Wednesday, April 17, 2019

G. I. Joe: A Real American Hero - "Computer Complications"

Another G. I. Joe episode that inspired my novel series. "Computer Complications." #GIJoe (smashwords.com/profile/view/G…)
Maybe not the best title, but I think every kid of this era remembers this one. This is the episode establishing a romantic link between Mainframe & Zarana. Probably two years after this, the C.O.P.S. animated series will have a hero fall in love with a jewel thief. Plus, there's always Batman and Catwoman. And Marvel's answer, Cap and Diamondback.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Harley Quinn's Early (and Awkward) Team-Ups with the Animated Batman


This week at CBR, I revisit the first Harley spotlight tale from 1994. Then, a Batman Adventures story featuring the long-awaited (?) kiss between Harley and Batman.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Captain America Epic Collection: The Bloodstone Hunt, Part Five

CAPTAIN AMERICA #368 - Mar ’90. Amazing this isn’t the Epic reprint’s cover.
I wasn’t purchasing CAP regularly at this point; couldn’t afford every Marvel book I wanted.

But I made sure to pick these issues up. Classic example of an X tie-in drawing in an X-reader. Doesn’t feel gratuitous, though. Gru went through a period of using profanity symbols then dropped it. Now, we have dashes for swears.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Batman: The Animated Series' Brilliant (And Underutilized) Villain Revamp


This week at CBR, I revisit the Riddler's Batman: The Animated Series debut...followed by another look at the excellent final volume of Batman Adventures, which used the character brilliantly.

Friday, March 22, 2019

You Say You Want an X-Men Revolution?


Okay, I'm relenting. I'm submitting to the public's demand of...2014 or so and finally delving into the rather infamous return of Chris Claremont to the X-Men in the year 2000.

Or am I?

The truth is, I've avoided looking back on these titles for a reason. I felt the comics internet of the time had already thoroughly dissected the aborted run...and wasn't eager to look into comics firmly not associated with the 1990s anyway.

As time has passed, I've noticed much of the commentary of that era has disappeared. And we're now approaching the twentieth anniversary of these comics. Also, I can't deny I've felt an increased desire to revisit this failed launch. To examine why it didn't connect, the context of the times, if there was anything of merit the cool kids overlooked...

There is a catch, though. I am an independent novelist. With a new book out. As such, I am in need of reviews for my novel, Black Hat Blues.

Amazon forbids bribing readers for reviews. Meaning, I can't promise to email you some exclusive story or blog post in exchange for leaving an Amazon review.

What I can do is predict a feeling that I'd be willing to post a review of an X-Men Revolution comic, for free for all to read, for every Amazon review of Black Hat Blues I receive, as of this date. These will be posted in appreciation -- to the universe -- sometime in May.

At the time of this writing, I'm at ten reviews. Amazon's algorithm apparently ignores books that have under 15 reviews. (Some people say you need as many as 50 reviews for Amazon to notice you.) To review the entirety of Claremont's return, that would take around thirty blog posts. So, that would mean 40 reviews on Amazon, given that I'm already at ten. But, hey, I'll throw in five freebies.

Understand you're not being obligated to purchase anything. My book is available for free to Kindle Unlimited members. Which itself offers a free trial membership. And you're not obligated to pretend you love the book if you don't.

I do think the novel is of interest to comics fans (you can read more about it here.) But everyone has different tastes and I respect that. All I can ask is for an open mind.

So...to sum up. Expect at least five X-Men Revolution reviews in May. Whether or not there are any more after that...this depends on forces beyond my control. But for everyone who's supported me in the past, you do have my appreciation.

Monday, March 18, 2019

X-Men: The Animated Series - When Xavier Went Dark (Before Phoenix)


My retrospective on the original Phoenix storyline continues at CBR. Relive Professor Xavier's evil cape, and the fill-in issue of Uncanny X-Men that inspired the episode.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Batman: the Animated Series...On Trial!


Which Batman: the Animated Series episode was pitched as a movie? And did you miss some of the strongest B:TAS stories in the canon? Find out in my latest CBR piece.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

G. I. Joe: A Real American Hero - "Worlds Without End" (Part One)

Thought it would be fun to look back on various episodes of the Sunbow G. I. Joe series that inspired my novels. (smashwords.com/profile/view/G…) First up, "Worlds without End" written by Marty Pasko.
I might look at more of the episodes by established comics pros. Writers included Gerber, Conway, Thomas, and Wolfman. Also, Denny O'Neil, an early editor of the comics. And an established peacenik who didn't feel entirely comfortable with all of this. 

Thursday, February 28, 2019

My New Novel - BLACK HAT BLUES!


My novel is now available for download! Check it out for free if you’re a Kindle Unlimited member.

Apparently, I do receive fairly decent royalties based on how far readers make it into the novel. With Amazon, you never know how long something lasts, but I hope you guys consider a download.

Black Hat Blues is the story of a washed up comics professional, facing the end of his career. Exciting stuff, I know.

Well, I’m not here to bore anyone. What if the bitter old man came face to face with his most malevolent creation? And people started disappearing?

Is the fictional comics pro based on any real creator? Well, there is that guy who still only communicates via fax.

And the prolific writer who once referred to Marvel’s editor-in-chief as “subliterate.”

And the living legend whose disdain for modern fanboys is palpable.

And the man who wove a creative tapestry over the course of decades, only to be removed in the middle of a storyline.

And the renowned artist who turned in pages of stick figure drawings, confident his contract allowed the creative expression.

And the creators who self-published an underground parody, later watching it become a worldwide merchandising sensation.

And the idealist writer working on that merchandising sensation who viewed it solely as a means of educating kids on hot-button environmental issues.

And the fiery lefty who was shamed by the internet, told his comic about a minority hero wasn’t “his story to tell.”

