Posts Tagged ‘Image Comics’

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**Deep Space**

***YEARS AFTER THE SUPER-HERO SATELLITE IS FOUND DORMANT IN SPACE ..TODAY SYSTEMS ARE RESTORED***

*Systems Monitoring returning from sleep, awaken mode in affect…systems full Restored.* Welcome BACK Heroes!! It has been a LONG Time and I am SUPER excited to be BACK! There is no better time to return than with my baby..The Super-Blog Team Up! After taking a much-needed break from the blog I am back and this year will definitely be the Year Of The Satellite! More on that later!! We have so many things planned its gonna take an entire post to get to them all!! For those of you unfamiliar with Super-Blog Team Up we are a group of like-minded bloggers who come together multiple times a year to write about a singular topic on one designated day! Not only will you get to enjoy this post (Hopefully!!) but at the end you will find links to all our other top shelf writers! We have many long time authors who are back, we have a few who are making their return to the fold and several new faces (Or Pens as it maybe!!) who are now debuting members of the Mighty Marching SBTU!! Without further adieu….strap in heroes the Satellite is about to blast off to the not so distant past to talk about a subject that I had been meaning to do many years ago…The Walking Dead! The theme this month happens to be…

 

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Transmission Date: Jan. 23rd 2019

The first thing you need to understand is that there was a dark period in my time as a comics collector where I moved away from the hobby that I loved due to economics. When I finally got back into comics it  was on the heels of some new exciting books that spawned my returning passion for comics. In the late 90s I was driven out of comics a hobby that I loved. By the 2000s I was out of collecting completely as I had been priced out of the market. My pull list that was at 40 to 50 books a month had dropped to one or two and finally to NOTHING. It was a sad day. Through Wizard magazine from the magazine rack I stayed abreast of the business and following the big events going on in the big three. At least it was something. Podcasts however were a big source of fun for me and I was dumpster diving for whatever audio content related to things I enjoyed during the birth of the podcast market in the early 2000s. As I have mentioned many times before Comic Geek Speak was one of my go-to podcasts and the gang on there had spotlight episodes more so The Book Of The Month episodes! On August 2005 CGS put out its Book of The Month Club Selection: The Walking Dead

Click Here To Listen To CGS Book Of The Month: The Walking Dead

Little did I know I would become engulfed in this title like no other. It became almost an addiction..I could not put it down.

 

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I had given up on most Image books around this time since many of the Superhero titles were gone by that period. Images offerings had not interested me for some time. However upon listening to the CGS crew rave about this book I wanted to know all about it. I had some time on my hands back then and I spent several hours a day reading comics on my computer. With one search, there was the entire collection..and a right-click later 35 issues of The Walking Dead were sitting on my hard drive. 35 issues was a daunting challenge but the CGS gang were rarely wrong in their recommendations so I was all in. I simply wanted to skim through the first few issues and get a taste for what my podcast compadre’s were raving about.  For those of you who haven’t seen or read anything Walking Dead related let me set the table for you. The Walking Dead is a monthly comic book published by Image Comics written from the mind of one Robert Kirkman who was a relative unknown in terms of mainstream fame in the business at that point. That would change in years to come. The book was intentionally done in Black and White which was not mainstream popular at the time but still existed in some books. The book debuted in Oct 2003 but it would be 2005 before I ever gave it a glance. I remember reading the first issue of the Walking Dead and let me tell you I was….underwhelmed. It was a “meh” for me. I know…I know..you were expecting me to say great things about this book right!! That will come later. The artwork out of the gate was by Tony Moore and I just could not wrap my head around the art. For such a book with such a serious tone I just felt Moore’s artwork not the right fit for the title. It had a loose almost cartoony feel to the work and it was just hard to take the book seriously. I compare it to Joe Staton’s artwork from Green Lantern Corp fame in the 1980s, I just don’t like a cartoony look to characters facially. Both Stanton and Moore suffer from this “Fault” in their armor.  I want to be clear it WAS good art but the damn faces drove me nuts. I was just turned off from it instantly. I valiantly read fours issues then stopped…for the time being. The story was solid enough though. A cop wakes up alone in a hospital only to discover that he is in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. Sounds simple right? Well I was enjoying the story but not much else. Kirkman wasn’t just writing about zombies killing people he flipped the script and wrote about the human condition as they navigate through this new Dead Filled world. Life as we know it will be scarier, bloodier and more violent than ever….and that’s just the humans…THEN you throw zombies into the mix!

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The bare bones of the story follows police Officer Rick Grimes as he becomes the unofficial defacto leader of a group of Zombie Holocaust survivors as they manage their way through the harsh new world. The humans all struggle for shelter food and weapons and the real fight is with each other. In this world however there is no power or luxuries like running water or plumbing. To make matters ever worse when you get bitten by the undead YOU become a Walker yourself!! Factions are created, battle lines are drawn and as food and shelter runs out we find out that desperate people will go to great lengths to survive including imprisoning, killing and murdering each other. The people themselves..the survivors find out it is not the Dead they have to worry about, it’s each other…they themselves have become The Walking Dead! The realism of the tragedy of the breakdown of civilization and of the human condition is what makes this book amazing. As I said after 4 issues while I was enjoying the book..visually it was a turn off so I walked away. It would be 6 months later that I would see a random new issue of The Walking Dead for sale and I grabbed it to get a feel for what’s going on in the book. Things had changed…dramatically.

