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ElfQuest #1
Oct 10th, 2017 by Rusty

ElfQuest #1 cover

ElfQuest #1

Date: April 1978
Publisher: WaRP Graphics
Cover Price: $1.00
2017 Price Range: $4 – $50
Stats: 31 color pages plus forward, pin-up art and Elf-olution
Writers: Wendy and Richard Pini
Artist: Wendy Pini
Notable Notes: A spruced-up reprint of ElfQuest’s first appearance!

Convoluted Publishing History

Some comic book series just really fly through the publishing companies. Astro City is one that comes to mind. ElfQuest is another one. Beginning in the late 1970s the Elf saga started off in Fantasy Quarterly #1 by an independent publisher, then it switched to the Pini’s homegrown company WaRP Graphics. Years later both Marvel and DC would pick up licenses to it, and so would Boing Boing and Dark Horse! Sheesh! Oh well, at least it is a good series, and one that deserves to be published – regardless of who is doing that publishing!
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G.I. Combat #1
Sep 29th, 2017 by Rusty

G.I. Combat #1 cover

G.I. Combat #1

Date: October 1952
Publisher: Quality Comics
Cover Price: 10¢
2017 Price Range: $97 – $1500
Stats: 29 color pages plus ads and text story
Writer: Robert Bernstein
Artists: Reed Crandall, Chuck Cuidera, Pete Morisi, Charles Nicholas
Notable Notes: First issue of one of the longest running war comics titles!

Little Interest in War

I have never really been a fan of war comics. My older brother read Sgt. Rock, but I could never get into it. In fact I have ever only had mild, passing interest in anything related to war or the military. Recently that changed, at least temporarily, when I started taking a college course about technology and global conflict. After spending several weeks reading and discussing military stuff, I have kind of been in the mood to watch war movies and try some war comics. So that is what I’m doing today – giving a classic war comic a try, and seeing how it turns out!

I decided to start with the first issue of G.I. Combat. Why? Well, because it was a famous, long running series, and it is the series where Sgt. Rock and The Haunted Tank got their starts. I figured that was as good a place as any to start!

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The Amazing Spider-Man #300
Sep 22nd, 2017 by Rusty

The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #300 cover

The Amazing Spider-Man #300

Date: May 1988
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $1.50
2017 Price Range: $9 – $160
Stats: 40 color pages plus ads and house columns
Writer: David Michelinie
Artists: Todd McFarlane, Rick Parker and Bob Sharen
Notable Notes: First full appearance of Venom!

New Costume or an Alien?

I was a young, comic reading teenager in the mid 1980s, and I remember when Spider-man got his new black costume. I got caught up in the first, original Secret Wars series and thought Spidey’s new costume was pretty cool – especially given how it could read his thoughts and transform itself into different types of clothing. But then I became “too grown up” to read comic books, and so fell away for about a decade. When I came back, however, I was really surprised to see that his black costume was now a separate villain know as Venom. It took me a long while to piece together what had really happened (remember, this was back before Wikipedia!) and when I finally did I had mixed feelings about Venom. Anyway, I recently decided to go back and read this classic comic book and see the beginning of the villain known as Venom.

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Kurt Busiek’s Astro City #5 (Vol. 2)
Dec 28th, 2016 by Rusty

Astro City #5 (Vol. 2)Kurt Busiek’s Astro City #5 (Vol. 2)

Date: January 1997
Publisher: Image/Homage Comics
Cover Price: $2.50
2016 NM Price: $6
Stats: 24 color pages plus “Greetings from Astro City” letters column and house ads
Creators: Kurt Busiek, Brent E. Anderson, Will Blyberg, Alex Ross, John G. Roshell and Alex Sinclair

Synopsis:

Astro City superhero, Confessor, has a new sidekick: Altar Boy! They train and do detective work at the sprawling Grandenetti Cathedral, and the master teaches his apprentice to see patterns and notice what doesn’t fit. Alter Boy takes his training seriously and uses it to figure out why another superhero has recently turned to petty crime.

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The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21
Jan 18th, 2016 by Rusty

The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 cover

The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21

Date: 1987
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $1.25
Stats: 43 color pages plus ads
Writers: Jim Shooter, David Michelinie
Artists: Paul Ryan, Vince Colletta, Rick Parker and Bob Sharen
Notable Notes: Peter and MJ get married!

