Neilalien : A Doctor Strange Fansite : A Comic Book Weblog  

Incredible Dr. Strange (Illuminati promo?) art by Gabriele Dell'Otto! [; source and larger image] [thanks chasdom for the FYI!]

Incredible Dr. Strange art by Gabriele Dell'Otto

Posted 30 April 02006 - Permalink

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Free Spidey! How digital distribution can save comics from infinite crisis [Wired Magazine]
Kids these days aren't into dead trees, so why can't they buy and download the latest comics on iTunes and buy the back catalogs on DVD?

Posted 29 April 02006 - Permalink

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Emily the Strange as Dr. Strange by Joss Whedon from Wizard #176 Joss Whedon sketches Emily the Strange as Dr. Strange! [full image]
Scan is from the latest Wizard #176. The image will actually live in the Dark Horse Twenty Years 25-cent pin-up book debuting at San Diego, so pick it up!

Dr. Strange in Civil War? Not much
Also from the latest Wizard #176, page 28:

"Though he's not a key player in "Civil War", the Sorcerer Supreme will not be a complete no-show. "He's in Civil War a little bit, but it's all indirect," says Brevoort. "Doc's a sorcerer, and he wears attire that sort of looks like a costume, but he's not a superhero, so he's fairly unaffected by the events of "Civil War".

Neilalien doesn't know whether to weep that yet another big event of the Marvel Universe happens sans Doc, or be relieved that Doc completists have been spared from buying a hundred issues of crossover drivel.

Not that Doc or any of our precious trapped-in-amber childhood icons and movie-money properties are really going to be nonconservatively "affected by the events of Civil War" anyway, eh, my jaded pretties?

The Secret Crisis of Infinite Wars: "I don't believe 'big change' comic book hype" [Progressive Ruin]

(Thanks Howard for the Wizard FYI and scans!)

Posted 28 April 02006 - Permalink

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Doc Statue Report [thanks readers!]

Dr. Strange statue from Bowen Designs is out; sculpted by the Kucharek Brothers, stands 12 1/2" tall [Bowen Designs]

Dr. Strange statue from Bowen Designs

New Dr. Strange statue from Diamond Select Toys is solicited; out September 02006; sculpted by Jean St. Jean Studios, stands 13" tall; based on the classic cover* and limited to 2,500 pieces [Diamond Select Toys] [Diamond Previews]

Dr. Strange statue from Diamond Select Toys

* The Dr. Strange scholars go, "Huh?" Neilalien submits that the source "classic cover" is indeed Doctor Strange #169, going by the brazier-on-pillar in the back right and the beaky dragon caterpillar in the bottom front left. The pose must be what's throwing people off- Doc's never been posed like that on a cover, IIRC.

Neilalien gives the Bowen statue a big thumbs up, but the Diamond Select statue a thumbs down. The latter needs a better pose (Doc looks like he's rockin' out at a metal show) and the brazierpillar and dragonpillar accoutrements are all wrong.

Posted 27 April 02006 - Permalink

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Complete set of the 01968-01974 Alcoholics Anonymous comic strips [Ethan Persoff] [via Waxy]

Posted 26 April 02006 - Permalink

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Marvel: Ultimate Alliance video game previewed: Dr. Strange among the playable characters! [thanks to no-longer-silent-lurker reader Robert for the FYI!]
As revealed in the current issue of the magazine Game Informer [scans of the article online: SuperHeroChat MB; HeroRealm MB].

