Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Josh on Comics Review of the Year 2009!

Yes, that time of year has come for me to round up what I think have been the best (and possibly worse, I haven't finalised the categories yet) of the comics world in 2009. Apologies for the lack of pictures, but to be quite honest I find it very frustrating uploading them onto blogger - part of the reason for my pathetic output of late! Anyway, without further ado...On with the awards!

Best ongoing series: Dark Avengers
Much of Dark Reign has flattered to decieve, promising much and delivering little. Thankfully Bendis' latest attempt at writing the Avengers has lived up to its meteoric expectations. I have had my misgivings about Bendis' ability to write a decent team book ever since his abortive relaunch of the Avengers franchise, but he seems disturbingly adept at capturing the dynamic of a team of pyschopaths. Of course I must mention the art, from Mike Deodato Jr. His moody, ink heavy style has not always been my cup of tea but it is a superb fit for this series. Splendid stuff!

It should be noted that I am not counting the widely panned 'Utopia' crossover with Uncanny X-Men, that ran through issues seven and eight. The storyline was written by Matt Fraction rather than Bendis so I decided to skip it.

Best mini series: Destroyer (MAX)
To be perfectly honest, 2009 has been a subpar year for mini series. Even the much anticipated Spider-Man: Close Saga series has, so far at least been merely average. Thank goodness for Robert Kirkman. I love the man, so it is no surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed what looks to be his final work for Marvel. Gloriously violent, with the occasional heartfelt moment, it is great to see Robert go out with a bang.

Best Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
A clean sweep from the man with one name too many. As far as I'm concerned no one can match his output this year. I haven't been reading his new Spider-Woman series (partly through lack of interest, partly as a protest at it's shambolic lack of a UK digital release), but as should be immediatley obvious I consider Dark Avengers to be the best ongoing series of the year. Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man has had mixed reviews but I have very much enjoyed it.

Best Artist: Olivier Coipel
Easily the comics world's most improved artist over the last few years. I found Coipel's work on House of M sloppy and confusing, but his Thor over the last few years has been beautiful. JMS's writing has tailed off slightly over the last year, But Coipel's art has remained consistently Mighty (pun intended). I am a big fan of his occasional replacement Mirko Djurdjevic but it is a crying shame that he has had to replace Coipel as often as he has.

Biggest WTF!!! Moment: Hank Pym being named 'Scientist Supreme'.
Dan Slott's Mighty Avenger's run started off solidly enough, in fact I remember devoting an entire post to its greatness early in the year. Sadly it has gone downhill to the point where I considered the inclusion of a 'Biggest Dissapointment' category so I could rant about the latest story arc. I can't even remember which issue this insane development occured in, but suffice it to say that its sheer lack of sense sadly undermined Slott's brilliant characterisation of Pym throughout his run. The latest issue however was fantastic, so I'm hoping that the run is back on track.

Best Character: Hercules
This should really go to Norman Osborn, superbly rendered by Brian Michael Bendis in Dark Avengers. However, this would possibly have made this post a little too much of a love letter to the aforementioned series, so the award goes to Hercules, from Fred van Lente's humerous Incredible Hercules. Brilliantly funny, and a pleasing tonic to the hordes of more responsible, some would say boring heroes, van Lente's Hercules manages to be an utter buffon while remaining immensely likeable. His relationship with Amadeus Cho is also very sweet, the two of them are currently one of my favourite pairings in comics.

There you go, and I managed to do it without a single wholly negative category (close as it was). If anyone is reading, I hope that you have had a prosperous holiday season, and that your 2010 is equally so! Josh out.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Haunt #1 Review

Haunt #1 by Kirkman / McFarlane / Ottley
As a huge fan of Robert Kirkman, when I found out that he would be working with Todd McFarlane I was obviously hugely interested. My curiosity reached a peak when I saw the first few images of the character, although some have criticised him for being too similar to Spider-Man I think Haunt is a very visually appealing character, and I have been eagerly anticipating this issue for the last few months.
The plot follows the Kilgore brothers, Daniel and Kurt. Daniel is a priest - yet he displays few of the morals and attitudes typically associated with religious men. In contrast to this, despite being a CIA operative, and a mass murderer Kurt seems to be a decent guy. The opening issue deals with the fallout from one of Kurt's missions, as shortly after a confession session with Daniel he is captured and killed....Or is he?
Kirkman does a great job of weaving various mysteries into the story...what exactly happened to Daniel? Who was he captured by? What exactly is the relationship between his widow and Daniel? Obviously these give a great incentive to read on. Some of the pacing is a little iffy however, a lot happens in this issue and some of the events aren't told as clearly as they probably should be. While in some cases this builds mystery for the reader, in others it just doesn't work and makes the plot somewhat confusing.
The art is very different to Ottley's work on Invincible, McFarlane's inks definitely have a massive effect, leading to a dark, sketchy style. I really liked it, particularly when Haunt shows up at the end. The character's design is excellent, and his powers are really interesting and different. The fight scenes are also superbly done, and were the highlights of the issue for me.
Overall, despite a few small niggles this was a solid first issue that did a lot of things right. I will definitely be onboard for #2.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Spider-Man: The Clone Saga #1 Review

