MattyLovesComics 07.29.2015 – “Sleepy, sleepy comic book Wednesday.”

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Happy Wednesday! Comic books! I’m totally into this week’s pull list. (You’ll see why. And no, not for story reasons.)

I’m just now coming off of an afternoon of recording new episodes of my podcast. The next two are pretty special for Tom Lucas and myself. If anyone ever asked us, “What comics did you grow up reading?” episode five of MattyLovesPodcast will unveil “The History of Comics According To Matt and Tom, Part 1.” It’s our ‘origin story’ as readers, collectors, and fans. If you haven’t indulged me by taking an episode or two for a spin, please feel free. You may even like it. It’s comic centric conversation each and every episode. We’re proud of what we’ve managed to produce so far. There is much more to come. Summerslam 2015-week especially.

Speaking of pro wrestling, I’m proud of young ace Trevor Lee becoming TNA Tag Team Champion at the recent TNA tapings at Universal. I’m proud to say I’ve watched him grow as a wrestler and a person. He’s a hard-worker, no pun intended. He sneers in all of his promo photos. It’s wrestling, that’s what you do. The future is bright for this young man. I can also say that for some other individuals in the CWF Mid-Atlantic locker room. TNA will get my viewer support when Trev debuts. Do I have that channel? Anyway, if I can get everything in order by 5PM, I might head out to Universal Studios and see Trev stomp someone out.

TILDY UPDATE: She’s better than your cat.

Ah, hell, that’s all I’ve got as far as ‘life-stuff’ goes. Onto more important matters: comics. Last week I managed to get through five books from the weekly pile. Weirdworld is awesome. Planet Hulk continues to impress. I have yet to get read my Flash, Kanan, Old Man Logan, and Future Imperfect books. It’s looking like I’ll be hitting those bad boys up before I get into today’s stack. But, alas! That won’t be much of an issue. (I need to chill with the unintended puns.)

My pull list for 7/29/2015

HE-MAN ETERNITY WAR 8

SOUTHERN BASTARDS 10

SUPERMAN 42

STAR WARS 7

THORS 2

X-MEN ‘92 2

Holy crap. That’s it? I’m not saying six books is enough. I’m saying that I’m not worried about spending bookoos this week. I always feel like the publishers dump everything on us at the end of each month. I’m cool with this. (Trust me. Next week’s pulls are insane.)

I’ve stated before how much I love He-Man: The Eternity War. So many new elements are added into this ‘DC canon’ that truly enriches the characters many grew to know and love. I love the role of Skeletor especially. Did any of you dig Hordak, those of you lucky enough to experience the 80s and He-Man and She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword? I feel many readers of DC’s previous two volumes of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe were anticipating the manifestation of the Hordak we all love. This means Hordak wasn’t always, um, humanoid. The creative teams were trying something different and, well, you people need to be reading this stuff. In conclusion, Eternity War is for all He-Man and She-Ra fans. Another rad thing about the book is that new readers can start from the first issue and find their own connection to the story. Good comics do that stuff.

Like Southern Bastards, for instance–this book cooks. A new reader can pick up the volume two trade paperback on Amazon for $5(!) and need not volume one. If you read volume one after volume two, then you will read in the chronological order of the story’s events. Plot elements will make sense either way. If you’re a football fan, know the rigors of summer preparations, and know a bit about the politics of small-town high school football then this book is for you. If you dig violence, this book is for you. If you are a fan of the University of Alabama’s pro, oops, I mean, college football program, this book should be ‘rollin’’ off the shelf and into your ‘tide.’ Tide, meaning: hands. I don’t think anyone has ever referred to hands as ‘tides.’ That was not clever at all.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Matt wrote this around 2:30 AM, so, yeah.] 

In the newest episode of my podcast, MattyLovesPodcast, “Dr. Tom” and I talk a little about my reading of all the Star Wars titles currently being published by Marvel. This experience is rewarding. It feels like I’m putting my hard-earned moolah to good use. From the Star Wars main title, to Darth Vader, the Princess Leia miniseries that ended, and now Lando–super-fun good times. Even the Kanan series is entertaining. I don’t even watch Star Wars Rebels, but don’t really need to in order to follow the story. Good comics do that stuff. I’m repeating myself, aren’t I?

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Yep. Go to sleep.] 

Oh, and we have Superman #42 hitting the shops today. Super. Looks like this is the issue when ‘New-52’ Superman reveals his secret identity to Lois Lane. Did she truly “betray” him? Wait, isn’t Supes still with Wonder Woman? What does she think? Does anyone read Superman/Wonder Woman? I admittedly stopped reading early on in the series. I felt as though the book was used as ‘just another title.’ There have been zero news blurbs that give me a reason to read the Supes/WW ongoing. If anyone has one or two, throw them my way. I love a good Superman story. Them’s hard to come by.

Finally there are two Secret Wars tie-ins in X-Men ’92 and Thors. I enjoyed each of the first issues respectively. The fact that a ‘Thor Corps’ are policing Doomworld is insane to think about. Jason Aaron has his hands in Thors, as well as Southern Bastards, Vader, and Star Wars–all of which I’ve mentioned in this particular post. He is undoubtedly one of my favorite writers in the game right now. Would love to have a beer with that guy.

Yeah, so that’s all I have on this Wednesday. I’ll be working this week on editing the next episode of my podcast, doing homework, working, and more homework. Of course I’ll find the time to catch up on my reading, but securing my pristine GPA is paramount.

Be good to yourself, folks. See you next Wednesday.

FullSizeRender-2Matt de Simone started writing this post early, early this morning. Please forgive the scatterbrainedness. That’s not a word, but hopefully you understand where his conscious rested when he started this draft. Matt did in fact get some sleep before his nine o’clock class. Hopefully his mother doesn’t worry. He’s a working boy. There is not enough time in the universe to get everything done. We all make due.

MattyLovesComics 07.22.2015 – “You can never read too many comics.”

Welcome to the second half of 2015. Crazy, right? I hope the first half of the year has been pleasant for everyone. And if it hasn’t, here’s to your second half kicking the other half in the ol’ ass. We’ve reached yet another comic book Wednesday. I feel as though this is my last ‘hefty’ week of comics for a while. As I started before, I’m cutting down on my weekly reads for financial and cognitive purposes.

I read a lot of weekly titles. The pile is enough to where I must sometimes snag the previous issue of a new weekly book in order to remember what happened previously. I have a backload of books (Moon Knight, Bitch Planet, SW Spider-Verse, SW Armor Wars, Warren Ellis’ Injection) I need to read on top of the 10-15 books I pick up on Wednesdays. Despite a few of titles waiting in the wings being mini-series, I realize that maybe I need to purchase my creator-owned titles in collections as apposed to picking them up monthly. We’ll see how it goes.

All that said, I managed to read almost all of the books I picked up last week. The Secret Wars material continues to impress me. Guardians of Knowhere is the next of the key books coming out of Marvel’s big summer event. The reason I say this is because in all of these ‘key’ books a character knows more beyond the fact that Dr. Doom created the world in which they currently inhabit. In Knowhere, Gamora knows of Thanos. The specifics are yet to be laid out by Brian Michael Bendis, but I can’t image she doesn’t mean the same Thanos with The Cabal and Reed Richards-“The Maker.” One thing Secret Wars has shown me is the fact that there are multiple versions of Thanos as well. I only thought there were the two from Earth-616 and Earth-1610. I’m pretty sure I’ve now seen more than two. Either way, they were all obliterated but one.

Planet Hulk is another awesome tie-in. Hulk Plants, Sea Hulks, and Jungle Hulks. I’m telling you, Greenland is no joke on Battleworld. This doesn’t feel like a gimmicked-up Hulk book i.e. World War Hulks. The key element to this book is Doc Green. He is the ‘all=knowing’ character here. Doc is also what I guess Marvel considers to be the current Hulk in the continuity leading into Secret Wars. Steve Rogers-Captain American-Kalidor (Red Sonja) is another badass element. His relationship with Devil Dinosaur reminds me of a “boy and his dog” story. Sam Humphries is knocking it out of the park with this miniseries. I hope he gets the chance to write more Hulk comics in the future.

