Friday, January 06, 2023

Today in Comics History, January 6, 1935: Frankie settles the age-old question of whether it's called a carport or a carhole

from "Frankie the Pug" in Gangsters Can't Win v.1 #4 (D.S. Publishing, August 1948), creators uncredited and unknown

Today in Comics History, January 6, 1854: Look, Henry, just admit you're lost

from "Ghost Ship!" in Crypt of Terror (1950 series) #19 (EC, August 1950); script, pencils, and inks by Al Feldstein, letters by Jim Wroten

Today in Comics History, January 6, 1988: Happy birthday, Dave Speakman!

Hope you survive the...oh, it's a Carnage story.

Never mind.

from Carnage (2022 series) #1 (Marvel, May 2022), script by Ram V, pencils and inks by Francesco Manna, colors by Dijjo Lima, letters by Joe Sabino

Today in Comics History, January 6, 1956: Happy birthday, Tina Lacey!

Hope you survive the...oh.

from "A Very Private Hell!" in Tales of Ghost Castle #3 (DC, September 1975), script by Robert Kanigher, pencils and inks by Frank Redondo

Yes indeed, that's Lucien, later a cast member of Neil Gaiman's Sandman.

Today in Comics History, January 6: Lenny continues to teach us the true meaning of Christmas

from Simpsons Comics #79 (Bongo, February 2003), script by Ian Boothby, pencils by John Costanza, inks by Howard Shum, colors by Art Villanueva, letters by Karen Bates

Today in Comics History, January 6, 2021: Assholes gonna asshole

from New America #1 (Comixology, August 2022), script by Cury Pires, pencils and inks by Luca Casalanguida, colors by Mark Dale, letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

Thursday, January 05, 2023

Today in Comics History, January 5, 1945: Happy birthday, Mary Shaw! Hope you survive the...oh.

from "Out of This World" in The Phantom Stranger (1969 series) #4 (DC/National, November 1969), script by Robert Kanigher, pencils and inks by Werner Roth and Neal Adams, inks by Murphy Anderson and Bill Draut, letters by Milt Snapinn (?) (or Ben Oda?)

Still, tune in on April 3 to find out what happened then!

This post was suggested by faithful reader and frequent commenter Blam, who's provided a lot of date references in comics that I'll spotlight throughout 2023 in this series. Thanks, Blam!

Today in Comics History, January 5: Happy birthday, Russ Manning!

Happy birthday today to master illustrator and cartoonist Russ Manning, born in 1929. He's the creator of Magnus, Robot Fighter, illustrator of Tarzan, Korak, Wyatt Earp, Ricky Nelson, Ben-Hur, Rawhide, 77 Sunset Strip, Roy Rogers and Trigger, Star Wars, and more!

"Yes, There Is a Tarzana..." from Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan of the Apes (1962 series) #155 (Western/Gold Key, December 1965)

Happy birthday, Russ!

Today in Comics History, January 5: Happy birthday, Zebulon Pike!

Born on this day in far-off 1779: American brigadier general and explorer Zebulon Pike, who discovered the source of the Mississippi River and Pike's Peak. He is also the inventor of the name "Zebulon."

from Ben Bowie and His Mountain Men #9 (Dell, November 1956), creators uncredited and unknown

Today in Comics History, January 5, 1999: He shoulda just got her a space-toaster

You might remember a mere four days ago, and yet back in the futuristic year of 1999, that crackpot space pilot Kevitt Standish (giggle) was engaged to be married to his fiancée who we don't know the name of, and franly, I don't think he does either.

from "Wedding Gift" in Amazing Adventures (1950 series) #2 (Ziff-Davis, May 1951), pencils and inks by Murphy Anderson

Bein' no fool, Nameless Girlfriend reminds Standish that he had better not be heasding out on any more than a four-day tour, because they get married on January 5, the instant he comes back! Unless he returns with one of the sexy Martian women with the three heads and the wings, because you know, hey, Martian women.

"And don't be going and getting kidnapped by Venusian warloards who threaten to make you destroy the Earth and...what DID I just tell you, Kevitt Lucille Standish?!?"

A whole lotta bluffin' later, Standish tricks the Venusian into blowin' up Mars. Also, there's some time travel of four days back and forth that's basically non-essential but pretty good at confusing us about what day it is. This guy is never gonna get his bachelor party!

