Monday, December 31, 2018

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Monday, December 24, 2018

G. I. JOE - Endings without Worlds, Part I


Download the final volume in my G. I. Joe series for free, in any format, over at Smashwords. Below is Part I of the novel (in which I try to cover for forgetting, in the first book, that Zandar wasn't also a master of disguise).

PART I: BROTHERS IN ARMS




PROLOGUE




TO THINK HE’D GIVEN UP ON MIRACLES.
He saw it with his own two eyes, his personal hero laid low by that Cobra lowlife. Stabbed through the heart with an alien dagger, losing too much blood in the next two minutes, slipping into a coma.
Duke pulled through, though. Beat the odds, found a way out of the darkness, just as Lt. Falcon was joining the Joes’ climatic battle in the Himalayas. He’d spend the next week sleeping in that hospital room, keeping an eye on his older brother. Asking questions the doctors couldn’t seem to answer; witnessing with horror Duke’s slide back into pitiful health.
Another coma followed. Neurological readings were borderline nonsense. Eventually, the Joes’ legendary medic Doc came through with the diagnosis. Gave the brutal news to Falcon as firmly and respectfully as any Joe could expect from Doc.
“Your brother’s been poisoned,” Doc told the lieutenant. “And considering we have no access to the bio-technology utilized by that dagger, and no means of collecting any other sample, we face incredible barriers to treatment.”
Weeks passed before the call came. Falcon had agreed to a mission, infiltrating a Benzheen aerospace facility overrun by the snakes. Was in the midst of letting off some steam when he got the news.
For any other family, this would’ve been the end of the story. A service, a few days bereavement leave, time alone with the relatives, neighbors delivering cold potato salad and forced smiles. An aching loss to carry with you, until that day comes when you’re reunited with all lost blood.
No final farewell for those Hauser-Falcone boys, though. The dreams began a couple of days after the funeral. Falcon couldn’t discern what the heck they were saying at first. To his great embarrassment, he had to admit it took him a few weeks to piece it all together.
The venom that felled Duke? A pure Cobra creation. Of course they’re the only ones to understand it. To know exactly what the poison was doing to Duke’s bloodstream. What was a “death” in the doctors’ eyes was merely the next step in the snakes’ plan.
They spirited the body away from the hospital morgue, gave Duke the injection that restored him to life. In his place, one of those creepy synthoid contraptions. Thing probably turned to goo the second Duke’s coffin lid shut.
Wasn’t a bad plan, really. Assuming you had no soul. Demoralize the Joe troops, force them to face a loss they always thought unimaginable. While they’re distracted, rebuild your empire, win a few propaganda victories and prepare for the next fight.
And their nefarious plot for Falcon’s older brother? A rigorous round of brainwashing, squirreled away in their secret base in the northern Caribbean. Given his weakened state, they might’ve had a shot at finally breaking Mama Falcone’s oldest boy this time.
Duke was a clever one, though. Found a way to use the snakes’ indoctrination tech against them. He subdued a blueshirt one evening, got access to recording equipment and an assortment of subliminal conditioning cassettes. Tapes Cobra was preparing specifically for Joe prisoners.
Falcon’s hero wasn’t able to escape the island; got spotted by a guard tower only twenty seconds after he tunneled his way past the barbwire fencing. Still, he’d managed to win a sub-rosa victory against those snakes. Managed to find some way to get a message out.
And for Falcon, of all the Joes, to be the one to receive that message? To be the one to crack Duke’s subliminal code, to storm through Camp Alpha and free his bloodkin? That was a miracle, no doubt.
And he’d need a miracle now, with two members of the Joes’ experimental android infantry unit lying before him, bullet holes blemishing their cybernetic chest cavities and sparks shooting towards the ceiling. Duke had insisted the androids lead the charge, undergo the risk while the two flesh-and-blood Joes crept in behind them. Falcon, grudgingly, acknowledged Duke had a point. This facility—a nondescript office space hidden out in the California boonies—was housing a prized Cobra intelligence gathering operation. One the snakes couldn’t afford to lose, given the current state of their organization. The brothers couldn’t imagine just what awaited them inside.
“Can’t trust a robot to do a man’s job, anyway,” Falcon spoke with confidence. He offered his brother cover, as Duke rushed forward, nailed Major Bludd with a front jab that sent him to the floor. Ripper and Torch of the Dreadnoks flanked him on both sides; Falcon humbled one with a shoulder shot, maneuvered just in time to fling the other into a nearby wall. Spent too long recovering from the move, however; didn’t notice the shadow of that approaching brute.
The inhuman beast smacked the pistol from Falcon’s hand. Followed up with a slap that sent him against the wall, landing on top of that Dreadnok. The lieutenant rose, lifted his dukes, offered his best wisecrack.
“You ready to rumble, ugly? I say bustin’ up that mug of yours could only be an improvement.”
That’s when Falcon gained a good view of his opponent. When he was able to digest its height, like something from the Old Testament. Its physique, reminiscent of Jack Kirby. And those hideous bat wings, like the worst nightmare of the most deranged dime novelist.
The creature charged forward, lifted Falcon in a bear hug. He could feel a rib pop, less than one second after impact.
This was another specter from his dreams. The representation of that time reality went haywire, when beasts from prehistory revealed themselves, made their move to rule the Earth. This was the gnarled expression of the monster of his nightmares.
This was Nemesis Enforcer.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Micro-Reviews: G. I. JOE, Vol. 5, Part One

