“All-New, All-Different” X-Men are definitely different. But is this a good thing?

Before my weekly post tomorrow, I thought I would fill some of you in on what I think of Marvel’s new direction for the X-MEN.

Marvel dumped news on Monday that pertains to my particular taste in comics–namely, the X-Men books. Oh boy, where to start? For the record, I am not looking at these “All-New, All-Different” X-books with a weary eye. I love the X-Men. They taught me a lot about what it is to be a hero but also what it is to be a solid human being–which the X-Men were not, according to their misunderstanding foes. Over the past few years, I feel like the X-Men have gone through several transitions. THE RISE AND FALL OF THE SHI’AR EMPIRE was the last X-Men event I read that felt like the golden years. Following the “VULCAN Saga,” MATT FRACTION had a decent run on UNCANNY X-MEN. Many agree that UTOPIA was an excellent idea. I remember TERRY DODSON killing it on the art. GREG LAND did a decent portion of the art during Fraction’s run on Uncanny. I respect his work and effort, but I can’t wrap my head around Land’s art sometimes.

Fraction’s run ended and I can remember being bummed out. KIERON GILLEN picked it up and went all-SINISTER, all-day. I remember the villain, his underground kingdom or whatever, and that’s about it. The stories after The Rise and Fall weighed heavy on CYCLOPS, EMMA FROST, NAMOR, WOLVERINE, and KITTY PRYDE. Then JASON AARON dropped SCHISM. I wish it would’ve lasted a bit longer, but it is still solid. Post-Schiz brought forth another run from Gillen, with Sinister playing a major role in the villainy. Then AvX–Cyke kills PROFESSOR X, becomes estranged, and decides to find new Mutants for a new school.

Eva Bell aka “Tempus” aka “weekly #WCW candidate.”

Enter: BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS. His run on his X-Men titles, for me, gave the X-Men a much-needed resurgence. (Not to mention the biggest brain in the “House of Ideas was writing my favorite series of books.) Unfortunately, laying in the gutter was (and is) a crapbag disagreement between FOX STUDIOS and MARVEL STUDIOS over the rights to the X-Men franchise of films. Bendis’ Uncanny really made me want to be Cyclops again. Not only that, but the addition of characters like EVA BELL and ‘GOLDBALLS’ brought forth a future for new Mutants in the Marvel Universe. I highly suggest checking out Bendis’ run in the X-U. The dialogue in Uncanny, as well as in ALL-NEW X-MEN is hip, funny, and feels like the way an X-Men book should feel in 2015.

But it was too good to be true. SECRET WARS, in all its glory and much-deserved applause (thus far), is–let’s face it–phasing out Fox’s X-Men (and FANTASTIC FOUR) out of the “All-New, All-Different” canon. And I’m not into that one bit. We’ve waited since May for Uncanny X-Men #600. (So, wait, it’s back to ‘Vol. 1?’ Why change it to begin with? Dumb.) But there’s nothing I can do personally but wish the best of luck to the new creators of X-Titles to make them kick all the other Marvel books’ asses.

What are the titles? On Monday, Bleeding Cool dumped the new creators responsible for the new direction of the X-Men books. While I’m excited to read a JEFF LEMIRE X-Men book, the mainstay title–Uncanny X-Men–looks so friggin’ weird.

Here we see MAGNETO, PSYLOCKE, MYSTIQUE (why?!), FANTOMEX, and SABRETOOTH–none of which are original X-Men and are all subject to go psycho at the drop of the hat. I’m not so sure on the decision for this to be the team. (It very well may not be, but then why do this to the main title? Ugh.) CULLEN BUNN (Magneto, SINESTRO) is penning the new volume of Uncanny. Bunn definitely has shown strong chops in regards to writing Mags. The recent series is pretty dope. BUT… Greg Land? Really? This is Uncanny X-Men. For me, I feel this comic looks like a second-tier book when compared to the look of EXTRORDINARY X-MEN written by Jeff Lemire and drawn by HUMBERTO RAMOS. Even the All-New X-Men relaunch with DENNIS HOPELESS and MARK BAGLEY appears more traditional than Uncanny. I think the major X-title should have the best writer and best artist possible. Maybe I’m just being too nitpicky, but it’s a shame that Hollywood’s influence is effecting one of the most important corners of the Marvel U. The X-Men Universe hasn’t looked this dreary since 1998. Anyone remember, Ages of Apocalypse? 

And where is BEAST? Not the Hank from All-New, I’m talking about the Beast responsible for bringing the kids from the 60s. My Beast. Beast-Beast. Gee, I wonder what’s going to happen post-‘Secret Wars?’

Is anyone else scratching their head? I can’t be the only one.

MattyLovesComics 06.24.2015 – “Podcast is on the way. So is Virginia. Oh! And a look at this week’s comics!”

Hello, comic book Wednesday. There a few books of note this week. But before I get into the crux of this week’s blog, I have a few fun announcements. The main announcement is the production of my podcast (long overdue, in my brain) cleverly titled: MattyLovesPodcast. So from this quick little brain-dump blog, a much more animated version of this blog will be presented in a podcast format. It’s not this blog turned into a podcast, but working on this for the past month was inspiring enough. We record this week. The first “issue” will be tentatively out on July 4th weekend.

I’m excited. Busy times are ahead and I’m looking forward to every second. But before all of that, I get to go back home for a week and gather my thoughts. Inspiration is inevitable. Roanoke, Virginia feels further away the more time I spend in Florida. That feeling has made each of my visits such a breath of fresh air. I’m keeping it steady at “every six months.” The Birds play on Thanksgiving again. I really want to be home for that. But I’ll cross that scaffold when I get to it. “Now, on with the countdown.”

Last week’s action brought forth a new DOCTOR FATE, a badass look into IMPERATOR FURIOSA’S relationship with THE FIVE WIVES, a lot of THORS–including the RUNE KING, and a solid second chapter of OLD MAN LOGAN. It was a good week. I have a little bit of catching up to do with MOON KNIGHT, but a friend keeps telling me it’s dope. I have issues 12-16 sitting on my desk begging me to read them.

But I can’t. I’m obsessed with the life of JESSE CUSTER. For the month of July, the FULL SAIL COMIC BOOK CLUB–that I President with the upmost pride–has selected to read GARTH ENNIS and STEVE DILLON’S PREACHER. With the show on the horizon, I figured it might be best to knock this out. I was too young to soak this stuff up when it was first released. Even at 23-24 I’m not sure if I could, for lack of a better word, take this type of story. This story may turn into an INVINCIBLE-style obsession. The book has got me. I feel like I’m casually walking and talking with Jesse, TULIP, and CASSIDY as they do what they do. I’ve finished ‘Book One,’ and ‘Book Two’ will be here tomorrow. I think I’ve been waiting for this title and never knew it. True love.

Enough of the gushing. Let’s get into a few books that I am afraid to read this week (and a few I’m not).

My list for 6/24/2015:

AQUAMAN 41

E IS FOR EXTINCTION 1

FADE OUT 7

FLASH 41

HOWARD THE DUCK 4

INFINITY GAUNTLET 2

KAPTARA 3

KORVAC SAGA 1

PLANET HULK 2

SUPERMAN 41

X-MEN ‘92 1

ACTION COMICS #41 wasn’t total garbage. As I said, it was a “nice try” effort. There were references to SUPERMAN #41 which hits stores today. Then, I felt it was weird telling the story leaving out a chunk of pertinent information that I’ll finally discover today. So now, it doesn’t matter. But Action also references next month’s issue of Superman. Strange. Maybe today they’ll reference an issue of Superman #50. In all seriousity, I hope GENE LUEN YANG from AVATAR lure has got a mind for the Man of Steel, for DC’s sake, if any. (Found out a little bit ago that we still won’t know what zapped Superman of his powers. Ugh.)

I have a feeling that the ‘Secret Wars’ tie-in, X-MEN ’92, isn’t going to be what I think it is. As I’ve said before, I avoid synopsis or possible spoilers for any book announced that might interest my comic book pallet. From the looks of things, this might adhere to the Fox Kids cartoon from 1992 rather than the ‘Mutant Genesis’ arc in 1991. It makes sense, or else they would be calling it X-Men ’91. Preview images give me the idea that ROGUE and GAMBIT are going to be primary focuses. When I read X-Men comics, Rogue’s voice from the cartoon is the auditory effect that comes from her dialogue.

There are also some pretty rad books that I know will be a good time.

CHRIS BURNHAM is one of my favorite comic book artists. I was intrigued when I saw he was penning Marvel’s ‘SECRET WARS’ tie-in, E IS FOR EXTINCTION. Burnham is currently penciling Image Comics’ NAMELESS, written by GRANT MORRISON. These two have also collaborated in the past. (Which I think I’ve already talked about before.) Burnham’s style to me is similar to FRANK QUIETLY’S, whom is also an often collaborator of Morrison’s. The art in ‘Extinction’ is done by RAMON VILLALOBOS, an up and coming artist you all should follow on Tumblr. Definitely inspired by Quietly (and RAFAEL GRAMPA). The story? We’ll see.

One of my favorite series (hopefully ongoing) from Image Comics is ED BRUBAKER and SEAN PHILLIPS’ THE FADE OUT. It’s a Hollywood Crime Noir story that, for a monthly title, is rather easy to follow. Although Brubaker has been writing crime stories for a while, Fade Out is the first I’ve read from the creator. Most of my Brubaker knowledge comes from his work on X-Men and BATMAN stories. I’ve always wanted to read his run on DAREDEVIL. Anyway, I plan on grabbing a few of his other stuff with Phillips like INCOGNITO and CRIMINAL. Until then, I am enjoying every page of Fade Out.

CHIP ZDARSKY is a hot commodity. He writes HOWARD THE DUCK as well as KAPTARA, both on sale today. His writing style is a mix of goofiness with a dash of smug intellect. He also draws SEX CRIMINALS. If this guy hasn’t hit the jackpot, then I don’t know jack. The sky’s the limit for this creator.

And that about covers it for today. I actually just picked my books up and am about to get cracking on Superman. Until next week, I hope all of the comic book reading rocks the spot! Next week’s MattyLovesComics might be a bit delayed. It just depends on Virginia.

FullSizeRender-2Matt de Simone is an avid comic book fan that spends way too much money on weekly titles. He would shift more to collecting trades but when some kids who doesn’t read comics wants to get into something recent, Matt’s got to be there to lend a helpful suggestion or two. I’m pretty sure that’s one of the reasons he’s on planet Earth. Well, that and being Tildy’s best pal.

Five comic book super heroes are needed to save Earth from an alien armada of unknown origin. WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

The close of my post last Wednesday sparked an idea. It’s a question you’ve asked your friends (if you all are comic book readers). Or maybe the query was triggered after watching a series of the modern action film genre entirely inspired by comic books. One way or the other, nerds often wonder:

Five comic book super heroes are needed to save Earth from an alien armada of unknown origin. WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

I’m not looking at this scenario like my team is entering the World Martial Arts Tournament. This is more of a team based on a common comic book scenario: There is an extraterrestrial threat on it’s way to Earth and could possibly be the harbinger of worldwide annihilation. Now I don’t want to go too deep into the backstory. All the villains are new, and were also dumb enough to broadcast a transmission forewarning Earth.

Tough decisions isn’t it? Sure, you can go for the power. One could also choose his or her team consisting of magic-folk. Oh, but the Gods, demigods, monsters… This may prove difficult. But I don’t want a team where each member can just fly up and punch out the baddies. (Or maybe just one.)

One thing that’s super important in formulating an awesome comic book team is covering all of your bases, prepare for anything and everything. With a team like the X-Men, not much thought needs to be brought into this situation. The X-teams are like a flea market when dealing with villains; it seems like there is two of everyone as far as power sets go. (Or multiple versions of heroes, depending on what X-book you’re reading.) But the Fantastic Four, for instance, they have a lot of bases covered, but not all of them. A powerful telepath can really work that squad over.

If this otherworldly threat is completely unknown, but shows their hand, you plan for what you see. You’re not sure of the incoming enemy’s line of attack or defense. So with only five heroes, I’m looking to kill a lot of birds with five stones. Also, I want a team that can prepare for a fight. I think I got this. Here’s my five:

INVINCIBLE – First, I need a heavy-hitter, a real banger. I will look no further than Invincible to fill that slot. On top of the Viltrumite strength, I’ll get the speed and regenerative abilities as well. That’s a killer package. Any readers of Invincible know exactly what Mark Grayson’s capable of. I would possibly order Mark to do a little reconnaissance to give us a better idea of what exactly is heading for Earth. Plus, he’s a pushover so he’d totally do it.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 7.16.50 PM

BEAST – Preparations are key. If I’m planning for an attack, I want a genius before a pile of weapons. Hank can at the very least gage the scenario if the team can get an eye or two far enough into space to see what the hell is coming for Earth. He’s also well versed in alien languages past and present. If this unknown entity speaks one of those languages, we have a translator. And I don’t know if you know, but Beast isn’t too shabby in the field of combat. If this alien force is unstoppable enough to where fighting is the only answer, Hank will be just fine–and probably come up with some dope weaponry/ship designs.

NICO MINURO – I have to admit, I’m not as familiar with The Runaways as I should be. (It’s another one of my comic book “to-dos.”) But from what I’ve read, if I need magic, I’ll look to Nico and The Staff of One. Having Beast around will help, as he and Nico will decide the specific spells to cast during an assuming battle. The Staff of One is unable to repeat spells–sort of like wishes granted by Shenron–so Hank’s strategic skill will come into play to enable Nico to cast the right spell. But it’s not all the Staff at work here. Nico herself doesn’t need the Staff to whip up some magics here and there. If I’m looking for major-league, armada-wrecking magic, then I’ll tell Nico to grab the Staff. 

FIRESTORM – I need someone who can warp reality. Originally, I went with the X-Man Legion. But then I thought, “Dude, you don’t have any DC characters on your team.” So avoiding the clichés, I pushed aside your Anti-Monitors and Superboy Primes, and grabbed a character that first spoke to me during The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians ABC cartoon in 1985-86. Swap out the Wonder Twins for Cyborg and the fourth member of my team: Firestorm. I thought it was cool how Ronnie Raymond was a kid that could do this incredible stuff (like obliterating asteroids and phasing through anything) and he always sat ‘crisscross applesauce’ while floating in the war room. He was relaxed. Now, Firestorm can’t warp reality, but he can manipulate anything on a molecular level. Something tells me this type of power set would come in handy for any dire situation. 

MADISON JEFFRIES – Finally, I need another big brain. (And a character that will make any of you non-deep cut readers say, “Who?”) But this level of intelligence and power is different than the sheer genius of Hank McCoy. Madison Jeffries is another manipulator; only he specializes in speaking and manipulating inorganic life (sometimes on an atomic level). He can control machines but also phase his body or mind into the machine and control it that way. This X-Man, or Utopian, is powerful enough to–for instance–take his hand, touch someone’s head, and map out a weapon design based on the idea in the person’s mind. If he an Beast work hard enough together, Earth is good to go.

The team breaks down like this:

Invincible, Firestorm, and Nico Minuro act as the muscle and magic.

Beast and Madison Jeffries stay on Earth and strategize.

It’s a pretty simple plan. I would read this book based on the synopsis alone: An unknown alien race is heading for Earth. Invincible, Firestorm, Nico Minuro, Beast, and Madison Jeffries must save the world.

Sign me up.

MattyLovesComics 06.17.2015 – “A Light Week With Doctor Fate”

Wednesday is here yet again. After an eventful week, I’m looking forward to a rather light week of reading as I am still recovering from THE ROLLING STONES rocking my face clean off. That’s a definite a check mark on that section of my Bucket List. A friend of mine who lives outside of the Citrus Bowl said he could hear the show from his house. It must have been a treat for anyone in the surrounding area who has decent musical taste.

