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What comics have you been reading? by BettyReggie
[August 19, 2018, 11:13:22 am]

Library Books That You All Read by BettyReggie
[August 18, 2018, 06:52:59 pm]

Days we look foward to as Archie Fans. by BettyReggie
[August 18, 2018, 04:27:18 pm]

Nike Air VaporMax Khaki Debut This Summer by blair2019
[August 18, 2018, 09:18:59 am]

How many of each type of continuity came out in the last few years by DeCarlo Rules
[August 18, 2018, 01:55:29 am]

adidas Ultra Boost Clima Solar Yellow is coming next month by blair2019
[August 14, 2018, 03:18:01 am]

North American comics sales 2011-2016 by Welchhardy
[August 14, 2018, 02:57:04 am]

Maps of Riverdale? by Welchhardy
[August 14, 2018, 02:56:51 am]

What have you done today? by Archiecomicxfan215
[August 13, 2018, 08:38:56 pm]

Archie and Me in A Walk a Hallway in Someone Else's Shoes. by PTF
[August 12, 2018, 01:57:58 pm]

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Refresh History
  • DeCarlo Rules: My review of BETTY & VERONICA SPECTACULAR VOL 01 TP: [link]
    August 17, 2018, 01:56:12 am
  • DeCarlo Rules: GISÈLE LAGACÉ has a new series coming out from Image Comics in October, EXORSISTERS. [link]  :)
    August 13, 2018, 12:59:31 am
  • Archiecomicxfan215: Im still here but been busy with work.
    August 12, 2018, 09:17:16 am
  • BettyReggie: Where is everyone?
    August 11, 2018, 04:26:15 pm
  • BettyReggie: I still have not recieved Riverdale Season # 2. It was supposed to come on 8/7/18
    August 10, 2018, 04:16:23 pm
  • Tuxedo Mark: My review of "The New Archies": "Jughead's Millions": [link]
    August 09, 2018, 09:02:27 pm
  • Vegan Jughead: Good theory.  The other reason is Thomas Pitilli sucks.  I thought most of the stories in that comic were really, really good. I wrote to Archie saying please change the artist.  Of course they didn't answer.
    August 09, 2018, 12:38:23 pm
  • DeCarlo Rules: I have a theory about why the Riverdale comic didn't sell well, despite the obvious success of the show, and why it doesn't seem to have improved the sales of ARCHIE, either. Why buy a cow when you can get the milk for free? I can only think of a few rare exceptions where the success of a TV series or movie increased comic sales in any significant way (THE WALKING DEAD). Mostly people don't seem to want to go out of their way or make any effort to be entertained, they just want it to be right there and available.
    August 09, 2018, 01:58:01 am
  • Tuxedo Mark: Riverdale comic officially cancelled, to be relaunched: [link]
    August 08, 2018, 10:54:38 am
  • Tuxedo Mark: My review of "Fall from Grace" from Riverdale One-Shot: [link]
    August 01, 2018, 09:41:55 pm
  • Tuxedo Mark: Here's a fictional press release that was made up for Riverdale High's production of "Carrie: The Musical": [link]
    August 01, 2018, 09:30:52 pm
  • Tuxedo Mark: DeCarlo Rules: Yeah, I saw that novel listed on Amazon. Definitely gonna get it.
    July 30, 2018, 12:14:33 pm
  • Tuxedo Mark: Been offline since Friday night due to computer problems. Thankfully, it was just a bad RAM stick.
    July 30, 2018, 12:14:09 pm
  • Fernando Ruiz: And of course... Don't miss out on the Die Kitty Die Cathouse of Horror Halloween Special!
    July 30, 2018, 10:48:17 am
  • Fernando Ruiz: PLUS plus... I've done the art on the eight page back up story in the Bettie Page Halloween Special!
    July 30, 2018, 10:47:34 am
  • Fernando Ruiz: Plus, I'll be doing the art on the eight page back-up.
    July 30, 2018, 10:47:01 am
  • Fernando Ruiz: In addition to the artwork, Dan and I are also writing the main twenty page story in the Elvira Halloween Special!
    July 30, 2018, 10:46:42 am
  • Fernando Ruiz: !
    July 30, 2018, 10:45:56 am
  • DeCarlo Rules: Serious fans of the Riverdale TV series might find this book of interest... [link]
    July 29, 2018, 06:08:48 am
  • DeCarlo Rules: Correction! Dan Parent & Fernando Ruiz provided the story & artwork for Dynamite's ELVIRA MISTRESS OF THE DARK HALLOWEEN SPECIAL [link] solicited for October 24th release.
    July 29, 2018, 01:54:33 am

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Messages - DeCarlo Rules

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MOST of the problems endemic to the passage of time in the continuity of both the rebooted ARCHIE, and the TV series, could have been easily avoided, simply by throwing out a couple of "traditional" ways of thinking about the characters. Given that that was the main thrust anyway, to contemporize the characters for a different, older audience, and throw out the retro-nostalgic/traditional ways of writing and drawing the characters, they should have realized this. The problems are caused by trying to translate the characters into a more realistic style of writing and art, but still maintaining that the characters MUST remain high-schoolers. They have to be old enough to drive and have serious dating relationships, so that limits the time frame to the last half of their high school education. In addition, they'd always timed the production of stories to reflect the passing seasons and holidays (including school holidays). But that gives them very little wiggle room, when considered in a more realistic context of storytelling.

What they SHOULD have done with the reboot (and the TV show) is to just transplant the school experience from high school to college.  The four-year college experience provides twice as much "wiggle room", and I'd have been very careful about avoiding references that could be pinned down to exactly which grade they were in, apart from the occasional story mentioning mid-terms, finals, or vacations. I'd also pointedly AVOID having the stories sync up with the seasons or holidays when they were being published (and after all, the trade collection sales are much more important than monthly issue sales). The same thinking applies to original airdates vs reruns, later streaming viewing, or DVD/BluRay sets. A good example would be a Christmas story... it could take place in an issue or episode released close to Christmas-time, but why should it have to? If the issue or episode came out in May or September, who really cares? The audience can deal with it. In no way do you want to get tied down to a tradition of always marking the occasion, so that would be something used exceptionally sparingly (and no magical elves or fairies, either), only if it happened to dovetail well with some preexisting ongoing plotlines.

I'd have started them out in the first issue (or episode) as having already met and being friends, except for Veronica, who'd just be arriving as a transfer student from an ivy-league college -- as a form of punishment instituted by Hiram Lodge, in order to get her to buckle down and focus on her studies, rather than her social activities, partying and shopping. In addition to transferring her to a state university, she'd also lose all her credit cards, and be on a fixed stipend of 'cash cards' that carried a fixed balance. Mr. Lodge is now regretting having caved into her every whim and little tantrum since she was a little girl through high school, and is trying hard now to correct her spoiled ways before it's too late. He'd have a mole within the school (could be a student, a teacher, or just someone who works there... just to inject a little dramatic mystery) reporting on her activities, whether she was getting good grades and focusing on her studies, or just goofing off. When she's good, she gets rewards of bigger balances on her cash cards. If she's not... she has to live on that fixed amount, or get a part-time job if she needs more spending cash. Veronica is NOT happy about the situation, but fixes her sights on Archie nonetheless. When they start dating, Hiram hates it --he's afraid that Archie is just the sort of distraction (as well as being NOT a 'good catch') for her that she DOESN'T need, but he doesn't interfere... but neither is he welcoming, and he won't help Ronnie as an enabler in the relationship, either.

Archie, Jughead, and Betty have all known each other and been friends since they were kids, and Archie and Betty have been dating since high school.  Needless to say, when Veronica inveigles Archie with her charms during a minor tiff in the Archie/Betty romance, it's the first big major roadbump in a formerly steady straightforward relationship with Betty, and she's not too happy about it, either. In the beginning, the two girls are bitter rivals (no prize for guessing who Jughead sides with). Reggie, Moose, Midge, Dilton, Chuck, Nancy, Cheryl, and Kevin have all become friends/frenemies just since first meeting each other at Riverdale State (I wouldn't go into details, unless a particular story could benefit from a flashback), and any other familiar name would be characters who are being introduced for the first time in the stories. I wouldn't specify exactly what year of college they were in, but we can assume they've been there at least a semester before the arrival of Veronica Lodge, who shakes up the whole "high school sweethearts" Archie/Betty story. So far this isn't TOO different from what Mark Waid had come up with, but being in college gives the characters a whole new spin. They're away from home now (living in dorms or off-campus apartments), some have regular part-time jobs, they all have different majors and extracurricular clubs and activities, and Archie's thinking about trying to start a band. They're only a year or two older than their traditional classic counterparts, still relatable to a Teen+ young audience, and there's lots of potential still for teen angst and soap-operatics. They're not so far away from home that the parents can't easily be there at college, if they absolutely HAD to for some reason, within a few hours or so, a day at most, and vice-versa for the students' visits back home. That makes them a little more independent than they were in high school, with more active social lives. The quaint retro-nostalgic "Pop's Chocklit Shoppe" is gone -- replaced by Pop's Pub, an eatery local to the college serving beer and wine, as well as food (no ice cream) that is one of the most popular student hangouts (but of course there are others, night clubs with bands, and so forth).

BTW, when I say "Riverdale State", that's just a concession to the identifiableness/marketability of the name, not an indication of the name of the town where Archie, Jughead and Betty grew up together and went to high school. This IS a complete reboot, so no approximation of the situations as they exist in the classic, traditional stories applies, or should be assumed as part of the characters' backstories -- these are RE-interpretations of the original classic versions of the characters. To begin with, the details of their individual backstories are blank slates (to be determined only as applicable to the ongoing stories being told), and the parents, for the most part, will be reduced in their roles to more of an off-stage presence, with exceptions made on a story-by-story basis, filling in a few blanks as the series rolls along. Some might eventually have larger or smaller roles than others, depending on ongoing circumstances of the stories. Betty, for example, may remain closer and lean on her family (including older sis Polly) more heavily than Archie or Jughead, in her day-to-day existence. Weatherbee, Grundy, Flutesnoot, and the rest of the old school staff are just plain out of the picture, and there's no "detention". That doesn't mean there couldn't be new college teachers who share some of the same personality traits as the old RHS staff, though. The main comic-reading audience seems to have voted overwhelmingly against comedy in favor of soap-opera romance, so what little comedy there is will arise out of characterization stuff like Jughead's eccentricities and personality quirks, in small doses.

