Comic Book Collection Blog
My name is John A. Deering.  And I've got so many comic books in my collection right now, it's ridiculous.

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60's Comics

80's Comics

90's Comics

2000-2009 Comics

2010-on Comics

Moon Knight

Most likely, the reason I started reading Moon Knight was the simple reason of: "Damn it!  So this great idea I thought I had, Power Knight, will now never make it."  I thought Power Knight would be a cool book, or comic book one day, but Moon Knight was similar yet way the **** better.  My blog has the rest of the story of Power Knight, the story that will probably never be.

In 2004, I bought so many of these Moon Knight comics, at age 16, that it's not even funny.  These are the best 3 covers, but inside the Moon Knight gallery are more than 30 issues.  Eventually, every issue will have a synopsis, pictures to highlight the best moments, and so on.

Flash Gordon Zeitgeist

<-- "Flash Gordon Zeitgeist", the new 2011 remake of Flash Gordon.  I'll be reviewing the whole series, starting with issue 1, once I start building this web-site up.

Flash Gordon was a newspaper comic strip since 1934, and became hit movies in 1936 (Flash Gordon), 1938 (Flash Gordon Goes to Mars), and 1940 (Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe), easily the Dark Knight of its time.

1980's Flash Gordon had notoriety all its own.  1979 had an adult-minded cartoon movie of Flash Gordon, taking place in the 1930's.

This 2011 comic book keeps intact the old facts of Flash Gordon - even the 1930's setting, and his starting point as a polo player - while presenting everything in a level of quality up to the 2010's decade, as visually pleasing as Ultimate Marvel, for instance.  Some influence is worked in from the 1980 movie, it seems, as Klytus, who never removes his mask, is in this comic, and Flash wears a white t-shirt with the name FLASH in red letters.  As much as I didn't care for the 2006 comic strip remake of Flash Gordon, which just repeated the same old stories yet again, this remake is truly as elaborate as Flash Gordon deserves.

    Silver Surfer

Created in 1967 for the Fantastic Four comic, the Silver Surfer became the nickname of Galactus' servant, the Herald.  Artist Jack Kirby was allowed to take liberties with the Herald's "flying vehicle", to draw it as a surfboardThus, the Silver Surfer was formedIn 1968, he got his own comic book.

I have just one complaint about 60's Silver Surfer.  He is stuck in stupid planet Earth.  Not until his return to comics in 1987 did they take the approach that he is homeless in space, eternally wandering the universe in search of his home, Zenn-La.  No longer is he confined to exile in Earth.  Those are the issues where things truly get off the chain, with no telling what he'll find in space next.

Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man.  Forget all the predictable words.  Instead picture this.  The year is 1960.  You've just gotten through the end of the 1950's, and it sucks to see that decade leave, and yet the 60's brings about exciting new Jetsons-like prospects.  Factories are converting from 500 humans to a single human overlooking the machines.  Comic books have been thought to be a simple, predictable formula - imitate Superman - assumed by the public to be nothing more than ways of entertaining children.  The year is 1960, and suddenly the Fantastic Four hits the shelves of New York.  The year is 1962, and Amazing Fantasy #15 unleashes Spider-Man, some new, un-heard of character meant for a more teenage audience.  The year is 1963, and The Amazing Spider-Man comic book launches . . . the best good old days that will likely never be that good again, unless you count these new days where everyone's got Facebook and texting and stuff.
In the 60's, it became clear that this was the new direction of comic books.  You don't necessarily forget the real world and plunge yourself into total fantasy.  The real world that you have been seeing around you is still going on in the pages of these comics.  Even back in the Sixties, when getting the bills paid was a picnic compared to the bad economy of 2005-2013, Peter Parker's big stress is not having enough to provide, like he wants to.  He tries, and works hard, but comes up short.  Welcome to my very existence.  Of course, this panel more likely showcases the Sixties' standard of one man being the breadwinner of the house, the backbone of the bill-paying.  Still, this is what life is all about: being worried sick to your stomach about money.
As a kid, during that inevitable stage of first learning who Superman is, first learning who Spider-Man is, etc., many things looked the same to me.  Superman appears to be clumsy Clark Kent, and Spider-Man appears to be clumsy Peter Parker.  Except there's a key difference.  Clark Kent pretends to be clumsy and lets himself get laughed at so that nobody suspects they're talking to Superman.  With Peter Parker, at the end of every issue, he's still getting laughed at by everyone around.  At the end of the day, they laugh at him not because Spider-Man wants to keep his identity a secret, but they laugh at him for the same reason they were laughing at him before he was bit by the spider.
Amazing Spider-Man manages to constantly raise unique points that no other comic book has really said.  Welcome to another real life difficulty: other ___s are out there, getting to do ____, and THEY don't get bothered and yelled at about it.  Why is that?  . . . Oh well, that's just how life goes.

"It's all a publicity stunt!" reminds me of the moment at the end of the 2012 Avengers movie when Stan Lee goes "Superheroes in New York?  Gimme a break."  As you can see, 60's comics were this much deeper than today's movies - while first becoming Spider-Man, other Marvel characters exist all around.
And welcome to what us young people are really having such panic attacks about.

Not what you thought we were freaking out about.

I plan on reviewing many early 60's issues of these Spider-Man comics.  Those were the one true decade of the good old days.  Everything since lives in its shadow.

The Legend of Zelda (Valiant Comics)

This is one of the few that I'd read as a kid.  Back in 1997, when I was 9 years old, I was into these late-80's Zelda comics.  Not until I was 13 would I start playing the video-games, but at age 9, this was the one version of Zelda I was into: these comics.

These late-80's, early-90's Zelda comics represent a basically perfect point in time in comics.  This is years before the N64, years before the newer Zelda, the Adult Link, the Ganondorf, that the world now associates the Legend of Zelda with.  This is from the pre-N64 days, Hell the pre-Super Nintendo days.  Link was a teenage boy.  He possessed the Triforce of Courage, while Zelda had the Triforce of Wisdom, and evil Gannon had the Triforce of Power.

As a result, Zelda was wise, yet lacked physical power, and someone who is wise would not run into danger against monsters, unless they owned the Triforce of Courage.  Zelda is wise, but Link has the Triforce of Courage, and could run headfirst into danger against any scary monster, yet he lacks wisdom, and is at times foolish.  Gannon seems to believe he needs only one thing: Power.

Although it's based on a video-game, this comic book does not follow nonsensical laws of video-games physics, as people might expect, but instead translates the story logically to the comic book medium.

"Dungeons", in the game - action levels - are described as palaces.  The 5th dungeon, in the game, is "the Fifth Palace" in the comics.  Fairies literally extend "life-hearts" to help heal people.  Stuff that you saw in the game, actually makes sense in the canon of a comic book.

These comics made no attempt to show the story of the game itself, but rather served as a sequel to the game, treating the game itself as an origin story, which is briefly recapped early on in this series.  Actually, it's a sequel to the second game, whose events are referred to in these comics as "Link's second adventure".  So, it's a little bit like the Amazing Spider-Man, starting off as a sequel to Amazing Fantasy #15.

Being that the Legend of Zelda was a video-game from 1986, there was very little dialogue read in the game, and thus very little indication of any character's personality.  Except when you spend 100 Rupees and learn you have been ripped off.  Otherwise, it's the comics - at least, back in the late 80's, early 90's - that bring a much deeper level of depth to the same story and characters.  Link is no longer just the character striking bad guys with the sword.  In these comics, they've really expanded everything into a full, perfectly-realized world of Zelda.  This would have made a perfect animated movie.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Vol. 1)

So yeah.  This is the core essence of the original Ninja Turtles.  Before the cartoon show in 1987, it was a comic book in 1983, a black-and-white, pen-and-ink, independently published comic book made by two young guys in college.  Rather than making up Japanese names, they named them after Renaissance artists, after a college course they'd had.  THIS was the original vision of the Turtles: Volume 1, Issue 1, back in 1983, before I was born.

This was how the Turtles were meant to be seen.

Funny how the version that became the most famous is the version meant more for younger kids.  This is what the Turtles were meant to bring to the world.  There's four of them.  They're walking, talking mutant turtles.  It looks dark and realistic and more along the lines of a Spider-Man kind of world than something truly silly like a Pac-Man comic book, or Casper.  These are four turtles with dangerous Japanese weapons, extensive martial arts training, and a ruthless ability to leave nobody left standing.

Until they face the Shredder, who kicks all of their asses.

But wait.  Let me go back to the beginning.  After these four Turtles realize that they are deeply rooted in a vicious fight to the death in the first few seconds of the story, THEY MUST FIGHT THEIR WAY OUT.  And fight their way out they do.

This is so ****ing cool

This was kind of the whole point of living in the sewers: to hide from the above-ground world.  True ninjas can disappear.  The world would never understand them.  After the gang fight is over, a police car pulls up and treats everyone equally, the one time you don't want them to.  So they must run, and get back home.
In video-games, sneaking around stealthily became a cool trend starting in 1999, with Metal Gear Solid.  Solid Snake sneaks around and tries to remain unseen by his enemies, and though it was the 3rd Metal Gear game since the 80's, it was the one that really established 3-D stealth as a video-game trend.  Future video-games that involved some scenes of sneaking around stealthily include Paper Mario, the Spider-Man Movie Game, Batman Begins, the Godfather video-game, and Psi-Ops: the Mindgate Conspiracy.  That's why it's funny to see things like the Ninja Turtles executing this in 1983.

Why are there no video-games where the Turtles are on a mission of stealth and eluding people?  So many games are about that.  Perhaps sticking to the shadows, like the Spider-Man Movie Game, except outdoors in New York instead of inside OsCorp.  That would make a great Turtles game.  Avoiding everyone.  In fact, press a button and you go back inside your shell, and thus you look like you're not there.  Have they done that already?  I really don't know.

Flash Gordon had involved some degree of sneaking around and dodging the bad guys, back in 1936, and Street Fighter the Movie had Chun-Li doing it in 1994.  I'm just saying.  Still, nobody does it right like the 1983 Turtles: all the essence of a 2005 video-game, back in 1983.  This would translate PERFECTLY to video-games.

They are making a Michael Bay movie about TMNT.  Maybe it will become a hyper-realistic-looking game.

Someone please make it so that the Turtles sneak around stealthily in their next video-game, with that idea of mine about pressing a button to shrink back inside your shell.  It would be like Solid Snake's cardboard box disguise.
TMNT issue 1 introduces everyone important.  Leonardo.  Donatello.  Raphael.  Michelangelo.  Splinter.  Shredder.  Foot clan ninjas.  The Purple Dragons gang.  Hamato Yoshi.  Oroko Saki.  Tang Shen.  This Japanese lady is the reason for a dispute between two martial masters, and she is thus responsible for the rest of everything that happened afterward.

But People Only Know the 80's Cartoon Version

I was born in the same month as the 1987 Turtles came on, in December 1987.  I was born before the show first aired.  At that time, Ninja Turtles Mania took over the world of kids.  It was not the R-rated, high-school-audience Turtles originally envisioned, but it was a favorite TV show to some people.  You would never even think the comic book was like this.

The 1987 Turtles was rated TV-Y7, 10 years later, when the TV ratings system was implemented.  I remember wondering, one Saturday morning: "WTF?  Life With Louie has a rating?  Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm is rated TV-Y7?  Goosebumps has gone from GB-7 to TV-Y7?  WTF is this??"  South Park, in its first season, was basically defined by its TV-MA label.  But Goosebumps did it first.  Goosebumps identified itself as being rated GB-7, because it may be too spooky for children under 7.

Perhaps that's part of why Beavis and Butt-Head delivered such an offensive shock to the world.  TV shows were unrated back in those days.  Nobody quite had that labeled of TV-14 to make it clear not to watch Beavis and Butt-Head as a family.

