Review: Bugs Bunny and Klondike Gold

Bugs Bunny and Klondike Gold
Bugs Bunny and Klondike Gold by Unknown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fairly good story, especially for a Big Little Book. It’s one of the Flip-Books, though, so nearly a quarter of each page of art has a chunk out of it with a little pic of Bugs Bunny doing a magic trick. The art’s okay, but in black-and-white.

The one problem with the story is that Bugs is a complete jerk from the first page, instead of getting haughty in reaction to something. I thought it was out of character for him, as Bugs Bunny needs to have a more sympathetic start in order for him to come out on top of the bad guys properly. Porky was way too conciliatory as well.

The main story of finding the hidden kingdom was enjoyable though.

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Review: Woody Woodpecker and the Meteor Menace

Woody Woodpecker and the Meteor Menace
Woody Woodpecker and the Meteor Menace by Don R. Christensen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This one was a pretty good story for a Big Little Book – would’ve made a pretty good Woody Woodpecker cartoon or TV show, actually. Mind you, the “Meteor Menace” is nothing science fiction. Good artwork (in color) for the pics in this one, and Christensen did an excellent job with the writing.

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Review: Marvel Masterworks: The Human Torch, Vol. 1

Marvel Masterworks: The Human Torch, Vol. 1
Marvel Masterworks: The Human Torch, Vol. 1 by Stan Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The only reason I really bought this particular Marvel Masterworks was that it was only $5 on Amazon, and I had really been wanting to see how they handled the trade paperback version of the series. I have to say that they did a pretty good job, and I’ll probably start getting some of the TPB volumes if I see them really cheap again.

This one reprints the first half of the Human Torch’s solo series that was originally in Strange Tales. It features the first appearances of the Wizard, Paste-Pot Pete, the Plantman, along with the Sandman, Sub-Mariner, and the first modern appearance of Captain America (albeit an ersatz one).

The book is predominated with artwork of the great Dick Ayers, who inks or pencils nearly every story. He does a very interesting version of the Thing that I kinda like. Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko handle the art on the Strange Tales Annual reprint with Spider-Man, and there are even two stories by a fella named Joe Carter, who the world remembers better as Jerry Siegel, the co-creator of Superman.

This volume is a good, solid Silver Age read – nothing too monumental, it’s a good start for the first solo series of any member of the Fantastic Four. I’m hoping they manage to somehow put out the volume 2 hardcover in TPB sometime soon.

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Review: Bites & Bones Flip Book

Bites & Bones Flip Book
Bites & Bones Flip Book by Lois Metzger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was loaned a copy of this by a young neighbor and figured, what the heck? Might as well give it a try … it’s good for a writer to read ALL genres of literature.

Given the YA nature of the book, these stories were actually quite good.I really enjoyed Anasazi Breakdown, the Skeleton Keeper, and Perpetual Pest, which stood out as both creepy and fun to read.And I also read a story by R.L. Stine, an author who started having hits when I was already in college, for the first time, and it was pretty darn good.

I’d give most of these authors another read.

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Review: Superman Archives, Vol. 2

Superman Archives, Vol. 2
Superman Archives, Vol. 2 by Jerry Siegel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great volume in the series, with Superman starting to look and act like the Man of Steel finally. He’s not killing people anymore, and he battles Luthor in this book (for the first time).

This one has some great Joe Shuster artwork, and the stories are fairly believable and rational for the era.

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Review: Sub-Mariner & the Original Human Torch

Sub-Mariner & the Original Human Torch
Sub-Mariner & the Original Human Torch by Marvel Comics
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of those books that immediately falls into the category “They reprinted that?” I thought the same thing when I saw Skull the Slayer and Omega the Unknown get reprint volumes, and I’m just as astonished and glad they did.

This single volume reprints the 12-issue Saga of the Sub-Mariner and the 4-issue Saga of the Original Human Torch from the mid-eighties. Roy Thomas once again comes through in glorious style, retelling the life stories of Marvel Comics’ two oldest characters (much like he did with the JSA in the America Vs. the Justice Society limited series (also recently reprinted in TPB form). Naturally, the histories are incomplete, only going up to the time of the Torch’s second demise (in Fantastic Four Annual #5) and Namor’s second modern series (by John Byrne), but each are a midget history of Marvel Comics. Particularly, the Sub-Mariner story gives you a lot of information that you might not have gleaned before by just reading the individual stories, and covers a lot of the grey area of Namor’s history, such as the time period between the end of the Golden Age and his first modern appearance in FF #4.

While the stories are basically history lessons, they’re still very good comic book tales, with excellent pacing and just enough action to keep you interested in the “heavy reading”. The artwork is pencilled by comic legend Rich Buckler, one of the few artists that should always rank up there with Kirby, Ditko, and Buscema in the Marvel Pantheon.

WARNING: These are NOT decompressed stories like most modern readers are used to; you’ll have to actually READ the stories to know what’s going on.

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Review: The Marvels Project

The Marvels Project
The Marvels Project by Ed Brubaker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was an excellent early Marvel story, set in the golden age of heroes. This will probably be the last new material using the older heroes for quite some time, since Marvel thinks readers’ sensibilities have changed (and they have; we kind of prefer decent stories nowadays, not 90% of the crap they put out so it can be licensed into movies and toys).

This takes place before and during the first issue of the legendary original Marvels series, with the advent of super-heroes and masked mystery men in New York. The original Human Torch, the Angel, Captain America, and Sub-Mariner are on hand, as well as quite a few more obscure characters like John Steele and the Ferret, and cameos by Thin Man, Destroyer and many others. The story itself is top notch, following the attempts to prepare the US for its seemingly inevitable entry into the War with Germany, and there are many hands in the fire to try and prevent that.

I’m not the biggest Brubaker fan, but this time he did his characters good; there’s some unavoidable retroactive continuity, but everything’s pretty true to the universe created by those early Timely Comics writers and artists, and fleshed out by Roy Thomas in the seventies.

Recommended reading for any golden age comic book fan.

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