Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Month of... Board Games! Day 27: Brand New '64 Dodge the Dalek

Hey, remember that old Dalek Game?

No, no, not that one...this one, the extremely retro simple-to-learn, impossible-to-master Daleks Computer Game! And I think it would look...a little something like this:

"The New Daleks" by Bob Arning (1985), based on "Daleks" by Johan Strandberg (1984), based on "Robots" by Ken Arnold (late 1970s)

You can play a Flash-based version of the Daleks Game here.

Or, play this version from the very first Doctor Who-related annual! You don't even need a computer! Well, except to read this post and print the game board.

"Dodge the Dalek" from The Dalek Book (1964); creator unknown (possibly David Whitaker)
(Click picture to Davrosize)

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 240: Whose Earth is it, anyway?

Panels from Spider-Gwen (December 2015 series) #8 (July 2016), script by Jason Latour, pencils and inks by Bengal, colors by Rico Renzi, letters by Clayton Cowles and Travis Lanham

Wait, I thought you weren't allowed to call it Earth-616 after Secret Wars...?


Friday, August 26, 2016

A Month of... Board Games! Day 26: Oh shoot! Isn't Sonja cute, cute, cute!

"Li'l Sonja's Quest of Doom" from Li'l Sonja #1 one-shot (January 2014); script by Roger Langridge, art by Andrew Elder
(Click picture to Crom-size)

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 239: I love the sound of breaking glass

Panels from The Spectacular Spider-Man (1976 series) #255 (March 1998); plot by Tom Defalco, script by J.M. DeMatteis; pencils by Luke Ross; inks by Dan Green and Al Milgrom; colors by John Kalisz, Mike Rockwitz, and Mark Bernardo; letters by Kiff Scholl

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Month of... Board Games! Day 25: Pretty fly for a white guy

British comics weeklies have frequently been editor-in-chiefed by an increasingly bizarre and out-of-this-world assortment of strange and unusual beings who have certain benefits (over, say, Paul Levitz or Carmine Infantino), not only by their distinctive personalities but by their being complete fiction (like, say, Stan Lee or Jim Shooter). We saw that Agent 21 runs the vast TV Century 21 empire, just as today Daniel Craig is the true mastermind behind Marie Claire and British Vogue. Or consider Tharg, the long-suffering (as in, he'll make you suffer for a long time) editor or 2000 AD, which recently celebrated its 2000th issue by allowing Tharg to eat both a celebration cake made of polystyrene cups and Halo Jones.

Panel from "Vector 13: Case 10: Case Closed?" in 2000 AD Prog 1302 (4 March 1997), script by David Bishop, pencils and inks by Simon Davis

Like the chiller hosts of DC books of yore like House of Secrets, Forbidden Tales of Dark Mansion, and Alfred Pennyworth's Stories of Ruined Roasts, the Legion of Fictional Brit Comics Editors frequently starred in their own stories or series. Max the Computer, a super-advanced artificial intelligence that runs Maxwell Tower and used its hidden floor to enact Spectre-like retribution upon scum, nogoodniks, and just-all-out British-style bastards. Created by "Ian Holland" (the powerhouse scripting team of Alan Grant and John Wagner) and artist by José Ortiz, Max's "The Thirteenth Floor" series premiered in the wonderfully-named British comics weekly Scream! and later moved to the long-running Eagle series when the two comics merged.

Panels from "The Thirteenth Floor" in Eagle #128 (Magazines Ltd., 1 September 1984), script by Ian Holland (Alan Grant/John Wagner), pencils and inks by José Ortiz

Here's a board game from an Eagle Annual introduced by Max that features not only a justifiable hideous retribution but also a slightly more intricate and strategy-based turn system than the usual Candyland/Parcheesi clones I've been showing you throughout this series. Can you escape...The Spider & Fly Game?!? (A: No. No, you cannot.)

"The Spider & Fly Game" from Eagle Annual 1987 (IPC Magazines Ltd., 1986); creators unknown
(Click picture to world-wide-web-size)

Being turned into a fly and eaten by a bloodthirsty spider...well, that is absolutely more chilling that any old dumb Penance Stare.

Today in Comics History, August 25, 2011: International Stormtrooper Year 2011 has a strong influence on fashion

from Rocket Girl #6 (Image, May 2015), script by Brandon Montclare; pencils, inks, and colors by Amy Reeder

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 238: And now, the continuing stoooory of a hack who's gone to the dogs: Journalist's Hospital!

Panels from Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #247 (June 1997), script by J.M. DeMatteis, pencils by Luke Ross, inks by Dan Green and Al Milgrom, colors by John Kalisz, letters by Kiff Scholl

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Month of... Board Games! Day 24: Agent 21 Across

Welcome to the exciting world of Secret Agent 21, the Spy of the Future, whose day job was editor-in-chief of the comic TV Century 21! Now who says Grant Morrison invented meta comic books??!

Editorial column from TV Century 21 #1 (23 January, 1965)

Also, he has a game!

"U.S.S. versus S.O.F.R.A.M." from TV Century 21 Annual 1968
(Century 21 Publishing Ltd. and City Magazines Ltd., 1967); creators unknown
(Click picture to SHIELD*-size)

Because I know you're wondering: U.S.S. stands for Universal Secret Service. And S.O.F.R.A.M. stands for the Solar Organisation For Revenge and Murder! Man, the British are not as good with spy acronyms as Nick Fury, Napoleon Solo, or Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

In addition to Agent 21, the TV Century 21 series also featured comics starring Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds, Stingray, and Fireball Get Smart, My Favo(u)rite Martian, and The Munsters! Wha-huh?!?

