Mark Presents: Spider-Man Presents: Marvel Universe Series 1 cards
This one's for Scott over at Polite Dissent. DOOM!
Joining other such luminaries in my mini-comics collection as, uhm... that one Shadowhawk "ashcan" I just found in my closet... is Rob Osborne's "Go Forth and Conquer," a mini-comic spin-off or precursor or something to Osborne's "1000 Steps to World Domination," which is what I really wanted when I entered his "World Conquest Poetry" contest. Hey, these things are expensive, you know, and I'm not swimming in liquid assets here.
Instead I only got an honorable mention, which is cool enough, because anyone with a weblog is probably some kind of an attention whore, anyhow. I was honorably mentioned thanks to my world-famous epic "If I Had a Giant Robot Gorilla Suit..." The poem itself is nearly two years old, having been written when the phrase "giant robot gorilla suit" entered my head, refused to leave, and wormed its way out as a poem. Why a poem? because I can't draw and I was too lazy to write a script or a book, that's why. Then about a year later, in a characteristic bout of laziness, I submitted it as my first poetic piece in creative writing class. You can read about that submission, and the poem itself right here.
Or over at Rob's Weblog, Rob and the mini-comic "Go Forth and Conquer" I won for my honorable mention being the reason for writing this entry.
"Go Forth and Conquer" appeals to the "Bill & Ted" fan in me, using, as it does, historical figures in absurd situations. Well, one situation: standing around, talking about conquering the world and/or killing as many people as possible, moderated by an eyepatch-wearing Abraham Lincoln. Even with so few pages it spins out of control rather quickly, as you'd expect with such strong personalities as Atilla the Hun, Genghis Khan, Napoleon Bonapart, and Lord Zingo. But, as with most good comics, we learn as we laugh: Atilla's mouth waters at the thought of war. Genghis enjoys tossing the ol' pigskin around. Napoleon, much to my horror, has a hairy belly. Zingo... well, that would be telling. And ol' Honest Abe can fuckin' throw down if the situation calls for it.
It's funny. Really funny, and if its job is to make me buy more of this guy's comics, its on the payroll. I enjoyed the art, which is important as most comics think it's enough to just have witty dialogue (but there's plenty of that). The smarm of Napoleon drips off the page, repetition — a staple of humorous comics — is used to great effect, and the style overall has a bit of Keith Giffen-ness to it that appeals to my very living soul, such as it is.
So visit Rob's site and give him some money. I'm going to. Real soon. Honest.
If you want to really hate comics, don't go to the Newsarama forums or the Bendis Board; don't even read actual comics. Take a trip back in time and spend an afternoon sorting through a shoebox full of trading cards.
I'd show you some of the several hundred Comic Images X-Men cards which lurked in the box, but I already fed them to the shredder, so awful were they. Has anyone ever made shittier cards than Comic Images? I've seen old-ass tobacco cards on Antiques Roadshow with better production values. And yet somehow I ended up with billions of the wretched little pieces of cardboard. I probably shredded about 200 Comic Images X-Men and Wolverine cards that I don't even remember buying. I've even got some Spider-Man cards, full sets, that I bought as sets for probably about 10-15 bucks per set. That's crazy.
And they're called "trading cards," right? Except I didn't know any one other person who collected the damn things, so I had to buy pack upon pack to get full sets, instead of having the sense — and I use that term quite loosely — to wait for the shops to put the sets together for me and just buy those. Remember that first X-Men series from Skybox, drawn by Jim Lee? I do, 'cause I bought probably a thousand packs trying to get a set, including those fucking gold holograms. I did end up with a full set, which now resides in a binder, soaking up the chemicals in the cheap plastic pages, and, going through the extras today, after 13 years, I don't even have a complete second set. I am also now crazier than a syphilitic schizophreniac.
And Marvel Universe Series 3. Good lord help me please, I bought a whole damn box of those. And I sorted through the extras of those, too, and in addition to a nowhere-near-complete second set of the 200-card series, I have billions and billions of "Atlantis Attacks," "Evolutionary War," and "I Married a Skrull" cards. Is this what's exciting to kids collecting this stuff? Spider-Man's Wedding? So I Married a Skrull? Look, man, I read those Alicia-is-a-Skrull issues of the Fantastic Four. BO-RING. Seeing five grillion cardboard reproductions of that kind of excitement is enough to send me into a syphilitic rage.
I also found in the Shoebox o' Doom a stack of Marvel Universe Series 4 cards, just a handful of packs' worth, and no full set is in my possession. They must've known just who was buying these cards, because most are part of themed nine-panel grids, perfect for stuffing them into a binder and never looking at them again. This, however, is much better than the Series 3 gimmick of a connected 100-card background of dorky computer generated spacey stuff.
