Friday, 19 February 2016

My top 100 Books. And Top 100 Graphic Novels.

Everybody loves a good list, right?  With the passing recently of David Bowie (and nearly every other musician in their late '60's/early '70's, it would seem), we all became aware of what a loss for the music world his death is.

I wasn't the world's biggest Bowie fan.  My first ever bit of Vinyl I purchased was a Bowie single back in the day.  And, despite owning a sizeable music collection, that remains all of the Bowie I have.  I was more interested to read Bowie's Top 100 Book List however.  And, reading his list, I found that we had little in common, as far as our reading tastes went.  I can say that I have read 4 1/2 of the books on his list (I couldn't finish Madame Bovary).  His eclectic reading tastes are obvious, and it's a great insight into his mind!  I'm certainly interested in checking out a few more on his list.

Which brings me to making my own, personal Top 100 Books list, inspired by Bowie's own list.  And, given that I read an awful lot of comics and graphic novels, I felt justified in making a separate Top 100 Graphic Novels list as well.

So, how does one go about compiling a list like this?  And what kind of parameters are we talking about?  For me, the emphasis was on fiction rather than non-fiction (with one exception, The Masks of God, which is essentially a psychoanalysis of stories, so it kind of counts.  And I'm allowed to break my own rules.)  Which cut out alot of the non-fiction that I read.  But I'm good with that.  Maybe there's yet another list ther as well...? 

Also, I limited each author to one spot.  Otherwise my list would have been flooded with works from about 8 authors.  I have marked these authors with an asterix, meaning that, while I have chosen a book from their bibliography, I could have easily chosen another 10 or 20 as well.  There are a few other authors not marked, like Kim Stanley Robinson, whose works contain many books I like, and also many books I don't get into so much or haven't read.  I'm sure you have your own authors in a similar position.  Note: this only applies to the Book list.  I felt free to disregard this rule for the Graphic Novel list.  As a result, there are many Alan Moore works, because I couldn't not include them.  And others.  My lists, my rules.

This is actually true.

As far as a series of books goes, I'm happy to list a series as one book slot.  So there are a number of trilogies, series and the likes scattered through the list.  The Graphic Novels are a bit more problematic.  Many of the Vertigo series contain around 10 volumes.  Some of the manga contain over 20.  There are many very worthy contenders that are ongoing series.  I have limited myself here to runs that involve one writer, to avoid the eternal capes opera that is superhero comics.  I enjoy them, and I have read one very convincing argument in favour of considering Issues #1 - #322 of The Fantastic Four as one mega-novel, with multi-authors and artists, under various editors but with an over-riding sense of direction, and, arguably a conclusion.  I'm convinced, but as it isn't re-printed with this particular theory in mind, I reluctantly omit it (and many, many others) from my list, in favour of more accessible volumes of work.  

Finally, it should go without saying, but I must have actually read them, and personally own a copy (the only exception at this point is 'Fight Club' which I have read but don't currently own a copy.  Gotta love exceptions).  There are a number of books I own that I have no doubt will bump some books of these lists, should I ever get the time to read them.  Let's hope that we are all blessed with more time to do the things we love.  

So, the general idea was to flood the lists with anything I thought was a cracking read, then whittle them down to the essential 100.  This is way more difficult than it sounds, but is also very enjoyable to do.  So, without any further ado, and in no particular order, here's My Top 100 Books, and Top 100 Graphic Novels.  Now get cracking on your own list!

Top 100 books

Lord of the Rings /  The Silmarillion  JRR Tolkien
Dune series Frank Herbert
The Unlimited Dream Company  J G Ballard *
Cities of Red Night  William Burroughs
The Culture series  Iain M Banks *
Mars Trilogy  Kim Stanley Robinson
Swords Series  Fritz Leiber
The 47 Ronin John Allyn
The House on the Borderlands  William Hope Hodgson
Lost Worlds Volume 1  Clark Ashton Smith *
The Earthsea Quartet  Ursula Le Guin
The Illuminatus Trilogy  Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson
Don Quixote  Miguel Cervantes
Songs of Fire and Ice Series  George RR Martin
Cryptonomicon  Neal Stevenson
The King of Elfland's Daughter  Lord Dunsany
The Masks of God  Joseph Campbell
Titus Groan  Mervyn Peake
Jurgen  James Branch Cabell
Lord of Light  Roger Zelazny
Tales of the Arabian Nights  India/Iran/Iraq/Egypt
Slaughterhouse 5  Kurt Vonnegut
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series  Douglas Adams
A Farewell to Arms  Ernest Hemingway
Siddharta  Herman Hesse
The Name of the Rose  Umberto Eco*
Our Ancestors  Italo Calvino*
The Dictionary of the Khazars  Milorad Pavic
The Man in the High Castle  Philip K Dick *
Books of the New Sun  Gene Wolfe
Filth  Irvine Welsh
Wheels of Terror  Sven Hassel *
The Once and Future King  T H White
Haroun and the Sea of Stories  Salman Rushdie
Crime and Punishment  Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Waiting for Godot  Samuel Beckett
Animal Farm  George Orwell
Blood Meridian  Corman McCarthy
The Trial  Franz Kafka
One Hundred Years of Solitude  Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Moby Dick  Herman Melville
Catch 22 Joseph Heller
Software series  Rudy Rucker
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas  Hunter S Thompson
I am Legend  Richard Matheson
Labyrinths  Jorge Luis Borges
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath  H P Lovecraft *
Imaginary Magnitude  Stanislaw Lem
Weaveworld  Clive Barker
Helliconia Trilogy  Brian Aldiss
Conan series  Robert E Howard
Terminal Cafe (Necroville)  Ian MacDonald
Neuromancer  William Gibson
The Forever War  Joe Haldeman
Stranger in a Strange Land  Robert A Heinlein
Rama series  Arthur C Clarke
The Life of Pi  Yann Martel
The Prestige  Christopher Priest
A Canticle for Liebowicz  Walter M Miller
War of the Worlds  H G Wells
The Compleat Traveller in Black  John Brunner
The Chinese Maze Murders  Roberk Van Gulik
Rome  Steven Saylor
Pushing Ice  Alastair Reynolds
Monkey  Wu Cheng En
Swamp Foetus  Poppy Z Brite
The Dying Earth  Jack Vance
Paintwork  Tim Maughan
The Windup Girl  Paolo Bacigalupi
Ringworld  Larry Niven
The Priest-Kings of Gor  John Norman
The Picture of Dorian Grey  Oscar Wilde
The Book of Ptath  A E Van Vogt
Looking for Jake  China Mieville
Elvissey  Jack Womack
The Travels of Sir John Mandeville  "John Mandeville"
Darkness under the Hills  Bill Scott
Elric of Melinbone (series)  Michael Moorcock
The Color of Magic / The Light Fantastic  Terry Prachett
The Beach  Alex Garland
Lord of the Flies  William Golding
Howl's Moving Castle  Diana Wynne Jones
A Clockwork Orange  Anthony Burgess
Flowers for Algernon  Daniel Keyes
Neverwhere  Neil Gaiman
The Castle of Otranto  Horace Walpole
Flatland  Edwin A. Abbott
The Odyssey  Homer
Sophie's World  Jostien Gaarder
Heart of Darkness  Joseph Conrad
Macbeth  William Shakespeare
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe  C. S. Lewis
120 Days of Sodom  The Marquis de Sade
Songs of Innocence and Experience  William Blake
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory  Roald Dahl
Memoirs of a Geisha  Arthur Golden
Speed Tribes  Karl Taro Greenfeld
Salem's Lot  Stephen King
Generation X  Douglas Copeland
Fight Club  Chuck Palahniuk

Top 100 graphic novels

Watchmen  Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons
From Hell  Alan Moore, Eddie Campbell
V For Vendeta  Alan Moore, David Lloyd
Sandman  (10 volumes) Neil Gaiman, Various Artists
Preacher  (10 volumes) Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon
Transmetropolitan (10 volumes) Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson
The Invisibles  (7 volumes) Grant Morrison, Various Artists
Scalped (10 volumes) Jason Aaron, R M Guera
The Dark Knight Returns Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, Lynn Varley
All Star Superman  Grant Morrison, Frank Quietly
Nick Fury Agent of Shield  Jim Steranko
Monster (18 volumes) Naoki Urasawa
Kozure Okami (Lone Wolf and Cub) (28 volumes) Kazuo Koike, Goseki Kojima
Saga (ongoing) Brian Vaughn, Fiona Staples
Astro City (ongoing) Kurt Buseik, Brent Anderson
Love and Rockets* (ongoing) (especially Poison River)  The Hernandez Brothers
Signal from Space  Will Eisner
A Contract With God  Will Eisner
Zot! Scott McCloud
Grendel  Matt Wagner
Usagi Yojimbo*  (ongoing)  Stan Sakai
Maus collection Art Spiegelman
Berlin  (2 volumes currently) Jason Lutes
Habibi  Craig Thompson
The Sculptor  Scott McCloud
Prince Valiant*  (12 volumes currently) Hal Foster
Flash Gordon  (3 volumes) Alex Raymond
Hate series  Pete Bagge
The Incal  Alexander Jodorowsky, Jean "Moebius" Giraud
Bolero  Milo Manara
Blueberry  Jean-Michel Charlier, Jean "Moebius" Giraud
Persepolis  Marjane Satrapi
Daredevil Born Again  Frank Miller, David Mazzucchelli
Batman Year One  Frank Miller, David Mazzucchelli
Akira  Katsuhiro Otomo
Black Hole  Charles Burns
Cerebus  (16 volumes) Dave Sim
The Smartes Kid On Earth  Chris Ware
Bone, The Great Cow Race  Jeff Smith
The Big Hoax  Carlos Trillo, Domingo Mandrafino
Nausicca of the Valley of the Wind (7 volumes) Hayao Miyazaki
Troubled Souls  Garth Ennis, John McCrea
The Walking Dead* (ongoing) Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard
The Black Panther  Don McGregor, Rich Buckler, Billy Graham, Gil Kane
Dr & Quinches Totally Awesome Guide to Life  ALan Moore, Alan Davis
White Trash  Gordon Rennie, Martin Edmond
Sin City  Frank Miller
The Tale of One Bad Rat  Brian Talbot
The Filth  Grant Morrison, Chris Weston, Gary Erskine
Signal to Noise  Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean
Hellblazer  Dangerous Habits  Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon
Marvels  Kurt Buseik, Alex Ross
Palestine  Joe Sacco
Planetary  (4 volumes) Warren Ellis, Johhn Cassaday
Ed the Happy Clown  Chester Brown
Daredevil  Love and War  Frank Miller, Bill Sienkiewicz
Queen and Country series Greg Rucka, Various Artists
Wolverine  Weapon X  Barry Windsor Smith
Ghost World  Daniel Clowes
Arkham Asylum  Grant Morrison, Dave McKean
Indian Summer  Hugo Pratt, Milo Manara
Slaine  The Horned God  Pat Mills, Simon Bisley
The Book of Ballads  Charles Vess
Astronauts in Trouble  Larry Young, Charlie Adlard
The Ballad of Halo Jones  Alan Moore, Ian Gibson
Battle Royale  ( 12 volumes) Koushin Takami, Masayuki Taguchi
Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser Howard Chaykin, Mike Mignola, Al Williamson
Morbus Gravis  Paolo Eleuteri Serpieri
Ministry of Space  Warren Ellis, Chris Weston
Neonomicon  Alan Moore, Jacen Burrows
Kingdom Come  Mark Waid, Alex Ross
Wanted  Mark Millar, J G Jones
The 6 Voyages of Lone Sloane  Phillipe Druillet
The Complete Adventures of Cholly & Flytrap  Arthur Suydam
Cheech Wizard Volume 1  Vaughn Bode
Carload o Comics  Robert Crumb
Essential Silver Surfer  Vol 1  Stan Lee, John Buscema
Secret Wars  Jim Shooter,  Mike Zeck
Avengers Forever  Kurt Buseik, Roger Stern, Carlos Pacheco, Jesus Merino
Northlanders  (6 volumes) Brian Wood, Various Artists
Rex Mundi (6 volumes) Arvid Nelson, Various Artists
Shortcomings  Adrian Tomine
Pogo  Walt Kelly
Den  Richard Corben
Milk and Cheese  Dairy Products Gone Bad  Evan Dorkin
Tom Strong  Volume 1  Alan Moore, Chris Sprouse
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen  The Black Dossier  Alan Moore, Kevin O'Neill
The Mercenary Sea  Kel Symons, Mathew Reynolds
Shade the Changing Man  (currently 3 volumes) Peter Milligan, Chris Bachalo
Tekkon Kinkreet  Taiyo Matsumoto
Wonder Woman Chronicles  William Moulton Marsten
Batman Grendel  Matt Wagner
Hellboy  (ongoing, intermittent) Mike Mignola
Arzach  Jean "Moebius" Giraud
Aldebaran (5 volumes) Leo
Valerian and Laurelian (10 volumes currently)  Pierre Christin, Jean-Claude Mézières
Deathnote (12 volumes)  Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata
Calvin and Hobbes complete collection   Bill Watterson
Marvel Masterpiece vol 43 Doctor Strange  Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Astroboy series  Osamu Tezuka

Agree?  Disagree?  Where's your list?

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

High On Marvel

High On Marvel

The Ravers Guide to The Marvel Universe

Drugs!  Party Drugs!  There are heaps of real, and fictional drugs in the Marvel Universe, more than enough to get off ya chops!  Here's a delectable sample of fictional drugs for your next party!

Hook (Earth 616)

There are two versions of the drug known as 'Hook'.  The first is the original 'Hook', which is a drug presumably originating in Atlantis, and sold to Atlanteans, then later humans.  The second from is a human-synthesised version, made from an enzyme farmed from human-addicted subjects, then sold back to Atlanteans.  This presumably has a different, or enhanced effect over the original 'Hook'.  The operation was busted by the Misty Knight-led Heroes For Hire.  At least, the surface operation was.  The status of the underwater market remains unclear.  

Described by Moon Knight (who must have been doing a bit of underwater 'research') as "...a vile substance in Atlantis, but it has a particularly nasty effect on dry land.  Air-breathing humans find it aggressively addictive."

According to Misty Knight (no relation) 
"Hook-addicted humans secrete an enzyme that can be synthesised into a new generation narcotic that is even more wildly popular on the Atlantean market."

Positive: Unknown.  'Wildly popular on the Atlantean market.'
Negative: Aggressive addiction in humans.  Lethal in 'thousands' of cases (although whether this is a literal or a figurative number is unclear).

Method of Ingestion: Unknown.  In order to obtain the synthesised by-product, subjects were trepanned (the brain surgically exposed) and Hook in its original form was intravenously drip-fed.  I can't imagine this method being the recommended method of taking Hook at parties, but who knows what happens at them Atlantean raves.

Important Figures:
Bernard Waterman (Atlantean National).  (Deceased) Bio-chemist, Pharmaceutical engineer.  The bio-engineer and go-between importer for Original Hook and Human Synthesised Hook.

Value: Unknown.  A truck-trailer of contraband Hook was valued at 3.75 million dollars street value by Misty Knight.  

Verdict:  Not enough information about the euphoric effects (if any).  Being described as 'aggressively addictive' would indicate some kind of meth-amphetamine.  The synthesised human byproduct and its effects on Atlantean bio-neural systems might make for an interesting night at an underwater rave.

Suggested Listening:
On Land: Something 'aggressive', along the lines of Pantera perhaps, or Aphex Twin at his most industrial.
Underwater:  'Dreamfish' by Pete Namlook and Mixmaster Morris.  The bubbly, dreamy frothy synth on this piece will wash over you and put you in an underwater sonic paradise. Just add Hook, and you're away.  Don't forget to breathe.

Appearance:  Heroes for Hire (2012) #1

Kick (Hypercortisone D) (Earth 616 and Earth 15104)

Kick, or Hypercortisone-D is - get this - a concentrated dose of an ancient, sentient bacteria that is one of the oldest organisms on the planet. This bacteria has an impressive behind-the-scenes resume, overtaking the body of John Sublime and directing the 'Weapons Plus' program that produced Captain America, Wolverine, Deadpool, and others, and views mutants (or more specifically, mutation) as a threat to its domination of Earth.  It has been hinted that all anti-mutant hysteria is caused by Sublime.  Now available in a handy inhaler, for your convenience.  Puff away!  

“It makes them feel like movie stars being directed by God, on location in heaven.' and 'I felt angelic and violently insane for five hours” (Emma Frost)
"They made you feel like the Incredible Hulk” (Redneck)
"It's like breathing the electric air of the future". 

