Thursday, April 20, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 85: Just a man with a man's courage

Panels from King: Flash Gordon #3 (April 2015), script by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker, pencils by Lee Ferguson, inks by Lee Ferguson and Marc Deering, colors by Omi Remalante, letters by Simon Bowland

365 Days of Defiance, Day 84: Escape from the Planet of the Ape-kolips

Darkseid is...being a complete jerk towards Scott Free. That's Mister Miracle if you're nasty.

Panels from Mister Miracle (1971 series) #9 (July-August 1972), script and pencils by Jack Kirby, inks and letters by Mike Royer

You guys know I love Kirby. One of the many things I love about his work (along with the power, the wonder, the craziness, the boldness, and the quotation marks) is his themes of resistance against power and evil. Think of Kirby's Thing (too stubborn to lay down and take a beating) or Thor (he says thee NAY!) and their bombastic displays of defiance and resistance against the unbeatable foe. In Scott Free Kirby combines the resistance with escape in the saga of the ultimate escape artist: there is no trap, no disaster, no threat that Scott cannot get out of, defying nature, physics, and story logic. He's not running away: he'll be back.

For my money, this is Kirby's version of one of my favorite scenes from the movies: Artoo Detoo finally kicking the Millennium Falcon into hyperdrive just as the Empire is ready to capture the rebels...and the grim visage of Vader on the bridge as they do so.

Panels from Star Wars (1977 series) #44 (February 1981), script by Archie Goodwin, pencils and inks by Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Rick Veitch

Like Luke Skywalker, it's not the end of Scott's story. The fight is just beginning.

365 Days of Defiance, Day 83: And if one man could stand tall / There would be some hope for us all / Somewhere in the spirit of man

Panels from Amazing Adventures [featuring War of the Worlds] (1970 series) #19 (July 1973), script by Gerry Conway, pencils by Howard Chaykin, inks by Frank McLaughlin, colors by Petra Goldberg, letters by John Costanza

365 Days of Defiance, Day 82: I'm pretty sure Mandrake is talking about saving PBS from threatened government budget cuts, so please pledge generously today and you can receive this beautiful tote bag

Panels from King: Mandrake the Magician #1 (February 2015); script by Roger Langridge; pencils, inks, and colors by Jeremy Treece; letters by Marshall Dillon

365 Days of Defiance, Day 81: Look, up in the sky

In an age of talking heads

Yes, yes, thank you David, but what I meant was the talking heads on our TV telling us all the hourly doom 'n' gloom at that there's no hope. Well, we need to take a lesson from Lana Lang of the future uture uture and look to the grimy, polluted skies! There we will find a man who will help us fight back, a man who we can look toward in our struggle to resist!

Panels from Batman: The Dark Knight (1986 series) #2 (March 1986), script and pencils by Frank Miller, inks by Klaus Janson, colors by Lynn Varley, letters by John Costanza

Also, there's Robin, the Girl Wonder. Yay!

365 Days of Defiance, Day 80: He'll be there for you

There's no need to fear. Superman is always here!

Panels from All Star Superman #1 (January 2006), script by Grant Morrison, pencils by Frank Quitely, inks and colors by Jamie Grant, letters by Phil Balsman

365 Days of Defiance, Day 79: To Me, My Earth-X Men

The Justice Society of America! Strange visitors from another world (Earth-2, to be precise)! Hey, since they came first, why is their world Earth Two? If'n I were the Original Flash and the Original Green Lantern and the Original Superman, I'd have a thing or two to say about that. Anyway: they're fightin' Nazis! Which is always a good thing, as Earth-2 Martha Stewart told you first.

Panels from Justice League of America (1960 series) #107 (September-October 1973), script by Len Wein, pencils by Dick Dillin, inks by Dick Giordano, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Ben Oda

All is darkest before the dawn (and also because my scans didn't turn out as bright as I'd hoped on those last panels), but luckily the JSA is accompanied by their Earth-1 non-union equivalents, the Justice League of America! Er, at least, Green Arrow, Elongated Man, and...Red Tornado, not even actually yet a member of the League. Oh man. They're boned.

Hooray! It's the Nazi-bustin' heroes of Earth-X! The Earth where no one under the age of eighteen will be admitted, cos' it's kinda saucy. It's...Amerihat! Gnat Boy! Cling-Film Woman! Captain Rhinoceros! Designed-By-Mike-Grell-Costume Kid! And Poppin-Fresh! They are the Freedom Fighters!

I kid the Freedom Fighters, but they punch Nazis, so they're okay by me. You go, FF!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Today in Comics History: Dr. Benton Quest has just seen the first Iron Man movie

Panels from newuniversal: 1959 #1 (September 2008), script by Kieron Gillen, pencils and inks by Greg Scott and Kody Chamberlain, colors by Val Staples, letters by Ed Dukeshire

Today in Comics History: Subscribers line up in droves to get cheap issues of Cybernauts

Subscription ad from X-Factor #3 (April 1986)

Today in Comics History: The first March 31st Fools gag ever played

Hey hey hey Baxter Building Boosters! What day is it?

Panels from "that night..." in Marvel Fanfare #15 (July 1984); script, pencils, inks, and colors by Barry Windsor-Smith, letters by Jim Novak


Still, it was worth it for perhaps one of the finest Thing/Torch stories ever, right?

The moral of this story: don't do April Fool's Day gags a day early. This means you, George Takei.

Today in Comics History: In the New Universe, weeks become days, and they run in reverse

Panels from The Draft one-shot (July 1988), script by Mark Gruenwald and Fabian Nicieza; pencils by Herb Trimpe; inks by Kyle Baker, Mike Gustovich, Klaus Janson, Lee Weeks, and Keith Williams; colors by Michael Higgins; letters by Jim Novak

Wait, is it March 31 or two weeks before March 29?!? The world may never know.

Friday, March 24, 2017

You're welcome

Panel from Journey Into Mystery (1952 series) #125, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Vince Colletta, words by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Today in Comics History: Ben Grimm accidentally invents TiVo

Panels from Marvel Two-in-One #100 (June 1983), script by John Byrne, pencils by Ron Wilson, inks by Frank Giacoia and Kevin Dzuban, colors by George Roussos, letters by Joe Rosen

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Today in Comics History: Bruce Wayne is tricked by a pyramid scheme

Panels from Batman: Book of the Dead #1 (June 1999), script by Doug Moench, pencils by Barry Kitson, inks by Ray McCarthy, colors by Dave Stewart, letters by Kurt Hathaway

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Today in Comics History: The White Event causes calculus to become startlingly erotic

Panels from The Draft one-shot (July 1988), script by Mark Gruenwald and Fabian Nicieza; pencils by Herb Trimpe; inks by Kyle Baker, Mike Gustovich, Klaus Janson, Lee Weeks, and Keith Williams; colors by Michael Higgins; letters by Jim Novak

Happy birthday to Timothy Dalton, cinema's only James Bond!

Panels from Licence to Kill one-shot (1989); script by Richard Ashford; breakdowns by Mike Grell; finishes by Chuck Austen, Tom Yeates, and Stan Woch; colors by Sam Parsons, Sally Parsons, Mel Johnson, and Reuben Rude; letters by Wayne Truman;
and from Angel Love #1 (August 1986); script and pencils by Barbara Slate, inks by John William Lopez, colors by Bob LeRose, letters by Bill Yoshida

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The 1978 2017 Amazing Spider-Man Mighty Marvel Comics Calendar: March Much-Ado

"March Is a Menagerie of Madcap Menaces!" in The Amazing Spider-Man Mighty Marvel Comics Calendar 1978 (1977);
pencils by Paul Gulacy, inks by Pablo Marcos
(Click picture to Superior Foes-size)

The 1978 2017 DC Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters: March Mice-ing

Hey, it's March 1! (C'mon, go along with me on this one for once.) Time to say "bunny, bunny!" Time for things to come in like lions or lambs, to eventually go out the complete reverse way. It's also time to check in once again with The 1978 2017 DC Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters! So strike a pose, there's nothing to it: March!

"March: Green Lantern/Green Away" in The 1978 Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters; artwork by Mike Grell
(Click picture to Giant Rat of Sumatra-size)

In this month's exciting contribution to the all-out big-deal disaster that threatens to tear apart the entire DC Universe we dare not call it a crisis!): Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen are invited to be the grand marshals (as opposed to my sister, the grand Marshall) of the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade! Meanwhile at their homes, Green Lama and the Hulk sulk.

I bet they've been invited to marshal their way down Fifth Avenue by New York City Mayor Abe Beame, which is pretty odd, because he lives in the Marvel Universe!

Panels from Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man (1976 series) #1 (December 1976), script by Gerry Conway, breakdowns by Sal Buscema, figure finishes by Mike Esposito, background finishes and colors by Dave Hunt, letters by Joe Rosen

And that's why Abe Beame breathed a relieved sigh and wiped his forehead with relief when Ed "How'm I doin'?" Koch defeated him in the 1977 Mayoral Elections.

Anyway, back in the 1977 DC Universe, thar be rats here!

And I think we all know who's responsible for that, right?: Neal Adams!

Cover of Batman: Odyssey (2011 series) #7 (June 2012), pencils and inks by Neal Adams

Still, Green Arrow shouldn't be left to fight rats, especially when it's his ward Speedy who has all the rat-battlin' experience!:

Panel from The Brave and the Bold #102 (June-July 1972), script by Bob Haney, pencils by Neal Adams, inks by Dick Giordano

Anyways! As I did last month, I've taken all the "clues" to the secret identity of the ultimate criminal mastermind from the previous month's calendar, and tallied them up by blacking out the squares on the big Justice League computertron featured on the calendar's final spread. Here's what we've got so far:

Wait, if you squint a little bit all those dots look like a bull charging...hey! No, it was not me! And if you think that the JLA computer is kind of weak sauce, just remember it was like forty years ago! Everybody's computer looked like a Lite-Brite! Cases in point:

Panels from:
Top: Superman (1939 series) #405 (March 1985), script by Craig Boldman, pencils by Alex Saviuk, inks by Karl Kesel, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by Ben Oda
Middle: Iron Man (1968 series) #130 (January 1980); co-plot by David Michelinie; co-plot, script, pencils, and inks by Bob Layton; colors by Ben Sean; letters by Jim Novak
Bottom: Incredible Hulk Annual #6 (November 1977), plot by Len Wein, plot and script by David Anthony Kraft, pencils by Herb Trimpe, inks by Frank Giacoia and Mike Esposito, colors by Janice Cohen, letters by Gaspar Saladino

Finally, there's one more clue you'll find within the day boxes of March's calendar itself. Let's check it out with all the keen attention of Batman, the intuitiveness of Elongated Man, and the butt-scratching of Detective Chimp:

Hmmm, an outfit suitable for St. Patrick's Day. Could it be...Jack O'Lantern?

Maybe it could be...Tommy Monaghan, Hitman? After all, he is the only good thing to come out of Bloodlines!

No wait, I know who it is, and he's the perfect suspect, because he would not be invented for another seventeen years: Kyle Rainer!

The perfect crime!