Sep 22, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project Friday Magazine 20: Epic Illustrated #5, April 1980

As with today's comic, will blog this properly tomorrow.

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 940: Avengers v.1 #257, July 1985

Seems usual these days for me to be completely behind schedule. Will blog this properly tomorrow.

Sep 21, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 939: Avengers v.1 #256, June 1985

It's saying something, I think, when the opening page of a comic is the god Apollo flying his horse-drawn chariot down a Manhattan street in the middle of the day. We look at the mythic times recounted in the stories of early civilizations as something called the Age of Miracles, an epithet that encompasses not only the Classical past, but also the ancient Biblical past as recounted in the Judaic and Christian testaments. That we no longer see things like angels or burning bushes is explained away in that we no longer live in the Age of Miracles. It seems to me, however, that a superhero universe is a way of envisioning what the world would look like in a new age of such wonders, or a continuation of the old one, depending on the history of said universe.

Which is to say that the miraculous can now, in some cases, be explained through science, through extraterrestrial technology, and through genuine spiritual power. And this is not only in superhero universes, really. Our technologies make the miraculous the mundane on a fairly regular basis. That I can talk with someone, in real time, who is thousands of kilometers away from me, is really nothing short of miraculous. We're just jaded, is all.

Captain Marvel is still stranded in space, but she's showing some creative thinking as far as using her powers to find her way home...somehow. Meanwhile, the rest of the Avengers are drawn to the Savage Land by strange forces, only to be confronted by the giant world conqueror Terminus. He's a villain who resurfaces in the early 90s in one of the annual crossover events (in that they take place in the yearly annuals, not that it's a yearly event, though for a while it is that too!), but that's about all I know about this guy. Looking forward to finding out more tomorrow.

To be continued.

The 40 Years of Comics Project - The Weekly Graphic Novel: Week 57 - Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites, June 2010

I was very fortunate to find this in a thrift shop a while back - a beautiful hardcover collection of some of Jill Thompson's most inspired art, in my never humble opinion. I'd read a Beasts short in one of the Dark Horse collections I have (I think), and the whole premise just spoke to me.

Now, here's a warning: just because it's about a bunch of animals investigating the occult, and just because they look kind of cute, does not mean this is a comic for kids. Well, not for all kids. Those dark ones, that're not only hurt but also kind of fascinated when they cut themselves, they'll probably love the shit out of this book.

I did, anyway. The short stories have some slight connective tissue, but otherwise they're lovely little bits of suburban horror as seen through the eyes of a group of mystical dogs (and 2 cats). They put me in mind of the very early Hellboy shorts in the Wake the Devil  and The Chained Coffin collections, and they're very obviously inspired by Mignola's wonderful sense of atmosphere. This book actually lets us in on that secret life that we're all sure our pets have when we're at work, or asleep. And, honestly, they can have it. Some of the stuff in this book is super-creepy.

Worth a read, if you can track down any of the issues. Onward.

Sep 20, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 938: Avengers v.1 #255, May 1985

A bit of an epilogue/prologue situation here. Epilogue-wise, the Vision heads to Washington D.C. to account for himself, relinquishing the chairmanship of the Avengers back to the Wasp. Everyone's kind of touchy feely, a little too much, I think, given that the Vision tried to take over the planet.

But more interesting things are happening out in space, where Captain Marvel finally arrives at Thanos's old ship and discovers more than she bargained for. I think we may be looking at an interstellar adventure with the Avengers, which is exciting as we haven't had one for this whole run. I'd love to see the Earth's Mightiest holding forth with some of the alien races of the Marvel U.

That's all I've got for today. To be continued.

Sep 19, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 937: Avengers v.1 #254, April 1985

The Vision manages to stay just the right side of super-villainy in today's comic. As Captain America eventually notes, there was no cruelty or meanness in the Vision's actions, meaning, I guess, that it's okay to take over the world, as long as your intentions are good.

I'm being facetious of course.

As you may have guessed, the Vision's plan fails, thanks in part to the Avengers and in part to the Vision's own realization of the folly of his plan. As the pieces are picked up (including, if the corner indicia box is anything to go by, the inclusion of the Black Knight in the ranks of the Avengers), events outside of the confines of Avengers Mansion suggest that the story of the Vision's attempt to create a utopia is far from over. We'll find out about that tomorrow, I suppose.

One thing I hadn't realized was that the West Coast team featured so prominently in the main title after the close of their miniseries. It's not too long after this issue that the ongoing West Coast Avengers series begins, but it's nice to see that the introduction of the new team wasn't just a throwaway. They're actually integral parts of the Avengers portion of the Marvel U. In fact, as one of the many Visions who appear in this comic notes, the team was actually created as a part of the plan to take over the world. That throws an interesting light on the team, one that makes their formation just a little darker than the original team. And, given what happens to the WCA in the early 90s, that's fitting.

To be continued.

The Earth-H Files - Superman "Meets the Orbitrons!"

From Wonder Woman v.1 #256, June 1979.