Saturday, July 10, 2010

Same Story, Different Cover: I love the nightlife, I got to boogie on the disco 'round, oh yeah!

UXM #130/CXM #36

L: [Uncanny] X=Men #130 (February 1980), art by John Romita Jr. and Terry Austin
R: Classic X-Men #36 (August 1989), reprinting X-Men #130, art by Steve Lightle

(Click picture to Barry White-size)

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 191

XHY #10
Panel from X-Men: The Hidden Years #10 (September 2000), script, pencils, and letters by John Byrne, inks by Tom Palmer, colors by Greg Wright

Saturday Morning Surrealism

I have no idea.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Is he strong? Listen, jackanapes...

How strong is Hercules, the son of Zeus?

Avengers 271
Panels from Avengers #271 (September 1986), script by Roger Stern, breakdowns by John Buscema, finishes by Tom Palmer, colors by Christie Scheele, letters by Jim Novak

Herc is stronger than grapes.

(Of course to Herc we must be fair / He also crushed some Tupperware™.)

Join us next time on "How strong is Hercules?" when we pit the Prince of Power against...styrofoam!

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 190

Avengers #167
Panel from Avengers #167 (January 1978), cp-plot by Roger Stern, co-plot and script by Jim Shooter, pencils by George Pérez, inks by Pablo Marcos, colors by Phil Rachelson, letters by Joe Rosen

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Nazis are rock-stupid.

Man, it's hot. How hot is it? Let's take a look at the old Marvelometer, shall we?


It's even too hot for a big long drawn-out post. So, why don't you sit in a bucket of ice and enjoy

The Red Skull is an Idiot!

Marvels: Cap
Marvels: Cap
Marvels: Cap
Panels from Marvels Comics: Captain America one-shot (July 2000), script by Peter David, pencils by Ron Frenz and Mark Bagley, inks by Joe Sinnott and Al Vey, colors by Joe Rosas, letters by Troy Peteri

Don't you let the heat overrule your good judgment...stay indoors and read comic books! They're your best entertainment value!*

*No they aren't.

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 189

AA #13
Page from Amazing Adventures #13 (June 1980), script by Steve Englehart, pencils by Tom Sutton, inks by Frank Giacoia, letters by John Costanza

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

I'm just Janny from the block

Too Many Avengers!It's the dawn of Marvel's new Heroic Age, and there's no place more evident than in those comic books featuring the World's Mightiest Heroes: The Avengers. Looks like Marvel is following that business-proven, never-fails, ever-so ultra-successful route of Hertz, The Las Vegas Sands, and Krispy Kreme by dramatically expanding their line of Avengers titles from one or two to an Avengers Mansion on every corner. Let's see, there's Avengers, New Avengers, Young Avengers, Avengers Academy, Avengers: The Origin, Avengers Prime, Avengers Prime Rib, Avengers Assemble, Avengers in Space, Retro Avengers, Robot Avengers, Chocolate Avengers, Penguin Avengers...the list goes on and on and on. And you're gonna buy them all, right? Right! Because Joey Q. has us right where he wants you.

But in all those umpty-umpteen Avengers titles, there's one little Avenger I'm missin' a lot and I wish was around to take partt in the team's big league expansion plans. Yep, that's right, go ahead, you may laugh...look, I'll even pause for you to do so...................are you done? Okay, you may laugh, but I miss The Wasp.

Never one of the team's heavy-hitters, nevertheless founding Avenger Janet van Dyne-Pym-van Dyne-again has constantly been on my "must have" list of Avengers on any dream team. With her spunky, cheerful optimism, her can-do attitude, her savvy smarts and excellent people skills, the Wasp should be a mainstay of any top Avengers team. Besides, there's no reason not to have her on a team: she doesn't take up much room, and I think she's more than proven she can take a punch.

