Monday, February 25, 2013

The Cover Date Project

For some torturous reason, I got the idea in my head to reorganize my comic collection. Traditionally I had my books separated by publisher and then alphabetically by title. Instead, I thought it would be fun to reorganized everything and to go by cover date instead and reread everything in the order that the books came out.

After looking at the stack of long and short boxes, I thought slightly better of it deciding to re-organize only what I read as kid. I then realized that too was a sizable undertaking and so I had to set a definite start and end point, but what would make a good starting and ending point was lost to me.

I had no idea where to start and so started looking over my collection for anything significant or that stood out. There was nothing. At first I thought a starting point from 1977 would work but I really only had a handful of titles from then and found I had a higher number of sequential runs of issues on a higher number of titles starting in around 1979.

Starting point determined, I now had to figure out where to stop. I thought about using Secret Wars as my stopping point, but that's when I got heavy into Transformers and started paying less attention to comics. Something that stood out though, was when the bar that read "Marvel Comics Group" was removed from the covers in 1983. I decided to make that my end point.

I picked up some new boxes, got some dividers and began the reorganization going backwards, making a list of any gaps as I went. I got done with 1981-83 when I find out about Mike's Amazing World of Comics, an online database where not only could I see what books were out for any given cover date, but I could look up books by their actual on sale date. After all that work, I found out that I could fine tune it even more and put the comics in the order of the month and date that they were released onto the newsstands.

I started thing that I could now do the entire collection from the silver age all the way to when I dropped out of the hobby in 1998 and pick it up again with where I started reading and collecting in 2010. I quickly snapped to my senses and decided to keep things as they were. I love going through my books, getting them cataloged and organized in a functional way, but when it stops to be fun and feel like work, that's just no good.

I've completed organizing the books from cover date January 1979 to September 1983, complete with annuals for each year, right around 1,000 floppies or so...give or take. I also catch myself thinking of refining that chunk of my collection by release date.

This five year period is where I'm focusing my hunt for back issues.It was fun but now I've fallen behind on keeping everything up to date and need to get that done before C2E2 happens.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Vinyl Love: Boston

Boston August 1976
After doing the research with the RIAA, Boston's self titled album is still the second highest selling debut album behind Guns N Roses' Appetite for Destruction. Over 17,000,000 million copies of the album have been sold and is slowly closing in on the 20,000,000 benchmark. this is has long been one of my favorite albums and it still holds up almost thirty-seven years later.

The album reached gold status in just three weeks and platinum in just over three months. By 1986 Boston had reached it's ninth platinum certification and its seventeenth in 2003. At the time of its release Boston was the fastest selling debut album of any American musical group. Three of the eight songs broke into the Top 40 and the entire album still sees regular air play on rock radio stations across the country.

Boston was formed by Tom Scholz who has such a strong perfectionist personality, that he could have caused the album to have never been made. Scholz worked on the demos with vocalist Brad Delp and drummer Jim Masdea using his home recording studio. When the demos were picked up by Epic, the company insisted that Scholz record the album in a professional studio and Scholz refused, he wanted absolute control over how the songs were recorded and sounded.

Epic was losing patience with Scholz when producer John Boylan decided to run interference. While Boylan had the backup musicians record at the studio in California, he was using that to cover for Scholz who was recording his multitracks for the album back home in Massachusetts. Even when it came time for the album to be remastered for compact disc, Scholz refused to allow Sony to do the work and did the remastering himself. This also resulted in copies of Sony's remastered discs being pulled from stores in Canada.

The most successful single from the album was More Than a Felling which peaked at number five on Billboard's Top 40 but that and both Peace of Mind and Foreplay/Long Time can be debated to be Boston's most well known song. Despite the album's longevity and success, it continues to be underrated or forgotten as one the best rock albums of all time.

