Saturday, July 28, 2012

Today in Comics History, July 28, 1959: Mervin D. Cooke born, gets a pen for his christening

from Gotham Central #20 (August 2004), script by Ed Brubaker, pencils by Michael Lark, inks by Stefano Gaudiano, colors by Lee Loughridge, letters by Clem Robins

Different Story, But Pretty Much the Same Cover: The Official Same Story, Different Cover Post of the 2012 Olympics

Left: Action Comics #220 (September 1956), pencils and inks by Al Plastino
Right: Action Comics #304 (September 1963), pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Sheldon Moldoff

(Click picture to 100-foot-puppet-of-Lex-Luthor-size)

Yep, you read the header right: this is a Different Story, But Pretty Much the Same Cover! We've gotten used to Silver Age comic stories being reprinted ad infinitum on a cycle of a decade or so, keeping with the universal truth that no one past the age of 15 ever reads comic books. However, this isn't one of those cases! Although the story in Action #304 takes its title and initial premise from the story in #220—Superman performs poorly against mighty galactic athletes in the Interplanetary Olympics—each takes a different approach. #220 is a fairly straightforward story where Superman discovers one of his competitors is cheating by concealing Kryptonite in the Olympic Area. #304 ups the stakes by not only including Lana Lang (huh?), but by eliminating the possibility of Kryptonite in the area fairly early on in the story. The eventual outcome: Superman has been "throwing" the competition by performing poorly, to prevent aliens from stealing his superpower when he performs amazing deeds (huh?). The baddies escape on their rocket-powered planetoid (huh?) but luckily are apprehended by the Intergalactic Police ("To Protect and Serve...In Spaaaaaaaaaace!"). Stick around over the next couple weeks for each day's Official Comic Book Panel of the Day of the 2012 Olympics...I'll be presenting panels and sequences from both stories!

In the meantime, here's the cover of Superman #284, which does reprint the story from Action Comics #304. Who says this ism't the age of generous five-ringed Bully-bloggering?

Cover of Superman v.1 #284 (February 1975), pencils and inks by Nick Cardy

366 Days with Alfred Pennyworth, Day 210

Page from Birds of Prey #27 (March 2001), script by Chuck Dixon, pencils by Steven Harris, inks by John Nyberg, colors by Noelle Giddings, separations by Digital Chameleon letters by Willie Schubert

The Official Comic Book Panels of the Day of the 2012 Olympics, Day 2

Panels from "The Underwater Olympics!" in Adventure Comics #277 (October 1960), script by Robert Bernstein, pencils and inks by Ramona Fradon

Friday, July 27, 2012

Spanning all of time and space, to bring you the constant variety of sports

"It only seems like yesterday a few naked Greek blokes were tossing a discus about, wrestling with each other in the sand and the crowds stood about—No, wait a minute. That was Club Med."—The Doctor

Today in Comics History: Kingpin and Lex Luthor go to the theater

Panel from "The Death of a Romantic" in Heartthrobs #3 (March 1999), script by Peter Milligan, pencils and inks by Eduardo Risso, colors by Grant Goleash, letters by Clem Robins

366 Days with Alfred Pennyworth, Day 209

Page from Blackest Night #1 (September 2009), script by Geoff Johns, pencils by Ivan Reis, inks by Oclair Albert, colors by Alex Sinclair, letters by Nick J. Napolitano

The Official Comic Book Panel of the Day of the 2012 Olympics, Day 1

Splash panel from "The Boy Olympics!" in Jimmy Olsen #5 (May-June 1955), script by Otto Binder, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Ray Burnley

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dumbass Things You Shouldn't Do in the Marvel Universe, Number ∞

Hey Absorbing Man!

Panel from Infinity Crusade #3 (August 1993), script by Jim Starlin, pencils by Ron Lim, inks by Al Milgrom, colors by Ian Laughlin, letters by Jack Morelli

Never attack...

...Avengers Mansion...

...during a company-wide crossover event.

So remember, kids...and villains...and villainous kids...don't be s dumbass...

Stay home during a crossover.

366 Days with Alfred Pennyworth, Day 208

Now, I did promise you Lego Alfred at the beginning of all this, didn't I?

Lego Alfred Pennyworth kicks some henchman ass in this trailer for Lego Batman: The Videogame (2008)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Today in Comics History, July 25: Henry Clayton keeps his appointment bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!

cover of Black Magic (1950 series) v.3 #5 (#23) (Prize, April 1953), pencils and colors by Jack Kirby, inks by Jack Kirby or Joe Simon (?), letters by Ben Oda

What's even more astonishing is that this scene does not appear in this comic book!

It was the perfect plan...

...and it would have succeeded, too...

Panel from Earth X #½ (2000), co-plot by Alex Ross, co-plot and script by Jim Krueger, pencils and inks by Bill Reinhold, colors by Bill Reinhold, separations by Marie Javins, letters by Todd Klein

...if it wasn't for that meddling Alan Moore coming up with that plot twenty-five years before!

Panels from Watchmen #12 (October 1987), script by Alan Moore; pencils, inks, and letters by Dave Gibbons; colors by John Higgins

And Alan Moore would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for that meddling Outer Limits:

Final few minutes of The Outer Limits "The Architects of Fear" (September 30, 1963), written by Meyer Dolinsky, directed by Byron Haskin

"Say, Bully," you're asking, "when did you write this post?"

Special Bonus: Thanks to the magic of animated gifs, experience the world as Doctor Manhattan does!

366 Days with Alfred Pennyworth, Day 207

Panels from Batman: Odyssey #4 (December 2010), script, pencils, and inks by Neal Adams, additional inks by Scott Williams, colors by Continuity Studios, letters by Ken Lopez

Today in Comics History, July 25: When Nick Fury was still a 98-pound weakling

from "The Death of a Romantic" in Heartthrobs #3 (DC/Vertigo, March 1999), script by Peter Milligan, pencils and inks by Eduardo Risso, colors by Grant Goleash, letters by Clem Robins

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Okay, let's talk about calves.

No, not those kind: not little stuffed cows and bulls, sorry. I'm talking about the things on the back of your legs below your knees. Got that? Okay, now let's talk about Green Arrow. (Careful you don't hurt yourself on that transition, folks.) More specifically, let's look at the art in the most recent ish, GA #11.

Panels from Green Arrow v.4 #11 (September 2012), script by Ann Nocenti, pencils and inks by Harvey Tolibao, colors by Richard Horie and Tanya Horie, letters by Rob Leigh

The artwork on this issue bothered me and made me look at little closer at it. I'm not talking about what looks to me like overly "scritchy-scratchy" Harvey Tolibao inks over his own pencils...

...although that threw me for a minute. It's a specific style and I think I'm just not used to it, or don't care for it. Fair enough. But I gotta say, I was kind of overwhelmed by the sizes of the calves in this issue. No, once again I'm not talking about little cows and bulls. I'm talking about...

Oh. Wow. Those are some unfortunately oversized calves and oddly elongated feet for what is a non-Plastic Man comic. To give it the benefit of the doubt, it looks like the near calf on Naomi, the left-hand female character, may have a coloring error on it: there's an interior line that might indicate the true calf. But look at the size of Oliver Queen's calf compared to his ankle. Look at the length of his foot. Look at Naomi's tiny right ankle. Look at her minuscule left ankle. Why wouldn't her foot snap right off?

Maybe I wouldn't have been bothered by it if it didn't seem to repeat throughout the book:

Ankles are more realistic here, but Oliver's got a rubbery bend to his lower legs that make them look concave, and Jax's calves look immense to me. Or at least, he's wearing obscenely skinny jeans.

Remove the context of the rest of the figure and it's even difficult to tell which part of the body this is. The brown coloring made me think he had the legs of a horse.

Even a young kid...

...gets tremendously muscular calves and/or weirdly form fitting pants.

You can make a case that in this following panel the boots are heavily padded or formed larger around the calves. But the feet are elongated and the ankles are skinny again.

Here's a Chinese businessman who now owns controlling interest in Oliver Queen's company, and Ollie arrives in mainland China to negotiate buying it back.

I have never before seen a suit worn by a high-level businessman with skinny-cut suit trousers.

Okay, let me back up a few steps here and try to make amends with Mr. Tolibao before he comes to Brooklyn with a grilling pan and a great hamburger recipe. I've really liked his work on Psylocke and Heroes for Hire, and here's definite proof right from this same Green Arrow issue that Tolibao can draw absolutely fine and proportional feet and calves:

And besides, I can't draw worth beans, so who am I to be talkin' about calves and feet? (I have hooves; I'm no expert on feet.) And is this as serious a social and artistic lapse as the improbable anatomy of female characters in comic books? No, not at all. I'm complaining about calves, for Pete's sake.

But honestly: I was annoyed by the anatomy of this issue, which pulled me out of the story and made me testy and irritated. Green Arrow, one of my fave heroes, deserves better anatomy in his book, I grumbled to myself. But, who have I to blame except myself? Without looking through it or the preview art, I bought the issue. Look, here's proof:

I bought it online, so I didn't even flip through it and then buy it at my totally excellent local comic book store and give them the bucks. So yeah, I'm feeling the guilt here too.

But: I'm in an ornery mood. Maybe it's because I spent this afternoon reading Transmetropolitan and got in the journalistic mood of being Spider Jer-moo-salem and telling the people that what they're buying just isn't that great. (Warren Ellis would have used some colorful words that I can't.) But: we keep on buying comics like this, don't we? We do. Or, to paraphrase Sir Michael Philip Jagger: "I shouted out / Who killed the comics industry? / When after all / It was you and me."

All for the want of anatomy...and for more realistic calves.

366 Days with Alfred Pennyworth, Day 206

Page from Batman: The Killing Joke one-shot (1988), script by Alan Moore, pencils and inks by Brian Bolland, colors by John Higgins, letters by Richard Starkings

Monday, July 23, 2012

Today in Comics History Not-Too-Distant-Future, July 23, 2024: Everything's coming up Milhouse!

from "Wedgie Issue" in Bart Simpson #72 (Bongo, June 2012), script, pencils and inks by Carol Lay; colors by Nathan Hamill; letters by Karen Bates

366 Days with Alfred Pennyworth, Day 205

Panels from Batman: Harley & Ivy #3 (August 2004), script by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, pencils and inks by Bruce Timm, colors by Lee Loughridge, letters by Tom Orzechowski

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ten of a Kind: Scale Models

(More Ten of a Kind here.)