Saturday, February 20, 2010

Separated at Birth: Go down to the shore, kick off your shoes, dive in the money bin

WDC&S #622/SMOS #56

L: Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #622 (March 1998),
detail of a 1974 painting by Carl Barks
R: Superman: The Man of Steel #56 (May 1996),
art by Jon Bogdanove, Dennis Janke, and Patrick Martin

(Click picture to Cornelius Coot statue-size)

Of course, regular readers of "Separated at Birth" will notice what's wrong with the examples above: I always put the earlier example on the left and the "inspired" follow-up on the right. But the Superman example is two years before the Disney one...what gives? Well, the WDC&S cover image is actually just a detail from a 1974 Carl Barks painting entitled "The Sport of Tycoons":

The Sport of Tycoons

Scrooge swimming in his money bin is a familiar enough visual to anyone raised on Disney duck comics or even DuckTales...

...but it's actually an infrequent cover subject on Disney comics. Here's another rare example:

Uncle Scrooge #250
Cover of Uncle Scrooge #250 (January 1991), art by William van Horn

But if you wanna go back to the beginning, the grandaddy of all divin'-in-the-money-bin images comes from the one of the earlier appearances of Uncle $crooge McDuck himself, in Four Color #386 (aka Uncle Scrooge #1):

Four Color #386
Cover of Four Color #386 (March 1952), art by Carl Barks

Nope, it's not the cover that's the inspiration, but rather the first panel inside, also by Carl "The Good Duck Artist" Barks:

Only a Poor Old Man

So there you go: how a comic book fifty years before inspired a Superman cover. Say, how come Scrooge never had an extra-dimensional imp come to bother him every three months?

Special bonus: check out this beautiful scale model of Uncle Scrooge's money bin!

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 51

Mutant X #28
The Brute: the green, scaly Hank McCoy of Earth-1298, in a panel from Mutant X #28 (February 2001), script by Howard Mackie, pencils by Ron Lim, inks by Andrew Pepoy, colors by Gina Going, letters by Chris Eliopoulos

The (New) Doctor Is In

Sluggo Sez: Don't Ask, Just Buy It!

Buy Resurrection #8, featuring
a story by Chris Sims, today!

Sluggo Sez

And a special tip o' the nose ring to Mighty Mike Sterling for the joy and wonder that is Sluggo Saturday.

Saturday Morning Cartoon: Histeria!: "Trust Buster"

Histeria! "Trust Buster!" (1999), featuring the voices of Nathan Ruegger, Cree Summer, Tress McNeille, and Jeff Bennett

Friday, February 19, 2010

Presidents in Comic Books #26: Theodore Roosevelt

And then, there was a long desert of boring Presidents who would never headline a comic magazine or appear alongside the Justice League punching Brainiac in the silicon jaw. Let us take a brief moment to remember these forgettable Presidents:

So. Enough of those guys. Let's get on to Theodore Roosevelt.

Theodore Roosevelt

Roosevelt was the first new President of the twentieth century, succeeding to the office following the assassination of William McKinley. The differences between McKinley and Roosevelt are striking: McKinley looks the very model of a nineteenth-century man, Roosevelt a symbol of the big new booming prosperity of the twentieth. Let's put it this way: which of these two men would you rather have a beer with?:

McKinley and Roosevelt

Yeah, I thought so.

House of Secrets #10

Panel from House of Secrets #10 (July 1997), script by Steven T. Seagle, pencils by Christian Højgaard, inks by Teddy Kristiansen, colors by Bjarne Hansen, letters by Todd Klein

Here's Theodore Roosevelt himself from the pages of House of Secrets, moments before he punches Swamp Thing right in the face with the power of awesome Presidencity. Then, he arm-wrestles Mark Merlin at the same time he kickboxes Eclipso back to the moon and...wait a minute, this is not the House of Secrets miniseries I thought it was. This one's about the emo girl who was serving as an agent on earth for a mystical jury. Well, Roosevelt woulda punched her in the face, too.

Theodore Roosevelt
Especially if she called him "Teddy," a nickname he vehemently disliked—it had been given to him by his first wife, and after he death he hated to hear it. I joke about him kickin' your ass, but the fact it, he probably could have done so. Read a biography of the man sometimes—I'm fond of the Edmund Morris bio—and you'll see just how energetic and adventurous his life was, before, after, and during his Presidency. You expect him to sound like Brian Blessed or Don LaFontaine, but contemporary audio recordings show us Roosevelt had a thin and reedy voice. Comic books, being a silent medium, therefore are the ideal medium for Theodore Roosevelt. In short, I'd go so far as to say he's America's first super-hero president. For, example, here's brawler and time traveler Roosevelt from the (sadly out of print) graphic novel Tales from the Bully Pulpit:

Tales from the Bully Pulpit

Page from Tales from the Bully Pulpit (2004), script by Benito Cereno, pencils and inks by Graeme MacDonald, colors by Ron Riley, letters by Chad Manion

The portrayal may be science fiction, but the personality isn't far off from which history tells us about Roosevelt: he was a well-educated and well-off man of the Progressive Era, but never forget he was an athlete, a boxer, an ornithologist, a historian, a cattleman, a cavalry rider, and the New York City Police Commissioner.

Batman: Detective No. 27
Batman: Detective No. 27

Panels from Batman: Detective No. 27 (December 2003), script by Michael Uslan, pencils and inks by Peter Snejbjerg, colors by Lee Loughridge, lettering by Kurt Hathaway

This Batman Elseworlds story doesn't team-up Bruce Wayne and Theodore Roosevelt—their history takes place at different times—but imagine a true team-up between the two, where Roosevelt replaces Jim Gordon as the Police Commissioner of Gotham. Think of it as a heavily detailed and psychological historical period crime drama: like The Alienist, but with the Darknight Detective. Cool, huh?

Batman: Detective No. 27

Here is, by far, my favorite Roosevelt comic book appearance:

The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck

Here's President Theodore Roosevelt coming to the aid of a beleaguered fort in Calisota, USA: regathering his Rough Riders, the Prez launches a full-on attack against the robber baron who's trying to set up his estate on top of Killmotor Hill. It's,,,yes, you probably guessed it by now...

The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck

Panels from The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck (1996), by Don Rosa

Scrooge McDuck? Why, yes it is. And it turns out, Scroogy and Roosie are old frontier-days pals:

 The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck

What the—?!? What the Sam Scratch is Scrooge McDuck doin' here? How did he and Theodore Roosevelt turn out to be pals? Why is Roosevelt such an important man to Scrooge? And how does Scrooge get away with walking around with no pants on?

The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck

Well, turn back the calendar to 1882 (or turn back the pages of The Life and Times Of Scrooge McDuck), a time when Scrooge was riding the range and earning his fortune in the Montana Badlands, and you'll find out just what an inspiration Teddy Theodore is to young McDuck:

The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck

Lady-bulls and gentleducks, I submit to you that Theodore Roosevelt is one of the most important persons in the Disney Universe: his philosophy and hard-work ethic has inspired one of the greatest comic book characters of all time. Without Roosevelt: no Money Bin, no Beagle Boys, no square eggs, no Magica DaSpell, no adventures to far-off lands and derring-do punctuated by lifesaving tips from the Junior Woodchucks Handbook. In short, you can take your Mopees and your Jor-Els and your radioactive spiders and your Rick Joneses: all of them responsible for the creations of great heroes, yes, but were any of them Presidents? No. Did any of them charge up San Juan Hill?No. Did Jor-El ever get his picture on a bubble-gum card, huh? Did he? Did he? Did he?!? Well, this guy did:

Theodore Roosevelt Trading Card

So. Theodore Roosevelt. Heckuva guy. And I bet you thought I liked him only because of his catchphrase:


365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 50

The Beast, by Brandon Dawley
The Beast, by Brandon Dawley (2010)
Click on image to Beast-size!

Check it out: it's an awesome sketch of Henry P. McCoy and a chance to give hope to kids with cancer! This awesomely awesome Beast sketch is by illustrator Brandon Dawley, who's raising money for The St. Baldrick's Foundation by shaving his head in solidarity with the kids, and collecting donation money to support the cause. As an added bonus, if you donate twenty bucks or more, Brandon will draw you a sketch of your favorite comic-book superhero! (Who better to shave himself for kids than the remarkable furry Hank McCoy, huh?) Brandon sez:
Over 15 years ago I was diagnosed with a Giant Cell Tumor (benign) in the bone of my right hip. It ended up having to be replaced with a titanium ball and stem. Now my mother calls me 'half-assed'. Anyways, that's my personal connection, but what better reason to help the cause of cancer research than shaving your head to stand in solidarity for these children. Do as little or as much as you can–I'll take the buzz.

I am declaring, in honor of these SUPER-heroic children, that every person who donates $20 or more will get a mini-sketch of their favorite comic book superhero illustrated by me. Everyone who donates gets a personalized thank you card anyways, but wouldn't it be even better if you received something to put on your fridge?
Fantastic sketch, wonderful cause, and I'm delighted to participate. Your donations do help: the St. Baldrick's Foundation uses the donations to fund more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the United States Government. Thank you for the sketch, Mister D, but most of all thanks for letting me help out these brave kids!

Want to donate? Want a sketch? Sure you do! Click here to find all the details on how to donate. And you can see some of the sketches he's already done...from Iron Man to Space Cabbie, from J. Jonah Jameson to Batman...right here at his blog! Bully says don't hesitate, do it today!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sock it to me?

