Monthly Archives: November 2014

An open message to JJ Abrams

Dear JJ –

I like you. I like almost everything you’ve handled. Well, almost everything.

Everything but the hair…

Mr. Abrams – I’m asking you. Please stop all the precocious Star Wars gag/teasers. I’m fine with the concept. But, don’t ask us to believe that you are personally handling your own social media accounts.

Here’s the latest image from the Abrams machine.

I love it. It’s both classy and nerdy, all at once. But, here’s the thing. I don’t believe for a single moment that you,  JJ Abrams, wrote this notecard, took the time to overwrite the word “tiny” several times with a marker, and then got out a blue and red fine-tipped pen to complete the laser battle. That’s not to mention all the detail that went into the explosion.

Here’s what I will believe you contributed to this piece, Mr. Abrams. Possibly someone was able to copy your natural penmanship. And you did order the stationary.

At this point, I even think the asterisk gag was written and approved by your social media handlers.

Anyway… As an original trilogy fan – and as someone who loved L O S T to pieces – I hope for a couple of things:

1. You get all the moneys in the world because the new Star Wars is as good as the new Star Trek  movies.

2. We can all get past the fake “I drew a picture and then took a picture of it and sent it out on social media”.

You’re better than this, JJ.

And your signature looks like a pair of buttocks…

Sincerely,

CCG

Casual Comics Guy Hot Picks of the Week: Thanksgiving Edition! (November 26, 2014)

Happy Turkey Day, everyone. Hope you’ll all be with family and friends this week, enjoying a wonderful holiday meal. If you can throw some comics into the mix, that’s even better.

I’ll be weighing in next week with the beginning of my 2014 comic book holiday gift guide. And, If I find any cool Black Friday sales, I’ll post them as well, so stay tuned.

Let’s thumb through the weekly new comic releases and see what’s cooking.

Crypt Of Horror TPB Vol. 23

Crypt of Horror TPB #23. By: France Herron, Mort Lawrence, Basil Wolverton. AC Comics.

With the plethora of horror/zombie comics nowadays, it’s hard to find something different. The Walking Dead just won’t die. Afterlife with Archie had a quality first story arc. But, at this point, it might be best to look backwards to find something new. I always loved the old EC Comics, and now AC Comics (probably not meant to mislead buyers into thinking it’s EC reprints) is collecting old horror tales from Fawcett, St. John, Superior, Avon, Ajax, and “other forgotten publishers from the 1950s”. If it’s good, the first 22 compilations might hit the Official Casual Comics Holiday Buying Guide.

Planet Gigantic #1

Planet Gigantic #1. Writer: Eric Grissom Art: David Halvorson Cover: David Halvorson . Action Lab Entertainment.

 

Hang on…

OK, just finished bracing my mind for Planetfall, as per the cover’s instructions.

This book just plain looks gorgeous. When the girl riding the winged lion is the “Also in this issue” feature, the main feature better be action-packed. Fingers crossed that this one can live up to its own cover.

Django Zorro #1

Django Zorro #1. Writer: Quentin Tarantino Art: Esteve Polls Cover: Jae Lee . Dynamite Entertainment.

It’s the crossover no one knew they wanted – until now. And while I’m still not sure I want it, it sounds like Tarantino actually wrote the story, and Matt Wagner – a talented guy in his own right – collaborated, so it’s worth checking out. The description is a little long, but I guess you’ve got to try and explain it somehow.

Set several years after the events of Django Unchained, Django/Zorro #1 finds Django again pursuing the evil that men do in his role as a bounty hunter. Since there’s a warrant on his head back east, he’s mainly been plying his trade in the western states. After safely settling his wife, Broomhilda, near Chicago, he’s again taken to the road, sending her funds whenever he completes a job. It’s by sheer chance that he encounters the aged and sophisticated Diego de la Vega – the famed Zorro – and soon finds himself fascinated by this unusual character, the first wealthy white man he’s ever met who seems totally unconcerned with the color of Django’s skin… and who can hold his own in a fight. He hires on as Diego’s “bodyguard” for one adventure and is soon drawn into a fight to free the local indigenous people from a brutal servitude, discovering that slavery isn’t exclusive to black folks. In the course of this adventure, he learns much from the older man (much like King Schultz) and, on several occasions, even dons the mask and the whip… of The Fox!

Tarantino says this book is “canon” for Django, which I can’t see mattering for now. Feel free to correct me in 10 years when internet flame wars are breaking out during the Inglourious Basterds / Sgt. Fury and his Howlin’ Commandos crossover multi-media event.

Django/Zorro has GOT to be the weirdest crossover I’ve even seen.

Angry Birds / Transformers #1

Angry Birds Transformers #1. Writer: John Barber Art: Marcelo Ferreira Cover: Marcelo Ferreira . IDW.

So, as I was saying… Django/Zorro has GOT to be the second weirdest crossover I’ve even seen.

He Man And The Masters Of The Universe #19

 

He Man And The Masters Of The Universe #19. By: Rob David, Joelle Jones, Stjepan Sejic. DC Comics

This is one of those small pleasures that comes from being a casual comics fan. Oh, He Man And The Masters Of The Universe #19… Here are all the reasons you’re magnificent. 

  • I had no idea that there was a He-Man comic book. Even though it’s on issue #19, it’s news to me, and it warms my heart.
  • Because I haven’t read it, I can imagine that it features all my favorite Masters of the Universe characters (aka – the ones my brother had action figures of): Stinkor, Tri-clops, the guy covered in moss (Moss Man?), and the blue-skinned He-Man. The only thing better would be if He-Man had a dragon backpack that squirted water.
  • I get a chuckle from the cover. He-Man does not seem to require a dark and gritty cover image. I’m going to have to check the interior pages and see if they just go back to the same old four-color cheese I loved from He-Man.

Nope… Dang it. This looks more like bad 90s art than bad 80s art.

Here are the most wonderfully crafted four sentences I’ve read in a long time:

The secrets of the House of Grayskull are revealed! Flash back to Prince Adam’s childhood, when rebellion struck King Randor’s throne. What does this moment in time mean for the future war in Eternia? Find out in this prelude to MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: THE ETERNITY WAR #1!

Four sentences. One statement, one question, and two exclamations! Dark secrets abound in the land of Eternia. AND there’s apparently a special mini-series coming.

This gives me great hope that I can convince Marvel to resurrect the greatest comic of all time. Joe Quesada, I’m begging you… FREE CRYSTAR!

For all these reasons, He Man And The Masters Of The Universe #19 is the Official Casual Comics Hot Pick of the Week. Give thanks, y’all for the wonderful weirdness you find trawling the wild world of comics.

And I’m thankful this week for all of you readers. I’m still in transit to Ohio, so thanks for sticking with the sporadic updates. You’re the BEST!

For now, let’s take a peek at my favorite comic duo of all time at their Thanksgiving gathering.

And just like that – no matter how awkward your Thanksgiving gets, at least you won’t have a wet guy with drawn on eyebrows and wearing a Speedo shooting daggers at your dad with his eyes. Scarlet Witch, I don’t know how you do it, but kudos to you on one heck of a spread for the holiday.

This week, be thankful for your local comic shop and support them by buying something!

Cheers!

– CCG

Casual Comics Guide – Marvel Movies Phase 3

Marvel has finally laid bare their plans for Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They’ve got grand designs – schemes worthy of Victor Von Doom himself – for separating fans from their paychecks. I’ve got only one word for that, “FAN-TA-STIC!”

Should I have gone with “Excelsior”?

So, while the real fans probably know all the plans inside and out, I’m starting a Casual Comics Guide to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You’re not going to get every last detail (or even 100% accurate information on the history of these characters since I’m relying on memory here), but you’ll learn the basics. And, that’s all you need to get fired up for this slate of Marvel films.

So, here are the movies – in chronological order:

  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • Doctor Strange (2016)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  • Black Panther (2017)
  • Avengers: Infinity War Part I (2018)
  • Captain Marvel (2018)
  • Inhumans (2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War Part II (2019)

First thing’s first… That’s a whole lot of movies. I’m going to have a movie-by-movie breakdown of some of the cool characters you’ll see in each. In the meantime, here are some quick capsules and pictures to get you good and geeked up for these movies.

