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  • Posted: November 29, 2018 1:07:34 am
  • And now we have some "All Ages" comics!

    Neutral

    I know, I know. You're adults. Just bear with me and check it out. . .

    LINK TO THE LONG VERSION:

    https://comicbookrealm.com/atom/blog/1694/longbox-junk-marvel-age-spider-man-team-up

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    THE SHORT VERSION:

    I stepped outside of my box in several ways for this series (really more like 5 one-shots). I'm not really a fan of any of the characters in any of these stories except for Captain America. I'm not really a fan of team-ups in general. And then there's the "All Ages" rating. Three strikes against it before I even opened up the first issue.

    THAT SAID. . .

    I'm surprised to say that I REALLY liked this series! Sure, it had some rough spots. . .mostly in that 3 out of the 5 issues fly the All Ages flag high by being "Message" stories. . .but really only one was overbearing (Captain America at his patriotic preachiest). But lessons for younger readers aside, I generally found this series to be well-written, nicely illustrated (except for the Captain America issue, and even that wasn't ALL bad), and just plain FUN!

    Fun. Now there's a word you don't see in Longbox Junk often. These comics are fun to read! My sour old man expectations of minimum effort put into kiddie rack crap was replaced with a goofy grin starting with the first issue. The quality varies a bit from issue to issue and not all of them are as fun as the rest, but generally-speaking I'm glad my daughter threw these comics my direction.

    All in all, I'd say to give these comics a shot if you run across them in the bargain bin. They aren't the best comics in the world, but for an hour or so, I definitely felt a few years younger reading them.

    Up Next. . .

    MORE Merry Marvel Mainstream Madness!

    Not sure exactly what just yet . . .

    I'll have my daughter toss me a surprise. She's done pretty good so far.

    Be there or be square!
    Favorite Characters: Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, Captain America, The Shadow, Zorro, The Rocketeer, Jonah Hex
  • Posted: December 1, 2018 12:49:26 am
  • I haven't been to my daughter's apartment yet to see what she's going to surprise me with as far as some more Mainstream Marvel Longbox Junk from her collection (going to dinner with her this weekend), but then I realized that I have a perfectly good Fantastic Four Retro Review that you fine folks might be interested in just sitting there posted at another site where I wrote it earlier this year. Check it out!

    LINK TO THE LONG VERSION:

    https://comicbookrealm.com/atom/blog/1696/retro-review-fantastic-four-50

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    From the internet. I WISH my copy was so perfect!

    THE SHORT VERSION:

    I started doing these "Retro Reviews" in order to more familiarize myself with the older comics in my collection. I admit that I bought a lot of them just because I thought the covers would look nice as part of my rotating comic art collection on my office wall and I never read most of them beyond a quick flip through.

    That's exactly the case with Fantastic Four #50. Not being a fan of the characters, I bought it for the cover and was more than happy to let it sit unread until it was time to take a turn up on the wall in a frame. . .then after a while, back into the Longbox.

    But I have to say that it would have been a mistake to have never taken the time to read this comic. Sure, it has an outstanding cover and will take a proud place on the office wall for a while, like I intended when I bought it. . .but underneath that cover, I discovered a genuinely entertaining story that really makes me want to read the other two parts of it. . .and then KEEP reading after that! For someone who has never been a fan of The Fantastic Four, that's something.

    It's not the best comic I've ever read, but it was surprisingly good and managed to break through my pre-conceived notions of what I was going to get from a Silver Age comic.

    Up Next. . .

    Back to Longbox Junk Business as usual with more Merry Marvel Mainstream Madness courtesy of my comic collectin' daughter.

    Be there or be square!


    Last edited December 1, 2018 1:23:06 am
    Favorite Characters: Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, Captain America, The Shadow, Zorro, The Rocketeer, Jonah Hex
  • Posted: December 7, 2018 2:29:41 am
  • I asked my daughter for something I WOULDN'T like from Marvel.

    She gave me Iceman. Check it out. . .