Nixon's Head

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 49

X-Men: The Hidden Years
Panel from X-Men: The Hidden Years #3 (February 2000), script, pencils, and letters by John Byrne, inks by Tom Palmer, colors by Greg Wright

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 48

Champions #16
Panel from Champions #16 (November 1977), script by Bill Mantlo, pencils by Bob Hall, inks by Mike Esposito, colors by Phil Rachelson, letters by Denise Wohl

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Presidents in Comic Books #16: Abraham Lincoln

ASM SpecialAbraham Lincoln! The man named after the Land of Lincoln, the inventor of the stovepipe hat, and the model for the original Lincoln Logs™! Manhunter from the future, sworn and dedicated to protect the timeline at all costs, even if it should mean the death of his best friend and heterosexual life partner, John Wilkes Booth! Accompanied by his faithful Indian companion, Sanjay Gupta, Lincoln jetskis his way across...wait a minute, I've been reading the wrong encyclopedia.

Star Trek: The Savage Curtain

Ahem. Abraham Lincoln was our sixteenth president and had a beard and was our leader during the Civil War (fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen words...) until he was shot by an assassin at Ford's Theater where he and his wife, Mrs. Abraham Lincoln (thirty-fove, thirty-six...) were attending a performance of Joseph Hooker and His Amazing Technicolor Union Coat.

Also, he was in comic books.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Comic Book #11

Cover of Bill & Ted's Excellent Comic Book (October 1992), art by Evan Dorkin

Lincoln, at least as he's portrayed in comic books, is one of our more genial presidents, give or take referring to a black woman as a "Negress" once or twice. (Nichelle Nichols just said "Why should I object to that term, sir? You see, in our century we've learned not to fear words." I bet Zoë Saldana woulda kicked him in the Emancipation Proclamations.) Why, he's not even flustered by running into a pair of twentieth-century schoolkids doing their Ralph Kramden impersonations:

Marvel Comics Presents #161
Panels from Marvel Comics Presents #161 (Late August 1994), script by Fabian Nicieza, pencils by Robert Walker, inks by Scott Koblish, colors by Marianne Lightle, lettering by Ul Higgins

It's well known to his biographers like Carl Sandburg, Doris Kearns Goodwin, James M. McPherson and Danielle Steel, that Lincoln was a decisive man. Which certainly helps when he's ordering off the dollar menu. You deserve a break today, Abe!

Teen Titans #73
Panels from Teen Titans #73 (September 2009), script by Bryan Q. Miller, pencils by Joe Bennett, inks by Jack Jadson, colors by Rod Reis, lettering by Sal Cipriano

But even Nancy Hanks, Lincoln's Mom, knew the value of a balanced breakfast and left her bearded tyke with fine eating habits...not to mention a generous spirit at the table...that would last him the rest of his life (until April 15, 1865, to be exact. And you think you hate Tax Day?).

Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #34
Panel from Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #34 (May 2009), script by Paul Tobin, pencils by Matteo Lolli, inks by Christian Vecchia, colors by Sotocolor, lettering by Dave Sharpe

I have but one teeny-weeny question about that awesome panel. Why isn't Spider-Man asking for more wheatcakes?

Still, if we must remember simply one fact about Abraham Anthony Stark Lincoln is that he is totally rad. He is here to chew tobacco and kick ass and he's all out of chewing tobacco!!!

New Advs of Lincoln
Page from The New Adventures of Abraham Lincoln (February 1988), by Scott McCloud

Huh. Maybe Lincoln's just pissed at all the Comic Sans.

Comics often get around the pesky problem that "Lincoln didn't know any superheroes" in two ways: first, trying to convince us that Ulysses S. Grant was the mysterious masked avenger "Whiskey Man." After attempting to discover Whiskey Man's true identity by inviting both him and General Grant to a reception at the White House, by leaping out of a window with a brandy snifter in his hand, and by setting Grant on fire, Lincoln devised a sure stratagem. He asked one of his aides if Grant often got drunk, to which the gentleman, a known detractor of Grant, replied that he often did. "Well," said Lincoln with a twinkle in his eye, "find out what kind of whiskey Grant drinks, because I want to get soused myself because I can't discover who Whiskey Man really is."

The second way comic books have superheroes meet Abe is Elseworlds.

Batman: The Blue, The Grey, and the Bat
Page from Batman: The Blue, The Grey, and the Bat (1992), script by Elliot S! Maggin and Alan Weiss, pencils by Alan Weiss, inks by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, colors by Digital Chameleon, lettering by Richard Starkings

Mind you, I don't understand how there could have been a "Bat-Man" in 1865, because, as everybody knows, comic books have definitively proven that The Batman is named after his prowess on the 1923 New York Yankees, alongside his pal, Alfred "Babe" Pennyworth:

Batman: Detective No. 27

"Elseworlds" stories gave clever comics writers a chance to undo the damage to history and overturn the tragic and early death of Lincoln, thus defeating Booth's deadly attack and creating a Golden Age of Reformation and Post-War affluence which would lead to an early technological paradise and...

Batman: Detective No. 27
Batman: Detective No. 27

Panels from Batman: Detective No. 27 (December 2003), script by Michael Uslan, pencils and inks by Peter Snejbjerg, colors by Lee Loughridge, lettering by Kurt Hathaway


Mind you, Lincoln's assassination appointment at Ford's Theatre has been fodder for many, many comic book stories—well, at least a whole lot more than Ford's assassination appointment at Lincoln Center. You think the occasion was a milestone of history already? Well, prepare to have your mind blown because there were Jack Kirby characters there too!

Forever People #7
Forever People #7
Panels from The Forever People #7 (February-March 1972), script and pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Mike Royer, lettering by John Costanza

Kirby sez: Don't ask! JUST DUCK, MISTER PRESIDENT!

Yes, it's true: time travel and comic books together give us the potent and heady mix that, given a moment's hesitation, a single changed second, or a pair of handy mirrored "Spy-Glasses," Lincoln would have escaped his deadly fate. Because don't forget what I said above: Abe Lincoln is totally kickass:

Plastic Man #9
Page from Plastic Man #9 (October 2004), by Kyle Baker

In fact, comic books seem to have been created specifically to provide us with stories in which Lincoln handily avoids assassination at one point or another. And, oh yes, to show off Power Girl's hoo-hahs. But mostly to provide us with stories in which Lincoln handily avoids assassination...sometimes with the help of time travelers from the future! (uture uture uture)

Fin Fang 4 Return!
Panels from Fin Fang 4 Return! (July 2009), script by Scott Gray, pencils and inks by Roger Langridge, colors by J. Brown, lettering by Dave Lanphear

Oh course, some of these stories sometimes get a little...unbelieveable?

Elseworlds 80-Page Giant #1
Panel from Elseworlds 80-Page Giant #1 (August 1999), script by Mark Waid, art by Ty Templeton

No, no, not that one. This one:

West Coast Avengers #55
Panels from Avengers West Coast #55 (February 1990), script and pencils by John Byrne, inks by Paul Ryan, colors by Bob Sharen, lettering by Bill Oakley

What's so unbelievable about that, you might ask? Well, that John Byrne wouldn't have attributed the assassination to Edward deVere, the Earl of Oxford.

No survey of our sixteenth President is complete without at least mentioning that after his death, he was grown to a great height by Pym particles and then touched by the Grey Gargoyle, so that he could become a literal monument for our troubled country:

Logan's Run #4
Panel from Logan's Run #4 (April 1977), script by David Kraft, pencils by George Perez, inks and coloring by Klaus Janson, lettering by Irving Watanabe

Not many people know that in the Marvel Universe, Lincoln is a Superhuman Class 100 fighter (although each of his battles against the Hulk have proven inconclusive).

JIM #96
Panels from Journey into Mystery #96 (September 1963), plor by Stan Lee, script by Robert Bernstein, pencils and inks by Joe Sinnott, lettering by Artie Simek

You know, I bet this is gonna be the surprise ending of "Siege," doncha think?

Still, pound for pound, dollar for dollar, Ultimate Nullifier for Ultimate Nullifer, I think this is the most brain-melting awesome appearance of the Lincoln Memorial in comic books:

Cap #222 Cap #222
Panels from Captain America #222 (June 1978), script by Steve Gerber, breakdowns by Sal Buscema, finishes and inks by John Tartaglione and Mike Esposito, colors by George Roussos, lettering by Annette Kawecki

Well, there ya go. Abraham Lincoln: lawyer, statesman, President, emancipator, undefeated cage-match fighter, star of the monthly comic book Marvel's Presidential Team-Up. And, as it turns out, a heckuva nice guy:

Herbie #11
Panel from Herbie #11 (August 1965), script by Shane O'Shea, art by Ogden Whitney, lettering by Ed Hamilton

Jennifer Love Hewirt's Music Box ThingeesPromotional consideration (and a comic book image of the Link-man or two) was gracefully contributed by "Cheerful" Chris Sims, who has quite a mega-collection of Lincoln comic appearances himself. And check out the comic book Resurrection #8, in stores tomorrow, with a story by Mister Sims himself! Buy one, buy several, buy some for the dog! What, like you were gonna spend that money on Jennifer Love Hewitt's Music Box #3 instead? Shame on you.

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 47

B&B #2
Panels from Fantastic Four #28 (July 1964), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Chic Stone, letters by Artie Simek