Thursday, June 30, 2016

She-Wolf #1 IMAGE


G'day all (been awhile, been busy...)
Well this is another odd book from image, The artwork is in a crazy abstract style. The back cover has a pentagram with a werewolf in the center that says alot as to what to expect.
Gabby is 18 yrs old & she is still at school, A wolf (werewolf) attacks her. She cry's out Brian over & over. Brian...the wolf scratches her across her right eye. 
The police corner the beast & she maddeningly jumps in front of it to protect it. The offices shot & killed it . She has dreams & visions she can't explain for a time (changing to a werewolf on a beach in front of her friends & then thinking she needs there flesh).

I liked this, Very thin book (not unusual for Image now'a'days) Written by & Drawn by Rich Tommaso. He did Dark Corridor (which i gave a dismal review), But this seems different. A much better book for sure, Has a huge "An American Werewolf in London influence"...If one hasn't watched that movie then sucks to be you!
Best part of this short book is she see's what the school counselor is really thinking when talking about her future in that institute (*quite uncanny to see, I have not seen that shown much in modern books at all). 
It says for mature readers only...But it's not that bad. If your a fan of the above mentioned An American werewolf in London or Underworld series then it's only for you...

Rating: 8/10.









Sunday, June 26, 2016

" La Muerta #1: Descent" Review



"La Muerta #1: Descent" from Coffin Comics -


     Maria Diaz is a decorated combat veteran who has just returned home from her final tour in Afghanistan. Haunted by sinister dreams of her time there, Maria is looking forward to a normal life, returning to the common, everyday world. Unfortunately for Maria, and her family, her younger brother, Xavier, has fallen in with the local cartel which is run by a bloodthirsty, malevolent woman named Mama Z. When Xavier steals money from the Z Cartel, he signs not only his own death warrant, but those of his entire family. Maria, killed along with the rest of her beloved family, somehow miraculously revives, and is nursed back to health by a mysterious vagrant named Faustino. After eight months in a coma, she awakens to a very different world - a world in which all she ever loved is now gone. One night, Maria  is visited by La Santa Muerte, the personification of death itself, and commanded to seek justice upon those who killed her family and destroyed her life. Maria Diaz is dead. Now, there only remains...La Muerta - the Dead Woman. And there will be blood.

    Collaborating with Mike Maclean, Brian Pulido is up to his old tricks in the first issue of "La Muerta." If you've read any of Pulido's other works, like Lady Death, Evil Ernie, or Purgatori, you already know what to expect: lots of darkness, and lots of blood and gore. This is a pretty by-the-book revenge story with supernatural overtones mixed in with some great, classic Mexican religious iconography and Aztec mythology. Sure, this comic is VERY derivative - it's reminiscent of James O'Barr's seminal work, "The Crow" and Javier Hernandez's cool, but lesser known work, "El Muerto (The Dead One)," which was made into a cheesy, fun feature film starring the talented Wilmer Valderrama:


     
But just because this comic is a bit unoriginal, doesn't mean that it's not enjoyable. It is. "La Muerta" has a strong female protagonist, who needs to fleshed out more, and it has lots of antagonists that you can't wait to see meet horrible fates, because they are horrible people. It's that simple. The art here is done by Joel Gomez, and is at times gorgeous, gory and moody...As well as being a bit stiff in some panels. But overall, "La Muerta" #1 is pleasing to the eye - Gomez is more than competent, and Ceci de la Cruz's colors are perfectly done. It is important to mention that "La Muerta" #1 also touches on some very real issues - issues which in 1920's America led to the rise of hard-boiled heroes, which ultimately gave rise to masked pulp heroes, and eventually the American comic book superhero. In "La Muerta" you see good people trying to survive and do the right thing in an environment plagued by crime, violence, and the corruption of the very people elected to look out for the citizens. The Z Cartel reminds me of Los Zetas, a once powerful cartel that operated in various parts of Mexico until just last year. It makes sense that a hero, like Maria, when pushed to extremes, would do heroic things. I dig that.

RATING: 7 out of 10. If you are a fan of Pulido's earlier works and style, you'll definitely have fun with this one. 

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"Archangel" #1 Review



"Archangel" #1 from IDW -


     Our leaders have destroyed the world. Everywhere - from Tokyo, to Moscow, to London - we have scorched the world. Luckily, the the greatest scientific breakthrough that the world has ever known was made in the knick of time. The Splitter is a behemoth of a machine that has created an alternate reality timeline, and punched a hole into it so that people for our world can clandestinely slip into the other. The last remaining leaders of America, including the devious Vice President Henderson, have hatched a plan to invade the power system of this world in the 1940s, and take it for their own devices. Vice President Henderson leads a small team to the other Earth via the Splitter; however, unbeknownst to the would-be usurpers, some of their own are not willing to allow them to twist and destroy an entire other innocent world. This small group of dissenters hatches a daring plan to enter the alternate time-stream and stop Henderson. Unfortunately, the dissenters' incursion into the alternate timeline ends in a conspicuous disaster, prompting the British Ministry of Information to dispatch a young, beautiful Royal Air Force officer to gather intelligence via her connection with a young Army captain in American Intelligence. What none of them know is that the Vice President has already infiltrated the Pentagon, and he is on his way, intent on doing whatever is necessary to bring his plans to fruition. August 1945 is the month of the Allies greatest victory...In this alternate timeline, it may be the time of their greatest defeat. And no one would ever know. 

    William Gibson, one of the most important science fiction authors of our day (often credited as the creator of the cyberpunk subgenre of sci-fi), makes his first foray into comic books teaming up with writer and actor, Michael St. John Smith, to pen "Archangel." "Archangel" reads a bit like a novel, giving exposition, and excellent character development from the first page. Even if the first issue feels a bit slow-paced, it doesn't really matter because the characters are so relatable and multi-dimensional that I was entirely immersed in the worlds that Gibson and Smith created. I was instantly reminded of the films, Timeline and Invasion of the Body Snatchers - this comic feels like a bit of a cool mashup of those two films and the literary works that inspired themMaster artist, Butch Guice provides the pencils in his beautifully detailed style, which gives this book a hefty 1940s atmosphere, and makes it feel a bit cinematic as well. The first issue of "Archangel" seems to promise the reader a classic, well-thought-out, well-executed alternate-timeline, sci-fi adventure. This is a journey that I would love to take. Count me in. 

 FUN FACT: In a panel in this comic, an issue of the pulp, Astounding Science-Fiction, is seen in the desk drawer of one of the main protagonists, young Royal Air Force doctor, Naomi Givens. In it is a short novel written by one of my favorite authors, Robert Heinlein, called, "If This Goes On--." It is about a theocratic future society ruled by fundamentalist religious prophets - and the revolution against them. I wonder how that fits in here. Self-righteous future dictatorships looking to suppress the will of the people, and remake society in the image they want, maybe? I am not sure. What I do know is that having that book may identify Doctor Givens as a person who would not have trouble believing in other worlds. Coolness.

This book is very good - but, if it picks up the pace in subsequent issues, it has the potential to be great.

RATING: 8.5 out of 10. 

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Chavo Guerrero's "Warrior's Creed" #1 Review



Chavo Guerrero's "Warrior's Creed" #1 from Lion Forge Comics -


     Chavo Guerrero, Jr. has wrestled his last match. After a grueling battle against the man-mountain, Adirondack, he receives devastating news: not only will he need yet another surgery, but this time, his career cannot continue. Heartbroken, Chavo says goodbye to the squared circle, to the arena, to thrill of battle. Professional wrestling is in his genes, it's a family tradition, it's his life's blood, it's been who he was for decades of his existence. Like a true warrior, Chavo keeps a stiff upper lip, choosing to look at the bright side - he will finally get to be the father that he never could be as a pro-wrestler. As Chavo prepares to make the best of his new life, he doesn't realize that dark forces are closing in on him and his family. A sinister group called The Fortune is hunting down members of the Guerrero family looking for an ancient power in their blood called, "The Hunter's Fury" - a power that gives it's possessor abilities far beyond those of a mortal warrior. Now, The Fortune has set its sights squarely on Chavo and his family...And they will stop at nothing...Dead or alive, they will have  his blood. 

   A new superhero emerges in...Chavo Guerrero's "Warrior's Creed!" 


   Comics legend Fabian Nicieza (co-creator of Deadpool) writes this comic that brings wrestling legend, Chavo Guerrero, Jr., to the world of comic books. This seems to be more than just a comic - it looks as if Nicieza and Chavo have been having some serious heart-to-heart discussions about things that have to weigh heavily on Chavo's as he gets older: his children growing up without him, mounting injuries, the arrival of the day when he'll never be able to wrestle again, and the fact that he wants his sons to follow their own paths in life, whether those paths lead then into professional wrestling (lucha libre), or not. The last one has to be tough, with a family whose name is synonymous with lucha libre. As a protagonist, Chavo is instantly likable, heroic and sensitive - I did not expect to be so enraptured by a comic book about a contemporary pro-wrestler. Eddie Nunez's art does magic for this comic - it is simply gorgeous. I love the straight-forwardness of the pencils and the characters that are just a bit exaggerated. 

  Chavo Guerrero joins the likes of El Santo, Blue Demon, El Solitario, Místico and other great luchadores who have been translated into comic book superheroes. Luchadores and superheroes go together like peanut butter and jelly. "Warrior's Creed" is a classic superhero origin story with a great protagonist, mysterious enemies, and an enigmatic, blood-based ancient power that I REALLY want to know more about because I have a feeling it will be linked to the Aztecs, and I LOVE Aztec-based mythology. This comic has heart, it's uncomplicated, and it is just a whole lot of fun. Fans of pro-wresting/lucha libre are sure to dig this book. Best of all, it's 100% A-OK for young readers. Sign me up for this one.

FUN FACT: Lion Forge Comics also published a Spanish-language version of this book (which I bought):


NICE.

RATING: 8 out of 10! Lucharaaan!

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Friday, June 24, 2016

"Wacky Raceland" #1 Review



"Wacky Raceland" #1 from DC Comics -


   In the near-future, the entire Earth is a desolate, unforgiving wasteland filed with danger - irradiated lakes, cannibalistic mutants and things you can't even imagine. Yet, some humans have found a way to survive. Of the survivors, there is motley group of Racers - men, women, beasts, and everything in between - who have one but goal: to make it into the winner's circle and be allowed entrance into the last vestige of civilization on this desiccated planet: Utopia. What are the rules of the race? Simple. There are NONE. Lie, cheat, steal, set traps - some of these Racers will do whatever they have to do to survive and win. And that is just how "The Announcer" likes it. He is the unseen and omnipotent voice that saved each Racer from a grizzly fate, equipped them with powerful sentient vehicles, and set the game in motion. The race is on. A whacked-out race, for a whacked-out world. It's pedal-to-the-metal insanity in "Wacky Raceland!"


    Ken Pontac pens this mad, violent, whack-a-doo story that is equal parts Death Race, and Mad Max, with very little of the spirit of Hanna-Barbera cartoon that inspired it, Wacky Races, thrown in...Well...Just because. The story is fast-paced, if a bit disjointed, with all the bouncing around from the past to the present. The characters are familiar faves like Penelope Pitstop, and Dick Dastardly and Muttley, along with their corresponding vehicles - but, boy have they been updated in some ways that were unexpected; however, Pontac hit some of the inclusivity high-notes of current comics (which is almost never probelmatic for me): Penelope Pitstop is tough, smart and capable, say goodbye to the damsel in distress...But Peter Perfect has gone from chivalrous gentleman to a screaming milquetoast; Private Meekly is now transgender, the Red Baron is a PRONOUNCED bigot, Muttley is a murderous monster-dog, and Lazy Luke is a hopeless alcoholic.

  And the violence and sexual innuendos? A Teen Plus rating for "Wacky Raceland?" What did I buy, here? I had to check the cover again.

 These choices kinda left me scratching my head.

  A bright spot was the artwork by Leonardo Manco bolstered by the rich colors of Mariana Canzone - WOW! Gorgeous, with amazing details and busy panels that will make your eyes POP. This book is very pretty to look at. And the story is actually pretty good; it had lots of action, interesting characters, humor, and a curious, if a bit derivative, plot. But putting the Hanna-Barbera brand on this, creating totally new characters and slapping the names of old faves on there...Basically, just calling this comic "Wacky Raceland" is quite a bit of a stretch. The spirit of the work of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera are nowhere to be found in these pages. If you dig films like Mad Max and Death Race, this comic will probably float your boat. If you are looking for any vestige of the original Wacky Races, you might want to leave this one alone - you will probably be sorely disappointed.

This will be the first time I give a comic two separate ratings, but I want to be fair:

1. RATING AS A FAN OF THE WACKY RACES CARTOON : 0 out of 10

2. RATING FOR THE COMIC ITSELF: 7 out of 10 (the artwork is 10 out of 10).

Here's a taste of the zany hijinks of the classic cartoon series:



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Thursday, June 23, 2016

"Future Quest" #1 Review



"Future Quest" #1 from DC Comics -


    Dr. Benton Quest knows that something evil is punching its way into our universe, and he aims to stop it.

    Years ago, while working for Inter-Nation, Dr. Quest's wife was murdered by a saboteur's bomb. Now, he works in solitude, accompanied only by his young, adventurous son, Jonny, a brave, young Indian orphan he has adopted named Hadji, and Race Bannon, one of the world's best elite operatives, assigned to guard Dr. Quest against all attempts on his life. Having spent years studying vortices that an evil, extra-universal entity has been opening in our world, Dr. Quest calls on Inter-Nation to warn it of the grave threat. In response, Inter-Nation sends two of its top agents, Deva Sumadi, and one Ray Randall...Codename Falcon 7, a man who has a legendary secret identity. However, Dr. Quest isn't the only brilliant mind studying the vortices. Dr. Zin, head of a science-based terrorist organization named F.E.A.R is also studying the vortices, capturing samples of its power, and learning to bend it to his diabolical will. It looks like Dr. Quest's team is outnumbered and outgunned...until a black-masked man clothed in white appears wielding power-bands of unimaginable might. He is bent on stopping the evil entity at all costs...But is he a friend to our universe, or foe?


   Jeff Parker takes us more "mature" folks back to those halcyon days of our youth, when cartoons ruled the morning airwaves on Saturdays! "Future Quest" is a whole heap o' fun, lovingly resurrecting some of the greatest characters that William Hanna and Joseph Barbera ever blessed our young eyes with. Although some characters are just seen through vortices, others are center stage, like the Quests, Race Bannon, and Birdman. Best of all, we even get a thrilling glimpse into the tragic secret origin of he who is probably one of Hanna-Barbera's most recognizable creations: SPACE GHOST!! Evan Shaner and Steve Rude are rocking the pencils on this stellar adventure; and those pencils are pretty darn spectacular - it's like watching Saturday morning return in comic book form. Fans of the old cartoons will love this comic - and it is a great jumping-on point for those just discovering the awe-inspiring universe of characters that Joseph Barbera and William Hannah thrilled young minds with many years ago. This book is THE BOMB-DOT-COM, baby! I gots to have it.

RATING: An enthusiastic 10 out of 10. It makes me so happy to see the return of the bright, shiny heroes of those Hanna-Barbera Saturdays. Maybe these characters can show the modern American comics and TV animation industries what they are missing: fun, complex, engrossing series with GREAT artwork that CHILDREN CAN ENJOY which whisks them away, stimulating their imaginations with worlds of adventure.

That's right Cartoon Network. I'm talking to YOU.

Here's a look a the intro to Hanna-Barbera's World of Super-Adventure:



See what I mean?

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Friday, June 17, 2016

"Mirror's Edge: Exordium" Vol 1 Review



"Mirror's Edge: Exordium" Vol 1 from Dark Horse Books -


     Faith Connors is one of the best runners - gifted athletes who use their speed, power and grace to do hush-hush jobs for anyone with the "scrip" to pay for their services. Whether it is industrial espionage, delivering or picking up secret packages, or even theft, the runners are the best at what they do. After the tragic death of her family, Faith was taken in by Noah, a legendary runner, who raised her and trained her to become the amazing runner she is now; however, Noah's overprotectiveness towards her pushes Faith to want to step out of Noah's shadow. When crime czar, Dogen, takes an interest in Faith and offers her a place in his organization in exchange for the last piece of art her mother ever created, Faith finds herself between a rock and a hard place. Either she betrays her friends and the man who is her father in every way but blood to get what she wants, or she does what is right at the cost of losing the last piece of her mother's legacy that exists in the entire world. 

     Either way, Faith will do what she does best: run, jump, fight, and let all hell break loose. Hopefully, her luck won't run out, as it usually does for those like her - those on the Mirror's Edge.

    Christopher Emgård scripts this high-octane, action-packed follow up series to the hit 2008 video game, Mirror's Edgecollecting all six issue of the 2015-2016 comic series. Faith is growing up, wishing to step out on her own, but still torn by the tragic loss of her family, and the loyalty she feels towards Noah, the man who has been like a father to her. In this story, Faith is really trying to find herself, and she is willing to go over, under, around or THROUGH any obstacle that stands in her way - Faith Connors is absolutely a wonderful protagonist with which to journey. "Mirror's Edge: Exordium" Vol 1 is a straight-forward action-adventure comic - like the video game, it does exactly what it was meant to do: thrill. Don't expect anything much deeper than that. Several artists have laid down some REALLY great artwork in this book, and they did a wonderful job with making this book ooze with with action. The world of the Mirror's Edge has been translated rather adeptly into comic book format with exceptional, kinetic and energetic pencils from about five different top-notch artists. After finishing this book, I felt like I needed a breather from all the running I did with Faith. "Mirror's Edge: Exordium" Vol 1 is a splendid, fun way to spend an hour of your life. Absolutely.

   My daughter is a huge fan of the video game (I love to watch her play it), and she loved the book as well - and so did I. This is a great bridge comic between Mirror's Edge and the long-awaited sequel, Mirror's Edge Catalyst, that was just released a few days ago - which my daughter has already BEGGED me to buy for her. If you love the video game, I'm sure you'll dig the comic.

RATING: 8 out 10.

Thanks for reading.

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST #28 (Orión El Atlante)



Hello again, my brothers and sisters!

   Happy Thursday! And I'm back on the grind once again to share some gems from my collection, and their cool backstories! Today, we'll be delving into my collection of foreign comics! Are you ready to rock?

   Well let's rock.


    

   It's "Orión, El Atlante" (Orion the Atlantean) #1, featuring the very first appearance of Orion the Atlantean! Orión is a superhero created in Mexico in 1972 by Modesto Vázquez Rodríguez and penciled by Luisa Marcos, published by both Mexican publishing house, Promotora K, and Colombian publishing house, Editora Cinco. That amazing cover was done by José Luis Gutiérrez. WOW.

I adore the painted "portadas" (covers) of Mexican comics - the painted "portada" has a long tradition in Mexico. They are simply amazing testaments to the skill and passion that Mexican artists have been putting in to comics for decades. Here are some others from the collection, after which, I'll tell you the story of Orión:
































Aren't those covers just the best knees?

     So, who is Orión? Glad you asked.

    Thousands of years before the birth of Christ, there existed the fabled empire of Atlantis, an advanced civilization that valued truth, justice, strength and knowledge. Orión, a young warrior training among the best the civilization has to offer, has been selected along with others of his quality  to participate in a deadly test to replace the aging Atlas, the current Supreme Regent of Atlantis. Unfortunately, Crato, one of the other men selected to complete, is a traitor. Crato kills Orión's beloved Noraya, and tries to ambush Orión to murder him. Orión is in peril, but so is Atlantis - Serápis, wise advisor to the Supreme Regent, has discovered that an enormous comet is going to cause the destruction of Atlantis. The deadly trials must commence immediately, and a new Supreme Regent must be chosen that can save Atlantis. Finally, after another murder attempt, Crato is exposed as the traitor, and Orión is chosen as Supreme Regent. Orión is given one of the seven cybernetic keys that will give him access to The Cave of Wisdom - a cache of vast knowledge gathered through thousands of years that Atlantis has existed, wisdom that Orión must use to save the empire. Given one of the cybernetic keys, and a powerful time-traveling ship called the Cronos-7, Orión is hurled thirty years into the future to seek the other six cybernetic keys, find the Cave of Wisdom and save the Atlantean Empire from total destruction.

    On to the FUN FACTS!

FUN FACT 1: Orión's outfit is actually Atlantean armor, complete with a dagger, and metal bracelets.

FUN FACT 2: Orión wears a sacred gem on his forehead that can heal him of injury and sickness if the gem is charged and if the sickness or injury is not deadly.

FUN FACT 3: Orión is one of the most powerful warriors Atlantis ever produced, trained in many forms of armed and unarmed combat; however, he values knowledge and peace. Violence is never his first choice, and he would rather triumph using his wits instead of his fists.

FUN FACT 4: The creator of Orión first named him "Luxus"  - one who seeks the light, but soon opted to change his name to "Orión" - rising in the sky/dawning.

    Mexico has a wealth of great comics and superheroes that I love to explore. I hope that you have enjoyed this foray into my foreign comics collection. In several countries around the world, comics are just as popular as they are in the USA. Of course, their comics, heroes, superheroes, supervillains and villains are going to reflect their own beliefs and culture, as do ours.

   More to come!! Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

UNLEASH #1 Review



"UNLEASH" #1 from Amigo Comics -


    Emma Spencer is a survivor. Growing up she suffered heinous, horrible sexual assault, rape, at the hands of someone close to her, someone that might even be of her own blood. As a teenager, she was attacked once more - one night, as she was making her way home from an art class, she was assaulted and forced to bow to the will of a sick, sadistic sexual assailant.

   Now, it's Emma's turn to do some damage.

   She has enlisted the aid of a man-monster who has agreed to do her bidding only if she is ruthless, merciless, unhesitant, and unforgiving in her quest for vengeance. She calls him The Rape-Machine, a brute of a man who will make rapists feel exactly what their victims have felt: fear, horror, physical pain, mental anguish, and the shame and guilt that rape victims carry even though what happened to them is NOT their fault. However, before their quest can truly begin, Emma's going to need a bit of closure; she is going after the man who brutalized her over and over again when she was just a child. And there will be...NO MERCY.


   Amigo Comics is really setting itself up as the new house of horror in the modern comics world. They follow up their sleeper-hit, "Straightjacket," with this atmospheric, gory take on the exploitation  film in comics form - more specifically, the rape-and-revenge sub-genre. In the same vein as I Spit On Your Grave, Emma survives her hellish encounters, puts aside her moral code, and decides to exact the vilest revenge on those that have hurt her in such an intimate fashion - but death is not Emma's goal. Oh, no. Her goal is suffering - to make the rapists suffer as have their victims, balancing the scales of justice. Jennifer Van Gessel and El Torres pen this bloody, violent tale balancing on a very sensitive theme; and they pull it off rather well. Nacho Tenorio's and Sergio Mora's pencils are spot on for this story - horror, fear, sorrow, desperation, innocence and innocence lost - these two artists are in great form in this book.

   While I would rather see Emma exact revenge at her own hands, taking back her power without male assistance, I can see how this arrangement might work. Sometimes, we need the assistance of others to recover that which we have lost. Sometimes, we need support...And in its own twisted way, I guess that's what the relationship between The Rape-Machine and Emma Spencer is, support. If rape-and-revenge movies like I Spit On Your Grave, and Hard Candy are your cup of tea, you will absolutely dig this comic. However, if not, steer way clear of this one. It's going to dark places.


RATING: 8 out 10. Some might say that this has similarities to "Hack/Slash," but the similarities are only passing.

**Disclaimer: This book is NOT for children, nor those with weak dispositions - strong language and strong sexual themes (including rape).

*Speculator alert: Amigo Comics' first issues usually sell for higher prices on eBay due to VERY, VERY short print runs.

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Thanks for reading. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST #27 (MAGIC AGENT)


Hello brothers and sisters!!

    TEX is back once more with the comic book info that you adore! Let's take a look at another first from those happening, far-out 60s!

 



   It's my copy of "John Force - Magic Agent" #1, published by American Comics Group (ACG), in 1962!! This comic features the first appearance of John Force, a communist-smashing agent of the American Security Group!

    As an American agent during WWII, John Force was captured in Transylvania and put on trial for being an enemy agent. He was sentenced to death, but the spirit of the occultist, Cagliostro (in whose castle the trial took place, and where Force and the other captives were being held after being sentenced to die), and his companions, Merlin, Harry Houdini and Nostradamus, took pity on him, and decided to help him escape his captors and fight the bloody plans of the Nazis. Cagliostro bestowed upon Force the power of hypnosis; Houdini bestowed upon him the power of extra-sensory perception (ESP); Merlin gave him the power of illusion; and Nostradamus gave him the power of telepathy - all of these powers were activated by touching the columns on a magic medallion entrusted to him - the Golden Medallion that he now must guard with the greatest of care!




Armed with his wits, his fists and his magical Golden Medallion, John Force battled the Nazis during WWII, and in 1962, he is the top operative of The American Security Group, President Kennedy's super-secret agency that handles emergencies of national proportions, ready to quietly do the dirty on the bad guys wherever and whenever America needed it done.  

ON TO THE FUN FACTS!

FUN FACT 1: John Force was created by Richard E. Hughes (writer) and Paul Reinman (artist). 

FUN FACT 2: Hughes also created popular Golden Age superheroes, The Fighting Yank and The Black Terror

FUN FACT 3: Hughes didn't really like superheroes, even though he'd created some very cool ones, but with the re-emergence of the popularity of superheroes in the Silver Age, ACG wanted to get in on the act. John Force satisfied both ACG and Hughes - Force was a bit of a superhero without tights and a cape - more of a magical super-spy, really. 

FUN FACT 4: You might look at John Force and think that he looks a lot like Nick Fury. NOPE. What you should do is look at Nick Fury and think that he looks a lot like John Force; John Force - Magic Agent first appeared in January of 1962, more than a year prior to Fury's first appearance in May of 1963. 

FUN FACT 5: John Force wears an trench-coat and an eye-patch, both of which signal his being a spy to the readers of the 1960s, as you can see from Nick Fury's re-emergence in 1965 wearing an eye-patch (initially SGT Fury didn't wear an eye-patch, but when he became Agent Fury the eye-patch showed right up). 

FUN FACT 6: President John F. Kennedy makes an appearance in this issue. Cool. 

FUN FACT 7: "John Force - Magic Agent" was canceled with issue #3, but due to fan demand, he returned for more adventures in "Unknown Worlds," another AGC publication.

   ACG published some cool, offbeat characters - if you hang around here, you'll surely see more of them. John Force surely wasn't the most offbeat, but he was, in my opinion, all kinds of crazy cool. I'd love to see him make a comeback - imagine how cool this movie could be!

   Thanks for reading brothers and sisters!!

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Strange Talent of Luther Strode Vol 1 Review




"The Strange Talent of Luther Strode" Vol 1 from Image Comics -


      Luther Strode is a tall, lanky, unpopular nerd of a guy that hangs around with Pete, his equally unpopular friend with a nutty sense of humor. But there is more to Luther than meets the eye - he and his mother are on the run from a violent past - more specifically, they are running from his brute of a father. Tired of being pushed around by his dad and the school bully, in desperation, Luther orders an instructional manual for bodybuilding from the internet. In his wildest dreams, he never pictured what following that manual would do for him - soon he is bigger, stronger, and more focused than ever before. However, the manual has other, unforeseen effects: somehow he has gained a preternatural danger sense, hightened reflexes, hightened senses and agility, superhuman strength, speed and durability, and a wicked healing factor. Unfortunately, all this comes with a bloodlust that Luther fights to keep in check. As Luther struggles with his newfound abilities, donning a mask to become a superhero, he gains the interest of a man called the Librarian, the man who sent Luther the instructional manual. He seeks to teach Luther to use his gifts, to become like himself, and like others before him, with the talents necessary to use the manual, to bring the world to its knees. If Luther wants to keep all that is good in his world, he'll have to fight like never before...Or the Librarian will brutally, mercilessly and gleefully murder everyone he loves. 

    "The Strange Talent of Luther Strode" collects issues #1 through #6 of the title of the same name. It is a cool, hip, funny and action-packed superhero origin story, with a bit of teen romance, and a whole lot of violence and gore mixed in for good measure. Justin Jordan writes what seems to be a more modern, way more dark take on Spider-Man - Luther Strode is Peter Parker with a bit of bloodlust, and with a violent antagonist that isn't going to be arrested, or settle for the half-measures of beating the protagonist down. Either Luther takes it to the max, or he looses everything and everyone he loves. Tradd Moore's art is cartoony-cool; Moore's work with make you chuckle, and when the action and gore start, it might make you wretch. This book has all the elements of a really great superhero origin story, populated by characters that are just so fun and interesting that I was instantaneously invested in every single one. "The Talent of Luther Strode" vol 1 is simply stellar. Loved it!

RATING: 10 out 10. 

Disclaimer: NOT FOR KIDS OR THOSE OF WEAK DISPOSITIONS. Gore, violence, some nudity (dead body), some sexual themes, and strong language. 

Thanks for reading. 

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Original Art Showcase Episode 6 - Sheldon " Shelly" Moldoff



 

     


   While everyone who is a fan of Batman probably knows who Bob Kane was, some may not know much, or anything at all, about Sheldon "Shelly" Moldoff.  Shelly Moldoff was a self-taught artist born in NYC in 1920. He fought his way into comics at the age of seventeen and kept a rigorous work schedule for many years to follow. In 1953, Shelly became one of the main ghost artists for Bob Kane on Batman (along with Dick Sprang and Win Mortimer) - back in the early days of comics, it wasn't uncommon for assistants to do part, or the entirety of the work, which was then reviewed by the main artist, and, upon approval, the main artist slapped his name on the pages and turned them in to be published. The arrangement was done on a handshake - Shelly just had to do the work in Kane's style and under his management...And remain anonymous. Shelly did just that, and he was a true workhorse, cranking out over 350 finished pages per year, along with any side work he could get, which included giveaway comics for Bob's Big Boy and Shoney's in the 60s. He kept up this breakneck pace for about fourteen years, until Kane no longer had to produce pages - Kane renegotiated with DC Comics, and other, younger artists with a more modern style were hired to produce Batman pages. This put Moldoff out of regular work. Afterwards, he found work in comics here and there, but his style was considered to be too dated to continue in the medium. Afterwards, he turned to mostly advertising and animation, leaving the comics industry behind until 2000 when he was hired to do a chapter in "Superman and Batman: World's Funnest," which was his first work from DC Comics in many, many years. 

I am very proud to own original artwork produced by the hands of one of the most important Batman artists ever to hold a pencil, and I want to share it with you:

Here is the first piece of original Batman art:



Here is the second piece: 
These Batman pieces drawn, inked and signed by Shelly Moldoff himself, are some of the most loved pieces of my original comics art collection. 

NOW, ON TO THE FUN FACTS!

FUN FACT 1: Shelly Moldoff actually had work inside on Action Comics #1, the comic that contained the historic first appearance of Superman - but he did not work on the first Superman story, of course.

FUN FACT 2: Shelly Moldoff drew the covers to Flash Comics #1 (1940):

and 

All-American Comics #16 (1940):


These comics introduced the world to The Golden Age Flash and Green Lantern. 

FUN FACT 3: Shelly Moldoff created Ace The Bat-Hound, Zebra-Man, and Bat-Mite, and he co-created Poison Ivy!

FUN FACT 3: Sheldon "Shelly" Moldoff was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1944. 

FUN FACT 5: Some claim that Moldoff was the creator of the American horror comic. In 1950, he proposed the idea of horror comics to William Gaines, publisher of EC Comics, several months before he published "Tales from the Crypt." The story goes that as the popularity of superheroes began to wane, Moldoff pitched "This Magazine Is Haunted" and "Tales of the Supernatural" to Fawcett Comics. They passed on them. He then pitched to Gaines, and Gaines loved the idea and signed Moldoff to a contract, a contract which Gaines failed to honor when he published "Tales From The Crypt" a few months later.  EC went on to be the premier publisher of horror comics. Moldoff went on to sell three of his horror titles to Fawcett Comics ("This Magazine Is Haunted," "Worlds of Fear" and "Strange Suspense Stories").  

Here is a stunning sample of what Moldoff could do on a horror cover:



On March 3, 2012, Sheldon "Shelly" Moldoff breathed his last at the age of ninety-one. He will be remembered as a true pioneer of the comics industry, and one of the most prolific Batman artists of all time. 

Thanks for reading.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Scooby Apocalypse #1 Review



Scooby Apocalypse #1 from DC Comics -

 
    Dr. Velma Dinkley is working for a secret organization running multiple top secret experiments with what the thought was the aim of saving humanity from itself. When she finds out the horrifying truth, she enlists the aid of washed-up TV reporter, Daphne Blake, and her loyal, lovestruck cameraman with a hyperactive imagination, Fred Jones, Jr., to expose the truth to the world. When dog-trainer, Norville "Shaggy" Rogers and his canine pal, Scooby, stumble upon Velma, Daphne and Fred in their secret meeting they are sucked into the dangerous plan to stop Project Elysium - a plan to control all humanity with nanobots embedded in their very bodies! The gang is together again for the first time, and they are on the case to save the world...If they don't kill each other first.

   The masters of dialogue are at it again, Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis bring us this groovy, updated version of Scooby and the gang for 2016! Griffen and DeMatteis are in great form; this book is long on humor and witty one liners that are sure to to make you chuckle. Howard Porter's always stellar pencils, and Hi-Fi's always amazing colors make this book pop to the nth degree. When you get Giffen, DeMatteis, Porter and Hi-Fi on one book, there's only one word to describe it: MAGIC. The same endearing love between Scooby and Shaggy is still there, anchoring this book with that familiar Scooby feel, and the backstory on Scooby and Shaggy's friendship will give you all the feels. Shaggy is still Shaggy (with an updated hipster look - but Shaggy always was a hipster) and Scooby is mostly still Scooby - he is a good deal more brave, having had to fight for survival (no spoilers - gotta read the comic to get the skinny on Scooby's secret origin!). But it's not just Scooby, the other guys are a bit different too, and I can't say I enjoyed all of it.

    Velma is great - she hasn't changed too much. She is brilliant, if a bit aloof, and has a heroic streak that is a mile wide. Over the years, Daphne has morphed into a much stronger character - no more kidnappings for her - but in this comic, she is on the borderline of being overbearing and unlikable. Freddie has morphed into a paranoid, lovestruck, simp that jumps at his own shadows, which is a far cry from the Freddie that I used to know - I was very disappointed by how Freddie was written here. Sometimes, it seems that writers believe that in order to make the female characters stronger, they have to make them act like a-holes, and then surround them with male cowards and idiots; I hope that does not take place in this comic.

