* NOW WITH STAR RATINGS (ala Wrestling Observer Newsletter PPV reports) *
HOW I RATE THE COMICS VIA THE ALAN MOORE SCALE
***** Watchmen, Miracleman, V For Vendetta
**** From Hell, Supreme, Swamp Thing, Fashion Beast, League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (first two series)
*** Axel Pressbutton, Tom Strong
* LoEG: Century: 1969
DUD (or lower) any of his non-comics stuff
1.-4. Hero 9 to 5 (Markosia, 2010) ***¼
- originally published as Hero 9 to 5 #1-4 (Markosia, 2010)
Writer: Ian Sharman/Artist: David Gray
An amiable tale about working-class superheroes in England, marred by an out-of-left-field rape incident in the fourth issue. Jarring stuff.
5.-10. Marvel Boy TPB (Marvel, 2001) *½
- originally published as Marvel Boy #1-6 (Marvel Knights, 2000-01)
Writer: Grant Morrison/Artists: JG Jones, Ryan Kelly & Sean Parsons
How can a guy who produces so exquisitely perfect and delightful as All-Star Superman can also serve up such a steaming, dense, incomprehensible piece of crap like this reimagining of the Captain Marvel mythos.
11. Southern Knights #29 (Comics Interview, 1988) **
Writer: Henry Vogel/Artists: Chuck Wojtkiewicz; Del Thompson; Mark Propst & John Dell III
Utterly uninspiring superheroic shenanigans.
12. Genesis #0 (Malibu, 1993) ½*
Writer: Roland Mann/Artist: Jimmy Palmiotti
Writer: Charles Marshall/Artists: Patrick Rolo & Bobby Rae
Dinosaurs for Hire:
Writer: Tom Mason/Artists: Curt Swan & Bruce McCorkindale
Writer: RA Jones/Artist: Rich Buckler
George Perez (cover)
The wrap-around foil cover reveals everything that was wrong with early 90s mainstream comics. Add to it bad, “gritty’ writing and “killer” vigilantes and you get a shitty-as-fuck comic.
13.-18. Kick-Ass 3 #3-8 (Icon, 2013-14) ****
Writer: Mark Millar/Artists: John Romita Jr & Tom Palmer
I didn’t like the first two issues and I expected this final chapter in the trilogy to continue to be a major disappointment. To be honest, I was dreading reading the last six issues. But to my surprise and pleasure, the series really picked up with #3 and didn’t let up till the very end. Just a really fun read and a satisfying conclusion to the Kick-Ass story. I didn’t fully understand why the Motherfucker turned good – that seemed unbelievable and designed to be a shock twist – but other than that, I enjoyed Kick-Ass 3 immensely.
19. Epic #2 (Comix Tribe, 2014) **
Writer: Tyler James/Artist: Fico Ossio
A juvenile superhero who loses his powers when in the presence of hot chicks? That’s a new wrinkle to an old story. Other than that, Epic wasn’t particularly good.
20.-21. Mandrake the Magician #2, #8 (Frew, 1990-91) **½
Writer: Lee Falk/Artists: Phil Davis (interior); Glenn Ford (#2 cover)
When my mum went into a nursing home a few months back, I inherited her comics collection, which included these two Aussie-produced mags, reprinting Mandrake strips from the 1940s. Frew had been publishing The Phantom for 40+ years at this stage and obviously thought another Lee Falk creation might do well on the newsstands. Originally billed as a six-issue limited series, the title must have done OK for a while as Mum also had #8. But I don’t think Mandrake lasted too much longer after that. As premises go it’s kinda lame: a magician constantly uses “mass hypnosis” to thwart crooks – while always wearing a three-piece dinner suit and top hat. His assistant – the super-strong but superstitious and cowardly Lothar – is a pretty bad racial stereotype, even by the terrible cultural standards of that time. With all that said, #8’s story “The Kordies” (part one of a two-part series) was entertaining and the use of the zombie-like Kordies – led by evil Baron Kord – is effectively creepy. As for Frew, the company STILL reprints old Phantom strips, making it the most successful Aussie-based comics company of all time.
22. Legends #5 (DC, 1987) ***¼
Writers: John Ostrander & Len Wein/Artists: John Byrne & Karl Kesel
This was the series where G. Gordon Godfrey (who was one of Darkseid’s stooges) turned mankind against superheroes. Cool art by John Byrne and this issue sets up a bunch of post-Legends series including the new Justice League and Suicide Squad.
