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Graham Crackers

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  1. Graham Crackers

    In defense of Kaz Fujita

    I watched every bit of turn of the century New Japan I could find online during the Purotopia 2000-2009 MOTD project several years back. That included a bunch of stuff that hadn't been nominated for that project though I'm sure I still have a few blind spots. Fujita is one of the guys I thought looked good coming out of that viewing. I'd still put him behind Naoya Ogawa but I also found Fujita to be more reliable than Murakami, who I like but I also think is sightly overrated in these corners of internet wrestling discussion.
  2. Graham Crackers

    Comments that don't warrant a thread - Part 4

    I read The Manly Art by Elliot Gorn, which is about the history of bare knuckle prize fighting in the US and using it to explore the conflicts between protestant and catholic culture, several years ago. I found it to be a really interesting book but as a wrestling fan what really fascinated me was reading about all of the screwy finishes and realizing that this was where pro wrestling promoters likely got the ideas for those finishes. Lots of no contests when fighters refused to return to the ring and lots of interference from seconds. My favorite if I'm still remembering the details correctly was one fight where the second pulled out a cane sword, a guy in the front row shot him, and a riot broke out.
  3. Graham Crackers

    Comments that don't warrant a thread - Part 4

    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/Wrestling-Was-Fixed-Even-in-Ancient-Rome-180951795/ Possibly since long before steam power
  4. Graham Crackers

    The aging of wrestling fans

    The thing about the comic book industry is that it does huge numbers with kids, but it's not Marvel and DC they're reading. It's Raina Tellgemeier and Dav Pilkey, then when they get older they read manga. Marvel and DC are a decent enough comparison for WWE, especially in terms of their insular culture and aging audience. If Marvel and DC stop publishing comics, stores will shut down but you'll probably still be able to buy Amulet at Barnes and Noble. If WWE closes down I don't think anything in the US will ever really take it's place.
  5. Graham Crackers

    Comic books and Manga Thread

    I always loved how Earth X tied in various licensed Marvel titles like 2001 and Conan, but without actually saying any names that could get them in trouble. I think it holds up as fun but not anything special. I like my Marvel comics as soap operas so these "bookshelf" comics never make a permanent impression. The sequels though, ooh boy. They're like a weird anime ending but for hundreds of pages. Much funnier to just read the wikipedia summaries. 90s Marvel comics I like: Alan Davis on Excalibur - When Davis was writing it felt like a successful attempt at tying up loose ends from Claremont's X-Men run. Davis had an incredible artistic range back then. Mike Baron on Punisher - Baron basically kept up with deadlines by writing on cocaine and it shows. It's pure 80s/90s action schlock but written by a psychopath who never takes the stories in the direction you'd expect. Kind of Bob Haney-esque but more tasteless. Ladronn on Cable - before he went all in on the Franco-Belgian sci-fi aesthetics Ladronn's mix of Kirby and Moebius was really pleasing. We never got a classic in this style but the art elevates passable writing by Joe Casey.
  6. Graham Crackers

    Good matches "ruined" by their endings

    Felt like half of the 80s New Japan set were matches that'd have me really invested until somebody was dq’d for throwing their opponent over the guard rail.
  7. Graham Crackers

    Comic books and Manga Thread

    I had a good mail day yesterday. I got the third issue of Grave Horticulture, one of my favorite ongoing comic concerns of the last few years (along with Golden Kamuy though I'm behind on that series). What Copra is to Suicide Squad, Grave Horticulture is to the old Midnight Sons line, but with an emphasis on the grotesque, and a sense of setting. Otherwise I've been reading Englehart's West Coast Avengers run. I think I want to like Englehart more than I actually like him but these are still amusing enough. Their juxtaposition of square superheroing and loads of adult neurosis reminds me of the comic David Boring's dad drew in David Boring.
  8. Graham Crackers

    Comments that don't warrant a thread - Part 4

    The Scourge killing Titania in The Grapplers' locker room was the Marvel Universe's equivalent of Bruiser Brody's death.
  9. Graham Crackers

    Comic books and Manga Thread

    Ha, I never noticed the Savage Tales publishing gap before. There used to be a video on youtube of Moench claiming that events he wrote for Planet of the Apes stories began to leak into the real world including a prediction of someone breaking into his home. He's a wacky guy.
  10. Graham Crackers

