Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

Clothes Make The Man

WARNING IF YOU DO NOT KNOW ABOUT NARUTO'S PARENTAL BACKGROUND OR HAVE NOT FIGURED OUT WHO HIS FATHER WAS (it isn't hard to deduce at all, really) THEN YOU MAY NOT WANT TO READ THIS BLOG ENTRY. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

So the raw scans for Naruto chapter 430 have hit the net. Naruto is sporting a sweet jacket that is very similar to the one Minato, the fourth Hokage, wore. Minato was the baddest, most powerful shinobi that ever emerged from Konoha, and since Naruto is his son and he admire's the 4th so much, it's only natural that he'd don a jacket that's similar to the greatest ninja that ever lived. I've always hoped that some day Naruto would wear the jacket, or at least something that's close to it. I guess Kishimoto thought that Naruto should wear it someday as well. Gotta say, Naruto looks like one bad mofo in it.

If you're a bit behind on what's going on in the current Naruto chapters, here's the jist of it: Pein has come to Konoha looking for Naruto and left the leaf village a mere shell of it's former self. God only knows that the body count is and in chapter 429, Pein rocked the village with a huge explosion. Naruo has been training in the land of the toads (he's actually surpassed Jiraiya with his sage training) and they've recieved word (somewhat) that something is wrong in Konoha. So they warp back to the village, Naruto takes a look around and he is not happy. He takes out of the the Peins that attacks Tsunade instantly, no struggle whatsoever. A major fight is about to go down, folks.


Did I mention how awesome Naruto looks in that jacket? I gotta get me one of those.



Saturday, December 27, 2008

DBZ Abridged Returns!

One of my favorite YouTube series (right up there with Marvel/DC: Happy Hour) has returned. I'm of course, talking about Dragon Ball Z Abridged. For those of you that don't know, DBZA is a parody of the popular anime series done by Team Four Star. It follows the plot of DBZ but adds far more humor to the mix than DB and DBZ combined. Actually, I'd go as far as to say it has more humor than a lot of things and regular views would probably agree. I don't think I can ever look at Mr. Popo the same way again after seeing him in DBZA.

Anyway, the 7th episode is now up and it's just as hilarious (if not moreso) as all the other episodes that have come before it. If you haven't seen this series, you'll have a lot of fun catching up. They've even put out their first (of what I hope will be many) music video!

Enjoy!

DODGE!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Thoughts On Dragon Ball: Evolution

Yeeeeeeaaaaaaah, so I so saw the trailer for Dragon Ball: Evolution a few weeks ago. I should have made a blog entry about my thoughts on it a lot sooner but I've been busy doing other things.

So what are my impressions on the trailer? Well as far as special effects go, it looks like it'll be pretty sweet. It also looks like there will be some solid martial arts actions in there. The film seems to have some topnotch actors on board as well. I mean, we've got Chow Yun friggin' Fat as Master Roshi. There's some hot babe playing Bulma, and hot babes in movies are always a good thing.

Concerning things outside of special effects and the actors, it looks like they Americanized the heck out of Dragon Ball. I know I'm only going off what I've seen from the trailer, but a live-action DB movie has always made me cringe. Some things just aren't mean to be live-action and for all the good this movie has going for it that I listed above, I just have a feeling this movie will bomb horribly. Of course I could be wrong. After all, I thought Transformers was going to be poo and I ended up enjoying that flim so much that I bought the 2 disc special edition DVD. At least Goku doesn't make my ears bleed when she says the name of his trademark move in the tralier like he does in the Japanese version of the anime.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Spectacular Spider-Man Season 2 Episode Descriptions

I'm a few days late and the descriptions are brief, but it was enough to get me stoked for the upcoming season! If you don't want to know what's going down starting in March '09, don't click the link. The descriptions reveal quiet a bit so click/read at your own risk. Now if you don't mind being spoiled, click away! I think we're in for one heck of a ride for season 2, Spidey fans! 'Nuff Said!

Season 2 Episode Descriptions

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Have Some Cowa! It's Good For You!

When one hears Akira Toriyama's name, they more than likely think of Dragon Ball/Dragon Ball Z because that's his most popular creation. His other works may not be on the same scale as his martial arts master piece, but you should still check 'em out. Really, there hasn't been a manga that I've read by the man that I haven't enjoyed and Cowa! is no exception.

Cowa! isn't really anything new to me. I read the first three chapters a few years back via internet manga scans. I read in an issue of Shonen Jump that the manga was going to be getting an official translated release. I've had my copy for a few months now but I didn't get around to reading the thing until a few weeks ago and I just finished it.

Spanning only a single volume, Cowa! tells the story of monster Paifu and his fellow ghoul's adventure in retrieving a vacine for Monster Flu, a virus that could make all of the monsters in their hometown extinct. Maruyama, an unpleasant human begrudingly helps the monster kids on their quest. Choosing solitude over friendship, Maruyama has to depend on the help from Paifu and his friends and in the end, he's a done a near complete 180.

Yes, Cowa! is a tale of adventure and friendship. This is touted as a kid's book, but I honestly think adults will dig it, too. If you're in the mood for a one-shot manga and like Akira Toriyama's work, Cowa! is highly recommended.

Monday, December 15, 2008

More Bush/Shoe Hilarity


I love the internet.

Does Bush Have a Spider-Sense?

Those of you that keep up on world events (or even those of you who don't) have no doubt heard that President Bush was assaulted by an Iraq report who threw a size 10 shoe at him. The thing that really surprised me after seeing the video is not a shoe was thrown at our president. No, what really caught my attention was how fast he moved to dodge that size 10. Seriously, I don't think I have ever seen any old person move so fast.

For those of you keeping score, Spider-Man has an unusual ability that lets him sense danger just before it strikes, giving him time to react. This is known as his spider-sense. Bush's reaction makes me wonder if he, too, possess such an ability. I think he should be studied by the world's top scientists.

Only gaming freaks will get this one.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Kraven's Last Hunt

The image to the left is the cover for Web of Spider-Man #32, penciled by Mike Zeck (well, it's a painted version). It was part of the six part story, Kraven's Last Hunt that was published way back in 1987. The cover is widely considered one of the greatest covers in Spider-Man history. What's it doing in my blog? Well, aside from looking sweet as it always done, I've just finished reading my trade paper back of J.M. DeMatties masterpeice, Kraven's Last Hunt. You just knew I hadda say something about this.

I've a confession to make first: this weekened marked the first time I've read all of Kraven's Last Hunt. I own the two issues of Spectacular Spider-Man that make up this story, which I picked up more than ten years ago. Until this weekend, that was all I'd ever read of this story, but even then, I thought those two issues were great. Reading them again with the rest of the story was naturally, a whole lot better than my first mini encoutner with this story years ago.

This may make me the odd man out, but I've alays liked Kraven inspite of his somewhat campy nature. Many readers didn't give a rat's butt about him until he was offed in this epic story. As much as I've enjoyed previous tales with Kraven, I cannot aruge that this (along with Kraven's First Hunt from the '96 Senssational Spider-Man Annual) is the best that the hunter has even been written.

Kraven is a man who has long past his prime. He's defeated and tamed every animal in the animal kingdom. But one foe has always prooved his better and Kraven's repeated defeats have been hanging over his head like an unpaid bill. This elusive prey is not an animal, but a man. Spider-Man.

One of my favorite lines in this story is spoken from Kraven and it's one that has stuck with me since I read it a few days ago:

"Oh I see now; I understand in a way I never could before. This costumed adventurer called Spider-Man is just that: a man"

When Kraven set out on what would be his final hunt, two things frustrated him.

1. His numerous defeats by Spider-Man
2. He didn't think anyone had nobility or honor anymore.

By "killing" Spider-Man, taking his placing and proving himself superior to the web-slinger, and then meeting with Spidey after he crawled his way back up from the grave (which is a griping scene. Really, words fail to convey it.), he sees that Spider-Man is the second half of his name, not the first like he previously thought. Kraven went into this thing thinking that because of all the things Spider-Man did he more insect like. When he meets with Spider-Man again, he realizes that Spider-Man, despite everything he can do is a man. In Kraven's own twisted way, he was ability to restore his honor by taking Spidey's place and he found honor and decency in Spider-Man when the web-head refused to fight Vermin for his own amusement. In many ways, this story is more about Kraven than it is about Spidey. Sure, there are some great moments with Spidey (which I'll get to in a bit), but this story really gets into Kraven's head more any any other tale. Again, this is the best he has ever been written.

I have never really give much thought to being burried alive, but this story makes it unfathomably frightening. Spidey making his way back to the surface was one of my favorite scenes in this story. His motivation for leaving the pit? Mary Jane. She was his reason for leaving that dark and lonely place. And MJ was emotionally tortured almost as much as her husband was. For two weeks Peters was six feet under. Two. Weeks. She wasn't sure if Peter was either dead or crazy until the moment they were reunited.

In the end, I cannot say enough great things about this story. It's excellent. It's magnificent. You have to read it. It's a ridulously easy TPB to find because Marvel has been reprinting it every few years.

It's interesting that KLH has been an evolving story since it was first plotted by DeMatties before it was published. It started as a Wonder Man story, then became a Batman story, and finally, a Spider-Man story. Read the introduction at the beginning of the book for the whole story straight from the man himself.

Spider-Girl's Creator's Speak

Spider-Girl creator's Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz were guests on the Crawl Space podcast back in
November. They talked about why Spider-Girl has been around for 10 years, and even took calls from the fans. The pod cast is broken up into two parts. If you're a fan of Peter Parker's offspring, check 'em out.

Part 1

Part 2

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Second Great Depression?

I'm no expert in economics, but it doesn't take a degree to see the sorry shape that America's economy is in. Normally I don't blog about this kinda thing, but this has been weighing on my mind for the last few days, so I've decided to get it out in the open here.

The United States of America is the richest country in the world, yet it's in the saddest shape it's ever been in since the Great Depression, the worst financial crisis to ever hit the USA and that was more than 60 years ago. Thousands of jobs are being axed left and right, a good chunk of the American people's money was used to bail Wall Street out of the mess that they got themselves into, and the auto industry is so close to going down the toilet, yet it's essential that it survives for the good of the economy, but that will take another bail out. Guess who's paying for that? I'll give ya a hint, it ain't the rich folks.

What am I trying to say? We're getting screwed. Completely and utterly screwed. We're struggling just to make what should be the easiest of bills to pay, but it isn't easy. You're fortunate enough just to have a job but depending on what line of work you're in, you may be one of the many who has been blasted by hour cuts. And even if you aren't, this crisis is by no means a cakewalk for you. We are all being affected by this in some form or another.

The emotional stress that is brought with this disaster is unreal. I don't watch much news or TV for that matter, but when it is on, I always hear how things are getting worse. You can't turn on the tube without hearing how much further this thing is making us sink. It's depressing to hear about, and it's depressing to think about.

But I don't want to be all gloom and doom in this blog post. In fact, I honestly believe that we will get out of this mess someday, but it's gonna take time. The economy didn't get this way overnight and it won't be fixed overnight.

My advice to anyone reading this?

Pray. I've always been a believer in the power of prayer. I believe some people that never prayed before may be doing it now. That's how hard-hitting this situation is.

Take your mind of off it. Read a book, watch a movie, play a game, listen to some music, whatever. Dwelling on this crisis and worrying certainly won't make things any better. Just live your life the best you can. As I've already said, I do believe we'll make it through this. Eventually.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dubs vs Subs

Oh no, I didn't. I did not just bring up the immortal argument of dubs vs. subs. Wait, is that what it says up? There? Yup, it is. Looks like I did bring it up. Despite what you might think, I don't actually participate in this argument very often, if at all. I prefer to watch my anime in dubbed form and leave it at that, but I'm well aware that many people stick to subs. However, many sub fans often bash even the best of dubs and for ludicrous reasons. But I didn't bring up this topic to rant. I'm going to let someone else do that because they've done a superb job.

Gantz Spoof FanDUB

This video brings up excellent points, ones I've never seen mentioned whenever the topic of dubs vs. subs is brought up. It's also downright hilarious.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wizard's Idea of Fixing Spidey Back in '97

Some 10 years ago, the staff of Wizard magazine thought Spidey was broken and that he needed to be fixed (why, oh why do we keep hearing this?). They brought up everything they thought was wrong, addressed how they thought things should be, how they were, and gave them each a grade. You can read the scanned article in it's entirety here.

Keep in mind that 1997 was only about a year or so after the Clone Saga, and many fans were still staying away in droves after that debacle. I agree with some things the article talks about, like death being permanent, but not much else. One of my favorite forum posters on the net, stillanerd, had this to say in regards to the article.

I've done a good job on keeping my word about not mentioning my distaste for the stories that we have now in Amazing Spider-Man since issue #546 came out. Having said that, it's hard not to read this article and not think about the current status quo of ASM. Everything in ASM is now "fixed" the way it "should" be in ASM but is the book really any better? In my humble opinion, eff no.

As stillanerd pointed out in his post, the elements mentioned in this Wizard article are just that, elements and they are some pretty old ones at that. By their logical (and the brain trust behind ASM), Spidey should never have deviated from any of these elements. On top of that, ASM can still have these elements and still end up sucking. Less focus on the elements, more focus on telling a good story that doesn't feel archaic because the writers are so caught up in maintaing said elements.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Day

I originally wasn't going to do a Thanks Giving Day post (even though it is one of my fav holidays) but when I saw the picture to the left, I couldn't resist. Just look at the size of that bird! They are gonna eat sooooooooooo good!

Have a happy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Heya! Goku and the Gang Are Back!

If you can't read Japanese, the writing in the above picture translates to "Heya! Son Goku and Friends Return!!" which is the name of the new Dragon Ball OVA that was announced a few months ago.

I've actually seen this and while it's only 35 mintues and nothing extrordinary, it is pretty good. Written by Akira Toriyama, this story takes places 2 years after the defeat of Majin Boo. All the familiar faces are here along with some new ones.

What I really liked about this OVA was the amount of humor packed into it. There were plenty of laugh out loud moments and it really took me back. It was more in the line of Dragon Ball before a Z was added to the title.

It's up on YouTube if you wanna check it out. I recommend you do.

Opening

Just follow the related videos from there. Enjoy!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hating on Clones

She's baaaaaaaaaaaack. Alica Ashby, the master of hate returns to give us her opinions on 13 Spidey stories that she loathes. This time, the stories are taken only from the Clone Saga, one of the darkest periods in Spidey's 44+ year history.

For those of you that just woke up from cryogenic suspension, the Clone Saga is a series of stories that was supposed to last only a few months but ended up spanning three years. That's right, three years. The reason it went on for as long as it did? The writers were told to make it last as long as they could because sales spiked. It probably woulda been in Marvel's best interest to stick to the first plan and just carry the story out over the span of a few months. Despite the fact that a really sweet comic called Spider-Girl came from one of Spidey's worst periods, Marvel would like to forget that the Clone Saga ever existed. For the few good stories that we did get in there, the Clone Saga is filled with uneeded, convoluted stories and Judas Traveler, arguably the worst villain in Spider-Man comics.

Like Alica's previous list, I don't agree with every story on here, but I do agree with most of them. And I actually did like Ben Reilly. Shame Marvel "had" to kill him to prove Peter was the real mccoy.

It's a good, hilarious read. Check it out if you feel like laughing so hard your sides will split open.

13 Dumb Stories from the Clone Saga

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Successors

So I was looking for a picture of Spider-Girl to go along with my previous blog entry and I found this. If you been living in a cave, the fellow in the Batsuit is Terry McGinnis, Bruce Wayne's offspring (long story) and successor to the Batman mantle. I like to think Terry and Mayday have a lot in common. Both are teenage heroes that have followed in ther parents footsteps and said parents have both been aprehensive about them continuing on in their costume identities at one point or another.

This looks like more of a versus pick than anything else. If these two did spar, I think the fight could go either way. Both were trained by two of the best heroes in the business. But like their parents, I'm pretty sure they'd end up working on the same side in a case or something. In fact, I'd love to see this team-up. Bruce Timm and Tom DeFalco need to talk.

Oh and you know that thing you do with the right clicking and saving with cool pics? Do that with this one.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Spider-Girl Lives On!!!

Are you a fan of Spider-Girl but you're not buying Amazing Spider-Man Family? Well you may want to start dropping the $4.99 for ASMF every other month. Why? Because after Amazing Spider-Girl ends with issue #30 the stories will continue in the pages of ASMF.

Froggy - Please don't cancel Amazing Spider-girl! And if the series is gone, where else can we find Mayday Parker?

JQ- Froggy, while all good things must eventually come to an end, I'm going to make a big announcement here - - -

While Spider-Girl the comic is no more, you'll still be able to read her ongoing adventures as she'll be a feature in each issue of The Amazing Spider-Man Family.




I honestly didn't think Mayday will surive cancelation this time but I'm glad I was proven wrong. Looks like we're still stuck with the girl and I couldn't be happier.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

12 Crappy Spidey Stoires

This was brought to my attention via e-mail and it gives me something to talk about in my blog, so here we are.

When you've been around for 45+ years like Spidey, you're bound to have some sub-par tales. Spidey has had many of theme but here are 12 that Spidey fan Alicia Ashby really tore to pieces, and by that, I mean she wrote an article that is every bit worthy of the words "ranting" or "rave." Not too many people can trash things with such a masterful hate, but Alicia does more than a commendable job. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time.

So what stories made the list? You'll have to see for yourself, but you can probably guess a few of them. Yes, THAT Spidey story is on the list and if you have to ask what "THAT" Spidey story is, turn in your geek card.

I may not agree with every story on this list but it was still a hilarious and interesting article, nonetheless, one that I highly recommend you read.

12 Spidey Stories that are made of suck

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

11-4-08: History in the Making

Yesterday, I witnessed history being made as I'm sure many other people did. Even with a lot of people voting early, the lines for voting yesterday were huge. By far the 2008 presidential election has had the biggest voter turnout. Ever. Many people voted for the first time. When the final verdict came in, it was announced that Senator Barack Obama would be the next president of the United States of America. We now have our first African American president.

As an African American myself, I take great pride in this victory. It's hard not to be excited about it. I didn't vote for this year but I will say if I had voted, I would have voted for Obama but not because he's black. That's got nothing to do with it. I don't know a great deal about politics. In fact, I'm not democrat or republican. I'm for whoever I feel will do the best job. And my gut tells me Obama is the man for the job. And this is a vicotory for everyone. Yes, blacks are excited that he won, but as the man said, "this victory belongs to you." People from all walks of life and races voted for Obama. So I think everyone has reason to leap for joy.

As already mentioned, I saw the victory speech live and it was a pretty good speech. I don't get to see this kinda thing happen very often so it was pretty sweet. McCain took his loss pretty well and I applaud him for doing so.

Now whatever side of the fence you're on, I urge all of you to wish our future president the best. I was taught to pray for the leaders of America even if you did not vote for them. As Obama said in his speech, we are all one. We're in this thing together. We fall and rise as a nation. Like McCain said, we are not quiters. We will keep on fighting. We are unified and that's why we are the United States of America, the greatest country in the world.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Profiling Kenshin

I finished reading Rurouni Kenshin a few years back but it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I finally got around to reading a gift from a buddy of mine: Rurouni Kenshin Profiles.

RK Profiles is a 411 book on the characters in the RK manga series. Spanning the first two story arcs of RK, the book gives info about each character, their techniques and fighting styles. One of the things I've always liked about RK was that despite it being a fictional story, it was based around events that actually shaped Japan before, during and after the Meji era. This book also tells you about what types of food, clothing and other natural resources that that coming to Japan and when they showed up. So on top of getting facts about the cast and crew of RK, you can also learn a lot of other stuff.

Even if you've already read RK, you should still check out RK Profiles. There's also a timeline detailing the events and births of the key characters in RK and some colored Shonen Jump covers of RK that you won't see in the regular 28 volumes of the series. Sure, if you go browsing the net you can find them, but it sure is nice to see them on actual paper.

I got my copy for free, but I'd still pay the $14.99 if my friend hadn't gotten this for me as a gift. If you're into RK, pick this book up.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Real Life Falcon Punches

Unless you're an avid video game fan, you'll be unfamiliar with the term "Falcon Punch." It's a move from F-Zero poster boy, Captain Falcon in the Super Smash Bros. series. The words are usually used whenever someone gets slugged really good.

I saw a couple of videos on the internet a few days ago, which lead to the blog entry you see here. These aren't doctored videos on YouTube. This stuff actually happened.

Falcon Punch #1

Falcon Punch #2

The guy that got socked in the second video had down syndrome, FYI. The first video I find funny. The second one, not so much. I'm actually at a loss for words on that one.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Can Spider-Girl Be Saved?

Spider-Girl has faced cancellation numerous times in the past, so I can't help but wonder, is it possible she dodge the bullet one more time? With only four months left before the title gets the axe, I think this really could be the kid's final hour, as much as I hate to say it.

However, Spider-Girl has what may be the most passionate group of fans out there. They've flooded Marvel with letters telling them not to cancel Spider-Girl. Over the last 10 years, these fans have been the reason the title has remained in publication.

Some have speculated that Tom DeFalco plans to tie up some loose ends with the last 6 issues of Amazing Spider-Girl, but he's also said there are more stories to tell. I want the book to stick around as much as anyone else. I don't care if it is a niche title, it's still one of the best comics being published.

Will the same old, same old be enough to keep Mayday web-slinging this time? I'm not sure, but it won't hurt to try.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Farewell, Spider-Girl


Every Spider-Girl fan's worst fear has been realized. Amazing Spider-Girl #30 is going to be the last issues of the title and this time, it looks like it's for real.

I didn't start reading ASG until ASG #19 so while the ride for me on ASG has been short, I've been loving it ever sense. I've read a few issues of the first SG run and I've enjoyed those as well. If there's any good news, it's that Mr. & Ms. Spider-Man may go from 10 to 16 pages in Amazing Spider-Man Family.

Link

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Spidey vs. Firelord

I'm sorry for not having posted a blog entry here for a week. I've been busy with other things. Nothing really important, though. Why bide my time doing worthwhile things when I can commit myself to doing less productive stuff?

Anyway, I wanted to talk about an awesome two part Spidey story I read about a month ago. I should have came on here to talk about it sooner, but like I said before, busy goofing off. The story, I'm referring to Amazing Spider-Man #269-270. Spidey fought a lot of guys that are his superior in strength and power, but Firelord ranks above a lot of them.

