Sunday, October 11, 2009



Its a wild world. You can travel to the US city of your choice with your cowboy hat and your stirrups and have a gun fight in a back alley. You can sign up with Blackwater Inc and go murder woman and children in Iraq and get good health benefits as well. Grab a job at the Pentagon or a private firm piloting robotic drone bombers in Afghanistan, 10 points for a grandma! 20 for a pregnant lady! You might even hit a Terrorist! Air conditioned office, ergonomic chairs, free coffee! Hell, sign up to print those huge signs that folks with lots of extra time and solid legs hold outside of family planning clinics, photos of bloody, melted, gnarled, oozing aborted fetuses. Drive home after a long hard day of life-saving life-affirming work to eat a good rare steak, dripping red juice. Beat your kid. Feed the dog. Swing by the church to check out the choir boys. You can sleep under a bridge with homeless families near a halted condo development, or you can peep under a different bridge to see a sanctioned village of sex offenders, each with a scarlett letter stamped on their forehead. You can pray in a circle of your friends around your sick daughter as she dies of treatable diabetes, a display of failed Magic/Kung Fu. You can listen to radio hate-seller Rush Limbaugh spew violence that we can only hope will turn inward on his vacant icy soul, causing a massive, prolonged, agonizing heart attack. His already bloated body writhing in an unseen torture, as his inner demons "blow off some steam". He can broadcast the grunts, the groans. I will turn on my receiver, I will amplify his final address, the hospital gets caught up in paperwork but he will live on in some fashion.

But, in the US centric world mentioned above, can you actually fly to a mysterious island and look down amongst the foliage to see a giant boot shaped house, a disney-esque castle on a small mountain and a geodesic dome surrounded by giant toothy peaks? Populated by Robots? Not unless its 1975 and you are Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu and your lady has been taken to The Island Of Mordillo!

Doug Moench writes and Paul Gulacy draws this radical martial arts drama. This next image introduces Brynocki, one of the best characters ever. You can see the interplay between Mordillo in the orange tunic and Brynocki, who really seems to be in charge of the operation. Shang Chi's soon to be love interest, Leiko Wu, whose normally black hair is red just in this issue, has been lassoed. The hair color change I assume is due to the angle of the sun and the island's particular pollen...

Humpty-Dumpty attack

Issue 35


tragedy in the end for our villains

You can listen to WORLD-CONQUERING hate-seller MORDILLO spew violence that we can only hope will turn inward on his vacant icy soul, causing a massive, prolonged, agonizing heart EXPLOSION. His already HANDSOME body writhing in an unseen torture, as his inner demons "blow off some steam". BRYNOCKI can broadcast the grunts, the groans. SHANG CHI will turn on HIS receiver, HE will amplify his final address, the hospital gets caught up in paperwork but he will DIE on in some fashion.

A few years later, in issue 73, Shang Chi returns to Mordillos Island, now even weirder!!!! This one written by Moench and drawn by Mike Zeck.

That's Brynocki in the armor!!!!

Mike Zeck did a long string of really cool G.I.Joe covers in the 80s. Hey wait, is that Shang Chi in Snowjobs arms?!!!?

Master of Kung Fu is in a state of permanent reprinting limbo as it uses many characters created by and originally licensed from author Sax Rohmer, such as Dr. Fu Manchu and Sir Denis Nayland Smith. Now, if Kloosterhouse and Johanknecht can invent Wite-out I'm sure Marvel can get around the slight problem of naming rights, it would be nothing so dramatic as a "Reboot" and could always be explained away in a sort of "Crisis of Infinite Copyrights" maxi-series. With a large Wite void enveloping all Rohmer based information. Lets take a swing at a solution......

First we get the setting from MOKF 48, Fu Manchu's City in the Top of the World

Then we apply the technique.....

As you can see, i adjusted not only the name, but the physical attributes of Fu Manchu, covering all copyright get the reprints rolling!

Here is an interesting connection, another island, this one drawn by the argentinian artist, Guillermo Mordillo

Mordillo also has a penchant for drawing toothy mountains....

A quote from Shang Chi himself on the subject, "Thus, for one man to enter the realm of another man's mind is to invite madness to play host to a guest of madness. All thoughts, then, become madness in the mixture...even to the thinkers themselves"

Now when you get started on surreal islands of deep mystery you can jump into The Prisoner, Lost or probably a pile of awesome output, so in fine modern form I will not think too deeply on that subject and deviate to try and picture just what is happening in that Giant Boot on Mordillos Island, I'll bet its something like this......

These guys have a fantastic song called "DESTROY AMERICA!"

Sunday, September 27, 2009



So just how is Mr. Fantastic going to save the earth from global warming? Word on the street is that in fifty years half the world's plant and animal species will be wiped out by rising sea level. Believe it? Still going to buy that house on that low lying land? I'm not. I'll be looking to the hills when I empty my penny jar to see if I managed to collect 100,000 bucks for a Providence house. I have multiple jars of pennies. and I grew up in the 80's. I was not allowed to watch the apocalyptical-nuclear-war-made-for-TV movie "The Day after Tomorrow" due to parental fear of nightmare inducing melting face scenes. But I can see the future and know that humanity is fucked. My decisions are and have been influenced by impending doom. If its not nuclear war, though it still could be spawned by a ridiculous yet serious standoff between a few ancient and corrupted religions, its the terrorist dirty bomb at the mall. Ten thousand planes downed into the power plants of all the major economies. Twelve million shoe bombs explode in the sky on a well timed sky diver assault raining down a poisoned liquid LSD causing last minute hallucinogenic journeys before, yes, our faces melt off. Or it could be plain old simple global warming. Because we just can't stop making sneakers, sodas, bloggy computers or driving our kids to soccer camp. I used my cell phone to call and complain about my headache from all the crisscrossing signals flashing through my brain. Mass cancer kills cancerous humanity. How many will escape using a succession of cloned bodies mounted into small spacecraft built by disgruntled ex-Nasa and Nazi scientists. Few. A pile of politicians, hip hop stars and champion tennis players. Fated to have an oxygen depleting argument on mars debating who will dig the compost pit for the outhouse.

Which brings us back to The Fantastic Four. Has Mr. Fantastic solved this yet? I am not an FF fan. i read a select few of the awesome Kirby issues. A bunch of the super cool Byrne issues. A few here and there say if Art Adams was drawing one or suddenly the whole team was replaced by new less boring members. And then i read the Millar/Hitch run. I am into Bryan Hitch on this title. Sure some of the seriously fun ideas presented in the run such as Nu-Earth, The Hooded Man and the new Defenders, Marquis Of Death and Doctor Doom's death's-door feverdream were probably Millars receipes. But Hitch brought it to life. Tracing photos, getting his sister and his uncle to hold a pose all day, i don't know. His page layouts are exhilarating. This one is almost seasickening......but its readable.

But then you have this. A where's Waldo moment. Guys, I know you are rushed to the point where both Millar and Hitch, despite claims that they wanted to make theirs as great as Byrnes run, ditched out on the title before it was even done amounting to a painful downward spiral of quality in issues 568 and 569, but please. for the issues you do work on, please please hit the "trace photograph in ink" button or whatever before you go to press.....

Pretty pathetic. lets end on a good note. I love the library and this one looks awesome!

Most FF fans would call me an FF tourist. I am sticking with it for the Hickman/Eaglesham run so far and two issues in its great. "Mr. Fantastic solves everything". Will I find hope in this comic book to guide me through my current range of personal issues? I need to dig through my closet for an extra Infinity Gauntlet. Didn't these foolish multi-Reeds read Cosmic Odyssey? Only evil will come from that glove.

It doesn't take a Future seeing Bridge device to know that doom is at hand, and not Doctor Doom. Generation Degeneration knows. Thats us. born after 1973. I'll be the cutoff year. No, Born after july 22, 1972. The day Bruce Lee died is the day the earth changed course(exactly one year to the day before my birthday). Hmm. Maybe born 1969. That seems like great year to have appeared in. Doom. Mat Brinkman knows it. Is there anyone out there who has not read his Multi Force? Really? Best re-released comic of 2009. PictureboX books. Essential. No bias here.