Posted 25 April 02006 - Permalink

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Get well soon: Illness prevents Stan Lee Home Shopping Network appearance [Newsarama]

Get well soon: Legend Alex Toth hospitalized, send him a postcard [The Beat]
Get well soon: Flaming Carrot creator Bob Burden hospitalized [Newsarama]
Get well soon: Chris Claremont exhausted from cardiac stress [comicblogosphere's resident doctor Polite Dissent analyzes press release]

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Peter David speaks: Doc appearing in Marvel Adventures Spider-Man [quoted here from Newsarama; no link, unfortunately]

Actually, I'm doing eight issues in a row, and frankly, I'm having a field day. Current villain line-up: Werewolf by Night, Frankenstein's monster, Fin Fang Foom, the Grey Gargoyle, Man Thing, Hydro-Man, Whirlwind, and Pyro, plus guest appearances from the Human Torch, Doc Strange and Hawkeye.
No huge continuity hassles. No crossovers. Simple, straightforward, each-issue-self-contained stories involving Spider-Man matching wits with various bad guys. It doesn't have profanity, explicit sex or blood and gore. Then again, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko told stories just fine without that.

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Lots more product placement coming to comic books [Wall Street Journal Online] [via Newsarama]
Advertisers eager to get their logos on billboards behind Spidey as he swings through Times Square.

Update: Product placement in comics stands out a lot more than in TV/movies [Ninth Art]

Posted 22 April 02006 - Permalink

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X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #4 in shops yesterday
Go get yourself some Doc goodness.

More of Marvel EIC Joe Quesada's Doctor-Strange-needs-more-structure analysis [Joe Fridays interview at Newsarama]

Best suited for ongoing solo, limited series, or cast member?
JQ: Fantastic as a cast member and best in limited.
Why it worked/didn't work in the past:
JQ: I would argue that Dr. Strange never really worked as an ongoing title. Even during his inception, he never really starred in his own book, he split Marvel Tales with Johnny Storm and he only ran for a bit more than 20 issues. Still, Doc was truly a product of his time, the psychedelic 60s and the mind of Steve Ditko.
What it would need to work today?
JQ: I've always argued that what holds Doc Strange and his stories back is that he is never really in any peril. While we all know in our heart of hearts that when we read a comic story that the heroes going to find a way out of any perilous dilemma, the fun is in watching how he does it. How is he or she going to get out of that one? With Doc the solutions are always easy and require no more thinking from a writer than any grade school child is capable of. Hey, just have him say some magical words and poof, he's out of his jam.
By the way, this is a problem with many magic based characters and stories. Doc has a great origin that is rich and worthy of inspection, but without rules set up in his world of magic, there will never be any tension to his stories. There never seems to be any more risk for Strange than perhaps being trapped in his astral form for all time or perhaps feeling kind of woozy after a strong spell. Doc Strange is one of the greatest visual characters ever created thanks to Ditko. The magic landscape in which he lives is rich and beautiful but it needs defining and it needs consequences.
Odds of seeing a new starring project in the next 2 years:
JQ: 100%, check out the mini series later this year.

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The Secret Wars Re-Enactment Society [ YouTube video] [via Lying In The Gutters]

The Decider: Carousel-spinner R. Sikoryak's Daily Show Dubya/Superman satire [One Good Move; 3 MB requires QT7] [via Robot Wisdom]

Torchy Brown: pioneering comic strip with a strong black female lead character syndicated to black newspapers [Warren Ellis] [Toonopedia entry] [via Robot Wisdom]
By Jackie Ormes in 01937, the first nationally syndicated black woman cartoonist (and the only one until the 90's).

Posted 20 April 02006 - Permalink

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Two(!) different recent weblog posts about Ditko's Rom #68 [Facedown In The Gutters] [Ditko Comics]

Steve Ditko's Thing is out and about [Tales of Wonder listing] [via This Is Pop!] [Ditko Comics] [Ditko Looked Up: Ditko Checklist 01953-62]

