Saturday, August 30, 2014

Today in Comics History, August 30, 1992: Choose Your Own Ad-venger

The date: August 30! The year: 1992! And you have your choice of two possible earths: the one where the world blew up and killed everybody...

from Avengers (1963 series) #355 (Marvel, October 1992), script by Bob Harras, pencils by Steve Epting, inks by Tom Palmer, colors by Tom Palmer, letters by Bill Oakley

...or you could pick the one with the newfangled version of Avengers Mansion, the one that looks like the Contemporary Hotel at Walt Disney World!

Yep, the 1990s Avengers Mansion: the architecture that makes today's Avengers Tower look like a masterpiece of Frank Lloyd Gehry artisanship. And it's the reality where all the Avengers wore leather jackets. The one where the Black Knight runs around all the time without a shirt.

Uh...I think I'll take the global apocalypse, please.

Psylocke Psaturday: The X-Position Agenda

Psylocke's next appearance is in 1990's annual, and hoo boy, is is eminently skippable.

Panels from "The Fundamental Thing" in Uncanny X-Men Annual #14 (1990), script by Chris Claremont, pencils by Mark Heike, inks by Geof Isherwood, colors by Nelson Yomtov, letters by Michael Heisler

This is the period when the X-Men have been dispersed and scattered in groups around the world, so every few issues follows another X-Man or three. Wolverine, Jubilee, and Psylocke are working their way across Asia, but they can't escape that year's X-Men/New Mutants/X-Factor/Fantastic Four Annual crossover "Days of Future Present," which, despite riffing on the title of one of the greatest X-Men stories and one of the greatest X-Men movies is...can I say it? It's not very good.. Most of the four issues involve the adult Franklin Richards, possibly from the future, who the heck knows?...skipping around and cameo-crashing in everybody's annual. Why is it I love the kid Franklin Richards and loathe the adult one? Ah, if o0nly he had crossed over into the 1990 Punisher Annual.

Wolvie, Jubie, and Psychie don't even appear in the lead story of X-Men Annual #14 (which, to be fair, has some fairly lovely Art Adams artwork whose continuity is marred by an uneven roulette wheel of assorted inkers) but in a back-up which serves a duel purpose of slightly tying into the main story and Wolverine recounting the history of the X-Men, both the Original Fab Five and the All-New, All-Different, in extremely text-heavy, caption box-crowded flashback panels:

(Never mind that the same recap concept had been done much, much better in UXM #138):

Panels from [Uncanny] X-Men #138 (October 1980); 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

Wolvie doesn't even stop telling the tale to the skeptical Jubilee and the vaguely disinterested Psylocke when Franklin Richards and Rachel "I'm the Phoenix With the Spikes on Her Costume" Summers visit Wolverine to remind him to tie this story into the Annual's main plot.

Special guest appearance by Baby Cable oh geez just kill me now

Oh, and Jubilee and Phoenix have a catfight. Jubilee versus Phoenix. Let's just think about that for a while. Which one of those combatants do you think is more likely to wind up in a pile of flash-fried ashes?

So there ya go: X-Men Annual #14. It had Psylocke in it but not very much. In fact, there was more real estate taken up by word balloons than by Ms. Betsy Braddock. Oh, and collector/fanboys? First published appearance of Gambit.

Panel from "You Must Remember This" in Uncanny X-Men Annual #14 (1990); script by Chris Claremont; pencils by Art Adams; inks by Dan Green, Bob Wiacek, Al Milgrom, Art Thibert, and/or Steve Mancuse; colors by Brad Vancata, letters by Tom Orzechowski

So be sure that you bag and board this turkey, folks!

Batman's Great Escapes Month, Day 30: Nobody expects Batman not being a jerk

Panels from Detective Comics #871 (January 2011), script by Scott Snyder, pencils and inks by Jock, colors by David Baron, letters by Jared K. Fletcher

Friday, August 29, 2014

Name Those Kirby Eyes: Behold, The Answers!

Here's the answers to last night's Name Those Kirby Eyes pop quiz!

1. The Falcon (from Captain America #200)

2. Mister Machine/Machine Man (from 2001 #10)

3. Professor X (from X-Men #1)

4. Silver Surfer (from The Silver Surfer 1978 graphic novel)

5. Captain America (from Captain America Annual #4)

6. Galactus (from The Silver Surfer 1978 graphic novel)

7. Zuras (from The Eternals #10)

8. Granny Goodness (from Mister Miracle #18)

9. Sultin the Lion Man (from Kamandi #8)

10. The High Evolutionary (from Thor #134)

11. Morgan Edge (from Jimmy Olsen #133)

12. Kobra (from Kobra #1)

13. Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic (from Fantastic Four #76)

14. Odin (from Thor #172)

15. Tana Nile (from Thor #130)

16. The Recorder (from Thor #161)

17. Black Panther (from Black Panther #12)

18. Destroyer Duck (from Destroyer Duck #1)

19. Dave Bowman (from the 2001 tabloid special)

20. Fin Fang Foom (from Strange Tales #89)

How many did you get right?

Today in Comics History, August 29, 1985: The ghost of Tim Caldwell is disappointed that a visit to his graveside has turned into a soap opera

from Swamp Thing (1985 series) #41 (October 1985), script by Alan Moore, pencils by Stephen R. Bissette, inks by Alfredo Alcala, colors by Tatjana Wood, letters by John Costanza

Batman's Great Escapes Month, Day 29: Next panel: Batman disappears

Panels from Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #125 (January 2000), script by Greg Rucka, pencils by Rick Burchett, inks by James Hodgkins, colors by Klaus Janson, color separations by Wildstorm FX, letters by Willie Schubert

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Happy Birthday, Jack! (Name Those Kirby Eyes!)

In every country of the free world (and a few on Apokolips), we celebrate today Jack Kirby's Birthday! Happy birthday, King! Please read some Kirby Komics today! Yes, even Silver Star counts!

One of Kirby's most powerful visual techniques is the EXTREME! CLOSE! UP! which zooms directly into the face of the featured character so that virtually all you see are the eyes! everybody loves Jack Kirby Eyes! Except if it's Superman, in which case it Al Plastino Eyes! Which is not as exciting at all.

I'd love to see an entire Kirby comic book illustrated using this technique.

But! How well do you know your Kirby Eyes? That's not a rhetorical question, incidentally. Below are twenty close-up panels rack-focusing right into the powerful pupils and iridescent irises of twenty different Kirby characters. Can you identify them all? (I've deleted all text in the word balloons and captions to avoid giving away clues through dialogue, and also just to be a stinker.) Press the button that says "Click Here to Read More!" right below this paragraph and get ready to have your brain puzzled. Some are easy, some are more challenging, and none of them are as easy as the three above! (Leave your answers in the comments.) On your mark...get set...wait, hold on while I get some nachos...okay, go! Name Those Kirby Eyes! (Please: no cheating by consulting the Encyclopedia Kirbyana.)

Among the many, many reasons I love Jack Kirby:

...three-quarter views of Ben Grimm laughing.

Panel from Fantastic Four #68 (November 1967), co-plot and script by Stan Lee, co-plot and pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Sinnott, letters by Artie Simek

Happy Birthday, Jack!

Today in Comics History, August 25, 1985: The Tubes begin recording their new album

from Swamp Thing (1985 series) #41 (DC, October 1985), script by Alan Moore, pencils by Stephen R. Bissette, inks by Alfredo Alcala, colors by Tatjana Wood, letters by John Costanza

Batman's Great Escapes Month, Day 28: Gordon jumped off the roof just to get one up on Batman

Panels from Batman: The Dark Knight (November 2011 New 52 series) #10 (August 2012), script by Gregg Hurwitz, pencils by David Finch, inks by Richard Friend, colors by Sonia Oback, letters by Dezi Sienty

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Today in Comics History, August 27: It is not Scott Pilgrim's birthday (#1 of 364 in a series)

from Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together (Oni, October 2007); script, pencils, inks and letters by Bryan Lee O'Malley; colors by Nathan Fairbairn

Batman's Great Escapes Month, Day 27: I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello

Panels from Detective Comics #666 (September 1993), script by Chuck Dixon, pencils by Graham Nolan, inks by Scott Hanna, colors by Adrienne Roy, letters by John Costanza

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Batman's Great Escapes Month, Day 26: Oh, won't you stay, just a little bit longer

It's our final week of Batman's Great Escapes Month, so let's (as them kids say over on, the reason that browser tabs were invented) subvert the trope!

from Batman Eternal #1 (DC, June 2014); script by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV; contributing writers John Layman, Ray Fawkes, and Tim Seeley; pencils and inks by Jason Fabok, colors by Brad Anderson, letters by Nick J. Napolitano

Monday, August 25, 2014

Batman's Great Escapes Month, Day 25: So that's what they mean by "The Shadow of the Batman."

Panels from The Shadow (2012 Dynamite Entertainment series) #12 (April 2013), script by Victor Gischler, pencils and inks by Giovanni Timpano, colors by Ivan Nunes, letters by Rob Steen

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Batman's Great Escapes Month, Day 24: That's a really good disguise, Bruce

Panels from Strange Nation #3 (December 2013), script and letters by Paul Allor; pencils, inks, and colors by Juan Romera