Wednesday, May 01, 2024

The May 1968 2024 Calendar for This Menacing Year

I'm afraid to let you know that as the year goes on, it just keeps on getting even more menacing. By the beginning of November 2024 I will probably be announcing this blog to you over a megaphone as we're all paraded through teh streets on our way to re-education and attitude adjustment, and by the end of the year I promise I'll chisel it into any the rock that hasn't melted from the nuclear fire.

Naw, forget all that: I'm an optimistic bull, so for the moment let's look on the bright side of life. After all, look at America's favorite teen sixty-five years running: Superboy! He's certainly going to have a great May, including May the 4th (looks at calendar), uh, maybe not that day. Well, by the 31st he will probably have had a great month and OH CUT THAT OUT CALENDAR.

cover of Superboy (1949 series) #165 (DC/National, May 1970), pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Murphy Anderson, letters by Gaspar Saladino

Speaking of cutting-out: you can cut that cover of Giant Superboy #165 and hang it on your wall to use as a calendar for May 2024, or, if you like your comic book heroes smaller, younger, and loving root beer, there's no other option than to use this 1968 Dennis the Menace calendar, which works perfectly for 2024! Whoda thunkit?

"May 1968" from Dennis the Menace Giant #51 [Dennis the Menace Christmas Special] (Hallden/Fawcett, Winter 1967), creators unidentified and unknown
(Click picture to Mr. Wilson's back surgery bill-size)

Dennis, you scamp! That's as delightful as it was the day you did that to Charles Xavier and Niles Caulder!

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Anyway, Here's WonderWalpurgis Night: Ocean's 666

It's late and I don't have a lot of Walpurgis Night jokes left so, so goodnight, folks.

from Silver: Of Treasures and Thieves (Abrams, October 2022), by Stephan Franck

Anyway, Here's WonderWalpurgis Eve: Dirty, Hairy

Hey, just what does Walpurgis Eve have against guys named Carl? Granted, unlike our first one, this one's spelled with a K (thus making him one of the most evil Carls). 'Tis Walpurgis Eve in the little Balkan town of Supersticia, and Karl has completely neglected all his pre-Walpurgis Night duties: he hasn't done his Walpurgis Eve shopping or gift wrapping, he hasn't put up the Walpurgis Night lights on his house, and he certainly didn't get out his LPs with the Walpurgis Eve Carols. No, our Karl has been too busy creepily lusting after the beautious maiden (yeah, she wishes!) Bertha, but Karl has two deep Forehead Lines of Doom™. Bertha is an honor student in phrenology (and her parents have the bumper sticker to prove it), so of course she rejects the only slightly-more-horrible-than-normal-for-these-type-of-comics Karl in favor, just about anybody else. Luckily, Karl has a plan: he would become a Men's Rights Activist.

from "The Demons of Walpurgis Mountain" in The Beyond #5 (Ace, July 1951), pencils by Mike Sekowsky

Anyway, Here's WonderWalpurgis Night: The Red Shoe Die-ries

BAFFLING MYSTERIES! It's pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. Mysteries...that are baffling! That is, strange, unsolvable, and perplexing, not in the muting sound definition of the word. Well, I s'pose you could nail a few hundred copies of this comic up to the walls eight or ten deep and it would help to baffle the sounds...of the screams of terror from people reading Baffling Mysteries!

Submitted for your approval: a ballerina who's seen Black Swan one too many times. Nothing can stop her as she pirouettes into murder!

from "Doom Dancer" in Baffling Mysteries #21 (Ace, July 1954), pencils and inks by Jim McLaughlin, with Leroy lettering

Anyway, Here's WonderWalpurgis Night: The Witches Gonna Getcha If You Don't Watch Out

It's the last night of the month...haunted by fiendish witches, hellish demons and scary supernatural beasts! No, no, sit down, October...we're talkin' about the final day of April: Walpurgis Night! Admittedly, I thought it said Walgreen's Purchase Night and I went out and bought a bag of overpriced energy drinks and some Band-Aids, but it's actually the night before the Feast Day of Saint Walpurga, patron saint of rabies. Oh, I'm sorry, I'll read that again: against rabies. So if you happen to be cuddling in a box full of rats, just whip off a quick prayer to Saint W., and she'll fix you up faster than you can say "foaming at the mouth!"

W. also legendarily (but again, don't they all) protected early German Christians from witchcraft, bklack magic, and pesky ring-around-the-collar, so it makes sense all the Minerva McGonagalls and Wanda Maximovas and Sabrina Spellmans (Spellmen?) and Broom Hildas haunt the night. And then with the rising dawn, just like at the end of Fantasia, Saint Walpurga comes out and beats 'em all to a pulp with, I dunno, probably a crucifix made out of the bones of Jesus, the Oxford Unabridged Bible, and a hound dawg dunked in holy water. Say! I do believe I have just created a 1990s Image Bad Girl comic.

Another Fascinating Bully Factoid!: the Church of Satan was founded on Walpurgis Night in 1966 and founder Anton LaVey states (pictured, right) in The Satanic Bible that besides his own birthday (June 66th), Walpurgisnacht ranks as an important Satanic holiday, along with Halloween, International Witches' Day (November 16), Arbor Day, Election Day, and the entirety of Monster Mash Week. But we here (we = me) at Comics Oughta Be Fun celebrate Walpurgis Night in the usual innovative way: through comic books! Also, we're having candy corn! Are you scared yet?

from "Walpurgis!" in Witches Tales #18 (Harvey, April 1953), pencils and inks by Howard Nostrand

Well! This guy looks like fun! Wonder what his whole deal is?

Today in Comics History, April 30, 1993: A very poor use of his new Peppa Pig Happy Fun Time Diary

from (top) Warrior #11 (Quality Communications, May 1983), script by Alan Moore, pencils and inks by David Lloyd, letters by Jenny O'Connor;
(bottom) V for Vendetta #3 (DC, November 1988); colors by David Lloyd, Siobhan Dodds, and Steve Whitaker

Today in Comics History, April 30: Happy birthday, Sal Trapani!

Born on this day in 1927: comic book artist (primarily inker but frequently penciller) Sal Trapani (Fightin' Marines, Unusual Tales, Romantic Story, Six-Gun Heroes, Fightin' Army, Sweethearts, Ripley's Believe It Or Not!, The Incredible Hulk and many, many more)!

self-portrait from The 1975 Mighty Marvel Convention Program Book (Marvel, 1975), art by Sal Trapani

Happy birthday, Sal!

Today in Comics History, April 30: Happy birthday, Burton C. Mossman!

This is an expanded and updated version of a post originally published April 30, 2022.

Born on this day in 1867: Burton C. Mossman, legendary American lawman (and cattleman, but we won't hold that against him).

"Arizona Ranger" in Detective Comics #139 (DC, September 1948), script and art by Stookie Allen (?)

And from that point on there was never any troubles in Arizona ever again. EVER AGAIN.

Today in Comics History, April 30, 1939: Roosevelt pledges a gigantic ball and triangle to Britain for the war effort

from "The Secret Origin of the Golden Age Sandman" in Secret Origins (1986 series) #7 (DC, October 1986), co-plot and script by Roy Thomas, co-plot by Dann Thomas, pencils by Michael Bair, inks by Steve Montano, colors by Carl Gafford, letters by David Cody Weiss

Today in Comics History, April 30: Happy birthday, Reverend Gary Davis!

Born on this day in 1896: blues and gospel singer Reverend Gary Davis (also know as Blind Gary Davis), whose fingerpicking style influenced generations of blues performers.

from Heroes of the Blues trading cards; reprinted in The Complete Crumb Comics v.13: The Season of the Snoid (Fantagraphics, April 1998), by Robert Crumb

In the middle of the 1920s, Davis moved to Durham, North Carolina and recorded much classic work (later collected on the essential The Complete Early Recordings), and collaborated with many other Piedmont Blues musicians including Blind Boy Fuller and Bull City Red. I take especial note of that not merely because that guy's got a "Bull" in his name, but because it taught me that Durham was nicknamed the "Bull City" in the late 1800s when the Blackwell Tobacco Company named its product "Bull" Durham Tobacco. And now you know...the rest of the story. And spit that tobacco out; that's disgusting.

Happy birthday, Reverend!

"Samson and Delilah," performed by Reverend Gary Davis

Today in Comics History, April 30, 1945: Let's Kill Hitler

This is an expanded and updated version of a post originally published April 30, 2023.

Today in Comics History: it's Hitler's last day alive. And he's spending it with Baron Zemo? The guy who accidentally glued his mask to his head? Well, you do you, Hitler.

from Spider-Man: Fear Itself graphic novel (Marvel, February 1992), plot and co-script by Gerry Conway, co-script by Stan Lee, pencils by Ross Andru, inks by Mike Esposito, colors by Bob Sharen, letters by Rick Parker

Monday, April 29, 2024

Today in Comics History, April 29: Happy birthday, Kate Mulgrew!

Born on this day: actor Kate Mulgrew, who starred in Ryan's Hope, Orange Is the New Black, Mrs. Columbo aka Kate Columbo aka Kate the Detective aka Kate Loves a Mystery, but today we salute her mainly using comic books about her role as Captain Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager, because there were no Mrs. Columbo comic books and I can't get to my Ryan's Hope comic books (Gold Key, 1975-1983, 47 issues) ever since the "R" section of my Underground Comics Vault collapsed late last year in a freak Ravage 2099 incident.

cover of Star Trek: Voyager (1966 series) #14 (Marvel/Paramount, February 1998), pencils by Terry Pallot, inks by Al Milgrom

Today in Comics History, April 29: Happy birthday, Eve Plumb!

Celebrating a birthday today: actor Eve Plumb of Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway, The Big Valley, The Virginian, Lassie, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka and more, including a little show about a family who regularly posed on the Hollywood Squares set: The Brady Bunch!

Unfortunately Eve declined to participate in this blog post, so we have sadly replaced her with Geri Reischl appearances in comic books. Here she is, hidin' in the lower right-hand corner! Aw, why so shy, Eve?

photo cover of The Brady Bunch #1 (Dell, February 1970)

Today in Comics History, April 29: Happy birthday, Duke Ellington!

Born on this day in 1899, making him one of the original geniuses on the twentieth century: jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader Duke Ellington ("Take the "A" Train," "In a Sentimental Mood," "Prelude to a Kiss," "The Mooche," "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)," "Mood Indigo," "In a Sentimental Mood," "Rockin' in Rhythm," and many, many more jazz classics you know in your head and heart)!

from Juke Box Comics #5 (Eastern Color, November 1948), creator unidentified and unknown

Today in Comics History, April 29, 1997: Attending the Jack Kirby School of Public Speaking has certainly paid off

from Zero #17 (Image, June 2015), script by Ales Kot, pencils and inks by Robert Sammelin, colors by Jordie Bellaire, letters by Clayton Cowles

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Fun with Comics: Archie brings you the laugh-riot adventures of fun-loving teens enjoyed by all

from "Living Water" in Laugh Comics (1946 series) #258 (Archie, September 1972); pencils, inks, letters (and script?) by (who else than) Al Hartley; colors by Barry Grossman

Today in Comics History, April 28: Happy birthday, Jay Leno!

Born on this day: Jay Leno, talk show host, comedian, car and motorcycle collector, big chin wearer, and Tonight Show taker-backer. Happy birthday despite that, Jay!

from The Ultimates 2 (2005 series) #4 (Marvel/Ultimate, March 2005), script by Mark Millar, pencils by Bryan Hitch, inks by Paul Neary, colors by Laura Martin, letters by Chris Eliopoulos

Today in Comics History, April 28: Happy birthday, Ann-Margret!

