Archive for January, 2019

Posted Thursday, January 31st, 2019 by Barry

Archie’s Christmas Spectacular (2018) 1

The eternal teens of Riverdale celebrate another Christmas with four stories for the 2018 season.

Archie Christmas Spectacular (2018) 1

Archie Christmas Spectacular (2018) 1

Archie and Jughead embark on an entrepreneurial endeavor in the lead tale, “One Person’s Trash.” The boys find money can be made in repurposing garbage pail finds. It comes to naught when an uninvited partner crashes the party.

“All Aboard” is a story about wish fulfillment that ends with the adage, “be careful what you wish for.”

Santa’s daughter returns to Riverdale in “The Last Noelle.” Santa isn’t pleased, but Mrs. Claus understands the solitude of living at the North Pole.

Finally, “Jingles’ Jangled” has the impish elf as an unwelcome house guest when his powers are remanded by a jealous acquaintance. Jughead finds Jingles’ hidden talents tasty and is sorry to see him leave.

Hard to believe there are still stories to be told about Archie and crew after 77 years, but the kids live on.

Posted Monday, January 28th, 2019 by Barry

Season’s Beatings (2019) 1

Here’s one that slipped past me last Christmas.

At first glance, not much to write home about. “Pete & Miles in Off Duty,” is no Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Only the best incarnation of all the silver screen Spider-Mans by the way. No, “Pete & Miles in Off Duty” is, well, not sure how to describe it.


In a way.


Yeah, you could say that.

In short it’s just not good.

Now, “Nuts and Bots” is a different story. Literally. Squirrel Girl and Doc Doom. C’mon. That’s a match up. Not a heavy weight title bout, but still way more entertaining than midget wrestling.

Finally, Squirrel Girl is getting a little respect. She deserves it. Her own title and some guest appearances. Good stuff.

What I haven’t mentioned about the holiday special is the Deadpool framing sequence. Deadpool is our emcee for the show. In a Saturday Night Live or old Muppet Show twist, Deadpool is brought forward from behind-the-scenes allowing Squirrel Girl to interact with him.

The two go toe-to-toe, not with fisticuffs or weapons, but in a far more deadly verbal one-on-one.

Finally, “Holi-La-La-Days” continues to make amends for a slow start. Deadpool steps out of the framing sequence to help move the story to a satisfying conclusion with Hawkeye playing detective.

A worthy addition to anyone’s holiday collection.

Posted Saturday, January 26th, 2019 by Barry

Wolverine: Flies to a Spider

Wolverine: Flies to a Spider reads more like a grindhouse movie than a New Year’s Eve celebration.

Logan takes on small town corruption to avenge the death of an innocent.

The more I think about it, the more I appreciate the book. The more it reminds me of those 1970s drive-in classics. The more it feels right.

Right for the character.

Gregg Hurwitz does a good job unsheathing the claws. Jerome Opena does an equally good job in rendering those claws.

Chris Claremont gave Logan his catch phrase in the 1982 Wolverine mini-series, “I’m the best at what I do. And, what I do isn’t very nice.”

None of Flies to a Spider is nice. Just satisfying.

Wolverine: Flies to a Spider

Posted Thursday, January 24th, 2019 by Barry

Red Sonja Holiday Special

Okay, no idea is what’s going on here. The 2018 special begins where I left off back about 1977. Our heroine is still clad in her trademark metal bikini astride a mighty stead, broadsword at her side.

Red Sonja Holiday Special

Red Sonja Holiday Special

Yet, by page six she’s riding on the back of some guy named Max’s motorcycle through the snow covered streets of modern day New York. Still in her metal bikini. At Christmas time.

Max conducts a tour of the town explaining the various traditions for the season. The action picks up when they meet a dog walker who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Overhearing some mob news, the man is chased until he runs into Sonja and Max.

They choose to beat feet and lose themselves in a Santa Claus convention. Stymied by the scrum of Santas the bad guys decide to leave well enough alone.

At least the remainder of the book is given back to Roy Thomas and Frank Thorne in a replay of “Wizards of the Black Sun” that originally appeared in The Savage Sword of Conan issue 23.

As I’ve written before, you knew it was a good week when you could find a copy of Red Sonja on the spin rack. Sorry, Leia, no one has ever rocked a metal bikini quite like the red-haired Hyborian hottie.

Posted Monday, January 21st, 2019 by Barry

Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story

Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story is the beginning of civil unrest in America. At least from the media standpoint. It is also the story of how a Baptist preacher became a household name in America.

Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story

Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story

When Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks refused to surrender their seats on a Montgomery, AL, public bus a movement began. From the simple action of two women a platform was built to challenge the Jim Crow laws of the time. For 385 days a boycott against the public bus system was staged. As a result, segregation was repelled by the United States District Court on the city’s public buses.

The comic book retells the tale of a stand taken by remaining seated over half a century ago.

King was instrumental in registering the plight of African-Americans long before the designation came to fashion. An advocate of non-violence, King and his followers suffered the backlash of an America not ready to change.

For his efforts, King was murdered April 4, 1968, in Memphis, TN, while attempting to better conditions for black sanitary public work employees. King was almost prophetic in his “I’ve been to the Mountaintop” sermon given the night before he was assassinated in which he proclaimed, “I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

A full copy of the comic book can be read online at:

Posted Saturday, January 19th, 2019 by Barry

What’s Up is a Year-Long Subscription for a Buck

For most of us, our introduction to Bugs Bunny was in Saturday morning or after-school cartoons.

In the fall of 1960 the Bugs Bunny Show aired as prime-time programming. Featured were his earlier animated works dating back to 1948. After two seasons competing with network sitcoms and dramas the wascially wabbit was relegated to Saturday mornings where he would remain for 40 years.

Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies subscription ad

Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies subscription ad

In the 1970s Bugs appeared in seasonal specials such as Bugs Bunny’s Thanksgiving Diet airing Nov. 15, 1979. Bugs Bunny’s Easter Special predated that airing April 7, 1977. Bugs Bunny’s Looney Christmas Tales first aired Nov. 27, 1979.

His comic book debut was long before that, appearing in Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics issue one in 1941 a year after his debut in animated shorts. Dell spun Bugs off into his own book lasting 245 issues from 1952 through 1983. Bugs was further featured in several Dell-published Bugs Bunny entitled books outside of his vanity feature.

By the 1990s Warner Communications had control of Bugs and friends and published a long-running series of its own.

From 1942 through 1993 a Bugs Bunny comic strip was syndicated by Newspaper Enterprise Assocaition.

Here Santa Claus hawks the original Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies book. For a buck subscribers receive 12 “fun-packed” issues. In addition, subscribers will receive “five beautiful color pictures of the principal characters” featured in the title. All are suitable for framing.

Posted Thursday, January 17th, 2019 by Barry

Daredevil (1964) 253

Daredevil (1964) 253

Daredevil (1964) 253

The only person to cause Daredevil more grief than the Kingpin is Frank Miller.

For 23 issues Miller penned and penciled a path through love and loss. Those were arguably two of the most riveting years of Daredevil’s life. Miller took a second-tier, blind hero and catapulted him to the levels of A-list, flagship characters like Spider-Man and Hulk.

In addition, Miller added to the pantheon of Marvel mythos by creating Electra Natchios. A former lover of Matt Murdock, Elektra returned to steal and break Murdock’s heart. Miller eventually brought the relationship to a tragic end having Bullseye murder her.

So popular was the character, the powers to be at Marvel refused to allow her a restful repose.

Issue 253 is a continuation of the Kingpin’s crusade to crush Murdock and his alter ego in “Merry Christmas, Kingpin.” It began in Miller’s original treatment of the character and escalated in the epic Born Again story arc that marked Miller’s return as scribe to DD. This time it’s Ann Nocenti and John Romita, Jr., in the driver’s seat.

Posted Monday, January 14th, 2019 by Barry

Dennis the Menace Bonus Magazine Series 183

Possibly the final Christmas issue of the series, issue 183 hit spin racks and newsstands for the 1978 holiday season.

The title was a numbered continuation of the Dennis the Menace Giant series that ran from 1955 to 1970 when this, the Bonus Magazine Series, began with issue 76. This incarnation continued through the late 1970s to issue 194.

Each October Fawcett rolled out another Christmas issue. By 1978 Hank Ketchum’s creation was focusing on anti-smoking PSAs as featured in the lead story:  “Santa’s Flaws.”

The remainder of the book served as a tub thumper for UNICEF. “He’s a Card,” “Dennis and Joye” (really spelled that way) and “Kid Stuff” all promoted Polish physician Ludwik Rajchman’s brain child.

UNICEF was created in 1946 to provide emergency food and healthcare to nations ravaged by World War II. In 1950 UNICEF extended its mission profile to include long-term needs of children and women in developing countries. In 1953 it became a permanent part of the United Nations System.

In 1965 UNICEF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

(Image scans by Heritage Auctions.)


Posted Monday, January 7th, 2019 by Barry

Hulk say Subscribe

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Remember where you were in 1984?

For me it was my final year of high school. Van Halen was about to unleash their last album with David Lee Roth. The Police were about to break up. George Orwell’s dystopian novel of political fiction was a buzz word.

Comic readers/collectors/enthusiasts were paying 60 cents a book at the news stand. Specialty shops were still in their infancy. Yet, if you heeded Hulk’s offer, subscribers would receive a 14-issue subscription for “…only $6.00. That’s just 43 cents a copy!”

As a “special bonus” if two titles were bought at the low, low price of six bucks, the subscriber would then be eligible to add a third title for – get this – five bucks. “That’s just 36 cents a copy! You save 40-percent on your third title!”

Titles available ranged from Alpha Flight to X-Men. In all, 25-regular monthly books were offered. Included were such titles as G.I. Joe, Crystar, Indiana Jones and Rom.

Only the venerable Savage Sword of Conan still existed under the magazine imprint and considered one of the “special” titles each month. The book boasted a hefty $17 price tag. Other “special” books included the in-house ad book Marvel Age, Ka-Zar, Micronauts, Moon Knight, What If…?, Conan the King, and Marvel Fanfare.

Posted Tuesday, January 1st, 2019 by Jeff

Happy New Year!

Cheer up, Batman.

Artwork by The-Blackcat.

Happy New Year!