Friday, October 29, 2010

Peeping Out at Him From Under My Shirt Friday!

This has no business being here, but I couldn't resist this panel from Amazing Spider-Man #37:

Everybody, sing along!  And a'one, and a'two

Spidey didn't start the fire!

It was already burnin', Spidey was just concerned but

Spidey didn't start the fire!

No he didn't light it, and those webs on his tights

They're all gone, all gone, all gone, all gone, all gone, all gone, all gone, all gone....

Sorry.  It's the only Billy Joel song I know, I promise.  I saw a theater production where people did interpretive dance while a band performed Billy Joel songs.  It was every bit as good as it sounds, by which I mean, "a painful way to spend a Saturday afternoon."

Let's fast-forward to Amazing #39, shall we?  Here we can see a typical scene where Pete has his internal monologue running amok:

"What would he say if I told him I swung in thru the window on my web?!!"

I'm guessing he'd say, "Hey!  You must be Spider-Man!"

I know it was rhetorical question and all, but the answer came to me pretty quickly.

Hey, here's another Brain Teaser, just one page later!:

What would the doctor say if he saw your Spidey suit sticking out of your clothes?


He'd say, "Hey, that's a Spider-Man costume!  You must be Spider-Man!"

There's no gettin' one past me today, folks!  Don't even try.

You know how I showed the inverted colors of the Elongated Man's costume yesterday?  Apparently there was a third variation in Detective #359!:

Yup!  Purple!

He also wore this in a guest appearance with Zatanna in Justice League of America  Vol. 1, #51!  This was before either character was a member of the JLA.: 

I've had this issue for years, and just assumed he wore it before he picked up the red costume that he wore for so many years, but apparently it was just kinda shoe-horned in there somehow.  Go figure.

See you Monday!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nose-Noosin' Thursday!

I am speechless. I am without speech:

Now, before you write him off, Spellbinder was not a one-shot.  He fought Batman twice and Superman once, and was rebooted as a villain in the Batman Beyond animated series.  Frankly, Batman had more trouble with him than he should have in this issue alone.  I mean, if a guy hypnotizes you once, don't you think common sense would dictate you not look in his direction the next time you see him?  But Batman did.  Twice.

But the main reason I bring up Spellbinder is because that, my friends.... is a butt-ugly costume.  Welcome to the Costume Hall of Shame!(tm!)

And this....

is one tiny book.  Do you think Bats just read aloud the entire contents of the Bat-Book of Crime?

Here's a little something unusual from Detective #357:

"Guest artists" were starting to draw Ralph, but I guess there was a "guest colorist" as well, because that's a costume I haven't seen before or since.  I think he got the red and yellow inverted, and it was that way for the whole story.   Wouldn't it have been cool if he just went back and forth every couple of issues?  I would think that if any comic character would do that, it would be Ralph.

But by the next issue, the red and yellow were back to normal, as were the Things I Find Disturbing!(tm!):

See?  Even the bad guys are grossed out.  I think he was just nasty sometimes because he amused himself that way.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Holy Crickets! Wednesday!

You may recall I took a look at perhaps the greatest villain that hasn't been seen in 30 years, the Grasshopper, when I took a look at Detective Comics #334.  You might also recall (or notice when you click the link back to that post) I was surprised to see the character on a set of trading cards because the Grasshopper was a one-shot character.

Or, so I thought.

Cue Detective Comics #356!:

I know, right?

Also as amazing to me was how long "The Outsider" subplot had been dragging on.  I complain that it takes them forever to wrap up a plot these days!  This one took dang near two years to wrap up!  Two bloody years!

Anyway, despite what I (and the good folks at The Grand Comics Database) thought, the character appeared for a second smacking.  I don't want to incur the wrath of DC's lawyers, but I think the occasion merits a sharing of the triumphant battle that ensued:

Okay, it was what it was, but I'm sure someone thought it would give everyone a sense of closure to bring back the main villain of the story when the Outsider first appeared so that he could return for the last chapter of the Outsider Saga (hey, anything they drag on for nearly two years is a saga).

Only one problem:

The Grasshopper wasn't a "gang," but a set of twins who had abilities that were never explained. Where did this third guy come from?  I don't know how grasshoppers reproduce, but I don't think two male siblings clone themselves like we're seeing here.

