What If Podcast on YouTube – Eps 29 and 30

The What If Podcast discusses Deadpool, what if he were possessed by Venom, the Beyonder, and how a comic from 2009 can be worth $200.

Then we discuss the Captains of the Marvel Universe, Captain Marvel and Captain Universe. SHAZAM! Mar-Vell! The Uni-Force! Does Peter Parker want to have sex with himself? The answer may surprise you!

Check out other bits from the What If Podcast on theslimjames.com/wip!

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The Monday Morning Quarter-Bin: How Not to Treat Your Comic (Captain Marvel #13)

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This past weekend I attended the Boston Comic Con. I had a great experience, dressing up as Fantastic Five Spider-Man (from What If Vol 1 No. 1) on Saturday, scoring some signatures on a few books (Frank Brunner on the iconic Man-Thing #1 was a particular favorite), and then on Sunday attaining comic book nerdvana by getting my copy of Amazing Spider-Man #45 signed by Stan Lee. In between all of this I was gleefully raiding the $1 bins and other low hanging fruits; with a wedding coming up none of the “big ticket” items were tempting enough to overcome the hundreds of dollars I’ve had to dish out in the last few weeks. Still, a few good finds were had, including 2001: A Space Odyssey #1 for $1, Dr. Strange #178 (a Silver Age appearance of The Black Knight) for $2.50 (in acceptable condition, at least by my standards), and, from the same guy, Captain Marvel #13 for $1.50.

A 12-center for $1.50?! Surely he must be crazy. I’m a sucker for Silver Age Marvel, and given I could spend the same amount on some X-book from 1995, I decided to partake. I could already see that the front cover had a corner torn off — it was to be expected for such a low price. Still, upon further inspection I found a litany of defects, and given what I paid for it I could only chuckle as I began to make a mental list in my head:

  • Corner torn off.
  • Initials written on front cover in pen
  • Captain Marvel logo partially colored in with pen
  • Water damage on front cover
  • First page has bleeding from ad on inside front cover
  • General wear around all edges of the book. And the coup de grace
  • On the back cover is two coupons to send away for seeds to sell One coupon is cut out (!) and another has a name written on it, matching the initials on the front cover.

After taking all of these into account, I saw this not as a damaged Silver Age issue, but as a piece of somebody’s childhood. Some kid had this book, drew on it, spilled things on it, tore off a piece of the cover lugging it around, and even decided to send away to sell seeds in hopes of the fabulous prizes promised by the advertisement. This comic book lost resale value, but gained sentimental value as it went through life with this kid. He probably got it because it had cool space stuff on the cover, and loved it, or at least gave it a wild life before it was retired and probably sold off as he reached adulthood. So as far as curios go, this is actually more fascinating to me than any damaged comic has a right to be, like a window into someone’s past.

As for the comic itself? Green and white Captain Marvel was always a bit silly to me, and in this he battles the Man-Slayer, a robot he had already defeated in a previous issue. Upon its self-resurrection, its “reserve power” only allows it to function if it denies its evil mission, though Captain Marvel still ends up fighting it off, then going up to a Kree spaceship to confront Yon-Rogg, Captain Marvel’s early nemesis.. There’s inconsistency abound (the titular character is referred to as Captain Marvel, Captain Marvell, and Captain Mar-Vell, as well as Mar-Vell), and it seems like many panels don’t have any background, just the primary characters and perhaps a small piece of the foreground filled in with a solid color for the background. Also striking me as bizarre was the lack of any sort of text bubble on the cover. Usually there’s a text box or some sort of writing hyping up what’s going on inside the book. Here the cover was just a picture, with no words, and it was a little jarring given what I’m used to. Despite this rushed appearance, the art has that classic Kirby-esque Silver Age style, and for all of its other flaws the pages are actually pretty crisp, so it’s definitely an interesting read. My advice? If you find a Silver Age book for $1.50, pick it up. It might not be a “collector’s item” in the traditional sense, but you’ll almost certainly find a place for it in your collection.

What If Podcast Ep 24 – Trimpe Cocktail on YouTube

The What If Podcast discusses Herb Trimpe, Avengers Age Of Ultron, Daredevil, Agents of SHIELD and…Machine Man? Andrew the Giant also has some intriguing evidence of a potential Punisher inclusion in the Daredevil universe. Also, Maine comic conventions, Dum Dum Dugan, and more!

