Sunday, October 30, 2011


Using the amazing computer technology of the 21st century we're be able to rewrite history and take a look at what could have been, in this fantastic new feature called WOLVERINE AUDITIONS!

Today: Ice-T Wolverine!

If you didn't read the (not-at-all-tacked-on) story behind Wolverine Auditions yet, you can do so now!
Also, this is seriously my last post before the short hiatus. We'll be back on the 10th of November. Wish me a good vacation!


Peter and Mary Jane (Watson!) Parker. From "Amazing Spider-Man" #311 (pencils by Todd McFarlane). No, it's not a Halloween issue. They just went out dancing like that. It was a normal thing for them at the time. Why, here's how they dressed just a couple issues earlier:

The Parkers were a fashion challenged family for quite a long time. I'm no expert, but just look at this. Who knows, I might milk this topic some more in future posts.

Happy Halloween! (and see ya again in a couple of days!)

Friday, October 28, 2011

WORD FROM THE EDITOR: Shopping, Plans & Short Hiatus

Today, me and the girlfriend were supposed to go see a movie but we ended up skipping it and going around town, visiting some shops and stuff like that. A comics store was nearby, so naturally I bought me some stuff to read! I usually don't buy any "current" comics nowadays (I do make some exceptions, though) and just go for back issues and/or collected editions. Mostly specific runs by some of my favorite creators or stuff that'll fill the gaps in my collection. Here's what I got today:

  • 10 "Punisher" vol. 1 issues frot the title's early years. Ridiculous, all-out action stuff that I love. Those books filled some gaps in my Punisher collection (I used to have a whole lot of Punisher books, then did a stupid thing and sold them years ago and I'm now rebuilding most of it) and now I pretty much got all of the early stuff that I wanted. Later on it got really terrible (before Ennis came along) so I'm just interested in the first few years of the title.

  • After playing "Arkham City" I was in the mood for some Batman, so I picked up 9 issues of the Polish "Batman" title from the early '90s (it featured reprints of some really terrific Batman stories from his titles of the '80s, along with some then-current stuff). This filled some gaps too and I'm just missing a few issues of this "regional" Batman book now. It was one of the titles I was buying regularly as a kid so I love those. As cheesy as it may sound, they have a certain charm. Probably something to do with the often quirky translations, the letter pages and the "sentimental value" (ugh...). Also, each issue was 52  pages and reprinted 2 original comics (sometimes three). So that's 18 regular-size Batman comics right there, people! Some of the fine folks behind those issues are Alan Grant, Norm Breyfogle & Jim Aparo, so you know it's good. Here's a look at some of the covers of the old Polish "Batman" book.

  • Other than the Polish Batman stuff, I also bought a tradepaperback called "Batman: Joker's Asylum". I have no idea what it is, I just got it on a whim. I understand it's a  collection of several one-shots, each focusing on a different villain and it all ties with Joker somehow, but that's all. I might review it after I read it, if it proves blogworthy!

Batman: Joker's Asylum

  • The stuff I'm most happy with is a nice set of two really thick "Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D" issues from the early '80s. It specifically reprints all 5 of the issues made entirely by Jim Steranko in the 1960s (the ones that were drawn and scripted by him and not just had him doing the covers) and I'm already hyped for reading this. Steranko is a fantastic artist and it's nice having those stories on paper that isn't 50 years old, looking like shit and doing his art a general disservice. This might show up on the blog in the near future too.

Steranko kicks ass.

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In other news: I know it's bad to take a break now that I just started this blog, but early next week me and my girlfriend are going for a week long vacation. I might end up making a post here before I go, but if I don't than the blog will be back around the 10th of November.

I'm still getting into this blogging thing and setting an identity for this site. Comicbooks are only one of my interests so it's very possible that other topics such as music, movies and books will start showing up on Master's Degree soon (after I figure out a way to incorporate them more or less smoothly here). The comics stuff will remain dominant, though. I have a nice mix of comics content planned, with reviews, random short posts, possible regular (or pseudo-regular) features and other silly things, so remember to check back after the break.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Loose Thoughts - "BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY"

At one point in the game Batman patches up his wounded face with smiley face band-aids.

I recently finally caught up with the times and, after long years of playing games on my trusty Playstation 2, bought a PS3. So naturally games took up quite a lot of my time last week. I bought "Batman: Arkham City" a few days ago and although I didn't finish it yet, here's some of my thought's on the game so far. I didn't play the first game yet so I'm basing this solely on "Arkham City". In no particular order:

  •  I don't think I've ever seen Batman this ripped. He kinda looks like he's back on venom. 
  •  I'm sorry, but the premise that there was a ghetto for supervillains created in the middle of Gotham is as dumb as it gets. I understand suspension of disbelief (and boy do I suspend it!) etc. but this is a bit too unlikely  for me. I mean this place is a war zone, set up in the middle of the city. Gotham has always been a lousy place to live and all but it never was a dystopian shithole like that, with crazies armed to teeth on every corner killing each other and shooting rockets at news helicopters... However, I also understand why this premise is there (after all, the creators needed a reason for all those villains being in one place at the same time) and the game sure is a lot of fun, so I can happily forgive that. And who knows, maybe there's gonna be something at the end of the game that makes the premise look a bit better for me (right now I'm near the end of the game, hunting Joker in his hideout).
  • Solomon Grundy! It was nice seeing him.
  • Mark Hamill's Joker is fantastic. Appropriately creepy, maniacal and funny. The voice actors in this game are generally very good, but he's the star of the show.
  • As a child raised on Batman stories such as "The Idiot Root" I immensely enjoyed all the sequences of Batman tripping balls/hallucinating. The Ra's al Ghul stuff was top notch and the short Mad Hatter cameo was good too.
  • Even though I thought the premise itself was ridiculous, the story built upon it, with all it's various plot twists, is really good and sucks you right in.
  • Batman is waaay too easy on Mr. Freeze. I know the guy just wants to cure his wife and all that, but he's also an asshole.
  • The character designs for Bane and Harley Quinn do absolutely nothing for me and I think they're quite poor, especially considering every one else looks real good.
  • The Catwoman DLC pack is good enough and fills out the main story nicely. I didn't play the Robin DLC yet, but I like how they redesigned him. 

Overall, I really like this game and you owe it to yourself to get it. It's one of those games where I actually want to delay finishing it because I'm enjoying the gameplay so much.

EDIT: Finished the game's story mode just now. Fantastic stuff. The voice message during the credits creeped me right out. Bravo!

Back Issues - Marvel UK's "Mys-Tech Wars"

All of the issues have wrap-around covers, if you're into that sort of thing.

 In my second post on this website I talked about "Warheads" - the Marvel UK title from the early '90s that I found really enjoyable. In the comments section for the same post I mentioned I might buy the "Mys-Tech Wars" mini series (by Dan Abnett and Bryan Hitch) that was billed as the whole UK line's big event. Well, I did buy it. It's just 4 issues. It was cheap and easily available, just like "Warheads". It was also fuckin' terrible.
But since the Marvel UK stuff is basically uncharted waters in the comics internet I figured I might as well say something about it.

The story is... ehh... the story is that the Mys-Tech corporation pretty much made a replica of planet Earth and they want to use it as a sort of voodoo doll. What they do to the replica happens to the real Earth. They also unleash a crapload of demons and guys with big guns on the planet. The heroes (both British and American) go to London to fight them. Pretty much everybody dies and, well, I figure I'll just show you some of it so you can see for yourself... There's not much of a plot, mainly action and loads of cheap death and disfigurment. Here:

Nick Fury is the first to find out about the whole evil scheme and the first one to die. They put him into some sort of cube that tears the skin and guts off of him. And also leaves him disturbingly pantless. Don't look!

Spider-Man only appears for like 5 panels and gets taken out like a chump by some nondescript demon, his heart torn out. Like many of the deaths in this horrific event, it feels really stupid. It was probably meant to show us how serious the threat is but it fails and makes the reader question just what the hell were the writers thinking here. It's supposed to be shocking and tragic but it's just tacky and shitty.

Like many others in this thing, Cyclops gets killed with one shot...

"Oh Jean... not again..."

...which makes Jean Grey so damn depressed she puts a giant gun to her face and kills herself. BAVAM! Totally rad!

Psylocke gets half her face shot off and walks around like that for the rest of this fiasco. And it goes on and on and on.... People show up only to get killed in the next panel. Nobody does anything cool, it's just a really bad, boring mess. All action & no suspense or anything worthwhile.

"Fascinating. Yadda yadda..."

After the surviving heroes finally come up with a deus ex machina and save the day (pretty much turning back the time 24 hours, with only a select few people remembering what happened), we get a scene with this "mysterious all-powerful entity" type of bloke. He watches it from beyond and admits that Earth doesn't suck as much as he thought it does. I've never heard of this beardy man or saw him anywhere else, but who cares, he's here.
That's all. At least it was really cheap. I keep telling myself that...
Steer clear of this thing.

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BONUS CONTENT! More Mys-Tech Wars bang for your buck!

Try doing that with your teeth. While talking. I dare you. Hitch may be a well respected artist now and it seems he sure came a long way. Apparently back then he never heard of lips, cause a lot of characters in this mini series sport that same hideously toothy grin. It looks like they're zombies or something.

What the--?!  :O

The Uncanny X-Men's futuristic hot drink machine.

Comics. Mys-Tech Wars. Shit. 

Monday, October 17, 2011


Back in the early/mid '90s, when the X-Men franchise was at it's most succesful, there were a lot of rumours about the production of an X-Men movie. 20th Century Fox bought the rights to a movie adaptation, James Cameron was mentioned as a possible director (he was also supposed to direct a Spider-Man movie some time before that - funny that none of those ever worked out) and the fandom was just going crazy with speculations about the movie's cast.

