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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #340

I hope I am not too late for the festivities! (Archive!)


340. Fred Van Lente

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C’mon, I had to. It’s that time o’ year again!

Fred Van Lente is one of those comic writers that the blogosphere loves but who doesn’t get the attention he deserves from the rest of the comics-reading public. I know, I know, harping about that on a blog doesn’t do much, but hopefully some of you out there may be persuaded to pick up a Fred Van Lente project due to Chairman Cronin’s joyous celebration of the man’s work.

His most notable (well, in the right circles) work– the one that put him on the map– was Action Philosophers!, with Ryan Dunleavy. The child of a Xeric Grant, Action Philosophers! (it demands an exclamation point) is an entertaining presentation of the history of great philosophical thought. Some would presume such a thing to be stuffy and boring, but Van Lente and Dunleavy make it both funny and informative. Take this one, for example:

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It was a great series. The pair is following it up with Comic Book Comics, which Brian previewed earlier today.

Marvel quickly took a liking to Fred and snatched his talent up. He introduced a new, female, teenaged Scorpion in the pages of Amazing Fantasy, for instance, but he’s mostly been working away on Marvel’s all-ages Adventures line. Again, a lot would disparage these comics– “kid’s stuff,” right? Hardly. The Marvel Adventures books are the best comics Marvel’s putting out right now. They’re filled with the fun and energy we all remember comics having when we were kids, and we’re still able to enjoy them as adults. They’re terrific for kids and grown-ups, and guys like Fred Van Lente and Jeff Parker have made them required reading. Plus, they get away with wacky ideas that the “real” universe just can’t do anymore! Green Goblin interrupting Spider-Man‘s baseball game? Iron Man vs. laser pirates? These are the kinds of comics I want, folks. Fred’s worked on the MA titles for Spidey, the FF, and Iron Man, as well as the all-ages Power Pack title.

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He also wrote one of my favorite mini’s of 2007: MODOK’s 11! Heck, when you take MODOK, one of my favorite comics characters, and you put him into the heist genre, you’ve got a winner– and when you include a bunch of C-Listers I adore like the Puma, the Spot, and Rocket Racer, you’ve got my money. It was a great series that didn’t sell terribly well, but deserves your love and attention. Pick up the trade!

Fred’s also done work for Platinum Studios, with creator-owned titles and graphic novels like Cowboys and Aliens, Ghosting, The Weapon, and Watchdogs. For Moonstone, he produced the Silencers. They’ve all gotten good reviews, and they’re all filled with fun cleverness. Worth reading? Hells yeah!

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You’ll be able to catch some future Van Lente in the pages of Comic Book Comics, the Incredible Herc, the Marvel Adventures books, and, as Brian revealed today– Wolverine: First Class! Pick ‘em up.

Want to read some great Van Lente work online? Click here for Cowboys & Aliens, here for the Weapon, and here for Watchdogs! Enjoy ‘em.

For more on Fred Van Lente, hit up his website, or just scroll down on the frontpage! Happy Fred Van Lente day, everybody.

Bonus! Ominous hint time: Kirby is coming… Kirby is coming…



December 6, 2007 at 11:15 pm

Fred’s also done work for Platinum Studios, with creator-owned titles and graphic novels like Cowboys and Aliens, Ghosting, The Weapon, and Watchdogs.

Except according to their website he didn’t create any of those, and they are all copyright to Platinum Studios.
So I guess they are creator owned as the head of Platinum created them and owns them, but Fred sure doesn’t seem too.

Oh yes! Sometimes I think that the only reason why Fred Van Lente is so loved by all comic bloggers is because he shares the same kind of “Dinosaur vs. Robot Captain America”-humor. But action philosophers is really good. I love this comic.

Also: Kirby is coming? GOod times ahead then…

My brother’s gearing up to teach history to high schoolers, so I got him the first two Action Philosophers! trades for his birthday. He dug them dearly.

Hope he uses ‘em in the classroom. They’d be my kind of textbook, for sure.

Also: Can’t wait for Incredible Herc. That book should kick all kinds of ass.

One my most treasured mini comics I own is one I picked up at SPX in 2000 which Fred Van Lente wrote and Steve Ellis drew. It a flip book and I gotta tell you both sides are freaking awesome.
One side is a parody of mid 70’s era Marvel comics about a conservative superhero called RightWing. Unbeknownst to him there is a secret grouping, inside an abortion clinic no less, of all his arch enimies such as Treehugger, Welfare Momma, Feminazi, Mucho Man( the ability to multiply and take away American jobs), Boom Tube (representing the liberal Hollywood threat), and Ted Kennedy as they plot to take down RightWing once and for all. And like all 70’s era Marvel comics, RightWing leaves off on a cliffhanger that makes you wish it wasn’t just a one shot parody.

The flip side is a takeoff of the Jack Chick religious comics those pesky Christians like to peddle. It opens with a man asking his neighbor to borrow a cup of sugar as the neighbor starts to tell him about the Necronomicon and the eventual return of Cthulu and the primordial gods. Instead of Bible verses being footnoted during the neighbors speech it is all passages from the Necronomicon peppered throughout. The man gasps in horror upon learning his doomed state of existence, and wishing to spare his family the misery Cthulu’s return will inflict grabs an axe instead of the sugar and promising to “save” his family. It ends with the neighbor turning to the reader saying “John has been saved. But have YOU?”

I don’t know if Fred has anymore of these availble at shows but it was a wonderful primer to an immense talent that just keeps getting better.

Viva Van Lente!!!!

It might not be the same, but RightWing and the Cthulu tract are at Van Lente’s website


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