Panels from "Mr. Burns to the Rescue" in Simpsons One-Shot Wonders: Mr. Burns (June 2013), script by Nathan Kane, pencils by Tone Rodriguez, inks by Andrew Pepoy, colors by Art Villanueva, lLetters by Karen Bates
Wait, wait, no no no, I've made another one of my silly mistakes. Not that Mr. Burns, this Mr. Burns...Robert Burns, born on this day in 1759!
Tonight across Scotland folk old and young will be celebrating Burns Night with supper, drink and song, and why shouldn't we add to the festivities over here on my little puppet-town cow-blog? Unfortunately there's not many comic books about Robert Burns. Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby, and Tiernen Trevallion's Robbie Burns, Witch Hunter was supposed to come out in late 2013, but I haven't seen it yet. Anybody spot this comic roaming anywhere out on the moors? Ahah! It's now scheduled to come out in 2014.
Poster art for Robbie Burns, Witch Hunter (2014), art by Tiernen Trevallion
So instead, here's a comic book page featuring a famous character from TV, movies, and comics, dancing a highland reel. Can you guess who it is? I hear the words "Oh, yes!" out there, but no fair you guessing, Mr. George Takei!
Give up? Naw, of course you knew dancing boy there was Commander Montgomery Scott..."Scotty" of TV's Star Trek, in a flashback-to-his-highland-youth scene. You guys are smart!
Panels from Star Trek Annual (1985 series) #3 (1988), script by Peter David, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Ricardo Villagran, colors by Michele Wolfman, letters by Janice Chiang
It's a bit muddied in that last section (and check out Scotty's futuristic Legion of Super-Heroes-style jacket!), but the dancing page gives us an excellent look at the tartan on Scotty's kilt, and in a credit to the artists, it matches the one worn by James Doohan on the TV show:
The idea for a kilt to be included as part of Scott's dress uniform was thought up by actor James Doohan. He later recalled, "They [the producers] immediately grabbed onto the idea. They sent to Scotland for the Scott tartan." (The World of Star Trek, 3rd ed., p. 94)
Except...it looks, to my admittedly inexpert and button eye, that what William Ware Theiss got his costume designin' hands on was not the Scott tartan but the Scott MacRae tartan, which is quite different. I'm not any type of expect on Scots clans, so I'll leave it to better and Scottier minds than myself to argue whether this makes Scotty part of another family or not. (He wears a different tartan in The Wrath of Khan, as well.)
One comic book character who should seriously consider making a kilt part of his everyday costume is Batman, Lord of Batmanor!
Cover of Detective Comics #198 (August 1953), pencils and inks by Win Mortimer
Panels from "The Lord of Batmanor" in Detective Comics #198 (August 1953), plot by Leigh Brackett, script by Edmond Hamilton, pencils by Dick Sprang, inks by Gene McDonald (?); Charles Paris (?)
Of course Batman's not the only superhero to ever visit Scotland. Here's Spider-Man, a bit out of his depths with no skyscrapers to swing from. Say, that's a pretty cool tartan Pete's wearing, too!
Page from Spider-Man: Spirits of the Earth graphic novel (1990), script and painted art by Charles Vess, letters by Gaspar Saladino
And here's Nick Fury taking a violent vacation in the Northern outlying islands of Scotland. Aptly, Scots comics artist Cam Kennedy does the pencils and inks:
Panel from Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.* (1989 series) #11 (May 1990), script by Alan Grant, pencils and inks by Cam Kennedy, colors by Steve Buccellato, letters by Richard Starkings
Scottish traditions and tropes in comics are "always good for a laugh" to us!
Half-page inside-back cover gag in Dell Giant #44 [Around the World with Huckleberry Hound and His Friends] (July 1961), scripter and artist unknown
And of course, it's not really Burns Night without a visit from our old mates Hamish and Dougal!
So, Happy Burns Night, everyone! And don't forget that if you imbibe in even a wee drop o' the spirits or sup your cup of John Barleycorn, it's best to walk home over the Highland moors.
*Scotland Has Implanted Everywhere Lots of Distilleries