Saturday, January 02, 2016

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 2: Pumped Up Kicks

Panels from Amazing Spider-Man (1963 series) #142 (March 1975), script by Gerry Conway, pencils by Ross Andru, inks by Frank Giacoia and Dave Hunt, colors by Linda Lessmann, letters by Joe Rosen

Friday, January 01, 2016

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 1: Every day means the turn of a page / Yesterday’s papers are such bad news

Welcome to brand-spankin'-new 2016, and a fresh-off-the-press 366 Days with...! Yes, it's the year that gives you an extra year bonus, almost as if it knew we were a little strapped for dimes even tho' we'd been saving them up to buy that Giant-Size Foggy Nelson #4 back issue we've had our beady little black button eyes on.

This year, all year: 366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson! (Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.) Yes, one of Marvel's most dynamic and entertaining supporting characters — he's been around since the very early days of the Marvel Age, appearing in Spider-Man's second appearance and bedeviling our web-slinging pal (and his amazing friends) for years and years! Yes, J. Jonah Jameson, your friendly neighborhood newspaper editor-in-chief (and occasional Hizzoner of New York City) with the flattop and the Hitler 'stache! i honestly believe that there is no other supporting character who has made as many appearances in Marvel comics, so if this really gets rolling, we may be running into 2017 and beyond with no end in sight. Plus: looks like we'll get lots of appearances along the way by Daily Bugle stalwarts Robbie Robertson, Betty Brant, Glory Grant, the occasional Earth-7840 J. Jonah Jackass, and plenty of examples of that ever-popular trope, Newspapers Don't Look Like That!

Let's kick off a year and a day hangin' with Mister J. by recapping his very first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #1. The one, the only, the original...J. Jonah Jameson!

Panels from Amazing Spider-Man (1963 series) #1 (March 1963), script by Stan Lee, pencils and inks by Steve Ditko, colors by Stan Goldberg, letters by Jon D'Agostino

Special clip-n-save New Year's Day bonus panel: a Spider-Man wanted poster! Make dozens of copies and pin 'em to your friendly neighborhood telephone poles! Who knows — you might be the one to bring in the dangerous threat and/or menace!

Tomorrow: more JJJ! (repeat 365 times)

The MAD 1960 2016 calendar for Jerky January!

Well, sorry folks: no Marvel Age Calendar for this year, because as far as I can tell, Marvel Age didn't put a calendar on the back covers of their 1988 issues. (Boo! Hiss! Get rid of those house ads!) In fact, I can't return to the Marvel Age calendars until at least 2018, when I can re-use the 1990 one; or 2019, when I can ditto with the 1985. And what with it bein' a Leap Year (gosh! I better watch myself around Shelly the Otter!), we'd have to go back to 1960 to look for a calendar we can use again in 2016! Say, now that you mention it...

"The MAD 1960 Calendar" from MAD #52 (January 1960), script by Larry Siegel, art by Bob Clarke

Why, that's just what we need, a calendar that brings us boldly into the sixties sixteen!

"The MAD 1960 Calendar: January" from MAD #52 (January 1960), script by Larry Siegel, art by Joe Orlando

Clip it out with scissors and paste it up on the wall of your seedy 1960s style apartment! (Be sure to print it out and don't cut up your computer monitor. Don't make the same silly mistake I made!)

Today in Comics History, January 1 (or am it?): Bizarro not wish you Unhappy Old Year!

from "The Shame of the Bizarro Family!" in Adventure Comics #285 (June 1961), script by Jerry Siegel, pencils by Wayne Boring, inks by Stan Kaye

Bully and Shelly wish you a Happy New Year 2016!

Today in Comics History, January 1: New Year's Day is celebrated in Benny Hillville

from "Resolutions" in Flash Gordon Holiday Special 2014 one-shot (Dynamite, December 2014), script by Stuart Wellington, pencils and inks by Lara Margarida, colors by Luigi Anderson, letters by Simon Bowland

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Today in Comics History, December 31, New Year's Eve: Star-Lord plays "Alone Again (Naturally)" on his Walkman

from Guardians Team-Up #9 (Marvel, October 2015); script, pencils, inks, and colors by Javier Pulido; letters by Cory Petit

"Alone Gaain (Naturally)" by Gilbert O'Sullivan, (MAM, 1972), written by Gilbert O'Sullivan

Today in Comics History, December 31, 1949, New Year's Eve: Howard Chaykin accidentally brushes his teeth over his artwork

from The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow one-shot (Dynamite, May 2014); script, pencils, and inks by Howard Chaykin; colors by Jesus Aburto; letters by Ken Bruzenak

Today in Comics History, December 31, 11:00 PM, New Year's Eve: As always, Brooklyn closes after dark on New Year's Eve

from "Resolutions" in Flash Gordon Holiday Special one-shot (Dynamite, December 2014), script by Stuart Wellington, pencils and inks by Lara Margarida, colors by Luigi Anderson, letters by Simon Bowland

365 Days of Star Wars Comics, Day 365½: Positively the Final Belly Shirt of the Star Wars Universe

Panel from Vader's Little Princess (April 2013); script, pencils, inks, colors and letters by Jeffrey Brown

366 Days with Combo-Man, Day 1: And so it begins

And now: Combo Man! The Sensational Character Find of 1996! And now we're going to feature him every day of the year in 2016! He's comboriffic!

Cover of Combo Man #1 (1996), script by Mark Gruenwald, pencils by Hector Collazo, inks by Greg Adams, colors by Mark Bernardo, letters by Janice Chiang

Origin (set to that staccato piano music at the beginning of The Incredible Hulk TV series): Whenever teenager Rick Wilder eats a Combo™ cheese-flavor snack, he gains the powers of several Marvel super-heroes at once, including the plunging neckline of Luke Cage Power Man, to become...Combo Man!

