Friday, July 31, 2020

Weird Comics History, Episode 23: Twilight of the Superheroes

Weird Comics History, Episode #23

Twilight of the Superheroes
A Pitch by Alan Moore for DC Comics

Today we're going to revisit one of my favorite shows we ever made... the episode where we discussed Alan Moore's rejected pitch for a DC Comics event called Twilight of the Superheroes.

If you've never heard of Twilight... well, I think you're in for a treat.  If you've only heard bits and pieces... strap in, because we go through the entire thing here!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Chris is on Infinite Earths, Episode 20: Justice League of America #224 (1984)


Chris is on Infinite Earths, Episode #20

Justice League of America #224 (March, 1984)
"The Supremacy Factor!"
Writer - Kurt Busiek
Penciller - Chuck Patton
Inker - Dick Giordano
Letterers - John Costanza & Todd Klein
Colorist - Gene D'Angelo
Editor - Len Wein
Cover Price: $0.75

Today I'm revisiting an episode wherein I discuss my last trip to a Comic Book Convention... along with my overall distaste for the "current year" Convention racket, and how I let me preciosity get in the way of a great friendship.  Oh, also heat-stroke... because I got it that weekend!

And heyyy, I just found out I can no longer drag inserted images where I'd like them to go!  Way to keep letting me down, Blogger!  Just when I think you're the worst thing ever, you make me pine for how lousy you were just yesterday!

And Ho-lee crap, now I can't toggle HTML without great swaths of my writing vanishing into the ether?  Are you kidding me?  This is a product from Google, right?  I can't be the only person having these problems, can I?

Welp, lemme jump through the hoops and try and revert back to "Legacy Blogger".

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Chris is on Infinite Earths, Episode 32: Superman and Me / Me and Superman



Chris is on Infinite Earths, Episode #32

"Superman & Me / Me & Superman"

Received an odd-ish message this past weekend from a long-time reader who expressed interest in getting into comics podcasting.  They asked if I had any advice on how to get started, and for lack of a better way of putting it, if I knew of any "best practices".

This isn't a question I get often, as I'm sure anyone who knows me well enough to ask... knows that once that box is opened, I'll probably talk your ear off about it for days.  If I were to guess, I probably only got the question this time because, on the most recent episode of Chris is on Infinite Earths, I suggested that the Chris and Reggie Channel may start "hosting" content from other creators sometime down the line.

So, let's talk about it!  Right below the fold...

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

ReMarvel, Episode 6: The X-Men and Me / Me and the X-Men


Remarvel, Episode 6

"The X-Men and Me / Me and the X-Men"

Well, it looks like "Legacy Blogger" is no longer an option (without jumping through some hoops)... and the new-look disaster has been foisted upon us.  When I tried accessing the dashboard and found the new bubbly, fake-ass-"app" looking interface, the eternal optimist in me hoped that maybe, just maybe... I'd now be able to go back to batch uploading images.  I hoped that today, in this very paragraph, I'd be able to report that the drought is over - that Blogger actually fixed what wasn't broken before they started effing with it.

Not so much.  Looks like it's the same ol' same ol'.  I can upload as many images as I want... but, if I dare to actually insert one into an article... all the rest of them vanish, and have to be uploaded again.  There really has to be an easier way.  Am I the only idiot still using Blogger?

Monday, July 27, 2020

Morituri Mondays, Episode 23 - Strikeforce: Morituri #23 (11/88)


Morituri Mondays, Episode #23

Strikeforce: Morituri #23 (November, 1988)
“Castles of Fire Rivers of Blood”
Writer - James D. Hudnall
Pencils - Mark Bagley
Inks - Val Mayerik
Letters - Phil Felix
Colors - Max Scheele
Edits - Carl Potts
Chief - Tom DeFalco
Cover Price: $1.25 USD / $1.75 CAN / 50p UK

Release Date: July 5, 1988

Welcome to Strikeforce: Morituri, Mark Bagley... we hope you survive the experience!

