Monday, March 29, 2010

It's Not All About The Cape

Last time we discussed Superman #61 as a key Golden Age collectible comic. That got me to thinking about some of the truly rare GA comics that are NOT Superhero books. When we look back at the Golden Age in particular, it is common to almost dismiss any book not in the Superhero genre. This is understandable because the Golden Age was launched by the creation of Superman and Superheroes dominated the early days of the Golden Age. It was not until the late 40’s and early 50’s that other genres (Horror, Sci-Fi, Humor etc.) began to assert their popularity in the wake of the decline of the costumed adventurer.

Certainly the EC Comics of the early 50’s are very much sought after Golden Age collectibles. EC specialized in Science Fiction, Horror and War titles as well as an interesting humor comic called Mad. (Mad would later become a magazine sized book to avoid the censorship of the Comics Code). Many early EC comics in high grade command thousands of dollars. It should be noted that it is extremely to find EC comics in high grade because the stock they were printed on were of even lesser quality than many other companies.

One of the most difficult non-hero Golden Age books to come by in any condition is Motion Picture Comics #110.

This comic is based on George Pal's When Worlds Collide (1951), the science fiction epic which brings out the best (and worst) in humanity as the world faces imminent destruction. A rocket is built that will carry a select few off the planet. Photo cover features Richard Derr and Barbara Rush. Pencils by George Evans, with inks by Al Williamson. (The pair drew themselves into the story).

Motion Picture comics was produced by Fawcett (Captain Marvel) .Fawcett Movie Comics changed its name to Motion Picture Comics in 1950, and produced comic book adaptations of popular movies. Motion Picture Comics generally favored war stories and westerns but now and then a science-fiction title would creep in, like “When Worlds Collide”. Motion Picture Comics all featured photo covers, often taken from the movie lobby posters.

I chased this book for years! Unlike a Superman #61 or a Detective #225 which are fairly plentiful, though VERY expensive, M.P.C. #110 is very expensive (A high grade copy can run over $1,000) AND very rare. The most I ever saw on Ebay for instances were two copies in low to mid grades. And THEY were the same copies that had changed hands on Ebay several times. Even at big shows like the last NY Comic Con I could only find ONE dealer who had a copy. Chasing down a truly rare comic is what makes this part of the hobby particularly frustrating…and FUN! (After much searching I WAS able to find a very nice copy at a good price on Ebay!)
As Golden Age comics in mid to high grade become more and more scarce and expensive, so too have Silver Age books in higher grades begun to feel the push upwards in scarcity and value. While most comic collectors do not chase Golden or Silver Age books, it is a fascinating part of our joint hobby to explore. Afterall you don’t have to BUY, in order to shop! Check out the various online auction sites and collectors sites such as and you will get a nice tour through the history of our hobby absolutely free!

That’s 30!


Friday, March 26, 2010

More Golden Age Goodness

I doubt that there are too many people in the world who do not have at least a passing familiarity with the Origin of Superman. The story of how Jor-el sent his infant son from the doomed planet Krypton to earth and how that child grew into the Man Of Steel is very much a part of our collective mythology.

However, it may surprise you to learn that Superman himself had no idea about his origins until he was well into his career as The Man Of Steel. Of course this has been retconned over the years but the ORIGINAL Golden Age Superman did not find out about his back ground until Superman # 61 (Nov-Dec 1949). In fact Superman #61 not only introduces Superman to his origin but also to the only substance that can kill him, Kryptonite. For obvious reasons this is a “SUPER” key book for Golden Age collectors and fetches around $1,000 for a high grade copy!
Like many Golden Age stories, “Superman Returns To Krypton” (written by Bill Finger and drawn by Al Plastino) starts out as a pretty silly tale. Lois is trying to expose Swami Rama (I kid you not, SWAMI RAMA!) in a series of Exposes in the Daily Planet. Riva is your garden variety hood but dresses like a swami complete with a bejeweled turban. Riva discovers that lois is a reporter and is about to kill her when Superman bursts onto the scene. Without any explanation he is overcome by weakness 9you guessed it, The jewel in the turban is KRYPT-onite!!!) Riva of course does not know that his hat holds the deadly rock and instead believes he has hexed Superman. (I told you this was a typical Golden Age story!) After multiple encounters with Riva, Superman realizes it is the strange stone that weakens him. Through a highly dubious series of “logical” leaps Superman traces the rock to the mountain where it was found. He realizes the rock was a metorite! The Man Of Tomorrow decides to fly back along the path the metorite took to hit the earth, faster than light in fact. He goes back in time and space and, as a ghostly figure, gets his first view of his birthplace. Basically Superman sees his own origin, which WE have always known but which up until now, HE has been totally ignorant of. Following the rocket that Jor-el sends off as Krypton explodes, Superman sees his foster parents plucking him from the wreckage and in a moment of “Super-Enlightenment” exclaims:

“Now I understand why I am different from earthmen! I am not from earth at all (duh!) I’m from another planet-the planet Jor-el called KRYPTON”

You would think the whole faster than a speeding bullet , leaping tall buildings, changing the course of mighty rivers and bending steel in his bare hands things would have given him a clue but Superman was never a very good detective.

Granted, this was not the BEST Golden Age story but it was among the most significant. The introduction of Krypton and Kryptonite were quantum events in the Superman mythos. Those two plot devices would drive the bulk of the Silver Age Superman stories and directly give rise to such story elements as Krypto, Supergirl, Kandor, RED, GOLD, BLUE, RAINBOW, White and GOLD kryptonite, and many other plot devices (mostly developed by Mort Weisinger). Many of those elements are in use to this day!

As a collectible, as I mentioned earlier, Superman #61 is one of the most highly prized of all the Golden Age Superman books. Now you have to excuse me whilst I set out to GET one!!!

That’s 30!!



This week is nothing short of awesome, not only was it a huge week and a great week to be a Marvel Comics fan but Joe Kelly and Phil Jimenez graced Comic Book Jones on Wednesday with their presence. Sadly, I couldn't make it down to the signing but I heard nothing but good things about the abundance of people that did. I'm always happy to hear about stuff like that because I love CBJ and I love that it just goes to show that one man's dream can become such an incredible reality. SASQUATCH!!! (if you don't know what that means, ask Socko or any one who works at the store.)

So, like I said, this week was huge and if you're a Marvel Comics fan you walked away with a lot to read. So many Siege tie-ins this week it was like Avengers Christmas.

I can't wait to talk about it so lets do it!



Slowly but surely all of the mystery behind the Red Hulk and everything he's done since he first showed up is being peeled away. In this issue we find out why Rick Jones became "A-Bomb" and what ramifications it was supposed to have on Bruce Banner.
We come to find out that The Intelligencia had planned on using Rick Jones as a "Manchurian Candidate" or in layman's terms; a sleeper agent, programmed to kill Bruce Banner at some point in time with some kind of trigger word or action. We also come to find out that the reason the Red Hulk had killed The Abomination was to get a sample of his blood to use in changing Rick into their secret agent.
Rick doesn't remember any of this because it all takes place right after "World War Hulk" when he was knocked out after being almost killed by Miek. Due to the fact that Rick was their at the initial bombardment of Gamma radiation makes him the perfect candidate for further Gamma radiation to become A-Bomb.
Bruce realizes this and forces Rick to attempt to complete his masters scheme.
On the verge of being killed, Bruce tells Rick that he doesn't have to feel guilty about what happened to him all those years ago and it's not his fault. It all sinks in and Rick is now free of The Intelligencia's influence or so we all think.
I've said it about all of the "FALL OF THE HULK" issues and the storyline itself; It's amazing, so many people were hooked from the get go and so many were ready to drop The Hulk because they didn't understand what the grand scheme of things was, yet now it's all being revealed and it's really been worth the rocky ride. This series has put The Hulk and all his supporting characters back into the spotlight where in my opinion they belong. The fact that all these clues are being layed out for us readers in plain sight and we're not seeing them is actually a good thing. It makes for good story telling and keeps the big reveals that much more shocking because then it's a "damn it was right in front of my face and I never saw it coming!" moment.

5 out of 5 "A-BOMB SMASH BANNER!"

As I said in the beginning of this weeks blog, Marvel dropped all of the Siege tie-ins this week and it was like Avengers Christmas in March.




With the clock counting down towards the end of these three great titles and the launching of a new set of Avengers books, these said books are going out with a bang!

In Avengers: The Initiative, at Camp H.A.M.M.E.R, Donyell aka Night Thrasher is being goaded by The Hood to kill Tigra in exchange for him bringing back his brother Dwayne. The Avengers resistance are fighting The Hoods powered up goons and Penance and the rest of the Shadow Initiative finally takes a stand against their captors. That's all just in the first five pages of the book, writer Christos Gage really takes this one and knocks it out of the park. Not only do we see these characters who have been struggling for so long with their own internal conflicts and the conflicts of the current state of the world finally take a stand, They actually make that stand mean something more than just rebelling against the current norm when Penance reveals to everyone that he's actually Robbie Baldwin. This in turn, makes this issue into an unexpected NEW WARRIORS reunion and it psyches everyone up to fight the good fight just like the NEW WARRIORS used to do, which I personally loved!
The call comes over the line that Norman Osborn needs The Hood and his heavy hitters to come to Asgard and quick, this is where the initiatives portion of SIEGE fills in the blanks as to how and when The Hood showed up in issue three. Taskmaster gets his ass beat by both Captain Americas and Norman has The Sentry bring down the house around everyone's head.

In The Mighty Avengers, Ultron has infected all of the Jocasta robots and the entire Infinite Mansion's systems. Agents of G.R.A.N.P.A show up to tell Hank Pym that he and his "Mighty Avengers" no longer has backing from this agency when Steve Rogers calls and tells Pym that he needs him and his Avengers to come to Asgard and help in the battle. Pym declines Steve's need for him and tells him to contact the other members himself. As things seem to go from bad to worse, the one true Jocasta informs Pym and the agents that Ultron is back and has taken over.
When Ultron is finally re-constituted, the taken over Jocosta robots ask him what his designation will be Ultron 15, 16 or 17 and he says "I'm beyond designations, I will take the name Ultron Pym after my father."This is a prime example of why Dan Slott is writing this book, the sheer fact that he is an Avengers encyclopedia and a true fan.
The other Avengers are informed about the goings on in Asgard after Amadeus gets the information from Ghost (last issue of Thunderbolts) and head out to stop the Thunderbolts from locating and using Odin's Spear. Another example of Slott's writing at it's best. He's filling in the blanks of how the Mighty Avengers show up on Asgard tasked with the duty of stopping specifically The Thunderbolts.
Pym unhinges The Infinite Mansion from Earth to stop Ultron from escaping. The only door left out of there is into the Underspace, it's a dimension below the Microverse and it's the dimension where Janet Pym had been sent by the Skrulls!

Lastly, but certainly not least, In New Avengers; the crew is in Asgard, alongside the Asgardians fighting Norman Osborn, The Fake Avengers, The Hood and his gang and a slew of H.A.M.M.E.R agents.
Everyone is rallied behind Steve Rogers and the true Avengers cause. They all believe in one way or another that the fact that he's back and fighting against Osborn is a sign that everything is going to return back to normal. No more hiding, no more worrying that they'll be arrested for being heroes. This issue gives a very much needed return to humanizing these characters. It starts with Luke and Jessica talking about how they don't want to hide anymore and they want to be able to raise their daughter in a world where Osborn isn't in charge. Bobbi and Clint run out into the middle of the night to talk and fight the randomly place female Doctor Octopus. In their conversation, they decide that once things are back to "normal", they'll go on vacation and get away from everything for a while and work on making things between the two of them right once and for all.
Bendis is the great conversationalist of the Marvel writers. He really gives depth and feeling to these characters that he loves so much. With the end of this title coming and with the relaunch on the horizon, he isn't letting this book go without one last major bang, Mockingbird being covered in debris when The Sentry crashes into Asgard!

I give all three Avengers books 5 out of 5 "damn i'm glad I got this Avengers tattoo!"


Alerted by Ghost last issue, Amadeus Cho and the rest of the Mighty Avengers (minus Hank Pym and Jocasta) show up on Asgard just in time to stop The Thunderbolts from getting their hands on Odin's Spear, a weapon of great power that any person can hold and use. Paladin and Ant-Man are trying to get the spear so that they can make sure Norman Osborn doesn't get it while Mr. X and Scourge attempt to get it and follow through with their orders.
That's about it for the issue. It's pretty lack luster as far as anything else goes. There is a complete lack of The Asgardians, whose artillery The Thunderbolts invaded to get the spear and Norman Osborn has already been taken down in issue three of Siege. This issue just fills in the blanks as to the Thunderbolts location during The Sentry crashing into Asgard and smashing it into Oklahoma.
I personally think The Thunderbolts could have been used better in the overall SIEGE story but to just kinda sideline them from the main fight and use them as a weak cannon fodder for three issues is sad and really unworthy of the SIEGE banner. Hopefully next issue does something memorable with these characters before the big revamp.

3 out of 5 I wish you were better.

THOR #608

Volstagg vs. Ragnarok aka The Thor Clone while The Asgardians deal with the death and destruction of their people and home.
This issue was really good and for many reasons. The Asgardians were tricked by Loki and too late to stop Osborn and his attacking forces from doing any damage. As the battle has hit the mid-point, their numbers are decreasing as the number of injured or dying is exponentially increasing as the battle continues. There is little they can do because it seems that no matter what they're going to lose. Thor is fighting The Sentry high above Asgard, The Avengers are helping fight back Osborn and the seemingly endless forces of H.A.M.M.E.R and Loki is nowhere to be found. On the ground in Broxton, Volstagg is fighting Ragnarok. He's actually getting his ass kicked because he won't fight back and possibly hurt innocent people since the events in Siege #1. He continues to draw the Thor clone out into the open and eventually under Asgard. He finally fights back and it's almost a stale mate because reguardless of the fact that Volstagg is an Asgardian, he doesn't have the strength of Thor.
Another issue that humanizes seemingly god like characters. The fact that Volstagg won't fight back because he's afraid of injuring other people really gives you a sense that even though it wasn't his fault, Volstagg still feels responsible for the deaths of all those people in Soldiers Field. This issue also humanizes the Asgardians themselves because with the strength and power of gods, they're being crushed by mere mortals in their own home.

4 out of 5 "some things are blocking my view and some things are my view."

Now to the DCU for one of if not the best "BLACKEST NIGHT" TIE-IN EVER!


This issue should have been called "BLACKEST NIGHT # 7.5" because it picks up right where issue number seven leaves off and goes right into issue number 8.
Sinestro now in possession of "The Entity" is the first White Lantern. We the readers are finally taken through the birth of the universe and the birth of the Spectral Entities themselves. From the first flash of light in the universe to the compassion for all things life and death, each emotion and power spectrum is finally given a host and a face.
While all of this is going on Xanshi is high above Earth flooding the skies with every Black Lantern on their way to Coast City. Not only is Xanshi directing the Black Lantern hordes but it's also firing into the ocean around Coast City causing major tidal waves capable of wiping out everyone in the city.
John Stewart and others must fly into the heart of Xanshi and attempt to stop it before the tide of battle has overcome them and everyone on Earth.
Inside Xanshi, they learn that the planet is being controlled by a host of Black Rings, with the combined might of all the color rings, they bring the Black Lantern planet down once and for all. In doing so they also defeat all of the Black Lanterns. It's the same effect as if someone destroyed Mogo, all of the Green Lantern's would lose their powers because Mogo creates the rings.
After almost losing, the tide of battle seems to be shifting in favor of our heroes. Thought dead because of a fatal attack by Nekron, Sinestro is back as the one true guardian of the universe, leading straight into next weeks BLACKEST NIGHT #8!
Geoff Johns is by far one of my favorite writers and this series and everything involved in it is a sign of his mastery at his craft. Time and again, I myself thought that this series couldn't get any better than it has and time and again are we thrown a curve ball that just makes the story and characters that much more interesting and the overall want for the next issue so much more prevalent.


Another book from DC that dropped this week you should totally pick up even if you have no idea who ARSENAL is...

Prometheus attacked Red Arrow during "The Cry For Justice" mini-series, disfiguring him and cutting off his right arm. Now in the care of the JLA at Star Labs, Roy is just waking up into the nightmare that is his life. He awakes to find that he's missing his right arm and that his daughter Lian died during the bombs that Prometheus set off in Opal City. Enraged by it, Roy heads off into Opal City and sees the carnage and ruin the city has become.
Roy is now haunted by the ghost/memory of his dead friend Corey who was his best friend and fellow heroin addict. Before he left Star Labs, Roy took a bottle of pain killers to deal with the pain caused by his missing appendage. It's unsaid but obvious that Corey is Roy's subconscious telling him that he's leading back down the road of becoming a junkie once more.
Roy was one of the first comic characters dealing with addiction and the fact that now after the tragedy he's dealing with is going back to coping with the pain of everything with pills just brings the character back to the start of one of his darkest times.
J.T. Krul is off to a great start dealing with the "Arrow Family" and I can't wait to see what's in story for Roy, Ollie, Dinah and Mia. If you've never read any of the old Green Arrow / Green Lantern stories dealing with Roy and his addiction, now is as good a time as any to get your hands on the trade and see how far Roy has come and how far he could fall.

5 out of 5 " you're dead!"

Mark Millar and Steve McNiven dropped the first issue of their new creator owned Icon series NEMESIS...

Nemesis is the name of the main character and villain in this mini-series about a Batman styled vigilante who uses his skills and money to cause chaos and carnage instead of saving innocent lives.
Mark Millar attempts to really out do himself this time around with over the top scenes of death and destruction; from the death by train scene to the take over and destruction of Air Force One, Millar tries and succeeds.
His usual usage of verbal descriptiveness this time around is exchanged for the support of artist Steve McNiven and his strong story telling through his artwork.
If you just breezed through the book and actually didn't read it you would still enjoy the issue.
The premise of this issue is that Nemesis is looking for someone to challenge him and his abilities, this is where top cop Chief Blake Morrow comes into play. This is how Millar creates a very head to head use of these characters. Between Nemesis' extreme use of time and location and Morrow's by the numbers quick wit makes for a superb show down between the two. It's Batman vs. Batman so to speak.
The really cool thing about this comic is the fact that Millar and McNiven aren't getting paid for this book and in doing so retain the rights to the characters. They are also taking all the profit they do get from this book and donating it to Millar's brother's job where he works with special needs children.

4 out of 5 "Hail your new f***ing Chief."

and that's all for me folks!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


It's true! This Monday and Tuesday, March 22nd & 23rd take 60% off all toys, action figures and other related merchandise! This is surely an opportunity you can't miss so come and pick up those figures you've had your eye on!

Come in and POST!

Hey true Believers! (I stole that from Stan! :))

Just a quick Sunday blog to ask a question....


The messsage board is open and the posts are GREAT. There is a lot of outstanding back and forth going on about everything from the latest story arcs, to collecting practices, and even speculation that Socko may in fact be the secret identity of President Obama! (I started that one actually)

BUT there are only 19 of you signed up!!!

We need more of the what are you waiting for???!!!

Come on in! The first virtual drink is on me!!

That's 30!


Friday, March 19, 2010

Some …”Did You Knows”

Did you know that in 1942….

Tim Publications created an official Superman fan club for younger boys (older boys got a Gene Autry club) which featured a 6″ x 9″ sized now hard to find monthly comic book. The books were mainly produced to sell the Tim clothing line. The Superman-Tim comics are now hard to find and highly valued pieces of Superman memorabilia

Did you know…

That Bruce Banner’s first name wasn’t always Robert? Way back in the halcyon early days of Marvel Comics, The Incredible Hulk appeared in fantastic Four #25. All through the story, Banner was referred to as “Bob Banner”. Of course, in very short order, many fans wrote in that Banner’s first name was Bruce. Stan Lee had made a huge goof! But not one to be dissuaded by such a glaring comic faux pas, the Smilin’ one simply renamed the Jolly Green giant’s alter ego ROBERT Bruce Banner. No harm, no foul and a legion of No-Prizes were had by all!

Did you know…

That Superman did NOT first encounter Kryptonite in the comic books? In fact Kryptonite was first introduced on the Superman RADIO program so that the show’s writers could create situations in which the Man Of Steel could be put in danger? In fact the long running radio program (1940-1951) ALSO introduced flight to Superman’s powers. Before the radio program The Man Of Steel merely leaped long distances ala the Hulk! AND the Radio program introduced the public to Jimmy Olsen! Quite a lot of “firsts” for a radio program!

Did you know…

That neither Kirk Allyn NOR George Reeves can lay claim to being the first actor to portray the man of Steel? That honor goes to Ray Middleton, a character actor in the 30’s and 40’s. He made Superman flesh on July 3rd, 1940, during the 1939 New York World's Fair's "Superman Day".

Did you know….
That William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy did not FIRST team up on Star Trek? William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy appeared together in a 1964 episode, "The Project Strigas Affair", a full two years before Star Trek aired for the first time. Shatner played a heroic civilian recruited for an U.N.C.L.E. mission, and Nimoy played the villain's henchman. It IS pretty apparent that Nimoy had just finished shooting scenes for the original Star Trek Pilot, “The Cage” though (which also started production in 1964). Check out that hair cut! (And yes Spock first worked for Colonel Klink!)

And Finally…Did you know….
It’s only TWO Weeks until Opening Day??? GO Yanks!

And THAT’S 30!


Thursday, March 18, 2010


Happy Belated St. Patrick's day. I hope everyone had a good time and enjoyed themselves. This year not only did you get drunk on St. Patty's Day but you got your comics on the same day!

This week was pretty big and there's plenty to talk about. Let's jump right in.

First up "Blackest Night".


Locked in battle with the hordes of Black Lantern's, the combined might of the different corps isn't ready for what they find when they come face to face with the Black Battery. Hanging outside the Battery attempting to escape The Anti-Monitor!
The Anti-Monitor hasn't been assimilated into the Black Lantern Corps yet but is the power behind the Black Battery. Combining all their powers, the different corps try their best to get him out of the battery and hopefully shut it down; but to no avail, he gets sucked in and they follow him in.

Just as you think that this story line is coming to a close and we've seen all that can happen we're given a curve ball like this. Another thing I enjoyed about this issue is how The Black Lantern's are still attempting to tempt and taunt people with false hope and love. Guy Gardner comes face to face with Ice and is berated by her but in the end he realizes that it's not really her and does what he has to. As does Kyle, who comes face to face with his former lover that was killed and stuffed in his refrigerator. At this point in the story, these characters have been dragged through the mud and beyond and are mentally prepared for the worst.
This is a prime example of good story telling and good planning come to fruition.

5 out of 5 LET'S GO GET EM'!



