Posted 2 days ago

Early Guardians of the Galaxy Reviews: Movie Is Out of This World

As I’m sure you can imagine, I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, hereafter referred to as MCU in shorthand.  They seem to get better as they progress and build on one another.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier was wonderful, and so far the early reviews for the latest entry, Guardians of the Galaxy, are overwhelmingly positive.

Here’s hoping it’s every bit it’s as good as the hype says!

Posted 3 days ago



Some Heroes Con commissions. Had fun and thank you all who came by. Thanks to Rico for being awesome.


Posted 3 days ago

More Spider-Swag today. I’m counting All-New Ultimate and New Warriors as Spider-titles since they significantly feature Spider-Man characters Miles Morales and Kaine, the Scarlet Spider.

Posted 4 days ago

Got ASM 611 x5 today in the mail. This has been a tough recent issue to locate, but I got a good deal on eBay. They arrived in excellent condition, so now one goes into the collection, and the rest I hold in reserve as trading collateral!

Posted 6 days ago

Pretty much my thoughts on this whole matter.

Posted 1 week ago
Posted 1 week ago


why aren’t you reading Spider-Man 2099

Heheh, I love Miguel.

Posted 1 week ago

Amazing Spider-Man #1.3 / Dan Slott, Ramón Pérez, and Ian Herring

When it was announced that Dan Slott would be writing a 1.X series of Amazing Spider-Man that alleges takes place between the off-page cracks in the early Spider-Man timeline, I had to admit I was pretty intrigued.  From what I’ve read of those early titles, there actually does seem to be a lot that could occur off-screen (such as it is) in Peter’s life, such as Peter’s losing his TV show from AF15 due to J. Jonah Jameson’s crusading tirades and his subsequent money troubles.  

At the same time, I was also a little leery of the whole “hidden history” aspect of it.  In my opinion, those kinds of retreads should be done very occasionally and only with very good reason.  I was willing to give Slott the benefit of the doubt here, considering how much of his work I’ve enjoyed.  I mean, “Dying Wish” did give us Superior Spider-Man, which—whatever your opinions about it—was consistently one of the highest selling comics during its run, and a very exciting and interesting new take on the wall crawler.  

So, in Slott I would trust for this one.

One thing I have to keep reminding myself of while I read these comics is that this Peter Parker is, in many ways, vastly different from the present-day webslinger we’ve all come to know and love.  He’s just starting out.  He’s a high school teenager.  He’s more self-absorbed and less experienced than “my” Spider-Man.  He makes bad choices, and sometimes, he’s a bit of a jerk.  And it’s because I have to make those mental corrections that I have to give Slott a thumbs-up on his characterizations, not just on Peter Parker, but also on established favorites who’ve had their moments, like Aunt May, Flash Thompson, and even Quentin Beck early on.

Peter’s actions and decisions up to this point have earned him the wrath of Clayton Cole, a former Spider-Fan who’s started his own super-persona and calls himself Clash.  Also a terrifically bright teenager like Parker, Cole’s own ego and selfishness is clearly leading him down an even darker path than Peter’s, and while he’s obviously being set up as the darker, more evil version of Peter, it’s very effectively carried off.  You really do feel the justification behind Cole’s resentment of and frustration with Spider-Man, who clearly could have handled his interactions with Clash better.  It serves to make readers wonder if Peter’s neurotic ethics and morality is the result of him being truly incorruptible, or if he just got extremely lucky in handling the setbacks life threw at him in his early days as Spider-Man.

In an interesting quirk that sometimes distracts from the narrative, we’re shown that Spider-Man’s emergence on the public scene has occurred fairly recently, at least from a technological standpoint.  Depictions of tablet devices, powerful home computers and “going viral” online certainly clash with the “true” origin of Peter shown back in the 1960s, a good two decades before home computing was even remotely possible.  While this might be a sticking point for purists who would argue that those revisions “belong” in the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man and such, I tend to see it as a fairly clever, not-so-subtle utilization of the elasticity of the comics timeline.  Since these stories tend to be our modern mythology, I think these kinds of embellishments and interpretations are fair game.

Anyway, one battleground for this issue is the Midtown High science fair, where Peter and Clayton end up set against one another again, in several ways.  When Clayton makes an appearance as Clash, Peter, remembering their unpleasant prior encounter, suits up as Spider-Man to take him down quickly and keep people from getting hurt.  Since both now actively dislike each other, the conflict that ensues becomes personal for both, and leads to undesirable results on both sides.

Another battleground, for Peter at least, is the public relations field, where he continues to lose ground.  Having already lost his entertainment career, his initial favor with the public, and even a lot of his free time, Peter has to endure a more personal battle to keep Aunt May’s faith in him.  In his civilian persona, she confronts him with her fears about how he spends his free time, initially imagining that Peter is selling drugs to keep them financially afloat. He manages to convince her otherwise and keep her happy with him as her nephew, but the debacle at the school with Clash and Spider-Man shows her to be viciously opposed to his costumed persona.  It’s a great justification for all the anti-Spidey sentiment we see from May in the earliest issues of Amazing Spider-Man, and shows the headaches Peter will have to face in keeping his two lives as separate as he can manage.

