What’s this? ASTRO CITY 5 is out? Hot dog!
As I write this, the Red Sox have just beaten the Tampa Bay Rays to advance to the American League Championship Series, so I’m pretty pleased. So imagine the rest of the column to the strains of the Standells doing “Dirty Water” and, for good measure, the Dropkick Murphys signing “Tessie” on the field…
I haven’t been active here on the blog of late—September always seems to flatten me—but I’m up off the mat and getting writing done. I’ve got a couple of announcements of stuff when I have a spare moment, but for now let’s do the Extended Online Lettercolumn Boogaloo.
To start off with, here’s a letter from ISAAC:
I don’t think I’ve written to a comic letter column since I was a kid, but I felt like I had to write and say just how much I’ve enjoyed ASTRO CITY.
Earlier this year, I “caught up” on ASTRO CITY. I’d read loose issues in the past, but I finally found everything and read it and picked up the new issues and it’s really been a great experience filling in the holes in the story.
When I read comics, I usually end up, invariably, picking things apart and personally reviewing issues on a few criteria. On that, I’d like to sincerely praise you (and Alex and Brent and everybody, of course) on one of my criteria and a major modern comics pet peeve of mine. Almost every single one of the 60+ issues of ASTRO CITY released so far would make an excellent jumping on point! So many books these days don’t do that, and it always, always bugs me. How can the industry expect to pick up new readers if each issue doesn’t make any sense without having picked up the nine previous issues? Thank you guys for your refreshing approach of trying to make every issue count, so to speak.
And, now, for my one and only complaint about ASTRO CITY! After “finishing” what’s been released so far a few weeks ago, I’ve reread LIFE IN THE BIG CITY. I think I’ll continue on after that. But, I’ve realized something that makes me a bit sad about AC. You guys do such a great job of building up these characters that I really miss them when you move on to the next story! I think I’d be happy if the next 60 issues were all sequels to the first 60. I want more Confessor and Steeljack! I want more Winged Victory and Samaritan! And, I’m pretty sure we’re all desperately waiting for The Resurrection of The Mock Turtle.
Ah, I kid. If there’s one thing the first 60-some issues of ASTRO CITY have proved to me, it’s that you guys totally know what you’re doing. I can’t wait to see what comes next!
I’m sure I could go on and on with the praise, but I”ve rambled enough. I just have to say thank you for the refreshing, unique look at superhero comics. And, I look forward to whatever you guys have cooking next.
PS: Kurt, If you’ve been reading Jonathan Hickman’s AVENGERS and NEW AVENGERS, would you care to tell me what you think of it, (privately or publicly)? You wrote my favorite Avengers stories, by far, so I’d absolutely love hearing your perspective on the new stuff.
PPS: Can someone PLEASE make an official tie in Astro City Pale Ale? That, and some futuristic grub from Taco Cat would be all I need for a perfect Astro City binge reading session!
Thanks for the kind words, Isaac. We’ve had a semi-sequel or two in the new run, as we’ve checked in with Ben Pullam and Mattie Sullivan to see what they’re up to, and I think #7-10 will count as a big ol’ revisiting of some well-liked characters (though in a new-reader-friendly way, I hope!). But there’s lots of new stories to tell, too…
As for your PSs (PSes?): I haven’t read any of the Hickman AVENGERS run—I find it hard to step back into the audience after I’ve written an extended run on a book, because it’s hard to shift my mindset from “I’m the puppet master” to “I’m just watching the show.” So it’s best, for me, to let them get on with it without having the guy who used to drive the bus (and mix the metaphors) in the audience. I have been reading Hickman’s EAST OF WEST, though, and think it’s been lots of fun.
And if any reputable brewer wants to actually make an Astro City Pale Ale, I’m all ears! And thirsty.
With ASTRO CITY’s return to the shelves, I feel like I’ve been reunited with long-lost friends from college—a feeling enhanced by the fact that the characters have aged as I have. As is often the case when good friends lose touch, the fault goes both ways.
I met ASTRO CITY before my sophomore year of college through the CONFESSION TPB, and it immediately moved to the top of my read list. It gradually became the only thing on my read list as I entered grad school and got married, and had little time or money for my comics habit. It stayed there as I graduated, moved, and started a new job.
