Saturday, January 22, 2022

Today in Comics History, January 22: Happy birthday, Marshall Rogers!

Born on this here very day today but not this year: Marshall Rogers, award-winning (and one of my personal favorite) comics artists, with groundbreaking work on Detective Comics, Batman: Dark Detective, Silver Surfer, Doctor Strange, Demon With a Glass Hand, the 1989 Batman comic strip, Marvel UK comics, and more; co-creator of Detectives, Inc. and Cap'n Quick & A Foozle!

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

How's about spotting Marshall Rogers, you know the drill! (Caution: he's teeny-weeny!)

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)

Happy birthday, Marshall!

from DC Comics cover-dated January 1978

Today in Comics History, January 22: Happy birthday, Howard Mackie!

Born on this day: comics writer and editor Howard Mackie! Co-creator of the Danny Ketch Ghost Rider! Assistant editor to the legendary Mark Gruenwald! Editor of the New Universe! Writer for Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker: Spider-Man, and Web of Spider-Man, not to mention too many other comics series to, um...mention, like X-Factor, Mutant X, Marvel Comics Presents, Spirits of Vengeance, Gambit, a couple Venom miniseries, and yep, even more! (Oh wait, was that a mention?)

from Marvel Age #49, 86, and 97 (Marvel, April 1987, March 1990, and February 1991); text by Mike Carlin (#49), & Chris Eliopoulis and Barry Dutter (#86 and 97); pencils and inks by Ron Zalme; colors by Paul Becton (#49), & Gregory Wright (#86) and Renee Witterstaetter (#97)

Today in Comics History, January 22: Happy birthday, Top!

Born on this date in the DC Universe: super* villain The Top! (*Your mileage on the adjective "super" may vary.)

from Super DC Calendar 1976 (DC, 1975), letters by Ben Oda

As the story begins, our attention is drawn to suspect new arrival to Central City, Anton Previn. Don't let your adopted daughter marry her stepfather, Anton!

from "Beware the Atomic Grenade!" in The Flash (1959 series) #122 (DC, August 1961), script by John Broome, pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Joe Giella

Wait, is the Top's birthday 1/22 because he debuted in issue #122?

Soon after, mild-manned police scientist Barry Allen ACAB discovers a new criminal at large in Central City. Ya might as well face it, Flash: things were okay until you came along. You're attracting a new super class of crook!

The Top tries his tremendous twirling talents and terrible trick toy tops to toxically terrorize the townspeople! Also, rob banks, but there's not much alliteration there.

Aha! I've got this story figured out. New arrival in town (and mackin' on Iris too!), new criminal in town...this could only mean one thing: a predictable Silver Age ending! JUST LIKE ALL THE OTHERS.

Barry apprehends the Top! Using, I dunno, super speed or somethin'. I wasn't paying attention.

Wow, he's running so fast the page edges are burning up!

So now the Flash unmasks the Top and finds out that he actually is AntOH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD STORY

Ooh, you got me this time, John Broome. You caught me out. Very sneaky. But I shall have my revenge at guessing your twist endings later this year, yes I shall! (cackles insanely) Oh, and happy birthday, Top! (returns to bwah-ha-haing)

Today in Comics History, January 22: Happy birthday, U Thant!

Born on this day in 1909: Thant, Burmese diplomat and the third Secretary-General of the United Nations, from 1961 to 1971. (The "U" is an honorific.)

And when there's something weird in your neighborhood Red China, who's U (Thant) gonna call? Herbie!

from "Sahib Herbie!" in Herbie #5 (ACG, October 1954), script by Richard Hughes (as Shane O'Shea), pencils and inks by Ogden Whitney, letters by Ed Hamilton

Not a Lot of People Know This Dept.: Since 1977, U Thant has been commemorated with the (unofficial) naming of a tiny island in New York City's East River: U Thant Island. You can see it especially well if you take the 42nd Street exit off the northbound FDR Drive: it'll be immediately to your right across from the UN Building.

Thant isn't using it much anymore so I have (very unofficially) claimed it as Bully Island. In the summer I paddle out there in my little coracle, have a picnic lunch, read comic books in the sun, and fiddle with my ham radio set — you can easily see the antenna in the photo above. It runs on real ham!

Happy birthday, U Thant!

Today in Comics History, January 22, 1881: This may sound a lot, but remember the obelisk hasn’t cost us a penny*

from "Scoops...Pictures to Remember!" in Real Fact Comics #11 (DC, November 1947), pencils and inks by George Roussos (?)

*A shiny cardboard-and-tin NO-BULL PRIZE to the first one to identify the origin and significance of that title!

Today in Comics History, January 22: Happy birthday, Alex Ross!

Born on this day: comic book artist and writer and painter of light Alex Ross, whose work in paints brings dramatic realism to the worlds of superheroes. Y'all remember him from such films comics as Kingdom Come, Marvels, Uncle Sam, Justice, Earth X, and all those modern-day treasury-sized DC comics. (Plus, as we say, the proverbial much more!) And lots and lots of covers, including his penchant for recreating classic covers in his trademark realistic style.

from Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross (Pantheon, October 2003), art by Alex Ross

We know what his artwork looks like! What does Alex look like, as seen in comics? Well, mostly in photos...

from Mythology

from A Distant Soil (1996 series) #25 (Image, June 1998)

from Marvel Age #130 (Marvel, November 1993)

Of course, somebody's always gotta be a goofball about it:

from "What Do Comic Book Icons Think of The Goon's First Issue?" in The Goon (2003 series) #1 (Dark Horse, June 2003); script, pencils, inks, colors, and letters by Eric Powell; additional colors by Robin Powell and Barry Gregory

Anyway, happy birthday, Alex!

Today in Comics History, January 22, 1944: Battle of Anzio; Stephen E. Ambrose totally misses the awesomest part

This is an updated version of a blog post originally published January 22, 2013.

from New Avengers (2010 series) #29 (Marvel, October 2012), script by Brian Michael Bendis, pencils and inks by Mike Deodato, colors by Rain Beredo, letters by Joe Caramagna
(Click picture to Bulge-size)

Friday, January 21, 2022

Today in Comics History, January 21: Happy birthday, Benny Hill!

Born on this day in 1924: English funnyman Benny Hill, star of radio (Benny Hill Time), movies (The Italian Job, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines), records ("Ernie, The Fastest Milkman in the West"), and of course, television (The Benny Hill Show).

And comics! Coinciding with his radio success, Benny had a long-running feature page in the UK's Radio Fun and Film Fun, including cover appearances:

covers of Radio Fun Annual 1958 and 1960 (Amalgamated Press), artists unknown

And interior comedy strips!

from Radio Fun #1034 and 1039 (Amalgamated, 2 August and 6 September 1958), illustrated by Reg Parlett

Later, when Benny's show ran (constantly) on Britain's ITV channel, he was featured on both covers and via comic strips in the company's weekly magazine Look-In:

strips from Look-In #10/1977 and 38/198 (ITV, 5 March 1977 and 13 September 1980), script by Angus P. Allan, pencils and inks by Bill Titcombe

And even the occasional feature page or two!

"Trans-Atlantic Scuttle" from Look-In #38/198, by Terry Tanell

(Then again, Benny was always keen on putting the foot in the groin getting paid advertisement placement):

advert from Film Fun #1931 (19 January 1957)

Happy birthday, Benny Hill! Slap a little bald man on the head today for me!

from "The Mad Nasty File" in MAD #260 (January 1986), script by Tom Koch, pencils and inks by Gerry Gersten

Today in Comics History, January 21: Happy birthday, Richard Brannigan!

Born on this day in 1969: Richard Brannigan, former Minnesota Vikings running back, former sidekick out of an undetermined number of sidekicks of Trigger Keaton.

from Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton #4 (Image/Skybound, September 2021), script by Kyle Starks, art by Chris Schweizer, color assists by Liz Trice Schweizer

Happy birthday, Richard!

Today in Comics History, January 21: Happy birthday, Pete Ross!

Born on this day in the DC Universe, according to the Super DC Calendar '76: Pete Ross, boy pal of Smallville!

from Super DC Calendar 1976 (DC, 1975r), letters by Ben Oda

Yes, that's Pete Ross, the only kid in Smallville smart enough to detect that Clark Kent was Superboy!

from "The Boy Who Betrayed Clark Kent!" in Superboy (1949 series) #86 (DC, January 1981), script by Robert Bernstein, pencils and inks by George Papp

Aw, who am I kiddin'? He didn't detect nuthin'. Pete found out because he was peepin' at Clark on a camping trip. Lucky break, Pete!

from "Pete Ross' Super-Secret!" in Superboy (1949 series) #90 (DC, July 1961), script by Otto Binder or Robert Bernstein (?), pencils and inks by George Papp

Later Pete became Vice-President and then President. There was probably some stuff in between. Let's check his data sheet that he has to share with Lana Lang from the Who's Who nobody likes, the three-ring binder one that they never finished!

from Who's Who in the DC Universe (1990 series) #14 (November 1991), text by Roger Stern, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Jerry Ordway, colors by Tom McCraw
(Click picture to Largeville-size)

Happy birthday, Pete Ross! Stop peeping at people while they're changing.

Today in Comics History, January 21: Happy birthday, Wolfman Jack! (Arroooo!)

Arroooo! Please join me in wishing a happy birthday to Mr. Wolfman Jack, born on this day in 1938!

from Cap'n Dinosaur one-shot (Image, July 2014); script by Kek-w; pencils, inks, and colors by Shaky Kane; letters by Comicraft

No, no, not that one! The hairy-faced, gravel-voiced disk jockey, and an actor who appeared in Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, and Galactica 1980! And some good films too!

from "American Confetti" in MAD #166 (April 1974), script by Larry Siegel, pencils and inks by Mort Drucker

I'm so happy to see he acheived the ultimate acme of show business prestige: being drawn by Mort Drucker! And now, by Matt Groening! (Note: Matt Groening did not actually draw this.)

from Simpsons Comics #103 (Bongo, February 2005), script by Ian Boothby, pencils by Phil Ortiz, inks by Mike DeCarlo, colors by Art Villanueva, letters by Karen Bates

You know the drill: find Wolfman Jack at the Superman/Muhammad Ali prizefight and win a cookie! (Disclaimer: cookie may have already been eaten.)

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)

Everybody join with me and Clap for the Wolfman as we wish Wolfman Jack a happy birthday!

"Clap for the Wolfman by The Guess Who (RCA Victor, 1974), written by Burton Cummings, Bill Wallace, and Kurt Winter