Saturday, April 27, 2013

Psylocke Psaturday #13: Welcome to being written by Claremont, Psylocke...hope you survive the experience

At last, a decade after her first appearance in Marvel UK comics, Betsy crosses the pond to pop up in her very first Marvel USA book: New Mutants Annual #2 (and not, as we might expect, a Daredevil annual). In this comic, I'm sure she'll be a strong, forceful, solid role model figure who won't ever get victimized or refrigeratored or have anything horrible happen to her mentally or physically ever again...

Oh shoot. She's now being written by Chris Claremont. So sorry, Miss Braddock. So very sorry.

Page from New Mutants Annual #2 (1986), script by Chris Claremont, pencils and inks by Alan Davis, colors by Glynis Oliver, letters by Tom Orzechowski

OH DEAR GOOD GOLLY MISS BETSY! As a former fashion model, surely you should realize that a red and blue skisuit clashes horribly with purple hair. Why, you'd have to be blind to...oh. Wait. Yeah. Sorry. (Seriously: Daredevil Annual. Woulda been a great crossover.) Anyway, Betsy is being attacked... Iceman! (or maybe, Crystal.)

Actually, no: she's been kidnapped by Mojo long before we all got seriously tired of him. Mojo is another of those characters you might think Claremont created because he became so identified with the X-Universe, but Mojo was actually created by Ann Nocenti and Art Adams in the Longshot limited series. Most recently, Ann Nocenti has scripted issues of the New 52's Green Arrow and Katana, but you may also know her from many fine issues of Daredevil, Marvel Comics Presents, Classic X-Men, and of course we all know that she's on the cover of the final issue of Spider-Woman:

Cover of Spider-Woman v.1 #50 (June 1983), photograph by Eliot Brown, touch-ups by Bob Larkin

Yes, that is indeed a photograph of Ann Tigra!

And that is by far not the strangest cameo of Ann Nocenti in a Marvel comic book. There's this one:

Panels from Avengers v.1 #215 (January 1982), script by Jim Shooter, pencils by Alan Weiss, inks by Dan Green, colors by Christie Scheele, letters by Joe Rosen

And that portrayal is why Ann Nocenti punched Jim Shooter in the face.

We love you, Ann! But this feature is not titled "Ann Nocenti Nsaturdays," so let's get back to Betsy Braddock. And she's been kidnapped by, before our long digression, Mojo, the only Marvel supervillain who has a UK music magazine named after him! (If you don't count Captain America's frequent nemesis NME.)

Say, have you ever wondered when Betsy first got the name "Psylocke" and who gave it to her?

Yep: Betsy was named Psylocke by the hideous blob creature who kidnapped, physically violated and mind-enslaved her. You know...I'm pretty sure I'd drop that name as soon as possible after I got back to the real world. Then again, I am not a Chris Claremont character. This little stuffed bull has rarely never worn spiked heels, frilly garters or a velvet collar.

Mojo also gave Betsy back her vision by implanting bionic eyes. It's nice to see Betsy with her baby blues again. Unless it's written by Claremont, in which case it's FREAKY AND CREEPY.

Besides the debut of Psylocke, this Very Special Issue™ also contains the first-ever appearance of Jubilee! Wow, she really changed from her debut, didn't she?

A-ha-ha-ha! I have pulled a little trick on you. While this is the first appearance of a Jubilee in the Marvel Universe, t'aint "our" Chinese-American mallrat yellow-raincoat-wearing teenage vampire Jubilee. This is, in fact, Claremont using another Nocenti/Adams creation from Longshot, Darla of the Bratpack (not to be confused with Rick Veitch's Brat Pack, thank heavens for my gentle sensibilities).

Panels from Longshot #4 (December 1985), script by Ann Nocenti, pencils by Art Adams, inks by Whilce Portacio, colors by Christie Scheele, letters by Joe Rosen Script:

The Bratpack were thinly disguised members of the Little Rascals/Our Gang who befriended Longshot when he landed on Earth. Yep, there was even an Alfalfa:

Meanwhile, just in case you had forgotten this comic was written by Chris Claremont, suddenly: Evil Lingerie Psylocke! That is, Psylocke is evil, not the lingerie. Unless it is evil alien lingerie from the same place that the Venom symbiote came from. (!!!) Hey, Marvel, have I got a crossover concept for you!

