Monday, January 17, 2022

Today in Comics History, January 17: Happy birthday, Muhammad Ali!

Born on this day in 1942: professional boxer, heavyweight champion of the world, and the G.O.A.T. (and that's not "goat" as in the Charlie Brown sense): Muhammad Ali!

Ali's been in so many comic books it'd be a lonnnnnnng post to show them all (not that that ever stops me), but in this case, let's look in on a wonderful moment from one of the greatest comics of all time, a little thing called All-New Collector's Edition #C-56, but which you 'n' I know better as the gigantisized Superman vs. Muhammad Ali!

from All-New Collectors' Edition #C-56 (DC, March 1978), story by Denny O'Neil, script and pencils by Neal Adams, inks by Dick Giordano, colors by Cory Adams, letters by Gaspar Saladino

That's not really doing justice to this image or giving you the full grandeur of it. Picture that image as a double-page spread of a treasury edition, twenty inches wide! Wow!

And, as long as we're here, let's revisit a popular feature on this blog where I show you a spread of the boxing match between the Man of Steel and the Greatest of All Time. Now tell me...can you find...Muhammad Ali?

cover of All-New Collectors' Edition #C-56 (DC, March 1978), layout by Joe Kubert, pencils by Neal Adams, inks by Neal Adams (?) and/or Cory Adams (?), logo design by John Workman
(Click top picture to GOAT-size)

Say, Superman, did you ever learn your lesson from Ali?

from Action Comics #904 (DC, October 2011), script by Paul Cornell, pencils and inks by Axel Giménez, colors by Brad Anderson, letters by Rob Leigh

Happy birthday, Champ.

Today in Comics History, January 17, 1945: The Day the Rocketeer fought a Japanese Octopus Submarine*

from "Dear Betty" in Rocketeer Adventures (2011 series) #1 (IDW, May 2011), script by Kurt Busiek, pencils and inks by Mike Kaluta, colors by Dave Stewart, letters by Chris Mowry

*But for him, it was a Wednesday.

Today in Comics History, January 17: Happy birthday, David Lloyd George!

Born on this day in 1863: David Lloyd George, British statesman and 53rd (if I've counted correctly) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Also, not much of an action star, which is why the only comic book cameo I can find for him is an uncredited appearance, shown from the back! Nice square haircut, David!

from The Invaders (1975 series) #8 (Marvel, September 1976), script by Roy Thomas, pencils by Frank Robbins, inks by Frank Springer, colors by Petra Goldberg, letters by John Costanza

Happy birthday, Notorious D.L.G.!

Today in Comics History, January 17: Happy birthday, Anne Brontë!

Born on this day in 1820: Anne Brontë, the Brontë sister who wrote Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, novels which are not Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights and therefore she doesn't get as much attention as her two spotlight-hoarding sisters. Poor Anne never even got a Classics Illustrated! Let's rectify that with some appearances of Anne in comic books, shall we? Except...they're all with her sisters. Oh well!

from "The Child of Time" in Doctor Who Magazine #439 (Panini, October 2011), script by Jonathan Morris, pencils by Martin Geraghty, inks by David A. Roach, colors by James Offredi, letters by Roger Langridge

So happy birthday, Anne, and tell those sisters of yours to back off, bees! It's your day for once!

"Dude Watchin' with the Brontës" and "Actor, Currer, and Ellis Bell" in Hark! A Vagrant (Drawn + Quarterly, September 2011), by Kate Beaton

Today in Comics History, January 17: Happy birthday, Betty White!

Born on this day 100 years ago: actress, comedian, and activist Betty White (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls, Hot in Cleveland, Password, Match Game, Tattletales and much more)! Sadly, Betty didn't stick around quite long enough for us to fête her in person, but we all know the good angels get to read my blog and I hope somebody passes this wishes onto her!

Also sadly: Betty White never had her own comic book. What's up with that, Dell? Why'd that not happen, Charlton? You dropped the ball, Aspen! IU honestly can't believe it, what will all the guest appearances of Bea Arthur in Deadpool. But Betty did make occasional appearances in MAD — sometimes savage pokes at her, sometimes good-humored, but here's a few of the more fun ones.

from "Messy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" in MAD #148 (January 1972), script by Dick DeBartolo and Kedzie North, pencils and inks by Angelo Torres

from "TV Theme Songs" in MAD #266 (October 1986), script by Frank Jacobs, pencils and inks by Sam Viviano

from "The Mad Nasty File, Volume V" in MAD #302 (April 1991), script by Tom Koch, pencils and inks by Gerry Gersten

The best way to celebrate Betty's birthday, however, is to find a local rescue or animal shelter in your area and make a donation in Betty White's name. Join me, won't you?

Happy birthday, Betty. And thank you for being a friend!

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Today in Comics History, January 16: Happy birthday, André Michelin!

Bouncing into the world on this day in 1853: André Michelin, co-founder of the Michelin Tire Company and the publisher of the original Michelin Guide, which gave stars to restaurants on a scale of 1-5 for snootiness.

