HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!

The meaning of Memorial Day is not lost on me. It is the day set aside to remember the uniformed men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice and passed in service to our country.

I make sure to acknowledge every Service Member and Veteran on this day. In an all volunteer Military, the simple fact that they’ve made the decision to serve means they’ve made the desicion to give everything, if they should. With the longest war in US history in Afghanistan recently, this thought had to have been forefront in the minds of many of the volunteers.

Michael R. Murray, VA-75, NAS Oceana, 1987

Michael R. Murray, VA-75, NAS Oceana, 1987

While my squadron was involved in a combat mission, I had the ‘pleasure’ of serving during peacetime. I was present for the death of a sailor during an accident, not involved in combat or training, yet it doesn’t diminish his efforts to make a better life for someone else at the time.

During World War II nearly everyone served in some capacity. In Vietnam there were less volunteers and we were drafted. There was no draft for Iraq or Afghanistan. The Military presence seems more segregated, or much less universal than it was, with a growing number of citizen’s having no firsthand knowledge of what it is to serve. That does not mean they are any less patriots, or proud, of their nation. Their ability to make their choice is the reason I, and everyone else, chose to serve.

My wife encouraged me to follow my passion with our participation in the comic book industry, as it were. If your passions lie in this direction, if comic books offer you a little respite and peace, your choice to serve has earned you anything you regularly subscribe to completely free this week. You may be living but I will forever acknowledge and honor your choice to serve, by doing what I can at this point in my life.

Thank you for your service! For those who have passed, I will never forget. For those who have not, I will be eternally thankful and appreciative.

 

Mike

Secret Wars has begun

secret warsMarvel’s Secret Wars has begun and things will never be the same again!

I know that’s an often used statement in comics, yet it looks to be true in this case as Marvel Comics, much like it’s counterpart DC, is shaking things up completely. Marvel is mashing everything together to relaunch, or redo, their entire line of comics. Out goes history. Out goes continuity. Out goes everything we know about anything we thought we knew about Marvel Comics and it’s entire line of characters.

Regular subscribers were invited to a launch party to celebrate the beginning of the end and you too can be here for some cool give-aways and fun times by simply becoming a part of our community.  I’m sure there will be plenty more opportunities as Marvel kicks off a new era post Secret Wars.

Last night featured food and much discussion concerning the future as there’s not much known about what’s coming or what Marvel’s endgame is.

We’ll find out!

FCBD is Almost Here!

Please join us for Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, May 2nd, 2015 at the Greenfield Garden Cinemas in Greenfield, MA for a very special showing of Avengers: Age of Ultron at 8:45 AM.

$7 admission will get you into the showing with a drink and popcorn!

After the movie, you are welcome to join us in the lobby from 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM, where we will be able to meet comics professionals:

This is as happy as Steve gets.

This is as happy as Steve gets.

Stephen Murphy (Puma Blues, Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

masztal_dog_sign

Mark Masztal (Dog’s O’ War, Nomad)

Casey Coller

Casey Coller

Casey Coller (Transformers)

kellustration

Mike Kelleher of Kellustration (Marvel Masterworks, Miracleman, Archie Archives, Little Nemo in Slumberland).

 

GA2

High Fashion: a Review of the Justice League’s New Costumes

Over three years ago DC Comics announced aesthetic changes to all of their top characters leading up to the release of the New 52. The alterations were largely subtle such as Flash receiving a more streamlined look, while Superman and Batman decided to behave like grown-ups and start wearing their underpants under their pants. A decidedly conservative move, but wigs were flipped regardless. Enter DC’s recent announcement, trotting out complete costume overhauls for six of their most popular heroes.

The changes are far more extensive than Jim Lee’s recent redesigns, and are bound to controversial. Given how rarely such massive changes happen in the traditionalist comic book industry, now seems like the perfect time for a Uni-Watch style rundown of each change. All grades are final.

 

Green Lantern

Green Lantern Redesign

Green Lantern Redesign

The Changes: Hal Jordan trades in his standard Corps uniform for what appears to be a green and black hooded coat. He also looks to have repurposed Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet, something I’m sure will raise his insurance premiums. It’s difficult to see much else, but I’m eager to know if he’s retained his conventional uniform under the jacket, or has simply gone full-on Guy Gardner and is now wearing something along the line of street clothes.

The Grade: Given the smaller, portrait sized portion, there isn’t much to go on, but if Jordan is now equipped as something of a crossover between Gardner and Simon Baz, we may very well be onto something. I’ve always appreciated the idea of the straight uniform for the Green Lanterns; it gives them a united appearance that truly lends itself to the idea of the Lanterns being space police. However, with 3,600 sectors, and at least 2 rings a sector, that gets repetitive fast. It’s appreciated when you have your Gardners, Jack T. Chances, and Graf Torens of the universe who make the standard uniform their own. Let’s hope that’s what DC has in mind. B+

 

The Flash

Flash Redesign

Flash Redesign

The Changes: By far the least revolutionary change of everything here, as most of the alterations center on variances of color more than anything else. Flash keeps his traditional red body, yellow boots, but darker shades of red around his limbs are employed to give the character a more dynamic feel. Probably wise considering all the running he does. The texturing is different on these darker, bloodier areas too, presumably for added punch. The old easily missed colorless bolt stripes from Lee’s New 52 design give way to a more pronounced, yet sleek, lightning motif, covering Barry Allen from head down. There are also some refinements to his boots (they appear to be sleeker, and come all the way up to his knees) and his earpieces.

The Grade: While I’ve always liked the Flash’s uniform, I’ve often felt the biggest issue standing between Allen and a trip to the big screen was his costume. It looks great on the page, but if you project the red suit onto a wall in a theater, it’d be hard to take anyone wearing it seriously. That’s a whole lot of red, and not much else. By throwing in some maroon, and sectioning off parts of his uniform with the lightning bolts, it’s now a little easier for me to picture Flash in a live action film. While I don’t endorse every case of publishers de-comicbooking characters for a national audience, I don’t think this is a step back for the Scarlet Speedster. B

 

Green Arrow

Green Arrow Redesign

Green Arrow Redesign

The Changes: Oliver Queen sheds his ultra-modern gear for something comparatively simpler. At the risk of coming off as an ignorant pale-face here, Green Arrow’s latest aesthetic endeavor seems to draw heavily off Native American inspirations. He now sports mukluk-ish boots, and an archer’s armguard (with Native American patterns) that –unlike the old costume- actually guards the proper side of his arm. Hardcore GA fans who miss his classic Robin Hood costume and facial hair will still likely not be content with the change, but he does appear to be growing out his mop. Call it even?

The Grade: This is probably my favorite change. I’m a fan simple, ergonomic designs, and compared to his last costume GA wins out by that measure. Those boots just look comfortable, am I right?  I am a little concerned how his quiver is set up for a lefty, and Ollie appears to be a righty in this image, but I’m sure it’s fine. What could go wrong? A

 

Batman

Batman Redesign

Batman Redesign

The Changes: The picture pretty much speaks for itself on this one. Batman will don a new armored batsuit once Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo resume the ongoing series following DC’s massive Convergence event. It’s hard to tell from the back, but it may be safe to assume Capullo spent a little too much time watching reruns of The Tick this winter.

The Grade: File this one away under “Probably Not Going to Matter Six Months From Now.” Scott Snyder routinely talks about his mission to make every Batman story bigger than the one that came before, and if the suit is any indication, the trend will continue this summer. How do you top the Joker’s vicious plan in Endgame? Well, RoboBat, apparently. Now one could argue that the random addition of robots may be a sign that Snyder is running out of ideas. It’s a solid point, but until Bruce Wayne whips out the Shark Repellant Bat-Spray allowing the Fonz to then jump over said shark, we ought to be good. It looks like the move is just for the arc and not anything permanent, which is good, because under the current art team Batman never looked better. Incomplete – See me after class

 

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman Redesign

Wonder Woman Redesign

The Changes: Between the spaulders, thigh-high boots and divine bracelets that now hold massive spikes (?!), Wonder Woman looks like a new…woman. The biggest change, however, is the lack of skin she’s displaying. Her breasts continue to be the size of her head, though. Still, progress!

The Grade: Traditionalists will not want to hear this, but this redesign -more than any other on this list- is most definitely a good thing. When I posted a review of Brian Azzarello’s first two volumes of Wonder Woman last year, I discussed how DC completely botched the New 52 as an opportunity to make WW look more like a warrior and less like a post World War II object. Granted, this new costume isn’t nearly as awesome as the “Divine Armor” featured in Azzarello’s story, but the new hotness is certainly better than the old busted. After unveiling Gal Gadot’s gear for Batman vs. Superman a while back, it’s obvious DC had some retooling to do in order to get the general public to take Diana Prince seriously. This is a positive step in that direction. Now if they could only do something about those boots. B

 

Superman

Superman Redesign

Superman Redesign

The Changes: Supes ditches his conventional House of El New 52 armor for street clothes. Jeans, black boots, and a shirt with a Superman logo now reign supreme in Clark Kent’s closet. Oh, and cloth over his knuckles to suck up all the blood, obviously.

The Grade: Remember the look Kal El featured in the first few stories in the Action Comics New 52 launch? Remember how it was pretty much the only good thing about Grant “This gun shoots psychic bullets” Morrison’s Action Comics run? Well it’s back, and rather than stop at the good part, DC opted to take things a bit further. Notice the black tint in his S logo? Combined with those knuckles? This is one hardcore Krypt-bro-nian we’re dealing with.  Although subtle, the changes bring up serious questions about Superman’s character going forward. Is he still a shining light for all of humanity? Or will he hit up dollar shot night rather than save the world from Lex Luthor? I bet the shirt has an Ed Hardy tag on it. D

Norman Lee

A terrible tragedy and loss!

God rest, Norman Lee. You are a great man who will be dearly missed. You will also always be in our home and hearts. May your family find peace!

POLICE: Unfortunately we were unable to find or recover Mr. Lee

Posted By Kevin Watler
Saturday, 7 March 2015 10:13 pm

Searches for Norman Lee have been stood down. According to police, “The currents in that area are strong and it is unlikely that we will make any recovery at this stage.”

Police Chief Inspector Brad Ebanks said, “We put all assets available to us, both law enforcement and privately owned. We thank all those who assisted us in this time of need. Unfortunately we were unable to find or recover Mr. Lee.”

The 47-year-old male visitor is from Massachusetts, USA. He was snorkelling with his wife off the Reef Resort, East End and became separated approximately 250 yards off shore. “The spouse returned to shore, but her husband was not seen. A report was made for assistance and a search commenced,” said Mr. Ebanks.

Mr. Lee was wearing white beach shorts, clear goggles and black and blue fins. He was not wearing a shirt.

The Joint Marine Unit (Police, Customs and Immigration) responded with 2 vessels. Three vessels from the Department of Environment also responded. The Marine Enforcement Unit, Cayman Helicopter, and volunteer divers also joined the search. Other water sport operators in the area also assisted with wave runners.

At 3:00 p.m. yesterday (Friday, 6 March), following another full day of extensive searching, the marine commander, Inspector Yearwood, based on the weather conditions, length of time and the extent of the search, moved the search into a search and recovery.

At 6:00 p.m. the search was stood down from an active search, to calls of sightings of interest. Marine enforcement vessels remained in the area.

Operations were being staged from the Morritt’s Dive Shop. Some 12 volunteer divers have assisted the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service. Searches carried out were led by the Joint Marine Unit

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