Avengers #394Alas, Jan is dead, "killed" like a punk in the final moments of the Secret Invasion. Yes, you read me right: that "killed" is indeed in quotes, because people come back from the dead so swiftly and frequently in the Marvel Universe, it's hard to believe that there's not a revolving door in Heaven-616 instead of Pearly Gates. Jan'll be back, never you fear, maybe with a leather jacket or cool new powers that will mutate her into an actual bug-like creature...naw, that's too crazy for even Marvel to consider!

But most of all, in a universe that thrives on image and colorful costumes, I think I'll miss the Wasp's design sense.

A post-Secret Invasion tribute-to-Jan issue featured several two-page spreads covering every costume worn by the Wasp in her Avengers appearances...yes, every one, including that white one-shoulder doohickey with the blue "W." (You can draw that stuff, George Pérez; she has to wear 'em!) But not enough attention has been paid to her other costuming skill—I don't think anybody's given kudos to Jan for her impeccable and outré fashion design sense. After all, she is a skilled and renowned professional fashion designer. (Also, a screenwriter...look it up, it's canon! But we can hardly hold Ishtar against her now that she's passed on, huh? Well, maybe a little bit.)

In the hands of a creative and capable artist, Jan's civilian dress sense is as fresh as today's Paris and New York catwalks, the envy of the big design houses, clamored for by celebrities and supermodels, featured in high-fashion magazines, and so what if they each have two little holes under the shoulder-blades for "wing expansion"? You think Gisele Bundchen's gonna complain about that just because she doesn't have wings? (Altho', that might explain that time Naomi Campbell threw her cell phone at Janet van Dyne, huh?)

Let's take a look at one of Jan's elegant evening-wear designs and see if we can figure out exactly how far ahead of the times it is, okay? In this sequence from Avengers #273, a posh limo arrives at a glittering all-star charity gala. The limo door opens, and out, not jail-bound and underpantsless Lindsay Lohan, but that regular on the paparazzi ciruit...Dane Whitman, the Black Knight?!?

Avengers #273
Panels from Avengers #273 (November 1986), script by Roger Stern, breakdowns by John Buscema, finishes by Tom Palmer, colors by Paul Becton, letters by Jim Novak

Never fear, Wasp-wooers: the Arthropod Avenger is not far behind. Apparently that limo's back seat was so cramped for space—maybe Jarvis was carting some of his comic book long boxes over to Midtown Comics—that Jan had to ride in the Black Knight's pocket. And he hasn't cleaned that thing out since the crusades! And boy oh boy, that Entertainment Tonight reporter is sure maintaining a level of professionalism when interviewing a celebrity, huh?

Avengers #273

Oh course, it isn't until Jan grows to her full height of 5'4" (and anywhere from 5'7" to 52'8" depending on her Pym-particle infused 'Stilt Louboutins' that we can truly see the design...and the daring of her self-designed evening dress:

Avengers #273

Hotchy motchy! Great googly, Ms. van Dyne! And other phrases appropriate to Tex Avery's Wolf. Why, our little Janny has grown up since Tales to Astonish #44, hasn't she? But my point (and I do have one) is the date this outfit debuted. Take a look: it's November 1986...Marvel's 25th Anniversary month, to be precise (all the issues this month featured head shots of the book's stars). Wow, that's quite some time ago for such edge-of-fashion design. And, like all innovative designs in any industry, but especially fashion, someone rushes right out and makes a cheap knock-off copy. Except, in this case, you have to flash-forward to the 42nd Grammy Awards in February 2000 to see the imitation couture. Aw, c'mon, you know who I'm talkin' about:

Avengers #273

Yep, that's right, folks...proof positive that Jennifer Lopez's famous dress that scandalized the nation and led directly to the technology of downloading photos from the internet is actually a copy of a nearly fifteen-year-old design. Shame on you, Versace. Shame! Shame shame shame!

