Saturday, April 28, 2012

Same Story, Different Cover: "Now listen, Molty, Ted Sallis's attorneys have been in touch with us, and it's not good news."

L: Tales of Suspense v.1 #7 (January 1960), pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by George Klein
R: Journey Into Mystery v.2 #15 (February 1975), pencils by Ron Wilson, inks by Mike Esposito
(Click image to moltesize)

366 Days with Alfred Pennyworth, Day 119

Page from Batman Annual #15 (1991), script by Alan Grant, pencils by Jim Fern, inks by Steve Leialoha, colors by Adrienne Roy, letters by John Costanza

Friday, April 27, 2012

Well, That'll Happen: Luthor shouldn't have eaten all that chili

Panel from "The Case of the Crime Crusade" in World's Finest #4 (Winter 1942), script by Jerry Siegel, pencils by Leo Nowak

366 Days with Alfred Pennyworth, Day 118

Panels from Batman Annual #14 (1990), script by Andrew Helfer, pencils by Chris Sprouse, inks by Steve Mitchell, colors by Adrienne Roy, letters by John Costanza

Thursday, April 26, 2012

366 Days with Alfred Pennyworth, Day 117

Panels from Batman: Detective No. 27 (December 2003), script by Michael Uslan, pencils and inks by Peter Snejbjerg, colors by Lee Loughridge, letters by Kurt Hathaway

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Giant Public Art of Gotham City: The Wellpruf Giant Cash Register

An excerpt from The Giant Public Art of Gotham City by Vicki Vale, released 2006 by Wayne Publishing

The Wellpruf Giant Cash Register was, to several generations of young Gotham boys and girls, a first stop on their tour of fiscal responsibility with a complimentary miniature cash register bank and a visit to the world's largest cash register inside the Wellpruf headquarters in the Gotham financial district. Founded in 1922 by Cash R. Wellpruf, the Wellpruf Cash Register Company designed, built, and distributed tills for the new era of shoplifters, robbers, and gangsters. It was heavy (and could be bolted to the counter upon installation), locked securely and resisted jimmying open by all but the most gigantic of crowbars. In its heyday of the 1950s, Wellpruf was selling over fifteen thousand cash registers a year in the post-War atmosphere of a booming recovery economy.

The Wellpruf Building, located at the corner of Barr and Davis, just a block south of the Gotham City First National Bank headquarters, was built in 1925 as a home to the growing company. Designed by architect Jerry Finger in the neo-Gothic style that characterized industrial growth in Gotham of the period, the fifty-story boasted the city's first high-speed elevators, an elaborately decorated high-vaulted marble lobby, and an observation deck on the forty-fifth floor from which it was said you that on a clear day you could see the globe of the Daily Planet building across the state line in Metropolis.

Panels from "The Secret Life of the Catwoman" in Batman #62 (December 1950-January 1951), script by Bill Finger, pencils by Bob Kane (Batman & Robin figures only) and Lew Schwartz, inks by Charles Paris, letters by Ira Schnapp

It was for the model giant cash register installed in the antelobby in 1948, however, that the Wellpruf Building became best known. A perfect 6:1 scale model of a Wellpruf standard register #154, the model was not only perfect down to each detail of decoration but also boasted an elaborate scaled-up working mechanism that, with the physical effort of several men, could duplicate every calculation and sale-making function of the 154. Inside the register's massive drawer was stored poster-sized novelty dollar bill replicas featuring the grinning face of Cash Wellpruf as well as the famous giveaway cash register banks given to every visitor under the age of 13. A "sale" was rung up six times a day during business hours; the original mechanism's full operation required four men to operate the gigantic buttons, although the drawer could be sprung (after guiding the crowd cautiously back behind velvet safety ropes) by a single athletic man.

The debut of the Wellpruf Giant Cash Register was a smash hit that several other of the many cash register manufacturers of Gotham City attempts to copy, with little success. Notable among this copycat giant cash registers was the Federal Cash Register Company's rooftop-mounted giant cash register. Although a strong advertising icon on the Gotham skyline, its relative inaccessibility meant that the Federal Giant Cash Register attracted only moderate attention.

Panels from "A Greater Detective Than Batman!" in Batman #56 (December 1949-January 1950), script by Bill Finger, pencils and inks by Jim Mooney, letters by Ira Schnapp

With the advent of computerization, however, the Wellpruf Cash Register company fell behind in the market, and by the 1980s it was only shipping a few hundred registers annually. The Wellpruf Building was damaged during the Crisis, and the company went bankrupt a year afterwards. Its doors were shuttered by new owner Lex Luthor, and the building condemned for demolition after the Cataclysm earthquake, but the giant cash register remained in the building until 2002, when the Joker blew it up.

Well, now, that's hardly fair!

...because when I rip my pants, I'm not allowed to go out and play.

