Monday, February 28, 2011

Manic Monday--The Best Harp, Drum and Guitar Band Ever

If you've been around here for awhile, you know of my undying affection for the faux rock bands that crop up in comic books...and this one might be the best yet.

Supergirl's about to see the rock group that tops The Beatles and The Monkees!!

You know what makes them even better?

They're not just a rock band that dresses up as super-heroes.

They're a rock band that dresses up as super-heroes who are ALSO a band of high-tech thieves who use their fake super-hero gadgets to rob the venues they play at. Top that, Josie and the Pussycats!!

From Action Comics #350 (1967).

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Before You Get That "S" Tattoo... might want to consult a lawyer first.

From the letters column of Action Comics #350 (1967):

And DC's reaction to college kids being turned on to their characters?

Sigh. That, in a nutshell, was the difference between Marvel and DC in 1967. If this letter had shown up in an issue of Amazing Spider-Man (about kids getting Marvel tattoos, of course), Stan would have expressed joy that young adults found their characters so cool, thanked the kids for the free advertising, and made a joke or two.

DC? Humorless, snippy, and a threat of legal sanction. Complete white bread establishment, man.

I mean, yeah, you have to protect your intellectual property. But I've seen many a superhero tattoo in my day, and never once seen a copyright line "pricked out." Yet the republic still stands. So chill, Mort Weisinger!!

But back to the really important question: That guy with the entire Legion Of Super-Heroes tattooed all over his body...that was in 1967. Did he keep up? Did he run out of room at some point, or just give up? Is Tyroc on his butt? Did he get any of the 5 Years Later characters, and then have to have those tattoos erased when DC erased them from continuity? What about the two other versions of the Legion? And...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Imagine How Much Archie Is Crying NOW!!

Hard to feel much sympathy for Archie's plight on the cover of Archie #287 (1979):

Oh, boo hoo, $1.18....

Actually, in fairness, when you adjust for inflation, in 2009 dollars that $1.18 is $3.44, which is just about exactly what regular unleaded is averaging here in Michigan today (#3.425, to be precise).

So I feel your pain, Archie.

Other notes:

A) "Regular." How quaint.

B) Glad to see that Riverdale conforms with the rest of the USA and doesn't use whole cents to price their gas, using $1.18 & 9/10 per gallon instead of $1.19. Does anyone have a clue why gas in the only consumer commodity priced like that? Has anyone ever bought exactly one gallon of gasoline and tried to get their 1/10¢ change back?

C) Look, Siskoid, Betty's reading Hamlet!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Night Fights--Caveman Style!!

Let's get primitive with this week's Friday Night Fights, shall we?

For reasons best left to DC scholars, Superman has traveled back in time "more than a million years." Unfortunately, "back in this primeval period, Earth's sun is red!" So, no powers, and he can't get home. (You'd think Kal-El would have researched something like that before he traveled back there, but hey--Silver Age.)

Head caveman Guarr isn't pleased with this newcomer...and wants his clothes:

Down goes Superman! Down goes Superman!!

Oh, don't worry, Spacebooger--a Superman robot will come back in time to rescue the boss!!

Otto Binder and Wayne Boring show us that cavemen were actually bigger, stronger and tougher than modern man in Action Comics #350 (1967).

Now, unless you want to read the continuing adventures of Guarr in Action Comics, you really should go and vote for my fight this week. Then, maybe (just maybe!) DC will actually let Superman star in Action Comics!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Never, Ever Let Bendis Navigate For Your Vacaton

Well, we already knew that Bendis is...geographically challenged...when it comes his Avengers writing.

It hasn't gotten any better:


Just for the record, Area 51 is NOT in Roswell, New Mexico. Area 51 is next to Groom Lake, in Nevada, almost 800 miles away from Roswell.

Hey, he's only off by 2 states, right? And give him credit, he's only off by one entire time zone!!

Of course, looking that up before writing it would have been out of the question. Or having the editor, you know, edit it? As if!

