House of M: Spider-Man

House of M was a miniseries in 2005 that took over the Marvel Universe for 8 or so months. The Scarlet Witch got sick and reshaped reality into a world that was governed by her father, Magneto and his "House of Magnus." It changed the lives of every Marvel superhero and touched or created over 10 different titles.

I had the pleasure of reading through the full series (see the full list: http://www.comicbookherald.com/the-complete-marvel-reading-order-guide/guide-part-4-house-of-m/), and figured I would spend some time talking about them. Today we're looking at the Spider-Man tie-in.

Read 'em all!
House of M: Fantastic Four
House of M: Spider-Man

Spider-Man: House of M #'s 1-5
by Waid, Peyer, Larroca et al.

In the wacky world of the House of M, Peter Parker is a beloved mutant married to the beautiful, smart Gwen Stacy and who's used his public popularity to start up Spider-Man Industries and give a comfortable life to his family: May and Ben Parker, George Stacy and his son, Richard Parker. That is, he's redonk rich, owns a condo in downtown NY and even has a bodyguard called the Rhino! Like the Fantastic Four: House of M tie-in, it's an inversion of everything we know about the character. Peter has everything he could ever want -- in fact, he's the boss and J. Jonah Jameson is the employee!


 But it's all a hoax -- Peter never had the x-gene. Instead he was bitten by a radioactive spider, and imagined a story that won him the love of the public. It all goes South when the Green Goblin gifts JJJ with Peter's diary, explaining how he actually got his powers.

The rest of the series is Peter trying to escape the anti-sapien hate that befalls him, and his family struggling with years of a comfortable life based on a lie. It's refreshing to see the classic Spider-Man story: a story of public fear, framed in the House of M story: a story of racial persecution. While the creative team handles this, there's some plotting issues in the fourth and fifth issues. It's never really explained how Peter has a mental breakdown, and the ending is a happy ending that seems to ignore his mental illness.

The final two pages in issue 4 are particularly masterful. Peter needs to hunt down his journal back from Jonah to clear his name. He's estranged from his family now to save them from the social ostracization, so his family are conducting a separate heist to get ahold of it from JJJ's office. Peter's made a buttload of money from his web-shooters, so Gwen and George are using the web-shooters to guide their heist. After Spider-Man gets ahold of it, they try to get ahold of him:


The way I read that first picture, and because there's that giant "NO!," it looked like they were trying to web shoot Spider-Man, and because of the state image, I thought they failed. But they didn't! You could only tell this kind of story in static images -- with comic books. Which makes me really happy, because it makes comic books a unique medium that can tell special kinds of stories. This series comes recommended if you're into alternate-universe Spider-Men and are OK with loosey-goosey plots.

If you too would like to read through the House of M series, there are a few series that you can skip, and some one-offs that are surprisingly good. The series you can skip include: ExcaliburMutopiaGiant-Size Ms. Marvel 01 and Wolverine. Some surprisingly good one-shots include: Black Panther #7 and Captain America #10. Stay tuned for the next part: Black Panther #7.

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House of M: Fantastic Four

House of M was a miniseries in 2005 that took over the Marvel Universe for 8 or so months. The Scarlet Witch got sick and reshaped reality into a world that was governed by her father, Magneto and his "House of Magnus." It changed the lives of every Marvel superhero and touched or created over 10 different titles.

I had the pleasure of reading through the full series (see the full list: http://www.comicbookherald.com/the-complete-marvel-reading-order-guide/guide-part-4-house-of-m/), and figured I would spend some time talking about them. Today we're looking at the Fantastic Four tie-in series.

Read 'em all!
House of M: Fantastic Four
House of M: Spider-Man
Fantastic Four - House of M #'s 1-3
by Layman, Eaton, Hillsman II, White

Under the House of Magnus, Victor Von Doom I is the ruler of Latveria, one of a number of powerful monarchs on the planet Earth. His people love him, and he goes on adventures with his wife and son, the Invincible Woman and Inhuman Torch along with his monstrous pet, the It as the Fearsome Four. It's thanks to his gift with sorcery that his family has superpowers, and he's doing pretty well. . . for a sapien.

This three-issue mini is a great character piece for Victor Doom. In fact, the Fantastic Four we're familiar with get only a couple of pages. In the issues, we see how even when Doom has everything that would make him happy, it isn't enough. It crushes him to be under the heel of another man, and he hatches a brilliant plan to trick Magneto into a dimension where electromagnets do not have their typical properties. The climax so brilliantly explains Doom's ambitions.


A highly recommended tie-in series - what a wonderful, twisted inversion and re-imagining of the Fantastic Four. I'm surprised Marvel didn't give Layman a title after this, because he understands the character so well, and tells a story to explain him that Secret War lumbered to explain.

If you too would like to read through the House of M series, there are a few series that you can skip, and some one-offs that are surprisingly good. The series you can skip include: Excalibur, Mutopia, Giant-Size Ms. Marvel 01 and Wolverine. Some surprisingly good one-shots include: Black Panther #7 and Captain America #10. Stay tuned for the next part: House of M: Spider-Man.

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Spider-Man Noir: Not Your Mama's Spider-Man, But Maybe Your Great-Grandmama's

Spider-Man Noir was a four-issue miniseries back in 2008, when Marvel was doing a whole "noir-ification" of their line, including Wolverine Noir and Iron Man Noir. Marvel used to publish the individual series in cute little digest editions, but now it looks like they're doubling down and pairing stories together in 35-dollar5, 12-issue paperbacks, ie, Daredevil/Cage/Iron Man Noir,Wolverine & the X-Men Noir and Spider-Man/Punisher Noir (?).

Spider-Man Noir's getting a bit of love because of Dan Slott's super-spider-epic, Spider-Verse, but I'm waiting for the verdict out on that story before touching it. Spidey Noir got a second series, subtitled Eyes without a Face, but here's my opinion on the first series.


Check out how the cover for #4 obscures Osborn's face. What a diss! David Hine and Fabrice Sapolsky take on Peter Parker in the Great Depression, 1933 to be specific. People are living on the streets while Norman Osborn, "The Goblin," runs a crime ring that has even the mayor in check. It's the Daily Bugle's job to document the suffering, and Peter Parker finds an apprenticeship there under Ben Urich to photograph it.

It's refreshing how different this is from the Marvel Universe proper. Peter Parker's an uppity kid with a big mouth and a grudge against The Goblin. In his first meeting with Osborn at The Black Cat speakeasy, he has thechutzpah to throw a drink in Osborn's face!


And Aunt May's a fireball in this series. After Spider-Man saves May by shooting down the Vulture on the verge of snapping her neck -- she doesn't thank him. She berates him for killing another person and demands his gun! It's a great explanation for why he chooses not to kill -- worthy, even.

I really enjoyed how this series defied the expectations in your typical Spider-Man story -- familiarity with Spider-Man only enhances the reading of his noirifcation.

The artist, Sapolsky was an otherwise new name to me, and I haven't heard of it since. Which is a shame, because while he's not a wildly impressive artist, he's certainly more than serviceable. Here's the surreal sequence in which Peter Parker is bitten by the spider:

Here's what his Spider-Sense looks like. It's kind of like a weird, ethereal spider hugging your face:

Here's a pretty neat sequence with Spider-Man getting to the Daily Bugle building.

Another place that the series defies expectations, is that Spider-Man is practicing his speech to scold J. Jonah Jameson -- only to find out that :choke: somebody's shot and killed J. Jonah Jameson! You don't get any Spidey-JJJ interaction in this series, which is another tally for the unexpected.

Here's another panel that kind of combines the previous two:

Lastly, check out these Spider-poses. How does he cling to that building piece through his bad-ass, but thick, gloves and boots?



