Monday, January 27, 2020

365 Days of Power and Responsibility, Day 27: So...pretty much just like our universe, huh?

Panels from What If? (1977 series) #19 (February 1980), script by Peter Gillis, pencils by Pat Broderick, inks by Mike Esposito, colors by Roger Slifer, letters by Tom Orzechowski

Sunday, January 26, 2020

365 Days of Power and Responsibility, Day 26: With ultimate power there must come ultimate responsibility

Panel from Ultimate Comics Spider-Man (2011 series) #4 (January 2012), script by Brian Michael Bendis, pencils and inks by Sara Pichelli, colors by Justin Ponsor, letters by Cory Petit

Saturday, January 25, 2020

365 Days of Power and Responsibility, Day 25: With brothers and sisters comes family responsibility

Panels from Shazam! (2019 series) #1 (February 2019), script by Geoff Johns, pencils and inks by Dale Eaglesham, colors by Mike Atiyeh, letters by Rob Leigh

Friday, January 24, 2020

365 Days of Power and Responsibility, Day 24: Peter Parker, the Spare-Tire Spider-Man

Panel from Universe X: Spidey #1 one-shot (January 2001); co-plot by Alex Ross; co-plot and script by Jim Krueger; pencils by Jackson Guice; inks by John Romita, Al Milgrom (tho' I bet he wishes he hadn't) and John Stanisci; colors by Nick Bell; letters by Todd Klein

Thursday, January 23, 2020

365 Days of Power and Responsibility, Day 23: Who's That Girl

Oh no! Spider-Gwen is in trouble! And for once it's not because she can't decide what to title her comic book. No, The Divine Ms. S. is having problems with her powers (well, ain't that just the Parker Stacy luck!) It's fortunate she has as her pal the local science prodigy, Reed Richards (no, no that one) builds her a couple power bands (©1969 Rick Jones & Mar-Vell) that provide her with the oomph she needs to take a bite out of crime.

Panels from Spider-Gwen (December 2015 series) #11 (June 2016), co-plot by Dennis Hopeless and Robbie Thompson, co-plot and script by Jason Latour, pencils and inks by Bengal, colors by Rico Renzi, letters by Clayton Cowles

Do you know what comes with phenomenal cosmic power?!?

That's right! You know the drill:

Less dramatic, but also of note: Gwen's Earth-65 gets the best fast-food mascots.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

365 Days of Power and Responsibility, Day 22: P = re2

Panels from "Twain & Einstein" in Tales Designed to Thrizzle #5 (March 2009); script, pencils, inks, an letters by Michael Kupperman

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

365 Days of Power and Responsibility, Day 21: Oh shut up, Gwen

Panels 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

Today in Comics History: Joker is three weeks behind Ned Flanders in doing his taxes

Panel from "The Joker's Millions!" in Detective Comics #180 (February 1952), script by David Vern (?), pencils by Dick Sprang, inks by Charles Paris

Joker pays his taxes on January 31? He must be registered as a self-employed Clown of Crime.

Oh, I see, they're fictional taxes. Man, Gotham City is weird. Mind you, when this story was written and published, the United States Tax Day was actually March 15. I remember this actual fact because it was the key clue in figuring out an Ellery Queen story in which "all the evidence has been lain before you." yeah, including quaint antiquated tax deadlines. (It's the March story in Mister Queen's delightful Calendar of Crime, and I recommend it with only that one slight tax-deadline hesitation.)

Here's some other stuff Joker does in the couple weeks between today and the end of the month:

Paints a monkey's face and locks him up with Batman!:

Turns Batman and Robin into ushers!:

Attends a swanky cabaret where the posh entertainment is a panda!:

Breaks the boundaries of the Scott McCloud-designated comics panel border!:

So if you think you've got a couple rough weeks comin' up: consider the Joker. Won't you?

Monday, January 20, 2020

365 Days of Power and Responsibility, Day 20: How do you know that Batman is an atheist?

How can you not? He won't shut up about it.