And this is just creepy:

A refrigerated coffin?  Ewwww!!  Who does that?!  I mean, putting yourself in a coffin seems silly enough (I'm  going to be cremated and have my ashes scattered in the back yard to the dogs can roll around in my remains), but to refrigerate you like you're leftover Chinese food?  That's just gross.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Get Big with Bruno Tuesday!

Nothing says "Silver Age" like watching a super-villain rant for the first few pages of a comic.  Kraven the Hunter had a tendency to go on and on, right up to his death in Kraven's Last Hunt.  Here we see some classic rants from Amazing Spider-Man #34:

I will die to cover that plaster head with Spider-Man's mask.

Or, maybe I'll just ask Spider-Man for one of his masks to cover that plaster head.

Or, maybe I'll just take that plaster head down and put up one of those plastic mounted trouts that sings.

It appears I have several options that do not directly involve my death.  I must decide the order in which I exhaust the various avenues.

My special jungle herbs.... or as you would call them: steroids.

Jungle scent.... or as you would call it: rhinoceros urine.

And someone want to explain to me why getting sprayed with something stinky would "cancel out" Peter's spider-sense?

I didn't think so.

Here's an offer for boys, teenagers, and young men!:

This might have been a totally legitimate, harmless enterprise for Big Bruno, but I make it a personal policy to never take anyone up on their offer that is directed exclusively to "boys, teenagers, and young men."  It's worked for me so far.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Elongated Hair Billows Like a Cloud Monday!

As we've seen many times as we trek through Detective Comics, Batman went through a very unrealistic period involving many alien invasions, unfortunate lab accidents, and Gotham City's advanced technology in robotics of which the rest of the world still hasn't caught up.

Then in the 60's, the pendulum swung waaaaay far in the opposite direction:

A circle of unarmed thugs?  Seriously?  Because the Batman I know would call this "Something to do while I check my Twitter feed."

I had suspected something was amiss just a few issues earlier when this happened:

There are a couple of problems with this: (1) A single guy with a gun is even less of a threat than a circle of unarmed thugs and (2) Batman's escape from this is lame.  Throw a deck of cards in someone's face.  Yes, do it.  I said do it!

They just looked at you like you were an idiot, didn't they?  They didn't freak out, as if you had sprayed them in the eyes with mace, nor did take leave of their senses as 52 pieces of layered paper (or, at worst, laminated paper) whipped about them hither and yon.  Frankly, I'm disappointed in both Batman and the bad guy, because in an exchange like that, there are no winners.

And, here we have more Elongated Hair:

Well, that made a bit more sense than Friday's post , I suppose.  At least he didn't spear a guy with hair follicles.

No, spearing is clearly what noses are for:

Again, it isn't that Ralph can't elongate his nose, because I've seen him do it a thousand times when he "smelled a mystery."  I just don't see where the force comes from to knock the guy out.  Your nose has so few muscles that I would think the most effective use of that talent would be to simply gross out your nemesis as you send your nose his way.

Take that!

Ew!  Is that your nose??!

See you tomorrow!

Friday, October 22, 2010

More Things I Find Disturbing That I Don't Think the Elongated Man Can Do-Palooza Friday!

Courtesy of Detective Comics #352:

In this case, it's not that I don't think he can do it, I'm just not sure why he would.  He's got guys shooting at him and rather than just send elongated fists all around the room, he takes the time to make a bow out of one arm?  I really don't see the benefit here.

And don't tell me he couldn't just launch the fist.  A few panels later, he is attacking people with elongated hair:

I like Ralph, I really do.  But I think people came up with these things forty years ago just so I would find them and be royally annoyed by how preposterous they are.

And, of course, this leads to elongated toes wrapping around people:

....which, by the way, is totally gross.

Sooner or later, he's going to run out of body parts and start resorting to what we're all thinking.  Comics Code be danged, there are only so many things he can stretch before we start going with the obvious.  You're just as frightened of an uncertain future as I.  Admit it.

See you Monday!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

In Which Adam Only Says Good Things Thursday!

To its credit, the first 27 issues of Amazing Spider-Man had more hits than misses.  One of those hits was the cheap replacement costume that appeared in the two-part battle between Spidey and the Crime Master in Amazing Spider-Man #26 and 27:

One thing I don't miss about growing up was the carte blanche my parents had at destroying my personal property.  I had an assload of comics, including a copy of Incredible Hulk #181, that my old man chucked while I was at school one day.  In the condition it was in (and I would have kept in that condition, because I paid $16 for it bagged and boarded from a comic shop and knew how to keep comics at that time) it values at about $800.  That's my horror story.  What's yours?

