Thursday, March 28, 2024

Today in Comics History, March 28: Happy birthday, Randy Brooks!

Born on this day in 1917: jazz trumpeter and bandleader Randy Brooks, discovered at the age of 11 by Rudy Vallee and who played on hit records like "Tenderly," "Harlem Nocturne," and "The Man With The Horn." But for some reason, his comic book biography choose to focus instead on his...youth basketball career?!?

from Juke Box Comics #5 (Eastern Color, November 1948), pencils and inks by Henry C. Kiefer

So little respect did comic books give his trumpeting that when he appeared in a DC romance comic, they didn't even mention his musical career. Also, that's not him.

from "Tears for a Dream!" in Young Romance #162 (DC/National, October 1969), pencils (and inks?) by Werner Roth, letters by Ira Schnapp

Let's celebrate his birthday with some proper trumpet. Take us out, Randy!

"The Man with the Horn" by Randy Brooks and His Orchestra (Decca, 1945), written by Bonnie Lake, Eddie DeLange, and Jack Jenney

Today in Comics History, March 28: Happy birthday, Flora Robson!

Born on this day in 1902: British stage and screen actress Flora Robson, whose sixty-year acting career includes roles in Fire Over England, Wuthering Heights, The Sea Hawk, Black Narcissus, 55 Days at Peking, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, Clash of the Titans and many more, including the 1945 Vivien Leigh/Claude Rains version of Caesar and Cleopatra, which allows to her to appear exactly once in comic books!

from "Caesar and Cleopatra" in Picture News #4 (Lafayette Street Corporation, March 1946), creatprs uncredited and unknown

Happy birthday, Miss Robson! Congrats on breaking into comic books!

Today in Comics History, March 28: Happy birthday, Betty Betz!

Born on this day in 1920: cartoonist, magazine columnist, and television host Betty Betz, who created columns and artwork in the 1940s for Seventeen and Woman's Home Companion that eventually evolved into a line of cxards, books, dresses and staionary — think the 1940s equivalent of 1970s Holly Hobbie! Her cartoon creation "Dollface" was featured in an issue of Dell's Four Color. That's Betty herself on the cover (top photo):

cover of Four Color #309 (Dell, January 1951) [Betty Betz' Dollface and Her Gang], pencils and inks by Betty Betz

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Today in Comics History, March 27: Happy birthday, Talisa Soto!

Happy birthday today to actress and model Talisa Soto from Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat Annihilation, The Mambo Kings, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, Vampirella, Harts of the West, and as Bond Girl Lupe Lamora in 1989's Licence to Kill! And the movie adaption to comics, too!

from Licence to Kill graphic novel (Eclipse, 1989); script by Richard Ashford; (adaptation); breakdowns by Mike Grell; pencils by Chuck Austen, Tom Yeates, and Stan Woch; inks by Tom Yeates and Stan Woch; colors by Sam Parsons, Sally Parsons, Mel Johnson, and Reuben Rude, letters by Wayne Truman

Altho' the graphic novel prominently features Lupe Lamora, it doesn't have any appearance by her pet iguana, and that's a darn shame.

Happy birthday, Talisa!

Today in Comics History, March 27: Happy birthday, David Janssen!

Born on this day in 1931: David Janssen, star of movies and TV including To Hell and Back, Francis in the Haunted House, King of the Roaring 20s, The Green Berets, Shoes of the Fisherman, Marooned, Richard Diamond: Private Detective; O'Hara, U.S. Treasury, Harry O., and of course the series that made every kid in America want to go on the run searching for the One-Armed Man: The Fugitive!

from "The Phewgitive" in MAD #89 (September 1964), script by Stan Hart, pencils and inks by Mort Drucker

Today in Comics History, March 27: Happy birthday, Carl Barks!

Born on this day in 1901: comic book writer, artist, painter and animation story director Carl Barks. He's the creator of Scrooge McDuck, Duckburg, The Beagle Boys, Flintheart Glomgold, the Junior Woodchucks, Gladstone Gander, Gyro Gearloose, Magica De Spell and many more, and has created hundreds of Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck stories that chronicled the adventures of the Duck Family and laid the work for future artists and for the two DuckTales animated series. He is, quite simply, "The Good Duck Artist."

from Walt Disney's Donald Duck [Halloween Special] one-shot (Fantagraphics, 2011), art by Carl Barks

Happy birthday, Unca Carl!

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Today in Comics History, March 26: Happy birthday, Duncan Hines!

Born on this day in 1880: restaurant/hotel and food critic and founder of the baked goods company that would eventually give us, even through today, boxed Duncan Hines cake and dessert mixes!

from "Recommended by Huncan Dines" in From here to Insanity (1955 series) #12 (Charlton, October 1955), pencils and inks by Carl Hubbell

Mister Hines didn't appear in many comic books, but I'm including him in my birthday posts because I like cake.

Duncan Hines appears on To Tell the Truth (Goodson-Todman Productions/CBS, September 10, 1957), hosted by Bud "Superman" Collyer

Happy birthday, D.H.! We chipped in together and bought you a pizza, because we couldn't think of a different food to serve at a birthday party.

Today in Comics History, March 26: Happy birthday, Diana Ross!

Born on this day: actress, singer, and iconic Motown diva (in the best sense of the word), Diana Ross! C'mon, sing along with her huge number of hits, both with the Supremes and solo: "Where Did Our Love Go," "Baby Love," "Come See About Me," "Stop! In the Name of Love,", "Love Child," "Touch Me in the Morning," "Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)," "Love Hangover," "Upside Down," "Endless Love," "I'm Coming Out," "Why Do Fools Fall in Love," and countless more! (Well, I suppose you couldcount 'em, but there's a whole heckuva lot of 'em.) Not to mention her silver screen appearances in films Lady Sings the Blues, Mahogany, and The Wiz! Miss Ross certainly has kept busy, so today on her birthday she's entitled to sit back and put her feet up, and only record five or six songs.

"...Diana Ross and the Squadron Supreme!" from Marvel Age #82 (Marvel, December 1989), by Fred hembeck
(Click picture to doobedood’ndoobe, doobedood’ndoobe, doobedood’ndoo-size)

Happy birthday, Miss Ross!

"The Happening" by The Supremes (Motown, 1967), written by Holland–Dozier–Holland (Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland) and Frank De Vol

Today in Comics History, March 26: Happy birthday, Brian Bolland!

Born on this day: Brian Bolland, British comics artist of Judge Dredd, Camelot 3000, Batman: The Killing Joke, Green Lantern, House of Hammer, Mr. Mamoulian and more, and about a gazillion comic book covers!

from Direct Currents #24 (DC, December 1989)

Today in Comics History, March 26, 1944: God, I hope I get it / I hope I get it / How many people does he need?

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

Today in Comics History, March 26: Happy birthday, Bob Elliott!

Happy 101st birthday today (born in 1923) to one of my favorite comedians, Bob Elliott, one-half of comedy team Bob & Ray! Bob's appeared in countless radio and record comedy sketches, as well as movies and television as diverse as Cold Turkey, Quick Change, Saturday Night Live, Happy Days, Newhart, King of the Hill and more, not to mention roles in Cabin Boy and Get a Life!, which both starred his son, comedian Chris Elliott.

But didja know that Bob (and Ray) were also Comic book creators and characters? Why, yes! The early years of the black-and-white MAD magazine in the 1950s were full of strips written by comics and humorists like Ernie Kovacs, Orson Bean, Danny Kaye, Henry Morgan, and Wally Cox (or their writers), and Bob & Ray were no exception. Beginning in MAD #34, the duo penned and starred in a a series of comics over the next couple of years, drawn by Mort "You Ain't Nobody 'Til You've Been Drawn By" Drucker, one of the greatest artist MAD ever chained to a drawing table! Here, Bob (lighter hair, shorter) plays Mr. Science, and Ray (dark hair, large) plays Jimmy.

from "Mr. Science" in MAD #34 (July 1957), script by Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding, pencils and inks by Mort Drucker

Today in Comics History Future, March 26, 2073: Darn post-apocalyptic liberal media

from "Daily Survivor" in Crazy Magazine #1 (Marvel, October 1973); text by Tony Isabella, Gerry Conway, Steve Skeates, and Carla Conway; pencils and inks by Marie Severin and Dave Hunt

Monday, March 25, 2024

Kitty Pryde 🐈‍⬛: Been Caught Stealing (Salmon)

Somebody wants Randi's dinner of a salmon burger sandwich!

Now playing: Kite by Kirsty MacColl

I miss Kirsty.

