Friday, April 29, 2011

Reprint This! Blonde Phantom

Between the Essentials, Masterworks and various other TPB collections, Marvel has traditionally done a very good job keeping much of its superhero fare in the public eye. I can understand why some of its more obscure titles, such as Blaze the Wonder Collie, may never been reprinted, but it astounds me that we haven't see a Blonde Phantom book. Now, I don't exactly follow all of the latest comic book 'news', but as far as I know there are no immediate plans to put out a BP volume. That's crazy. The entire concept is cool, and she has one of the best female character designs of all-time. The back issues are far too expensive for most collectors to even consider. This would be a great chance to showcase the artwork of Syd Shores at the top of his game, as many of us have only seen his work on early 70s titles like Red Wolf and Gunhawks. We'd also get a chance to see work by the likes of Ken Bald and Vernon Henkel. Where is this one? It has got to be just around the corner.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Memoirs of a Bronze Age Baby: Green Lantern/Green Arrow #119

I don't think that this was the first Green Lantern comic book I ever owned (that would have been #93), but it was certainly one of the first. Just how many times did GL claim not to have time to help with some 'minor' matter? Wouldn't it take him less time to make a mountain of green feathers than to answer Ollie's question? I've always like Alex Saviuk artwork, and he's a very, very nice guy, but Dick Giordano's inks really add some 'Wow' factor. Of course, the scene doesn't quite play out like this inside - but it's DC in the late 70s, so bait and switch is pretty common. There are two things in this book that really left an impression on me. The first were the sailing space ships. It was a unique design, and the sails almost looked like umbrellas. The second thing I remember is this scene involving a junkie in a drug store. I don't think that I had scene drugs referenced in comics up to this point, and I didn't full understand what was going on. It's nothing spectacular, but a good, solid issue nonetheless.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Married With Clickers Podcast: Give Us a Listen

Hey, SOTI regulars. I know that you are out there. This blog gets thousands of visitors a month, and yet I don't get the sense (from downloads and feedback) that many of you have tried listening to the podcast I do with my wife. We're up to our 15th show now, and I think that we're finally finding our groove. So, download an episode or two and give us a listen. Better yet, subscribe through iTunes. When you send in feedback, let us know that you visit SOTI.

Episode 15: We have just returned from from a nice child-free vacation feeling tanned, rested and ready. This week, we discuss The Lives Of Others, so put on your earphones and listen in on us discussing people listening in on other people. We've also seen a few movies (thanks, Air Canada) so you'll hear our quick thoughts on The Fighter, Dinner for Schmucks and Out of the Past. This week we want to hear your recommendation for terrific directorial debuts, as well as disappointing second films.

Episode 14: It had to happen. The two of us cannot sit down for too long without someone referencing The Lost Boys, so it was high time we discussed this 1987 love letter to mullets and fangs. Does it still hold up? Was Dianne Wiest born a Mom? Why can't we get that song out of our heads? We ponder the future of Survivor after the shot of adrenaline provided by Redemption Island. Scott also takes a couple of minutes to discuss his aborted attempt at watching 2008's The Spirit. This week, we want you to recommend an underappreciated Joel Schumacher movie. Feedback helps to ward off vampires, so email us at marriedwithclickers at or leave us a voicemail at 206-338-0793

You've Been Warned: Beowulf, Dragon Slayer #2

Let me begin by stating that, as a general rule, I am not a big fan of the sword and sorcery genre. When it's done well (like good Conan stories), I really like it, but I don't really have much time for you typical [Insert Name] the Warrior books. I picked up the first two issues of this series for 50 cents apiece, so I did not invest all that much into the venture. The first issue was quite intriguing, and I admired by Michael Uslan's ambitions and Ricardo Villamonte's stylish artwork. The second issue, however, was a complete disaster. The story bordered on incomprehensible and the dialogue consisted of that terrible pseudo-Thor/Conan English that comes across as stilted. Beowulf himself has zero personality, and we are given no insight into his motivations. Villamonte's artwork also took a step down. I'm not sure if it was a rush job, but his moody inks and interesting layouts were gone. To be perfectly honest, this makes Wulf the Barbarian look brilliant.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Single Issue Hall of Fame: FC #1213 - Mysterious Island