I caught some of the livestream of E3 on Monday. If you like a nuclear explosions or viruses to wipe out humanity before the game starts, you’re in luck. Every game that comes out from now until 2023 will supply you with said backstories. But on the real, the XBox Exclusive CUPHEAD looks awesome. You can play a cartoon. Check it out.

The PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES suck. The losers of ten out of eleven miserable outings can’t score (but holy geez can they get scored on). I’m beginning to think that they, like, y’know, don’t want to. This guy came into my workplace the other night wearing a t-shirt that said: It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I don’t care. I feel like that was the Phils’ Spring Training mantra. They’re total garbage. I want to DDT them. Stop the insanity. The writing was on the wall in 2010 when the Philskis won what seemed like 200 games. Now, day after day, something else is going wrong. Trade everyone. Fire everyone. In the meantime Phils fans, just watch the glory days on YouTube. And I’m not talking about 2008. I’m talking about when Michael Jack “buried” the game-winner in Montreal in 1980.

Enough with the bum-out tangents. It’s Wednesday, so let’s get to the comics. Last week brought forth some pleasant (and not-so-pleasant) surprises.

BATMAN #41 was very entertaining; DETECTIVE COMICS #41 faked me out. I love FRANCIS MANAPUL’S art. The cover is gorgeous, but I missed Manapul’s interior work.

My monthly titles from IMAGE COMICS have been worth every penny. Well, most. DESCENDER and NAMELESS I mentioned last week and both delivered. Nameless is plain nuts. I can’t tell you what’s going on. But it’s written by GRANT MORRISON, so like Bond, you just go with it.

I’m still crushed about CHRONONAUTS. There are a few monthly titles that I stay away from when news comes across the wire to avoid spoilers. I should’ve stayed up on this book because, cripes, it should be an ongoing series. I paid $5.99 for the final issue (#4) and got a giant-size summary of (at least) four more issues of what could be one of the wildest books in comics. I want more adventures, MARK MILLAR. You can not escape that easy.

WEIRDWORLD #1 is worth checking out. Very FRANK FRAZETTA meets ESAD RIBIC. There is no telling where this book will go, but I predict this one will be one of the more memorable ‘SECRET WARS’ tie-ins.

Now let’s quest on to this week’s action. It’s a light week indeed.

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 8.47.07 PMMy list for 6/17/2015:

ARMOR WARS 2

DOCTOR FATE 1

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD FURIOSA 1

MOON KNIGHT 16

OLD MAN LOGAN 2

SQUADRON SINISTER 1

SOUTHERN BASTARDS 9

THORS 1

Who doesn’t love DOCTOR. FATE eh? He has–by far–one of the raddest character designs in the history of comics. Whether you like your Fate KENT NELSON’D, or HECTOR HALL’D, or maybe even KHALID’D, one can’t deny how fun a good Fate story can be. So of course I’m picking up issue one of the new series today. When I read my Dr. Fate stories, he has the voice of CARY GRANT. Roll with that.

Just a thought, but wouldn’t it have been cool in 1988 if Dr. Fate and MOON KNIGHT had a 80s’d out crossover?

If any of the few who stop by my blog haven’t seen MAD MAX FURY ROAD, just stop. I don’t remember the last time I bought a VERITGO title. That really doesn’t matter. Any publisher can release MAD MAX: FURY ROAD FURIOSA and I’m on it. How solid gold is that film?! GEORGE MILLER writes the story for the Furiosa comic. Let’s go!

I’m currently in the middle of finishing up the SQUADRON SUPREME OMNIBUS, which collects the first volume of stories featuring the line-up perfected by MARK GRUENWALD. Google him. When I finish Squadron, I’ll be moving on to the reboot series SUPREME POWER written by J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI. I picked up both collections back at MEGACON. This week, ‘Secret Wars’ presents SQUADRON SINISTER. In one of the tie-in books I know the team is eluded to or even shown. If it’s based on the original Squadron Sinister, or if ‘Sinister’ is in the title because MR. SINISTER happens to be one of the “Barons of Battleworld,” either way, this new take on HYPERION, DOCTOR SPECTRUM, and the gang will be most interesting. Oh yeah, and MARC GUGGENHEIM pens. CARLOS PACHECO pencils. Get. Out.

Ooooh, and THORS also premieres! Not enough can be said about JASON AARON. Tell me something he currently writes that isn’t entertaining. His run on the Thor books has been superb. I want to get out and snag more of his creator-owned properties. Unfortunately I’ve experienced few. If any of you ever have suggestions for me, feel free to hit me up here or on the Facebook or Twitter. I love to talk comics and find out about stuff I need to read for the sake of a better life on Earth. Speaking of Mr. Aaron, SOUTHERN BASTARDS is without a doubt a must-read. The first volume is cheap. Go out and scoop it up.

Looking ahead toward next week: AQUAMAN, SUPERMAN, and FLASH are three important titles in this new rollout from DC Comics. At least they should be, right? Remember when the last issue of Action Comics told us to wait three weeks until Superman #41? Well, next week we find out why. Over in Aquaman, CULLEN BUNN takes over sending Aquaman in a different direction. I read Flash for BRETT BOOTH’S artwork. BACKLASH is one of the dopest heroes in the history of my comic collection. If I could comprise a team of any five heroes, Backlash is one. Whoa. That’s a good idea…

I’m going to step off of here and go start work on another new project of mine. The list ran: 1. Blog, then 2.) Podcast. Not really the original order of events planned. Whatevskis. That’s how it’s going so I’m going with it full-bore. Like a spaceship flying off into the space, Jack. I’m going to go load my spaceship with the rocket fuel, load all the Warriors, read some comics, and I’ll talk at you soon.

