Saturday, January 29, 2022

Today in Comics History, January 29, 1953: Oh, blame it on midnight / Ooh, shame on the moon

from "About Phase!" in Crime SuspenStories #19 (EC, October 1953), co-plot by Bill Gaines, co-plot and script by Al Feldstein, pencils and inks by George Evans, colors by Marie Severin, letters by Jim Wroten

Hmm, what a clever idea...blame it on Lon Cheney! There's surely no way this could possibly go worng. Oh, who am I kidding, have you ever read an EC comic book before?

Hoist on his own Farmer's Almanac!

Today in Comics History, January 29, 1958: Later, Richards was heard to proclaim, "Well, it's not rocket science."

from "Liftoff" in Marvel Comics Presents (2019 series) #2 (April 2019), text by Mark Waid

Today in Comics History, January 29: Happy birthday, Steve Skeates!

Born on this day: Steve Skeates, writer for comic books (Adventure Comics, The Flash, House of Mystery, House of Secrets, Debbi's Dates, Plastic Man, Plop!, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves, Underdog, Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham, Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella, and many other comics at Tower, Charlton, DC, Gold Key, Red Circle, Archie, and Warren Publishing), animation (Transformers, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, Jem) and self-publisher ("Could I Have My Reality Check Please?").

Didja know (I didn't!) that he's the actual author of Marvel's Generic Comic Book, published under the pseudonym "A Writer." Speaking of pen names, Steve has also written under the aliases Chester P. Hazel and Warren Savin. I mention that because it'll become an Important Point™ a little later. Not too much later, but not right now! Geez, people, have some patience.

from "Behind the Scenes at the House of Mystery" in Limited Collectors' Edition #C-23 [The House of Mystery] (DC, Winter 1973), text by Joe Orlando

Here's another fun fact I discovered about Steve while researching him on Wikipedia ("We Don't Charge You for Our Encyclopedia But by Golly We'll Hound You to the Death for a $3.75 Donation"):
One of the series Skeates wrote at DC in the 1970s was Plastic Man, for which he created the villain Carrot Man, an evil game show host who hit contestants on their heads with a toaster. When that character appeared on the Plastic Man animated show, his creator received no royalties, but the showrunners "tried to make good" by changing Carrot Man's true identity to Stephen Skeates.
Oh wait. That's not fun at all! That's just another case of a writer being cheated out of royalities and given "exposure" instead! I'm going to report you to @forexposure_txt, DC! Sheesh.

Here's Steve apologizing for jumbled-up rules in a Doctor Strange game he wrote in Crazy Magazine. I imagine Pal Dr.PTOR, collector of all things Stephen Strange, has a copy, but do you think he has the correct rules?

from Crazy Magazine #91 (Marvel, October 1982)

Edit on 3/22/2022: Hey, Dr.PTOR did have a copy, and all the rules, and he's bligged about it, scanned it, and offered it for download! So head over to the leading Doc Strange blog to get it by clicking here! Thanks, oh Munificent One!

Say, speaking of board games...and trust me, this segue makes sense, unlike this segue...

...because no matter how confusing that Doctor Strange game was, it can't possibly be as bad as this Abbott and Costello board game from a comic book (trust me, I'm getting there)...

"Abbott & Costello Game Page" from Abbott & Costello (1968 series) #8 (Charlton, April 1969), script by Steve Skeates, pencils and inks by Tony Tallarico (?), letters by Ray Burzon

...which is in the same comic book as this story that features a character named Warren Savin (trust me, we're so almost there), which, if you remember all the way back to the top of this post, was a pseudonym for Steve Skeates! (Blows horns, whistles, lets off streamers to celebrate the fact that we finally got to the Interesting Point™ I'd promised you at the beginning)!

from Abbott & Costello #8

We leave Bud 'n' Lou debating the potential player line-up of an upcoming game of baseball and we leave Steve Skeates by wishing him a very happy birthday. Happy birthday, Steve!

Kitty Pryde 🐈‍⬛: Cat and bear in repose.

(You can't see it here, but she has drooled on the couch in her sleep.)