Do you remember the character Nomad/Jack Monroe? No? There was this character back in the day who was basically another “Bucky.” I think Marvel really wanted to build this guy up, but it didn’t work. I’m pretty sure they killed off Jack Monroe. Anyway, Rick Remender created a new “Nomad” in Leopold Zola, son of Captain America’s dreaded foe, Arnim Zola. Anyway, during Remender’s run, Cap raises baby Ian on Dimension Z–created by Arnim Zola–while Cap’s stranded in the strange dimension of freaks and weird tech. In the Secret Wars tie-in Hail Hydra, we discover that the 616-Ian escaped an explosion using the Infinite Elevator before Earth-616 collided with Earth-1610. Ian arrives in The Hydra Empire, a corner of Battleworld where Hydra has fully taken over. After failing to save an innocent life, Ian comes face to face with The Hydra Empire’s version of ‘Leopold,’ or “Captain Hydra,” if you will. I like where this series is headed.

The best cover from last week came from Years of Future Past #3. One of my favorite comic book artists ever is Art Adams. His X-Men stuff from the late 80s is a main source of imagery that pops into my brain when certain characters come to mind. In Years #2, it was revealed that Lockheed survived the future. But in the latest issue, we find out radiation caused Lockheed to grow dragon-sized, and lose a lot of his vision. Poor guy. I read an interview with Chris Claremont in which he said Lockheed was created to be a manifestation of Claremont. Looking back, Lockheed was always the observer with something to say. The Kitty Pryde-Lockheed relationship is similar to that of C-3PO and R2-D2’s. I love that. There is also a very “Luke and Leia” tone to this book, but that involves other characters. You guys will just have to read it to see what I am talking about.

And if the gushing over Secret Wars tie-ins isn’t ending soon enough, I apologize. Where Monsters Dwell is in my top-3 books of this entire event. I’ve been reading Garth Ennis’ Preacher and when it was announced Ennis was getting his own miniseries for Secret Wars, I was all in. Dinosaurs, Amazons, a damsel (not in) distress, slavery, castration–this is not your typical Marvel title. Post-WWI fun.

Now let’s talk about Justice League #42. Geoff Johns shows his Batman chops in this issue. The closing moments of the issue have been well documented in the past week. No, Johns didn’t give away Joker’s real name, but Batman’s selfish act in the midst of a dire situation for the League was a typical ‘Batman move.’ It’s been a while since I’ve read a story where Bruce has total disregard for the safety of the team in order to better serve himself. Batman referring to himself as a “God” at the end of the issue was a bit much, but a fun time nonetheless. This is a positive move forward for the series. How long will “Bat-Metron” last?

Speaking of moving forward, let’s take a look at what’s on deck for Wednesday, July 22. 

My list for 7/22/2015

AQUAMAN 42

COWL 11

E FOR EXTINCTION 2

FLASH 42

FUTURE IMPERFECT 3

KANAN 4

OLD MAN LOGAN 3

STAR-LORD AND KITTY PRYDE 1

UNCANNY X-MEN 35

WEIRDWORLD 2

Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde is the first book this week that catches my attention. Sam Humphries has been crushing it (as I mentioned above) on all his books. I have no doubt this book is going to kick a lot of ass. Recently it was revealed that Kitty is taking over the helm of ‘Star-Lord’ in the upcoming relaunch of Guardians of the Galaxy. One thing a friend pondered at my school’s last “Comic Book Club Conclave” was wondering what moniker Kitty will use. ‘Lady Star-Lord’ was my creation. That got a few laughs. Will they go with ‘Star-Lordess?’ ‘Shadow-Lord?’ Who knows? Bendis always delivers.

The rest of the Secret Wars books are all new chapters in current miniseries. Two ‘prime cuts’ are Weirdworld, which follows the adventures of Arkon struggling in a world of magic and science which bows at the feet of one Baron Morgan le Fey–one of my personal favorite Marvel villains. E Is For Extinction takes a look at a version of Earth where everyone wants to be Mutants as opposed to hating and fearing what Marvel’s homo sapiens don’t understand.

Anyone read C.O.W.L.? The series is quite brilliant. Sadly the book is ending this week with issue 11. I find that a bit strange. Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Rod Reis have really blown me away with the overall presentation of this comic. Here recently the city of Chicago renounces C.O.W.L.’s law-enforcing privileges after the team cleaned up Chicago enough to render the C.P.D. obsolete. The city forces C.O.W.L.’s director to act out of desperation and work with an arch-nemesis to co-create a new batch of villains for his team to squash. Something tells me this isn’t going to end well for either side. I’ve never been to Chicago, but I would like to visit some time in the near future. Don’t fret, fans of C.O.W.L. This trio has hooked back up and will be bringing us a new series from Image Comics entitled Hadrian’s Wall later this year. I’ve read that the book is “a love letter to Blade Runner” as well as “a murder/mystery aboard the Nostromo.” I’m looking forward to this series.

Wait, what is this I see? Uncanny X-Men #35 is finally being released? There was a period where people thought there wouldn’t be an issue 35. The end of the particular volume of Uncanny has been extremely confusing. The last issue came out in May, but I feel like it’s been months since a new issue of Uncanny dropped. The much-delayed Uncanny #600 will be released after Secret Wars wraps up, although #600 takes place before Secret Wars. Marvel can say they care about the X-Men but they certainly have a funny way of showing it. Anyway, I think it’s still the Dazzler revenge story likely wrapping up. In the beginning of this volume, Mystique uses Dazzler for some shady business. It changes Dazzler forever.

And then there is Star Wars: Kanan #4, formerly known as ‘Kanan: The Last Padawan.’ I’m guessing a few more Padawans pop up in the latest issue, hence the name change. But in all seriousness, I’m unfamiliar with Star Wars Rebels, so I have not seen young Caleb as “Kanan.” Despite that, this book–much like all the Marvel Star Wars comics–is very entertaining.

It’s needless to say I’m stoked up for today’s stack. But I just did anyway. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention how good Ant-Man is–it’s good. I highly suggest checking that film out in the theaters. I don’t think seeing it in 3D is pertinent, but the film is definitely best served in a theater setting. Don’t miss out.

Enough blogging, let’s get to reading. Have a fun Wednesday, gang. New podcast episode this Friday!

FullSizeRender-2Matt de Simone is a student, blogger, podcaster, and believes one day he will have all of the world’s comics at his disposal. It’s an unrealistic goal, but with enough hard work, he believes it can be achieved. Bribery and other unlawful acts would more than likely have to come into play in order to skirt the legal issues. That’s usually what happens to people trying to achieve unrealistic goals. Being able to afford weekly comics is enough for now. No need to resort to acts of super-villainy.

Lost In Wrestling: “What ever happened to the Heels?”

What happened to the pro-wrestling “Heel?” Seriously. There isn’t a single wrestler on the face of the planet that every fan hates. First, I’ll admit to the fact that I’m not a weekly watcher of wrestling’s comings and goings. Twitter helps me watch the pertinent material thanks to a few close buds whose opinions I value great deal. But for the most part, I don’t know if I just don’t love it as much, or if it’s just that bad. Friends of mine are still avid fans, however, I feel as though it’s forced. They’ve been fans forever. They’re involved in the industry/business/sport. I get it. My problem when I throw it on is something I’ve asked myself for the past ten years, “What else is there?”

I dig Lucha Underground. My only problem is that aside from the ‘taped work’ in the ring, they’re all a bunch of robots. The roster is excellent in the ring, but their promo work is unentertaining nor compelling. LU’s story is strong enough to hold my interest. I feel the product is taking a step in a new direction of pro-wrestling. It’s a series. You know other people can do this too, right?

And yo, NXT is fun. But then again, these are athletes preparing for RAW. If they were lucky, they got a chance to find out how an old-school program runs over the course of several months before they arrived in Orlando. No time to draw anything out longer than a month in the big time.

As for the stuff on Monday nights, there is zero story. (Do they still have other shows on network television?) Now wait, don’t disagree and think to yourself, “What do you mean no story?” Sure, they have running plot lines, but if you want a program with a ‘good guy’ and ‘bad guy’ that lasts a year before they even lock it up in a singles match, forget it. Yes, the Daniel Bryan run was amazing, but that horse has been beat to death due to new and constant programming. Those “program days” are over. Lucha has the capability to do something like this. Chikara used to do stuff like this. But WWE isn’t worried about yearlong programs featuring two of their best talents. It’s week to week, Jack. And it’s been that way long enough to me to annually get bored. Fast.

Every year I’ll watch RAW from January until April. It’s sort of like paying attention to college hoops in March, knowing full and well everything up until the respective conference tournaments is a wash. I didn’t used to be this way. Tell me the last time a pay-per-view (do they still call it that?) in October was ‘can’t miss.’ I’m so sorry, but shush. There hasn’t been one outside of January, April, August, and September in forever (as in years-forever). Wait. Hell In A Cell last year, you say? Yep. Everyone was jamming the message boards up with praise for Cena vs. Orton CVII on PPV.

“Well they have to have a PPV every month, Matty.”

Do they? I feel my money’s well spent on the WWE Network monthly based on their exclusive content: specials, docs, Prime Time Wrestling in 1986, etc. Why is there a need for monthly PPVs outside of earning the all mighty dollar?

“It is what it is,” someone once said.

Now getting back to what this little rant is all about–what happened to the HEELS? I can answer that question. Well, actually, I just did in my previous remarks, sort of. There’s no time for “heat.” It’s sort of like this new generation of technology and whatnot. Everything needs to be instantaneous. Patience in America is running so thin. Which is why there’s not a guy on the screen week in and week out claiming to be the richest man in the world and, imagine this: We actually believe him. There’s no one who practices Voodoo to a point where the kids think it’s real as shit. And there is most certainly no one on television claiming to be the best wrestler ever, which results in America’s men, women, and children hating themselves for thinking it might actually be true. For example, I hated Triple H back in 2000 because he was the best. He believed it too, and that’s part of what it takes.

But now there just isn’t any time. Keep your eyes on Lucha. Not necessarily for the future of the product itself, but for the programing format and production. I don’t know who’s who, but I do know that it looks cool, different, and has that Lionheart or ‘Kumite’ feel. Stephanie McMahon and Trip I’m sure still come out weekly and talk for 20 minutes at the top of the broadcast about nothing, or maybe rehashing the previous week’s events. Then nothing exciting or, better yet, different happens. The ARG (Augmented Reality Game) Chikara Pro developed three years ago was a stroke of genius. And their budget was minuscule to that of Vince’s. A WWE ARG would be something the mustaches in Connecticut may want to look into. Oh, and dare I say the experience will be different.

Three factors are key to this lull I feel pro-wrestling is experiencing. First, a majority of the writers ARE NOT former wrestlers or “bookers.” But that’s a well-known fact by now.

Second, the wrestlers are too worried about getting over to take a spot and being content. I think these new kids are not worried about making their “spot” their own. Does that make any sense? The last example of a guy who worked his gimmick over enough to earn his spot based on his character and ring acumen was The Miz, amazingly enough. People hated that dude. (Again, I’m talking Heels. Anyone can be a Babyface.)

And finally, wrestling fans more so than ever are an impatient breed. Yeah, I’m blogging/bitching about times changing and the pro-wrestling of 1988 or ‘92 never happening again. (Okay, I haven’t touched on that specifically, but y’know what I mean.) The best way I can put it is like this is: It’s one thing to go into a super-busy restaurant and bitch about everything when they have never stepped foot on the other side of a dining area or bar. But it’s something else entirely when I hear these local dweebs that go to NXT talk garbage about the work in the ring not being up to specs. You nerds should be lucky there is NXT! The fans don’t know squat about the real problems, LIKE THE WRITING. When I’m inquiring about thoughts on a night’s events at Full Sail Live, none of these Full Sail kids or wrestling fans in the Orlando area have anything to say about story or who’s good or bad. All they want to see is a broad get tossed up in the air and caught into a backbreaker, or who has the gold. Those are generalities. If the kids don’t care about the road leading to any match, why should the WWE worry? And that’s why we no longer have yearlong programs.

So with no time for Heelin’ in this day of the sport/industry/whatever, I should probably just post a bunch of promos and share my thoughts.

Let me present you examples of some–in my devalued opinion–true Heels. Like, the scary looking dudes who I believed would kill me, at 10-years old, if I made live eye contact with them. Or the high-rollers, who I thought could get with any woman in the world and buy the world while they’re at it. Or, the ‘Billy Badasses’ who I imagined them punching 10-year olds in the face everyday. Hey, I’m grown, but when I watch wrestling today, I try and look at it with a child’s eyes because, after all, we’re back to gearing the action for children. Brock Lesnar could be the only threat, but he’s a robot, now an anti-hero, and thus, not as menacing when the crowd goes wild. (I’m kidding. He was UFC World Champ. He’s still menacing as hell.) I’m also going to show you a few captivating programs from my childhood that would be unheard of to play out on weekly television today.

Dr. D. DAVID SCHULTZ 

Holy cripes. You think that Stone Cold Steve Austin got his rap just being from Texas? Nope. He’ll admit it too. We wouldn’t have gotten an “Austin 3:16” if it wasn’t for one of the more politically incorrect personalities in the history of wrestling. In the mid-80s Schultz was famous for slapping a reporter from 20/20 when confronted about wrestling being “fake.”  It was a huge moment in the history of pro-wrestling and the official end of Schultz’s career. Despite defending the honor of the business, no one wanted a piece of him afterwards for, I imagine, legal and image issues. As far as the clip goes, Schultz pretty much lays out a template for writers who want to develop a miserable individual. “Dr. D.” is a timeless heel. He doesn’t get enough play.

PAPA SHANGO

Duh. This was the Voodoo-guy I mentioned earlier. He came into the WWE in 1992 as more or less a foil for my childhood wrestling hero, The Ultimate Warrior. Looking back on the character’s (brief) reign of terror, it was so ridiculous. But to an 11-year old, I thought Papa Shango made Warrior throw up everywhere for real because of the black magics. Shango was Baron Samedi, essentially. The Warrior vs. Papa Shango match-up on paper had amazing visual appeal. If only the matches were noteworthy. They were most definitely–and notoriously–not.

RIC FLAIR WHENEVER

In 1985, if you were a blue-collar American from a blue-collar heritage (or a Russian), you most certainly were not a fan of “The Nature Boy.” However, if said wrestling fan’s youngest kid was a little jerk and wanted to shine his father on every Saturday, then “whooooo.” (That was one of those slow ‘whoos’ Flair would play softly in the background while Arn Anderson told it exactly how it was, Jack.) Flair is chiseled into wrestling’s ‘Mount Rushmore.’ He’s also one of those Heel templates I referred to earlier.

STING vs. THE HORSEMAN 1988-91

Now I mentioned the beauty of a nice, prolonged pro-wrestling storyline. And I also mentioned Ric Flair performances in the 80s practically defining the pro-wrestling Heel. In 1988, a fresh, young upstart Babyface called Sting (or, ‘Stang’ if you lived in VA or NC) challenged Ric Flair for his coveted NWA World Heavyweight Championship at Clash of the Champions I. On the same night Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage stole the show at Wrestlemania III, Sting and Flair tore the Greensburo Coliseum down in front of a nationwide television audience. This more or less started the two-year feud/friendship between the Stinger and “The Nature Boy.”

