Monday, October 16, 2017

Review: Action Comics #989

Action Comics #989 came out last week, the third part of The Oz Effect storyline. While the book is a good issue with wonderful art by Viktor Bogdanovic, it only slightly moved the story forward and the big step is basically the ending splash page.

Writer Dan Jurgens lays it all out again. We know Mr. Oz is Jor-El. We know he is manipulating the Earth so a lot of ill will is churning and a lot of disasters are transpiring. We know that Superman is questioning if Oz is his father. We know that Superman believes in Earth and won't quit his mission. And we know this all over again because those points are repeated here. There are a couple of new wrinkles, especially as I scratch my head over what Jor-El's plans are. But overall this is just representing, and maybe strengthening, the existing plots.

I have liked Bogdanovic's art since his time on New Super-Man and he continues to shine here. There are nice page layouts and solid panels. And there is a nice cover by Brad Anderson and Nick Bradshaw, a nice homage to the classic  All-Star Superman #10.

On to the book.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Review: Supergirl #14


Supergirl #14 came out this week and was a nice crossover event between members of the Superman family. Frankly, that word family needs to be part of the Superman mythos. Unlike the face-peeling, emotional trauma of the Batman Family, I want ... no I need ... the Superman family to act like loving colleagues, like family. So when Kara needs help tamping down her ramped up powers, I like that she heads to her cousin. And when he sends her to New Super-Man for help, that also makes sense. They are all parts of a wonderful whole.

I also love Supergirl's character in this issue. She is trying her best. She is embracing Earth as her home. She inspires people. But she throws down when she needs to. It is all I love about the character. While things are maybe a little 'warm and fuzzy', it works. Especially after the bigger melee feel of the recent issues. This issue felt like a 'one and done' pause which will lead into the newer plotlines revealed last issue.

Steve Orlando seems to have a great grasp on who Supergirl should be. I love how he peppers these books with nods to the past and other DC books. The book ends with Supergirl in control of her powers but I doubt Orlando has wrapped up that plot completely. This all works.

The art is by Jose Luis, perhaps giving Robson Rocha some lead time for the future issues. Luis' style (with inker Norm Rapmund) is akin to Rocha's. It is fine-lined and very detailed. It is very pleasing to the eyes. And the covers by Robson Rocha (homaging Jim Lee's Superman #205) and Stanley Lau really leap of the rack.

On to the book.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Supergirl Tidbits

Just a couple of quick hits of things I have noticed that I feel warrant some coverage but not big enough to deserve a whole post.

So here are some quick hits!


Item #1: Steve Orlando has been bringing a lot of DC history into his books, in particular Supergirl where we have seen Lar-On, Strange Visitor, and other nods to the past.

Here in Justice League of America #15 he has Ryan Choi comment on an experiment performed at the New Athens Experimental School. Of course, this was the school where Linda Danvers was a guidance counselor in the Superman Family run. Nice nod to the past!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Supergirl Episode 301:


The season premiere of Supergirl Season 3 aired earlier this week. It was incredible. It nailed it. I was floored. This was just the sort of strong start that you want a show to have.

The episode was aptly named 'Girl of Steel' as it dealt with Kara dealing with her grief over losing Mon-El by becoming hardened and denying herself any feeling at all. She forsakes her humanity. She embraces her 'alien' nature. But she seems to be protesting too much as every so often Kara shows she is hurting. I probably sound like a broken record but Melissa Benoist is incredible. From subtle intonations of lines to facial expressions to body language, you know just what her characters are feeling. Remember, Kara sent Mon-El to possible oblivion. This was her decision. And she is hurting.

We get to see most of the supporting cast interacting with Kara, trying to help her in any way they can, but mostly worrying about her. They see she is hurting. They are giving her space. But eventually, they have to intercede.

And while, for me, these character moments were the high points of 'Girl of Steel', the episode also does a great job of setting up the season. We hear about Cat and Snapper. We see Alex and Maggie together again. We get to see how James and Lena have grown in prominence. We meet one of the big bads in Morgan Edge. We get a hint of the bigger bad Reign. And, as usual, we get action sequences and great effects.

Overall, this was a brilliant episode, especially with showing just how Kara has to work her way through her feelings. Incredible.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

1995 Australian Supergirl Glass From Australia

Big thanks to blog friend from Down Under @reading_hix (co-host with @avantgarve of the excellent Waiting For Doom podcast) for telling me about this excellent Supergirl glass from the mid-90s.

That most delicious chocolate hazelnut spread Nutella had a series of promotional glasses of DC heroes back in the mid-90s including the then Matrix Supergirl sporting my favorite costume! This series of glasses is quite a time capsule because it included Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern.

Paul not only let me know about the glass but was able to find me one and send it my way.

I love the rather standard heroic pose here as it highlights all my favorite parts of the costume - full shirt, pointy sleeves, pointy belt, and red skirt. Plus, by putting one foot slightly in front of the other, there is an illusion of Supergirl walking to the viewer.

As a big fan of this version of Supergirl, I was thrilled to learn about this and get it for my collection.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Back Issue Review: Superman #4

The wait is over and the season premiere of Supergirl Season 3 is airing tonight. The theme seems to be Kara trying to recover from the grief over losing Mon-El. But the main villain of the week is Bloodsport. Here is the link to the preview:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irH6gtcR4Dk

Given that Bloodsport isn't a well known villain, I thought I'd take a look at his original appearance in the comics and why he is actually a threat to our Kryptonian heroes.

Back in 1986, John Byrne completely rebooted the Superman mythos. Post-Crisis, Byrne was given the keys to the Superman kingdom. Everything was fresh. The decades of continuity was expunged. No Kandor. No Supergirl. No Superboy. No super-scientist Luthor. There are plenty of places you can read about this at length.

But it did mean that these Superman stories felt very new. We saw him meet Lois. We saw him give Jimmy the signal watch. We saw him meet all his villains again ... for the first time! And we saw him Kryptonite for the first times. He had fought Metallo in Superman #1. And here in Superman #4, he fights Bloodsport, also armed with some Green K.

On to the book ...

Friday, October 6, 2017

Review: Superman #32


Last month, Superman #31 shined a bright spotlight onto Lois, showing how she works as she tracked down Deathstroke and got the mercenary to open up about his life as a cold-blooded killer. It was a fantastic issue giving Lois fans a story they could sink their teeth into, something that has been pretty rare in recent years.

Superman #32, from the same creative team of writer James Bonny and artist Tyler Kirkham, continues that story but shifts the focus back onto the Man of Steel. After an issue of her essentially being a hero, Lois slips into the role of damsel in distress, used as a prop to see if the Terminator can push Superman to an extreme action.

The story is fine with a nice little twist ending. The art is great. And had the first chapter not preceded this, I might have liked this more. But after Lois starring last issue, this felt a little flat for her. And, I will admit, the characterization of Deathstroke felt a bit more like Deadshot here and so that also felt a little off.

And that is kind of a drag because I loved last issue. Everything clicked ... Lois, Deathstroke, and Superman. This issue just felt like a step back. On to the book ...

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Supergirl In Justice League Action


Last Saturday, Cartoon Network aired an episode of Justice League Action titled 'Forget Me Not'. It included this shot of Firestorm perusing the mission monitor board to see which Leaguers were in the headquarters.

Check out the team, twenty-four members deep!

But look closely ....


 There in the lower right hand corner, right next to Martian Manhunter is your favorite and mine, Supergirl!

Supergirl as a League member makes me very happy!

 And there is no doubt that is her. Here is the rough look at her Justice League Action appearance.

If anyone isn't watching Justice League Action you are missing out. It is a complete romp. It is a ton of fun. And it includes some pretty deep cuts in the DCU (e.g. Klarion, Felix Faust, Space Cabbie, etc).

Now all we need is to actually see her on the show!!!

Supergirl on the CW. Supergirl in DC Superherogirls. Supergirl in Justice League Action.

Seriously, I started this blog because I thought Kara wasn't getting the love she deserved. Now she is everywhere, finally respected!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

DC Icons Action Figure


I recently purchased the DC Icons Supergirl figure based on the Rebirth Supergirl costume update.

This is a very fun figure with the standard multiple sites of articulation and great sculpt. But this one also has the added fun of interchangeable parts including 3 sets of hands and two heads, one sporting blasting heat vision.

The packaging is clean showcasing the figure nicely.


And the figure itself is very nice. There is a serious look on the face, consistent with the action pose and fists I chose. I like the pleats of the skirt and the look of the boots as well, high enough to almost resemble leggings.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Review: Blue Beetle #13


One of the books which I feel was underappreciated and ultimately cancelled was Justice League 3001. A wonderful stew of action, humor, with multiple universe interpretations mashed into one wild world, and crazy new versions of classic comic characters, JL3001 was great. J.M. DeMatteis, Keith Giffen, Howard Porter, and Scott Kolins brought us an entertaining and electric romp of a book.

Moreover, it gave us a very interesting Supergirl, a Silver Age-y Kara who was thrust into a universal war and a leadership role in this League.

When the plug was pulled, the 3001 Flash and Batman were pushed back into the present day and were made part of the supporting cast of Blue Beetle.

I admit I didn't buy Beetle regularly, but last month we saw the League in a flashback panel. The Flash and Batman recognized they needed to get back to their time and help their team in the fight against Lady Styx.


Last week, Blue Beetle #13 came out which truly featured the JL3001 team, even promoting it on the cover dress.

This is the last issue for this Beetle creative team of J.M. DeMatteis, Keith Giffen, and Scott Kolins. Maybe realizing this might be their last chance to visit the 3001 universe, this book reads more like JL3001 and less like a Blue Beetle book. That made me happy. There isn't much closure here. The future of the 3001 universe is still up in the air.

DeMatteis and Giffen do make a solid connection between this book and the primary villain of the 3001 universe. And Kolins brings his usual gritty, rough energy to the fight.

But mostly, it was great to see this League one more time. I have missed reading their adventures monthly.

Monday, October 2, 2017

December 2017 Solicits


The December solicits have come out for DC Comics and it looks like a good month for the company with multiple new titles coming out by big creative teams, Lex Luthor on the cover of the Doomsday Clock with an arm suspiciously similar to Ozymandias' visible, and the continued Metal. I don't know if any of the new titles sound like books for me. I am on board for the Doomsday Clock. But it is the super-titles that we hear to talk about.

I also have to say that it is getting very expensive to be a Supergirl fan. There is just a ton of merchandise coming out for the Maid of Might. Start saving your pennies!

If you want to look at all the solicits you can head here:
 https://www.newsarama.com/36444-dc-comics-december-2017-solicitations.html

But on to the super-books!

SUPERGIRL #16
Written by STEVE ORLANDO and JODY HOUSER
Art and cover by ROBSON ROCHA and DANIEL HENRIQUES
Variant cover by STANLEY “ARTGERM” LAU
“PLAIN SIGHT” part two! Public pressure runs high and there’s no debate—you’re either for Supergirl or against her! As the people of National City divide over their feelings on Supergirl, the teen hero finds it increasingly hard to balance her daily life with her role as her city’s protector. With the DEO and fellow intern Ben Rubel closing in on her secret identity and the added pressures of Catco’s internship, the last thing on Supergirl’s mind is an upcoming school dance that’s more trouble than expected.

I was thrilled when early on in this series, Supergirl was embraced as a hero. People were sporting her shirts and cheering her. So I hope this dark turn doesn't last too long. I love that we'll get more of the Kara Danvers side of the character. A school dance? Awesome.

I am surprised there is no mention of Strange Visitor in the solicit as she dominates the cover. And I hope somewhere along the line we hear how Orlando and Houser work together on writing chores. But this sounds very good.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Review: Action Comics #988


Action Comics #988 came out this week, the second part of 'The Oz Effect'. Last issue ended with the revelation that Oz was actually Jor-El. This issue gives us Oz's backstory, filling in where Jor-El has been all these years.

Dan Jurgens throws in a wrinkle which I should have anticipated, linking this to the upcoming Doomsday Clock. I suppose with all the blue energy floating around the DCU these days and just how 'deus ex machina' it has been that I should have been expected this. After all, I should have been watching the Watchmen. Is it enough to make me expect the return of this twisted Jor-El? I'm not sure.

And, despite a reasonable comic book explanation for Jor-El to be alive, I still have doubts about whether this is truly *the* Jor-El. I just keep wondering how someone who clearly has Green K inside his body is continues to walk around unscathed. Although I suppose 'blue energy' could have removed that weakness.

In an added treat, the art for the issue is done by Ryan Sook. I am a huge fan of Sook. I love his covers. And I will always seek out books where he does the interiors. So this was a big treat. Sook brings a nice real feeling to this story, much of which plays out on our flawed world. DC should give Sook more work, maybe mini-series that he has time to complete?

On to the book.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Saturn Girl On Supergirl!

I don't think anyone was truly surprised by the news from earlier this week about the Legion appearing on Supergirl this season. Between Mon-El last season and other Easter Eggs, I think most fans were expecting it.

Still, there is something thrilling about it being verified by the CW. Just a couple of days ago word that Amy Jackson will appear on the show as Saturn Girl hit the internet. Here is one of many links, this one from the DC website:http://www.dccomics.com/blog/2017/09/25/breaking-news-saturn-girl-comes-to-the-cws-supergirl?sf116669215=1

And here are some blurbs from that article.

Hailing from the sixth planet of our solar system, the one and only Saturn Girl will be arriving in National City this season on the hit CW series. Played by Bollywood star Amy Jackson, Saturn Girl will mark the U.S. debut of the British born actress.

Interestingly, Mon-El—who appeared on last season— is also affiliated with the Legion of Super-Heroes, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll play a role in Saturn Girl’s arrival. As for Jackson, she began her career as a model before going on to establish herself as one of India’s most in-demand leading ladies, appearing in Bollywood hits  i & Theri. Along with being her first appearance on American TV, Supergirl also marks Jackson’s super hero debut.

I can't imagine that Saturn Girl will be the only Legionnaire who makes it onto the show. It may be that Imra appears on one episode and the rest of the team appears later. I keep thinking the team as a whole are a late season plot point. But this is exciting. As a huge Supergirl and Legion fan, this is unbelievable and fantastic!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Granite Con Review And Michael Cho Commission



Two weekends ago, I had the pleasure of heading to the Granite State Comicon up in Manchester New Hampshire. I have said before this is a wonderful convention to go to after the massive buildup and 'work' that I do for Boston Comicon. Granite is more cozy, more laid back, more familial.

This is the con where there are usually a couple of creators for me to seek out and possibly get a commission from. As a result, I have more time to shop, thumb through long boxes, and look for comics to buy.

It isn't a surprise that this is a con I head to with the youngest two Supergirls, walking to floor easily in one day and grabbing goodies for everyone. It also helps that a great little pizzeria place is right next door for annual lunch trips for pasta and calzones.

This year, I was excited to see that cover artist Michael Cho was going to be a guest at the con. I contacted him early in hopes of getting a commission. Luckily his list was open on Sunday and I was able to get the unbelievably tremendous commission you see above. This is just gorgeous. I feel lucky that Cho did more of a torso sketch than just a head shot.

Very very lucky.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Review: Supersons #8

Supersons #8 came out last week and was a fun middle chapter in the Planet of the Capes story arc. The action is fun. The art is superior. The story ... well I think that I understand what is happening. Sometimes you just have to go for the ride. And I'm on board!

Of course, the juice of this book is the interaction between Damian and Jon. These are two different people with two very different upbringings, trying to get work together. This issue was perhaps the perfect blend. There is that friction. There are those highlighted differences. But most importantly, they work together in this issue. It is growing relationship and respect. They may not agree with each other's methods but they know how to get things done. Peter Tomasi has done a great job using this dissonance between the sons to energize the book.

As I have said before, Jorge Jimenez is the perfect artist for this book. There is this gangly, stylized anime-infused art that pushes everything forward and delightfully so! Some of the page layouts are gorgeous and innovative. This is that complement of art and story that makes comic wonderful 

On to the book!

Monday, September 25, 2017

CW Crossover Promo Poster


Just a few days ago, the CW released a teaser pic to this season's four way crossover event and frankly there is so much to love. Here is a link to the coverage at EW: http://ew.com/tv/2017/09/22/arrow-the-flash-supergirl-legends-unite-for-crisis-on-earth-x-crossover/

That is a Phil Jimenez poster completely evocative of the old JLA/JSA covers. The title is Crisis on Earth-X, also leaning on those old stories' titles. And Earth-X, the world where the Nazis won WWII, is a  perfect sort of villain to comment on current events, a CW bonus!

 And this poster is just comic joy! I love Barry and Iris in the foreground with the action behind. I love that it is a brawl that interrupts a superhero wedding, a classic trope. And I love the heads of the characters surrounding the action and looking on. And that is a boatload of characters! It's truly like a Crisis event ... just lve action. Young Anj never dreamed this possible. It is just too awesome.

I am still amazed that such comic goodness is in the mainstream!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Review: Superman #31


Superman #31 came out this week and was a huge surprise. Why? It was a Deathstroke story that I liked.

A brief history. I liked Deathstroke back in the earliest days. Okay, sleeping with Terra was completely creepy. But he was a guy with a haunting past. He was clearly deeply troubled. In the end in New Teen Titans when he has a sit-down with Changeling, he feels exhausted. And that was good.

Then, the 90s happened. And everything was extreme. And suddenly Deathstroke became the ultimate badass. He killed everything. He skewered people. He assassinated Firestorm. And he was everywhere.

Everywhere.

And that character archetype, the cool as the other side of the pillow, heartless killer? It doesn't work for me. And I am sure that in the 30 years hence, there are good Deathstroke stories.

So when I saw this story solicited I kind of groaned. "Let me guess, Kryptonite shuriken?" was going through my already bored mind.

Then I read the issue. I had never read anything by writer James Bonny, someone who has a chunk of Deathstroke on his resume. Suddenly this more complicated Deathstroke was back. Here was a guy that seems to be going through the motions of life, almost bored or mentally exhausted with his life of violence. And he has a little bit of honor. And he treats Lois with respect. In fact, this is a Lois story, not a Superman story. We see her at her finest. Brilliant.

Tyler Kirkham is on art and I have waxed his car before. His art is just so beautiful. His Lois is gorgeous and strong. The action sequences feel a little static but they portray a freeze frame of the battle wonderfully.

On to the book.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sales Review: August 2017


The sales numbers for August have come out and DC hit the top three with Metal #1 and two Batman issues. Here is a link:
https://icv2.com/articles/markets/view/38411/top-300-comics-actual-august-2017

Amazingly, Metal #1 sold over a quarter million issues, something I didn't think I'd see again. After those three, Marvel dominates the next 12 slots until All Star Batman slides in at #15. It is clear that D.C. Will milk the Batman cow for all the cash he is going to provide.

But we're not here to discuss Batman. Instead, we are here to discuss the sales on Supergirl. I have good news!

And I can't help but think that Artgerm has a lot to do with that good news. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Review: New Super-Man #15

New Super-Man #15 came out a week ago and pushed forward the crazy storyline of the New Super-Man, the Great Ten, the Suicide Squad, and the Emperor Superman and his Imperial Army/White China Triad all battling it out in the streets. As much as the action is insane, a true free-for-all, it is the character moments seen between the fights that I enjoyed the most in this book. And that has been a standard  compliment I have given this book. I have read plenty of super-team books and Superman analog books in my time. It is always the strength of the characters that determines if I will continue to read the book.

So it really is the character progression here, more than the punching, that entertained me.

The art on the book is from newcomer Brent Peeples. His work isn't as smooth and polished as Philip Tan so this issue felt like a little bit of a break from the usual feel of the book. But the scenes play out well and the panels are well composed.

On to the book.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Review: Superwoman #14


Superwoman #14 was released last week and a lot happens over the 20 pages. A lot. In fact so much happens, with so much progression and some large plot leaps, that I can't help but wonder if this was three issues of stories shoved into one. And anytime I feel like the creative team is trying to stuff all their stories into a book at the bottom of the sales chart, I wonder if the writing is on the wall.

And that is a shame because writer K. Perkins has clearly righted the ship on this title. Lana is in control of her life. She is seeking out answers for who she is. She wants to be a hero. There is character growth. And it is a shame because the art team of Stephen Segovia and Art Thibert are producing gorgeous art.

This book needs a little promotion, a little love from DC. And it sort of isn't getting any.

So this issue sort of suffers by the breakneck speed as so much happens that I am craving the details to fill in the story.

On to the book.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Review: Action Comics #987


Action Comics #987 came out this week finally answering the question of 'Who is Mr. Oz?'. The story is titled 'The Oz Effect' which is appropriate given how Oz manipulates events on Earth to bring about a face-to-face between Superman and him. And the answer is ... well ... interesting if not already hinted at.

The idea has been percolating through the book since the Johns/Romita Jr run. Who is this character sitting behind a wall of TV screens, talking about how he taught lessons to Superman, and capturing Doomsday, Mr. Mxyzptlk, and Tim Drake? And why is he doing all of that.

Between the name Oz and the Nostalgia symbols everywhere the initial guess was Adrian Veidt, Ozymandias. Then I thought it might be Vyndktvyx back to teach Superman more hard lessons from life. And then Bleeding Cool came out with the guess of Jor-El or even Zor-El. For me, I can't help but imagine that the identity of Oz has actually changed over time. I wish I could give Geoff Johns truth serum and ask who he planned Oz to be. I doubt it's who Oz ends up being at the end of the issue.

And even now I am not sure if there isn't one more reveal to come. Maybe this reveal is a feint for an ultimate reveal. "Pay no attention to the man behind that curtain!"

The art on the issue is by Viktor Bogdanovic and he really shines here. Between big panels, wavy panels, and super narrow panels, the pace of the story speeds up with the art. And there are great images of Superman throughout. If Bogdanovic is being added to the stable of folks who work on this book, I'll be happy.

On to the story ... spoilers ahead.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Review: Supergirl #13


Supergirl #13 came out this week and not only wrapped up the current Emerald Empress storyline but effectively blew up the landscape of the book, resetting it a bit for the year to come. When I finished reading the issue, I sort of shook my head to grasp everything that happened. In some ways this felt like the sort of issue that happens right before a creative team shake-up, a sort of clearing of the playing field. But we know that Steve Orlando and Robson Rocha are sticking around.

I wonder, if after a year of stories, the creative team sort of reassessed the book, looking at what was working and what wasn't, at what stories they wanted to tell and which they didn't, and decided to nudge the book in that direction.

Trust me, I'm not complaining. There was a sense of added energy for me when I was done. Things are going to be shaken up ... and in a good way. And perhaps, most important of all, the characterization of Supergirl despite all the upheaval remained sound. I was smiling. Because it would have been easy for the writers to march down the 'dark Supergirl' road, making Kara bitter. Instead, they have her shine even brighter.

I'll get into particulars in a moment. But I have to add that the addition of Robson Rocha on art has added a lot to my love of the book as well. This was a high action issue and demanded some detail and some dynamism and some 'oomph' and we got it. Add to that the Artgerm covers and suddenly Supergirl is firing on all cylinders.

On to the book!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Supergirl In Wonder Woman Encyclopedia


It has truly been the year of Wonder Woman.

The Patti Jenkins movie crushed at the box office, redefining a DC superhero blockbuster movie and proving that the relentless, dark, gritty vision of Zack Snyder doesn't need to be the primary vision of the DCEU. It amazes me that the movie is still in theaters despite now being available digitally. I loved the movie. And as the news keeps pouring in about it (Patty Jenkins just got hired to direct the sequel!!) , I felt I somehow needed to acknowledge it and honor it.

I also think that the Rebirth Wonder Woman book has been spectacular. Rachel Kimsey's performance of a Saiyan-like Wonder Woman on JLAction has been too much fun. The Professor Marston and the Wonder Women documentary is about to air. And DC Superhero Girls continues to plug along.

Diana is everywhere, deservedly. So why not join in the fun.

I forget if it was for a birthday or Christmas but somewhere along the way someone got me The Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia. Put together by Phil Jimenez and John Wells, the book is a fantastic resource. And, more importantly, seems to be cheap these days, stacked in the bargain section of my nearyby Barnes and Noble. Get it as a gift for someone!

But this is a Supergirl blog. So where am I going with this?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Boston Comic Con Recap #3: Ty Templeton Commission


The summer is my convention season and as those who have read prior posts know, I do my best to be completely prepped. I pull books out for signatures, attempt to line up some commissions prior to the actual day, or at least eye the guest list and try to work out some priority list of whose table I'll be running to first.

This year's Boston Comic Con was one of those cons that I felt a but unprepared for. Outside of chatting with Matthew Clark on Twitter beforehand, I hadn't been able to line up much. And I had a list of artists I was hoping to get who I quickly realized were outside of my price range.

But here is the thing. Sometimes it all works out well.

I knew Ty Templeton was going to be at the con and I love his art, especially on covers of Who's Who. I didn't even think about getting a commission from him before the show. I thought, for some reason, that maybe he wouldn't be doing them. When I found out he was, I jumped.

For an absurdly reasonable price, I got this full color, unbelievably gorgeous commission of Supergirl. From the pose to the expression to the detail, it all just sings.

I can't believe I lucked into this piece.

But wait, there's more.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Rest In Peace Len Wein

It was with great sadness that I read that comic legend Len Wein passed away this week. Wein was truly a prolific creator with a career that spanned decades. He created Wolverine. He started the All-New X-Men team which reinvigorated that franchise. He created Swamp Thing and had a brilliant run on that initial book with Bernie Wrightson. And he had a run on Spider-Man that is lauded. And that is just scratching the surface.

Because he also was a tremendous editor. He edited Camelot 3000. He edited the early Moore Swamp Thing issues. His touch is literally on 100s of books in my collection. Just a force within the comics industry. Legendary. Prolific. Esteemed. Missed.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that he wrote Superman and Supergirl every so often. In fact, two of my favorite stories where the cousins team-up were written by Wein. I have covered them both here in the past but many years ago.

Monday, September 11, 2017

GraniteCon 2017


As I have said many times, I am lucky enough to have a number of comic conventions that are near enough to my home that I can easily attend. One of the ones I have attended regularly has been the Granite State Comicon or GraniteCon for short. GraniteCon is going on this upcoming weekend and I'll be there.

Granite Con is a great con for me. After the hectic 'work atmosphere' feel that I have in bigger cons (like Boston or this year's Terrificon), Granite is a bit cozier and a bit more laid back. Of all the cons I go to, I tend to buy the most comics at GraniteCon because I actually have the time to thumb through books.

This is in no ways a knock to this convention, one of my favorites. The con always gets a couple of creators who I am dying to meet. Some of my best interactions with creators has happened here including (but not limited to) meeting Aaron Kuder, Jeremy Haun, Ron Marz, Jeff Parker, and Rebekah Isaacs.

And that trend continues this year. As I am only able to attend the con on Sunday, I don't know if I'll be able to get a commission ... but I remain hopeful.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Review: Superman #30


Superman #30 came out this week and finished the side story of Superman battling Sinestro and Parallax. It is something of a free-for-all with all of the combatants fighting each other. This had the feel of a rest issue or an inventory story, a nice pause from the underlying plots that have been bubbling in the super-books while showcasing who Superman really is.

Writer Keith Champagne does a very good job of having Superman rise above and inspire. And this is especially powerful given he is surrounded by those who use fear as a weapon and fighting on the dead planet of Qward. If the Man of Steel can be a symbol of hope in those surroundings, he truly is a hero.

Champagne also gives us a great moment where we get to see Superman's fears. Despite his powers, Superman still can be afraid. And that sort of insight humanizes him, makes him the relateable aspirational figure he is. And his fears are fascinating.

The art is done by a trio of pencillers - Ed Benes, Tyler Kirkham, and Philip Tan. The styles are relatively similar so the issue unfolded well. There is a lot of wild, ring-slinging action that is sharp. And the colors by Ribeiro, Morey, and Gho sparkle as they lay out a dazzling array of yellows and gold.

On to the story.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Back Issue Review: Superman Family #194

Some of you might be looking at this post's title and the cover of Superman Family #194 and be thinking 'didn't Anj cover this issue already?'

The answer is yes. I have indeed covered the Supergirl story in this issue here:
http://comicboxcommentary.blogspot.com/2017/02/back-issue-review-superman-family-194.html

But remember that Superman Family is an anthology title and the Nightwing and Flamebird story in this issue is one I felt I wanted to cover given some interesting wrinkles in the current post-Rebirth DCU. I always love when I can look at a back issue as a sort of reflection or reference to current times.


In this instance, the mystery of Mr. Oz is about the be revealed to us as readers. One of the leading candidates for Mr. Oz's identity is that he is a version of Jor-El. Back on August 24 (and echoed a week later on Bleeding Cool), I commented that Mr. Oz spelled backwards is Zor-M. I wondered if Oz might be a twisted version of Zor-El.

After all, we have seen Zor-El recently be an insane mass murderer plagued by visions of demons (thanks Joe Kelly!). We have seen him be an unscrupulous scientist who experimented on his own daughter without her consent (thanks New 52)! And we have seen him turned into the Cyborg Superman, willing to kill his own daughter to resurrect himself (thanks New 52 again! The gift that keeps on giving!). So why not turn him into some universal villain.

Well, I can hope not.

But what do the Jor-El and Zor-El theories have to do with this issue? Well, read on.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Boston Comicon Recap #2: Matthew Clark

I continue my review of recent conventions with this look back again at Boston Comic Con this year.

I have been collecting commissions for about 13 years now and I have a couple of basic rules of thumb.
1. I have to like the style of the artist to get a commission
2. It is a bonus if the artist has a connection to Supergirl
3. It is a bonus if I consider the artist one of 'my favorites'
4. They have to be affordable

The top three is pretty easy to figure out. It is that last one that is the tricky one.

I saw that Matthew Clark was going to be going to the show and I pretty much knew I was going to target him for a commission. He drew a Doom Patrol book that I loved as well as the covers for Huntress Year One. I like his style a lot. And he did the Omens and Origins story in Supergirl #38 back in the Gates/Igle run.

And thankfully he was affordable. This three quarter body commission was something of a steal. Just gorgeous with all the copic work. I love the pose with one hand behind the back, adding a bit of innocence or maybe mild insecurity to the feel of Kara. And that expression is just great.

Really a great addition to the collection.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

1955 "Supergirl" Playsuit Ad


Hat tip to blog friend Jon Francis for sending me this fascinating ad from 1955.

That's right. 1955! A full three years before the prototype Super-Girl in Superman #123 and 4 years before the introduction of Supergirl in Action Comics #252.

While the word 'Supergirl' never appears in this advertisement, there is no denying that the pictured girl is certainly reminiscent of the Maid of Might. From the blond hair to the blue skirt (here with red pleats!), this looks like a young Kara getting ready for action! Maybe it even reminds me a little of the Cosmic Adventures Supergirl.

I know the Super-Girl from Superman #123 sported a red skirt, this 'playsuit' just screams Silver Age Supergirl to me.