by Steve Ditko
The Thing! is one of the most sought-after series by Ditko and pre-Code fans alike. Packed with wild ideas and wilder images, The Thing! #12-15 feature some of Steve Ditko's earliest work in the field of comics. It's almost 100 pages of the kind of comics your parents didn't want you to see. Also included in this volume are some of Ditko's best work for the Charlton horror books. Save yourself hundreds of dollars and years of search for some of Ditko's most sensational work! SC, 8x11, 160pgs, B&W $25.00 from Pure Imagination
"Cinderella" from THE THING! #12 (Feb. 1954)
"Library Of Horror" from THE THING! #13 (Apr. 1954)
"Die Laughing" from THE THING! #13 (Apr. 1954)
"Avery And The Goblins" from THE THING #13 (Apr. 1954)
"Rumpelstiltskin" from THE THING! #14 (June 1954)
"The Evil Eye" from THE THING #14 (June 1954)
"Doom In The Air" from THE THING #14 (June 1954)
"Inheritance" from THE THING #14 (June 1954)
"The Worm Turns" from THE THING #15 (July 1954)
"Day Of Reckoning" from THE THING #15 (July 1954)
"Come Back" from THE THING #15 (July 1954)
"If Looks Could Kill" from THE THING #15 (July 1954)
"Family Mix-Up" from THE THING #15 (July 1954)
"Live For Reunion" from MYSTERIES OF UNKNOWN WORLDS #5 (Oct. 1957)
"Stranger In The House" from MYSTERIES OF UNKNOWN WORLDS #5 (Oct. 1957)
"Stowaway" from MYSTERIES OF UNKNOWN WORLDS #5 (Oct. 1957)
"A Dreamer's World" from MYSTERIES OF UNKNOWN WORLDS #5 (Oct. 1957)
"Nightmare" from DO YOU BELIEVE IN NIGHTMARES? #1 (Nov. 1957)
"The Somnambulist" from DO YOU BELIEVE IN NIGHTMARES? #1 (Nov. 1957)
"The Strange Silence" from DO YOU BELIEVE IN NIGHTMARES? #1 (Nov. 1957)
"You Can Make Me Fly" from DO YOU BELIEVE IN NIGHTMARES? #1 (Nov. 1957)
"The Man Who Crashed" from DO YOU BELIEVE IN NIGHTMARES? #1 (Nov. 1957)
"The Elixir" from STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #36 (Mar. 1958)
"The Shadow" from STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #36 (Mar. 1958)
"Failure" from STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #36 (Mar. 1958)
"Oggo The Thinker" from MYSTERIES OF UNKNOWN WORLDS #11 (Jan. 1959)
"Confederate Girl" from UNUSUAL TALES #25 (Dec. 1960)

Posted 14 April 02006 - Permalink

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New Avengers: Illuminati: Braindump

Black Bolt On Why Black Bolt Doesn't Carry An Eraserboard

A bit of entertaining fan joke hay was made in a recent Newsarama Ask-Bendis-About-Illuminati thread (the link now eludes Neilalien's scanners; here are Bendis' answers) about why some brainiac hasn't given the must-be-silent Inhuman Black Bolt a small eraserboard and marker to carry around for communication by now (a la Awesome Andy's chalkboard in She-Hulk). The discussion was inspired by a three-panel passage in Illuminati of Black Bolt pointing with unclear meaning.

Neilalien's got some theories. He hasn't read many Black Bolt appearances or know/recall much about the character, but Google searching and the Wikipedia entry on Black Bolt didn't turn up his answer, so maybe it's fresh meat for the geek grind.

Black Bolt refuses to use an eraserboard because of the phenomenon called subvocalization [Wikipedia entry].

Scienticians at NASA tell us that while we are silently reading, or writing words, or self-talking in our own heads, tiny but actual movements of the tongue and vocal cords can be detected by electromagnetic sensors (and someday may even be superaccurately measured in a way to resemble mind-reading). Everyone seems to do it, even deaf people, it's impossible to eliminate (speed readers seek to reduce it), and studies have shown that trying to eliminate it (beyond the remedial level of teaching children not to move their lips while reading) negatively affects comprehension.

Given the awesome power of Black Bolt's vocal chords, just having him write something down or read something or even talk to himself in his own head could potentially be a disaster, because those chords would be moving, however minutely. Just his thinking, "Gee, I think I'll have a cup of coffee" would knock down your grandmother's house.

Black Bolt has gone through rigorous mental training so as to remain silent even while sleeping. Perhaps he has eschewed eraserboards, and has been trained to use language and words as little as possible, even in his own head, to avoid subvocalizing.