The next year, Sting and Flair’s rivalry took a backseat to respect between the athletes, which culminated in their formation of a tag team to combat The Great Muta and Terry Funk at the inaugural Halloween Havoc inside the “Thunderdoom Cage.” Then came Starrcade ’89, and with it, the “Future Shock Tournament” to determine who would be the man to lead WCW into the 1990s. Sting ended up defeating Flair and winning the singles tournament–with that, earning the respect of Arn and Ole Anderson, who recently returned to help Flair battle The J-Tex Corporation. 

With that victory, Sting secured a spot as the newest member of The Four Horsemen, but also as the number one contender for Flair’s World’s Championship. This was a problem. Sting accepted the challenge when he was given the opportunity to face Flair at Wrestle War ’90: Wild Thing. This was a bad idea resulting in Sting being publicly kicked out of the Horsemen at Clash of the Champions X. Flair goes from a fan-favorite right back to the top-Heel in a matter of minutes. The beauty of what followed this clip was Sting’s knee injuring later in the night while trying to get at Flair, thus prolonging their encounter for the World title a few more months. Ultimately, Sting pinned Flair for the World’s Championship at The Great American Bash 1990, but as we all know, it wasn’t quite over–just ask The Black Scorpion. (Ugh.)

HONKY TONK MAN

Switching gears back to individuals wrestling fans loved to hate, or just simply hated, Honky Tonk Man was one of those personas I reflect back and beg to have this question answered: “Who in the hell said this gimmick would make as a good fit to be ‘The Greatest Intercontinental Champion Of All Time?” Honky Tonk Man still holds the record for the longest IC title reign (454 days). Nobody wanted to hear the Honky Tonk Man sing, but we did at the same time. Honky managed to execute a few dastardly deeds, but none were as dastardly as his guitar attack on Jake “The Snake” Roberts, which resulted in Roberts legitimately being knocked out of action for a short time with a back injury. Honky was immediately elevated as one of WWE’s top Heel personalities. This attack effects WWE title history as Roberts was allegedly in line to take the IC title from Randy Savage before his injury. It’s just another one of those things that shouldn’t happen, but it did and the rest is history. Wrestling can be so weird.

TAZ vs. SABU

Woof. The Heels of ECW were so awesome. And all were well-developed from a character standpoint. For me, “Taz vs. Sabu” is the last feud that captivated wrestling fans in the same vane as the Flair/Dusty Rhodes rivalry in the mid-80s. Paul Heyman is the brainchild of exposing the reality of the wrestling business on live television. Taz and Sabu didn’t like each other behind the scenes, yet they showed what true professionals do and worked through their differences together for a good bit of time in ECW. However, in 1995, Sabu no-showed an event and Heyman, with Taz in tow, publicly fired Sabu in front of the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, PA. One year later, after ECW announced their first PPV was on the horizon, Taz challenged Sabu, who magically made his first ECW appearance in a year. From there, the anticipation for their match was already a hotbed of wrestling conversation, but it was now at an all-time high. Their encounter proved to be well worth the wait as the results of their match changed the landscape of the top Heels and Babyfaces in ECW for the next few years. I chose this because Taz is a prime example of a miserable Heel that no one can shut up. Not because opponents couldn’t beat on Taz, but because they couldn’t beat him. Then, after Barely Legal, Bill Alfonso jumps ship, costs Taz the match, Sabu becomes a Heel, and Taz earns the fans’ respect. The following clip is from November To Remember 1996–the night Sabu returned.

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 3.16.16 PMWAYLON MERCY (DAN SPIVEY)

If there were one character that spooks the little ones these days my money is on Bray Wyatt. Funny thing about that. We wouldn’t have a Bray Wyatt without Dan Spivey’s “Waylon Mercy” persona. Plagued with injuries his entire career, Spivey never managed to reach his full potential. I thought The Skyscrapers (w/ Sid Vicious [below]) were a visually awesome tag team and would punch a little kid in the face at the snap of a finger. But, that didn’t pan out for reasons we don’t need to get into. But I digress. One of the freakiest types of Heels are the ‘calm’ ones. Spivey always had a scary, wide-eyes glare. It’s always evident in his promo pics and what not. So as a kid, I was already creeped out by Spivey’s stare and stature. I don’t suggest watching the film Cape Fear at 11 or 12-years old. Why do I say that? Because Waylon Mercy is more or less a WWE realized version of Max Cady. And that dude is friggin’ nuts. Once I saw “Waylon Mercy” standing in a park, talking about picnics and children, with a dagger tattoo on his forehead, he was instantly a child-abductor in my childhood imagination. His early vignettes were short and to the point. It wasn’t until I saw him wrestle that I really got scared. Mercy’s in-ring style once the bell rings is totally opposite of his demeanor outside of the ring. Take a look.

SID JUSTICE 1992 (I guess 1993 too, now that I think about it)

Ironically enough as I was typing the names on my list of scary Heels, I listed Waylon Mercy right before Sid Justice (Vicious). But Sid wasn’t nearly as scary or nuts until he came to the WWE in 1991. Rumor has it that Vince McMahon was willing to give Sid the keys to the kingdom i.e. The Ultimate Warrior. However, Sid wanted to always be a monster Heel–a bad guy whose ‘bigger and badder’ than everyone. So he didn’t get the opportunity to hold the WWE title until 1997. Instead, he was mainly known for his feud with the Hulkster leading up to Wrestlemania VIII. And the promos! The clinched jaw, the inhuman amount of perspiration–it was pure insanity. I thought this dude was capable of really hurting someone in real life. Is it “life imitates art” or “art imitates life?” Either way, this promo about bees is ridiculous.

“MILLION DOLLAR MAN” TED DiBIASE

Ted DiBiase was a remarkable Heel throughout his career. Bill Watts was key in establishing DiBiase as a national wrestling commodity in the early 80s. Then, once Vince got a hold of him–like for many–everything changed. DiBiase’s early WWE run would prove to be his most notable period of time spent as an active competitor. Many fans can remember when he established that he would buy the WWE World Championship from Andre the Giant should Andre defeat Hogan for the title. The build to the tournament at Wrestlemania IV is fantastic. Both DiBiase and Randy Savage were getting the nationwide exposure both athletes deserved. But for me, the most despicable act that always makes me think of DiBiase as one of the best heels ever is for what he did to Hercules Hernandez during the build to Survivor Series 1988. I’m pretty sure slave-trading had come to a complete stop about one hundred years before this incident. That said, you’re about to see something that will never happen on network wrestling television again. This segment actually happened.

STING vs. HOGAN – STARRCADE 97

As I’ve digressed a bit from my original topic of “scary heels,” I feel the most important point to this blog entry is that without a great story, it’s hard to make a great Heel, or make a great Heel become even more. Eighteen Years later and the Sting vs. Hogan build in 1996-97 is still what I consider to be the last great drawn-out pro-wrestling feud. We knew it was going to happen. Hell, I knew it would be Starrcade just because in 1997–ask any of my close friends or family–I watched too much wrestling. But it was the swerves and the repelling and the giant birds along the way that made Sting’s journey to save WCW from the brink of death via the n.W.o. so amazing. The WCW World title match at Starrcade 1997 was the last singles match WCW promoted that had the entire world watching. And as far as Heels go, you’re about to relive two of the best ever: Hollywood Hogan and Eric Bischoff.

This is a chronological look at the road to Sting’s return to the ring in 1997. You see the growth in his character. Despite not saying a word after “Nothin’s for sure,” Sting’s voice is heard through his emotion. It’s simple storytelling people, and it’s clear former wrestlers wrote it. (This doesn’t happen anymore.) This should be the template for any independent promotion lucky enough to have a wrestler adored by everyone attempt to save their respective company from the super villain. From the first clip, Sting lays it all out. If wrestling would do this more often, we’d get a resurgence of that compelling stuff the business needs. Sting’s best promo ever, and one of the smartest written to kick off a yearlong program.