Somebody needs to bang on Brinkmans door with one of those $20000 dollar Pantheon book deals and he'll cave and draw comics. Anyway, the whole point of bringing this up is that i don't think the current FF are dealing with the real problems at hand. Its time for some new recruits in that good old Marvel Fashion. We need to up some sales.


Frank Santoro.

Many of you know him as the "Wise Elder" dude on Comics-Comics who talks a lot about "The Golden Triangle" or "The Golden Shower" or some ancient design tactic. But us close to him know him as "the dude who spends every waking moment thinking about color separations while standing knee deep in the rising waters of his flooded basement". Cold Heat is a trip. These are pages from issue 5/6. 7/8 is out but not in..... my house.

Jungil Hong.

A fellow smallest state artist, she is on display at Mountainfold gallery in NYC for her solo show "Growl Fowl". I implore you my faithful readers to take a spin over to the 18th floor of 55 5th avenue before it closes on October 16th. You need to see the depth of texture that marks her work. Detail only a cricket can see. Definitely part of the "Scrunched Figure" movement out of Rhode Island. There is nothing self serving in my message. My only endorsement and paycheck is from Marvel Comics(which i need with the utmost haste to pay for all the giant sized $4.99 copies of Old Man Logan i will buy to give to my relatives at Christmas). oh, more Hong HERE and THERE. and.....

Richard Corben. Starr the Slayer, the new Marvel Max mini based on a one off story in 1970's Chamber of Darkness issue 4 by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor Smith. This new take is written by Daniel Way. I was bored silly by Ways year and half Ghost Rider run, slightly interested in his ongoing Wolverine Origins book, but totally psyched on Starr the Slayer. Somehow Way and Corben mindmeld on this one.

if you push on the pages goo comes out. Corben the magic man.

Rashied Ali. Drummer.
Ali plays on one of my all time favorite records. "John Coltrane, Interstellar Space". A drum, saxaphone duet. Here is one of those weird Youtube clips where they show an album cover and have music. I didn't understand why people do this till now.


but lets get a little live weirdness in there too......


So as Rorshach claims is the end nigh? Obama may be able to talk down a giant meteor on a collision course for us or an alien invasion fronted by a green goliath on a stone ship. Or regular humans may be able to think/act for themselves and make an escape balloon-pod out of supermarket plastic bags and discarded cell phone chargers. There may be hope. But today its all about Rashied Ali. If he hadn't jumped ship i would feel better about everything. RIP Rashied.

PS. If I were you i would press play on both YouTube videos and adjust the volume accordingly. Then smush your face into the screen and stare at Franks closing pattern....

Monday, September 14, 2009



What points me once a month to the comic known as New Avengers? Brian Michael Bendis's supremely naturalistic dialogue? Spidermans sleek and asexual body structure as revealed through his second skin of a costume? or is it that i just like Luke Cage?

It's Cage.

Its sure as hell isn't point A because generally this comic is a joke when it comes to dialogue. Wolverine, Ms. Marvel, Captain America. All reduced to quibbling teen agers. Oh the angst of these poor anti heroes! Thank god we all buy it and pay Bendis to turn in the same script every month.

Well, except this month. Avengers 49 is a solid comic. Perhaps Bendis is actually intimidated enough by Luke Cage as to not walk all over him with synthetic banter. The story focuses on Cage making a deal with Norman Osborn to get little baby Cage back from the skrull Jasper in the wake of the Secret Invasion.

I like Billy Tan's work. He eeks some personality out of his faces. Enjoyed his short run on Uncanny X-men with Brubaker.(wonder why they disappeared off that title so quickly?) Under their hand the X-men were acting like people again, instead of characters.

