A few things were waiting for me…

So, I’m finally back to writing here.  I know that many of you followers out there were wondering when I would post again, and I’m sure you’ve been missing those great columns, such as Free Comics Now! and Cartoons and Cereal.  Have no fear, they will be coming back, and Rewinding the Week will in another month or so.  Thank you to the kind folks who inquired after me.  I will also be trying hard to start a couple more posts a week, having to do with collecting in general and some graphic novels.  Here’s the start of that.  This is a picture-heavy post.

So when I got back from moving, I found a stack of packages waiting for me at my mom’s, where we have been staying while we look for our own house.

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Nice stuff, I know.  I was pretty excited about it all.  It was like a birthday for me, and actually was only a couple weeks after my birthday.  Almost all the stuff there was comics-based, so it was a great thrill.  Please keep in mind that these packages represent over a year of stuff, and it was all very cheap.  Now, the big boxes are really stuff for storing my comics, as my collection looked like this:

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But I ordered some supplies from Comic Supply, which is a website that sells that sort of thing, as well as some back issues.  I have ordered through them a couple times, and I found that the delivery was never quite as fast as they said it would be, but the customer service was good.  They also have a rewards program that allows you to earn points and then get some discounts.  They also send me coupon specials to order things in particular months.  Not a bad site to check out.  This was my loot from them:

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Bags, boards, boxes, dividers, and a bunch of comics to fill some gaps in my collection.  The actual sorting will be discussed in a future post.

Next up is a site called My Comic Shop.  This one I really like.  I only bought back issues from them, but they have an excellent selection at cheap prices.  Often times, they have more than one copy of a back issue and different qualities are sold for different prices.  The shipping was cheap and fast.  Check them out for sure.  Here was a quick shot of how well they packaged (very thoroughly) and a couple of the gems I picked up:

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Yeah, that is the first appearance of the GLA I got up there.  Also Ms. Marvel for my daughter, a 2099 issue that I needed, and Secret Warriors #2, since my copy had a bit of a mistake, but that’s the subject of another post.  Anyways, there were a bunch of other comics I got here, but I don’t want to bore you with all of them.

The next package was from Amazon.  I’m sure you all know enough about that site.  Well, I had gotten a gift certificate for my birthday and so I picked up a couple of things.

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So, first up is The De-Textbook by Cracked.com.  If you don’t read cracked, you are missing out.  it is informative, yet hilarious.  Think of the Daily Show, but with more internet.  This is a collection of historical articles from the site, and I look forward to going through it at my leisure.  The other picture shows the few graphic novels I bought.  I had mentioned in free comic reviews that I would like to read more of Saga and Change, and now I have the chance to.  I also got the Deadpool Max hardcover complete edition.  I have a few of the issues, but in looking for the rest, found it would be cheaper to buy the whole thing.  Expect reviews of these to come at some point.

I also got a few comics from my former local comic store.  This guy, Ahmed at Time Out For Comics, does a great job at selling comics online.  You can subscribe to him and he’ll get you what you need.  They all come in new condition, bagged and boarded.  Since I was overseas, I used him a lot to get some current issues.  I also picked up a few packs of 90s trading cards that I’ll share at some point. 

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So I’m getting the Ms. Marvel’s for my daughter, but then I started picking up Miracleman and of course, the Sandman Overture.  Got a couple spur-of-the-moment ones too.  And he sent me all the Free Comic Book Day comics.

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Card packs that were only $1 each.  I’ll show you the contents some other time.  Have to keep some mystery.

IMG_6854It was the store’s 20th anniversary, so he also sent out little pins.  Pretty cool.  I don’t know if I’ll wear it, but it’s nice.

Finally, there were a couple more packages.  One from Ad House Books and contained Duncan the Wonder Dog.  They were having a sale one day, and I had heard good things about this book so… there it is.

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I had also contributed to a Kickstarter a while ago, and was pleased to get my copy of Code Monkey Save World.

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So that was it for my website-related windfall.  But I also got a couple other awesome things that I want to show you. 

