Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Random Number of Adam Strange Covers That I Think Are Pretty Good

In keeping with DC Comics' 75th anniversary event to redraw iconic covers throughout their history, and following blogs like The Idol-Head of Diabolu, which have created lists of iconic characters, I thought I'd throw my hat into the ring.  Now, I'm in no way qualified to provide a comprehensive list of iconic the Top Ten Adam Strange covers ever made, but here are some that I think should make the cut:

Adam Strange: Planet Heist #8, 2005

Yes, it's the modern costume, which I can't stand, and Adam's way too ripped to be taken seriously.  But the split-down-the-middle cover is an homage to a classic Mystery in Space issue and is a metaphor of Adam's "man of two worlds" stauts.  Plus, it was a really fun series.

Adam Strange Special, 2008

Adam in all his stripey-pants glory, in a classic pose and sitting inside a giant villain's hand.  What more could you ask for?

Justice League of America 138, 1977

I'll admit, I haven't read this.  But looking at that cover makes me want to.

Mystery in Space #60, 1960

Granted, his head looks a tad funny in this, but nothing says sci-fi like a guy in a rocket pack shooting a big tentacled planet with a ray gun.

Mystery in Space #68, 1961

I really just put this in here because it has a tiger with a horn on it.

Strange Adventures #217, 1969

Sure, it's just a reprint of Adam's first story, but the cover's awesome!

Mystery in Space #90, 1964

Another slick flying pose and dynamic composition by Murphy Anderson and Carmine Infantino, and a story about conflict between Rann and Earth.  Classic Adam Strange.

Adam Strange, Man of Two Worlds #1, 1990

A bad-ass Adam Strange on the cover of perhaps his greatest story arc ever?  Oh, yes.  Dreams really do come true.

Mystery in Space #53, 1959

A classic in-flight-while-changing-directions pose, a giant robot, and Adam saving his beloved.  All this in his fourth appearance ever.

Justice League Adventures #26, 2004

Man of two worlds, JLU style.  I like the four images inset onto his uniform.

Mystery in Space #86, 1963

He doesn't even aim.  He just shoots.  I love it.

Mystery in Space #82, 1963

The granddaddy of all iconic Adam Strange covers, this really drives home the man-of-two-worlds concept.  Plus you get to see that all you need to send Rann into a world-ending crisis is the same magnifying glass you used as a kid to fry ants, whereas it takes an H-Bomb to get Earth's attention.  This cover was redone for DC Comics Presents: Mystery In Space in 2004:

There you have it.  I welcome your comments, and if I missed anything, let me know!

Friday, May 21, 2010

I Am Worn Out...!

What a crazy two weeks it's been.  I just wrapped up two weeks of working overtime, and I'm beat.

I did finish Watchmen about a week ago, I actually surprised myself by liking it, but I haven't been able to drum up enough motivation to write a reflection on it.

So I'm just going to post a pretty picture.

Here's a sketch of two of my favorite characters, both of whom wear rocket packs:

Sally's right.  More heroes should wear jodphurs.

Isn't that breathtaking?  It's by an artist named Michael J. Peters.  You can check out his website here.  I'm not sure of the circumstances of this meeting between Adam Strange and The Rocketeer, other than the person who commissioned it said, "Draw me a picture of The Rocketeer and Adam Strange."  Hopefully they're teaming up and not fighting each other.

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's Never Easy Being Green

Because good ol' J'onn J'onzz gets mentioned first in this article:

Can J'ONN J'ONZZ & BLACK WIDOW Defeat Immigration Laws?

I give you this:

Click for super-duper size!

According to Newsarama, you're both kinds of alien, J'onn!

I seriously wish Harley Quinn and J'onn J'onzz would appear in more comics together.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Existential Crisis of the Week

I haven't contributed anything since the weekend becuase this time of year is pretty busy, and after the whole Blackest Night thing wrapped up, I haven't found much in comics to be excited about.

Anyway, a friend of mine lent me a copy of Watchmen, so I started reading it.  Considering that it's one of "Time's Greatest 100 Novels" or whatever, I feel obligated to read it.  I mean, not 100 Greatest Graphic Novels.  Novels.  Period.  So I guess it's gotta be good, right?

Way back before Batman Begins, wayy wayyy back before I even considered the notion of picking up a comic or a graphic novel, I happened upon a copy of Watchmen in the then-measly Graphic Novel section of the local Boarders.  (Just one shelf!)  I read the synopsis and it sounded pretty interesting.  If superheroes are in charge of protecting the world, what's to keep them from corrupting?  Or, at least, that's what I thought the book was about at the time.  (Or, at least, that's what the blurb on the back made it seem like it was about.  I'm about three chapters in and I still don't know exactly what it's about.)  The blurb made a huge deal, if I remember correctly, about it being an alternate timeline.  Anyway, I distinctly remember flipping through it and putting it back on the shelf.  Why, I don't know, but for some reason I decided against reading it.  I wish I knew why, because maybe if I had read it, I would've started reading comics a lot sooner.

When the Watchmen movie came out last spring, I finally had the chance to figure out a little more about it.  I'm getting a strong deconstructive vibe from it already, and I'm not exactly crazy about deconstructive-type works.  I'm less crazy about post-modernism, so at least it's something.  So, right off the bat I figured I'd hate it, but that I should read it anyway, kind of like any book that becomes a "classic."  I'm also not a fan of the gritty, realistic, violent, etc., so it's probably not my cup of tea, but every now and then I surprise myself in that regard.  (Case in point: L.A. Confidential.  One of my favorite movies.)

