Jul 31, 2020

WATCH: Gene Ha Interview

Duy sits down with Gene Ha to discuss key points in his career, influences, and his work on Starman/The Shade with James Robinson, Iron Fist, the Justice League of America story by Brad Meltzer ("Walls"), Top 10 with Alan Moore, and his creator-owned Mae!



You can get Mae Vol. 1here: https://amzn.to/3hikm3q
Vol. 2: https://amzn.to/2CRjzrA

Jul 29, 2020

Spider-Rama: Marvel Team-Up #8

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Every Monday and Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

MARVEL TEAM-UP #8
Spider-Rama
by Gerry Conway and Jim Mooney

Spider-Man and the Cat fight (sigh) Man-Killer.



POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: The Cat eventually becomes Tigra.

WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: Gatekeeping “fans” would have you believe diversity and feminism are being shoved down the throats of the modern reader, but that just means they haven’t paid attention to anything they’ve read in the past 60 years.



DUY: Hey you know what hasn't aged well? Gatekeeping fans.

BEN: The idea of gatekeeping, and the fans themselves, they are not aging gracefully.

DUY: It does kind of feel like this is a precursor to today's feminist wave. The 70s were far more sledgehammer-y about it.

BEN: Are you saying a character named Man-Killer was a touch unsubtle?

DUY: To be fair, does the name "Man-killer" age well or badly?

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN: I remember having a discussion with someone online about if Spider-Man ever hit a woman (on purpose) so I’m recording this here. I’m not equipped enough to litigate the social or gender politics of whether it’s right for him to do, or not.



DUY: I know the intention is to make her look like she has two breasts and a four-pack, but...



NITPICKS

DUY: So I don't know if this counts as a nitpick, but we've spent a lot of time on Spider-Rama singing the praises of Jim Mooney. Now he's on full art, and .... it's okay, not great. Some people are destined to be inkers, kids, and there's nothing wrong with that.

BEN: Some parts are really good, which makes me think some guys are inkers because they’re not fast enough to be pencilers.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: Bunt!



DUY: This is so hilarious. "Your costume was made by MEN!" "NOOOOOOOOO!"



WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: The "comics aren't just for kids" crowd starts to win here. Look at the way this ends. Conway is trying to go for literature levels of prose. We're moving away from the Stan Lee mode of narration, which was friendlier, more inviting, and really gave Marvel its clubhouse feel.



BEN: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

DUY: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

BEN: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. And be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel! Did you catch our 10 Greatest Spider-Man Artists of All Time? Go watch it!


Jul 27, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #119

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Every Monday and Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #119
by  John Romita Sr. and Gerry Conway

Spider-Man goes to Montreal to find the Hulk!



POINTLESS TRIVIA

DUY: Anna Watson's middle name is revealed to be May, just like both Superman's and Batman's moms are named Martha.

BEN: They should have that be a major plot point in a story. Nah, that would be idiotic.

DUY: Per Conway in the Clone Genesis TPB, his first year on the book was basically an apprenticeship under Romita. They would talk about stories with Stan and Roy and then Conway would follow instructions. That's why Romita gets credited first. Conway'd get top billing when Romita left penciling to be art director.

WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: I spent a lot of time looking for Amazing Spider-Man #121 and #122 in longboxes, so as a byproduct I’ve seen this cover a lot, and I’ve always liked it. And here's foreshadowing:


DUY: Now that we're reaching the end of Romita's run on this book, let me take a moment to say that I think his storytelling has gone through a long arc. At first he was kind of aping Ditko's execution, but using his own art style, which was weird, and then there was that fairly annoying stretch where he was doing layouts for Don Heck that you could tell he was phoning it in. Whenever he was inked by Jim Mooney, and ever since Conway took over, he's stepped up. I like things like this, very smart decision to show how big Ock's compound is.


BEN: I really do think this was the best combination of storytelling and art I’ve seen from him.

DUY: The Hulk's a really convenient guest star. He's never treated as the villain or anything, he's more like a force of nature that the hero just kind of has to mitigate.

BEN: It's because instead of trying to tell a full story around him, another superhero gets to react to him smashing things. Plus, the writer doesn’t even really have to resolve the Hulk conflict. He can just leave.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN: Shots fired at Aunt May:


DUY: Telegrams. This entire comic is based on telegrams. That's not happening today.


BEN: For our younger readers, telegrams were the email of that time.

DUY: Peter is wondering if he should be worried about Aunt May because Aunt May being worried about him is always what bothered him. The answer is yes, Peter, because she's living with Dr. Octopus and is a moron about it.

BEN: It would be really tough for any human being to be that oblivious.

NITPICKS

BEN: Why wouldn’t Jameson wonder how Peter knows Spider-Man will be in Canada?


DUY: The no-prized answer is he still thinks Peter and Spidey have a deal, so Peter knows Spidey will be in Canada. Wait, does anyone realize that you can then narrow down the identity of Spider-Man to adult males who took a plane from NYC to Montreal in those couple of days?

BEN: I’ve often thought the same of his trips to London.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: Spider-Man in the snow.



DUY: Going back to my "What Aged the Best", here's an example. Consecutive panels of Spidey swinging were always a favorite of mine in the Ditko era. Here Romita is doing it and there's so much movement and motion, but it looks distinctively his own. I always say I choose Ditko over Romita, but if Romita had been like this, consistently, for the majority of his run, I might have changed my mind.



BEN: It’s always motion with you. You have a real motion sickness.

DUY: I like the depiction of motion in a static medium!

BEN: Appreciate my wordplay!

DUY: I.... sure.

WHO WON THE COMIC?

BEN: John Romita was firing on all art cylinders with this one. I wonder if it’s his last full job on Amazing?

DUY: I'm gonna give it to John Romita. This is the end of his last stretch. It'll be one-offs after this. He will altogether have penciled 47 issues of Amazing (or 46, because one of them is an annual) to Ditko's 40. But Ditko's was continuous.

BEN: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

DUY: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

BEN: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Jul 23, 2020

Spider-Rama Watch: The Top 10 Spider-Man Artists of All Time!

Who are the greatest Spider-Man artists of all time? We DRAFT (yes, like a pickup basketball gam) the top 10 (actually 12) on this episode of Spider-Rama on The Comics Cube! What's your list look like, Spider-fans?



Jul 22, 2020

Spider-Rama: Marvel Team-Up #7


Welcome to Spider-Rama! Every Monday and Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

MARVEL TEAM-UP #7
Spider-Rama
by Gerry Conway, Ross Andru, and Jim Mooney

Thor teams up with Spider-Man to save Earth and Asgard from Kryllk the Cruel!



POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Marvel Team-Up moved to a monthly schedule with this issue (one comic published every month). It had previously been bi-monthly (one comic published every two months).

WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: It’s not consistent throughout the entire comic, but Andru and Mooney make a great art team for most of it.



BEN: Especially with the "negative effects" panels:



DUY: I like how nonchalant Peter is here, figuring Thor doesn't even know who he actually is. But... (see Nitpicks section for the continuation of this sentence)


WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN: That hair:



DUY: Thor doing his Shakespeare-speak.

BEN: Writing Thor’s manner of speech is not something every writer can pull off.

NITPICKS

DUY: ....This is completely out of character for Peter.



BEN: I guess he figured Thor is the one person that really doesn’t care? That’s never stopped him from obsessing over his secret before.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: I love the way Spider-Man is drawn in this random panel:



DUY: This is hilarious. This is not a Thor pose. He would not be sitting here:


BEN: Thor hanging out definitely aged well.

WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: It's Spider-Man and Thor, so the winner is me.

BEN: Thor is your second favorite character after The Vision.

DUY: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

BEN: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

DUY: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. And be sure to check out our YouTube channel tomorrow at the same time for our first episode of Spider-Rama, where we rank the 10 Greatest Spider-Man Artists of All Time!


Jul 20, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #118

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Every Monday and Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #118
by Stan Lee, Gerry Conway, John Romita, and Tony Mortallero



In part 3 of this reworked storyline from Spectacular Spider-Man Magazine #1, Spider-Man must contend with a politician, Richard Raleigh, who has created a superhuman called The Smasher to menace New York to make himself look good in the mayoral race.

POINTLESS TRIVIA

DUY: This is not in the original story, so this is the third time Conway has done mind control and it's early on in his run, so this was really just a trope, huh?


BEN: This second generation of Marvel writers took all their cues from the first, so it’s interesting what tropes stood out to them.

WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: Spider-Man cracking jokes.


BEN: Complex morality in a superhero comic.



DUY: I just called the Disruptor angle stupid, but Conway makes it work with that last bit. He's adding more complexity to this book than it's had since the early Ditko days.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

DUY: I wish I could say this aged badly...



BEN: Ah, back when journalists were supposed to be objective.

NITPICKS

DUY: Now you folks may be wondering "Why does Robbie Robertson all of a sudden have a stick to hit the Smasher with when he wasn't holding one and didn't have one anywhere near him?" And the answer is that originally, this was George Stacy and his cane.


BEN: Every man needs a stick.

FAVORITE PANEL

DUY: This, because I'm going to fill this up with as much Gwen as I can before the event happens. But here's a weird thing. Harry and MJ had broken up. This isn't in the original story. The reason Spidey uses a spider-tracer on the Smasher in this one is so they can sneak this scene in. He doesn't use it in the original; he just follows the Smasher to his hideout. So at some point, Conway really did just decide MJ and Harry were back together:


BEN: That’s mine too. We’ll have to see if Conway sticks with it, or they just couldn’t re-work those panels:

WHO WON THE COMIC?

BEN: Gwen Stacy, probably for the last time.

DUY: Sob. I'll miss you, Gwen.

BEN: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

DUY: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

BEN: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you Wednesday! And be sure to check out our YouTube channel on Thursday at the same time for our first episode of Spider-Rama, where we rank the 10 Greatest Spider-Man Artists of All Time!





Jul 17, 2020

Watch: Dana Simpson on Phoebe and Her Unicorn, Influences, Nickelodeon, and Future Projects

In our latest episode on The Comics Cube channel, we interview Dana Simpson, the creator of the hit comic strip Phoebe and Her Unicorn! We talk influences, what goes into creating the story, screen adaptations on Nickelodeon, and future projects!



Jul 15, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #117

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Every Monday and Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #117
by Stan Lee, Gerry Conway, John Romita, and Jim Mooney



In this second-part  reworked storyline from Spectacular Spider-Man Magazine #1, Spider-Man must now fight the Disruptor.

POINTLESS TRIVIA

DUY: George Stacy played a big part in the original story. Since he's dead here, his part is now played by Robbie Robertson.

BEN: This is Stan, right?


DUY: If it is, it came out a few months after Jack Kirby introduced Funky Flashman over at DC...

WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: I love Peter, Gwen, and MJ together, playing up the Betty and Veronica angle.



DUY: It saddens me that we will not see Peter/Gwen/MJ much again. MJ is best as the third wheel.

BEN: The message is still great, but the execution was way better the first time.


DUY: It also kind of shows that George Stacy was redundant with Robbie around.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

DUY: This. This is dumb. Look, we've already seen this story. We know he's Raleigh. This is not going to be a surprise. And also, even if we haven't seen this before, there are literally no other suspects:



BEN: Are you saying it’s like in Batman when Hush was revealed to be the only new character introduced in the story?

NITPICKS

DUY: This is all because I saw the original story and I hold it in high regard, but there does seem to be a significant level of quality discrepancy between the panels from the original story that were just reworked, and the new panels. Like the "Stan Lee" character looks more hollow, less filled out than the ones that came from the original story.

BEN: It’s such a weird move. Why re-do the story and make it worse?

DUY: Apparently it was to capitalize on the elections.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: Mary Jane holding chili dogs:


DUY: I'm going to miss Gwen so much. What a great character:


WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: Gwen Stacy, quite possibly the most perfect love interest outside of 90s-to-modern-day Lois Lane.

BEN: Gwen, break up with him now! Save yourself!

DUY: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

BEN: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

DUY: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Jul 13, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #116

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Every Monday and Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #116
by Stan Lee, Gerry Conway, John Romita, and Jim Mooney



In this reworked storyline from Spectacular Spider-Man Magazine #1, Spider-Man must contend with a politician, Richard Raleigh, who has created a superhuman called The Smasher to menace New York to make himself look good in the mayoral race.

POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: I was going to say it’s weird to see Stan return as the credited writer, but clearly it’s because they decided to remake the plot from the first issue of the Spectacular Spider-Man magazine from 5 years ago.

DUY: Okay, seriously, what the hell. We spent a bunch of time wondering how that Spec Magazine fit into continuity, and the actual answer is IT DOESN'T?? This is why continuity sucks, Ben, it sucks!

BEN: It’s almost as if it’s all made up!

DUY: I'm not going to go into the trouble of every single way this deviates from the original story, but we'll point out that the villain has a name - The Smasher.

BEN: A name eventually taken by a Kree Imperial Guardsman.

WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: There’s some great illustrated action in the beginning.


DUY: Here's the original for comparison. It's almost like comic book coloring was too flat back then.



BEN: I didn’t go back to compare, but did they re-use the exact same artwork?

DUY: It's mostly the same artwork, but it looks better in black and white.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

DUY: These reworked panels are hilarious. He still has a fake mask that he used in the last issue, so they have to show his eyes, but in the original comic, he has the real mask, so the original art doesn't have enough space for his eyes, so it just looks like his eyes are closed:


NITPICKS

BEN: This is some great comedy from Jameson, but his cigar disappears in panel 3:


DUY: The cover is really random. "Those two painters are done for!"

BEN: Mary Jane is hanging out with Harry, which is a copy of the scene from the magazine version, but they’ve broken up at this point in the comic.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: Mine:


DUY: This is actually really dynamic. This is a pretty good stretch now of issues, artistically:


WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: Jim Mooney is incredible.

BEN: Jim Mooney, because it’s clear Romita’s art never looked better than it did with Mooney finishing it.

DUY: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

BEN: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

DUY: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Jul 9, 2020

Watch: The Cube Interviews Budjette Tan on Trese's International Release and Netflix Series

We have launched our YouTube Channel! For this debut episode, check out our interview with Budjette Tan, writer of award-winning Filipino crime/horror/fantasy comic Trese, on its international release in September and upcoming Netflix series! Don't forget to click Subscribe!


You can preorder Trese 1: Murder on Balete Drive here:

Jul 8, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #115

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Every Monday and Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #115
by Roy Thomas, Ross Andru, and Tony Mortellaro

Spider-Man fights Doctor Octopus... who has Aunt May working for him!



POINTLESS TRIVIA 

BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Doctor Octopus: 15
  • The Kingpin: 12
  • Green Goblin: 11
  • Kraven the Hunter: 8
  • The Vulture: 7
  • The Lizard: 7
  • Mysterio: 6
  • Professor Smythe/Spider Slayer: 6
  • Sandman: 4
  • Hammerhead: 3
  • Electro: 3
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • Man Mountain Marko: 3
  • Silvermane: 3
  • The Chameleon: 3
  • The Schemer/Richard Fisk: 3
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2
  • Shocker: 2
  • The Beetle: 2
  • Morbius: 2
  • The Gibbon: 2
WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

DUY: There is really good action in this book, more than I expected from Romita

BEN: He’s been killing it.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN: Otto and May totally had sex right?


DUY: We're really, really close to the last appearance of Gwen and we've wasted, WASTED, so many damn issues on this whole thing with May. Gwen goes out of her way to find May and he just pouts!

BEN: This should really be the last straw for any woman. Him walking off to pout alone. Break up with him! Get over it, Peter! She’ll be okay!


NITPICKS

DUY: 
Okay, I'm gonna say, Hammerhead, it might be great that your head is invulnerable, but you should still probably not use it to hit things as much as you do.

BEN: His brain isn’t invulnerable.

DUY: We've seen the exterior of The Daily Bugle before, and this has never been its signage, ever.



FAVORITE PANEL

BEN:
 The ridiculousness:



DUY: Clever. I like it:


WHO WON THE COMIC? 

DUY: Gwen Stacy, mainly because we're soon going to be able to stop naming her.

BEN: Gwen with a special mention to Romita.

DUY: That's it for Spider-Rama this week. 

BEN: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko— 

DUY: —for telling us we aren't the only ones. 

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you tomorrow!