Panels from Batman #470 (October 1991), script by Alan Grant, pencils by Norm Breyfogle, inks by Rick Burchett, colors by Adrienne Roy, letters by Todd Klein

Sunday, January 19, 2020

365 Days of Power and Responsibility, Day 19: Spider-Man suddenly wakes up in the MCU

Q: What's wrong with this picture?

Panel from Secret War #4 (May 2005), script by Brian Michael Bendis, painted art by Gabriele Dell'Otto, letters by Cory Petit

A: Spider-Man doesn't have a wife, silly! At least...I don't remember him ever having one.

Say, does it smell like sulphur around here?

Today in Comics History: Carter delivers the mail

Panel from Doomsday Clock #10 (July 2019), script by Geoff Johns, pencils and inks by Gary Frank, colors by Brad Anderson, letters by Rob Leigh

Saturday, January 18, 2020

365 Days of Power and Responsibility, Day 18: SOME PIG

Well, I never said 365 Days in a row.

One of the things I was doing when my head burst into flame last year (and I think we all know how painful that can be) was collecting usages of the phrase "With great power, there must come great responsibility" from those comicky books we love so much. Even though I hadn't posted any of 'em since (gulp) a year and a day ago, I've still been clipping them out them and thus reducing the value of my collection, but I've also been considering how widespread the phrase is. As you might've seen that far in 2019, it's not just restricted to Spider-Man comics. It has become a genuinely rubber-stamped TV Trope, even though I can't clip out segments from TV. Believe me, I've tried, and it's not gonna happen with these kiddie safety scissors.

A good hero learns that with great power comes great responsibility. But...did you also know this:

Panels from "Boared Again!" in Spider-Man Annual (2019 series) #1 (August 2019), script by Jason Latour, pencils and inks by David Lafuente, colors bgy Rico Renzi, letters by Joe Caramagna

So if a pig can remember it — sorta — you can remember it. And thanks for being patient!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

The Uncanny Return of Ten of a Kind: You Knocked My Block Off!

See also:

More Real Facts: Are you ready for the world of tomorrow?

Panel from "The Rocket Lanes of Tomorrow" in Real Fact Comics #1 (March-April 1946); script, pencils, and inks by Joe Simon and Kirby Kirby; letters by Howard Ferguson

Well, that didn't happen.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Just the facts, Batman

Did You Know™ that DC comic book stories are always one of the following: an Imaginary Story, a Dream, a Hoax, a "Just Imagine...", or a Blot of Undigested Mustard. Important fact: there has as of yet been no concrete evidence found that any stories published by DC Comics are a "What If." So, basically they're all just made up, right? Remember this, the Prime Directive of the DC Universe?:

Panel portion from Superman (1939 series) #423 (September 1986), script by Alan Moore, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by George Pérez, color by Gene D'Angelo, letters by Todd Klein

And we all know how that one turned out for Superman.

On the other hand, DC Comics has published some comics with real facts in 'em. For example, the aptly titled...Real Fact Comics! Let's take a look at a random issue, chosen completely by chance without any agenda whatsoever...say, totally unplanned...Real Fact Comics #5.

Cover of Real Fact Comics #5 (November-December 1946), Batman and Robin inset: pencils by Jack Burnley, inks by Win Mortimer

Whoa, that "Real" is doin' a lotta heavy lifting in that title, don'tcha think? Also: the word "Facts" is stretching it a bit. I'm inclined to allow them the word "Comics" in it, though, because that's what the lead story in this issue is all about: comics! Also, lies and recriminations. Prepare to get your j'accusing gloves on as we present...

Panel from "The True Story of Batman and Robin! How a Big-Time Comic is Born!" in Real Facts Comics #5 (November-December 1946); script by Jack Schiff, Mort Weisinger, and Bernie Breslauer; pencils and inks by Win Mortimer

This introductory panel raises a lotta questions. One of them is "Was Bob Kane inspired by the tiny Batman and Robin mites who would occasionally appear on his drawing table?" Also, "Why are Robin and the lady from the first panel of the comic strip attacking Batman?" And: "Why didn't Kane leave enough room for the letterer?" All of this, plus his snazzy lip gloss, lead me to believe that Bob Kane may be tellin' more than a few porkies in the story. Let's fact check it as we go along.

Fact check: Bob Kane (or his mother) did not design the Batman suit. It was Bill Finger, now rightly officially named as Batman's co-creator (although I'd argue for an "and" in the "created by" byline instead of the "with." See here, Wikipedia pals.)

Fact check: Was Bob Kane's Batman actually "authentic based on scientific facts?"

Panels from the story unofficially titled "Batman vs. the Vampire" in Detective Comics (1937 series) #32 (October 1939); script by Gardner Fox; pencils and figure inks and sole credit for the story by Bob Kane; background inks and letters by Sheldon Moldoff

Oh yes, the indisputable scientific fact of vampires. To be fair, this is a story written not by Kane but by Gardner Fox, and is a few stories into the Batman canon, but I'm gonna blame Bob Kane anyway, if not for this, then for that giant glass bell jar for gassing hamsters in Batman's first appearance.

Panels from "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate" in Detective Comics (1937 series) #27 (May 1939); script by Bill Finger; pencils, inks, and letters by Bob Kane

Wow, that one guy really hated small rodents. Anyway, look! Bob Kane is designing the Batmobile and the Batplane!

Fact check: Bob Kane and Bill Finger created the Batmobile and Batplane.

Fact check: The Joker was created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson. And, I wanna say, Cesar Romero, but that's only the Paint-Over-Your-Mustache Joker so popular in the 1960s.

Fact check: The Penguin was created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane.

I suppose, though, it's not fair to hold up this Bob Kane-centric hagiography as "Real Fact," because if it weren't, they wouldn't publish that title on the cover wouldn't have put all these other "Real Facts" in the magazine. From some of the other stories in Real Fact Comics #5:

Panels from "Just Imagine — If the Oceans Dry Up!" in Real Fact Comics #5, pencils and inks by Virgil Finlay

Um, okay, that one might be a fact in say, 2022. Next: remember when cowboy radio and movie star Tom Mix was literally killed by the Grim Reaper?

Panels from "Tom Mix, Greatest Cowboy of Them All!" in Real Fact Comics #5; script by Jack Schiff, Mort Weisinger, and Bernie Breslauer; pencils and inks by Ed Smalle (?)

And altho' it's more or less a human possibility, I find it difficult to believe that focusing on a foot-long ruler will teach you to you recite the Gettysburg Address*. (*Little Stuffed Bull's assertion does not apply to "Gettysburg Address on a Ruler," available at the Gettysburg Museum Store.)

Panels from "Mental Marvel"; script by Jack Schiff, Mort Weisinger, and Bernie Breslauer; pencils and inks by Nat Edson


Panels from "What's Wrong" in Real Facts #5, pencils and inks by Jon Small

What's wrong with those pictures of famous comic heroes? If you answered "Dover and Clover," you are correct. They were never famous.

In fact, just about the most factual story in the issue involves animals going to the theater to see Cats. Even though the cats are bi-pedal, can speak and reason, live in cities, have a sophisticated system of money and exchange, and appear nude on stage while other animals wear clothes...well, the facts about cats are pretty accurate, if elementary. Check it out for yourself. Can you spot the Jellicle Cat?

Panels from "Know Your Animals: The Cat"; pencils and inks by Otto Feuer (?)

That's just pretty darn cute. I wonder if they ever did a story about cows.

Well, that pretty much punctures all the "Real Facts" this comic book promised to tell us, especially about Bob Kane. Except for one small exception:

Well, whaddaya know? Bob Kane really was inspired by the tiny Batman and Robin mites who would occasionally appear on his drawing table!