Saturday, November 28, 2009

Separated at Birth: Tickle Me Kal-Elmo

Superman #32/Superman: The Man of Steel #28
L: Superman #32 (January-February 1945), art by Wayne Boring
R: Superman: The Man of Steel #28 (December 1993), art by Jon Bogdanove and Dennis Janke

(Click picture to Tickle Monster-size)

365 Days with Ben Grimm, Day 332

UXM #101/AWC #71
Panel from Fantastic Four #375 (April 1993), co-plot and script by Tom DeFalco , co-plot and pencils by Paul Ryan, inks by Danny Bulanadi, colors by Gina Going, letters by Jack Morelli and Rick Parker
(Click picture to Ace bandage-size)

Friday, November 27, 2009

365 Days with Ben Grimm, Day 331

FF #78
Panels from Fantastic Four #78 (September 1968), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Sinnott, letters by Sam Rosen

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Tryptophan-Fueled Cartoon*: Tom Turkey and His Harmonica Humdingers

"Tom Turkey and His Harmonica Humdingers" (MGM, 1940), directed by Hugh Harman

Music by Borrah Minevitch and his Harmonica Rascals:

*Yes, yes, I know that the "tryptophan in your turkey makes you sleepy" reference is an urban legend. Let's get Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman on that right away, shall we?

(Thanksgiving) Ten of a Kind #187: We gather together to read cheesy comics

See also. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

(More Ten of a Kind here.)

365 Days with Ben Grimm, Day 330

Thing: Freakshow #1
Panels from Thing: Freakshow #1 (August 2002), script by Geoff Johns, pencils by Scott Kolins, inks by Andy Lanning, colors by David Self, letters by Randy Gentile
Click picture to Butterball-size. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Fake Macy's Parade Alerts from a little stuffed bull on Thanksgiving Twitter

Superman Parade BalloonFake Macy's Parade alert: Upper West Side residents be on watch for Green Goblin balloon attacking Spider-Man balloon.

Staten Island residents be on lookout for Liverpool High School Marching Band, who have gotten very lost.

This next one is NOT a float, repeat NOT a float. It's TV weatherman Al Roker.

Please keep your eyes open for Cobra operatives posing as Macy's employees. Key giveaway: Serpentor balloon.

If a helicopter hovers overhead and you see a turkey flying down at you, run. Arthur Carlson's done it again.

Ah-ooga! Watch out for dimensional portals popping randomly throughout parade. Your clue: all balloons are apes.

Ladies and gentlemen, CAPTAIN AMERICA HAS RETURNED TO US, right in the middle of the parade! He's alive!

Warning: that is NOT a balloon that looks like the Macy's store! Dr. Doom has launched Macy's into orbit again.

The east side of Broadway now has a great view of Batman battling Two-Face on top of the Underdog balloon.

PLEASE do not give money to begging rats. They're just trying to raise cash for their invasion plans.

Oh no! Spider-Man has crashed into the Daily Bugle float! And photographer Peter Parker is nowhere to be found!

Beware of street vendors selling bootleg "Ben 9" merchandise.

Hey, look, it's the Scans_Daily float! Looks like they have chainsawed off 1/3 of the DC Comics float!

Please allow the man from the blue box to deal with the rampaging robot men. He's trained in this sort of thing.

If you see Black Lantern Cornelius Vanderbilt, do NOT engage in battle. Alert Green Lantern Horatio Alger instead.

Be certain you're viewing the AUTHENTIC Macy's Parade. Do not be tricked by competing Gimbel's parade.

RUN! That's not an iPod float, it's a Decepticon!

In honor of Thanksgiving, street vendors are adding a quart of chlorine to the hot dog water.

To our TV viewers: that was NOT, repeat NOT, a Viagra balloon. That was a commercial.

Several parade balloons will NOT be seen today due to Broadway Danny Rose shooting them in their warehouse.

If you come into contact with the pink empathic goo, please do NOT think of the giant Stay-Puft marshmal...uh oh.

Even if you DO see her in the crowd, please do not lick Liz Lemon.

Yes, it's a giant Paris Hilton balloon, people. Get over it, we're all adults here.

Please do not block gutters--kindly allow Morlocks and C.H.U.D.s to have a good view of the parade.

