Saturday, September 05, 2009

365 Days with Ben Grimm, Day 248

FF #3
Panel from Fantastic Four #3 (March 1962), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Sol Brodsky

A week without you, thought I'd forget

Summer's almost over, so I'm off for a week with my pal Jane to water ski. (Also, apparently, to chew bubblegum and kick ass, and we're all out of bubbl...oh wait, here's some more.)

"Bubblegum" from How It's Made, episode 208 (Discovery Channel, November 2, 2002

I'll be back the weekend of the 12th with fun, frolic, and a sunburn so bad you'd swear you could smell hamburgers cooking from way over there. However, never fear, content-cravers: 365 Days of Ben Grimm continues all week long with daily doses of your favorite orange rocky guy. Be good to yourself and others, and see ya in a week!

"Vacation" by The Go-Go's (I.R.S., 1982), written by Charlotte Caffey, Kathy Valentine, and Jane Wiedlin

Friday, September 04, 2009

There'll be a hot time in the old town tonight

Hey, kids, it's time for another exciting
Radioactive Quiz

Please pick up your pencils, protractors, and lead bibs and prepare for the quiz. You have a total time period of a half-life lasting 4.5 billion years to complete the questions.

QUESTION: Willowy, worried Tony Stark is testing a nuclear bomb in the parking lot of the Long Island branch of Stark Industries, but...a superfluous and stray superhero soars southerly, flying overhead mere moments before the detonation.
Tales of Suspense #49

Assuming a rocketing velocity of 210 mph from ground to the level of the stray superhero, and taking into account an easterly wind of 15 knots, and also that Tony Stark has had two shots of bourbon with his Wheaties this morning, how long will it take Iron Man to reach and warn away The Angel (appearing by kind permission of "X-Men Magazine")?

Tales of Suspense #49

Whoops. Well, that'll happen.

Let's try another question. Upon being exposed to point blank high-atomic radiation and severe intense fallout, a human being will:

A: Gain the ability to climb up walls and shoot silken strands out of his posterior?
ASM #1

B: Achieve fantastic dexterity and gymnastic abilities, heightened senses beyond those of normal men, and oh yeah, go blind?
DD #1

C: gain thousands of pounds of muscle mass in minutes, turning yourself grey, green, grey again, green yet again, then maybe red for some weird reason?
ASM #1

No, no, I'm afraid the answer is D: Become evil.

Wha...wait just a doggone minute! Become evil?!?

Ambush Bug #3

So, remember: That's D: Become evil:
TOS #49

Never fear, mutant-maniacs, by the end of the story Warren Worthington's all cured and his lovable, feathery self, going right back to hitting on the girlfriend of his best pal and flaunting his inherited money in front of his classmates.

Well, there you go, science fans. Radiation: it does a body good. Well, more to the point, it doesn't really do a body any harm. So, be like famous science guy Reed Richards: immerse yourself in radiation every day!

FF #1

And above all, always remember:
FF #1

365 Days with Ben Grimm, Day 247

FF: Big Town #2
Panels from Fantastic Four: Big Town #2 (February 2001), script by Steve Englehart, pencils by Mike McKone, inks by Mark McKenna, colors by Tom Smith, letters by Richard Starkings and Albert Deschesne (Click picture to big-town-size)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Tony Stark/Makes you feel/He's a cool exec/At your feet he'll keel

Iron Man #3When it comes down to high-adventure, big-action, punch-punctuated comic books on which the all-out battle excitement literally* explodes off the page...well then, bucky, you picked the right comic book, because Iron Man is the go-to mag for shoot-em-up, high-flying, repulsor-raying, armor-clanging action, excitement, and non-stop thrills. This magazine and its steel-encased, larger-than-life hero will shatter your mind with the never-ending, untoppable energy and intensity. I say "get ready for Iron Man," but you can't, because the adventure is unceasing and the dynamic tension never stops being dynamic or tense! Ladies and gentlebulls...the most action-packed Marvel Comic you can buy for your twelve cents...Iron Man! (an an an an an)

That is, unless it's the issue in which Tony spends the entire adventure swooning.
Iron Man #3

I'm serious: in this one issue, in the space of a half dozen pages, Tony Stark gets the vapors and dizzily swoons all over the place half a dozen times.
Iron Man #3

What's with the overacting half-faints, Mister Stark? Why so much playing the drama queen? I've seen Victorian women stuffed into sixteen-inch-waisted whale-bone corsets who didn't do this much overdramatic swooning.
Iron Man #3

"Oh, the pain, the pain..." Did the Mandarin glue Tony's hand to his head or something?
Iron Man #3

And of course, you all know the exciting ending to this issue, in which Tony Stark dies:
Iron Man #3
Every single swoony panel in this post is from the light-headed Iron Man #3 (July 1968), script by Archie Goodwin, pencils and inks by Johnny Craig, letters by Artie Simek

Yes, several pages of our muscled, armored, mega-powerful superhero swooning. That's what the kids like to read about in their comic books, don't they?

Well, let's let Tony catch his breath and later on I'll bring him some flat ginger ale and a couple of saltines to nibble on. Please join us here next time when The Hulk gets the sniffles and Thor stays indoors all afternoon with a minor headache. (You can't be too careful, you know. Better safe than sorry.)

*i.e., not literally.

365 Days with Ben Grimm, Day 246

FF #196
Panels from Fantastic Four #196 (July 1978), script by Marv Wolfman, breakdowns by Keith Pollard, finishes and inks by Pablo Marcos, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Joe Rosen

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Do you hear what I read?