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First is a new vinyl by Spose, who is an amazing musician you should check out.  He’s the best rapper in Maine, and I know that doesn’t sound too impressive, but trust me, he’s cool.  This was a limited edition, and I’m grateful to my sister for picking it up for me while I was away.

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The other thing is this great painting of Jesus riding a dinosaur.  This was done by my friend Jason Littlefield of Anti clothing.  You can check out his work.  He’s always doing something cool and I look forward to getting more art from him in the future.

Finally, done.  That is it for today.  I’m worn out.  It’s been too long since I’ve written, and I’m a bit out of practice.  What did you think?  See anything you liked?  Any suggestions on new things to look into?   Let me know!

 

 

 

 

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Guardians of the Galaxy and Stuff

So apparently despite not actually opening yet, there will be a Guardians of the Galaxy sequel because that’s-the-plan-deal-with-it. Also, sorry Damion Poitier, Josh Brolin is Thanos now. I’m sure Brolin will bring a fine gravitas to the death obsessed despot, and as weird as it sounds, it’s actually encouraging that Marvel Studios will recast when necessary, so that we don’t have to suffer through characters mysteriously disappearing after their first appearance (War Machine) or, for the love of god, rebooted (Hulk). These announcements do add a layer of intrigue to the Guardians of the Galaxy premiere, which I’m already excited to see.

Throwback Thursday: X-Men the Arcade Game #tbt

I’m not a huge video game nerd. I’ve played video games, no doubt — I can probably beat Sonic 2 with my eyes closed at this point, but I’m content to watch the Angry Video Game Nerd rather than seek out old games myself. And new games? Forget about it. Even if I had the time to play (I don’t), joystick-heavy character movement leads to me shooting a cop 1 second into playing Grand Theft Auto 4 and being unable to move. But when I was a wee young’n in the early 90s, X-Men The Arcade Game was my jam. Any Friday night I could convince my parents, I’d go into Dream Machine, plop down a dollar or two in quarters, and play what I referred to (and still refer to) as “the purple X-Men game”. Mash buttons, blow up Sentinels, use mutant powers. “Nothing can move DA BLO-OB!” “Welcome TO DIE!” It’s symphonic. Whether it was the epic 6 player cabinet or the four player I remember seeing elsewhere, I couldn’t get enough of the game.

Each character had their own power, and here are all six characters ranked in arbitrary scale of awesomeness:

  1. Nightcrawler – I used to think his power was to run purple at people.
  2. Colossus – Sure, he’s never the “coolest” in the comics, but his inexplicable energy forcefield power made him a strong character in the game
  3. Wolverine – The claws, man. The claws.
  4. Cyclops – Only because 6-9 year old me was a little sexist and didn’t like girl heroes.
  5. Storm – Whipping up a frenzy with her stormclouds, but never one I wanted to play.
  6. Dazzler – Not bad in the game, but, c’mon, who wanders up to a video game and says “Hope I can play as Dazzler! She turns sound into light, you know?”

Sadly, the world moves on — Dream Machine closed and the cabinets disappeared from the arcade landscape. Yet there was a glimmer of hope: Palace Playland, an arcade/small scale amusement park in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. I thought I remembered seeing a purple X-Men game there once, and when I returned, lo and behold, there it was. Of course, it turns out I sucked at the game now and couldn’t make it past the first level without exhausting my supply of quarters. Still, the game was back! Or so I thought. Sadly, the next year when I returned it was nowhere to be found. Broken or sold off, another X-Men had bitten the dust. Thankfully, the internets have brought us MAME emulators and the X-Men Arcade Game ROM, where quarters only cost the press of a button, so the dream lives on.