Cold Feet?

Hey, I’ll admit that my feet started to get cold before my wedding. It was a big commitment, and as the day got closer and closer I got more and more nervous. Luckily I had some good friends that helped me stay the course, and now I have been married for nearly 20 years! But I never thought of how a super hero would get nervous before his or her wedding – at least until I read this issue. It gives me a new kind of respect for those that are married. This issue deals with a lot of concerns that Spider-man has going into his marriage – and he ends up handling them pretty well I think!

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The Amazing Spider-Man #292
Jan 11th, 2016 by Rusty

The Amazing Spider-Man #292 cover

The Amazing Spider-Man #292

Date: September 1987
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: 75¢
Stats: 23 color pages plus ads and Bullpen Bulletins
Writer: David Michelinie
Artists: Alex Saviuk, Vince Colletta, Rick Parker and George Roussos
Notable Notes: Spidey goes to Pittsburgh!

A New City!

I like to travel to new cities and places I’ve never seen before. And even though I’ve never been to Pittsburgh, it was fun to virtually visit that city as Peter and Mary Jane made their way past many of its sites! I think it is fun to see super heroes go to different places – as long as they don’t permanently stay there (I’m looking at you Daredevil in San Francisco!)

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The Amazing Spider-Man #291
Jan 4th, 2016 by Rusty

The Amazing Spider-Man #291 cover

The Amazing Spider-Man #291

Date: August 1987
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: 75¢
Stats: 24 color pages plus ads
Writer: David Michelinie
Artists: John Romita, Jr., Vince Colletta, Rick Parker and George Roussos
Notable Notes: MJ in Pittsburgh and the Spider-Slayer in New York!

What is this?!

For the most part I love older comics from the 1970s and 1980s. But I gotta admit that there are some really stupid ideas in some of them! This issue is a case in point, what with the stupid elongating robot and the stereo-typical angry villain. Oh well, I guess you gotta take the bad in order to appreciate the good, right? Right?!

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The Amazing Spider-Man #290
Dec 28th, 2015 by Rusty

The Amazing Spider-Man #290 cover

The Amazing Spider-Man #290

Date: July 1987
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: 75¢
Stats: 22 color pages plus ads and Bullpen Bulletins
Writer: David Michelinie
Artists: John Romita, Jr., Vince Colletta, Rick Parker and Bob Sharen
Notable Notes: Peter proposes to MJ!

Eternal love… or a ball-and-chain?

There are many ways to view marriage in the real world, but I’m not so convinced that it is such a good thing in the lives of comic book super heroes. It seems like the only married couple that has gone over well is the Fantastic Four’s Sue Storm and Reed Richards. Yes, I know it has been almost 30 years since Peter and MJ tied the knot, and I didn’t follow their marital events at all, but does anybody think it was a good idea for them to get married? Maybe. I decided to look at the beginning of that comic event and see how I really felt about it.

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Kickers, Inc. #1
Oct 3rd, 2015 by Rusty

Kickers, Inc. #1 cover

Kickers, Inc. #1

Date: November 1986
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: 75¢
2015 NM Price: $3
Stats: 23 color pages plus Universe News and ads.
Creators: Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, Sal Buscema, Phil Felix and George Roussos

The New Universe

The summer of 1986 was one of those times when I was really into comics. I was 15 years old and reading everything I could get my hands on. Marvel was celebrating its 25th anniversary, and started several new comic series set in an all new universe. This universe was supposed to be less magical, less fantastic and more realistic. I never really got into the titles, but the longest one only ended up running for 3 years. I guess people didn’t really want books that were more realistic. The fun part was getting to be there at the beginning, and seeing all the new origin stories!

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Kurt Busiek’s Astro City #1
Jul 13th, 2015 by Rusty

Astro City #1 coverKurt Busiek’s Astro City #1

Date: August 1995
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $2.25
2015 NM Price: $12
Stats: 24 color pages plus pullout poster, “Greetings from Astro City” and house ads
Creators: Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, Richard Starkings, Steve Buccellato and Alex Ross

Dreams of Flying

When I was a kid I had many dreams where I could fly – heck, I still have them! Wouldn’t that be something – to just take off like Superman and fly away? Those were always the dreams where I was totally upset once I woke up and realized it wasn’t real. But still, it’s fun to dream isn’t it? Apparently we normal humans aren’t the only ones who dream of flying – this issue shows us that superheroes have those dreams too… even when they really can fly!