Panels from Combo Man #1 (1996), script by Mark Gruenwald, pencils by Hector Collazo, inks by Greg Adams, colors by Mark Bernardo, letters by Janice Chiang

Special First Day of 366 Days with Combo Man bonus: click here to see the original art from Combo Man #1!

So, there you go: only the first day of 366 Days with Combo Man! I'll be following it up this year with panels and artwork from the one Combo Man comic...

Wait a minute. This guy is only in one comic book?

And that comic book is only twelve pages long? And I've already posted two of them? And two more are this ad?

Ummmm. I'm not really certain I can get a whole year outta this dude and the eight pages of his comic book I have left. Maybe if I divide every page into 46 parts...naw, that won't work.


Besides, what could I say that Chris Sims hasn't already said better and more hilariously than me?


Well, tune in tomorrow and see who the real new 366 Days with will feature, I guess!

365 Days of Star Wars Comics, Day 365: If they should bar wars...please let these Star Wars stay

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Even the opening of each Star Wars reads like a fairy tale. "Once upon a time." And at the heart of it, Star Wars is technically nothing more than a story, a canon-approved tree with Expanded Universe/Legend branches sprouting off of it everywhere. One of my favorite scenes in Return of the Jedi is all about storytelling. Threepio relates "the story so far" to the Ewoks in the inimitable Threepio way, with sound effects and, despite speaking in the Ewok language, absolutely no change in his vocal tone.

Panel from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi #3 (December 1983); script by Archie Goodwin, pencils and inks by Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon, colors by Christie Scheele and Bob Sharen, letters by Ed King

It's fitting, then, that Threepio would be featured in what might possibly be described as "The Last Star Wars Story." It certainly is the last one I'll feature this year, and I think it speaks to the love and enthusiasm — and inspiration — that the movies and novels and comics and action figures all give us. It's called, aptly,

Panel from "Storyteller" in Star Wars Tales #19 (March 2004); script by Jason Hall; pencils, inks, and colors by Paul Lee; letters by Steve Dutro

Many, many years after the stories we're all familiar with (1,000,000 ABY? If Wookieekind is still alive), a race called the Vidar enslaves, tortures, and murders another, unnamed, race.

Two of these oppressed beings, Otalp and Remoh, go on a pilgrimage for the fabled Oracle who will reveal truth and hope through its stories.

And I'm pretty sure you can guess who this oracle will be, right?

I find it both funny and sad that the first being Threepio asks for in his blind awakening is Artoo. I always liked to think that that two of them would have gone out of these worlds together, but for Threepio it's a lonely, lengthy death.

He tells his story...and we recognize every bit of it, even though it's seen through the eyes of Otalp and Remoh.

But the Vindar have tracked them down in the cave. They destroy Threepio with a blaster shot, and kill Remoh while he tries to divert their attention away from the hiding Otalp.

But what's this Otalp discovers with the abandoned remains of Threepio? well, it's mot as clumsy or random as a blaster; it's an elegant weapon for a more civilized age. But the true weapon that Threepio has given Otalp?

A new hope, to be accurate. And, like every ending that culminates in a question mark or "The Beginning," the adventure is only just starting. Thanks to a story — a story as powerful as a lightsaber.

I once believed, in 1983 and in 2005, that I'd never see another Star Wars film in my life. I was wrong. Twice. May it forever be so, always bringing us adventures of Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano and Mace Windu and Aayla Secura and Kit Fisto and Yoda and Bail Organa and Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine and Han Solo and Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian and Lobot and Admiral Ackbar and Mon Mothma and Wedge Antilles and of Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma, Maz Kanata, BB-8, Doctor Aphra, Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, K-2SO, Bodhi Rook, and throughout it all our Greek chorus of R2-D2 and C-3P0. And beyond. May they entertain and inspire us all, whether canon or legends, on and on, until the beginnings of it are lost to time.

May the Force be with you!

Cover to Star Wars (2015 Marvel series) #1 (EMP Museum Exclusive Michael Del Mundo Variant), painted by Michael Del Mundo

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

365 Days of Star Wars Comics, Day 364½: Gotta get rid of all these leftover clips I'd saved for Belly Shirts of the Star Wars Universe somehow

Well, what do you expect from a fictional universe whose wikipedia has an entire encyclopedia entry for "navel"?

365 Days of Star Wars Comics, Day 364: George R. Binks

Well, I guess I can't complain about the internet's top two comics journalists each very recently linking to two separate but complete repostings of Tony Millionaire's brilliant and beautiful "George R. Binks" story from Star Wars Tales #20. (Nor can I have expected anyone to predict this was going to be my long-planned second-to-last 365 Days of Star Wars Comics.) Posting the entirety of a story online raises some problematic questions, though, which is why I almost always try to play by fair use and not repost all or a large segment of a story. In fair disclosure: I did post this entire one-page Peter Bagge Star Wars strip, and this post on Cynthia Martin's Star Wars art contains seven pages (plus the cover) reproduced from Star Wars #96 out of 22. Mea culpa, I guess, but at the same time, here's what I's like to consider the "fair-use" teaser for "George R. Binks," which you can find in back issues or digital editions of Star Wars Tales #20, or a paperback edition of the collection Star Wars Tales, Vol. 5, or the digital version of the same. And now, some of Tony Millionaire's "George R. Binks."

Panels from "George R. Binks" in Star Wars Tales #20 (June 2004); script, pencils, inks, and letters by Tony Millionaire, colors by Jim Campbell

Tomorrow: Um, I dunno. Maybe some more belly shirts.