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

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

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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

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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.

Hazzah.

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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X-Men, Part 4: Issues #24-39: The Middle Years of the Original Team

Saturday, January 18th, 2020 | Posted by Derek Kunsken

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While travelling in November, I loaded a bunch of X-Men comics onto my phone for the airports. I haven’t stopped reading and I started blogging about my reread. I’ve made the reread slightly more complete by adding in stories that were written later but fit into the canon. I’ve talked about:

  • 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)

In this post, I’m covering my thoughts on X-Men #24-39, with cover dates 1966-1967 which cover, most significantly, the introduction of Banshee and the multi-part Factor Three story. I mention the dates though because for the older issues I often spool up music from the corresponding year to play in the background for flavour. If you’re reading along at home via Marvel Unlimited or trades or Masterworks, give it a try. It’s weird way to situate yourself in the historical era.

It’s also important to situate ourselves in the comics era. During this period, Roy Thomas was getting his feet under him, with maybe as many hits as misses? Elsewhere in the Marvel Universe, Kirby and Lee were introducing the Silver Surfer, Galactus, and the Black Panther. On TV, the Adam West Batman series was premiering, as was the animated Spider-Man series, the first Fantastic Four animated series, as well as Marvel’s old Thor, Captain America and Iron Man cartoons which were half animated, half motion comic. It was a heady time to love superheroes, although I missed it by 15 years.

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Uncanny X-Men, Part 3: X-Men: First Class, Volume II and First Class Finals

Saturday, January 11th, 2020 | Posted by Derek Kunsken

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I am continuing my perhaps Quixotic reread of The X-Men. I started in 1963 and am working my way up to the present, and I’m including not just the main series, but some significant cross-overs and the series that retcon some good stories.

My first blog post covered X-Men #1-20. My second post covered X-Men 21-23, some early cross-overs, and the 2006 series X-Men: First Class. For this one, I read X-Men: First Class, Vol II, #1-16, which continued Jeff Parker’s excellent story of the original five X-Men, with art by Eric Nguyen, Roger Cruz, Nick Dragotta and others.

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Blogging Marvel’s Master of Kung Fu, Part Ten

Friday, January 3rd, 2020 | Posted by William Patrick Maynard

MOKF 44Master of Kung Fu #44 kicks off an eight-part story arc that builds upon the events of the series’ preceding six issues while also serving as the culmination of the ongoing storyline involving Shang-Chi’s father Fu Manchu and sister Fah lo Suee and their decades-long battle for control of the Si-Fan. Marvel approved a six-part story with some reluctance, but the team of writer Doug Moench and artist Paul Gulacy were making the series one of Marvel’s very best of the 1970s and had the clout to push boundaries further so long as sales and critical recognition continued. Of course, the first thing the two men did was plot a prelude and epilogue which extended the story from six chapters to eight. The results are both more and less than what one might reasonably expect, though they certainly succeed in terms of ambition and scope.

The principal difference in quality is Gulacy’s art. While never disappointing, he simply fails to match the standard of the previous five issues he illustrated. The challenge of maintaining such a high standard month after month was wearing and would result in Gulacy’s decision to leave the series that had brought him such acclaim. Likewise, Moench remained one of Marvel’s most overworked writers and despite the care he took in structuring the story, it was inevitable that moments appeared rushed and even underwritten. It was never a question of Moench’s skills, simply that he also could not maintain the same high level of quality writing when juggling so many titles each month.

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Uncanny X-Men, Part 2: Early Guest Appearances, X-Men #21-23 and X-Men: First Class Volume I

Saturday, December 28th, 2019 | Posted by Derek Kunsken

Marvel X-Men 23-small

While I was travelling, I loaded a bunch of X-Men comics onto my phone for the airports. I haven’t stopped reading and I started blogging about my reread in Part I two weeks ago, which covered X-Men #1 (Nov, 1963) to X-Men #20 (May, 1966). It’s been a lot of fun, with not too many cringey moments.

This second post, I’m continuing my reading, but altering the experience a bit. I’m not just going to include the core X-Men series. I think I would like to try reading the stories in the chronology that Marvel sort of had in mind for each story.

So I’m going to start including guest appearances and cross-overs and later series that added history to this period. So this post will cover Strange Tales #120, Fantastic Four #28, Tales of Suspense #49, Journey Into Mystery #109, and X-Men issues #21-23, all of which were published between 1963 and 1966, and Volume I of X-Men: First Class, which was published in 2006-2007, but whose events occur before X-Men #24. I hope this ride is not too disorienting for you or me!

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Cover Reveal: Carson of Venus: The Edge of All Worlds by Matt Betts

Tuesday, December 17th, 2019 | Posted by christopher paul carey

EntertheERBUlogo

Science fiction author Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan and John Carter of Mars, wrote four novels and a novella about former stuntman Carson Napier and his wayward adventures on the planet Venus (or Amtor, as it is known to its inhabitants). Now get ready to transport yourself into the Edgar Rice Burroughs Universe with the first new Carson of Venus novel to be published in more than fifty years: Carson of Venus: The Edge of All Worlds by Matt Betts.

The Edge of All Worlds releases Spring 2020 from Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., and launches the canonical ERB Universe series of interconnected novels.

Stranded on the planet Amtor for nearly two decades, Earthman Carson Napier returns from his latest adventure to discover a mysterious enemy has struck his adopted nation of Korva and reduced one of its cities to ash and cinders. The trail of the mysterious threat leads Carson and his love Duare through dark cyclopean corridors deep beneath Amtor to a distant land, where they must confront both a powerful new alien species and the shadows of Carson’s past.

I’m pleased to present the exclusive cover reveal for Carson of Venus: The Edge of All Worlds, featuring the artwork of the amazing Chris Peuler.

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Uncanny X-Men 1-20 – Part I: Introducing The Strangest Super-Team of All

Saturday, December 14th, 2019 | Posted by Derek Kunsken

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Sometimes when life is too busy, I don’t have the bandwidth for entertainment that engages too deeply with me emotionally or intellectually. It seems like all of 2019 has been like that. Earlier in the year, I talked about rereading the first hundred and twenty issues of Marvel’s The Defenders. Last month my brain needed another break, so I started rereading the original X-Men. It was fun and full of nostalgic feelings.

The problem is, I can’t just do 500 words on the X-Men. They were certainly a second-string title in the 1960s that, publication and profit-wise, was on a slow train to moth-balling by 1970, despite a brief renewal under Roy Thomas and Neal Adams. But five years later, the Claremont-Cockrum-Byrne team modernized the X-Men mythos for the Bronze and modern age and by the late 1980s, the soap operatic X-Men had become an economic juggernaut (sorry).

I lost touch with the X-Men in the 1990s when I left comics, and found the mythos so ornate as to be impenetrable once I came back to comics in 2007. It was too vast.

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