Saturday, December 31, 2016

Short Cuts: New Year's Resolutions, BITBA Style

Redartz:  Greetings and salutations, everyone! Won't keep you long today, I know you're busy with your New Year's Eve celebrations. And, perhaps, busy making a list of resolutions to achieve within the coming year. Of course, here at BitBA we are curious what you plan to accomplish comic-wise during 2017. Is there some story you've been wanting to read, but haven't so far? A comic or trade you hope to acquire, perhaps? Maybe you aspire to attend a convention. Let us all know what's in store for you...
As for me: a two-part resolution. I hope to continue the selloff of some of my comics , reducing the size of my collection to a more manageable level. But I also hope to acquire some other comics or trades I've never read; chief among them: "Panther's Rage". And, I hope to train our new puppy not to chew on those comics (or my hands)...

Ok, your task: share your comic goals, and then embark upon a safe, happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. Be well, and thanks for your attentions these past months. And now, 2017...

Friday, December 30, 2016

Chew the Fat: The Super-Villain Book - What Makes It and What Breaks It?

Martinex1: I've always been fascinated by the Super-Villain comics and am tempted to purchase them whenever I see them.   But inevitably the book falls flat; perhaps it is too difficult to maintain empathy for a "bad-guy."   But some books work better than others.   Dr. Doom has headlined numerous runs, but rarely makes a long go of it.   On the other hand, some team books like The Thunderbolts had nice series.  And the more recent version of The Secret Six was actually written and drawn quite well and even though it starred some third tier characters was quite entertaining.

And what about the anti-heroes?   Namor, the Punisher, and the Suicide Squad?  Where is the line separating heroics and villainy?  How do you define that?  Have traditional heroes also crossed that line?

Today let's talk about all aspects about the villainous comic books.  When the antagonist becomes the protagonist, what works and what doesn't? 

So that's the broad topic... chew the fat!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Quarter Bin: The Legacy $1 Challenge

Martinex1: Well it is that time of year when we look back to reminisce and we look forward with hope!  For this $1 Challenge let's look at comics and characters that wouldn't have existed without the trailblazers that came before.  Below are an assortment of legacy comics and legacy characters to choose from; pick four you would like to read and share your reasoning. 

I venture outside of the Bronze Age for cover samples this go around, but I recognize that our era was one cornerstone of ongoing comic creativity. 

So whether you like title stretches like Fantastic Force or future generations like A Next -  state your opinion here.  Could the Thing have gone solo without The Fantastic Four or Marvel Two-In-One?  Was the Blue Beetle better after the Golden Age or after Charlton?  Could there be a Little Archie without Archie? (Don't even get me started on Little Sad Sack!) Could there be a Captain Pureheart without Archie or Little Archie?   Is Wonder Man really named Hollywood in Galactic Guardians?  So many questions to ponder and so little time.

Dive into today's potpourri of spinoffs, namesakes, and title-taking!  Tell us what you think about these books and let us know if you felt any of the followers were better than the leaders!  And please don't be shy about declaring the good, the bad, and the ugly (because there is a lot of ugly out there folks!)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

TV Guided: The Gong Show

Chuck Barris, Gongmaster

Redartz:  Today we look at one of the high (?) points of Bronze Age television, certainly one that ranked high on my "must watch" list : "The Gong Show". Hosted (and produced) by the positively manic Chuck Barris, "Gong" ran for several years in the latter 70's. Sort of a game show, sort of a talent contest, the show featured an array of performers competing for a prize of $516.32. The acts were judged by a panel of three celebrities (many years before "American Idol", I might add). If the judges liked the performance, they would award a numeric score between 1 and 10. If not (as was frequently the case), one or more of the judges would strike the giant gong with a huge mallet, and the performer would be dispatched. 

 The quality of the talent varied widely. Very widely. Indeed, much of the appeal of the show stemmed from the painfully amusing performances of some of those contestants. However, perhaps the greatest source of entertainment on the Gong Show arose from the interplay between host Barris and the panel of celebrity judges. Barris himself was hilarious, cracking wise throughout the show; dancing, mimicking, throwing asides to the audience. He would banter back and forth with the judges, and with the band- "Milton DeLugg and his Band with a Thug", as Barris put it ( I always wondered which one was the thug). 

The panel of judges was changeable, but had several regulars. These included Jamie Farr, Jaye P. Morgan, Arte Johnson and Rex Reed. The judges were also part of the action- sometimes getting into 'fights' over who would or wouldn't strike the gong, or teaming up to jointly gong a particularly awful act. As often as Jaye P. appeared, she must have had ownership of her seat; she and Barris had a great time mugging. 

The Unknown Comic

Among the competing acts, there were several who became regular repeat performers themselves. Probably the most famous was "The Unknown Comic" , whose shtick was appearing onstage with a paper bag over his head while delivering his jokes. My favorite, though, was "Gene, Gene, the Dancing Machine". He would come onstage and start his shuffle to the music, and Barris would go absolutely wild, parroting Gene's moves and throwing fist pumps into the air. 

Our local tv station was thoughtful enough to schedule "The Gong Show" in the latter afternoons, giving me time to get home from school to catch it. Watching the show was almost like watching a live show, as you never could tell whether the performer, or the show, would actually finish; or simply be permanently interrupted by a patented Chuck Barris meltdown. It all seemed to be done off-the-cuff, with add-libbing (and a fair amount of borderline off-color humor) aplenty. At any rate, it sure was more fun to watch than "Password"...

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Two Questions: "New Toys" and Bronze Age Writing

Redartz:  Today I'm tossing out two questions (stating the obvious here, I know); one easy and one that may require a bit more thought. 

QUESTION 1:  What comic, sci-fi, movie, or just plain fun, gifts did you receive this year? Here's a couple goodies I found under the tree:

QUESTION 2:  Aside from Stan Lee, what writer had the greatest overall impact on the Marvel Universe during the Bronze Age?  A good case could be made for several:

 Roy Thomas


 Chris Claremont


 Jim Shooter


 Steve Englehart


  Which one stands out to you, and why? What other names come to your mind? Was their influence lasting, or faded after the Bronze Age? 

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