Friday, August 30, 2013

Cartoon Friday: Fantastic Four (1994)

It's been a busy week here, but I still have time to post nostalgic cartoon intros. This week, it's 1994's "Fantastic Four!" The show debuted as part of a block with the "Iron Man" cartoon, and was notable for having Stan Lee introductions.

Unfortunately, Stan Lee's intros were not included in syndication or the DVD or netflix versions of the show. They are, however, on youtube.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Review: World Championship Wrestling #10

"Blank Slate,"  Cover Date January 1993
Written by Mike Lackey, Pencils by Ron Wilson, inks by Steve Montano (all creators credited first name in this issue was "Gorilla": Gorilla Lackey, Gorilla Wilson, Gorilla Montano, etc.)

WCW 10 Johnny B. Badd

As detailed in Marvel: the Untold Story, for the first several years of the "Marvel Universe," Marvel could only publish a certain number of books per month. In January 1967, for example, Marvel published 15 comics, priced at $.12 each, including Millie the Model, Kid Colt, and Marvel Tales, a reprint book. By 1993, Marvel's situation had completely reversed. They were the #1 publisher in the business in the middle of a boom that saw sales records for "events" like Spider-Man #1 and X-Men #1. Instead of 15 books at $.12 each, Marvel published nearly one hundred comics in January 1993 (most ranging in price between $1.25 and 1.75), including licensed characters like Conan, Barbie, and... World Championship Wrestling! That's right, in 1992, Marvel agreed to publish fictionalized adventures of WCW's wrasslers in a monthly comic! Tonight's main event: Johnny B. Badd vs. Sting for the WCW championship!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Review: Fantastic Four 370

Fantastic Four #370, "Forever Evil," Cover Date November 1992
Written and co-plotted by Tom DeFalco, co-plotted and penciled by Paul Ryan, inked by Danny Bulanadi

Fantastic Four 370 Cover Paul Ryan

PREVIOUSLY ON FANTASTIC FOUR: the gathered heroes waited around for Galactus to charge up the Infinity Gauntlet, Sue Storm merged herself with "Malice," a holdover from John Byrne's run, and Johnny thought of Psylocke as a "living doll." Oh yeah, and Magus gained ultimate power.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Cartoon Friday: The Incredible Hulk

Cartoon Friday continues with 1996's "The Incredible Hulk"!

Unlike Ultraforce, we actually don't get a straight X-Men riff, as not a single character gets their name spelled out as they hop around. Instead, we get a pretty cool instrumental song, and the introductions of most of the cast in a series of pretty cool shots. I really like the animation here, and the way we sort of blend from scenes that feel straight out of the episode to trippy psychological manifestations that don't really make any literal sense (Hulk's face in the clouds, General Ross appearing out of the rocks). I haven't watched the show since it was on, but I remember it being pretty good. It also manages the rare feet of not beginning with a lengthy origin sequence, because we all get it from watching the intro: the guy turns into the Hulk. Unlike Ultraforce, it is available on Netflix, along with a bunch of other 90's series.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Character Spotlight: Cardiac

It's another new weekly feature outside of standard reviews, as I introduce and spotlight a lesser known character that is inexorably linked to the 90's. Then, with a very complicated series of equations, I determine exactly how "90's" the character is.

First up, it's CARDIAC! Created by David Michelinie and Erik Larsen!

Spider-Man 377 Cardiac

Cardiac, the heart that beats for justice! After Dr. Elias Wirtham's brother died of a rare disease, Elias devoted his life to medicine and became hugely successful, when he discovered that a corporation had a cure for his brother's disease, but chose not to release it because of profit. After a heart transplant left Elias with an electric pacemaker, he created a staff to focus the power created by the heart, and a battlesuit to go with it. He then went on to fight for justice as Cardiac!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review: Wonder Woman 78

Wonder Woman 78, "The Fast Contract," Cover Date September 1993
Written by William Messner-Loebs, Pencils by Lee Moder, Inks by Ande Parks & Aaron McClellan

Wonder Woman 78 Flash Bolland

Our story begins as we watch a recording of an assassin with super speed called “Mayfly” as she is confronted by Japanese police following a hit. She proceeds to use super speed to murder everyone in the room, impressing Ari Buchanan, the mystery crime boss who has recently moved to take over the Boston underworld. His attorney and love interest, Donna Milton, confirms that she has recruited the assassin to target Wonder Woman.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Cartoon Friday: Ultraforce

It's a new feature, as we flashback to classic animated intros of 90's cartoons! Coming up, from the company that gave you the Night Man, it's Ultraforce (1995)!

Gee, I wonder what they're going for here?

Review: Fantastic Four #369

Fantastic Four #369, "With Malice Towards All!", Cover Date October 1992
Written by Tom DeFalco and Paul Ryan, Pencils by Paul Ryan, Inks by Dan Bulanadi

Fantastic Four 369 Malice

PREVIOUSLY ON FANTASTIC FOUR: Imposter Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man escaped the assembled heroes after destroying the top floor of Four Freedom's Plaza. While the heroes planned their next move, Human Torch fought doppelgangers of the X-Men. Finally, with the aid of Agatha Harkness, Dr. Druid and the Scarlet Witch, the heroes were able to disappear into another dimension. I'm not sure where this all fits into Infinity War continuity, so I'm just reviewing this particular issue.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Review: Night Man #1

Night Man #1, "The Night Man" Cover Date October 1993
Written by Steve Englehart, Pencils by Darick Robertson, Inks by Andrew Pepoy

Night Man 1 cover

For those that don't remember, Malibu Comics was an independent company that suddenly took a huge market share in the comic book market when they acted as publisher of record for Image Comics in 1992. Image quickly left Malibu in 1993, but the company took advantage of their sudden presence and general comic book boom to launch the "Ultraverse," their own shared universe that featured "Prime," (he's gonna get himself some justice!) and a Justice League style "Ultraforce," that even managed to turn into an animated series in 1995.

Night Man is this universe's take on Batman, but with an incredibly bland name, and was created by long-time comics pro Steve Englehart and Darick Robertson, best known for his run on New Warriors (actually he co-created Transmetropolitan with Warren Ellis and The Boys with Garth Ennis)!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Review: Black Canary #1

Black Canary #1, "Hero Worship Part 1," Cover Date January 1993

"Hero Worship," Written by Sarah E. Byam, Pencils by Trevor Von Eeden, Inks by Bob Smith

We begin our issue with Black Canary heroically hopping around, a running internal monologue in her head. She announces that she's "going to die" on page 1 of issue 1 of her series, which is not exactly a positive attitude. She's apparently following some girl who is in over her head, although it's not really made clear why or how following her is going to result in Canary's death. As she lands in an alley near the girl she's following, a homeless man asks her for some change for a drink. Canary says "no pockets," even though she's wearing a big bomber jacket, because she's a dirty liar. The girl Canary's following, who looks like a member of Frank Miller's "mutant gang" from Dark Knight Returns, complete with a mohawk and leather jacket that says her name, makes her way into a dive bar. As Canary crosses the street, she notices a big fancy van, which she identifies as a cop, even before we get a closeup of somebody in the window with a camera.

That forward roll was vital.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Review: Fantastic Four 368

Fantastic Four #368, Cover Date September 1992
Plot: Tom DeFalco and Paul Ryan, Pencils by Paul Ryan, Inks by Dan Bulanadi

Fantastic Four 368 Doppelgangers

PREVIOUSLY ON FANTASTIC FOUR: Sue notices Reed is acting differently as he recruits A through C-list teams, Ben meets with his estranged girlfriend Sharon Ventura. Reed turns out to be evil and explodes the FF’s headquarters while it’s full of heroes.

We open with Invisible Woman telling Thing and the Hulk to get behind her as she attempts to block the detonated gamma bomb from the heroes. All the other heroes stand there like idiots while Invisible Woman saves them, until Sue tells Thor he needs to re-direct the gamma radiation somewhere (Note: this is Eric Masterson Thor, so he barely knows what he’s doing). Thor funnels the radiation into space, while the Hulk asks how the heroes should know the rest of the FF wasn’t in on evil Reed’s plot. The Thing rightly points out that Sue just saved everyone, duh.

Fantastic Four 368 Thing Hulk Speedball
Hug it out, bros.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Review: Alpha Flight #114

Alpha Flight #114, Cover Date November 1992

Written by Simon Furman, Pencils by Pat Broderick, Inks by Bruce Patterson

Alpha Flight 114 cover

In my Fantastic Four review, I mocked the idea of evil Reed Richards stating it was "imperative" to contact Alpha Flight. Now, in the interest of fairness, I'll review an issue from the same general time period (spoiler alert: this means AF survived the explosion from FF #367).