COC Spotlight: SuperMansion and The League of Funny

For today’s Creator-Owned spotlight, we will switch from comics to cartoons(I had to make the COC acronym work).

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Without further ado, let’s take a look at the new Robot Chicken style animation that Crackle has to offer with SuperMansion. This show was created by Matt Senreich and Zeb Wells and keeps me coming back for more every Thursday.

This show centers around a fictional group of superheroes known as the League of Freedom. The team is government funded but usual finds itself on the chopping block for budget cuts. Many of the episodes center around the Bryan Cranston voiced Titanium Rex trying to herd the other cats (some literal) on his team in order to impress the government looking to retire his team.

His team consists of the man out of time American Ranger voiced by the hilarious Keegan-Michael Key, grim and gritty gadget using Black Saturn by Tucker Gilmore, Heidi Gardner as the aforementioned feline Cooch, Tom Root as the debt-ridden strongman Brad, and Zeb Wells as the artificial Jewbot formerly known as Robobot.

This original series uses some familiar comic book archetypes but the creators add fun twists to each hero to show how messed up they are. As a result, hilarity ensues.

As of yesterday, episode 5 was released on Crackle, and since every episode is free, you have absolutely no reason not to give it a watch. This show is as well put together as Robot Chicken and has the same sick sense of humor.

I don’t want to spoil this for anyone  but some of the funny moments include a 1940’s minded American Ranger having a chance encounter with the President, Black Saturn stalking a supposedly reformed villain, and the mutated feline Cooch trying to earn her GED.

The more I think about it, this show is so funny because of the way the writers mix the mundane everyday life with these over the top super characters. Whether it be an education setting, a conference, or a trip to the supermarket, there is no limit to the hijinks the team can get into.

Episode 6 comes out next Thursday on Crackle. I’ll be there. I recommend you all catch up so you can experience every episode before then.

COC Spotlight: the First Rule of Survivors’ Club; Let’s Talk about Survivors’ Club

Ah, lovely October. The weather is getting cooler (hopefully), everything tastes like pumpkin, and everyone is looking for good horror.

That’s right, in between mainlining as much pumpkin spice as I can, I love to fill my quota for good horror leading up to Halloween.

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The talented Bill Sienkiewicz

With that in mind, I picked up Survivors’ Club from Vertigo. The creators on this new series feature Lauren Beukes and Dale Halvorsen on writing, and Ryan Kelly handling art duties. It also has Eva De La Cruz on colors, Clem Robins as letterer, and cover art by Bill Sienkiewicz.

Let’s get right down to the meat and potatoes of why this series is seriously scratching my Halloween horror itch.

First of all, this is a great first issue that does everything it needs to set up the series and hook readers. It lays out a nice mystery while simultaneously introducing us to some of the key players.

The heart of this issue lies with Chenzira, a woman who had a past encounter with an arcade game that strikes me as a more sinister take on the Last Starfighter (80’s movies at their finest) back in 1987. The people she has gathered are all listed on a chess club they were never a part of and have each survived one form of horror movie scenario also during 1987.

Through the issue we only really discover that Chenzira fought an evil arcade game and another character named Simon who may have needed the help of an old priest and a young priest, and whatever gets pea soup out of furniture.

The rest of the club has a flashback alluding to their experience when exposed to the mystery of the series which is depicted in an amazing looking splash page showing each characters reaction to a new online game that may be evil. Kelly really knocks this scene put of the park.

There is one other character, who was on the list but doesn’t join the others. He is the only other character in the book who you get a longer view of in this issue and perhaps sets up another mystery for later in the series.

The end of the issue also has some nice twists and turns that have me hooked for coming back with issue 2. The team does an amazing job in creating this creepy new world hearkening back to the 80’s horror of my formative years. I thank them for that.

The writing is really engaging and each character comes off as unique if not a little messed up. As I mentioned this story is amazing and while I have never read stories by either writer, I will be sure to keep my eye out in the future.

The art really sells this story as well. From Kelly’s facial expressions, to the unique qualities of each characters features, it helps to show us what personality each character has.

The coloring by De La Cruz also works well to make it seem like these characters are in a horror movie while reading. I also noticed some scenes, especially some of the more shocking or surprising seem to have a hue or tone to all the images, which really grabbed and held on to my attention.

Clem Robins helps round out the team by using some creative caption boxes to emphasize certain aspects of scenes. This team really gels well together and the final product turns out gorgeous for their efforts. You also have to give credit to Sienkiewicz for an eye catching cover that stands out at the shop.

If you are a fan of old horror movies and looking for a scary tale leading up to Halloween, head to your LCS and pick this up.  I avoided many spoilers and there is a lot more to this book that you need to experience for full effect.

Marvel’s Black Knight: I’ll Take Swords for a Thousand

As I mentioned in my last post, I would be discussing my love of the Black Knight today. For those of you thinking this is about the Martin Lawrence film, you may want to leave now to avoid disappointment.

At this point, it would be fair to point out that I have never gravitated toward the big heroes or the most popular ones either. I also seem to have an affinity for awesome helmets, which brings us to today’s subject.

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That's one fine helmet

Dane Whitman, aka, the heroic Black Knight. Whitman was introduced in Avengers 47 and would fight the Avengers in issue 48 due to one of those classic misunderstandings. Dane inherited the mantle of Black Knight from his villainous Uncle Nathan Garrett who had been an Iron Man villain. With his dying words Garrett asked Dane to do good to make ammends for all he had done to tarnish the Black Knight legacy.

I now own issue 48 but this all happened 20 years before I was born and well before I got into comics. No, my love of the Black Knight begins in K-Mart of all places.

Years into my collecting days, I was at K-Mart with my mother when I noticed a comic book section near the book and novel racks. Now, I know the 90’s get a lot of flack for gimmicks, and foil covers, and the speculator market, but I’ll tell you that one issue caught my eyes. This one:

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Ooooo shiny

Full disclosure, this was my first Avengers comic I bought. This issue may have been well into the Gatherers arc, which the Black Knight played a big role in.

What can I say about this character. He wore a cool Avengers style leather jacket and his design was awesome. From the amazing helmet I previously mentioned to the dark color scheme and striking red bird in circle logo. And what of this knight’s sword. A lightsaber!

If you read my previous post on the Force Awakens, a lightsaber was more than enough to excite this Star Wars fan. But what of the story? In this issue, the character is shown as a competent leader and respected member of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes despite just being an average man with a sword.

He also did something this issue that I respected even though he wasn’t completely under his own control. He lashed out at Cap as the cover shows.

I know a lot of people love Steve Rogers, but as I mentioned earlier, I never gravitate toward the big guns. Also Cap has that Superman quality I don’t care for. You know, where everyone acts like they worship him and defer to his leadership.

It’s ok, I learned to like Rogers during Brubaker’s amazing run, even though Bucky will always be my Cap. (sorry Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers)

In this issue Dane fights Cap while mentioning that he lords over everyone as mister high and mighty. He basically vocalized all that I thought of Cap at the time. As a result, I was back at K-Mart often and ended up collecting the rest of the Gatherers arc.

Through the years I have collected all Black Knight that I could from Heroes for Hire to the excellent Captain Britain and MI:13. But more importantly, I have pre-ordered the new Black Knight series by Frank Tieri and Luca Pizzari. It is worth noting that Tieri previously wrote Black Knight in the New Excalibur series which I also bought at the time.

The image at the top of this post is from issue 1 of the new series and I strongly recommend you order this series from your local comic store (lcs) or online subscription service. While the lightsaber is gone, Tieri will be writing a story about the most famous weapon of the Black Knight, the cursed ebony blade, and how Dane Whitman is addicted to its power as shown in the recent Original Sins issue 2 short story he wrote.

Luca Pizzari has reworked the classic design into a new take and the story will take place on a medieval style environment, Weirdworld, as introduced in Secret Wars. The art looks great and I can’t wait to see Pizzari cut loose in an environment far different than the regular Marvel U.

This new series presents a world of opportunities (pun intended), and will be able to tell edgy stories with a character that is not one of the marquee players of the Marvel Universe. I can’t wait till November as I am sure much like the Black Knight and his cursed blade, I will be addicted to this new series.

Check back here in November for my thoughts on issue 1.