Friday, July 14, 2023

Today in Comics History, July 14: Happy birthday, Ingmar Bergman!

Today we celebrate the birthday of Ingrid Bergman, the beautifu land talented movie star of Gaslight, The Bells of St. Mary, Notorious, Spellbound, A Woman Called Golda, Casablanca, and...what? Wait, it isn't Ingrid Berman's birthday? Ingmar Bergman, born on this day in 1918, and groundbreaking director of The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, Persona, and Fanny and Alexander?!? Screenwriter, playwright, and stage director too? Oh boy. I know I'm gonna struggle with this one.

So here's a cartoon of what if Ingmar Bergman directed Blondie and Dagwood.

from "If the Comics Were Drawn By Famous Movie Directors" in Cracked #51 (Major Publications, April 1966); script, pencils, and inks by Bill Ward (as "McCartney")

Happy birthday Ingmar, you nut, you crazy guy! C'mon blow up a party balloon or geez, Ingmar, not the grey one.

Today in Comics History, July 14: Happy birthday, Gustav Klimt!

Happy birthday (born 1862, so use a lotta candles) to painter Gustav Klimt, champion of Art Nouveau and the Vienna Secession, who gave us such famous works as Pallas Athena, Judith and the Head of Holofernes, The Three Ages of Woman, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, Schubert at the Piano, Girlfriends (or Two Women Friends), Danaë, and The Kiss, aka The Painting Most Likely to be Displayed in an Art Major's College Dorm Room.

cover of Klimt (Glénat France, 2017), pencils and inks by Marc-Renier, colors by Mathieu Barthélémy

Today in Comics History, July 14: Happy birthday, Donald Meek!

Born on this day in 1878: Hollywood actor Donald Meek (You Can't Take It with You, Stagecoach, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, My Little Chickadee, State Fair, The Thin Man Goes Home and lots more)! And he was a cartoonist, apparently! Sadly, I can't find any of his artwork, but here's him by someone else — fantastic caricaturist Bud Thompson!

from "Star Flashes" in Heroic Comics #17 (Eastern Color, March 1943); text, pencils, inks, and letters by Bud Thompson

Say, was Donald meek?

from the trailer of A Woman's Face (MGM, 1941), screenplay by Donald Ogden Stewart and Elliot Paul, directed by George Cukor

He most certainly was not!

from "Star Flashes" in Reg'lar Fellers Heroic Comics #1 (Eastern Color, August 1940); text, pencils, inks, and letters by Bud Thompson

Happy birthday, Mister Meek! Why, I'd like to shake your hand...OW NOT SO HARD

Today in Comics History, July 14: Happy birthday, William Hanna!

Born on this day in 1911: animator, director, producer, and artist William Hanna, who, with partner Joseph Barbera (truth in disclosure alert: similar post) founded one of the most productive animation studios of the 20th century: Hanna-Barbera!

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

Ten of a Kind #431: Look for the Union label

Does your boss treat you like this?

Then you need the striking power of these ten )of a kind) comic books!

And what do you do if your management doesn't give into the demands? Why, here's another useful comic cover:

Bully the Little Stuffed Bull and Comics Oughta Be Fun support the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild strikes.

(More Ten of a Kind here.)

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Today in Comics History, July 13: Happy birthday, Joe Gill!

Born on this day in 1919: prolific comic book scripter and magazine writer (and occasional colorist!) Joe Gill, who at Charlton co-created Captain Atom, Peacemaker, Judomaster, Doomsday + 1, Zaza the Mystic (and many more)! Series he's written include Captain America Comics, Kid Colt Outlaw, The Secret Six, Hot Wheels, Ghostly Tales, Fightin' Army, Six-Gun Heroes, The Many Ghosts of Dr. Graves and others, including many collaborations with Steve Ditko! And, as it looks like from this, Popeye.

from Popeye (1972 series) #E-14 [Popeye and Fine Arts and Humanities Careers] (King Features, 1973), script by Joe Gill, pencils by Paul Fung Jr.

Happy birthday, Joe! And tell that bum workmaster Popeye that all genders enjoy funny comics, love comics, war comics and superhero comics. What's not to like...they're comics, and they oughta be fun!

Today in Comics History, July 13: Happy birthday, Fran Hopper!

