Saturday, June 01, 2013

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 152: Up and Atom

House ad for The Atom #32 (August-September 1967); printed in Detective Comics #365 (July 1967)
Comic cover art: pencils by Gil Kane, inks by Murphy Anderson, colors by Jack Adler (?), letters by Ira Schnapp
Ad designed and lettered by Ira Schnapp

Today in Comics History, June 1: Superman is remarkably tactless when inviting Lois to his and Lana's wedding

from "The Superman Calendar" in Action Comics #212 (DC, January 1956), pencils and inks by Al Plastino

Bear Attack! Month, Day 1: The Mightiest Beaver of Them All

As we all know, bears, while they have probably never kicked anyone in the crotch in comic books, still totally kick ass. Even tho' they have never gotten their own series, bears attacking is one of the most common tropes of comic books both yesterday and today. Yes, even in Legion of Super-Heroes! (See Legion of Super-Heroes v.2 #289, "Ultra Boy Wrestles the Giant Space-Bear of Oxyon-Prime!")

That's why I've decided to devote the entire month of June, the month in which a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of love and marriage, to Bear Attacks! Each and every day you'll see a four-color bear lunging at you from out of the page, so bloodthirsty and vicious you could swear he's gonna tear your throat right freakin' out. In fact, it would be better to just put down the comic book and walk away quickly to avoid the Bear Attack! Leave that to the professionals, like me, as I proudly present Bear Attack! Month!

Panels from "Bring In Pow-Wow Smith Dead!" in Detective Comics (1937 series) #198 (August 1953),
pencils and inks by Leonard Starr

Friday, May 31, 2013

Bully's Sketchbook: Chris Haley

So, this year on Free Comic Book Day the finest day of the year bar none!), I ordered some prints from pal Chris Haley 'coz I love his stuff. (And I really miss Curt Franklin and Chris's "Let's Be Friends Again" webcomic!) So now I have some beautiful prints of Kitty Pryde and Batman and the Avengers to hang on my walls. I NEED TO GET MORE FRAMES. Also, you oughta order some of his fine prints for yourself from his shop. This is your only warning.

Anyway, my point (and I do have one), is that Chris, kind gent that he is, was also offering sketches for commission. So of course I ordered one of my favorite character Ben Grimm Hank McCoy Keira Knightley me, your friendly neighborhood little stuffed bull. And Curt drew me and rocked my world!

This is so cool! I look so suave and debonair. Thanks,'re the greatest!

While I'm on the subject of Mister C. Haley, I want to also tell you that you oughta follow Chris's Tumblr because he posts lots of cool stuff including his own artwork. Don't tell me I never warned you!

Today in Comics History, May 31: Gandalf attends his first rock concert

from The Unwritten #40 (DC/Vertigo, October 2012); plot, pencils, and inks by Peter Gross; script by Mike Carey; colors by Chris Chuckry; letters by Todd Klein

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 151: Doom doom doom doom doom, doom doom do DOOM, DOOM doom do-doom, DOOM do-doom doom doooom, doom doom dooom, do-do-DOOOM!

House ad for Showcase #94 (August-September 1977); printed in World's Finest Comics #246 (August-September 1977)

I know that most fans are aware of the coincidence of a team of super-powered misfits headed by a wheelchair-bound leader debuting at both Marvel (The X-Men) and DC (The Doom Patrol) within a handful of months of each other...

Left: Cover of The [Uncanny] X-Men #1 (1963 series) (September 1963); pencils by Jack Kirby; inks by Paul Reinman, Sol Brodsky, or Frank Giacoia (?), colors by Stan Goldberg, letters by Artie Simek
Right: Cover of My Greatest Adventure (1955 series) #80 [The Doom Patrol] (June 1963), pencils and inks by Bruno Premiani, letters by Joe Letterese

...but has anybody commented that both made their return as "all-new" and "all-different" in issues numbered 94?

Left: Cover of The [Uncanny] X-Men #94 (1963 series) (August 1975); pencils by Gil Kane, inks by Dave Cockrum, letters by Dan Crespi
Right: Cover of Showcase (1956 series) #94 [The Doom Patrol] (August-September 1977), pencils and inks by Jim Aparo

The mind, she boggles.

Today in Comics History, May 31, 1996: The Avengers franchise just throws its hands up in the air and says "Oh, screw it."

from Avengers #400 (July 1996), script by Mark Waid, breakdowns by Mike Wieringo, finishes by Tom Palmer, colors by John Kalisz, letters by Bill Oakley

Kick in the Crotch Month, Day 31: I find it hard to believe that was really Daredevil's message

And so here we are at the end of Kick in the Crotch Month, and here's the sequence that inspired me to start clippin' and savin' crotch kick panels:

Panels from New Avengers v.1 #27 (April 2007), script by Brian Michael Bendis, pencils and inks by Leinil Francis Yu, colors by Dave McCaig, letters by Richard Starkings and Albert Deschesne

Oh my dear. For a sequence leading into one of the biggest turning points of the recent history of the Marvel Universe, this is just awful. Would Matt Murdock actually say that? Could the dialogue be any sillier? And why sully my favorite Marvel sound effect with that panel? Eeek! Why, it's as if Brian Bendis was actually trying to kick us in the crotch through the medium of a comic book. OW MY SENSIBILITIES

Tomorrow! When animals attack! and they don't kick people in the crotch either.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

#HowDoesHeShave? #AndIsHeAVampire?

So, let's talk about a close shave.

No, no, not that one, but the Superbaby-bottom-smooth shave that Clark Kent generally sports. Which brings us to that never-ending question about Superman: how does he shave? Well, it appears that Gillette Razors, manufacturers of the official tie-in razor blade* to this summer's sure-to-be-blockbuster** have an answer to this perplexing question which has boggled the mind of each and every Superman fan since 1938 nosy-nosy Lois Lane, who, you gotta admit, was not always running on full pistons. If you're so darned certain that Clark Kent is Superman, why not just jab him with a hatpin? But I digress merely to make fun of pre-Crisis Lois, and darn fun it was, too.

So, how does he shave? Actually, Gillette has taken out that very same phrase as a URL, which will lead you to their YouTube page (who says this isn't the Ginormous Gillette Age of Social Media?) to suggest not one, not three, but, much like the ersatz Supermen... Supermans?... in "Reign of the Supermen" (ah!), they give us four possible solutions to the Kryptonite-edged five-bladed sharp problem at hand, er, such science notables as Bill Nye (a science guy), famed actress and noted neuroscientist*** Mayim Bialek, Mythbusters Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, and some guy who thinks he knows something about Superman named Kevin Smith. But on my blog, he doesn't get bold HTML and he doesn't get his video featured. If you want to see it (or any of the others), scoot on over to that Gillette YouTube site. But it's my blog and I'm gonna spotlight Adam and Jamie. (Sorry Kari.)

Now, let's get this out of the way first, okay? As any fanbull would tell you right off the bat, this is how Superman shaves.

Panels from Man of Steel #4 (November 1986), script and pencils by John Byrne, inks by Dick Giordano, colors by Tom Ziuko, letters by John Costanza

So, the answer to that question is, he shaves with his eyes wide open, in about ten minutes, with Lois in the other room.

Panel from The Adventures of Superman #561 (September 1998), plot by Karl Kesel, script by Jerry Ordway, pencils by Tom Grummett, inks by Denis Rodier, colors by Glenn Whitmore, color separations by Digital Chameleon, letters by Albert DeGuzman

Say, have you ever smelt hair burning? It is not a good smell. Let's let Lois clue us into Clark's grooming habits and why they require a well-ventilated bathroom:

Panel from Action Comics #765 (1938 series) (May 2000), script by Joe Kelly, pencils by Kano, inks by Marlo Alquiza, colors by Glenn Whitmore, color separations by Wildstorm FX, letters by Richard Starkings

Now, to be fair to our favorite L.L., that ain't the real Ms. Lane right there. That is one of Superman's arch-enemies, The Parasite, the evil power-sucker who bores into Superman's intestines and lives off the nutrients in his blood stream absorbs superhuman energy and who apparently at this point was heavily into Lois Lane cosplay. Man, that's got to be tough for Clark, huh? Sleeping with the Parasite? I think he's got more worries than just the smell of his burning other-worldly beard.

Yep, you don't tug on Superman's cape, and you can't cut his hair:

Cover of Superman (1939 series) #38 (January-February 1946), pencils by Jack Burnley, inks by George Roussos

And yes, sharp-eyed readers: that is a copy of Batman that Supes is reading as he relaxes in the chair of that baffled barber!

Cover of Batman (1940 series) #32 (December 1945-January 1946), pencils and inks by Dick Sprang, letters by Ira Schnapp

The "I can't cut Superman's hair" trope has been revisited so many times that there was probably an entire episode devoted to it on Smallville. Here's Lana Lang trying the same thing. Say, I call shenanigans on Lana having enough physical hand strength to snap the blade off a pair of scissors. And even if she could, she oughta be wearing safety goggles. That thing'll put your eye out, Lana!

Cover of Superboy (1949 series) #63 (March 1958), pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Stan Kaye

Yes, even though Lana is trying to cut Superboy's under what seems to be the light of a red dying star but is actually just her "QT Tan-at-Home" sunlamp, she keeps on breaking her mom's scissors. Check out that sideways grip she's got on the shears. I absolutely call shenanigans on her breaking them. Jonathan Kent had a great thing going on at his general store with those scissors made out of crackers, didn't he?

Panel from "The Two Boys of Steel" in Superboy (1949 series) #63 (March 1958), script by Jerry Coleman, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Stan Kaye

So, there, we've settled it. Nobody can shave or cut Superman's hair, not nobody, not even...

Cover of Jimmy Olsen #110 (April 1968), pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Neal Adams (!), letters by Gaspar Saladino


But now Jimmy, the self-described Mr. Action (not to be confused with Mr. Adventure, Mr. Showcase and Mr. Limited Collector's Edition or Mr. Famous First Edition), is doing the impossible: he's trimming Superman's hair! (Also impossible: that DC/National is so up to date that can can actually publish the cover of what's happening right now.) How, we ask, how can one of the Superman supporting cast members, especially the lovable but dorky Jimmy, be doing such a task? Well, for the answer, let's check in with Jimmy Olsen's Pen Pals.

No, no, I'm not kidding! Because it actually is a fan letter that leads to the answer posed on the cover...

Splash panel from "The Menace of Superman's Fan Mail!" by Jimmy Olsen #110 (April 1968), script by Otto Binder, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by John Giunta (?)

The answer is No, Jimmy cannot cut Superman's hair. Wha...What? Holy cow...I call shenanigans on that entire cover premise! Ah, Silver Age, you lie to us more often than Lindsay Lohan! And without the delight of your remake of The Parent Trap!

So, we've pretty much figured out that none of Superman's supporting cast can cut his super-hair...

Cover of Lois Lane #98 (January 1970), pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Murphy Anderson, letters by Gaspar Saladino


So, let's pretend that Lois Lane isn't a professional journalist with a full-time job and that Perry has assigned her to—hee hee hee!—go undercover as an actress—ha, ha, ha!—in an amateur production of Samson and Delilah—haw haw haw haw!—and they cast Superman as Samson and BWAW-HA-HA-HA-HA!

Panels from "I Betrayed Superman" in Lois Lane #98 (January 1970), script by Robert Kanigher, pencils by Irv Novick, inks by Mike Esposito

Thus ends the 32-year career of America's most popular action hero when he loses his powers in this issue of Lois Lane. It was an odd way to finish the story of Superman, but hey, they learned their lesson and they never capriciously killed off a popular character ever again in a modern issue of a comic book other than their own. (Meow.)

Oh, wait...turns out that wasn't Superman but some guy wearing one of those cool Mission: Impossible-style rubber masks that are completely lifelike and can fool someone who has been around that person for many years. As Steve Lombard from the front row says: "HA-HA-HA!".

So, that happened.

Just for fun, it occurred to me that it would be interesting to see if the reason it's so hard to shave Superman is that he's a vampire and therefore he can't see himself in a mirror. Hey, it's the DC Universe: it could happen!

Panels from Action Comics (1938 series) #1 (1987), script by John Byrne, pencils by Arthur Adams, inks by Dick Giordano, colors by Petra Scotese, letters by Albert DeGuzman

Then, Batman stabs the vampire through the heart with his Bat-Steak Stake. So Superman doesn't become a vampire after all in this story.

Okay then, let's try this one then.

Cover and panels from Superman (1987 series) #180 (May 2002). Cover: pencils by Ed McGuinness, inks by Cam Smith, colors by Richard Horie and Tanya Horie. Interior panels: script and co-plot by Geoff Johns, co-plot by Jeph Loeb, pencils by Ian Churchill, inks by Norm Rapmund, colors by Richard Horie and Tanya Horie, letters by Richard Starkings

Huh. Well, that's not gone right, vampirically-speaking. So maybe the reason Superman has problems shaving is not due to him becoming a vampire...

