Saturday, September 01, 2012

The Doctor Always Lies

Same Story, Different Cover: Funny, He Doesn't Look Sixty-Five

I don't usually focus on variant covers here in "Same Story, Different Cover." Sure, they're the very literal definition of the concept, but I prefer to focus on reprints of tales: showing the same scene through the eyes of a different artist and his/her interpretation.

But here's an exception, because I was just bowled over by the elegance, simplicity, and all-out awesomeness of the fiftieth anniversary Amazing Spider-Man covers by Marcos Martin, each one of which is devoted to a turning event within one of the specific five decades. What, no six-armed Spider-Man?

Covers of Amazing Spider-Man #692 (October 2012), pencils and inks by Marcos Martin

I just can't wait for the sixtieth anniversary cover with 2010s-Spidey riding his jet-pack! Get right on that storyline, Dan Slott!

366 Days with Alfred Pennyworth, Day 245

Panel from Batman: The Chalice one-shot (December 1999), script by Chuck Dixon, painted art by John Van Fleet, letters by Jack Morelli

Friday, August 31, 2012

Things You Didn't Know About Commissioner Gordon

...he's a big Star Trek fan.

Panels from "Friends, Lies and Audiotape" in The Batman Chronicles #13 (Summer 1998), script by Robert L. Washington III, pencils by Simon Coleby, inks by Stan Woch, colors by Pamela Rambo, letters by Albert DeGuzman

366 Days with Alfred Pennyworth, Day 244

Panel from Batman: Dark Victory #2 (January 2000), script by Jeph Loeb, pencils and inks by Tim Sale, colors by Gregory Wright, color separations by Heroic Age, letters by Richard Starkings

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Catchphrases of the Superheroes: Captain Marvel

Tonight, on Catchphrases of the Superheroes: that oft-uttered exclamation from this guy...

...Captain Marvel! (It'll be a cold day in Fawcett City before I call him "Shazam!"). And what does Cap always say (besides, of course, Sha-youknowhat)? Well, you know he declares...Holy Moley!

Panels from Captain Marvel Adventures #90 (November 1948)

Well, first of all, in-depth research in the vast Bully Archives of Literary and Cultural History (or what my good personal pal, Tim "I don't know who Meredith Vieira is either" Berners-Lee, called the World Wide Web) tells me that Captain Marvel debuted in 1940, the same year Fantasia, Elmer Fudd, Truth or Consequences, and McDonald's first appeared. (Don't tell me that 1940 wasn't a year of important cultural firsts!). But the phrase "holy moley" dates from well before that! (Sorry, Cap, you didn't invent just popularized it.) Here's an example from the novel Running It Off by Nat Gould (the original Dick Francis), published in 1892:

Ah! That fits in perfectly with the Big Red Cheese's usage of "holy moley" as an expression of shock, surprise, and astonishment, as in "Holy Moley! Mister Mind has eaten all my delicious cabbage leaves! That fiend!" However, it's not the only way the phrase is used. Searching for spelling variants while combing literature for the phrase, we find New Legends by Hervey Allen (1929), which, despite its title, is not a tale of the heroes of The New 52, but a book of poetry:

From context (yes, this little stuffed bull can read for context, altho' I like the pictures too), moly is some sort of plant, right? (Because deer don't eat fast food.) And sure enough, our pal Wikipedia, "The Encyclopedia Where You Can Scribble in the Margins," tells us that moly (Greek: μῶλυ) is a magic herb mentioned in book ten of Homer's Odyssey:
"As he spoke he pulled the herb out of the ground an showed me what it was like. The root was black, while the flower was as white as milk; the gods call it Moly, and mortal men cannot uproot it, but the gods can do whatever they like.
Yes, the gods can do whatever they like? Isn't that right, Hercules?

Panel from Hercules: Prince of Power v.1 #1 (September 1982), script, pencils, and inks by Bob Layton; colors by Christie Scheele; letters by Rick Parker

Oh, that Herc. Never fails to crack us all up. You go, Prince of Power!

Unfortunately, while I've got acres of comic books, but I don't have a copy of The Odyssey. Unless...wait...yes!

Cover of Classics Illustrated #81 [The Odyssey] (March 1951), painted cover by Alex Blum

Classics Illustrated! Once again, as in The Adventure of the Overdue Book Report, you totally save my bacon. Now let's look at The Odyssey, which is filled with cool gory pictures like these:

Panels from Classics Illustrated #81 [The Odyssey] (March 1951), pencils by Harley Griffiths

As the Greeks would have it (and didn't the Greeks have it!), the sorceress Circe

Page from The Eternals #3 (September 1976), script and pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by John Verpoorten, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by John Costanza

...yes, yes, the same one that was named Sersi in the Marvel Universe by Jack Kirby...Circe turned all the men of Odysseus's ship into pigs. Well, it gets boring on those Greek islands, what else are ya gonna do for fun?

Luckily, The Golden Age Flash Hermes gave Odysseus/Ulysses/Molasses a "talisman" or, as Smilin' Al Kanter tells us in the footnote, a lucky charm. Pausing only to ward off a leprechaun and some cereal-deprived young urchins, Odysseus was able to sneak into the Palace of Circe (in the original Greek: cirque du palais) and safely face off against the sorceress in the thirty-three-part multi-title summer crossover event named War of the Gods castle.

That magic charm? Not a rabbit's foot, not a double-sided coin, not plane nor bird nor even frog: t'was moly, ancient herb of the gods! In other words...ahem...holy moly.

(may not be actual moly)

So, is this true, Captain Marvel?

