Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Epic End of October Updates & Stuff

I'm proud of you guys for sticking with me during all my Buffy posts. I know not everyone was into it... but admit it. Some of you were. I threw in an X-Men and Batman title for balance, just in case Buffy was not your thing. I had a good time at New York Comic-Con 2010. For those that attended my panel, or didn't but wanted to, I did want to provide the handout for anyone that didn't get a copy. What's coming up in 2010, you ask? I am going to tackle a big collection in X-Men: Fall of the Mutants during the next few weeks that will be divided into three parts (Uncanny X-Men, X-Factor, and New Mutants respectively). The majority of my Vintage posts are done. I only have a few titles left to review, none of which will really be "vintage." Two were even published in the last year. I feel like it's the end of an era, so I've been thinking a lot about what direction this little blog should go in for 2011.

Here's a little image preview of a few covers from upcoming year-end entries:

Monday, October 25, 2010

VINTAGE - Batman Forever Adaptation

O'NEIL, Dennis. Batman Forever: The Official Comic Adaptation of Motion Picture. 64p. DC COMICS, June 1995. ISBN: 1563891999

I know what you're thinking. They didn't. But oh yes, they did. They made it into a graphic novel. And what's worse: I'm actually going to review it. I did, however, make a promise to you about going through all the old treasures in my collection... and Batman Forever is in there. Sadly. It's actually been republished, too. There are different covers I've found. Dennis O'Neil, who is actually a great Batman writer, has his name on this piece of poo. That's surprising. If you aren't familiar with Joel Schumacher ruining the Batman film franchise, this is a loose adaptation of the movie with the same name. It revolves around Batman stopping an already established villain Two-Face, inadvertently creating a new enemy in The Riddler, and gaining a new partner in circus performer-turned-orphan Robin. Like most graphic adaptations and novelizations, this was most likely adapted from the original screenplay to coincide with the release of the film. Both came out in the summer of '95, so it's a fair assumption for this title.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

VINTAGE - Lost & Found, Spike

TIPTON, Scott. Spike: Lost & Found. IDW, Jan. 2006. illus. by Fernando Goni, Impacto Studios. ISBN: 1933239972

I remember not really liking this graphic novel very much the first time I read it. After re-reading Spike: Lost & Found, I have to say... maybe I was a little to harsh. It does have a few continuity errors in it, but it's kind of a cute story overall. Angel is in the story as much as Spike is. I think it really should have been titled "Spike and Angel: Lost & Found" because that would have been a little more accurate. Anyway, like the last vintage post on a Spike comic, this was pretty early in IDW's publishing run of Angel-themed comics. They ended up being pretty expensive for fewer pages, and the stories weren't that compelling. Like the last IDW Spike comic, you can see from the panels I've scanned that they've used that too rich, painting-esque art that I'm not really a fan of. I actually think the work might be digital, using Photoshop to digitally alter real shots of James Marsters. Reading all of those Scott Allie editorials in the back of Dark Horse Buffy comics has totally paid off.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

VINTAGE - Hunting Ground, Angel

GOLDEN, Christopher & Tom Sniegoski. Angel: Hunting Ground. 80p. DARK HORSE COMICS, August 2001. ISBN: 1569715475

Picking up where my last Vintage post on Angel left off, "Hunting Ground" is the next book is the rough sequence that Dark Horse published when it bound copies of the first monthly series. As a fun treat, there's a story here that was originally published in Dark Horse Presents #155. Meaning it wasn't in the original monthly series, so I didn't read it when it came out. Actually, re-reading the story... I'm not sure I actually ever read the Dark Horse Presents story. So it's a true vintage post, since I discovered something new from something old. Pretty much the best thing you can hope for when you are reading old trade paperbacks. So I'll break down the story in two parts; first, we get the aforementioned story I may or may not have read but definitely do not remember. We will also get the story proper, which concerns what I believe is Wesley's introduction into the comics and a fun story involving Angel being framed for murder.