Spidey's desperate battle against Firelord all started with a simple screw up behalf of some ignorant fools of New York. In a pizza eatery, Firelord wants some grub and a few of the locals mistake him for a mutant. These peons would only be so lucky if they were dealing with a mutant. When they attack Firelord things get ugly and Spidey comes in to do his hero thing. He not only strikes Firelord, he takes his staff away from him, something no other opponent has managed to do up until this point. Unfortunately for the web-head, he made the mistake of thinking Firelord's staff is what gave him his power. Proving just how wrong Spidey's assumption was, he attacks the building the web-slinger is stinging to and with one hit, it explodes into pieces. This is when Fireloard let's slip that he's the former hearld of Galactus. Now for the uneducated, if you worked under Galactus, that means you're sporting cosmic powers, meaning most people wouldn't want to screw with you. At this point Spidey realizes just how outlcassed he is and chucks Firelord's staff into the New York waters so he can escape. Peter thinks it'd be a good idea to let someone like the Avengers or the Fantastic Four handle Firelord. Since he doesn't know him as Peter Parker he could easily leave things to someone more equipped to handle the situation. When he's about to change, he spots some pictures of uncle Ben, and Peter's unbreakable sense of responsibility kicks in. Win or lose, he's gonna let Firelord know he's been in a fight. "One heck of a fight!"

It doesn't take Firelord long to recover his staff and once he does, he's out turn Spidey into a pile of ashes. Firelord's attacks are not something that can be shanken off like a jolt from Electro or a hard punch from Venom. If someone like Spidey were to take a hit from Firelord, that'd be the end of him. Game Over. The fight moves from skyscrappers, office buildings, subways and ends at a demolition site. Spidey does everything he can think of to stop this guy, even blowing him up in a building. With nowhere left to run, Spidey lays into Firelord, hitting him with everything he's got. He doesn't give Firelord a chance to strike back. He's just beating the crap out of him. Captain America andt he Avengers arrive to let Spidey know the fights over. Spidey looks to the ground to see that his foe is KO'd. Not only did Firelord get owned, he got owned by an everyday man. That had to be a huge blow to his ego.

What can I say about this story? I LOVED IT! This is a lot better than Roger Stern's two parter which pits Spidey against the Juggernaunt. I have great respect for Roger, but Tom DeFalco wrote the better story. You could really feel the fear and tension of the battle that weighed on Spidey. He couldn't let Firelord hurt anyone but the odds of him dying were a lot higher here than in most of his other battles. Spidey is a guy who mostly uses his brains to outwit his opponents, but every now and then, I think we need to see him pulverize the bad guy and that's exactly what he did here.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Holy Moly

Yes, I do read stuff besides Spidey. I can't afford to pick up 30+ comics a week, but I do enjoy the limited selection that's on my file at my comic shop.

Anyway, a few months ago, I saw the first sisue of Billy Bastion and the Magic of Shazam! There was a single copy left and like an idiot, I didn't pick it up. After reading about the comic from Chris's Blog, I knew I should have picked it up. Sure enough, when I tried to find a copy of the first issue at my comic shop, they didn't have any. Thankfully, I didn't make the same misake when issue #2 came out a few weeks ago.

Billy Bastion & the Magic of Shazam! is written and drawn my Mike Kunkel. And if you're looking at this cover, or you've flipped through an issue and thought that it's a kid's book, you'd be right. Yes, it is a comic geared toward's kids, but so is Tiny Titans and Mini-Marvels and those comics are fantastic. Just because it's for kids doesn't mean adults won't enjoy it. If I were a betting man, I'd lay odds that The Magic of Shazam! was being purcahsed by more adults than it is kids.

Anyhoo, in issue #2, we learn that Billy and his sister Mary aren't the only ones that got powers from saying the magic word "Shazam." A 14 year old boy named Theo Adam was chosen as a champion and like Billy, he'd transform into a grown up version of himself, except he was called Black Adam. Problem was, Theo was more or less the opposite of Billy. Where Billy wants to do good, Theo wants to cause chaos and destruction. Fortunately, Theo can't remember the word that grants him his powers. However, that doesn't stop him harnessing the power from the statues of the Seven Deadly Evils of Man. These status now have physical forms and are following Theo's orders. Needless to stay, stuff is gonna hit the fan in issue #3.

This comic is highly recommended. I don't care if you're 5 or 50. Billy Bastion & the Magic of Shazam! is for comic readers of all ages. I will so be there when issue #3 drops.

Amazing Spider-Man #573 Variant

As I've stated in the past, I'm not one for variant comic covers. The limited print run of these covers is an excuse for the comic distributors to jack up the price on something I wonder will stay under the $3 price tag. Regardless of my thoughts on variant covers and the current direction of Amazing Spider-Man, I still think the variant for Amazing # 573 is five different kinds of Awesome. Note that the all powerful, immortal Stephen Colbert is on the cover, paying homage to Amazing Fantasy #15. Not only does the cover bring a smile to my face, but I think the artwork is pretty solid and is drawn by Marvel's EiC, Joe Quesada. I may not be all that fond of the guy, but he's one heck of an artist. My only knock against the art here is that Spidey's costume looks baggy. If you don't feel like paying an absurd amount of cash for a flippin' comic book just to get this variant, having a digital version cover, or the Marvle.com logo in the right hand corner, right just click the image to the left and save as.

Mr. Colbert and Spidey will team up in a back up story for the final issue of the New Ways to Die story arc. This back up tale will be written by Dan Slott. Here's to hoping it will be a million times better than Spidey's team-up with Jay Leno a few years ago. Don't remember it? Didn't read about it? Consider yourself lucky.

