Hello there, Americans! Captain America here. You know, after a hard day fighting Nazis, Hydra, AIM, disguised Richard Nixons, or my own estranged former teammates, there's nothing like heading back to Avengers Mansion for a delicious, sweet and tart savory slice of apple pie, piping hot, fresh out of the oven. Mmmm, pie! But what with his usual duties of housework, watching the alert monitors, and cleaning out under Hawkeye's bed, Jarvis doesn't have time to make one every day. So yours truly learned to step up to the stove and bake one for himself! Follow along with me, fellow Americans, and I'll show you how. It's as easy as...heh, heh!...pie!
First, enter your kitchen! You may want to enlist a partner in making your pie, so get him in there with you! And close the door behind you! No need to be disturbed while creating your delicious culinary masterpiece!
All b/w panels in this post are from Avengers #107 (January 1973), written by Steve Englehart, art by Jim Starlin, George Tuska, and Dave Cockrum
Treat your equipment right! Well-kept kitchen supplies are as important as a shield by your side...don't bang 'em around! Put your pots and pans back when you're finished with them and they'll always be standing by for cooking duty at a moment's notice!
If you're interrupted by someone nosy who can't wait for the pie to be finished, just take a step back! Wait them out! And in case of kitchen fire, put it out immediately, then lie low until the smoke clears away!
Now...Ingredients, Assemble! There's no time to lose when delicious pie is the goal, so grab them from the shelf and go, soldier, go!
Now...mix, man, mix! You and your partner should by now be a well-trained baking team: slam those ingredients down, give that dough a good old American one-two punch and get ready for a taste explosion!
Finally, bake, serve, and enjoy! Mmmm, that's good pie! Serves six Avengers (two if it's Hulk and Thor).
While in Seattle last week, I was so busy-busy with work that I didn't even get a free moment to dash into the excellent Zanadu Comics, so no comics at all last week. I trotted down to Forbidden Planet off Union Square at lunchtime Monday to remedy the situation, and I just realized I missed The Spirit #3. Hey good-lookin'! I'll be back to pick you up later! But in the meantime, even though I was frugal with my dimes as all my month-end bills come due (who knew you could rack up that much credit at the Indian food delivery place?!?), there were a handful of fun comics galore this week. And none of them are Civil War #7, which I riffled through on the rack, said "Huh. That was it?" and put back on the shelf. Hah! I've run rings round you economically, Joe Quesada!
SIMPSONS COMICS #127: This comic is fun.The Simpsons is comics' most consistent laugh-factory...but I came dangerously close to grading this with an amber sorta fun. How's that possible? Well, at first glance this is a bit of a déjà vu: in an attempt to bring the family together, Marge makes Homer read aloud to everyone from Swiss Family Robinson. Because it's Homer, he's reading not from the Penguin Classic but from the Classically Illustrated comic book version ("Butchering Stories by the World's Greatest Authors") and each of the Simpsons takes part in the story. I immediately ticked that off against the comic because this is the second issue in a row which recast classic tales with our favorite Springfielders. Even the show itself only does two of these a year: the annual Halloween special and a springtime trilogy of classic tales. But this one was done with such a light and clever touch I couldn't hold a sameness of theme against it: it uses an effective and clever comedy device of dry, matter-of-fact narration accompanied by the punchline of Homer doing something rock-stupid below. It spares no tropical island cliché for comedy effect: Lost, Gilligan's Island, Cast Away, Survivor, Titanic, Lord of the Flies...it's even got a Robinson Crusoe reference for H and Mag over at The Comics Treadmill to add to their catalogue of Crusoe-referencing comic books. It won't take you a "three-hour tour" to read this book, but you'll be rolling in the "isles." Tee hee.
52 WEEK 42: This comic is fun. Ask Douglas Adams: Good things come in packages that say "42" on them. After a quick-quick interlude where Montoya faces the face (sadly, Pete Townshend does not appear in this issue), the rest of 52 Week 42 belongs to the Stretchable Sleuth, Ralph Dibny, who proves not only that he's the Elongated Man (in a wonderfully dramatic and well-timed return to superhuman form), but that he is The Man. I didn't like the whining, suicidal, morose Ralph in the early issues of this book: I kept on lamenting aloud: "But he's a detective! He can't be this stupid!" Thankfully, the creators didn't forget that either. Ralph figured it out. He knew. And he gets his final triumph over two immortal enemies in the traditional Ralph way: he used his detective skills. Longer-time readers of this blog will know what I reference when I quote something I wrote many weeks ago: "Will Ted be there?" Well, this story probably has a "Will Sue be there?" behind the scenes. Come and see, Ralph. Come and see.
THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #1: This comic is fun. Moth-holed as the Bully change purse may have been this week, I couldn't pass this change to Pick Up One New Comic Title I Haven't Been Reading: the 2007 re-launch of one of my favorite DC team-up titles of all time, The Brave and the Bold. There's a wonderful moment on nearly every page: Batman and Green Lantern discussing recent movies. Actual detective skills. The boys hits Las Vegas. A fond reference to Barry Allen. A story that's basically done-in-one but whose larger ramifications continues next issue. The Best Line of the Week: "Batteries to power...turbines to speed!" And most important, the character I think needs to be recognized officially as Most Improved Post-Infinite Crisis: Batman! I'm lovin' virtually every Bat-book these days: the creators have kept the best of the nineties-soup-up of the Dark Knight (the guy who can take out the Justice League and can stare down Mongul) without the batdickery of the later nineties: Bats is still stern and serious, but he regards his partners, including this issue's Green Lantern, as bringing valuable skills that work well in conjunction with his own. Now that is a Batman I wanna read about, and throw in Bruce Wayne chatting up sexy-cute casino hostesses, and it's like we're on Earth-Haney all over again, only with fewer gorillas. I like George Perez's art, but it's in conjunction with Mark Waid's writing that this one absolutely sparkles, so as long as they're on this book I'm riding right along with them, shotgun in the Batmobile (even if Bats isn't in every issue!) That's why THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #1 is the most fun comic of the week...and I've surely got my hooves crossed that it becomes one of the most fun of the year.
Panel from Giant -Size Avengers #3, February 1975, written by Steve Englehart and Roy Thomas, art by Dave Cockrum and Joe Giella, coloring by Petra Goldberg
That was a close one, Thor. Don't make the same mistake twice...this time, don't wait until it's too late to tell Tony what a good friend he is.
By the way, we all know what a Trekkie Dave Cockrum is (see, f'rinstance, Shi'ar Starfleet uniforms in his early Uncanny X-Men). So don't ya think Unca Dave, in the panel above, was channeling a li'l bit of the old "Amok Time"?: