Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Merry Marvel Christmas: The Defenders

Marvel Treasury Edition #13
Page from Marvel Treasury Edition #13 (1976), script by Roger Stern, pencils by George Tuska, inks by Don Perlin, colors by Don Warfield, letters by Gaspar Saladino

A Merry Marvel Christmas: The Thing

Marvel Treasury Edition #13
Pin-up from Marvel Treasury Edition #13 (1976)

A Merry Marvel Christmas: The Punisher

Punisher Holiday Special #1
Page from Punisher Holiday Special #1 (January 1993), script by Steven Grant, pencils by John Hebert, inks by Rodney Ramos, colors by John Kalisz, letters by Ken Lopez

A Merry Marvel Christmas: The New Avengers

Marvel Holiday Special 2005
Page from Marvel Holiday Special 2005 (February 2006), script by Jeff Parker, pencils by Reilly Brown, inks by Pat Davidson, colors by Christina Strain, letters by Dave Lanphear

A Merry Marvel Christmas: Spider-Man and Mary Jane

Marvel Holiday Special 1992
Pin-up from Marvel Holiday Special 1992 (1992), art by Steve Lightle

A Merry Marvel Christmas: Excalibur

Marvel Holiday Special 1992
Pin-up from Marvel Holiday Special 1992 (1992), art by Dave Cockrum

Star Wars: A Christmas Special

Sick of watching endless re-runs of the old Star Wars Holiday Special? Why not kick back and enjoy the all-new Star Wars: A Christmas Special? It's 100% Bea Arthur-free!

Star Wars: A Christmas Special (2010), produced by Gamervision

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 359

Marvel Holiday Special 1994
Panel from X-Men #165 (February 2005), script by Chris Claremont, pencils by Salvador Larroca, inks by Danny Miki, colors by Rob Ro, letters by Chris Eliopoulos

A Merry Marvel Christmas: Odin

Marvel Holiday Special 1991
Page from Marvel Holiday Special 1991 (1991), script by Tom DeFalco, pencils and inks by Sal Buscema, colors by Glynis Oliver, letters by Roxanne Starr

A Merry Marvel Christmas: The Avengers

Ant-Man's Big Christmas #1
Splash page from Ant-Man's Big Christmas #1 (February 2000), script by Bob Gale, pencils by Phil Winslade, inks by Phil Winslade, background inks by Tom Palmer, Nelson DeCastro, Jimmy Palmiotti, colors by Richard Isanove, letters by Saida Temofonte

A Merry Marvel Christmas: Thor

Marvel Holiday Special 1991
Pin-up from Marvel Holiday Special 1991" (1991), art by Ron Frenz and Pat Olliffe

A Merry Marvel Christmas: The Fantastic Four

Marvel Holiday Special 1992
Pin-up from Marvel Holiday Special 1992" (1992), Darren Auck and Steve Montano

Christmas Commercial Countdown, Day 25: In Perfect Harmony

A Merry Marvel Christmas: The Marvel Super-Heroes

Marvel Treasury Edition #8
Pin-up from Marvel Treasury Edition #8 (1975), art by Rich Buckler and John Romita, Sr.

A Merry Marvel Christmas: Captain America

Marvel Holiday Special 1992
Pin-up from Marvel Holiday Special 1992 (1992), art by Kerry Gammill and Keith Williams

A Merry Marvel Christmas: The New Warriors

Marvel Holiday Special 1992
Page from Marvel Holiday Special 1992 (1992), script by Fabian Nicieza, pencils by Darick Robertson, inks by Larry Mahlstedt, colors by Joe Rosas, letters by Brad K. Joyce

A Merry Marvel Christmas: The Incredible Hulk

Marvel Holiday Special 1992
Pin-up from Marvel Holiday Special 1992 (1992), art by Sal Buscema

A Merry Marvel Christmas: The Punisher

Marvel Holiday Special 1991
Pin-up from Marvel Holiday Special 1991 (1991), art by Tom Grindberg

A Merry Marvel Christmas: The Marvel Super-Heroes

Marvel Treasury Edition #13
Pin-up from Marvel Treasury Edition #13 (1976), art by Gil Kane and John Romita, Sr. Inks: John Romita

A Merry Marvel Christmas: Spider-Man

Marvel Holiday Special 1994
Page from Marvel Holiday Special 1994 (1994), script and colors by Karl Bollers, pencils and inks by Gray Morrow