But as my friends started writing to me less frequently (truly a DARK AGE in our friendship), I found myself having to re-read previous letters to remember what was happening. I then planned to wait for an entire book to be completed before reading it as a whole, but that never happened. The Samaritan special was the last issue I read soon after it came out, and the birth of my first child and the increasingly sporadic publishing schedule meant that I often found myself scrambling to find a few issues that I’d somehow missed. Eventually, I had about a dozen issues (the rest of the run) waiting for me to catch up, but buying a house and having two more children kept it from happening—until last October.
A friend invited us to a Halloween party, where the host was rumored to be dressing as a character from ASTRO CITY. Inspired, I started skimming back issues for ideas for a costume that I could actually pull off. I was also looking for a scene I could add to my portfolio of pumpkin carvings, like Ultron, inspired by your run on Avengers (photo attached) and other comic characters (http://picasaweb.google.com/gossamerica/Pumpkins#).
Well, we didn’t make it to the party (whose host dressed as Captain America), and didn’t find an idea for a costume or pumpkin in time. But skimming soon turned to reading, enabled by too much business travel giving me plenty of time to read on the airport. Before I knew it, I’d finished the two-part SILVER AGENT special, plus the entire run of ARROWSMITH for good measure.
Now that I’ve finally read all of those wonderful letters my friends wrote for those years, I’m long overdue to reply with some comments and questions.
1) When I read the SAMARITAN Special, I remembered seeing Infidel in WIZARD (now nearly two decades later!), and the resulting story was well worth the wait. It reminded me of one of the things I loved about your runs on the Avengers and Thunderbolts—digging up little lost treasures from long in the past. And I’m always impressed by the little details that you all work into Astro City—in this case, the clever single-panel moments, each begging for a full story. Maybe after you finally tell your talking gorilla story, you can take us back to the world with winged, laser-eyed elephants! And I had to laugh at the sumptuous feast from Beefy Bob’s…
2) One of Brent’s greatest strengths is his knack for great facial expressions—ironically enhanced by his brilliant work on an expressionless, plastic character in the BEAUTIE special. The story was heartbreaking and wonderful, and has one of the funniest panels in comics history—the look on Mitchell’s face when Beauty shoots him down (“…my breasts and buttocks are rigid…”)! Priceless!
3) I was worried when I saw the cover to ASTRA #1, because I despise celebrity gossip magazines and paparazzi. (I don’t understand society’s obsession with celebrities in general.) And I was really worried on the second page, thinking you’d had sweet little Astra grow into a “hard-partying bad girl”—and then, boom! you made my point for me. Those magazines exaggerate and outright lie to increase sales, and nobody thinks about the effects it can have on people’s lives. These issues should be mandatory reading for anybody who actually enjoys PEOPLE, TMZ, and the like. Yes, they’re famous, but they’re just regular people (I’ll get back to that later), so leave them alone. I saw the betrayal coming…and found it incredibly heroic that Astra didn’t even slap him!
4) When the delegation from Monstro City arrives to visit Astra, the guy on the right with the large mouth reminds me of something—I thought I’d seen that mouth on an Enelsian craft in “Confession”, but a quick skim killed that idea. Hmmmm, maybe I’ll have to re-read the series to figure out why it looks so familiar 😉
5) Then there’s the Dark Age…as many have said, it went on a bit long. One of the things I love about ASTRO CITY is the extreme detail in characterization. However, what is great in single issues or short arcs just became too much of a good thing in 16 issues. But that ending? Wow. Just wow. So maybe we could have gotten there in 12 issues instead, but—just wow!
6) I loved seeing Elliott Mills again—another great example of how you can sneak in treats for long-time readers without throwing off new readers. I also enjoyed trying to figure out who the characters would have been if the story had been “MARVELS 2,” and have to assume that he would have been Phil Sheldon.
7) Along the way, I decided that Mirage would be great for a Halloween costume (though I haven’t figured out how to pull it off cheaply), so I was glad to get a better look at him in Book 4 #2. And the Pale Horseman on the cover of the next issue has a pumpkin in its future—I just hope I can do it justice.
8) Since nothing new had come out of Astro City for a few years when I finally read the SILVER AGENT specials, it seemed like it could be the end of the series—and what an amazing way to cap a fantastic series. I’m amazed at how well you traversed the timestream in both directions. I used to think that Silver Agent was just Astro City’s Captain America archetype with a clever code name (and they both have two first names…). But after these issues, I think you’ve just supplanted Cap as my favorite comic character—an example of true heroism and nobility. I was inspired by his resolve to complete his mission (his conversation with Mirage was golden…er, silver), and his self-sacrifice (his relationship with Jane) and moments with his nephew, Thomas, were heartbreaking. Stop making me cry! Yes, this would have been the perfect bookend to the series—but I’m overjoyed that you’re back!
8a) iGod. Heh. Don’t give Apple any ideas…
My excessive business travel suddenly stopped in January (thank goodness), so it’s taken me this long to write. But that gives me a chance to comment on the first two (errr…make that three) issues of the Vertigo series.
9) You continue to amaze me with the level of detail you all put into the book—from fictional college majors (arcanobiology) and companies (Kodiak camera) to newspapers that have actual text (instead of random letters or words), which is better-written than many real newspaper articles!
10) Having the Broken Man speak to us was interesting, but could definitely wear thin, so I was glad not to see him in #2. Maybe I was just weirded out by how much he reminded me of a former coworker. But I loved the bit at the end when he told me to skip the last page—and I seriously considered obeying him…nope, sorry, I’m not going to miss a page of this great comic! But the best moment, though, was another great laugh. Telseth, the majestic, Kirbyesque space-giant steps dramatically through the doorway, and strikes a grandiose pose. As his voice booms over the populace—he turns down the volume on his microphone! And then he smiles?!?!? Unheard of! Brilliantly hilarious.
11) I can sympathize with Marella in #2—I also have a job that I can’t discuss fully with my family, and it’s rough having those satisfying moments when I have a huge smile on the inside. Hey, what are the ladies going to do with the things they bought in Paris if nobody can know that they went there? I kept waiting for a villain to attack the call center, so you threw me for a loop when you showed how something she missed turned to disaster.
Between helping in my daughter’s kindergarten class, where I get hints of what some of her classmates’ lives are like, and having acted as an impromptu suicide hotline worker (from my previous letter), I really appreciate teachers, emergency hotline operators, social workers, and so many others who work in areas that can so quickly turn tragic—and are generally underappreciated and underpaid. Thank you for giving us some insight into things that we take for granted.
And that cliffhanger ending? Man, I hate that month-long wait between issues, but I love having it back for me to hate!
12) Thank you for continuing a letter column. I love seeing what little details I missed but others picked up on. And I have a few comments about the letter column…
13) Dave asked you about handicapped heroes, and I thought of a few others who may fit the bill, besides Hawkeye’s former hearing impairment (I hope everybody heard about the Blue Ear). There have been numerous heroes with mental handicaps or illness, such as The Sentry. During his “Penance” phase, Speedball probably qualified as having a mental illness, and also serves as an example of those who suffer due to their powers. Maybe the members of Strikeforce: Morituri qualify?
In college, I actually came up with an Astro City-inspired story about a handicapped hero. But since I assume that you don’t want me handing you my “fantastic movie script,” and since breaking into comics as a writer seems nearly impossible (even for those with the time, talent, and energy to try it), I suspect that my story will sadly stay stuck in my head. Unless there’s an aspiring comic book artist in your audience, and somebody who wants to help get it published 😉
14) Torsten complained that your dialogue is weak, is too “by-the-numbers ‘getting info across,’ without any real personality” or “memorable lines.” While he’s being too harsh, I agree your dialogue does usually seem very “normal”—and that’s what I love about it. While some superheroes, like Crackerjack, might like to speak in buzzwords and catch phrases, I suspect that most of them are too busy just being superheroes to worry about sounding snappy. Besides (as I mentioned above), they’re normal people, and most of the “normal” people (who aren’t politicians or professional wrestlers) that I know generally speak to get the point across rather than to be quotable. Maybe that’s because I’m an engineer surrounded by other engineers. But thank you for having your characters speak like real people instead of perpetual press conference camera-hogs. And if he needs some memorable lines, just have him read Silver Agent’s conversation with Mirage.
15) Now that it’s taken a month for me to finish this letter, I just finished reading #3 (the day it came out!), and it was excellent. If #1 was a strange start (mostly due to the shattering of the 4th wall), #2-3 were definitely back in prime form. I think Cleopatra’s chat with Marella qualifies as memorable dialogue (“The people who look for ways to fix mistakes—those are the people we most want to keep”). It was great to see Honor Guard knowing and appreciating their support staff. It reminded me of G.I. JOE SPEIAL MISSIONS #5, which shows the relationships between two pilots (a Joe and Cobra) and their ground crews, and the consequences thereof…
16) Finally, I’d like to comment on a few of the new characters you’ve introduced. I love the Skullcrushers—what great character design! But Wolfspider? Sorry to say it, but—meh, he didn’t do much for me.
17) And then there’s Assemblyman—wow, Kurt, what a sneaky way to sneak in some mystery for long-time readers (without creating headaches for new readers)? At first I thought it was pretty clever character with a fun name. But wait, “…the heroic Assemblyman, who hasn’t been active since…”, got me thinking… Hey, the Assemblyman was a villain in TARNISHED ANGEL (40 years ago). And they’re clearly not the same person. And why does this one’s costume remind me of The Black Badge? Lucy, you got some ‘splainin’ to do!
18) Hmmm, now that I’m skimming wikipedia’s list of Astro City characters, I see that The Skullcrushers was the name of a gang that a young Steeljack belonged to. If you were just about anybody else, I’d think they were unrelated. Really, who can keep track of what clever names they’ve already used (for only a panel or two)—Kurt Busiek, that’s who. Coincidence? Not a chance.
19) Finally (maybe…), I see you’ve been posting updates on Facebook. How about a little love for Google Plus?
Thank you all for a fantastic series, and welcome back! Sorry for a long, rambling letter—just take it as a sign of how happy I am to be back in touch with old friends. (If I do ever get around to writing that “handicapped hero” story, I’ll need a good editor to tell me when to shut up, or people will think that Brian Michael Bendis wrote it!) Here’s to good health to you all, and a very long monthly run of fantastic comics!
What a lengthy set of comments! Thanks for them all, sir—much appreciated!
Responding to just a few of them: No, no love for Google Plus here, I’m afraid. I’ve looked at it, but can’t figure out how to use it or what I’d do with it aside from duplicate what I’m already doing elsewhere—and I think the great thing about the interconnectivity of the internet is that people all over the world can instantly come see stuff on Facebook or Twitter or Spring.me or Tumblr, so why should I have to trek around the web repeating the act for lots of different splintered online communities? Wherever you are, I’m a couple of keystrokes away, so come on by!
Lots of characters in comics history have re-used names, from the Golden Age Angel to multiple Firebrands and so on, so it makes sense to me that we’d see some names (like Skullcrushers and the Assemblyman) being reused over the years in Astro City. Is there a connection between the two Assemblymen, just as there is between the two Quarrels or the three Jack-In-The-Boxes? Only time will tell, if so…
Had we done the story for MARVELS 2 that ultimately became THE DARK AGE, it wouldn’t have ended the same way, so there’d have been no scene with Phil Sheldon (particularly given the events of MARVELS: EYE OF THE CAMERA). The story got changed a lot in the reworking.
It is great to have ASTRO CITY back and I am also glad to hear that you are in better health (meanwhile, I understand another favorite writer of mine, Roman Dirge of LENORE fame, is recovering from a bad accident—is there some sort of comics writers’ curse going on?). I have read the first three Vertigo issues and ASTRO CITY is retaining the high standards that have made it a favorite. I found the Broken Man and American Chibi both engaging newcomers. Marella Cowper’s story was a classic of an ordinary person dealing with the extraordinary and letting us see Honor Guard’s support team was an inspired idea. Hopefully, those characters will be back. I liked the cameo by the Unholy Alliance, which seems to have gained a new member or two as well as a new look for Spice (seeing the new hairdo, I found myself wondering if she saw THE INCREDIBLES and wondered if that hair extension wasn’t as hazardous as a cape). Once again, I had to wait for new ASTRO CITY issues, but it has proven to be well worth it.
And then, a week or so later, from ROBERT again:
This is a follow-up to my letter of August 17. I wrote of the Unholy Alliance’s cameo appearance in issue 2. I assumed figure 4 (going from left to right) was Spice in a new outfit. But then I realized that looks like Flamethrower’s costume. It seems there are two likely possibilities. One: I made a faulty identification. Two: That is Spice and she is wearing a variation of Flamethrower’s outfit and there is a very interesting story behind that. Of course, to tell all of Astro City’s stories may ultimately require the cloning of yourself and the art team (I could imagine Manny Monkton wanting to do something like that).
A final note: I am starting to follow your website and saw the art for issue 5. In regards to Mr. Cakewalk: You’ve got me intrigued and I will look forward to that story.