A statement could be made that part of the noble Black Bolt's heroic self-control is incredible body control, and he has eliminated his own subvocalization. Thus he could use an eraserboard safely, so Neilalien's theory would be moot, and we're back at Square One to explain why Black Bolt doesn't use one.

Found: Message board post at Comic Book Resources: A theory that "Black Bolt's powers weren't activated by his vocal chords, but by the part of his brain that processes language. Hence he can't even *think* of speaking/writing, without triggering it." [Black Bolt & thought balloons on Usenet; BB tried writing The Thing once but it wasn't in English]

A further musing (and one that possibly wades cluelessly into a controversial or emotionally-charged topic- no offense, misinformation or light treatment is meant): Perhaps Black Bolt does not use an eraserboard (nor language, nor does not subvocalize) because he has autism in some way, and/or a form of autism in which he does not write, or for some other reason cannot write, or is actually nonverbal (he screams, but has he ever spoken words? has he ever been shown writing something down that was established as legible?), or experiences language differently, or thinks visually/differently in the same way that it's theorized that people with autism think? See Consciousness in Animals and People with Autism, and An Inside View of Autism, by Temple Grandin, and more research if interested. "I think in pictures and language is not used to form thoughts or make decisions." [See also Can Lockjaw Talk? (which also references Grandin and non-language thinking) for the theory that Lockjaw might have autism (or had it before exposure to the Terrigen Mists). Is autism common among the Inhumans, or maybe a side effect of the Mists? Is Karnak's ability to observe weak points an autistic-savant OCD thing? Are the Terrigen Mists the mercury-preserved vaccines of the Marvel Universe?] (Speaking of speed readers reducing subvocalizing, some autistic savants have been clocked with incredible reading speeds.) Xavier reads Black Bolt's mind in this issue, and says, "He says", which suggests BB is thinking words, but it's possible that Xavier is describing visual images rather than repeating an inner dialogue of BB. See also Artists, Robots Team Up to Raise Funds for Autism Research at PopCultureShock.

On The Mousy Walter-Matthau-Lookalike "Um"-Saying Schlub In Dr. Strange's Costume

The only thing that was adequate about Dr. Strange's appearance/characterization in this book was that he doesn't go along with the idea of cooperating with the Registration Act. (And maybe saving Iron Man's life after Iron Man moronically picked a fight with Namor over water.)

On Illuminati

It hasn't nuked Neilalien's curiosity about Civil War, but this book felt clunky. Neilalien really needed to see the group being effective. In this issue, we see the group's formation, we see them fight amongst themselves, and we see them split apart. We never see the good side, we never see what they've accomplished; that part is tabled for future flashbacks. Maybe "exercise in futility" is the point, but this book, in itself, has no more consequence than if we found out that Power Pack had secret meetings. For Neilalien, there is no emotional/storytelling impact to see a group disband if the group disbanding is shown to have had no impact.

Posted 12 April 02006 - Permalink

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Fantastic Four Annual #16 (01981) is not generally considered Ditko's best work [BeaucoupKevin]

Related Update: Ditko in the eighties, or: "The Tipping Point of Mister Benjamin J. Grimm" [Bully Says: Comics Oughta Be Fun]

Great Bizarro toon from 3 April zings that preachy B.C. [Washington Post]

The Mathematical Cartoons of Larry Gonick
Comics make learning science fun.

New Friends of Lulu Empowerment Fund forming to provide legal-representation money for women in comicdom who have been sexually assaulted [PopCultureShock]
The assault incident inspiring the Fund's creation is also related here. Neilalien's heart goes out to the victim.

Update: Concern that the Fund announcement, and announcer Ronee Garcia Bourgeois, have overshadowed the assault incident; an excellent idea/intention, but we need a lot more info about the Fund and which cases/incidents it will take on and how it will take them on, it needs to be executed/administered with the utmost professionalism and objectivity [Senora de Cranky Pantalones]

Posted 11 April 02006 - Permalink

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Report: Last night on The Simpsons, when the lights went out at the Stargate convention (so uber-MacGyver fans Patty and Selma could kidnap Richard Dean Anderson under cover of darkness), Comic Book Guy exclaimed, "What in the name of Steve Ditko?!"

