Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hallowen of a Kind #182: Everyone hail to the pumpkin ten

(More Ten of a Kind here.)

365 Days with Ben Grimm, Day 304

FF #94
Panels from Fantastic Four #94 (January 1970), script by Spooky Stan Lee, pencils by Jack O'Lantern Kirby, inks by Joe "Original" Sinnott, and letters by Sam Rosen from the Grave

Happy Halloween from the Thing and all his spooky friends!

Separated at Halloween: They're dying to read it

Little Lulu #31/Donald Duck #332
L: Marge's Little Lulu #31 (March 1950), art by Irving Tripp
R: Donald Duck #332 (October 2005), art by César Ferioli Pelaez and Susan Kolberg, originally printed in Donald Duck & Co. #39/2000, September 26, 2000), published by Egmont Publishing, Denmark

(Click picture to Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man-size)

Happy Bulloween!

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Pumpkin
Pumpkin carved and photo taken by my Queen of Halloween,
the lovely and talented Lucy-Anne!

Halloween Witching Hour Cartoon: Night on Bald Mountain

"Night on Bald Mountain" from Walt Disney's Fantasia (1940), directed by Wilfred Jackson and featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski performing Modest Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain

Yes, I do know the piece is about Walpurgis Night, not Halloween. Who cares? Eat some candy!

Friday, October 30, 2009

A friend of the devil is a friend of mine

Movie poster for Hot Stuff the Little Devil directed by Jerry Bruckheimer? Concept art for the Saturday morning cartoon show Mephisto 'n' Pals? A scene from The Devil Wears Prada II: The Story Continues? Or...just a wickedly impressive Silver Surfer full-page splash by the incomparable John Buscema? You make the call!

Silver Surfer #3
Full-page splash from Silver Surfer #3 (December 1968), script by Stan Lee, pencils by John Buscema, inks by Joe Sinnott, letters by Sam Rosen

(Click picture to Mephistisize)

So, happy Halloween Eve to you too, you little devils! And if you get home before daylight, try and get some sleep tonight, okay?

365 Days with Ben Grimm, Day 303

MTIO #99
Panel from Marvel Two-in-One #99 (May 1983), script by Bill Mantlo, pencils by Bob Hall, inks by Kevin Dzuban, colors by Bob Sharen, letters by Rick Parker

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Reed Richards, Super Genius

FFReed Richards: he's probably the smartest man in the world. (Well, on Earth-616, at least.) Reed himself has described Hercules-buddy Amadeus Cho as the seventh smartest person in the world, so who does that leave for numbers two through six? Hmmm, let's see...I'd put Doctor Doom at a perpetual number two, and then maybe Bruce Banner, Hank McCoy...then Hank Pym...and then probably Hank Williams. But there's no doubt in my mind that Reed's gumby-brain is top of the pops in his world, because what other man could create quantum portals, thought projectors, super-computers, human-rights-violating mega-prisons, a cure for acne, H.E.R.B.I.E., not to mention a giant robot that could knock Galactus's block off. He also invented the McDLT.

As we've seen in the past, however, some of Reed Richards's inventions are a little half-baked or possibly hastily rushed into production by drunken gnomes. Witness, for example, the phone without a 'zero' key. Well, Ben Grimm had himself a good long rocky bellylaugh about that one, but Reed didn't take it personally. He just went back to his lab and created a super high-tech visi-phone the likes of which was not seen on Earth until Reed leased the patent to Steve Jobs for the iPhone.

FF #56
Panel from Fantastic Four #56 (November 1966), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Sinnott, letters by Artie Simek

So what is the Space-Time Research Visi-Phone? Is it a quantum-powered communicator to other dimensions? Is it a futuristic recording device so Ben can watch and re-watch his favorite episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus? Does it allow Reed-616 to gossip with Reed-617? Actually, no. It's an electronic viewscreen to the Space Time Room, another one of Reed's labs in the Baxter Building. In other words, this impressive piece of KirbyTech is just for peering into the next room. Reed has invented...the window.

But it's not really the Space-Time Research Visi-Phone that's the impressive thing's this:

FF #56

Reed Richards has invented the pad of paper and pencil you keep by the telephone.

He's even invented the personalized note-pad.

But that's Reed Richards for you! Always inventing things that are almost, but not quite, entirely unlike useful things. You may scoff, go ahead! But why shouldn't he invent? After all, it's not exactly rocket science!

FF #236
FF #236

Um. Never mind.

365 Days with Ben Grimm, Day 302

from Marvel Two-in-One #99 (Marvel, May 1983), script by Bill Mantlo, pencils by Bob Hall, inks by Kevin Dzuban, colors by Bob Sharen, letters by Rick Parker

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Outlandos D'Namor

Namor and EmmaIf somebody asked you who the biggest playboy in the Marvel Universe is, you'd probably, almost certainly answer Tony Stark. Or maybe, if you were digging a little deeper into the history of the wild wild world of Earth-616, Starfox or Hercules or even Peter Parker. Heck, even Scott Summers has dated three of the most beautiful women in the Marvel Universe: Jean Grey, Colleen Wing, and Emma Frost. And oh yeah, that time when Hank McCoy set him up with a cousin, "Beastette." But there's one guy who's got a decades-long head start on them, even though (or maybe because) he usually dresses in nothing but his underwear. Yes, he's racked up more notches on the posts of his sea bed than Aquaman and Underwater John Mayer combined: it's Namor, the Sub-Mariner...or maybe, once you start counting up his romances (to name just a few: Betty Dean, Dorma, Marinna, Carrie Alexander, Phoebe Marrs, Emma Frost, and, following that drunken night after the Bob Hope USO show, Steve Rogers), maybe we oughta call him the Love-Mariner.

But M'sieur Na'mor was not always as light on his fins with the ladies as he is today, oh no no no. (No.) Back in the day, he was about as lucky with girls as Archie Andrews, as smooth as Jughead Jones and as stuck-up as Reggie Mantle. Of course, then there was the time Principal Wethersea...wait, I've gotten confused again. It's actually Namor's mother, voted "Mom I'd Like to Fish With" of 1943, the lovely, alluring and hangin'-around-in-her-lingerie Princess Fen who lectures Namor to settle down, get married, buy a little kelp farm in the country...

Marvel Mystery Comics #12
Panels from Marvel Mystery Comics #12 (October 1940), final panel in this post from Marvel Mystery Comics #14 (December 1940), both by Bill Everett

Namor, curiously enough for a guy who we all know is about as arrogant in his perceived superiority to humankind as fans of Joss Whedon are, was known to lament his inferority to "pure" bred humans, back in the 1940s. Then again, in those days, Namor just happened to be continually fighting against a guy who thought the ruling class should be pure bred, so you gotta forgive Namor a moment of uncharacteristic self-doubt:

Marvel Mystery Comics #12

Regardless of her casual attire around her son, Fen's got a point: Namor is ready to marry and bring some heirs to the Atlantean throne. So, he swims to the surface, kills a few men on the way, and flatters and smooth-talks his way into the heart of his beloved:

Marvel Mystery Comics #12

Namor has, in the words of the greatest Beatle, got his eyes set on you, Lynne Harris! Yes, we know that's likely to cut into your successful career of writing bestselling African American romances, but Namor is absolutely head over wings in love with you! Eh, well, actually his mama told him he better do it, and you know what mama's boys can be like if they don't get their way. Always invading the surface world with Giganto, etc. etc.

Marvel Mystery Comics #12

Most prospective bridegrooms give their fiancées an expensive gift...a diamond ring, say. Or, in the case of Reed Richards' engagement to Susan Storm, a Negative-Zone-powered vacuum cleaner. Not Namor—he's not one to fall into those traditional roles of the man laying out a lot, or indeed, any money when he gets engaged. Instead, he tosses his wife-to-be in arctic waters. Want a wife? Etherize her. Not since the Punisher clocked Dazzler in the skull with the butt of a M60 and dragged her back to his "Battle-Love Lair" has there been such an abrupt elopement.

Marvel Mystery Comics #12

Remember, folks, unless you are an ISB reader, never introduce your fiancée to your cousin whom you will eventually marry.

Marvel Mystery Comics #12

Then, instead of a pesky bridal shower, the Sub-Mariner heartily recommends invasive surgery, an operation by a guy who, you may remember, is apparently very nearly a doctor. Maybe that's exactly what happened to all of Namor's brides: lost on the operating table. Dr. Sub-Dreamy, he ain't.

Marvel Mystery Comics #12

So: smooth operator in today's world, but even Namor the Sub-Mareener had his awkward dating days. Girls just couldn't warm to his fish-like breath, his eel-like skin, and his habit of kidnapping and surgically mutilating his crushes. As Princess Fen would always comment, "She's just not good enough for my little minnow."

Or...maybe it's just his fashion sense:

Marvel Mystery Comics #14

365 Days with Ben Grimm, Day 301

MTIO #41
Panel from Marvel Two-in-One #41 (July 1978), script by David Anthony Kraft, breakdowns by Ron Wilson, finishes and inks by Pablo Marcos, colors by Françoise Mouly, letters by Joe Rosen

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bully's Sketchbook: David Malki!

It's time once again to show off Bully's Sketchbook, where wonderful and friendly artists interpret a little stuffed bull using only paper, pencil and pen, and their own skill and imagination. And, oh yes, bribes of piping hot brownies that I bring for them. Nobody doesn't like piping hot brownies!

Here's a sketch of me looking absolutely swellegant, drawn by David Malki!—and you gotta love him because he's got a "!" after his name. David's the creator of the delightful and delicious Wondermark comic strip, which I enjoy so much it makes me wish I lived in the Gilded Age. Especially if I could get dipped in 24-caret gold. I met him at SPX 2009, and he was kind enough to sketch me. Here, David's made me into a gentlebull about town, and boy howdy, I really do wish I had a monocle (mainly so i could pop it out of my eye in surprise and declare "Oh my word!"):

Bully, by David Malki
And David Malki! himself? A heck of a nice guy with a most impressive beard that I am ultra-envious over:

Me an' David Malki!

I also bought his brand-new Wondermark collection in tried-and-true book format, Clever Tricks to Stave Off Death, which is as beautifully designed as it is laff-out-loud- until-milk-comes-out- your-ringéd-nose-funny. You can pick up Clever Tricks where ever fine Dark Horse books and comics are sold, or right at the official Wondermark online shop, which is an emporium of delight and magic and bumper stickers and posters and t-shirts. Tell him Bully sent ya, and buy lots, ya cheapskate!

And hey, whaddaya know...this is my 2000th post on this blog! My, how time flies when you're havin' brownies fun! (Thanks for reading, everybody!)

365 Days with Ben Grimm, Day 300

FF #274
Splash page from Fantastic Four #274 (January 1985), script and pencils by John Byrne, inks by Al Gordon, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Diana Albers
(Click picture to Frankensize)


Monday, October 26, 2009

New York Times Book Bestsellers of the Marvel Universe

Going Rogue

365 Days with Ben Grimm, Day 299

Thing #19
Panels from The Thing v.1 #19 (January 1985), script by John Byrne, pencils by Ron Wilson, inks by Mike Gustovich, colors by Bob Sharen, letters by Jim Novak

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ten of a Kind: Ten Roles for Christopher Lee


(More Ten of a Kind here.)

365 Days with Ben Grimm, Day 298

MTIO #14
Panels from Marvel Two-in-One #14 (March 1976), script by Bill Mantlo, pencils by Herb Trimpe, inks by John Tartaglione, colors by Janice Cohen, letters by Karen Mantlo