Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Amazing Spider-Man King-Sized Special # 5


Here’s one from 1968 that I’ve always felt summed up what was grand about Stan Lee and Marvel Comics. With a script by Lee and artwork by his brother Larry Lieber with “Jazzy” John Romita credited as “Chaotic Consultant,” this is the untold story about Peter Parker’s parents. The artwork is great and Lee’s story is typical – suspenseful and meaningful without being preachy. Of course there was a moral undertone to everything that Lee wrote during this period. Forty pages of artwork and story with an appearance from a major Marvel villain, none other than the Red Skull. Believing his parents to be traitors, Parker soon learns the truth, but not before the Red Skull attempts to squash him. Naturally, the Red Skull is verbose and full of himself. Upon seeing Spider-Man for the first time he says: “Why, compared to my accursed enemy, Captain America, you’re no more than a spindly scarecrow! I’ll effortlessly destroy you – without the necessity of sullying my hands!” Spider-Man has other ideas, however, and the Red Skull soon learns that our friendly neighborhood web-slinger is light on his feet and equally as resourceful as Captain America. A classic tale from Marvel’s vaults, I don’t know if this issue has ever been reprinted, but it remains one of my all time favorites. Excelsior!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Thomas McNulty’s Rules for Writing



1: Keep a loaded .45 on the desk when you are writing.

2: Ignore Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules for Writing. Those rules worked effectively for him, but should not be considered gospel. Follow your own path.

3: Stomp the living bejesus out of anyone that quotes from Stephen King’s “On Writing” with religious fervor. I mean break their ribs, smash cartilage, and chain-whip the blathering sissies until they are on their knees and wheezing through cracked teeth, blood dribbling off their split lips.

4: Avoid joining Yahoo chat groups. If by some chance you have a weak moment and join, thus commencing with the usual waste-of-time know-it-all postings, then use the .45 and end your misery.

5: Read everything you can, as much as you can, of every type of literature available, especially if it’s not your favorite genre or style, and comprehend what you read. Do this as a part of your daily routine.

6: Write every day.

7: Immediately stop believing what you are being told through the News Media such as CNN or Fox News. Think for yourself. Educate yourself by living your own life and taking responsibility for your own decisions. You’ll be a better writer and a better person because of this.

8: Don’t waste your time making snarky comments on FaceBook about cultural events such as Ben Affleck being cast as Batman. Just grow up and get over it. You’ve got a loaded .45 sitting next to you and it’s time to man-up and get a life.

9: Regarding that .45, learn to take it apart and clean it, put it back together again and shoot it accurately. It may come in handy during the next zombie apocalypse, providing, of course, that you don’t sissy-up and shoot yourself.

10: Don’t listen to what other writers say are their “rules for writing,” including this one. Create your own rules and make them work. See Rule # 2 above for further reference.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Robyn Hood from Zenescope Comics



Zenescope Comics has been reinventing Grimm’s Fairy tales and producing a quirky but vibrant line of comics. This is the Trade Paperback of the first five issues of Robyn Hood, a re-telling of the classic legend. This time around Robyn is female and survived a beating by some locals who will most decidedly be the object of her revenge. With her mother dead, Robyn is transported to the land of Myst where she encounters the Merry Men in Sherwood Forest.  Apparently, Robyn is a “chosen one” – obviously a plot string that will play out as the series unfolds. After assisting the Merry Men she transports back to modern times where she exacts a nasty revenge on the man that had beaten her. The series is set up so that her actions in both worlds will have an effect on her further adventures. Without revealing too much, a plot twist with Little John in Sherwood Forest took me by surprise. The story is credited to Joe Brusha, Raven Gregory, Ralph Tedesco, and Pat Shand with each chapter written by Shand. The artwork is by Dan Glasl, Larry Watts, and Rob Dumo. The Trade Paperback reprints the sexy cover artwork including alternate covers. I’m not clear how these characters will fit in with the “universe” from the other Grimm’s Fairy Tales titles from Zenescope, and I’m not sure that it matters. Ultimately, this take on “Robyn Hood” is highly enjoyable. There is nothing here that requires deep analytics, but rather think of this as Saturday morning matinee with a buxom babe as the hero. Saucy and fun!