Saturday, June 08, 2013

Psylocke Psaturday #15: Heavens to Betsy

So, where were we? Ah yes...Betsy has come to America, is living in the X-Mansion, and is in the diabolical clutches of scripter Chris Claremont, who will fill her life with unbearable angst, even more so than under the magic, bearded hands of Alan Moore. As Uncanny X-Men Annual #10 opens, the Uncanny Ones are working out in the Danger Room (again). Betsy's either running the controls or maybe laying down some backing tracks for Supertramp, and Cypher and Sunspot are alongside, angsting away. Well, I told you it was a Claremont comic.


Panels from [Uncanny] X-Men Annual #10 (January 1987), script by Chris Claremont, pencils by Art Adams, inks by Terry Austin, colors by Petra Scotese, letters by Tom Orzechowski

Suddenly Longshot! Which is something different than Suddenly Susan or Suddenly Salad. Ann Noincenti and Art Adam's luck-based superhero teleports into the Danger Room and into the X-Men's lives, accompanied by a whole slew of sticky goo. Look, it's best not to think about all the goo everywhere. Anyway, all of the X-Men including Betsy are covered in it. Even Nightcrawler's scary, scary toes.


A note for all you X-Men trivia buffs: Wolverine's eye line is on the same level as Psylocke's breasts. So that explains that.


Where there's Longshot, there's also Mojo, but I'm going to spare you the sight of any panels that feature probably one of my least favorite X-Nemeses. Especially the panel of him in a pig mask. Instead, let's look at Rogue's first pre-Gambit crush. She's heavily into them, not least for the reason that they have similar mullets. Also in this scene: the panel border warns them to hold it.


The mysterious goop has de-aged all the X-Men and turned them into...oh, dear, it's the first appearance of the X-Babies. Sigh. Nobody explains how their uniforms shrunk with them (unstable molecules, probably), or why, as the other X-Men de-age from their twenties to pre-teens (and Kitty Pryde to a baby), Wolverine is also a kid. Well, still, it's nice to see him without his arms being covered in hair for once.


As much as I loathe the X-Babies, you cannot deny this is the single greatest exclamation ever out of the mouth of Wolverine:


Meanwhile, the New Mutants, who have changed into their individual, "grown up" costumes that we'd seldom see ever again, are tracking the X-Babies, who have been led by Mojo to a production of Shakespeare in the Park. I am not kidding you.


Present in the audience: the Bratpack from Longshot (also seen in New Mutants Annual #2)...


Also present: Puddlegulp and the frog family from Thor #364-366 (yes, the ones where Thor got turned into a frog). And: Walt and Louise Simonson.


Somewhere also in this issue is supposed to be Carrie Kelley, the futuristic Robin from Batman: The Dark Knight. But I can't find her (she's probably among the audience members). Anybody who knows where she is, let me know so I can post the panel!



ADDED ON JUNE 9, 2013: Hooray; I knew one of my faithful readers with better eyes than my button ones would come through! Thanks to the ID by by Boistrous Bully backer OTL in the comments, here's Carrie Kelly, and I'm ashamed I didn't recognize her dialogue!:


And sitting next to her is Michelle, ma belle Carrie's cautious companion:



Panels from Batman: The Dark Knight (1986 limited series) #1, script and pencils by Frank Miller, inks by Klaus Janson, colors by Lynn Varley, letters by John Costanza

A closer look at Carrie:


But who's this Art Adams-added aquatic-appearing animal-man in the same panel?!?


I'm baffled! Answers on a postcard to get your name added in another color in a second edit to this post!



Oh yeah, I forgot: this is a post about Psylocke. Like the other X-Men, she's been returned to her original age but turned into a villain by (sigh) Mojo. You can tell she's not a hero by her color scheme. Green and purple? No self-respecting Marvel superhero would be seen in those two colors.


I also forgot to mention all the New Mutants have pink masks. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Tim Gunn could not join the Marvel Universe fast enough. Yep, even Cypher's Cyclops-wannabe visor has a pink screen. And Wolverine is running around naked. Golly GUMbucks, Claremont!


We begin to see the genesis of the ruthless ninja "kill 'em all and let Jim Shooter sort 'em out" version of Psylocke:


By the end of the issue Longshot has joined the X-Men and we're barreling headlong towards the Outback era of the X-Men, where they sit around eating steak and onion blossoms are headquartered in an Australian hidden base. Psylocke will be a major player during this era of the X-Men, so stay tuned: Ol' Purple-Head will be back!

