Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Today in Comics History, September 21: Happy birthday, Bill Murray!

Born on this day: actor, comedian, and comic book star Bill Murray! Go ahead, wish him a happy birthday. No one will ever believe you met him.

cover of Marvel Team-Up #74 (Marvel, October 1978), pencils and inks by Dave Cockrum, pencils and inks of celebrity faces by Marie Severin, letters by Irving Watanabe

Yes, of course Bill Murray got his celebrity start in comics within the pages of a Spider-book. (Didn't we all?)

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

Natch, he also got caricatured into a lot of MAD magazine parodies — and even a few of them where he wasn't even in the original movie or TV show!

cover of MAD #290 (October 1989), art by Sam Viviano

Hey, here's some fun! I'll show you a panel or two from a MAD story, and you try guess what funny (YMMV) name they titled the parody before you see it under the panels! I think that ya can't guess! C'mon, let's bet! PUT UP YER MONEY, PAL.

from "Tootsie Role" in MAD #240 (July 1983), script by Larry Siegel, pencils and inks by Mort Drucker

from "Moon-Fighting" in MAD #264 (July 1986), script by Dick De Bartolo, pencils and inks by Mort Drucker. No, Murray was not on the show.

from "The Royal Paininthebums" in MAD #417 (May 2002), script by Arnie Kogen, pencils and inks by Tom Richmond

from "The Truedumb Show" (not in that movie either!) in MAD #374 (October 1998), script by Stan Hart, pencils and inks by Sam Viviano

from "Flushmore"* in MAD #380 (April 1999), script by Stan Hart, pencils and inks by Angelo Torres

*Aw, c'mon, if you didn't get that one you have flunked your MAD magazine employee interview.

Also, Bill starred (sorta) in a whole heckuva lot of Ghostbusters comics where he never looked the same way twice.

from The Real Ghostbusters #24 (Now, August 1990); script by James Van Hise; pencils by Neil Grahame; inks by Jim Brozman; painted colors by Suzanne Dechnik, Kelly Kinsey, and Holly Sanfelippo; letters by Joseph Allen

from Ghostbusters II #1 (Now, October 1989), script by James Van Hise, pencils by John Tobias, inks by Rich Rankin, colors by Suzanne Dechnik, letters by Dan Nakrosis

from Ghostbusters (2011 series) #12 (IDW, August 2012), script by Erik Burnham, pencils and inks by Dan Schoening, colors by Luis Antonio Delgado, letters by Neil Uyetake


*collect 'em all

from Ghostbusters: Funko Universe #1 one-shot (IDW, May 2017), script by Troy Dye, pencils and inks by Philip Murphy, colors by Luis Antonio Delgado, letters by Neil Uyetake

Bill Murray's most important connection to superhero comic books that is not actually in comic books: he was the first actor to portray Johnny Storm, the ever-lovin' Human Torch, on the Fantastic Four radio series (narrated by Stan Lee) in 1975!

Listen to episodes here (but that really oughta be a Kirby graphic for the thumbnail):

"Fantastic Four Meets the Mole Man" (1975), based on Fantastic Four #1 written by Stan Lee, starring Stan Lee as the Narrator, Bob Maxwell as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, Cynthia Adler as Sue Storm/The Invisible Girl, Jim Pappas as Ben Grimm/The Thing, and Bill Murray as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch

It's also available for listening or download at the Internet Archive (Episodes 1-10; episodes 11-13). And check out Bill Murray Discusses (Briefly) Playing the Human Torch in a 1975 Radio Show over at!

So happy birthday, Bill Murray, ya big lug...whichever Bill Murray you are!

cover of Ghostbusters: Get Real #1 (IDW, June 2015), pencils and inks by Dan Schoening, colors by Luis Antonio Delgado

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