Captain America: Civil War

This is simply unbelievable. The Civil War series was a Marvel “event” – one of the last few that was worth every nickle I spent on the main title and all the crossovers (I’m looking at you Original Sin). In Marvel’s Civil War, there’s an immense tragedy involving super-humans, and the government passes the “Superhero Registration Act”. Heroes must register their identities, receive training like law enforcement, and serve under the government’s instructions.

It’s a thinly veiled jab at the government’s privacy invading policies post-9/11. But it was a heck of a series, full of cool sci-fi gadgetry and knuckle-busting dust-ups.

I’d love for Marvel to find a way to get the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man involved. Still, this is shaping up to be a great movie. And, it could tie in well with the Winter Soldier storyline. Spoilers on that will come in the in-depth post on this film.

Doctor Strange

We finally have a Doc Strange, and he’s Benedict Cumberbatch. Wonderful choice.

Although, they cold have gone in a TOTALLY different direction. I love you, internet.

Strange is the Sorcerer Supreme of the Marvel Universe, charged with protecting our realm from mystical threats. Cumberbatch seems born to chant the mumbo-jumbo about the Winds of Watoomb with a straight face, so this is a match made in heaven.

He’ll definitely do as well as Jeffrey Combs in the same role.

Copyright infringement be damned…

Interesting how fast Marvel’s been able to weave in the cosmic threads and, now, the mystical corners of their universe. I’m impressed.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Why so long between the movies? If you haven’t sen Guardians of the Galaxy, you must rectify that, post-haste. Rocket and Groot were great, but I can’t wait to see Chris Pratt on the big screen again. I never liked the comic, but the move was terrific. James Gunn really brought his A-game – adding an oddball sense of humor that this space opera really needed.

If you’re not super-excited for Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Star-Lord has a message for you:

Thor: Ragnarok

I’m debating how surprised I should be that Marvel is bringing Ragnarok to the screens this soon.

Ragnarok is the end-of-the-realm battle for Earth and Asgard. To put it in lay terms, it’s about to get REAL! Good luck Thor. Hope your brother doesn’t stab you in the back (again).

I really hope Thor gets his space horse for the Ragnarok movie.

 

Black Panther

After the cosmic bash ’em up promised by the last two films, here’s a surprisingly down-to-earth follow-up. This movie has been rumored for so long that a Black Panther movie was supposedly Wesley Snipes’ follow-up to Demolition Man way back in 1993. Snipes would eventually star as another Marvel hero, Blade, in one-and-a-half pretty good movies.

The King of Wakanda has always been a favorite of mine. I’m waiting for the first references to Vibranium in the Marvel Universe, and hopefully we’ll find them here. Actually, now that I think about it, Wakanda did have a pretty awesome space program in the comics, so maybe this one’s not as far afield from Guardians and Thor as I initially thought.

Avengers: Infinity Wars

It sounds like Marvel’s taking a detour from the Infinity gauntlet sub-plots that have featured in many of their movies to-date. We’ll get a little break while the Avengers fight Ultron (in Avengers 2: Age of Ultron) and each other (in Captain America: Civil War) before we see them throw down with Josh Brolin, who played Thanos in a Guardians of the Galaxy cameo.

Captain Marvel

This is the one I’m actually most excited for. Carol Danvers? On the big screen? Here’s everything you need to know about Captain Marvel in one handy page.

 

 

That’s right, Captain Marvel is so freaking killer,  she just slapped down a shark with ANOTHER SHARK!

Inhumans

I’m hoping that this one surprises me. I haven’t been this underwhelmed with a Marvel movie concept since they announced Guardians of the Galaxy. And, hey, that one turned out to be one of their best movies in years. I’ll withhold judgement until I see the casting and creative team attached. There are two big obstacles to this film being successful. First, the leader of the Inhumans is Black Bolt, a dude who doesn’t even talk.

 

Second, I know they’re introducing Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch in Avengers 2, but I can’t see how they’ll pull this one off without having the Fantastic Four and the X-Men under the Marvel umbrella.

My hope is, though, that the introduction of the Inhumans will lead to more of the soap opera drama I remember from reading Marvel titles in the 80s.

I love the Marvel slate of movies and, obviously, I’m hoping that the Vision and Scarlet Witch have some major parts to play in Phase 3.

I’ll catch you up soon with more in depth recollections and hopes for all of these characters.

– CCG