(no subject)
Just put a handful of comics on ebay, check them out!



I'll just let this pic from Megacon speak for itself

Herc's Back

And as an ongoing.


Variant Cover by JOHN ROMITA JR.
Rated T+…$3.99
On-Sale 4/6/11


I had initially planned on presenting my observations regarding Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark after I saw the show a second time on February 3rd.  (Replacement tickets were offered to us by the producers gratis after the 12/20 performance I attended was cut short.) 

As it now appears that portions of the show are being substantially reworked in the show’s extended preview period, with a reconfigured second act already in place, I figured it was best to memorialize my experience seeing the show last month at this time. 

I wish I could report that I had a better experience seeing the musical.  But I have to be honest, if they want a show that will hope to charm the curious, the theater faithful as well as whatever fanboy contingent makes it out to the show, they need to do a hell of a lot of reworking before the new March opening date to make any of those groups happy.  The show starts off with a fair degree of promise as an elevated Spider-Man is running in slow motion toward the audience followed by a Ditko drawn descending front-drop.  Director/Book Co-Author Julie Taymor initially seems to understand Spidey's power as a symbol and has pseudo-narration provided by a “Geek Chorus” - a not-terrible idea that dies the death quickly, hampered by ambiguity as to what they are actually doing (just telling stories, formulating a pitch, who knows?) and by crap performers within the foursome.  Taymor then chooses to plug the Spider-Man mythos directly into another mythology, combining Peter Parker’s story with Greco-Roman folklore.  Arachne the weaver–whose defiance of Athena resulted in her transformation into a spider – serves as a mystic, overseeing force (which is honestly is not that dissimilar in scope to the role Ezekiel played in the JMS Spidey run.) This suggests – heard this one before? - that Peter was chosen/destined to receive his powers.  This is set up by the introduction of Arachne and her sirens, who come onto the stage on swings which gradually weave together into a web.  It is a beautiful visual which my description is not doing justice to.  It however, like other elements of the show to come, also feels immediately out of place.  


When we first see Peter, he is being bullied in school by Flash Thompson and his buddies, quickly establishing his relationship to his schoolmates, teachers and Mary Jane Watson.  What follows is the first of three truly awful numbers, this one titled “Bullied By Numbers” – the song is bad enough but the unimaginative “Step Up”-esque bullshit choreography that it is married to drags the number down even further.  Peter and Mary Jane then talk/sing about their lives at home and this is followed up by the fateful class trip to the science lab (run by Norman Osborn), Peter learning about his powers, making his Spider-Man wrestling debut and Uncle Ben biting it in way–too-rapid succession.  It is here that we are presented with one of the show's most conspicuous failings - Uncle Ben's death happens quickly and awkwardly.  This aspect of Spidey’s origin is classic tragedy and Taymor here loses an obvious opportunity to inject honest emotional resonance to the narrative.  I have no problem when there is a refashioning or tweaking of a character's mythos for a new medium but this completely dilutes the reason for Spider-Man becoming a hero in the first place.  (By the by, Ben doesn’t even have an opportunity to deliver the “great responsibility” adage and it is only offered via Peter’s reflection later on in the show.  Epic fail.).


Peter is then visited by Arachne on an astral plane – maybe – and she gives him his costume (!) and he goes off to become a crime fighter.  We are then treated to a sequence of truly spectacular stunts and wire work.  Spidey makes a big splash, earning the ire of J. Jonah Jameson and the Daily Bugle.  (The actors on the Bugle set look like extras on Mad Men transplanted to a scene from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari – trust me, it’s really weird.)  We then shift back to Norman who is being pressured by the military; they also have Spidey on their radar and believe he must be an Osborn Labs creation and they want in.  This leads us to the second of the truly awful numbers - "Pull the Trigger."  With the possible exception of Evita, dancing military men in a musical is never a good sign and the number really is beneath the talents of the creators involved; it would seem far more at home in some show created by acknowledged hacks, like say Jekyll and Hyde. Without giving too much away, Norman decides to give into the pressure from the military, fucks that up and this leads directly into his becoming the Goblin.  The remainder of Act 1 involves Spidey’s battle with the Goblin flush with more amazing stunt work and immensely confusing dialogue.