 

from GiantBomb.com In all it’s purple, extra wide, geometric glory

Throwback Thursday: Marvel Overpower Cards – Where did they go? #tbt

When I was a kid I was friend with a guy who was big into Magic: The Gathering. Wizard Magazine and their spinoff, InQuest, convinced me that collectible card games (CCGs for the uninformed) were most definitely the hot business. While I had a Magic collection (which I eventually sold…for $20), it was Marvel Overpower that (obviously) piqued my interest the most. It started humbly enough: “hero” cards representing each character could play “specials”, as well as lodge “attacks” based on three attributes: Fighting ability, Strength, and Energy (like, how much plasma blasts they shoot out, not enthusiasm). There were also Event/Mission cards, team up cards, and eventually a fourth attribute, intellect, added, but either way I had to have’em. Scarlet Spider was there. Strong Guy seemed to be a huge part of the second series. All sorts of whacky characters popped up. Even DC had a wave or 2 of their own, cross-compatible, Overpower cards. I went so far as to purchase multiple issues of a (99 cent) comic to get the inserts for an “Onslaught” themed Overpower set. I made my own custom Overpower, based on “What If?” (it was always a thing with me). One was based on the iconic “What if Venom Possessed the Punisher?”, made out of a couple duplicate Overpower cards and some colored pencils (I still stand by my opinion that What If’s would have made a great card type in Overpower). Eventually, though, I faded away from comic book related things (to turn my eyes to, of all things, wrestling) and when I came back into the comic book fold, Overpower was long gone. Still, I have a huge stockpile somewhere at my parents’ house, and one day I might even make Andrew The Giant or Turner play me in a game.

The Monday Morning Quarter-Bin: Super-Villain Team Up 17

So last week I wrote about not buying up random issues just because they’re “cool” looking or might be “interesting”, yet the allure of a .25 (or 5 for a dollar) comic is a strong one. When I was flipping through the umpteenth copy of SuperPro #2 or some Malibu POS, I found this bad boy, and I had to make an exception:

From marvel.wikia.com/Super-Villain_Team-Up_Vol_1_17

It was Super-Villian Team Up #17, featuring The Red Skull, Arnim Zola, and The Hate Monger worshipping the Cosmic Cube. I’d always been curious about The Hate Monger, and this was my opportunity to see him in action, so I relented and I bought the issue.
The crux of the story is that The Red Skull has stolen the last AIM scientist to work on the original Cosmic Cube, and is looking to use him (the scientist is hilariously named George Clinton, so I instantly see AIM in the Parlaiment Funkadelic) in order to build a NEW Cosmic Cube. They hope to accomplish this by using some sort of mind-sucking device to use combined brainpower to produce some omnipotent “element X”, or somesuch nonsense, that gives the Cube its power. This includes one Yousaf, whose sister is working with SHIELD to infiltrate the Skull’s lair.

Eventually it dawns on Red Skull that once the cube is finished, he and The Hate Monger will no longer by allies but rather enemies looking to ascend to power as the ruler of the fourth reich. The Hate Monger recounts his origin to his creator, Arnim Zola (complete with belly-face), for the benefit of the readers only, and tells us that he’s a clone of Hitler after Zola convinced him to use some sort of machine to project his brainwaves out of his body after The (Android) Human Torch killed him in World War II (an established piece of Marvel world history). Why, after projecting his mind outward, he’d still have a clone of Hitler’s body and not, say, one of the Aryan ubermensches he was so gung ho about is beyond me, but regardless, we have a Hitler clone running around in a purple KKK outfit with a big ol’ H on the front – he looks like Hawkeye after a few years of bad choices. The SHIELD agents eventually storm the place, and Red Skull uses the unfinished cosmic cube to trap Hitler’s mindwaves, end scene.

The upside to this quarter bin find is that it’s a really fun book (if you can look past the questionable use of Hitler as a super villain) and it’s worth well over a quarter, fetching somewhere between $3 and $14. And with only 19 total issues (17 regular issues – the one I have is the ragin’ climax, and there are 2 Giant Sizes), combined with the fact I already owned 1 or 2 in my youth (gotta dig those up), and I might get the complete run somewhere along the line. A good quarter bin find, in my opinion.

