I know this is just a drop in the bucket for some of you, but I'm pleased as Hawaiian Punch (and a li'l surprised) at this: this is my five hundredth post on this blog. Not bad for a little stuffed guy without opposable thumbs, huh?
None of this would be possible...or have a point...without the wonderful people who read, comment, link to and enjoy my little puppet-town cow-blog here. That's you! Give yourself a big hand or hoof, whichever you have, for keeping the joy in blogging and making the fun come alive for me. Thank you, each and every one, for reading!
ETERNALS #6: This comic is fun...sorta. Hey, hey, hey! Number 6 of 7?!? A quick check at my other issues of this miniseries shows it was s'posed t'be a six-issue limited series. That's some kinda bait-n-switch, Marvel! Luckily I'm enjoying this, and the action ramps up to high tension in this final penultimate issue, in which the Celestial's secret is revealed and the Eternals are all that stands between us and a good night's sleep. At the heart of it, though, this reads like very nearly any other superhero comic (maybe a touch quieter than some)...I'd expected something more innovative from Neil Gaiman. And the constant tie-ins to Civil War are gonna date this horribly. That said, it ain't bad, and I've been enjoying it, but I wouldn't wanna see them stretch it out to eight issues. (And hey, on the cover, doesn't Ikaris look like Miracleman?)
DOCTOR STRANGE: THE OATH #4: This comic is fun. Now this is the way ya do a second-to-last issue of a miniseries! (Don't prove me wrong by turning the series into #5 of 6 next issue, Marvel!) Doc faces the architect of his troubles and it's a retcon (or is that continuity implant?), but it's done with such flair and a neat sideways knife twist that I've got no problem with it. Marcos Martin's art is a wonderful homage to Steve Ditko's but firmly original and innovative on its own, and I'm really enjoying the Night Nurse: I get a kick out of the supporting characters and "working stiffs" of the Marvel Universe. (Bring back Damage Control!) And oh no...I'm biting my hooves over the final page! Say it ain't so, Marvel! Well, it's comic books, so it never is so...but that won't stop me from being jittery all month long waiting for the conclusion!
HEROES FOR HIRE #6: This comic is fun. Remember those great Marvel Comics of yesteryear that challenged you on the cover to identify the story's bad guy? "You'll never guess the identity of this issue's villain!" But for every absolutely far-out villain-identity revelation that you never woulda guessed and totally blew your mind there was a dozen that goaded you that you'll never guess the identity of the guy who had the exact sillhouette of the Puppet Master. (Bruce Timm lovingly parodied this on the cover of his brilliant Avengers #1½.) What's all this got to do with Heroes for Hire? Simply that it takes a lot to surprise me these days in comics, and the revelation of the surprise supervillain deadly robot hit me like a ton of bricks. (Okay, make fun of me for not realizing it even after they suggested his first name.) I guessed that the Headmen were going to guest-star, but never the guy who pops up in the rat-infested, garbage-strewn West Side Highway overpass. Speaking of Marvel Manhattan, this ish also kicks off with a wonderfully detailed and realistic panel of the Diamond District that looks more like real New York than most anything in Marvel since the days of John Romita Sr. I'm enjoying the heck out of this book, and what the hey, for surprising me and making me giggle out loud in delight at the revelation of the bad guy's ID, let's call HEROES FOR HIRE #6 the most fun comic of the week. (Although Misty looks awful short on the cover, don't she?)
X-FACTOR #15: This comic is fun. in between the surprise villain I just hinted at, and M.O.D.O.K. poppin' up all over the place, and Ego making a return visit, and Hydra being a big part of this current X-Factor storyline...I hereby declare 2007 the Year of the Supervillain! An' it can't come a moment too soon for me...after a year of heroes acting like jerks, it's nice to see the villainy back on the side of the guys who cackle and rub their fingertips together. You get two plots for your dime (warning: a dime does not actually buy a comic book) in this issue: Madrox being interrogated and brainwashed by Hydra while M and Siryn face off against anti-mutant mobs in Paris. (Between Ben Grimm moving to Paris and this issue, there's almost the beginning of Avengers Europe here, ain't there?) Don't worry, Madrox fans: Jaime escapes via a dandy (tho' macabre) twist at the end. (Now that's something you'd never see Wolverine doin'!)
52 WEEK 38: This comic is fun...sorta. A whole lotta trudging through the snow for Montoya and Vic Charlie (seriously, you don't have any Gotham connections to get a helicopter or snowmobiles or sherpa guides?), plus more evil deeds on the Mysterious Island of Overacting Mad Scientists leads to an issue of 52 where I kept flipping the pages to see if there was a plotline I was dying to know about. Answer: not really...this seems like one of the handful of "marking time" issues of 52, and if you compacted the series to edit these down a little you'd probably wind up with a series called 34. Still, it's always a delight to see Egg Fu, who isn't all he's cracked up to be (and that's no yolk), and the next-issue visual blurbs paint Natasha and her confident bravado in this issue as a liar. Ouch!! That's gotta hurt, Miss Natasha.
FUTURAMA #29: Good news, everyone: this comic is fun! A comic book story where the heroes are shrunk with no parody of Fantastic Voyage? That's gotta be a first in comics! But there's plenty of pop-culture pokes-in-the-eye in this lightweight but giggleworthy tale from the year 3007, including a Bottle City of Kandor parody, a quick but funny guest-appearance by Professor X and Horton (of "Hears a Who" fame), a riff on Logan's Run, and the ever-klutzy antics of Amy Wong. (Plus, are they printing this on better paper now or am I just imagining it?) All that and The Best Line of the Week: Leela: "I was winking!" Bender: "With you, how can we tell?"
