The return of UNDER THE RADAR Vol2 Iss 1! Pt 1 of 2! Previews Preorders for Comic Books Shipping in December!

UNDER THE RADAR was an experiment I started a while ago that I was quite proud of. Basically a very cool PDF I launched out to comic book retailers and fans to highlight titles you would otherwise miss, or get lost in the deluge from bigger publishers flooding the market.

It was fun, and very intensive, and very time consuming, so when time became an issue it fell by the wayside.

But I notice my old UNDER THE RADAR posts get a lot of hits, and even though a lot of people are doing preview podcasts, those can be quite time consuming, when what most people are looking for are a quickly viewed list of recommended items they might otherwise miss.

So with that in mind, UNDER THE RADAR is back, but in a FAR simpler format. No PDF, no long diatribes. just a monthly listing of new titles to preorder or be on the lookout for. Okay without further ado, this is a list of a/titles you can purchase now, at the time of this writing Oct 2010, and b/titles you can preorder this month through your local retailer for December 2010 arrival.

Okay Section 1. Comics I recommend purchasing for Oct 2010:[See tomorrow's post for this info]
(The links will take you to My comic where you can view and if you choose, purchase the titles in question. All purchases done through the links help this blog with a few pennies to continue. So get great books, and support this blog in one fell swoop.)

    Section 2: Comics to pre-order (by November 1st) for December 2010 arrival:


No letters pages, no back matter, ads breaking up the story.

All these odd decisions from Marvel give no incentive to buy marvel issues monthly. Seemingly, they don’t care enough to give you a something beyond what you would get in the trade paperback, a real sense of a Stan Lee dialog, or sense of a monthly behind the scenes look at the creative process, so generally I say eff em. I’m talking about the publishing policies and policy makers of Marvel, not generally the creators, (as marvel has some great creators, but perhaps in service of not the greatest decision makers) but rather the lackluster way the creations are fed to you.

There are two types of companies these days, in my opinion. Companies that value you as a monthly reader (and provide the extras and the pricing to show that support) and that type of company you should support the individual issues with your dollars, and on the other side of the coin there are those companies that pretty much insult their monthly reader-base, and that’s a company you should really relegate to picking up at the library, or borrowing from a friend, or browsing the trade at a bookstore.

Marvel is the latter type of company.

So generally if there is a storyline you’re hearing decent things about, avoid the overpriced, and featureless single issues and wait for the trade, or pick up the books in the quarter bin, but don’t pay $4 for what I see as Marvel’s pretty evident air of disrespect to their potential readership. So all that said are of the 100s of products Marvel is releasing for December arrival, what are the ones that meet my criteria of giving you back-matter (letters pages, columns, articles, etc) and sufficient bang for your buck? Well I’m glad you asked :) They are:

$2.99 SHIELD #5

Written by JONATHAN HICKMAN Penciled by DUSTIN WEAVER Cover by GERALD PAREL Historical Variant by DUSTIN WEAVER “The Forgotten Machines of XXXXXX XXXXX” The story that has taken the comic book world by storm marches on with an issue so secretive that we can’t even reveal the full title! WHO IS THE NIGHT MACHINE?! Find your answer here from Jonathan Hickman (FANTASTIC FOUR) and Dustin Weaver (X-MEN). Every issue has sold out and gone into multiple printings. IT’S GOOD! WE PROMISE! Don’t miss the sleeper hit of 2010! 32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

I’ve heard nothing but good things about this so far self-contained series by Jonathan Hickman of NIGHTLY NEWS fame. It also offers that backmatter I was alluding to, and the price point as $2.99 is right.

You can find issues 1-4 of SHIELD here:

Written by WALTER SIMONSON Penciled by WALTER SIMONSON with SAL BUSCEMA Covers by WALTER SIMONSON Considered by many to be the greatest run on Thor ever, Walt Simonson’s classic tales of the God of Thunder are collected here–completely remastered from the original artwork and newly colored by Steve Oliff! And there are too many timeless tales to count: The Casket of Ancient Winters! The death of Odin! The origins of Asgard! The sacrifice of the Executioner! Thor as a frog! The Mutant Massacre! The curse of Hela! The debut of Thor’s body armor! Guest-starring Beta Ray Bill, Nick Fury and the Avengers! Featuring the threats of Fafnir the dragon, Loki, Lorelei, Malekith the Dark Elf, Surtur, Hela, the Titanium Man, Kurse, Zaniac, the Marauders, the Absorbing Man, Fin Fang Foom, the Destroyer and the Midgard Serpent! Collecting THOR #337-355, #357-369 & #371-382 and BALDER THE BRAVE #1-4. 1192 PGS./Rated A …$125.00

