Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Recently Read: The Boy Commandos, Vol. 1, by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby


The Boy Commandos Vol. 1 is a much appreciated 250 pages of the first, chronological
Commandos stories created for DC by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. Applying the kid gang concept to WWII, the series features kid representatives of several Allied countries, each with his own (somewhat annoying) accent.

As with Kirby's '70s WWII series, The Losers, Commandos uses WWII scenarios to tell a variety of human interest stories. One story begins with Nostradamus; another ten thousand years in the future (Kirby was often willing to employ his love for science fiction pulp in his work). Gangsters, a Japanese prisoner, a family curse, a pampered aristocrat and the French Underground are all used as story ideas; Simon and Kirby themselves make an appearance in "Satan Wears a Swastika", along with The Sandman and the Newsboy Legion.

The stories are smartly printed on non-glare matte paper, using the original colors. Much of the art is printed a little too dark, but is still preferable to modern re-coloring.

Like most comics of the period, the stories are of limited emotional resonance and can be formulaic (though Simon and Kirby, as seen above, mixed and mashed different story angles with more agility and experimentation than most). I read the book in two different sittings, giving my mind a rest with other readings. Any way you choose to read it, it's a good compilation of some of the better comics being produced at the time.
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Monday, December 28, 2020

Magazines I've Read Recently, December 28, 2020


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Classical LPs I've Listened to Recently, December 28, 2020


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Thursday, December 24, 2020

British Kid Colt Outlaw Ad


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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Recent Thundarr the Barbarian Art


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Monday, December 21, 2020

Recently Read: Naruto, Vol. 13


After a relatively quiet volume (for Naruto), Vol. 13 explodes with action and tension.
It starts with one of the grandest entrances in all of comics, as Kakashi and Sakura
mysteriously return to the Chunin exams. Before the match between Sakura and the psychopathic Gaara begins, Naruto and Shikamaru are innocent bystanders to Gaara slaughtering two toughs who ask him to throw his bout for Lords betting on the matches. 

Finally, after several volumes of suspense, Sakura and Gaara's match begins, but isn't completed before Orochimaru's well-planned civil war begins and the life of the fourth Hokage and the safety of all of Konoha is in jeopardy. This is superior and amazing storytelling by the great author and artist Masashi Kishimoto
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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Recently Read: House of X/Powers of X, by Jonathan Hickman

Jonathan Hickman's massive reboot of the X-Men universe is visionary and complex. Hickman's at heart a science fiction writer and this 12-part journey has so little to do with the immediately previous X-Men series (so poorly written as to be nearly unreadable) that it's as if Arthur C. Clarke had been hired to take over. In fact, House of X has the kind of cosmic scope and sense of import that Clarke's novel Childhood's End exemplified.

Originally released as twelve comic book chapters, the series jumps back and forth from storyline to storyline, giving glimpses of the evolution of mutants (and mankind) over many hundreds of years of time. In the "present", Professor X and Magneto have joined forces to congregate all mutants, regardless of their moral character, on the sentient island of Krakoa, and willing to make diplomatic deals, difficult to refuse, with world leaders. I won't spoil the story's surprises, but can say the series creates an entirely new and endlessly varied sandbox for current and future X-Men series writers to play in. Hickman has returned the series to its science fiction roots.

Aiding understanding and appreciation of this new world is a cohesive design for the packaging, by Tom Muller, incorporating logos, a new language/typography, charts and maps. The design has gone on to be used by subsequent X-Men series.
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Comics I've Read Recently, December 16, 2020


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Thursday, December 10, 2020

Classical LPs I've Listened to Recently, December 10, 2020


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Magazines I've Read Recently, December 10, 2020


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