Saturday, March 12, 2022

Liberty Bell March, Day 12: Put the lime in this thing, and drink 'em both up

from Animal Man (1988 series) #23 (DC, May 1990), script by Grant Morrison, pencils by Chas Truog, inks by Doug Hazlewood, colors by Tatjana Wood, letters by John Costanza

from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Python (Monty) Pictures, 1975), directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones

Today in Comics History, March 12: Happy birthday, Svengoolie!

Born on this day and keeping us howling at the moon for many years: Rich Koz, aka Svengoolie, SF/horror movie historian and host of his own show (he took over from the original Svengoolie Jerry Bishop in 1978)! Svengoolie the show runs every week, Saturday nights on MeTV...check your local cable listings and tell your cable provider: I WANT MY METV! And he's a comic book fan, too!

from MAD (2018 series) #2 (August 2018)

Sven actually had his own comic book, collecting segments that ran in the May 2020 issues of DC Comics! Unfortunately, I haven't got them or the (now very pricy!) collection, but here's the front cover! He's in the Justice League now!

cover of Svengoolie Meets the DC Universe #1 one-shot (DC, 2020), pencils by Christopher Jones

You never know when Svengoolie will pop up! Can you spot him in the crowd at the Superman/Muhammad Ali fight this comic convention crowd scene lovingly drawn by Sergio Aragonés, chock full of celebrities, creators, and cosplayers...and Sven!

from Groo Meets Tarzan #1 (Dark Horse, July 2021), script by Sergio Aragonés and Mark Evanier, pencils and inks by Sergio Aragonés, colors by Tom Luth, letters by Stan Sakai
(Click top picture to Berwyn-size)

So when you see Sven today, either on the street or on his show tonight, toss a rubber chicken at him and wish him happy birthday!

Today in Comics History, March 12, 1927: Criminals are a predictable and stupid lot

from "The Baby-Face Killer" in Crime Must Pay the Penalty #33/1 (Ace, February 1948), pencils and inks by Ann Brewster

Today in Comics History, March 12: Happy birthday, Carol Jazwynski!

Born today: 1980s-era Marvel west-coast liason Carol Jazwynski! And that's about all we know about her, so if you're out there, say hi, Carol!

from Marvel Age #51 (Marvel, June 1987), text by Mike Carlin, pencils and inks by Ron Zalme

Happy birthday, Carol!

Today in Comics History, March 12, 1965: Elasti-Girl is dragged, kicking and screaming, back to the basics

from Doom Patrol (2004 series) #14 (DC, September 2005), script and pencils by John Byrne, inks by Terry Austin, colors by Alex Bleyaert, letters by Jared K. Fletcher

Today in Comics History, March 12, 1973: Winter Soldier decides to just take a "me day"

from Captain America (2005 series) #11 (Marvel, November 2005), script by Ed Brubaker, pencils and inks by Steve Epting, additional inks by Mike Perkins, colors by Frank D'Armata, letters by Randolph Gentile

Friday, March 11, 2022

Liberty Bell March, Day 11: If you see me comin', better step aside / A lotta men didn't, a lotta men died

from The Green Lantern (2019 series) #1 (DC, January 2019), script by Grant Morrison, pencils and inks by Liam Sharp, colors by Steve Oliff, letters by Tom Orzechowski

"Self-Defence Against Fresh Fruit" from Monty Python's Flying Circus episode "Owl Stretching Time," series 1, episode 4 (26 October 1969), written by John Cleese and Graham Chapman

"Wishes" from Monty Python's Flying Circus episode "Intermission," series 1, episode 13 (11 January 1970)

"Sixteen Tons" by Tennessee Ernie Ford (Capitol, October 1955), written by Merle Travis

Kitty Pryde 🐈‍⬛: Given a choice of two lovely places to sleep in that we bought for her, which does Kitty Pryde choose...?

Today in Comics History, March 11: Happy birthday, Anton Yelchin

Born on this date in 1989: Anton Yelchin, Russian-born American actor. Among his other roles, he played the Kelvin-timeline's version of Ensign Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek movies from 2009-2016.

