4:07PM: Uncanny X-Men # 111 Mindgames! I'm not going to jerk off to it, but this is definitely better than the last issue. It's got one of those moments of curiosity that nerdy comics fans can love, the moment when Wolverine, through sheer-just-being-really-mad rips solid steel chains in half, and the art is pretty fantastic. Most of all, it's kind of great that when Magneto shows up at the end it's one of those moments where he spins around in a chair and stands up out of the shadows. It's just great, because you sit there going, "Wait a second." So Magneto purposely hoped into a chair and pretended to be playing with the computer keyboard (the computer is clearly off) and just waited for the X-Men to show up so that he could spin around in his chair and act all nefarious?
The main villain in the story is some guy named Mesmero, whom I've never heard of, but I guess he's a mind-control dude. Wildly divergent powers though-he can grab Phoenix, she of the powers of the stars and moonbeams in a California minute, but the Beast gives him serious trouble? Why?
So, either way. Not too shabby. I can't imagine re-reading it, as it's a bit low on the "Wow, this is a really solid, innovative comic book that changes the way I think of the medium" nor is it "A clusterfuck of excitement, like a night of sex with a thousand dicked ball of love and ambrosia." It's more just a good old fashioned single, in the 4th inning. Keep hitting singles, you can win the game. But it's not going to be a game anybody watches on ESPN Classic.
4:04PM: Isn't the Beast supposed to say goofy shit all the time? He's the "stars and garters" guy right?
3:59PM: I just stood up to stretch my legs out and my wife pointed to a huge bowl full of tiny snickers and Hershey kisses, and said "Who is amazing?" I told her she was, because I enjoy a good little piece of the mainstream candy on the occasion. Number 111, page 381, let's continue.
3:53PM: Uncanny X-Men # 110 The X-Sanction! This is another fill-in issue, this time with a guy named Tony DeZuniga, who leaves a bit to be desired. Most of that bit is related to the desire for it to be John Byrne doing the pencils. The rest of the bit is related to the desire to have never read this comic, as it's completely awful, and it sort of makes me hate myself.
It starts with a baseball game, and then there's a big fight in the Danger Room. Otherwise, who gives a shit, and then Wolverine wants to "love" Jean over a game of pool and beer. Cyclops is all like no way dog, ya'll can suck a dick.
Somebody in the comments said things will get better with the next issue. I pray to god you're right.
3:39PM: Uncanny X-Men # 109 Home Are The Heroes! Okay, this is getting to me a bit better. After the last few, I seriously was thinking I might get this done a lot quicker, as it had just become completely stale and i'm only just now reaching the half-way point. Instead, this issue quiets it all down and somebody finally tells Cyclops that he's a total fucking softcock and that if he wants to be a mopey prick, he should do it in his room. I'm fully aware that he's going to stay a softcock for life, because I've read enough X-Men comics in the past two years to know he doesn't take the "quit whining" advice, but it's still pleasant to see him get called out on it. What surprises me the most here is that these characters seem so familiar, even though this is all new information to me--the look that Byrne has for them is so much how I'd have imagined this to be--unlike Cockrum's stuff, there's also a certain level of variation in the emotional quality. Rage no longer looks exactly like fear, there's things like concern showing up in people's faces. Interesting.
I can't really say anything nice about the whole nudist subplot of Storms--it seems that we're supposed to accept that she is some kind of ignorant, but beautiful, savage who can't be bothered to understand the silly white man's ways. But this only comes up when it involves a situation where she's going to get naked? Really? That's ridiculous.
3:33PM: Aw, Colossus, what a supreme dick maneuver--Banshee finally gets off his ass to make it clear how much he wants to get a piece of Moira, she responds totally in kind, and now he's sandbagging on their fucking sexy romantic picnic. Peter Rasputin, you are an asshole. Especially when Nightcrawler is begging for a wingman.
3:31PM: Everybody is wearing a clothes that have these weird designs on them. Designs that must be done by--well, not computers, but they don't look drawn. It's really garish and awful. I mean, these clothes are bad enough, but gawd, this is terrifying to look at. I'm not handling it well. And the coffee intake is starting to make me feel a little sick.
3:28PM: I keep forgetting to mention how weird it is that Storm tears off her clothes the second she gets home. Every time. Now, it seems she talks to her houseplants as well.
3:15PM: Uncanny X-Men # 108 Armageddon Now! The end of the whole alien storyline, and my first experience with something a friend had warned me about. A three page monologue/love letter/bizarre plot description about Phoenix, who's powers still seem to be "whatever is necessary." I'm not going to transcribe the whole thing, I'm sure enough people know these things, but oh god did I not like it. This whole overbloated seriousness to the whole thing--a "tree of life--with xavier its lofty crown and Colossus its base....Tiphareth. Child of the sun, child of life, the vision of the harmony of things."
It's like reading about somebodies weird, imagined religion, and then realizing that it just keeps going, and going, and it just isn't interesting, or fun to look at---it's just ponderous and weird and I don't get it. Not what it says--oh, no, that part comes across like a brick through plate glass--I don't get what the turn-on is here. The fighting, shit, I get that. The stupid simple ramblings on racism, the soap opera. I know people like that. But this weird, silly bullshit? What does that do? What does it serve? How does it..ahh. It probably isn't designed for this kind of ingestion. If you've ever spent a lunch break at work reading all kinds of weird, disconnected articles on Scientology, you know what I'm talking about. How the first few, the ones about Fair Game, and the ones about Xenu, how they're funny because they're so fucked up and awful. But if you just keep going, it doesn't matter how fucked up and awful they are--you just get numb to the weirdness. You're so used to the freakshow screaming at the logic, the common sense in your brain, the part of you that knows "This is all bullshit" that you just shut down. And then you look up, and it's been an hour, and you're just...fucking ashamed of yourself. Ashamed that you spent so much time with the volume at the same level, because now things that are quiet, and things that are subtle--you can't grasp them the way they should be grasped. You're like the guy who watches Die Hard and Predator so many times that he can't calm down for something that's quiet. Something that doesn't explode or scream.
That's what this feels like. It feels like the volume of pretension never goes down, and that volume was deafening to begin with. Hell, it's probably exactly what it feels like if you're reading these right now. Like this is just too goddamned much. And it is. That's the X-Men.
3:12PM: Corsair, the sleazy guy with the headband is the father of Cyclops? How did Cyclops not know that? Something tells me I've got a Spielberg style "estranged fathers" story coming up. That's great. Just great.
3:08PM Have to say, Byrne is doing fine. No disrespect to the Cockrum, but the characters look more dissimilar now--Cyclops and Wolverine don't have the same exact body type, etc. Facially, there's a little more subtlety. I'm missing those scream faces a bit.
3:02PM: Jesus Christ, is that supposed to be Jimmy MotherFucking Man From The Plains Carter? "The accuracy of youh data?"
2:53PM: Uncanny X-Men #107 Where No X-Men Has Gone Before! So this is another balls-pinned-to-wall fight comic between the X-Men and these Lilandra alien warrior people, all of whom look pretty much like the Legion of Super-Heroes, and share some of their powers. Excepting the earlier stuff about racism and complaining heroes, I'm not seeing a lot that's any different than anything else in super-hero comics. THese are well-drawn Cockrum sequences, I can give it that, and although Claremont's dialog is way wordier than necessary, it makes sense in it's own weird way--but what else? This is just fighting. People were getting this excited about waiting two months to read about a shitload of fighting between the X-Men and a bunch of new characters they'd never seen before? Why? There's none of the soap operatic romantics, Wolverine hasn't tried to get in Jean's pants, nobody has dropped any "muties." It's all just a bunch of...well, whatever this is. Fighting. The possible end of the world. Yawn. This is it for Cockrum. That's too bad. I like his scream faces. There's too many of them, but they were getting to be kind of fun to look forward too.
This Constantines album, Kensington Heights, it's pretty good. I like it, while I acknowledge that may be because it's just so damn simple. But it's nice.
2:52PM: Coffee number 9.
2:50PM: So huge green fish like monster wearing underwear just showed up. Name is Ch'od, and I think he or she is hitting on Nightcrawler.
2:47PM: Wolverine stole some dudes clothes, okay, but did it have to be that dudes? He's wearing an alien's spandex suit. That's just completely disgusting.
2:32PM: Uncanny X-Men # 106 Dark Shroud Of The Past! This is a fill in issue drawn in 1975 by a guy named Bob Brown, who actually died three weeks after the issue was eventually published. (According to a note in the letter column.) It's a pretty terrible story, although the art isn't that bad. It's just a big Danger Room fight between the X-men and a phantasmal old X-Men team, and it's totally fucking boring and brings nothing to the table except to continue the trend of me disliking the Professor. He's just such a colossal prick to everybody, for no reason other than that he isn't enough of a grown up to keep his mouth shut. Out of all the issues, this is my new least favorite one.
One little caveat that I found was that these issues were coming out on a bi-monthly basis back in 77, which means that, after all the nonsense in 105, people who were keeping up with this comic had to wait a whole four months for the next installment. Considering how much people nowadays are complaining about late-shipping comics and all that, it certainly doesn't seem to be that new of a trend. After all, this fill-in issue, which is what would have showed up without warning after waiting two months for the next installment in the space adventure storyline started in 104/5, the same complaints and anger must have been there. I'm sure that's not new information to anybody, and in a way it isn't to me either--it's more that I've always assumed that late-shipping books was always a problem, but I'd never come across a specific example.
2:20PM: Uncanny X-Men # 105 Phoenix Unleashed! There's your exclamation point, and a whole slew of new people to meet--some asshole called Firelord, another one of those characters with god-like powers who is completely gullible. Eric The Red turns out to be somebody named Shakari, which I can't help imagine is pronounced like the singer, and it's off on another space adventure.
I don't really understand Phoenix's powers--so she's--well, what, exactly? She just seems to be a "whatever Claremont needs" kind of character. Is your little stargate broken? She can fix it. Is it dark? She can make light. Fly. Anything. She's horny for killing too, I imagine eventually she'll have a hard time fighting that off. I had to go back and look at the issue to see if Wolverine was in it. I don't think he said a word the whole comic. Neither did Storm, Colossus or Banshee.
Okay, they did, just a couple of panels. Still, this whole thing is Professor X freaking out and screaming, a huge amount. Again, there's nothing funny here. It's all really convulsive seriousness.
2:17PM: Definitely Claremont. Cockrum just told him to "Shut up an' run!!"
2:16PM: There's Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum, in the comic book. I think it's Claremont, he's telling Dave what to draw.
2:14PM: Jean Grey and Misty's apartment in Greenwich Village would cost at least 10 grand a month if they were renting. Even in 1977. They don't seem to have jobs, so I imagine Jean is using her powers to steal or something. It makes the apartments on Friends and Seinfeld look like fucking hovels in comparison.
2:10PM: I always think it's so boring when aliens just look like human beings with weird shit attached to them. These Lilandra people look like humans with fins on their heads--five fingers, regular height, musclebound structure--although they do have one goofy looking motherfucker with six arms and multiple joints. He's looking directly at the reader, whereas everyone else is looking off to the right. It's always kind of striking when comics do that-when somebody seems to be staring up at you from the page. It makes me want to know more about weird guy.
2:07PM: Ew, i spilled a little coffee on this page. There goes the whole Mint condition!