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Cosmic Treadmill Presents... Comix Tawk, Episode 11: "Teen Titans, the Early Years"


Cosmic Treadmill Presents... Comix Tawk, Episode #11
"Teen Titans, the Early Years"


Have a title-specific installment of Comix Tawk to share this week... which was meant to be the first episode of a multi-part series wherein we discussed the lives and times of the Teen Titans.
Rather than referring to this as a "Part One", we will just look at it as our look at "The Early Years" of that team we enjoy so much.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Chris is on Infinite Earths, Episode 36: Batman #458 (1991)


Chris is on Infinite Earths, Episode #36

Batman #458 (January, 1991)
"Night Monsters"
Writer - Alan Grant
Pencils - Norm Breyfogle
Inks - Steve Mitchell
Colors - Adrienne Roy
Letters - Todd Klein
Assistant Editor - Kelley Puckett
Editor - Denny O'Neil
Cover Price: $1.00


After an extended absence, the Chris is on Infinite Earths Podcast returns with plenty of housekeeping, some answers to your questions regarding the future, a lot of guilty introspection... and, if you can believe it, a comic book

Friday, July 24, 2020

X-Force #3 (1991)


X-Force #3 (October, 1991)
"Battlecry"
Plot/Art - Rob Liefeld
Writer - Fabian Nicieza
Letters - Chris Eliopoulos
Colors - Joe Rosas
Editor - Bob Harras
Chief - Tom DeFalco
Cover Price: $1.00

Happy Friday, everybody... boy, has it been a week!

This week, the wife and I spent... what felt like many days worth of hours shopping for a new car.  Oof.  Not something I enjoy, nor am I very good at.  I'm quick to "fall in love" with a car... and, also... I have this odd sympathy for salespeople who work solely on commission... especially when they're nice.

A nice salesperson could quote me $1,200 a month for 72-months on a car worth 15k... and I'd think they were being honest with me.  On the other hand, a jerk salesperson can quote me something $5 more than what I'd told them was my best offer... and I'll tear their head off, and threaten to do worse.

That's why the wife handles all'a that.  I just get to sit there and look either peaceful or menacing... whichever the situation calls for, I guess... while she makes the deal.

The problem this week was... we only dealt with some very nice people.  I'm not good at "walking away" from a deal... where the wife has just amazing levels of restraint, and a calmness that would give an angel a bit of pause.

I dunno how she can do it, but the entire negotiation process is like a sport to her.  Me?  Every time the salesperson leaves us alone for 20-30 minutes to "talk with their manager", my blood begins to boil just a little bit.  The other day, we were left to sit in this dude's office no less than ten times, while he "worked hard for us", chipping away at his manager... and we still walked out without a car!  He got a bit snippy at the end, as though we were wasting his time... even though, we were the only customers in the joint for the entire five hours we were there.  Guess we kept him from some valuable Facebookin' or something.

Had to tell him I didn't appreciate his tone... and that I felt it best that I left the room so I wouldn't have to hear more of it... which kinda freaked him out.  I felt kinda bad... but, by this point I was exhausted.

Anyhoo, long story... well, still long... but not as long as it could be, we wound up buying a new ride... and, it's a beaut.  Looking forward to keeping it for ten years... just so I don't have to darken a dealership's door for a decade or more.

Wow, been awhile since I've written a pre-ramble!  Whoo... that felt good.  And now... X-Force!

--



It's now Day Three of the standoff at the World Trade Center, and we open with Siryn, in probably one of the more iconic Liefeldian poses we're going to see here.  Oh, who are we kidding... they all are.  Here, she's got a very wide gap betwixt her legs... and it looks like, rather than having a full head of hair, she instead has a mane.  And... maybe we spoke too soon, in just turning the page Siryn somehow looks even more Liefeldian.  Her hair... almost appears sentient... it's almost as though Rob messed up on her face a few times, and rather than erasing his mistake, he just drew hair over it.



Anyhoo, Siryn gets pummeled by Juggernaut... yet keeps coming back for more punishment.  Finally, she's shot in the gut by her Uncle, Black Tom Cassidy.  The sound effect here is, well... unique: SHEECHAKT.