Case in point, when the Turtles became a cartoon in that TV-Y7 category that nobody officially knew about yet in 1987, when nobody had yet heard of Beavis and Butt-Head, but which people still pretty much got the idea of, the four weapons you see in that comic book panel were NOT ALLOWED to be used against the enemy ninjas.  That is unfriendly for kids.  Before Beavis and Butt-Head, people were terrified that the Ninja Turtles cartoon would cause an outright controversy.  AFTER Beavis and Butt-Head came out, people set their priorities straight and no longer complained about Superman, Spider-Man, the Ninja Turtles, or anything similar ever again, because Beavis and Butt-Head is the one most horrifically controversial cartoon show ever made.  However, in the 80's, in a TV-Y7-ish cartoon show, they COULD NOT use a sword, a bo staff, twin sais, or - especially - nunchuks.

The bad guy ninjas had to be robots, making it okay to use weapons against them.  Robots that wear purple, rather than human ninjas that wear all black.  So, it was a change, although, far better than removing everything together.

Another thing added by the 1987 cartoon: the 4 Turtles wearing four colors for their headbands, instead of all red.  These old comics may be in black and white, but the covers are in color, and they show all 4 of them wearing red.  By the 90's, the comic books' budget had climbed up to full color, and continued to show them all wearing red.  April O'Neill, once an assistant to psycho scientist Baxter Stockman, rescued by the Turtles, instead became a TV news reporter, and, at times, a typical damsel in distress.  Eventually, Baxter Stockman was shown as a scientist who, himself, says he has no clear, logical reason to go after the Turtles, but he's going after them anyway.  The original story was so much cooler.  So much more R-rated.  But she's not till issue 2.

Some more changes made by the cartoon: the addition of Bebop and Rocksteady, the changing of the name of the TGRI radioactive ooze to "mutagen", Hamato Yoshi becoming the rat Splinter instead of Yoshi's pet rat becoming a mutant, the villain Krang, and Dimension X.  These things formed the backbone of a different version of the Ninja Turtles, which the 80's kids just fell in love with.  The comic book had been intended for a different tone, but both versions are just fine.  But, just as the 80's Turtles was most on fire in its first several episodes, the comic book Turtles was most on fire in its first few issues.

Issue 1 is arguably where they are the most excellently on fire, although issue 2 introduces April O'Neill, Baxter Stockman, and the Mouser robots, and issue 3 brings in Casey Jones, so there's a lot of ass-kicking stuff going on.  Back then, in the 80's (I was born in Dec. 1987, in the same month as the cartoon show first aired - I was born first), these original issues represented a whole new bunch of characters and new twists that nobody could see coming.

The original 80's issues are critical if you're into TMNT.  They should be enough to make a believer of anyone.

TMNT (2011)

Just as Peter Laird returned to the comics in 2000, the OTHER dude that created the Turtles in 1983 - Kevin Eastman - now gives us this 2011 remake.

My only complaint reading through the old Ninja Turtles comics of the 80's is that, somewhere after the 4th issue, it starts to become . . . I don't know, it's hard to explain.  The comics become everything except what you're expecting, that is, the Turtles up against a bunch of ninjas.  I was surprised to find myself saying that about many TMNT issues.

2011 Turtles is perfect.  It's exactly the "more contemporary, longer, more elaborate, set in today's times" kind of comic book, but in a way that's acceptable to the mainstream world as mainstream and normal.  Unlike the 80's comics, which did not quite have the budget for full-color, now the coloring is on-par with all the other 2011 comics.  Basically, 2011 has seen terrific rebooting points for both Flash Gordon and TMNT.  Out of all the versions of TMNT comic books, besides the very first issue where they first meet the Shredder, THIS is the most critical version ever.

Eventually I'll put up pictures of some of the best pages/panels, like I did for the Amazing Spider-Man comic.  Issue 1 ends with a "To Be Continued" as Raphael, wearing a trench coat, meets Casey Jones.  In the original canon, we don't meet him until issue 4.  Now we meet him in issue 1.  In the words of one of the original creators.  So, THAT is how the word "canon" works.