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Tony Moore’s art was nowhere to be seen and now a guy by the name of Charlie Adlard had taken over. This moody almost gruesome brooding style was PERFECT for the book. As I thumbed through the pages I was shocked by something that happened. Core characters had died!!? It was enough for me to jump back in. I began anew with issue 5 and I have never looked back! On to the story…As Rick and his family work with a small group of survivors as they struggle to stay alive by just trying to find the basics to support life and to just live till the next day. The group are faced with the dilemma of having to kill others to survive..including their friends. They see loved ones pass and turn into walkers and have to kill them all over again. Rick is faced with the horrible prospect of killing his best friend. His wife is murdered with their unborn child. His son is hideously disfigured. Rick himself is dismembered when he loses a hand. That is JUST the Grimes family. Every character in the book is faced with an impossible disturbing task of being driven to murder to stay alive. It’s the central tragedy of this series and Kirkman masterfully weaves his characters through this awful depraved journey. What would YOU do to survive? If you look for one sentence to describe the Walking Dead is…NO ONE IS SAFE. No other book in its genre is known for killing off its core cast like The Walking Dead. You do not have to look very far to know that you best not get invested in any characters because each one comes with an unofficial expiry date! This is the central theme of the book. Well we find out that the answer to that question is that when faced with death good people become VERY bad people in a damn hurry as is the case with our subject here for The Super-Blog Team Up…Negan. But first before the Hardcore Bat swinging madman there was…this man..

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The Walking Dead has had its share of villains. Stand outs like The Governor are a classic example of what this new world can do to a good human. Issue 27 of TWD we are introduced to Brian Blake, the Governor of the Town Of Woodbury. Woodbury is a town that survives and lives on like an almost normal community in the middle of a collapsing civilization. Blake is their charismatic leader whose ruthlessness and brutality are the cornerstones of Woodbury’s very existence. He leads with an iron fist and outsiders are NOT welcome unless there is something to gain by their association. The Governor was the bench mark villain for the majority of the series with his greatest hits include cutting Ricks hand off, mutilating Michonne, Killing Ricks wife and undead baby not excluding the outright brutal murder of many core characters. Central to Kirkman’s writing he always gives us this human element to even his bad guys. Later we see that despite the Governors ruthless commanding presence and heinous acts we see a real father who lost his daughter to the horrors of this new world of whom he is unwilling to let go. He keeps the “walkerized” version of his daughter Penney tied up in his apartment and feeds her body parts of his victims to her to eat. Eventually The Gov is taken down we and it is here we experience the true tragedy of this book. While the Governor is considered one of comicdom’s most ruthless villains he is but the learner when it comes to the crown prince of barbarianism himself..the Leader of The saviours…Negan! Just as Rick and The group of survivors have seemingly over come the evils of their new world and have settled into a peaceful existence in a new town and trying to rebuild some semblance of a normal life for everyone…then we meet The Walking Dead’s real super bad. His name is Negan and the world of The Walking Dead would be beaten into brutal submission by this new psychopath on the scene.

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So Negan’s tragic pre-outbreak story goes as such, he was a high school coach who had a reputation for intimidating and bullying his players. Negan (No last name given) lived a seemingly normal life with a job and a wife named Lucille (This name will become very crucial to our story a little later.) Negan was not a morally sound individual early on in his life and despite his outward happy marriage he was having an extramarital affair on the side. His whole world would fall apart prior to the outbreak as Negan discovers his wife has cancer when she collapses in front of him as they argued over this affair revelation. Negan rushes his wife to the hospital just as the outbreak begins, but he is too late. As his wife is placed on life support Negan desperately try’s to hang on to her and calls off his affair but it is too late. Lucille passes away when the power goes down and her life support system shuts down. As with all deaths in the Walking Dead universe our loved ones are reanimated as a “zombie” (Or Walker as we will call them moving forward). Negan has to make the decision to have his wife killed but he cannot bear to do it himself. Negan makes a deal with a child to do the honors for him, a trait we will see over and over when he becomes a leader. Out of the gate I love this origin. Every bad guy is at their best when it comes to their motivation. Negan’s guilt for his infidelity and the passing of his beloved wife scars him and drives him to become the monster we will soon see emerge.

Leaders rise…followers Follow.

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As the story goes, Negan is on the run during the outbreak but happens upon a group of survivors led by a Walking Dead core cast member, Dwight. As we find out Dwight is no natural-born leader but a scrappy survivalist who manages to keep himself and his followers alive during the devastation. As Negan is welcomed into the fold it is clear the leadership foundation is weak with Dwight at the helm. It is only a matter of time as Negan uses his natural charm and hard-nosed foundation that Negan becomes their groups obvious emerging natural leader. Once in position of power Negan renames his group the Saviors, a group of which overtime grow into the hundreds. The band discovers ways to defend themselves against the walker hordes and creates a large communal compound and series of outpost satellite locations to maintain their way of life against the horrors of the walkers. Before long as the outside world collapses and resources become scarce, everyone is chasing food and supplies. Negan being a creative entrepeneur uses his sheer brute force, charm and intimidation to bully other groups the Saviors encounter to give up large shares of their supplies, weapons and food in exchange for their “Protection”. The tactic worked numerous times over and over as Negan and his Saviors began to stockpile weapons and supplies while other groups in the wild starved and struggled under their foot. That is until Negan and group ran into Rick Grimes and his posse.

