About Me

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I started reading comics regularly after 'Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns'. Since then, I've become a co-host on 'The LanternCast' (a podcast dedicated to Green Lantern that's been on the air since 2008), started a new podcast covering the late 1980's DC series Action Comics Weekly (appropriately titled The Action Comics Weekly Podcast), and have been the curator of THE blog on the internet dedicated to the character of Ragman, created by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert published by DC Comics starting in 1976 and currently appearing on The CW show 'Arrow' as portrayed by actor Joe Dinicol. I'm an avid fan of comics, classic rock, and speaking my mind. Welcome!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Lanterncast Presents: Green Lantern/Green Arrow - Episode One!

This one has been a long time in the making. I've been a fan of Green Lantern for a good long while. Only recently, however, have I really dug into the history of the comic book industry. But I'm lucky to say that my very first encounter with historic comic books is the "Green Lantern/Green Arrow" series from the 1970's by Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams. When I first read those books, I thought they were well drawn for the time frame in which they came out and they seemed a little too 'preachy' for my tastes. Overall I thought it was better than I expected. But then I actually dug into the history of the industry by watching documentary's and comic con panels, listening to podcasts & reading books.

It was only then that I understood just how ungodly important the "Green Lantern/Green Arrow" series actually is. In a comics code authority era, in a time when people weren't really looking to DC comics for their reality based stories, Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams changed the game forever.

Join myself and host of 'The Film Jury' (and former Comic Geek Speak host) Mike Gallagher for a history lesson on the comic book industry leading up and into the creation of the Comics Code Authority. Download and listen and maybe you too will understand just how important this series really was.

Look for 'The LanternCast!' in iTunes! While there, be sure to leave a review for the show in the main show feed!

Download the Episode HERE! 

Feel free to email any questions, comments, compliments and criticisms to: chad@lanterncast.com (or post them here!)

Thanks for listening!!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

2012 Blog Reader Appreciation Award...

Be it on Facebook, twitter or even blogs; I rarely post ‘chain’ statuses or similar type posts. When I do, you know it’s because I think it’s got the potential to be fun or entertaining. In this case, this one is just pure goodness. Someone somewhere started a blog ‘Reader Appreciation Award’ and it’s made its way around to me.

Firstly I want to thank ‘Flodo’s Pagefor naming ‘Corps Conjecture as one of his favorite blogs (or at least one worthy of inspiring him to do his own). Considering CC hasn’t even been up for a full year yet, that’s quite the compliment and I thank him for it.

Now, what is a ‘Reader Appreciation Award’? Well, basically it’s what the name implies except for blogs. So it’s the Annual B.R.A.A. then I guess. I therefore now coin that acronym and credit it to myself.  Anywho, a B.R.A.A. is an award that bloggers give one another for general awesomeness. It’s not based on any sort of democratic system between us bloggers. It’s really up to the discretion of each blogger that participates. It’s basically a shout out to blogs that we feel are of superior quality in some fashion.

Now, one of the rules is that you have to pick between 10-15 blogs to give a shout out to. I can’t do that. Not because I don’t feel like it, but because I don’t READ that many blogs. Between work, co-hosting duties over at ‘The Lanterncast!’ writing for this blog and writing for my new Ragman blog, my time to actively keep up with other comic related things is fairly limited. Add to that the fact that I am an active podcast listener, you get even less time. So the blogs I keep up with are strictly the ones I have/make time for.

Now, this in NO way means that the blogs that AREN’T listed aren’t listed because I think they’re crap. That’s simply not true. For instance, I’m only listing four of the eighteen blogs that participated in my ‘Ghosts’ Annuals blog cross over. I think each of the blogs that participated are quite amazing and post interesting things over and over again. But the ones I actively keep up with are the only one that made the cut. The others I read, but sporadically and at length. (In other words, I’ll remember I haven’t read them in awhile and one day I’ll swing by the site and read like 25 posts in a row, just randomly)

So now for the rules to this bad boy…

1. Thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their site.
2. Pick 10-15 blogs that inspire you and link forwards to their sites.   (In my case I’m going with 5)
3. Answer 10 questions posed by the person who nominated you.
4. Ask 10 questions for your own nominees to answer.
5. Include the Reader Appreciation Award logo on your blog post.
6. Get in touch with as many of your nominees as possible to let them know how great they are!!

So on to the blogs I’ve picked:

Firestorm Fan has been going for a good few years now. This site is run by Shag, one of the two powerhouse DC character bloggers that makes up the new(ish) podcast called ‘Fire and Water’. Firestorm Fan itself, however, is the home of ALL things Firestorm. And I mean ALL things. Firestorm suddenly appear on a sticker? Shag is going to find out about it and dedicate an entry to it. But the man clearly has a love for the character and when you get into actual issue or character breakdowns, he’s going to devote a lot to giving them their due.

Aquaman Shrine is run by the other (some say better) half of the ‘Fire and Water Podcast’ team, Rob. Rob’s been going at Aquaman Shrine for a significant amount of time. Aquaman Shrine is essentially in institution in the comic’s blogging world. They do issue breakdowns, merch features, cosplay features, creator interviews and even epic birthday celebrations. For a blog dedicated so specifically to one family of DC characters, this blog has a lot of pull.

This one is newly discovered by me. I found it when I was surfing through the net trying to find a JLA centric blog to participate in the ‘Ghosts’ cross over. Man what a find! When this blog does something simple like an issue breakdown/review, it goes ALL OUT. We’re talking down to “Where are they now” segments in which he breaks down where each of the creators on the issue is now and what they’re working on. Other features include cameo appearances, annotations and more. It is DEFINITELY one of the more definitive takes out there for JLA material.

Now this one is BRAND new to me. As in I didn’t even know it was going to participate in the blog cross over until a scant few hours before the posts went up. If you’re a fan of ‘The Lanterncast!’ you know that I’ve recently become fairly obsessed with comics history (specifically DC comics history). There really isn’t anything more directly related to comics history than Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. This one is also super detailed and very respectful of the historic significance of the subject matter it covers. I like that.

Ok ok. Technically this one isn’t a BLOG but it’s hosted by blogspot so allow me the loophole. This podcast dedicated completely to the ‘Legion of Superheroes’ is AMAZING. Like crazy amazing. It’s hosted by two hilarious girls named Adriana Ferguson and Kristen Van Dam who “recap issues of the Legion so you don’t have to”. What makes it hilarious? They review issues of the Legion in ORDER. So first appearance going forward which entails a plethora of stories where these asshole kids from the future just like to screw with Superboy and Supergirl from time to time. At one point, an entire team of Legion rejects commits an “accidental holocaust” on the entire populace of a planet. If that’s not enough material for these girls to make you bust a gut, then you must not have a soul. Now they don’t post often. In fact, it’s been about seven months since the last episode, but you’ve GOT to subscribe on iTunes. So, SO good.

So there’s my five. Again, I just DON’T keep up with enough blogs to meet the pre-required 10-15 blog list. But one of the other rules is to answer a set of ten questions put forth by the blog that nominated you. So my answers to Flodo’s questions are as follows…

1. DC, Marvel or Other? Which comic’s publisher is your favorite?
DC hands down. DC Comics has always been one of my favorites. People who are Marvel “Zombies” like to refer to the Marvel-verse as the more “realistic” of the two main companies. That’s exactly what I DON’T like about Marvel. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE Marvel. Four of my top 20 favorite comic’s characters of all time are from Marvel (Gambit, Firestar, Venom & Thor). But I grew up with DC. Superman is not only an icon, he’s a role model (well, depending on the incarnation). That theme music from the Christopher Reeve movie? That’s HEROIC. Yeah, Marvel is amazing, but there’s just something about DC…
2. Who is you favorite writer or artist currently working?

Favorite artist is Ivan Reis. Favorite writer is Scott Snyder. (Sorry, Geoff Johns has lost a lot of his steam lately.)

3. Who is your favorite writer or artist from the past?

Easy. Denny O’Neil (writer) and Neal Adams (artist)

4. What superhero do you think makes the best team player?

The Flash. He has always seemed to be the great equalizer of the JLA. I know people say that Martian Manhunter is the ‘heart’ of the JLA, but I’ve always seen Flash (regardless of if it was Barry or Wally) as the ‘heart’ of the team.

5. Whose superhero costume do you hate the most, and why?

Dream Girl of the Legion of Superheroes. Every time I see it, it either looks like some sort of swimsuit or just doesn’t look right. I have yet to have a ‘favorite’ incarnation of her costume.

6. If you could bring one title back from comic book limbo what would it be?

Nexus. No question about it.

7. What’s the best comic book cover you’ve ever seen?

I’m particularly fond of ‘Green Lantern/Green Arrow’ #85. It’s not the best cover ever, but it definitely one of the most iconic and the more I see it, the more I like it.

8. Comic book action figures – way cool, or a step to far?

Way cool. (If done right)

9. What was the best comic book single issue that you read in the last 2 months?

Honestly I don’t know. I tend to think of these types of questions in terms of ‘one shot’ issues and none of the series I have been reading have had ‘one shot’ issues. So I’ll just say any of the issues of ‘Punk Rock Jesus’ that have come out in the aforementioned 2 months.

10. Finally, the age old question: if you were writing, who would win a fight between Superman and Hulk? What’s your logic?

It’s a draw. The madder Hulk gets, the stronger he gets…and he heals. And Superman is Superman. I know it’s a cop out answer, but it’s true.

And the last rule was for me to put to you my 10 questions should you decide to follow suit on the “Blog Reader Appreciation Award” shenanigans. I know each of the blogs I mentioned are SUPER busy and probably don’t have the time to create such a post, but on the off chance that they do, my questions are as follows.

1)       Who is your favorite B-List or lower DC character?
2)       What/who inspired you to start your blog?
3)       Epic Meal Time?
4)       What is the first comic book you remember reading?
5)       Who is better, the Justice League or the Avengers? Why? (And who makes up the teams as you see them?)
6)       Favorite ‘Godzilla’ movie of all time?
7)       In your mind, what sort of posting schedule makes or breaks a successful blog? Why?
8)       Blondes, Brunettes or Redheads?
9)       What is your favorite non DC or Marvel comic series?
10)   Marvel is going to make another movie. Other than the ones already announced or being considered, which character would you choose and why?

And that’s it! Oh, if you’re a READER to this blog, answer those questions in the comments below! I love feedback and I put a lot of thought into the majority of those questions. I’d love to hear your feedback!

Thanks again to ‘Flodo’s Page’ for honoring me with a vote and including me in on the fun!

Don’t forget to “follow” Corps Conjecture (click that little ‘follow’ button somewhere off to the right of the page) and comment!

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Defeat of Green Lantern...

"I believe that Johns' has a finite amount of stories that he wants to tell for Hal. He brought him back for a purpose but it kind of feels like Hal isn't supposed to be here, at least in the role of a Green Lantern, much longer."

I said that not too long ago when breaking down my theories leading into the "Rise of the Third Army" mini-event. At the time, I intended that as a tease to an upcoming blog but nobody really picked up on it. For a short amount of time, that particular blog post got postponed because of New York Comic Con and Wizard World Austin Comic Con. Then came the AWESOME 'Ghosts' cross-over blog (which unfortunately didn't get many hits due to the craziness of Super Storm Sandy). But I shot my mouth off over on Twitter about how I was pretty sure Hal wouldn't be around much more and BOYYYYYYY you guys lost your shit. So I re-promised (though no one remembered the original promise) to bring you a blog dedicated SOLELY to why I believe Hal Jordan won't be in the picture much longer.

So here it is ladies and gentlemen, never say I don't deliver on my promises:

We all know ONE thing about Geoff Johns writing and, more specifically, retconning. The man gets rid of nearly NOTHING. Take 'Green Lantern: Rebirth' for example. At the end of the Kyle run, Geoff Johns was positioned to start putting out 'Rebirth' as a way to bring back Hal Jordan. Hal Jordan who went evil and became Parallax. Hal Jordan who sacrificed himself to reignite the sun during 'Final Night'. Hal Jordan who became the Spectre. Hal Jordan with the gray temples. Hal Jordan going nuts was met with a mixed reaction. Fan's don't remember 'Final Night' with any sort of fondness. Hal's tales as the Spectre were trippy at times and just plain weird at others. And, lets face it, nobody was going to cry foul if Hal suddenly showed up with regular brunette hair. But Johns not only made a point to address all that, he even worked it into his story. And not just with Hal...

Guy Gardner at the time was going my the moniker 'Warrior'. That PARTICULAR series wasn't fondly remembered by ANYONE (I'm generalizing for effect). Johns could've ignored everything that happened to Guy after he stopped being a GL, but he didn't. He explained and expelled the Vuldarian powers in story. It's because of his respectful approach to storytelling that Johns endears himself to so many comic fans. The man gets rid of almost NOTHING for the sake of HIS story.

That being said, Kyle is a pretty big piece to Green Lantern 'history' to just get rid of. Now, I am, by no means, a giant Kyle Rayner fan. But Kyle Rayner both as a DC Character (to us) and a Green lantern (in story) proved himself to his detractors and became a mainstay of the DCU. He went from being a character people weren't sure of at first, to becoming well respected.

Now granted, Kyle has his own book to feature in with 'New Guardians'. It's possible that with the sheer existence of that title, everything I'm about to say becomes moot. But I want you to relax your mind for a moment and stop looking for points to argue with me about. Clear your mind and think about these facts:

- Since Hal Jordan's return, the Green Lantern book has been nearly non stop action. The return of the Green Lantern Corps, the creation of the various Corps, the Blackest Night, the return of Krona and a whole HOST of other things. A roaring fire can only burn so long.

- Hal and Carol. This thing has been stop and start and stop and start for YEARS now. (damn near DECADES) The ONLY way Johns would try and start this historically destined to fail relationship AGAIN is to either A) Teach Hal a lesson or B) FINALLY get them together. Hal can't be in a lasting committed relationship to Carol if he's LITERALLY off saving the universe for months at a time and NEVER at home.

- While Hal still struggles to find his place in the world with his family, with the Corps and in his personal life, Kyle is currently being set up to become the 'Savior'/'Torchbearer' of the Corps (all of them) once more. Hal is STRUGGLING and Kyle is being ELEVATED.

Look, in my head it makes allot more sense. Hopefully you're getting my point. Go re-read the last several years of Geoff Johns Green Lantern stories. It becomes painfully evident to me that Hal is living on a TIMELINE. If Hal ISN'T destined to die again (or POSSIBLY become something OTHER than a regular Green Lantern) then he will be relegated to a simple space cop with a rapidly crumbling and unstable social life. Something tells me that’s NOT what Johns wants for the character.

Over on the Lanterncast, Jim and Dan have occasionally brought up how disappointed they are that there aren't more moments in the Green Lantern series with Hal simply interacting with his family or resolving things with Cowgirl or repairing his relationship with Carol or hanging with Tom or something...anything. The personal life of a character isn't something that Johns tends to ignore. (Look at his heartfelt stories within JSA) Johns WANTS to do something with Hal. I get that feeling 100%.

It's my theory that Hal ISN'T going to be a Green Lantern much longer. My first guess is that he's going to die (I mean AFTER him and Sinestro escape). But the other possibilities exist. If the Guardians fall, Hal could become a "Guardian" of the Green Lantern Corps. He could become an instructor or adviser. He could become a senior member that assists when needed. Who knows? I just DON'T see Hal as being a standard Green Lantern anymore. There is SOMETHING that Geoff wants to do with Hal that he can't do just yet because, for the story Geoff is telling, he NEEDS Hal just a little longer.

The ONLY way this would be completely negated is for something like the marketability of the live action prospects of the character. In other words, if Hal is the 'go to' Green Lantern for any live action DC movie interpretations, it only makes sense to have him featured in the comic’s universe to maintain consistency. I get that that particular scenario is FAR more likely to most of you than anything I've said.

But trust me on this one. SOMETHING BIG is about to happen to Hal. I can feel it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

'Ghosts' - The Corpse Corps!

(click to enlarge)
Yes folks, as you may be aware of by now, I am the grand architect of this insipid plot to strike terror into your hearts by forcing you to relive the horrors the DC heroes had to face in the 1998 'Ghosts' Annuals. From Aquaman's encounter with the ghost of Arthur Jr. to Wonder Woman's amazonian smack down against some cyclopes and the goddess of comedy (yeah) and everything in between, we DC character(s) bloggers have united to bring you the best (and worst) of our respective characters encounters with all things supernatural. For a majority of us, that means focusing in on the 1998 'Ghosts' cross over that took place in DC's annuals. For others, that just means hunting down our favorite supernatural story featuring out characters. The only rule? 'Blackest Night' doesn't count. It's just too easy. Don't get me wrong Geoff, it's amazing stuff, but we wouldn't be endeared to our readers if we took the easy way out.

For myself? I'm taking on the duty of showcasing to you 'Green Lantern' Annual #7. Tastefully titled 'The Corpse Corps', this lovely 48 page issue was written by Steve Vance with art by Ron Lim. Inking duties were handled by Doug Hazelwood and Kim Demulder, while Jason Wright handled coloring and Janice Chiang handled the lettering. Assistant Editor and Editor credits went to Chuck Kim and Kevin Dooley respectively.

