Too Much Cool Stuff – Not Enough $$$ – November ‘09

Captain America #602

Captain America #602

by KC Carlson

The big news over at Marvel this month is a two fisted-knockout. Part one is the return of Captain America Steve Rogers to the Marvel Universe in a big way. First, the regular monthly Captain America comic starts up again, as issue #602 features the first chapter of Two Americas by Ed Brubaker and Luke Ross. Then, Steve returns to the Avengers in the pages of New Avengers #61 by Brian Bendis and Stuart Immonen – which is one of the tie-in books for Siege, the second part of the big news from Marvel. Written by Brian Bendis and pencilled by Olivier Coipel, Siege is a four-part series described as the culmination of events beginning with Avengers Disassembled and leading through House of M, Civil War, Secret Invasion, and the long-awaited (at least by me!) wrap-up of Norman Osborn’s Dark Reign over the Marvel U. Key to the promotion of Siege is the image of Marvel’s core Avengers – Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America – all reunited again, and all the real deal!

Siege #1

Siege #1

Siege will involve all the Avengers-related books from January to April and will also include a couple of specials unique to the series: Siege: Embedded will be a four-part series running concurrent to the main Siege title. It looks to be similar to the previous event tie-in series Front Line, as it will deal with side issues to the main story and tell how the media (which Osborn has been manipulating) will be involved. Also this month is Siege: Storming Asgard – Heroes and Villains, a one-shot Marvel Spotlight-esque special featuring character bios and commentary from the creators about the monumental series.

Getting back to Cap, the only Hitch (pun intended) in the whole thing may be that an extra issue of Brubaker and Bryan Hitch’s blockbuster Captain America: Reborn (#6) has been added to the schedule. Normally this would be great news, but as the mini-series has already been running a bit late, if they can’t catch up by January, it could cause a domino effect with Siege and the other Avengers titles. Cross your fingers – this may be a bumpy ride! And don’t miss Brubaker and Steve Epting’s version of Cap’s WWII origins, which is the focus of this month’s The Marvels Project #5!

Atom & Hawkman #46

Atom & Hawkman #46

Meanwhile, over in DC Land, Blackest Night (the limited series) is taking the month off, so DC is presenting eight one-shot “last issues” – an additional issue of many favorite cancelled series both past and present, all tying into Blackest Night. Look for Atom & Hawkman #46 (both characters are prominent in BN, and this is by Geoff Johns and Ryan Sook, so it will most likely be a key issue), Catwoman #83 (a wild card, since it doesn’t seem to have much to do with Blackest Night, but features the return of the original Black Mask – the villain who Catwoman killed), Phantom Stranger #42 (sadly not drawn by the late Jim Aparo, this issue will feature many of DC’s supernatural characters including Blue Devil and Deadman vs. the Black Lantern Spectre), Power of Shazam #48 (featuring the Marvel Family, the Black Adam family, and the return of Osiris from the dead), The Question #37 (a cool pick as original Question artists Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz team with writer Greg Rucka as Black Lantern Vic Sage faces off against Renee Montoya – the new Question! My only question: Where’s Denny O’Neil?), Starman #81 (another must-read, as James Robinson returns to Opal City – and Tony Harris provides the cover! Plus, The Shade and Hope O’Dare!), Weird Western Tales #71 (tells the weird western tales of long-dead Jonah Hex, Bat Lash, Scalphunter, and Firehair! Sounds cool – but why?), and Suicide Squad #67 (yet another must-read as original Suicide Squad writer John Ostrander teams with Gail Simone and the action is so big that it spills over into the pages of this month’s Secret Six #17 as well!). So, while it’s unfortunate that Blackest Night is running a bit late, some of these cool one-shots lessen the blow a bit, no?

Westfield’s got a couple of way-cool DVDs that we’re offering this month (and won’t be found in this month’s Diamond Previews). First up is the great Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures complete series DVD set. This is the completely bonkers re-imagining of Mighty Mouse by producer Ralph Bakshi that aired on CBS Saturday Morning in 1987 and 1988, before being pulled off the air for being too weird. (Not really, but the show famously did run afoul of media watchdog Reverend Donald Wildmon, who thought the mouse was sniffing cocaine in one cartoon. He wasn’t – he was sniffing some crushed flowers.)

