#3: New Mutants and Cloak and Dagger (New Mutants #22-25, 1984-5, Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz)
Claremont must have immediately realized the implications of the impressionistic new art style that Sienkiewicz was trying as soon as he debuted in New Mutants. The stories immediately veered away from teen drama and high adventure into a series of nightmares. Demon Bear, Cloak and Dagger, Warlock, Legion, Shadow King. Did ever a book pivot its tone both so dramatically and so successfully at once? This quartet of issues found Wolvesbane and Sunspot victimized by Claremont’s favorite theme, “The inner darkness that consumes us, body and soul,” becoming a danger to themselves and others and requiring the help of the similarly afflicted Cloak and Dagger.
Last Edit: Dec 22, 2019 15:21:51 GMT -5 by rberman
With all of the Usagi Yojimbo fans here, I expected to see his crossover with TMNT by now. Maybe it's #1 on everyone's list?
Much as I adore Usagi and consider him in my Top 5 for all time comic runs, I didn't find his earlier crossovers with the TMNT all that special (and his most recent one is too new).
Usagi's best team-up have all occurred within his own franchise and don't qualify for this event.
They were on my short list of contenders (I even sent Kurt a question early on about their eligibility since the TMNT were a "team" and he hadn't changed the initial position on individuals crossing over with a team) but I hadn't read them in a long time, and I never got the chance to revisit them, so other things took precedence. They will be on my near misses list though.
People don't want the Truth. They want only information that supports what they think they already know. -Vess from Invisible Kingdom
I see a comics culture that preserves and appreciates its past, but doesn't wallow in witless nostalgia. -Scott McCloud
Humans beings always do the most intelligent thing…after they’ve tried every stupid alternative and none of them have worked -Buckminster Fuller
3. Usagi Yojimbo and Zato-Ino (inspired by Zatoichi) "Blind Swords-Pig!" from Critters #7 (Fantagraphics, 1987)
by Stan Sakai
With all of the Usagi Yojimbo fans here, I expected to see his crossover with TMNT by now. Maybe it's #1 on everyone's list?
I didn't really have the time to go through and find stuff for this 12 days, but so far the 3 items that popped into my head right away (this one, Iron Man/Doom travelling through time, and Iron Man/ Cap during Armor Wars).... none have been mentioned.
Though, to be fair, the most recent one was my favorite one, and that wouldn't qualify.
3. Batman/Tarzan, Batman/Tarzan: Claws of the Cat-Woman #1-4 (Dark Horse, 1999)
This got a sudden surge of love yesterday, which is good to see, and also saves on how much of write-up I have to do. Sometimes it has felt Like I was the only one who knew about this hidden gem.
This is a neat little Elseworlds collaboration. It features a spot-on characterization of Lord Greystroke, but is mostly interesting to me for a pulp-noir take on Batman (Batman as he might have been had he been created for a pulp magazine instead of comics). This new early 30s allows for a team-up without any of the baggage hanging on the Dark Knight. A team-up with modern day Batman just would not be feasible, and a team-up with the golden age Batman--while possible--might carry some unpleasant colonial overtones.
The other real joy for me is the eponymous Cat-Woman: Princess Khefretari of Memnon, a hidden African community. As well as being princess, she is also high priestess of the cat cult of that city. She travels to Gotham to take revenge on Dent, an archaeologist who looted her city. And from this spins the plot. An interesting take using an old name but little else. A feisty character, she perhaps becomes a little too passive and a damsel in distress by the end of the tale (although you could argue this would be in keeping with Burroughs). And it is could to see a lost Egyptian civilization, as it was one the few ancient civilizations Burroughs didn't get around to including in the Tarzan novels.
Ron Marz does a bang-up job on the script; the art Igor Kordey (or, rather, Kordej, as I now thanks to EdoBosnar. The name was anglicized for publication so readers would know how it was pronounced) is suitably atmospheric while still capturing the action sequences beautifully; and the painted covers by Dave Dorman are just gorgeous.
This was a very reluctant removal from my 12 Days list for last year, so I am delighted to give it my #3 slot this year.