    LINK TO THE LONG VERSION:

    https://comicbookrealm.com/atom/blog/1698/longbox-junk-iceman-part-1-issues-1-5

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    THE SHORT VERSION:

    What we have here is a pretty good story.

    It's not a great story. But then again, it's not nearly as bad as you would think reading comments about it on comic sites. There's a LOT of hate for this series that I feel is not deserved. Like I said, it's not the kind of story that's going to make any "Top Ten Marvel Stories of All Time" lists. But it's really not bad, either.

    It handles the story of a gay superhero a LOT better than America did. Where America was packed to the brim with cringeworthy extremism, racism and political ideology, there really is none of that in Iceman. I went back and re-read these 5 issues and there isn't ANY political rhetoric to be found. Yes. . .Iceman being gay IS the framework that the whole series is built on, but it's not presented in a political, ideological, or extreme way. It's just. . .the story.

    This series was better than I expected it to be. Again. . .it's not great, but I enjoyed reading it. Aside from Iceman's personal problems, there's also some good superhero action scenes to be found. I strongly suspect that my daughter was gaslighting me when she played this up as something I would hate. If she wasn't gaslighting, then she underestimated my ability to give things a fair chance.

    All in all, this series (so far) is a pretty good character study of a gay superhero trying to adjust to a new status quo. If that sentence didn't make you grit your teeth, give it a read if you spot it in the bargain bin.

    Up Next. . .

    The back half of Iceman. Issues 6 - 11.

    Can they keep this thing in the "pretty good" lane it's cruising in?

    Will it get better? Will it go flying off the rails?

    Let's find out!

    Be there or be square.
    Favorite Characters: Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, Captain America, The Shadow, Zorro, The Rocketeer, Jonah Hex
  • Posted: December 14, 2018 2:08:56 am
  • Just finished up my look at the back half of Iceman. Issues 6 - 11.
    Check it out. . .

    LINK TO THE LONG VERSION:

    https://comicbookrealm.com/atom/blog/1700/longbox-junk-iceman-part-2-issues-6-11

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    THE SHORT VERSION:

    The initial story arc wasn't great, but it was cohesive and well written. The writer says in interviews that he based a lot of it on personal experience, and that really comes through in scenes and situations that have real emotion and real heart behind them. Was the first half of this series the best story ever written? Not even close. . .but it was pretty good, at least.

    THIS half of Iceman shows a very clear divide in that it's pretty plain that the writer had already told the story he wanted to in the first five issues. The final six issues are disjointed and lack the heart of the first five. The writer is still pushing his own agenda, but you can tell that his head and heart aren't in the game as much as they were before. The back half of this series suffers for that.

    Sure, there's some decent moments scattered here and there, and the regular artist is pretty solid, but the disjointed story just sort of limps along toward an extremely weak finish, with some pretty awful situations and dialogue along the way.

    Overall, this series taken as a whole, I'm of the opinion that this really should have been a 5 issue mini instead of a failed attempt at an ongoing. Sina Grace was done with the story he REALLY wanted to write with the fifth issue.

    As with America, I'm not going to fault Grace for the failure of this series. An honest read of the first five issues plainly shows that he was writing from the heart a story that he really wanted to tell.

    Unfortunately, he was ALSO supposed to be writing a mainstream Marvel superhero comic and was clearly uncomfortable every time he stepped away from the personal side of Iceman. That's Marvel's fault for not replacing him with a writer better suited for superhero action. . . .but they were like "No, no. . .we HAVE to have a gay writer here on our new gay superhero." The EXACT same failure that was seen on America.

    Good taken with bad, I still suggest reading the first half of this series for a pretty good character study of a gay superhero coming out to his family and friends. . .but I ALSO suggest you skip the back half and just pretend it's a five issue mini.

    Up Next. . .

    ATOM: You were wrong about Iceman. I didn't hate the whole thing. Very Happy

    ATOM'S DAUGHTER: Sooooo. . .What are you saying? Neutral

    ATOM: Just saying you were wrong. Again. You know. . .just sayin'. Very Happy

    ATOM'S DAUGHTER: Really? Evil or Very Mad

    ATOM: Just sayin'. Very Happy

    ATOM'S DAUGHTER: Really? Evil or Very Mad

    ATOM: So what else you got for me? Very Happy

    ATOM'S DAUGHTER:

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    ATOM: *Head Explodes*

    Be there or be square!


    Last edited December 14, 2018 2:13:14 am
    Favorite Characters: Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, Captain America, The Shadow, Zorro, The Rocketeer, Jonah Hex
  • Posted: December 20, 2018 2:33:25 am
  • I interrupt my "Merry Marvel Mainstream Madness" run of Longbox Junk for a Special DC Christmas Retro Review. . .because neither my daughter or I have any Marvel Christmas comics for some reason.

    So let's head back to 1979 for some Bronze Age Holiday Hilarity featuring Batman and Plastic Man vs. The Buttleggers who stole Christmas!

    LINK TO THE LONG VERSION:

    https://comicbookrealm.com/atom/blog/1702/retro-review-christmas-special-the-brave-and-the-bold-148

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    THE SHORT VERSION:

    It would be easy to bag on this comic. From a modern and objective point of view, it's pretty bad. The story hinges on coincidence, the team-up is forced, the premise is utterly ridiculous, the dialogue is pretty cringeworthy, and the art is workmanlike to be kind. Just on the good side of crappy to be unkind.

    THAT SAID. . .

    I can't help but like this comic. It has a lot of problems to the modern eye, but at the heart of it all, this is just good old fashioned FUN! It's played with a straight face, but that just makes it unintentionally hilarious to read. From Batman cruising around through a snowstorm with the Batmobile's top down, to Plastic Man running Batman through the car wash, this comic is just goofy as hell, and that makes it awesome in its own way.

    Is this story great? Not even close to it. Is it even good? Not really. But did I like it? Yeah. . .I liked it a lot for what it is, and that is a time capsule of a lost time in comics history when publishers were in a transition between the passing Bronze Age and the upcoming Modern Age. A time where comics were caught between the ridiculous and the serious. It's a time that I was growing up in and these are the kind of comics I grew up on.

    So in the spirit of the season, despite this comic's many faults I can't really be negative about it. It's bad, but it's FUN. . .and I think that these days we could all probably use a little more fun in our lives.

    A very Merry Christmas and a happy, prosperous New Year from me and my comic-lovin' daughter to all the readers of Longbox Junk!

    Up Next. . .

    Back to Longbox Junk business as usual, with some more Merry Marvel Mainstream Madness.

    Be there or be square!

    Last edited December 20, 2018 2:33:58 am
    Favorite Characters: Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, Captain America, The Shadow, Zorro, The Rocketeer, Jonah Hex
  • Posted: December 28, 2018 2:56:36 am
  • And I'm back for more Merry Marvel Mainstream Madness with some Guardians of The Galaxy! Check it out. . .

    LINK TO THE LONG VERSION:

    https://comicbookrealm.com/atom/blog/1704/longbox-junk-all-new-guardians-of-the-galaxy-part-1

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    THE SHORT VERSION:

    If I had to describe the front half of All-New Guardians of The Galaxy in one word, that word would be: Fragmented.

    What we have here is 3 issues of a fun and frantic double and triple-crossing heist story with the Guardians being thrown back and forth between two rival Cosmic Elders. . .Two single issues focusing on solo character stories for Gamora and Star Lord. . .and what seems to be the first issue of a completely unrelated story taking place at the same time.

    It makes for a somewhat strange reading experience. It's not BAD at all. The first issue is easily one of the best opening issues for a series I've read in a long time. The Star Lord one-off issue was also really good. The ongoing heist story is fun and engaging. Unfortunately, I get the impression that this title is sort of swinging in the wind and trying to find a single direction to go.

    Overall, what I'm liking about this series I'm liking a lot. It's just too bad that it's so unfocused.

    Up Next. . .

    We finish up All-New Guardians of The Galaxy with issues 7 - 12.

