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I Love Ya But You’re Strange – That Time the Punisher Became a Frankenstein Monster

Every installment of I Love Ya But You’re Strange I spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories. Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment!

Today we look at how Punisher became a Frankenstein monster for a short period of time…
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1987 And All That: Fantastic Four #304-307

A column in which Matt Derman (Comics Matter) reads & reviews comics from 1987, because that’s the year he was born. Click here for an archive of all the previous posts in the series.

FF11987 And All That: Fantastic Four #304-307  (Marvel) by Steve Englehart, John Buscema, Joe Sinnott, Glynis Oliver (#304-306), George Roussos (#307), Phil Felix (#304), Janice Chiang (#305), John Workman (#306-307), Don Daley (#304), Ralph Macchio (#305-307)

There are two core components to the Fantastic Four: 1. awesome sci-fi superhero excitement, and 2. familial relationships and the drama that comes with them. Every creative team strikes their own balance between these elements, and I’m not here to say one blend is better than any other. I will say that these four issues, the first in a long run written by Steve Englehart, definitely focus hard on the interpersonal stuff (though there’s a healthy dose of action in each issue, too), and the results are great. Almost every character we see, whether they’re part of the titular team or not, has a lot on their respective plates, everyone carrying heavy personal baggage that informs what they do and how they act in interesting ways. There are villains with pathos, heroes who sometimes act like childish jerks, and many characters who seem as though they might break down completely at any second, adding a nice underlying tension to everything else that goes on. All of this is heightened by John Buscema’s expressive artwork, which delivers moments of quiet, brooding reflection with just as much oomph as the most hard-hitting action, and nails everything in between as well. Though these issues are not at all flawless, they’re consistently entertaining, they’re not afraid to make big, bold moves, and they shake up this title effectively and efficiently, which seems to be their primary goal. And they’re a nice reminder that we are all many different thing, that each and every one of us has our own inner turmoils and conflicts to wrestle with, and that these kinds of things don’t necessarily ever resolve for good so much as they grow and change and become more complicated over time. Continue Reading »

Top Five Best Daredevil/Punisher Fights

Here is an archive of all the past top five lists I’ve one over the years.

With the Punisher announced as a character on the second season of the Daredevil Netflix television series, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the five best in-continuity Daredevil/Punisher fights. I have decided to choose individual fights within overall stories (like ranking each individual fight within the Daredevil vs. Punisher mini-series rather than counting the entire mini-series as one huge fight). If you prefer to consider each overall story as one fight, I’ve included five overall stories on the countdown for that very purpose, so just go by the overall stories for an alternate top five.

Enjoy!
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Heavy Metal Makes History With Heavy Metal #275!

Heavy Metal is making history with their upcoming #275 issue of the long-running series, which will be available this Thursday. In it, besides the latest installment of a serialized story (“The 49th Key” by Erika Lewis, JK Woodward and Deron Bennett), the entirety of the issue is written and drawn by Mexican comic creators. One of those artists involved in the project is our own Axel Medellin, the long-running Elephantmen artist who is also a long-time contributor to The Line it is Drawn. I talked with Axel about this historic issue…
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Review time! with The Fiction #1

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It’s not fiction, you fools, it’s THE fiction!!!!
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Comic Book Six Degrees – Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez to Kazuo Koike

As suggested by Jenos Idanian #13, the idea behind this game is to connect two comic creators to each other through artists/writers that they have jointly worked together with, in as few links as possible.

For instance, take connecting John Byrne and John Buscema.

Byrne drew Captain America with writer Roger Stern
Roger Stern wrote Avengers with artist John Buscema.

That’s a simple one, but presumably there are more difficult ones out there.

I’ll try to keep the ground rules brief.
1. We’re only using writers and pencilers for this game. No offense to inkers, colorists and letterers, but it makes this too easy if we count them.
2. Plotting counts as writing and breakdowns/layouts count for penciling. Finishes SHOULD count, but I’m not counting them for the same basic reason of #1.
3. Alterations by another penciler don’t count as a connection to the first penciler. Basically, you’re never going to connect an artist with another artist. You can connect writers with each other, though, if they co-wrote (or plotted/scripted) a story. And obviously if an artist wrote a story, you can connect an artist with another artist in that fashion (like John Byrne can connect with Jerry Ordway from Byrne writing stories Ordway penciled).
4. Only comic book stories count. No pin-ups.
5. If a comic story contains multiple writers and artists, it’s up to you to prove that the given writer actually wrote the page in the comic that the artist drew.

Every installment, whoever connects the two creators in the least amount of turns gets to pick the next match (in the event of a tie, the winner is chosen randomly among the people who sent in challenges for the next match.

NOTE: When you folks send in your answers, please include your suggestion for the next match in the event that your answer is chosen. And demonstrate that it IS possible to connect your two suggested choices within six moves. Thanks!

