Saturday, January 01, 2011

Ten of a Kind: Happy Hogmanay

(More Ten of a Kind here.)

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 1

Thor v.3 #4
Second-printing cover of Thor v.3 #4 (December 2007), art by Olivier Coipel

Friday, December 31, 2010

365 Days with the Guy Freaking Out On the Cover of Action Comics #1, Day 6

Superman #136
cover of Superboy/Risk Double-Shot #1 (DC, February 1998), pencils by Joe Phillips, inks by Jasen Rodriguez

Exciting, huh? Join us again tomorr...

Superman #124

Ummm...oh, I'm so sorry about that. Er...would you prefer I do a different 365 Days character in 2011 than you, Freaking Guy?

Superman #201

Oh, no problem...say, are you Jimmy Olsen?

Well, anyway: TOMORROW: 2011 begins with a real new 365 Days with...!

We gather together to watch cheesy movies

If you're not out partying this fine New Year's Eve, Bully-fans...and even if you are...then don't miss my guest stint over at my pal DBBurrough's blog Unseen Films all night and well into the first day of 2011: because I'm watching those bot-riffed cheesy movies that you don't often get to see: "Unseen Turkey Day," the seldom-seen episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 that aren't released on DVD!


I'll be watching 24 straight hours of MST3K from 6 PM tonight until 6 PM tomorrow, until I run out of movies, until my VHS machine burns out, or until I fall asleep (whichever comes first). Join me (won't you) for Unseen Turkey Day!

And now, to get in on the fun, Dr. Scott Cyclops and TV's Hank reenact one of their favorite comedy bits from the series:


365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 365

Avengers v.3 #14

Two-page spread from Avengers v.3 #14 (March 1999), script by Kurt Busiek, pencils by George Pérez, inks by Al Vey, colors by Tom Smith, letters by Wes Abbott

(Click picture to in-your-face-size)

So, how did you like 2010? We've had a lot of fun, and we've looked at a lot of Beast. And on this New Year's Eve, I think it's important to remember the general philosophy of Dr. Hank McCoy: be smart, be furry, be blue, and and be loved. Gosh, you wanna just hug the big blue galoot, doncha?

X-Men #73
Panels from X-Men #70 (March 1998), script by Joe Kelly and Joe Casey, pencils by Jeff Johnson, inks by Dan Panosian, colors by Steve Oliff, letters by Richard Starkings and Emerson Miranda

The Beast was actually my "entry character" into the Marvel Universe: I first read and loved the origin of the X-Men in the Son of Origins of Marvel Comics trade paperback I found in the library. Barely a couple weeks later, I picked up my first Marvel superhero comic: Avengers #197, which featured a bouncing furry blue superhero named...Hank McCoy. It was both my introduction to the evolution of the Beast himself as well as to the grand history and comprehensive changes in the Marvel Universe. And I've been hooked on Marvel...and Dr. McCoy...ever since. For a furry little beast like me, you couldn't ask for a better role model.

Bully and the Beast

At the end of that Avengers #14 story from which the big double-page spread above comes from, there's a nice little bit with scripter Kurt Busiek and artist George Pérez about the possible return of Hank McCoy (or, as George calls him, "that funny little monkey-man." Busiek's got the right idea: Hank will always be back. And I'll always be happy to see him.

Avengers #14

So, in conclusion, ladeez and germs, let's give a big hand to The Beast. If he's enjoyed the past 365 days half as much as me...well, you do the math. (It's difficult with hooves.) Thank you, Hank!

X-Men '95
Final panel from X-Men '95 (October 1995), script by J.M. DeMatteis and Ralph Macchio, pencils by Terry Dodson and John Paul Leon, inks by Jon Holdredge and Shawn Martinbrough, colors by Mike Thomas, letters by Richard Starkings

Thursday, December 30, 2010

You are also responsible for the deaths of Phoenix, Uncle Ben, and Gwen Stacy

Are you as battle-savvy and fast-thinking as Captain America? Let's test your skills and give you some real impetus to succeed! Ready...? Go!

You have fifteen seconds to save Bucky or he dies!!!

Captain America Comics #6

Now, let's see your score!

What If? #4

Way to go, numbskull! Next, why don't you kick some kittens and shake Doctor Doom's hand, ya commie?

365 Days with the Guy Freaking Out On the Cover of Action Comics #1, Day 5

Superman #136
cover of Superman (1987 series) #136 (DC, July 1998), pencils by Dan Jurgens, inks by Joe Rubinstein, colors by Patrick Martin

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 364

Marvel Holiday Special 2004
Panel from Marvel Holiday Special 2004 (2004), script by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, pencils by Roger Cruz, inks by Victor Olazaba, colors by Chris Solomayor, letters by Clem Robins

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In the 1940s, Captain America's adventures were twice as exciting wide

If you don't look at these double-page splash spreads from 1940s issues of Captain America Comics, then Hitler will win!*

*Naw, he still ain't gonna win. But hey, look at them!

Captain America Comics #10

from Captain America Comics #10 (January 1942), written by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon; pencils by Al Avison, Jack Kirby, and Joe Simon; inks by Reed Crandall and George Klein

(Click any picture to buy-bonds-where-you-work-or-bank-size)

Captain America Comics #8

from Captain America Comics #8 (November 1941), written by Otto Binder, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by All Gabriele and Joe SImon

Captain America Comics #20

from Captain America Comics #20 (November 1942), written by Stan Lee, pencils and inks by Al Avison

Captain America Comics #18

from Captain America Comics #18 (September 1942), written by Stan Lee, pencils by Al Avison, inks by Syd Shores

Captain America Comics #19

from Captain America Comics #19 (October 1942), written by Stan Lee, pencils by Al Avison, inks by Syd Shores

365 Days with the Guy Freaking Out On the Cover of Action Comics #1, Day 4

FF #291
cover of Fantastic Four #291 (June 1986), pencils and inks by John Byrne

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 363

X-Men '95
Panel from X-Men '95 (October 1995), script by J.M. DeMatteis and Ralph Macchio, pencils by Terry Dodson and John Paul Leon, inks by Jon Holdredge and Shawn Martinbrough, colors by Mike Thomas, letters by Richard Starkings

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Because Sometimes you just have to post the story where Captain America fights Satan

Captain America Comics #21
Captain America Comics #21
Pages from Captain America Comics #21 (December 1942), written by Stan Lee, art by Al Avison

What, you thought I was being allegorical?

Unfortunately, since Satan has not made three distinct appearances in Marvel Comics, he doesn't get to be listed in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.

365 Days with the Guy Freaking Out On the Cover of Action Comics #1, Day 3

Action Comics #800
cover of Action Comics #800 (April 2003), painted art by Drew Struzan

365 Days with Hank McCoy, Day 362

Avengers #188
Panels from Avengers #188 (October 1979), plot by Jim Shooter, script by Bill Mantlo, breakdowns by John Byrne, finishes by Frank Springer, colors by Bob Sharen, letters by Gaspar Saladino

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Mystery of the Mysterious Guy who Caused a Mystery

Hey, Sherlock Holmes! What is a "locked room mystery"?

Marvel Preview #5

Gosh, thanks, Mister Holmes, for taking time out of your busy crime-fighting, snake-squashing day to help me with this post.

Yes, folks, today's subject is the ever-popular locked room mystery: a mysterious set of circumstances in which something impossible happens in a room in which it could not have possibly have happened! (Hence, "impossible.") It could be as complicated as a murder or as simple as who ate all the Oreos...altho' in that last case, that's usually me. Sorry!

Take, for instance, the problem of The Mysterious Room with the Destroyer Armor. Ah, yes, a most baffling case. (puffs on my bubble pipe) I remember, it was back in the Spring of 1968, altho' it seems like it was only yesterday that I was re-reading Essential Thor volume 3 and pondering one of my most baffling cases...

Thor #152

The Mighty Thor (who will not be appearing in this mystery, so cross him off your suspect list right now) has brought the defeated Destroyer armor to a New York City police precinct on the back lot of a Warner Brothers crime film starring Edward G. Robinson. Ah, if only it were an episode of the longest-running police procedural TV series on the air, Cop Rock, and then we could break for a little song right about now.

Thor #152

Suddenly...SANTA! Or, maybe just some generic mysterious bearded stranger who arrives and announces himself in mysterious proclamations with a voice of thunder. Well, that's good enough identification for the New York Police Department, why don't you go right in and play around with the evidence to a crime case, pal? And people wonder why supervillains are so prolific in New York City. Sheesh.

However, in that sort of coinkidink which only happens in comics books purely for sheer suspense and drama, the sergeant on duty learns that...that guy's not the expert from the museum! What gave you your first clue, flatfoot?

Thor #152

However, Santa's gone! He, and the Destroyer Armor, have disappeared without a trace from the room, and they didn't exit from the door they came in. Hotchy motchy! What the Sam Scratch is goin' on here?!? Oh, yeah, it's a locked room mystery. I forgot. (blush)

Thor #152

What's more, there's no window! No skylight! No trap door! No transporter pad! No lights, no phones, no motorcars! That guy is gone like Ambrose Bierce! (Look it up, kids.) Policemen rub their chins and pull their guns in bafflement! It's a mystery, all right! And police Lieutenant T.J. Hooker doesn't like mysteries...they give him a bellyache! (Also: chili peppers burn his gut.)

Thor #152

So, do you know whodunit? Or, more to the point, howdunit? You've seen all the hints! You have all the clues! If you were a member of the NYPD, Precinct 616, how would you solve this? ("Covering it up so I don't have to do the paperwork" is not an acceptable answer!)

Let's walk through the crime scene together, dear reader! First: carefully examine the mysterious visitor to the police station!

Thor #152

Hey, when you arrange the panels like that, it's almost like it's a newspaper comic strip, huh? Pretty cool! I'd certainly like to see a newspaper strip like this. And I think it would look...something like this! (Except shrunken down much, much smaller.)

Thor #152

Ahem. Well, anyway, check the color version above. Notice that Mr. Mysterious's coat loses its stripes between panels one and two and regains them in between two and three! What does this tell us? Why, it tells us that Vince Colletta is a lazy inker!

Vince Colletta inks Jack Kirby

Well, there ya go. That solves the Case of the Disappearing Ink Lines! Oh, wait, we were working on another case, right? Huh. Well, let's put Colletta in the suspect file under crimes against Kirby and proceed with the case.

So, here you go: a mysterious man in a green suit. Well, who else do we know who's mysterious and wears green? That's right, Marvel-Maniacs...

Avengers #8

Kang the Conquerer! Time-Traveller Extraordinaire! Quite possible Doctor Doom or Reed Richard's dad or maybe both and I think at one point he may have actually been Cosmic Boy of the Legion of Super-Heroes! In any case, who else could have devised such a devious deed? But did Kang manage the fiendish felony? How?

Well, let's take a look at the crime scene, both before...

Thor #152

...and after....

Thor #152

Wait a minute...that's not the same room! The door now has a window and the table behind it has disappeared! That can only mean one thing...

Kang has traveled back in time and changed the blueprints of the police station so they've entered the wrong room!

Avengers #8

Here's the proof: here's the original blueprints of the police station:


...and here's what the blueprints looked like after Kang went back in time to change them!

Thor #152

So there you go: an easily-solvable locked room mystery in which the solution, while challenging, is right in front of your face. So there you go...yet another case solved. What do you think of our police work, Thor?

Thor #152

Aw, geez, some people are never satisfied with the ending of a mystery story.

Play us off, Cop Rock!