Today in Comics History, January 29: Two-Face turns his bulletin board into a bulletwo board

from Batman: The Long Halloween Special one-shot (DC, December 2021), script by Jeph Loeb, pencils and inks by Tim Sale, colors by Brennan Wagner, letters by Richard Starkings

Today in Comics History, January 29, 1935: Harry Richman convinces Glenn Miller that air flight is safer than ever

from "Hop Harrigan's History of American Aviation" in All-American Comics #45 (DC, December 1942); script, pencils, and inks by Joe L. Blummer

Friday, January 28, 2022

Today in Comics History, January 28: Happy birthday, Todd Klein!

Born on this day, so you'd better write him a letter of congratulations (but be sure to use your best penpersonship): Todd Klein, letterer, logo designer, and writer!

from New Talent Showcase (1984 series) #1 (DC, January 1984)

Klein started off as a staff production worker at DC and worked his way up (with small, deliberate penstrokes) to become one of the top letterers of our time, with extensive work at DC Comics including cover or character logos for Blue Devil, Amethyst, Angel and the Ape, Promethea, Witchblade, Ahoy Comics, Ambush Bug, Amazing Heroes, The Legion of Super-Heroes, Doctor Strange, Atari Force, Batman and the Outsiders, Zot!, The Amazing Spider-Man, Action Comics, Justice League of America, Camelot 3000, DC Comics Presents, Sensational She-Hulk, The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, Time Warp (one of my all-time favorite logos) and many, many more. He also created a large number of the logos used in Who's Who in the DC Universe. What, more? Yes, more! Todd was also the main writer for The Omega Men for a dozen issues, plus scripts for Green Lantern, House of Mystery, Blue Devil, and others! Whew!

And oh yeah, he was in that Bat-Mite comic story!

You Can't Tell the Players without Some Annotation Dept.: In the second image below: letterer Milton Snapinn at upper left, colorist Tony Tollin (red shirt), inker Bob Smith (burgundy shirt over white tee), Todd Klein (orange shirt), penciller Michael Golden (blonde, holding dog leash), Al Milgrom (white shirt, lower right), Bob Rozakis (blue shirt).

from "Bat-Mite's New York Adventure!" in Detective Comics #482 (DC, February 1979), script by Bob Rozakis, pencils by Michael Golden, inks by Bob Smith, colors by Anthony Tollin, letters by Milt Snapinn

Happy birthday, Todd Klein! (And don't forget to check out Todd Klein's website: it's extensive, entertaining, and educational!)

Today in Comics History, January 28, 2009: Marvel pays Ben Urich to disguise his journalism notes as an "Our Story This Far" teaser

from The Amazing Spider-Man: Extra! #2 (Marvel, March 2009); script by Dan Slott; pencils by Chris Bachalo; inks by Tim Townsend, Jon Sibal, Jaime Mendoza, and Chris Bachalo; colors by Antonio Fabela and Chris Bachelo; letters by Rus Wooton

Spoiler: Paris and Britney did not wait another day.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Today in Comics History, January 27: Happy birthday, Werner Roth!

Born on this day in 1921: comics artist Werner Roth! (Also known at Marvel as Jay Gavin, mostly because he didn't want DC to find out he was working for their competitor!)

from "Bullpen Bulletins" in Marvel Comics cover-dated September 1966

Roth is perhaps known for his pencil work on the [Original] X-Men, but don't forget that he also drew Lois Lane, Apache Kid (and other Western, war, and chiller titles for Atlas), and Heart Throbs, Girls' Love Stories (and even more romance titles for DC). He also and co-created the X-Men's Banshee, Mimic, Candy Southern, Factor Three, and, with Don Rico, Atlas's Lorna, the Jungle Girl!

Here's a fine apperciation of Roth by the scholar of all comics, Kurt Busiek:

from Marvel Age #47 (Marvel, February 1987), by Kurt Busiek

Happy birthday, Werner Roth!

Today in Comics History, January 27: Happy birthday, Steve Leialoha!