Born on this day: actress/model/singer/dancer and all-around bombshell Ann-Margret (State Fair, Bye Bye Birdie, Viva Las Vegas, Kitten with a Whip, Stagecoach, Grumpy Old Men, The Flintstones, and many more)!

Ann-Margret is more definitely interesting to see than Bob Hope! (Note: I've done some minor editing to this panel to correct a misspelling on Ann-Margret's name. Shame on you, Marvel Comics!)

from The 'Nam #35 (Marvel, October 1989), script by Doug Murray, pencils by Wayne Vansant, inks by Geof Isherwood, colors and letters by Phil Felix

Today in Comics History, April 28, 1919: "What's the point of a helmet in skydiving?..In case you land on your head?" — Crow T. Robot

from "Question-Air" in Key Comics #4 (Consolidated Magazines, May 1946), creators uncredited and unknown

Today in Comics History, April 28, 1942: "We won't stop for anything until we win the Pacific War! But first, let's write some letters."

from "Lieut. John James Powers" in Heroic Comics #17 (Eastern Color, March 1943), pencils by Alan Mandel, inks by Dan Barry

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Today in Comics History, April 27, 1949: Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft

In 1954, EC ("Educational Comics! Plus Injury-to-Eye Motifs!") published a complete issue of Weird Science-Fantasy about UFOs, all presented with the intensity of a Reddit post. Young Foxy Mulder, purchasing this comic at the local five-and-dime, looked up to the skies and proclaimed "I want to believe!" Sadly, his voice had not dropped yet and all he succeded in was frightening the cat.

from "The United Air Lines Emmett, Idaho Case" Project Saucer Case No. 10]" in Weird Science-Fantasy (1954 series) #26 (EC, December 1954), script by Al Feldstein, pencils and inks by Wally Wood, colors by Marie Severin, letters by Jim Wroten

Lots of quotes and footnotes from secret government "redacted" files allowed EC Comics to propose the idea that aliens had invaded our space. As we've seen from all other EC Comics, that's never good news.

By the end of the year, however, the government was backtracking because they'd just found out Ed Wood was filming Plane 9 from Outer Space the next field over.

I dunno...they sobered up?

Today in Comics History, April 27, 1945: World War II is no time to hold a singles mixer, you guys!

from Last Days of the Justice Society Special #1 one-shot (DC, July 1986), co-plot and script by Roy Thomas, co-plot by Dann Thomas, pencils by David Ross, inks by Mike Gustovich, colors by Carl Gafford, letters by David Cody Weiss

Today in Comics History, April 27: Happy birthday, Friedrich von Flotow!

Born on this day in 1812, so very possibly he was rock-a-byed to the soothing sounds of The 1812 Overture: German composer Friedrich von Flotow, whose best-known opera is Martha. Which is, I believe, about a similarity in mothers' names. Let's check:

"Famous Operas" from Classics Illustrated #84 [The Gold Bug] (Gilberton, June 1951), pencils and inks by Alex Blum

Well, they certainly "saved Martha" in that one there, didn't they?

Happy birthday, Friedy!

Friday, April 26, 2024

Kitty Pryde 🐈‍⬛: Well hello! I didn't see you standing there.

Today in Comics History, April 26: Happy birthday, John Paul Leon.

Comic book artist John Paul Leon was born today in 1972, but it doesn't seem like much of a celebration because he's not here for us to throw a party. He passed away in 2021 at the age of 49 following a 14-year battle with cancer. That's far too young. But he left us an impressive and grogeous body of work on titles such as DMZ, Earth X, Shadow Cabinet, Challengers of the Unknown, Static, John Constantine: Hellblazer, Sheriff of Babylon, Detective Comics, Action Comics, The Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix, RoboCop: Prime Suspect and many more. Though his art enlivens many books, there aren't a lot of portrayals of him in comics, the usual approach these birthday posts take. But here's a portait of John Paul with Batman:

from Batman/Catwoman Special #1 one-shot (DC, March 2022); pencils, inks, and colors by Lee Bermejo

Today in Comics History, April 26, 1948: Wood cracks

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