Tagged: Avengers

The Amazing Spider-Man: The ComicMix Mixed Review

Glenn and Mike were at the movies – separately – just so they could have a heart-to-heart conversation about The Amazing Spider-Man. This time, each has a fairly different opinion.

Of course, there are spoilers ahead.

Glenn: So, this is going to be an interesting exercise. I believe I could hear your teeth grinding from Norwalk…

Mike: You liked it?

Glenn: Most of it, yes.

Mike: Jeez. I found only the last third the least bit tolerable. What did you like about it?

Glenn: The casting, for starters.

Mike: The casting was fine. But it was in service of a director who put everything he learned in community college up on the screen.

Glenn: Andrew Garfield won me over very quickly, with a naturalness that Tobey Maguire never quite seemed to have. Emma Stone could have carried the film even if she didn’t look just like a John Romita drawing.

Mike: The direction was amateurish and the script was worse. They’re lucky this wasn’t an adaptation of an Alan Moore story.

Glenn: I’m curious – what marked this as amateurish to you? The action scenes played fine, the character scenes worked to the actor’s credits – although I think the film may have trod a bit too much to the sort of aspirational stuff out of a Aaron Sorkin script… of course, that might have been a subconscious reaction to Uncle Ben Bartlett.

Mike: Gwen is the nexus of all coincidences. Her dad just happens to be a police chief in charge of the Spider-Man beat. She just happens to have an after-school job that gives her seemingly complete access to all areas and secrets of one of America’s largest high-science development companies – at 17 years-old – where she just happens to work for the arch-villain, who just happens to be the lab partner of the hero’s dead father.

Glenn: Yes, there’s a bunch of coincidences jammed there. But she was a science geek in the comics, just at the college level, and her dad was a police captain.

And yes, Connors and Richard Parker also happen to work for the upcoming big bad villain, too.

Mike: And all that was spread out over several years’ worth of comics. Here, this was all crammed into two hours – although, to be fair, it seemed like much longer. There’s coincidence, and there’s really bad storytelling. This is really bad storytelling. I really wanted to like this movie. Unfortunately, we knew two best actors weren’t going to make it out of the movie alive. There most certainly is such a thing as a great remake. The classic versions of Maltese Falcon and Wizard of Oz were both remakes. The Amazing Spider-Man is in absolutely no danger of joining this crowd. A remake has to answer the question “Why bother?” This movie, like the Superman remake, didn’t.

Glenn: Two best actors? I mean, we knew that Uncle Ben had to die. I can see a few reasons for retelling the story. For one thing, the effects work has improved a lot in places – the web-swinging in particular. Although the Lizard… well, you don’t always get it perfect.

Mike: Yeah, and we knew the Titanic was going to sink. But the latest movie was about a lot more than the sinking of a boat; ASM wasn’t about anything we hadn’t seen before. Why didn’t they show us Spidey actually using his powers? The webbing thing was fairly cool, but outside of that we rarely saw him in action. He’d be on the ground and there’d be a quick cut to him stuck to the ceiling. Web-slinging through the Manhattan cityscape? Nope; it was mostly long-shots or Peter’s point of view. You don’t have to get the villain perfect, just menacing. Certainly the Goblin looked less-than-stellar in the original.

Glenn: Just out of curiosity, did you see it in 3-D?

Mike: No, 2-D. Which doesn’t address a single one of my storytelling and direction complaints. You rarely saw Spider-Man being Spider-Man. Not even if he pops out of the screen and eats the popcorn out of your lap, 3-D has nothing to do with storytelling. Certainly not in this movie. It doesn’t come close to the Sixth Avenue shots in the first movie. Talk about your John Romita influence…

Glenn: The action sequences, web-slinging, etc. worked for me in 3-D. The Lizard – well, it’s a giant lizard. Hoping for emotion in a lizard’s face is going to be an uphill battle, no matter what insurance company mascots teach us.

Mike: You don’t have to get the villain perfect. Certainly the Green Goblin looked less-than-stellar in the original. But the Lizard looked like the Hulk had pooped out a baddie.

Glenn: Of course, there’s a point. How many times can Spider-Man lose his mask in this film?

Mike: About as often as they want the 12 year-old girls to go all Beatles over Garfield. Who, by the way, looks about 30. Did they cast Garfield and Stone because Dwayne Hickman and Tuesday Weld looked too young?

Glenn: Yeah, college age would have been easy to believe. High school?

Mike: And Peter, Gwen, and obviously ol’ Lizzieface certainly weren’t New Yorkers in the least. Flash might have been, Ben and May and Stacy certainly were, but the three leads seem like they never even visited New York. Conners had been there longer than Peter has been alive.

Glenn: I don’t think the Lizard was a poor choice of villain. Curt Connors was played well… except for that “must turn evil” bit, and even there, it played in character more than Doctor Octopus’s character turn in Spider-Man 2.

Mike:. It was in character for the original comics version that evolved over decades. In a two-hour movie (that played like an eight-day bicycle marathon), it was almost campy. At least Alfred Molena had the chops to pull Doc Ock off. I’d seen scarier villains on Doctor Who… in the black-and-white days!

Glenn: One thing that did work for me was the more naturalistic interactions between characters. Garfield and Stone clicked here in a way that Maguire and Dunst never quite did; for that matter, Garfield seemed more natural with everyone – Sally Field’s Aunt May, Martin Sheen’s Uncle Ben, Denis Leary’s Captain George Stacy, and even the crooks.

Mike: I agree, but those moments were brief. ASM wasn’t about the one-man Greek chorus, and that’s good. It’s about a 17 year-old, but only at times did they allow themselves to go there. Tell me. Did you like this movie as much this morning as you did last night?

Glenn: No, but I’ve had a morning that would make Pollyanna grumpy.

Mike: Did anybody applaud at the end? At my screening, absolutely nobody applauded. Not a one. Virtually everybody who wasn’t in the comics business left before the end of the credits.

Glenn: A decent amount of applause, nothing like the roar at the end of Avengers.

And I have to wonder how this plays in the rest of the country, since Spider-Man is really such a New York character.

Mike: That didn’t hurt the development and the success of Marvel Comics, which was almost entirely New York based for decades, and largely remains that way today. There was nothing particularly New Yorkish about the movie. It could have happened in Cleveland or Phoenix.

Glenn: There’s that same moment in this film that came in the first Spider-Man where New Yorkers pull together to help Spidey out.

Mike: New Yorkers like to think they live in the only city that pulls together in a crisis. It’s human nature. It’s what’s kept humans alive as a species. And wolves.

Glenn: Sadly, it didn’t work nearly as well as it did in the first one, mainly due to a big logic problem. There’s a helicopter right above him. Why doesn’t he just hitch a ride on that?

Mike: By the end of the movie I think only Flash Thompson didn’t know Peter was Spider-Man – and he was the one guy who should have figured that out, given all the scenes where Peter used his powers against him.

Glenn: Flash, despite his name, has never been that quick. And Aunt May – well, I don’t know if she knows or not.