Cover of Danger Girl: Revolver #4 (April 2012), art by J. Scott Campbell


366 Days with Alfred Pennyworth, Day 116

Panels from Justice #2 (December 2005), plot by Alex Ross and Jim Krueger, script by Jim Krueger, pencils and inks by Dougie Braithwaite and Alex Ross, colors by Alex Ross, letters by Todd Klein

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I hope the new remake will be as good

366 Days with Alfred Pennyworth, Day 115

Panel from "The Wizard of 1,000 Menaces" in Detective Comics #306 (August 1962), script by Bill Finger (?), pencils by Sheldon Moldoff, inks by Charles Paris

Monday, April 23, 2012

Will Power

As we saw earlier in the day, it's the birthday of the man we call the Immortal Bard (despite him dying in 1616): Will.I.Shakespeare! Not to be confused with this here feller:

Panel from Archie's Madhouse Annual #5 (1968), artist uncredited

But that only goes to show just how often Mister Shake appears in comic books. I'm not talking only his plays being adapted into comics (like, f'r instance, here and here, but actual comic book characters (and the real life Benjamin J. Grimm) quoting the Whatchamacallit of Avon (like here). Let's look at some of the many fine comic book characters who know Shakespeare, starting with the Man of the Year, Alfred Pennyworth!

Alfred knows Shakespeare!

Page from Batman: Gotham Knights #27 (May 2002), script by Devin Grayson, pencils by Roger Robinson, inks by John Floyd, colors by Gloria Vasquez, separations by Wildstorm FX, letters by Bill Oakley

In fact, don't forget Alfred was a Shakespearean actor! He was so successful an actor back in those in those days that he could afford a toupee, infuriating his fellow thespian Patrick Stewart. Oh, the squabbles they had!

Panels from Nightwing: Alfred's Return one-shot (July 1995), script by Alan Grant, pencils and inks by Dick Giordano, colors by Adrienne Roy, letters by Albert DeGuzman

Which probably makes it no surprise that

Robin knows Shakespeare!

Panel from Batman #682 (Early January 2009), script by Grant Morrison, pencils by Lee Garbett, inks by Trevor Scott, colors by Guy Major, letters by Jared K. Fletcher

In fact, Dick Grayson had a love for the Bard (and hot girls in diaphanous gowns) even after he became Robin the Teen (Yet Still in Green Shorts) Wonder!

Panel from Batman #216 (November 1969), script by Frank Robbins, pencils by Irv Novick, inks by Dick Giordano

However, that didn't extend to Dick learning that there's no such thing as a surviving play script in Shakespeare's hand.

And it appears that Alfred didn't teach anything about Shakespeare to Bruce Wayne:

On the other hand,

Professor Xavier knows Shakespeare!

Panel from Uncanny X-Men #379 (April 2000), plot by Alan Davis, script by Chris Claremont, pencils by Tom Raney, inks by Scott Hanna, colors by Brian Haberlin, letters by Richard Starkings and Saida Temofonte

And he probably taught it to his students, because

Storm knows Shakespeare!

Panel from Uncanny X-Men #151 (November 1981), script by Chris Claremont, pencils by Jim Sherman, inks by Joe Rubinstein, colors by Bonnie Wilford, letters by Tom Orzechowski

Oh, wait: that's not Storm, that's Emma Frost. In Storm's body. Man, she just can't stop impersonating X-Men, can she?


Wolverine kinda knows Shakespeare.

Page from "Follow the Leader" in X-Men Unlimited v.2 #5 (December 2004), script by Scott Killinger, pencils by Rael Lyra, inks by Jay Leisten, colors by Transparency Digital, letters by Dave Sharpe

Nemesis knows Shakespeare!

Panel from "Operation: Overkill" in The Brave and the Bold v.1 #192 (November 1982), script by Cary Burkett, pencils and inks by Dan Spiegle, colors by Carl Gafford, letters by Adam Kubert

(Even though most of us don't remember Nemesis.)

Page from Who's Who in the DC Universe v.1 #16 (June 1986), text and colors by these guys, pencils and inks by Dan Spiegle

Yes, all the most admirable characters in comic books know their Shakespeare! And then that jerk John Wilkes Booth goes and ruins it for everybody:

Panels from The Kents #7 (February 1998), script by John Ostrander, pencils by Timothy Truman, inks by Michael Bair, colors by Carla Feeny, letters by Bill Oakley

John Wilkes Booth. Actor, murderer, bigot, lousy fan of Shakespeare.

So, on his 448th birthday, please celebrate the birthday of William Amadeus Shakespeare by refraining from committing Shakespeare-related crimes, won't you?

Panels from "Enemy No. 1" in Batman v.1 #29 (June-July 1945), script by Bill Finger, pencils and inks by Dick Sprang, colors by Bob McCay, letters by George Roussos

Oh for Pete's sake! Penguin! You're just ruining it for everyone!

Splash panel from "The Penguin's Apprentice!" in Batman v.1 #27 (February-March 1945), script by Don Cameron, pencils by Jack Burnley, inks by Jerry Robinson, letters by George Roussos

366 Days with Alfred Pennyworth, Day 114

Panel from The Untold Legend of the Batman #2 (August 1980), script by Len Wein, pencils and inks by Jim Aparo, colors by Tatjana Wood

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ten of a Kind: Earths Day

(More Ten of a Kind here.)

366 Days with Alfred Pennyworth, Day 113

Cover of Detective Comics #86 (April 1944), pencils and inks by Dick Sprang

Today in Comics History, April 22, Earth Day: Commemorating the Earth Day When Aquaman Saved the Entire Planet!

from Batman: The Brave and the Bold #4 (DC, June 2009), script by Matt Wayne, pencils by Andy Suriano, inks: by Dan Davis, colors by Heroic Age, letters by Sal Cipriano