Negative:  'neuro-toxic'. Using, according to Charles Xavier, 'may irreparably damage the mutant gene.'
Linked to six deaths.

Just the Facts:  Lasts for five hours.  One puff enhances your mutant talent up to five times.

Not So Sure:  Abuse of Kick may have lead to the start of a secondary mutation in Quentin Quire.
Use of Kick by Xorn lead him to believe that he was actually Magneto, and he subsequently attempted to reverse the magnetic polarity of the planet Earth.  Now there's some seriously fucked up shit right there...

So, generally, an enhancer for mutant powers, with the euphoria that that would entail.  Not really party material in an by itself, but an interesting supplement to other drugs listed here perhaps... 

Interesting Fact #23  Robert Hunter (Nitro) was on a combination of Mutant Growth Hormone and Kick when he exploded after being attacked by the New Warriors, resulting in the Stamford explosion that triggered off Civil War.

Method of Ingestion:  Inhaler.  The 'local disco' slang for using Kick is being "on the puff".

 Fortunately not the real Magneto.

Important Figures:  Jumbo Carnation (deceased), Quentin Quire (deceased), The Omega Gang (Kid Omega (Quentin Quire), Glob Herman, Radian, Redneck, Tattoo), Xorn (deceased), Sophie Cuckoo (deceased), Esme Cuckoo, The Beast, Nitro, Sublime (John Sublime).

Value:  five dollars each (inhaler, presumably)  Cheap!

Verdict:  Ingesting a sentient ancient bacteria that will eventually override your DNA and take control of you doesn't sound so crash hot in the long run.  But the short term sounds pretty good.  Provided that you are a mutant.  There seems to be no documented effects on non-mutants.  If you have an addictive nature it's probably best to steer away from Kick, but if you can keep a lid on your addictions,then 'feeling like a movie star being directed by God on location in heaven' sounds like a great night out.  Then again, having your mutant powers ramped up by a factor of five sounds pretty damn addictive to me.

Now, it begs the question for us non-muties.  If, say, I decide to drop some MGH or Xperience, in order to temporarily gain mutant powers, then immediately inhale Kick, do my artificial powers increase by up to a factor of five?  And throw a tab of Toad Juice on top of that to make the whole thing scintillating! 

Suggested Listening:  For the full effect of your mutant powers in overdrive, I strongly suggest 'Montagues and Capulets’ (Prokofiev) for a full flight.  And the best thing is, the following version is around five minutes long.  Just the right length for the five minutes of contact time.  Blast it!

Appearance:  New X-Men (v1) #134 - 138, 140, 147, 148, 149, (mentioned) 150 - 154) X-Treme X-Men V1 #35

Mutant Growth Hormone

All right!  If there is anything like a drug epidemic in the Marvel Universe(s), then it's this bad boy right here.  Mutant Growth Hormone, or MGH for short, is rife.  Alot of the drugs mentioned here get stomped on or completely shut down in an issue or a story arc, and that's the end.  MGH is here to stay.  And even the Scarlet Witch's pronouncement only put a dent in supply.
There are a few versions of MGH getting around, including a Gamma-irradiated version, and a fake Mr Hyde formula being passed off as MGH, but essentially they are developed from DNA scrapes of mutants and non-mutant superfolk, they give a euphoric rush, and a 'temporary genetic shift' in baseline humans, meaning they get someone's superpowers, for an hour.  It also tends to come with increased aggression.  For mutants taking MGH, it increases their existing power.  Sounds good, right? It's sometimes used as a power enhancer among low or non-powered superheroes to get that edge. It's occasionally referred to as a 'bullet' and has been used as a cocktail with Morphine on Spider-man.

MGH was first isolated by Dr. Henry McCoy Phd (The Beast) who also became the first user. It further mutated him to the grey (later blue) furry version of The Beast.

But why should Henry have all the fun? 
A similar drug was given away, described as a Power Formula at a party hosted by Dr Maximus Power who extracted genetic material from Speedball during a robbery and used it as a base for one dose of his power formula.  Iron man crashed that party.

Warre Worthington III (Archangel) bought out a drug empire established by Telford Porter (The Vanisher) that ships MGH, in order to stop the trade. (yeah, right) Porter was operating a separate cartel from Cuba with an unnamed drug that lasted 'a couple of hours' and was presumably MGH. This was busted by the X-men.

The Owl used his own DNA to manufacture and sell a version of MGH until stopped by Daredevil.
Young Avenger Patriot was a regular user of MGH, lying about having super-powers.  He had a secret stash of pills hidden in his belt buckle.  He quit the Young Avengers after being found out by fellow Young Avenger Wiccan.

Reginald Mantz used MGH to replicate the powers of Cloak.  Reginald's dealer was The Pusher-Man, himself a probably MGH addict.
Nitro used MGH to increase his power to explode in Stamford Connecticut, triggering the Civil War.

The MGH was supplied to him from Damage Control, who got the clean-up contract for Stamford. And we thought they were the good guys...

The Beast and Bishop, post M Day, found dealer Charlie Hustle with a stast of now inert MGH (except for a dose of Whirlwind (David Cannon)).  Charlie offered $50,000 to the Beast or Bishop per pint of their blood, in order to stock up on live MGH again. Deal or no deal?

Norman Osbourne used a gas form of MGH to contaminate a construction site and a nearby school in order to recruit Michael Pointer (Weapon Omega) to the Dark X-Men, implying, in a conversation with the Dark Beast, that they had the resources to manufacture MGH again, with Pointer's (presumably genetic) co-operation.