Rick and his group had found their way into a place called Hilltop, a society that was seemingly surviving and self-sustained despite the horrors of the Outbreak. They had developed a government of sorts ran by the dubious Gregory They lived a basic but sustainable lifestyle. Farming and weapons making were trademarks of Hilltop and Negan saw great opportunity to offer his “Protection” to the Hilltop natives and in turn take their food and weapons. Gregory being a weak leader was living under fear of Negan and his group and had a bad habit of caving and conformity like a coward every time when Negan and the saviors came knocking. It didn’t take long before new Hilltop inhabitant Rick Grimes observed what was happening to the citizens who were sustaining a real living to have to hand it over to these bullies with not so much as a harsh word said in retaliation or compromise. Rick had seen enough and mobilized a strike force of the usual suspects.

We get a closer look to what Rick and his group are dealing with as we peel back the layers of their newest foe. We see that this once well-adjusted High School coach has transformed into a deadly brutal sadistic cult leader. Negan’s own people were also living in fear of his shadow. His own people are not spared mercy either as Negan hoardes the saviors women for his own sexual pleasure, taking whomever he wants at any time. Anyone who does not conform with his desires are dealt with….very harshly. Public beatings of his own people are common to set the example. Many of his people whom he dubs “disloyal” are literally horrifically branded facially and horribly disfigured to bear the living reminded of what happens when you show disobedience to Negan. Even former leader Dwight is the living embodiment of what happens when you cross the boss as he wears the branding scar on the side of his face and still stands by Negan in his war against Rick and the outsiders .

 

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No Turning Back..

While Rick and the team are attempting to extinguish Negan’s handle on Hilltop they hit one of the Saviors main security outposts by surprise and kill several of Negan’s henchmen seemingly gaining the upper hand in the first real shot in what would be a War for the ages. This would lead to the most famous and irredeemable act of Negans reign of terror in The Walking Dead saga. When Rick and his group are surrounded by The Saviors and forced to their knees in a line up and it is here that Rick and Company are introduced to the King Of Swing himself..Negan. The leather jacket clad villain debuts with a barbwire baseball bat lovingly named after his dead wife Lucille. Ricks group is threatened with death as they endure a lethal game of Eeneee Meaneee Mineee Mo” to decide who will die to pay for the death of his men. When Negan finally painfully and  slowly decides to flat-out murder core Walking Dead fan favorite Glen!

 

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The act is one of the most heinous deaths in the history of comics! Glen is not only murdered in front of his friends but his pregnant wife Maggie is forced to endure his brutal demise as Glen calls out to her during the ordeal. Glens graphic death is Negan’s first stamp on the world of the Walking Dead and it sets the tone for what the character will stand for. It is interesting to compare the previous super bad The Governor with his contemporary Negan. While the Governor was a vile human being capable of horrific acts, Negans level of  violence goes beyond anything the governor has dealt.

 

The Seduction of the Innocent.

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One of Negan’s most heinous acts was not in fact the list of people he has murdered, had killed or desecrated but rather his obsession with the son of Rick Grimes. Carl Grimes a battle weary hostile teen by this point in our story has seen enough blood shed and death. He has grown tires of bowing to a homicidal maniac and takes matters into his own hand and goes to take out Negan on his own killing six of Negans men in the process before getting captured and faced with his own execution. Negan stops any attempt on Carl’s life and gains an admiration for Carl’s guts in coming after him. Instead of killing the headstrong teen he takes him under his wing and shows him all the riches he has gained as leader of The Saviors. Carl sees another side of this vicious killer and even begins to warm up to the man who murdered his friends. Negan in a moment where we see he is still a human under his hostile hard-assed exterior demands Carl remove his bandage from his head which covers an awful disfiguring scar that the young Grimes has kept under wraps since an horrific incident where he was accidentally shot in the head while fleeing a Walker outbreak. Negan humiliates Carl by exposing his wound and demands to even touch the inside the hole of the wound on his head where an eye once was now leaving only a deep hole.

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Carl finally breaks down from the overwhelming pressure of Negans imprisonment and just the horror of the world he lives in. Seeing Carl break something happens to Negan..he finally shows sympathy for the first time and apologizes to Carl! This is a point in the character we had not seen up to that point. After this incident the Carl and Negan relationship is changed. Negan is protective of Carl and almost sees him in a Father/ Son dynamic. Negan and Carl have many interactions later through out the series but it is this odd overtone to his character that shows there may still  be a human under that brash murderous character after all.

 

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One of the main storyline’s in the chronology of The Walking Dead is the Epic All Out War story that documents the final end to the war between Rick and his Survivors against Negan and his Saviors. One of the cornerstones to The Walking Dead book in general is the theme of “No One Is Safe”. This is very apparent in this particular story and the body count on both sides escalates to epic proportions. The war finally ends with the main event of Negan facing his nemesis Rick Grimes. Rick and various bands of communities and splinter survivor groups come together to finally topple the Saviors regime.

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The final battle between the leaders has not yet finished but when the bloodshed stops and its left with Rick face to face with Negan himself.  Both sides have endured grave loss and it looks like the two warriors have had enough. Negan and Rick look like they have put their weapons down and agree to a truce…that is until Rick Grimes savagely cuts Negan’s throat leaving him for dead on the battlefield to end the bloodshed.

The Confinement

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After all out war we are served with a time jump seemingly years into the future.Negan we learn has survived but has been imprisoned ever since the war. We see a haggard Negan who has basically given up on life and lives the rest of his natural life behind bars. For Negan this is a worse affliction than death. He has become almost unrecognizable in appearance and gone is the hulking womanizer and we now see a frail bearded long hair recluse. Of course he cleans up well and after Negan has been torn down and humiliated and that is exactly what Rick Grimes has planned he restores himself to his old look as he begins to plot his escape. All the evil this man has perpetrated to humankind his penance is to rot in a jail cell isolated eternally from civilized man….at least that was the plan.

