Pop Pics: The Incredible Hulk

New Comics Day: Superman Sundays; Doom Patrol Bronze Age Omnibus; Green Lantern #85 Facsimile Edition

Our picks. Click the links to order items from Amazon.

In these classic adventures from January 27, 1963 until the series conclusion on May 1, 1966, the impish Mr. Mxyzptlk from the Fifth Dimension returns to exasperate the Man of Steel; Superman becomes Super-Cop to outwit a master spy when Metropolis's entire police force is disabled; tries to help a planet of blind people regain their sight, but loses his own powers in the process; fights it out with his arch enemy Lex Luthor on an alien planet where Luthor is the hero and Superman a villain; competes in the Interplanetary Olympics against a field in which everyone has super-powers; travels back in time with Lois Lane; and is reunited with the mermaid Lori Lemaris; plus more!

Following the end of their original series in 1968, the Doom Patrol, the World's Strangest Heroes, made their return in 1977 in a series of tales that jumped across titles and featured appearances by Supergirl, Superman, the Suicide Squad and more! 
This collects the Doom Patrol adventures from SHOWCASE #94-96, THE SUPERMAN FAMILY #191-193, THE NEW TEEN TITANS #13-15, DC COMICS PRESENTS #52, THE DARING NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERGIRL #7-9, TEEN TITANS SPOTLIGHT #9, SECRET ORIGINS ANNUAL #1, THE DOOM PATROL #1-18, THE DOOM PATROL AND SUICIDE SQUAD SPECIAL #1, SUPERMAN #20, THE DOOM PATROL ANNUAL #1 and pages from THE NEW TEEN TITANS #10 and INVASION! #2 and #3 with a brand new introduction by Paul Kupperberg as well as behind the scenes material including the original series proposal and much more!

In this award-winning tale from 1971, Green Arrow discovers that his former sidekick, Roy Harper, is hooked on heroin! Plus, Sinestro tries to exert mental control over Hal Jordan in a story originally published in Green Lantern #11!

Coming up: "Comics Ad Men"

Out Jan. 28 from Fantagraphics. Order now from Amazon.

Comics and modern American advertising exploded into the public conscious at much the same time in the early 20thcentury. Long unseen and collected now for the first time: the gorgeous, funny, attention-grabbing comics, cartoons and illustrations from the OTHER career of comics creators Jack Davis (Mad), Al Capp (Li’l Abner) John Romita (Spider-Man), Mort Meskin (Sheena), Ross Andru (Spider-Man), Sheldon Moldoff (Batman), Neal Adams (X-Men), Noel Sickles (Scorchy Smith), Stan Drake (Blondie), Joe Simon, (Captain America), Basil Wolverton (Mad), Dik Browne (Hagar the Horrible), Clifford McBride (Napoleon), Hank Ketcham (Dennis the Menace), Lou Fine (The Spirit), Dan Clowes (Ghost World) and many more. Black & white illustrations.

Pop Pics: Those Men from U.N.C.L.E.!

Time Capsule: Stop the War March on Washington, Nov. 15, 1969

Pop Culture Roundup: Challengers of the Unknown; Toy trains; The Comic Reader

ITEM! Challengers of the Unknown pin-ups!

ITEM! Pop star Rod Stewart has a pretty awesome model train set-up.

ITEM! A gallery of covers from the late, lamented Comic Reader fanzine.

ITEM! Sad news - veteran comics journalist Tom Spurgeon passed away this week at just 50 years old. Tom occasionally picked up and shared item from this blog while operating his Comics Reporter site. Always seemed like a good and nice guy. He'll be missed.

Pop Life: "This Way Up"; "Press"; DC 100-Page Giants; Kirby and Lee

What I'm watching, reading, hearing, etc.

"This Way Up." Streamed this one on Hulu because it was billed as similar to the brilliant "Fleabag." And it is similar - uncannily, but apparently unintentionally so. The lead character Aine, played by Irish comedian/actress Aisling Bea, is a emotionally troubled young woman hiding behind a wicked sense of humor and I-could-care-less attitude. There are shared themes with "Fleabag" of loss, suicide and intimacy without true connection. And, as in "Fleabag," the lead's key foil is a more-together sister, in this case played by the awesome Sharon Horgan, of "Catastrophe." The humor here isn't as pointed as on "Fleabag," and the writing isn't as innovative and original, but it's all very, very good and affecting. It's sad in a way that comparisons can be made, because this is an excellent series in it's own right and well worth a look. I'm looking forward to season 2.