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Thor #347
Jul 8th, 2015 by Rusty

Thor #347 cover

Thor #347

Date: September 1984
Publisher: Marvel Comics Group
Cover Price: 60¢
2015 NM Price: $4.00
Stats: 22 color pages plus ads, Bullpen Bulletins and “The Hammer Strikes” letters page
Story & Art: Walter Simonson
Other Artists: John Workman, Jr., Christie Scheele

It’s About Time!

It has been several months since my last comic book review. Not that I stopped reading comics – oh no – I was just a little bit swamped with other things in life. In that intervening time, however, I was finally able to watch Thor: The Dark World. I thought it was OK, but not superb. How do I know this? Because even now, just months after watching it, I had to look up a plot summary to remember exactly what happened! That’s definitely not the sign of a great movie. Anyway, I did like the parts about the evil dark elf Malekith. Just the other day I got to thinking that I have the comics where he makes his first appearance, so I thought I’d continue my pseudo-streak of reviewing older Thor comics. Lucky you!

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Captain America #14 (Vol. 3)
Feb 27th, 2015 by Rusty

Captain America #14 cover

Captain America #14 (Vol. 3)

Date: February 1999
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $1.99
Stats: 20 gray and color pages plus ads
Storytellers: Mark Waid, Andy Kubert, Jesse Delperdang, Chris Sotomayoor, Todd Klein

Like A Movie

This issue of Captain America has some similarities to the movie Schindler’s List. Most noticeable are the black and white (or gray tone) images, with splashes of red here and there. The red, in this case, being the Red Skull’s big, ugly head! Also, this is a story about WWII – in a round-about sort of way. Here we get to see an alternate life of one of Cap’s biggest foes – and it isn’t pretty!

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Silver Surfer #5
Feb 20th, 2015 by Rusty

Silver Surfer #5 cover

Silver Surfer #5

Date: October 2014
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Stats: 21 color pages plus ads
Storytellers: Dan Slott, Michael Allred, Laura Allred, Clayton Cowles

Nightmares

Do you ever have bad dreams? I do, and sometimes they are the really scary ones where I start awake and my heart is beating 100 miles per hour! I often find that I have the same dreams / nightmares over and over too – whatever that means. You know – the one where you can’t run, or you can’t help somebody or something like that. Sheesh – maybe I need to see somebody about that huh? Anyway, this issue of Silver Surfer involves the king of bad dreams – Nightmare himself. And a sinister plot is afoot that may allow him to rule over the Earth forever! Gasp!

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Akiko #10
Nov 22nd, 2014 by Rusty

Akiko #10 cover

Akiko #10

Date: January 1997
Publisher: Sirius Entertainment
Cover Price: $2.50
2014 NM Price: $3.00
Stats: 20 black & white pages plus “Letters to Akiko” and 2 page back-up story
Story & Art: Mark Crilley
Notable Notes: The gang surmounts the Great Wall of Trudd.

Hang Gliding?

There is a popular hang gliding mountain near where I live in Utah. Although I have never been, every time I pass it on the freeway I see loads of gliders lazily circling their way down from the top – and I get a hankerin’ to join in! I imagine it to be fun, a little bit scary and a bit relaxing too. Maybe some day I’ll get the nerve, time and energy to do it. In this issue of Akiko the gang makes use of a giant flag to do some hang gliding of their own – and it turns out to be pretty useful too!

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Thor #346
Oct 19th, 2014 by Rusty

Thor 346 cover

Thor #346

Date: August 1984
Publisher: Marvel Comics Group
Cover Price: 60¢
2014 NM Price: $4.00
Stats: 22 color pages plus ads, Bullpen Bulletins and “The Hammer Strikes” letters page.
Story & Art: Walter Simonson
Other Artists: John Workman, Jr., Christie Scheele
Notable Notes: Everyone is racing to find the Casket of Ancient Winters!

A Weakness For Cookies?

I love me a good cookie – especially if it has chocolate chips in it! I’ll readily admit that I have a weakness for cookies, but do you think any of the Marvel superheroes do too? Well, apparently Thor does! The hands-down lamest part of this issue is when the Son of Odin is duped by a police-officer who offers him laced cookies! C’mon! Oh well, I guess it’s good to know that our heroes have some weaknesses just like us… right?

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