Saturday, November 29, 2014

New Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer

Karen: Thoughts? Even for a teaser trailer, it seems pretty meager...I'd hoped to see at least one of the original cast (Luke, Leia, Han, Hell, even Chewie), if just a fleeting glimpse. Still, nice to see the Falcon in action again. I'm guardedly excited about this.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Who's the Best... Character With "Black" in His/Her Name?

Doug: Today is known as "Black Friday" here in the States, so in honor of that, let's discuss some more of our favorite longjohn types! And as a sidenote, it took me years to fully grasp the concept of "black" in "Black Friday". As a history guy, I was always stuck on "Black Tuesday", that day in 1929 when the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began. Ironically, the "black" in "Black Friday" also has to do with money, but in the opposite way -- Black Friday signifies the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, a time when retailers should see their balance sheets shift over from the "red" to the "black". Whoo... don't know if anyone else needed that lesson, but I'm glad I finally figured it out! Now, on to the comics!!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, from the Bronze Age Babies!

Happy Thanksgiving from Karen and Doug! All the Best of the Season to you and yours!

From JSA #54. Art by Don Kramer and Keith Champagne

Art by Mark Dos Santos

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Dr. Doom Is Not a Hacker

"He’s Victor Domashev, not Victor Von Doom in our story.  And I’m sure I’ll be sent to jail for telling you that.  The Doom in ours—I’m a programmer.  Very anti-social programmer.  And on blogging sites I’m “Doom”. -Toby Kebbell, actor playing Dr. Doom Victor Domashev

Karen: You've probably already heard that news -that Dr. Doom in the upcoming Fantastic Four film will be radically different than his comic book persona. As in, he'll no longer be the megalomaniac genius ruler of a small European country, but instead, an internet troll.

Really, I am not making this up.

For some reason, the film-makers felt the need to change a character that has been one of the most popular villains in Marvel Comics for over 50 years. Now it's true the film has not come out yet, so these changes remain to be seen. But given the very fundamental nature of them, one can't help but think that we will not be seeing 'our' Dr. Doom on-screen (again). 

Why is it that Fox can't simply bring the character to life as-is? Marvel Studios has stuck pretty close to the characters as presented in the comics, and they've been wildly successful. It makes sense -they have been around for 50 years and are a proven commodity. They work, dramatically speaking. Sure, there have been some tweaks here and there, but for the most part, the characters on the screen are clearly recognizable, not only physically but in personality, to their comic book counterparts. Thor is Thor. Captain America is Captain America. Iron Man is Robert Downey Jr. -OK, that one is not a great example. But Iron Man's origin is still very close to the original, just updated for the times.

Why can't we have a Dr. Doom, who is named Von Doom, who is the dictator of a small country in Europe, and is both a genius technologist and a sorcerer? Look, if we're going to swallow the whole idea of people with super-powers, why is that too much to ask?

The way this movie is shaping up, it seems it will bear little resemblance to the Fantastic Four of any era. It's a shame that such a beloved group of characters can't get the cinematic portrayal they deserve. Certainly they are no harder to bring to the screen than any of the Avengers. Personally, I hope the movie, if it is as bad as feared, crashes and burns and the rights revert to Marvel so that we can finally get a decent FF film a few years down the line. Maybe then we will be able to get over the indignity of Dr. Doom being portrayed as a hacker.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

This Cover Made Me Buy This Comic Book

Doug: I was reminded of this book whilst reading last week's Arc of Triumph (Defenders #s 22-25); it's included in the Essential Defenders, volume 2. Gaze upon the greatness that was Jazzy Johnny Romita in the Bronze Age! I need to read this again, as I've not read it since it was published and it's long since left my possession!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Arc of Triumph? Invaders 5,6, Marvel Premiere 29, 30

Karen: This four-parter, over four months, was the introduction of the Liberty Legion, the American homefront WWII super-team full of obscure characters that Roy Thomas plucked out of his old comics and brought back to give modern Marvel some history. I dug it, even if they didn't pop up too often. There were a bunch of artists who worked on these four books: Rich Buckler, Dick Ayers, Don Heck, and of course...Frank Robbins. Any thoughts on this hero-filled extravaganza?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

News Flash: New Rich Buckler Retrospective Coming Your Way

Doug: Happy Weekend, everyone! This evening we were contacted by Clifford Meth via Twitter. Some of you may know Clifford as the agent for the personal collection of Dave Cockrum. Clifford has many friends in the comics industry, and wrote asking us to give a plug for a new book about Rich Buckler. You can see Clifford's original post at his own blog, but I am reproducing it here for our very own Bronze Age Babies. I am going to get in on this, and wanted our readers to have the opportunity as well. Here's Clifford's text:

Clifford Meth: I've been pleased to know artist Rich Buckler for decades and was happy to recently help renegotiate his contract with Marvel Comics for genuine participation in the Deathlok character that he created.

When I was young, Rich drew some of my favorite books including Fantastic Four, where he was handpicked to follow John Buscema, and later The Avengers. Best known for creating as well as writing and illustrating Deathlok (soon to be a major motion picture?), Rich is among a handful of legendary Marvel Bullpen artists who had the opportunity to draw nearly every major Marvel character of the 1970s.

In 2015, Aardwolf Publishing will release Rich Buckler: Artist, Innovator a perfect-bound portfolio of Rich's work with an introduction by Roy Thomas and, I expect, some rare insights from other important professionals. This collection of Rich's impressive drawings will be a limited edition run that's launched with a Kickstarter campaign.

But before we do that, Aardwolf is offering fans the opportunity to order the book now along with special signed/lettered or signed/numbered bookplates from Rich. These bookplates will contain unique head sketches of Marvel and DC characters that Rich has drawn specially for this project. This is a chance for you to own a piece of original Rich Bucker art as well as the rarest iteration of this new book. 

  • Signed/numbered editions of Rich Buckler: Artist, Innovator (only 100 will be produced) including the head sketch by Rich are $45 postage-paid.
  • The Lettered Edition of Rich Buckler: Artist, Innovator (only 26 will be produced), including a head sketch by Rich, is $72 postage-paid.
  • You can also order the book without the original head sketch for only $20.
Orders that need to be shipped outside of the U.S. will require additional postage.

You can request the character of your choice and we will try to accommodate you, but all character head sketches are either Marvel or DC characters, and each one is unique.

We do not have a ship date yet but you can reserve your copy now for just $20 (or by paying in full) by sending your order via PayPal to - Please specify whether you are ordering the numbered or lettered edition.

Doug: So there you have it, kids! See you back here on Monday for another great week of conversation.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Spinner Rack - November 1980

Doug: Hey, we're back again today with a post for you to gauge your Richie Rich purchasing! But seriously, take a peek at this link, which will take you to Mike's Amazing World of Comics. Today we're reminiscing about comics that were cover dated November 1980 -- we'd have seen them on the racks and shelves about the time school was getting ready to start. For me, that would have been my freshman year of high school... and I was getting out of the comics buying habit! The link below will take you to an alphabetical listing of the same titles on the Comic Book Database, in case you desire more information on a particular issue. Have fun!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Association

Doug: For those of you who thought we'd be discussing the merits of "Never My Love" or "Windy", I'm sorry to disappoint. However...

Doug: Roy Thomas = Conan and World War II-era heroes, right? That's today's drill, kids. Pick a writer or artist and tell us what immediately pops into your mind. So if someone suggests Jim Aparo, do you first think of Batman in general, or Brave and the Bold in particular?

Doug: Along the way today I'm sure we can get a little healthy debate going on certain creators. For example, for most of us I am going to guess that Stainless Steve Englehart will be revered for his Avengers run. Yet I know there are those among you who are particularly fond of his runs on Dr. Strange and on Detective Comics (hmm... anyone want to suggest Marshall Rogers for something other than that run?). So you see where this can go, huh?

Doug: I'm looking forward to the many great creators who will be suggested today. And even for those who we didn't care for (I'm looking at you, Mr. Robbins), they may be unquestionably linked to a book or character (The Invaders). Have fun!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Holy Extras, Batman! The Batman '66 Blu Ray and DVD Release

Karen: We seem to be the right audience for the Batman '66 blu ray and DVD sets which have just been released (Bleeding Cool has a run-down on the different versions available here), yet I find myself not too interested in buying any of these. Don't get me wrong, the transfers look brilliant and the extras are great, but if I am honest with myself, I can't see sitting down and watching all of these.

What about the rest of you? Are you planning to get the blu ray or DVD versions? I'd like to hear your reasons for either buying or not buying.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Arc of Triumph? Defenders 22-25

Doug: My Defenders buying was hit/miss around these issues. I was definitely consistent by the time the Guardians of the Galaxy arc hit a few issues later. My main memories of the Sons of the Serpent come from reading the Marvel Triple Action reprints of the Avengers in the Kooky Quartet (plus Goliath and the Wasp) era. But what of these four issues? Who has recollection?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Discuss: What's Your Headgear?

