As a casual comics fan, one of my favorite things is just how ridiculous comic books used to be.
Marvel Comics are now the backbone of a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry.
Had you asked me 30 years ago whether this would ever be possible, even on my most optimistic day the answer would have been a resounding “No!”
And to illustrate why my answer would have been so definitive, I present to you “out of context” comic panels. For example, look at these actual panels from an actual comic published by Marvel.
Quick recap to add just a smidgen of context. The two characters in the first panel are:
Doctor Doom: Archenemy of the Fantastic Four – probably their greatest nemesis. His powers include – Super-intelligence (like Iron Man level or greater), an army of robots at his command, ruler of a sovereign nation (Latveria), and mastery over the dark arts of magic.
Namor (aka – The Sub-Mariner): Sometime villain, Sometime hero appearing in comics since 1939. Ruler of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis. His powers are that he’s super-tough, super-strong, and can breathe underwater and fly.
These two major villains – both rulers of their own kingdoms – are fighting over a “sea horn” that is hanging from a drop ceiling like one in a cheaply finished basement.
Actually, they’re not fighting over the horn, simply whether Doom should “toot” said horn. And once he does, this somehow makes him laugh “Ha-Ha!” and then immediately claim mastery over the entire world.
There’s so much more going on here that I could spend too much time analyzing. But, I won’t. I’m just going to leave this filed under “Out of Context Comic Panels” because these make me happy to be a casual comics fan.
Coming up on next week’s Casual Comics Cast, we’ll be previewing a few issues that hit the shelves this week: Detective Comics #1000, The Walking Dead #190, and War of The Realms #1. Look for the podcast early next week!
In the meantime, here are a few more comics that caught my eye.
Black Hammer ’45: From the World of Black Hammer #2
“From the World of Black Hammer comes a truly gripping tale of war and intrigue!
With their orders to save a family of scientists from the clutches of the Nazi regime, the Black Hammer Squadron are on the move. As they encounter fantastical foes, the elite air-men also find themselves with the aid from a hero Black Hammer readers will find familiar!”
Black Hammer is one of the titles I recently came across on Comixology. For those of you who have a subscription to the service, but have not yet checked out Black Hammer, I highly recommend it. It’s got sci-fi, action, magic, and mystery all blended together into a pulpy froth.
The first two books in the series – Black Hammer: Secret Origins and Black Hammer: The Event were mind-blowing, but the second volume came out in 2017, and the trade paperback of Black Hammer: Age of Doom didn’t come out until January of 2019. I’ve been wondering what’s going on in the expanded Black Hammer Universe, so I’m curious how this volume will pick up / tie into the story.
Adventures of the Super Sons #9 (of 12)
“Takron-Galtos, the prison planet, may be behind them-but in order to beat the Gang and get home, the boys must saddle up to survive a wild wild world of the west! An unlikely guide on this lawless planet might just help Superboy and Robin survive…but what in the west world is Jonah Hex doing out here in space?! Hold on to your hats, this one’s going to be a bucking good time! “
Here’s a great case study in being a casual comics fan. I walk away from this blog for what seems like no time at all, and I come back to a world where Superboy and Robin have their own comic book? One question – why is it called “Adventures of the Super Sons“?
Is this a world where Robin is Batman’s son? Somewhere deep in my memory banks, I’m recalling a character named Damian who was Batman’s son with Talia al Ghul (I think). In this comic is Damian the new Robin? And which Superboy are we dealing with here? I guess that’s more than one question… and that’s why DC comics sometimes make my head hurt.
Cool cover, though, and glad to see Jonah Hex is still getting some run in the DC Universe. And, he’s getting off-world too. Good for you, Jonah! Bonus points for using “bucking” instead of a different word here in a solicit where sensitive readers might see it.
Immortal Hulk #16
Here’s a classic case of following my heart vs. my head for my Pick of the Week. (Spoiler alert, this is my Casual Comics Pick of the Week).
For those of you following along, I’m assuming that it’s because you’re interested in comics, but not that deep into what’s going on day-to-day or month-to-month. I’m also hoping that it’s because you’re looking for comics worth checking out. If you’re looking for one book to buy this week, The Immortal Hulk #16 is not that issue.
The Immortal Hulk is another series I got into via Comixology. The original conceit had very little appeal to me. It was pitched as a way to get the Hulk back to his “horror roots”.
Having read some of those old Hulk comics, I never thought of them as all that scary. There are certainly elements of a werewolf story early on – when Hulk’s transformations were caused by nightfall. And, later series certainly lean on the Jekyll/Hyde dynamic – a scientist whose creation overtakes his body.
The Immortal Hulk, though, really leans into some heavy ideas and digs further into the inspiration behind the creation of the character.
In Stan Lee’s book, Origins of Marvel Comics, he discussed his inspiration for the character. “We would use the concept of the Frankenstein monster, but update it. Our hero would be a scientist, transformed into a raging behemoth by a nuclear accident.”
In The Immortal Hulk, the character truly becomes a terrifying beast – compounded by the fact that he literally cannot be killed. Having read the first trade paperback, this is the Marvel series I am most eager to catch up on.
I’m such a fan of this title that I’m going to, for the first time I can recall, link to the title here. Amazon Unlimited subscribers – as well as Comixology members – should be able to read this title for free.
It’s for those reasons (and More) that The Immortal Hulk #16 is my selection for the Casual Comic Pick of the Week.
PS – I love this comic so much, that the first two people to DM me at @casualcomicsguy requesting a physical copy of the first trade paperback will get one for ABSOLUTELY FREE!
Here’s what you’ll be getting!
Hope to hear from you soon casual comics fans!
If you’ve been wondering why the updates to the blog have been a little slow, well here’s your answer. Or at least one of the many excuses I have…
The Casual Comics Cast is back and, while not “better than ever” (Mo was a great co-host), still in pretty darn good form.
Please welcome Pat and Michael to the weird world of comic books with me as we cover Captain Marvel – both the movie and the comic book character. Who is Captain Marvel, what is his comic book origin, and how does Carol Danvers fit into all of this? All these questions – and more – are answered to the best of my limited recollection.
The episode also includes updates on The Hulk, talk about Netflix’s Umbrella Academy, and a couple of random cat attacks.
Comments are always welcome. In upcoming weeks, you’ll hear more as we explore the comic book history of Ant Man, The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and more. Let us know what you think – both here and on Twitter at @casualcomicsfan
I don’t read comics nearly as often as I used to, in case that’s not been obvious to this point. As a casual comics fan, I’ve been pleased to find that there are quite a lot of options out there for readers who want to “check out” free comics without committing their hard earned dollars to an actual purchase.
There are a lot of ways to read free comics online. However, for today, I’m just going to focus on one platform – Amazon Prime Reading – for a few reasons:
- You can read a lot more comics for free from other sites, but if you’re reading comics people uploaded, you’re ripping off the comic companies and creators, and you should knock it off.
- I don’t like to read comics in my browser, and the experience of reading comics on a tablet is great on the Kindle App.
- If the news is to be believed, Amazon is taking over the world and approximately 112% of Americans now have Prime subscriptions – so it’s probably the quickest, most accessible for you if you just happened upon this article.
Greetings, people. Happy Independence Day. You’re about to see the best panel in the long, storied comics history of the greatest American super hero (Captain America, obviously).
It’s been a long while since my last post. Life has been hectic, but it’s time to get this party bus back on the road.
If you’ve been listening to the Two Headed Nerd Podcast, you may be clued into the ways I’m thinking about bringing this blog and the related podcast back to life. If you haven’t, I’d highly recommend listening to all their content, because it’s one of the best comic book podcasts around. Stay tuned for further announcements.
In the meantime, in honor of the 4th of July, I’ll leave you with my favorite panel in Captain America’s history. The Two Headed Nerd Podcast has a feature call “The Onomatopoeia of the Week”. In this instance, the combination of the dialog and the onomatopoeia creates a magical blend.
I’m excited to announce (well, tease more than announce) that we’ve got some big things coming over at the Casual Comics Cast. In the meantime, here are some new comics this week for your consideration.
We’ve had some real bummer weeks in the recent past, so hopefully, by the time I get to the end of this, I’ll have a pick for the Casual Comics Hot Pick of the Week.
Nice. Right off the bat, we’ve got a terrific comic.
“Antarctic Press presents a true tale for the ages, a gorgeous retelling of a classic Greek myth. When his sister Europa is kidnapped from his home of Phoenicia, Cadmus is sent by his father to retrieve her. Unable to find her yet forbidden to return without her, his fortunes seem to turn when an oracle reveals how he shall sow the first seeds of a mighty city of his own!”
This is the kind of comic I could really get on board with. I have not heard of Samantha Beck, but she’s really killing it with dynamic art and a can’t miss story. I haven’t read Ovid’s Metamorphoses since college, and I’m really looking forward to revisiting it in this comic.
Death Be Damned #2
This is another book with brilliant art. I wish that the solicit were a little more explicit about the story author Ben Acker is delivering. Read the rest of this entry
While you’re awaiting the next episode of the Casual Comics Cast, here are some of this week’s comics that have me intrigued, interested, and a little bit scared (if I’m honest). So, for the week of January 26, 2017, let’s take a look at some of the new comics.
To be candid, this is the one that has me a little scared.
“A cunning and malevolent creature prowls the night harassing the people of the hills, but Rondel lays in wait to turn the creature’s lust for revenge against him.”
This is the kind of book that intrigues me at the comics shop. It’s from a publisher I’m not familiar with, and it has an attention-grabbing title. And just who (or what) is a Tailypo. It’s also the kind of book that usually proves to be impenetrable to a casual reader, especially one that’s starting at issue #5.
Bonus points this week for finding a super-scary publisher. For the first time in my recollection, I’m seeing solicits from something called “Boundless Comics”. I’m just going to leave this list of their titles for the week here…
Belladonna #4 (Matt Martin Shield Maiden Cover), $5.99
Belladonna #4 (Nahuel Lopez Regular Cover), $5.99
Belladonna #4 (Nahuel Lopez Wraparound Cover), $5.99
Belladonna #4 (Raulo Caceres Blood Lust Cover), $5.99
Belladonna #4 (Renato Camilo Killer Body Cover), $5.99
Hellina #1 (Of 3)(Raulo Caceres Kickstarter Sacrilege Cover), $9.99
Hellina #1 (Of 3)(Ron Adrian Whipcracker Cover), $9.99
Hellina #2 And #3 Kickstarter Set, $12.99
Jungle Fantasy Ivory #1 (Raulo Caceres Kickstarter Natural Beauty Cover), $9.99
Jungle Fantasy Ivory #1 (Renato Camilo Kickstarter Reward Cover), $9.99
Jungle Fantasy Ivory #4 (Costume Change Set), $19.99
Jungle Fantasy Ivory #5 (Costume Change Set), $19.99
Lookers #0 (Century Bikini Set), $149.99
Lookers #0 (Kickstarter Costume Change Set), $39.99
Lookers #0 (Matt Martin Kickstarter Sultry Cover), $6.99
Ravening #1 (Of 4)(Christian Zanier Kickstarter Reward Cover), $9.99
Ravening #1 (Of 4)(Kickstarter Costume Change Set), $36.99
Ravening #1 (Of 4)(Raulo Caceres Kickstarter Temptation Cover), $9.99
Ravening #2 (Of 4)(Gabriel Andrade Kickstarter Goth Deco Cover), $9.99
Unholy #1 (Christian Zanier POV Cover), $5.99
Unholy #1 (Christian Zanier Wraparound Cover), $5.99
Unholy #1 (Ignacio Calero Regular Cover), $5.99
Unholy #1 (Jontas Stunning Cover), $5.99
Unholy #1 (Matt Martin Femme Fatales Cover)
These are the comics that give comics a bad name. Usually I post a cover, but my kids read this blog. I literally cannot take my daughters to shops that put these titles on the rack. Running down the list, I can only imagine what dark corridors of Kickstarter I have somehow managed to avoid.