And, the moment every Marvel fanboy has been waiting for...Naked Psylocke! And a teen-age boy. Oh ick Mister claremont make it stop make it stop

And so, Betsy comes to stay with the New Mutants at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters, where she will have to learn to think in lengthy, stilted inner monologues. Tom Orzechowski's children's college fund thanks you, Betsy.

Dressed in a très unfashionable lime-green Laura Ashley princess gown, Betsy Braddock, the newly-named Psylocke, has joined the New Mutants, and will be a continuing and regular cast member for many years to come!

Next time: Betsy dumps those loser New Mutants and joins the X-Men.

This week's Psylocke Psurveillance Psummary:
  • Hair: Actually a lot more lavender than purple.
  • Eyes: Baby-blue 'n' bionic.
  • Outfit: Averages out to about .65 of an outfit across the entire issue.
  • Being allegorically stuffed in the refrigerator count: Two and rising.

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 117

House ad for Sugar and Spike #1 (April-May 1956); printed in Showcase #2 (May-June 1956)
Comic cover and ad art: pencils and inks by Sheldon Mayer
Ad designed and lettered by Ira Schnapp

Today in Comics History, April 27: Parker is surprisingly tactless in his condolences to Edgars' mom

from Richard Stark's Parker: The Score (IDW, July 2012); adapted from the novel by Richard Stark; script, pencils, inks, color, and letters by Darwyn Cooke


Friday, April 26, 2013

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 116

House ad for the "3 Girls" series premiering in Heart Throbs #102 (June-July 1966); printed in Secret Hearts #112 (June 1966)

Ad art by Jim Pike; ad designed and lettered by Ira Schnapp

Cover of Heart Throbs #102 (June-July 1966), pencils by Jay Scott Pike, letters by Ira Schnapp

"3 Girls" was a rare experiment to introduce a running serial story to one of DC's romance comics. It lasted 22 episodes, through Heart Throbs #123, just making it into the seventies. There is no truth to the rumor that Sandy, Chris, and Marian have formed a bounty hunter organization and are now hunting super-criminals in the New 52.

Also, Sandy Simms is no relations to Chris Sims, dagnabbit.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 115

House ad for House of Mystery, Teen Titans, Mystery in Space and All-American Men of War (1966); printed in Detective Comics #350 (April 1966)

Ad designed and lettered by Ira Schnapp

Today in Comics History, April 25: Holiday Inn's new "Creepy Wake-Up Call" is not a success

from Richard Stark's Parker: The Score (IDW, July 2012); adapted from the novel by Richard Stark; script, pencils, inks, color, and letters by Darwyn Cooke

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hey, where's Bully?

Hey, where'd I go all this week? Why, I'm at the Tribeca Film Festival with my pals John and Steve, seeing all the cool new movies coming out this year that you're gonna wanna see (if you like something other than Hollywood blockbusters, that is.) You can check for Steve's reviews and John's (as soon as he gets around to finishing them) right over at the Unseen Films blog! And regular posting should begin again next week. See you at the movies!

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 114

House ad for The Atom #1 (June-July 1962); printed in Batman #148 (June 1962)
Comic cover art: pencils by Gil Kane, inks by Murphy Anderson, letters by Ira Schnapp
Ad designed and lettered by Ira Schnapp

Today in Comics History, April 24, 19XX: Reese Witherspoon's permanent record proves to be surprisingly incendiary

from Batgirl (2000 series) #12 (March 2001), script by Chuck Dixon, pencils by Dale Eaglesham, inks by Andrew Hennessey, colors by Jason Wright, color separations by Jamison, letters by John Costanza

Today in Comics History, April 24: The pilot for Airwolf '64 is not picked up for series

from Richard Stark's Parker: The Score (IDW, July 2012); adapted from the novel by Richard Stark; script, pencils, inks, color, and letters by Darwyn Cooke

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Today in Comics History, April 23: At last the bacon truck has arrived

from Richard Stark's Parker: The Score (IDW, July 2012); adapted from the novel by Richard Stark; script, pencils, inks, color, and letters by Darwyn Cooke