Last week’s match-up was C.C. Beck to J.H. Williams III. Michael L. was one of just two people who was able to connect the two. He was the randomly selected winner between the two. Here is how he connected the two:

C.C. Beck worked with Elliot S! Maggin on Shazam! 6.
Elliot S! Maggin worked with J.H. Williams III on DC Comics Presents: Mystery in Space 1.

In the future, you can’t use Studios like that, as we don’t know if the same artists ACTUALLY worked on both books.

Lynn’s challenge is…

Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez to Kazuo Koike

E-mail me your answers at bcronin@comicbookresources.com. Do NOT post your answers in the comments section!

Whoever connects the two characters in the least amount of creators gets to pick the connection for next time around (I’ll pick a random winner in the event of a tie)!

“Life With/out a Frankie Doll” Talking Frankie Comics with Rachel Dukes

Rachel Dukes is the writer/artist of Frankie Comics, a hilarious comic series about the misadventure of Dukes’ cat, Frankie. I raved about the series last year. She now has a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to produce plush doll version of Frankie, as well as put out the fourth issue of Frankie Comics. I figured I’d have a quick chat with Rachel about the project and the comic.

Enjoy!
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Vote for The Joker’s 75 Greatest Stories!

In honor of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Joker, perhaps the greatest comic book supervillain ever, we’re going to count down your picks for the 75 Greatest Joker Stories of all-time!

Joker has been the villain in a bunch of a great stories, from one-shot issues to multi-issue stories to crossovers. So here you will be casting your vote for who you feel are the greatest Joker stories!

You folks all vote in the comments section here up until 11:59 Pacific time, June 30th. I’ll tabulate all the votes and I’ll begin a countdown of the top 75 beginning in early July.

Okay, here are the guidelines!
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She Has No Head! – Killing Characters

Since I’ve enjoyed some of these open discussion posts we’ve had of late, I thought today might be a good time to GoT Season 5 Teaseropen up a discussion about creators killing characters, and what makes or breaks a good story for you. I’m interested both as a fan and as a creator who has done my own share of killing characters and will do much much more of it before I’m done (though thank the universe for nice bright shiny happy Jem and The Holograms in which…spoiler alert…nobody dies!)

[No spoilers, except that Game of Thrones killed some characters in their finale last night, which shouldn’t really be a shock for anyone who lives on the planet Earth.]

So, anyone who watched Game of Thrones last night knows why this post is particularly relevant right now. I mean…OMG, you guys. But turn your attention to comics and you’ll find plenty of beautiful (and terrible) deaths over there too. As just one example, last week’s absolutely excellent Saga #29 ALMOST gave the finale of Game of Thrones a run for its money as it killed between two and four characters this past week (we’ll see, but it looks pretty grim for all involved to be honest) and three of the characters are significant players. The previous issue had another supporting character biting the dust too – in a quite literal blaze of glory.

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What I bought – 10 June 2015

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“The real revolution will be when women carry arms.” (Italo Calvino, from If on a winter’s night a traveler)
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Sunday At The Back of the Book

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This is just a silly little something that I came across during our recent trip along the Strait of Juan De Fuca, and it tickled me so that I thought it deserved its own post…. especially since it reminded me of an honorable old comics tradition that is largely gone today.

The tradition I’m speaking of is the ‘house ad.’ Continue Reading »

Things That Turned Out Bad – The DCU: Where Women’s Moods Are Dictated by Diet Soda

In this column, I will spotlight plotlines by writers that probably weren’t a good idea at the time and have only become more problematic in retrospect. I’ll try to stick with stuff that’s more ill-conceived than flat-out offensive (like racist stereotypes of characters during the 1940s).

Today, based on suggestions by reader John (although a few others asked after last week’s column, as well), we look at DC’s revelation that Dr. Light’s personality was altered by diet soda…
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Meta-Messages – Mister Fantastic Disses Heroes Reborn

In this feature I explore the context behind (using reader danjack’s term) “meta-messages.” A meta-message is where a comic book creator comments on/references the work of another comic book/comic book creator (or sometimes even themselves) in their comic. Each time around, I’ll give you the context behind one such “meta-message.” Here is an archive of the past installments!

Today, based on a suggestion from reader John, we take a look at Scott Lobdell’s not-so-subtle swipe at Heroes Reborn in the first issue of Fantastic Four following Heroes Return…
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DCYou and You, Week Two

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All right all right all right, we have Week Two DCYou comics to check out! You know you love ‘em, and you know I do too!
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Remember to Forget – That Time the Punisher Became a Supernatural Angel of Vengeance

In this series we spotlight comic book stories that are likely best left forgotten. Here is an archive of past installments.

Today we look at how Punisher became a supernatural angel of vengeance for a short period of time…
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