In Fantastic Four #542, we finally learn how Reed Richards has justified to himself his actions during Civil War. What do you think the Thing's reaction to Reed's well-reasoned, impeccably-argued self-defense will be? Friendly understanding? Grudging acceptance? Casual humor?
Panels from Fantastic Four #66, September 1967, art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is another reason why Ben Grimm totally rocks.
It's never too early to start getting ready for one of my favorite holidays, January 31: National Gorilla Suit Day. As Mister Andy Williams often sang: "It's the most wonderful time of the year!" Oh boy oh boy oh boy, I can hardly wait! I bet I can barely get to sleep on National Gorilla Suit Day Eve! I still have a lot to do: I need to mail my National Gorilla Suit Day cards, and hang up the coconuts, and get out the National Gorilla Suit Day carol CDs! And now I'll be gibbon you a little warning: you've only got nine days more to check your g-suit, so pull it down off the shelf, shake out the mothballs, sponge off the mashed banana stains and try it on!
Here I am trying on mine. It fits perfectly!:
If your gorilla suit doesn't fit or is full of holes, maybe it's time to buy a new one. You can get one just about anywhere at this time of year as every store from Target to Piggly-Wiggly is stocking their National Gorilla Suit Day merchandise. If you can't find one where you shop, may I suggest checking the internet? For example, here's one at Amazon. "Amazon.com: They're the price chimpions."
Superhero fans know that this momentous...um, moment, heralded a new age of greatness...
...by issuing in an age of interdimensional team-ups: characters who belong to different worlds regularly crossing over in each other's stories with the regularity of taking a crosstown bus. But the DC Universe isn't the only one with flexible walls between realitiesthere exists, a heartbeat of a dimension away, a multiverse where worlds collide and cross over with tick-tock precision, a multiverse of heroes, villains, magic users, misers, thieves, and ducks without pants regularly team up with characters from other mythos and stories.
I'm talking, of course, about the Disney Multiverse.
This isn't a recent development, either. Long before Kingdom Hearts or House of Mouse, the mighty mice and plucky ducks of the Disney Multiverse were crossing vibrational barriers between dimensions and adding their own brand of outrageous adventures to tales of others. I'm not merely talking about Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck teaming up to bust ghosts or solve crimes...after all, the Mouse and the Duck starred in a series of cartoon shorts movies togetherthey clearly exist in the same pocket universe. I'm specifically speaking about the oh-so-regular team-ups of characters created (not always by Disney themselves) for their own stories who then crossover to visit, befriend, and occasionally bedevil their dimensional neighbors. For example, Mickey and Donald teaming up with the Country Bear Jamboree:
...or Jiminy Cricket flying out of the world of Pinocchio and straight into Lady and the Tramp to meet Scamp:
...or Thumper of Bambi meeting the Seven Dwarves of Snow White fame, a tale that pits this star-studded eight-man...er, eight-cartoon team-up against the Giant from The Brave Little Tailor:
We can only guess what James Barrie might think of teaming up his Peter Pan kids with Yellow Beak from the early Carl Barks "Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold":
Speaking of the great Duck Man, here's a rare Carl Barks-created team-up between Huey, Dewey, and Louie and the little elephant who could fly, Dumbo:
Dumbo is a frequent crossover star in other character's adventures. I theorize those giant ears, if flapping fast enough, can actually open up the fabric of space and time, allowing him to fly from reality to reality, as he did when he teamed up with Pinocchio's Jiminy Cricket:
...or this...unusual moment where Dumbo meets Peter Pan's Tinkerbell. Yeah, we all know what you want, Dumbo:
Tinkerbell, a tiny creature of the arcane world and possessor of perhaps the only hourglass shape in the Disney Multiverse, apparently has no problem breaching the dimensional walls, as seen by her many team-ups, like this one with the Aristocats, a special issue prized by collectors for its intense but still-oh-so-cute death scene of Marie the kitten:
...rodent troublemakers Chip 'n' Dale:
...or Snow White's Wicked Witch.
It doesn't take an Alan Moore to team up characters from two Victorian classics of literature, Peter Pan and The Jungle Book...
...but I'm not certain what the Disney comics artists were smokin' to pair Tink up with Super Goof:
Those who keep careful track of universal Kevin Bacon-esque connections will now realize that if Tinkerbell knows both Super Goof and Mowgli, it's merely one step to this:
Not every meeting of Disney universal superstars goes smoothly, of course. Like the obligatory fight scene that accompanies Marvel superheroes meeting for the first time, sometimes Disney heroes get off on the wrong foot, as when Bambi's Thumper attempts to enslave Chip 'n' Dale:
...or when the Aristocats attack Chip 'n' Dale with death from above:
But in the end, it's a good thing these Disney heroes meet and team up with one another, because who else could stop the Disney equivalent of the Legion of Doom: the unholy banding-together of Uncle Scrooge's nemeses The Beagle Boys, The Sword in the Stone's Mad Madame Mim, Snow White's Wicked Witch, Peter Pan's Captain Hook, Mickey Mouse's Black Pete, and The Three Little Pigs's Big Bad Wolf?:
Every single panel in this post comes from a different story in one of my shelf of Walt Disney Comic Digests. I spared you Uncle Scrooge versus the Big Bad Wolf and Captain Hook versus Br'er Rabbit. And people say the Warner comic books were weird!