Post by Paste Pot Paul on Dec 23, 2019 5:45:38 GMT -5
3. Giant Size Defenders 3. Defenders and Daredevil
Marvel Comics 1975
Ive just bought the facsimile edition of this book as its price has gone through the roof recently. For many a moon, I had, and cherished, a coverless version of this, all beat to hell and back. I loved it like no other. Ive NEVER liked another coverless comic. For me it has always been one of those few books which(for some arcane immeasurable reason) sticks with you ever after. Years, maybe decades after last reading it, I still see Namor dying or Hulk giving that lil crumbum the flik. Pure childhood funnybook heaven.
It was the year of fire… the year of destruction… the year we took back what was ours. It was the year of rebirth… the year of great sadness… the year of pain… and the year of joy. It was a new age. It was the end of history. It was the year everything changed.
3. Spider-Man and Cloak & Dagger - Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #64, #69-70, #81-82, #94-95 (Marvel, 1982-84)
I really love Bill Mantlo's run on Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man. I love it now just as much as I loved it back in the early '80s, when I was buying the comic pretty regularly off of the newsagent's shelves. For me, Mantlo's finest hour (with help from artist Ed Hannigan) was the creation of the drug pusher-baiting duo, Cloak & Dagger.
I was there right from Cloak & Dagger's first appearance in PP:SSM issue #64, and was thrilled each time they returned to the pages of the comic. I loved their urban, drug abuse-related origin story, which to 10-year-old me seemed very grown up and thoroughly modern. I also liked that they weren't straight ahead bad guys or good guys, but more like anti-heroes (something that I'm sure was probably a new concept to me at that age); these guys were essentially on the same side as Spider-Man, but their methods drew him into conflict with them as often as they worked together.
Another thing I love about Cloak & Dagger was their striking costumes; Cloak, all shadows and billowing fabric, and Dagger in one of the most improbable – but ever so memorable to a boy on the cusp of puberty – costumes in comic book history. Then there were Cloak & Dagger's cool powers, with Daggers icy light knives and the shadowy dimension within Cloak's costume. The bubbling sexual tension between the duo was the final clincher, and, as a result, the duo remain one of my favourite double-acts in comics.
These seven issues form a loose arc in which Cloak & Dagger gain their powers, and, with Spider-Man's help, go after the drug baron Silverman, who they seemingly kill, only to have him return in a cybernetically enhanced body. It's all cracking good stuff, with some lovely art from Ed Hannigan and Al Milgrom. Given that Spider-Man, then as now, is my favourite superhero of all, and that Cloak & Dagger are some of my favourite Spidey co-stars, I just had to include these issues among my picks for this year's CCC.
Day 10.The Unknown Soldier and Sgt Rock, Mlle Marie, Haunted Tank and the Losers Unknown soldier # 250. 1981
Haney, Ayers and Talaoc deliver the Soldier without a face (who is wrapped in bandages) into one of his toughest assignments when he must go deep undercover pretending to defect to the German side during the war. It takes all of the major DC war star's hunting his as a traitor when he is sent to stop a German scientist. What a splash page! The Unknow Soldat walking alongside Hitler and Himmler while Seig Heiling a crowd of Nazi/s. The Soldier destroys the Haunted Tank to prove his defection is real to Hitler and then Mlle Marie's assassination attempt upon Hitler is stopped by the Soldier. The Loser's kill Hitler in an attack supposedly set up by the Soldier but it turns out to be a double and Hitler was part of the arranged attack plan then later on Rock and Easy attack only to be trapped by the Soldier and captured where we get a fisticuffs lesson between Rock and the Soldier so that they can escape. Rock was told that some one holding the other half of an American Dollar Bill was to be obeyed no matter what. Rock takes Easy and the Soldier in a break out and is told by the soldier that all the earlier attempts were real in trying to execute him so that Himmler and Hitler would swallow the bait as to his defection. All of this so that the Unknown Soldier could prevent the ultimate bio weapon from entering the war!
for your hard earned nickels and dimes you get one hell of a war story combining nearly all of the best DC war heroes into one thrilling story. That is how you spend your money well folks! Again, I had an issue or 2 of Rock, a Few Haunted Tanks and Unknown Soldier comics but this one double sized adventure provided endless hours of reading and re-reading my freshman year in College while it also helped propel my interest in history and WWII reading.
