One of my favorites of Tezuka.
One of my favorites of Tezuka.
The 9th Blog
A Blog made with friends about comics, the 9th art
I managed to pick up and read David B.'s Babel today. He's definitely my favorite living non-American cartoonist and would easily sneak into any top 5 countdown of anything I'd ever have. Babel, released in America by D&Q, is a great 32 page book (with cardstock cover and a dust jacket!) containing exactly what you'd expect from B.: dreams, historical dramas, and youthful autobiographies, all executed with his usual wet splotches of ink and rampant psychological monsters. Since I managed to pick it up for under five bucks, I feel pretty lucky.
All-Star Western, Casanova, Criminal, Daredevil, Dark Horse Presents, Funnies, Hellboy/BPRD, King City, Orc Stain, Snarked, Unwritten, Usagi Yojimbo
DC Special #29
The untold origin of the Justice Society.
I'm currently halfway through the Showcase presents volume of The Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 3.
(a) I feared the lack of color would affect my enjoyment of these stories, which are after all about a colorful cast of young heroes. It didn't! The art is crisp and clean, and doesn't really need color to shine.
(b) I am turning into a Curt Swan fan. I already respected Mr. Swan's art, but here I am amazed by it. The anatomy is perfect, the designs are far cooler than, say, Jim Lee's, the storytelling is flawless.
(c) Teenage writer Jim Shooter was extremely good. A little too much exposition in the dialog, but the concepts developed are very good; he throws as much stuff at us in twenty pages as
current publishers would in five years.
No wonder that was the Legion's golden age. Lots of wonder, lots of adventure, and none of the mind-numbing repeated continuity changes of later years (or unending tragedy and angst). I think I'll pick up more of these volumes!
Hansi, The Girl Who Loved the Swastika
Okay, I'll admit I bought this as a joke at the Lake Effect Comic Convention today, but when I got home, I just had to read it. Here's the weird part -- it was good.
For those who don't know the story on this one, it was put out by Spire Christian Comics in the 1970s, but rather than working to support some clear talking point on behalf of the (or a) Christian Church, it's a pretty heavy and thoughtful book about soul-searching, and while the ending inevitably comes heavy-handed, the rest of Hansi's struggle to believe in both a country and a God is pretty thought-provoking and respectful of the reader's intelligence. Heck, I was impressed when the first sign of trouble in the book is Hansi responding to a Nazi talking about the evils of Jews by pointing out that Jesus had been a Jew. You won't find that in most Church propaganda. Add to that one disturbingly real mass rape scene by Russian soldiers and a pretty balanced critique of American culture by the close, and you have yourself one pretty impressive book. I have to admit I'll be reading this one again.
And, for those of you who are wondering, no, the book does not support Nazism. It's a morality tale in which Hansi goes down the wrong path and must learn from her mistake.
EDIT: I wonder what the print run on these books was. I can't imagine a Christian comic book (no matter how good) with a 39 cent price tag in 1976 was going to entice most retailers to give it shelf space.
Last edited by shaxper; 06-03-2012 at 09:08 PM.
And of course it was drawn by Al Hartley of Archie Comics fame, who also drew several other books for Spire, some, IIRC, featuring the Archie cast. (And who, oddly enough, drew the oldest Marvel superhero comic I ever owned -- Journey Into Mystery #90.)
I have a vague memory of someone here -- or maybe it was in Scott Shaw!'s old Oddball forum -- saying that his dad worked for these guys. Or maybe it was another Chrsitan comics company. Or maybe I'm nuts. (Not that any of those scenarios are mutually exclusive by any means.)
I tend to split superhero comics fans into "People who like Krypto" and "People who don't like Krypto."
Basically, if you miss the wonder of a dog flying around in a little Superman cape, you're in the wrong hobby.
I think the Spire comics may have had alternative distribution. They seem to fetch a bit more than Archies from the time but besides the one in question are all still on the low end of the price spectrum. I had a few that I got out of bargain bins when I was a kid. You never know though, those Chick Tracts have print runs in the millions I believe.
The Copper Age is my Golden Age
My 2013 1000 comic progress
Reading Marvel Team-Up, starting at Claremont/Byrne and then moving through all the way to the end.
Al Hartley was the editor and primary writer & artist on the Spire comics. They were able to license the Archie characters because of the personal relationship between Hartley and John Goldwater, but the Spire comics were published by the Fleming H. Revell Co., a longtime religious publisher. The Spire and Logos comics were distributed thru Christian publishing channels, not thru the usual comics distributors and retailers.
I finished reading the Best of Archie Comics compilation and it was uniformly excellent. What really surprised me, though, was just how good the chapter of Archie Marries Veronica they included was. I ended up picking up the latest issue of Life with Archie att he book store tonight and I have to say it was fantastic! Life with Archie basically contains two full length comic stories in each issue -- one in the alternate universe where Archie married Veronica, and one in the alternate universe where he married Betty. (and by the way, these 40 pages of comic goodness cost $3.99, making it a better deal than a lot of stuff being put out by marvel and DC)
Anyway, these stories are pure 100% soap opera. In this issue of the Veronica series, Veronica has served Archie with divorce papers because her father gave her proof that Archie had been paid to marry her. But when Archie is injured in a mine cave in, she rushes to his bedside, realizing where her true heart lies. Just one problem: She was currently under arrest for not paying a shopping bill in L.A. and had to skip bail to return to Riverdale! And that's just the set up for the story.
Best soap opera I've read since Night Nurse and I mean that as a compliment. The fact that it features the Riverdale gang, who have fairly complex histories we're all familiar with, just makes the storylines resonate even more. Excellent stuff.
For reviews, essays and interviews with comic creators, check out my website at The Vault.
Superman: Victory by Computer (1981 Radio Shack Give-Away)
I just had to grab this when I found it in a 29 cent bin the other week.
It's every bit as bad as you'd expect and definitely feels like an extremely corny sales pitch for a (then) cutting edge home computer, milking its guest celebrities (Superman and Supergirl) for all they're worth, but the surprising fun of this issue was the pages upon pages it took to explain how computers actually work by having students tour a museum that blew a computer's interiors up to an over-sized scale.
The combination of surprisingly useful info about how computers work and the sheer nostalgic appeal of reading about incredibly old tech (btw -- this comic sort of anticipates the internet in its promises of what you'll be able to do with the TRS-80 modem) made this a very fun read, especially as you come to realize that the ludicrous claims they were making for what the TRS-80 would be able to do back then are the very things our computers and electronic devices do effortlessly today. I particularly enjoyed the scene in which the students race to research a topic over the modem faster than Supergirl can pull the info from the Daily Planet Archives.
I was surprised to realize, part way through, that this was a sequel to an earlier shameless promotional comic for the same TRS-80 computer system. I just may have to check it out.
Last edited by shaxper; 06-07-2012 at 01:56 PM.