Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Today in Comics History, June 28: Happy birthday, Mike Royer!

A very happy birthday today to comics artist and inker Mike Royer, who's worked on a big range of titles for an awful lot of publishers. He's done stories in Donald Duck, Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella, Detective Comics, 1st Issue Special, Weird Mystery Tales, and more, plus definitive work inking Russ Manning (Tarzan, Korak, Magnus: Robot Fighter, Star Wars)...

from Mighty Marvel Calendar 1979 (Marvel, 1977)

...but Mike's perhaps best known for his extensive work inking comics by Jack Kirby, to which we can thank Vince Colletta for ticking off the King of Comics for erasing his pencils (and being a jerk to him about it). Here's how Kirby's story of getting Royer on board was told in the Tom Scioli bio-graphic novel:

from Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics (Ten Speed, July 2020), script and art by Tom Scioli

Not that there weren't bumps in the relationship...

...but once their collaboration got smoothed out, it really clicked. Royer inked the lion's share of Kirby's 1970s-1980s output, including (inhale) Kamandi, Justice Inc., Mister Miracle, The Demon, Jimmy Olsen, Forever People, The New Gods, The Hunger Dogs, Dingbats of Danger Street, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Eternals, OMAC, Black Panther, What If? #11, Devil Dinosaur, Machine Man, Captain America, Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers, Silver Star, and more (exhale!). Kirby considered Royer his favorite inker of his work.

Happy birthday, Mike!

Today in Comics History, June 28: Happy birthday, Gilda Radner!

Born on this day in 1946: the late great comedian and actress Gilda Radner, my favorite performer of the Saturday Night Live Not Ready for Prime Time Players!

But did she ever appear in comic books? Well, yes.

cover of Marvel Team-Up (1972 series) #74 (Marvel, October 1978), pencils and inks by Dave Cockrum, SNL caricature pencils and inks by Marie Severin, letters by Irv Watanabe

Gilda, like all the cast of the second season of SNL, appeared in this unlikely-to-ever-be-reprinted (so look for it in backissue racks!) Spider-Man comic!

from Marvel Team-Up #74; script by Chris Claremont, pencils by Bob Hall, inks and colors by Marie Severin, letters by Gaspar Saladino and Annette Kawecki

A lovely thing about their weird and wonderful book is that Claremont gave every cast member (plus Lorne Michaels) a spotlight scene, and here's Gilda as Weekend Update commentator Emily Litella (along with Jane Curtin).

Take a bow, Gilda and Company!

Gilda, you are very much loved and very much missed.

"Young Woman of the Month" from Young Love (1963 series) #122 (DC, November 1976), text by Ellen Spencer (who was possibly Tony Isabella?), pencils by Joe Orlando, inks by Vince Colletta

Happy birthday, Gilda Radner!

Today in Comics History, June 28, 1778: British retreat, claiming tea-time

Hey, look what it is: that danged Superman Salutes the Bicentennial treasury which is completely full of Tomahawk reprints and not a single Superman comic. I will never stop makin' fun of this thing.

Yes, I have a copy. (sigh)

from "Valley Forge" in Limited Collectors' Edition #C-47 [Superman Salutes the Bicentennial] (DC, August 1976); script, pencils and inks by Fred Ray

Today in Comics History, June 28: Happy birthday, Adrienne Roy!

Born on this date in 1953: comic book colorist extraordinaire Adrienne Roy! She's colored the following characters at DC: just about every single one of 'em! Her credits include Detective Comics, Batman, Robin, Warlord, The New Teen Titans and The New Titans, Arak, Son of Thunder, House of Mystery, Superman and literally dozens and dozens more.

from from DC Comics cover-dated February 1980

Today in Comics History, June 28, 1898: But Alan didn't like him, so he shot him in the face

from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (1999 series) #2 (America's Best Comics, April 1999), script by Alan Moore, pencils and inks by Kevin O'Neill, colors by Benedict Dimagmaliw, letters by William Oakley

Today in Comics History, June 28, 1778: Pitcher takes the mound(mouth)

from "Heroine of the Battle of Monmouth" in Real Heroes #1 (Parents' Magazine Press, September 1941), creators uncredited and unknown

Monday, June 27, 2022

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 27: There Is No Hope at Haley's Circus

As we saw a few days ago, the death of Dick Grayson's parents occurred on June 27 — a day after the anniversary of the death of Bruce Wayne's parents. Maybe he went to that circus to cheer himself up?

from Nightwing (1995 series) #1 (DC, September 1995), script by Dennis O'Neil, pencils by Greg Land, inks by Mike Sellers, colors by Cathi Bertrand, letters by John Costanza

Naturally, that means that June 27 is a major day in the life of Robin/Nightwing, and even more than Batman, his friends gather around him to support him on those days.

from Identity Crisis #1 (DC, August 2004), script by Brad Meltzer, pencils by Rags Morales, inks by Michael Bair, colors by Alex Sinclair, letters by Ken Lopez

But hey! Identity Crisis?! No way, Dick Gray! (son) Let's focus instead on a good comic book that shows his titanic pals coming to Robin's support on this day.

from "Regarding Robin" in Teen Titans Go! (2004 series) #47 (DC, November 2007), script by J. Torres, pencils and inks by Michael Chang, colors by Heroic Age, letters by John J. Hill

First Cyborg, then Beast Boy, is attentive to his mood. Somewhere in there I hope they offered to make him waffles. Raven is especially attuned to his mood. Well, considering who her father is, she probably wishes he had died in a freak circus accident. "Oh no! The amazing Trigon had fallen from the Big Top!"

Awwwwwwww. Your heart must be made of stone if you don't feel just a little bit sad about this scene.

And good for Starfire! Using her Tamaranean empathy (and cute big green eyes) to comfort Robin.

Maybe this isn't something Batman oughta be spying on, ya voyeur, Bruce.

Seriously, a sweet story, and a reminder that there is hope in Titans Tower.

Today In Comics History, June 27, 1993: Anty Charity Event? What is this, a charity for ants?

from Aztek: The Ultimate Man #7 (DC, February 1997), script by Grant Morrison and Mark Millar, pencils by N. Steven Harris, inks by Keith Champagne, colors by Mike Danza, letters by Clem Robins

Sunday, June 26, 2022

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 26: Or...is there?

Tonight, June 26, at 10:48 PM, is the anniversary of Joe Chill killing Bruce Wayne's parents in Crime Alley.

from Batman (2016 series) #63 (DC, March 2019), script by Tom King, pencils and inks by Mikel Janín, colors by Jordie Bellaire, letters by Clayton Cowles

When I've counted down this event in previous Junes, I've generally reserved the actual anniversary for not only yet another scene of the Waynes dying, but also the hope that sprang from that moment, as personified by Leslie Thompkins.

from Batman: Madness one-shot (DC, November 1994), script by Jeph Loeb, pencils and inks by Tim Sale, colors by Gregory Wright, letters by Todd Klein

If Joe Chill made Bruce Wayne into Batman, I believe there are three characters who made Batman into Bruce Wayne, preserving his humanity. The first is Dick Grayson, Robin:

from "[Robin the Boy Wonder]" in Detective Comics (1937 series) #38 (DC, April 1940), script by Bill Finger, pencils by Bob Kane, inks and letters by Jerry Robinson

The second is Alfred Pennyworth — who didn't even become a part of Bruce's childhood until after the universe reset in Zero Hour, more than fifty years after Batman's debut:

from Batman (1940 series) #0 (DC, October 1994), script by Doug Moench, pencils by Mike Manley, inks by Joe Rubinstein, colors by Adrienne Roy, letters by Ken Bruzenak

But the third — and I think often sadly overlooked — influence in young Bruce Wayne's life is Leslie Thompkins the woman whose existence completely negates the familiar maxim of "there is no hope in Crime Alley."

