Monday, January 31, 2011

Finish HIM!!!! Monday!

So, I'm back to reading Detective Comics for a while, just to keep things freshy-fresh for everyone, and I come upon this beautiful Neal Adams / Dick Giordano cover.  Did I mention it was beautiful?  Because I wanted to be sure I covered that before I confess that it unintentionally made me laugh:


As we've discussed many times, you can get away with a lot on a cover.  There's no shame in puffery when you're trying to make your mag stand out on Ye Olde Spinning Wire Rack.

But this leads me to create a new category: The Rest of The Story (tm!)

What was that?

KLICK . . . TWANG!  THOOOMP!

AIEEEEEE!!!  I've been shot by a crossbow!  I'm so hosed!

I mean, it's a point blank shot and the arrow is about 80 % there, so if there were any realism in comics at all, Bats would have been a gone goose.


This is kind of short-sighted on Commissioner Gordon's part:

Yes, Batman!  I realize that I have now blocked the falcon from coming into my office, where we might be able to capture him and find clues, but I don't like bird poop on my desk. 

Anyhoo, it turns out that Bats is being stalked by a guy named Yager, who is determined to hunt Bats and kill him like an animal because he's already hunted everything else.  Of course, if you really wanted to pursue the ultimate prey, you'd probably go after Superman or J'onn J'onzz, but this isn't their book.

Turns out Yager knows Batman's secret identity.  Which means, of course, that Kraven the Hunter Yager is a goner.  Thusly:


And, as is wont to happen when you learn too much about a protagonist in comics, the best thing you can hope for is that you'll lose your memory or vow to keep the secret to yourself for some self-serving reason.  Otherwise, at the end of that pit is going to be...


Yup.  Those rods wouldn't have been sharpened (heh... rods) had Yager not known just a bit too much.

The terms of his death, of course, caused my mind to go directly to...


Yeah!

We played this before the Internet was readily available, so most of us only knew how to do that one fatality. You kids today just don't know how we suffered!  You just don't know!

See you tomorrow!

Friday, January 28, 2011

I Broke His Fingers Like TWIGS! Friday!

Okay, I know that ads aren't everyone's favorites, but you've got to check these out.  Besides, I just finished reading 100 issues of Amazing Spider-Man straight, and I've got to take a break.

For the discerning ten year-old readers of the Golden Age Daredevil:


That's right.... "Drinking Companions."

BITCHIN'!

Speaking of which:


It wasn't from the "Drinking Companions" ad, but it's not a big leap to think that one led to the other.


Yeah, nothing speaks from your heart like someone telling you how to speak from your heart.


Remember from The Simpsons? 

"Maybe this is just the beer talking, Marge, but you've got a butt that won't quit.  They've got these big chewy pretzels and shioasgfdhaset... FIVE DOLLARS? Get outta here..."

I don't know if it's still cool to love The Simpsons or not, but I do.  The writing is still brilliant.

See you Monday!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Peter Really Needs to Raise His Standards Thursday!


From Amazing Spider-Man #188:


Betty, is that really the most appropriate top to wear when visiting someone's elderly aunt in the hospital?  I mean, did you go through your closet, put on a bikini top and say, "Yes, this is the look I'm going for.  Time to bring some cheer to a dying woman."


Nothing wrong with it at all...except (as Peter just said) you're married!

Marvel Comics: Promoting Wholesome Values Since 1938

Hey, here's a fun "Easter Egg" I found on the letters page! 


So, when Kurt Busiek criticized one of the Big Two, he was writing for them in a matter of years.  Following this logic, I should be replacing Stan Lee within a matter of weeks.  Start looking forward to that one!

It's always a fun find when I uncover a letter written by a future creator.  The funny thing is, when Kurt calls for things like "lasting changes that will still be important fifty years later," he's setting a very high standard for his future self.  I just blew your mind, didn't I?  

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Captain America Means What He Says (as Opposed to Everyone Else) Wednesday!

So by now, most of you who actually care know which member of the Fantastic Four has "died."  And if it was your favorite member, fret not.  Superman, Jean Grey, Hal Jordan, Ollie Queen, and Barry Allen will all tell you that death is rarely fatal in comics.

I've never been silent about my opinion that a dead character should remain dead.  It keeps me from getting excited about the developments in a story if I know that a character who "dies" is only going to resurface in a year or two.  In fact, hasn't every member of the Fantastic Four "died" in some capacity over the years already?

Even Bucky and Jason Todd, two sidekicks whose deaths were considered untouchable, have found their way back from the Great Beyond.  I, for one, am tired of this lazy, sensationalist writing and won't tolerate it. I will defend the virtues of Identity Crisis, so it's not like I'm that difficult to please.  But as far as I'm concerned, I refuse to consider any character "deaths" an event unless dead starts meaning dead.  Like "Adrian Chase," "John Ostrander's Suicide Squad Run," or "Meatball from the Little Wise Guys" level of death.

Let's not forget the last major character Marvel "killed off":


... and we've all seen how permanent that was.

I don't know if it's unpatriotic to say I dislike Captain America.  Maybe that's why I dislike him.  How can you dislike a character who wraps himself up in the flag and poops in flavors?

Well, I don't.  I don't like people who purport to be so dang superior.


Smack him, Spidey.  We all want you to.


Okay, you've seen this entire conversation.  What did Cap say that was "more than he was permitted to"?  All I read there is "You aren't part of the club, so get out."  See what I mean?  Sooooo self-righteous.

And he refers to himself in the third person:


That's the kind of thing usually reserved for Marvel villains.  Know why?  Because it's an annoying trait designed to make you not like the arrogant jerks all the more.  Why Captain America gets away with it, I'm not sure.  People tend to ignore a lot when you wrap yourself in the flag.

Seriously, can someone shoot this guy again?


There.  Good job, Electro.

See?  I hate him so much, I root for Electro, for crying out loud.

That was from Amazing Spider-Man #187, by-the-by.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This (Fourth) Wall Tuesday!


So, I'm checking out Amazing Spider-Man #186.  Peter has, by and large, finished his undergrad studies and we are promised a new chapter in his life.

This apparently includes a really bad costume idea for The Chameleon:


For someone whose claim to fame is the ability to blend in, that's an... interesting choice of outfits there.

Egad, that is awful.  Off to the Costume Hall of Shame! (tm!)

But what makes Amazing #186 an interesting read is this one-page detour where the Marvel Universe bleeds over into reality.  For instance:


The Amazing Spider-Man live-action tv show of the 1970's was actually on the air at the time (and the cover itself referred to Spidey as "Marvel's TV Sensation!"), but it wouldn't last long.  While it did pretty well in the ratings (it was actually a top 20 show!), CBS didn't want to have so many comic book-themed shows on its schedule and ditched it (and the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman series) in favor of the Bill Bixby / Lou Ferrigno The Incredible Hulk series.  

Oddly enough, neither series had any foes from the comics due to budget limitations, which is a shame.  Despite many fans (and Stan Lee himself) disliking the show, Nicholas Hammond was a great Peter Parker.  He was also the guy on The Brady Bunch who broke a date with Marsha when Peter broke her nose with a football. 

But there's more:


That is allegedly then DC Editor-in-Chief Jenette Kahn, making a pitch that was very similar to a Superman vs. Muhammad Ali one-shot that DC put out earlier.  Yes, someone actually did that.

Here's what Spidey had to say about it:


And she should have listened because that's exactly what happened in the Superman vs. Muhammad Ali project.  According to those who know better than I, Neal Adams ran long on the deadlines, so Ali had lost the title by the time the special hit the stands, making it about as awesome as a Punisher vs. Buster Douglas special (which actually sounds kind of awesome).

And, of course, Marvel had given the Children's Television Workshop free rights to Spidey for use in The Electric Company, giving the world the first actual live Spider-Man stories.

That's a lot of behind-the-scenes reality for a comic from those times.  Of course, most of it went right over my head at the time, but that's a fun "Easter Egg" to find all these years later.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Good Old Days When Men Were Brutes, and Women Were Scheming Liars Monday!


Let's take another look at some classic Lois Lane moments, courtesy of our pal Robert Gillis!

Here's a classic from Lois Lane #8:


In answer to your question, Lois: Yes, when it comes to women, we can be that stupid and then some.

How stupid?  Well, this stupid:


You know, Lois, you don't have to go out with the guy just because he's beating up on Clark.  You could always call the police.  Then again, that's not the way folks did things back in the day.  You didn't involve the law unless it was something important, like the neighbor's dog taking a dump in your yard.  So a lot of women went out on dates with guys who beat up other guys in front of them.  That's how America used to roll, back when we were a proud, self-sufficient people.

Here's one of Lois's many attempts at forcing Superham to marry her, from Lois Lane #14:


Yes, what deceit and manipulation have brought together, let no man tear asunder.  The best marriages are based on cons and grifts.  Women knew how to get the job done back then, because men were apparently willing to beat each other bloody to get dates, but a woman had to lure you to the altar (much like trying to get a stray cat out from under your porch).

Good times, my friends.... good times.

Thanks again, Robert!  

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Greatest Cross-Over in the History of Comics Friday!

So, what do you think the best cross-over was?  Superman vs. Spider-Man? Batman vs. the Hulk? The New Teen Titans vs. The X-Men?  Personally, the one I had enjoyed the most was the surprisingly entertaining Green Lantern/Silver Surfer, which was low on cosmic nonsense and high on humor.

