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McRonson (Glasgow, Scotland)

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Marvel Masterworks: The Mighty Thor Volume 3 (Marvel Masterworks (Numbered))
Marvel Masterworks: The Mighty Thor Volume 3 (Marvel Masterworks (Numbered))
by Jack Kirby Stan Lee
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.80

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More cool Lee & Kirby Asgardian fare!, 16 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
"Button nose, would you mind giving me a rain check on our dinner date? I, eh, have some rather important RESEARCH to carry out before morning!".

Reprinting Journey Into Mystery with Mighty Thor's 111 - 120 inc. Journey into Mystery Annual #1 from December 1964 to September 1965.

More Lee & Kirby goodness! This fine volume features the first appearances of the shy retiring and sensitive Crusher Creel the Absorbing Man and the unstoppable Destroyer.

Cobra and Mr. Hyde appear in #111, the second half of a two part story. Both vile miscreants having had their respective powers boosted by Loki, Thor's evil half-brother. Something Loki was want to do quite a lot in the old days, using terrestial catspaws as proxies in his never ending battle to humiliate his big brother, the saucy rascal.

Issue 112 is a flashback to Avengers #3, showing what happened when Thor and the Hulk were separated from Namor and the other Avengers. Is Thor as strong as the Hulk is the question being asked here and like the Flash/Superman races of yesteryear, it's a tie. Obviously, the Hulk is stronger but since Thor is a super heavyweight, he's no cream puff pantywaist.

The Grey Gargoyle reappears - I always loved his costume - similar to the original Black Panther's. No. 166, "Trial Of The Gods!" has the Enchantress and the Executioner show up on Midgard to capture a certain someone close to Thor's heart (again!) - if it ain't broke, then don't fix it seemed to be Stan 'n' Jack's motto then.

#117 features ANOTHER weak man forsaking communism and redeeming himself/celebrating by blowing himself to smithereens along with any nearby Commies as he renounces his ideological beliefs and becoming a free man once again...!

The Destroyer is introduced in issues 118 - 119 and unlike the movie version in the first Thor film, it's no pushover. Not even Odin can control it. Thor, however, finds a way to contain the Destroyer's wrath. Why Odin would stash it on Midgard is a question for another time.

#120 sees Thor repairing his hammer after being damaged in battle by the Destroyer, Jane Foster is missing, the Norn stones become a handy device for future Thor tales and once again, Loki brings back another villain to vex our hero once more (volume 4 continues on directly, natch).

The book closes with Thor's first meeting that son of Zeus, the Prince of Power himself, Hercules! To be honest, Thor is a complete oaf here. He finds himself in Olympus, throws his weight around and has his backside handed to him by someone his physical equal then Hercules pop shows up and declares the match a draw! Hercules and Thor shake hands and Thor toddles off home. Not the greatest Thor tale ever but it has it's moments and of course Hercules shows up in the next volume in a three part story involving Pluto, a film studio, Jane Foster, Thor, etc, etc!

So, five stars from me for this one - lots of Midgard action, Loki being an ever present thorn in Thor's side, Jane Foster in peril, Odin being brash, blustering and imperious, some new and old vile super villains, Thor being aided by his fellow Asgardians and great Jack Kirby art and co-plotting. Kirby was fairly proprietorial about the Thunder God's adventures, almost co-plotting and drawing nearly every issue until 1970 when he abruptly left to work at DC Comics until his return in 1975. As of writing this review, vol.5 is now out so if you've seen the two Marvel Studios Thor efforts and you're in the mood for some old school Thor action, these books are terrific. Lastly, the extras in vol.3 are a two page spread of a map of Asgard from Journey Into Mystery Annual #1! Not exactly brilliant but maybe Marvel were running short on space, page-wise. Oh yes, the Tales of Asgard back ups are also reprinted here.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 20, 2014 8:47 AM BST

Dynamic Figure Drawing: A New Approach to Drawing the Moving Figure in Deep Space and Foreshortening (Practical Art Books)
Dynamic Figure Drawing: A New Approach to Drawing the Moving Figure in Deep Space and Foreshortening (Practical Art Books)
by Burne Hogarth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.93

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for beginners!, 11 Oct 2014
Not for beginners....unless you were born good ;-)

This is a terrific book, indispensable, really. But....

