Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Hulk Annual #1 - What I Saved

    As I mentioned in a recent post, a few months back I sold three-fourths of my comic collection.

   But there were comics I saved, either out of sentiment, nostalgia or just because I couldn't bear to part with it.

   As I sort through those comics (once filed alphabetically, they're now jumbled up), I hope to write posts like this one, talking about "What I Saved."


   Up first is a comic I kept because of its cover - Hulk Annual #1.

   This is a comic I bought off the newsstand in 1968, and as a reader of The Incredible one's monthly comic, I couldn't resist this cover.

   I attended a talk by Jim Steranko several years back at a comics convention, and he talked about getting the assignment to do this cover - he was told, "We don't care what it is - we just need it fast." 

   So he turned this amazing work out in very short order and turned it in - but apparently the cover was a bit too intense, because they had Marie Severin redo the Hulk's face.

   Still, it was stunning - and the interiors were impressive too! Marie Severin and Syd Shores (with additional inks by "almost the whole blamed Bullpen") provided 51 pages of story, written by Gary Friedrich. 

   It dropped the Hulk into the Great Refuge where he found himself in a Civil War (of sorts) between the Inhumans (and Black Bolt in particular) and the forces of Maximus. So, lots of action, destruction and general mayhem in view.

   Marie's expressive art is always a treat, and if things get a bit rubbery in places, it was hard to complain since you got so much story for a mere quarter!

   I enjoyed (and read) this comic so much that that beautiful cover became detached from the comic. I'm afraid I spoiled the resale value at some point, as I committed the sin of using two small bits of scotch take to reconnect the cover - and hey, it's still hanging on there!

   How could I let this one go? (Obviously, I couldn't.)

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Grade: A

   

Monday, September 13, 2021

Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye - TV Trailer



   Marvel has released the trailer for the new Hawkeye series for Disney+ and it looks like a lot of fun!

   (And we could use something more lighthearted after the zombie episode of What If...?

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings - Movie Review

 

   Back for a quick movie review! 
   
   My oldest son and I caught the newest Marvel movie - Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings - and we both enjoyed it, with a few caveats.

   I've been a fan of the character since I picked up his first appearance in Special Marvel Edition in 1973. 

   Obviously, the film version had to make some changes - so gone is his costume and his "original" father, Fu Manchu, now replaced by a modern (and no longer offensive) version of the classic villain, The Mandarin

   There are lots of things to like about this movie, the most important one being: the actors are all terrific! Simu Liu plays Shang-Chi, and is charismatic, charming and very convincing as an action star. 

   His best friend Katy is played by Awkwafina, a heartfelt and very funny role, and Tony Chiu-Wai Leung is amazing as Xu Wenwu, the master of the ten rings.

   The story follows Shang-Chi, who's trying to build a life for himself - but he's drawn back into conflict with his father (who has an amazing backstory), and to ultimately discover the hidden secrets behind his mother's past - and a force that threatens the world.

   Along the way there are lots of great fighting sequences (those work best when they're done in the "real world" - not via CGI). There's lots of humor and some touching moments, as well.
 
   The film's only problem is that it tries to pack too much... well, stuff... into the story, especially in the chaos of the final act. (And like any first Marvel movie, there's always some origin-itis to deal with.)

   But it's a great start for the hero and there are plenty of plot threads to continue over into the next film in the series.

   It reminds me a lot of the first Black Panther movie - a film that breaks new ground, broadens the Marvel horizons, and plants many seeds for future stories - and is centered around a hero with amazing potential. 

   I'm also happy to finally learn the proper pronunciation of the hero's name - since 1973 I've been calling him SHANG ("HANG" with an "SHH" in front of it) CHEE, and only now do I find out that it's SHAUNG CHEE. You learn something new every day!

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Grade: A-