The All Things Fun! Blogs


Review – Rom #1

By Glenn Walker

Back in the day, Rom was a lame toy, but an awesome Marvel Comic. Writer Bill Mantlo and artist Sal Buscema told some amazing stories with the Spaceknight who had come to Earth hunting the evil Dire Wraiths. After a while however this popular character and his tales vanished, and never returned. Mostly because Marvel didn't actually own Rom, they were only licensing him from Hasbro the toy company from which he originated.

While the Spaceknights and their mythos solidly belong to Marvel Comics, they could not use Rom specifically. Now IDW brings Rom back, with a new background, a new look, maybe a new mission, and a new Rom #1. Rom returns as written by one of my favorite writers Christos Gage and Chris Ryall, with art by David Messina and inks by Michele Pasta. Messina makes Rom look more fluid and human and less stiff and machine-like. The Dire Wraiths have a scary new look as well.

I enjoyed this new spin on an old concept quite a lot. Whether you have fond memories of Rom from the Marvel Comics days, had the toy, or are completely new to this character of concept, this book is well worth a look. You can find Rom #1 at All Things Fun! or your local comics shop.


Review – The Flintstones #1

By Glenn Walker

When the news first broke of DC Comics' new takes on the Hanna-Barbera characters, there was some excitement but much trepidation as well. Merging the worlds of Jonny Quest, Birdman, Space Ghost, and the Herculoids, among others, is a great idea, has been done well before, and is being done well this time as well. Some of the other ideas however were iffy - like the Wacky Racers going the Road Warrior route, or a Jim Lee-designed Scooby-Doo and the gang in a post-apocalyptic world, but the oddest and perhaps the most pedestrian of them all was the concept for the Flinstones.

Writer Mark Russell (God Is Disappointed in You, Prez) and artist Steve Pugh (Animal Man, Preacher) might be the last folks one might expect on a project such as this, but they bring new life to the characters. This spin on the Flintstones is an updating with a more realistic yet still recognizably cartoony look. Just a glance through the issue assures the reader the success of the concept. Just one of the alternate covers with Fred and Wilma taking a 'selfie' together works wonders.

This is a wonderfully adult story, safe for kids, but aimed at adults that could easily be an episode of the cartoon series had it been made in 2016. Russell and Pugh have an excellent sense of parody, the same sort that made the original animated series so popular. Thought is put into translating new technology and culture into stone age sensibilities. Speaking of culture, it's a bit more diversified, and the gals have more of a life than just shopping and housework. I like this take quite a bit, very entertaining.

The Flintstones #1 is available at All Things Fun! and any local comics shop, but we all know ATF! is the best. Also out this week is Future Quest #2, another home run, check them out!



Review – Future Quest #1

Everyone remembers "Jonny Quest," whether it's the reruns that ran forever, or at least four decades on Saturday mornings, or when it originally aired in network prime time (yeah, betcha didn't know that). The series only lasted a season, was the first of the Hanna-Barbera action shows, was written and designed by Doug Wildey, and was based in part of Jack Armstrong All-American Boy. There have been more than a few attempts to revive the series, none of them (in my opinion) coming close to the original, but still it lives on to this day, it even stands as the inspiration and is even part of the continuity of cult-favorite animated series "The Venture Bros."

Part of the series charm was that it never aimed at kids, it was always an adult show about kids. Then, as today, merely by being animated made it seem like fodder for kids. The shows that Hanna-Barbera followed it with, most of them with original super-heroes, were somewhat aimed at the kids, but still had that mature vibe. Among them were "The Herculoids," "Birdman," and the legendary "Space Ghost." Over the years it has been intimated that all of these shows shared the same continuity, but now, with a new comic book series from DC Comics, that notion is given a new spin. Welcome to Future Quest.

This wouldn’t be the first time Jonny Quest has been in comic books. There have been series by Comico and Gold Key, and creator Doug Wildey himself came from the comics. This new series, the first of several adapting Hanna-Barbera characters by DC Comics, will revolve around the Quests and company racing across the world in search of cosmic anomalies. These anomalies are gateways to Earth for some of the spaceborn H-B creations like Space Ghost and the Herculoids among others. In this first issue alone we also get to see Birdman, and Quest enemy Dr. Zin as well.

Creators Jeff Parker, Evan 'Doc' Shaner, and Steve Rude are perfect for this book. Jeff Parker has made his mark turning properties seemingly meant for kids like Batman '66 and Avengers Assemble into entertaining classics for all ages with an adult edginess. Steve Rude, as a co-creator of Nexus, is one of my favorite artists, and even did a Space Ghost comic of his own back in the day. And Evan 'Doc' Shaner has a perfect style for the book, and as my friend JP Fallavollita put it, he even has a Jonny Quest name.

I loved this book, and as someone who doesn't read many new comics these days, that's one of the highest compliments I can give. Get to your local comics store, especially All Things Fun!, and pick this one up!


Review – The Multiversity #1

By Glenn Walker

Grant Morrison is back, baby. If you enjoyed the thoughtfulness of his Animal Man, the Silver Age cool of his JLA, the offbeat weirdness of his Doom Patrol, the mind-bending insanity of The Invisibles, the historical awareness of his Batman, and the monumental epic-ness of his Final Crisis - you will love The Multiversity by Grant Morrison.

The existence of the multiverse as part of the DC Comics Universe is a vital part of its history and its continuity. From the first time the Silver Age Flash of Earth-One met the Golden Age Flash of Earth-Two, DC Comics has been a place of parallel universes. This convention of science fiction is a cherished concept in the heart of many comic book readers, myself included. Crisis on Infinite Earths banished the concept for many years, but now it's back, and Grant Morrison's long-awaited The Multiversity mini-series is going to explore this new frontier.

Along with artist Ivan Reis, Morrison takes us on a travelogue of several of the New 52's parallel Earths. We get to see old friends (and foes) like President Superman and Captain Carrot and Lord Havok, and also new characters Red Racer, Aquawoman, Thunderer, and a team of ersatz Avengers from Marvel Comics - the Retaliators. And that's only the tip of the iceberg in this epic that threatens all of our universes - including the very one you're reading this comic in. Yeah, Grant gets weird in a cool way in this one, and I love it.

The Multiversity #1 by Morrison and Reis is on comic shelves now, and as always you can find it at both All Things Fun! locations. Check it out!



All Things Fun! for Best Comics Shop

By Glenn Walker

Let's talk about comic book shops, shall we? When most folks think about comic book shops, the first thought that comes to mind is The Android's Dungeon, the place run by Comic Book Guy on "The Simpsons" and while there are places like that, they are not the norm. The next thing people think of is the comic book shop on "Big Bang Theory" which is a bit more reality-based, but still not an appetizing place to shop.

And there's All Things Fun! in West Berlin NJ, with a second store at McGuire Air Force Base. Both are run by the wonderful Ed and Dina Evans. The store is (and I admit I'm biased, but the truth is the truth) the best place for comics, games, and toys in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area. All Things Fun! is (like the name says) fun, inviting, and family friendly. Ed and Dina, and the entire staff are some of the coolest folks around, and they love what they do, are knowledgeable about the products, and just plain good people.

Today writer Gail Simone was talking on her Twitter about comic book shops and said the following: "Comic shops that are inviting and inclusive change not just their readership, but actually create communities and acceptance." This is exactly what All Things Fun! is about. I walk into the store, and I know I'll find friends either behind the counter or in front of it that will share my interests.

If you read further on Gail Simone's Twitter, you will find the discussion turning toward how comics shops treat female customers. Many are not very good at it, much like the "Simpsons" and "Big Bang Theory" examples cited at the start of this article, but ATF! is one of the best, not only is it female-friendly, it's also family-friendly.

All Things Fun! is where I met Allison Eckel who's a friend, fellow writer and sometime co-conspirator. With Allison, I write the All Things Fun! Blog here, and for years we hosted, with ATF! owner Ed, the All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast, which on a weekly basis talked about new comics, and even featured kid comics segments for younger readers.

Honestly I can't think of any other comics shop that even comes close to ATF!, it's simply the best place for comics in this area. If you've experienced the store, the staff, and the community of All Things Fun!, maybe you might think about voting for them in the Philly Hot List for Best Comic Book Shop. You can vote here. And vote or not, you're not changing my mind, All Things Fun! is still the best comics shop in the area.


