Friday, September 23, 2022

Today in Comics History, September 23: Happy birthday, Augustus Caesar!

Born on this day in 63 BC (wow, old!): Augustus Caesar, aka Octavian, the first Roman Emperor.

Which of course means a story entitled...

from "Great Caesar's Ghost" in Ghostly Tales #55 (Charlton, April 1966), script by Joe Gill (?), pencils by Steve Ditko, inks by Rocco Mastroserio, letters by Jon D'Agostino

Confusing multiple naming among the Caesars means it sometimes hard to find exactly which story refers to which Caesar (most of 'em usually turn out to be Julius). In fact, even this story once refers to Augustus once as Julius! Perry White will be happy to explain the difference.

Gabrielle (Xena, Warrior Princess's totally hetero life partner) is summoned by Augustus Caesar to write about Rome...

from Xena: Warrior Princess (2016 series) #5 (Dynamite, August 2016), script by Genevieve Valentine, pencils and inks by Julius Gopez, colors by Nanjan Jamberi, letters by Rob Steen

...but he wants her to whitewash all the bad stuff out. Oh, so he really wants Jeanine Pirro.

But probably the best-known Augustus/Octavian story takes place in the pages of a little-known comic book that has become obscure and hard to find. You've probably never heard of it.

cover of Sandman (1989 series) #30 (September 1991), art by Dave McKean

Augustus summons his servant, the dwarf Lycius (thus originating the phrase 'Say hello to my little friend'), to accompany him as he begs in the streets in disguise.

from Sandman #30; script by Neil Gaiman, pencils by Bryan Talbot, inks by Stan Woch, colors by Daniel Vozzo, letters by Todd Klein

Those fake warts are caused by vinegar added to soap, and now I know what my next science project will be.

And now you know why the month August is called that. It's because Augustus Caesar was born in...ah, September.

What's an issue of this comic book without a visit from that candy-colored clown they call the Sandman? Well, check the cover, bub, this ain't Augustus Caesar Comics & Stories!

So happy birthday, Augustus Caesar, you crazy dude, you nut, you (checks Wikipedia) guy who reformed the Roman system of taxation, developed networks of roads with an official courier system, created a standing army, established the Praetorian Guard, official police and fire-fighting services for Rome, and rebuilt much of the city during his reign!

No comments: