X-Men, Part 9: Filling in the Corners of the Original X-Men with Savage Hulk #1-4

Saturday, March 28th, 2020 | Posted by Derek Kunsken


Welcome to the 9th episode of my reread of the vast X-Men story that began in 1963. The X-Men series stopped putting out original stories in early 1970, due primarily to low sales; it was a reprint magazine from issues #67–93, cover dated December 1970 to April 1975, until the beginning of the Claremont and Cockrum run in issue #94.

I’m going to go through their early Bronze Age appearances in coming blog posts, but for story continuity purposes, I’m also reading issues created in contemporary times but fitting into that 5-year dead period, like I covered for the original X-Men in X-Men: First Class.

So this time I read the 2014 series Savage Hulk, by writer/penciller Alan Davis, inker Mark Farmer and colorist Matt Hollingsworth. If this is the first of these posts you’ve seen, you can find my previous ones at the links below.

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Uncanny X-Men Part 8, Issues 59-66: The Savage Land and the End of the Silver Age X-Men

Saturday, March 14th, 2020 | Posted by Derek Kunsken


This is a gigantic milestone! This is the 8th episode in my reread of the X-Men run. It covers from #59, the height of the Roy Thomas-Neal Adams run, to #66, the end of original X-Men stories, which hit the stands on March 10th, 1970. The end of the X-Men’s ongoing stories coincides with the end of the Silver Age and the beginning of the Bronze.

The Silver Age X-Men, as a distinctly 1960s phenomenon reached their peak with some of the Arnold Drake stories with some interesting experimentation under Steranko’s art. The arrival of Neal Adams feels much more like it belongs in the Bronze Age. Both the art and the story complexity (under Roy Thomas) feels like it’s breaking creative ground that the best of the 1970s will follow.

The merry mutants’ uneven momentum had carried them for 7 years, but even a spectacular finish couldn’t save the series from its failure to come into focus. We’re going to talk today about that end.

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Uncanny X-Men: Part 7, Issues #54-58 – Havok and Neal Adams

Saturday, February 29th, 2020 | Posted by Derek Kunsken


I was super-tempted to pause my blogging about my X-Men reread to complain about my reread of another classic, but I opted for the high road and am glad I did, because this was a fun post to think through. And, for those of you still with me, we’re almost at the end of the original X-Men! So pull up a chair for the 7th installment of my reread of the X-Men.

In this post, I want to look at issues #54-58 (March, 1969 – July, 1969), a run that contains two major Silver Age milestones. The first is the introduction of Alex Summer, the mutant brother of Scott Summers. Alex will eventually join the X-Men as their 7th member. The second is equally exciting – the beginning of Neal Adams’ brief but spectacular run. The team-up of Roy Thomas and Neal Adams marks the beginning of the zenith of the original team, outshining the Kirby-Lee issues and sitting comfortably at the same table as many of the great Claremont-Byrne stories.

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Call for Backers! Mary Shelley Presents Four Horror Stories by Victorian Women

Sunday, February 23rd, 2020 | Posted by Emily Mah

Trade PBGaskellEveryone’s heard of Frankenstein, and most people also know its author, Mary Shelley, but on the 200th anniversary of that novel’s publication, Kymera Press is doing something very, very cool. Mary Shelley Presents is a graphic novel series about other Victorian women horror writers. These women were famous in their own day, but their legacies have faded over time. Now, with the help of Kickstarter, Kymera press seeks to assemble the multiple stories of this series into one trade paperback that they will then bring to life — okay, okay… I’ll hold off on any other Frankenstein metaphors…

Instead, let me introduce Debbie Daughetee, owner of Kymera Press, and have her tell the story of this book in her own words. Then head on over to Kickstarter to support the trade paperback edition!

Emily Mah: Mary Shelly is a beloved matriarch of horror and this book looks so gorgeous. Can you give us some background on how it came to be?

Debbie Daughetee: Nancy Holder and I have been wanting to work together for a long time. So when the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein loomed, I talked to Nancy about doing something to celebrate it. Neither of us wanted to revisit Frankenstein as it’s been done to death in comics. Finally, we had the thought to have Mary Shelley and her creature introduce horror stories written by Victorian Women.

Mary Shelley and her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, did much for women’s rights and for women writers. It was a natural fit with Kymera Press’ mission statement of supporting women in comics. These Victorian women were as famous in their time as Charles Dickens and Bram Stoker, and yet most people haven’t heard of them. Resurrecting their voices is a fun and interesting adventure for us.

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Uncanny X-Men Part 6: Issues #49-53: Reunion and Family and Steranko

Saturday, February 15th, 2020 | Posted by Derek Kunsken


Holy mutants, Batman! We’ve reached week 12, episode 6 of the great X-Men reread! This is an exciting run, because we get to experience the first of two  moments of major artistic experimentation in the Silver Age X-Men, as well as the first real addition to the X-Men’s roster since issue #1. This blog post will only cover the 4-issue Daughter of Magneto saga and a stand-alone issue with an FF villain (so October, 1968 to March 1969), but I think we’re getting to periods where it’s worth slowing down to experience the art and writing more slowly.

If this it the first of these posts that you noticed, my can find my previous ones here:

  • Part I: X-Men #1 (Nov, 1963) to X-Men #20 (May, 1966)
  • Part II: Early X-Men guest appearances (1964-1965), X-Men #21-23 (1966), and X-Men: First Class Volume I (2006)
  • Part IIIX-Men: First Class, Volume II (2007)
  • Part IVX-Men #24-39: The Middle Years of the Original Team
  • Part VUncanny X-Men, Part 5 – Issues #40-48: Death and Separation

We left the X-Men at the end of issue #48, having been split up for two issues and still mourning their deceased professor. By the time issue #49 rolled around, we readers were ready to see the gang back together. Their reunion feels like a big deal not just because they’re together again, but because of the cover art and the new story.

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Goth Chick News: The Crazy Reality of The Show

Thursday, February 6th, 2020 | Posted by Sue Granquist

The Show banner-small

A whole 22 years has passed since we marveled at reality TV taken to the extreme via The Truman Show, and my, my, my weren’t we naïve back then? I mean, we were still almost 10 years from the train wreck that would be Keeping Up with the Karadashians, and even 4 years from the first Bachelor episode. Though we had by then voyeuristically tuned into The Real World, it would seem downright pedestrian when compared to what came later in the form of Temptation Island and Survivor. Today, I can’t come up with an accurate count of how many total reality television programs are currently airing, but several sources list at least 15 as ‘must see TV’ so the number must be well into the double-digits. And each year, audiences demand edgier, more titillating, more graphic content until we arrive at…

The Show.

It was a simple idea. Take a man, lock him in a room and film him slowly go mad. That man was Johnny Teevee and he’s been locked away for six years.

But, as Johnny’s antics become more predictable, ratings start to drop, and his producer is forced to go to extreme lengths to keep things entertaining.

It might be cruel, it might be immoral — but it makes good TV.

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Uncanny X-Men, Part 5: Issues #40-48: Death and Separation

Saturday, February 1st, 2020 | Posted by Derek Kunsken

Screenshot_20200105-225137_Marvel Unlimited

Welcome to the 5th installment of my reread of the X-Men from 1963 forward. This is a cool one, going from cover date January, 1968 to almost the end of 1968. There are some big stories and even the middling stories in this run have their charm, and the best ones hold up as exemplars of the best of the Silver Age, including an Avengers-X-Men cross-over. If this it the first of these posts that you noticed, my can find my previous ones here:

  • Part I: X-Men #1 (Nov, 1963) to X-Men #20 (May, 1966)
  • Part II: Early X-Men guest appearances (1964-1965), X-Men #21-23 (1966), and X-Men: First Class Volume I (2006)
  • Part III: X-Men: First Class, Volume II (2007)
  • Part IV: X-Men #24-39: The Middle Years of the Original Team

I wish I could say that this run opens with a bang, but after the work that went into ending the Factor Three multi-part story line, Roy Thomas and company come out with a forgettable (or best forgotten) Frankenstein’s monster story in issue #40. Issue #41 follows up slightly better, because although they’re fighting another poorly-drawn hulking brute, it’s about a secret subterranean civilization that have all died due to human action.

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Goth Chick News: Follow Me into the Dark…

Thursday, January 30th, 2020 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Twisted Dark Season Two Volume One-small

I fell hard for writer Neil Gibson back in early 2014 at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo. At the time he was promoting volume one of Twisted Dark, his illustrated story which had just been published by indie comic house TPub in the UK.

A Brit who also writes dark stories with twisted endings?

All I could say to that was “Yes, please.”

By May 2015, Twisted Dark reached number one on the UK Kindle chart, and six volumes later it’s clear I’m far from being the only fan of Gibson’s unique style of storytelling. Along the way, Gibson has been personally responsible for several other unique and riveting tales such as Tortured Life, Twisted Light, and Tabitha, while TPub has continued to produce some of my favorite graphic novels like Transmissions which I told you about last fall.

So, it’s with a shiver of anticipation that I can now tell you Gibson is once again headed back into the dark, with me devotedly in tow.

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The Illustrated Safari

Sunday, January 26th, 2020 | Posted by Milton Davis

Changa and the Jade Obelisk cover-small

Cover for Changa and the Jade Obelisk #1

Changa’s Safari began in 1986 as a concept inspired by Robert E. Howard’s Conan. I wanted to create a heroic character with all the power and action of the brooding Cimmerian but based on African history, culture and tradition. Although the idea came early, the actual execution didn’t begin until 2005, when I decided to take the plunge into writing and publishing. During its creation I had the great fortune to meet and become friends with Charles R. Saunders, whose similar inspiration by Howard led to the creation of the iconic Imaro. What was planned to be a short story became a five-volume collection of tales that ended a few years ago with Son of Mfumu.

I had always seen Changa’s story as a visual experience. When I began writing the first story I imagined Michael Clarke Duncan as Changa, the Indian Ocean with his crew from adventure to adventure. After Duncan passed away; I settled on Michael Jai White as a worthy replacement for my hero. Having Changa travel the world for his various adventures was also part of the visual experience. It was my hope to one day see it all take place on the silver screen.

A few years ago I embarked a project to make Changa’s Safari an animated series, a project that is still in development. But recently I imagined Changa as a comic book series. I still had a strong desire to see Changa visually, and I felt that the comic book medium would be the fastest way to do so. The comic book would also serve as storyboards for a possible movie, if the opportunity ever came up.

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Goth Chick News: Grab a Pen, Here Comes Your 2020 Reading List

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Coyote Rage-small Inspection Josh Malerman-small The Worst is Yet to Come-small

If you live somewhere that, like Chicago, has been experiencing temperatures incompatible with human life recently, then thinking about a lounge chair, a book and an umbrella drink wearing anything less than a Tauntaun skin is pretty darn appealing. And with perfect timing, here comes the 2019 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot hot off the press from the The Horror Writers Association (HWA), providing a categorized list of reading material.

Now all you need is the lounge chair, an umbrella drink and a space heater.


Named in honor of Dracula’s beloved Pappa, the Stokers are presented annually by the HWA for superior writing in eleven categories including traditional fiction of various lengths, poetry, screenplays and non-fiction. The HWA also presents a Lifetime Achievement Award to living individuals who have made a substantial and enduring contribution to the genre. Previous winners include Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, George R. R. Martin, Joyce Carol Oates, and Neil Gaiman.

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