Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

Here's the permanent dedicated link to my first Hey, Mom! post and the explanation of the feature it contains.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


WEEKLY COMICS LISTS from 365 T-Shirts - an archive

Greetings! Mr. T-shirt Blogger has made the transit from 365 T-shirts to blogging more regularly here at my central location of Sense of Doubt Blog.

I am shifting the Weekly Comics List posts to this blog, but I thought that before I posted the first one over here that I would collect what I have dome so far for easy reading for those interested. The link here:


shares an archive of all the content in all the posts in the Weekly Comics List category on 365 T-shirts, but there is a lot of additional content in those posts. And so I thought it would be expedient, and somewhat interesting in terms of week-to-week comparisons, to collect the lists and any content or imagery directly related to the lists. So, see the full archive via the link above. And here, following, find the lists in reverse chronological order (most recent to the oldest and first post).

Happy Reading!

Happy comic books!

NOTE: I cannot stand the way this looks, so I am slowly reformatting it all. Watch my progress.

COMICS FOR 1403.19

Daredevil #001 - MARVEL.NOW
Winter Soldier: The Bitter March #002
Lazarus #7
New Avengers #015
Avengers World #004
Superman Unchained #6
Uncanny X-Men (Uncanny X-Men vs. Shield #1) #019.NOW
Sex Criminals #5
Rocket Girl #4
Thor: God of Thunder #020
All New Invaders #003
Iron Man (Rings of the Mandarin #1) #023.NOW
Nova (Unchained) #015
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Season 10- #1
X-Men #012
Ms. Marvel #002
Superior Spider-Man Annual #002
Batman and Aquaman #29
Suicide Squad #29

Thunderbolts #023
Wonder Woman #29
Birds of Prey #29
God is Dead #9
Legenderry #3

Locus Vol. 72 No.3



I am a sucker for a good cover. See that alluring David Lopez Captain Marvel cover? NICE.

I have not ever taken a picture of the Weekly Comics Stack. I think this is very good thing to do.

As you can see Fantastic Four hit the top of the stack followed by Black Widow and The Walking Dead as you can read in the list below. The Captain Marvel issue, despite its awesome cover, is somewhere in the middle. Nearer the bottom, though I am kind of excited about the issues, there's STRAY BULLETS, which is an excellent comic book. Lapham finally finished his previous run, and so that's the last issue (#41) of the previous run, and then the first of the new issues. Though obviously inspired by the film, Pulp Fiction, have been a fan for some time now. And you may also see a T-shirt, one of the last ones I ordered before I cut myself off (and back when I was worried that I would run out of shirts).

Here's the list. Those Stray Bullets issues may move up. Sometimes my mood shifts and other things become priorities.

COMICS FOR 1403.12

Fantastic Four #002
Black Widow#004
The Walking Dead #123
All New X-Men #024
The Superior Spider-Man #029
Batman #29
Mighty Avengers #008
Secret Avengers #001
Uber #10
Hawkeye #017
Captain Marvel #001
Batgirl #29
Justice League of America #13
Superman/ Wonder Woman #6
Nightwing #29
Avengers Undercover #1
Stray Bullets #41
Stray Bullets: Killers #1
X-Force #2

BACK LOGAstro City #10
Inhumans T-shirt


COMICS FOR 1403.05

Afterlife with Archie #4
Moonknight #001
Velvet #4
Starlight #1
Green Arrow #29
Forever Evil #6

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+- current bookmark as of 1403.07 +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-
New Warriors #002
Clone #15
Jupiter's Legacy #4
Nova #014
Uncanny X-Men #018
Captain America #018
Iron Man #022
The Punisher #003
Avengers AI #010
Batman: Detetctive Comics: GOTHTOPIA #29
Green Lantern #29
Earth 2 #21
God is Dead #8

Superman - Action Comics # 29
Fairest #24
Trillium #7

Atomic Robo - Real Science Adventures - Volume 2



If you read on, new comic plot point will be spoiled. If you care about this kind of thing, proceed at your own risk.

I have been eagerly awaiting the return of the METAL MEN to the DC Comics landscape. In fact, I am sitting on THREE Metal Men T-shirts that I have been wanting to write about plus news of a METAL MEN movie in the works.

So, it's no surprise that this comic vaulted to the top of my weekly stack.

Anything with the Metal Men is likely to rank highly with me as they are among my favorite heroes in all of comics. I know I say this a lot, but this time it's true. After the Legion and the Teen Titans, the Metal Men are my favorite DC characters and teams. In fact, if I was to go back and get many older comics that I do not own individually (as I have bought collected editions devoted to these six robots), I would buy up old Metal Men comics. More on this in future blog posts.

As for the issue, I have a few quibbles, but overall it's not so bad. I am not so much of a purist that I cannot stand to see favorite heroes of yesteryear redesigned, and I even like some of the redesigns, like with Superman, Wonder Woman, and some others. My first reaction to the re-designs of the Metal Men seen here was not favorable, especially Gold's "hair." But the issue dealt well with why the robots took these forms, and there's a page in which they strip out their individuality and look more like the original versions. If nothing else, this issue of Justice League enjoyed a huge boost in quality for a title that's been suffering of late. When this title debuted, it was hitting the top or near the top of my stack every week. Last time, it came out (T-shirt #309 - 1401.22), Justice League ranked SIXTEENTH out of twenty-one comics that week. HUGE BOOST!

In the next comic in my stack, Daredevil #036, BIG things are afoot in Daredevil. As if enough misery had not been heaped on Matthew Murdock, now there's more. To remove leverage a crime cartel tries to exert in him to force him to represent a clearly guilty man accused of murder, Murdock reveals in a court of law, going on record that he is Daredevil, an accusation he avoided and even litigated to overturn years ago. During the testimony, he explains for the public at large the one question no one can understand about the Daredevil-Matt Murdock connection: Daredevil is not blind but Matthew Murdock clearly is, so is Murdock faking or what? How can a blind man be Daredevil?

All of us readers know the answer to this, of course, but the general public never understood it. Despite the havoc it will cause, Foggy Nelson, who is trying to fight off cancer that threatens to kill him, endorsed Murdock's decision to reveal his true identity as one of integrity. However, in the wake of the testimony, Murdock and Nelson are both disbarred for ethical lapses of their law practice in how Murdock's secret identity contaminated so many cases, ethically speaking. Legally, Murdock's career is over, except for a legal loophole. He can practice law in a state where he previously practiced and where the New York disbarment may not effect him or where he can renew his license legally.

I am not thrilled with Daredevil no longer being in New York. As synonymous with his city as Batman is with Gotham, Daredevil belongs in New York. There's a reason his career in San Francisco was short lived. But next month a new chapter opens in the life of Murdock and his friend and partner Foggy Nelson: they're moving to California.

Alex + Ada has consistently impressed me. As I shared before, reprinted below, I was not a huge fan of the Luna Brothers work. That said, I taught Ultra my last semester of teaching Women's Studies at WMU. And if I am truthful, I am not immune to the beautiful, naked women aliens of Girls. I am highly critical of the comic and it's twisted misogyny. But it's good enough that the "misogyny" is highly debatable. Is it misogyny or is it commentary on misogyny, objectification, and masturbatory fantasies of fan boys.

Alex + Ada also plays on those masturbatory fantasies of the fan boy fan base, but the unfolding story does in a a much less gratuitous way and the main character is noble and honorable rather than being a douche bag, like many of the characters in Girls.

I am hooked enough to keep reading to see where it goes.

Reprinted from T-shirt #254: Fight Censorship Chester Brown Image

I would not say I am a big fan of the Luna brothers. I likeUltra enough to teach it in my last semester as a Media and the Sexes instructor. But I had mixed feelings about Girls, which I may or may not explore sometime in the blog.

With the newest offering, Alex + Ada, one Luna brother is out and replaced, ostensibly, by Jonathan Luna's girlfriend, Sarah Vaughn. Okay, fine. The story involves a future world in which robots have become common place in servile and manual labor jobs but can also be purchased as companions as Alex's boozy old tart of a mother explains "Who knew an android might be the best lover I ever had."
My reaction: Eeeeewwwww. And: "Oh relax. He's kind and attentive and says all the right things."

Hmmmm.At the end of the comic, Alex arrives home from his birthday party, alone and single, mourning the loss of his last girlfriend, to discover that his mother bought him an android, a beautiful woman named "Ada."

Again Jonathan Luna is playing with male fantasies in much the same way as he did in Ultra and especially with the beautiful, naked clone women of Girls, and though this is more sophisticated and less exploitative than Girls (most any story would be), it's still quite a bit the stuff of fan boy masturbation. Stay tuned. I will keep reading and keep reporting.

Lastly, of the comics I have read already, since I am writing these words on Saturday for the post published yesterday, Friday, for comics that I bought Thursday, I have also read

Nova #013.NOW and New Warriors #001. The Nova comic is billed as a "number one" for some unknown reason. I have always been a huge Nova fan. See the birthday cake in the post about my birthday, T-shirt #303. I think the image bears repeating. The cake was decorated by my amazing father. Isn't that great frosting work?

I have really liked the Nova comic so far. Paco Medina's art is top notch, and the story telling is worthy. As a fan of the long ago canceled New Warriors comic, I was eagerly anticipating this revival. Though some of my favorite characters were not (or have not yet been) returned to the comic (what's this fascination with Speedball?), I was not disappointed. As first issues go, for readers who like this kind of team book, or liked the original New Warriors, this is worth a look.

COMICS FOR 1402.19

Justice League #28
Daredevil #036
Alex + Ada # 4
Nova #013.NOW (#1?)
New Warriors #001
-+-+-+--+-+-+--+-+-+--+-+-+- current bookmark -+-+-+--+-+-+--+-+-+--+-+-+--+-+-+--+-+-+-
Uncanny X-Men #017
Amazing X-Men #004
Avengers World #003
Captain America #017
The Punisher #002
Fables #138
Red Sonja (volume two) #7
God is Dead #7
Iron Man Annual #001

NOTE: I love this cover from this week's Uncanny X-Men comic. Bachalo is a genius.


X-Men #011
Birds of Prey #28
Wonder Woman #28


Revival : Volume Three - A Faraway Place

Looking forward to reading the next volume of this wonderful series.



It had to happen eventually. And maybe I decided to do it because I just wrote about it on Sunday February 9th. Or maybe it would have happened anyway. But The Walking Dead finally fell out of the top spot.

And it dropped TWO SLOTS?? Why you ask? It's funny that you would ask that because I am about to explain.

UPDATE 1403.13: Since I posted this entry a month ago, I have read most of these issues (all but the last three, which languish in the current back log). I just finished Fatale volume four two nights ago, but I had to re-read the first three volumes to make sense of the fourth (my memory is poor). I plan to review those books soon, though soon means sometimes past March 13th, which is the day I am writing these words and sending them back through time to this blog entry.

I am planning on a few very short comic book reviews after I share the list. Short so I can get this posted and get back to work. Actually, I am trying a new incentive to keep me working. Blog a little, grade a little, blog a little, grade a little. And so on.

These comics were all enjoyable. SHE-HULK  may be the greatest surprise in this list as I ranked it low and now, since I did not order it, I cannot get the second issue, which sold out.
COMICS FOR 1402.12

Winter Soldier #001
Kick Ass 3 #6
The Walking Dead #121
Avengers #026
All New X-Men #23 (The Trial of Jean Grey part 3 of 5)
(From two weeks ago week) Thor God of Thunder #018
- + - + - - + - + - - + -  reading virtual mark as of today 1402.14 - - + - + - - + - + - - + - + - - + - + - - +
Thor God of Thunder #019.NOW (The Last Days of Midgard #1)
Superman and Wonder Woman #5
Superior Spider-Man #027.NOW (Goblin Nation #1)
Nightwing #28
Batgirl #28
Batman #28
Secret Avengers #015
X-Force #001
Red Sonja Special #1 ($1.00)
Justice League of America #12
She- Hulk #001
Legenderry #2
Astro City #9
Suicide Squad #28

There's back log and then there's deep back log. I won't even try to tell you about the chasm, the deepest back log. Okay, maybe I will tell.