Mike: I was never certain what Aunt May understood, except getting over her husband’s death right quick. Oh, and the costume really sucked. Seriously. Cirque du Soleil should stick to cribbing Mummenschanz.

Glenn: One of the nicer bits between Peter and Aunt May is there’s a lot of unspoken subtext there, with her obviously knowing there’s something Peter’s not telling her, but not knowing quite what – maybe that Peter’s suddenly going in for rough trade or something.

Mike: Sally Field handled each scene quite well; not once did I think “Flying Nun!” But together the movie made May Parker seem schizo.

Glenn: Was there anything you liked about this movie?

Mike: Denis Leary, both his performance and the way they handled his character.

Glenn: Agreed.

Mike: This movie will do well opening weekend because opening weekend lasts six days and has a major holiday in there. But I don’t see it conquering the world. I can understand Garfield wanting to be in Avengers 2. He wants to be in a good super-hero movie.

Glenn: I’m still thinking Sally Field is too young to play Aunt May, but that’s purely a construct that carries over from the comics that has almost no logical basis. Of course she shouldn’t be old enough to be his grandmother, but still.

Mike: You’re absolutely right – if May was Ben’s husband and Ben was Richard’s brother, then Sally was the right age. In the comics Aunt May was born sometime before Barnabas Collins. I should point out I liked this movie more than most of my companions. One, who’s about 17, said it was the worst movie he ever saw. Ric Meyers (who thought less of this than I did) and I replied in unison: “You’re still young.”

Glenn: And ironically, my companion is one of the surliest bastards in comics and prose (David A. Mack, the killer of the Borg) and he enjoyed it even more than I did. This may be the rare film where I can’t easily say in advance whether or not a particular viewer will enjoy themselves.

Mike: Yeah, well I give it a thumb’s up – where the sun don’t shine.

Glenn: I give it a thumb, index finger, and pinky up. Which makes for a very tough review. But hey, kids, go and find out for yourselves.

John Ostrander: Displaced

One of the brilliant moves that Stan Lee made in the early issues of The Avengers was to bring Captain America from the 40s into what was then the modern day. He had Cap frozen in ice from the end of WWII until he was thawed out. Cap hadn’t aged, Stan didn’t bring a new guy into the costume, this was the same Steve Rogers and he became a man out of time. A hero of one era moved to a time when just about everyone he knew was dead. And the world as he knew it was gone.

They repeated that idea in the Captain America movie and picked up on it in this year’s Avengers movie blockbuster. I think that it’s Nick Fury who notes that, for Cap, World War II was not decades ago – it was just a few weeks. The society, for good and bad, is not the same, the values aren’t the same, so where does Steve Rogers, Captain America, fit in? Does he fit in?

Most of America is celebrating the Fourth of July this weekend, even though the real Fourth isn’t for a few days. We celebrate the birth of our nation that was, as Abraham Lincoln said, “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men were created equal.” That was the United States I believed in when I was young. Now? These days I find myself identifying more and more with that Steve Rogers who came out of hibernation to a whole new nation.

Maybe it’s just creeping old cootism; I’m 63, I grew up in the Fifties and came of age in the 60s. Maybe it’s just this election cycle with its hideous negativism and polarization. Maybe it’s the rise of this new era of Robber Barons. Maybe it’s this continuing recession (depression?) that drags on and on. Maybe it’s just me, where I am and how I feel right now, as I write this.

I remember a country where different political parties and even groups within those parties could argue and disagree, perhaps vehemently, but still could come together and do things for the good of the country and its citizens. The political game wasn’t the be-all and end-all of the process. When the concept of compromise wasn’t “do it my way.” When political dogma wasn’t the rule; when ideology wasn’t engraved on tablets of stone. No one person had the answers; by working together, by compromise, a better answer could be reached.

I remember when corporations were corporate citizens and not multinational conglomerates that were landless nations in their own right. When the CEOs and CFOs operated these companies to the benefit of the stockholders and those who were employed there instead of making sure their executive bonuses increased whether the company prospered or not.

I remember when there wasn’t such a great divide between the wealthy and the poor or even the wealthy and the middle class. Hell, I remember a strong and prosperous middle class. I remember a time when a parent could expect that their children could rise and do better than they did, to graduate from college without the crushing student debt with which these young men and women are now saddled.

I remember when teachers, policemen, and firemen were all respected and not among the first to have their jobs, wages, and pensions cut or their unions attacked and even accused of being among the principle causes of this recession.

I’m a student of history; an imperfect one, I’ll grant, but I’ve read about the robber barons of a century ago. I know how many of those who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were slaveholders. I know how every minority group has had to fight for basic civil rights, be they the right to vote or the right to marry or the right to be treated as full citizens in this country. I know how we pushed and robbed and committed genocide against Native Americans. I’m not naïve and I don’t simply look backwards with rose-colored glasses.

But I used to have more hope.

Woody Guthrie sang:

“This land is your land, this land is my land

    From California to the New York Island

    From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters

    This land was made for you and me.”

He also sang in a later verse that is not always performed with the rest of the song:

“In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;

    By the relief office, I’d seen my people.

    As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,

    Is this land made for you and me?”

I don’t know. I used to think this was my land but now I don’t know.

Was it ever?

MONDAY: Mindy Newell


The Aldrich Family, The Spider, Pulp Art by Joe DeVito and MORE from Radio Archives!

RadioArchives.com Newsletter

June 29, 2012

Hen-reeee!, Henry Aldrich!
Comedy is taking something mundane and ordinary and turning it into a masterpiece of hilarity and humor. No classic radio show did this as well as one centered on the daily chaos surrounding teenager Henry Aldrich! Henry and an entire cast of characters bring laughter to everyday life once more in The Aldrich Family, a collection from Radio Archives!
“The Aldrich Family” spotlighted the adolescent escapades of young Henry and the hijinks that ensued from simple things like a bicycle’s flat tire or an overdue library book. The show also features one of the best-remembered openings from classic radio – Alice, Henry’s stalwart mother summons her son by yelling “Hen-reeee! Henry Aldrich!” And Henry responds with a voice riddled with the crackle of puberty, “Coming, Mother!” The show’s opening salvo had such an impact that some play on it still crops up occasionally in modern entertainment.
The Aldrich Family features as rich and colorful a cast as any show could. From Alice to Sam, Henry’s father to Homer Brown, Henry’s usual partner in confusion right through to Kathleen Anderson, Henry’s sweetheart, and his arch nemesis George Bigelow. Each character was distinct and had a life beyond the gags and jokes, making this show both real and larger than life at the same time.
Restored to sparkling audio quality, The Aldrich Family is a great set for both golden age comedy and characters so believable you can’t help but relate to and laugh with them. Available now from Radio Archives for only $26.98.

