Monday, September 16, 2019

Adapting the Gambit Miniseries (Before It's Finished)


Remember when the animated X-Men series dedicated an episode to adapting the story from the Gambit mini...which was still being published? I look at both this week at CBR.

Monday, September 2, 2019

What If the '80s Spider-Man Movie Was Actually Pretty Good?


Truth is, they had a solid script. The second installment of my new Page One Rewrite series looks back at the Cannon Films Spidey film that came darn close to happening.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Monday, August 5, 2019

Free Book Alert!


Haven't checked out my new novel yet? For shame! But you can download a free review ARC of my book BLACK HAT BLUES -- available for the next few days! Download for free here!

Friday, August 2, 2019

G. I. JOE YEARBOOK #3 (March 1987)

One of my first comics. Purchased when in withdrawals, after the show’s cancellation.
This is one of the many follow-ups to “Silent Interlude.” Perhaps the first. Also an early Ron Wagner job.

Monday, July 29, 2019

The X-Men Movie We Missed in 1994


Probably more than you ever wanted to know about the abandoned 1994 X-Men movie draft (from the writer of Seven!) This week at CBR!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Thursday, June 27, 2019

UNCANNY X-MEN #385 (October 2000)


Shell Game
Credits: Chris Claremont (writer), German Garcia, Michael Ryan, and Randy Green (pencils), Panosian/Pepoy/Ketcham (inks), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Richard Isanove (colors)

Summary: Gambit’s team of X-Men raid an upscale party in Madripoor, aiding the Goth and Crimson Pirates in abducting several attendees. Rogue’s crew of X-Men arrive, stunned to see their teammates working with the villains. The two teams fight, with Rogue’s side apparently losing. Unbeknownst to their opponents, Gambit has touched skin with Rogue, imparting unto her the means of defeating the Goth’s leader. After everyone is teleported to their secret Chinese base, the united X-Men attack Tullamore Voge and his slavers. Rogue, having absorbed Gambit’s power, overloads the Goth’s leader with energy. The resulting explosion kills him, and enables the X-Men to defeat the slavers. Gambit, recognizing Rogue’s discomfort with killing their opponent, offers her his support.

Friday, June 21, 2019

X-MEN #104 (September 2000)


Painted Ladies
Credits: Chris Claremont (writer), Lenil Francis Yu (penciler), Mark Morales (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Liquid! Graphics (colors)

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

UNCANNY X-MEN #384 (September 2000)


Crimson Pirates
Credits: Chris Claremont (writer), Adam Kubert (penciler), Tim Townsend w/Lary Stucker (inks), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Richard Isanove (colors)

Summary: The Crimson Pirates abduct Defense Minister Demetri Koniev, threatening his family if he doesn’t cooperate. Meanwhile, at the former KGB headquarters, Deb Levin and Major Vazhin join the X-Men in interrogating Tullamore Voge. Phoenix attempts to invade his thoughts, only to connect with Wolverine, using Cerebro in New York. While informing her of the Goth’s attack, Voge nabs Wolverine and nearly transforms him into a slave. Phoenix shunts him out of the Astral Plane just in time. Cable, however, is altered after entering Voge’s mind. He appears to be suddenly cured of the techno-organic virus, just as Minister Koniev appears outside, demanding entrance. When Vazhin refuses, the Crimson Pirates attack. The X-Men are robbed of their victory when Cable betrays the team. Facing a barrage from the Pirates, Beast is forced to retreat with Phoenix and Deb.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Friday, June 14, 2019

G. I. JOE YEARBOOK #1 (March 1985)

Michael Golden cover for another Marvel JOE cash-in. #GIJoe #LarryHama #MichaelGolden
Golden’s work in the Yearbooks will be legendary in some circles, but he’s only doing a cover and pin-up here. #MichaelGolden #GIJoe

Monday, June 10, 2019

X-MEN #103 (August 2000)


The Goth
Credits: Chris Claremont (writer), Tom Raney (penciler), Scott Hanna (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Liquid! (colors)

Thursday, June 6, 2019

UNCANNY X-MEN #383 (August 2000)


Moscow Knights
Credits: Chris Claremont (writer), Adam Kubert (penciler), Tim Townsend w/Dan Panosian (inkers), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Richard Isanove (colors)

Summary: In Moscow, Storm evokes the name of her thief mentor El-Gibar to solicit the aid of mobster Simyon Kurasov. She explains Azlexei Vazhin called in a favor owed by the Thieves Guild to have Gambit recruit the X-Men. Their mission was to free Vazhin’s associate, Deb Levin, from The Slash, a seedy club run by the mysterious Ransome Sole. Storm remained as backup, while Phoenix, Gambit, Cable, and Beast were captured by Sole’s young slave, a mutant named Sketch. With Simyon’s help, Storm arrives in time to stop a slave auction overseen by Sole. Bidding for the X-Men are representatives of the Neo’s Shockwave Riders, and the interdimensional slaver known as Tullamore Voge. With the aid of Sketch, the X-Men overcome Sole and his flunkies: Big Casino, Revenant, Manacle, Bludgeon, and Cudgel. The Shockwave Riders teleport away Sole and his lackeys, but Deb Levin is freed, and Tullamore Voge taken into custody.