Sadly, André Michelin doesn't seem to appear in any comic books that I can tell. Talk about snootiness, comics industry! So I'm going to fulfill my duty for his birthday by instead populating this post with comic book appearances of Bibendum, the famous Michelin Tire Man, who actually is all he's blown up to be! Mind you, early Michelin Man was pretty much total nightmare fuel...but he got cuter.

Today in Comics History, January 16: Happy birthday, Steve Erwin!

Born on this day: comics artist Steve Erwin (Checkmate, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deathstroke the Terminator, ID4: Independence Day, and more)! Steve's the winner of the Comix Fair 1984 Marvel "Pulse-Pounding Penciling Contest":

"New Talent Department" in Marvel Age #33 (Marvel, December 1985), article by Sholly Fish, pencils by Steve Erwin

I don't think it's completely fair to salute a birthday creator with only try-out pages from before their professional career, so here's some of Steve's work for the adaptation of the blockbuster Batman Returns, America's only Danny DeVito movie!

from Batman Returns: The Official Comic Adaptation of the Warner Bros. Motion Picture one-shot (DC, 1992), script by Denny O'Neil, pencils by Steve Erwin, inks by José Luis García-López, colors by Tom McCraw, letters by John Costanza

Happy birthday, Steve!

From Your Calendar Bull: Calendars for January 2022 and the whole dang year, actually!

cover of Popular Comics #13 (Dell, February 1937), artists unknown

Happy New Year! Well, I'm a little late, but I know you've been awaiting patiently (I hope) the beginning of my posts for Calendars from Past Comics Books That Work in 2022! That means (checks my handy clockwork wind-up Perpetual Calendar copyright 1907 by Smith & Tinker, Inc.) any calendar for 1949, 1955, 1966, 1977, 1983, 1994, 2005, or 2011...the Golden Age of Comics! (And, uh, the other ones.)

All of these you can cut out from your computer (please turn the power off first) and paste them up on your wall for January 2022 (or, as mentioned above, the whole dang year) for everyday calendarin' enjoyment! Note: before you use scissors, please get the permission of a parent or guardian or the nearest otter.

Today in Comics History, January 16, 1943: Very bad news: Thunderbird never survives his second mission in comic books

from "Thunderbird" in True Aviation Picture-Stories #4 (Parents' Magazine Press, August 1943), pencils and inks by Jack Sparling

Today in Comics History, January 16, 1942: Wow, that's a really big raft

from "Three Men on a Raft" in True Comics #16 (Parents' Magazine Press, September 1942), creators unknown

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Today in Comics History, January 15: Happy birthday, Edward Teller!

Exploding into our world on this date in 1908: physicist Edward Teller, the silent partner of Penn Jillette "Father of the Atomic Bomb" and a member of Robert Oppenheimer's "Project Manhattan." Among other creators of the Atomic Age (like Hans-Peter Dürr and Ernest Lawrence), Teller can be found here on this page. He's in the black suit at the lower left and across the bottom in this story by...who else?...Roy Thomas!

from Young All-Stars #23 (DC, March 1989), script by Roy Thomas and Dann Thomas, pencils by Ron Harris, inks by Bob Downs, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by Helen Vesik

Teller 'n' pals are kidnapped by Baron Blitzkrieg and his Axis Associates and strapped into this wacky tilt-a-whirl to drain their brains of all knowledge about the Atomic Bomb! Oh no! But the Young All-Stars save them, just like, I imagine Roy would point out, the JSA would've it it wasn't for Crisis on Infinite Earths.

from Young All-Stars #25 (DC, May 1989), , script by Roy Thomas and Dann Thomas, pencils by Ron Harris, inks by Bob Downs, colors by Shelley Eiber, letters by Jean Simek

Anyway, happy birthday, Eddie baby!

Today in Comics History, January 15: Happy birthday, Bob Petrecca!

Born on this day: comics inker Bob Petrecca (What If...?, Savage Dragon, The All-New Exiles, and others)!

from Marvel Age #97 (Marvel, February 1991), text by Chris Eliopoulis and Barry Dutter, art by Ron Zalme, colors by Renee Witterstaetter

Today in Comics History, January 15: Happy birthday, Gene Krupa!

Born on this day in 1909: jazz drummer, bandleader, and composer, the great Gene Krupa!

from Juke Box Comics #6 (Eastern Color, January 1949); text, art, and letters by Phil Berube

Happy birthday, Gene! Hope you have one that cannot be beat.

Today in Comics History, January 15: Happy birthday, Kevin Tinsley!

Born on this day: Kevin Tinsley, comics colorist (Spider-Man, Excalibur, Punisher and more), creator Stonehaven, and publisher (Stickman Graphics)!

from Marvel Age #49 (Marvel, April 1987), text by Mike Carlin, pencils and inks by Ron Zalme, colors by Paul Becton

from Marvel Age Special: Punisher Anniversary Magazine one-shot (Marvel, February 1994)

Happy birthday, Kevin!

Today in Comics History, January 15: Happy birthday, Phyllis Coates!

Born on this day in 1927: actor Phyllis Coates, who played Clark Kent's foil, the inimitable Lois Lane, in the 1951 movie Superman and the Mole Men and in the first season of television's Adventures of Superman (1952-1953)!

from Limited Collectors' Edition #C-31 (DC, October 1974)

from "Superman's Photo Album" in The Amazing World of Superman treasury (DC, 1973)

Happy birthday, Phyllis! Now stop trying to prick George Reeves with a needle.

Today in Comics History, January 15: Happy birthday, Stan Kay!

Born on this day in 1924: comics scripter Stan Kay, who wrote a wide assortment of comic stories for Harvey (Casper the Friendly Ghost, Richie Rich, Wendy Witch World, etc.) and Marvel's Star line (Care Bears, Fraggle Rock, Muppet Babies, more)!

from Marvel Age #49 (Marvel, April 1987), text by Mike Carlin, pencils and inks by Ron Zalme, colors by Paul Becton

Happy birthday, Stan!

Today in Comics History, January 15: Happy birthday, Bill Morrison!

Born on this day and no other: Bill Morrison, comic book artist, writer, and editor; co-founder and creative director of the late lamented Bongo Comics (The Simpsons, Futurama, etc.); and draw-er of a lotta stuff, including the beloved (by me, of course) Jane Wiedlin's Lady Robotika!

from "Backstage at Bongo" in Bongo Comics Free-for-All 2006 (Bongo, May 2006), creators unidentified

Friday, January 14, 2022

Today in Comics History, January 14: Happy birthday, Faye Dunaway!

Born on this day: award-winning and acclaimed actress Faye Dunaway, star of some classic motion pictures as Bonnie and Clyde, Three Days of the Condor, Chinatown, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Thomas Crown Affair, and my personal favorite of her work, 1984's Supergirl!

from Supergirl Movie Special one-shot (DC, February 1985); script by Joey Cavalieri (; pencils, inks, and colors by Gray Morrow, letters by John Costanza

Today in Comics History, January 14: Happy birthday, Rudy Nebres!

Born on this day in 1937: comics inker Rudy Nebres, who's done a huge amount of absolutely gorgeous work for most of the major companies in his career: Marvel, DC, Archie, Charlton, Valiant, Warren, Continuity, Pacific, CrossGen, and more!

L: from Marvel Age #49 (Marvel, April 1987), text by Mike Carlin, pencils and inks by Ron Zalme, colors by Paul Becton
R: from Marvel Age #86 (Marvel, March 1990), text by Chris Eliopoulos and Barry Dutter, pencils and inks by Ron Zalme, colors by Gregory Wright

Happy birthday, Rudy!

from "Red Sonja at the Mall" in Savage Sword of Conan (1974 b/w magazine series) #23 (October 1977), photograph by Bob Pinaha

Today in Comics History, January 14: Happy birthday, John Tartaglione!

Born on this day in 1921: comics penciller and inker John Tartaglione, whose credits span Atlas Comics (Young Men, Amazing Detective Cases), DC, Charlton, Gilberton (Classics Illustrated), the Dell Movie Clasics line, Catholic comic Treasure Chest, comic strips (The Amazing Spider-Man, Apartment 3-G) and Marvel Comics including The Rawhide Kid, Sgt. Fury, Daredevil, X-Men, Dazzler, and the million-seller The Life of Pope John Paul II. (And, as we say around here, many more!)

L: from Mighty Marvel Calendar 1979
R: from Fantastic Four Annual (1963 series) #7 (November 1969)

A very happy birthday to you, John!

Today in Comics History, January 14, 1914: Fanboys complain they've made Colonel Heeza Liar "too woke" in this version

from Comic Book History of Animation #1 (IDW, November 2020); script by Fred Van Lente; pencils, inks, colors and letters by Ryan Dunlavey

To me, it's a curious little cartoon whose interest lies mainly in his historicalvalue rather than its art. It's remarkably repetitive in the middle and there's a gag towards the end about shooting animals at a watering hole that seems like it'd be in (comic) character for Ross Allen. (Also, this version is silent and has no musical accompaniment.)

Maybe it's just me, but I don't think Colonel Heeza Liar can hold a candle to Commander McBragg.

Today in Comics History, January 14: Happy birthday, Albert Schweitzer!

Born on this day in 1874: theologian, organist, musicologist, writer, humanitarian, philosopher, physician and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Albert Schweitzer! Here, read more about him from the ultimate font of knowledge and wisdom: a comic book!

from Classics Illustrated #136 (Gilberton, January 1957), creators unknown

Happy birthday, Albert! Or, as Paul Simon called you, Al.

Sam's Strip (April 27, 1963), co-script and letters by Mort Walker, co-script and art by Jerry Dumas