Saturday, May 09, 2015

Teniversary Countdown #17: Spidey is tired

Panels from Amazing Spider-Man (1963 series) #10 (March 1964), script by Stan Lee, pencils and inks by Steve Ditko, colors by Stan Goldberg, letters by Sam Rosen

365 Days of Star Wars Comics, Day 129: Doodley Doodley Doodley

Today, let's open Alan Smithee's Little Book of Cinematic Techniques, an invaluable guide to watchin' movies and understanding how they're made, if not necessarily why. Today, let's examine the clever storytelling trick invented by 1940s Bob Hope movies that's well known to the cinemati as Doodley Doodley Doodley. What's that, you may ask? Well, let's go straight to the book!:

Doodley Doodley Doodley (noun): a cinematic technique used to set up an extremely unlikely situation that a character protests, followed by a smash cut to the character doing exactly that thing.

For example:

SKIPPER: It's so easy, Professor! All we have to do is get Gilligan married to the monkey, and we'll get off the island!
GILLIGAN: Oh no! Not me! No way, uh uh! I'm not marrying a monkey!

doodley doodley doodley

PROFESSOR: We are gathered here today...

Or, in the Star Wars Universe:

Panels from "Lucky Stars" in Star Wars Tales #15 (March 2003), script by Brian Augustyn, pencils by Paco Medina, inks by Joe Sanchez, colors by Michelle Madsen, letters by Steve Dutro

doodley doodley doodley

More Leia fashion tomorrow!

Friday, May 08, 2015

Friday Flashback: Hold That Tiger

Filling up Fridays: Fine Flashback Fosts Posts, re-presenting some of my favorite Comics Oughta Be Fun! entries that you might not have seen, or would enjoy seeing again! Anyway, because I have to go to bed early, I'm re-presenting a Bully classic originally published on June 1, 2012! (I was six then.) For topical context, DC had just announced a new gay character (who turned out to be Green Lantern of Earth-2).

Today DC Comics publicly announced that it was re-introducing one of its classic male characters and revealing him to be gay! Kudos for you, DC...nice to see you move with the times and present heroes of all orientations and inclinations! But who is this gay hero, you're asking? Well, the hints were pretty obvious: he comes from the Golden Age, he's never been married, and he's a classic favorite of everyone who enjoys comics. That's why I applaud the decision of DC to let this hero come out of the closet. Introducing the newest gay hero of comics:

Mr. Tawky Tawny!

Yes, Mr. Tawky Tawny, tiger pal of the Big Red Cheese himself, Captain Marvel. What's that? You never suspected Tawky was a gay man tiger? Clearly you've never read the classic tale where he was unable to get a home in a suburban neighborhood merely because of the love that dare not roar its name?

Remember: this was the late 1940s. People still had a lot of hang-ups about that sort of thing. Thank goodness we've gotten over all that today, huh?

Judging him only upon his sexual orientation, Tawky Tawny was banned from moving to the neighborhood, even though Captain Marvel agreed to co-sign his lease.

Anti-gay protests against the peaceful tiger begin to build as J. Q. Harsch begins a smear campaign against the new neighbor!

But the quiet and peaceful surroundings of Fawcett City's suburbia is not a peaceful as it might seem, as violent anti-gay-tiger activists threaten!

Even standing up against violence doesn't protect Tawky Tawny from exerting his rights to life, liberty, and a nice little stucco home, two up, two down. And he keeps his lawn so neat and clean, too!

Captain Marvel vows to stand by his friend no matter what! That's why Cap has been a symbol of the fight for gay rights for the past several decades!

The news quickly spreads: homosexuals are not wanted in this neighborhood! Luckily the kids of the area accept Tawny for what he is: a heckuva cool guy.


In the end it all worked out when Mr. Tawky Tawny moved to Fire Island...

...and became one of the most valued members of the community!

Panels above from Captain Marvel Adventures #90 (January 1950), script by Otto Binder, pencils and inks by C. C. Beck

So kids: always remember the lessons of tolerance and acceptance that comics, and Batman, give us:

And Tawky Tawny lived happily ever after, able to indulge his flamboyant lifestyle.

Panels from (top to bottom) Captain Marvel Adventures #104, Captain Marvel Adventures #126, Shazam! #7

So three cheers for DC and Tawky Tawny, and hooray for the acceptance of more gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered comic book characters. And tigers too!

Teniversary Countdown #18: You spin me right round, Spidey, right round

Panel from Marvel Team-Up (1972 series) #10 (June 1973), script by Gerry Conway, pencils by Jim Mooney, inks by Frank Giacoia, colors by Stan Goldberg, letters by Charlotte Jetter

Today in Comics History, May 8, 2013: Baristas unanimously agree to drop the second "F" from the word "coffee"

from Black Market #4 (Boom!, October 2014), script by Frank J. Barbiere, pencils and inks by Victor Santos, colors by Adam Metcalfe, letters by Ed Dukeshire

365 Days of Star Wars Comics, Day 128: Happy Lando-ings

Hey, I haven't put enough Lando Calrissian in this feature yet, have I? Let's fix that right away.

Panels from Star Wars (1977 Marvel series) #56 (February 1982), co-plot by Louise Jones, co-plot and script by David Michelinie, co-plot and pencils by Walt Simonson, inks by Tom Palmer, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Joe Rosen

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Well, That'll Happen

Panels from "The End of the World!" in Venus #11 (November 1950), pencils and inks by Werner Roth

Teniversary Countdown #19: B.A.B.Y., Lois baby

Hoo boy, Lois Lane! As a comic magazine you are both a strike against women's liberation everywhere and yet a gold mine to bloggers. I could spend an entire month of Teniversaries covering the stories in Lois Lane #10 and you'd laff until you cried, not unlike a Night at the Comedy Club featuring Olly, the Onion Stand-Up Comic. (He'll run rings round the other comics!)

Anyway, here's the time...bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!...when Lois...hee-hee-hee-hee!...turned herself into a baby! BWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA!

Splash panel from "The Cry-Baby of Metropolis!" in Lois Lane #10 (July 1959), script by Robert Bernstein, pencils and inks by Kurt Schaffenberger

Yes, this story is chock-full o' TOPLESS LOIS LANE. (Hello, Google image searchers!)

What happens is pretty much par for the course in any issue of Lois, three times per comic: a scientist pal of Superman's develops a mysterious de-aging ray! Naturally, Lois steps right in it to avoid a few wrinkles. Wrinkles, really? What are you in these stories, Lois...twenty-five? Twenty-seven? Well...not for long!

The only cure for the de-aging process? A good solid hyper-radioactive blast of Superman's X-ray vision! Sure, Lois never wanted kids anyway. But since Superman scolded Lois earlier in the story for doing all the rock-stupid stuff she usually does, she spends he rest of the adventure covertly trying to get Superman to shoot his X-ray eyes at her without telling him. And she's got to do it before she disappears backwards into a fetus and then a collection of zygotes, which wouldn't make a great Superman comic. Thus follows a ridiculous plot line of Lois's scheming that Jack, Chrissie, and Janet would have scoffed at.

And yes, of course Superman knows already, the big alien jerk. He was letting Lois learn her lesson. Because to Kal-El, it's all about ethics in Superman journalism.

90% of Lois Lane stories during the fifties are about "Superman teaching Lois Lane a lesson." This is one of them. (The other 10% are about Clark Kent teaching Lois Lane a lesson.) So let this fable of folly and foolishness end on the promise that Superman just might spank the half-naked woman he loves while she is a baby as her rival smirks on. The Silver Age, ladeez and gentlemen! This surely must be The Greatest Lois Lane Story Ever!

Extra Lois-Bonus Bonus Lois!: Remember the classic scene in Superman III: The Quest for Richard Pryor where Evil Jerk Superman pushes the Leaning Tower of Pisa into a fully upright position? Sure, we all do! Mainly because it introduced a new member of the Superman supporting cast who has delighted readers of the Man of Steel for years, the Sensational New Character Find of 1983 (just narrowly squeaking out in the voting over Jason Todd, Amethyst, Primcess of Gemworld, and Beta Ray Bill), Singing Italian Guy!

Man, everybody loved that guy. That's why I'm sorry Singing Italian Guy never appeared in the second story of Lois Lane #10, which was all about Lois dating Dean Martin for some reason.

Panels from "Lois Lane's Romeo!" in Lois Lane #10 (July 1959), script by Robert Bernstein, pencils and inks by Kurt Schaffenberger

Thank you, Superman, for helping keep artisanal creators and merchants of plaster replicas of the tilty Tower of Pisa in business for yet another year!

So, because she had a tenth issue of her comic book, we salute you, Miss Lois Calliopepants Lane! And what the heck, also you, Singing Italian Guy!

Panels The Superman Movie Special [Superman III] one-shot (September 1983), script by Cary Bates, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Sal Amendola, colors by Carl Gafford, letters by Ben Oda

Yes, remember this as The Greatest Lois Lane Story Ever!