Bully is listening to Kite (Virgin, 1981), by Kirsty MacColl

Fun with Comics: That's the night Cowboy Matt saved my life

cover of Western Comics #82 (DC/National, July 1960), pencils by Gil Kane, inks and colors by Jack Adler, letters by Ira Schnapp

Today in Comics History, March 25: Happy birthday, Paul Michael Glaser!

Born on this date: actor, director, and writer Paul Michael Glaser, who's been in Fiddler on the Roof, Butterflies Are Free, The Great Houdini, Princess Daisy and more. He's directed The Running Man, The Air Up There, Band of the Hand, Kazaam, episodes of Miami Vice and more, but he'll always have a place in our seventies-fond hearts as Detective Dave Starsky (face it, how many of you actually knew his first name? Or that he's the dark-haired one?) in the 1970s TV action series Starsky & Hutch!

from "Slobsky & Hunch" Crazy Magazine #21 (Marvel, November 1976), script by Len Herman, pencils and inks by Murad GΓΌmen

Today in Comics History: Happy birthday, Kami Garcia!

Born on this day: young adult author and comic book writer Kami Garcia (the Caster Chronicles series, Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity, and several Teen Titans young adult graphic novels)!

"DC Nation" in DC Comics cover-dated April 2023

Happy birthday, Kami!

Today in Comics History, March 25, 1968: "You're here to stop Elvis from eating all those Twinkies."

from Quantum Leap #1 (Innovation, September 1991), script by George Broderick, art by Mark Jones, colors by Scott Rockwell, letters by Vickie Williams

Today in Comics History, March 25: Happy birthday, Howard Cosell!

Born on this day in 1918: Howard Cosell, the 1970s' most unprevaricating, multiloquent, and periphrastic sportscaster!

from "The Return of Dr. Octopus" in Spidey Super Stories #11 (Marvel, August 1975), script by Jean Thomas, pencils by Win Mortimer. inks by Mike Esposito and Tony Mortellaro, letters by Ray Holloway

Today in Comics History, March 25, 1994: The Punisher's next mission: set up his DirectTV dish

from "Eurohit '94" in The Punisher Annual (1988 series) #7 (Marvel, October 1994); script by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning; pencils by Doug Braithwaite; inks by Al Williamson, Fred Fredericks, and Art Nichols; colors by Christie Scheele; letters by Ken Lopez

Today in Comics History, March 25: Happy birthday, Elton John!

This is an expanded and updated version of a post originally published March 25, 2022.

Born on this date, already wearing a sparkly pair of sunglasses and chunky heels: Elton John, the world's only Rock Star!

cover of Look-In #37/1973 (ITV, 8 September 1973), creators uncredited and unknown

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Today in Comics History, March 24: Happy birthday, Pasqual Ferry!

Born on this day: comic book artist Pasqual Ferry (Doctor Strange, Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme, Action Comics, Thor, Fantastic Four 2099, Plasmer (co-creator!), Namor: Conquered Shores, Ultimate Fantastic Four, Ultimate Iron Man and more)!

"Bullpen Bulletins" from Marvel Comics cover-dated May 2023

Happy birthday, Pasqual!

Today in Comics History, March 24: Happy birthday, Norman Fell!

Born on this day in 1924: Norman Fell, the sad-eyed actor in Ocean's 11, The Graduate, Bullitt, Catch-22, The Killers and more, and of course as the long-suffering homophobic landlord Stanley Roper on Three's Company and its short-lived spin-off The Ropers.

from "He's Company" in MAD #196 (January 1978), script by Arnie Kogen, pencils and inks by Angelo Torres

Unfortunately, most of the other panels from this MAD spoof feature gay panic jokes I'm not gonna reproduce here, including a useage of the full-out six-letter f-word slur for gay men. Sadly, this exact same issue also includes the instance of Star Wars' Artoo Detoo actually using the three-letter f-word (as discussed here by Mike Sterling). A lot of MAD magazine has aged well, so it's startling when you see pieces that have aged so poorly they've become offensive.

Today in Comics History, March 24: Happy birthday, Joseph Priestly!

Born on this day in 1733: chemist, philosopher, theologian, grammarian, and political theorist Joseph Priestly, who was ironically not a priest! However, he did invent carbonated water, which make him a hero in my house, because without carbonated water we wouldn't have Coca-Cola!

"Pioneers of Science: Joseph Priestley" from Classics Illustrated #31 (Gilberton, September 1948), creators uncredited and unknown

Oh yeah, he also discovered oxygen, without which we couldn't live, so I guess that's pretty good, too. Happy birthday, Joe!