While the Jules Verne novel has been adapted a few times (Classics Illustrated #34 and Marvel Classic Comics #11 come to mind), this comic actually adapts the 1961 film co-produced by Ray Harryhausen. The story itself is your typical adventure romp, with lots of giant monster peril scattered throughout. The real selling point for this issue is the incredible artwork by Tom Gill. I know Gill mostly for his work on Lone Ranger, and I have always admired his storytelling and clean lines. What a treat it is to see him work in a different genre. His layouts and character designs are impeccable. I believe this story was inked by a very young Herb Trimpe, who served as an assistant to Gill in the early 60s.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Comic Book Robot of the Month: The Phantom Creeps

The titular Phantom, robot star of the the Universal serial The Phantom Creeps is one of the first, if not the first, robots to appear in funnybook format. He was featured in Movie Comics #6 (Sept-Oct, 1939), a rather strange series published by DC/National. If I am not mistaken, it was a rather large commercial failure at a time when comic books were a license to print money. The series mixed line drawing with movie stills. It was a bit of a mess, and it really has to be seen to be believed. Still, it's not everyday that you get the chance to see Bela Lugosi wearing a terrible fake beard in a comic book. To this day, the Phantom remains one of the coolest looking of all comic book robots.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

On Vacation

My wife and I are heading to Mexico for our 10th Wedding Anniversary, so there won't be any new entries for a week or so. That shouldn't' stop you from searching through older posts or checking out our podcast. I'd also encourage you to register at the Classic Comics forums over at Comic Book Resources (link in the right hand column). You'll be in very good company over there - some of the nicest folks I've ever met. Take care and I'll see you soon.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Married With Clickers: Episode 13 - Eight Men Out

Baseball season is upon us, and we’ve all got baseball on the brain in the Clickers household after taking in the ballgame Saturday. We stay class this episode, by reviewing that other Charlie Sheen baseball movie: Eight Men Out. Everyone looks sharp in their 1919 fashions, but their play on the field is somewhat sloppy. Is something strange afoot? Will Shoeless Joe ever play again? Is that Mr. Noodle? We haven’t watched much this week, so we look ahead to the film selections on an upcoming flight to Mexico. Yes, it’s as exciting as it sounds. Feedback is the elixir of life, so email us at marriedwithclickers at or leave us a voicemail at 206-338-0793.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Trade Marks: Aztek - The Ultimate Man

When this series launched, I was finishing up my first year of law school in Halifax. I was buying a lot of titles at the time and following all of the latest hype thanks to Wizard (good riddance) and Overstreet's Fan (R.I.P). Aztek had a lot of buzz back then, and was mourned in the press when it was cancelled. For one reason or another, I had never read an Aztek story, save for the issue or two of JLA in which he appeared. After all this time, I had really high hopes for this book and borrowed it from the library. Perhaps it was the high expectations built up over 15 years, but I was terribly disappointed. It was a decent read, but far from the masterpiece it was portrayed to be. I think the Morrison/Millar combination is actually too many cooks in kitchen, as the script seems very inconsistent and bits and pieces of the story and Aztek's back story seem to be missing. Too many guest stars (heroes and villains) hurt the development of the main character. I'm not a fan of ill-defined powers, and after 10 issues I still had no idea what Aztek could and couldn't do. Penciller N. Steven Harris doesn't help much, as his storytelling is weak in action sequences, leading to a lot of confusion. There was some promise here, but I can understand why it didn't garner a wide audience. It's not kooky enough to be Morrison and not cool enough to be Millar. It's just a mish-mash of styles with some so-so artwork and irritating dialogue. I'm happy I read it, but I'm happy I don't own it. Trade Mark: C+

Quick DVD Reviews

As far as quirky romantic comedies go, you could certain do a lot worse than this film. Rose Byrne plays a teacher who is somewhat shocked to discover that the rather eccentric man she's falling for has Asperger syndrome. The titular Adam is quite high functioning, but as his world starts to fall apart, the stress on the relationship become too much to take. The film is carried by the two leads and a good supporting cast. There's no 'happily ever after' ending, but if you're looking something not starring Katherine Heigl, you may want to give it a shot. Grade: B

Heroin Busters
This was a pretty fun, middle of the pack Euro-Crime film. Fabio Testi makes for an appealing action star, as he oozes charisma but I've got to question his outfit that makes him look like a Marshal from Outland. David Hemmings is strong in his supporting role as Testi's boss. While the story is a little rudderless in spots, Enzo Casterllari's opening 'around the world' sequence and the explicit drug use help to add a good deal of grittiness to the enterprise. Sadly, the 'climatic' airplane chase scene was boring. Grade B-

Date Night
I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Most comedies fall flat for me, and I consider it to be the trickiest of all genres. The two leads had enough chemistry to carry them through this rather convoluted plot. Like most comedies, there's a ton of stunt casting here but, from James Franco to William Fitchner, it all seems to work just fine as everyone got the memo. It's not a classic by any means, but certainly one of the more enjoyable studio comedies in recent years. Tina Fey's acting is improving at a rapid rate. Grade: B

Who is Harry Nilsson, and Why is Everybody Talkin' About Him?
This is a truly superb documentary that relies more on the subject matter than stylistic flourishes. Nilsson was a dearly beloved musical genius, and simply listening to others discuss his life and music is enough to make you fall in love with the man. It's heartbreaking to listen as his car wreck of a life is explored, but there's just enough redemption at the end to to keep you from going on a bender. I'm ready to watch it again. Grade: A

Road Games
I was delighted to revisit this early 80s Ozploitation gem, as I hadn't seen it since the late 80s. It actually works much better for me as a 38 yeard old than it did for me as a teenager. It is much more subtle than your average 80s horror film, relying on suspense and atmosphere far more than gore. It is also a showcase for Stacy Keach's talents, as it is almost a one-man show and he excels at keeping the viewer's attention. The final ten minutes could be less ridiculous but, other than that, it is a terrific, low budget thriller. Grade: A-

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Hidden Gems: Invaders Annual #1

Many of you may already know all about this book, but those of you who do not are in for a real treat. I don't know the full story of how Roy Thomas pulled it off, but he managed to put together a group of incredible Golden Age talent for this issue. Granted, it may not the greatest story ever told, but fans of Timely and Standard/Nedor will be thrilled to see the Alex Schomburg cover. They will be even more thrilled to discover that there are also 6 pages of Schomburg artwork inside. The maestro had not done any work for Marvel for more than a quarter century, so it was quite a coup. Not only that, but the underrated Don Rico was brought to draw the Captain America story and I don't think he'd done any work for Marvel since the early 1960s. Two other Golden Age greats (Lee Elias and Frank Robbins) also contributed chapter, but they were still going strong at Marvel at the time. Kudos to Mr. Thomas for putting this group together and paying homage to the past.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

You've Been Warned: Green Lantern #62

I try to keep an open mind about the Insurance Salesman Era of the Green Lantern title, I really do. I also happen to be a big fan of Jack Sparling, and can appreciate what he brings to the table (I know that not everyone is a fan). That being said, this particular issue is a prime example of why the series needed a kick in the pants. Hal spends a lot of time in his street clothes, and I really don't think the series works as a Johnny Double clone. The plot is beyond convoluted, as it involves a gadget called a Chronolometer, which can someone 'see' where a piece of gold has been. It's a pretty lame device, but allows the villains to see that Hal Jordan and Green Lantern are one and the same. It's a very dialogue heavy script by Gardiner Fox, and the dialogue is terrible. The story only briefly comes to life when Sparling shows GL in action - his layouts are dynamic. This one is an 'avoid', even for Sparling fans. If you are not a fan, I guess that you should avoid with extreme prejudice.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Married With Clickers: Episode 12: The Road Warrior

This week, Kat and I head down under with Mad Mel (er.... Max) to take in this 1981 action flick. Is it still awesome? Spoiler Alert: Yes! Also, we give our quick thoughts on Justified (Season One), Laura, Who is Harry Nilsson?, The Hunting Party and another Aussie road movie known as Road Games. We also want to know about underappreciated Mel Gibson films, so email us at marriedwithclickers at or leave us a voicemail at 206-338-0793.