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PCR Archives 2002
PCR Archives 2001
PCR Archives 2000
Crazed Fanboy homepage
Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2002!

La Floridiana
Matt's Rail
The Enlightenment
Mike's Rant
(Links listed above indicate "final edition" status.)

Michael A. Smith's
The Omnipresent M. Smith homepage and Email                    

Matt Drinnenberg's
The Masters of Horror

Terence Nuzum's
Viddywell Productions

William Moriaty's
T.R.E.E., Inc.

Patty G. Henderson's
The Henderson Files

Established A.D. 2000, March 19.  Now in our third calendar year!
   Number 101 (Vol. 3, No. 9). This edition is for the week of February 25--March 3, 2002.

Animation pioneer, Chuck Jones, dies at 89
More Top 10 Comic Books of All Time
PLUS: The absolutely, positively last word on Waylon Jennings!

Chuck Jones
Chuck Jones
Sept 21, 1912 -- February 22, 2002
The pop culture world lost an icon and a mentor over the weekend when Chuck Jones, 89, had passed away quietly. The creator of Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Marvin the Martian, co-creator of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, Jones won 3 Academy Awards, plus and honorary in 1996. His character of Michigan J. Frog ("hello mah honey, hello, mah baby, hello mah rag-time gaaaaaaaal...!") became a corporate logo for Warner Bros in the '90s.

Chuck Jones began his career in 1932 as an animation cel washer at Ub Iwerks Studio, after graduating from the Chouinard Art Institute (now the California Institute of the Arts). Four years later, he joined the Leon Schlesinger Studio (which was later sold to Warner Bros.) as an animator, and was assigned to Tex Avery's unit. In 1938, at the age of 25, Chuck directed his first animated cartoon, "The Night Watchmen". During his 24 years at Warner Bros., Jones created characters such as Marvin the Martian (pointing a ray weapon at Earth from Mars: "I'm going to blow it up---it obstructs my view of Venus"), Pepe Le Pew, Michigan J. Frog, Road Runner ("Beebeep!") and Wile E. Coyote. Along with Tex Avery and Friz Freleng, he also helped create Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig and many others. He worked a brief stint at The Walt Disney Studios in 1955, but then returned home to Warner Bros. When Warner Bros. closed its' animation unit in 1962, Jones went to MGM Studios to head their animation division. There, he collaborated with Dr. Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss), producing and directing animated film adaptations of the Seuss' children's books "Horton Hears a Who" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas".

With the arguable exception of Walt Disney, Chuck Jones is likely the most influential and successful animator who ever lived. His is a rare breed and he will be sorely missed. Ththththfferin' thththtuckotash!

Grammy night
Rock band U2 (record of the year for "Walk On"), Alicia Keys (5 awards including best new artist. Key's hit "Fallin'" won for song of the year, and she also won for best new artist), and The "O Brother, Where Art Tho?" movie sound track were the big winners in Wednesday night's Grammy awards. Linkin Park's "Crawling" won for best hard rock performance. I usually hand this off to Mike Smith for extended commentary since he does it so well, but his computer has fried leaving me on my own (altho, bless him, he still sent in a "Rant"!).

La Floridiana This week's issue
La Floridiana by William Moriaty
Locally-Produced Movies
In previous issues of NCPCR I have given a brief history of some of the locally-produced fanzines of the Tampa Bay area..... In a similar vein are locally-produced movies. Most are rooted in the science fiction and horror genre, as were the older fanzines before them. To call the majority of them Grade B would be to dress them up in a tuxedo. I am going to review three such movies, or compilations, two from Tampa, and one from Miami...
...................................Click here for more.

Matt's Rail This week's issue
Matt's Rail by Matt Drinnenberg
SMALL PRICE TO PAY... Even my home boy, Mike, chimed in with his belief that the Bucs paid too steep a price for new Buccaneer Head Coach Jon Gruden's services.... AMERICAN PRIDE... With all the scandal and drama.....it can be easy sometimes not to fully understand what Olympic competition is all about... RUSSIAN ALL AROUND THE PLACE!!!... ....the Russian Olympic Delegation has totally lost its marbles! A LEGEND LEAVES US... Chuck Jones, animator for Warner Bros and creator of Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig, Roadrunner, has died... ............Click here for more.

The Enlightenment This week's issue
The Enlightenment by Terence Nuzum
PART SIX on the HISTORY OF THE BLUES. "When the Sun Goes Down: The Urban Blues"
Gospel blues and rural blues were styles which reflected their own different paths. Gospel's influences were spirituals more than the hollers and rags of rural blues. Gospel blues singers sang for the Lord. Rural singers sold their soul to the devil and sang of hard times. But there was yet another strain of blues, the urban blues of the big city... ............Click here for more.

Mike's Rant This week's issue
Mike's Rant by Michael A. Smith
ERROR - YOUR COMPUTER SUCKS...Not exactly the message I got this morning, but pretty close.... WAYLON REVISITED...Apologies all around to Will, Terrance, Count Poffula, et. al., on the Waylon quote.... HELLO MY HONEY, HELLO MY BABY...Sadness doesn't even begin to express my feelings over the passing of Chuck Jones.... THE LOVE YOU TAKE...What a difference 2 decades makes...Paul McCartney has turned up EVERYWHERE this year it seems.... ............Click here for more.

Top 10 comic books of all time
Rick Sousa's challenge: The Top 10 Comics of All Time, Part 2.
   Nolan here---The response to this latest challenge was very good, altho I hope it hasn't stopped quite yet! Readers are still encouraged to send in their lists.
   Please see last issue for the full background story of how many revisions the rules went through in order to even facilitate this new challenge for the widest possible audience, and yet stay true to the original spirit of the game.

To recap the rules:
For this challenge, anything goes, with two exceptions:

TWO EXCEPTIONS: The spirit of the challenge was targeting newsstand/comic specialty shop comic-books (a la spinner-rack type), so we're still postponing anything having to do with the daily newspaper strips or online-only strips until a later date (they're not being trivialized or ignored). Why that is important is the personal commitment and investment involved on a fan level is completely different for the latter two categories than to the former, and not comparable, in my opinion. I'm caving in to the graphic novels and one-shots, however, send 'em in. If you absolutely must include an exception, please put it in with your "honorable mentions". for now.---Nolan

  THE TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS OF ALL TIME         Scott A. Gilbert
Ya'll choked me up with your listings of my own strip, True Artist Tales in your various listings. Thanks, guys.
Here's my top 10 greatest/favorite comix list (as of this morning, it may change tomorrow).

1. Jimbo by Gary Panter. Panter is a painter, a real visual wildman, and the heir to all of Jack Kirby's dynamic explosive graphic narrative energy. His comix are like paintings, abstract paintings, in that they don't always worry about "plot" or explicit meaning, but are as effective as hell.
2. Sinner by Munoz & Sampayo. Heavyweight, inky noir by 2 Argentinian ex-patriots now living in Spain. Some of the most inventive and expressive drawing in comix.
3. Torpedo: 1936 (the 2 stories illustrated by Alex Toth). Master cartoonist Alex Toth's finest work. I wrote an article on these stories for the Comics Journal #100.
4. Russ Heath's late '70s Sergeant Rock/Our Army At War run. Russ Heath taught, or inspired me to draw comix. Precise, razor-sharp draftmanship.
5. Carl Barks' Uncle Scrooge. If you don't know these, you should be ashamed but have a big treat coming. The best adventure stories since Joseph Conrad put down his pen.
6. 100 Views of the Waterfront District by Martin Tom Dieck. A wordless, abstract, gorgeous story by this German cartoonist. Amazing use of the comic art form to form a unique visual language.
7. Love & Rockets by Los Bros Hernandez. "$24 and a six-pack tew my name! SIXPACK!"
8. Underwater by Chester Brown. Master cartoonist Brown follows Dieck's method of creating a visual language to explicate the development of human language. Sadly interrupted by lack of sales.
9. Black Hole by Charles Burns. Russ Heath's precision meets David Lynch's tweaked sensibility, with a lot of Johnny Craig thrown in for good measure.
10. The Spirit by Will Eisner. A grand master of cartooning. Eisner's gorgeous Spirit stories pioneered techniques storytelling, while capturing the zest and character of the 40s-50s era in which they were produced.

Where do you get wild comix like those above? Try http://www.marsimport.com/

  THE TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS OF ALL TIME       Michael A. Smith
Ok, I'll admit this. When Rick Sousa first issued his "Best Comics" challenge I DID ask Nolan if he meant comic books or stand-up comedians. While I did enjoy the occasional "funny book", I wasn't a huge collector. However, here are my favorites. Please note that I was not allowed to include "Little Annie Fanny" and "Chester the Molester" because they were not published in book form.

10. The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers/Fat Freddie's Cat: A collection of comics drawn in the tradition of R. Crumb that my one time roommate Ben used to leave around the house. Pretty funny counter-culture stuff.
9. National Lampoon: Probably not recognized as a real comic, but I must recognize the work of the various Lampoon staff cartoonists, including Sherry Flenniken and Gahan Wilson.
8. Classics Illustrated: What better way to learn about fine literature than through this series of great comics?
7. Batman: mid 60's/early 70's was the time I was into this series. I especially liked the big annuals they would publish with some of the earlier comics reproduced. I still remember the story with Robin's origin. At the time I read it, there was a butter commercial on television with the man/woman repeating, "John!" "Marsha!" over and over. I remember chuckling when I saw that as they plummeted to their death from their booby trapped trapeze Mr. and Mrs. Grayson looked at each other and said, "John!" "Marsha!"
6. Superman: Duh! Probably the one series I followed the most. I used to wish I had a cool watch like Jimmy Olsen just so I could summon the man of steel at will.
5. Superboy: similar to #6, but much cooler to me as a kid because he had such cool pets like Krypto, Streaky and that stupid monkey whose name just escaped me........Blippo?
4. Snatch: Years ago at a con in Tampa I bought a collection of these from a dealer. I must admit that as a 16-year-old, they were cool to have because, as you can tell by the title, they were pretty graphic. But I also found them to be hilarious. R. Crumb at his best.
3. Justice League of America: The most superheroes you could get for your money. Personal faves: Green Lantern, Hawkman and Green Arrow.
2. Mad: I loved this mag mostly for the movie parodies. One of my faves is their take on "Jaws" where Roy Scheider tells a surrounding crowd, "No, I am NOT George C Scott."
1. True Artists Tales: Like I was going to be the only one to leave this fine collection off. I think what makes us all recognize this work is because we grew up with Scott and we all shared the same influences. Knowing what Scott went through personally in his last few years in Tampa, it's amazing to see how that time has reflected itself in his work. Plus, he's one hell of an artist!

  THE TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS OF ALL TIME         Drew Reiber
Here is my top ten comic books list, in no particular order except for the first entry. Itís hard to find anything to top Claremontís X-Men run, but at the same time I havenít been reading comics as long as most folks. Starting with a few mainstream books in the late 80ís, departing in the early 90ís and returning in the late 90ís, I donít really have a respectable background for judging over 70 years of comics. However, I will do my best to offer some of the best books Iíve seen over the last two decades. There were quite a few newer titles that didnít make the cut, because I felt that they should at least finish a few more story arcs before getting the recognition Frank Miller might see. Some of those notable books include J. Michael Straczynskiís run on Amazing Spider-Man and many of the recent Batman titles. Still, it wouldnít be appropriate to mention them now, so instead Iíll go ahead and get to the list. Enjoy.

Chris Claremont/Dave Cockrum, John Byrne, Paul Smith, John Romita Jr., Rick Leonardi, Walt Simonson, Alan Davis, Marc Silvestri, Jim Lee, Adam Kubert, Leinil Francis Yu, Salvador Larroca, Bill Sienkiewicz, Arthur Adams, George Perez, Brent Anderson, Thomas Derenick
Uncanny X-Men #94 - #278, #381 - #389
Uncanny X-Men Annual #3 - #12, #14
X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills
X-Men and the Micronauts #1 - #4
Uncanny X-Men and the Teen Titans
X-Men/Alpha Flight #1 - #2
Classic X-Men #1 - #24
X-Men: True Friends #1 - #3
X-Men #1 - #3, #100 - #109
X-Men 2000 Annual
X-Men Unlimited #27
X-Men: Black Sun #1 - #5
X-Treme X-Men #1 - current
X-Treme X-Men: Savage Land #1 - #4
X-Treme X-Men 2001 Annual

   Chris Claremontís ongoing run on X-Men, with more artists than I could keep track of, is still one of the most influencing pieces of fiction in my life as a writer. Possibly the king of characterization, Claremont has spent over 20 years writing the series in various incarnations. Despite several major conflicts with Marvel editorial, including one that lasted in an 8-year-long self-imposed exile, he is still going strong with his own direction in the current X-Treme X-Men monthly series with Spanish artist Salvador Larroca.
   My favorite X-Men artists through the years have been Dave Cockrum, John Romita Jr., Alan Davis, Brent Anderson, Art Adams, Salvador Larroca and especially Marc Silvestri. Some of my favorite installments include God Loves, Man Kills, Mutant Massacre, Inferno and the Australian saga. Unfortunately, after 20 years weíve got bad spells too. Though I did in fact list them, you should avoid X-Men: Black Sun, X-Treme X-Men: Savage Land and most definitely anything drawn by Leinil Francis Yu. Scary stuff, trust me.
   Overall, I canít recommend his work enough. I find the best ways to get his stories in a convenient manner is to go for trade paperbacks. The best place to start would be the extremely cheap and handy Essential X-Men volumes 1 through 4.

Frank Miller/David Mazzuchelli, Frank Miller
Batman #404 - #407
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #1 - #4
Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again #1 - #3

   Frank Miller is probably the greatest modern Batman storyteller, having crafted a perfect trilogy for the Dark Knight of both his past and future. Despite the obvious superhero tendencies of this flagship DC Comics character, Millerís work is deeply imbedded in gritty crime drama. His contributions to the Batman mythos have been so substantial that not only was Tim Burtonís film adaptation influenced by Millerís Year One story arc from the book of the same name, but Miller is also currently working for Warner Brothers on a screenplay based on the arc.
   The two Dark Knight volumes served as both fascinating character studies and social commentaries. While "Returns" painted a dark vision of a 1980ís Republicanís wet dream, "Strikes Again" probed the idea of pop culture becoming a tool for molding liberal ideals and subverting control of right-wing propaganda. Ironically, this is much like what the authors of the 80ís attempted to do during the Reagan administration through comics and other related mediums.

Frank Miller, Roger McKenzie, David Michelinie/Frank Miller, David Mazzuchelli, Bill Sienkiewicz, John Romita Jr., John Buscema
Daredevil #158 - #191, #219, #226 - #233
Daredevil: Love & War
Daredevil: The Man Without Fear
Elektra: Assassin #1 - #8
Elektra Lives Again

   Unfortunately, I havenít completed Millerís Daredevil work and Iím still working on completing my collection. Love & War, Elektra: Assassin, Elektraís introduction and the revision of Daredevilís origin particularly stand out as phenomenal. Of interesting note, The Man Without Fear is a comic book adaptation of an unproduced Daredevil screenplay Miller actually wrote.
   Anyone interested in checking out Millerís issues should look for the trade paperbacks Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller volumes 1 through 3 (collecting his original penciled run), Daredevil: Born Again (collecting his second written run) and the aforementioned Elektra: Assassin. After Miller completed his Daredevil projects, he went on to create several spin-offs chronicling the further adventures of Elektra. Though the two Elektra books are not entrenched in standard Marvel history, you donít have to depend on knowledge of that continuity to read these books either.

Paul Jenkins/Jae Lee
Inhumans #1 - #12
   Itís really hard to describe this series, other than to say it explores the political and social relevance Stan Lee and Jack Kirbyís creations would have on todayís world. The depth Paul Jenkins adds to the royal family of the Inhumans and the constant game of chess played behind-the-scenes proves the series worthy of the Eisner award granted to the creative team. Jae Leeís art play with shadows and light is both creepy and exciting at the same time, and manages to remain distinct from any other style I had seen up to that time. Anyone looking for something with less superheroics and more series drama should hunt the trade down immediately.

Paul Jenkins/Jae Lee, Phil Winslade, Rick Leonardi, Mark Texeira, Bill Sienkiewicz
Sentry #1 - #5
Sentry/Fantastic Four
Sentry vs. the Void

   Paul Jenkins and Jae Leeís next Marvel Knights series was this 10-issue character study. I canít really talk about it, as itís more of a mystery and anything I say may ruin it for you. Itís currently one of my all-time favorite stories and I canít recommend it enough. It really shows how the Stan Lee formula of superhero development still holds strong today, much like the recent film "Unbreakable". Please check this one out.

Kevin Smith /Joe Quesada
Daredevil vol. 2 #1 - #8

   I wasnít a fan of Daredevil before reading this series. Seriously, I wasnít. I didnít know too much about the character beyond a few Frank Miller issues and the "Trial of the Hulk" TV-movie, while the recent Daredevil: Ninja mini-series had left me in the dark. I was a fan of Kevin Smithís films, but they were still little more to me than comedies. Who thought he could do drama? And in a comic book, no less! His eight issues of Daredevil blew me away. He taught me who the hero was, as both the mask and the man. He gave me a gripping story and left me wanting to read more.
   Itís full of great plot twists and contains some dashes of his trademark comical genius, but more importantly it holds true to the nature of the book. It explores both ends of the morality scale, putting questions to both heroes and villains as to how far theyíre willing to go. This would be one of the first books I would place in the hands of anyone who ever might be interested in reading comics. If youíre interested, look out for the trade paperback called Daredevil Visionaries: Kevin Smith. Itís worth it.

Mark Waid & Alex Ross/Alex Ross
Kingdom Come #1 - #4, plus trade paperback epilogue

   Alex Ross and Mark Waid brought an end to the modern legacy of the DC superhero with this 4-issue fully painted mini-series. Waidís appreciation for the very essence of each character shines through this epic parable, exemplified by Rossí photo-realistic art style. Itís popularity reaches so far that editorial eventually placed it as in-continuity in other words, this is the where current DC history ends (if the story were ever to get that far).
   Unfortunately for fans of this series, there were two eventual pitfalls to the success of the project. Alex Ross has an irritating habit of releasing special editions for older books with more artwork, so anyone missing out on the trades will lose an essential epilogue to the series. Also, DC pressured Waid and Ross to put together a prequel project that eventually fell apart. The end product was a horribly mutated collection of one-shots entitled The Kingdom, by Waid and a whole host of other creators. Avoid at all costs.

Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon/Steve Dillon, Doug Braithwaite, Joe Jusko & Dave Ross
Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe
Punisher vol. 5 #1 - #12
Punisher/Painkiller Jane
Punisher vol. 6 #1 - #7, #13 - current

   After destroying the character through too many monthlies (4-5 by my last count), limited series and spin-offs, the Punisher franchise limped over to an unsuccessful relaunch in the mid-90ís and eventually died quite literally in fact. Frank Castle, the Punisher, died and went to heaven. Of course, Marvel wasnít going to sit tight while a once potential movie franchise just disappears. A new bout of insanity led to another relaunch involving an angel-powered science fiction hero that I donít even want to explain, lest I start throwing up my insides. So weíll just move a few years ahead.
   Seeing that they clearly did not hit the mark as they hoped they would, the editors at Marvel Knights enlisted the creative team of the critically acclaimed Preacher, whose writer (Garth Ennis) also penned another gun wielding character in the series Hitman. Ennis was already familiar with the character, having done a popular What If? special in the middle 90ís called Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe (which is exactly what it is). Now Ennis and artist Steve Dillon set out to bring Castle back to his roots and did so in the 12-issue maxi-series now appropriately titled, Welcome Back, Frank. Featuring extreme violence, language and tons of black comedy, anyone offended by such material had no business reading Punisher in the first place.
   During the maxi-series, Ennis teamed with artists Joe Jusko and Dave Ross on a one-shot team-up, Punisher/Painkiller Jane. Co-starring one of Event Comicsí top tier characters, itís a twisted, sick love story that would only work with characters like these. An excellent addition to the new Punisher launch, luck has it that both this special and Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe will be collected with the maxi-series in a new hardcover for sale this summer. Otherwise, Ennis and Dillon are still writing the Punisher in his current ongoing series on a 6-month on and off basis. Theyíre returning for their next 6 issues just in time for the hardcover release, in June.

Grant Morrison & Mark Waid/Howard Porter
JLA #1 - #46

   Eventually, DC editorial had spun off far too many Justice League books, resulting in a lot of commercial failures and market dilution, so they knew they had to do something drastic. After a clean-up mini-series finished up, writer Grant Morrison and artist Howard Porter relaunched a new series with a more familiar cast and a shortened title, JLA. The new cast was your basic Silver Age lineup, the kind you might be familiar with from Superfriends cartoon on 70ís television. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter were front and center for the first time in a long time, setting the stage for a return to those larger-than-life science fiction tales that made the franchise great. The team didnít let us down.    Adding Mark Waid as a backup writer, who eventually took over after Morrison departed, the series went on to produce some of the most memorable moments of the Justice League. Two of my personal favorites are the alternate future adventure, Rock of Ages, and Howard Porterís story arc, Tower of Babel. That last one is simply one of the best superhero stories Iíve ever read. Most, if not all, the issues Iíve mentioned are collected in trade today, though you shouldnít bother going farther than #46. Once Bryan Hitch replaced Porter, quality began to slip pretty fast. The remaining Waid issues were OK, but not worth going out of your way for.

Grant Morrison/Chas Truog & Brian Bolland
Animal Man #1 - #26

   Grant Morrison launched the Animal Man ongoing series in the late 80ís with artist Chas Truog and cover artist Brian Bolland. Through 26 issues, he examined the relationship between man and animal, especially our cruelty to nature. Morrison did get out of hand occasionally, but he made up for all of it by the end with his final appearance in issue 26 that was drawn by Bolland. Despite all the action and drama, the real magic of the series came with Morrisonís ability to twist the reality and fantasy of comics around his finger. Unfortunately, DC hasnít got their act together, and reprinted the entire run in trade.

  THE TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS OF ALL TIME       Terence Nuzum

1. The Sandman - Neil Gaiman's fantasy epic that put D.C.'s Vertigo line on the map. Filled with dark fantasy storylines, concise continuity, guest apperances by forgotten D.C. characters, and culminating in a classic climax. Never equalled. The best comic I've ever read, hands down.
2. Eightball - Daniel Clowes inspired anthology series which housed the serials that became indie classics: Ghost World, David Boring, and Lloyd Llewellyn. Clowes' ability to connect with the misfit adolescent in all of us remains unequaled in comic writing, and even non-comic writing, period. Only Gaiman is his competition. Clowes comics reflect reality more than any other writer I know and the Ghost World comic and film were experiences I will always cherish.
3. E.C. Comics Horror Trilogy: Tales from the Crypt/Vault of Horror/The Haunt of Fear - The reigning kings of horror comics anthologies. The Cryptkeeper, Vaultkeeper and the Old Witch spun tales of horror and psychological suspense that, though written in the 50s, remain undated. D.C., Marvel and many others tried to imitate their success, but none could match it. Plus, they had the best artists of the era: "Ghastly" Graham Ingels, Jack Davis, and Al Feldstein
4. The Golden Age - D.C.'s Elseworld, about the fall of the Golden Age heroes. In reality, the series is about the changing of ideals in America as we exited the 40s and entered the 50s, with the The Golden Age heroes being used as metaphors. Mark Waids' Kingdom Come was obvisously inspired by Golden Age but somehow it never gelled as well. Nor did Waid's writing posses the dramatic impact of James Robinson's. Plus Golden Age's main villain at the end turns out to be none other than forgotten 30s villain.............sorry you'll have to read it yourself, I'm not telling.
5. The Crow - J.O. Barr, suffering from a deep depression, started writing this in his basement for about 4 years before publication. Its main character, who comes back from the dead to avenge the murder of his girlfreind and himself, was an outlet to fill Barr's empty hole left by the death of his own girlfriend. An emotional impact like no other.
6. From Hell - With this detailed study of the Whitechapel Ripper Murders, Alan Moore proved that comics can be serious works of literature when they try hard enough. No other comic in my memory has the potential for literary merit like this one.
7. Batman: Year One - Frank Miller's revison of the Batman myth. Dark, gritty, and noir-like in its presentation of the dark knight and his world. Catwoman is a hooker turned vigilante and Commissioner Gordon, who is still just a lieutenant, is the only good cop in a corrupt police force. This series would go on to shape the image of Batman for the rest of the 80's and 90s and became a big influence on the first Batman film.
8. The Dark Knight Returns - Frank Miller opened up the potential of superhero graphic novels with this dark, gritty, possible future of Batman, when the fallen hero returns to face old demons and restore his brand of justice back to Gotham. His return prompts the Joker's re-emergence and later must face Superman, who, now working for the government, tries to stop Batman from using his old tactics, resulting in a battle of old friends. A truly landmark comic book.
9. The Power of Shazam - Early 90s update of D.C.'s Captain Marvel character, that relished in its earlier roots. Billy Batson still looked like a kid from the 1950s and they even kept the old villains like Sivana and Mr. Mind. This comic was a perfect example on how to make nostalgia work and yet not be a gimmick. Pure, old-fashion superhero fun. Besides, who doesn't think Talky Tawney rules!
10. The Spectre - This 90's version of Jerry Siegel's (co-creator of Superman) supernatural superhero was the best. Jim Corrigan chosen to be the host for God's vengance dealt with real world issues that always seem out of place in traditional superhero comics. But the Spectre, not being a superhero per se, made it work perfectly.

There are so many that I probably left out, and a couple that I'm currently reading that I didn't add that I think will one day be classics: The Incal (which already is a classic in Europe) and American Century.

Look Ma, no Marvel.

Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.
The absolutely, positively last word on Waylon Jennings!
Over the last several issues of PCR, a debate has raged over the last words uttered to Buddy Holly by the now dearly departed Waylon Jennings. In Will Moriaty's original eulogy, Jennings was referred to as an "ex-Cricket", and further, that according to a video interview Will remembered from years ago, Jennings said he had jokingly told Buddy Holly "I hope your plane crashes" minutes before it literally did, leading to a life-long guilt trip. Mike Smith took umbrage with the remark, stating that, according to several bios, and ex-Holly band member Tommy Alsup, Jennings never said it. Later, evidence seen on at least 2 taped interviews, one referenced by Will Moriaty, but apparently disputed by Alsup, say otherwise. (It does look, however, like Jennings was NOT a member of the Crickets, but the band succeeding them.)
Read on...---Nolan

Hi "gang"
Terence here once again, to clear up all errors. I'm sorry Mike, but I'm afraid that Will is correct--I also saw Jennings make the same claim on "VH-1: Behind the Music--The Day The Music Died". So Mr. Alsup must either be senile and forgot, or he's (to put it kindly) a teller of tales. And if any dare to challenge me, well, guess what, I have a copy of that episode with Jennings himself saying that he hoped his [Holly's] plane crashes and he even says how he can never forget it and that the guilt lives with him still. So read it and weep!

Terence Nuzum

I have TWO video tapes of Waylon Jennings being interviewed about this. One is an older one from CMT (likely the one Will saw) and the other one is from "VH-1: Behind The Music--The Day The Music Died". In BOTH of these interviews, Waylon admits to the tragic closing remarks. I don't remember the exchange exactly, but it went something like: Holly--"I hope your bus freezes." Jennings: "Yeah? Well, I hope your plane crashes!"
After reading the debate in the PCR, I decided to find those tapes and look. Will was correct. Although it had been a rumor for years, Jennings did not admit to his remarks until just a few years ago, so Alsup may not have been aware, even tho he supposedly was there that night.
The confusion over Waylon Jennings being a "Cricket" was further aggravated by a mistaken poster that got out just before that last tour identifying the band as "Buddy Holly and the Crickets", featuring, among others, Waylon Jennings.

Count Poffula as told to Nolan Canova over the phone


I knew this would get all blown out of proportion. I stand corrected on the Jennings quote if they have it on tape. I agree that perhaps Alsup was not aware of this exchange between Holly and Jennings. As one of the original people scheduled to fly on the plane, I of course felt correct in accepting his version. Actually, Alsup was originally identified as one of the dead. He had given Holly his wallet to pick up a registered letter he had waiting for him in Fargo and it was found on Holly's body, which was pretty much unrecognizable.

Tommy Alsup was the guitarist for Buddy Holly's band when he toured with the Winter Dance Party. Jennings was his bassist. The drummer for Dion also drummed for Buddy, though the story is that he took ill after Dion's set and Richie Valens played drums during Holly's set. According to the original flight manifest, which I have a copy of, the people scheduled to fly that night were just Holly's group........Buddy, Waylon, Tommy and the pilot, Roger Petersen. Coming down with a cold, the Big Bopper asked Buddy if he could fly that night with him rather then ride on a bus with no heat. Buddy told him to "ask Tommy," which he did. Alsup agreed. Later that night, Valens and Jennings flipped a coin to see who would fly. Valens won, supposedly saying, "It's the first coin toss I've ever won." For years it was always thought that Jennings gave his seat up to Valens. When the film "LaBamba" came out I had the opportunity to interview the film's writer/director Luis Valdez, which I still have on audio tape somewhere. I questioned him about Jennings and he told me that it was Alsup that gave the seat to Valens. Through a now out of print bio on Holly I found out that Tommy Alsup lives near me in Blue Springs, Missouri. As luck would have it, one of his grandchildren worked for a theatre in my chain (I saw the unusual last name on a payroll report) and I finagled an invite to meet the man. Though he was very cordial I could sense that even after all those years he still had a small twinge of "why him and not me" guilt. I do remember watching the "Behind the Music" special on "The Day the Music Died," and I remember Jennings being on it. But I can't for the life of me remember that quote. Perhaps I was out of the room.

Well, sorry for the history lesson. As Holly is one of my passions, I have tried my best to learn and meet everything/body associated with him. That I have met the Crickets and even received a letter from the real Peggy Sue (who now sells real estate in Texas) is pretty cool to me.

Mike Smith

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