Today we’re looking at Star Wars: Adventure in Beggar’s Canyon, published by Golden Books in 1998.
It was written by Jane Mason, with artwork provided by Gary Ciccarelli.
Just a quick note: I owe y’all one comic from this week (allergy attack!) but besides that one, no comics next week. I’m on spring break. I will be posting some sketchbook stuff and perhaps a run-down of a comic book show I’m attending this weekend. Besides that, my plans are pretty tenuous. Visit with my mom, perhaps sleep in a day or two. If I get those things done, Spring Break 2012 will have been a roaring success.
I recently picked up a hardcover copy of Marvel Comics’ Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine for my classroom.
I’ve been pulling back from ordering straight-up superhero collections for my classroom of late. I love ‘em, the kids love ‘em… but I already have quite a few. I made an exception on ASM&W for a couple of reasons, but chief among them was the books’ writer. I’ve enjoyed Jason Aaron‘s writing in the past (specifically on his Vertigo series Scalped) but many of my students went crazy over Aaron’s run on Wolverine a few years ago, when my friend Delano donated a bunch of single issues to the library. I thought it would be nice to have a hardcover collection of the writer’s, given that his work was such a hit in issues.
Aaron works with penciller Adam Kubert to bring two very disparate characters together for a time-spanning, dimension hopping adventure and the duo produce some really fun comics. Aaron comes up with some crazy ideas (Doom the Living Planet! The Phoenix Gun!) and Kubert executes them handily. It’s goofy, rollicking stuff. The problem is… the work doesn’t collect well. By that I mean… the work collected in this hardcover is CLEARLY six individual issues of a comic, with some through lines in regards to plot and character. It is not one gigantic, cohesive story really.
That’s not a slight! I like reading individual comic books, more than I enjoy reading trades. I bet ASM&W read wonderfully well in six chunks. When you bind them all together however… it seems scattershot.
I like to think I’m not one of those fathers who crams his interests down the throats of his children. So often, I see parents who INSIST their sons and daughters love the same things they love- I’m thinking specifically of those moms and dads who outfit their kids head to toe in clothes lionizing their favorite professional sports team. I worry that I’m going to be like the parent described in this hilarious news piece from The Onion.
I say that because, emphatically, I want you to believe I did not plan on having my sons become obsessed with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
Sure, I have exposed them to the property a couple of times… but I had never gotten around to showing them the animated series, despite it being readily available for streaming on Netflix. I avoided this because, real talk, the cartoon is HORRIBLE.
Filmation, the animation studio who produced MotU, was masterful at cutting corners with the show. The same ten or twelve stiff cycles of animation are used over and over again, applied in slightly different ways. I honestly don’t mind the rotoscoping, but when the same sequence is repeated three times in a 22 minute period? Forget it. The stories are dumb and rarely make up for the limited animation, although the handful of episodes written by scribe Paul Dini prove the exception to the rule. Dini’s contributions are the least intellectually insulting and offer a fair amount of characterization.
Of course, those limitations didn’t deter me from loving the cartoon as a child and it hasn’t stopped Elliot or Henry either. On a lark, I showed them an episode and told them, “This is what Daddy used to like when he was your age.” The fervor with which they’ve taken to He-Man and company has, quite frankly, surprised me. They spend long afternoons in the backyard, swinging sticks around and yelling “By the Power of Greyskull!” They’ve been playing with my old MotU toys like crazy. They’ve started requesting He-Man stories at bedtime, including these two previous Thrift Store Finds.
It’s a little weird, seeing my kids so invested in something I loved so much back in the day… especially given the adult realization that the show is pretty shoddy. Despite that, I have to admit… there does seem to be some essential aspect to the cartoon that makes it appealing to kids, both yesterday and today.
This comic somewhat mirrors an early strip I did in this run. I thought doing a bunch of these “talking heads” strips might be an interesting idea… until I remembered that this is not an original idea. Cartoonist Alex Robinson used to do these during his run on Box Office Poison. I always liked the talking heads bits, as they directly revealed things about the characters in the story that might have otherwise gone uncovered.
