Saturday, July 01, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 182: ESU — Phew!


Panels from The Amazing Spider-Man (1963 series) #68 (January 1969); plot and layouts by John Romita, Sr.; script by Stan Lee; finishes by Jim Mooney; letters by Sam Rosen

We begin July with one of the earlier "social conscience" stories of the Marvel Age, presenting issues to appeal to the youth of today (or 1969), even if Stan 'n' the Bullpen are a bunch of white guys approaching middle age. This is the well-intended (but ultimately too-easily solved) "Crisis on Campus" storyline, distinguished by coming in the middle of the Romita renaissance of Spider-Man, plopping him firmly into a supporting cast of his college peers (and Gwen Stacy) and having him deal not only with supervillains but the concerns of his fellow students (and Gwen Stacy).



As outlined in this wordy page of lettering love by Sam Rosen, our friendly neighborhood Peter Parker has to deal with both the A-plot and the B-plot (and I'm not certain which is which): an demonstration against Empire State University (home of the Fightin' Spiders) over the availability of affordable on-campus housing (in the middle of Manhattan?!? Pull the other one out of eight!), plus the Saga of That Mysterious Tablet Which Has Some Sort of Writing on It But Nothing Quite So Pithy as "ESU — Whew!"


Ah yes, that pesky tablet. Which means it's time for an ant's eye view of half-naked Kingpin! Who says this isn't the bountiful Bully Age of beefcake?


Also, Wilson Fisk has a henchman also named Wilson. That's likely to get a bit confusing during Secret Santa.


The exhibition of the valuable tablet and the demonstration against the administration clash! And not the good sort of "London Calling" clash, which would not be around for another seven years. In the middle, as always, is Petey, unsure what to do, how to act, and indeed what to think. He's hesitant to become involved, probably because with great power comes great reticence to take part in political and social debate. But what if Gwen Stacy thought you were a chicken, Peter? Buck buck buck buck! A chicken!


Kingpin uses the demo as a distraction to steal the tablet, conveniently forgetting that a Kingpin of Crime sits behind a big mahogany desk and gives orders to expendable underlings and does not get involved in the action himself. Have you learned nothing from the privately published crime treatises of Professor James Moriarty, Mister King?


Oh sure, now Spider-Man makes an appearance, because however morally problematic an insurrection against his school may be, he's not gonna let Fatso there interrupt his lunch at the food hall. Today's lunch is Sloppy Joes, tater tots, and peach cobbler, and I think the Kingpin and Spidey could sit down over that meal and hash things out, but I bet there's just gonna punch each other. Meanwhile, on the left-hand side of the panel, Angel Love's mom contemplates "LSD?!!"


na na na na BIFF na na na na PAK na na na na TWOP


And that's not the end, no way, true believer! The protesters are arrested (including Robbie Robertson's son Randy) and the Kingpin gets away with the tablet, and somehow in the next episode Spidey will wind up IN THE KINGPIN'S CLUTCHES. Don't ask me how I know; it's just a little hunch of mine.


Tomorrow: more pop art protests and the practice of progressive philosophy! And hey, if you want to learn a little bit more about Peter Parker's troubled history with student protests, there's no better place to peep your eye than pal Jim McGrath's excellent and vitally entertaining New York City and the Marvel Universe blog entry about ASM #38 with pretty intelligent reader letters discussing the story! Check it out or forever be labelled a chicken by Gwen Stacy! Buck buck buck buck!

The 1978 2017 DC Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters: July Jabbing

"July: Superman and Supergirl" in The 1978 Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters; artwork by Curt Swan and Dan Adkins
(Click picture to Tunguska-size)

It's not Christmas, but Supes and Superita are under attack by the Red and Green Menace! And pink. Good gravy, Brainiac, you may be the smartest being in the galaxy, but who sold you that suit? Anyway, Kal 'n' Kara are battling not only one of their most dangerous nemeses but also one that belongs to Green Lantern, because hey, Hal Jordan couldn't pick up the slack? Sheesh, Hal.