I'd like to thank Robert J. Sodaro for posting this cover up on his blog. I may not have found it otherwise.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Attack of the Lizard

Some people have chosen to wait for the season one DVD set release for the Spectacular Spider-Man's first season. This is understandable. I haven't bought a DVD that wasn't a full season in years as it feels like a bit of a rip off when you only get 3 episodes on most DVD releases (a lot of anime is guilty of this). But I just couldn't help myself. I was in serious need of my Spectacular Spider-Man fix. This cartoon has been one of the best things to happen with the wall-crawler and since I work on Saturdays, I haven't been able to watch it.

I'll get the extras outta the way first. If you're expecting loads of extras, don't pick up this DVD because said extras are pretty bare bones. I picked this up for the episodes. Go in with that mindset and you should be satisfied.

The 3 episodes on this disc, which include Spidey's first encounter with the Enforcers, the Vulture, Electro, and the Lizard, have all been fused into one 70 minute movie. The opening credits are done in an entirely new way from the intro that we've grown to love.

Since this is a DVD, the picture quality is naturally better than what we see on Saturday mornings. I knew things had been cut for time and S&P (standards & practices) reasons but it wasn't until I actually watched the DVD that I realized just how much had been cut. Now most stuff that was cut only takes up a second or two worth of footage, but when you get down to it, a lot of stuff was cut. I could tell when I was seeing new footage because I watched the first two episodes religiously when the first aired back in March (YouTube for the win). A cop actually shot at the lizard and it looked and sounded like actual gun fire. The famous half mask appears in the episode where teh Lizard first appears. I could go into more details, but most things that were cut pertained to the action.

On the whole. I dug this DVD even though it only had the first 3 episodes. Yes, I'll be picking up the next one, Rise of the Super Villains and I'll eventually get the season one DVD whenever it releases. The MSRP was $19.99 but I was able to find it for $14.88 at Meijer and I saw it for $14.99 at Wal-Mart.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mary Jane Knows & Tells All

I absolutely love issues #257 & #259 of Amazing Spider-Man. Both are great reads and propelled the series forward with some startling revelations.

In ASM #257 Mary Jane drops by to cheer up a Peter and celebrate her finding steady work as a model. Before she can even open the bottle of champagne, Puma, the latest baddie after Spider-Man crashes into Peter's apartment. Fortunately, Peter gets MJ to saftey before Puma makes the place look like a rockin' party went down. MJ hears all the rukus and knows that Peter is in some kind of danger. The girl fights for all she's worth to bust the door open and eventually succeeds, but Peter is nowhere in sight.

Before I go on any further, I'd like to state that the aforementioned scene is one of my favorites in Spider-Man comics. MJ is a strong person. She knows Peter's in trouble and she's concerned about him. She doesn't care what happens to her, she just wants to know what could possibly be harming Peter. Do they make women like this anymore?

Anyhoo, after the fight between Spidey and Puma is over and Puma shows us that although he's an assassin, he does have a sense of honor, Peter returns to his apartment where MJ wraps her arms around him, relieved that he's OK. Peter fumbles for an excuse for all the noise MJ heard, she tells Peter to stop lying to her. This is where MJ drops the mother of all bombs on Peter, and no she doesn't tell him she's pregnant. She's got some info that's going to change things between the two of them forever.

OH. SNAP. I can only imagine the reaction of fans reading this comic back in 1984. This isn't some super villain that told Peter he knows he leads a double life. This is a friend revealing that she's known his biggest secret. Part of the reason Peter keeps his identity a secret is because he doesn't want others to carry the burdern of knowing what he goes through as Spider-Man. Well, Pete, you've just found out that one of your friends has been carrying that burdern for years.

Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz were the team that brought us the revaltion of MJ knowing Peter is Spider-Man. It wasn't a spur of the moment decision. Tom and Ron stated in Comics Creators on
Spider-Man that they'd talked about it for a while and felt that
MJ had known. Call me crazy, but I think things are always a lot more interesting when a friend or family member knows that the main character is a super hero. It made me actually give a rat's about aunt May when she told Peter she knew in ASM #38, vol. 2.

ASM #259 is another milestone issue. Since MJ know's Peter's big secret, she thinks it's only fair that he should know about hers. At first Peter is uneasy about MJ know he's Spidey. He even ponders on trying to convince her that he isn't Spidey, as foolhardy as it may be. Really, the girl knows. Nothing Peter can do or say will convince her otherwise.

I heard about MJ's broken family background but to actually read the issue where she tells Peter about her troubled past, man. It's like getting a story straight from the source. Her mom & dad married right outta high school and had a couple of kids. Gale, the first born. MJ was born four years later. MJ's dad was pretty good as college professor on campus but he wanted more. He dreamed of becoming a great writer. When he couldn't concentrate to produce a good tale, he took out his frustration on his family. At one point, he even struck MJ's older sister. To hide her pain, MJ adopted the facade of a party girl. MJ moved around a lot, but felt the most at home when she stayed with her aunt Anna. During a period she was staying with her aunt, she sees Peter Parker years before they'd meet.

Gale also married young like her parents did. With a second kid on the way, Gale's husband bailed. Guy just wasn't man enough to own up to his responsibilities. MJ's mother died, leaving her and Gale alone. MJ didn't want to give up her dreams to help her family so she ran and has been running ever since.

After bearing her soul to Peter, he knows it wouldn't be right to try and her convince her he isn't Spider-Man. Viewing the redhead in a new light, he's proud to have her as a friend.

These issues are some powerful stuff.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Spectacular Spider-Man Season Two Poster

It's been on the net for a while now and if you haven't seen it, here it is. You can see the returning villains (I knew concrete wasn't gonna hold the symbiote) and some new ones like Kraven and Mysterio. According to Greg Weisman, we'll also see Calypso and Silver Sable in season two. Other goods include a gang war story as well as the Master Planner story. March '09 can't get here soon enough.

Farewell, Toonami

March 17, 1997 was a great day in television history. On this day, Toonami began life on Cartoon Network. I didn't start watching Toonami until early 2002 when my family had gotten cable (for the second time.) Toonami hosted anime hits Yu Yu Hakusho, Robotech, and the very famous Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, the later having more popularity than the former. I'd heard about Dragon Ball Z back in 1995 and years after that, the name would still be on the tongues of kids and teens alike. I just didn't understand what made the show so epic in the minds of people everywhere. That all changed when I started watching Toonami. My appreciate for Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z is something I owe to Toonami. Toonami was the program block that got me into these shows. I even collected the entire manga series of DB and DBZ. That may not have happened if not for Toonami.

September 20th, 2008 was a very, very sad day for many of us. On this day, Toonami was canceled. Over 11 years of amazing anime and action cartoons brought to us by one of the finest program blocks of all time, if not THE finest program block. My friend Tommy Wilson informed me that Toonami was done Sunday evening and this was shocking news to say the least. I mean, this is seriously depressing stuff. Toonami. Dead. This sucks. This really, really sucks. Granted I haven't had cable for a while now but knowing that Toonami is no more is hard to take.

Toonami hosted great shows, that's for sure. But the things that made up Toonami, Tom (voiced by Steven Blum), the ship and the things that went on onboard the the ship seperated Toonami from every other programing block out there. As great as the Disney Afternoon was, it didn't have jack on Toonami. Some people even thought Tom died, only to be upgraded into a newer model, though the Thomas the Tank model disgusted many viewers.

The promos! Who can forget the sexy promos?! Those promos were done so well that practically any show looked good. Before the show even started you were hyped because the promos were so awesome. Toonami also did music videos, character profiles and game reviews. How many other program blocks do that?

(Sigh) Well, it's been a fun ride. Toonami will be missed. Just hit up YouTube and check out the Toonami promos, music videos and character profiles. R.I.P., Toonami.

Bang.

My First Spider-Girl Trade

A few weeks ago, I picked up my very first Spider-Girl trade. It was vol. 2 of the first Spider-Girl series in digest form, Like Father, Like Daughter. I missed out on a lot of the first Spider-Girl series so I'm playing catch up.

This book collects Spider-Girl #6-11. Peter doesn't like the idea of Mayday being Spider-Girl so he's taken away her costume and her web-shooters. However, May is still active as her alter ego and it isn't until he sees (and helps) her take action against Crazy Eight and Mr. Nobody that he realizes that his offspring just can't help but follow in his footsteps.

Reading this book introduced me to the aforementioned villains as well as Killer Wat and Spyral. From what I've heard, Mayday has what may arguably be an ever bigger rogue's gallery than her dad. Speaking of daddy, it was great to see him fight alongside Spider-Girl in SG #8. Nice to know he can still rock fools even if he isn't in his prime anymore.

My favorite story in this digest was the two parter in SG #10-11. Spider-Girl takes a trip to the past with Spyral. They end up in the time period where Spider-Man fought the first Spider-Slayer. For you Spidey fans with you geek caps on, this story takes place in the events of Amazing Spider-Man #25. So Mayday got to meet her dad as a teen and see what he was like as Spidey back then. Mayday also got to meet aunt May and her future mother, Mary Jane.

All told, I was pretty impressed with my first SG trade. Now to order the rest of the books and see what else I missed.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Amlost There

Apologies for not making a blog entry in a week. I was in the middle of making a post last Sunday but we had some really nasty 70 mile an hour winds which wrecked havoc on the electricity. Even as I write this, thousands of people in my area and nearby cities do not have power. I had power but my net connection was down. It was restored last night so I can finally blog again!

This past week, I discovered that my comic shop had gotten some major back issues of Amazing Spider-Man. For the first time in my life, I saw a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #2, which shows Spidey's first encounters with the Vulture and the Tinkerer. No, I didn't buy it because the asking price was $199.99. Even with a 10% discount on all comics that I buy, that's still a lot of green for one comic book. Still, it was nice to lay eyes on an actual copy.

I did however, get Amazing Spider-Man #229 and #230 for $2.95 each. Surprisingly, these issues went for a lot less than I expected. These are are the issues were Spidey confronts Juggernaut. Even though I'd already read them on the DVD-ROM ASM Complete Collection, I've always wanted to own actual copies for that price, I'd have been a fool to pass these up.

I have nearly every issue in Roger Stern's run on Amazing Spidey. I've already got both Annuals and I'm just missing a few issues from the regular comics. Almost there!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hooray for Reprints!

The Green Goblin has often been touted as Spider-Man's deadliest foe. He is what the Joker is to Batman. I wonder if Stan knew back when Gobby first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #14 that the Goblin would become the menace that he is to Spidey today. What makes the Goblin such an interesting foe isn't the costume. No. Much like Spider-Man, Gobby is such a great villain because the man underneath the suit is fascinating. Norman Osborn is one effed up dude to say the least. He was so annoyed with Spider Man getting in his way that he the battle between the two of them personal. He discovered Spidey's secret ID, revealed his own identity to the wall-crawler and would later go on to make Spidey's life a living nightmare. Gobby not only screws up Spidey's life, he screws up the lives of those Spidey cares about like Flash Thompson or if your name is Gwen Stacy, thinks ain't lookin' too good for you.



I've read every early Spidey/Gobby story except one and it originally appeared in the second issue of The Spectacular Spider-Man magazine, which lead a short life back in 1968. The first issue was reprinted and I picked it up a few years ago. I waited and waited for the second issue to get reprinted but it never happened. Thankfully The Amazing Spider-Man: The Compelete Collection contains every Amazing Spider-Man Annual, even the reprint material of things that already appeared in other issues on the disc. Amazing Spider-Man Annual #9 reprints the story from Spectcular Spider-Man magazine #2, "The Green Goblin Lives!"

