30 May 2010

Legends of the Dark Knight

It's the late 1980s, and word has come down that a major motion picture based upon Batman is in the works.  Anticipating a boost to comic book sales, DC Comics authorizes a third monthly title featuring the Caped Crusader.  It is called Legends of the Dark Knight, and from the very beginning it is distinguished from Batman and Detective Comics by three structural elements.  First, the creative teams change with every story.  Second, the stories are not bound to the continuity of the other books--or even one another, if the creative and editorial team are so inclined.  Finally, Legends of the Dark Knight is meant to showcase different takes on the Batman mythos, from the revolving door of talent responsible for the stories, to the characters and situations explored within the tales.

DC went one step further by making Legends of the Dark Knight a premiere title.  There were just a handful of titles published in the format.  They carried higher cover prices...and were not approved by the Comics Code Authority.  Instead, these titles were targeted at more mature audiences and while you could find them at most booksellers, you couldn't find them alongside mainstream titles from your local gas station.  I was aware of the series long before I ever bought a single issue.  In fact, the first issue I ever owned was #24, which was in an assortment of comics my mom gave me for Christmas in 1991.  I gather she'd simply gone into a bookstore and selected a spattering of current issues that featured characters she knew I liked.  It was another example of her taking a shot in the dark and hitting on something I found very special.

I always thought Legends of the Dark Knight did what an ongoing comic book series should do: offer frequent jumping on and jumping off points for readers.  If you started reading at any point in the run, you only needed to get caught up with the story at hand, not the entire run to that point.  And because LOTDK was rarely included in any crossover stories, readers weren't bound by their desire to keep up with a singular story to purchase issues from other titles.

My favorite story was a four-parter called "Heat" by Doug Moench (writer) and Russ Heath (artist) that was published in issues 46-49.  A sweltering Gotham City endures the escalating frustration of an unrelenting heat wave, while the misogynistic Catman stalks young women.  Catwoman is drawn into the ordeal, the similarity of the killer's aesthetic having wrongfully implicated her in his heinous acts and the burglar seeks to clear her name.  And if that's not enough, racial tensions are running high, and every drop of sweat brings the citizens of Gotham closer to widespread rioting.  It's a great detective story, with a visceral setting and a lot of genuinely fascinating dynamics between characters.

One of the highlights that emerged from this title came in 1993: a Halloween special by Jeph Loeb (writer) and Tim Sale (artist).  "Choices" was an 80-page prestige format book with a hefty price tag of $6.95.  It featured The Scarecrow and was set on Halloween.  The issue was an instant hit with fans; I remember buying an issue from a vendor at the flea market the week it had gone on sale, and it was months before I ever saw another copy for sale.  By then, it was commanding up to $20.00!  DC Comics wisely went back to Loeb and Sale for two more Halloween Specials, which gave rise to their acclaimed limited series, Batman: The Long Halloween (and its sequel, Batman: Dark Victory, and spin-off, Catwoman: When in Rome).  The three original Halloween Specials were eventually collected in a trade paperback, Batman: Haunted Knight.

There was also a three-issue mini-series, Jazz, published in 1995.  I never quite understood why DC felt so strongly about this one story that instead of simply inserting it into the LOTDK line proper, they spun it off into its own limited series.  Or, simply publishing it as Batman: Jazz would have made sense to me.  Branding it with the LOTDK title, though, always confused me.  After all, the title was six years old by then; if they were concerned that readers didn't know about it, I didn't think a three-issue spin-off was going to solve the problem.  Alas, they didn't consult me.

In 1997, Bruce Timm's team at Warner Animation developed an episode of The Batman/Superman Adventures called "Legends of the Dark Knight."  It features three Gotham children, each narrating his or her interpretation of Batman.  Each segment reflects a different period in Batman's wide history, from the goofy 1950s to Frank Miller's gritty The Dark Knight Returns.  Clearly, the episode's title and anthology-inspired structure were a nod to this innovative series.  The recent direct-to-video animated feature, Batman: Gotham Knight is similarly designed, showcasing several different stories about Batman, each with its own style.  It's a convention today, but 21 years ago, it was simply a way to ensure that readers who spent the money to buy a third Batman comic book got something special.

