Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Spider-Man! Spider-Man! Barooms and Krashes Like a Spider Can Wednesday!

As I coast into my Christmas staycation, it seemed appropriate to discuss that time when Spider-Man found himself weighed down by material possessions, namely the Spider-Mobile:

In the storyline (Amazing #130), Spidey was approached by Corona Motors to promote their new non-polluting engine by installing it in a Spider-Mobile.  Said vehicle was designed and built by Spidey and the Human Torch.

From the beginning, Peter had his reservations, but the lure of easy money via endorsement deals were too much, and the rest is cringe-inducing history:

Remember when I said the problem with U.S.1 was that car chases just weren't interesting in comic-book form?  Yeah, that still applies.  Especially when you're used to seeing your hero swinging among the tops of skyscrapers.  It's like buying an issue of Plastic Man and watching him do his taxes.

Peter would, from the onset, call the Spider-Mobile "hokey" and a "fiasco," so at least no one had any illusions that this wasn't a bad idea.  And for that reason, it's a rather cool part of Spidey's history.

That, and the fact that Spidey lost it by accidentally driving it off a pier in ish #141:

That was some brilliant writing by Gerry Conway.  A true Moment of Comic Book Greatness (tm!), to be sure.

Everyone have a great holiday season, and I'll see you again on January 3rd with the 2010 Year-End Craptacular!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fear My Soft Fuzzy Underbelly Tuesday!

Hey!  Here's a little something for under the tree, courtesy of Amazing Spider-Man #139!:

Yup!  It was the first appearance of the Grizzly!

Of course, the problem with having a character modeled after a bear is... well, just look  at him.  He's just so durn cuddly, you know?  Of course, that's the problem with real bears as well - they look so cuddly you just want to pet them, then you pull back a bloody stump.

So the Grizzly didn't become one of the Spidey villians you can expect to see in the movies (or anywhere else) any time soon.  A big part of the problem is that he "took a hit that would have befallen the Rhino" and was unfazed.  Why?  Because he was wearing an exoskeleton device that augmented his strength.

I'm no mechanical engineer, but a series of braces hidden by the fuzzy-wuzziness of his costume wouldn't have made the person wearing the outfit more capable of taking a punch.  You could argue that (as with the Rhino), the bear suit itself afforded some protection, but Spidey tore that right off him when he was bored playing around, so the protection shouldn't have been much.  We're all comic nerds here, and we know strong doesn't equal invulnerable.  Just ask Ultra Boy. (For non-comic nerds, that was a brilliant observation on my part.  You'll just have to trust me on that one)

But the real reason we don't see much of the Grizzly?  Because he looks like you could just plop him down at an 8 year-old girl's tea party.  Alas.

Now, if you want to model a character after a scary animal, you should go with a howler monkey.  Because howler monkeys creep me out.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, December 20, 2010

I'm Heading Out for Some Coke Monday!

Fair warning, gang!  Wednesday's post is going to be the last one for this week before I go on hiatus for the remainder of the year.  Loves ya though I do, I needs a little down time from everything.  Well, I'm actually going to work on Hero Action Persons so I can get a submission ready.  Anyhoo, pace yourselves accordingly.


Spider-Man was very hardcore about managing his Facebook Page...

And I'm sorry, but Aunt May looks ridiculous.  I mean, they drew her like she was 110 years old.  Did they have to make her so decrepit?

Hey!  It's time for Fun with Out of Context Dialogue!(tm!):

I think I saw this scene in an Afterschool Special when I was a child.  I think it starred Helen Hunt.

That above bit of goodness came from Amazing #126, which also had this event that had far-reaching and permanent consequences not only in the life of Peter Parker, but every comic book character out there.  Even Jughead.  Yes, it was The Death of the Kangarooooooooo!:

Okay, so really no one cared, which is kind of sad.  Some of his DNA was used to create a zombie-like creature years later, and that's really about all there was to that - two appearances, death, zombie.  That's show biz!

See you tomorrow!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Go Home and Polish Your Buttons Friday!

Hey, hey!  Check out this extra-special ish!:

Why is extry-special, you ask?  Is it because it has the first appearance of the Man-Wolf.  PFFFFFFT... you WISH!

All of us hardcore nerdlingers will immediately recognize that cover.  Yup, it's the very same issue that was repurposed on a Power Records release!

I'm sorry, that probably isn't making sense to some of you.  Okay, here's the deal:

There used to be (and to some limited degree, still is) a company called Peter Pan records, that began out of a plastics manufacturing company.  It's a long story.  Anyway, fast forward to 1972 or therebouts, and you have Power Records, which made LP's and 45's of popular tv and comic book properties.  These things were like old-time radio serials.  The 45's generally came with an accompanying comic book, while the LP's generally just had a five-panel strip that would give you sort of a visual image of the story that you were hearing (hey, they had to compete with tv, even back then).

These things were about as exciting as a radio serial, which is to say, not much to a more sophisticated audience, but most of us geeks loved these things as children.

And this particular issue of Amazing Spider-Man and the one that follows it were cut-and-pasted into a script for a Power Records release.  I remember when my mom brought it into my room.  No particular reason.  It wasn't a holiday, other than Mom Just Brought Me Something Awesome Day!

Now that I've had a chance to look at these old comics, it is hilarious how disjointed it is as a stand-alone item.  By this time, Norman Osborn had murdered Gwen Stacy, Norman himself had died, Harry Osborn had gone through his drug-experimentation phase, and J.Jonah Jameson had hired Luke Cage to attack Spider-Man, whom he blamed for Norman Osborn's death.  You'd think they would have cut out any references to any of that stuff.

Well, they didn't.  There are references to dang near all of it, and I had no idea what they were talking about most of the time.  What?  Who did Spider-Man supposedly kill?  A guy?  Who was Gwen?  But I got to hear Spider-Man, and I suppose that's what really mattered.  The same thing happened when I read/heard the Captain America one - who was the madman that had taken his place in the 1950's that they were talking about?  And why does the Falcon sound exactly like Joe Robertson from the Spider-Man record?  Eh, who cared?

There were a bunch of Power Records project, where "The Action Comes Alive as You Read!"(tm! - their tm, not mine).  Give a listen, if you like, to this particular issue.  The page has a bad habit of playing all three sound clips at the same time, so pause the other two.  We'll keep our eyes peeled for other Power Record swipes as we go through our happy journey.  That Captain America one wouldn't be hard to find, either, but I don't like Captain America so I doubt I'll find it.

Hey!  It's time for Fun with Out of Context Dialogue(tm!):

Okay, I have a question:

Doesn't Spider-Man just adjust the spray of the webbing by twisting the nozzle on the web-shooter?  How "complicated" an adjustment is that?

I could be wrong, as I'm not the biggest Spider-Man devotee.  Feel free to enlighten me (as if I could stop you...)

See you Monday!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chocko! Thursday!

Hey!  A reminder to check out Snatcher Bodies, the online comic I'm doing with Gabe Ostley.  Remember, it's updated every Wednesday.

Amazing Spider-Man #112-115 was a multi-part epic that involved Spidey, Hammerhead, and the Courtship of Doc Ock to Peter Parker's Aunt May.  This holds a special place in my heart because Amazing #115 was the first Spidey comic I ever read.  Up until then, my only exposure to the character was his picture on the side of the boxes that held my Mego Action Figures, and I thought he was gross because of those webs dangling under his arms.  Shortly after reading this comic, I got to liking the guy, and the Spidey Super Stories segments on The Electric Company television show cemented my fondness for the character, although I've only checked in on him periodically over the years.

But enough nostalgia!  Time for Sound Effects Theatre! (tm!):


Of course, no issue of Amazing back in the Silver Age would be complete without a Disembodied Floating Head of Guilt! (tm!):

I realize this is only Pete's imagination, but if Aunt May was really looking like that, she needed to see a doctor.  Frankly, she already looks a little late for penicillin, if you catch my drift.

Oddly enough, the first Spidey comic I read had the character "Out of Uniform" of sorts.  Doc Ock had torn off Pete's mask earlier, and Pete didn't have time to make a new one, so he pilfered one out of a costume shop.  He complained that it was difficult for him to breathe in the replacement mask, but it also failed to cover his eyes.  Thusly:

I may have mentioned this before, but I greatly prefer the exposed eyes.  Look at the emotion you can convey that way.  I realize that it's much easier to draw blank ovals (and after drawing all those webs, I can understand an artist's desire for any short cut s/he could get), but it's a better look.  He kept it for an ish or two after, but would resort back to the two-way mirrored lenses again, and hasn't gone back since.  It's a shame.  If I'm ever editor-in-chief at Marvel, that's the first thing that's going to happen.

