L: Legion of Super-Heroes v.3 #16 (November 1985), cover art by Steve Lightle
R: Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #341 (November 1986), reprinting LSH #16, cover art by Steve Lightle and Larry Mahlstedt
Panels from Animal Man #24 (June 1990), script by Grant Morrison, pencils by Chas Truog, inks by Doug Hazlewood, colors by Tatjana Wood, letters by John Costanza
Upset that your favorite hero or heroine's incarnation doesn't have a place in the new 52 books of the DC Universe? Cry no more, fanboys, cry no more. They will always be there on Earth-Reread:
And remember, there's always a chance that a hero might eventually escape from the Land of Cancelled Heroes...say, for instance, Quicksilver (aka Max Mercury), released into custody of the pages of Impulse, or J'emm, Son of Saturn (as seen in JLA...
Panels from Animal Man #25 (July 1990), script by Grant Morrison, pencils by Chas Truog, inks by Mark Farmer, colors by Tatjana Wood, letters by John Costanza
Or the Red Bee, guesting in Starman...as a ghost mind you, but hey, can he complain?
In fact, you might even forget that Mister Freeze had once not been seen for years!
Even Earth-616...the Marvel Universe..has a land of canceled heroes. With a pretty liberal revolving door policy, it appears!
Page from Ka-Zar the Savage (October 1984), script by Mike Carlin, pencils by Paul Neary, inks by Carlos Garzon, colors by George Roussos, letters by Janice Chiang
So relax and play for a while, kids. We'll get you out...sooner or later.
...about Sgt. Fury's Lonely Heart's Club Band. But despite the military theme of the Beatles' famous album, I have the feeling that Nick Fury probably wasn't a huge fan of that LP. Yep, even though it sometimes looks as if some of Nick's adventures were inspired by the same illicit substances that gave us "Within You, Without You" and "A Day in the Life"...
Page from Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.* #7 (December 1968), co-plot and dialogue by Archie Goodwin; co-plot, pencils and inks by Frank Springer, letters by Artie Simek
...Yes, it looks as if Nick Fury has ingested a little too much tea in that panel.
Anyway: as psychedelic as Fury's '60s adventures were, he probably wasn't, unlike Ben Grimm, a big fan of the Beatles. (Forget the idea that Ben was at that point a contemporary of Nick.) Besides, the 33 1/3 12-inch LP of Sgt. Pepper probably didn't fit on Nick's 78rpm gramophone.
No, here's some entertainment that's more up Nick Fury's avenue:
Panels from Sgt. Fury [and His Howling Commandos] #43 (June 1967), script by Dick Ayers and Gary Friedrich, pencils by Dick Ayers, inks by John Tartaglione, letters by Sam Rosen
Holy cow! This USO show is full of more talent than the unemployment agency four or five months after the DC Implosion of June 2012! (Mark my words.) Check it out starting in the second panel...there's oatster Gene Autry and professional Clark Kent impersonator Glen Miller (go back by boat, not plane, okay, Glen?). Panel three has good old Bob "How much can I sue Stan Lee for using my likeness" Hope, and there's Hope's frequent second banana Jerry Colonna in the last panel. He's the one with the mustache, and the lovely ladies are Betty Grable, Lana Turner and Dorothy Lamour, which is certainly more A-list star-power in just one page of this comic book than any other Marvel cover-dated June 1967, with the possible exception of Modeling with Millie, which appears to guest-star that ginchy gal Gwen Stacy and another band Nick Fury wouldn't have cared for, the groovy Gears! Is it any coincidence that Modeling with Millie was cancelled with that very same issue?
Modeling with Millie #54 (June 1967), cover art by Ogden Whitney and John Romita Sr.
Yes. Yes, it probably is coincidence.
Interestingly enough, the same month you'd find Fury #43 and Millie #54 on the comic book spinner rack of your local Rexall you'd also be able to pick up, for a slim dime and two copper pennies, this:
The Adventures of Bob Hope #105 (June-July 1967)
Holy cow! You know what this means? With Bob Hope in both a Marvel and a DC comic book at the same time, I have discovered the first DC-Earth/Marvel Universe comic book crossover, nine years before that Superman/Spider-Man thing! Solid comic book archaeological history...that's what this blog is all about.
Also guest-starring in Sgt. Fury #43 is another big-name real-life historical characterthe Desert Fox himself, Erwin Rommel!
But let's not count him. Rommel's LP never cracked the Billboard charts and was later found in remainder cut-out bins across Europe. He was, however, the author of a bestselling book. Here's a review of it:
Here's some final proof that Nick Fury has zero tolerance for that newfangled noise the kids today call music, when he attends a concert by psychedelic band Country Joe McDonald and the Fish!
You might argue that Fury objects to this protest song attacking President Johnson, but it's probably more likely Nick's probably just miffed that he doesn't get name-checked like the FF and Doctor Strange. Heck, even that fictional character Superman gets a shout-out. Or maybe Nick just doesn't care for the reference to the Spider-Man reboot "Brand New Day." Lyrics about sending an unpopular President who supported an unpopular war back to Texas to work on his ranch? Yes, that's definitely a trademark of the 1960s and absolutely no other recent decade at all.
So, my point...and I do have one...is that on Nick Fury's military-issued 1943 khaki-green fourteen-pound iPod you'll find Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey, the Andrews Sisters, Johnny Mercer, Spike Jones, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Vera Lynn, and Ella Fitzgerald...but you won't find a single Beatles album. Oddly enough, you will find the complete works of actor and vocalist David Hasselhoff. For some reason, Nick's got a soft spot for the Hoff.
...well, actually it was forty-four years last Wednesday, and I missed it. But picture yourself living still in last Wednesday, two score and four years since the release of my favorite rock album of all time, The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band! Happy Birthday, Sarge! (And Band!)
But let's not forget the Where's Wallyesque hunt-and-find at Reed and Sue's wedding. Can you find all four Beatles attending the happy nuptials? Why didn't they sit them together? And where's Rob and Laura Petrie? Oh, Alex Ross, you wacky hero painter, you scamp!
Page from Marvels #2 (February 1994), script by Kurt Busiek, art by Alex Ross, letters by Richard Starkings and John Gaushell
(Click picture to big-event-size)
And speaking of Sergeants, how about a Mighty Marvel Musical Moment with Sgt. Fury's Lonely Club Heart Band?
Two-page spread from Not Brand Ecch #12 (February 1994), written by Gary Friedrich, art by John Verpoorten
(Click picture to WWII-size)
Hey, can you name all the figures standing around Fury and the Howlers? (I can't!) Here's a start with some hints from the letters page of Not Brand Ecch #12, complete with don't-sue-us name changes:
Last but not least, let us never forget...
The Skrull Beatles!
Panels from Wisdom #6 (July 2007), script by Paul Cornell, pencils by Manuel Garcia, inks by Mark Farmer, colors by Guru eFX, letters by Joe Caramagna
So, there's our celebration of and homage to Sgt. Pep..., oh, wait, we need some music to end with!:
Thank you, John, Paul, George, Ringo, and the Other George (Martin) for bringing us one of the great LPs of all time 44 years ago today in the middle of last week. Anything else to add, Skrull John?
The Mid-Day Matinee this week, all week: Wonder Woman Week! Or, as we like to call it around here in the COBF offices, W3. So sit back, get out your lunch (save some cookies for me, please!) and enjoy the far-out space nuts Astounding Adventures of the Amazing Amazon and her...um...Awesome Attitude!
Panels from Wonder Woman Special #1 (May 1992), script by William Messner-Loebs, pencils by Jill Thompson, inks by Jay Geldhof, colors by Matt Hollingsworth, letters by Albert De Guzman