Posted in X-Men

Generation X Holiday Special by Joe Harris and Adam Pollina

Generation X Holiday Special Cover by Adam Pollina
Generation X Holiday Special Cover by Adam Pollina

Title: Generation X Holiday Special – “Yes, Jubilee, there IS a Santa Claus,” a.k.a. “The Nanny & Orphan-Maker Christmas Kidnapping Extravaganza”

Writer: Joseph “Joe” Harris

Penciller: Adam Pollina

Inkers: Morales, Faber, Leigh, Wong and Wiacek

Colorist: Paul Tutrone

Letterer: RS/Comicraft/Liz

Editor: Frank Pittarese

Editor-In-Chief: Bob Harras (Boooooooooo! Boooooo on you sir!)

Summary:

A mutant boy named Matthew has trouble with bullies, who torment him until he uses his powers to repell them and they call him even more of a freak than before. You may say he’s “special,” but he’d probably disagree.

Matthew thinks kidnapping Santa Claus will solve all his problems, but the truth is his real problem is with Orphan-Maker and Nanny, who want to celebrate their Christmas tradition of making a mutant child into an orphan. Luckily, Generation X and Santa put a stop to their plans.

Initial Thoughts

For the holiday season it’s time to talk about one of my favorite X-Men teams created by one of my least favorite writers of all time.

Before Marvel sold the movie rights to the X-Men and ended up ruining everything with “House of M” and “Decimation,” they developed at least one teen X-Men group for each decade. Starting in the 1980s, there were the New Mutants, the 90s had Generation X, and the early 2000s started off with Academy X until Marvel stupidly depowered 98% of their mutant characters. From the mid 2000s to this year they burned through several different young X-Men groups that were lucky if they ever managed to make it to double digit issues before getting cancelled. Hopefully, Jonathan Hickman’s “Dawn of X” titles will finally fix the damage.

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Posted in Superman

Superman Vol.2 Annual #6: The Feral Man of Steel by Darren Vincenzo

Superman_Annual_Vol_2_6
Superman Annual #6 Cover Artwork by Mike Mignola

Title: Superman Annual #6 – The Feral Man of Steel, a.k.a. “The Super Necessities”

Writer: Darren Vincenzo

Penciller: Frank Fosco

Inker: Stan Woch

Colorist: Darren Vicenzo

Letterer: Albert DeGuzman

Editor: Mark Carlin, Chris Duffy, and Frank Pittarese

Cover Artist: Mike Mignola

Summary

Initial Thoughts

Once upon a time, DC Comics used to tell stories outside of their regular continuity. They called these “Imaginary Stories.” Unfortunately, the variety was a bit lacking as many of them were simply stories about who Superman would marry or who Batman would marry.

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Posted in Making Out

Making Out #11: Ben Takes a Chance by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out #11: Ben Takes a Chance by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)
Making Out #11: Ben Takes a Chance by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Ben Takes a Chance by Katherine Applegate

Summary: Aisha found out first and she told Nina who had to tell Zoey, who let it slip to Lucas. Now Ben’s big secret isn’t a secret any more and they’re all waiting to see what will happen when…

Initial Thoughts

Ben in the title and it opens with a Zoey entry. We’ll all be lucky if I don’t break into bullet points within the first 50 pages. Or maybe we’ll be lucky if I do.

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Posted in Batman

Batman #181: Beware of Poison Ivy by Robert Kanigher

When you got that itch
It takes more than calamine lotion to deal with her…

Title: Batman #181 – “Beware of – Poison Ivy!”

Writer: Robert Kanigher

Penciller: Sheldon Moldoff

Inker: Joe Giella

Cover Artists: Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson

Summary: The first appearance of Poison Ivy in “Beware of Poison Ivy!” Poison Ivy challenges the reigning female villains in Gotham City. Batman and Robin are on the move to stop her, but they’re both at risk of falling victim to her charms!

Initial Thoughts

It’s springtime, y’all! A time of renewal, of birth and change. It’s a time… for Poison Ivy.

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Posted in Making Out

Making Out #10: Nina Shapes Up by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out #10: Nina Shapes Up by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)
Making Out #10: Nina Shapes Up by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Nina Shapes Up

Front Blurb: At first Nina thought Ben was fooling around with Aisha. But then she discovered the truth: Ben’s facing a decision that could change his life for ever and she’s scared he’ll leave unless… Nina shapes up. [Dove: That is literally fuck all to do with this book. That’s a recap of the last book, and a throwaway line in this one.]

Back Blurb: They’ve all grown up together on a tiny island. They think they know everything about one another… but they’re only just beginning to find out the truth.

Nina shapes up because she’s desperate to keep Ben’s love. She’s terrified that if he regains his eyesight, he won’t need her any more. And if Ben can see Nina, will he still love her? [Dove: as before.]

Initial Thoughts:

This is where everything starts to blur together for me. The titles, beyond Zoey Fools Around, Nina Won’t Tell, and Aisha Goes Wild, don’t really have much meaning, to be honest.

I’m going to tell you right now: Nina does nothing that comes close to shaping up in this book. But in her defence, she wasn’t unshaped to begin with.

Don’t get me wrong, I continue to love the hell out of these books. I just find the titles to be word soup. $name $verb $thing [Rosey: The blurbs and titles are so inaccurate for the most part. I get that they had a formula they want to stick to, but surely they could have come up with things that actually reflected the book?] [Wing: I wonder if the person writing the blurbs wrote them early on, without having read the books and only a synopsis of the overall series.]

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Posted in Making Out

Making Out #9: Zoey Plays Games by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant!)

Making Out #9: Zoey Plays Games by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)
Making Out #9: Zoey Plays Games by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Zoey Plays Games

Front Blurb: Life was bliss for Zoey and Lucas until Aaron showed up on the island. Now Aaron wants Zoey. Claire wants Aaron and Zoey’s got a secret that EVERYONE is talking about. How long before Lucas finds out that Zoey Plays Games

Back Blurb: Zoey plays games with Aaron and sets off a wave of broken hearts. Because Lucas is in love with Zoey, Claire has vowed to make Aaron her own. But the island is too small for big secrets.

Initial thoughts:

I don’t remember this book. It’s Zoey story, so that’s probably why.

Fun fact- this is the first Making Out book that wasn’t written by Grapplegate – they handed the series over to ghostwriters from book 9. Also, there are also no more reprints for these later books, so it’s firmly nostalgia from here onwards.

[Dove: Oh good, a Zoey book. You know how highly I regard the Passmore family in general, and Zoey in particular. This is the point where I really got sick of her nonsense, I think.]

[Wing: I’m pretty sure life wasn’t bliss for Zoey and Lucas, book, but cool. Coooool.]

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Posted in Other Comics

Alisa of the Silver Hair by Shinji Wada

That Alisa's so hot right now

Title: Alisa of the Silver Hair

Japanese Title: Gin’iro no Kami no Arisa

Author/Artist: Shinji Wada

Translaions: The Distaff Side & 4chan

Summary: As a child, the eponymous heroine is betrayed by three jealous friends who throw her into a pit and leave her to die. But Alisa perseveres: She trains herself to be smarter, faster, and more beautiful than any of them and returns for revenge. Years of living underground have left her with the silver hair of the title, so her victims can’t be sure whether the resemblance is real or only the product their guilty consciences…

Initial Thoughts

For July I wanted to do some more comic related posts for Point Horror and Nostalgic Bookshelf since it’s Comic Con International time. For Nostalgic Bookshelf, alongside the Molly recap I wanted to do a manga recap and a comic recap.

So “Alisa” is an obscure gem I learned of because of its creator, Shinji Wada. He’s the genius who created “Sukeban Deka,” a.k.a. “Delinquent Girl Detective.” It’s the story of Saki Asamiya, a juvenile delinquent recruited by the Japanese police force as an undercover detective within the country’s school system. Armed with a special yo-yo, Saki goes up against drug dealers, rapists, and international terrorists while the threat of her condemned mother’s execution is hung ovee her head.

But that is not this story.

“Alisa of the Silver Hair” is a very short story, only two chapters long, and came out years before “Sukeban Deka.” While I would’t say I’m the total authority on “Sukeban Deka” I’m familiar enough with it to realize “Alisa” appears to be some sort of prototype for “Sukeban.”

Alisa by Retrosofa

(Alisa by Retrosofa: Sal’s a big fan of Sukeban Deka so I thought he’d be a natural for a commission of Alisa)

Wada’s style evokes the shoujo tales of the 1970s, but his use of the tropes masks some truly sinister and depraved villains, many of whom are teenage girls. In fact, as pointed out over on Empty Movement, one of the later stories is eerily predictive of “Revolutionary Girl Utena,” a 90s anime masterpiece that deconstructs misogyny and incest in fiction through picking apart the Prince/Princess/Witch dynamic.

(Analysis on the story seen here: https://forums.ohtori.nu/viewtopic.php?id=2740)

Because no one talks about this story, and “Sukeban Deka” is pretty niche itself (the manga still hasn’t been officially distributed through English markets), I decided to do a recap to shed some light on this beautiful little story of vengeance. But no, I have no idea if her name is supposed to “Alisa” or if it’s “Arisa” and the name was romanized by the translation.

You can read the entire story here: https://mangadex.org/manga/6931/alisa-with-silver-hair

(TW for suicide)

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Posted in Making Out

Making Out #8: Aisha Goes Wild by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out #8: Aisha Goes Wild by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)
Making Out #8: Aisha Goes Wild by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Making Out #8: Aisha Goes Wild by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant

Summary: Aisha goes wild when a chance encounter rekindles all her old feelings about a guy named Jeff, who was her first great crush. She’s promised her whole heart to Christopher, but will a part of it always belong to Jeff?

Tagline: After Zoey breaks up with Lucas, and Jake breaks up with Claire, Aisha and Christopher are the only couple left on the island–until Aisha’s old boyfriend, Jeff, comes back into her life. Everything changes on Halloween night when… Aisha Goes Wild. [Wing: UMM. Nina and Benjamin say WHAT THE HELL.] [Rosey: RIGHT?]

Initial Thoughts

I am still shook that Jake is my favourite of the Island boys this read through. Also, I remember basically nothing about the plotlines in this book even though I know I’ve read it more than once. [Rosey: This is the one where Claire Gets “Catfished”. ]

[Dove: This is the last of the Grapplegate books, after this they are ghostwritten. Also, I have to admit, this is my least favourite for the “lead” story. I’m sorry, I don’t really like Aisha’s story – the amnesia plot does not work for me. At all.]

[Wing: WHAT I DID NOT KNOW THAT EITHER. Ghostwritten? My heart is broken.]

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Posted in Sweet Valley

Sweet Valley Twins #57: Big Brother’s in Love! by Francine Pascal

Sweet Valley Twins 57 Big Brother's in Love by Francine Pascal
Sweet Valley Twins 57 Big Brother’s in Love by Francine Pascal

Title: Big Brother’s in Love!

Tagline: Jessica and Elizabeth have made the perfect match! [Wing: Considering that girl looks even more like a Wakefield than Steven does and that they are wearing weird matching outfits, I’m pretty sure Jessica and Steven are dating now.] [Dove: I had never noticed how much she looks like the twins.] [Raven: It’s been established before that the cover artist can olny draw two faces.]

Summary: Playing Cupid.

Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield usually find their older brother, Steven, annoying, but now they feel sorry for him. He’s been wandering around the house in a daze because he’s in love with Jill Hale. His problem is that Jill likes Steven’s best friend, and it looks like Steven’s going to be lovesick forever! The twins decide to help Steven get over Jill. Maybe Cathy Connors is the solution…

The twins think Cathy and Steven make a perfect couple, but Steven only sees Cathy as his friend. Can the twins help turn a friendship into true love?

Initial Thoughts

I don’t really like matchmaking stories, and I’m already annoyed by the mere premise of this book. This is going to be great.

[Dove: I hate Steven. But… I do actually like this book.]

READ AT SWEET VALLEY ONLINE

Posted in The Baby-Sitters Club

Baby-Sitters Club #8: Boy-Crazy Stacey

The Baby-Sitters Club #8: Boy-Crazy Stacey by Ann M Martin
The Baby-Sitters Club #8: Boy-Crazy Stacey by Ann M Martin

Title: Boy-Crazy Stacey

Summary: Stacey and Mary Anne are mother’s helpers for the Pike family for two weeks at the New Jersey shore. Things are great in Sea City: There’s a gorgeous old house, a boardwalk, plenty of sun and sand… and the cutest boy Stacey has ever seen!

Mary Anne knows that Scott the lifeguard is way too old for Stacey, but Stacey’s in love. She fixes Scott’s lunch, fetches his sodas, and spends all her time with him… instead of with the Pike kids.

Suddenly, Mary Anne’s doing the work of two baby-sitters, and she doesn’t like it one bit. But how can she tell Stacey that Scott just isn’t interested—without breaking Stacey’s heart?

Tagline: Who needs baby-sitting when there are boys around!

Initial Thoughts:

I unabashedly love Sea City and wish it were real and I could vacation there, so this is going to be difficult to recap just because I love it all so much.

That said, I do have some issues with the title.

On the one hand, yes: I vividly remember that age when my friends’ group were getting interested in boys, only we were all doing that on wildly different schedules, so there were frequently times when one of us was visibly making a fool of herself and the others saw it and discussed it. I’m not sure “boy-crazy” was ever a term we used, but it fits the perspective and attitude I remember having.

But on the other hand: I kind of hate that we do this at all. It’s easy, looking back on this as an adult, to see that Stacey isn’t trying to be selfish (and definitely isn’t trying to look foolish!); she’s just grappling awkwardly with new feelings and experiences.

And I wish that, as a culture, we gave girls a little more guidance not just on the crushing/dating stuff, but on the “being an honest but also kind friend to the person currently wrestling with hormones and emotions.” Because really, I don’t remember anyone ever giving me clear instructions about not falling into the “not like the other girls” mindset, and I could have used them.

Besides, she’s not “boy crazy.” She’s making an ass of herself over one particular guy. It’s not, like, a generalized thing she does with every guy she meets.

My only memories of this book aside from Sea City itself were being mad at Stacey for not doing her share, but even more mad at Scott the lifeguard for taking advantage of her (and his other fans).

[Wing: So word to all of this and thank you for saying it so well. Unlearning the drive to reject “feminine” things so as to be “not like other girls” is a terribly hard thing to do, but important. It took me forever, and I rage at all the time I lost to it.]

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