    In any case, I have nothing but confidence in Giffen, DeMatteis, Porter and Hi-Fi - The Four Horsemen of Comics - they have never let me down. There is certainly a lot of potential for awesomeness in this comic that I don't want to miss out on, and there is definitely some magic already present - enough to keep me around for the first arc, at the very least. All in all, this is a beautiful book, with lots of humor, an interesting story, with great art and colors, and with familiar characters that are all not so familiar at all. I can dig it, baby. Count me in.

RATING: 8 out 10. I guess I'll get involved, till the mystery is solved. :D

Sunday, June 5, 2016

TEX'S BACK ISSUE QUEST EPISODE 25 (THE NEW TITANS: GAMES ASHCAN)



Hello brothers and sisters!!

    Happy Sunday to you all! 

    As you gear up for the coming week, I thought I'd tell you a little known tale - a tale of a comic so rare, to some it's only a legend. To most, it's a wazy, it's a woozy...It's fairy-dust (to steal a quote from Matthew McConaughey). But it's not any of that. It's real, but it's just SCARCE as can be - but I am pleased as punch to have one in my collection:



TEX, what in the blue hell is THAT? That's probably what you're asking, right? 

It's my copy of "The New Titans: Games" Ashcan!! Not many of these exist - I'll tell ya exactly how many there are in the FUN FACTS.

Still don't know what it is, right? Well, let me tell ya...

    In 1980, Marv Wolfman and George Pérez launched a series called "The New Teen Titans." It was a breakout hit. Marv Wolfman scripted wonderful stories that put the Titans through the ringer, taking them from side-kicks and teen-heroes, to the respected team of heroes (and solo heroes in the cases of Cyborg and Nightwing) that we know them to be today. With Wolfman was George Pérez who was cranking out art that was just as great as Wolfman's scripts. "The New Teen Titans" was on fire, far outselling most, if not all, other its contemporary DC titles. 

   But all good things must come to an end. 

   By 1985, Pérez was leaving the title (which by them had become "Tales of the Teen Titans) to pursue other opportunities at DC. In 1986, Pérez became the artist, and often times, the writer, of Wonder Woman volume 2, which launched in 1987. Now comes the weirdness.

   Back in 1984, after changing the title of "The New Teen Titans" vol 1 to "Tales of the Teen Titans," DC, for some reason, launched "The New Teen Titans" vol 2, running concurrently with "Tales of the Teen Titans" which used to be "The New Teen Titans" vol 1. And it gets worse. In the early parts of "The New Teen Titans" vol 2, storylines sometimes referenced occurrences that hadn't even taken place yet over in "Tales of the New Teen Titans!" It goes without saying that sales started to be very modest. But there was brightness on the horizon!

   In 1988, Pérez announced that he would be returning, for a limited run, to "Tales of the Teen Titans," taking over the art on volume 2 with issue #50. This made fans everywhere really happy. Then the folks over at DC realized that they had made a mistake. The Teen Titans weren't teens anymore. So when Pérez returned with issue #50 the name of the series was changed to "The New Titans." Pérez returned for twelve glorious issues, pencilling and sometimes writing or co-writing several issues. 

  Wolfman and Pérez wanted to end it with a bang in 1990 with a graphic novel to say goodbye to the Titans for whom they had been writing stories for a decade. Set to be published in 1990, the graphic novel was to to be entitled, "New Teen Titans: Games," which is weird because earlier DC had established that the Titans weren't teens anymore and had changed the title of volume 2 accordingly.

SHEESH.

  Unfortunately, by 1992, the graphic novel hadn't materialized, for whatever reason (some say Wolfman had creativity issues). Still, the fans wanted that promised graphic novel, and they asked after it for years - Wolfman and Pérez couldn't escape it at any appearance they made. It became the stuff of legend - especially since it was leaked somehow that Pérez had more than 70 pages of art completed for the story. 

  Here's where my comic comes in. A publisher and enthusiast named Marcus Mebes (also colorist, editor and frequent contributor to the George Pérez Newsletter) was able to gain access to Pérez's and Wolfman's existing work on "New Teen Titans: Games," and in 2001, he published a beautiful ashcan under the proper title, "The New Titans: Games," featuring seventy-one black and white pages of Pérez's gorgeous artwork with the first thirty pages inked by Pérez himself and Al Vey. The Ashcan also features an eight-page plot summary. Here are a couple of sample pages for you to enjoy:






 Now, on to the FUN FACTS!

FUN FACT 1: "New Teen Titans: Games"was finally published by DC in 2011 (still with "teen" in the title), more than twenty years after it was originally supposed to be published, and ten years after Marcus Mebes' ashcan was published. In the GN, The Titans help King Faraday take on the Gamesmaster!!

FUN FACT 2: Marcus Mebes published this book himself. 

FUN FACT 3: My copy was Marcus Mebes' personal copy, and is signed by both Marv Wolfman and George Pérez!!



FUN FACT 4: ONLY FIFTEEN OF THESE COMICS WERE EVER PRODUCED!!! ONLY 15!!

That makes this, without a doubt, the most rare Teen Titans book in existence today. I am sure happy to own a copy. 

For more info, click here: Recalled Comics.

Thanks for reading!