So they've got four (non-specific) years worth of higher education (plus potential for a lot more interesting and less restrictive situations) to compress their continuity into.

I know. I'm just doing it to illustrate how quickly that issues become outdated. However, the upcoming Archie #699 seems to indicate the entire NR Archie run still happened, regardless of how long ago that the issues came out. For example, the first two issues came out before the current gang even entered high school! I wonder how the upcoming renumbered Archie series will handle this. We know Betty and Veronica is finally moving on to senior year officially. I wonder if Archie will do the same and indicate the previous run occurred "last year".

I couldn't tell you how time progresses in the New Riverdale continuity (or continuities) -- it seems entirely possible (even likely) that they're not beholden to the 'seasonal' concept to published stories that binds the traditional classic Archie stories, and follow more of an assumed 'compressed time' scheme common to Marvel and DC continuity (which is to say that the amount of time passing during, and between, published stories does not match the passage of time in the real world). If indeed everything that happened from ARCHIE issues #1 through 32, published from cover dates September 2015 through September 2018, is assumed to have taken place, the characters have not aged 3 years during that time -- but if that's true, then they shouldn't have experienced 3 Christmases or 3 summer vacations during that time, either.

'Compressed time' is a concept more easily manageable in the Marvel and DC universes, because the characters aren't as closely tracked by events tied to a school calendar, regular seasons and holidays. It's more about creating a balance between the illusion of the passage of time, while keeping the characters from ageing too much. If a Marvel or DC character is acknowledged to have aged a year since (whatever prior story is being referenced), it's not that big of a deal, whereas in the world of Archie, ageing a single year has major ramifications on the lives of the characters.

Now that I think about it, this is even a bigger problem for Riverdale (as it was for Happy Days). Unlike say, Friends, it isn't a show about 20-somethings whose exact age is indeterminate (but who wound up being 30-somethings by the time the show ended its run). In Friends, that didn't really matter, because the cast's exact ages weren't central to the concept of the show. Unlike comics or animation, you can't simply ignore the fact that the cast is ageing in real-time, just like the show's viewers. You can't order your actors to simply stop ageing, to preserve the original concept of "a story about high school teenagers". Riverdale's been running long enough that the characters' high school years should have already ended. (I still haven't seen the show, BTW.) Perhaps Riverdale, if it continues, will be forced to become more like the magazine version of LIFE WITH ARCHIE.

This goes right to the heart of the matter about my feeling of "Archie" as a concept. It works very well in a simplified cartoon world, where everything is just lines on paper, and we don't question these things any more than we would question the ages of the Scooby-Doo gang. Try to treat it in a more realistic fashion, and you're forced to assume some sort of cumulative changes as a result of an ongoing continuity -- and that results in changing the basic concept that "Archie" is based on.

That seems like an odd way of looking at things. As far as I can tell, only "Freshman Year" and its sequel take place in the ninth grade, while Life With Archie and Life With Kevin obviously take place after they've left school. Even allowing that your hypothetical scheme were true, there's no reason to assume the same division of grades applied equally across the board. Some of those Archie Horror titles don't even come out annually, so they'd be jumping grades between published issues! There isn't a four-year turnover between "current" incarnations of Archie and his friends. It would have to be an annual turnover, because they're always repeating the same grade, the same prom, the same Christmas, the same birthdays, the same summer vacation. To the extent that past stories older than a year ago are referenced, a story that originally took place during their junior year gets retroactively bumped to their sophomore year. Certain details of past stories can't be made to fit into a continuity where they're continually bumped backwards, though -- they can't be driving cars in their freshman year when they aren't old enough to legally hold drivers' licenses.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: August 16, 2018, 02:39:09 am »

While I was hoping that this collection might start out by reprinting the older ARCHIE GIANT SERIES issue numbers which fell under the B&V Spectacular title logo - begininng with #11 (June 1961) and ending with #632 (July 1992), which was in fact the final issue of the entire AGS run - it actually begins with the #1 issue cover-dated October 1992. After the cancellation of the Archie Giant Series, it was replaced by a number of different ongoing titles, all of which had previously appeared under the AGS numbering. World of Archie and Betty and Veronica Spectacular were initially published quarterly, which was approximately the same schedule under which the titles had appeared in rotation under the AGS numbering. The other two titles (Archie's Christmas Stocking and Betty and Veronica Summer Fun) were published annually.

WORLD OF ARCHIE #1 (August 1992) - #22 (March 1999)
BETTY AND VERONICA SPECTACULAR #1 (October 1992) - #90 (September 2009)
ARCHIE'S CHRISTMAS STOCKING #1 [48-Page Giant] (November 1993) - #7 (November 1999)
BETTY AND VERONICA SUMMER FUN #1 [48-Page Giant] (July 1994) - #6 (July 1999)

Of the four ongoing titles born out of the former Archie Giant Series, B&V Spectacular was by far the most successful, lasting seventeen years - ten years longer than the other three titles. Just for reference, here are the issue numbers of the Archie Giant Series which were Betty and Veronica Spectacular issues:

11   21   26   32   [here the AGS title jumped 100 issue numbers]
138   145   153   162   173   184   197   201   214   221   226   234   238   246   250
[here the AGS title jumped another 200 issue numbers] 458   462   470   474   482   486   494   498   501   506   510   518   522   526   530   537   541   548   552   559   563   569   575   582   588   595   600   608   613   620   623   632

Okay, with that preamble out of the way, this is a pretty good collection. Compared to the previous volume in the "Archie Comics Presents..." series, ARCHIE AT RIVERDALE HIGH, which attempted to compile stories from issues #1-33, BETTY & VERONICA SPECTACULAR VOL 01 TP only reprints stories from issues #1-11, so it is far more complete. The JUGHEAD'S TIME POLICE and COSMO trade collections were indeed "complete" in the truest sense, even reprinting the covers of the issues whose stories were contained therein. Here, unfortunately, we don't get the covers (which is a shame, because for the most part, they are great covers). However, we DO get MOST of the stories from issues #1-11 reprinted. Here's a listing of the contents of Volume 1 (number of pages follows the story title):

#1  Run For Glory   22
#2  This Looks Like A Job For Sugarplum!   21
#3  Genie Hi-Jinx   11
#3  BETTY in "The Big Slice"   1
#3  Flee This Market   5
#3  "Clothes" Minded!   5
#4  Fashion Fiasco   11
#4  Go Fly a Kite   5
#4  Triangle Trouble   5
#5  Wiener Wars   11
#6  Princess and the Pauper   11
#6  Chances Are...   5
#7  Love Notions   11
#7  Jersey City 07303   5
#7  Too Much Infomercial   5
#8  Fitness Fiasco   11
#8  Moody & Snooty   5
#9  Look Who's Watching   11
#9  Paper Route   5
#9  Yard Sale Of The Century!   6
#10  Here's Sand in Your Face   11
#10  S'more Trouble   5
#10  Vests For All Occasions (Veronica fashions)   1
#10  Boxer Boom!   5
#11  Teacher Torture   11
#11  Picture This!   5
#11  The Prodigal Daughter   5

Just to see what didn't get reprinted from those issues, I consulted the Grand Comics Database. Here's what's missing from those issues (excepting ads, letters pages, editorial pages, and puzzle pages):
#1-11  covers
#3  BETTY's Fantasy: The Music Maker (pin-up)   2
#5  No Contest   5
#5  The 60's In The 90's (B&V fashions)    1
#5  Opposites Detract   5
#6  A Fowl Scent   5
#6  Hot Roddin' in the "Fifties" (pin-up) 1
#8  Hold the Phone   5
#9  Rad Fad   1

So essentially, what BETTY & VERONICA SPECTACULAR VOL 01 TP contains is "almost" the complete contents of issues #1-11 of that title, with the exception of all the covers and 25 pages of other stories or features. It could have been a little more perfect, but given that they had to fit it into a 224-page trade collection, not bad. If I had been the editor, I'd have left issue #11 for Volume 2, and reprinted the four 5-page stories from issues #5, 6 & 8 that they skipped, plus a 1-page feature. Or the two best 5-page stories, plus all 10 covers from issues #1-10. But that's me. All in all, not too bad. I rate it a "buy".

One small irksome point. There is a 1-page text introduction which had me wondering whether the (uncredited) writer of that page even read the stories in this collection. Said writer claims in the intro that "As time went on, the series introduced a few new female characters - one of which you'll see in this particular collection is Sugarplum, the teenage daughter of Santa Claus".

Okay, that's just plain wrong on two counts. Apparently the writer confused Sugar Plum with Noelle Claus (the teenage daughter of Santa Claus), a much later Dan Parent creation. They're two entirely different characters. And B&V Spectacular did NOT introduce the character of Sugar Plum (seen here in a story from B&V Spectacular #2, "This Looks Like A Job For Sugar Plum!", which is in fact her fourth appearance). Her FIRST appearance was in ARCHIE GIANT SERIES #580 (January 1988), which wasn't even a B&V Spectacular issue of AGS... it was a BETTY AND VERONICA CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR (a separate annual title) issue. You wouldn't necessarily have to know these details to realize that Betty and Veronica Spectacular #2 wasn't Sugar Plum's first appearance -- all you'd need to do is read the story. In the first panel of that story, where Sugar Plum appears, it's obvious that Betty and Veronica already know her. Since she wasn't in the previous issue of B&V Spectacular, it's easy to deduce that she couldn't have been introduced in that series. That makes the writer of the introduction look pretty dumb, even to a 10 year-old kid of average intelligence.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: August 15, 2018, 11:59:55 pm »
(of 6)
(of 3)
STELLAR #3 (of 6)

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: August 13, 2018, 01:10:08 am »
Ménage à ZOMBIES (one-shot) - Floppy comic spinoff of Ménage à 3, by Dave Lumsdon and Fernando Ruiz. The injection of zombies into the otherwise more real-world universe of Ménage à 3 makes this an out-of-continuity flight-of-fantasy. Possibly the idea was a tongue-in-cheek poke at ACP's Afterlife With Archie. The story was originally created as bonus content for the most recent Ménage à 3 tankobon collection, but is presented here as a standalone one-shot in color.

BETTY AND VERONICA DIGEST (1990s) #56, 57, 62, 68, 69, 80 - Purchased for a buck each. Most of the stories were ones I'd previously read, reprinted in more recent B&V digest issues. I'll pick these older digests up if they're cheap, but they're not really on my want list, per se. I'm really only focusing on collecting certain digest titles that I missed from around 2005 to present (varies according to each title): Betty and Veronica, Betty and Veronica Double, B&V Friends Double, Tales From Riverdale, Jughead & Friends, Jughead Double, Archie & Friends Double, World of Archie Double. Many or most of these had at least some new (at the time) stories besides the usual reprints.

THE BIG O, Vol. 1-6 tankobon (2002-2004) by Hitoshi Ariga - This was another manga series (like GHOST IN THE SHELL: STAND ALONE COMPLEX by Yu Kinutani) that was based on an anime TV series, rather than the other way around. Unlike that other series though, these stories weren't just straight adaptations of the TV episodes, but new stories based on the TV characters. The anime and character designs have the same sort of 'dark deco' sensibility as Batman The Animated Series, because it was a co-production between Sunrise Studios in Japan and Cartoon Network in America. There's a lot of homages to older Japanese anime and tokusatsu TV shows, as well as retro design homages to 1960s style. Hitoshi Ariga (who also did the manga based on MegaMan in Japan, which Udon studios is currently reprinting in thick, standard-format color comics) did a good job on this, even though he was feeling his way along at first, having started serializing the manga in MAGAZINE Z in Japan 3 months prior to the on-air debut of the anime. The TV series eventually ran 26 episodes, so it was nice to get some new stories featuring those characters in the manga series.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: August 09, 2018, 01:47:42 am »
(of 6)
(of 12)
HEY KIDS! COMICS #1 (of ?)

... and on the e-comix front...
DIE KITTY DIE: HEAVEN & HELL #2 (of 4) - Ahh! ... "Good things come to he that waits", as the saying goes. DKD never fails to give me a little thrill of delight at the sly little in-jokes and quirky humor. Not to mention how much I'm loving the artwork. The boys really put their hearts & souls into this, and you can feel it in the resulting product. Li'l Satan has kind of a big supporting role in this issue, and it's always nice to see more of him. There's a brief appearance by Kitty's cousin Katty in the flashback story preceding the present-day main story, and as usual, we check in with Rudy, Mara, and Jim at the comic shop to see how Kitty's death is impacting the world of comic fandom. Sweet.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: August 09, 2018, 01:46:13 am »
I just finished reading some of my graphic novels
Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong
The Best Of Archie Comics - Betty & Veronica - Book #2
Jughead - Volume #1
Menage A 3- Volume #1
Swing #1

I don't know if you read Vol 1 of Menage A 3 in the smaller paperback (tankobon) size published by Pixie Trix, or the slightly larger format (same approximate size as The Best of Archie Comics trade paperbacks), published by Udon Entertainment, which collects 2 of the smaller paperback volumes. I have both versions of volume 1, and I really like the larger page size of Udon trade collection. I just ordered the second volume of that series (which collects volumes 3 & 4 originally published by Pixie Trix). I think I'm going to stick with that format because the artwork looks so much better printed at the larger size, even though at the current rate Udon is publishing them, it will take quite a while for them to catch up to the Pixie Trix volumes.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: August 07, 2018, 03:36:01 pm »
PLATINUM END VOL 01 (tankobon) - I loved this! It just totally turns all those superhero elements on their head and defies expectations as to how they are usually applied in a story. Yet all the same basic elements are worked in. Orphaned kid granted superpowers by magical being/cosmic alien (in this case, in the guise of a cutesy teen angel girl). Almost seems like it's going in the same direction as Spider-Man, with a theme of "with great power there must also be great responsibility", but also seems like it won't be a quickly learned lesson, as it was in the case of the teenaged Peter Parker, but a much more torturous pathway. The angel characters are somewhat creepy, and in the case of the main one, Nasse, I believe she'll turn out to be not what she appears, or at any rate, there's a lot she's not telling our young hero. The reconfiguration of religious/mythological ideas into pseudo-science fantasy terms reminded me of SAINT SEIYA (Knights of the Zodiac). I just immediately ordered tankobon Volumes 02 through 06. Extremely pleased to have discovered this one, can't wait to read the whole thing.

PRECARIOUS WOMAN EXECUTIVE MISS BLACK GENERAL (tankobon) by JIN - A pretty funny superhero parody. Took me a little while to decipher the cartooning style here (extremely reductive, and the appearance of characters tends to morph a lot according to their emotional state), but some bits are reminiscent of Viewtiful Joe, while other bits remind me of Ben Edlund's The Tick.