Rapid Fire Radio
A Column by Tommy Hancock


The Kraft Music Hall Starring Al Jolson – Very few entertainers have as complete a package of talent, personality, and sheer staying power as Al Jolson had. This collection proves that, spotlighting Jolson as the lead on The Kraft Music Hall in 1947-48. Jolson parlayed the success of a movie based on his life into a comeback and this show was one of the results. Not only is Jolson at the top of his game, but the sarcastic wit of Oscar Levant and the tuneful stylings of Lou Bring and his orchestra make this an enjoyable peek into the career of a true entertainer! Available now for $14.98 from Radio Archives!
Calling All Cars, Volume 1 – Although most people would rightfully call Dragnet the best of the police procedural radio shows, one that set the stage for it and all other comers is an excellent example of the genre! Calling All Cars, a show sponsored by Rio Grande Oil Company, featured true to life cases of all sorts and highlighted the hard work, dedication, car chases, and gunfights policemen got into to solve them! Fantastic pacing and great performances make this a stand out show and it’s only $29.98 from Radio Archives!
One Man’s Family, Volume 1 – Rarely does a show come along that is equal part family drama, soap opera, and slice of life, but in so many ways Carlton E. Morse achieved this with One Man’s Family. Centered on the Barbour Family, this program gave listeners something radio often did not. People written so well they might live down the street from you. And they were people that grew, changed, lived, aged, and died. Truly a classic of modern entertainment, One Man’s Family is a great addition to any fan’s collection. Only $17.98 at Radio Archives!


Character Spotlight!
Cut from the same cloth as any cowboy played by John Wayne, Luke Slaughter of Tombstone stands out as a classic character from a fantastic show. A rancher bound and determined to protect what is his, Slaughter is the epitome of a frontier hero slow to talk, quick to defend himself and others, and determined to leave his brand on the West! Performed to near perfection by Sam Buffington, Luke Slaughter is must listen for fans of Western Adventure and is only $23.98 from Radio Archives!
Hancock’s Favorite Episodes!
The Unexpected, Volume 1 “The Cripple” starring Marjorie Riordan.
With a program title like The Unexpected, one can expect something different, a twist or turn to set the whole episode on its ear. “The Cripple” is an eerie episode that does this best. A tale of a woman desperate to be with her true love forever but saddled with the care of her paraplegic sister, this show makes my skin crawl every time I hear it. Marjorie Riordan is deliciously evil as the lead character, going to deadly lengths to get the life she feels entitled to and is well deserving of how it all turns out! Definitely top notch acting and writing in this one! You can hear “The Cripple” and more fantastic episodes of The Unexpected, Volume 1 for only $14.98 from Radio Archives!


The Spider Battles Lightning Itself In New Audiobook
Devastating lightning, aimed at the highest buildings and critical public facilities of the city. Targeted with precise malevolence by a Man from Mars – with the flowing mane and deadly claws of the king of beasts.  The Lion Man!  The Flame Master!
In one of Norvell Page’s wildest Spider adventures, Richard Wentworth battles not one outrageous foe, but two. The Lion Man, who can rip a man’s flesh with deadly claws and unleash lightning with devastating results at any target he chooses. And a mysterious munitions master, whose allegiance can be bought by the highest bidder.
Electric Audio Adventure
“The Flame Master” is the newest Spider audiobook from RadioArchives.com, continuing the fantastic adventures of one of the 1930s’ most relentless avengers. This audio adventure once again features stage and screen actors Nick Santa Maria and Robin Riker as Richard Wentworth, alias The Spider, Master of Men … and Nita Van Sloan, his daring companion who battles at his side despite unspeakable danger.
The Spider faces Aronk Dong, the self-proclaimed Man from Mars, who unleashes the wrath of the heavens to subjugate Earth. But what is his real purpose? And hiding behind his deadly French Apaches is Toussaints Louvaine, a mysterious dealer in death who may be on Wentworth’s side … or may not.
“In this incredible adventure, no one is who they seem, and everyone has a private agenda,” says director Roger Rittner.  “Nick and Robin are at their best, portraying all the characters in this lightning-charged adventure.”
A Unique Listening Experience
“The Flame Master”, like its predecessors “Prince of the Red Looters” and “Wings of the Black Death”, is enhanced with extensive sound effects and period music score.
For a sample of the excitement, listen to a preview:

“The Flame Master” is available now at just $19.95 in a deluxe six-CD set. The first two Spider audiobooks, “Prince of the Red Looters” and “Wings of the Black Death” are still available at RadioArchives.com.
The Voice of the Spider! Nick Santa Maria
I always enjoyed voice work. When I was a kid, I’d improvise crazy comedies into an audio cassette recorder with my friends. During those days, I would try to voice as many different characters as I could as we struggled to make each other laugh. Little did I know how valuable that experience came to be.
Eventually, after becoming a professional actor, I was hired to do a great many radio commercials, utilizing some of the very same voices I’d created in my youth. Eventually I got away from voice work to concentrate on other areas of performance. But my heart still belonged in the sound studio.
Fast forward quite a number of years. One day I got a call from a friend who asked if I would take part in a radio musical comedy. I took on the task happily. It was only when I arrived that I found I was to play opposite that legendary vocal artist, June Foray.
The writer/producer/director of the project was the very talented Roger Rittner. Roger seemed to like my work, because soon afterward came a phone call that would change my life and get me happily back into the sound booth.
It turns out that Roger wanted me to be the voice of The Spider. I’d heard of the Shadow, Doc Savage, and a few other pulp novel characters. But the Spider had eluded me.
At lunch one day, Roger handed me a box containing the script for the first book I was to tackle, “Prince of the Red Looters”. After reading it, I was hooked. Being a vintage movie fanatic, I could only see an old serial excitingly playing out in my mind’s eye. The characters were rich and full, the writing was vibrant and thrilling, and Roger’s adaptation was brilliantly done. This was not to be a typical audio book; it played out like a radio adventure, complete with sound effects, music, and atmosphere.
I found that I would not only be narrating the story, but enacting all of the male characters – with Nita Van Sloan and the other female characters portrayed by the incredible Robin Riker. It was a veritable feast for an old ham like me, as I fully embraced the characters of Richard Wentworth, Police Commissioner Kirkpatrick, and especially the villains.
I’m now a veteran of four Spider adventures and look forward to many more. I certainly hope you enjoy what we’ve done with these classic stories, and that the characters are as vivid and enjoyable as they were for readers back in the 1930s.


The best of timeless Pulp now available as cutting edge Ebooks! Will Murray’s Pulp Classics brings the greatest heroes, awesome action, and two fisted thrills to your E-Reader! Presenting Pulp Icons such as the Spider and Operator 5 as well as wonderfully obscure characters like Doctor Death and more, Will Murray’s Pulp Classics brings you the best of yesterday’s Pulp today!
Five new golden age Pulp tales exquisitely reformatted into visually stunning E-books!