But it is the timing that intrigues me the most. Did this sell well in 1955 making the publishers think hard about adding the character to the Superman mythos? Did this put the idea in Mort Weisnger's head to ask Otto Binder to recreate the magic he had done with Mary Marvel over at Fawcett? Did Otto Binder or Al Plastino remember this ad when they were writing Action #252? Was it this that prompted the blond hair and blue skirt of Kara?

I'm afraid all of those answers have been lost over time. But it is a fun thing to speculate.

Thanks so much to Jon for sending this my way and making me puzzle until my puzzler was sore. This is an interesting little tidbit for big time Supergirl fans like me.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Giffen Legion Of Super-Heroes Poster


Between my recent reviews of the last newsprint Paul Levitz/Keith Giffen Legion issues over on the Legion of Super-Bloggers to my guest starring on several episodes of the Who's Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes podcast to my interactions with Keith Giffen at Terrificon, I have been looking back at the Legion of the Super-Heroes of the 1980's a lot lately. A lot.

It is a great comic and a great run featuring my favorite super-hero team of all time.

One of the curiosities that I love from that time period is the Legion of Super-Heroes poster by Keith Giffen. Done in 1983, this massive poster included every character that had appeared in the Legion mythos up to that point. It is an amazing piece of art. The sheer volume of characters is amazing. Kudos to Giffen for being able to do this.

But did you know that there is a character that appears on the poster three times?


But before we get there, let's take a look at Supergirl.

This was at the time when she was just switching costumes, going to the red shouldered look which she adopted in (Daring New Adventures of) Supergirl #13. Note the lack of a headband! When the costume was first conceived, she wasn't wearing it!

Anyways, it is a gorgeous rendition of Kara. I love her pose here, graceful and almost playful. Just gorgeous.

But who is represented on the poster three times?

Friday, September 1, 2017

Review: Supergirl Annual #1


Supergirl Annual #1 came out this week, a middle chapter in the current Fatal Five storyline and boy, was this one busy. Writer Steve Orlando keeps things moving forward at a near incalculable speed, switching scenes, having characters move in and out, and revealing plot points in a machine-gun style. This was one of those issues that while I was reading I needed to flip back a couple of times to make sure I knew where the action was taking place. It also was one of those issues that I read twice in the same day to make sure I understood it all.

In some ways, that rat-a-tat style works well for a summertime annual. Like an action movie, the pacing was so brisk that it felt like a roller coaster ride. In some ways, it didn't work for me as the information flowing was happening so fast that I needed to pause and absorb it (or reread it), breaking that momentum.

Perhaps I am being too grumpy. There is a lot happening here. But I shouldn't complain when most of the time I am complaining that nothing happens in comics.

The art here is done by Steve Pugh. Pugh's art has certainly changed over time. His work on the Vertigo Animal Man back in the early 90s is the style that I have imprinted on. This seems a bit more straightforward than that thick-lined style.

Buckle up your seatbelts. We are moving on to the story.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

San Diego Swag Bag


I have been running this Supergirl site for over nine years now. I feel blessed to have met and interacted with so many Supergirl fans. And I am humbled by how generous so many people have been to me over the course of the years.

The latest example is from blog friend Firebird.

I met Firebird back in 2015 at the Boston Comic Con. He had traveled to the con and gave me the CW Supergirl swag bag from San Diego Comicon from that year. I also got the opportunity to see all of his incredible Supergirl commissions.

Firebird also went to this year's San Diego Comic Con and was lucky enough to snag an extra Supergirl swag bag which he sent my way.

It is a gorgeous and relatively huge bag and came with a Supergirl pin.

I can't thank Firebird enough for giving me this great gift. I am truly appreciative and grateful. I doubt I'll ever get to San Diego Comic Con so getting some memorabilia from there is just fantastic.


On top of that, inside the bag was a bunch of programs and con TV Guides. This was definitely a great little bonus. Just to thumb through the program and guides was just brilliant, giving me the best sense of the scope of this event. That Kirby-covered guide is about as thick as a local phone book!

So thanks again to Firebird for this wonderful gift. I can't thank you enough!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Terrificon Recap


Last weekend I spent three glorious days at TerrifiCon in Uncasville Connecticut. Earlier this year, my buddy and I decided that this would be our 'big con' for the season and this con was well worth the time spent.

The con itself was in the convention center at the Mohegan Sun Casino. This meant a spacious main hall for the comic creators and exhibitors, a second floor for panel rooms and cosplayers, and a large entrance way area where the celebrities had tables set up to meet the fans. As a result, the place never felt cramped or claustrophobic. Also, being in the casino meant a couple of perks ... free parking and ample food choices from fancy restaurants to food courts.

But let's face it, we go to these cons for the creators and to shop. And this con, unlike many, was definitely comic-centric. And that made me very happy. The guest list was a nice mix of current stars (Snyder, Capullo, Booth, Rapmund) and more legendary folks (Thomas, Wolfman, Giffen, Pasko, Englehart, Chaykin, Kupperberg, etc.). So for an old-timer like me, this was perfect.

I wasn't sure who I would be getting a commission from beforehand. But once inside, I quickly made the wise decision to finally get a Barry Kitson piece. Kitson has been a favorite of mine since his work on Azrael. And he drew Supergirl during the Threeboot Legion run.