Spider-Man: The Clone Saga #1 By DeFalco / Mackie / Nauck

Where to start? The Clone Saga is probably one of the most hotly debated storylines in comic book history. Despite the fan backlash it provoked at the time, the storyline and the characters it introduced (perhaps excluding Spidercide) have a massive cult following. For this reason Tom DeFalco and Howard Mackie's reimagining of the saga has been arguably one of the most hotly anticipated mini series of the year. As a massive fan of the Clone Saga myself I have been eagerly awaiting it since it's initial announcement. Now that the first issue has finally arrived, does it meet its massive expectations?
Well...Not yet. Compressing a storyline that ran across four books plus various minis and one shots for years into a six issue mini series was always going to be a tough task, and despite Defalco's fast paced style being well suited to this sort of project, this issue feels very rushed. It would perhaps be unrealistic to expect a 12 issue mini series but I feel that that would have been a more suitable length for a project of this nature. Despite this the issue is generally well written, the highlights being Peter and Ben's internal monologues. Ben has been away for so long and its just great to see him again. It's also a treat to see Kaine in his classic costume, it sadly looks like when he returns in Amazing Spider-Man he will be sporting an updated look. Defalco and Mackie also manage to keep up the tension in a storyline that could become predictable with the introduction of a shadowy figure giving Kaine orders, and a mystery surrounding Aunt May's illness. I'm not crazy about the idea of Kaine working for someone but I am willing to see how it is developed, and I'm glad that Mackie and Defalco are doing their best to keep the storyline fresh for more seasoned readers. Getting rid of the Judas Traveller subplot was another welcome change, while the character has his fans he has no place in an already overcrowded storyline. Sadly the dialogue for the most part wasterrible, although this could be a subtle comment on the style of most 90's comics it really took me out of the story at times. Neither Mackie or Defalco are famed for their good dialogue however so luckily I was prepared for this and it wasn't too much of a dissapointment. The original saga's strength was more in it's plotting than it's dialogue anyway so I will be more willing to overlook this negative if the story stays on track
I am a big fan of Todd Nauck's art and he does not dissapoint here, indeed I don't think I could think of a better choice to pencil this series (perhaps Mark Bagley aside). His work looks a lot more polished than it was during his run on Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man, and I look forward to seeing his renditions of some classic Clone Saga characters.
Overall a solid read, perhaps harmed by the weight of my expectations. Still, the original saga took a while to get going and I look forward to seeing the direction that Mackie and Defalco take the story in. I'm slightly underwhelmed, but still expectant!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

TPB Review: The Walking Dead Volume 1

The Walking Dead Volume 1: Days Gone By - Collects The Walking Dead #1-6 By Kirkman / Moore

As a huge Robert Kirkman fan I have always felt like something of a fraud having never read arguably his most critically acclaimed work, The Walking Dead. For this reason when I noticed the first volume in Forbidden Planet for just £7.50 I didn't need to think about it for too long before purchasing it.
For those who don't know, the series features a premise almost identical to the film '28 Days Later', the protagonist of the series, small town police officer Rick, waking up alone in a hospital and slowly realising that the world is now populated by zombies. Eventually hooking up with a group of survivors the series then follows the groups attempts to survive.
Kirkman's strength, as usual is his brilliant characterisation and dialogue. The main draw of the series, rather than being the zombie action are the interactions between the brilliantly varied cast, all of whom are very believably written. While pacing is initially very slow it picks up a lot by the midway point and by the end I was hooked.
I was initially slightly put off by the black and white art, done by Tony Moore, but it suits the series very well. Moore's art, while being slightly cartoony is able to express the characters emotions brilliantly, and is always pleasing to look at it. It's a shame that this is the only story arc which he drew.
Overall I would highly reccomend this book, judging from the cheap price I managed to pick it up for it should be relatively inexpensive, and is a brilliant introduction to a series that is often described as Kirkman's best work. I look forward to volume 2!


Sunday, 23 August 2009

Marvel Team Up: The Golden Child Review

Firstly, an apology. In the last couple of months I have not been able to write nearly as much on this blog as I would have liked. The reasons for this are many, exams and holidays being at the forefront. However, I am hoping that normal service will be resumed from now and I will be able to start churning out articles and reviews faster than ever before!

Marvel Team Up (V3) #1-6 By Kirkman / Kolins

Now that that is out of the way, onto the review, of Marvel's most recent attempt to relaunch the Marvel Team Up brand. Unlike with past series, which tended to focus on Spider-Man, Marvel promised that this time round the series would be centred on a wider variety of heroes.
The main story arc running through the opening six issues centres around a young boy with mutant abilities, and the attempts of a not-so-familiar antagonist to control his abilities for his own ends. Despite Marvel's assurances to the contrary Spider-Man is a chief protagonist in the story, along with Wolverine, The Fantastic Four,
Doctor Strange and Captain America among others.
Robert Kirkman is one of my favourite writers, and I think it's a shame that he no longer works for Marvel. As this arc shows, he clearly has a good grasp on the Marvel Universe. His use of continuity is wonderful - in an age where many writers seem at loathe to mention other writers work Kirkman is never afraid of referencing goings on in other titles. His characterisation and dialogue are both generally excellent, with his Spider-Man and the banter between the Fantastic Four being particularly enjoyable.
The pacing of the story is ok. Decompression is generally seen as a bad thing in modern comics, but Kirkman packs so much plot into these six issues that sometimes its difficult to keep track. The use of subplots is good, and it is pleasing to see some often neglected Marvel characters, but I would have preffered Kirkman to scale it down a little. As it is, the story often feels a little messy.
Kirkman's love for the Silver Age and Silver Age methods of storytelling is something that is made clear in most of his works, especially these six issues. As with his frantic pacing, sometimes it works well and sometimes less well. Much of the plot is brilliantly zany, in a clearly silver age way. However, the villainous dialogue certainly needs work and feels very dated.
Scott Kolin's artwork is also a mixed bag. His cartoony style is very dynamic and pleasing to look at, but is sadly often rushed.
Overall this story arc is not Kirkman's best work. while still being a good read. He is clearly a good writer, and the ideas in 'The Golden Child' are excellent, if sometimes not as well executed as they could be. It seems to me as if Kirkman was possibly trying a little too hard with this arc. With so many ideas, characters and subplots thrown into the ring it is just a bit, well...messy.


Thursday, 2 July 2009

JMS on Amazing Spider-Man

Amazing Spider-Man (V2) #30-35, 37-38 By Straczynski / Romita Jr.

JMS's run on Amazing Spider-Man has never been one that I am too fond of. I have been never been interested in his mystical reimagining of Spidey's origin, and I thought that his run sorely missed some classic Spider-Man villains. However, after thoroughly enjoying his current Thor relaunch, and his film The Changeling I have decided to re-read his run, and see if I can gain any more enjoyment from it, starting with his opening seven issues (discounting #36 which was a special 9/11 issue).

After reading the opening to his run my opinion is...much the same. His proposed new origin for Spider-Man is still overly convoluted and ill fitting for the character. It does raise some interesting points, but reading the issues with the benefit of hindsight I know that the plotline ultimatley doesn't go anywhere. Ezekiel however is an interesting character, and it's a shame that no other writers have really explored the character. I honestly can't remember how his storyline was resolved and so I am genuinely intrigued about where JMS is going with him. Morlun, for the purposes of this storyline was ok, not great. The fight scenes (excellently drawn by JrJr) are spectacular, and the idea of a villain with the sole purpose of destroying Spider-Man is a good one. JMS does well establishing a villain who had never appeared before as a genuine threat, if occasionally in a somewhat overzealous manner. Spider-Man's frequent utterances about how powerful he is just come across as JMS bigging up his creation. It was also good to see Peter using his all too frequently ignored scientific abilities to take him down.

Peter's new job at the school was also a welcome move, and a believable one for the character. Taking pictures of himself was starting to wear a little thin after 40 years. This was easily my favourite element that JMS introduced, and I genuinely felt that some of Peter's fellow Midtown High teachers and students had potential as characters, and were sadly underused. Ultimately this element of JMS's run has now been jettisoned by Brand New Day. Sigh.

Aunt May's characterisation is JMS's run has been lauded by many as a welcome move for the character. However to me it comes a little out of nowhere. A woman who for 40 years has been portrayed as well...A doddering old fool, is now suddenly a strong, witty woman. Obviously characterisation in comic books is liable to fluctuate, but this was perhaps a step too far. I'm not really going to comment on her learning Peter's secret identity, as however well done it was by JMS, it now means virtually nothing.

JrJr's art is also something I am going to skim over. When he pencils a book you know what you are going to get. Some people hate his style, I quite like it, and felt that it definitely enhanced the quality of these issues, the fight scenes in particular.

Overall, these issues are much as I remember them. A solid start to JMS's run, but plagued by the irritating totem storyline that never really went anywhere after this story. JMS definitely has a strong sense of what makes the Webhead tick, evident from the frequent, strongly written monologues that these issues are littered with, it's just a shame that this is undermined by story elements that do not belong in Spider-Man comic books. A mixed bag.


Thursday, 7 May 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

With the success of the X-Men series of films, and the popularity of the title character this movie has been pretty much certain for some time. However, whether it would be any good has been the topic of some debate, particularly after popular characters such as Deadpool and Gambit were announced to appear in the film. The director Gavin Hood was under immense pressure to do these characters justice, and in my opinion he succeeds...Just about.

The plot is fairly faithful to the comic books, and follows yes you guessed it...Wolverine's origin story, as he is enlisted in Team X and subjected to the adumantiam bonding process. The plot is decent, but many aspects of it make little sense. Sabretooth's motivations are bizarre, and are never really properly explained, causing him to be a somewhat unsatisfying antagonist for Wolverine. Wolverine himself was also somewhat bland, Hugh Jackman is a decent, likeable actor but struggles to effectively portray Logan's inner turmoil, and the struggle between man and beast that often makes him such a compelling character. Also, despite the history between the two characters there is little chemistry between them on screen, not helped by the fact that most of Sabretooth's dialogue is composed of terrible one liners. 

The rest of the cast are decent, with in particular impressing as John Wraith, a very minor character from the comics. Most of the others are hit and miss; Taylor Kitsch as Gambit is nowhere near as bad as he could have been, but doesn't exactly nail the cajun, his accent in particular being very dodgey. There has been a lot of furore over Deadpool's brief appearance, I'm not going to comment on the change that occurs later in the movie as it will obviously be reversed but I thought Ryan Reynolds was a good choice as the merc with the mouth, and I look forward to seeing his role expanded in possible future films. 

Lastly I have to comment on the brilliant action sequences, despite some rubbish CGI the fight scenes in this film were truly fantastic, and drag it kicking and screaming away from mediocrity. Overall a decent effort, while hardly up there with the likes of Spider-Man 2 and X-Men, far better than it could, and perhaps should have been. I would be happy to see a sequel.


Saturday, 11 April 2009

Is Peter Parker really an everyman?

One of Peter Parker's principal characteristics is his status as an everyman. Indeed, this was one of things that made Amazing Fantasy #15 such a breakout success back in the 60's. While the likes of Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark were billionare playboys who lived in mansions, Peter was a shy, nerdy, orphaned teen who lived with his frail aunt May and got picked on at school. This, and his subsequent troubles with girls, money and the health of his Aunt have led to him being dubbed the archetypal everyman, and this has often been seen as the key to his success as a character. One of Marvel's excuses for repeatedly attempting to jettison his and Mary-Jane's relationship has been that they want to get back to the root of his character, and that being married to a supermodel does not allow readers to relate to him. However, has this ever been the case? And if it isn't then does such a character exist?

Obviously your definition of 'everyman' depends a lot on who you are. For example people from a working class background may find it difficult to relate to a character from a middle class background and vice versa. So for the purpose of this article I am trying to be as general as possible. Peter's status as an orphan is one shared by many fictional characters, to name but a few; Harry Potter, Frodo Baggins, Bruce Wayne and Superman. There are many reasons for this, parents can tie the character down and having them dead before their adventures even start creates instant dramatic tension. While this obviously an effect storytelling device, proven by the fact that it has been used for so many fictional characters over the years, it cannot be argued that this makes the character an everyman. Now I have no actual figures to back this up, but surely the vast majority of teenagers are not orphaned, and I would guess that even fewer live with elderly relatives. However, the notion of an older relative incessantly fussing and worrying about you is definitely something that will ring true with many people, and so I suppose this makes Peter a more relatable character.

Socially, Peter is initally presented as an outcast, awkward looking, shy and picked on by his classmates. Bullying is something that has probably been experienced by most people in one way or another, just as most people will have felt like an outsider at one time or another. This feeling is particularly emphasised during the early Steve Ditko stories, where Peter is drawn as skinny, not particularly handsome, and is relentlessley picked on, first by Flash Thompson, then later by Harry Osborn and Gwen Stacy when he starts college. Despite the romantic attentions of Liz Allen and Betty Brant he is shown as unlucky in love, eventually losing Betty Brant to Ned Leeds, and often ends the stories with monologues depicting his misery and isolation. This is something I am sure most young people will be able to relate to, however melodramatic it might sound.

This all changed with the departure of Ditko as penciller, and the arrival of John Romita Sr as his replacement. Romita's background came in romance comics, and one of the most initially striking things about his artwork is how beautiful everyone is. Even Peter himself was giving something of a makeover, appearing as much more muscular and handsome. It could be argued that this led to a change in Lee's stories, particularly as it has since become clear that Ditko played a big part in plotting as well as pencilling. Peter became more popular, making friends with Harry Osborn and Gwen Stacy, and even managing to get Flash Thompson on his side. The introduction of Mary-Jane also meant that Peter had two beautiful young women vying for his attention. Who can honestly say they can relate to that?