Today in Comics History, May 7, 2004: J. Michael Straczynski takes four issues to prove he's no Rod Serling

from The Twilight Zone (2013 series) #9 (Dynamite, October 2014), script by J. Michael Straczynski, pencils and inks by Guiu Violanova, colors by Vinicius Andreade, letters by Rob Steen

from The Twilight Zone (2013 series) #10 (Dynamite, December 2014), script by J. Michael Straczynski, pencils and inks by Guiu Violanova, colors by Vinicius Andreade, letters by Rob Steen

from The Twilight Zone (2013 series) #11 (Dynamite, January 2015), script by J. Michael Straczynski, pencils and inks by Guiu Violanova, colors by Vinicius Andreade, letters by Rob Steen

from The Twilight Zone (2013 series) #12 (Dynamite, February 2015), script by J. Michael Straczynski, pencils and inks by Guiu Violanova, colors by Vinicius Andreade, letters by Rob Steen

365 Days of Star Wars Comics, Day 127: Crazy as coot Yoda is

Panels from Star Wars: Jedi Academy v.1 (August 2013); script, pencils, inks and letters by Jeffrey Brown

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Captain America, Master Battle Strategist

So, let's take a look at the brand-new, surely-not-released-just-to-tie-in-with-a-major-motion-picture Marvel Avengers graphic novel, in which they face off against their deadliest robot foe at a late-night electronic/dance party with lots of young people on Ecstasy! Oh, wait, no, that's Rave of Ultron. What we're perusing tonight is Rage of Ultron.

Panels from Avengers: Rage of Ultron graphic novel (June 2015); script by Rick Remender; pencils by Jerome Opeña; inks by Pepe Larraz with Mark Morales; colors by Dean White, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Dono Sanchez Almara; letters by Clayton Cowles

As in, man! That Ultron is certainly raging! Right in Manhattan, home of the Mighty Avengers! Circa the period when Hank McCoy, the Beast, was on the team, also known as The Best Era of the Avengers. Captain America is right there, to help evacuate the city by telling the panicking crowd to make their way peacefully and patriotically to the bridge. (Say, Cap, which bridge? Ah, he'll tell ya, just hang around.)

The panel above gives only a rough guesstimate of where the destruction is a-happening, but I'd place it as roughly in Midtown Manhattan, which is pretty much where all the destruction in comics books tends to occur. We're not told the precise location in the comic, but I'm making an educated guess that it's Times Square, mainly because of the sheer excess of X-rated movie theaters there. So: they're in Times Square in the 1970s!

Also, because Times Square is pretty much the only place in New York that has a street area that looks half a mile wide.

To be fair to Times Square during the seventies, it wasn't all girly theaters. Just around the corner on 42nd Street is located revival house the Gem Theater, where on the fourth floor you can find the offices of Luke Cage: Hero for Hire! (More recently, the Gem has served as the HQ for Luke's Mighty Avengers team! Who says this isn't the bountiful Bully age of edifying enlightenment? Except I can't explain why Luke Cage isn't running up to help fight Ultron, too. Maybe it's during that glorious issue where he flew to Latveria to demand of Dr. Doom "Where's my money, honey?"

Panels from Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #2 (August 1972), script by Archie Goodwin, pencils by George Tuska, inks by Billy Graham, letters by John Costanza

By the way, check out which mildly magnificent Marvel mag is being perused by ticket taker Bertha!

Cover of Our Love Story #18 (August 1972), pencils by Gene Colan, inks by John Romita, Sr., alterations by Marie Severin

Anyway, my point, and I do have one, is that Captain America does direct the fleeing crowds of civilians to evacuate Manhattan by heading east to the George Washington Bridge.

Um. Cap. The George Washington Bridge is west of Manhattan. (And, pretty darn far north of Midtown.)

Cap's sorta of between a rock and a hard place here even if he wasn't directing panicky people in the wrong direction. There's no easy escape route from Midtown that doesn't involve going into tunnels (the Lincoln Tunnel to the west of Midtown, the Queens-Midtown Tunnel to the east, both in orange), which I can't imagine is the best place to send folks during a crisis. But honestly, Cap? "Keep moving downtown on Broadway, head for the Manhattan Bridge." would probably be the fastest evacuation he could hope for.

Y'know, it's too bad Spider-Man wasn't an Avenger during this era, because if Spider-Man knows anything, he knows where the George Washington Bridge is.

Panels from Amazing Spider-Man (1963 series) #121 (June 1973), script by Gerry Conway, pencils by Gil Kane, inks by John Romita Sr. and Tony Mortellaro, colors by David Hunt, letters by Artie Simek

Then again, that's probably the Brooklyn Bridge that's pictured there, but improperly described as the George Washington (especially since he's show swinging downtown from the United Nations). Does no Marvel Manhattanite know the bridges of New York?

But hey, it's not like Steve Rogers was born in New York City or has lived there ever since he got de-Cap-sicled. Oh wait. Yes, he has.