It's not for beginners. It's for advanced artists, people who've studied anatomy, attended life classes, spent hours each day copying photographs of athletes, sportsmen and women, studied musculature, sketched people surreptitiously, camped out in museums with charcoal sticks or 6B pencils and A3 pads copying statues of ancient Greeks and Romans, etc.

No, Dynamic Anatomy by Tarzan artist Burne Hogarth, is for people wanting to take their artistic aspirations further and begin to render illustrations of characters in exaggerated , running, jumping, diving, even flying positions.

This book shows you a system of illustrating the figure in extreme foreshortened poses pretty much like you'd see in any comic book. Not that you're buying this just to learn how to draw Batman, Spider-Man or Wonder Woman, of course.

Of course not....
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 15, 2014 8:34 PM BST

Marvel Masterworks: The Mighty Thor - Volume 4 (Marvel Masterworks (Numbered))
Marvel Masterworks: The Mighty Thor - Volume 4 (Marvel Masterworks (Numbered))
by Stan Lee
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mid-sixties Phase Two Marvel Comics fare, 23 Sep 2014
The Mighty Thor Masterworks volume 4 Paperback edition.

Reprints Journey Into Mystery #121 - 124 & The Mighty Thor #125 - 130, October 1965 to July 1966.

Finally ordered this (and The Mighty Thor volume #3) off Amazon, thanks to a recent windfall.

Only four stars instead of five for this volume; the inks by Vinnie Colletta over artist Jack Kirby's pencils are very scratchy looking and don't look so good on the paper stock used in these softcovers Masterworks. Also, for this reader, the art and writing of the adventures of Marvel's Thunder God started to become more expansive - Kirby's pencil artwork here is becoming more bombastic with the figurework expanding in scale as the panels begin to expand to accommodate the growing grandeur Kirby was bestowing on the son of Odin and the inhabitants of Asgard.

My other 'gripe' is the continuing nature and scope of the stories told in this volume. I'm very much a fan of the earlier Journey Into Mystery Thor tales - mostly single issue self contained stories featuring either Thor's pesky half-brother, Loki, or a dizzying array of old and new villains to test the might of the Thunder God, such as Merlin (!), Cobra & Mr. Hyde, the Tomorrow Man, the Absorbing Man, the Hulk and even the master of Magnetism himself, straight from the pages of the Uncanny X-Men, Magneto but here, Crusher Creel AKA the aforementioned Absorbing Man returns to plague our eponymous hero (aided and abetted by Loki, as per usual) and Thor's relationship with his alter-ego Don Blake's nurse and love interest yet again causes Odin no small amount of righteous indignation.

Hercules Prince of Power returns in a multi part storyline which sees him being tricked by Pluto, god of the Netherworld into a shady deal that only Thor can extricate him from and a subplot begins with a character called Tana Nile that foreshadows the shift from regular Midgard based super villain shenanigans to full on cosmic science fiction, an approach I personally prefer to gloss over in favour of the early 'crude' and breathless stuff Lee & Kirby began with in 1962.

Volume five in this series is due soon (October 2014) and I'll be giving it a miss. The Mighty Thor was a writer/artist Jack Kirby's other regular title at Marvel (the other being the Fantastic Four, natch) and he drew almost every issue of Thor until jumping ship to DC Comics in 1970. At DC Comics, Kirby created a rather savage and unflattering caricature of his former boss and collaborater Stan Lee, called Funky Flashman. But I digress...

This book also contains the the Tales Of Asgard back up strips inked by Mr. Colletta. In later issues of Thor these were replaced by the Tales of the Inhumans, a race of altered beings from Attilan who first appeared in the Fantastic Four.