Redeeming The Irredeemable.

Isolation has its merits. It allows a person to reflect on their life and their mistakes. I would like to say this character served his time, completely rehabed his image and spent the rest of his days making the world a better place ..right? Well in Negans own special way I guess!

Negan decides to adopt the “If you can’t beat em join em” philosophy..Negan using his persuasive powers uses a weak-minded pawn who visits his jail cell who also shares has a deep-seated hatred for Rick Grimes. With the help of his new Grimes hating minion Negan convinces the man to free him!!. The world has changed so much since Negan has been exposed to the outside world and the latest threat to safety and humanity are a group known as The Whisperers. Lead by the emotionless monster Alpha, a bald-headed female leader who along with Beta, collectively runs a group of survivors who conceal their human forms with Walker flesh and to camouflage themselves to be able to walk freely amongst the Walkers. THe Whisperers are very much still a threat despite many societal and technological advancement humanity has progressed since the original outbreak. The man named Brandon Rose the man responsible for freeing Negan tells him of this group and plans to bring him into Whisperer territory to possibly join them. Negan smelling another group takeover goes along with his rescuer ..but before he enters Whisperland, Negan murders Brandon in cold blood and goes to face them himself. Of course with Negan being the personality that he is he is almost instantly detained and imprisoned again. This time however Negan who is used to manipulating people from confinement gains the trust of their leader Alpha and eventually begins to build trust from the Whispers. Negan and Alpha begin to show moments of affection and Alpha after years of being a straight nosed emotionless leader of savage survivalists she unknowingly lets her guard down emotionally and lets Negan and his charms in. Negan shows his affection back the only way he knows how..

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He beheads her…as a matter of fact he beheads her with a small knife in savage Negan fashion and in a weird way, but maybe not so weird for a character like Negan, THIS would be his redemption.

Making Peace

Often as humans if we have a disagreement, a fight or an all out estrangement with a friend, or family member we for the most part, attempt to make things right. We want to make amends. After the dust settles we hope to just move on with things..we extend an Olive branch. Negans proverbial “Olive Branch” was bringing the very HEAD of the enemies leader directly to his nemesis and drop it on the ground in front of him as an apology. Rick Grimes the leader and mortal enemy of Negan, who had watched his friends murdered, also who watched his own son be manipulated by this madman, and who attempted to murder him personally several times could only stand in shock. This man who was so evil, so vile, so irredeemable yet he had just ended the war between Rick’s group and the Whisperers. The man he had imprisoned for years out of public fear and outcry was suddenly loose and killing again for RICKS team!!? Negan at one point even saves Rick from certain death from a walker attack. He try’s to convince everyone his time in prison has rehabilitated him. Rick finally concedes to  Negan and agrees to no longer jail him. The deal however is  that Negan CANNOT live in their community..he will be for all intents and purposes EXILED! Negans past history could not be replaced but somehow he gained the trust and maybe a shade of respect from a man he cost so much. Negan however finds peace with the only person he was truly at war with..Himself.

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Both men…and hundreds of other survivors faced horrible odds and did things that no human should ever have to face. Taking lives and seeing horrific tragedy that would break a normally strong person. These people have endured unquestionable horror and to survive committed unspeakable acts. While some are considered great leaders, others are seen as cold-blooded murderers and in the world of the Walking Dead we discover that the line that separates a Rick Grimes from a Negan is very thin. Indeed the truth about The Walking Dead is that “We Are All The Walking Dead…”

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Well that is it Satellite Subscribers!! But the fun does not end as Superhero Satellite this year we are debuting the monthly Superhero Satellite podcast this summer! Stay tuned for that!

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If you liked what you read…(or even if you didn’t) please feel free to leave a comment as  we read and respond to them all! If you want to catch up with us on social media follow us on Twitter @Charlton_Hero or read our archives right here on the site! Till next time Heroes!!

End Transmission..

Thanks so much for reading and for sticking with us despite our year-long absence I have truly missed my readers. The good news is that there is SO much more to enjoy with the rest of our rag-tag group of Mighty Marching Blogging Brigade as Super-Blog Team Up Continues RIGHT NOW! Visit the rest of our team below!

 

redemption continues

Coffee and Comics Blog: Green Lantern #100 https://coffeeandcomicspodcast.blogspot.com/2019/01/episode-31-green-lantern-100.html

Two Staple Gold: Just a Pilgrim  twostaplegold.blogspot.com

Comic Reviews By Walt: SBTU PresentsRedemption/Coming Home: Shredder https://comicreviewsbywalt.wordpress.com/2019/01/23/super-blog-teamup-redemption-the-shredder/

Comics Comics Blog : Elfquest :Cutters Redemption http://comicscomicscomics.blog/2019/01/23/super-blog-team-up-elfquest-and-the-redemption-of-cutter

The Superhero Satellite: The Walking Dead: “Redeeming Negan” https://coffeeandcomicspodcast.blogspot.com/2019/01/episode-31-green-lantern-100.html

Longbox Review: Nightwing’s Redemption http://longboxreview.com/2019/01/23/the-redemption-of-nightwing/

Between The Pages Blog:   The Secret Origin Of Spider-Man https://betweenthepagesblog.typepad.com/between-the-pages-blog/2019/01/the-secret-origin-of-spider-man.html

The Unspoken Decade: What If V2 #46 and 47. https://theunspokendecade.com/

Black, White and Bronze: The Redemption of Red Sonja, Savage Sword of Conan #1 https://blackwhitebronzecomics.blogspot.com/2019/01/super-blog-team-up-redemption-of-red.html)