But that apparently wasn't the most awesome cross-over ever.  Oh, no.  Robert Gillis has found the new king of cross-overs.  Robert Gillis certainly helps me fill in those gaps in my Lois Lane collection, which seems to be a gold mine of questionable moments.  Here's Pat Boone from Lois Lane #9!:


I'm sure they're puffing it up as a courtesy (read: "contractual obligation") to Pat Boone, but apparently Boone was quite the big deal back in the day.  Still, it's hilarious to see.

And he makes Lois Lane swoon.  SWOOOOOOONN!


Heh.  Lois groans on pitch.

And here we see Superman's greatest crime against humanity:


Yes, we were almost spared a Pat Boone record.  Blast it, Superman!  Quit interfering with the natural order of things!

Thanks, Robert!

See you Monday!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

SLAPSLAPSLAPSLAPSLAPSLAPSLAPSLAPSLAPSLAPSLAPSLAPSLAPSLAPSLAP Thursday!

Here's a moment from Adventures of Superman v2 #26 that I don't understand:


Pretty self-explanatory, right?  Someone whose name I forget puts bad mojo on Superham via a vodoo doll.  So, bad things happen to the doll means bad things happen to Superham, right?

So, why is everything all better when the doll gets all squooshed like that?  Wouldn't that trauma be transferred to Superham and kill him even if the doll was destroyed in the process?

And I'm not just picking on Superham here (though it does come quite naturally to me).  Any time I see a story with a voodoo doll I can't help but think the person who is affected by the doll should be going to great lengths to be certain that doll comes to no harm whatsoever.

I dunno.... any voodoo practitioners out there who want to field this one?

Meanwhile, let's check out the best Random Bitch-Slap (tm!) ever, from Flash v2, #22!:


When Wally West bitch-slaps you, you know you've been bitch-slapped!

And check out Suicide Squad: From the Ashes:


That's right.  Someone finally slaps Amanda Waller.

Until she regains consciousness:


I love Amanda Waller.  Off to the Character Hall of Fame with her!

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Toxic Women in Peter Parker's Life Part 2 Wednesday!

Okay, just in case people think I was being rough on Mary Jane Watson yesterday, let's take a look at Betty Brant Leeds, or Betty Brant Leeds, as the case may soon be, from Amazing Spider-Man #184:


So where do we begin?

(A) If you find out a girl has ever walked out on a guy without telling him and there wasn't some form of abuse involved, show said girl the door;

(B) If an ex-girlfriend comes to you to complain about her husband, things will NOT end well.  Again, show said girl the door.

and (C) If a woman ever suggests a romantic relationship and she is still married, run as fast as you can until you see a copy of the divorce decree that has been signed by a judge and file-stamped by the appropriate court clerk.



Marvel Comics: Promoting Bad Decisions Since 1938

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mary Jane Watson - Beyotch. Tuesday!

And we're back!  We all know that Peter eventually married Mary Jane Watson, which divided Spider-Fans into people who liked the idea and people who thought that was the second worst idea ever put into the series.

But didja know, or didja remember, that Pete had proposed to Mary Jane years before?  Yup.  Let's take a look at Amazing Spider-Man #183 to see how that turned out:


That's pretty brutal, MJ.  First, when you whip out a ring, he's going to think for a split-second that you bought him an engagement ring in response to the ring he gave you a few issues earlier.  Second, making a flippant joke while you put the token of your rejection in his palm minimizes Pete's feelings.

And yes, I can see the comments section ablaze with, "Well, that's just how Mary Jane is," to which my response is, "Well, then Mary Jane is a selfish jackass."  It's become popular for the young folks to discount their anti-social behavior with, "Well, I'm just being me."  Well, maybe we don't want to be around you if that's who you are, and you should do us all a favor and go to one central location so we can build a big wall around your collective narcissistic ass (like they did the criminals in Escape from New York) so those of us who want to make the world a better place don't have to look at you.  Admitting a fault is only the first step in doing something about it, kids!  Learn and grow.


In other words, I view men as prey and want to have as many hearts for my trophy case as possible.


Hey, Mary Jane?  I'd be smiling right now if you hadn't just taken a dump on my heart, so since you're the reason I'm sad, what say you not presume to have the right to tell me to smile?


Can we still be friends?  Why sure!  All of my friends break my heart into a million pieces trivialize my feelings.  I'd love to be a part of your life as I watch you go out with other guys, and then stick around and watch you cry when they treat you the same way you've treated me.

Get to steppin', biyotch.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Just You Wait Till I Get My Gun Out Friday!