Well, the first thing that's going to happen is I'm suspending every X-Men book and spin-off until they make sense again.  But the second thing I'm doing is to reinstate the eye holes.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

As Soon as I Touched the Fluid, It Got All Sticky Wednesday!

From Amazing Spider-Man #107:

Ever the fearsome negotiator, J.Jonah would often employ "fingers crossed," "takesies backsies," and "do-over!" to gain the upper hand.

And now, perhaps the most infamous Fun with Out of Context Dialogue(tm!) panels ever, from Amazing #108:

Good old Harry Osborn, the consummate wingman.  I almost left out the third panel just to be vulgar, but we try to keep it clean around here.  Sorta. 

Hey!  It's the Disapproving Disembodied Floating Head of Kraven the Hunter! (tm!), from Amazing #111!:

And the monkey-looking guy is, of course, the Gibbon.  I rather liked the Gibbon, because he had a suitably tragic origin and was motivated by a desire to be taken seriously, which made him a somewhat sympathetic character.  He certainly didn't deserve to be chastised by a Disembodied Floating Head (tm).

See  you tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cleaning Up Some Odds and Ends Tuesday!

I really haven't properly mentioned that while Gabe and I are working on Hero Action Persons, we've also been putting out an online comic just for fun.  You see, Gabe drew this thing years ago, but he wasn't happy with his dialog, so he foolishly suggested I once again ruin his excellent inks with my terrible scripts.  But, there you go.  He's sending it to me one page at a time, so I'm writing things without knowing what the future holds.  It should be fun.

So, check it out 'chere.  We'll be posting a new page every Wednesday!

So, yesterday I was talking about the disturbing situation that arises when one gets all romantic and what-not with someone who is the exact duplicate of one's cousin.  I asked that we not see it again.  So naturally, long-time reader MarvelX42 ignored my wishes thusly:

Yup.  Guess who it really is. 

It gets worse.  Here's a little blurb from Action Comics #289:

I'm sorry, but some things are better left unsaid.  If you're attracted to someone, especially if that person is a blood relative, you really should keep that under your figurative hat.

And yes, I know some countries think this is perfectly okay.  This is all in fun, folks!

See you tomorrow!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Uncomfortable Moral Grounds Monday!

Let's start the week off with a very interesting moment back in Amazing Spider-Man #101, the middle of the classic "Spider-Man has Six Arms" storyline:

Yup.  Peter is mentioning the name of one of DC Comics' most popular characters.  There's a certain amount of testicular fortitude when mention the names of characters from another company.  It's kinda like saying, "Yeah, DC Comics publishes Batman!  We can afford to give them this free plug because we're that much better."  Very ballsy.

Here's a little Something I Find Disturbing (tm!):

Um, I don't care if it's not really Supergirl or just her "double."  That person looks and talks exactly like your cousin and what you are doing is quite creepy.  Let's not do that again.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, December 10, 2010

No Wonder He Needs a Computer to Find Dates Friday!

Are you reading Snatcher Bodies? You should.

Meanwhile, from Detective Comics #595.  We all know Batman can handle a truck driver...

... but we didn't know how he would fare against a Centaurian Zheerfang!

And now we do.  We also know that spell-check refuses to acknowledge "Centaurian Zheerfang," so be advised.

From Detective #395, with that purty, purty Neal Adams art:

I'm not fluent in Spanish, but I'm pretty sure you don't want to go to any gathering hosted by a guy named Muerto.  You just don't.

Hey!  It's computer dating circa 1969, courtesy of Detective #396:

See?  Everything old is new again.  Except he didn't have to explain why he used his high school Senior photo as his profile pic.

And don't knock the sheepish, homely guy, Babs!  It worked out fine for Beloved!

See you Monday!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

That Cooky is Too Smart Thursday!

Being a jaded comic book nerdlinger, you'd probably see this cover and think, "Yeah, right. Another bait-and-switch plot where things aren't as they seem."