Great Pacific #13
Ten Grand #7

Fatale: Book Four: Pray For Rain+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+

Tough call this week with the rankings. When there's a comic book issue featuring Doctor Strange on the cover, I am strongly tempted to rank it very highly. After all, I LOVE Doctor Strange as described in T-shirt #119. But Simon Bianchi is not one of my favorite artists. If it had been Deodato or Greg Land, the New Avengers issue would have topped the list. But Bianchi's work drops it to the fifth place.

Here's a so-so review of the comic.


Here's a nifty feature showing all the Marvel comics as they come out, week-to-week. There are other such pages hosted by other Internet sites.


Lazarus almost took the top slot. But both Green Arrow and Black Widow edge the Carlyle Lazarus because both comics are just a wee bit easier to read.

Really, the top three from this week are all more or less tied, but I have to read them in some order. In the end, the choice is somewhat arbitrary.

By fandom, I would have read the New Avengers first due to it Doctor Strange content. The issue was excellent despite my misgivings about the art. My main complaint with Hickman's Avengers is that he's trying to do too much. I do like huge earth shattering, potentially apocalyptic, conflicts, but not all the time. The strength of the Avengers has always been the human melodrama going on around the cosmic battles as well as a good mix of different conflicts and different kinds of stories. Hickman is over indulging in the space-faring, world-shattering, end of everything type scenarios to the exclusion of the characters, their stories, and some smaller less cataclysmic stories.

One of the strengths of New Avengers #014 is that it focused for the most part just on what Doctor Strange is doing to save the earth from complete destruction. Though it could have been more character focused, the story revealed a new piece of the plot, which could have serious and impressive consequences. Despite my criticisms, it's not like I am going to stop reading! :-)
COMICS FOR 1402.05
Green Arrow #28
Black Widow #003
Lazarus #6
Forever Evil #5 (of 7)
New Avengers #014
Mighty Avengers #006
All New Invaders #002
Captain America #016.NOW
Avengers AI #009
Iron Man #021
The Punisher #001
God is Dead #6
Codename: Action #5
Earth Two #20
Ms. Marvel #001
X-Men (Ghosts #1) #010.NOW
Batman: Detective Comics (Gothtopia) #28
Green Lantern #28 (flips with Red Lantern #28)
Sidekick #5
Apocalypse Al #1
Action Comics #28
Fairest #23
Trillium #6

SPECIAL PURCHASES- Using a gift certificate given to me by a close friend.
Warlock - The Complete Collection by Jim Starlin (trade paperback)
The Silver Age Teen Titans Archive - Volume Two

The Walking Dead Ten Year Anniversary T-shirt


It is sad to see Superman fall so low in the weekly lists. Miracleman is reprints, which I am interested in re-experiencing, but not high on my list.

I had to buy the World's Finest annual because of the cover (seen right).

Aquaman continues to top my list both because I love Aquaman and because the comic is damn good. The Bendis/Bagley Cataclysm issues rank highly, even if I have not read the Ultimates or X-Men issues (and I have not). With Remender writing and McNiven on art, Uncanny Avengers is going to rank highly when it comes out.

Most interesting in this week's list is the books that I usually rank lower simply to be able to take my time with reading, like Fables, Saga, and Uber all rank very high and higher than some standard superhero books that I usually read before those issues.

I have an insanely huge and ever growing pile of comic books I want to review, but I am supposed to be in hiatus and building content for future posts, which is not wholly successful yet. I still have one outstanding post (T-shirt #304), which is still unfinished. SIGH.
COMICS FOR 1401.31
Aquaman #27
Cataclysm: The Ultimates Last Stand #004
Inhumanity #002
Uncanny Avengers #016
Guardians of the Galaxy #011.NOW (The Trial of Jean Grey #1)
The Superior Spider-Man #026
Clone #14
Fables #137
Saga #18
Uber #9
Thor: God of Thunder #018
Flash #27
Thunderbolts #021
Teen Titans #27
Earth 2 - Annual #2
World's Finest - Power Girl and Huntress Annual - (First Contact Prelude) #1
Catwoman #27
Superman #27
Miracleman #2



I gave a lot of thought to keeping The Walking Dead in my number one slot. I almost dropped it. This week made for many tough choices. I loved the first issue of Black Widow (even though I suspect Marvel of trying to compete with Image's Velvet), and as you can see, it jumped from the seventh slot two weeks ago to number two and almost number one.

Excited for the new Invaders comic and with good reviews by some tough readers at the comic book store, I log in the All New Invaders comic at number three. The rest of the top six-seven all look good and were close calls in the rankings. Batman falling to ninth may change as I start to work my way through the stack.

I am proud to have cleared the back log enough that there are no issues from this week that go straight to back log.

 And on the strength of many recommendations, I am buying Unwritten to give it a go. I just finished Nowhere Men last night and added it to my large stack of comics and graphic novels that I want to review on my blog. For now, just this week's list.
COMICS FOR 1401.22

The Walking Dead #120
Black Widow #002
All New Invaders #001
Mighty Avengers #005
All-New X-Men #022.NOW
X-Men #009
Captain America #015
Hawkeye #016
Batman #27
Avengers World #002
Avengers #025
FF #016
Iron Man #020.INH
The Man of Bronze: Doc Savage #2 (DYNAMITE)
Deadly Class #1 (IMAGE: Remender, Criag, Loughridge)
Justice League #27
Birds of Prey #27
Wonder Woman #27
Cataclysm: Ultimate Comics: X-Men #003
Indestructible Hulk #018.INH

NO BACKLOG!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Unwritten volume one (Carey/Gross-VERTIGO)


It's a shame. I have meant to review Batgirl #26 for a month, and now, issue #27 is out. As of this writing. I am up through the Spider-Man issue. I was disappointed in the wrap-up to the Fantastic Four story. Notice that Velvet has jumped to the top of the stack, beating often top ranked Fantastic Four. It's that good. I will have more to say in forthcoming reviews. I promise to catch up!! Also, I am planning a big reading day tomorrow for my birthday (which is Sunday January 19th but I am behind in completing these entires as this is Thursday's entry), and I may just skip ahead and read all the Astro City. It's long overdue, and I do like the book a lot.

COMICS FOR 1401.15

Velvet #3

Fantastic Four #016

Daredevil #035

Amazing X-Men #003

All New X-Men #021

Uncanny X-Men #016

The Superior Spider-Man #025

Superman/Wonder Woman #4

Justice League of America #11

Alex + Ada #3

Thor God of Thunder #017

God is Dead #5 (of 6)

Batgirl #27

World's Finest: Huntress and Power Girl #19

Nightwing #27

Thunderbolts #020.Now

Nova #012

Secret Avengers #014

Miracleman #1

Suicide Squad #27

Inhumanity: Superior Spider-Man #001

Cataclysm: Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates #003


Astro City #8
FREE COMIC - Deadpool : The Gauntlet

Locus #636 Vol. 72 #1



Here's the Weekly comics list on Thursday this week because Friday's blog is special and will have nothing to do with comics. Now that I have caught up on some of the issues I am reading, Sex Criminals, which is a wonderful comic, jumps to the second spot. I almost had it dislodge The Walking Dead, but the zombie comic is always a quick and easy read so it continues in the top spot if only for that reason. The Cataclysm comics jump into the top five this week because they are written by Bendis and feature great art with Marquez on the Spider-Man comic and Bagley on the other other.
Actually, some of last week's comics crept up in this list, like Flash, which I had not read yet.

I am actually completing this entry on the Sunday following (1401.12) the Thursday when I posted this entry originally. I am planning a day of reading Sunday (which as I confessed is the day I am actually writing this one). I will report back on the results of that. I am really looking forward to the Black Widow comic.

I have been stacking up many comics that I want to review, but such things will have to wait as I continue to catch up. Recently, I have read Revival, volumes one and two, which I enjoyed immensely, so I am hoping to review those soon, but not today.

COMICS FOR 1401.08

Walking Dead #119
Sex Criminals #4
Afterlife With Archie #3
Cataclysm: Ultimate Spider-Man #003
Cataclysm: The Ultimates Last Stand #003
Green Arrow #27
Black Widow #001
Avengers World #001
Avengers A.I. #008
Young Avengers #015
Wolverine #013
Heist #004
Iron Man #020
Daredevil: Dark Knights #008
Batman: Detective Comics #27
Earth Two #19
Green Lantern #27
Superman: Action Comics#27
The Awakening #002
The Shaolin Cowboy #4

BACK LOGFairest #22
Sheltered #6
Buck Rogers #4

SPECIAL PURCHASESSEX: The Summer of Hard: Volume One From Image Comics (Casey/Kowalski)
Revival Volume Two



Look, Ma!! No backlog!! Fancy that. A whole stack of comics and I am caught up on all of those titles, until I fall behind again. In the interests of keeping this entry shorter, not much else to say. Expect some of these to be reviewed in the future.

COMICS FOR 1312.31

Aquaman #26
Guardians of the Galaxy #010
Superman Unchained #5
New Avengers #013
Clone #13
Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril #6 of 6
Fables #136
Legenderry #1
Rocket Girl #3
The Flash #26
Teen Titans #26
Catwoman #26
Superman #26

SPECIAL PURCHASESThe Manhattan Projects - Volume One



It's a very small list this week. No back log at all. I have already read all three of these comics, though I am not reviewing them here today. I am planning another massive comic books and football fest on Sunday. In fact, unlike past days of R&R, I plan to spend nearly all day on the couch with the dog, comic books, and football games. I will have more to report after Sunday.

COMICS FOR 1312.24

Forever Evil #4
Justice League #26
Avengers #024.NOW (Rogue Planet #1)

Bought For Piper: Harley Quinn #0




Again, I want to point out the ever-shrinking back log as I get caught up on more comics. Even with catching up somewhat, I am falling behind as well because I did not read all the comics that came out last week before fetching this week's comics.

For the next two weeks, comics will come out on Tuesday. I doubt I will deviate from presenting my lists on Friday, though. I am unlikely to go fetch comics on this coming Tuesday, Christmas Eve, as that's a day for family, with my wife and kids. And given that the following Tuesday is New Year's Eve, I am unlikely to fetch comics then either, though I know better: never say never.

I would also like to point out some other changes to the weekly list. Please note (if this interests you, otherwise why are you reading this) that not only has Codename: Action broken out of the back log, it has jumped to fourth!! Daredevil enjoys a higher slot this week.

Not surprising to see Fantastic Four in my top slot, given the books that came out this week, even though Fraction and Bagley have left the book. Uncanny Avengers jumped up some spots on the strength of the last issue. Even though Stuart Immonen did not draw All New X-Men #020, it takes the second slot on the strength of the story alone. Thank you Brian Bendis. Okay, I am lying. It jumped to number two because of the cover in the image above. Geez. I am such a stupid fan boy.

Of the list below, I have read through Young Avengers so far. I almost brought forward a book from last week, but I changed my mind after I leafed through it. all of the top eight comics were good reads, though I must say that the one with the biggest impact was The Superior Spider-Man #024. This comic had a lull in its run, but it has consistently delivered quality story lines, and as it gears up to issue #25, get ready for a blockbuster!

I decided to return one comic because I am not reading it. It's a difficult thing to order comics two months in advance and then have them fall into the back log.

COMICS FOR 1312.18

Fantastic Four #015
All New X-Men #020
Daredevil #034
Codename: Action #4
X-Men #008
Uncanny Avengers #015
The Superior Spider-Man #024
Young Avengers #014
FF # 015
Thor: God of Thunder #016
Avengers Assemble: Inhumanity #021
Avengers Assemble: Inhumanity #022
Secret Avengers #013
Red Sonja #6
Saga #17
Mind the Gap #16
Birds of Prey #26
Wonder Woman #26
Indestructible Hulk: Inhumanity #017
Black Science #2
The Amazing Spider-Man #700.4
The Amazing Spider-Man #700.5

Cataclysm Ultimate X-Men #002
Uncanny X-Force #015
Ten Grand #6

Locus v.71 #6

Max Brooks' Extinction Agenda


The Walking Dead once again tops the stack, but it was a close call this week with all of the top six comics being eagerly anticipated. I am especially excited for Dynamite's new Doc Savage book, owing to my love for the character and the old pulp novels. Long list this week, and many comics to write about but that will happen in future entries. Read Lazarus last night before bed. AWESOME.

COMICS FOR 1312.11

The Walking Dead #118
Inhumanity: The Mighty Avengers #004
Cataclysm: Ultimate Spider-Man #002
Batman #26
Lazarus #5
The Man of Bronze: Doc Savage #1 (From Dynamite Comics)
Alex + Ada #2
Batgirl #26
Captain America #014
Wolverine #012
Inhumanity: Uncanny X-Men #015
Inhumanity: Avengers AI #007
Justice League #25
Justice League of America #10
Nova #011
Nightwing #26
Uber #8
Superman/Wonder Woman #3
Suicide Squad #26
Shaolin Cowboy #3
Inhumanity: The Awakening #001
World's Finest: Power Girl and Huntress #18
Cataclysm: the Ultimates #002


Astro City #7
Amazing Spider-Man #s 700.2 & 700.3
Thunderbolts #019
Satellite Sam #5

SPECIAL PURCHASESRichard Stark Parker's Slayground - adapted and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke
Iron Man (Many Iron Men) T-shirt (so I am going to get more content on Iron Man after all)



I had to return to Fanfare Saturday as some of the comics for 1312.04 did not come in until the next day, and this was my first opportunity to return.

So here's my updated list from this week's comics with the new comics in bold. Plus there were two special purchases as noted.

Since I had already read the first four comics in the list, obviously, these cannot be ranked among the top four. Only the X-Men comic had a shot to rank high, and at best, I would have ranked it fourth. I will rank it fifth, so that it's my next read.

COMICS FOR 1312.04

Inhumanity #001
Velvet #2
Green Arrow #26
Guardians of the Galaxy #009
Amazing X-Men #002
The Superior Spider-Man #023
Young Avengers #013
Iron Man #019
Action Comics: Superman #26
Daredevil: Dark Knights #007
Fearless Defenders #012
Batman: Detective Comics #26
Earth Two #18
Green Lantern #26
Secret Avengers #012
Indestructible Hulk Annual #001
The Amazing Spider-Man #700.1

Great Pacific #12
Fairest #21
Cataclysm: The Ultimates Last Stand #002
God is Dead #4
Trillium #5


East of West - volume one

Mister Miracle T-shirt (another preview of a future shirt, and I learned some fun facts about Jim Steranko related to this character).



I have been reading a lot of comic books lately. Big surprise. One book that fell into back log was Wolverine. I had SEVEN issues of the comic piled up in my back log, which I finally plowed through a week ago. Marvel has been going a bit "berserk" with its Wolverine products with three books devoted to the most popular of the mutants. I had been picking up issues of The Savage Wolverine, when they featured Frank Cho art and swiftly dropped the book when Cho left the book. I bought issues of Wolverine and the X-Men during the Battle for the Atom story as I mentioned in T-shirt #218 and T-shirt #229, in which I reviewed the last issue of the massive crossover.

Since Wolverine did not crossover with the Battle for the Atom story, and since artist Alan Davis stepped away from the comic for three issues, I let the title stack up in my back log. When I read all the issues, I found renewed interest in the storyline, in which Wolverine is fighting a mind-controlling virus from the microverse that manages to take away his mutant healing power. Suddenly mortal, Wolvie is in a world of hurt, quite literally. Alan Davis has always been one of my favorite artists and Mark Farmer's inks make Davis' pencils more beautiful, if that's possible. Paul Cornell's writing is deft and smart. Suddenly, this book has jumped high on my radar and hit near the top of the list next time the book comes out.

The New 52! Teen Titans comic book has been a dreadful disgrace. As I have reported on many occasions, I am a huge Teen Titans fan from way back. But this book is awful. Though not quite as awful as recent issues of Superman (because no comic could be as bad as that one), the comic has been a confusing mess. I am not even sure I understand what is going on, and the relationships and subplots have been handled with all the writing skill of a sledge hammer being used for cracking an egg. UGH. Stay away. Though I will keep buying the damn book because it's the Titans, and I am an insane geek.

The All New X-Men #018: It's time for them to go home. At first, I liked the idea of bringing the original X-Men back to the current landscape from the past. But their story has outlived its usefulness. Now it seems like its hanging on to provide Marvel with one more X book in its glut of the industry and to be able to keep the original characters alive and well in the current landscape despite the jeopardy it is causing to the history of the characters and those comic book stories.

Granted, the comic is still well written by Bendis, who, as I have said, is in such a renaissance for his career that I think he is doing his best work ever, and lovingly drawn by Stuart Immomen, but the stories are losing their punch. Though having the originals confront Magneto, who when the originals last met him he was trying to kill them, is worth exploring, other stories like the Cukoos harassing Jean Grey seem rather pointless. And then, in the recent issue, #018, they give the originals new costumes, which sort of violates the whole idea of having the old costumes around as a means of keeping trademarked images alive and current.
I like Immomen (and Bendis) too much to stop buying it and reading it. But send them home already. Enough is enough. This is like the HOUSE GUESTS THAT WOULD NOT LEAVE.

Send these annoying teenagers packing.

'Nuff said.

I would not say I am a big fan of the Luna brothers. I like Ultra enough to teach it in my last semester as a Media and the Sexes instructor. But I had mixed feelings about Girls, which I may or may not explore sometime in the blog.

With the newest offering, Alex + Ada, one Luna brother is out and replaced, ostensibly, by Jonathan Luna's girlfriend, Sarah Vaughn. Okay, fine. The story involves a future world in which robots have become common place in servile and manual labor jobs but can also be purchased as companions as Alex's boozy old tart of a mother explains "Who knew an android might be the best lover I ever had."
My reaction: Eeeeewwwww. And: "Oh relax. He's kind and attentive and says all the right things."
At the end of the comic, Alex arrives home from his birthday party, alone and single, mourning the loss of his last girlfriend, to discover that his mother bought him an android, a beautiful woman named "Ada."

Again Jonathan Luna is playing with male fantasies in much the same way as he did in Ultra and especially with the beautiful, naked clone women of Girls, and though this is more sophisticated and less exploitative than Girls (most any story would be), it's still quite a bit the stuff of fan boy masturbation. Stay tuned. I will keep reading and keep reporting.


I like JMS also known as Joe Straczynski. I liked his Spider-Man, I liked his Thor, I liked his Superman stuff. I adored Babylon Five.

So far, I am not thrilled with his Joe's Comics line.

Granted, I have Ten Grand in my back log, which may be the best of the bunch. Sidekick has art by Tom Mandrake, which is a plus, but the story is a bit dodgy and has more Femme Fatale type manipulation, which will get most fan boy's rocks off. Tom Mandrake, who draws in Gene Colan vein (one of my favorites as I have made a category all his own) almost makes the experience worth it. Almost. I have seen JMS do better writing. Likewise Protectors Inc. is also ho-hum. I added this comic to my stack of comics to recap and just glancing at the cover, I cannot think of one thing I remember of it. Gordon Purcell art looks nice. Purcell is swiping Dan Jurgens, which he does well enough. I flip through the comic and I only have the vaguest sense of having read it. Not too engaged.

Lastly, Batman #25. I wrote about the previous issue in T-shirt #217.


I love the Zero Year thing. DC was very smart to start New 52 a few years in and fill in back story with zero issues and Zero Year tie-ins as well as books like Action Comics, which originally explored the early years of Superman's career. Batman #25 continues the early years of Batman's career, after the Joker's origin, detailing the first Riddler story, an early version of the Bat mobile (seen below), the inspiration for the Bat Signal (by Jim Gordon), and a great final twist, which I will not reveal here (though it deals with Lucius Fox). You have to read the comic.

Batman continues to be among the best DC titles.


Because The Walking Dead is coming out every two weeks, issue 117 lands the same week as Aquaman, and I have to make the tough choice. The Walking Dead continues to win the top spot in my stacks. Kick Ass drops from its previous spot because of the two aforementioned books (it was second back in T-shirt #225). Likewise, following from the previous posted link for 225, Superior Spider-Man stays highly ranked because the story is strong. I liked the end of Infinity well enough but it's hardly the best idea for a crossover in Marvel history. It was all right, but I am glad it's over. The whole thing left me a bit underwhelmed. Likewise, with New Avengers, I think Hickman is trying to do too much and not doing anything well enough.

And that's all I have read so far. More later. Tomorrow's a big reading day.

COMICS FOR 1311.27

The Walking Dead #117
Aquaman #25
Kick-Ass 3 #5
The Superior Spider-Man #022
Infinity part six of six
New Avengers #12
The Flash #25
Hawkeye #014
Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril #5 of 6
Saga #16
Black Science #1
Uncanny Avengers #014
FF #014
Nova #010 (supposedly #100)
All New X-Men #019
Heist #003
Avengers Arena #018
Cataclysm: Ultimate X-Men #001
Catwoman #25
Sidekick #4
Teen Titans #25
Superman #25


Uncanny X-Force #014
Sandman Overture Special Edition #1 
Buck Rogers #2
Buck Rogers #3
Indestructible Hulk #016
Codename Action #2


Atomic Robo and the Fightin' Scientists of Tesladyne (volume one)

Nowhere Men volume one

Stark Industries R&D T-shirt (Preview of a future shirt!!)


- chris tower - 1311.30 - 13:49

Originally, I had planned comic book round up of some recent things I have read in today's blog entry, but I am saving these for another day, perhaps (and likely) tomorrow.

Just a few remarks on the weekly list.

First off, notice the smaller back log, which is due to the fact that I have been catching up. For instance, Wonder Woman can be in the main list as I read the three issue that had back logged since last I wrote. The comic takes the last slot as I am still not impressed with it, but it's not backlogged. I was about to read Sheltered and Sex Criminals when I got this batch, so I suspect to be caught up on those by next month.

Fables rides higher than usual because I realize I am much more eager to read it, and if I put it too low, then it gets back logged, and I want to keep up on it as I love it. When last I ranked Fables, it came in at tenth in that week, which has some of the same releases as this week. A jump to fourth for Fables is very significant.
Clone also jumps up higher in the stack as I enjoy it immensely and the last issue left us hanging rather spectacularly.

Like a month ago, Afterlife with Archie takes the top slot. Since it has been OVER a month since the first issue, the week it came out last (1310.09), The Walking Dead claimed the top spot with Afterlife With Archie one slot down. Fantastic Four, which took the top spot a month ago (1310.16), is second, but may fall if the creative team that follows Fraction/Bagley does not match their promise.

COMICS FOR 1311.20

Afterlife With Archie #2
Fantastic Four #014
Daredevil #033
Fables #135
Clone #12
Young Avengers #012
Uncanny X-Men #014
X-Men #007
Avengers AI #006
Avengers #23
The Superior Spider-Man Annual #001
Birds of Prey #25
Cataclysm: Ultimates #001
Red Sonja #5
Thunderbolts #018
Wonder Woman#25

Indestructible Hulk #015
Secret Avengers # 011
Sheltered #5
Sex Criminals #3

NOTE: Somehow I missed ordering the Ellis book, not sure how that happened. Fanfare is running a massive clearance sale on books it had in stock, so I snagged this neat book on superheroes as I love that kind of stuff.

Avengers: Endless Wartime - by Warren Ellis and Mike McKone and Jason Keith

Superheroes! by Laurence Maslon and Michael Kantor


- chris tower - 1311.22 - 19:38


Last week was a good week for comics and reading comics. With the exception of one comic, the last on the list, I read the entire list of comic books from last week. Unlike last week, I am not working ahead, and so I have not read a single comic from this week's list.

Looking back on the week, there are several excellent comics, but one of the greatest standouts (maybe the greatest) was Detective Comics #25. The Zero Year story of an incident early in the career of Jim  Gordon (and consequently Batman), which supplied him with the idea for the signal light, was deftly written and beautifully illustrated by Jason Fabok. Though I have been critical of the Earth Two comic, last week's issue with a new creative team was very well done, and I felt for the first time in months that it was worth my money. I already mentioned Action Comics. I felt that Uber was a bit of a let down, but Cataclysm was well done, and I liked Captain America very much.

This week, The Walking Dead takes its top spot as usual. Batman earns a higher rank based on the strength of the last issue, which I reviewed in T-shirt #217Justice League always rates highly, but Cataclysm jumps from tenth last week to fourth this week based on the strength of the last issue, earning a place over The All-New X-Men, which is often in the top group (#16 was second in its week and #17 was fifth).

