Saturday, September 03, 2011

Same Story, Different Cover: Everybody's gone surfin', so publish a reprint

L: Silver Surfer #2 (October 1968), cover art by John Buscema and Joe Sinnott
R: Marvel Presents #8 (December 1976), reprinting about half of Silver Surfer #2, cover art by Al Milgrom and Joe Sinnott

(Click picture to Badoon-size)

Now, here's an odd one: same story, different cover, on a very unusual pair of books. Marvel Presents was not a reprint title (issues #1-2 featured Ulysses Bloodstone, issues #3-12 the Guardians of the Galaxy), nor was it even a team-up title: the galaxy being guarded by, Guardians is in the 31st Century; the Surfer's tale takes place in the contemporary times of other Marvel books being published in late '68. Later on we'd find out that the Guardians even exist in a different reality: Earth-691 rather than our familiar 616.

Marvel Presents #8 reprints, within 17 story pages, less than half of the 40-page story "When Lands the Saucer!" from Silver Surfer #2, surrounding it with a couple pages' framing sequence of the Guardians of the Galaxy watching the same story on "Badoon Mento-Corder" (the Betamax of the Milky Way Galaxy). Here's two comparison pages to show you the segue. Note that Surfer is up to story page 12 and Marvel Presents at story page 2...they've already edited out the first 11 pages of the Surfer comic!

L: Page 12 of Silver Surfer #2, script by Stan Lee, pencils by John Buscema, inks by Joe Sinnott, letters by Sam Rosen
R: Page 2 of Marvel Presents #8. Bottom half reprinted from Surfer #2; top half script by Roger Stern, pencils by Al Milgrom, inks by Bob Wiacek, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Jim Novak

(Click picture to Mento-Corder-size)

And here's how it wraps up: Surfer #2 story page 38 of 40 is mostly reprinted on story page 16 of 17 of Marvel Presents:

Not only a reprint, but there's been a lot cut out of this version. I won't bore you with comparing the two page by page, but I dunno: if I'da spent 30¢ of the allowance money in 1976 (that amounts to approximately $650 in today's currency) and all I got was three new pages of Guardians of the Galaxy and half a reprint of an eight-year old comic book, classic though it may be, I woulda been a little miffed, Bicentennial cheer or no!

And yet, here's Steve Gerber's note on the letters page of Marvel Presents #10 that they got "not one negative letter" on the reprint.

"Not one negative letter." Hmmm, is that the same Marvel office that in '84 received overwhelmingly positive letters on Secret Wars, according to Jim Shooter in Marvel Age #20?

Yeah, I'm gonna cut that off right there before it gets too sappy.

Gerber doesn't give us a specific reason Marvel Presents reprinted Silver Surfer, but I'm guessing it was the usual culprit of those times: The Dreaded Deadline Doom. Right up until the 1980s, Marvel would deal with a behind-schedule monthly or bimonthly comic issue by slating in a fill-in ish or a reprint. At least there was usually, as here, an apology or explanation to the fans about the fill-in or reprint, and then back to business as usual in the next issue, we promise you, True Believer! Well, at least you felt that Marvel was levellin' with ya right there with a mea culpa and an blushing apology. It made you feel like one of the Bullpen itself: not perfect, but trying your best. So, in those days, maybe the occasional reprint wasn't such a horrible thing after all.

Of course, Marvel later solved the dilemma of the Dreaded Deadline Doom with an entirely different solution:

L: Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #2, cover-dated April 2006
R: Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #3, cover-dated May 2009


L: Daredevil: Father #1, cover-dated June 2004
M:Daredevil: Father #2, cover-dated October 2005
R:Daredevil: Father #5, cover-dated January 2007


L: The Twelve #8 of a 12-issue limited series, cover-dated December 2008
R: Issue #9 has not been yet published as of September 2011.

Hmmmmmm. Reprints, anyone?

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 246

Panels from Thor #267 (January 1978), script by Len Wein, breakdowns by Walt Simonson, finishes by Tony DeZuniga, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Joe Rosen

Stan Lee Saturdays #8: Composite Stan Lee scares the bejeezus out of me

Cover of FOOM #17 (June 1977), cover art by Arnold Sawyer

And if you love that image, you'll want to own it as a poster hanging in your bedroom so you can see it first thing when you wake up!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Batman Is Nice: Heaven Help the Working Girl

I've been poking a lot of fun at our old pal Batman this week, so I figured I'd better play fair and balanced by presenting a case where Batman is nice. Voila:

Panels from Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #58 (March 1994), script by Andrew Donkin and Graham Brand, pencils and inks by John Higgins, colors by Digital Chameleon, letters by Willie Schubert

Well, now, that is nice. Batman is kind to working girls.

The only thing I don't understand is why she's not in an office sitting at a typewriter or computer monitor. Silly Sally! So it's extra great that Batman is being nice to her.

I'm guessing later on Bruce set her up with a nice receptionist job at Wayne Industries, so from then on she could really say she was a true working girl.

What? Why is everybody laughing?

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 245

Panels from Thor #607 (April 2010), script by Kieron Gillen, pencils by Billy Tan, inks by Javier Bergantiño, colors by Christina Strain, letters by Joe Sabino

Superheroes Meet Ordinary Joes, Day 5: George shoulda moved the car

Panels from Amazing Spider-Man #147 (August 1975), script by Gerry Conway, pencils by Ross Andru, inks by Mike Esposito and Dave Hunt, colors by Stan Goldberg, letters by Joe Rosen

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Disproving Croce's Theorem (Dumbass Things You Shouldn't Do in the DC Universe)

A wise man once said "You don't tug on Superman's cape." And he oughta know: he had a box just for wishes and dreams that had never come true. (You can get 'em at The Container Store.) Among other things he advised against: spitting into the wind and messing with Jim. I'm a bit uncertain on that last one. Not only do many people mess with Jimmy Olsen, but they usually succeed in getting away with messing with Jim:

Panels from Jimmy Olsen #67 (March 1963), scripts by Edmond Hamilton, Leo Dorfman and Jerry Siegel; pencils by John Forte and Curt Swan; inks by John Forte and George Klein

Well. I think we've proved quite convincingly you can mess around with Jim. There's only one don't mess around with Jim when he's dressed as a girl.

Page from Jimmy Olsen #159 (August 1973), script by Leo Dorfman, pencils and inks by Kurt Schaffenberger

Whoa! You've come a long way, baby!

Disproving one of the science world's famous "Croce equations" casts doubt on the others. As I've mentioned above, "don't tug on Superman's cape," advises the renowned mathballadeer, but can we disprove this theorem? Why, yes, I think we can. Here's exhibit A.

Cover of Superman v.2 #176 (January 2002), art by Ed McGuinness and Cam Smith

Lemme ask you this: if you tug on Superman's cape...what's he gonna do? He's freakin' Superman, you know! Superman won't do much about that. e'll probably say "Stop it, please." (He's very polite.) If you're a cute small child (or stuffed bull) tugging on Superman's cape generally results in a smile, a pat on the head, and a souvenir diamond made out of that lump of Kingsford you've got in your pocket. He is, I repeat, Superman. He's not violent towards cape-tuggers. Even if Darkseid does it, Kal will probably just say "Hey, quit it. Quit it. Darkseid...quit it, okay?"

Panel from Superman/Batman #50 (September 2008), by a whole lotta people; you figure it out

What about tugging on the cape of a more renowned badass of the DC Universe: Elongated Man Batman? Surely that's a bad idea, right? Mmmmmmaybe not, as can be seen in these verified examples. Here's some specific documented proof of Tim Drake tugging on Batman's cape.

Panels from Batman #600 (April 2002), script by Ed Brubaker, pencils by Scott McDaniel, inks by Andy Owens, colors by Gregory Wright, letters by John Costanza

Well, he didn't say please, but hey, Tim survived the actual experience. Truth is, it's actually pretty easy to not only tug but to take Batman's cape. Why not just help yourself to it when he hangs it up in the Batcave? It's just on the middle hook right between the hooks where Robin's costume and Ace the Bat-Hound's hood usually dangle.

Panel from Batman #156 (June 1963), script by Bill Finger, pencils by Sheldon Moldoff, inks by Charles Paris, letters by Stan Starkman

How easy is it to steal Batman's cape? So easy that Perry White did it.

Panel from Jimmy Olsen #117 (January 1969), script by Otto Binder, pencils and inks by Pete Costanza

So easy that Lady Gaga did it!

Huh! So apparently you can tug on Superman's cape, steal Batman's, unravel Wonder Woman's golden lasso, untie Flash's sneakers, and use Plastic Man to copy comic strips from the newspaper. So what is it that you really should never, ever, do? What is the most totally dumbass thing to do in the DC Universe?

Oh should never, ever, try to sucker-punch Superman.

Why? Because this happens:

Panels from Batman #429 (January 1989), script by Jim Starlin, pencils by Jim Aparo, inks by Mike DeCarlo, colors by Adrienne Roy, letters by John Costanza

Later on they had a good laugh at it and Supes flew Bats up to his Arctic Fortress of Solitude so Batman could sit outside for a while and ice his hand and cry where nobody could see him. So yeah...don't do that. Dumbass Batman.

So! Have we learned a lesson at all today? Why yes...yes we have!

Panel from Jimmy Olsen #67 (March 1963), script by Leo Dorfman, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by George Klein

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 244

Cover of Thor: Blood Oath #5 (February 2006), cover art by Scott Kolins

Yes, I love that cover of Thor: Blood Oath (pretty darn good limited series in its own) a lot. But even with the featured trio of Messrs. F, V, and H, it still comes second to the cover of issue four, my favorite in the series:

Cover of Thor: Blood Oath #4 (January 2006), cover art by Scott Kolins

Any cover with a pig, especially one wearing a Thor helmet, is A-OK by me. And hey, this will get me started on 2012's feature 366 Days with a Pig! Hope you like Porky, the Three Little, Peter Porkchops, Wonder Warthog, and Peter Porker!

Superheroes Meet Ordinary Joes, Day 4: Ask any merman you happen to see

Panels from Thor #152 (May 1968), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Vince Colletta, letters by Sam Rosen

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The New DC: There's No Stopping Us Now (from taking your toys.)

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 243

Panel from Thor #327 (January 1983), script by Doug Moench, pencils by Alan Kupperberg, inks by Jim Mooney, colors by George Roussos, letters by Janice Chiang

Superheroes Meet Ordinary Joes, Day 3: Don't leave Cairo without it

Page from Marvel Two-in-One #92 (October 1982), script by Tom DeFalco, pencils by Ron Wilson, colors by Don Warfield, letters by Joe Rosen

Today in Comics History, August 31, 2011: In honor of Diana Day, please adjust your horizontal hold

from Hellblazer Special: Bad Blood #2 (DC/Vertigo, October 2000), script by Jamie Delano, pencils and inks by Philip Bond, colors by Pamela Rambo, letters by Clem Robins

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Zen of Batman: Technology

From Batman: "The Pharaoh's in a Rut" (April 14, 1966), script by Robert C. Dennis and Earl Barret