This is really, really expensive. But you are getting around 50 issues worth of comics, and Simonson’s run, unlike many of the omnibuses, is really deserving of such a format. And were you to buy the original issues, you might be able to come in a little cheaper (plus you would get the letters-pages, which I don’t think the omnibus will include, if you can’t tell I’m a huge fan of conversational type extras), but the hassle of doing that compared to just having one large book with everything in it to put on your shelf… it’s an individual call. For me, I know these issues, and with the pre-order discount, I’m in.


Written by JEFF PARKER Penciled by KEV WALKER Cover by GREG LAND Come sit by the fire and prepare to be frightened…we’re going to tell you a “Ghost Story! The Thunderbolts own psychologist, Moonstone, peels back the layers and delves into the mind and past of the brilliant and mysterious paranoid known only to the world as Ghost! How did his war on the corporate system begin and what made him leave his humanity behind? Even his hardened criminal teammates will be forced to admit that some things are better left unknown. Learn more than you ever wanted to about Iron Man’s fearsome foe in the latest issue of the series that has raving: “I can’t recommend this book enough–you need to be reading THUNDERBOLTS.” 32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99 (changed from $3.99)

I’ve never bought an issue of THUNDERBOLTS. But I’m aware of them. The fact that they dropped the price on this series, and it sounds like a done in one story, and Jeff Parker is writing, has me intrigued enough to plunk down my money. But it better have some extras/letterspage if they want to keep my money coming.

uhh– yeah that’s all for Marvel. There glut of product actually works against them. If there was one X-men book, or one spiderman book, or even one Thor book, I would be interested in reading it, but I’m not going to try and sort through 20 different takes on one character to find the ‘great’ one, the pure singular vision. So because of Editorial’s diarrea of production :) I buy none of those books.

Well to end on a positive, come back tomorrow as I get into the really good stuff with Image, Boom, Dark Horse, Radical, DC and other great companies.

Zack Snyder and the WATCHMEN, and who wasn’t watching! A HT movie review!


I just came from seeing the WATCHMEN, a much anticipated movie. My first film on the big screen since being back on the East Coast.

My first theater experience, made me miss the Southern Californian movie theaters. LA as you can imagine is a place that takes their theaters seriously. From enforcing restrictions on R rated showings, to having state of the art sound and picture, to policing the screenings.

The policing part made moot, by the fact that the Socal movie crowd, like I said is serious about their films. This east coast screening however, slightly marred by the fact that some idiot with a laser pointer made me want to kill somebody. An irritation easily resolved in the short term by having an usher in the theater to monitor just such idiocies, and in the long term by more selective breeding.

This country has too many of the wrong people breeding. This moron, someone told me later was in there with three kids (seemingly his), and all four of them looking like Howdy Doody.

I hate morons. Always have, always will. I hate people who cross the line.

That minor idiocy bringing us back to the topic at hand, the WATCHMEN. The 12 chapter graphic novel at its heart is a cross-generational murder mystery, about a time and a breed of people, that hold an ever more broken line.

The graphic novel is an acknowledged masterpiece, that I read when it first came out in 1986, and reread recently… just a scant month before the opening of the film.
The graphic novel is deserving of its praise, as written and drawn and colored by three brits, it uses the trappings of the hero genre to examine and dissect the paranoia of a cold war America, and the violent, decadent, cannibalistic American id. An oft covered topic now, back in 1985-1986, the work was revelatory. In many ways it still is.

Dense and layered and rich, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons and John Higgins’ WATCHMEN was the wakeup call to a medium, that had been a long time sleeping. There is a sophistication to what these gentleman had done in the WATCHMEN that has since been much copied, but seldom equaled.

For over 2 decades it kicked around Hollywood, unfilmable most said. But that was before. Before comic properties routinely started generating over 100million dollars. Before CGI grew up. Before Zack Snyder’s 300, made much money on little investment.

