Tag Archives: human torch

6 Collected Editions Worthy Of Your Attention #13

Is there one book that is a “must have” that came out this week? My friends Andy Tom (@AndrewJTom), Chris Campbell (ChrisCampbell8), Marc Diefenderfer (@Dief88), Shane Hannafey, Adam Besenyodi (@adambesenyodi), and I (@ChrisCCL) are sharing six comic book collected editions, reprints and/or graphic novels released this week that you may be interested in.

Superman vs. Zod TP (DC Comics)
Superman vs. Zod TP (DC Comics)

Picked by @AndrewJTom
Superman vs. Zod TP (DC Comics)
Growing up in the 70s and 80s was a pretty special time for a comics fan.  In 1978 I was only 7 years old and my parents took me to see one of my favorite characters on the big screen, Superman.  I was in complete amazement at what I saw on screen, but ultimately I was disappointed with the one thing that my 7 year old brain couldn’t understand.  I wondered why the villain was Lex Luthor.  I mean… Luthor was just a regular guy!  Why didn’t they give us Bizarro or Brainiac?  Someone who could actually go toe to toe with Big Blue in a knock down, drag out fight.  A couple of years later (1980) I was 9 years old and my mom dropped me off at the movie theater so I could go see Superman II (back then, kids actually went to the movies by themselves).  What I got this time was exactly what I wanted.  Superman fought three other Kryptonians.  Not only were they Kryptonians, but they were the vilest of Krypton’s criminals.  Superman battled them in the streets of Metropolis and all the way to the north pole in the Fortress of Solitude (what was with the big cellophane “S” anyway?).  After Superman II, I was determined to learn more about these Phantom Zone villains.  Luckily, flea markets in the early 80s were aplenty and old comics were easy to come by on the cheap.  Eventually, I scored a couple of stories from the flea market and/or Harold’s Drug Store. These stories featured General Zod and his sidekicks.  Soon, I also scooped up the Phantom Zone mini-series and my appreciation for Zod was at it’s peak.  But sadly, Zod and company were rarely used after that tremendous mini-series.  Nowadays, General Zod has been redefined and re-imagined by Richard Donner and Geoff Johns.  He’s more similar in appearance to Terence Stamp; and he’s been reestablished as one of Superman’s most interesting and evil villains.  This new collection is pretty thin; but it does offer some early stories of General Zod and the Phantom Zone villains, including a look back at Zod’s treachery on Krypton told by Donner and Johns.  Sadly, this doesn’t collect the beloved “Phantom Zone” mini-series (that’s coming later this year), but this will make a great companion book to the eventual Phantom Zone book (which is a MUST BUY).  The best thing about this collection of old Superman vs. Zod stories is that it’s only $9.99 (which means you can score it at InStockTrades or Amazon for $5 or $6).  At this price, I highly recommend picking this up, it’ll provide you with some good old fashioned comic “fun” and remind you of what comics were like back when you (and your parents) were kids.
Collects stories from Adventure Comics #283, Action Comics #473, #548-549, DC Comics Presents #97 and Action Comics Annual #10, $9.99

LOAC Essentials Vol. 2: The Gumps - The Saga of Mary Gold! (IDW)
LOAC Essentials Vol. 2: The Gumps – The Saga of Mary Gold! (IDW)

Picked by @Dief88
LOAC Essentials Vol. 2: The Gumps – The Saga of Mary Gold! (IDW)
The second in IDW’s “Library of American Comics Essentials” series, this hardcover marks the first reprinting of Sidney Smith’s comic strip The Gumps (which ran from 1917 to 1959) in almost 40 years. Beloved in its day, The Gumps was so popular that readers would actually write in with romantic advice for the strip’s characters. Collected in this volume is one of the series’ most heart-wrenching stories, “The Saga of Mary Gold,” which features a pretty significant “first” in comics history. At the ridiculously low price of $19.99, this is a book that fans of classic newspaper comics should definitely check out.
Collects strips from 1928-1929, $19.99

Judge Dredd Origins TP (2000 AD/Rebellion)
Judge Dredd Origins TP (2000 AD/Rebellion)

