The older I get, the more I feel like an alien who doesn’t get the concept of Christmas at all. Don’t get me wrong — I like basically anything that lights up, and I think we should all try a little harder to be nice to other people. But what is up with this mythological mish-mash of elves and biolumenescent caribou celebrated by christians on the date of a Roman pagan festival? Why is there an old man with time-travel powers putting lumps of coal into wooden shoes and breaking into my house to shove candy canes in my socks in the middle of the night? What does any of it mean?!
Well, now there is a song made by aliens just for me and everyone else who feels like I do — and it totally rocks.
This holiday masterpiece was composed and performed by the legendary Old 97’s who have been rocking out for thirty years and spent three hours getting made up like aliens, with lyric from James Gunn who directed this Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special that is available for streaming on Disney+.
What’s inside the short-box of indie comic books this week? Nemesis, published by the UK-based Eagle Comics, and originating in the pages of 2000AD. Thanks to Brian and his older brother Michael, the insanity of British comic books was percolating into my awareness by the mid-1980s. By the time creators such as Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, and Warren Ellis (to name just a few) were working on mainstream franchises at Marvel and DC (or their subsidiaries), I was primed for a ‘British Invasion’ of American comics that rivaled that of blues-based rock music in the 1960s.
For me, it began with Nemesis. When Brian saw this creative team sparked my interest, he also shared with me Marshall Law and Metalzoic. Since then, I’ve dug O’Neill’s art on League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Mills’ work on Flesh, which I only discovered decades after its original publication.
The following story about Nemesis begins in a dungeon where alien species are imprisoned, along with humans suspected of harboring or assisting aliens. Though they suffer, their spirits are lifted by memories of the revolutionary alien warrior: Nemesis!
Nemesis the Warlock! His name strikes fear into the hearts of humans everywhere — humans living in a religious monarchy that persecutes and exterminates all aliens! Just look at this glorious propaganda poster for Torquemada, the arch-nemesis of Nemesis and totally disgusting scumbag.
That’s right. This evil freak is everywhere, spearheading an inquisition across the galaxy to torture and murder peace-loving aliens! It’s almost like living in the United States in 2019!
But take heart, species of the universe. Nemesis the Warlock has an even freakier face than Torquemada, and his sword is way more huge! So huge that it has its own origin story — a violent, grotesque space epic of suffering and sacrifice for all the wrong reasons. Suck it, humans!
A year or so before Image began publishing Sam Kieth’s most famous work, Maxx, Fantagraphics produced two volumes of Kieth’s drawings and short stories as I Before E. With creepy aliens, prowling tigers, and visual treats like the short story “Max the Hare,” these two comic-sized volumes make a fine companion to any Sam Kieth collection.
Collector’s Guide: from I before E #2; Fantagraphics, 1992
In this short story from World of Fantasy, a man hesitates to start up conversation with a lovely lady standing in the rain one night. But, the reader gets a glimpse of the strange events that would unfold if the man had actually worked up the nerve to talk to her. We don’t want to spoil it for you, but it involves aliens!
Atlas published nineteen issues of World of Fantasy from 1956-1959. Stan Lee edited the series and wrote many of the stories. Besides golden age sci-fi greats like Joe Orlando, Joe Manelley, and Angelo Torres, World of Fantasy featured artists who would become big names at Marvel and DC afterward. Just to name a few: Bill Everett, Jack Kirby, Joe Sinnot, Don Heck, Ross Andru, Jack Abel, Dick Giordano, Jim Mooney, Steve Ditko.
We haven’t had any luck tracking down a reprint collection of these. If you know of one, leave a comment for us!
Collector’s Guide: From World of Fantasy #2; Atlas, 1956. Script by Carl Wessler, art by Jay Scott Pike.
The second volume of Doctor Strange went out with a bang in 1987. Strange fights one of his most outrageous, cosmic-light-drenched battles of all time against a really evil alien.
Back Story: This alien fascist came to earth, stole all of the Doctor’s mystical doo-dads and his house, kidnapped his friends just to torture them, and mortally wounded Strange’s body. What a dick! Aliens really suck sometimes.
While his body recovers, Strange finds an ally: a really nice alien who was fixing his Cloak of Levitation. The nice alien plays host to Strange’s astral body, so they can fly across the universe to kick alien ass together. Cue the mystical light effects!