The super cousins must also deal with Brainiac and Sinestro dropping meteors on Earth, obviously cosplaying the popular 1998 disaster motion picture Armageddon, starring Ben Affleck as Vril Dox and Liv Tyler as Thaal Sinestro! Ughhh, now I never want animal crackers ever again. But don't forget to buy the Armageddon Criterion Collection DVD, because...geez, I don't even know why. Just accept it all happened.

As always I've continued to fill in the blank checks as instructed to allow the JLA computer, working hard with its 5K of RAM, to compute the identity of the top supervillain behind all of 1978 2017's super-disasters. Honestly at this point, your guess is as good as mine whether it's going to draw a picture or spell out words. I think that if you kind of squint at it, it looks like Brainiac giving us the finger.


And there's yet another clue to the mastermind behind global warming general harmless environmental disaster not actually caused by mankind's carelessness in interacting with our precious and precarious natural balance:


Okay, let me step slightly outside the conceit of this post and admit: even tho' I've got a pretty good idea who the super-villain is, I absolutely didn't know what or who this clue referred to. I descended into the Great Bully Comic Book Vault (it's cool down there in the summer!) and pulled out some back issues to research, and I can now tell you the story behind this cryptic clue. However: I can't discuss it without revealing who's the nogooidnik behind these Super-Spectacular Disasters, and I don't wanna ruin the surprise for those of you playing along at home. So I'm putting the discussion of this seldom-seen (really!) brother-in-law in a completely different post where you won't come across it unless you voluntarily click this link. Who says it isn't the Bountiful Bully Age of Spoiler Warnings?

Nobody. Nobody says that.

9,300.

The 1978 2017 Amazing Spider-Man Mighty Marvel Comics Calendar: July Justice

"July Is Just After June!" in The Amazing Spider-Man Mighty Marvel Comics Calendar 1978 (1977); pencils by Gene Colan, inks by Pablo Marcos, colors by George Bell
(Click picture to What's Going On-size)

This month's gorgeous Gene Colan artwork references one of the most important of the Romita-era Spidey storylines, "Crisis on Campus!"


Cover of Amazing Spider-Man (1963 series) #68 (January 1969); pencils and inks by John Romita, Sr.; colors by Marie Severin; letters by Sam Rosen

Are you an activist to know more? Then tune in later today for July 1st's 365 Days of Defiance, and I don't think you'll protest my spotlight on this issue. Why, I bet you'll occupy Empire State University waiting for it! Also: gratuitous Kingpin partial nudity! Be there or be civilly disobedient, picketers!

Friday, June 30, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 181: What does the fox say? "HELLLLLLLLLPPPPPPPPP!"





Panels from Animal Man (1988 series) #10 (April 1989), script by Grant Morrison, pencils by Chas Truog, inks by Mark McKenna, colors by Tatjana Wood, letters by John Costanza

Thursday, June 29, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 180: So much for the tolerant left


Panels from All-Star Squadron #40 (December 1984), script by Roy Thomas, pencils by Richard Howell, inks by Bill Collins, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by David Cody Weiss

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Please look after this author.

We love you and miss you, Mr. Bond.


Michael Bond, 1926-2017


365 Days of Defiance, Day 179: Cheese It!


Panels from Mighty Mouse (2017 Dynamite series) #1 (June 2017), script by Sholly Fisch, pencils and inks by Igor Lima, colors by Pete Pantazis, letters by Tom Napolitano

Today in Comics History: Wonder Woman finally begins to clear out her Tivo



Panels from All-Star Squadron Annual #3 (September 1984), co-plot and script by Roy Thomas, co-plot and research by Dann Thomas, pencils and inks by Jerry Ordway, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by David Cody Weiss and L. Lois Buhalis

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 27: There Is No Hope at Haley's Circus

No month-long flashback to the death of Martha East (and husband Doctor Tom) is complete without pointing out that while Bruce Wayne lost both his parents
Bruce Wayne: I have lost both my parents.
Alfred Pennyworth: To lose one parent, Mr. Wayne, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.
on June 26 exactly (ahem, clearing throat, obscuring number) years ago, the very next day is the anniversary of the death of John and Martha Mary Grayson, popular swinging couple. Remember: all those years ago, bruce Wayne cheered himself up from June 26 by going to the circus on June 27.


Panels from Nightwing (1995 limited series) #1 (September 1995), script by Dennis O'Neil, pencils by Greg Land, inks by Mike Sellers, colors by Cathi Bertrand, letters by John Costanza

Here's some flashbacks to previous celebrations commemorations of the death of Robin I's parents here, in 2013, 2014, and 2016. Dunno what happened in 2015. Must've had a short case of Robin-blindness.

Anyway, this year's Mr. & Mrs. Robinparents' death is represented by the oboe, as well as their glossy uniforms and substantial blood effects from the never-finished All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder. This one's for you, Mike Sterling!



Panels from All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #1 (September 2005), script by Frank Miller, pencils by Jim Lee, inks by Scott Williams, colors by Alex Sinclair, letters by Jared K. Fletcher

Ah they're no fun, they fell right over.

Stay tuned next year for even more depictions of the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne, because if there's anything that comics love, it's reminding you of Batman's origin! na na na na na na na na na...CRIME ALLEY!

365 Days of Defiance, Day 178: Nutzpah



Panels from The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (March 2015 series) #3 (May 2015), script by Ryan North, pencils and inks by Erica Henderson, colors by Rico Renzi, letters by Clayton Cowles

Today in Comics History: Happy birthday, Mitch Shelley! Hope you survive the ex...oh.


Cover of Resurrection Man (1997 series) #10 (February 1998), pencils and inks by Jackson Guice, colors by Carla Feeny, color separations by Digital Chameleon, letters by Ken Lopez

Monday, June 26, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 26: And I'll remember the love that you gave me / Now that I'm standing on my own

Years ago on this exact night, June 26 at 10:48 PM, on Park Row in Gotham City, Joe Chill shot and killed Thomas and Martha Wayne but left their young son Bruce alive to live with the burden of what he had witnessed. This, and every night we walk down Crime Alley only to meet the flash of a pair of gunshots, is The Batman and How He Came to Be.

But once in a while...time, space, and opportunity align in an event in Crime Alley that reminds Bruce Wayne what he is fighting for after all: not just justice, not merely punishing crime, but also...out of love.



Panels from Batman: Death and the Maidens #6 (March 2004), script by Greg Rucka, pencils and inks by Klaus Janson, colors by Steve Buccellato, letters by Clem Robins

May we, like Bruce, remember those who loved us...and that they loved us.

We all live in a narco-submarine


Panels from Ms. Tree #33 (Renegade, October 1986); script by Max Collins; pencils by Terry Beatty; inks, colors, and letters by Gary Kato;
and from Angel Love #1 (August 1986); script and pencils by Barbara Slate, inks by John William Lopez, colors by Bob LeRose, letters by Bill Yoshida

365 Days of Defiance, Day 177: Be careful not to choke on your aspirations


Panels from Star Wars (1977 Marvel series) #51 (September 1981), script by David Michelinie, pencils by Walt Simonson, inks by Tom Palmer, colors by Don Warfield, letters by John Morelli

Sunday, June 25, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 25: Every Rose Has Its Own Origin Story


Panel from "The Mourning After" in Detective Comics (1937 series) #782 (July 2003), script by Jason Hall, pencils by Craig Rousseau, inks by Dan Davis, colors by Lee Loughridge, letters by Janice Chiang

365 Days of Defiance, Day 176: Thou Shalt Not Kal

Hey, I was just wonderin'...does Superman kill?






Panels from Action Comics Annual (1987 series) #2 (May 1989); script by Jerry Ordway, George Perez, and Roger Stern; pencils and inks by a whole lotta guys; colors by Glenn Whitmore, letters by Bill Oakley

No. Superman does not kill.