Karen: Back when I was a kid, I loved my big honkin' headphones that fit completely over my ears, encapsulating me in my own world of sound. I felt like I got a deeper experience of the music. But as time went on, headphones grew smaller and smaller, til it seemed everyone was wearing ear buds, which 1) always seemed to cause me pain, and 2) never fit well in my ears. But in the last few years, big headphones have come back into style. So I have to ask -what's your headgear, man?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Thrill is Gone

Doug: So Friday afternoon, Halloween, my wife and I jumped into the Highlander right after school to head south to Lexington, KY for our son's conference tournament soccer match. On the way, as I battled the high winds and rain mixed with snow, I mused on the potential of finding a comic shop or two near the University of Kentucky campus (we would be at Transylvania University for the game, however). And then it hit me, and maybe it was the moment the selling of my comics collection really gained a finality in my mind: why on Earth would I want to go to a comic shop? I certainly wasn't going to buy any comics, and I buy my trades and hardcovers online at a discount anyway. And I was sad.

Doug: Today I'd like some thoughts on the feeling of going to a comic book store, your LCS, or to some other eclectic shop that deals in comics. I've titled this "The Thrill is Gone", but I know that's way too cynical for many of our readers. Some of you still have that great joy and sense of anticipation upon being in a different town or city and discovering a new shop, or even in reacquainting with a store you perhaps used to frequent. I can certainly recall the very day as a college freshman when some buddies offered me a ride into Peoria, IL to accompany them on a trip to a comics store. In my hiatus of the previous five years, I did not even know such specialty shops existed! So "kid in a candy story"? To the max! (That's '80s talk if you don't know). But rifling through longboxes no longer holds that magic for me. That partly makes me sad, but I'm also indifferent. Maybe it's a ship sailed, water under the bridge, or some other idiom/cliche'. What's that like for you?

Doug: And on the sales front, since you asked, things have been going well. My commitment to this blog (notably the reviews, but also being able to work ahead) has been scaled back because of the auctions. I'll still stand by my decision to sell this thing myself, but it is a true test of my time. In fact, this past week I did not have new auctions for the first time since I began. But with my wife away for the day on Saturday the 8th, I was able to get several hours of scanning and listing done. I'm into my Amazing Spider-Man collection now after having moved all the way through my Avengers books. I didn't sell all of those, and will come back to them at the end of it all. One thing I'm looking forward to is being able to package some nice Silver and Bronze Age lots pulling various titles together from the leftovers. I suppose my big news came a few weeks ago, when I listed ASM #s 121 and 122. I kid you not -- they were not "live" for more than 10 minutes when a buyer scooped them up through the Buy It Now feature. I got $70 for #121 and $75 for #122. The latter was in better overall shape to your eye and hands, with one exception (check the scans I've provided) -- some dummy who owned it well before I did had thumbtacked it to a wall! And not just once -- six or seven times! But to make this tale even more golden, the fella contacted me and asked if I had a few other keys. I did -- he was interested in ASM #s 194 (1st Black Cat), 238 (1st Hobgoblin -- which I did not have), and 300 (1st full Venom). I whipped up some scans very quickly, gave some details on any specific deficits the books had, and we negotiated a price. I'd estimate that I got around 75% of guide for the two, bringing his total bill to around $260. Not a bad day.

Doug: I'll leave you with another question, based on my experiences. I didn't know how much nicer my Avengers run was, condition-wise, than the rest of the collection is shaping up. I'm not into my Fantastic Four books yet, but I can declare that the Amazing Spider-Man stock isn't up to the standards that the Avengers sold at.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Buried Treasures: Fred Hembeck

Karen: Certainly a staple of the mid to late Bronze Age was Fred Hembeck, who lovingly made fun of both DC and Marvel. Hembeck's style was unique and instantly recognizable (the little swirls on the elbows and knees always got me) and he certainly had a thorough knowledge of comics history.

He had books published by Fantaco, like this one I found in the garage, as well as one-shot issues at Marvel, and features in different Marvel books. I'm not so sure if he had work published at DC -anyone? 

This particular issue of "Dial H for Hembeck" from 1983 has an editorial from Fred praising the decision to kill off Captain Marvel, a funny article about conveniently ignored Superman/Superboy stories, a couple of pages of "The Many Faces of Jimmy Olsen" (it seems like he must have been transformed into something every other issue), a lot of one-page jokes about different characters, and at the end, a four page remembrance of comedian Soupy Sales. Interestingly, Hembeck draws Sales in a realistic manner -and it's quite good.

 I used to enjoy seeing Hembeck's work pop up in Marvel books. Any thoughts on Hembeck?

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