For a complete list of issues, story titles and creator information, you can view the details of the series at its Comic Book Database page here.

29 May 2010

"Early Hits: The Starday Recordings" by George Jones

Early Hits: The Starday Recordings
George Jones
CD Release Date: 10 July 2007

Given that George Jones is pretty much Honky Tonk 101, this collection of early recordings may as well be the syllabus for learning about an entire genre.  Time Life issued this compilation in 2007, by which point nine of these fifteen recordings were at least 50 years old.  The sound quality is about what you'd expect; white noise and pops abound, but they don't hamper the listening experience in the least.

His vocal aesthetics may have evolved over the years, but it's unmistakably Jones singing on this old school classics.  The collection leads off with his immortal recording of "Why Baby Why," and what follows is an interesting survey of the first eight years The Possum worked as a recording artist.  Among the highlights are his versions of "Life to Go" and "Tall, Tall Trees."  Stonewall Jackson's version of the former, and Alan Jackson's cover of the latter, were both hits for those artists, but the songs began life through Jones, who wrote both of them (co-writing "Tall, Tall Trees" was Roger Miller).

In fact, that may be the most interesting part about this survey of Jones's nascent career: he wrote five of the songs included, and co-wrote another seven.  The remaining three songs are a pair of covers ("Yes I Know Why," originally recorded and written by Webb Pierce, and "Run Boy," originally written by Hy Heath and recorded by Ray Price), and "For Sale or Lease," a previously unissued track from Jones's first recording session that goes uncredited, its writer's identity apparently lost to time.

These recordings are more than a footnote in history; they include five Top Ten hits, as well as the aforementioned Jones originals of songs that were hits for other artists.  Early Hits: The Starday Recordings isn't a distillation of Jones's discography; for that, you'll need to look elsewhere.  But if you have even a passing interest in the recording career of "the greatest living country singer," this is as good a place as any to start.

"The Adventures of Slim & Howdy" by Kix Brooks & Ronnie Dunn with Bill Fitzhugh

The Adventures of Slim & Howdy
Kix Brooks & Ronnie Dunn with Bill Fitzhugh
Date of Publication: 12 May 2008
257 Pages
Cover Price: $22.99
ISBN: 1-931722-82-X

Had Brooks & Dunn been active in the entertainment industry even a decade earlier than they were, they likely would have starred in a made-for-TV movie with a plot not too dissimilar from that of this novel.  As it stands, this works better as a novel anyway; Slim and Howdy are so obviously Brooks & Dunn (or, more accurately, Howdy is Brooks and Slim is Dunn) that there's little need to see this played out on a screen.  The book even has its own soundtrack; not only are phrases and titles from numerous songs scattered throughout (many, though not all of them from their own repertoire), the hardback edition includes an exclusive CD single of a song called "Gotta Get Me One of Those."

The story follows two wanna-be musicians brought together by fate in Texas who bear more than a passing resemblance to the authors.  It's not as blatant as Richard Belzer's fictionalized adventures in I Am Not a Cop! (they at least gave their literary counterparts different names), but it's pretty clear that while the main plot is a contrivance, the details originated with the real experiences of the authors--or, at the least, embellishments based on stories they've accumulated over the years.  It doesn't really matter where they came from; the details in this novel are colorful.

Slim and Howdy meet at a used car lot, each hoping to sell his car to an owner with more supply than demand.  They realize they're better off throwing in their lot with one another, and so is born a partnership that leads the two into shenanigans with party girl thieves, a dishonest game of chance and a kidnapping.  There's little in the way of real suspense; these are likable characters, but they're likable because they're really Brooks & Dunn and it's amusing to read passages describing their competing with one another over the proper way to drive.  That the story progresses at all is, at times, an imposition on a slice-of-life anecdote.

Structure-wise, there are sixty-three chapters plus an epilogue in less than 300 pages.  They're not self-contained vignettes; they read more like the literary equivalent of a movie serial.  In this, I was reminded of Craig Ferguson's impressive Between the Bridge and the River, which also relied on a succession of brief scenes to advance its overarching plot.  That's to say, expect to turn pages frequently, because things happen very quickly--and often.

