Monday, May 28, 2012

Steve Ditko Cover of the Week: Mad Monsters #1

Here's one that you may not have seen before. In the early 60s, Charlton got in on the monster mag trend with Mad Monsters. The very first issue of this short-lived series featured this great, drooling werewolf by Mr. Ditko obviously based on the Lon Chaney Jr. design.  Unfortunately, the image is crowded out by a ton of cover text but that's often the case with these mags. This one makes me wish that I had a blacklight poster with Steve's take on all of the Universal monsters.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

ArMAYgeddon Month at Married With Clickers

Hey folks, I don't know how many of you listen to podcasts on a regular basis, but you should. I find they are a great way to pass time on my commute or at the gym. As I have mentioned, my wife and I started a podcast in late 2011 and we try to get out an episode a week. They are not terribly long (usually running 40-60 minutes) and I think they are getting better as we get a better handle on it. For May, we've decided to do a month of disaster movies. So far, we covered films such as The Concorde... Airport '79, Earthquake and Dante's Peak. If that type of film is your cup of tea, I highly encourage you to check get our show onto your iPod or computer. You can download episodes directly from our website or subscribe through iTunes (links below)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Trade Marks: Omega the Uknown (2008)

I am getting to the stage in life where I am not really enjoying things that make me feel stupid. Not many funnybooks have that effect on me (Jimmy Corrigan comes to mind), but let's throw this one into that group. I have read two of Jonathan Lethem's novels (Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn), neither of which lived up to the hype in my opinion. There's a lot of potential at the outset, but the stories cannot seem to escape the built-in weirdness. The same goes for this update of the Omega story. The original run was odd, but this cranks it up to 11. Thematically, there is a lot going on here, but much of it is lost due to awkward storytelling and cryptic dialogue. I wanted to like this book. In fact, I wanted to love it but the sheer 'weird for weird's sake' kept me at arm's length and left me feeling cold. Note that I read this over a 3 week period; a sure sign that it did not engage me. On the plus side, I enjoyed Farel Dalrymple's pencils as they reminded me of Guy Davis. Trade Mark: C-

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hidden Gems: Secret Origins Annual #2

How many times will this series appear in my 'Hidden Gems' feature. I must admit to all but ignoring the series when it was first released, thinking it merely contained rehashings of origins stories with which I was already all too familiar. Little did I know the modus operandi of the title was to expand and ameliorate the origins, adding all sorts of new details and characterizations. The lead story in this issue, involving Wally West and his psychiatrist, is average at best. Sure, it is good to infuse some literature into a funnybook tale (Kipling's If... in this case), but it seems to be trying too hard. What makes this issue special is the reunion and possible (by my count, at least) final appearance by the art team of Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson. I'm not a big fan of post-1975 Infantino has his style got too loose for my tastes, but Anderson helps tighten that like and make the reader feel as though they'd stepped on the Cosmic Treadmill. Their stories focus on a few key events in Barry Allen's life and culminate in a rather touching coda to the Crisis saga. I'm not sure if it is all part of today's canon, but it works for me.

Friday, May 11, 2012

You've Been Warned: Swamp Thing #43

I know, I know, I know - this is pretty much heresy, but hear me out. I have been making my way through Alan Moore's run on this series via the hardcover TPDs that have been hitting the bargain bins at a local bookstore. All in all, it is a wonderfully engaging and entertaining journey - with Moore creating a unique environment within the DCU. All that said, I feel that, despite the iconic cover, this particular issue highlights all that can go wrong when Moore takes a detour from his main highway. We get a story that hinges on the psychedelic elements of a tuber that fell of Swamp Thing's back and was distributed throughout the greater Baton Rouge area. These little 'trips' are filled with bad dialogue and over the top imagery which kills what little narrative momentum had been established. Moore may be trying to say something profound here, but it was more akin to listening to a stoner discuss Bob Weir's solo work. Peace.