Anton died at the age of 27 in 2016. He would have been 33 today. That's far too young to be taken from us.

from Star Trek (2011 series) #20 (IDW, April 2013), script by Ryan Parrott, pencils by Luca Lamberti, colors by Arianna Florean, letters by Tom B. Long

Fly high and free, Anton. Straight on 'til morning.

Today in Comics History, March 11: Happy birthday, Alex Kingston!

Happy birthday today to Alex Kingston, who's played River Song on Doctor Who!

cover B from Doctor Who Special #2 [The Lost Dimension] (Titan, November 2017

She's played lots of other roles, too, but there's no comic books for ER, the BBC's Moll Flanders, or Hope Springs, so we'll just have to leave it at that. (She was in Arrow too, as the original Dinah Lance, but I'm not finding any appearances of her in the Arrow tie-in comics. Let me know if you do!)

Happy birthday, Alex!

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Liberty Bell March, Day 10: Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash

from Uncanny Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 one-shot (Marvel, July 2015), script by Al Ewing, pencils by Alan Davis, inks by Mark Farmer, colors by Rachelle Rosenberg, letters by Travis Lanham

"The Money Song" on Monty Python's Previous Record (Charisma Records, 1972), adpated from Monty Python's Flying Circus, series 3, episode 3 (2 November 1972), song written by Eric Idle and John Gould

Today in Comics History, March 10: Happy birthday, Sam Jaffe!

Sam Jaffe! Born in 1891, so we probably can't be goin' over to his house to celebrate. But I'm lifting a frosy mug of high-proof root beer to the actor, musician, and teacher who appeared in many films and TV series, like The Asphalt Jungle, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Ben-Hur, Gunga Din, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and as the High Lama of Shangri-La in Lost Horizon (when he was 45!). He also played a thematically similar role (at the age of 70) in the medical series Ben Casey.

cover of Ben Casey #7 (Dell, August 1963)

Jaffe portrayed Dr. David Zorba, the mentor to Ben Casey (Vince Edwards), who provided him with much sage advice on medicine and surgery...and life.

from Ben Casey #7; script by Carl Memling, pencils by John Tartaglione, inks by Vince Colletta

In fact, it was the voice of Jaffe that narrated the opening credits of Ben Casey and delineated the show's theme:♂ ♀ ❊ + ∞. Say that three times fast!

Tell us what the theme of the episode is, Dr. Zorba! (He's always doin' that.)

Ben Casey was a very popular show that ran for five seasons! You know what that means...THE SECOND LAW OF COMICS OUGHTA BE FUN!

from "Stupidity on Televsion" in MAD #83 (December 1963), script by Stan Hart, pencils and inks by Mort Drucker

Sam Jaffe also appeared in comics because he was in the movie Gunga Din:

from Movie Comics #1 (DC, April 1939), photograph airburshed and colored by Jack Adler and Emery Gondor

But...I'm not gonna show you any appearances of Jaffe as the title character from the story inside the comic book. Reason? That's Jewish Russian American Sam Jaffe playing the role of an East Indian boy, and with considerable browning make-up (that's even more evident in the "natural colors" Adler and Gondor used to colorize movie stills). It's pretty garish and awkward. Why wasn't the role played by an Indian actor? Well, how many Indian actors do you think there were in Hollywood in 1939? Actually, one: Sabu, who was the directors' first choice, but became unavailable. Jaffe was hired in his place. Many years later, Jaffe was asked how he portrayed an Indian Hindu. Jaffe replied he kept telling himself to "Think Sabu." (Also, he was 47 when he played this role of an Indian youth.)

I pause here momentarily to note that the Sam Jaffe we're celebrating today is not this Sam Jaffe from a typically-illustrated 1990s Image comic. It's not very subtle, is it? Is her torso made of taffy?

from The Tenth: The Black Embrace #2 (Image, April 1999); co-plot, script, and pencils by Tony Daniels; co-plot by Scott Lobdell; inks by Marlo Alquiza, Kevin Conrad, and Tony Daniel;

So a very happy birthday to ya, real Sam Jaffe! How to you plan to celebrate for your birthday dinner?

from Ben Casey #7

Today in Comics History, March 10, 1949: Roy Raymond receives a missive from a comic book letterer

from "The Land of Lost Years!" (The first appearance of Roy Raymond, TV Detective) in Detective Comics (1937 series) #153 (DC, November 1949), pencils and inks by Ruben Moreira, letterer unknown

Today in Comics History, March 10: Happy birthday, Slug!

Happy birthday, Slug!

No, no, no! I mean Ulysses X. Lugman, the obese supervillain called The Slug, born on this day (according to the possibly non-canon source of the Marvel Age, but we have no other references for his birthday, so let's use this one, huh?). Yes, today's the "big" day. Or, very possibly, judging from this calendar, today and the next three days. Folks, he's just that large.

from Marvel Age #111 (Marvel, April 1992), text by Mike Lackey, art Darren Auck

Why, he makes the Kingpin look like Slim Goodbody! Let's look in on his first waddlin' welcome into the Marvel Universe. And now that he's such a major player in the Captain America mythos...ah ha ha ha ha ha! Sorry, I couldn't even finish that sentence for the usual joke.

from Captain America (1968 series) #325 (Marvel, January 1987), script by Mark Gruenwald, pencils by Paul Neary, inks by John Beatty, colors by Ken Feduniewicz, letters by Diana Albers

Nomad targets the Slug! Well actually, how could he miss?

I'm as big an admirer of Mark Gruenwald's writing as anybody, but yeah, there are times when it felt like he was scrapin' the bottom of the old idea barrel. At least this storyline didn't stretch on for several issues and become "The Slug Saga!" Very appropriately, it's only one issue long.

Yes, that's The Slug, the villain who takes up so much horizontal space that they completely revised the format of the OHOTMU for him!

from Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Master Edition (1990 series) #7 (Marvel, June 1991), pencils by Keith Pollard, inks by Joe Rubinstein, colors by Andy Yanchus

Happy Birthday, Slug! Please don't eat me.

Nancy (August 14, 1957), by Ernie Bushmiller

Wednesday, March 09, 2022

Liberty Bell March, Day 9: You Can't Do That in Comics

from Action Comics #587 (DC, April 1987), script and pencils by John Byrne, inks by Dick Giordano, colors by Tom Ziuko, letters by John Costanza

from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Python (Monty) Pictures, 1975), directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones

Today in Comics History, March 9, 1924: Just-married couple has no idea they're in a Alan Moore pastiche of H.P. Lovecraft

from Providence #11 (Avatar, November 2016), script by Alan Moore, pencils and inks by Jacen Burrows, colors by Juan Manuel Rodriguez, letters by Kurt Hathaway

What a happy pair! However, in the next panel they've been bloodily murdered in graphic detail. Alan Moore, you scamp! Quit doin' that! Awwww, you nut!

Today in Comics History, March 9: Happy birthday, Joe Franklin!

Happy birthday today to Mr. Joe Franklin, born in 1926 and host of (naturally) The Joe Franklin Show, a long-time New York-based TV talk show that brought in the famous, the infamous, and the forgotten to relate their tales of stage and screen. He was especially prominent in several comics from Drew Freidman, from the gently parodic...

from High Times Magazine #70 (Trans-High Corporation, June 1981); script by Josh Alan Friedman; pencils, inks, and letters by Drew Friedman the fantastically romantic...

from "Joe Franklin is a Dream Walkin'" in Weirdo (1981 series) #6 (Last Gasp, Summer 1982); script, pencils, inks and latters by Drew Freidman

...and the utterly bizarre.

from Heavy Metal Magazine (1977 series) v.8 #8 (Heavy Metal, November 1984); script, pencils, inks and latters by Drew Freidman

Happy birthday, Joe Franklin! You may have been local to the New York City market, but universal in our hearts.