Confusing Roswell and Area 51? Marvel must be seriously short on nerds right now. It's a good thing these guys weren't writing the X-Files, is all I'm sayin'...

From Avengers #10.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

RIP, Dwayne McDuffie

There's not a lot more I can add to the eloquent eulogies out there today for the tragically departed Dwayne McDuffie. His passing is a loss for the entire comics community.

I do want to add one thing that meant a fair amount to me, that seems to be missing from most of the remembrances of the man's work, and that is his brief but, in my opinion, spectacular run on the Fantastic Four:

It was a short run, only 12 issues. And it kind of got lost between the hype over JMS's Civil War break-up storyline and the much publicized Millar/Hitch run. But I think it displayed a lot of McDuffie's strengths as a writer.

After a fair amount of fan controversy regarding Reed's position in the Civil War, Dwayne found a way to moderate that to something the fans found more acceptable without completely retconning what JMS did. He took what could have been a cheap gimmick, and used Reed and Sue's problems to bring the Black Panther and Storm onto the team, and did it in a way that not only made sense, but emphasized the family concept of the FF.

And he put together the best Frightful Four story in probably 20+ years, and one of the best Doctor Doom stories ever. As a lifetime FF fan, I don't say that lightly.

And that, in a nutshell, showed Dwyane's strengths. When he wasn't creating his own characters, he still was usually able to see to the core of what made the characters great, and find new ways to emphasize that. He understood continuity and could use it without being enslaved by it. He could shake things up in a way that seemed like forward progress instead of hyped wheel-spinning. And he was respectful to the work of others, gently tweaking and massaging other people's plotlines, rather than ignoring them or declaring "that never happened."

I wish his run had been longer (especially given the tumultuous and difficult run at DC that immediately followed). And I wish that Marvel and DC had had the wisdom to see that here was a man who maybe was far better suited to shepherding their universes than some of the big-name writer-gods to whom they've ceded all power to days.

Hasta la vista, Dwayne.

And hey, Marvel, would it kill you to put out a collection of the various Damage Control series?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The. Greatest. Comic. Book. Ever--The Insane Conclusion

Well, Deadman and Sgt. Rock have secured the Batman statue...but it's still been a heckuva day for Batman.

He's had his leg frakked up:

He's had his hands severely burned:

He's almost drowned:

We saw previously he was shot at by a crazed dance hall girl and fell out of a second story window onto his head.

The result...he's in the hospital, wrecked, depressed, and no closer to catching the mad bomber.

But wait, Batman has a secret ally:

Damn, now Alfred will never know how The Sign Of Four finishes! Thanks for ruining his book, ghost of Sherlock Holmes!!

Anyway, this finally leads to Batman's final confrontation with the mad bomber:

So, Lucifer's plan has failed! And boy, is he ticked at his minions (who, it turns out, did absolutely nothing the entire issue after their big roll call scene, they weren't even in a single panel again until the end--that's right, Bob Haney wasted the ghosts of Hitler, Jack The Ripper, etc!):

Ah, but Lucifer gets his now, as Rama Kushna shows up to settle his hash!!

Why didn't she just step in earlier, and fix the whole mess before it happened? DON'T QUESTION BOB HANEY!!

And so our story ends. The Queen is thrilled with her gift...

...and Alfred helps the weary Caped Crusader home, as Haney quotes the Beatles:

So endeth the crazy, crazy, Brave And The Bold Special (a.k.a DC Special Series #8) (1978), where Batman was never even on the same continent as his team-up partners; where the devil has his minions blow up ghetto thee-ay-ters; where the only way to get Sgt. Rock to follow obvious clues is to have his buddy talk like a "limey;" where Batman fails 7 or 8 times, but it's OK, because it was all because of a magic voodoo statue that was stolen from the Queen of England by Satan-worshiping Scottish nationalists; where the ghost of Sherlock Holmes re-writes portions of the Doyle novels to send secret messages to butlers.

