Saturday, July 30, 2016

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 212: Crisis on Infinite Jonahs Week, Day 7: Love, Reign o'er Me. At least, I hope that's love.


Okay, okay, let's see if we can get through this one together without a lot of snickering. Yes, yes, it's the one where it's the dark dank dismal future of Earth-70237, and Mary Jane Watson is dead, killed by Peter's "stuff." I am not certain what this means, actually. Maybe he had some dangerous weaponry in the attic, or his collection of 1950s Atlas monster comics fell on her. Anyway, she's dead, he's in bad shape, it rains a lot, and you certainly don't need spindly little cranky Old Man Logan Jonah showing up on your apartment doorstep.


Panel from Spider-Man: Reign #1 (February 2007); script, pencils, inks, and colors by Kaare Andrews, letters by Chris Eliopoulos

He's about as welcome a houseguest as a jehovah's Witness selling band candy to support Bernie Sanders going to Capital City for the semi-finals. Also: land shark. And he pretty much gets the reaction you'd expect and he deserves. What, Jonah, he's been living there since the mid-sixties, you never thought to visit Peter before then? Well, maybe he was just creeped out by that "Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better" poster.


But it turns out that this ancient newspaperman actually has a heart of gold, that is, the parts of his heart that haven't shut down from smoking a carton of cigars a day. Jonah's at last putting the needs of the many against the needs of the few (or the one) — In this grim dystopian future, Spider-Man needs to return, must return, shall return. Right?


Eh, maybe not.


Reign! A story completely without cheer, hope, or fun. But at least it gave us bald old J. Jonah Jameson punched out into a filthy puddle, and I think we can all excuse a few dead Mary Janes to see that.

Friday, July 29, 2016

A Month of... Pancakes! Day 29: Aw Yeah Pancakes!


Let us now return to the colorful, wonderful world of Art Baltazar and Franco, the only guys who are more obsessed with pancakes that I am. Uh oh! looks like Evil Cat is once again up to no good! (Boo! Hiss!)


Panels from Aw Yeah Comics! #1 (April 2013); script by Art Baltazar and Franco; pencils, inks, colors, and letters by Art Baltazar

Turns out that the Chef, much like Pete Townshend, lets his love open the door won't get fooled again, vis-a-vis the pancake front. I fully support his caution and he should be asking for a nonreturnable deposit of at least 10% on this fabulous flapjack. Also: it is to be commended that this pancake diner would definitely cater gay weddings, altho' they should maybe stop serving the evil community.


Anyway, enter one giant sentient life-activated giant pancake. The Sensational Character Find of IHOP!


Is this the end for Action Cat and Adventure Bug? Will they be grossly griddled out of existence by this horrible hotcake? Could the criminal cake spell the end for our anthropomorphic action heroes? Tune in, same Aw Yeah Time, same Aw Yeah...oh wait, the pancake has other life plans in mind. Dance, pancake, dance!


All's well that ends well, pancakely speaking, and yes indeed, justice is served! Also served: the bill.


366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 211: Crisis on Infinite Jonahs Week, Day 6: Don't tie me donkey down there


Earth-7848! (When oh when shall we get to Earth-7-11? I'm dying for a Slurpee!) Where the Marvel Bullpen asks us the musical question "What If...the world knew Daredevil was blind?" (Musical answer: He'd really be in quite a bind!)


Panel from "What If the World Knew Daredevil Was Blind?" in What If? (1977 series) #8 (April 1978), script by Don Glut, breakdowns by Alan Kupperberg, finishes by Jim Mooney, colors by Mary Ellen Beveridge (she's refreshing!), letters by Karin Kish

BWHA-HA-HA-HA it's funny because we've all been thinking it! (And you can read more about this blindingly brilliant tale over at Siskoid's Blog of Geekery!)

But this isn't 365 Days of Daredevil, is it? (Musical answer: No, it's not! You're a silly git!) There's also a back-up tale in What If? #8 that is more in keeping with out Triple J-oriented programming. So here, straight from Earth-7840, just as I promised you not only at the beginning of the week but also on day one of this crazy concept:

J. JONAH JACKASS


Panel from "What If the Spider Had Been Bitten by a Radioactive Human?" in What If? (1977 series) #8 (April 1978); script, pencils, and inks by Scott Shaw!; colors by Carl Gafford; letters by Carol Lay

BWHA-HA-HA-HA it's funny because we've all been thinking this one too! (snicker)

By the time the second funny-animal Jonah pops up within the pages of Earth-8311's Sensational Character Find of 1983 — Peter Porker, The Sensational Spider-Ham! — JJJ's got a name kids can yell on the playground and not get rapped over the knuckles for:

J. JONAH JACKAL


Panels from Peter Porker, The Sensational Spider-Ham #1 (May 1985); script by Steve Skeates, pencils by Mark Armstrong, inks by Joe Albelo, colors by Steve Mellor, letters by Rick Parker

Say, why the long face, Jonah?