And the famous cheesecake artist who caused a stir when he dared present a fully clothed image of a superheroine with her butt in the air.

Seriously, he’s not based on anyone in particular. But all of these things were inspiration, adding some color to the character.

It’s not exactly a superhero story in the prose format, but comics-specific writing is an influence.

I’ve never read Mayer’s SUPERFOLKS, but I imagine it’s treading a similar path. Morrison and Busiek view SUPERFOLKS as revelatory. I’ve also heard complaints it’s poorly written. Don’t know.

I didn’t want the novel to influence what I was doing, but I’ll fully acknowledge other people have tested these ideas before.

Instead of setting a superhero story against the backdrop of a mid-life crisis, it’s more about looking back at the end and reflecting on what you’ve created.

It’s about creativity, and the forces standing against it. About family, what we leave behind, and how much of it even matters.

It’s also about those 1980s half-hour toy commercials, and the moral outrages of today, compared to yesterday’s.

I hope you give it a shot. I wrote it for a general audience, but comics fans, I think, can appreciate it on a different level.

However you feel, please leave an Amazon review. Apparently, a novel needs 15 reviews for Amazon's algorithm to notice, so I do need your help. Thanks!

Captain America Epic Collection: The Bloodstone Hunt, Part Four

CAPTAIN AMERICA #363 - Nov ’89. Where’s the indignant think piece devoted to lovesick Diamondback’s repeated subjugation on these covers?

Friday, February 22, 2019

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


More from my final G. I. Joe novel. (Hopefully Sunbow fans have guessed just what Destro's new base is.) Download for free at Smashwords!

PART V: [ARE MADE OF THIS]




CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE




HIGH-PITCHED TRILL OF THE COBRA-LA DRONE WARRIORS was giving Low-Light a headache. The sniper was out of breath, sprinting through the crowd of crunchy bug-soldiers, trying to keep up with Duke and Falcon.
“Sniper for a reason…” he muttered to himself, in-between pained breaths.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Captain America Epic Collection: The Bloodstone Hunt, Part Two

CAPTAIN AMERICA #354 - Jun ‘89. Notice they even altered the corner box.
Experimental layout has two stories taking up equal portions of each page. Gives the reader the option of reading north-south or east-west.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Captain America Epic Collection: The Bloodstone Hunt, Part One

The Epic reprints of the Mark Gruenwald era of CAP continue. This is the run that transitions from Kieron Dwyer to Ron Lim, meaning two of my favorite CAP artists are represented.
Bloodstone Hunt was deemed a significant enough arc to be reprinted back in the days of Marvel only releasing a few trades a year. Even the trades once had gimmick covers.

Monday, January 28, 2019

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


More from my final G. I. Joe novel. I can only hope I did Raptor's legions of fans justice. Download for free over at Smashwords.

PART IV: CAMERA READY


CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE


THE GENERAL MARCHED INTO THE LOBBY. Had a thought about too many Joes occupying too many hospital beds recently.

Those casualties on the island were also weighing heavy. Three Renegades, one greenshirt. Even more hospitalized. At least one given the prognosis he’ll never walk again. Hawk still hadn’t allowed himself to feel those losses. The general maintained his composure as he was greeted by Quarrel, the only Joe involved with the Salem County imbroglio who didn’t require hospitalization.

“Psyche-Out should be released by tomorrow,” she stated after saluting. “But that daft Cobra git did a number on Big Lob. The doctors are afraid there’s some severe tissue damage.”

“Blast it. And the boy?”

Sunday, January 27, 2019

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



Download the novel for free in any format at Smashwords. Also, check out my latest post on the classic Marvel G. I. Joe commercials on GoL.

PART III: BACK TO THE BEGINNING

CHAPTER FOURTEEN



ARMS THICKER THAN TREE TRUNKS, wrapped around his chest. By Falcon’s estimate, only fifteen seconds remained before his oxygen would fully give out. Before this inhuman beast squeezed the literal life out of him.
Wasn’t how the lieutenant ever figured he’d leave the service, on the receiving end of a bear hug. One delivered by a living bat creature with a monosyllabic vocabulary and rancid squid breath.
Desperate, no other options left, Falcon made the move. Not one he was proud of, maneuvering his head like a snake and biting the wrist of that creature. Humiliating. He could just hear Tunnel Rat and Law giving him grief over this one. Solid month of heckling, easy. Assuming it even worked, that Falcon could tear through enough flesh and evoke the proper response from those nerve endings.
He couldn’t.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Adapting Days of Future Past...without Shadowcat


This week at CBR, I'm revisiting the X-Men animated adaptation of Days of Future Past. Watch as "present day" 1980 morphed into 1993, and Kitty Pryde was shut out again.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

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


Download the book in full for free at Smashwords.


PART II: KEPT YOU WAITING, HUH?






CHAPTER EIGHT




GTMO…
Rocks along the beach gave Falcon’s inflatable raft an inhospitable welcome. Did half of the lieutenant’s job for him, cutting a hole in the rubber. Making it easier for him to deflate the rest of the raft with his survival knife, the remains left to drift into the Atlantic. Rainstorm carried heavy winds. They’d blow the olive drab material far away from shore before he’d finished his mission.
The briefing warned of the steep hills surrounding the base. Convenient for their purposes, cutting off Camp Alpha from its immediate hinterland. Lt. Falcon exhaled, prepared himself for the climb. Not enough room in his bag for any hiking materials. He embraced the suck, just forced himself northward.

Monday, January 7, 2019

The Tangled Development of Superman: The Animated Series


I'm looking back on the difficulties developing Superman: The Animated Series this week on CBR. It's actually one of my favorite CBR articles, if only for the interview I digged up with Bruce Timm, explaining just how much Alex Toth hated the show.
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