Saturday, July 24, 2010

Same Story, Different Cover: You come and go, you come and go

MTU #100/MT #250

L: Marvel Team-Up #100 (December 1980), art by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson
R: Marvel Tales #250 (June 1991), reprinting MTU #100, art by Marshall Rogers

(Click picture to double-size anniversary-size)

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 205

X-Men #50
Panel from X-Men #50 (March 1996), script by Scott Lobdell, pencils by Andy Kubert, inks by Cam Smith, colors by Joe Rosas with Digital Crayon Enhancements, letters by Richard Starkings

Saturday Morning Cartoon: Tony the Tiger versus a Bull

Sugar Frosted Flakes commercial featuring Thurl Ravenscroft as the voice of Tony the Tiger

Friday, July 23, 2010

Good Soldier

Keep Calm and Carrie Kelly

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 204

House of M Iron Man #1
Panels from House of M: Iron Man #1 (November 1964), script by Greg Pak, pencils by Pat Lee, inks and colors by Dream Engine, letters by Rus Wooton

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Strange Racist Insults of Sgt. Nick Fury

Sgt. Fury's Strange Racial Insults
Panel from Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #74 (January 1970), written by Archie Goodwin, pencils by Dick Ayers, inks by John Severin, letters by Jean Izzo

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 203

UXM #8
Panel from [Uncanny] X-Men #8 (November 1964), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Chic Stone, letters by Richard Starkings and Sam Rosen

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pepper Potts Explains It All For You

And now it's time for installment #53 in the continuing advice column

Pepper Potts Explains

Hello, Pepperheads! It's me, your fabulous role model, Pepper Potts, with another column of my internationally syndicated lifestyle column for the go-getter young woman of the 21st century. If you've been reading my advice, you're modern, stylish, sexy, fantastic, and best of all, inside and out you're Pepperiffic! Because a Pepper Girl doesn't just moan about what she wants...she takes it! Yeah! Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper, too? Don't think too hard, girls—the answer: yes.

Let's take a look at today's letter, from a Miss J. Foster of Manhattan, New York!
Dear Pepper,

I'm desperately in love with my handsome boss—a prestigious New York doctor—but he never seems to have eyes for me aside from business! It's always "Nurse Foster, bring me those files," or "Nurse Foster, please bring in the next patient," or "Nurse Foster, isn't that the Mighty Thor over there?" I try to corner him in the off hours to chat with him, but he closes his door, plays his recording of a thunderstorm, and when I go in to see him, the window is open and he's gone! Worse yet, the only time he perks up around a woman is the times when this six-foot tall Danish or Swedish brunette drops by to visit him, wearing this god-awful white miniskirt dress with a purple cape and (get this) carrying a sword! Then he's all "come in, my dear," and "how lovely to see you again." How do I fix it so that Scandanavian buttinski goes back to her wooden shoes and her tulips, leaving the handsome Donald Bl doctor I referred to earlier all to myself?
J. Foster, you poor dope. Snap out of it! This hunky love-object doctor of yours is obviously so attractive to gorgeous Amazon women that he couldn't beat them away with a wooden cane, even if he had one! So it's time for you to use all the feminine wiles and pepperosity at your command. Why, I myself was in a similar situation recently when my boss, Mister "S," hired a curvy new assistant who vamped her way across the office trying to get into his pants and his heart. Uh-uh, you Russian floozy! Only one who gets to touch Mr. "S"'s heart is yours pepper-truly.

Pepper Potts Explains

So, as i instruct my Pepperheads to do in every eventuality: do what Pepper does. Confuse the little harlot, whether she's from Moscow or Reykjavik, by baffling her wee little strumpet senses—just tell her an out-and-out fib. Like she's gonna even know...her bra is bigger than her brains!

Pepper Potts Explains
Panels from Tales of Suspense #51 (March 1964), written by Stan Lee, pencils and inks by Don Heck, letters by Artie Simek

Then, to keep the Muscovite Minx from checking your tiny, harmless, little's not even a fib, it's a figure of speech...just make sure that she thinks your boss has no interest in her, her fabulous body and her enormous pointy bosoms:

Pepper Potts Explains

Later, of course, when your boss checks to see if Miss Jezebel Tartmeister stopped by, you can say with complete honesty and candor that there certainly hasn't been a beautiful woman by to see him. You don't even have to keep your fingers crossed, because we all know beauty comes not only from our fabulous designer clothes, expensive hairstyles, and elaborate make-up, but also from "inside." You know, that spleen operation you had last year so that he'd take notice of what a beautiful spleen you had, in the hopes that some day he'd hold you in his manly arms and whisper, "Why, Miss Potts, what a gorgeous spleen you have." Like he ever notices.

Pepper Potts Explains

In no time at all it'll be you escorting Mr. "S" to that afternoon cheap-seat matinee of Wicked! Make sure he buys you the big popcorn, that cheapskate!

Pepper Potts Explains

However: beware the dreaded switcharoo:

Pepper Potts Explains

So there you go, Nurse Foster...a clever mistruth, a caustic insult, a classic bit of misdirection, and don't forget cutting her brake lines, and you'll be hopping into the boss's lap in no time! Say goodbye to the dreary working week and hello to Fabulous City, Arizona in your new role as The Boss's Wife! It's Pepper-tested and Pepper-approved, and if it doesn't work for you, you obviously fudged it all up. So don't forget there's always a plan B:

Pepper Potts Explains

So until next time...stay fabulous, stay sexy, stay Pepperiffic, girls!

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 202

What If? #106
Panels from Uncanny X-Men #337 (October 1996), script by Scott Lobdell, pencils by Joe Madureira, inks by Tim Townsend, colors by Steve Buccellato, letters by Richard Starkings and Kolja Fuchs

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

First Man on the Moon!

On this date in 1969, we set our sights upon a strange and distant world and stepped forth into the future as we explored a land previously unreachable! Yes, today in 1969, Woodstock began! Wait, no, that's not right. Today's the day that the teddy bears had their picnic...on the moon! (oon oon oon oon) Around the world every nation was held in rapturous awe as Apollo 11 set down upon the lunar surface and immediately opened a Starbucks.

Moon Landing
from Fantastic Four #98 (May 1970), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Sinnott, letters by Artie Simek

In every corner of the globe, Hollywood representations of quirky 1930s cops and cabbies argued about metaphysics as all around them, men wore porkpie hats and astronauts made dramatic scientific history!

Moon Landing

Meanwhile, somewhere near a cherry orchard, in an Anton Chekhov play, a middle-aged Russian man married to an 83-year year old Babushka Lady makes the first of many Russia-on-top jokes that would become such an endearing trait of his 23rd century descendant, Ensign Pavel "Davey Jones" Chekov:

Moon Landing

And at the same time, a mysterious long-lost island rises from the ocean depths, spurring humanity to search for...the Stimulator! No, I don't know what it is, either. You'd better ask Jack Kirby. Your guess is as good as mine.

Moon Landing

But my point...and I do have that, on the moon's ancient surface, the Lunar Module settles down upon the surface, little suspecting that just over the horizon, there's Kirby Krackle a-plenty!

Moon Landing

It's all thanks to the Fantastic Four, who have surreptitiously aided Apollo 11 on her way, with the help of the most important superhero of all time, The Sentry, who took time off from his busy schedule of dating supermodels and changing the course of history to...oh, wait, wrong Sentry. Anyway, moon landing, yay!

Moon Landing

Hooray, mankind! Too bad you flubbed your line, Neil. Practice next time! Or, consider cue cards!

Moon Landing

But...did it really happen?!?!?

Moon Landing

No, no, no, I'm definitely not one of those skeptics who thinks the moon landing was filmed on a sound stage in Arizona. Especially since The Jackie Gleason Show was on hiatus for the summer, with its pre-constructed moon set featuring the faces of each member of the Honeymooners going free for the use. Instead, I reserve my skepticism for the veracity of the claim that 'Dippin' Dots' are truly the "ice cream of the future"...but that's still to be authoritatively disproved. No, I'm just asking...were Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin really the first humans to walk on the moon? Now, there's places you can go to ask that, but don't ask Colonel Buzz. He will punch you. (And rightfully so.)

Go, Buzz, Go!

Also, Harry Potter's Emma "Hermione Smartass Granger" Watson will punch you, too. Not that she has a horse in this race—she just likes punching people.

No, for that answer, we have to go back in time to the origins of the Kree-Skrull War, or, as its known on Skrullos, the War Between the Chosen People and the Stinking Filthy Samelings. Back in the days before cable television or ColecoVision or even Parcheesi, the super-arrogant blue aliens known as the Kree challenged the ultra-botanical planet aliens known as the Cotati to a contest: which one of them could develop a barren world—our moon—into a life-filled paradise? Poor losers to the end, the Kree went berserk when the Cotati won: for this outrage, they forever swore revenge upon...the Skrulls. Yeah, I'm thinking they were pretty much using the same excuse the Nazis used for annexing the Sudetenland. Thus began the millennia-long battle known across the universe as the Kree-Skrull War, of which it is generally agreed was a bad thing, although it gave rise to such cultural advances as big band music, the development of second-gen-plasmer-poly-fibers, and that classic holodrama Kreesablanca.

Moon Landing

And after the poor loser Kree pulled up stakes and left the moon, Uatu the Watcher moved in, no doubt happy to have his own domain at last after vowing to his parents Mom Watcher and Dad Watcher that he was going to move out of the basement and have his own totally bitchin' pad and no one was going to tell him when he had to go to bed or if he could have Galactus over for a kegger party.

Moon Landing
from Tales of Suspense #52 (April 1964), plot by Stan Lee, script and pencils by Larry Lieber, inks by Paul Reinman, letters by Sam Rosen

Ask any Marvel fanboy, therefore, where the Watcher lives, and they'll tell you: 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Apartment 221B, Blue Area of the Moon, Moon, 60609. But...was it always so? Depending on who you ask in the early days of Marvel history, the Watcher has lived on "another world, light years from our earth"...

Moon Landing
from Tales of Suspense #51 (March 1964), plot by Stan Lee, script and pencils by Larry Lieber, inks by George Roussos, letters by Sam Rosen

...or on a lonely asteroid out in space...

Moon Landing
Moon Landing
from Tales of Suspense #58 (October 1964), script by Stan Lee, pencils and inks by George Tuska, letters by Artie Simek

...perhaps on Planet T-37X (the miracle ingredient in new improved "Cleeno")...

Moon Landing
Moon Landing
from Tales of Suspense #57 (September 1964), plot by Stan Lee, script and pencils by Larry Lieber, inks by George Roussos, letters by Sam Rosen

Now here's pissed-off, we're-not-gonna-take-it Uatu threatening to beat you to a bloody pulp, punk, straight from his "distant spinning sphere":

Moon Landing
from Tales of Suspense #54 (September 1964), plot by Stan Lee, script and pencils by Larry Lieber, inks by George Roussos, letters by Sam Rosen

But I think we can all agree that no matter how many times he was evicted by his previous landlords due to his poor sanitary habits and multiple bounced checks, he eventually wound up on the moon...

Moon Landing
from Tales of Suspense #49 (January 1964), plot by Stan Lee, script and pencils by Larry Lieber, inks by George Roussos, letters by Sam Rosen

...where, because he forgot to draw his blinds, Uatu attracted the attention of Hulk-foe The Leader, aka "Peeping Tom."

Moon Landing
from Tales to Astonish #73 (November 1965), script by Stan Lee, breakdowns by Jack Kirby, finishes by Bob Powell, letters by Artie Simek

And then, the 1960s arrived...and the Space Race was on! Pausing only to gather a crew of his college roommate, his girlfriend, and her teenage brother, super-genius Reed Richards, inventor of the Space Food Stick, launched his incredible rocket towards the stars!

Moon Landing
from Fantastic Four #1 (November 1961), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by George Klein

And of course, we all know how well that went.

Moon Landing
Moon Landing

So, a little while later, they tried again. This time with better shielding, but still bringing the kid brother, which only goes to prove: Reed Richards is rock stupid.

Moon Landing
from Fantastic Four #13 (April 1963), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Steve Ditko, letters by Artie Simek

Little did they know that they would be raced to the moon by that sinister supervillain...The Red Green Ghost!* (*Not to be confused with Paul Newman's Green Goddess salad dressing.)

Moon Landing

Thoughtfully, they both launch their super-powered rocket ships to the moon at the same time. Who will get there first? Who?

Moon Landing

Read the following word balloon aloud. Now, try it without laughing:

Moon Landing

The FF land their rocket in the mysterious Blue Area of the Moon* (*not to be confused with Paul Newman's 'Bleu Cheese Salad Dressing'). Touchdown! it is...the fateful moment...who is...the first man on the moon? Who is it? Who is it?

Moon Landing

Eh, it's a stinkin' Commie.

Moon Landing

So, there you go. The first human to set foot upon the lunar surface is Ivan Kragoff, Soviet Ape Trainer. Put that in your history book and smoke it, pops!


...for just one thing...

When the Uncanny Neil n' Buzz, The Strangest Fighting Team of All Time, sets their corrugated boots upon the moon, they're astonished to discover...Happy Fun Ball! After Buzz was done punching it, the astronauts brought it back to Earth and smartly handed it off like the hot potato it was to our feloniest American president, Richard M. Nixon.

Moon Landing
from Astonishing Tales #1 (August 1970), script by Roy Thomas, pencils and inks by Wally Wood, letters by Artie Simek

Yep, that's right, fanboys...Victor von Doom was the first man on the moon, and don't you forget it! It was Doctor Doom landed his custom-made rocket ship in the moon's eye like a big pizza pie, and it was Doom who mined all that valuable moon cheese and took it back to Latveria for Doomstadt Cheesefestival '68, at which he took home five blue ribbons for his piquant and tart "fromage de lune," narrowly beating out Herr Hermann Kase, who swore endless revenge upon Doctor Doom, donning armor, a metal mask, and a rubber cheese head to become the Balkans' most feared avenger, "Der Cheesemeister!"

Moon Landing

So there you you know...The Rest of the Story. And the next time someone suggests you make a wish on the Man in the Moon...don't forget that you're really giving thanks to Doctor Doom! You traitorous cur, you. Like I always say: history oughta be fun. Also, filled with doom. And punching!

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 201

What If? #106
Panel from What If? v.2 #106 (March 1998), script by Tom DeFalco, pencils by Leo Fernandez, inks by Robert Jones, colors by Glynis Oliver, letters by Chris Eliopoulos

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Night Murals: I'm not uptight, not unattractive

Hey, kids, tonight: Meet Radioactive Man!:

Radioactive Man

Best Radioactive Man Event EverNo, no, no, not that Radioactive Man. I'm talking about the Bongo Universe's premier superhero, the idol of millions, and Bart Simpson. Yes, it's Radioactive Man! When millionaire socialite Claude Kane III is caught in a mega-bomb explosion, his head is pierced by a radioactive shard of lightning-bolt-shaped metal, which gives him strange, marvelous powers beyond that of mortal men! Nuclear powers! And we all know how safe those are, don't we, Mister Burns?

Also, he's a comic book character. Which means, of course...he's the focus of tonight's mural, a triptych made up of three different series of Bongo Comics, a summer 2009 crossover event that meant we had to buy all three comics or risk not completing the story...or the mural! Pretty sneaky, Matt Groening!

Bongo Comics

Covers of Simpsons Comics #155, Bart Simpson #48, and Simpsons Super Spectacular #9 (June 2009), art by Bill Morrison, Jason Ho and Mike Rote
Click image to Jeff Albertson-size

Looks like a lot of the super-hero lovin' population of Springfield, USA turned out for the Radioactive Man event, huh? Also, I dare you to look at this and not hum to yourself "The Sim...psons... (dah dah dah dah dah...)"

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 200

Panels from X-Men #13 (October 1992), script by Fabian Nicieza, pencils by Art Thibert, inks by Art Thibert and Dan Panosian, colors by Marie Javins and Joe Rosas, letters by Lois Buhalis