Monday, July 29, 2013

Review: Fantastic Four 367

Fantastic Four #367, Cover Date August 1992

Written by Tom DeFalco, Art by Paul Ryan, Inks by Ivy & Kryssing

Fantastic Four 367 cover

As an admitted former Marvel Zombie who bought both an actual copy and an audiobook version of Marvel: The Untold Story (which I recommend to anyone who has any interest in Marvel or comic book history), I have complicated feelings about Tom DeFalco. On the one hand, he was the Editor in Chief during one of the worst periods in Marvel history, when the "tail started wagging the dog" as the marketing department took over and started selling gimmicks to an America bamboozled into thinking comics would all be worth something if you hoarded enough of them. His actual writing was noted for being extremely backwards-looking, with a clear Stan Lee influence in his dialogue and the dense melodrama he'd throw into his stories. I know I should hate him for that, but it turns out I kind of like "back to basics" approaches (look out for my review of Kurt Busiek's Untold Tales of Spider-Man). As a kid, I also loved frequent collaborator Ron Frenz's art, which seemed to be cleaner, prettier versions of Ditko and Kirby. I really enjoyed the first 50 or so issues of Spider-Girl, even if they're pretty much a 90's/early 2000's update of Lee/Ditko/Romita era Spider-Man, almost villain-for-villain. But enough preamble: let's get to the ACTION!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Review: Amazing Spider-Man #403

Amazing Spider-Man #403, Cover Date July 1995

Written by JM DeMatteis, Pencils by Mark Bagley, and Inks by Mahlstedt/De La Rosa

Amazing Spider-Man 403 cover

It’s hard for me to review this issue of Amazing Spider-Man without mentioning “The Trial,” an episode of Batman: TAS that came out in May 1994. In that episode, a new DA argues that Batman is as responsible for Gotham’s super-criminals as anyone, and following a takeover at the asylum, she is forced to defend Batman against Judge Joker and Prosecutor Two-Face. Of course, in the end she realizes that the villains were always maniacs, and that it’s not Batman’s fault that Gotham City is a cesspool that breeds costume maniacs. Also Batman kicks the Joker in the face. My point is, it’s a strong episode of a classic show, and so when I read Amazing Spider-Man 403, it’s hard to not see it as fantastically derivative and inferior in basically every way.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

First Post! New Project! Radical!

Greetings, friends! My name is Dobson, and I'm the co-creator over at, a post-college continuation of a club started by myself and Nick to keep us off the streets by reviewing camp and genre movies. I still do that, and it's fun! Check it out if you haven't! But this project comes from my first love: comic books. Specifically, comic books that were made when I was a kid in the early to mid-90's. These comics by and large have a bad rap. While Jim Lee's art is still amazing and 1992-1994 is probably the most relevant the comic book industry had been to pop culture in years, a lot of the books have the reputation for being... not great. Which I just don't get at all!

Strong Guy 90's
Seriously, this belongs in a museum!
So this blog is a venue for me to review comics during a period of crazy excess, combining criticism, commentary and humor. I don't mind just straight-up recommending my influences: the Tom vs. podcast, Chris Sims's occasional comic book reviews on Comicsalliance, Not Blog X, and Gentleman of Leisure (who helped come up with a name) are what I'm trying to combine into one amalgamation. 

Dark Claw Adventures amalgam
Or... Amalgam.
I'm going to vary the actual comics I review, but for the most part I'm going to be reviewing books that haven't been reviewed often or at all online, because the internet was too busy downloading photos of Teri Hatcher at alarmingly slow speeds at the time and couldn't be bothered to review Tom DeFalco's Fantastic Four.

That said, my first post will be about Spider-Man.