I added a video playlist with clips in chronological order from the inception of “Crow-Sting” to a month before Starrcade. Highlights for me include Tony Schiavone’s detective skills when calling the interaction between Sting and ‘fake Sting.’ The confrontation between Sting and “Macho Man” Randy Savage the night Savage let us know he’d been “blackballed.” You could say the first real altercation between Savage and DDP occurred in the midst of Sting’s ambiguous appearances early on in the storyline. Unfortunately, you’ll have to check out ‘The Network’ if you want to see the epic Clash moment with Sting and the vulture.

So that’s that. I appreciate you indulging me. There are many more great heels and story lines that I regretted to mention. The Fabulous Freebirds, Roddy Piper, Sgt. Slaughter ’90-’91, Jim Cornette and the Mid South Midnight Express, the formation of the nWo–just to name a few. I could go on. I may end up posting a “part 2,” but in the meantime, I hope you enjoyed a few memories. If there are any classic Heels or feuds I totally missed, please let me know in the comment fields here or on Facebook. In August, I will be recording my first “wrestling-only” podcast. Should be fun.

Until the next time, don’t get too lost.

FullSizeRender-2Matt de Simone tries to watch wrestling television programming weekly, but then looses focus and moves on to other business while RAW runs in the background. However, when he’s super-busy, he’ll throw on Great American Bash 1990 to simply play in the background, and he can’t take his eyes off of the TV–thus, preventing him from getting any work done. Especially when Z-Man’s stupid ass runs out to get his shit shined by Big Van Vader. I hated the Z-Man. 

Check out Matt’s podcast, MattyLovesPodcast here.

MattyLovesComics 07.15.2015 “Comic Con happened last weekend.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 2.15.35 AMAnother comic book Wednesday! Hope everyone had a good week. I’m sitting down now with this entry, a new “Lost In Wrestling” blog entry, two episodes of MattyLovesPodcast on the cutting board, and WCW Capitol Combat 1990 running in the background. It’s time for work. Oh, I’m also working with Jason Snow on a chapbook. Later tonight I’ll be working on my illustrations. I hope his Editor doesn’t call. I hate to be in the same room when those two argue.

Good news! I found out by best friend and feline advisor, Tildy, is cancer-free. She had a small mass removed from the corner of her right eye a week ago. The little knucklehead has managed to pluck one of her sutures out already. So of course we had to go back to Tildy’s favorite place in the world: Club Winter Park Vet. (Not really.) Fortunately, the good people there managed to clean her up and informed me there was no need to tie her back up. No real emergency. But I have to keep an eye on her.

And then there was this little thing call the San Diego Comic Con that occurred last weekend. So much news. The main influx of new information came by way of Hollywood as 2016 is lining up to be an even bigger comic book movie year than any we’ve experienced before.

In my opinion, Deadpool stole the show. If anyone didn’t see the panel, feel free to burn about 20 minutes getting to know the cast. It’s going to be the little engine that could next year, trust me. I’m not sure if the leaked footage is available anymore, but just wait for it. Marvel Comics also announced a new Deadpool/Spider-Man series slated to begin later this year. Yes, please.

I saw the X-Men Apocalypse footage. Apocalypse could be taller, but Oscar Isaac is a solid actor. I’m sure there will be CG liberties taken and I will be okay. I didn’t see a lot that blew me away, but I also only saw the footage diagonally. I’m sure something will be up soon. I can’t wait for that first official Olivia Munn-Psylocke shot.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E., starring Henry Cavill, is essentially the James Bond film I wanted Guy Ritchie to direct 15 years ago. The trailer is five whole minutes of awesome.

Speaking of Cavill, the most anticipated Con footage came from Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. I saw the panel. This isn’t going to be like any Superman vs. Batman story we’ve seen. I’m not feeling positive either. True, Bats and Supes have rumbled in the comics a bunch of times, but not “all the time.” The moderator asked if the story is canonical. No one says ‘yes.’ When Zack Snyder announced they were showing the footage again, the crowd was somewhat enthused, but not Deadpool-enthused. I feel like this film is trying to send more of a message than just giving us a big, dumb action adventure. But if there is one thing I am looking forward to it has to be Ben Affleck as Bats. I think we’ll come away surprised at his performance. Another dope aspect to the film’s setting is that Metropolis and Gotham City are neighbors. Gothamites take a ferry over to Metropolis to work because there are no jobs in Gotham. When I was a boy, I always thought the two cities were close to one another. But then for a while, it seemed like Metropolis was in Kansas. I think the show Smallville established this. I’m not sure what they did back in the Golden Age. Anyway, *pop* *fizz*.

Finally, the first footage of Suicide Squad premiered. I actually think this Joker is going to be interesting. He and Harley Quinn will steal the show. In my opinion, the sizzle reel was the best one produced for Comic Con.

I saw a lot of grown men posting personal information about their tears of happiness for the hour-long Star Wars The Force Awakens panel from last Friday. I get it. This movie is going to be incredible. But outside of sports, get it together bros.

[Editor’s Note: Matt’s lying. Despite his reservations, if that fool sees the words: INVINCIBLE MOVIE/SHOW/WHATEVER IN PRE-PRODUCTION in print on Bleeding Cool— yeah, joyous waterworks. As if crying about sports is any different from crying about new film releases.]

So with classes, writing, and making sure “The Goozer” is happy and healthy, I’ve been pretty busy. How busy? Enough to only get like, 75% of the way through last week’s selections. The books I managed to read were fairly entertaining.

Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen’s Descender is shaping up for a big finish. It seems that Dr. Quon isn’t all that he’s cracked up to be. This is another one of those new series from Image Comics that I want to see continue with a second volume. Soon. I love Driller. This comic book “is a real killer.”

Batman #42 shows us what would happen if ‘Robo-Bats’ took on Sandman (Flint Marko). But in this case, it’s Gee Gee Hueng, a thug with the ability to manipulate silicon. He also has two out of three horns on his head. Jim Gordon also needs Bruce Wayne, and a cigarette. Greg Capullo is one of the best artists in the game. He’s a staple of consistency.
After getting through Future Imperfect #2, Little Marvel #2, A-Force #2, and Ultimate End #3–from two weeks ago, all of which were exciting–I got through a few more Secret Wars tie-ins released last week. Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows is one of the better tie-in miniseries. Marvel is doing an awesome job in keeping all of these tie-ins on separate playing fields. They all have their own unique mood and tone. Dan Slott makes this particular story feel like he were writing Amazing back when Dave Michelinie had the pen in 1989. It’s very ‘World Without Spider-Man.’ Annie Parker is going to be the next character in the Spider-Verse to build a cult fan base (i.e. Spider-Gwen).

Spider-Island #1 gave me the idea we would see Mary Jane swinging about New York City in her little get-up from the original arc. Unfortunately, no MJ to be found. Flash Thompson-Venom is the focal point. Any fans of his previous series will want to pick this one up. Carol Danvers drinks the Morbius formula. That said, out of all the weird Secret Wars tie-ins I’ve read, this story reminds me a lot of the old What if? stories from when I was a boy. “What if– Wolverine had been ‘Lord of the Vampires’ during Inferno?” is one of my personal favorites.

Finishing Mark Gruenwald’s Squadron Supreme Omnibus has become a top reading priority. The plot of Squadron Sinister is (I think) doing similar things as Gruenwald’s story. The problem is, I haven’t gotten to issues 8-12. Marc Guggenheim definitely has the tone set perfectly. Not only that, but Carlos Pacheco, one of my favorite comic book artists ever, captures Sal Buscema’s original tone . I love his Warrior Woman redesign. Also, The Fightful Four are players in the second issue! You can not go wrong with Wizard.

I still need to read Age of Apocolypse #1, Injection, and the Mad Max books I picked up last week. Those will be dealt with in a bit, poolside. But let’s look ahead to what I have in store for me this week. (No pun intended.)

