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1987 And All That: Groo the Wanderer #23-34

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.

Groo1Groo the Wanderer #23-34 (Marvel/Epic) by Sergio Aragonés, Mark Evanier, Tom Luth (#23-32), Janice Cohen (#32-33), Phil DeWalt (#34), Stan Sakai, Jo Duffy (#23-27), Daniel Chichester (#28-34), Steve Buccellato (#32-34)

I’m always interested in the likability of characters in any fiction I consume. I don’t necessarily need to like the hero(es), nor do I need to hate the villain(s). In fact, a story with an unsympathetic protagonist that still gets me invested is often that much more enjoyable and engaging, ditto one that has a bad guy with whom I can empathize. For a goofy, lighthearted, action-comedy comicbook, Groo the Wanderer is surprisingly complicated when it comes to the likability of its cast. Just about every character, be they good or bad, major or minor, has an interesting mix of enjoyable and off-putting qualities. There’s a general silliness to everyone that makes them all fun to spend time with, but most of them are also selfish, judgmental, dishonest, and/or violent. It’s a collection of largely terrible people, behaving in wonderfully entertaining ways, and most of the time they get what’s coming to them in the end, so that there’s a nice narrative satisfaction when each issue resolves. On top of all that, everything is done in an art style that’s equal parts ridiculous and dense, so that what feel like simple stories are often deceptively more involved than they appear at first glance. Continue Reading »

Top Five Jacket-Wearing Superhero Teams at Marvel in the 1990s

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

As you may or may not know, the 1990s were the decade of the jacket at Marvel Comics. DC Comics also had some notable jacket-wearers (Superboy and Diana during her time as just “Diana” being two notable examples) but Marvel made it practically a prerequisite for being a hero during the 1990s. Here, then, are the top five jacket-wearing superhero teams at Marvel in the 1990s.

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Comic Theme Time: What Comic Non-Influence Works Best As An Influence?

Comic Theme Time is a twist on the idea of a “Top Five” list. Instead of me stating a topic and then listing my top five choices in that topic, I’m giving you the topic and letting you go wild with examples that you think fit the theme.

In my most recent Toy Legends Revealed, I discovered whether Lincoln Logs were surprisingly not actually named after Abraham Lincoln. This made me think about examples of how certain things SEEM to be influences on comics but were not due to timing concerns. So I’m curious about actors or characters that you know AREN’T influences on notable comic characters but you sort of WISH were influenes.

Read on for a notable example!
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And Of Course – “Trust Me, Jimmy, I’m Tormenting You For Your Own Good!”

In this feature I spotlight particularly outlandish/convoluted comic book plot resolutions.

Today we look at a story that I featured years ago in an “I Love Ya But You’re Strange,” but the plot resolution to this story is just SO out there that I couldn’t help but share it here, as well. So learn Superman’s reasoning behind tormenting Jimmy Olsen so much that Jimmy no longer wants to be adopted by the Man of Steel…
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I Saw It Advertised One Day – “Hey Ladies, Do You Want to Know How to Get a Job and Not Lose It?”

This is the latest in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of pieces looking at advertisements in comic books over the decades that amused me for whatever reason. Here is an archive of all installments of this feature.

Today we look at a pair of “helpful” public service announcements from the 1950s designed to help women get (and then keep) jobs…
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The Great Comic Book Cover Homage Streak: Week 151

It occurs to me that it seems like many comic book covers are homages. Which is fine with me. I have no problem with it. It just made me think, though, how long could I go before I hit a week where NO new comic book was released that had a cover that was an homage to something? Let’s find out! Here is an archive of all the cover homages featured in the streak so far!

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Comic Book Six Degrees: Peter David to David Petersen

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 David Michelinie. Lynn J. was one of just two people who connected the two in two moves. Lynn was the randomly selected winner. Here is how Lynn connected the two:

David Michelinie wrote Amazing Spider-Man Annual #26, drawn by Scott McDaniel
Scott McDaniel drew Batman #589, written by Brian K. Vaughan

Lynn’s challenge is…

Peter David to David Petersen


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)!

