The seasons change, the blossoms are opening on the gormpus trees, and the time comes once more for another overdue edition of the Weekly Haul. I’ve been busy, folks. I know that’s a bit of a broken record with me, but it’s true. I’ve been on the
run road for the last two weeks and I haven’t had a single minute to catch up with you little monsters, but I’m here now. Let’s see what’s in the stash this week, shall we?
Several weeks ago, Mr. Jackson (pictured left) and I were flipping around the spinner racks in Center Street Drug Store on a recent trip though Derry when we picked up the excellent Lobster Johnson and the Pirate’s Ghost #2, The Visitor #3, and Flash #21 (part two of The Button crossover with Batman). The Visitor was great, but I’m gonna make a point of saying that The Pirate’s Ghost is shaping up to be maybe one of the best Lobster Johnson stories yet. Likewise, The Button storyline running in Batman and Flash is some of the most satisfying superhero comics I’ve read in recent years. It is distinctly comic book-y and touches on some great story lines from the past without being an exhaustive overly-referencial publicity stunt masked as a story. It is good old fashioned storytelling, and capping out at 4 issues across two titles, it’s just long enough and easy to follow.
The next evening, my meddlesome feline friend and I were cleaning out our old swamp-crab traps at sunset when wouldn’t you know it, we had three water-logged issues of 1990’s Flash caught in there. We dried them out by the fireplace and found ourselves with perfectly readable copies of Flash #66 (Aquaman and an ancient storm-god in a sunken temple), Flash #73 (Christmas special featuring “the return” of Barry Allen), and The Flash 80- Page Giant #2 with a Mike Werringo cover and a particularly good back up story featuring 60’s era Teen Titans.
Then came the dark days.
Well, not really. I just have to be abroad the next few weeks, missing my Dear Widow Sunday and Mr. Kittycat Jackson back home at the Mansion. But while I travel the globe
hunting down the remaining pieces of the Spear of Destiny running totally normal, non-secretive errands, I bought some comics. In fact, last week I may have knocked over a bank in midtown and ended up with the most disposable income I’ve had in months, and I. Went. Apeshit.
Unfortunately my travels mean that Mr. Jackson won’t be gracing this blog for the next few weeks, but Gorfang the Thunderhound here followed me home to my safe house and felt compelled to guest-star in Mr. Jackson’s stead. Anyway, after the bank job I was hiding out in an abandoned shipping container in Kearny where I found by complete luck, a ratty lounge chair and a copy of Crisis on Multiple Earths vol. 3. Unrelated to the bloated, byzantine book that was Crisis on Infinite Earths, this is a collection of bronze-age Justice League annual crossovers with the Justice Society of America from Earth 2, and Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters of Earth X. Written by Mike Friedrich and Len Wein, and drawn by Dick Dillin. Dillin is a new discovery to me, but I’m a fan already. His work bridges the gap from Carmine Infantino’s Silver-age DC and more contemporary Marvel-style dynamic composition and shading. Not to mention this collection includes Justice League of America #100-101, featuring the first appearances of Oracle and the Nebula Man, which oddly sets up Grant Morrison’s early 200’s series 7 Soldiers of Victory.
When the heat died down a few days later I went south to my Ancestral home in the Northern Swamps. Being in the neighborhood with some newly ill-gotten money, I naturally visited the swamp Trading Post. To my pleasant surprise, I realized I’d arrived on Free ComicBook Day, which also happens to be a big annual sale at this particular establishment. You see, while the Old Fur-Trapper who runs the trading post mostly traffics in pelts, spices, curiosities, and cursed objects from places men fear to tread, he also gets a good amount of comic books. This is how I came in possession of the Copy of Grant Morrison’s JLA Vol.4, pictured above.
I picked up Baltimore: The Red Kingdom #4, which was amazing, as well as Batman/ The Shadow #1, which had a great cover by Tim Sale and was a much better comic than I expected it to be. And from the selection of free comics, I got The Legend of Zelda, Secret Empire, and All-New Guardians of the Galaxy. The last two were great, and I’ve yet to read Zelda, but even if they weren’t, you cannot beat the price. Free ComicBook Day is a wonderful thing.
Another pleasant surprise was that I ran into my dear old Dad Chief Nodrog at the trading post. You may recognize him as the model for William Blake’s Ancient of Days, but he has to get out and buy comics too. He was there to pick up Witchfinder: City of the Dead, my second favorite story in the series, and Hellboy: The Crooked Man and Other Stories, The title story of which is drawn by Richard Corben and is one of my absolute favorite Hellboy stories, and genuinely creepy as hell. I myself picked up Hellboy: Masks and Monsters featuring a Mignola drawn Batman/ Hellboy Crossover, and the brand new Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea. The latter is written by Mignola and drawn by Gary Gianni, and incredible artist, and is a nautical story, it looks incredible and I can’t wait to read it. But I didn’t leave without the new crown jewel of my collection.
Next Men: Faith #3, which would be utterly meaningless to me if it wasn’t the first comic book appearance of Hellboy. Mike Mignola had played around with early versions of Hellboy for earlier magazine and convention program covers, large apelike demons with the name Hellboy written on their belts, but this Mignola-drawn issue is the first appearance of the character as we know him in comics. Hellboy is my favorite book, and I sincerely don’t usually go in for this kind of expensive nerdery, but Hellboy is special to me, and I had this exact thought process:
And now it’s mine. That’s all for this week folks, I swear I will try to get this feature out weekly in the future, but it is hard to find an internet connection on the road. Until next time, happy snails to you, until we bleed again.