23. Get Lost #2 (NCG, 1987) *
Writers: Ross Andru & Mike Esposito/Artists: Andru & Esposito (interior); Gray Morrow (cover)
Terrible, sub-par Mad magazine rip-off. This is a reprint of the original Get Lost from the mid-1950s.
24. Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction #4 (Marvel/Curtis, 1975) **¼
I always loved this mag, which I first read when it was reprinted by Newton Comics in the mid-70s. Nostalgic feelings aside, however, it’s pretty ordinary sci-fi anthology stuff. There’s an interesting interview with AE Van Vogt, where he reveals he’s a Scientologist and a “good friend” of L. Ron Hubbard. Wacky stuff. The only decent strip is Encounter At War, written by Jan Strnad and illustrated by Richard Corben. But the poor B&W printing on cheap paper destroys the art’s impact.
25.-28. Invincible Vol. 1: Family Matters (Image, 2003) ***½
29.-32. Invincible Vol. 2: Eight Is Enough (Image, 2004) ***½
33.-37. Invincible Vol. 3: Perfect Strangers (Image, 2004) ***
38.-43. Invincible Vol. 4: Head Of The Class (Image, 2005) ***½
- originally published in Invincible #1-19 & Image Summer Special #1 (Image, 2003-04)
Writer: Robert Kirkman/Artists: Cory Walker (#1-7), Ryan Ottley (#8-19) + friends
DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THE ORIGINAL COMICS OF THIS SERIES ARE WORTH?!!! Issue one alone is $1500 MINT! I had Invincible #1-25 and I sold the lot in 2005 for THIRTY DOLLARS on eBay!!! AAAAARRRRRGHHHHHH!
I stopped buying Invincible and sold my collection at the same time that I quit The Walking Dead (and yes, I sold the first 25 issues of TWD on eBay for a pittance, too). I’d had enough of the torture porn that Kirkman had turned both titles into – while I could sorta understand why he did in a zombie comic, I just couldn’t appreciate him taking the torture porn route in what was, essentially, a light-hearted superhero tale. To be honest, I started going off Invincible around #8 when Invincible’s dad Omni-Man was revealed to be a mass-murdering psycho from another planet. It wasn’t hard to quit the series when I did the same with TWD. Having just read the Wikipedia entry on Invincible, I’m glad I did, because Kirkman has taken the series into some truly dark territory. Still...a few years back i saw the first four volumes of Invincible for sale cheap on eBay. On a whim I bought them (along with the first two volumes of TWD...don’t ask). I didn’t know what to expect when I reread the first 19 issues. I will say that I still hate the dark road that Kirkman took the series in #8 when Omni-Man slaughters the Guardians Of The Globe. But much of the comic is endearing and Invincible is such a likeable teenager...well, he is at this stage anyway.
I won’t buy any further volumes, but I’m glad I reread it – Invincible was once a very enjoyable comic book.
44. Brinke Of Eternity #1 (Chaos! Comics, 1994) DUD
Writers: Brinke Stevens & Brian Pulido/Artists: Mike Holliman & Mark Morales (interior); Steven Hughes (cover)
45. Brinke Of Destruction #1 (High Top, 1995) *
Writers: Brinke Stevens & Todd A. Kaylor/Artists: Mike Holliman & Ian (interior); boris Vallejo (cover)
46. Brinke Of Disaster! (High-Top Sports Productions, 1996) **
Writer: Dave R. & Richard McEnroe & Cynthia Johns/Artists: PM Butler (pencils); Richard Mcenroe & John Lockamy (cover)
47.-50. Marvel Milestones Special (Marvel, 2006) ***½
- originally published in Marvel Presents #1 (1975), Machine Man #1 (1978), Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16 (1982), Bloodstone #1 (2001)
51. Kid Colt And The Arizona Girl (Marvel, 2006) ***¼
52. Trident #1 (Trident Comics, 1989) **½
53. Terra Magazine #1 (Black House, 2011) **
54. Moon Girl #3 (Red 5 Comics, 2011) DUD
Writer: Tony Trov & Johnny Zito/Aritst: The Rahzzah
55. The Vic Bridges Fazes Sketchbook And Fact File #1 (AC Comics, 1986) **¼
56. Hello, I’m Johnny Cash (Spire Christian Comics, 1976) **
Writers: Johnny Cash & Billy Zeoli/Artist: Al Hartley
57. Asylum #2 (Millennium Publications, 1993) ***¾
58. Star Wars #1 (Marvel, 2015) *
Writer: Jason Aaron/Artist: John Cassaday
59. Pacific Rim: Tales From The Drift #1 (Legendary, 2015) DUD
Writers: Travis Beacham & Joshua Fialkov/Artist: Marcos Marz (interior); Marz & Whilce Portacio (cover)
60. Doctor Solar #1 (Dark Horse, 2010) **
61. Chicanos #1 (IDW, 2005) ½*
Writer: Carlos Trillo/Artist: Eduardo Risso
Racist, sexist shit.