The final Marvel collection of the original G. I. JOE comics. Serpentor enters, dividing fandom (who had no clue Cobra-La was coming.) 
Funny that the cover features Joes Hama never showed much interest in. Sunbow fans would probably respond to this, tho. With the possible exception of Airtight, these were prominent Sunbow characters. Serpentor is also in his Sunbow colors; his cape (and often cowl) was always green in the comics, for some reason.

Monday, December 17, 2018

G. I. JOE: Season 3.5 -- Endings without Worlds


My final G. I. Joe novel is available for free download right now. I speak about it over at Gentlemen of Leisure, explaining my latest exploration of the Sunbow canon. The title should give you an idea of which episodes inspired the closing volume. Hopefully, I've pulled all of these threads together. If now, feel free to yell at me and call me a hack. Check the book out for free over at Smashwords!

Justice League: How Aquaman Became an Animated Namor (Twice)


This week, I'm revisiting "The Terror Beyond" at CBR, a classic from Justice League's second season.

Monday, December 10, 2018

How Spawn Transitioned From Comics to (Very R-Rated) TV


I'm going back to the pilot for Todd McFarlane's Spawn this week on CBR. It's very possible I'll cover the entire six-episode season, if there's interest.

Monday, December 3, 2018

When Batman: The Animated Series Confronted ... the 1990s


This week on CBR, I'm going back to the debut of the most '90s of the Animated villains. Plus, his official canon appearance, not long after. Watch as I attempt to avoid calling him "Lockdown," as I am wont to do for some reason.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Monday, November 19, 2018

Monday, October 29, 2018

October 2018 Link Round-Up


I thought I'd list all of my recent articles in one spot, for convenience's sake. My most recent CBR posts include...

The Batman: The Animated Series episode even Bruce Timm can't watch.

A look back on Pryde of the X-Men, the failed X-pilot of the '80s.

An article I have no idea if people are interested in, but I greatly enjoyed. Remember The Maxx on MTV?

Finally, an examination of Kevin Conroy's history in the role of Batman.

And, in case you weren't aware, I've been going back to the earliest animated commercials for Marvel's G. I. Joe comics over at Gentlemen of Leisure. Hopefully, more of those will be appearing soon.



Monday, October 1, 2018

How Spider-Man: The Animated Series (Unfortunately) Tackled Venom


This week at CBR, I finish up the Spider-Man animated series' "Alien Costume Saga," along with Venom's comics debut from all the way back in Amazing #300.

Monday, September 24, 2018

When Spider-Man: The Animated Series Went… Dark


This week at CBR, I'm looking back on the original adaptation of the Alien Costume Saga. Roided-out Spidey wants you to know the check's in the mail, baby!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Micro-Reviews: G. I. JOE, Vol. 4, Part One

Vol. 4 reprint. Entering now perhaps the best-known JOE era. These are the issues released during the earliest days of the cartoon. #GIJoe @JScottCampbell
For fans like me too young to read comics, their earliest JOE impressions are made here. I'll begin my reviews of Vol. 4 this week. AND, the next installment in my #GIJoe novel is available for free.(smashwords.com/profile/view/G…)
On to the reviews...