Oh course, Janet knows the value of modest accessories to compliment such a daring dress:

Avengers #273

...and Jan's dress is at least hemmed at the proper length, so she doesn't drag it through mud puddles, spilled drinks, and Mickey Rourke's drool puddles. Not so J.Lo:

Avengers #273

Jan's dress décolletage? Daringly low-cut but still tasteful. J.Lo's? In the parlance of the 'hood...hootchy.

Avengers #273

And when she walks, Janet is graceful and elegant, a moving vision, with tiny microscopic wings. (Sigh...)

Avengers #273

Ms. Lopez? Well, let's just say watching her walk you can see stuff you usually only can see on Cinemax. After dark. Um, not that I would know anything about that.

Avengers #273

So, even though Jennifer Lopez's recent blockbuster record-breaking Oscar-caliber motion picture The Back-Up Plan was acclaimed by critics as 2010's funniest comedy and the feel-good movie of the summer and the action thrill ride of a lifetime ("One human and one cyborg thumb up!" says James "Bucky" Buchanan), it's clear she's still being outclassed by the little lady from Cresskill, New Jersey. Why, say what you will about Marvel second-stringer the Black Knight, but as a date for Jan he still outclasses' J.Lo's then arm-candy of choice:

Avengers #273

Still, I think through the magic of Photoshoppery, we can fix that. Brace yourself for the upgrade, J.Lo!

Avengers #273

Even so. Game, set, match: Janet van Dyne. Hurry back, Jan, we miss ya.

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 188

Avengers #196
Panel from Avengers #196 (June 1980), script by David Michelinie, pencils by George Pérez, inks by Jack Abel, colors by Carl Gafford, letters by John Costanza

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Today's the day the little stuffed bulls have their picnic

As you may be aware (and why wouldn't you?), last week was my birthday and I turned six Which is a very good age to be. I heartily recommend having birthdays. My birthday celebrations got spread out over the long weekend, and I'm sorry you couldn't all be there! So here's the next best thing...I'll force you to read all about them! (Don't worry, comics content tomorrow...but bull birthday tonight!)

We had my birthday dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant in Park Slope that I like to call La Di Da. That is not its name, nor does Diane Keaton work here. We can only wish.
Hi! welcome to my birthday dinner at La Di Da!

Let's check the menu! Mmmm, good stuff! Also, because it's my birthday...the prices don't matter! I will have steak stuffed with lobster stuffed with pancakes, please.
Let's check the menu. Mmm, good stuff!

At Al Di La, the bread is fantastic, but don't fill up on bread! That's how they get you.
Don't fill up on bread. That's how they get you!

For an appetizer, here are marinated and grilled sardines! I think they are from Sardinia freshly this morning. I bet my fish-lovin' otter pal Shelly wishes she was here! Well, I'll take her home a sardiny bag.
A sardine appetizer! I bet Shelly wishes she was here.

Finally my yummy main course arrived. Cheesy macaroni with peas and mint! It was yum-licious. I would like a breakfast cereal with the same flavors, please.
I had cheesy ravioli with peas and mint! It was yum-licious.

And so we bid farewell to the lovely Al Di La. After dinner we tried to go to the little gift ship Scaredy Kat, but it was closed for the evening. Oh no! No birthday gifts for me from there. (sniffle)
We were going to go to Scaredy Cat but it was closed

At the supermarket, I reminded John and Randi of essential supplies for a sixth birthday.
Hey, don't forget--we need one of these!

The next day, we had a birthday picnic in Brooklyn's Prospect Park! I got to invite my sister Marshall and Shelly the Little Otter Puppet. I was under the understanding that you get as many guests as it is yoru birthday, so I shoulda had six guests. I can't wait until I'm seventy-three!
Hi everybody! Today we are having...a PICNIC! tee hee

What's in the picnic basket? What's in the picnic basket?
What's in the picnic basket? What's in the picnic basket?

It's a hot day, so I hug a cold soft drink. Also, I'd like to buy the world one of these. Or, if they prefer, a root beer. Just give me your order before I go to the store because I'm not goin' twice.
On a hot summer day I like hugging a cold soft drink.

