Friday, December 17, 2010

Cosmic Cognizance: Thanos

It's time for a new post my spaced out cadets.  This time around I'm going to be talking about one of my very favorite villains and often a major cosmic threat to the Marvel Universe, Thanos, the Mad Titan!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Collection Fled Across the Desert and The Goog Followed.

Welcome back friends, to this 51st rambling of mine!  I am sorry to say I missed the milestone of my 50th post with my last blog, but we're here now so let's carry on, shall we?

Today I am happy to share with you a newly completed collection, but isn't comics this time.  This week I completed my collection of Isaac Asimov's The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction containing the original printing of Stephen King's "The Gunslinger".  I have been after these books for some time, not entirely continuously, but here and there for well over a decade or more likely closer to 15 years or so.

Monday, September 6, 2010

And the Survivor of Their Epic Battle Must Face-- The COMICS BLOG!

A comics blog?  I know, it's been ages.  No excuses.  So on to the blog:

This time out, I'm going to review the very first comic I bought as a collectible.  Up until this comic, I had only been buying new books, of course, making this purchase did not open any doors to collecting.  That didn't happen until fairly recently.  But I was totally smitten with Wolverine at the time and had to have this book:

Incredible Hulk #181 from 1974

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cosmic Cognizance: Galactus

Today we are going to take a look at your favorite "Devourer of Worlds" and mine, The Mighty Galactus!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

They Came In Peace?

Hello hello and hello!  After far too long of a break I am finally back with a new post.  Time just always has that way of slipping on by.  Things have been cooking though, so I have the beginnings of a new collection to share.

I have always been fascinated by the old "Mars Attacks!" cards that came out in 1962.  I know my father told me about them when I was young, but I can't remember what prompted the telling.  Either I had heard about them and asked or he mentioned them and then had to explain the reference, most likely the latter.  Either way, I had been interested in them partly because they were something that sounded so cool but were far enough in the past that I would probably never catch a glimpse of them.  Fast forward 30 or so years and thanks to the intertubes of the net here, every card is available for drooling over.  I first looked them up years ago, then promptly forgot about them.  I wasn't into collecting much, I didn't have any disposable income (I still can't say much for that, but I have learned to manage it better, heh), so I didn't dwell on the cards.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Durian: Where Fruit is King.

It's been a busy time for your brave blogger.  I met George Romero recently (see previous blog), Elise and I continue to work away at wedding plans, for example see THIS post on Elise's blog about a stamp I designed and had made, we both saw and enjoyed Iron Man 2 and this past weekend I had the opportunity to finally try the infamous Durian (a fruit so controversial I feel it needs to be capitalized) AND I made a new batch of Bacon Bourbon!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Staying Scared!

Woah, time sure gets away from you!  As I signed in to write up this blog I was shocked to see that it's been just over a month since my last post.  My apologies.  So to make it up for you, I have a fresh, brand-spankin-new blog!  Ok, so that's not much of a gift but hey this is free, you get what you pay for.

This very afternoon, I got to meet and shake the hand one of my favorite directors!  George Romero, director of some of my favorite movies, like Creepshow, Night of The Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, was in the Harvard Square Newbury Comics.  He was there promoting his new movie, Survival of The Dead and he was signing!  I found out about it just yesterday and luckily I am one train stop away from Harvard, so I was able to get there pretty quickly.  I secured a spot about 20 people in from the beginning.  I am glad I didn't wait much longer because the line quickly started to snake all the way out the store and was halfway down the ramp of the Garage when I left!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Movie Review: Clash of The Titans

Another blog?  Three in one week?!  Has the world gone mad?!  Well, sure but no more than usual.  This time I have a new movie review for you, my faithful followers.

Elise and I have just returned from seeing:

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Secret of the Sorcerer's Blog!

Bonjour my batty blogee buddies!  It's time for another Comic Review!  I know, it's been a while.  You know the excuses by now so I'll spare you.  I finally had a few minutes to spare to read this comic, I had it out on display a few months ago and it's been sitting out waiting to be read and blogged about since then!  It's about time I get to it!

A short note first, I always try to scan my copy of the comic being reviewed, but my scanner is not cooperating. As a matter of fact, the next order of business is to look for a new scanner.  So today this cover is one I got off the intertubes.  It's close enough in condition to my own, so it's good enough fer ya!  Nah, you guys deserve better, but this is the best I got...So I present unto you:

World's Finest Comics #103 from 1959

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New Tattoo 4 U!

Greetings blogees!  I have been hard at work coming up with a new tattoo design.  I think I have finalized it, there are a couple of things I need to tweak, but I think I have finally hit a milestone in the design.  I was so excited I decided to share it a bit early!

Click through to see!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Boxing in the Long House

Is that title confusing? Don't worry, all will made clear!

Last weekend Elise and I were discussing way to improve our "studio" room. This is the room that holds our computers and art and craft supplies and comics. Plus junk. Lot of random junk. One of the many eye sores in the room is my big collection of 18 long boxes and 2 short boxes of comics. Elise has 2 long boxes (only one remains full).

As we talked I told her about some new boxes that are actually drawers. So instead of having to move box after box after box to put away comics you just pull out the drawer and you're done! Brilliant! Wonderful! Expensive!

Yeah, the really good drawer boxes are about $20 a pop, where as a regular long box runs about $7. I wasn't ready to drop that kind of cash but I was sorely tempted! Tempted enough to look for some alternatives online. I found some really nice custom made wood cabinets...with no price listed. This of course translates to "if you have to ask, you can't afford it". So I kept looking, I found a few solutions, but not many. Some people use filing cabinets which are slightly less ugly than a bunch of dirty long boxes, but they are also expensive and heavy and not really ideally suited to holding comics.
Surprisingly there aren't many clever solutions to comic book storage to be found online! But I did manage to run across BCW Supplies. They had a version of the comic book drawers that were cheaper and just as sturdy than the original creators of the Drawer Boxes. The bonus is that BCW gives you the option of just buying the housing, so you can use the long boxes you currently have (minus the lids)! I decided to give it a go and Elise was taken in by the black plastic short boxes, which I also considered but their cost each was considerably more expensive than what I had planned and they didn't really solve the problem of easy box access.
Shipping was pretty expensive, but I did order 20 boxes (taking advantage of their volume discount) and it was a combined weight of nearly 50lbs!

The pile looked more impressive in person...

Putting the boxes together was actually pretty easy and I'd say the whole process took no more than 15-20 minutes which was far less than I had anticipated.

Once everything was switched out (with a healthy dose of swearing and knocking stuff over) we both felt there was a big improvement, it was much less messy looking and more organized, if a bit imposing too.

Upon some testing I found the drawers were not quite what I expected. Although to be honest, looking back, what I was expecting was somewhat silly, given the materials.

I assumed it would be a piece of cake to pull the drawers out and generally it is, it's not more difficult to move the bottom box than the top, but the drawer housing doesn't change the weight of the long box, so you are still tugging on a 30lb box! It can be a bit of a challenge but it's much better than moving 3 whole boxes to get to the one on the bottom.
The houses are very sturdy, even with all the weight of 3 boxes above them they do their jobs wonderfully.
One other thing, or two, that I noticed last night is that you have to support the heavier boxes, they don't hang out of the housing very well and when you do pull them out the comics inside tend to fall forward, making it a bit hard to get new books into anything other than the very front.
I think I just need to fine tune my technique, even if I have to pull the whole drawer out to put some comics away it'll still be FAR easier than it used to be.

So after a bit of rearranging and ample use of the label maker, we now have this:

Better, not perfect but much better.  As of now, I'm pretty happy and am looking forward to putting away new comics!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cosmic Cognizance: The Living Tribunal!

Welcome back my favorite four-color fanatics! I have a new Cosmic Cognizance character to captivate your craniums! ...whew, I think I almost over alliterated there.

Ok, so today I have decided to talk about the the biggest of the big, the most powerful of the powerful. No other being, save one he himself has only ever hinted to, holds as much power over the whole of the Marvel multi-verse. I give unto you...

First appearing in Strange Tales #157 in 1967 he revealed himself to Dr. Strange and threatened to destroy Earth unless Strange was able to prove to him that earth was capable of more than just evil. Pretty standard comic book fare really and a bit of an overused Stan Lee plot device, but eventually the character was elevated far above his origins.

Today he is the law of all that is. His word and decisions ultimately dictate reality and not just the main Marvel Universe (aka 616) but for the entirety of the multi-verse. His rulings and powers are able to literally chance the laws of physics. The Tribunal, for example, even declared that the all powerful Infinity Gems were no longer allowed to work in unison. He was able to be captured by Thanos while Thanos possessed the Infinity Gauntlet, along with just about all of the universe's gods and abstract concepts (most of which will eventually be spotlighted in other CC posts), but Adam Warlock bowed to his judgement when Adam briefly held the Gauntlet, recognizing the Tribunal's ultimate authority in the universe, despite actually being more powerful than the Tribunal at the time.

The three faces of the Living Tribunal represent Equity, Vengeance and Necessity, respectively (I believe that means from left to right in the image). The few times the Living Tribunal has chosen to reveal his covered face to someone, it is always reflection of that character's own face. The face is a "Cosmic Mirror which reminds us to always judge others as we would have ourselves judged."

The Tribunal has hinted that there is One that even he serves. I suspect that this "One" is a fourth-wall breaker. In a Fantastic Four story (FF #511) they manage to get to meet God, who happens to be sitting at a drawing board and speaks and looks exactly like Jack Kirby!

If this is truly who the Living Tribunal is referencing, then I can imagine no greater God to watch over the Marvel U.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Copious Collection Complete!

Good Morning faithful bloggees! It's your humble blogger, The Goog, back for more showing off!

Lately, or well, the past year or so, I have been working to complete a run of The Silver Surfer, Vol. 1. I originally had just assumed such a task was out of my price range so I bought a copy of The Essential Silver Surfer (which collects all 18 issues of the series in an affordable b&w trade). I enjoyed it so much that, just curious, I took a peek at what some issues were going for on Ebay. To my surprise there were quite a few up for very affordable prices...and some not so much. After not too much thought at all, I decided that I'd like to try grabbing a few for my collection. The first issue I snagged was #3, which is the first appearance of Mephisto, Marvel's version of The Devil (or a Devil). I've always like him, so it seemed like a nice book to have. That of course sparked me to keep looking for good deals and slowly I started to piece the collection together.
I tried to only use the money I made from selling unwanted comics on Ebay to buy other (read: better) comics. So for the most part the whole collection was essentially traded, which worked out well for my bank account.

The main challenge about this collection is that when these books were released, 1968-1970, they weren't hugely popular. The Surfer was something of a pop culture figure along with the Hulk and Spidey and was popular with the college crowd but the books were not big sellers, so they didn't print many, making them somewhat scarce now-a-days. But with persistence and patience great deals can be found.

So without further ado, I present:

The latest acquisitions, which have a nice kind of poetry to the idea, were #1 and #18, the first and last issues. I got an amazing deal on #1 which is in fantastic condition and probably worth quite a bit more than what I paid for it. All the books are in pretty nice shape and I'm still giddy about having them in my collection.

So with this second goal complete, my first being collecting every appearance of Adam Warlock, I have decided to take a break from serious collecting. Well, at least until I have more books I want to unload on Ebay or the next Boston Comic-Con in April, which ever comes first!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Harpoon Oyster Stout Tast Test

Happy Friday night everyone! I've been away from blogging for a bit, life's keeping me busy. I have a new drink review for you though, so that should smooth things over until the next comics post. Today I have for you a review of Harpoon Brewery's 100 Barrel line of beers' newest release, Island Creek Oyster Stout.

The 100 Barrel Series is a limited release beer, Harpoon releases new brews every few months. The last release was a Ginger Wheat which was very good, if you look you can probably still find some available. The thing about 100 Barrels is that they only make 100 barrels, so once it's gone it's gone. They have gone back and made some popular releases occasionally, but not often. I believe I have tasted all of the 30 releases, some have been better than others but they are always worth trying.

Ok, on to the beer in question. Yes, the beer is made with real oysters, I remember seeing Harpoon's Facebook updates about harvesting the oysters themselves. I actually don't think I've seen them so excited about a beer before!

So, upon first whif and taste I didn't get much of anything, it smelled like a stout but nothing out of the ordinary. It was a mild first sip and I didn't immediately get any oyster flavors, but on my second taste it finally caught up to me. The aroma was a bit briney and there is a definite sweet brine finish, which is an odd sensation for a stout! The more I drink it the more defined it seems to get. It's salty more than oystery but not unpleasantly salty. I have to say, I wish I had some oysters or even clams to wash down with this beer. It's not a party beer, but it would go very nicely with a few bivalves! Letting the taste sit on my tongue I can finally really get the oyster, I think that I might not enjoy it if I was just handed this drink with no knowledge of what it is. I would put it firmly in the "acquired taste" category, but since I sought the Oyster Stout out, I can't say I'm disappointed.

To sum it all up, Harpoon Island Creek Oyster Stout is not for the weak of heart but if you are looking for something different, you can't get much more of it!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cosmic Cognizance: The Infinity Gems

Welcome to the first entry into a new feature I'm calling, Cosmic Cognizance, where I will focus on some of my favorite of Marvel's Cosmic Superheroes and Super Villains. For my first entry I decided to cover The Infinity Gems. You may ask, "But The Goog, how can gems be a character?!" Go ahead, I'll wait... "Ok!" I'd say "Let me tell you!" The gems are in fact sentient. So there. Ok, now, where to begin?

Let me tell you what each gem is:

Green: The Soul Gem, gives the wielder the mastery of the Soul. It is potentially the most powerful of the gems and over time actually steals the soul of the person using it. It is often referred to as vampiric. Any souls stolen by the gem are not actually consumed but end up in a pocket dimension inside the gem where the soul lives in peace, so not too bad of a trade off for having your soul ripped out of your living body.

Red: The Power Gem, gives the user access to all the power and energy that has ever and will ever exist.

Purple: The Space Gem, provides mastery over space. This allows the user to exist in any an all locations and to warp or rearrange space.

Blue: The Mind Gem, boosts psy powers and allows access to any mind and or dream.

Yellow: The Time Gem, allows control over Time itself. A user could change all time or only local time, for example ageing or de-ageing an individual.

Orange: The Reality Gem, with this gem the user can fulfill any wish even if it contradicts the laws of science, in effect you can bend reality. This gem can not be used on it's own and must be used in conjunction with the other gems.

(a side note, I keep seeing on Wiki that they have the yellow and orange gems reversed. I'm not sure why that is, the comics are pretty clear on which is which, but there you have it)

Ok, when the gems first appeared in the comics, the only one we knew of was the Soul Gem which was given to Adam Warlock by The High Evolutionary. In fact once the other gems started to appear they were just called The Soul Gems.

Thanos later gathered all the gems and siphoned off their power to create a weapon capable of destroying a star. He is stopped by Captain Marvel and Iron Man with the help of a now dead Adam Warlock. Adam manifests in the final moments, using the last of the stolen energy of the Soul gem to turn Thanos into stone.

Eventually the Elders of the Universe gather all of the gems in an attempt to kill Galactus and gain true immortality. They are thwarted by the Silver Surfer and Death herself curses the Elders with immortality. This leaves some of them in eternal torment or robbed of the very thing that gave them their long lives and titles of Elder. A few of the lucky Elders get away and take the gems with them.

Once again, Thanos is resurrected by Mistress Death as her champion and now a bit more wiser, realizes the true potential of the gems. He then sets out on a quest to once again reclaim them and by either besting or tricking the remaining Elders he manages to gather the gems once more and mounts them to his glove, he re-christens them the Infinity Gems and creates the Infinity Gauntlet.
The gauntlet allows Thanos to essentially become a god (his second time holding god-hood actually). He then proceeds to erase half the population of the universe to balance life and death. He captures the living embodiments of all reality (Eternity, Infinity, Death, Galactus, the Celestials, Chaos and Order to name a few) and keeps them prisoner. Eventually he is stopped by Earth's heroes and is thought dead.