Our story opens in California with the last Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner, streaking through the sky and reflecting on his career. He stumbles upon a massive wreck on the interstate involving multiple cars and an overturned tanker truck. Kyle rushes to work prying people from the mangled remains of their vehicles when suddenly the flamable material in the tanker truck spills out and ignites, causing a massive explosion.

So just WHO is this mystery Green Lantern who just saved Kyles bacon? Is it Hal? (At this point, it's important to realize that Hal Jordan is back in the picture. It's an innocent past version of Hal that hasn't yet destroyed the Corps or taken on the mantle of Parallax. It's complicated.) When the smoke clears we see that it isn't Hal Jordan but his predecessor Abin Sur! But Abins dead! How can this be?

Abin explains to Kyle that he knows he is supposed to be dead and that he has no idea why he his back but he knows that others who have passed are "returning from the afterlife here on Earth." Kyle immediately thinks back to Alex DeWitt, his first girlfriend who was brutally murdered by Major Force and stuffed into a refrigerator when Kyle first took on the mantle of Green Lantern. As he tries to take off to check on her, Abin stops him and tells him he must set aside his personal feelings and try and find the source of the resurrections. Abins ghost fades away and Kyle takes off towards his apartment to charge up before heading out into space.

After his recharge, Kyle zips out of the Galaxy towards the energy that his ring is sensing. As he gets closer and closer to the source, suddenly the space around him lights up in emerald energy and Kyle erects a shield to protect himself. When the light fades, Kyle is suddenly face to face with the resurrected Green Lantern Mogo, a "living" planet. Kyle touches down on Mogo's reconstituted surface and begins checking the place out. He isn't there long when suddenly the ground begins to split open.

(click to enlarge)
As the living corpses of Green Lanterns long dead (Chaselon, Kilowog, Tomar-Re) begin attacking Kyle, Kilowog starts to blame Kyle for the death of the Corps. Kilowog plays exposition fairy briefly explaining to the reader that, during Kyles trip back in time, he could have warned the GL's that Hal was going to go bonkers and kill everyone, but he didn't. As Kyle trys to explain himself, he's suddenly blasted in the back by another Green Lantern. As Kyle gets to his feet, he realizes that he's now facing Dara, the former Green Lantern that Kyle had run into back in 'Green Lantern' #56. (after 'Zero Hour') As Kyle desperately tries to figure out what to do and why they're all after him, suddenly the big bad for this issue is revealed.

That's right kiddos, Nekron "Lord of the Unliving" makes his presence known to Kyle for the first time. You see, Nekron once went up against Hal and the Corps a long time ago using Krona and a few undead souls as his patsy's. But Kyle hasn't heard that story so he flies head first through the rift in space and into Nekrons dimension. Big mistake. Confronting the master of the dead on his home turf is definitely not a good idea but thankfully Nekron is in a talkative mood as he decides to tell Kyle of his first encounter with the Corps (the story I just mentioned). This gives Kyle enough time to focus his energy and break out of Nekrons grasp and back into the "real world". Kyle suddenly realizes the only thing keeping the rift in space open to Nekrons dimension is the reanimated Green Lanterns. Kyle musters his resolve and does what he must, slaughter all of the reanimated Green Lanterns, constantly reminding himself that they're already dead. All of the fighting culminates into one grand epic battle with Kilowog as he slams himself and Kyle down into the surface of Mogo. The size of their battle destabilizes the planet and Kyle decides to let the planet collapse in on itself with himself and Kilowog within the surface. Kilowog comes to his senses long enough to thank Kyle for doing what needs to be done and Mogo explodes...again.

That poor planet. First he died, then he was brought back for this annual only to be destroyed again. Then he was brought back again...only to be destroyed by John Stewart during the 'War of the Green Lanterns'. This poor planet can't catch a freakin break. Anyways, Kyle flies out of the debris of Mogo to see Nekrons rift rapidly closing as Nekron claims, "I merely seized the opportunity! Some OTHER power revived the Green Lanterns, creating the anomaly!" Unfortunately we'll have to wait for the Justice League 'Ghosts' annual to see what power he is talking about. Kyle zips back to earth to the grave site of Alex and resolves to start living his life to the fullest like she would have and be the best person he can be, not being held back by his past or doubting himself. And that's where things end.

All in all this book was a solid entry in the 'Ghosts' annual event. The tone of the book didn't really differ all that much from the tone of the regular ongoing series Kyle was in at the time so it fit seamlessly into the storyline as Kyles book focused on the time displaced Hal Jordan for a few issues. It made a nice side story to explain where Kyle was during all of the Hal stuff.

For this blog cross over though I decided it wouldn't be fair of me to request all of my blogger friends to participate if I wasn't going to go above and beyond the request myself. So I reached out to a few friends of mine for some special content to contribute.

First I reached out to my friend Mike Gallagher. Mike is a comic artist who has recently done work on quite a few books. Mike stepped up to the plate and brought to me this beautiful rendition of Zombie Dara! Check it out! Be sure to see some of Mikes work with 'Annabelle Avery: Steampunk Girl' or visit his deviant art page!

I also reached out to a friend of 'The Lanterncast!'. For those of you not aware, I co-host a podcast dedicated to Green Lantern called 'The Lanterncast!'. You can follow the link above or look us up on iTunes or Stitcher to listen in! We've been going strong for nearly four years and have interviewed plenty of people. One of those individuals we've had the fortune of speaking with is the artist responsible for the design of Parallax, the design of Kyle Rayner and so many other things in the Kyle Rayner run, Darryl Banks. Darryl was gracious enough to throw his hat into the ring and submitted a gorgeous commission of zombie Abin! If you'd like to see more of Darryl's work, be sure to check out his gallery on 'Comic Art Fans' or check him out at Akron Comic Con on Saturday, November 10th in the Akron University Student Union Ballroom in Akron, Ohio!

