Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Comics I Wish I Had--Lois Lane #38

The glory of DC's "cover first" practice--wherein the editor frequently came up with the cover idea first, and then passed it along to the creative team to make a story from it--was that it did produce some pretty "I've got to read this" covers. Case in point: Lois Lane #38 (1963):

I mean, come on, who doesn't want to read this story, and figure out which women would accept Kal-El as a powerless mortal, and which wouldn't??

FACT: Superman is so smooth, he proposes to two ladies at the same time--in the same room!! Word.

Then again, it's the Silver Age, so the characterization of our heroines is sufficiently flimsy and/or non-existent that there's essentially no way to guess from their personalities whether Lana or Lois would still marry Superman. It's a coin flip/writer's whim.

Still then again, it is the Silver Age, so I'd gladly wager a dollar that the one who "refuses" powerless Superman is not really refusing him, but doing it a) to protect him, or b) to goad him into rehabbing himself back into super-powerdom, because she some some little clue that indicates that Superman is faking, or that all psychosomatic, or whatever.

Finally, let me quibble with the cover blurb, because I'm pretty certain that whoever wrote it had never actually read "The Lady Or The Tiger." Because in the that story, the consequence of making the wrong decision is to be devoured by a ravenous man-eating beast, whereas in this story the worst that can happen is Superman marries Lana...

Oooooh, I get it...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Manic Monday Non-Stop--The Eighth Wonder Of The World

Curt Swan homages King Kong:

From Action Comics #295 (1962)

Manic Monday Thank You Sir May I Have Another--Superman Goes Gangsta

East coast Krypton versus West coast Krypton:

What, Superman doesn't even keep Kandor in a bulletproof bottle??

From Action Comics #295 (1962)

Manic Monday Double Secret Probation--Tell Us What You Really Think, Kal-El

Superman decides to tell his friends what he really thinks of them:

Oh, don't worry--that's not what Kal-El really thinks (wink, wink). You see, Dixo and Vagu of the Superman Revenge Squad are using a "telepathic signal gun" which is "tuned to Superman's brain" to "bombard his mind with hypnotic commands to do anything" they want.

So why don't they just order him to kill himself??


They also order him to dis on the United Nations:

Yes, you can make Superman do anything that you want him to, and you settle for making him a jerk. I guess for the Superman Revenge Squad, revenge is a dish best served stupid.

In fairness, they later make him nudge the orbit of the moon, causing tidal waves and leaving Atlantis a "watery ruin"--but no actual casualties, apparently. So there's a tiny bit of ambition there. But then again, it just demonstrates how stupid they are--they have a guy who can move freakin' planets under their control, and they're settling for making people hate Superman. Schmucks!

From Action Comics #295 (1962)

Manic Monday Bonus--Journalistic Ethics At the Daily Planet

Superman did something pretty heinous, and now it's time for the Daily Planet to write the story:

And that's how you win a Pulitzer, folks!!

Lois inspires Woodward and Bernstein in Action Comics #295 (1962)

Manic Monday--You've Come A Long Way, Baby

Supergirl's new friend, Lena Thorul, has a grand goal in life:

She always dreamed of being a secretary. That was her ambition.

Oh, 1962, don't ever change...

From Action Comics #295 (1962)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Most Ludicrously Underwhelming Use Of Marvel Girl's Powers--Chapter #3

When you have a teammate as powerful as Jean Grey...

...you NEVER need ice packs!!

From X-Men #9 (1965)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Don't Mess With Godzilla

Well, well, well. This blog has finally paid off.

I was the proud winner of this round of Friday Night Fights, with what must sure be the greatest display of monster-on-monster action in comic book history.

So thank you to everyone who voted for me, and thank you to Spacebooger for taking the time and effort to host our grand game of paneled pugilistics.

And a special thanks to writer Ryan Colucci, because this round of FNF had a special grand prize:

A donated, ahead-of-the-official-release copy of the new graphic novel Harbor Moon.

I haven't read it yet, I don't even know what it's about, really, but I'm certain I'll enjoy it, and I'll discuss it more when I receive it. So a big thank you to Ryan Colucci, Dikran Ornekian and Pawel Sambor for contributing a keen prize to our silly game.

So really, Grant Morrison, what's the hold-up keeping you from donating an autographed Absolute All-Star Superman to us??

The two major lesson to draw from this?

A) Get off your butts and participate!! Friday Night Fights is free to all comers, and you get to show off your love for comics, and have some fun, and gain plenty of free exposure for your blog/livejournal/website, and show Batman kicking people in the face. What could be better? And you might win free stuff, too! All you need is a scanner & some comic books!! So come play with us!!


Don't #%^& with Godzilla!

Friday, November 26, 2010

What happens When You Try Drawing Comics While Watching A House Marathon

Hmmm...with Matt Murdock no longer a member of the bar in good standing, and She-Hulk meandering around with all that "Way Too Many Hulks" nonsense, Marvel's hero community is suddenly in dire need of a go-to person when it comes to legal representation.

