Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Today in Comics History, Mardi Gras: That's the Knight That the Lights Went Out in NOLA

Let's celebrate Mardi Gras with the least likely character ever to wind up in New Orleans during this bacchanalian festival: the true man out of time, Captain America The Shining Knight! He's really only there for the Dixieland jazz.

from "Mystery of the Clowning Criminals" in Leading Comics #2 (DC/World's Best Comics, Spring 1942), script by Mort Weisinger (?), pencils and inks by Creig Flessel

Today in Comics History, Mardi Gras: Vision would like to encounter these things called "beignets"

from The Vision and the Scarle Witch (1985 series) #9 (Marvel, June 1986), script by Steve Englehart, pencils by Richard Howell, inks by Frank Springer, colors by Adam Philips, letters by Bill Oakley

Moral of the comic: You just can't keep Vision away from them crawdaddy sammiches!

Today in Comics History, Mardi Gras: Happy Mardi Gras!

I have lots of beads, so you know what you have to trade me for them...candy!

from Super DC Calendar 1976 (DC, 1975)

What, what else would be worth these cool beads?

Monday, February 12, 2024

Today in Comics History, February 12, 1967: The magical whimsy of Cicely once again irritates Dr. Joel Fleischman

from "The UFOs Arctic Assault" in UFO Flying Saucers #3 (Western/Gold Key, November 1972), pencils (and inks?) by Luis Dominguez, letters by Gaspar Saladino

Sunday, February 11, 2024

What's Bully Reading? 2024 #16: Batman, Incorporated, Volume 1: Demon Star by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham

One of the best and most fun comics of the New 52, and really the only Leviathan storyline you ever needed.

I'm also snacking on pigs in a blanket. I declare this day a success!

Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Today in Comics History, February 6: Happy birthday, Rick Astley!

Born on this day in 1966: singer/songwriter Rick Astley ("Never Gonna Give You Up," "Together Forever," "Whenever You Need Somebody," "Take Me to Your Heart," "Hold Me in Your Arms" and many more)!

But did you know that Rick Astley was one of the hundreds of guests at the wedding of Deadpool? Can you find him? Click the wide-screen cover below to zero in on him!

cover of Deadpool (2013 series) #27 (Marvel, June 2014), pencils and inks by Scott Koblish, colors by Val Staples
(Click picture to Billboard #1 Hit-size)

Happy birthday, Rick!

Monday, February 05, 2024

Today in Comics History, February 5: Happy birthday, William S. Burroughs!

Born on this day in 1914: Beat writer and artist William S. Burroughs (Junkie, Queer, Naked Lunch (I can think of two things wrong with that title), The London Trilogy, The Red Night Trilogy and more), who, along with Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and others, built the tropes, literature, and ideas of the Beat Generation. Without which we wouldn't have had the Beatles. Reminder to myself: must double check this possible fact in my research.

Perhaps most notably, The Beat Generation battled Generation X! I mean literally! Burroughs is the rectangular-spectacled chap in the fourth and sixth panel. Guess his agent didn't deal with Marvel as well as Ginsberg's and Keruoac's!

from "Generation X vs. The Beat Generation" in Generation X Underground #1 one-shot (Marvel, May 1998), by Jim Mahfood

Today in Comics History, February 5: Happy birthday, Corinna Bechko!

Born on this day: comics writer Corinna Bechko (Star Wars: Legacy, Angel Season 11, Invisible Republic, Heathentown, Planet of the Apes: Cataclysm, Green Lantern: Earth One and lots more)!

from Batman: Black and White (2021 series) #2 (DC, March 2021)

A couple of Corinna's nature essays that accompanied the series Invisible Republic:

from Invisible Republic #3 and 9 (Image, May 2015 and February 2016), by Corinna Bechko

Happy birthday, Ms. Bechko!

Sunday, February 04, 2024

Today in Comics History, February 4: Happy birthday, Norman Wisdom!

Born on this day in 1915, prolific English actor, comedian, musician and singer Norman Wisdom (On the Beat, A Stitch in Time, What's Good for the Goose, Coronation Street and many, many more)! He was a major star in, of all places, Albania, where his Mr Pitkin films wre phenonally popular and he was made an honorary citizen of Tirana, Albania's capital.

masthead from Radio Fun #1039 (Amalgamated UK, 6 September 1958)

Also: British comic book star of his own strip feature!

from Radio Fun #1039; creators uncredited and unknown

Today in Comics History, February 4: Happy birthday, Nigel Bruce!

