Archive for September, 2014

Leapin’ Lettuce!


DC Showcase Presents Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew

I had no idea this was coming out. I didn’t think it was ever, ever, ever coming out. I went into the local comic shop yesterday and almost shouted in surprise and delight when I saw it. Finding this was the biggest pick-me-up I could’ve asked for.

So, here are the basics: Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew was a DC Comics series that ran 20 issues between 1982 and 1983. It was created by Roy Thomas and Scott Shaw!, though there were plenty of guest creators. The stars included Captain Carrot, Pig-Iron, Alley-Kat-Abra, Fastback, Rubberduck, Yankee Poodle, and Little Cheese, all against villains like Dr. Hoot, Frogzilla, Armordillo, the Bunny from Beyond, the Timekeeper, the Wuz-Wolf, the Salamandroid, Cold Turkey, and many more — and they even teamed up with the JLA — the Justa Lotta Animals, from an alternate universe.

There’ve been plans for years to release the entire series in a giant Showcase volume, but there were some sort of copyright issues gumming up the entire thing, and I figured we’d never see the series in print again.

I’m unbelievably happy to have this book in my house.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I was just absolutely nuts for this series when I was a kid. I had almost every issue, barring the introductory insert in the old Teen Titans comic and the first issue of the “Oz-Wonderland War” miniseries. And I’d barely been able to read any of those comics in years — they were old and falling apart, so I could barely take them out of the longboxes without having more of the covers flake away.

But I’ve got them again! HUZZAH! I’ve been reading the heck out of these. I’d forgotten how much fun some of these stories were — and how weirdly sophisticated they were sometimes, especially for a funny-animal superhero comic.

The worst thing about this volume is the lack of color — but that’s a common element of all of these phone-book collections. And frankly, it’s a minor quibble, because GOOD GRAVY TRAIN, I am so glad to have these stories again!

If you love funny animals, superheroes, animal puns, crazy superheroes and villains, fun cartooning, and the occasional guest appearance by mainstream DC heroes and villains — all for just $20 — you should go pick this one up.

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Taking Aim at Awesomeness


Lumberjanes #5

Rosie, the badass camp leader of the Lumberjanes, has left to investigate the strange goings-on in the forest, leaving Jen, the woefully-unprepared-for-monsters camp counselor, in charge. Everyone is disappointed they won’t get to go to the Raccoon Rodeo, but Jen gets everyone started making friendship bracelets (the comic actually includes instructions so you can make your own). But things get chaotic fast when velociraptors attack! This leads Jen to yell the best thing ever: “HOLY bELL hOOKS!” Yes, with partial lower-case letters, which is just perfect. Anyway, our heroic Lumberjane scouts capture or subdue most of the dinosaurs, but the last one is stopped by a huge bear who quickly reveals herself as an old woman — the legendary Bearwoman! And she’s not happy with how things have been run at the camp…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fun art, hilarious dialogue, lots of weird stuff, and absolutely fantastic action. This series gets to be more and more fun the longer it goes on.


Tiny Titans: Return to the Treehouse #4

The Tiny Titans may be able to get themselves a new treehouse in Atlantis, so Robin and Wonder Girl take a ride in Batgirl’s new submarine (and admire her awesome new costume) to follow Aqualad and Lagoon Boy to meet Aquaman (and Black Manta) (and Aqua-Cow) in Atlantis. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, Beast Boy, Miss Martian, and Offspring tag along.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s awesome and very funny. It’s great to see Offspring again, and the dessert-loving Aquaman is the best version of the character since the “Brave and the Bold” cartoon went off the air.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • I really, really want these Cornetto Trilogy figures.
  • Y’all remember the “Homicide: Life on the Street” TV show? Man, that was a really outstanding show.
  • Speaking of Baltimore, the Ravens coaching staff and management should all be fired. And Roger Goodell should be fired, too — and he should have his teeth punched down his throat. Two-game suspension, wheee!
  • There sure are a lot of treasonous douchemooks out there lately. How come the cops never gun them down in the streets? Oh, wait, it’s because they’re white, isn’t it?

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Southern Inhospitality


Southern Bastards #4

Earl Tubb has returned to Craw County, Alabama only to see one of his few allies, a little kid who was really more interested in watching Earl’s TV, brutally beaten and maimed by the thuggish minions of Coach Boss. He heads out for a final confrontation with the stooges, expecting most of the law-abiding citizens of Craw County to be on his side — but he quickly learns it just ain’t so. And things get a great deal worse for Earl when he finally meets up with Coach Boss.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s still a fantastic Southern noir — sweltering in summer heat that never seems to cool down and basted in grime and sweat and barbecue sauce — but it’s also something a great deal older. This is a Southern tragedy, and Earl Tubb’s fatal flaw, from the beginning, has been his stubbornness. Earl doesn’t get a happy ending, but he gets the right ending, the only one this story could really offer. The series is going to continue — perhaps the new protagonist will fare better.


Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #4

We follow Chocolat, demonic in appearance, though far more maternal in nature, as she is forced to leave her children behind centuries ago in Europe. In time, she comes to America, always hiding, always on the run from humans who hate her because of her monstrous looks, until she finally finds a place to belong. We also follow Rev. Ashberry, dedicated to eradicating sin, preferably by blade and garrotte. We get to follow him all the way up to where he makes his first appearance in the classic 1990 horror fantasy film. All that, plus we get an appearance by Vasty Moses!

Verdict: Thumbs up. I was actually kinda expecting that my enjoyment of this series was about to start dying down, but the good news is that the stories here are still appealing, still resonant, still fun to read. I’m hopeful it’ll stay that way for a while.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Friday Night Fights: Widow Maker!

Awright, kiddos, it’s Friday evening, we’re all ready to start recovering from the usual workweek stress, and we’re gonna kick the weekend off the right way — with FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle comes to us from July 1975’s Marvel Two-in-One #10 by Chris Claremont, Bob Brown, and Klaus Janson. While Ben Grimm is busy pulling a planet-destroying bomb off the sea floor, the Black Widow has to keep all the bad guys off his back. Can one woman beat the snot out of a hundred goons?








That’s gonna do it for me. Hope y’all have a great weekend — everyone have some fun and get some relaxation in while you can. And do me a favor — try to do at least one thing you’ll be able to look back on and be proud of. Life’s too short not to periodically do something awesome.

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The Secret Names


The Names #1

Here’s a new Vertigo series written by Peter Milligan and illustrated by Leandro Fernandez. Our star is Katya Walker, the African-American trophy wife of a Wall Street exec who’s just committed suicide by throwing himself out his office window. But Katya doesn’t believe he killed himself and soon she receives a message from him, recorded months before he died, telling her that he was murdered by a conspiracy — and warning her about one specific family friend, Marco, who he didn’t trust. And when Marco comes calling, will Katya discover what the conspiracy is about, or will she just end up taking a dive out a skyscraper window herself?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nicely over-the-top conspiracy story, and Katya makes an interesting protagonist. The art style is a bit odd, but I think I can definitely live with that.


She-Hulk #8

Jennifer Walters has a new client — a 90-year-old man named Steve Rogers. The Super-Soldier serum has quit working, and Captain America has reverted to his true age — and he’s been accused of a very old murder. Jen isn’t licensed to practice law in California, where the trial is going to be held, so she needs to get a California practice to serve as the firm of record so she can argue with them as an outside attorney. Her first thought is to use Matt “Daredevil” Murdock, but he turns her down. So instead she uses one of Jamie Madrox’s few independent duplicates, who is a very smarmy Hollywood lawyer. So what twists and turns is the case going to throw at her?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Well, the big twist in this one is telegraphed very early, but the rest of it is a very pleasant ride. The Madrox duplicate — who calls himself Matt Rocks — is a funny character, and the story is pleasantly lawyer-y in ways you only get when a lawyer is the actual writer of the series. And as I’ve said before, Javier Pulido’s artwork is a big, big draw.

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The Goon: Occasion of Revenge #2

The Goon and his gang continue their war against the Zombie Priests, with the Goon reserving special dislike for the sadistic monster called Longfingers. But it’s a long war, the Goon’s forces are slowly weakening, and their other enemies are hoping the zombies will finally finish the Goon’s organization off. Meanwhile, the Goon may have finally found love, a vengeful ghost wreaks havoc on the life of his heartless ex-lover, and we learn the tragic backstory of happy-go-lucky slackjaw Willie Nagel.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Really, really loved learning more about Willie Nagel — the zombie who doesn’t eat people has been more-or-less a mystery for years, and his background really is pretty interesting.


Revival #23

This issue focuses on two major confrontations between the Cypress family and their tormentors. Sheriff Wayne Cypress goes after Edmund Holt, nutty teabagging terrorist-wannabe, to get him to stay away from his grandson. And Officer Dana Cypress, visiting New York City, meets up with Anders Hine, psychotic reviver, who’s letting rich people eat his ever-regenerating flesh. They think they’re getting eternal life — they don’t know he’s been ingesting poison specifically to kill them all off. When he finds out the truth about what happened to the Check brothers, is he going to expose the secret, or will Dana let him get away to keep him quiet?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Slowly getting some open plotlines clipped shut, while others are opening up in more dangerous ways. It’s a great story for the supernatural elements and for the non-supernatural elements, too. Hope you’ve been reading this — it’s a great story…

Today’s Cool Links:

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I’m Tired, and It’s Labor Day, So Let’s Do Some Really Fast Reviews


Silver Surfer #5

Things are really weird at the Greenwood Inn. Dr. Strange and the Hulk show up, and Nightmare has a dastardly plot to put everyone on Earth to sleep to gain ultimate power. Luckily, the Surfer never sleeps — oh, wait, he’s asleep and dreaming right now? And the world relies on Dawn Greenwood to stay awake?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very cute story and fun art to boot.


The Manhattan Projects #23

LBJ wants in on the Projects, and the alien-corrupted Soviets, led by Monster Brezhnev and a robot with three animal heads, want some mind-controlled dupes to help them control Cuba. So we get to meet up with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, too.

Verdict: Thumbs up. LBJ is fun, even if he’s very similar to General Groves, and Castro and Guevara are all kinds of cool as they battle the Soviets.


Groo vs. Conan #2

Sergio is still looped out of his gourd and thinking he’s Conan. In the fictional reality, Conan has been led to believe that Groo is a gigantic monster, so he doesn’t recognize him when he meets him. But how do the townspeople think their first meeting is going?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of great, weird fantasy fun.

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