Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Rare Batman Fail

Taking a step to the somber with Detective Comics #485, which is noteworthy for a couple of reasons.  First, there was this clash between Batman and the Bronze Tiger:

I did not doctor or place these panels out of order.  The Tiger soundly defeats Bats (who, don't get me wrong, is still one of my favorite characters) fair and square.

Which leads to this historic moment in comics:

Yup.  It's the murder of the original Batwoman.  Sort of.  There's that whole multiverse thing that is way too complicated to explain to non-comic nerds.  Anyway, Batwoman meets her unfortunate end:

It was off-panel, true.  But I think that was more of a Comics Code issue.  Back in the day, you couldn't be nearly as gross as comics are now.

A couple of issues later, I ran into the character of "Ma Murder":

Normally, I make fun of made-up names that suggest some sort of pre-destiny.  You know, like "E. Nigma" became the Riddler.  So, I got on The Google and looked to see if there was even a "Mhurder" surname.  And, sure enough, there is!  Well-played, Denny O'Neil.  Well-played.

So, we get to Detective Comics #490, and our narrator seems to forget something:

Bats is "the ultimate martial artist"?  Because it seems to me like, five issues earlier, the "ultimate martial artist" got his clock cleaned by the Bronze Tiger.  I'm just saying.  It's probably a little early to be proclaiming you're the baddest when you're coming off one of your few clean losses.

And John Ostrander's Suicide Squad rules.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bunnies, Bees, Bears... Oh My!

 Let the merriment continue with a look at Heroic Comics #29.  Heroic was an interest genre mash-up of war comics and costumed types like the Music Master, Rainbow Boy, Man O'Metal (was he Irish?  That sounds Irish) and, of course, Hydroman.

Hydroman's weakness?


Yes, a face full of bunnies apparently took him right out.  In Hydro's defense, we've seen playing cards and poker chips take people out in bigger-named comics than this one.

It's really funnier if you imagine Hydroman saying, "NO!  NOT THE BUNNIES!" the same way Nicolas Cage said this:

I've never seen The Wicker Man, where this clip comes from, but I hear he punches a woman while wearing a bear suit.  Here, someone hilariously added the theme song to Chariots of Fire:

I watched Chariots of Fire as a child, and I learned that Oscar-nominated movies are often incredibly dull.  This clip was an awesome use of that theme, so kudos to whoever did it.

And while we're on movies, I saw this ad in the comic:

I'm not trying to be a jerk, but neither IMDB nor Google put this kid in that movie.  He very well might have been, but the info I found on that movie doesn't seem to have him in it, so I'm wondering if he played a bit part, like "Boy with Irritable Bowel Syndrome" or something.  And they say there's no such thing as a small part, only small actors, but I don't know that I'd be demanding everyone's attention for it.  Heck, my last music project is listed in's "Artists from A to Z," but you don't see me taking out big ads in comics over it... although I do think it's rather awesome.

Here's a fun contribution from Wayne Allen Sallee, from Golden Age Blue Beetle (the Fox years), #6!  We'll be getting to that run, but Wayne found a back cover that isn't to be missed:

Hmmmm.  He sure doesn't look very happy with his life choices, despite his increase in income.  He probably found out that he had paid vacations, retirement, insurance and other benefits with his union job at the shoe factory and (at least back in the day) I don't think that was common at radio stations.  You've got to look at the whole package, folks.  Let this be a lesson to all of us.

Thanks, Wayne!

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Supergirl: As Resourceful as She is Lovely!

Action Comics #360 was another over-sized (and therefore fabulous) issue that had reprints of a multi-part Supergirl saga.  Or, as she likes to call herself:

Well, toot toot!  Just in case you were wondering if she was any relation to Superman, there it is.

Yeah, because fame and glory are what it's all about, right?  Blarg.  Time for some Fun with Out of Context Dialogue (tm!):


Meanwhile, Supergirl...

... understands men.

And now, a Moment of Comic Book Greatness! (tm!)

Supergirl fights bacteria!  Yeah!

Yes... she's in a bloodstream, and that's bacteria.  Bacteria that looks like Zorak from Space Ghost, but it's bacteria.

Here's a rare appearance of a real-world person, I think:

It's nothing unusual for JFK to make an appearance, but I don't think I've ever seen Jackie.  Cool beans!

See you tomorrow!

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Awesome Origin of Sparky, the Blue Beetle's Sensational Assistant!

Not that anyone is clamoring for it, but let's check out Golden Age Blue Beetle #14, which (as the cover clearly states) has the first appearance of Sparky.

... the Sensational Assistant.

Oh, my.  That is hilarious.  I could stop today's post right here and feel like I have earned your visit here today.  But there was someone else making a debut in this ish, and he is not to be missed:

Yes, the Red Robe.  Why do we care?

Because he's just so dang enthusiastic:

I like this guy.  He kills while wearing a green skull mask and runs away, laughing.  It would be years before the Joker would be this zany and cool:

I may not like what the man does, what with the shooting an unarmed man and all, but I appreciate his zeal.

Oh, before we go any further, here's some Fun with Out of Context Dialogue! (tm!):

times 2:


Anyway, back to the Red Robe, with another installment of What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (tm!):

Yeah, all things considered, why not go snooping around in hiding places.  What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (tm!)

Oh.  Well, there's always that.

And the Red Robe won't just kill people in front of you and laugh about it.  The man's debate skills are right up there with Lincoln and Douglas, as we take a look at an installment of Well.... Touche! (tm!):

Well... Touche! (tm!)

TELL me you don't love this guy.  You can't.  He's the most entertaining character of the entire Golden Age.

But, of course, the Blue Beetle can't have that:

Sadly, I believe it was his finish.  He was German, so we can assume he got the chair.  Tragic.  TRAGIC, I tells ya!

Anyway, back to the amazing origin story of Sparky, the Sensational Assistant:

Yup.  For some reason, the story wasn't ready in time to go to press.  No one seems to know the details for certain.  In the next issue, he'd just show up, ready for work.  So... there's his origin, folks.  Enjoy!

And yes, Sparky would later become "Spunky,"... because that's so much cooler.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Superman's Day in Court

Okay, I'm back on speaking terms with Action Comics now that I'm up to issue #359.  Any time I get some Fun with Out of Context Dialogue (tm!), I just can't stay mad.  Let's check it out!:

Oh, Superman.  I think you need to see this:

Anyway, Superman is on trial for killing a guy.  Everyone knows it was a total accident and the victim willingly participated in the boxing match where Superham permanently punched his lights out,  but Supes is getting charged with homicide anyway.  I'm not sure why.  Anyway, here it is:

I can't watch courtroom dramas because I'll critique how inaccurate they are.  Beloved says I take all the fun out of them, so I'll do my best to silence myself.  But I can tell you this: If I piped up during the prosecution's opening statement, the judge would be having a word with me in his chambers.  But apparently, this is criminal procedure in Metropolis.

Hmmmm... the fact that the scientist's inexplicably green hair has me perplexed notwithstanding, that's a valid point.  And it was totally improper for the prosecutor to make it at that time.

(A) Superham's defense counsel is asserting something for which there is no evidence and (B) WHY is everyone's hair turning green?

Wow, this prosecutor takes a lot of digs.  I'm surprised the judge is putting up with it, but I guess he feels obliged since he let Superman's attorney interrupt the prosecution's opening statements. 

Yeah, Ironside!  Superman is all about "Truth, Justice and the American Way," right?  Howzabout that?  Did you think of that, or were you just hoping we'd be so impressed by your dramatic pointing and the fact that your hair isn't green any longer that we wouldn't notice?

I'm telling you, Action Comics has really taken an awesome turn.  First Zha-Vam, and now this prosecutor.  Good times, my friends!

