Monthly Archives March 2019

Happy! (2012)

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Grant Morrison drops enough F-bombs to level a mid-size city in this four-part Tanenbaum version of Taken.

Not for the faint of heart, Happy! is pretty much anything but. Quick to make the anxious blush, Happy! offers little on the way to redemption. Not until Nick Sax learns his past is in front of him. All he has to do is save it.

Happy is the means to that end. And, the imaginary guide leading the migration through a heart attack, his past and four issues. The strong language crafts a foundation that has no redeeming qualities.

Nor does Sax’s life. Not from the onset of an affair that has him cheating on his wife and the police force he serves. His fall from grace leads to merry-go-round of drugs and alcohol.

Taken in one sitting, the story moves like a Quentin Tarantino vehicle with Bruce Willis at the helm.
Don’t pick this up for the kiddies, but enjoy a guilty pleasure that – hopefully – won’t put you on the naughty list.

 

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Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Halloween ComicFest (2016)

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Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Halloween ComicFest (2016)

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Halloween ComicFest (2016)

Tokyopop reprinted a portion of the 2005 original graphic novel of the same name to celebrate Halloween ComicFest in 2016.

This is not a direct interpretation of the movie. Instead the graphic novel is based on the original poem Tim Burton presented to Disney while he worked as an animator there in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The illustrations are his as well.

Those only familiar with the movie may be disappointed due to the absence of some characters including Oogie Boogie who were later included in the movie. The illustrated novel further skips over the Halloween aspect and focuses solely on Christmas.

A Nightmare Before Christmas was released Oct. 29, 1993. The film grossed over $76 million in its initial run. Henry Selick directed the feature as Burton was busy with development of Batman Returns.

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Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Funnies (1950) 5

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Bugs and friends starred in the self-titled Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Funnies from 1950 to 1958 under the Dell imprint.

Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Funnies (1950) 5

Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Funnies (1950) 5

The fifth installment includes:

  • Bugs saving Christmas from the Old Man of the Mountain;
  • Porky Pig finding the error of his ways in the Bizzaro world of Backward’s Valley;
  • Tweety and Sylvester tearing a department store apart as the hungry cat tries to fulfill the flighty bird’s wishes;
  • Elmer and Daffy squaring off with explosive results as a parade loses its float;
  • Bugs and Elmer headlining in a one-page gag;
  • Petuna Pig with piggy bank woes that Pork cannot fix;
  • Little used Henery Hawk making an appearance and earning a shiner;
  • Mary Jane and Sniffles forming an unusual bond to locate their run away gifts;
  • Porky and Petuna returning for a mashed up, mix up; and
  • Bugs isn’t the only one to suffer when his pretending becomes pretentious.

All in 100 pages for a quarter.

While a bargain today, a quarter in 1955 is currently the equivalent of $4.70. Of course a regular comic book runs four dollars. Maybe it’s still a bargain.

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Punisher MAX X-Mas Special 1

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Frank Castle can’t stop the Massacre of Innocents, but does save the life of one in “And on Earth Peace, Good Will Toward Men.” Don Maranzano is the King Herod in this Christmas passion play.

The Castellano family is about to sire another heir to the criminal empire. Maranzano wishes to halt the birth and orders the slaughter of all children in the birth ward. The intended one not yet born, Baby Castellano escapes the carnage.

The story takes an even more Biblical turn when the Punisher hides the parents-to-be at a race track stable. Would be attackers are thwarted once more and the baby is given a chance at a normal life.

The X-MAX title hit comic book shops for the 2008 season.

The Punisher was first introduced in Amazing Spider-Man 129. He was created by Gerry Conway, John Romita, Sr and Ross Andru. The MAX imprint was launched by Marvel in 2001 and aimed at adult readers. That said, Punisher MAX X-Mas Special 1 is not for the faint of heart.

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Lobo’s Big Babe Spring Break Special

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No matter the weather, today is the first day of spring. To usher out the end of another winter the Last Czarnian, the Main Man, the bastich himself:  Lobo plays bodyguard to eight of the galaxy’s most beautiful college students. All to crown the next Miss Voluptua.

Only no one is who they seem.

Lobo’s Big Babe Spring Break Special

Lobo’s Big Babe Spring Break Special

Lobo is called in to do what he does best. Or, one of the things he does best. Lobo is to ensure no harm comes to the beauty pageant contestants. In the new and enlightened era of political correctness the Miss Voluptua ’95 contest is at risk from renegade factions protesting the objectification of women.

Alan Grant continues scripting chores sans mentor Keith Giffen. Jim Balent handles penciling duties.

Lobo first appeared in Omega Men issue three. He would continue to make cameos throughout the DC Universe in such titles as Justice League International, L.E.G.I.O.N. and its sequel R.E.B.E.L.S. before earning his self-titled, solo four-issue mini-series in 1990.

The Main Man would continue to star in one-shots and minis throughout his mercenary career including Lobo’s Paramilitary Christmas Special, Lobo’s Back, Lobo Blazing Chain of Love, Lobo Infanticide, Lobo Portrait of a Victim and Lobo Unamerican Gladiators. His own title came in 1993 and ran till 1999.