My sister Marshall is a vegetarian but even she enjoys a tiny, cold and frost Coca-Cola. Please do not tell her I put ham gravy in hers.
Marshall is a vegetarian but even she enjoys a tiny Coke. Please do not tell her I put gravy in it.

Part of my birthday gift was some British food from Myers of Keswick in Manhattan! Wow, British potato crisps! (Don't call them chips; the Queen will fly into New York and bop you with her purse. And she's got a corgi in there.)
Wow, I got a whole buncha British crisps!

Of course Shelly wanted the prawn-flavored ones.
Of course Shelly wanted the prawn-flavoured one.

What's this? Candy? Hold on, candy, I can almost reach you! I'm coming, stay right there!
There's CANDY in here! Hold on, I can almost reach it...

I'm the Uncle Scrooge of British Candy...I like to swim in it like a dolphin, burrow in it like a gopher. Then I like to throw it up and let it rain down on my head. Then, I eat it.
I'm covered in British candy, whee!

Gifts! I got lotsa cool gifts. First I got the greatest toy in the world—a little electronic machine that makes sound effect noises. RING! TOOT! CLANK!
I got a little electronic machine that makes sound effect noises!

BURP! SPRING! Ha ha ha! I love this gift! CRASH
"BURPPPPP!" Hee hee hee! I love this gift! "CRASH!!!!!"

I'm gonna make fart noises all night long!
I'm gonna make fart noises all day long!

I also got Ching He Huang's Chinese Food Made Easy cookbook! Hooray! In no time at all I'll be making delicious Chinese dishes and giving them to the guys who work construction on our street and the announcer at the local race track. (I love watching Ching He Huang's cookery show!)
Hooray! I got Ching He Huang's Chinese cookbook!

Wow, it's full of yummy food and easy-to-follow recipes! I can make that. Also, I can eat it.
It's full of yummy food! I can make that! Also, eat it.

Shelly enjoys looking at the fish recipes. A little too much.
Shelly enjoys looking at the fish recipes. A little too much.

But I don't think is is scratch 'n' sniff, Shelly!
But I don't think it IS scratch n' sniff, Shelly

How cow oh wow it's The Lego Book! I wanted this! Thanks guys! Best gift ever!
Holy cow it's the Lego Book! I WANTED THIS! Thanks!

Also, I got some cans of Lilt, the delicious and refreshing light pineapple-grapefruit soda from England. It is deeeeelicious!
Hooray! I also got some Lilt from England. BEST SOFT DRINK EVER.

Then, we had our picnic lunch! Everyone is having sammiches and crisps.
Everyone is having sammiches and chips!

Wow, the picnic ants are really well organized this year.
Wow, these picnic ants are well organized.

I think the ants may have come straight from this cartoon to my picnic:
Picnic ants

Then, there was delicious birthday cake! Just my size!
Then there was delicious birthday cake!

Shelly was a wee bit suspicious because it was noty a fish cake.
Shelly was a little suspicious because it was not a fish cake

I sent him an invite weeks ago, but Iron Man was still too busy to attend my birthday picnic. That's okay, because Miss Potts sent me these cool plates for my party! Thanks, Pepper! Thanks, Shellhead!
Iron Man was too busy to attend, but he sent some neat plates. Thanks, Shellhead!

And on the way home he saw a car that I could afford. Well, I'll put it on my wish list for next year. Thanks for coming to my birthday celebrations with me!
On the way home we saw a car I could afford

Want to experience the exciting birthday celebrations of a little stuffed bull? Well, you can! Here's all the links you need to walk in my hoofsteps! (Warning: watch out for that dog poop on Fourth Avenue. I missed it but I wanted to make sure you did too. Oooh, wow, sorry about that. Here's a stick, I'm sure that'll scrape right off.)
Also, this stuff!: