Superman #64: Metropolis Mailbag

superman-64With Christmas rapidly approaching, let’s look at some great comic books dealing with the holiday. Our first stop is Superman #64, which has the man of steel trying to make some Christmas miracles for the people of Metropolis.

Dan Jurgens sets up this story by having Superman at the post office reading all the mail that gets sent to him over the course of the year.

Although much of the letters he receives are praising him for what he has done to help the world, many of them of how he inspires everyday people. But some of the letters are asking for his direct assistance. So Superman does the only thing that’s natural to him.

He helps people. Whether it be helping reunite elderly Holocaust survivors or hitting up a certain wealthy Gotham City business-man to fund an event for poor city children and their families, complete with Santa Claus and a flying reindeer sleigh.

The story is a perfect reminder of why Superman is such a great character. He may be the most powerful person on the planet but what makes his so super is how dedicated he is to helping others.

Marvel Team Up #127: Spider-Man Teaches The Watcher The True Meaning Of Christmas

Yes, you’ve read that right

Marvel Team Up #127 is a Christmas story. It’s the night before Christmas, and Peter Parker is bringing presents to a holiday party with Aunt May and her geriatric friends. To get brownie points, he keeps telling the ladies there that they look like Elizabeth Taylor, who was a fashion idol to old ladies in the early 1980s. Much to his chagrin, these silver foxes wind up forcing him under the mistletoe.

Mr. Chekov–not the Star Trek navigator but an old beatnik–is very sad that his granddaughter Bette is missing. She was supposed to be in attendance but has been out of communication, much to her grandfather’s dismay. For whatever reason, Uatu the Watcher–a large alien that basically watches the Earth to record its history. He’s feeling the magic of the season, and has appointed Spidey to find Bette and save Christmas.

As an aside, I love looking at advertisements in old comic books. The best is a goofy Marvel comics subscription ad with Magneto, Doctor Octopus and Doctor Doom out Christmas caroling. What is even more amazing is the deal they are offering. Six dollars for an annual subscription. It gets even cheaper; the third and any other subscriptions you buy are only $4. That’s amazing.

It’s off to Brooklyn to find her. Apparently she’s gotten involved with a drug dealer named Buck who has a bunch of cocaine that they stole off of the mob. They’re on the run, and both Spidey and the mob have found them. While being chased, Bette drops a brick of cocaine into the snow, which leads to the mob gunning her down. But the whole scene looked like it was out of Woody Allen’s Annie Hall.

This is turning into the worst Christmas Eve ever, with Spider-Man standing over Bette’s dying body, scolding the Watcher for not doing anything to help save the woman’s life. Uatu decides to finally get involved in a way that didn’t interfere with his “observe only” life mission, helping stabilize her condition and directing Spidey to the nearest hospital. Better survives and is reunited in a touching scene with her grandfather.

The last page of the book is a monologue with Uatu describing what happend and how humbled he was that he could finally participate in the human condition, to the point that he was crying. It’s something when you can make a creature whose soul duty is to observe everything get emotionally involved. This issue was written by J.M. DeMatteis and it’s a great example on how good a storyteller he was.

This issue was a fun holiday tale and helps get you in the holiday spirit. After all, there are only 54 shopping days till Christmas!

The Lobo ParaMilitary Christmas!

I bet this is one Christmas special you might not know about. The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas tells a holiday story Lobo story. Adapted from a comic by Keith Giffen, this adaptation was made by Scott Leberecht for the American Film Institutes’s direct studies program.

The film is very straight forward, if not a little grisly, with Lobo being hired by the Easter Bunny to take out Santa Claus, allowing the rabbit to take the spot as most beloved holiday figure. Does Lobo succeed in taking out Jolly Saint Nick? Watch the video to find out.

Editor's note: Not recommended to actually do this.

Do you know who played Lobo in this short? None other than Andrew Bryniarski, who played the role of Leatherface in the early 2000s remakes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas may not be everyone’s cup of tea during Christmastime, but it had a certain element of fun to it. This is the antidote to the sickness that comes from watching too many cutesy animals.

12 Gifts of Christmas: Wonder Woman Blender

Wonder Woman is a hero to the world, but is she a hero in the kitchen? We will never no for sure, but she can at least help you. Kitchen Aid has this really cool Wonder Woman themed blender/mixer that makes an awesome conversation piece for your kitchen.

Unfortunately this might be a little too difficult to get for a last minute gift, as its only available in Brazil. But if your seeing a Wonder Woman fan after the holidays….

12 Gifts of Christmas: Sam Malone Jersey

Two things are widely believed:

  1. Cheers is one of the greatest sitcoms of all time.
  2. Wearing sports jerseys of obscure, legendary players is awesome.

