Christopher Priest’s “Black Panther”

Like many, I was shocked and saddened by the news of Chadwick Boseman’s passing last month. I enjoyed his performances as Black Panther in the Marvel movies, especially his first appearance in Captain America: Civil War. It got me thinking about the Black Panther comic book, a title I’ve never read. I’ve only read Fantastic Four issue #52 (July 1966) in which the character made his debut, penned by the legendary creative combo of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

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Saga Vol.1 (2012) by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Author: Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
Title: Saga
Series: Saga
Format: Kindle Edition
Length: 160 pages
Rating: ★★★★☆


Publisher’s Synopsis

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.


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Once & Future, Vol.1 (2020) by Kieron Gillen & Dan Mora

“Plenty of things that are real are nonsense, love. Most things, even.”

I’ve always enjoyed the tales of King Arthur. When I was a teenager, I got hooked on watching John Boorman’s 1981 film Excalibur on VHS. I still believe it is the best movie adaptation of the old legend. I went on to read T. H. White’s wonderful novel The Once and Future King, and even dipped my toe into the deep waters of Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur. So I was intrigued to hear that BOOM! Studios were publishing a comic book based on the Arthurian Myth, only set in modern-day England.

Publisher’s Synopsis

When a group of Nationalists use an ancient artifact to bring a villain from Arthurian myth back from the dead to gain power, ex-monster hunter Bridgette McGuire escapes her retirement home and pulls her unsuspecting grandson Duncan, a museum curator, into a world of magic and mysticism to defeat a legendary threat.

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Sandman Mystery Theatre, Vol.1: The Tarantula (1995) by Matt Wagner & Guy Davis

‘It has been little over a year since my return to New York. What had been the greatest city on Earth is now a facade of corruption and denial. Fashionable fund-raisers abound while poverty endures and the threat of war lingers stagnant in the air.’

Publisher’s Synopsis

‘In this noir detective tale of intrigue, bigotry and incest, millionaire Wesley Dodds takes on the costumed persona of the Sandman to catch a sadistic killer in 1930s New York. Donning a gas mask, fedora, business suit and cape, Dodds goes after the Tarantula, a brutal kidnapper who is mercilessly preying upon the women of high society. But as the Sandman walks through a world of corruption and deceit, he uncovers the true secret of the murders and their implausible connection to the city’s most prominent family.’

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Dennis (Denny) O’Neil (1939~2020)

“Make me laugh. Make me cry. Tell me my place in the world. Lift me out of my skin and place me in another. Show me places I have never visited and carry me to the ends of time and space.”
–Dennis O’Neil

Dennis O’Neil pictured with his ‘DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics’

I was very sad to hear the news today of the passing of Dennis (Denny) O’Neil. I got to know his work back in the late 1980s when I started buying comic books. At that time, O’Neil was editor of the two main Batman titles: Batman and Detective Comics. I used to buy them regularly. I remember being excited to hear that a new Batman title was going to launch in November 1989. That title was Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight. Denny O’Neil wrote the opening five-part story: Shaman.

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Catwoman 80th Anniversary Special (2020) by Various Artists

If you are a fan of the character or a fan of comic books, you will very likely enjoy this. I did, and I recommend it to all comic book fans out there. It’s a good chance to sample a variety of stories written and drawn by some of the current creative teams in comics in 2020.

Speaking of the creative teams, they feature in the ten stories in this 100-page special. The writers are Ann Nocenti, Will Pfeifer, Tom King, Ed Brubaker, Paul Dini, Jeff Parker, Chuck Dixon, Ram V, and Mindy Newell. The artists are Ty Templeton, Jonathan Case, Steve Rude, Lee Garbett, Tim Sale, Pia Guerra, Kelley Jones, Fernando Blanco, Robson Rocha, Jim Balent, Emanuela Lupacchino, Tula Lotay, Mikel Janin, and Cameron Stewart.