Abandoned Love: Where Did Deadpool’s Second Inner Monologue Go?

Every installment of Abandoned Love we will be examining comic book stories, plots and ideas that were abandoned by a later writer while still acknowledging that the abandoned story DID still happen. Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of Abandoned Love. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

This time around, based on a suggestion from reader Pawel P., we take a look at how Deadpool gained (and then lost) a second inner monologue…
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The Wrong Side: Venom vs. Superman

In this feature, I examine comic book fights that were particularly notable in the wrong side winning (or at least that the fight wasn’t won the “right” way). This really isn’t a big deal, of course, as it doesn’t really matter if the “wrong” person won a fight. But it’s fun to talk about!

If you want to suggest a fight for future inclusion in this feature, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com. Don’t suggest a fight in the comments!

Today we looked at the time that Venom pretty much kicked Superman’s ass…
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Saturday’s Sherlockian Conundrum

With Mr. Holmes in theaters and a new Sherlock special on the horizon, once again the ‘best version’ discussion-slash-friendly-wrangle-of-an-argument has cropped up among my Holmesian friends. Someone asked me about the best version of Holmes in COMICS and it stonkered me. Continue Reading »

Review time! with The Adventures of the 19XX Book Three: Shining Skull 1936


“Did you make it to the Milky Way to see the lights all faded and that heaven is overrated?”
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Left Unresolved – The Daredevil Foe Who Literally Went Nowhere!

In this feature, I spotlight storylines that have been, well, left unresolved. Click here for an archive of all storylines featured so far.

Today, based on a request from Richard M. (although this is a classic that I was planning on addressing anyways, but Richard wrote in with it, so he definitely deserves credit), we look at the unresolved mystery of who the heck Sky-Walker was and where the heck was he walking to (other than, you know, the sky)…
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I Saw It Advertised One Day – “What Do You Think About Alligators, Cabbage…and Negroes?”

This is the latest in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of pieces looking at advertisements in comic books over the decades that amused me for whatever reason. In each installment, we’ll take a look at three ads!
Here is an archive of all installments of this feature.

Today we look at a handful of odd public service announcements from comics!
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Comic Book Legends Revealed #536

Welcome to the five hundred and thirty-sixth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the first five hundred (I actually haven’t been able to update it in a while). This week, in honor of two comic book characters in the news, we’ll do a pair of legends featuring Psylocke and a pair of legends featuring Devil Dinosaur!

Let’s begin!
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The Line it is Drawn #253 – Superheroes Versus Famous Wrestlers!

Welcome to our weekly gallery of amazing art by our great collection of artistic talent, all working from YOUR suggestions!

Go follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter (if you have Twitter, that is – if you don’t, you can go sign up). Here is our Twitter page… http://twitter.com/csbg. And here are the Comics Should Be Good writers who are on Twitter (the links go to the person’s Twitter account) – myself, Greg Hatcher, Chad Nevett, Kelly Thompson, Bill Reed, Greg Burgas and Sonia Harris

I update the blog’s Twitter account updates whenever a new post is put up on the blog, so it’s an easy way to keep up with the blog. In addition, I post new content on the blog’s Twitter account.

Now on to the bit!

So every week, I ask a question here. You reply to it on our Twitter page (just write @csbg with your reply) and our artists will each pick one of your suggestions and I will post their drawings based on your suggestions here every week. So every week you will have a new question and you will see the choices picked from the previous week. Here is an archive of all the previous editions of The Line It Is Drawn!

To qualify, you have to be following us when you reply – so go follow us and then give your answer to the following question/challenge (All suggestions due by 3pm Pacific Friday).

The topic is…

With Matt Ryan’s Constantine showing up on Arrow next season, do a team-up between two live action comic book TV series! Batman ’66 on The Walking Dead! George Reeves’ Superman meets Dean Cain’s Superman! Wonder Woman meets the Middleman! And so on and so forth!

Read on for the drawings that came about courtesy of the last question/challenge!

In honor of the late, great Rowdy Roddy Piper, pick a professional wrestler and a comic book character you’d like to see them fight

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