Born on this day in 1922: Golden Age comic book artist Fran Hopper (Jungle Comics, Movie Comics, Planet Comics, Rangers Comics, and Wings Comics at Fiction House), and possibly some uncredited issues of Patsy Walker comics over at Marvel/Timely!! There, that settles the minimum daily requirements of a post to mention the word "comics" for SEO purposes! Fran's in tan below, along with vital Golden Age artists Ruth Atkinson (creator of Millie the Model, co-creator of Patsy Walker) and Pauline Loth (Miss America, Blackstone, Captain Marvel and more, and animator and voice artist). (And, in the bottom panel at extreme left, Violet Barclay (Ziggy Pig and Silly Seal, Nellie the Nurse, more), violet!)

from "Golden Girls" in Fearless (2019 series) #4 (Marvel, December 2019); script by Trina Robbins; pencils, inks, and colors by Marguerite Sauvage; letters by Cardinal Rae

Happy birthday, Ms. Hopper!

Today in Comics History, July 13: Happy birthday, Dave Garroway!

Dave Garroway, today's birthday boy (born 1913), would like you to talk to the hand, right here on a cover of Harvey Kurtzman's Help!

from Help! v.1 #5 (Warren, December 1960), photographer uncredited and unknown

Today in Comics History, July 13: Happy birthday, Cheech Marin!

Happy birthday today to Cheech Marin, comedian, actor (Up in Smoke, Nice Dreams, From Dusk Till Dawn, Tin Cup my favorite in-flight movie, more), voice artist (Oliver & Company, Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, The Lion King, Cars, etc.), writer (Cheech Is Not My Real Name...But Don't Call Me Chong!), and long-time partner to Tommy Chong in their famous cannabis-related comedy team Cheech & Chong! (deep inhale) Below at right!

from "Mad's Academy Awards Show" in MAD #231 (June 1982), script by Stan Hart, pencils and inks by Mort Drucker

Oh man. Just by posting this, I think I got a contact high.


Today in Comics History, July 13, 1947: Hey, is this a cockfight?

from Fantastic Four (2023 series) #1/694 (Marvel, January 2023), script by Ryan North, pencils and inks by Iban Coello, colors by Jesus Aburtov, letters by Joe Caramagna

Well, I'm glad we cleared that up.

Today in Comics History, July 13: Happy birthday, Big Bill Campbell!

Born on this day in 1891: Clarence "Big Bill" Campbell, Canadian bandleader and broadcaster who appeared on the UK's BBC, hosting the show The Rocky Mountaineers. I've not heard of him before now, but let me ask you: do you think honestly I'd skip the birthday of a man named Big Bill Campbell?

Big Bill also starred in (altho' likely didn't write) a short series of rip-snorting high adventure Western tales in British celebrity comic Radio Fun (1938-1961), which also featured comic strips about Benny Hill, Petula Clark, The Falcon, and even SUperman. Here's the first page of a couple of those stories.

both from Radio Fun Annual 1948 (Amalgamated UK, 1948), creators uncredited and unknown

Happy birthday, Big Bill Campbell! I'm toastin' ya with this here sarsaparilla. In a dirty glass.

Today in Comics History, July 13, 1949: I'm still not sure Fawcett got the likeness rights for Major League Baseball players

from Larry Doby, Baseball Hero one-shot (Fawcett, 1950), script by Charles Dexter

Ah, I see Vince Colletta stopped by the game.

Today in Comics History, July 13: Happy birthday, Andrew Chaser!

Andrew Chaser? This character who I don't remember at all from the New Universe is having a birthday! Wait, he was born in 1954? Funny, judging by his clothing, I woulda thought he was born in the eighties!

from Psi-Force #23 (Marvel/New Universe, September 1988), pencils by Ron Lim

Happy birthday, Andrew Chaser! May you celebrate with a shot and...well, ya know.

Today in Crisis History, July 13, 1985: I was born to bring trouble wherever I'm at / With the number "13" tattooed on my neck

Well, it's July 13, and luckily it doesn't fall on a Friday. For that we can thank Roy Thomas Pope Gregory XIII for our current calendar, although hey, while we're here, let's just put any blame on Mxyzptlk. He's probably responsible!

Crisis on Infinite Earths is a complicated crossover event, so let's review the plot to date:

Crisis on Infinite Earths #3

Well, that about sums it up.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Today in Comics History, July 12: Happy birthday, Louis B. Meyer (A Cautionary Tale)

Born on this day in 1882 or 1884 or maybe 1885, what do I know: Louis B. Mayer, film producer and co-founder of Roaring Lion Studios aka Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, one of the biggest and most influential movie companies of the twentieth century until Kirk Kevorkian Kerkorian basically put it out of its failing miseries in the 1970s. Although MGM has survived into this day, it was never quite the same juggernaut it was.

Yeah, Louis, you were a bigwig during the age of the Silver Screen, overseeing such iconic pictures as Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St. Louis, Singin' in the Rain, An American in Paris, Gigi, Ben-Hur and more. But were you ever in a comic book? How can somebody be called a figurehead when they aren't in a comic book? Wait, look, it this an appearance of the Big Man in the four color medium?

from "I Loved and Lost!" in Hollywood Confessions #1 (St. John, October 1949), script by Robert Bernstein, pencils and inks by Hy Rosen and Joe Kubert

No! that is not Louis B. Mayer! Notice the different spelling of his last name, and his first his first name is Ludwig. Why, this is just a fake Louis B. Maher. And say, whatddaya know, here's another bogus bigwig, also named "Maher":

from "Crimson Madness" in Black Cat Comics (1946 series) #6 (Harvey, June 1947), script by Blanche Carlin (?) or Beverly Suser (?), pencils and inks by Lee Elias, letters by Ben Oda

To end it on a kinda pathetic note, here's the only "actual" appearance of Louis B. Mayer I could find in actual comicky-type books, and it's just a one-page, non-speaking cameo. And he's in a green suit! Where'd you get that suit, LB? Eh, I guess when you're Mayer...anywhere.

from "Caruso Lives Again!" in Famous Stars #5 (Ziff-Davis, Winter 1951), pencils and inks by Paul Parker

So my point (and I do have one) is that you may be the biggest man in Hollywood (not lookin' at you Orson Welles) and yet you may still never get a satisfactory appearance in a comic book story! This is the "cautionary tale" alluded to in the title of this post! Hollywood executives and bigwigs...pfui! I don't care what you do to retaliate against WGA members and writers in the entertainment field, but they shall never falter and will win in the end! I siuppooirt their strike! THUS SAYETH BULLY! Happy birthday and a snort of derision to ya, Louis B. Mayer, ya load!

PS: Please do not examine this metaphor too closely because I have just realized that Hollywood writers do not make appearances in comic books. I'm so sorry. So very very sorry.

Today in Comics History, July 12: Happy birthday, Christine McVie!

Today's the birthday (born in 1943) of the (recently) late (always) great singer/ songwriter/ keyboardist Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac. She's one of my very favorite musicians from one of my very favorite bands, so I hope you'll excuse me re-using a bunch of panels from my Stevie Nicks birthday post on May 26, because there just aren't that many comic book appearances of her, unless of course you count Charlton's late-seventies short-lived The Adventures of Fleetwood Mac comic, where they toured around the country in their psychedlic band playing gigs and solving mysteries with the help of Mick Fleetwood's perpetually stoned talking dog Bluesbreaker.

from Boys' Life (Boy Scouts of America, September 1980), creator unknown

Today in Comics History, July 12, 1949: Kodak finally develops photography in black and white at the same time

from Don Newcombe one-shot (Fawcett, 1950), script by Charles Dexter

Today in Crisis History, July 12, 1985: Thank Zod it's Friday

Goooooood morning! How'd you sleep? Did you sleep well considering the multiverse will soon be dead, dead, dead? Deader than Deadman, the deadest man of them all? Deader than Jason Todd? (Whoops, metaphor not valid after 2005.) Well, I hope you did! Sit down and have a sunny glass of fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice (never from concentrate!) while I fill you in on the schedule for our busy day of July 12: Today in Crisis History!

from "The Comprehensive Calendar to Crisis on Infinite Earths" in Amazing Heroes #91 (Fantagraphics, March 15, 1986), by Andy Mangels

Today in Comics History, July 12, 1947: Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin', into the future

from Fantastic Four (2023 series) #1/694 (Marvel, January 2023), script by Ryan North, pencils and inks by Iban Coello, colors by Jesus Aburtov, letters by Joe Caramagna

Why is it so weird? Why, that's the day that Ben Grimm and Alicia Masters (Married Couple™) came to town. And discovered it was 1947! Which is weird, right? That's weird.

The entire town seems to be repeating July 12 again and again. They're stuck in a rut

stuck in a rut

stuck in a rut

Oh dear, my commentary is record-skipping again, too. Will the Thing and the Sculptress ever escape the perpetual July 12? Tune in tomorrow to find out!

to find out

find out