As I previously mentioned, there was kind of a shortage of super-hero comics in the early days of Action Comics, especially if you don't consider Zatara the Magician a super-hero.  But by Action Comics #40, things had changed..... a teensy tiny bit:


Am I the only one who is hoping this is Devo?  Because it could totally be Devo, and that would be bitchin'!  I would buy the heck out of a Devo comic.

But alas, it's simply Mr. America, arguably one of the worst characters ever.  He wore breeches and buckled shoes, had a porn star mustache and a pony tail like those guys that still take classes at the local community college in their 60's for no particular reason.  And his name made him sound like the Affirmative Action entry in a beauty pageant.  He was just wrong all the way around.

And he had zero respect for the law:


Assault an officer?  Don't mind if I do!

And his calling card.... eeeesh:


Seriously?  Batman is sending bats to people via United Parcel Service and this guy is striking terror into the hearts of hardened criminals with a dyed, autographed feather.  Only the most skittish homophobe would have any kind of reaction.

So, it should come as no surprise that Mr. America has trouble handling even a non-powered foe armed with a handgun.  Thank goodness the cops were around:


Yup!  I'm the guy you attacked with a whip earlier!  And you're welcome, douchebag!

Off to the Costume and Character Hall of Shame with you, Mr. America!  You were a character that even a revival in the current Justice Society series can't make cool.

See you TUESDAY because of the holiday!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Very Cleanly Blog Post Thursday!

Hey!  It's time for some super fun with Action Comics #27!


See?  This is messed up right there.  If you have to persuade someone to go out with you, the relationship is a goner right there because she'll always have that to hang over your head.

Seriously, Clark... we've all been there, but move on.


Why yes, Mrs. Tweed.  It is indeed a very cleanly room.  One of the cleanlyest ones I've seen in some time.  

Okay, I really try not to be the grammar police, but that one was pretty obvious.

On the flip side, I loathe it when people don't use -ly at the end of adverbs, and that seems to be the new thing.  America, I must insist that you stop it at once.  And while you're at it, look up the word "literally" and start using it correctly.



To be fair to Mrs. Tweed, kids like crappy food.  She could have been using Julia Child's recipes, and they would still be going nuts at the corner diner.  That's just the way kids are.

As many of you know, I run an unofficial home for wayward stray dogs, so I'm often pressed for naming 'em.  Here's a name I haven't used yet, but am totally going to:


I've actually written about Black Satan, you may recall.  And it may interest you to know that the comic book villain came out roughly two years (in Startling Comics #16) after this issue of Action was printed.  Will we ever know if the villain's name came from the creator seeing this dog?

You'd think, "Well, that must have been the case," but we saw a similar occurrence right here.  So, I guess we'll never know for sure.

Here's something we won't hear Lois say too much in subsequent issues:


Personally, I would make Lois write out that statement and sign it before I saved her butt.

But here's why Clark is always giving her a break:


See?  Clark's a raging co-dependent!  It explains so much!

It doesn't make me like the character any better, but it explains so much!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hallucinations - The Go-To Psychosis for Comic Book Writers Everywhere! Wednesday!

So, here's a little scene I came upon in Amazing Spider-Man #170:


All my greatest enemies!  Well, I'm not sure how the Man-Wolf got into a group of my greatest enemies, but there you have it!

Actually, I was bringing this up, because it seems like Peter might be used to this by now:


Yup.  Not two years earlier, he was having hallucinations while under the influence of an enemy's chemical attack.

So, what was going on in issue #170?  He was having hallucinations while under the influence of an enemy's chemical attack.

Marvel Comics: The House of (Recycled) Ideas

On an unrelated note, Pete hallucinates a lot about the vulture, doesn't he?

Hey, it's time for a crossover!: 


For non-comic nerdlingers, this is a typical sales ploy where a new and/or floundering character has a storyline with an established, popular character.  In this case, Marvel was hoping that by being forced to read an issue of Nova, you might get in the habit of buying the book on a regular basis.  

Which you didn't, because Nova not only had his original series cancelled, but the three attempts at re-launching his solo title over the years have all failed.  I find it hilarious to see Spider-Man on an anchor with Nova getting dragged down below the surface because.... well, you clearly get how woefully appropriate an analogy that is.

Again: Marvel: The House of (Recycled) Ideas

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Drop That Hog-Leg Tuesday!

In the earliest of days, Action Comics had Western comics.  This was before Western and war comics totally overtook the industry, so I guess they were just covering as many bases as possible.

I actually like a lot of Western comics, but I don't always understand what they're saying.  Consider these little dandies from Action #17:


Okay, that one, I kind of get.  This one, not so much:


Yeah, I don't get that one.  And keep in mind, I've lived in Oklahoma nearly my entire life.

But I know some good Fun with Out of Context Dialogue (tm!) when I see it!:


See ya tomorrow, pardners!