Thursday, May 2, 2013
THE RAMPAGING ELEMENTS
claim its star is “the world’s most famous cowboy.” I made a quick
trip to Wikipedia and found this:
Thomas Edwin "Tom" Mix (born Thomas Hezikiah Mix; January 6, 1880
– October 12, 1940) was an American film actor and the star of many
early Western movies. Between 1909 and 1935, Mix appeared in 291
films, all but nine of which were silent movies. He was Hollywood's
first Western megastar and is noted as having helped define the
genre for all cowboy actors who followed.
I knew of Tom Mix and his stature, but I’m pretty sure I never saw
one of his movies. Since they were almost all silent films, that’s
not surprising. I’ve read Tom Mix comics stories here and there,
likely reprinted by Bill Black’s AC Comics, but they never made an
impact on me either.
The Grand Comics Database doesn’t have anything on this issue save
for the cover. But, considering that Tom Mix comics continued to
be published and presumably sell more than a decade after the death
of their star, the title must have had its fair share of readers.
I’ll add this issue to the list of “comic books from the month of
my birth that I’ll buy if I can afford them.” If I do acquire this
issue, I’ll revisit it in a future bloggy thing.
The last few months have been extremely busy for me. I completed
a number of paying gigs while working on various family, health and
personal projects. My leisure time consisted of reading old comic
books and watching movies. I’ll be writing about the movies over
the weekend. Today is for the comic books.
I read several issues of Batman: the Brave and the Bold, based on
one of my two favorite animated treatments of the Caped Crusader.
All were entertaining, but the one that really floated my Bat-boat
was issue #15 [May, 2010]. Written by Sholly Fisch with pencil art
by Robert Pope and inks by Scott McRae, “Minute Mystery” captured
my heart from its opening sequence: a time-traveling Batman facing
the Mad Mod in London of the 1960s and teamed up with Brother Power
the Geek and Super-Hip. You might not recognize those names, but,
let me tell you, mates, they represent nostalgic heaven for yours
truly and others of my aging generation.
The main story featured Bats and the Flash (a fairly new to the gig
Wally West) teaming to bring the Fiddler to justice. The opening
sequence was wonderful, the rest of the story was very good with
its nice mix of action and characterization. I wish DC would have
continued this title for those of us who find their current Batman
comic books oppressively dark and ugly. Sigh.
The First X-Men #3-5 [$3.99 each] wrapped up the five-issue series
by Neal Adams (co-writer and artist), Christos Gage (writer) and,
for all but the final issue, Andrew Curtis (inker). These days, I
read each individual Marvel title as if it were taking place in its
own distinct universe. Trying to fit these series into any kind of
continuity is impossible and would make my brain explode. Of far
more importance to me - and I think we’ve established it really is
all about me - is that it lets me to enjoy some Marvel titles.
The First X-Men is set shortly after the world learned that mutants
walked among men. The government wants to capture all mutants and
that doesn’t sit well with Logan and Victor Creed. They gather a
small number of mutants into a protective league. Clearly, nothing
could go wrong with this fine plan...until it does so in terrifying
fashion. It isn’t a bright and cheerful series, but it boasts top-
notch writing, interesting characters and the dramatic/dynamic art
of comics master Adams. I recommend it.
A hardcover collection was published in late February. I’m sure it
will be followed by a softcover edition.
Garfield #6-10 [KaBoom!; $3.95] are mostly written by my pal Mark
Evanier and I expect his stories to be clever and funny. Which, of
course, they were. But lest I swell his head with praise, I also
want to extend kudos to Scott Nickel who wrote stories in issues
#8-10. For years, I’ve been a big fan of Nickel’s comic strip Eek!
These Garfield tales are quite a departure from the strip, but they
are as entertaining as Evanier’s scripts for the title.
Kudos must also be extended to the Garfield artists: Mike DeCarlo,
Gary Barker, Dan Davis, Andy Hirsch, Mark and Stephanie Heike and
David DeGrand. They delivered bright and bouncy art that made me
smile. DeGrand went for a somewhat different look - I’d call his
style “early Garfield” - but that worked well for the Nickel story
titled “The Lasagna Monster.”
Swell comic books for readers of all ages.
Every so often, DC Comics publishes a trademark-saver, a comic book
whose clear purpose is to protect the trademark of an old DC title
which hasn’t been published in years. These trademark-savers bare
little or no resemblance to the original titles and almost always
fail to impress me.
Ghosts [Vertigo one-shot; December 2012] doesn’t break the pattern.
Whereas the original DC version of Ghosts featured allegedly true
stories of spectral beings, this one is an anthology of tales with
ghosts. This didn’t bother me. I wasn’t an avid fan of that old
Ghosts series either, especially after it turned into just another
DC mystery title. That said...
The Dave Johnson cover on this one-shot is sweet. It’s striking,
well designed and coveys the general theme of the special. I like
it more than anything inside the issue.
Inside the issue are nine stories. The only one mentioned on the
cover is a sliver of a continued story featuring Neil Gaiman’s Dead
Boy Detectives not written by Neil Gaiman, isn’t particularly good
and to be continued in a Vertigo anthology to be named later. What
a cynical approach to editing!
The best and most interesting tale in the issue is “The Boy and the
Old Man” by Joe Kubert. It’s the last story Kubert did before his
death, written and loosely penciled and almost worth the one-shot’s
$7.99 cover price in and of itself.
Only two other stories did anything for me. Al Ewing’s “The Night
After I Took the Data Entry Job I Was Visited by My Own Ghost” is
a fresh take on the ghost story with lively art by Rufus DayGlo. I
also liked “Ghost For Hire” by Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire, which
struck me as the kind of thing with occasional appearance potential
if DC had an ongoing anthology spooky title.
Look for this one in the bargain bins. If you can get it for one
or two bucks, go for it.
IDW published three Jurassic Park series in 2010 and 2011. Feeling
in a dinosaur mood, I read all three in one day.
Jurassic Park (2010; five issues) by writer Bob Schreck with art by
Nate Van Dyke and Jamie Grant is unreadable and downright painful
to behold. It almost kept me from going further.
Jurassic Park: The Devils in the Desert (2011; four issues) by John
Byrne made me glad I continued reading. It’s a solid monster movie
done as comics. Its first issue builds suspense and its subsequent
issues deliver action, chills, surprises and great characters. He
may not have the name brand heroes to play with at IDW, but Byrne
is doing some outstanding work there.
Jurassic Park: Dangerous Games (2011; five issues) by Erik Bear and
Jorge Jimenez goes somewhat far afield of the Jurassic Park mythos.
A drug kingpin has bought the island of dinosaurs, uses it for his
sanctuary and also uses it to dispose of enemies. If the dinosaurs
don’t get them, he sends his own personal hunter after them. This
series isn’t in the same league as one by Byrne, but it’s perfectly
readable with some neat surprises.
Skip IDW’s first Jurassic Park mini-series, but, by all means, get
the others. The first two are available as trade paperbacks; the
third is available in hardcover.
Jurassic Park Volume 1: Redemption
Jurassic Park: The Devils in the Desert
Jurassic Park: Dangerous Games
That’s all for now. I’ll be back tomorrow with follow-up comments
on “Dragon*Con Dies at the End” and, for the weekend, a whole mess
of movie reviews. Thanks for stopping by.
© 2013 Tony Isabella