To me, Leslie is as important an element to the Batmythos as the Batmobile and Bat-Mite: you can't truly have the rich and lush tapestry of the world of Batman without her.

from Batman: Madness

Tonight we mourn Thomas and Martha Wayne yet celebrate Dr. Leslie Thompkins. With her, there will always be hope in Crime Alley. With the Batman, there will always be hope in Gotham City.

Tomorrow, June 27: We'll wrap this month up with Dick Grayson. Or: There Is No Hope at Haley's Circus.

from Detective Comics #38

Saturday, June 25, 2022

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 25: Is this loss

from Batman/Superman (2019 series) #1 (October 2019), script by Joshua Williamson, pencils and inks by David Marquez, colors by Alejandro Sánchez, letters by John J. Hill
(Click top picture to aAlley-size)

Today in Comics History, June 25: Hoberman has been poked; had his dog shot at; is bugged

from "The Sins of the Father..." in Action Comics Weekly #606 (DC, June 28, 1988), script by Martin Pasko, pencils and inks by Dan Spiegle, colors by Carl Gafford, letters by Carrie Spiegle

Today in Comics History, June 25, 1876: In the dictionary, this is the picture next to the phrase "famous last words"

from Picture Stories from American History #4 (EC, Summer 1947), script by Jerry Coleman, pencils and inks by Allen Simon

Meanwhile a hundred years later, this remarkably stupid military decision retconned to be meddling by...I dunno, a fifth-dimensional imp or something.

from "Man of Molten Steel!" in Superman #263 (DC, April 1973), script by Elliot S! Maggin, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Murphy Anderson

Today in Comics History, June 25, 2035: Capitalism wins again

from "The Man Who Owned the World" in Chamber of Darkness (1969 series) #4 (Marvel, April 1970); plot, pencils, and inks by Tom Sutton; script by Denny O'Neil; letters by Jean Simek

Hey, that's writer/artist Tom Sutton in the lower left-hand corner!

Here, I edited the panel to make it as up-to-date as today's headlines — Today in Comics History Headlines, that is!

Today in Comics History, June 25, 1954: The Creation of SPAAAAAAACE FOOOOOORCE!

"NRL Rockets" from Space War #6 (Charlton, August 1960), creators unidentified and unknown

Today in Comics History, June 25: No One's Going to the Prom with You, Peter Parker

from Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man #7 (Marvel, July 1999), script by Joe Kelly, pencils by Bart Sears and Andy Smith, inks by Mark Pennington, colors by Joe Rosas and Mark Bernardo, letters by Benchmark Productions

Today in Comics History, June 25: Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics calls the Black Panther; T'Challa rejects call because caller was pretending to be an Asian man

from Marvel Premiere (1972 series) #53 [Black Panther] (Marvel, April 1980), script by Ed Hannigan, pencils by Jerry Bingham, inks by Al Gordon, colors by Bob Sharen, letters by Gaspar Saladino

Friday, June 24, 2022

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 24: It was Joe all along

from Detective Comics #578 (September 1987), script by Mike W. Barr, pencils and inks by Todd McFarlane, colors by Adrienne Roy, letters by Todd Klein

Today in Comics History, June 24: Happy birthday, Ryan Stegman!

Today! Join in the birthday celebration for comics writer and artist Ryan Stegman (She-Hulks, X-23, Superior Spider-Man, Inhuman, Uncanny Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, King in Black and more)!

Sadly Ryan was born too late to attend the Superman/Muhammad Ali prize fight like nearly everybody else in comic books, but here's the next best thing: can you spot Ryan...at a comic book convention! Bonus points for all the other creators you can find! Hint: most of 'em have nameplates!

from Faith (2016 series) #3 (Valiant, September 2016), script by Jody Houser, pencils and inks by Pere Pérez, colors by Andrew Dalhouse, letters by Dave Sharpe
(Click top picture to Oh no, I'm not gonna say "Faith" here-size)

Happy birthday, Ryan!

Today in Comics History, June 24, 1999: Don't you dare spill that Super-Cola on my collectibles

back cover of Superman, Inc. one-shot (DC, December 1999), pencils by José Luis García-López, inks by Kevin Nowlan, colors by Dave Stewart, cover design by Steve Vance