Saturday, July 01, 2023

The 1989 2023 Love and Rockets Calendar: [Jeez, that's a lot of ink, Beto] July

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

Today in Comics History, July 1, 1965: Little Green Men become the Greys because they debut in a black-and-white comic strip

"UFONaut Types #1" from Our Space Age (Bell-McClure Syndication, August 26, 1968(?), text by Otto Binder, art by Carl Pfeufer

Special thanks to Rob Kristoffersen, Twitter's @YerUFOGuy, for spotlighting this cartoon (which I quickly yoinked)! Thank you, Rob!

Today in Comics History, July 1, 1944: Bing Crosby and Bob Hope Meet the Mummy

from Justice Society of America (2023 series) #3 (DC, May 2023), script by Geoff Johns, pencils and inks by Mikel and Jerry Ordway, colors by Jordie Bellaire and John Kalisz, letters by Rob Leigh (

Today in Comics History, July 1: Happy birthday, Billy Graham!

This is an expanded and updated version of a post originally published July 1, 2022.

Born on this day in 1935: comics artist (and actor and playwright) Billy Graham (Black Panther, Luke Cage: Hero for Hire, Sabre, Vampirella, more). Power Man villain Stiletto is his co-creation!

Comics writer Don McGregor writes (at length, as he always does!) abotu working with Rich Buckler and Billy on the famous "Panther's Rage" story in Jungle Action and the creation of Erik Killmonger.

from Marvel's Voices: Legacy 2022 #1 one-shot (Marvel, April 2022), by Don McGregor
(Click picture to do justice to Don's extensive prose!)

Happy birthday, Billy!

from (L) Mighty Marvel Calendar 1976 (Marvel, 1975, and
(R) 1975 Mighty Marvel Convention Program Book (Marvel, 1975), photograph by Michele Wolfman

Today in Comics History, July 1, 1867: This post fulfills my blog's minimum requirements for Canadian content

Happy Canada Day! Eh, hosers? Today, the holiday formerly known as Dominion Day (which is a celebration of those little yellow guys, some of whom only have one eye), we celebrate the anniversary of Canadian Confederation which occurred on July 1, 1867! I have no idea what that means!But it's a holiday!

The 1978 2017 2023 Amazing Spider-Man Mighty Marvel Comics Calendar: July Justice

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

"July Is Just After June!" in The Amazing Spider-Man Mighty Marvel Comics Calendar 1978 (1977); pencils by Gene Colan, inks by Pablo Marcos, colors by George Bell
(Click picture to What's Going On-size)

This month's gorgeous Gene Colan artwork references one of the most important of the Romita-era Spidey storylines, "Crisis on Campus!"

Cover of Amazing Spider-Man (1963 series) #68 (January 1969); pencils and inks by John Romita, Sr.; colors by Marie Severin; letters by Sam Rosen

Are you an activist to know more? Then check out July 1st (2017)'s 365 Days of Defiance, and I don't think you'll protest my spotlight on this issue. Why, I bet you'll occupy Empire State University waiting for it! Also: gratuitous Kingpin partial nudity! Be there or be civilly disobedient, picketers!

The 1978 2017 2023 DC Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters: July Jabbing

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

"July: Superman and Supergirl" in The 1978 Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters; artwork by Curt Swan and Dan Adkins
(Click picture to Tunguska-size)

It's not Christmas, but Supes and Superita are under attack by the Red and Green Menace! And pink. Good gravy, Brainiac, you may be the smartest being in the galaxy, but who sold you that suit? Anyway, Kal 'n' Kara are battling not only one of their most dangerous nemeses but also one that belongs to Green Lantern, because hey, Hal Jordan couldn't pick up the slack? Sheesh, Hal.

The super cousins must also deal with Brainiac and Sinestro dropping meteors on Earth, obviously cosplaying the popular 1998 disaster motion picture Armageddon, starring Ben Affleck as Vril Dox and Liv Tyler as Thaal Sinestro! Ughhh, now I never want animal crackers ever again. But don't forget to buy the Armageddon Criterion Collection DVD, because...geez, I don't even know why. Just accept it all happened.

As always I've continued to fill in the blank checks as instructed to allow the JLA computer, working hard with its 5K of RAM, to compute the identity of the top supervillain behind all of 1978 2017's super-disasters. Honestly at this point, your guess is as good as mine whether it's going to draw a picture or spell out words. I think that if you kind of squint at it, it looks like Brainiac giving us the finger.

And there's yet another clue to the mastermind behind global warming general harmless environmental disaster not actually caused by mankind's carelessness in interacting with our precious and precarious natural balance:

Okay, let me step slightly outside the conceit of this post and admit: even tho' I've got a pretty good idea who the super-villain is, I absolutely didn't know what or who this clue referred to. I descended into the Great Bully Comic Book Vault (it's cool down there in the summer!) and pulled out some back issues to research, and I can now tell you the story behind this cryptic clue. However: I can't discuss it without revealing who's the nogooidnik behind these Super-Spectacular Disasters, and I don't wanna ruin the surprise for those of you playing along at home. So I'm putting the discussion of this seldom-seen (really!) brother-in-law in a completely different post where you won't come across it unless you voluntarily click this link. Who says it isn't the Bountiful Bully Age of Spoiler Warnings?

Nobody. Nobody says that.


Friday, June 30, 2023

Today in Comics History, June 30: Happy birthday, Lena Horne!

Born on this day in 1917: singer (and actress, and dancer, and civil rights activist) Lena Horne, one of the great Black stars of the twentieth century. And comic book star, too!

from Juke Box Comics #5 (Eastern Color, November 1948); text, pencils, inks, and letters by Phil Berube

Lena also received a full story in the pages of Juke Box Comics! Well, it was only three pages, and it was at the back of the book (cough cough), but still...

from Juke Box Comics #2 (Eastern Color, May 1948), pencils and inks by A. C. Hollingsworth

Happy birthday, Miss Horne!

"Stormy Weather" sung by Lena Horne (1943, RCA Victor), written by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler; from the movie Stormy Weather (natch!) (1943, Fox), story and screenplay by Jerry Horwin, Seymour B. Robinson, Frederick J. Jackson, and H.S. Kraft;, directed by Andrew L. Stone

Today in Comics History, June 30: It's a wrestlin' thing

Roll up, roll up tonight for the biggest bodacious brawl between beast and Ben! Ben Grimm, that is!

from The Thing (1983 series) #28 (Marvel, October 1985), script by Mike Carlin, breakdowns by Ron Wilson, finishes by Brett Breeding, colors by Michael Higgins, letters by Jack Morelli

Weird enough that this poster sez June 30, because the cover teases an altogether different date...or dates:

cover of The Thing #28; pencils by Ron Wilson, inks by Brett Breeding

This cover suggests Ben's big wrasslin' match takes place on June 5th, and (since that word before "5th" is clearly "and"), probably also on at least the 4th as well. He, make up yer mind, wrestling promoters!

Still, at least Ben isn't shredding the poster off the wall as he's angrily done for another arena match:

cover of Fantastic Four #92 (Marvel, November 1969), pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Sinnott, letters by Sam Rosen

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Today in Comics History, June 29: Happy birthday, Mike Richardson!

Today's the birthday of Mike Richardson, comics writer and publisher (he founded a little company you may have heard of called Dark Horse Comics), a winner of several Eisner and Harvey Awards, and even an Emmy nominee and winner for his work in Hollywood (including a documentary about noted hockey puck identifyer Don Rickles)!

from Usagi Yojimbo #100 (Dark Horse, January 2007); script by Mike Richardson; pencils, inks, and letters by Rick Geary

A slightly less flattering portrayal (Mike is at the right, with caricatures of Peter David at left and Neal Adams in the center):

from normalman/Megaton Man Special #1 (one-shot) (Image, August 1994), script, pencils, inks, and letters by Don Simpson; colors by Gloria Vasquez; color separations by Rob Schwaeger

Happy birthday, Mike!

Today in Comics History, June 29, 1643: From Bard to Verse

I'm a straightforward Stratfordian, which means I believe that the works written by William Shakespeare were written by William Shakespeare. (Obvious enough?) Of course there are those (who are WRONG) who take the Oxfordian position and believe the (WRONG) theory that since Shakespear was supposedly not educated ernough to write all those works (WRTONG!), that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, wrote the plays and poems of William Shakespeare. That is, of course, WRONG. Among (WRONG) Oxfordian scholars who believe that Shakespeare was de Vere: Sir Derek Jacobi, Jeremy Irons, Keanu Reeves, Anne Rice, Michael York, Sigmund Freud, Enoch Powell, and comic book creator and noted crank John Byrne. Who is WRONG.

However, I'm always up for a good Shakespeare conspiracy fiction story, and this very volume of European series Blake & Mortimer addresses the possibility that Shakespeare didn't die in 1616 but instead faked his own death (he's always pullin' that) and left the country on the very same day London's Globe Theatre burnt down: June 29, 1643!

from The Adventures of Blake & Mortimer v.24: The Testament of William S. (Cinebook, March 2017), script by Yves Sente, translation by Jerome Saincantin, pencils and inks by André Juillard, colors by Madeleine DeMille, letters by Design Amorandi

It's a great album and this little stuffed bull highly recommends it as an introduction to some of the more bizarre and science-fictiony Blake & Mortimer stories. However, I still can't buy the alternate history that it proposes. Why?

Because I, Bull Shakespeare, wrote the famous works. And hey, I would like my royalities now, please.

Today in Comics History, June 29: Happy birthday, Cameron Phoenix!

from Tephlon Funk! graphic novel (Dark Horse, November 2022), written by Stephane Metayer, illustrated by David Tako and Bicolas Safe

(Seriously, read this one, folks. It's great.)

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Today in Comics History, June 27, 1941: B-19 emerges from wormhole

from "True Stories About Stamps" in True Comics #29 (Parents' Magazine Press, November 1943); script, pencils, and inks by Feg Murray

Following its eventual retirement from the fleet, the first B-19 was pressed flat and turned into a stamp of a lion by Colonel Gumm.

Please applaud.

cover of G.I. Combat (1957 series) #255 (July 1983), pencils and inks by Joe Kubert, letters by Gaspar Saladino

Monday, June 26, 2023

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley 2023: Today in Comics History, June 26, 10:48 PM, One Hundred Million BC

Tonight, June 26, is when the shooting death of Bruce Wayne's parents, Martha, John Wayne, right?...occurred. Every year for the past several I've been devoting the entire day to hourly examinations of different comics depicting that moment. (See here!) Except this year, because I've been a very busy little stuffed bull. But I can't let the night go by without mentioning it just this once, and what better way to show you than with the most bizarre version of Batman's origin story from, over the past year. May I present...the origin of...Bat-Saur!

from The Jurassic League #1 (DC, July 2022), script by Juan Gedeon and Daniel Warren Johnson, pencils and inks by Juan Gedeon, colors by Mike Spicer, letters by Ferran Delgado

The bitter memory of this is what spurs on Bat-Saur's raving reptile rampage of revenge when the killer Jokerzard taunts him!

from The Jurassic League #6 (DC, December 2022), script by Juan Gedeon and Daniel Warren Johnson, pencils and inks by Juan Gedeon, colors by Mike Spicer, letters by Ferran Delgado

Just remember: dinosaurs evolved into birds. And that's why Batman's sidekick is named Robin.

Today in Comics History, June 26: Happy birthday, Terry Tidwell!

Born on this day: Terry Tidwell, founder of Miracle Studios, animator, scupltor, and comic book writer and illustrator (The Twilight Avenger and The Uncanny Man-Frog (co-creator), Savage Sword of Conan, The Doomsday Squad, The Foozle, and more)!

Terry was one of the artists featured in Marvel Age's long-running "New Talent Department":

"New Talent Department" from Marvel Age #46 (Marvel, January 1981), text by Sholly Fisch, art by Terry Tidwell

Today in Comics History, June 26: Happy birthday, Warren Kremer!

Born on this day in 1921: comics writer and artist Warren Kremer, co-creator of Richie Rich, and creator of Hot Stuff the Little Devil and Stumbo the Giant! Sadly, uncredited within the Harvey Comics, of which he's drawn hundreds and hundreds of.

from Marvel Age #54 (L) (Marvel, September 1987) and #90 (R) (Marvel, July 1990), text by Mike Carlin (#54) and Chris Eliopoulis and Barry Dutter (#90); pencils and inks by Ron Zalme; colors by Paul Becton (#54) and Renee Witterstaetter (#90)

At Star Comics, Marvel's 1980s imprint for kids comics, Warren co-created Royal Roy, Top Dog, and Planet Terry!

from Marvel/Star Comics cover-dated December 1987

Happy birthday, Warren!

Today in Comics History, June 26, 1959: A goddess on a mountain top / Was burning like a silver flame

from "The Night Visitors" in UFO Flying Saucers #4 (Western/Gold Key, November 1974), pencils and inks by Frank Bolle

This panel was spotted in the night sky 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, June 26, 1971: They weren't no fortunate sons

from "Defeat Comics" in National Lampoon Magazine v.1 #17 (National Lampoon, August 1971), script by Michael O'Donoghue and George W. S. Trow, pencils and inks by Frank Springer (?) as Crag W. Granite'd that work out for ya, boys?

Today in Comics History, June 26: I made you wait a whole day for the payoff...

...of this! Aint I a stinker?

from [tutle continued] "...The Next Day's Headlines" in MAD #41 (September 1958), pencils and inks by Wally Wood

Aw man, poor Kelly Freas!

Today in Comics History, June 26: Happy birthday, Jerry Bails!

Born on this day in 1933: Jerry Bails, the father of comics fandom and creator of the influential (if not the first) comics fanzine, Alter Ego, as well as developing and writing for many other fandom publications and founding fan organizations, awards, and events!

from Fifty Who Made DC Great one-shot (DC, 1985)

Today in Comics History, June 26, 1918: If you go down to the woods today you're sure of a big surprise

from "Devil Dogs" in The World Around Us #11 [The Illustrated Story of the Marines] (Gilberton, July 1959), pencils by H. J. Kihl (?)

Today in Comics History, June 26, 1541: Beans attacked

from "Pizarro, Conqueror of Peru" in Real Life Comics v.3 #1/7 (Pines, September 1942), script by Richard Hughes, pencils and inks by Henry Kiefer

No it is not the fourth, you silly conquistadors, it's the twenty-sitrh! please pay attention.

Today in Comics History, June 26, 1974: Knock knock, it's Jacques Zacque

from Curse Words #4 (Image, April 2017), script by Charles Soule, art by Ryan Browne, colors by Michael Garland and Ryan Brown with Michael Parkinson, letters by Chris Crank

Today in Comics History, June 26, 2019: Iron sign maker swears that the work order was spelled "Ravemcroft"

from Amazing Spider-Man (2018 series) #24/825 (Marvel, August 2019), script by Nick Spencer, pencils by Ryan Ottley, inks by Cliff Rathburn and Mark Morales, colors by Nathan Fairbairn, letters by Joe Caramagna