One last note about his costume: Peter actually uses Uncle Ben's old aviator goggles back from the war, as a part of his ensemble. Isn't that cool?? UnlikeWolverine NoirSpider-Man Noir dresses to impress.

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The dub-step. . .

. . . I can't control it!!


From Amazing Spider-Man: Big Time, by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos

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Botcon 2014: I spiked the punch!. . .

. . . with my costume, that is. That's right folks, I attended Botcon 2014 this year -- the annual Transformers fan convention -- and I came dressed as civilian Spike Witwicky! I had a beige-ish button-down, jeans, work boots with a yellow hard hat. I also created a prop Soundwave that I could carry around. Here's an image from tfwiki that captures what I was going for, from the episode "Transport to Oblivion."
 photo TransportOblivion_Ed_zpsead162a3.jpg

Botcon started last week Wednesday (June the 18th) and concluded on Sunday (June the 22nd). I was visiting my sister in Los Angeles on vacation so I used the opportunity to pre-register. The website was a little confusing so I ended up pre-ordering a t-shirt and nothing else. It took me awhile to figure out that the cheapest package, the "mini-con" package, was only an add-on package anyways! And even the cheapest package was too much for my blood. I bought a general admission ticket for Saturday the 21st.
Spike with Megatron photo P1080228_zps40382ff0.jpg

In terms of conventions, I got a taste of pretty much everything BotCon had to offer. I've been to Wizard Worlds before in Chicagoland, as well as the smaller, more focused Windy City Comic-Con, but I've never had a fuller experience than the one I had at Botcon. I attended the panels, I walked around the room floor, I gawked at the costumes and I looked at the art. The only things I didn't partake in was the autograph line and the artists' alley.
Line for panel photo P1080234_zpsf9e2614d.jpg

I attended a few panels: The "Hasbro Transformers Brand" panel, the "Women in Animation" panel and the "Art of Transformers" panel. The Brand panel was an unveiling of sorts, with slideshows of upcoming action figures in the series. Of particular note was the fact that the presentations broke the sector into "pre-school", "boy" and "fan" but the presenter was mindful enough to mention "girl" every time he mentioned "boy," and "daughter" every time he mentioned "son."

The biggest news I recall was the leader class Generations: Megatron as a tank. The powerpoint was pretty cute. When they unveiled the Megatron slide, they played the clip from the 1986 movie, where Megatron's staring down at Optimus and says, "I would have waited an eternity for this Prime! It's over." I've been waiting for a while for Legends class generations: Cosmos with Throttle, but I haven't seen him. . .
Spike and Metroplex photo P1080262_zpsac8b5f91.jpg

In terms of the vendor area, I think I got a pretty good deal. I got a Laser Optimus Prime (RTS edition) and a Generations Wheeljack, for $15 each. I had already snaked my way through most of the vendor area so I figured $15 was the best I could get. Consider my woes when I found Laser Prime for a mere nine dollars at the last vendor booth I visited! I also found a $20 Cosmos, which wasn't a good enough deal for me, and a $100 Masterpiece Grimlock -- I passed on him because I couldn't figure out a way to get him into my luggage. I also saw a $100 Grimlock vs. Bruticus set, which I've been waiting on, but the price is pretty stable so I was OK getting it online.
It never ends! photo P1080257_zps3de0d62a.jpg

Here's an example of the fanart. You could submit entries into an art contest and the winners got prizes. You could make dioramas, color art, monochrome art. I was really happy about this section; it's not commonplace to your average comic book convention. Being a subset of comic book fans, Transformers is a lot more warm and cozy a fandom. It's smaller and so everything is more precious. Here's my loot in total, excepting the t-shirt:
 photo IMG2276_zps86bed20d.jpg

Thanks to my sister for helping me with all these photos. We took nearly 50, and to see them all you can check out the photobucket slideshow:

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