Please note he gives poor Peter no more print credit than his human equivalent does:


...although this Jonah seems like he is a little bit more liable to cut footloose:


But rest reassured, Dear Reader, as we shall see the Jackass version of JJJ at least once more, this time on Earth-9997:


Panel from Earth X #X (June 2000), co-plot and script by by Jim Krueger, co-plot by Alex Ross, pencils by John Paul Leon, inks by Bill Reinhold, colors by Melissa Edwards, letters by Todd Klein

So, in musical conclusion:

Play that theme man!
Jackass will jump and bray, let him bray, let him bray
I say the Jackass will jump and bray
Lordy let him bray, let him bray, everybody!




Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Month of... Pancakes! Day 28: Pancake Heartbreak


Uh oh! Somebody put Archie Andrews in a hot wash an' shrunk 'im!


Panel from "Flapjack Fling" Little Archie Giant Comics #6 (Spring 1958); script, pencils, inks, and letters by Bob Bolling

I consider the Bob Bolling Little Archies masterpieces of kids' comics, right up there alongside John Stanley's Little Lulu, Barks's Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck, Fred Toole and Al Wiseman's Dennis the Menace, Sheldon Meyers's Sugar and Spike, and Walt Kelly's Pogo Possum. Witty, charming, and beautifully drawn, it deserves a big hardcover boxed set of several volumes collecting the complete Bob Bolling. How about it, Archie Comics? If you don't wanna, why not license the books to Fantagraphics? What, are ya scared? Nyah nyah nyah nyah!

Ahem. Little Archie makes pancakes.


Archie Andrews: Men's Rights Activist. Of course, antics ensue, mostly because that's what antics do.


Enter: Mom Andrews! It's "antics" like this that made her say to Fred: "Only one child!" In fact, pretty much everybody in Riverdale except the Joneses thought the same.


Man, I love that fourth panel above, with Betty and Veronica skipping down the stairs. Anyway, sitcom catastrophe is now set up, and the pay-off is coming in for a landing in five...four...three...


No harm done, then! Also, judging from his initial reaction, I think that French guy wants to have a menage a trois with Fred and Mary Andrews. But that's a whole 'nother comic book. Probably Pep. Anyway, all's well that ends well, and Archie has learned a valuable lesson, which was the whole point — hasn't he?


Pancakes!

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 210: : Crisis on Infinite Jonahs Week, Day 5: Marvel Team-up X-Treme


Earth-96282. "What If J. Jonah Jameson Adopted Spider-Man?" And it had this as the final page.


Page from What If (1989 series) #82 (February 1996), script by William Messner-Loebs, pencils by Anthony Williams, inks by Andy Lanning, colors by Maria Parwulski, letters by Gaspar Saladino

That's about all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Month of... Pancakes! Day 27: Trading Pancakes



Panels from "Twisted Toyfare Theatre: Up and Adamantium" in Toyfare #106 (June 2006

Yes, Twisted Toyfare Theatre: the fumetti strip that couldn't figure out how to end a sequential gag on the final panel of the page.

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 209: Crisis on Infinite Jonahs Week, Day 4: Jonah of Two Earths


Welcome to Crossover-Earth, aka Earth-7642, aka the One Where All Those DC/Marvel Crossover Events Took place, more or less, sorta. It's a world where Spider-Man and Superman work for competing newspapers, where two guys named Bruce can fight evil, where some titanic teens battle alongside the children of the atom, where Galactus eats Darkseid, and where Howard the Duck could team up with Detective Chimp, if only Marvel and DC didn't start getting ticked off at each other and pretty much put an end to all those inter-company hoopla. Yep, I'm talking about what started off in 1976's Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man, comics' first appearance of Earth-7642. I'm not certain why they didn't call it Earth-617 (1 + 616), but hey, that's why Carmine Infantino made the big bucks. And it wouldn't be an earth we could enjoy if it didn't have J. Jonah Jameson up to his usual old penny-pinching tricks. (Buckle in, kids, this is gonna be an extensive one!)



Panels from Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man one-shot (January 1976), script by Gerry Conway, pencils by Ross Andru, Superman redraws by Neal Adams, Peter Parker/Marvel character redraws by John Romita Sr., inks by Dick Giordano, background inks by Terry Austin and Bob Wiacek, colors by Jerry Serpe, letters by Gaspar Saladino

Boy! I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder.



Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Month of... Pancakes! Day 26: Pancakes, Pork and Cheesecake


On the very first day of this fine flapjack feature, Pancake Pal Erich grilled griddled me the request
I hope you'll include the Golden Age Phantom Lady #14. ("Juss what liddle Porky needs...flapjacks!")
I hadn't read that before, Erich, and it's a hoot! And in addition to its owl-esque properties, it's also the subject of today's post! In thankfulness, Erich, please consider yourself the worthy recipient of a light and fluffy, golden-brown No-Bull Prize! (With Syrup!)

