Friday, December 25, 2009

Cover Review: The Rifleman #10

Oh shit, what can't you say about this cover? I mean, it speaks for itself. It's the kind of thing NAMBLA members go ape shit over. Granted, I'm sure it was an innocent mistake. The Rifleman is a wholesome comic. It was made to appeal to young boys ... and apparently work as a recruiting tool for aging homosexual cowboys. "You see, son, how that boy is holding that log? Let me show you how I want my wood handled."

Where were the concerned parents over this one? Screw EC. This stuff is scary. The only thing that could make it worse is if the kid had milkshake residue dripping down his chin and the cover blurb said, "Holding this log sure made me thirsty, but I'm satisfied now!"

And just what is this "mysterious bag" that holds a "secret"? Jesus, one guess to that one. "That, son, that's my man bag." The threat isn't the bag, either. It's the log in this kid's hands and the knowing smile from Mr. Connors. I guess if I were into young boys I'd be pretty happy about this, too.

What did kids at the time think when they saw this cover? Did pedophiles see the title and cover and think, "Finally! A comic for me!"? Did any fans of the comic question this? I've got plenty of questions myself, and I've never read the damn thing. My main question is: Whatever happened to that boy?

Yeah, this cover is a failure ... unless it was going for the creepy child molester crowd. If that is the case -- job well done, Dell.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Marvel has a real knack for fucking up characters. Whether it's exploiting Wolverine or ruining a classic character like Spider-Man, Marvel has proved time and time again that it can take a decent concept and run it through the wringer all while thinking the outcome was a great idea.

Enter Punisher.

He's been a vigilante ... and that's what he needs to stay. In DC's hands he probably would keep to his role. In Marvel's miserable, miserly mitts, however, he's been an angel, black and a Frankenstein-style creation. What. The. Fuck?

What the powers-that-ruin don't understand at Marvel is that Punisher works best when he's either in his own little world, untouched by the usual Marvel universe fodder, or he's on the outskirts of the Marvel universe. Granted, many of the stories he's been in while in vigilante mode have sucked (that taxi war storyline is a great example), but at least he's true to character. When he's donning tubes, forehead wards, or a "black" nose he's no longer Punisher. He's a cartoon creation. A roadrunner to the criminal coyote. In other words: He's a joke.

Money, obviously, drives Marvel's desire to screw with the character. What Marvel fails to remember, however, is that what really drives up sales for the long term is solid writing with a character that stays true to its roots.

Marvel has done this from time to time and has enjoyed success. It needs to stick with that plan, though. No more gimmicks (and that's all those things are). Readers see through them, and some, like myself, are resentful. Solid stories. Solid characters. No cartoons.

Save that shit for Wolverine.