Saturday, August 17, 2013

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 229: He's also been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king

House ad for Alan Moore's run on The Saga of the Swamp Thing (1984); printed in World's Finest Comics #304 (June 1984)
Ad art: pencils by Stephen R. Bissette, inks by John Totleben
Ad designed and lettered by Gaspar Saladino (?)

Here's one of my favorite Bissette/Totleben covers from that run, coincidentally from the same month as the ad:

Cover of Saga of the Swamp Thing #25 (June 1984), pencils by Stephen R. Bissette, inks by John Totleben,
colors by Tatjana Wood (?)

Today in Comics History, August 17: Even master criminals cannot figure out who killed the chauffeur in The Big Sleep

from "The Diary of a Desperado" in Adventure Comics #145 (DC, October 1949), script by Otto Binder, pencils and inks by George Papp

Friday, August 16, 2013

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 228: I don't know, but I do know why he has stripes. (Answer in the hover-text.)

House ad for Shazam! (1973 series) #7 (November 1973); printed in Secrets of Sinister House #15 (November 1973)
Comic cover art: pencils and inks by C. C. Beck
Ad designed and lettered by Gaspar Saladino

Today in Comics History, August 16: Critics praise authentic criminal slang in new how-to book

from "The Diary of a Desperado" in Adventure Comics #145 (DC, October 1949), script by Otto Binder, pencils and inks by George Papp

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Today in Comics History, August 15: Dick Grayson falls to his death

...because really, without a Bat-Rope, how are you going to pull out of that fall?

Oh, I forgot. He's a very special circus acrobat. La dee dah.

from Nightwing (2011 series) #12 (DC, October 2012), script by Kyle Higgins, pencils by Andres Guinaldo, inks by Raul Fernandez and Mark Irwin, colors by Rod Reis, letters by Dezi Sienty

Hey, Remember When That Happened?: 2013

Hey, remember that time in 2013 when civilization had fallen, New York City had been nearly razed, and mutants were either exterminated or incarcerated in concentration camps?

Panels from [Uncanny] X-Men (1963 series) #141 (January 1981), co-plot and script by Chris Claremont, co-plot and pencils by John Byrne, inks by Terry Austin, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Tom Orzechowski

You don't? Hmmm, me either. Well, year's not done yet. I imagine all the X-Men comic book will be canceled when that happens, though, so hang onto your collection for speculator purposes. Remember, according to some of the biggest mouths on the internet, everything increases in value when someone connected to it dies!

Panels from Uncanny X-Men (1963 series) #142 (February 1981), co-plot and script by Chris Claremont, co-plot and pencils by John Byrne, inks by Terry Austin, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Tom Orzechowski

And nobody ever saw the X-Men, ever again.

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 227: Everybody Hates Blackhawk

House ad for Blackhawk (1957 series) #237 (October-November 1967); printed in House of Mystery #170 (October 1967)
Comic cover art: pencils by Dick Dillin, inks by Charles Cuidera, letters by Ira Schnapp
Ad designed and lettered by Ira Schnapp

Today in Comics History, August 15, 2042: Rip Hunter begins to regret not carrying a paper and pencil

from "R. I. P." in Time Warp #1 one-shot (DC/Vertigo May 2013), script by David Lindelof, pencils and inks by Jeff Lemire, colors by Jose Villarrubia, letters by Travis Lanham

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A, U! Don't watch this!

Well, by now you may have forgotten Age of Ultron, the eleventy-three part Marvel limited series that did for Ultron, the amazing killer robot, what "Days of Future Past" did for humans. It was ten issues in which not very much at all happened except superheroes sitting around talking about the end of the world (which happened off camera) and their final dramatic fight with Ultron (which happened off camera) and how the world was changed into a dystopian civilization of the sort that superhero comics seem to revel in (which happened...well, you know the drill). Then, Wolverine got to kill himself. A lot more seemed to happen in the tie-in issues, which isn't a good sign.

Trouble with a big event comic like this is that you tend to hang along for the ride, tapping your hoof semi-patiuently through all the expository, boring bits, waiting for the big-ass final-issue fight sequence where justice prevails. Except in issue #10, we were treated to only a handful of pages of the Avengers versus Ultron...what number is he on now? Ultron-58? Ultron-106? (Hey, dude, why do you insist on naming yourself after the number of times the Avengers have already defeated you?) Just as the action starts getting good, Ultron drops dead of a robotic heart attack, vowing vengeance and daring the Avengers to bite his shiny metal ass, and the whole shebang is over with nobody getting hurt except a spare Wolverine. Oh yeah, they broke time too. I hate when that happens.