    Will the back half find a direction leading to some great outer space action, or will it jump the rails and go off the cliff? Let's find out!

    Be there or be square.
    Favorite Characters: Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, Captain America, The Shadow, Zorro, The Rocketeer, Jonah Hex
  • Posted: January 3, 2019 12:29:35 am
  • First Longbox Junk entry of 2019! Dancing

    I'm still stickin' with Marvel, but stepping back a few years to 1967 for a retro review to start the Longbox Junk year off. The Ghost Rider #1. . . Check it out!

    LINK TO THE LONG VERSION:

    https://comicbookrealm.com/atom/blog/1707/retro-review-the-ghost-rider-1

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    THE SHORT VERSION:

    As a huge fan of western comics, I REALLY wanted to like this. Unfortunately, there's not much here to like for a modern reader beyond Dick Ayer's fantastic design of The Ghost Rider character itself. The story was laughable, the art was pretty bad, and overall this comic just seems rushed.

    To the readers it was intended for in 1967, it was probably pretty good, but unless you're a diehard fan of western or Silver Age comics, I'd say the cover is the best part of this. As part of comics history and as a collector's item The Ghost Rider certainly has a place, but otherwise it's just not very good.

    Up Next. . .

    Back to Longbox Junk business as usual with the second half of All-New Guardians of The Galaxy.

    Be there or be square!

    Last edited January 3, 2019 12:42:45 am
    Favorite Characters: Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, Captain America, The Shadow, Zorro, The Rocketeer, Jonah Hex
  • Posted: January 9, 2019 2:29:35 am
  • Just finished up with the last "Merry Marvel Mainstream Madness" Longbox Junk entry for a while. Part 2 of All New Guardians of The Galaxy, check it out!

    LINK TO THE LONG VERSION:

    https://comicbookrealm.com/atom/blog/1708/longbox-junk-all-new-guardians-of-the-galaxy-part-2

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    THE SHORT VERSION:

    At the end of this series, I have a pretty bitter feeling about it. When I read the first couple of issues, I was EXTREMELY happy with what I had in my hands. THIS was what I wanted to see when I decided to try out some newer Marvel comics.

    It had adventure, action, snappy dialogue, humor, and a great story starring a ragtag gang of misfits who didn't really like each other that much, but knew they made a good team.

    All-New Guardians of The Galaxy was a fantastic bridge between the movies and the comics!

    But then it all fell apart, and quickly. From filler issues to completely abandoning the new reader-friendly tone set at the start of things, to having EIGHT artists on TWELVE issues, this series quickly fragmented and was all over the place.

    Taking an honest look at the "series" as a whole, I don't even find it to be an actual ongoing series. Instead, what we have here in these twelve issues is:

    - A four issue mini-series about the Guardians involved in a double and triple-crossing scheme between two Cosmic Elders.

    - Four character-centric one shots that are prequels to the "Cosmic Heist" mini-series above.

    - A two-issue mini-series about the Guardians coming into conflict with a deadly warrior clan over a powerful artifact.

    - A Nova Corps one shot that slightly ties in to the two issue mini above.

    - A Secret Empire Epilogue one-shot.

    Taken apart and re-assembled as above, this series is actually better than reading it from issue 1 - 12, but going it straight through is a fragmented and frustrating reading experience.

    Overall, there are some great moments, some really good issues, and some outstanding art throughout this series. . .and for that I can go ahead and suggest you give it a read.

    That said. . .

    As far as I'm concerned, All-New Guardians of The Galaxy is a pretty directionless and fragmented series that REALLY left a bitter taste in my mouth at the end of it because I saw at the beginning of it (and at moments throughout) just how great it COULD have been. I'm just really disappointed.

    Up Next. . .

    I think I've had enough Merry Marvel Mainstream Madness for now. All New Guardians of The Galaxy pretty much dumped on my enthusiasm for continuing this little experiment in reviewing more recent Marvel comics for now.

    BUT. . .

