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Sam Johnson’s Geek Girl continues to be one of the more unique independent comics out there, with a focus on action, exciting cheesecake pin-up artworks and wild storytelling that will grasp even the most common reader. Issue #4 of this exciting new miniseries deals with super-villain Lightning Storm and her total domination of our titular hero.

We learn a bit more about why Lightning Storm has come to town and how Maine’s long-term resident super-heroes, Neon Girl and Pit Bull learn to deal with their defeat. And of course, they team up with newcomer Geek Girl for an all out war to settle the score. This is definitely an entertaining comic with just enough fun to keep you turning the pages but with the right amount of social discourse to keep things interesting for the readers.

This is a comic that is a feast for the senses and will keep you coming back for more with it’s sharp wit, unique writing style and snappy dialogue.

Geek-Girl #4 is Out Now and available in Regular, Digital and Variant editions at www.geekgirlcomics.com and www.comixology.com – along with new Variants of Geek-Girl#1-#3 for newcomers to her mini-series.


Robot 13 #1
Written by Thomas Hall; Illustrated by Daniel Bradford

Sometimes a fun comic goes under the radar. Take Robot 13 as an example. This comic came out in 2010ish and had a TPB published back in 2013. I likely would have never discovered this comic without my iPhone. Before I get to the comic itself, I have to give kudos to whomever designed the interface for Robot 13 on the iPhone. It’s a rich reading experience that makes each page feel like a story teller is unfolding it for you. I’ve read a lot of comics on my iPhone but this interface was one of the best. Surprisingly better than many of the efforts by the major publishers.

As for the comic itself, it’s hard not to notice the obvious Mike Mignola homage. Daniel Bradford’s art is very much influenced by Mignola and maybe even a touch of Jack Kirby in there as well. That’s one of the nice parts about the art is that there is a bit of a reminder that this is a new world and a fun one, if not also a dark grim one. Comparisons could be made to Eastman and Laird’s early work on the TMNT comics. All things that draw me in immediately.


There’s obviously not a ton to go off of in the first issue but the genesis seems to be there for something very entertaining. Robot 13 is a robot plucked from the ocean floor. He doesn’t know his past, nor does the crew that find him. He looks like a classic old school robot or a spaceman that died in his suit. Perhaps he’s a bit of both? There doesn’t appear to be a lot of information on just where the title robot gets his power but the skeleton head inside seems to indicate he’s a haunting of some sort.


The story unfolds with great precise panel narrative and again, this really pops on the iPhone. The story gives us just a hint of mystery but doesn’t hit us over the head with it to hammer home the point that this is mysterious. I was reminded a bit of Savage Dragon in that sense. We also get a fight with a giant creature that would make Ray Harryhausen happy. It’s a fun romp and this is exactly the kind of small comic you should be seeking out to read.

I’m very interested in reading more and if you’re into robots, Hellboy or comics that are a little off the beaten path, this is one worth checking out. The actual comics are just $3.99 and the digital copies are a super value at $0.99! Blacklist Studios is currently working on issue #3 with the first two issues still available. Check out Blacklist Studios for more on Robot 13.


Revoltech
Black Ox
5 Inch Scale
By: Kaiyodo
2008
$19.99

As we continue on with March of the Robots, it’s time to look at the Lex Luthor to Tetsujin’s Superman, the nefarious Black Ox. In every incarnation of Tetsujin, from the original anime to the live action film and beyond, Black Ox has been one of his chief rivals.

Created by reclusive mad scientist, Dr. Shutain Franken, Black Ox is the evil robot counterpart to Tetsujin. While Tetsujin is used for the purposes of good, Franken implores Black Ox to do his evil bidding. Black Ox is the ultimate robot terrorist.

Black Ox is one of the less popular Revoltechs, despite the fact that he appeared in a very popular YouTube stop motion skateboard video. Black Ox is one the neatest looking figures in my view, because of his sleek, shiny robot design. Without Black Ox to cause trouble, there really wouldn’t be much of a reason to call Tetsujin 28 heroic.

Packaging:
Revoltechs all come in small window boxes.


Black Ox’s box matches Tetsujin’s nicely. Tetsujin is #43 and Black Ox is #44.

Interestingly, Tetsujin actually appears on the back of Black Ox’s box. As you can see in the side to side comparisons, these two figures go well together, as do their boxes. Black Ox is press slamming Tetsujin on the back of his box.

Sculpt:
Generally speaking, Black Ox has a nice sculpt. The actual Black Ox is usually depicted with a little more of a hunch than this figure has, but you can more or less replicate it with the neck. The entire figure is really glossy and shiny. If anything the figure could be described as minimalist black.


The Revoltech joints completely disappear into this body sculpt. While Tetsujin had a couple of spots where they sort of changed his design, they don’t have that same effect on Black Ox. The body looks almost exact as it’s supposed to. From the bat-like head shape to his forearm claws, it’s all there.

The only real area of weakness I see is that the fingers aren’t claws. Sometimes Black Ox is depicted as having pointy figures. That’s such a minor thing though and it really falls more under the preference category than anything else. The shiny finish can attract fingerprints though.

Articulation:
Black Ox was made to fight Tetsujin, so it’s a good thing that his articulation is up to par with his metal foe. Black Ox in a lot of ways is more poseable than Tetsujin because of his design. While Tetsujin was a bit top heavy, you can pose Black Ox more freely.


In nearly every encounter between Black Ox and Tetsujin, they did a battle that seemed more like Pro Wrestling that two giant robots battling. Thankfully the revolver joints allow you to replicate those old school brawls in frighteningly detailed fashion.


Black Ox also includes a set of hinged hands, just like Tetsujin. Black Ox’s hinged hands do seem a little big when fully opened though. The nice part about the hand hinges and design is that they allow him to hold weapons more easily than his counterpart.

Accessories:
As I mentioned in my Tetsujin 28 review, Black Ox comes with the third head of Tetsujin. This is a deactivated or “dead” head. That’s a cool bonus and chances are if you’re buying Black Ox, you already have a Tetsujin. It’s definitely a cool compatibility thing.


Other than that, Black Ox doesn’t have as much. He includes a couple pair of extra hands, which thankfully aren’t on a revolver joint and swap pretty easily. His coolest accessory feature is a bonus arm and leg piece.

Each of these pieces can be used to replicate the inner workings of Black Ox, or battle damage if you prefer. It would have been cool to get some more extra parts though, or missile fingers. Black Ox doesn’t include an extra head of his own, but he does have the standard Revoltech stand.

Accessory wise, Black Ox can feel a little under whelming if you’re used to some of the more diverse Revoltechs. Still, the extra hands and the Tetsujin head are nothing to necessarily scoff at.

Value:
Again, $20 is pretty expensive. Getting both Tetsujin and Black Ox for $40 might make the pain feel a little less, but if you’re mostly a collector of American toys this may seem like too much money. The good news is that Black Ox is probably the cheapest of all Revoltechs on the secondary market and you can usually find this guy for $5-$10!


Score Recap:
Packaging – 9
Sculpting – 7
Articulation – 8
Accessories – Bonus Hands X2, Tetsujin Head, Stand, Arm Piece, Leg Piece
Value – 7
Overall – 7.5 out of 10

There’s nothing really wrong with Black Ox and he makes for a pretty sleek robot design. However, his lack of accessories and the bland design just don’t make him as much fun by himself. Obviously he’s fairly accurate to the source material so Kaiyodo should be applauded for that, but it’s hard to make him too interesting as a result. I definitely recommend him if you have Tetsujin though, as they make for fun battles together. You could also probably work this guy in pretty much any sci-fi or Star Wars collection.


I’m in the process of watching a Maniac Cop marathon of sorts. It doesn’t really fit in with the Christmas spirit, but I recently found out that Netflix has all three movies online to watch so I’ve jumped in. What’s Maniac Cop you ask?

Maniac Cop is a series of films that vaguely fall under the “slasher” formula starting Robert Z’Dar as a cop back from the dead inflicting death upon those who wronged him when he was an NYPD…. And anyone else who gets in his way. The first film up is Maniac Cop from 1988, the one that started it all! And by all… I mean the other two sequels.

The first Maniac Cop movie is surprisingly good in premise if not in execution, with a chilling open, and a downright haunting score by Jay Chattaway. This film also features Bruce Campbell in one of his lesser known roles. I mean, you always hear people talking about Bruce, but no one ever brings up Maniac Cop!

The movie is uneven at best, with a good performance from Tom Atkins as the detective trying to figure out who’s killing people in NYC. Everyone else doesn’t seem to offer much in the way of acting and even Campbell seems a bit tame. There are a few good supporting characters, but the movie isn’t pieced together well enough, nor are the characters fleshed out enough. Unfortunately the movie suffers elsewhere as NYC feels like a tiny city where no one ever seems to go. Some of the plot points are rushed, or never clearly explained at all. There’s also some good effects mixed in, but some bad ones as well. Not to mention a really long police chase that seemed to be padding out the run time, more than advancing the plot.

Atkins character is the central figure for the first half of the movie, until the movie flips and makes Bruce Campbell the central character. Campbell is a NYPD who is brought up on charges that he’s the psycho cop who’s been killing innocent people in the city. The movie doesn’t immediately reveal that it’s not Campbell and I think Bruce is a good choice because of his large chin, which Robert Z’Dar also sports. Although it’s pretty clear Campbell is nowhere near big enough to be the killer.

I guess I should now mention that Robert Z’Dar is a freaky looking dude. We always called him “Big chin man” when I was a kid, but I don’t think that’s actually accurate. Yes, he has a big chin… But he also has huge cheekbones. Check out Z’Dar over at his official site Z-Dar.com and see what I’m talking about.

Maniac Cop works because the camera work is very clever. They avoid showing Maniac Cop’s face for most of the movie. All you see is his hulking frame and huge cheekbones. The rest is blacked out. In fact, by the time you see Z’Dar’s face it doesn’t come off as creepy. They put some scarred makeup on him, but it’s not very good looking. It just looks like he’s got acne and bad teeth. I think they’d done better by just making Z’Dar’s face very pale with maybe just a hint of scarring. Because Z’Dar is creepy looking as is.

In the end, Campbell is cleared, Maniac Cop is dead and all is well… Or is it? Maniac Cop 2 is next. This time Maniac Cop returns from the dead again and looks much more dead this time. I’ll go on record now for saying that Maniac Cop is one of the few slasher flicks of the 80’s that could actually USE a Hollywood redo. The story isn’t as convoluted as Freddy or Jason and there isn’t a ton of emotional attachment to any particular element. It could be tinkered with and improved upon. So long as Robert Z’Dar gets a cameo!

I mentioned how creepy Z’Dar looks and here’s a picture of him with another man who’s made a career out of looking strange, Mr. Michael Berryman. These guys are true throwbacks to the old days of Hollywood horror cinema when you could get a job based on your creepy looks instead of makeup. These guys are modern day Boris Karloff or Vincent Price! They sell the macabre on their natural features, no CGI or prosthetics required.

Comics have provided fun, entertainment and excitement for many generations, having become hugely popular over the decades. The world of comics – and the exciting and memorable characters – has become a global phenomenon, particularly over the past few decades. This is because comics have proven to be hugely influential in a variety of industries, with the characters now appearing on the big screen, the small screen, and even in the games that we play.

Spiderman
Some of the industries in which comics have been influential:

There are a number of key industries in which comics have had a huge influence over the years, and this has led them to become popular amongst a wide range of age groups and audiences from kids and teens through to the older generation that grew up with these comics. Some of the industries in which comics have really made their mark include:

The movies:

Over recent years, there have been more and more movies based around comic book characters. These have proven immensely popular, with many breaking box office records around the globe. From the extremely popular Spiderman, Batman and Superman movies to more recent franchises such as Iron Man, there have been many comic based movies that have become huge global hits.

TV series:

It’s not just the big screen that has been graced by comic book characters over the past couple of decades. We have also enjoyed watching some of our favourite character brought to life on the small screen, with a number of television shows and series based on them. This includes series dating back to the 1950s and 1960s, such as Captain Pugwash through to more recent shows such as The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, The Mask animated series, and Night Man amongst many others.

Games:

Comic book characters have also infiltrated the world of games, with both video and even casino slot games based on them. Gaming sites such as Uptown Aces have lots of comic book character games. These include a wide range of slot games such as Captain America, the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man amongst others. There have also been many video games based on these characters, including Batman, Hellboy, and Spiderman to name but a few.

There is no doubt that some of our favourite comic book characters have helped to bring excitement and fun to a variety of industries. These characters have been given a new lease of life through their popularity in the world of television, movies and gaming.