It was The. Greatest. Comic. Ever.

OK, no it wasn't. But it was damn sure worth the quarter I paid for it...

The. Greatest. Comic. Book. Ever--Batman's Dance With A Hooker-Witch???

Warning: this next section makes less than zero sense. It may hurt your brain unless lubricated by generous amounts of alcohol. You have been warned.

So, Batman, unaware of all the shenanigans across the pond, has actually found a vital clue in his hunt for the mad bomber:

See, the mad bomber calls himself Lucifer, after his master...

Anyway, Batman uses his extensive knowledge of Gotham to track down the Kiki in the picture, and:

A dance hall? Really? What is this, the 1930s??

It's a good thing Bruce Wayne is rich, huh? Sadly, it's not money well-spent, because Kiki is not terribly helpful...

Then again, Batman's not very nice, even if he did just waste $10.

Meanwhile,back in England...remember how the Batman statue acts like a giant, crazy voodoo doll? Well, that's about to come into play again, because Sgt. Rock has located the statue, hidden in plain sight amongst the rotating statues in a Scottish clock tower:

But in the ensuing gun battle, the clock tower is struck, and the statue starts spinning out of control.

Which means, of course:

Now, why Kiki pulls a gun and starts blasting away like a lunatic is something that a) makes little sense and b) never explained by Bob Haney. But it is a delightfully daffy scene...

Anyway, Kiki must be an awful shot, and the whirling dervish Batman crashes out the window:

So, of course, the same thing happens to the Bat-statue:

And together they go "boom".


I warned you none of that was going to make sense...

From The Brave And The Bold Special (a.k.a. DC Specials Series #8) (1978)

The. Greatest. Comic. Ever--Deadman Tries An English Accent

So, Deadman has been getting clues from the ghost of Sherlock Holmes on the location of the stolen Batman statue (Yes, I really just typed that sentence, and it is 100% true!).

And he has to pass that information on to Sgt. Rock so Easy Company can track it down before Lucifer uses it to torture Batman.

And how, exactly, does Deadman decide to do this?

Deadman decides to talk like "one of those English jokers."

At least, sort of, kind of. "Hark"?? Really?

Now, there is absolutely no indication in the comic of why, exactly, Boston Brand decides to have Bulldozer speak like some Saturday morning cartoon's idea of how an Englishman would speak. I mean, he could have just said "Look at that suspicious cart over there, Sarge," in his regular Bulldozer voice. But no, Deadman opts for "British" for some reason.

I'm sure, somewhere in the recesses of the Haney-verse, it made perfect sense. But we'll never know.

And later, Deadman deliberately goes into his "Limey lingo" again!

"Dash it all"??? "Yon canal"?!?!?!

No, I don't understand, either...

From The Brave And The Bold Special (a.k.a. DC Specials Series #8) (1978)

The. Greatest. Comic. Book. Ever--Nessie!!

Of course, when Rock and Easy Company pull an Apocalypse Now, taking a slow boat across Loch Ness hunting for the stolen Batman statue, you know whom they're going to meet:

Sgt. Rock meets the Loch Ness Monster, and a thousand fan slash/fics suddenly come true.

Disappointingly, this is the ONLY panel Nessie appears in...after he (she?) sinks the Batman statue, he (she?) "disappears." Lucifer's doing? Or is Nessie just fast and sneaky?? Bob Haney isn't interested in details--just keep moving!!

From The Brave And The Bold Special (a.k.a. DC Specials Series #8) (1978)

The. Greatest. Comic. Book. Ever--Bravehart 2!

You need to be careful when you're trying to track down and capture a group on Scottish nationalists. Because even if you're armed with automatic weaponry, and they just have sticks and swords...

...they make it clear that the "easy" in Easy Company stands for "easily beaten."

Of course, in fairness, these are Scottish nationalists who are working for the devil, so maybe it's understandable that Rock and crew got wiped out...

From The Brave And The Bold Special (a.k.a. DC Specials Series #8) (1978)