Saturday, November 02, 2013

Psylocke Psaturday #19: Domo Arigato, Ms. Roboto

Psylocke likes attention (well, she is a former supermodel) and she doesn't like being ignored, so before I get jabbed in my fuzzy behind by a psychic knife, let's check in again with our favorite purple-haired mutant as she continues the journey from airplane pilot to pro-facto leader of Uncanny X-Force Volume 2. (She's got it written that way on her resumé, and who am I to disagree?)

Betsy has joined the X-Men during one of their most dangerous years: 1987. Want proof? It's the same year Michael Jackson attempted to buy the Elephant Man's remains. (So at least we know the goofiest stuff isn't simply going on at Earth-616.) Altho' she's joined the X-Men, she's still of an uncertain mind about whether this is what she wants out of life. I'm guessing her very proper English lady's boarding school's career counselor suggested instead that she go into a career of being one of the Bright One Things of 1980s England, lolling about, drinking designer cocktails and complaining about how dreary everything is. No one ever would have predicted that the art of complaining about your lot in life was to be refined to the nth degree by the angsting angstiness of Chris Claremont's scripts. Now, towards the end of '87 there's really no doubt where Psylocke's energies and loyalties lie: as a charter member of the Wolverine Rules OK Club.

Panel from Uncanny X-Men #224 (December 1987), script by Chris Claremont, pencils by Marc Silvestri, inks by Bob Wiacek, colors by Glynis Oliver, letters by Tom Orzechowski

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 306: Halloween boldly moves into its second consecutive month

House ad for Ghosts #11 (January 1973)); printed in The Brave and the Bold #105 (January-February 1973)
Comic cover art: pencils and inks by Nick Cardy
Ad designed and lettered by Gaspar Saladino

Friday, November 01, 2013

One Night in Rutland: 1977, Part 2

But Rutland Vermont had not seen the end of the Phantom Stranger, finely toned and defined as it was. A few months after his last appearance, the Ghost Who Walks and Who Is Also a Stranger in These Here Parts returned to Rutland to have another spooky Satanic adventure, but this time he's got some help from the bombastic mortally-challenged circus acrobat Deadman! I always felt that Deadman should have his own team-up series, and this could have been the pilot for it. Every issue Deadman would occupy the body of a different DC hero to solve a mystery or stop some fiendish other-wordly plot. Wouldn't you buy that? Especially the issue where he teams up with Wonder Woman and the story would be named after that famous Beatles quote: "Turn Me On, Deadman!"

Splash page of DC Super-Stars #18 (Winter 1978), script by Martin Pasko and Gerry Conway, pencils by Romeo Tanghal, inks by Dick Giordano, colors by Tatjana Wood, letters by Milt Snapinn

Geez, it looks like they statted that "DC Super-Stars" in at the last minute, didn't they? Maybe this was supposed to be Deadman Team-Up. And take note of the scripter and penciller for this titanic tale...there will be a test revelation later.

Today in Comics History, November 1: Area woman brutally attacked by giant November calendar page

from "Everyone's Wedding But Mine" in Romantic Secrets #47 (Charlton, November 1963), script by Joe Gill (?), pencils by Art Cappello (?), inks by Vince Colletta

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 305: The very definition of a quickie wedding

House ad for The Flash (1959 series) #165 (November 1966); printed in Detective Comics #356 (October 1966)
Ad designed and lettered by Ira Schnapp

Cover of The Flash (1959 series) #165 (November 1966), pencils and inks by Murphy Anderson

Thursday, October 31, 2013

One Night in Rutland: 1981

(Okay, let's try this: instead of 1977, Part 2 as I promised last night, let's visit Rutland, Vermont in 1981 for tonight. Then, tomorrow, I'll take you to the rest of 1977. why? Because I didn't find the comic book until late this afternoon because I was looking for a comic titled Deadman/Phantom Stranger instead of DC Super Stars. D'oh!)

Although the glory days of superheroes visiting rutland, Vermont, for the annual Halloween Parade was the early 1970s, it still remained an occasional stop on the tour route for big demonic crossover super-battles well throughout the 1980s: at least as well as it could, with the competition from Disney World being what it was. Let's step boldly into the era of Reagan and Thatcher to see Marvel's famous non-team, the Defenders, fight a foe almost as supervillainesque as those two. Who could it be? Could it be...Satan???

Why yes. Yes, it could.

Two-page splash spread from Defenders #100 (October 1981), script by J. M. DeMatteis, pencils and inks by a whole lotta guys undoubtably struggling to get this thing in on schedule, colors by George Roussos, letters by Janice Chiang and Shelly Leferman

(Click picture to Satan-size)

Today in Halloween Comics History, October 31: Damian Wayne learns the true meaning of Halloween

from Batman: Li'l Gotham #1 (DC, October 2012), script by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs, painted art by Dustin Nguyen, letters by Saida Temofonte

Today in Kryptonian Halloween Comics History, October 31: Superman assiduously checks his Halloween loot for Kryptonite razor blades before eating it

from Action Comics (2011 series) #13 (DC, December 2012), script by Grant Morrison, pencils and inks by Travel Foreman, colors by Brad Anderson, letters by Steve Wands

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 304/Today in Comics History, October 31: Then Cain cooked the kids into a pie and served it to Abel, because, y'know, Biblical murderer

house ad for DC lines of mystery/horror comics (c. 1976); printed in DC Comics cover-dated January 1977
Ad art by ???, designed and lettered by Gaspar Saladino

Today in Halloween Comics History, October 31: Nightwing burns a pot of soup

from Nightwing (2011 series) #24 (DC, December 2013), script by Kyle Higgins, pencils and inks by Will Conrad, colors by Pete Pantazis, letters by Carlos M. Mangual

Halloween Special Feature: We interrupt this Halloween for a special announcement, probably brought to you by Captain Tootsie

Tootsie Roll Halloween ad printed in DC Comics cover-dated December 1962

Today in Halloween Comics History, October 31: Thank Gourd It's Halloween

from "The Holiday Hijackers" in Adventure Comics #145 (DC, October 1949), script by Edmond Hamilton, pencils and inks by John Sikela

Today in Halloween Comics History, October 31, 2007: Woman is terrified by incompetently designed newspaper

from Ghost (2012 series) #3 (Dark Horse, January 2013), script by Kelly Sue DeConnick, pencils and inks by Phil Noto, colors by Lee Loughridge, letters by Richard Starkings

Today in Halloween Comics History: Vincent van Ghoul finally discovers the key to capturing all thirteen ghosts

from Batman #227 (DC, December 1970), script by Denny O'Neil, pencils by Irv Novick, inks by Dick Giordano, letters by Ben Oda

By the bye, It's Alfred Pennyworth's retconned-out-of-existence daughter, Julia Pennyworth, to whom we ought to be singing Happy Birthday right now. Happy Birthday, Julia! Hope you survive the exp...oh. Never mind.

Hellmouth: Dell/Gold Key, Night 31: "Then there was the time moss grew all over me...gee, that was uncomfortable!"

Cover of Tales from the Tomb one-shot (Dell Giant, October 1962), painting by John Schoenherr (?)

The really scary thing? The stories in this fright-fest Dell Giant were written by John Stanley...yup, the same John Stanley who wrote Little Lulu. (And two of the best comics you've may never have read, Dunc & Loo and Thirteen (Going on Eighteen).)

BOO! And Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Today in Halloween Comics History, October 30, 1938: At last one of Pinky and the Brain's plans to take over the world succeeds

from Mars Attacks the Real Ghostbusters one-shot (IDW, January 2013), script by Erik Burnham, pencils and inks by José Holder, colors by Jeremy Colwell, letters by Neil Uyetake

One Night in Rutland: 1977, Part 1

Bear with me here a few moments, folks; this post has a long introduction. But it's totally worth it and has a good bit with Green Arrow at the end so don't skip ahead!

