Saturday, January 27, 2007

Separated at Birth: Poorly-Positioned Firing Squads

Gunsmoke Western #69 & Wonder Woman #56

L: Gunsmoke Western #69, March 1962, art by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers (?)
R: Wonder Woman Volume 2, #56, July 1991, art by George Perez
(Click picture to embiggen)

Creative, time-killing, and spicy!

Make Your Own Bombay TV!

Bombay Movie

Here's mine.

Here's another one that I actually star in.

Someday I'll show you my Aquaman one. But in the meantime, why don't you post the links to yours? (PS: it asks for an email address, but you can give it a bogus one.)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Ten of a Kind: And I Would Walk Five Hundred Miles

I know this is just a drop in the bucket for some of you, but I'm pleased as Hawaiian Punch (and a li'l surprised) at this: this is my five hundredth post on this blog. Not bad for a little stuffed guy without opposable thumbs, huh?

None of this would be possible...or have a point...without the wonderful people who read, comment, link to and enjoy my little puppet-town cow-blog here. That's you! Give yourself a big hand or hoof, whichever you have, for keeping the joy in blogging and making the fun come alive for me. Thank you, each and every one, for reading!

(More Ten of a Kind here.)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I hereby declare 2007 "The Year of the Supervillain!"

Eternals #6ETERNALS #6: This comic is fun...sorta. Hey, hey, hey! Number 6 of 7?!? A quick check at my other issues of this miniseries shows it was s'posed t'be a six-issue limited series. That's some kinda bait-n-switch, Marvel! Luckily I'm enjoying this, and the action ramps up to high tension in this final penultimate issue, in which the Celestial's secret is revealed and the Eternals are all that stands between us and a good night's sleep. At the heart of it, though, this reads like very nearly any other superhero comic (maybe a touch quieter than some)...I'd expected something more innovative from Neil Gaiman. And the constant tie-ins to Civil War are gonna date this horribly. That said, it ain't bad, and I've been enjoying it, but I wouldn't wanna see them stretch it out to eight issues. (And hey, on the cover, doesn't Ikaris look like Miracleman?)

Doctor Strange: The Oath #4DOCTOR STRANGE: THE OATH #4: This comic is fun. Now this is the way ya do a second-to-last issue of a miniseries! (Don't prove me wrong by turning the series into #5 of 6 next issue, Marvel!) Doc faces the architect of his troubles and it's a retcon (or is that continuity implant?), but it's done with such flair and a neat sideways knife twist that I've got no problem with it. Marcos Martin's art is a wonderful homage to Steve Ditko's but firmly original and innovative on its own, and I'm really enjoying the Night Nurse: I get a kick out of the supporting characters and "working stiffs" of the Marvel Universe. (Bring back Damage Control!) And oh no...I'm biting my hooves over the final page! Say it ain't so, Marvel! Well, it's comic books, so it never is so...but that won't stop me from being jittery all month long waiting for the conclusion!

Heroes for Hire #6HEROES FOR HIRE #6: This comic is fun. Remember those great Marvel Comics of yesteryear that challenged you on the cover to identify the story's bad guy? "You'll never guess the identity of this issue's villain!" But for every absolutely far-out villain-identity revelation that you never woulda guessed and totally blew your mind there was a dozen that goaded you that you'll never guess the identity of the guy who had the exact sillhouette of the Puppet Master. (Bruce Timm lovingly parodied this on the cover of his brilliant Avengers #1½.) What's all this got to do with Heroes for Hire? Simply that it takes a lot to surprise me these days in comics, and the revelation of the surprise supervillain deadly robot hit me like a ton of bricks. (Okay, make fun of me for not realizing it even after they suggested his first name.) I guessed that the Headmen were going to guest-star, but never the guy who pops up in the rat-infested, garbage-strewn West Side Highway overpass. Speaking of Marvel Manhattan, this ish also kicks off with a wonderfully detailed and realistic panel of the Diamond District that looks more like real New York than most anything in Marvel since the days of John Romita Sr. I'm enjoying the heck out of this book, and what the hey, for surprising me and making me giggle out loud in delight at the revelation of the bad guy's ID, let's call HEROES FOR HIRE #6 the most fun comic of the week. (Although Misty looks awful short on the cover, don't she?)

