she’ll be less destructive. One of the local boys follows her to try to pick up on the pretty redhead girl from out of town — and something a lot scarier than a creaking house is stalking Liz…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great artwork by Karl Moline, and a very nice beginning to this new story from Mike Mignola and Scott Allie.

Today’s Cool Links:

Hope you guys like awesome rap, ’cause that’s what I’m serving up today.

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It’s a Trick, Get an Axe

Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth #2

Ya know, I’m not sure I can even describe the plot here. Axe Cop and his allies save the dinosaurs from aliens, the evil Psychic Brothers have basically taken over Earth and attack Uni-Smart World, Sockarang meets his supposedly-dead mother, and there’s time travel galore. I mean, the plot doesn’t matter as much as the impossibly awesome details of the story. How do the bad guys beat Uni-Smart World, where everyone has a magic wish-granting unicorn horn? They put magic traffic cones over the horns. What do the Psychic Brothers use to attack our heroes? Truckchucks, which are nunchucks made out of semi trucks. How do you defeat good Vikings? With a world full of evil baseball players. What was so special about the year Zero Thousand and Zero? I’ll save that little surprise for you to read yourself.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s really hard to believe how jaw-droppingly bizarre and awesome this story is. You know it was written by a six-year-old kid, right? Six years old!

iZombie #12

Aww, Mike Allred has the issue off, so we’ll have to suffer through some random fill-in artist who — what’s that? Gilbert Hernandez? Co-creator of “Love and Rockets“? Well, that’ll at least be interesting. And it is pretty cool — like reading a L&R/iZombie crossover issue. Our focus is on hip 1960s ghost Ellie just prior to meeting Gwen for the first time — she hangs out in the cemetery with all the other ghosts, and they tell stories to each other and argue. Ellie reflects on what her own life was like, giving us a nice origin story for her.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fun story — several fun stories, in fact — and wonderful artwork.

Love and Capes: Ever After #3

We’ve got three storylines running through this issue — Abby and Mark fixing up their new home, and later attending Abby’s class reunion, and Darkblade and Amazonia going through relationship stress over his continuing friendship with Abby’s sister Charlotte.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nothing particularly fancy this time, just solid cartooning, funny jokes, and good dialogue, characterization, and interpersonal relationship design.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Expo Time!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, today is the big day. The fourth-annual Lubbock Comic Book Expo begins today!

When? Today, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m.

Where? Up in the mezzanine at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center at 1501 Mac Davis Lane, during the annual Lubbock Arts Festival.

Why? Because it’ll be awesome.

There will be lots of activities, lots of creators, lots of comics, lots of awesome artwork. The Expo itself is dead-solid free, and if you want to attend the Arts Festival (which you should, because it’s usually pretty fun, too), it’s just $3 for adults and only a dollar for kids 12 and under.

So get up, get going, go to the Expo!

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Friday Night Fights: A Thing to Remember!

Okay, time for a new set of 12 rounds of Friday Night Fights, and this time, SpaceBooger has declared a theme — every new round has to include a character from the previous fight.

And honestly, there’s no way I can do that.

My comics collection isn’t that vast, the organization is pretty poor, and an awful lot of my comics aren’t really known for good fights. Twelve fights, all linked from one character to another? I could never get something like that to work.

So instead, I’m gonna cheat.

I’ve got an old CD-ROM that includes every single issue of “Fantastic Four” all the way from the first issue to 2006. (Y’all know where I can find more of those? Wotta bargain, I gotta say.) And I’m pretty blasted sure I can find 12 Fantastic Four comics that feature Ben Grimm kickin’ some yahoo’s patootie, or sometimes, getting his own craggy butt whupped.

So here we go: From October 1968’s Fantastic Four #79, by the one-and-only Stan Lee and the even more one-and-only Jack Kirby: Ben has finally found a way to shed his rocky exterior and rejoin the human race, but when he and Alicia Masters are attacked by one of the Mad Thinker’s androids, he has to choose between letting the android wreck the place up, or putting on a pair of gloves that’ll turn him back into a rock monster permanently. What do you think he decides?

And there we go, with Round 1 out of the way. Next week? I think it’ll probably include the Thing.

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The Lubbock Comic Book Expo kicks off tomorrow!

Alright, friends and neighbors, tomorrow’s the big day.

The Lubbock Comic Book Expo gets started tomorrow, from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and continues on Sunday, from noon to 5, up in the mezzanine at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center at 1501 Mac Davis Lane, during the annual Lubbock Arts Festival. If you live in Lubbock, or within driving distance of Lubbock, you really should plan on being there.

Probably the biggest single event is the costume contest, which will be held on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Iron Artist competition is scheduled for Saturday at 4 p.m.

There are special guests galore, including:

Plus a few guests I didn’t mention previously:

  • Chris Summers, artist on GI Joe, Dungeons & Dragons, Superman, Nightwing, The Perhapanauts, and Spartacus: Blood & Sand;
  • Will Terrell, writer/artist of Super Zeroes, artist on Gargoyles, Goblin Chronicles, and founder of the Lubbock SketchClub;
  • The 501st Legion, an organization that creates and wears detailed costume replicas of the bad guys in “Star Wars,” which means you’ll see quite a few Stormtroopers hunting for pesky droids;
  • and Daniel Ballard, a local filmmaker who will host a free screening of his short superhero film “Alike in Dignity” on Saturday at 5:30.