The WIP is featured on theslimjames.com/wip

As well as iTunes:
http://tiny.cc/wipit

Stitcher:
http://tiny.cc/wipst

Blubrry:
http://tiny.cc/wipbb

Twitter: @theslimjames or @Giant_Size

Some rather interesting news

Although it’s not often that we here at GSCT are the first with new news, when it happens, we want to be sure that we spread it.

SPOILERS below.  I’m warning you, if you like surprises, you might not want to read this article.  Marvel movies/TV/comic are all coming together.  If you are interested in any of these things, as I’m sure many of you reading this are, then brace yourselves.

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Just making sure you’re not seeing the spoilers without wanting to. If you really want to see, keep scrolling.

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Really?  You want to know?

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Ok, last chance to stop.

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Well, you made it down here, so I guess you’re serious about this.  Our sources tell us that Secret Wars, the new series coming out, is going to lead to a huge “reset” of the MU.  This alone is probably not too surprising, but get this!

The new Universe that comes about, the revamped 616 is going to actually be the exact same world as the movie/TV universe.  The characters that come out alive (IM, Thor, Hulk, etc.) are going to even more closely resemble their on screen counterparts.  What this means, besides making the comics and movies more accessible to the general public, is that we will get stories that cross mediums.  A story may have part 1 be in the comic, and part 2 on a TV show (like all the Netflix stuff coming up) and the conclusion is in a movie.

Is it a smart move?  Well, it may (definitely) make some people angry, it will probably serve to boost overall sales.  We are creatures who love things to be completed.  Stories are no exception.  I don’t think it will affect the movies’ ticket sales, but it should draw even more people into reading the comics, which is always a good thing.

Not too excited about this spoiler?  Well it’s not the only one.  The bigger, more ground-breaking spoiler that we’ve learned is that the Civil War movie will in fact lead into a villain-run government, a la Dark Reign.  It won’t be Norman Osborn, as he is still tied up with Sony, but instead, it will be a group of beings with immense power, but very different from the Cabal.

Corrupter, Purple Man, Ringmaster, and Controller will all be parts of the council, all dedicated to being able to control the minds of human leaders and supers alike.  They will be led by none other than Attilan’s least-favorite son, Maximus the mad.

Look for the clues.  Read the comics and watch the shows and movies.  Hints are laid out for those who can see them.

What’s coming up (in May)

Well, the mystery of why Marvel wasn’t a big part of the previous Previews was solved.  Of course, I’m sure if I had looked carefully I would have been able to glean the information from said Previews.  Or I could have researched it online.  The internet has everything you know, including this!
Secret Wars is huge!  I mean, it’s all over the cover and then runs rampant throughout the entire magazine.  This is it.  The next big thing.  Everything will change, except a few things, and then everything will change again later.  At least, that’s the expectation of everyone on the internet.  I think that it could be cool, but will probably be bogged down by stuff.  I’d like to believe, but when it comes to comic books, I’m a bit of an agnostic.

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So it appears to be the regular Marvel Universe is going to be colliding with the Ultimate Universe and NEITHER WILL SURVIVE!

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There’s some preview art, including sad Apocalypse.
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I learned a lot about this event from the magazine and here’s what I can piece together.
With universes colliding, all the different versions of characters are getting thrown together in the “battleworlds” to fight until there is one left standing.  (There can only be one Highlander, I mean, Black Knight.  Oh man, I hope Martin Laurence is in there as an alternate version of Dane Whitman.)  After the battles conclude, a new Universe will emerge featuring the champion characters.  I’m probably far off, but hey, weirder things have happened.
I like the look of Secret Wars: Battleworld #1.  I mean, how could I not?

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Two other great old(er) stories are making re-appearances.  Infinity Gauntlet (maybe tied to the movies?) and Old Man Logan, both of which I loved.
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I might have to check out the Old Man, but Infinity doesn’t quite have that Starlin feel to it, which I feel is a big part of the story.  image
Then, there is Secret Wars 2099, which is, of course, my jam.  But it better have Ravage.

