Wednesday, August 12, 2020

MCP #1 - Man-Thing

Marvel Comics Presents #1 (Man-Thing)
"Elements of Terror, Part 1 of 12"
Writer - Doug Moench
Pencils - Tom Grindberg
Inks - Dave Cockrum
Letters - Agustin Mas
Colors - Petra Scotese
Assistant Edits - Michael Rockwitz
Edits - Terry Kavanagh & Michael Higgins
Chief - Tom DeFalco

Now here's a character I'm kind of excited to learn a bit more about.  Covering Marvel Comics Presents this way affords me (and us) the opportunity to spend some time getting to know a who's who of the B, C, and D-List of the Marvel Universe.  Man-Thing, outside of an odd appearance here and there, is a pretty big blind spot for me.  Outside of a couple "dur-hur, Giant-Size Man-Thing" issues, I doubt I even own anything else with his name on it!

Welp... let's see what get here!  I'm getting Secret Six from Action Comics Weekly vibes here.


We open with Man-Thing rising from the muck, aware that something sinister this way comes.  These narration boxes are a little too purple for my tastes... really feels like they're chasing Swamp Thing here.  Then again, I'm not much of a Man-Thing aficionado, so for all I know folks who write this character were always a bit too pleased with themselves.  Anyhoo, this dark and desperate being draws near... and, it's a weird fibrous-looking fella.  Man-Thing bonks him on his head putting the creature down.  Suddenly a pair of men enter the scene... they're looking for this fibrous fella, as he was a "test subject" of sorts.  Upon finding what's left of him, this guy Zahner attempts to cut an implant out of the "corpse".  This does not go well, as when Zahner makes skin-to-yuck contact with the beastie, he gets a rather awful burn on his hand.

Man-Thing watches this entire deal unfold... and kinda just lingers.  Zahner and his partner Monteiro report in to a General that their subject went berserk and got away.  The General notices the burn on Zahner's hand, and is given a quick-n-dirty explanation how it came to be.  In learning this, the General suggests that this mission wasn't such a failure after all.  He excuses himself, as he has a meeting with the Senate in Washington, D.C., leaving our two heroes behind with a whole lotta... COCAINE.  Too bad "Dave Chapel" is in the Wolverine story and not this one!

Zahner and Monteiro load the coke on a boat... making sure to keep a little for themselves, before being attacked by... another weird shambling corpse just like that crispy critter from before!  They open fire... naturally, this winds up being quite futile.  At this point, Man-Thing (annoyed by all the FEAR in the air) decides to intervene... and winds up getting shot full'a holes himself... not that it matters all that much.

Man-Thing and the Subject wind up getting sorta intertwined... with the former actually winding up impaled on the latter.  Man-Thing considers this the worst pain he's ever felt.  Amid the skirmish and confusion, our two heroes make a break for it.

We wrap up with Man-Thing and the Subject briefly merging... before Man-Thing expels the strange creature, seemingly killing it... while perhaps absorbing a bit of it as well.  The victory does not appear to be without injury, however... as it looks as though our Muck Monster is barely holding himself together!


I dunno.

This wasn't a bad story... but, man... those narration boxes.  Are Man-Thing writers always so up their own butts?  I mentioned it in the synopsis, but it really feels as though they're trying to keep up with what Alan Moore was doing with Swamp Thing over at DC.  Trying to make this more "sophisticated" than perhaps it ought to be?  I dunno.  It's only one chapter at this point, but... this did not win me over.  We've got time though!  God help us, we've got another eleven weeks of this!
So, whatta we got?  It's, say it with me, a "Chapter One"... which, for me, says we shouldn't be expecting all that much.  We meet our bad guys, we meet the even badder guy they're working for... and we get a bit of an idea as to what they're trying to do.  Well, maybe not exactly what they're attempting to accomplish, but we know it involves test subjects!  That's something, right?  Whatever it is, I'm sure we'll learn more as we go.

I think, if not for the very flowery narration... I probably would have enjoyed this a whole lot more.  Not a deal-breaker by any means... but, just kinda cringy... and, if it is chasing Alan Moore, it's not doing all that great a job (in my opinion).

Let's look at the art.  I really liked it!  Tom Grindberg is an artist who, for the longest time, I assumed was a pen-name for a fill-in penciller.  I mean, "Grindberg" just sounds too much like a name you'd give to a fill-in artist who's in a rush, doesn't it?

Anyhoo, the art here was pretty fantastic... it almost gave me an R. Crumb/underground comix sort of vibe.  Really great stuff.  Probably the best part of the story, if I'm being honest.  I do look forward to future installments, and am optimistic that it'll all come together (famous last words).

Tomorrow: Mastering Kung Fu, the Shang-Chi way!

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

MCP #1 - Wolverine

Marvel Comics Presents #1 (Wolverine)
"Save the Tiger, Part 1 of 10: The Good Guy"
Writer - Chris Claremont
Pencils - John Buscema
Inks - Klaus Janson
Letters - Tom Orzechowski
Colors - Glynis Oliver
Assistant Edits - Michael Rockwitz
Edits - Terry Kavanagh & Michael Higgins
Chief - Tom DeFalco

What fresh hell is this?!

I don't think any of the regular readers were expecting this... heck, even I wasn't really expecting this... but... we're gonna be attempting the "right the ship" here at Chris is on Infinite Earths.  The place has been... kinda directionless of late, and believe it or not, that's weighed on me quite a bit.  I feel pretty guilty for shifting the focus of the site to a primarily audio repository.  I mean, that's not what visitors of this site "signed up for", ya know?

So, how does a guy fix that?  Welp... he might just dig back into an old bag of tricks.  Longtime readers will remember that for the majority of 2019 the focus of this site was a little project called Action Comics Daily.  That was where I looked at every single story from every single issue of Action Comics Weekly... and, there's a wonderful (if I do say so myself) Archives Page featuring the entire deal that you can check out if you are so inclined.  Just click'a the gif'a below:

Action Comics Daily... as uneven (story-qualitywise) a project as that was sort of like being covered in a warm blanket.  It was comfortable... it was mine... it was ours.  It allowed me to still provide daily content, while not spending hours and hours (and hours) writing and formatting every day.

So, how does one follow up a project like that?  Well... maybe we take a trip across the street and see what Marvel was doing right around the same time.  Marvel Comics Presents... was originally intended to be a weekly comic!  Perhaps, since it is an anthology, even an answer to Action Comics Weekly!  Cooler heads eventually prevailed, and instead of hitting shelves every single week... MCP would go bi-weekly.  Well, that's close enough for me!

So folks, friends, wonderful visitors... welcome to Marvel Comics Chrisents (not to be confused with Marvel Comics Croissants... which, might be a decent merch idea!)... I hope we survive the experience!


We open with Wolverine looking over the city of Madripoor.  Boy, I remember growing up, anytime I'd see the word "Madripoor" my eyes would glaze over, and anything else in whatever room I was in would suddenly become a lot more interesting to me.  Worth noting, the view here is lovely.  Logan gives us the quick-n-dirty on this little island principality... and we learn that it, like many civilized places on the planet, has what you might consider a "nice area" and a "not so nice area"... thankfully, we're not being all that subtle here, and so they're called Hightown and Lowtown.  You can probably figure out which is which.

Anyhoo, Logan heads into the Princess Bar, as he's looking for a fella named O'Donnell.  Turns out, the Irishman (I'm assuming) is in the middle of getting his butt-kicked by a bunch of street toughs.  We know they're "street toughs" as they all have really bad punk-rock hairdos.  Wolverine interjects, and starts beating up the baddies.

As he rocks their worlds, we get the usual internal monologue regarding his unbreakable Adamantium skeleton and his Mutant Healing Factor... heck, he even shares that he's Canadian!  Remember when comics used to treat each issue like it could be somebody's first?  A lost art, I tells ya.  Wolverine tosses all the punks until just one remains.  The geek grabs a human shield and threatens to blow her brains out if the stranger with the muttonchops takes another step.  Logan's all "go ahead and kill her..." but warns that as soon as the trigger's pulled, he'll be on him like white on rice.  The punk decides that discretion is the better part of valor, and bolts out the joint.

We wrap up with Wolverine greeting Mr. O'Donnell... and meeting Sapphire, the recent human shield, who gives him a peck on the cheek.  Logan explains that he's here to meet Dave Chapel... hmm... do I make the easy jokes about Rick James and cocaine?  Nahhh.  Turns out, Dave Chapel is... dead!  Suddenly, Wolvie's warm reception turns stone cold as all of the bat patrons draw their weapons on our man.


Anyone else getting those Action Comics Daily chills?  Just me?  Should I have my temperature taken?

This feels a whole heck of a lot like an opening chapter we would have read back last year in ACW... and, I tell ya what... I really like it.  It feels like a homecoming in a way... though, I am known to over-romanticize things, so your mileage may vary.

Here, Wolverine introduces us to both himself and the city of Madripoor... and does so without it coming across as an expositional dump.  I mean, it's wordy, yes... it is Chris Claremont after all... but, it never feels like a lecture.  Claremont's got this style down to an art form.

We find out he's here to chat up a fella named O'Donnell... about another fella named Dave Chapel.  That's really all we get... but, as an opening chapter in a brand-new title... I kinda feel that's all we need.  We get nice action... Wolverine gets to show his stuff... and talk tough.  What more could I ask for from an eight-pager in an anthology?

The art here is very nice... though, I always found Buscema's Logan as looking a bit too old.  Not in an "Old Man Logan" sort of way... just in the frumpy, "pro-bowler" or "competitive eater" sort of way.  Ya know what I mean?  Hopefully it won't be long until he's under a mask... though, I suppose that'll remain to be seen.  I've actually never read these stories before, so I'll be experiencing them for the first time along with y'all (well, those of you who have also never read these).

Tomorrow: (A not-so-Giant-Size) Man-Thing!

Monday, August 10, 2020

Morituri Mondays, Episode 25 - Strikeforce: Morituri #25 (1/89)

Morituri Mondays, Episode #25

Strikeforce: Morituri #25 (January, 1989)
“Living in the Shadow”
Written by James D. Hudnall
Pencils by John Calimee
Inks by Tony DeZuniga
Letters by Phil Felix
Colors by Max Scheele
Edits by Carl Potts
Foul Odor from Tom DeFalco
Cover Price: $1.25 USD / $1.75 CAN / 50p UK
Release Date: September 6, 1988

Welcome, friends to a Morituri Milestone... the twenty-fifth episode of Morituri Mondays (we apologize for not covering ourselves in glitter and holograms... but, you can probably fit us both in a bag of some sort)!

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Cosmic Treadmill Presents... Comix Tawk, Episode 13: "DC Comics' Rumored 5G Reboot"

Cosmic Treadmill Presents... Comix Tawk, Episode #13
DC Comics' Rumored 5G Reboot

Hey everybody, today we wrap up our few month-long trek into the formerly Patreon-exclusive Comix Tawk archives... with a, thankfully, obsolete episode!  So happy that heads rolled at DC Comics not too long after this, and much of this concept was seemingly dropped.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Chris and Reggie's Cosmic Treadmill, Episode 54 - Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part Five

Chris and Reggie's Cosmic Treadmill, Episode #54

Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part Five of Five

  • Crisis on Infinite Earths #12 (March, 1986)
  • History of the DC Universe #1 (January, 1987)
  • History of the DC Universe #2 (February, 1987)
    • Marv Wolfman & George Perez

 Alrighty, let's take this baby home...

Friday, August 7, 2020

Chris and Reggie's Cosmic Treadmill, Episode 53 - Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part Four

Chris and Reggie's Cosmic Treadmill, Episode #53

Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part Four of Five

  • Crisis on Infinite Earths #9 (December, 1985)
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths #10 (January, 1986)
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths #11 (February, 1986)

In addition to starting down the home-stretch of our Crisis on Infinite Earths coverage, I'd like to present you all with a short video I recorded yesterday regarding an update as well as a Cosmic Treadmill "Call to Arms".

The gist of the thing is, on September 13, 2020 I'll be putting up the FINAL episode of Chris and Reggie's Cosmic Treadmill... and, in order to really do it right, I want to send this project off on as happy a note as possible.  To do so, I need help.  If you are a listener of the Cosmic Treadmill, and would like to share some of your memories of the show with me, I encourage you to reach out.

I figure there are three ways we could go about this...

  1. If you record a bit of audio and send it to me, I can play it on the air
  2. If you write something and send it to me, I can read it on the air
  3. If you wanted to set up a call with me, where we can chat about the show and I can include that on the episode
Whatever is easiest for you, will be fine by me.  If you're a listener with a story to tell, I really hope you reach out.  I'm not putting any sort of time-restrictions on these segments... if you have a few words to share, or long stories... that works for me!  If you happen to know any listeners, that may not be blog-readers, please pass this video along to them.  Thank you!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Chris and Reggie's Cosmic Treadmill, Episode 52 - Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part Three

Chris and Reggie's Cosmic Treadmill, Episode #52

Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part Three of Five

  • Crisis on Infinite Earths #6 (September, 1985)
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 (October, 1985)
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 (November, 1985)
    • Marv Wolfman & George Perez

Today we're revisiting the episode with those issues of Crisis folks seem to care most about... featuring the deaths of Supergirl and Barry Allen!

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