In that single, unguarded moment while he played his precious Stradivarius, the combined forces of the Mayor of Hell — the crooked Law and the vengeful Underworld — besieged Richard Wentworth, otherwise known as the Spider, nemesis of criminals! Mourned as dead, the Spider must start life anew, without friends or funds or hidden refuge, so that the Mayor of Hell’s bloody-handed henchmen — who judge no deed too base, who respect neither man nor God — may find their just reward — in death! Another epic exploit of America’s best-loved pulp-fiction character of the 1930s and 1940s: The Spider — Master of Men! As a special Bonus, Will Murray has written an introduction: “Meet the Spider” especially for this series of eBooks.
Note: #29 is the sequel to #28 The Mayor of Hell.
America faces certain doom as its citizens fall in screaming thousands before the noxious death vapors loosed upon them by the Green Hand. How can the Spider, harried and threatened by a hundred new and deadly perils, check the rising power of the next Dictator — and lay bare the scheming, criminal mind which seeks to enslave the nation? Another epic exploit of America’s best-loved pulp-fiction character of the 1930s and 1940s: The Spider — Master of Men! As a special Bonus, Will Murray has written an introduction: “Meet the Spider” especially for this series of eBooks.

Speeding through the silent blackness of the night, a long freight-train was laden with a cargo more precious than fine gold — wheat! Then suddenly, the hirelings of Apocryphos unleashed red destruction, and the great machine lay wrecked, its cars of priceless grain afire… Another blow in the ruthless campaign that was driving a proud people, whimpering, to slavery — overwhelmed by the cruel pangs of hunger! The four horsemen of the Apocalypse, thundered sharp-hoofed over the sterile reaches of a famine-wasted continent, while only one man — Operator 5 — realized the ghastly extent of the diabolical plot. And only he — America’s undercover ace — could hope to bring the canny schemer to the justice he deserved — death!
Jimmy Christopher, clean-cut, square-jawed and clear-eyed, was the star of the most audacious pulp magazines ever conceived — Operator #5. Savage would-be conquerors, creepy cults, weird weather-controllers and famine-creating menaces to our mid-western breadbasket… these were but a few of the fiendish horrors that Jimmy Christopher was forced to confront. Operator #5 returns in vintage pulp tales, reissued for today’s readers in electronic format. As a special Bonus, Will Murray has written an introduction especially for this series of Operator #5 eBooks.

Carried far outside the solar system, and wrecked on a volcanic planetoid in company with a shipload of condemned criminals, Captain Future faces the supreme test of his courage! Captain Future… the Ace of Space! Born and raised on the moon, Curt Newton survived the murder of his scientist parents to become the protector of the galaxy known as Captain Future. With his Futuremen, Grag the giant robot, Otho, the shape-shifting android and Simon Wright, the Living Brain, he patrols the solar system in the fastest space ship ever constructed, the Comet, pursuing human monsters and alien threats to Earth and her neighbor planets.


Captain Future and his valiant aides speed to the rescue of the Sagittarian system — ready to lock in mortal combat with deadly enemies from another dimension! Captain Future… the Ace of Space! Born and raised on the moon, Curt Newton survived the murder of his scientist parents to become the protector of the galaxy known as Captain Future. With his Futuremen, Grag the giant robot, Otho, the shape-shifting android and Simon Wright, the Living Brain, he patrols the solar system in the fastest space ship ever constructed, the Comet, pursuing human monsters and alien threats to Earth and her neighbor planets.

When you purchase these beautifully reformatted eBooks from RadioArchives.com you receive all three formats in one ZIP file: PDF for PC or Mac computer; Mobi for Kindle and ePub for iPad/IPhone, Android, Sony eReader, and Nook. When you upgrade to a new eReader, you can transfer your eBook novels to your new device without the need to purchase anything new.
Find these legendary Pulp tales and more in Will Murray’s Pulp Classics, now available in the Kindle store and the Barnes and Noble Nook store! The best Pulp eBooks now available for only $2.99 each from Radio Archives!
1 cent Spider eBook!

For a limited time you can now download an exciting original Spider adventure for just one thin penny! Part of the Will Murray Pulp Classics line, The Spider #11, Prince of the Red Looters first saw print in 1934 and features his momentous battle with The Fly and his armies of crazed criminal killers. Their motto? Why “KILL THE SPIDER!” of course.
For those who have been unsure about digging into the wonderful world of pulps this is a perfect opportunity to give one of these fantastic yarns a real test run. With a full introduction to the Spider written by famed pulp historian and author Will Murray, The Spider #11 was written by one of pulp’s most respected authors, Norvell W. Page. Writing as Grant Stockbridge, Page’s stories included some of the most bizarre and fun takes on heroes and crime fighting in the history of escapist fiction.
Even today Page’s scenarios and his edge-of-the-seat writing style are still thrilling both new and old fans everywhere. For those who have never read one of these rollercoaster adventures, you are in for a thrill. If you already know how much fun a classic pulp is, make sure you download this bargain.
All eBooks produced by Radio Archives are available in ePub, Mobi, and PDF formats for the ultimate in compatibility. When you purchase this eBook from RadioArchives.com you receive all three formats in one ZIP file. When you upgrade to a new eReader, you can transfer your Spider novels to your new device without the need to purchase anything new. Use the PDF version when reading on your PC or Mac computer. If you have a Kindle, the Mobi version is what you want. If you have an iPad/iPhone, Android, Sony eReader or Nook, then the ePub version is what you want.



