This Week in Panels: Week 148

July 22nd, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Hey peoples. It’s time for another go at sanding down the stuff we’ve read this week into one representative panel. My helpers are Was Taters, Jody, Gaijin Dan, Space Jawa, Luis and Nawid. Remember, if there’s a series you’ve been reading that isn’t being represented, you can always send me some panels. Email’s over there on the right.

This update features Dracula the Unconquered #2 by Chris Sims and Steve Downer. It’s an incredibly fun series so far on both writing and art fronts and is super affordable at $1. You should probably go purchase a copy yourself and enjoy it with a nice bowl of Chocula. Think of it as a Kickstarter. The more of you buy this, the better the chance that Sims will fly over to Pennsylvania and join me for this year’s CHIKARA King of Trios. Do you really want to prevent that man from being able to see the Warlord, Barbarian and Meng team up as the Faces of Pain? If so, you’re a monster and you sicken me. Read the rest of my update and then get out of my face.

But then keep coming back on a regular basis to increase website traffic. And read David’s stuff on Comics Alliance. Just remember to get out of my face when you’re done with all of that.

Avengers Academy #33
Christos Gage and Timothy Green II

Avengers vs. X-Men #8
Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Jonathan Hickman and Adam Kubert

Barrage #7
Kouhei Horikoshi

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Franken-Castle: A Look Back at Rick Remender’s Graveyard Smash

October 7th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Just last week, Rick Remender’s infamous Franken-Castle story arc had come to a close. Never have I seen a more divisive reaction to the character’s developments in all his history. At least with his whole Punishment Spectre-lite run, just about everyone hated it. I thought the whole Frankenstein concept was interesting and fun and I’ve seen many agree with me, but I’ve seen just as many hate it with the fury of a million Nick Furys. My local comic shop for months had a bulletin board with nothing up it other than Punisher #11 with a sign over it saying, “DISGRACE!” I kept forgetting to lovingly lick the covers of whatever Punisher issue I was buying while at the register.

Since Matt Fraction took up the character in Punisher: War Journal, Frank Castle has become more and more involved in the greater Marvel Universe. Outside of Jigsaw being killed off (and then being replaced with another guy taking up the mantle several issues later), not much carried over into Rick Remender’s Punisher run other than his latest injection into the superhero scene. The problem was that the Dark Reign banner put Frank’s writing in a corner. With Osborn and Hood in charge of things, he obviously had to be itching to take care of them, but even as the protagonist, he can’t. There’s far too much plot armor to work through. So how does one write a story about Frank Castle being completely impotent as an unstoppable vigilante?

The first ten issues of Punisher and the one Annual take their time to get to something super-strong. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun bunch of issues, but the first five-issue arc is so closely melted into the second five-issue arc that there doesn’t appear to be much more than wheels spinning in place. There is one piece of interest in all this in the introduction of supporting character Henry Russo. Henry is a young hacker who tracks down Frank and makes himself the third man to take the role of Punisher’s tech-savvy sidekick. I really like Henry and want to see more from him. Thankfully, he’s gotten play in other stories like Deapdool: Suicide Kings and Anti-Venom: New Ways to Live.

Yes, yes. I’ll get to the next We Care a Lot soon. I promise.

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Dude, You’re Getting a Dell Dracula!

September 8th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Back before DC and Marvel were the two big forces in the world of comics, Dell Comics appeared to be the #1 team. It’s no wonder, considering they got to sell comics with such properties as the Disney and Warner Brothers cartoons characters. Preexisting properties seemed to be their forte, as in the 60’s, they released comic one-shots that retold the films of famous movie monsters, such as Dracula, The Wolfman and Frankenstein.

What’s notable is that those came out during the early days of the Comics Code Authority, which proceeded to lay down ground rules on the comic companies to pussify every one of their titles. This meant the lack of horror aspects, including how vampires and their like were not allowed to see print. Dell decided that they wanted no part of the CCA, even though lots of sellers refused to carry comics that weren’t approved.

Dell didn’t want the CCA regulating them and insisted to the public that they could damn well regulate themselves, so don’t worry about it. I think the pressure on the CCA mentality is one of the things that pushed them towards today’s topic. That, along with their need for original content and how the superhero comics were really taking over the market.

The company decided to take their monster properties and turn them into superheroes. It doesn’t sound too crazy. Morbius the Living Vampire has been a Marvel staple for years and enjoyed some time as the hero in his own series. Similarly, Marvel released comics for heroes Werewolf by Night and Monster of Frankenstein. More recently, DC introduced the Hellboy-esque Frankenstein, who shows that even in the present there’s still much you can do with the old Mary Shelly creation.

That’s… not exactly what Dell was going for here.

There was a castle on fire and a man jumping out of a test tube and I killed a man with a trident.

I’ll admit that this entire article is thanks to Brian Cronin, whose article on the CCA and their opinion on vampires led me to first seeing that cover. From there I knew that I had to own this, read this and tell you all about it. Blame him!

I mean, look at that cover! The ridiculous outfit! The off-center belt! The fact that Dracula is jumping out of a test tube held by Dracula! Sorry to say, despite the cover’s claim, there’s no point where they tell us the secret to his power of appearing in two places at the same time.

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