Released with a whopping 23 variant covers, I ordered the 1970s variant with gorgeous art by Frank Cho & Sabine Rich. I’ve always had a soft spot for that purple and green costume. I’ll post some images of the main variants below. Please let me know which one you would choose!

1970s Variant Cover by Frank Cho & Sabine Rich
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Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai

merry christmas from japan

“メリークリスマス!”

 

“A samurai should always be prepared for death – whether his own or someone else’s.”


I first got into Usagi Yojimbo back in the 1980s; just under 40 years ago! My brother lent me an early collection of Stan Sakai’s tales of the wandering rabbit ronin and I fell in love with it immediately. I was already developing an interest in all things Japanese at that point in my life so this was a perfect comic book for me. It introduced me to some Japanese words and gave me glimpses into some aspects of traditional Japanese culture. It also featured regular doses of samurai swordplay, ninja attacks and a myriad of mythological creatures. Can you believe that Stan Sakai has been chronicling the adventures of Usagi Yojimbo for 40 years? That’s very impressive! Continue reading

Chiller Pocket Book #1 (1980)

‘Death is on wing this coal-dark eve. It soars as a silent smokey wisp through the long shadows over Boston’s Beacon Hill.’

 

Marvel Digest Series: Chiller Pocket Book #1

Chiller #1 was released in March 1980. It was part of Marvel UK’s Pocket Book series which lasted for 28 issues. Edited by Dez Skinn, it featured black-and-white reprints of Marvel Comics’ Tomb of Dracula #59 & #60 (Aug. & Sep. 1977) plus “Deathsong,”a story from Marvel Premiere #27 (Dec 1975) starring Satana, the Devil’s Daughter. The Dracula stories were written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by Gene Colan & Tom Palmer. The Satana story was written by Chris Claremont with art by The Tribe.

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Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu

‘Call me Shang-Chi, as my father did, when he raised me and molded my mind and my body in the vacuum of his Honan, China, retreat. I learned many things from my father: that my name means “The Rising and Advancing of a Spirit,” that my body could be forged into a living weapon through the discipline of Kung Fu, and that it might be used for the murder of a man called Dr. Petrie.

Since then, I have learned that my father is Dr. Fu Manchu, the most insidiously evil man on earth … and that to honor him would bring nothing but dishonor to the spirit of my name.’

 

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Cover art of Special Marvel Edition #15 (December 1973)

 

Riding on the wave of the Bruce Lee-inspired Kung Fu craze in the 1970s, Marvel Comics launched the character Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu in 1973. He was created by writer Steve Englehart and artist Jim Starlin and made his first appearance in Special Marvel Edition #15, cover-dated December 1973. He appeared again in issue #16, and with issue #17 (April 1974) the title changed its name to The Hands of Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu. The series was a success and continued for ten years until the final issue #125, dated June 1983. Continue reading

Hawkman Vol 1: Awakening (2019) by Robert Venditti & Bryan Hitch

SYNOPSIS

‘Carter Hall is Hawkman, the resurrected winged warrior who’s lived a thousand lifetimes. But what happens when one of his past lives comes knocking on his door?’

An explorer of the ancient and unknown, Hawkman finds himself embroiled in a long-standing mission to discover the true purpose of his many reincarnations. Carter will race around the globe trying to piece together an ancient prophecy, but will he be able to face down his own past lives lurking around every corner?’

 

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Variant cover artwork by Stjepan Sejic

This latest run of Hawkman began in June 2018. It is written by Robert Venditti and was blessed to have the wonderful drawing skills of Bryan Hitch for the first twelve issues.

Carter Hall’s past lives are catching up with him. As Hawkman, his search for the answers to an ancient prophecy brings him face to face with some of his past incarnations and the worlds they inhabit. Space cops, Egyptian royalty, the Atom, a furious T-Rex, and more, populate these chapters. Here are some brief notes I made for the individual issues: Continue reading