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What I bought – 11 February 2015

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In the suburbs people rarely dreamed of striking out for happiness. It was all familiarity and endurance: security and safety were the reward of dullness. (Hanif Kureishi, from The Buddha of Suburbia)
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What I bought – 4 February 2015

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Another poet compared his beloved’s upper-lip hairs to the feathers of a parrot feeding a pistachio to the beloved’s lips. To help me appreciate the richness of this poetic image, Diloram drew a picture of it in my notebook. It was terrifying. (Elif Batumen, from The Possessed)
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1987 And All That: Daredevil #239-240

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.

Daredevil1Daredevil #239-240 (Marvel) by Ann Nocenti, Louis Williams, Al Williamson, Geof Isherwood (#239), Max Scheele (#239), Bob Sharen (#240), Petra Scotese (#240), Joe Rosen, Ralph Macchio

Though not a great story by any stretch, there were two dominant themes in this pair of Daredevil issues that I always like to see explored, even if they’re not handled especially well. The first is the notion of superheroes being as bad for the world (or worse) as the villains they fight. This was not a new idea in 1987, and it’s been discussed many times since, but for any consistent fan of superhero stories (not just in comics but across all media) it’s a point that bears repeated examination, because there is no wholly satisfying answer. Are the protagonists of these narratives really deserving of the title of “hero,” or are they merely super-people fighting against other super-people in a self-fulfilling and never-ending cycle of violence begetting violence? The truth likely falls somewhere in between, and attempting to uncover it is a worthwhile activity. Continue Reading »

Flippin’ through Previews – February 2015

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Hey, you know what’s going on with DC in Previews #317 this month? Why, it’s a … Convergency!!!!

(Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip your servers!)
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1987 And All That: Captain America #325-336

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.

Cap1Captain America #325-336 (Marvel) by Mark Gruenwald, Paul Neary (#325-329, 331), Tom Morgan (#330, 332-336), John Beatty (#325-327), Kent Williams (#326), Vince Colletta (#328-329, 331), Sam de la Rosa (#330), Bob McLeod (#332), Dave Hunt (#333-336), Ken Feduniewicz (#325-330, 332-334), Bob Sharen (#331, 335-336), Diana Albers (#325-332), Bill Oakley (#333), Ken Lopez (#333-334), Jack Morelli (#335-336), Don Daley (#325-334), Ralph Macchio (#335-336)

In some respects, this is a tricky run of issues to review, because they include the beginning but not the ending of the “Captain America No More” saga in which Steve Rogers turned in his shield, his costume, and the moniker that comes with them, and John Walker was appointed to replace him. Rogers’ retirement occurs in issue #332, and Walker becomes Captain America in #333, so while there are a few issues from 1987 exploring that new status quo, the resolution wouldn’t come until February 1989’s Captain America #350. In that sense, then, the issues I’m covering here represent something incomplete, the start of an epic storyline that doesn’t yet finish. But there is still plenty to discuss in terms of what these issues have in common, and how they lead up to and deliver the rather bold, shocking, and powerful moment of Rogers’ decision to give up his Captain America persona. This is a comicbook about the downside of idealism, the strain that any rigid belief system puts on those who follow it, as well as the dangers and evils which that kind of extreme thinking can engender. It’s not necessarily a cautionary tale, but it does warn against believing in anything too intensely or blindly, and shows the readers and characters alike how impractical and unpleasant it can be to try and live life according to a strict set of rules. The world is not rigid or simple enough for any idealism to be a perfect fit, and that’s a lesson learned many times in many ways over the course of these issues. Continue Reading »

She Has No Head! – Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 Is Criminally Cute And That’s A Great Thing

So, I had the honor of reading an advance copy of THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #1 (releases this week – 1/7/15!) and I am here to tell you that it’s criminally cute and MUST be purchased by anyone interested in variety in their big two comics, or anyone just interested in great fun comic books period. I wrote a few weeks ago for CBR about Bitch Planet #1 being a “perfect first issue” and the power of such a thing. There are few “perfect issues” in a year of comics and yet here I am, first week of January writing about another one.

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Year of the Artist, Day 364: Joe Kubert, Part 4 – Detective Comics #500, Batman #400, and Tor #3

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Joe Kubert, and the issues are Detective Comics #500 and Batman #400, which were published by DC and are cover dated March 1981 and October 1986, respectively, and Tor #3, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated August 1993. The Tor scans are from Tor by Joe Kubert volume 3, which was published by DC in 2003. Enjoy!
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Flippin’ through Previews – January 2015

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The new Previews is out, and we all have to get used to writing “2015” on everything! Can you handle it?!?!?!?
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Year of the Artist, Day 358: Wallace Wood, Part 3 – Daredevil #6

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Wallace Wood, and the issue is Daredevil #6, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated February 1965. These scans are from Marvel Masterworks: Daredevil volume 1, which was published 2003. Enjoy!
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Year of the Artist, Day 354: Jim Steranko, Part 2 – Captain America #111 and #113

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Jim Steranko, and the issues are Captain America #111 and #113, which were published by Marvel and are cover dated March and May 1969, respectively. These scans are from Marvel Masterworks: Captain America volume 3, which came out in 2014 (well, my printing did). Enjoy!
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Year of the Artist, Day 353: Jim Steranko, Part 1 – Strange Tales #154, 157, 165, 166, and 167 and Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1, 2, and 3

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Jim Steranko, and the issues are Strange Tales #154, 157, 165-167 and Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1-3, which were published by Marvel and are cover dated March and June 1967 and February, March, April, June, July, and August 1968, respectively. These scans are from Marvel Masterworks: Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. volume 2, which came out in 2009. Enjoy!
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Year of the Artist, Day 350: Frank Miller, Part 3 – Elektra Lives Again

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Frank Miller, and the issue is Elektra Lives Again, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated March 1990. Enjoy!
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Year of the Artist, Day 348: Frank Miller, Part 1 – Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #27 and Wolverine #1

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Frank Miller, and the issues are Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #27 and Wolverine #1, which were published by Marvel and are cover dated February 1979 and September 1982, respectively. The scans of PPtSSM are from Daredevil by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson volume 1, which was published in 2008, and the Wolverine scans are from Wolverine, the trade paperback, which was originally published in 1987 but went through several printings. Enjoy!
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Year of the Artist, Day 346: Barry Windsor-Smith, Part 4 – Uncanny X-Men #205

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Barry Windsor-Smith, and the issue is Uncanny X-Men #205, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated May 1986. Enjoy!
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Year of the Artist, Day 344: Barry Windsor-Smith, Part 2 – Savage Tales #2

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Barry Windsor-Smith, and the story is “Red Nails” (part one) from Savage Tales #2, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated October 1973. These scans are from Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian #1, which was published in 1983 and features a colored version. Enjoy!
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