Side 1
1. More Than a Feeling
2. Peace of Mind
3. Foreplay/Longtime
4. Rock & Roll Band

Side 2
5. Smokin'
6. Hitch a Ride
7. Something Abou You
8. Let Me Take You Home Tonight

Tom Scholz - guitars, clavinet, bass, organ, production and engineering
Brad Delp - vocals, guitar
Sib Hashian - drums
Jim Masdea - drums
Barry Goudreua - guitars
Fran Sheehan - bass

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Backlog

Catching up on books released over the last few weeks.

Fearless Defenders #1
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Art: Will Sliney
Colors: Veronica Gandini
Cover: Mark Brooks

Not a bad start to new title. I was sold on the title upon hearing the Cullen was writing. Misty Knight is on a cargo ship a la Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, reclaiming artifacts for an archaeologist friend, the most significant being lifted off the boat by a helicopter.

Misty meets up with her friend, Dr. Annabelle Riggs, who activates an ancient Asgardian relic that was recovered. The relic starts to play like a music box and before you know, we got undead vikings rising from the ground and reeking havoc on the dig sight.

As Misty begins to fend off the attacks, she is joined by Valkyrie who was also summoned by the song. Annabelle introduces herself  to Valkyrie in a rather interesting way before Valkyrie destroys the relic sending the undead back to their graves.

Valkyrie explains that song played by the relic was telling of the Blighted Host accompanied by the usual doom and gloom that accompanies such things and that the Doommaidens were rising and that it was Valkyrie's fault.

Sliney's art isn't bad, but I wouldn't mind seeing what Mark Brooks could do on the interior.

G.I. Joe #1
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Pencils: Steve Kurth
Inks: Allen Martinez
Colors: Joana Lafuenta
Cover: Art Adams

I had low expectations on this new series. I honestly didn't like the idea of the Joes being ousted by Cobra wikileaks style and forced to operate in the public eye. I liked it, this issue worked for me. Duke is handling it as best as he can and on the first mission things go wrong almost instantly. Cobra has brought the fight to the heartland of America and has a whole city full of sympathizers.

To be honest, I only picked this book up for the Art Adams variant cover. I think that I have to finish this first story arc out and see how this goes.

Mars Attacks The Transformers

Writer: Shane McCarthy
Art: Matt Frank
Colors: Josh Perez
Cover: Ray Dillon

This one was a load of fun to read. The story is set in the Generation 1 Sunbow cartoon continuity, complete with Spike and those annoying yellow boots.

You get it all in here. Autbots versus Decepticons, an unlikely alliance, an obvious betrayal, some good comedy, some great action and just a nice fun story.

Mylo Xyloto #1
Writer: Mark Osborne
Art: Alejandro Fuentes
Colors:Steve Hamaker
Cover: Arthur Hugot
Concept and story created by Coldplay and Mark Osborne

the story take places on the world of Silencia which is guided (controlled) by the Irdoks. The Silencers are their police force, natives conditioned since birth to enforce the Irdoks' law of Chromatic and Acoustic Level Minimization.

The populace is force fed a hypnofeed that provides them a "calming diversion" to keep them from being over stimulated and "protecting" them from the Eaters who are drawn to color and sound.

Lastly we have the Sparks who are rebellious Silenciens who are trying to expose the Irdoks and their lies. The Sparks have abilities that are not yet explained but revolve around color.

We are introduced to some Silencers and the main antagonist Major Minus and are briefly introduced to most prominent Spark, Fly. It was a solid set up issue and if you haven't seen the prelude to this six issue mini series, here you go:


Red Sonja Unchained #1
Writer: Peter Brett
Pencils: Jack Jadsen
Colors: Mercelo Pinto
Cover: Mel Rubi

Unchained is a four issue mini series that takes place after the Red Sonja Blue one shot released in 2011.

I love fantasy stories and I been a Red Sonja fan since finding stray issues of the first Marvel run of Sonja comics back when I was eight or nine years old.

There is nothing really new or groundbreaking here. If you are a Sonja fan, you already what what you're getting. The art is fine throughout the book and storytelling is solid. It's just set up for another story of Sonja heading off into a dungeon. This time she is in search of some diaries belonging to an ancient warrior queen.

Star Wars #2
Writer: Brian Wood
Art: Carlos D'Anda
Colors: Gabe Eltaeb
Cover: Alex Ross

Leia has her team assembled and outside of Luke and Wedge, any of the other six team members could be the mole. Han and Chewie have a run in with the Slave 1 while running a mission for Mon Mothma which leads them to Coruscant, heart of the Galactic Empire. Colonel Birch has assumed command of Vader's star destroyer, the Devastator and he's up to something. We also get to see something that we did not get to see in the movies, seeing Leia mourning over the loss of Alderaan.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Vinyl Love: Electric Light Orchestra - Out Of The Blue

ELO - Out of the Blue 1977
The symphonic rock style of ELO is easily recognizable and it forces you into a good mood upon hearing it. If you've ever been to a roller rink in the 70's or very early 80's you probably know ELO.

Jeff Lynne, ELO's frontman, composer and producer is a musical genius, he just doesn't write music, he composes art for the ears. Out of the Blue is a double LP, Jeff composed the music in less than month, right around three and half weeks. We are not talking about ten tunes for a four man band. We are taking about writing and arranging seventeen songs for seven people on close to ten instruments and a fire extinguisher.

The album was recorded over a two month period in Munich and went multi-platinum before it was even released thanks to 4,000,000 pre-orders. Out of the Blue was a major success going platinum in three countries and gold in two others. The album peaked well on twelve album sales charts across the world. Five singles were released from Out of the Blue and all became hits in multiple countries; Turn To Stone, It's Over, Mr. Blue Sky, Wild West Hero and Sweet Talkin' Woman.

Side three of Out of the Blue is subtitled Concerto For A Rainy Day. Here are four songs composed by Lynne that are musical essays on weather and how it affects mood change. During the the time Lynne was writing the music for the album, it was constantly raining and Lynne was attuned to how it affected him. The last song, Mr. Blue Sky, is the uplifting sunshine at the end of a long rain storm. It is in my top three favorite ELO songs and always gives me a nice emotional boost.

Listening to the album, the whole thing is enjoyable. I don't recall coming across a song that I wanted to skip over. ELO is a band that I queue up with Jethro Tull, Fleetwood Mac and some Yes to help center my mood if I'm feeling down or giving off a pissy attitude. There's a definite positive energy to ELO's music.

Out of the Blue was the other album that I received as a gift from Reed Sturdivant, so again another big thank you.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

This Week's Reads

Comics released on Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Today was a day of reflection. Both Dwayne McDuffie and Kurt Cobain were born on this day.  Dwayne has given us some great comic stories and characters like Icon, Static and that off the wall mini series Damage Control. How can you not be wowed when you look at the list of Dwayne's work? As for Kurt, what hasn't been said already? He and Nirvana breathed a new life into rock music and it still holds up. Happy birthday guys, thank you so much for all that you have given us, you are both greatly missed.

Captain Marvel #10, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, colors by Jordie Bellaire and art by Filipe Andrade.

Carol (Captain Marvel) is grounded. That doesn't hit well considering Carol's how life revolves around flying. What does she do instead? She lifts a subway train and pulls it to safety. What does Carol do when Deathbird comes calling if she can't isn't supposed to fly? Kelly Sue is owning this character. I may end up double dipping on this one it's been a solid and fun read with great art since issue one and it keeps growing strong. A lot of good stuff in this issue.

Revival #7, written by Tim Seeley, art by Mike Norton and colors by Mark Englehart, cover art by Jenny Frison.
The twists and turns just don't stop. Just when you think something in the story might be resolved, it isn't and you're left least four more "what the hell" moments that just brings on more questions. Issue #8 seems so far away, I really need to find that support group.

