Saturday, September 11, 2010

Same Story, Different Cover: Rock Group

MTIO #50/Adventures of the Thing #1

L: Marvel Two-in-One #50 (April 1979), art by George Perez and Joe Sinnott
R: Adventures of the Thing #1 (April 1992), reprinting MTIO #50, art by Sam Kieth

(Click picture to Grimm-size)

My new London advertising campaign

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 254

Trading cards
Beast trading card from X-Men series (1992), art by Jim Lee

Saturday Morning Cartoon: Simon's Cat "Let Me In!"

Simon's Cat "Let Me In!", by Simon Tofield

Friday, September 10, 2010

Professor X is a Jerk!: Playing Possum

Professor X is a Jerk! Banner

Professor Charles Xavier has been injured! He's lost his mighty mutant mental power! Well, that brings the mutant count down to 197, right? Also: minus one jerk!

Panels from [Uncanny] X-Men #4 (March 1964), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Paul Reinman, letters by Artie Simek

Now it's time for the X-Men to care for him...for the rest of their lives! And as we all know, half of them will come back from the dead two or three times, so that's a pretty long time.

Panels from [Uncanny] X-Men #5 (May 1964), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Paul Reinman, letters by Sam Rosen

In a comic book filled fuller of angst than a Twinkie is with Polysorbate 60, the X-Men are pretty broken up about their shiny-headed instructor. Scott can't even manage the strength to get up and shut a door, Hank has problems focusing on Tropic of Cancer, and Bobby takes longer than usual to point to someone's rear!


But guess what? Xavier was just fooling. He hasn't lost his powers at all! And check out that smug piehole as he sparks up and begins to give his teenager students second-hand smoke cancer!


And that's another reason why Professor X is a jerk.

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 253

Hulk #161
Panel from Incredible Hulk #161 (March 1973), written by Steve Englehart, pencils by Herb Trimpe, inks by Sal Trapani, colors by George Roussos, letters by Artie Simek

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Hank Pym did a bad, bad thing

Is anybody in any doubt about where tonight's post is set?

So, cats and kittens, let's roll on through the desert and up Route 15 into fabulous Las Vegas: Sin City! Glitter Gulch! The Entertainment Capital of the World! The City of Lights! The Venice of the Desert! Franksinatraville! Gateway to Adventure! City with a Past! City with a Future! And tonight...City with Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne!

Avengers #71
Panel from Avengers v.3 #71/486 (November 2003), script by Geoff Johns, pencils by Steve Sadowski, inks by Andrew Currie, colors by Chris Sotomayor, letters by Rus Wooten

Now, I've gotta warn ya...tonight's post may not be suitable for all audiences. (But I sure like it, you betcha!) It is, in fact, a frank and intimate examination of Hank Pym in an adult situation, using his shrinky-dink powers not for the betterment of society but for his own pleasure and benefit...why, if we can shrink down to the size of that panel above, we'll find out that even Janet van Dyne objects to Hank's anty-actions! Scandalous!

Avengers #71

Yikes! This scene ain't fit for man (you) nor beef (me)! Why, the Shrimpy Scientist Supreme himself is bragging about what he's about to do. Won't someone think of the ant children?!?

Avengers #71

Look away! Look away! Look away!

Eh, what the heck, let's peer in on Hank and see how he's misusing his power. Get you high-powered binoculars and take a steamy gawking gander! (Not you, sonny, this one's a little too hot for ya!) Yes, it's that incident...

Avengers #48
Panel from Avengers v.1 #48 (January 1968), script by Roy Thomas, pencils and inks by George Tuska, letters by Artie Simek's the issue where Hank Pym cheats at roulette using ant ringers.

This scandalous adult situation is no doubt brought on by one of Pym's crazy schemes to rob a casino belonging to a villain. So here he is at fabulous Kingpin Kasino, putting into action part 19 of his simple, easy-to-follow, can't fail 78-stage plan. Meanwhile, Janet van Dyne distracts the Kingpin and his henchman Princepin by leaning over the table in a Balenciaga dress cut low to show off her décolletage (I wasn't allowed to look that word up, but I think it means sunglasses). And, behind the scenes, the other nine members of Pym's Eleven (Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Black Knight, Victor "The Vision" Shade, Rick Jones, Jarvis, Ant-Boy, and Larva-Girl) crack safes, shimmy down walls, drink martinis, play the piano, pose elegantly, and listen to lounge music.

Also helping Hank on his Robin Hood crime spree? Ants and plenty of 'em! But I'm guessing they don't get a cut.

I don't claim to understand Pym's elaborate plan myself, but it seems to revolve around trying to be inconspicuous in yellow and blue spandex, all while carrying roulette ball (a half-inch to five-eighths diameter, according to my Vegas bookies). Which, judging from this picture, makes Ant-Man a little over three inches high, which...sorry to say, ain't that inconspicuous.

Avengers #48

Well, nobody ever said Henry Pym was a scientific genius.

So, there ya go...Hank Pym bein' bad. What? You thought I was talking about something else? About a different issue of the Avengers where Hank and Jan were in Vegas doing naughty, naughty things?

I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about. Seriously, people, don't bring your heroes down to this level. I don't care what you think, the Avengers are a high-minded, civil bunch whose behavior is always aon the up-and-up and never suspect or morally questionable. After all, these are the Avengers we're talking about. Isn't that right, Hawkeye?

Avengers #84Panels from Avengers v.3 #84/499 (August 2004), script by Chuck Austen, pencils and inks by Scott Kolins, colors by Chris Sotomayor, letters by Albert Deschesne

Oh, for cryin' out loud.

Oh well. Dance us off, Ann-Margrock!

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 252

X-Men #188
Panel from X-Men #188 (September 2006), written by Mike Carey, pencils by Chris Bachalo, inks by Tim Townsend and Jaime Mendoza, colors by Antonio Fabela, letters by Cory Petit

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

80 Wonderful Years of Crashing into the Postman

It's anniversary time, folks! I want to wish a happy 80th birthday to Blondie!

NO NO NO NO NO. Start again.

Start again!

It's anniversary time, folks! I want to wish a happy 80th birthday to Blondie!


That's right...eighty years ago today, August 8, 1930, the comic strip Blondie, created by Chic Young, debuted! That's eight decades of giant sandwiches, sleeping on the couch, getting beaten up by Mr. Dithers, and being interrupted in the bathtub! But all that came a little later: Blondie originally started as a comedy/romance strip in which rich boy Dagwood Bumstead woos chorus girl Blondie Boopadoop, under his father's threat of being disinherited if he goes through with the wedding.


They do, he does, and that wedding guest is wrong...they're off on the road to decades of laughs and adventure.


Over the years, in addition to the daily and Sunday strip (now written by Chic Young's son Dean and drawn by Dean Marshall), Blondie, Dagwood, Baby Dumpling aka Alexander, Cookie, and faithful dog Daisy have been featured not only in the comic but as toys, books, dolls, sandwich restaurants, movies...



...and even advertisements!

And of course...comic books. Here's some covers from only a few of the Blondie-related comic books: Blondie

If you're a fan of the strip, you'll like the comic books as well: comedy with good art (by the talented Paul Fung Jr.), funny scripts, sharp timing and longer plots. But the situations hapless Mister B gets into aren't completely unfamiliar:


There are of course the familiar giant sandwiches:


...and mishaps so...wide...that you wouldn't see them in the daily comic strip:


Here's one of my favorites—the final three pages of a story in which Dagwood and neighbor Herb Woodley belabor each other with increasingly Rube Goldbergian mayhem. Looks like comic artist Paul Fung's having a ball with this story, and so am I:


Charlton's Blondie #200 (October 1972) celebrated the 40th (more or less) wedding anniversary of Mister and Missus B., with modern-day reminiscence and flashbacks to the couple's most memorable moments.


The framing sequences are drawn in the comic's modern style:


...while Paul Fung deftly imitates the look of the strip from yesteryear in the flashbacks.


Happy 80th, Blondie and Dagwood! And may you have many, many more. The world definitely needs more of this:


365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 251

UXM #59
Panel from [Uncanny] X-Men #59 (September 2008), script by Roy Thomas, pencils and colors by Neal Adams, inks by Tom Palmer, letters by Sam Rosen

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Home of the Fighting Spiders

Peter Parker IDIt's back to school days, and if you're heading off to college for the very first time, well, you're on the road to a grand, exciting adventure, where you'll learn the basic skills and talents that will serve you well for the rest of your life, make friendships whose bonds will never be broken, create memories and experiences of fun and frolic, and have beautiful campus romances that open your eyes to the wonder of love. Also: alcohol poisoning.

If you've been accepted here to prestigious Empire State University in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, you've chosen one of the finest of New York's many colleges, including NYU, Columbia, Dr. Stephen Strange's College of Magic and Mystificationing, The Norman Osborn Institute for Advanced Evil, and DeVry. ESU's talented staff includes several national and international award-winners in their fields, including entomologist Professor Buck Mitty, Dr. Miles Warren of the ESU Applied Cloning Department and his assistant Dr. Miles Warren, physical fitness and self-offense instructor Dr. Frank Castle, and a hobbit:

Panels from Marvel Comics Presents #127 (1993), script by Joey Cavalieri, pencils by Dave Hoover, inks by Jeff Albrecht, colors by Mike Thomas, letters by Mike Higgins

There's no slacking off here at Empire State University, so be sure to budget your time accordingly, especially during your orientation! Be certain to fill in and submit all necessary forms, familiarize yourself with the time and location of your courses, pick up all textbooks at the bookstore who will assure you most sincerely that not only do give you the lowest possible prices, but that there is absolutely no place else where you can find these expensive texts and receive them quickly and professionally. Remember to believe everything the school bookstore tells you: remember, if you don't buy your $108 chemistry textbook there, where will you pick it up? (Also, they have sweatshirts.) Finally, remember to meet with your old high-school bully who is attending the same college, and work out a timetable for the next four years of getting wedgies. Scheduling them now will save you time later!

Panel from Amazing Spider-Man #31 (December 1965), script by Stan Lee, pencils and inks by Steve Ditko, letters by Artie Simek

But don't forget to make time to meet new and exciting friends with unusual and unlikely hair, like a 45-year-old freshman with cornrows and Dick Tracy's Moon Maid!


Remember, that cute little co-ed passing you by might turn out to be the love of your life! Go ahead, give her a "tumble!"


Speaking of which, in college you'll learn the most important life lesson ever: never, never do this:

Panels from Amazing Spider-Man #68 (January 1969), co-plot and script by Stan Lee, co-plot and layouts by John Romita Sr., finishes and inks by Jim Mooney, letters by Sam Rosen

But don't worry if you don't connect immediately. Sooner or later, she'll likely tumble 4 ya.

Panel from Amazing Spider-Man #121 (June 1973), script by Gerry Conway, pencils by Gil Kane, inks by John Romita Sr. and Tony Mortellaro, colors by David Hunt, letters by Artie Simek

Yes, campus life is more, much more, than attending boring old classes and researching term papers. Take time to hang out on the ESU quad with your pals 'n' gals. It's not merely suggested, it's mandatory! Remember, ESUer, grazing in the grass is a gas! Yeah, baby, can you dig it? (Offer of grazing in the grass is available only to students of the classes of 1966-1970).

Panels from Amazing Spider-Man #162 (November 1976), script by Len Wein, breakdowns by Ross Andru, finishes by Mike Esposito, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by John Costanza

Of course, there are other activities available to the socially-conscious young student. Become a member of one of ESU's many organizations for change and do or die, baby!

Panels from Amazing Spider-Man #68

But, don't neglect your schoolwork and your instructors...especially your Professor of Turning Body Mass Into Muscle!

Panels from Amazing Spider-Man #68

For the female freshmanwoman, remember that there's much more to college than gossip, drinking, sororities, clumsy sex and boys...

Emma Frost at ESU

Two-page spread from Emma Frost #13 (September 2004), script by Karl Bollers; pencils by Adriana Melo; inks by Sean Parsons, Andrew Pepoy, and Eric Cannon; colors by Transparency Digital; letters by Cory Petit
Click image to Harry Pierce-size

...there's also studying, prepping for your eventual later career of stripping at a private hedonistic club based on an old episode of The Avengers until you work your way up the corporate ladder to become the S&M queen in co-charge of psychically subjugating your goodie-goodie arch-enemy and then later initiating an mental adulterous love affair with her husband and long-time love before you move into his bedroom the day after her death and seize half-leadership of an entire race of humanity only occasionally pausing to work for for that race's deadliest nemesis and periodically sleeping with an amphibian, all while dressed in skintight minimum leather corset and high heels. Or, nursing.

Panels from Emma Frost #13

So let's wrap up your orientation to Empire State University by providing you with a copy of the campus map, including all six buildings and our famous Peter van Zante Memorial Fountain. Please, do not pitch pennies in it!

Page from Web of Spider-Man Annual #3 (1987), script by Danny Fingeroth, pencils by Don Perlin, inks by Keith Wilson

Oh, and whatever you do, don't miss our famous annual Homecoming Bonfire!

Panel from Fantastic Four #371 (December 1992), co-plot and script by Tom DeFalco, co-plot and pencils by Paul Ryan, inks by Danny Bulanadi, colors by Gina Going, letters by Jack Morelli

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 250

Astonishing X-Men #400
Panel from Astonishing X-Men #1 (September 2008), written by Warren Ellis, pencils and inks by Simone Bianchi, colors by Simone Peruzzi, letters by Joe Caramagna

Monday, September 06, 2010

Monday Night Murals: Star Trek: The Mural Picture

Hey, I promised you a Star Trek mural this week, didn't I?

Star Trek Mural

Or, as it says in the product listing on Urban Collector:
Ever wish you were aboard Captain Kirk's Enterprise? Now you can with the Star Trek: Bridge Full Wall Mural! Printed on the revolutionary pre-pasted Surestrip material, this extra large, photoreal wall mural puts you in the center of the action, and the backing won't damage the underlying wall. Measures 9 feet H x 15 feet W.
You know, I don't make nerds = living in your basement jokes on this blog, but if you've got this, have fun living in your basement.

Oh, what the heck, for you...have another Star Trek mural:

Star Trek

Star Trek v.2 #58-60 (March-June 1994), art by Jerome K. Moore and Tom McGraw
Click image to nuclear wessel-size

I loved the two series of Star Trek comics from DC, which started off, like Marvel's Star Wars comics, trying to tread the thin cosmic string fragment of filling in the mythos between the movies, before the next film came out. If I was writing them I would have killed off Kirk and Scotty and McCoy in every other episode, because you know what? They'll be back in the movie sequel. "Keptain! We're being attacked by tribbles with phasers!" "Mister...Chekov! The lives of...four...HUNDRED..." Eh, too easy a target.

Later in the comic series, like the Pocket Book Trek novels, DC opted for continuity implant adventures that happened during the first or second five year mission (non-canonical tho' the second one may be). I remember some of this three-part story, in which Chekov looks back on his varied career, during which he looks sad a lot, electrocutes Kirk, and has to set his giant floating communicator free, because if he does and it doesn't come back, he never really had it at all.

Anyway, despite not quite matching up at the edges, that's a dandy piece of artwork by Jerome Moore to tie together the three-part miniseries within a series. Some of the DC second series covers are among my very favorite pieces of Trek comic art:

Star Trek Covers

Now tell me you wouldn't wanna read those comics based on their covers!

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 249

PW Hellcat #1
Panel from Patsy Walker: Hellcat #1 (September 2008), written by Kathryn Immonen, pencils and inks by David Lafuente, colors by John Rauch, letters Dave Lanphear and Natalie Lanphear