Here’s an EC Comics gem from Weird Fantasy #17 called “The Aliens.” In the final climactic splash panel, the aliens exclaim “Squa Tront” and “Spa Fon!” Now, what the heck does that mean?! They were the names of fanzines put out by Frank Frazetta in the 1950s. Rock this amazing Al Williamson artwork!
Collector’s Guide: From Weird Fantasy #17; 1953 EC Comics (reprinted in 1996 by Gemstone.)
This story leaves the reader with an important moral lesson: if you know just enough about science, you can get through life by lying to everyone. What?! Seriously. If you don’t believe us, read it for yourself. Lying to your children is okay as long as you get famous and kill huge space monsters!
CrossGen‘s Negation has eye-popping artwork and a host of evil aliens that need destroying. Throw in mystical sorcerors from the future, lords of Atlantis from the past, and beast women who are mighty handy with a laser pistol, and you’ve got — Hell, I don’t WHAT you’ve got, but it looks like a fun ride!
CrossGen’s Negation has eye-popping artwork and a host of evil aliens that need destroying. Throw in mystical sorcerors from the future, lords of Atlantis from the past, and beast women who are mighty handy with a laser pistol, and you’ve got — Hell, I don’t WHAT you’ve got, but it looks like a fun ride!
Rex Riders exploded into bookstores on June 21 like a stampeding herd of triceratops! Did you say you needed aliens with your dinosaurs? No Problem! Bullwhip fights on the frontier? You got it! How about a gigantic platform with four carved apatosaurs waiting in a secret cave to teleport you to another planet? A planet of jungle and roaming carnivore packs from our own distant past? Coming right up!
JP Carlson crafted a 430-page adventure just for you. He even throws in a barn infested with giant flesh-eating beetles that fly. If that doesn’t sound like a good time to you, you’re at the wrong web site!
We preview a page of the text below, along with stunning illustrations from Jim Calafiore, and the amygdala-annihilating cover artwork of Fabio Pastori. Today’s cover art bonus includes JP’s bio, too! We share a few more of our favorite Rex Riders moments with you this summer in a Rex Riders Gallery. Meanwhile, Ride your own Rex right over to Amazon and score REX RIDERS today!
Storm rocks hard — and not just because she used to wear a mohawk! Storm went toe-to-toe with Dr. Doom and won (Uncanny X-Men #145-147), even if she did get suckered into dinner with Doom first. Wearing only a bikini, she wrestled an alligator and knifed its a$$ good (Classic X-Men #22). If she weren’t married these days, we would totally ask her out.
Of course, being taken over by aliens tends to put a strain on a relationship. But it’s nothing Storm can’t handle! Behold how Ororo taps into the power of the galactic core to destroy the alien gestating in her body.
Golden Age Comics story time! Fantastic Worlds #7 contained this truly psychedelic tale of alien musicians. This seems like the kind of thing you’d find in the Screaming Trees’ practice space. Also, an eduational piece about the development of rockets called “Early Rockets!”
Imagine riding a juvenile T-Rex the size of a horse through a prehistoric forest; fighting off an attack by a tribe of axe-wielding marauders atop feathered raptors; being chased down a riverbed by a ferocious baryonyx; riding through a herd of stampeding triceratops . . . This is the world of REX RIDERS!
JP Carlson‘s first novel is the kind of adventure story Willis O’Brien would come up with if he was around today. The illustrations are by Marvel and DC Comics’ artist Jim Calafiore. (Jim Calafiore drew our favorite Lizard story!) The cover is by paleo-artist extraordinaire Fabio Pastori.
Ride your own Rex right over to Amazon and score REX RIDERS today!
In 1983, Walter Simonson decided to spice up a boring old title called Thor by going in a radically new direction. Thor’s dad – Odin – gave the magical Thor powers to Beta Ray Bill, a bionic alien. That’s right, a BIONIC ALIEN with the power of the Thunder God. Walt, you’re blowing our minds here!
Walter Simonson’s writing run lasted from isse #337-382. He handled the interior art until about #367 when Sal Buscema took over. Enjoy this excerpt where Beta Ray Bill gets his god power!
– From The Mighty Thor #339.
– Reprinted in the Thor Omnibus featuring the complete Walter Simonson stories.