Well, hey, you pays your money and you takes your chances on yet another Brian Bendis miniseries that you can read in about twenty minutes and doesn't have a real ending. And barely has the Avengers fighting Ultron in it. I'm here to tell you that if you wanted hard-hitting, robot-ass-kicking, Avenger-assembling action you should have read a totally different comic book. I'm going to tell you all about it, because that's the kind of cool bull I am. Witness the Marvel of the Age that is an economical eight page story (plus eight pages of pin-ups): Avengers: Ultron Quest! You missed it on your local comic book store's shelves? That's because it was a giveaway freebie from Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, "the official hotel partner of Marvel’s The Avengers movie" (you have to call it that or Tony Stark will sue you) as well as the good folks who put the ham dessert in "Wyndham Hotels and Resorts," if you rearrange the letters and add a few ones that weren't there in the first place. Who says this isn't the Mighty Marvel Age of Free Little Soaps and Comic Books?

Cover of Avengers: Ultron Quest one-shot (May 2012), cover art by Ron Garney and Jason Keith

As our story opens, The Avengers are, I dunno...fighting Ultron. On the very first page it's already more Avengery than AU. Another positive: they're battling in Manhattan's Times Square, so there's an entirely likely possibility that Bubba Gump's will be destroyed.

Splash panel from Avengers: Ultron Quest one-shot (May 2012), script by Fred van Lente, pencils by Brad Walker, inks by Andrew Hennessy, colors by Bruno Hang, letters by Dave Sharpe

These Avengers don't need ten issues and various spin-offs to finish off this metallic schlemiel: in fact, Scarlett Johansson does it with a big-ass gun. The exact same way she got rid of Ryan Reynolds. Unfortunately, Ultron manages to upload his programming to the internet, where he becomes infected by cat videos and Star Wars/My Little Pony mash-ups, and thus vows to destroy humanity for all time. Based on the evidence, yeah, I kinda see his point.

Ultron's used the superior speed of his AOL dial-up connection to download his consciousness into one of four possible locations across North America, and the Avengers, in the spirit of all those old Justice Society stories, must split up into small teams to try and track him down. And in case you were wondering why Wyndham Resorts were sponsoring this comic book, it's because Tony Stark has "enough Wyndham Resort Points to get us a free room in each of those cities." You may laugh at the blatant product placement, but consider this: Tony Stark is a billionaire and you aren't. And you don't get to be a billionaire by paying the market cost for a hotel room, suckers!

Across the wide chain of Wyndham's luxurious and yet affordable resorts, the Avengers make their bases to track down Ultron. Um, as soon as they're done relaxing and having some well-earned R&R. What, you've never seen a super-hero on vacation?


Suddenly: Susan! Ultron! In all four locations! Now there's a robot who really knows how to multitask! Or, possibly, engage in his long-loved hobby of Destructive Tourism, as seen in this month's issue of National Geographic Traveler and Conqueror.

Thus the Avengers are relaxed and rested for a full-one battle. Yep, you get at no extra charge another awesome Ultron vs. Avengers fight sequence, times four! Yeah, Bendis, Fred van Lente is showin' you how it's done here!

Everybody gathers in Los Angeles for the big musical number! Say, didja notice that they stuck to the movie Avengers and thus we didn't have to see Wolverine in this story? Don't fret, though, Logan lovers. Wolverine is now appearing in a comic tie-in to his new summer hit movie, a free promotional comic book sponsored by Bartles & Jaymes, the official fruit-flavored wine cooler of The Wolverine movie. "Now that's refreshment, bub!" (snikt)

So who can we thank for the freedom of the Earth from robotic tyranny? The Avengers, of course...but also don't forget to thank Wyndham Resorts and Hotels! They're the Official Hotel of the Avengers even though they don't let the Beast stay there after he shed blue fur all over their sheets.

Yes, Avengers Assemble! In the lobby of your nearest Wyndham Resort and/or Hotel! And that's One to Grow On!

Wyndham Resorts and Hotels has not reimbursed or paid Yours Little Stuffed Truly for placement of this review. In fact, I still owe them money from eating that $18 can of cashews out of the minibar.

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 226: Yo, Joe!

House ad for DC Special #5 (October-December 1969); printed in Green Lantern #72 (October 1969)
Ad designed and lettered by Gaspar Saladino

Sadly I don't have this amazing-looking issue spotlighting the late, great Joe Kubert:

Cover of DC Special #5 (October-December 1969); pencils, inks, and cover appearance by Joe Kubert I don't know how Joe can become the world's greatest super heroes. But if it's half as wonderful as this issue of The Brave and the Bold where Jim Aparo saves Batman and Sgt. Rock by drawing their comic book...

Cover of The Brave and the Bold (1955 series) #124 (January 1976), pencils and inks by Jim Aparo

...well, then, DC Special #5 must be very special indeed.

Today in Comics History, August 14, 1938: Dr. Schrödinger gives the best or the worst birthday present

from Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #2 (DC, December 2012), script by J. Michael Straczynski, pencils and inks by Adam Hughes, colors by Laura Martin, letters by Steve Wands

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Even Perry Mason would never have stooped this low

Um, say, guys...

Panel from "Perrone and the Drug Gang" in Superman (1939 series) #8 (January-February 1941), script by Jerry Siegel, pencils and ink by Wayne Boring

...I'm pretty certain the law doesn't work like that.

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 225: Smells Like Teen Spirit

House ad for The New Teen Titans (1980 series) #1 (November 1980); printed in Batman #326 (August 1980)
Ad art is from the cover of The New Teen Titans #1, pencils by George Pérez, inks by Dick Giordano, letters by Gaspar "My Name Does Not Mean 'Little Salad'" Saladino (that joke tickled by funny bone and was provided by boisterous Bully-backer Blam!)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Comics News for August 12, 2013

1: from the "Willie the Worm" story in Fawcett's Funny Animals #2 (January 1943), scripter and artist unknown
2: from Green Lantern/Green Arrow #76 (April 1970), script by Denny O'Neil, pencils and inks by Neal Adams, letters by John Costanza
3: from the Green Arrow story "Hall of Infamy" in World's Finest Comics #39 (March-April 1949), script by Otto Binder, pencils and inks by George Papp
4: from Captain America Annual #5 (1981), script by David Michelinie, pencils by Gene Colan, inks by Dave Simons, colors by Bob Sharen, letters by Joe Rosen

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 224: Batman is a jerk*

House ad for Batman (1940 series) #13 (October-November 1942); printed in Detective Comics #68 (October 1942)
Comic cover art: pencils and inks by Jerry Robinson

What's this? Batman tossing Robin out of Wayne Manor? Why, yes! Remember, Bronze Age Batman doesn't have the monopoly on being a jerk...occasionally it's Golden Age Batman too!

Panels from "The Batman Plays a Lone Hand" in Batman #13 (October-November 1942), script by Don Cameron, pencils by Bob Kane, figure inks by Jerry Robinson, background inks and letters by George Roussos

Also in this issue: the origin of the joke "No soap, radio!" Yes, folks...Batman did it first!

This ish also features the first and final appearance of that popular 1942 character, Cranky Old Man Who Doesn't Like the Batman Radio Show!

Later, Batman revealed it was all a ploy to save Robin from the criminal mobs of the underworld which had targeted the Boy Wonder because he's much easier to spot than Batman. Batman admitted that he would rather have his own two arms torn off by rabid panthers than live without Robin. (I made up the part about the rabid panthers.) And so Dick Grayson never, ever left Batman again. Not never!


Today in Comics History, August 12: Calendar Man incurs the wrath of the Penguin

from Batman: Arkham Unleashed #53 (DC digital, November 2011), script by Karen Traviss, pencils and inks by Tony Shasteen, colors by Allen Passalaqua, letters by Travis Lanham

Today in Comics History, August 12, 1400: Flying horse avoids mid-air collision with giant calendar page during time journey

from"The Legend of the Flying Warrior" in Adventure Comics #145 (DC, October 1949), pencils and inks by Ruben Moreira

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Psylocke Psaturday Psunday #18: Here is something you can't understand / How I could just kill a man

Psreviously on Psylocke Psaturday, I told you about the pstartling pstory that finally had Betsy Braddock joining the X-Men. She wasn't the only one during this period to buckle an X-belt onto her uniform. Longshot had joined in Uncanny X-Men Annual #10, and Dazzler in UXM #215. The next to join would be Cyclops's brother Havok, aka "The Only Summers Brother Who Never Flipped Out and Killed Somebody."

from the X-Men entry in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition #15 (March 1987), pencils by Alan Davis

Why all this new blood into the Uncanniest, a team which, give or take a Shadowcat and Rogue and a six-pack of Magnetos, had remained pretty constant for the past seven years? Well, this was one of the more trying, dangerous, and deadly days for the X-Men, for whom a pretty good day is only being tried to be killed once in 24 hours by those they are sworn to protect. This is immediately post-Mutant Massacre (putting Shadowcat, Nightcrawler, and Colossus on the injured list and eventually sending the first two plus Phoenix II over to Britain and Excalibur), so the team was depleted on heavy firepower. The continuing threat of the Marauders, plus the threats of Malice (possessing first Dazzler and then Polaris), the government-sponsored evil mutants Freedom Force, and the looming shadow of the Adversary would push the X-Men into a corner, from which they would emerge dramatically changed and based in a new, Down Under HQ. Yep, we're leading up to the Australian Years! Music, please, maestro!

But first, the last member of the All-New, Mostly-Different X-Men is about to come aboard. And hey, it looks like a lot of fun for him, doesn't it?:

Cover of Uncanny X-Men #219 (July 1987), pencils and inks by Bret Blevins, letters by Rick Parker

Say, why is Wolverine trying to attack while hugging Rogue? The world shall never know.

The story behind this startling "you gotta read it!" cover: in the face of suspicious recent events and the rising threat of the bounty-hunter mutant group X-Factor (secretly led by Havok's brother Cyclops, the schlemiel), Havok travels to Salem Center to check in on the X-Men. But he does not get the prodigal son welcome he'd expected:

Panels from Uncanny X-Men #219 (July 1987), script by Chris Claremont, pencils by Bret Blevins, inks by Dan Green, colors by Glynis Oliver and Petra Scotese, letters by Tom Orzechowski

The truth behind the Halloween-style greeting: a psychic illusion and mind-wipe to Havok by Psylocke that didn't fully take (Havok experienced nightmares about it later and returned). The ruse was an attempt to scare away and protect Havok from the dangers of all the extremely deadly threats they were facing. Um, you know, guys, you could have just invited him in for a cup of tea and then sent him home.

WHOA! "Kill him?" Psylocke got hardcore. To be fair, we've seen this more ruthless side of her personality previously, especially following her blinding by Slaymaster and brainwashing at the hand and hand and hand and hand of Spiral:

Panels from Uncanny X-Men Annual #10 (January 1987), script by Chris Claremont, pencils by Art Adams, inks by Terry Austin, colors by Petra Scotese, letters by Tom Orzechowski

From this threat that is probably just a black-humored joke (maybe!) to the death-dealing Psylocke we now see in Uncanny X-Force is several years leap, but the seed of her enslavement by the Mandarin and eventual dangerous assassin-to-be nature is already planted. And you thought Claremont never followed up a subplot!

For better or for wore, Storm's the peacekeeper, explaining the situation...

And Havok agrees to join the X-Men on the run. Conveniently forgetting for the moment that he's got a girlfriend and lifemate back home. Like brother, like brother...think about it, won't you?

Hey, kids, what time is it? It's clobberin' Psylocke Psurveillance Psummary time!
  • Hair: 1980s-style puffier, but still purple.
  • Poor color choice of a uniform for roaming around the New York sewers in: Pink.
  • Follow-through on death-threats: Zero for three (Slaymaster, Spiral, Havok). Geez, Psylocke, get with the program and kill somebody already.

Next time: At last, the Psylocke personification of Rule of the Internet #11b (for every character that exists, there is also a robot version of this character*):

Panel from Uncanny X-Men Annual #11 (1987), script by Chris Claremont, pencils by Alan Davis, inks by Paul Neary, colors by Glynis Oliver, letters by Tom Orzechowski

*See also: Albert, Superman Robots, the Fembots, Data, Joanna Eberhart, the Ilia Probe, Jocasta, Maria, Mechani-Kong, Mechagodzilla, and Mecha-Streisand.

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 223: Comics Oughta Be 160 Pages of Fun

House ad for 80-Page Giants Batman #185 (October-November 1966)
and World's Finest Comics #161 (October 1966) printed in Detective Comics #356 (October 1966)
Ad designed and lettered by Ira Schnapp