Growing up I really enjoyed the weekly magazine TV Guide. We always had a subscription at our house. I made attempts to always finish the crossword puzzle before anyone else in our house. The magazine was the perfect size and what I liked best was the layout. Easy to read and it was a wonderful mix of fluff, features, interviews and commentary. TV Guide was the template of what an entertainment magazine should be.

The schedule grids were easy on the eye. The listings for channels and such were done in a manner that was never confusing. I miss that TV Guide.

I’m not going to waste a lot of time talking about the new TV Guide. It’s not for me and it’s not really a TV Guide anymore. It’s unreadable and what schedule is there I find eye burning and head aching. The real features are gone. The artistic covers are gone. Good commentary is gone. What’s left?? Just another magazine with the same people and same photos that you see everywhere else.

After finding some of my old TV Guides in a box the other day I started thinking that it really would be nice to see a hand-sized magazine like this on comic books. Same size, same layout, same template. Instead of the TV grid it could be one with what comics were coming out that month and who was the creative team on them. Do I want to do something like this? No. Too much work. Would I like to see someone else with a better work ethic and a lot more money do it? Yes, of course!

I will say that as I went through that box of old TV Guides it really brought back a lot of fun memories. Memories that I haven’t thought of in a long time. I’m sure there are lots of folks out there around my age that found TV Guide to be a lot of fun. I’m sure they also share some of my good memories about the little magazine. Who knows, there may be some people out there that will one day look at the new TV Guide and have great memories? Naahhh? I doubt it.

If nothing else, when you get a chance, look up an old TV Guide and check it out. You can find them cheap on eBay and even at comic book conventions. They’re always fun and I think you’ll be surprised at some of the really great articles in them. One of them I came across from 1970 did an article on where the world of TV would be in the year 2000. They weren’t too far off. (Although I’m still waiting for my personal jet pack.)

It doesn’t much matter if it’s TV, comic books, movies or toys, if they can haul back some fond memories then it’s all good. Keep looking through those boxes. You’ll find some.

Jacked Up On Phantom Jack

Speaking of memories, when you were a kid, did you ever wish you could be invisible? You’d be able to see the teacher’s test answers, listen in on the other team’s huddle, sit unnoticed in the girl’s shower room?.okay?you get my drift. If I say anymore I’ll sound like a perverted criminal mastermind in the making.

PHANTOM JACK: DIRECTOR’S EDITION -The 200 page plus edition collects the first five issues of the Image Comics series, written by series creator, Mike San Giacomo, illustrated by Marvel artist Mitchell Breitweiser; a 23-page origin story illustrated by Brett Barkley; two Phantom Jack text pieces with full page illustrations by Sean McArdle and five other stories, two which have never been seen before, drawn by Jason Baroody and Paul McCusker.

Jack Baxter is a New York newspaper reporter with a simple, singular super power. He can turn invisible. He is an ordinary guy in an ordinary world, a place where people don’t fly overhead or swing through the air on webbing.

Mike San Giacomo’s premise in creating the work was that in the real world, in our world, a guy who can turn invisible would be a pretty powerful guy. In the Marvel or DC mythos, that power would rank him up there alongside Squirrel-Girl or the Polka-Dot Man.

But imagine what a trained reporter could do with those skills? Mike being a reporter brings a very cool insider’s slant to the character of Jack Baxter.

Jack is not a superhero, but he’s not a coward either. He fights when he must, using his powers intelligently. He is what you would be if you had this power, helpful and brave sometimes, but nervous the next. (Unlike me, a perverted criminal mastermind in the making) Jack is not a movie hero ready to sacrifice his life for someone else, but he tries to do the right thing. (Unlike me, a perverted criminal mastermind in the making.)

Overall, he does a pretty good job. In his first five issues, he rescued a homeless man in the park from a beating, though the man mysteriously dies anyway. His biggest challenge was using his wits and limited powers to rescue his brother, Cassidy, who had been captured by Iraqi forces at the start of the war. This just scrapes the top of some of the stuff that Jack finds himself involved in.

In addition to being able to turn invisible, anything close to Jack’s body also turns invisible. As the series moves on, Jack learns how to manipulate his powers more effectively and broaden their range. He’s aided by his friend and sometimes lover, Madison Blue, agent of MISCELLANEOUS, believed to be the only other invisible person in the world.

The trade is a perfect lead-in to the 100-page plus Phantom Jack finale coming out in March from Atomic Pop Art Entertainment, Phantom Jack; The Nowhere Man Agenda.

The frustrating part of this is that it doesn’t come from Marvel Or DC comics and so it ends up that not a lot of people will notice it. It’s the way this business is right now and has been for a while. My hope in talking about this book here is that some of you out there will give it a shot. It’s worth checking out and I think it’s something that most of you will relate to in some form. Mike San Giacomo adds his vast experience and knowledge of a newspaper reporter into the Jack Baxter character and his work to make this something you will not only be entertained by ,but will learn and have fun with as well.

Be different and check this one out.

Busted Knuckles Manly Cover Of The Week

Luke Cage: Hero For Hire #3
Marvel Comics, 1972

The 70s lived, too bad they had to die. What a fun time for over the top,jaw-breaking comics. None summed this up better than LUKE CAGE: HERO FOR HIRE. Each cover of each issue was full-throttle. There was always something manly going on and you could always count on it being balls to the wall. The cover to issue #3 is a perfect sample of the testosterone that this series carried. Check out Luke Cage karate-choppin’ the crap out of the bad guy’s chopper. This should’ve been a poster for all to enjoy and frame up.

When you get the time, check out some of the great Marvel covers from 1970 through 1979. I think you’ll find a lot of what’s missing in comics right now. The good stuff.

Busted Knuckles Babe Of The Week

Ashley Scott
– actress

It doesn’t matter if she sporting dark hair or blonde, Ashley Scott always looks great. She has those great “smiling eyes” that always make you think she’s smiling at you and that you might have a chance. (But you don’t, so forget it.) You’ve enjoyed her in films like Into The Blue, Walking Tall, The Kingdom, and of course, the TV series BIRDS OF PREY. Did you know that she also appeared in an episode of LOST? She’s a buddy of Jessica Alba and they’ve worked together more than once. Once again I will remind you I’m a perverted criminal mastermind in the making) She’s a southern belle and that always counts for more in my book. Make sure you catch her weekly on the TV show JERICHO.

The Roundup

My Chicago Bears have me on a roller coaster. My Cleveland Indians have me thinking of a World Series. My Marshall University Thundering Herd has me reliving my college years there. What will my Philadelphia Flyers have in store for me?

I’m sure all these sports questions of mine will be answered in the weeks to come. I hope they’re ones I like.

With the new Fall TV season under way I’m sorting through and figuring out what shows I’m gonna stick with and what ones I’m gonna drop. The biggest surprise for me is the show LIFE. I didn’t see this one coming and I’m really glad it came along. It’s full of character and characters. It stands alone every episode, yet like a great late 60s Marvel Comic, it weaves a continuing sub-plot that keeps you coming back. The star, Damien Lewis has been perfectly cast as a cop that gets sent to jail for 12 years only to be freed and win a ton of money in a civil suit. His time inside made him a bit quirky and that only adds to his street smartness and endearing character. Lewis is another one of these British actors that can really capture the viewer by playing an American, much like the success of the show HOUSE.

There are babes galore in this show such as Brooke Langton and Sarah Shahi. Every character in this show has a secret or an underlying agenda. It’s rich without all the calories. If you enjoy shows like MONK and BURN NOTICE, then LIFE is for you.

Okay, time for me to do something constructive? Nap.

Your amigo,

Beau Smith
The Flying Fist Ranch
P.O. Box 706
Ceredo, WV. 25507

Prove your manhood by visiting Beau at the Flying Fists Forum!

About The Author

Beau Smith

Beau Smith is a writer for Comics Bulletin