Friday, May 27, 2016

Batman Tells a Joke





A Month of... Batman's Got a Gun, Day 27: Not Without My Mutant



Panels from Batman: The Dark Knight #2 (1986), script and pencils by Frank Miller, inks by Klaus Janson, colors by Lynn Varley, letters by John Costanza

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 148: J. Jonah Jameson, Tracer of Lost Spider-Men



Panels from Amazing Spider-Man #178 (March 1978), script by Len Wein, pencils by Ross Andru, inks by Jim Mooney, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Joe Rosen

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Month of... Batman's Got a Gun, Day 26: The Bad News Batman Goes to Japan


Tonight: I'm turning Japanese! (I really think so.) Because we're reading Batman manga...or, as it's more properly known, BATMANGA! (na na na na na na na na / gong!)

Yes, let's look toward the East (or, if you're reading this from California, the West) to the Rising Sun of the classic work of Jiro Kuwata. Don't forget: read from right to left! Or you'll be very confused, and look hopelessly uncool to those hep, with-in, manga reading kids from their positions of sitting on the floor at Barnes and Noble.


The amazing title "The Man Who Quit Being Human" accompanies the uncanny story of an extraordinary governor evolving to the next level of all-new life...he's becoming a mutant! (There will now be a slight pause so you can riff "The Jesse Ventura Story!") All this mutanting means he can migrate over to Marvel Comics and drink in some of that luxurious, rich X-Men money, but he's still concerned about it. Well, wouldn't you, if you faced the prospect of losing that gorgeous head of hair?


Panels from "The Man Who Quit Being Human" in Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga v.1 (December 2014), originally published in 少年キング [Shonen King] #38/1966-#41/1966 (September 1966), and in translated form in the US in Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga digital comic #16-18 (October 2014); script, pencils, and inks by Jiro Kuwata; translation by Sheldon Drzka; English lettering by Wes Abbott

Y'know, dude, you want somebody to kill you, don't go to the Batman. I mean, Lord Death Manis probably hanging around somewhere nearby, ask him.

Later, as Governor Warner is pelted by gamma rays, Batman is introduced to the "high-powered laser" gun which will enable him not only to shoot Warner, but to scan coupons at his local Savings-Mart. To sum up so far: Batman's got a gun, but he's not too happy about it. Me, i would be over the moon. So much to shoot!


Let's draw back the curtains to reveal our special guest-star: Charles Burns's Black Hole! (cheers, applause)


OH MAN did you see the way it zapped that big-ass metal all into nothingness I really really want one of those!


"Batman, you've pledged to never, ever shoto a gun and kill somebody. Will you shoot a gun and kill someone?" "Yeah, okay."


Batman takes control of the giant laser! It's got handlebars like a motorcycle, so I like to think that this scene was accompanied by Shonen Knife's popular cover of "Born to Be Wild."


But Batman can't pull the trigger, not even to save all of humanity. Well, thanks a lot, Batman. This scene was accompanied by the 5.6.7.8.'s energetic cover of Billy Joel's "An Innocent Man." Yeah, I like to pretty much assume every panel of Batmanga is scored to J-Pop.


Thanks to Batman's cowardly reticence to slaughter a guy just because he possesses the "X" gene, all of humanity is at risk! Especially, for some reason, cosplayers. The mutation has turned Governor Warner into Batman Beyond! With one antenna in the middle of his forehead. He's a Terry McGinnis unicorn. McGinnicorn.


Dramatic...gesture! Speed lines! What looks like the Starfleet symbol on Spock's coffin! Batman is not shooting that laser, darn it!


QUICK BATMAN HURRY SHOOT HIM WITH THE LASER FROM FOUR FEET AWAY oh geez he missed.


Then, when Batman finally does manage to shoot X-Warner, there's no effect. It doesn't leave a scratch, thanks to new Hard-Coat Lemon Pledge! Pledge Furniture Polish: Keeping your home spotless and your mutants unshootable since 1953!


So: Batman has fired a gun, and it didn't do any good. Thus his long-held belief, oft expressed to Robin: "I don't use guns; I never will. The one time I did, I totally whiffed it."

Of course, the "kill me before I become too powerful...too late!" trope is a pretty popular one. Here's one of the more recognizable examples. This oughta make Batman feel lots better: hey, if Wolverine couldn't kill somebody, there's no shame in that. And Wolverine has been known to kill people just for taking the prize out of the cereal box before he gets it. Lookin' at you, Gambit.


Panels from [Uncanny7] X-Men (1963 series) #136 (August 1980), co-plot and script by Chris Claremont, co-plot and pencils by John Byrne, inks by Terry Austin, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Tom Orzechowski

And I'd be amiss (or a miss) if I didn't mention this Batmanga was based on a Batman tale from our own country, Batman #165's "The Man Who Quit the Human Race!" Please note that in the original Batman wasn't asked to kill the Governor, nor does he make any attempt to. "Come on, Robin!" he says, emphasizing the Boy Wonder's name in case you thought he might be addressing Green Lantern. "We've got to knock him out!" You hear that, ya lousy mutie? Batman said knock you out!


Panels from "The Man Who Quit the Human Race!" in Batman #165 (August 1964), script by Gardner F. Fox, pencils by Sheldon Moldoff, inks by Joe Giella

So the score is: Japanese Batman placed in a situation where he must kill, almost can't do it, tries and fails. American Batman: doesn't even get asked to that particular prom.

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 147: These are the dreams of the everyday Jonah



Panels from Amazing Spider-Man #246 (November 1983), script by Roger Stern, pencils by John Romita Jr., inks by Dan Green, colors by Bob Sharen, letters by Joe Rosen

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Month of... Batman's Got a Gun, Day 25: Chariots of Firing Guns



Panels from "The Mystery of the Space Olympics" in Detective Comics #260 (October 1958), pencils by Sheldon Moldoff, inks by Charles Paris

What? Baffled? Bewildered? Bewitched? Batman with a gun, at the Olympics? (Well, the Space Olympics.) You can read more about it at your local library in pal Chris Sims's classic Olympic-year post over at ComicsAlliance: "Batman Dominates 'The Olympic Games of Space' Because Of Course He Does":
Batman turns out to be super awesome at shooting guns! You’d think he’d give that event a pass, but when the honor of an entire planet is at stake, I guess you just have to get past childhood trauma and a life-long moral code.


366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 146: And now, a free monologue for one actor, by J. Jonah Jameson


Panels from Amazing Spider-Man (1963 series) #180 (May 1978), script by Len Wein, breakdowns by Ross Andru, finishes by Mike Esposito, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Joe Rosen

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Today in Comics History: Unhappy Halloween! Or...AM it? (No. It am.)

Happy Bizarro Halloween! from the planet known as Htrae! (Pronounced "hu-tray.")


Panel from "The Halloween Pranks of the Bizarro-Supermen!" in Adventure Comics #294 (March 1962), script by Jerry Siegel, pencils and inks by John Forte

Then, Bizarro No. 1 joins his "buddie-pals" for Halloween celebrations. Say, shouldn't that be "enemy-foes?" Also, instead of join, shouldn't that be "tear apart?" And instead of "then," should it be, "before?" Man, Bizarro World confuses me with its half-assed approach to being completely in reverse.


Ah, the good old days when Bizarro World was off somewhere in the same cosmos as Earth-1. No, according to Multiversity, it's the alternate dimension of Earth-29! Or, at least it will until midnight tonight, when it all gets blown up by Rebirth. BOOM! The New DC Universe...there's no stopping us now...from trying to undo every story since 1935.

So, Happy Halloween, guys! Trick's on you!

A Month of... Batman's Got a Gun, Day 24: You Can Shoot a Lot at a Dummy



Panel from "The Cop Who Hated the Batman!" in Detective Comics #65 (July 1942), script by Joe Greene, pencils by Jack Burnley, inks by George Roussos, background inks by Ray Burnley, letters by Ira Schnapp (?)

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 145: For this they pre-empted Ed Sullivan?