You can just NEVER really tell what a manga's about by its title. In this case I suspect that the author (who goes by the pseudonym 'jin') intended it to try to capture the same sort of effect of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", in other words, just to tickle people's curiosity when they heard or read it. I'm not sure about the translation of the word precarious in the title; it seems like they missed something about the sense of it. If I had to guess I think the meaning of precarious as "risky" was somehow assumed to be the same as the word risqué (which actually means improper/indecent/suggestive) -- so I think the meaning which was intended to be conferred was Risqué Lady eXecutive BLACK GENERAL. The 'Miss' in the title translation is just an honorific of '-san' appended to the name Black General. We could really just call it RX Black General.

She's supposed to be the field marshal of the secret evil organization 'RX', whose ultimate goal is total world domination, and tries to look the part, dressed in her military cap and pseudo-Nazi-type uniform with an X armband, and an eyepatch (which she admits is just because 'it looks cool!'). Really she's just a superhero fangirl who gets the whimwhams whenever she encounters the hero Braveman (who looks a little like Batman, but is really nothing like him). She took the job with the evil RX organization just so she could get up close to her idol, the secret object of her obsession (she's a lot like Betty Cooper that way), but all she's succeeded in doing so far is becoming an irritating annoyance and king-size headache for Braveman. The evil RX organization is headed up by the overly-polite and afraid-to-offend Boss (who is a supervillain with telekinetic powers), but so far the organization hasn't done a single evil thing except to declare their intent of world domination and call out Braveman to challenge him. The rest of the organization consists of Secretary, Scientist, and Minion #1, #2, and #3 --  but they're still keen to recruit new followers (even though they've completely blown through their cash reserves). Good satirical treatment of superhero cliches, and about as different as night from day, when compared to PLATINUM END, even though they're both playing with some of the same well-established tropes.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: August 06, 2018, 01:52:40 am »
GHOST IN THE SHELL TP by Shirow Masamune

GHOST IN THE SHELL: STAND ALONE COMPLEX by Yu Kinutani (tankobon volumes):
  EPISODE 001: SECTION 9 (adapts TV episode 01)
  EPISODE 002: TESTATION (adapts TV episode 02)
  EPISODE 003: IDOLATER (adapts TV episode 07)
  EPISODE 004: ¥€$ (adapts TV episode 14)
  EPISODE 005: NOT EQUAL (adapts TV episode 13)

I'd bought the above tankobon volumes (approx. 250 pages each) as they'd been released by Kodansha Comics back in 2011-2014, but had never actually gotten around to reading them. I was a little disappointed to find that they were just straight adaptations of the episode scripts, scene-for-scene and dialogue-for-dialogue (I'd been hoping that they were original stories set in the same world as the GitS S.A.C. TV series). They do a good job (artwork and story all read well as manga) for what they intended, but add or subtract nothing from the anime episodes, so if someone already has the anime episodes in their collection, they're somewhat disposable.

GHOST IN THE SHELL README: 1995-2017 HC - History and background info of the GiTS franchise in anime films & TV series, profusely illustrated with cel frames, designs and character model sheets, up to and including the 2017 live-action feature film. I also watched the first five of the anime films: Mamoru Oshii's Ghost in the Shell (1995) and his sequel Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (2004), and Kenji Kamiyama's three Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex features: The Laughing Man (2003), The Individual Eleven (2005), and Solid State Society (2006). I haven't yet seen the 10-episode 2013 OVA series Arise or the spinoff anime 'New Movie' which caps off that series' storyline (I've been waiting for all ten OVA episodes to be offered in some sort of 'Complete Collection' on DVD, and I don't want to watch the feature film spinoff until I've seen the OVA series that preceded it). Shirow Masamune's original manga, the 2 Oshii anime films, the TV series Stand Alone Complex, and OVA series Arise all have their separate continuities, with some details in storylines agreeing and others contradicting those of the other versions. Comparing and contrasting the different versions helps in grasping some of the vaguer or harder to understand details of the SF concepts and metaphysical/philosophical ideas being explored.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: August 03, 2018, 05:01:41 am »
From the World of Black Hammer: THE QUANTUM AGE #2 (of ?)
The Little Book of IRON MAN
The Little Book of X-MEN

All About Archie / Re: I think Archie Comics has finally lost me
« on: July 28, 2018, 07:28:20 am »
The Diamond Comics Distribution solicitations for the month of October's Archie Comics are out:

So they managed to sneak in the solicit for ARCHIE #699 ahead of #700, after all. And it's a $1.00 "the story so far" kind of catch-up issue, to try to entice those people who haven't been reading ARCHIE. I assume that that loss-leader cover price can only mean that this is a sort of cut-and-paste reprint comic, composed of various key scenes from pages and panels that previously appeared somewhere before during the run of issues from ARCHIE #1 to 32, with a minimal number of newly-drawn framing panels to stitch all the bits and pieces together. But it does go to prove what I suspected, that the #700 issue won't be another reboot, just a change in creative team and a minor course-correction to steer the title in a direction more similar to that of the TV series Riverdale.