    There's plenty more Longbox Junk out there! I'm ready to get back into the good old dollar box. I'm not sure exactly where I'm going next just yet, but. . .

    Be there or be square!



    Last edited January 9, 2019 2:31:30 am
    Favorite Characters: Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, Captain America, The Shadow, Zorro, The Rocketeer, Jonah Hex
  • Posted: January 15, 2019 2:28:02 am
  • Sorry I haven't gotten around to any Longbox Junk yet this week. I've been doing a short assignment with some "Retro Reviews" over on another site (They'll eventually end up here as well, of course).

    BUT. . .as a teaser for what's next in Longbox Junk. . .

    Hey! Who remembers that time there was a superhero in the actual ("616") Marvel Universe who got his powers from JESUS? Yeah, you read that right. And I ain't talking about the hispanic dude cooking eggs at Denny's. I mean the Christian Lord and Savior-style Jesus.

    There's your trigger warning, folks. Marvel did some strange things trying to avoid bankruptcy back in the 90's. This was one of them.

    Be there or be square!

    Last edited January 15, 2019 2:35:21 am
    Favorite Characters: Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, Captain America, The Shadow, Zorro, The Rocketeer, Jonah Hex
  • Posted: January 24, 2019 2:40:00 am
  • Hey there, CBR! Back from doing a favor for a friend by writing a dozen "Retro Reviews" for a new site he's starting that he can throw in to plug holes when he gets behind on new stuff. They'll all eventually end up here from time to time after he uses them first.

    Anyway. . .

    Let's get into some Longbox Junk!

    Illuminator. . .Marvel's extremely short experiment with a mainstream Evangelical Christian superhero comic. Check it out!

    LINK TO THE LONG VERSION:

    https://comicbookrealm.com/atom/blog/1709/longbox-junk-illuminator

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    THE SHORT VERSION:

    Illuminator is a series that I find interesting more for its potential than the actual finished product.

    What came out of the short Marvel/Nelson partnership to create a religious superhero able to be sold in regular comic shops is a pretty unremarkable comic series with average writing and art that ended quickly and in an extremely weak way. That's what we have here.

    BUT. . .

    It could have been more than what we got. There was a solid idea behind this comic that failed in execution. What I find most interesting about Illuminator is that Marvel was actually putting some effort into the project. I don't think it was ever going to be a series that would become a big hit, but I think that handled a bit differently, Illuminator MIGHT have been a character that would still be turning up here and there in the Marvel Universe on different teams to this day as a decent supporting character.

    The problem here, as far as I can see, was with Nelson. They wanted double-size comics with no ads at a price point of $4.99 in 1993. Even the BEST effort by Marvel wouldn't have been able to save this series at that price. There was too much distance between the concept of a religious superhero that could have a place on the rack next to Spider-Man and a price point that was more than TWICE that of Spider-Man.

    I have the feeling that if Nelson would have just let Marvel do their thang and priced these comics at $1.95 for 22 pages of fun like every other floppy out there, Illuminator would definitely have lasted more than a measly 3 issues.

    But that's not what happened. And so Illuminator disappeared into obscurity.

    I find it a damn shame and nothing but wasted potential, because truthfully these comics aren't bad. They aren't great by any measure, but they certainly aren't the worst comics I've ever read. They're pretty average, but they ARE kid friendly and they have a good message if you happen to fall on the more Evangelical side of the Christian dial.

    If you spot Illuminator in the bargain box, give it a look, if only to think a moment about the wasted potential for something truly different in mainstream superhero comics sitting in your hand.

    Up Next. . .

    Between my daughter's collection and my own, I think we have enough video game-based one shots to make a mighty fine "themed" Longbox Junk entry like the movie-based one I did a while back.

    Alien: Isolation, BloodRayne, Doom, Legacy of Kain, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter and Tomb Raider! Great games. . .but are they great comics?

    Be there or be square!

    Last edited January 24, 2019 6:16:47 am
    Favorite Characters: Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, Captain America, The Shadow, Zorro, The Rocketeer, Jonah Hex
288 posts • Page 1 of 29
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