And then, blah blah blah, something happens that gets Superman's fat out of the fire and kills my buzz.  I find I tend to enjoy Action Comics more if I disregard the last few pages.  If these weren't borrowed copies, I'd just rip 'em clean out of the comic.

Anyway, Superman does this:

Ooooookay.  Why didn't you do this before the guy took your case?  I mean, it sounds like it took all of five seconds.  I think Superman was just holding back on helping the guy so he could use it as payment for legal services rendered.  Superham is such a jerk.

See you Monday!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Blue Beetle has a New Partner.. YES SIR!

So, I was going to talk about the triumphant third chapter in the Zha-Vam saga in Action Comics, wherein I presumed that Zha-Vam would continue to give Superman the comeuppance I've come to enjoy and... well, I read the last chapter and found that it made me cry real tears did not meet the needs of the blog at this time.  And Superman totally cheated.  That's all I'll say about that.

Let's talk about Sparky:

Is "Sparkington" a name?  People give their kids weird names, to be sure, but that's a new one.  So, I went on the Google and... sure enough, there it was.  Granted, it's usually a surname, but that's fair game.  It makes no sense to wear a mask and go by your real name, but it's not like he's the first sidekick to do it.

I've got to point out, though, that his rope-swinging skills leave something to be desired:

We don't actually see the rope there, but I presume that's what is going on.  Sidekicks often tend to be more trouble than they're worth (being the designated hostage and all), but this kid is physically hindering the Blue Beetle to the point that I wouldn't blame the Beetle if he smacked the kid.

Or maybe Sparky is the Blue Beetle's living cape.  You know, like when sushi is served on the body of a real human being at parties for some reason.

What is it, Sparky?  It better not be long pants!  You know how I feel about you wearing long pants!

Then I saw this.  This is disturbing:

No, it wasn't part of a story.  These people were giving away a puppy.  Was there a puppy shortage back in the day or something?  Because that isn't the case now.  
Seriously, folks, get your animal spayed or neutered.  None of this "just one litter" nonsense.  In the United States, we're still euthanizing 3-4 million animals a year according to the HSUS, so you're an idiot if you breed a dog for profit, the giggles, or "a chance for the kids to experience the miracle of birth."  Go to the shelter and "experience the tragedy of death" a few times, and maybe that'll be a more responsible lesson to teach your offspring.

And while you're at the shelter, adopt a new best pal.

Sparky definitely reads like the poor man's Bucky, who was arguably the poor man's Robin.  But to Sparky's credit, he didn't hesitate to shill for the publisher:

See?  Sparky was willing to resist capture and a charge of obstructing an officer to give a shout-out.  It sounds like Cat-Man Comics were better in Sparky's opinion than his own, but you've got to give the guy respect for his honesty.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Live, Superman! Live and Suffer!

I enjoyed yesterday's trouncing of Superman so much, let's check out the second installment of what is perhaps the greatest comic book trilogy ever, courtesy of Action #252:

"The Victory of Zha-Vam!"  Yeah!  Sign me up!

Superman showing off again.  I wish someone would...


Zha-Vam keeps making Superman press one of the letters on that funky belt of his.  I think it's like in prison where they make you grab a guy's pants pocket.

Hey, if I'm solid stone, do you think you could resist the urge at trying to shatter my stone body?

I know... we saw this in the opening panel, but you can't see enough of this sort of thing.


But Superham can't handle someone being more powerful than he is, so he tries to exploit Zha-Vam's weakness.

That is, if Zha-Vam had a weakness:

Woot!  Take that, Big Blue!

You know, I was afraid to read this comic because I was afraid it would somehow undo all of Zha-Vam's good deeds from Action Comics #351.  But I can see that these fears were groundless.  I'm sure that when I read the third part, it will be nothing but feel-good instances like these.  I love comics.

See you tomorrow for more Zha-Vamin' Superman-bashin' good times!