X-Factor #15X-FACTOR #15: This comic is fun. in between the surprise villain I just hinted at, and M.O.D.O.K. poppin' up all over the place, and Ego making a return visit, and Hydra being a big part of this current X-Factor storyline...I hereby declare 2007 the Year of the Supervillain! An' it can't come a moment too soon for me...after a year of heroes acting like jerks, it's nice to see the villainy back on the side of the guys who cackle and rub their fingertips together. You get two plots for your dime (warning: a dime does not actually buy a comic book) in this issue: Madrox being interrogated and brainwashed by Hydra while M and Siryn face off against anti-mutant mobs in Paris. (Between Ben Grimm moving to Paris and this issue, there's almost the beginning of Avengers Europe here, ain't there?) Don't worry, Madrox fans: Jaime escapes via a dandy (tho' macabre) twist at the end. (Now that's something you'd never see Wolverine doin'!)

52 Week 3852 WEEK 38: This comic is fun...sorta. A whole lotta trudging through the snow for Montoya and Vic Charlie (seriously, you don't have any Gotham connections to get a helicopter or snowmobiles or sherpa guides?), plus more evil deeds on the Mysterious Island of Overacting Mad Scientists leads to an issue of 52 where I kept flipping the pages to see if there was a plotline I was dying to know about. Answer: not really...this seems like one of the handful of "marking time" issues of 52, and if you compacted the series to edit these down a little you'd probably wind up with a series called 34. Still, it's always a delight to see Egg Fu, who isn't all he's cracked up to be (and that's no yolk), and the next-issue visual blurbs paint Natasha and her confident bravado in this issue as a liar. Ouch!! That's gotta hurt, Miss Natasha.

Futurama #29FUTURAMA #29: Good news, everyone: this comic is fun! A comic book story where the heroes are shrunk with no parody of Fantastic Voyage? That's gotta be a first in comics! But there's plenty of pop-culture pokes-in-the-eye in this lightweight but giggleworthy tale from the year 3007, including a Bottle City of Kandor parody, a quick but funny guest-appearance by Professor X and Horton (of "Hears a Who" fame), a riff on Logan's Run, and the ever-klutzy antics of Amy Wong. (Plus, are they printing this on better paper now or am I just imagining it?) All that and The Best Line of the Week: Leela: "I was winking!" Bender: "With you, how can we tell?"

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ben Grimm Totally Rocks! Reason #14

In Fantastic Four #542, we finally learn how Reed Richards has justified to himself his actions during Civil War. What do you think the Thing's reaction to Reed's well-reasoned, impeccably-argued self-defense will be? Friendly understanding? Grudging acceptance? Casual humor?

FF #66 panels
Panels from Fantastic Four #66, September 1967, art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is another reason why Ben Grimm totally rocks.

Here are some other, less-violent reasons why Ben Grimm totally rocks.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Unsettling Slang of Mister Clint Barton, Part 2

Avengers #105 panel
Panel from Avengers #105, November 1972, art by John Buscema and Jim Mooney

Special bonus unsettling-angle panel!:
Daredevil #99 panel
Panel from Daredevil #99, May 1973, art by Sam Kweskin and Syd Shores

Monday, January 22, 2007

Crisis on Infinite Small Worlds After All

Superhero fans know that this, moment, heralded a new age of greatness...
Flash #123 issuing in an age of interdimensional team-ups: characters who belong to different worlds regularly crossing over in each other's stories with the regularity of taking a crosstown bus. But the DC Universe isn't the only one with flexible walls between realities—there exists, a heartbeat of a dimension away, a multiverse where worlds collide and cross over with tick-tock precision, a multiverse of heroes, villains, magic users, misers, thieves, and ducks without pants regularly team up with characters from other mythos and stories.

I'm talking, of course, about the Disney Multiverse.

This isn't a recent development, either. Long before Kingdom Hearts or House of Mouse, the mighty mice and plucky ducks of the Disney Multiverse were crossing vibrational barriers between dimensions and adding their own brand of outrageous adventures to tales of others. I'm not merely talking about Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck teaming up to bust ghosts or solve crimes...after all, the Mouse and the Duck starred in a series of cartoon shorts movies together—they clearly exist in the same pocket universe. I'm specifically speaking about the oh-so-regular team-ups of characters created (not always by Disney themselves) for their own stories who then crossover to visit, befriend, and occasionally bedevil their dimensional neighbors. For example, Mickey and Donald teaming up with the Country Bear Jamboree:
Mickey and Donald meet the Bears

...or Jiminy Cricket flying out of the world of Pinocchio and straight into Lady and the Tramp to meet Scamp:
Jiminy meets Scamp

...or Thumper of Bambi meeting the Seven Dwarves of Snow White fame, a tale that pits this star-studded, eight-cartoon team-up against the Giant from The Brave Little Tailor:
Thumper Meets the Seven Dwarves

We can only guess what James Barrie might think of teaming up his Peter Pan kids with Yellow Beak from the early Carl Barks "Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold":
Yellow Beak meets the Darlings

Speaking of the great Duck Man, here's a rare Carl Barks-created team-up between Huey, Dewey, and Louie and the little elephant who could fly, Dumbo:
Dumbo meets the Ducks

Dumbo is a frequent crossover star in other character's adventures. I theorize those giant ears, if flapping fast enough, can actually open up the fabric of space and time, allowing him to fly from reality to reality, as he did when he teamed up with Pinocchio's Jiminy Cricket:
Dumbo meets Jiminy

...or this...unusual moment where Dumbo meets Peter Pan's Tinkerbell. Yeah, we all know what you want, Dumbo:
Dumbo meets Tink

Tinkerbell, a tiny creature of the arcane world and possessor of perhaps the only hourglass shape in the Disney Multiverse, apparently has no problem breaching the dimensional walls, as seen by her many team-ups, like this one with the Aristocats, a special issue prized by collectors for its intense but still-oh-so-cute death scene of Marie the kitten:
Tink meets the Aristokittens

...rodent troublemakers Chip 'n' Dale:
Tink meets Chip 'n' Dale

...or Snow White's Wicked Witch.
Tink meets the Witch

It doesn't take an Alan Moore to team up characters from two Victorian classics of literature, Peter Pan and The Jungle Book...
Tink meets Mowgli

...but I'm not certain what the Disney comics artists were smokin' to pair Tink up with Super Goof:
Tink meets Super Goof

Those who keep careful track of universal Kevin Bacon-esque connections will now realize that if Tinkerbell knows both Super Goof and Mowgli, it's merely one step to this:
Super Goof meets Mowgli

Not every meeting of Disney universal superstars goes smoothly, of course. Like the obligatory fight scene that accompanies Marvel superheroes meeting for the first time, sometimes Disney heroes get off on the wrong foot, as when Bambi's Thumper attempts to enslave Chip 'n' Dale:
Thumper Meets Chip 'n' Dale

...or when the Aristocats attack Chip 'n' Dale with death from above:
Aristokittens meet Chip 'n' Dale

But in the end, it's a good thing these Disney heroes meet and team up with one another, because who else could stop the Disney equivalent of the Legion of Doom: the unholy banding-together of Uncle Scrooge's nemeses The Beagle Boys, The Sword in the Stone's Mad Madame Mim, Snow White's Wicked Witch, Peter Pan's Captain Hook, Mickey Mouse's Black Pete, and The Three Little Pigs's Big Bad Wolf?:
Legion of Disney Doom

Every single panel in this post comes from a different story in one of my shelf of Walt Disney Comic Digests. I spared you Uncle Scrooge versus the Big Bad Wolf and Captain Hook versus Br'er Rabbit. And people say the Warner comic books were weird!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ten of a Kind: Draw of the Cards

(More Ten of a Kind here.)