And for the first time in your life, you'd be wrong.

Detective Comics #393 was indeed the last issue where Batman and Robin worked together as a regular team.  As you can probably tell, changes were being made to the Batman character, and it finally occurred to someone that the darker, more realistic stories were hard to write when Bruce was running around with a  high-school kid in a green elf shoes and a cape the color of Big Bird.

But do we go out with dignity?  Would I be mentioning it if we had?

Flashlights?  Never heard of 'em.

Leaving the keys in the Batmobile?  What could possibly go wrong?

Hey!  The bad guy left his flashlight behind!  Cool!  Maybe we ought to start carrying one ourselves!

You get the idea.  Not that the two didn't have their silly moments in days gone by, but they probably could have looked a bit more polished at the end of the era.  Geez, it had been a thirty-year run!

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Satisfied, Crime-Pooper? Wednesday!

Somehow, it got past me that an interview I did with Jon at Random Acts of Geekery was posted last week or so.  Check out a bit more of the man, the myth, the general nuisance right 'chere.

Let's check in on Batman over in Detective Comics.  Here in 'Tec #390, Batman encounters a throwaway villain called the Masquerader, who was directing his goons to tear at Batman's uniform during every encounter.  Surprisingly, this wasn't to bring in more female readers, but was instead to....

Yes, to find out the name of Batman's tailor.

Now, the "tailor to heroes and villains" angle has been used many times, but you have to wonder why Batman would be so stupid as to allow this information to be sewn right into his clothes.  Bats is usually much more thorough than this.

But they tried to second-guess me:

There.  See?  Bruce knew it was a possibility that someone would find out who his tailor was.  He just didn't think it was important information.

Okay first: SHENANIGANS!  Does anyone think for a second that the got-dang Batman is going to leave any such clue to where he gets his equipment?  Not even the Happy-Go-Lucky Batman of the 1950's would be that stupid.

And why would Bruce effin' Wayne of all people need a tailor?  What is Alfred doing while all this is going on?  Bruce has been known on several occasions to put Alfred in a Batman costume and put him right in the path of armed criminals, but he won't bother Alfred with his tailoring needs?  Geez, how hard could it be?  I mean, Peter Parker was able to make that Spider-Man suit, and all those little webs are a lot more complicated than the Batman costume.  You know I'm right about this.

Hey!  Here's Something That'll Make You Think Twice! (tm!):

Don't ever use the words "tight" or "loose" when your hands are near another human being's butt.  Just trust me.

Detective #392 was a much better story.  This was my favorite line:

That's my new line whenever I'm inclined to say "I told you so."  The next time Beloved is wrong about something, I'm going to say, "Satisfied, Crime-Pooper?"  I wonder what her reaction will be.  Oh, well.  It's something to look forward to, I suppose.

See you tomorrow, Crime-Poopers!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Disembodied Floating Head(tm!) Theater Tuesday!

So I'm at Amazing Spider-Man #97, the infamous "Harry Osborn does drugs" storyline that was quite groundbreaking in its day, and I start noticing something: There are a lot of Disembodied Floating Heads (tm!) in this story.

First, we have the Inspiring Disembodied Floating Heads of Gwen Stacy (tm!):

Next, we have the "Substance Abuse-Inducing Disembodied Floating Heads of Mary Jane Watson" (tm!):

Note that they come complete with "Fashion Sense-Challenged Peter Parker"!

And, of course, we have the "Dramatic Drug-Induced Floating Self-Heads of Harry Osborn" (tm!):

And, to bring us full circle, we have the "Why Is Gwen Stacy's Disembodied Floating Head Still Here When the Real Gwen Stacy is Right in Front of Me? Disembodied Floating Head" (tm!):

That's a lot of Disembodied Floating Heads (tm!) for one twenty-page issue, don't you think?

Oh, and drugs are bad or something.  Don't let me distract you from the main message there, kids.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Post for You to Skim, Scan and Savor Monday!

Here's a little Monday pick-me-up from Amazing Spider-Man #80:

Oh, those dames.  They make us do the silliest things.  But I showed you this panel to lead into this:

Okay, first check out Harry Osborn's terrible mustache.  Forgot he ever had one, didn't you?

More to the point, "I almost blew the whole secret identity bit"?

