Saturday, April 18, 2015

Get Your Popcorn Ready

Karen: There have been a ton of clips from the upcoming Avengers:Age of Ultron film hitting the internet recently. Are you avoiding them or watching them all? I've pretty much stopped now, wanting to go in to the theater not knowing everything that's going to happen in the film. But here's a couple to get us talking:

Karen: Looking good, although I am still thrown by Ultron's voice. I like James Spader but it's just not what I expect for Ultron. We'll see how it works out in the film.

Karen: Marvel also gave us a full Ant-Man trailer last week. This one had the title character in action, and it also gave us a good look at Yellowjacket -the villain of the film. It's definitely going to have humor but it seems like it will be balanced with a lot of super-heroics. Thoughts?

Karen: DC just got in on the action with the release of the first trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. This looks to borrow heavily from The Dark Knight Returns, as well as address the massive destruction of Man of Steel. I'm not sure what to think yet, but it looks awfully dark. I did think that Batman dialog was way too cheesy.

Karen: How about the small screen? Has anyone been watching Daredevil on Netflix? I've seen five episodes so far, and I'm impressed. The production is high-quality all the way around. My only complaint would be the excessive violence, which feels unnecessary to me (I don't need to see a villain beat a man's head into pulp to understand he's volatile and a bad guy). But the story and acting are strong enough that I'll keep  watching -and I'm not even particularly fond of the comics!

Karen: Finally, I can't close without noting that a trailer for the next Star Wars film dropped on April 16th. I am concerned about this one -I want it to be good, because they are bringing back Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewie! -but it is J.J. Abrams at the helm, and his track record is decidedly mixed. But watching this trailer the first time, my heart started pounding. It's Star Wars!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Discuss: Herb Trimpe

Karen: As I'm sure most of you know, artist Herb Trimpe passed away this last Monday. Please feel free to share your thoughts about him and what his work meant to you. For me, he will always be "THE" Hulk artist, as he was the artist on that title when I first started reading it. He managed to make the Hulk so expressive. The character really seemed alive to me as a child, and it was mainly due to Mr. Trimpe's work.

from Hulk #141, with John Severin

from Hulk #147, also with Severin

from Hulk #172, with Jack Abel

from Hulk #182, Trimpe inking himself

Doug: Just before I was ready to shut things down and head to bed, the following arrived in our BAB email account. It's from a friend of all of yours, formatted in 100 Words:
RIP Herb Trimpe. I still have some issues of his work on assorted titles like the Defenders, Godzilla, the Shogun Warriors and of course Hulk. Like Gil Kane his linework was instantly recognizable no matter what title he drew. One headline said he was the first to draw Wolverine but to me he represented more than that. His style seemed to suit giant robots and monsters perfectly, guess that's why he drew Hulk for 8 years! Thanks for giving me many great childhood memories Mr. Trimpe.  

Yours in comics,
Mike 'never knew Trimpe rhymed with shrimpy' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Guest Post - In Appreciation of: Condorman

Karen: Today our pal Edo revives the long-dormant "In Appreciation Of..." topic to take a look at a film I've always been curious about. Take it away, Edo...

Edo: I wanted to see this movie so much when it was first released in 1981, but never did at the time. It was also universally panned as I recall, and considered a big expensive flop for Disney. However, it has since become something of a cult favorite, and I’ve occasionally come across online rumors that there’s going to be a remake, or that Condorman will even be introduced to the Marvel Universe.

I only got a chance to watch it as an adult, just a few years ago, so my impressions were not colored by childhood nostalgia – I absolutely and unreservedly loved it. It is a light-hearted, cornball, action-packed, and above-all fun romp. What really makes this movie work so well for me is the na├»ve and goofy main character, a comic book writer/artist who gets caught up in an espionage caper, ably played by Michael Crawford (an actor I don’t think I’ve ever seen in anything else – apparently he’s better known in the UK). It also stars Barbara Carrera and Oliver Reed, both perfectly cast as the female lead and the hero’s eventual love interest and the villain, respectively.

Here’s a really well-done, in-depth review that pretty much echoes all of my own feelings about this movie:

The only point I would disagree on – and it’s something that appears in most descriptions – is when the reviewer calls Condorman a superhero movie. It’s actually more of a spoof of spy films that underscores the often outlandish nature of that genre by employing the trappings of the similarly outlandish superhero genre (and when I say ‘outlandish’ I mean it with the greatest affection). However, it’s those superhero trappings that drew me into this film almost instantly.

So who else has seen this movie, and what did you think? If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and do so – this is a thoroughly enjoyable Bronze Age cinematic gem.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

You Are Young and Life is Long and There is Time to Kill Today

Doug: Welcome to another inside look at what goes on in the BAB editorial room. These can be some all-day affairs, with multiple topics sliding across the table. We recently had a prolonged discussion, and we hope it serves as fodder for your thoughts and recollections concerning comic book reading. So without further ado, let's trip back to a time late last week...

Doug: We are traveling tonight and tomorrow, but Sunday some time I'll be able to get back into the Marvels post. Just let me know whenever it's my turn. Thanks for setting that up. I have some time today to look for art. I already entered the image of the Goblin on Gwen's windowsill, holding her body.

Karen: Thanks for getting the art for the Marvels piece. I'll get to it again this weekend but I think we're nearly done. I read your remarks last night, and you were so right -I read this book quite differently this time around.  The art was the same -spectacular -but the story hit me more deeply, and perhaps more sourly? I don't know. I suppose I reflect on life a lot more now than ever. I guess I can connect with "old" Phil more than I ever could before!

Doug: I actually had about 10 minutes to scout some art, so it's in. Nice image of Luke Cage, the Kree-Skrull War splash, a pic of Spidey fighting the Goblin, and the full-pager of Capt. Stacy's death. Seems to cover all the bases.

Looking ahead, have you had much time to plow into Darwyn Cooke's massive book (The New Frontier)? I've read up to when Hal becomes GL. It's weird. I like it, but I'm thinking if I'd read it as a monthly I would not have liked it as much. For those steeped in DC lore, they would probably have loved it. But the DC lore I got in a panel or two of Perez's History of the DC Universe was a better-sized helping for me. I'm speaking of the Challengers, Slam Bradley, etc. here.

I need to finish the book and watch the cartoon again.

Karen: I haven't done more than skim through the book. I did read the whole thing years ago -when I got a copy from the library, and had a lot of time on my hands. It truly is massive. I always wonder about that difference in experience, getting something as a monthly versus reading it in large chunks (or all the way through). I recall reading Watchmen as it came out and never feeling all that thrilled by it -it seemed more exploitative than anything -but perhaps taken as a whole work it comes across differently. I did just order the blu-ray of New Frontiers and it should be here this weekend. I loved it when we first saw it, but my husband didn't care for it at all, so we never bought it. But I got it for less than $20.

Doug: Inspiration - do you want to do a partner Open Forum on reading installments vs. reading tpbs/hardcovers? When "that's all we had" we were stuck on a 30- or 60-day cycle. Now -- piece of cake to gather as many as 25 issues together in one volume.

Karen: Hmm, that might have some legs. I don't have a ton of memories to pull on, but maybe we can put something together. I'm sure the readers would have something to say about it.

Doug: One general thought that comes to mind: the in-story recap of the previous issue. At a 30-day interval, necessary. In a tpb, drives me nuts. The Wolverine mini-series by Claremont and Miller is egregious in this regard. I think Claremont cut/pasted the same lines to begin each issue!

I think my read of "Winter Soldier" was greatly affected by the large graphic novel format. In installments, I'd have lost the build-up of suspense over a several week period. But sitting on the couch, I just kept reading. And reading. And...

So there are some thoughts.

Karen: So the basic argument might be something like the difference in the joys of anticipation versus the pleasure of deeply immersing oneself in a work? I think as I get older, the latter is better for me, as it gets more difficult to keep in mind all the details of things I read or (in the same category) serialized TV shows. Perhaps this is also why 'binge' TV watching is so popular? Who can remember what they read in a comic or saw on a TV show a month before?

Doug: I don't even know -- do modern comics have letters pages? I suppose with the Internet that would be a waste of time, since by Wednesday evenings blogs and websites would be rife with feedback anyway. But most of us have knocked the fact that many of our tbp and hardcover collections do not contain either the letters pages or the Bullpen Bulletins. For many of us, those really anchor the reading experience. So from that standpoint, seeking out the original comic books would be better.

But we are, after all, discussing reading at the time. So, if I was still reading new comics today, I think I would have been one of those who would have by now switched to the trades for my pleasure. But I wonder, as a child, what my memory was like -- I don't really recall digging out the previous month's issue to refresh my memory as to what happened, the various subplots, etc. So maybe this whole line of thinking is something I'm coming to as someone who is almost 50 (14 months away!).  

Karen: As a young kid, I did read my comics several times -but I think they were also just more important to me, and I didn't have the concerns of work, and life in general, taking up so much of my time, so the events in the books were always fresh. I'm not sure I'd want to give up that sense of anticipation. but then we're talking about the 70s versus today's instant gratification culture. I'm sure I would be an entirely different person if born into today's world! But knowing I could see what was happening to the characters every month, or having to wait a year to get it collected -that might be really tough! That doesn't really apply to me now though, as I don't keep up on current books.

Doug: OK gang - there you have it. So what do you make of all or any of our thoughts above? 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

BAB Classic Rewind: Inkers -- Just What Should Be Their Role?

  This post was originally published on July 10 2010
It was re-published as part of our BAB Firsts feature on January 23 2015

Doug: Welcome back to the post that just keeps on running. We are revisiting this topic yet again, as we have something to add to it. Our pal pfgavigan was gracious enough to submit another strip for your perusal and commentary. He based this one on the post you're about to read (again). It struck a chord with him back in January, so he submitted his own topical response. It rests at the very bottom of today's post, and will hopefully generate even more conversation. I'd throw out, too, that today we could discuss not only inkers in general, but bad fits. Of course we know those great fits -- Terry Austin and anyone would be tops on that list. But what of the mismatches? Thanks, pfg, and to all others who will dive back in today!

Doug: I have inking on my mind today. Part of my preoccupation concerns the current series Karen and I are running on Mondays in July, what we're calling "George Perez July" and featuring four annuals with his pencil work. Last week's peek into Avengers Annual #6 showed the inks of Mike Esposito, et al. However, tomorrow and a week later we're going to see Perez under the influence of one Pablo Marcos. In the opinions of the Bronze Age Babies, the results are less than stellar. Fortunately, when we delve into X-Men Annual #3 to close out the feature, we'll be inspecting the embellishment of super-inker Terry Austin. Austin's run with John Byrne in the regular X-Men title is among the finest series of issues ever published.

Doug: The other reason I'm spending the better part of a Saturday fretting over these issues is the recent e-mail I received from TwoMorrows promoting their upcoming retrospective on the career of Vince Colletta. Now when any discussion of inkers comes up, Colletta's name is sure to be at the forefront of the "disdain" side. For further information on not only the book but on what Vinnie did to Jack Kirby, check out the preview of the book. By the way, the tome will hit shelves on July 30, and can be ordered at this link.

Doug: If you scroll down our sidebar, I've added a little retrospective of the pencilwork (some with inks) of John Buscema. After the Silver Age, Buscema was known mainly for providing breakdowns over which the inkers had some liberty in bringing the finished page to you. Of course one of Buscema's longest-running collaborators was Tom Palmer in the pages of The Avengers. Palmer seemed to stay pretty faithful to Buscema's "look". John was known to say that the only two inkers he preferred over his pencils were himself and his brother Sal. Recently I reviewed the TwoMorrows biography of Sal -- you can see his comments on inkers here.

Doug: What we'd like to do is begin a new feature on the blog that we'll call The Open Forum. Please feel free to use this like a message board. What I want to know today is your opinion on inkers you love, hate, what their role is, are pencillers too picky, etc. How do you feel about Colletta erasing parts of Kirby's panels? Do you think it was good or bad that Joe Sinnott somewhat "unified" the look of the Fantastic Four while inking over Kirby, Romita, Buscema, Perez, and Byrne? Are there some pencillers who make good inkers (I always thought Gil Kane was best on the Amazing Spider-Man when Romita inked the book), and others who never mastered the craft? Have at it...

Doug: Below is another gallery of John Buscema's work, featuring his layouts, tight pencils, inks on his own work, inks by Dave Cockrum (from Avengers #125) and by Dan Adkins (the Captain Mar-Vell frame). Submitted for your appreciation and inspection.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Day She Died: Marvels 4

Marvels #4 (April 1994)
"The Day She Died"
Kurt Busiek-Alex Ross

Karen: This final issue of Marvels deals with what many see as the transition point from the Silver Age of Marvel to the Bronze Age -the death of Spider-Man's girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. With it, we also have the death of innocence in comics and the death of Phil Sheldon's faith in the heroes, or perhaps his faith in the world in general. I found this last issue in many ways a difficult read, as I sort of internalized Phil's struggle, having now pretty well disconnected from new comics, yet still yearning for the comics of my youth. I'm positive I was over-thinking things!

Doug: Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross certainly chose several incidents and developments, in addition to the featured tale, to demarcate the Silver Age from the Bronze Age. Seeing it all in one place really does show the reader (and long-time fan, as so many of us are) how time had led to an expansive new Marvel Universe. I don't recall having the same feelings toward Phil Sheldon the first several times I read this mini-series that I've had this time. I don't know that I'd say I bear the guy (character...) any animosity, but he's certainly way more flawed to me now than I've ever perceived him in the past. I think we've both questioned his reliability as a husband and parent, although there's no doubt about his financial provision. But here, he walks a creepy obsessive line in a few regards that's a bit uncomfortable to me.

Karen: This story opens with Phil achieving his long-sought after success with the publication of his book, Marvels, but he still seems to have an emptiness to him. He's bitter over the way the rest of the world treats the heroes, ungrateful for their sacrifices, and he grows fixated on trying to do something about it. When Spider-Man is implicated in the death of police Captain George Stacy, he decides to work to clear the web-slinger's name. Phil takes this up as a personal crusade of sorts, partly in counter-point to J. Jonah Jameson's senseless vendetta. He speaks to various people who were at the crime scene, including Dr. Octopus, but what really pulls him in deeply is getting to know Capt. Stacy's daughter, Gwen. He sees in her a beautiful, innocent young woman, full of life, and has an epiphany of sorts: it didn't matter if people believed in the Marvels or not -- they weren't here for that. They were here to save people like Gwen. As a reader, you can see where this is going.

Doug: I loved some of the visuals in this book. Even though there was no action, the scene where Sheldon and his new assistant visit Luke Cage is well done. The scene you mention with Phil visiting Octavius in prison is great -- what a smirk the good doctor wears! And late in the book the way Ross portrays Phil's in-home darkroom is excellent. If you've ever been in one (and I come from a family of printers), it's spot-on.

Karen: After all these years, the book is still brilliant to look at. I did enjoy that scene with Dr. Octopus a great deal - it was just chilling. Shortly after this, we are taken back to that fateful battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin from Amazing Spider-Man #121, and that horrible fall. Phil sees it from a vantage point almost level with the pillars supporting the bridge. He knows, instantly, that Gwen is dead. He can't comprehend it -- how could the hero not save her? Of course, that's likely how most of us reading that  issue felt as well. Again, Phil stands in for the longtime comic fan. Things had changed. Things were changing. The earlier encounter with Luke Cage, Hero For Hire, was another indicator - the world we knew was becoming different, more complicated.

Doug: And that's where I was going with my initial comments at the top. From the Kree-Skrull War to Daredevil shacking up with Natasha in San Francisco, there were so many specific vignettes that when taken together showed how the comfort of the Silver Age had given way to new, different, and sometimes uncomfortable circumstances in the Bronze Age.

Doug: So Richard Starkings and the boys at Comicraft lettered in the fateful "snap" when Spider-Man's webline reached Gwen's legs, the recoil breaking her neck. I had forgotten that a few pages later Sheldon remarks that he can still hear the "flat snap" across the water. He contrasts what he knows to be true with accounts that it had been the fall that killed Gwen Stacy. Just as Gwen had symbolized innocence in that Spider-Man tale from over 40 years ago, she stands in that role here in Marvels.

Karen: Yes, I noticed that too, that damn snap has always made me feel queasy. It's been said by many that Gwen's been far more important in her death than she ever was in her comics life, and certainly the implications of her death informed the decade that came after.

Doug: But what did you make of Phil's visit to see Gwen? I guess if Ross hadn't drawn her to look just as beautiful as Jazzy Johnny Romita ever had, maybe I wouldn't make anything of it. But Sheldon kept going back to see her. Yeah, he was wanting to get her to exonerate Spider-Man in the death of her father. But the scene when they walk through the Atlantean vessels was just a little odd to me. And in the days after Gwen's death, I couldn't decide if Phil was obsessed with Spider-Man's failure -- did that burst his personal Marvels balloon? -- or if he was overly distraught with her death. 

Karen: A middle-aged man, obsessing on a beautiful young woman...well, it happens all the time. A little disturbing but I do think there was that layer to it. Loss of innocence, loss of youth, longing for the past, his own personal success -there was a lot tied up with Gwen in Phil's mind. Phil tries to continue work on his next book with his assistant, Marcia, but his heart isn't in it. As he's going over photos with her, he sees Hawkeye and the Hulk fighting Zzzax on TV (from Incredible Hulk #166), and he snaps. He's done. He can't do it any more; he's 'too close' to it all. But he tells Marcia to carry on -- she can use everything to make the documentary she discussed. He's ready to retire. Phil steps outside and beckons the young paperboy over and tells Marcia to get a picture of him and his wife with a nice, normal kid. Little Danny Ketch.

Doug: Danny Ketch. The 1990s Ghost Rider. Yes, a nod to bring this historical love letter to the then-present, but to me now, it just leaves me flat. Is Danny Ketch even still in the MU?

Karen: Certainly in 2015 Danny Ketch doesn't seem all that relevant, does he? Taken as one long piece, I enjoyed Marvels a great deal, although it did make me feel that living in that universe would probably not be such a wonderful experience! Phil's questioning -- why are the Marvels here? -- his quasi-religious take on them, would surely be one shared by many people. It's interesting that this is not addressed in comics. Of course, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby went the other route, with people giving the heroes a hard time right from the beginning. People were motivated by fear rather than love or awe. So Phil is an oddball. But I feel he also fills in for us readers who came in either in the Silver or early Bronze ages and have a longing for those days. He has developed an obsession with the heroes and misses the days, during the WWII, years, when they seemed perfect and were idolized. I can understand this, to some degree. I suppose I don't want cartoon cutouts but I also don't enjoy the extreme moral ambiguity I've found in a lot of recent books I've happened to pick up. But in any case, Alex Ross' art is phenomenal throughout the series. It never wavers and brings not only realism but the right amount of fantasy -sequences in this issue with Namor's Atlantean army is pure Ray Harryhausen Saturday-matinee stuff -the art just transports you. 

Doug: If super-heroes were real in today's reality-TV, tabloids-dishing-constantly-on-celebrities sort of culture in which we here in America find ourselves mired, they would be at the top of the food chain in terms of public notice. I don't know if the media would brand any of them as bad guys... shoot, not even the bad guys themselves! Who today doesn't love a good villain? And yes -- Alex Ross's art sucks the reader right into the story. He was the perfect choice to tell this story, and Kurt Busiek for the most part transferred the four-color stories of his (and our's) youth to this wonderful reimagining. In reflection, maybe Phil Sheldon was the perfect protagonist. As he'd felt as a younger man that he couldn't measure up to the Marvels, could never be the perfect man, in the end that's how he truly was. So what Busiek and Ross crafted was a main character with those wonderful feet of clay, manufactured by the one and only House of Ideas.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Batman Joke

Doug: My wife saw this on Facebook. I researched it, and it looks like the image is over a year old. Pretty clever, as you "say" the Batman '66 theme song in your head. Get it?

Friday, April 10, 2015

DVD Review: Teen Titans Go! Appetite for Disruption

Karen: I know what you're thinking, "A DVD review here at BAB?" - but this was a unique opportunity. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment contacted us about reviewing the new release of Teen Titans Go!: Appetite for Disruption Season 2 Part 1  prior to its general release on April 14. We've been big fans of Warner Bros. DC animation, going back to the Superman and Batman animated series, Justice League of course (my all-time favorite animated show), and I've really enjoyed recent efforts like the Green Lantern and Young Justice series, which both ended far too early. There's also been a number of very good animated films they've done over the years based on comics, like Justice League: The New Frontier or Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. But I have to admit, although I had heard of Teen Titans Go, I hadn't watched it. I thought it looked, well, like it was aimed at the squirts, and I gave it a pass. But given a chance to review it, I thought, why not? One, it was fantastic that Warner Bros. had asked us, and two, even if it wasn't my cup of tea, it very well might be something that our readers would enjoy.

Doug: To the best of my knowledge we have reviewed one DVD on the BAB, and as fate would have it, it was from DC Animation. You can check out our thoughts on the animated version of Batman: Year One by clicking here. And to be fair, that review was three years ago, almost to the day! But I'd echo everything you said above about the wonderful history that has gone on thus far from Warner Bros. Each of the long-running series, as well as their newer features have been well done. And as we mentioned a few months ago, it's our intent to lay down our thoughts on not only Darwyn Cooke's New Frontier, but as mentioned just now the feature of the same name as well.

Doug: I'd also not watched Teen Titans Go! until we'd been asked to do this review. I caught a couple of episodes while on the treadmill ahead of the arrival of the DVD, and had a nostalgic feeling about what I was seeing. Around 15 years ago, when our youngest was just hitting school age, he was heavily into Jimmy Neutron, Spongebob Squarepants, and the PowerPuff Girls. He would wile away hours with those shows (now what does that say about our parenting??). When I watched my first episode of Teen Titans Go!, it didn't take me long to make a connection to the PowerPuff Girls. Funny, silly, and with some humor aimed at the kiddies but also at the parents -- Teen Titans Go! is a wonderful extension of those times watching the tube with my then-little guy. 
The team from Teen Titans Go!
Karen:  I'm happy to say that I found the show to be a lot of goofy fun as well. So far I've seen around half the episodes and it's been a blast. It's incredibly silly, yes, but in the best way. Your comment about Powerpuff Girls hits the nail on the head. And the great thing is, it feels completely right -- it's not "DC in name only." The Titans here (Robin, Cyborg, Starfire, Raven, and Beast Boy -- in other words, most of that 80s group we know so well) are pretty much the characters boiled down to their essence and made comical. But they are in a world that is clearly the DC universe, with references and callbacks to things any comic fan will recognize, like Titans Tower, Dr. Light, Aqualad, Blackfire, and so on. But since the show is aimed at kids, the Titans spend a lot of their time focused on food and hanging out!

Doug: I'm always impressed at the skill artists can apply to breaking down a comic book for television. You're right -- preserve the necessary elements and transform the peripheral stuff into a usable format that fits in with the angle of the show. As you said, the powers-that-be succeeded here.

Karen: One of my favorite episodes so far is "The Best Robin" where the show seems to be poking a little fun at how many sidekicks Batman has run through over the years. The different Robins are all very hyper-competitive, which makes for some great hi-jinks. I also liked "Money Grandma"  and "Mr. Butt" (you have to see it) a lot.


Doug: Well, speaking of "Mr. Butt", I'll confess to snagging that episode right away when Karen and I were discussing how we'd treat this review. I actually took a photo of the back cover of the DVD and sent it to my son, saying this should be right up his alley. Hey, at almost 21-years of age, I'd say he's still firmly in the ages 6-11 demographic targeted by this program! He says he wants to see it, so the DVD is going on loan when I'm finished with it! Anyway, I could only guess what sort of nasty this "Mr. Butt" would be. But lo -- the title character was no super-baddie, but a nickname for... Robin! Long story short, Blackfire shows up and, doing what she does, gets her sister Starfire in trouble. Starfire eventually lands in a space prison where she conditions herself for the ultimate revenge on her sister, who has betrayed her for the last time. Back at Titans Tower, the team tells Blackfire that she wouldn't be so bad if she'd just once try to be a nice sister. Cyborg trains her in the finer points of sisterhood (because Raven's just too weird I suppose), and Blackfire really does seem to have reformed. Well, until she makes a pass at Robin while he's working out -- tells the Boy Wonder that he has a nice butt! Now I have to be honest -- my son would have been laughing to tears had he watched that as he was entering school-age. And it is funny, though I have to admit to raising my own eyebrows just a bit. I mean, c'mon -- how many times have you been around a child who uses the term "butt" and gets reprimanded? Blackfire keeps calling Robin "Mr. Butt" throughout the rest of the short, so much so that Beast Boy even calls him that! It's all great fun, and the resolution of the story is typical cartoon slapstick. It was really a fun episode.
Cyborg and Beast Boy strut in 'Man-Person'
Doug: I next watched "Man Person", where Beast Boy is disfigured after a battle. He's left with a scar on his right eye, and is on the verge of serious depression. The Titans try to cheer him up, but it's Cyborg who relates his own origin story and what it means to be tough. It's the scars, after all, that make him tough. The story goes on with Beast Boy morphing into this over-the-top tough guy who eventually takes his toughness to a whole 'nother level. Again, it's straight up fun, and funny as well. And as we've stated, the script writers manage to work in enough humor to keep the adults in the room interested as well. 