During Fear Itself, some drug dealers took some MGH and tried to instigate a riot between a white neighbourhood and a native American group, stopped by Jason Strongbow (American Eagle).

Magneto has supplied a sample of his DNA to a chemist in order to produce (presumably for personal use) MGH.

In Earth 58163 House of M reality, produce is treated with MGH and encouraged over 'organic' vegetables' for increased chances of mutant birth.

Mattie Franklin (Spider-Woman 3) was used as a source of MGH by her boyfriend.  What a creep!

Effects: Temporary genetic shift in baseline humans, resulting in temporary Meta-abilities, increases present mutant abilities, euphoria.  On de-powered mutants, MGH can temporarily restore original powers in at least one case (The Blob).
Positive: Euphoric, Grants temporary meta-abilities or increases mutant powers
Negative: Addictive, death in some cases (reported, never seen, as a direct result of the drug), only lasts a short time, increased aggression, temporary greening of the skin (gamma irradiated MGH)

Method of Ingestion: Liquid Form, Pill, Injection, has been inhaled in gaseous form

Important Figures: Dr. Henry McCoy (The Beast) Inventor  Brand Corporation  Dr. Maximus Power, Telford Porter (The Vanisher) Leland Owlsley (The Owl) Walter Declun (CEO Damage Control) Robert L Hunter (Nitro) Mystique (dealer) Charlie Hustle (dealer) Nekra Sinclair (sells or is farmed for her naturally producing 'neo-adrenaline' to dealers as a base for MGH) Calvin Zabo (Mister Hyde) sold his Hyde Formula as MGH, Lorina Dodson (White Rabbit) "Unauthorised Pharmaceutical distributor to the Stars" The Pusher Man (dealer)

Value:  Unknown.  Presumably affordable, as it is often used in parties.  Post M Day, an offer of $50,000 was offered per pint of blood from The Beast and Bishop. Gamma-irradiated MGH's cost was described as exorbitant.  

Verdict:  Hell yeah!  Powers for an hour, euphoria, probably the best thing doing the rounds in the Marvel Universe!  Just time your fun...

Suggested Listening:  For something this good, a rush of euphoria, temporary powers, and a whiff of aggression, I strongly suggest something hard and industrial, like Nine Inch Nails 'Wish', or this beast of a track from Fear Factory, which sound like the theme track for a pro wrestler coming on stage.

Appearances:  Amazing Adventures V1 #11 (first appearance), Iron Man V3 #33, 34, Uncanny X-Men #408, 409, Daredevil V2 #41 - 45, Young Avengers #1 - 9, Young Avengers Special #1 (Flashback), Avengers Academy #10 (mentioned), Alias #19, Runaways #10 (mentioned), Uncanny X-Men #490, Dark X-Men The Beginning #2, Fear Itself: The Homefront #5, Magneto #8, #10, Uncanny X-Men V3 #20, Uncanny X-Men Annual 2001, Amazing Spider-Man Family v1 #6 (flashback) Loners #1 (references) Deadpool GLI Summer Fun Spectacular #1 (photo in file) Amazing Spider-Man #605 All New X-Men #37 (mentioned) Amazing Spider-Man #566 (Morphine/MGH cocktail), Amazing Spider-Man #577 (footage of tests of a supposed gamma-irradiated MGH)

Footnote.  In Mike Morales Ultimate Spider-Man #9 (Earth 1610) Toad dealt a drug he refers to as MGH, which has the same properties. The 'source' was revealed as Martin Flumm (Mentallo) as seen in a flashback episode.
Which is confusing, as previous to this recent issue, Banshee (see below) was believed to be the Ultimate Marvel Universe version of MGH.
So, is MGH now referred to as Banshee, or is it a designer development unique to the Ultimate Universe?
Banshee (Earth 1610)

Banshee is the Utimate Marvel Universe version of Mutant Growth Hormone, mixed with Fentanyl, Testosterone and Dopamine (according to the Marvel Database). Cut with butane in Moira MacTaggart's batch.  The root drug of Banshee was extracted from the DNA of Wolverine, discovered by Charles Xavier and Magneto while experimenting on Wolverine in the Savage Land. 

Positive:  On mutants, an increase in their mutant power to 'god-like' levels. On non-mutants, presumably the same as MGH, a temporary genetic shift aka a temporary mutant power.  Fun.  
Negative: Addictive.  Paralysis in Northstar.  Makes you act like a dick.  So, much like a steroid, really.
Neutral:  The Beast speculates that Banshee can cause secondary, even tertiary mutations.  

Method of Ingestion:Vial injection.  Vindicator had Banshee available to him via dome-like parts of his costume.  Also presumably injection-based.

Important Figures: Wolverine (Source) Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr (Magneto) (Discoverers) Dr. Moira MacTaggart (Dealer) Colossus (Addict), Alpha Flight (Addicts).

Value: Not clear, but 12 (or 16) vials, plus insertion gun, for a suitcase full of cash.  Expensive.

12 or 16?  Or someone's lucky day?

Verdict:  A steroid-like power-enhancer doesn't really seem like a good party-drug choice, and the gamble (apart from keeping a lid on the addictive side of it) would be which temporary mutant power you got after taking it.  You could luck out and be stuck at a rave with Cypher's powers (Semi-telepathic and semi-clairvoyant omnilingualism is such a sick party move.  Not.), or you could strike it big and be Dazzler (and have the VJ jealous as all hell).  But powers are powers, and they can be intoxicating to us non-mutants.
  Charles Xavier informed Magneto that his mind could resist the addictive quality of the drug.  He didn't make clear whether this was only because of his mental mutation, or because he was strong willed, and anybody else (mutated or not) with a similar strong will could also do the same.  His assertion that 'others' (as opposed to most others, indicating 'all' others') wouldn't be so strong would indicate that he believes the former to be the case.  
Do it anyway.  Prove him wrong.  Have a blast! 

Suggested Listening:  If we're going for a power-enhancing steroid-munching teeth-grinding kind of high, then some terrortrance, or Rotterdam Gabber sounds like a great bet.  If you're gambling on a fun temporary mutation at a club, it's impossible to pick, as it will all depend on what power you get.  As always, Trust the DJ.

Human Resource The Sound of Rotterdam.  220PBM of electronic terror.  

Appearance: Ultimate X-Men #94 - 97.

Rapture (Earth 928)

Rapture is a legal drug in the 2099 universe, that is highly addictive, mind-expanding and hallucinogenic.  Did I mention that it is legal?

The distribution of Rapture is controlled by the Alchemax Corporation.  An attempt by Miguel O-Hara to de-bond his DNA from the addictive effects of a simulated Rapture dose by re-booting his DNA from a stored sample resulted in the stored sample being contaminated with Spider DNA and infused him with Spider-Man-like powers, creating Spider-Man 2099.  Who says drugs are bad? 

Positive: Mind expanding, Hallucinogenic.  Or so we are told.  There seemed to be none of the good effects on Miguel, assuming the 3 day simulation also simulated the mind-expansion and hallucinogenic nature of Rapture.  Unless the whole Spider-Man 2099 is just his wild hallucinogenic ride...
Perfectly legal (in Earth 928 in the year 2099, that is...) 
Negative: Highly addictive.  Without a constant supply, withdrawal is lethal, according to Alchemax employee Tyler Stone.

Method of Ingestion: Liquid form.  Being under the effect of Rapture is colloquially known as 'being enraptured'.  (2099 is just so hip).

Important Figures: Miguel O'Hara (Spider-man 2099), Tyler Stone (Head of Alchemax)

Value: Unknown, but within the reach of salaried employees of Alchemax. 

Verdict:  With no record of people experiencing the positive effects of Rapture, and the addictive nature and lethal withdrawal, it seems like a no-go area, unless you have a constant supply of money and Rapture.  In which case, go for it. 

Suggested Listening:  There's no end to 'mind-expanding, hallucinogenic' music out there.  Really.  I've no idea what DJs are playing in clubs in the year 2099.  In Earth 928.  Or even if they have clubs.  So the next best thing, obviously, is the soundtrack to Portal 2, itself a conscious-expanding game with an awesome soundtrack. 

Appearance: Spider-Man 2099 #1, 2, 4, 9, 23, 25. 26. 30.


There is surprisingly little info on 'Rave', that I could find at any rate.  Archangel seems suspiciously on top of quite a few busts however...
Quoted in the Comic Book Drug Reference Site as a stimulant that boosts a mutant's power.
It could be another street name for MGH, or something different.  More info needed.  Any Rave addicts out there wish to share some info?

Positive: Performance-enhancing
Negative: Addictive

Method of Ingestion: Injection
Important Figures: ?
Value: Unknown
Verdict: Possible street name for MGH, or something different.  Like the name, though...

Suggested Listening:

 Music for punching people in the face.
Appearance: X-Men v1 #101

Thunderbolt, Raiden, Zap (Zootoxic Acid Psychogalvanide) (Earth 616)

Zap was the 'gateway' drug version of Thunderbolt the Raiden.
Zap was a drug that was refined from the hypothalamic fluid of the now-extinct Madripoorian Spider-Monkey.  One milligram of refined monkey brain catalyst can create millions of doses of Zap.
Further refinement of Zap yields a super-drug called Thunderbolt (a.k.a. Raiden, the Thunderbolt).  One dose of Thunderbolt imparts super-human strength, endurance, total pain-suppression and an ultimate ecstatic rapture that lasts for an hour and ends in death.
Taking Thunderbolt was referred to as 'riding the thunderbolt'.  One description of the effects of Thunderbolt was 'awakening the dragon within', and a user described it as 'time to take the roller-coaster to the end of consciousness and fly off into oblivion.' When attempting to describe the effects to an indigenous Madripoorian, it was described as '(Making) us see God.'
The drug was developed and initially (falsely) pitched to Prince Baran of Madripoor as a cure for cancer, in order to encourage him to lift the sanctions on the protected status of the Madripoorian Spider-Monkey (the only known source of the catalyst for Zap, and Thunderbolt).  It was also pitched to Tyger Tyger and General Coy under the same ruse in order to access their criminal resources to enable hunting, manufacturing and smuggling of the monkey brain fluids back to Japan.  The operation was busted by Wolverine.

Positive: (Zap) Unclear.  Presumably a milder form of ecstatic rapture.
(Thunderbolt) 'Ultimate Ecstatic Rapture'.  Now you're talking.  Plus super strength, endurance and pain-suppression. 
(Zap) Genetically engineered to be cumulatively progressive in dependence as well as being dose-retrograde.  Basically, the more you take, the less you get off, but the more you need.  Designed as a 'gateway' to Thunderbolt.  
(Thunderbolt) Death within an hour of ingestion.  Bummer.

Method of Ingestion:  Thunderbolt was swallowed in a stylised pill form, in the shape of a 'thunderbolt' of lightning.  Available colours were red and yellow.  The ingestion method for Zap is unclear, but presumably also in pill form.

Important Figures: 
Dai-Kumo. (deceased)  Osaka Yakuza crime lord.  Head of operations to sell Zap and Thunderbolt.

Dr. Malheur.  Chemist.  (Deceased) Developer of Zap and Thunderbolt.

Value:  (Zap) 'Next to nothing'
(Thunderbolt) 'Ten thousand dollars' for one dose (presumably one pill).

Verdict:  Zap had potential as a decent party drug, (assuming the effects were a mild, non-lethal version of Thunderbolt) provided that it was taken in moderation (to offset the in-built dose-retrograde), and provided the temptation to lead oneself to Thunderbolt was avoided.  Thunderbolt was an interesting way to go out in a blaze of glory, but with it's (presumably 100%) lethal effect, it sucks as a party drug.  But, it would seem it's all academic, as the Madripoorian Spider-monkey was (presumably) rendered extinct in order to monopolise the manufacture and supply of the drug, and the operation was busted by Wolverine.  

Suggested Listening:
Zap: Exit Eternity by Chi A.D.  The ultimate uplifting morning psy trance centre-piece, this extra-long chugging track will uplift and enhance your Zap experience making you feel glad to be alive.

Thunderbolt: Razors and Ice Cream by Wizack Twizack.  The perfect accompaniment to a dark, sweaty, bewildering sonic journey into the deep forests of your night-time soul , the dark psy masters guide you with their roller-coaster of sound and captivate you while you are lost in the labyrinth of sound.

Appearance: Wolverine (Vol 2.) #31, 32, 33.

 Toad Juice (Earth 616)

In District X (the Mutant slum of Manhattan), a new party drug called Toad Juice sparked a turf war between rival racketeers seeking to monopolise the drug.  The source of the drug was a mutant boy nicknamed Toad Boy, who secreted a psychotropic sweat that was then placed in blotter sheets and sold at various locations including Kaufman's club The Inferno.
A mutant called Absolon Mercator reversed Tarquin's mutation, turning him into a 'normal' boy, thus destroying the only known source of Toad Juice.
Obviously referencing the craze of licking of Cane Toads to get high.  Hey, whatever floats your boat, man...

Positive:  On mutants, 'largely pleasant hallucinatory effects'.  Described by a (presumed) user: "Compared to juice, Acid is flaccid, Crack is whack."
Negative:  On non-mutants, it mutates recipients in largely a uniform way, by extruding root-like appendages from their bodies and eventually ended in death. 

Method of Ingestion: Blotter Paper Tab.  Or licking Toad Boy directly.  As his mum did.  Ewww...

Important Figures:
Toad Boy.  (Real name Tarquin Berdeaux)  Source of Toad Juice.  Secreted from his body in the form of sweat.
'Filthy' Frankie Zapruder.  Racketeer.  Gained control of the Toad Juice operation after his thugs discovered the psychotropic properties of Toad Boy's secretions, after attempting to recover loans from his mother, who by this stage, was permanently 'blitzed' from constantly licking her mutant son.
Daniel 'Shaky' Kaufman.  Racketeer.  Tried to muscle in on the Toad Juice operation, and sparked off a turf war. 

Value: Variously 10 - 30 dollars per 'hit'. 2 for 50 at Inferno. 25 dollars was considered a rip-off.

Verdict:  Good party choice.  Largely pleasant hallucinatory effects which would indicate a similarity to acid.  Good clubbing experience.  If you are a mutant.

Not so good choice if you are a non-mutant however...

The effects of mixing a temporary mutant-enabling drug like MGH or Xperience (in order to temporarily gain the mutant genome required in order to avoid the unpleasant side-effects of Toad Juice on non-mutants) with Toad Juice have yet to be tested.  Any volunteers?

Suggested Listening: Some old skool Acid trance, like Hardflooor or Thomas Heckmann, for those juicy acid squelches.  For a gentle, soothing comedown with sonically-triggered hallucinations, maybe some more modern Psybient like Carbon Based Lifeforms or Solar fields.

Thomas P. Heckmann  Amphetamine (Original)

Appearance: District X #1 - 6

Heat Pills 

Heat pills are an invention of Marcus Roston who intented to control people, almost exclusively Hollywood A-list party circle folk through addiction to a party drug.  Largely created from 'The Blood of the Pride' or the (non-human) blood from a member of L.A. underground crime leaders The Pride.   
Positive: Hallucinatory, puts a kind of Bill Sienkiewicz edge on everything.  So similar to LSD really.
"The glow builds inside you and euphoria streaks across neural pathways..."  
"Everything feels better."  
"Heat fills the gaps in my thoughts."  
"To summarise, it's $#%&%$# great."
Negative: Addictive, Blackouts, interfered with Daken Akihiro's healing ability.
An overdose (administered by Daken) made Reed Richards lose control of his elasticity.
"Heat withdrawls make the insides of my eyeballs itch, my tongue grates within my cobwebbed mouth and my guts are something fluid, black and vile." 

Method of Ingestion: Pill, small round olive pill with a stylised red 'H'.  Used in liquid form on Wolverine. 

Important Figures:  Marcus Roston Creator and Dealer.  Daken Akihiro  Had A Lot Of Fun On Them.

Value: Unknown.  Targeted for Hollywood dicks, so probably over-inflated.  Or free.

Verdict:  Largely good, if you can get around the highly addictive nature of Heat.  Perfect for raves and doofs with lots of visuals to activate the trippy nature of Heat.  No information on going cold turkey, other than Daken using Heat withdrawl as a torture device to extract information from an informant, who was willing to tell everything he knew in order to get the next pill.  He had one red eye, presumably an effect from withdrawal.  Daken clutched at his chest mentioning withdrawal.

Suggested Listening: Anything trance-y that will paint sonic pictures in your third eye, really.  Try Teleport from Man With No Name for a classic sonic journey. Or Sugar Rush. Or Vavoom!

Appearance:  Dark Wolverine #10 - 13, 15 - 19, 22, 23. 

D-lite (Darklight) (Earth 616)

Described by its creator, the demon D'Spayre, as, "a hybrid of heroin and crack."  This is the drug that gave Cloak and Dagger their powers.

Positive:  D-Lite has a 'high' which is also described as 'tenuous' with increasing use.  D-lite has an added effect, for the designer.  As the demon D'Spayre feeds off despair and suffering in humans, he literally feeds off the effects humans receive from  D-Lite.  He describes the feeling as 'tasty', and in particularly young addicts as 'far tastier than most'.  D'Spayre also gains strength (whether physical or in terms of 'power level', or otherwise is unclear) from this.
Negative:  The 'high' experienced by humans is diluted with increased use.  Overdosing is described as 'inevitable' and deprivation leads to 'just as painful a death'.

Method of Ingestion: Unconfirmed, but most likely hypodermic syringe, as this is a common visual motif when the subject of D-Lite is mentioned.

Important Figures:

D'Spayre.  The Demon who designed Darklight (D-Lite). 

Simon Marshall.  (deceased)  Ex-pharmacist, criminal drug experimenter in the drug trials that created Cloak and Dagger.  Killed by Dagger (Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #64). 

Value: Unknown.

Verdict:  Stay away.  Ultimately a drug designed to create misery in order to make the designer feel high.  Lethal in every trial, with two exceptions.  And they seemed very pissed off about the whole experience.   

Suggested Listening:  Some Dark Ambient, Inade's Signals from 68 Dimension (part 2) or Coph Nia's Doppleganger

Appearances:  Cloak and Dagger (Vol 1) #19 (origin and named)
Spider-Island Cloak and Dagger #2

Xperience (a.k.a. The You X-Men)

Developed by Lobe's Sublime Corporation, Xperience is a mutant power drug with two levels of intensity.  The General Market Product was for single use generalist gene-tailoring.  The Deluxe Option included tailoring the dose to complement the users own genetics.  Five test subjects were offered Xperience which mimicked the original X-men's powers.  Lobe also conducted a Gala launch event for the Sublime Corporations 'You X-Men' to attract shareholder investment in the idea.  Free samples were handed out and ingested by shareholders and Lobe when the gala event was crashed by Storm, Angel, Dazzler, Northstar and Pixie.
Xperience appears to be a synthesised version of MGH (Mutant Growth Hormone).
While Storm destroyed the known stockpile of Xperience, one test subject (Penny Newsom) made off with two inhalers, containing the mimicked powers of Emma Frost and Jean Grey.

Positive: Convenient.  Fast acting.  Enables you to mimic a specific mutant power.  There are potentially 134 versions of Xperience.    
Negative: 'It's one rollercoaster of a comedown.'

Method of Ingestion:  Inhalers.  Bottled liquid form.

Important Figures:  Lobe  Sublime Corporation C.E.O.  Marketer and fund-raiser. 

Value:  Unknown

Verdict: Do it!  The rush of obtaining mutant powers seems like a euphoric experience, as evidenced by the try-outs here.  And the rush of using that power, for the short period of time available to you (for the single dose version) would all depend on your mental state and preparedness for the trip.  Do your research and live it up. 

Suggested Listening:  Anything by Hans Zimmer, but 'The Battle' from Gladiator is ideal, with the quiet start, reaching to an epic crescendo of ultimate battle music.  Ideal for the sudden acquisition of mutant powers, and the inevitable attack by killjoy mutants who wish to monopolise their powers, just because they were born with them.  Genetic Elitists!

Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #530 - 534

Bonus Mystery Drug!

Appearing in the pages of The Incredible Hulk Nightmerica limited series is a rather curious drug.  It has no name, two recorded users (a child, and Dr. Banner) and a weird source.  Bruce Banner is caught up in a chase for survivors of the Wright-Armstrong super-soldiers experiments that had given Steve Rogers his peak ability as Captain America.  
Attempts to replicate the unique serum/drug had some interesting effects.  One of which was on a subject called Stuart "Stu" Wendell a.k.a. Manifest Destiny.  Stu has a condition that causes him to grow excess flesh, giving him a saggy, melted look.

Alas, for Stu, it doesn't end there.  His flesh is the raw material for a weird, unnamed drug.  Cut from his body by an unnamed group, his raw flesh is treated with menthol to 'kill the flavouring' as it 'tastes like rotting flesh' otherwise.  One documented user, a child, nags his mum for another lozenge.  It appears similar to a Ritalin, or other ADHD drugs, in effect, or administration in this regard, with the added bonus of like 'being in the Disney Store'. Dr. Banner stuck his head into the fleshy folds of Stu, and experienced a 'fantasy trip'.   

Positive: Like "being in the Disney Store".  Fantasy-inducing.
Negative: Addictive.  How much so is unclear, but enough that one user described the feeling as 'normal' and coming down from it presumably as not normal.

Method of Ingestion:  Lozenge-style sweet/tablet.  Physical contact with Stu also induces a trip.

Important Figures:  Stuart "Stu" Wendell (source)

Value: Unknown.  Presumably affordable to average families.

Verdict: Not enough information.  By itself, not a real party drug, more like a pacifier,  But mixed with something else, who knows?

Suggested Listening:  Disney Store?  Kooky kids?  I have just the thing...

Appearance: Hulk: Nightmerica #3

All images copyright Marvel Comics.  All music copyright the relevant artists.  This site does neither condone nor discourage the use of fictional drugs.  Officially.  Unofficially, this site clearly encourages you to eat comics and get a contact high from all this fictional drug goodness.  All Hail the decision to revoke the Comics Code Authority!

This guy is an Avenger, kiddies...