Random Comics Review: Marvel Premiere #61, 1981

Marvel Premiere was an anthology title that Marvel comics published to showcase characters that didn’t have their own comics. This issue features Star Lord who debuted in Marvel Preview which was a black and white magazine with a similar concept. One curious thing is, in the colorized re-prints of Star Lord’s previous appearances, his hair is colored as brown. In his Marvel Premiere stories, he is blond. The tagline on the cover promises us ” a truly bizarre science-fiction blockbuster”. I’m not sure what  Marvel’s definition of “blockbuster” was seeing as this was the last issue of the series,  but we did get an interesting story.

The creative chores were handled by Doug Moench on script and Tom Sutton on art. Peter Quill, the Star Lord investigates a strange  planet that seemed to once have had life on it, but now is deserted. Star Lord seems to be assaulted by various elemental forces and then is forced into cave. There he is presented with a hologram that tells the story of what happened to previous inhabitants of the planet. The next part of the story is told from the planet’s point of view. The planet is a sentient being and all the threatening natural occurrences were attempts by the planet at “sharing”. The story ends on a sad emotional note.

The art by Tom Sutton is good. It’s a change of pace from the typical Marvel art of the time, but it is suitably quirky and engaging. The storytelling is clear and Tom’s designs for the organic landscapes and floral of the planet are otherworldly and spooky. And although, we only see them in flashback, I really like the design of the planet’s  past inhabitants.

There’s a couple of  interesting ads in this issue. Right in the middle of the comic, there’s a double page spread for a Marvel Comics/ 7-11 Slurpee Contest. What I find interesting about this is the characters they use in the ad are Spiderman, Hulk, Captain America and…Spider Woman? Was Jessica Drew  really that popular at the time that the average 7-11 consumer would have recognized her? On the other hand, although I’m not sure of the date I believe the Spider Woman Saturday morning cartoon might have aired around this time, so that may have influenced the decision to include her. There’s no credits for the artwork, but it features figures of the heroes that were used alot during that time period by John Romita Sr. For fun there’s a Hostess Fruit Pie ad starring the Fantastic Four ( art by Joe Sinnott? I’m totally guessing ).

The Bullpen Bulletin page has, of course hype concerning Marvel Comics  coming out that month, there’s a couple mini-profiles on editors Jim Salicrup and Al Milgrom, and an interesting piece explaining why the price box on some Marvel Comics were different than others. The answer is because some comics were distributed through Curtis Circulation Company and some were direct sales.

Anyway there you have it. Marvel Premiere # 61 featuring Star Lord.  An offbeat story with quirky art, but ultimately an entertaining comic book.

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Non-Sequitur #6: It Don’t Matter, We Just Do It For the Kicks

 

This illustrates the paradoxical shift of values in a post industrial society and,uh...screw it! I just thought the picture was sexy.

 

The Rev. Meeks said he might give up his church so that he can run for mayor of Chicago. Some people called a local radio angry because they felt like he has abandoned his calling. I felt like… calm down, please. He hasn’t been caught in a scandal yet. He hasn’t rejected God. If he’s truly a moral person and he brings that sensibility into the political arena, can’t that be seen as a positive thing? On the other hand, he hasn’t said a g*d damned word about how he going to fix the g*d damned CTA.

Just drank one beer and am fighting the temptation to drink the last two in the refrigerator. Gotta go the work tomorrow, but it’s 6% alcohol as opposed the 8% or more that I normally drink on a Friday. Let’s see how I feel by the end of this post.

Random Best Song to Sing While Drunk: Living On a Prayer by Bon Jovi. This is the only Bon Jovi song I know the words to. Jon must have thought he was Bruce Springsteen for a minute and with the right “encouragement” so will you.

Justice League of America #51: I gave up on this comic awhile back and thought I’d give it another try. It was not terrible. Basically, Washington DC is under an energy dome while the League fights the Crime Syndicate and villian named Omega Man. The issue is mostly a big fight and the JLA trying to take apart some evil machine. Mark Bagley’s art is enjoyable enough. It’s competent, professional, and just dynamic and kinetic enough to be fun. In an odd way he makes me think of old silver/bronze age guys like maybe Sal Buscema. On one hand they’re just doing a job and not crafting fancy works of fine art, but on the other hand, they get the job done. I’m guessing James Robinson’s story will read better in trade. There’s little attempt to catch the reader up. I was able to figure out what was happening, but I already had a passing familiarity with most of the characters. I imagine someone new to comics or the JLA would be lost. For example, Tangent Universe Green Lantern is in this comic for literally two panels and I was like, “What? Is she like Marvel’s Watcher now?” I had to re-read it to get how she fit into the plot. A paragraph or a “previously last issue” page would have helped.

New Avengers #6: Ok, this is the end of the first arc. It was basically New Avengers by way of Ghostbusters. On the whole it was alright. I really liked the first few issues, then it got bogged down with a bad case of “writing for the trade-itis”. I would have enjoyed this story a lot more if it where 4 issues instead of six. Someone dies a traditional comic book death meaning this person died under vague circumstances doing something heroic. I’m happy the person died this way instead of getting ambushed and chainsawed to death or a shotgun to the head which would have been more typical for some modern superhero comics. Stuart Immonen’s art is still undeniably great though.

