Monday, June 18, 2018

The New Challengers #1 Review



The New Challengers #1 from DC Comics -


    Trina Alvarez. Robert Brink. Moses Barber. And KRUNCH. Yes...Just KRUNCH. Four highly skilled people in their own unique specialties, from herbal healing to espionage to flat-out violence - four people snatched from the brink of death and selected to form the latest iteration of a legendary team of explorers, heroes, and saviors. Their mysterious host, and director: a shadowy, enigmatic mastermind known only as The Prof. Snatched handily from the very jaws of death, each is given a tattoo that tracks how much time they have to complete each mission before their borrowed time runs out. Trina Alvarez. Robert Brink. Moses Barber. And Krunch. The New Challengers of the Unkown. Their mission: To uncover, confront, and solve the mysteries of the universe...Or die trying.  

     Before we go into this, if you don't know the history of The Challengers of the Unknown, STOP, and CLICK HERE to journey back, back, back to 1957!

    I have been waiting for this FOREVER!!! In true Scott Snyder fashion, The Challengers of The Unknown return, with a new team, and a new director - this looks AWESOME! Teaming with Aaron Gillespie, Snyder introduces us to The New Challengers, four folks who definitely did NOT sign up for this, but were selected by The Prof (Ooh, could it be?!) to either save the universe or meet their Maker. There is NO third option. These protagonists are pretty interesting, and their initial meeting is full of drama and that great tension of a team aborning. We only get an in-depth backstory on one of our protagonists, Trina Alvarez, expert herbalist, healer, and community leader from the mean streets of Gotham; she's one tough cookie with a heart of gold. The story is explored from her point of view as she encounters her new teammates, and embarks on their first missions. Even though she seems to be the main protagonist, reader beware! This comic seems to be one of those where getting attached to a specific group or a specific character might not be a great idea. I have a feeling, we are going to be seeing a LOT of death in this series. Are Snyder and Gillespie going to rope us into these characters and pull the rug out from under us by murdering them in horrific ways? Gee, I sure hope so! Tee-hee!! I found myself easily wrapped up in this story, wondering what special skills each person has and enjoying the Fantastic Four-y flavor in the team's initial tension; and I am intrigued. How are these non-powered folks expected to solve the mysteries of the universe? This I gotta see! And the seeing is going to be REALLY fun with Andy Kubert's wild, imaginative pencils and Klaus Janson's expert inks! The New Challengers is not an earth-shattering read, but it is one important thing that comics should be: a whole lot of fun. This series is LOADED with potential, and I'm sticking around to watch it unfold.

RATING: 8.75 out of 10.

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Friday, June 15, 2018

TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST EPISODE 67 (Challengers of the Unknown)



It all began here...



   Above, you see my well-read copy of Showcase #6, published in February of 1957. It features the first appearance of a team that is near and dear to my heart: THE CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN!!!

   The original Challs, as they came to be called, were Lester "Rocky" Davis, Olympic wrestling great; Kyle "Ace" Morgan, jet pilot and decorated war veteran; Walter "Prof" Haley, the world's best skin-diver; and Matthew "Red" Ryan, astounding circus daredevil. It all began when all men survived a horrible plane crash together and afterward, agreed that they were all living on borrowed time. They decided to band together as a team to, well...Challenge the unknown, of course!  In time, they would begin to use a logo in the shape of an hourglass, to symbolize that they knew that their time was running out. This amazing team was created by...Well, it's complicated. What-say we handle this in the FUN FACTS, eh? 

   The Challengers of the Unknown took on all comers, from crazy scientists to genius thieves to giant monsters to aliens to supernatural threats - the Challs faced them all down with their courage, infinite resourcefulness, and their indomitable wills. In their first adventure above, the Challs aid the peculiar Mr. Morelian who, after hearing of their heroic deeds, invites them to a deserted island and offers them one million dollars if they open Pandora's Box. Each time a member of the team opens the box they are confronted with a deadly threat that the team must overcome. Unbeknownst to them, Mr. Morelian has sinister plans of his own for what lies at the very bottom of the box, underneath all the perils. ON TO THE FUN FACTS!!!

FUN FACT 1: The Challengers of the Unknown was created by artist Jack Kirby, and scripter, Dave Wood (one of Bob Kane's unsung Batman ghost-writers, and co-creator of Animal Man); however, some accounts say that Kirby actually created the Challs with his long-time partner, Joe Simon (who left comics to work in advertising). Kirby then brought the concept to DC where it came to fruition. Did Wood actually script the first story, or had Simon and Kirby already done the lion's share of the work on the first story before coming to DC with the concept? The world will never know...

FUN FACT 2: The Challengers aren't exempt from death...or resurrection. Red, The Prof, and June have all been believed dead. Oh, who is June, right?

FUN FACT 3: The Challs had an "honorary" girl-Challenger on the team who often shared their adventures (and ended-up pregnant by the Prof ). Her name was June Robbins. 

FUN FACT 4: June may have been "honorary," but for a time, another female Challenger attached herself to the team, the sexy occult specialist, Corinna Stark.

FUN FACT 5: The Challs had a town named after them - Challengerville. 

FUN FACT 6: There was more than one team of Challs. Later, others would take up the mantle and face horrors even darker than the team before them (Of course, Challengers of the Unknown vol 3 debuted in 1997. Everything was darker in the 90s). 


And then there's Howard Chaykin's team:


And, yes, there were other teams, as well.

FUN FACT 7: The Challs were the FIRST, that's right, THE FIRST super-team to debut in the Silver Age. Before the Justice League (1960), or the Fantastic Four (1961, also created by Jack Kirby). What made them so cool? They were a super-team without super-powers. I REALLY dig that. 

FUN FACT 8: Although many might have forgotten about, or even never heard of The Challengers of the Unknown now, they were an instant hit when they debuted. They soon got their own series (1958-1970, and published sporadically until 1978) which won an Alley Award in 1967 for Best Non-Powered Super Group Title and Best Normal Adventure Group.

FUN FACT 9: In 1977, an adventure novel starring the Challs was published - strangely, DC Comics is not mentioned anywhere on the cover...



    If you can get your hands on a Showcase #6, I'd advise that you do it. It's an ultra-cool, important part of comics history - the first super-team to kick off the Silver Age of Comics, and more than likely, these guys will make it to the big or small screen sooner or later. DC is currently publishing an updated take on the Challs called, New Challengers, that's pretty sweet..but that's a story for another time. ;-)

Thanks for reading!

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

CBCS REVEAL EPISODE 4 (Iron Man)



Hey, there, fellow Questers!!


    Welcome to Episode 4 of TEX'S COMIC QUEST'S CBCS REVEAL!! Today, a slabbed copy of the first issue of the golden Avenger's first series THRUSTS its way into my little collection. 

BEHOLD:




It's Iron Man, vol 1, #1, printed in 1968! It features a story continued from the one-shot, Iron Man and Sub-Mariner #1, and a retelling of Iron Man's classic origin! This is one of the "Big Premiere" issues of 1968, a year that marked the Marvel Explosion when Marvel ramped up its publication to higher levels, and a year that marked, for some, the beginning of the end of the Silver Age of Comics.  Marvel was sold to Martin Ackerman, under whom the quality of the stories suffered, as well as the panel and page count. If you want more info, you can read this article entitled, "1968: the year Marvel sold out."

I graded this at a solid 5.0, but CBCS slabbed it at a 4.5. Sweet. Comicspriceguide.com says the value of this comic at this grade and slabbed is $125. Ebay says the price of this comic ranges from $293 to $375. Asking prices are even higher. Sorry, again, CPG - you're not even in the ballpark, let alone the parking lot on this one.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more great reveals! Same TEX time! Same TEX station!!


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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Pull List Potpourri June 12, 2018




It's TEX!!

   And I'm here with another exciting episode of my Pull List Potpourri, where I update you on how things are coming along in my permanent comics pull list!! Let's get hot!!


1. Spider-Man #240 - Having stopped the new Sinister's Six's devious plot to sell a stolen S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier to Lucia Von Bardas, the ruler of Latvia, Miles Morales awakens to find his life still in danger. His injuries have weakened him enough to succumb to an aggressive viral infection that could spell the end of Spider-Man for good. As the best medical professionals and scientists in America fight to save Miles, he learns to look at his life in a whole new way.

  Bendis' farewell issue is filled with hope and light, as Miles fights for his life, wandering in and out of consciousness. He awakens every time to find loved ones, friends, and even an enemy, by his bedside, offering solace and hope in his time of need and fear. Back in December of 2017, Bendis fell ill with an infection and nearly died on several occasions in the hospital - this is a catharsis for him, as well as a final goodbye to his Marvel family, Marvel fans, and to a character near and dear to his heart: Miles Morales. It is a bittersweet story, that definitely feels like the end of an era. Don't miss it.

RATING: 10 out of 10.


2. The Terrifics #s 3, and 4 - Mr. Terrific, Plastic Man, Phantom Girl, and Metamorpho are stuck with each other. Their last adventure in the cosmos left them affected with some sort of dark-matter infused bond which keeps them within a mile of each other if they want to stay alive. If that weren't enough, evil business baron, Simon Stagg has got them under his thumb. Throw a Warwheel into the mix, and some space-hijackers, and it looks like The Terrifics might just be done for before they've even started.

  Jeff Lemire is still working out the kinks on The Terrifics - he is still establishing the personality traits of each character, and working to create a cohesive team, but this isn't problematic at all. Why? Because it so much fun to watch Lemire work it all out in each sci-fi-steeped, comedy-coated misadventure in which this misfit team finds themselves trapped. Brilliantly, Lemire is forming an effective team from a dysfunctional group of individuals and he is doing so by putting them through trials that force them to be a team instead of just having them agree that they should be a team. These guys want nothing more than to get as far away from each other as possible: Mr. Terrific is cold and calculating - he wants to get back to the job of solving the universe's mysteries (he'd be an unstoppable villain); Metamorpho wants to ditch his girlfriend's evil dad, and live his life with her at his side; Phantom Girl wants to go back to her home planet; and Plas just wants to have fun. However, they all need each other to survive, and so come hell or high water, they have to make it work. Joe Bennett's pencils on issue #3 are stellar, and with Marcelo Maiolo's colors, issue #3 pops. Doc Shaner takes over on issue #4, and gives the book a bit of a Mike Allred look - less polished, but still pretty great. This book isn't perfect, but Lemire is getting better with each issue!

RATING: 9 out of 10

3. The Falcon - After defeating Blackheart, and escaping from Mephisto's grasp in Hell, you would think things would be smooth sailing for ex-Captain America, Sam Wilson. Think again. Mephisto is in a HIGHLY disagreeable mood, and he's got Sam squarely in his sights. Mephisto makes a deal with the dirtiest vampire of them all, Deacon Frost, to end Sam Wilson, and his sidekick, Patriot, for good. All hell is about to break loose. Where there is smoke, there's fire...And where there's Deacon Frost, there will be BLADE!

   Every time I open an issue of this book, I fall more in love. Rodney Barnes has crunk Sam Wilson's adventures up to 11 with nonstop supernatural action, and balls-to-the-wall adventure! Barnes has given Sam some great Marvel characters as a supporting cast, like Patriot and Misty Knight, and he's hooked Sam up with a playlist of guests that is fire, from Doctor Voodoo to Blade! Sam Wilson looks good fighting supernatural threats in stories that highlight his loyalty, bravery, his commitment to helping his community, and thirst to protect and mentor the next generation of heroes.  Josh Cassara's pencils are perfect for this book: wild and bold, just like the stories inside. Looks like Sam might become the Terry Thirteen of Marvel. I can surely dig that.

RATING: 10 out of 10.


Thanks for reading!!

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Sunday, June 10, 2018

CBCS REVEAL EPISODE 3 (NEW TEEN TITANS)



Welcome to TEX'S COMIC QUEST,

    Where you can find ALL that comic-book KNOWLEDGE, that you CAN'T GET in ANY college!! Thanks for showing UP, so I guess it's about time that I start showing OFF another great comic from my CBCS batch!

   Well, let's skin this smoke-wagon then!




    Here it is! My copy of DC Comics Presents #26, published in 1980, which features a 16-page preview of a story introducing the New Teen Titans (1st app), which includes the first appearances of Starfire, Raven, and Cyborg! Look at that cool cover penciled by the man, they myth, and the legend...JIM STARLIN!!