Will the owner of the Empire State Building please come to the parade office? Your lights are on.

Ignore the word "TRUMP" hastily-painted over "MACY'S" on parade signage.

It's the Twitter Marching Band! 140 trained musicians! Their music will be repeated by several following bands.

Now here's the Snoopy balloon...he's...oh no! OH THE HUMANI...oh, hey, look, Carrie Underwood!

If you enjoyed any portion of the parade, Superman will turn the earth backwards so you can see it again.

In retrospect, scheduling the New York Marathon on the same day may have been a mistake.

And now, the Dorf Cosplay Brigade...100 trained marchers impersonating Tim Conway's beloved comedy character!

While she is spinning, please stand out of the way of Diana Prince until she has completed her transformation.

It appears that the Macy's Parade has joined forces with the Lord & Taylor Parade to battle the Gimbel's Parade!

And now, the Yancy Street Dancers! And...they're throwing custard pies at that orange gentleman in the crowd.

When in the presence of Michael Bloomberg, it is customary to bow BEFORE kissing his ring.

That's not a parade exhibit of fantastic cars, folks...the Wacky Races are just cutting across midtown today.

Please do NOT accept coupons for "Free Mayorin'" from Ed Koch.

What's THIS? A deadly dirigible? Dangerous doping-gas? Can the Dynamic Duo stop the Clown Prince of Crime in time?

And now, in order to bust this myth, Adam and Jamie will now blow up the Bullwinkle balloon with C4.

On behalf of Macy's and all Macy's employees, we do solemnly apologize for the 'Twilight' float.

No, folks, that's NOT a salute to Satanism...the Danzig tour bus is just on its way to Madison Square Garden.

On behalf of HAMMER director Norman Osborn, please enjoy your complimentary Spider-Hunting-Guns.

And now, popular comics character Ghost Rider! Oh wait, no, Gary Busey was smoking and drinking at the same time.

Update: Macy's Parade and Gimbel's Parade have decided to team up to fight the Parade.

On your left, you'll see the Statue of Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!

parade attendees: please do NOT feed the Kardashians.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE ROLLING STONES! Oh wait, that's the Veterans of World War I. Never mind.

Please, no one tell Will Smith he is NOT actually the last man left alive in Manhattan.

What the? Peter Potamus?!? I thought we burned that balloon years ago!

Missed the parade? See it tomorrow with new bonus footage added by Industrial Light and Magic! MORE GUNGANS!

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has been brought to you by Dolley Madison...neat treats to eat.

And, with the traditional running of the Santas on the Electric Razors, we declare this parade over. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

A late update: Macy's/Gimbel's Parade 7; Kmart/Walmart Parade 5, in overtime.

Thanksgiving morning cartoon: Holiday for Drumsticks

"Holiday for Drumsticks" (Warner Bros., 1949), a Merrie Melodies cartoon starring Daffy Duck, directed by Arthur Davis

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Because sometimes you just have to post the time Doom hired his goons from Easy-Temp

FF #198
FF #198
FF #198
FF #198
FF #198
All panels are from Fantastic Four #198 (September 1978), script by Marv Wolfman, breakdowns by Keith Pollard, finishes and inks by Joe Sinnott, colors by Janice Cohen, letters by Rick Parker

365 Days with Ben Grimm, Day 329: Thanksgiving

Franklin Richards: Happy Franksgiving
The FF become a quartet of jive turkeys (literally!) in this panel from Franklin Richards: Happy Franksgiving one-shot (Marvel, January 2007), script by Marc Sumerak, pencils, inks, and letters by Chris Eliopoulos, colors by Brad Anderson

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday Nighty Tighty-Whities: In Soviet Union, jockey shorts wear you

Amy WInehouseIt's Tuesday night, and you know what that means...everyone in America is watching the new smash hit TV thriller, V, in which a British freedom fighter rallies against the tyrannical rule of British lizard people in the shape of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Tonight's special guest: Amy Winehouse! Is she human...or lizard...or both? [SPOILER ALERT: Lizard.] For the rest of you, however, there's Tuesday Nighty Tighty-Whities, the incisive and all-encompassing survey of superheroes in their underwear!