In an attempt to stop the Intelligenica dead in their tracks, Bruce Banner and his mock "Avengers" attack them at their base; the recently decommissioned S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier that the Red Hulk crashed in "Hulk #2".
Bruce Banner has made a bunch of shady deals behind everyone's back in an attempt to save Betty Banner, "The seven smartest men" and stop the Intelligencia and with this issue it blows up in his face. The Fantastic Four, The New Avengers and The X-men are all waiting for Bruce's signal to strike when everything falls apart because the linchpin in the plan, Red Hulk, is nowhere to be found. Unknown to everyone else he was captured and is being used to power a gamma ray that's pointed at a group of A.I.M soldiers.
Things go from bad to worse when right as Bruce frees Doom, Reed Richards, Hank Pym, T'Challa and Beast and the ray goes off irradiating everyone with Gamma rays turning them all into Super Powered Hulks!
This is another series where great story story telling and lots of very good planning and plotting are coming to fruition. Point in fact, In "Hulk #2", The Red Hulk attacks the S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier and destroys it. Little did we know that the plan all along was to crash it so that the Intelligencia could come along and recommission it as their base of operations. Genius!

5 out of 5 "Lies, everything I've done has been based on lies."

HULK #21

This issue is pretty much the same as "Incredible Hulk #608" except it's from The Red Hulk's point of view.

Acting as the key to taking down the Intelligencia and saving the "Seven smartest minds", Red Hulk sneaks onto the newly recommissioned Helicarrier and gets caught by M.O.D.O.K. Everything goes to hell as he is then used as a Gamma power source for Dr. Samson's gamma ray that will change a group of A.I.M soldiers into Hulk Troops. As the ray powers up and all hell is breaking loose on the ship due to Banner and company, The ray not only irradiates the A.I.M soldiers but also the heroes on board. I really liked how this issue was The Red Hulk's point of view. I also like how at the beginning of the issue, he reveals himself to Bruce Banner as a means to get Bruce to help him take down the Intelligencia. We also learn this issue that The Red Hulk was the one whose "gamma" they used to create the Red She-Hulk, which is why she turned out Red.

5 out of 5 "Don't touch that glass."



This issue is really bad ass for many reasons. First off, we're shown that the Void was Norman's insurance plan if any member of the Cabal got out of line. Secondly, we see that during Doom's attack on Avengers Tower, when everyone was evacuated, Hawkeye takes Lindy Reynolds, The Sentry's wife, with him on a helicopter and breaks her neck and tosses her out into the ocean.
At this point, Bob isn't in control of himself and The Void is in charge. He freaks out after hearing Hawkeye's story about how she threw herself into the ocean to get away from him.
Everything in this issue just adds to what we find out in "Siege #3".

5 out of 5 A-FREAKIN-MAZING!


I'd like to put this to the tune of "London Bridge is falling down."

We all knew it was going to happen and it finally does. Steve Rogers and THE REAL AVENGERS show up to save Asgard and The Asgardians.
The President and his cabinet are watching on monitors and they aren't happy with Norman Osborn at all. They didn't tell him to do anything that he's doing and they want someone to take him and everyone involved down. Lucky for them The REAL Avengers show up. Unlucky for everyone of the "Initiative" that showed up to help Norman because now they're all wanted criminals.
Not only do The Real Avengers show up but Tony Stark Iron Man shows up and they beat the crap out of Norman, his fake Avengers and the "Initiative".
The battle ensues and Norman is beaten down, unmasked and a shocking reveal, Norman's face resembles that of The Green Goblin. What's up with that?
In a cowards defeat, Norman orders The Sentry who is really The Void at this point to "Bring it down, bring it all down." and with a blink of an eye, he brings down Asgard around the heroes. Now the final battle begins, The Avengers and company vs. The Void once and for all.
Absolutely amazing. I can't say enough good things about this series or this issue.



Following the other embedded reporters onto a military base, Will and Ben are separated. Ben follows the other reporters onto a troop transport bringing all the embedded journalists into Broxton so they can report what's going on first hand while Will fights a HAMMER soldier in search of Ben.
Aboard the transport, Ben finds that the other reporters are all working for Todd Keller which means they're all going to report what Osborn wants reported. While on the transport, Venom crashes into it and begins eating people. The ship crashes just outside Asgard. Ben and another survivor see that Todd Keller himself was aboard the ship and try to help him out. He grabs a gun and takes Ben hostage just in time to witness to the demise of Asgard.
This series is really taking the front seat role as we see what's really going and what Osborn wants told to the general public. It's a very real world view of how the news is really broadcast. We're given the truth and then there's the actual truth.

5 out of 5 VENOM GETS DOWN!

Out of the Big Two and onto some sweet first issues that dropped this week...


Stephen King on a comic, I'm sold. The master of horror himself writing a comic about Vampires that don't twinkle in the light, I'm really sold.

The first story is by Scott Snyder. It's about Pearl Jones, an aspiring actress in 1920. She's playing an extra when she gets the chance to rub elbows with the big guns. At a party she's invited to, she gets attacked by VAMPIRES!

The second story is by Stephen King. It's about Skinner Sweet an outlaw who's been caught and is on his way back to stand trial. The interesting thing about Skinner is we see him in the beginning story hanging around Pearl's home.
Skinner is saved by his posse and get's off the train to his doom only to be attacked by one of the lawmen who's actually a vampire.

This series has a lot of potential and Rafael Albuquerque's artwork is phenomenal. He does the art for both stories which from what I've read, will soon be one flowing story once all the characters are set into place.

Any fan of good Vampire stories that are looking for a new and interesting take on the genre should do themselves a favor and scoop this up ASAP!



I have the rare opportunity to talk to different writers and review their works. This week I'm proud to present to you, first time writer Onrie Kompan. This man took a story that I'm sure none of you know about and gave it some serious investment and verbal love. The story of Yi Soon Shin, a Korean naval Captain that held off a fleet of Japanese ships from invading Korea during THE IMJIN WAR (1592-1598) is well portrayed and makes the reader want to google this man and find out more about this incredible human being.
At first I'm sure you're going to be turned off because it doesn't have super heroes or some flashy writer or artist but I promise you, anyone who is a genuine fan of the comic art form will love this comic. Onrie paints a vivid picture of Korea as it is being invaded by the Japanese hordes. Women and children being raped and killed just for the sake of death makes the story very visceral but honestly true.
In the story, at this point in time the Korean navy had been split up into five sections all being led by different Captains. Yi Soon, takes command of one of them and with all his heart and soul plans on protecting his people and his land until the last beat of his heart.
As of right now this book is only available through amazon and the writer himself.
Do yourself a favor and at least check it out.

5 out of 5 GO HISTORY!

and that as they say IS ALL FOR ME FOLKS!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Why Star Trek Is Special

I was going through some sixth season episodes of Star Trek Deep Space Nine (in my opinion the best of the Star trek spinoffs) and I came across an old favorite, “Far Beyond The Stars”. Over the years Star Trek has been criticized, sometimes rightly so, for being a bit cliched. At it’s worst ST writing has produced some downright silly episodes such as the infamous Spock’s Brain. But Star Trek is also filled with examples of episodes that very much lived up to gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future. Perhaps none more so than Far Beyond The Stars. For those of you who have never seen it I am reprinting a plot synopsis below from the Star Trek Wiki.

