Good Evening dear fiends, I assure you this whole blog isn’t going to just be sentimental musings on comic books, but our co-contributer Max seems to have his mind on them in his spare time between movie making and the crushing weight of existence, and this is a weekly feature. So if you have any complaints, see the word press office for a full refund. Anywho, let’s look at the stash this week!
This week we got Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., Mike Mignola and Paolo Rivera’s fantastic 50’s atomic age monster movie story with really dark turns and crisp beautiful art by Rivera. Then we have Batman #51, penultimate issue of the New 52 Run, The questionably titled Dark Knight III: The Master Race by Frank Miller, Brian Azzerello and Andy Kubert, and Daredevil. I haven’t followed this particular run on Daredevil, but they got their hooks in me with the excellent painted cover by Bill Sienkiewicz.
Then we have some more finds.
I was playing baccarat in an abandoned seaside hotel with some shady spice traders I sometimes deal with, and managed to walk home with some issues of The Eternals, Excellent late 70’s Jack Kirby Series, including the second issue, the first Annual, and the issue with the Hulk. I also picked out this Elseworlds Superman and the War of the Worlds story, and most interestingly, Detective Comics #500.
This was sealed neatly in a bag between the powdered spice weasel snouts and monkey paw keychains in Han Lao’s station wagon. The fact that it is #500 is of little value to me, as is any potential monetary worth as a collector’s item (what do you think I am, a nerd? I read these things between hauntings and crimes). If you look at that cover it boasts some neat writing and art contributions, a who’s who of late 70’s DC talent, but still, that’s not why I chose this issue as a prize from my lazy-eyed opponent. I got it because it contained a two-page story I’ve sought out for untold eons. Once Upon A Time, by Len Wein and Walter Simonson.
Len Wein is one of the great unsung heroes of comics, having written every character you can think of, and creating SwampThing and Wolverine. He has turned out 50 years of solid story telling, and is an inspiration to anyone with a deadline and writer’s block. He tells stories about pulling comic history out of his butt by catching himself saying things like “I don’t know what to name this swamp thing I’m writing.” Much like Paul Williams frustratedly telling his wife “I got the lovers, the dreamers, and me, but I don’t know what connects them to the rainbow!” before she clarified back to the drunken mess that was her husband “So you’re looking for the Rainbow connection?” And this story is my favorite example of Len’s last minute genius. He needed a two page story for the 500th issue, and had nothing, which reminded him of Snoopy’s novel. Len said he was increasingly distracted by thinking of a running gag from Peanuts in which Snoopy labors over each individual line of his book, which is ultimately a series of unrelated transitions. So he stole it. Line for line, shamelessly. He just wrote Snoopy’s novel, and found a cohesive visual narrative with Walt Simonson to tie the narration together into a two page, silent, quintessential Batman story. Check the pictures yourself.
And that’s it for this week, boils and ghouls. Do your homework, stay out of jail, and read something good. Stay away from storm drains though, you never know where you’ll find me.