Born on this day in 1895: stage and screen actor Nigel Bruce of The Scarlet Pimpernel, She, Under Two Flags, Kidnapped, Lassie Come Home, The Two Mrs. Carrolls and more, but especially as the lovable and bumbling version of Doctor John H. Watson in each of the fourteen Fox and Universal Sherlock Holmes pictures starring Basil Rathbone!

from "Clodumbo" in MAD #156 (January 1973), script by Lou Silverstone, pencils and inks by Angelo Torres

Nigel Bruce appeared in Lassie Come Home with Elizabeth Taylor and Roddy McDowell, and since I once met Roddy McDowell ar a convention, I'm only one Kevin Bacon away from Nigel! (And only three, via Hillbillys in a Haunted House, from Ferlin Husky!)

from "Elizabeth Taylor" in Famous Stars #5 (Ziff-Davis, Winter 1951), creators uncredited and unknown

Happy birthday, Nigel Bruce!

from Dressed to Kill (Universal, 1946), starring here Nigel Bruce and Topsy Glyn, written by Frank Gruber and Leonard Lee, directed by Roy William Neill

Today in Comics History, February 4, 1981: Being a plant psychologist bores doctor to narcolepsy

from "Dig the Plant, Man!" in Secrets of Haunted House #43 (DC, December 1981), plot and pencils by Rodin Rodriguez, script by Robin Snyder, inks by Andy Mushynsky, colors by Jerry Serpe, letters by Pierre Bernard Jr.

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 2024 in this series. Thanks, Blam!

Friday, February 02, 2024

Today in Comics History, February 2, Groundhog Day: Okay, I just give up on trying to figure out how to backwards-ize Bizarro-speak

from "Puzzle of the Wild World!" in Action Comics #388 (DC/National, May 1970), script by Cary Bates, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by George Roussos, letters by John Costanza

Today in Comics History, February 2, 2022: Gift of a check suddenly tremendously ages Aunt Petunia Grimm since Fantastic Four #238

from Clobberin' Time #3 (Marvel, July 2023), story and art by Steve Skroce, colors by Bryan Calenza, letters by Joe Sabino

Thursday, February 01, 2024

What's Bully Reading? 2024 #15: The Naked Clone

My fifteenth book read of the year: The Naked Clone: A Nick Nolte Mystery, by Conor Lastowka, Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett, and Sean Thomason, the writers and performers at RiffTrax, who have made a pretty good running joke of actoe Nick Nolte living a grizzled, homeless life of dumpster-diving and derring-do.

And hey, comics folks, that's artwork by Bob Fingerman (Minimum Wage and more) on the cover!

It's a noir down-and-out private eye comedy novel, which each chapter being tag-team written by one of the RiffTrax writers and then left for the next creator to follow up on. Sorta like D Challenge, then, huh? — except a lot more rooting through piles of rats. Among the mysteries half-conscious Nick nolte has to tackle aret he titular (tee hee) clones, missing movie executives, and a multiverse of Nicks, including a duck Nick Nolte, who is (quite logically) named Duck Nolte. Leading to one chapter beginning:

That duck later saves Nick Nolte's life.

I suppose the proper place to read this book would be in a grim and gritty place like a taco restaurant in Penn Station, which is exactly where I read this, except Penn Station and its restuarants are no longer noir and are actually more well-lit and clean, which would be a staggering loss to any down-on-his-luck private dick looking for a suitably scene-setting location in which to have his novel read. Believe me: there's a Shake Shack and a Chick-Fil-A scheduled for this place soon.


I enjoyed The Naked Clone quite a bit, and it was very funny. If you've laughed at Mike Nelson's nolte bits on RiffTrax, pick this one out of your local garbage stuffed dumpster and give it a read.

The February 1968 2024 Calendar for This Menacing Year

Geez, Margaret, it's the thought that counts! Maybe this 1968 calendar that you can actually use this entire frosty month of 2024 will sooth your Dennis-aggravated nerves!

"January 1968" from Dennis the Menace Giant #51 [Dennis the Menace Christmas Special] (Hallden/Fawcett, Winter 1967), creators unidentified and unknown
(Click picture to the fury of Margaret Wade-size)


The February 1945 2024 Calendar for Naughty Little Bunnies

It's the first day of the month and you need a February 2024 calendar to pin up on your walls next to the Farrah Fawcett-Majors poster and and that cheap print copy of Picasso's Guernica! That's why I'm happy to present to you, courtesy of Billy Warden from the Home Office in Leipsic, Ohio*...Funny Animals #26!. Look, February begins on a Thursday and everything!

cover of Fawcett's Funny Animals #26 (Fawcett, February 1945), creator uncredited and unknown

Oh for Pete's safe the rabbits are plastered over most of it, rendering is slightly less useful as an actual cover. Oh well, at least they've obscured the fact that there wasn't a February 29 in 1945. Although FDR ought to have authorized one!

*Explaining that joke: it's based on the scan of the cover I had for this sequence before I found a better image:

1945's Billy Warden of Leipic, Ohio, we salute you! And thank you for never turning this comic into the authorities to be recycled into a weapon against Hitler, because that all worked out, anyway.

Oh! And the joke in the header is a reference to a Mystery Science Theater 3000 bit. S'all right? S'all right.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Today in Comics History, January 31: Happy birthday, Don Hutson!

This is an expanded and updated version of a post originally published January 31, 2022. Images from Football Thrills #2 and True Sport Picture Stories #5 have been added!

Born on this day in 1913: NFL football player and coach Don Hutson, "The Alabama Antelope," whose career with the Green Bay Packers led them to three NFL Championship victories.

Also, Don liked Wheaties! Well, who doesn't? (Me. Not enough marshmallows.)

Wheaties ad from DC Comics cover-dated March 1949

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Today in Comics History, January 30: Happy birthday, Bill Vigoda!

Born on this day in 1920: comics artist (primarily for the M.L.J./Archie comics lines) Bill Vigoda (Hangman Comics, Black Hood Comics, Laugh Comics, Archie Comics, Archie's Pal Jughead, Pep Comics, Wilbur Comics and many more)! He's the brother of actor Abe Vigoda, but Abe already got his birthday wishes on February 24, so this one's for you, Bill!

And yes, Bill actually appears in the comics, in this fourth-wall bustin' adventure of Dusty, the Boy Who Would Not Clean His Apartment! Note that Bill appears only silhouetted against the startling background of Crisis on Infinite Earths, with the visual anonymity that comics usually reserve for the President or God. Also, he appears to be crouching or perhaps frightened of the top of the panel.

from "[Bill Vigoda Unfair To Villains!]" in Black Hood Comics #10 (Archie/MLJ, Spring 1944), pencils and inks by Bill Vigoda

Today in Comics History, January 30: Happy birthday, Yumi Yoshimura!

Born on this day: singer/musician Yumi Yoshimura, one-half of the band Puffy [AmiYumi]. She and partner Ami Onuki had their own (heavily fictionalized and exaggerated) American cartoon and yes, comic book! (She's the one with blue hair here!)

cover of Hi Hi Puffy Amiyumi #2 (Johnny DC, May 2006), pencils and inks by Phil Moy

お誕生日おめでとう!, Yumi!

from (top) "Everyone's Cool in Mermaid Pants™!" in Cartoon Network Block Party #22 (DC/Johnny DC, August 2006), script by J. Torres, pencils by Christopher Cook, inks by Al Nickerson, colors by Heroic Age, letters by Travis Lanham;
(bottom) "Kaz Superstar" in Cartoon Network Block Party #24 (DC/Johnny DC, October 2006), script by Abby Denson, pencils by Christopher Cook, inks by Al Nickerson, colors by Heroic Age, letters by Ryan Cline

Today in Comics History, January 30: Happy birthday, Phil Collins!

Born on this day: Millie "The Model" Collins's cousin Phil Collins*!

from "When Friends Fall Out!" in Millie the Model #176 (Marvel, November 1969), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Stan Goldberg, inks by John Verpoorten (?), letters by Artie Simek

Still, there's gotta at least be one good thing about Phil Collins, right?

Other things Phil became famous for: as a singer, drummer, songwriter, record producer and actor. And, according to MAD magazine, for one joke and one joke only:

from "Hot Albums of the 1990’s...A Look Back" in MAD #282 (October 1988), script by Russ Cooper, pencils and inks by Rick Tulka

Isn't that right, MAD?

from "Really Appropriate Sponsors for Rock Tours" in MAD #286 (April 1989), script by Charlie Kadau

Anyway, Happy birthday, Phil Collins, and sussudio to you, too! Here, I bought ya a comic book. I think you'll actually enjoy it.

cover of The Story of the Alamo: An Illustrated History of the Siege and Fall of the Alamo (Frederic Ray, 1955), artist uncredited and unknown

*There is no actually proof in the story that this poor guy's last name actually is Collins**, but hey, anything for a joke, huh?

**Yes, I actually submitted a correction to the "characters" list on Comics.org for this.

Today in Comics History, January 30: Happy birthday, James Watt!

Happy birthday today to James Watt (born 1736), inventor, chemist, and mechanical engineer (and not Reagan's Secretary of the Interior, who would still be out there burning down trees if trees hadn't managed to kill him in 2023). This Watt was instrumental in the Industrial Revolution through the development of his Watt steam engine, without which we'd still just be using steam to open up billet doux. Sadly, I could only find one single appearance of Watt in the funny books, and that's in a biographical story about Steamboat Guy Robert Fulton. Watt's face isn't even shown, which furthers my Ted Talk argument that he was also DC's Unknown Soldier.

from "Robert Fulton, Father of the Steamship" in Real Life Comics v.2 #1/4 (Pines, April 1942), pencils and inks by Frank Frollo

Happy birthday, Mister Watt! Which is the generic version of Doctor Who.

Today in Comics History, January 30: Happy birthday, Denys Cowan!

Born on this day: comics artist, television producer, and one of the founders of Milestone Media: Denys Cowan (The Question, Hardware, Deathlok, Batman, Shaft, Thriller, Nightcat, Prince, Steel, Power Man and Iron Fist, Green Arrow and many more)!

from Marvel Age #97 (Marvel, February 1991), text by Chris Eliopolous and Barry Dutter, pencils and inks by Ron Zalme, colors by Renee Witterstaetter

Here's a quick interview with, and some cool shots of the studio of, Denys!

from Marvel Age #112 (Marvel, May 1992), interview by Barry Dutter

But by far the coolest look at Denys Cowan is the finest celebrity endorsement advertisement connected to comic books (that's right; get outta here, Levi's 501 guy!): an official Dewar's Scotch Whiskey Profile!

"Dewar's Profile: Denys Cowan" (1992)

Happy birthday, then, to Denys Cowan, The Coolest Dude in Comics™!

Today in Comics History, January 30, 1969: Little-known musical band can't afford recording studio

from The Beatles in Comics! (NBM, November 2018); script by Richard Di Martino; translation by Joe Johnson; pencils, inks, and colors by Virginie de Lambert; letters by Ortho

Monday, January 29, 2024

Today in Comics History, January 29: Tom Selleck! We celebrate his birthday twice!

Born today in comics and television (and a few not-that-bad movies) history: Tom Selleck! Yes, yes, I know: we've already celebrated Tom's birthday today by looking at the Magnum, P.I. Annual 1982...but that was an update of an older post that was more spotlighting the annual itself than the man. As I mentioned briefly in the other post, you may cringe at his politics (a Republican and supporter of the G.O.P. and lifelong member of the NRA), but instead I'm going to focus on the happiness his work has brought me, especially all those episodes of the original Magnum, P.I.. Among other things, Magnum was my late mother's favorite TV show (and Selleck her favorite actor), so the guy is to me, barring any terrible specific potential disclosures, A-OK by me.

What's more, Thomas Magnum, Private Investigator, has been heavily featured in comic books, and that's what we're all here for, right?

from Uncanny X-Men (1963 series) #167 (Marvel, Marvel 1983), script by Chris Claremont, pencils by Paul Smith, inks by Bob Wiacek, colors by Andy Yanchus and Glynis Oliver, letters by Tom Orzechowski

Today in Comics History: Happy birthday, Tom Selleck!

This is an expanded and updated version of a post originally published February 13, 2006.

Born on this day: actor Tom Selleck from Magnum P.I., Three Men and a Baby, Quigley Down Under, the Jesse Stone TV movies, Blue Bloods, and all those (ugh!) NRA commercials. Look, I love 'im even though he's a Republican.

Let's look at Tom through my second favorite medium in which to see him: comic books!

Who's the Hawaiian private dick who's a love machine* to all the chicks?


Today in Comics History, January 29: Happy birthday, Steven Butler!

Born on this day: comic book artist Steven Butler (Sonic the Hedgehog, Silver Sable and the Wild Pack, Web of Spider-Man, The Badger, 2007 "New Look" Archie comics and more)!

Here's an interview (along with Terry Kavanagh, in the photo) and a self-portrait of Steven! Who says this isn't the mighty Marvel Age of Steven Butler's birthday?!?

from Spider-Man Collectors Preview one-shot (Marvel, December 1994), interview by Steven Vrattos

Happy birthday, Steven!