Friday, September 29, 2006

Memoirs of a Bronze Age Baby: DC Comics Presents #14

DC Comics Presents #14: Superman & Superboy

This is one of those covers designed to blow your mind. Superman and Superboy together? How could that possible happen? Sadly, in a post-Crisis world, it probably wouldn’t. But back in 1979, anything was possible and it made for some pretty trippy reading.

This one’s a real head-scratcher. How can Superboy execute Superman? How can they even appear on the same cover? Well, you’ve just got to read it to find out. Let’s just say that it involves Lex Luthor, Pete Ross and a ton of kryptonite. Making this one extra fun is the fact that Krypto plays a key role.

It’s great Silver Age fun published in the Bronze – something that DCCP excelled at. This is one book that I can remember in its entirety. I must have read it two dozens times. I am sure that one of the reasons I loved it was the Dick Dillin pencils. I didn’t really know anyone’s names back in those days – but I know I liked this stuff – probably because it looked exactly like my JLA.

I lost my copy of this book long ago – probably during one of my short-lived periods where I turned my back on the funnybook business. I’d give anything to find my G/VG copy. I keep hoping it will turn up at my parent’s house but I fear that it has been lost to the sands of time.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Pulp Report: Giant Bees and a Robot Stalin

Amazing Stories, August 1952

In the waning days of the Pulp, it appears that publishers were moving towards an emphasis on pure ‘sci-fi’ rather than the sci-fi/fantasy/GGA genre that was in vogue a few years earlier. There seems to be a real maturation of pulps, as there seems to have been a movement away from sensationalism.

This cover really caught my eye – it’s wonderfully elegant and leaps off the page. I just love the design and the atmosphere established by the painter. The first story ‘The Return of Michael Flannigan’ involves a Cliff Steele-like protagonist who returns to Earth to only to find that it is on the brink of nuclear catastrophe. We’ve got some love, action, and even theology mixed into this one. It’s quite an engaging story, and the characters are strong - especially the Robot-Stalin who secretly took control of the Soviet Union after the death of the real Stalin. Can you beat that?

The next story, ‘Threat From Above’ is a definite step down – basically just an ‘Attack of the Giant Electric Bees’ story more suitable for one of DC’s comic book anthology titles list My Greatest Adventure. The third story ‘Black Angels Have No Wings’ features honeymooners threatened by bat-like humanoids living deep beneath the Earth’s surface. It bounces along at a nice clip and is good B-movie fun. The story features a gorgeous Virgil Finlay drawing. I wonder if he was still working for pulps at this time, or if it was a reprint.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Quick DVD Reviews

Shop Girl
The only bright spot in the film was Clare Dane’s ass. By that I don’t mean to imply that she has a nice ass. Her ass simply reflects a great deal of light. Dull & Meandering. Grade: D

Match Point
The only indication that it’s a Woody Allen movie is the dialogue, which more often than not sounded wooden rolling off the tongues of the young cast. Not a bad little movie – I thought that it would head off in more of a ‘Ripley’ direction. I’d say there’s about 30 minutes in the middle act that could have been removed, and Scarlett Johansen seemed disinterested much of the time. All of that being said, a big step up after the last several films. Grade: B-

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
Ok, so it may be trying a bit too hard to be hip, but it’s as enjoyable a movie as any I’ve seen in the last couple of years. It’s pretty well written, a good mixture of comedy and action and I remembered why I used to love Val Kilmer. Grade: A-