COLLECTIVE THOUGHTS FOR AUGUST 2015 PART TWO: HULKS, RABBITS, ZOMBIES, DUCKS, ALIENS, TARZAN, PRETTY GIRLS, AND BATMAN. JUST ANOTHER MONTH IN COMICS…

KC Carlson: Real men edit with sharpies.

KC Carlson: Real men edit with sharpies.


by KC Carlson

BATMAN IN FLUXX

Batman may have finally met his match. A foe who changes the rules at practically every move, with many moves not based on any known logic or reasoning process. Where New Rules are the rule, and you never really know what the difference is between Action, Goals, Ungoals, Meta, and Surprise. Which means: Surprise! You lose, Batman! And you never absolutely know how long the battle will take, seconds or hours. Holy hourglass, Batman!

Batman Fluxx

Batman Fluxx


Welcome to the world of Batman Fluxx. Fluxx is a very playable card game that’s either extremely enjoyable or extremely frustrating — and quite often both during the same game. The generic version of the game was developed in 1996 by Andrew (Andy) Looney, which is apparently his real name. (You might not believe that after playing Fluxx for a couple hours.) In the years since the game’s introduction, many variant editions have been created, including Stoner Fluxx, EcoFluxx, the creepily popular Zombie Fluxx, as well as a series of sets based on various things like Monty Python Fluxx, Oz Fluxx, Cthulhu Fluxx, Cartoon Network Fluxx… and now Batman Fluxx.

Keeping the action lively, most decks have random action cards, some of which become New Rules (until changed again with a different New Rule) which basically means that if you’re a strategy player, you’re in for a really rough night — because the rules constantly change! (I’ve been in games where we changed the rules frequently to keep a really annoying player from being able to play at all for up to 15 or 20 minutes.) It pays to be happy and good natured to your fellow players — assuming you want to eventually win!

Plus, you regularly have to deal with cards like Draw 2, Play 3, Reverse Order, First Play Random, Let’s Do That Again (remove a card from the trash and replay it), Rules Reset, plus dozens of crazy one-shot cards. In order to win, you must collect Keeper cards, which combine to make Goals. Goals often involve obtaining specific combinations of Keepers. For example, Squishy Chocolate requires both the Chocolate card and the Sun card. Not all Goals require Keeper cards — like 10 Cards in Hand. But All You Need Is Love requires the Love Keeper — but only that Keeper in your hand.

There are regular expansion cards available in many various and crazy ways — including an Andy Looney Keeper card which is only available from Andy Looney and is valid only if signed (by Andy). I hereby volunteer to be the guy to be the Keeper of special Bat-Mite cards for the upcoming Batman Fluxx game.

Speaking of which, when Batman Fluxx arrives in Gotham City, players will have to find a way to clean up the city and send the villains back to Arkham Asylum — which should be filled to the brim with Batman Fluxx players as soon as the new game is released in August. Plus, there were rumors out of the 2015 GAMA Trade Show that there may be more DC/Cartoon Network Fluxx on the way, with a generic DC Universe set, as well as specific Watchmen and Legion of Super-Heroes (which is gonna need a lot of expansions, trust me) sets. A specific Adventure Time Fluxx is also due in July.

Batman Fluxx. Not to be confused with Flux Capacitor. Sorry, Doc…

THIS MONTH IN CLASSIC COMIC STRIP COLLECTIONS

Beyond Mars

Beyond Mars


Beyond Mars (IDW/LoAC): Written by renowned science fiction author Jack Williamson and superbly drawn by Lee Elias, Beyond Mars is one of the rarest Sunday strips — it only appeared in a single newspaper, The New York Sunday News! It is set in the same universe as the Williamson novels Seetee Ship and Seetee Shock, and the strip’s storyline was loosely based on the first novel. Set in 2191, freelance pilot Mike Flint held a license as a spacial engineer, but he became more of an outer space policeman, often getting an assist from several alien sidekicks. Comics historian Dave Karlen stated, “It is said Chester Gould suggested many of the story lines and helped Williamson from time to time on a proper way to present a comic strip plot. This colorful space-opera drama with a stellar Dick Tracy feel was beautifully rendered in the “Noel Sickles School” by Elias with its amazingly detailed exotic locals, amusing alien creatures, beautiful women, and lots of two-fisted action.” This oversized book presents the complete hard-to-find series — all 161 strips from 1952 to 1955— in their original color! 160-page 9.25″ x 12” color hardcover. Available in September.

Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan: The Sunday Comics, 1935-1937

Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan: The Sunday Comics, 1935-1937


Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan: The Sunday Comics, 1935-1937 (Dark Horse): This final volume of the classic Hal Foster Sunday Tarzan strips compiles dozens of strips on archive-quality paper, expertly restored in gorgeous color at giant size, replicating their original printed appearance! Collectors have been raving about these hugely oversized Dark Horse Tarzan collections. Collecting every Hal Foster Tarzan Sunday strip from September 1935 through May 1937. 108-page 15″ x 20” color hardcover. Available in October.

Johnny Hazard Dailies Volume 4: 1949-1951

Johnny Hazard Dailies Volume 4: 1949-1951


Johnny Hazard Dailies Volume 4: 1949-1951 (Hermes Press): Frank Robbins’ masterpiece, one of the all-time greatest action/adventure newspaper comic strips, picks up the globe-trotting adventures of aviator Johnny Hazard where Volume 3 left off. Featuring trend-setting artwork by comics legend Frank Robbins (you might know his 1970s comic book work from Batman and The Invaders) in one of the most important adventure strips ever to grace newspapers. Reproduced entirely from original King Features press proofs. 304-page 10” x 7” B&W hardcover. Available in September.

Leonard Starr’s Mary Perkins on Stage Volume 14 (1975-1977)

Leonard Starr’s Mary Perkins on Stage Volume 14 (1975-1977)


Leonard Starrs Mary Perkins on Stage Volume 14 (1975-1977) (Classic Comics Press): Nearing the end of its 22-year run, this new volume collects dailies and Sundays of this Broadway backstage drama from November 11, 1975, to September 18, 1977. Starr’s scripts mix soap opera, adventure, and broad humor with art that is crisp, cool, and always featured very pretty people. On Stage is also known for its innovative storytelling. Includes an introduction by Terry Beatty (The Phantom, Rex Morgan M.D., and Ms. Tree) 310-page 8” x 11” B&W softcover.

The Phantom: The Complete Dailies Volume 9: 1949-1950

The Phantom: The Complete Dailies Volume 9: 1949-1950


The Phantom: The Complete Dailies Volume 9: 1949-1950 (Hermes Press): Starting with the stories in this volume (“Fathers and Sons”, “The Flirtatious Princess”, and “The Thuggees” by Lee Falk and Wilson McCoy), The Phantom dailies and Sundays begin following the same continuity (unlike previously, where the dailies and Sundays told separate storylines). Therefore, beginning with this volume, the storyline essential Sunday strips will be included in the book, reprinted for the first time in their entirety, albeit in B&W. (The Sundays are being produced from the B&W King Features press proofs.) As usual, there will also be a comprehensive essay and documentary materials about the strips. 240-page 12” x 9” B&W hardcover. Available in September.

Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: The Complete Daily Newspaper Comics Volume 1

Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: The Complete Daily Newspaper Comics Volume 1


Walt Disneys Donald Duck: The Complete Daily Newspaper Comics Volume 1 (1938-1940) (IDW/LoAC): If you haven’t already read Westfield’s Roger Ash’s awesome interview with the Library of American Comics Associate Editor Bruce Canwell, go do so NOW! (He also mentions details about Beyond Mars, listed above.)

I can’t really add anything to that (other than dont miss this book!) except the publishing details, so here goes: This premiere volume collects (for the first time ever!) more than 800 sequential daily comic strips from 1938 to 1940 drawn by Al Taliaferro and written by Bob Karp, reproduced from pristine original material in the Disney Vaults! 272-page 11” x 8.5” B&W hardcover. Available in September.

ARTIST/GALLERY EDITIONS

IDW’s Artist’s Editions present complete stories with each page scanned in color from the actual original artwork, printed the same size as first drawn. IDW’s Artifact Editions (like an Artist’s Edition) also present pages scanned from the actual original artwork. Unlike an Artist’s Edition, these will present books even if all the original artwork cannot be obtained. They can also include extras such as advertisements, portfolio pieces, color guides, and more. Graphitti Designs Gallery Editions are somewhere in the middle, striving to present complete stories (when possible), while also providing a selection of available pages and other artifacts. Everything is scanned from the original artwork. So far, they are exclusively producing work from DC Comics and its imprints.
Image Giant-Sized Artist Proof Edition: The Walking Dead #1

Image Giant-Sized Artist Proof Edition: The Walking Dead #1


Image Giant-Sized Artist Proof Edition: The Walking Dead #1 (Image): Not exactly the same as most other oversized editions (not sure if it’s scanned from original art), but I’m guessing most zombie fans (or is that fans who are zombies?) won’t mind too much. It IS different from its original presentation in that it’s reproduced at an oversized 11” x 17” format and all of the artwork is presented free of the original grey-tones. And, instead of being a collection, it’s just the first issue. So, therefore, it’s less expensive! Yay! 32-page 11” x 17” color… um… we’re also not sure if it’s an oversized trade paperback or an oversized comic book, format-wise. It’s always something. Guess we’ll all find out together. For mature readers. Hey!… Put those brains back where you found them! (annoyed grunt) Zombies… Why’d it have to be zombies…

The Incredible Hulk by Sal Buscema: Marvel Artist Select Series

The Incredible Hulk by Sal Buscema: Marvel Artist Select Series


The Incredible Hulk by Sal Buscema: Marvel Artist Select Series (IDW): Introducing the Marvel Artist Select Series! (Which we assume means that the artist is still alive to hand-pick the work and sign the book!) This oversized, limited-edition hardcover celebrates the legendary Sal Buscema’s time on The Incredible Hulk with a hand-curated selection of Buscema’s favorite issues chosen by the artist himself. Features these popular characters and storylines: Puny Doc Samson, Puny Silver Surfer, Puny Absorbing Man, Puny Leader, the death of Puny Glenn Talbot, Puny Bruce Banner Hulk, the first appearance of Puny Rocket Raccoon — and much more! Exclusive slipcover, cover, and bonus collectibles! Plus an interview with Sal and an introduction by Puny Len Wein. Also features the writing of Puny Bill Mantlo, Puny Roger Stern, and Puny John Byrne. Each copy of this 999-copy limited-edition hardcover is slipcased, hand-numbered, and signed by Sal. This collection will only be available in this limited-edition run! 312-page oversize (NOT Puny!) B&W (but scanned in color) hardcover. Available in September.

P. Craig Russell’s Murder Mysteries and Other Stories Gallery Edition

P. Craig Russell’s Murder Mysteries and Other Stories Gallery Edition


P. Craig Russells Murder Mysteries and Other Stories Gallery Edition (Dark Horse): This gallery edition features high-quality scans of master illustrator P. Craig Russell’s original art, printed at art-board size, in a collection of stunning, complete adaptations of works by Neil Gaiman, H. P. Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury, Mike Mignola, Clive Barker, and Oscar Wilde; the Spirit story “Art Walk”; and much more stunning artwork by this legendary graphic storyteller. A beautiful collection that should not be missed. Plus, Russell gets to rectify something that bugged him about an original title page. 232-page 12 1/8″ x 17 1/4″ color hardcover. Available in October.

Joe Kubert’s The Return of Tarzan Artist’s Edition

Joe Kubert’s The Return of Tarzan Artist’s Edition


Joe Kuberts The Return of Tarzan Artists Edition (IDW): The second volume of Joe Kubert’s acclaimed Tarzan series is collected in IDW Publishing’s award-winning Artist’s Edition format. Reprinting Tarzan issues #214 and 217-223 (first published by DC Comics), this features three stand-alone adventures, as well as the epic saga detailing The Return of Tarzan! It’s hard to put into words how breathtakingly gorgeous this artwork is — and here it’s presented like it’s fresh off Kubert’s drawing board. Each and every story page has been scanned from Joe Kubert’s original art, and all but two of his covers (but IDW’s tenacious — they keep looking until the very last minute!). 168-page 12″ x 17” B&W (but scanned in color) hardcover. Available in October.

Usagi Yojimbo Gallery Edition Volume 1: Samurai and Other Stories

Usagi Yojimbo Gallery Edition Volume 1: Samurai and Other Stories


Usagi Yojimbo Gallery Edition Volume 1: Samurai and Other Stories (Dark Horse): Hailed as one of the true masterpieces of the comics medium, Usagi Yojimbo gets its first gallery edition, reproducing Stan Sakai’s breathtaking artwork at full size and in living color. This edition includes the art from the very first Usagi story, the complete origin tale “Samurai”, and more — including extra, never-before-seen art and a new introduction by Sakai. If you’re not weirded-out by the sight of a giant-size bunny wielding a Samurai sword, then this is the Gallery Edition for you! For more than 30 years, Usagi Yojimbo has remained the ultimate rabbit ronin comic book series. (It’s also the only one, but nobody except you and I need to know that.) Redefines awesome, except with more fur! Welcome back! 240-page 12″ x 17” color hardcover. Available in October.

ZINES

Ace Magazine #6

Ace Magazine #6


Ace Magazine #6 (Time Capsule): A look at some non-Archie Archie publications — namely Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man. Interviews with Brian Michael Bendis (Powers and a billion other things) and Carla Speed McNeil (No Mercy and the ever-awesome Finder). Also, 75 years of Captain Marvel, a look at comic book-related TV for the Fall Season, and something about a “lost” Punisher/Nick Fury project by Jim Lee. Plus, find out how much your comics are worth and debate whether character appearances in promo ads really count as “First Appearances”. (Answer: They do to the folks who’ve already bought them all up and are hoarding them! Why is this an argument?) 128 pages.

Back Issue #84

Back Issue #84


Back Issue #84 (TwoMorrows): Everything about 1970s and 1980s Supergirl, from her movie to her death in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Plus an Allen Brennert interview and a look at the DC Superheroes Water Ski Show! I didn’t know Brennert could water ski. 84 pages. From TwoMorrows.

Jack Kirby Collector #66

Jack Kirby Collector #66


Jack Kirby Collector #66 (TwoMorrows): It’s being strongly suggested that hardcore Kirby fans not miss this special double-takes issue! Featuring a King-size collection of oddities, coincidences and re-workings of both Kirby and Stan Lee from throughout both of their careers. There are never-seen secrets of Galactus’ origin, a head-to-head of Ditko’s vs. Kirby’s Spider-Man, how Lee and Kirby viewed “writing” and “script” differently (cant wait to see that one…), plus a rare Kirby interview. As well, the usual rare or unseen artwork, something by Mark Evanier, and other surprises. 100 pages. From TwoMorrows.

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KC CARLSON: Can’t wait for my head to explode when I draw the All Legionnaires Goal card to win Legion of Super-Heroes Fluxx. My hands aren’t that big!

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. Like having a cold in June.

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