Thursday, March 31, 2011

Greatest Covers You've Never Seen--Alarming Tales #6 (1958)

By John Severin.

Yet More Proof My Parents Never Loved Me!!

I scratch my poor noggin trying to fathom the reason I never had these as a youth:

Come on, Mom & Dad--7 gigantic dinosaurs for one dollar?? Why, oh why was I so cruelly denied these?

I mean, look:

Prosaurolophus, Mom & Dad--Prosaurolophus, for gosh sakes!!

And, to add insult to injury:

Well, guys, I hope you remember failing to buy these for me when it comes time for me to decide which nursing home you get shoved into...

From Alarming Tales #6 (1958).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tales From The Quarter Bin--The Man Who Talked To Bushes

No, not Karl Rove...this guy:

I dunno--describing Moses as "The Man Who Talked To Bushes" seems to undersell his accomplishments just a wee bit. And, of course, there's the godawful pun:

Ha ha, get it?

You know that you've stumbled upon a find when your comic isn't even mentioned on GCD!! This book was published by Tyndale in 1987, and part of a whole line of children's religious "cosmics":

I've nothing against religious comics, but I do have to point out the cognitive dissonance between the Archies/kiddie style of art and script, and some of the accounts of murder and genocide:


Tyndale did have some comics make the index at GDC, including some adaptations of the Left Behind series of novels. And they also had this little beauty in 1997:

I'm watching the quarter bins for this one...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Apparently, Immigrants CAN Assimilate


Uhhhh....I'm speechless?

Lana Lang, Dinosaur Whisperer!!

As we witnessed last week, Lana Lang saw through a time-viewing machine that in the future, Lois Lane will be Superman's girlfriend. Well, that doesn't sit well with the possessive and manipulative small-town girl, so Lana stalked young Lois to her hometown high school. Her mission: prevent Lois from becoming a reporter, so she'll never go to Metropolis and meet Superman!! Yeah, that's not creepy at all...

Her first attempt was an utter failure, but Lana "doesn't give up easily," as another opportunity presents itself...

Now, most telepathy tests are just simple objects, like circles and squares, presumably on the theory that simple concepts are easier to transmit over the ether. None of that for Dr. Manning, though--he's going for complex figures and complicated names. Why?? Because dinosaurs are cool, bro.

So, of course, Lana decides this is her (latest) big chance:

Now you might think this is a pretty silly plan (and it is), but you forget one crucial element:

Young Lois Lane is so stupid that she can't tell the difference between a voice emanating from her desk and one that's supposed to be inside her head. Maybe she believes your "inner voice" sounds like it's coming from your elbow...

Well, even though it looks like gullible Lois will be tricked into a career of science, Lana has once again run into The Iron Law Of The Silver Age: you cannot change history. And so, at the same time, Superboy is meeting a scientist and a shadowy president at the White House:

So, the obvious plan for testing a explosive too dangerous to be tested on Earth?

That's right, throw it into the sun!! What's the risk? Man, it's a wonder the DC Universe survived the Silver Age...

Ah, but the results of that little test:

D'oh!! Foiled again, Lana.

Don't worry, kids, Lana won't give up her scheme to ruin the future happiness of someone she's never even met just to secure a relationship with a guy who doesn't even like her that much right now and probably wouldn't in the future, either. Tune in soon for Lana Lang: Patron of The Arts!!

Postscript: that dangerous new explosive Superboy tested?

Oh, great, you helped create the atom bomb. Well played, Boy Of Steel--the world thanks you for the next several decades of mortal dread!

From Superboy #90 (1961), as reprinted in Superboy #165 (1970).

Monday, March 28, 2011

Manic Monday--A Cap Of A Different Color

A ways back, I discussed my dislike of Marvel's current style of coloring in many of their books. Specifically, I said:

This style of coloring requires that the color palette in every scene be as washed out as the latest film from a big-name director who can no longer figure out how to make symbolic points except by slapping filters over the lens, and then the film is shown in a cineplex with a cheap-ass manager who thinks that letting the projector bulbs go dim is somehow saving energy, so watching the movie is like trying to experience the world through 4 sets of polarized sunglasses simultaneously.

So, not to beat the dead horse again, but here's damning exhibit A: The cover of Captain America Comics #1 (1941), as it originally appeared...the image was taken from the version at Marvel Digital Comics, unretouched by me in any way:

Then we have the same cover from Marvel's 70th anniversary reprint of the same issue, as recolored by Kai Spannuth:

Same cover, different colors (and type, and UPC box, and...). (Click to embiggen each for closer examination if you wish)

See the masthead, which in the original was the red, white & blue of the American flag? Now it's scarlet, white and gun-metal gray. Clearly an improvement, right? And Cap punching Hitler in the face is much, much better in murky, muted tones than in the old four color glory. Yup, that really jumps off the shelf at you...if you can actually see it.

