Sunday, April 06, 2008

During the week, we introduced you to the first registrants in the Infinite Wars Fantasy League! If you have not yet signed up then you should do so immediately! The Fantasy League provides a simple platform of interaction with the Infinite Wars by using the results catalogued in our many reviews! By following submission guidelines you're on your way to adopting a team!

The Fantasy League offers us a great opportunity to acknowledge sponsor websites from across the web. Chronicle Chamber is just such a site, featuring the makings of a great hub for the scattered masses of Phantom fans across the internet. Chronicle Chamber promotes all major Phantom-related publications, most prominently from Australia, Scandanavia, and America.

Today we take a look at some of the back catalogue featuring members of The Ghost Walkers! Remember, you too can become a part of the fun by enlisting in the Infinite Wars Fantasy League! Blogger membership is not required, and readers new and old are encouraged to join in and promote their corner of the internet. Thus far no one has scored any points, but in the next installment in our team spotlight, the first points shall be awarded!

Strange Tales #111 (August 1963)
"Face-to-Face With the Magic of Baron Mordo" Lee/Ditko

Just about everyone at one point has pondered -- why isn't Dr. Strange starring in a solo series? Despite the moderate success of Brian Vaughan's recent mini-series, the character continues to be one of those rare gems that is much beloved, but fails to sustain a readership sufficient to sponsor a regular on-going series.

Co-created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko; Strange is generally the overlooked collaboration between the two legends, overshadowed by the enduring success of the amazing Spider-man. Not surprisingly the characters have had a long association and today regularly appear at the centre of the Marvel Universe in New Avengers. Strange is set to be one of the seventies superstars thrust into the spotlight of the Skrull Secret Invasion, but before you read that, why not travel back to the swinging sixties, where the Doctor lodges his first consultation with his villainous counterpart: Baron Mordo!

The Phantom #972 (February 1991)
"Masked Marvel" Falk/McCoy

As far as forgotten heroes in the American mainstream, few are more prominent in the world than The Phantom! Though Lee Falk's work is dwarfed by the accomplishments of his contemporaries; men like Will Eisner and Stan Lee; his character's exploits endure in countries like Australia, Sweden, Norway, and India!

Pre-dating other early costumed heroes, (like Superman), the Phantom remains a vital part of comics history. Baring heavy influence on Bob Kane's Batman; the Phantom defines many of the transitioning establishments from pulp heroes, to the superhero genre. Wearing a colourful costume, trademarked insignias, and a history that dates back to the 1500's; the ghost who walks is a true superhero legend. Check out this Falk/McCoy classic from 1948!

Marvel Knights: Spider-man #1 (June 2004)
"Down Among the Dead Men" Millar/Dodson

Depending on who you talk to, you might be led to believe the past fifteen years have been the worst in Spider-man's illustrious history. I certainly believe the time erasing exploits of 2008's Brand New Day has been the lowest period the character has ever experienced, but that's not to say I agree with the grim assessment of the past.

In 2004; Mark Millar teamed with superstar artists, Terry Dodson and Frank Cho, for a curvacious spin on the web-slinger that delivered everything BND failed to. In his trademark one-year whirlwind-tour style, Millar removes the character from the heavy mystic trials of J. Michael Straczynski's core title, to tell a classic tale with a modern sheen. The best of Spidey's villains come together in a clash that remembers everything great about the character(s), without the droning repetition and malaise of Brand New Day.

Marvel Zombies #5 (June 2006)
"Marvel Zombies" Kirkman/Philips

Of course, though comics like Brand New Day reflect pretty poorly on Marvel's modern editorial, that's not to say they don't have their virtues. As late as the 1990's there was always the chance Galactus might come sniffing around for crumbs in a fly by incursion of Earth.

While some folks claim event fatigue; I personally value greatly the modern intelligence to recognise the scope of certain characters and their placement in the arcing saga of the Marvel Universe. Galactus is just such a character, whose presence now warrants something of the scope of Annihilation, Ultimate Secret, Heroes Reborn, or... Marvel Zombies? Yes; the series that brought us an endless catalogue of gimmickery and variant covers actually revolved around the poignant question -- what if Galactus met someone hungrier than he!?

Civil War #3 (September 2006)
"Civil War" Millar/McNiven

Though the Infinite Wars strive to offer a wide range of subjects and informations, it's still a very subjective website. Drawing upon interests reflected by my humble collection, there are certain sections of the readership totally under represented, even as I do my best to represent the zeitgeist of today.

Ms. Marvel highlights one of the seventies legacies to be back in the fore, sponsored heavily by a seventies-loving Brian Bendis. Along with characters like Luke Cage and Spider-woman; Carol Danvers has been thrust into the A-list as a result of Civil War division in the superhero community. A prominent figure in the pro-registration team, Danvers became one of the Mighty Avengers to join Tony Stark in official operations. Though the character is yet to feature in prominent fashion, why not check out the event that propelled her into the spotlight, and the rankings of the Infinite Wars!


Dougy said...

Thanks for the feature on The Ghost Walkers. I've just added a blog to CC as to my I picked the characters I did (other than the fact I think they are cool ;) )

I not long ago read the first Dr. Strange Essential and I have to say it was some of the best comics I've ever read. He's not officially my favorite Marvel hero equal only to Spidey.

Speaking of Spidey, I know you are boycotting the book and I understand your reasons but honestly, you are missing some damn good comics. Issue #555 was simply brilliant! Amazing art and writing!

Mike Haseloff said...

Y'know, Bachalo is far from my favourite artists, but some of his preview pages are the first to get any real interest out of me.

Right now I can honestly say the Boycott is incidental, because I'm a poor man, who wouldn't be buying this stuff anyway.

With so much competition, and so few dimes, it just isn't rating anywhere near enough to reach my spidey-senses.

Right now, looking in from the outside, it feels to me like Spider-man has become dull, repetitive, and failed to live up to the promise of more focused, classic Spider-man.

That said; the perspective is always appreciated!
It might not turn me around straight away, but it's good to know that people are enjoying it! (Despite slipping sales).

I have to admit, I'm one of those jerks who loves Dr. Strange, but has jackall to back that up. :-p


Dougy said...

This is actually my first exposure to Bachalo and I really dig his work. It feels the tone of Spidey perfectly.

My reading history of Spider-Man isn't as lengthy as some but I don't think it's dull at all. Sure, it repeats some themes; someone impersonating Spidey, Spidey being accused of murder and so on but it does it in a fresh and interesting way. Hell, if I was worried about ideas being re-used I'd not have read the Phantom for 16 years. Lee Falk himself used a number of themes several times.

Reusing ideas is fine by me as long as they are done in a interesting way, which, IMO, they are in BND. The satires are MUCH better than the period between The Other and OMD and really have that Lee/Ditko feel to them.

But still, that's just my opinion...