Sunday, May 17, 2015

Secret Sagas of the Multiverse #5: Alpha Flight vs X-Men

I begin reading comics in 1980 but wouldn’t call myself a collector until 1986, Growing up during this time, I had a Classic X-Men run that covered the Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum run to the Claremont and John Byrne years ending a few issues after the “Dark Phoenix Saga”. I had also been collecting Uncanny X-Men run that was mainly Claremont and Marc Silvestri. With Claremont on words these three artists encompassed my personal X-Men continuity.

John Byrne’s run with the X-Men is my favorite part of that personal continuity by far. His pencils with the heavy brush of Terry Austin gave a weight to all the characters much like Neal Adams work. Byrne’s Wolverine is one of my favorite and I always felt truest visual expressions of the character. Wolverine is also the genesis of my love of all things Canadian. It is then little wonder Alpha Flight is my second favorite misfit team of Marvel Superheroes after the X-Men.

Though Guardian would first appear under the name Vindicator in Uncanny X-Men #109 in February of 1978, the actual Alpha Flight time would not appear until April of 1979 in Uncanny X-Men #120-121. I have a nod to the first battle in the middle digital art piece above. They would appear again in issues #139 and #140 in November and December of 1980 this times as allies to Wolverine and Nightcrawler as they hunt the Wendigo. In August of 1983 Alpha Flight would get their own series written and drawn by John Byrne.

 Alpha Flight could be described as the team that is trying it’s best to be the Avengers but keeps ending up being the Doom Patrol. One of the themes that reoccurs the most in the first 28 issue John Byrne run is that the members of Alpha Flight are the source of most of their problems. By issue #2 teammates are murderously turning on each other and that trend of internal fracturing continues throughout the run. Yet with all the internal strife and the barely a team aspect of this superteam, I still love these characters. Much of that love I am sure is coming from the beautifully rendered art of John Byrne through this era of the series. Also the occasional Wolverine cameo doesn’t hurt either.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Secret Origins

Welcome to the Pulp 2 Pixel Podcast Blog.

The endeavor you have before you is a a labor born out of many loves. It starts with my love of comic books, one of my earliest and greatest of nerd loves from my childhood, and my love of podcasts, my most recent of nerd loves. It also includes my love of hanging out with friends and talking about comics. I struck upon the obvious idea of bringing all of them together into one thing. So here I am. Starting a blog and recording podcast content.

Once I decided to go down this path, I came upon one of the biggest hurdles to making this podcast a reality. What was this new podcast going to be about? I thought about it for a long time, playing around with a number of different concepts and format types. I wanted to also be open for many different topics to cover. I finally settled upon the following concepts to cover on the podcast and the blog.

The Podcasts


This is the first of the two podcast series I have currently planned to produce. This series will cover an issue by issue review and discussion of the Kurt Busiek, Alex Ross, and Brent Anderson's masterpiece of superhero world building, Astro City. At the time of the writing of the post, I and my Rogues Gallery of co-hosts are currently recording episodes covering issues 1-6 of volume 1 of Astro City. 

The second series planned for the podcast will be an issue by issue review and critiques of Warren Ellis, John Cassaday, and Laura Martin's genere spanning deconstruction of the superhero, Planetary. This series will serve as counter point to Welcome to Astro City's look at that series reconstruction of the superhero genere.

The Blog

Just like the podcast end of this Pulp 2 Pixel Family of creative outings, I have two blog series planned for this website. The first is titled, Raiders of the Lost Longbox. This is planned as a personal look at the first comics that influnced my love of the medium until this day. I also plan to have contributing articles on this topic as well from my co-hosts and other guests. 

The second planned series is a look at the ever growing world of comics and superheroes across multiple media formats. Here I will include reviews of games, cartoons, the ever growing crop of TV shows, and the blockbuster superhero movie industry.

It is an ambitious plan and I am only now at the first faltering steps of this creative journey. I hope you, my true believing lovers of comics and superheroes, will stick around to see where it goes.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Secret Sagas of the Multiverse #2: ROM the Spaceknight

My quest for rare gems of nerdy goodness from the Multiverse of Media from my childhood has unearthed the following gems: from the alliance of Marvel and Parker Brothers descends the alien Dire Wraith slayer Rom the Spaceknight!

As I stated in a previous post, I loved the character of Rom, but had never owned the action figure or comic. Aside from a few issues I read in passing off a spinner rack or from a friends collection, my only real knowledge of the character was from a few ads in the early 80's and his entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. OHOTMU was my gateway to so much of the Marvel Universe growing up through the 80's. The science and math nerd in me loved the codifying of superheroes that was done in these handbooks. Rom's entry was no exception.

Rom the Spaceknight Marvel comic series promo
Rom the Spaceknight Marvel toy ad

For me, I loved the concept of the cybernetic warrior from space come to Earth to fight the alien sorcerers known as the Dire Wraiths. The design on the comics version of the character was amazing. His implacable face plate had a Spider-Man full face mask quality, something that would be emphasized in the Steve Ditko run at the end of the Marvel series. 

Rom Space Knight Issue #1

Sadly, as you can see from the video ad, the toy itself was disappointing to say the least. Parker Brothers apparently cooled to the idea and cut back on the toys' development budget. So on that front, I feel I dodged a bullet. I would love to read more of the Marvel series; however, Marvel unfortunately no longer has the licensing rights. No reprints from them are forthcoming. Apparently Hasbro has the rights, but nothing has come of it so far.

Rom Spaceknight by Dan Morton
In the end, Rom the Spaceknight has been seemingly banished to an intellectual rights limbo worse than the one he sent the Dire Wraiths to with his Neutralizer. 

You can find a great video explaining the history of Rom the Spaceknight here.