Benjamin Sisko is talking to his father about leaving Starfleet, but before he makes a decision, he is distracted by a vision of a man who is dressed in 20th Century clothes. The visions rapidly increase in number. Dr. Bashir's tests of Sisko show the same synaptic potentials as he had when he had visions a year ago (in the episode "Rapture").
The vision, from the Prophets, show him as Benny Russell, an African-American science fiction writer on Earth in 1950s New York City. (Benny Russell appears in another vision in the episode "Shadows and Symbols").
Benny Russell writes for the science fiction magazine Incredible Tales, in a New York City populated by human versions of different characters from DS9: Herbert Rossoff (Quark), as a left wing Jewish writer, who often threatens to quit; Julius Eaton (Dr. Bashir), considered to be maudlin in his writing and pretentious in his dress and mannerisms; K.C. Hunter (Kira Nerys), a tough woman writer who has to adopt a nom de plume to disguise the fact that she's a woman from her readers; Albert (Miles O'Brien), a socially awkward stutterer who prefers to write stories about robots; Darlene Cursty ( Dax), a ditsy, giggly secretary whose intelligence everyone underestimates, who is constantly chewing bubble-gum and who recognizes Benny's story for the masterpiece it is; Pabst (Odo), the editor of Incredible Tales, who expresses sympathy for the discriminatory treatment experienced by Benny (and K.C.), but refuses to help them or take responsibility for his own role in their treatment; an artist (Martok); a newsboy (Nog); two policemen ( Gul Dukat and Weyoun); a waitress and Benny's girlfriend (Kassidy Yates); a ball player (Worf); a hustler ( Jake); and a fiery preacher who preaches about the will of the prophets (Joseph Sisko).
Pabst announces photo day and Hunter takes the hint that she should not show up that day so that the readers don't learn she's a woman. Benny Russell realizes he's not expected to show up for photos either because he is black. He is appalled and angered.
Russell is inspired to write a story about a space station called "Deep Space Nine", whose commanding officer is Benjamin Sisko, a human of African descent (or Negro, the term used in the show). The other writers like the story, but Pabst refuses to publish it and gives Benny a new assignment. Instead of completing the new assignment, though, Benny writes six new stories about Sisko. This causes a passionate argument in the office among the various employees. Albert suggests that Benny make the ending of his first Sisko story a dream, a compromise that both Benny and Pabst accept after it is clarified that the dreaming is being done by a negro person.
A hustler (Jake Sisko) friend of Benny's is killed by the police, ostensibly because he was trying to break into a car. When Benny protests this injustice, the police severely beat him. On his first day back at the office, excited to see his story in print, he learns that Pabst's boss did not like the story and ordered a whole month's run of the magazine “pulped”, preferring to take a loss rather than sell a magazine featuring a negro hero. Angry over this news, and the news that he is being fired over writing the story, Russell has a nervous breakdown and is taken away by an ambulance. As he falls unconscious, he looks through the window and sees not a cityscape, but stars streaking by as if traveling at warp speed. Sisko wakes up, to the relief of his father and his son. He is deeply disturbed by his vision, and now wonders what is real, his life on Deep Space Nine, or his life as Benny Russell. – End of Synopsis

This episode tackles the issue of racism and gender discrimination in a very powerful and entertaining way. We look back on the 1950’s in a very nostalgic manner but the fact is that it was a time of great fear and paranoia in our society. It was the time of the House Un-American Activities witch hunts, the Cold War, and rampant discrimination. It was not, in fact, “Happy Days”.

Things would BEGIN to change in the early Sixties through the efforts of JFK and MLK and a growing legion of Civil Rights activists of all races. But the steps steps. Then one day in 1966 a new show premiered on NBC that showed a vision of the future in which not only was everyone equal, but no one could even CONCEIVE of a time that this was not so. That show was Star Trek. On the bridge of the Enterprise we had a White man, an Asian man, a Black Woman, a Southern Man, an Alien and even a Russian man, who were not only colleagues but in a very real sense FAMILY. Any of them willing to give their lives for the other. The most striking thing was that this was NATURAL to the crew of the Enterprise. In the episode “Let That Be Your Last Battle Field” Kirk and Spock were genuinely mystified when Ambassador Beale was attempting to describe why he was superior to the man he was chasing because he was black on the opposite side than his countryman. In Roddenberry’s vision people not only tolerate, but embrace diversity. That message came to be known as IDIC (A Vulcanism) that means Infinite Diversity In Infinite Combinations. It is not only the cornerstone of Vulcan philosophy, it is the central idea behind Star Trek.

When looking at the DS9 episode “Far Beyond The Stars” it is particularly effective that the 1950’s characters are ALL played by the actors who have roles in the “future” Deep Space Nine universe. We are so used to seeing them functioning in the utopian future of Star Trek that watching these same actors deal with the all too real problems of racism and discrimination is doubly jarring. Avery Brooks in particular does a magnificent job of a man who watches his dreams and dignity systemically taken from him for the ridiculous and idiotic reason that he happens to be of a different color than the publisher of the magazine where he works.

Star Trek has always been by example an active advocate of true equality. And not just in the stories. The people who MADE Star Trek have always been truly blind to discrimination. As I stated earlier the original series gave us an integrated crew. It may seem silly now but AT THE TIME, it was unheard of to have main characters who were that mixed and not stereotyped.

You see Uhura just HAPPENED to be a black woman, Sulu HAPPENED to be Japanese. Their ethnicity was not the reason for their characters. It was just a part of who they are as people. Just like in the real world. Star Trek gave us the first inter racial kiss on TV. The first instance of a female lead in an action adventure show as the Captain of a Star Ship and Cisco as the commander of DS9, a man who just happened to be black. It is a subtle distinction but very important to note. There are no stereotypes on Star Trek among the human characters.
Star Trek exists in a universe that takes it for granted that NO enlightened mind is capable of bigotry. That is a powerful statement because it is true that an individual cannot be both intelligent and a bigot. A bigot and an intelligent individual cannot exist in the same person..

If the only thing that Star Trek is remembered for is a vision of the future where we are not only all equal in each other’s eyes, but that we embrace our differences, it will be one hell of a legacy.

I doubt if you could find another show that has a finer legacy than that.

That’s 30!


Sunday, March 14, 2010



Sorry for the delay. Stupid Staten Island and stupid power outages. Hope you have your power on if you're reading this.


This week I proudly have some something cool to share.
For your viewing pleasure, I present to you my interview with writer RICK REMENDER.

Dont, worry reviews will be back this week.

Friday, March 12, 2010



How was your week? I'm glad things are going well. I'm just dandy, thanks for asking! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed our little sale on Monday and don't forget, we've got tons of awesome special sales daily, just check out our twitter page ( for all the special savings.

But enough about that. I'm also very happy to announce that our message board is up on the website so feel free to post your hearts out and possibly make some new friends (or enemies) in the process. Just follow this here link -

We're only a couple of short weeks away from two mega signings! That's right folks, Joe Kelly, Phil Jimenez, Raven Gregory and Eric "Ebas" Basaldua will all be gracing us with their presence at the end of March
. For more info and specific dates, read on!


NOTE: This was supposed to occur last Monday but due to personal reasons it was canceled. We are happy to report that movie night will go down this Monday, March 15th instead.

Movie night returns at the Cargo this Monday night with the showing of Mystery Men! The movie starts at 10pm so make sure you get there with plenty of time to spare! There will be drink specials and a raffle for a gift certificate to the store. Don't forget, if you bring your CBJ Secret Society membership card the first drink is on the house!


We're extremely proud to announce that both Joe Kelly and Phil Jimenez will be joining us at the store on Wednesday, March 24th from 6pm - 9pm. Both Joe and Phil recently worked together on Amazing Spider-Man and both have an assortment of great books on their impressive resumes.

Spider-Man aside, Joe Kelly is most known for his work on Action Comics, Deadpool, and Justice League of America - just to name a few! His recent creations, Bad Dog and I Kill Giants, have also been huge hits and are testaments to how amazing and varied this industry really is. If you aren't familiar with Phil Jimenez you better start! Over the years he's worked on great books such as Infinite Crisis, Wonder Woman, and most recently Astonishing X-Men. This is going to be one of the biggest events of the year so make sure you do what it takes to get down here!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Some assorted randomness

With the anniversary of the February 1935 issue of “New Fun”, DC Comics is now 75 years old !!

