Friday, December 23, 2011

Reprint This! Hot Wheels

Like so many titles I have previously discussed in this column, this one is likely stuck in licensing hell. DC got into the TV and Toy tie-ins during this era (see Captain Action and Bomba), but this one was a real standout. Hot Rod comics had been around forever, and were on the decline by the time the first issue of Hot Wheels hit newsstands. Still, it was a valuable property and DC knew exactly which creative teams to bring on board. Alex Toth had done plenty of work for Drag Cartoons and had a way with cars. They also made sure that they got some fantastic Adams/Giordano covers to help pump sales. Jack Keller and Ric Estrada, both strong auto-artists, also made contributions. Apparently, none of this worked as the series was short-lived. They can be found, but it may take you a while. I have been buying these off and on for years and I am still a two issues short of a complete run. I would love to have it all in one volume so that I could revel in the amazing artwork.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Trade Marks: Asterios Polyp

It is incredible to see what creators like David Mazzucchelli are trying to do with the art form. This feels like something a Saul Bellow or Richard Ford would create if they knew how to draw (my apologies to those gents if they do, indeed, draw well). This is the story of a rudderless man, reflecting on his life, or lack thereof. The balance between struggle between intellectual superiority and happiness is front and centre. Our hero is morally ambiguous at best, but we identify with him enough that the pathos is palpable. I must admit that there is a depth here that I may have missed. If I had more background in architecture and/or Greek mythology I may have gotten more out of it. In any case, the layers make it ripe for a revisit. My main complaint is at there is a certain emotional flatness to the characters in the story, although it may all be tied to the downside of apathy. It is a beautifully designed book, but I was quite happy to find it for half price. Solid stuff - just short of a masterpiece. Trade Mark: A-

Monday, December 19, 2011

Steve Ditko Cover of the Week: Daughters of Time

This, my friends, might be the most obscure Steve Ditko cover that I every discuss in this space. Daughters of Time was published in 1991 by 3-D Zone comics. Never heard of it? Neither had I until recently. I love Ditko and I love Kurt Schaffenberger, but this cover just does not work for me. I think it is a combination of the disorienting layout and the garish colours. As far I can recall, this is the only time these two artists collaborated. I'd love know if they worked together elsewhere, as they would be an interesting team. The GCD tells me that it's 100% Schaffenberger on the inside. $3.95 was pretty pricey back then, and I wonder if this book lived up to its price tag. The hunt begins, my curiosity cannot be sated until I own it.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hidden Gems: Metal Men #21

Truth be told, this is actually a below average Metal Men book. We all know that their adventures tend to be quite silly, but silly can be fun. This is mostly dull. The main problem is that the Plastic Perils are not all that perilous. Before you think that I actually meant to slot this into the 'You've Been Warned' category, let me tell you why it is worth owning. What makes this issue special is that it features some brief, yet charming cameos by some of the DCU's biggest stars. Batman & Robin, Wonder Woman and the Flash all make appearances, declaring their admiration for the Metal Men and wishing they all had more time to hang out. This is a good one for fans of crossovers, as it serves as a good example of the powers that be at DC trying to shoehorn big name characters into lesser known titles.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


Dear friends and SOTI regulars. I am not dead. I have not lost my internet connection and I certainly have not lost my love of blogging. The company for whom I work has been involved in a major transaction and I (being the idiot who thought law school was a good idea) have been buried in a mountain of paperwork and an endless stream of emails since mid-August. I will return soon.