Comic Books Posts

“Marvelocity” Covers The Marvel-ous Career of Alex Ross

alex ross marvelocity

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

It’s been 15 years since the the publication of “Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross,” a hefty collection of his fine art approach to superhero storytelling. But in the last decade, it would seem that Marvel has overtaken DC, certainly in the cinematic world, so it’s a good time his work for Marvel to get the same treatment. “Marvelocity: The Marvel Comics Art of Alex Ross” is the latest pean to his high art. (In between, there have been several other collections of Ross’ work as well as a 2018 art exhibit of his art inspired by ideas from Stan Lee, the Marvel legend who died this week at the age of 95.)

alex ross marvelocityFirst of all, this book is huge and heavy. Even the dust jacket contributes to the heft; once you open it, the cover unfolds again and again into a long gatefold tapestry of alternate covers of super portraits. It’s like a pre-credit honor roll before you even get into the actual book. There’s even a large poster of an alternate cover concept with Spider-Man as the focus instead of Captain America.

Instead of black lines filled with garish colors, Alex Ross’ work is more of a realist painting. While the traditional comics style is full of wonder and fantasy, his more photographic approach actually makes the characters seem more human and possibly vulnerable and relatable. The heroic nature of his style might play more effectively with heroes instead of villains. In fact, the vast majority of the book is devoted to the good guys.

alex ross marvelocityComics critics have always struggled to classify Ross’ art style. To say he’s a cartoonist seems to sell him a bit short, as he’s almost a portrait artist who happens to work with incredibly dynamic subjects. On the other hand saying he’s NOT a cartoonist is kind of an insult to him (and everyone else in the industry as well.) Let’s just say Ross is a fine portrait artist working in a different medium. For several years, his illustrations have been used only on the covers, although the almost photographic quality ensures that the drawings inside will be consistently designed and composed. Beyond the covers, he’s always been heavily involved in the development of the look and the storylines of his comics.

alex ross marvelocityNowhere is his talent better illustrated (literally) than a spread which shows the iconic cover of “Captain America” issue 1, where Cap punches Hitler while Nazis futilely fire back. Next to the original is Ross’ recreation of this cover for “Captain America: Sam Wilson” number 7 in 2016. The overall composition is the same, right down to the vintage look of his costume and the inset of “Captain America’s Young Ally BUCKY.” Except the distorted artistic license of comic characters gives way to a more physically real arrangement. And instead of speed lines and crosshatching and bursts, the rendering looks more like a photo of that historic moment.

alex ross marvelocityThere are several other side by side comparisons that also serve as appreciation for how Jack Kirby and countless other artists had to work with older printing technology that made all those black lines and bright colors necessary. Ross was particularly busy with this sort of homage around Marvel’s 75th Anniversary.

alex ross marvelocityThere are a lot of sketches included, which really helps you appreciate Ross’ talent as a panel composer. The dynamic poses that Kirby pioneered come to life bit by bit, side by side. It’s not just pretty pictures, of course. Chip Kidd and Geoff Spear spells the story behind the art with the knowledge that only comics insiders like them can tell. Add in some outsider perspective with an introduction by J. J. Abrams, as well as reflections by other comics dignitaries, and there’s a pretty broad base of tribute and expertise.

alex ross marvelocityRoss has always been deeply involved in the overall creation and writing of his comics characters and stories. And his talent for composing a panel has been put to good use not only in comics, but also in storyboards for some of Marvel’s movies. Anyone with an appreciation of the Marvel universe in any form – comics, action figures, movies – should appreciate this book.

6 of the Most Bizarre Comic Books Ever Written

Many popular comic books are pretty odd, but you have to try really hard to make one of the most bizarre comic books ever.

Seriously, a boy develops superhuman speed and strength after being bitten by a spider? A journalist by day is actually Superman, a crime-fighting alien with the powers of flight, x-ray vision, and super strength? Let’s also not kid ourselves and say Batman isn’t a detective in a bat costume who once tried to solve the mystery of whether Paul McCartney is dead or not (okay, they didn’t use Paul’s name in the comic, but the inspiration is obvious).

The Avengers On Late Night With David LettermanFortunately, none of these exceedingly silly origin stories matter in the grand scheme of our favorite characters. As audiences get older and increase their reverence for these classic heroes, comic book writers develop these flamboyant characters in ways that connect with the struggles their readers face.

The Avengers On Late Night With David Letterman

Comic book writers sure do love their crazy crossovers, and we wish we could say that The Avengers making an appearance on Late Night With David Letterman is the silliest crossover ever written.

Being that Letterman’s career as a late-night TV host ended just last year, it now seems appropriate that he spent many of his final years sitting down with cast members of the modern Avengers movies.

The Life Of Pope John Paul II

Life of Pope John Paul IIAll right, The Life of Pope John Paul II may be a straight-forward biographical comic… but that’s why it’s so strange!

The fact that Marvel Comics – responsible for characters like Thor and Deadpool – found time to base a comic on a true story is bizarre when you think about it. Believe it or not, The Life of Pope John Paul II is not the only Marvel comic based on a religious figure: they also penned issues based on Mother Teresa and Saint Francis of Assisi.

Longshot Comics

Longshot ComicsNo, we’re not talking about Marvel’s lesser-known X-Man named Longshot. We’re talking about Shane Simmons’ Longshot Comics, a comic book series about… dots.

That’s right, under the loose justification that the audience is viewing the action from a distance (or, as you might say, a longshot), Longshot Comics features everything from war stories to tales of domestic households through the simplest form of what could be called art. Could anyone have made Longshot Comics? Probably, but Simmons’ work likely set the stage for modern “artless” works like Dinosaur Comics.

Superman Meets The Quik Bunny

Superman Meets Quik BunnyWith a hero as powerful as the man of steel, one would think he’d pick an extraordinarily powerful companion to brave the dangerous situations he often finds himself in. Or, you know, he could team up with the Quik Bunny, that works too.

Do Superman and the Quik Bunny have a chocolate milk drinking contest? Is the Quik Bunny given a tall glass of delicious Nesquik to help calm his nerves? Find out the shocking answers in this special issue of Superman! (Spoilers, the answers are yes and yes).

Archie Meets The Punisher

Archie Meets The PunisherThe Punisher is a hyper-violent vigilante who has no problem with torture and extortion to accomplish his goals. Archie is a teenager who can’t decide whether he likes Betty or Veronica. Obviously, these two characters belong together.

This has to be the most ridiculous crossover comic ever written. Right? Right? Not even close! Well,, that’s up for debate. In fact, we’ll bring you another list of truly strange comics soon!

Godzilla Vs. Charles Barkley

Godzilla vs BarkleySomewhere out there is a Venn diagram that shows the overlap between fans of basketball and giant monsters. Marketing executives saw it and concluded that Godzilla and Charles Barkley needed to be put in the same universe. That’s what we’re assuming, anyway, because… what is this!?

Between this and the fan-made Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden role-playing game from the late 2000s, there must be something about the famous basketball player that makes people want to put him in the most ridiculous situations imaginable. This is the only way we can reconcile seeing an actual panel in which Godzilla dons basketball shoes and attempts a slam dunk.

Let us know your favorite strangest comics in the comments below!

 

 

A Beginner’s Guide to the Green Arrow

A Guest Blog Post by 
This article was originally written for Rareburg, who in 2016,  joined forces with hobbyDB to provide an excellent source of collectible knowhow for the community. 

As the Arrow TV series has been back on our screens for a while now and I am a big fan of the hooded vigilante I thought it would be appropriate to write a beginner’s guide to the Green Arrow. 

More Fun Comics Vol 1Green Arrow is older than he looks! He was created by writer Mort Weisinger and artist George Papp and first appeared, with his partner Speedy, in More Fun Comics #73 (Nov 1941 VF/NM $24,000). Readers were introduced to wealthy Oliver Queen and his teen buddy Roy Harper, who lived with him and was later revealed to be Oliver’s ward. It was said Weisinger was inspired by a series of movies called the Green Archer which, in turn, were adapted from a series of books by Edgar Wallace. Taking his inspiration from the movies and the books, Weisinger created a new hero whilst also borrowing a lot of ideas from another DC character, Batman. There are a lot of early similarities between the two characters. Green Arrow had the Arrow Car and the Arrow Plane which were kept in the Arrow cave, Batman had the Batmobile and the Bat Plane which he kept in the Bat cave. Green Arrow had an Arrow Signal to call him and Batman had the Bat signal. Both were billionaire playboys and had teenage sidekicks. Weisinger even created a Joker-like arch villain for Green Arrow called Bull’s Eye.

It is interesting to note that in their debut appearance in More Fun Comics #73 Green Arrow and Speedy had been operating as costumed heroes for some time as Speedy mentions a previous adventure they had together, “The Case of the Golden Mummy”.

After only three appearances in More Fun Comics, Green Arrow and Speedy start appearing in Leading Comics #1 (Winter 1941 VF/NM $4,200) where they join the Crimson Avenger, Shining Knight, Star-Spangled Kid, Stripesy and the Vigilante to form The Seven Soldiers of Victory. Such is the pair’s growing popularity, they also begin appearing as a back-up strip in World’s Finest Comics #7 (Fall 1942 VF/NM $2,100), along with Batman, Superman and a number of other Golden Age DC characters. Long after all but Batman and Superman have left the title, Green Arrow and Speedy remain until #140 (Mar 1964 VF/NM $100) – a full 22 year run!

In More Fun Comics #89 (Mar 1943 VF/NM $1,200) and “The Birth of the Battling Bowmen” the readers are told, via flashback, the origin of Green Arrow and Speedy. This would prove to be the first of a number of origin stories over the years.

Our heroes’ run in More Fun Comics comes to an end with #107 (Jan/Feb 1946 VF/NM $900). Their loyal readership were not to be disappointed, however, as they were given a slot in Adventure Comics beginning with #103 (Apr 1946 VF/NM $3,400) starting another long run, similar to their stint in World’s Finest Comics, that lasted until Adventure Comics #269 (Feb 1960 VF/NM $320). So, very much due to Mort Weisinger’s strong editorial influence, when all other super-heroes were falling by the way-side Green Arrow was one of the few DC characters, along with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and, surprisingly, Aquaman, to keep going after the Golden Age of Comics came to a sad end. Most of the Green Arrow stories during this period were written by France E. Herron who was the character’s main scripter between 1947-1963 and really these stories hold nothing more than a quaint, nostalgic curiosity value for a more innocent and naive form of comic story-telling and art that has long since disappeared. Well worth trying to track down, though, is a small run of Green Arrow stories illustrated by the great Jack Kirby from the 1958/1959 period – Adventure Comics #250-256 and World’s Finest Comics #96-99 (VF/NM $340). The stories are nothing special but the artwork is Jack Kirby at his best and would make a collectable little run.

Interestingly, Adventure Comics #256 (Jan 1959 VF/NM $850) re-tells Green Arrows origin in the story “The Green Arrows First Case”. Green Arrow learns of a scientific expedition heading for Starfish Island which gives him cause for concern because Starfish Island is where Oliver Queen first became Green Arrow. In the Arrow Plane, on their way to stop the expedition, Green Arrow tells Speedy the story of how he became the Emerald Archer in a flashback sequence – all courtesy of Jack Kirby.

With the coming of the 60s, Green Arrow and Speedy moved from their mainly back-up story role to becoming more of a main feature and grew into very much a fan favorite. In Justice League of America #4 (Apr/May 1961 VF/NM $1,200) Green Arrow becomes an official member of the Justice League of America. When Brave and the Bold #50 (Oct/Nov 1963 VF/NM $250) introduced the idea that would see out the remainder of the run – team-ups – it was Green Arrow, along with the Martian Manhunter that DC chose to star in the first team-up. What a great cover to that issue – well worth checking out!

Big changes for Green Arrow took place towards the end of the 60s when writer Bob Haney teamed Green Arrow with Batman in Brave and the Bold #85’s “The Senator’s Been Shot” (Aug/Sep 1969 VF/NM $150) and artist Neal Adams introduced not only a new costume but also a goatee beard and mustache which ever since has been known by many fans as the definitive look for the Emerald Archer.

No Evil Shall Escape My Sight!Writer Denny O’Neil followed up on Green Arrow’s new appearance by completely remaking the character’s attitude in the pages of Justice League of America #75 (Nov 1969 VF/NM $110) giving his personality a rougher edge. This complete revision was explained by Oliver Queen being stripped of his fortune through forged documents of him engaging in corruption. He then became an outspoken supporter of the underprivileged and displayed strong liberal views. O’Neil saw this new Green Arrow as the perfect counter-balance to Green Lantern’s “Mr Establishment” character. Under the editorship of the legendary Julius Schwartz, Green Arrow and Green Lantern were given equal billing in Green Lantern’s own series that was re-titled “Green Lantern co-starring Green Arrow” from #76 (Apr 1970 NM/M 9.8 sold for $31,811 in Aug 2014) – an issue that is one of the most sought after and key Bronze Age comics. In a ground-breaking run of 14 issues Green Arrow and Green Lantern tackled a number of relevant social and political topics and it was in #85-85 (VF/NM $160) that one of the most controversial story-lines in comics took place. It was revealed that Speedy was addicted to heroin and the cover of #85 (Aug/Sep 1971) actually shows Speedy in the process of having injected – a ground-breaking move by DC.

Despite the strong, relevant story-lines and dynamic artwork by Neal Adams, the title was cancelled with #89 (Apr/May 1972 VF/NM $110) leaving Green Arrow to take up the all-too familiar back-up story role – this time in Action Comics starting with #421 (Feb 1973 VF/NM $15) – as well as continuing his appearances in Justice League of America where he had started a relationship with Black Canary. The Green Lantern/Green Arrow title was re-launched with #90 (Aug/Sep 1976 VF/NM $26) and Green Arrow remained there until Green Lantern went solo with #123 (Dec 1979 VF/NM $12). A quick switch to World’s Finest sees Green Arrow appear in #259-284 but he has to leave when the title becomes a Batman/Superman team-up title. Further appearances in Detective Comics and Justice League of America for six months finally lead to Green Arrow getting his first solo series, albeit a four issue Mini-Series in May 1983, by writer Mike Barr and artist Trevor Eden.

Green Arrow: The Longbow HuntersThe series did not really fire the public’s imagination and Green Arrow meandered along for another four years until he appeared in another Mini-Series, the hard hitting three-issue prestige format “Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters” (May 1987 VF/NM $10). Writer/artist Mike Grell did not pull his punches. This was not the Green Arrow of old. He crosses paths for the first time with Shado, a female Yakuza assassin but more importantly after Black Canary is captured and badly abused, he is pushed past his breaking point and kills her assailant. As a result, Green Arrow begins a new stage in his comic career – one that now sees him as a main player in the DC Universe with his own ongoing series. For anyone interested in the Green Arrow character, The Longbow Hunters, is an important read.

The ongoing series begins where The Longbow Hunters ended with Mike Grell continuing the development of Oliver Queen’s character. What is of note was that the series was for mature readers allowing writer Mike Grell to continue his adult and more violent treatment of the Green Arrow character. After Grell left the title with #80 (Nov 1983 VF/NM $4) the storylines started to drift away from their mature reader themes and Green Arrow became more focused in the main-stream DC Universe. Issue #0 (Oct 1994 VF/NM $3) introduces the character of Connor Hawke, who is later revealed to be Oliver’s son by Sandra Hawke, an old college sweetheart.

Before Grell left the main series he still had time to write “Green Arrow: The Wonder Year”, a four-issue Mini-Series that, amongst other topics, expands on the re-telling of Green Arrow’s origin begun by Grell in The Longbow Hunters. Two years after “The Wonder Year,” DC published yet another origin story in “Green Arrow Annual” #7 (Sep 1995 VF/NM $4) in which both Ollie and Connor were deemed ‘metahuman’ with the potential for super-powers.

At the same time as the Annual, in Green Arrow #100–101, (Sep-Oct 1995 VF/NM $10/$30) Green Arrow is killed while trying to prevent the detonation of a bomb by a group of eco terrorist. Connor adopts his father’s role and becomes a second Green Arrow and he remains the central character of the series, now written by Chuck Dixon, until it is cancelled with #137 (Oct 1998 VF/NM $15).

Green Arrow QuiverConnor Hawke had his own fan following but most readers wanted Oliver Queen back and it was left to writer Kevin Smith to pull off the impossible and bring back Green Arrow from the dead. This he duly did in “Quiver” a ten issue storyline in a new ongoing Green Arrow series that debuted with #1 in April 2001 (VF/NM $16). It turns out that Hal Jordan returned Oliver to life – but without a soul. The soul is eventually returned and Green Arrow is alive and whole again. The Quiver story arc is well worth a read! As well as bringing Green Arrow back to life, #2 (May 2001 VF/NM $7) introduces the character of Mia Dearden, a former prostitute on the streets of Star City. Mia eventually took the name Speedy and became Green Arrow’s new side-kick. What she is best known for though is being one of the few super-heroes with HIV due to her early days in prostitution.

The series continues until #75 (Aug 2007 VF/NM $4) during which time, Green Arrow plays a key role in DC’s “Identity Crisis” (2004) storyline, helping to investigate the murder of Sue Dibny, the wife of Ralph Dibny the Elongated Man. The month after the series is cancelled, writer Andy Diggle provides yet another version of Green Arrow’s origin in the six issue Mini-Series “Green Arrow: Year One” – as if we had not had enough “origin” stories already!

In spite of all this frenzied activity Green Arrow somehow manages to find time to marry Black Canary in the “Green Arrow and Black Canary Wedding Special” #1 (Nov 2007 VF/NM $5). But there had to be a twist! Black canary kills Green Arrow on their honeymoon as he attacks her. This shock ending leads into a “Green Arrow/Black Canary” ongoing series where it is revealed that Black Canary killed an impostor and the real Green Arrow had been kidnapped by Amazons. It could only happen in comics or EastEnders!

As if Green Arrow had not been through enough in his checkered comic career he is turned into a Black Lantern during DC’s huge cross-over event of 2009, “Blackest Night and, surviving that, he then finds himself putting an arrow through the head of the Justice League villain, Prometheus after he destroyed Star City, in the “Justice League: Cry for Justice” Mini-Series. He is tried for the murder, found not guilty and exiled from what remains of Star City.

Green Arrow Brightest DayBeing a Green Arrow fan – which you might have guessed from this article – I am pleased to say that Green Arrow was one of the chosen 52 titles. He is based in Seattle, has fallen out with Roy Harper and his relationship with Black Canary and his friendship with Hal Jordan have not happened – nor has he ever fathered any sons. He is also one of the main characters in The New 52! Justice League of America series that began in 2013.

What the future holds for Green Arrow, who knows? One thing is for certain, whatever the script writers have in mind the Emerald Archer will continue to play a central role in the DC Universe. The days of him being a character relegated to back-up features apprehending rather tame – and lame – villains are long gone. But even those early adventures with the Arrow car, the Arrow Plane, the Arrow Signal, the boxing glove arrows, are all part of the rich comic tradition of one of DC’s longest and most enduring super-heroes. I hope you can find time to read and enjoy – as I am doing – some of that rich history surrounding Green Arrow. You will not be disappointed.