Monday, September 3, 2018

Batman: The Animated Series – The Debut of Batman’s Favorite Mystery Lady


This week on CBR, I'm revisiting the debut of Talia on Batman: The Animated Series...along with her introduction from the Denny O'Neil era. Spoiler -- she's not wearing the catsuit in her first appearance.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

G. I. Joe Season 3.4: SINGLE-DIGIT SURVIVAL RATE


The final volume (for now) in my Sunbow-inspired G. I. Joe series is available now over at Smashwords! Download for free in any format!  Here's the synopsis:

Did Jinx survive her hellacious journey to Ireland?  Can Flint endure a round of Dreadnok torture?  Is Low-Light keeping a secret that endangers the future of the team?  And who the heck tied Firefly up in the basement?  Find out the answers and more in the latest continuation of the classic Sunbow G. I. JOE continuity! 

If you have any thoughts, please feel free to share them. And if you think anyone out there would be interested in the series, please pass along the links.  Thanks, folks!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Batman: The Animated Series – Why You Never Sully the Joker’s Image


This week on CBR, I'm looking back on one of the better Joker episodes (in spite of AKOM's attempts to kill the thing)...and a fantastic issue from the Puckett/Parobeck Batman Adventures run.

Monday, August 20, 2018

G. I. JOE Season 3.3: TO LIVE AND DIE IN COPYRIGHTED LANDS


You can download my latest entry in the Sunbow canon (once to be a Kindle Worlds piece...) for free in any format over at Smashwords. 

The summary is below.  Hopefully you guys check it out and leave me your thoughts. This is the second installment of three, for this volume.  Then, in December, the plan is for three final installments to close out the story.

The Joe team, trapped in a chaotic former Communist nation in South America, are hours away from a burn notice. One member faces what is very likely death in the escape! Meanwhile, a gang of sugar-addicted bikers are prepared to break out the rubber hoses, and the hidden past of Jinx is brought into the light! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Micro-Reviews: G. I. JOE, Vol. 3, Part Three

G. I. JOE #28 (October 1983) The cover has that toy commercial vibe. #GIJoe#LarryHama
My record for predicting which of these issues were commercials is pretty darn good, I'd say.
New vehicles, action on almost every page, robot armies popping up out of nowhere. Very much an animated toy commercial as a comic. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Micro-Reviews: G. I. JOE, Vol. 3, Part Two

G. I. JOE #25 (July 1983) Frank Springer debuts! Plus, more plastic stuff you can buy! #GIJoe
Zartan's disco theme is glorious. #GIJoe
I’ll always view Springer as a classic JOE artist, because he penciled some of my earliest issues. I read those as digest reprints, however, so
...seeing the art at the intended size always feels odd. Springer’s art benefits from being reduced, tightening every line up. Zartan signals a change in JOE’s reality. Hasbro thought color-changing plastic was cool, so Zartan’s skin was designed to turn blue in sunlight.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Continuing the Adventures of G.I. JOE...


So, Kindle Worlds is dead and I'm stuck with a novel trilogy I can't finish in the original format.  What I can do is post the remainder of my G. I. JOE story on free formats, such as Smashwords and Fanfiction.net. So, with absolutely no copyright claims made, I'm making the rest of the story available for free.  The first volume in the continuation begins now, and you can download in any format you like over at Smashwords.

Here's the summary...

It's 1988 and the [REDACTED] team finds itself in a South American nation recently freed from Communism. But have its leaders fallen under a more...serpentine influence? Plus, a certain group of sugar-addicted bikers reappear in the most unexpected of locations, and someone's "auntie" might be causing trouble for both [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] alike.

Again, check out the story over at FanFiction or Smashwords, and if you have any thoughts, please leave a review.  Thanks everyone.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Micro-Reviews: G. I. JOE, Vol. 3, Part One

G. I. JOE #21 (March 1983) The issue that generated stacks of hate mail! #LarryHama #GIJoe
Hama always mentioned this interviews when someone wanted to discuss #21. He seemed determined to let people know this wasn’t viewed as a daring experiment in form at the time.
Kids got an issue with no words and assumed either it was printer’s mistake or a rip-off.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Looking Back on the Strange Origins of the JUSTICE LEAGUE Animated Series


My latest piece at CBR reviews some of the shows Bruce Timm and company were developing before clearer heads finally approved Justice League.  One involves Pok√©mon...