Say, what's that about this Porky fella anyway?


Panels from "A Shroud for the Bride!" in Phantom Lady #14 (October 1947); script by Ruth Roche (?), pencils and inks by Matt Baker

I hereby propose that Porky Mead is the Sensational Comics Find of 1947, and that his catchphrase, a tipisly slurred "Juss what liddle Porky needs...flapjacks!" should be the advertising motto of Bisquick. Remember in those heady, boom-town post-War days when all the kids were saying it? Remember how many laughs Fred Allen got on his show when it became a running gag? Remember Bogart using it as his dying words in the motion picture The Treasure of the Sierra Madre House of Pancakes (Warner Bros, 1948)? Sure, we all do!

As you might have guessed, Porky not only got his pancakes, he picked up a date to the ball that night. Rosie the waitress was her name, and it's nice to see a very early role by Nancy Walker. (Seriously, ladies, don't accept dates from strangers unless you're in a fairy tale and wearing glass slippers.) Trouble is: that night at the ball, Rosie winds up...smothered in syrup murdered! There will now be a slight pause while we all mentally hum and suspenseful chord to ourselves. (Da da DAAAAAAH!)

Of course, since this here comic book is the property of Phantom Lady, retroactively canonical cousin of Ted "Starman"/"Meanwhile, Back at Justice League Headquarters" Knight, even though they started out at completely different competing comic book companies. All together now: Thanks, Roy Thomas! P.L. shines her headlights on crime by tracking down and apprehending Rosie's murderer by trying shoes on random debutantes. Hey, maybe it is a fairy tale! But honestly, I don't think that's entirely the full focus of the story itself. We now present, without comment (because i'm too young to look at 'em) assorted and completely random panels from the rest of the story. Say, Doctor Wertham!









Phantom Lady! She don't need no steenkin' Comics Code!



Down the Internet Wormhole Dept.: One thing I did not expect to find when I was researching some of the tangent jokes in this post (sometimes termed "looking for Wonder Woman on a Jet Ski") is that Nancy Walker did a concept album entitled I Hate Men.



"That's offensive to men!" declares a great wailing of Internet Bros.

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 208: Crisis on Infinite Jonahs Week, Day 3: Wedding Crashers


Before there was Spider-Gwen, before there was Gwenpool, there was a girl called Gwen Stacy, and she died. I may have mentioned this once or twice.

But on Earth-7736, an Earth about twelve and a half times better than Marvel's Earth-616 (do the math!), Gwen Stacy did not die! It's covered in the monumental What If #24, and you can see all the circumstances here in one of my old posts. What If? #24 is my second favorite ish of that can't-kill-it title (after the Shakespearean twist on Doctor Doom in #22), and it's partly because it saves one of my favorite supporting characters un comics from a fate worse than death (being brought back as a clone repeatedly).

What's the other part? Well, first let's check in on J. Jonah Jameson of Earth-7736. He's a jerk. A life-ruining jerk.


Panels from What If? (1977 series) #24 (December 1980), script by Tony Isabella; breakdowns by Gil Kane; finishes by Frank Giacoia with Carl Gafford, Peter Poplaski, Ron Zalme, and Joe Albelo; colors by Joe Rosas, letters by Tom Orzechowski

Gee, I almost didn't recognize Gwen there without her trademark headband.

Needless to say, never do that to anybody's wedding, no matter how long a pause the minister gives you after "If anyone here should see any just cause why the couple here should not be married..." Don't do that. It's just jerky. I didn't do it at Keira Knightley's wedding, and neither should you. For the sake of Aunt May's tender heart if nothing else.


Also in this issue: the origin of Gwen Stacy's crippling tinnitus.


Remember when I said before it was a happy story? Well, I lied. (I do that sometimes.) This is right up there withthe ending to every episode ever of The Incredible Hulk TV series. Cue the tinkling piano!


No one dies in this continuity — not even Norman Osborn — but it's a more striking twist than usual for What If?, the series of which it has been said "every issue ends with Iron Man being killed." Regardless of my preference for happy endings, I love this story because it sets up a status quo unusual for most of the rest of the series: it's a springboard for even more stories. It not only demands a sequel, I'd love to see a couple year's continuity set in this universe, with Spidey on the run, Aunt May hovering on the edge of death and despair, and the unlikely trip of Gwen, Flash, and Robbie searching to clear Peter's name, while JJJ ponders his actions from his throne of fame. It is perhaps the richest of possibilities and maybe the purest and closest to Roy Thomas's original concept of What If?: to spur thought and imagination into how a single small change can alter familiar characters and actions. It's the promise and imagination of infinite Earths and the multiverse of stories within them.