Then, Space Ace Kevitt Standish, hero of all the solar system, punches the Venusians right out of the space-door that has been conveniently left space-open. "Come on, you space kids! We're not heating the whole space-outdoors, you know!"

Kevitt returns home, I dunno, using some sort of space slingshot or sling drive or netted slingshot briefs and returns to Earth on January 5, just in time for his wedding, as the futuristic analog clock on the wall tells us. And Marcia (oh, that's her space name!) doesn't even realize he's been gone, because for some reason...time travel rules, or maybe getting his hand stamped...Kevitt never made the space trip on January 1! Not only has he changed history capriciously, but that means he made Murphy Anderson draw all those pages for nothing! WHat a stupid, stupid man.

The marriage ceremony was a happy and joyful affair and Kevitt and Marcia lived happily ever after, until two days later when the Venusians, who were right back where they started before all the time travel, blew the entire Earth up.

Well, That'll show ya.

Today in Comics History, January 5: Happy birthday, Hayao Miyazaki!

Born on this date: animator, filmmaker, and manga creator Hayao Miyazaki (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle and more)!

from Comic Book History of Animation #4 (IDW, February 2021); script by Fred Van Lente; pencils, inks, and letters by Ryan Dunlavey; colors by Adam Guzowski

A very happy birthday to you, Hayao Miyazaki!

Today in Comics History, January 5, 1854: Diary entry sounds pretty important but doesn't even get an illustrated panel to go with it

from "Ghost Ship!" in Crypt of Terror (1950 series) #19 (EC, August 1950); script, pencils, and inks by Al Feldstein, letters by Jim Wroten

Today in Comics History, January 5: Happy birthday, Luke Sewell!

Born on this day in 1901: Major League Baseball player and manager Luke Sewell! Here represented with an odd feature reflecting on how poorly his team had been performing and how much pressure was on him to bring the '42 St. Louis Browns to a higher performance. Yes, even in WWII: moneyball!

"Sport Features" in King Comics #73 (David McKay, May 1942), by Jack Burnley

The St. Louis Browns finished their season in third place in the American League.

"Because of the shortage of major league players during the Second World War, Sewell served as a player-manager during the 1942 season, appearing in six games. He played his final game as a player on August 1, 1942 at the age of 41." — Wikipedia

Happy birthday, Luke!

Wednesday, January 04, 2023

Stuff Bully Got for Christmas: That Steve Martin book

I got Number One Walking by Steve Martin and Harry Bliss from my sister for Christmas! It's been on my wish list since it was announced so I was very, very happy to open it! About half the book is Steve telling anecdotes about his work in movies, his discussion translated into comics by Harry. Very entertaining!

I laughed out loud several times and you can definitely hear the stories in Martin's voice. On the other hand, the second half half of the book is single page gag cartoons that are pretty good — in the style of The New Yorker, or, for some of the more absurd ones, B. Kliban...but they're printing one panel to a two-page spread and I flipped through them very quickly, making it a pretty fast read. I read this in about half an hour. As I like to say, two hoofs up!

Today in Comics History, January 4: Happy birthday, George Selkirk!

Born on this day in 1908: Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame member George Selkirk, Major League baseball player and MLB front office executive, who inherited Babe Ruth's famous No. 3 uniform during his stint with the New York Yankees.

"Sports Features" from King Comics #16 (David McKay, July 1937), pencils and inks by Jack Burnley

Happy birthday, George!

Today in Comics History, January 4, 1918: This sex-swapped version of the Pandora story is weirdly unsettling

from the Atomictot story in All Humor Comics #13 (Quality, Spring 1949), pencils and inks by Gill Fox

This post was suggested by faithful reader and frequent commenter Blam, who's provided a lot of date references in comics that I'll spotlight throughout 2023 in this series. Thanks, Blam!

Today in Comics History, January 4, 1939: W.B. Yeats has a hard time starting his thank-you letter for the Christmas socks

from The Dreaming (1996 series) #35 (DC/Vertigo, April 1999), script by Caitlín Kiernan, pencils and inks by Rebecca Guay, colors and color separations by Daniel Vozzo, letters by Todd Klein

Today in Comics History, January 4, 1854: We won't be marooned as long as we've got a Johnson

from "Ghost Ship!" in Crypt of Terror (1950 series) #19 (EC, August 1950); script, pencils, and inks by Al Feldstein, letters by Jim Wroten

Today in Comics History, January 4, 2016: ♫ Woke up / Got out of bed / Grabbed a cab / As aforesaid ♫

from Yellow Cab (IDW, May 2022), by Christophe Chabouté, based on the novel by Benoît Cohen

