Saturday, November 12, 2011

Same Story, Different Cover: And now for something completely out of canon

L: Uncanny X-Men #153 (January 1982), pencils by Dave Cockrum, inks by Joe Rubenstein
R: Classic X-Men #57 (March 1991), pencils by Mike Mignola, inks by P. Craig Russell

(Click picture to tall-tale-size)

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 316: Tales from Volstagg, Day 7

Panels from Thor #482 (January 1995), script by Glenn Greenberg, pencils by Robert Walker, inks by Jim Amash, colors by Ovi Hondru, letters by John Workman, Jr.

Stan Lee Saturdays #17: When even Stan is confused, it's time for a reboot

Panels from X-Men #-1 (July 1997), script by Scott Lobdell, pencils by Carlos Pacheco, inks by Art Thibert, colors by Chris Lichtner and Aron Lusen, letters by Richard Starkings and Kolja Fuchs

Friday, November 11, 2011

Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you’ll never forget

Panels from "A Flower for Farmer-Boy" in All Out War #2 (November-December 1979), script by Murray Boltinoff, pencils and inks by Lee Elias

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 315: Tales from Volstagg, Day 6

Panels from "Volstagg's Mostly Greatest Adventure" in Marvel Super-Heroes v.2 #16 (October 1993), script by Walt Simonson, pencils by Joe Barney, inks by Frank Turner, colors by Sarra Mossoff, letters by John Costanza

Double-Wide Doctor Strange, Day 5: Hmmm, Subbie never has an extra cup of tea at home.

Double-page spread from Doctor Strange v.2 #2 (August 1974), co-plot and script by Steve Englehart, co-plot and pencils by Frank Brunner, inks by Dick Giordano (!!!), letters by John Costanza
(Click picture to what the sam scratch was Dick Giordano doing at Marvel???-size)

Eleven of a Kind: This One Goes Up to Eleven

(More Ten of a Kind here.)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Planking in the 616

Based on an awesome idea suggested by the equally awesome Randi!

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 314: Tales from Volstagg, Day 5

Panels from Thor v.2 #57 (February 2003), script by Dan Jurgens, pencils by Joe Bennett, inks by Jack Jadson, colors by Dave Kemp, letters by Richard Starkings

Double-Wide Doctor Strange, Day 4: Most impressive juggling act, ever

Double-page spread from Doctor Strange v.1 #182 (September 1969), script by Roy Thomas, pencils by Gene Colan, inks by Tom Palmer, letters by Jean Izzo
(Click picture to finite-earths-size)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Little Cool Things: Are you a chick who fell in from outer space?

Superhero comic books focus on the big: the boistrous, the loud, the bombastic. But don't forget to focus past the action to check out the background details: the elements that aren't integral to the plot but which are delightful little bits of stage dressing. In other words: keep your eyes peeled for the little cool things.

Let's peek in on everybody's second favorite Batgirl, shall we?:

Cover of Batgirl v.3 (January 2010), pencils, inks, and colors by Phil Noto

Great cover, nice action, cool costume, fantastic Batgirl! Stephanie "I'm Not Dead Yet!" Brown's tenure as Batgirl was, like her employment as Robin, much too brief, a solid series shelved to make way for the New 52. Ah well...we still have the back issues, and issues #2-8 have those wonderful Phil Noto covers like this one. But did you spot the Little Cool Thing?

Why yes, Batgirl's antagonists are indeed members of the Mutant Gang from a little comic book you may not have heard of: Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight. I know not many people have read it, but look it up sometime: it's actually a pretty fantabulous Batman comic. And, it has these guys:

Panels from Batman: The Dark Knight (1986), script and pencils by Frank Miller,
inks by Klaus Janson, colors by Lynn Varley, letters by John Costanza

Yep, that's Rob "Balls Nasty" Mutant there at the top, star of his very own popular website.

So you've passed the first level of Little Cool Thingology...but you have not finished your studies, Young Grasshopper! Where's the other L.C.T. on this cover? Why, it's as plain as the broken nose on Don Mutant's face!

If you got this reference, consider yourself at least a freshman Student of Batmanology 101 (your certificate will be in the mail from Doctor Sims presently): that quote is directly from Batgirl's theme song in the third season of the 1960s live-action Batman TV show. But why simply describe this momentous musical masterpiece, when instead you can experience it with your eyes and ears, starring Batgirl herself, the delightful Miss Yvonne Craig!

Wow, that's a great song that goes on about thirty-five seconds too long.

Well, we've got Babs back now, which is definitely cause for celebration. But I can't deny I very much miss Cassandra Cain (my favorite Batgirl) and Stephanie Brown, the girl who tried so hard to impress Batman that...whaddaya know...she finally did! She's the girl who never got a display case in the Batcave after her death (mainly because she wasn't actually really dead). But she does have a memorial we can all enjoy: twenty-four really good comics of her adventures and escapades that we can enjoy long after she's been retconned!

So in conclusion: to answer the song and the question, she comes from Gotham City, and her scene is kicking criminals in the face. And that's another Little Cool Thing.