My list for 7/15/2015

ARMOR WARS 3

DR. FATE 2

GUARDIANS OF KNOWHERE 1

INVINCIBLE 121

JUSTICE LEAGUE 42

MOON KNIGHT 17

PLANET HULK 3

WHERE MONSTERS DWELL 3

YEARS OF FUTURE PAST 3

Well, the Secret Wars books all look ‘scrumtulecant’ this week. Guardians of Knowhere looks insanely cool (Bendis! Deodato!). Planet Hulk is a key book in all the Secret Wars miniseries. Where Monsters Dwell is one of my absolute favorite surprises to come out of this launch. Years of Future Past tried to fool me in believing this new, future Robert Kelly wasn’t a scumbag. Nice try. James Robinson’s Armor Wars is a totally different story from what I originally imagined. Marcio Takara is another fantastic artist Marvel managed to snag for the event.

DC Comics presents the next chapter in “The Darkseid War.” The JL in this story are secondary to the heroes and villains from New Genesis and Apokolips. I really enjoy Geoff Johns’ Orion and Mr. Miracle. Justice League, for me, hasn’t felt right from the jump. After over forty issues, the heroes still seem out of place. One thing this story has the potential to do is bring the JL together to find their place–however, I seriously doubt this will happen.

Oh yeah, and just a little comic called Invincible drops issue number 121. Just Thragg it. He’s building a franchise.

It’s going to be a super-exciting Wednesday of reading. Until the next…

CHECK OUT MY PODCAST!

FullSizeRender-2Matt de Simone is a writer, avid weekly comic book reader, podcaster, and occasional violator of Florida state traffic laws. Floridians drive like stupid maniacs. Most crazy people have a touch of genius. Florida’s loony tunes forget green means go. Matt isn’t a fan of this. It really grinds his gears when he has to break traffic laws in order to get to class on time. He’s now the “stupid maniac.”

MattyLovesComics 07.08.2015 – “It’s LITERALLY another week of me blogging about comic books.”

Welcome to yet another comic book Wednesday. Drink it in. This week’s not going to go down as smooth as I prefer. My cat, bestie, main homie, Tildy is going under the knife this morning to get a small mass removed from her little snout. Although I know she’s going to be fine post-op, my wallet on the other hand–sheesh. A whole lot of love can be expensive, and she’s the greatest thing in my life. Worth every penny. But besides that snag financially, everything else couldn’t be better.

I wrapped up taping issues/episodes three and four of MattyLovesPodcast this afternoon. We have some really fun stuff ahead that I hope listeners will enjoy. I want to thank ‘Dr.’ Tom Lucas for being an awesome co-host. He’s a talented dude. Go on Amazon and buy his stuff. You don’t need any reason. Take my word for it. You’ll probably end up thanking me.

Allow me to take a minute to rant based on my observations about this up and coming generation. In this day of texting over talking, does anyone else think that women 20-23 have gotten really good at typing the word: LITERALLY? They do say it. A lot. Does it end up in texting vernacular?

“Oh my God. No. You don’t understand. Like, I was literally standing there literally looking at my car and I was like, ugggh. You know? It’s Sunday. Of course my windows are going to be rolled down. Everyone knows in the summer it’s literally hotter on Sundays. I don’t understand why someone would want to take a woman’s purse out of the front seat.”

 Or…

“So this ‘kid,’ like, literally took out his wallet and, like, tried to pay for me. I was literally about to say something. You know? I’m an independent person. He didn’t even, like, open doors for me either. Like, all night. I literally wanted to strangle myself.” 

Those are two conversational examples of the amalgam of improper word usage that has become an eye-rolling caveat of the English language in Orlando, Florida. Does anyone else experience similar cases? It’s an epidemic. Literally. It’s similar to the ‘Really?!’ craze five years ago. Glad that’s over. This soon shall pass.

But enough about weird girls. There’s more important stuff in this world to decipher and comprehend and understand and figure out–LIKE COMICS!

[Editor’s Note: Matt de Simone is 33, still single, loves bowling, hates Bubble Tape.]

Well, well, well, comic book fans. She-Ra is Skeletor’s daughter. I’m not kidding! He-Man The Eternity War is so money and I really don’t think you people know it. Looking back on last week’s books (that I have read), ­HTEW is pretty sweet. I’m not sure if Hordak or Skellie’s screwing with Adora’s brainparts, but its been an interesting ride learning new little tidbits about She-Ra and even Skeletor years before. (Did you all know he’s He-Man’s Uncle? It’s true! Well, now it is. Just read the comics.)

We Stand On Guard is yet another solid kickoff issue published by Image Comics. Lone Canadian survivors must learn to survive in the wastelands of Canadia, no thanks to the U.S. robots/AT-ATs of death. The first issue is more of a set-up. A team is established. Now it’s time for Brian K. Vaughan to ‘wow’ us. (It will happen, I’m just not sure how many issues it will take before that happens.)

Independent comics are truly where it’s at right now. I’m not kidding you guys, never in a million years did I think I would be into all the creator-owned material I’ve absorbed in the past two years. I look forward to the new stuff from Image on a monthly basis. It’s not ‘all-Invincible, all-day’ anymore. I’m getting older as a comic book reader. Subconsciously, I think I want to see everything that’s out there not necessarily wearing a cape. One of the main reasons I’ve always read and collected comics is for their ability to take you away from a crapbag day and, for example, throw you side by side with Atom Eve, soaring through the cosmos. Yes, please. I currently feel more of an escape when reading the stuff from Image Comics than I do reading the new stuff from Marvel and DC. I’m inspired. It gives a guy like me hope. Read more creator-owned material, people. I don’t know if any of you are noticing, but a small group of writers for Marvel and DC are scaling back their “Big 2” stuff and transitioning into the focus of creating their own personal works. In my opinion, for comic readers aware of Hollywood’s dirty fingers wrapped up in the comic book industry, the readers are beginning (or will begin) to steer toward Image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom!, and other independent publishers. That’s just my opinion.

But don’t think I’m not digging Marvel’s Secret Wars action anymore. That is definitely not the case. The price points are a little rough, but the stories are worth the cost for the most part. Planet Hulk #2 (the week before last) was, for lack of a better word, incredible. I want a Devil Dinosaur. I wasn’t sure how Sam Humphries would integrate a Hulk into this particular book. His choice of Doc Green–the newest personality of the Hulk–is the right one. Steve Rogers has no recollection of his previous life, but Hulk knows something he doesn’t. They run from other dinosaurs, manage to lose Devil, race the rapids, drop from a waterfall, and then encounter a sea monster. Tell me that don’t sound like some country fun.

For me, the Secret Wars tie-in stories don’t have anything to do with Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic’s Secret Wars story. And this will work out in the end. One thing the tie-ins add to Hickman’s story are the various charatcers. Although I doubt Karl Kauffman from Where Monsters Dwell… will make an appearance. If he does, I stand corrected and will be floored with joy. But regardless, I feel reading the tie-ins will be a better experience for a 33-year old reader than a 13-year old reader.

In getting back to issue four of Secret Wars, characters are starting to die and I’m on the edge of my seat wondering who else is going to bite it. I’m super-surprised that the internet isn’t wigging out over the latest issue. Usually, I would be pissed that Cyclops is dead. (Spoiler.) But we’re in Battleworld where 468 Cyclopi exist. (Wait. Did I do the ‘spoiler’ tag wrong? Oh well.) Dr. Doom’s ‘cool’ is most definitely the rule when it comes to Battleworld. He’s getting irritated with those who call him out (Cyke, Doctor Strange) for not actually saving the world but only saving himself and taking pieces of heroes’ past lives, then making them his own–ex. Sue Richards. Doom’s a thief, and his bitch ass is going to pay. We’re now at the halfway point. Can’t wait for what lies ahead in issue five.

Another thing I’ve mentioned before that Marvel excels in producing are captivating Star Wars comics. Any of you reading Darth Vader know exactly what I mean. If this story existed before Empire Strikes Back hit theaters, everyone would’ve been rooting on Vader for the last two films of the original trilogy and they wouldn’t have been nearly as compelling. It definitely would’ve changed feelings one way or the other. But knowing what we know now makes Vader’s comic book even more thrilling. He’s back on Tatooine. He’s seen where his son grew up. It makes him sick to know his offspring was raised on the same crop of dust he grew to despise. It has to. Vader’s wheeling and dealing with the Hutts and has sent his sidekick within enemy lines to put together a band of miscreants to rob an Imperial vessel hauling millions of credits. Vader knows Emperor Palpatine is up to something. Vader recovered the money, but it’s the property of the Empire. Why does he want the loot? Vader’s gots to get paid. I told you this book was dope.

Oh wow. I haven’t gotten to my DC titles from last week. Let’s see. Well, I already touched on HTEW. I’m hearing such good things about Action Comics from people at the shop. Are we reading the same book? There’s a piece missing in the story that I am having a hard time surpassing. How did Superman loose his powers? Or most of them? Or, whatever? The fact they’re taking so long to show us what happened is waining on my interest. There are highlights. Aaron Kuder’s art is some of the best to hit a Superman book in over ten years. Dude’s got Supes nailed down pat. His art style is similar to Chris Burnham’s. The art is proportionate, very real. His backgrounds are phenomenal. Anyway, the art in Action is holding my attention. There’s got to be something awesome for the Superman books coming down the pike, right? Right?!

Ugh. Moving forward to this week…

My list for 7/8/2015

AGE OF APOCALYPSE 1

AMAZING SPIDEY RYV 2

BATMAN 42

BLACK SCIENCE 16

CIVIL WAR 1

DESCENDER 5

INJECTION 3

MAD MAX FURY ROAD: MAD MAX 1

SPIDER-ISLAND 1

SPIDER-VERSE 3

SQUADRON SINISTER 2

STAR WARS LANDO 1

Oh my, a new Mad Max comic? The first two issues raised a few eyebrows. For any of you fools who complained about there not being enough Max in Fury Road, I hope you get your fill with this single issue. I’m still waiting on the second printing of issue one, which may be out this week.

I believe there are only two issues of Descender left to go. I’ve spoke about this book in a previous blog. Dustin Nguyen’s art fits this story perfectly. I really hope Jeff Lemire has another Tim-21 story in mind (if he survives).

Star Wars: Lando drops. Duh. I can’t wait to hear Billy Dee’s voice reverberating out of the comic-reader speakers in my brain and ears.

There’s only one selection from DC Comics for me this week. I really enjoyed Batman #41 last month. It was the one new title from the DCYou campaign I was worried about. Not doubting Scott Snyder, but more so the direction the powers-that-be at the WB. This particular style of story is one I wasn’t expecting. I love a Batman story where Bruce must fight his way back to the top after realizing playing the wall isn’t the way to go. Batman always wins. I’m stoked to see how he manages to come out on top of this one.

The Secret Wars tie-ins bring back two familiar arcs that changed the game, so to speak. Age of Apocalypse returns. I started rereading AoA a few months back and got about half way through the second book of the complete collection. I moved on intending to return to complete the series, but good grief, I read a lot of comics. I definitely will return to that series but in the meantime, I’m interested to see what this tie-in does to further phase out the X-Men (and to see how fun this story is too!). Civil War ought to bring forth new prospectives on the whole “Cap vs. Tony” dynamic. I believe this new series is a scenario in which the war never ended and that its waged on for years. I think. We’ll see. I could look up the synopsis, but I won’t.

Hey man, throw me another issue of Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows, Squadron Sinister, and Warren Ellis’ Injection and I’m all set, brother.

Lots of reading, writing, and editing sit patiently on my plate for the rest of the week. I can’t tell you enough how proud I am of this little podcast I’ve started up. ‘Dr.’ Tom and I have some cool stuff in the oven, ready to knead, bake, and rise up all kinds delicious and wonderful. Stay tuned. It’s going to be fun.

Have a great weekend, y’all! New podcast will be up on Friday! Be good to yourself.

FullSizeRender-2Matt de Simone once dialed 9-1-1 on a payphone at a public pool. He was nine and didn’t know if you had to pay to dial for emergencies. Matt soon found out the hard way. It was one of those summer lessons he would never forget. That lesson: Use common sense, you fool. Check out his podcast to hear how much he’s grown up since then. Sort of.

MATTYLOVESPODCAST – episode one: “Introducing the incredible…”

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 5.49.05 PM

Today’s a proud day. Here’s the very first episode of MATTYLOVESPODCAST.

This may be a collector’s item one day. This podcast could be worth $2500!

Enjoy.

MATTYLOVESPODCAST: episode one: “Introducing the incredible…”

FullSizeRender-2Matt de Simone is damn proud of the new beginnings. ‘Dr.’ Tom Lucas once wrestled an alligator while tightrope walking across the Grand Canyon. He also is a published author. Buy his stuff a lot. SHOP TOM LUCAS!

MattyLovesComics 07.01.2015 – “I’m blogging, on a jetplane.”

I am currently starting off this blog aboard an airplane heading back to my hometown of Roanoke, VA for a little R&R. So, let’s talk about how much delayed flights suck. I’m joking, of course. I am, however, counting down the few hours I am missing in Roanoke. Time is precious when I’m home. I don’t want to waste it on stupid things like flight delays. Fly through the rain, Mr. Pilot. It’s cool.

If there is one thing I am certain of is that I need a bit of a break from the 3.93 GPA grind of my life right now. I enjoy school, and also the work. Don’t get it twisted. I need this vacation. It’s been an interesting first half of 2015. Although I’ve been entertained in both positive and negative ways, lack of familiarity is the prognosis. Roanoke is my cure. A week of family and friends, beer, pizza, and Wiffleball is what I have in store.

There is also work that still needs to be done. I am currently editing the first two episodes of MATTYLOVESPODCAST. I mentioned briefly last week that I was entering the podcasting world. I mean, why the hell not? Everyone else is doing it. And I have listened to some pretty crappy podcasts. I hope mine is crappier. But for serious, I had a blast recording with “Dr.” Tom Lucas–author, teacher, scholar, mentor–and I feel this show will be a regular occurrence. If I can post weekly, I will be exceeding my expectations. So here’s to MattyLovesPodcast and it’s bright future. (There are jingles too. C’mon, it me.)

I went to the MAGIC KINGDOM last Friday. First timesies. Back in November I managed to hit up all the other parks at WALT DISNEY WORLD but didn’t get a chance to ride all of the ‘Mountains’ of Disney. I always thought each park had its own ‘Mountain.’ Does that make any sense to you? It did for me. Although the thrill rides of the Magic Kingdom are fun and nostalgic, they all sort of feel the same. Not that I’m complaining. How much money have I spent on tickets to Disneyworld? $0.00. So, yeah, not complaining. If you know what you’re doing, (and know people with season passes) you won’t ever have to pay for tickets. SPACE MOUNTAIN is still Space Mountain–“Oldest ride, still the longest line! Whoo!”

The best part of my recent Disney experience was seeing the fireworks in the Magic Kingdom. I would watch shows like The Wonderful World of Disney as a boy and see the fireworks and wish I could experience what they were like just once. I finally got the chance and it was wonderful. If you think the eight-year old in you disappeared and you’ve never been to the Magic Kingdom, that’s where your eight-year old has been this whole time. You can pretty much find them instantly. (Super thanks to my pals Mayra and “Blonde”.)

I guess that’s all I have regarding my recent goings on. Now let’s get to the really important stuff. That stuff being: I WON’T GET NEW COMICS UNTIL FRIDAY! I thought maybe I would delay the blog a few days but comics come out for everyone else today. Why be selfish? It’s not like I have that many books to pick up this week.