Panels from "The Devil and Captain Marvel" in World's Finest #254 (January 1979), script by E. Nelson Bridwell, pencils by Don Newton, inks by Kurt Schaffenberger, colors by Adrienne Roy, letters by Shelly Leferman

Moly, the wonder plant! Plant of the gods! Plant of mythology! Plant of...heroes!

Huh! It can't be picked by Hercules. But I thought the gods could do whatever they like? Hercules really can't pick it? 'Zat true, Herc?

Panel from Incredible Hercules #113 (February 2008), script by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente, pencils by Khoi Pham, inks by Paul Neary, colors by Stephane Peru, letters by Joe Caramagna

Hercules...a liar? Can that be true?!?

Panel from Sandman Special one-shot (1991), script by Neil Gaiman, pencils by Bryan Talbot, inks by Mark Buckingham, colors by Daniel Vozzo, letters by Todd Klein

So...Moly! To sorceressessessessesses, it's like garlic is to vampires! Except you can't put it on your pizza. Moly! Is there anything it can't do?

Oh, it is like vampires and garlic! And apparently, like capes. Any last words, Homer?

You have no idea.

ADDITION on September 2, 2012:

One of Comics Oughta Be Fun's most faithful commenters, SallyP, points out that Erasmus Fry uses moly to capture the muse Callipe in Sandman #17. (I didn't remember that! Thanks, Sally!)

Panels from Sandman v.2 #17 (July 1990), script by Neil Gaiman, pencils by Kelley Jones, inks by Malcolm Jones III, colors by Robbie Busch, letters by Todd Klein

366 Days with Alfred Pennyworth, Day 243

Panels from Batman: Shadow of the Bat #46 (January 1996), script by Alan Grant, pencils by Tommy Lee Edwards, inks by Ray McCarthy, colors by Pamela Rambo, color separations by Android Images, letters by Bill Oakley

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Say, what wacky place are you hanging out today, Archie Andrews?

Panel from Archie's Rival Reggie #1 (1949), pencils and inks by George Frese (?)

366 Days with Alfred Pennyworth, Day 242

Panels from "Batman's Greatest Thrills!" in Batman #87 (October 1954), script by Bill Woolfolk , pencils by Bob Kane, inks by Stan Kaye, letters by Pat Gordon

Today in Comics History, August 29: Happy birthday, Mr. Mastermind!

from The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera #3 [Flintstones Visit the Laff-a-Lympics] (Marvel, Summer 1978), script by Mark Evanier; art by Scott Shaw!; Dan Spiegle, Frank Smith, Owen Fitzgerald, Tony Strobl, Pete Alvarado, Paul Norris and Joe Prince; colors by Carl Gafford; letters by D. Bruce Berry

Captain Caveman? Scooby-Doo? Dynomutt?!? Say, just what the Sam Scratch is goin' on here anyway? Why, it's nothing less than Crisis on Hanna-Barbera Earths! (Check out some more panels from this modern classic on convoluted continuity by clickin' this link!)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Today in Comics History, August 28: Happy birthday, Jack Kirby: The King of Comics! (2012)

KIRBY! Jack Kirby, that is...not that little bubble guy who floats around in video games. We all know that, in mythical pantheons, Kirby, alongside Clapton, is God...

Panels from Fantastic Four #511 (May 2004), script by Mark Waid, pencils by Mike Wieringo, inks by Karl Kesel, colors by Paul Mounts, letters by Randy Gentile

...but did you know that Kirby exists simultaneously in all universes? No? Well, here's one instance of Cross-Dimension Kirby from Earth-B (for Bongo), sub-dimension-RM: the world of Bart Simpson's favorite comic book hero, Radioactive Man!

Pages from Radioactive Man #197/#9 (November 2004), script and layouts by Batton Lash, pencils by Dan DeCarlo, inks by Mike Royer, colors by Chris Ungar and Kane, letters by Karen Bates

So in celebration of the King's 95th birthday, let's take a look at what you can find in just one, one of his comic books: Mister Miracle #6! It all starts out with a bang—literally—and the greatest escape stunt of them all! Why, this book has more action in the first three pages than most modern comic books have an in entire six-issue arc! Yes, I'm lookin' at you, Justice League.

Panels from Mister Miracle v.1 #6 (February 1972), script and pencils by Jack Kirby, inks and letters by Mike Royer

Well else does this comic feature? Why, it's got the va-va-va-voomy Big Barda. Taking a Big Bath! With Big Bubbles! And, probably, a big rubber ducky.

And it's got this superbaddy—the butt-ugly not-a-supermodel Mad Harriet! (One-half of the team completed by Dirty Lariat!)

It's got a hard-hitting, head-kicking, stomach-punting, gut-skoking foot-womping action-thribbled fight sequence!

What, one bad guy isn't enough for you? Here, have four...they're cheap!

And just for good measure, it's got a sarcastic satire of Jack's old bosses!

It ends on a solemn vow for even more action and adventure in the following ish!

Now how much would you pay? Why, this kirbucopia of, eloquence, energy, and elephants excitement will run you... a mere two bits!

In conclusion, Kirby.

What? You want one more example of how all-powerful the King is? Okay, you asked fer it...

So powerful he can pull characters right out of the comic book and into his own reality. Of all other comic book creators, only Grant Morrison has also been able to do this, and he did it with the help of pharmaceuticals.

Panels from "Satan Wears a Swastika*" in Boy Commandos #1 (Winter 1942), script and pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe SImon, letters by Howard Ferguson

So...please join me in declaring: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KING KIRBY!

Kirby, won't you?


366 Days with Alfred Pennyworth, Day 241

Page from "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?" in Batman #686 (April 2009), script by Neil Gaiman, pencils by Andy Kubert, inks by Scott Williams, colors by Alex Sinclair, letters by Jared K. Fletcher

This post is for pal Brian, who's been requesting this scene since January!