I also, somewhat shamefully, have full set of MU Series 1 and 2. There's something fun in the Series 1 set which might be the last fun thing Marvel Comics ever did. (Except for Skrull Kill Krew. That was awesome.) I'll be showing those here soon in order to violate copyright and perhaps alleviate the pain of Avengers Disassembled and Spidey's Super Statutory Rape Stories.
But yeah, if any of you want a shit-ton of Marvel Universe Series 3 and X-Men Series 1 (JIM LEE!) cards, get in touch. A couple bucks shipping and you could have that Luke Cage shrine you always wanted.
Hello, friendly friends. This is me coming to plug the things I have on eBay. Not many things, not all cheap things, but things nonetheless. I know, I'm asking you to spend $130 on Alpha Flight? I sold fewer issues of Birds of Prey for more than that, so I figure it's not so bad. Also, the pity: I'm attempting to move out of here and be with my lovely and hilarious girlfriend. C'mon, help us pay our first month's rent in a new apartment. You know you want to. Look at how cute we are!
Wait a sec... those are Golden Lion Tamarins. But I'm sure you get the point.
I ran away from Death Cab for Cutie on the public radio station to find Pearl Jam on the "classic" "rock" station. I never liked Pearl Jam. Still don't, and I still balk at "alternative" stations who play them and Nirvana like it still fucking matters. But the public radio station is playing Prince now, so I'm okay. Oh, wait, now it's Carbon Leaf. Fuck. I'm waiting for these soulless sacks of whiny vaginas to hit it big any minute now. Any band with the... something... to write lines like "I've fallen apart / since the ambush on your heart" and "this is the goal: / to get into your soul" are putrid enough to take the world by storm, I don't doubt. The music industry needs to stop giving recording contracts to the guys who play guitars at lunch time in high school.
I read the hilarious and informative interview with JM DeMatteis and Kieth Giffen, two of my favorite writer guys, at All the Rage, and something occured to me:
The Defenders is pretty much Dr. Strange hangin' out with naked dudes. And I'm probably still gonna buy it.
Flipping around on tv last night before going to bed I stumbled across "Entertainers with Byron Allen." You ever seen this suck-up in action? It's intolerable, and, what's worse and weirdly enough, the show always seems to be about two or more months out of date. Is it actually a daily show that for some reason is only shown here once a week? It's all press-junket style interviews, anyhow. Fluffy and toothless, just the way People Magazine readers demand. It just irks me, is all.
Digging through my Alpha Flight collection — which will probably soon end up on eBay, because I've gone from "Yeah, I've got pretty much all of Alpha Flight volume one" to "Oh my god, I've got pretty much all of Alpha Flight volume one" — I came across this Flight-related subscription ad in the back of one issue. The series stayed popular for a while, and probably gained many subscribers due to this uncharacteristically honest ad. Take a look:
Watched Blind Justice. Well, really I talked on the phoned with Amelie and we made fun of Blind Justice. It's really not terribly good at all. And it's the biggest comicbook rip-off since The Matrix. Okay, maybe not that big, but it's close, and the lieutenent's name is Fisk. Fisk! Someone's winking at me REAL hard, here. I can sense it with my blind guy powers.
Speaking of Amelie: "I heard a supermarket version of [Losing My Religion], and it made me laugh. I imagined the angel buying tater tots with the old guy. That made me happy."
Walt Simonson's Fantastic Four continues to be slowly ingested by me. Maaan. It's all "time bubble" this, and "Johnny possessed by a blue chick" that, and "hooking Thor's hammer up to Iron Man's repulsor rays to escape the pull of a black hole" the other. Then a Celestial shows up! And I haven't even gotten to the much-touted battle through time between Reed and Doom.
I'm not sure why they aren't releasing the bits from Tom Strong's Terrific Tales as smaller 96-page collections — "Because they get more money from the $25 hardcovers, dumbass." — oh yeah. But am I the only one who loves the crap out of Steve Moore and Alan Weiss's "Young Tom Strong" stories? They're light and fun, most concerning themselves with How Young Tom Strong Got His Freak On, which is what half of the Alan Moore growed-up Tom Strong stories turned into, anyhow. And Weiss's art (with various inkers) is wonderful, clear, and expressive. The Tom Strong stuff by Alan Moore in the front of the book is usually a fun one-off about Tom Strong, the Jonni Future stuff is only mostly so-so, but I think folks who passed on this because its an anthology would be well-served by actual collections of the individual stories. Particularly these Steve Moore and Alan Weiss tales of everyone's favorite Science Hero.