Saturday, July 08, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 189: It's hard to bury the hatchet holdin' a chainsaw

Panels from Fight Like a Girl #1 (Action Lab, November 2014); script by David Pinckney; pencils, inks, and colors by Soo Lee; letters by Adam Wollet

Friday, July 07, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 188: Batman gets knocked down, but he gets up again

Panels from Batman (2016 Rebirth series) #20 (early June 2017), script by Tom King, pencils by David Finch inks by Danny Mik and Trevor Scott, colors by Jordie Bellaire, letters by Deron Bennett

Thursday, July 06, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 187: Heavens to Murgatroyd

Panels from "House Fires" in Suicide Squad/Banana Splits Special one-shot (May 2017), script by Mark Russell, pencils and inks by Howard Porter, colors by Steve Buccellato, letters by Dave Sharpe

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 186: Time for Defiance

Panels from Back to the Future: Biff to the Future #4 (April 2017), story and script by Bob Gale and Derek Fridolfs, pencils by Alan Robinson, inks by Alan Robinson and Jaime Castro, colors by Maria Santaolalla, letters by Shawn Lee

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 185: Mr. Batman Goes to Washington

Panels from "Batman Goes to Washington" in Batman (1940 series) #28 (April-May 1945), script by Alvin Schwartz, pencils and inks by Jerry Robinson, letters by Ira Schnapp

No one would definitely call Batman a patriotic character (aside from that one time where he dressed up as Star-Spangled Batman), but during World War II it was pretty much required for you to not only be patriotic but to turn in your old comics for scrap paper to...uh...I dunno, build tanks out of. I'm sure Bruce Wayne converted many of his ball-point pen and rubber glove factories to making big-ass guns for the Allies, and he likely spear-headed several local Gotham City events and rallies to buy bonds, but Batman himself (and, oh yeah, Robin) certainly had adventures that inspired a proud tear as you salute the ol' red stripes and White Stripes and all 48 good old American contiguous states. No foolin' though, Batman would salute as soon as Alaska joined the Union. Hawaii, though, as far as Batman was concerned — heck with it.

This is a story of defiance, not against the government ( — goodness no, National woukldn't dare in the '40s), and not even against the Axis powers, tho' there were plenty of cover images devoted to that, most infamously and wrongly Action Comics #58. No, this is about not only fighting criminal organizations rampant during the war (through use of a government crime database) as well as giving reformed ex-cons a chance to work in the wartime society. It was definitely a simpler time — let's face it, Batman's pride in the government crime database doesn't fit with his modern "don't trust nobody" ethos. But it's done with such a light touch it's forgivable, and give yourself the suspension of disbelief in a comic book world where the government is trying to help us all and bad guys can reform. Remember: once upon a time Gotham City was bright and cheerful and sunny and while clowns and quizzers freely roamed the streets, they were carefree pranksters who would have fun on top of giant appliances and really no more harm to anyone than one of those rubber-masked monsters those meddling kids chased down.

Bruce Wayne ponders the plight of reformed ex-cons who have gone straight but can't get jobs. Hmmm, too bad there aren't any main industries in Gotham for them to apply to. Instead, put on the old cape 'n' cowl and start a social media movement. Social media, in this case, meant that Batman asked to interrupt The Jack Benny Program to lecture on the radio for thirty minutes about his new employment idea. Gotham City warmed to the idea, but Don Wilson was furious.

Ex-cons reduced to doing nothing but sitting around, playing cards, and on average wearing one-third of a green suit like the idea, and Batman reads his fan mail after Alfred has already opened up all the envelopes and removed the snapshots that weren't appropriate for Robin to see.

Batman gets a letter inviting him to speak in front of the Senate, and WHOO HOO ROAD TRIP! This issue marks the first appearance of the Batmobile's famous Bat-Trailer, and NO I AM NOT KIDDING ABOUT THAT

Unfortunately, some real and unrepentant criminals want to pressure the Senate from voting for Batman's Jobs for Ex-Cons Bill. Rich private organizations trying to pressure and influence the government through shady means? Man, I'll believe in Superman, but this is a little crazy. Meanwhile, Batman gives the ex-cons a patriotic tour of Washington, prompting them to stand up straight and be as rock-steady as the Giant Ape sitting in the Lincoln Memorial WAIT A MINUTE GIANT APE?!? YOU BLEW IT UP! DARN YOU ALL TO HECK!

Time to visit FBI Headquarters and see how their patented 3 by 5 card system helps stamp out racketeers and fifth-columnists across the country! Crime cards! Collect 'em all!

Then they see the almost photographically detailed Capitol Building — eriously, nice job, Jerry Robinson! I'm sure if Bob Kane had done the Capitol it would have been red. Meanwhile...suspenseful caption strikes!

Batman and Robin are coshed by the bad crooks and that robot from Planet Express and spirited away to a warehouse, which only goes to prove: Golden Age Batman and Robin must have had some serious head injuries. Also: hash is settled.

And the good ex-cons hunt for and release Batman! To be fair, it was six days later, and they'd put 3,300 miles on the Batmobile joyriding around the Capitol area, but in the end they did the right thing.

And now, in the spirit of Batman Returns and Batman Forever...Batman Filibusters! Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

Monday, July 03, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 184: Bob Dylan never knew it would be this easy

Last issue, we saw Peter Parker dramatically declare "BITE ME, WORLD!":

Panels from Amazing Spider-Man (1963 series) #70 (March 1969); plot and layouts by John Romita, Sr.; script by Stan Lee; finishes by Jim Mooney; letters by Sam Rosen

Well, we all know that sooner or later Peter will return to his senses and become the Humble Spider-Man, protector of everybody else and all-around, not-at-all self-centered good guy, but just how long with this startling plot twist last? twelve issues? Two issues?

How about until the next page?

And for those of you who tuned in because this feature is called "365 Days of Defiance," let's check in with the student protest subplot.

Huh. That...that was easy. Well, I guess it proves that tensions between the races and you ng and old can be solved if you just sit down and rap. First issue of the day, I think: Hey Robbie where'd ya get that green suit?!?

So all's well that ends well, except for Mr. Parkewr, as usual. Because he didn't take part in the student protest (because, let's face it, he already has a cool pad he shares with Harry Osborn and his Fantastic Fu-Manchu Mustache and Drug Addiction), Gwen Stacy, queen of our hearts, slams Pete for ducking out. Frankly, this relationship could stand a little more open communication, because Peter could open up, express his concerns, pay attention to the sensational Ms. Stacy instead of being lost in his own thoughts, possibly even trust her enough to open up and ask her why she's cosplaying Disney's Pocahontas.

Later, Spider-Man kills J. Jonah Jameson, so that's something.

Tomorrow! Something different, and definitely not Amazing Spider-Man #71.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 183: I feel like slapping a henchman today (slap slap)

Yesterday we examined the beginning of Spider-Man's Crisis on Campus/Great Tablet Saga, and today (and in the next issue) the story continues, as it is wont to do. hey, why not let Spidey explain it all for you? He's good at that.

Panels from Amazing Spider-Man (1963 series) #69 (nice) (February 1969); plot and layouts by John Romita, Sr.; script by Stan Lee; finishes by Jim Mooney; letters by Sam Rosen

Meanwhile, over at the subplot, Kingpin continues to plot the theft of the mysterious tablet. Also: he is a wee bit touchy about one subject.

Whoa, a bit of a reflexive reaction there! Still, no harm done:

In the last issue, Randy Robertson and the student protestor have been arrested, and it's surely time for Matt Murdock, The Only Lawyer in New York™ tio make an appearance. Or maybe not! Complicating matters: the police and other authorities think the protest gang were responsible for the bombs thrown by the Kingpin. Dad Robbie Robertson takes some time from his busy schedule of recording at Big Pink to counsel his son.

And everyone's favorite go-go girlfriend of the 1960s argues with the protestors (now picketing the police stand where Randy and the others are being held). WHOA another jerk slap! That's two in one issue! And that's why Stan proudly declared Amazing Spider-Man "The World's Slappiest Comic Book!"

Spider-Man tracks down the famous MacGuffin Tablet...

...The Kingpin gets trapped and captured by the police...

...Kingpin implicates Spidey in the tablet theft...

...forcing Peter to vow that from now on, it's every Spider-Man for himself!

Tune in tomorrow, next Spider-time, same Spider-Channel (WASM-8, Passaic, NJ), to see the all-new, all-vicious, Menacing Spider-Man! he's barbaric and brutal and he don't care who knows it, baby!