Is The Adventures of Slim and Howdy an essential addition to one's library?  No.  It's an amusing supplement to a Brooks & Dunn collection, and it's a delightful bit of light reading.  I found it went very well with my hammock in the backyard, with honeysuckle in the air and the sun on my face.  Reading this won't make you a better person, but it might make you more relaxed.

25 May 2010

Only One or Two Good Songs

"There's only one or two good songs on this."

You've heard it before.  You might have even said it yourself, discussing an album.  I personally hate the saying, because the use of the word "good" is entirely subjective.  You might think the latest Miley Cyrus hit is inane, but if you contrast it with what I could have come up with, you'll appreciate that at least her song has  rhythm, structure and doesn't include my vocals.

No, what most people really seem to mean when they say this is, "I only recognize one or two songs off this album."  It's been the cry of file-sharers all along: albums extort consumers into purchasing a hit single with nine or more "filler" tracks.  I've written before about this practice, and if you're interested in a brief overview of the ins and outs of that experiment, here it is.  Otherwise, I'd like to shift gears and address the issue of "filler" material.

Often in the last decade, I've bought an album--enticed by a lead single, or continued interest in the artist--and found myself really enjoying a given song.  Sometimes, a song stands out and just begs to be released to radio.  Last year, I bought Miranda Lambert's album, Revolution, and the moment I heard "The House That Built Me," I knew it would be a monster hit if released.  It's working out well for Lambert; it's currently at #4 on Billboard's Top Country Songs chart (week ending 29 May 2010).

Sometimes, though, I keep coming back to a song, waiting to hear that it's the latest hit in an artist's repertoire...and the moment never comes.  Here are a handful of favorites.

"Go West" by Brooks & Dunn (from Steers & Stripes) - The reviews for this album were so high, someone even remarked that Kix Brooks had learned to sing.  I always liked his voice just fine, but I understood the remark: he sang with more conviction on this album.  This might be my favorite song of the entire album, which is saying something because it's easily my favorite B&D album and one of my top 20 favorites of anyone's.  "Go West" paints a very vivid picture of a young man frustrated with his go-nowhere life in a small town, proposing that he and his young love up and take off and see what's over the horizon.  The possibilities for a music video were endless, and I'm sure this would have been a bigger hit than "My Heart Is Lost to You" (#5) or "Every River" (#12).  And who knows?  It might have changed the course of Brooks & Dunn's last decade had they had a hit single featuring Kix on lead vocals.

"Lie Before You Leave" by Montgomery Gentry (from My Town) - Troy Gentry sings lead vocals on this cut, asking a departing lover to do him one last favor on her way out: lie to him, and tell him that things used to be good between them.  He's not asking her to stay, doesn't have any designs on winning her back.  He just wants to hear her say it wasn't always all bad.  It's a moment of vulnerability buried under a very driving, rocking aesthetic.  I found it oddly re-affirming in 2002, and disappointing when it was never released to radio.

"Make Her Fall in Love with Me Song" by George Strait (from Troubadour) - I could put together an entire box set of songs I wish had been singles from King George's discography, but this was one that really surprised me.  From the honky tonkin' groove to the catchy, made-for-radio chorus, this one seemed like a radio hit from the outset.  I even harbored a secret hope of a music video, since MCA had managed to coerce Strait into participating in a couple of them ("Seashores of Old Mexico" and "Troubadour").  Alas, it was not to be; "River of Love" was the third and final single from this solid album.  It was a #1 hit, but I still think it was the lesser choice.

"Heart to Heart (Stelen's Song)" by Toby Keith (from How Do You Like Me Now?!) - Before he became George W. Bush's Ambassador to the South, Toby Keith recorded this intimate snapshot of fatherhood.  It wasn't radio-friendly in the way the titular "How Do You Like Me Now?!" was, but it's a killer song of a father standing back and just taking in the tender relationship between mother and son.  The only danger in releasing this to radio is, of course, it would have commercialized the song in a Hallmark-kind of way; remaining an album cut, it sneaks up on the unsuspecting listener and showcases a side of Keith that has been absent from his public persona.

"Ring" by Gary Allan (from Tough All Over) - Allan referred to this album as his $100,000 therapy session for responding to his wife's suicide.  It's a true work of art, exploring some very dark themes and it's surprising that any of it would be radio-friendly at all, but the structure of "Ring" made it seem destined for commercial success.  In fact, at one point I could swear it was announced on Allan's website that it was selected as a single; alas, it never was.