More than anything else, the fans wanted to know the answer to one question: who will play Wolverine?? There were many names thrown around (Clint Eastwood & Sylvester Stallone among them), and most of them seemed highly improbable. 
Back then Wolverine was an ugly, short and hairy guy that was 100% badass. He was mean, he drinked a lot, he smoked, he smelled like a wet dog and he gutted people left and right. Finding someone who could play that wasn't really that hard. But finding someone who could play that AND sport that ridiculous haircut that Logan has, was an entirely different story.

When the movie eventually came out years later, we finally found out who would play Wolverine. And after all those years of speculations, rumours and high hopes... we ended up with Hugh Jackman (who?). Even though I was older by that time, and stopped waiting for that movie to come out several years before, I still felt somewhat disappointed. I didn't even want to see the movie by that time, but this Hugh Jackman guy? It was obvious that he sucks. He sucks both as Wolverine and as an actor. Even his fans agree with that.* Hugh Jackman is the Jar Jar Binks of the movie world.

The reason I bring up this story of childhood disappointment and failed casting decisions is not just because I'm a bitter old nerd. It's because I have a SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT to make! Starting sometime soon, we're gonna have a chance to rewrite history, here on Master's Degree in Crap! Using the magic of 21st century technology, we'll be able to see who could possibly be a good Wolverine! Hooray! I'm sure you're as excited as I am, so make sure to check back soon as we start our new regular feature - THE WOLVERINE AUDITIONS!


On a side note: in all of the hundreds of casting rumours floating around the fandom, every fan was in agreement about who could possibly play Charles Xavier. Patrick Stewart! And everybody was right on that one since he did end up playing Xavier years later. I guess it just goes to show that when it comes to naming a famous bald actor, the one that will always come to mind immediately is Patrick Stewart (no offense to Ben Kingsley).

* They actually don't.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


"SURGEON GENERAL" #1! Coming soon to a comicbook store nowhere near you!
Yeah, I dunno either. He's a surgeon and a general. Too much free time, I guess.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Back Issues - Marvel UK's "WARHEADS"

Surprisingly, a really good read.

A few years ago, while shopping for comics online, I bought a whole run of comicbooks that I knew absolutely nothing about (because I take risks like that). The series was called "Warheads" and it was published by Marvel UK from '92 to '93. It wasn't a lot of comics - the complete run was 14 issues + a 2 issue mini series. It wasn't even that the covers drew me in, because honestly I don't even think most of them look good. It took a long while before I got to reading them, but when I did, it turned out that they're actually pretty good. And if nothing else, definitely a whole lot better than 90% of the "proper" Marvel comics from the early '90s that I own and wouldn't dare to read now.

The Warheads are mercs working for a shady corporation called Mys-Tech (from what I understand, a common villain in most of the Marvel UK titles from that time). By means of a combination of technology and magic, they travel through time, space and other dimensions to retrieve technology or artifacts that their employers can use for producing new and advanced weaponry.
They are led by a scarred and ridiculously named guy called Colonel Tigon Liger (get it?). Most of the other members of the unit change from issue to issue - the idea is that they're expandable soldiers and pretty much every issue somebody dies. It's a bit like Suicide Squad or Thunderbolts, but unlike those two teams, the Warheads volunteered for their jobs and came to regret it later. Usually, such a high death ratio among the team would mean that there won't be time to develop interest in them and the relationships between them, but this isn't really the case here. This is a pretty diverse team (naturally, featuring some cliches) and the few characters who manage to survive are fun to read about. You never know who's gonna take the bullet and that's something I like.

This series had 5 artists, which is a lot for a short run, and the quality of art changes quite drastically (sometimes from issue to issue). The best artists on this title were Gary Erskine and Stuart Jennett, and their style fitted the dark/moody atmopshere of the book really well. The other pencillers ranged from bad to tolerable, but it's a well written series (writing credits go to Nick Vince, John Freeman and Craig Houston) and when art fails that's what still keeps you reading.

One other thing you'll notice when checking out the covers of those books is that there's quite a lot of "guest appearances" from the "American" Marvel heroes popular at the time (X-Force, Wolverine, Iron Man, X-Men and more). While I hate that type of stuff, it's actually used reasonably well most of the time and doesn't follow the usual "heroes meet, have a misunderstanding, fight each other and then team up" tradition. Half of the guest stars only show up for a moment and the other half aren't even the REAL heroes, just some dudes impersonating them! False advertising! But that's a good thing - the "guests" don't get in the way much, and that's how it should be. Also, the issue that features Wolverine is a really great one and uses him in a pretty original way.

Marvel UK realeased a shit ton of titles in the early 90s and they're all easily available on eBay, dirt cheap. From what I read on Wiki, most of them were actually quite good and the reason they were cancelled after the first year or two was that there were too many of them, basically flooding the market in a time when it was already oversaturated. It seems like there's an ad for 2 new Marvel UK series in every issue of "Warheads", so I can't say that surprises me.

Having enjoyed the "Warheads", I started wondering what the other Marvel UK titles were like (that's the only one I ever read). If you stumble upon this post and have read any of those series, let me know in the comments. In the meantime, I recommend "Warheads" if you're looking for something different to read - it's cheap, easy to get and it's an entertaining book with a lot of character.