Tag Archives: Mark Bagley

New Comic Book Day December 29, 2021: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

By now, I think everyone should be fully recovered from their Christmas festivities. Depending on how festive things got, your place might not be entirely clean. Kids and adults alike can make a hell of a mess when they’re excited on Christmas morning. I know this because I’ve made quite a few messes over the years.

Whatever the state of your holiday hangover, today is a momentous day of another kind. It marks the final New Comic Book Day of 2021. For comic book fans, that’s often noteworthy for a number of reasons. The end of the year often coincided with preludes, epilogues, and teasers for what’s to come in the next year. It’s also a chance to look back on everything that happened in the past year and just appreciate it.

Now historically, the last New Comic Book Day of the year has been fairly light in terms of noteworthy releases. You almost never see major milestone issues or the end of major events on this week. More often than no, a lot of filler issues get released this week and that’s perfectly fine. Not every week can be a blockbuster release.

Personally, I’ve often used this week to look back and see which comics or collections are worth adding to my collection before the new year begins. In the same way this week tends to be light on major issues, the first couple months of the new year tend to have major releases that are poised to set the tone. I’m already saving my money accordingly.

For this week, though, I’m content to enjoy the post-holiday afterglow with a simple stack of comics. They don’t have to blow my mind. They just have to help me relax and appreciate the conclusion of another holiday season. For those still recovering from the festivities, I hope this final New Comic Book Day does the same.

Here is my final pull list and pick of 2021. Enjoy and here’s to an awesome 2022.


My Pull List

Action Comics #1038

Amazing Spider-Man #83

DC vs. Vampires #3

Death of Doctor Strange #4

Deathstroke Inc. #4

Detective Comics #1046

Devil’s Reign #2

The Flash #777

Harley Quinn #10

The Joker Presents: A Puzzlebox #14

Justice League #70

Power Rangers #14

Power Rangers Universe #1

Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #19

Superman ’78 #5

Teen Titans Academy #10

Timeless #1

Wastelanders: Star-Lord #1


My Pick Of The Week
Timeless #1

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Jack Fisher’s Weekly Quick Pick Comic: Spider-Man Life Story #1

Every week, the world gets a brief reprieve from being a chaotic mess when a fresh crop of comics enters the world. Most call it Wednesday. Others, like myself, call it New Comic Day. It’s like a weekly holiday, minus the decorations, gift giving, and crowded airports. On this unique day, I pick one particular comic to single out as worthy of making this day feel extra festive.

This week brings us a special gem from everyone’s third favorite friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, after Spider-Ham and Spider-Gwen. It comes courtesy of one of Marvel’s top scribes in Chip Zdarsky and one of their top artists in Mark Bagley. While there has always been an abundance of Spider-Man comics, “Spider-Man: Life Story #1” stands out in a uniquely charming way.

For much of Spider-Man’s contemporary history, there has been an ongoing challenge, of sorts, when it comes to keeping him relevant. Writers, artists, and movie producers keep having to update Spider-Man’s story, somewhat, so that he feels modern. That’s not easy for a character who first debuted in 1962, courtesy of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

Over the years, Peter Parker has found himself reinvented into many eras, from disco to social media. Marvel has always been somewhat coy about how characters like Spider-Man can show up in these eras and not seem to age, but that’s exactly what makes “Spider-Man: Life Story #1” so unique.

It doesn’t try to put Peter Parker in a more modern context. It doesn’t try to radically change who he is so that he fits into a more familiar world. Instead, Zdarsky and Bagley do the complete opposite and just let his story unfold within the era that first created him.

There’s no sliding timescale here. The year is 1966. Peter has had his Spider-Man powers for four years. He’s in college, the Vietnam War is ongoing, hippies are starting to grow in population, and cigarette’s are still advertised for their health benefits. This is the world in which Spider-Man was initially birthed and this is the world in which his story unfolds.

It’s a familiar story, one that frequently relies on Peter trying to balance his life as a college student with his superhero life as Spider-Man. However, that familiarity is exactly what helps “Spider-Man: Life Story #1” work so well as a concept and a setting. While it isn’t bound by the same 50-plus years of comic book continuity, it is bound by the circumstances of the mid-1960s.

This is a very different time for superheroes and non-superheroes alike. It’s not just that soda costs a quarter and the idea of alternative facts can be attributed to bad acid trips. This is a time of major social upheaval, especially in places like New York. Issues surrounding the Vietnam War aren’t just affecting Peter. They’re affecting his friends and other heroes, like Captain America.

It’s a world in which Peter struggles with choices that don’t just involve being on time for class. He’s seeing friends/bullies like Flash Thompson get drafted into a war that is just starting to go poorly. He’s watching other superheroes who don’t have to deal with J. Jonah Jameson make difficult choices about whether to get involved. What does an aspiring superhero do in that kind of world?

It makes for an interesting and dramatic backdrop for “Spider-Man: Life Story #1.” Peter still deals with typical Spider-Man issues, like getting to class on time and pursuing a blossoming relationship with Gwen Stacy. There are also a few battles with familiar enemies, namely the Green Goblin, who’s an asshole in any era. However, neither Peter Parker nor Spider-Man are bigger than the issues of the world around them.

In many respects, it brings out a more balanced Spider-Man. His struggles in dealing with the times and circumstances around him makes Peter Parker feel more real. It has always been part of his appeal, going back to the era of Lee and Ditko. He’s not some billionaire playboy or legendary soldier. He’s just a nerdy kid who got super-powers by accident.

This is a Peter Parker who isn’t bound by the old Comic Code Authority or aversions to political undertones. Zdarsky and Bagley let him live and react to the world of 1966 in a way that’s both believable and engaging. Essentially, they let him be the character that Lee and Ditko created within the times of his creation.

Those turbulent times set up even more drama as issues like the Vietnam War and the growing mistrust between people and authority start to grow. Peter’s youth puts him in the front row of the emerging chaos while the adults around him, including other superheroes, find themselves affected in ways that would’ve abhorred 1960s censors.

In a sense, the times and the larger world of “Spider-Man: Life Story #1” is the biggest appeal of the story. It allows complexity and drama that isn’t typical of a modern Spider-Man comic, but somehow brings out the best in Peter Parker and those around him, even if J. Jonah Jameson is still an annoying blowhard.

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The following is a review I wrote for PopMatters for Deadpool Assassin #1. Enjoy!

The Maturation of (Regenerating) Degenerates In Deadpool Assassin #1

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June 16, 2018 · 6:53 pm