Gimme a home on the ol' prairie where I can sit in my rockin' chair reading my favorite old comic books of yesteryear!
Post by Slam_Bradley on Dec 23, 2019 11:10:01 GMT -5
Hellblazer #63 (DC/Vertigo 1993) Constantine and Swamp Thing, Zatanna & The Phantom Stranger.
On the tenth day of Christmas Ennis & Dillon gave to me...some Greeeenery.
This is a story I loved when I first ready it. But it meant a HELL of a lot more to me when I re-read it about a decade and a half later. That's because at that point I'd hit forty and had a better idea what Constantine was going through. Essentially this is the story of John Constantine's fortieth birthday party. No demons to fight (except those we battle everyday). Just a guy getting older and spending an evening with his friends. This is, to my mind, one of the best depictions of a party I've seen in comics and it has a lot to say on the effects of getting older.
To my mind Ennis and Dillon gave us the best iteration of John Constantine. It likely helped that Kit Ryan is one of my favorite characters in Comicdom (pretty sure she made my list in the Favorite Characters Classic Comics Christmas). Honestly I just love this issue.
Post by Slam_Bradley on Dec 23, 2019 13:09:35 GMT -5
Random thoughts about Day Ten. Because I'm on a roll.
Giant-Size Spider-Man #2. Yay!! I was really hoping this would show up. Another one of the last to fall off my list. I felt really bad not to have it on there. Just a crazy fun book. And I, like Kurt, had never considered martial arts funnybooks before this one.
Amazing Spider-man King size special # 3. I kind of remember this one. I've read it at least once.
Dr. Strange and Dr. Doom. Given the creators I should probably seek this out.
DC Comics Presents #67. Nah!
Books of Magic #2. I got Constantine and Zee in in another way. I probably should have thought of this book and didn't because I rather love it. And I adore the entire Trenchcoat Brigade.
Critters #7. I've only read a handful of Usagi Yojimbo stories. It just seems so daunting.
Detective Comics Annual #1, Green Arrow Annual #1, Question Annual #1. I bought these back in '88. I don't think I've read them since then. I'd like to re-read The Question and the Grell issues of GA though.
Phantom Stranger #26. I don't think I've read this. The first Showcase of Phantom Stranger didn't get this far. And I don't think I bought the second volume.
I can't remember if I've talked about Sandman Midnight Theater. If not...it's good.
Whiz Comics #15-18. I need to get around to reading this. And The Monster Society of Evil.
Fantastic Four #57. Have I mentioned I hate The Silver Surfer. I have read this. He wasn't as awful here as in his own book.
ALF Annual #1. This is weird enough to be cool. Only from the mind of Shaxper.
New Mutants #22-25. I don't remember if I made it this far in New Mutants or not. I remember Cloak & Dagger being kind of a big thing. I never quite knew why.
Giant Size Defenders 3. This was one of the Giant-Size issues I got in two-packs. It's a pretty fun book. Or it was at the time.
Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #64, #69-70, #81-82, #94-95. Speaking of Cloak & Dagger. That's too many books for me to look at the covers to decide if I've read them. I'll default to not having done so.
Unknown soldier # 250. I never bought war comics back in the day. At least not off the spinners. I ended up with quite a few from garage sales. This was not one of them. I've since read quite a few in reprint collections. Generally they're strong as one-and-dones but don't read well if you read a lot at a time.
3. Elric and Conan Roy Thomas and Barry Smith Conan the Barbarian #14,15 (Marvel 1971,72, reprinted GS CtB #5 1975)
I first read this in the 1975 Giant Size reprint and it was an immediate reminder of how outstanding the Barry Smith Conan had been. It was also my first intro to Elric, and thus Moorcock's Eternal Champion cycle in general, and the BWS artwork definitely helped informe my mental picture of Moorcock's Elric, Hawkmoon, Corum,etc books when I read them a few years later = the atmosphere of mystery and other-worldliness especially. Not so much Elric's costume with the tall, conical hat, which I have never liked.
Last Edit: Dec 24, 2019 15:25:30 GMT -5 by berkley
3. Batgirl and Supergirl World's Finest #169 (DC, 1967)
One of my cherished comics from my childhood.
I got this while my family and I were on summer vacation at the Jersey Shore. The best part of those summers was that we made a weekly trek to an outdoors stationery store kiosk that sold comics. The summer before the jewel in my comic book collecting crown had been Woody Woodpecker's Summer Fun annual; but a year later I was into superheroes and got comics like Adventure (Legion), House of Mystery (Dial H for Hero), Metamorpho, Aquaman, and my favorite: World's Finest #169. True, the story was undeniably silly (even to a me as a kid)--but Batgirl was a favorite character and so I was happy to see her here, not only with Batman and Robin (expected), but also with Supergirl and Superman. This issue, which was outside the Julius Schwartz Batman books, signalled to me that Batgirl had reached the major leagues. I even wrote a letter (that was published) about the new Batgirl-Supergirl team, proposing they have a book of their own.
The "second cover." Loved the Curt Swan-George Klein team, and they did their usual great job with Batgirl (as well as with all the other characters, but this was their first time with Batgirl).
Post by Prince Hal on Dec 28, 2019 15:24:36 GMT -5
3. DC Comics Presents 66 (Feb. 1984) Superman and The Demon “The Resurgence of Blackbriar Thorn” Len Wein and Joe Kubert
The early 80s weren’t nearly so barren at DC as the 70s had been, what with such highlights as the Evanier-Spiegle team returning Blackhawk to greatness, the nostalgia fix Roy Thomas supplied every month in All-Star Squadron, and this new guy Alan Moore taking the helm of Swamp Thing. As a longtime (20+ years) aficionado in the autumn of 1983, however, I was well aware of the business end of comics and much more realistic, even cynical, about how that affected the art form I loved so much.
Still, every once in a while a book would drop out of nowhere, completely unexpectedly, and I’d rejoice briefly, taking it as a sign that the comics business was still capable of renewing my faith. (Today they’d probably call such comics unicorns.)
That was the case with this issue of DC Comics Presents, a title I rarely even picked up to look at, but which had at times had proved capable of surprising even a cynical reader like me. (The four-issue saga drawn by Jim Starlin in 1980 leaps to mind.)
When I saw #66 on the stands, I picked it up to look at the Kubert cover. Rare was the time that he got to draw Superman, and this bore serious perusal. Might have been enough to persuade me to buy it, but when I flipped it open expecting to see, oh, a Saviuk-Colletta bland-o-rama, I see that Kubert also illustrated the story and bought it ASAP.
I was not disappointed. (I wish I could post more than just these two images, but trust me, Kubert is at his best here.)
As I read what was an average, straightforward super-hero team-up, I was struck by how much Kubert’s layouts and art raised it to another level and how much damage would have been done to the story by Curt Swan even if he’d been inked by Murphy Anderson. He would never have brought the sweeping look to these pages…
Or the raw drama of this one…
Or the magic and mystery of a dozen others. (Go find it!)
The villain was brand-new, scary, and powerful. The team-up was inspired: Superman, magic his weakness fighting alongside the Demon, magic his strength. Perfect complements to each other, a nigh unbeatable team, and neither ever looked better than when drawn by Kubert.
Issues like this – unicorns – give us a glimpse of comics at their Platonic best, reaffirming their power, only briefly, allowing us a taste of excellence before returning us inevitably to the world of the mundane.
If it could only be like this all the time!
But as Browning wrote in “Andrea Del Sarto,”
“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?”
I was so happy that this majestic issue fell within my grasp…
"The rarer action is In virtue than in vengeance." -- The Tempest, 5.1