My comics purchases for today

Written: 8 December, 2000

Technically, I purchased these yesterday (Thursday), since it's now Friday morning. But anyway...

I went up to the local comics shop Thursday afternoon to get the three weeks' worth of comics that were waiting for me in my pull bag. Unfortunately, I was in such a hurry to go, that I forgot to bring my list of what comics I was expecting to get. I sometimes need that list to check off the ones that are in the pull bag, and if there's something on the list not in the pull bag, I can then know to look on the shelves for it. Sometimes the shop makes a mistake and a comic that I have on my pull list will not be in my bag, but it will be on their shelf. But the lack of a list this time turned out not to be a big deal, and I think I got everything I'd wanted to get.

On the way to the shop, I decided to stop in at a resale store where I've sometimes bought old used LPs for 50 cents each. Most of the time it's too much of a hassle to look at all the records they have placed on the shelf in a kind of chaotic manner. But sometimes I'll flip through the LPs at the tops of the piles and sometimes find something there of interest that wasn't there during my last visit. So it was on this trip, when I found Vaughn Meader's "First Family - Volume Two" record. I didn't even know that there was a "Volume Two," record. I had had "The First Family" record for around 6 years, but didn't know that Vaughn Meader had done a sequel to it. I couldn't pass that up, and after all it was only 50 cents, so I bought it. (Haven't listened to it yet, though.)

So, I went to the comics shop after that, and bought my comics. The total cost came to $40.60. (That was after the shop's usual 30% discount. Without the discount, it would have come to $57.28.)

Here are the ones I've read so far, among the ones I bought:

THE ATOMICS #11 (AAA Pop Comics, $2.95)
by Mike Allred

Great issue, as always. I'm glad that it's printed on the shiny paper now. This issue introduces a new character called Spaceman who, according to the back cover ad, will be the subject of a future Allred project. I'm continually amazed that Allred is able to bring out this quality series on a timely monthly basis. This comic is just plain fun, and beautifully created, but with some fresh quirkiness to it despite being done in a classic style. I urge everyone to read the Atomics, especially those people who like old Silver-Age comics, as well as those who like quality independent comics like Love & Rockets.

AVENGERS #36 (Marvel, $2.25)
by Kurt Busiek, Steve Epting, and Al Vey

I've very much enjoyed Steve Epting's art in his recently-completed Aquaman run. It sometimes even reminded me of Neal Adams there. The art in this Avengers issue reminded me a little more of John Buscema. I was surprised at how dark the inking was here. Story-wise, the issue is mainly just setting up future plot points (Hank Pym meeting his double, the mystery of the 3-D Man, Warbird & Vision hooking up, etc). A footnote on the first page lets you know that the events in this issue occur after Maximum Security #3. I kinda ignored the footnote and read the Avengers issue first because Avengers is my favorite Marvel title. But in retrospect, I should have read Maximum Security #3 before Avengers #36, because Jack of Hearts reveals how Ego was defeated on page 6 of Avengers #36. That took some of the suspense out of Maximum Security #3 when I read it, because I already knew how they saved the planet.

DEADPOOL #48 (Marvel, $2.25)
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti, penciled by Paul Chadwick, inked by Ron Randall

This is the third and final part of the "Cruel Summer" arc. These three issues are actually the only issues of Deadpool that I'd ever read, and I bought them solely because I'm a fan of Chadwick and Randall's art. (Paul Chadwick is the writer/artist of Concrete, Ron Randall is the writer/artist of Trekker, and the two worked previously together on Chadwick's "The World Below" series for Dark Horse.) The story has a kind of freshness to it because I'm not used to seeing characters getting blown away at the drop of a hat, which happens a few times this issue. In fact, the last page of this story is like a cliffhanger ending. I won't give away the ending, but it made me wonder what had happened -- if it meant what I think it means. If so, then Deadpool ain't your average costumed character. He comes across more like Deathstroke the Terminator, minus the seriousness. It would be interesting to see Captain America encounter Deadpool, what Cap would think of him. I'd want to see that in Cap's own book, where Deadpool's lack of morality would be taken seriously, not in Deadpool's series where it probably wouldn't be. Anyway, I just wanted to get these three issues because of Chadwick & Randall's art, so now that it's over, I dropped Deadpool from my pull list. I enjoyed the arc, though it's a bit too violent for my tastes and I tend to like material where the morality of the characters' actions is taken more seriously.

by Roger Stern, John Byrne, and Al Milgrom

An okay issue. I liked how the monster was drawn in a Kirby-Ayers style. It was nice seeing one of my favorites, Dr. Druid, as a plainclothes mystic again, and the Monster Hunters of Roger Stern's "Marvel Universe" #4-7. But basically this issue just made me want to read the final issue (#1) and see how the mini-series ends. (Even though, I should point out, that this issue -- like all of them in this mini-series -- consists of a self-contained story that doesn't necessarily require knowledge of previous issues.)

MAXIMUM SECURITY #3 (of 3) (Marvel, $2.99)
by Kurt Busiek and Jerry Ordway

As usual, the art is nice. I'm beginning to warm up to the "Avengers Infinity" group; it's too bad that it look like this issue is their last time together. I loved the big huge group shots of the superheroes, especially the two consecutive double-spreads where they are all attacking a giant Ronan the Accuser. It looks like Busiek tries to build up USAgent here, trying to make him more likable or interesting to readers. Busiek did that once before with another Gruenwald hero (D-Man in Avengers #1-3) but I still don't think I liked USAgent all that much. He came across like a tamer and less scary-looking Judge Dredd -- kinda like Guy Gardner if he wore a C.H.i.P.s helmet. The best thing that I liked about this mini-series was the Skrull mutant heroes that Professor X had trained. I'd never seen them before "Maximum Security," but I liked them a lot from the instant I saw them.

STARMAN #74 (DC, $2.50)
Written by James Robinson, art by Russ Heath

This issue has an even higher body count that the previously-mentioned Deadpool issue, where the "hero" goes on a shooting spree to rid the town of every member of an evil organization. He's the sheriff of the town and the villains and the evil gang have tried to kill him, and have killed his friends and killed other people that got in their way. So, the sheriff hunts down every member of this group and kills them. I don't want to reveal the end, but things conveniently end up with practically everyone dead on both sides of the matter, so no need for a trial to figure out if the sheriff's actions were right or wrong. But aside from all the violence, the issue was okay. It was nice to be able to read a new western comic drawn by a classic artist. I'm not a Starman reader, and only bought this because I saw that it was a new western drawn by Russ Heath, whose art I esteem highly. The story was self-contained and required no previous knowledge of either Starman (who doesn't appear in the issue anyway) or old DC westerns for it to be enjoyed by the reader. If you liked "The Kents," you'd probably like Starman #74, too.

SUPERBOY #82 (DC, $2.25)
Written by Jay Faerber, penciled by Sunny Lee, inked by Jose Marzan Jr.

I thought at first that I wouldn't like this issue, but the more I kept reading, the more I enjoyed it. It was okay, not blech as I'd feared. I'm one of those people who enjoyed the recent Kesel/Grummett run on this series, so I wasn't happy when I heard they were leaving. The new creative team takes over next issue but in the meantime there have been a few fill-in issues by other people, as is the case with this issue. I've generally enjoyed the Grummett-penciled covers more than the non-Grummett interiors these past few issues, but I didn't think this issue's Grummett-drawn cover was that good. In fact, it's hard to know what is happening exactly on the cover until after you've read the issue. The art by Sunny Lee is the kind of new, perhaps slightly-manga influenced art that I don't care for generally, although I have to admit that there were a few good pictures in here even so, such as the one on page 4 where we get a panel with a detailed picture of New York's skyscrapers in the background. Story-wise, I liked how some of the story had Guardian (of Newsboy Legion comics) and Arsenal (Green Arrow's old sidekick Speedy) got together at a restaurant and talked about themselves (both DC heroes have the last name "Harper," so naturally it's been revealed after all these decades that they are related). It's nice to see superheroes in their civilian clothes just hanging out talking like normal people on occasion. It's a self-contained story, so you don't have to have ever read a Superboy comic before (or read another one ever again) to enjoy it. I notice that my co-mod on the Superboy message board, Kator, has a letter in the letters page this issue, too.

X-MEN: THE HIDDEN YEARS #15 (Marvel, $2.50)
by John Byrne and Tom Palmer

Well, I enjoyed this issue even though I guessed last month which of the characters introduced in the previous issue would turn out to be a bad guy. Byrne pretty much gives us a complete-in-one-issue story here, even though it's continued from last issue and sets up two new subplots during the story which presumably Byrne will elaborate on in upcoming issues. (If Byrne gets the chance, that is. New EIC Joe Quesada has announced the cancellation of this series. I usually don't have strong feelings about whoever the EIC is, but right off the bat, Quesada's style rubs me the wrong way. I found his "soapbox" column in this month's Bullpen Bulletins to be really irritating for some reason. As you can see, I buy a few Marvels each month, but I get the feeling that if Quesada has his way, I'll be buying fewer and fewer Marvel titles.)

Here are the other comics I bought, but which I haven't read all the way through yet:

WONDER WOMAN #164 (DC, $2.25)
I've added this series to my pull list. This is the first issue with Phil Jiminez aboard as writer/artist, with J.M. DeMatteis credited as co-scripter. I love how Jiminez's art looks a lot like Perez's, so he's perfect for this book.

176 PAGE PACKAGE Volume Four by Steve Ditko ($16.00)
This is a B&W softcover book filled with all new work written, drawn, and copyrighted by Steve Ditko, reflecting his Objectivist philosophy. What makes it even more exciting is that it has new stories about some of Ditko's old heroes from the 1970s, such as Mr. A., Killjoy, and The Void. I consider Ditko's previous two Killjoy stories (from the mid-1970s) to be among my favorite work of his, so it's awesome to see him finally return to the character. There's even a sequel here to the 1980s "Get Mr. Quiver!" story, about a bald fat character who likes to bounce around, knocking over villains!

This is the Millennium Edition reprinting the March 1937 comic. Contains two stories by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, including the first Slam Bradley story.

SUPERMAN #233 (DC, $2.50)
This Millennium Edition reprints the January 1971 issue where Kryptonite lost its power over Superman. You could say that this is one of those sign posts that marked the end of the Silver Age. (Even if there is a Super-Turtle gag page herein!)

JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR #30 (magazine, $5.95)
Focuses on Kirby's 1980s work, with lots of great penciled pages shown as always. Also has an interview with Alan Moore, which you can read online here.

COMIC BOOK MARKETPLACE #83 (magazine, $5.95)
Crammed full of lots of interesting articles about old comics. Includes a special section about Denny O'Neil at the back which has an O'Neil interview conducted by our very own Scott McCullar, whose posts can sometimes be read on the Green Arrow message board on this site. There's also articles about Saturn Girl (of the Legion of Super-Heroes), Twilight Zone comics, Magnus Robot Fighter, DC's version of Plastic Man, and romance comics, among other subjects. I always buy this mag regardless of what it cover features, since there's always something of interest inside.

Got this on the "50 cents" shelf.

And there you have it, my haul for this month. I'll probably wait until after Christmas before my next trip to the shop. That way I'll be able to pick up three weeks worth of stuff all at once, like I did today.