The Daily Rios: http://thedailyrios.com/

Chris Is On Infinite Earths: The Pied-Piper Reforms!  Flash (vol.2) #31 https://www.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/

Crapbox Son Of Cthulu: http://crapboxofcthulhu.blogspot.com/

In My Not So Humble Opinion – The Other Side of the Wind: The Redemption of Orson Welles https://benjaminherman.wordpress.com/

The Retroist Via Vic Sage:https://www.retroist.com/

The Source Material Comics Podcast: Penance – The Redemption of Speedball https://www.spreaker.com/user/10409169/sm-sb-final

 

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Welcome Back Heroes…its been a while! “Satellite systems ACTIVATE!” *Lights on the deck of the Satellite bridge illuminate as the gentle hum of each and every system firing up after extended inactvity..I make my way to the observation deck punching in coordinates for our next destination. The deck sits alone aside from the lone Captain. I take a seat in the Captains helm and slowly open up the com-link as a map of planet earth displays Holographically.* “Computer.. hail the Super-Blog Team Up….” *Each Team Members face displays on the Holo-grid of Members old and new…each member of the Active Roster is located and online..I wait momentarily taking a deep breath before addressing the team* “Team…I have gathered the team here today as there is a matter of extreme importance. As of 15:00 hours today the Blogoverse is in Crisis. Worlds are colliding..Paralell Universes are merging..the world we live in today will cease to exist if we do not act fast. I have called on YOU the elite SBTU Members to set our world right one last time. The mission is very dangerous..the situation is dire…many of us may not return. You are the worlds last hope. Each of us will be tasked with a separate mission…I want to thank you all for your dedicated service to the cause. The time is NOW to make a difference…so join me …UNITE for ONE LAST TIME….SUPER-BLOG TEAM UP…LETS ROLL!!…”

Satellite Ends

 

Transmission Date: July 19th 2017

When I think about this blog and what it means to me I think of enjoyment, I think of good times and I think of everything and how it fit into my childhood. When piecing together what I would write about in this all important “One Last Time” installment on Super-Blog Team Up and I went through all the things “Death” related in comics. I remembered how impactful the “Death of Robin” was and the endless conversations it spawned with my friends. I remembered the Doomsday series leading into the “Death Of Superman” and how hot the collectible market was at that time and how everyone seemed to be jumping into the hobby that only a few of my friends and I shared. As years went on other Heroes died and Super-Groups disbanded. Comic Companies closed, my favorite titles cancelled. Of Course everything came back…it ALWAYS came back in comics. As prices increased, everything I loved about comics slowly changed while other parts decayed. Suddenly I was priced out of the market and forced to cut down my pull list. Then the final straw companies rebooted…and everybit of the continuity and stories that I loved so much ceased to exist and were replaced with something newer..something more sanitized and unappealing replaced what I enjoyed…so all the deaths of my favorite characters that I had read over the years  did not have as big of an impact on me as the biggest death of all..The Death Of My Passion For Comics….something I never EVER thought would happen. Then one day in 2000….I walked away from the media that gave me such joy and memories while growing up. This however is NOT a sad story…this is a story of celebration. A celebration of what it meant to me to be a comics fan and the sheer passion that went into that. So….to understand how we arrive at the Death of my passion…we must first understand the beginning. Before all the reboots, before all the computers, before all the companies came and went..there was a 6-year-old kid who walked into a convenience store saw that immortal sign for the first time..”Hey Kids…COMICS!! resting atop the loaded spinner rack. I was hopelessly hooked.

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Old Mrs. Brown would stand diligently at her cash counter at the Clarenville Shopping Center Drug store as I spun that spinner rack around no less than 50 times making my decision on how to divide up my healthy 20 dollar a week allowance! I was in my comics buying prime and I always remembered every detail of its location in the middle of the store, the sound it made as it turned, to the selection of comics it contained every week!! Mrs. Brown knew that I loved my comic books and always took special care sliding them in the thin paper bag when I got to the cash register…sometimes the bag would be so full that there would be tears in the sides of the bag!! I would hurry home on my BMX bike so I could pull them out all over my bed and read these 24 page joys! At first it was my thing…none of my other friends were so into comics as I was which gave me a competitive advantage later as a comics trader. Sure some friends had a little stack of comics but I was slowly and surely building a library.  I loved comics as a kid. It was the single investment that I bought outside of action figures of which my parents would normally foot the bill for..or my lunch money.

I got into comics sort of by default..In the very early 80s my parents moved from a small town to a bigger growing town..still small by most standards, for work. My Dad had a new Wholesale Business selling Soft Drinks and my Mom got a job at one of the few Convenience stores in the town that was strategically placed between Clarenvilles Upper and Lower roads called Stanley’s Variety. I enjoyed visiting the store while Mom worked there as it usually meant that she would buy me a treat. That could include anything from some great snacks like some Hostess Potato Chips, to a Buried Treasure Ice Creme, a paper bag of candy, a ViewMaster slide at times…or COMICS!! They were new to me as a 7-8 year old but it was like a magnet every time I walked into the store. I vividly remember classic DC comics around 1980 such as New Teen Titans #1!! It stood out in all its glory to me.

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A White bombastic cover with all sorts of new heroes I hadn’t seen before but led by my main man at the time Robin The Boy Wonder!! That was my first “Wow” that a comic ever gave me!

The 80s were rich with 80s books and I entered the market at a great time. I was a DC kid. Batman was by far my favorite character as I was a Mego collector and Batman and Robin were my first Mego toys complete with BatMobile!!