Green Arrow #13Onomatopoeia: yes, it's so much more than a lame-ass Kevin Smith supervillain: it's the words that attempt to approximate the sounds and noises of our everyday lives. Now imagine if our lives weren't so ordinary, and we lived in a superhero universe? Wouldn't that blow your mind to hear the sounds that go on there? Huh? Huh? Huh? Huh?

Well, don't go blowing up your brain just because you want to see the written equivalent of Batman eating a soggy tomato (bat-squisshhhhhh) or Wolverine popping his claws into cotton candy (sniffffff): as a service to you all, Comics Oughta Be Fun! presents The Far-Out World of Comic Book Sound Effects, or "Pop Goes the Words on the Easel!"

Here's an early one from the Marvel Universe, Avengers #23, in which a fleet-footed Quicksilver learns the lesson of eating all those greasy pizzas and chicken wings. No wonder Crystal wouldn't go with him to the Junior Prom until Hawkeye slipped Quicksilver a tube of "Super Stridex for Mutants." It not only cleared up Pietro's cleared up his dating prospects! Sadly, Crystal was still not very happy with Pietro's "quick hands."
Avengers #23

In this panel from Iron Man Annual #3, Ol' Tinface Tony reflects that if he was big and stupid he'd be a hazard to himself and others. Um, you mean like in Civil War, Tony? Haw! But I kids the Iron Man. Here he takes to heart the old zen instruction of perfect markmanship: when shooting, aim beyond your target, not at it. Of course, that's gonna leave you with either a very odd sound effect...or possibly the answer to the question you'll have when you look at a classic issue of Man-Thing: "Say, which artist is that right there?"
Iron Man Annual #3

Here's a classic sound effect from Giant-Size Werewolf #5 (more economical per washload than your regular-sized werewolf!)
GS Werewolf #5

No, not this one. That's the title, not the sound effect...
 GS Werewolf #5

...but rather, this one, which refers to exactly what you'll need to ingest to be able to understand this comic book story.
GS Werewolf #5

Big-Ass Werewolf issue #5 also features this original and outstanding onomatopoeia. I'm not certain whether that's the sound effect of a wizard's head bouncing, however, or the sound you'll make when you see the wizard's head bouncing. Extensive tests with Professor Dumbledore and a chain saw have thus so far proved inconclusive.
GS Werewolf #5

No, no, no, sound effect of Marvel Team-Up v.2 #10. That's actually a Speedo. A Speedo.
MTU-2 #10

"I'll take 'Sound Effects from What If #50 that describe something which would never happen at San Diego Comic-Con' for five hundred, Alex?"
What If?-2 #50

Let's wrap up with a rare (for me!) DC example: Superboy #217. Because nobody, and I mean nobody, write a sound effect quite like Mike Grell.
Superboy #217

So, remember, folks, the sound of one hand clapping may be boring. Until you put it on the comic book page and it sounds like
Invaders #5

365 Days with Ben Grimm, Day 245

Thing on Conan O'Brien
"Thingarella," the punchline to a Disney Buys Marvel monologue joke from The Tonight Show Starring Conan O'Brien, August 31, 2009

See also.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Wistful Gaze of the Silver Age

Don Blake gazes wistfully at the homeland of his ancestors. Marvel Saga #1

Charles Xavier gazes wistfully at his underage student. Marvel Saga #1

Peter Parker gazes wistfully at Reed Richards. Marvel Saga #1

Flash Thompson gazes wistfully and in denial at Peter Parker. Marvel Saga #1

Let's not even talk about Foggy Nelson. Marvel Saga #1

All panels are from Marvel Saga #1 (December 1985), pencils by Ron Frenz, inked by Al Milgrom

365 Days with Ben Grimm, Day 244

Marvels Comics: FF
Page from Marvels Comics: Fantastic Four one-shot (July 2000), script and inks by Karl Kesel, pencils by Mike Wieringo, colors by Jason Palmer, letters by Jason Levine
(Click picture to dumbbell-size)

Monday, August 31, 2009

365 Days with Ben Grimm, Day 243

Panels from Marvel Two-in-One Annual #4 (1979), plot by Allyn Brodsky, script by David Michelinie, layouts by Jim Craig, finishes and inks by Bob Budiansky and Bruce Patterson, colors by George Roussos (credited as George Bell), letters by Irving Watanabe

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

Wolverine Comics & Stories

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ten of a Kind: Don't sleep in the subway, darlin'

(More Ten of a Kind here.)

365 Days with Ben Grimm, Day 242

Saturday Night Live
The Flash (Dan Ackroyd): I'll get it, Lois. Sue Storm, the Invisible Girl! Come on right in! Hey, Spider-Man! All right. Spider-Woman. How are ya? Hey. Ah, the Thing! All right! Come on in, join the party.

Saturday Night Live
Clark Kent (Bill Murray): Okay, out! Get out! Everybody out! All right!
The Hulk (John Belushi): What? Come on!
Clark Kent: Get out of here, Hulk!
The Hulk: All right, hey, hey!
Clark Kent: You knew all along, didn't you, Flash—?! Get out of here!
The Flash: Naw! I'm your buddy, pal!

From "Superhero Party" on the March 17, 1979 episode of Saturday Night Live, featuring guest host Margot Kidder as Lois Lane. Read the sketch here or buy the fourth season SNL DVD at!:

Yes, truly, this was The Greatest Lois Lane Story Ever.