1:53PM: Uncanny X-Men # 104 The Gentleman's Name Is Magneto Another no punctuation title, although this one could have benefited from an exclamation point. This time around, it's another racial slur, this time somebody calls Banshee a "mick" which is like--i'm not offended, but seriously, what's the goddamn point of that? Nowadays, yeah, no kids read comics, but seriously, back in 1977, kids were--oh well. I guess the argument is that mick isn't as offensive--but that's not the point, it's a slur. Don't use them. There's no reason for that, other than to amp up the "seriousness" of the whole thing, and these assholes are wearing spandex and a guy doesn't want to rent them a boat because-well, fucking hell, these are the same jack-fucks that have destroyed an airport and a couple of other buildings on live tv. If you run a boat rental business, it's not racism to not want to rent to the X-Men. It's the fact that these assholes are probably going to destroy your boat, and they're not going to pay you back for it, because they're going to be on the way to another funeral, etc, and so on. And then they take the boat anyway, and then they destroy it, and they weren't even on their way to save the world, they were just checking out a secret prison run by their housekeeper. But hey, throw some nasty words into the boat rental guys mouth, and his very real concerns become labeled racist. It's not racist if a bunch of terrorists with a well-documented history of untold destruction show up and say "what the fuck man, rent us a boat, we had a deal." Screwballs.
Magneto was a baby? A little baby. He got turned into a baby, and now this Eric The Red guy, who still seems to be the whole fly in the ointment guy, changes him back to being grown up and angry. Okay?
What's this Starjammers shit? I know that one character from the Grant Morrison story, she's Xavier's ex-girlfriend or something, but who's the dipshit with the bandanna? He looks like a sleazeball.
1:49PM: More of the fucked up pages. That's really obnoxious.
1:47PM: Something is seriously wrong with the coloring on the page where they introduce Magneto. It's readable, but it's really fucked up.
1:40PM: Uncanny X-Men # 103 The Fall Of The Tower The first story not to have a punctuation mark in the title, not that it matters. Leprechauns! Running around, saving the day, being Leprechaun-y, but more Lucky Charms then those horror flicks starring the guy from Willow. The best stuff here is anything involving-hold on, sandwich time. Hey, it's cut in half. I feel like a little kid.
Okay, so the leprechauns are great, obviously. I'd rather read about them. The other thing that's nice is that it turns out that when Colossus threw Wolverine over that wall, he overshot and threw Wolverine over the castle. This was the first time that there was anything silly in this entire volume, and instead of it being played for laughs, it's played all serious. This comic takes itself way too goddamn seriously. Also, the tower? Never falls down.
1:37PM: My wife is home and I asked for more water and a sandwich. She agreed, and is not angry or disappointed that I think this is taking too long. Hey, she took away the old water bottle! What a nice lady.
1:34PM: Wolverine calls Storm a "dumb broad" and Colossus throws him over a castle wall in response. I fully acknowledge the sentiment, but for chrissakes man, you're in the middle of an all-out conflict--settle your disagreements about his chauvinistic language later. And why forgive Storm so quickly--she only just finished bawling her eyes out about three minutes ago.
1:30PM: HEY, leprechauns! Yes, that's the best thing so far! Leprechauns saving Nightcrawler! Don't screw this up Claremont. Oh shit, I bet they got powers too.
1:21PM: Uncanny X-Men #102 Who Will Stop The Juggernaut? The short answer is that no one will stop the Juggernaut, especially not Cyclops. He flat out refuses to leave Jean Grey's bedside, even though she is awake and seems perfectly fine. Professor X shows off a remarkable temper about this, calling Cyclops a "insufferable cur" which you don't hear that often, unless you live in England and are worried about the Black Death. Everybody gets the shit beat of them, it turns out I was wrong to think the Juggernaut was a new character, and for some reason Wolverine doesn't ever shove his claws into the multiple parts of Juggernauts body that are exposed by his costume. Like his eyes. Just stab him in the eyes, right? Whatever, there's probably some reason he can't do that.
Storm spend this entire issue CRYING. In a corner of the same room the other guys are getting beat to holy fuck. Just crying. Cry cry cry cry, until the last page, where she gets knocked the fuck out in one panel.
This Islands album isn't bad, but i'm not ready to call it good yet. I still haven't heard anything by them studio style that's as good as their live show.
Man, I'm going to need to eat lunch soon.
1:19PM Going to start a new post each 200 pages, just to keep it from being to unwieldy on the maintenance tip.