 

How Star Trek Changed Geek Culture Forever

A long time ago in a galaxy far from the Star Wars universe, there was one sci-fi franchise that had re-defined the rules for exploiting intellectual property and really changed two mediums forever; film and television. Of course, we’re talking about Star Trek.

star trek spock mural What people forget is that even during the original series’ legendary run on NBC from 1966-1969 when it was beset by less than stellar ratings and some scathing reviews from the critics, merchandising was somewhat ubiquitous for the time, even compared to popular shows like Davy Crockett (with its famous coonskin cap) in the ’50s and Bonanza in the ’60s. There were, of course, the juvenile novel “Mission to Horatius” and the early James Blish novelizations that Bantam Books published much to the chagrin of serious sci-fi author and editor Frederick Pohl, but the imprint was minting so much money, what did he care? And, of course, there were the legendary AMT model kits. In fact, the story is that AMT was so excited about the new space opera that, in exchange for the right to merchandise the Galileo shuttlecraft, they agreed to create a life-size Galileo shuttle and miniature for the cash strapped production. This would go on to become one of the great spaceships ever to appear onscreen.

star trek megoYears later, after the success of Mego’s Planet of the Apes line, as the series began to explode in syndication, the toy company under the aegis of Martin Abrams licensed Star Trek. They put out a line of action figures, followed by communicators, bridge and planetary playsets (like Mission to Gamma 4, loosely based on the second season episode, “The Apple” – without David Soul, of course) and, of course, the legendary Trekulator, an early calculator.

star trek cartoonstar trek technical manualBut other franchises had toylines, like the aforementioned Planet of the Apes, and novelizations as well. But Star Trek, as it would do for many decades, continued to boldly go where no sci-fi franchise had gone before. At the end of the second season, there was the legendary Making of Star Trek, an insider look behind-the-scenes of the making of the TV series, a book that like The Jaws Log a decade later, inspired a generation of kids to become film and TV writers (myself included). Years later, Bantam not only novelized the animated series with Alan Dean Foster’s marvelous Log adaptations which were also massive bestsellers but published the beloved Starfleet Technical Manual and Blueprints by Franz Joseph which gave fans an exclusive look at the technology of Star Trek, as well as the fleet itself.

How could a young Star Trek fan forget leafing through the Technical Manual for the first time and not being blown away by the schematics of the ships in the fleet, including the Dreadnaught Class, and the UFP flag? There were even Fotonovels, indispensable episodic photo novelizations of several episodes featuring stills from the episodes with word balloons. Eventually, these faded away into obscurity in the early ’80s with the emergence of home video (as if the cheapo black and white Fotonovel version of Star Trek II wasn’t proof of that after the beautiful ST: TMP of 1979, one of the format’s highlights.).

star trek comicsIn comics, the imaginative and stunning Gold Key Comics series debuted but calling them Star Trek was a stretch. The artist, legendary Italian penciller Alberto Giolitti, had never even seen the series, so you had exhaust coming out from the Enterprise’s nacelles and those invaluable landing party backpacks the crew wore among other inconsistencies with established Trek lore. This gonzo series set the tone for the many Trek’s to come as the license later made its way to Marvel.

When Marv Wolfman left Marvel to jump to DC, he left a cliffhanger in his wake about a haunted house in space to be resolved by other writers. Later, after Marvel lost the license, DC jumped on the Trek bandwagon, only to have Malibu license later properties (full disclosure: I wrote many DS9 comics for them, my favorite being Deep Space Nine #0: Terok Nor, the favorite of the many comic books I wrote at the time) and revert back to Marvel after Malibu’s acquisition. Later iterations became the province of IDW, where the property remains to this day.

AMT_U.S.S._EnterpriseBy 1979, after the Star Wars juggernaut had shown the real power of licensed merchandising, Star Trek was playing a perpetual game of catch-up. And while the Mego ST: TMP toys were a bust, along with a lot of the other spin-off merchandise of the era, the first Star Trek feature film does have the distinction of being emblazoned on the first McDonald’s Happy Meal (interesting for a bald Deltan character whose oath of celibacy is on record). Although even the successful Wrath of Khan boasted some merchandise like official magazines and the last Trek Fotonovel, it wasn’t until the 1987 debut of The Next Generation that a robust licensing program returned. This not only mined the new series for a line of new novels but toys from Playmates from both the new show and classic series, Christmas ornaments, and many other merchandising offshoots.

But despite being a franchise that, at the time, trumpeted bringing over $2 billion into the coffers of Paramount, the master had truly become the learner, dwarfed by the sheer earning power of the Star Wars movies and massive merchandising program. Star Trek will continue to live long and prosper, but the force was clearly with Star Wars and will likely be for many generations to come. Next, included.

Here are the 10 Weirdest Crossover Comics

Weirdest comics

Comic events are pretty much a staple of reading comic books lately. If there isn’t an event going on it feels sort of weird. Event fatigue is real — so we went looking for something fun to take our minds off of it. We stumbled onto a veritable jackpot of weird and wonderful crossover comics. What makes a crossover comic so special is watching two very different universes forced to reconcile with the other’s existence. It also forces you to imagine a world where Colonel Sanders is a Green Lantern or where Sonic and Spawn both exist and interact. To help you recover from your own event fatigue, we are going to recommend you read something weirder and even more unlikely. These are our top 10 favorite crossover comics. All of these made us at least giggle, and some of them are actually pretty good. But we aren’t going to be talking about why these ridiculous comics are good — just why we think you should read them.

Eminem and the Punisher

Weirdest comics eminem punisher

Eminem has been a long-time comic book fan. He has talked about it in several interviews and doesn’t try to hide his love of superheroes. So when he was offered a crossover in one of his favorite comics, The Punisher (of course it would be The Punisher), he jumped at the chance. Now, this exists in the real world. If we have to know about its existence so do you. Should you read it? Well, if you want to own a piece of weird pop-culture history, or you collect all things punisher. Sure! If you love Eminem, also sure! But otherwise? It’s wacky, and that’s enough for us.

The Avengers on Late Night With David Letterman

avengers david letterman

David Letterman was on the air for so long that most people’s grandparents watched him. He was the talk show favorite by pretty much everyone. When he retired a few years back and passed his torch on to Colbert — who has done a pretty good job taking on his legacy. Now he’s interviewing people on Netflix and growing an incredible beard. This comic harkens back to a simpler time and allows him to star in a comic alongside the Avengers — well some of them. More like B-list heroes (though Black Panther, Hawkeye, and Black Widow have all been upgraded thanks to the movies).

The plot is convoluted and includes a villain whose motivation is that he is mad his application to join the Avengers was rejected. It ends with Letterman foiling the guy with a giant prop doorknob. Honestly, it’s hilarious and if you can find a copy, definitely read it.

Green Lantern co-starring Colonel Sanders

colonel sanders green lantern

Hm. Where do we even start with this one? The premise alone is so out there it’s hard to put your finger on precisely what makes you want to read it. And yet we felt compelled. First off the fact it makes us imagine a universe in which Colonel Sanders has the qualities that would make him a Green Lantern. Secondly, in this universe, Colonel Sanders isn’t just a fictional mascot but a real person — which has some weird implications. They make good use of catchphrases and have so much KFC product placement you will never want to see a chicken again — but it’s a wild ride all the way through. It’s worth it if you can find it for the cover price.

colonel sanders green lantern

Super Sonic Special #7 Starring Spawn

sonic spawn

If we had to list two franchises as far apart as possible, Spawn and Sonic would probably be on that list. Spawn is known for adult themes, gore, and extreme violence. Sonic is known for coins, robots, and talking animals. The two have nothing in common. Nothing. And yet, someone had the idea to jam the two together and convinced other people it was a good enough idea to get it printed. Somewhere along the line, there was a lot of bad decisions, and we assume a lot of alcohol.

Honestly, it’s more than we could have expected from this weird mishmash of properties. It sticks more to the Sonic tropes, making Spawn and his crew feel slapstick compared to their usually grim demeanors. It’s worth a read just to scratch your head at the backflips they do to justify these characters existing in the same world.

Archie vs. The Predator

archie vs predator

Archie and his friends are many things, but master hunters are not one of them. So going toe to toe with The Predator, if you ask us, should have ended in every single one of those kids dead in a heap. That’s not very family-friendly though — so Archie Comics went a decidedly different route. It does make for more exciting reading than slaughter in the first three pages, and it’s amusing from start to finish. It feels more like Hijinks than a Predator comic should, but it’s a good time and a quick read. If you’re a Predator fan, get it for posterity’s sake, and also pick up Batman vs. The Predator for a darker take on the Yautja.

Alien vs. Predator vs. Terminator

alien predator terminator

A lot of people became aware of the Alien vs. Predator comics thanks to the movies. Sure they weren’t anything groundbreaking, but if you wanted a wild ride full of nonstop action — they were perfect. Apparently, it wasn’t enough for some people. So they amped it up and added the Terminator. Seemingly, two Alien races hell-bent on destroying each other wasn’t enough for some people. Some people wanted to add robots into the mix.

Which, I mean, Arnold Schwarzenegger does bind Terminator and Predator together like a shredded Austrian glue, but that doesn’t mean their universes touch. Well, it does now. We’re wondering what the max number of Franchises can touch before they create a black hole anti-logic. For now, read this. It’s a guns blazing, acid dripping, cloaked out good time. Please. Just. Do it.

Batman and TMNT

batman teenage mutant ninja turtles

So, we’re going to tame it down a bit with this one. If you thought it would just be more and more universes combined until the #1 entry on our list — you were wrong. However, there is something so uncomfortably jarring about Batman wandering around with giant sentient turtles who happen to be ninjas. It’s gritty and dark in all the usual Batman ways, but the Turtles just happen to be there. Lines like the one above make the whole thing feel like a surrealist art piece and honestly we couldn’t be happier about it. This isn’t as weird as some of the crossovers on our list, but the commitment to the bit is what makes it worth the read. Cowabunga Batsy.

Star Trek and the X-Men

Star Trek and X-Men

Is it weirder that this comic happened, or weirder that they made more than one for different series of Trek? Whichever it might be. This is real, and it’s completely batshit. The plot makes more sense than a lot of these crossover comics do. It feels less cobbled together given mutant abilities. The X-Men follow a rogue mutant with the ability to travel through universes through a portal and end up meeting Kirk and the crew. Much like Batman and TMNT, it all feels a little surrealist. But, it works in its own quirky way and is a delightfully strange romp through space to apprehend the dimension-hopping jerk so the X-Men can get home.

Infestation

G.I.Joe Star Trek Transformers Ghostbusters

So this is it, the most ridiculous crossover we could find. IDW has a lot of franchises, and sometimes they like to jam them together in as many team-ups as possible. Other times they just dump them in a pit and wait to see what happens. That is the case with Infestation. It stars G.I.Joe, Star Trek, Transformers, and the Ghostbusters. It takes a lot of suspended disbelief to imagine these four very different groups of people… er… bots and people, ending up together and especially working together. If you can wrap your head around the premise, it really is worth it to see Spock and Optimus prime hold a conversation. It’s bizarre, it’s confusing, frankly, it’s art. Read it, try to digest it, because it doesn’t get more franchise busy than this.

Godzilla vs. Charles Barkley

Godzilla vs Charles Barkley

Where do we even start with this? When we first discovered this comic we had so many questions. So many questions. Who knew Kaiju enjoyed Basketball? Why does Godzilla respect the rules of the sport? Who thought this was a good idea? Honestly, the premise was so far fetched we didn’t even for a moment wonder why Charles Barkley was as big as our favorite Kaiju. We just sort of accepted giant Charles Barkley as a fact of the universe. But upon reading this perfectly awesome comic, we realized that wasn’t the case.

Please. Please. Please read this comic. We need other people to experience it so we can talk about it to someone other than each other. It’s honestly one of the weirdest things we’ve ever laid eyes on, and if you can’t enjoy that, then you probably don’t know how to have fun. Also, you get lines like this…

Godzilla vs. Charles Barkley