Saturday, November 05, 2011

Same Story, Different Cover: Franklin hates it when his mom shows off his baby comics

L: Fantastic Four Annual #6 (November 1968), pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Sinnott
R: Giant-Size Sue Storm Fantastic Four #6 (October 1975), pencils by Ron Wilson, inks by Joe Sinnott

(Click picture to third trimester-size)

1968? For Pete's sake, Franklin, you're forty-three this year! Move out from Mom and Dad's, will ya, already! You can't hang out in the Baxter Building basement, whoever cool you've made it into your "pad," playing video games and eating Cheet-Os for the rest of your life. Get a job, you bum.

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 309

Panel from Thor #212 (June 1973), script by Gerry Conway, pencils by John Buscema and Don Perlin, inks by Vince Colletta, colors by Stan Goldberg, letters by Denise Vladimer

Saturday Afternoon Cartoon: Batman Meets Space Ghost!

Space Ghost and Batman in "The Space Safari" from Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2011)

Stan Lee Saturdays #16: That boy needs therapy

Panel from "Liltin' Limericks" in Not Brand Echh #13 (May 1969),
script by Roy Thomas and Phil Seuling, pencils and inks by Tom Sutton

Friday, November 04, 2011

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 308

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

Thursday, November 03, 2011


Everybody's talking at me. I don't hear a word they're saying, only the echoes of my mind about all the fantastic back-matter in the X-Men: Regenesis books. So much promotion to cover the story in which Kitty finally gets her Sega Game System back from the repair shop! Oh, wait, I've made another one of my silly mistakes.

I love "behind the scenes" documents and back-up info of how the Marvel Universe works, which may explain why I have every copy of all forty-seven editions of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. But I'm still not buying that theory that Scott Summers' head is a gateway to a red energy dimension. So I'm loving the back-up documents showing the breakdown of the new X-Teams (altho, guys? Putting the word "Extinction" in your team classification is just asking for dramatic irony). I especially loved the brochure of Wolverine's newly rebranded Jean Grey School for Higher Living and Occasional Resurrection that appeared in this week's Wolverine and the X-Men #1. ComicsAlliance has the online exclusive on this so I've reproduced it to the right so small you can't actually read it. Frustrated? Why, just click on the picture and you can zip over to ComicsAlliance and see it in all its embiggened glory there. See: everybody wins!

What I will show y'all here is Wolverine's first attempt at writing a class syllabus from waaaaay back when Xavier's had just opened its doors to more students than just the X-Men and the New Mutants, a cool idea initiated in the first X-Men film and integrated into Grant Morrison's New X-Men. You may claim it appeared in Wizard magazine (hey, remember that?) and therefore isn't canon, but I argue that any class in which part of your curriculum is the first Rambo book surely must be authentic Wolverine. Check it out and revise your semester courses accordingly!

from Wizard Special Edition: X-Men (2002), written by Tom Root

I'd definitely take this course and sign up for the second semester: Advanced Field Survival 506, in which the Hulk rips us all in half and then we have to wait three and a half years to find out what happens next!

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 307

Panel from Thor #198 (April 1972), script by Gerry Conway, pencils by John Buscema, inks by Vince Colletta, letters by John Costanza

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 306

Photograph of Warriors Three cosplayers at Wonder Con 2011 by Rich ("Earthdog")

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Gone on a sea cruise

Well, not really. I'm just a little run down from posting all those pictures yesterday (also, eating all that candy), so I'm going to take a wee few days off. But The Warriors Three never take vacations (not since that disastrous Spring Break in Cabo), so they'll be here each day to amuse, edify, and entertain you. Please pay no attention to the grumblings that they have to work while I don't.

I'll be back this weekend, November 5th, with Stan Lee, LOL Sundays, Ten of a Kind and all the usual features! Until then, be good and be good to each other, friends!

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 305

Volstagg celebrates the Day of the Dead by fighting Mephisto! Well, who wouldn't?

Panel from Thor #181 (October 1970), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Neal Adams, inks by Joe Sinnott, letters by Artie Simek

Monday, October 31, 2011

And in Halloween conclusion: never ignore that marvelous pig

Panels from "This One'll Scare You To Death!" in House of Mystery #225 (June-July 1974), story idea by David Kasakove, script by George Kashdan, pencils and inks by E. R. Cruz

If someone asks you out to see Skull-Face...

Panels from "Skull-Face" (yeah, I know that title comes as a surprise) from Mystery Tales #6 (December 1952), script by Stan Lee, pencils and inks by Tony DiPreta

Camp it Up as Cap!

Ad from Marvel Comics cover-dated October 1975

Ad from DC Comics cover-dated December 1976

Welcome to My Nightmare

So, on this night of ghoulies, ghosties, and things that go gump in the gight, let's take a moment to examine, from a safe distance, the spookiest, weirdest, scariest comic book that Marvel Comics has ever published!


Okay, now that we've seen that, let's look at a comic book about rock 'n' roller Alice Cooper.

Advertised heavily when it was published in '79, Marvel Premiere #50 starred, like most Marvel Comics, a real-life personality from whom Marvel licensed the likeness and personality to create all-new tales. (Not unlike the Fantastic Four's real-life tales dictated directly to Marv Wolfman during the period.) It was even featured in that month's Marvel Bullpen Bulletins, ensuring that readers of everything from Daredevil to Conan and Fun and Games to Machine Man was clued in that America's Clown Prince of Rock now starred in his own comic book! So distressing was this news to Elvis Presley, founder of American rock music, that he died two years previously.

Thus was born Marvel Premiere (aka "Find someplace to plug those inventory stories!") #50...Alice Cooper's "From the Inside," based on his groundbreaking 1978 album of the same name, that based on his voluntary stay inside a New York City mental institution for treatment of alcohol abuse. (Just say "no," Alice!)

The songs are about the persons Alice actually met in the asylum, and so is the comic book, although...not unlike the Thing's poker night...certain details have been...exaggerated for dramatic effect. Alice's frequent attempts to escape the ayslum are thwarted by the cruelly seductive Nurse Rozetta and the crazed Doctor Fingeroth.

Panels from Marvel Premiere #50 (October 1979), script by Alice Cooper, Jim Salicrup, Roger Stern, and Ed Hannigan; pencils by Tom Sutton, inks by Terry Austin, colors by Marie Severin, letters by Tom Orzechowski

Alice's adventures in wonderland are punctuated by the philosophical questions anybody in such an institution faces. Who am I? Where am I? And where's my snake? Accompanied by a cast of characters that could have jumped right out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Alice is right up against the standard Yossarian problem (and they really oughta number that one): if you're crazy enough to want to get out, you must be sane!

At the time, there was nothing like this in the big two mainstream comics: well, maybe Howard the Duck approached "From the Inside"'s manic social satire and Marvel's misdirected underground Comix Book attempted to reach a more adult audience, but with no superheroes and no comics battles, Marvel Premiere was clearly the oddball comic out on the drugstore rack that month. It resembles the early issues of MAD more than it does its contemporary '79 books like Amazing Spider-Man or Iron Man.

But just how did the greatest threat to America's youth wind up in a mental institution? Flashback to a happier time of concerts, touring on the road, and giant on-stage snakes:

Suffering from exhaustion, Alice decides to check himself into a spa for relaxation and recovery, but is mistaken for a similar-named mental patient on his way to the mental institution. I woulda said 'nuthouse" but thats no longer politically correct, so I won't mention tha...oh, whoops.

And yep: that's Car 54, Where Are You?'s Officers Toody and Mulroon, picking up the patient. With Tom Sutton pencilling and Terry Austin inking, you know you're in for a ton of pop culture references and background hijinks.

I'm blogging most of these panels as large as I can, but it's really worth hunting out a back issue of the book to see the insane level of detail in the comic. Here, newly admitted Alice (shaven and shorn) is introduced to the characters that will populate his comic, his album, and his nightmares.

And if you have Terry Austin on inks, you know you're gonna get Popeye and Company in the background:

As a different Alice was once confronted with:
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."

"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.

"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."

Alice's patented escape plans go oft awry:

Like other great Coopers of our time (James Fenimore, Agent Dale, Winnie, and Mini), Alice cannot be daunted in his plot to go over the wall. Or, actually, over the page...dropping an escape cord from the bottom of one page to the top of the next:

Alice recovers his beloved snake Veronica (she even gets her own song on the album!), and hits the road to find America. Hey, wait, that's a Paul Simon song! I call no way!

...only to come smack up against Alex Cooper, the lunatic who switched places with him in the first place, in the middle of a gubernatorial run. While Alice is trying to figger out why it's called "gubanatorial" and not "governatorial," he's recaptured and dragged back to the asylum, but not without a little political satire that's as apt today as it was in the late seventies. "We can't have any loonies mucking up the political system!"

Just like all comic books, there's an illusion of change but at the end things are pretty much at the status quo all over again. Our intrepid comic book hero is back in the bin, but at least reunited with his beloved Veronica. "We both been put in cages / We got our shots and tags / I got my sweatin' fist to shake / She's got her tail to wag."

But the final question is...

...who's more crazy...the man in an insane asylum...

...or the readers in there with him?!?

A few months later, the tear-stained letters poured into Marvel Central. Did the readers approve? Did the readers hate it? Did the readers go insane?!?

So, what's the verdict, Marvel? Should Alice Cooper become a regular Marvel monthly comic book? Preferably teaming-up regularly with the Hulk? "We're liable to have some purely astonishing news before you'd even begin to suspect."

And sure enough, a mere fifteen years later, Marvel published another Alice Cooper comic book.

Marvel did their absolute best to make Alice Cooper: The Last Temptation (based on his then-newest album) look as much like the Dream King of the Distinguished Competition that they hired its writer, cover artist, and an interior cover artist from that series. And things were never the same at Marvel Comics!

Panels from Alice Cooper: The Last Temptation #1 (May 1994), script by Neil Gaiman, pencils and inks by Michael Zulli, colors by John Kalisz, letters by Todd Klein

At least until the miniseries ended two months later. Alice hasn't been seen in a Marvel comic book since then. But let me point out that in an age after Fear Itself and a time of Shattered Heroes, who could lead Earth-616 out of its doom and gloom better than Mister Vincent Furnier Alice Cooper, huh?

Hey, it worked for those dire, dreary, and dismal Muppets, didn't it?

Happy Halloween from the inside, from me and a guy named Alice!

A Very Super Hero Squad Halloween Special

Panel from Marvel Super Hero Squad v.2 #10 (December 2010), script by Todd Dezago, pencils and inks by Dario Brizuela, colors by Sotocolor, letters by Dave Sharpe

It's Skull-Face in my apartment!

Never let the Grandson of the Demon pick out your Halloween costume

Supergirl and Damian Wayne go trick or treating!

Panel from Superman/Batman #77 (December 2010), script by Joshua Williamson, pencils by Ale Garza, inks by Oliver Nome, colors by Pete Pantazis, letters by Steve Wands

An idea that'll make the whole world Skull-Face conscious

Read some comics tonight and raise some Cain!

House ad from DC Comics cover-dated March-April 1977

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 304

Panel from Thor #276 (October 1978), script by Roy Thomas, breakdowns by John Buscema, finishes by Tom Palmer, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Joe Rosen