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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Must Read! The Gift Comic Book By Raven Gregory

 I can't remember what Wondercon it was when I met Raven Gregory. All I know is that Wondercon was still held at its true home within The Moscone Center in San Francisco and it was before the T.V. series Heroes.

I do remember coming by his booth or table by chance. Back then, I usually hit up Artist's Alley like a tornado, speeding up and down to check out all the wonderful original comic art and yap it up with all the artist whether I recognized them or not. My first stop was usually Ron Lim's table, and then it was off to scour for those key issues that I'm normally on the hunt for.

Anyways, by chance I ended up at Raven Gregory's table, which neatly displayed a set of comics. I don't even remember how or why I ended up in front of his table. I most likely would have just breezed on by if it weren't for the cover art to those comics lying on his table.

Those comics Raven was promoting that day was a comic series he had created and called, "The Gift". I remember liking the title name immediately and asked Raven what this was all about.

He, of course, was more than happy to tell me, explaining that it was about an ancient being who wandered the earth looking for a select few humans to bestow each with a different gift (superpower). It was an interesting concept I hadn't heard of back then, and each comic covered a different character who receives a particular power granted by the Ancient One.

Raven also mentioned that he had just been picked up by Image Comics. The comics he had on hand that day of The Gift were the independent first printings he had self-published himself under Raven Gregory in 2003. They weren't the Image reprints.

I congratulated him and was about to wander off when he dropped the bomb and asked if I wanted to buy a few copies. I was hesitant. I had a wad of dough, but for original comic art and key issues I was on the hunt for.

But I relented and bought issues 1-10, which is all he had available at the time (there's 14 issues in the series). I got Raven to sign the comics I got and went along my merry way.

When I got home, I wasn't all that interested in reading them, but I figured I spent the money on these independent comics so I might as well give them a looksie. I'm glad I did.

The first issue blew me away, and I went through the entire set by the end of the night. At the time, it was truly one of the most freshly original and brilliant comics I had read in a long time. The story was captivating and the artwork by Tyler Kirkham was absolutely astonishing.

Since then, The Gift comic has had cult success, but I've always thought it was a highly under-rated comic series that should've been bigger. I remember it would've made an excellent T.V. series, but then Heroes eventually came out and squashed that idea.

However, it's still a must read comic series that I highly recommend. Right now, the easiest to find is in trade paper back form. The Image Comics reprints can still be found and a few of the first printings as well. 

Mycomicshop has a few of the first printings of this awesome comic series. Also I've found some on Amazon as well. Be sure to check them out and grab these good reads and enjoy

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Avengers and X-Men Movie Crossover? It Seems Even More Likely!

As many knew and began speculating after The Avengers forever changed the way comic movies could be done by crossing over various characters into one big epic sha-bang, it seems even more likely that an X-Men and Avengers movie crossover may be in the works.

Evan Peters
It's well-known that Fox Studios owns the rights to the X-Men characters, and they and director Bryan Singer have been working to create the biggest X-Men movie epic to date with the sequel to X-Men: First Class. However, it seems that crossing over the first trilogy cast with the new cast won't stop there in their plans for bigger and better things.


Quicksilver image
Yes, just recently Bryan Singer has tweeted that Evan Peters (American Horror Story) has just been added to the X-Men Days of Future Past cast as none other than the mutant speedster...c'mon now, I know you know the answer...Quicksilver!

What the...? Didn't Joss Whedon recently say that the first draft to Avengers 2 had a brother/sister act, and didn't he just confirm that Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch are indeed the baddies for the Avengers sequel?

Yes, Whedon sure did! You can check out more info about Joss Whedon spilling the beans about that at the link. 

The recent Bryan Singer news of Evan Peters playing Quicksilver in X-Men Days of Future Past is creating a firestorm in the realm of comic geekdom. It sure looks like this move is an attempt for Fox Studios and Marvel/Disney to connect their comic book universe together.

Which would be nothing short of awesome, might I add, and it would make perfect sense as well. After all, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch first appeared in the X-Men comics as part of Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver image
The brother and sister even up against the Avengers a few times before turning in their baddie badges and joining the good guys, becoming one of the most popular and recognized members of the Avengers team. So introducing Quicksilver in the new X-Men movie coming out next year and crossing the character over into the Avengers makes perfect sense to this comic fanboy!

However, this could go the other way also, and because Bryan Singer is using Quicksilver just may cause Whedon to have to abandon the idea of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver causing all havoc for Earth's Mightiest Heroes in 2015. That could very well happen, but I doubt it. 

I think this has been planned since the Hulk and The Avengers smashed their way into the box offices last year. Shortly after The Avengers broke box office records last year, X-Men franchise producer Lauren Shuler Donner and husband Richard Donner excitedly talked about wanting to do a studio cinematic crossover between the two franchises with Crave online, stating:

"I would love it. I would love it. I personally have close ties to Marvel because of Kevin Feige, because Kevin worked for me. But to take our characters and mingle them in the way that they were written, yeah, absolutely.”

[You can read the full interview at Crave online by clicking the blue link]

So to think that this mega comic book movie crossover and its potential of being truly a ground breaking move in the world of comic book cinema hasn't been conspiring behind closed doors would truly be stranger than fiction.

Daniel Cudmore Colossus Pic
To catch up on even more of the cast to the mega epic X-Men Days of Future Past, Daniel Cudmore will return as Colossus (thank God). The character is one of my favorites from the X-Men comics, and I truly hope they do the love/romance between Kitty Pryde and Piotr Rasputin (Colossus) like the comic has.

Marvel's Warpath picture
It also appears that Warpath, the little brother of Thunderbird, will be played by Booboo Stewart. Concerning the comic storyline of Days of Future Past, this decision to add the character to the new sequel seems more like Fox Studios move to introduce new characters they have the rights to instead of adding a character that makes sense to the story.

Warpath is never mentioned in the X-Men Days of Future Past story by Chris Claremont and John Byrne in the Uncanny X-Men #141 and142 comics. [Looking for high grade copies of these bronze age key issues? Be sure to click on link on where you can find X-Men #141 and 142.]

Booboo Stewart picture
And i doubt that Booboo Stewart will be looking as cool as the comic book character. It's a given that we won't see the character in his iconic comic book threads, and judging from the pic to the left, homeboy will seriously need to get roided up.

Seriously though, it looks like we'll probably see Warpath introduced when he's just a youngin' in Days of Future Past before he becomes the badass and hulkin' mutant who stomps up a storm Hulk-style like in the comics. To be honest, I'd just rather not have the character be in it if he ain't gonna even remotely look like the comic character. Start roiding up Booboo!

Bingbing Fan
Another new character that has recently joined the ranks of the X-Men sequel cast is Blink (Clarice Ferguson), and will be played by Bingbing Fan. Err...maybe she's adopted by White folks in the movie or has a White father/Asian mother? 

Well, it seems that this Chinese actress, most notable in China and Taiwan, also appeared in Iron Man 3, but only for the Chinese release of the movie.
X-Men Blink pic
As for her character, Blink seems to be taking Nightcrawler's spot. Blink can teleport herself and others at will. She can also teleport partial objects and use them as projectiles. The character of Blink was created in 1994, more than a decade after the Days of Future Past storyline was created. 

Alrighty, more characters that are being added to this cast that are just being added for the sake of adding new characters are Sunspot and possibly Bishop (rumored). 

Adam Canto picture
The character Sunspot is part of The New Mutants and X-Force, and was introduced into the comic world in 1982. He will be played by Adam Canto, and the character is Brazilian mutant with the power to channel and absorb solar power. 

 I do like the character, and if done right, I
Marvel Comics Sunspot imagethink he may be visually cool to watch, especially if they make him look like he does in the comics when he gets his powers on like in the picture. However, when it comes to the actual Days of Future Past storyline in the comics, this character being in the movie just seems like extra fodder. 

May be even overkill. I'm expecting his role to be pretty minor, and we'll probably get to see him take down a Sentinel. Notice that I didn't use the plural form for that sentence.

X-Men Bishop image
As for the character of Bishop, he actually does make a bit more sense to be added into the movie. No, he's not in the actual Days of Future Past comic story. 

The character was created in 1991, a decade after Claremont and Byrne's famous X-story. Nevertheless, as you comic and X-Men fans know, Bishop is from a dystopian future, and half of the Days of Future Past story takes place in a dystopian future as well. 

Omar Sy pic
As we know of right now, Omar Sy is actually cast in the epic X-Men sequel. However, it hasn't been confirmed who he will play. Of course, many believe that the hot French film star will play Bishop, and I truly hope he does. Bishop is a fan-favorite in the X-Men universe and a pretty popular one at that.

Whew! That's a lot it seems, but even more so, it seems that bigger things may be at play behind the scenes concerning the 2014 X-Men Days of Future Past and The Avengers 2 in 2015.

Are those groundbreaking peeps at Marvel, Disney and Fox planning a X-Men and Avengers movie crossover? I'm starting to think so myself, and judging that the new X-Men sequel will introduce Quicksilver to the big screen a year before Avengers 2 hits theaters makes the idea even more plausible. 

HIGH GRADE ALERT! CGC 9.4-9.8 X-Men #141 & 142 Located!

Uncanny X-Men #141 & #142

Days of Future Past Storyline

Published Jan 1981 & Feb 1981
Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: John Byrne 


 Key issues located:

mycomicshop: Both these key X-Men issues are located at mycomichop at NM grades. There's a nice CGC 9.4 copy for Uncanny X-Men #141 available with other lower and mid-grade unslabbed copies as well. You can click right here to check out #141 for sale.

For Uncanny X-Men #142 Part 2 to the Days of Future Past storyline, there's a CGC 9.4 copy that will go up for auction Jun 1st next month. Would be a good idea to click the link to check out this bronze age key copy.

ebay - As of late, ebay has been getting an overload of X-Men #141 and 142 auctions. There are a huge amount of unslabbed and CGC copies. If you click on the blue ebay link it will take you to the ebay search results for X-Men #141. I see a few CGC 9.8 and 9.6, as well as lower NM CGC copies. 



The same can be said for Part 2 X-Men #142 on ebay. There are quite a bit of CGC high grade copies available. If you're on the hunt for this issue, don't hesitate to clicky right here to check out the ebay search results for this late bronze age key issue. 





WHY THESE ISSUES?

Well, I don't like saying I told ya so, but these two bronze age key X-Men issues have gone up in value and demand in the last few months. Yes, it largely has to do with the X-Men sequel being based off the Days of Future Past storyline contained in X-Men #141 and #142.

Even more so, the cinematic version directed by Bryan Singer seems to becoming more epic than ever. Both the original X-Men cast  of Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Halle Berry (Storm), Patrick Stewart (Prof X), Ian McKellen (Magneto), Anna Paquin (Rogue), Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde), and the new X-Men cast of James Mcavoy (Prof X), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), and Nicholas Hoult (Beast) will come together to bring this fan-favorite story to the big screen.

The closer the movie gets to its release date, the hotter and more these comics' values seem to be getting. I advise way back when it announced that the new X-Men sequel would be based on these X-Men issues to go out and snag them. 

It's still not too late, however. The movie is gearing up to be really exciting and the proof is in the pudding with people paying well over guide for these two bronze age keys as of now.

These key issues are good investment comics to have whether you're an X-Men fan or not. And with recent news from Bryan Singer about a new cast member added to X-Men Days of Future Past, the anticipation and excitement is getting even hotter among comic fans and for these issues.

Honoring The Fallen On Memorial Day!

While some see Memorial Day weekend as little much than an extra long weekend to get away for a quick vacation or a time to catch all those wonderful savings at retail stores, Memorial Day is a holiday to honor those men and women who have sacrificed their lives so we can carry on doing what we do best.

I talk a lot about comic heroes and superheroes here at Total Comic Mayhem, but the men and women of our armed forces who have died in service defending my rights and yours are just many of the real heroes who truly deserve our thanks in this country. 

soldier at memorial grave pic
So I'm going to give thanks to them on a personal level. Because of their sacrifice, I have the right to write whatever non-sense I choose to on Total Comic Mayhem. I can voice my opinions freely, no matter how right or misguided they may be. 

There are a lot who forget just how important freedom of thought and speech are. Without it, would all my favorite comic creators be able to create all my favorite comic characters? Probably not.

I can buy whatever comic book I wish, as many as I want, sell them when I want, burn them if I want (though that would just be plain crazy), and pursue a life as good as I want it to be or not be. They defended my right to vote and to be represented in government (though I still wonder who's really representing who nowadays in Senate and Congress). However, I wholeheartedly give thanks to the men and women of the U.S. armed forces who've died defending my rights and my freedom. Our rights and freedom!


300 movie scene
If you're a fellow American, I surely hope you're thankful too, and don't just think of them as an afterthought on your way out of the camp grounds hoping to beat traffic. Say a prayer for them if you're religious, say a toast to them, hang a flag in honor of them, put flowers next to their graves, but most of all, as the line in the movie 300 goes, "Remember us." That's the best way to honor them: Remember them!

Enjoy and be grateful for your freedoms. They died so we could have them.

Have a Happy Memorial Day everyone and be safe!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Are You Ready For A Black Johnny Storm In The Fantastic Four Reboot?

The Human Torch image
I was excited when rumors first started circulating about a Fantastic Four reboot. The originals weren't bad. They weren't great either, but I was hoping a rebooted Fantastic Four movie would finally give the fans the kind of movie they really wanted to see.

Michael B. Jordan pic
However, upon learning the casting rumor that Michael B. Jordan, actor in the hit movie Chronicle by Josh Trank, who is directing the FF reboot, is a strong candidate to play Johnny Storm The Human Torch, I shook my head on that call. How would that work, I asked myself. Is Sue Storm going to be Black as well?

Apparently, the wonderful and brilliant minds in Hollywood are planning to make Johnny Storm the adoptive or half brother of Sue Storm if Michael B. Jordan is cast. Uhmmm...okay.

Many comic fans are already voicing their opinions about this magical change in skin pigment to one of the most iconic Marvel characters in comics. After all, the Fantastic Four was the first comic ever launched under the Marvel Comics namesake (before they were Timely Comics)

While some view the idea as a "politically correct" move, others are retorting with "who cares?" as long as the actor captures the essence of character. The latter cry out that those who oppose this casting decision are racists, but I highly disagree with that claim.

As a comic fan, I would not like to see a non-Black actor cast as the Black Panther on the big screen, and I love the character and have been waiting forever for him to debut in a movie. I still hope Black Panther gets his own solo movie. Still, if a white guy were cast as T'Challa, aka The Black Panther and king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, I don't think too many Black comic fans would be pleased with that call, and I wouldn't blame them.

I wouldn't like it they changed the race to Luke Cage or the Japanese mutant Sunfire in a movie either. I'd especially shake my head if they casted a white dude to play The Falcon in next years Captain America: The Winter Soldier. 

Why is that? The Falcon is the very first African-America superhero in comics ever. He's part of history, and it would be wrong to do that. 

For the record, I wasn't upset when they cast Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. The fans who did make an outcry over it did not know that The Ultimate Nick Fury in the comics is actually Black and was modeled off of Sam Jackson.

I can even see why Hollywood decided to cast a non-Asian actor to play The Mandarin in Iron Man 3. After all, the character is one of the most prejudice depictions and stereo-type of Asians (The Yellow Peril mentality), and I believe that decision was made so they wouldn't hear a huge outcry from the Asian community.

Yes, Ben Kingsley is a brilliant actor, but let's face it: That call really had to do with the magical sound of Ka-Ching! Marvel and Disney did not want to alienate the Asian market.

When it comes to casting a Black actor to play The Human Torch in the Fantastic Four reboot, I think that call is still based on the Ka-Ching sound!

I can only see this as a blaxploitation move. Let's be real here. There aren't that many Black, Asian, Latino, or Middle Eastern superheroes in the world of comics. That's the truth.

So when it comes to movies based on comics starring minorities, there won't be too many, and we all know Hollywood. They want the Ka-Ching from everyone, so mixing up the race pool and casting Michael B. Jordan for Johnny Storm just might bring in more black people to take interest in the Fantastic Four reboot and drop the Ka-Ching!

I think creating more cool non-White superheroes in comic books would be a better solution than completely changing the race and identity of an already existing iconic comic character for a movie.

Iron Man 3 twisted the villains so terribly in the movie that they had no resemblance whatsoever to the actual characters in the comics, and that was highly disappointing. It had nothing to do with race either.

What it has to do with is depicting the comic characters we fans love and hold dear as accurately as possible on screen. If it's not done correctly, why even bother doing it all?   

I just don't see Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm. I don't really even see Anthony Mackie as The Falcon. Oh, and I was never convinced with David Carridine being a Chinese Shaolin monk in the Kung Fu t.v. series.

Funny thing is, how come there wasn't more of an outcry from the non-Chinese population over that one?    

Friday, May 17, 2013

Amazing Spider-Man #8 CGC Graded 6.0 FINE

Ah, the first Amazing Spider-Man I'm pulling out of the vault. I got this comic a few months ago on ebay. It's only a 6.0 CGC Graded FINE Amazing Spider-Man #8, but that was all my budget for that month allowed me to afford (sad face)!

Amazing Spider-Man #8 CGC 6.0 image


No, really, as I've been saying for quite a while now: Any Amazing Spider-Man in the 1-10 issue range from the first volume is a great comic investment choice. Early ASM issues go up like clockwork for the most part, and the demand for the Webhead seems to only get stronger and stronger as more time passes by.

Especially when it concerns Steve Ditko spidey issues. Since he is the original Spider-Man comic artist and co-creator, it's not a wonder why his work on the title are so highly sought after. Ditko also penciled and inked most of his work on The Amazing Spider-Man comics as well during his run. No easy feat there!

On this particular issue, however, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko both did the artwork for the Fantastic Four back up story. I believe Ditko did the inks for Jack Kirby's pencils. So, two legendary comic artists in this issue.

As for the key issue element to this silver age comic? It is a silver age key issue comic for sure. However, it's a minor Amazing Spider-Man key issue, as issue #8 has the first appearance of The Living Brain

I know: Not the most menacing supervillain in the Spidey mythos and certainly not a detrimentally important character within Peter Parker's world. Actually, I don't think I listed this issue in my important list of Spider-Man comics to get.

If you're a Spidey fan and wondering what Amazing Spider-Man key issues to get, you should visit the link and check out some of my suggestions for sure.

Even though issue #8 didn't make the list of important key issue Spider-Man comics, this CGC 6.0 Amazing Spider-Man #8 is still a treasured piece in my comic collection, as well as an investment comic. 

If you want to see more treasures from the "Vault", be sure to visit the links below, and thanks for tuning in.

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Where To Buy CGC Comics!

CGC Graded Comics images
In the comic collecting world, there has always been two divided camps when it comes to CGC graded comics. Some people dislike them and see no need for them (wait 'till when they try to sell their comics), and those like me who absolutely find the service invaluable and a great asset to comic investors.