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Batman caught me in every way. He had the iconic Blue and Grey look! He was drawn by Neal Adams and Gene Colan during the first books that I received and plus he had gadgets galore and of course The Boy Wonder Robin!! My playtime with friends was dedicated to making up Batman adventures and acting them out as I toggled between playing Batman or Robin just having so much fun with our imaginations. Afterwards my friend and I would sit on the bed or at the table and read through issues of Batman..its what we did. His house was located next to a Drug Store where his Aunt worked and we would make the 2 minute pilgrimage to Budget Drug Mart in hopes of finding the latest Batman issue and a brown paper bag of candy and of course Hostess Chips!! I fondly remember us both being so blown away by the Batman “Bloodsport” storyline where Batman became Vampire!! Or maybe when Deadshot showed up..or how about when Robin was replaced by Jason Todd..so many memories..so many endless debates around Batman..my entry drug to comics!! You could not buy that type of enthusiasm!!

Fave Batbooks

DC would not let up..so many books to buy and I wanted them all!! My next obsession was the Legion Of Superheroes!! I guess I am a fan of huge Super groups because the first time I saw Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl I never turned back!!

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Team books were everything to me. Legion was something different though. They started with three basic heroes who time travelled from the future to meet Superboy..also one of my faves!

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Superboy was the odd man out…he was Super-powered but these teens always had his number and seemed infinitely more super-powered than he did! They had a Superhero Clubhouse and members had to audition to join their ranks. Even Superboy did not make the cut at first…in a manner of speaking! Each Hero had a basic super power. One controlled Lighting, others could see the future, one could bounce, others could shape shift, fly, turn invisible..and even knew Karate!! Karate you say! Charlton..what kind of super-power was ‘Karate” when compared to someone who could control ice? Gosh darn it Karate was a big deal in the 80s!! Case closed.AdventureRIPSBTU

My fondest memories of collecting were my trips to the grocery store with my Father every Thursday night in 1980 something. I would always come home with a comic or even several during our shopping excursions which also involved picking out a Novelty Cereal or two as well but usually ended with a DC Digest!! Dc Blue Ribbon, Batman, Superman, and Adventure Comics were some of the titles you would see featured alongside of check-outs at the local Co-op or Sobeys grocery stores during the 80s!! Almost certainly I hooked one every trip!! The covers always told a story and contained a ton of individual stories inside!!The Digests were compact, always full of content which introduced you to characters you probably would not have picked up individually (That means YOU Challengers Of The Unknown!!) and they were my travel companions on road trips and vacations!

As a fan no matter what my destination was I always sought out the comics rack..even in obscure places like Hardware Stores! I always remember a local Hardware store in my hometown on the water front called Handy Andy’s and they happened to have a small magazine shelf that carried a small handful of comics. The best part of that was that they rarely rotated their comics so you could find 4-5 issue arcs of your favorite books because they literally pulled NOTHING off the shelf. It also had the distinct honor of being one of the only stores that carried Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew! Comics at the time did not have that level of realistic seriousness like books of today. It was perfectly acceptable for Superman and other to team up with Funny Animal character’s. Cap and The Zoo Crew was a insanely funny book that parodied the JLA and it had a certain charm to it that appealed to this kid!!

Carrot Zoo Crew

My DC Passion Burned brightly by the mid to late 80s as Marvel books crept their way into my weekly pull-list but I remained a staunch DC buyer. It was John Byrne who burned white-hot in the mid 80s thathooked me first with his excellent X-Men work but mostly with his Super-Man reboot called Man Of Steel! Byrnes definitive Superman art work launched a refreshed DC on the spinner rack that had recently seen their competition creep in and steal their top spot amongst Comics fans.  DC re-aligned their core titles and in my opinion did the ONLY soft reboot that made things better than worse..(That means YOU DC New 52!!) Man of Steel reimagined the Superman Mythos. Not long after JLA had broken up and reformed..New characters were everywhere!! I was overwhelmed!! Then it happened..Justice League reformed and it became my favorite title!! but that’s for a little later!!

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The Events:

Now I know that I stated that I was mostly a DC kid..however Marvel roped me in from time to time with Events!! I was an Event guy! I bought em all!! Crisis on Infinite Earths, Secret Wars, Millenium, Super Powers, Inferno, Secret Wars 2, Legends,  Invasion, Evolutionary War, you name it..I bought it!! I was a sucker for books filled with multiple characters!! Secret Wars 2..the Black sheep of the Secret Wars volumes was my favorite as a kid watching Marvels best battle the Super- Powered Jeri Curled White Micheal Jackson style character the Beyonder. He would battle every character Marvel had and beat them with ease!! On the DC side of things I waited anticipation when my favorite DC characters were revealed as Manhunters in Millenieum!!

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I yelled out loud when the JLA reformed in Legends! I popped seeing SpeedBall for the first time in the Evolutionary War and convincing myself that he was the next big thing!! Bottom line was that Events won my dollar every time. I always felt DC did better more coherent events and had longer event books with more far-reaching consequences!! My long boxes were filling fast locking with all the spinoff books from each event. I was being taken advantage of by the Comic Companys..but I loved it..the more the better. I was buying it all up!! I was a passionate fan..I ate everything that I was served and loved it!!

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My Favorites.

While I sampled most everything..I COLLECTED several titles faithfully! I loved Star Wars, G.I. Joe, The Amazing Spider-Man, from Marvel, at DC it was always Batman, Justice League, Legion Of Super-Heroes and Superman/Superboy. These were my “go to” books..above any and all these books got my money every month whether I liked the storylines or now..this was my core! Marvels Star Wars opened up the expanded universe before it was a thing and did it better in my opinion! GI Joe took a toy property and literally built it from the ground up! These were ground breaking stories with characters I loved! Spidey was the constant. I enjoyed everything John Romita!

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I loved his art..his Spidey, his MJ. When you think of Spider-Man, Romita embodied EVERYTHING that was great about the the Marvel Universe.Marvel was a cool place to be through the Spidey lens! As for DC The Legion was Loaded to the gills with all sorts of heroes of every size shape and power! It was my entry drug to Superboy and I instantly related to that team. Starting with a club house with membership then growing into time travelling adults, the Legion kicked serious ass!! The Giffen / Levitz era was amazing!! Of course NOTHING and I MEAN NOTHING beat the Justice League Bwah Ha Ha Era by Giffen and DeMattieis! This book featured many of my favorite characters and many new ones but hit every note of every page! I still have huge runs of all of these books and these are on the “No trade No sell” list. While some are not physicallyworth the paper they are printed on Price Guide wise to me you cannot put a price on the happiness they gave me!!

The Boom.

My friends began to catch on to this comics thing much to my chagrin. It was a mixed blessing though as from time to time I had to compete for some of my books, However it was the thrill of the hunt was what was important!! A couple of my famous battles on the buying field yielded me great results. One of my lesser close friends had garnered a copy of Amazing Spider-Man 129 and was interested in selling it!!.The Punisher was the hot commodity at the time and by this time I considered myself a prophet and knew that this was a big win! 1st appearance of the Punisher was this big, however, as I was about to buy this prize book I was informed that one of my own cousins had already made claim to the book. I was not to be defeated..I raised his price an extra 5 bucks and said I would go get the money now rather than later like my own flesh and blood offered. In fact I jumped aboard my trusty bicycle on this Clarenville day..blazed a trail 20 minutes away to my house..begged my parents for 25 bucks..not telling them what it was for and got it!! Back to the bike..in 20 minutes later I had beaten my cousin to the punch and walked away with the prize!!

SBTU129

A while later Batman was about to debut in theaters and the Dark Knight was all the rage..and of course there was competition to buy up ALL of the issues of Batman and Detective as they came out. Robin had died and being replaced as told in the Lonely Place Of Dying story arc. Cabot Pharmacy in my home town was THE destination for comics and Gail one of the cashier’s, would always hold some of the more popular books for me. However..with Batman others got in the game and the chase was on every week on comic day..it would be the first time I was shut out of an issue of a comic!! My supposed friends had beaten me to the punch!

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It would only get worse as we entered the era of excess!! The 90s proved to be a big bloated, fun time to be a comics fan. No longer were comics my little niche..now it was an aggressive market and we had two comics stores open up in our area. Butts Books and Jamie’s Comics would open up and prices exploded. Every book was HOT!! The Death Of Superman was a craze like nothing else. Superman number 75 would blow the lid off of comics! I was gouged 50 bucks at a card dealer at my mall for Supes 75 in the famous Black Bag. Of course everything was relaunching!! Jim Lee was exploding on a New X-Men Group!! Liefeld was demanding big money on the brand new X-Force, McFarlane was breaking artistic ground on Spider-Man! The comics world was exploding and I was in the middle..but now I had a job at the dollar shop and could feed my habit!! Comic shops pushed new company after new company at me that I became fond of two in particular at the time in Valiant and Image. Everyone had new characters and you could get in on the ground floor at issue number one. Harbinger, X-O Manowar, Rai and The Future Force, Bloodshot..you name it!! Then came Image with Spawn, Savage Dragon, Wildcats, Shadow Hawk, and YoungBlood led the charge from this new company that would last and be successful to this day!

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Gimmicks were everywhere..polybags, Chromium covers, Hologram covers, Trading Card inserts, Variant covers you name it..they did it!! I bought it all..and I knew it was crap but no one cared!! These things look great on the shelf!! Plus inmy teenage mind these books would bring you a fortune when you grew up. We were wrong but it didn’t matter. I loved my collection that had ballooned now to about 6000!

Gimmick

Everybody had become an expert..now once scorned comic shirts were everywhere. Comics related cartoons and merchandise erupted. It was insane. Comics movies began development and my friends and I ate it up!! Comics were everywhere..and people began to charge more than ever for them. Suddenly every average Joe had a collection…then it happened. As the 90s were drawing to a close..the comics balloon broke..collectors tried to dump their inventory but there was no one buying. People sat stuck with boxes filled with Spider-Man #1 in a polybag while XMen #1 littered the streets. Prices plummeted and comic stores went under. As quick as Butts Books and Jamie’s Comics store had opened they quickly closed up shop and left town with their long boxes ticked between their legs.

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By this time I was in University until 97 and  I however had not abandoned my hobby and was still buying comics regularly with a student loan assisting me feed my habit! I endured such drek as The Spider-Man Clone Saga. The final nail in the coffin was when  prices hit the top of my pay scale and the gas tank ran empty..suddenly I could not afford all the books I wanted. My core titles were all but cancelled..and literally every company had done a complete or at least soft reboots by that time. The books I loved were unfamiliar to me now. I spoke about my undying love for titles such as GI Joe and Star Wars of which both lasted a considerable amount of time but creatively burned out. The Justice League moved away from the Bwah Ha Ha Era and changed up the cast so much I didn’t care to keep buying it. Superboy and The Legion were not even the same characters that I grew to love..I knew as the prices went up my passion for buying died with it. I could walk by a spinner rack or a magazine shelf in a grocery store and keep on walking. I remember the day I walked away completely. I picked up an issue of The Amazing Spider-Man and it had moved to $3.50 Canadian cents a book. I had bought these things since they were .50 Cents but now these titles were 4 to 5 times more expensive and honestly …these were NOT my heroes anymore. The “Hot” artists that I had grown up with like Ditko and Kirby had all but retired or passed on. The McFarlanes, Liefields, and Lees, had stepped in and out of the big two and were not used as frequently. I decided that my time as a comics fan were over. The market had forced me out and the characters did not connect with me anymore..so I stopped.