FullSizeRender-2Matt de Simone is the current President of the Full Sail University Comic Book Club. He’s the Commander and Chief of comic books. Matt’s worked hard to earn such a dubious distinction. He doesn’t hate the Phillies. He loves them. But sometimes they really make him an angry tiger.

Lost In Wrestling: The Entrances

Let’s face it, pro-wrestling isn’t the same. The youth absorbed in the current product will say the same thing twenty years from now. Trust me. But this isn’t a soapbox. I’m not going to beat my chest how live television has ruined the art of telling an awesome pro-wrestling adventure. This blog entry is focusing on what I found so exciting about pro-wrestling when I was kid. Yeah, I dug the work. But if I was going to invest interest in a guy, they had better have a sweet entrance. So many wrestlers were made on their entrances alone. Some displayed their hold on the audience. Some immediately gave you an idea on how the following match was going to go down. Some were just zany and fun. Then you had the few that had the entire package–the look, the music, and the attitude.

Names like HOGAN, FLAIR, AUSTIN, and THE ROCK are no-brainers. Aside from the easy targets, there were specific entrances that made me such a fan of pro-wrestling–particularly in the 90s. They made me say, “I really want to do that one day.” Here are (in my opinion) what I consider to be some of the best wrestler entrances ever to have graced the sport/business/industry/whatever.

THE GREAT MUTA – I could write an entire entry on Puroresu wrestling entrances. On second thought, just writing about how impactful Japanese pro-wrestling has been on my life from a visual perspective may be an idea for future entries. But as far as entrances go–and I have a lot of friends that will agree with me–none were or are better than the Great Muta’s. To any pro-wres novice, the moment you see a Muta entrance (especially during his era as Triple Crown Champion in 2002), you’ll think to yourself, “This guy is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.” The video I provided is just a cornucopia of Muta radness.

RICK “THE MODEL” MARTEL – So in 1990, I say to you, a total novice, “Hey, ‘The Model’ is getting ready to hit the ring.” It’s the (then) WWF, so there are an abundance of characters. They have a ‘model’ so it makes sense right? If Martel’s entrances don’t literally scream “Arrogence,” and you don’t think this guy is greatness, then you’re insane. This is also an example of how a sweet track can help accompany the wrestler to the ring.

STAN HANSEN in Japan – Here’s another example of how awesome wrestling in Japan can be. In the States, Stan Hansen was a nomadic, territorial worker whose wild, cowboy demeanor complemented his role as a heel in most companies. But overseas in the Orient, Hansen was one of the top dogs. Hansen’s antics and style were each appreciated in Japan more so than in America. His entrance is a prime example. Again, tremendous music. It starts off sounding like a “Disco-Cowboy” is on his way to the ring, after the break, pure terror for the Japanese fans in the arena. In contrast, this is the most uninspiring KENTA KOBASHI entrance ever. I love it.

UNDERTAKER – The wrestling entrance has always kind of been The Undertaker’s thing. Especially today when we get our one-shot Taker match at Wrestlemania. (I could do an entire entry on Mania entrances as well.) You know it’s Mania when Taker’s on his way to the ring. And you also know (with but one exception) that whoever is waiting on Taker is fundamentally screwed. My personal favorite arrival of the Undertaker came at Wrestlemania 21 (above). To this point, I always wanted him to do the “Virtual Insanity” entrance and at this particular Mania, I got my wish. I’m not necessarily looking at specific entrances for all of these wrestlers, but this is one that particularly stands out.

Anyone managed by SLICK – If I were a pro-wrestling bad guy in the 80s, I wouldn’t go to BOBBY HEENAN or J.J. DILLON for managerial services. I’m calling up “The Doctor of Style.” The video speaks for itself. No one gets down like the Slickster. Or AKEEM.

MR. PERFECT – Remember what I said about the look, the music, and the attitude? Curt Hennig in the WWF was a case and point example. Even before “THE BRAIN,” Mr. Perfect was good to go as far the presenting himself on his way to ring that made me at 9-years old believe he was perfect.

MAXX MOON – I just thought the fact that this dude shot pyro out of his arm-gimmicks was dope. Could you imagine if they had a heel disguise himself as Maxx Moon, interfere in a match, and shoot BRET HART in the face? Oh, what a waste. (No it wasn’t. #TeamPaulDiamond.)

BIG VAN VADER – A couple things here with “The Mastadon.” Firstly, say you were “Job Boy” Silky Bartlett, and you were backstage looking at the rundown of the schedule for “Disney tapings.” If you saw you got Vader that afternoon, well… Yeah. “####.” From the curtain, he looked like a total badass to any 8-12 year old. I wasn’t scared of him, but I sure didn’t want anything to do with him. And Silky didn’t either. All of those poor “Silkys.” Finally, this particular clip I found has BAM BAM BIGELOW being led to the ring by young-boy KENSUKE SASAKI. That’s like an issue of UNCANNY X-MEN where they are flown into Genosha with thanks from Reed Richards’ Fantasticar. Just didn’t happen.

