Saturday, June 10, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 10: The Scent of a Killer


Panels from Batman (1940 series) #672 (March 2008), script by Grant Morrison, pencils by Tony Daniel, inks by Jonathan Glapion and Sandu Florea, colors by Guy Major, letters by Steve Wands

Today in Comics History: Luthor and the Reverse Flash schedule their destruction of Metropolis and Central City


Panel from Superman (1939 series) #199 (August 1967), script by Jim Shooter, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by George Klein

365 Days of Defiance, Day 161: No fair, he's seen the end of the movie!


Panels from Star Wars: Rogue One #3 (August 2017), script by Jody Houser, pencils and inks by Paolo Willanelli Rachelle Rosenberg, letters by Clayton Cowles

Today in Comics History: Typhoid Mary is distressed to hear that Star Trek is cancelled


Panel from Daredevil (1964 series) #254 (May 1988); script by Ann Nocenti; pencils by John Romita, Jr.; inks by Al Williamson; colors by Max Scheele; letters by Joe Rosen

Friday, June 09, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 9: Bruce Wayne never dreams about kitties and bunnies


Panels from Batman: The Dark Knight (2011 New 52 series) #0 (November 2012), script by Gregg Hurwitz, pencils by Mico Suayan and Juan Jose Ryp, inks by Vicente Cifuentes, colors by Sonia Oback, letters by Pat Brosseau

Today in Comics History: Commando assassin squad pauses in their hunt to have afternoon storytime


Panel from Carnage (2016 series) #11 (October 2016), script by Gerry Conway, pencils and inks by Mike Perkins, colors by Andy Troy, letters by Joe Sabino

365 Days of Defiance, Day 160: You don't pull the mask off that Amazing Spider-Man / And you don't mess around with Thing




Panels from Giant-Size Fantastic Four #3 (November 1974), plot by Gerry Conway, script by Marv Wolfman, pencils by Rich Buckler, inks by Joe Sinnott, colors by Stan Goldberg, letters by Joe Rosen

Context for Ben's "Ozzie's Girls" reference.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 8: Dumbass Things You Especially Shouldn't Do in Crime Alley




Panels from Legends of the Dark Knight (digital comic) #48 (April 2013), script by Tim Seeley, pencils and inks by Freddie E. Williams II, colors by Wendy Broome, letters by Saida Temofonte

I'm pretty sure the Batman doesn't want to hear philosophical musings by a guy who holds people up at gunpoint in Crime Alley, so I can only presume the rest of the comic is Batman continuously pummeling this guy until Alfred tells him to come in for breakfast.

365 Days of Defiance, Day 159: This machine is capable of almost anything, but I'll still put my trust in a healthy set of tonsils

The stars: the last horizon. These are the adventures of the Space Voyagers. Their assignment: to scout astonishing undiscovered planets, to search for fresh beings and different cultures, to fearlessly travel someplace nobody's travelled to previously!


Panels from the Space Voyagers story "The Delta Brain" in Rima the Jungle Girl #2 (DC, June-July 1974), script by Robert Kanigher, pencils and inks by Alex Niño

The crew of the USS [Unnamed Starship] has discovered a strange new world unusual uncharted planet completely inhabited by machine life! I'm guessing that means at some point the crew will have to teach the machines how to kiss, or to outwit them with logic problems from old back issues of Games magazine.


Turns out this used to be a world of humans (I imagine they took it away from old masters the apes) but they built a series of computers so powerful that long after the people had died of a virulent disease contracted from a dirty telephone, the machines still thrive! Still, you've gotta imagine that puts a bit of a shadow over the annual celebration of "Humans Are the Best" Day.


The Space Voyagers are held captive! They're sentenced to a life of repairing the machines. Machine above man...it's a madhouse! A MADHOUSE!


And not the good sort of Madhouse either.


Cover of Archie's Madhouse #3 (January 1960), pencils by Harry Lucey, inks by Terry Szenics

But...in a twist worthy of O. Henry, or maybe his brother P.: the machines are revolting! Also: they are not going to go along with this.


They learned almost too late that machine is a feeling creature...and because of it, the greatest in the universe. They learned too late for themselves that machines have to find their own way, to make their own mistakes. There can't be any gift of perfection from outside ourselves. And when machines seek such perfection...they find only death... fire... loss... disillusionment...the end of everything that's gone forward. Machines have always sought an end to the toil and misery, but it can't be given, it has to be achieved. There is hope, but it has to come from inside, from Machine itself.


Wednesday, June 07, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 7: The My Parents Are Dead Affair

It's seldom that the Batman 1966 TV series addresses the death of the Waynes — Bruce mentions it once in the first episode, and I think that's the last we hear about it. Here's a rare flashback by comic book Batman '66 to the night of his parents' murder:


Panels from Batman '66 Meets the Man from UNCLE (digital comic) #10 (March 2016), script by Jeff Parker, pencils by David Hahn, inks by Karl Kesel, colors by Madpencil, letters by Wes Abbott

Today in Comics History: It's the most wonderful time of the year


Panel from Jonesy #3 (April 2016), script by Sam Humphries, pencils and inks by Caitlin Rose Boyle, colors by Mickey Quinn, letters by Corey Breen

OH MAN International Donut Day sounds like the best ever! What kinda donuts are there, Jonesy?


I LOVE YOU JONESY

365 Days of Defiance, Day 158: Damian: The Defiance II

Kalibak, son of Darkseid, brother of Orion, cousin of Betty-Jo, has invaded the Batcave! And he really, really wants to play baseball.


Panels from Robin Rises: Alpha one-shot (February 2015), script by Peter J. Tomasi, pencils by Andy Kubert, inks by Jonathan Glapion, colors by Brad Anderson, letters by Dezi Sienty

He's taken down Batman! He's taken down Alfred, Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Robin, Red Hood, and Ace Titus the Bat-Hound! And that well-known member of the Bat-family, Cyborg! He's defeated them all! Geez, Kalibak...Mary Sue much?


Who can stop him? Who can stop him? Oh, yeah, it's freshly back from the dead Damian Wayne!

(Click picture to incisorsize)

Wow, whatta punch! (And a great sound effect!) Robin's back and he's defyinger than ever, baby!

Today in Comics History: "Captain Stacy leaves behind one relative, a daughter, Gwen...for NOW."

Splash page from Spider-Man: Death and Destiny #1 (August 2000); script and pencils by Lee Weeks, inks by Richard Case and Robert Campanella, colors by Steve Buccellato, letters by Paul Tutrone
(Click picture to patsy-size)

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 6: The Grateful Red

Another all-red treatment of the death of the Waynes?!? Man, Bruce, have some remembrances in maybe some other, more esthetically pleasing colors. Lavender, maybe? You ever considered remembering your parents being shot in lavender, Bruce?



Panels from Batman (1940 series) #0 (October 1994), script by Doug Moench, pencils by Mike Manley, inks by Joe Rubinstein, colors by Adrienne Roy, letters by Ken Bruzenak

Maybe a nice aqua, perhaps?

365 Days of Defiance, Day 157: D-Day


Yesterday we saw Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos invade the beachhead at Normandy early, clearing the path for the invading Allied forces on this morning, June 6, 1944. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby set up the presence of the Commandos as early as in their first appearance, in a quick one-panel flash-forward in Sgt. Fury #1.


Panel from Sgt. Fury [and His Howling Commandos] #1 (May 1963), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Dick Ayers, colors by Stan Goldberg, letters by Artie Simek

It took until three real-world years later that Marvel presented the tale of Fury and his First Attack Squad, in Sgt. Fury "King-Size Special" — technically, annual #2.


Cover portion of Sgt. Fury [and His Howling Commandos] Annual #2 (May 1963), pencils and inks by Dick Ayers, colors by Stan Goldberg (?), letters by Sam Rosen

The Howlers spend the day and night of June 5 surreptitiously clearing the beach and up to the Nazi's defensive Atlantic Wall of enemy advance guards. Throughout the night, more than 13,000 paratroopers land behind enemy lines to do the same. The Germans are deceived by disinformation leaked to distract them into defending a different area, and Allied planes begin aerial bombing pre-dawn. All this is in preparation for the full scale invasion across the entire stretch of the French coast: American forces landing at code-named Utah and Omaha beaches, British infantry divisions at Gold and Sword Beaches, the Canadian 3rd Infantry at Juno Beach.


Panels from "A Day of Thunder!" in Sgt. Fury [and His Howling Commandos] Annual #2 (August 1966), script by Roy Thomas, pencils by Dick Ayers, inks by John Tartaglione, letters by Sam Rosen

Most of the rest of the story is, of course, based on true history but putting the fictional Sgt. Fury at the forefront of the action.






It's a Comic Code Approved product of its time, so Dick Ayres doesn't show us any deaths. But there were over 209,000 Allied casualties, and nearly 37,000 dead amongst the ground forces and a further 16,000 deaths amongst the Allied air forces. About half of these men were killed in the first hour of fighting.


Thomas and Ayers allowed the Howlers a moment of sheer triumph chasing down the fleeing German troops. but that's toward's the end of a comic book story. It was far from the end of the war, and it's a long way from Normandy to Berlin.


But at the end of the story, Fury and Company are allowed a moment to reflect on the importance of this day: what it means for the Allies, for the war effort, for the world, for the future. May we always remember that, as well as its terrible cost.


My dad was a Navy man, and he fought in the Pacific Theatre, not in Europe. But he had nothing but the highest regard and admiration for the men who stormed the beaches on D-Day. I wish I could have taken him to see Saving Private Ryan or watched Band of Brothers alongside him; I like to think he was have appreciated them, as of man of that time, as a United States sailor. I salute him and every man and woman fighting for freedom on the side of the Allies on this day, but especially the men of D-Day. To do otherwise is to disrespect their honor; to throw away the freedom and the future they brought us is even more disrespectful.


"There is one great thing that you men will all be able to say after this war is over and you are home once again. You may be thankful that twenty years from now when you are sitting by the fireplace with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what you did in the great World War II, you won't have to cough, shift him to the other knee and say, 'Well, your Granddaddy shoveled shit in Louisiana.'" ― General George S. Patton, Jr. to his troops on June 5, 1944


So no complaining about our work today. Compared to these guys, none of us have had a hard day today.


"We know that progress is not inevitable. But neither was victory upon these beaches. Now, as then, the inner voice tells us to stand up and move forward. Now, as then, free people must choose." — President Bill Clinton

Monday, June 05, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 5: Better stay away from him! He'll rip your lungs out, Jim!


Panels from "The Curse of Krypton!" in World's Finest Comics #258 (August-September 1979), script by Denny O'Neil, pencils by José Luis Garcia-López, inks by Dick Giordano, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by Ben Oda

Today in Comics History: C-Day

It is the day before D-Day (hence the witty post title), and Sergeant Nicholas Susan Fury and his Commandos Who Make a Loud Noise That Is Not Unlike Howling® storm...I mean, sneak onto the beaches of Normandy, and most of them have forgotten their buckets and spades.

In the very first issue of Sgt. Fury waaaay back in 1963, Lee and Kirby promised in the very last panel that one day (June 6, 1944, it be exact) the Howlers would fight in the Battle of Normandy, where Allied troops invaded occupied France to begin the push to Berlin. The event finally showed up in Nick's second annual three years later. Turns out Fury and the Furettes were actually sent a day before. Their mission: to clear the beaches of beer cans, lost car keys, and Nazis. (And their dog.)


Panel from "A Day of Thunder!" in Sgt. Fury [and His Howling Commandos] Annual #2 (August 1966), script by Roy Thomas, pencils by Dick Ayers, inks by John Tartaglione, letters by Sam Rosen

They spare the dog (hooray!) and meet with their Free French underground contact (who also debuted in Sgt. Fury #1), plus the punch a lotta Nazis. And knock them out with tranquilizers. I originally said aloud "OH, COME ON NOW!" as I read that middle panel: this is the US Army, not the A-Team! You're allowed to shoot Nazis during WWII! Turns out, however, they need the German uniforms intact, un-bullet-holed, and without lots of unsightly bloodstains to infiltrate further inland into German territory. Wonder what they're gonna do?


Oh: they're gonna blow stuff the heck up. Go, JOE HOWLERS!


Well, that was certainly exciting! Now that they've blown up a building, there's certainly no need to follow that up with blowing up another one:


Nick and the Howlers are in for a long night and a tense day to follow. I'm pretty sure none of these guys get any sleep for at least the next forty-eight hours. But you can go to sleep and come back here tomorrow for Marvel's take on D-Day. We salute you, veterans of the Second World War! Excelsior!

Today in Comics History: The manhunt continues for Baskin's partner


Panel from newuniversal: 1959 #2 (September 2008), script by Kieron Gillen, pencils and inks by Greg Scott and Kody Chamberlain, colors by Val Staples, letters by Ed Dukeshire

365 Days of Defiance, Day 156: Chain of fools



Panels from Wonder Woman (1987 series) #95 (March 1995), script by William Messner-Loebs, pencils and inks by Mike Deodato, Jr., colors by Patricia Mulvihill, letters by John Costanza