Monday, August 24, 2009

Things I love: Peter Parker: Spider-Man

As any long time Spider-Man Fan knows his books in the 90s were pretty terrible. Not that any of us really realized it, I know I didn't, but on a whole the books were pretty bad. It was all angst, anger, and apathy as Spider-Man became simply The Spider and regressed to just a mask without another identity. It was pretty gnarly there for a while.

All this happened, mind you, right when I started reading comics so I never really got to experience this quippy, fun-loving but put upon Spider-Man that everyone seems to dig. It made it very easy to swear off Spidey as a no fly zone when I got back into collecting after a few years of hiatus. I didn't want to read about massive conspiracies or the super-angst or clones. I especially didn't want to read about clones.

Then a funny thing happened, Marvel launched their Ultimate line. Curious, and able to read issue for free on at the time, I started reading some of Bendis' issues and they were pretty great. I thought to myself, "Self, these are good because it's not the real Spider-Man, the real Marvel U stuff can't be this good." But oh how wrong I was.

Around the same time Straczynski was getting all the accolades on his Amazing run, but the really good stuff was under the radar on Peter Parker: Spider-Man by Paul Jenkins. And here was where I discovered how great a character Peter Parker was.

There's no better example of this than Peter Parker # 33, where Pete heads to a Mets game to remember his Uncle Ben and it's one of my favorite issues ever.

A brief aside: I recently read this post on Everyday is Like Wednesday about the Paul Jenkins run on Peter Parker, in which Caleb derided the run calling it overly depressing and not the right way to do a Spider-Man book. One of the books he called out as majorly depressing was Peter Parker # 33, this is meant as a rebuttal.

The issue is basically a big monologue from Peter talking about the annual tradition he and Ben had to go see the Mets play. Except every year they went, The Mets found a way to lose which gave Ben fodder for a life lesson, much to Peter's dismay.

With each passing year, they mets always find a new way to lose which kinda puts a damper on Peter's enthusiasm. Dragged out for what would be Ben's last game, Peter finally tastes the sweetness of victory and finally understands what Ben's big speech was getting at all those years.

It's a really sweet story that gets to the heart of who Peter is. For all the years I read about him as a kid, I never got that Peter was a lovable loser. The guy who would keep trying even though the worst things always happened to him. You know, the things that make him a hero. Paul Jenkins really humanitized and personalized Peter's story for me. it wasn't sad and depressing that it was the anniversary of Uncle Ben's death, it was a celebration of Ben's life and really honored the memory.

A lot of Jenkins' run revolves around the bond between Peter and Ben. For the first time, I really understood their connection and why he meant to much to Peter. and along the way Ben became less of this proverb spouting icon and more of fun, loving Uncle that Peter would never want to stop honoring.

The run isn't without it's problems, the multi-issue arcs are a little shaky at times, and a few of the done-in-one stories are a bit heavy handed, but when the issues are good, they're near classics. If you ever need to show someone the greatness of Peter Parker, you should find an issue from this run and you won't be disappointed.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Your Monthly Dose of Throg

Throg proved he was the best at what he does this month by finally assembling the latest Avengers team:

And then proceeding to lay a good ol'fashioned Asgardian smackdown on the mad Titan himself, Thanos.

And all was right with the world. Unfortunately this is the last time we'll se Throg for a while, his miniseries is over....

Lucky for us it was picked up for a full series come 2010!! WOOO!!!

Also, if you're in the mood for a fight tonight, head on over to Spacebooger and check out their Friday Night Fights Finale where yours truly is in the running for the grand prize... Twice!!

I think you should all head over there and let them know how awesome that Scud fight I posted was.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Daredevil Who?

In celebration of the release of Daredevil #500 (and inspired by the great retrospective at The Weekly Crisis) I figured it was about time we talked about the scarlet swashbuckler himself. Namely, the five different alter egos of Daredevil.

1- Matt Murdock : The OG

Lawyer. Blind. Lots of dead girlfriends. You know the drill.

Moving on.

2- Mike Murdock : The Surprise Twin

Back in the swinging sixties, ol' hornhead decided that he needed to throw his co-workers off the scent of who he might be so he created Mike here. Mike was supposed to be the showboating, flirtatious, totally awesome, totally not blind twin brother of Matt, who decided to throw on the union suit to inject some much needed excitement in his life. If memory serves, Mike was so dreamy he ended up in a love triangle with Karen Page and his other self, Matt. Smart move there, buddy.

Not to worry, Mike was 'killed' in the line of duty not long after he showed up, leaving only a secure secret identity in it's wake. Oh, and the shattered psyche of a woman who had serious feelings for him, but it's not like that could lead to drugs, prostitution, or anything destructive in the future. Right?

3- Hellspawn : The Doppleganger

Are you ready for some convoluted Marvel continuity? Awesome, check this out:

Back in 1992 Marvel released a sequel to the totally amazingly awesome Infinity Gauntlet miniseries: The Infinity War. In it, evil doubles of all the Marvel heroes were created and sent out to fight they're respective inspiration. A couple of these dopplegangers stuck around after the crossover, Spider-Man's and Daredevil's.

Now, after a series of events that I don't want to remember, Matt was in trouble with the law and needed to do something drastic. So instead of just hitching it to a different country, or spending all his time in the backwaters of Alabama, he finds the body of his doppleganger and tosses it in a rail yard to be discovered by the cops.

Thankfully they kinda gloss over how Matt was able to convince the world years later that the corpse that was identified and verified as him wasn't him.

4- Jack Batlin : The Street Hustler

With Matt Murdock technically dead, he needed a new identity, so say hello to Jack Batlin. With a name derived from his father's fighting days, Jack became a totally not blind and totally edgy street hustler. Although technically he was supposed to be impersonating a new Daredevil, that if you're keeping track would have been the third in a series. Just goes to show that you can't keep a good devil down.

Later Matt goes clinically insane and ends up fighting his imaginary twin brother which leads to killing Jack Batlin forever. I guess girlfriends aren't the only thing that Matt buries.

5- Iron Fist : The Replacement

Finally we have good ol' Danny Rand, The Iron Fist, who took over the role as a favor to Matt (though Matt didn't know it) while he was on trial, accused of being Daredevil. He did a great job for the few months that he was on the job, finally relinquishing the role after some such activity that I can't find online and honestly haven't read yet. Most of my DD knowledge is from his first series.

All I know is that Iron Fist is the first replacement to not end up dead... for now.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fantastic Founding Fathers

And we're back.

I know, I know, it's like I turned 28 and decided I was too good for this place. Totally not the case, you know, life just got in the way.

Anyway, in my absence I found one of the most amazing mashups I've ever seen that I'd like to share with you. I don't know who it's by (Although it looks like Art Adams) or where it originated from, but check this out:

Totally rad right?

Personally, if I were to make it a true Founding Fathers team, I would have made John Adams the HUman Torch, John Monroe as the Invisible Woman, and Ben Franklin as The Thing.

But really, an Abe Lincoln Thing and a Teddy Roosevelt Torch are pretty badass, and I wouldn't want to give them up for anything.

Monday, August 10, 2009

GI Joe: Real American Nerds

I love GI Joe.

Where some kids where all about their Transformers, or their Thundercats, I was all about my PSA-spewing, snake-fighting, mostly-American crew of special force fighters.

But let's think about Gi Joe Headquarters for a minute: You have all these people working and living together, cliques are totally going to form, right? You'd have the Popular Kids (Duke, Flint, Lady Jaye, Cover girl, etc), the Jocks (Big-Lob, Capt. Grid Iron, Fridge, etc), the Ninjas (Snake Eyes, Nunchuck, Scarlett, etc.) and, of course, the nerds.

But who would those nerds be?

Never fear, dear reader, because I've done my research and figured out who would be sitting at that nerd table. So without further ado, here's my list of the Eight Nerds in GI Joe:

So you get picked for the super special forces and then you refuse to use a gun, you're not going to make a lot of friends that way. Lifeline would be that guy who was constantly nagging anyone around him about the merits of diplomacy versus using a laser rifle when it comes to fighting Cobra, which would quickly earn him a table with the nerds, the only table that would listen to his rants.

With a name like Mainframe, is it a wonder that he's on this list? An MIT grad who's all about computers, sounds like a huge geek to me. Something tells me he's be more concerned with how many Gigabites he has free, than the size of his hard drive. If you know what I mean.