THE FREEBIRDS vs. THE VON ERICHS – In my youth, two wrestling entities made me want to dropkick someone in the face inside the squared circle: THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR (I’ll get to him) and The Von Erichs–the true “rock stars” of pro-wrestling’s wild history. But the Von Erichs would’ve have never been as crazy awesome as they were without The Fabulous Freebirds. Never in my life has there ever been such a distinguishing reaction between factions of wrestlers from opening theme to final bell. But this is about the entrances. So I chose these two as prime examples of what pro-wrestling entrances are all about. We don’t get this anymore.

THE WWF “KINGS” – Remember when this was so cool? Too bad this stopped being a thing. (Oh, wait. It is again?) One of the great caveats to the “WWF Kings” was that they were always “carried” to the ring. A bunch of jobbers carried–what I imagine was–a wooden throne spray painted in gold. It fit KING HARLEY RACE, KING HAKU, and even KING DUGGAN (which made total sense). But then, in 1989, Vinnie made a wise decision during the evolution of RANDY SAVAGE to make him the “The Macho King.” The best “wrestling king,” in my opinion. Anyway, my friends and I used to make a joke about Savage’s entrance at Wrestlemania VI: “He’s STILL on his way to the ring.” Indeed.

THE FACE PAINT GUYS (Ultimate Warrior, Sting, The Road Warriors/L.O.D., The Demolition, Renegade, etc.) – I saved my personal favorite “types” of wrestling entrances for last. There were none better than the dudes with their faces painted. All of the above (except for RENEGADE) had a unique awesomeness to their approach down that aisle. Warrior was a racing rampage of power and excitement. The music fit, as did “Iron Man” by BLACK SABBATH for HAWK, ANIMAL, and PAUL ELLERING. And their look? Simply put, the Road Warriors were the 80s action movies in real life, only the bad guys were the good guys. Sting’s entrance evolved from the bleach-blonde, hand-slapping wildman to a slow walk, gathering his thoughts on his way to the ring to finally meet Hogan at Starrcade ’97 and save WCW for us all. My first example to kick off this entry about sweet entrances is a painted up wrestler (Muta). Go back and look for a wrestler in face paint that didn’t have a burnt entrance.

Although many fans prefer the “work” to the everything else that makes a pro-wrestler cool. I feel that the general introduction of any character in general is key to any story. I want to care about the character if I am going to get invested in the story. Pro-wrestling has always been the same way for me–since I was eight.

EX. 1) The music hits. Okay, this song isn’t too generic. Here comes a pro-wrestler with a generic appearance. Nope. 

EX. 2) “Cool Cocky Bad” hits. What is going on? It’s the HONKY TONK MAN. This is life. 

That about sets my mind at ease. Pro-wrestling is the best. I miss being around it, but at least I have an opportunity now and again to share my thoughts on why it’s the best. In the midst of putting the entry together I’m saddened at the loss of DUSTY RHODES. He was one of the table-setters. Pro-wrestling wouldn’t be where it was today if not for a little “American Dream” along the way.

Have an awesome weekend. I’m going to do my best JESSE “THE BODY” at the ROLLING STONES gig tonight.

Matt de Simone is a lifelong fan of pro-wrestling. He has always believed it’s like comic books and ‘General Hospital,’ but sort of real. He also knows how real it can get. How real? He once was involved in a massive street fight with TRACY SMOTHERS. A lot of people can say that. But he lived to tell the story.

MattyLovesComics 6.10.2015 – “Robo-Bats and Chrono-not an ongoing series”

Before I get into this week’s comics, here’s what I thought of a few of last week’s that I read through.

First, ACTION COMICS #41 – I’m feeling like this is sort of like one of those “nice try” scenarios. If this arc doesn’t go anywhere, I won’t be surprised. GREG PAK is rumored to be returning to HULK.  

Oh, JUSTICE LEAGUE #41 – LEX LUTHOR’S armor is SUPERMAN-proof, not bulletproof? (Please be magical “DARKSEID bullets.”) Baddies can emerge from FLASH’S mouth? (Yes, that happens.) Think the JUSTICE LEAGUE–as a whole–seem insignificant in comparison to the focus on NEW GODS saving the universe? Yup, sounds about right for DC Comics in regards to their recent ideas for the “greatest” super hero team in history of comics. I’m not disappointed at all. This can’t be all on JOHNS. And where does this story fall in line with everything else that has occurred in DC’s zany canon. Despite my reservations about Part 1 of “THE DARKSEID WAR,” I still have high hopes. Who doesn’t love MISTER MIRACLE?

As for Marvel: Sunshine, rainbows, unicorns, and chocolate waterfalls of delicious chocolate. “A choca-river,” and all of that sweet stuff. I may be going a bit over the edge. But people, the SECRET WARS stuff is entertaining and comprehendable. (That word’s not real.) I’m enjoying it. Much like pizza rolls. Anyone dig pizza rolls anymore? Anyway, those Secret Wars books…

SECRET WARS #3 – Tremendous. Entertaining. (Way better than CONVERGENCE 3.) I’ll just leave it at that.

As for the tie-ins…

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS #1 – If you dug Spider-Man in the late 80s-1992, enjoy this miniseries and act like it’s 1992. We should probably all act like it’s 1992.

