November 13, 2012 • Comics
I started reading comic books that I bought off the spinner racks in grocery stores in the 1980s. Back then, mini-series were going through a thing. They were important. The original Wolverine mini-series, for example, is what turned Logan from a berserk brute into a more nuanced character.
So here are six mini-series I bought back then that I'll never forget. In chronological order.
August 31, 2012 • Comics, Dogs
Photo by Michael Peligro
For anyone who has ever had a dog, you will know that they are more than just a pet. A dog is a friend, companion and to many, a family member. Recent studies have actually shown that the average dog has the intelligence of a two year old human with a vocabulary of 165 to 250 words.
So, in honor of man's best friend, we are going to take a closer look at five of the best canine companions... in comics.
May 1, 2012 • Comics, Handbooks: Superheroes
Most people think of Cinco de Mayo as an adult holiday, but this year the powers that be at the comic book companies have made it a family day.
Every year for the past decade, summer has been kicked off in the comic book world by Free Comic Book Day. The event normally coincides with the release of the first major comic book movie of the summer season. This year that film is The Avengers which will open in theaters on Friday, May 4th. Free Comic Book Day is coordinated by Diamond Comics Distributors and involves all of the major and some of the independent comic book companies.
The best part about the event, is that it is a great day to spend as a family. Comic shops have a tendency to go all out for the day, many of them making it an event where artists and fans can come together and discuss their love for comics. Can you just go down to your local comic shop and pick up some free books, then split? Sure. There’s nothing stopping you from doing that.
But instead of just making it comic book hour, why not do what the title of the event recommends. Make a day of it. If you have kids, pack them up in the family car and take them down to your local shop. If not take your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, younger sibling or friends down to pick up some books. This event is the perfect time to bring people closer together by allowing them to share their passion for comics.
April 16, 2012 • Comics
There are a multitude of reasons why we, as human beings, should be grateful to the trees. Oftentimes, we drive past them in a hurry to get where we are going, not taking a moment to pause and consider what it is that they give us. Trees provide us with oxygen, food and even the paper that the books we love are printed on.
With Arbor Day (April 27th) in mind, I've listed my top five green-friendly characters in comic books. Whether they are strictly friendly to plants and hostile to others, or comprised entirely OF plants, these are the most eco-conscious (whether they mean to be or not) characters in comics.
Swamp Thing (Swamp Thing, Pictured Above): Poor Alec Holland is just a mild mannered scientist, attempting to help the world grow some new vegetation. After a bomb explodes in his lab, Holland finds himself flaming and covered in his own formula. He shambles toward the Louisiana swamp only to fall into the water, dead.
Moments later, a walking plant creature that thinks itself to be Holland emerges from the swamp. With a plethora of plant based powers, Swamp Thing becomes the swamp’s protector.
Black Tom Cassidy (The X-Men): Thomas “Black Tom” Cassidy is the proverbial bad apple. Cousin of Banshee, Black Tom has the power to focus energy through a wooden shillelagh. This ability allows him to create concussive blasts to knock his enemies for a loop.
Over time, Tom’s powers continue to evolve, allowing him to become a half plant, half human creature, thus making him nearly impossible to destroy.
Mervyn “Merv” Pumpkinhead (The Sandman): In a world filled with gods and monsters, heroes and villains, Merv is just your every day Joe, that is, of course, forgetting the fact that he has a pumpkin for a head.
The always put-upon Merv works as the janitor of the Dreaming. In a place where almost anything is possible, Merv functions well as a grounding voice. With a cigarette hanging out of the jagged gash in his pumpkin head, Merv is always ready with a sarcastic remark.
January 31, 2012 • Comics
Don't be like Wolverine. Drink responsibly.
Throughout history, mankind has always found reasons to add booze to everything, under the auspices of somehow making it classier. Eventually, people figured out how to use these seemingly tangential excuses for drink as a means of complementing and enhancing their experiences. Drinking wine? For shame! Wine and cheese? Perhaps a side of delicious red steak? Now we’re talking! Drinking in the morning? Forbidden! Orange juice in your cocktail at brunch? Fantastic and socially acceptable! Even in a recession, when people are cutting corners and forced to find new ways to be frugal – everyone still likes to drink.
The point is, drink pairings are classy. And in a world where comic books are finally seen as “cool,” why not add class it up some more? Comic books are an event, after all. I guess what I’m trying to say is this all just a clever ruse for me to combine two of my biggest passions into one delectable event. Comics and Beer – the perfect combination. But like wine and cheese, the real trick is in finding a brew that will somehow improve upon your comic book affair. One that accentuates the proper tones, and enriches the flavor – a beer that you can experience along with your comic book. A beer that betters your comic book, and a comic book that betters your beer, all at the same time.
Here’s a brief guide to pairing your Comics and Beer:
Captain America: Captain America is, well, American. That’s kind of the point. But not in that corporate, militant, bully nationalism-type way. Cap stands for the American ideal, something that everyone can agree with and get behind, that’s not colored by politics and money. That’s why you’ll want to go for a microbrewed American-style lager or pale ale. Something clean, palatable, and easy to drink, something that everyone can agree on but is still wholly American. I’d personally recommend Brooklyn Lager (after his home turf after all), or Sam Adams Lager, or something similar.
Daredevil: The Man Without Fear is, of course, blind, but the rest of his senses are heightened and more than compensate for this. India Pale Ales (IPA) are flavorful and aromatic, thanks to an abundance of hops (historically added to act as a preservative so that English ales might survive the long trip to India). As a result, they engage the senses more than the average beer, and will encourage you to rely on more than just sight, like Daredevil himself. IPAs are also known for their bitterness, and as anyone who’s ever read a Daredevil comic can attest, bitterness and aguish run rampant in the life of Matt Murdock. The higher alcohol content will make your head spin, much like the conspiracies and ninja smoke that Murdock faces himself. Recommended for the uninitiated: Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Mojo IPA, Harpoon IPA.
October 26, 2011 • Comics, Handbooks: Superheroes
Okay seriously, what is it about repurposed dictionary pages and illustrated art? Not too long ago I swooned over Collagorama’s Dandy Cat prints, and now the comic-book, video-game loving geek in me is losing it over Goblinhut’s Etsy shop, which is full of all my favorite superhero and gaming characters, printed on upcycled dictionary sheets.
Each print measures 10.75” x 7.5” and are made with vintage dictionary pages. According to Luke, the artist behind the Etsy shop, “each piece is made to order [and] every page is unique.”
According to his listings, sales from his Etsy shop help pay for his education. So please, go support this talented guy. His illustrations are fantastic. And make sure you pick up more than just one. All of Luke’s prints are buy two, get one free.
Goblin Hut @ Etsy