Saturday, January 11, 2014

Today in Comics History, January 11: Batman once again confuses the word "explain" with the word "punch"

from Batman #659 (DC, January 2007), script by John Ostrander, pencils and inks by Tom Mandrake, colors by Nathan Eyring, letters by Rob Leigh

365 Days of KirbyTech, Day 11: The Enclave's Electronic Bracelet

Previously on 365 Days of KirbyTech...

Splash from Fantastic Four (1961 series) #66 (September 1967), co-plot and script by Stan Lee, co-plot and pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Sinnott, letters by Artie Simek

Thor has never used the internet

Panel from Thor: Season One graphic novel (October 2013), script by Lilah Sturges, pencils and inks by Pepé Larraz, colors by Wil Quintana, letters by Cory Petit

Friday, January 10, 2014

Today in Comics History, January 10: The Human Torch's arrival in Gotham City does not go unnoticed

from Batman #659 (DC, January 2007), script by John Ostrander, pencils and inks by Tom Mandrake, colors by Nathan Eyring, letters by Rob Leigh

All the news that fits in microprint

Well, the pundits have been telling us this for the past decade, and it must be true: print is dead. How do we know? We know it from that arbiter of truth and that chronicle of life in the thirtieth-century, the comic book adventures of The Legion of Super-Heroes!

Yes, the Legion will tell us that dead, dead, dead...

Because, in the thirtieth century...

Panel from the Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes story "The Secret of the Mystery Legionnaire!" in Adventure Comics #305 (February 1963), script by Jerry Siegel, pencils and inks by John Forte, letters by Joe Letterese

...we'll all be reading this.

Honestly, it makes a nice change from the mid-2700s when we were all reading the Daily Planet on this:

Well, the benefit is that it did put to rest all those scurrilous accusations that the Daily Planet was nothing more than a mouthpiece for Six Flags Over Metropolis.

Just remember: the news media in the year 2963 may not be all that much more accurate than it is in 2014. DARN THESE LIBERAL-LEANING THOUGHT WAVES

Just remember that microfilm can never adequately express the outrage and sensation of the Daily Planet's greatest headline of all time:

365 Days of KirbyTech, Day 10: Reed Richards's Heat-Image Tracer

One of the greatest things about examining and cataloguing pieces of KirbyTech is that frequently one leads you right to the next. A story in which one piece of KirbyTech is used suddenly needs another piece, and another, and then...well, it's kind of like eating potato chips. It's almost like the guy couldn't stop inventing fantastic mechanical items that defy the laws of physics!

For example: today let's spy through the giant alien peepers of Uatu straight into the Baxter Building, where Johnny Storm kicks off the conversation and Sue Richards ably passes the ball to Reed for the exposition on his one, the only, patented...Heat-Image Tracer!

Panel from Fantastic Four (1961 series) #66 (September 1967), co-plot and script by Stan Lee, co-plot and pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Sinnott, letters by Artie Simek

Today in Comics History, January 10, 2010: Abraham Lincoln appears on Air Force One; President Obama slowly pours bottle of whiskey down drain

from Time Lincoln #1 (Antarctic, February 2010); script, pencils, and inks by Fred Perry; colors by Robby Bevard

Thursday, January 09, 2014

You can never go wrong with a toy line tied into a sure-to-be blockbuster motion picture, right?

Lone Ranger movie tie-in toy ad printed in Saga of Swamp Thing #2 (June 1982)

Trailer for the commercial and critical bomb The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981)

365 Days of KirbyTech, Day 9: The Growth Machine

Speaking as we were the other day of vaguely Transylvanian, sorta-Frankensteinian doings, here's a guy who openly mocks not only science and humanity but also the basic tents of storytelling. Because if you build anything in Doctor Frankenstein's Castle, it's going to turn out astonishing! Or at least, in this case, suspenseful!

Panels from "I Created...Sporr! The Thing That Could Not Die!" in Tales of Suspense #11 (September 1960), script by Stan Lee (?), pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Dick Ayers

This story is titled "I Created...Sporr! The Thing That Could Not Die!" and is about the guy who created Sporr, the thing that could not die. And to create Sporr, the thing that would not die, he needs some nifty KirbyTech. And here it is!

Of course, the usual posse of Atlas-Era talking-head townspeople are all riled up at the prospect. Business finance pundits suggest that these are signifiers that point to it being now economically sound to open a shop in town that sells pitchforks and flaming torches.

Let's fire up the patented Growth Machine! It's a good thing to experiment first on a tiny, weensy amoeba, tripling its size and creating a monster almost 1,500 micrometers (about one six-hundredth of an inch) wide! That thing will totally attack our dust mites and the heads of our pins!

Did I mention you should sell battering-ram logs at your pitchfork and flaming torch emporium? That would be a good sideline, this story seems to bear out. Also: don't interrupt your semi-mad scientist while he's in the middle of a delicate experiment.

Because you know what it means when a growth experiment on an amoeba runs unchecked and amok, right? Why not tell us, Atlas-era splash page?

So it's up to the man who created Sporr, the thing that would not die, to kill it. And he's baiting the trap with my favorite inducement of choice: pure, raw, unrefined, delicious crystal cane sugar! Mmmmm, I'd chase that guy with the sugar-coated...coat, anywhere!

And thus, Sporr, the thing that would not die, is quicksand! Well, this whole story gave me a sinking feeling, so I guess it's just apt and proper.

Perhaps the most suspenseful astonishing thing about Sporr, the thing that would not die, is that even though he would not die, he also would never come back, unlike many other of the Atlas monsters. Which means that somewhere on the -616, he's still at the bottom of a Transylvanian bog, struggling his way slowly, year by year, to climb out again. Hey Marvel, I've go a great idea for your next crossover saga: The Sporr War!

By the way, the giant amoeba whose name is Sporr and who would not die who appears in Thor #257 is not related to the one from TOS #11, despite the similar appearance and identical name. This one is a mutant version of the Fomalhau race of space aliens.

Later, this Sporr reformed and became one of the Thunder God's most valuable allies. In fact, he even co-starred with the Odinson for a short time in a team-up book. What, you don't remember all those issues of the comic book titled...Thor/Sporr?

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Today in Comics History, January 8, 1854: The Man Without Fear is Born

from Starman (1994 series) #5 (DC, March 1995), script by James Robinson, pencils by Tony Harris, inks by Wade Von Grawbadger, colors by Gregory Wright, letters by John Workman

365 Days of KirbyTech, Day 8: The Asgardian Frost Gun

I've always been puzzled, and yet also impressed, by the amazing futuristic tech of Asgard, home of the Norse gods. On the one hand they're sitting around big fireplaces roasting boar (note: I may actually be thinking of Asterix and Obelix) and they ride around on horses and in big-wooden-wheeled wagons rather than zipping around in Nick Fury-style flying cars off, better yet, Asgardian jetpacks.

And yet, Asgardian weaponry is so cool, futuristic, and kick-ass that we've only got to assume Odin picked it up at Galactus's garage sale. Witness, for example, the Asgardian Frost Gun!

Panel from Thor #177 (June 1970), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Vince Colletta, letters by Artie Simek
(Click picture to zoom in on the big-ass icemaker gun)

Wow, that thing even looks like it was sized for Galactus's big purple-gauntleted paw, doesn't it? Thor and company has pulled this thing out of Odin's gun locker to battle against gigantic fire demon Surtur, whose arrival signals Ragnarok, as does every other event in Asgard, including the time Thor played his CD of "Carmina Burana" at volume level 11 and when Volstagg's pizza arrived later than thirty minutes after he ordered it.

Needless to say, it doesn't work and everybody is burnt to a crisp and dies except Thor who was apparently hiding behind a rock.

The Asgardian Frost Gun! Maybe they should have charged it overnight first.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Today in Comics History, January 7, 1952: Lassie discovers thousand-year old man who fell down mineshaft

text story "The Thread" in Journey into Unknown Worlds (1950 series) #13 (Marvel/Atlas, October 1952), author uncredited (Stan Lee?)

And now, by United States Postal Law, I can now mail this blog via Second Class mail.

More? Well, yes! Soon!

Twain and Einstein meet Team America!

When anyone mentions the dynamic duo of Mark Twain and Albert Einstein, I hope you think of the Fantagraphics-published comics of Michael Kupperman, which regularly team-up these two wild-haired, hard-hitting action adventure heroes: Twain and Einstein!

Panels from Tales Designed to Thrizzle Volume 2 (November 2012); script, pencils, inks, colors, and letters by Michael Kupperman

You really should not miss Twain and Einstein's wacky, way-out adventures, and you can find them in the Tales Designed to Thrizzle comic, which we can only hope Mister Kupperman is going to produce more issues of. I can't live without this!:

Or this!

In fact, Kupperman's adventures of Twain and Einstein span not only all of time and space but all comics genres!

At the same time, though, I often wonder if Kupperman's twenty-first century comics were influenced or by inspired by a different comic book from 1982...Captain America #269!

Panels from Captain America (1968 series) #269 (May 1982); script by J.M. DeMatteis; pencils by Mike Zeck; inks by John Beatty, Mike Zeck, and Joe Rubinstein; colors by Bob Sharen, letters by Jim Novak

There's Twain, and herrrrrrrre's Einstein!

The Adventures of Twain and Einstein! As we sometimes say about Batman...Captain America Did It First!

Bonus Special Weirdness Element to This Issue: it guest-stars Team America!

I cannot do justice to this issue unless I quote liberally from its plot summary at the Grand Comics Database.
Cap is taking part in a charity motorcycle event with Team America when a giant monster appears and captures a Nobel Prize winner who is in the audience; Cap and Team America follow the monster through a transporter tube and find themselves in a quaint little town peopled by the world's greatest thinkers from the past. This is all part of the Mad Thinker's agenda to surround himself with suitable companions to stimulate his intellect, but when Cap finds the missing Nobel members about to be turned into robots, he and Team America bring an end to the Thinker's Machiavellian plan.

Okay, Michael Kupperman, it's your I want to see Twain and Einstein team up with Norwegian classical composer Edvard Grieg!

365 Days of KirbyTech, Day 7: The Silly Contraption [Unidentified KirbyTech]

Pin-up from Fantastic Four Annual #2 (September 1964), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Chic Stone, colors by Stan Goldberg, letters by Artie Simek

Well, if Reed don't know, ain't nobody who knows!

Monday, January 06, 2014

The Rapturous Rainbow Rings of the Martian Manhunter!

Panels from (top to bottom) Detective Comics #300, 302, 304, 305, 307, 319, 322, 323, 324 (3 panels), 325