Jim Mooney

Adventure Into Fear 11 (December 1972)

Adventure Into Fear #11Steve Gerber writes the entire Man-Thing feature with second person narration. Everything thing is the narration talking to Man-Thing, who can’t respond as he doesn’t speak. And because it’s the narration. But if he had talked back to the narrator, the story would be better.

Because otherwise there’s not a lot of personality to it. A couple kids bring a demon from the other side, then go to the movies and the demon wrecks havoc. Without Man-Thing, the demon might have eaten the one summoning him. There’s a lot of activity, something Gerber’s narration amplifies, but nothing really going on.

Gerber does get a little mileage out of the narration, but it’s uneven and not enough. The Rich Buckler and Jim Mooney art is fine. Not great, not good, but fine.

Then the fifties back from Fred Kida is almost better just because it’s actually far weirder.

C 

CREDITS

Man-Thing, Night of the Nether-Spawn!; writer, Steve Gerber; penciller, Rich Buckler; inker, Jim Mooney; letterer, Jean Izzo. The Spider Waits; artist, Fred Kida. Editor, Roy Thomas; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man 95 (October 1984)

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I guess this issue is better than the last one. Milgrom’s directly continuing it, which will probably wreck havoc in the monthly Spider-Man continuity over in Amazing, and he keeps his recap of the previous issue brief.

The writing is still bad–in the case of Cloak and Dagger and the Black Cat, very, very bad–and the art is still exceptionally weak, but at least it all passes somewhat painlessly. There’s nothing idiotic this time, just a bunch of bad dialogue and plotting. The pacing isn’t terrible–the issue takes a while to read because Milgrom has maybe nine different characters who get thought balloons. Lots of villains appear. It’s lame, but it’s not breezy.

Suffering through these issues, I wonder how anyone made it through this period of Spectacular. Black Cat alone would have made me quit reading the comic.

Another bonus: Peter whines less this issue.

CREDITS

The Dagger At the End of the Tunnel!; writer and penciller, Al Milgrom; inker, Jim Mooney; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Diana Albers; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man 94 (September 1984)

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What would I do without Al Milgrom? I’d never have been able to understand this issue, like when Cloak and Dagger talk to each other about their origin. Or when Peter thinks all about the problems he’s been having with the Black Cat and then explains their last adventure together.

But Milgrom is dealing with a beloved character and supporting cast so I guess he doesn’t actually have to be writing anything interesting. Or have any story developments–Black Cat is still a complete twit, who hates Peter Parker and only likes Spider-Man–wait, she’s mentally ill? Explains tons.

So, it’s a bad soap until the lame villain arrives (Silvermane?) and kicks Spidey’s butt.

Milgrom’s art is worse than usual. There’s one place where he reuses the same panel three times in unison (for powering on the alien costume).

The comic doesn’t have a point or any charm, eighties nostalgia or otherwise.

CREDITS

How Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down at the Morgue After They’ve Seen N.Y.C.?; writer and penciller, Al Milgrom; inker, Jim Mooney; colorist, Glynis Wein; letterer, Diana Albers; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man 93 (August 1984)

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Milgrom sure does like some naked Peter Parker. He’s got Petey traipsing around his apartment in a too short robe, even answering the door for his landlady in it, then tossing it at the fourth wall to get into his costume.

The art this issue is rather bad, which is always a surprise. Spider-Man was the only character at Marvel with two titles to himself and they had Milgrom on it. He overwrites every line of dialogue, he has endless, moronic expository thought balloons… and his characters are completely terrible.

The only two sympathetic characters this issue are Flash’s girlfriend (Flash is a jerk) and Jean DeWolff (because she’s aware Black Cat is a dip too).

The rest of the issue is spent with Peter internally whining about Black Cat being a lousy girlfriend and bad person… just like every issue of Spectacular Spider-Man Milgrom writes.

Big yawn.

CREDITS

A Hot Time In the Old Morgue Tonight; writer and penciller, Al Milgrom; inker, Jim Mooney; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Diana Albers; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man 92 (July 1984)

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Milgrom spends the majority of the issue on Spidey and the Black Cat fighting a new villain, the Answer, who’s one of Kingpin’s henchmen. It all ties into the Black Cat getting her powers from Kingpin and… and… and I’m bored already.

The first half of the issue isn’t terrible. I mean, the art’s weak. Milgrom does a Kirby homage on Peter’s landlady and I’m convinced he drew Robbie as a white guy and let the colorist “fill” him in.

But otherwise, I guess it’s not terrible. I mean, the writing’s bad–endless exposition–but the plotting isn’t. Flash having girlfriend troubles and coming home all beat up. Interesting. Peter deciding to go into credit card debt because of his money troubles… interesting.

It’s hilarious how wishy-washy Milgrom writes Peter though. He gripes about the Black Cat being a superficial twit, but can’t resist her. It makes him ridiculous.

CREDITS

And the Answer Is…; writer and penciller, Al Milgrom; inker, Jim Mooney; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Diana Albers; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man 91 (June 1984)

28395.jpgIt takes them a while–almost the entire issue–but Milgrom and Mooney eventually get a couple good panels in here. When I say good panels, I mean good close-ups.

I wasn’t really paying attention to the art (it’s marvelously mediocre) as there’s so much else to get the reader’s attention. Like Peter Parker thinking crappy thoughts about his girlfriend, the Black Cat. These thoughts are totally justified–she is a controlling moron–but they’re really mean-spirited thoughts. Why’s Peter dating her in the first place?

In this issue he discovers she’s compromised his secret identity, pissed off everyone he knows, and then she drags him into a fight against the Blob (they basically get their butts kicked) while he’s busy comforting friend Flash Thompson.

She’s loathsome.

Also–how did Marvel expect people to read this book? You’re supposed to stop half-way through to switch to Amazing.

CREDITS

If It Wasn’t For Bad Luck…; writer and penciller, Al Milgrom; inker, Jim Mooney; colorist, Glynis Wein; letterer, Diana Albers; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man 90 (May 1984)

759692.jpgPeople used to read this comic on purpose? Like, they’d go to the store and buy it and want to read it?

Maybe this issue isn’t the norm, but something tells me Milgrom’s writing isn’t going to be much better when he’s writing Spider-Man than when he’s writing the Black Cat. I mean, the issue ends with Spidey jumping to a negative conclusion when he finds her outside Aunt May’s house.

And he should jump to a negative conclusion.

This issue reminded me of everything I used to loathe about the Black Cat as a love interest. She spent almost all of her page time griping about Peter Parker being lame. This issue it’s maybe ninety percent, since it’s her issue.

Then there’s the art. It’s pretty weak.

Maybe I’m not giving Milgrom credit. Maybe he is trying to portray the Black Cat, universally, as a completely annoying twit.

CREDITS

Where, Oh Where Has My Spider-Man Gone…?; writer and penciller, Al Milgrom; inker, Jim Mooney; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Joe Rosen; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Web of Spider-Man 6 (September 1985)

28572-1.jpgNo doubt about it, there’s some good stuff in this issue–it’s all about the government (Ronnie Raygun in bed with the Kingpin–how did that one fly in the eighties?) dealing with the Beyonder turning a building into pure gold–but can Fingeroth overwrite thought balloons or what? No one ever stops thinking about what they’re doing. It must take them forever to walk, thinking each step out.

But Fingeroth’s approach, the realism, it actually makes one think for a bit. Sure, his dialogue is overblown and so on (I mean, really, in the Marvel Universe, is a building of solid gold really going to change the world economy . . . one would think the Hulk would crash the stock market with a sneeze), but it’s definitely thoughtful.

It’s a tedious read in a lot of ways, but it’s definitely ambitious in quiet, good ways.

The art’s a complete mess, however.

CREDITS

Gold Rush!; writer, Danny Fingeroth; pencillers, Mike Harris, Mike Zeck, Bob Layton, Dave Simons and Jim Mooney; inkers, Zeck, Layton, Simons and Mooney; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Phil Felix and Rick Parker; editors, Keith Williams and Christopher Priest; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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