So many characters are introduced at once in this issue, and, although it sticks to the comics and is way different than those 1987 Turtles, this version, unlike the first movie and the 2003 Turtles, lets more influence come in from the 80's cartoon.  We don't see Bebop or Rocksteady.  April is now a college student, and a scientist's assistant, like in the comics, yet she wears all yellow, like in the cartoon.  She works for Baxter Stockman, the evil psycho black scientist, and so she is not a reporter, but Stockman works for General Krang, from the 1987 cartoon, who, as far as I can tell, is now associated with the military.  Yet every version of the Turtles brings forth its own new characters - 2003 had Hun, 2007 had General Winters and the monsters - and now 2011 Turtles gives us Old Hob, a mutant cat missing one eye who is the enemy of Splinter.

What you knew already has been turned up-side down.  Four turtles were under the care of April O'Neill.  SHE gave them their names, based on her college course in Renaissance Art (the real-life origin of how the TMNT creators came up with the characters' names, when it sounded a little complex to make up Japanese names).  April points out the personality differences between all four Turtles.  The one sitting by himself is Raphael.  The one observing how the water drips is Donatello.  The one eating pizza is Michelangelo, and the one who keeps stressing himself out about being the leader with the heavy burden of leadership responsibilities is Leonardo.  Yuk yuk yuk.  But at the same time, April dislikes the rat, Splinter.

This also means that the origin story, the green TGRI formula that made the Turtles what they are, is now being described starting in issue 1, instead of waiting many months to be revealed, like in the 80's comics.

So, while the 1983 Turtles started off with the four Turtles going up against the Purple Dragons, and against the Shredder, now we have everything except that one obvious expectation of re-treading the first issue from 1983.  I would love to see that Shredder story eventually surface, but, in the meantime, Kevin Eastman gives us this very different starting point.  Four Turtles, Old Hob, Splinter, April O'Neill and Baxter Stockman, and at the end, Casey Jones.  So, really, issue 1 of this remake encompasses MONTHS of revelations from the original run of the comics.  It has that Batman Begins approach.  But, above all else: you really cannot predict what obviously will come next.  No - the revelations in this comic will always surprise you.

College intern April O'Neill is in charge of four turtles and one rat, while she works for Baxter Stockman.  Like the spider that bit Peter Parker, it is inevitable that these animals will end up in the path of destiny.  But that was just a flashback; now, we're back to the action of Turtles vs. Old Hob.  It feels similar to how the 1983 Very First Issue started off in danger - the Turtles being approached by the Purple Dragons gang - but this reboot starts off with the Turtles up against a gang of angry bad guys that includes Old Hob, the cat.  When I put up pictures, this blog will be much better.  Needless to say, they have succeeded in making a TMNT remake that is contemporary, now (people send texts, and stuff), feels realistic, and delivers four Ninja Turtles kicking ass, but Shredder is left out, for now.

Stuff I Can't Wait To Put Up, That I've Got Enormous Amounts Of Issues Of

- TMNT Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3 (Image Comics), Vol. 4
- and the Archie Comics take on TMNT
- Dark Dominion

- Stan Lee's remake of Aquaman

The Comics That I Thought Were Not As Hot,
But Which Are Also In My Collection

. . . Give me some time on this.

The First Comic Book I Ever Read,
Which Got Me Into Comic Books (in June 1998)

". . . I had no idea comic books were like this," I said to myself after losing all my breath and shit.  I would never have read this comic book until being sick and bed-ridden for over a week.  This comic book was meant to cheer me up.  I got very much into Superman comics (but only Superman) for the next couple of years.

Other Comics I Was Into Before That:

Just the Valiant Comics take on Mario, Zelda, Metroid, and Punch-Out.

Super Mario Land - "In the Palm Of Your Hand".

The Japanese manga called Super Mario Adventures, based loosely on Super Mario World, first published in Nintendo Power.