My top 10 Marvel Covers of All Time

Off the top of my head, in the closest thing to a ranking I can figure.

10 New Mutants Issue 20

Bill Sienkiewicz, New Mutants Issue 20

9 Daredevil Issue 219

Frank Miller, Daredevil 219

8 New X-Men issue 132

Frank Quitely, New X-Men Issue 132

7 2001 A Space Odyssey Issue 1

Jack Kirby, 2001 A Space Odyssey Issue 1

6 Truth Issue 5

Kyle Baker, Truth Issue 5

5 Elektra Assassin Issue 7

Bill Sienkiewicz, Elektra Assassin Issue 7

4 Amazing Spider-Man Issue 33

Steve Ditko, Amazing Spider-Man Issue 33

3 Nick Fury, Agent Of SHIELD Issue 5

Jim Steranko, Nick Fury, Agent Of SHIELD issue 5

2 Daredevil Issue 182

Frank Miller, Daredevil 182

1  Fantastic Four Issue 49

Jack Kirby, Fantastic Four Issue 49

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OOOH LA DI DA, I READ A COMIC BOOK: Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls

I had heard a lot about how great this was, and from his work on American Vampire, and most of his Detective Comics run, I was inclined to believe it. The actual experience was a little disappointing.

The story is at least a little hampered by having to be an introduction to the new Batman status quo, as well as the introduction to a new set of villains. It’s actually kind of slow-moving for a book that can be breezed through in the better part of an hour if you aren’t in a hurry. Snyder introduces an interesting take on Bruce Wayne’s role in improving Gotham, making him as active in improving the city as Batman is in saving it from destruction. The main problem for me is the new group of villains introduced, the Court of Owls. Owls, at least as a totem to base the entire visual design of your ancient conspiracy on, aren’t quite as… intimidating as Snyder wants them to be, which leads to some overcompensation regarding the power of the Owls as a group, leading to the revelation that the Court of Owls has basically controlled Gotham since its formation. There’a also a sharp contrast between the somewhat grounded tone of Snyder’s writing and the men in owl suits who are the evil masterminds behind what is perhaps the DCU’s biggest and most economicially important city, which kind of threw me off. Oh, and there’s a nursery rhyme about them. Not exactly the best way to keep your vast murderous conspiracy under wraps.

This whole business with the Owls really draws comparisons to the more recent parts of Grant Morrison’s run on the Batman titles, as artistically bipolar and scattered as it may be. It’s especially reminiscent of the endgame of the Batman and Robin section of his Bat-epic, where it’s revealed that Dr. Hurt, with the aid of Darkseid, has similarly futzed around with history, and specifically Gotham history. This, combined with the recent Batman Inc’s Leviathan conspiracy, makes it almost impossible to keep from comparing Snyder’s stories to Morrison’s, and Snyder definitely is on the wrong side of that seesaw. Of course, it’s a little cruel to compare a person who’s been a powerhouse since at least the late Eighties, with his groundbreaking Doom Patrol and Animal Man runs, to someone whose first published comics work was just about 3 years ago; but given the similarities in their current Batman stories, it’s pretty much impossible not to. You’d have to be… I’d almost make a “blind as a bat” pun here, but it would most likely offend both the blind and those with a workins sense of humor.

But it’s not all unoriginal and clumsy, as Greg Capullo’s astoundingly expressive art would make him one of the major artistic breakout stars of the DC relaunch… if he hadn’t had a long career working with Todd McFarlane on Spawn, who just happens to be a dark, brooding character dressed all in black with a long, flowing cape and a deliberately frightening appearance. But nevermind that he seems to have taken a crash course in drawing a pitch-perfect Caped Crusader,Capullo’s art is still astounding. It’s really great at creating a creepy, paranoid atmosphere as well as making conversation scenes interesting with his mastery of facial expressions, whether it’s a playful, Groucho-Marxian Commissioner Gordon or a half-crazed Batman. And FCO’s coloring is bleak when it’s necessary, but never muddy or ugly. More comics should have art and coloring like this. The lettering is… not spine-shattering, but still readable and doesn’t interfere too much with the mood, and it really says something about how bad the lettering in mainstream comics can be that that’s what makes for a compliment. This is not the worst Batman comic you could buy. This is not even the worst Batman comic coming out now. In fact, it’s probably the second best, after Morrison’s Batman Incorporated. But for me, second best just isn’t good enough.

Oh, and that part in issue 6 where the comic pretty much turns upside down in the span of a few pages? That’s some amazing stuff. Seriously great.

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Battleship Sinks

I guess you could say it was… Taylor-made to fail.

I guess you could say… it got pegged.

I guess… it stunk its battleship.

I guess it’s just another victim… of movie piracy.

I guess it was a real… piece of ship.

I guess… they didn’t know what to do with a drunken sailor.

I guess audiences just aren’t interested in… naval gazing.

I guess nobody wanted to… sea it.

I guess you could say it was… savagely pummeled in a car by its R&B superstar boyfriend.

I guess they hit… the poop deck.

I guess… making a movie out a board game was a stupid fucking idea.

I guess these puns have made me… seasick.

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A few things from the DC Collections Solicits for August

On sale SEPTEMBER 5 • 168 pg, FC, $14.99 US
• SCOTT LOBDELL and BRETT BOOTH usher in a new era for the TEEN TITANS!
• Meet a new TITANS team, including new members SKITTER and BUNKER!
• Collecting TEEN TITANS #1-7!

If that’s how you’re going to commemorate Adam Yauch’s passing, you shouldn’t even have bothered.