Picked by Shane
Judge Dredd Origins TP (2000 AD/Rebellion)
Like most Americans, my first intro to the Judge Dredd character was the 1995 Stallone film which I later found, out had little to do with the actual comic.  That being said, I still enjoyed it for its cheesiness!  But alas, there really wasn’t a lot of US published Dredd books out there at the time.  Fast forward to today and we just got a new Dredd film starring Karl Urban of Star Trek fame as the lead character.  It wasn’t widely distributed in the US but has become a cult classic nonetheless and is much more accurate to the source material.  I bought it blind on Blu-Ray and never have I made a better purchase.  The film also whet my appetite for the further adventures of our helmeted anti-hero.  Now we are getting an abundance of Judge Dredd collected editions to satisfy any American’s curiosity.  As of late, we have had the Case Files series and now we get Origins.  This should be a great starting point for any curious comics fan to dip his or her feet into this universe and learn more about “dreaded” judges in the dystopian future city of Mega-City One that are everything from Police, judge, jury and executioner.  I personally can’t wait to read this!!
Collects all 23 episodes published from 2006 – 2007, $19.99

Bomb Queen Deluxe Edition Volume 1 HC (Image)
Bomb Queen Deluxe Edition Volume 1 HC (Image)

Picked by ChrisCampbell8
Bomb Queen Deluxe Edition Volume 1 HC (Image)
I have a confession to make.  I love absurd comics with violence and humor that push the envelope.  Enter the Bomb Queen.  Written and drawn by Jimmie Robinson, the Bomb Queen is not a new character, but the Deluxe Edition volume 1 that was released this week is sort of a restart of the hardcover line for the series.  I own the previous hardcover effort – appropriately entitled “Omnibust” – but that edition is quite hard to locate, so Jimmie has decided to update the trade dress and begin again.  I’ve already read the material covered in the first Deluxe Edition, but I’ll be buying it again.  Especially since a second volume has already been announced, which will let me continue my reading in my preferred format.  The story itself is awesomely insane and violent, but never takes itself too seriously and is done in a visual style reminiscent of Ryan Ottley and Invincible.  Once part of a quartet of Bomb Queens terrorizing the city, Bomb Queen emerges from her origin tale as the supreme villain in charge of the city.  There are simply no more heroes to fight her, and the government doesn’t want to get involved.  With the aid of her puppet mayor, crime-zones have been established throughout the city, and the people are generally behind her!  Truly a messed-up city that deserves what it gets, right?  Probably, but a challenger has come in the form of a politician looking to defeat the puppet mayor at the polls, and thus eliminate Bomb Queen’s (official) influence.  You can see where this is going.  The series has a wonderful black and dirty sense of humor and very solid art, so if you’re into that sort of thing, jump into this series.  You’ll love it.
Collects Bomb Queen: Royal Flush #1-4, Bomb Queen II: Queen Of Hearts #1-4 And Bomb Queen Vs. Blacklight: Cat Fight (One-Shot), $24.99

Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Human Torch Volume 1 TPB (Marvel)
Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Human Torch Volume 1 TPB (Marvel)

Picked by @adambesenyodi
Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Human Torch Volume 1 TPB (Marvel)
Marvel has done a nice job of translating their hardcover “Masterworks” line to the softcover trade paperback format. And with these Golden Age reprints, there’s plenty to recommend, notably the debut and origin of Torch’s kid sidekick Toro in this particular volume. You’re not misreading the collection contents here, Timely’s Human Torch series kicked off with issue #2 and had two issue #5s (designated as issue #5A and issue #5B). While four issues for $30 is a little steep at first glance, this is more forgiving than some of Marvel’s other mispriced collections of modern story arcs. For starters, originally published in 1940 and 1941, these are 64-page single issues that are long out of circulation. Add to that the remastering, and you’re seeing these classic Carl Burgos, Bill Everett, and Joe Simon comics arguably looking better than they ever did!
Collects Human Torch (1940) #2-5A, $29.99

Day of Judgment TP (DC Comics)
Day of Judgment TP (DC Comics)

Picked by @ChrisCCL
Day of Judgment TP (DC Comics)
Ugh! I hate to be a downer but sometimes a book comes along that the can’t recommend. Today that collected edition is Day Of Judgement. Why? Simply put it’s not complete. The Day Of Judgement event took place with it’s own 5-issue series and nearly 20 tie-in books. It was panned by many, but I picked all the issues up and still have them packed away in a long box in my basement. The story revolved around The Spectre and his search for a new host who eventually will be the fallen Green Lantern,  Hal Jordan. Other supporting heroes hear are an incredible line up: Doctor Occult, Zatanna, Phantom Stranger, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Raven, Ragman, Alan Scott aka Sentinel and Faust. They come to form the super team, Sentinels Of Magic, which, sadly made their only appearance in this event. Did I happen to mention that the writer of Day Of Judgement was a young, self-starter named Geoff Johns? Of course he went on to be the architect of Green Lantern and other giant event books. I think you know how I would want this collected – as a full size, complete Absolute or Omnibus. For now, we’ll have to settle for this trade.
If there is a silver lining to be had from seeing this trade being released is that we may be getting collected editions of the Hal Jordan/Spectre 27-issue run as well as his appearance in Legends of the DC Universe #33-36.
Collects Day Of Judgment #1-5 and a story from Day Of Judgment Secret Files #1, $14.99

Now it’s your turn. What books that came out this week do you recommend? Take a look at the sidebar to see this weeks collected edition releases.

Sunday Review – Fantastic Four: The Resurrection of Galactus

This whole death of the Human Torch has gotten me to pick up both old and new Fantastic Four comics. In my research for last weeks review, Marvel Masterworks FF Volume 1 and Amazing Spider-Man Volume helped me out a great deal. As for the more recent work, I dove into my collection and plucked out the recent release of Fantastic Four: The Resurrection of Galactus Marvel Premiere Classic – (Variant Volume 53). The comics collected here are FF Annual 2001 and (Volume 2) #46-50 (aka #475-479) and for a guy who has never really been a fanboy of the Fantastic Four, it was a bit confusing but once the story got going I was able to follow along. If you know the major players you should be able to sit back, relax and prepare to go on another cosmic ride.

Right off the bat we get the dead head of Galactus crashing into Manhattan; it’s also the cover, so it’s not much of a spoiler. The Avengers offer to help but Reed sends them away stating that this is not to be a concern of theirs. I’m willing to bet money that this early cameo was instated just to show that Iron Man and his gang of merry men are inhabitants of New York, too and so guys like me won’t badger a guy like Joe Quesada at Comic Con with continuity questions. Anyway, Nova, the Frankie Ray Nova, also shows up and after they all have quick visit to the moon to ask the Watcher was is going on, they find out that the universe (or multiverse) is all out of whack. Uatu, himself, has no memory and is mentally imbalanced. Johnny and Frankie set out to find the ultimate nullifier and restore everything back to normal. Along the way the space time continuum has been disrupted and familiar heroes and villains have morphed into echoes of themselves. This includes a homeless Namor and even a few panels given to a gent in a the yellow Daredevil costume called Battlin’ Jack. Fun stuff. But only if you like these types of time traveling alternate universe stories, if you don’t then don’t bother. As you can guess, our favorite purple martain does come back but as far as who the bad guy is, you’ll have to read the comics (or wikipedia) to find out.

I do have one complaint when it comes to the Premiere Classic Editions. I would like to have an updated introduction in the same manner that Marvel does so with their Masterworks. I’ve harped on this before in previous podcasts but my requests have gone unnoticed. If Marvel is going to promote this as one of the greatest story lines of all time, then they should at least explain why it is so important and possibly a few upcoming plot points. And I’m sorry, but repurposing an intro from a 15 year old, previously released, trade paperback edition does not count. A new audience deserves and new introduction. That said, the extras here are pretty thin, no introduction but we do have the covers (yeah!) and the script to the silent anniversary story from Fantastic Four #50, an issue that is better then all the other issues collected in this book. Can Resurrection of Galactus be called a Classic? I’m not sure. But if anyone was to ask me, “where should I start with the Fantastic Four?” I would send them Jack’s way.

Fantastic Four: The Resurrection of Galactus Marvel Premiere Classic (Variant Volume 53)
Written by Carlos Pacheco, Jeph Loeb & Rafael Marin
Art by Carlos Pacheco, Jeff Johnson & Tom Grummett
Covers by Carlos Pacheco
$24.99, 200 pages, Marvel Comics
Collects Fantastic Four Annual 2001 and (Volume 2) #46-50 (#475-479)

Also recommended:
Marvel Premiere Classic: Fantastic Four: In Search Of Galactus (Variant Volume 39)

Sunday Review – Marvel Masterworks: The Human Torch Volumes 1-2

Let’s get this out of the way early, I liked the Fantastic Four movies. Yes, they were loaded with bad acting, but so are a lot of movies. But com’on we all went to the theater to see the Human Torch special effects. My son also enjoyed them (he is now 11 and we own them on DVD), and they are the types of live action superhero movies that we can watch together, unlike The Dark Knight, and he doesn’t have to follow some drawn out plot, like the X-Men movies. Speaking of Johnny Storm, he’s just plane cool. I fondly remember as a kid of the 70’s not wanting to be Spider-Man or Superman, but a guy who could fly and set things on fire at will (it was a rough childhood). As I grew older, my interests grew up with me, but Johnny stayed the same, he was even a nuisance and crybaby at times. I guess that’s his nature and the producers whole heartily incorporated his narcissism into the movies. Too bad really, because I think it’s time that Johnny grew up into the hero that he was born to be. Of course that may be a problem being that the Human Torch is “dead” now.

While Reed, Sue and Ben have seemingly moved on from Johnny’s demise to create the Future Foundation with Spider-Man (geez, how many team and solo books can he be in anyway?) this is a perfect time to get reacquainted with ‘ol Hot Head before his expected return in Fantastic Four #600 in 2012. And there’s no better place to learn about his roots then a visit, not to the early Fantastic Four comic books (which are great in of themselves), but to the Human Torch short story, solo adventures that ran in Strange Tales #101-134 and are collected in Marvel Masterworks: The Human Torch Volumes 1-2.

If you know your Marvel history then you know that the FF #1 predated the debut of Spider-Man (Amazing Fantasy #15) by about 10 months; November 1961 vs. August 1962. But let’s not forget that the FF appeared in Spider-Man #1 (Mach 1963), setting the stage for the friendly feud between Spidey and Torch, and interestingly enough there was no Fantastic Four book in that hot summer month; #6 was held off until September. But it’s October, 1963 when things really heat up.

Strange Tales was started in 1951, as part of Atlas Comics horror line. As that genre wained, thanks in part to Fredric Werthem, Stan Lee thought that a superhero should be added and since Spider-Man had his own title and the Fantastic Four was popular, there was no better character to take over, and add a bit of a rivalry, Johnny Storm, The Human Torch. Of course Johnny was the Silver Age and second Human Torch. The first being created by Carl Burgos in 1939 for Marvel Mystery Comics and ran from #1-98 and in Human Torch #1-35. Both comics were cancelled in 1949 and after a short resurrection (along with Captain America and the Sub-Mariner in the 1950’s), the Golden Age original faded into obscurity until Fantastic Four Annual #4 (November, 1966).

Johnny’s adventures in Strange Tales differed slightly from Fantastic Four as it was geared for a little younger audience. Here, Lee was more focused on action then science, more earth born street level thugs then cosmic fears from beyond. Johnny was more like his new rival Spider-Man, having to go to high school, have a girl-friend and having to fit in. I can only imagine kids in the early 60’s arguing on the playground who was the better hero (we adults do this now on our own playgrounds called forums). So just keep that in mind if and when you pick these books up.

As for the comics themselves, they are a lot of fun and full of nostalgia and loaded with some of the best talent one book has ever seen. Stan Lee and his brother Larry Lieber do the majority of the writing, but Jerry Siegel (Superman) comes by for #112-113. As for the artwork, that job is left up to Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers who at times turn it over to Steve Ditko, Wally Wood, Bob Powell and the aforementioned, Carl Burgos.

Let’s look at some of the more notable comics:

  • Issue #101 is a reintroduction to the origin of the Human Torch and the Fantastic Four.
  • Issue #106 brings the four of them together (boy, that was quick!), and Reed, Sue and Ben come back for #108-109 (and make other short appearances throughout the run).
  • Issue #107 is one of those books that can’t get reprinted enough; it’s Johnny vs. Namor, The Sub-Mariner in an epic battle that should not be missed! It’s also the fourth appearance of Namor in the Silver Age and his first outside of the FF title.
  • Sandwiched in between Siegel’s brilliant #112 and #113, there is Strange Tales Annual #2. This particular book has Stan writing and Steve Ditko inking Jack Kirby’s pencils and even features Spider-Man – you won’t find this comic in the Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks or The Steve Ditko Visionaries HC!
  • Issue #114 (November 1963) gets even better with the return of Captain America. As a reader of that time, it would have been awesome to witness his return (except his red shorts), but then be somewhat disappointed with the surprise ending. But fear not because Steve Rogers would be resurrected for good, a few months later in The Avengers #4 (March, 1964).
  • Skipping ahead, Johnny’s buddy, Ben Grim comes by and teams up for the run of #121-134. Reading the issues, I’m not sure this move was necessary. One the good side they battle Namor in #125, but this team-up concept without Reed and Sue, helped end the Human Torch in Strange Tales to make way for the super spy, Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

As for the extras in these two Masterworks, Volume 1 only contains an introduction by Dick Ayers while Volume 2 has Bruce Canwell doing that duty. In the second volume there is cover art for the complete 8-issue reprint run (1974-75) of The Human Torch. This series collected the Silver Age, Atlas Age and Golden Age comics that featured The Human Torch. Both volume have creator biographies.

Marvel Masterworks: The Human Torch Volume 1 HC (Variant Volume 66)
Written by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jerry Siegel, Robert Bernstein and Ernie Hart
Art by Dick Ayers, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko
$50.00 ($55.00), 272 pages, Marvel Comics
Collects: Human Torch stories from Strange Tales #101-117 and Strange Tales Annual #2

Marvel Masterworks: The Human Torch Volume 2 HC (Variant Volume 114)
Written by Stan Lee and Larry Ivie
Art by Dick Ayers, Bob Powell, Carl Burgos and Jack Kirby
$50.00 ($55.00), 256 pages, Marvel Comics
Collects: Human Torch stories from Strange Tales #118-134

Also recommended:
Marvel Masterworks: The Golden Age Human Torch HC Volumes 1-3
Marvel Masterworks: The Atlas Era Heroes featuring Marvel Boy, Human Torch, Captain America and Sub-Mariner HC Volumes 1-3

January Comic Book News Review – 3 Strikes and You’re Out!

We’re one month into 2011 and already it’s been a blockbuster in comic book news:

  • The demise of the Comics Code Authority
  • The immediate cease of Wizard Magazine
  • The Death of Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four

So much negativity. Let’s tackle each one:

DC came out and said it was dropping the Comics Code Authority in favor of its’ own Rating System. The biggest surprise was that the CCA was still in existence! Really, what is their role in the market today? DC, Marvel (who dropped the Code in 2001) and other companies seemingly publishes whatever they want with sex, violence and profanity, and it’s now incumbent upon them to monitor themselves. But don’t worry; there will always be parents, like myself, to monitor what they publish so the wrong book doesn’t fall into the wrong hands in my household. I suppose there was a time for the CCA, but that day has long past and is now puts closure to the Werthem Age of Comics, 1954-2011.

Once Upon A Time…I went to college. While stuck in mid-Michigan in a small town, with no comic book store I got interested in girls and beer. I had more success with the latter. I seldom bought comics when I returned home for Christmas or the summer, but after I graduated I found myself in an office building with a comic store directly across the street. How did I get reintroduced and get caught up with comics? Answer: Wizard Magazine. This, of course, was before the internet and besides chatting it up with the owner of the store, was the only way to get up to speed on storylines and comics that I may have missed. For what it was – in the mid-1990s – it was a good magazine. I especially enjoyed the section in the back where it had a short comic price guide to see what was Hot and what was Not. Wizard, however, did not change with the times and sites like Newsarama and Comic Book Resources took over, not to mention Blogs and Podcasts. As far as the business end goes, it’s a shame because Wizard already had a loyal customer base, staff and most importantly, brand. They shot themselves in the foot by not converting to a web based model. Will the hoarding of conventions work for them? Only time will tell, but their reputation may out weigh their vision and all we’ll be left with is, “Whatever happened to Wizard World Paducah”?

Oh, poor Johnny Storm. I was really hoping it wasn’t going to be you. I was secretly rooting for Reed to bite it. But here we are, left with only fond memories of one of the most iconic heroes in all of comicdom. After all, Johnny was the second Human Torch and the first notable Golden Age character to be reborn post Amazing Adventures #3 (August 1961). FYI, The Silver Age Namor debuted in Fantastic Four #4 (May, 1962) and Captain America in The Avengers #4 (March, 1964). I always felt sorry for Johnny. In the early days Stan Lee made it a point that Human Torch and Spider-Man would be at odds with each other, but it was Peter who was the real jerk, not Johnny. He had similar life issues as Peter because he, too, was a teenager and sometimes Reed, Sue and Ben wouldn’t take him as serious as they should because his superpower reflected that of his personality – Hot Head or Daredevil. So much so, this unredeeming quality is showcased in the major movies and animated series of today. I’d like to think that Johnny has grown over the years to become more of a leader and not the adolescent punk to so many has taken him for. Johnny is a strong character and for as long as he is gone, he will be missed. I, like many of you, expect him back in 12 months when Fantastic Four #600 is published next year. But what if he doesn’t return? What will be the fan reaction? I’d like to think that once a character is dead, he stays dead, but not in Johnny’s case. I’d like to see him return. But for now, “Flame Off”.

Collected Edition Blog browsing on Wednesday afternoon

Just doing some catching up. Here are some linky-links for you – with comments.