This for me is where Peter lost his everyman status. Although the quality of the stories is undeniable, Peter had gone from being a socially awkward nerd to a popular, handsome ladies man. This trend continued over the years. Although Peter had his fair share of unluckiness in love, it was often self inflicted, caused by his sense of responsibility and need to play hero. I can only recall a few, very rare occasions when Peter Parker has had romantic advances rejected, most notably the two marriage proposals he had rejected by Mary-Jane. However even these are not shown as being due to any lack of desirability on Peter's part, merely poor timing and MJ's fear of commitment. I am going to try not to comment on their eventual union, as Marvel has ridiculously blamed this for making the character relatable, when it really could be argued that this has not been the case since Amazing Spider-Man #38, 30 or so years ago.

In fact the current state of the character is perhaps less relatable than ever before. Again I am not going into any depth about this as the Brand New Day debate has been done to death, my only comment is that Marvel's alleged reasons for the One More Day/Brand New Day debacle were in no way valid. An example of this is one of the frequent ways that Marvel has often tried to return the character to his 'roots' as an everyman; by giving him money troubles, a ridiculously overplayed and misguided scenario. Yes everyone worries about money. Yes a lot of people are unemployed and struggle to find jobs, but this doesn't mean that having Peter routinely lose all his money or his apartment in bizzare circumstances is in any way realistic or enjoyable for the reader. I agree that it is another way of creating dramatic tension, but surely there must be more imaginative ways than the same old money troubles scenario? Are people who are capable of managing their money really that unusual? This isn't a dig at people who have at any time had financial difficulties, I am trying to say that lumbering Peter Parker with them is not a way of making him an everyman.

NEXT: If Peter Parker is not the archetypal everyman...who is?

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

LOST review: "Whatever Happened, Happened"


After last weeks thrilling, unexpected conclusion the writers of Lost had a mammoth task on their hand explaining young Ben's apparent death at the hands of Sayid. Sadly the result is one of Lost's weaker episodes, although obviously still a cut above everything else on TV. The episode is Kate centric, and focuses on her attempts to heal Ben in the 70's, cutting back to her time off island and the ultimate fate of baby Aaron. As soon as I realised it was a Kate episode I groaned - she is easily the most unlikeable character on the show for me, and frustratingly also has one of the highest episode counts. Surely the enigmatic Richard Alpert or even Ben deserve episodes more than her? Most of the episode is filler - Kate meeting Cassidy and Miles' chats to Hurley about the nature of time were both nice moments, but ultimately the episode could have done without them. The saving grace for the episode was easily Sawyer, Josh Holloway is on top form as always and steals every scene he is in, in contrast with the ever dull and annoying Jack. The ending also felt like a cop out, and lazy writing, with Ben's not recognising Sayid in the future being explained away by Richard as him losing him memories. Very conveniant. Ultimately however, this is still excellent stuff, just not as good as I know LOST can be. I'm hoping that it can kick into high gear once again in time for the finale of series five.


Sunday, 29 March 2009

TPB Review: Marvel Visionaries - Busiek

Marvel Visionaries: Kurt Busiek, includes Untold Tales of Spider-Man #1-8, by Busiek / Olliffe.

Nowadays, Spider-Man's vast history is the subject of countless series', some more succesful than others. However, to the best of my knowledge Kurt Busiek's Untold Tales was the first series to attempt to plug the gaps in between early Stan Lee and Steve Ditko issues. Although the book was a commercial failure and was cancelled after Busiek left with #25, it has been critically acclaimed since, which led to Busiek getting his own 'Marvel Visionaries' volume.

The most immediatley obvious thing about the series is its retro style. The stories are all done in one, with concurrent subplots running throughout. Many of the stories are far from serious by modern standards, and come across as a little silly, particularly the team-up with the Human Torch in #6. However, it could be argued that this is Busiek's attempt to capture the feel of 60's comics, and he certainly achieves that. While his attemps to create new villains fall a little flat Busiek handles the classics excellently. His portrayal of Sandman is particularly impressive. Another plus is the characterisation of Spidey. Busiek takes into consideration that he had only been wearing the webs for a very short amount of time when these stories took place, and so portrays him as somewhat inexperienced and naive, a nice detail. He is also very careful with continuity, the stories fit neatly into place with the Lee/Ditko issues, and it would be very interesting reading them side by side.

Finally, Pat Olliffe's stellar art must be mentioned. His style is very close to Ditko's while still retaining it's own unique style. His renditions of Spidey's villains are about as classic as it goes, it's a shame that he has pencilled very little mainstream Spider-Man.

Overall, while Busiek and Olliffe's Untold Tales is perhaps slightly outdated, and a bit of a dramatic shift from the modern storytelling methods of today, it is still an excellent read for fans of the wall crawler.


Sunday, 22 March 2009

Retro Review: Was the clone saga really that bad?

Spider-Man #53: By Mackie / Lyle

Aah the Clone saga, without doubt the period of Spider-history that divides fanboys opinions more than any other. Whether you love it or hate, chances are you have an opinion on it. When I started picking up comic books as a fresh faced six year old, they were knee deep in the clone saga, and hence I look back on it with fond memories. However, there are obviously a great many people who would not share this view, indeed there are many who see the clone saga as the proverbial dark age of Spider-Man's publication history. For the most part I totally disagree with this, while Spider-Man has seen better times the clone saga includes some very solid stories from top creators such as Jurgens, Defalco, Bagley and Romita Jr. However, that is not to say that it did not contain a fair few godawful stories. This clunker is one of them.

This storyline, 'The Exile Returns' is one of the gaps in my clone saga collection, and I have longed to pick it up since I learned that it featured Ben Reilly taking down Venom. On this note, when I saw part four of the aforemention storyline for a knockdown price of 50p in Mega City Comics it was a no brainer! Undeterred by the fact that I was coming in at the conclusion of a four parter, I filled myself in on the plot and settled down to read what I hoped would be one of the high points of the clone saga. However, this issue was the exact opposite, one of the definite low points of the saga. Howard Mackie is a writer who often gets a lot of unfair stick, but this really is turgid stuff. His dialogue is atrocious, cliched rubbish that really has no place in modern comic books. The narrative captions he uses are even worse, hilariously overdramatic. However, for his faults the way that Reilly eventually beats Venom is fairly imaginative, and visually interesting. Tom Lyle's artwork is also slightly above average, and is something of a saving grace for the issue, although that isn't really saying much. Reading the issue in hindsight also rams home just how inconsequential some of Mackie's subplots were. The Grim Hunter? Ken Ellis? Jacob Raven? Where are these characters now? The answer gives a clue about Mackie's talent for introducing new characters and plots. A very dissapointing issue from a writer who I know can do much better.