I don't always remember to write by thank-you letters. Mama Bull always had to pester me well into January to get out my new stationery and write something like this:
Dear Grandma,

Thank you for the pajamas. They were very nice. I am wearing them to bed.

Did you have a good Christmas? I did.

Well, I have to go now.

Love, Bully
Another thing I don't always finish is the final segments in a long series of posts, leaving you, gentle readers, hanging on a branch in anticipation, not unlike that "hang in there, baby!" cat poster that my kid sister Marshall has on her wall. Yes, someday I will finish these posts...just...not right now when it is good kite-flying weather and before the snow comes so I can ride my Radio Flyer down the hill.

Tonight I am going to redress (definition: put on new clothes after being told the ones you're wearing have a big gravy stain on them) both of those minor spots of tarnish on an otherwise-glitteringly delightful bull you'd be pleased to know.

Back in January (gulp!) I got a lovely email from Professor Charles Xavier Professor Craig Fischer from Appalachian State University, thanking me for my 2012 Halloween post series on the Rutland, Vermont, Halloween parade and its portrayals in comic books from Avengers and Justice League to Amazing Adventures (starring my favorite mutant, the Beast) and Freedom Fighters. Prof. Fischer wrote to me:
...[T]here's a series of particular Bully posts that were very helpful for my recent work. About seven months ago, I submitted a presentation idea for an academic conference (the Modern Language Association conference, held in early January 2013). My paper was titled "The Illegitimate Sons of Superman: DIY Publishing and the Rutland Halloween Parade."...

...I started to actually write the presentation...and then, BAM! Your series of Rutland posts came out, and were incredibly informative and a great place to steal images from. I acknowledged my debt to you when I delivered the presentation last Saturday, where I said..."In talking about the Rutland comics, I rely heavily on scans and information from the comics blog run by 'Bully, the Little Stuffed Bull,' who for Halloween 2012 put up image-rich posts from Rutland-themed comics. Thanks, Bully!"
WOW. I have been cited at the MLA. At a real honest-to-goodness academic conference! I am beaming with pride at being the first stuffed animal comics blogger to be mentioned at MLA. Take that, Giraffo!

I'm ashamed to note that I didn't write back to Professor Fischer immediately, and by the time I intended to do so, I could no longer find the email. Mea culpa! Sorry about, that, Professor. But when I was looking through my vast clippings morgue for Halloween posts this year I finally came across the email, and my luttle stuffed hoof hit my fuzzy forehead, and I said to myself in great shame (and a little bit of hunger, because it was well after lunchtime): "I forgot to thank Professor Fischer!"

So here y'are, Professor F! Thank you for the kind mention and the lovely note, and I apologize for being so late to reply either privately or publicly. Well, at least you didn't send me hand-made pajamas.

At the same time I'd realized I never finished the Rutland posts, although the biggest ones were done in '12. So here, dedicated to Professor Craig Fischer for all the hard work he put into what sounds like an ultra-cool academic presentation, is the next chapter in the life of the Rutland, Vermont and Parade founder and host Tom Fagan! Let's go up to New England in the year 1977, shall we, and find out what the Justice League of America is up to!

Panels from Justice League of America (1960 series) #145 (August 1977), script by Steve Englehart, pencils by Dick Dillin, inks by Frank McLaughlin, colors by Anthony Tollin, letters by Ben Oda

While Tom Fagan's there to greet the teleporting JLA, it's not Halloween and there's no Parade, so this post should actually be titled something like "One Night in Rutland, Probably in Late November, Just Before Thanksgiving." They've come here to investigate a mysterious magical attack on Superman, discovered comatose on the JLA satellite (22,300 miles above Earth). How do we know it's a magical attack? Because, The Phantom Stranger, that's why.

Now that we know the "true" identity of the Phantom Stranger is a guy with 30 silver coins he got for betraying a friend, I think these days we'd show the P.S. to the door and say, "Eh, thank you, we'll read your pamphlets, goodbye now." Back then in those more innocent days of Earth-1 and Earth-2 and Dinah Lance suddenly becoming her own daughter and what I picture as Roy Thomas sitting in his office surrounded by ten thousand index cards and huge stacks of Golden Age National comic books, though, they're off with P-Strange to Rutland, barely giving Tom Fagan the time of day. So rude, Funky Phantom! Well, at least Batman is polite. Although I'm having trouble hearing in my head the Batman voiced by Kevin Conroy, Adam West or even Olan Soule saying "Take care."

Well, as you all know, it's not a Rutland, Vermont story without various creepies and ghoulies, and this story veers off into a battle against the villain Count Crystal, in his triumphant debut and final appearance in DC Comics. Yep: we never saw the villain again after Batman punched him in the nose and made him cry on page 27. I woulda enjoyed it had Count Crystal attempted to make a comeback in the 1990s by threatening the team that was to the Justice League America and Justice League Europe what the band Asia was to Yes and ELO: Justice League Extreme. But sadly, he never would have made it: his supervillain name had far too few "Kill"s or "Blood"s in it.

Sometimes when the JLA gets together around the team table to reminisce about the old days, somebody will bring up Rutland, Vermont, and they'll all remember the far-out, zany, crazy times they had there in 1972, but nobody ever brings up 1977, because they wasn't anything particularly memorable about visiting Rutland that year. It was a story of which the best you could say is that it brings back Red Tornado, and of that even the Grand Comics Database says, with some exasperation I might be projecting onto the entry, "Red Tornado revived again."

So, Professor F., this one is dedicated to you with thanks and appreciation, but you didn't miss much in this one. Except the sight of Green Arrow being his usual action-oriented, hard-hitting, quick-to-battle self throughout the whole adventure:

Tomorrow! One Night In Rutland...1977, Part 2!

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 303: Hey Mister, can we come in and smell your feet?

House ad for Limited Collectors' Edition #C-23 [The House of Mystery] (Winter 1973); printed in The Unexpected #153 (December 1973)
Comic cover art: pencils and inks by Nick Cardy, colors by Sol Harrison
Ad designed and lettered by Gaspar Saladino

Today in Halloween Comics History, October 30: Kid Wolverine can't wait for Halloween

from Marvel Zombies Halloween one-shot (Marvel, December 2012), script by Fred van Lente, pencils and inks by Alessandro Vitti, colors by Jean-Francois Beaulieu, letters by Cory Petit

Hellmouth: Dell/Gold Key, Night 30: Huey, Louis, and Dewey go in drag for Halloween

Cover of Dell Giant #50 [Marge's Little Lulu and Witch Hazel] (Dell, October 1961), artist unknown

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Comics News for October 29, 2013

"Were-Rats Offer Amazing Introductory Deal" "Young Jughead Earns Hamburger Money" "Also: Cool and Refreshing Halloween Treat Recipes" "Frozen Zombies"

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 302: Happy 25th Anniversary, Batman

Here's a double-header...or is that a two-face???...of house ads pitching the Batman 25th anniversary issue! Which is full of glittery, silver reprints. Hey, in those days there weren't trade paperbacks, so this was a dandy gift from Batman to us! No cake was included, sadly.

House ads for 80-Page Giant #5 [Batman's Silver Anniversary] (December 1964); top ad printed in Detective Comics #334 (December 1964), bottom half-page ad printed in The Atom #16 (December 1964)
Comic cover art: pencils and inks by Win Mortimer
Ad designed and lettered by Ira Schnapp

Hellmouth: Dell/Gold Key, Night 29: X-ray specs not included

Cover of X, the Man with the X-Ray Eyes one-shot (Gold Key, September 1963), painted cover by George Wilson, with a photograph of Ray Milland as Dr. James Xavier*

*Professor Charles Xavier's hairier, x-rayier brother.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monster Mash Ten Thirteen of a Kind: Mummy Dearest

(More mummy covers here! And, look; there's another one over here! Also, there's more Ten of a Kind here.)