Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bully's Advent Calendar: Day 12

Advent Calendar

Separated at Birth: I'll send an S.O.S. to the world/I hope that someone gets my message

Showcase #34/Impulse Double Shot #1
L: Showcase #34 (September-October 1961), art by Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson
R: Impulse/Atom Double-Shot one-shot (February 1998), art by Pop Mahn and Michelle Asp

(Click picture to Atom-size)

What's that? Well, I told you it would be Atom-sized, didn't I? Oh, okay, for those of you who need glasses and/or a white dwarf star shrinking belt...

Showcase #34/Impulse Double Shot #1

(Close the Atom-sized window first if you haven't already, then click picture to Apache Chief-size.)

365 Days with Ben Grimm: Day 346

Marvel Holiday Special 2005
Full-page panel from Marvel Holiday Special 2005 one-shot (January 2006), script by Mike Carey, pencils and inks by Mike Perkins, colors by Laura Martin, letters by Dave Lanphear

(Click picture to Santy-Claus-size)

Saturday Morning Cartoon: Super Santa in "Vegetation"

Super Santa and Emma in "Vegetation" (2006), directed by Mike Bell

Friday, December 11, 2009

Bully's Advent Calendar: Day 11

Advent Calendar

Tis the Season to Duck Out Early

At this time of year, we're often told to reflect upon our friends and family. Which is a wonderful thing to do.

And then, there's the people we work with. And at this time of year, we're often corralled into that most perilous and dicey of holiday events: the company Christmas party.
BATO #19

So take a clue from Clark Kent: make a quick appearance and then duck out the back door. By that point everybody will be so sloshed they'll never notice you've gone!

BATO #19

If you're lucky you'll escape the Secret Santa ceremony completely! Because who needs another Lex Luthor bobblehead doll to put on your desk?

BATO #19

I actually like this scene an awful lot, and it loses something in the reformatting. So here's my secret Santa gift to you, the full page in the altogether!:

BATO #19
Page from Batman and the Outsiders #19 (March 1985), script by Mike W. Barr, pencils, inks and letters by Jim Aparo, colors by Adrienne Roy
(Click image to super-size)

Coming up soon: Batman shows you how to get out of Christmas dinner with your parents, Aquaman explains the best method of avoiding being roped into Christmas caroling, and Mister Miracle escapes from a flaming locked firetrap and also from the consequences of not being able to find the sold-out Barnes and Noble "Nook" that Barda put on her Christmas list.

365 Days with Ben Grimm: Day 345: Hanukkah

The Kirbys' 1976 Hanukkah card, by Jack Kirby

Happy Hanukkah!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bully's Advent Calendar: Day 10

Advent Calendar

Because sometimes you just have to post the story where Spider-Man piloted a supersonic fighter jet with Aunt May in the back seat

It's in the story where Doctor Octopus is trying to marry Aunt May...

ASM #131
Panels from Amazing Spider-Man #131 (April 1974), script by Gerry Conway, pencils by Ross Andru, inks by Frank Giacoia and Dave Hunt, colors by Petra Goldberg, letters by Artie Simek

...and kidnaps her in a helicopter...

ASM #131

...away to his secret Canadian island atomic reactor base...

ASM #131

...where Spider-Man captures her back...

ASM #131

...and then he escapes single-handedly piloting a jet plane...

ASM #131

...when suddenly crime lord Hammerhead barges in...

ASM #131

...and butts Doc Ock's nuclear reactor with his superhumanly hardened head...

ASM #131

ASM #131

(Click image to "blow up")

Yes, the ultra-realistic adventures of Spider-Man. They could never take place in a world where the Punisher got turned into a Frankenstein, could they?

365 Days with Ben Grimm: Day 344

MTU #32
Panel from Marvel Team-Up #32 (April 1975), script by Gerry Conway, pencils by Sal Buscema, inks by Vince Colletta, colors by Janice Cohen, letters by Artie Simek

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Bully's Advent Calendar: Day 9

Advent Calendar

Not tonight, I have a splitting haddock

Um, that should be headache. When my head hirts I make funny spelling misteaks.

Bully in Pain

So tell ya what: you enjoy tonight's Ben Grimm and Advent Calendar, and I'll be back tomorrow with a real post. Okay? Okay.

Now, has anyone seen my St. Joseph's Children's Chewable Aspirin?

365 Days with Ben Grimm: Day 343

FF #261
Panel from Fantastic Four #361 (February 1992), co-plot and script by Tom DeFalco, co-plot and pencils by Paul Ryan, inks by Danny Bulanadi, colors by Christie Scheele and Ed Lazellari, letters by Bill Oakley

(Click picture to holiday-size)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Gaze deeply into the mesmerizing yet strangely sensual eyes of Charles Xavier

We all know the color of Ben Grimm's eyes...but quick, without lookin' below, what color are Professor Charles Xavier's eyes?

Uncanny X-Men #4
Uncanny X-Men #3
Uncanny X-Men #161
Giant-Size X-Men #1
Uncanny X-Men #4
Uncanny X-Men #94

Well, most of the time...

Uncanny X-Men #1

And, when he wasn't working near the heat lamps at Arby's...

Uncanny X-Men #23

I mean, that will tire out your baby blues...

Uncanny X-Men #15

But a few drops of Visine-X and those baby blues are back to their crystal clear sapphire in no time at all.

New Mutants #4

Bully's Advent Calendar: Day 8

Advent Calendar

365 Days with Ben Grimm: Day 342

The day two of my heroes almost met:

Strange Tales #130
Panel from Strange Tales #130 (March 1965), co-plotted and dialogued by Stan Lee, co-plotted and pencilled by Bob Powell, inked by Chic Stone, colored by Stan Goldberg, lettered by Sam Rosen

Monday, December 07, 2009

Bully's Advent Calendar: Day 7

Advent Calendar

Monday Night Murals: He thinks he'd blow our minds

I can usually take or leave Alex Ross's artwork, but one piece of his I really like—maybe I should say six pieces of his—is his mural (with Tony Harris) from Starman:

Starman #57-62

Starman #57-62 (September 1999-February 2000), art by Tony Harris and Alex Ross
(Click picture to Alcyone-size)

One of the strengths of James Robinson's Starman was its emphasis on the "legacy hero"—the proud dynasty of superheroes that have all been named the same and who follow in each other's footsteps. A Kid Flash or two aside, I'd never been much compelled by DC's legacy heroes, but Starman, with its father/son in conflict plot right from issue #0, nailed the essence of what I like about continuity in superhero comics. There's plentiful little gems for those versed in the history to pick up if you do know and recognize Starmen past: Ted Knight (moonlighting, no doubt, on his job working alongside Mary Tyler Moore and Ed Asner), Will Payton, David Knight, the short series of Prince Gavyn, alien Starman stories, even Starmen like Mikaal Tomas who only appeared previously for one single issue. Robinson spun their histories together at the same time he introduced my favorite Starman, Jack Knight. Jack's adventures discovering his history and his legacy are interspersed with "Times Past" stories that fill in the story from generations ago. At the same time Robinson created one of my favorite fictional metropolises (metropoli?) in the DC Universe, Opal City, and even rescued villain The Shade from the deep history of The Flash to give him a role as a mover, shaker, and plotter in, around, and behind the scenes.

The interconnection between the Starmen isn't just in the story: it's right up there on these covers featuring pretty much ever Starman (except Robert Hays), their supporting characters, and behind them, big-ass Starman of the Thiry-First Century (previously the Dream-Girl-wooin' Star Boy of The Legion of Super-Heroes, and now a member of the Justice Society of America...don't ask me how, I dunno, something to do with bad clams, I understand) against a star-spangled background of...hey, it's a huge star! Holy symbolism, Starman!

When I was puttin' 'em together with my original issues, scissors and Elmer's Glue (it's a messy job, but somebody's gotta do it!), I noticed that he Starman covers are somewhat unique among interconnecting, "mural" images: the tops of the lower tier overlap with the bottoms of the top tier, so you're actually getting a little cleaner fit to the image than you often do with these things. It's pretty impressive all put together like that even with the logos and UPC codes and the reminder that I spent fifteen clams on these comics. But take a look at the original artwork minus the logos:


Pretty cool, huh? Lucky for you 'n' me that DC Direct released that as a poster, so you can pink it up on your wall and listen to your Marillion albums all night long. Only thing that's missing? It ain't a black light poster.

365 Days with Ben Grimm: Day 341

Panel from Marvel Two-in-One #8 (March 1975), script by Steve Gerber, pencils by Sal Buscema, inks by Mike Esposito, colors by George Roussos, letters by Charlotte Jetter