Here’s a complete listing of events for the Expo:


  • 10:30 a.m.: Rob Weiner: Sequential art, comics and long road to respect.
  • 11:30 a.m.: Creator panel, featuring visiting artists, moderated by Will Terrell.
  • 1 p.m.: Costume contest.
  • 2:30 p.m.: Kevin Jones: Intro to 3-D Animation.
  • 4 p.m.: Iron Artist Competition.
  • 5:30 p.m.: “Alike in Dignity,” 24-minute short film by Daniel Ballard, followed by discussion and Q&A.


  • 1 p.m.: Rob Weiner: Superheroes on film and television.
  • 2 p.m.: Ben Dunn Q&A.
  • 3:30 p.m.: Lubbock Comics Panel: Building the Local Scene.

Do I need to say don’t miss it? Fine, I’ll say it: Don’t miss it. This is gonna be a ton of fun.

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Exciting Expo Events

Hey, I finally realized there’s a complete list of events ready for the Lubbock Comic Book Expo:


  • 10:30 a.m. — Rob Weiner: Sequential art, comics and long road to respect.
  • 11:30 a.m. — Creator panel, featuring visiting artists, moderated by Will Terrell.
  • 1 p.m. — Costume contest.
  • 2:30 p.m. — Kevin Jones: Intro to 3-D Animation.
  • 4 p.m. — Iron Artist Competition.
  • 5:30 p.m. — “Alike in Dignity,” 24-minute short film by Daniel Ballard, followed by discussion and Q&A.


  • 1 p.m. — Rob Weiner: Superheroes on film and television.
  • 2 p.m. — Ben Dunn Q&A.
  • 3:30 p.m. — Lubbock Comics Panel: Building the Local Scene.

Remember, that’s all happening this weekend, starting on Saturday, from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and continuing on Sunday, from noon to 5, up in the mezzanine at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center at 1501 Mac Davis Lane, during the annual Lubbock Arts Festival.

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Zatanna #11

Oscar Hempel, evil puppeteer turned evil puppet has managed to turn himself back into a human while turning Zatanna into a puppet. Hempel has been using her in his show for several weeks, but plans to have her put into a museum so he’ll be rid of her forever. But her stage manager, Mikey, suspects Zatanna has been kidnapped, recognizes “Miss Zee-Zee” from one of Hempel’s shows, and disguises herself as a floozie so she can knock out Hempel and try to help Zatanna regain her human form. The plan mostly works, but Hempel regains consciousness and tries to zap Mikey with his magic trinkets. But Mikey is under the protection of a spell (What? She is? Since when?), and the backlash turns Hempel back into a puppet, and Zatanna back into her fully human form. Also, Brother Night is back and planning more evil stuff.

Verdict: Ehh, a little from Column A, a little from Column B. The art by Jamal Igle is outstanding. The story is pretty much a mess. Zatanna doesn’t really do much of anything. The entire story runs on Mikey’s ingenuity, a lucky magic spell, and Hempel’s general rottenness. Zatanna’s a side player in her own book.

Detective Comics #875

A Batman comic that barely features Batman at all? Well, it actually turns out pretty good. Our focus is on Commissioner James Gordon, who is tracking a recently paroled prisoner who he suspects of being a long vanished child killer — and at the same time, remembering the childhood of his estranged son, James Jr. His son was always a weird, disturbed kid — drastically unemotional, smart, but with a tendency toward cruelty. Gordon has always suspected that his son killed one of Barbara Gordon’s childhood friends — but is there actually a connection between the two cases?

Verdict: A big thumbs up. Outstanding storytelling, outstanding art. The title of the comic is “Detective Comics,” and this one is all about detective work, even if the Dark Knight isn’t the star.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Go Go Godzilla!

Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters #1

Holy cow, it’s Godzilla! Written by Goon creator Eric Powell! With a sweet Alex Ross cover! Do you even have to ask me to describe it beyond that?!

Okay, okay, it’s basically a reboot of the Godzilla legend, with the monster’s initial emergence in the modern day. When the Japanese government, desperate to stop its rampage, hits it with an atomic bomb, it not only survives, but acquires the ability to breathe nuclear fire. But though Godzilla may be a disaster for Japan, it’s certainly going to cause problems around the world, too…

Verdict: Thumbs up? Oh, yeah, thumbs up. Good giant monster action, with some nice dramatic touches and even a bit of comedy here and there. I’m disturbingly excited about this title — I don’t know if I’m just more of a Godzilla fan than I thought, or if I’m just jazzed about seeing Eric Powell put his stamp on the Big G.

American Vampire #13

A new storyarc for this series. American vampire Pearl Jones has been with her human husband Henry Preston for about 20 years — he’s getting older, and she’s still staying young. Henry’s joined the military, hoping to fight against the Axis powers in World War II, but he’s considered too old for combat, so he and Pearl (she’s serving as a nurse) are stationed in Hawaii. But Henry gets a visit from Agent Hobbes of the vampire-hunting Vassals of the Morning Star — he offers Henry a chance to serve the war effort by accompanying a squad of the organization’s soldiers on a visit to Taipan to wipe out nests of vampires in advance of the U.S. invasion forces. And unbeknownst to the rest of the squad, they’ve got someone following them — the original American vampire, Skinner Sweet.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The series starts its second year with a great beginning for a new story. Excellent dialogue, characterization, and intrigue. Not a whole lot of fanged monsters running around this time, but the excellent personality work for both Henry and Pearl makes this a solid winner.

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