At the start of Act 2, we have the Geek Chorus again, discussing who the ultimate Spidey villain is which leads into a … um … villain beauty pageant. (!!!!)  Carnage, Kraven, The Lizard and Electro make runway appearances along with original show creations Swiss Miss (as in army knives) and - get this - Swarm (Nazi Bees!)  Arachne returns to dispense of the Chorus and she sings the not-bad title song. She is jonesing hard for Peter to ”set her free” and she descends from the balcony to hover over Peter’s bed to let him know.  Peter’s life as Spidey is swallowing up most of his time and we are then subjected to that standard Peter-MJ-you-promised-me-you’d-come-you-missed-my-play-wah-wah-wah stuff. Peter can’t take the pressure and throws away the costume, ala ASM #50. (They got this visual right on the money!)  Then it turns out the Goblin isn’t dead – maybe – and he threatens (via Jumbotron) to unleash the Sinister Six or Seven on the city.  A power outage engulfs the city as Peter and MJ spend the time eating pea soup and canned fruit and singing to each other, eventually leading to a marriage proposal.  The Daily Bugle is attempting maintain operations during this time and struggles to keep the daily editions coming out, reporting on the blackout instigated rioting and mayhem including a wide scale robbery of high end shoe stores.  Stick with me, you need to know this.


We shift back to Arachne  - it turns out that she is responsible for the blackout. She decides to once and for all grab her some Spidey booty and calls to her furies to bring to her … you got it … the shoes!!! We are then treated to the third truly awful song, “Deeply Furious”.  All the furies jump into a dance, don Jimmy Choo’s and stilettos on each of their eight limbs and sing out about how deeply furious they are.  Peter makes his return as Spidey, MJ is again in serious danger, and …


Well, that was the end of the show for me the night I saw it.  As I previously posted, I was in attendance the night that stuntman Christopher Tierney was injured after a 30 foot drop.  According to Playbill, one song – “Love Me or Kill Me” – remained.


As for the performers, Reeve Carney has a great voice for the material and did an admirable job as Peter/Spidey.   Jennifer Damiano offers a very flat reading of Mary Jane.  Patrick Page – who has probably gotten the best advance notices for the show - plays Norman Osborn/the Green Goblin with an inexplicable Colonel Sanders/Foghorn Leghorn Southern accent.  This adds nothing to the character and if anything amplifies his camp value way too far over acceptable meter readings for my taste.  It is easy for him to steal scenes when they aren’t locked tight in the first place.  (Again, this is my personal prejudice - for certain actors, I like ham but don’t ever go for ham on rye.)  And though it is a very small part, Matt Caplan’s take on Flash Thompson is so awful and annoying that it merits mentioning.


The show has huge structural problems, foremost being that all the amazing stunt and wire work occurs in the first act.  There really should be at least one “this is cool” crowd pleasing moment along these lines reserved for the latter half.  The show’s set design largely succeeds in channeling the forcefulness and dynamic perspectives of comic-book art.   On the flip side, Taymor's use of giant masks and puppetry in certain sequences are awkward, not succeeding at all as camp nor as surrealistic.  There are a few in-the-know nods which are appreciated – such as the names of the scientists who recently left Osborn’s employ and that some of the masked thugs are reminiscent of Kingpin, Hammerhead and … um … Fancy Dan!


As for the score, I hope now that Bono and The Edge are back in NYC working on new songs for the show that someone who has their ear taps on them on the shoulder and convinces them that the more U2-ish the songs in the score sound, the better.  When they play near the sandbox of the band and mine their riff heavy strengths – most notably “The Boy Falls From the Sky” and "Rise Above” - things work fine.  When they stray farther from that, as in the three songs I distinguished above, it sounds muddied and soulless.   And this goes again to the show’s structure and not just the score; if you excise the three terrible I numbers I mentioned and replace them with a few lines of dialogue which could convey the same hot points more economically, you instantly have a better, more streamlined show.  Not necessarily a good show but a better show.


Despite all this, I am still somehow rooting for this show to succeed.  I honestly am.  I certainly hope to see something more focused when I see the show again next Thursday night.  I have always felt that certain comic book properties would make fantastic source material for stage musicals depending upon the creative teams involved.  A Sweeney Todd-esque take on either Sandman and Tomb of Dracula, for instance, immediately comes to mind as something that would have potency and promise .  The Spider-Man legend also offers fertile ground for musical theatre; from what I saw though, Taymor and Spidey’s other gardeners need to rethink the manner in which they are harvesting this acreage.

Catching up with 2010: The best of the year in comics
I regularly post over on the 11 O'Clock Comucs podcast forum - http://bullpenbulletinspodcast.com/forum/index.php - and they have an annual awards program determined by listener submissions, the 11 O'Closcars.  (They are running the podcast with the winners sometime this week.) I ganked my choices below from the list I submitted as it is fairly exhaustive.

I'm also wondering what your favorites were last year? 