Some Lich Thoughts

Adventure Time #13 is on sale today and it got me thinking about how much Pen Ward and his crew are involved in the plot lines. Creative director Adam Muto has supposedly stated that the comic is its own canon and continuity, if that is true, that's a shame. I can understand why that would be the way to go, but I also think that there is some great story potential with the show and comic being in the same continuity.

Anyways, my son Jason and I were talking about the Lich yesterday. It hasn't been determined if the Lich was involved in the Mushroom War being started or if he was a result of it. Could the Lich be a manifestation of the hatred, war and ravages committed by man? A mutagenic nightmare created by the nuclear fallout of the Mushroom Bomb? Is the Lich a true lich or just a lich by name or reference? If he is a true Lich, who was he before his transformation? Does he have a phylactery? Will he search out the Hand and Eye of Vecna? Well, that last one isn't going to happen, but you get the picture right?

We have some deep love for the villainous Lich and although we want to see a lot more of him, we're happy to wait out and take in the clues of his origins as they slowly drop.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Vinyl Love: Yes - Relayer

Who's up for some '70's prog rock?

Yes - Relayer December 1974
Most people who say that they like Yes, really only mean that they like three to four songs. Rarely do I hear from somebody that knows more than Roundabout, Long Distance Runaround, All Good People/Your Move and 1983's Owner of a Lonely Heart. It really is a rarity to meet a person that would not skip over songs or just turn the music off. However, I get it, Yes can be an acquired taste and hard to get through for some people. To others though, the progressive experimental rock of Yes can be a rewarding experience for the body, mind and soul.

Outside of their most well known songs, I didn't know a great deal about Yes. I was on the receiving end of many lessons back in my early teen years while working at Redamak's where only classic rock was allowed to be played in the kitchen. The radio station of choice at the time was 105.9 WCKG out of Chicago. This is when and where I started hearing more of the deep tracks from Yes and also began to develop a much greater understanding and appreciation of the work that went into creating music.

Relayer is a musical journey. Side one is entirely taken up by a single composition, The Gates of Delirium which clocks in at almost twenty-two minutes and is based on Leo Tolstoy's novel War and Peace. The last six minutes of this musical epic, also known as Soon, was released as a single in January of 1975. As I mentioned before, some people would listen to this and think of it as noise. Well, in a sense that is true because the band would go to junkyards and buy parts of cars and hang them on a rack to use as percussion. While recording, percussionist Alan White pushed the rack over and it was decided to keep the crash in the song, it's one of my favorite moments of the song.

Side two consists of only two songs, Sound Chaser and To Be Over. Both songs run at over nine minutes. In Sound Chaser, an almost entirely instrumental piece, you get a celebration to music itself and Steve Howe offers up some of his finest guitar work in To Be Over.

Relayer was not initially received well after the band's previous album, Tales from Topographic Oceans, but still became a success. The album reached #4 in the UK and stayed in the top forty for eight weeks. While in America the album remained in the top 200 albums for sixteen weeks and managed to reach up to #5, but is still considered one of the band's most underrated works.

I want to give thanks to Reed Sturdivant of Johnson City, Tennessee who gifted a couple albums to me in a secret Santa gift exchange at the Comic Geek Speak forums. Relayer was one of them I'm extremely happy to have it as part of my collection. Thanks Reed!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Vinyl Love: The Archies

My plunge back into collecting and listening to vinyl albums started when I found The Archies debut album at a local antique shop for $3.00. My original intention was to have the album framed to hang in my mancave. When I got home I pulled the record out and was very surprised to find that it was nearly in pristine condition. This put the bug in my head that I had to find a record player and give the album a listen and this past Monday i did just that. It was the first album I played when my turntable came in and I was pretty shocked that the kids stayed and listened to it with me.

I've read my share of Archie comics as a kid and when standing in line at the grocery store I'll grab an Archie digest and start reading. During the late 70's and 80's I watched reruns of the Archie cartoon series where the songs from this fictitious band were spotlighted.