Boy, I’ve never had this happen to me before, but I got home from work yesterday and was hit with one hell of an attack on my sinuses. It was so bad, I took the day off from work today to sort of recover… most of which involved laying in bed and watching old episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Apologies for skipping out on comics. I’ll have a new one tomorrow and make up the last one in the epic “investigative journalism” run of strips sometime next week.
No chalkboard drawings for this week, folks. With the Ohio Graduation Test going on, there was no place for frivolity… or ANY kind of materials on the walls or boards. I had to spend like an hour covering my walls with newspapers, so as to obscure any work that might give test-taking students an unfair advantage on the exam.
I did have this drawing posted on my door during the second half of the week, when my classes were supposed to be in the computer lab:
Today we’re looking at Wizard: The Guide to Comics, Issue #28. Published by Wizard Press in November 1993, the original cover price for this bad boy was $3.95… I paid a buck.
1993 was a big year for the comics’ industry, in that it was the last great gasp of the speculator boom time which began in the mid 1980′s. In the eighties and nineties, comic book makers were increasingly focusing their product on a collector’s market rather than a broad readership. Companies introduced a variety of gimmicks to get their fans to buy multiple copies of the same book. Some were sold in pre-sealed polybags to force collectors to buy two copies. Other comics ran with multiple variant covers, throwing completists into a buying frenzy. Superhero comics were published with an incredible amount of hype… and VERY little in the way of substance. Wizard Magazine became a key part of this hype machine, not only in their reporting, but also in their price guide.
It was for this very reason I chose to write about Wizard #28. I wanted to see what excesses the comics industry was peddling in ’93 and if there was anything on offer that had substance. I should also, before we get into the actual content of the magazine, confess something: As a kid, Wizard Magazine was a BIG DEAL for me and my friends. We read it to pieces. I saved every issue of Wizard and kept them on my bookshelf. Without the Internet, it was very hard to socialize your love of comics… and for good or ill, Wizard filled that role for me as a kid.
Wizard’s editorial style leant itself to the teenage mindset pretty heavily, as you’ll see in this post. I have some residual nostalgic love for the magazine, even though it was truly brain-dead and heinous at times.
Check out this sweet prize I won. Some of you might remember, I collect Minimates on and off. Diamond Select Toys and Collectables, the company that distributes Minimates, had a contest a few weeks ago. You could enter simply by posting a link to their website on your Facebook page. I did, and I won!
The first part of the prize was awesome but… unwieldy.
I got two GIGANTIC posters. Seriously, their eight feet long and three feet wide. Here’s one of ‘em.
I have no idea what I am going to do with either of these things, but they’re quite cool. I also received a box full of Minimates:
A bunch of them are from the recent Marvel v. Capcom line of Minimates. I should say, this is a line I wouldn’t have bought myself, as I already have all the Marvel character I want/need and I don’t have much interest in video games. Having seen the toys now, I am really glad I got these. The Marvel characters are quite well-designed and although I don’t know many of the video game guys, I was pleasantly surprised to find one of the characters was Arthur. He’s the knight from the Ghouls and Goblins game I used to play as a kid. I also received a really cool stealth jet from the Minimates M.A.X line. It’s quite a neat toy, with removable wings that attach to an included Minimate-sized backpack.
To be perfectly honest with you… although the big posters and toys were great, I was FAR more excited about the other part of the prize. Art Asylum sent me a couple of pieces of control art they use to design and finalize the toys. They sent me two of these drawings and I couldn’t be more pleased with them. They’re all drawn in pencil.
The first one is clearly Wolverine, in his civvies.
…and the second is Zuul, a.k.a. Dana Barrett!
Anyone whose read this blog for longer than a week knows how big a fan I am of Ghostbusters. This control art is really cool, especially since I happen to own the Zuul/Dana Minimate, and I could compare and contrast.
At any rate. many thanks to Art Asylum, Diamond Select Toys and Collectables, and Zach Oat for the cool prizes.