The Midnight Comic Club Episode 5 – Halloween Comics

Well, Halloween is just barely in the rearview, so it’s the perfect time to not only call another meeting of The Midnight Comic Club to order, but also talk about comics based on one of my all-time favorite horror franchises Halloween!

I’ve written a ton about my relationship with these movies here and there on this blog, most recently here. That might help give a little more context to the episode as it goes. Also, if you’re curious, like I said in the intro, these issues are very hard to find for a reasonable price, so happy hunting if you’re interested. Without further ado, here’s the episode.

Here’s the Stefan Hutchinson JoeBlo interview I mentioned.

If you’re wondering why I don’t mention the artist of Halloween III: The Devil’s Eyes, it’s because he’s a gross dude whose name will not be mentioned here. I didn’t realize it when I recorded the episode itself, otherwise, I would have probably approached it differently.

The Box: Lobo Annual #1, Snake Eyes Declassified #2 & Crux #6

My continued adventures with the longbox of comics my pal Jesse sent me for my birthday from Cardsone took me back into the world of Bloodlines, the history of one of the coolest G.I. Joes around and into the first of many CrossGen comics I’ll be reading.

My first pick up was Lobo Annual #1 from 1993 written by Alan Grant and drawn by Christian Alamy. It was actually a pretty interesting one as it’s an early chapter in the saga that would become Bloodlines, an effort to bring some new, edgy blood into the DC Universe by way of some aliens based on the seven deadly sins who eat people with the metagene. Back when Bloodlines was actually coming out, I didn’t have enough cash to purchase annuals at their whopping $3.50 cover price. Add the fact that they had no real real importance on what happened in the ongoing series’ and I skipped out.

The interesting thing about this issue, in addition to teaming Lobo up with a female character named Layla who took no guff from him, this issue explains how the invading parasite aliens wound up getting their human looks: by mimicking the looks of some L.E.G.I.O.N. agents they took out.

Lobo’s the kind of character you either dig or you don’t, I do so this was a fun issue. I’m also a bit of a fan of L.E.G.I.O.N. and R.E.B.E.L.S., though it’s more of a curiosity since I didn’t read the books when they came out. On it’s own, the issue actually works pretty well and it also holds some sort of importance on the oncoming Bloodlines story, but it was worth the read, though maybe a little long as these things tend to be.

Up next came Snake Eyes: Declassified #2 from 2005 which I did not have nearly as much fun with. The Devil’s Due book was written by Brandon Jerwa with art by Emiliano Santalucia and Robert Atkins. I had a pair of problems with this comics not including the fact that I’m not a die hard G.I. Joe or Snake Eyes fan. First off, the story is very obvious. The man who would become Snake Eyes winds up hooking up with a guy who is clearly using him. As a reader you get this nearly immediately, so the following pages wind up being kind of pointless. My other problem is one that I’ve had with several comics and that is that the art just doesn’t feel up to snuff. It’s not bad by any means, but it’s not as good as you would expect from a professional comic book you theoretically would have paid three bucks for. The backgrounds are boring, the figures vary between strong and weak and the coloring feels very faint which makes the characters feel less bold and imposing.

At it’s heart, though, this is basically just a comic about two dudes running around committing crimes. That’s all well and good, but when you know one of them is going to become the greatest ninja warrior around, you kind of don’t care and just want to get to the good stuff. One of the problems with prequels is that we all know the foregone conclusion, so we know when risks are involved. This felt like it could have been told in a simple flashback instead of taking up an entire issue.

Lastly I came out of the box with CrossGen’s Crux #6 by Mark Waid and Paul Pelletier. This was a bit of a difficult issue to pick up on out of nowhere because it directly deals with an important event that happened at the end of #5. It’s well recapped–as are the characters and their abilities thanks to a recap page on the inside cover–but you do miss a bit of the emotional impact of something when you’re reading about it in text or in recap.

Of course, this is an ongoing comic book and that’s the trick to them. I was filled in enough to understand the story and follow along. This book is about a bunch of super type beings waking up on an Earth that’s empty and they’re trying to figure out why. There’s a few revelations that pop up, but again, since I’m not as invested in the characters or the story, they don’t hit as well for me.

Probably the most confusing element of this book and most of the other CrossGen comics I read, though, comes from the fact that a very disparate number of books on all kinds of different worlds are supposed to be connected by the sigil symbol some of them sport that looks unsurprisingly like the CrossGen logo. I still feel like CrossGen could have been a success had they not flooded the market too quickly and labored so intensely to connect all these comics that didn’t need to be connected.

By the way, Paul Pelletier is an awesome artist.

Yo Joe!

11:21:35 pm

Okay, I’m not a huge G.I. Joe fan. I know that might sound sacrilegious considering I work for ToyFare, but I was just too young to really absorb who was who and I completely missed out on the Marvel comics by Larry Hama and company. That being said, I did LOVE the cartoon and the action figures. I still have a shoe box back in Ohio filled with those little dudes (most of them whose names I’m just really learning now).

So, why did I read G.I. Joe: World War III? Well, because it’s a darn good comic book. A few months ago, while the story was still coming out and G.I. Joe’s move from Devil’s Due to IDW hadn’t been announced yet, guys in the office were raving about this story. So I checked out the first few issues and then completely lost track (it happens a lot, even when you’re surrounded by comics on a daily basis).

Well, the fine folks at Devil’s Due (mostly my former roommate and Wizard-intern-in-arms Brian Warmoth) sent a few copies of the Omnibus to the offices and so I blazed through it. And I mean blazed. I basically sat down and read right through the whole 12-issue story in one sitting (though I did shift around quite a few times as I’m wont to do).

The book was written by Mark Powers with Mike O’Sullivan and drawn by Mike Bear, Mike Shoyket, Pat Quinn & Jean-Francois Beaulieu and stars all of the still-surviving G.I. Joes getting together to try and stop Cobra Commanders near takeover (and later destruction) of the Earth. I’m not sure if it’s because I knew that this is the last DDP G.I. Joe story or just because Mark Powers is a fantastic write (which he is), but I really thought that Cobra just might win. Of course, I didn’t want him to, but the way the Powers sets things up, you really don’t know how the good guys are going to win. Cobra takes over the White House for Flint’s sake.

And while the overall story is incredibly compelling, Powers does a great job of juggling smaller stories taking place literally all over the world and not one of them feels like a dropped ball. You’ve got a double agent coming in out of the cold, trouble in the ranks of Clan Destro and way more, but probably my favorite part was seeing Storm Shadow and Snake-Eyes fighting side by side together and kicking ass.

I did have a few question marks when it came to some of the relationships and the continuity that has been set up since DDP got the license back in the first round of ’80s nostalgia books, but that’s what Wikipedia’s for, right? The gaps didn’t even bother me that much and mostly made me want to go back and check out the previous volumes of Joe comics (including the Marvel books) and has peaked my interest in the upcoming IDW launch.

In the end, I highly recommend checking this book out if you like wide sweeping events, G.I. Joe (duh), military intrigue, espionage, ninja anticts and just plain old action stories. Also, it’s cool to see pages filled with the toys I used to play with as a kid, like a big set up battle in my living room.