The Man Called Nova 23, 1978 “From the Dregs of Defeat!”

Wait, why am I spotlighting a random issue of Nova…? I’ll tell you why! Because of the villain(s) in this mag! First of all, I’m a huge zealot when it comes to the Tomb of Dracula! In my humble opinion, the best villain in that awesome comic was none other than that body-less brain, Dr. Sun! But wait, didn’t he perish in the series? NO, he did not! And thanks to one of his creators, he appears once again in the pages of Nova! And at the end of this tale, we also see another great megalomaniac, The Sphinx!

The sheer amount of comics either written, plotted, and/or edited by Marv Wolfman (writer/editor) is astounding! For me his crowning achievement will always be Tomb with Gene Colan (pencils on the flashback panels with Tom Palmer inks), but his Fantastic Four is pretty good, and his work on Marvel Two-in-One, Teen Titans, and of course all the great content in the black and white mags from the 1970s! Long time DC comics artist Carmine Infantino (pencils- cover and interiors- cover inks by Bob McLeod), the inking was by a plethora of gentleman (M. Hands…many hands), colors by Janice Cohen, and letters by Jim Novak!

 

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Strange Adventures 232, 1971 “Hollywood in Space!”

Every once and a while, you just grab a book on a whim, and soon realize you struck gold! This book is one of those times. If this cover doesn’t grab you with its stunning display of sci-fi action, or the proclamation of “Startling Stories of Super Science-Fiction,” then you’d better check your pulse! Seeing the twenty-five cent cover also was a dead giveaway that this book is from my favorite era, the Bronze Age. It sounds as if this book is a sure winner, but being a DC noob, and no creator credits on the cover (that I saw at first glance), it was a shot in the dark, personally. Little did I know that the five stories inside would be to my liking, and quite honestly, anyone that’s a fan of the genre.

This gorgeous cover was brought to you by the man, the myth, and the legend, Joe Kubert. This guy could draw a jungle scene one minute, a fantastical world from outer space the next, and then finish off with a gritty war comic, all before lunch. And oh yeah, it would blow your mind. I’ve just scratched the surface with his work, but I already know he’s one of the greatest men to ever pick up a pencil. The interior has work from some incredible creators from days gone by, like Mort Drucker, Sid Greene, Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino, Murphy Anderson, and more! If you love sci-fi and action, this one will impress you, I guarantee it!

 

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Spider-Woman #10, 1979 “Where Flies the Gypsy Moth”

I knew I’d get to this sooner or later. My one and only issue of the series “Spider-Woman.” I wasn’t a big fan of hers years ago, but when Brian M. Bendis brought her back into the spotlight, I was invigorated to find out more about this great character! In this issue, we see Jessica and her boyfriend, Jerry Hunt, spending some alone time on a beach. Suddenly, Jessica sees a woman in costume flying overhead! She investigates, and initially thinks she found a kindred spirit.

Characters are great, but a solid creative team can take a terrible one and turn in a masterpiece when all’s said and done. The first thing that jumps out at you is the awesome cover, by Carmine Infantino and Bob McLeod! Great perspective, and I love the face on the blond-haired guy to the right side of the cover!  As if those two great creators weren’t enough, you get a story by “Masterful” Mark Gruenwald, the interior pencils are also by Carmine Infantino, with inks by Al Gordon. Colors by F. Mouly, letters by Irv Watanabe, and edited by Roger Stern! When you see a roll call like that, you know you must read this book!

 

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The Avengers #197 & 198, 1980.

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After listening to a podcast (Comic Geek Speak), I was inspired to use The Avengers, for today’s post! Just not any story though, but one that I recently acquired online, and it’s a great one! We have issue #197, which is basically, a day in the life of The Avengers. This book shows the team getting stuck in their own elevator, Beast and Wonder Man on a blind date, and then Jarvis with a really bad dilemma…the percolator is broken! Seriously though, we also see Wanda, as she’s left the team, and her husband (Vision), because she needs some time to process the life they are going to have together, and the possibility of raising a family. She’s walking on the beach, and then, suddenly, Ms. Marvel pops up for a visit. Wanda and Ms. Marvel have a nice chat, but then Ms. Marvel faints right on the beach! Wanda takes her to the nearest hospital, and the both get some alarming news. Ms. Marvel is three months pregnant!

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The following issue shows Wanda and Ms. Marvel at the hospital, trying to cope with this untimely news. Back in New York City, the team is throwing everything it can at the super robot, Red Ronin. The giant mechanical samurai is terrorizing the city, but really, wants to head out to Russia, to start world war three! But why? Well, you see, the person responsible for its reconstruction (Dr. Cowan), has gone off the deep end, and is hell-bent on stopping world fear, but simply killing the “enemy”.  Finally, after hours of fighting, The Avengers and SHIELD finally figure out a way to stop the giant robot, or so they think!

This story concludes in the next issue (Red Ronin), but the terrible fate of Ms. Marvel isn’t revealed until issue two hundred. I wont even try to explain that debacle, but believe me, it’s insane. These two issues are great though, as you get George Perez on covers, and the interiors (below is a good splash page of Beast and Wonder Man, half in the bag) of the second issue. David Michelinie does a great job with the different plot lines going at the same time as well. Ms. Marvel actually revels her secret identity to Wanda, we find out what Hawkeye has been up to, and all of this leads into the crazy anniversary issue. If you don’t know about it, just do a quick Google search, you can find it easily.

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That’s all for now, but be ready for another post on Monday, and hopefully another movie review on Cinema Sunday! The idea is for me to post every three days with a comic book spotlight, and once a week (Sunday) for a movie review. Honestly, I can’t say it’ll happen every week like clockwork, but I’m going to do my best! I’m already brainstorming about February, as I think I’ll be going with a weekly theme for my posts, so be ready! Sayonara!

Showcase Presents: The Phantom Stranger vol. 1

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A new year is upon us, and it will bring my new blog! Comic books are a big part of my life, so, obviously, they’ll be a huge focus. Twice a week, I’ll post my thoughts on a certain story, book, graphic novel, etc. Once or twice a month, I’ll post my thoughts on a classic movie, and that will most certainly be of the  horror or sci-fi genre! Well, that’s it for now, so lets get started!

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I’ve decided to go with one of the more recent titles I picked up with Phantom Stranger vol. 1! Being a huge fan of Dr. Strange, and all things magic/supernatural, it was only fitting that this title gets the inaugural spot in my new blog. I can honestly make a case for this being one of the top ten titles of the 1970’s, and the talent on it backs me up. Names like John Broome, Carmine Infantino, Jim Aparo, Len Wein, Mike Friedrich, and Neal Adams (covers), are just a few of the creators that made this title an incredible book to read.

The first few stories are your typical ghost stories or cult activity tale, but eventually, more macabre stories followed. A great nemesis, in Tala, Queen of Evil, was an on again, off again villain, that often tempted him with her beauty. She popped in and out for quite a while, always using her powers to cause strife, and threatening innocents. Another cool thing about these issues are the stories involving Dr. Thirteen. The doctor is a parapsychologist that is usually seen trying to debunk  paranormal activity. In some cases, he works side by side with the Phantom Stranger, even though he doesn’t always believe what he sees.

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In one particular issue that stood out, the Phantom Stranger came face to face with an Ice Giant, atop of the world itself. Denny O’Neil, Jim Aparo, and Joe Orlando, brought this chilling tale of intrigue, and a monstrosity that towers over everyone! Once again, Tala is involved, and this adds even a crazier dimension to this awesome story. A tale of voodoo, by Mike Sekowsky, and Jim Aparo follows next, and the villain in this one was super creepy, complete with voodoo dolls, drums, and the whole get up!

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A duel with Tannarak, the sorcerer, the Army of Evil, a swamp creature, the Iron Messiah, a waxworks nightmare, ghosts, and the list goes on and on. When you have creators of this magnitude, honestly, it’s a can’t miss. Anyone out there that knows these names, understands how great a book like this is going to be, and if you’re looking for something being new to comics, give it a try. You wont regret it! See you next time!

 

 

 

100 Page Super Spectacular #DC-22, 1973 “The Flash”

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I figured I might as well keep rolling with the DC Comics theme for today as well. Another fantastic piece of work form Nick Cardy, too! The more you look at this man’s body of work, the more you’ll certainly appreciate the loss the industry suffered when he passed away. Other creators in this book include- Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino (RIP), and John Broome! This book is packed full of stories involving the fastest man alive! Enjoy!