365 Days with the Warriors Three, Day 313: Tales from Volstagg, Day 4

Panels from Thor: Whosoever Wields This Hammer one-shot (June 2011), script by Christos Gage, pencils and inks by Marco Torricelli, colors by Chris Sotomayor, letters by Dave Sharpe

Double-Wide Doctor Strange, Day 3: Another successful Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce ad campaign!

Double-page spread from Doctor Strange v.1 #181 (July 1969), script by Roy Thomas, pencils by Gene Colan, inks by Tom Palmer, letters by Jean Izzo
(Click picture to hey isn't this the run where they had Doc wearing that goofy mask?-size)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Demarche of The Penguin*

Happy Election Day, everyone! I hope you'll all have time to read this so you can get back to the couch and be sure not to miss the annual viewing of You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown and Rudolph's Hanging Chad Adventure followed by the all-new Faith Hill Family Election Night Musical Special! Boy, I can not wait until that spinny thing comes out and says it's a CBS special presentation!

Say, trivia you know what long-running CBS TV program that "CBS Special Presentation" music is taken from? (No, no, it's not Kate and Ally.) Here's the answer! (Be sure to click on the "play all samples" button to hear the genesis of that thrilling holiday special track!)

But back to election day. As Batman reminded you yesterday, the American political structure is based on the common citizen's ability to see past the glitz and glamor of contemporary politics to examine the real issues at hand. Like pollution. Urban crime. And all those parking tickets the Batmobile gets when Batman and Robin leave it in front of Gotham City's police headquarters.

That still and speech were taken from a Batman '66 episode, "Hizzoner the Penguin," in which that foul fowl featured fiend, Oswald Cobblepot, The Penguin, ran for (and almost won) mayorship of Gotham City, USA! Holy rigged elections, Batman! So inspiring was this concept that Tim Burton later made it a plotline in his blockbuster 1992 motion picture Batman Returns, a movie especially noticed for its creation of a Catwoman who can come back from the dead and still can't hide seams in her costume and the line "You know, mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it. " Good advice by Batman, folks! But it's not until the comic book series Batman Adventures (v.2, 2003) that the idea becomes a reality: Penguin really does get elected to become Gotham's Mayor! Aieeee! That's pretty dire! I mean, I can't think of a single worse person to become mayor...

Hmmm, okay. Point taken.

The Mayor Cobblepot subplot actually spans nearly the entire length of the series, running from #1 to 13 (the series ended with issue #17). It's some remarkable worldbuilding and fascinating storytelling that influences Batman and Company's adventures all the way down the line, to the point where Batman actually must enlist a deadly (if temporarily reformed) enemy to help him bring down the Penguin:

Panels from Batman Adventures v.2 #11 (April 2004), script by Ty Templeton, pencils by Rick Burchett, inks by Terry Beatty, colors by Lee Loughridge, letters by Rob Leigh

Ahem. Please excuse a momentary aside while I remind my good pals at DC Comics that most of the excellent tie-in comics to the animated Batman, Superman, and Justice League TV series have never been in trade paperback format, and those that were are now long out of print. So, DC, how about making some nice colorful all-ages trade compilations of (inhale) Batman Adventures (volumes 1 and 2), Batman and Robin Adventures, Batman: Gotham Adventures, Batman Adventures: The Lost Years, the Batgirl Adventures special, Superman Adventures, Justice League Adventures, Justice League Unlimited and one of the great near-forgotten gems of those animated universe days, Adventures in the DC Universe? After all, out of 52 Earths, surely one of them has to be the Timmverse, right? And how about considering a Wonder Woman comic in the same style for young readers who love the WW? Please and thank you, DC!

Batman Adventures v.2 #13 begins the wrap-up of the evolving storyline with members of the #occupygotham movement inhabiting Mayor Cobblepot's front lawn. Hey, they've got torches! Way cool. When a torch-bearing mob of protestors face off against armed police in riot gear, that's going to be completely safe and uneventful, right?

Panels from Batman Adventures v.2 #13 (June 2004), script by Ty Templeton, pencils by Rick Burchett, inks by Terry Beatty, colors by Heroic Age, letters by Ken Lopez

As befits his namesake bird, denizens of the Antarctic who eat herring and poop in an explosive wide blast area around themselves, Mayor Cobblepot cooly and calmly addresses his constituency with political restraint and tact:

But of course Batman (because he is Batman) figgers out the truth at last: voting machine tampering resulted in Cobblepot's election to higher office. Thank goodness the Riddler's new trademark ?Phone helped the Dark Knight unravel the mystery! How do you like those Apples, Steve Jobs? (Whoops. Tasteless. I'm sorry.)       how do you like those apples, giggle!

Shed a tear for the defeated Penguin, a bird without a roost, a fowl without an egg, a Hizzoner without honor...

Well, that was certainly one of the most gracious resignations from high office ever, huh? You've got to flipper it to the Penguin, he certainly took his dethroning with grace and good-humored acceptance...

So, on this magic enchanted holiday night, let us remember the true meaning of Election Day, and vow to honor and keep its spirit in all its ways. The Penguin had no further involvement with elections, but lived upon the Total Kill Batman Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Election Day well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Damian Wayne observed, "Tt."

Anyway, rigging elections by tampering with the voting machines? It's just a comic book. That would never happen in real life.

*Oh, I'm not proud of that pun at all.**

**Yes I am.