(W) Mark Waid, Ian Flynn (A) Various (CA) Marguerite Sauvage

Follow along as Archie reflects back on the past several years of storylines including: the much-talked about #LipstickIncident, the arrival of the Lodge family, the Riverdale Civil War, the machinations of the Blossom Twins, the near-tragedy of "Over the Edge" and more! This special issue sets the stage for next month's landmark 700th issue of ARCHIE! Based on stories by Mark Waid and Ian Flynn and featuring art by an assortment of ARCHIE talents.

In Shops: Oct 03, 2018
Diamond Code: AUG181571
SRP: $1.00

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: July 26, 2018, 01:13:12 am »
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OGN (First Comics 1988) by Go Nagai

General Discussion / Re: What are you currently watching?
« on: July 23, 2018, 05:48:21 am »
VENGEANCE OF THE SPACE PIRATE (a 1985 English-dubbed edit of the 1982 original anime film Arcadia of My Youth)
CAPTAIN HARLOCK and Friends (1985 English-dubbed version of selected episodes from the 1978 anime TV series Space Pirate Captain Harlock)
STARZINGER: The Movie Collection (selected episodes of the 1978-79 anime TV series, dubbed and edited in 2009 into three 1 hour & 50 minute feature films)

All of the above anime were based on the work of manga creator Leiji Matsumoto (best known in the US as the creator of Space Battleship Yamato, dubbed and edited and broadcast on US television as Star Blazers in the 1980s). Apart from series he created like Yamato, Starzinger, and Danguard Ace (a popular super-robot anime series of the 1970s), many of the other manga and anime series share a common continuity and characters, coexisting in a "Leijiverse". The primary series involved in this shared continuity are Captain Harlock, Galaxy Express 999, Queen Millennia, and Galaxy Railways. Galaxy Express 999 is a 19th-century styled space locomotive that travels across space, stopping at various planets. It's endpoints are Earth and the planet LaMetal in the Andromeda galaxy, ruled by Queen Andromeda Promethium, otherwise known as Queen Millennia, the "Queen of a Thousand Years". Planet LaMetal is the seat of the Machine Empire, which seeks to dominate the universe, conquering or converting all other sentient races into mechanoids like themselves. Queen Promethium is also the mother of Maetel (one of the main characters of Galaxy Express 999) and Emeraldas (like Captain Harlock, a space pirate, and a primary supporting character in both that series and GE999). How a mechanoid queen like Promethium can be the mother of Maetel and Emeraldas is explained in Maetel Legend. Queen Promethium's backstory was the subject of the TV series Queen Millennia, untranslated into English except as part of the edited-&-dubbed by Carl Macek version Captain Harlock and the Queen of a Thousand Years, seen ever-so-briefly in the US in 1985-86. Continuity as such is a little loose as such in the Leijiverse, as the original Space Pirate Captain Harlock series (1977-78) was not originally conceived as part of a shared universe, and only later, with the feature films Galaxy Express 999 (1979, a condensed retelling of the major plot arc of an earlier-aired TV series) and My Youth in Arcadia (1982, essentially what amounts to Harlock's origin story) were connections forged. Many of the earlier or later anime contain discrepancies or contradictions of events which can't be accounted for, and some need to be eliminated as existing in the shared universe altogther, like Harlock Saga (1996), an OVA series which recast the main characters of Captain Harlock in the roles of characters from operatic cycle The Ring of the Nibelung. Other series in which Harlock and his best friend Tochiro Oyama appear, take place in other times, like Gun Frontier, a 2002 OVA series (the manga on which it is based actually preceded the Space Pirate Captain Harlock manga) in which Harlock and Tochiro have analogs in their ancestors who are destined to share a common history and genetic memory (this plot point was explained in the film My Youth in Arcadia, which showed that Harlock and Tochiro also had ancestors who shared history during WWII). In fact it appears that in a sense, all of Harlock and Tochiro's descendants are genetically-identical reincarnations of their former ancestors. Yes, it's more than a little confusing, so I've been sifting through the various films, OVAs and TV series related and trying determine if they can be made to fit within the shared continuity, and if so, in what order events take place relative to other stories. There are a number of tangential spinoffs as well, like the OVA series COSMO WARRIOR ZERO.

