Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wednesday is New Comics Day

But I'm sure as hell not going to the comic store today. Maybe tomorrow. I hear Nextwave #10 is out this week, the only periodical I currently read as it comes out. In the meantime, I'll tell you about the old comics I've recently laid my hands on.

'Can you bake a pie?' 'No.' 'Neither can I!'On Sunday my main man Pat hooked me up with this great Taskmaster action figure. It came with a reprint of Avengers #196, the big T's first appearance. Although I love this character it freaks me out a bit that his dialogue sometimes sounds like he's the love child of Ben Grimm and Metamorpho. Still, photographic reflexes is one of the coolest superpowers ever and the idea of an evil training camp for goons is golden. I can't quite make up my mind if the Wasp's costume in this issue is one of the best or the worst I've ever seen:

I spend all issue playing the damsel in distress.  Big effin' surprise.

On the one hand many of her costumes over the years have been uninspired, dowdy, or simply an excuse to show cleavage. This one is at least interesting. On the other hand the assymetrical sleeves and legs reminds me of Dazzler's worst costume, which is never a good thing. BTW, I swiped that little pic of Wasp from a website that meticulously chronicles every Wasp costume change in the entire history of comics. Grodd bless the internet.

Taskmaster doesn't get a whole lot of action in this one, as it's his 'introduce the villain and he gets away' appearance. His elite goons, Cyber-Squad X, get an old fashion Avengers style beatdown for their trouble. Fun stuff. (For extra yucks, try repeatedly yelling "Cyber-Squad X!" as if you were an ecstatic Dirk Anger.)

There's a vintage clothing and general gew-gaw shop in downtown Champaign called Carrie's. I stopped in on Monday hoping to find a Christmas present for my sister-in-law. It's the kind of quirky little place that would have something she might dig. You may find it interesting that she's a Methodist clergywoman who has a tattoo of a communion cup and wafer on her left breast. She and her atheist computer nerd husband go to the big SCA shindig in Pennsylvania every year. (I have the neatest in-laws in the galaxy. It's true.)

Unused cover art for Micronauts #1.  I couldn't google up a pic of the one I bought.I didn't find anything for Anne, but my eye caught a big stack of old comics sitting in a wire basket. A sign indicated they were all a buck apiece. Flipping though the lot, most of them appeared to be various X-titles from the late 80's and early 90's and a smattering of 2099 stuff. After much deliberation I bought three books. I thought one of the mags I was buying a shiny reprint of Micronauts #5, but it turns out I actually purchased Micronauts Special #5, a reprint collection containing collating material from several issues starting at #12, the wrap-up of the first plot arc. As such, it's a little disjointed. But it's also utterly awesome. Big props to Chris Sims for pointing me towards Bill Mantlo and the Micronauts.

The second book I got at Carrie's was John Carter, Warlord of Mars #6. It has everything I want from a John Carter story, namely Our Hero almost batshit crazy with frantic action in search of his beloved Dejah Thoris. As usual, she's been kidnapped but the added wrinkle is that the only man who knows where she's being held prisoner is dead. I love the way Carter tears through Mars barely pausing to do good deeds, relentlessly hunting for the woman he loves. That's badass. And Tars Tarkas, Carter's four-armed green-skinned buddy, makes a brief appearance as well.

Finally, I got Spanner's Galaxy #5. When I grabbed this one I knew nothing about it other than the cover, which tells me it's #5 in a six issue limited from 80's era DC. And this dude in a disco tiara is fighting a robot which in turn menaces a woman that turns out to be the hero's kid sister. I've been a sucker for man versus robot fisticuffs ever since the glory days of the old Magnus: Robot Fighter series. The story inside turns out to be one part The Fugitive and one part a muder mystery, with a sprinkling of space western. The thing in the hero's hand is a 'shek', his trademark weapon. It seems to work kinda like that boomerang thing The Beastermaster liked to throw at baddies.

Blogger is being a little uncooperative with me uploading my last two cover shoots, so I link to them instead. Here's John Carter #6 and Spanner's #5.

I think I did pretty well picking those three mags out. Should opportunity arise (and Carrie's had more Micronauts and John Carter) I'd buy more issues of any of them. As sort of a strange coda to all this comic fun, yesterday it occurred to me that I bought three comic books this week and none of them featured traditional superheroes. Kinda weird.