Lastly, I am excited about the Uber hard cover. I did not order it, but after reading Gillen's description of what it contained in the back matter for last week's issue #7, I had to snag it. Gillen is single-handedly re-kindling my interest in World War Two. I already plan to read one of the books he recommends, and I may need to delve more deeply into his research. In this volume, there are issue notes that Gillen had published online, there is an interview with Gillen (which looks to be at least three dozen pages long), and there's an article originally published at Multiversity about the process and pitfalls of writing fiction about Nazis. There's also more juicy back matter with designs, creator bios, script pages, and more. It is one of the best volumes I have ever seen in what it offers readers to enrich their experience beyond the collection of original issues themselves. I cannot wait to sink in my teeth in an extended reading session.

COMICS FOR 1311.13

Walking Dead #116
Batman #25
Justice League #9
Cataclysm: Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #001
The All-New X-Men #018
Thor: God of Thunder #015
The Superior Spider-Man #021
Batgirl #25
Superman/Wonder Woman #2
Nightwing #25
Avengers Arena #017
The Fearless Defenders #011
Suicide Squad #25
World's Finest: Power Girl and Huntress #17
The Shaolin Cowboy #2

Astro City #6
CodeName Action #3
Wolverine #011
Rocket Girl #2


Uber - Collected Hardcover Edition Vol. 1
Locus vol. 71 #5


- chris tower - 1311.15 - 19:05

T-shirt #232 - We Can Be Heroes - a DC Org

DC comics has launched  a campaign to raise money for the hunger crisis in the horn of Africa. Partnered with Save the Children, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and the Mercy Corps, DC Entertainment has been running a campaign since around the time I started my blog to raise money to help with the hunger crisis in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. According to the website, WeCanBeHeroes.org, over eight million people in those countries are starving and in need of critical intervention.

In 2011, the United Nations declared the first famine in 21 years in these areas of the world. Though the U.N. lifted the famine rating in 2012, the crisis continues. DC Entertainment is using this crisis to re-brand its new Justice League team as it gears up public awareness of its franchise heroes as Warner Brothers readies its blockbuster Justice League movie for premiere in (tentatively) in 2015 (though no sooner and maybe not that soon), according to Cinema Blend.

And so, the campaign suggests that donors and those wishing to help can "fight side-by-side with the Justice League and DC Entertainment" to raise awareness and funds for the three humanitarian partners working to help the starving people of those nations in the horn of Africa. Check out this screen shot below about those organizations and of course the web site:

For $10, you can buy enough peanut paste to keep a child alive for over a week. $25 buys clean water for three families of six for a month. $50 buys two weeks of food for a household of six people for a month. And $100 funds mobile health teams working to reach the malnourished. In terms of the merchandise, 50% of the proceeds from the sales of the merchandise is donated to the charities.

As you can see I bought one of the two t-shirts. However, this is not the shirt I wanted.

The one I really wanted is no longer available in XL with no news on when it will be available again in XL size as I wrote and asked. I also bought the phone case for my Samsung Galaxy S4. There's also a mug, a water bottle, and a poster, but I held off on those for now.

The campaign recently sold off more expensive swag, including cookouts with comic creators and other special features, on a weekly basis, using one Justice League hero each week as the center piece of the campaign.

The Flash phone case is not part of the campaign. But it just arrived in the mail, so I wanted to show it off.

YES, I have two phone cases...

Doesn't everyone?

I love the silhouette look of the Justice League in these images for the campaign. The ads are very striking, and after seeing enough of them, I was convinced to buy some of the products and donate money.

Marvel may out sell DC comics month-to-month, but Marvel is not doing anything quite as noble and cool as this campaign, even if, as I mentioned, there's branding and movie franchise ulterior motives.

The campaign seems to have helped DC to consider the defining attribute of each character and use this as part of an iconographic logo-branding system. It's smart work, and it plays into the rich history and the iconographic status that DC heroes have over Marvel heroes. Many of them (though not all) are more deeply embedded in the cultural psyche. I know I used "iconographic" twice in a short paragraph. But what better word is there for these images?

I am a bit bemused by the addition of Cyborg, a clear ploy for diversity, to the very white and very male set of heroes in the Justice League. He serves as a replacement for the Martian Manhunter, which is not the best choice, and considering he was a Teen Titan, he seems out of place on this team. Why isn't a green alien a sign of diversity? Go figure. I like Cyborg, always have, but his inclusion on the new Justice League seemed forced and not set up by any pre-story or back story history.


The top four comics this week are basically interchangeable. I could re-arrange them all and read anyone of them first. The rankings came down to the Night Crawler factor, first. I am curious about the return of Night Crawler the X-Man to the Marvel Universe, so the new X book takes first place. Superman Unchained is a bit easier to read than Forever Evil, as the latter is a bit more dense and so it (SU) takes second. Green Arrow is always an enjoyable read since Lemire took over the comic. It only takes fourth because I may want it to be first up in the second night of reading. Some time in exhaustion, I only make it through two or three comics in a night.

I am typing this list and my reasoning on Thursday for posting on Friday's blog entry, and so my first night of reading these books will be the day before this post appears.

As I reported in the text above, since I am writing some of my content a day ahead, I did manage just the top three comics in the list on Thursday night, so that Green Arrow will be my first read tonight. Amazing X-Men was good though not perfectly good. I am always troubled by depictions of Heaven, especially as something out of a fairy tale. I trust Jason Aaron's writing, but I am hoping this "Heaven" proves to be a figment of Nightcrawler's imagination. Also, when Wolverine is openly solicitous of sex with Storm, I was very troubled. Wolverine can joke, but this went against his honorable nature.

Superman Unchained #4 was very much a let down after the first three issues. The wrap up of this part of the story just does not compare; however, the instigating factors for the next storylines, involving Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane, were very well done. Not the right inker on Jim Lee's art, which looked far too sketchy and unfinished.

Forever Evil #3 contained many good elements. It's going to hold near the top of my weekly stack simply for the David Finch art. But the story could be better developed.


Amazing X-Men #001
Superman Unchained #4
Forever Evil #3
Green Arrow #25
Mighty AVENGERS #003
Heist #002
Iron Man #018
Daredevil: Dark Knights #006
Captain America #013
Cataclysm: The Ultimates Last Stand #001
Uber #7
Green Lantern #25
Earth 2 #17
Batman: Detective Comics #25
Superman: Action Comics (Zero Year) #25
Alex + Ada (Image - Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn) #1
Protector's Inc. (Image - JMS - Joe's Comics) #1


Ten Grand #5
Trillium #4
God Is Dead (Avatar) #s 2 and 3

- chris tower - 1311.08 - 9:20


The list below is already somewhat of a cheat as I moved up Saga and brought forward the Tom Strong issue from last week. When I brought home my new stack those two comics were next up, since the next Saga came out this week, I moved up the previous issue and will read both and Tom Strong after Guardians.

Aquaman from last week was already discussed in Monday's Aquaman blog post (BTW, faithful, I figured out how to re-publish the post back in time thus solving the day-to-day dilemma I reported and once again having one post per day since March). Other than that comic, I would say the Lazarus was my next favorite from last week (or tied), and I plan to discuss it in more depth later, though not today.

From last week, I managed to get through almost the entire main stack, not counting the back log, with the exception of Great Pacific. Last night (Friday, which ws the day this was supposedly published but who's counting), I only managed the first two comics before I was too sleepy to continue. I tried to finish Spider-Man and failed.

COMICS FOR 1310.30

X-Men: Battle for the Atom #2
Kick Ass 3: #4
The Superior Spider-Man #020
Guardians of the Galaxy #008
Infinity part five of six
Avengers #22
Avengers AI #005
Saga #15
Aquaman Annual #1
Teen Titans Annual #1
Sandman Overture

Back Log

The Trial of the Punisher #002
Ultimate X-Men #33
Uncanny X-Force #013


Marvel Comics in the 1960s By Pierre Comtois

- chris tower - originally 1311.01 at 19:34 - revised 1311.02 at 7:33



I have been looking forward to Brubaker and Epting's Velvet for months. So have other readers. Check out this fan boy's reviews.


This is a great write up (from two months ago) about many of the comics that I have been raving about, such as Lazarus, Fatale, and Saga. (Okay, I have not quite raved about Saga, but I am going to.)
I think the James Bond feel of Velvet (heh) is going to make for a good read.

And yet, I log it somewhat lower this week than others. Aquaman will always take the top spot when it comes out. I love this book. I have had an Aquaman post in the works for months, quite literally. I mentioned an Aquaman toy in a photo in a blog entry in July! I have intended, since probably the end of June, to write a ton of Aquaman content. But I have not. I have thought about Aquaman and tried to figure why I love the character and the comic book so much. I have collected a stack of all the recent Aquaman issues. I have mentioned my purchase of two volumes of Silver Age Aquaman stories. And yet, I have very little other than a couple of links, a few photos, and a video to share. But with the most recent issue (#24, which I read last night), this content dearth may change.

Ultimate Spider-Man takes the second spot, though this issue was a little bit of a let down, possibly because I am concerned that the upcoming Cataclysm story line will shut down the Ultimate universe entirely. Though I would not be surprised to see the current Spider-Man from Ultimate Comics cross over into the mainstream Marvel universe if this is indeed the planned end of Ultimate universe.

Justice League ranks highly again with a strong issue on the origin of Uberman. The next Battle of the Atom chapter takes the next slot because I finished all the others two nights ago, and I want to find out what happens. Velvet is a bit lower, but all of these comics will get read before next week's comics come out. I would be pouring through the back log more on Sunday during football if not for playing D&D (actually Pathfinder) with several nice young men. Ah well...

Not much else to share about the list, though check out the special purchase. Shades of things to come...

COMICS FOR 1310.23

Aquaman #24
Ultimate Spider-Man #28
Justice League #24
Wolverine and the X-Men #037 - Battle of the Atom Chapter 9
Daredevil  #032
FF #013
Iron Man #017
Nova #009
Young Avengers #011
Flash #24
Velvet #1 (Brubaker/Epting)
Clone #11
Great Pacific #11

Back Log

Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril #4 of 6
Uncanny Avengers #013
Thunderbolts #017
Teen Titans #24
Superman #24
Secret Avengers #010
Satellite Sam #4
Indestructible Hulk #014
Catwoman #24
Sex Criminals #2


- chris tower - 1310.24 - 13:30


T-shirt #211 - HYDRA

Today's shirt features the symbol for the nemesis of Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D. organization, known as HYDRA. Unlike S.H.I.E.L.D., HYDRA is not an acronym. HYDRA predates the Silver Age of Marvel, which truly began in earnest in 1961 with the launch of the Fantastic Four. HYDRA was first mentioned in a comic book in 1954 (Menace #10) in which the covert organization created a bomb that turned people into monsters. During this time period, the company was known as Atlas Comics and not as Marvel Comics until later (1961).

HYDRA re-surfaced years later in Strange Tales #135 in 1965, in which Jim Steranko began telling tales of Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. playing off the success of the James Bond films and the TV show Man from U.N.C.L.E.





I wore the shirt on my trip to Hawaii. Here is a picture of me wearing the shirt taken on October Second, 2013 at Rainbow Falls, in Hilo, Hawaii. Liesel and I are on our way to the top of Mauna Kea but stopped off at the falls for some sight seeing. Liesel bought a basket woven from ti leaves (from the "ti" plant) from a local woman at the falls and later left the basket at an altar to Mauna Kea located at the Gateway to the mountain near the visitor's center at 9000 feet.

I packed four shirts for the trip that I had not yet featured on the blog. I have already featured two of them since returning (or while on the trip): T-shirt #199: The People's Food Co-Op and T-shirt #207: Fantastic Four. This shirt makes three featured so far. I neglected to get pictures taken with the fourth shirt.

I think I look old and swarthy (tired?) in this photo, but I think my wife looks fantastic and beautiful.

I do not wish to devote any content to last night's Detroit Tigers game, game five of the ALCS. :-(


My favorite and most prolific blogger friend, Charles Skaggs, is up to his Charlesish hijinks again with criticism of Joss Whedon's new TV program: MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Although I do not consider Joss' work to be off limits to criticism, I cannot wholly agree with Charles' list of items in the article linked above.

Granted, I have only watched two episodes. I actually watched the second episode in Hawaii the night before the picture shown above was taken during the trip to the top of Mauna Kea. I liked that I managed vacation and seeing things like mountains and also watching MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. with my delightful hosts.