In February 1935, National Allied Publications was created by Malcom Wheeler-Nicholson created to publish a new comic book title, “New Fun: The Big Comics Magazine”. This was the first comic book to feature all original material as opposed to reprints of newspaper strips seen in earlier efforts by other publishers. Little did Wheeler-Nicholson know that this comic book would be the first of millions of comics published by what would become DC Comics.
If you would like to know more about the very early days of the Comic Book industry I highly recommend “Men Of Tomorrow Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book”, by Gerard Jones. It is a great read and a joy for any fan of comic books and their history.
Smallville is coming back for a TENTH season! The WB hit show that re-imagines Superman’s early days struck such good Friday night ratings that the network decided to bring it back for a 10th go around. Superman has always been extremely successful on TV, going all the way back to George Reeves and “The Adventures Of Superman”, but ten seasons is unprecedented for Superman and extremely rare in television today. The profitability of a TV show maximizes after five years because that is the “sweet spot” for selling an old show into syndication. Some very popular shows run as long as seven years as a “thank you” to the fans (see Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Star Trek the Next generation etc.) Even the wildly X-Files topped out at nine years, but (along with the Stargate franchise) Smallville seems determined to live on!

The Star Trek franchise has won it’s very first Oscar! The 2009 reboot of the venerated Sci-Fi franchise took the Oscar in the Makeup Category! In addition Star trek was nominated in the Visual Effects category but lost to Avatar, and in the Sound Mixing category to The Hurt locker.

It looks like fans of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, are in for a treat! Ever since the Joss Whedon created opus hit the internet, fans have been clamoring for more! According to Nathan Fillion, work on a sequel has already started. Fillion has already heard several of the songs. And he even hints that there might be more than a single sequel.
Fans might remember Nathan Fillion from Serenity and for his turn as the evil preacher in the seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

In one of my earlier posts I mentioned that one of the reasons that Golden Age comics are so rare is that many of them were destroyed in WWII paper drives. Below is proof that even Captain America was part of the push to send our comics off to the war effort!

Annnnd That’s 30!

Friday, March 5, 2010



That's right, you heard it first right here folks! Come in on Monday, March 8th and enjoy a 25% off discount on every single item in the store for the entire day. This counts towards any comic, toy, t-shirt, statue, back issue or whatever you can think of! How do you like that? As if that wasn't enough we've got some amazing events coming your way for the month of March including two unforgettable signings and a dance-a-thon! Keep it going for more info.

Before I continue though I just want to give a shout out to Mike Bracco, Mike Czerniawki, Nik Jajik, Jeff McComsey, and Stephen Lindsay and thank them all for coming down to the store for the Alterna Anniversary signing showcase last Saturday. It was a fantastic event and they were all incredibly fun to hang out with. If you haven't checked out their books, make sure you do so. Our picks? Novo, Big Bad Book, American Terror, and Jesus Hates Zombies. Check 'em out.


Many of you entered but unfortunately there can only be one winner. So congratulations are in order for James Colazzo who won this week's Pick-A-Statue raffle. His choice? The Incredible Hulk Maestro statue (pictured below) that retails for $224.99! Keep an eye out for more raffles in the future. Huzzah!


Movie night returns at the Cargo this Monday night with the showing of Mystery Men! The movie starts at 10pm so make sure you get there with plenty of time to spare! There will be drink specials and a raffle for a gift certificate to the store. Don't forget, if you bring your CBJ Secret Society membership card the first drink is on the house!


Comic Book Jones is partnering up with PLUTO Animal Rescue for a Dance-A-Thon to be held at Martini Red (327 Van Duzer Street) on Friday March 12th starting at 10pm with CBJ's own DJ Socko Jones. Here's the deal, it's $20 to participate, half the money goes to PLUTO and the other half goes to the winner of the Dance-A-Thon. How do you win? Outlast everyone on the dance floor and be the last one standing! There will be judges, including yours truly, Tiger Jones. Participants are allowed ONE bathroom break! If you don't want to participate you can sponsor others, donate to PLUTO or just hang out and drink. We'll be there all night long.

Thursday, March 4, 2010



I saw "The Crazies" last night and I've gotta say I'm impressed. It was a solid movie from start to finish. They weren't zombies, they weren't "the infected" like in 28 days later. They were infected with a virus that drove them mad and caused them to bleed black blood. They didn't EAT their victims either. So if your leery about going to see it, GO! George Romero was the executive producer so you know it's going to be good.

Now, this week was a light week compared to last but none the less we've got some goodies this week. NEW ULTIMATES, DEADPOOL CORPS, FALL OF THE HULKS: SAVAGE SHE-HULK, GREEN HORNET AND JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRY FOR JUSTICE.

What did "FALL OF THE HULKS" have for us this week?


"RED HULK #2" last week focused mainly on Red-Hulk and Thundra's relationship. This week, this issue deals with Thundra's daughter from the future, Lyra. This all takes place before the Intelligencia attacked the Baxter Building and captured Reed Richards. It explains how The Wizard enticed Lyra to join The Frightful Four or face possible death. In joining up with the Intelligencia, she's going to use them for her own means. In this case, that's looking for the missing Jennifer Walters.
After a brief battle with The Frightful Four and The Red She-Hulk, Lyra decides to join the group. She helps them kidnap Reed Richards and discovers where Jennifer Walters has been since her disappearance; in The Intelligencia's base in some kind of stasis.
Not a bad issue, not a great issue but a good read all around. I really like Salvador Espin's artwork, you might remember his work from "Wolverine First Class". Jeff Parker continues to excel the story along with Jeph Loeb and Greg Pak. The thing I've enjoyed most about this story thus far are the twists and turns, they really make this a great mystery story because you never know what's going to happen next regardless of the clues you may or may not see.

4 out of 5 "I'm drinking coffee like your average 21st century girl"

Over on the DC side of the pond, James Robinson and Mauro Cascioli have been crafting what I think is the next big sleeper hit of 2010; JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRY FOR JUSTICE.


How far will you go for justice? How far can a HERO go for justice? These questions are posed to the Justice League in this series.
Green Arrow decides to strike out on his own and make his own Justice League. He doesn't think waiting around for the bad guys to strike is a good idea anymore, he thinks that they should take a more proactive role and hunt down potential threats and take care of them before they become a problem following the deaths of Batman and Martian Manhunter in "Final Crisis".
Led by Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Green Arrow, their new Justice League is composed of Starman Mikaal Tomas, Congorilla, Freddy Freeman, Batwoman, Atom Ray Palmer and Supergirl, all people looking for "Justice". They all share a common goal, they're all looking to get Prometheus after a series of attacks on their family and friends.
This is where the line between hero and potential villain becomes blurred. In their quest to find Prometheus, their methods aren't what you'd expect from such heroic characters. During interrogations, Ray Palmer shrinks down and begins to rupture the victims ear drums and threatens to grow to normal size within their heads. These aren't the methods heroes would use to find out information but Ollie convinces everyone that it doesn't matter since villains are the scum of the earth. During the series, Prometheus sets traps up that eventually blow up in everyone's face; like disguising himself as Captain Marvel, he gets aboard the Watchtower and tears the team apart. He goes so far as to severe Red Arrow's right forearm. Capturing Prometheus was no easy task but finally after a huge battle, they detain him and attempt to get information about how they can stop bombs he placed in everyone's home cities. Taunting them, Prometheus subjects them to horrors they never saw coming. The bombs are going off and the only way to stop them is to let Prometheus go. They have no choice and let him go but not without a serious death toll, Star City lost 90,000 people among those Lian, Red Arrow's daughter.
The end of the series we really see who's willing to cross the line in the name of justice and it's Green Arrow. He shows up at Prometheus' hideout and shoots him without hesitation in the head with an arrow and kills him!
The repercussions of this series are already being felt in Justice League and upcoming issues of Green Arrow. Ollie crossed a line that no hero should ever cross. Will he be exiled from the League? Arrested? Wonder Woman killed Max Lord trying to save Superman's life and is still considered a criminal because of it. This series also builds off the same concept of "Identity Crisis", giving heroes that are almost gods amongst men a more human side to them. The fact that Ollie would go so far as to create an almost vigilante version of the Justice League and then torture captured villains to get information and then eventually kill someone really shows how far the human psyche can be pushed and what the final breaking point is.
I highly recommend this series!