THE BEST IN COMICS 2010 (BoomerZ1's picks)


Favorite Writer Paul Cornell
Favorite Penciler Yildiray Cinar
Favorite Inker Rich Perrotta
Favorite Colorist Dave Stewart
Favorite Writer/Artist (One person doing the whole shebang)  Jim Rugg
Favorite Penciler/Inker (or Painter...someone who does all the visuals) Lindsay Cibos


Favorite Marvel book Atlas
Favorite DC book  Justice League: Generation Lost
Favorite Other book  The Stuff of Legend Vol. II: The Jungle
Favorite Ongoing Legion of Super-Heroes
Favorite One Shot  The Last of the Polar Bears: Pre Dawn
Favorite Mini The Stuff of Legend Vol. II: The Jungle
Favorite Collected Edition (Reprint)  The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventure
Favorite OGN  Afrodisiac
Favorite Single Issue  The Brave and the Bold #33
Favorite New Series Legion of Super-Heroes
Favorite New to Me Work (this is something that came out prior to 2010 but you read this year) I Kill Giants
Favorite Webcomic: Love and Zombies (thumbs up to our own bobo_dreams )
Favorite Publisher  DC
Favorite Cover: Archie #608


Favorite Hero or Team  Steve Rogers
Favorite Villain or Team  Black Manta
Favorite New Character/Team Rocket Red (Gavril Ivanovich)
Death of the Year Lian Harper
Resurrection of the Year  Aquaman


Most important news/story of year  DC pulling back prices to $2.99
Best news of the year  Kevin Keller’s introduction in Veronica #202
Most disappointing news of the year  Dick Giordano’s passing
Favorite comic related TV/movie  The Walking Dead

shaved head
I know several people here (myself and kybearfuzz included) enjoyed Crossgen Comics. I was reading in Comic Shop News today that Marvel picked up Crossgen and is at least somewhat reviving it. There are two limited series scheduled: Ruse and Sigil. Ruse sounds like the same plot, but the quick description of Sigil talked about a "Samantha Rey" on present-day Earth rather than Samandahl Rey in the future/space. Interesting. I will probably pick up Sigil, but I had dropped Ruse out of boredom a while before the line tanked.

Happy Birthday!!!

Hey CBBears - make sure you wish kybearfuzz - one of the cutest guys on the planet - a happy birthday today!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Have a Bearry, Merry Christmas, boys! 

Popping my podcasting cherry.
I just recorded my first appearance on Stevie D's Comic Book Queers podcast.  I'll give you all the heads up when it is posted for download.

Mystery Bronze Age Comic - The Far Out Green Super Cool!!!

I have been gradually cataloguing my longboxes over the past two years.  I am almost finished and the other day I hit on one of the last boxes that mostly consists of Archies, Whitmans and Classics Illustrated Junior reprints from the early to mid 70's.  I haven’t touched these books in over 20 years and probably haven’t read any of them in maybe 35 years.

This box also contained three issues of a promotional book that I only have the fuzziest memory of.  I am really glad I still have these because, for various reasons, these issues are gems! 

The book in question:

The Far Out Green Super Cool!

Super Cool is the super groovy green private detective with super powers!  He can fly, turn invisible and walk through walls!  He also has a far out laser projection ring which he sometimes lends out to the teenage Fletcher, his sidekick known as The Super Cool Kid!  With an unnamed inner city as the backdrop, Super Cool teaches Fletcher and his friends about the dangers of drugs, vandalism, juvenile delinquency, truancy, joy riding and shoplifting (not to mention the machinations of the juvenile court system.) As a pure product of its time, the dialogue is chock full of as many "far out"s, "groovy"s and "I hear you, man"s as anyone could ever hope for. 

Super Cool’s adversaries include a drug monster (with what he is pushing neatly labeled in individual boxes):

and a thieving hippie made out of metal named Ripoff the Robot:

The art in each of the issues is by Frank Thorne, best known for his work on Red Sonja in the 70’s.  None of the issues contain proper indicia, only 1971 – 1973 copyright notices identifying the Social Welfare Research Foundation in Trenton, NJ as the copyright holder. (My dad had worked in probation in the 70's and also pursued his M.S. in sociology at the same time so I am almost certain I got these through him.)

I have not seen these books listed in the promotional section in Overstreet nor do I see item entries for them on other sites (Mycomicshop, Mile High, etc…) where you might.  Has anyone else ever seen these books before?  If so, do you have any further info on them?

Lastly, the pics above were taken on the quick from my iPhone under really shitty storage space lighting.  If there is any interest, I’ll be happy to make proper scans for anyone who wants them.


Log in