Dial Tone
Popular belief would be that this beret'd communications officer would be all about gossip, but a quick check of his filecard shows uncharted depths of nerdosity. Making crystals at 14? A CB and Ham radio enthusiast by age 17? Can you say, Lost virginity at 23? I'm betting he had more long distance friends than actual physical friends.

This newly-unretired communications officer would be the perfect foil for Dial Tone. Chances are they were friends from their past Ham Radio days. With his history in the media industry, he would probably finish off a mean A/V trio with Dialtone and Mainframe

Quietly rejected by the other cliques, Chuckles would become the silent, attractive mainstay of the nerd clique, not because he was nerdy in any way, but more because he didn't say anything to stop it from happening. He's a PSA waiting to happen.

A meticulously clean solider with a very unfortunate moniker. Am I wrong in assuming that those two things might be related? Maybe some kind of embarrassing reveal in the locker room as a new Joe recruit? I'm pretty convinced the 'drives real fast' story is just a cover the truth involving bad mexican food, some white boxers, and some incriminating pictures.

Of everyone listed, no one screams 'Bully Bait' more than Tripwire. I can totally see one of the popular kids (Probably Flint, that jerk) sneaking up behind Trip to force one of his spectacular spills. It probably takes all the willpower in the world to not spook him while he's messing with explosives.

The token girl of the group. With her reputation of being a bad luck charm, she would surely be rejected by all the other cliques leaving her with this band of misfits. She would probably be pining for the dreamy Lt. Falcon to whisk her away while ignoring the awkward flirtations from her fellow misfit Tripwire. Girls can be so dumb sometimes.

And now you know. And knowing is half the battle. The other half involves picking the right table to sit at during lunch. Also lasers.

All images swiped from, which is an amazing site that you should totaly TOTALLY check out if you're interested in GI Joe at all.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Special Chicago Comic Con Edition!


Nate Grey is back!

It almost makes me want to go back and read all my X-Man back issues. The shitty ones by Kavanaugh, not the good re-vamped ones by Ellis.

It seems like Chicago was the place to be this year for good comic announcements. Between this, Realm of the Kings,Jeff Parker as the new Thunderbolts writer, and a new S.W.O.R.D series, it looks like Marvel has some really awesome things lined up.

Maybe I should save up to go to Chicago next year instead of trying to go to San Diego...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Night Fights Round 11!!

Hey kids! It's Friday Night and you know what that means: Gratuitous Violence!!

Let's see if I can top last weeks top-notch fight, shall we?

Tonight's fight is courtesy of my favorite horrible super-team, The New Defenders, in issue #131 of their series by Peter Gillis & J.M. DeMatteis and Alan Kupperberg. The Music, well, that should be obvious:

I Am The Walrus - The Beatles

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.
See how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they fly.

I am the eggman, they are the eggmen.

Koo-Koo Ka-choo.

Make sure you check out Spacebooger to see the rest of the entries and to cast your vote for the best fight this week!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Platypus Robot Special Presention

Today's my birthday, so instead of the normal snark about comics, I want to share with you, dear reader something I truly love.

Behold the beautiful friendship of Baman and Piderman, it's crazy absurdity at it's best with tons of quotable lines.

Witness their first encounter:

Taste the love:

Dance and Sing with they're new jam band:

And finally, Learn higher mathematics:

Baman and Piderman.

The best thing you'll see today. You're welcome.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Specatular Spider-Man

Hey Chuck, you know that new Spider-Man Cartoon you're looking for? Well look at this:

Back to the Future references aside, this is my new favorite show on TV. It's everything Spidey purists want Spidey to be: He's a High Schooler, with girl problems, and always seems to fall prey to the ol' Parker Luck. With inventive fights, witty banter, and crisp stylized animation, it's the Spider-Man Animated series that I've always wanted to see.

It's totally amazing and I can't stop recommending it to everyone I see. Do yourself a favor and find an episode to watch. It's all over the youtube, it's on Disney XD (which I didn't really know existed until a few weeks ago), or you can go out and buy the first season on DVD like I did. It's 100% worth it, I guarantee it!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a first season to finish watching...