Secret Avengers #6: Aw, yeah! Ed Brubaker is still scratching my superhero team itch. No deconstruction, no event tie-ins, no pizza eating…just intrigue, plot, and good guys-fighting-bad guys-chasing-good guys. This is the start of a new arc guest starring Shang Chi, master of kung fu. An interesting note, the red pajamas Shang wore in the 70’s as street clothes, here he wears… AS PAJAMAS!  Also it’s about time Marvel came up with a name for Shang’s father. Back in the day it was Fu Manchu, but legally Marvel can’t use that name anymore. This “my father-your father-his father” bit is going to get old soon. Another nit-pick…Steve Rogers goes on these “black ops” missions wearing his Super Soldier  costume. Doesn’t he know that one of these thugs he knocks out will wake up and realize that he works for the US government?

I’ve drunk one of the beers and I’ve cracked the last one open. I have no will power.

No one wants to admit it but this was the bomb back in the 80’s

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to get some magic new wave shades and some leather pants!

Random Movie Review: Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, 2010

   

See it before the US remake

 

Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is the third film in the “Millennium” trilogy, a series of movies based on novels by Stig Larsson. The first movie was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The films are harsh thrillers that deal with journalism, hacking, family secrets, and violence against women. The latest movie is a fine addition to the previous films.

Hornet’s Nest picks up directly where the previous movie, Girl Who Played With Fire left off. Lisbeth is taken to the hospital due to the extensive wounds she suffered at the climax of the last film. She will later be tried for attempted murder of her father the man who abused her and her mother. Mysterious men in the government want silence Lisbeth because they don’t want their connection to Lisbeth’s father discovered. Lisbeth’s friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist is trying to clear her name. Meanwhile, Niedermann, an hulking brute of a man (incidentally Lisbeth’s half brother) is intent on his own revenge against Lisbeth.

I thought this was a fine film. I enjoyed it even more Girl Who Played With Fire, although it lacks the shocking impact of the first movie Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It had a nice even pace and told in a rather straight forward manner. Although it helps to have seen the former films, it isn’t obligatory. I had a few minor quibbles, along the lines of “Wait, couldn’t  character  A have done that sooner?” or “Would the authorities really let character B have that?” But nothing serious enough to take me out of the story.

Another aspect of the film I liked was the complex portrayal of Lisbeth and Mikael’s personalities. The actors, Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist do a brilliant job.  Lisbeth, while strong and aggressive, is clearly emotionally damaged. Mikael, of course is righteous and kind, but also stubborn and slightly arrogant. This shown not only through the interaction between the two leads, but also through their relationships with other people in the their who are trying to help them. Lisbeth who is defiant and clever in her dealings with authority figures literally has no clue how to react when people treat her with genuine kindness. Mikael seems to forget that other people are affected by his relentless pursuit of the truth. Difficult moments seem to just hang in the air during certain scenes. This might be the most realistic part of the movie. There are several  scenes where characters have awkward exchanges with each other. Either not knowing what is the right thing to say or knowing, but being too prideful to say it. This is my biggest concern about the American remake. That they may tone down some of the lead’s personality flaws in order to make the protagonists more “likable”. But we’ll see…

All in all, Girl Who Kicked the Hornest’s Nest is a great final film a fine film trilogy.

"Barmy Army, Exploited!" Punks Not Dead!

 

 

Non-Sequitur #5: High Gravity Lager

I didn't finish reading all my comics cuz...I'm lazy

Saturday: Hung over. Spent most of the day recovering.

There’s a consensus candidate from the “black caucus” for the Chicago mayoral election. I challenge the legitimacy of this “consensus”. They didn’t send me any memo that all the black folks in town were having a meeting to pick a candidate. Matter of fact, none of the black folks I know got a memo, but somehow there’s a “consensus”. Hmm…

Cool thing at the comic book store: Seeing a couple of 10-12yr old boys and also teenage girls looking around and buying things. I think I’ve said it before, but it’s always cool when young people are into comics these days as opposed to just grumpy old guys like myself.

Disappointing thing at the comic book store: Secret Avengers #6 was sold out. It’s my fault for waiting so long to get it.

Scarlet #3: Still pretty good. But still nothing about unfair taxes, or ethnic cleansing or the prison industrial complex. I know I keep harping on this, but so far this isn’t a revolution story, it’s still a revenge story. Scarlet isn’t striking back against and unjust system, she’s fighting bad cops that are responsible for her pain.

Dynamo 5:Sins of the Father #3: The Dynamo kids fight some aliens and then there’s a cliffhanger. Not bad. This totally feels like an average bronze age/80’s superhero comic. Most of the issue is a big fist fight featuring guest starring characters from “Invincible” and “Savage Dragon” then little hints of the larger story. There’s a back up  story featuring a character named Notorious…Meh.

Random cool hard rock song: Never Say Die by Black Sabbath. Not a great album as a whole, but the title track rules.

Dinner: Rice, broccoli w/alfredo sauce, and baked chicken. I’m back to eating real food!