Mainly, my rebuttal to Charles is that we need to give it (the show) a chance. Wasn't this the problem with Firefly? People (like network executives) were too quick to judge. Patience is not the greatest virtue for those who run TV networks and even for those who watch TV shows, as the fall-off in ratings attests with MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. However, a show needs time to find its sea legs. Judging Buffy the Vampire Slayer on all of season one is not fair. The show improved progressively, season-to-season. Though some shows, like FireflyLOST, and Veronica Mars, to name three, are great from the get-go, I think MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. is a good show and needs time to refine its concept. These characters need more screen time to interact and make story, and mainly, people need to have faith in Joss Whedon and his team that a quality product is in the offing, but, apparently, it will not blow minds from the start.

Is this what it takes? If I do not have my mind blown, then something is broken? The show is quick and clever. There's humor, some pathos, great TV moments, and plenty of action. Do I need something else here? I don't think killing off a character to generate melodrama is the answer. Though I do like several of Charles' other suggestions (such as "Embrace the Strange" and "Honor the Source Material") but again, please be patient and have faith,. Joss will deliver.

From Steranko's Strange Tales

Viper, aka Madame Hydra
I have been neglecting comics since returning from Hawaii because I was reading Night Film, a fantastic book that I will review on this blog soon. As such, comics have piled up and nearly everything is back logged. So for this week, no listed back log. I will simply list and rank the comics as they would be arranged if I was just reading this stack and no others. So unlike others weeks, this is the most true ranking I have done in some time (maybe ever).

COMICS FOR 1310.16

Fantastic Four #013
Hawkeye #013
Guardians of the Galaxy #007
The Superior Spider-Man #019
Batman/Superman #4
Justice League of America #8
New Avengers #11
Avengers #21
Uncanny X-Men #013 (Battle of the Atom, chapter 8)
Fables #134
Birds of Prey #24
Avengers Arena #016
Hunger #004
The Trial of the Punisher #001
Sheltered #4
Wonder Woman #24


Huckleberry Hound figure

That's pretty much it for today.
Grading Robot has not yet powered down for the weekend.

Errands to run still remain.

I leave you today with some random HYDRA-related imagery

- chris tower -1310.18 - 14:01

Steranko's Madame Hydra

Cartoony version of Madame Hydra

Baron Zemo tantrum



These lists are only accurate in so far as they represent the order I would have read the comics had I bought them each week after completing most of my stack from the week I left for Hawaii. So, obviously, I had to integrate three stacks of comics. Top listings remained near the top, but overall Walking Dead sits atop the stack, as it usually does. More of the comics from 1310.09 sit near the top of the stack, though the top four comics from 1310.02 are prominently placed. Lazarus still holds a high place as does Green Arrow. Since I am very much looking forward to Afterlife with Archie it remained second after The Walking Dead. Though I featured the cover for Mind the Gap, it holds court lower in the stack where I place comics that I do not consider quick reads. I have not written about Mind the Gap much at all on this blog. I tried it solely based on solicitations and the look of the art and have enjoyed its story immensely.  I like the current story in Batgirl very much, so this comic ranks highly. But Infinity, which is good but a bit convoluted, takes a back seat to other comics as do the, now, three issues of the Battle of the Atom story.

Of course, I bought the new Paul Pope comic book. I had not intended to buy the Mind MGMT volume, but when I saw it on the shelf, given how much I enjoyed the first volume, at the recommendation of astute comic book reader and smart guy, Joshua Upson, I snagged it.


Forever Evil #2
The Mighty Avengers #002
Green Arrow #24
Lazarus #4
All New X-Men #017 (Battle of the Atom Chapter Six)
Iron Man #016
Thunderbolts #016
Green Lantern #24
Hunger #002
Uber #6
Mind the Gap #15
Batman: Detective Comics #24
Earth 2 #16
Mara #6
Action Comics #24
Fairest #20
Daredevil: Dark Knights #005


Walking Dead #115
Afterlife with Archie #1
Batgirl #24
Batman #24
Captain America #012
Infinity part four of six
Thor: God of Thunder #014
X-Men #006 (Battle of the Atom Chapter Seven)
Avengers AI #004
Avengers Arena #016
The Shaolin Cowboy #1
The Fearless Defenders #010
Nightwing #24
Superman and Wonder Woman #1
Worlds' Finest: Huntress & Power Girl #16
Suicide Squad #24
Red Sonja #4
America's Got Powers #7 of 7
Rocket Girl #1
Sidekick #3

Astro City #5
Ultimate X-Men #32
Wolverine #010
Uncanny X-Force #012


Mind MGMT: Volume Two: The Futurist
Battling Boy #1 by Paul Pope from first second books
Locus October 2013 Vol. 71 no.3 Issue 633

- chris tower - 1310.11 - 11:21
T-shirt #189 - Green Lantern - White

When I originally posted this, I had to cheat because Mr. T-shirt Blog Guy is overwhelmed with work to do before he leaves for Hawaii, before I leave for Hawaii. Wow, first person and third person in the same sentence.

Here's the original text I posted here: This is a cheat again. It is Thursday night and after finishing final grades, I have been caught up in a maelstrom of activity all day as there are many things to do before we fly out to Hawaii on Saturday. I will finish as much of this as I can tonight and the rest tomorrow morning. Of course, after I update this entry tomorrow, "finish" it, I may leave this text here for historical accuracy. Meanwhile, if you have stumbled upon this page before I spam out social media, then you get to again see what  a blog in progress looks like as I draft and organize. If you are viewing this after I finished, well, there's no way .... okay, no easy way for me to save the blog's progress in stages. Though, maybe... in the future some time. Though I suspect that this kind of blog drafting step-by-step is only the kind of thing that would be interesting to me.

Today's shirt is the Green Lantern shirt from when DC crowned Kyle Rayner as the Green Lantern of Earth. I have another Green Lantern shirt, so this is my short Green Lantern entry. Kyle became Green Lantern in the DC universe in 1994, which was almost twenty years ago, meaning this shirt may be close to 20 years old. I do not wear it often as the collar is stretched out, and it is no longer in the best condition. In the photos, I am showing the White Lantern ring, a giveaway by DC, following the recent Blackest Night and Brightest Day story lines. Those phrases come from the Green Lantern oath, which we first heard from Hal Jordan in the Silver Age reboot of the 1940s Green Lantern.

“In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil's might,
Beware my power...
Green Lantern's Light!”
—Hal Jordan / Most Green Lantern Corps

Currently, Hal Jordan has once again resumed his mantle as the primary Green Lantern of Earth. Kyle Rayner serves off world as the "White Lantern."

I do not read all the Green Lantern books. But I avidly follow the main Green Lantern comic.


No official back log this week, though technically the villains books go into the back log. I am just listing the villains books last because they are not "officially" back logged as there may not be any others of the same title in the back log, but I am definitely not keeping up on the few weekly villains books that I am buying.

I read only Ultimate Spider-Man before I dropped off to sleep last night. Ultimate Spider-Man has been consistently one of Marvel's most excellent books. The switch in artists did not change the quality. The art remains human and emotionally raw. As I have claimed before, Bendis is in the best phase of his career, turning in tremendous writing on nearly every book (so far I am not overly impressed with the Guardians of the Galaxy).

In other notes, FF remains relatively high now that it has been rescued from the back log. I bought a variant edition of Wolverine and the X-Men because Fanfare was sold out of non-variant issues. Fanfare only had one copy, this variant, in stock.

Despite loving Saga, I usually stack it lower because I want to savor it. I am not sure why lower in the stack means "savoring" as this is not what it means for each book that is ranked lower.

Because last week was a small week in terms of numbers of books, I did manage to read all the books that came in with the exception of the two villains books from DC. I am completely unimpressed with THUNDER Agents. And as I predicted, I pulled Thor out of the back log. And though Thor #012 was sort of a fill-in, it was a GREAT fill in, more of a transition issue. It was brilliant and possibly the best Thor yet in this run.

Things will get a bit wonky now as I am not trucking any comics with me to Hawaii. So, not only will I not get through this stack before I leave, but I will have even more to read when I get back. Because I will be out of town, there will be no weekly comic feature next week, and I return the day before comics come out, so early blogs upon my return will feature two comics lists.


Ultimate Spider-Man #27
Guardians of the Galaxy #006
Young Avengers #010
Nova #008
Avengers #20
FF #012
Jupiter's Legacy #3
Uncanny Avengers #012
Wolverine and the X-Men #036 - (Battle for the Atom chapter 5)
Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril #3 of 6
Infinity: Heist #001
Saga #14
Sex Criminals #1
Aquaman: Ocean Master #23.2
Green Lantern: Sinestro: #23.4
Batman: Detective ComicsMan Bat #23.4
Superman: Parasite #23.4

- chris tower - 1309.26 - 13:18



Infinity takes top spot this week, up from third place two weeks ago (T-shirt #168), but the cliff hanger about Thanos' son coming from Black Bolt had me hooked (as reviewed in T-shirt #176).

This is a small week in terms of numbers of comics, especially since I am not buying all of DC's villains books. I still have not gone back to buy those I skipped. I may not.

Because of fewer books this week, Daredevil moves up two spots from a month ago (T-shirt #156), and Fables (the subject of today's blog post) moves up several spots and is out of the back log.

Also, Thor, which is usually not back logged, fell to the back log because the last issue was a filler. I have moved up both issues, right near Fables, and so those will surely get read this week.

And, after buying the first volume of old Aquaman comics in Fanfare's sale last week, I grabbed the second volume this week as I enjoyed the first one so much. I read a great deal of it last week in Detroit as it was the only book I took with me on our trip.

Infinity #3 of 6
New Avengers #10
Daredevil #031
Uncanny X-Men #012 (Battle of the Atom chapter 4)
Thunderbolts #015
Fables #133
Mind the Gap #14
Great Pacific #10
Thunder Agents #2
Batman and Robin: Ra's al Ghul #23.3
Teen Titans: Deathstroke #23.2

Morbius the Living Vampire #008
Savage Wolverine #008
Secret Avengers #009
Thor God of Thunder #013
Ultimate X-Men #31

DC Showcase Presents Collected Edition - Aquaman - Volume 2

T-shirt #168 - KUDL 2009 - White-NO PLAY

I have two white KUDL 2009 shirts. This follows a practice I call PLAY and NO PLAY. Sometimes, I obtain two identical shirts and mark the tags of each as PLAY and NO PLAY. Can you guess my purpose here? It seemed to me that shirts I wore playing Ultimate became mud-stained or torn and wore out more quickly than those I kept nice to wear off the field, say to a restaurant or to a class (for me class means work). I have always enjoyed the kind of job where I could wear T-shirts at work, while teaching classes. In fact, shorts and a T-shirt is my favorite work outfit, year around. So, my point being that I have two white 2009 KUDL shirts. Is it cheating to post another one on a different day? I don't think so. This blog is dedicated to shirts in my closet, right? Well, I have two identical white KUDL shirts from 2009 hanging in my closet. That's two days worth of shirts. (POINT OF ORDER: Yes, it's true that I was seen wearing a white 2009 shirt in T-shirt #123, but that was my white PATAGONIA shirt from that year and this one (plus the other one in my closet) is made of cotton.)

Some people expect to see me in a T-shirt all the time. Okay, yes, every day I wear at least two T-shirts, sometimes more. As you may know from following this blog, I have T-shirt pajamas, so there's one T-shirt per day. I always put on a different T-shirt when I get up in the morning. This morning (and by this morning I mean Monday, Labor Day, as I am currently working three days ahead on the blog), I put on T-shirt #1 Son of Satan after I shed my pajamas and set off to feed the pets, get some juice, morning medications, and coffee, do my light treatment, examine all the Baseball box scores, record the scores of my favorite teams on my log sheets, set my fantasy Baseball lineups, and all my other morning, pre-work rituals. Later, I wore two other shirts making four total for the day, which is probably my maximum except on especially hot summer days with lots of sweaty activity.

And by presenting a second KUDL shirt in a row and the third Ultimate shirt this week, I am striving to get ahead, evidenced by the fact that, as I stated, I am writing this on Monday, Labor Day. Never fear dear reader. I have non-Ultimate content for you today.

Some comic book reviews.

Weekly comics list.