Next up: We've seen Betsy Braddock among the X-Men, but when did she decide to be an X-Man? We'll see how and why and what hideous monstrosity of fashion she'll be wearing in Uncanny X-Men #213, which I think happens chronologically before this Annual because Longshot isn't in it, but who the heck knows? All I know is that it's drawn by Alan Davis, so it's Psylocke at her Psylockiest. And facing off against Sabretooth. Hope you survive the experience!


Panel from Uncanny X-Men #213 (January 1987), script by Chris Claremont, pencils by Chris Claremont, inks by Paul Neary, colors by Glynis Oliver, letters by Tom Orzechowski

Today in Comics History: Not these guys again


Panels from "The Death-Cheaters of Gotham City!" in Batman #72 (August-September 1952), pencils by Dick Sprang, inks by Charles Paris, letters by Pat Gordon

Yep: John Grant, who, according to that panel above, died today, June 8...


OH COME ON STORY IT'S THE VERY NEXT PANEL

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 159: Who wrote the copy for this ad...Dr. Thirteen?


House ad for Sensation Mystery #111 (September-October 1952)
and The Phantom Stranger (1952 series) #1 (August-September 1952),
printed in House of Mystery #6 (September 1952)
Comic cover art: Sensation Mystery #111: pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Sy Barry
The Phantom Stranger #1: pencils by Murphy Anderson, girl figure pencilled by Frank Giacoia, inks by Sy Barry

Ad designed and lettered by Ira Schnapp

Bear Attack! Month, Day 8: Just be glad I spared you the panel of the bear cleaving a raccoon in half



Panels from The Unwritten #43 (January 2013); co-plot and script by Mike Carey; co-plot, pencils, and inks by Peter Gross, colors by Chris Chuckry, letters by Todd Klein

Friday, June 07, 2013

The Seven Deadly Sins of Chili Storm









And let us not forget:


365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 158: DC takes out advertising space on Wonder Woman's rear end*

Two-page house ad for World of Krypton #2 (August 1979), All-Out War #1 (September-October 1979), and Time Warp #1 (October-November 1979), printed in Batman #313 (July 1979)

Comic cover art: World of Krypton #2: pencils by Ross Andru, inks by Dick Giordano
All-Out War #1: pencils and inks by Joe Kubert, colors by Tatjana Wood
Time Warp #1: pencils and inks by Mike Kaluta

(Click picture to Rao-size)


A couple observations: the ad appears to say that the World of Krypton issue is #3, but that's actually the cover to #2.


And notice that two of the captions on the ad version of All-Out War are changed by the time the comic goes to press: "The Viking from Hell" becomes "The Viking Commando"; seeing as this is his first appearance, it's a good thing they decided on a name that wouldn't have the comic taken away from newsstands by parents irate over the double hockey-sticks word. (Altho' you could definitely buy the comic book Son of Satan.) And thankfully, "Soul Brother with Wings" become just "Brother with Wings." Also: The Viking Commando got an Army helmet pasted onto his head. All he needs now is a pair of little wings pasted onto the helmet.



*Once you've seen it, you can't unsee it.

Today in Comics History: Teenage girl tragically snaps in two at waist


Panel from Batman: Orphans #1 (Early February 2011), script by Eddie Berganza, pencils by Carlo Barberi, inks by Juan Vlasco, colors by Chuck Pires, letters by John E. Workman, Jr.

Bear Attack! Month, Day 7: Once again Batman's life is saved by a gun


Panels from "The North Pole Crimes!" in World's Finest Comics #7 (Autumn 1942), script by Bill Finger, pencils by Bob Kane, inks by Jerry Robinson

A great panel deserves an encore:


Thursday, June 06, 2013

Feeling listless, run down and tired in the summer?

Maybe you aren't eating enough meat!


Advertisement from the American Meat Institute, from Life (June 23, 1952)

Today in Comics History: Tom Taylor sells out one-man show of him staring at his shoes for ninety minutes


Panel from The Unwritten #37 (July 2012); plot, pencils, and inks by Peter Gross; script by Mike Carey; colors by Chris Chuckry


Say, what date is An Evening with Tom Taylor at the Queensland Performing Arts Center again?


Panels from The Unwritten #40 (October 2012); plot, pencils, and inks by Peter Gross; script by Mike Carey; colors by Chris Chuckry; letters by Todd Klein

Today in Comics History: Bat ears are installed on the original Wayne Manor


Panel from Sandman (1989 series) #1 (January 1989), script by Neil Gaiman, pencils by Sam Kieth, inks by Mike Dringenberg, colors by Robbie Busch, letters by Todd Klein

Today in Comics History: Roy Raymond successfully detects glue


Panel from the Roy Raymond, TV Detective story "The Most Amazing Club in the World!" in Detective Comics #219 (May 1955), pencils and inks by Ruben Moreira

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 157: You knocked my block off!