I've included the above link as it'll take you to the exceptional trade paperback that reprints all of the Lee/Kirby Tales Of Asgard back ups which have been beautifully recoloured. So much so, that the artwork now looks as if it's in 3D. I purchased the single issues of this series back in 2011 on a recommendation by an ex-comics professional and if you're a Kirby fanatic, this TOA volume is an essential supplementary addition to these paperback Kirby Thor reprints.

All in all, this is good solid Lee & Kirby fare but as stated previously, the more simplistic and uncomplicated earlier stuff is more effective but a lot of people LIKE the more outlandish SF concepts and storylines Kirby would introduce from 1966 onwards such as Ego, The Living Planet! and brushes with the likes of Galactus but, not me...

Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 7, 2014 7:30 AM BST

Marvel Masterworks: The Human Torch Volume 1
Marvel Masterworks: The Human Torch Volume 1
by Stan Lee
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.90

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More early Marvel goodness!!, 15 Sep 2014
"My flames don't affect the ASBESTOS MAN!! Looks like curtains for my favourite teenager...namely ME!!"

Great stuff! Five decades on, the Marvel legend only increases. Yet another beautifully restored volume in the paperback Masterworks series worthy of your hard earned shekels, Sahib!

Reprinting the Human Torch solo stories, by various hands, from Strange Tales #101 (October 1962) to #117 (February 1964).

While the majority of these tales are mainly curiosities for diehard Marvel collectors, the original issues are quite rare to come by and, of course, command a hefty price. This volume is absolutely worth picking up fast before it escalates price-wise to the same levels as the first volumes of the Hulk and Dr. Strange Masterworks now worth hundreds of pounds, not least here on good ol' Amazon!

With Jack Kirby only penciling (and basically writing) issues 101 - 105, 108, 109 & 114, Strange Tales Annual #2 is also included here. The other pencilers here, such as Dick Ayers, who does the majority of the artwork, are competent but you really miss Jack Kirby's flair for creating such distinctive grotesques for villains that we've seen in other Lee/Kirby titles like the Gargoyle from Incredible Hulk #1 or the Mole Man from Fantastic Four #1, for example. In Strange Tales 111, the Asbestos Man is a run of the mill middle aged mustachioed bald gentleman in an overcoat. Other non-Kirby villains here are similarly uninspiring but you can't expect winners all the time, can you?

Your main reason for buying this book, then, is Strange Tales #114, a tryout issue by Lee & Kirby, curious to see if they could bring the long lost Captain America back into the then fledgling Marvel Universe. This tale is comic book dynamite; during his tenure as Editor-In-Chief at Marvel Comics, Jim Shooter would hold storytelling classes with Marvel artists using this one comic book as the gold standard.

In fact, a certain Frank (the Dark Knight Returns, 300, Sin City) Miller paid homage to Kirby's incredible flair for exciting layouts and page design when his inventory Captain America story saw print in Marvel Fanfare #18. People talk about "Kirby Power" in comics, Strange Tales #114 is one of the less well known examples of this so if you're wondering whether or not to splash out on this particular volume, my advice is to go for it as this story is a masterclass in Lee/Kirby excellence.

Art-wise, all of the covers included here are by Jack Kirby, I believe. Did this man ever sleep back then?? Mention must be made of Stan Lee's gift for dialogue. When Kirby left Marvel in 1970 to work at DC Comics and create the Fourth World saga and other characters like OMAC and the Demon, comics fandom began to see clearly where the division of labour was in these Lee & Kirby classics. Kirby was an ideas man, a consummate artist and storyteller but when writing his own dialogue, it lacked Lee's flair for flowery prose as well as down to earth snappy sounding sass! Here's a great example by Stan from Strange Tales #107..

"Today's Friday! I've no more school till Monday! Plenty of time to find old fish face and shellac him!"

Oddly enough, as in Fantastic Four #5, Strange Tales #107 features Namor the Submariner who doesn't recognise his old friend/foe from the 1940s as being a totally different Human Torch, the artificial lifeform created by Professor Horton but never mind. Stan certainly had a knack for writing great dialogue, one that seems to have gone unnoticed over the decades but not by this old fanboy.