Throwback Thursday: When Kurt Angle Ruled the World (2000) #tbt

I might be a comic book nerd through and through, but did you know I’m also a wrestling geek? As such, I can tell you the year 2000 was a magical one in wrestling, or at least the WWF. The Rock and Triple H hit just the right notes atop the card, and a strong bevy of undercard characters kept things fresh and interesting in between main-event segments. One of the strongest undercard acts was Kurt Angle, former legitimate 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist. When he debuted in 1999, Kurt Angle played a flabbergasted heel who think’s he’s a face, unaware how anyone couldn’t help but cheer the best real athlete in the WWF. After a brief feud with Steve Blackman, Kurt Angle struck gold, winning the coveted European Championship from Val Venis and celebrating this tertiary title win from a low card character going nowhere like he had just won a second Olympic gold medal. The Intercontinental Championship followed, and suddenly Kurt Angle was decorated with gold like it was 1996 again. During this time, Kurt Angle may have become my favorite wrestler, with sharp in-ring offense to complement a character whose cheap heat was always hilarious, it’s true, it’s true. He went on to win the coveted King of the Ring tournament that year, a situation tailor made for an Olympic based character, and in October of 2000 cemented the year of Angle by defeating the Rock for the WWF championship. He’d go on to have some more amazing matches, become my hands down favorite wrestler for a while, then slowly implode as neck injuries, weird character turns, and drug/alcohol issues relegated him to TNA. Still, in 2000, Kurt Angle was the definition of “the man”.

Here’s some 2000 goodness:

The Monday Morning Quarter-Bin: Zombie Sub-920

Comic conventions are great. It might be a less-than-shocking opinion coming from a site called Giant Size Comic Things, but I needed a first sentence. I’ve only been to a few in my life, but the Coast City Comic Con in Portland, ME is fast becoming a tradition, with a decent price and, while perhaps lacking big name celebrities, a good collection of guest speakers, dealers, and festivities. One of the cooler aspects of comic cons, big or small, are the local/indy creators there to try and sell you on not only their comic but themselves. One such artist was Michael Mitchell. He lured me in with a siren song: a 50 cent box of back issues. These were decent books, too, for the price, as I snagged the first appearance of the Crusader and my friend Andrew The Giant picked up a copy of the first appearance of The Thunderbolts. Grateful to finally add the Crusader to my collection, I took a look at his own comic book he was selling: Zombie Sub-920. For a scant $2.50 I got a copy, a small piece of original art, and signatures on both. If he gets famous? Gold mine. If not? It’s still a unique collectible, another siren song I can get lured in by (hence the German language reprint of an Avengers issue I bought). But how is the book itself?

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Zombie Sub-920 is based on an amalgamated, unique precipice of alien invasion, genetically modified apes, global warming, and a biologically induced zombification of the human race. Basically, human beings used genetically modified apes to fight an alien invasion, which led to super-smart monkeys entering into a war with humans, releasing a virus to zombify humans, all stemming from a humanity weakened by environmental disasters. A peace is reached between monkeys and humans, and this book follows the inhabitants of a human-manned submarine, with partial-zombie crew members, taking on new monkey cohorts. The humans are suspicious of the historically aggressive monkey-men, and the entire lot begin to explore old New York underwater.

The book has a labor of love feel. I’m intrigued by the premise, and the inclusion of monkey-men is at least unexpected. The zombies in the crew are only halfway there, shriveled and green but still intelligent. I love the hand painted look to the art, and I’m intrigued as to where the stories could go (full on zombie attack? zombie monkey? monkey/human tension?), though the dialogue’s a little flat. Still, it’s a pretty cool concept and it makes a good piece in my collection.

Check out his stuff, Mitchell Comics, and Coast City Comicon, and heck the Casablanca Portland Comic Expo as well!