Anyway, literary guilt won out and I decided to read it.  (Plus the curiosity to see how The Question and Blue Beetle and Captain Atom were reimagined tipped the scales.)  Well, so far, I actually think it's pretty good and somewhat enjoyable, even though I don't quote know where it's going yet.  Rorschach I find amusing.  So far I'm just trying to guess the ending, which my friend told me would be impossible to see coming.  Right now it's just reading as a whodunit with a little social commentary thrown in and some mildly unorthodox storytelling techniques, so I'm hoping the ending will blow me away.  If it doesn't, I'll be disappointed.

That, my friends, is the problem with high expectations.

Okay, enough rambling for tonight.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

For All You Martian Manhunter Fans Out There...

In case you missed the little Easter Egg that was tucked away in the DC Kid's Mega Sampler from Free Comic Book Day, this is why I love Johnny DC:

Look very closely at the name of that building.  Click to enlarge if you're presbyopic.

Yep.  It's official: Johnny DC loves Martians.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Adam Strange Sketch by Darwyn Cooke

I had kind of a crazy day today, which involved changing up my work schedule and two naps, one of which just ended at 2 a.m.  So after a lovely 3 a.m. dinner while watching repeats on the Food Network, it occurred to me that I have a comics blog that needed posting.

World's craziest sleep schedule aside, I decided to do a quick art post, the inspiration of which goes to I-HoD's Frank's comment on my previous post.

Here's a lovely sketch of CMMH! favorite Adam Strange, in all his uniformed squinty-eyed glory:

Click to enlarge.  Don't forget your 3D glasses for optimal viewing.

While the description at Comic Art Fans doesn't specify if this was a convention sketch or not (it does say "commission," but I don't know if that precludes it being convention sketch), you can tell there's a lot of thought put into this sketch.  Nothing makes a sketch pop more than a little background element, I think, and the sci-fi retro Moon and planets in the background are the icing on the cake.  And, hey, could that canalled planet be Mars?  Darwyn Cooke is an artist I always admired because not only does his style evoke a certain era, but his composition and bold-yet-elegant inking style add up to an unparalleled dynamism in my book.  Plus, I do appreciate a more realistic rendering of the human form, whose simplicity is a breath of fresh air compared to the hyper-realistic style of comic art today.

And, boy, does that guy draw a killer ray gun!  Woot!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Will The Wonders Never Cease?

Well, it's been kind of an insane week, with Thursday being the craziest of all.  To quote Douglas Adams, "I never could get the hang of Thursdays."

Anyway, just a short post today.  I saw this at tfaw.com:

The only thing that could make this more awesomer is if in the comic the Skipper slaps another penguin and says, "Don't give me excuses!  Get me results!"

Yep, the penguins of Madagascar have their own comic miniseries.  It's a good time to be alive.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Why Comics Are Not More Popular, Part 5

Last summer, after reading the first few collected paperbacks of Justice League International, I discovered that one of JLI members, Booster Gold, had their own, fairly new ongoing series.  So I decided to pick up the first three trade paperbacks and then start subscribing to catch up with what was going on currently with the character.  I really enjoyed the series for several reasons: it was well-written, the art was lovely, and because I picked up the storyline at about 20 issues in, it was easy for me to catch up and actually have read a complete run of a series.  That last part felt pretty good for a new comics fan.

But there was also something else I enjoyed about the series: it was highly accessible to the new reader.  Each issue (or "chapter," as I was reading it in its collected form) always started out the same way: Booster Gold introduced himself and what he was all about.  Sometimes he'd even introduce secondary characters like Rip Hunter.  And more often than not his little "voiceover" bubbles would also catch the reader up on what happened in the previous issue.  While it bordered on the annoying to hear Booster Gold tell his origin story for the twentieth time, it wasn't hard for me to skim over it and ignore if I wanted, and here's where the writers had hit upon a story device that was very newbie-friendly without being too in-your-face.  I had no trouble jumping right into the story.  I felt like I knew the characters, even if I had never read a story about Michelle, Booster's twin sister, I knew who she was.  I had no trouble remembering what happened last month because I always had the luxury of a recap at the beginning of every issue.  And if you're telling an on-going story, with no idea of when a new reader might jump into a series, you've got to at least have the latter to have any hope of winning over a new fan.

Taking a page from the Joe DiMaggio playbook and writing each story as if it were someone's first comic might be a good maxim for comic writers to take to heart.  It might need to be as involved as Booster Gold's constant introductions, but at least recap what happened last month.  I read too many comics to remember what happened in the previous issue, let alone what happened last week.  And a little exposition isn't going to kill the story--the veterans can just glance over it and get on to the new material.

So, in short: catch us up a little, comic writers!  Give us a short recap.  Let the characters talk about themselves and explain who they are once in a while.  Sure, it might work better for an egotistical character like Booster Gold to constantly be talking about himself, but I'm sure there's a way to make it work for any character.  I know some series do some recaps already, but I can't think of any series which has its protagonist introduce himself and other characters as often as Booster Gold does.  It would be more helpful if recaps and character histories were more obvious and direct...hearing a character introduce himself on a monthly basis certainly helped win me over to the Booster Gold Fan Club.

If only I had the guts to wear this in public!