And then some favorite Marvel comic book covers, just for fun.


Captain America #010

Rick Remender claimed that the "Dimension Z" storyline would forever change Captain America and have far-reaching and long-lasting ramifications. I gave this story line and Captain America in general a loving tribute in T-shirt #106.

But in considering how Remender would re-integrate Cap back into Marvel Comics continuity after ten years, his time, in Dimension Z, and knowing that something major would happen, I wondered if Cap would sustain some debilitating injury, lose his super soldier power, age dramatically, or any number of things.

HERE'S the SPOILER - stop reading if you don't want to know: I did not expect the death of Sharon Carter, Cap's longtime girlfriend and great love since his re-introduction in the 1960s. Sharon has been a major player in the Cap books since her re-introduction after a long hiatus in which she was virtually off the canvas. Cap has had other girlfriends between his original relationship with Sharon and his rekindled one in the last ten years or so of the book's run. In fact, Sharon was the one who killed him in the DEATH OF CAPTAIN AMERICA story line a few years back under the brainwashing influence of Doctor Faustus.

In this comic, the conclusion of "Dimension Z," Sharon has come through to Zola's Dimension to rescue Cap and help close the portal that Zola is attempting to use to send a battle station filled with demon hordes through to Earth and bring about an apocalypse that would leave billions dead.

The issue is a crazy rocket ride of excitement and a fitting end to the gorgeous, fun, and edifying love letter to Jack Kirby's Captain America by Remender amd Romita, JR. In addition to the death of Sharon Carter, Cap is saved by Arnim Zola's daughter Jet Black, who brings him through the portal and is now with him on our Earth. Lastly, though presumed dead, the final panel reveals that Cap's "son," the boy Ian, who was really Zola's son but whom Cap raised as his own son while a fugitive in Dimension Z for ten years, has become NOMAD, which is a fitting re-birth for the hero Cap created when he shed the Cap uniform and identity in other pivotal 1970s stories and who was carried on by Jack Monroe, the 1950s replacement "Bucky."

Lazarus #3

Originally, I wrote about Rucka and Lark's Lazarus back in T-shirt #138. I gave the first two issues a big thumbs up and generated a lot of text, both mine and other people's, to muster support for the book. Issue three is even better. With the set up preliminaries out of the way, Rucka and Lark can settle into story telling mode, developing the plot more fully of the brother-sister twins who are colluding to take over the Carlyle family and how the Lazarus, Forever, is in the way. Sent on a mission by the Carlyle patriarch, Malcolm, last issue, Forever arrives in Mexico to negotiate with the Morray family. The issue opens with a standoff as Forever will not give up all her weapons, preferring to keep her sword in its back sheath. The Morray Lazarus, Joacquim, backs Forever's play when she slices off the hand of the guard requesting her weapons. The sequence is tense and beautifully rendered by Lark's gorgeous art work. The other story line developing is the obvious attraction between Joacquim and Forever, which calls into question whether a Lazarus can have some of the things of normal life, like a relationship. We also learn in the first sequence that some foods are off limits to a Lazarus because of how food enzymes may interfere with the Lazarus implants.

Meanwhile, Jonah and Johanna Carlyle hatch their coup, which goes to a new level when Forever successfully negotiates a treaty with Morray. The final scene shows Joacquim and Forever stopping along the way back to Carlyle territory for a drink and to watch the sunset with overtones that something sexual may happen between them when they are hit with a missile strike: CLIFFHANGER ending.
Rucka maintains more back matter with letters and a news roundup of relevant technology.
In the end, I am on the edge of my seat, fully engaged in this excellent comic and eagerly awaiting the next issue.

Uber - issues 0-3 (except #1 which I seem to be missing)
I let the Kieron Gillen and Caanan White project from Avatar, called Uber, stack up for a few months before I delved into it, but it was worth the wait.

I have always enjoyed Avatar comics. They are excessively bloody and brutal, but they are frequently very good. Warren Ellis has done a lot of work for Avatar in recent years and so have Alan Moore and Garth Ennis among others. I picked up Uber based on the ads in Previews and Kieron Gillen's name, as I have enjoyed his writing on various Marvel books, most notably, lately, Young Avengers.

Put simply, Uber is about the development of a superman program in the last year of Nazi Germany's reign during World War Two. The story follows an undercover spy who smuggles out the genetic technology developed by the Nazis to help the allies, seen here in England, to develop their own super soldiers to combat the Nazi Ubers.

Gillen shares smart postscript essays about the development of the book and his concerns about a book that could be misconstrued to glorify the Nazis and Nazi Germany, to glorify the violence, especially in light of the rape scene in issue #1 (more on this later after I read it - see Weekly Comics section below).

Gillen struggles, rightly so, with depicting real persons, such as Hitler, in the pages of the comic. I think he manages to depict Hitler, Churchill, and many of the others fairly and precisely enough for the purposes of his story.

It seems to me that Gillen feels too much angst and struggles too much with the ethical questions. For a while, he described himself as a "paranoid wretch."

Uber is a very interesting comic, and Gillen's back matter makes it an even richer reading experience. For instance, Gillen recommended THE FALL OF BERLIN 1945 by Antony Beevor as essential reading. It's obvious that Gillen has put a lot of time and effort into creating this story, which is always commendable.

However, discovering that I am missing issue #1, I am going to return to this subject in another blog post.

Meanwhile, if you are a comic reader, or a history buff, or both, and if you can handle GORE (which is Avatar's trademark style) consider picking Uber now in the individual issues or in the collected first volume, which will be due soon (as the first story arc completes with issue #5 that also arrived this week, again see the Weekly Comics below).

Also, Gillen is all over the Internet with his own blog and a Tumblr:




DC has started its "villains month." I am not excited. All the DC books for the month of September have been "taken over" by the villains who replace the title heroes on the covers and in the issue titles. The complete-ist in me does not want to skip issues of titles that I have no interruptions in the sequence going back 30 years or more. BUT I am under-whelmed by this month's "gimmick." I only ordered two of this week's villain books. I skimmed the others and was not inspired. However, so as not to miss issues, I may re-visit these issues and buy up the ones for the comics I normally buy. Damn them to Hell.

In any case, on the strength of my love for the Frank Cho art alone, and my adoration for the Art Adams cover, X-Men - Battle of the Atom #001 takes top spot. I do like Bendis' writing a lot, and I generally have no complaints with him. I follow X-Men - Battle of the Atom #001 with the companion book All New X-Men #016 as these seem to work as a matched pair.

If you look back to T-shirt #141, which should be the corresponding month, you can see that Green Arrow held the top spot followed by All New X-Men (still number two), and Avengers A.I. in fourth as it still is. Neither Avengers nor Infinity came out a month ago. Other comics move up the ranks if you compare, and comics like Fairest and Uber have come up out of the Back Log. Notice how small the Back Log is.

I am excited for Hickman's God is Dead from Avatar. I did not order Dynamite's Codename Action #1, which is part of the Captain Action franchise (I wrote about the Captain in T-shirt #128), but I was compelled by the art and the cover and so I added it to my stack.


X-Men - Battle of the Atom #001
All New X-Men #016
Infinity #2 of 6
Avengers A.I. #003
Iron Man #015
Forever Evil #1
Uber #1 (because I missed it)
(JUST TO REVIEW - Uber #s 0-4)
Uber #5
The Superior Spider-Man #017
Daredevil: Dark Knights #004
Count Vertigo (Green Arrow) #1 (#23)
Darkseid (Justice League) #1 (#23)
Sheltered #3
Trillium #2
Fairest #19
God is Dead #1 (From Avatar Press)
Codename Action #1 (From Dynamite)

Back Log
Satellite Sam # 3


I have always loved this Romita cover.
I cannot remember how Pete squirmed free
of this one, but the cover is a classic
taunt for reading the issue.

One of my earliest Avengers books.
Now that I know Ultron is the villain
of Avengers Two, I thought this
would be a good cover to share.

One of my first FF comics.
I love the soap opera feel of the
cover depicting multiple
simultaneous stories

One of my earliest Thor comics.
Love the perspective of Galactus'

Just how much punishment
can Wolverine take? Classic
John Byrne cover.

- chris tower - 1309.05 - 9:38

Notice that the Back Log is smaller as I have cleared more of it lately by devoting myself more to rest and comic book reading.

Ultimate Spider-Man edges Aquaman for top spot this week simply because the events of the former are a bit more cliff-hangery than the events in the latter, or so it seems to my addled and muddled mind. In other words, I am a little more interested in the position in which Bendis left Spider-Man than in the position of Aquaman right at this moment. These things can change. But likely I will read at least the top three comics tonight (I was writing this Friday not today, which is Saturday) before I go to sleep, and if I am not super sleepy, and since I will be listening to the Tigers game, I could get through the first six or even seven. (Update: final count = four, though I started the fifth and didn't finish it as the Tigers went into a rain delay and I was sleepy).

Those of you who read me often (and especially my comic pals at Fanfare) will be happy to see that not only is FF resurrected out of my back log, but it jumps to seventh place. In fact, if there were fewer comics or fewer that I am loving right now out this week, FF would be even higher. I read three or four issues of FF last night (Thursday) and LOVED them. This is often what happens to the back log. It's not a back log of comics I don't like. Often it's a back log of comics that I love, but they stack up for some reason (and often not a good reason).

If not for Ultimate Spider-Man and Aquaman, Captain America would take the top slot. I am very much loving this story line as I described in grand detail in T-shirt #106. It looks like the Dimension Z story line ends with this issue, so I am curious to see how Remender plans to conclude and bring Cap back into continuity. (OH MY!!! I will write about this later... but for now, WOW OH WOW.)

Young Avengers and New Avengers stay highly rated with the former just edging the latter, mainly because I am LOVING Jamie McKelvie's art. (Sorry Kieron, the story is good, too). Okay... I know that's cute, and though I follow both Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie on Twitter, I doubt either reads my blog. But I have more grease to wax on Gillen's board (does that make sense?) because of his most excellent comic Uber from Avatar Press. More later.

Justice League drops far down to tenth out of twenty-two comics that I purchased today (that came out Wednesday) because as I wrote about last week in T-shirt #156, I am not impressed with the DC Trinity War story very much at all, which is a little sad because I want to be loving it.

Thor drops because the God Butcher story has ended, and the issue looks like a filler with a guest artist. Tom Strong stays strong in 11th place because I liked the first issue a lot: Tahnk you Chris Sprouse. And even though, I love the Titans, the book has not been very good lately. But this is not an exact science. There's whim at work here. Because I have been really loving Flash and Mind the Gap. Occasionally, I do move up books that I originally rated too low. These two issues look like candidates for move up.

Ultimate Spider-Man #26
Aquaman #23
Captain America #010
Young Avengers #009
New Avengers #009
Lazarus #3
FF #011
Avengers Arena #014
Batman/Superman #3
Justice League #23
Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril #2 of 6
Uncanny X-Men #011
Uncanny Avengers #011
Thor - God of Thunder #012
Flash #23
Mind the Gap #13
Teen Titans #23
Catwoman #23

Max Brooks - The Extinction Parade #2
Superman #23
Secret Avengers #008
Mister X - Eviction #3 of 3

POSTSCRIPT: UPDATE: Is the Legion of Super Heroes not really over?

So, I struck up a conversation with Bill Artis in Fanfare today because I know he's a huge Legion of Super Heroes, like me. I asked him what he thought of the last issue and the cancelling of the book as I reported in T-shirt #156.

Hey, I am a comic book geek, but my memory sucks, and I am reading the comics more as relaxation and a way for my mind to drift and not as works that I study closely. Then again, if I worked in a comic shop, my memory for Mark Waid's run on Legion and other specifics like that would be better.

However, Bill pointed out to me that the Legion that DC ended in that comic was the Earth Two Legion because of the explanation that Steppenwolf had killed Superman. I also noticed tha,t at some time, and I did not know when (neither did Bill), Star Boy had been killed. HUH?

So maybe the Legion, our Legion, Earth One Legion, will be back sooner than we think... :-)

- chris tower - 1308.31 - 14:01
T-shirt #156: EC Comics

The other day I spent ten minutes looking for my phone before I discovered it in my pocket. I even called it, but I had the ringer off. This is a good example of how things have been going lately.

I am recovering. Good sleep last night, but energy seems to wax and wane more than the moon.