The Pulp Book Store at Radio Archives is proud to announce the addition of a store featuring one of the best modern Pulp Artists today! The Art of Joe DeVito spotlights the phenomenal work of a multitalented creator. A writer, sculptor, and more, DeVito is perhaps best known for his fantastic paintings that have graced book covers, billboards and more. Notably, DeVito is the artist responsible for the stunning covers of The Wild Adventures of Doc Savage series written by Will Murray and published by Altus Press.
Art and creativity are definitely part of what defines Joe DeVito. “I guess you can say I’ve been an artist all of my life” he stated. “I was born the year the Russians launched Sputnik, was told I began drawing recognizably and continuously around the age of 3 or 4, and have been working at it professionally for over 30 years now. Drawing, sculpting (albeit with Play Doh at first) and telling stories (such as, at the age of 4, describing the reason for drawing an entire town in crayon on my mother’s newly waxed kitchen floor) go as far back as I can remember.”
As with many creators, the influences, which led Joe down the path he’s traveled, were a part of his early life. “I’m originally from a large family that started out in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. We moved to NJ in the early 60’s and I went from the Museum of Natural History and an asphalt playground with metal monkey bars and steel swings, to being able to run around in fields and explore woods and rivers almost overnight. It was quite a shock and greatly augmented my emotional, creative and physical landscape. I like to think the two halves made for a more complete whole.”
Pulp found its way into Joe’s formative years as well. “It was my utter infatuation with dinosaurs, books, magazines and monster movies that perhaps were my earliest connection with the pulps, at least in a visual sense. Watching our small B&W TV with the ubiquitous rabbit-ear antenna, virtually everything had a mysterious, atmospheric pulp quality to it! Those early years indelibly stamped my imagination. An essential part of being creative (for me at least) was never losing that initial sense of mystery, wonder and infatuation that I first experienced.”
When asked to define Pulp Art, Joe offered, “One way is to say that Pulp art is characterized by its tremendously atmospheric lighting, generally created by a strong light source that in turn generates powerful, cast shadows. These effects are heighted still further by the use of exaggerated perspective, unusual angles and topped off by eye-catching color accents on a limited palette, often applied with bold brush work.”
“Of course,” he continued, “subject matter consisting of an edge-of-your-seat, life-threatening situation involving a tough guy; multi-tentacled/orbed alien; monster or other creature either saving or threatening a curvatious woman – often while putting a .38, .45, Tommy gun, ray gun, laser beam, surgical implement or other threatening device through its paces – have been known to be associated with pulp art from time to time as well.”
Using those standards, Pulp Art most definitely is something that, like much of the fiction from that era, transcends the period most associated with it and appeals to a modern audience. According to Joe, “There are certainly a multitude of different reasons for people to escape into the pulps. It would not surprise me if one of the subliminal common threads was a certain nostalgia. Maybe it’s that in such a complicated, psychobabble-saturated world as the one we now live in the Pulps often hearken back to a time where there were good guys, there were bad guys and in the end the good guy wins. End of story.”
“As for the art, it is an optical thrill ride: All the things mentioned earlier and more apply: Heroes, heroines, villains, monsters, flying saucers and aliens, action, adventure, danger – all combined in a picture making feast for the eyeballs.”
Joe finds his own escape and enjoyment in the very Pulp art he creates for others looking for the same. He also cites a plethora of influences on his work. “There aren’t many things as enjoyable as creating a dramatically lit, action packed pulp-inspired painting. My initial art influences and inspirations in this area are too numerous to mention. After all these years it’s now second nature. Others would be the aforementioned old movies, most notably the original King Kong and all the great (and not so great) B monster movies; film noir and associated spy, detective (epitomized by Bogey, of course), and other flicks, not to mention SF/Fantasy/Adventure Pulp magazine covers to name a few.”
And like all fans, even those who are also creators, Joe has a favorite Pulp character to work on. And it’s one he’s very familiar with. “Doc Savage: It’s the nostalgia of the imagery, him being a superhero character who is still human; camaraderie; super villains; lots of old fashioned monsters and mystery; action; adventure; fabulous steam punk inspiring gadgetry that could be tinkered together in your own personal lab…did I mention ray guns?”
The Art of Joe DeVito is the place to get visually stunning posters featuring the truly amazing Pulp Art of Joe DeVito. Each poster is 12 X 18 and available for $19.98! From the 86th Floor of the Empire State Building to the shores of Skull Island and beyond, The Art of Joe DeVito is your ticket to Pulp adventure!


The Master of Darkness battles murderous master villains in thrilling pulp novels by Walter B. Gibson and Theodore Tinsley writing as “Maxwell Grant.” First, the Master of Darkness journeys to New Orleans to uncover the hidden identity of the international swindler known only as “Cyro.” Then, The Shadow suspects that “The Man Who Died Twice” still lives, and is the key to the Prince of Evil’s plot to murder Lamont Cranston! This instant collector’s item showcases the original color covers by George Rozen and Graves Gladney and the classic interior illustrations by legendary illustrators Tom Lovell and Earl Mayan, with historical commentary by Will Murray. Buy it today for $14.95.

A knockout painting by legendary paperback artist James Bama leads off a special variant edition of two action-packed pulp epics by Lester Dent writing as “Kenneth Robeson.” First, a bequest from a dying scientist leads Doc Savage to Death Valley in search of a long-dead pirate’s legendary treasure. Can this amazing invention allow “The Pirate’s Ghost” to speak from beyond the grave? Then, the Man of Bronze goes undercover at a Wyoming dude ranch to solve the bizarre puzzle of a strange “Green Eagle” with lead feathers! This special anniversary edition also showcases the original color pulp covers by Emery Clarke, Paul Orban’s classic interior illustrations and an intriguing article by The Shadow’s famous raconteur, Walter B. Gibson. Priced at only $14.95.

The Pulp Era’s most unusual mystery man returns in three action-packed adventures by Paul Ernst and Emile Tepperman writing as “Kenneth Robeson.” Dick Benson’s life will be forever changed after “Murder on Wheels” and the mysterious Cole Wilson lure The Avenger into a deadly trap! Then, “The Three Gold Crowns” and a dentist’s forceps leads The Avenger to Mr. Death’s house of murder. PLUS: “Death to The Avenger,” a bonus Avenger novelette, and a Whisperer thriller by Alan Hathway. This classic pulp reprint features the color pulp covers by H. W. Scott, Paul Orban’s original interior illustrations and historical commentary by Will Murray. Priced at only $14.95 

One of the top crime-fighters from the golden age of pulp fiction, The Spider returns in two thrill-packed adventures written by Norvell Page under the pseudonym of Grant Stockbridge. First, in “The Spider and the Scarlet Surgeon” (1941), With unheard of skill, the Red Surgeon can change a patient into an imbecile… or a genius of crime! Not only can he alter the physical shell, but this mad doctor can even amputate parts of a victim’s personality, even their conscience. And his greatest ambition is to operate on none other than Stanley Kirkpatrick, Nita van Sloan… and the Spider! Then, in “The Spider and the Death Piper” (1942), Weird compelling music lures the inhabitants of Martinsville to suicide! By ones and twos at first, then in a stampede of maddened self-destruction. Even Richard Wentworth, with the iron will of the Spider, felt the irresistible calling of that Devil-tune! Can even the Master of Men prevail against an unearthly power that goads the listener to suicide? These two exciting pulp adventures have been beautifully reformatted for easy reading and feature both of the original full color covers as well as interior illustrations that accompany each story. Available now for $14.95!

By John Olsen

“The Plot Master” is a battle of wits or a gang of international crooks against The Shadow. And at stake are millions of dollars and the security of our nation. The Plot Master is out to steal the Navy Department’s mystery submarine and only The Shadow can stop him!
What a great story we have, here. It’s a face-off between two masters of disguise — The Shadow and Eric Hildrow, the Plot Master. You can never be too sure who’s who in this thrilling tale of espionage. This story has plenty of suspense and action, and any pulp mystery with a location known as Death Island gets bonus points from me, to start with. This is one Shadow story that delivers the goods, right from the start.
Yes, this is one terrific Shadow novel, and it’s one in which surprisingly few of The Shadow’s agents appear. Harry Vincent plays a leading role in this story. Burbank is there to pass along messages, and Clyde Burke is mentioned but doesn’t actually appear. Cliff Marsland appears about halfway through the story and gets to see some action with The Shadow. And of course new agent Miles Crofton gets to see a bit of action, too. But most of the action is carried by The Shadow and Harry Vincent.
The Shadow really gets batted around in this story. Entombed, shot, blown up… yet he miraculously survives. But not without injury. By the end of the story, he’s pretty beat up. And that’s where the strange vial of purplish liquid comes into play. As he was going through his earlier trials, I kept wondering why he didn’t use that incredible restorative fluid. But at the story’s fantastic climax, he finally does.
This is one of the top Shadow novels. It’s got just about everything. It’s got death traps from which there can be no escape: “The Shadow was encased in a trap of death. Death by confinement, within the suffocating walls of the air-tight submarine chamber.” And yet, amazingly, he does escape.
There’s also the squishy rubber suction cups that The Shadow uses to climb sheer walls. There’s the explosives in the lining of his cloak. There’s the secret messages transmitted on the open airwaves using emphasized words in advertisements over WNX Radio in New York. There’s the amazing autogyro. And the famous vial containing the purple liquid. If you’re looking for a top Shadow pulp novel to read, you won’t do much better than this one. It’s a lot of fun, and will make you glad you chose to read The Shadow. And it can be yours along with another great Shadow novel for only $12.95 from Radio Archives!

Comments From Our Customers!
Ernest Spellmeyer writes:
I thank you for your prompt response in sending 2 sets of Dragnet CDs to me. The quality of your product and the sound quality of the CDs are terrific.
Ed Morrissey writes:
I really enjoyed The Spider – Wings of the Black Death CD set. Keep it up.
Larry Scheflin:
I really love the stuff you’ve been doing. Many thanks for all your efforts. I have purchased all four Doc Savage audiobooks and was wondering if there are any plans for more. They are excellent.

If you’d like to share a comment with us or if you have a question or a suggestion send an email to Service@RadioArchives.com. We’d love to hear from you!


The products you’ve read about in this newsletter are just a small fraction of what you’ll find waiting for you at RadioArchives.com. Whether it’s the sparkling audio fidelity of our classic radio collections, the excitement of our new line of audiobooks, or the timeless novels of the pulp heroes, you’ll find hundreds of intriguing items at RadioArchives.com.
If you no longer wish to receive our newsletter, or if this newsletter has been sent to you in error, please reply to this e-mail with the subject line UNSUBSCRIBE and your name will immediately be removed from our mailing list.

Marvel Expected to Announce Guardians, Big Hero 6 Films at San Diego

Marvel Studios is expected to announce the highly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy movie at Comic-Con International. The film, according to Latino Review, will be their second 2014 release, completing a roster of films now dubbed Phase Two.

The time- and star-spanning team was first created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan, appearing in the try-out title Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (January 1969). While never earning a title of their own, they went on to be recurring guest stars in a variety of titles all through the 1970s.

Under writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, a new incarnation of the Guardians have been a focal point of their cosmic stories, beginning in the Annihilation: Conquest stories. That particular cycle of stories ended a year or so back, paving the way for a new cycle, expected to be written by Brian Michael Bendis.

The new cycle of stories was teased with the arrival on Earth of Nova in the pages of Avengers vs. X-Men #1 followed by his digital exclusive story.

Meantime, Marvel has been registering domain names and laying claim to Guardian trademarks in a wide variety of merchandise, tipping their hands that such a feature was in development. It was even mentioned as one of several second tier properties being considered for later this decade but clearly it was a feint.

Marvel Comics has mastered the slow news leak, providing tips and nods in a certain direction, leading up to the not-so-surprising news announcement. You can trace this back to Joe Quesada badmouthing Peter Parker’s marriage to Mary Jane Watson at least a year before the eventual One More Day storyline that altered the Marvel reality.

Over the last few months, Marvel has been teasing that things are about to take a dramatic turn as one creative team after another have announced wrapping up storylines and paving the way for a freshening of the Marvel Universe.  Several Thanos titles were announced for this September including two by Jim Starlin the character’s creator.

With The Avengers completing Phase One, the second cycle of films begins in 2013 with Iron Man 3 to be followed in November by Thor 2. For 2014, Captain America 2 was previously announced for April 4with a TBA on the books. (Sony, meantime, has Amazing Spider-Man 2 pencilled in for May 2 and Fox has saved July 18 for another X-Men First Class Sequel). IMDB already has a placeholder page awaiting confirmation.

While there’s no word on which members of either version of the team will be used, we’re looking forward to Groot and Rocket Raccoon being a part of the cast. Apparently, Thanos will be the Big Bad to tie things together with his arrival hinted at with a sighting of his Infinity Gauntlet in Thor and his cameo at the end of The Avengers.  Latino’s piece speculates Thanos will appear in Guardians which will be the final film prior to 2015’s The Avengers 2.

Meantime, Marvel’s corporate masters, Walt Disney, just revealed this afternoon that they are working on their first Marvel animated property: Big Hero 6. The timing is interesting in that the Previews catalog out yesterday contains a new Big Hero 6 project from writer Chris Claremont.The team was introduced in 1998’s Sunfire and Big Hero 6 from Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Rouleau.

Planned for 2014, the blog says in part, “I promised my Bothans that I wouldn’t reveal much about the Marvel project that Walt Disney Animation Studios was working on, that I would only allude to it until something else broke about it. Well, now a website has let the cat out of the bag. Remember that I mentioned that the property would be unlike anything the Mouse had done before? I also mentioned to some that inquired about it, that Marvel owns 4000+ characters and everyone was thinking it was an animated Iron Man or X-Men or even “Power Pack.” Well, it’s not. It’s not one of the top 100 or 200 characters even. The actual title is much more obscure than most people know. In fact, most comic book fans will not even know the title, or most of the characters. So, what is the title/characters that Disney is adapting into an animated film?”



EARTHSTRIKE AGENDA, the new novel by celebrated author Bobby Nash is now available in paperback and ebook formats at Amazon as well as Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and more.
You can purchase the Earthstrike Agenda in paperback and ebook format at the following:
BEN Books Direct paperback
Amazon paperback
Amazon Kindle ebook
Smashwords ebook (Multiple formats)
Barnes and Noble Nook ebook
DriveThru Fiction ebook
Barnes and Noble paperback
About Earthstrike Agenda:
Earth, once barren and decimated by war and the depletion of natural resources has been reborn.
Today, Scavengers prey on small mining towns and colonies. The United Planetary Alliance Marshal’s Service seems unable to stop these raids. They are outmanned and outgunned, but is the only law on many colonies.
Newly promoted Captain, Virgina Harmon takes command of her first starship, the Pegasus, the latest ship built to solve the Scavenger problem. Plagued by nervousness over her first command Captain Harmon is rocked by the news of her mentor’s murder. Just days before he was to report to her aboard the Pegasus as chief of engineering.
In Earth orbit, a science station becomes a target. An enemy has a plan to use the Space Lab facility as a means to claiming Earth.
In deep space, the United Planetary Alliance city-ship Ulysis welcomes aboard a high-ranking officer with a special mission for the crew. Those plotting against the Alliance are preparing to make their move and their first target is the Ulysis.
Meanwhile, in the deepest regions of space an enemy has returned. An enemy seeking vengeance.
Whoever controls Earth …Wins.
Visit BEN Books at http://BEN-Books.blogspot.com
Visit Earthstrike Agenda author, Bobby Nash at www.bobbynash.com
Visit Bobby Nash’s Amazon Author Page at www.amazon.com/-/e/B002QJ8QQS

Watch the Trailer for Avengers DVD

The Marvel Movie Universe has been an amazing success story and Disney is taking things to the next level with this fall’s release of Avengers on DVD. First, you can have the film in a variety of formats.

Or, you can buy the mega box set called Phase One containing:

  •  Marvel’s The Avengers (Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray)
  • Thor (Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray)
  • Iron Man 2 (Blu-ray)
  • The Incredible Hulk (Blu-ray)
  • Iron Man (Blu-ray)
  • Bonus Disc – “The Phase One Archives” (Blu-ray)
  • Collectible packaging with exclusive memorabilia from the Marvel Cinematic Universe

I suspect most of us own some or all of these, but the memorabilia may make us think twice. It is certainly a nice collection for late-comers or for that special someone’s holiday list.

Michael Davis: Spider-Man, Spider-Man does whatever and who cares…

Am I the only one that could give a flying fish about the new Spider-Man movie?

I have no desire to see that film. You would think that a Spider-Man junkie like myself would be counting the days until it opened.

Nope. It could have opened already and it would still not be a blip on my must see radar. It would be great if the reason I have no yearning to see this film is because The Avengers was so good it made waiting to see any other superhero film unattractive.

Nope. I still can’t wait to see the next Dark Knight movie.

I simply have no desire whatsoever to see the new Spider-Man film. Is it the new actor that turns me off? Maybe, in the clips I’ve seen I have none and by none I mean no emotional attachment to him. Granted, I only get to see snippets of him in coming attractions but in those snippets I can garner no interest in this guy.


Perhaps I’ve gone extreme fanboy and by extreme fanboy I mean, perhaps Marvel Studios has done something that just does not sit right with me so I must go to a dark fan place.

I’ll admit to being a fanboy and I’m mighty proud of that distinction, but being an extreme fanboy is something I’d never thought I’d succumb to. The difference between fanboy and one who is of the extreme kind is this; an extreme fan boy will spend endless hours, debating, blogging and otherwise conversing about whatever is bugging he or she. A regular old fan boy will just enjoy the ride and revel in all that is his or hers pop culture drug of choice.

I think with regards to the Spider-Man movie I have made the move to the dark side of fan boy domain and I think I know why. The more I think about it the more I’m certain what has brought me over to the dark side of fandom.

The side in which I must make my ire known to all that want to listen and more importantly those who don’t want to listen and more importantly still is to get my message of disgust out to those who simply could give a shit about any to this stuff.

That is the essence of the true extreme fanboy; talking passionate shit about something most of the world could give a fish about!

So, what has gotten me to extreme fan boy status over the Spider-Man movie? What has sent me from can’t wait to I could give a shit?

Gwen Stacy.

Gwen Stacy is in this retelling of the new Spider-Man movie.

Why? Oh why is that?

There were plenty of places to take Peter Parker after the third movie but someone had the bright idea to dig up Gwen Stacy. My beloved Gwen Stacy.

Why? Just so I can watch her die again? Everyone knows that Capt. Stacy, Gwen’s police chief dad and Gwen bite the damn dust. Well every real fan of Spider-Man knows that. I guess killing Gwen all over again for the delight of the millions who don’t know is O.K.


It’s O.K. to kill the first non-real woman I ever loved?

Well, it’s not O.K. with me. No, I have not seen the movie nor do I have any insider knowledge that Gwen will be killed in the movie but whatever other reason is there to jump back in continuity?  What other reason is there to bring back dear, sweet, lovable, I’m old enough now to tap that ass, Gwen?

I can’t think of any reason except Sony and Marvel studios desire to reinvent Spider-Man and bring in some Twilight or some other pussy franchise’s fan base. What better way then getting you to take your girlfriend to a superhero movie and get you to cry like a little bitch when Gwen dies?

That, my friend, is just cold blooded. Or, to put it another way, that’s Hollywood.

So, no I won’t be seeing this Spider-Man. If I’m wrong and Gwen survives I still won’t see it. If she survives this film you can be damn sure she will be toast in the next one.

I’m not going out like that-seeing her neck broke when I was a little kid was enough for me.

Sony, Marvel you killed Gwen Stacy!!!

You bastards!!

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Emily S. Whitten, real girls, and costumes!

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold Follows The Kids!

Gerry Giovinco: What If?

Does it infuriate you to hear about comic book creators, especially the aged ones, struggling to get by financially, without health benefits, and working menial jobs because they can no longer find work in the comics industry while their creations or characters whose legacy they’ve passionately contributed to continue to rake in grotesquely monolithic profits for the corporations that currently own the copyrights and trademarks to them? Don’t you think that anyone should be upset about this, except maybe the soulless, money grubbing powers of the corporate world that have driven the globe into economic crisis? Surely, the average person gets it. You know, the dreaded 99% who feel that we have to live with our hand out just to get by, constantly in debt so that we can live co-dependant on the new staples of life like TVs, cars, computers, and cell phones, not to mention upsized happy meals that make our asses so fat we need therapy because we no longer fit the impossibly ideal image of the perfect body that has been created by the same bastards that sold us the 64 ounce Big Gulp. Ahem.. Maybe people don’t get it because it has to do with the arts. The efforts of creative types, with the exception of those few that rise to the top of the heap and rake in the big bucks, are rarely understood. People expect that the arts are practiced by those that do what they do because they love it, it’s fun, and it’s not really work. This   thinking perpetuates the romantic ideal of the so-called “starving artist.” This is true wether it is painting, music, dance, theater, literature, film or comics. The creative community, however, understands that though we all appreciate that our work is a “labor of love,” it is also a lot of hard work that requires great dedication,  sacrifice and  expense. This work, no matter how much we may enjoy it, has value, especially when it is making gobs of money for somebody else.

So, when I see comic artists struggling and am completely stymied when one can’t even expect a decent burial because of his poverty, it is probably only other artists that I can expect to fully appreciate the knot in my gut. This is why I am wondering where all the support for comic artists is when it comes to the ethical injustice of no compensation for work that was created under the auspices “work-for-hire” at a time when no one could have anticipated the economic power of modern media. Where is the support from other artists, other entertainment fields and their unions, especially those who are benefitting most from adapting comics to other mediums, like film. So I ask. What if the Screen Actors Guild, the Directors Guild of America, and the Writers Guild of America came to the defense of comic creators who have never successfully unionized and, as they do for themselves, show a force of solidarity for the people that created the source material that is creating extremely lucrative jobs for their members? What if the long list of prominent actors that portrayed characters from comic books in films took a stand to support those creators? What if the “A” list writers and directors showed some moral scruples and held a higher ground? I understand that it would be impossible to to fully effect every comic creator that may have participated in making the comic book characters that have become stars on the silver screen the cultural icons that they are today. I also understand that the rights to ownership of these characters are legally embroiled by the federal copyright laws that were lobbied successfully by the big corporations. None of that, however, justifies letting some of these talented creators struggle in abject poverty, living hungry on the streets with no healthcare, doomed to be buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave while others, including other artists, get rich off the fruits of their creations.

The comic industry does not have a union but it does have advocates. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and The Heroes Initiative are two organizations that have been formed to offer services to protect comic creators. Both organizations could benefit greatly if they were to receive generous donations from those that are currently benefitting the most from the success of comic book characters in film and related merchandise.

It has been reported that “Since its inception, The Hero Initiative (Formerly known as A.C.T.O.R., A Commitment To Our Roots) has had the good fortune to grant over $500,000 to over 50 comic book veterans who have paved the way for those in the industry today.” In contrast, if we were to signal out just Robert Downy, Jr. who is reported to have made $50,000,000 off of his role as Iron Man in the Avengers film and ask him to donate a mere one tenth of a percent of that salary to The Hero Initiative, he would match every penny they have ever spent to support comic creators in need. These stars are a generous lot and, in fact, need to be philanthropists just to write off their taxes. Robert Downy, Jr., himself supports, Clothes Off Our Back, Midnight Mission, and Orca Network. Why wouldn’t he support some struggling comic artists that created the opportunity for him to make his millions?

What if every actor, writer, and director, especially those that reaped the mother load reached out to support these two organizations that protect struggling comic creators? It wouldn’t make certain creators as rich as they could be if the industry was fair, but it would guarantee that comic artists who dedicated their lives to their art and our enjoyment could be a little more secure and might not die penniless like so many before them.

What if everyone reading this blog took it upon themselves to pursue this campaign and contact their favorite actor from a comic book film requesting their aid? What if we all made a difference?

Gerry Giovinco

And now, another added bonus! Those of you that are huge fans of Chris Kalnick’s NON the Existential Extraterrestrial and Depth Charge both featured here at CO2 Comics will be thrilled to find out that our old buddy NON is back in a new installment titled “A Sensory Neuron’s Quandary.” The feature begins today and will be updated every Sunday. Mr. Kalnick will be  sure to have you all questioning the true “meaning of life.”

Hot Toys Avengers Black Widow Figure Revealed

Hot Toys Avenger Black Widow Figure Revealed

Black Widow figure from Hot Toys

Sideshow Collectibles and Hot Toys are proud to present the Black Widow Sixth Scale Limited Edition Collectible Figure from the smash hit “Marvel’s The Avengers.” The movie-accurate Black Widow collectible is specially crafted based on the image of Scarlett Johansson in the film; highlighting the newly sculpted head, hair implantation, body shape, and highly detailed costume and accessories.


Marc Alan Fishman: In Defense of the Modern Comic – Continuity

One more time to the well I go! As with my articles over the last two weeks … I’m taking to task one Tim Marchman of the Wall Street Journal. He quipped that the comic industry is in a tailspin in part because of “clumsy art, poor writing, and (and I’m paraphrasing…) the clinging-to-continuity.” I’ve defended the art. I’ve defended the writing. I might as well finish off the trifecta of telling this putz where to shove his opinions, right? Even if it gets Mike Gold in a tizzy.

It’s the argument I hear (and honestly have made myself… whoops) time and again; Modern comic books are too hard to get into because they have a nearly-impossible-to-grasp forever-changing mythology. In fact, this very argument was brought to life (and a live audience) to WBEZ (Chicago’s NPR affiliate) at a well-attended debate. At that debate? Tim Seeley, Mike Norton, and a handful of other local comic artists and writers. Suffice to say, the argument has legs. Long, tall, sultry legs. Legs that start at the floor, and go up to the heavens. The kind of legs that keep lesser men at bay. OK, I’ll stop with the leg analogy. I get it. Really, I do. “If I want to read Spider-Man, I need to read decades worth of stories to understand what’s going on!”


Sorry, my son is watching me type.

Huh. Now there’s something to latch on to – my son. Soon, Bennett will gain the power of language and communication. And I plan to read him a comic book every night before bed. Why? Because I want to teach him, from as early an age as possible, that comic books (and their never-ending back-stories) are entirely accessible. From the simplest base of knowledge – sometimes rooted only in the musings, opinions, and un-fact-checked thoughts of another comic book fan – enjoyment is not hindered by a lengthy back story. In fact, when handled well, a story with a rich history only yields further desire to immerse ones’ self in the adventure further.

Case in point? GrimJack

When “The Manx Cat” hit shelves, I nabbed it, tepidly. Knowing nothing of the adventures of the beret-wearing, bar-owning, sword-gun-and-sorcery-using mercenary, I still made the purchase. The issue was clearly meant to attract a new reader (as DC did with relaunching their entire line, and Marvel does when they append a “.1” to a book’s numbering). As I recall, the inside front cover didn’t have a lengthy history report. Over the course of six issues, I learned what I could from what John Ostrander presented. Some of it was easy enough to latch on to. “This guy’s been around the block a few times. Seems to have an elaborate network of operatives, friends, and history around this universe.” Other things made me scratch my noodle. “He’s obviously referencing a previous adventure the older fans know. Hmm. Sounds interesting. Maybe I’ll go back and check it out…”

And therein lies my point. All it took was a spark of interest, and I dove in. Comic books are akin to other serialized mediums – Professional Wrestling and Soap Operas come to mind. Before your eyes roll, and you snort loud enough to make the cat wake up, hold tight. When I uttered (err, typed) those phrases, did the hair on the back of your neck raise up just a little? Well, suck it up, nerdlinger. For the “big two” in the industry… their wares aren’t really all that different from Vince McMahon’s steroid showcase, or the major networks’ never-ending dramas of soapy nature. The fact is the very root of comic books is tied to the idea of serialization. To proclaim it being part of the reason the comic book business is failing is like saying wrestling is failing because it’s fake.

Now, to be fair, Marchman may very well be commenting on modern books being “written for the trade”, which I covered last week. When you walk into the store today, and want to check out The Avengers (cause you just saw that kooky flick, don’t-cha-know…), the first issue you pull off the shelf may be right smack dab in the middle of some zany plot you’ve no clue about. Reading 20 pages of content piling on top of two, three or four previous episodes makes for an nearly impossible-to-enjoy experience. I guess you’d throw up your arms, and leave the shop. Maybe go into the back alley. Buy some drugs. I mean drugs don’t care about history, do they? And they’re just as addictive… Damnit comics! You made another near-fan a drug addict.

Here’s the rub: It’s a lame excuse. If you came out of the movie theater jazzed about the Avengers, a quick jaunt to your local fiction house would help satiate your new-found-taste for muscles and fights. A well-picked trade, or handful of issues later (let’s say about $20 worth, or less if you go digital), you can then start pulling off the rack, right afterwards. Will you know everything going on? No. But if the books are written and drawn well enough? I bet you go back and fill in the gaps. I did with the Fantastic Four, not that long ago. Without any knowledge of the years Hickman spent building his nuanced epic arc, I jumped in head first (right after Johnny “died”). And over the course of the following year? The book rose to the top of my pull list. And now, I’m going back through his entire run. Because I want to know more. All it took was the first step – and admitting my previous excuse for not buying the book was just that… an excuse.

Suffice to say, Marchman’s point about barrier to entry is just a sly dodge away from the real issue (which is more about the Direct Market, availability, and proper marketing by Marvel and DC to potential fans). For those people who say “I’d get into comics, but there’s too much backstory to get through,” what are they really telling you? Jim Gaffigan had it right all along:

“You know my favorite part about that movie? Not reading.”

SUNDAY: Did Somebody Mention John Ostrander?