Born on this day: let's give happy birthday greetings to comics penciller and inker Steve Leialoha (Warlock, Spider-Woman, Uncanny X-Men, Firestar, Howard the Duck, Fables, Jack of Fables, Chronos, Vampirella, Soulsearchers and Company, and lots more, including Secret Wars II, but we won't hold that against him!)! He co-created Greenberg the Vampire, and didja know the character Torpedo in G.I. Joe is named "Edward Leialoha" after him? (Well, I didn't!)

from Marvel Age #26, 49, and 86 (Marvel, May 1985, April 1987, and March 1990); text by Jim Salicrup (#26), Mike Carlin (#49), & Chris Eliopoulis and Barry Dutter (#86), pencils and inks by Ron Zalme; colors by Paul Becton (#49), and Gregory Wright (#86)

Is Steve going to appear in this Spider-Woman comic? Well, I dunno, but he certainly is appearing on Jessica Drew's bookshelf!

from Spider-Woman (1978 series) #45 (Marvel, August 1982); script by Chris Claremont, pencils, inks, and colors by Steve Leialoha, letters by Tom Orzechowski

Oh look, Steve is in this comic book! With Chris Claremont, too! Whatsa matter guys, didn't you want to sit next to each other?

Happy birthday, Steve Leialoha!

Today in Comics History, January 27, 1949: This is the way evil ends, not with a bang but with the clang of a cell door slamming shut

from "The Claws of the Mafia" in Murderous Gangsters #2 (Avon, December 1951), inks by Vince Alascia (?)

Today in Comics History, January 27: Happy birthday, Atom (I)!

Born today, so get out the little candles and a mini-cake: Al Pratt, The Atom!

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

Today in Comics History, January 27: Happy birthday, Frank Miller!

Born on this day: Frank Miller, comics writer and artist, screenwriter, film director/producer, and occasional absolute crackpot! (We love your work, Frank, but please come in off'a that right wing ledge.)

from Marvel Age #26, 49, 86 and 97 (Marvel, May 1985, April 1987, March 1990, and February 1991); text by Jim Salicrup (#26), 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)

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Today in Comics History, January 26-28, 1985: "I know times are changing. It's time we all reach out for something new."

from The Other History of the DC Universe #5 (DC/Black Label, September 2021), script by John Ridley, layouts by Giuseppe Camuncoli, finishes by Andrea Cucchi, colors by José Villarrubia, letters by Steve Wands

Today in Comics History, January 26: Happy birthday, Sal Buscema!

Make sure you wish a very happy 86th birthday today to comics artist Sal Buscema, born in 1936 and still with us! (Write him a nice note of appreciation, why doncha?)

from Mighty Marvel Calendar 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979 (Marvel, 1975-1978)

Sal has drawn long runs on Incredible Hulk and Spectcaular Spider-Man, plus plenty of multiple issues of Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Marvel Team-Up, Marvel Two-in-One, Thor, The Defenders, and The New Mutants (he co-created Cypher and the Hellions)! Plus, he's co-created even more characters: a wide range of Marvel goodies and baddies, including Carrion, Collective Man, Commander Kraken, Jean DeWolff, Diamondhead, Firebird, Graviton, Nighthawk, Nomad, Razorback, Rom: Spaceknight, Sabra, Speed Demon, the Squadron Sinister, Thunderball, the Time Variance Authority, the U-Foes, Ursa Major, and Heinrich and Helmut Zemo (Jr.)! (And lots more filling in that alphabetical list.)

from Marvel Age #26, 50, 87 and 98 (Marvel, May 1985, May 1987, April 1990, and March 1991), text by Jim Salicrup (#26), Mike Carlin (#50), and Chris Eliopoulis and Barry Dutter (#87 and 98); pencils and inks by Ron Zalme; colors by Gregory Wright (#87) and Renee Witterstaetter (#98)

Today in Comics History, January 26, 1949: Yogi gets married; Cindy is furious

from Yogi Berra one-shot (Fawcett, 1951), script by Charles Dexter, pencils and inks by Kurt Schaffenberger

Today in Comics History, January 26, 1880: Happy birthday, General Douglas MacArthur!