Tonight: he's seven-foot-five, five hundred pounds of solid Soviet stainless steel...the Moscovite mutant we all at my copy of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition #3)...Colossus! And as you can see here, the Communist Crusher couldn't get enough days off from Professor Xavier's Academy for the Genetically Overactive to stand in line at GUM to buy pajamas, so he sleeps guessed it...his Fruit of the Looms!

UXM #137
Panels from [Uncanny] X-Men #137 (September 1980), co-plot and script by Chris Claremont, co-plot and pencils by John Byrne, inks by Terry Austin, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Tom Orzechowski. Hey, how much of a fanbull does it make me that I knew by heart and I didn't have to look up the creator credits on this ish?

Ta-da! Changing into a strongman giant made of organic steel certainly beats my morning routine, which consists of two and a half sit-ups and then a chocolate Pop-Tart for breakfast. But hey, how does Peter Rasputin keep his underwear from ripping to shreds when he changes from teenager to titanium? Well, two answers to that pressing question, actually...

Answer #1:

FF v3 #63
Panel from Fantastic Four v.3 #63 (January 2003), script by Mark Waid, pencils by Mike Wieringo, inks by Karl Kesel, colors by Paul Mounts, letters by Richard Starkings and Albert Deschesne

Ask any fanboy who invented unstable molecules, the miracle fabric that stretches, resists burning, turns invisible and splashes back grape juice spills, and you'll hear the dead-certain answer "Reed Richards!" Which only goes to show you, you're dead wrong. (If you were a contestant on QI, you'd be Alan Davies and that big board on the back would be flashing your wrong answer while the buzzer blares away.) Mr. Fantastic didn't invent unstable molecules, he discovered them—passage through the cosmic rays on that fateful journey back in 1961 about ten years or so ago turns the FF's crew jumpsuits into that hyperactive fabric with the give and pull that allows Ben Grimm to go out in public without showing everyone his rock collection. So I betcha Colossus has undies made out of unstable molecules. We already know that lots of superheroes get their unstable costumes from Reed, but technically, they "lease" them from Fantastic Four, Inc...the technology is still too expensive, even for Reed, to mass-produce unstable swimsuits, no matter how many times Namor asks him. We do know that the X-Men Mk. II's uniforms are made of unstable molecules...remember, for example, how Storm used to transform her street clothes into her fighting costume by sending an electrical spark through it? And how Cyclops's yellow booties would turn into pirate galoshes every time that Dave Cockrum came back near the strip? It's all unstable friend...and yours!

But that's only one answer to the sartorial conundrum of why Peter Rasputin ain't bustin' out all over when he changes into Colossus in his y-fronts. For the No-Prize, here's

Answer #2

The Comics Code Authority: protecting you from Peter Rasputin's area since 1954.

Hey, a letter just landed with a "you've got mail" in the Comics Oughta Be Fun! emailbox, so let's take a look. Hmmm, it's from a Miss "K. Pryde" of "Deerfield Illinois" and she asks, "can we look again at Colossus in his underwear? You know, just one last peek?"

I'll do you better than that, Ms. P, here's an all-new, all-different, all-uncannily peek at the Colossus from Earth-9112, a world where everyone looks pretty much the same but they're more Flexographically-colored...from the original version of X-Men #137 before Jim Shooter twiddled his fingers into it (and, let's face it, made it a better story):

Phoenix: The Untold Saga
Panels from Phoenix: The Untold Story one-shot (April 1984), words and pictures and yadda yadda yadda by the same guys I listed from memory above, okay?

Phoenix: The Untold Story was a special comic that reprinted Claremont and Byrne's original story, ending with the Jean Grey living. The art is the same as X-Men #137 until the last handful of pages, but the dialogue's substantially different throughout, as you can see here. It's an interesting alternative story, but again, I still prefer the original, even with more Claremont verbiage per square inch than the special.

So, there you have it...superheroes in their underwear, digressions into the worlds of Amy Winehouse, the Fantastic Four, and the scary, scary place that is the creative mind of Chris Claremont. Who says this isn't the Mighty Bully Age of extra content in a blog post?

Eh, never mind. I know the only real reason you stopped by here tonight: Colossus in his underwear...

UXM #131
Partial panel from [Uncanny] X-Men #131 (March 1980), by you know the drill by now.

...with bonus extremely-hairy Wolverine! Sweet dreams now, kids!

365 Days with Ben Grimm, Day 328

MTIO #10
Panel from Fantastic Four #11 (February 1963), script b Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Dick Ayers, colors by Stan Goldberg, letters by Artie Simek

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday Night Murals: Four Horsemen Came Riding

To Be Continued!Are there any three words more beloved by comic book fans than To Be Continued? (Well, maybe "Batman versus monkeys".) There's nothing quite like the thrill of a well-written cliffhanger that leaves you eagerly panting for the next month's issue, hangin' around Pop's Sodium Shop with your quarter in yoru hot little hand, bugging the soda jerks about when the new comics will be in. ("Are they in yet?" "No." "Are they in yet?" "No." Are they in yet?" "Get outta here, kid!") After all, how else will you find out whether Spider-Man will escape the fangs of the Hungry Hungry Hippo, or if Superman will manage to foil Lois's plan to crush the universe under her Jimmy Choos? Why, with a month-long wait like that...maybe they might die! (Probably not.)

My point...and I do have that sometimes it's not merely the story that's to be continued but also the cover of the comic book. Welcome to the very first installment of Monday Night Murals, the new Bully-feature that spotlights, once a week, and prob'bly on Mondays (if not, then see you on Muesdays or Mhursdays), multiple comic book covers that form a single image when put together. Why, it's like a giant jigsaw puzzle, except without weird jaggedy edges, and you have to wait a month between putting down each piece!

Except for this one! I wanna start with one of my favorite mural-covers, a quartet of DC comics from 1988 tying into "Week 4" of the big Millennium crossover, the line-wide event that gave us those superstars of the DC Universe, The New Guardians! That popular supergroup defined DC for the eighties and consisted, the Floronic Man was one of them, right?...everybody remembers the flamboyant gay guy, don't they?...and then there, hey, the Eskimo guy with the really racist nickname! He was in it, wasn't he? And, hmm, Snapper Carr, and Alfred Pennyworth, and Rick Jones, and Tawny Kitaen.

At the time, I thought it was pretty cool that Millennium coincided with the Harmonic Convergence, but what impresses me now is a convergence of a different sort: the four-comic mural formed by the Week Four crossover between Captain Atom, Firestorm, Batman, the Suicide Squad, and the Spectre...and I think it would go something like this:
Millennium crossovers
L-R: Captain Atom #11, Suicide Squad #9, Detective Comics #582, The Spectre #10, art by Jerry Bingham (January 1988)

(Click picture to millenni-size)

I've matched 'em up as best I can so that you can see all four comics have their characters approaching, ready to team up at the drop of a cowl. (Fittingly, Batman's gonna get there first.) For a few moments when I was putting them together tonight I nearly had my little stuffed brain blown by the mistaken thought that The Spectre would connect with Captain Atom, turning it into a ring of adventure! It doesn't, although I bet if Jerry Bingham thought about it, he woulda done so.

I like this DC mural not merely because it combines four different comic titles into one picture (most murals occur within a single title), but that it's the pictorial definition of the storyline: it's a crossover waiting to happen. Long after I've forgotten the plot of these books and of Millennium (and I think it may be best forgotten), I look fondly on these four covers...laid out on the floor in a row so I can gaze at 'em.

Next week: another exciting comic book mural! Which one will it be? I don't know yet! (But it'll be a cool one.) As they say in the comic books, be continued!

365 Days with Ben Grimm, Day 327

MTIO #10
Panel from Marvel Two-in-One #10 (July 1975), script by...who else?...Chris Claremont, pencils by Bob Brown, inks and colors by Klaus Janson, letters by John Costanza

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ten of a Kind: Is he tough? Listen, bull...he's got a bright red Spidey-Signal!

(More Ten of a Kind here.)

365 Days with Ben Grimm, Day 326

What If Doc Doom Had Done That Thing?!?
Panel from What If Doctor Doom Had Become the Thing? one-shot (February 2005), script by Karl Kesel, pencils and inks by Paul Smith, colors by Paul Mounts, letters by Randy Gentile