Oh, and Beloved broke the foot off my DC Direct Golden Age Green Lantern action figure once while I was at work and tried to say it was somehow my own fault.  We don't speak of it.  It's like the lamp from A Christmas Story.

So anyway, Peter can't get his mitts on a costume.  This was a brilliant plot device, especially back in the day. So, he finds one at a local costume shop:

And, like every costume you and I have ever purchased, it's a cheap piece of crap that starts sagging.

That, my friends, is bitchin'.

As you can see, Spidey fixed it as best he could but it still got in the way, especially when he was fighting:

Wow, was Stan Lee on a roll with this, or what?  Then, to make matters worse, it goes from "sagging" to "shrinking."

The other thing that made this story unusual in a super-hero comic was that the bad guy du jour, the Crime Master, was trapped and killed by police officers with no help from Spidey whatsoever.  What's more, when the big unmasking came about, it turned out he was just a crook and not any of the regular characters.

Amazing Spider-Man #26 and 27, we salute your many Moments of Comic Book Greatness! (tm!)

And we welcome the Cheap, Sagging, Shrinking Costume to the Costume Hall of Fame! (tm!)

That's right: Two awards.  I can be positive.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Lightning Rod Would Actually Electrocute the Person **Holding** It but I Understand What Batman is Trying to Say Wednesday!

As you can probably tell, I'm jumping back and forth between Detective Comics and Amazing Spider-Man just to keep things fresh. Here's a look at Detective Comics #350:

I'm just starting to get my feet wet in the comics creation game, but I can't understand why you'd take a landmark issue and put in some lame villain we've never seen before.  Not that Detective didn't do this already, so I'm not totally surprised, but seriously?

And I'm not just picking on the Silver Age.  I was equally disappointed when the villains who "ended" the careers of Bats and Superman were Bane and Doomsday, who hadn't been seen before those much-hyped events.  It just seems like Batman in particular has such an awesome rogues gallery that they could have at least brought back a long-forgotten character like the Scarecrow or the Riddler.  But the "Monarch of Menace"?  We waited 350 issues (well, 323 issues since Bats didn't start until Detective #27, but you get the idea) for this guy?

And since when is a cloud of gas coming from underneath a bolt of fabric a tool of the super-villain trade?  If that's the case, I've been a super-villain for years because, as Beloved will attest, I have been known to release clouds of gas from underneath blankets for years, especially when I ingest one of the fine items from the "Fiber One" line of products.

Of course, this story was not without its moments:

Sigh.... sigh...

And I'm really not sure why he has a life-sized portrait of the guy, or where he even got a hold of one to begin with, but I'm sure some fanboy out there will try to convince me that isn't silly.  Good luck with that.

It also had a Casey the Cop joke I truly didn't get:

Okay, I know it has something to do with the jury, but it's some reference I'm not getting.

And, by the way, I'm not going to the Swing Scene with anyone, especially a dude named "Scooter."

All this notwithstanding, Detective Comics #350 was worth finding because this truly was a landmark moment:

As comic geeks know, Ralph would wear that outfit for about the next 30 years, so that's something.

But that being said, the other costume seemed a lot more practical.  It was very loose and baggy, so it made sense that the costume stretched with him.  You can see here the entire build-up of Sue bequeathing the new outfit to Ralph, so there's no explanation as to how/why the new outfit would stretch.  It actually looks like a good way to keep him from stretching knuckles and kneecaps and the like, which might have been her plan.  If I could stretch my knuckles and kneecaps, Beloved would go to great lengths to discourage it.

Lots to think about, my friends.... lots to think about.

Sigh... sigh....

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Things I Find Disturbing That I Don't Think the Elongated Man Can Do-Palooza Tuesday!

Courtesy of Detective Comics #349, or as I like to call it, That Awesome Issue of Detective Comics:

This, of course, is extra awesome because it looks like he's giving the guy the Elongated Finger, which would also be well worth seeing.

Wow.  So, does everything stretch?  You know, like bones and cartilage and stuff?  Because that has to be the case for some of these things.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The First in a Series of Explosions to Advance the Peaceful Interests of Science Monday!

