Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Flying Greek Project

#1 – May 1939 -- (“The Adventures of Phoozy” feature in Movie Comics #2) – Photios is a 20-year old poor Greek immigrant determined to get to Hollywood – by rail until his money runs out, then by hitchhiking, then by riding the rails with the hoboes (10 xp in Fighter).
#2 – June 1939 -- (“Dan Dunn” text feature in Crackajack Funnies #12) – Photios Floros reaches California and boards with an old man named Watson, the night before the man’s son, a thug called “Sweetface” comes home to strangle his old man for inheritance money. Photios avenges the old man and captures his son (60 xp in Fighter).
#3 – July 1939 -- (“Annibelle” feature in Crackajack Funnies #13) – Photios attends Old Man Watson’s funeral and meets his niece, Annibelle, a pretty young woman, an insomniac, and stamp collector. Photios is taken with her and tries to woo her (70 xp in Fighter).
#4 – August 1939 – (“Bunky” feature in Magic Comics #1) – Annibelle Watson inherits her uncle’s house and invites Photios to stay there after hearing what sounds like her uncle haunting the place. It turns out to be a hoodlum friend of Sweetface’s, hiding out in the house. Photios discovers him and turns him in (190 xp in Fighter).
#5 – September 1939 – (“Sweeney & Son” feature in Super Comics #16) – Annibelle’s neighbor, Mr. Sweeney, becomes a rival for her affection. Photios strikes back by showing Annibelle how much better he is with Sweeney’s son, who needs someone to play baseball with (400 xp in Fighter).
#6 – October 1939 – (“Spark O’Leary, Radio Newshawk” feature in Keen Detective Funnies v. 2 #10) – Because of his minor, local celebrity status as a crimefighter, Photios is hired to serve as a radio journalist, reporting on crime (460 xp in Fighter).
#7 – November 1939 – (“Flash Fulton” feature in Smash Comics #4) –“Photos”volunteers to be a war correspondent and goes to Poland, messes with some Nazis (540 xp in Fighter).
#8 –December 1939 – (“Adventures of Patsy” feature in Famous Funnies #65) – “Photos”,still in Poland, learns of a Count Blood, who is putting Polish officials’children into unbreakable hypnotic trances to force their surrender. “Photos” manages to trap and capture the Count (660 xp in Fighter).
#9 – January 1940 – (“Mickey Finn” feature in Feature Comics #27) – “Photos” goes to Greece to check on his Uncle Petros after received a letter saying Petros was in trouble. The problem was that Petros had lost everything to a conman named Michalis.  “Photos” gets some evidence against Michalis and blackmails him into giving Uncle Petros everything back (820 xp in Fighter).
#10 – February 1940 – (“Nickie Norton” feature in Thrilling Comics #1) – While looking for a ride back to the U.S., “Photos” meets and befriends Jim Fulton, inventor of a new submarine.  “Photos” is invited onto the submarine crew and helps defend it from Cortez, a spy on board (960 xp in Fighter).
#11 – March 1940 – (“Speed Centaur” feature in Amazing Mystery Funnies #18) – Upon reaching the U.S., “Photos” meets Nickie Norton, Secret Service agent, through Jim Fulton.  Nickie recruits “Photos” to help him investigate a magic portal, for some reason standing alone and abandoned on the Oklahoma plains, that leads to 13th century Greece (1,160 xp in Fighter).
#12 – April 1940 – (“Don Winslow” feature in Crackajack Funnies #22) – Nickie uncovers evidence that a spy ring is already aware of the magic portal and sends Photios back to California to work with Don Winslow of the U.S. Navy to find the spy ring (1,400 xp in Fighter). 
#13 – May 1940 – (“Bulletman” feature in Nickel Comics #1) – Photios finds the prize the spies took from 13th century Greece – the magic Flying Helm of Bellerophon.  Donning it, Photios managed to defeat the spies and their leader, Black Mask (2,000 xp in Fighter – 2nd level!  And
-380 xp in Superhero).
#14 – June 1940 – (“The Voice” feature in Feature Comics #33) – As The Flying Greek, Photios breaks up a counterfeiting ring (-220 xp in Superhero).  Los Angeles is now his home, having an apartment he rented with money taken from Black Mask.  After eight months away, Annibelle is no longer interested in Photios.
#15 – July 1940 – (“Cliff Cornwall” feature in Flash Comics #7) – The Flying Greek matches wits with the Clue Criminal (-100 xp in Superhero).  Though Photios still does some freelance photography for the Los Angeles newspapers, his life is more about being The Flying Greek now.
#16 – August 1940 – (“ZX-5 Spies in Action” feature in Jumbo Comics #18) – Running low on money, The Flying Greek is eager to take a mission from the Secret Service to root out spy-saboteurs in Ohio (20 xp in Superhero).  During this mission, he learns to draw on the magic of the helmet for remarkable strength.
#17 – September 1940 – (“Doctor Fate” feature in More Fun Comics #59) – The Flying Greek learns the saboteurs were not working for a foreign country, but aliens from outer space.  He meets a landing party of the aliens, learns of their intent to conquer, and is taken prisoner.  But in escaping their ship, damages it and causes it to blow up, taking out the aliens too (480 xp in Superhero).
#18 – October 1940 – (“Patty O’Day” feature in Wonderworld Comics #18) – The Flying Greek hunts down Professor Grant, the Bridge Destroyer (560 xp in Superhero).
#19 – November 1940 – (“Zoro” feature in Master Comics #8) – The Flying Greek pursues the Pearl of Porra from a crime syndicate (1,560 xp in Superhero).
#20 – December 1940 – (“Yank Wilson” feature in Fantastic Comics #13) – The Flying Greek is challenged by Nazi Count von Heindorff to a series of challenges designed to distract FG from the sabotage work of his spy ring (1,800 xp in Superhero – 2nd level Fighter/2nd level Superhero!).
#21 – January 1941 – (“Lena Pry” feature in Crack Comics #9) – Lena Pry, a gossip columnist, ferrets out FG’s true identity and starts following him around for scoops (1,900 xp in Superhero).
#22 – February 1941 – (“Hop Harrigan’s History of American Aviation” feature in All-American Comics #23) – Hanging out an airfield between adventures, sharing stories with aviators and with a growing appreciation for aviation, Photios decides to pursue a pilot’s license in addition to being able to magically fly (2,000 xp in Superhero).
#23 – March 1941 – (“Lynx” feature in Mystery Men Comics #20) – FG takes on the Lynx’s foe, the Rook (2,120 xp in Superhero).
#24 – April 1941 – (“Bringing Up Father” feature in King Comics #60) – Photios’ father moves here from Greece and, needing a place to stay, crashes with Photios (2,220 xp in Superhero).
#25 – May 1941 – (text piece in Wonderworld Comics #25) – when a plane piloted by a new buddy of his crashes, FG flies off in search of the wreckage to search for survivors (2,320 xp in Superhero).
#26 – June 1941 – (“Green Mask” feature from Green Mask #5) – FG has to deal with yet another spy ring, but this time complicated by both Lena Pry and his father getting involved (2,760 xp in Superhero).
#27 – July 1941 – (“Lightning” feature from Jumbo Comics #29) – FG receives a call from a Major Larkin, representing the U.S. Armed Forces.  The Air Corps in particular wants to know if FG’s ability to fly can be duplicated (mistakenly assuming it is hi-tech) and ask to examine his helmet.  FG goes to Washington to show off the helmet in person and promises to help when the time comes (2,860 xp in Superhero).