Friday, 6 March 2009

Saturday Morning Watchmen!

I recently stumbled across this amusing video, and figured that with Watchmen being released in cinemas today now would be the perfect time to post it. Enjoy!

My thanks to George Berryman who originally posted the video on the Spider-Man Crawl Space.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Mighty Avengers: A return to form

Since Brian Michael Bendis 'Disassembled' the Avengers starting with #500 the title has come in for a lot of criticism, particularly from longtime Avengers fans, arguing that Bendis' New Avengers were not 'the real' Avengers, and were not true to the team's history. While I think there are flaws in this argument, I can definitely see where the naysayers are coming from. Bendis' New Avengers often suffered from extreme decompression, and a lack of direction and purpose. The title was also often horrificly derailed by events, indeed its abysmal tie in to Secret Invasion led to me dropping it.
Mighty Avengers, launched a couple of years after New Avengers, and was also written by Bendis. Aimed at fans of the classic Avengers, featuring a more traditional set up, in my eyes it was streets ahead of New Avengers, returning the Avengers to a more classic style, while still retaining some modern sensibilites. However, eventually the title came to be plagued by familiar demons, lateness, inconsistent art and poor tie ins, all of which have cursed New Avengers at one time or another. The utterly tepid, unnecessary Secret Invasion tie ins were the last straw and led to me again dropping the title.
However, the announcement that Dan Slott would be taking over with #21 reignited my interest. Slott I feel is one of Marvel's premier writers at the moment, and it is about time he was given a chance on one of its bigger titles. (ASM aside) Khoi Pham was more of an unknown quantity to me, but nonetheless I was very excited about it.
Happily, and somewhat surprisingly I have not yet been dissapointed. While there isn't really anything groundbreaking about the two issues I have read, there is a lot to admire. Slott has proved once again that he is a master of using obscure continuity, and referencing other writers work. While many are happy to steamroller over things to suit there own purposes, Slott is careful not to do this, an example being his use of the Hulk, where he references the recent 'Planet Hulk' storyline, and Pietro's inner turmoil and some of his villainous deeds from the past few years.. Slott's dialogue is also impressive, each character clearly has it's own voice, and adds something different to the team. Hercules in particular is a fine addition, I keep meaning to pick up his solo book, and his showing here is a fine advertisment for it.
The plot is impressive as well. It is generally well paced, keeping up the mystery while slowly drip feeding readers information to keep them interested. It is also good to see the Avengers dealing with threats on a global scale again, Bendis' generally tended to stick to more street level, personal stories, which were a nice change, but more suited to other characters.
With the widespread changes to the Marvel Universe during the 'Dark Reign' crossover, it is fantastic to see a Marvel book largely ignoring them, and blazing its own trail, while not being afraid to reference continuity. Slott is doing sterling work so far, and long may it continue. In short: It is good to see the Avengers back where they belong.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Spider-Man Animated - My Thoughts: Part Three

The Spectacular Spider-Man (2008)

Finally, we come to the most recent Spider-Man animated series, and the only one still producing new episodes today, Greg Weisman's 'The Spectacular Spider-Man'. Weisman is held in high regard by many animation fans due to his sterling work on the critically acclaimed 90's show 'Gargoyles'. The Spectacular Spider-Man promised to be a more faithfull adaptation than Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, and so far at least has lived up to this promise, with its opening one and a half series being among the greatest Spider-Man animation seen so far.

Peter Parker:
The Spectacular Spider-Man's character designs have come in for a lot of flak from many, mainly due to their simplicity in comparison to previous animations. However, once you get past the very detail light style the designs are fine, and Peter's is actually a massive improvement on his very dodgey Spider-Man: TAS appearance. This style also allowed the animation of the character to reach new heights. The voice acting and character of Peter are also both spot on, with Josh Keaton bringing just the right level of nerdy teenagerness to the role without becoming annoying, and the writers giving him the classic 'Parker Luck', without making him too morally questionable, as was occasionally the case in MTV Spider-Man.

The Supporting Cast:
Spectacular Spider-Man made some fairly significant changes to Peter's supporting cast, most notably the changes in ethnicity of certain characters (Liz Allen), and transforming Gwen Stacey from a beauty queen to a shy nerd. Although I would usually be primarily against changes made to the classic Spider-Man mythos (one of the things that ruined MTV Spider-Man for me) The changes here are done for genuine reasons, and mean that Spidey's supporting cast is much more well rounded and varied that in the comics. Kudos should also go to the writers for cramming in so many classic supporting cast members from the comics, many of which have never been animated before such as Frederick Foswell.

The Villains:
The Spectacular Spider-Man is similar to Spider-Man: TAS, in that it makes excellent use of Spidey's classic rogues. However, in a similar manner to its use of his supporting cast, many of their costumes and even secret identitys have been changed, something that some fans have taken issue with. Many of the villains costumes and backstories have also been updated for the modern age as well, for example the Vultures new black and red armour (inspired by MK: Spider-Man) and Electro's more sympathetic personality. Like the changes made to the supporting cast these changes have clearly been carefull though through, and add a lot to the characters. The villains are all given realistic motivations, and the designs, while being a mixed bag are a brave attempt to update Ditko's classic costumes, many of which have never been bettered. Arguably the finest, if not bravest attempt at adapting Spider-Man's rogues gallery for the small screen.

Although as yet only one and a half series have been aired, so far TSSM has a very strong narrative drive, with subplots introduced early on in the series still going strong, and new ones constantly being introduced. The narrative also does an excellent job of balancing out Peter's romantic life with his budding superhero career, with neither feeling neglected. There is also an end to the confusing episodic placements of MTV Spider-Man, with a clear sense of linear narrative. So far so good, but only time will tell.


Pros -
Good animation, wide range of characters from the comic books, excellent use of subplots and strong sense of narrative drive.

Cons - Character designs could often do with more detail, some changes made to characters unnecessary.


Sunday, 8 February 2009

Reviews 4/2

BOOK OF THE WEEK: Age of Sentry #5 (0f 6) by Tobin / Parker / Galvan / Dragotta
Age of Sentry is nearing its conclusion, and it has actually been far more than I was expecting. Despite finding the Sentry a very interesting character, I debated long and hard over whether to pick this series up, worrying that it would be nothing more than a shallow silver age parody. Thankfully I have been proven wrong. This issue, in a similar vein to the others features two goofy silver age paradies, the first of which in particular is a hoot, with some very silly, but cute ideas (interstellar mailman?!) and humerous dialogue. The second story is a slight step down, with a very clever idea, that sadly appears to be too clever for its own good, and is let down by the overcomplex, confusing execution. It does however boast fantastic art from Nick Dragotta, whose style is the perfect blend of silver age simplicity and more sophisticated modern day storytelling techniques. There are also the usual hints that something is not quite right with the Sentry, which do a good job of building tension ahead of the final issue. The simplicity of this series may not be to everyones taste, but for me it is a welcome relief from the darkness taking over modern marvel comics.

The Invincible Iron Man #10 by Fraction / Larocca
Matt Fraction is without doubt one of Marvel's most critically acclaimed up and coming writers. His work on Immortal Iron Fist is widely recognised as a character defining run, and he has now deservedly graduated onto a higher status title; Iron Man! This storyline has been a radical departure from the last few years of Iron Man, where he found himself leading S.H.I.E.L.D. Following his failure to deal with the Skrull invasion Stark is now on the run from Norman Osborn, who is in charge of a restructured S.H.I.E.L.D. The premise of Stark being on the run is an interesting one, and certainly helps give the issue more of a sense of urgency. However, this arc has been a little slow for my tastes, and title characters appearances have been far too sporadic. In the three issues he has bought, Iron Man has only actually appeared in about five pages, the result is that the issues have lacked action. However the pluses do generally outweight the minuses, Fraction's dialogue is very modern and realistic, each character has its own voice, his Tony Stark being particularly inspired. Frank D'Armata's typically fantastic colours also enrich Salvador Larocca's pencils, that as usual have been very hit and miss on this title. Overall, a solid, well written issue, part of an arc that I hope will kick into high gear soon.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Spider-Man Animated - My Thoughts: Part Two

Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (2003)

The next animated series starring Spider-Man (I am not counting Spider-Man: Unlimited) was Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, that used a revolutionary form of CGI Cel shaded animation, and was broadcast on MTV. Heavily influenced by Brian Michael Bendis' Ultimate Spider-Man series, it also loosely followed the continuity of the Spider-Man film series, something that helped to attract fans of the movies, but arguably hindered the show in the long run.

Peter Parker:
In many ways the Peter Parker of this series is actually an improvement on his Spider-Man: TAS counterpart. His design, as with most of the characters is a lot sleeker and more modern looking, and Neil Patrick Harris while being different to previous Peter Parker voice actors is definitely a good fit for the character, and is generally excellent . The characterisation is more hit and miss. Peter has always been shown as unlucky in love in the comic books, and an the writers attempted to do this here, giving him the dilemma of having to choose between two girls. However, the results just make Peter look a bit selfish, toying with Mary-Jane's feelings, and leading her on. Although this isn't the case in every episode, with Peter often shown as caring deeply for Mary-Jane, it was something that often bothered me, and in my opinion harmed the character.

The Supporting Cast:

Again, the supporting cast in the show is very mixed. The characterisation of the core supporting characters (Harry and Mary-Jane) is spot on, even moreso than Peter Parker, and they were animated better than ever before. However, many other characters didn't fare so well. Poor old Aunt May didn't actually make an appearance, beyond being shown in a photo frame, a consequence of MTV trying to appeal to the younger generation. J Jonah Jameson was also lacklustre, and brought little to the show, beyond being blessed with a very irritating voice actor. The original characters created for the series were horrendous. Indie in particular looked annoying, sounded annoying, and was annoying, playing little part apart from creating needless romantic tension between Peter and Mary-Jane.


The Villains:
Without a doubt the thing that harmed this show most was the poor quality of its villains. Due to it being based in the continuity of the movies, the vast majority of Spidey's classic foes were off limits, so the creators were forced to insert brand new villains specially created for the show, many of whom were very very shoddy. Although as with the rest of the show they were animated very well, and could boast some excellent fight scenes, they often lacked the depth of Spider-Man's more traditional rogues gallery. His classic villains that were animated ranged from excellent (The Lizard, Kraven) to atrocious (Kingpin). While Lizard and Kraven were given modern updates, and portrayed as genuine threats to Spider-Man, the Kingpin was a joke, and was taken down in one episode, a far cry from his untouchable status in Spider-Man: TAS.

Despite being produced years after Spider-Man: TAS, and being aimed at a more mature audience, the overall narrative of this show is comparitively undeveloped. Although it was sadly only given one series, and this is something that may have been worked on with subsequent episodes, there is very little in the way of episode to episode continuity, and for the most part they can be watched in any order. There is also little in the way of character development, although again this could be something that could have been worked on during subsequent series. It seems harsh to judge the series on just thirteen episodes, but unfortunately this is all we have to go on, and it doesn't compare to the frequent multi part episodes, and series spanning storylines seen in Spider-Man: TAS.


Pros -
Superb animation, beyond anything ever seen in Spider-Man animation, mature style, good dialogue, solid characterisation.

Cons - Lack of classic villains, little episode to episode continuity, few significant supporting characters.


Monday, 2 February 2009

Spider-Man Animated - My Thoughts: Part One

Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994)

Like a great many Spider-Man, and indeed comic book fans I was originally introduced to the webhead through television, more specifically the 90's Fox Kids animated series. This, the first in a three part series of articles intends to compare the three notable modern attempts at animating Spider-Man (I am pretending that Spider-Man: Unlimited didn't exist). So without further ado, Spider-Man: The Animated Series...

Peter Parker:
As mentioned before, this series was my first foray into the world of Spider-Man, so it is unsurprising that the series has for me, the definitive version of Peter Parker. However, even with the benefit of hindsight it is clear that the producers did a sterling job. Christopher Daniel Barnes is perfect for the role, and captures both Spider-Man and Peter Parker's sense of humour perfectly, something that Tobey Maguire sadly fails to do. Although he often has trouble with portraying anger, this is a minor complaint. However, the design sadly doesn't match his fantastic voice work. Although Spider-Man looks good, Peter is far too bulky, moreso than he has ever been shown in the comics, and this unfortunately does a lot to ruin his appearance. The writers did have a fantastic grasp of his character, this is the truest portrayal of Peter Parker seen in animation, and is often more credible than the modern comic books. Overall, despite the dissapointing design, Spider-Man: TAS's Peter Parker is about as close to perfect as we have ever got.

The Supporting Cast:
Another area that Spider-Man: TAS excels is its use of the supporting cast, something that is often overlooked by modern Spider-Man writers. A primary reason for this is the very long run given to the series, the longest so far out of any Spider-Man animation. This allowed a few episodes that explored the backstory of Spider-Man's rich supporting cast, with a particular standout being the episode 'Guilty', that did a lot to flesh out the characters of J Jonah Jameson and Robbie Robertson. Although these episodes were fairly hit and miss, the writers should be applauded for exploring this area like no other cartoon has. The designs and voice acting are generally spot on, with Jonah Jameson and Robbie Robertson again being standouts, however the show often falls wide of the mark with its use of female characters. Choosing to almost totally ignore Gwen Stacey and Betty Brant, two of the most important women in Peter's life, it's version of Mary Jane is also far from perfect, with a bizarre colour clashing design, and frankly irritating voice acting. However, despite this complaint it's use of supporting cast is generally very good, and again, often actually a lot better than in the comic books.

One thing that Spider-Man: TAS is often criticised for is its poor character designs, something that I have mentioned in the previous two sections. This is something that is also true for the villains. There are many excellent designs, Shocker, Carnage and the Green Goblin to name but a few, all of which stick fairly closely to their comic book designs, and are all the better for it. However, it is when the show deviates from the classic comic book look that it often falters. Doc Ock's design for example, is an over complicated mess, and Chameleon is so bizarrely coloured you have to wonder what they were thinking. The villains backstories and motivations are generally excellent, with Mysterio being a particular favourite of mine and all of the goblins being suitable creepy, with Mark Hammills voice acting on Hobgoblin being one of the best in the series. Even minor villains such as Shocker and Rhino, despite being given very little in the way of backstory, are superbly voiced. Spider-Man: TAS must also be applauded for its use of minor villains such as the Spot, Big Wheel and Rocket Racer. Like many aspects of the show, some of these were clunkers, but I greatly admire the writers for delving into the backwaters of Spider-Man history.

By far the strongest aspect of Spider-Man: TAS, and I am sure many will agree with me here, was its fantastic use of narrative, the complexity of which had never been seen before in an animation, and has rarely been matched since. Episode to episode continuity is very tight, and there are several multi part stories, and series long storylines. The pacing within the episodes is generally good, although it is usually very fast paced this is made up for by the fact that many stories are told in multiple parts.

Pros -
Strong sense of narrative, excellent voice acting, faithful to comics, good use of supporting cast and humour.

Cons - Very shoddy animation, hit and miss character designs, often ridculous censorship, some characters being far more prominent than they should ever be allowed to be (Morbius).


Sunday, 1 February 2009

Reviews 28/1

BOOK OF THE WEEK: Ultimate Spider-Man #130 by Bendis/Immonen

Ultimatum, the biggest story yet in the Ultimate universe finally takes effect on the lines premier title, with this issue. Although I have not been reading the aforementioned story I have been keeping up with the events unfolding via the internet, and it sounds like a typical Jeph Loeb shockfest. Despite little actually occurring, this issue is one of the more tense issues of Ultimate Spider-Man in its run so far. The books impending cancellation (and probably relaunch) gives a sense that anything could happen, perhaps even the death of the title character, hinted at by the recent soliticiation for issue 133. However, this does not take away from the fact that this is basically a filler issue. The aunt May getting arrested plot goes nowhere, as the tidal wave allows her to escape, and the rest of the plot in the issue basically retells Ultimatum #1. Although it is nice to see most of the supporting cast, they are given nominal page time and little to do. A solid start to the storyline, but improvement is needed to reach the heights of many previous arcs.

Captain America #46 by Brubaker/Epting

Since Ed Brubaker took over Captain America with #1 of this volume, it has been one of the most constently acclaimed titles published by Marvel. For the most part I have agreed with this assesment, however, since Brubaker wrapped up his first major storyline a few issues ago I feel it has lost a lot of steam. Brubakers entire run has so far relied on revisiting past history, and has heavily involved Cap's World War II adventures. Although the book is still consistently well written and enjoyable to read, he needs to start moving on and making his own history, rather than exploring Bucky's past. That is not to say that this isn't a good issue, Brubaker's dialogue is excellent as ever, and the pacing is superb, however it lacks the tension and surprise factor that his earlier run brought to the table. There is no doubt that Brubaker is still an excellent writer, but the title needs a bit of a shake up to maintain by interest.


Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Top Ten Spider-Man Runs

As will quickly become apparent, although I try keep up with as many characters as is humanely possible, my true passion is for Spider-Man. Since buying Sensational Spider-Man #1 as a fresh faced four year old (And being confused by Spider-Man having blonde hair) I have been addicted, mainly following the webhead through the highly affordable UK reprints available in Astonishing Spider-Man. Over the years I have also made efforts to acquaint myself with some classic stories from the past. So without further ado, I present my favourite writer/artist combinations on Spider-Man.

10. David Micheline and Todd McFarlane: ASM #298-325, 328
Although inevitably, this partnership tends to be dominated by Todd McFarlanes groundbreaking artwork, there is much to be said for Micheline's solid scripting as well. Despite a distinct lack of classic stories (apart from the first appearance of Venom), Micheline clearly posseses a strong understanding of what makes the webhead tick, and seems to 'get' the characters a lot more than subsequent writers have. However, it is impossible to talk about this run without mentioning Todd McFarlanes artwork. Revolutionising many of Spider-Man's classic foes, most notably the Lizard who still has his McFarlane design in the modern day, he also dragged Peter and MJ into the 90's, giving them more modern hairdos and outfits. Although his art has its critics, it is impossible to deny his influence on Spider-Man.

9. Dan Jurgens: Sensational Spider-Man #0-6
Perhaps a controversial choice due to its status as part of the notorious 'Clone Saga', nevertheless Jurgen's criminally short run as writer and artist was primarily what introduced me to Spider-Man. The fact that it was Ben Reilly wearing the mask enabled Jurgens to get back to basics, to the root of what made Spider-Man a great character. Packed into his seven issue run is romance, mysery, drama and great villains, including a brilliant redesign of Mysterio that has sadly only been used sporadically since. This run would undoubtably be higher up on my list if not for its dissapointingly short length.

8. Mark Millar and Terry Dodson/Frank Cho: Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #1-12

Mark Millar is by definition, a blockbuster writer. When he takes over a comic, one thing that you can put your money on is wall to wall action, guest stars, and villains aplenty. His run on MK: Spider-Man does have its faults; It makes little effort to break new ground, some of Millars ideas are sketchy (Sinister Twelve, making Mac Gargan the new Venom), and the ending is poor. However, what Millar does do is create what is arguably THE definitive Spider-Man story (Even Ben Reilly gets a mention). Boasting one of the greatest fight sequences in Spider-Man history, twists and turns aplenty and some superb art from the Dodsons and Frank Cho, it is in my opinion one of the great modern Spider-Man runs.

7. Tom Defalco and Pat Olliffe/Ron Frenz: Spider-Girl #0-50, 52-100, Amazing Spider-Girl #1-Present

Although not technically a Spider-Man run, Tom Defalco has created what is in my eyes the definitive future for Spider-Man and his family in his Spider-Girl series. One of the longest running solo series starring a female in comic book history, May Parker, the daughter of Spider-Man has been able to become a strong character in her own right, and it is a testament to the quality of the series that it has never had to rely on her father to boost sales, even in the many dark times when it has been threatened by cancellation. Sadly the series has lost its way somewhat since the departure of Pat Olliffe, who was replaced by Ron Frenz. Although Frenz is a legendary artist, he brings a more cartoony, less serious feel to the book, which has led to a decline in overall quality since the early days of the title. Amazing Spider-Girl is currently due to end with May's #30, and I for one will be very sad to see it go.

6. Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley: Ultimate Spider-Man #1-111

Another alternative universe take on Spider-Man, but Ultimate Spider-Man could not be more different to Spider-Girl. Unlike Tom Defalco's retro storytelling style, Bendis uses his own, more modern, dialogue heavy, decompressed methods. Although this has led to many complaints and parodies, it cannot be argued that Bendis has had a huge influence on the way comics are today. Dragging Spider-Man into the 21st century Bendis reimagines him in the present day with spectactular results. Due in no small part to Mark Bagleys sleek, character defining artwork, their run on Ultimate Spider-Man is an integral part of any budding Spider-fan's collection.

5. J.M Dematteis and Sal Buscema: Spectacular Spider-Man 178-203

J.M Dematteis remains one of the most criminally underrated Spider-Man writers of all time, with an ability to seamlessley switch from deep, psychological storylines, dealing with real life issues such as child abuse, to more humorous storylines, such as Spider-Man's encounter with the Frog Man. Dematteis' character work remains second to none, and he has arguably done more to flesh out Harry Osborn's character than any other writer, in classic storylines such as the Child Within. Although Dematteis does have a tendency to overdo the psychotrauma, a defect that began to get annoying in his later run on Amazing Spider-Man, it is never apparent here. Sal Buscema's solid artwork also deserves a mention. With a knack for drawing spectacular fight scenes, and an ability to capture the kinetic energy of Dematteis' stories, his sterling work on the title is sadly often overlooked.

4. Paul Jenkins and Mark Buckingham: Peter Parker: Spiderman #20-41, 48-50, Spectacular Spider-Man (Volume 2) #27.

Perhaps made to look better by its appearance shortly after the horror of Howard Mackies twin run on both Amazing and Peter Parker: Spider-Man, Paul Jenkins and Mark Buckingham managed to bring some pride back to the struggling Spider-books, and at the same time produce some of the most touching Spider-Man stories in history. Jenkins has the ability to tug at the heartstrings like no other, and although his run is home to a fair few duds, the sheer quality of much of it cannot be ignored. Mark Buckinghams art, while being very understated is perfect for Jenkins' stories, and he even proves that he can do a decent fight scene in #25.

3. Roger Stern and John Romita Jr: Amazing Spider-Man #224-227, 229-236, 238-251.

Although this whole list has been very difficult to compile, the top three has been the hardest part by far, and could really be in any order. Roger Stern's run is Spider-Man as it should be, mixing Peter Parker's career as Spider-Man with his often chaotic personal life. A simple formula, that later writers have sadly found difficult to emulate. Stern effortlessley updates past villains, giving a backstory to classics such as the Vulture, while creating ones of his own, the most notable being the now legendary Hobgoblin. All this in addition to some of the most interesting subplots ever seen, and it begins to become clear why Stern's run is widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time. John Romita's artwork, while being passable is clearly a work in progress, this was one of the earliest runs of his career, and in my opinion does not hold up too well to his more modern work. However, this is a very minor criticism, and does little to take away from one of the all time greatest runs ever seen on Spider-Man.

2. J.M Dematteis and Luke Ross: Spectacular Spider-Man #241-258

Another surprise inclusion on my list, it upsets me that Demateis' second run on Spectacular Spider-Man never seems to get the praise it deserves. Very similiar to his first run, but with far more variety, switching for deadly serious tales of death, and misery to light hearted superhero romps. Dematteis' characterisation is second to none, his portrayal of Peter and Mary-Janes relationship is as believable and realistic as I have ever seen, and he defined the modern Norman Osborn, with his menacing, enigmatic take on the character. Luke Ross' art defines the run, moody and atmospheric, with superb, rich colours it is some of the best, most underrated art ever seen on Spider-Man.

1. Stan Lee and Various: Amazing Fantasy #15, Amazing Spider-Man #1-100, 105-110.

What is there to say about this genre defining run that hasn't been said before? Stan Lee and his many co-conspiritors, legendary names such as Steve Ditko, John Romita Sr and Gil Kane, were largely responsible for the modern age of comics. Revolutionising the genre, Lee popularised the previously unheard of notion of a teen superhero, one that had to deal with regular everyday problems that his readers would have had to deal with. Lee's often copied, never bettered style of mixing Peter's personal problems with his conflicts with supervillains had never been seen before in the 60's, and many of his and Ditko's imaginative creations are still present in modern day comic books. One of the most remarkable things is that it still stands up today. Sure some issues are less than wonderful, and show their age, but the vast majority of it is classic, and should serve as an example for all comic book writers today to follow.


Hello all, welcome to my blog. I aim to discuss a variety of things, mainly, but not limited to comic all their various forms. I am currently a student studying for my A levels in Cambridge, England, and I hope to go on to University next year to do a creative writing degree...and hopefully get into the comics industry in the future. But anyway, enough about me! I hope you find some worth in what I have to say, and enjoy my blog!