Oh, wait a minute.

My list for 7/1/2015

ACTION COMICS 42

A-FORCE 2

DARTH VADER 7

DEADLY CLASS 14

DETECTIVE COMICS 42

FUTURE IMPERFECT 2

GIANT SIZE LITTLE MARVEL 2

HE-MAN THE ETERNITY WAR 7

JUPITER’S CIRCLE 4

OUTCAST 10

SECRET WARS 4

ULTIMATE END 3

WE STAND ON GUARD 1

X-TINCTION AGENDA 2

YEARS OF FUTURE PAST 2

Good grief. My heart sinks as I notice I’m having less and less DC titles being pulled weekly. But who’s not going to argue with me that the ‘DCYOU’ is just weird? And we’re only a month in! I’m not talking cool-weird; I’m talking weird-weird. Have I had my head in all the issue 41’s? No. But I have focused on the DC titles I think matter more than others (JL, BATMAN, SUPERMAN, FLASH, etc.). Ten years ago, I considered myself a lifelong “DC guy,” but looking back on my life of reading and studying comic books, I’ve spent a lot more time on the Marvel side of the spectrum. Although I must say that DC has the heavy-hitters. I have come to this conclusion over the past two years: the Marvel titles are just more entertaining. Plus, Marvel has an actual plan. Does Hollywood have some influence? Of course, but at least Marvel comic books are comprehendible. This new ‘DCYou’ stuff will leave you scratching your head. I have examples of two should-be meaningful titles from last week.

SUPERMAN #41 starts off with Superman riding an airplane to (where I guess is) work. Not riding in the plane, but straddling the tail and leaning back as if it were a recliner. Not only that but the former writer of AVATAR THE LAST AIR-BENDER is helming the book. Surprise. Superman reads like a Nickelodeon cartoon. And they still have yet to explain Supes’ new fangled power depletion. He uses his “solar flare,” but then says something to the extent of, “I’m figuring out how to restore my powers quicker.” So why in the hell does DC tell us that Supes is going to be powerless in the midst of all the DCYou hype? Bleh.

AQUAMAN #41 has changed settings to St. Louis, Missouri. What? Why? There isn’t a speck of sea life anywhere to be found, but apparently there is yet another pack of Atlanteans hidden away below the Miller Brewing Company who have been awaiting the arrival of Arthur. They’ve been getting wasted on the High Life. I’m kidding. They’ve locked themselves in some stupid chamber, I don’t know. Aquaman has fallen off a great deal since GEOFF JOHNS decided to pack it in. Oh yeah, Arthur can teleport now, and control ice. Plus he’s wearing a black lifejacket. Or is it a vest? Or more importantly, WHHHHYYYYYY?

Anyway, I’m going to end my DC rant there. Misery loves company and the JUSTICE LEAGUE is fist-bumping with KATHY BATES. What? Oh, of course I’m going to still give those jerks my money. Duh. I’m dumber than WONDER WOMAN’S armor. I know this. They’ll turn it around. (I hope.)

I haven’t been able to tackle a lot of my Marvel stuff from last week (saving for vacay). I did read X-MEN ’92 (of course) and E IS FOR EXTINCTION. Both book were super-entertaining. If you liked the X-Men cartoon on ‘FOX KIDS!’ when you were younger, this book is what’s up. The comic does a good job of exploiting all of the ridiculousness of the cartoons. Like CYCLOPS always referring to any male character as ‘mister.’ Gotta love, the goody two-shoes Scott Summers. There is no doubting that CHRIS BURNHAM and RAMON VILLALOBOS are going to knock E out of the park. The art is spectacular as well as the humor.

(Originally, I went on a rant about the new direction of the X-Men books. But that ended up turning into a blog post itself. Posted yesterday. CHECK IT OUT.)

Another comic book Wednesday has arrived! Let’s look to this week’s titles.

As I said earlier, I’m reading less and less stuff from DC. I just don’t trust it. Outside of the major titles, it seems that no other titles mean anything in the end. Yes, many are entertaining, but it always seems like 75% of DC titles are null and void once they’ve decided to restart their engines yet again.

That said, ACTION COMICS #41 started up a new story about Superman and–wait a minute. I can’t remember. Oh, great. All I can remember is the distraction of references to future issues of Superman that were weeks (or months) away from hitting shelves. Hopefully I won’t have to go back and peruse through #41 as I get into today’s issue 42. But you see what I mean? It’s Superman. You’d think I’d have a grip on what’s going in his books. Nope. A lot of forgetful stuff is being published.

One of DC’s most underrated series for the past few years has been HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE. The recent series, HE-MAN THE ETERNITY WAR, is fantastic. I grew up a huge fan of MOTU. I had the toys, the Golden Books’ SUPER ADVENTURES, the magazines, and the cartoons, of course. I honestly enjoyed playing with my toys and reading my He-Man books more than watching the syndicated cartoon (which does not play well 25 years later, by the way.) DAN ABNETT, who we all know can spin quite the cosmic adventure, writes the new series. His approach to He-Man and SHE-RA is a mix of new heroics and new discoveries that make this canon for He-Man totally awesome. If you’re not looking for the typical DC super hero stories, and want to pick up something different, all the new He-Man and the MOTU is one way you can go. Volume one was done by JAMES ROBINSON and PHILIP TAN. Check it out, especially if He-Man ruled your five to ten-year old life.

Marvel hits us upside the head with SECRET WARS #4 today. We’ve had to wait a minute on the next chapter, but if it’s as kickass as the first three it’ll be well worth the month off. The same goes for A-FORCE. The first issue was like a dream come true for the 14-year old Matt de. I hope #2 will be even dreamier. Is anyone reading ULTIMATE END just because you may have initially rolled your eyes at the ‘Ultimate Universe’ when it first arrived in 1999 and wished it ended years ago? No? Um, alright. Nevermind. I mean, I didn’t think most of the Ultimate Universe was a waste of time and money or anything either…

As for our friends at Image Comics, I’m picking up four books from them this week. Two of which I can’t wait to read, those being JUPITER’S CIRCLE and OUTCAST. Despite being extremely irritated with MARK MILLAR’S conclusion to CHORNONAUTS, I have enjoyed JC just was much as I dug JUPITER’S LEGACY. We all know Outcast is eventually going to be a television series on Cinemax. When the news of a TV show first broke after only one issue, I deemed it ridiculous. After reading the first nine issues, I deem this series necessary. Demon possession, literally punching the devil out of people, and uncovering mysteries of the past are what Outcast is all about. ROBERT KIRKMAN and PAUL AZACETA are an awesome creative duo. Azaceta’s art is a perfect fit to tell the tale of KYLE BARNES and his quest to stop demons from possessing the Earth.

The other two titles, BLACK SCIENCE and WE STAND ON GUARD I have yet to read. I have every issue of Black Science but am waiting for a rainy/sick days to rip through those. We Stand On Guard is the new Image book from BRIAN K. VAUGHAN. So yeah, I’m buying it. I don’t even know what it’s really about. Don’t care. He’s one of those writers all comic readers should trust. I still need to read more Vaughan, admittedly.

All in all, I’m going to have a busy Friday once my plane lands back in the sweltering heat of sunny Orlando. Lots to read. Then next week, hopefully, lots more to be excited about. But until then, I’m going to enjoy the 75 degrees of Roanoke, VA and eat some of Dad’s lasagna. I have missed his cooking so.

FullSizeRender-2Matt de Simone is the host of MattyLovesPodcast, a new podcast on the interwebs in which he and “Dr.” Tom Lucas tackle the world’s most important issues like: “What did Rob Liefeld do to become Tom’s ‘Satan of Comics?’” Or maybe, “Could Pod-People take over the Earth?” All those answers and more answers to more questions about more cool stuff. We’re in the Golden Age of Geekdom. MLP offers up a delicious perspective. Check it out.