Zombie Tramp #31
Based on the title? Pass…
Based on the cover? Pass…
(These are the tribulations of a casual comics fan… The amount of trash you have to wade through to get to any kind of quality comics. And if you don’t believe me, look at the “variant covers” of this comic.)
Kamandi Challenge #1
So far, so depressing. So what’s this?
I only know of Kamandi because of KenzerCo’s “The Knights of the Dinner Table”. Because of what I learned there, plus that this is the first issue of a new series, I may actually check this one out.
When they were writing about it, they were referring to comics like this blast from the past.
So what’s happening with Kamandi today?
Let’s see what the solicit says:
“Prepare to take part in one of the greatest adventures from the infinite future of the DC Universe, and join the industry’s top creative teams in a round-robin, no-holds-barred, storytelling extravaganza titled THE KAMANDI CHALLENGE! Born from the mind of Jack ‘King’ Kirby, the post apocalyptic Earth of Kamandi has been a fan favorite for decades, and now 14 intrepid teams of writers and artists build on this incredible foundation and take the title character on an epic quest to find his long-lost parents and travel to places seen and unseen in the DC Universe. Each issue will end with an unimaginable cliffhanger, and it’s up to the next creative team to resolve it before creating their own. It’s a challenge worthy of ‘The King’ himself! In this premiere issue, the Last Boy on Earth is dragged from his safe haven by a group of tigers, only to face the nightmarish threat of the ultimate weapon! RATED T”
So many words I love… “infinite future”, “round-robin”, “no-holds-barred”, “extravaganza”, “incredible foundation”, “epic quest”, “long-lost parents”, “unimaginable cliffhanger”, “nightmarish threat”, ultimate weapon”…
It’s like they fed 40 years of comic descriptions into a database and asked Watson to come up with a perfect comic book pitch. But, wait, there’s more…
Distracted by the fanciful description, I almost missed the fact that this is a serialized story that is passed from one team to the next – issue-to-issue…
This will either be a spectacular event or (more likely) a glorious trainwreck. Either way, I’m in. So, Kamandi Challenge #1 is the official Casual Comics “Hot Pick” of the week!
Boy – this week was a bit of a downer. After I slogged through the first batch, my soul was deadened and all I could see on my screen was “Micronauts”, blahblahblah, “My Little Pony”, blahblahblah, “Jem and the Holograms”, blahblahblah, “Thanos #3” – why is there a Thanos comic and how is it already on issue #3…?
So, it was a bit of a dark time…
The plan is for us to record a new podcast and have it in your ears in the next week (or so). I promise the mood will be lighter by then.
The new Casual Comics Cast is online. We’re getting more timely – these comics just came out this week!
On the new cast, we discuss:
Justice League #11
Deadpool and the Mercs for Money #6
Silver Surfer #8: ‘Microcosmic’
Klaus and the Witch of Winter – One Shot!
Enjoy the comics cast, and let us know what you think! We need someone to explain Galactus to us…
Now we’re cooking… This just in, Mo and I covered the four most interesting titles coming out for the week of November 30, 2016.
The titles we discuss are:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #64
Batman Detective Comics Trade Paperback Vol. 08: Blood Of Heroes?
Doctor Strange Sorcerers Supreme #1 (Second Printing)
Mighty Thor Premium Hardcover volume 2: Lords of Midgard
Also, sadly, I try and recall which day of the week is New Comics Day.
Where did the time go? I thought that I’d take a “short break” to put up a podcast. Little did I know how long it would take to get one up and running. However, thanks to the best co-host (and announcer) in the business, Episode 1 of the Casual Comics Cast is now live.
Check it out… and all comments are welcome in the webzone below!