I think the choice to use Ramón Pérez for the artwork in this story has been spot-on for capturing the look Steve Ditko conveyed in the early days of Spider-Man’s run.  He captures emotion very well, be it round-eyed fear and anger from Aunt May to Spider-Man’s gritty determination to prevail.  It’s very easy, in places, to almost forget that this isn’t an actual issue from back in the early 1960s.  Ian Herring’s simple, distinctive coloring and shading really round out the look of this story, and give it the genuine feel of a comic book from a bygone era.

I’m very pleased with how this story is turning out so far, and I’m actually eager to know the ultimate fate of Clayton Cole.  Given that Clash is being introduced here, and that he’s never “reappeared” in Spider-Man’s timeline, it bodes for an uncertain, and possibly tragic fate for the character.  But if I’ve learned anything from reading Dan Slott’s work on Spider-Man, it’s that there’s always room to be surprised.  It’s for that reason that I’m more than happy to stick around and see where this story leads.

Posted 1 week ago


Excalibur #53, August 1992, cover by James Fry and Chris Ivy

Back in the days when Spider-Man was the Wolverine of Marvel… :P

Posted 1 week ago

Spider-Man 2099 / Peter David, Will Sliney, and Antonio Fabela

I remember when Marvel launched the 2099 imprint back in the early 90s.  I was in middle school and high during that period, and it was among the many things that at that time seemed a lot cooler then than they’ve turned out to be.  I will easily admit to a bias here, but aside from Spider-Man 2099, there wasn’t much of that imprint that held my attention for very long.  Even the X-Men title didn’t make much of an impression—and I was much more into X-Men at the time than I was into Spider-Man.

But Spidey 2099—that was a cool title.  He was just different enough from the Spider-Man I knew and liked to seem distinct, but a lot of the same feel was still there, no doubt propelled by Peter David’s dark creative vision and deft writing as well as Rick Leonardi’s dynamic, kinetic artwork.  By the time I left comics behind for a while in college, I remembered that title alone from the 2099 lineup.

Fast forward to 2013.  Superior Spider-Man is tearing up sales and doing all kinds of fun stuff I’d not expected from a Spidey title.  And around issue #17 or 18, guess who shows up for a special story arc involving time travel?

I just about hit the ceiling, I jumped so high for joy.

When the arc concluded, I, and I’m sure many other fans, rabidly speculated, wished, and did what we could to will this series into existence.  The time was right.  Miguel was now stuck in “our” present, and Alchemax was starting to form.  History was in the making, so Spider-Man 2099 should naturally get a title to expand on that, right?

A few months later, not only was this title announced, but Peter David was named as the writer.  I couldn’t have been happier.

So, was it worth the wait?  Well, as with all first issues, it’s impossible to predict the future, but I will say that this second volume of Spider-Man 2099 is off to a promising start, picking up the pieces that were left behind in Superior Spider-Man.  

Miguel, who is now stranded in the present due to the actions of Tyler Stone, the villainous head of Alchemax in 2099, is doing more than simply carving out a life for himself—he’s trying to rewrite history for the better by working from inside Alchemax at its inception.  Employed as an assistant to his paternal grandfather, Tiberius Stone, Miguel is soon confronted very abruptly by the Adjustor, an apparent time cop of some sort sent to eliminate him.  It turns out the things Miguel does here lead to some undesirable consequences in the future, so now Miguel needs to deal with the Adjustor in addition to figuring out how to influence Alchemax for the better.

I will admit to having a soft spot for Peter David, as I’ve enjoyed his writing in many forms since I was a teenager.  As the creator of Spider-Man 2099, his presence on this title just makes me giddy.  With that said, I have to say I like the premise he’s put up for this first issue.  The time cop bit has the big danger of falling into cliché, but I trust David enough to be willing to give this time and see where it goes.  He definitely captures a lot of good character moments, and also manages to inject humor into the action.

I also like his handling of Liz Allan in this issue.  She’s been around in the Spider-Man mythos for a long time, but she’s been utilized far less than most of the other characters who have been around as long.  She’s just enough of a blank slate that I can see her doing just about anything, and I think getting the opportunity to see her as a fully realized character and possible primary actor in this series holds exciting potential.

The artwork, while well drawn by Will Sliney and lushly colored by Antonio Fabela, suffers from not being penciled by Rick Leonardi for me here.  I admit another bias here, but its easy to notice.  Things look accurate, and realistic, and well depicted, and it all serves the story in a positive way, no doubt at all.  But where Leonardi’s art—and Stegman’s art in Superior—was dynamic and perhaps a touch less realistic, it was alive in a way that I can’t help but miss here.  Again, that’s not to say Sliney’s art is bad in any way; it’s not—in fact, it’s pretty gorgeous, in places—but I just found myself missing snap, crackle and pop of the action scenes from the older comic.

Again, I admit a bias.  I’ll grow out of it with time.

So yes, I would call this a promising start to an intriguing title.  To say it’s a necessity to Spider-fans would be stating the obvious, but I think it holds its own enough to appeal to those with a broader spectrum of interests in their superhero comics.  Time will ultimately tell how things play out, but between the premise, the execution, and the excellent artwork, I think this new Spider-Man 2099 is definitely worth a go.