Friday, October 12, 2007

VideoBlogs & Great Marvel Comic Covers

LazyConversations… I’ve been talking about it for what seems like forever and I’m sure 99% of the folks nice enough to read this blog forgot about it when I mentioned it some months ago. Anyway it’s so on track that I’m about ready to release the first episode. Episode? Yup, they’re live action. VideoBlogs you might say. They’ll be posted on and/or YouTube. I haven’t gotten that far yet as editing these puppies are way more work than I imagined. Nevertheless it’s a blast for an amateur filmmaker wannabe like myself.

The first few LazyVideoBlogs is going to feature a bunch of folks from the amazing web comic collective: Ac-ti-Vate. Go over there and check it out… great web comics pushing the medium of the web forward instead of jokes about video games.

I noticed the covers Joe Quesada is doing on his and J. Michael Strazynski’s Spider-Man: One More Day and while it’s cool to see them trying to bring back the old wonderfully designed covers of the Silver and Bronze age, they’re not quite there.

Great covers are a long lost art in today’s comic medium. Never Judge a Book By Its Cover but in the case of early comics it was the covers that sold the books. The covers told a story, they shocked you and made you want to pick up the book. Today it’s just a barrage of pin-ups and posters.

I did a quick Google search for “Great Marvel Comic Covers” and found this awesome site packed full of great examples of what covers once were. I was happy to see my all-time favorite issue; Amazing Spider-Man #26 was among the 4 Color Wonders by the likes of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko & John Romita Sr.

Amazing 26 is that book I always look to as the perfect example of comic storytelling. The “Man in the Crime Master’s Mask” storyline Lee and Ditko packed tons of action, Peter Parker problems including everything from a missing costume, Betty Brant & other assorted gal problems, Flash Thompson being a jerk, Aunt May pampering, J.J. Jameson flip-outs, Green Goblin suspense, underworld crime power shifting, Spidey getting his ass kicked twice and a potential secret identity crisis… all packed into 22 pages of classic Steve Ditko goodness.

Getting back to the cover here’s exactly what I’m talking about. Who the hell is the crime master and how is he able to beat Spider-Man? And what the hell does the Goblin have to do with it? That alone would make any red blooded comic kid tug his mother’s shirtsleeve begging her to pick up the book for him.

Meanwhile check out this site full of Ultimate Spider-Man covers like this one.

Huh. Assorted Spidey sticking to various New York City Landmarks. Riveting. Too bad they tell you nothing about the really great Brian Michael Bendis storylines inside.

I don’t know why this shift has taken place. I’d imagine that cover art is now basically stockpiling art to be used on any future issue they want.

So hey, stay tuned for the first LazyComixVideoBlog and enjoy those old covers… I defy you not to turn one into your desktop wallpaper! I did… good ol’ Jack Kirby on Captain America #106.

Thanks for reading.

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