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M.O.D.O.K. also has his own series going on.  It’s only a 5-part story, so that might be worth checking out.
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Howard the Duck is mentioned, and oddly it includes preview art of issue 1.  I say “oddly” because the pages it gives away for free include the last page of issue 1.  Very odd.  Speaking of odd, did you know Night Nurse is getting her own nod.  Super-sized-one-shot-nod.  For $8.  Are you kidding?
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In the hardcover/collected edition section, there is a good selection of Ant-Man stuff, just in time for the movie and Raoul Pudd’s rise to superhero stardom.  Some Daredevil, since Netflix is looking to do better than Affleck did.  But nothing back there really draws me to it.
Overall, there is a lot of stuff Marvel puts out that I just don’t know or care about anymore.  It’s kind of sad, because I used to love the whole connected universe.   It makes me wonder how big of an impact the people in charge are willing to let Secret Wars have, given that there are so many ongoing titles that would be affected by a giant-sized reboot.
There were a lot of things that I am interested in, though I don’t know if I’m willing to commit money to them.  I also noticed that Deadpool wasn’t featured quite so prominently as he has been in the past.  Perhaps his popularity has waned enough that there won’t be three new mini-series announced each quarter.

So that’s it for Marvel in May.  Of course I skipped a lot, so if you’re really interested in more, I apologize, but it seemed boring.  Good-bye and good reading from your home for giant-sized comic stuff.

WIP Wrestling Is Podcast Bonus Episode on YouTube

The What If Podcast discusses WrestleMania 31 as I try to explain to them what wrestling has become in the last 10 years. All your favorite stars will be there: Eddie Guerrero! Chris Benoit! And we’ll ask: In a 16-on-1 handicap pitting Sunday Night Heat vs John Cena, who has the handicap?

The WIP is featured on theslimjames.com/wip

As well as iTunes:
http://tiny.cc/wipit

Stitcher:
http://tiny.cc/wipst

Blubrry:
http://tiny.cc/wipbb

Vimeo:
http://tiny.cc/wipvm

What’s coming up (in April)

As another new feature for the site, we are going to try to being you some looks at comics that are coming out in the future!  I know, I know, it’s amazing.  It’s also a drastic change from what we usually do, which is look at comics that came out in the past, with a heavier emphasis on those from the 90s.

Here we are in March, so it’s time to look at April!  It was so nice of my LCS (that’s Local Comic Shop for anyone who’s wondering) to be giving away the Previews for free!  Typically you have to pay.  Oh, so nice.

It’s a thick volume, and I am, by no means, going to go through the entire thing, page by page.  Instead, I have read through it and tried to pull out the things that stood out to me.  I know I may have missed some things, but hopefully this will get you excited about something.

As we begin, I should note that this volume came out last month, so perhaps I’ll even do another in a week or two.  For February, (aka Black History Month) there was a collection of comic book covers that first featured black superheroes.  Pretty neat to look at.  I will also point out, that as this was my first time really looking through the entire volume, I did not realize that it was in fact like a real magazine, and not just a collection of previews.  There are articles, interviews, lists, and all those great things that make a magazine work.  For instance, there was the top 100-selling comics list of a given month.  I had no idea that Image comics held such a small percentage of that.  The had a comic in at numbers 12, 41, 50, and maybe two more spots.  All the rest seemed to be Marvel and DC.  I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I did think that Image was slightly bigger than that.

Free Comic Book Day news!  This got me excited.  There are two Gold level free comics that I desperately want.  The first is the Fight Club.  I have always been a fan of Fight Club, both in it’s original form as a novel, and the surprisingly-great film adaptation.  I have been looking forward to this new series since I heard it announced, and will try my best to get a copy.  The other one was Bob’s Burgers, which you may remember from past articles, is a great cartoon show that is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

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Dark Horse comes up next, and a couple of things caught my eye.  The Massive looks pretty cool.  Then I saw Archie vs. Predator. Really?  I was never big into Archie and I honestly haven’t read any of the many crossovers, (Kiss, Punisher) but come on.  What is this? Last thing that made me pause was The Strain.  My wife loves the books, and she and I both have enjoyed the show, so this might be worth checking out.  Of course, last time I got her a comic (True Blood) she wasn’t too impressed.

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There’s a big DC event coming up.  I have never been much into DC comics, so this is all new stuff to me.  Convergence?  Isn’t that similar to what is going to be happening at Marvel?  All the universes are coming together?  Who did it first?  I don’t know.  Either way, smells like another reboot.

Vertigo has SFX coming out which looks like sound effects as a comic.  Cool idea, and I would be interested in seeing how it works.

IDW still does Disney comics?  I would have thought that would all be over at Marvel now.  A lot of stuff looks hardcore mediocre, but there is an Edward Scissorhands comic, and that’s cool with me.

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Image always has a lot of cool things going on.  It seems like a lot of small limited series, but that’s fine with me. Stories do not need to go on forever, (I’m looking at you DC and Marvel).  Savior, Kaptara, and No Mercy all look intriguing. Hickman has another series, The Dying and the Dead.  I always enjoy his work, so maybe I’ll check that out.  More Luther Strode, which is one of those books that I have heard good things about, but never tried myself.  Walking Dead and Saga are still going on, which is nice to see.  But most importantly, from Image, is God Hates Astronauts.  If you have never read this comic, you are missing out.  Go do it now.

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Marvel doesn’t have much in this volume, but does have a small teaser for Ultron Forever #1 which looks like yet another alternate future, and also Uncanny Inhumans, which I would be more interested in.

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Also, appearing several times in this issue, there is an ad for a Deadpool head Jello mold.  Over and over I saw this, and every time I chucked to myself because down in the corner, you can see that they also offer Spider-Man.  Never did I, a child of the 90s, think that Spider-Man would be shoved down in the corner as an aside, instead of being the main focus of anything.

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As we keep moving on, the picking become a little more scarce.  I see Jungle Girl, which is just Shanna.  I mean, come on.  It’s Frank Cho drawing an Amazon-type blonde wearing a loin cloth bikini and carrying a spear?  As an aside, I once heard he originally had Shanna being completely nude, but Marvel wasn’t down with that.image

Then I saw Rick & Morty.  Have you ever seen this show?  I have, but I still don’t know the best way to describe it.  I fully admit that I haven’t watched more than 2 or 3 episodes, but I got a vibe.  The vibe was that it was going to be big.  How big?  At least comic form.  To me, the show is Doctor Who meets Family Guy.  Good enough for me.

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Towards the very back, we start to see some non-comic merch, including regular books.  Oh, no!  Books without pictures?  How will the masses manage?  Well, the book in question just happens to be the latest installment of the Shakespearean Star Wars.  I have never read any of these, but it is only because I never see the books for sale where I go, and my Amazon wish list is already miles long.

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And last, but certainly not least, I feel I must mention the wonderful Jay and Silent Bob swag.  Bluntman hat?  Yes, please.  Jay and Silent Bob Monopoly?  Hell, yes.  Buddy Christ?  Well, why not.

 

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That wraps it us for us this month.  Next time I get some free Previews, I’ll be sure to share them with you again.  Until then, look to the sea, reflections of the waves will spark your memories.

Spider-Gwen #1 – A Review

I admit it. I got sucked in by the hype. My Facebook feed and the comic sites I visit were all hyping “Spider-Gwen #1”. It’s Gwen Stacy, as Spider-(Wo)Man! Holy moley!

I don’t read too many new comics, but I always have a soft spot for Spider-Man and all things related, and compounding that was how much my girlfriend prefers Gwen Stacy over Mary Jane (based on their characters in the movies) and the fact that Jason Latour will be appearing at the Boston Comic Con this year, so there’s potential for some sweet signage on my issue. With those facets in mind, and with a gift card to Newbury Comics paying for all of it, I decided to take the dive and pick up Spider-Gwen #1.

Would I opt for the regular cover, or spend $2 more on a Newbury Comics-exclusive variant? Well, I liked the regular cover better, so that combined with the sweet taste of savings had me going the standard route. Sometimes covers feel less “monumental” and “iconic” than those of years passed, and it could be because they haven’t been put through the filter of nostalgia yet, but the bold colors, sharp contrasts, and simple pose on Spider-Gwen #1 spoke to me more than a lot of other covers I’ve seen in recent memory (standard cover Amazing Spider-Man #1, I’m looking at you).

The interior art is great, bringing a sense of energy to the whole affair and working in a “cooler” color palette that could help this book stand out on its own. The character design of Spider-Gwen is great, using the familiar Spider-Man elements and bringing some uniqueness to the table without being too cute about the whole thing and looking corny or overdone.

The writing is what sold me on it, as Spider-Gwen brings some of the things I love about Spider-Man into a modern setting. Spider-Gwen’s got jokes and it really feels like a classic Spider-Man tale of yore as she takes on The Vulture in the first issue. Spider-Gwen also has to deal with being spurned by public opinion, as any good Spider-person has to, and deal with the very much alive Captain Stacy, which brings up something I always want to see more of: superheroes having to deal with their parents. It seems too convenient that most classic heroes were orphans (Superman, Batman, Captain America [at least according to the movie], Spider-Man) so actually seeing a heroine have to deal with a parent is refreshing. My only nitpick might be about the MaryJanes sub-plot, if only because most fictional takes on the “meteoric rise of a band” ring false to me, mostly because I’m jaded and think any band that plays instruments isn’t allowed to be famous anymore. That said, the actual story elements of layering Gwen Stacy’s Spider-Woman problems on top of band strife is unique, and it does serve to underscore what my girlfriend has thought this entire time: Mary Jane is an egotist and Gwen Stacy is far better. In that respect, I’ll give it a pass.

My other quibble would be with the alternate-universe trope of “look what these characters are doing in this universe” popping up in the form of Ben Grimm and Frank Castle involved in the police force, but that’s very much in the background and probably more a result of me reading too many “What If?”s and seeing it over and over again.

Overall, I give Spider-Gwen #1 an A-minus. The comedy is sharp, the plot elements are intriguing, and the modernity of the entire thing doesn’t feel forced. Give it a read!

Is that a 3-D Jaws card?

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Why, yes it is.

As part of my ongoing quest to finish setting up our house, I have found myself going through many things and trying to find a place for them.  This week, I was able to do a few things, so expect a couple updates within the next week.  Sorry these aren’t as Crafty as I would have liked, but if you stick them out, I did do a mini-craft that I will post.

On this site we are going to look through many collections that I have been putting together all my life.  One of the first things that I had to go through was my card collection.  I don’t mean greeting cards, or sports cards here.  Although I do still have a box of old baseball cards that I should go through.  And I didn’t include my Magic cards, as there are just too many, and I need to sell most of them.  Interested? Email us.

No, here I’m going to talk about my comic and miscellaneous, and random other ones that I had acquired, including some that I just bought last month.

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Here is my collection, or most of it, semi-sorted into groups.  We got some Marvel cards, X-Force, X-Men, Spider-Man, Heavy Metal magazine covers, Arthur Suydam artwork, some Marvel game, TMNT TV show cards, Archer, and even one lone DC card.  That’s right, Gangbuster, in all of his glory.

My original plan was to narrow done these cards to a core group that were the best of the best and represented the interests I had.  This didn’t take as long as I thought it would.  Many cards I eliminated just because I didn’t like the way that they looked (sorry X-Force).  Some because I just had no interest in them (Marvel game and Heavy Metal).  I mean, don’t get me wrong, some of those cards were cool, but I just don’t think that I liked them enough to put them on display.

Finally I got the ones that I thought were good enough, and diverse enough, to add to my wanna-be-shelf-porn library.  As you can see, I only got vertical ones, and I did include two sketch cards and a Magic card.  I thought that this would look good in a tasteful frame.

imageTop row, left to right, they are:  Archer (Sterling Duchess), the Deadpool card from the polybagged X-Force #1 (worthless, utterly worthless, even in the bags), a Groot sketch card from last year in Boston.

Middle row: Glow in the dark Ghost Rider, Arthur Suydam artwork, Avengers team card.

Bottom: Aces Weekly sketch card from Dubai Comic-Con, Marvel “comedy” card, MTG Dark Ritual card (not a rare, but a solid card to have in a black deck).

As luck would have it, I was able to find several nice frames at Goodwill, which was having a huge sale.  So I was getting frames for under a dollar.  These were nice, too.  You’ll see some of them in a later post.  Unfortunately, the sheets of cards would not fit. So I had to do a bit of cutting and re-arranging.  In the process, I switched out a couple of cards.  This was mostly done to make it fit, but I also think it looks a bit nicer now, with the horizontal cards.

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As you can see, I took out the Avengers card, the hilarious Marvel “joke”, and the Ghost Rider.  Looking back now, I think I want to put the Ghost Rider back in and take out the Magic card, but maybe that would just be too much Marvel.  In case you can’t tell from the glare, the two horizontal cards that I put in are the Jaws card, and one of Kraven the Hunter with a gunshot wound to the head, which isn’t in the original Kraven’s Last Hunt (or Fearful Symmetry for you snobs), I don’t think.

So where does this go?  Well, for now, it goes under my shelf of many things.

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Someday that will require updating, and so someday, that too will be an article here on Giant-Size Comic Things, your home for stuff about comics and things.  Think you got a better catch phrase? Leave it in the comments.