Should I care that these recordings were never singles?  I didn't have anything to do with their creation, and my appreciation of them has--and should have--nothing to do with what anyone else thinks or feels about them.  Even if I'm the only person in the entire world who has even heard all five of these songs, much less feels strongly about them, why should I care?

I think it bugs me because I know there are conversations about these five albums, where someone has said, "There's only one or two good songs on this," and they discouraged someone from ever hearing these cuts.

24 May 2010

"Inside Inside" by James Lipton

Inside Inside
James Lipton
Date of publication: 18 October 2007
512 pages
Cover Price: $27.95
ISBN: 978-0-525-95035-6

Like many people, I was largely familiar with James Lipton from his hosting duties on Bravo's Inside the Actors Studio series and sporadic appearances on Late Nite with Conan O'Brien.  I've long prided myself on my vocabulary, so Lipton has existed for me on a particularly high pedestal; he's one of those few people who bandy about uncommon words with such ease that it does not feel pretentious or condescending.  It's rare enough to find someone who will challenge the anti-intellectual strain of the masses and rarer still to find someone who does it with such ease and familiarity with the English language.  In other words, this is a particularly well told story.

Lest you fear that Inside Inside is little more than a wordy exercise in linguistic excess, Lipton's had quite the life to discuss.  There are passages of his time spent living in Paris that are among the most page-turning tales I've read yet--and you should know that last year, I read The Sexual Life of Catherine M.  His experiences within the various fields of acting (as an actor, ballet dancer, producer, writer and director) offer great insight to that world, and he does not hesitate to invoke remarks quoted by A-list stars to complement his thesis.  When you can cite Paul Newman as a reference, you've got some serious credibility when you're talking about acting.

Lipton's relationship with his estranged father dominates the book, and this anchors the tome.  Time and again, Lipton explores not only his own circumstances, but includes discussions he has had with other folks about their relationships with their parents.  It should come as no surprise that he dedicates no small amount of time to remembering time spent on stage interviewing Angelina Jolie.  In the hands of so many others, their frank conversation would be passed off as celebrity gossip; in Lipton's capable hands, it becomes a genuinely touching exploration of a very universal theme of the human condition.

There is one thing I feel compelled to note here, and that is that when I first set out to read this book earlier in the year, I had great difficulty concentrating long enough to absorb more than a paragraph at a time.  As it happened, I was also having a difficult time absorbing vitamin D; my tested levels were at 5.1 nano-grams per milliliter, far below the 34 recommended minimum.  It's hard to read a work of this caliber under those circumstances, and it took me nearly nine weeks to finish.  I suspect my enthusiasm would have been more forceful had I been able to dedicate myself to reading this in earnest, and I consider it a credit to James Lipton's sensibilities as a writer that his verbose stories sustained my attention at all during those weeks.

23 May 2010

"The Daily Show" Presents "America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction"

America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction
Written and Edited by The Staff of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Date of publication: 20 September 2004
240 pages
Cover price: $24.95
ISBN: 0-466-53268-1

Published during the heat of the 2004 election cycle, America (The Book) took a unique approach to participating in our national political discussion.  Rather than commit to paper the same current-events material that has long been a hallmark of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on television, America (The Book) chose instead to revisit the foundation of our society.

In substance, this book is light reading--and it's meant to be.  The authors had to have suspected that their primary readership would be dedicated viewers, for whom the fallible nature of the Founding Fathers and some of the shameful Supreme Court decisions concerning race are subjects taken for granted.  There's no disguising the leftist bent of the editorial content, but what makes this so engaging is that it does a fairly decent job of staying on task and confining its commentary to events of the past.  This is by no means an essential volume for anyone's library, but it is an amusing supplement for the Daily Show fan, or history/political buffs with a sense of whimsy.

In execution, the social studies textbook paradigm was a stroke of genius.  The format make the material easier to digest, permitting the reader to easily shift between a few paragraphs about Brown v. Board and a sidebar article from Samantha Bee about how polite Canadians are.  A straightforward prose format would make this cumbersome at best, and indecipherable at worst.  The only thing that lessens the effect is knowing that the Texas Board of Education has taken action to force textbook publishers into offering materials so superficial that America (The Book) may soon lose its status as parody...and become an ideal.

Box Office of Hollywood: At May's End

Memorial Day encroaches upon us, and that means the inauguration of the summer tentpole movie slate is itching to collect money from moviegoers. Yes, I'm aware that Iron Man 2, Robin Hood and Shrek: The Final Chapter have already opened. We'll discuss the gluttony of 3D releases overwhelming an inadequate number of screens another time.

When I think about Memorial Day movies, the first that always comes to mind is:

It was the first time I think I paid any attention to a movie release poster emphasizing that the film would open for that holiday. I was used to seeing "This Thanksgiving" or "This Christmas" on a poster, but not "Memorial Day." Were there others? I'm sure of it.

Remember, though, that until 1995, there was no theater in the county where I grew up--and it opened in the latter half of that year. (I know this, because I had to get my mom to take me to Louisville to see Batman Forever when it opened on 16 June 1995.) 1996 was the first time I had the option of partaking in the Memorial Day offerings. That Friday night was great. I went with my brother and a friend to see Spy Hard, the Leslie Neilsen spy spoof. Then, we left the theater, walked up town to get some barbecue sandwiches for dinner and returned to the theater to see Mission: Impossible. The sky was particularly unusual looking during our return trek, and perhaps inspired by having seen Twister the weekend before, our imaginations considered that it was, in fact, the Apocalypse. Alas, it was just an eerie cloud formation strangely illuminated by the fractured light of nightfall.

I remember walking out of Spy Hard excited because 1) the movie was enjoyable enough and 2) I was seeing two movies on the same night and was going to get a major blockbuster to inaugurate the summer when I returned. I will also always remember walking out of Mission: Impossible asking, "What the hell just happened?" The premise is simple enough, and today I'm embarrassed that I found it confusing, but I swear to you that in 1996 that movie was incomprehensible. Was it the barbecue, or being distracted by thoughts of Armageddon that got in my way? I can't say now, but I suspect the fault can be properly placed at the feet of editor Paul Hirsch.

Here's a look at the Top 4 Day Memorial Day Weekends (1982-Present):
  1. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007)
  2. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
  3. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
  4. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
  5. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
  6. Bruce Almighty (2003)
  7. Pearl Harbor (2001)
  8. Mission: Impossible II (2000)
  9. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009)
  10. Madagascar (2005)
  11. The Longest Yard (2005)
  12. Mission: Impossible (1996)
I'm not sure why Box Office Mojo insisted on subtitling that list "1982-Present," since the oldest entry is Mission: Impossible from 1996, but there it is. I personally contributed to the top four box office takes, as well as both Mission: Impossibles. Fox got my money for The Day After Tomorrow, but it was long after the day after Memorial Day.

21 May 2010

Homophobia Within the LGBT Community

It's great fodder for late night talk shows when a prominent anti-gay figure is forced out of the closet, but it occurred to me lately that perhaps we as a society have failed in our responsibility to respond appropriately to these individuals such as George Rekers, Ted Haggard and Larry Craig.  Yes, there's some measure of satisfaction in knowing that those lining up to throw stones are hypocrites.  And it's always rewarding to see holier-than-thou people brought down a peg.

But there's much more going on here than some loudmouths participating in the very behavior they've built their careers opposing.  I recently re-visited Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning debut novelThe Bluest Eye, and I was reminded of my studies of African-American culture in college.  Even today, there are some very misguided sentiments among African-Americans vis-a-vis their racial identity.  In Morrison's novel, we see the world through the eyes of three young girls, who have varying perspectives on what it means to be black in Jim Crow America.  There is a sense of inferiority; Shirley Temple is the ideal to which they can never aspire by virtue of their own skin color.  The narrator loathes the white girl, whom her sister and friend futilely idolize.

I cannot help but view today's "Gay America" through the same paradigm.  Perhaps there are no "Straights Only" water fountains, but there may as well be for all the vitriolic views that persist against our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered brothers and sisters.  We should resist the temptation to ridicule the Rekers, Haggards and Craigs of America.  What chance at self-acceptance did they have, in a world that taught them their very nature was an abomination to be denied?  Yes, it's disappointing that they bought into the homophobic doctrine; but we ought to temper our desire to celebrate their being exposed with the very tolerance we profess to have for the LGBT community at large.