How about you combine both of these into a Sam Malone jersey? In the show’s back story, before Sam was the bartender/owner of the place where every one knows your name, he was Red Sox pitcher Sam “Mayday” Malone.

His career was talked about both being brilliant and terrible on Cheers, but this jersey would make an awesome gift. Even Yankees fans would have to agree how awesome it is!

12 Gifts of Christmas: Comic Book Drawers

Comic book storage can not only be ugly, but it can be difficult. Having a stack of long boxes to sort through to find Dazzler #23 can take forever.  But with some of the more elaborate comic book drawer boxes its a lot easier. These boxes are designed like filing cabinets, so you can pull out the drawer to find something you’ve filed away.

This makes finding comics a lot easier, something that your comic collector friend very grateful for.


12 Gifts of Christmas: Walking Dead Compendium Volume 1

If you know someone who has been enjoying The Walking Dead on AMC, this is a great reminder to them of how much even more awesome the original comics by Robert Kirkman are.

The Walking Dead Compendium Volume 1 collects the first 48 issues of the comics series in a handy single volume. This is a huge book; imagine a phone book filled with comics.

You doubt me? Amazon weighs this bad boy in at 5.3 pounds. That’s about the average weight of a Pomeranian, and this book is a whole lot more fun.

12 Gifts of Christmas: eReaders

As the whole entertainment industry is moving towards digital distribution, comics are no exception. If your looking for a big fancy gift, get that special someone an eReader. Whether it’s an iPad, Barnes and Noble’s Nook or Amazon’s Kindle, they will be able to enjoy comics–digitally.

The one thing to keep in mind is that this is kind of a gateway present…buy purchasing one of these, your committing the recipient to the format and that they will have to purchase their content.

But if they really want it, go for it.

12 Gifts of Christmas: Classic Thundercats

Thundercats, hoooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Not only is Bandai making the current style of Thundercats, but they’re releasing oversized and super articulated versions of the classic characters, starting with Lion-O and Tygra (the one Thundercat that always eluded me as a child)!

They’re super posable and would make any office awesome. They come with weapons, including Tygra’s whip, the Sword of Omens (in two sizes) and the gauntlet! Best of all, they’re at the same scale of the original toys so they won’t look too out of place with the rest of your Thundercats collection!

12 Gifts of Christmas: The Looney Toons Show

The new The Looney Toons Show might just be the best adult animated series on television these days. The crew over at Warner Brothers Animation took a classic property, mildly twisted it and have gold on their hands. Gold I tell you!

There are two video volumes of the series that you can purchase and both are recommended. This newest incarnation features Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck primarily, as the two are roommates in Bugs’ suburban Los Angeles home. There’s a definite bit of an Odd Couple dynamic between the two of them that works. The pair interacts with the rest of their animated pals throughout the city, including Speedy Gonzales who operates the local pizzeria, their extremely inconsiderate neighbor Yosemite Sam, and their really whiny and weird pal Porky.

The humor of this show is a lot like that of the Shrek and Pixar films, where its funny for kids but there is a lot of sophisticated humor. A perfect example of that is the Bugs-Lola Bunny-Daffy Duck love triangle.

So yes, get this for people as a gift. Whether you buy them the DVDs, or send them a single episode from iTunes or Amazon digitally. They will really thank you for it.

12 Gifts of Christmas: Disney Store’s Marvel Selects Exclusive Avengers

If you know someone who likes the Avengers, stop by your local Disney Store. They’ve teamed up with Diamond Select Toys for an exclusive line of Marvel Select figures featuring the Avengers!

What’s so special about them? Marvel Select is a line of high end collector action figures that are super detailed. This line features four Avengers who were heavily featured in some of the recent Marvel films wearing their classic gear. They also come with really elaborate stands and backdrops. Thor can stand victoriously on a huge boulder and Captain America comes with a base and background to recreate the iconic John Cassady cover.

They hit it out of the park with the Black Widow and Hawkeye figures. Not only do they come with a base of building wreckage and a dismantled Ultron, but they come respectively with a tiny version of Ant-Man and Wasp! The detail on Wasp is amazing; she’s sitting on an arrow!

12 Gifts of Christmas: Will Eisner’s PS Magazine The Best of The Preventive Maintenance Monthly

Are you ready for Christmas and the rest of the gift giving holidays? Don’t worry; I’ve put together 12 things that would make awesome–make that ridiculously awesome–gifts for the comic book fans in your life. These are all new for 2011 items that everyone will love.

Will Eisner’s legacy includes tons of sequential arts reference material, but did you know that he spent most of his career in the 1950s through 1970s working for PS (Preventative Maintenance) Magazine doing comic strips explaining how to fix things. This era of his career started during World War II where he made instructional comics for American military forces.

This book has over 200 pages of his best work from this period. It’s great for the comics historian or gear head you know.