Review: The Steve Ditko Omnibus, Vol. 1: Starring Shade, the Changing Man

The Steve Ditko Omnibus, Vol. 1: Starring Shade, the Changing Man
The Steve Ditko Omnibus, Vol. 1: Starring Shade, the Changing Man by Steve Ditko
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another excellent reprint collection from DC Comics, featuring the legendary Steve Ditko. I think that with the publication of these two omnibuses, and the Creeper book, that pretty much reprints all of Ditko’s DC work (or close to it).

This volume reprints two of his more esoteric series: the original Shade the Changing Man and Stalker. Shade was more science fiction than super-hero, and never got the chance to find a proper audience due to financial cutbacks at DC back in the mid-seventies. Stalker was part of the attempt by DC to cultivate a sword and sorcery/fantasy line to compete with Conan (I guess). The line was interesting, but only Warlord found a foothold with the buying public. Stalker’s interesting in that it’s the creation of Ditko and the late Wally Wood, making for some interesting and beautiful comic books.

The remainder of the book reprints Ditko’s stories for the anthology books, like Weird War Tales, Time Warp, and Ghosts. All great stories, too. It also reprints the appearance of the Odd Man from Cancelled Comic Cavalcade, a strip that was going to be the back-up for Shade, and eventually did show up in the pages of Detective Comics. This, however, is the black-and-white version from CCC.

This book is a great read for a comic fan and a pure delight for any fan of Steve Ditko’s work.

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Review: Star Trek: Gold Key Archives Volume 1

Star Trek: Gold Key Archives Volume 1
Star Trek: Gold Key Archives Volume 1 by Arnold Drake
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An excellent reprint volume of a series I didn’t think would ever get a high-end treatment; it may be Star Trek, but these tales are so far askew of the basics of the original series that they have no way to fit into any part of the canon. That’s because the writers and artists, capable though they may have been, weren’t given much information beyond a series synposis and some still photos.

Still, these stories are fun and entertaining, and well on the par for Gold Key’s other licensed titles (like Twilight Zone, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, or Time Tunnel). The artwork reminds me a lot of the layouts of British comics like Dan Dare or the Steel Claw, and it’s pretty detailed and full of action, even if members of the Enterprise crew do beam down to planets wearing large backpacks.

If you’re a fan of fun sci-fi comics, or Star Trek, you might want to give this series a try.

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Review: Moon Knight Epic Collection: Bad Moon Rising

Moon Knight Epic Collection: Bad Moon Rising
Moon Knight Epic Collection: Bad Moon Rising by Steven Grant
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been meaning to try Marvel Comics’ new Epic Collection format, and I finally saw one at a decent price on Amazon, so I picked this one up to see how it compared to both the Essentials and the Masterworks series. The Epic Collections are definitely better than the Essentials, and are on a par with the Masterworks in terms of production values and the amount of material included, at least in this one, featuring Moon Knight.

I had been a fan of the character when it was created in the pages of Werewolf By Night, and subscribed to his first series for a year or so, before moving on to other things; I think it was the parody in Cerebus (Moon Roach) that caused me to drop MK and start reading Cerebus regularly instead. The issues reprinted in this volume are handled quite well, feature all of MK’s early appearances around the Marvel Universe and the first four issues of his original series. Great reproduction, color, and a massive amount of good comic book reading!

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Review: Star Trek 78: Assignment Eternity

Star Trek 78: Assignment   Eternity
Star Trek 78: Assignment Eternity by Greg Cox
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, the first book of the new year (2016) also turned out to be one of the better Star Trek novels I’ve read. Assignment Eternity features the return of Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln (played by Robert Lansing and Teri Garr) on the original series, and has them journeying to the future to prevent the future murder of Mr. Spock.

Like the TV show, we still don’t get a lot of background on Gary Seven, but we get a hootful on Ms. Lincoln, and on their various activities together.

The novel is very well written and characterized, and it’s got a fast moving plot. A fine example of the way Trek novels SHOULD be written!

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