I hope I am not too late for the festivities! (Archive!)
340. Fred Van Lente
C'mon, I had to. It's that time o' year again!
Fred Van Lente is one of those comic writers that the blogosphere loves but who doesn't get the attention he deserves from the rest of the comics-reading public. I know, I know, harping about that on a blog doesn't do much, but hopefully some of you out there may be persuaded to pick up a Fred Van Lente project due to Chairman Cronin's joyous celebration of the man's work.
His most notable (well, in the right circles) work-- the one that put him on the map-- was Action Philosophers!, with Ryan Dunleavy. The child of a Xeric Grant, Action Philosophers! (it demands an exclamation point) is an entertaining presentation of the history of great philosophical thought. Some would presume such a thing to be stuffy and boring, but Van Lente and Dunleavy make it both funny and informative. Take this one, for example:
It was a great series. The pair is following it up with Comic Book Comics, which Brian previewed earlier today.
Marvel quickly took a liking to Fred and snatched his talent up. He introduced a new, female, teenaged Scorpion in the pages of Amazing Fantasy, for instance, but he's mostly been working away on Marvel's all-ages Adventures line. Again, a lot would disparage these comics-- "kid's stuff," right? Hardly. The Marvel Adventures books are the best comics Marvel's putting out right now. They're filled with the fun and energy we all remember comics having when we were kids, and we're still able to enjoy them as adults. They're terrific for kids and grown-ups, and guys like Fred Van Lente and Jeff Parker have made them required reading. Plus, they get away with wacky ideas that the "real" universe just can't do anymore! Green Goblin interrupting Spider-Man's baseball game? Iron Man vs. laser pirates? These are the kinds of comics I want, folks. Fred's worked on the MA titles for Spidey, the FF, and Iron Man, as well as the all-ages Power Pack title.
He also wrote one of my favorite mini's of 2007: MODOK's 11! Heck, when you take MODOK, one of my favorite comics characters, and you put him into the heist genre, you've got a winner-- and when you include a bunch of C-Listers I adore like the Puma, the Spot, and Rocket Racer, you've got my money. It was a great series that didn't sell terribly well, but deserves your love and attention. Pick up the trade!
Fred's also done work for Platinum Studios, with creator-owned titles and graphic novels like Cowboys and Aliens, Ghosting, The Weapon, and Watchdogs. For Moonstone, he produced the Silencers. They've all gotten good reviews, and they're all filled with fun cleverness. Worth reading? Hells yeah!
You'll be able to catch some future Van Lente in the pages of Comic Book Comics, the Incredible Herc, the Marvel Adventures books, and, as Brian revealed today-- Wolverine: First Class! Pick 'em up.
For more on Fred Van Lente, hit up his website, or just scroll down on the frontpage! Happy Fred Van Lente day, everybody.
Bonus! Ominous hint time: Kirby is coming... Kirby is coming...