A Merry Marvel Christmas: Emma Frost

Generation X #24
Splash page from Generation X #24 (February 1997), script by Scott Lobdell, pencils by Rick Leonardi, inks by Bud Larosa, colors by Steve Buccellato, letters by Richard Starkings

A Merry Marvel Christmas: Daredevil

Daredevil #241
Page from Daredevil #241 (April 1987), script by Ann Nocenti, pencils by Todd McFarlane, inks by Al Milgrom, colors by Max Scheele, letters by Joe Rosen

A Merry Marvel Christmas: She-Hulk

Sensational She-Hulk
Page from Sensational She-Hulk (Mid-November 1989), script and pencils by John Byrne, inks by Bob Wiacek, colors by Glynis Oliver, letters by Jim Novak

A Riverdale Christmas, Day 25

Jughead's Double Digest #28
Jughead's Double Digest #28 (December 1972)

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Power of Love

"The Power of Love" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1984), directed by Godley & Creme

Christmas Commercial Countdown Extra: You'll believe a Dalek can fly

BBC One Christmas idents for 2010, featuring a Dalek from Doctor Who and Matt Lucas and David Walliams from Come Fly with Me, a new BBC comedy from the creators of Little Britain.

Christmas Commercial Countdown Extra: Christmas is bigger on the inside

2009 BBC One Christmas idents featuring David Tennant as The Doctor!

Is this the end of Doctor Who characters appearing on BBC 1 Christmas idents? Hmmm...take a guess and come back in another three hours, time travelers!

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 358

Marvel Holiday Special 1994
Pin-up from Marvel Holiday Special 1994 one-shot (1994), art by Sal Buscema and Karl Bollers

Christmas Commercial Countdown Extra: Cracking Christmas idents, Gromit

The 2008 BBC One Christmas idents featuring Wallace and Gromit:

Like the BBC idents? More to come later today on this blog. Who will star in them?


Christmas Commercial Countdown, Day 24: Our house in the middle of our street

Like the BBC One Christmas idents? Stay tuned on this blog!

A Riverdale Christmas, Day 24

Jughead's Double Digest #28
Jughead's Double Digest #28 (December 1980), art by Stan Goldberg and Henry Scarpelli

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's the Most Wonder Woman Time of the Year

Sensation Comics #38It's that festive time of year, and you know what that means! Yup! And it also means it's time to sing along (with the music) the traditional favorite Christmas Carol of Themyscira!:

Have a Wonder Woman Christmas
Have an Etta Candy Yule
Kiss Steve Trevor
Now and forever
And make him blink and drool

Have a Themyscira Christmas
From the all-girl island gang
There's no men hirsute
It's a nice pursuit
Paradise for k.d. lang

Oh, ho, sufferin' Sappho
Diana fights for rights
For me, and you, and them
In her satin tights

She has got a golden lasso
And she's also made of clay
You should say hello
To a status quo
Where the girls are all

Well, that's quite enough of that.

Let's instead look at one of the most traditional and heartwarming tales of the Amazin' Amazon in her Golden Age, before the eagle changed to two big Ws, before the hot pants became a thong, even before she gave a break by sharing that Kit-Kat Bar with Maxwell Lord, to the innocent days of Christmas 1944, where there was absolutely nothing happening on the world stage that would require a superhero to be overseas fighting anybody at all. Get ready for the most touching Christmas story of them all: "Wonder Woman Alias Miss Santa Claus!" As the story opens on Christmas Eve, Lt. Diana W. W. Prince and the shell-shocked Colonel Steve Trevor are serving their country, flag, and American people by hanging around downtown outside a department store, engaging in banter with the Dead End Kids. One such little urchin's family is so poorly off that his father is dead and his mother can barely afford the lipstick to keep his mouth kissably brilliant.

Sensation Comics #38
Panels from "Racketeers Kidnap Miss Santa Claus" in Sensation Comics #38 (February 1945), script by William Moulton Marston, art by Harry G. Peter

As everybody knows, just as contacting Clark Kent is your surest way to get in touch with Superman, just as Peter Parker is in frequent contact with Spider-Man, just as waving a bottle of Kentucky bourbon will get you access to Iron Man, Diana Prince knows exactly how to contact Wonder Wom-An and right some social rights. In her, we did that joke already.