09 May 2010

2010 Summer Children's Film Festival- Great Escape Oldham 8

Summer is just around the corner, and that means another round of free movies for kids at the Great Escape Oldham 8.  Each show is free, and starts at 9:30 AM.  Here's the schedule:

8 & June 9 - Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeakuel
15 & June 16 - Night at the Museum 2
22 & June 23 - Monsters Vs. Aliens
29 & June 30 - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
6 & July 7 - Planet 51
13 & July 14 - Paul Blart: Mall Cop
20 & July 21 - Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
27 & July 28 - Hotel for Dogs

08 May 2010

Flickchart and I Check Movies

There are two websites that have recently captured my attention, and I thought I'd take a moment to bring them to yours. The first is Flickchart. Its premise is simple: you are presented with two randomly selected movies and you have to choose which one you like more. If you haven't seen one, you simply say so and it is replaced with another movie. There is no end to this, so eventually you're left with two movies you have seen. Make your selection, and then start all over again with a fresh pair of movies. Continue. Eventually, you're left with a pretty accurate reflection of your taste in movies.

Ever since I was introduced to the site, The Dark Knight has been the #1 global favorite. I don't mean to deride the movie--the Batman fan in me loved it--but I think this reflects the demographic of Flickchart's users more than anything else. So, please, if you have even a passing interest in movies (and are looking for a new, hyper-addictive way of spending your time online), visit that site.

The other site that has my attention of late is I Check Movies. You know all those Top Movies lists that get published all the time? (Like the ones I've posted in this very blog, for instance.) Well, this site compiles those lists and lets you check off which movies you've seen. The nice thing is that, once you've checked a movie, it is checked on all lists where it is present. So, let's say you're going through the American Film Institute 100 Years...100 Movies list and you check off that you've seen Lawrence of Arabia. When you go to the IMDb Top History movies, you'll find that Lawrence of Arabia is already checked. There are quite a lot of lists, from AFI, IMDb, the Academy Awards, critics like Roger Ebert, magazines, websites...pretty much any source.

I Check Movies is really geared toward the list-oriented movie fan. More casual movie fans will find it less interesting. There are virtual awards posted to recognize your progress. Even with my limited number of checked movies, I've been awarded three bronze trophies for my progress to date. I'm hopeful that they will add more lists soon, partly to expand the appeal of the site and partly to give me a chance to cover some more ground based on what I've already seen.

"Wizard" Top 50 Comic Book Movies (2010 edition)

Another year, another update to Wizard's top 50 comic book movies list.  This year's list was published in issue #207, in case you want to track down a hard copy for commentary.  Titles link to Amazon.com; Blu-ray where possible.

  1. Iron Man
  2. The Dark Knight
  3. X2: X-Men United
  4. Spider-Man 2
  5. Batman Begins
  6. 300
  7. Ghost World
  8. Sin City
  9. Superman II
  10. Persepolis
  11. Spider-Man
  12. A History of Violence
  13. Hellboy II: The Golden Army
  14. X-Men
  15. Batman
  16. Superman - The Movie
  17. Hellboy
  18. The Incredible Hulk
  19. Wanted
  20. Road to Perdition
  21. Blade
  22. The Rocketeer
  23. The Crow
  24. American Splendor
  25. V for Vendetta
  26. Men in Black
  27. Akira
  28. Oldboy
  29. Heavy Metal
  30. Death Note
  31. Blade 2
  32. The Mask
  33. 30 Days Of Night
  34. Riki-Oh - The Story of Ricky
  35. TMNT
  36. Batman Returns
  37. Fantastic Four - Rise of the Silver Surfer
  38. X-Men: The Last Stand
  39. Danger: Diabolik
  40. Mystery Men
  41. Batman - Mask of the Phantasm
  42. Spider-Man 3
  43. Ghost in the Shell
  44. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  45. Superman Returns
  46. Shogun Assassin
  47. Swamp Thing
  48. Fantastic Four
  49. Timecop
  50. Constantine