web stats

J. M. DeMatteis Archives - Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources

1987 And All That: Blood: A Tale #1-4

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.

Blood1Blood: A Tale #1-4 (Epic) by J.M. DeMatteis, Kent Williams, Gaspar Saladino, Robbin Brosterman, Daniel Chichester, and Steve Buccellato

Countless works of fiction—and non-fiction, too, while I mention it—have been built around the protagonist’s journey of self-discovery. One might even argue that every story, to one degree or another, is about the hero’s path toward self-actualization, just as some would say that self-actualization is the driving force behind everything we do. Whether or not it’s truly such a universal phenomenon, the search for self is certainly common, in our real lives and our entertainment. Blood: A Tale is, above all, another example of such a story, its main character constantly striving to define himself and his world. But the book steadfastly refuses to settle on a consistent narrative identity, moving through its beats with a manic, chaotic energy and pulling from as many genres as it can think of along the way. It’s a fairy-tale horror, a fantasy adventure romance, a metatextual story about stories, and a spiritual time travel narrative all in one. It is also none of those things entirely, and the lush but often blurred and/or vague artwork only adds to the schizophrenic atmosphere. I don’t mean to indicate that Blood or its creators are confused about what the comic should be. On the contrary, the ever-fluctuating tone and rhythm are deliberate elements, there to underline the difficulty and, perhaps, the futility of the hero’s efforts to understand himself and find his place. Each of us is a million people in one, behaving differently and wanting different things depending on where we are (physically and emotionally), who we’re with, and any number of other unpredictable external and internal factors. Blood celebrates that fact by letting its title character play numerous roles, all while trying to uncover what his role is really supposed to be. Continue Reading »

Year of the Artist, Day 204: Adam Hughes, Part 3 – Elementals #12 and Justice League America #39

jli7007 (2)

Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Adam Hughes, and the issues are Elementals (volume 2) #12 and Justice League America #39, the first of which was published by Comico and is cover dated February 1990 and the second of which was published by DC and is cover dated June 1990. Enjoy!
Continue Reading »

Year of the Artist, Day 136: Bill Willingham, Part 3 – Justice League International Annual #2

jliannual4004 (2)

Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Bill Willingham, and the issue is Justice League International Annual #2, which was published by DC and is cover dated 1988. Enjoy!
Continue Reading »

Year of the Artist, Day 135: Bill Willingham, Part 2 – Justice League Annual #1

jlaannual4004 (2)

Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Bill Willingham, and the issue is Justice League Annual #1, which was published by DC and is cover dated 1987. Enjoy!
Continue Reading »

Year of the Artist, Day 17: Seth Fisher, Part 2 – Green Lantern: Willworld

10-31-2013 02;21;08PM (2)

Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Seth Fisher, and the issue is Green Lantern: Willworld, which was published by DC and is cover dated 2001. Enjoy!
Continue Reading »

Trade paperbacks, older editions, and miscellaneous for July 2013

MarshalLawvol1 (2)

“Can you picture what will be / So limitless and free”
Continue Reading »

Gimmick or Good? – Amazing Spider-Man #400

In this column, Mark Ginocchio (from Chasing Amazing) takes a look at the gimmick covers from the 1990s and gives his take on whether the comic in question was just a gimmick or whether the comic within the gimmick cover was good. Hence “Gimmick or Good?” Here is an archive of all the comics featured so far. We continue with 1995′s die-cut embossed “tombstone” cover of Amazing Spider-Man #400…

ASM 400 cover

Amazing Spider-Man #400 (published April 1995) – script by J.M. DeMatteis, pencils by Mark Bagley, inks by Larry Mahlstedt

In an attempt to piggy-back on the enormous cultural and commercial success and impact of Amazing Spider-Man’s previous “centennial” issue (ASM #300), Marvel busted out a cavalcade of 1990s gimmicks for ASM #400. The front cover sported an embossed die-cut overlay in the shape of a tombstone, promoting a “death in the family” (Jason Todd was spared this time). And if that was not enough to titillate collectors, Marvel released a very limited edition variant cover with a snow white tombstone rather than the standard gray/off-white edition.

On a personal note, I will always remember how the release of this comic bought out the speculator in me. After kicking myself over the fact that my 7-year-old self destroyed the copy of ASM #300 I had picked up on the spinner rack when it first came out (forcing me to have to pay upwards of 30 times the cover price for a copy at a comic book show in the early 90s so I could own the first Venom story), I reserved TWO copies of ASM #400 at my local comic book shop months in advance: one for reading and one to preserve for the day it would inevitably accrue in value. I was ecstatic when the store owner called my house the night before the comic was released letting me know I could come by and get my copy AHEAD of everyone else. When I saw that tombstone on the cover, I was convinced that my college education would be paid for in no time.

But what about inside the comic?
Continue Reading »

Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 89: Justice League America #48

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Justice League America #48, which was published by DC and is cover dated March 1991. Enjoy!
Continue Reading »

Committed: “Director’s Cut” Comic Books

With all of the luxury, hard cover reprints of comic books, why is it so rare to see  any involvement by the original authors? And why isn’t this more of a selling point, as it would be with movies when directors, writers and actors assemble to create a the “special features” on DVDs? As I begin to look at my books with a more critical eye, I can see that in many instances, collected reprints often aren’t any better than the original comic books. Continue Reading »

Comics You Should Own flashback – Dr. Fate #1-4; #1-24

Hey, look! It’s the last of the old posts that I need to move to this blog! That must mean the archives will no longer have dead links! Huzzah!
Continue Reading »

Into the back issue box #54

I bought a bunch of these comics at a sale my comics shoppe was having, so that’s the reason a lot in a row have been standard DC and Marvel superhero books. Sorry about that. On the one hand, a lot of people have already read these, so they can reminisce about them. On the other hand, while some of these might be mediocre, none of them have been eye-bleedingly bad, like we occasionally get with this series. Those are definitely more fun to write, I’ll tell you that much, and probably to read as well. C’est la vie! Today, it’s another fairly standard mid-1980s Marvel superhero book. Check out its identity after the cut!
Continue Reading »

Comics You Should Own – Justice League Europe #1-28

Hey, it’s a spin-off … just like Joanie Loves Chachi!
Continue Reading »

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives