WARREN, Mich. — There’s nothing like having a living comic-book legend calling you out.
Unless that same childhood hero pours over an X-MEN issue he wrote — just before he autographs it for you.
During the VIP time/first night of the 2014 Great Lakes Comic-Con (Feb. 28), I’m please to – who am I kidding? pretty darn geeked — get face time with the one and only Chris Claremont. Personally, he’s one of only a handful of true living legends in the comic book industry who is still with us. Granted, Claremont was a little wary of me at first. (Maybe he spotted the reporter’s notebook I had with me — just in case I got the vibe he was open to doing an interview there at his table. [I didn't get that vibe BTW. ...] Or maybe it was the press credentials I also had in case I needed it — which I didn’t. Or the camera I put on the corner of his table. …)
But he warmed up to me. And it made more an uforgettable few minutes with the Man.
WARREN, Mich. — Legendary X-MEN writer Chris Claremont may not have created Wolverine, but he sure wrote dozens of stories that have shaped how fans perceive the most ferocious and popular of Marvel Comics’ mutants.
For me, Claremont’s WOLVERINE limited series with artist Frank Miller is four of the greatest and timeless issues published in the history of comic books. It certainly remains one of the four finest limited series Marvel has ever published. (HAWKEYE, X-MEN AND THE MICRONAUTS and VISION AND THE SCARLET WITCH being the other three.)
So it stands to reason we fans would want to know how the now legendary WOLVERINE came to be. Someone asked Claremont how he pitched the series to Miller during a Q&A session at the 2014 Great Lakes Comic-Con in Warren, Mich.
Almost half of the trade paperbacks/hardbacks and graphic novels I bought fairly recently for ridiculously good prices were about one of my favorite superheroes, Captain America. Here are my reviews for three of them.
MARVEL ADVENTURES AVENGERS: CAPTAIN AMERICA (includes MARVEL ADVENTURES SUPER HEROES Nos. 8 & 12, MARVEL AGE SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP No. 2 and CAPTAIN AMERICA No. 255) — Basically this is a kid-friendly collection of early Cap stories that are good for people who are just getting acquainted with the Star-Spangled Avenger. The artwork is simple and cartoon-y, aside from the classic John Byrne art in CAPTAIN AMERICA No. 255 — by far the most comprehensive and greatest retelling of Steve Rogers’ origin. I particularly enjoyed the first story from MASH No. 6, “The Legend Reborn,” where Cap runs into Rick Jones soon after being thawed out of suspended animation at a SHIELD facility. Cap ends up telling Jones his story while lamenting about being thrown from the 1940s into modern times and ultimately takes down a squadron of Hydra agents in a park, which makes the Star-Spangled Avenger an instant smash with the public. The Spidey team-up story is pure fun. The last line is a classic as webhead realizes his experience with Captain America has given him all he needs to write his social studies assignment. Grade: A
WARREN, Mich. — So I was at The Great Lakes Comic-Con this weekend. Here’s a short rundown of the highlights from the two-day event in Warren, Mich.:
• Getting to shake living legend Chris Claremont’s hand and letting him know I how much entertainment and joy his X-MEN stories have given me over the years.
• Snagging Claremont’s autograph. Free! (on a comic I bought just a few minutes earlier for 50 cents!)
• Claremont calling me out during his Q&A session — complete with a tongue-in-cheek grand gesture!!! (On seeing me with my reporter’s notebook: “Oh no. … He’s taking notes. I deny everything!”)
• Being in Big Ron Cooper’s booth that was selling one issue priced at $1,000! (FANTASTIC FOUR No. 12 — first appearance of the Hulk in that series)
• Seeing and holding the “first” issue of CAPTAIN AMERICA (What a thrill it was for this lifelong Caphead. I had never seen CAP No. 100 in person. Sooooo freakin’ cool!)
“It’s time we start trusting each other, Lieutenant. We’re on the same side.” — Batman
“No, we’re not. But I need you on this one— but only this one.” — Lt. Jim Gordon
“If you say so.” — Batman
All dedicated Batman fans have their defintion of what their Batman is. I know I do.
Many people automatically think of Adam West’s campy version in the late 1960s “Batman” TV show. In the comic books, there’s the combination of creature of the night, Darknight Detective and what I’ve started calling the compassionate Caped Crusader of the late 1960s through late 1980s (basically the Bronze Age-plus) and “Batman: The Animated Series.” There’s also the have-no-mercy Dark Knight of Frank Miller’s possible future or even the overly obsessed and slightly psychotic Batman/Bruce Wayne with little to no social skills of the early 90s comics and even the two Tim Burton films. You can’t forget what Christopher Nolan and Co. did with the loner Batman dedicted to serving — and saving — Gotham City. And how about the fun, team-up friendly Batman from the “Brave and the Bold” animated TV series?
So where does “Beware the Batman” animated series fall? How memorable is this incarnation?
This is unsual for me: I went to the movie theaters twice within seven days. The first time was to see the PG-13 remake of “Robocop” and then I finally saw the much heralded “LEGO Movie.”
First up, “Robocop.” Obviously, comparisons to the 1987 classic are inevitable. And that being one of my favorite flicks of all time, I gotta say I enjoyed this version. That’s not to say the 2014 incarnation also will become an instant classic, but it’s a respectable redo.
Writing an opinion-based blog means I stick my neck out with what’s on mind on a regular basis. Many times my speculation, opinions and/or instinct are right (or so I’ve been told by many of my readers); occasionally I have to eat crow.
Consider this one of those times when I’m forced to feast on foul fowl.
First of all — even though I never expressed this sentiment on CCC — I admit I rolled my eyes when in 2012, Marvel Comics released four hardcover graphic novels all subtitled SEASON ONE and all featuring updated origins some of Marvel’s earliest creations: Daredevil, the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and the X-Men. “Yawn. Here we go again,” I thought.
For $24.99 each, there was no way I was going to spend my hard-earned money to try them. And as you can tell, I didn’t have enough interest to check the graphic novels out of my local library. But when the BAM! in Sandusky put a crap-load of hardcover trade paperbacks and graphic novels on sale for two-thirds of the original price (we’re talking two shelves worth), I thought “Why not?” (Look for reviews of the SEASON ONE takes on the FF and Spidey in coming weeks.)
X-MEN: SEASON ONE was a steal for $7.97. Dennis Hopeless’ story? Priceless.
“You’re gonna hate it because of the art.” — Andrew Gates
“This looks bad.” — Clint Barton
Now for some context. The first statement is what one of my best friends and fellow comic-book fans warned me when I told him I was about to read the hardback trade of HAWKEYE written by Matt Fraction.
The second quote by Barton (Hawkeye himself) is what he says in the first couple pages of each of the 11 issues in this trade. True, he gets himself into some whoppers of situations — all while off-duty as an Avenger and usually when he’s attempting to right a wrong. More often than not, the same bad situation is one in which the archer gets the crap beaten out of him. (The dude takes a serious lickin’ in these 11 issues — but what I’ve always loved about Barton is he always struggles through to the end. You gotta love the guy’s commitment.)
Piggy-backing off my flashback-review I posted the other day of “The Dark Knight,” here’s something I wrote for the original online version of CCC about the brilliant pre-TDK “I Believe in Harvey Dent” online campaign back on Dec. 2, 2011:
As voters wonder who will be the Democratic presidential nominee, an online comic book-related campaign has been going strong for the last several weeks.
The marketing department behind the July 18 film “The Dark Knight” (TDK) has put Harvey Dent’s campaign to be the next Gotham City district attorney in full swing.
I received an e-mail last Thursday from Dent media manager Allan Cypes announcing the assistant D.A. is running after “Harvey Dent heard the fierce desire all of you have for change in Gotham.”
Almost nine years ago exactly, I started writing the print version of “Cary’s Comics Craze” twice a month for the NORWALK REFLECTOR newspaper. My second column — actually the official premiere of CCC — was about the “Elektra” movie — a sort-of sequel to “Daredevil” — which had just come out or was about to be released.
Fast-forward to February 2014. After one of my best buds, Andrew Gates, and I watched the featurette about the Director’s Cut of “Daredevil” last weekend, I was inspired to watch DD again. Then I was inspired to review it. Given all those circumstances …
To put it lightly, a lot — and I mean a lot (!) — of comic book fans don’t like the 2003 “Daredevil” film. In fact, it’s safe to say they hate it, if not scorn it.
I’m not one of the fans. Never have been.
I enjoyed it after I saw it in the theaters. Sure, it’s not without its problems and/or issues (more on that here later), but there are also some things I truly dig about DD’s only theater outing (more on that too later, of course!).
When “Daredevil” came out on DVD, I bought the Director’s Cut. By far, that’s the preferred, must-see version to watch. You simply don’t get enough of what’s going in the theatrical release to appreciate what director-writer Mark Steven Johnson is doing — or at least trying to accomplish. The Director’s Cut provides complete or fills out storylines that the abbreviated theatrical version glosses over. I firmly believe since most fans likely only have seen what was released in the theater, those same fans don’t appreciate the movie.