Review – Grayson #1

By Glenn Walker

Dick Grayson. Robin. Nightwing. He was captured, unmasked, and murdered in DC's big crossover event earlier this year called Forever Evil. But that's okay, he got better. Hey kids, comics!

Seriously, heroes do come back to life in comic book universes, but it's not the same as coming back to the same life. Dick Grayson had to disappear, but such a great hero can't be gone for long, so he's re-invented himself. Grayson #1 is the start of a new series, a new character, and a new beginning.

This time out, Richard Grayson is a secret agent of sorts, doing the sort of thing we used to see Nick Fury, James Bond, and Napoleon Solo do. He's an agent of Spyral, an organization readers may remember from Grant Morrison's Batman Incorporated. Along with Helena Bertinelli (a long ago alias of the Huntress a few continuities ago), Grayson is making a new start of it. And it's not all spy action, the first issue features the New 52 version of the Midnighter as well.

Grayson #1, with story by Tim Seeley, plot by Seeley and Tom King, and art by Mikel Janin, came out last week but is still available, especially at All Things Fun!. Check it out!


Review – Superman #32

By Glenn Walker

Like his legendary father before him, artist John Romita Jr. is a Marvel Comics man. He made his mark on Uncanny X-Men, Amazing Spider-Man, Iron Man, Avengers, and even the creator-owned but still under the marvel banner, Kick-Ass. Now in one of the biggest moves of artists from Marvel to DC, just as huge as Jack Kirby, George Perez, or John Byrne in the past - John Romita Jr. has come to DC Comics, and not just to DC, but the biggest DC Comic of all, Superman. Yeah, this is huge.

Superman #32 marks the debut of JRJR as artist on the man of steel with Geoff Johns writing and Klaus Janson inking. And other than the New 52 Superman costume that I am still just not used to, this is an amazing comic. Almost as an easy transfer, we're introduced to the origin of a new character, very similar to Superman, called Ulysses. His design is very marvel and flows well under the lines of JRJR, but that's where the Marvel stops, because the artist has Superman down.

JRJR's (and Geoff Johns' as well) treatment of Superman is superb. When he is on panel, he is the world's greatest hero, center of the action and the hero of the book, big and larger than life. But Romita also gets it right (as does Johns) in the quiet moments. His Perry White and Jimmy Olsen are vibrant, more so than they've been in a while. His Clark Kent is warm, believable and human, and believably not Superman, which is as it should be.

If you haven't been reading Superman, issue #32 is the place to jump on, and if you have, strap in, it looks like it's going to be a fun ride. This is a new and different, as well as more traditional and bright, Superman. Superman #32 is available at All Things Fun! this week, check it out! Up, up and away!


Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet

By Glenn Walker

I've talked about Batman '66 here before, and in the dark dreary world of the New 52, Futures End, and Marvel NOW!, it is something singular. It's a fun comic book. Based on the 1966-68 "Batman" TV series, full of camp, color, and yes, fun, it is always a joy to read. I loved the TV series (yes, I'm that old) and I love the comic, hardcopy and digital. And if you haven't experienced digital comics, I full suggest Batman '66 as the one to try.

Now what could be better than Batman '66? How about a comic book sequel to one of the absolute best and fanboy-explosive stories of the show - the two-parter where Batman and Robin face off against the Green Hornet and Kato? "A Piece of the Action" and "Batman's Satisfaction," episodes 85 and 86, along with the Londinium adventure, and anything with Batgirl or the Julie Newmar Catwoman were always my favorites - but I loved the Green Hornet. When I was able to track down his TV show later in life, and then collect all the radio series and comics, the Hornet became a major favorite. With successful Green Hornet comics over at Dynamite, what better time to cross over once again? Another clash between TV's caped crusaders and masked vigilantes? Oh yeah, baby, that's just filled with all kinds of awesome, bring it on.

A little background might be needed. Everyone knows where Batman comes from, and slightly later, Robin, tragically bereft of their parents and pledging to avenge them by warring on criminals, but you might not know about the Green Hornet. Here would be a good place to start. The folks behind "Batman" on TV wanted to do something a bit different, more serious in 1967, and created a show for the Green Hornet. When ratings sagged, they did the obvious, teamed them up… or as reputation would have it, the Green Hornet fronting as a criminal, set the two duos against each other.

The Green Hornet and his masked companion came to Gotham, on the trail of an insidious stamp counterfeiter called Colonel Gumm, and eventually clash with the Dynamic Duo. There was lots of fun in the episodes, which featured Adam West's Bruce Wayne and Van Williams' Britt Reid as old competitive friends. The second episode ended with the two teams fighting to a draw, much to the dismay of the fans. There is much myth to the confrontation between Bruce Lee's Kato and Burt Ward's Robin, but I'll leave that to Hollywood legend and your Googling fingers.

The new comic, Batman '66 Meets the Green Hornet, out this week in comics form (hardcopy, just two weeks after digital release), and available at All Things Fun!, is everything I could have wished for. Written by Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman, and illustrated by Ty Templeton, this is a terrific book. The cadence, the pacing, even the action of the TV series is alive in this comic, and it feels every bit of the sequel to the two-parter that it could be, even Gumm is back, in a more sinister form.

Definitely pick up Batman '66 Meets the Green Hornet, one of the best comics out this week, maybe this month. You won't be disappointed.


Review – Furious #2

By Glenn Walker

The fury continues. Whether you're talking about the hype machine that has everyone talking about this new comic or the heroine and comic themselves, Furious is hot, and this past week brought us the second issue.

Furious is the brainchild of award winning writer Bryan J.L. Glass, friend of All Things Fun!, who you might know better from his work on The Mice Templar and Thor: First Thunder, and it's illustrated by artist Victor Santos, also of The Mice Templar and his own project Polar.

Furious is the story of the world's first superhero, branded 'Furious' by the press because of her violent quick temper in her debut. The comic, commenting on the media and how we treat our celebrities, is one of the best on the shelves, and only threatens to get better if Furious' secret identity gets out - that of disgraced child star Cadence Lark. Furious #2 continues the heroine's dark journey of redemption, her tragic and careless past, the reactions of the press and the police to Furious, and the emergence of a super-villain. If you're not reading this book, you will regret it.

Remember, Furious is available at either location of All Things Fun!. And if you want to know more about what has gone before in Furious #1, you can check out my and Ray Cornwall's interview with creator Bryan J.L. Glass on The GAR! Podcast here or my brief review at Biff Bam Pop! here. Don't forget, you can Like Furious at Facebook and Follow her on Twitter!



Review – The New Fantastic Four #1

By Glenn Walker

New creators, new number one, new costumes, new concept, and all at a discounted price - how much better can the new Fantastic Four #1 be? This is a new adventure, and a new chapter for Marvel's premiere family and super-team. Brought to us by new writer and artist team James Robinson and Leonard Kirk, we are thrust into a world where the Fantastic Four have fallen, and in the narrative of the Invisible Woman, we flash back to how it all happened.

In part one of "The Fall of the Fantastic Four," we watch as the team battles one of Marvel Comics' oldest, most powerful, and dangerous villains - the dragon Fin Fang Foom. James Robinson, one of my favorite writers since his Starman run back in the 1990s, has a good grip on the FF while in battle, almost reminiscent of Stan Lee or Roy Thomas, but his personal interaction off the battlefield might need some work. It's still good, and you can see his heart's in the right place, even though everything seems as though it's screaming toward a downward spiral.

The art is functional, not the best, but not the best either. Perhaps that's too harsh. Kirk is amazing, but he's not jack Kirby or John Byrne. Fantastic Four is the world's greatest comic magazine for a reason, there's a lot to live up to. I don't mind the red costumes as much as others seem to, and the new logo doesn't bother me either. These guys have been around for fifty years - it might be time to shake things up. And trust me, Robinson and Kirk do shake things up!



I think this is a terrific new start, and I'm willing to give Robinson and Kirk a chance. You should too. The new Fantastic Four #1 is available at both All Things Fun! stores, and if you get there now, while supplies last, and only for a limited time, it's only two dollars! Now how can you beat that? Get your copy today!