That is indeed a new Flamethrower. Whether it’s Spice in there or not, I hadn’t considered. But there’s a thematic resonance to that, isn’t there?
And I hope you’ve enjoyed Mister Cakewalk’s debut (or is it?) by now…
A great story always has a moral lesson to learn and makes you think. You and the rest of the crew delivered it perfectly. We’re all human and make mistakes and it’s how we deal with them that defines our character.
I’m so happy to have AC back on the stands every month.
Finished the great ASTRO CITY re-read (and pretty much, it was great), now into the great TOM STRONG re-read, now that that series has also returned. And continuing the really truly great USAGI YOJIMBO re-read, beginning with the CRITTERS issues with Nillson Groundthumper and Hermy the mole/guinea-pig/hamster.
And have in hand the new ASTRO CITY, volume who-knows, #3. Can’t shake the sense I’ve just read this call-center-employee-screws-up framework (but can’t find it in my admittedly skimpy notes on AC-past), but the story’s definitely new, and yes—as with issue two, we’re back with the groundlings looking up at the sky. Wonder if you talked with (or were/are?) some EMT dispatchers before writing this issue; got a good sense of at least one of those people who ‘take the calls’.
I’m really enjoying what must be certainly in the top tier of original aspects of superhero-dom. Continually looking forward to what new facet you’ll present of life in a super-hero city. There’s a good Top Ten sensibility of a much bigger world than what we’ve seen in the stories we’ve read. I’m very happy to see Brent’s art, as well—lots of expressions in people’s faces, and I like seeing people’s faces, tight close-ups so we can see what someone’s thinking.
Thanks for printing my somewhat negatively critical letter about issue 1. Surprise, surprise—I learned, at the very end of my AC re-read, that the issue to follow was: “The Broken Man”. Reading it again, after all the previous issues, it was less jarring to me, more enjoyable. And thank you for the letter-col prize; I’m a’honored. Patiently waiting for issue 4…
And this must be our month for follow-ups—later that same day, from MATT again:
Okay, this’s funny, ha-ha on me: just discovered why the ‘call-goes-wrong’ framework was so familiar, and yet, not in any of my notes on AC comics-past—it was—it was last issue! Ah, memory fades with advancing age, and all that. Sigh. Sorry. Carry on, with thanks, again.
I was wondering. And no, I didn’t talk to any EMTs, or anything. Just made it all up, like the Golux.
Whenever I open a new comic I look for two things, that the art be attractive (I’ve got pretty wide tastes) and that the story pique my interest within the first minute or so. Thumbing through ASTRO CITY #1 in August of 1995 fulfilled those two criteria perfectly. My introduction to this world, this city, was a look into the heart’s deepest desire of the greatest superhuman of an age and what did I find expressed there if not vulnerability? I knew what I could expect to see in ASTRO CITY, especially after a few issues passed, but it didn’t dissuade me from continuing to read. Each was its own story with its own details and each was an ASTRO CITY story, a human story in which superhuman stamina is demanded.
Yeah, I loved it. I’ve loved it all along waiting out the forced intermissions with a mix of hope and dread. During most of The Dark Age, ASTRO CITY was the only comic I was buying. It was certainly an opportunity to practice patience. Thankfully it hasn’t always been as challenging, but it has always been worth it. This month’s “Mistakes” is a shining example with the truth of Cleopatra’s message, which some people never get to hear. Thank you for letting us experience Marella’s doubt, bravery and compassion in issue 3. This story had me in tears. Thank you for Astra’s pain from betrayal. Thank you for Carl’s integrity in the face of condemnation. Thank you also for Beautie’s loneliness, for Silver Agent’s sacrifice, for the epic breadth of Royal’s and Charles’ character developments, but most especially, thank you in advance for another ASTRO CITY just next month. That feels good to type.
It feels good to be able to deliver it, too!
Hi Kurt. I wanted to let you know that I will not purchasing ASTRO CITY any longer. It has nothing to do with you. I’ve been enjoying the behind the scenes look at Astro City and Honor Guard. But, in light of today’s announcement from J.H. Williams about continued editorial interference, I am dropping all titles published through DC/Vertigo. I just cannot support that company any longer. I wish you continued good health, good storytelling, and continued success.
We’re sorry to see you go, Kelly, and hope you’ll be back someday.
I’ll also note that anyone who wants to support books where creators have a free hand can feel fine supporting ASTRO CITY, I hope—as a creator-owned book, we get to determine what stories we tell and how we tell them. If anyone at DC has problems with it, we can discuss them, but they can’t tell us what to do or what not to. If push came to shove, they could refuse to publish a book if it wasn’t something they could stand behind, or we could terminate the series if we were unhappy enough—but it’s never come to that. We do what we do the way we choose to do it, and DC’s been supportive of us the whole time.
But you do what you gotta do, and you make the choices you make. There are a lot of other good books out there, so I don’t expect you’ll have a shortage of things to read. But I hope you’ll come by again and check in, someday.
From STEVEN again:
Back in July’s letter column, Dave asked about handicapped heroes. I just stumbled upon a website called tvtropes.org, which is a ridiculously detailed and thorough catalog of tropes (patterns of storytelling) in fiction. Lo and behold, a page on handicapped heroes:
I immediately kicked myself for not thinking of Silhouette from New Warriors—she needs braces to walk, but can still dish out some serious physical punishment. And there are a couple of alternate realities (MC2, Old Man Logan) where Hawkeye is blind. You might also take a look at
While many of the examples probably don’t fit what Dave was thinking, I believe that Silhouette does.
Is it too late for a letter commenting on ASTRO CITY 3?
I actually don’t have much to say except to follow up on my letter about issue 2. I had expressed the hope that things would work out well for Marella Cowper, and I’m glad to see that that was indeed the case. I’m a little surprised that she didn’t spend more time investigating why she continued to have access to the teleport network, but on the other hand, the fact that her salvation, as it were, came out of her own actions and decisions, made that irrelevant.
I do hope we’ll get to see her again from time to time.
I’m not too proud to admit that I was wrong. After last issue I made predictions about this one, and they were pretty much wrong from start to finish.
Not totally wrong. Yes, Marella started out in a funk, and there was a crisis, and she ended up with renewed confidence and commitment—but that’s as high-level as “the nations of the West defeat Sauron” or “Odysseus comes home and reclaims his kingdom.” There are details. They matter. I made predictions about the details, and I completely failed to anticipate which way the story was going. It didn’t even occur to me that Marella might actually go to Ecuador and do relief work.(Which says some things about me, and perhaps not good ones.) That’s a much better direction than the things I did anticipate. You’d almost think that Kurt was a world-famous, award-winning writer and I was just a random fanboy.
So well done, Kurt, for surprising me!
Just one thing: last issue wasn’t the little girl called Graciela instead of Esmerelda? Hopefully you can fix that in the collection.
If I was Stan Lee, I’d say that her name is Esmeralda Graciela Navarro—and hey, maybe it is—but in truth, yeah, we messed up, and we’ll be changing that for the book edition. Unless we screw up again.
And to wrap up, here’s REED:
I love Astro City. The comic has an “A to Z” list of great characters. To prove my point, here is an alphabet rhyme that highlights some of my favorite Astro City heroes, villains, creatures, and locations…
A is for AIR ACE, fighting evil at great height!
B for BRUISER’S — have a drink, but be polite!
C starts CLEVER DICK, a crime lord of great greed!
D is for DAVID, the giant of the Crossbreed!
E starts ENCEPHALON — wow, what a huge head!
F for the FRONTIERSMAN, a past hero, now dead.
G for the GENTLEMAN, who can be a nice host!
H is for the HANGED MAN, the heroic ghost!
I is for INFIDEL, Samaritan’s bad dream!
J for the JADE DRAGONS, a family team!
K for KORRGA — hey, a Roman ape, look at that!
L for LOONY LEO — oh, wow, a cartoon cat!
M for MPH, his super-speed is a thrill!
N for the NIGHT CREATURES up on Shadow Hill!
O is for the OTTER — please watch out for the tail!
P is for PALMETTO, called “Roach”, without fail!
Q is for QUARREL, known for her fantastic aim!
R is for REX, a monster hero of great fame!
S begins SIMON MAGUS — his magic is cool!
T for the TOFF, a dandy, yes, but not a fool!
U for the UNICORN, giving bad guys a thud!
V is for the VAMPIRES that will suck your blood!
W for WRESTLA, a dame that can bring you pain!
X for the XENOFORM — the creature is insane!
Y for the YOUNG GENTLEMAN, heroic sidekick!
Z for ZZARDO — that alien creep makes me sick!
See you next month!
(And hopefully before that, too!)