Go try and pick up a full-grown man with one arm and hold him above your head.  Go ahead.  I'll wait patiently.


Okay, if you were actually able to do this without injuring yourself or someone else, I hereby accuse you of being a super-hero.  Flash and Harry really were morons.

Hey!  It's the Kangaroo!:

Kangaroos are just too silly-looking to model a super-villain after.  You basically end up with someone like the Leap Frog, and we all know how well that turned out.  In any respect, the origin of him gaining superhuman powers simply by living with the animals remains as stupid as it was when the Golden Age Catman and Black Condor had the same origin.  Shenanigans!

This is me being a brat: While 40 years have gone by, wouldn't Stan and Company love to get some of these feedback forms in the mail?  I'm not saying you should print it off and send it in, but....

See, kids?  Before the Internet, giving fanboy feedback directly was a rare thing, worthy of taking up half a page in a comic!

See you tomorrow!

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Bitter Experience of Fighting Crime in Green Short Pants Friday!

So, let's take a look at Detective Comics #389, which marked the official end of the Adam West Batman - influenced "camp era."  But that doesn't mean we can't find something to nit-pick, does it?

No, it most certainly does not.

Wait. What?  According to whom is it Bruce's duty to reform criminals?  I realize he wants to be socially conscious and all that, but I never thought of Bruce as being the kind of guy who believed that everyone was a good person waiting to come out.  Frankly, I think Dick would be more likely to see the Light of Human Kindness in people, and he's not buying it, at least not at that moment.  I realize I'm inviting a barrage of comments (and, what the heck, you all have been quiet lately), but Bruce's concern is more with the victims.  So there.

And now, Something That You Shouldn't Say to Someone Who Just Got Released from Prison!(tm!):

In a moment of self-awareness, Bruce starts to realize that he just doesn't scare the bad guys like he used to.  He felt that perhaps the "shock value" had worn off.  Frankly, I think it was all that jumping around on giant typewriters and all those trips into outer space that cost him his street cred, but what do I know?:

Yeah, maybe a change of image was in order.  Something like:


Oh, my.  You know what I need to see now?


YEAH!  Wonder Woman fighting a Nazi-trained giant ape!

Eisner Award Committee, it's spelled B-A-R-N-E-T-T.  I look forward to hearing from you .

See you Monday!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Doorknobs! How Do They Work? Thursday!

From Detective Comics #387.  It was common in the Silver and Bronze Ages to have comic characters called by their initials.  Green Lantern was "GL," Kid Flash was "KF," Green Arrow was "GA" and so on.  This didn't always work out:

Robin, please don't call me "B.M."  In the medical community, that is the common abbreviation for "bowel movement."


grooves on a swingin' happenin' scene, baby!

This seems to be a situation where the artist didn't read the script very carefully.  Usually, Gordon turns around and B and R are just gone.  In this case, he turns around and sees them running out the door.  Not very mysterious, to be sure, but we appreciate Gordon playing along.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I'll Do Some Sour-Creaming of My Own! Wednesday!

Here's something you didn't know about the Batarang, courtesy of Detective Comics #386:

Yes.  You can sour-cream a guy with it.  Whatever that means.  WSSSSSSSH KCHANG!

By this time in the series, the Elongated Man and his very nauseating powers were no longer the back-up feature.  Instead, we saw signs that Robin was starting to branch out on his own, both in the original Teen Titans series as well as his own back-up feature in Detective.  The stories were less about crime, and more about social issues.  F'rinstance:

Well, maybe Bolo Tie there shouldn't be hitting on the girl who spent three hours on her appearance.  She just might be a little superficial and unwilling to get to know the "real you."  

Seriously, guys - ask a nerdy girl out.  Nerd girls rule.

Batman hides in plain sight as freewheeling playboy and philanthropist Bruce Wayne:

Apparently, socializing and philanthropy involve learning how to fly experimental jets.  No, Bruce, there's nothing suspicious about that at all.  Here's a hint: Richard Branson does stuff like that because it's consistent with his public persona.  When you try to act like you are just a bored playboy with a heart of gold, doing something like this might call attention to your more adventurous side.

Hey!  It's time for Fun with Out of Context Dialogue!(tm!):

I've just found my new line for ending conversations.

See you tomorrow!