Saturday, January 15, 2011

Same Story, Different Cover: Oh wait, we forgot Ophiuchus

Ghost Rider #7/Original Ghost Rider #15

L: Ghost Rider #7 (August 1974), art by John Romita, Sr.
R: The Original Ghost Rider #15 (September 1993), art by Matt Banning and Walter A. McDaniel

(Click picture to pyrocephalisize)

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 15

Hogun Minimate
Fandral Minimate
Volstagg Minimate
Design sheets for The Warriors Three Minimates from Art Asylum, due this summer in conjunction with the Thor movie

Friday, January 14, 2011

Loki is a jerk... fish!

Thor Annual #11
Panel from Thor Annual #11 (1983), script by Alan Zelenetz, pencils by Bob Hall, inks by Vince Colletta, colors by Carl Gafford, letters by Rick Parker

Jeez, Loki, hope that makes you feel like such a big man, outwitting a fish.

Oh wait, I forgot something.

Thor Annual #11

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 14

Thor #145
Panel from Thor #145 (October 1967), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Vince Colletta, letters by Sam Rosen

Thursday, January 13, 2011

If I wrote Aquaman

If I wrote Aquaman would go a little something like THIS:

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 13

Bizarre Adventures #32
Panel from Bizarre Adventures #32 (August 1982), script by Alan Zelenetz, pencils and inks by John Bolton

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Batman Hates Windows '97

Crimefighter, detective, disguise artist, mentor to young there anything Batman can't do? The correct answer, is as always, Batman can do everything. Including the time that he set up his own computer tech support line to aid the good citizens of Gotham City against the knavery of Colonel Panic, the supercrook who will infect your files and crash your system...villainously!

Thus was born Batman Tech Support! Need some computer assistance? Just call 1-800-BATTECHSUPPORT! (The extra "SUPPORT" is for "support"!) Or, you could, I guess, shine a giant lighted signal into the sky and project this image on the clouds:

Bat Mac Signal

In no time at all (plus a ninety to six-hundred-eighty minute waiting period on hold—don't hang up, your calls are very important to Batman!), the Caped Crusader will be by to fix your computer in a trice! Or, possibly, on a desk. What's his secret to his speedy and efficient service calls? Why, that would be Batman's simple two-step service process:

Bat Mad Signal
Panels from Detective Comics #771, script by Greg Rucka, pencils by Steve Lieber, inks by Mark McKenna and Robin Riggs, colors by Jason Wright, letters by Todd Klein

So, next time your computer freezes and crashes, remember this simple jingle for the finest computer tech support in Gotham City!:

If your PC should freeze or crash
Don't let your teeth grind and gnash
Call one-eight-hundred, Bat-Tech-Support
The Batman your problem he will thwart!

That's Batman Tech Support, with fifteen convenient locations around Gotham City including Aparo Park, Cape Carmine, Robbinsville, and Arkham Asylum!

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 12

Marvel Fanfare #13
Panel from Marvel Fanfare #13 (March 1984), script by Alan Zelenetz, pencils and inks by Charles Vess, colors by Christie Scheele, letters by Jim Novak

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hot, sweet, super-cool / More hits than Paula Abdul

Josie and the PussycatsHey, let's check in with our trio of sweethearts and their pals (and that witch Alexandra) from Midvale, U.S.A., in the middle of the dale and just over the river and across the dale from Riverdale, which explains all those 1970s crossovers between Josie and Archie and both of their entourages. What are the odds that two relatively talented teen bands would evolve within the same county during the same era? Why, the Riverdale/Midvale/Greendale area has given rise to more bands at the same time than Seattle did during the nineties! Remember when everyone in the nation was rocking out to the macabre music of the Groovie Ghoulies? Why, sure you do. The Pussycats, the Archies, and the Ghoulies were all headliners at the Steve Jobs-founded 1976 music super concert FilmationStock. You know what they say: if you can remember being at FilmationStock, you weren't really there. Mama Bull once told me that she met Papa there for the first time. She was wearing flowers in her ears, which later, she ate. (The flowers, not her ears.) They listened to the great rock sounds of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids, The Brady Kids, The Junkyard Band, The Super Seven, and Rick Springfield.

The Groovie GhouliesUnfortunately, the roads aand parkways around FilmationStock were blocked by large traffic snarls caused by the Ark II, Mentor's RV, the Batmobile, the microscopic flying sub Voyager, and a cartoon U.S.S. Enterprise. Joint state governors Lou Scheimer and Norm Prescott sent in Lassie's Rescue Rangers to tackle the situation. Later, Earth was destroyed, but by the star year 3732 young adventurers set forth into the stars aboard man's most magnificent achievement in the conquest of space, the man-made planetoid Space Academy.

BillboardBut we're getting ahead of ourselves here. What were the kicky teens and ginchy young adults of Midvale up to in the mid-to-late 1970s? Knowing the youth of America of that time...up to no good. But at least they were doing it accompanied by the rich delicious taste of Hostess Snack Cakes: Twinkies, Fruit Pies, Cupcakes, and Ding Dongs, which were known west of the Mississipi as King Dons. (That's why the Archie/Valerine romance will never truly work out...he calls 'em Ding Dongs and she calls 'em King Dons.)

So, let's find out what our Terrific Trio is up to! Take it away, Josie Jones James McCoy, Valerie Brown Smith, and Melody Jones Valentine are up to! If we're lucky, we'll also catch up on Melody's delightful alien companion Bleep, or maybe Alexandra's cat Sebastian, a generation's old warlock trapped in cat form. (It's canon, fanboys!) Whatcha up to, girls?:

Inspired by the famous Billie Jean King/Bobbie Riggs match of '73, Midvale hosts Battle-of-the-Sexes Soccer!
Josie and the Pussycats
Ad from Betty and Veronica #264 (December 1977)

Before Xanadu, Josie taught us the XanaDON'Ts of roller disco!
Josie and the Pussycats
Ad from Betty and Veronica #290 (February 1980)

Oh yes, it's true...everybody was kung-fu fighting!
Josie and the Pussycats
Ad from Betty and Veronica #274 (October 1978)

The seventies...when it was still absolutely okay to make dumb blonde jokes!
Josie and the Pussycats
Ad from Betty and Veronica #282 (June 1979)

But, you may be asking by now, Marvel and DC superheroes used their Hostess cakes to fight crime. The Pussycats never did that, you tell me? Au contraire, savoir faire!
Josie and the Pussycats
Ad from Betty and Veronica #288 (December 1979)

So, to sum up: Moist chocolate cakes. Baked pies with delicious fruit fillings. Golden sponge cake with smooth cream inside. Is there any other kind of cake that Hostess served up in the 1970s?

Oh, yes...


Josie and the Pussycats
Ad from Betty and Veronica #286 (October 1979)

Play us off, Keyboard (Pussy)Cats!

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 11

What If? #10
Panels from What If? v.1 #10 (August 1978), script by Don Glut, pencils by Rick Hoberg, inks by Dave Hunt, colors by Carl Gafford, letters by Carol Lay

Monday, January 10, 2011

Long tails and unsaturated fats

Batman '66It's one of the most controversial points of discussion within comics fandom: what is the best movie ever based on a comic book (or strip)? And sure, lots of people will tell you it's The Dark Knight or Spider-Man 2. You can make a case in your argument for Iron Man or Superman II or maybe something a little more recent: Scott Pilgrim or Watchmen, or maybe you're the kinda moviewatcher/comic book reader who prefers the more sedate cinematic translations of Ghost World, Persepolis or American Splendor. Or take yer pick: X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Spirit, Elektra, Jonah Hex, Ghost Rider, The Phantom, The Shadow, or Dick Tracy...Barb Wire, Men in Black, Catwoman, Brenda Starr. Don't forget Tank Girl. (I actually kinda really liked Tank Girl.) Fantastic Four, several Punisher movies, all those Batman flicks (don't forget Batman: Mask of the Phantasm!), League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Over the Hedge, Steel or Daredevil. Or that Roger Corman FF flick. You know, since taste is subjective, I'm not even going to argue if you want to tell me that the greatest movie ever based on a comic book was Howard the Duck or that Captain America movie where the Red Skull was Italian and he has a nose.

However, you're all wrong.

Josie and the Pussycats movieYep! Based on the characters created by Dan DeCarlo (and we darn well know they are, Archie Comics!), the 2001 Josie and the Pussycats movie is a heckuva lotta fun with a light comedic touch spoofing subliminal advertising. Not to mention it features several of my favorite contemporary pop actors: Rosario Dawson Alan Cumming, Parker Posey...heck, even just the three of them put together outweight the casting of Tara Reid, prior to the complete replacement of every one of her body parts with plastic and silicon. You know that conspiracy theory guy who comments every time Scarlett Johansson is mentioned on the internet? Telling us that Ms. J is a scientifically-created, mind-controlled clone of a "nice" girl (coincidentally also named Scarlett)? Heck, every time this Mr. Sergei Galabekian comments on a website, I can believe that he practically wrote all the mid-nineties Spider-Man comics, what with the expertise he has on cloning! Anyway, my point, and I do have one, is that maybe we need to get Sergei on the case right now of what happened to all the original discarded parts of Tara Reid, and can we reconstruct them back into this version?

Anyways. The plot of the Josie and the Pussycats movie simultaneously spoofs the rise of pre-fabricated bands while at the same time it parodies the brand-oriented youth culture. The B-plot concerns Parker Posey's plan...hey, that's pretty good, but it needs a little souping up. Let's see...Parker Posey's pernicious plan...better! insert subliminal advertising into the Pussycats' songs to brainwash the youth of America. (You're gonna need a lotta sponges, Miss Posey.) A product placement gag throughout the movie "casually" highlights dozens of brand-name products, and hoo boy, if you didn't come out of that movie wanting to buy a Swiffer, you're made of stronger stuff than this little bull is.

DD HostessBut of all the products fake-hyped in the film—you can count a stack-load just in that trailer above—the one very obvious one is delicious snack cakes. Who doesn't love sweet treats, pies and cakes to nosh on, full of rich creamy frosting and covered in delicious glistening sugar? In other words, why aren't Josie & Co. hawking for Hostess Cupcakes, Fruit Pies, and Twinkies?

Well, because they already have.

(They will now be a slight pause while your brains explode.)

Got 'em stuffed back in your head yet? Good. Of course you remember those famous...should we say infamous 1970s Hostess Snack Cake comic book advertisements in which the Hulk, Spider-Man, Flash, Batman, and Thor defeated crooks, thieves, super-villains and the DIng-a-Ling Family through the judicious usage of those creamy, smooth, delicious pastries. But it wasn't only superheroes who could wield a mean Hostess, you know! So let's go back, through the magic of Betty and Veronica comics, to the age of Steve Austin and Charlie's Angels, the Bicentennial and the Hotel California to re-discover, or experience for the first time, the powerhouse team-up that is Josie and the Pussycats with Hostess Snack Cakes!

Josie and the Pussycats
Ad from Betty and Veronica #245 (May 1976)

Josie and the Pussycats
Ad from Betty and Veronica #247 (July 1976)

Josie and the Pussycats
Ad from Betty and Veronica #251 (November 1976)

Josie and the Pussycats
Ad from Betty and Veronica #252 (December 1976)

Josie and the Pussycats
Ad from Betty and Veronica #254 (February 1977)

Later, of course, the Pussycats went to outer space.

Is that it, you ask? And I answer, no! More Pussycats eating snack cakes tomorrow! Be there or be Alexandra Cabot!

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 10

Thor #361
One of the my favorite pages from Walt Simonson's run on Thor, from issue #361 (November 1985), script, pencils, and inks by Walt Simonson, colors by Christie Scheele, letters by John Workman

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Ten of a Kind: It's Funeralin' Time

(More Ten of a Kind here.)

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 9

Thor #400
Panel from Thor #400 (February 1989), co-plot and script by Tom DeFalco, co-plot and pencils by Ron Frenz, inks by Joe Sinnott, colors by Christie Scheele, letters by Michael Heisler