Saturday, February 12, 2011

Same Story, Different Cover: It was open!

Cap Savage #6/Sgt. Fury #160

L: Captain Savage and His Leatherneck Raiders #6 (September 1968), art by Dick Ayers and Syd Shores
R: Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #160 (October 1980), reprinting Capt. Savage #6, art by Herb Trimpe and Al Milgrom

(Click picture to WWII-size)

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 43

Thor #188
Panels from Thor #188 (May 1971), script by Stan Lee, pencils by John Buscema, inks by Jim Mooney, letters by Sam Rosen

Friday, February 11, 2011

And now a word from Pietro Maximoff.

X-Factor: The Quick and the Dead #1
Page from X-Factor: The Quick and the Dead one-shot (July 2008), script by Peter David, pencils and inks by Pablo Raimondi, colors by Jeromy Cox, letters by Cory Petit

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 42

Thor #246
Splash panel from Thor #246 (April 1976), script by Len Wein, breakdowns by John Buscema, finishes by Joe Sinnott, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by John Costanza

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ever since I put your picture In a frame

Hey, remember this comic book cover?:

What If #25

Sure you do! That's the cover of What If? v.2 #25, "What if the Marvel Super Heroes Had Last Atlantis Attacks?," which we looked at together a couple days ago. The more I looked at it, tho', the more it became familiar to me. No, it didn't remind me of that time seven giant snakes with Cyclop's optic blasts came bursting out of Lake's really the surrounding frame which caught my interest, because it reminded me of this:

New Mutants #45

Remember those? That's the Marvel 25th Anniversary frame, which adorned every Marvel (and Star) Comic cover-dated November 1986, to celebrate a quarter-century of Reed Richards crashing rocket ships into the ground. All that month, this multi-character frame penciled and inked by John Romita Sr. surrounded a headshot portrait of the comic's star or one of the co-stars. Take yourself a gander or goose at some of them right now!

Marvel 25th Anniversary Frames

That wasn't the last time Marvel used that motif, of course! Recently through 2009 and 2010, a newly designed frame debuted:

FF #570

They were used on issues to commemorate both the 70th anniversary of the debut of Timely Comics and The Year of the Marvel Woman. Hey, who let Sentry on there? Well, you can blank him over with some White-Out. That's exactly what Mike Nesmith's mother had in mind when she invented it, you know!

Marvel 2010 frame

Which got me thinkin'...Marvel shoulda used the frame from the cover of What If? #25 on a whole new series of comics! Since they're all looking so shocked and stunned, they could frame a special crossover event in which everybody dies! And I think it would go something like this:

Death of Captain America

You could use it to re-tell recent big event deaths like Captain America, or flash back in time to revisit the classic deaths of yesteryear!:

Death of Phoenix

Eh, don't worry; she'll be back. And hey, my idea would be perfect for this summer's big Death of Spider-Man event! Because this time it's for sure!

Death of Spider-Man

Of course, when you're killing off Spider-Man, it's always helpful to start thinning out the ranks of his supporting cast as well.

Death of Gwen Stacy

Yes, in the Death of Spider-Man cross-over, no-one is safe!

Death of Aunt May

Just to make sure nobody's coming back, we've hired a consultant to help keep this crossover kicking the bucket with every issue!

Death of Mary Jane


Now, make your own! Remember, it doesn't count if you don't see the body!

Death of...Template

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 41

Thor #140
Panel from Thor #140 (May 1967), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Vince Colletta, letters by Sam Rosen

They say he has grit. I wanted a bull with grit.

True Grit
True Grit
True Grit
True Grit
True Grit
True Grit
True Grit
True Grit
True Grit
True Grit
True Grit

So, to sum up...


365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 40

Thor: Ages of Thunder
Panel from Thor: Ages of Thunder (one-shot) (June 2008), script by Matt Fraction, pencils by Khari Evans, inks by Victor Olazaba, colors by Jelena Kevic Djurdjevic, letters by Chris Eliopoulis

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Seven Brides for Seven Serpents

What If? v.2 #25Letters! I get letters! Well, actually I don't, because I don't have a mailbox. What I do get here is comments on posts, like this one from Jack Roberts commenting on a recent Death of the FF post:
Once again I find myself bringing up What If the Marvel Heroes Lost Atlantis Attacks. We see them die there, too. Can we see that possibly?
You're in luck, Jack, 'cause I've dug my tear-stained copy of What If? volume 2 #25 out of the Bully longbox comic vault (aisle 14, section W) just to watch the Fantastic Four...and pretty much most of the Marvel heroes...die at the hands of giant snakes! Well, not hands, to be accurate. They die at the...slithering of snakes. (Not to be confused with Slytherin.)

