Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Review- MARVEL ZOMBIES: THE COVERS


MARVEL ZOMBIES: THE COVERS (Marvel, First Printing, 2007; Hardcover)

I am the only person on Earth who did not enjoy Marvel Zombies when it came out. I bought the oversized hardcover the day that it came out in 2006, took it home and read it immediately. This was back in the days when publishers didn't flood the market with collected editions and it was possible to keep up on my reading, but I digress. I hated it. I mean, the covers were great. I used to have them as wallpaper on my computer as the series was being published. The Arthur Suydam zombie covers and variants all appealed to me, but the series was crap. The book was a surprise sell out in hardcover, and seeing a window of opportunity, I flipped it on eBay immediately, getting more than I paid for it. The hardcover went on to five printings plus multiple softcover printings, Complete Collection repackagings, and eventually an Omnibus...er, Zomnibus.

This collection of covers was released, and I thought that the idea was great. The covers were the best part as far as I was concerned. I didn't end up buying it, as I have too many irons in the fire and am not independently wealthy. Marvel routinely blows out dead stock to dealers, and I got this, sealed and in mint condition, for free with a purchase over $25 at Warp 9 Comics in Clawson, MI a couple of years ago. I was bored one day and wanted some light reading so I plucked this from the backlog boxes and read it.

The cover of each issue is presented with the original comic book cover that it was based on with Sudyam's thoughts and inspirations on each one. The back of the book has non-Suydam zombie covers as well as all eleven Tales Of The Zombies covers from the 1970s. This especially appealed to me, as the series was reprinted in an Essential black and white phone book way back when but the covers were in black and white. I can't believe that Marvel has never reissued that series in an Omnibus or other format. The Essential has been out of print for years and zombies remain popular due to the success of The Walking Dead. It seems like a no-brainer easy sell to me. This book was an enjoyable, leisurely read. This is all cake, heavy on the frosting.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.

The OCD zone- Marvel used to issue lots of things like this in the oversized hardcover format. Now they push those Premiere Edition hardcovers on folks.
Paper stock: I love the thick glossy coated stock that Marvel used back then. You don't get paper this thick from them anymore except in hardcover Masterworks.
Binding: Perfect bound hardcover.
Dustjacket and Hardback cover notes: Thick dustjacket paper with a laminate coating. The hardback has that faux leather grain texture to it and dye foil stamping, both of which Marvel has largely done away with. The decontenting of collected editions is rampant these days, and I suspect that it will only get worse as demand for paper lessens and costs rise. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Review- DAREDEVIL BY MARK WAID VOL. 7



DAREDEVIL BY MARK WAID VOL. 7 (Marvel, First Printing, 2014; Softcover)

Collects Daredevil #31-36 (cover dates November, 2013- April, 2014)

Writer: Mark Waid
Artists: Chris Samnee with Jason Copland (finishes, #33) and Javier Rodriguez and Alvaro Lopez (#34)
Colorist: Javier Rodriguez

I read the first two oversized hardcovers (the equivalent of the first four trades) of this title, and while I enjoyed them I pruned it from my list of titles that I follow. There are simply too many collected editions being pumped out from all publishers on a weekly basis and some things just have to give. It was my soft spot for the macabre that sucked me into buying this book. Daredevil plus a heaping of helping of beloved Bronze Age monsters such as Simon Garth, the Zombie, Satana, the Frankenstein Monster, The Living Mummy, and Werewolf By Night...where do I sign?

Some !!!SPOILERS!!! ahead...you have been warned.

While these issues were being made in mid to late 2013 they feel contemporary in terms of events happening right this minute in the United States. Prosecuting D.A. James Priest, a hero to the black community, speaks out on the verdict in a case not unlike the Trayvon Martin shooting, when the Jester hacks into a newsfeed, essentially putting words in his mouth on live television and inciting a racial riot. It really echoed events of the past year and was as eerie a predictor of current events as Ed Brubaker's prediction of the collapse of the American economy in Captain America back in 2007-2008. Ant-Man helps diffuse the ensuing riots.

It is revealed that the Serpent Society, a white supremacist group, is behind it all. Matt Murdock (Daredevil) has his partner, Foggy Nelson, do some research on them. Foggy finds that the root of the group is supernatural in nature, tracing back to the oft-mentioned book The Darkhold. This made me smile, as many Bronze Age monster comics mentioned it. Matt then seeks help from Doctor Strange, who points him to Jack Russell, an expert on the book. Matt travels to Stone Hills, Kentucky, to meet him when the reason why he is an expert is revealed...Jack is cursed by this book and becomes a Werewolf By Night because of it.

The monsters tell Daredevil where to go to get The Darkhold, although they warn him that they have all failed in the attempt. Daredevil ends up burning the book except for a few pages, ultimately winding up in battle with the Serpent Squad as well as the Serpent Society. Elektra is involved in the battle, although I thought that she was dead. I mean, she was at one time, but these things change. The Serpents have a far reach, and they offer Matt the chance to save Foggy's life with a revolutionary cancer treatment. They give him the option of backing off and his friend gets the treatment or they are going to spill every secret about him, revealing his identity, nature of his powers, and origin to the world. Matt double crosses them and outs himself as Daredevil, resulting in both he and Foggy becoming disbarred. The series ends with Daredevil moving back to San Francisco since he can no longer practice law there, but he can do so in California because he was licensed to practice law there forty plus years ago (in our time).

Mark Waid is a good writer, and I have enjoyed his Silver Age flavored run on the title. They senselessly rebooted the numbering again on this title even though he stayed on. Marvel's endless renumbering has made comics meaningless. They may as well go to all cover dates. They are supposedly going to do “seasons” now. Give me legacy numbering or I won't give you my money! I no longer buy anything new that Marvel produces and live for collected editions of pre-90s material.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The OCD zone-
Paper stock: Good weight glossy coated stock.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Reviews- Sinister 2 and Buckcherry/ Rock N Roll



Sinister 2 (Gramercy, 2015)



I didn't remember much about the first Sinister other than the fact that I enjoyed it, but I didn't let that didn't stop me from going to catch this movie opening weekend. The Bogey man character has more screen time this time out, and the film feels a bit weaker because of it. While his angular face and extra long fingers are convincingly creepy, I liked the idea of not really knowing what was going on in the first one better. Once you explain that there is a being of some sort pulling all the strings then things have a structure to them. The chaos and the unknown are more frightening to me. Your mileage may vary.



The Bogey Man/ dead ghost kids/ found footage hybrid is entertaining enough that I can overlook gaps in logic and any cliches that these types of movies always have. The whole super 8 camera and ancient record playing providing the sound seems labored to me. While old fashioned stuff and a lack of technology is somewhat frightening it removes the vibe of the film from the present day. While I like old school Horror stuff all of the great Horror movies (Psycho, Halloween, the original Friday The 13th) were all rooted in the then-present day. Young fans need a proper context to draw them into the world that the movie is trying to create.



I am admittedly too old for these types of films, as they are largely aimed at teenagers and young adults. I can still enjoy movies like this for what they are: a reason to forget your troubles outside of the theater walls. You could certainly do worse than Sinister 2. I would probably be in for a third one. Maybe they could have a possessed eight track player or Betamax machine or some other obsolete playback unit since the super 8mm camera was destroyed in this one.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3 out of 5.



Buckcherry/ Rock N Roll (F Bomb, 2015)

I am uncertain why I still buy Buckcherry albums. I loved their first two albums when they came out, believing them to be natural progressions and updates of AC/DC, Aerosmith, and Kiss and their shows back then were a lot of fun. Their subsequent albums have been enjoyable, albeit ever so slightly less enjoyable each time out. It's mainstream Rock for an era when Rock is no longer mainstream.

Josh Todd's voice is enjoyable, a sort of raspier Steven Tyler, but it's the lyrics that seem adolescent and hamper the music for me (Tight Pants, for example). They have added occasional horns and organs to try and broaden their sound, which they sound bored with. The music is mostly mid-tempo or a notch above. They used to get up and go more on the first two albums. The Madness is the first song on the album that rises to the occasion, and that comes six songs into the ten song, 36:11 minute offering.

Wood sounds like a more Rock and Roll Three Dog Night song during the chorus, and I mean that as a compliment. The rest of the song falls flat on its face, though. This album isn't bad by any stretch, but it isn't great, either. It's good enough that I'll pull it out and play it every so often but I don't see it playing on loop in my car the way that the first album and Time Bomb did when they came out. Buckcherry remain the Rock and Roll equivalent of Little Caesars pizza. Good enough that it gets the job done but not good enough to make me dream about it.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 2.75 out of 5.

The OCD zone- This is the part where I go into the physical packaging. This CD comes in a standard jewel box and has a booklet with lyrics. The album cover seems lame and low budget, undoubtedly designed to go on $35 T-shirts to be sold to folks who buy $9 beers at big venue shows.

I found out (after buying this) that the Best Buy version has two bonus tracks. What a crock of shit. Fuck bands that do this kind of crap. Thanks for insulting those of us who actually bought the album by telling us that we bought it at “the wrong place” so we don't get the whole album. Tactics like this make me forgive people who torrent their music.