Separated at Birth

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe and Richard Corben from Creepy #67 (Warren Publications, December 1974)


The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe and Richard Corben from Haunt of Horror: Edgar Allan Poe #1 (Marvel Publishing, July 2006)

(Click through to see the images large and joined, for your scholarly edification and Corbenage.)


Captain Marvel

CAPTAIN MARVEL. Debuted 1940, Fawcett Publications: One of my all-time favorite superhero comics.


SHAZAM (formerly known as Captain Marvel). Debuting 2012, DC Comics: …What the fuck?!?!?!


“This is a one-shot from DC’s continuing attempts to drag the Marvel Family into the mainstream as represented by the shared universe of DC Comics superheroes. I’m sure comics like this have an audience that loves them and that some of the creators do a very nice job, but these always seem wrong to me on a fundamental level, like trying to work Big Bird into episodes of Mad Men just because of an accident that gives them shared ownership.”

            — Tom Spurgeon, 25 January 2011 on Shazam #1, 2011.


Alien / Aliens

So, I was looking at BANANA ALIEN today, and it got me musing…


Some things to think about while watching

ALIEN (1979, dir: Ridley Scott)

  • The first time you watch the movie, you think the survivor is going to be the handsome captain played by Tom Skerritt. Instead, it is Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) — a female.
  • The name of the ship’s computer is Mother.
  • Ripley refers to the Alien as “you bitch.”
  • The underside of the facehugger alien looks like a vagina.
  • The function of the facehugger vagina is to impregnate a male.
  • The character Lambert is impaled by the Alien through her vagina.
  • The opening scenes showing the ships halls and cryogenic sleep pods resemble traveling through a birth canal to wombs.
  • The android ash tries to suffocate Ripley with a rolled up (i.e. phallic) skin mag.


Some things to think about while watching

ALIENS (1986, dir: James Cameron)

  • People run around and shoot shit.




Confessions of a Corben Addict

So I was supposed to be writing some WCT material during my lunch break today, but I decided I’d go for a walk instead, and found myself strolling to a Metal shop called “Blasphemy” which I pass every morning on the way to work but have never been inside.

I had assumed from the window displays that the shop only sold Metal paraphernalia like key chains, shirts, and the like, so I was surprised to find a few shelves full of CDs as well.

The CDs were not comprehensive or very well organized — vaguely alphabetical — but I started flipping through them somewhat seriously. I’ve been having painful cravings lately to hear any new shred guitar Metal (my three-year-old son keeps choosing guitar magazines for me when he goes to the library with the Mrs.), so I was keen to make a DISCOVERY, though I had no idea of what. Nothing catches my interest. How can you tell what it sounds like from the cover?

As I’m about to give up (isn’t that always the way), my eye wanders over to a painted cover of a dragon smoking a pipe on a cliff while a human slave child sweeps up human bones.

Corben. It has to be Corben.

Here’s what happens:

1) I have never heard of this band before, and the photos on the back are dubious, but someone from the shop has put a handwritten sticker on the jewel case that says: “BRILLIANT POWER METAL!” Well, that’s my kind of Metal, and it means someone in the store has actually listened to the thing and been inspired enough to recommend it to people.

2) I check the inside credits (there’s no shrink wrap). It is indeed Corben. My skin is starting to warm with the excitement of the find.

3) The CD is $28.50. That’s a bit pricey. But I’m tempted to buy it. Just for the cover.

4) But is it an original Corben commissioned for the CD, or did they just re-use one of his old paintings?

5) If it’s an old one, will I be able to find it easily elsewhere? Is it in some book of Corben paintings that I can buy for $50 and get 200 paintings?

6) If it’s new for the CD, will I be able to find it cheaper on the internet? If I can’t find it online (highly possible given how obscure it looked) and I come back to Blasphemy another day will it still be here? It’s so obscure that no one else could possibly want it, but — by god —  THAT COVER!! It might tempt someone else anyway. Should I hide it somewhere in the middle of the stack? What if somebody still finds it?

7) Everything about the CD is incongruous. They’ve got a Power Metal name (Heaven’s Gate), a Sleaze Metal apostrophe in the album title (Livin’ In Hysteria), and a dragon cover that’s played for laughs.

8 ) The CDs in this shop are not shrink-wrapped. I don’t even know if it’s used or new. Should I pay $28.50 for a (possibly) used CD?

9) Do I even have enough money to buy it? The bank account is a bit low. Do they take credit cards here? Wait, maybe I’m carrying enough cash.

10) I have to buy it. I don’t even know if I’m ever going to listen to it, but I have to have it for the cover.

11) I take it to the counter. I have enough cash. The guy can’t stop looking at the cover and laughing either. “I’ve never heard of these guys, but that dragon smoking the pipe!”

Tell me about it.




UPDATE 1: The piece was apparently indeed created in 1984 as an art print and then appropriated by the band in 1991. It’s called “Blue Dragon”:

UPDATE 2: The album is excellent. I’m thrilled to have found it and bought it on impulse.



"Perseus Freeing Andromeda"

"The Union of Earth and Water"

"Venus, Cupid, Bacchus and Ceres"


From "The Bodyssey"

From "DEN 1: Neverwhere"

From "The Last Voyage of Sindbad" aka "New Tales of the Arabian Nights"


Yes, I am petty.

So… I was somewhat looking forward to the above upcoming Superman one-shot. It was written by Martin (“Marty”) Pasko as part of DC’s nostalgia-driven “Retrograde” mini-event this month – a last hurrah before the big line wide reboot coming next month. It’s a series of one-shots that’s supposed to feature artists and writers (when available) who worked on various DC characters in the 70s, 80s, and 90s writing those same characters again in stories set in those decades, and presented as if they were written and drawn back then. This event was announced back in April, well before the reboot news hit, but it’s obvious looking back that they planned it to sequence this way. (The reboot, of course, should have hit back in 1985 after Crisis on Infinite Earths, but that’s another blog post.)

Marty Pasko wrote Superman stories in the late 70s / early 80s, back when the character was under the editorship of Julius Schwartz. Julie’s Superman was my first Superman, and was possibly one of the worst interpretations of the character in his history, usually only tolerable when Curt Swan was on art duties. Still, I couldn’t / can’t stop reading it. You read one, and it’s, like, “That was complete shit! Maybe I’ll buy another one!” “DC Retroactive: Superman – The 70s” is the kind of comic they make for guys just like me.

But, the thing is: I am now boycotting this comic.

Yes, you heard me right, Crime Fans. Pick yourselves up off the floor. I’m boycotting it! There’s no way I’m even flipping through this thing any more. Why? Because of recent comments by Marty Pasko about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

If you REALLY wanna interview someone who’s a creator of TMNT as we know it, f*** Eastman & Laird; talk to David Wise

TMNT was a lame, amateurish B&W indie when TV ani producer Fred Wolf bought the option for chump change. No key TMNT branding element came from Eastman or Laird–not Turtles’ personalities or any shtik like pizza thing. Every TMNT thing that was leveraged 4 big licensing bux came from the cartoon, not the stupid, insipidl B&W indie comix. TMNT works almost exclusively thanx 2 creative innovations by the brilliant David Wise

How do I know all this? I wrote the 3rd TMNT episode of the ongoing series (i.e., after David Wise’s 5-part “pilot”) & a few more TMNTs, & I can swear that what made TMNT huge & famous was what David brought to it. Why? Bcoz I consulted comix AS WELL AS David’s pilot script & bible & the comix were useless as ref. 4 series that estabed property. Fanboys hate hearing this, but most peeps who get “Created By” cred have high-powered lawyers who fuck over collaborators.


 Whoa, whoa, whoa! Slow down there, Marty.

1) However “lame” or “amateurish” or TMNT might have been, I don’t think Pasko should be going around pointing fingers when at the same period of time he was writing complete fucking corporate rubbish aimed at six-year-olds. At least TMNT was self-published.

2) How much more artistic merit did TMNT the animation have over TMNT the comic? I mean, really? This is like Pac Man The Cartoon (the pot) calling  Pac Man the Game (the kettle) black.

3) How much of the Superman comics of the 70s got used in the Christopher Reeve movie?

4) Most Importantly: TMNT inspired the catastrophic self-publishing boom and bust of the 80s from which comics never full recovered. But that Turtles money also led to foundation of:

a) The Xeric Foundation, which helped dozens of now-vital cartoonists get on their feet.

b) Tundra Publishing, which – though short-lived and insane – brought us Dave McKean’s Cages, Understanding Comics, Al Columbia, From Hell, Lost Girls, Skin, and more.

Eastman and Laird – whatever their missteps – have been vital to the development of alternative comics, and they deserve respect for that. What has Pasko done for the development of comics as an art form? Nothing. With “Retroactive,” Pasko is going back to the artistically bankrupt corporate sludge gutter once again, so you deserve the fucking, Mister Pasko, not Eastman and Laird.


P.S. Even though he’s writing the Punisher and I suffer from Punisher-itis, I boycotted all of Jason Aaron’s comics a while back too. Though for different reasons, you can probably guess why.

Superman by Marty Pasko and a Committee, not at all like...

... "stupid" and "insipid" TMNT comics by Eastman and Laird.


Gaze into the Fist of Dredd

"Gaze into the Fist of Dredd" by John Wagner & Alan Grant and Brian Bolland. From "Judge Death Lives" (2000 AD #224-228). IPC Magazines, 1981.


One Punch

"One Punch" by Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire & Al Gordon. From "Gray Life Gray Dreams" (Justice League #5). DC Comics, 1987.



"Burn" by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. From "For The Man Who Has Everything..." (Superman Annual #11). DC Comics, 1985.


Hot Roll Grab

"Hot Roll Grab" by Jack Kirby. From "Street Code" (Argosy vol 3 #2). 1990.



My Favorite Psychiatrists! (Excluding My Big Brother)

Dr. Jonathan Crane / The Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) from Batman Begins (2005). Created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane in World's Finest #3 (1941, DC Comics)

Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) from The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Created by Thomas Harris in the novel Red Dragon (1981).

Dr. Philip K. Decker (David Cronenberg) from Nightbreed (1990). Created by Clive Barker in the novel Cabal (1988).


(P.S. I started reading Cabal last night, which is what brought this on. Nightbreed was one of my favorite movies for many years after it came out. I really ought to watch it again some time…)