Thursday, December 31, 2009

End Of Year Housekeeping

**To the person who found my blog my asking "When does Atom Ant come on Boomerang Channel," please consult or, or your cable guide, you lazy putz.

**To the person who found my blog by asking to find "spankings in 1940 comics," I say, "Really?"

**To the person who found my blog by consulting for "sharp dressed apes," well, damn it, you've come to the right place!

**To the person who found my blog by Googling "Wonder Woman naked," I can only respond, "Dude, to each his own, but wouldn't you rather go find the many freely available photographs of actual naked women, rather than searching all day for a naked drawing of a fictional character?"

**To the people who found my blog by Googling "Sly Monstrobot," why, yes, I am, thank you.

**To the person who found my blog by Googling "gay pornstar Solomon Grundy jacking off," all I can say is EEEWWWWWWW. Oh, and thanks, Google, for somehow making Slay Monstrobot come up #2 in that particular search. You guys are in charge of the interwebs why??

Happy New Year, one and all.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

You Say Ultron Wants A Revolution?

Hey, Ultron--what's your favorite Beatles song?

Really? Hmmm, I had you pegged as a Helter Skelter kind of guy...

Ultron is the Walrus in Daredevil #276 (1990).

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Lyingest Cover In Marvel Comics History--Lousy Stinking Reprints

It's time for another nomination in our quest to find The Lyingest Cover In Marvel Comics History (LCIMCH), and this one is a blast from my past...specifically Fantastic Four #180 (1977):

Now, the cover is true to what had been happening in the FF around that time. Thundra, Tigra and the Impossible Man had been hanging around; they had fought a big-ass robot the prior issue; and (eventually) the Army would get involved and try to claim the robot for itself.

So what's the lie? Let's look at the splash page...

What?? Lee & Kirby?!? What the...?

Ahhhh...the Dreaded Deadline Doom Reprint.

This was a far too common problem at Marvel in the mid-to-late 70s: someone would fall behind on deadline, and rather than miss a shipping schedule date, Marvel would plug in any old reprint they had laying around. Which, of course, is really annoying when you're expecting a brand new story. Jim Shooter, when he took over as EIC, would put an end to the practice, by building up a file of "inventory stories" (a.k.a. "fill-ins") for most titles, to run when necessary.

(Of course, in the 21st century, no one at Marvel gives a damn about shipping schedules or getting a book out when promised, so there's no need for reprints or fill-ins...they'll just put out the book whenever it's ready, readers be damned).

I understand that they occasionally had to do reprints...and I fully sympathize that they couldn't just throw a big old caption saying "REPRINT" on the cover. But would it have hurt them to whip up another, more accurate (or at least more generic) cover? Couldn't they have re-purposed the original cover from FF #101? But no, they give us a cover promising an original story, a continuation of last month's story, that has absolutely nothing to do with the reprint...and that's a big fat lie. And hence this nomination of FF #180 as the LCIMCH.

Similarly, Marvel had a bit of a quandary when it came to marketing all the reprint comics they were publishing at the time. Hey, it was great to see old stories in an affordable format...but I guess the suits didn't feel they could come right out and admit that it was a reprint mag. So you'd get stuff like this:

Commentor and comrade Mark submits this issue, and explains why it qualifies as a big stinkin' lie:

My nomination for LCIMCH would be The Human Torch #1, Marvel's 1974 series reprinting the solo adventures of both the Jim Hammond (Golden Age) Torch and Johnny Storm (from Strange Tales).

The cover of the first issue shows both Torches pitched in a furious, fiery battle, instantly causing me (as a long-time sucker for old version vs. new version clashes) to buy it.

As it turns out, NOTHING CLOSE TO THIS HAPPENS INSIDE OF THE COMIC BOOK! All of the reprinted stories focus on either Jim Hammond or Johnny Storm...but do not...I repeat DO NOT have them battle (much less meet) in any way, shape, or form.

Points well taken. Consider Human Torch #1 officially nominated, Mark!!

Keep those lying Marvel covers coming in, folks...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Manic Monday--Mash-Up!!

What do you get if you combine the wholesome Americana of Archie with the trippy future of the Jetsons?

I think it might go a little something like this:

That's right, Jetta!!

Credits are scarce, but as far as I can tell it was pretty much written, drawn and inked by Dan De Carlo. Published in the early 50s, Jetta completely re-wrote the Archie formula. For example:

See, they didn't go to Riverdale High, they went to Neutron High!! They have gadgets and crazy teen talk!!

Jetta was the female lead character, so that's different...but lest the people rebel, her boyfriend is named Arky (yes, Arky), who constantly wears his high school letter sweater, and he's constantly torn between Jetta, a redhead, and Hilaria, a rich and stuck-up brunette. And I think you can recognize the rest of the cast, more or less:

And look, a teacher who is nothing at all like Miss Grundy!!

And finally, thank you, Jetta, for warning us about the greatest danger of 2052:


oh, and happy birthday, Stan!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Prophecy Fulfilled, Sadly

Well, I've been predicting this for a year and a half now, haven't I? I predicted that the return of Barry Allen would lead to Wally West being shuffled to the sidelines, losing his title, his JLA spot.

No, no, we were told. All is good. Wally will be active in the Titans, said Dan DiDio. Wally will have a back-up series in the new Barry Allen Flash mag!! Bart will have his own Kid Flash mag!! It's a golden age for all things Flash!!

Hey, some people actually believed him.

Surprise, suckers. In a video interview, released during Christmas week so many would be sure not to see it, guess what DiDio revealed? That Wally back-up series? Now on the back burner. That Kid Flash series? Not gonna happen. And after promising (several times) that Wally wouldn't be ignored or put on the bench? "Your Flash fix will be Barry Allen, pure and simple, for 2010."

So, checking off: "Part of the Titans team for the foreseeable future" (quote from DiDio)? Nah, they're being replaced by an all-new Titans team led by Deathstroke. Lost his JLA spot? Yup, which is pretty ironic, since most of other the Titans are now gonna be in the JLA. Lost his book? Yeah, not even deemed worthy of back-up stories. New costume? Yeah, they just did that in Flash Returns, and I wouldn't bet against another.

I'm sure we can look forward to seeing cameo appearances by Wally in the next DC Halloween and Christmas specials...or maybe he can join The Forgotten Heroes...

Oh, and Kendra Saunders, Michael Holt, Rick Tyler, Jakeem Thunder, et al.? Now that Blackest Night is leaving open the status of your predecessors, you might want to start packing. Because while DC claims to love their "generational heroes," they'd don't love actually having them around, do they? You guys are all on the clock...

Deja Vu All Over Again And Again And Again...

If you haven't read Fantastic Four #574 yet, please stop here. There's a bit of spoilerishness, and I'd hate to do that too you. So gaze at the pretty Alan Davis cover, then go and read it. Spoilerishness starts after the cover.

Hey, Jonathan Hickman and various Fantastic Four editors--

Jon, bro, I looooove your FF, man. Love it to pieces. Especially after that Millar/Hitch run which was so unbearable that even Millar and Hitch couldn't be bothered to finish it.

Yup, I love it unreservedly.

Well, one reservation.

In FF#551, Dwayne McDuffie started his final story arc, in which a future Doctor Doom came to present day to prevent Reed Richards from implementing his plan to "fix everything," because (he claimed) it would lead to tyranny and the destruction of the world (that was a lie, of course, but that's not the important point here).

During the Millar/Hitch trot, they introduced a new governess for the children--who turned out to be a future Sue Richards (from a different future, apparently) who had come to find a refuge for the 8 billion inhabitants of their dying earth.

Now, in FF #574, you've had a future Franklin Richards (from yet another future, I suppose), whose come to give cryptic warnings to Valeria, because "the future must be avoided at all costs."

To quote Ian Fleming, "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action."

Guys, that's three times in 24 issues you've used the same plot device. That's once per the last three creative teams!

Seriously, are we trying to turn this book into a bad parody of 1990s X-Men? Are the creative teams bereft of new ideas for The World's Greatest Comic Magazine? Isn't there anybody in the editorial department saying, "Hey, we just did this damn story?!?"

Hey, Mr. Hickman, I'm sure it'll be a great story. But I'm getting a little tired of the "older version of one of our characters visiting from the future" gambit.

So knock it off, OK?

Thank you. Now keep up the rest of the good work.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dare You To Say This At Your Next Family Dinner

A phrase uttered often after our Christmas feast:

Oh, don't worry, we didn't mean the part about the horses...

From Dork Avengers: Ares #3

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Tradtion, Yet Again

Marvel Also Believes In Multiple Climaxes

Yesterday I ragged on DC for declaring that Green Lantern Corps #46 would feature "Blackest Night comes to its epic and stunning conclusion" while simultaneously saying that Blackest Night #8 (out two weeks later) would feature "the extra-sized conclusion..."

Well, fair is fair, so today it's Marvel's turn. From the solicit for Red Hulk #21, out 3/17:


Yes, the caps are in the original. And the solicit for Incredible Hulk #608, out the same day?


I mean, come on now...does anybody at these companies understand the actual meaning of the word "conclusion?" Do they need a better brand of copy writer?

And do they seriously believe that labeling issues as "conclusions" will somehow encourage extra sales? Wasn't everybody into these stories just going to buy them anyway, without the breathless lie? And since they're both conclusions and both come out the same day, what order do I read them in (if i were so inclined?)


The same month that we get the conclusion of "Fall of the Hulks," Marvel will be putting out issue #1 (of 3) of Fall of the Hulks: The Savage She-Hulks, and issue #3 (of 4) of Fall Of The Hulks: Red Hulk. So, despite the "conclusions" cited above, the damn story is going on for at least two months after its "concluded."

Then again, what else do you expect from the morons who couldn't hold off releasing a one-shot billed as "The Stunning Aftermath Of Captain America Reborn" until, oh, I don't know, until after Captain America Reborn was done? Holding that back a couple of weeks would have killed you, Marvel?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

About Time

In the realm of damned well about time:

"Advanced solicited" for April, it's Showcase Presents: Dial H For Hero, from House Of Mystery #156-173.

Exactly the thing to cleanse our palate of that abysmal Brave & The Bold issue.

I still say DC should update it to Tweet H For Hero...

Multiple Climaxes??

From the March solicits for Green Lantern Corps #46 out March 17:

Blackest Night comes to its epic and stunning conclusion in this over-sized issue as the Green Lantern Corps descends on Earth to make their final stand against Nekron and the Black Lanterns!

From the solicit for Blackest Night #8, which ships 2 weeks later:

The extra-sized conclusion to the most talked-about event in comics is here...

So wait. GLC #46 isn't really the "epic and stunning conclusion?" Really, DC, do you have to lie like that to hype sales on the book? On the Green Lantern #52 solicit, you call it the "penultimate chapter." Why shine us on about GLC????

Monday, December 21, 2009

Manic Monday--Rupture-Easer!!

Sometimes, you really have to wonder exactly whom advertisers thought were reading these comics books:



Because, apparently, many readers of Fantastic #8 (1952) had problems with gouging, torturing trusses...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Lyingist Cover In Marvel Comics History--Prologue

A few days ago I tangentially referenced the Marvel adaptation of Killdozer. In doing so, I mentioned that Chris Sims had declared this particular cover: The Lyingest Cover in Marvel Comics History.

His reasoning? "Not only does Killdozer not have jagged spikes on the end of the shovel or "angry eyebrows" covering its headlights, but it doesn't talk, nobody tries to shoot it with a pistol, and there is not a single woman in this comic book."

Now, I realized that this begs the Worlds Unknown #6 (1974) really the Lyingest Cover In Marvel Comics History (Henceforth referred to as the LCIMCH)?

Three and a half years is too long to let the concept lie fallow. So you, my readers, are going to help me find the LCIMCH!! Now, I've got a few ideas of my own as to who might have the title of LCIMCH. But I'm not going to rely just on my own pathetic memory, especially when I have a vast and knowledgeable peanut gallery like you guys at my disposal.

So send in nominations, and we'll discuss them here. Show your work, so those who haven't read the particular issues can understand why the cover is, indeed, a lying bastard. And from time to time I'll present my own nominations. After a while, we'll have a poll, or a contest, or something, to declare one particular comic the LCIMCH!!

A couple of ground rules:

**Let's not count over-hyperbolic cover captions by themselves as grand lies:

It might not be the most unexpected villain, or the grandest action masterpiece EVER...but that's hardly enough to make it the LCIMCH.

**Let's not count symbolic covers:

Clearly, Kang is not actually dropping giant numbers on the Hulk (although that would have been a better story). But any cover that is meant to representational rather than a literal depiction of the issue's action isn't the LCIMCH...unless, of course, the symbolism itself is a lie, presenting something/someone that doesn't actually appear.

** Let's not hold future retcons against the issues as lies:

Yeah, it later turned out that Johnny wasn't really marrying Alicia, and that Mockingbird (somehow, still not explained) didn't really die...but the authors at the time clearly didn't believe their covers were lies.

**Let's not take trivial errors and blow them up into the LCIMCH:

Sure, Thundra didn't really fight the Fantastic Four in this issue--she was on their side the whole time. So, technically, it is a lie. But it's such a tiny lie, and a tiny part of the cover, that it can't possibly rise to the level of Lyingest Comic In Marvel Comics History.

So send those nominations in, and together we'll discover the LCIMCH!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Those Kryptonians Aren't So Tough After All... least vocabulary-wise.

From DC's solicitation for the March issue of Supergirl:

Amidst Brainiac’s assault on New Krypton, General Zod has brandished the Legion of Super-Heroes terrorists and imprisoned them!

"Brandished the Legion of Super-Heroes terrorists?" Brandished???

Yes, perhaps Zod did wave or flourish the entire Legion menacingly.

Or perhaps Kryptonians don't know the difference between "brandished" and "branded."

See, all General Lane really needs to defend Earth from the Kryptonians is a good proofreader...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

When Unstable Personalities Rise To Power...

...these are the types of conversations they have:

I mean, "Scientist Supreme" nonsense aside, Hank Pym can make Norman Osborn look like a stable guy...

P.S. You know, if a guy with a history of mental breakdowns suddenly started telling everybody that the physical embodiment of the universe had just appeared to him and informed him that, despite the instability, he was the most important dude ever, wouldn't you take that with a little grain of salt?!? And if said unstable man starts saying, "Yeah, this nebulous guy told me I was smarter than Reed Richards AND Tony Stark, I'm the Scientist Supreme," wouldn't you be looking around for the nearest straitjacket, and preparing for another Ultron attack? I'm, just saying...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Questions That Others Dare Not Ask--The Hair!!

Once again, we must delve deeply here at Slay Monstrobot, and ask the Questions That Others Dare Not Ask!!

The question...

Why are people always ragging on Norman Osborn's hair...

...yet no one makes fun of Sandman's...

...even though he'd been rockin' the same 'do for years before Normie ever showed up?!?

Just askin'...

Pics from Amazing Spider-Man #37 (1966) by Ditko, Dork X-Men: The Beginning #3 (2009) by Jae Lee, Amazing Spider-Man #4 (1963) by Ditko, and Amazing Spider-Man #615 (2010) by Javier Pulido.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tales From The Quarter Bin--Worlds Unknown

While taking a look at the extensive number of horror titles Marvel was publishing in 1974, I neglected to mention the science fiction side of that equation.

During the early 70s, Marvel had a bi-monthly series called Worlds Unknown...which maybe wasn't a 100% accurate title, because many of these worlds were already known to readers of science fiction. Each issue featured an adaptation of a classic sci-fi story: Frederick Brown's Arena, Frederic Pohl's The Day After The Day After The Martians Came, A.E. Van Vogt's The Black Destroyer, and more by L. Sprague deCamp, Keith Laumer, Theodore Sturgeon, and others. Occasionally there were two stories per issue, sometimes another new adaptation, sometimes a reprint from the Atlas sci-fi/horror days.

Sadly, the series died after 8 issues. But I wonder if there might be a better market for it today. Marvel seems to be doing fine with adaptations/extensions of the works of Stephen King, Orson Scott Card, and Laurell K. Hamilton. Maybe there's room today for a sci-fi anthology adaptation series...then again, maybe you've got to be dedicated to an established brand-name to move copies of comics. But it would be worth an experiment, right?

Plus, you know how the Big Two are always salivating like Jonas Brothers fans whenever they can attract a TV writer to write one of their books? How about a real sci-fi writer, doing their own adaptations??

A couple of other Worlds Unknown notes:

**Many of you have wondered about the answer to this question: What if Hank McCoy became even more catlike AND grew tentacles?? It might go a little something like this:

**Great moments in covers. First, the cover of Astounding Science Fiction (November 1944) by William Timmins, pimping Sturgeon's story Killdozer!:

Next, the cover to Worlds Unknown #6 (1974) by Gil Kane and Ernie Chan with "retouches on Killdozer figure" by John Romita:

Chris Sims called this The Lyingest Cover In Marvel Comic History. Which may be true, but the Kane/Chan/Romita cover is clearly 1000% cooler...

And note: in 1944, editors thought a cover image Killdozer would move copies. Our forefathers were much more like us than we thought...

**A response to a letter in #6 from Don Lain of San Diego, asking them to do longer, multi-issue adaptations:

The only problems with this answer? A) In the very next issue they started a 2-issue adaptation of the screenplay of the Golden Voyage Of Sinbad. So, so much for "we'll think about it, but probably not." B) Those were the last two issues, so that hokum about "a year's worth of such issues might the put series in dire straits" either brilliantly prophetic, or balderdash because they had to have known the series was already in "dire straits."

**Man, that crappy The Day The Earth Stood Still remake from last year would have been one billion percent better if it had been anything like this:

I'm just sayin'.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Manic Monday Bonus--Pot, Meet Kettle!!

Over at the bendis board, the irony-impaired Bendis has posted his review of the film Avatar:

spectacle like no ones bidness, heavy handed themes laid down with a sledgehammer, and if he ever wrote an intelligent line of dialogue it would die of loneliness.

Of course, this is from the guy who posts this picture as part of his "signature":

Man, sometimes he makes it just too easy...

Manic Monday--All I Want For Christmas... this action figure:

Too bad it's only available in some doofy alternate future...

Slay Monstrobot is now accepting suggestions for "dowloadable variations" for the doll's catchphrases...

From Deathlok #2 (2010)...really, we're getting 2010 comics now. Man, we're living in the future already!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Marvel 1974 Week--Ghost Rider #9!!

As we come to the conclusion of Marvel 1974 week, the most important thing to remember is:

Walt Disney now owns Satan!!

Or do they?? After riding the fading crest of the nation's early 70s horror boom, Marvel began to recant. Whether because of fears of boycotts from certain religious groups, a concern over upsetting parents, or just someone behind the scenes was uncomfortable with the concept, Marvel gradually revealed that every appearance of "Satan" in their comics was really someone else!! Johnny Blaze didn't really sell his soul to Satan--it was Mephisto posing as Satan!! (Why?? Don't ask) Daimon Hellstrom's father wasn't really Satan--it was the demon Marduk posing as Satan (or was it Satannish? They kept changing their minds)!! No wonder he's not around so much these days..."Son of Marduk" is a pretty lame name. All in all, one hell of a retcon.

But today we're back when Satan was still Satan, not a watered down poseur. And he's putting poor Johnny Blaze through the wringer:

Ooh, he looks scared. And our creators??

Tony Isabella has said that an unnamed assistant editor "completely rewrote" this issue before it went to the printers...we'll discuss that more at the end.

Ghost Rider is facing one heck of a dilemma:

The demon Inferno is broadcasting fear throughout San Francisco, causing the populace to attack Blaze. That's pretty bad, as he doesn't want to hurt innocents, but can't hide from everybody, particularly when he's so conspicuous.

Except, of course, Inferno loses significant scary points because he looks like a big doofus:

And if you see him from behind and below the waist, he kinda looks like Aquaman:

So that's where he's been...Johnny is using special spirit of vengeance tricks to keep the crowd at bay:

Meanwhile, there's the other horn of the dilemma. Despite the fact the Blaze's contract with Satan has been fulfilled, the Evil One cannot claim his soul, because Johnny's girlfriend Roxanne Simpson's "purity of spirit" means that her declaration of love somehow protects Blaze. Uh....OK.

So Satan offers her a simple trade:

And he won't shut up about it!!

Man, what a dickweed!

You know, when a guy is the incarnation of all that is evil and called "The Prince of Lies," you'd think that some folks would figure out not to take him at his word...

Anyway, the impact is that Ghost Rider immediately loses all his powers (but keeps the flaming skull face, for some reason).

But he still knows how to ride, and by a ridiculous coincidence finds a motorcycle just laying around...

But Satan is still a dickweed:

Man, is he Satan, or a Black Lantern?!?

Even though he's only human, Johnny can still use "moxie" to beat the demon Inferno:

Man, I guess Inferno was really kind of a wimp, huh?

Now it's time for Satan to claim his prize!!

Until...the most literal deus ex machina in comic book history:

Jesus is just alright with Johnny Blaze!

Now, according to Isabella, in this sequence Ghost Rider was going to explicitly become a Christian, and accept Jesus as his savior. The drifter we just met was going to be revealed specifically as Jesus, and Johnny would be free from Satan forever. But, according to Isabella, "an assistant editor 'took offense' and intercepted the issue right as it was about to go to the printer and completely rewrote the story."

Well, we only have one side of the story here, and without access to the Isabella's original script there's really no way to judge the appropriateness of either the original story or the editor's actions (and, to be fair, no way to judge the accuracy of Isabella's allegations). Still, with that kind of stuff happening behind the scenes, is it any wonder that Marvel eventually bailed on all depictions of Satan?

Then again, Isabella's description of the planned future of that storyline can be troubling, too: "He retains the Ghost Rider powers he had been given by Satan, but they are his to use as his new faith directs him." Was America in 1974 ready for an evangelical demon wielding hellfire?

Anyhow, the end of our story...Roxanne decides that "purity of spirit" doesn't justify "stupidity of mind":

So she goes of to "grow up" and "become a woman." Whatever that means. And down in Hell? Satan puts Inferno into human form, the better to resolve the old "Hamlet finding Claudius praying" dilemma:

SPOILER ALERT: This plan did not work. Which is just as well since he's not really Satan. And he didn't really create Ghost Rider. And...

So that's Ghost Rider, one odd-ass character. Born as a horror character, but toned down to superhero, yet almost made into a Christian hero...constantly yo-yoing between secular and non-secular approaches. He spent the first two years of his existence struggling with Satan, then having a dude kind of like but apparently not actually Jesus somehow save him. He then becomes more or less a straight superhero type for the rest of his original run. The he finds out he's really sharing his body with a demon. And he finds out that it wasn't really Satan (because somehow Satan is more offensive than Mephisto?) Than he is "freed of the curse" and the brother he never knew he had gets his powers. Then he got his powers back. Then he was imprisoned in Hell. Then he escapes (along with Lucifer not Satan in the marvel Universe??). Then he learns that Mephisto wasn't really responsible, that it was a rogue angel who want to topple God in a coup. Man, this 1974 issue sure seems naive and innocent now, huh?

So know we can show the throne of heaven, and a rebellion amongst the angels...but not Satan?


Speaking of horror, Marvel really was riding the horror horse as hard as they could in 1974. In addition to Ghost Rider, in December we had regular series for Son of Satan:


The Living Mummy:

Werewolf By Night:

Morbius The Living Vampire:


And they were trying to introduce another with The Golem (he didn't stick).

They also had plenty of horror anthology/reprint mags, including Monsters Unleashed:

Dead Of Night;

Journey Into Mystery:

Uncanny Tales from the Grave:

Weird Wonder Tales:

and Vault of Evil:

And that was just December...on the other month of the bi-monthly schedule, they had Chamber of Chills, Creatures On The Loose (starring, Man-Wolf), Crypt of Shadows, Frankenstein, Haunt of Horror, Tales of the Zombie, Tomb of Darkness, and Where Monsters Dwell. Phew...Depending on when and how you count, 25%-40% of Marvel's output each month in 1974 was horror comics. Take that, Wertham!!!