The staff of the show is almost a Who’s Who of modern animation, including early work by John Kricfalusi (Ren & Stimpy), Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall-E), Bruce Timm (Batman, Superman, and Justice League for WB), Rich Moore (Simpsons, Futurama), Tom Minton (Tiny Toons, Animaniacs, and others), Jim Reardon (Wall-E, Simpsons), Kent Butterworth (Tiny Toons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Mike Kazaleh (known for comic work on Ren & Stimpy and Futurama), Lynn Naylor (Powerpuff Girls, Cow & Chicken), and many others. There’s all kinds of comic book references in the show, most notably the recurring character Bat-Bat, a parody of you-know-who. The show also brought back some original Terrytoon characters, including Gandy Goose, who was revived after being frozen in the ice at the Arctic Circle since the end of World War II. Later, in 1990, Marvel Comics produced a 10-issue comic series based on the show, featuring work by Kazaleh.

According to Jerry Beck over at the Cartoon Brew blog, the three-disc set features everything from the series, “beautifully restored and released uncut, and the documentary contains much rare behind-the-scenes footage.” There are also three vintage Terry Toons cartoons as Special Features, including “Mysterious Package” from 1961, one of the first cartoons that Bakshi animated on. Mike Kazaleh designed the wraparound box cover. Long-awaited on DVD by animation fans, Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures will be appreciated by anyone who enjoys non-stop laffs!

Scooby's All Star Laff-A-Lympics

Scooby's All Star Laff-A-Lympics

The other new DVD release is Scooby’s All Star Laff-A-Lympics: Volume 1. This isn’t quite as exciting as Mighty Mouse, since it’s just a single disc featuring four episodes from this fun 1977-78 animated show. But for Hanna-Barbera fans, it’s a great treat, as this is the series which brought together most of the animated stars of two generations of characters, from Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound to Scooby Doo, Dick Dastardly, and Dynomutt. The show was based loosely on a combination of elements from other shows (including Yogi’s Gang, Wacky Races, the live-action Battle of the Network Stars, and even the Olympics). Each episode featured a competition between the three regular teams: the Yogi Yahooies, The Scooby Doobies, and The Really Rottens. (Guess which ones were the villains!) 45 regular Hanna-Barbera characters were included in the main cast, and occasionally characters like Fred Flintstone or Jabberjaw would cameo as guest announcers. Marvel Comics even produced a way-cool 13-issue series (and a Treasury!) based on the TV series, including work by Mark Evanier and Scott Shaw! (with even more HB cameos!).

DC Universe Origins

DC Universe Origins

DC’s got a couple of unusual items tucked away in their collected books section this month. First up is DC Universe: Origins, a TPB collection of those short origin stories that appeared in the back of many issues of 52 and Countdown, plus a few that apparently debuted online. It features the origins of more than 50 DC characters, most of them illustrated by really interesting artists (such as Brian Bolland, Howard Chaykin, Kevin Nowlan, and George Perez) and the bulk of them written by Mark Waid (in 52). These were not included in the 52 or Countdown books, so this is the first time they’ve been collected. Also available this month is the Justice League of America Special, featuring more origin stories from 52 and from Absolute Superman for Tomorrow, plus a reprint of Justice League of America #1 by Brad Meltzer and Ed Benes. The origins are illustrated by Jim Lee, Andy Kubert, Adam Hughes, Ivan Reis, and others. This was originally offered in the DC Direct Justice League of America Action Figure Box Set, but it is now being offered as a stand-alone item – at a very good price!

King Aroo Vol. 1

King Aroo Vol. 1

IDW also has a bunch of interesting items this month. First up, from The Library of American Comics is King Aroo Volume 1 – a classic comic strip from 1950 by creator Jack Kent. I have never seen it before, but I am eagerly anticipating it, as every history of comic strips I’ve ever read praises the strip as one of the great “lost” American comic strips. Here’s what Don Markstein’s Toonopedia has to say; here’s what my pal Chris Duffy (former comics editor of Nickelodeon Magazine) has to add; and here’s what Wikipedia has on it (just ignore the part where it says the strip was written and drawn by Steven Colbert – [shakes fist] WIKIPEDIA!!!). It’s frequently compared to Pogo, Barnaby, and Krazy Kat – so, pretty good company!

Speaking of Krazy Kat, Yoe Studio & IDW has assembled the klassic storyline Krazy & Ignatz in Tiger Tea, one of the most discussed Krazy Kat storylines ever due to its extremely surreal nature (even for Krazy Kat) after Krazy partakes of a psychedelia-inducing substance. Just for fun, the book also features a rare photo of creator George Herriman wearing a Mexican sombrero and smoking a funny-looking cigarette. Hmmm…

Little Adventures in Oz

Little Adventures in Oz

It’s not exactly old material, but a couple of Eric Shanower’s classic Oz stories – The Enchanted Apples of Oz and The Ice King of Oz – are being reprinted in IDW’s Little Adventures in Oz Book 1, apparently the first in a moderately-priced series of TPBs. Shanower’s Oz material is always gorgeous, faithful to the original Oz stories, and great for kids of all ages!

A couple of other slightly quirky projects are on the schedule at IDW this month, including a full-color collection of Andrew Pepoy’s adventures of a girl and her dinosaur, The Adventures of Simone and Ajax. You might recognize the artist’s name, as Andrew spends most of his time being one of the busiest inkers in comics (Jack of Fables, The Simpsons, Futurama), but Simone and Ajax has always been his labour of love since he first self-published the comic back in 1996. But IDW’s quirkiest item this month is the TPB version of IDW X Covers – every IDW cover up to December 2008 (more than 2,100 covers!) featuring work by Ashley Wood, John Byrne, J. Scott Campbell, John Cassaday, Scott Morse, Tony Harris, Dave Johnson, Bernie Wrightson, and many, many others. It’s a great way to get all those variant covers – all under one cover!

Sinister House of Secret Love

Sinister House of Secret Love

This month’s Showcase Presents volume presents the complete Secrets of Sinister House, one of DC’s great mystery/horror titles from the 1970s. Collectors know it best for its first four issues, issued under the title of The Sinister House of Secret Love, one of DC’s great but failed experiments in mixing horror and romance genres in an attempt to bring gothic romance into comic books. The covers were great (including at least one painting by Jeff Jones), and these books are hard to find today in decent condition in the back issue market. The price of this Showcase volume is much less than what you would spend for even one of these issues, making this a great deal for some great reading. Bob Greenberger will be along at the blog any day now with more on this fascinating series from 1970s DC. (Check back Wednesday, November 4! – ed.)

Batman & Robin #7

Batman & Robin #7

SHORT TAKESBatman and Robin #7 will feature some details surrounding the “death” of Bruce Wayne and may reference both Batman R.I.P. and Final Crisis. In a recent DC Nation page, Dan Didio alluded that the issue “was so important to events in the DC Universe” that it had to be delayed to come out after Blackest Night #6. So, you have been warned. Discuss … You know something’s definitely wrong when the go-to Doctor of the Marvel Universe calls in another Doctor for a consult! Invincible Iron Man #22 guest stars both Donald Blake and Doctor Strange as Tony Stark takes a turn for the worse. Don’t know if you’ve been following Matt Fraction’s incredibly cinematic year-long IM storyline – but you should be! … TwoMorrows’ Back Issue #38 looks to be a must-get issue with a major features on John Byrne’s acclaimed stint on Fantastic Four (with a Norman Rockwell-esque cover by Byrne). Plus, Paul Levitz and Joe Staton on “their” Huntress and a fun Pro2Pro interview with Power Pack creators Weezie Simonson, June Brigman, and Jon Bogdanove conducted by Westfield’s own Roger Ash (I’ve already read it – it’s great!) … Agents of Atlas’ own title may have been cancelled, but they’re still popping up all over the place. This month, they face off against the Avengers in the new Avengers vs. Agents of Atlas mini-series, as well as Thunderbolts #140, where one of the T-Bolts ends up dead! … Good Idea/Bad Idea of the Month (I’m not saying which!): Dan Didio (as writer) and Superman (as leader) both take over the Outsiders in issue #26. Philip Tan is the new artist, so at least it will be pretty! … Does Lana Lang die in the pages of Supergirl #49? I guess we won’t know unless we read it … Jubilee returns to the X-Men in the pages of Nation X #2 … Dakota fans should check out Teen Titans #79, as Static and his teammates travel to that Milestone city … X-Men Forever will begin to include a timeline of other Marvel Universe stories that occurring during the current time-displaced X-Men Forever storyline.

Newsboy Legion by Simon & Kirby Vol. 1

Newsboy Legion by Simon & Kirby

CREATOR WATCH – Fans of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby’s Newsboy Legion (with the Guardian) strips from the 1940s will be happy that the comics are finally being collected as part of DC’s beautiful Jack Kirby Library. The first volume ships in March – but you should order it now! … Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth #7 features the many faces of Deadpool (Eww…) and work by Rob Liefeld, Kyle Baker, and others … Dick Giordano provides art and cover for Jonah Hex #51 … Chuck Dixon returns to the much-loved Airboy and his Air Fighters characters (originally published by Eclipse Comics a decade or two ago!) when Moonstone publishes all-new adventures of the classic characters in Airfighters #1 … George Perez presents interlocking covers for this month’s The Authority #18 and Wildcats #19, featuring a big Wildstorm crossover (and perhaps a re-thinking of the entire Wildstorm Universe) … Sergio Aragones returns to the House of Mystery in #21 (he won a Shazam award in 1972 for illustrating The Poster Plague from the original House of Mystery #202 with writer Steve Skeates), which also features the House Under New Management (Groo?) … Some rare Geoff Johns Marvel work is being collected in this month’s Avengers: World Trust hardcover. Also collected is Kurt Busiek and Sean Chen’s underrated Iron Man run from 1998 in the Iron Man: Deadly Solutions hardcover.

Donald Duck Classics: Quack Up

Donald Duck Classics: Quack Up

SOMETHING FOR THE KIDS? – The BOOM Kids! line is currently the top of the heap for great kid stuff with their Pixar line (The Incredibles, Toy Story, Cars, Wall-E, and more), their great Muppet books, and their classic Disney character comics. In the latter series, they’ve got two new titles debuting. First up is Wizards of Mickey #1, spinning the epic Kingdom Hearts-esque fantasy storyline out of Mickey’s regular book into a new series. Also debuting is Disney’s Hero Squad, featuring Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and others as superheroes! This previously appeared in Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories, and the stories from issues #699-702 are also being collected this month in the Save the World Hardcover. I’m just happy that a character named Eega Beeva will be appearing in comics each and every month! … Also not to be missed from BOOM! is Donald Duck Classics Vol. 1: Quack Up – a great hardcover collection of classic Carl Barks stories. It may be a little pricey for the kids (wait for the trade for them), but all you adult Barks-Watchers should be on the lookout for this … Marvel’s collection of Star Comics apparently did well enough to warrant a second volume, so watch for more reprint adventures of Planet Terry, Wally the Wizard, Top Dog, and Royal Roy … Marvel’s also collecting some of their interesting Marvel Fairy Tales, featuring the complete Avengers Fairy Tales series and a story illustrated by Kyle Baker.

IS IT JUST ME? DEPT. – Is it just me, or is Marvel publishing a ton of “Road to…” titles all of a sudden? This month alone, there is Hulk: Road to Fall of the Hulks, Siege: Road to Siege, and Captain America: Road to Reborn. So, is Marvel Comics still a comic book publisher… or now an Interstate Highway System? (And when does Marvel Comics: Road to DisneyWorld come out anyway?)

KC CARLSON: Buying and reading comics since 1960. (Yikes!)

Purchase

Captain America #602

New Avengers #61

Siege #1

Siege: Embedded #1

Siege: Storming Asgard – Heroes and Villains

Captain America: Reborn #6

The Marvels Project #5

Atom & Hawkman #46

Catwoman #83

Phantom Stranger #42

Power of Shazam #48

The Question #37

Starman #81

Weird Western Tales #71

Suicide Squad #67

Secret Six #17

Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures DVD

Scooby’s All Star Laff-A-Lympics: Volume 1 DVD

DC Universe: Origins

Justice League of America Special

King Aroo Volume 1

Krazy & Ignatz in Tiger Tea

Little Adventures in Oz Book 1

The Adventures of Simone and Ajax

IDW X Covers

Showcase Presents: Secrets of Sinister House

Batman and Robin #7

Invincible Iron Man #22

Back Issue #38

Avengers vs. Agents of Atlas

Thunderbolts #140

Outsiders #26

Supergirl #49

Nation X #2

Teen Titans #79

X-Men Forever #16

Newsboy Legion by Simon & Kirby

Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth #7

Jonah Hex #51

Airfighters #1

The Authority #18

Wildcats #19

House of Mystery #21

Avengers: World Trust

Iron Man: Deadly Solutions

Wizards of Mickey #1

Disney’s Hero Squad #1

Disney’s Hero Squad:Save the World HC

Donald Duck Classics Vol. 1: Quack Up

Star Comics All-Stars Vol. 2

Marvel Fairy Tales

Hulk: Road to Fall of the Hulks

Siege: Road to Siege

Captain America: Road to Reborn

The Sinister House of Secret Love cover came from the Grand Comic Book Database.

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