Lack of funds has always been a problem for Peter and Aunt May, even in the early days. Consider this panel from Amazing Spider-Man #24:

I'm not Suze Ormon, but here's a little financial tip for the Parkers: If you barely have enough money for medicine, don't buy a new hat for every party.  Also, interest on money stored in a cookie jar is usually less than one might get from a local bank or credit union, but we'll get more into that later.

That notwithstanding, Amazing had some Moments of Comic Book Greatness (tm!) which we are morally obliged to recognize.  From Amazing Spider-Man #23: 

Mind you, when this comic came out, costume maintenance was just a given up until that point.  Peter was always having to sew the thing by himself, and here things went one step further when I hero realized the glory of clean laundry.

Back to Amazing Spider-Man #24, Spidey takes a time out from battling mobsters to check in with Aunt May, giving us yet another Moment of Comic Book Greatness! (tm!):


 Speaking of awesome, here's another great panel from Lois Lane # 27:

Yes, every time an atomic bomb detonates, the world is that much more peaceful.  Thanks to Robert Gillis for this great panel!

See you tomorrow!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The August Personage of Mr. Throckmorton Friday!

Although Johnny tried his best to impress Peter, their blind date did not go as well as he'd hoped.

Um.... Jan, you realize you aren't really a wasp and Pete isn't really a spider, don't you?  You can be a rhymes-with-witch all you like, I suppose, but there's really no zoological justification for it.  I mean, I don't think bats and robins are natural allies, either, but Bruce and Dick never started clawing at each other.

And now, from Detective Comics #341, a Moment in Comic Book Greatness! (tm!):

Sputter!  Haruuumph!

See you Monday!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fear My Tight Leopard-Skin Pants Thursday!

Even an amazing hero can have his low points.  Consider this scene from Amazing Spider-Man #15:

Spidey, if you'll just turn your head to the left a little, I think you'll notice a full-grown man jumping out the window three feet from you.  Just a little... tiny... too much trouble?  Never mind.

It really needs to be said:

Kraven may have been tough, but his costume was downright ridiculous.  Is it the hair cape that only the Creeper could pull off?  Is it the house slippers that only Iron Fist could pull off?  Is it the leopard-skin pants that... well, only a middle-aged woman with no fashion sense would dare to try to pull off?  Or is it just the unfortunate combination of everything?  Whatever the reason, welcome to the Costume Hall of Shame!

Spidey resolved to never again answer a personal ad on "Craigslist..."

Hey!  It's time for Fun with Out of Context Dialogue!(tm!)  Courtesy of Amazing Spider-Man #16:

Oh, Karen Page.  You did get around.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fear My Sparkly Fingers!

It's interesting to me how cheesed people get with me picking on the Lee/Ditko Amazing Spider-Man days.  I thought I had tipped over a few sacred cows already, but none so much as maligning the unfortunate Peter Parker.  You'd think I'd stop.  You'd think.

Which, of course, just leads me into Amazing Spider-Man #13, which had the first appearance of Mysterio.  The idea was an interesting one: To defeat him, one had to figure out how he accomplished mind-boggling illusions.  Well, in this case, not even he knows:

He would later admit that he had magnets in the soles of his shoes.  However, since magnets don't work on bricks, he himself had no idea how he managed to attach himself to the bridge like that.  It was probably a Wile E. Coyote "I don't know this is impossible so I'm doing it" moment.

On to issue #14, which brought about the first appearance of the Green Goblin and the return of the Enforcers:

It looks like tearing up phone books is how Ox is passing the time, but this strikes me as the sort of thing you could really only do once.  Did he have a pile of phone books there, or did he just glue it back together so he could rip it again?

Annnnnnnyway, the Green Goblin comes in and announces he's the new head cheese.  The Enforcers take issue with this, until the Goblin demonstrates his awesome power thusly:

Seriously?  A few sparks?  What are they, magpies?  It seems like Spidey could have saved himself quite a few lumps over the years if he saved some sparklers from the Fourth of July.

And, of course, it would have been hilarious had the sparks come out of the Goblin's middle finger, but you already know that.

Here's a power I didn't know Spidey had:

Chest expansion?  I'm not really sure what "(his) power of chest expansion" is.  Was he bitten by a radioactive pufferfish?

Alright, my grumblies!  Start yer gripin' in the comments, and I'll see you tomorrow!