So the unfilmable movie has been filmed, and director Zack Snyder is to be applauded for his vision, his style, his direction, his faithfulness to the source. There are many scenes that made me smile, because they capture exact and momentous moments, capture them well. Many scenes improve on the source, make moments cinematic and visceral, definitely Snyder’s strength in 300.

His action scenes are phenomenal. Not since Peckinpah and Woo has anyone used slow motion as effectively.

In pieces, in parts, the movie impresses; but as a whole it unfortunately fails. And that can be summed up in one word: Pacing.


Snyder tries to be faithful to the book, but the book is too dense and too rich to be shoehorned into 2 or even 3 hours. Without having read the graphic novel, large parts of the movie are going to be confusing and incomprehensible to the audience. Even having read the novel, I clearly saw that much of it was muddled at best. I felt the whole conceit and destruction it was building up to and that the ‘heroes’ were racing to stop, got lost. The characters moving from scene to scene, but the why of their movements either lost on the cutting room floor or never filmed. I knew the ending of the book, but based on just watching the film, you wouldn’t.

Snyder’s faithfulness to the source material, costing him in terms of making it accessible and exciting as a film. Bottom line, there was too much happening, in too little a period of time, to too many characters.

And it cost a visually inventive movie its heart. Its audience.

The movie would have been better served as a tv show, or a movie trilogy.

Both options giving the audience time to know the characters and care for them, an empathy absent from this film.

Looking at the trilogy aspect, the first movie should have ended with the death of the Comedian, not been just the beginning of a movie. That would have covered the Minutemen years. The 2nd movie would have been Rorschach’s investigation and the Watchmen years, and the third movie would have been the last hour and a half of the movie we saw in the theaters minus the muddled shoehorned in back-story.

But hindsight is 20/20. I can see clearly what works, because of Zack Snyder’s effort.

He had much right. The casting I thought was spot on, the performances, the acting, the visuals, the music, however the script and the pacing did not play to the strengths of cinema, this edit of the movie largely was nonsensical and cost a movie that could have been… great, its greatness.

So all in all, a failed film. That I would not recommend to anyone who has not read the book, and even those who have… may find it a viewing better reserved for when the extended, and hopefully re-edited DVD comes out.

But I still count Zack Snyder, with only 3 movies under his belt (DAWN OF THE DEAD, 300, WATCHMEN), as one of the most exciting filmmakers working, because even his misses, are visually more interesting than most people’s successes.

A filmmaker to watch.

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE! Recommendations & Reviews Comic books, Graphic Novels, DVDs, CDs, Books!



Glad you stumbled in here! In this pretty snazzy section you’ll uncover things I love, things I like, and things I find intriguing, all available here for sale.

I hope to make this page a one-stop shop for people looking for interesting items on a daily basis.

And the idea is to update this page daily, YES I SAID DAILY, with new items! So after this week I’ll probably move this page to the list over there on your right. So while the blog proper, will not be updated every day, this specific page will be. But you’ll need to probably bookmark it, just so you can check it easily on a daily basis.

To keep me honest if I miss a single day and you point it out to me via email (“heroictimes at safe dash mail dot net” or by leaving a comment on this post), along with a suggestion for an item I should have posted that day, you win a free comic! Yes a free surprise comic of my choice!

Also the person who buys the most items through this page, in any given month wins the prize of the month.


This month’s prize is a copy of the acclaimed, and Out of Print film noir book called THE BIG BOOK OF NOIR. A fantastic book edited by Ed Gorman, and packed with interviews, anecdotes, reviews, opinion, gossip on all things noir, from book to film to comics. (Since I’m posting this in the middle of December, we’ll call January 15th, the end of this month, for contest purposes.)

So onto todays items for sale:

If you see an item you’d like to try, please use the following links to buy the items as they help me generate revenue. So it’s a win-win situation. You get great items and I generate pennies to help keep this blog going and growing.

Thanks and Tendras un gran fin de semana.


David Lapham- is one of those writers whose reputation, for me at least, is made on the strength of one book.

youngliarsThat book is STRAY BULLETS #1. I remember that issue, when it came out, nearly two decades ago if I’m not mistaken, and I remember being completely blown away by it.

No one had seen anything like that first issue. It predated SIN CITY, PREACHER, everything.

It was a dark, bottomless scream… with no end. With no end. And it changed the face of comics.

No one will admit to it. But overnight, everyone knew the bar had been raised.

Twenty years ago STRAY BULLETS #1 was the most powerful gutshot the comics world had ever seen. Unfortunately the 20+ issues of STRAY BULLETS that followed that opening, never equaled it, never came close.

And the medium in the 20 years since, has grown beyond STRAY BULLETS. And the medium is the better for it.

But that first issue of STRAY BULLETS remains a favorite, and its creator Dave Lapham, on the strength of that issue, remains a name I’m always ready to support.

That long winded intro brings us to the just released TPB of Dave Laphams, YOUNG LIARS. I’ve heard some good word of mouth about this series, and at $7.99 for six issues worth of material that’s a fantastic deal and one I’ll be picking up. Try a copy for yourself here!


Next recommendation:

A book that has not been far from my corner table and I whole heartedly recommend is:

sightunseenSIGHT UNSEEN- by Robert Tinnell and Bo Hampton, is an Original Graphic Novel published by IMAGE COMICS. It’s slightly an odd choice for a holiday stocking stuffer, but if someone likes horror movies (specifically ghost stories) and Graphic Novels, you’ll have a hard time trying to find a better combination of the two, to give them as a present.

Horror movies, the adrenalin inducing scenes/scares that compose them… are very medium specific. They depend on pacing, and sound, and sudden motions… so it’s not something that translates into the static medium of slims (comics/graphic novels).

To generate a sense of momentum, and pacing, and unease, and perhaps even horror… is perhaps the hardest thing to do in comics.

Most horror comics, are about horrible contexts, but the book itself has no horror in it. It either leans toward the campy or tongue in cheek, ala EC comics, or just the wonderfully rendered image, ala the Warren books, and this is because making something that elicits feelings of trepidation out of words and static pictures, takes a unique melding of the craft. A unique marriage of the words and the images.

WALKING DEAD to its credit has done it. And SIGHT UNSEEN to its credit, is equally effective.

SIGHT UNSEEN might just be the most effective example, of Graphic Novel as a book of horror.

Robert Tinnel crafts a truly engaging, and compelling narrative, married to absolutely effective visuals… visuals that almost… move, by the great Bo Hampton.

It’s a fantastic ghost story that I will not go into details about, except to say… I keep looking for another Graphic novel half as good, and as effective… and have yet to find one.

Pick up the hardcover if it is available, this graphic novel deserves the hardcover treatment. It’s one you’ll want a copy to give as a present, and a copy to keep for yourself. Order your copies here before it sells out. You’ll thank me later. :).


You can fit what I know about Tori Amos on the head of a pin, but I know a good value when I hear it, and Tori Amos’ COMIC BOOK TATTOO clearly qualifies. A wealth of talent, and a fantastic price point makes this book one that has been selling out all over the place. Pick up your copy here.


I’m a real big fan of interactive books. I got hooked when I was a kid, on the “choose your own adventure type ” books. Books where depending on what you want to do, you jump to a particular page and read your ending of choice.

Just a great book for a kid, pre-video games. And I think even in our 21st century CGI, video-game obsessed society; it is still a good present.

So anyhow, huge fan of interactive books. So when I saw new publishing company, QUIRK had started putting out Interactive Mystery books starring iconic characters, I had to order them, and I think they’ll make a great present for adults and kids alike.

The titles are Dracula’s Heir HC (2008 Interactive Mystery) dheiravailable here, and Batman Murder at Wayne Manor HC (2008 Interactive Book) batmaninteractiveavailable here! So go pick em up, and tell them Heroic Times sent ya! :) .

rexlibrisvol1Rex Libris Vol I- A book about a 2000 year old, Alien and Demon fighting, Librarian. What’s not to love? :) . Amusing, fun, and with a nice intro by Dave Sim. Collects the first half dozen issues. Click here to get it on sale!

Books For Kids of all ages!


AMELIA RULES- I picked an issue of this comic up for free, along with free versions of SIMPSONS, SCOTT PILGRIM and OWLY and a few other kid friendly comics; and while all those books are good, AMELIA RULES clearly stood out from the pack.

It was just such a fun, endearing book. So much so that I decided to pick up the AMELIA RULES: WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY? trade. I have to say, that book will make you happy. It hits the Charlie Brown note of telling stories of a pack of neighborhood kids, but is its own animal, by including the misadventures of the adults as well.

It is a bittersweet, at times biting satire, but always heartwarming chronicle of a young bunch of friends, and their wonder years.

