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1987 And All That: The Spectre #1-9

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.

Spectre1The Spectre #1-9 (DC) by Doug Moench, Gene Colan (#1-6), Cam Kennedy (#7-8), Gray Morrow (#9), Steve Mitchell (#1-6), Adrienne Roy (#1-6, 9), Michele Wolfman (#7-8), John Costanza (1-5), Agustin Mas (#6-9), Robert Greenberger

The Spectre is kind of a jerk, but that’s ok, because so is Jim Corrigan, the man who serves as the his human host. They’re jerky in different ways, which causes a lot of friction between them, and also makes them quite the entertaining pair to follow as a reader. Their relationship is kind of a mixed-up buddy cop thing; the Spectre is in some ways the loose cannon character, because Corrigan never knows what he’ll do next and can’t really trust him not to overreact to any given situation. Yet the Spectre is also the more serious of the pair, and all of his actions are motivated by the demands of a higher authority. Meanwhile, Corrigan is a wise-cracking rogue and anti-authority in general, yet wants to reign in the Spectre and stop him from always being so severe in his treatment of the various villains they face. So neither one of them fits neatly into a recognizable character mold, yet as a duo, they have a very familiar dynamic, one partner trying to keep the other in check as they work toward common goals with very different methods. And all the while, they are both largely unlikable as people, yet interesting as characters, and because they’re always fighting against much worse people than themselves, I’m on their side even when they’re being aggressively pigheaded and annoying. The Spectre does a fantastic job of making compelling figures out of its two miserable leads by pitting them against each other morally despite the fact that they are ostensibly on the same side. They’re both good guys, technically, but neither of them are necessarily all that good at being good. Instead, they make each other better, while simultaneously making one another feel worse, a conflicted team bound together against their wills who only barely make their partnership work. Continue Reading »

Cover Theme Game for 8/5

The cover theme game works like this: I’ll show you three covers. They all have something in common, whether it be a character, a trait all three characters share, a connection between all three characters, a locale, a trait all three creators share, SOMEthing. And it isn’t something obvious like “They all have prices!” “They all have logos!” “They all feature a man!” “They are all Avengers (who ISN’T?)!” “They’re all dead (who HASN’T been killed off?)!” “They’ve all been cloned (who HASN’T been cloned?)!” “They’re all mutants!” (who ISN’T a mutant?) “They’re all orphans!” (who ISN’T an orphan?) “They’re all legacy heroes” (who ISN’T a legacy hero nowadays?)! “They’re all by the same artist!” (too obvious) etc.

In addition, please note that you must have some familiarity with comic book history to correctly guess these themes. You cannot guess the connective theme just by looking at the covers solely, you must have some knowledge beyond the covers. The connections will ONLY have to do with connections in the actual comic books (so no incidental connections like “they share the same last names of Vice Presidents,” etc. Now, if the three characters were each named Gerald Ford, that’d be another story, as that’d no longer be incidental).

If you come up with an answer that works outside of what I intended, I’ll give you credit (well, provided I think it fits, of course).

One more thing – if there are floating heads on the cover, ignore them! They don’t mean anything! Same thing with corner boxes!

If you think you know the answer, e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com. Don’t answer in the comments. This way, people who check in at different times of the day can still get credit for answering it correctly!

Here is an archive of all the past cover theme games, plus their answers. Before each new installment, I’ll post the answers to the previous week’s game.

Good luck and enjoy! Continue Reading »

Remember to Forget – The Fantastic Four’s “Lincoln’s Mother” Defense

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 the infamous “Lincoln’s Mother” defense for Sue Storm being a member of the Fantastic Four…
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Thoughts on the Deadpool Trailer

Fox has officially released the red band R-rated trailer for Deadpool, as well as the regular trailer. Check them both out and then I’ll give you some thoughts…


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The Great Comic Book Cover Homage Streak: Week 149

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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The Great Comic Book Cover Homage Streak: Week 148

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: Alex Toth to Greg Pak

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 Harlan Ellison to Warren Ellis. Matthew O. was one of about nine people who connected the two in two moves. Matthew was the randomly selected winner. Here is how Matthew connected the two:

Harlan Ellison wrote Gotham Knights #13 drawn by Gene Ha.
Ha drew Global Frequency #12 written by Warren Ellis.

Matthew’s challenge is…

Alex Toth to Greg Pak

degrees8-3-1

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)!

Review time! with Girlfiend

EPSON MFP image

“Who is the fly in your champagne? / Who’s got the body and who’s got the brain? / Let me taste your blood ’cause I’m in pain / You are the one that I desire”
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Sunday’s Statistical Standard

So this infographic showed up on my feeds a couple of days ago. You’ve probably seen it if you’re a book person. It’s depressing even if you’re not a writer, though it does explain certain media trends. Continue Reading »

Meta-Messages – The Hidden Spidey Insult That Got an Inker Fired

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 Frank W., I feature a story I did as a Comic Book Legends Revealed nearly a decade ago that also works as a Meta-Message, so it should be featured here, as well, which is the hidden insult in Universe X: Spidey that led to the book’s inker losing his job.
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75 Greatest Joker Stories Master List

We’ve been celebrating the Joker’s 75th anniversary with a countdown of the greatest Joker comic book stories ever told, as voted on by YOU, the readers! Read on for the complete master list. Click on any story for a write-up about that story (including the creative team on the story in question).

Enjoy!
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The Wrong Side: A Sniper vs. Thor

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!

This week, based on suggestions from a bunch of readers, I tackle a surprisingly controversial topic among comic book fandom, namely whether or not Thor can be taken out by a sniper.
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75 Greatest Joker Stories: #5-1

In honor of the seventy-fifth anniversary of Joker, we’re doing a countdown of your favorite Joker stories of all-time.

You all voted, now here are the results of what you chose as the 75 Greatest Joker Stories! Click here for a master list of all 75 stories.

Enjoy!
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Comic Book Legends Revealed #534

Welcome to the five hundred and thirty-fourth 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, did Marvel nearly reboot their comic book line in 1986? Was Daria really influenced by Enid from Ghost World? And what comic book artist had to flee TWO separate countries due to protesting the governments there?

Let’s begin!
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The Line it is Drawn #251 – Comic Book Character/Star Trek Team-Ups!

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…

In honor of Bruce Timm’s newest DC Animated Film, JLA: Gods and Monsters, pick a comic book storyline that you’d like to see drawn in the Bruce Timm animated style. Walking Dead, Timm-style, Dark Phoenix Saga, Timm-style, etc.

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

In honor of the current Star Trek/Green Lantern mini-series, team-up comic book characters with Star Trek characters!

Enjoy!
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