Kirby Your Enthusiasm

Way cheaper than his art book, too! ;)

Direct download: jellybean_bp27cov.qxd.pdf
Category: -- posted at: 11:20am EDT


In which I discuss Les Daniels' fascinating histories of Marvel (published in 1991) and DC (published in 1995).

 

 

 

I also review the fascinating biography, The Incredible Herb Trimpe.

Finally, I rave about the DC series Gotham Central. An underrated gem.

It's 30 minutes of well-rehearsed comic goodness and it can be found HERE.

 

 

Direct download: KYE45.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 10:14pm EDT

 


IN WHICH Dann talks about the best and worst comics he read last year (my podcast titles NEVER lie).

LINKS FROM THIS PODCAST:

Kings Comics

Elizabeth's Bookshop

Adhouse Books

Totentanz by Marcel Ruijters

Sticky Monsters by John Ken Mortensen

(I mistakenly refer to it as "Sticky Nonsense" on the podcast, but it's actually titled Sticky Monsters.)

Lone Star Comics

 

COMICS READ in 2013: 807

 

COMICS READ IN 2014: 1179

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COMICS READ IN 2015:

JAN. 82

FEB. 106

MAR. 92

APR. 69

MAY 102

JUN. 75

JUL. 210

AUG. 101

SEP. 80

OCT. 108

NOV. 96

DEC. 101

Total comics and GNs read in 2015: 1222

 

BEST of 2015:

Stray Bullets: Sunshine And Roses #1-6 (Image, 2015) *****

Writer/artist: David Lapham

The perfect comic.

 

Savage Sword of Criminal (Image, 2015) *****

Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips

This loving homage to Marvel’s B&W magazine line in the 1970s is glorious. Phillips slips in and out of his usual Criminal art style (which is the main story set in the 70s) to the more psychedelic, Spanish/Filipino-styled barbarian artwork we saw in Conan and even the Warren B&W titles. Phillips even apes a Joe Jusko-style cover. This is a fucking masterpiece.

 

Herbie Archives Vols. 1-3 (Dark Horse, 2008-09) *****

- originally published in Forbidden Worlds #73, 94, 110, 114, 116; Unknown Worlds #20; Herbie #1-23 (American Comics Group, 1958-1967)

Writer: Shane O’Shea/Artist: Ogden Whitney

Quite possibly the most extraordinary, bizarre, sad, desperate, loveable, strange comic I’ve ever read. An obese autistic child, who is bullied by his overbearing father and kids at school, fantasises that he is an omnipotent superhero who can travel anywhere in the universe, have amazing unreal adventures and is friends with everyone from the US President to the Queen and historical figures, who he visits whenever he travels back in time. Herbie uses the power of lollipops to achieve his fantastical aims as he loses himself deep in a fantasy world where he is loved and respected, unlike the real world. Well, that’s MY interpretation of this crazy comic and I’m sticking to it!

 

Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions #1-6 (Image, 2015) *****

Writer/artist: Bob Fingerman

It’s back and I am sooooooooooooooooo happy! Even if I DIDN’T win that damn competition Bob was running.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4-8 (Marvel, 2015) *****

Writer: Ryan North/Artist: Erica Henderson

The unexpected best comic Marvel is producing this year.

Solo #5 (DC, 2005) *****

Writer/artist: Darwyn Cooke

I can’t get enough of Cooke’s retro art. And he’s not a bad writer either. So this special devoted to Cooke was a joy to read. Maybe he should try his hand at some Marvel characters one day.

 

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2015 (listen to my podcast about it HERE)

2000AD (Rebellion) *****

Writers/artists: various

And Then Emily Was Gone #0 (Comix Tribe) *****

Emily writer: John Lees/Artists: Iain Laurie (interior); Ryan Stegman (cover)

Oxymoron writer: Tyler James/Artist: Alex Cormack

 

Hard Time: 50 To Life & Hard Time: Sixteen (DC, 2004, 2012) *****

- originally published in Hard Time #1-12 (DC, 2004-05)

Writers: Steve Gerber & Mary Skrenes (uncredited)/Artist: Brian Hurtt

This certainly wasn’t the last series Steve Gerber wrote before his untimely death in 2008, but it’s arguably his finest work (Howard The Duck, notwithstanding).

Ethan, 15, is sentenced to 50 years’ jail for a high school prank gone horribly wrong. He quickly makes plenty of enemies, including the Aryan Brotherhood and an insane fundamentalist Christian inmate. But Ethan has a secret – a powerful entity that lives within him that comes alive at night to do his violent bidding. This intense cross between TV’s Oz and DC’s own Johnny Thunder works incredibly well, mainly due to Gerber’s funny, powerful dialogue. Thankfully, he doesn’t write in that exhausting purple prose he used at Marvel in the 1970s. The writing here is more subtle, nuanced and, dare I say it, realistic. Hurtt’s artwork is great (as always). This is a hidden gem of a series that deserves more consideration from fans and critics. It’s tragic that Gerber was still peaking as a writer before he passed away. He deserves to be remembered for more than just a talking duck.

 

Sticky Monsters (Square Peg, 2012) *****

Writer/Artist: John Ken Mortensen

Post-it notes seem so innocent, but not in the hands of this Danish artist, who creates tiny horrific images torn from the nightmares of Maurice Sendak and HP Lovecraft.

Delusional (AdHouse Books, 2013) *****

Writer/Artist: Farel Dalrymple

Assorted bibs and bobs from my favourite alternative artist. Delightfully unsettling.

 

Totentanz (self-published, 2012-15) *****

Writer/artist: Marcel Ruijters

Wytches Vol. 1 (Image, 2015) *****

- originally published in Wytches #1-6 (Image, 2015)

Writer: Scott Snyder/Artist: Jock

Freaks #1-2 (Monster Comics, 1992) *****

Writer: Jim Woodring/Artist: F. Solano Lopez

A pitch-perfect adaptation of Tod Browning’s classic horror film. Beautifully illustrated by Lopez. Just about perfect.

 

Starve #1-3 (Image, 2015) *****

Writer: Brian Wood/Artist ;Danijel Zezelj

Cooking and comics – what a tasty fucking combination.

Airboy #1-4 (Image, 2015) *****

Writer: James Robinson/Artist: Greg Hinkle

The greatest comic revival EVER. The greatest meta comic ever. This is arguably the best comic of the decade!

 

The Sixth Gun Vol. 8: Hell And High Water (Oni Press, 2015) *****

- originally published in The Sixth Gun #42-47 (Oni Press, 2015)

Writer: Cullen Bunn/Artist: Brian Hurtt

 

Dark Corridor #1-3 (Image, 2015) *****

Writer/Artist: Rich Tommaso

Fucking brilliant film noir-style comics from the creator of The Horror Of Collier County. I’m so glad I picked up this title.

The Twilight Children #1 (Vertigo, 2015) *****

Writer: Gilbert Hernandez/Artist: Darwyn Cooke

$4.99 for the first issue? Fuck me! Good thing this is just about the best new comic I’ve read in 2015. Gilbert rises above his usual overrated, mediocre self to deliver a strong script and Darwyn is fucking ON SONG. But damn! $4.99 an issue? Yeah...you guessed it, I’ll wait for the trade.

 

The Fade Out #9-10 (Image, 2015) *****

Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips

Now things are getting good.

Astro City #28 (Vertigo, 2015) *****

Writer: Kurt Busiek/Artists: Gary Chaloner & Wade Von Grawbdger (interior); Alex Ross (cover)

Chaloner rules!

Pope Hats #3-4 by Ethan Rilly (AdHouse Books, 2012-15) *****

Mort Grim by Doug Fraser (AdHouse Books, 2005) *****

UR by Eric Haven (AdHouse Books, 2014) *****

 

Saga Vol. 5 (Image, 2015) *****

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan/Artist: Fiona Staples

New MGMT #1/Mind MGMT #36 (Dark Horse, 2015) *****

Writer/Artist: Matt Kindt

Very sad to see this great series come to an end. Also, this ends my hard-copy single issue relationship with Dark Horse. Mind MGMT was the only comic I still bought from this company (the rest I get free from the company as digital copies).

 

Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas (Top Shelf, 2015 ) *****

Writers: Hunter S. Thompson (novel); Troy Little (adaptation)/Artist: Troy Little

The Bus by Paul Kirchner (Futura, 1987) *****

I loved this strip when I first read it in Heavy Metal in the early 80s. Earlier this year, I bought the latest Heavy Metal and found they were reprinting The Bus again. Not surprisingly, it’s easily the best thing in the mag. Kirchner’s surrealist take on the everyman experience enduring the daily bus commute was always entertaining. This strip collection is hard to find (as is the more recent reprinting). I’d given up on finding a copy till a friend randomly sent me a link to a website filled with The Bus strips. Inspired, I went straight to eBay and found this original edition of the book for only $13. Score!

 

WORST:

The Collector #21 (Bill G. Wilson, 1970) -**

Writers/artists: various

I bought a bunch of comics fanzines from the 1970s/early 80s for a buck each at Elizabeth’s in January. I’ve slowly worked my way through all of them and I will write my bloggy thoughts on them down the road.

But I do want to list a few here, because some zines ACTUALLY featured comic strips and I think that makes them count as comics.

The Collector’s editor and publisher Bill G. Wilson wrote and drew Hyperman, a sub-standard, three-pager featuring his hero posing against black backdrops, confronting a generic bald villain and knocking him out. I don’t know how, but Wilson managed to “write” and “draw” an eight-panel strip where every single panel bears no logical relationship to the panel that precedes it. What’s even more incredible, he somehow managed to get industry veteran Don Newton to ink this abortion. Maybe ‘cos Newton started out as a contributor to RBCC in the 60s, he felt a sense of obligation to a new generation, perhaps.

 

Reagan’s Raiders #2 (Solson Publications, 1986) -**

Writer: Monroe Arnold, David George & Rich Buckler/Artists: Keith royster, Rich Buckler & Scott Gladfelter

Godawful political superhero “satire”.

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

 

COLLECTED WORKS:

Showcase Presents All-Star Comics (DC, 2014) ****

- originally published in All-Star #58-74, DC Special #29, Adventure Comics #461-466 (DC, 1976-79)

Writers: Paul Levitz & friends/Artists: Joe Staton, Wallace Wood & friends

My New Year’s Resolution was to read a DC Showcase or Marvel Essentials book a month and I kicked off with this Showcase volume.

I loved this Justice Society of America series when I was a kid – when I first saw it, Joe Staton was drawing the series and I dug his artwork a lot. Years later, I tracked down earlier issues and marvelled at some of Wally Wood’s finest mainstream work. Even though I have most of the original colour comics, I bought this cheap trade to collect the JSA’s final stories after All-Star folded and they were relegated to Adventure Comics. Those issues are now prohibitively priced (I have no idea why), so this was a very cheap way of completing my collection. As is the case with all 1970s DC and Marvel comics, the writing is overblown and full of clichés (e.g. Power Girl is an aggressive, unpleasant feminist while Wildcat is an out-of-touch, ageing male chauvinist pig). But I love that Superman (who is the original 1940s Superman of Earth Two and, therefore, the FIRST superhero) is regarded as the father of all superheroes – a man who can arrive at a site filled with warring costumed do-gooders and stop them fighting just by his presence alone. It’s fantastic imagery that got me hooked on the JSA for life. If nothing else, pick up this volume to appreciate Wood’s input. He was the inker on All-Star #58-62, then he main artist on All-Star #63-65 (he even co-wrote #65 with Paul Levitz). His final two issues on the series see the JSA take on Vandal Savage in the era of King Arthur, and they’re magnificent.

Marvel Masterworks: The Fantastic Four Vol. 1 (Marvel, 2009) & Marvel Essential: The Fantastic FourVol. 1 (Marvel, 2008) *****

- originally published in The Fantastic Four #1-20 & Annual#1 (Marvel, 1961-63)

Writer: Stan Lee/Artists: Jack Kirby & friends

This is kinda weird. Without a doubt, this is a classic superhero comic told by the industry’s two biggest legends. But there’s no doubt that re-reading them 54 years later does reveal some...shortcomings to the title. Lee focuses so much on dumb intra-quartet bickering that it wears thin pretty quick. Invisible Girl is depicted as truly feeble and worthless. The team’s origin is just so fucking dumb. Did NO-ONE notice that a scientist, his girlfriend and her 16yo brother were stealing a space ship to ‘beat the Commies” to outer space. Isn’t that a criminal offence?

Surprisingly, Kirby’s art comes across as quite primitive (compared to what he went on to produce in the mid-to-late 60s), not helped by some shoddy inking by the likes of Dick Ayers and Sol Brodsky (the one exception comes in FF #13 when the inking is handled by Steve Ditko, who does a “Wally Wood” and stamps his own inimitable style to Kirby’s pencils).

And while I should appreciate the relative diversity of super-villains on display in these first 21 issues (as opposed to, say, Fawcett’s Captain Marvel, which featured Dr Sivana practically every issue), there’s still waaaaaay too much Sub-Mariner and Doctor Doom in these early issues.

That said, I KNOW that these were revolutionary stories back in 1961, so I need to look at them from that perspective rather than my jaded 2015 perspective.

And y’know, if I do that, these stories fucking rock.

Herbie Archives Vols. 1-3 (Dark Horse, 2008-09) *****

- originally published in Forbidden Worlds #73, 94, 110, 114, 116; Unknown Worlds #20; Herbie #1-23 (American Comics Group, 1958-1967)

Writer: Shane O’Shea/Artist: Ogden Whitney

Quite possibly the most extraordinary, bizarre, sad, desperate, loveable, strange comic I’ve ever read. An obese autistic child, who is bullied by his overbearing father and kids at school, fantasises that he is an omnipotent superhero who can travel anywhere in the universe, have amazing unreal adventures and is friends with everyone from the US President to the Queen and historical figures, who he visits whenever he travels back in time. Herbie uses the power of lollipops to achieve his fantastical aims as he loses himself deep in a fantasy world where he is loved and respected, unlike the real world. Well, that’s MY interpretation of this crazy comic and I’m sticking to it!

 

 

 

Vampirella Crimson Chronicles Maximum Vol. 1 (Harris, 2008) **½

- originally published in Vampirella #1-2, 8-9, 11-37 (Warren, 1969-74)

Writers/artists: various (interior); Jim Silke (cover)

I’m not sure why I bought this B&W collection...probably ’cos it was selling cheap on Lone Star. I went into reading this book with some trepidation as I always considered Vampirella a badly written T&A horror series. It certainly kicks off that way with the goofy introduction stories written by Forrest J. Ackerman. But once Archie Goodwin comes on board, the storyline kicks into gear and the quality of writing improves dramatically with the alien bloodsucker Vampi battling the evil Cult Of Chaos, whose members worship a demonic bible known as the Crimson Chronicles. Vampi is aided by a drunken magician called Pendragon and is pursued by relentless vampire killers Conrad and Adam Van Helsing. Goodwin’s strong scripts are brought to life by Jose Gonzalez’ exquisite artwork. His splash panels of our scantily clad heroine each issue are beautiful and he gives the supporting cast real character. Goodwin ties in Vampi with the Dracula mythology, then turns it on its head by having a newly-brought-back-to-life Drac repent for his past sins and try to be good. It’s an interesting journey as he tries to mend his evil ways, but keeps failing. Goodwin’s departure from the strip sees the quality of storytelling plummet, particularly the run of Flaxman Loew, who dumps the Van Helsings and reduces Pendragon to a drunken bum cracking bad puns. Even Vampirella’s ongoing struggle not to kill people for their blood – which gave her a noble, tragic quality – is summarily dismissed by Loew, who has Vampi killing bad guys willy-nilly. It’s a complete destruction of Goodwin’s carefully laid foundations and helps leave a sour note as this collection comes to an end. Only the artwork of Gonzales (and later Jose Ortiz) salvages something from the godawful scripts. Goodwin’s return to the helm in the final few pages gives hope that Vampirella was set to return to its former glory. But as it’s unlikely I’ll never pick up Volume 2, I guess that will have to remain a mystery to me.

Seven Soldiers Of Victory Vols. 1&2 (DC, 2011) ****¼

- originally published in Seven Soldiers Of Victory #0-1, Seven Soldiers: Shining Knight #1-4, Seven Soldiers: Guardian #1-4, Seven Soldiers: Zatanna #1-4, Seven Soldiers: Klarion The Witch Boy #1-4, Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle #1-4, Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer #1-4, Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein #1-4 (DC, 2005-06)

Writer: Grant Morrison/Artists: various

After the clusterfuck that was The Multiversity, I’d lost faith in the magician. But reading this earlier, sweeping series starring a bunch of C-listers and reimagined B-listers made me a Morrison believer again. Sure, the tale is convoluted, confusing in parts and resolved in a way that I didn’t quite understand (with too many rabbits pulled out of too many arses for my liking), but damn! I enjoyed the ride.

Some of the miniseries were fantastic in their own right, particularly Klarion (creepily illustrated by Frazer Irving) and Frankenstein (strong, visceral artwork by Doug Mahnke). Other series didn’t do quite so well, but only the unnecessary reimagining of Mister Miracle failed to impress me.

All in all, a fine effort by Mr Morrison and friends, showing he can juggle multiple characters and complicated story arcs without disappearing up his own sphincter.

 

 

 

Hard Time: 50 To Life & Hard Time: Sixteen (DC, 2004, 2012) *****

- originally published in Hard Time #1-12 (DC, 2004-05)

Writers: Steve Gerber & Mary Skrenes (uncredited)/Artist: Brian Hurtt

This certainly wasn’t the last series Steve Gerber wrote before his untimely death in 2008, but it’s arguably his finest work (Howard The Duck, notwithstanding).

Ethan, 15, is sentenced to 50 years’ jail for a high school prank gone horribly wrong. He quickly makes plenty of enemies, including the Aryan Brotherhood and an insane fundamentalist Christian inmate. But Ethan has a secret – a powerful entity that lives within him that comes alive at night to do his violent bidding. This intense cross between TV’s Oz and DC’s own Johnny Thunder works incredibly well, mainly due to Gerber’s funny, powerful dialogue. Thankfully, he doesn’t write in that exhausting purple prose he used at Marvel in the 1970s. The writing here is more subtle, nuanced and, dare I say it, realistic. Hurtt’s artwork is great (as always). This is a hidden gem of a series that deserves more consideration from fans and critics. It’s tragic that Gerber was still peaking as a writer before he passed away. He deserves to be remembered for more than just a talking duck.

Irredeemable Vols. 3-10 (BOOM!, 2009-12) ****¾

- originally published in Irredeemable #9-37, Irredeemable Special #1, Incorruptible #25-26 (BOOM!, 2009-12)

Writer: Mark Waid/Artists: Diego Barreto, Peter Krause & friends

Murder Me Dead hardcover (El Capitan, 2002) ****¾

- originally published in Murder Me Dead #1-9 (El Capitan, 2000-01)

Writer/artist: David Lapham

Avengers/Invaders #1-12 (Marvel/Dynamite, 2008-09) ***¼

Writers: Alex Ross & Jim Kruger/Artists: Steve Sadowski & friends (interiors)/Alex Ross (covers)

Beautiful covers are the major highlight of this quirky series that sees a displaced Invaders visit the modern Marvel Universe post-Civil War. There’s everyone here from the Red Skull to Ultron to evil SHIELD LMDs to modern Sub-Mariner duking it out with junior Sub-Mariner. Ultimately, it leads to nothing except the unnecessary revival of Toro, but at least it’s fun and pretty to look at.

Doom Patrol #1-22 (DC, 2009-11) ***¼

Doom Patrol: Writer: Keith Giffen/Artists: Matthew Clark & friends

Metal Men: Writers: Keith Giffen & JMDeMatteis/Artist: Kevin Maguire

Giffen’s attempt to repair the damage from John Byrne’s previous incarnation partially succeeds. It takes a while but this series was coming together...until The New 52 initiative killed it.

Much more fun was the Metal Men back-up feature in #1-7. The old Justice League (of 80s fame) team seem to be really enjoying their reunion.

 

JLA/JSA Secret Files & Origins #1 (DC, 2003) ***½

100.-120. JSA #41-58 (DC, 2002-04); Hawkman #23-25 (DC, 2004) ****

Writers: David Goyer & Geoff Johns/Artists: Leonard Kirk & friends

This is the oldest comics I had in my collection in the sense that I’d never got around to reading them. I mean, 13 years is a long time. Not sure how I drifted away from JSA. I think I got sidetracked with life and the issues started piling up. After a while I had 20+ comics sitting there and I’d lost interest in the series. When a personal crisis hit in late 2003/early 2004 I made a decision at that time to cut waaaaay back on my standing order at Kings Comics. JSA was an easy cut at that point. Four years later, the JSA got rebooted, then a few years after they were retconned out of existence by the New 52. These decade-old comics gathering dust in my spare room seemed even less relevant than before.

However, in my attempt to reach my 200-comics goal, I decided to tackle them...and I’m glad I did. This was always a fun series with characters I really liked (I was a sucker for JSA in the 70s, Infinity Inc. and All-Star Squadron back in the 80s, too). The culmination of this run is the Black Reign storyline in both JSA and Hawkman, which leads to a big showdown between the JSA (and Hawkman) against Black Adam and his team of reformed super-villains and conflicted superheroes (including Atom Smasher) after they’ve violently liberated the African nation of Kahndaq (which is Black Adam’s homeland). Should heroes kill if it serves the greater need? The assassination of Kobra is an effective shock moment. This is a pretty powerful question and Johns (who was handling both books solo at this stage) is pretty much at his peak as a writer. Great stuff.

 

The Goon #30-39 (Dark Horse, 2008-12) ****

Writer/Artist: Eric Powell (except #35 where the writer is Evan Dorkin)

I’m not sure why I gave up on this series – it’s really very good. Funny, dark, violent and brilliantly drawn by Powell. Maybe it’s because the guy took FOUR YEARS to put out 10 issues. Yeah, maybe that’s it. Ya lazy fuck, Powell!

 

Powers #4-11 (Icon, 2010-12) ****

Powers Bureau #1-12 (Icon, 2013-14) ****½

Powers #1-5 (Icon, 2015- ) ****

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis/Artist: Mike Avon Oeming

Pretty cool catching up on five years of Powers in one hit. If you don’t read Bendis’ back matter, then you can rip through an issue pretty quick. The feeling I got by the end of these issues is that not only being a copy the WORST JOB in Chicago. But being a cop alongside powers detectives Pilgrim, Sunshine and Walker is the WORST JOB in the world. You are almost guaranteed of getting bitchily insulted by Pilgrim or Sunshine or winding up as dead collateral damage when some super-powered guy attacks Walker. Sucks to be a cop in Bendis’ world.

Also the three main protagonists have all spied, betrayed and lied to each other in the 25 issues I’ve read, so I can’t work out why they’re all still friends. Maybe Powers isn’t meant to be read in one massive 25-issue hit ’cos the plot flaws become too obvious.

That said, this is easily one of the best cop/crime/superhero series on the racks right now – and it has been for at least five years.

 

Essential Godzilla Vol. 1 (Marvel, 2006) ***

- originally published in Godzilla #1-24 (Marvel, 1977-79)

Writer: Doug Moench/Artists: Herb Trimpe & friends

Listen to podcast HERE.

Toho Productions’ gave Marvel a two-year run with Godzilla and it was bizarre.

Godzilla emerges from an iceberg in Alaska and goes on a rampage. He’s evil for the first three issues, attacking Seattle and San Francisco. But that quickly grows boring, so they make him a sorta good guy (like the Hulk).

Even though he kills thousands of people (even in Marvel’s PG world, there’s no way he couldn’t have wiped out oodles of folk in those cities he destroyed.

Dr Takiguchi, his niece Tamara and annoying grandson Rob create a giant Shogun Warrior-style robot to fight Godzilla.

After that, Godzilla fights alien monsters, battles rustlers, gets shrunk and fights New York sewer rats, then is sent back in time to fight dinosaurs.

Along the way, Godzilla tangles with SHIELD, The Champions, The FF, The Avengers and Devil Dinosaur. It’s weirdly stupid, kinda boring and ends with Godzilla getting written out of Marvel continuity.

At least it means there’s no more Rob, because he’s truly annoying.

 

Satellite Sam #1-15 & Satellite Sam Tijuana Bible (Image, 2013-15) ****

Writer: Matt Fraction/Artist: Howard Chaykin

An odd topic for Mr Fraction to tackle: the early days of TV. Still, this debauched crime noir tale builds to a satisfying climax after a slow start in the first three issues. Chaykin has the time of his life drawing near-naked women in sexy early 1950s lingerie. Really, the series is a cross between Mad Men and Chaykin’s own Black Kiss. Perversely entertaining.

 

The Rocketeer: Cargo Of Doom #1-4 (IDW, 2012) ***½

Writer: Mark Waid/Artist: Chris Samnee

The Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror #1-4 (IDW, 2013) ***

Writer: Roger Langridge/Artists: J. Bone (interior); Roger Langridge (#1 subscription cover); Walter Simonson (#2-4 regular cover)

The Rocketeer & The Spirit: Pulp Friction #1-4 (IDW/DC, 2013) ***

Writer: Mark Waid/Artists: Paul Smith (#1 interior); Loston Wallace & Bob Wiacek (#2 interior); J. Bone (#3-4 interior); Paul Smith (#1-2 cover); J. Bone (#3-4 cover)

I love The Rocketeer but these miniseries are only fair-to-middling – the first series is the best and the team-up with The Spirit is the least satisfying.

