Tuesday, August 7, 2012
FIGHTING MEN BEHIND ENEMY LINES
in my birth month of December 1951. The issue comes midway through
the title’s 14-issue run.
Blake was a government investigator of some sort, though, from what
I’ve been able to learn of his adventures, his missions went well
beyond the usual territory of the real-world Secret Service as we
know it. His debut issue adventures were written by Hank Chapman
with art by Joe Sinnott (pencils) and Tom Gill (inks). With this
sixth issue, the Korean War became the backdrop for Blake’s cases.
The “Tales of War” focus would run through issue #12.
We don’t have definite credits for the sixth issue, but Atlas Tales
opines the cover might have been drawn by Sol Brodsky, who was
a prolific Atlas cover artist in the 1950s. The website attributes
the art on the issue’s three Kent Blake stories to Gill. The issue
also features two short non-series comics stories and a text story.
According to International Hero, Blake’s ghost appeared in Amazing
Spider-Man Annual #13. The site reports:
Kent continued to work for the Secret Service until the modern day,
when he was killed by Ryan, a minor crook. Never willing to leave
a case unfinished, in life or in death, his ghost returned to draft
in the aid of costumed crimefighter Spider-Man in capturing his
That said, the Grand Comics Database lists no such story in Amazing
Spider-Man Annual #13. Can any of my bloggy readers pinpoint where
this story actually appeared?
That’s what I know about Kent Blake. Keep reading my bloggy thing
for more comics from the month of my birth.
My reading of “The New 52" from DC Comics is fairly random and my
reviewing of same even more so. Overwhelmingly, the material does
not speak to me as a reader or as a writer. The comics still smell
of desperation to me, despite the initial commercial success of the
relaunch. Going forward, I’ll only be reviewing these titles when
they are very good, very bad, or strangely interesting.
Action Comics #9 [$3.99] by Grant Morrison and artist Gene Ha falls
into the third grouping. It’s a tale of the Superman of Earth 23,
a dark-skinned alien who has become President of the United States.
Which is as illegal on that Earth as it would be on ours. Perhaps
this comic book is what Joe Arpaio, the definitely racist, arguably
criminal sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County thinks is proof that
our own President Obama was born in Kenya. Maybe Donald Trump or
Orly Taitz sent him their copies of the comic book.
While I have no way of knowing where Morrison falls on the absurd
“Birther” issue, I suspect he saw it as a cool springboard to tell
an entertaining and fascinating story. In “Executive Power,” the
issue’s secondary feature, Sholly Fisch and Cully Hamner followed
up on the lead tale in like manner. I enjoyed this issue...and I
also wonder how long it will take before someone starts selling it
on eBay with an emphasis on its “Birther” aspects. Do right-wing
fanatics read comic books?
On a related note...why 52?
Why does this new DC Multiverse have only 52 Earths? Is there some
mathematical or mystical significance to the number? Is there an
advertising significance to the number beyond DC’s use of it? To
my way of thinking, once you start with such parallel universes,
you’re logically dealing with an infinite number of such universes.
This is an actual question, so feel free to comment.
Bleeding Cool #0 [Avatar; $1.99] previews the new 100-page comics
magazine spinning off from the popular website. Rich Johnston, the
originator of that site, is the head writer for this print edition.
I welcome its arrival.
Critics of Johnston’s style of journalism often complain that much
of what he writes is gossip, rumor and speculation. I’m not a big
fan of gossip about the personal lives of comics creators and that
goes back to when I was actually working in the offices of Marvel
and DC. But the rumors and speculations bear fruit with regularity
and that kind of stuff intrigues me. Comics publishers hate when
someone pulls back the curtain to reveal their great and powerful
wizards are fast-talking con men from Kansas.
The preview issue downplays the gossip for articles on the Valiant
Comics relaunch, The Walking Dead, Boom!, and more, including an
interview with Before Watchmen contributor Len Wein, the original
editor of Watchmen. Not every article will interest every reader,
but, with 100 pages per regular issue, I suspect every reader will
find a great deal of material of interest to him or her.
Bleeding Cool Magazine #1 launches in October. I’m looking forward
to reading and reviewing it.
Over the weekend, I read Fantastic Four #603-607 and FF #15-19. I
enjoyed them, but don’t have anything particularly profound to say
about them. Some random thoughts:
The Council of Reed stuff is getting tiresome, as is the Franklin
and Valeria of the future stuff. That said, the issues featuring
Galactus were cool.
I laughed out loud at the issue with Johnny Storm and Peter Parker
as roommates. Maybe Marvel Studios should think about producing a
buddy comedy. I would offer casting suggestions if I knew or cared
who’s hot in Hollywood these days.
I don’t quite have a handle on Johnny Storm since he came back from
death and the Negative Zone. I think there’s a personal story in
those events, but writer Jonathan Hickman seems to be dancing all
The issue with the Negative Zone elections was sweet. However, I’m
concerned the right wing of the Zone engaged in voter suppression
in the name of combating voter fraud that didn’t exist. Maybe the
Watcher should look into that.
Man, there are a lot of youngsters attending the FF school. It’s
hard to keep track of them. But they are fun.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2012 Tony Isabella