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 113

House ad for The Flash v.1 #145 and Hawkman v.1 #2 (both June 1964); printed in Detective Comics #328 (June 1964)
Comic cover art: Flash #145: pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Murphy Anderson, letters by Ira Schnapp
Hawkman #2: pencils and inks by Murphy Anderson, letters by Ira Schnapp

Ad designed and lettered by Ira Schnapp

Today in Comics History: Bruce Wayne celebrates Shakespeare's birthday by accidentally going to Spain

Panels from Batman in Barcelona: Dragon's Knight one-shot (July 2009), script by Mark Waid, pencils and inks by Diego Olmos, colors by Marta Martinez, letters by Steve Wands

Today in Comics History, April 23: Jimmy Olsen finishes up the notes for his Lex Luthor fan fiction

from Action Comics #654 (DC, June 1990), script by Roger Stern, pencils by Bob McLeod, inks by Brett Breeding, colors by Glenn Whitmore, letters by Bill Oakley

Monday, April 22, 2013

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 112

One of my favorite DC House Ads of them all:

House ad for DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest and Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digest (1984); printed in World's Finest Comics #308 (October 1984)

Artwork adapted from the cover of The Best of DC #49:

Cover of The Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digest #49 (June 1984), pencils and inks by Jim Engel and Chuck Fiala

Ad lettered by Gaspar Saladino. Superman figure by Curt Swan and Dave Hunt (?)

Say, who's that red fuzzy character in the balloon?

Today in Comics History, April 22: Speech balloons gradually become opaque

from Love and Capes: What to Expect #1 (IDW, August 2012); script, pencils, inks, colors and lettering by Thom Zahler

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Ten of a Kind: Going to a Go-Go

Wow, I shoulda done this post a few weeks ago when I was running Go-Go Checks Week, shouldn't I have?

The theme, if you haven't got it by now, is Go-Go Checks Covers, but ones other than those published by DC Comics in the mid-sixties. In other words...Go-Go Homages! They're often used in a fashion to indicate or imitate a retro look (see Big Bang Comics and Radioactive Man). Marvel Comics published Assistant Editor's Month comics with Go-Go Checks topping them (Iron Man and Conan among them). Periodically they're even used just to indicate a story that takes place in that groovy time period itself (Animal Man).

Here's a few other covers that feature Go-Go Checks of a sort, but are definitely not intentional parodies...but I like 'em all the same, and it's my blog, so there.

How popular are Go-Go Checks? So popular that Ambush Bug has a nemesis designed and named after them.

Panels from Ambush Bug: Year None #1 (September 2008), plot and pencils by Keith Giffen, script by Robert Loren Fleming, inks by Al Milgrom, colors by Guy Major, letters by Pat Brosseau

So popular that even Doctor, I mean, the Superior Spider-Man, has decorated his lair with them!

Panel from The Avenging Spider-Man #15.1 (February 2013), script by Chris Yost, pencils by Paco Medina, inks by Juan Vlasco, colors by Dave Curiel, letters by Joe Caramagna

Bur by far my favorite homage to Go-Go Checks appears in the annual-size wrap-up to DC's 2000 special event Silver Age:

Cover of Silver Age 80-Page Giant one-shot (July 2000), pencils by Alan Davis, inks by Mark Farmer, colors by Lee Loughridge

Nope, there's no Go-Go checks along the top edge of this comic book, but check out the all-new, all-different superheroes charging right at us. Notice the one in black-and-white? What's his story, huh? Why, it's quite simple:

Panel from Silver Age 80-Page Giant one-shot (July 2000), script by Mark Waid, pencils and inks by Eduardo Barreto, colors by Glenn Whitmore, color separations by Digital Chameleon, letters by Kurt Hathaway

Why, that's SPOILER WARNING!!! none other than the Martian Manhunter using Robbie Reed's "Dial H for Hero" dial to become, like the rest of the Justice League, a new and different superhero, one that' not under the thrall of the Injustice League. In this case, J'onn's become...Go-Go!

And after the story ended, Go-Go was never seen again. Can his debut in the New 52 be far off?*

Credit where credit is due dept: Many of these covers were suggested by pal "Mighty" Mike Sterling, the uncontested King of Free Comic Book Day! G'wan, stop by his blog Progressive Ruin and tell him Bully, the Little Stuffed Bull Who Mike Often Refers To as A Little Stuffed Bull, sent ya!

(More Ten of a Kind here.)