 

Invincible Vol. 1: Family Matters (Image, 2003) ***½

Invincible Vol. 2: Eight Is Enough (Image, 2004) ***½

Invincible Vol. 3: Perfect Strangers (Image, 2004) ***

Invincible Vol. 4: Head Of The Class (Image, 2005) ***½

- originally published in Invincible #1-19 & Image Summer Special #1 (Image, 2003-04)

Writer: Robert Kirkman/Artists: Cory Walker (#1-7), Ryan Ottley (#8-19) + friends

DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THE ORIGINAL COMICS OF THIS SERIES ARE WORTH?!!! Issue one alone is $1500 MINT! I had Invincible #1-25 and I sold the lot in 2005 for THIRTY DOLLARS on eBay!!! AAAAARRRRRGHHHHHH!

I stopped buying Invincible and sold my collection at the same time that I quit The Walking Dead (and yes, I sold the first 25 issues of TWD on eBay for a pittance, too). I’d had enough of the torture porn that Kirkman had turned both titles into – while I could sorta understand why he did in a zombie comic, I just couldn’t appreciate him taking the torture porn route in what was, essentially, a light-hearted superhero tale. To be honest, I started going off Invincible around #8 when Invincible’s dad Omni-Man was revealed to be a mass-murdering psycho from another planet. It wasn’t hard to quit the series when I did the same with TWD. Having just read the Wikipedia entry on Invincible, I’m glad I did, because Kirkman has taken the series into some truly dark territory. Still...a few years back i saw the first four volumes of Invincible for sale cheap on eBay. On a whim I bought them (along with the first two volumes of TWD...don’t ask). I didn’t know what to expect when I reread the first 19 issues. I will say that I still hate the dark road that Kirkman took the series in #8 when Omni-Man slaughters the Guardians Of The Globe. But much of the comic is endearing and Invincible is such a likeable teenager...well, he is at this stage anyway.

I won’t buy any further volumes, but I’m glad I reread it – Invincible was once a very enjoyable comic book. 

 

 

 

 

And how did I forget to include the epic Teen Titans arc that I read in September? I even did a podcast about it. :P

Direct download: KYE44.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 5:31pm EDT

 

HELEN and I did this podcast last month, so technically it's from 2015 and therefore a year old. Or not.

In this edition, we relate tales of terror culled from years of long drives in the Australian outback. We've had a few unsettling experiences.

Forgive the sudden conclusion. Listening back, I realised the last six minutes was just waffle about the dangers of driving at dusk in the outback when the kangaroos emerge (which happened to us again that very evening, funnily enough). But it wasn't particularly spooky conversation, so I cut it out.

Direct download: TFTR03.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 9:36am EDT

 

IN WHICH I get UFC 193 thoughts and predictions from Harley Wonderland, Mark Mercedes, Josh "The Axe" Shooter and Mr Juicy. Yes, the cream of Sydney's IWA and Melbourne's MCW told me who they thought would win the main event between women's bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey and her opponent Holly Holm. Guess which wrestler tipped the upset?

I was there live in Melbourne's Etihad Stadium to see history being made and I wrap up this short podcast (like 12 minutes) with quick thoughts on the show and the main event while rushing to catch my bus to the airport.

It's slightly late UFC wrap-up fun.

Direct download: wwcbd38.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:59am EDT

 

A VERY short podcast in which I discuss my comics pull for November 5. Plus I reveal my new philosophy when it comes to buying "floppies" (single issues) over "trades" (TPBs).

Times are tough, my friends.

The podcast can be found HERE.

 

Direct download: KYE43.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 2:55am EDT

THIS podcast was supposed to be rambling reviews of Essential Godzilla Vol. 1 (Marvel, 2006), plus a bit at the end about Image's freaky series, Wytches. However, the second part of the podcast fucked up and now it's just about Godzilla. Sorry about that, but I can't be arsed re-recording it.

 

Ah well...let me just say here that Wytches is scary as hell and well worth your time picking up the first volume. It does for witches what The Walking Dead did for zombies. Seriously, freaky as fuck.

PLEDGED IS PLEDGED.

Anyways, enjoy this "on the road" edition of KYE, co-starring the Hotbody Helen. Cheers.

Podcast is 21 minutes long and can be found HERE.

 

Direct download: KYE42.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 9:16am EDT

 


In which I spend half the podcast talking about some of the comics I read in July and August, then spend the second half dissecting "The Judas Contract" storyline from NEW TEEN TITANS in 1982-84. Man, did this story arc suck!!!

Find out why HERE.

Oh...and I couldn't readily find any to quote during the podcast, but below are a few of the "lovable" insults the Titans throw at each other in the comics. Great writing, Marv. CLAP CLAP CLAP

 

Changeling to Cyborg: "Shut up, rusthead."

Speedy to Kid Flash: "Whoa there, fleet-feet."

 

Speaking of poor writing, here are two more inexplicablly bad plotting elements by writer Marv Wolfman that I forgot to include in the podcast.

* In issue 29, Terra tells Changeling that she's not a Teen Titan and "second, I'm not becoming one." The next issue, they are in her apartment and she reveals her new outfit, saying "So tell me, bozo, am I Titans' material or what?" Wow, that was a sudden change of heart on her part. I mean, we find out later THE REAL REASON why she wants to join the team, but why does she pretend she doesn't want to join in #29? I put it down to Marv being a talentless hack.

In issue 30, The Brotherhood Of Evil defeat the Titans, then inexplicably let them live, with Phobia saying they have no desire to kill them. When they clash again an issue later, Warp tells the Titans that the Brotherhood have no qualms killing them. Er...slightly contradictory there.

I could find other obnoxious elements, but I think I cover most of the reasons why "The Judas Contract" is an overrated turd in the podcast. :)

 

 

Direct download: KYE41.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:52pm EDT

The top three Aussie wrestlers going today: Jonah Rock, Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls. 
 
IN WHICH Lord Mark Williamson and Dann Lennard discuss the passing of Dusty Rhodes and talk passionately about the greatness of the American Dream, and the joys of being bribed with SCOTCH, and then we get into the meat of the podcast: THE TOP 200 AUSSIE WRESTLERS FOR 2015, including our Top 20 Best Wrestlers and the FIVE WORST WRESTLERS (who inexplicably get listed as No. 196-200...even though there are clearly more than 200 wrestlers in this country. Don't question us. This is how we ROLL, sports fans.)

 

 

What this Top 200 is ALL about, sports fans...
 
DISCLAIMER: If you are NOT listed in our Top 200 it's for THREE reasons:
1. We forgot about you or weren't aware you existed. Sorry.
2. You're severely injured, retired or dead. Sorry.
3. You're so fucking shit you don't even deserve a mention. Get over yourselves.
 
And now, without much further ado...here it is.
 

TOP 200 for 2015

All comments in ITALICS by Dann 


1.-2. TMDK (Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls)

3. Jonah Rock

4. “Jag” Hartley Jackson

5. KrackerJak

6. Adam Brooks

7. Tyson Gibbs

8. Buddy Murphy

9. Australian Suicide

10. Carlo Cannon

11. Elliott Sexton

12. Mr Juicy

13. Shazza McKenzie

14. Damian Slater

15. Davis Storm

16. Dowie James

17. AJ Istria

18. Chris Vice

19. Chris Basso

20. Ethan Hughz

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

21. Robbie Eagles

22. Mick Moretti

23. Kijimuna

24. Ladybeard

25. Marcius Pitt

26. KC Cassidy

27. Jesse McKay

28. Emma

29. Matt “Grimm” Basso

30. Alex Kingston

31. Mike Burr

32. Jay Andrews

33. Josh Shooter

34. Rufio

35. Kellyanne English

36. Kellie Skater

37. Mikey Broderick

38. Nick Armstrong

39. Enforcer

40. JXT

41. Robby Heart

42. Mad Dog McCrea

43. Havok

44. Chris Trance

We love his “workrate” in and out (and in and out and in and out...) of the ring. Good stuff, fella!

45. The Warship

46. Dean Draven

47. Brodie Marshall

48. Kelso Kahoniz

49. Brad Smyth

50. Vixsin

The only person on this list who let me kiss her gash. That earns Vixsin a top 50 spot right there!

51. Gladiator Apollo

52. Pat Graham

53. Sean Kustom

54. “Gorgeous” Greg Graham

55. Joey Graham

56. Madison Eagles

57. Hayden Zenith

58. Bishop Sommers

59. Ryan Eagles

60. Demi Bennett

61. Wayne “The Maniac” Mattei

62. Bee Boy

63. Alex Titan

64. Slade Mercer

65. Marvel

66. Anarchy

67. Savannah Summers

68. Link Barnett

69. Wreckin’ Ball Wilson

70. Cletus

71.-72. World's Friendliest Tag Team (Lochy&TD)

73. Daniel Swagger

74. Mickey Jackson

75. Matt Bailey

76. Chet Jacobs

77. Jarrad Slate

78. Hughsey

79. Dean Brady

80. Gabriel Wolfe

81. Jake Nova

82. Siren Monroe

83. Luke Knight

84. Mr Exclusive

85. Johnny Lukas

86. Braithe Priest

87. Crofty

88. Whatever the fuck Lightning Luke calls himself nowadays

89. Tre

90. Australian Wolverine

91. Michelle K. Hasluck

92. Blue Oni

93. “Pitbull” Craig Cole

94. Chris Trio

95. Harley Wonderland

96. Gavin McGavin

97. “Mad” Mike Massive

98. Syd Parker

99. Jay Taylor

100. Benny Factor

101. Alberto Bravo

102. Matt Rogers

103. Corruption

104. Green S.M.A.S.H

105. Massive Q

106. Koi Bombora

107. Brian “Heat” Seeker

108. Super Cyclone/Josh Haze

109. “The Don” Michael Morleone

110. Mikey Lord

111. Keegan

112. Scotty Ryan

113. Jagger Stevens

114. The Choff

115. Karlos Aries

116. BJ Blade

117. Dan Moore

118. Liam Mendel

119. MANtis

120. Storm

121. “The Crazy Croatian” John E. Radic

122. Cadman

123. Eddie Jones

124. Bai Long

125. Battle Toad

Not THE Toad, obviously.

126. Trikki

127. Jade Diamond

128. Mike Boomer

129. Felix Young

130. Blair Alexis

131. Anthony Dangerfield

132. Ricky Rembrandt

133. Emanuelle

134. Rip Rielly

135. Dan Steel

136. Tome Filip

137. Mat Diamond

138. Sara Jay

For her ring outfit alone. :P

139. Mark Kage

140. Kyote

141. Kobra Jones

142. Spaceman Dacey

143. Aaron O’Malley

144. Bohdi McKenzie

145. His Royal Tenis

146. Kaha Edmonds

147. Tower Of Power

148. Lucas Gold

149. Savage Ultra Lion

150. Zach Archer

151. Beau Sayer

152. Cousin Ali

153. Fury

154. Jordan Bishop

155. TNT

156. Samoan Warrior

157. Big Fudge

158.-159. The Floozies

Two chicks with real potential who are getting some good training up at Newcastle Pro. Big things ahead of them (no pun intended).

160. Zac Douglas

161. Cody Swift

162. Vinnie Vain

163. InstaGraham

164. “Birdman” Phil Picasso

For going above and beyond when he was tarred and feathered after a recent IWA bout.

165. Diego Del Fuego

166. Lynx Lewis Jr

167. Renegade

168. Tarlee

169. Tukahe

170. Hudson Kai

171. David Nero

172. Rachel Rose

173. Jack O’Lantern

174. Diablo

175. Combat Wombat

The best name in Aussie wrestling by far.

176. Kira Sommers

Leather chaps! Holy mother of God! Yes!

177. Rhys Youngblood

178. Chris Hermes

179. JT Robinson

180. Randall

181. “Superstar” Bill Dundee

He may be 102 years old but he could still out-work 95% of the wrestlers in this country. Fact.

182. The Cure I

183. The Cure II

Disappointingly, neither of them are doing a Goth gimmick.

184. Rainbro

185. Psykotic

A giant of a man (not literally) who has worked every single wrestler, commentator, journalist and fan in this country. Well played, sir, well played.

186. Achilles

187. Bruza

No, for the last time, I DON’T want to be your Facebook friend!

188. Niki Nitro

189. Tommy Hellfire

190. Hunter S. Hayes

A guy with no charisma and moderate in-ring talent assumes the surname and persona of a legend that NO-ONE UNDER THE AGE OF FORTY will know. And you STILL have no charisma, mate.

191. Big Bad Nick

192. Masked Mauler

193. Jack Bonza

PWA Sydney’s heavyweight champion. A very good worker and a great heel. Also doing very good things at Newcastle Pro as both a worker and trainer. Wait...why is he at No. 193?

194. Adam Hoffman

Another very good worker and part of the most dominant faction in Sydney wrestling, The Four Nations. Hang on...this doesn’t seem right Adam being at No. 194...

195. Concrete Davidson

Hands down the best gimmick in Aussie wrestling. Dann is always entertained by Concrete’s 19th century strongman shtick. And he’s a nice guy to boot..............WTF? How is he at No. 195?

How is any of these guys THIS LOW in our list? Shit....it’s almost as if someone BRIBED us with scotch to put these three talented performers so low as a RIB. And we did.

Because we are WHORES FOR SCOTCH.

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

196. Kandi Luv

197. Big T

198. Shane Saw

199. Whiskey Sixx

200. Andrew “Shark” Carter

Just a quick comment about No. 200. I was loathe to put an AAW “wrestler” in the list as I don’t regard AAW as anything other than a vanity backyard group funded by 
Big Daddy Shark and a bunch of deluded, poorly trained marks who PAY Shark to wrestle overseas guys brought in by these rubes to appear on their shitty shows in West Oz.

But Shark finally did enough this year to earn a guernsey by

1. Changing his name legally to “Shark”

2. Telling bemused interstate wrestlers that he’ll only wrestle over here for $500 “because I’m worth it”. BWAH-hahahahhahaha; AND

3. For being part of the WORST Aussie feud of this century: an agonisingly dull, worked shoot with a doofus called Joey Angel. Terrible stuff.

 

 

 

 

Quality ring attire, whether it be the shortest of shorty shorts...

 

 

...or leather chaps will get you into our Top 200.

 

 

Congrats to the first-ever AAW backyarder to score a guernsey in our list. Say hi to the Shittest of Shit Kents: No. 200 Andrew "Shark" Carter. CLAP...CLAP...CLAP...

 

Direct download: wwcbd37.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:59am EDT

 

IN WHICH I talk about comics zines, including some classic ones from the 1970s and early 80s that I picked up for a buck apiece at Elizabeth's Bookshop on Pitt Street, Sydney.

I then segue into a review of the more notorious mid-90s comics zine/magazine Subliminal Tattoos, published by the infamous Robet Dupree (aka "KOOL Man"). Lots of sleazy commentary for your aural enjoyment.

 

 

 

 

Direct download: KYE40.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:51am EDT