Today in Comics History, March 9: STROSIS

from Amazing Spider-Man (1963 series) #97 (Marvel, June 1971), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Gil Kane, inks by Frank Giacoia, background inks by Tony Mortellaro (?), letters by Sam Rosen

Today in Comics History, March 9: Happy birthday, Ant-Man II!

I can find no in-story proof for Ant-Man/Scott Lang's birthday outside of this possibly non-legallly-binding mention on the Marvel Age calendar. But, for the moment, let's take this as canon, okay until proven otherwise?

from Marvel Age #111 (Marvel, April 1992), text by Mike Lackey, art Darren Auck

Here's a tiny, tiny cake, Scott, and Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, March 08, 2022

Today in Comics History, March 8, 1988: Live from the Comedy Club: Stool Sample

from V for Vendetta #5 (DC, Winter 1988); script by Alan Moore; pencils, inks, and colors by David Lloyd; additional colors by Siobhan Dodds and Steve Whitaker; letters by Elitta Fell

Liberty Bell March, Day 8: I am no longer infected

from Bad Girls #3 (DC, December 2003), script by Steve Vance, pencils and inks by Christine Norrie and J. Bone, colors by Lee Loughridge, letters by Kurt Hathaway

"Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook" from Monty Python's Flying Circus episode "Spam," series 2, episode 12 (15 December 1970), written by John Cleese

Today in Comics History, March 8, 1978: Azrael born; grows up to stab passport

from Catwoman Annual 2021 one-shot (DC, August 2021); script by Ram V; pencils and inks by Kyle Hotz, Fernando Blanco, and Juan Ferreyra; colors by David Baron; letters by Tom Napolitano

Today in Comics History, March 8: Jucika celebrates International Women's Day

Jucika comic strip published in Lúdas Matyi (Hungarian satirical magazine), (March 10, 1966) by Pusztai Pál

I am of course indebted here to Twitter's two great Jucika accounts. You can follow them to see more of the delightful Jucika every day: Jucika Daily and Jucika in Order. I highly recommend both!

Monday, March 07, 2022

Liberty Bell March, Day 7: I have to push the pram a lot

from Liberty Meadows (1999 series) #15 (Insight Studios Group, October 2000), by Frank Cho

from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Python (Monty) Pictures, 1975), directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones

Sunday, March 06, 2022

Liberty Bell March, Day 6: They Mean to Win Wimbledon

from "Dumpster Divers" in Simpsons Comics #228 (Bongo, April 2016), script by James W. Bates, pencils by Rex Lindsey, inks by Patrick Owsley, colors by Art Villanueva, letters by Karen Bates

"Curses, Foiled Again" Dept.: I could not find an appearance of Angus Podgorny on the World Wide Web (patent pending), so simply get out your copy of Monty Python's Flying Circus season 1, episode 7 "You're No Fun Anymore," and watch the last half of the show, featuring the Pythons' aptly-titled "Science Fiction Sketch." Angus Podgorny is the humble Scotsman who helped save the world against an invasion of blancmanges from outer space, by playing at Wimbledon against them:

Mr Angus Podgorny (Michael Palin) of Scotland receives an order for 48,000,000 kilts from the planet Skyron in the Andromeda galaxy and considers the profit to be made from this, but explains to his wife (Terry Jones) that the order was not from a man, but from a blancmange....Charles (Graham Chapman) determines that the blancmanges mean to win Wimbledon, having turned the population into Scotsmen, since they are known as the world's worst tennis players.

A commentator (Eric Idle) gives the results of the blancmanges' tennis playing and one begins to play against Angus Podgorny (Michael Palin) until it is eaten by Mr and Mrs Samuel Brainsample (Chapman, Idle), thus allowing Podgorny to become the first Scotsman to win Wimbledon, albeit 15 years later.

Thank you, Angus Podgorny, for helping us defeat molded almond dessert alien invaders!