Panel from Superman (1987 series) #70 (August 1992), script and pencils by Dan Jurgens, inks by Brett Breeding, colors by Glenn Whitmore, letters by John Costanza

Panels from Superman: The Man of Steel #14 (August 1992), script by Louise Simonson, pencils by Jon Bogdanove, inks by Dennis Janke, colors by Glenn Whitmore, letters by\ Bill Oakley

Yeah, that's not gettin' us anywhere.

Well, regardless of which explanation Gillette eventually comes up with, I think we can all agree that Superman does have problems shaving. Good thing he's out to save us all instead of, I got nuthin'.

Okay, one last try. Maybe Superman's stubborn beard shears off when he flies so freakin' fast that he breaks the sound barrier.

Yep, that's my explanation and I'm stickin' to it.

*This may not be entirely true.
**This also be not entirely be absolutely true.
***This is absolutely, awesomely 100% true.

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 150: Nothing you can say can tear me away

House ad for Guy Gardner #1 (October 1992); printed in The Heckler #2 (October 1992)
As art: pencils by Joe Staton, inks by Terry Beatty,

Kick in the Crotch Month, Day 30: Sweet Valley High has taken a sinister turn

Panel from "Reflection in a Glass Scorpion, Chapter Two" in Evil Eye #2 (October 1998); script, pencils, inks and letters by Richard Sala

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lois wanted to kill another dog.

You may remember this: that time when Lois killed a dog:

Panels from "Lois Lane's Kiss of Death!" in Lois Lane #7 (February 1959), script by Robert Bernstein, pencils and inks by Kurt Schaffenberger

Well, just to prove she hasn't learned her lesson, tonight we present: Lois can't get enough of the dog-killing.

Panels from "The Case of the Kidnapped Canines" in Superman Family #210 (September 1981), script by Gerry Conway, pencils by Bob Oksner, inks by Vince Colletta, colors by Adrienne Roy, letters by Ben Oda

Geez, Lois, get some therapy!

Yes, truly, this was The Greatest Lois Lane Story Ever.

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 149: A Real American Hero

House ad for Showcase [G.I. Joe] #53 (November-December 1964); printed in Batman #168 (December 1964)
Ad designed and lettered by Ira Schnapp

Holy cow, this is a gorgeous cover by Kubert:

Cover of Showcase #53 (November-December 1964), pencils and inks by Joe Kubert, letters by Ira Schnapp

War! What is it good for? Well, great-looking comic books. Other than that, absolutely nothin'.

Kick in the Crotch Month, Day 29: Just because you're a chain-smoker doesn't mean you can't win in a physical fight

Panels from Transmetropolitan #2 (October 1997), script by Warren Ellis, pencils by Darick Robertson, inks by Keith Aiken, colors by Nathan Eyring, letters by Clem Robins

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I have found the very first DC/Marvel crossover!

Hey, remember that time when the Sub-Mariner appeared in a DC/National book by kind permission of Timely Comics? When Batman and Robin teamed up with Prince Namor?

Panels from "The Mystery of the Winged People!" in Batman #61 (October-November 1950), script by Bill Finger, pencils by Dick Sprang, inks by Charles Paris, letters by Ira Schnapp

Naw, me neither. But we can dream, can't we?

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 148: Maybe you shouldn't make me think of those words in conjunction with those initials, DC

House ad for DC Comics (1966); printed in Detective Comics #354 (August 1966)
Art art by unknown; ad designed and lettered by Ira Schnapp

Kick in the Crotch Month, Day 28: Meanwhile, inside Quentin Tarantino's brain...

Panels from 100 Bullets #18 (January 2001), script by Brian Azzarello, pencils and inks by Eduardo Risso, colors by Patricia Mulvihill, color separations by Digital Chameleon, letters by Clem Robins

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

This is an expanded and updated version of a post originally published Memorial Day, 2010.

Thor #343
Thor #343
Thor #343
Thor #343

They laid him in his ship,
With horse and harness,
As on a funeral pyre.
Odin placed
A ring upon his finger,
And whispered in his ear.

Thor #343
They launched the burning ship!
It floated far away
Over the misty sea,
Till like the sun it seemed,
Sinking beneath the waves.
Balder returned no more!

Thor #343
So perish the old Gods!
But out of the sea of Time
Rises a new land of song,
Fairer than the old.
Over its meadows green
Walk the young bards and sing.
     —from "Tegner's Drapa" by Henry Wordsworth Longfellow

from Thor #343 (Marvel, May 1984), script, pencils, and inks by Walter Simonson;
colors by Christie Scheele; letters by John Workman