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Top 10 New Comic Books

I recently got some comic books cheap through the mail from a collector getting rid of his collection, plus some cheap at the Gail Borden Library comic book convention.  In fact, I acquired enough to do another top 10 new comic books list!  Of course the “new” part is only relative to my owning them…

1. The Power of Shazam! #10 (12/95) – Oh yeah!  I was only four issues away from having a complete collection of this title for the past 14 years – and now I’ve got them all!  This gem was hard to wait for, the missing chapter in the big first year story arc, with the never-before-or-after told origin story of the wizard Shazam in it!  Woo!

2. Kirby Genesis #2 (2011) – This title was on my radar two years ago, but two things stopped me from getting it then: a) I’d already mostly retired from buying new comic books and b) Alex Ross projects disappoint me more often than not because of their dark pessimism.  None of which is on display here because Kurt Busiek wrote it.  Kurt understands more than most comic book authors how to be reverential to Kirby’s properties and he makes me care about every one of them…even if the plot is an awful slow build…

3. Doctor Who #10 (10/2011) – Other than the Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover, I didn’t know IDW even had an ongoing Doctor Who comic book until I saw this, again, two years too late.  It’s great because I can now see “new” adventures with Amy and Rory long after they left the show.  I’ve never heard of Tony Lee, but he writes well.

4. Kirby Genesis #4 (2011) – I already raved about Kurt, and it’s nice that this issue seems to have more panels of Alex Ross art, but even the main artist, Jack Herbert, is really good. 

5. Doctor Who #11 (11/2011) – Can’t say the same about the art here, though.  Matthew Smith tries really hard to be Mike Mignola and largely fails.  His Matt Smith looks right because Matt Smith himself has exaggerated features, but he makes Amy Pond look ugly and that should be against the law.

6. Kirby Genesis #3 (2011) – Kind of a slow issue compared to 2 and 4…did I mention the plot builds really slow?  But I’m still excited!

7. Archie & Friends #140 (4/2010) – You know, every Free Comic Book Day, I’m pleasantly surprised by the Archie entry, but I can never bring myself to start collecting them.  And it’s not like they save their best stuff for the free book because this was a regular issue (pretty reasonably priced at $2.50 too). It’s a fairly complex 23-page story about Jughead and the girlfriend he almost had once.  It’s nice that Jughead’s parents are real characters and not just around to be the butt of jokes, like I remember Archie comics being like when I was growing up.  And it’s inked by Marvel veteran Al Milgrom!

8. Danger Girl #1 (1/2012) – Yeah, it’s cheesy, but this sexier send-up of James Bond is a lot of fun and I’m glad to see IDW revived it.  I own six of these Danger Girl comics now.  Chris Madden is no J. Scott Campbell, but it still looks good and maybe Chris was able to make deadlines. 

9. The Power of Shazam! #42 (9/98) – The story, as I understand it, is that Mike Carlin was ready to pull the plug on this great comic book with issue #41, but he made writer Jerry Ordway a Faustian offer.  Mike would kick loyal, long-term Shazam artist Peter Krause off the book and let Jerry have six more issues if Jerry took over the art chores.  Jerry must have wrestled with his conscience and lost on this one and it shows in the darker feel of the book for the last six issues.  BUT, this issue still has lots of nice touches, like the deft characterization of Bill Clinton, as well as lots of stuff about Billy, Mary, and Freddy just being really likable young people, growing up and doing stuff.

10. The Power of Shazam! #45 (1/99) – In addition to getting dark, things were also getting really rushed in these last few issues.  A big Black Adam storyline was being told in about half the space it would have had at the old pacing, and is hurt by it.  What could have been an epic Black Adam vs. Orion of the New Gods battle lasts just a page.  Such a waste, Mike Carlin…