Saturday, February 15, 2014

365 Days of KirbyTech, Day 46: The Beast's Power-Increaser Ray

Turns out that Reed Richards isn't the only one who can create a mechanism that increases superhuman power. Teen X-Man and Comics Oughta Be Fun! favorite Hank McCoy (a.k.a. the boistrously bouncing Beast!) here shows some of his immense potential for science, when the Strangest Teens of All face off against the mutant villain who not only has one of the most terrible costumes in Marveldom, he's got the absolute worst name: Unus the Untouchable! he's the mutant that cannot be touched not that you'd wanna what with a name like "Unus".


Panel from [Uncanny] X-Men (1963 series) #8 (November 1964), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Chic Stone, letters by Sam Rosen

Since Unus (giggle!) can't be beaten by brawn, he's got to be defeated by brain! Which pretty much leaves out Iceman, Angel, and what the heck, Cyclops too. Beast takes to Professor X's lab ("You kids don't touch my tools!") to design and construct the only possible defense against Unus...


...a device to increase Unus' power. Hey, wait, what?





Friday, February 14, 2014

At 13th Dimension: "Thirteen Days a Week: A Beatles Comics Countdown" #1 and "He Came in Through the Bat-Room Window!"

All this week on 13th Dimension, it's Beatles Week! And at last my person pal John might have some time to toss the old pigskin around and take me to see The Lego Movie after spending the whole week writing posts for 13th Dimension!

Tonight you can read two posts: first, his final installment in Thirteen Days A Week: A Beatles Comics Countdown spotlights the very first Beatles comic (and no, it's not an issue of Blue Beetle from the Golden Age!).

Then, as if that' weren't enough rich Liverpudlian goodness, check out the post I-Can't-Believe-Editor-Dan-Greenfield-Let-John-Keep-This-Title titled "He Came in Through the Bat-Room Window," spotlighting Batman #222 and the mysterious case of the dead or alive British pop sensation named Saul not Paul Cartwright not McCartney.

And yes, yet again, John has ignored my little stuffed pleas to include this, the greatest Beatles panel in comic book history:


Panel from "Exiled on the Bizarro World!" in Jimmy Olsen #80 (October 1964), script by Jerry Siegel (?), pencils by John Forte, inks by George Klein

Maybe John was right. Maybe I shoulda saved that for "The Entire Silver Age in One Panel."

365 Days of KirbyTech, Day 45: Reed Richards' Dish-Washer Mechanism

Yes, 'tis Valentine's Day! A day when a young bull's fancies lightly turn to thoughts of Keira Knightly. And when husbands around the known universe give their wives the gift of...kitchen appliances!


Panel from Fantastic Four (1961 series) #44 (November 1965), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Sinnott, letters by Sam Rosen

Only Reed Richards could build a dishwasher quite so complicated! Only Jack Kirby could portray it in a manner that the human mind can comprehend! And only Stan Lee would put a hyphen in the middle of the word "dishwasher!"

Today in Comics History: Hawkeye has a typical Valentine's Day


Panels from Hawkeye (2012 series) #9 (June 2013), script by Matt Fraction, pencils and inks by David Aja, colors by Matt Hollingsworth, letters by Chris Eliopoulos

Thursday, February 13, 2014

At 13th Dimension: "Thirteen Days a Week: A Beatles Comics Countdown" IV!

All this week on 13th Dimension, it's Beatles Week! I am starting to get jealous of my prolific person pal John who has written about some of the greatest Beatles appearances in comic books—thirteen in all! Tonight, installment number four, counting down from 4 to 2 and starring Starfire and Raven, Gold and Mercury*, and the world's only canonically correct Batman!

Just to prove I can also find comic book appearances of the Fab Four in my collection, I clipped out this one and handed it to John, but he didn't use it. I am going to start charging him for access to my comics vault. I keep makin' suggestions, but John never include the Beatles moments in comic books that I suggest. Moments like that time Clark Kent and Lana Lang went to a Beatles concert. 


Panel from "Challenge of the Green K-tastrophe!" in Superman Family #198 (November 1979), script by Cary Bates, pencils by Kurt Schaffenberger, inks by Joe Giella, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by Ben Oda

I'm always amused by the dragged-along-like-a-trailer continuity of Superboy which remains constantly 15 years behind whatever era the contemporary Superman stories are taking place. In Action Comics #317 (October 1964), Supes is contemporary with the Beatles, so his Superboy would have been listening to, collecting the 45s, and taking Lana Lang to the Smallville sock hop dance to the music of Patti Page's "The Tennessee Waltz," Nat King Cole's "Mona Lisa," Gordon Jenkins and The Weavers' "Goodnight Irene," and this, quite possibly the greatest song of all time:



Which means that today's modern, collared New 52 Superman, as a teenager in Nu-Smallville, listened to and prevented teen Lex Luthor from illegally downloading, "Smooth" by Santana and Rob Thomas, "Big Pimpin'" by Jay-Z, "Say My Name" by Destiny's Child, and this, quite possibly the greatest song about Y2K of all time:



John sez I'm not allowed to watch that video more than ten times in a row anymore.

To get bak on the subject of The Beatles: once again, that's Beatles Week at 13th Dimension! John's #1 Beatles moment in comic books will be posted tomorrow! And as The Beatles sang, "Tomorrow never knows!" Or was that a James Bond song?



I'm not allowed to watch that video more than once.

*The only metal that is liquid at room temperature.

365 Days of KirbyTech, Day 44: Reed Richards' Big Science Thing That Does Stuff [Unidentified KirbyTech]

Hey, Future Johnny Storm! What is that thing?


Panel from FF (2013 series) #4 (April 2013), script by Matt Fraction, pencils and inks by Michael Allred, colors by Laura Allred, letters by Clayton Cowles

Well, Johnny? What is that thing?


Ah. Well, thanks fer nuthin', Johnny Storm.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

At 13th Dimension: "Thirteen Days a Week: A Beatles Comics Countdown" III!

All this week on 13th Dimension, it's Beatles Week! Human pal John (who I time-share my iMac with) has written about some of the greatest Beatles appearances in comic books—thirteen in all! Tonight, installment number three, counting down from 7 to 5 and starring Chronos, The Bee Gees with Peter Frampton (marginally, at least), and Jimmy Olsen!

I keep makin' suggestions, but John never include the Beatles moments in comic books that I suggest. Moments like the time Doc Savage's son went to the famous concert at Shea Stadium:


Panel from Doc Savage (1987 miniseries) #2 (December 1987), script by Dennis O'Neil, pencils by Andy Kubert, inks and letters by Adam Kubert, colors by Petra Kubert Scotese

You have no taste, Son of Man of Bronze!

Once again, that's Beatles Week at 13th Dimension! Head there, and while you're over there, wish 13th Dimension editor Dan Greenfield a Happy Birthday! They say it's his birthday! We're gonna have a good time!

365 Days of KirbyTech, Day 43: Maximus the Mad's Atmo-Gun

Maximus the Mad! He's the brother of the king of the Inhumans, Black Bolt! Which means that Maximus's full name is Maximus Dennis Boltagon. How mad is he? He's even madder than the Seeker, the guy in red who's mad enough to wear the Swiss Army Helmet!


Panel from Fantastic Four (1961 series) #47 (February 1966), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Sinnott, colors by Stan Goldberg, letters by Artie Simek

Why, he's even mad enough to be firing up the Sunset Gun* Atmo-Gun!





How powerful is the Atmo-Gun? So powerful it makes the Earth glow in the dark. (Note: For best effect, first expose Earth to bright light, then take Earth into hall closet.)


Maximus' Atmo-Gun manipulates the atmosphere by exciting it (probably by showin' it photos of Kelly Rowland) until the very ground shakes with massive earthquakes! Or, as they probably should be technically called, atmospherequakes. It even makes the Attilan Chamber of Commerce crash and collapse! OH THE INHUMANITY! All those tourist pamphlets, gone!


Panels 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 an external shot of the Atmo-Gun that doesn't look much like the view we saw above, so I'd like to propose that the machine seen in FF #47 was the underground control module and this is the above-ground atmospheric manipulator. Either that or Jack didn't keep a reference copy for drawing its second appearance.


Maximus, as befits any nutty, wacky, way-out criminal super-genius with a hatred of his brother (see also: Loki, Grim Reaper, Fat Freddy Freekowtski), taunts Black Bolt with the sort of expository dialogue that made Goldfinger such a popular name in motion picture history.


To which Black Bolt replies, succinctly:


Which only spurs Maximus to go reverse the polarity and erect an impenetrable Negative Zone (not to be confused with the anti-matter universe ruled by Annihilus, or the corner that Sue Storm makes her brother sit in when he gets into a fight with Ben) around Attilan, home of the Inhumans! Yes, it's a giant machine with a big-ass fist-grippin' handle and when you switch it it goes "click!" Human–computer interaction at its finest!


You know, for a super-villain, Maximus' dentistry is impeccable. That's what happens when you brush with new improved Terrigen with Fluoride™!


And nobody ever saw Attilan, ever again. Until Black Bolt, under the influence of too many Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers, crashed it into the Hudson River.



*



Edited on 03/09/14 to insert this addition:

Maximus' Atmo-Gun is also seen in the miniseries Fantastic Four: Fireworks, although this isn't a separate appearance: FFF is one of the short-lived "Marvel Remix" series, retelling the first Inhumans story, focusing on the relationship of Crystal and the Human Torch, which is one of the few pairings in the Marvel Universe that I wished woulda happened. (Still could, for that matter!) It also, of course, spotlighted the Atmo-Gun!



Panels from Fantastic Four: Fireworks #2 (February 1999), script by Gerard Jones, pencils by Jeff Johnson, inks by Mark Pennington, colors by Richard Horie and Tanya Horie, letters by Richard Starkings and Albert Deschesne

Fireworks shows us a little more detail on the effects of reversing the polarity (©1963 BBC) of the Atmo-Gun, creating an impenetrable "Negative Zone" barrier surrounding Attilan (not to be confused with Reed's Negative Zone portal from the Baxter Building to the antimatter universe of Annihilus).


As well as showing the tragic result: Crystal is separated from Johnny forever (well, at least until FF #59).



Oh, why must I be a Fantastic Teenager in love?


Today in Comics History: The US Air Force begins recruiting tiny, tiny men to fly to the moon



Advertisement printed in Detective Comics #274 (December 1959)

UFOlogists may recognize General LeBailly's name as the guy who couldn't absolutely swear that flying saucers weren't from outer space.



Because of this, LeBailly called for a scientific and research review of Project: Blue Book, which was head by physicist Dr. Brian "Brian" O'Brien, and completed in March, 1966 with a conclusion that there was no physical evident that unidentified flying objects either existed or were any threat to the nation's security. The review did note that they would have had the review in hand much earlier if Air Force Captain John Christopher had not mysteriously disappeared during a routine flight.



Today in Comics History: Pigs celebrate their equality to people


Panel from Seven Soldiers #0 (April 2005), script by Grant Morrison, pencils and inks by J. H. Williams III, colors by Dave Stewart, letters by Todd Klein

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

365 Days of KirbyTech, Day 42: Tony Stark's Anti-Missile Missile Gun


Panel from Avengers (1963 series) #2 (November 1963), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Paul Reinman, letters by Artie Simek

Say, if'n you ask me, the top of that "Anti-Missile Missile Gun" that the Hulk Space Phantom disguised as the Hulk is wrecking looks an awful lot like the "Pro-Missile Missile Gun" Tony Stark is hawkin' in his first movie:



At 13th Dimension: "Thirteen Days a Week: A Beatles Comics Countdown" continues!

All this week on 13th Dimension, it's Beatles Week! While I'm trying to get caught up on KirbyTech (I promise I will!), my best pal John (my intern and research assistant) has written about some of the greatest Beatles appearances in comic books—a lucky baker's dozen of them, come to think of it! Tonight, installment number two, counting down from 10 to 8 and starring Ben Grimm, Pinky and the Brain, and Herbie Popnecker!

I asked him to, but John didn't include this Beatles moment in comic books that I clipped out and thrust at him hopefully:


Panel from Not Brand Echh #8 (June 1968), script by Roy Thomas, pencils and inks by John Verpoorten, letters by Joe Rosen

Is it petty of me to point out that the colorist for this story (Stan Goldberg, maybe?) got the colors of the Sgt. Pepper uniforms wrong? Naw, that would be nitpicking to point out that John should be in neon green, Ringo in hot pink, Paul in sky blue, and George in Jolly-Olly-Orange.


Once again, that's Beatles Week at 13th Dimension! We hope you will enjoy the show!

Monday, February 10, 2014

365 Days of KirbyTech, Day 41: Reed Richards' Stimulator

Man oh man, that title's gonna get me a lot of Google traffic.

Yesterday I asked you if we thought that Reed's Power Beamer, a device created to increase the superpowers of beings, would be something he ever returned to. Now I can answer this way: and how!


Splash page from Fantastic Four (1961 series) #37 (April 1965), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Chic Stone, letters by Artie Simek

Yes, Reed Richards has designed a device to undress Johnny Storm. And who of us couldn't use one of those now and again, huh?



At 13th Dimension: "Thirteen Days a Week: A Beatles Comics Countdown"

All this week on 13th Dimension, it's Beatles Week! (I will now pause for you to intone fab, gear, and/or groovy, etc.) My human pal John, who helps me with some of the heavy lifting here, has written about some of the greatest Beatles appearances in comic books—thirteen of them in all, in fact! Tonight, #13-11, starring Mr. Brian Epstein, the Skrull Beatles, and a certain banana colored submersible, which I believe we all have inhabited!

I only regret that John didn't take my suggestion and spotlight this pivotal Beatles moment in comic books!:


Panel from "Superman's Rainbow Face!" in Action Comics #317 (October 1964), script by Otto Binder, pencils and inks by Al Plastino

Holy cow! They're all Jane Wiedlin! BE STILL MY LITTLE STUFFED HEART

Once again, that's Beatles Week at 13th Dimension! A splendid time is guaranteed for all!

Sunday, February 09, 2014

365 Days of KirbyTech, Day 40: Reed Richards' Power Beamer

No, folks, you're not reading an Atlas monster book...only a homage to them starring the smartest man in the world! (No, not Jack Black...Reed Richards!)


Panel from Fantastic Four #271 (October 1984); script; pencils, and inks by John Byrne; colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Janice Chiang

This tale of extraterrestrial invasion is set before the events of Fantastic Four #1, so it firmly falls within the Atlas Age of Monsters, a saga of a big space creature wearing big stretchy underpants, that might have been a feature in Tales of Suspense or Journey into Mystery, but starring the first superheroes of the Marvel Age before they got their powers!


Just as in the Marvel Age, Reed has no time to explain his plan...only time to talk about how he can't explain his plan!


Y'see, Reed had figured out that the alien could increase his size to attack the Earth, but not his mass. The Power Beamer beamed rays of sheer, delicious, nougaty power at Gormuu! But wouldn't (as Ben Grimm objected) just make him larger?


Why yes. Yes it would. It would increase Gormuu's size but not his mass until he grew so huge and so insubstantial that he just, like General "Happy" Sam Sawyer...faded away.


Well, then, that's a pretty handy invention there, Reed. Have you ever thought of making it a little bit smaller, giving it a much sillier name, and then using it again?

Why, yes! Yes, he has. Tune in tomorrow!

Today in Comics History: Models display the new 1990 Dave Cockrum Fashion Line


Panel from "Starlord: First House: Earth!" in Marvel Preview #4 (January 1976), script by Steve Englehart, pencils and inks by Steve Gan