Meanwhile, I love the support I have been getting from family and friends during my recovery. My wife took me to Meijer, which I usually try to spare her as she hates it (she said it wasn't so bad).

I received my first get well card yesterday. There's nothing like community.

And family. Not only did my family (this includes my wife) visit me in the hosptial, but my dad drove me to Fanfare during the worst of my bladder problem.

I love my dad very much. He's always been there for me. It's impossible to even catalogue how much he has given me in support and security and life over the previous 50 years.

He also gave me my love of comic books. My dad bought all of my first comic books for me and read them to me before bed time.

In the photo shared below, we are posing in Fanfare with the art book from Wally Wood's EC work. It is likely that my Dad owned many of these issues. I am still greatly pained from the loss of the comic books that I could have inherited. Born in 1935, it is possible that my father owned the first appearances of many  of the classic heroes, even Superman and Batman. He had hundreds of comics dating from at least 1940 (if not before) through 1953 that were all lost in a fire at his parents home. Likewise, all the comics my mother and her brother shared were simply given away, lost in the clearing of clutter and mess in their old farm house.

But Dad gave me comic books, and for that I am forever grateful.

Thanks, Dad. I love you.

Though I should mention that my mother played just as substantial a role in my love of comic books. She helped with allowance that allowed me to buy two comics per week. She bought the stack of comics that I always received as a gift on Christmas Eve, giving me something to read when I woke at three or four in the morning on Christmas and could not wake my parents until 7 a.m. But I have a huge love letter blog post for one thing my mother gave me in many ways as valuable to me as comic books in the works. Stay tuned.

Today's shirt is one of my favorites. It features the logo for EC Comics (Entertaining Comics though previously known as Educational Comics).

Starting in 1949, Max Gaines--who renamed the company Entertaining Comics after taking over following the death of his father--began a line of titles featuring horror stories, science fiction stories, as well as military and crime fiction. All the comics followed in the tradition of the "pulps" circa 1920s-1940s. Many of the titles would go on to become among the most famous in comic book history: Tales from the Crypt, the Vault of Horror, Weird Science, The Haunt of Fear, Weird Fantasy, Frontline Combat, Two-Fisted Tales, and Shock SuspenStories and Crime SuspenStories.

Great comic book talents like Wally Wood, Johnny Craig, Basil Wolverton, Al Williamson, John Severin, and Frank Frazetta worked on EC titles. Unlike many other companies of the time, EC credited all creators equally, giving the names of writers and illustrators in each comic and even publishing their biographies in the issues.

EC Comics became the number one target of the comic book witch hunts of the 1950s, which started with the inflammatory (though now very comical) book by Frederick Wertham, Seduction of the Innocent, and the Congressional hearing on juvenile deliquency that followed. Ultimately, with the creation of the Comics Code Authority (which I featured in T-shirt #63 and wear ironically), EC ceased publication of most of its titles, and by 1956, the company focused exclusively on its publication of Mad Magazine, one of the greatest influences on my life as reported in T-shirt #92, and surely to be reported on again soon.

Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror returned with movies and fiction novelizations in the early 1970s, which were among my favorite popular culture products during that time period. I must have read the books, by author Jack Oleck who had worked for EC, dozens of times each.

Once I graduated from college and started making some money, I set as a goal obtaining all the hard-cover reprint editions of the EC library. It is a goal I have not yet met.

The Wiki devoted to EC Comics is worth reading.

Two books to recommend.

Though I have not yet read it, the book The Ten Cent Plague by David Hajdu well documents the Great Comic Book Scare and how it "changed America." I have heard nothing but glowing reviews, such as this one from the New York Times.

From pg. 266, Gaines addressing Congress: "The comic magazine is one of the few remaining pleasures that a person may buy for a dime today. Pleasure is what we sell, entertainment, reading enjoyment. Entertaining reading has never harmed anyone. Men of good will, free men, should be very grateful for one sentence in the statement made by Federal Judge John M. Woolsey when he lifted the ban on Ulysses. John Woolsey said, "It is only with the normal person that law is concerned. May I repeat," he said, "it is only with the normal person that the law is concerned." Our American children are for the most part normal children. They are bright children, but those who want to prohibit comic magazines seem to see dirty, sneaky, perverted monsters who use the comics as a blueprint for action...What are we afraid of? Are we afraid of our own children? ... We think our children are so evil and simpleminded that it takes a story of murder to set them to murder, a story of robbery to set them to robbery?"
Also, this time in comic book history is also well-depicted in the Pulitzer winning novel by Michael Chabon: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I highly recommend it.

Superman Unchained claims the top spot this week.

It's difficult to do comparisons because Superman Unchained last came out on July 10th, and is now being released about a week, arguably two later. It took second that week (see T-shirt #113) but was beat out by The Waking Dead, which came out last week and was one of the last comics I read before I went to the hospital.

Other comics that came out on July 10th include Daredevil and Superior Spider-Man. Otherwise, this week is a close match to July 17th (T-shirt #119), though the week lacks Ultimate Spider-Man and Fantastic Four. But note that Fables, which back in July was in the back log, has been moved to the top stack. I cleared the back log. Also, it appears that Legion of Super Heroes is ending, AGAIN. This makes me sad. This is a book (like Teen Titans) that should be in production to serve the fan base alone even if sales are poor and the book loses money, assuming that this is economically feasible (which it may not be). Still, many of the comics on the July 17th list came out last week (August 14th). And so to get a full picture, you must also consult (assuming this rating system interests you; but it's also my way to get you to look at older blog postings) T-shirt #133. Note the backlog for that week is much the same as this week though I cleared Uber and Batman Incorporated, the latter I believe was also canceled.


IFanboy: CancelPocalypse

CBR: DC Ends Legion

Bleeding Cool: Now the New 45 (not 52)

As much as I love the Legion, it's not always high in my stack each week. But with art by Kevin Maguire, I rated it higher. Had I known that it was really the very last issue, I might have read it first.
It was a very good sign off for Legion fans with beautiful art. By far, Paul Levitz is the best writer to ever work the book.

Here's what Paul Levitz posted to Facebook: Paul Levitz posted on Facebook: "The word came out yesterday. DC’s officially announced the end of the current run of the LEGION with #23…sad to see my old friends go, and hoping my tale for that issue with Kevin Maguire illustrating will be an honorable end. As a reader, I’ll miss them until their next incarnation, whenever and however that may come. As a writer, I’m privileged to have gotten three chances to work with this vast and wonderful cast, and now on to other projects and other worlds. To those of you who have supported my tales of the future since back when WONDER WOMAN debuted in prime time, Joe Namath played his last as a Jet, and the US thought Nevada was a reasonable place to test nuclear weapons…my thanks. Few of us get to play for so long in a world we loved as a child, and I’ll always appreciate the readers who made it possible. Long live the Legion!"

I am very sad. Despite what I wrote yesterday (see above) about DC absorbing losses on the Legion book, as IFanboy reports, sales estimates from January showed only a 16,000 copy sell through for book. Compare these numbers to figures like 177,269 for X-Men #1 in May or 129,036 for Batman #20. I am not sure if such low sales are sustainable for DC Comics, but with Levitz writing it, I would think the company could keep the comic afloat only to allow him his pet project.

As of now, DC has ceased publication of the Legion that has been consistent, despite a few breaks, since 1973. It's time for Legion fans to be a legion and speak out.

I love the Legion as I showcased in T-shirt #127. I am not done discussing this issue as I have at least two more Legion shirts to share.

BRING BACK THE LEGION OF SUPER HEROES!! This is my clarion cry for the day.

To wrap before the list, allow me some quick thoughts on these other issues. The art in Superman Unchained is beautiful; I love Jim Lee's clean lines and realistic style. But the story was very disjointed and does not seem to be moving along at a satisfying rate. Avengers is teetering on the brink of being too confusing and too cosmic without enough grounding in real character interaction, but I am enjoying the book. I am underwhelmed by DC's Trinity War series. This is the least interesting crossover in quite a few years.
Both Nova and Daredevil continue to be excellent titles. And even the X-Men, which should be called the X-Women, improved with the fourth issue. I have not read farther yet.

COMICS FOR 1308.21

Superman Unchained #3
Avengers#18 (Infinity series)
Justice League Dark #23 (Trinity War series)
The Superior Nova #007
Daredevil #030
The Legion of Super Heroes #23
X-Men #004
Thunderbolts #014 (Infinity series)
The Superior Spider-Man #016
Fables #132
Thunder Agents #1

Indestructible Hulk #012
Morbius the Living Vampire #008
Wonder Woman #23
Ultimates #29
Birds of Prey #23
Chin Music #2
Batman and Nightwing #23

- chris tower - 1308.24 - 19:15 and 1308.25 9:38

I am getting in time to read, though I used some of my convalescence time to re-read MarvelsKingdom Come, and Batman: Earth One. I just caught up on my black-log stack of Fables comics and hope to catch up on other back logs, soon. I have other books on hand to help me recuperate, some of which I bought recently like Mind Mgmt and the Harlan Ellison story drawn by Paul Chadwick.

I did some catching up of back log before the surgery, knocking out Green LanternAvengers Arena, and World's Finest among others.

As for this week (well, last week), Walking Dead continues to claim the top spot, though the tension of the story is getting artificially enhanced by shorter chapters or maybe chapters that seem shorter as less time passes. I am fond of Fantastic Four, especially the work of Fraction/Bagley, and so this continues to be a top book for me though others may not rate it as highly. I enjoyed JLA, though I do not like the updated Martian Manhunter. I prefer his classic look, dorky as it may be. Infinity was an excellent read, and it definitely superseded the impetus of the book, which is to re-establish Thanos as a main villain in the Marvel landscape prior to the release of the Avengers 2 film next year.

COMICS FOR 1308.14
Walking Dead # 113
Fantastic Four #011
Justice League of America #7
Infinity #1 of 6
Uncanny X-Men #010
Thor #011
Batman #23
Defenders #008
Batgirl #23
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Season Nine) #24
Saga #13
Mind the Gap #12
Red Sonja #2
Avengers Arena #013
World's Finest #15
Nightwing #23

Great Pacific #9
X-Force #010
Secret Avengers #007
Ultimate X-Men #30
Wolverine #008
Astro City #3

Locus - magazine of the SF industry

- chris tower - 1308.19 - 17:59


I have found more time to read comics lately. I have needed this down time to recuperate energy from some busy weeks and demands on myself and my schedule. Green Arrow jumped to the top of my stack last month after I caught up on the title and started enjoying the Lemire run. The Fanfare boys also convinced me to buy Lemire's new book Trillium, which has an interesting double-sided effect (more on this in a future post). All New X-Men stays high on the list, and I am starting to see Bendis' master plan in running out a different pre-history for the original X-Men characters. This issue truly sets forth that intention quite well in regards to romance with Jean Grey ('Nuff Said!).

I have a weakness for Howard Chaykin and for Buck Rogers, so I had to try the first issue of that series. Almost missed buying Sheltered, which was a pick of Andrew, who works at Fanfare, and so far I do like it. I might re-order these as I read, which I often do because I may be eager to read Kick Ass and Daredevil: Dark Knights before those Avengers books. The special buy comes along because I am stock-piling for some rest and relaxation, which will start on August 16th when I intend to post easy and very brief dedications to my pajama T-shirts for as much as a full week, though maybe less. I love hiding these little previews deep in my daily text. Did you read to this point and catch my secret preview? Good for you.

Comics from 1308.07

Green Arrow #23
All New X-Men #015
Avengers #017
Avengers A.1 #002
Kick Ass 3 #2
Iron Man #014
Detective Comics #23
Daredevil: Dark Knights #003
Superior Spider-Man #015
Hunger #002
Buck Rogers #1 (Chaykin - Hermes Press)
Sheltered #2
Trillium #1
Sidekick #1

Green Lantern #23
Earth 2 #15
Action Comics #23
Fairest #18
SPECIAL BUY - MIND MGMT VOLUME ONE: The Manager by matt kindt

Today is my sister's birthday. Just wanted to give her a shout out on my blog.

Me at the KALAMAZOO COUNTY FAIR August 8th, 2013

On the midway and ready for action


I read Fatale volume three the other day.

It was VERY EXCELLENT. This "noir"-esque series by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips is SUPERB, and it would be one of my top five recommendations for anyone, especially non-comic readers, to try of the current crop of comics (along with things like Saga Optic Nerve (obviously), Daredevil (need a superhero choice), and Lazarus... Okay, and FABLES because I need a DC pick to go with the Marvel pick and the THREE Image picks).


Not a very exciting week. Because of skips and delays, it's difficult to compare this month to last month at this time. Guardians of the Galaxy takes first this week instead of third like it did on June 26th simply because none of these other comics can be ranked higher and other issues came out June 26th that did not come out this week. I am loving Daredevil, though I often rank it lower because I want to give it my full attention and want it first up in night #2 of the week's comic reading. However, X-Men, which is enjoyable but not amazing, takes a back seat to Daredevil and Guardians this week simply because of the nature of the week. I would place Optic Nerve on top of the stack because I do dearly love it as explained in T-shirt #98. BUT it looks as if Tomine is experimenting with a different style, and I often delay gratification on comics like that one until I can just focus on it when I am alone and not likely to be interrupted. I did not get the last Defenders read yet, but it was actually next up on my stack before buying this week's comics, so it stays ranked in the new comics. And I sprung for the $7.99 Inhumans reprint because I love the Inhumans and the giant-sized comic features great art by Neal Adams, whom I have mentioned many times on this blog (such as in T-shirt #83).

COMICS FOR 1307.31
Guardians of the Galaxy #005
Daredevil  #029
X-Men # 003
Uncanny X-Men #009
Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril #1
Optic Nerve #13
Fearless Defenders #006 (back log)
Fearless Defenders #007 (this week)
Something Inhuman This Way Comes: Black Bolt (reprints: one shot)

Batman Incorporated #13
FF #010
Indestructible Hulk #011
The Ultimates #28
Uncanny X-Force #009
Uber #4

- chris tower - 1308.01 - 9:16


Clone from Image Comics--which I am enjoying very much because of the great Juan Jose Ryp art--has fallen into the backlog along with some other comics I usually read every month pretty quickly (like Teen Titans). I expect to catch up with some reading marathons this weekend as I indulge in some quality time.

Aquaman continues to hold the top spot in its week. More interesting is how many slots Captain America jumps after I wrote T-shirt #106. Everything else holds pretty close to its previous position. I do prefer New Avengers, but I think it's been over a month since it came out as it was not released on June 24th according to T-shirt #99.

COMICS FOR 1307.24  (July 24, 2013)
Aquaman #22
Captain America #009
New Avengers (Infinity) #008
Young Avengers # 008
Hawkeye Annual  #1
Superior Spider-Man #014
The Flash #22
Batman/Superman #2
Justice League Dark (Trinity pt.3) #22
Uncanny Avengers #010
Lazarus #2
Hunger #001

-Back log comics are not listed in any order.
Clone #9
Wolverine #007
Ultimate X-Men #29
Catwoman #22
Green Hornet #4
Teen Titans #22
Superman #22
Uncanny X-Force #004 (to go with the catch up from last week)

- chris tower - 1307.25 - 14:38


T-shirt #119: Doctor Strange

I love Doctor Strange. I should start today's entry with that confession. I would be hard pressed to select a favourite Marvel superhero, but if I was forced to do so, the good doctor would definitely make the top five. (Do you sense a list coming? Yes, you should.)

Doctor Strange has one of the coolest CAPES in all of superhero comics.

PREPARE for a HEFTY posting.

I like collected editions. Back in the 1970s, there were few collected editions of comic books. Origins of Marvel Comics and the series of books that followed were among the very few.

As you know, and if you don't know it, then you are learning now, I am an extremely sentimental soul. So not only is this Pocket Book of Doctor Strange dear to me, but so is the inscription written by my mother. It was a tradition in our family to inscribe books given as gifts, as this one was for my birthday in 1979. I debated sharing such a personal thing as this inscription written by my mother. But since my mother has lost the ability to write at all, examples of her careful and beautiful cursive handwriting are very dear to me.


Cape are cool. It's a rule. Doctor Strange's cape is the special Cloak of Levitation given to him by the Ancient One in Strange Tales 126-127. It is a magical artifact that floats of its own accord.

How cool is that?


Yes, here it is, the list you have been waiting for. It was difficult to make this list. I had to confine myself to male Marvel heroes who either did not have their own books or who had/have solo books but are not considered the pillars of the Franchise (like Spider-Man and Captain America). Doctor Strange heads the list.
  1. Doctor Strange
  2. The Silver Surfer
  3. The Black Panther
  4. The Vision
  5. Adam Warlock
  6. The Black Knight
  7. Son of Satan
  8. Iron Fist
  9. Killraven
  10. Falcon
  11. Ka-Zar
  12. Deathlok
  13. Hawkeye
  14. Black Bolt
  15. Ghost Rider
  16. 3D Man
  17. Machine Man
  18. Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu
  19. Quasar
  20. Captain Marvel

I am not reading quickly enough, so I am not getting through the weekly stack each week, which means comics that I usually read before the next one comes out are falling into the back log. The solution to this problem is two-fold: Read more comics before bed each night; schedule a comic-reading marathon.

Often I have comic marathons on Sundays when Liesel is at work and I can lie on the couch with the puppy and watch sports. Football is great for this. Last Sunday, when I would have done this, I chose to play D&D (Pathfinder actually but it's D&D). So, I fell farther behind in the comic reading avocation.

ALSO, my current book, Homeland by Cory Doctorow, is getting good, so I am reading that or I am reading for this blog, which limits the number of comics I read per night. There's only so much time in each day.

All New X-Men #14
Now that I have some more data I can look back four weeks to the corresponding week in June and its comic shipments, though the companies are less precise about ship dates as some titles that came out four weeks ago did not come out this week.

Still, if you wish to dial back to the first installment in T-shirt #92, you will see some shifting. Ultimate Spider-Man claims top spot because though it may not be the best of all these comics, it is one of my most enjoyable reads. The last two titles before the back log list are up in the main list simply because within the last month I cleared some back log, and so I have none of those titles back-logged. Originally, I placed JLA in the second spot, but after some consideration, I just like Fantastic Four better. Fraction and Bagley are doing great things with that book, and I have just always loved the book's family dynamic. All New X-Men probably takes third due solely to the cover seen here. Jean Grey in the thrall of Mastermind gets me because of the history of the story plus I like Bendis, and think he's in a Golden Age as a comic writer, and Stuart Immonen has always been a favourite artist. I am quite enjoying Thor and Nova, and they get high ratings as do the others. Avengers is good, but the art puts me off; I prefer Deodato, who draws New Avengers. Buying Red Sonja was one part nostalgia for the 1970s, one part support for a company who wrestled a trademark away from Marvel, and one part because I really like Gail Simone as a writer.

COMICS FOR 1307.17 (JULY 17 2013)
Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #25
Fantastic Four #010
All New X-Men #014
Justice League of America #6
Thor - God of Thunder # 010
Nova #006
Iron Man #013
Avengers #016
Red Sonja #1 (From Dynamite Comics)
Wonder Woman #22
Morbius #007

FF #009
Legion of Superheroes #22
Batman and Catwoman #22
Thunderbolts #013
Birds of Prey #22
- And I fell off the X-Force wagon. I bought issues #1-2 and quite liked them and then forgot I was reading the book. So I grabbed issues #3, and 5-8, but Fanfare was missing issue #4. We are working to rectify this oversight.

- chris tower - 1307.18 - 8:50

PS: There is chatter about a Doctor Strange movie, as I wrote. This is "proposed art" for it.

Now, the usual weekly thing. The comic book stack. Not much to report except that some of the books I am usually caught up on have fallen into the backlog (such as Nightwing and Buffy) simply because I do not have enough time to read everything right now. And one title, Ultimates, has come back into the current fold as I read my backlog of the comic, though I am questioning why I still buy it. But the biggest news of the week is the Paul Chadwick book!! Yay!

I do want to point out the mix of DC and Marvel comics in the top 6-7 comics in the stack.

The Walking Dead #112
Superman Unchained #2
Young Avengers #007
Justice League #22
Daredevil #028
Batman #22
The Superior Spider-Man #013
Uncanny X-Men #008
Hawkeye #012
Batgirl #22
The Fearless Defenders #6
America's Got Powers #6 of 7
Wolverine #006
Indestructible Hulk #010
Secret Avengers #006
The Ultimates #27
Great Pacific #8
Sheltered #1 (Recommended by Andrew at Fanfare)
Ten Grand #2 (as I noticed I did not have it when I bought #3)

Nightwing #22
World's Finest - Huntress and Power Girl - #14
Astro City #2
Avengers Arena #012
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Season 9 - #23

Harlan Ellison's 7 Against Chaos illustrated by Paul Chadwick and Ken Steacy

photos by Amanda Hatfield and Chris La Putt @ BrooklynVegan.com

My heart stopped when this song started at the concert.

"Love me until my heart stops, love me until I'm dead."

David Byrne & St. Vincent - This Must Be The Place HD Live

Maybe I have a little crush on Annie Kelly (St. Vincent)?

photos by Amanda Hatfield and Chris La Putt @ BrooklynVegan.com

- chris tower - 1307.12 - 11:03

MJ may be cool, but Gwen was a classic 1960s chick...

From Amazing Spider-Man #47


As I began two weeks ago, I continue my weekly comic book stack feature. These are the ranked comics.

GREEN ARROW: I do read the deep stacks. I caught up on Green Arrow, and I love the new creative team and the book's direction, so this jumps to the top of the stack.

DC: Yes, nearly all the deep stack comics are DC comics. But I do have DC comics each week ranked highly if not number one, so I don't think I can be called a "Marvel Zombie."


  • Green Arrow #22 
  • Iron Man #12 
  • Avengers A.1 #001 
  • Avengers #15 (Prelude to Infinity) 
  • Daredevil: Dark Knights #2 
  • Thunderbolts #12 
  • Ten Grand #3 
  • Sattelite Sam #1 
DEEP STACK (the list of comics that are added to other unread issues in the series awaiting the time when I "catch up." Some of the catching up stretches back over ten years. Batman Incorporated #12, Detective Comics #22, Earth 2 #14, Fairest #17, Green Lantern #22, Action Comics #22, Uber #3.

EXTRA BUY: Avengers: Season One (hardcover)

THE FIRST WEEKLY COMICS LIST (stack) post from the T-short Blog

I may not enjoy its sarcastic humor and parodies as much as I did when I was younger. But I still enjoy it, if only for the way the humor reminds me of a time in my life when I felt that Mad Magazine was THE BEST THING EVER.

Here's a new feature, in case I am not generating enough content already...


Each week, after I go to Fanfare and buy my comic books for the week, which I order by the month two months in advance from a catalogue (the Previews Catalog from the Diamond Distribution Company) of all solicitations available to the store, I put the comics in the order I wish to read them. Comics on which I have not kept up fall deeper in the stack with the others that are accumulating down there. For the week starting June 19th, these back-logged titles included Ultimates and, even though I adore it, Fables as well as the former Batman and Robin title, which is now, this week, Batman and Batgirl. I also dropped the Lobo: 100 Bullets mini-series issue #1 deep in the stack because I am not too excited about it, but I did buy it.

Since this blog is dedicated to lists and categories, dedicated to self-inventory and reflection as well as a historical record for posterity, I decided to list these weekly comics in the order I have arranged them for reading. This occupation will reveal what I am reading (which will draw ire or at least comments from some of the peanut gallery) as well as what I have favored as the top of the stack reflects the comics I am most eager to read. Unlike some people (ahem - Joshua Upson), I do not (cannot) save my favorites for last. I would never read my favorites each week if I saved them, due to the stacking up of titles in my back log. As for this week's read, so far, I only managed to read the top two as of last night.


Age of Ultron - Book #10
New Avengers #7
Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #24
Fantastic Four #9
The Superior Spider-Man #12
Avengers #14
Thunderbolts #11
Uncanny Avengers #9
Legion of Superheroes #21
Max Brooks - The Extinction Parade #1
Mara #5
Mind the Gap #11

This week I also bought this Galactus Bottle Opener pictured here. I mean, come on. How could I NOT buy this? And it has magnets for easy refrigerator hanging!

More to come on the subject of Mad Magazine but that's all for now.

- chris tower - 1306.21 - 11:56