Terry recovers, but has second thoughts about hopping back in the fray.  Lucky for her, the cavalry is just about to arrive!  An X-Force air-craft floats overhead... inside, we see Cable and Domino... the former is wearing some insanely strange armor.  Like, this armor looks like it's been equipped with insect-mandibles or something, it's very strange... and, thankfully, not something we see Cable wearing very often... if ever again!



Meanwhile, inside one of the Twin Towers, Sunspot and friggin' Gideon are looking on at everything that's going on... with Bobby getting a bit frustrated that they haven't been able to make their move just yet.  Black Tom and Juggernaut enter the scene looking... uh, quite a bit off-register.  Cain is at least two-times as wide as he is tall.  Worth noting, he refers to Gideon as "pansy-boy"!  I wanna say, Gideon might have some awful taste in hairstyles... but his fashion game ain't half bad!  I could see this untucked red vest over a button up shirt actually looking pretty good in the real world!



Back outside, Siryn enters the X-Force Scout Ship... and she is greeted by Cable and the Florets!  Cable suggests they work together if she's in the mood to "kick the crud" out of something.



They hover for a bit more to devise a gameplan... which amounts to sending their biggest guy hurtling toward the biggest other guy in the book.  And so, Warpath hops out the Scout... and plummets into Juggernaut.  It's awesome that they get the opportunity to exchange pleasantries amid the freefall!  James konks into Cain... sending them both tumbling off the top of the tower!



Then, X-Force leaps from the Scout Ship headed for Black Tom's guards!  This definitely feels like overkill... and we soon find out that it is.  The human guards are absolutely no match for the muties.



Back inside, Black Tom... uh, stretches?  It looks like he's really getting refreshed here, it's like he'd just gotten out of bed.  Actually, though, he's just flourishing amid some pontification.  Finally, Gideon's had enough of whatever Tom has to say... and he and Bobby rush 'im!



Gideon winds up getting blasted by Black Tom's boom-stick, and Bobby just winds up getting his butt handed to him!  Black Tom isn't the fella to mess with!  We almost wonder why he even bothers calling in the Juggernaut... ol' Cain is nothing more than a liability!



Anyhoo, Tom doesn't get long to celebrate his victory... as, Cable barges in and shoots Tom in the side!  Almost seems unsportsmanly, dunnit?  Should we mention again just how pants-on-head ridiculous Cable's armor looks?!



Back outside, Proudstar and Juggernaut continue punching one another.  We can see that Cain is holding a detonator... we might assume he's been holding it the entire time, which... if so, I gotta say, he's got some awesome muscle and impulse control.  He just took a header off the World Trade Center, and didn't crush the thing!


Look at that weird edit on the remote device... looks almost like someone just pasted a triangle over the art.
Wonder what they might've been trying to cover up here?
The big guys continue to beat one another about the head and shoulders, when who should appear but... the Amazing Spider-Man!  Yes, Spidey swings through the scene, and rather than get between a proverbial "rock and a hard place", decides to head topside in order to check in on the hostage situation.



But then... BOOM!  There's an explosion in the Twin Towers!  To be continued... in the pages of Spider-Man #16?!



--

Well, that's an oddly prescient final page... which might give ya a bit of pause.  It's, honestly, probably the only thing even worth discussing about this entire issue... as it's more or less just a twenty-some page fight scene.  I mean, that's exactly what it is.  Flip through this sucker and count how many pages are occupied by great big panels of heroes and villains lunging toward one another (or the reader).  There are quite a few of 'em!

I think, if this issue had a legacy (which, I mean... it's X-Force #3, ain't nobody reflecting fondly on this stuff)... it would have to be that explosion in the last page.  Two years after this issue came out, there would be a bombing at the World Trade Center... and a decade later, the buildings wouldn't even be standing anymore.  This is the sort of thing that I feel like Marvel might want to edit out of "current year" reprints of this story... though, I cannot say with any confidence or certainty that they have.  I suppose I wouldn't be surprised either way.

Other than that... sadly there just isn't all that much to say about this issue.  Sure, I could spend the next six paragraphs talking about low-hanging fruit like pouches, feet, and teeth... but, I'll leave that for the true comics scholars of the internet.  This was an ehh issue, nothing to fall in love with... though, not a whole lot to get mad at either... unless you're the sort of person who might get mad that Marvel published a story where the World Trade Center gets attacked ten-years before 9/11... and, trust me... there are people like that.

Overall, a skippable story in a vacuum... but, if you're reading the first handful of issues of X-Force, you probably won't regret the four-and-a-half minutes you devote to issue #3.

--

Letters Page:



--

Coolometer!


Thursday, July 23, 2020

ReMarvel, Episode 1: Omega the Unknown #1 (1975)


ReMarvel, Episode One

Omega the Unknown #1 (March, 1975)
"Omega the Unknown!"
Writers/Creators - Steve Gerber & Mary Skrenes
Art - Jim Mooney
Letters - John Costanza
Colors - Petra Goldberg
Edits - Marv Wolfman
Cover Price: $0.25


I know I've discussed a couple of episodes of ReMarvel here on the site... but, never the first one!  This was actually an attempt at "podcasting with a purpose", so to speak.  An attempt to rediscover everything I loved about Marvel Comics, and how I might break some of my own twisted "fandom rules".

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Chris and Reggie's Cosmic Treadmill, Episode 121: Limited Collectors' Edition C-24 (1973)

Chris and Reggie's Cosmic Treadmill, Episode #121

Limited Collectors' Edition C-24 (December, 1973)
"New Giant Adventures of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
By Sy Reit & Rube Grossman
Edits - Larry Nadle & Whitney Ellsworth
Cover Price: $1.00

If my memory is right, today will be the last day of Christmas on Infinite Earths... in July.  I hope it's been moderately enjoyable... I know it's helped me come up with interesting (to me) ways to continue sharing content without the constant urge to punch my laptop screen in every time I try and upload images to Blogger!

Really, Google... ya gonna fix this crap?  Or just keep blaming the phenomenon on your userbase?  It ain't like you need us.  What's really troubling to me right now is that Podbean is currently undergoing a very similar dashboard "facelift".  Let's just hope it ends up being a little bit more friendly than this one.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Chris and Reggie's Cosmic Treadmill, Episode 81: Ambush Bug Stocking Stuffer

Chris and Reggie's Cosmic Treadmill, Episode #81

Ambush Bug Stocking Stuffer #1 (1986)
"I Knew I Shoulda Taken That Left Toyn Back in Albakoyky"
"Night of the Living Doll"
Plot & Pencils - Keith Giffen
Script - Robert Loren Fleming
Inks - Bob Oksner
Colors - Anthony Tollin
Letters - John Costanza
Editor - Julius Schwartz
Cover Price: $1.25


Keeping it Christmassy for a couple more days during this muggy and miserable month.  Boy is it hot outside!

Monday, July 20, 2020

Morituri Mondays, Episode 22 - Strikeforce: Morituri #22 (1988)

Morituri Mondays, Episode 22

Strikeforce: Morituri #22 (October, 1988)
"The Long Suicide"
Writer - James D. Hudnall
Pencils - John Calimee
Inks - Tony DeZuniga
Letters - Phil Felix
Colors - Max Scheele
Edits - Carl Potts
Chief - Tom DeFalco
Cover Price: $1.25 USD
Release Date: June 7, 1988
Marvel Comics

Welcome back, Recruits!

Morituri Mondays returns for our third (and likely final) season of episodes as we take this baby home!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Cosmic Treadmill Presents... Comix Tawk, Episode 10: "Comic Scenes We Love!"


Cosmic Treadmill Presents... Comix Tawk, Episode #10
"Comic Scenes We Love!"

Flipping the script on our usual "Negative Nellie" Comix Tawk outings, this time out Reggie and I decided to focus on the positive... and discuss some of our very favorite scenes in all of comics.

It's nice to sometimes remember why we still buy these things, right?

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Chris and Reggie's Cosmic Treadmill, Episode 70: Christmas With the Superheroes #1 (1988)

Chris and Reggie's Cosmic Treadmill, Episode #70

Christmas With the Superheroes #1 (1988)
"Wanted: Santa Claus - Dead or Alive!"
"The Man Who Murdered Santa Claus!"
"The TT's Swingin' Christmas Carol!"
"Star Light, Star Bright... Farthest Star I See Tonight!"
"Twas the Fright Before Christmas!"
"The Silent Night of the Batman"
Writers - Denny O'Neil, Len Wein, Bob Haney, Paul Levitz, E. Nelson Bridwell & Mike Friedrich
Pencillers - Frank Miller, Dick Dillon, Nick Cardy, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Curt Swan & Neal Adams
Inkers - Steve Mitchell, Dick Giordano & Murphy Anderson
Letterers - Ben Oda
Colorists - Glenn Whitmore, Helen Vesik & Jerry Serpe
Editors - Len Wein, Julius Schwartz
Cover Price: $2.95


Keeping our Christmas on Infinite Earths... in July festivities rolling along, today I'm sharing Reggie and my first Holiday special... DC Comics' Christmas With the Superheroes #1 from 1988.


Download

This was one of our longer episodes... as we were looking at like skatey-eight hundred creators and a half-dozen stories.  This was also my longest ever blog post to that point... and, actually, it very well still might be!  I still haven't published that "full-length" Bizarro World piece yet, so I think this one still might take the length-crown!

With that said... Just as with yesterday, if podcasts ain't your thing, there is a text-n-pics variation on this discussion that you can check out if you decide to click the cover below!  While you're at it, you might wanna check out my discussion of Christmas With the Superheroes #2 (1989)!

Friday, July 17, 2020

Chris is on Infinite Earths, Episode 7: JSA #55 (2004)


Chris is on Infinite Earths, Episode #7

JSA #55 (February, 2004)
"Be Good For Goodness Sake"
Writer - Geoff Johns
Pencils - Leonard Kirk
Inks - Keith Champagne & Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors - Hi-Fi
Letters - Jared K. Fletcher
Associate Editor - Stephen Wacker
Editor - Peter Tomasi
For Jordan Marquis
Cover Price: $2.50


With everything going on in the world and personally... it took me until the 17th of the month to realize we're in July!  Well, we have a little tradition at this here site... that I'd hate to let pass us by, perhaps this year more than ever.

I tell ya, if there were any year where we (or I) need a little bit of Christmas on Infinite Earths... in July, it's 2020.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Questerdays: An EPIC ElfQuest Podcast, Episode 1 - ElfQuest #1 (1985)


Questerdays: An EPIC ElfQuest Podcast, Episode #1

ElfQuest #1 (August, 1985)
"Fire and Flight"
by Wendy and Richard Pini
Marvel-EPIC Comics
Cover Price: $0.75
Release Date: May 13, 1985

Today, rather than going BACK TO THE PAST... we're going to be taking a peek into the future.  This is a pilot episode for the feature that will eventually replace Morituri Mondays on the podcasting schedule when we run out of issues of that series to talk about.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Chris and Reggie's Cosmic Treadmill, Episode 134: Flash #268 (1978)


Chris and Reggie's Cosmic Treadmill, Episode #134

Flash #268 (December, 1978)
"Riddle of the Runaway Comic"
Writer - Cary Bates
Pencils - Irv Novick
Inks - Frank McLaughlin
Letters - Mike Stevens
Colors - Gene D'Angelo
Edits - Julius Schwartz
Cover Price: $0.40
From DC Comics
Episode Published March 31, 2019

One of our oft-used taglines was that we put 40-hours of research into every episode of the Cosmic Treadmill.  Welp, I'm going to somewhat shatter that illusion here, and suggest that a time or two, what it actually took was one of us to handcuff ourselves to our computer for an 8-10 hour stint.

This was one of those times.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Chris is on Infinite Earths, Episode 35: Crimson Avenger #1 (1988)


Picking up where we left off yesterday, Episode 35 of Chris is on Infinite Earths was sort of another "proof of concept" recording to see whether or not this could serve as the new (temporary) normal for future installments of the Cosmic Treadmill.

This was actually an episode that I'd really wanted to do with Reggie, as I feel the story-behind-the-story isn't one that gets as much discussion as it warrants.  Maybe it's just me, but there's a lot of sinister weirdness behind this one.  I thought this was right up the alley of a Weird Comics History X Cosmic Treadmill hybrid.


Download | Archives

I felt like doing this episode "solo" was kind of a waste.  The actual flagship show on the Chris and Reggie Channel is the one that gets the most listens... and, I thought just doing it as a Chris is on Infinite Earths was sort of doing the story a disservice as fewer people would listen... so, I really dragged my feet on actually pushing forward with it.

I was excited... but kinda nervous as well.  I had to use my own judgment and be very careful with my words, lest I make any undue allusions... and wind up getting the Channel into hot water with a prominent creator or two.  If none of this is making sense, maybe give the episode a listen... or, take a look at this piece I'd written about the True Crime aspects of this tale right here.

I was extremely excited for Reggie to hear this one in particular.  First, when I "pitched" this as an episode, he didn't know about Greg Brooks and what he'd done... which, lemme tell ya, it wasn't often I'd get to teach him something.  Also, once this recording was done... I had convinced myself that this was the right path/format for us to use for the immediate future of the show(s).

The day this episode went live... was also the day that everything changed.

On days where I'd release an episode, I'd usually do the social media "rounds" very early in the day.  I'm usually up by around 5-5:30am Arizona Voodoo Time... so, these are bright and early notifications.  Then, I wait a couple of hours and "check in" to see if there are any comments/likes/shares/problems.

When I checked on Facebook during my second "sweep", I had a couple of direct messages.  I very seldom use Facebook for anything other than dropping links, so this was quite weird.  The first message was from a friend, who said he was so sorry to hear about Reggie.

Now, me... being either far too dense, or uncharacteristically optimistic... just assumed they'd heard Reggie was back in the hospital with pneumonia.  I'd spoken to Reggie less than 24-hours earlier, and the last thing I knew was his pneumonia diagnosis (the doctors told him he'd be able to go home the next day).

The second message was similar, but with added anger toward 2020 (the year).  The clouds were starting to part for me at this point... but still, my knee-jerk thought was maybe... while pneumonia put him in hospital, maybe now he'd tested positive for COVID-19 on top of that... or something?

That, unfortunately, was not the case.  I popped over to his Facebook Page and found out what had actually happened.  The rest of that day (and morning especially) is a blur.  I know I was doing a few sets while doing this second social sweep... and I dropped one of my dumbbells, chipping the hell out of a tile in my living room floor.

I didn't tell very many people, at least initially... just a few close friends, as I thought they had a right to know.  I wasn't planning on making a "public" statement regarding his passing... mostly, as I didn't think it was my place, and I didn't want to do anything that put the focus on me.  Then, as they always do... the Twitter karma-farmers came, and tried making his passing all about them.  I had to make a statement at that point... because I felt it would've been weird if I didn't.

This episode of Chris is on Infinite Earths was pretty well received... and, it was just so weird getting likes and comments on it... in between receiving condolences.  It was such a strange disconnected sort of feeling.  Like, I dunno... a switch flipped in my head, and I thought about just removing the episode, and that day's blog post... just to make sure the focus was where I felt it needed to be.

I dunno.  I'm not good at this sort of thing... emotions, coping, and what-not.  Just a very surreal and sad day... that, will always sort of be connected with this Crimson Avenger "pilot" episode, which was supposed to inform the future of our recording process.

Welp, that's another weird stream of conscious piece... that I appreciate you reading.

--

Before we go, last night I was a guest on the Source Material Live Podcast on the Radulich in Broadcasting Network at W2M.  Mark and I discussed The Old Guard (2017) by Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez from Image Comics.  If you're interested in checking that out, you can find it right here.

I'll be guesting on a few shows in the near future... an extended run on Source Material, Bill Bere's Bat-Pod, and WIZARDS over at the Retro Network.  I'm really looking forward to getting my "pod-legs" back under me again.  If anyone out there has a show that's needing a marble-mouthed Brooklynite to garble up the airwaves, hit me up.
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