Welcome to Earth-9151, a world where (as the cover above tells ya) the Marvel Super Heroes lost Atlantis Attacks! Not to be confused with Atlanta Attacks, the crossover that pitted the Confederate Avengers (Cannonball, Husk, Rogue, Gambit, and Man-Thing!) against Jimmy Carter. Please do not read that annual if you have a peanut allergy.

West Coast Avengers Annual #4As far as I remember, that's pretty much the plot of Atlantis Attacks, too, except that the machinations of Set the Serpent God led to the kidnapping of seven superheroines—Marvel Girl, Invisible Woman, Andromeda, She-Hulk, Storm, Scarlet Witch, and Dagger—by Ghaur, the Deviant. (Not to be confused with Gwar, the metal rock band.) Apparently, Ghaur is plotting to have all seven of them marry Set in one big mass-marriage ceremony of the sort not seen since Matt Murdock and Frank Castle walloped the heck out of Reverend Moon in Daredevil/Punisher Team-Up Super-Special #2. Still, as Set was heard to cackle: "Well, that's big 'o me."

Somewhere along the line, as the Watcher is apt to point out, somebody did something different and the Fantastic Four wind up dying. And this time, they've got company! Here goes Benjamin J. Grimm, the ever-dyin' blue-eyed Thing, swallowed whole like a raw oyster into the gaping maw of one of the seven, count 'em, seven heads of Set. Now I've got nothin' against Jim Valentino, scribe of What If? #25, even for killin' off Ben Grimm toot-sweet. What I do hold against Valentino? He can't spell Kukla.

What If #25
Panels from What If? v.2 #25 (May 1991), script by Jim Valentino, pencils by Rik Levins, inks by Ralph Cabrera, colors by Tom Vincent, letters by Brad K. Joyce

Well, one down, three to go. And just to prove that he's not jokin' around, Set has a giant avalanche crash down on a whole buncha superheroes, including (#2) Johnny Storm, the Human Torch. Another casualty here Sharon Ventura, the temporary FF member known imaginatively as She-Thing. Not to be confused with She-Hulk, She-Surfer, She-Spider-Man Spider-Woman, and She-Clops. And, just to go for the first frame strike, this attack takes out Hawkeye, the Wasp, Captain America, the Vision, Mockingbird, the original Human Torch, and yes, even Squirrel Girl. You can't see her because she's way in the background, attacking an Atlantean with her nuts.*

What If #25

What's that burning smell that's a cross between scorched metal, smouldering rubber, and barbecue? Why that would be Iron Man and the third member of the Fantastic Four, Mr. Fantastic, biting the dust. And hey, look, Captain Marvel is trying to give Set a bad case of heartburn by flying straight down his throat! I'm guessing that will all end well, huh? Oh, and look, there's Wonder Man. Don't go to pieces, Simon!

What If #25

But, you know, I bet Ben Grimm is still alive. He always finds a way to survive. After all, if you don't see the body, there's a good chance that...

What If #25

Oh, that ain't good.

Well, every member of the FF is dead except for Sue, and almost all the heroes are dead. Most of those still alive have been transformed into walking snake-guys, like Cobralossus!

What If #25

Here's the New Mutants as snakes! Even as a reptile, Tabitha "Boom Boom" Smith manages to maintain her Flashdance look. Now that's dedication to style for ya.

What If #25

Spider-Snake, Spider-Snake / Deadly neighborhood Spider-Snake / Is he tough? / Listen pal / Cut him in two / He grows another tail / Hey, hey! He is the Spider-Snake!

What If #25

Rogue-Snake! Actually, this will probably work out the better for her, since while original Rogue couldn't touch anyone with her power-stealing skin, Snake Rogue can just shed it.

What If #25

Punishersnake! Daresnake! This is kind of frightening, sure, but they would have made the coolest action figures ever.

What If #25

But hey, if you can count or if you, like Homer Simpson, have three fingers and thumb, by now you're saying "Hey, What If?! You only killed off three members of the Fantastic Four!" Well, apparently but luckily off-camera, the seven heads of Set mated with the seven brides, including Sue Richards—and then all the brides got eaten by their snake-sons. Whoa, ultra-downer, Watcher. Ick. Why can't you ever tell us about a universe where everyone got candy and went to the movies?

What If #25

So, there ya go. The FF are all pushing up snake-daisies. Everybody else is dead or turned into a snake on legs. Then the serpents started invading other dimensions. AIEEEE they're coming right at us!

What If #25

Well...pleasant dreams, kids! Play us off, Whitesnake!

*I do apologize, but I can never resist that joke.

This post written with apologies to Siskoid, who will have to read this turkey for his definitive and comprehensive What If? feature in about nine weeks, and will probably treat it with more care than I did.

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 39

Thor v.2 #72
Panel from Thor v.2 #72 (February 2004), script by Dan Jurgens, pencils by Scot Eaton, inks by Scott Koblish, colors by Avalon Studios, letters by Randy Gentile

Monday, February 07, 2011

Professor X is a Jerk!: Gonna be your man in motion, all I need is a pair of wheels

Professor X is a Jerk!

Wheels of SteelIt's not only in the actual Marvel comic books that Professor X is a jerk—he's pretty much an all-over arrogant good-for-nothing varmint, as they would say way out west if he were caught rustling cattle, which he actually did in X-Men/Rawhide Kid Team-Up #43 (July 1976). Mind you, he looked mighty fine in those leather chaps.

Instead, let's take a look at a medium in which you'd hardly expect Charles Xavier to be a complete and utter skunk: a children's picture and sticker book. How does this make him jerky? Well, you have to remember he sold off the likeness and personality traits of every one of the X-Men to various publishers in exchange for filthy, filthy lucre. (Except for Maggott. No one wanted to buy the rights to him.) Here's one of the more egregious examples from that bargain made with the devil X: 2003's Wheels of Steel, written by Michi Fujimoto, author of such Marvel classics as Football Spider-Man: Touchdown!, Hulk Rage! Get Ready for Hulk!, and Elektra Wins the Girl Scout Cookie Competition. The art's by Ron Lim (yes, Marvel Comics artist Ron Lim from Silver Surfer and Captain America) and Emily Y. Kanalz. The "Y" is for "Why, Professor Xavier, why?"

As the story opens, Professor Xavier is hanging out at the park, approaching and speaking to young boys who don't know him. Maybe they should call him Predator X. Quick, somebody phone Chris Hansen! And hey, what kind of basketball court doesn't have a smooth flat asphalt surface? And in Westchester, yet? My guess: this was a paved court until the Juggernaut tore it up. Which only goes to prove: unlike the Dukes, all the Xavier boys are jerks.

Wheels of Steel

Professor X resists no impulse to twist the knife at any chance. "It's nice to be able to do things that others can't." Wow, now that's a reassuring idea to a kid who's in a wheelchair. Luckily, he's exposed the secret identities of his nearby school by bringing out two of his students, in costume, so that other children on the playground will be able to sell their cell phone photos to the Daily Bugle's "Page 6," which will be published with the headline "CUEBALL PROFESSOR IS MUTANT MENTOR!" And also "SPIDER-MAN: THREAT OR MENACE?"

Wheels of Steel

Storm creates a wind strong enough to lift Kyle and his wheelchair up into the air. So, wow, it's just like flying! Except, y'know, still in a wheelchair. It's a little like riding Space Mountain completely covered in bubblewrap. On the one hand, you can say you've been on Space Mountain. On the other hand...

Wheels of Steel

Hooray, Kyle made a slam dunk! Coincidentally, the deadly mutant Proteus has transformed the grass to asphalt in between the last two pages. Even tho' he's made it so the basket faces away from the court by 90 degrees. Proof positive that mutants are jerks.

Wheels of Steel

You've got to admit that's pretty cool, and all the kids are so delighted that their faces are frozen into identical grins. Possibly Professor X has filled the basketball with Joker venom. In any case, to quote: "The kids cheered. 'Do it again!'"

At which point Professor Xavier immediately takes off so that Kyle will never be able to do that again.

Wheels of Steel

Whatta jerk.

On the other hand, this book provides us with two pages of gooey, gummy, 'glutinative stickers! Nobody doesn't like stickers! Look at them all! Including a Rogue/Mystique catfight! Mrrowwww!

Wheels of Steel

I, of course, have wasted no time in creating a lovely sticker tableau for your enjoyment and entertainment. Turn it into your computer desktop image. I dare ya!

Wheels of Steel

As befitting Proffesor X's usual jerkiness, however, some of the stickers are less than entertaining. What the Sam Scratch is this thing?!?:

Wheels of Steel

Finally, no set of stickers is complete without a British supermodel-turned-pilot-turned-superhero transformed into a purple-haired Asian ninjette in a swimsuit with stretchy bands around her thighs. Yes, that's right...hey, look, it's Psylocke!

Wheels of Steel

So, to sum up: Professor X is a jerk. But you knew that already.