STARZINGER was fun, but is otherwise unrelated to Leiji Matsumoto's shared universe. The series' title remained unexplained in the English-language dub. In 1980, the series had 26 of its 73 episodes translated into English by Jim Terry's American Way Productions, retitled as Spaceketeers, one of five different anime series broadcast as part of a 5-days-a-week syndicated package under the overall title FORCE FIVE. That series only aired for a few years in 4 or 5 select broadcast markets in the US, and a couple more in Canada. Starzinger's original story is a loosely-based space-opera iteration of the ancient Chinese Buddhist classic, Journey To The West. It's full title in Japan translates roughly as Science-Fiction West STARZINGER. The 1980 version tried to recast the three cyborg heroes of the series as science-fiction analogs of Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers, since Journey to the West remains a largely unfamiliar story to English-speaking audiences. Spaceketeers was the only one out of FORCE FIVE's English-dubbed anime adaptations not to feature a giant super-robot as the main character. Jim Terry's original plans to obtain rights to Go Nagai's Great Mazinger anime collapsed when negotiations stalled out, and so a dubbed adaptation of Leiji Matsumoto's Starzinger became an eleventh-hour substitute. The initial impetus for the American syndication packaging came from Mattel's then-popular toy line Shogun Warriors, which imported various unrelated Japanese super-robot toys in different scales (the most impressive of which were gigantic 26" plastic versions) with English-language repackaging, this being several years prior to Hasbro's similar imported Japanese robot toys which were dubbed TRANSFORMERS; however, Mattel's Shogun Warriors super-robot toys didn't have the feature which allowed a seemingly-innocuous vehicle like a car or plane to be converted into a giant robot. The initial success of Mattel's Shogun Warriors toy line turned out to be short-lived, as within a couple of years a number of complaints from concerned parents, over the toys' small parts like projectile missiles presenting a choking hazard to small children, eventually put an end to the line.

The version of Starzinger I have here on DVD was newly redubbed in 2009, and tries to condense three of the more important story arcs of related episodes into three movies which each tell somewhat-complete stories, but are still part of an overall trilogy.  The main premise of the series involved the quest of three cyborg guardians to deliver the beautiful telempathic Princess Aurora to the Great Planet at the center of the galaxy. It seems that the Great Planet was formerly the source of all beneficial energy that endowed all the galaxy's living creatures with life and peace, but the former queen of the Great Planet is aging, and the radiations from the Great Planet have been corrupted, resulting in normal alien races becoming delvolved into evil space mutants. Doctor Kitty, a beautiful lady scientist from Earth, discovers that her adopted daughter, the orphaned Princess Aurora, sole survivor of the ruling royal family of the moon, is the pnly person who possesses the proper telempatic gifts to restore the beneficial energy of the Great Planet and is destined to replace the ageing queen and become the new queen of the Great Planet. Dr. Kitty selects the powerful but impulsive and undisciplined cyborg Jan Kudo (based on the Monkey King) to be the Princess' elite warrior, and guide her on her Journey to the West Center of the Galaxy in safety. She informs them that they will also encounter two alien cyborgs as they set out on their mission, who will also swear allegiance to the Princess Aurora, and join Jan Kudo as her protectors. These turn out to be Don Hakka, a short, stout, green-armored cyborg from a muddy planetoid, who is gluttonous and crude-mannered, but nevertheless heroic, and Sir Jogo, a tall, lanky blue-armored cyborg from a watery planetoid with a calm, analytical nature (he often consults a handheld computer to calculate the odds of whether some intended plan of action will lead to success or failure). Together with the red-armored cyborg Jan Kugo who is brash and impulsive and given to acting without thinking, although well-intentioned, their personalities and distinctive weapons and powers make them a well-balanced trio for guarding Aurora, but she often has to caution them that the various foes they encounter were orignally peaceful alien creatures and are not responsible for their actions in their now-mutated state, so they must combat them without using lethal force. The princess' kind and compassionate nature causes all three of her escorts to develop feelings for her, which is sometimes the source of conflict between them. Eventually, the three warriors encounter Bellamiss, a female cyborg warrior whose personality is similar to Jan Kugo's. She's not really evil, but simply a misguided patriot trying to protect her homeworld. She can't see how evil her own Queen Larisse is, because the Queen just happens to closely resemble Bellamiss' poor deceased mother. In a surprising turn for a children's cartoon, Jan Kugo eventually does fall in love with her, even though they've battled each other several times, but Bellamiss sacrifices her own life to avenge the deaths of the last refugees from her destroyed world after they have been killed by a rampaging electromagnetic space creature. Jan Kugo weeps bitter tears over her death. There is a surprising amount of emotional expression and conflicts of personality and internal intrigue among the space mutants for a kids' cartoon. At one point the Princess even threatened to commit suicide rather than be taken prisoner by aliens who sought to drain her of her telempathic powers and use them for their own gain.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: July 23, 2018, 05:15:02 am »
CAPTAIN HARLOCK #1-13 [Eternity 1989-91]
EMERALDAS The Pirate Queen #1-4 [Eternity 1990-91]

BETTY AND VERONICA JUMBO COMICS DIGEST #265 - Always enjoyable. I've been looking forward to each new issue recently to read the Cheryl Blossom serial "And the Winner Is...", (originally published in B&V Double Digest #161-165) which I'd never had a chance to read before (even though I know who the winner turned out to be). Part 3 of 5 was in this issue. I hope they continue to reprint the remaining Cheryl stories in the same chronological order in which they first appeared.

GOLGO 13 (Graphic Novel Series) No. 1: INTO THE WOLVES' LAIR The Fall of the Fourth Reich TP (1987) by Takao Saito
GOLGO 13 (standard comic format) No. 1: THE IMPOSSIBLE HIT (1989) by Takeo Saito
GOLGO 13 (standard comic format) No. 2: THE BORDER HOPPER (1990) by Takeo Saito (story title on cover & page 1 hilariously mis-translated as "Hopper the Border")
BLACK MAGIC TP by Masamune Shirow

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