Just Newsprint 
Issue #22
(The Simple Comic Newsletter)

Table of Contents
01
Where Was the Last Issue?
02
A Whole Lotta Comics!
03
A War Comic With a Difference
04
It's Groovy, an X-Men Movie!
05
Online Comics
06
Site of the Month
07
Classic Ad of the Month
08
Bargain Bin Bonanza
09
Conclusion

Where was the last issue?
I apologize for there being no issue last month, but I was experiencing major online problems. My phone lines were having all kinds of problems, so I ordered DSL to overcome these and because I wanted faster online connection and to free up the phone line. Instead of having the luxury of high speed connection, I got alot of frustration as the connection was delayed and then problems arose. But after more than a month, all is resolved and my phone lines are better and I have DSL installed, so I am ready to go! Unless some other unforeseen problem arises, I should be over the problem and the newsletter should return to its regular monthly schedule.

A Whole Lotta Comics!
While my online connection has been frustrating, finding comics has not been! I have added a ton of new comics to the website in the past month! Over 1,200 more books were added to the already large stock, including many that are up on the site for the first time! So you may want to hop over and check out the large selection of new books added. For a quick look at what new books were added, go to the "
What's New" page for a list of them.

A War Comic With a Difference
There has been war comics for years. From the venerable Sgt. Rock who killed more Germans than would be humanely possible to Nick Fury who later went on to become a spy, war comics have been a staple of the industry. But most of these comics were the same formula, lots of action and not quite as much realism. Very rarely was anyone killed and despite many absurd situations, they would generally come out with little to no injuries. Plus, they were fighting the glorious war against the ultimate villain, the Nazis. The good guys and the bad guys were easily distinguished and no one cared how you portrayed the Nazis.

But as time went on, there came a new breed of war comic. Instead of the glory books of yesteryear, which had about as much in common with realism as a John Wayne movie, there came a more grittier, more in your face kind of war comic. These dealt with the not so popular war, the Vietnam War. Instead of having the world dominating Nazis to fight, they instead had the less conspicuous North Viet Cong, who were not so glorious a villain. Because of the advent of television, the horrors of the war were broadcast to the world. No more could the government completely cover up all the atrocities of war.

This kind of feel was captured in this new breed of war comic. Two of the most popular were The Nam by Marvel comics and Vietnam Journal from Apple Comics. For this article, I am going to concentrate on The Nam, a series that did a wonderful job of capturing the hectic atmosphere of the Vietnam War. The central characters of the story, were raw recruits and you got to see them change as they were confronted with the horrors that awaited them. Another difference from the earlier war comics was that the heroes could die or get maimed. There was no few hundred straight issues of the same characters, like you saw with Easy Co. or the Losers. Like the war that inspired the series, the cast would change at a frentic pace and no one was beyond death.

The other major difference was the way it looked at war. Gone was the glorious battles and epic conquests. Instead you had civilians dying, betrayal and some of the most dangerous and insidious warfare ever. Enemies that attacked from nowhere, booby traps both on items and on people and such devastating weapons as napalm and helicopters, changed the way battles were fought and this was captured in the book. They also dealt with the problems of returning home, to a country that was split on its feelings towards the war and were all too ready to let the soldiers know this.

Another nice feature of the series was that they would put a list of the lingo at the end of the book. This way you could understand some the of slang terms and abbreviations that were part of the soldier's vocabulary. A very nice touch to keep the vocabulary as realistic as possible (minus the profanities and racial slurs that would not pass the comics code) and yet make it so anyone can understand what was being said. This is so much nicer than a bunch of little footnotes all over the book.

While the series did lose some steam towards the end, the first few years of the book were incredible! It was among the best books being released at the time and was quite popular for awhile. But as the interest in the Vietnam War is lower now than at the time of release (largely due to the success of the movie Platoon), so the interest in this book has also declined. What was once a highly sought after book, now is a regular in the bargain bins. But this offers readers a wonderful opportunity to read one of the better Marvel series to come out and one that should not be overlooked.

Hey Groovy, It's an X-Men Movie!
After a long wait, Marvel is finally going to have a big budget movie from a popular comic book (while Blade was a big budget movie, no one outside of comics heard of him). This can be the movie that finally brings the Mighty Marvel characters to the save level of the DC.

For years, they have been trying to get either a Spiderman or X-Men movie made, but legal problems and budget problems prevented them from getting it done. But with the advent of computers and their use in movies and most of the movie studios either having their own computer graphics department or contact with an independent one, the budget costs came down greatly. Also, the computer can now make the movies more believable, unlike what they would have been 10 years ago.

But for me the biggest surprise is the number of popular stars in the movie. Patrick Stewart and Halle Berry alone are more than were in any other Marvel movies (especially all the pre-Blade movies). This is shaping up to be a big hit and hopefully a start of something good! Maybe we will even see a worthwhile Fantastic Four movie!

Online Comic Books
One of the areas that has been growing is online comic books on the internet. Now with a little know how, you can let the world see your work. It can be a great way to get noticed and use it as a resume. So I am going to try and spotlight one of them each month. This way you can support these pioneers and hopefully give them the encouragement to carry on!

Dr. Salem-So far there is one short story that deals with Dr. Salem battling some goblins. While the story is decent, the artwork is quite nice. There is also a choice of color or black and white, so if you are using an older modem, you may opt for the black and white version. I personally liked the black and white version better as it lends itself more the to the story. Overall a nice little book and I will be keeping an eye out to see the next tales of Dr. Salem. You can find it at the following URL:

http://fox.nstn.ca/~nstn1788/index.html

Site of the Month
In comicdom, there is only one person who is as popular as the heroes of the industry. That person is none other than Stan Lee, one of the men behind the popularity of Marvel Comics and the heroes that we all know and love. Well, the main man is still keeping the faith, this time with his own website. Not only is it one of the nicest sites you will ever see, it is also full of info and pictures, a cornucopia of comic info! From his own creations to info on the Marvel movie, it has everything a fan could want and plenty of pizazz!

One of the neatest things on the site is the animations based on his characters. These are both well done and quite interesting. These alone are worth a visit, but be warned that if you have a slow modem, it may take a long time. Then when you are done watching the movies, you can play the games. A few nice features of the site. This is a perfect example of what alot of money and alot of imagination can do!

Check it out at the following URL:

http://www.stanlee.net

Classic Ad of the Month
As summertime has come, one of the great trips that families make is to amusement and theme parks. One of the most loved of these is Sea World, the home of Shamu the killer whale and others. But back in the 1970's it was also the home of the DC Super Heroes and their stunt water ski show! Here is one of the classic ads from this great event (which I was fortunate enough to witness as a youth). Where else could you see Wonder Woman and Superman on water skis? So click below and check out this long lost show and maybe with a little luck, we can get them to bring it back!

Click here to see this classic ad!

Bargain Bin Bonanza
One of the first offshoots of the popular X-Men comics was the New Mutants. This band of teenage mutants was not only a great read, but featured some memorable characters. The original team consisted of Wolvesbane, a girl who could turn into a wolf, Cannonball, the leader who became a human cannonball and was invincible during his short blast, Sunspot who used solar energy to make his very powerful, Karma who had psychic powers and Psyche who can turn your worst fears against you.

During their heyday, they were a very popular comic book and they had a long run, 100 issues, before they came to an end. But now, they are for the most part, overlooked and quite cheap. With the exception of the Rob Liefeld issues that featured Cable, the rest can be had for a song. This may be a good time to check out some really good books with Chris Claremont's stories and quite a few different artists.

The core team changed as the years went by, but the quality remained. We got to see a group of teenagers learn to not only cope with their own powers, but also learn to work as a team. They made mistakes and sometimes relied on luck to save them. They were likeable and unforgettable and later when some very odd characters like Cypher and Warlocke came about, the book really got interesting.

So if you never had the pleasure of reading these grand stories, you may want to take the time to search for them. They won't set you back too much and you will find some very good value for your money! And who knows, there may be a revival of these characters one day.

Conclusion
Another issue comes to a close. Once again, I do the solo act as I wait for some help to come along. Now with the problems in the past, look for the next issue to be out on time and hopefully a little bigger and better. So pull them comics out of their protective covers and give them a read. They will thank you for the attention and fresh air!

Tom Zjaba