5 out of 5 "JUSTICE"

Time for some cool number one's that dropped this week.


Deadpool, Marvel's second most over used character, Wolverine being the first, gets yet another series. This series involves alternate universe versions of Deadpool being put together as a team in an Exiles fashion. First showing up in "Deadpool Merc With A Mouth #7" These alternate versions of Deadpool were just touched upon as Deadpool and Zombie Headpool bounced around the multiverse trying to find a way to the Zombiverse. This series is just a prelude to the actual series, this issue shows how Lady Deadpool gets drafted on the team.
She's working for "The Rebels" and is being hunted down by General America. Last time we saw General America he was bitten by Headpool and Deadpool had to cut off his arm to stave off the zombie virus. This time around, General America has a bionic arm, almost the same as 616's Bucky does. On the verge of losing the fight with General America, Deadpool shows up to save Lady Deadpool. He tells her that she's needed to save the universe.
I like Deadpool the same as the next guy but he really is being over used. I mean come on he's got Deadpool proper, Deadpool Team-Up, Deadpool; Merc With A Mouth and now Deadpool Corps. He's a great character and in the right hands he's absolutely hysterical but being over exposed like this is just making him less funny. In my opinion by putting him in all these books along with appearances in other titles you're making people despise the character and not want to read any of the books.
Despite the fact that you can read Deadpool almost every week now, I think this series will be just as funny and cool as any other Deadpool story just because he's got five other versions of himself and that means ten versions of the inner voices.

4 out of 5 "Rob Liefeld drawing Deadpool...oh boy (sarcasm)"


Jeph Loeb and Frank Cho bring us the newest series to the Ultimate universe which was supposed to be "Ultimates 4" but now was renamed "New Ultimates". The story takes place Eight months after the events of "Ultimatum", Tony Stark is talking to himself about how he had cancer and what he's gone through since first being diagnosed. The New Defenders composed of Hellcat, Hellstorm, The Black Knight, Nighthawk and Luke Cage show up and attack Tony and Hawkeye. Captain America, Valkyrie and Zarda (from the Squadron Supreme universe) come to their rescue. Their mission wasn't to attack the Ultimates but to obtain Mjolnir, Thor's enchanted hammer.
In Valhalla, Thor has been fighting for his life ever since he struck the deal with Hela to switch places with Captain America during "Ultimatum". Hela makes him an offer, he can return back to the land of the living if he gives her a son...
Ka-Zar and Shanna are in Central Park with The Black Panther when Loki and The Enchantress show up with a horde of trolls. What's going on? The last time we saw Loki was during the "Grand Theft America" storyline back in "Ultimates 2".
I for one am really excited and happy to finally see this series in print. I've been waiting for it ever since it was announced right before "Ultimates 2" ended. I love Frank Cho and Jeph Loeb is my second favorite Ultimate Universe writer, the first being Mark Millar. My only problem with this issue is the gigantic gatefold cover that they cut short which exposes the pages of the book itself. God forbid you drop the book, it's going to get mashed worse than normal.

5 out of 5 "I really hate you Ms. Danvers"

Last but certainly not least THE GREEN HORNET!


Kevin Smith brings his never published Green Hornet screenplay to comics via Dynamite Entertainment. This updated version of the Green Hornet has him and Kato finishing their mission of five years, to clean the crime families out of Century City. After getting the last two big crime bosses off the street, Britt Reid makes the second biggest decision of his life, he retires from being the Green Hornet. He and Kato part ways as the two journey in their own directions. Years later, Britt's son Britt Reid Jr. is a tabloid star and has his girlfriend walk out on him because he won't marry her just yet. That's the basic run down of this first issue.
I was really excited to read this because the first super-heroes that I can remember as a kid were The Green Hornet and Batman, thanks to my Dad. I did enjoy this book but at the same time I do have some complaints.
The original Green Hornet took place in the 1940's, then it got updated with Batman into the 1960's, this story has no time definition. What era are we in? I suppose it's 2010 but it's not stated. The outfits of the criminals indicate that it must be sometime now. My other complaint is The Hornet's banter with the villains. As I remember, he never really said anything during a fight. He was very much like Batman in the sense that actions spoke louder than words. My other complaint is that when he's talking to his wife about retiring, she asks if he can still wear the mask to bed, he replies "If it turns you on, The hat too." she says "Not the hat, Britt. The hat's goofy." he in turn says "What're you talking about the hat's PIMP!" Brett Reid would never in a million years say something that stupid. "The hat's PIMP!" He's a well respected and educated man along with the fact that such slang wouldn't be in his vernacular. Aside from Kevin Smith's attempt to update The Green Hornet's conversational skills, this story seems to have a great deal of potential and I'm excited to see what happens. I also cannot wait for Matt Wagner's Green Hornet: Year One which is the very beginnings of the character along with his meeting of Kato for the first time.

5 out of 5 "The hat's not pimp Britt!"


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

On A Serious Note

Every now and then I come across a news story that reminds me that real life incidents can be more violent and cruel than anything we read about in comics or see in film. In comic books in particular death is usually a momentary inconvenience and the protagonist usually gets over it in due course. See the recent Captain America Reborn or Darkest Night series as a perfect example of how fiction can treat violent death as no more inconvenient than a head cold. Hell, even SPOCK died… but he got better.

Tragically it doesn’t work that way in real life. In the real world dead is dead. No do overs, no backsies…do not pass GO. All you are and all you ever can be ends right there. And, unlike in comics, there are no superheroes to swoop in at the last minute. Batman is not there to catch you when the bad guy comes out to prey. WE have to be the superheroes because we are all we have.

The point of this ramble will become clear as I tell you about a young lady who could easily have been someone you know. Someone who might have shared our hobby…I don’t know. She could have been my daughter or your girlfriend…It could even have been YOU. Her name is …was Chelsea King and she was a 17 year old high school student in San Diego, so the story did not get big play here in NY. By all accounts Chelsea was a smart, delightful young woman well on her way to a very bright future. She went missing on February 25th while out for a jog. Chelsea’s body was found Tuesday in a shallow grave by the beach where she was running.

Her body was found six days after King went missing Feb. 25 and two days after police arrested John Albert Gardner III, a convicted sex offender whose DNA they said was found on King's clothing near where police believe she was abducted.

It’s an ugly story that is far too common. Here we have a decent young person who was just starting to live her life robbed of that life and all of her potential. She died violently, in fear and all alone. Her family lost a daughter and the world lost all of the contributions she was ever going to make to our collective value. It was a crime that you can never put a price on. Murder robs all of us every single time it is committed anywhere.

Chelsea’s life was taken by a predator, no more than an animal. What is worse is that this particular predator had priors. Chelsea was, by all accounts, not his first victim. Unfortunately, just like in comic books, the bad guys often find their way back to the streets. Predators are a fact of life. Superman is not. But there are things you can do to protect yourself. It is called Self Defense.

There is a misconception that most people hold with the term Self Defense. Most people seem to think it involves martial arts and various fighting skills. In fact true Self Defense rarely requires any fighting at all. What it does require is AWARENESS of your environment and staying away from potentially dangerous situations. You don’t need to be a martial arts expert or a survivalist to protect yourself. Your brain and common sense will do in most situations!
Believe it or not we have our own version of Spider Sense. We just fail to notice it. Our brains process an enormous amount of ambient data regarding our surroundings. Sights, smells and sounds that we never consciously acknowledged go through the computer in our heads.

Sometimes that ambient data raises a danger signal. That is when we feel the “hair raise” on the back of our necks or “feel” someone nearby. Unfortunately, these days we are normally plugged into an I-Pod or some such other gadget that insulates us from our surroundings and “dulls” our “Spider sense”. A word of advice here…UN PLUG occasionally. It may just save your life. The more aware you are of your surroundings, the safer you are going to be. Listen to your instincts. It is better to feel silly after a false alarm than to be dead because you ignored your instincts.
Avoid isolated areas after dark…especially when you are alone.

Take a minute to look around when you find yourself in an unfamiliar or isolated environment.
If you sense something and your instinct says run…then run. Don’t hesitate because an attacker sure won’t.

Keep 911 on speed dial on your cell and don’t be afraid to use it.

If you are on a train platform after hours, stay in the common area near the token booth and away from the platform edge. Try to ride in the front car.

Finally, don’t be afraid. Believe it or not New York IS a relatively safe city. Being self aware will just make it SAFER.

The best way to beat the bad guys is to live well...

That’s 30


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Are Your Comics Really Worth a Million Bucks?

Last week a copy of Action Comics #1, rated at an 8.0 by the CGC, had sold for an even million dollars at an auction. Action Comics #1, of course, is the first appearance of Superman.
Well, it seems that Batman has beaten Superman. According to a report from the AP, a copy of Detective Comics #27, also rated an 8.0 by the CGC, sold for $1,000,075. Detective #27 marked the first appearance of Batman and like Action #1 is a watershed event in the history of comic books.

Batman’s first appearance beat Superman’s by seventy five dollars.

As Casey Stengel once said “you could look it up!”

Two comic books that originally sold for a dime have now cleared a cool million bucks a piece. It’s enough to send collectors, non-collectors and garage sale hawks into a feeding frenzy! I can just picture all of the above and more rummaging through their old (and tattered) comics in search of gold.

Well before you quit your job and make plans to live off the killing you make selling off your old copies of Howard the Duck take a VERY deep breath. The simple fact of the matter is that your old comic books are probably not worth much more than you paid for them and, in fact, may be worth quite a bit LESS. If your collection dates back to within the last 25 years, you may be in for a disappointment if it is resale value you seek. While there are books published since 1985 that have appreciated in value, the vast majority have gone in the opposite direction. For every Dark Knight Returns #1 at around $50 in mint condition, there are thousands of Mutant Space Beavers or hologrammed Spiderman cover variants with little to no resale value.

Still there is no denying that SOME comic books attain great value. The question is simple…why?

The answer is a little bit more complicated. There are several factors that go into making any collectible increase in value. The single most important thing to keep in mind is that comic books have NO intrinsic value. Whether it is an Action #1 or the most recent issue of Avengers, a comic book is only worth what someone else is prepared to pay for it. Because comics have no intrinsic value like gold or gems, it is entirely possible that the copy of Action #1 that just sold for a million bucks could someday sell for a THOUSAND….OR TWO Million. It is entirely up to the marketplace at the time of sale. Having said that there ARE factors that help a comic book increase in value.

The first is rarity. Simply put, if the demand outstrips the supply the value tends to rise. One of the reasons that Golden Age comic books are so valuable is that they are relatively rare. First they were printed on low quality paper that tended to degrade over time. In addition the Golden Age of comics was during our involvement in the Second World War and millions of comics were destroyed in paper drives, which added to their rarity. Finally in both the Golden and Silver Ages comic books were not considered collectibles, so they tended to be thrown away when the collector outgrew the hobby.

Another factor that may cause a comic book to increase in value is a first appearance or a #1 issue. By that I mean a TRUE #1 or first appearance and not the renumbering of an ongoing series or a reboot. Reboots and renumbering have not shown any consistency in increased resale value. So while Avengers #4 which was the first appearance in the Silver Age of Captain America is highly valuable (well over $1,000 in high grade), the Heroes Reborn Cap in the late 90’s is barely worth cover price.

There are several reasons why modern comic books do not generally go up in value.
First is the quality of the product. Current comics are printed on heavy stock, glossy paper and tend to resist the creasing and tearing common with books made on newsprint. If reasonably handled a modern comic tends to stay in, at least VF condition.
Next is the practice of multiple printings of a popular title or issue. In the past there was only ONE printing of a new comic. Today seven or eight printings are not unheard of. Hence there are plenty of copies for anyone who may want them. While a first printing MAY be more prized among collectors it is not an indicator of increased value.

There is also the fairly new practice of collecting recent runs in trade paperback, or hard cover editions. This pours still more copies of the books into circulation. In fact many collectors now wait for the collected editions to come out as they are less expensive in that form than as single issues.

Comic retailers, like CBJ are thinking like retailers and not like collectors. Which is entirely the way they SHOULD think. Back in the early 90’s too many retailers (along with the major publishers) were thinking like collectors and speculators and artificially inflating the prices of comics by hoarding copies for later resale. Not only is that bad for collectors, it damned near ran the hobby out of business! Today retailers are much smarter (lead by our own dynamic duo of Socko and Tiger!!) They see shelf space as a value in and of itself. Customer service has replaced speculation and price gouging. Hence more and more comic retailers are actually marking DOWN recent back issues, which is a great value for collectors but hardly increases the value of a back issue past cover price.

Finally the current cost of a comic book averages between $2.99 and $3.99. If the average collector buys only ten books a week his/her monthly expense can be nearly $200. Serious collectors can go for quite a bit more than that in new books in a given month. Add to that bags, boards, boxes, the occasional figurine or related magazine and there simply is not a lot of money left over for back issues. So the demand goes down and, accordingly the value of the back issue.
So now we have discussed why newer comics tend not to go up in value. What about your Golden And Silver Age comics? Should you collect them? Should you speculate on them? Yes and No. Yes, as an avid Golden And Silver Age collector I can tell you that it is a very rewarding hobby. It is a lot of fun to track down that rare old book or run of books. BUT as a collector I advise against collecting with an eye towards making a profit reselling them later on. Unless you are a dealer yourself, the chances are that you would be selling your collection TO a dealer. He/she MUST pay substantially less than guide value in order to make a profit so you would be selling at as much as 70% off of guide value. So if you paid a dealer $100 for a copy of Fantastic Four #48 in VG, you can’t expect to sell it to a dealer for anywhere near that much. The same holds true if you sell on an online auction site like Ebay. Comics typically sell for far less than guide value, so there is no guarantee that you will even break even, much less turn a profit. (there ARE ways to make Ebay work for you as a Golden Age /Silver Age collector but I will address that in a future column). Bottom line …collect for love. If you want to speculate and you have extra money, buy gold. It always comes back.

While we are on the subject of the value of your collection I DO highly recommend that you do the following:

Keep a running inventory of your collection. You never know when a gem MAY appear and knowing what you won will help you avoid repurchasing a boom you already have! Plus it’s just plain fun to rummage through your collection isn’t it?

Bag , board, and box your books. The expense is really worth the effort. Comics WILL degrade over time if they are not properly stored.

GRADE your books using the Overstreet Guidelines. Again, it’s just plain fun and it will give you an idea of the overall value of your collection. You MAY decide to sell one day, and while you won’t get full value, the more you know about your collection the more you will be able to make on it, especially if you decide to be your own reseller on Ebay.

Read the trades! Comic Shop News, Previews Catalogue, Back Issues Magazine, and any of the thousands of websites devoted to the hobby all help you keep your finger on the pulse of the hobby. Comic book collecting is a hobby that is fun and engaging even when you are not READING your comics.

And That’s 30!