62. Lucifer Fawkes: Bloodflow (Rorschach Entertainment, 2004) ½*
Writer: C. William Russette/Artists: Ryan Sergeant (interior); Shane White (cover)
63.-65. Sparks Limited Preview Ashcan #1-2 (Catastrophic Comics, 2008) **
Writer: Chris Folino/Artist: JM Ringuet
66. Ornette Birks Makkonen Speaks Fluent English (self-published, 1996?) *
Writer: Pauli Kallio/Artist: Ville Pirinen
67. Star Wars: Vader Down #1 (Marvel, 2016) *
Writers: Jason Aaron & Kieron Gillen/Artists: Mike Deodato (interior); Mark Brooks (cover)
68.-73. Vext #1-6 (DC, 1999) ***
Writer: Keith Giffen/Artists: Mike McKone & Mark McKenna
Giffen isn’t as funny as he thinks he is.
74.-75. Freedom Fighters #1-2 (DC, 1976) *
Writers: Martin Pasko (#1) & Gerry Conway (#1-2)/Artists: Ric Estrada & Mike Royer (#1); Pablo Marcos & Tex Blaisdell (#2)
76. Bucky O’Hare TPB (Continuity, 1986) **¾
Writer: Michael Golden/Artist: Larry Hama
77.-80. Helen Killer #1-4 (Arcana, 2007-08) ½*
Writers: Andrew Kreisberg & Matthew JLD Rice/Artist: Matthew JLD Rice
Arguably the stupidest concept ever: Helen Keller puts on wacky glasses and becomes a demon-possessed ninja superhero. Godawful!
81.-85. Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman Vol. 1 (Marvel, 2011) ****
- originally published in Fantastic Four #570-574 (Marvel, 2009-10)
Writer: Jonathan Hickman/Artists: Dale Eaglesham & Andrew Currie (interiors #570-572); Neil Edwards (interiors #573-574); Alan Davis & Mark Farmer (main covers)
Actually, this was surprisingly good.
86.-89. Marvel Universe vs The Punisher #1-4 (Marvel, 2010-11) ***½
Writer: Jonathan Mayberry/Artist: Goran Parlov
So was this.
90. Plastic Farm #17 (self-published, 2010) ***
Writer/artist: Rafer Roberts
91. Random Order Comics (self-published, 2004) ***
Writer/Artist: James V. West
92. The Airmen (Mansion Comics, 1995) DUD
Writer: David Watkins/Artists: various
93. Zombie Boy #1 (Antarctic Press, 1996) **¾
Writer/artist: Mark Stokes
94.-95. Eclipse Monthly #3, #6 (Eclipse, 1983) **
96. McBlack One-Shot (Black Class Press, 2011) **
Writer: Jason Franks/Artists: various
97. PeaceMakers #1 (Bittersweet Press, 1997) DUD
Horribly lame “superhero” action, not helped that the comic is misprinted and one section is repeated, making the two stories incomprehensible.
98. Bloody Bones And Blackeyed Peas #1 (Galaxy Comics, 1984) ½*
I’d wanted this comic for years after seeing the cover in The Comics Journal back in the mid-80s. I’ve read it now, but it was awful. Totally schlocky DC House Of Mystery-style horror.
99. The Cosmic Book #1 (ACE Comics, 1986) ** (all for Wally Wood & Alex Toth)
Contributors: Wally Wood, Alex Toth, etc.
100. Reagan’s Raiders #2 (Solson Publications, 1986) -**
Writer: Monroe Arnold, David George & Rich Buckler/Artists: Keith royster, Rich Buckler & Scott Gladfelter
Godawful political superhero “satire”.
101. Cyanide And Happiness: I’m Giving You the Finger (HarperCollins, 2009) ****
Writers/artists: Rob D, Dave, Matt & Kris