Monday, October 18, 2010

VINTAGE - A Stake to the Heart, Buffy

NICIEZA, Fabian. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: A Stake to the Heart. 96p. DARK HORSE COMICS, April 2004. ISBN: 1-59307-012-8

Before we even get started with this Buffy collection, let me just say... it's weird. I re-read all of the trades featured in my Vintage posts so I can compare what it was like reading it then compared to what it's like reading it now. I remember that A Stake to the Heart was a bizarre collection of stories. Reading it over just kinda confirmed that for me. To give you some background: this is from the pre-Season 8 run of the Buffy comics and was actually the final four issues of the regular ongoing Buffy monthly series (issues #60-64). It's totally on wikipedia, which is how I got the issue numbers right. Fabian Nicieza, who is known more for being an X-Men writer, penned this tale. As with a bunch of the storyarcs set at the end of Buffy's run, this story actually serves as a prequel for the time before Buffy Summers moved to Sunnydale. Specifically, Buffy's parents Hank and Joyce have just decided to separate. This gives Buffy all kinds of gross emotional problems, which lead us to the story at hand.

Monday, October 4, 2010

VINTAGE - Phoenix Rising, The X-Men

STERN, Roger & Various Auth. X-Men: Phoenix Rising. 112p. MARVEL COMICS, May 1999. ISBN: 9780785107118

Jean Grey. She's a superhero who hasn't had a lot of luck with codenames. Originally, she was called "Marvel Girl." Pretty quickly she became a woman, so that name didn't stick. Then she got cosmic-powers in the eighties and started calling herself "Phoenix." Then she saved the universe. She was still cosmically powerful though, and an old enemy (Mastermind) with some new villains (The Hellfire Club) were able to warp her mind and turn her evil. The X-Men couldn't really stop her. The intergalactic Shi'Ar couldn't, either. While on the run with her main squeeze Cyclops, she watches helplessly as he gets shot with what she thinks is a mortal wound. She goes apeshit crazy, kicks everyone's ass, then sacrifices herself for the sake of the universe. It sounds corny, but it's still widely regarded as one of the great comic stories of... well, ever. Chris Claremont wrote the story. It was ballsy, because he essentially killed off one of the original X-Men forever.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

VINTAGE - Old Times, Spike

DAVID, Peter. Spike: Old Times. 48p. IDW, 2005. ISBN: 1933239972

The whirlwind weekend of Buffy inspired trade paperbacks has me writing up a storm. Today though, we are not focusing on Buffy or Angel, but the thorn in both their sides: Spike. Our friendly neighborhood English vampire didn't start getting his own titles until a few years back, when Dark Horse gave up the rights to publish Angel comics. A small independent publisher called IDW picked it up and they've been making Angel comics every since. I think Dark Horse is getting back the license sometime in the next year, but if the current Buffy comics are any indication, the new Angel Dark Horse comics might not be any better than the IDW ones. Spike: Old Times is an example of the early IDW stories. It was a short (maybe the length of two full comics) one-shot I think largely intended to see if people would buy solo Spike comics. Since they still publish them, I guess it worked.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

VINTAGE - Earthly Possessions, Angel

GOLDEN, Christopher & Various Auth. Angel: Earthly Possessions. 80p. DARK HORSE COMICS, June 2001. ISBN: 1569715335

In the olden Dust Waltz days of Buffy Comics, Dark Horse also acquired the rights to publish comics for Buffy's spinoff series Angel. The original Angel series was entirely written by Christopher Golden. Chris is from Boston and did book signings in New Hampshire on a pretty regular basis, so I got to meet him a number of times. He wrote a Spike & Dru novel, as well as many other books and even video games for the extended Buffy universe. He got Buffy, and often found the characters' voices when he was writing them. The Angel series didn't end up lasting more than a year and a half. This is ultimately sad, since the Angel stores I'm going to review here are pretty much the best examples of how Buffy/Angel stories can work in comics. Also, I have this graphic novel autographed by him. That's pretty neat. If you don't know, Angel is Buffy's ex-boyfriend who had a bicentennial. Cursed by gypsies over a hundred years ago, he is a vampire with a human soul. After he and Buffy break up, he moves to L.A. and starts up a detective agency. He helps the helpless.

Friday, October 1, 2010

VINTAGE - The Dust Waltz, Buffy

BRERETON, Dan. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Dust Waltz. 80p. DARK HORSE COMICS, Oct. 1998. ISBN: 1569713421

I have quite a few of the older "Buffy" comics to talk about. As you would expect from me, I will give mostly positive reviews on the majority of 'em. I like Buffy. I liked comic books even before that. When the two things came together pretty early in the show's run, I was a happy camper. Despite the fact that Dark Horse was publishing them (at that point, I wasn't really a fan) and despite the fact that I had read several bad media tie-in "Buffy" books. That said, there were definitely a few diamonds in the rough.

The Dust Waltz is not one of them.