Saturday, March 5, 2011

Odds & Ends From The Comic Shop

1) Detective Comics Classics is a standard format comic book reprinting older Batman stories. It was originally included with this action figure set, but DC released it on its own a couple of weeks ago. They must have printed a lot of these books, as I think these are all from the same printing as the ones that came with the toys.

The Riddler story has some clever twists, and boy, the Riddler comes across like a sad sack in it, no matter how clever he might be. The Batgirl solo outing has gorgeous Gil Kane art and is mildly sexist. The prize, however, is the Robin/Batgirl story that ran in Batman Family #1. It has some fun character bits and an utterly loopy story where the ghost of Benedict Arnold menaces our heroes. The art is by Mike Grell, a talented artist who (I am discovering now) sometimes drew characters with really odd proportions.

Rounding out the book is Bat-Mite's profile from Who's Who. Why? Because they made a figure of him for that set too, silly!

This isn't exactly the cream of Silver and Bronze Age Batman, but it's light, undemanding fun.

2) I haven't actually read Marvel Vault: Doctor Strange #1 yet, but I wanted to spotlight it in this entry anyway. You see, it's a leftover story from the late lamented Marvel Universe series of the late 1990s. The whole run of that title got reprinted recently as Invaders: The Eve of Destruction, so it's really cool to finally get this "lost" story. What's even cooler is that this book is both something old and something new. What do I mean? Buy it, read it, and discover it in this untold tale of Doctor Strange.

3) It was somewhat inexplicable when Gemstone recently announced a one-shot return of the venerable magazine Comic Book Marketplace. It makes a little more sense when you realize that it's all meant to tie into an exhibit pertaining to Atlas/Seaboard at Geppi's Entertainment Museum. Even then, the coverage barely qualifies as justification for a magazine.

Understand, the Atlas/Seaboard story is colorful enough to fill an entire issue of a magazine. Heck, Comic Book Artist #16 did that very thing! And CBM was once a great magazine about comics. But this one-shot? It is a mere shadow of the CBM of the past. The articles are pretty skimpy and superficial. Several pages are given over to nothing but a cover gallery of every single Atlas publication. While this is undeniably cool to see, it reduces the content of what's already a 32 page publication (24 subtracting ads) even further.

Basically, though it gets a well-deserved plug, there is really little in this magazine that can't be found on The Atlas Archives. There is some ink devoted to the current revival of Atlas Comics, but not as much as I would have expected. The one thing I did learn was that, in addition to standard-bearers the Grim Ghost, Phoenix, and Wulf the Barbarian, there is one other classic Atlas character featured in this first wave of books. No, not the Destructor, or Morlock 2001, or Tiger-Man, or even Ironjaw. No, it will be frickin' LOMAX - NYPD!!!!!

C'mon guys, call him.

As for this revived CBM, it's...well, it's OK. It's pretty blatantly intended as a pamphlet for the museum exhibit, and the thought seemed to be, "Wait, let's see how many we can sell on the market, too!" I can't imagine it'll be a lot considering how out of the blue it is, but maybe it'll offset some of the expenses a mite. I sure hope patrons of the museum get a discount on the darned thing, if it isn't free.

One final note on this one-time CBM reappearance - it came out the same week that would have had the latest issue of Wizard - if Wizard hadn't recently been abruptly and unceremoniously cancelled. I found that fascinating for some reason.

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