This isn't an article about the advantages of using third party grading companies like CGC or PGX. If you want the details on that, you can read my other article Are CGC Comics A Good Investment?

This article is exactly what the title states - Where to buy CGC Comics, and I'm going to give you some of the best places with a wide selection of CGC comic books for sale on and off the web.

Your Local Comic Shop:

Your local comic shop may very well stock CGC graded comics  for sale or sell them by consignment. It never hurts to check with your local comic dealer. However, there are comic shops out there that don't deal with CGC comics. 

I have three local comic shops in my blessed area. One has quite a few CGC comics on consignment but very little key issues, and the other has a lot of key issues but very little CGC comics. The third one has very little silver and bronze age comics and no CGC. Arghh! The irony!

Comic Book Conventions:

X-Men #113 CGC image
If you're in an area that has decent comic book conventions, there may be quite a few dealers there that sell CGC comics. Come to think of it, if you live in an area that's crazy about comics, you're local comic convention will pretty much have everything comic book related.

Start going to comic conventions! I highly recommend it. It's a great place where you can buy CGC comics, as well as meet comic artists, cosplayers, and find key vintage comics. I got this X-Men #113 CGC 7.0 at the San Jose Toys and Collectibles Show last year for a pretty good price.



eBay

Amazing Spider-Man #8 CGC image
Can you believe that in this day and age there are some places in the U.S. that doesn't have a local comic shop? It's true, and comic fans stuck in these areas usually have to resort to using ebay.

The mighty eBay is one of the best places where to buy CGC comics of all kinds - Golden, silver, bronze, copper, modern CGC comics are all over this place. It's also a great place where to find key issue CGC comics.

I highly recommend buying CGC comics on ebay. I mainly look for key issue CGC comic books, and try to refrain from buying unslabbed or non-CGC or non-PGX comics.

Sure, I'll buy unslabbed key issues on ebay from time to time, but only if they provide a boat-load of photos so I can see that the comic is close to the grade the seller is advertising it as. Nevertheless, it's the CGC graded comics I mainly buy on there, so I know exactly what comic grade I'm paying for.



mycomicshop: 

The internet has made finding and buying comics so much easier. Now there are many online comic shops like mycomicshop in which any comic fan around the world can get what they're looking for.

mycomicshop is one of the big online comic shops where you can buy CGC graded comics. Aside from having them in stock or on consignment, mycomicshop also has periodical auctions for many key golden, silver, bronze and modern key issues that are CGC graded or unslabbed.

mycomicshop does have a large selection of comics and many are CGC graded. You can find a lot of rare hard to find key issues here, but the hot books do go fast.

This is one of the best online comic stores so be sure to visit this link to check them out.
 

ComicLink:

ComicLink is another huge online place to buy comic books, with a huge selection of CGC graded books. Many of the comics there are consigned by both comic dealers and comic collectors alike.

Like mycomicshop.com, ComicLink also has ongoing yearly auctions for many CGC and non-CGC graded books. ComicLink is a hotbed for both sellers and buyers, so it's best to check there often.

Many important CGC key issues go extremely fast there. If you seriously looking where to buy CGC comics, ComicLink is one of the top places online to look. Check them out and make an account.
  

ComicConnect: 

ComicConnect is an online comic shop, auction, and exchange like ComicLink and mycomicshop.com. There are quite a bit of CGC graded comics there, but not on the grand scale of ComicLink or ebay or even mycomicshop as well.

It's still a great place to get CGC books, and the site is fairly easy to navigate around to find exactly what issue you may be on the hunt for. This place is definitely worth bookmarking and a place to check up on when it comes to finding graded comics.



Of course, there are a few other places to look if you're wondering where to buy CGC comics. The places on this list are my favorite places to hunt when it comes to buying CGC comic books.

If there is a place you highly recommend buying CGC comics from, don't be shy! Be sure to let your fellow comic fans know by commenting below.