That time I met the Man…

Yup, that up there is me a few years back at Fan Expo where I got to meet Stan Lee… a day I have not forgotten, and surely never will.


It’s not a very long story, really, but it’s one of the more vivid memories I have on hand. I mean why wouldn’t it be? There I was, this young adult finally getting to meet the mastermind behind a large portion of my childhood, not to mention my entire being as a whole.

It was Fan Expo 2014. I’d purchased a package deal that was something along the lines of “Brunch with Stan Lee.” Essentially myself and a hundred or so other people got to go into this conference room where there was coffee and snacks waiting, and then we all got to sit down and have a Q&A with Stan.

You know, I feel like I take this experience for granted sometimes, because the whole small scale Q&A thing sounds pretty baller when you write it down, but anyways-

So we all got seated and in comes Stan.

I’ve seen and met my share of celebrities, and there’s always that awe of actually seeing that person moving and speaking in a completely new and unique way unlike anything I’ve seen nor will again, but there was something about first seeing Stan that was truly magical. There was a marriage of disbelief and anxiety to actually be standing in the same room as this guy, and I think it was something about the environment of this little room as opposed to an enormous convention hall that made it all the more intimate. I feel most people who have had the honor of sharing a similar experience might agree.

Stan then sat down and with a moderator went about answering questions from just about everybody in the room (anybody willing to ask one, I assume, because I’m pretty sure we were all given the opportunity to deliver a question). All the while he was doing this there were people going around the room collecting the items we’d all brought for Stan to autograph so as to save time. It certainly did. I mean, I would’ve loved to have been there with him when he signed my copy of The Amazing Spider-Man #90, but I don’t mind that so much in the end.


What I am always proud to say is that I was the only person in the room that didn’t ask Stan a question about comic books or the characters he’d created. Most of what Stan had to tell us that day was a variation of things we’ve all heard him say in the hundreds of interviews he’s had over the years. My question, however, was about someone we ought to all know he was a fan of, and that was Errol Flynn, simply: “What’s your favorite Errol Flynn movie?”

I myself am a bit of an Errol Flynn fan, and for all his movies my personal favorite is Captain Blood (great book, too!), so when he replied with, “Oh, Errol, what a guy – Captain Blood! Robin Hood! He’s just amazing in everything he does…” (I can’t remember what more he said specifically), I was completely pleased by the fact that he spoke the sea-faring character’s name first.

Once the Q&A was wrapped up we all formed a line and got to take a picture with Stan, as shown above. It was a brief exchange. I got to shake his hand, thank him, to which he simply smiled it off with a “Don’t mention it,” and I was one my more than merry way. All told the whole experience was no more than an hour, but what an impact…

It’s been a year since Stan Lee set off on that great adventure into the unknown. Seriously. A whole year without Stan? Is that even possible? I suppose it is… but for all that gloom, there’s one bright side to it all, and I think it’s that Stan’s legacy has only gotten stronger.

More than ever people recount their love for this man and what he taught them, and carry it with them in the world they tread. I for one hope to uphold the values Stan taught me when I was a kid, passing it off to the next generation and those thereafter. Most of all, I’ll keep on smiling just as Stan did so well. Lord knows we need more smiles.

TL;DR Score: “Never the end.”

Dead Man Logan #12

The end of an era….


This final installment in the saga of Old Man Logan was a bit anticlimactic for me only because I’d waited so long since reading the previous issue to tackle this one. It’s brief, and to the point, though if read in tandem with the entirety of the story as it’s clearly intended I’m sure it plays better.

Logan, Dani Cage (wielding Mjolnir), and Bruce Jr. defeat Sabretooth and Mr. Sinister without a hitch, leaving just enough time for Wolvy to pass away beside his family’s grave site and to be mourned by his allies.

That’s it.

I think my only real complaint is that it felt like they were just going through the motions at this point. Not to say that there was a lack of care, just that there were no surprises. That can be nice sometimes, but considering the few years that this story has now been running I personally felt it deserved a little more than the bare minimum.

All together I’d be willing to retread the Old Man Logan story again down the road, and who knows, maybe this issue will play a little better by then. For now the best thing I can think of is that I’m saving a few bucks on my pull now.

TL;DR Score: I mean… a spinoff following Dani Cage as Thor wouldn’t be so bad at this point!

The Monster of Frankenstein #1

I was originally going to dig into Tomb of Dracula, but I feel I’ve gotten a fair dose of vampirism lately so I decided to give Marvel’s take on Frankenstein a try.


In short, this is very much an adaptation of the Mary Shelley classic. I haven’t proceeded far past issue one so it hasn’t even related the entire “origin” of the creature, but for what it’s worth there’s much to enjoy here.

For one thing the art is delicious, and the volley between the past and present narrative keeps the story interesting. It’ll be interesting when they dispense with the roots and the creature eventually makes it back to mainland, but I’ll just have to wait and see.

TL;DR Score: No joke, it’s actually pretty faithful to the original book. I can’t wait to see how they embellish it in the Mighty Marvel Manner.

Vampire State Building #1

It looks like there’s a new comics publisher on the market in the form of Ablaze, and Vampire State Building is amongst their initial releases. This one is a solid hook with a promising plot to unfold.


A young man named Terry is preparing to fly off to Afghanistan having enlisted in the military, but his cousin Ashley has her concerns. They and their close friends, Terry’s ex, Mary, amongst them, gather at the top of the Empire State Building to celebrate his sendoff.

Meanwhile, a secret room covered in strange hieroglyphs is discovered on the 75th floor, and when a ceiling caves in, uncovering a corpse, several homeless and decrepits across Manhattan are suddenly drawn to the building.

Before long a small army of vampires fall upon the building, slaughtering people by the dozens. Terry and Mary take shelter on one of the upper floors with a group of the lucky few, barricading themselves in. Down below FBI shows up and everything starts to get some Die Hard vibes. At last, the promise of a big bad vampire rising from the past leaves us on a cliffhanger.

It’s a cool concept. It’s slated for six issues, I think? With that in mind I like the whole setup. There’s a solid kill count ready to tally, and plenty of action to occur, not to mention the gore and horror. It’s quite cinematic in nature. The moment the vampires reacted to the room being exposed was oddly chilling. Very cool!

If you get the chance, pick it up. It’s a good book and you’d be supporting a newer publisher.

TL;DR Score: Die Hard with vampires. ‘Nuff said.

Avengers Halloween Special #1 (2018)


It’s the spookiest time of the year! I decided to kick it off with visiting last year’s one-shot Halloween Special from Marvel, and it was actually better than I expected! Featuring five short stories, each tale conveys a macabre version of some of our favorite Marvel characters.

First there’s a story that features Matt Murdock undergoing an eye transplant to restore his vision, but not long after recovery he starts having hallucinations and kills Foggy and very much goes insane. It’s then revealed that the Kingpin had Matt’s tear ducts permanently tampered with during surgery, and so arrives to finish him off after his whole existence is in shambles.

Then there’s an alternate take on the Fantastic Four in which they’re actually weird alien doppelgangers that had assumed the roles of our heroes when they were initially bombarded by cosmic rays. Doctor Doom is nearly successful in destroying them, all save Sue, who then has him imprisoned as she ventures off for world domination.

Next there’s a sort of ode to Carpenter’s The Thing where Iron Man, Deadpool, and Colossus do battle with Captain America as he rises from a frozen base. Turns out Cap is very much The Thing, killing both Colossus and Deadpool, and finally standing off with Iron Man very much verbatim to how Kurt Russel and Keith David did in the movie, right down to the last line. It’s actually kinda neat.

We get the Punisher of the Opera, which one can easily assume what that entails. It’s basically a brief retelling of the Phantom of the Opera, but with Frank Castle laced into it.

Last there’s a story of two young trick or treaters that sneak into the abandoned Xavier School where they face the ghosts of the mutant brotherhood, but are in the end rescued by the spirit of Wolverine. In the end they find “hope” in the form of the Cerebro helmet.

So yeah, a few spooks and twists and disturbing images that ends on a surprisingly heartwarming note. It’s a fun read and one that I might try to make annually now. I haven’t looked into it, but it’d be neat if they made another installment this year.

TL;DR Score: It’s as bizarre as an episode of The Twilight Zone, but with an 80s edge. All the things a Monster Kid could ask for.

Why Endgame is so important to me…

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We’ll dispense with the negativity up front:

Avengers: Endgame is not a perfect movie. It’s got some pacing issues, it gets a bit tongue-in-cheek, it suffers from a couple plot holes (though no where near as bad as Back to the Future Part II), and… well, that’s all I can think of so far, but that’s about as deep as I go in “bashing” this movie. At the end of the day it’s one of the funnest movies to watch now, but it’s also one of the most soulful there’s been in a while, and it all became pretty clear for me in my most recent watch.

The word of the day for me is IMPORTANT. A thing doesn’t have to be great, fantastic, or really anything to be IMPORTANT. For me, this movie is IMPORTANT because it completely rejuvenated the idea of the super hero for me, an adult, in the most significant way since I first learned about power and responsibility as a child.

When you’re a kid, you learn about characters like Spider-Man, Batman, et al., and how they respond to tragedy or unusual circumstances by fighting for the greater good. “With great power comes great responsibility,” “I am vengeance,” and all that hoopla. As a kid, you come to learn the fundamentals of “being a hero” and aspire to those ideals.

For me, it was about making myself stronger and more capable to be able to help others, even in the smallest ways. If going to the gym for five to ten hours a week made me just a little bit stronger and a little bit more reliable to help people carry heavy objects, then I’d say that’s a decent thing. If I can put my ass to work on a daily basis and contribute to society, and just be damn capable and reliable, then that’s pretty decent, too, as far as I’m concerned. I’m no real hero like the first-responders that put their lives on the line for us every day, but we can always take a little pride in being an “Everyman” (as I like to emphasize it) and just be there for the everyday normalcy, but make it a little easier for others.

So that’s basically what super heroes did for me. They taught me to plainly and simply be a better me and do some good along the way.


Endgame breaks the rules… rather, it doesn’t so much break the rules so much as it turns everything you know on its head. Ironically, I find a lot of the negative feedback with this movie is precisely what I find so great about it.

Take Thor as the biggest example:

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There’s a lot of people out there who don’t like fat Thor. “They completely trample over several movies of character progression!” Nah, man. They really don’t. The whole point of Endgame is seeing our great and mighty heroes faced with the greatest loss and how they respond to it. If anybody is gonna slack off and let themselves truly go, it’s Thor, and why not? He lost his home, most of his people, and failed to stop Thanos out of sheer pride. I think anybody might fall back a little after that roller coaster, but you know what the big take away from this is? HE’S STILL WORTHY.

We all have our low days. $&i# happens. It’s okay to wallow a bit, to mourn, but that doesn’t mean you can’t turn around and rise up higher than ever. It took a little soul searching, as per usual, but Thor gets there. He moves upward and onward, but even more important, he takes a step back. He learns that it’s okay to ease himself of some burdens, and to only take on what he can. He might not be able to lead his people, but he can still fight to the last breath against the Mad Titan.

Then there’s Cap:

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Five years ago I would’ve scoffed at the very thought of the movie ending like this. Now though? Complete opposite. I bawl every time, partially because movies just don’t end on such a happy note, let alone an iconic kiss, like they used to. It’s so beautifully old-fashioned it kills me. Furthermore, it just makes so much sense for the type of story the MCU is trying to relate. These aren’t your typical comic book movies any more. This is a comic book universe that ages and evolves, and you know what? Yeah, after several movies and world-ending scenarios, if Cap sees an opportunity to claim some happiness for himself – a once in a lifetime chance? I don’t blame him.

And neither should we blame ourselves. Being a hero in reality isn’t always about being on the grind and not sparing a thought for the simpler things. I’ll be honest, I think about the simpler things all the time, but most of the time when I do just sit back and count my blessings it isn’t long until I start feeling restless. I write this right now nursing seasonal sickness. It’s rough dragging myself to the gym and trying to be the best I can at work and at home, but sometimes you really just have to learn to let off some steam and say, “Hey, the world can wait for one night if I just want to enjoy it a little.” Or in this case, just rest.

I don’t think I’ve earned the stay of rest that Cap does by the end of his MCU career, but it certainly opens my eyes to the idea of a super hero’s retirement in a bold new way.

Which lastly brings us to Tony:

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I post this particular image, because this is the one that usually breaks me (if I’m not already broken by this point in the movie). The whole concept of Tony being able to rest in this movie runs so deep and is so moving that it honestly reverberates almost as loudly as power and responsibility has for me since I was a kid.

Tony has everything he could want or need. A wife. A daughter. Family. However there is a haunt that overshadows his life, and in reality the life of his family, that he just can’t shake. Only upon making the ultimate sacrifice does he finally bring back the light and is able to pass on peacefully. Pepper’s reassurance of how they’re going to “be alright” is perhaps the most haunting moment of all.

Why shouldn’t it be haunting?

I often go to bed now wondering if the people in my life – friends, family, particularly my own wife – will “be alright” should an anvil drop on my head tomorrow. Do I go to bed restful? It sways here and there, but the worry doesn’t go away. Much like the haunt of power and responsibility, a lesson to follow in life, there is now a haunt of if those close to me are happy and safe.

It’s a little melodramatic, certainly, but the point pertains. Obviously you can’t control what will occur in the world after you’re gone, but as long as you leave each day on a good note, that’s what really matters.

So to wrap it all up:

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Avengers: Endgame is a tour de force that delivers on the devotion of its fan base, but also conveys strong messages through its now sage-like leads that leave the MCU in the hands of its successors. I really only scratched on the surface of it, because just about every key character in this movie bears an important message, but it’s the ones that come from the big three that weigh on me the most.

THOR – Worthiness in the wake of wallowing.

CAP – Knowing when to seize the moment.

IRON MAN – Going to bed peacefully.

Yeah… those aren’t your everyday super hero words of wisdom, but that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that power and responsibility is irrelevant, just that there’s more to consider moving forward in life; various ways to react to impossible situations. It’s not always about dealing with the battle at hand, but furthermore keeping an open mind on the endgame…. Endgame, get it?

TL;DR Score: Avengers: Endgame is for this adult what Amazing Fantasy #15 was for a five year-old.

Detective Comics #1009-1011

Happy (Belated) Batman Day! I was busy doing charity work at a local convention, but I managed to squeeze in some of my pull. This little arc was actually pretty good!


So Bruce is en route to Japan with a plane full of Wayne Board members when Deadshot shows up. All hell breaks loose when the plane crashes on a deserted island on account of a lightning strike… I know, right?

So some of the members are dead, but Deadshot remains virtually intact and actually goes about caring for the survivors as he seeks out Bruce. Meanwhile, our hero befriends two old men, American and Japanese pilots, who’ve been stranded since WWII.


Yeah… moving on.

Long story short, Bruce teams up with the old timers to defeat Deadshot and get home. The pilot elect to remain stranded as it is the only life they know or care for. There’s a nice finish that shows Batman dropping off care packages for the two men.

Heartwarming, sincerely.

Certainly a lot warmer than the twisted Mr. Freeze epilogues that keep building towards an impending arc.

The story was fun. It moved pretty quickly, but had a lot of meat to it, too. It’s nice when a story carries itself without the need of a cape or cowl. I mean, Bruce did dawn a makeshift mask, but you get the idea.

TL;DR Score: How Deadshot didn’t clue into the not-so-subtle bat ears of the “not Batman” foe is beyond me.

Spider-Man #1 (2019)

So yeah, that new Abrams Spidey book is nothing short of captivating.


The comic opens on New York City in peril. MJ is running through the streets looking for Peter where she comes upon him completely battle-ravaged. Like, it’s bad – his arm is shredded to the bone, literally.

We then get a glimpse at a brand new villain, Cadaverous, who looks like the hell spawn of Ultron and Doctor Doom. He kills MJ, and then vanishes. Peter buries his wife, and we are then introduced to their son, Ben.

Flash forward twelve years and we find Ben living with Aunt May and standing up to school bullies. Peter, sporting a hook hand and beard, is a distant father who can’t help fighting with his son and neglecting Aunt May. Meanwhile, Cadaverous broods in his lair with a curious female stored in a vat of liquid. Hmmmmm….

Ben has a nightmare about MJ and wakes up on the ceiling, and in the midst of his freakout Aunt May simply guides the boy to a dusty corner of the attic where Peter’s old life and old duds lie in wait for the new generation to pick up.

It’s pretty baller. Considering JJ Abrams has his hand in this the book certainly feels cinematic, and already I can’t wait to see this story to the end. It’s well paced and keeps delivering. Also, knowing it’s co-written with JJ’s son, Henry, the father-son theme of the story rings even stronger.

This is a high quality book, perhaps more so than any other Spidey title right now. If you want something fresh that packs a punch, pray that there’s a copy waiting for you to grab.

TL;DR Score: Cadaverous… robots… strange female…. I smell another clone saga.

Superman: Kal (Elseworlds)

Purchased this little gem at a local antique shop for a buck. A steal. This is my first Elseworlds book, and it certainly sets a standard for me moving forward.


Elseworlds, for those who don’t know, is DC’s means of reimagining their greatest characters in alternate realities; their very own What if…? This particular story shows Superman if he had landed on Earth during the Middle Ages.

TL;DR: Kal is raised to a strong lad who becomes a blacksmith in LEXFORD, where he competes for the hand of Lady Loisse. All is well until it ends in tragedy as Baron Luthor murders Loisse and battles Kal to their own deaths.

It’s written by Dave Gibbons, of Watchmen renown, which is a real treat. I don’t think I’ve ever read any of his written work, and from this piece alone I’d say the man has serious talent. He really invoked the feeling of reading an old fairytale myth that hit hard and stoked the flames of imagination. A+.

If you have a comixology account you can grab this book for a very cheap price, but I’d venture (as ever) to find the hard copy, even if it’s a little more costly. I feel that I lucked out on my part. This is a great reimagining, and a great story in general. I loved every panel of it.

TL;DR Score: Farewarning, Loisse’s death is uber dark… but it’s also the moment you realize the book has you entirely.

Absolute Carnage #1

Holy ****.

So I made the wonderful mistake of taking a peek into that new Carnage book I didn’t think I was gonna read, and I can say that if you’re skeptical by the cover price, and if you have even an inkling of interest in symbiotes and Spidey, then stop reading now and go pick this book up. It’s worth it, so damn much.


So apparently there’s a god of the symbiotes named Knull who’s been sealed away for years, but if any one symbiote collects the codex from most or all of the known symbiote hosts, they’ll be able to free said god.

TL;DR: Carnage is collecting all the codexes in a mad spree in a race against time with Venom and Spider-Man.

Also, apparently Eddie Brock has a son now, who’s tagging along for the adventure, but he believes that Eddie is his older brother, a secret currently being stowed away by our symbiotic hero.

This book is fantastic! It’s split into three chapters, and duly so. By the end it almost felt like I’d read a graphic novel, and this is only part one! Donny Cates writing is masterful and fluid. It definitely makes me want to dig further into the current Venom run (shame on me for unsubscribing way back, I guess). The real show-stealer for me though, as ever, is the art. Ryan Stegman is an absolute powerhouse in these pages. My eyes never got bored and it stood on the perfect verge of comic book and reality. Damn fine. I can’t wait to see more.

There is a lot of exposition in this, but again, it’s part one, so it comes with the territory, but also, like I said, it never gets boring. I can’t say I’ll pick up all the tie-in books in the coming months, but certainly I’ll stick with this main arc. I haven’t been this excited about Carnage in a looooooong time.

TL;DR Score: Like… seriously… a symbiote god? Really? I usually boycott that sort of twist, but this time around I gobbled it up.