"Press." This one is a "Masterpiece Contemporary" drama, which I streamed on PBS. The focus is on rival British newspapers (a novel concept in the U.S.) and staff members at both. The papers are struggling because...their papers! And they're trying to hang onto their readership via, in one case, sensational storytelling and, in the other, solid investigative journalism. It's a tough proposition in either case when your real competition is Facebook, but of course we're meant to root for the true journalists, who value truth above all else. It's all somewhat interesting for a while, but becomes labored and predictable fairly quickly. Ben Chaplin is kinda good/kinda annoying as the editor of the sensational rag, while Charlotte Riley is believable (although plot isn't, really) as a crusading editor/reporter at the "good" paper. It also seems sort of dated now. I wish people card about this stuff.

DC 100-Page Giants. Nearly all my comics reading these days is via collected editions - which are collected in piles in my bedroom and office, awaiting to be read. But these new 100-pagers from DC have got me buying "regular" comics again, too. So far, I've picked up the first issues of the Flash, Batman and Swamp Thing Giants. My reading and buying of these is largely nostalgia driven. I remember fondly diving into DC's 100- and 80-page comics of the 1970s. They were a great introduction into character histories and the DC Universe. These new 100-pagers are fun, too. I like that they mix standalone stories with continued tales. Despite not having tuned into the Flash or Batman for awhile, I found the stories included in the first issues of their respective "Giants" to be accessible and entertaining. I like the fact, too, that these comics mix in other characters, such as Zatanna in Swamp Thing, Green Arrow and Black Canary in The Flash, and Nightwing in Batman. It's all fun, bountiful and budget-friendly reading. The one thing not included that I'd like to see is some older stories that draw on the rich history of these characters and DC's history. Why not some stuff from the Golden, Silver and Bronze Ages? DC shouldn't be fearful that younger readers won't like some of this stuff. One of the things I loved most about the 100- and 80-pagers of my youth is that they did include Golden Age stories. They fostered my love of comics history and creators of the past. Definitely something for DC to think about.

"Kirby & Lee: Stuf’ Said!: The Complex Genesis of the Marvel Universe, in its Creators’ Own Words." I reviewed this excellent book here back in March but it's now out in a slightly expanded edition. If you didn't buy it earlier, you can get the new version here. If you did get it earlier, I wouldn't say you need the updated version, though it adds 16 pages of new content and illustrations. It's your call! But if you're deeply interested in Jack Kirby and Stan Lee and who did what in terms of creating the Marvel Universe, you should check out one edition or the other.

Video: Brian Wilson - "California Inspires Me"

Time Capsule: The original "Mah Nà Mah Nà" from "Sesame Street," 1969

Pop Pic: "Gunsmoke" behind-the-scenes

Time Capsule: Fashion '69 with Cher

Pop Pic: George Reeves

New Comics Day: Marvel Masterwork Pin-ups; Absolute Swamp Thing; Tomb of Dracula #10 facsimile edition

Our picks. Click the links to order from Amazon.

As part of the tremendous fun of Silver Age comics, artists created pin-ups of the most popular Marvel heroes and villains! Now the greatest of those works of art are gathered for the first time in a beautiful large-format hardback book! Included are rare examples of original art of The Thing, Spider-Man, and Dr. Strange. 
An incredible artbook showcasing Spidey, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, The Avengers, Nick Fury, Daredevil, Millie the Model (!), and the ever lovin' blue-eyed Thing--and many marvelous more! Witty wordage, pulse-pounding patter, and zany zingers by Stan "The Man" Lee!

In 1983, a revolutionary English writer joined a trio of trailblazing American artists to revitalize a longstanding comic book icon. By the time they'd finished their work four years later, SWAMP THING by Alan Moore, Stephen R, Bissette, John Totleben, and Rick Veitch was universally recognized as one of the handful of titles that defined a new era of complexity and depth in modern graphic storytelling, and their run on the series remains one of the medium's most enduring masterpieces.
Now DC Comics and Vertigo are proud to present an all-new vision of this landmark achievement. Comprising three deluxe hardcover volumes, ABSOLUTE SWAMP THING BY ALAN MOORE debuts completely new coloring for every page, crafted exclusively for this definitive collector's edition by legendary color artist Steve Oliff (Akira, Miracleman). This first volume includes the issues THE SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #20-34 and SWAMP THING ANNUAL #2 and features a monumental new afterword from Bissette accompanied by a wealth of historic behind-the-scenes material from the title's original creative team.

Step inside the Tomb of Dracula, if you dare - and meet the deadliest enemy of the Prince of Darkness! His name is Blade, and he's a vampire hunter like no other - because he's part-vampire himself! The stakes are always high when Blade and Dracula clash, and that's never been more true than in their very first encounter! But what will fellow vampire hunters Quincy and Edith Harker make of Blade and his methods? This momentous issue of Dracula's classic series introduced the Daywalker - and set him on the path toward multimedia superstardom! It's one of the all-time great Marvel comic books, boldly re-presented in its original form, ads and all! Reprinting TOMB OF DRACULA (1972) #10.