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Today in Comics History, January 3, 2000: Superman's new millennial job: garbageman

from "Robots in the DCU" in Secret Files & Origins Guide to the DC Universe 2000 #1 (one-shot) (DC, March 2000), script by Scott Beatty, pencils by Gus Vazquez, inks by Claude St. Aubin, colors by Tom McCraw, color separations by Digital Chameleon, letters by Ken Lopez

Today in Comics History, January 3: After two excruciating days, Sluggo returns to his regular lovable self

Nancy (United Feature Syndicate, December 31, 1944), by Ernie Bushmiller

A special big-ass thank you as usual to Twitter pal @JohnnyCallicutt for bringing my attention to this strip!

Today in Comics History, January 3, 1854: Mealtime of the Ancient Mariner

from "Ghost Ship!" in Crypt of Terror (1950 series) #19 (EC, August 1950); script, pencils, and inks by Al Feldstein, letters by Jim Wroten

Kitty Pryde 🐈‍⬛: Glitter Kitty

Kitty Pryde 🐈‍⬛ recommends starting each day with a little sparkle.

Stay warm, my friends.

Sunday, January 01, 2023

The 1989 2023 Love and Rockets Calendar: [Joven de] January

Welcome to a whole new year of probably the finest comic ever published! That's right, it's the 1989 2023 Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose Love and Rockets Calendar! Which, thanks to the nature of circular history and timey-wimey stuff, also does in 2023 what it done did in 1989.

Now you can enjoy the sublime artwork of Xaime and Beto every day throughout 2023! What better year to cut these out, color 'em if you want (please do not color Maggie too hard, she bruises easily) and hang 'em up on your wall for a loving, rocketing 2023?!?

"January" from Love and Rockets 1989 Calendar (Fantagraphics, 1988), main artwork by Jaime Hernandez, calendar block artwork by Gilbert Hernandez
(Click picture to grande-size)

Hopey you all have a fantastic 1989 2023!

The 1978 2017 2023 DC Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters: January Justice

This is an expanded and updated version of a post originally published January 1, 2017.

It's once again January and time for me to finally and reluctantly take down my Li'l Björk Calendar

and hang up one for 2023. So let me first consult with my handy-dandy Perpetual Calendar, which tells me that it's 2023. Um, thanks, Perpetual Calendar! Ah, it's also telling me that if I have any calendars from the years 1967, 1978, 1989, 1995, 2006. or 2017, I can hang 'em up on the wall and use them to party as if it were 2017! Which it is, so that's a good thing.

Well, whatdaya know!

cover of The 1978 Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters, front cover art by Neal Adams

It's a year full of Super-Spectacular Disasters, so this really should have been a calendar for 2016, and I'm certainly hoping that it doesn't apply to this new year, or, as I'm calling it, the Year of the Bull. (does celebratory somersault, lands in plate of spaghetti) Whoops.

Yo, 2023, I'm really happy for you, I'ma let you finish, but 1978 had one of the best comic book calendars of all time! One of the best comic book calendars of all time! It's probably the only calendar that actually tells a story over the course of a full year, apart from some copies of Ethel the Aardvark Goes Quantity Surveying Calendar 1984.

With its all-star cast of characters and artists, the 78CoSSD is attractive enough, but month by month it unravels a sinister plot of the DC Super-Villains to execute dark deeds plotted by an evil mastermind! Follow the story in each month's illustration!

"January: Batman" in The 1978 Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters (DC, 1977); artwork by Dick Giordano
(Click picture to 100-watt-size)

Then, pick up on the clues in the date boxes! Please note that beginning on January 1, Doctor Light threatens the Big Apple, not that, stop putting the city under a blackout. He starts with a one-minute power failure on 1/1, and by 1/4 has increased it to four minutes!

That means he's doubling the blackout duration each day, so by the time Batman slugs Doctor Light upside the luminescent bulbs on January 11, the blackout is 17 hours and four minutes! Why, by the very next day, he'll be sinking Manhattan into darkness for 34 hours a day! Good thing Batman was right on that or Dr. Light would have been warping time and we all might be our own grandpas.

There's more long-game clues to follow: throughout the month, certain days will tell you to black out squares... a grid at the end of the calendar, so that by December 31, you'll have figgered out the identity of the super-jerks' evil boss!

