Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Sticker Shock

Christmas has come and gone and now we are left with the usual duties of taking down the decorations and playing with the toys Santa brought the kids.  While rooting through various stocking stuffers I came across this pack of seemingly normal Superman stickers:

So apparently it was part of the promotion of the 2006 film "Superman Returns" starring Christopher Reeve doppelganger Brandon Routh.  So, ok, that's not too weird.  You sometimes see older stuff pop up in Dollar Stores and whatnot.  But upon closer inspection (and speaking of Reeve), you start to notice this guy:

Remember him?  (Hint: He wasn't in "Superman Returns")

It's always nice to see the guy but it does seem odd for him to pop up here.  But that's not the weirdest thing.  A few stickers below is this guy:

If you don't immediately recognize him, here's the pic that the sticker was taken from:

That's Tom Welling who spent 10 years playing Clark Kent and about 90 seconds playing Superman in Smallville.  The image itself seems to be a fan art Photoshop that would be found if, say, a bootleg sticker company did an image search for "Superman."

So there you have it.  I prefer to think that these represent a Crisis-type of "Superman of Multiple Earths" sticker set rather than just a lazy bootleg set.  And thus, fantasy become reality. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Best of 2016

Yeah, yeah...2016 has been officially declared awful but maybe we can focus on the bright side by looking back at some of the best comics of the year.  I've compiled a list of completely arbitrary categories to highlight what I feel are the best comics of 2016.  Let's get started! (WARNING: SPOILERS START NOW!!!!)

Bets Inter-Company Cross-Over: Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW & DC)

Everything gets thrown against the wall in this team-up of legends and a lot of it sticks.   The Turtles do a little universe hopping and pay Gotham City a visit.  When the Shredder and Ra's al Ghul decide to become BFFs to use the residents of Arkham Asylum as a grotesquely mutated army, Batman and Robin must team up with the boys in green to stop them.

There's a lot of fan service and even more goofy fun in the six issue mini-series.  And its success has even spawned a spin-off of sorts.  Now if we could only get an animated version.

Best Updated Version of a Classic Character: Klaus (BOOM! Studios)

Revamping Santa Claus with a new bad-ass origin story could have gone terribly wrong in a hundred different ways.  But Grant Morrison pulled in off in this mini-series that was first released around the holidays last year and wrapped up around midyear.

In what has been described as "Santa: Year One", Santa learns how to become Santa by kicking ass, experimenting with magic, and taking down a tyrannical despot and his evil demon master all while getting the girl and delivering toys to the good little boys and girls.

Best Solo Avenger Title: The Vision (Marvel)

The Vision is a well meaning guy whose life always seems to go horribly wrong.  So he decides to decrease the drama in his life by settling down, starting a family and moving to the suburbs.  And then it all goes horribly wrong.

The series is a mix of faux suburban creepiness and the slow disintegration of the American Dreams of artificial people who can't seem to get away from their very real problems.

Best Team Up: The Lone Ranger/Green Hornet (Dynamite)

Familial bonds are used instead of inter-dimensional shenanigans to bring together two legendary heroes.  The story is densely packed with both real historical figures and various pulp characters and brings an elderly, retired Lone Ranger in contact with his nephew, The Green Hornet in 1936 for an epic adventure with roots in the old west and potential worldwide consequences.

Elliot Ness, Bat Masterson, Jesse Owens, the Cavendish Gang, Al Capone, Teddy Roosevelt and many others get mixed up in the adventure.  There are tons of details and Easter Eggs in the story which are outlined in each issue by writer Michael Uslan.

Best All Ages Title: Scooby-Doo Team-Up (DC)

Imagine if, each month, the Scooby Gang teamed up with various DC Comics heroes to solve mysteries and save the day.  Well, I don't know why I phrased that sentence that way because obviously my next pick involves just such a scenario.

Whether it's Shaggy & Velma getting the powers of Captain Marvel or Scooby and the gang working with other mutts like Krypto, Ace the Bathound and G'Nort, the series always has a fun angle on DC Comics concepts.

Best Indie Title: The Wendy Project (Emet Comics)

A contemporary version of young Wendy Darling grapples with processing her feelings after one of her brothers disappears after a car accident.  While he is presumed dead she uses the journal prescribed by her therapist to help her struggle to separate fantasy from reality.

This is a melancholy version of Peter Pan and an observance of death and life, survival and sanity.  It's a great mini-series targeted at teenage readers.

So those are my picks for 2016.  There were tons of others I could have picked but these are the ones that stood out to me.  What did I miss? What did I get right?  What did I get wrong?