This is another story where Norman remembers he's the Green Goblin and sets his sights on telling aunt May her ever-lovin' nephew is Spider-Man. Remeber, this was back when the old girl would faint at the brush of wind, the whole "The shock would kill her!" bit if she ever discovered Peter was Spidey.

Anyway, this story is full of classic stuff, zingy dialog for Stan, jazzy artwork from John Romita and Peter constantly worrying. There's a cool scene where Norman has dinner with Harry, Peter, Mary Jane and Gwen. He taunts Peter about the knowldege of him being Spidey in front of everyone without actually coming out and saying it. This scene was reproduced in the '90s Spider-Man Animated series except Peter was MJ's Man, not Gwen's (Gwen wasn't around.) After throwing some web cartridges in the fire place to cause a distraction, Peter changes into Spidey, Norman dawns his Goblin gear and awaaaaaay they go.

The way Spidey defeats Gobby is... well let's just say it's very 1960s. Using some of the Goblin's own halucination gas, he makes him fear the sight of Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. Norman once again forgets that he's the Gobby and that Peter is Spidey. It was a fun story if a little melodramatic, but then, that's just the way Stan wrote back in the day.

This is one of the few issues where MJ is sporting that stupid haircut she got back in Amazing Spider-Man #64. Even aunt Anna didn't like it! Let's hope it never shows up in the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon series.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sasuke Sucks

When I first started reading Naruto in the summer of 2003, I came in at the Zabuza arc. I did not like Sasuke. He was the typical anime character with a huge chip on his shoulder that would sooner on later be taken down a few notches. Now I don't mind characters like this. Heck, I love Dragon Ball's Vegeta, but Sasuke is another matter. Even now where things currently are in the manga, I still don't like Sasuke. The dude absorbs so much of the plot and gets way too much panel time. The manga is called "Naruto," right?
The good thing about hating Sasuke? I'm not a alone. I don't know if zutara-shewolf777 likes Sasuke or not, but in making this short, I do believe she has come up with the reason why Sasuke is such a jerk: he does not have a pair.

Spidey's Popin' Up At Ya!

Last week I picked up a copy of Amazing Spider-Man Pop-Up, "Spider-Man Tastic!" This book is 16 pages of Spidey action that litterlaly jumps off the pages, hence the pop up name. The entire 11 page origin of Spider-Man from Amazing Fantasy #15 is contained in this book, along with spread pages and facts on some of Spidey's most memorable foes (Green Goblin, Doc Ock, Mysterio, Kraven, the Vulture and Electro). This book isn't gonna tell the die-hard Spidey fan anything he doesn't already know but you really can't go wrong with colorful artwork from Steve Ditko and John Romita Sr. The regular asking price for this book is $24.99 but I my Borders had them for $4.99. (Score!) So if you can get it on the cheap, I'd highly recommend it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

J.M. DeMatteis Speaks

Ever hear of a Spidey story called Kraven's Last Hunt? I'm sure you have. It's only reguarded as one of the greatest Spider-Man stories of all-time, written by one of my favorite Spidey scribes, J.M. DeMatteis.

The Spider-Man Crawl Space did a two-part podcast with Mr. DeMatteis as their guest. He talks about Kraven's Last Hunt, the Clone Saga, the death of aunt May, and the death of Harry Osborn among other things. He seems like are really down to Earth guy and it was great to hear what he thinks about Spidey and his past work on the character. Give it a listen if you're a fan.

Part 1

Part 2

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Superman vs. Goku

Another sweet pic I came across. Don't know the artist, but man, this is one tight pic and it will make a sweet wallpaper.

The topic of Goku vs. Supes has been brought up many times in the past. Some say that Goku wouldn't even need to go to level 3 against Supes. Me? Well, I don't doubt the strength of the most powerful Saiyan, but the Kryptonian isn't exactly a pushover. Superman could probably wreck a couple of planets if he wanted to.

If these ever were to throw down, I'd want to watch the fight from another planet on TV. You've seen how powerful these dudes are. Just imagine neither one of them holding anything back.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Goku and the Gang Return

Have you heard about the upcoming Dragon Ball Z movie? No, not that live action movie that's probably going to suck so hard when reffering to it we'll have to spell hard with an "o." I'm talking about the real deal DB movie. This movie will be animated and written by Akira Toriyama, the father of DBZ. Releasing in November, it's supposed to take palce after the Majin Buu saga. Outside of contributing a few characters like Mecha Freeza in Super Dragon Ball Z and few other bits here and there, Toriyama-San hasn't really touched DB. The series ended for 1995 in Japan and he's long since moved onto other projects. Still, it is nice to see him return to one of his greatest creations and now DB/DBZ fans really have something to be excited about.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Oh That Ten-Ten

I don't know who drew this, but it was a good excuse for me to post a blog entry about the character that is the butt joke of the Naruto series where I frequently discuss all things Naruto, Ten-Ten.

Careful observers of Naruto will note that, despite being a weapons expert, Ten-Ten has managed to hit JACK throughout the Naruto series. Even when she becomes a Chunin after the time skip, she's still scrubtacular. Makes you wonder how she got anywhere in the ninja world. She's had fewer appearences than my favorite female character, Hinata. TenTen really is the character you love to hate because she more or less fails at everything.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Spidey Loves MJ #1 Varriant


I'm not really one for varriant covers, (you know, stupidly high prices and all) but I do like the one for Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #1. The image of a teenage MJ holding a Spidey doll and staring out into space is cute. Now I want a Spidey plush toy.