Hey, remember Bernie Rosenthal, from the all-too-short Stern/Byrne run on Captain America in the early 1980s?

Well, at some point she graduated from glass-blower to high-powered lawyer. And when she's brought in to defend Captain Bucky in his criminal case, we can see the other upgrade:

She's now played by actress Lisa Edelstein.

Either that, or Dr. Cuddy from House, M.D. is moonlighting as an attorney. Which might be kinda cool, because that would mean House is in the Marvel Universe, and I'd love to see him try to work on Wolverine.

Butch Guice was the casting director/artist for Captain America #612.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful For Spider-Man

No, I'm not just thankful that Spider-Man is one of the bestest characters ever.

No, I'm thankful because maybe, just maybe, we were lucky to get Spider-man at all.

Yes, we all know Amazing Fantasy #15 introduced Webhead, and was wildly popular, and featured one of the greatest, most iconic story ever.

But people forget, that was only one of the Lee/Ditko stories from AF #15!! Stories with big old splash pages establishing a high concept and ending in a patented Lee/Ditko sad irony. These stories could have caught fire just as easily as Spider-Man, couldn't they? And, as the "Fan Page" makes clear, what stories they ran in AF were all about doing what the fans wanted:

So, as the Watcher tells us, had a few more people written letters praising other stories, Marvel history could have been very different.

For example, a few more letters, and we soon could have been treated to a new series starring The Amazing Bell-Ringer:

This could have been a Phantom Stranger type situation...the mysterious Bell-Ringer who appears at times of trouble, helping out the frightened townspeople and tolling against evil!

Or, perhaps, The Spectacular Man In The Mummy Case:

A series set in the past? Certainly DC had no qualms about that type of thing. The Adventures of A Connecticut Crook In Ramses Court, say, as a 20th century man struggles to survive, and eventually rise to power, in ancient Egypt. Let's just this guy has also memorized the dates of eclipses in the ancient world!

Or, finally, we could have had your Friendly Neighborhood Martian:

I can see a Lee/Ditko continuing series about a Martian, posing as human, as he tries to free his wife from government activity in Area 51 even as he is pursued by other Marvel heroes, and he meets the Hulk, and...

Yeah, OK, none of these other stories were much more than the standard late 50s/early 60s Twilight Zone-lite knock-offs, and none were particularly likely to catch on better than Spider-Man. But then again, if the Post Office loses a few letters, if a whole bunch of Bell-Ringer fans suddenly find themselves motivated to write, if The Man In The Mummy Case decides to bargain with Mephisto to become more prominent...

Oh, never mind. Go watch the Lions lose.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

More Proof I Should Have Been Born Decades Earlier

Doo doo dee...whatever shall I do today?

A new toy? Great!!

Just one dollar?!? I'm so down with that! But please...tell me more!

Hey, I LOVE sensational values!!

Goggles?? Man, this is sounding better and better!!

Head bands?? A rubber covered fabric face?? This is getting more and more intriguing!! Tell me more!

Wait--air intake and exhaust valves? What the...???

Whoa...fun AND useful?? Forget my previous questions. I want one...NOW!!

Uh...by the way...what is it??




Yes, in 1946 this outfit was selling ACTUAL army surplus gas masks...as children's toys.

Damn, for the first time in my life, I am so jealous of the toys my parents had available to them...

Ad from Clue Comics #10 (1946).

Monday, November 22, 2010

Labor-Saving Games

From Secrets Of The Sinister House #16 (1974):

Pop-o-Whatzit, now?

In the 1960's, Kohner Brothers came up with a new game--Trouble!!

Trouble in and of itself wasn't particularly innovative. It wasn't really different from Parcheesi or Sorry in any substantial way...except for this:

Ah, yes, the Pop-O-Matic bubble. Apparently, in 1965, Americans were becoming too lazy to roll their own dice...

Oh, yes, I can acknowledge the two main advantages of Pop-O-Matic: A) You couldn't lose the die; and B) Your older brother couldn't cheat with his funky rolling of the die.

Still, as underwhelming as it seems today, Trouble was pretty damn popular. So popular, in fact, Kohner spun off the Pop-O-Matic concept into every other game they could. First came Headache:

But soon it began to smack of desperation (or perhaps a need to use up the truckloads of Pop-O-Matic bubbles they had purchased), as Kohner began to throw those Pop-O-Matics onto games that had never before needed dice...like checkers?

Really?? You need a die for checkers??

Or bingo???

And don't even ask me what this is:

But even though the the Pop-O-Matic bubble eventually burst, Trouble is still going strong today. Eventually bought by Milton Bradley, and then Hasbro, you can still get Trouble and it's exciting "Hey, look, I'm actually rolling the dice" action. And not just in its normal version, but in "celebrity" editions as well, such as Toy Story and Star Wars.

BONUS: "Available in these fine stores"?? How many of these even exist today??