House ad for Batman #194 (August 1967); printed in Detective Comics #365 (July 1967)
Ad designed and lettered by Ira Schnapp

This classic cover, one of the most dynamic of Batman's "New Look" era, is too great to only see it in miniature in the house ad. Here's a better look:


Cover of Batman #194 (August 1967), pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Murphy Anderson, colors by Jack Adler (?), letters by Ira Schnapp

So, always remember:





Bear Attack! Month, Day 6: At least it wasn't a golden bear


Page from "The House That Fought Green Lantern!" in Green Lantern (1960 series) #28 (April 1964), script by Gardner Fox, pencils by Gil Kane, inks by Joe Giella, letters by Gaspar Saladino

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Today in Comics History: It is proven in court that clowns freak everybody out


Panel from "The Man Who Couldn't Be Tried Twice!" in Batman #118 (September 1958), script by Bill Finger, pencils by Bob Kane, inks by Ray Burnley, letters by Ira Schnapp

In the Bag

Pal Mike Sterling recently posted about Whitman comic book pre-packs, those wonderful treasure chests of fun pre-packaged inside plastic bags and sold for mere pennies at your local non-comics retailer (and here's another, earlier post on the pre-pack bags by Mike). I love/loved/will continue to love these packs; they were my first foray into back-issue buying with the Star Wars, Micronauts and Battlestar Galactica sets that Mike shows off. I never know what the technical term for those bags is called, but at least one publisher had their own specific terminology:


Comicpac ad printed in Detective Comics #306 (August 1962)

Comicpacs! Now there's a name I've not heard in a long, long time. Here's a full-page black-and-white (inside cover) house ad for DC's Comicpacs:


Comicpac ad printed in Batman #153 (February 1963)

Wow, that's a snazzy display stand, that I presume supermarkets and other retailers were paid to place in their stores via co-op or advertising money from DC and/or local magazine distributors. I've long wanted one of those spinner racks that say "Hey Kids! Comics!" on it to display my comic books, but I'd settle for one of these in good condition. I'll just need a hole punch so that I can dangle my copies of The Incredible Hulk #181 and other rare comics off those metal rods.

Say, folks, can you do math? Of course you can. (You have already shown your immense smarts by reading this blog!) So you'll see that selling four 12¢ comics inside a polybag adds up to a value of exactly 48¢, for which you are charged...47¢. OH THOSE FANTASTIC SAVINGS. Not too bad for a ploy to sell off what is presumably unsold overprinted recent stock of comics. Trouble was, you never quite knew what you were getting besides the comic book shown on the front and the one on the back. There might be Superman on one side and Detective Comics facing out on the other, but you spend your four bits minus three coppers and bicycle frantically home to tear open your Comicpac and discover the set had been stuffed with an issue of Falling in Love and one of Everything Happens to Harvey. The perils of blind buying! You pay yer money and you takes yer chances, as I believe Jonah Hex once said. If not him, then Benjamin J. Grimm.

Now, I have long thought (and I bet you did too) that polybags and Comicpacs and the like were part of the distant past, much like the passenger pigeon and The Heckler, and that we would never see their likes again. So imagine my surprise when, while wandering through a local branch of the discount store Five Below (home of the five-buck iPod case and an entire endcap of Iron Man 2 action figures), a table full of remainder books including a whole display of polybag sets of recent comic books, retailing for the (cheap!) price of four for $4.99.


Well, you can bet your bottom $4.99 I bought a pack of those comics, more for the nostalgia than actually thinking I was gonna get really great comics. Of the four comic books in the pack I could see two: an issue of Robin #155...


...and on the flip-side was a face-out copy of something called Starbreaker #29. Oh, sorry, wait, that's Justice Society of America.


But what two comics were inside this polybag o' fun? Altho' I peered and poked, I couldn't tell before I purchased it, so I had to bring it home and, thus forever destroying its mint value as a polybagged set of unsalable leftover comics, ripped it open.


So, what pair of poor-selling, over-printed recent comic books would I get sandwiched in between the two visible ones? Harvey's New Kids on the Block Meet Wendy the Good Little Witch? Marville #7? Identity Crisis? Any of the fourteen billion Spider-Clone comics? Which will it be, which will it be?


...

WOW.



I cannot tell a lie in case you're jealous and ill-at-ease
The pair of comic books that I really got turned out to be these.