Saturday, January 06, 2018

Today in Comics History: Jessica Cruz bakes a Three Kings cake just for me

Well it really isn't just for me, but when someone in comics makes cake, I like to think I can have a big slice. Anyway: Happy Epiphany Day!


Panels from "The Epiphany" in DC Rebirth Holiday Special one-shot (February 2017), script by Steve Orlando and Vita Ayala, pencils by V. Ken Marion, inks by Mick Gray, colors by Tony Aviña, letters by Josh Reed

The 1990 2018 Marvel Age Calendar: One Singular Sensation

Calendars! You can't live with 'em, you can't live without 'em. And I, as shown by my falling behind a few months last year while trying to bring you calendars at the top of every month, can't keep up with 'em. Let's try again harder this year, shall we? After all, calendar months come every...well, month at a pre-determined time, and it shouldn't be that hard.

I do hope you got a nice calendar or two for Christmas, or, if you're anything like me, wait until after the holidays and buy them for half price. 'Course by then the selection is pretty spare and you have to take your chances that the one you're waiting for will be sold out. Hey, there's no Doctor Who 2018 calendar, but there is a lovely calendar I picked up based on Doctors, the Korean soap opera, and there's rather fewer Daleks and Cybermen and rather quite a bit more romantic crushes and disappointed parents. Geez, Hye-Jung! Be a doctor already!

But as Wolverine will show you, sometimes calendars are confusing and difficult to use, inspiring anger and resentment over their smug thirty-to-thiorty-one day a page format and their self-satisfied proclamation of Canadian holidays that we don't get to take off. National Gordon Lightfoot Day is on November 17? Well, thanks so much, Maple Syrups of the North Calendar 2018, but I don't get that day off from work or school or whatever it is I do all day! I curse at thee! Even though you are scratch and sniff. Yum.


Panels from Wolverine (1988 series) #49 (December 1991), script by Larry Hama, pencils by Marc Silvestri, inks by Hilary Barta and Dan Green, colors by Steve Buccellato, letters by Pat Brosseau

Anyway, my point (and I do have one) is that this year for 2018 I do not possess either a Marvel or a DC Comics calendar that could be used for 2018. The year I was looking for was 1979, technically identical to 2018, but I could not find affordable copies of either Superman: The Movie 1979 Calendar or The 1979 Mighty Marvel Incredible Hulk Calendar. That Hulk calendar is really pricey on eBay! Why so expensive, Bruce? Price of purple pants go up again this year? (You can see pages from the '79 Hulk calendar over at the Big Glee blog, however, so take your peepers over there and open 'em up wide.) On the other hand, I could offer you, straight from England, this weird-ass sideways 1979 Roy of the Rovers calendar which only goes up to August because all I could find was the cover image. Keep track of all your football club matches and brawls using this calendar, the official favorite of the blonde guy in red and yellow (the Birmingham Batsons?) and that guy in blue who looks like HOLY COW IS THAT '70S FOOTBALL HITLER?!?


Cover of Roy of the Rovers (1988 series) #118 (Fleetway, 13 January 1979), artist uncredited

Maybe you'd prefer to see the tall and skinny Grendel. I'm sorry, I'll read that again. The tall and skinny Grendel 2001 calendar.


"January" in Grendel 2001 calendar, text and paintings by Matt Wagner

Man, I'm not allowed to look at that one too long, not with those two big pointy things.

Suitable for all ages, though, is this dandy it-also-works-in-2018 1962 Batman Pin-Up Year-at-a-Glance Calendar, which hangs in the very Batcave itself because Alfred was tired of Bruce not flipping over the pages at the end of the month, preferring to "detect" what was going to be the picture rather than just finding it out. Curiously, Bruce was nearly always right.

"The 1962 Batman and Robin Calendar" from Batman Annual (1961 series) #2 (Winter 1961)
(Click picture to It's Big for You in '62-size)

Please excuse the scanning fold that goes across the middle of the calendar because they didn't print it in the exact center of the comic. We like to refer to these months as "The Months Robin and Batwoman's Heads Fell Off."


But y'know, the calendar I can provide for ya all year 'long is the 1990 Marvel Age Calendar, which lines up perfectly with our ultra-modern, jet-packed 2018, so we can relive those wondrous days of multiple cover gimmicks and short-lived, quickly cancelled Marvel series. Ah, it won't never be like that again!

"The 1990 Marvel Age Calendar: January" from Marvel Age #86 (March, 1990); text by Chris Eliopolous and Barry Dutter, art by Ron Zalme, colors by Gergory Wright
(Click picture to Janufize)

Yes, once again the Marvel Age calendar features Forbush-Man sidebars and color highlight of lots of birthdays for Marvel writers and artists, so be sure to bake a cake every day. It also spotlights the usual very corny humor, like this nod towards Johnny Carson's famous "Carnac the Psychic" routine:


Ah, remenber when all it took for a guy to be disqualified from running for the Presidency was being unable to spell "potato?" AHHHHHHHHH I MISS THE NINETIES PLEASE BRING 'EM BACK NOW

Monday, January 01, 2018

Today in Comics History: Vigilante breaks up yet another traditional Winter Cannon Party


Panels from DC Comics Presents #92 (April 1986), script by Paul Kupperberg, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Dave Hunt, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by Helen Vesik

Today in Comics History: The WOR-TV Weather Copter Crew resorts to making up weather for themselves


Panel from DC Comics Presents #92 (April 1986), script by Paul Kupperberg, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Dave Hunt, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by Helen Vesik

Today in Comics History: Exiles from ski resorts haunt the night streets of Manhattan


Panel from DC Comics Presents #92 (April 1986), script by Paul Kupperberg, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Dave Hunt, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by Helen Vesik

Today in Comics History: The Ninja Turtles get hooked on cheesesteak sandwiches


Panel from DC Comics Presents #92 (April 1986), script by Paul Kupperberg, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Dave Hunt, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by Helen Vesik

Today in Comics History: Batman just straight-up mugging guys now


Panel from DC Comics Presents #92 (April 1986), script by Paul Kupperberg, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Dave Hunt, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by Helen Vesik

Today in Comics History: Vigilante interior-monologues a plug for his new comic


Panel from DC Comics Presents #92 (April 1986), script by Paul Kupperberg, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Dave Hunt, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by Helen Vesik

Today in Comics History: Somehow, Ed Koch has become police commissioner of Metropolis


Panel from DC Comics Presents #92 (April 1986), script by Paul Kupperberg, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Dave Hunt, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by Helen Vesik

Today in Comics History: Jimmy Olsen pastes another photograph of a convicted criminal in his crush book


Panel from DC Comics Presents #92 (April 1986), script by Paul Kupperberg, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Dave Hunt, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by Helen Vesik

Today in Comics History: Clark Kent lives in a hotel room, apparently


Panels from DC Comics Presents #92 (April 1986), script by Paul Kupperberg, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Dave Hunt, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by Helen Vesik

Today in Comics History: The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear a Mankini

Welcome to 2018!



Panel from Amazing Adventures [Killraven in War of the Worlds] #19 (July 1973), script by Gerry Conway, pencils by Howard Chaykin, inks by Frank McLaughlin, colors by Petra Goldberg, letters by John Costanza

That is astonishing how close their future world predictions were! I mean, everybody knows the Martians didn't destroy Earth until last year.

Today in Comics History: Clark Kent has been reading the Wikipedia page on "Civics" again


Panels from DC Comics Presents #92 (April 1986), script by Paul Kupperberg, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Dave Hunt, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by Helen Vesik

Today in Comics History: Marvel begins 2018 by cancelling some buildings as well


Panels from Gwenpool [Holiday] Special one-shot (February 2016), script by Charles Soule, pencils and inks by Langdon Foss, colors by Megan Wilson, letters by Travis Lanham and Clayton Cowles

Today in Comics History: Bernie gets the year started off right by breaking and entering


Panels from Totems one-shot (DC/Vertigo, February 2000); script by Tom Peyer; pencils and inks by Duncan Fregredo, Richard Case, and Dean Ormston, colors by Alex Sinclair, letters by Ellie de Villle

Today in Comics History: Clark Kent has a really Happy New Year


Panels from DC Comics Presents #92 (April 1986), script by Paul Kupperberg, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Dave Hunt, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by Helen Vesik

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Today in Comics History: Clark Kent and Lana Lang freeze to death


Splash page from DC Comics Presents #92 (April 1986), script by Paul Kupperberg, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Dave Hunt, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by Helen Vesik

The 1978 2017 DC Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters: New Year's Eve Endings

Throughout the year we've seen the heroes of the DC Universe face off against a dastardly, devilish diaply of do-(no)-gooders determined to destroy the Dearth...I mean, Earth...with a diversity of devastating disasters! All our favorite heroes and Hal Jordan have stopped the conveniently-separated-by-months plots dead in their tracks, but who is the Mastermind of all these sinister scenarios? Could it be the Riddler? Ra's al-Ghul? Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man? It's Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, isn't it?


"December 31" from The 1978 DC Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters (1977), art by José Luis García-López

Batman has figgered the identity of Chief Criminal thanks to clues fed into the Justice League Crime-Solvin' Computer and Dance Dance Revolution Machine, and he quickly snaps into action and detects, as the calendar tells us: "a villain The Batman must capture while Superman tries to pull the moon back into orbit. (Oy, he's always doin' that.) None of which explains why, in the calendar's cover portraying this mind-shattering scene, Batman is ridin' on the moon harness. You are literally useless in this situation, Batman! Sheesh. Go punch somebody, Bruce.


But what of that astonishing computer result that we've been waiting for this year? All year. (Eh, must be an Amiga.) I've been filling in the blanks as instructed by each month on the calendar throughout 2017 just as some of you must have done all during 1978, and here...at last...is what we've come up with. Who is the evil supervillain genius behind the year of Super-Spectacular Disasters, huh? TA-DA!:


Or, if you clean it up a little bit and assume I missed some spots throughout the year, because it's a bit more difficult with hooves:


Hooray! You know, I knew it was gonna be Luthor, but honestly until last month I didn't have any idea how the computer display was going to portray his name. Fun, huh? Off to jail for you, Lex Luthor! You may have only killed thousands of people during your Year-Long Reign of Disasters, but I'n sure you'll be out in a couple weeks because the guards at the prison gave you a ball-point pen and a baloney sandwich. Anyway, Happy New Year, and may your 2018 be Super-Spectacular with zero disasters!


365 Days of Defiance, Day 365: A Better World

"Know what's weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change, but pretty soon...everything's different." — Calvin, Calvin and Hobbes

And there we are.

I've run late all year on this feature, and I've finished it up late — whatever the date at the top of this post says, t'ain't December 31, it's several days through March 2018. Y'all have been remarkable patient with me backdating several posts at a time instead of putting them up every day like clockwork, like a good blog should. But it's been a hard year. It's been a hard year for me, and I know it's been a hard year for you. There are sometimes when I put down my little fuzzy head and cry. You might too. And that's okay, because we both get up eventually and get back to life. We get back to speaking, to posting, to protesting, to donating, to helping, to voting, to defying each in our own ways.


Panels from Final Crisis #7 (March 2009), script by Grant Morrison, pencils by Doug Mahnke, inks by a whole lotta guys, colors by not so many guys, but still a lot of 'em, letters by Travis Lanham

"Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation." — Robert F. Kennedy

We'll never punch the Red Skull. We'll never sass off to Galactus. We'll never kick Darkseid in his little blue skirt and push him into a Boom Tube. But we can be inspired by the guys who did that. By Spider-Man, by Captain America, by Superman, by Green Lantern, by Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl and Black Panther and Shuri. Our heroes don't do the work for us, but they show the way. And remind us: the work is never done.

Panels from Fear Itself #7 (December 2011); script by Matt Fraction; pencils by Stuart Immonen; inks by Wade Von Grawbadger and Dexter Vines; colors by Laura Martin, Justin Ponsor, and Matt Milla; letters by Chris Eliopoulos
(Click picture to length of 2017-size)

"No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world." — Robin Williams

We don't know what the future will hold (and that future hasn't been written yet, no how, no way), but we do know this: we know that the future will judge us harshly is we're on the wrong side of history. You know what the wrong and the right siide is here. Surely you want your kids and their kids, and those in centuries to come all the way up through the Legion of Super-Heroes and beyond, to look back and say of us "nevertheless, they persisted?"


Panels from The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (2015 series) #4 (March 2016), script by Ryan North, oencils and inks by Erica Henderson, color by Rico Renzi, letters by Clayton Cowle

"Be the change you want to see in the world." — Mohandas Gandhi

Let this all radicalize you rather than lead you to despair. Let's not, like the dog in the burning house, sit back and sip coffee. This is not fine. This needs action. Need a suggestion on what you need to know and how to get started? StayWoke is an excellent reference to bookmark and return to, and their Resistance Manual is a continuingly updated prime source for activism, resistance, and protest. As StayWoke says: There are more of us who support equity and justice than who oppose it.

There is hope. There is a chance. We need to remember the "final words" of the man who started this all for us in his four-color defiance, a man who came from another place but taught us to fight for all humanity.


Panel from Superman (1939 series) #156 (October 1962), script by Edmond Hamilton, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by George Klein, letters by Joe Letterese

"We all have the potential to move the world, and the world is ready to be moved." — Harry Chapin

It's a message of encouragement and optimism championed by even very nearly the complete polar opposite of Superman, a cynical, hyper-violent, sex-addicted, kangaroo-shagging, tank-driving child of post-Apocalypse Earth. Even she knows the score.


Panel from Tank Girl: Two Girls One Tank #3 (August 2016); script by Alan Martin; pencils, inks, colors, and letters by Brett Parson, additional colors by Ned Ivory

"But it's up to us to make it okay. It's time to be positively rebellious and rebelliously positive. As long as we stand up for what we believe in, don't give into anger or violence, look out for the little guy, keep an eye on the big guys, refuse to keep our mouths shut, and just generally try not to be dicks, every little thing is going to be all right." — David Tennant


"Can't we give ourselves one more chance
Why can't we give love that one more chance
Why can't we give love give love give love give love
Give love give love give love give love give love
'Cause love's such an old fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the (people on streets) edge of the night
And loves (people on streets) dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves
Under pressure"
— Freddie Mercury and David Bowie, "Under Pressure"



Cover of Ms. Marvel (2016 series) #25 (February 2018), art by John Tyler Christopher

Isn't it love, after all...that makes the world go round?


Panels from Marvel Graphic Novel #5 [X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills] (1982), script by Chris Claremont, pencils and inks by Brent Anderson, colors by Steve Oliff, letters by Tom Orzechowski

"I used to be on an endless run
Believe in miracles 'cause I'm one
I have been blessed with the power to survive
After all these years I'm still alive

I'm out here kickin' with the band
I am no longer a solitary man
Every day my time runs out
Lived like a fool, that's what I was about, oh

I believe in miracles
I believe in a better world for me and you
Oh, I believe in miracles
I believe in a better world for me and you."
— The Ramones, "I Believe In Miracles"