Monday, July 16, 2018

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Micro-Reviews: GHOST RIDER - Volume Two, Part Two

GHOST RIDER #11 (March 1991) Tex inking Larry Stroman!
Tex still overpowers, but some of Stroman’s personality remains. It’s a nice pairing.
Stacey asks Dan what’s up with his “George Michael” beard. Art doesn’t portray him as scruffy. And, as of “Freedom ’90” wasn’t that look dead for Michael? Stacey’s also asking about Dan’s “new leather jacket” (hasn’t he worn it since #1?) 

Monday, July 2, 2018

Looking Back on Harley Quinn (and some other guy's) Debut Appearances.


This week on CBR, I'm examining Harley Quinn's introduction to the public. (Which is also the first notable Joker episode of Batman: The Animated Series.) Then, how the debut of a potential "major villain" just didn't have the same impact.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Micro-Reviews: GHOST RIDER - Volume Two, Part One

GHOST RIDER #8 (December 1990) Hey, it’s the return of…those guys.
Texiera is back to inking over Saltares. One of the less stylized issues, although it does look nice.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

X-Men: The Animated Series - Looking Back on the Jim Lee Influence


This week on CBR, I attempt to catalogue every time the X-Men animated series drew inspiration from Jim Lee's art.  And why Marvel initially had a problem with this.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Justice League - John Stewart's Darkest Night


This week on CBR, I take another look at the Justice League animated series. It's from the Season One days, when the show was still finding its way. Hopefully, I'll be able to examine some of the more engaging episodes later.

Monday, June 4, 2018

X-Men: The Animated Series - What Did We Miss in Reruns?


This week at CBR, I look back on those times various scenes or performances were altered in the repeats.  For those of you who found this site while searching for the story behind Gladiator's swapped voices -- well, I don't have a complete answer, but I might've come close.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Friday, May 25, 2018

Micro-Reviews: G. I. JOE, Vol. 2, Part Three


G. I. JOE #18 (December 1983). Don’t know who did this cover. It’s not Michael Golden’s debut, is it?

More of Snake-Eyes and Kwinn. They track Scarface to Coney Island, of all places. Hama uses this scenery more than once; it also seemed to appeal to the commercial’s producers.

Kindle Worlds Is Dead (Soon).


So, if you'd like to check out my G. I. JOE novel at Amazon, you only have a few weeks. Amazon has ended the Kindle Worlds program and will be deleting all of the content in July. The book, as of now, is available at this link...

Since the Amazon page will be nuked soon, I thought I'd archive the reviews in this post.  Thanks to everyone who took the time to write a review. (I'll edit it to include any additional ones.)  I would've liked to contribute to a reading project, bumping up the number of JOE reviews on Amazon, but it wasn't meant to be...


Matt
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Great, Mature Continuation of the 80's Animated Series!
May 19, 2018
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a great take on what could have been if Sunbow had continued with the GI Joe license! Gene's writing style really draws the reader in and makes you feel like you are right there in the middle of everything going on.

It was refreshing to see new takes on characters and see a few faces show back up. Overall, a great job and I highly recommend this if you're a fan of the classic GI Joe cartoon, but are looking for something with a little more depth and maturity.

erick gee
5.0 out of 5 stars
Add this to your required reading list now, Joe fans!
May 12, 2018
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When I first learned of Mr. Kendall's offering, I was excited to read it as a long time G.I.Joe fan. I'm beyond pleased to note that this title did not disappoint in the least bit! Mr. Kendall gives us the perfect "what if" scenario in G.I.JOE: Season 3.1. If you're a G.I.Joe fan, then consider this required reading.



Monday, May 21, 2018

Batman: The Animated Series – How We Almost Missed Mark Hamill as the Joker


This week at CBR, I'm looking back on the various stories behind the Joker's recasting on Batman: The Animated Series.  Next week, the special fiftieth installment of Adventure(s) Time!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Micro-Reviews: G. I. JOE, Vol. 2, Part Two


G. I. JOE #14 (August 1983). A more stylized Trimpe cover. Dan Green-style inks look nice over Trimpe.

The original TV commercial!


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