Thanks to both guys for the AMAZING submissions! I'm proud to be acquainted with such amazing people in this industry that I'm so fond of! Not to mention people who are just genuinely excited about the work and happy to share their love of the medium!

But that's not all dear reader! I didn't just stop there for my entry in this blog cross over insanity. No sir! This past weekend happened to be Wizard World Austin Comic Con here in my hometown of Austin, Texas. The Wizard World team was gracious enough to grant me a press pass to the event for the second year in a row and I got a ton of interviews for the podcast. One interview however, won't be making it's way onto the air and will ONLY be here!

I interviewed legendary comics creator/artist Bernie Wrightson! Bernie is credited with a great many things an has worked in the comics industry for years. For the purposes of this blog cross over, Bernie is responsible for each and every one of the covers for the 'Ghosts' annual series. Bernie took the time out to speak with me for awhile and what follows is the entirely of that conversation. Enjoy!

Corps Conjecture: Hi Bernie, thanks for taking the time to speak with me today. Getting right into it, how did you get into comics in the first place?

Bernie Wrightson: Well first I went up to the offices at Marvel with a bunch of samples. I talked to someone up there, I can't really remember who, and showed them a few samples of my work and everything. They were very nice but they told me to go home and draw some of their characters which I wasn't really interested in doing, so I never followed up on that. About a year later, I went to a convention in New York and met Jeff Jones and Mike Kaluta and all of us got together and went to meet Carmine Infantino, Dick Giordano and Joe Orlando and all of us showed them our work. They were very nice and very encouraging. I went home and a month or two later I got a call from Kaluta who told me that Carmine Infantino and Joe Orlando were trying to reach me to talk to me about work. Just based on that thin thread I moved to New York and went up to DC and started working on comics and then really got started with Joe Orlando on 'House of Mystery'.

CC: With things like 'House of Mystery' and Swamp Thing on your credits you seem to have a passion for drawing the creepy and the monsters. Did you have a love for horror when you were growing up?

BW: Yeah I was always attracted to that. I grew up watching old Universal monster movies on TV or reading EC Comics with 'Tales from the Crypt' or 'The Haunt of Fear'. I just loved horror stories. I love scary stories.

CC: I would imagine that as a kid you had a chance to read the original EC books before the Senate Subcommittee Trials on Juvenile Delinquency or something like the Comics Code came into effect.

BW: I did. I was right there in the early to mid 50s buying the stuff right off the newsstands.

CC: Did that particular moment in comics history effect your “fandom”? Or were you old enough to notice the change and see the effects in the books you were reading?

BW: Not really. For me they were just comic books and I was only a kid. I never really thought about it, I just figured they'd always be there. Then suddenly they disappeared and you just couldn’t find them anymore. I already had a taste of that and it led me to Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft and I still kept on going to the movies all those great science fiction movies of the 1950's.

CC: You are credited with co-creating Swamp Thing. Is that correct?

BW: Yes, with Len Wein. Len was the writer, it was Lens idea and it was his creation and I visualized it. We were just partners and collaborators on that.

CC: With just that one characters ongoing history, with Alan Moores later involvement and his treatment in DC's New 52 by Scott Snyder, what does it feel like to be such a contributing factor to such a huge part of comics history?

BW: Oh boy who would have thought you know? It surprised me and it really took on a life of it's own. I never really followed it much after I left the series. I saw some of what Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette and John Totleben and all those guys were doing with it. It was terrific stuff, it was great. They took it in a whole new direction, stuff that I would have never thought off.

CC: I've spoken to creators in the past who stopped reading a book they were directly involved with after they left the title because, in their mind, they've already done the version of the character that they visualize and anything else is just not how they “see the character”. Did you actively not read Swamp Thing?

BW: It was never anything like that with me. By that time I was just too busy drawing comics to have time to read them. It wasn't just that I stopped reading Swamp Thing, I just stopped reading comics altogether. I would look at them occasionally but it wasn't like before I was involved professionally.

CC: After you left DC you went to Warren Publishing. Why the change?

BW: The big reason I went to Warren was that he was paying better than anyone else. When I left DC I was making $65 a page which wasn't bad, it was actually pretty good money. Warren came along and offered me $110 a page and told me I could keep my originals. That was a big deal. None of the other publishers were letting artists keep their originals, that was just part of the deal at that time. I liked the work I was doing and I really hated to give up the originals and that had been bothering me for a couple of years. So when Warren came along it was a really good deal and I went to work for him.

CC: Let's fast forward a good few years. Eventually you made your way back to DC, mostly as a cover artist. That's when this job came about in 1998 when they did the 'Ghosts' annual crossover theme and they had you back to do the covers for each annual issue. How did that job come about?

BW: That was basically just a job you know? They told me that these were compilations of ghost stories involving all of these different characters. I guess I had the reputation of being the supernatural artist or whatever you want to call it. So they offered and I took the job. I never had an interest in drawing superheroes. It sounds kinda funny but I never really believed in superheroes. I had a really hard time believing in people with superpowers or mutants or people shooting rays out of their eyes. It all seemed kind of silly to me. But I never had a problem believing in vampires, werewolves and the walking dead and such.

CC: So when they approached you this was it. The only time you would ever probably feel comfortable drawing superheroes would be if they were going up against zombies or ghosts or some sort of other supernatural creature.

BW: Basically yeah. I had done some superhero stuff in the past. In the 80's I did a mini-series called 'The Cult' with Jim Starlin which was a Batman story. I always liked Batman. I think its because Batman didn't have any super powers. He was just a guy. If someone beat him up, he'd get cuts and bruises. He wasn't invulnerable like Superman. Superman is a great character but he just isn't real to me.

CC: Out of the 'Ghosts' series, were any of those character covers your favorite?

BW: I don’t really have any favorites. To be honest, they all kind of melt together for me. Nothing in that particular series really stands out.

