Sunday, December 31, 2017

Today in Comics History: Clark Kent and Lana Lang freeze to death

Splash page from DC Comics Presents #92 (April 1986), script by Paul Kupperberg, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Dave Hunt, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by Helen Vesik

The 1978 2017 DC Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters: New Year's Eve Endings

Throughout the year we've seen the heroes of the DC Universe face off against a dastardly, devilish diaply of do-(no)-gooders determined to destroy the Dearth...I mean, Earth...with a diversity of devastating disasters! All our favorite heroes and Hal Jordan have stopped the conveniently-separated-by-months plots dead in their tracks, but who is the Mastermind of all these sinister scenarios? Could it be the Riddler? Ra's al-Ghul? Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man? It's Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, isn't it?

"December 31" from The 1978 DC Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters (1977), art by José Luis García-López

Batman has figgered the identity of Chief Criminal thanks to clues fed into the Justice League Crime-Solvin' Computer and Dance Dance Revolution Machine, and he quickly snaps into action and detects, as the calendar tells us: "a villain The Batman must capture while Superman tries to pull the moon back into orbit. (Oy, he's always doin' that.) None of which explains why, in the calendar's cover portraying this mind-shattering scene, Batman is ridin' on the moon harness. You are literally useless in this situation, Batman! Sheesh. Go punch somebody, Bruce.

But what of that astonishing computer result that we've been waiting for this year? All year. (Eh, must be an Amiga.) I've been filling in the blanks as instructed by each month on the calendar throughout 2017 just as some of you must have done all during 1978, and what we've come up with. Who is the evil supervillain genius behind the year of Super-Spectacular Disasters, huh? TA-DA!:

Or, if you clean it up a little bit and assume I missed some spots throughout the year, because it's a bit more difficult with hooves:

Hooray! You know, I knew it was gonna be Luthor, but honestly until last month I didn't have any idea how the computer display was going to portray his name. Fun, huh? Off to jail for you, Lex Luthor! You may have only killed thousands of people during your Year-Long Reign of Disasters, but I'n sure you'll be out in a couple weeks because the guards at the prison gave you a ball-point pen and a baloney sandwich. Anyway, Happy New Year, and may your 2018 be Super-Spectacular with zero disasters!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 354: Sing a Song of Superman

In which Superman defeats the most hideous strength in the DC singing!:

Panels from Final Crisis #7 (March 2009), script by Grant Morrison, pencils by Doug Mahnke, inks by a whole lotta guys, colors by not so many guys, but still a lot of 'em, letters by Travis Lanham

So here I ask you: what song would Superman sing to defeat Darkseid? Could it be

Or maybe it's

Or perhaps Superman chose to sing

Do you think Superman sang this at Darkseid? Well, he did grow up in Kansas.

Me, I think Supes sang this, as befits the cosmic odyssey of the whole thing:

But let me know your suggestions! Write to "MTV's What Did Superman Sing? Contest, 100 Grand Central Station, New York, New York, 10036!" Or, you could say it in the comments.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 353: I changed the lyrics of this song to make it more about the Flash, as you do

It is the night
My body's weak
I'm on the ride
No time to sleep
I've got to run
Run like the wind
To be free again

And I've got such a long way to go
To make it to the border of Mexico
So I'll run like the wind
Run like the wind

I was born the son of a lawless man
Always spoke my mind with a gun in my hand
Lived nine lives
Gunned down ten
Gonna run like the wind

And I've got such a long way to go
To make it to the border of Mexico
So I'll run like the wind
Run like the wind

Accused and tried and told to hang
I was nowhere in sight when the church bells rang
Never was the kind to do as I was told
Gonna run like the wind before I get old

It is the night
My body's weak
I'm on the ride
No time to sleep
I've got to run
Run like the wind
To be free again

And I've got such a long way to go
To make it to the border of Mexico
So I'll run like the wind
Run like the wind

Panels from Flash: Our Worlds at War one-shot (October 2001), script by Geoff Johns, pencils by Angel Unzueta, inks by Jose Marzan, Jr., colors by Tom McCraw, color separations by Digital Chameleon, letters by John Costanza

Yes, I changed the lyrics for Flash. Here's the real song — well, sort of, from the late lamented SCTV:

Monday, December 18, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 352: Rabbit Season

Panels from Usagi Yojimbo (1993 series) #12 (Mirage, February 1995); script, pencils, inks and lettersby Stan Sakai

Sunday, December 17, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 351: Stop! Hammer Time!

Panels from Fear Itself #7 (December 2011); script by Matt Fraction; pencils by Stuart Immonen; inks by Wade Von Grawbadger and Dexter Vines; colors by Laura Martin, Justin Ponsor, and Matt Milla; letters by Chris Eliopoulos

Saturday, December 16, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 350: Defiance, Oh Yeah!

Gather 'round, children, and Unca Bully will tell y'all a tale of a brave, fearless soft drink mixture who saved American democracy on this very day in 1773. (picks up my banjo, starts to strum) Aw, dang it, I don't know how to play the banjo.

Anyway, today's the day, 245 years ago and a universe two or three steps to the right, when liquid hombre Kool-Aid Man and his posse of kids that were suspiciously not his own arrived in 1773 and set about seeing about a thing or two about a thing or two.

Panels from "Thirst in Time" in The Adventures of Kool-Aid Man #2 (Marvel, 1984), script by Jim Salicrup, pencils by Dan DeCarlo, inks by Jim DeCarlo, colors by Ken Feduniewicz and Judi Higgins, letters by Gaspar Saladino

You know, Kool-Aid Man, you are filled to the brim with delicious cooling, refreshing liquid. Did it not occur to you to let one of the great fathers of our country sip heartily at you and quench his revolutionary thirst? No. It did not. Also: why does Kool-Aid Man always carry a smaller version of himself? And how does he ride a horse one-handed? Answer: pretty well, actually.

Another good question: "Father, why are you eighty years older than us?"

Kool-Aid Man: Timecop! And did you ever think, LL Kool A, that it wasn't the best of ideas breaking a big-ass hole in the side of a boat?

Here's somthin' you don't see every day: an anthropomorphic representation of the sensation of thirst having a sabre duel with the mascot of a Kraft Foods product on the deck of a Colonial-era transport ship. Not even in an Alan Moore comic do you see that. Well, okay, that one issue of Promethea.

Of course, for history to be returned to its proper course, the Boston Tea Party must continue as it originally did, so it's a grand thing that Kool-Aid Man captured the Thirsties. Surely this will not affect American history at all, what with the historical accounts of the giant red liquid orb who assisted the American Revolution in its bold cause. And yes, kids, that is why Kool-Aid Man is on the front of the quarter.

And now it's off to save John F. Kennedy from getting thirsty on his drive through Dallas! Good luck, ya big cherry-flavored lug!

And so Kool-Aid finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap...will be the leap through a wall home.

Friday, December 15, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 349: Nuts to you, Nazis

Panels from X-Men: Grand Design #1 (February 2018); script, pencils, inks, colors, and letters by Ed Piskor

Thursday, December 14, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 348: Every year this comic treasury becomes more and more vital

Panels from Marvel Treasury Special featuring Captain America's Bicentennial Battles #1 (September 1976), script and pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by John Verpoorten, colors by Phil Rachelson, letters by John Costanza

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 347: I believe in miracles

Mr. Miracle! The world's greatest escape artist! Incredible defier of odds! Opponent to the evil Darkseid! Created by Jack Kirby! Member of the Justice L


Because this Mr. Miracle has no relation to the Scott Free version we all know and love ('specially Big Barda!) and is a lont-out-of-copyright and he'd-need-a-new-name anyway mystery man, once again from the pages of the tremendously defiant Captain Fearless Comics, which I've spotlighted here and here with the heroes respectively known as Citizen Smith and Diamond Jim (but really Lana). How powerful is this sorta-Spectreque mystic hero? Why, he wears a green suit, that's how.

Panels from the "Mr. Miracle" story in Captain Fearless Comics #2 (Temerson/Helnit/Continental, September 1941), pencils by Ray Willner

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 346: I want your Skrulls / I need your Skrulls

Panels from Black Panther (2005 series) #41 (November 2008), script by Jason Aaron, pencils and inks by Jefte Palo, colors by Lee Loughridge, letters by Cory Petit

Monday, December 11, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 345: God would like us to be joyful even when our hearts lie panting on the floor

Hey Bully! (you might be thinking just about now) How come you've posted so many panels from comic books that show defiance in the face of danger or despair, and you have never once shown us Rust Cohle from the 2014 season one finale of "True Detective" defiantly mouthing off "L’chaim, fatass?"

And that's a very good question. The main reason, of course, is that I took the oath of the official Union of Comics Bloggers (Mike Sterling, President since 1969) to never mention Matthew McConaughey on a comics blog, or especially to reference the so-called "McConaissance" of the 2010s. Since y'all have ruined that by asking a question about one of Mister McConaughey's starring roles, I guess I'm technically not in violation of that ruling, but just know that I have to appear at the end of the month before a jury of my peers to defend my reference. I hope you're happy with yourselves.

Anyway, it's common and canon knowledge that Rust Cohle is a fervent fan of Daredevil comics, because, sure, who isn't? And as I like to say around these here parts


Panels from Daredevil (1998 series) #46 (June 2003), script by Brian Michael Bendis, pencils and inks by Alex Maleev, colors by Matt Hollingsworth, letters by Cory Petit

So there. I have run rings round you logically. And McConaughicly.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 344: Justice League Assemble

Earlier in this year-long (plus) series about rebellion, revolution and jus' plain defiance, I've posted several panels from issues of Grant Morrison's JLA, which is one of my absolute fav'rites and which I consider to be just about the quintessential example of "the" perfect comic book. (Give or take Morrison not being able to use Hawkman.) I've especially pointed you to moments of EXTREME! Defiance in JLA #41: Aztek makes the ultimate sacrifice to save Earth, and Zauriel rallies the hosts of Heaven (all right, I admit it, Hawkman couldn'ta done that). Yes, I particularly love Marvel Two-in-One Annual #7, and to be sure Legion of Super-Heroes #294 has so much defying in it I had to do multiple posts about it, but even though it's a double issue, I think JLA #41 pound for pound has a measurably greater hero-per-defiance ratio than any comic book published. You know it's true, because I went to my local deli and tied up their precision scales for about half an hour weighing comic books. Which is why my copy of JLA #41 smells like pastrami now, and you know what? That only makes it better.

Panels from JLA #41 (May 2000), script by Grant Morrison, pencils by Howard Porter, inks by Drew Geraci, colors by Pat Garrahy, color separations by Heroic Age, letters by Ken Lopez

Well, that's exciting: Wonder Woman is leading a group of superheroes to fight against the cosmic menace of Mageddon, the menace so powerful it didn't even need to add an "Ar" to the beginning of its name. So how many heroes you got backing you up there, Wondy? A dozen? A baker's dozen? A little bull's dozen? (18.)

Nope. How about...


(Click picture to all together now-size)

We do mean EVERYBODY, not just heroes. There's pretty much super-powered humans from all over earth here! And if'n you look closely, I you can even see me, punching out a mini-Mageddon! Hurt my hoof a little but Wonder Woman gave it a kiss afterwards to make it all better, so it was all worth it.

I promised you, the last time I talked about JLA #41, that I was holding the "big one" in reserve from that issue. Here it is.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 343: Hangry Like the Wolf

Today's Day of Defiance comes at the suggestion of Bountiful Bully Booster Matthew Elmslie, who submitted several excellent moments of standing up against greater odds, only a handful of which you'll see this final month of the series. Matthew run the excellent blog Legion Abstract, which is absolutely essential if you're a fan (and who isn't?) of the Legion of Super-Heroes. And yes, I've finally added it to my sidebar of favorite blogs, because it really is as essential to the fandom of super-teens 1,000 years in the future as a flight ring and a McCauley Omnicom.

The set-up: one Legionnaire against the entire Fatal Five doesn't seem like a fair fight even it it were Mon-El or Ultra Boy or even the most powerful Legionnaire, Matter-Eater Lad. But how bad are the odds when that Legionnaire is Timber Wolf? Uh oh. Space Vegas is not even taking any more bets on this one, it's so overmatched. Can Brin Londo* (Timber Wolf's real name, and I didn't even have to look that up) stand up to the sheer quintuple power of the FF? Let's see, shall we?

Panels from The Legion (2001 series) #16 (March 2003), script by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, pencils by Kev Walker, inks by Andy Lanning and Al Milgrom, colors by Jason Wright, color separations by Digital Chameleon, letters by Comicraft

Well, that's not good. But I love his defiant- and determined-to-the-last attitude. That's gotta be part of why they admitted TW into the Legion. "I like his spunk!" said Cosmic Boy. "Spunk. I hate spunk." said Brainiac 5.

Anyway, Brin isbn't done for, because the very next page features one of my favorite tropes in comics, ever: the team arrives just in the nick of time.

Just as an aside, man, I miss Jeckie as a snake.

Anyway, we salute you, Timber Wolf! We thank you, Matthew Elmslie! Long live the Legion (and Legion Abstract), and keep on Timber Wolfin'!

Friday, December 08, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 342: The Last Stand of Johnny Storm

Panels from Fantastic Four #587 (March 2011); script by Jonathan Hickman; pencils by Steve Epting; inks by Rick Magyar, Mike Perkins, and Steve Epting; colors by Paul Mounts; letters by Rus Wooton