    I bought this comic at least 10 years or more ago for about $8. I have read it lots of times. Still, I had it figured for about an 8.0, but CBCS nailed it down at a solid 7.0. I ain't gonna get all sensitive about it and whatnot. I'll just say, "Thankee, sai." LOL.

    Well, let's see what Comicspriceguide.com has to say about the value of this one. CPG says this book is valued at $60. There are 2 selling on ebay with asking prices of $129 and $200.  Ebay also shows that a signed 7.0 sold for about $155 recently, while a $6.5 went for just $56 (with a $20 shipping cost, YIKES!). I would say that CPG is not quite in the ballpark on this one. What do you think?

   Thanks for visiting. Share and tell your friends!!

PS: If you want MORE of my TEEN TITANS collection, click here, and to see the MOST RARE TEEN TITAN COMIC IN EXISTENCE, click here.

If you like these articles, PLEASE HIT THE +1 BUTTON below. We are on Google+, follow us and we'll follow you back.  We're also on Facebook and Twitter (Tex's Comic Quest). Like our page, and share us with your friends! Help me win one million readers over to the awesome world of comics!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

CBCS REVEAL EPISODE 2 (Malibu Sun)



Hey, my brothers!!

    Here we are again, back at TEX'S Comic Quest, where you get comics news, reviews and info that you can use!! 

    Let's kick off episode #2 of my AMAZING, ASTOUNDING, ASTONISHING CBCS REVEAL!! Let's go into the dark, frightening realm of the earliest days of...SPAWN!!!




   Above, you see my copy of Malibu Sun #13, published in May of 1992, which features a fully realized Spawn on the cover, a Spawn centerfold spread, and a Spawn pin-up on the back cover. This is full-color artwork that Todd McFarlane completed directly after ending his stint at Marvel Comics. This predates Spawn #1 by a few weeks. Malibu Sun was a publication that offered new product information and licensing opportunities for Malibu properties, including Image Comics characters (because Malibu was the publisher and distributor for Image Comics back in 1992).  I called it a 9.0, CBCS said, "Nah, it's an 8.5." I'm cool with that.

   Lone Star Comics (mycomicshop.com), a very respectable dealer, calls this comic the "1st appearance of Spawn in print." Comicspriceguide.com says that this book, graded as it is, is valued at only $21.12. Ebay says it's valued at around $220. Mycomicshop.com is offering this issue, CGC-graded 8.0 (lower than mine!) for a whopping $374.95. Sorry, CPG. You're NOWHERE NEAR being in the ballpark on this one.

  That's all for today! Thanks for reading!

If you like these articles, PLEASE HIT THE +1 BUTTON below. We are on Google+, follow us and we'll follow you back.  We're also on Facebook and Twitter (Tex's Comic Quest). Like our page, and share us with your friends! Help me win one million readers over to the awesome world of comics!

Friday, June 8, 2018

CBCS REVEAL EPISODE 1 (Black Panther)






Hello, pardners!!

     Welcome to a series of special episodes of TEX'S BACK ISSUE QUEST...Which are not REALLY episodes of TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST, so much as they are REVEALS of the grades of the batch of comics I sent to CBCS a few months agone. Clear as mud? LOL.

    A little background on this here comics-hound: I have always been first, and foremost, a collector. I love comics. I read great stories, fall into a great writer, or pick up on some comics history and go, "OOH! I want that for my collection!". Having a valuable collection (monetarily) for me is a side-effect of genuinely wanting posses a bit of comics history for myself. Nothing wrong with the quick flip, or hot variants, if you are into that (some people have a great knack to do it) - but I like to buy and keep until someone offers me a price I can't refuse. I used to collect action figures, but I ran out of space and passion. Now, I collect comics and published and original artwork only. Well, really, unless some really great Golden, Silver, Bronze or Modern key comes across my path, in actuality, I am only buying and reading moderns from my pull list right now. I got tens of thousands of old comics scanned and saved to dvd that I like to enjoy as well, and use for research. 

   For me, it's all about fun. If I ain't having fun, I ain't interested. Ya dig? I don't stress out about grades - I grab the best grade I can for the price I am willing to pay. No fuss, no muss.