ARMOR WARS #1 – This book will be interesting. In this corner of Battleworld everyone has to wear armor or they’ll die. Or something like that. Maybe not one of the grandest out of last week’s tie-ins, but still solid. JAMES ROBINSON, y’all. He’s doing something way different than the other tie-ins I’ve read. Watch this book.

X-TINCTION AGENDA #1 – I loved the old-school XA, and this is shaping up to be a fun couple of issues. Take my money.

FUTURE IMPREFECT #1 – Who doesn’t love MAESTRO (HULK) vs. THING?

GIANT-SIZE LITTLE MARVEL: AvX #1 – Maybe not actually “giant-size,” but giant-size laughs for days. CYCLOPS–so funny.

STAR WARS #6 and DARTH VADER #6 – For the first time we get interlocking stories. The spoilers are already available. Two huge events occur–all killer, and domesticated.

ALL-NEW X-MEN #41 – Both the ANX and UNCANNY finales screamed, “It’s almost over, guys. Gives thanks to Hollywood.” Such a shame. I know BENDIS had bigger plans. But now he has IRON MAN to retool. And I am so down with that. Did you know that Iron Man’s parents are THOMAS and MARTHA WAYNE? It’s totes true.

So yeah, that about does it for my thoughts on last week’s action. Now on to this week.

My list for 6/10/2015:

BATMAN 41

BLACK SCIENCE 15

CHRONONAUTS 4

DETECTIVE COMICS 41

DESCENDER 4

INJECTION 2

NAMELESS 4

SPIDER-VERSE 2

ULTIMATE END 2

WEIRDWORLD 1

I love particular time-travel stories, i.e., BACK TO THE FUTURE. A week or so ago I woke up in the morning with the film’s main title blaring in my brain for reasons I can’t explain. So as I got ready to start my day I threw it on. Still plays, by the way. It’s the “Time Travel 101” story. When Marty ends up having to break into his own bedroom after entering “Timeline-2” was when 9-year old Matty crapped his pants. Oh no, he screwed up time. (pants.) 

If you’re into doing awesome stuff in the past and want to see how jacked the future can get, then please read CHRONONAUTS. Issue four drops today. (The final issue! What?!) I’ve had the pleasure of reading it already. The future is still uncertain for CORBIN QUINN and DANNY REILLY, but what they’ve each been through so far is mind-bending. So many things have been wrecked in the past. I’m not sure how the present day hasn’t imploded. But MARK MILLAR is killing it. So is SEAN GORDON MURPHY. He attacks the senses with his art. I love that.

Unfortunately, a series I imagined to be ongoing isn’t. Issue four wraps up leaving me wanting so much more. But make this judgment for yourself. I highly suggest picking up this trade when it becomes available. This series needs to be ongoing, especially if this is a proposed film.

Two other indie titles I’m enjoying are JEFF LEMIRE’S DESCENDER and GRANT MORRISON’S NAMELESS.

Descender is about TIM-21, one of the universe’s last robots. He is killed in issue two. What happens next is awesome.

Nameless is written by Grant Morrison. Did I mention that? (I know I did. I wrote that on purpose.) This book’s not ARMAGEDDON. It’s Armageddon on acid and death, but not Armageddon. Maybe 2001. Still trying to wrap my head around this. I’m enjoying CHRIS BURNHAM’S art. Loved his work with Morrison on BATMAN, INC. This is another book keep your eyes on.

The recent news from MARVEL of Secret Wars titles being pushed back is kind of rough. All that aside, I’m looking forward to WEIRDWORLD this week. JASON AARON is a can’t-miss read right now.

And then we come to BATMAN #41. I had the pleasure of reading this issue already. I may be hard on DC Comics. But it’s only because I love them. Any comic book fans do. If it wasn’t for the big bangers in the DCU, we wouldn’t have Marvel, etc. So when this new idea came across the pike, I was early to say, “What? This is Batman?”

Let’s face it. The “New 52” was a lot of weirdsauce and no flavor. There are kinks everywhere. I have been looking for something in the midst of all this (once again) change in the DCU and I think I’ve found it. Batman #41 is fire, fresh, and I’m already rooting on “the Commish.”

One reason I dig this issue so much is because it’s not something we’ve read before in Batman comics. Sure there have been other “Batmen.” JEAN-PAUL VALLEY comes to mind first. That was different and, depending on who you ask, neat-o. Of course BATTLE FOR THE COWL brought us DICK GRAYSON taking the helm as Bats and killing it. But now there’s a new contender. It’s common knowledge by now that JIM GORDON is the new Batman. I had trepidations about Gordon as “Robo-Bats,” or, “Iron-Bats.” But people, it’s going to work. (The new Bat-suit is dope. And nope, not the one you’re thinking of.)

We can’t doubt SCOTT SNYDER in the middle of all of this post-CONVERGENCE confusion. If anyone isn’t a little confused with what’s going on, I salute you and will be hitting you up every time comics confuse me from now until Eternia. But in all seriousity (that’s not a word either), if you haven’t been up to par with Batman books, jump on this action. Things aren’t what they seem and I’m so down to see what happens.

That is all I have, ladies and gents. Enjoy this Comic Book Wednesday. Again, there are some Secret Wars delays. In the middle of polishing this week’s blog I discovered a few books I expected for this week aren’t being released for a bit. Aside from that, I am so looking forward to reading and reporting for you all next week. Speaking of, a new DR. FATE series begins as well as VERTIGO’S MAD MAX FURY ROAD: FURIOSA beginning as well. Oh, and SQUADRON SINISTER! Those three books alone sound like a fun Wednesday.

Talk to you then. (Happy Birthday, Spence.)

FullSizeRender-2Matt de Simone just wrote this blog. This week he got to read a few comics before Wednesday. He feels really cool about it. Tildy is unimpressed. The Phillies are bums. Follow him on the Twitter.

My Favorite ‘Metal-Looking’ Bands

You know how you hear one song, or think of the image of a band, and then want to go not-so in depth about who looked more ‘Metal’ than the rest?

No? Well then that’s just me, I guess.

I listen to a lot of different music nowadays. My favorite brand of jams growing up were those of the heavy metal variety. The modern state of heavy metal is garbage. But I digress.

Have you heard someone say, “That’s so metal,” when describing something ‘cool?’ I feel like I hear it all the time and whoever says it doesn’t have any idea of what is and is not ‘metal.’

Enough. You want metal? Let’s look at the most metal-looking acts in music history–according to me.

KISS – They were trendsetters from the live show to the ego. I grew up listening to KISS like a 16-year old in 1977. Only it was 1997. Their comic book allure drew me to their rocking jams. As far as looking ‘metal,’ it doesn’t get more defining than these shots. As far as the sound goes, give me Asylum over Love Gun five out of seven days. KISS’ 80s stuff is underrated. But getting back to the overall look, KISS set the bar. I know your Alice Cooper enthusiasts will disagree. Even as KISS was pushing the glammy trends of the metal bands in the 80s, Gene and Paul found a way to look ridiculous…ridiculously awesome.

Cinderella – Anyone who listened to these guys back in the day will look at a promo shot of Cinderella today and still and say, “Hhhhhell yeah.” Modeled after women, Cinderella managed to score big in 1986 with their debut album Night Songs, and also with female undergarments. I’m talking about sex. Now I’m no Cinderella historian, but if ‘Assumptionist’ was a branch of modern science, then call me “Dr. Matty.” These guys got a lot of action. It was 1986. They were role-models.

Mercyful Fate – Again, if I’m a scientist, then these guys worship all kinds of Satan. But I’m not, and I also know that King Diamond isn’t a Satanist; he’s a philosopher. Okay, he’s a Satanic philosopher so, yes, Satan is in the room when Mercyful Fate rocks the spot. But let’s not judge these weirdos. Just observe the “obviously we’re a metal band” image.

Pantera – All one needs to do is watch any Pantera DVD. You’re welcome.

Manowar – Admittedly, I have never been much on their music. But I did watch Conan The Barbarian (1982) quite a few times growing up. These guys all wanted to be Rexor. Again, I’m a scientist.

Iron Maiden – Now we’re getting into the category of “Metal Bands You Should Fear.” Look at these guys. It’s subtle, but they look like their sound will blow your face off your hair and head. But do you know what the best thing about Iron Maiden is? Their subtle band image of an impending metal-explosion is absolutely true to their sound. Just listen to Killers.


Dokken – My favorite guitarist in the history of the 1980s is George Lynch. I honestly didn’t start listening to Dokken until I was around 19 or 20 (besides Dream Warriors and Transformers: The Movie), but holy crap. The solo during “In My Dreams” kills it. I want that hair. His guitar reminded me of the line of G.I.Joe’s Tiger Force figures and vehicles in the late 80s. I’ll be an expert ‘Assumptionist’ and say Lynchy’s axe inspired that line of toys. That a’boy, Lynchy. So give me the guitar too. Just for Halloween. (Holy geez, that’s a solid costume idea. Noted.) The rest of the band is pretty metal-looking too. But this spot could’ve just been for George Lynch.

Motley Crüe – Sort of like my bit on Pantera, I’ll keep this short and sweet. Read The Dirt, or just Google these guys. There was KISS in the 70s, but then the glam-bands can really thank the early days of The Crüe for inspiring the look of a lot of metal acts in the late 80s.

Stryper – Yes! Look at this. They have, like, 230 gimmicks. And gimmicks make up a lot if someone’s trying to look metal as crap. If I ever owned a real estate group, our billboard would look like this. And the company’s tag line would b: Come and get it. Say what you will, these here ears loves those sounds of the “Soldiers Under Command.” I mean, so many lines come to my brain like, “You just can’t top it,” and,“Stry-pahow!” I first heard these guys at a church, naturally. But their jams soon became an anthem for rides to and from high school. Their jams also served as some of my early pro-wrestling themes.

The Runaways – Now, overall, these girls may look more metal in this photo than any of the other bands I’ve posted. Attitude, looks, skill, and they were most definitely hungry at the time of this photo shoot. It doesn’t take an expert Assumptionist to deduce that fact. Even glammed up Lita Ford in 1985 pales in comparison to her Runaways days. They look like they could take over the world here.

ABBA – And finally, if you had never seen this group before and I said they were a metal band from the late 70s, you’d possibly agree with me. No? Yeah, probably not. But Mom, if you’re reading this and were offended by any remarks I made about any of these bands, here’s a photo of ABBA. If any of you have never listened to ABBA, they most certainly are not metal. But my mother loves them.

Enjoy the day.

FullSizeRender-2Matt de Simone is a metalhead at heart. He also loves his mother enough to add something totally irrelevant to the blog topic.