The Silent Penultimate Panel Watch [meta post] [via xBlog]
"Each and every day a comic strip abuses the use of the silent second-to-last panel."

Posted 10 April 02006 - Permalink

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Federal judge rules Siegel heirs have recaptured Superboy rights; Warner Bros. to appeal; Smallville may infringe [Variety] [Comic Book Resources] [Newsarama] [ICv2] [E! Online] [Mark Evanier #1, #2, #3] [Comics Reporter #1, #2] [Superboy entry at Wikipedia]
The brainbuster to be decided now: Is Smallville about Superboy (owned by Siegels), or about a young Superman (owned by Warners)? Before you exclaim, "Wha-Huh? Superboy = young Superman/Clark Kent!": As Neilalien understands the scholars: As obviously derivative the Superboy concept is of Superman, legally speaking they are two different creations. This special separation was established in an untidy "split the baby" 01940's court case after Detective Comics stole Siegel's idea for Superboy (Superman co-creator Shuster was not involved in the Superboy pitch DC rejected and then did anyway while Siegel was off fighting WWII). DC got Superman, Siegel got Superboy- and DC's subsequent purchase of Superboy's copyright from Siegel settled the matter that Siegel did own something/cemented this separateness/nuked any ability on the part of DC to claim that Superboy was a derivative work or work-for-hire.

Posted 7 April 02006 - Permalink

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Incredible! Hulk rollercoaster saves woman's life: dislodges brain tumor and renders it detectable [BBC News]

Posted 6 April 02006 - Permalink

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The case you knew against retailer Gordon Lee has been dismissed, but replaced/refiled with new accusations [Comic Book Legal Defense Fund]
Prosecution shenanigans due to their weak case. The defense speaks:

We now intend to investigate how a year and a half of statements based on one set of facts has now been changed at the last minute to another set of facts... To find out about this significant factual change in the allegations against Gordon at 3 PM on a Sunday when we were supposed to be going to trial at 9 AM on a Monday is disconcerting. It unfortunately has the result of costing Mr. Lee and the Fund tons more time, effort, and money. As attorneys, we've done what we're supposed to do and we're going to keep doing that. Alan and I were ready, willing, and able to go to trial this week, but unfortunately we now need to incur more legal time and expense to move forward.

[via reminder that the trial was beginning at Ferret Press/PANEL Weblog while checking out their three-year blogiversary festivities]

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Dr. Strange commission painting by Jeff Jones [Rich's Comic Art Page] [thanks reader Rob!]

More praise for the Ditko-reprint-filled 01982 Eerie #135 [Booksteve's Library]

Seven retailer failures [If I Were In Charge; new retailer blog (of the "tough love" variety?)]

Comic book masculinity and the new black superhero [by Jeffrey A. Brown, African American Review, Spring 01999]

If comic book superheroes represent an acceptable, albeit obviously extreme, model of hypermasculinity, and if the black male body is already culturally ascribed as a site of hypermasculinity, then the combination of the two - a black male superhero - runs the risk of being read as an overabundance, and potentially threatening, cluster of masculine signifiers.

How realistic are the superhero bodies in comics? Ask a plastic surgeon [Comic Foundry]
Also Q & A with Ronée Garcia Bourgeois re: women in comics.

Cute: Think superheroes are too grim? Ask the kids [Comic Foundry]

Singles: the format of innovation and in-the-moment [The Engine]
And not just propagating the property. Is the endless pendulum of cycles turning- singles coming back into creator/reader interest after some pro-OGN years?

February 02006 month-to-month sales trends at Pulse [Marvel] [DC, others]

Comic Book Nerd: comics magazines parodied; from TwoMorrows Publishing in June [3.5 MB PDF preview] [via Chris Arrant]

Posted 4 April 02006 - Permalink

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