As a result of this, a resurrected Adam Warlock claims the Infinity Gauntlet and is allowed audience with the Cosmic heavyweights (since he is now at or above their own level). The Living Tribunal declares that from now on the gems will never be able to be used in unison. Adam agrees and offers to form a Watch to safeguard the gems. He keeps the Soul gem but gives the others to four of his friends, leaving the keeper of the Reality gem a secret. It is eventually revealed that he has entrusted the gem to Thanos himself! Warlock knew Thanos was not dead and entrusted the gem to him also knowing that Thanos would not be stupid enough to try using the gem without the others present. Since the gems also no longer work together and no one would ever attempt to fight Thanos for it, the gem is actually as safe as it could be.

The gems are indeed kept safe for a while until the cancellation of The Infinity Watch where Marvel dumps all the gems AND Adam into the Ultraverse. I won't bother getting into that, no one ever talks about it and I think it's barely cannon. But the gems and Adam all eventually return to the Marvel Universe.

Some time later Galactus decides to collect the gems himself to try to solve his never ending hunger. The gems are not able to fulfill this role and only end up releasing an evil force into the universe which Thanos has to stop (this all happening in Thanos' short lived but excellent title book).

The Gems in their Gauntlet form make an appearance in the JLA/Avengers crossover where Darkseid tries to put them to use only to discover the gems do not function outside of their home universe.

Recently all the gems have come into possession of the Illuminati of the Marvel U. Each member (Iron Man, Professor X, Namor, Dr. Strange, Blackbolt and Reed Richards) keep a gem in secret and have sworn not to use them. Reed had attempted to wish them out of existence but the gems are actually needed for cosmic balance, so his attempt failed. They apparently made an appearance in the limited Pet Avengers series, so I'll have to track those books down!

I believe Reed now keeps the gems in a safe place, where they no doubt wait for the next cosmic crossover!

I think that's about it! There's a bit more I did not mention, but I can leave the details for other posts, I think this one is long enough and this is about as detailed as I can make it with out being TOO dull. At least I hope so!

(Edit: hoo, I should have triple checked this, lots of typos have been now fixed)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Busy But Productive Weekend!

Whew! I'm beat! I just finished a project that Elise and I had been talking about for some time. Said project being a new kitchen floor! We were in the works to have something installed by Home Depot, but that was a major headache and we eventually put it on hold because it had just become too much trouble. We had moved onto our next project of getting some ceiling fans installed. Since we have a concrete ceiling and no existing light fixtures this is not a simple task. We recently found someone that lives in our building and is a contractor, so on our trip back to the Depot to buy some fans for him to install, we stumbled on to some Do-It-Yourself flooring and $80 later we walked off with the means to achieve our original project goal.

This is the before picture (the fridge isn't always that far out, we had moved it away from the wall)
Not very pretty.

Aaaand, 4 hours, one sliced open knuckle and a rip in my pants later, Viola...

Not too shabby! It makes the kitchen much more inviting and more pleasant (and hopefully less blinding when you turn the light on first thing in the morning).

My other project was finished on Saturday. I had decided that I wanted a personalized avatar for use online instead of the "Mad Men"avatar I had been using. I figured it was poor advertising for my art to NOT have a personalized avatar. Elise loved this idea and asked for one for herself too. I had started this project about 2 weeks ago, I had a few bad starts and had wasted a few hours before settling back on my original idea (Illustrator instead of Photoshop). It took me probably close to 12 hours to finish Elise's avatar in the end, but in that time I learned quite a few tricks, so many that once I finished her avatar I started mine and completed it in a half hour! Here are the finished pics:

I think I could continue to tweak Elise's, hers is a bit more complicated than mine (which is more stylized) and I could probably simplify it a bit more, but overall I'm really happy!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Malta Goya!

No, that's not a foreign greeting, it's a drink. From Goya to be exact. I have seen this malt soda in the supermarket for years but have never tried it. I have heard from a few people that had tried the drink that it was gross. I have had Goya's other sodas many times, my favorites are the pineapple and coconut sodas, and their ginger beer is surprisingly spicy!

So this past week while making a quick food run I decided I was going to give it a try since all I would be out is a whole .59!

I was expecting something something super sweet due to it's very dark, almost stout-like color. It turns out the soda has a nice barley flavor and is lightly carbonated. It's not overly sweet and actually quiet pleasant especially if you like barley. It reminds me of the way the house smells when brewing beer with my friend!

I'm sorry it took me so long to give this Malt Soda a try, I don't think I'll drink it a lot, it's got a lot of sugar in it and hardly a health drink but it's definitely going to move into the occasional rotation along with the other Goya drinks I like and it is most certainly not gross.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Header!

I was reading a Marvel Two-In-One this morning and came across this weird little ad in one of the pages, I've run into it quite a few times, but this time I thought it would be a fun experiment to try to make it my new header! I think it came out pretty well!

Here is the original ad, for comparison:

So? What do you think?

Friday, January 1, 2010

WHAT IF Spider-Man JOINED My Blog?

Hello and Happy New Year my loyal legions! Welcome to the futuristic world of 2010 AND a new comic blog! I thought I'd skip my theme of alternating Marvel and DC and go with a vaguely New Years theme. I thought Marvel's What If would be appropriate, since we do not yet know what this brand spanking new year will bring.

So I promise I'll go back to DC next time, maybe I'll even go with DC for the next two entries! Until then, I present you with...

What If #1 from 1976

I have always loved the What If comics. They take a familiar and popular story and give it a twist, so we get to see what might have happened if events played out differently. Sometimes it's a major change, other times it's a very small event that snowball's a character's life out of true. The series, and all What If's in Vol. 1 and 2, is hosted by Uatu, The Watcher.
For Marvel's first entry into the this new format, they picked a scene from The Amazing Spider-Man #1. In the book, Peter Parker is still very new to the world of super-heroing and decides to try out for a job with the Fantastic Four. He's thinking it'll pay more than any other lame job he could find, so he sneaks into the Baxter Building in an effort to impress the FF. They are more than ready for him and quickly catch the inexperienced Spidey. Spider-Man equally quickly free's himself and bounces around Reed Richard's lab showboating and trying to convince the FF that they'll be even better with a fifth member.
Once things start to calm down, Sue reveals that the Fantastic Four are a non-profit! Pete is so disappointed that he storms off. Now in the original comic, Spidey swings off into the city in a huff while the FF stand around dumbfounded. In this reality, Sue calls out to Spidey and he decides he was a bit rude after all and comes back. They then eventually decide to let Spider-Man join.
This is where things start to get really kooky, when J. Jonah Jamison sees that Spider-Man is now with the Fantastic Four he totally changes his tune about the ol' Web Head and becomes his biggest fan. Spider-Man's rogue gallery starts to change, the Chameleon, who was planning on impersonating Spidey had to scrap all his plans now that he's with the FF and falls into obscurity, and the Vulture is no match for The Fantastic Five and is quickly tossed into jail.

When things start to get really serious (well as serious as they can get with the Red Ghost and his super monkeys) Reed starts to ask Sue to stay behind since they have Spidey to help out. Reed is only trying to protect Sue but she is starting to get jealous of Peter. This leaves her vulnerable when the Puppet Master shows up. He has already taken control of Namor who has had a long standing crush on the Invisible Girl. Sue also has a bit of a crush on Subby and feeling rejected by Reed and the rest of the FF, runs off to meet with him. This is of course a trap and the mind-controlled Namor kidnaps Sue to the bottom of the ocean.

The Puppet Master uses a hologram of Namor to taunt the rest of the FF into challenging Namor for Sue. The FF race to Namor's lair and there is a huge fight involving all sorts of weird sea creatures and a giant octopus. Eventually Namor and Sue break free of the Puppet Master's influence but when given the chance to return home, Sue actually decides to stick with Namor! She goes through some kind of experimental shell-like device called the, uh, Shell Device, and is given gills. When Namor realizes that Sue is dying by not being in the water he picks up the device and throws it through the underwater dome "saving" Sue.

At this point the rest of the, once again, Fantastic Four cut their losses and escape too. Reed tries to take solace in the hope that Sue will be Namor's conscience and help to protect the surface world from Namor's (almost indiscriminate) wrath. Spider-Man laments to Johnny Storm that maybe if he had never joined the group that none of this would have happened, but Johnny just tells him to relax and "like the song says--What ever will be, will be."

Whew! Did I mention this was a double issue? Well, it was! You can rarely go wrong with a What If comic and this was a whole lotta fun! I hope you guys had as much fun reading my summary as I had trying to decipher the events.

Happy New Year! See you next time!