It wouldn't be until many years later that I learned that some of the same people involved in the production of The Archies did the same for The Monkees. I kept all of this mind as the album played and I could easily replace Ron Dante's voice with Mickey Dolenz and Davey Jones. The Monkees turned down the song Sugar, Sugar as they wanted to get away from the bubblegum rock and write their own music and so the song instead became The Archies biggest hit.

Side 1
1. Archie's Theme (Everything's Archie) - How do you keep this song from being the earbug that never ends? This is the tune you hear at the start of the cartoon series and I catch myself whistling it quite a bit now.
2. Boys and Girls 
3. Time for Love
4. You Make Me Wanna Dance
5. La Dee Doo Down Down
6. Truck Driver

Side 2
1. Catchin' Up on Fun
2. I'm in Love
3. Seventeen Ain't Young
4. Ride, Ride, Ride
5. Hide and Seek - This one is the kids' favorite song from the album.
6. Bang Shang A Lang - Another tune that's hard to keep out of your head.

In the cartoon the band consisted of Archie on lead vocals and guitar, Reggie on bass and backing vocals, Jughead on drums, Veronica on the organ and Betty on tambourine. Hot Dog of course was the the logical choice to be the band's mascot and conductor.

The real folks behind the scenes providing the sounds over the various Archies albums were Ron Dante, Hugh McCracken, Chuck Rainey, Joey Macho (what a name!), Ron Frangipane, Gary Chester, Buddy Saltzman, Toni Wine, Donna Marie, Merle Miller and Richie Adams. Songwriter Neil Goldberg also contributed to backing coals and rhythm guitar.

By no means is this a bad album, even the worst songs aren't bad. It easily haunts you with its catchy tunes and you will want to bang your head against the wall to get Bang-Shang-A-Lang out of your head. I'm going to have to hunt the other albums down now.

You can check out this album out at itunes or if you're lucky you may be able to find it at a local library.

Friday, February 15, 2013


I first learned of a comic book titled Skullkickers around the time issue four was being solicited, (October 2010 I think), but hadn't really heard anything what the book was about until about a month later. If I remember right I had heard Vince B mention the series on the 11 O'clock Comics podcast so I had to check it out and I chose wisely to do so.

Skullkickers is the tale of two mercenary monster slayers and their journey to find fame, fortune and adventure. Think Conan mashed with Lethal Weapon and you get the gist of it.

Jim Zubkavich (Zub) is the co-creator and writer of Skullkickers and you can find out more about him in his own words here. Skullkickers came to be when Jim and artist Chris Stevens did a story for the Image Comics anthology series, Pop Gun and would eventually became an ongoing series.

Everybody that reads whether it be prose or comics have favorite writers that they gravitate to for one reason or another. I had been out of comics for long time and the last writer that had an impact on me was Walt Simonson and his run on Thor. When I read the first arc of Skullkickers, there was something comfortable and familiar about it. An action packed comedic bromance in a fantasy setting, it was exactly like many of the Dungeon & Dragons sessions I've played in had gone. As it turned out, Jim has a history of playing sci-fi/fantasy roleplaying games.

Aside from writing Skullkickers, Jim is working on his own series of original graphic novels titled Makeshift Miracle and is also writing the Pathfinder comic based on the roleplaying game of the same name. This is going to be series of posts on these titles with love going out to the people that work with Jim: Shun Hong Chan, Marshall Dillon, Misty Coats, Edwin Huang, Chris Stevens and Andrew Huerta.

Coming up first will be the story "2 Copper Pieces" which started it all.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This Week's Reads

Comics released on Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Another light week for me at the comic shop, but what a week. We get Batman #17 The Punchline,  the conclusion to the Death of the Family story arc.

Joker has gathered the Bat Family, we find out what was under the lid at the end of Batman #16 and the fate of Alfred Pennyworth.

I think that I may end up double dipping on this one when the hardcover is released. Snyder and Capullo just keep nailing home runs with this title. Even if you are not a Batman fan or never read a comic before, the art and stories so far have been solid and fun, it really is worth checking out.

Pathfinder #5, Dark Waters Rising part five.

Taken captive by a cult of goblins and subjected to dark rituals, the group of adventurers must rely on an unsure Merisiel to rescue them before the machinations of a dark goddess come to fruition.

Fantasy lovers, you've got to get in on this one. Gamers, this one should a no brainer. In the prime of my fantasy table top gaming days, there wasn't much access to fantasy based comics. There is a lot of good fantasy stuff to choose from these days and Pathfinder should be on your list. The power of Zub compels you!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Vinyl Love: The Crosley Tech Turntable

I decided to get back into collecting and listening to vinyl albums but have been with a record player since about 1993-94 and so I began to shop around for a used player, something with a bit of character to it and that had been refurbished or one that I could fix up myself. After searching for a good six months or so, I couldn't find what I was looking for but found a good number of modern players that had retro looks to them.

I couldn't spend a lot so I researched what was out there and went with the Tech Turntable from Crosley. For $70.00 I wasn't expecting a high quality machine. The reviews for this particular record player were dismal, if anything I could send it back, and exchange it for different model. I set the player up yesterday and gave it a go.

As most of the reviews stated, the player is built as cheaply as possible and it shows that with no end. I wasn't expecting a high end turntable and I found myself pleasantly surprised with what I got while still having some worries for down the road that may end up being nothing.

For starters the platter wobbles more than I remember seeing any other player do. It's a slow, gentle wobble and doesn't look to bad, but you can see it and I'm paranoid that it might get worse. I've already leveled the player and will taking another look at that to make sure I got it right. While listening to some albums there were no jumps, skips or speed variations.

The tonearm is the switch to turn the player motor off and on. That's fine, I've dealt with that before, but the hard click sound when this one is turned off and on scares me into thinking the arm is going to fall off or the switch will break.

I listened to four albums in their entirety and the sound was fine for this level of machine, perfect for a small office or den with no major background noise to compete with. It's not super crisp, clean and loud but it gets the job done. I'm going to try plugging the player into the surround sound and see how that differs, I have read of other people's experiences with that and they all said the sound degraded. I'll report on that later.

Other features include an AM/FM radio, but living where I do almost in the middle of South Bend and Chicago, most of the stations cross each other out. The two local stations come in fine and I can get all of my AM sports talk with no problems. The player also has an auxiliary line in, I don't know why you would want to do that with these speakers, but the option is there.

With all of that said, this player isn't too bad. It's a decent starter player to have while saving up for something of higher quality. I think most of the negative reviews I've seen may have come from people with higher expectations, but I will report back on how this player is holding up in a few weeks.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Backlog: Star Wars #1

Star Wars #1, published by Dark Horse Comics, written by Brian Wood, art by Carlos D'Anda, coloring by Gabe Eltaeb and the cover art by Alex Ross.

Taking place a short time after the battle of Yavin and the destruction of the first Death Star, the series focuses on the main group of characters between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. So yeah, Luke doesn't know that Leia is his sister yet. But we're not here to talk about that.  

The writing is great, the story Brian Wood tells has the rebellion on the hunt for a new planet to set up shop and he does a great job with the characterization. Carlos' art is amazing throughout the issue. Seeing how Carlos depicted Vader is beyond words, he manages to show expression and emotion through Vader's mask, it is simply outstanding.Gabe's coloring compliments Carlos' art incredibly well, it's solid from the first page to the last. This book is packing a lot of eye candy.

This issue starts out a logical point in time with Luke, Wedge and Leia scouting a planet where the rebellion can set up a base. Almost as soon as they get to the planet a star destroyer comes out of hyperspace with tie fighters deploying almost instantly. The rebellion has a mole and it's up the Leia to figure it out and find a new home for the Alliance. A great start to what is no doubt going to be a great series.

With Disney buying Star Wars it is only a matter of time before Marvel gets the go ahead to crank out Star Wars comics and will no longer have the great stories that Dark Horse has been giving us. Marvel is capable but I'm not convinced they can do it at Dark Horse's level. I'm going to enjoy this for as long as the mouse will let me.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Vinyl Love

Over the summer the kids and I were taking a walk around town and we started stopping in antique shops along the way. One in particular has a basement loaded with crate upon crate of vinyl albums. For the fun of it I started going through the crates and came across this:

The Archies 1968
I read Archie comics as kid and still flip through Archie digests when standing in line at the supermarket. I watched reruns of the cartoons during the late 70's and early 80's and I'm familiar with a lot of the music. My intention when I bought this was to get it framed and put it up in the mancave. When I got home though, I pulled out the album and noticed that there was not a single blemish on it. I then got it in my head that I absolutely had to listen to it, but I haven't owned a record player since the early 90's.

Listening to music on a CD or digital file provides a nice clean, crisp sound but listening to music on vinyl seems natural, the way music should be listened to. Nostalgia does play a part in this, there is a certain comfort level there, so how can it not. It's all about that sound that comes from applying that needle to the album thread, there is nothing like it and I had to hear it and I wanted to share that with my kids. The hunt started for a record player.

I wanted something that had some character to it. I started looking for used players from the 60's and 70's, something that had been refurbished or that I could work on myself. After a six month or so hunt I had to settle on a modern unit and there are plenty of models that have a classic look to them, that did not go to well either. Not a lot of good reviews out there for what I could find. I eventually had to make a decision and went with a Crosley CR6005A Tech Turntable, not exactly what I was looking for but it's a start until I can find what I'm looking for.
Crosley Tech Turntable

I've picked up only a few albums and I'm going to be writing on what I have and what I pick up in the future. I also reveived a couple of albums as a Christmas gift when I signed up for the annual Comic Geek Speak forums secret Santa gift exchange last year. Heading out to shop for some more, looking for some specific albums but there will be that moment when I come across something that I hadn't thought of and that is always fun. Anything I should look for? What are the top one or two albums you would have to have?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Walt Simonson and the God of Thunder

Walt Simonson's run on Thor is legendary in the world of comics. In terms of pure fun and adventure it stacks right up there with what Lee & Kirby gave us in the '60's. The stories Walt presents have few challengers, Roy Thomas, Warren Ellis, Matt Fraction, J. Michael Straczynski to name a few and Jason Aaron is so far proving to be a worthy addition to this list.

When I first saw Walt's art, it was unlike anything I had seen before. I compared it to the art in other comics I had, Walt was at a completely different level for me. Walt's style and line work seemed so simple to me at the time, but I learned through trying to copy his work when I was eleven years old, that it wasn't. It had a unique indescribable complexity to it. Even to this day, Walt's art forces me into a quiet contemplation where nothing needs to be said, to just sit back, take it all in, examine every line and enjoy it.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to tackle a run of over forty issues so soon, especially something as renowned a this. As I went through the shortbox that this run was kept in while planning this blog out, I realized that I was continuously moving other titles and other issues of Thor to the back of the box so that I could get to Thor #337. I figured something really wanted me to re-read this run of Thor and write about it.

Since then, I've lost count of how many times I've read Thor #337. I have been struggling with how best to tackle this run in writing. I have these books on such a high pedestal that I worry if I can do it justice. I don't want to do a play by play recount of what happens in each issue and as I started writing that's exactly what I started to do. I've realized that if I'm going to take on this run of comics, the written form may not the best means for me. Either that, or I just need to give myself much more time to work on each entry before I even advertise that it's coming.

I have every intention of finishing what I started, I just need to take a slightly different approach and stop putting unnecessary pressure on myself for something that is just meant for fun.