Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Month of... Board Games! Day 13: Troy Tempest in a Teapot

Stingray! Hey, Stingray, everybody!

Panel from "Family Matters! Chapter Three: Pursuit!" in Marvel Comics Presents #55 (July 1990), script by Len Wein, pencils by Jim Fern, inks by Mike deCarlo, colors by Brad Vancata, letters by Tim Harkins

Oh. Wait, according to my extensive Twitter feedback, I've picked the wrong Stingray.

Yes! This is the right one. The adventures of Troy Tempest, Phones, Marina, "Sam" Shore, Oink, Flipper, Ariel the Mermaid, Dolphin, Mark Harris, Unga Khan, and Dory! All of them teamed together to form the international agency known as WASP!

Panel from the Quicksilver story "The Wasp" in National Comics #67 (Quality, August 1948), pencils and inks by Bill Quackenbush; as reprinted in The Flash (1959 series) #214 (April 1972)

Hah! Betcha thought that was gonna be a panel of Janet van Dyne!

Actually, Toy Trempest, Namor and the rest all worked the World Aquanaut Security Patrol, probably because the acronym FISH had already been taken by the Fiendish Industrial Shellfish Hegemony (see Aquaman and the Untouchables #21 (April 1968) "Aquaman Gets Canned!"). Still, in their off-hours in Stingray HQ at Marineville (not makin' that one up), Troy and his pals John Horatio Fishstick and Lieutenant Atlanta "Attacks" Shore no doubt enjoyed stretching out with some Cherry Shasta, Utz Potato Chips and Helluva Clam Dip and playing a few relaxing games like Marinopoly, Cards Against Humidity, or Go to the Head of the School of Fish. And this one, too!

"Mission: Rescue Marina" in TV [Century] 21 Stingray Special (City Magazine Ltd., 1965)
(Click picture to Moby-size)

Yes, Stingray! Gerry Anderson's Supermarionation show that brought us the thrilling, vaguely fishy adventures of Oink the Sea!

It's a Sealy Posturepedic Morning!

On the other hand, it's the show that brought us the beauteous Marina (long before her ill-fated romance with Namor!)

So let us salute the romantic crush we all have on a puppet! The one who isn't Miss Piggy.

Today in Comics History, August 13, 1893: Doc Brown runs his time machine directly into a wild bear

from Back to the Future (2015 series) #10 (IDW, July 2016), story by John Barber and Bob Gale, script by John Barber, pencils by Marcello Ferreira and Athila Fabbio, inks by Marcello Ferreira, Athila Fabbio, and Toni Doya, colors by Jose Luis Rio and Diego Rodriguez, letters by Shawn Lee

Today in Comics History, August 13, 1893: Mary Steenburgen collects the final evidence she needs to have Christopher Lloyd committed

from Back to the Future (2015 series) #8 (IDW, May 2016), story by John Barber and Bob Gale, script by John Barber, pencils by Marcello Ferreira and Athila Fabbio, inks by Marcello Ferreira, Athila Fabbio, and Toni Doya, colors by Diego Rodriguez and Esther Sanz, letters by Shawn Lee

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 226: And that's how the Micro Machines Man came to work for the Daily Bugle

Panels from Civil War II: Choosing Sides #3 (September 2016), script by Derek Landy, pencils and inks by Filipe Andrade, colors by Miroslav Mrva, letters by Clayton Cowles

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Month of... Board Games! Day 12: With some white Play-Doh and a black marker, any game can be the Twisted Toyfare Theatre game

Yes, it's the board game of the only decent thing Wizard magazine ever did*: Twisted Toyfare Theater!

Left: "Twisted Toyfair Theatre: The Board Game" in Twisted Toyfair Theatre v.7 (2006); art by Ryan Dunleavy
(Click picture to Robot Chicken-size)

Remember: do not attempt to play this game without having an advanced degree in Mego-ography!

*Well, that and Witchblade #500.

Today in Comics History, August 12, 1778: Origin of the very first Coward of the County

from Spider-Woman (1978 series) #8 (Marvel, November 1978), script by Marv Wolfman, pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Al Gordon, colors by Francoise Mouly, letters by John Costanza

(Want to know more? Sure, we all do! Read about this story in "Who's that girl, who's that girl? It's Jess!" tell 'em Bully sent you! Er, tell me I sent you.)

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 225 and Today in Comics History, August 12, 2007: Are Brie Larson and Brendan Fraser an item?

from Ms. Marvel (2006 series) #18 (Marvel, October 2007), script by Brian Reed, pencils by Aaron Lopresti, inks by Matt Ryan, colors by Chris Sotomayor, letters by Dave Sharpe

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Month of... Board Games! Day 11: And on that bombshell...

You probably know I'm a big little stuffed fan fan of the late, lamented (I'm not counting the version with Mr. Billie Piper and Joey) Top Gear, the BBC automobile show where presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May are given silly things to do with cars by the BBC.

Yes, I'm so big a fan I once created a comic that would definitely get published If I Ran Comics.

That's why I pick up the BBC's yearly Top Gear Annual and excitedly get out my Matchbox cars to play the various Top Gear comics annual board games! Like this one!

"Swamps and Highways" in Top Gear Annual 2009 (BBC, 2009)
(Click picture to Big Stig-size)

Yes, it's the board game based on the time Jeremy, the Hamster, and Captain Slow drove across the Alabama in the Deep South of America, with their cars sporting incendiary graffiti. Warning: quite possibly the most cringe-worthy sequence of Top Gear ever. Nobody comes off looking good, especially Americans. Stupid, stupid car creatures!

This version of Top Gear left the air following Jeremy's "fracas" (that's British for "punch-up") at a producer when a hot meal wasn't waiting for him at the hotel after a day's filming. (Top Gear has been in mucho hot water before with the BBC.) Still, I enjoy the show for what it is, even if I don't want to be personal friends with or live next door to Clarkson, no no no no. The show's regularly shown in reruns, and Clarkson, Hammond, and May return to the screen this fall with a new series, The Grand Tour, on Amazon Prime.

In the meantime, we can always rewatch and re-enjoy their classic 1970s detective/action series, The Interceptors.

Today in Comics History, August 11: Peg Bundy gets really violent with her Page-a-Day calendar

cover of Picture Romance Library #313: When? (Pearson UK, July 1964), painted art by Castro (?)

Today in Comics History, August 11, 1984: John DeLorean, in dutch to the mob for five large, breathes a sigh of relief

from "Science Project" in Back to the Future (2015 series) #2 (IDW, November 2015); story by Bob Gale; script by Erik Burnham; pencils, inks, and colors by Chris Madden; letters by Shawn Lee

Don't think I don't see you there, Magnum's car.

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 224: I bet Lou Grant never did, you know what, he did this all the time

Panels from "Where R U Spider-Man???" in Amazing Spider-Man (1999 series) #1 (January 1999), script by Howard Mackie, pencils by John Byrne, inks by Scott Hanna, colors by Gregory Wright, letters by Liz Agraphiotis

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Month of... Board Games! Day 10: There've been times when I wander / And times when I don't / Concepts I'll ponder / And concepts I won't ever see

Witness the spec-*TIC*-ular world of the alien Micronaut Bug (created by Bill Mantlo, and we loves him for it) board game form! By Fred Hembeck! How much more awesome can one post possibly supply?

"The Help Bug Right the Time/Space Continuum Board Game" from Bug one-shot (March 1997);
script, pencils, inks, and letters by Fred Hembeck
(Click picture to Professor Prometheus-size)

Just as Nestlés makes the very best (sung:) chocolate!*, Hembeck makes the very best (sung:) activity pages! * Note: in the interest of truthiness, Nestlé does not make the very best (sung:) chocolate.

That's just exactly how madcap this Bug special is! Not to be confused with how buggy that Madcap series was.

Cover of Bug one-shot (March 1997); pencils by Derec Aucoin, inks by John Dell

Say, why are all those vintage issues of classic Marvel Comics on the cover of this one-off Micronauts special? And why is Bug so casually destroying them when he could take them to his local Homeworld Micro-Comics Shop and sell them for a little loose change? The answer...may surprise you! Until you read the next paragraph.

It's because the entire story is a romp through the full history of the Marvel Universe (caution: "Heroes Reborn" is not included). As Bug and FF supernemesis Annihilus (the villain who has the word "anus" right in his name) chase each other throughout the time/space continuum, they consistently land each time right at a vital point in Marvel History! F'r instance, when Wolverine had his first beer! When Ziggy Pig and Silly Seal teamed up with Millie the Model to battle the Atlas Implosion! Or, say, when Gerry Conway was kicked by Stan Lee in the patoot for investing the Spider-Clone! You'll also get other great hits, like this classic!

Panels from Bug one-shot (March 1997); script by Todd Dezago, pencils by Derec Aucoin, inks by Rich Faber and Ralph Cabrera, colors by Kevin Somers, color separations by GCW, letters by Kiff Scholl

Trapped in the Marvel Universe, Bug finds himself leaping from life to life, putting things right that once went wrong, and hoping each time, that his next leap will be the leap home.

From disrupting a happy picnic by leading some gangsters to it... messing around with some intricate college physics paperwork...

...and being the first step on the road to recovery for a guy who...I dunno, I think we're seeing the origin of Bill W. here.

Yep, this story gleefully drops Bug into every pivotal moment of Earth-616 history. As the Rolling Stones once cryptically sang: 'Who killed the Watcher?' / When after all / It was Bug and me."

Why yes, he even had a hand in creating this guy:

And I'm pretty sure Bug invented Calvinball.

Now, granted, other sagas of Marvel history have definitively proven the words of Mister Gordon Sumner: "'Cause when the elephants escape you / Their logic fries you up and apes you" "A connecting principle / Linked to the invisible** / Almost imperceptible / Something inexpressible / Science insusceptible / Logic so inflexible / Causally connectible / Yet nothing is invincible**." Or, if like me, you subscribe to the Fuzzy Sweater Theory of the Marvel Universe, "pulling on one string of yarn will unravel all the others."

* Girl?
** Except Iron Man.

Panels from "...What If There Was No Fantastic Four?" in What If? #31 (February 1982), plot by Bill Mantlo, script by Roger Stern, pencils by Alan Kupperberg, ink by Frank Giacoia, colors by Bob Sharen, letters by Rick Parker

Of such delicate fabric is the Marvel Universe and Earth-616.8, (I'll be deep in the cold, cold ground before I recognize Earth Prime!) that such future events such as these will affect you in the future.

But they didn't have an accompanying board game, so nyah on them.

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 223: Stop trying to make the Inhumans happen, Jonah

Panel from "Beware of the Hair" in Spidey Super Stories #4 (January 1975), script by Jean Thomas, pencils by Win Mortimer, inks by Mike Esposito, letters by Artie Simek

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

A Month of... Board Games! Day 9: Doctor, doctor, can't you see I'm burning, burning

Among the most beautiful of "board games" from UK comics are the early Doctor Who annuals — yes, back when they were even calling him "Dr. Who" in the story texts. And there was only one Doctor! You kids and your need to have a dozen or so Doctors. Why, in my day, we have four or five, and we managed to do just fine, a rubber monster and a wobbling cardboard spaceship or two aside.

But oh, this is gorgeously drawn and designed, isn't it? Compared to our modern-day photo art and computer designed Doctor Who annuals (not that I won't feature at least one of those games), this is Fine Art, with a capital F.A. What? What? Why are all you British readers giggling?)

"Escape from Planet X" in Doctor Who Annual 1967 (World Distributors, Manchester, 1966)
(Click picture to Planet of Giants-size)

Lovely, isn't it? For best result, the instructions "meet robots — go back to start" really should be read in the voice of Dr. Zoidberg.

Here's some more uncredited art from that Doctor Who Annual. Remember that classic episode where the Doctor went to a Galactic Pig Roast?

And years (about 1200 of them) before the Thirteenth Twelfth Doctor was stuck in a incredible shrinking TARDIS in the episode "Flatline," the First Doctor, a master-mind capable of spanning all spatial infinity and all temporal entity with his incredible knowledge of science, mathematics, and reversing the polarity, already had. Parse that sentence, Strunk and White!

In conclusion, Doctor Who itself may have gotten more technically proficient, but Doctor Who Annuals can never recapture the beauty and charm of their early days. Set the TARDIS controls for the heart of the sun!

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 222: He's no Jimmy Olsen*

Panels from Marvel Team-Up (1972 series) #51 (November 1976), script by Bill Mantlo, breakdowns by Sal Buscema, finishes by Mike Esposito, colors by Janice Cohen, letters by Irving Watanabe

* But then again, who is?

Monday, August 08, 2016

A Month of... Board Games! Day 8: Jimmy Olsen's Blue (Game Token)

A game that allows you to play as Jimmy Olsen? Versus Superman and Silver Age Brainiac and the well-before-his-time plump businessman version of Lex Luthor? Sign me up! Even though it's just a glorified version of Parcheesi. Well, for that, I can only say...Sorry!

"Super Track" from Superman Giant Game Book (World Distributors Manchester, 1967)
(Click picture to Turtle Boy-size)

Here's the instructions for "Super Track"...yeah, like you didn't already know how to play Parcheesi. (Hint: no cheese is involved.)

Sorry, this annual had the cardboard insert with the punch-out playing pieces missing, so you'll just have to use the ones from the similar Batman game, or make your own, or steal some from another game. Probably Parcheesi.


Today in Comics History, August 8, 2015: Suddenly Marty's his own grandpa

from Back to the Future (2015 series) #4 (IDW, July 2016), story by John Barber and Bob Gale, script by John Barber, pencils by Marcello Ferreira and Athila Fabbio, inks by Marcello Ferreira, Athila Fabbio, and Toni Doya, colors by Jose Luis Rio and Diego Rodriguez, letters by Shawn Lee

"He's His Own Grandpa" by Phil Harris and His Orchestra (RCA Victor, 1948), written by Dwight Latham and Moe Jaffe

Today in Comics History, August 8, 1988: Awoooooooo, Werewolves of Wrigley

from "The Most Cursed" in Strange Sports Stories (2015 series) #3 (DC/Vertigo, July 2015), script by C.M. Punk, pencils and inks by Andy MacDonald, colors by Nick Filardi, letters by Sal Ciprianio