Archive for Tales from the Crypt

The Distinguished Candidates

I told myself I’d save my money and ignore these two, but in the end, my love of politics had me dropping a little extra coin to check these out.

Presidential Material: Barack Obama

What’s it about? It’s a biography of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama!


Presidential Material: John McCain

What’s it about? It’s a biography of Republican presidential candidate John McCain!

Verdicts: To my surprise, thumbs up. I’d really expected a couple of drawn-out biographies, with a little slapdash art, to sell for some quick speculator cash. But I was pleasantly surprised by both of these. The art isn’t perfect, but it’s just fine here — a bit of the traditional comic-book look ends up serving this material well. The biographies are far more complete than I was anticipating. These aren’t just ripped off of Wikipedia — they’re as complete as you’re going to find in a coupla 22-page comics, and they actually list their research sources in the back — magazines, newspapers, the candidates’ official Senate biographies, the books they’ve written, even a few less-than-friendly sources. These are pretty warts-and-all bios, too — Obama’s drug use, connections to Jeremiah Wright, and campaign missteps are included, as are McCain’s party-animal days in the Navy, his controversial divorce and re-marriage, and the Keating Five scandal.

They’re definitely not complete biographies, but the creators do as good a job as they can in a very limited amount of space. These are both extremely text-heavy comics — it’s gonna take you a while to read ’em cover-to-cover. But I’m pleased that IDW took these comics seriously enough to do a good job on them.

And on a related note, yesterday, Samuel said in comments: “I’ll bake you some cookies if you can find a comic with Sarah Palin on it. You betcha!” Well, people, I’ll do anything for cookies!

Probably not exactly what Samuel was looking for, as I suspect he’s a Palin fan, but that’s the cover of Tales from the Crypt #8, a revival of the classic EC Comics franchise published by a company called Papercutz. Palin is saying “Didn’t we get rid of you guys in the ’50s?” as she menaces the Crypt-Keeper, the Vault-Keeper, and the Old Witch with a hockey stick. That’s a reference (A) to Palin’s reported interests in banning library books in Wasilla, Alaska during her tenure as mayor (No books were actually banned, but a librarian briefly lost her job until local supporters pressured the local government to re-hire her), and (B) to the anti-comics Senate hearings in the ’50s that ran EC out of business. Inside the comic is an anti-censorship editorial by Cathy Gaines Mifsud, daughter of legendary EC publisher William Gaines, that stops just barely short of endorsing Anybody-But-Sarah-Palin.

This is an issue I haven’t read yet — I don’t even know if it’s been released yet, or if I’ll be able to find it. I reviewed the first issue of this series last year and was not at all impressed, so I may not pick it up at all.

So there ya go, Samuel — like I said, it’s probably not the pro-Palin cover you were hoping for, but I’ll be happy to take those cookies now. Mmm-mmmm, delicious chocolate chunk cookies, so yummy and — hey! What’s this? These are full of black widow spiders, blowfish spines, and cyanide capsules, not chocolate chunks! Samuel, I oughtta…


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Quick Reviews

I’m way, way behind on my comic reviews, so I’m going to try to take care of the rest of mine as quickly as possible.


She-Hulk #19

The evil gamma-spawned super-genius called the Leader is finally brought to trial for his many crimes, and Jennifer Walters, who used to be the She-Hulk before she very recently lost her powers, has to watch as her own law firm elects to defend the big-brained scoundrel. Even worse, Jennifer is called to the stand to testify that getting gamma powers changes your personality. Also, there’s new mystery about Pug and his new hairstyle, and we finally learn what Mr. Zix did to the hapless Stu Cicero when he learned the robot lawyer’s true identity.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Jenn is, frankly, hilarious when she’s getting harmlessly humiliated. (And She-Hulk really did sleep around a lot. ‘Bout time someone asked whassup with that.) The Leader is fairly funny, too, and Mallory Book is turning into a great non-powered archnemesis for Jennifer.


Hellboy: Darkness Calls #3

Not as good as some Hellboy comics, but still a great example of how to do horror in a comic book. Lots of great stuff with the Baba Yaga, Koschei the Deathless, and other figures from Russian mythology. Koschei is especially cool. Oh, and we get some good moments with Hellboy sitting around smoking with a low-level house spirit.

Verdict: Thumb up. Whether as artist or writer, Mike Mignola is the best horror creator in comics.


Tales from the Crypt #1

Not the original horror comic from the ’50s, but a revival from a publisher called Papercutz. And yes, that is an awesome cover by Kyle Baker. How I wish the inside of this new series was as good. The artwork is crude and too bright for a horror comic. The writing is sub-standard. They get the form of the classic EC Comics right, but they work so hard on modernizing them that they completely forget to add any of that wonderful creepy horror you got from the old “Tales from the Crypt” comics.

Verdict: Thumbs down. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t thrilled. I was bored.


Shadowpact #14

Zauriel, angel and former Justice Leaguer, attacks Blue Devil, reluctant demon and member of the Shadowpact, because his superheroic exploits have convinced too many people to sell their souls for demonic powers because they think he’s cool — and Blue Devil agrees with him! But he’d rather avoid getting killed by Zauriel, so he quits Shadowpact and starts a public relations campaign to reveal his sins, crimes, and shortcomings to get people to stop emulating him. With Blue Devil gone, the rest of the Shadowpact draft Zauriel as a member, and the evil Dr. Gotham starts some rotten plots into motion.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Though I can’t see a lot of people really looking up to Blue Devil (Shadowpact isn’t anywhere near the big dogs of the DCU like the Justice League or the Justice Society), I like the idea of B.D. trying to atone more for his past actions. And I love the bit with the lawyer offering to defend Blue before an infernal court of law.


Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.

This is the first volume of a trade paperback collecting the early issues of the 1999 series “Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.” about Courtney Whitmore, the new Star-Spangled Kid (now Stargirl in the Justice Society), and her stepfather, Pat Dugan, who used to be a sidekick called Stripesy and now pilots an oversized robot called S.T.R.I.P.E. The characters have an adversarial relationship — Courtney hates her stepdad and spends as much time antagonizing him as she does fighting crime.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This was writer Geoff Johns’ first comics work, so there are a few growing pains, but the whole thing makes for a very fun comic. Courtney is a wonderful character, a fun, funny, upbeat teenage rebel. Johns based the character on his younger sister, Courtney, who died in the explosion of TWA 800, and I think that helped give the character a vitality and realism that lots of other comic book characters lack.

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