Friday Top 5 – Fourth of July, Top 5 America Heroes

It’s that time of year again, when the country celebrates Americana on our birthday, the 4th of July. In between parades and fireworks and barbecues this year, I want you to take a moment to consider who the real heroes are: cornball patriotic super-heroes draped in red, white, and blue costumes. Here are five:

  1. Uncle Sam – Could he be any more America? A spiritual entity created by the “Founding Fathers”, he can apparently change size (one of America’s core values), has super strength (like a Ford pickup truck) and can transport himself and others to a pocket dimension known as “the Heartland”. I’m going to come up with my own hero…Uncle Tom. His secret lair? The Cabin, of course.
  2. Spirit of 76 – This flunky, a sometimes broke-ass Captain America, holds the record for the only Marvel 616 in-continuity death to take place in a What If issue, Volume 1 #4, which I discussed on the What If Podcast.
  3. The Phantom Eagle – Okay, I already discussed him on Monday. A World War I flying ace, not nearly as cool as he sounds.
  4. Captain Flag – Proof you can make the American flag ugly, by making a candy-striped cape out of the thing, and a short-sleeve costume. Luckily he’s really generic, too.
  5. Star Spangled Kid and Stripesy – Stars and stripes forever, hopefully not forever. The gimmick of the only adult sidekick for a younger hero does little to save their godawful outfits.

Some of these also made the cut in my discussion on Captain America in the Civil War (not the Marvel one, the America one) in the latest episode of the What If Podcast!

The Holy Awesome!

Editor’s note:  If you have a comic that you want reviewed by the team here at Giant Size Comic Things, just send us an email with the comic scanned in pdf format.  We are happy to review any and all things you send us, and will do our best to get them up in a timely manner.  Contact us at giantsizecomicthings@gmail.com  Now on to the article

For my first review on this website, I have the honor of reviewing a comic that was sent to us by an independent publisher.  This isn’t Marvel, DC, Image, or any other name that I knew before getting the assignment.

It’s Dim Throat Comics.  Have you heard of it?  Probably not, but if you have you can increase your hipster street cred, so pay attention.

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The comic is called The Holy Awesome.  I was fortunate enough to read part 1 of this 3 part mini-series.  I hope to read the rest.  It’s created by Justin INVI Vilonna and is available for just $4 right now.  None of that $3.99 stuff over here.  They ask you for that extra penny and aren’t ashamed to do it.

It is an interesting concept.  The main character, Natalie is just a typical mid-twenties girl, who enjoys pizza, drinking, and her girlfriend.  But one day the Light of God visits them to announce that Natalie is the Holy Awesome.  God has sent his light out to activate her to help him fight against forces of darkness..  Although the story doesn’t progress too far in the first issue, it still has enough to captivate and draw the reader into the world.  I mean, who doesn’t want to see the Light of God in the form of a slice of pizza?

The art is unique, and reminds me quite a bit of a series I am only vaguely familiar with, Lenore by Roman Dirge.  However, this series uses color and the effects are rather psychedelic.  I really enjoy the variant cover, (only available online, check it out here).  Please be warned though, the art will not be to everyone’s taste.  Parts do look amateur, and it seems like more work went into the concept of the story than the execution of the artwork.

The only thing that didn’t impress me as much with this comic was that at times, the writing seemed a bit forced, or even false.  A couple phrases just didn’t seem natural, but then again, it might just be part of the characters.

It’s an intriguing start to a story that seems like it will be exciting.  I do wish that the issue had been longer, as it seemed like it was over before I knew it.  There wasn’t much going on, and I feel like Vilonna could have fit more in.  I look forward to seeing how Natalie becomes the Holy Awesome, and what kind of powers that means she has.  It’s a class good vs. evil set-up, but has it’s own unique twists.  Check it out if you’re into that sort of story.  It’s definitely a one-of-a-kind comic.

For another take on it, check out the review done by Outright Geeky, another great site.

WIP Episode 15 – Not Real America Heroes (What If Podcast) on YouTube!

I’m riding solo in this one, and in honor of upcoming 4th of July festivities, the What If Podcast examines “What If Captain America fought during the Civil War?”, from a series of one-shots in 2006, plus I talk 5 corny “America Heroes” draped in the red, white, and blue.

The WIP is featured on iTunes:

tiny.cc/wipit

Stitcher:
tiny.cc/wipst

Blubrry:
http://www.blubrry.com/whatifpodcast/

Twitter: @theslimjames or @Giant_Size

and theslimjames.com!