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Wonder Woman (1942) 14

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Wonder Woman (1942) 14

Wonder Woman (1942) 14

The third of DC’s Trinity, Wonder Woman met with the wee folk in the Fall 1945. Courtesy of chubby companion Etta Candy.

Etta finds herself almost going down a rabbit hole of sorts. Rather than a harried hare, she is chasing a squirrel who has stolen her last piece of candy. Instead of a tea party, Etta finds herself “Captured by the Leprechauns.” Told by Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter.

Wonder Woman saves the day – and candy.

Leprechauns Shaggy, Hoppy and Woggle would return in Sensation Comics 75 for another adventure.

St. Patricks’ Day – also known as Feast of the Irish – is celebrated on March 17, the death date of Saint Patrick the foremost saint of Ireland.

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World of Archie Comics Double Digest (2010) 64

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This 2016 offering featured 150 pages of Archie and gang antics. Holiday hijinks sandwiched normal fare.

Celebrating the season were “Spinner Winner,” a cautionary tale of stubbornness and sledding; “Fresh Idea,” in which Archie drags Jughead about the country side to find the perfect tree; and “Clean Sweep,” with school custodian Mr. Svenson’s lesson in the true meaning of Christmas.

World of Archie Comics Double Digest (2010) 64

World of Archie Comics Double Digest (2010) 64

Other Christmas tales included “Engage the Enemy.” A misunderstanding the scale of any Three’s Company episode ensues when Veronica mistakes Archie’s musings for marriage.

“The Season of Magic,” has Jingles the Elf skedaddling back north courtesy of a gaggle of Santas.

Miss Grundy reminisces about her favorite gifts from students in “The Presents.”

“Aid Parade” is a one-page Mr. Lodge gag proving you’re never too old to believe in Santa.

Veronica and Betty have their “Santa Claws” out over a fashion faux pau.

Hot Dog is featured in a one-page skit entitled “Wrap Flap.”

Finally, “Holiday Prone” has Archie making amends Santa style for a stay of execution.

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Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade (2018) 4

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IDW included a homespun tale for the 2018 Christmas offering while importing the rest of the book.

Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade (2018) 4

Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade (2018) 4

“The Coat of Christmas Magic” came from the 2011 Italian Topolino issue 2926. Mickey takes center stage in a coat that knows the wearers heart.

Gyro Gearloose’s latest invention proves too much for him and his home. The story is pulled from Italian Topolino 2405, 2002.

The Dutch provided “Donald’s Cold War.” From the pages of Donald Duck Weekblad 51, 1980, Donald terrorizes his nephews in a snowball fight until the tables are turned.

“Very Merry Christmas” is a retread from Brazilian Natal Disney de Ouro issue seven from 1985, starring the Beagle Boys who steal a page from Alice in Wonderland.

Breer Wolf stars in the lone American offering “Fir Tree Fermata.”

Issue four goes back across the big pond for the final two stories, “Pearl Jams and Secondary Clauses,” from the Dutch Donald Duck Weekblad issue 51, from the year 2000; and “Quick Solution,” a Finnish offering from Aku Ankka 52 originally published in 1992.

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Ghostbusters: Past, Present and Future

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For $4 million dollars, will the Ghostbusters capture the spirit(s) of Christmas?

IDW released this Rob Williams/Diego Jouran Pireira production for December of 2009. The company had acquired rights to the franchise the year before offering both one shots and a mini-series.

Ghostbusters has a long history in comic book form beginning with NOW Comics in 1988. The – no pun intended – now defunct company based its adaptation on the then current Real Ghostbusters syndicated cartoon. The two volume series has been collected in trade format by IDW.

Concurrently Marvel UK published a Ghostbusters series that ran 193 issues beginning in 1988. A reprint of the foreign series made its way into issue 21 of Real Ghostbusters due to NOW Comics production problems.

Further incarnations were also witnessed from Welsh Publishing Company and 88MPH Studios out of Canada. Tokyopop issued a one-shot manga comic book called Ghostbusters:  Ghost Busted.

The film itself was a 1984 tour de force directed by Iven Reitman and co-written by Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis. In its initial theater run the movie grossed $242 million domestically and $295 worldwide.

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Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade (2017) 3

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IDW continued to outsource for material in the third of, to date, four Christmas specials featuring Disney adventures from abroad.

Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade (2017) 3

Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade (2017) 3

The first, “The Secret Santa Spell,” is from Italian Topolino 2405, 2002. Magica De Spell calls upon a little-known spell to seize Scrooge McDuck’s first dime. The scheme is scuttled through the interference of a small child. The end is sweet.

Minnie Mouse is kidnapped and her talent to unscramble jumbled words used as the Beagle Boys attempt another nefarious scheme. This from Italian Almanacco Topolino 159, on newsstands in 1970.

“Warm Friendship” is a one-page feature. Donald has a change of heart when he finds heat is more important than a lesson.

Gladstone Duck makes a cameo in “Tree Ring Bind,” a 1995 Dutch-told tale from Donald Duck Weekblad 51. The fortuitous fowl is able to make time with Daisy when Donald strikes out on finding a fir.

“Bin and Gone” is a 2014 find from Italian Topolino 3083. Uncle Scrooge’s legacy looms long over Duckburg despite his good intentions.

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