Then something funny happened…years and years had passed and I had not kept up on the industry outside of a brief chat among friends or an update online about the latest news. In the early days of podcasting I bought myself an MP3 player and decided to check out some wrestling podcasts..I had been a life long fan and really got into the daily ritual of listening. One day it dawned on me. I wonder if such podcasts existed for comics? Enter Comic Geek Speak which was the first podcast that I found and I listened to a show. It was like every conversation I had with my friends growing up about comics! These guys loved comics like I did for 20 years. They talked about all the old titles I read as a kid and even what was happening in the recent times. I was intrigued. There were more people out there who still shared my passion that once burned bright inside me. This coincided with the dawning of the digital era. Companies published their books online for the first time and I sampled them and I really, really dug them. This was the best overall discovery for me. Whether through honest or nefarious the digital age allowed me to access every book I ever read or wanted to read! I began to get weekly books again but I could read them on my computer or early midevil tablet!! I felt myself enjoying comics again for the first time in years. Twitter and Facebook had become popular and the way we discussed comics changed..suddenly there was a nation of folks to talk with. There were podcasts, early blogs, websites a plenty. I was catching up..I was talking comics again! I had unlimited digital resources to get my comics fix. My passion had returned. I felt like that 6-year-old kid picking up New Teen Titans number one from the spinner rack again! Sure I was older now but could still enjoy the things that made me happy as a kid! It was still not en vogue to be a “Nerd” per say but the once impenetrable barrier between “Geek and Normal” was shifting. Geek Culture was being reborn before my eyes and I was in front of it! I wanted to share my stories and passion with everyone so one day I decided to sit in front of my computer and begin a blog…this very blog you are reading today! The Super-Hero Satellite was my love letter to my childhood and more specifically comics!

 

I remember the joy in seeing 10 hits on my blog!! I had an audience…at least ten people took time to click on my words and even comment on what I wrote. I never claimed to be a writer and just write what I feel but I always enjoyed sharing. I read others blogs and learned from some of my favorite writers on the web and I loved it. One evening during a Twitter debate with a few of my twitter friends I shot the idea of doing a blog event…something big…something unified. Longbox Graveyard (The famous retro 70s Comics Blog!) and Flodo’s Page (A Green Lantern Blogger!) tossed Ideas back and forth and after several concepts and ideas thus was born the Mighty Super-Blog Team UP!!

SuperBlog#1

The first event was small in scale but big in feel. We felt like we did something different..Super-Blog Team Up was what was missing from my passion that was taken from me years ago. It was about Comradship..discussion..debate..but good times. As the roster grew and faces rotated in and out of the group we maintained a set of devoted bloggers to our cause but always made sure each round we introduced new faces. From Bloggers..to VBlogs to Podcasts and all other formsof social media The Mighty SBTU made an impression! Not only did it deliver unique perspectives on comics we each learned and laughed with each other!! I want to thank this unit of exceptional people who worked tirelessly with every event whether they had time or not. I am so proud of our output over the years and at the end of the day I may be considered by some the puppet master of this SBTU beast but in reality I am a fan ..a fan of all the talented people who make up this machine and who’s blogs deserve to be read. That is why I do this. I am a comic book fan again..and The Super-Blog Team Up was my redemption.

SBTU History

So as I lower the lights on The Super-Blog Team Up..I want to say a big thank you to Paul, Karen, Dean, Mike, Chris, Ben, and Walt for helping me with this last kick at the can. This one is dedicated to you guys and your passion.

I am a comic book fan…and proud of it. These are my friends ..and we are SUPER-BLOG TEAM UP. Thanks for joining us on this ride.

End Transmission…

 

 

SBTUContinues below

Comic Reviews by Walt : Death Of The Mutanimals (Archie-TMNT)

Longbox Graveyard: Death Of Captain Marvel

Between The Pages: The Death Of Spock (Wrath Of Khan)

Chris On infinite Earth’s: Death Of Supergirl

Crapbox Son Of Chthulu : Death Of My Love For Marvel Comics.

Comics and Coffee: Superman: The Man Who Murdered The World.

Superhero Satellite: Death of a Collectors Passion and the Redemption!

In My Not So Humble Opinion: The Death Of Galactus.

Retroist : These Pirates Of The Caribbean Models are to die for!

 

*I switch off all screens on the Holo-grid saying goodbye to all my colleagues* “Computer prepare my Hyper sleep chamber…we are shutting the Satellite down for an extended period. I have given you the coordinates of our next mission…however we have a long road to get there.!!”

*As I step into Hyper sleep watching the vessel close securely..I watch through the window as the lights ondeck slowly dim..each system slowly winds down as finally the once mighty Super-Hero Satellite finally rests…Only computer remains online..monitoring..watching. Without prompt..without asking I am alerted by the mainframe system…*

SHS Computer

Computer: “Rest Well Captain…YOU WILL NEED IT…Systems…OFFLINE”