Lord knows when the follow up volume to this one comes out but I'll be waiting patiently for it to do so. If you're really keen, the Essential Human Torch, the big B/W book should still be available and contains ALL of the Human Torch solo tales, including a terrific one I'm really looking forward to seeing restored and in full colour, a team up with the Iceman from the X-Men as drawn by Jack Kirby. Mmmmmn...! You know what to do now...

Your pal,

Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 22, 2014 5:33 AM BST

Iron Man: Rise Of Technovore (DVD + UV Copy) [2013]
Iron Man: Rise Of Technovore (DVD + UV Copy) [2013]
Dvd ~ Hiroshi Hamasaki
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh. My. Lord...., 5 July 2014
I think the Punisher and the Black Widow are in this. I'm not too sure because every time I tried to watch this, no matter what time of day it was, I fell asleep!

Even during broad daylight. As usual, Marvel's animated output is still light years behind its Direct Competition and even then DC Comics/Warner Bros' latest cartoons are becoming less and less watchable.

However, do not buy this movie. It is terrible. Go watch Akira instead or trim your nose hairs or something.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 22, 2014 4:20 PM BST

Street Fighter - The Legend Of Chun-Li [DVD]
Street Fighter - The Legend Of Chun-Li [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kristin Kreuk
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.73

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The first of a projected trilogy (hahaha!), 5 July 2014
The main problem with this film, amongst many other things, is the pitiful attempt to take the Streetfighter videogame heritage and do a Chris Nolan style Batman Begins/Dark Knight revamp with it...

Oh boy, was that a bad idea. Aside from the casting in this film - Kristin Kreuk as Chun-Li and the wholesale changes to the SF mythology, everything about this film is so deadly dull and humorless, it's as if Chris Nolan produced it.

The Jean Claude Dick Van Dyke Streetfighter movie at least tried to be faithful to the source material. This film thinks it's SUPERIOR to it... It isn't! The first film had the truly terrific Raul Julia as M. Bison. The late Mr. Julia had many a classic line of of dialogue ("Come, Dr. Dhalsim - once I've crushed my enemies, we'll see about getting you published!") or even his masterful "...but to me it was merely Tuesday!" speech.

Nothing like that here, of course. This is Streetfighter for the hipsters, embarrassed by their old games, seeking to be catered to per their newfound maturity. Sorry, guys - move along. Nothing like to be seen here!

Just because something is played straight and doesn't seem to be 'silly' and 'campy' doesn't mean it's better.

Watch this at your own risk.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 9, 2014 10:16 AM BST

X-Men: Days of Future Past [DVD]
X-Men: Days of Future Past [DVD]
Dvd ~ James McAvoy
Price: £10.00

8 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Singer lost his mojo, 3 Jun 2014
Just seen this multi-million dollar extravaganza and didn't enjoy any of it.

Too disjointed. The future mutants look like something out of that daft kids TV show The Tribe, the original X cast all have what amounts to cameos and the sheer amount of CGI trivializes the whole conflict between the Sentinels and mutants.

Peter Dinklage is great as Bolivar Trask but really, you're much better off reading the original Lee & Kirby Sentinel tales as first published in volume 1 of Uncanny X-Men #'s 16 & 17, I believe. Quicksilver, or "Peter", is more than little faster than his comic book counterpart (750 mph). Which would be fine if his own little moment in the spotlight was better written and edited. It fails because it's done in such a way that it removes any visceral excitement from the scene that even a lesser director would've handled uh, a lot more betterer (?). Very disappointing. Magneto versus the original Sentinels in the 1970s is incredibly stupid. Didn't Singer stop to ask any questions about the plot before he started filming? Obviously not.

Once again, in comic book movies like this and the first Avengers movie, little things like the President being under attack or a major city besieged by flying aliens don't seem to merit the attention of either the police or the army swinging by to take out a few evil mutants. Dumb. Just dumb.

The post credits teaser is rubbish. I know who it is but I won't spoil it for you. I won't be going to see the next film on the basis of this teaser.

The original X Trilogy still keeps its rightful place at the top of the superhero heap.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 20, 2014 10:32 PM BST

Flash Chronicles TP Vol 03
Flash Chronicles TP Vol 03
by Carmine Infantino
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.14

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Infantino artwork but the stories..., 20 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As mentioned before in my review of Flash Chronicles no. 4, the majority of the Flash stories reprinted in this prior volume, including the Kid Flash and Ralph Dibney AKA Elongated Man, are very bland and uninvolving, no doubt due to the stultifying effects of the then Comics Code Authority and its guidelines on what made a wholesome and acceptable comic.

Aside from all that, this volume contains the first of the famous Flash novelty covers, a much loved aspect of the original Barry Allen Flash, issue 115's "The Day The Flash weighed 1000 Pounds!". Hopefully, the remaining classic Flash covers will see print in future volumes but I'm unsure of the future publishing schedule of DC Comics Silver Age material just now in early 2014 so buy these books before they become extinct and/or hideously expensive like certain softcover Marvel Masterworks such as Dr. Strange, Incredible Hulk and Uncanny X-Men for example, under the current DC Comics editorial regime of Dan Didio and Jim Lee et al.


Now for some subjective comment on this volume; one hundred and fifty nine pages of superb Carmine Infantino artwork - take that, Frank Quitely and Travis Charest! Infantino also uses a lot of negative space in certain panels (no backgrounds, basically) in order to meet deadlines but elsewhere, he fills panels up nicely without skimping on details.

Mention must also be made of how Infantino renders Iris West, Barry (the Flash) Allen's long suffering girlfriend. She very much seems to be an elfin version of Audrey Hepburn to this old fanboy's eyes but it looks good and there's no doubt whatsoever here that Infantino is one of the DC Comics Silver Age artistic giants.

Villains in this volume include the first appearance of the Trickster AKA James Jesse (groan...), Captains' Cold and Boomerang and in 114's Kid Flash tale, some smelly Beatniks!

All very colourful enough, lots of classic Flash villains and value for money with the alternating Kid Flash and Elongated Man back ups but for completists only, I'd say. If you're buying for children, get the Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told instead.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 24, 2014 11:19 AM BST

GB eye 61 x 91.5 cm Marvel Fantastic Four Maxi Poster, Assorted
GB eye 61 x 91.5 cm Marvel Fantastic Four Maxi Poster, Assorted
Offered by Buy-For-Less-Online
Price: £5.34

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cropped but still good, 22 April 2014
Fantastic image for a poster, why the original artwork for early Marvel covers like this one by Jack Kirby aren't hanging in museums, I have no idea but they should be.

Because printed comic book dimensions shrunk slightly by a a few millimeters or so in the mid-to- late 1960s, this poster looks slightly cramped to me. Obviously this format isn't wide enough to faithfully reproduce the cover to Fantastic Four #3 from 1961 but it's not too much of a deal breaker for this old fanboy.

Besides, the artificial aged look suits the image well for something first published a mere fifty three years ago! If you're a fan of retro Marvel merchandise then snap this up ASAP before they become unavailable.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 23, 2014 9:10 PM BST

GB eye 61 x 91.5 cm Marvel Wolverine Maxi Poster
GB eye 61 x 91.5 cm Marvel Wolverine Maxi Poster
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great idea for a poster!, 22 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Ordered this on Good Friday 2014 and received it the following Tuesday! Great service or what.

As per usual, due to my chronic dithering, this poster had sold out in the various shops I frequent in search of music and comic book based sustenance and this reproduction of the cover to Marvel Comics' first issue of the feisty, feral Canadian mutant's very first solo series from 1982 is an absolute corker!

Pencilled by Frank Miller and inked by Joe Rubinstein, this is one of the all-time great comic book covers (the covers to issues 2 - 4 in this series are equally well designed) and as with the other classic comic book cover posters available in this range, this poster has been 'distressed' in order to give an aged look to it, which works very well; after all, this IS from a comic published over thirty two years ago!

I wouldn't be at all surprised if this poster were to shoot up in price on the collectors market as all things Marvel and DC Comics tend to do so don't delay - order this item today!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 23, 2014 8:59 AM BST

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