CC: As a Green Lantern fan I do enjoy that particular one. I love seeing this new Green Lantern in the form of Kyle Rayner go up against the classic silver age zombie Green Lanterns, particularly Tomar-Re. That was quite a treat.

BW: Green Lantern was one of those characters I never really followed that much. The only time I ever read it was when Neal Adams and Denny O'Neil were doing them in the 70's with Green Arrow. I kinda got caught up in that because I've always been such a fan of Neal. Also the stories were great. They were really ground breaking and daring for their time and it was just drawn so realistically.

CC: I may be young but I’m a big lover of comics history and those stories are very humanizing you know? A lot of those issue that Green Lantern and Green Arrow faced couldn't be overcome with superpowers.

BW: That’s what drew me to that. It was just these guys with all these powers just questioning their own place in the world and that was a very intriguing idea. Just seeing these guys be just as helpless as the rest of us in dealing with these issues you know?

CC: Definitely. I re-read it once or twice a year for that reason alone. I love that series.

BW: It's great stuff. I guess it started with Marvel and Spider-man. So much of that early stuff concentrated on Peter Parker and his day to day life and how does he reconcile being a kid who’s still going to school and trying to find a job and who is still trying to be a superhero at the same time? Then Green Lantern and Green Arrow came along and took that idea and really launched it into the stratosphere. How does a superhero fit into the real world? What can Green Lantern really do to make the lives of minorities and poor people better? They cant really use their powers.

CC: Before I let you go I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for what you've contributed to this industry that myself and fans all over love so much. With not just your contributions to DC or this particular 1998 series crossover but with everything you did for the industry as a whole. I just wanted to thank you for your contribution to all of this history.

BW: That’s very nice of you to say. I've been very very lucky. I’ve had a really terrific career and mostly just had so much fun doing this stuff. Maybe it sounds kinda selfish but I'm doing all of this stuff first and foremost for myself just because I love the work so much. Its really kind of magical to me that so many other people seem to enjoy it.

So there you have it folks. A review, some special art submissions and an exclusive interview with Bernie Wrightson! Hopefully you enjoyed this particular post. It sure was lengthy and alot of work, but it was ALOT of fun. As always, don't forget to subscribe to Corps Conjecture and comment on the post! And DON'T FORGET to check out the other blogs participating in the cross over! Happy Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Lengthy NYCC Recap...

Hey loyal readers! Well, I hope you are at least. Anyhow, I’m sorry for the delay. I told you from the inception of this blog that it wouldn’t be one with frequent posts, but hopefully the content I DO post is enough to keep you interested.

I recently got back from New York Comic Con 2012! Holy crap it was a whirlwind trip. If you’re a listener of ‘The Lanterncast!’ you know that I’ve wanted to go to New York City for many years (wanting to be a journalist will do that to you). So when the opportunity arose I had to take the leap. Unfortunately, the PR crew working for NYCC isn’t as awesome as the guys from Wizard World and I didn’t get approved for a Press Pass. I guess a strictly Green Lantern based podcast isn’t really worth their time. Never mind the fact that Geoff Johns, Dan DiDio, Joe Staton, Dario Brizuela, Ethan Van Sciver, Scott Kolins, Ivan Reis and many, many more were there. But I digress…

So I left on Thursday October 11th, 2012 for New York Comic Con. My American Airlines flight was cramped and, unfortunately, I didn’t think ahead enough to load up my iPod with movies, so I was rather bored during the non-stop flight to John F. Kennedy Airport. I got acquainted during the flight with a nice younger couple on their way to a wedding. The husband happened to be a geek himself and, as most people who figure out I’m a Green Lantern fan wonder, asked me what my thoughts on the Green Lantern movie were. After I hemmed and hawed in disappointment with him over the Emerald Crusaders first foray onto the silver screen, we de-boarded the plane and I began my trek to the baggage pickup. I won’t bore you with the details of getting my luggage and my epic journey to discover exactly how I was supposed to get from JFK Airport to Penn Station.

When I finally got off the train into Penn Station and walked up the steps onto the streets of New York City, I immediately ran into a sea of people. I expected that, what I didn’t expect was immediately becoming totally disenfranchised with the notion of such a large city. All I could think about was, “Holy crap my back is killing me! Where the hell is my hotel?!” So I found an NYPD officer and asked if he knew where it was. To my surprise, the officer merely pointed right across 7th avenue. There stood Hotel Pennsylvania, my home for Thursday and Friday night. So I walked through the doors, checked in and plopped down onto one of the rock solid beds in a vain attempt to alleviate the pain in my upper back.

After about an hour or so, I collected myself and walked out onto the streets of New York City with one of my roommates, Mike, to begin a quest for a liquor store. It was when I left the hotel that first time that I finally started noticing things about the city. Madison Square Garden was RIGHT across the street, just above Penn Station (news to me). The Empire State Building was around the corner from my hotel and down a block. And, of course, there were people…EVERYWHERE. It takes some getting used to. In Austin, that amount of people in the streets usually means Austin City Limits or SXSW but in New York City, apparently that’s just normal. 

We never did find a damn liquor store, but I did scarf down some McDonalds the second I got a chance (first thing I had eaten since my flight took off earlier that morning). We went back to the Hotel and spent some time bullshitting about comics and what to expect at the convention as we waited on our other roommate Matt to get back from the preview night at the convention. After he got back (and rubbed his swag in our faces) we went right back out and made a beeline for Times Square (apparently just up the street a few blocks).

As I was preparing for my trip, a co-worker of mine informed me that I should probably stay away from Times Square as it’s nothing more than a tourist trap. Well my friends that is utter nonsense. Times Square is awesome, especially when you grow up in a town that doesn’t have attractions like that. Really all I did was take a look around, but I stepped inside the Toys R Us for a few minutes to determine if my inner child still existed (he does, I’m happy to report).

On our way back to the hotel from Times Square we FINALLY found a liquor store, I bought myself a small bottle of Jack Daniels and we stopped by a pizza place right next to our hotel. New York style pizza is delicious by the way.

On Friday I made my way to the convention with my two roommates and, after we stopped for breakfast, I stepped foot into New York Comic Con for the first time.

It’s huge guys. As in massive. No seriously. Look…

That’s just PART of the lobby.

But I made a beeline for the Comic Geek Speak booth to say hi to Adam Murdough and Bryan Deemer, swung by the Neal Adams booth to get his signature on my copy of ‘Green Lantern/Green Arrow’ #85 (he was charging $10 for one signature, RIDICULOUS) then met a long time listener of the Lanterncast, Edgar Rios.

Edgar and I met up in the middle of the DC booth. After a minute or two, Edgar asked me if I wanted to meet Dan DiDio (publisher of DC Comics) so I said yes and got a picture with him and got him to sign my copy of ‘The Phantom Stranger #0’. I thought that was it but no. Dan and I ended up having a five minute conversation about Phantom Stranger out of nowhere. Not at a table, not in any official capacity, just talking randomly in the middle of the con floor about Phantom Stranger (one of my favorite DC characters).

Later on I met my co-host Dan Kurtzke in Artist Alley to connect with people and set up interviews for Sunday. I picked up my commission from Adam Withers of Shadow Lass from the Legion of Superheroes and got on the list for a commission from Scott Kolins.

Saturday I met my friend Amanda for breakfast down near the World Trade Center site and went with her and her friends to a bar near the Empire State Building called ‘Stouts’ to watch the Red River Rivalry game between the University of Texas and Oklahoma University. (we lost, badly) With plans to meet up with the group later on in Central Park, I left to check into my next hotel. And then everything went to hell. My bank charged me for a payment I told them to postpone so, for a few hours, I was without a place to stay in a place several hundred miles from my home. I was freaking out. BIG time. But everything worked itself out eventually and I finally checked in to my room and plopped down on the bed and watched TV, desperately trying to calm myself down. Because of my newly confused monetary state, I couldn’t meet my friends as I had planned but I was glad to hang with them as much as I did.

Later that night I went to a bar called ‘Stitch’ and met up with my friends Amber Love and Ashley. After drinks and craziness galore I finally got back to my hotel to go to sleep so I could be ready for the final day of New York Comic Con.

Sunday consisted mostly of walking around with my co-host Dan and conducting various interviews with creators and getting contact information for those we weren’t able to interview. The episode covering all of that content will be available on our podcast website and iTunes soon so keep your eyes on the feed. While I was there I picked up a print by Katie Cook and my commission of Solomon Grundy from Scott Kolins. I also made an appearance with Dan on the Fire and Water podcast!

After the Con, Dan and I made our way to New Jersey to his house where I spent the night before my flight back home the next morning. Thanks definitely go out to Dan and his family for putting me up that night and arranging my ride to the airport the next morning, especially Dan’s mother.

On the plane ride home I kicked back and watched ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ for the duration of the flight.

All in all it was a great time. I didn’t get to see as much of the city as I wanted to, but at least I got to have fun and see my friends that I planned on seeing. And hey, now I have the lay of the land so my NEXT trip to NYC won’t be so hectic! Sorry for the length of the post, I just had a lot of people that wanted a detailed account of the trip, especially considering I’ve wanted to go to NYC for so long. I promise I’ll have a much shorter post of the Austin Comic Con recap…lol

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to subscribe and comment!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Deeds of a Supergod...

(Covers to Action Comics #385 - #387)
I want to depart briefly from the typical content of this blog. As you're probably aware, this isn't going to have a thing to do with Green Lantern or theories on the various related series going forward. But bear with me because I've been wanting to cover these three issues of 'Action Comics' for a long time. It started about two years ago when I saw all three of these issues in the bagged and boarded back issues bins at my local comic shop Austin Books and Comics. I was JUST heavily getting into comics but I knew enough about the industry to know that, for comics from 1970, having single issues back to back with a continuing storyline was unusual. But ABC had those issues priced at roughly $15 an issue and each time I wandered into the shop, I decided against it until, about a month ago, I found them in their discount store (called the 'Sidekick') for $5 an issue. And now you get to enjoy the fruits of my good fortune with the AMAZINGNESS that these three issues contain within their pages.

The storyline opens the random-est of meetings between the Man of Steel and the Leader of the Free World...

(Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans Superman...)

Of course, as with any good story from the early 1970's, if you start off this way then you HAVE to go the exact opposite route for the remainder of the story. Suddenly and out of nowhere, outside of the Fortress of Solitude, a giant metal hand appears and begins burning a message into the door of the Fortress. The alarms begin to clang at a frequency only the Man of Tomorrow can hear and he speeds out of the White House and to his Fortress. The message reads, "Superman your help is urgently needed in year 101,970 coordinates x78-543/20." And Superman confirms this information with a quick scan of the metal hand with his microscopic vision and noticing that the metal alloy that makes up the hand is "not yet discovered in 1970!" And so Superman finds himself at an impasse. So he decides the only way to not break his promise to the President AND still answer this futuristic cry for help is to take a faulty Time Bubble to the future...

(What do those kids from the future know about time travel anyways?)
So Superman ignores the sign, the warnings of his experienced time traveling friends and his own better judgement and takes the Time Bubble hurtling into the far future. Everything seems just fine until...

(Who could have possibly known?!)
Superman quickly gets over his rapid aging and gets down to business. Apparently he's been called to the future because the monetary reserve which houses over fifty trillion dollars worth of currency, has been broken into repeatedly and no one can seem to figure out how. So Superman agrees to be locked within the vault for a 12 hour cycle to discover who or what is stealing the money from the vault and how they're going about it. After a few hours, Superman suddenly sees something in the Pulsato-Energi fence (one of the vaults many security measures)...

(Umm, WHAAAA?!)
After narrowly escaping defeat, Superman hides in the rest of the Energi fence and waits out the creature as it consumes a large amount of money then disappears. Finally the 12 hour cycle is over and the vault opens again. Superman explains quickly that he found the 'thief' and needs some supplies quickly before the vault closes again. Befuddled, they comply and Superman goes to work in the vault with his 'paint-atomizer' on the currency in the vault and, locked inside once more waits for the creature to appear. Suddenly the creature appears and begins to consume money again and then randomly explodes as Superman explains, "I noticed it consumed only currency that was red, yellow, or orange -- the warm pigments of the color spectrum! I guessed that by tricking it into eating blue money -- one of the cool colors -- I'd 'poison' the thing! So I sprayed yellow paint on several types of blue coins!" With the threat neutralized, Superman begins to head back home in his Time Bubble when suddenly...

(Invisible Time Barriers are a bitch...)
Oh noes! Superman is stuck in the FUTURE! So, what the hell, why not do a little sight seeing? So he flies down to Earth and does a little sight seeing where he is suddenly attacked by almost everyone, so he hides. As he's hiding he sees a 'Wanted' billboard for 3 criminals dressed in his costume so, to avoid further attack, he zips into a museum and hides as a statue dressed in the 'traditional' wear of the 1970's. Suddenly the futuristic heroes known as the Multiple-Men show up and 'gift' superman with one power each using a gas. Superman passes out and wakes up in the 'observation pit' surrounded by doctors and scientists of the future...

(Suicidal Superman can no longer die...)

And the first issue ends there, but the craziness hasn't even BEGUN until the next issue brings us back into the story...

(Super Boredom!)
In a feat of sheer awesomness, Superman, between last issue and this one, got SUPER bored and decided to go hurtling even FURTHER into the future because, well why not? But as the Action Ace (a name for Superman that has now become my favorite) enters the even more futurey future Metropolis than the future Metropolis of last issue, he is apprehended and brought before the 'central-control complex' because he was caught using super powers in the city. As Superman asks why he is disallowed from using his powers, he is told a story of a super team trio called the Naurons who eventually gave way to infighting between the two male members of the team over the affections of the female member. As a result of their super fighting they wrecked the earths atmosphere and the rest is history. Superman agrees to comply with the edict of the future Metropolis and goes touring the city and checks the future 'Daily Planets' records to know what happened to Lois, Jimmy and Perry. On his way out of the Daily Planet, he spots a hover-vehicle going out of control and realizes he must break the law and save the occupants. As he leaps into the air he is instantly apprehended. As he protests, he is shown why his interference isn't needed in the first place...

(Automatic De-Solidifiers, what would we do without them?)
As punishment for breaking the law yet again, he is sent to the retirement planet of Diodn where he meets other retired super heroes who are no longer needed. But, three days later, the Mayor of Metropolis visits the planet to recruit the retired heroes to save the city. First the retirees are against it until Superman, whom they idolize, steps up and rally's them to help. As they fly to Metropolis they soon discover what the issue is...

(Super Deeds!)
After acquiring all of the elements he needs, Superman plays super smithy and forges an 'ultra-strong' metal alloy to cover the silo and, as it begins to explode, he spirals it up and out into space, thus saving Metropolis from certain doom. The issue comes to an end as the retired heroes wait for Superman to return...

(Super Emo...)
As Superman continues to drift through space and time, the final issue of this series opens with Kal-El coming upon five astronauts floating in frozen suspended animation. Typically, Superman would know just what to do in this situation, but he decides to take a different approach...

(You know, if you can risk a trip through the sun for the purposes of excitement, why not?)
So, the superbly bored Superman, decides that saving people in the usual methods are also boring, so he decides to take them on a trip through the nearest Rainbow sun. Anyone would have really. As the astronauts awake to see Superman, he informs them they have been stuck in suspended animation for over 5,000 years. As they begin to ask Superman where he's been for over 8,000 CENTURIES (yeah, that's how far he is into the future apparently) Superman get's annoyed with their questions, flies away, crashes the nearest ship so they'll find the astronauts, then decides to hurtle even further into the future...

(Why indeed?)
As Superman slows his crazed acceleration into the future, he comes upon Earth. Only Earth is now deserted and dead, every natural resource used up. Coincidentally, he has arrived just as two GIGANTIC robots from the 'Galactic Sanitation Department' approach the planet to dispose of it. (yeah) After Superman gets rid of the robots, he begins his biggest and most ridiculous feat yet...the feat of playing God...LITERALLY...

(Step One: Cut planet in half, Step Two: Super breathe on planet...)

(Add some rain, plants and animals...)
(Finally, kidnap and displace the nearest humanoid alien life-form...)
Suddenly a killer drone that has been circling the universe for centuries attacks Superman. Apparently this drone was sent out by a dying Lex Luthor who created it to absorb his consciousness, thus allowing him to live forever in the hopes that he could avenge himself on Superman someday. As Superman's unconscious body drifts through space, a robot finds him and revives him. Superman immediately seeks out the drone for round two, knowing a second encounter will kill him and even hoping it will. In the process, Superman get's swept even further into the future, his consciousness slipping back into various times of his past, reliving his childhood on Krypton and his boyhood in Smallville. Suddenly he finds himself back in the Fortress of Solitude...

(Super bullshit...)

And we have reached the end of this three issue arc of lunacy. It was a LONG re-cap but my GOD was it worth it. I've NEVER read such Superman insanity in my life so far and I'm SO happy this was my first experience with the legendary Superman nonsense storytelling from the 1970s. Oh I cannot wait for more!

Hope you enjoyed this long escape from my Green Lantern theories. This story was too amazing to pass up. Don't forget to follow the blog and comment! Thanks!