Panels from X-Men/Spider-Man #1 (January 2009); script by Christos Gage; pencils, inks, and colors by Mario Alberti, letters by Jared K. Fletcher

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Month of... Batman's Got a Gun, Day 23: A Salute to One of My Favorite Commenters



Panel from "The Joker Announces Danger" in Batman (1940 series) #97 (February 1956), script by Bill Finger, pencils by Sheldon Moldoff, inks by Charles Paris, letters by Pat Gordon

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 144: Another trip to the cardiac ward for JJJ


Panels from Civil War #2 (August 2006), script by Mark Millar, pencils by Steve McNiven, inks by Dexter Vines, colors by Morry Hollowell, letters by Chris Eliopoulos

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Month of... Batman's Got a Gun, Day 22: Final appearance, Fat British Riddler



Panels from Batman Confidential #13 (March 2008), script by Tony Bedard, pencils by Rags Morales, inks by Mark Farmer, colors by I.L.L., letters by John J. Hill

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 143: Sittin' in a hospital bed, frustration goin through my head / Turn off the TV set, take some drugs so I can forget

We'd like to wish a speedy and healthy recovery to J. Jonah Jameson, who's in the hospital for various spider-aggrevated tension, hypertension, amazingtension, spectaculartension, and weboftension.


Panels from Amazing Spider-Man (1963 series) #71 (April 1969), plot and layouts by John Romita Sr., script by Stan Lee, finishes by Jim Mooney, letters by Sam Rosen

Still, he's under good medical care at the Hospital of Our Lady of Perpetual Fictionality, and he's unlikely to suffer any setback for any reason, right?




RIP J. Jonah Jameson, 1919-1969

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Month of... Batman's Got a Gun, Day 21: Bruce Wayne's Got a Gun!


Well hello, "W.T.F." (Wayne Trusts Firearms) Month at DC Comics, where all the cover gatefolds provided a shocking surprise once you opened them! What will the Joker poison Gotham City with? Who is the secret master of the Green Lanterns? Where did Oliver Queen go for lunch? The answer, of course, is Colonel Sanders. For all three.

Here, is the surprise that Bruce Wayne's mortal enemy is not a guy who dresses up like an Antarctic waterfowl or a giant punctuation mark, but his long-time hetero lifemate, Jim Gordon? Or is the shocking twist that Bruce draws a gun so quickly that Jim's jumps out of his hand in suicidal surrender as if it were springloaded? No, it is none of these things. It is that Jim Gordon is a middle-aged man, who, twenty issues later, will be young and buff enough to become Batman himself. Big mistake, guys! Now you have to reboot the entire universe to cover up that mistake. Boy, I sre hope whoever made that blunder got fired for it.


Cover of Batman (2011 series) #19 (June 2013), pencils and inks by Greg Capullo, colors by FCO Plascencia

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 142: Spider-Man Bombs Pearl Harbor!

The strrrrrrrrretching timeline of the Marvel Universe means that pretty much all the events of the MU have taken place in the last, say, 12-15 years. My usual criteria for determining how many years they've been adventuring are the relative ages of Franklin Richards, who was "born" in 1968, and Kitty Pryde, who was 13½ in 1980 and turned 14 in space in Uncanny X-Men #165. And yet Franklin's still at least under 10, and Kitty's old enough (21) to bartend in Mekanix #1 (2002). Which only goes to prove: don't try to apply real-world aging logic to the Marvel Universe.

The real problem happens when stories try to tie events in the Marvel Universe to real-life events or persons. If Captain America got frozen in 1945, then the Avengers unfroze him in Avengers #4 in 1963. That means he's barely eighteen years a man out of time. But if we guesstimate that in today's Marvel Universe, Capsicle got thawed circa 2000 at the earliest — well, he missed a whole a lot more, including the presidency of Ronald Reagan, who, according to canon, got turned into a snake under his watch (Cap #344, 1988). That means that Ben Grimm and Reed Richards, who began their careers described as WWII veterans...ain't. Not anymore.

Which explains how, in 1973, you could actually believe that J. Jonah Jameson had been around the Daily Bugle since the war years, right?



Panels from Sgt. Fury #110 (May 1973), script by Gary Friedrich, pencils by Dick Ayers, inks by Vince Colletta, letters by Herb Cooper

There's some other small references elsewhere in the book, which also shows that Nick Fury knows Jameson:

So, it's canon, fanboys: J. Jonah Jameson is functionally immortal because he has taken the Infinity Formula.

Glad I could clear that up for you.