Born on this day in 1880, which means he wasn't exactly a spring chicken during the Second World War: General Douglas MacArthur, who promised "I shall return!," a proclamation which sounded pretty good until Arnold Schwarzenegger boiled that down to the much more succinct "I'll be back."

Say, how did MacArthur feel about women in the military? Let's ask Diana Prince.

cover of Wonder Woman (1942 series) #237 (DC, November 1977), pencils by Rich Buckler, inks by Vince Colletta, letters by Joe Letterese (?)

How'd that work out for ya, Doug?

from Wonder Woman #237; script by Gerry Conway, pencils by José Delbo, inks by Vince Colletta, colors by Elizabeth Safian, letters by Milt Snapinn (?)

Yes, he still needed help from a woman. Honestly, I don't think MacArthur was quite mentally prepared for a war including super-powered beings.

from All-Star Squadron #28 (DC, December 1983), script by Roy Thomas, pencils by Richard Howell, inks by Gerald Forton, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by David Cody Weiss

C'mon, Doug, adapt to the changing times! If you don't have some sort of flexibility, you'll never get your own comic book!

cover of General Douglas MacArthur one-shot (Fox, 1951), creators unknown


Well, happy birthday anyway, General! (salutes)

Today in Comics History, January 26, 1942: No, Robot Monster is the guy with a diving helmet and a gorilla suit

from All-Star Squadron #17 (DC, January 1983), script by Roy Thomas, pencils by Adrian Gonzales, inks by Rick Hoberg, colors by Carl Gafford, letters by Adam Kubert

from Robot Monster (Astor Pictures, 1953), directed by Phil Tucker, written by Wyatt Ordung; riffed by Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, and Josh Weinstein on Mystery Science Theater 3000 series 1, episode 7 (Best Brains, December 23, 1989)

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

And now let's change the pace a little, with a slight variation on this comfortable old joke

from "How This Crime Was Solved" in Martin Kane, Private Eye #4 [1] (Fox, June 1950), creators unknown
and Angel Love #1 (DC, August 1986), script and pencils by Barbara Slate, inks by John Lopez (?), colors by Bob LeRose (?)

Today in Comics History, January 25, 1882: Happy birthday, Virginia Woolf!

Hey, let's wish a beer-filled, cake-stuffed, carousin' and cavortin' birthday celebration to the 20th Century's original fun time party girl, Virginia Woolf, author of all those comedic novels that had us rolling on the floor with hilarity, like the larf-out-loud Mrs. Dalloway, the absolute punfest To the Lighthouse, and the sizzling over-eighteen steamy romance A Room of One's Own! (Why do you think she founded the Ho-Ho-Hogarth Press?) Truly the greatest genre writer of her time, and I'm not even counting all those Doc Savage novels she ghost-wrote!

I'm a big fan of Virginia Woolf, especially for her genre-breaking appearances in that great work of literature, New Warriors!

cover of New Warriors (2005 series) #5 (Marvel, January 2006); pencils, inks, and colors by Skottie Young

With only two appearances in comicbooks, Ms. Woolf falls just one issue short of the criteria for being included in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, but they were running out of room in the Ws anyway after Wolverine's section expanded to 31 pages. Luckily, she's not prejudiced against young fish-women!

from New Warriors #5; script by Zeb Wells; pencils, inks, and colors by Skottie Young; additional colors by Jean-Francois Beaulieu; letters by Randy Gentile

Too bad it's never been noted in the history books that Miz Woolf is a...wait, am I reading this right? A supervillain? Wow, Ginny, take it down a notch. Geez.

from New Warriors (2005 series) #4 (Marvel, November 2005); script by Zeb Wells; pencils, inks, and colors by Skottie Young; additional colors by Jean-Francois Beaulieu; letters by Randy Gentile

Yeesh! (looks nervous, tugs on my collar) Instead of considering Virginia Woolf as an evil nemesis, let's take a loot at her instead in the pages of Uber, a comic...about...super-powered Nazis. Oh dear.

from Uber #12 (Avatar, April 2014), script by Kieron Gillen, pencils and inks by Gabriel Andrade, colors by Digikore Studios, letters by Kurt Hathaway

So, to answer the musical question "Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf?" I am! I AM.