There are three trades currently and the fourth is on the way. Jimmy Gownley has yet to place a foot wrong, and if you’re looking for a great read for kids, as well as layered humor that will also make adults laugh out loud for different reasons then these are the books you want to buy. Highly Recommended!

(Example of that layered storytelling: In the Ninja Battle story of WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY, there’s a line shouted by the character REGGIE as he tries to hold onto his presidency. It’s a line that kids will laugh at because it’s just a funny line, but politically savvy adults will laugh out loud at, because it satirizes a recent political reality. That is unbelievably difficult to do, write a multi-leveled work, that can be many things to many people. But Gownley in AMELIA RULES pulls it off.)Click here to buy Amelia Rules! Your funny bone will thank you!


K-CHRONICLES-by Keith Knight. And speaking of satire. I had the great pleasure of meeting the author and artist of the K-CRONICLES, Keith Knight at a recent con, and purchasing two of his books from him. The books are Just funny, fantastic, insightful looks at the world, from a most unique 20something protagonist.

From making a living as a Michael Jackson impersonator to the finer points of Frat parties and beer bongs to that oddest of things called Californication (where people from California, want people from other states to stay the heck away) it’s just a great strip, to touch base with often.

Cartoons and cartoonists like this give me hope for the future of the medium. And thankfully there is now a thick compilation of all the previous slim K-CHRONICLE volumes. THIS IS A MUST HAVE! Because it might go out of print, then the used prices will shoot up, and you’ll be kicking yourself you didn’t buy it when you had the chance.
So highly recommended the complete K-CHRONICLES.Click here to buy THE COMPLETE K-CHRONICLES! 500 pages of goodness!

And finally wrapping up this installment, please support the following auctions. You can find all the following items pictured below and more being auctioned off here!





2008 Holiday Gift Recommendations! Comics and Trades!

OH MY GOD!!!!!!!

I’ve tried to write this stupid 2008 Holiday gift guide half a dozen times, and each time it turns into WAR AND PEACE. Raaaaaaaarrrgghhhhhh! I hate being so… so….. complete! I want to tell you everything that is good to give as a gift….and quite frankly… taking a long time.

So no research, no looking up, just off the cuff, I’m tossing out items I think will be great gifts:

AMELIA RULES- Great for kids. Great for adults. It’s on trade number four, and I highly recommend all of them.

BOONDOCKS- Both the TV show (both seasons available on DVD) and the trades rule. Pick em up.

MADMAN- The newest trade from Mike and Laura Allred does not disapoint. Issue #3 alone, you can spend days! DAYS! researching each panel, and his influences, and their influences… etc.

TED MCKEEVER LIBRARY BOOK 1 TRANSIT- Mckeever is one of my favorite creators. His style somewhere between Giffen and Mazzuchelli. You can see him in this volume riffing on DAREDEVIL BORN AGAIN (A classic!). And surprisingly I like the Dark Horse small hardcover format. Though I do think that given the size the price is a little steep. But that aside a great book.

If you’re a classic comic fan, it is a REALLY good time to be a collector, because there are a ton of great companies, putting out long sought after collected editions. “Like what” you ask?

jkirbyomnibusWell DC’s JACK KIRBY FOURTH WORLD OMNIBUS set (4 books in all) is a long time coming, and done in chronological order, it’s really a must have. DC has better designed books, their ABSOLUTE EDITIONS are the most impressive hardcovers currently being produced (sorry MARVEL), but THE FOURTH WORLD books are arguably the most important collected edition DC has produced (and they are just fun!). They are great comics, and they are also historically important to the medium. If you like comics I think it’s a must own.

DARK HORSE is to be applauded for bringing to hardcover quite a few acclaimed properties, from BUFFY to HELLBOY. But the three I want to single out for praise are the CREEPY ARCHIVES VOL I and VOL II, THE TED MCKEEVER LIBRAY, and BERNIE WRIGHTSON’S FRANKENSTEIN. They are all MUST HAVES!

It’s funny DARK HORSE is collecting Warren’s CREEPY and EERIE, but the other acclaimed Warren publcation BLAZING COMBAT is being released by FANTAGRAPHICS. I guess FANTAGRAPHICS beat them to the punch, but I’m just happy to have this one back in print. A must own!

And finally last quick recommends for this installment:

BLUESMAN, MAGE, REX LIBRIS (First trade is fantastic! And last issue #13 has just wrapped), JOURNEY, and SCUD THE DISPOSABLE ASSASSIN, BLACK JACK (an older trade by Alex Simmons, but quite good).

Okay that’s it for now. I’ll have more recommendations later, and will mix it up with books, movies, music, etc.


Oh, what a frigging week.

Working… who invented that.

Hey guys the “Good Guys” post, a followup to my last rant, is still under construction… should have it in a couple installments.

But for now just some brief, non-ranty goodness:


First, much hate to COMIC BOOK SAVANT, for recommending much great stuff that I’m going to hunt up. Among the titles he put on my radar is:

John Ostrander’s STAR WARS LEGACY — and I’m not a star wars fans, but James of CBS raved about it, plus Ostrander is a good writer

COMIC BOOK SAVANT recommended DYNAMO 5, as a great read and he was right. So going to trust his recommendation on STAR WARS LEGACY.


Moving on to other books

… Looking to complete my FOURTH WORLD OMNIBUS Collection, as well as my EC ARCHIVES collection. And Harris publications will be releasing (Finally) CREEPY and ERRIE collections (downside being the price is outrageous!). Also Bernie Wrightson’ s FRANKENSTEIN is FINALLY being re-released!!! Woah!

For those of you who don’t know… The original Wrightson FRANKENSTEIN printing goes for a couple hundred when you can find it. So a new printing (due this summer, I believe) is definitely going to be on my buy list.

Wrightson’s MARY SHELLY’S FRANKENSTEIN is one of the greatest artists of the medium, at the height of his abilities, helping to transcend the medium.

Pick it up.


Also much love to RETURN OF THE SUPER PIMPS. If you are not picking up this book, you really should be. It’s everything I look for in a comic: fun, endearing, positive, engaging. It’s about 70s type heroes with a SHAFT and SUPERFLY vibe, who come out of retirement to deal with a modern age of drive-bys and drugs and crime.

I’ve tried the first two issues and loved them, it’s the kind of book that you would want on the new stand, so inner city kids, and all kids, could find it and pick it up. It’s the kind of book that if there were still newstand distribution… it would be selling 100,000 copies easily.

And it’s not just a kids’ book, take it from a thirty something, it appeals to all ages. A solid B+ ! Strongly Recommended!

I think the writer Richard Hamilton is doing good work, crafting positive characters of color (and better yet a team where all the characters are of color, rather than the standard of the all White team, or White team with one token Black character), something unfortunately you see too little of. So now we just have to get the books into the hands of readers of all colors.

I really believe in this book, to see why… check the following link:


Also some quick reviews:

SCALPED TPB- Covers the first five issues of the series, and is by Jason Aaron of THE OTHER SIDE fame. I loved Aaron’s THE OTHER SIDE, a solid B+. And I heard much praise for this new series by him, but I have to say the first trade… didn’t love it. It was okay, good…. but never went much beyond that. Not really that interested in the story up to this point. Much like DMZ, I found the read… underwhelming. And I still hate the Vertigo paper stock. The art just looks muddy and soaked up in their cheap paper. C.

SAVAGE TALES #5- From DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT is an anthology series sporting a simply gorgeous Arthur Suydam cover. I love wrap-around comics, have ever since Bill Sienkiewicz’s phenomenal wraparound cover on MOON KNIGHT #18 from the first FANTASTIC 1980 series, with him and the amazing Doug Moench.

However a cover is not enough for me to try a book, the preview blurb is… and it mentioned Don Lomax of VIETNAM JOURNAL fame, would do the writing on one of the stories. And that spurred me to give SAVAGE TALES #5 a try.


The interior art was simply atrocious. Very reminiscent of very bad 90s style art, And the stories were just wooden and uninteresting. Best thing about this book, only good thing really, was the cover… however I don’t buy a comic for the cover.

Grade: D-.


And brief aside… Doug Moench, early 80s… best frigging writer in comics. People completely forget him, when talking about the comics renaissance, or the sophistication of comics.

People tend to think ONLY Alan Moore, and Frank Miller, when discussing creators who helped the medium grow up, and be seen as valid entertainment for adults. But there’s a definite progression, you don’t go from Stan Lee to Alan Moore. There’s a generational progression From Stan Lee in the 60s who created the Marvel blueprint, which was really the first line that really appealed to college kids… and hence the first step as comics as more than just kids stuff… to Roy Thomas who followed and maintained and expanded that blueprint in the 70s.