Written by MIKE W. BARR and others
On sale OCTOBER 10 • 272 pg, FC, $39.99 US
• Batman stories from legendary artist ALAN DAVIS collected at last!
• Collects DETECTIVE COMICS #569-575, BATMAN: FULL CIRCLE #1 and a story from BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHTS #25.

This one’s got the one where Batman teams up with Ralph Dibny and Slam Bradley to find Sherlock Holmes, so that’s cool.

On sale SEPTEMBER 26 • 208 pg, FC, $19.99 US •
Don’t miss a new edition of the title collecting the LOBO and LOBO’S BACK miniseries! First, Lobo is sent to capture a teacher who makes life miserable for him. Then, Lobo takes on the most dangerous being in the universe – and is promptly killed and reincarnated as an angry woman!

Keith Giffen and Lobo is always a winning proposition, and this has Sam Keith art.

Art and cover by RONALD WIMBERLY
On sale SEPTEMBER 5 • 144 pg, FC, $16.99 US • MATURE READERS
This hip-hop retelling of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet focuses on Tybalt (derisively referred to as “the Prince of Cats”) and his Capulet crew as they do battle nightly with the hated Montagues. Set in a Blade Runner-esque version of Brooklyn, PRINCE OF CATS is a mix of urban drama, samurai action and classic Shakespearean theater…all written in iambic pentameter!
Don’t miss this original graphic novel written and illustrated by Ronald Wimberly (SENTENCES: THE LIFE OF M.F. GRIMM)!

This will either be mad fun or mad dumb. Either way, it will look nice.


Written by NEIL GAIMAN
Cover by DAVE McKEAN
On sale NOVEMBER 7 • FC, 3.375″ w x 10.3125″ h x 6.75″ d • $199.99 US • MATURE READERS
Retailers: A version of this slipcase containing only THE SANDMAN VOL . 10: THE WAKE TP NEW EDITION will be made available at a later date.
This beautiful slipcase set includes all ten individual trade paperback volumes of Neil Gaiman’s seminal, award-winning fantasy series.
This set features the entire New York Times best-selling graphic novel series featuring painstakingly recolored pages for the Absolute Editions, plus box art by Dave McKean.

I don’t get quite what they mean with the edition containing only volume 10. Is it just an empty slipcase with Vol. 10 in it? Is it a Vol. 10 with its own slipcase to go with your slipcase? Is that slipcase designed to fit into the original slipcase? Was it designed by Xzibit?

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Who Knows What DC Comics Lurk In The Heart of August 2012?

The Nerdcenaries know, because that feature is a Nerdcenaries feature now.

But, just so this blog doesn’t get left in the cold:

You know what I hate? The entire existence of Before Watchmen, but other than that, the fact that the only information given is one line of what is presumably dialogue in the comic. No information, no description, nothing.

That and the fact that there’s a Jim Steranko variant for Rorschach #1 that I need to see because it’s Steranko.

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I have to say, this is by far my favorite Retsupurae video. Maybe it’s just how the repetition just keeps going on until it goes from irritating to hilarious, Mr. Tarkanian-style, or the way Slowbeef just breaks around three-fourths of the way through, but it’s just the kind of thing that just hits me right every time. The John Stuart Mill essay isn’t bad either.

Mr. Tarkanian:

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Avengers Spoilers! (as written by a dude who has not seen the Avengers)

My brother recently saw Marvel’s Tyler Perry’s The Avengers, and he related to me the spoilers below. Do not read if you are not interested in spoilers.

  • As has been said in most reviews of the Avengers, the movie does indeed begin slowly. This is due to the large amount of time spent literally recapping the previous Avengers movies, in what is perhaps the second-largest “Previously On…” segment ever to appear in film. The record is still held by the 10-hour-plus beginning sequence of the as-yet-unreleased St. Elsewhere movie, wherein all the television shows that have been said to tie into the reality of St. Elsewhere over the years are recapped.
  • Agent Phil Coulson dies. He dies at least 3 times throughout the film, though none of the deaths are ever acknowledged by the other characters.
  • Yes, Pulp Fiction is referenced multiple times, most notably in the mid-film sequence where Iron Man accidentally shoots Agent Coulson in the head in his car, completely vaporizing Coulson’s head. Nobody seems to notice.
  • Much ado has been made about the first ending sequence, wherein Thanos is revealed as a possible villain for the second Avengers movie. However, there seems to be much less chatter about the second, America-only ending sequence, wherein The Avengers dine in a burger joint, which is then held up by Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer.
  • Stan Lee does indeed cameo in the film, during the comedic sequence where the Avengers host a pool party/recruitment drive. He tries out twice, both as one of the lesser-known heroes from his short-lived reality show Who Wants To Be A Superhero? and as Nightcat, the singer/superheroine whose comic book tie-in he wrote in the mid-nineties. He is rejected both times, but as Nightcat, he gets Tony Stark’s number. And for good reason, as he reportedly fills out the catsuit well. Very well.
  • During the aforementioned recruitment drive/pool party, there is a scene where a prospective hero dives into the pool, splashing the Avengers, who then lift their clipboards, having written numbers on them. The hero gets an average score of 6.5.
  • Other heroes introduced in the pool party scene: Doctor Strange(Benedict Cumberbatch, rebuffed by Tony Stark, who says “Well, we don’t need you right now, but if this were any other team, *turns to camera* you’d be a sure lock, homes.“), D-Man(Patrick Warburton), Wonder Man(Tom Cruise), Man-Thing(Ron Perlman; Sample dialogue: “And your powers?” *Man-Thing points to crotch* “Giant-Size.”), The Waffler(Daniel Tosh).
  • Final line: Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange in the rubble of NYC. “Defenders… ASSEMBLE!” Caption: Stephen Strange will be back in… Wes Anderson’s Defenders!
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