As for Century 21, it eventually evolved from a British comics weekly into a real estate firm and a mid-range fashion department store. Wow, they really did adapt to the changing markets of the 2000s!

*Surprisingly Hypnotic In Extra-Large Dimensions

Today in Comics History, August 24, 1993: Andy Warhol plots his escape from The Village

from Miracleman #19 (Eclipse, November 1990), cover art by Dave McKean, script by Neil Gaiman, pencils by Mark Buckingham, inks and colors by Sam Parsons, letters by Wayne Truman

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 237: Oh the humanity

Panels from A Year of Marvels: February Infinite Comic digital one-shot (February 2016), script by Ryan North, layouts by Mast, pencils and inks by Danilo Beyrouth, colors by Cris Peter, letters by Travis Lanham

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Month of... Board Games! Day 23: I'd tip my hat to you, but I haven't got a hat!

Hey, I wonder if there's any rush to play today's Doctor Who game?

Not unless your name is Saul.

"Travels of the Tardis" from Doctor Who Annual 1968 (World Distributors, Manchester, September 1967); creators unknown
(Click picture to bigger-on-the-insize)

This is the third Doctor Who Annual but the first to feature the second Doctor, Patrick Troughton. Now, I don't know which artist(s) drew the annual's comics and spot illustrations, but whoever it was, they really liked the Doctor's hat:

A lot of people curse the BBC for erasing their master tapes of so many of the Second Doctor's serials, that they've been lost to time. But really, you oughta thank the Beeb: they were just savin' you from lookin' at that big-ass hat.

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 236: The Proportional Butt-Brains of a Spider

Panels from Spider-Man (1990 series) #39 (October 1993), script by J. M. DeMatteis, pencils and inks by Klaus Janson, colors by Kevin Tinsley, letters by Richard Starkings

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Month of... Board Games! Day 22: It's coming up / It's coming up / It's coming up / It's coming up / It's coming up / It's coming up

Dan Dare! Pilot of the Future! uture uture uture uture Hero and champion to all British kiddies the United Kingdom world over! But despite some decent attempts (by Grant Morrison and Garth Ennis) at publishing him in America (by, of all disparate comics companies, Fantagraphics and Virgin), Mister D. has never become the cult hero here in these here United States the way he is in England. We tend to prefer our own homegrown iconic, ultrapopular space heroes like Harry Broderick, Shane Vansen, Dan Holland, William "Hawk" Hawkins, Dylan Hunt, Joel Robinson and William Anthony Rogers. Maybe it's just that Dan Dare didn't have his own annoying robot sidekick voiced by Mel Blanc! I'd get on that problem right now, Fleetway. Or perhaps the BBC could jumpstart interest in "Biggles in Space" by commissioning a television or movie series, probably starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Dan, James Corden as his batman Digby, Greg Davies as Colonel Wilf Banger, Alex Kingston as Professor Peabody, Jon Langford as the Mekon, and some CGI as the good ship Anatasia. I do believe I've just started writing some Dan Dare BBC fan fiction. And of course, the signature tune could be that Elton John classic track "Dan Dare (Pilot Of The Future)!"

Or, y'know, we could just all get to know Dan Dare a little better simply by sitting down around a table of the future and playing his game.

"Dan Dare: Journey to Venus" from Eagle Annual 1986 (IPC Magazines Ltd., 1986); creators unknown
(Click picture to dare-to-compare-size)

Here's the too-complicated-for-their-own-good instructions for getting to the apparently twin planets of Venus and Venus II:

Pilot of the futureverse!
He'll save every one of us!

Today in Comics History, August 22, 1806: Banksy strikes during the California Spanish Mission era

from Django/Zorro #5 (DC/Vertigo/Dynamite, March 2015), story by Quentin Tarantino, script by Matt Wagner, pencils and inks by Esteve Polls, colors by Brennan Wagner, letters Simon Bowland

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 235: J. Jonah Jameson: Who He Is and How He Came to Be

Panels from Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #80 (July 1983), script by Bill Mantlo, pencils by Ron Frenz, inks by Kevin Dzuban, colors by Bob Sharen, letters by Joe Rosen

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Month of... Board Games! Day 21: A sorta fairytale

Once upon a time there was a comic book named Fables (and there still is, kinda), which coulda been a multi-season top-rated Disney-owned television series if you could actually trademark public domain characters.

And altho' Fables got a furry pawful of spin-off comics and its own handheld mobile game, it never got any action figures, Funko Pops, or bubblegum cards. Have you ever seen Fables on a bubblegum card? Hmmm? How can you say Fables is great when it's never been on bubblegum cards?

It did, however, celebrate its 100th issue with an in-comic board game.

Left: "Fables: Escape to Wolf Manor" in Fables #100 (January 2011); script by Bill Willingham, pencils and inks by Mark Buckingham, colors by Lee Loughridge, letters by Todd Klein
(Click picture to King Rumbold-size)

And here's the rules. Apparently there are supplementary rules for "advanced play" on the Vertigo website, but those are by now so well buried that I couldn't locate them. My suggestion for supplementary rules: bet a funny little man your first born child that you can win the game.

The rules suggest using generic "one player piece pawn for each player" as markers, but instead of using buttons or pennies or poisoned apples, just turn the page of Fables #100, and you can cut out and use the characters from The Fables Paper Puppet Theatre as your own special tokens! Remember to get permission to use scissors from your mom or dad or evil stepmother first!

Wow, there sure are a lotta characters there for you to cut out and reenact the Last Stand of Fabletown or the War Against the Adversary or The Death of Mary Queen of Scots, but they missed the most important character from Fables, so I created a homemade piece for you to cut out and use. You're welcome.