And primarily Roy Thomas did this by bringing aboard new hungry, amazing writers, from Steve Englehart (the flagship writer of the early 70s, who everyone else took their que from, his work on CAPTAIN AMERICA and AVENGERS being defining work) and Steve Gerber and Gerry Conway (the Pitch Hitter of comics, he came in when other people dropped the ball, and always did a brilliant job), to David Kraft, Keith Giffen, Jim Shooter and Chris Claremont(the flagship writer of the late 70s, early 80s).

So the late 70s, early 80s Chris Claremont was clearly THE writer of the age, making the larger than life grand superhero comics far more emotionally involving, and arguably the first superhero series to appeal to female readers. But Doug Moench, at the same time, relatively unheralded… was making involving, gritty comics, that didn’t involve people who could shoot bolts out of their eyes or read minds. His were espionage tinged tales, MASTER OF KUNG FU, MOON KNIGHT, SIX FROM SIRIUS, and some of his BATMAN work, (the stand-alone issues drawn by Pat Broderick— are frigging phenomenal!) that defined what was best in comics. And his work and Denny O’Neils and Don Lomax and Doug Murphy and Marv Wolfman’s and JM DeMatteis and Larry Hama and Steven Grant and Jim Owsley/Christopher Priest and Peter David work in the early 80s is another growth spurt in terms of quality and sophistication, that sets the stage for the writers of the mid and late 80s. The Frank Millers, and the Alan Moores and the Grant Morrisons. Who, after a slight stagnant period, then led into the Warren Ellises and Brian Bendises and David Macks and Alex Rosses (Ross is far more than an artist, is coplotter and creator on everything he’s done).

And these creators in turn lead into the Christos Gages and Brian K Vaughans and Johnathan Hickmans and Joss Whedons.

So when you say great or significant creators, just be aware of the chain of creators that came before, tilling the soil, without whom you don’t get a WATCHMEN or RONIN or DARK KNIGHT or PUNISHER. So the next time you’re at a con, don’t just search out the hot writer of the moment, but search out some of the creators that influenced him.

Here Endeth the Lesson.


CITY OF SAINTS AND MADMEN or books that rock!

Hey! Nice to see you!! Don’t know if you got here by accident or design, but boy is it good to be read by you.


heh..heh… :). That was just to keep your attention! I know your Attention Deficit Disorder is kicking in.

But seriously, pull up a chair for a few secs, and I’ll give you the movie preview version of this site, and why you’re going to want to make it a daily stop.


Sorry, just testing you.

Anyhow, slowly migrating over from blogger, which is why the blog currently just has a few old posts. I’m tediously reposting everything. But in a few days all the old stuff will be on this site.

… From the often brilliant satire that is THE BOONDOCKS

Reviews. DVDs. Movies. Comics. Music. Books. Love. Loss. Responsibility. Humor. Heroism.

That’s what this little soap-box on the byways of the internet is about. It’s about me going on about the things that I hunt for when on the internet: perspectives varied and hopefully valuable about things, and moments, and people… worth your time.


Sorry, I’ll stop now :).

But yeah in the pages you’ll find the kind of reviews and commentary I couldn’t find. Like what you ask?


So I went searching for innovate book designs. I’m not talking graphic novels here, or comic strips (though there are some that do meet the criteria, McKean’s 500 page over-sized opus CAGES coming immediately to mind), more than that I’m talking lavishly designed, and constructed, and almost pieced together tomes.

When I read the reviews Of CITY OF SAINTS AND MADMEN, it sounded like exactly what I was working for, Literature that was innovate even onto the looking at it, and reading of it. Literature that was both visual, dimensional and tactile.

It’s why for me computers or some such future display technology, will never replace a book, the simple immediacy of weight and substance, and ephemeral ideas made manifest.

Well, enough yapping, will upload, pics, images, later. Till then… be well.

p.s. You’ll be seeing a secondary date on my postings, it belongs to the ancient Ethiopian calendar which I’ve taken a shine to.

In the Ancient Ethiopic… today is the 18th Day of Tahesas, the year 7506 of the 8th Millennium, in the years of the world.

In the years of the world.

I never tire of living in the 8th Millennium. :)