Doug: As I write this, I just finished "The Best Robin" on your recommendation. Talk about adaptations for this show! Brother Blood wasn't much like the Wolfman/Perez version we knew and hated in the early 1980s! But he works. I liked the episode until the very end, and I won't spoil anything. I tell you, the characterization of the five Titans is consistent throughout the episodes I've seen, and the treatment of each of the three extra Robins is humorous - I especially loved the Dick Sprang-/Batman '66-era Robin. So yes -- it was a fun episode!

Karen: Just wait til you get to 'Road Trip' and see the team take on the Hive! I have to say this was a pleasant surprise. I'm looking forward to watching the rest of the episodes. Warner Bros. has made a fan out of me.

Karen: Here's the info on the DVD: Teen Titans Go!: Appetite for Disruption Season 2 Part 1 will be available on April 14th. It has 4 hours of shows on 2 discs -it's 26 episodes total. It should retail for around $19.97. The show has also been renewed for a third season on Cartoon Network, so if you like what you see here, check it out!


Thursday, April 9, 2015

100-Word Review - Four from the Hip

Doug: What a treat we have today! Edo Bosnar decided to take the 100-Word Review challenge, and boy -- did he ever! Edo has provided us with not one, not two... but four capsule reviews of comics he's mentioned around these parts in the past. We're excited to present his thoughts, and hope that you'll enjoy your time here. So no sense in delaying any longer -- let's get to it!

Edo Bosnar: I wanted to try my hand at the 100-word reviews that Doug mentioned, and decided to write them for some random single issues I have in my current collection – books that I re-acquired simply because I remember liking them so much when I was a youngster. None of them disappointed upon being re-read: I found I like them just as much (or at least almost as much) now as I did back then. I wanted to write about them, but didn’t really feel up to doing complete blow-by-blow reviews. Nevertheless, keeping these down to just one hundred words proved quite challenging. So here they are in chronological order of publication:


DC Comics Presents #3 (November 1978)
Story: David Michelinie
Art: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

I have fond memories of the first few issues of DCCP, all so beautifully drawn by Garcia-Lopez. Originally I bought all of them in those drugstore three-packs, all with Whitman logos instead of DC’s. Years later, I came across this one in a local comic shop, also with the Whitman logo! The story is pretty simple: Supes and Adam Strange each find themselves on the other’s world, or rather, their worlds have switched solar systems. It’s all part of a nefarious plan by one of Strange’s old foes. Besides the lovely art, there’s some nice character moments in this one. 


Marvel Team-Up #79  (March 1979)
Story: Chris Claremont 
Art: John Byrne and Terry Austin

My favorite single issue of Marvel Team-Up ever. This little gem from the X-men’s legendary creative team features an unlikely team-up between Spider-man and Hyborian Age female fury Red Sonja. When a museum guard is drawn to put on a mysterious amulet on exhibit, he is transformed into the wizard Kulan Gath and begins wreaking havoc. Peter Parker is sent to the scene by Jameson; Mary Jane tags along and, after picking up a sword also on exhibit, is transformed into Red Sonja. It all makes sense by its own internal logic, and  it’s action-packed and entertaining to boot.

Marvel Two-in-One #51 (May 1979)
Story: Peter Gillis
Art: Frank Miller and Bob McLeod

Our story opens with the Thing meeting Nick Fury on the roof of the Avengers Mansion to join a poker game with Ms. Marvel, the Beast, Wonder Man, and also D.A. Tower and Jarvis. Fury gets an emergency call from SHIELD – Yellow Claw’s Sky Dragon is attacking the Helicarrier! So Ben flies Fury and the Avengers Three to the scene in the Fantasticar, and they get into a high-altitude slugfest with the invading goons (not sent by Yellow Claw, incidentally). What I like best about this largely tongue-in-cheek story is how it highlights the jocular camaraderie among the Marvel heroes. 

Star Wars #38 (August 1980)
Writer: Archie Goodwin
Art: Michael Golden (plotter/penciler/colorist), Terry Austin

This is basically a filler issue, and is only peripherally even a Star Wars story, but it’s probably my favorite of the entire series. Luke and Leia, on a covert mission in a spice tanker, are attacked by an imperial destroyer and TIE fighters. They jump into hyperspace, but apparently the hyperdrive sustained damage in the attack, and they end up in a starless void. They eventually run into an immense glowing object that appears to be alive. It sucks in their ship, and once inside they get caught up in what seems like an insane and very lethal game.

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