I gave him source material for the Matrix full shirt/red skirt costume as well as the 70s hot pants version and said he could draw whichever one he was more interested in doing. Later that afternoon, I picked up this great full color 3/4 body commission. This is just a stunning piece. From the body position to the determined expression to the background, it all just crackles.

I have been very lucky with my commission purchases recently.

Kitson himself is just the nicest guy.

But here is a little inside information. I asked him if this was the first time he had drawn Supergirl in this costume and he said as a commission, yes. But he then said he is doing a cover of Supergirl in all her costumes and this was one of them. When I asked what the cover was for, Kitson's handler at the table said 'don't say anything.'

Hmm ... maybe a 'Greatest Supergirl Stories' trade in the future?


All the guests I chatted with were approachable and easy to talk to. As I said, it was meeting the writers of my youth that really made me this the con for me to be at.

On Saturday, Robert Greenberger moderated a great Supergirl panel with Paul Kupperberg, Peter David, and Marty Pasko. They talked about the character, the 'need' for a Supergirl, her character development over the years, and touched on the show.

One nugget here was that Greenberger talked about how rigid DC was in the post-Crisis world in regards to characters that could/could not be used or even mentioned ... Supergirl being one of them. Paul Levitz was adamant about it. When I brought up how Sensor Girl was rumored to be Supergirl, Greenberger said (and I am paraphrasing) 'Levitz was in charge. If he wanted Sensor Girl to be Supergirl, she would have been.' Hmmm ...


There was also this ad hoc 'panel' at Marty Pasko's table where I heard Keith Giffen, Paul Kupperberg, and Marty Pasko discuss story-telling, current writing styles in comics, and their approach to characters. Brilliant.

I talked to these three creators the most over the days. In particular, I had a lot of thoughts and questions to ask Giffen (given my utter love of the Legion). You can read more about that here. Suffice it to say, it was great meeting


I got a ton of issues signed by folks, many of whom did not charge instead having a Heroes Initiative donation jar. So plenty of books signed by all, especially Giffen.

But perhaps the jewel of them all, even more than a handful pf 5YL Legion books being signed, even more than Action Comics #500 being signed, was getting Marty Pasko to sign 1st Issue Special #9. This Dr. Fate story is one of my all-time favorite comic stories. And, having run into creators a bunch at cons over the last year, I now have the trifecta of signatures of Pasko (writer), Simonson (artist), and Joe Kubert (cover artist).

Priceless.


I also met Steve Englehart and got him to sign some of his Detective Comics issues. But I also got him to sign his Mister Miracle issues from the 70s, more books from my formative comic reading years.






Most of my comic purchases were from the dollar box, fleshing out my Sojourn collection as well as the recent Sif run on Journey Into Mystery. I also bought a bunch of kids comics to keep in my office and hand out to kids.

The one big purchase was Giant-Size Creatures #1, the first appearance of Tigra. Early Tigra is a tiny niche pocket of my collection. So it was great to finally check this issue off.

So nothing but praise for the convention. I figure this will be one to hit again next year.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

November 2017 Solicits


The DC Comics solicits for November came out this week and included some interesting entries. I have to admit, some of them worry me, some of them intrigue me, some of them turned me off. Here is a link to all the month's solicits on Newsarama: https://www.newsarama.com/36035-dc-comics-november-2017-solicitations.html

To start off, there is no mention of Supergirl in Gotham City Garage. And the cover doesn't grab me at all. So my time on that title might be brief. Second, there are a few new books, like Demon, that might be impulse buys. There is one new title I will definitely be grabbing (shown at the bottom). Lastly, there are no *FINAL ISSUE* notices for any of the super-books and that makes me happy.

On to the actual super-solicits.

SUPERGIRL #15
Written by STEVE ORLANDO and JODY HOUSER
Art and cover by ROBSON ROCHA and DANIEL HENRIQUES
Variant cover by STANLEY “ARTGERM” LAU
“PLAIN SIGHT part one!” This public service announcement is brought to you by the Department of Extranormal Operations! You saw how Supergirl hid a murderer underneath National City right before our eyes. What other dangerous secrets is she hiding? She is not human, and therefore, she cannot be trusted. D.E.O. agents will be stationed at every school to ensure their safety! Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

Check out that cover! Okay, I have a lot of faith in this title and the approach that Steve Orlando has brought to Kara, giving us a bright, optimistic Supergirl who is trying to bring hope, help, and compassion for all. And I doubt Jody Houser was brought in to give us something grim.

But that cover and that solicit read a little like what could be the beginning of another 'Dark Kara' arc. And, as I have said since the inception of this blog, Dark Kara never works.

Maybe this is how 'overpowered' Kara looks and the villains are turning people against her?

And now the rest of the books:

Monday, August 28, 2017

Artgerm Covers On Supergirl


Earlier this month, Supergirl #12 came out. It was the first to sport an Stanley 'Artgerm' Lau variant cover. Artgerm certainly produces eye-grabbing, truly spectacular art. And I immediately notice a couple of aftershocks.

1) The number of Supergirl issues on the rack of my dramatically less than usual for a Wednesday afternoon and all the Artgerm covers were already sold.

2) My store thankfully pulled both covers off the shelves figuring it would sell out quickly.

3) That cover was up on walls at Terrificon last weekend and was already tagged at $10

4) I already wondered if these covers would somehow drive up orders/sales.  

Well, lo and behold, it looks like that might be true.