Friday, May 31, 2019

X-MEN #102 (July 2000)


The Cruelest Cut
Credits: Chris Claremont (writer), Lenil Francis Yu (penciler), Mark Morales (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Liquid! (colors)

Summary: Wolverine and Dani Moonstar investigate the remains of Mr. Sinister’s base in Sage, Nebraska. Using her powers, Moonstar recreates Domina’s assault on Sinister and Sabretooth. In Brooklyn, Cecilia Reyes attempts to fight off the Neo with the aid of the drug, Rave. Rogue’s team of X-Men arrives as backup, soon joined by Archangel and Wolverine. Domina channels the powers of her fellow Neo, embarrassing the X-Men in battle. The Neo known as Barbican seals up the church complex, forcing the X-Men to escape through a disappearing tunnel, leaving Reyes and Charlotte Jones behind. Elsewhere, Senator Kelly visits his wife’s grave. Tessa appears, broaching the subject of his presidential run.

Monday, May 27, 2019

UNCANNY X-MEN #382 (July 2000)

Lost Souls
Credits: Chris Claremont (writer), Tom Raney (penciler), Scott Hanna (inker), Comicraft’s Saida Temofonte (letters), Brian Haberlin (colors)

Summary: Cable offers the team psychic protection to enter Phoenix’s mind. Soon, he must also defend her body from a new attack by the Shockwave Riders. Phoenix successfully defends herself inside the mind of the dying Shockwave Rider, but is unprepared for the astral arrival of the Lost Souls. The shadowy Neo faction invade the minds of the X-Men, manipulating their greatest fears, pressuring them to give in to despair. Phoenix overpowers their dark force, then uses her powers to revive the dying Shockwave Rider. The X-Men attempt to part peacefully with the Neo soldiers. Later, Gambit urges the team to join him on a mission he declares more important than the Neo.

When X-Men: The Animated Series Killed Off Phoenix (Early)


How did X-Men: The Animated Series shock fans both old and new? And which two X-villains were named after jokes on the page margins? (Plus, it's an excuse to talk about the first John Byrne issue of Uncanny!)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

X-MEN #101 (June 2000)


Hard Landing
Credits: Chris Claremont (writer), Lenil Francis Yu (penciler), Mark Morales (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Liquid! (colors)

Monday, May 20, 2019

Todd McFarlane's Spawn - The Endgame...?!


This week at CBR, I examine the first season finale of Todd McFarlane's Spawn. Bonus -- we get to also relive the gruesomeness of the infamous Spawn #5!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

UNCANNY X-MEN #381 (June 2000)


Night of Masques
Credits: Chris Claremont (writer), Adam Kubert (penciler), Tim Townsend (inker), Comicraft’s Wes Abbott (letters), Richard Isanove (colors)
           
Summary: In the midst of Venice’s Carnival, Phoenix takes Cable to an abandoned, underground “library” she first visited as a youth with Professor Xavier. While reminiscing, she notices psychic calling cards left by Gambit. Beast and Storm soon arrive, citing notes from Gambit, directing them to Venice. Suddenly, a Neo faction called the Shockwave Riders targets Phoenix and Cable. Their Psishark enters Phoenix’s mind, consuming her memories. Most Neo teleport after their defeat, but one remains for questioning. He wills himself to die; to the team’s shock, Phoenix enters his dying mind, determined to retrieve her memories.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

X-MEN #100 (May 2000)


End of Days
Credits: Chris Claremont (writer), Lenil Francis Yu (penciler), Mark Morales (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Liquid! (colors)

Summary: Praying inside his church, Nightcrawler is ambushed by Rax, a member of a mysterious collective known as the Neo. Wounded, Nightcrawler locates Dr. Cecilia Reyes, unaware another Neo, Jaeger, is now hunting him. Reyes, panicked, shapes her forcefield into a spike and impales Jaeger. Elsewhere, a team of X-Men has joined Dr. Peter Corbeau’s crew in repairing the High Evolutionary’s orbital base. Seth, an undercover Neo, plants explosives and destroys the base. Combining their powers, Psylocke and Thunderbird rescue the crew inside a shuttle. Left behind, Shadowcat uses Seth’s spare space suit to return to Earth, certain it will take her to the Neo.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

When X-Men: The Animated Series Went Full Sci-Fi



Jean Grey's reinvention as Phoenix is iconic. The costume Wolverine stole from an alien? Less so. More from the original Phoenix adaptation this week at CBR.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Parties Weren't Meant to Last - The Road to (X-Men) Revolution


Before stepping into the strange, distant land of early 2000, I thought it best to examine the context of the times.
In the year 2000, a president has emerged from a sex scandal with his highest approval ratings, the pop charts belong once again to actual pop acts, cable TV is attracting mainstream audiences with content too extreme for network broadcasts, and the average American has taken AOL up on those trial discs and ventured online.
The overall culture is recovering from the world-weary, ironic distance of the 1990s and embracing…mostly garbage, it seems. Or, at the very least, material that would’ve been deemed too vulgar for polite society only a few years earlier.

Monday, April 29, 2019

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?
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