"December 31"; art by José Luis Garcia-López
(Click picture to you-sunk-my-battleship-size)

Starting on February 1, at the beginning of each month, I'll show you the blacked-out version of the grid so far (or take a Sharpie and mark them off on your computer monitor screen!), and we'll all meet back here on December 31 and see who was behind all these terrible, world-breaking disasters.

On the other hand, you might just be able to detect some inkling of the dastardly villain thanks to this bald-faced clue on January 29.

(And tune in later for a peek at a '78 calendar from the Magnificent Competition Guys!)

Free gift with this blog!: Your new 1950 2017 2023 Batman and Robin Calendar!

This is an expanded and updated version of a post originally published January 1, 2017.

Hey, look, kids (and adults, and little stuffed beings)! A calendar from 1950 can be used perfectly again in 2017 and this year, 2023!! Now, it's your job to keep looking forward and not bring the country itself back to the '50s, but you can clip 'n' save this nifty Dark Knight and Boy Wonder calendar for the entire year of 2017! Click it to embiggen, and take it from there! (This message brought to you by Canon™ CLI-251 "Y" yellow ink cartridges!)

"1950 Batman and Robin Calendar" from Batman #57 (DC, February 1950); pencils and inks by Win Mortimer
(Click picture to beefy-chesty-Batman-size)

(And tomorrow: a look at another, detailed-the-way-fans-want-it DC calendar you can use for 2023!)

The 1978 2017 2023 Amazing Spider-Man Mighty Marvel Comics Calendar: January Jinx

This is an expanded and updated version of a post originally published January 1, 2017.

January! It's a month of white sales, exercise machine blow-outs, and half-price calendars! That's why I never buy a wall calendar until they're marked down the day after Christmas. Granted, you might get stuck with a Taylor Swift calendar, but...I'm sorry, I can't think of an immediate drawback to that one.

in 2017, I snagged The Vintage Marvel Comics 2017 Calendar!, which also works in this year of 2023! It's bigger than me!

Each month features a larger-than-life, full-color repro of a Marvel Comic cover, performated so you can remove them for fine-art-type framing!

With twelve oversized prints to hang on my walls, I won't even need wallpaper this year!

But what I really wanted to show you was another great comic book 1978 calendar that you can use again in 2023 because, as Professor S. Miller has taught us, time keeps on slippin slippin slippin into the future. It's the Amazing Spider-Man Mighty Marvel Comics Calendar 1978!

Check out the nifty back-cover full-color flashback mural!

Who better to star in the calendar's introduction than our star of last year's 366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, J...uh, Jonah Jameson!

None other than a guy I really respect, Matt D. Wilson, has written one of the definitive appreciations of JJJ in his "Threat or Menace: Celebrating the Brilliance of J. Jonah Jameson" on ComicsAlliance, a piece I took a lot of inspiration from when putting together 366 little salutes to Jameson. But I've just noticed that Matt sez
(The classic headline "Spider-Man: Threat or Menace?" really encapsulates the rhetoric, though it can’t be attributed to Lee. It first appears in relation to Spider-Man in 1981’s Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15, by Denny O'Neil and Frank Miller. Lee usually stuck to the more simple "Spider-Man: Menace.")
I believe I've found a definitive earlier use of the "Spider-Man: Threat or Menace?" headline here in this 1978 calendar. Matt's right, though; it's not by Lee. The text for this calendar was written by David Anthony Kraft and Jim Salicrup. Looks like I'd better update the Wikipedia article!

There's even a quick spotlight on how Spidey affects "random decent citizens," including a guy named Peter Parker. Hey, no dropping ash on Aunt May's sofa, Jonah!

Each calendar spread features a big twelve-by-twelve full-color pic illustrating Spider-Man and Peter Parker through the years, and I'll be showing them all to you at the beginning of every month throughout this year of 1978 2017 2023! First up: an Amazing Fantasy #15 flashback!

"January: A Time for Beginnings" in The Amazing Spider-Man Mighty Marvel Comics Calendar 1978 (Marvel, 1977), art by Al Milgrom ("in tribute to the one-and-only Steve Ditko")

And here you can see the January calendar itself. Check out the insane amount of detail; there's a big delight in every bite day!

(Click picture to '78 Ford LTD Landau Coupe-size)

So not only are you getting the 1978 DC Calendar, but the 1978 Marvel Calendar, all this year! Until their lawyers come down on me, so you'd better look fast. Excelsior!