Saturday, January 04, 2014

Today in Comics History: Batman and Robin are attacked by bands of roving exposition balloons


Panel from "Batman: Boss of the Big House!" in Detective Comics #169 (March 1951), pencils on some Batman and Robin figures by Bob Kane, other pencils by Lew Sayre Schwartz, inks by Charles Paris

365 Days of KirbyTech, Day 4: The Machine That Says "Boop Boop"


Panel from FF (2013) #2 (February 2013), script by Matt Fraction, pencils and inks by Michael Allred, colors by Laura Allred, letters by Clayton Cowles

Um, so what does this thing do? Well, it says "Boop Boop," of course. Of course. That's easy enough.

Still, as scripter Matt Fraction mentions in his "post-game" on FF #2:


(I think he meant "Chekhov.")


Ah! So the Machine That Says "Boop Boop" actually signals an interdimensional incursion. Or maybe it's just a Human Torch alert. Cool.


Important note: The Machine That Says "Boop Boop" is no relation to



or



But Kirby probably had a hand in both of those, too.

Today in Comics History: Big George goes to the big chair in the big house. Bigly.


Panel from "Batman: Boss of the Big House!" in Detective Comics #169 (March 1951), pencils on some Batman and Robin figures by Bob Kane, other pencils by Lew Sayre Schwartz, inks by Charles Paris

Friday, January 03, 2014

365 Days of KirbyTech, Day 3: The Magnoids

Despite the juxtaposition of the title and character, this lovely beetroot-shaded fella is not the "Thing from the Black Hole Star." He in in fact the Stalker, who the court has ordered to stay five hundreds yards away from Captain America at all times.


Splash from Captain America Annual #3 (1976), script and pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Frank Giacoia and John Verpoorten, colors by Janice Cohen, letters by Gaspar Saladino

Nor is this guy the Thing from the Black Hole Star. He's the Combatron, who is a victim of his predictive naming. No one ever calls a hideous monster from a distant galaxy the "Poetron" or the "Kissytron," and I think that's a pity for all of us sensitive comics readers.


Here's the Hunters of the Captive, the guys who are chasing The Thing from the Black Hole Star™, and they have some pretty impressive KirbyTech all around them, don't they? Not to mention the most stylish and with-it headgear, surely purchased direct mail-order from The 5000 Hats of Jack Kirby.


So they send these guys to hunt down the T.F.T.B.H.S., and pity the poor Captain America who gets in their way. Behold...the Magnoids!





Thursday, January 02, 2014

The Entire Silver Age in One Comics Panel


Panel from "The Stolen Identities" in Adventure Comics #270 (March 1960), script by Jerry Siegel, pencils and inks by George Papp

365 Days of KirbyTech, Day 2: Zakka's Dimension Harness

Evil Deviant scientist Zakka plans to conquer the earth through the use of advanced science (and mechanics)! Well, it's certainly not through his charm, grace, and debonair good looks, for sure.


Panel from The Eternals Annual #1 (1977), script and pencils by Jack Kirby, inks and letters by Mike Royer, colors by Glynis Wein

But how, given his lack of a Lemurian driver's license or even a Lemurian learner's permit, is he going to get from place to place? Why, by use of his patented Dimension Harness, which allows him to reach far-away, even extra-dimensional, destinations far beyond human imagination and mortal ken. Like, say, this sleazy apartment.


And the best thing is, the Dimension Harness is so compact! Why, when you're not wearing it and stepping between realities, you can just store it in an old bureau drawer! Just move that Gideon Bible to one side...yeah, it'll fit right in there.


What's even better: it's a handy way to escape when a dangerous and brutal assailant breaks into your sleazy apartment. Just fire up the Dimension Harness and...oh, wait, did you store it away? Better get it out of the drawer and snap it on...better do that quickly...


So, there you go. For the Dimension Harness to work, you have to be wearing the Dimension Harness. Don't forget that and store it in an old bureau drawer or something.


Eternals Annual #1: first and final appearance of Zakka the evil Deviant scientist.

Today in Comics History: The Warner Bros. and Dot are forced to dig into the emergency supply of baloney in their slacks


Cover of Animaniacs #57 (February 2000), pencils by Leonardo Batic, inks by Horacio Ottolini

Today in Comics History: Ms. Tao regrets super-sizing her order


Panels from the Revival story in Image 20: Free Comic Book Day 2012 one-shot (May 2012), script by Tim Seeley, pencils and inks by Mike Norton, colors by Mark Englert, letters by Crank!


6,700.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Today in Comics History: Ramona Flowers has a birthday and Scott Pilgrim's eyes explode


Panel from Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together (October 2007); script, pencils, inks and letters by Bryan Lee O'Malley

365 Days of KirbyTech, Day 1: The Watcher's Matter Mobilizer

Welcome to 2014...and welcome to the future! uture uture uture uture All this year, every day: an astonishing, mind-shattering, reality-bending example of the technological wonders created by "King" Jack Kirby that we call, after him, since his name is Kirby and this is his tech... KIRBYTECH!

I suppose I should start out with a mission statement. Um...okay...so what is KirbyTech, a word which is so ubiquitous across the infinite universes that as I type it, Microsoft Word isn't even spell-check correcting it? Well, it's those wonderful machines created by Reed Richards, or used on the Fourth World, or wielded by the Eternals or the Inhumans, the far-out space gear of Captain Victory and the ultra-dimensional kitchen tools of Asgard. A piece of KirbyTech is...it consists of...well, it has loops, and shadows, and curvy bits, and, uh...well, probably the best way to describe it is "You know it when you see it."

Luckily my pal Isaac Cates, editor and co-creator of one of the most fun comics of 2013, Cartozia Tales has created this handy and colorful guide to the Principles of Kirbytech! (Read all about it here!)


That about covers it, especially the very last word, one of my favorites: fun! And that's what I hope you have all this shall. Let's kick it off the year, shall we? I don't know about you, but I can't wait.

#1: The Watcher's Matter Mobilizer


Panel from Fantastic Four (1961 series) #48 (March 1966), plot and script by Stan Lee, plot and pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Sinnott, colors by Stan Goldberg (?), letters by Artie Simek




Here's to more adventures in 2014. And no more ugly surprises!



Panels from Fantastic Four (2013 series) #3 (March 2013), script by Matt Fraction, pencils by Mark Bagley, inks by Mark Farmer, colors by Paul Mounts, letters by Clayton Cowles

Happy New Year! Now, find Waldo.


Page from FF (2013 series) #3 (March 2013), script by Matt Fraction, pencils and inks by Michael Allred, colors by Laura Allred, letters by Clayton Cowles

Happy New Year, folks.



Panels from "Fan Mail" in The Spirit Section (January 1, 1950), script and art by Will Eisner

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Today in Comics History: Captain Britain saves Scotland from killer hair-ribbons


Panel from Captain Britain (1985 series) #14 (February 1986), script and pencils by Alan Davis; inks by Mark Farmer; letters by Annie Halfacree. Color version from Captain Britain trade paperback (1988), colors by Andy Seddon.

Today in Comics History: Scott Pilgrim gets a haircut; has his usual success with women


Panels from Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness (May 2006); script, pencils, inks and letters by Bryan Lee O'Malley

I am Spartacus...the Little Stuffed Bull!

While you're all out partying and carousing, I've been here at my little stuffed iMac merrily typing away, writing a guest-post for my pal Steve over at his blog Unseen Films! If you like comics, and if you like movies, and if you like me, then why not mosey over to Unseen Films to read my spotlight on the comic book version of the big blockbuster film Spartacus! You know, the movie in which Kirk Douglas plays Spartacus. And Laurence Olivier plays Spartacus. Also starring Jean Simmons and Charles Laughton as Spartacus! With special guest-star, Peter Ustinov, as Spartacus! And introducing: Tony Curtis in the role of Spartacus!


Panels from Four Color #1139 [Spartacus] (November 1960), comic book script by Gaylord Du Bois, pencils by John Buscema, inks by John Buscema and Mike Peppe

So don't delay, admit that you're Spartacus and head on over! Tell 'em Tony Curtis, and/or Bully the Little Stuffed Bull, sent you!

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 365: What we're trying to say here, basically, is just buy DC Comics

Part 1: An Introduction

So, there you go; another year down and a new one to look forward to. And tonight I wrap up "365 Days of DC House Ads." Wow, have I really been doing this for five years? That is almost as old as I am. The math says, yep, I have:
  • 2009: Ben Grimm
  • 2010: Hank McCoy
  • 2011: The Warriors Three
  • 2012: Alfred Pennyworth
  • 2013: DC House Ads
We've had some fun and some laffs and I know I've definitely learned a lot this year about DC's line of fine comical books, from Aquaman to Zatanna, with (inhale) Batman, Captain Marvel, Dolphin, Elongated Man, Firestorm, Gleek, Harley Quinn, I Ching, Jimmy Olsen, Kamandi, the Legion of Substitute Heroes, 'Mazing Man, Negative Man, Orion, Plastic Man, the Question, Ra's al Ghul...S...S...S....I'm sorry, I just can't think of a DC character that begins with "S."

In any case, how to wrap up this feature? I've shown you a bunch of fantastic and favorite DC House Ads, for which we ought to hoist a glass of champagne or Yoo-Hoo or your preferred new Year's Eve beverage to DC House Ad Honchos Ira Schnapp and Gaspar Saladino, who are responsible for a huge percentage of the ads I've spotlighted this year from the Silver Age and beyond. Here's to you, gentlemen!





Today in Comics History: In his quest for healthier eating, Jamie Oliver becomes a supervillain


Panel from Superman Y2K one-shot (February 2000); script by Joe Kelley; pencils by Butch Guice; inks by Kevin Conrad, Mark Propst, and Richard Bonk; colors by Pat Garrahy; color separations by Digital Chameleon; letters by Clem Robins

Today in Comics History: Scott Lang hits his parenting plateau


Panel from FF (2013 series) #3 (March 2013), script by Matt Fraction, pencils and inks by Michael Allred, colors by Laura Allred, letters by Clayton Cowles

Today in Comics History: Captain Britain's chin makes a leap for freedom


Panel from Captain Britain (1985 series) #14 (February 1986), script and pencils by Alan Davis; inks by Mark Farmer; letters by Annie Halfacree. Color version from Captain Britain trade paperback (1988), colors by Andy Seddon.

Today in Comics History: Keith Giffen sneaks in and inks this issue's faces


Panel from Captain Britain (1985 series) #14 (February 1986), script and pencils by Alan Davis; inks by Mark Farmer; letters by Annie Halfacree. Color version from Captain Britain trade paperback (1988), colors by Andy Seddon.

Today in Comics History: The exploding can of lager is invented


Panel from Captain Britain (1985 series) #14 (February 1986), script and pencils by Alan Davis; inks by Mark Farmer; letters by Annie Halfacree. Color version from Captain Britain trade paperback (1988), colors by Andy Seddon.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Today in Comics History: Meggan becomes increasingly suspicious of Walker's new Roast Wolverine Crisps


Panel from Captain Britain (1985 series) #14 (February 1986), script and pencils by Alan Davis; inks by Mark Farmer; letters by Annie Halfacree. Color version from Captain Britain trade paperback (1988), colors by Andy Seddon.

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 364: Put another X on the calendar

Well, folks, tomorrow's the last day of the year, so you're no doubt eyeing your rapidly-expiring 2013 Red Hood and the Outlaws wall calendar, ready to pin up your brand-spankin' new 2014 The Green Team: Teen Trillionaires calendar. Or this year for Christmas / Hanukkah / Kwanzaa / Robanuka / Hogswatch / Merlinpeen / Life Day you were gifted another fine DC Comics calendar: perhaps the new Princess KoriAnd'r swimsuit calendar, or the Riddler's Page-a-Day Conundrums for 2014, the Calendar Man wall calendar, or p'raps a fine product that might be called 365 Days of DC House Ads. Maybe even one a' these:


My point (and I do have one) is that you can buy a lot of different calendars for your wall these days to keep track of every sparklin' day of twenty-fourteen. But once upon a time, waaaaaaay back in the distant 1970s, when George Lucas still roamed the earth like some giant roaming thing and DC comics only cost two thin dimes (slightly more for 100-Page Giants), you paid yer money and you tooked your choices, which was exactly one: the single DC Comics calendar on sale each year. Like these as show in these find DC Calendar house ads! (There, finally back on subject!)


House ad for the 1977 Super DC Calendar; printed in Batman #282 (December 1976)




Today in Comics History: The Batman spends New Year's Eve Eve indulging in his oft-overlooked Peeping Tom hobby


Panel from The Brave and the Bold #106 (March-April 1973); script by Bob Haney; pencils, inks, and letters by Jim Aparo

Today in Comics History: The bottom falls out of the superheroine high-heel shoe market


Panel from Captain Britain (1985 series) #14 (February 1986), script and pencils by Alan Davis; inks by Mark Farmer; letters by Annie Halfacree. Color version from Captain Britain trade paperback (1988), colors by Andy Seddon.

Today in Comics History: Captain Britain's consignment of heroin comes in much too late to give out as Christmas presents


Panel from Captain Britain (1985 series) #14 (February 1986), script and pencils by Alan Davis; inks by Mark Farmer; letters by Annie Halfacree. Color version from Captain Britain trade paperback (1988), colors by Andy Seddon.

Today in Comics History: The moon evolves mechanical tentacles; proves to be not even the weirdest thing Warren Ellis writes that day


Panels from The Authority (1999 series) #10 (February 2000), script by Warren Ellis, pencils by Bryan Hitch, inks by Paul Neary, colors by Laura Depuy, letters by Ryan Cline

Sunday, December 29, 2013

This Little Piggy Went to War!

While I'm off on holiday vacation, please peruse this Bully Classic, originally posted November 20, 2008. Enjoy or enjoy again!

Everyone knows that The Punisher can use anything as a weapon. A gun, a knife, a carrot, a Nerf ball, a bit of string...the man can break your spine in six places with a Jell-O™ Pudding Cup.

Punisher War Zone Annual #1
Panels from The Punisher: War Zone Annual #1 (July 1993), written by Chuck Dixon, penciled and inked by John Buscema, colored by Ericka T. Moran, lettered by Michael Higgins


That's why whenever you sell out Mister Castle to the mob, make certain there's nothing within his reach that he can use against you as a killing tool.

Punisher War Zone Annual #1
Especially never
Punisher War Zone Annual #1
let him have
Punisher War Zone Annual #1
access to
Punisher War Zone Annual #1
a pig.

Captain America may use a metal shield for protection...

Punisher War Zone Annual #1
...but all Frank Castle needs is a pig.


This otherwise-serviceable tale of crime, revenge, and ham would have gone unnoticed in the annals of the many Punisher titles that glutted your local comic book store in the mid-1990s (Punisher, Punisher War Zone, Punisher Armory, Punisher vs. Archie, Punisher's Summer Vacation Spectacular, Punisher Love-In, Punisher: Son of Odin, The Mutant Misadventures of The Punisher, X-Punisher, Punisher: Sorcerer Supreme, Wolverunisher, and Star Comics' for-children-series Kid Punisher, to name but a few) if it hadn't been for the sparkling debut of that fan-favorite character whose first appearance later drove the back issue price for Punisher: War Zone Annual #1 higher than Hulk #181...the epic premiere of Frank's later constant companion and sidekick, his comrade in arms, dangerous and deadly, powerful and porcine, he's...

The Punisher's Battle-Pig!


Appearing in over seventy separate comic book guest-spots during the height of his popularity, the Punisher's Battle-Pig is one of those characters that's not often seen in today's modern "realistic" Marvel Universe of Red Hulks and shape-changing alien infiltrators, but he was an icon of his time. Let's remember him with a look at his popular page from The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, shall we?:

The Punisher's Battle-Pig

Remember kids, The Punisher's Battle-Pig says

Punisher's Battle-Pig

Take a bite out of crime...not bacon!



So, in conclusion, let's all listen to The Punisher's Battle-Pig's Haunting Love Theme, shall we?