Sensation Comics #38

Wondy practices her breaking and entering technique through the slums of...hey, what city did WW live in anyway? Batman had Gotham City, Superman had Metropolis, the Flash has Keystone City, Wonder Woman had...uh...hmmm...I dunno, um, Amazon Park City, Montana, I guess, to operate out of. How should I know? Is it any wonder, Wonder Woman has never been as strong a comic book as her two compatriots? You can't even give her a proper fictionopolis to operate in, National Comics? Sheesh. Anyway, Diana breaks a few windows and busts down some doors to leave stockings full of toys for the eight youngsters in this tenement house. And some condoms for their parents.

Sensation Comics #38

If Brian Michael Bendis were writing this comic book, we would be alongside Wonder Woman as she visits every overcrowded, unheated, broken-down slum apartment in town. Luckily she delivers gifts to every other place in town before finally finding the basement apartment of the kid she met before. I tell's always in the very last place you look, am I right?

Sensation Comics #38

That's where Wonder Woman, Princess of Paradise Island, the world's greatest woman fighter and champion of a battle contest against the most highly trained female warriors in the world, gets knocked on her noggin by a mop handle. Maybe you should take off the Bose noise-canceling World War I Flying Ace helmet, Wondy.

Sensation Comics #38

Fast as lightning, Wonder Woman flips her attacker over her shoulder. Oh, really good, Wonder Woman...way to beat up on a girl. Anyway, that face in the dark belongs to Mrs. Judith Allen, mother of the li'l tough guy we saw in the first panel, who thought Wonder Woman was her brother-in-law. I'm sorry, but it can't ever be that dark.

Sensation Comics #38

Brother-in-law Joe, in addition to being fresh from his casting on the set of a Edward G. Robinson/Humphrey Bogart gangster film, is a violent, lecherous, brute who can swirl his fist around so fast you get hypnotized and fall down. He's just that mean.

Sensation Comics #38

Joe Bamko's associates and buddies are nothing to write home about, either. Judith says he meets "tough characters" every night, and I'm pretty sure they're not playing Risk or Yahtzee as they down their Choo-Choo Cherry Funny Face-brand Flavored Drink Mix. Man, look at these guys: you will never find a more wretched hive of scum, villainy, and suits in bright solid colors. Really: where the Sam Scratch do you even buy a green suit???

Sensation Comics #38

Wow, that panel is populated by the criminal cast of Dick Tracy. Marston doesn't give these secondary crook characters names, but I'm betting it would go something like this:

Sensation Comics #38

Okay, okay, so he commits sexual harassment and threatens kids. Surely there's got to be some good in this man so that Wonder Woman can redeem him as a Christmas miracle, right? Right?...

Sensation Comics #38

...Okay, this scumbag is going down.

As Wonder Woman fills up stockings (hold the wolf whistles, boys, that's not what I meant), she's confronted by the dirty rat himself, who fires his laser pistol at W.W., but luckily she apparently enjoys cosplaying a character from a comic book she once read.

Sensation Comics #38

Pretty Boy Trevor arrives just at that moment to flirt with Wonder Woman, and just like all men of the forties, he's got to do the job himself to show what a he-man he is in front of the woman who can bend iron bars in her hand. She'll probably have to call a professional in to fix what he couldn't finish before he wandered off to listen to the game, I imagine. I'm betting he didn't even read the manual, either.

Sensation Comics #38

Quicker than a flash of light, the Agile Amazon makes up a suitable pun and goes for the Rockette High Kick! Joe does his Donald Duck impression, and Steve thinks "I meant to do that" as he gasps for breath. And justice is served! What an amazing Christmas story!

Sensation Comics #38

Whoops! Nope. Joe dashes into his super-secret escape pod bedroom and, realizing he might not have enough air in there, starts making bullet holes in the door. Steve is right on the job, aiming his service revolver to start spraying lead into the room where Mrs. Allen's kids are. He's saved from yet another "friendly fire" incident on his service record, but where the heck is Wonder Woman during all this? I like to think she's standing back, watching Steve, shaking her head and smacking her palm against her forehead.

Sensation Comics #38

Why, that dirty rotten no-good rat! He's using the kids as a shield! And not one of the cool ones, either, that you could throw around the room and have it bounce at impossible angles until it knocks Hitler's block off from behind...this is a good old fashioned human shield. Pretty sneaky, Joe!

Sensation Comics #38

Steve Trevor knows we he's licked. (Also, when he's kissed or fondled.) He beats a hasty retreat to get some backup—we'll see them later. Then Diana, discovering the door is actually made of rubber, pursues Joe. You know, I swear she told Steve to go fetch help just to get him out of the dang way.

Sensation Comics #38

Wondy catches up to the crook and ropes that varmint in with her magic lasso, swarming with miniature nanotech lie-detecting devices exactly like those created by William Marston. And then...PLOT TWIST! Joe reveals that he and his gang, which he calls "The Gang," is plotting to rob a gold vault through this secret tunnel. Hey, the story has suddenly turned into "The Adventure of the Red-Headed League"! Do Rudyard Kipling next, Mister Marston!

Sensation Comics #38

Suddenly! The tables are turned! And Wonder Woman is tied up in bondage with her own rope on page ten of the story. Okay, who had page ten in the in Wonder Woman Bondage Pool Lottery? You can pick up your prize after the comic is over. Meanwhile, the kids are trapped on a carton of TNT connected to a bicycle pump used by "Thing" from The Addams Family.

Sensation Comics #38

Wonder Woman, with the wisdom of Solomon...wait, am I thinking of the right superhero.? No, wisdom of Athena. Anyway, she quickly checks her COD4 Explosive Stats Chart and Description to warn them that the reinforced load-bearing walls of a precious metal storage facility is not codified under section 8.12 of the U.S. Army Manual of Heavy Explosives and Bangy-Things. She does have a pun all loaded and ready to shoot, of course.

Sensation Comics #38

Building on her already elaborate rap sheet for breaking and entering, Wonder Woman is coerced into battering down the thick walls of the gold safe. She didn't even look under the mat to see if the key was there first!

Sensation Comics #38

Separated at Birth Department: Say, does that guy in the lower right of that last panel look a little familiar to you?

Sensation Comics #38

Around this point Wonder Woman should take a deep breath and stand back and whistle innocently, because whatever those guys are hijacking, it ain't gold. Gold bars weigh in at a pudgy twenty-seven and a half pounds, and that schnook on the left there is carrying a sack of approximately one bajillion of them. They are very clearly accidentally stealing Twinkies, and at any moment now the police will arrive and arrest them while they are delayed by the delicious golden sponge cake and the creamy white filling. Yes, You Get a Big Delight in Every Bite of Hostess Twinkies, Cupcakes, and Fruit Pies!

Sensation Comics #38

Remember that help that Steve went off to fetch a few pages back? He has returned with Etta Candy and the Holliday Girls, a college sorority of women who hung around and aided Wonder Woman during her adventures. Their leader is the sweet-toothed, confection-obsessed self-fulfilling-propechy-named Etta Candy, she of the "Woo woo!" and scarfing down chocolates. What, Steve, President Roosevelt wasn't available?

Sensation Comics #38

As the caption tells you, "Wonder Woman and her girls quickly subdue the gangsters." Um, I don't see the girls doing nothin', unless Etta is tossing Nut Goodies at them. And, like a high school bully, Steve Trevor holds down Joe while Wonder Woman beats him up. "Operation: Lunch Money" has become a complete success!

Sensation Comics #38

So, the moral of the story? "Christmas is in everyone around you." Not, then, "don't stand on boxes of high explosives" or "it takes a superhero to solve a domestic abuse situation" or "FOR PETE'S SAKE ETTA YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A HEART ATTACK AT TWENTY-SIX!", then, huh? Huh.

Sensation Comics #38

As the credits roll, Wonder Woman leaps onto her invisible plane (well, can you see it? Huh? Huh?) and flies off into the beautiful blue sky...hey, just how long was she in that apartment, anyway? It's Christmas morning? What about the kids who lived down the, close enough. So, how does this story of gunfire, bondage, child endangerment and domestic abuse make you feel about Christmas now, kids?

Sensation Comics #38

Special surprise twist ending: the young Allen boy at the beginning and end of the story? He grew up to be a police forensic scientist in Central City. His name? Barry. And now you know...the rest of the story.

Also in this issue: a comic story where young boys are urged by Hitler to paint swastikas on the sides of churches by a Nazi spy named Haytler until they are stopped by a Royalist cavalier.

Sensation Comics #38

The Golden Age, folks! The Golden Age.