    Comic books and Manga Thread

    Well you're in luck because it ran for eleven issues including Smith's adaptation of Red Nails in numbers 2 & 3! Though I prefer the way Red Nails looked in color in the Marvel Treasury Edition. BWS always looked better when he had a hand in the coloring process. In general I'm quite fond of the various 70s black & white comics magazines. I think a lot of the Buscema stuff from Savage Sword of Conan gets a bit samey but reading a random issue when I come across one it is still clearly at a higher level than most Marvel and DC comics from that time. There's a great Alex Niño story in an issue of Savage Sword of Conan that's also worth checking out. I like some work from a few other Marvel black & white mags, specifically Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, Bizarre Adventures, and Vampire Tales. Sutton, Gulacy, and Rogers were great at using texture in monochrome. The Rogers/Claremont Daughters of the Dragon stories were amusing exploitation comics, clearly influenced by stuff like Ms. 45 and I Spit on Your Grave but with a little Russ Meyer. The Warren magazines have some lows, especially later in the 70s, but the best work (anything by Richard Corben, Night of the Jackass, the occasional Ditko, Toth, or Grandenetti story) are the best comics in that North American horror tradition.
  11. Graham Crackers

    Most unselfish top guy

    Not the answer to these questions by any means but I'm always fascinated by how Maeda, who had a fair reputation as uncooperative, became top star of the second UWF and put over Takada and Funaki over the course of two years.
  12. Graham Crackers

    Comic books and Manga Thread

    I've heard that's the case before, and that it specifically lead to a Monster Society of Evil book getting scrapped. That's also why something closer to the presentation IDW gives newspaper comics would be appropriate.
  13. Graham Crackers

    Comic books and Manga Thread

    If we're being honest, just about everybody in comic books did it because they couldn't get a better gig until sometime in the 1970s. Folks we think of as geniuses like Kirby made a stab at newspaper comics and failed (mainly due to shrinking space for adventure strips and newspaper editors not comprehending his work). Which isn't to say that none of them liked comic books, just a statement about economic reality. Even the first generation of fans turned artists in the late 60s/early 70s had a mass exodus into commercial illustration and animation when DC squashed their attempts at unionization.
  14. Graham Crackers

    Comic books and Manga Thread

    While I am under the impression that most of these golden age comics are awful or don't hold up, I think that the way superhero publishers indulge fannish instincts when selecting reprints makes it worse. They frequently focus on the first appearances and the earliest stories but that material is also the most raw. I read a lot of that kind of material when DC printed those Millennium Editions 20 years ago so I was shocked when I saw scans of some mid 40s Justice Society stories. It seems DC went on to develop a pretty tight house style in the mid to late 40s that combined big foot cartooning with influences from contemporary adventure strips (Caniff, Crane, Gould, etc). This is the territory early Kubert and Toth would explore. I'm convinced there is some merit to be found in this work but I hate reading comics on a screen so I'm doomed to speculation. I've read some post-Timely golden age Kirby and that material also seems worth exploring. One of my all time favorite Kirby stories is a Newsboy Legion story reprinted in one of those 70s 100 page super spectaculars. It's about the Legion trying to sell war bonds to a pair of recluses clearly based upon infamous NY based hoarders the Collyer brothers. There is a sort of mythologized vision of Kirby's childhood neighborhood at play in that story. It's fascinating stuff and reminds me of some of Kirby's later more personal stories like Delilah from Boy's Ranch. While I'm rambling about this material let me also say that even though the first few years of Batman comics are unreadable, I have become a big fan of Dick Sprang (what a name). Sprang shows up in 1943 and right away he's Kane's best ghost artist. He even shows up fully formed with his trademark grotesque caricatures, architecturally elaborate setpieces, and a love of diagrams/maps. If you want to see Sprang at his best DC released a pair of trades titled World's Finest - The Silver Age and they are really lovely to look at.
  15. Graham Crackers

    Comic books and Manga Thread

    I mean license it to another publisher like how Disney licensed the Duck comics to Fantagraphics for their curated Carl Barks library, preferably a publisher who specializes in archival reprints like Fanta or IDW.