There was one missed opportunity in New Avengers 49. Here is a nice sequence including a "lost page" I found in a alternate reality wigwam which depicts what should have happened.

speaking of dimensional page enigmas i found another variation of Angar the Screamer as seen in Daredevil 100. lets take a look at the OG again.

this version which i think was drawn by my 5 year old neighbor Mickey Zacchilli...

well, she actually may be older than that. she has published some comics, handprinted silkscreen cover xeroxed inards style. Back cover of "Bullshit Frank and Gorilla Joe" issue 4.

next is an interior page of "BSFAGJ #4". Joe transforms into a pony. or was he a pony all along? Zipatone?!?!!

The pony reminded me of Gary Panter and Jimbo in Paradise. One of the best books ever created. Lets look at Gary's pony, it got a little cut off at the bottom....

Jimbo would help Luke Cage get his baby back from aliens. Or perhaps offer himself up to be experimented on in exchange....

Sorry Gary, but i hope you never make it to the land of straight sticks.

I drew the "E" in there so you would not think its called PARADIS. my scanner is run by DARK REIGN

Monday, August 24, 2009



DD #100 volume 1 is a set up issue. an origin issue. and even a reflection of period stereotypes. It has virtually nothing in common with DD #500 except the presence of the red costume. In #100, written by Steve Gerber and illustrated by the one and only Gene Colan(the work, inked by Tartaglione, is not Genes best), DD is the wise cracking pre-Frank Miller version. This era of DD gave the hero, and the comic, the ability to stretch out of character, to veer off the dark dirty city streets into flights of fantasy. It allows DD to joke about the world. A virtue virtually gone in current DD characterization. Issue #100 acts as an origin summary, as DD recounts a few bits of his history to a Rolling Stone reporter, until a mass hallucination hits the Rolling Stone office and the streets of San Francisco. This is 1973 Marvel Comics.

The San Fran hippy hallucination theme recently revisited an Uncanny X-men story leading to their issue #500 relocation to San Francisco. Hippy Vision Seizes Reality. Distorted Utopia. The X-Men worked it out quick over a few short issues, destroying the invasive dreamworld. Uncanny has since further devolved into a Dark Avengers/Dark X-men/Norman Osborn showdown on the SF streets(this arc is titled Utopia) with an undercurrent of early 200's X-men anti-mutant hysteria fueling the violence.

Fraction has barely touched the idea of a liberal San Franciscian Utopia for mutants. Readers are told SF is welcoming to mutants, but shown very little in the 14 issues since their arrival. Mutants hanging out in a bar? Utopia! "Utopia" is the tale of the mutant haven of SF falling apart. But where is the garden on the compound tended by Storm? The art classes taught by Colossus? Spiritualism as taught by Nightcrawler? The drunk poetry slams of James Logan(who i refuse to call the uninspired name of James Howlett). What is there to really fall apart? All we get is the overplayed Norman Osborn stomping into the city with his newfound half hero/half villain agenda. The Marvel U. has been held hostage by this guy, who inherited the throne of Shield(now Hammer) and now defends the nation. Do you care? you shouldn't. Anyway, Uncanny needs to slow down and take stock. The art in #514 was dynamic and fist pumping, if not a bit too gooey. Bold and cartoony. kind of gross honestly. Terry Dodson. Surely a fan favorite. He can draw!?

I do commend Fraction on his final page, which hints that the X-club (formerly led by the now incarcerated Beast) has built an undersea headquarters for the X-men just in time for their impending exile from SF. Looks like a cool base. Totally G.I.Joe. Totally Lost. I mean it i am psyched. Maybe the X-men will journey to the center of the earth. all the way.

But back to the San Fran of DD #100. A slow issue if there ever was one, nothing really happens except the grand finale intro of Angar the Screamer.

Badass. Its a subdued anniversary issue, but unlike the fantastical yet "realistic" DD #500, DD #100 is grounded in the 1973 of today/yesturday. Along side of the blind swashbucklers make believe world we get a (small)mirror of society, i should know, i was age 0-1. But damn, to jostle topics, Michael Lark does have some sweet layouts with #500.

I mean that shit is dynamic. But maybe there is something i can fault DD#500 for, its perfect synthesis of DD legacy leaves no space for a portrait of America. No glimpse into the state of the world. Does Brubaker have a dream for Utopia?