   I have never really been interested in slabbing comics. I have PURCHASED slabbed comics for my collection because the price was right (don'tcha just LOVE when the price is right?), and I even sent a four comics to PGX once before I got wind of their reputation (has that changed at all?), but slabbin' good comics kinda bothered me at first. Why? Well, first off, I like to handle my comics, and even reread them, which is a bit problematic when you have a book like "Showcase"#22 that just probably should not be touched. Another reason is that it seemed that there were just too many rules involved in sending books to the CGC - and why should I have to pay for a membership to submit my comics by mail? I have to pay for a membership, and THEN pay for you to perform a service? That put a bur in my saddle; however, there is no doubt that they are still the premier grading company out there. For now. But, a couple of years agone, I started hearing tell about these upstarts called CBCS - good reviews - so, I took a gander at their website. I called them and talked to them. And sure'n they were downright friendly. A few months agone, I took a chance and sent my first batch of comics to them. I got them back yesterday. It took just under 3 months to get the comics back. 

   Also, while we're here. I'll talk a bit about a site called comicspriceguide.com. It's a website that I use to store my comics data, and it used to have THE BEST, BAR NONE, comics forum on the planet. Any time of the day or night, it was hopping and popping with the friendliest, most knowledgeable comics collectors, and comics creators you ever met. You could get into a heated, respectful discussion about something, and them be friends 10 mins later - the mods did their best to keep it clean. I loved those dudes and dudettes. But, for some reason, many of the folks slowly started to drift away, then the site crashed losing YEARS of great posts and info that was readily accessible to comics fans and collectors who frequented the site. It was then, about three years agone, when I started this here blog. Some of my brothers have stopped in from time to time to say, howdy (shout out to my old CPG Crew!). I stopped frequenting the boards because life is hectic, and I'm trying to get a million followers on my blog (hey, 800 followers on Google + and growing), but I still pay $50 a year to store my comics in their database (which can be exported to your hard drive as an Excel doc). It's convenient, even though the actual price guide values don't always reflect the price that you can actually get for your comics...Partly because the price guide itself is updated slowly (for example, check out the values for "The Brave and The Bold" #28, the first appearance of the Justice League: CPG vs Ebay). 

  So...HERE WE GO!! REVEAL #1 and 2:



Above, is my copy of Fantastic Four #52 which features the very first appearance of T'Challa, The Black Panther, created by the magical team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby! The Fantastic Four are sent a flying vehicle (the Magnetic Wave Rider), a gift from the ruler of Wakanda, a mysterious and prosperous African nation. The Fantastic Four take the invitation, arriving only to be defeated one after another by a mysterious masked man, dressed in a black Panther Habit (note: "habit" is an archaic term for "dress,"  "clothing" or "outfit"). 

This Silver-Age key showcases not only the first appearance of the Black Panther, but it also features the first appearances of Wakanda, Wakandan vibranium (in the mesh of the Panther Habit), the Heart-Shaped Herb, the Techno-Organic Jungle and the Panther Habit and Idol. 

CBCS graded it a lowly 2.5, which looks right to me. I bought it about 10 years agone for $20. CPG says it's valued at $343, same as it is ungraded. Ebay says they are in the ballpark. I honestly meant to buy an upgrade of FF #52 (at least a 6.0) but I never got around to it. With the values skyrocketing with the announcement and EXCELLENT execution of Black Panther's film appearances, I probably never will upgrade. Oh, well. 

And since we are on about Black Panther:



Here is my copy of Black Panther #1, Black Panther's very first solo title, written and drawn by the GREAT Jack Kirby. I bought this about 8 years agone, for less than $10. I'm happy with it. CPG values it at $107, and Ebay says that they are, again, somewhat in the ballpark, if a bit on the low side. 

Well, that's all for today! I hope you enjoyed looking as much as I enjoyed showing!! And, we still have 8 more left!!! Stay tuned! Same TEX-TIME! Same TEX-STATION!!

If you like these articles, PLEASE HIT THE +1 BUTTON below. We are on Google+, follow us and we'll follow you back.  We're also on Facebook and Twitter (Tex's Comic Quest). Like our page, and share us with your friends! Help me win one million readers over to the awesome world of comics!