It's not just the cover...the issue reprints many of the stories from the original CAC #1, and they are all recolored, by various hands/computers, into dour, lifeless palettes.

Your mileage may vary, of course, but I think I've made it pretty clear which I prefer. Why Marvel is on the perpetual trip of trying to make everything dampened and "realistic" is beyond me.

And somehow, if Simon and Kirby could see this version, I'm pretty sure they'd say, "Damn! You need a flashlight to read this!! I thought this was a funny book!!"

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Why You Really Should Have Studied Harder In Math Class

A frustrated mathematical genius is given a glimpse of the future:


But of course, this being a 1950s horror comic, you just know the ironic twist is coming around the bend like a freight train:

A whole week? And presumably you' know...consummated your marriage several times before you noticed she hadn't a single thought in her brain. So....ewwww.

This whole "be careful of what you wish for scenario" was concocted by:

Natas? Why that's just...oh, wait for the big reveal, two disappointing wishes later:

D'oh. You'd think Mr. Science would at least notice that the name of his mysterious crystal-headed to-good-to-be-true benefactor was just Satan spelled backwards.

Then again, you'd think the Prince Of Lies could come up with a better pseudonym. Oh, well, he and Count Alucard are probably kicking back with a snifter of brandy, laughing at how stupid we mortals are...

From Hand Of Fate #23 (1954).

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bold Fashion Choices--Archie: Pants On The Ground!!

As always, the red-headed rascal from Riverdale is way, way WAY ahead of the trends:

Oh, Mrs. Andrews, you must be going out of your mind in 2011...

This is from Betty & Veronica #260 (1977), but it's in the "Archie's Gag Bag" section, and is clearly a reprint from an old syndicated newspaper strip...meaning at the very least Archie was several decades ahead of the fashion curve in "losing his dungarees..."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Night Fights--Gambling Style!!

It's the prize round for this bout of Friday Night Fights, and it has been decreed that we must show a fight wherein the hero takes down one or more thugs/henchmen. And this time, we're playing for money!!

Well, Superboy is glad to oblige. You see, the evil super-gambler Lucifer Chancel has set up a racket in Smallville, wherein he sets up traps and disasters for Superboy, and has goons from across the country wager on the results.

Well, Lucifer--by chance--discovers Superboy's secret identity, and kidnaps Ma and Pa Kent to ensure Superboy's continued compliance.

Not a good idea, because after a trick to convince everyone they have the wrong secret identity, Superboy takes down the legion of gambling goons--replete with gambling lingo:

And of course, we must have a moral to the story:

So don't gamble, kids--unless its a state-supported lottery, of course. Those aren't evil.

(Wagering on Friday Night Fights is also acceptable, as long as Spacebooger has received your parents' permission slips)

Jim Shooter, Al Plastino, and George Klein set up the pins that Superboy knocks down in Superboy #140 (1967).

Now, there is mucho prize money involved in this, so if (if!) you vote for my fight, I can spend that $5 Amazon gift certificate on silly and completely non-important. You wouldn't want me to go without, would you??

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lana Lang: Hussy-Hater!!

Lana Lang has discovered a non-functional "time-viewing machine," which somehow she gets to work for a few moments. But oh, what terrible moments they are!

You know, "hussy" is a word you don't hear often enough these day. Let's all make an effort to call someone a hussy today, shan't we?

Lana sees enough on the viewer to learn that Lois' hometown is nearby Pittsdale, so she finagles a trip to visit an aunt there as an excuse to stalk Lois, and put an end to the future romance:

"Vixen"! There's another one that has sadly faded into disuse. Jerry Coleman was certainly bringing his A-game of mild epithets to this catfight!!

Well, Lana sees her chance to gum up Lois' future as a reporter:

See, guys, back in the Silver Age, teenagers could just wander around schools in strange small towns and rifle through teachers' desks without worrying about armed security guards demanding student ID's and sniffer dogs and random strip searches...

But, as it is the Silver Age, the Iron Law that History Cannot Be Changed is in effect, and so we know Lana's plan will be thwarted. How? It turns out that Superboy just happens to be nearby, and just happens to stop a landslide, and...

"Drat!" (there you go again, potty-mouth Jerry Coleman!). Foiled by modern technology!!!

Don't worry kids--Lana hasn't given up with. She has more sneaky plans to detour that vixenous hussy Lois Lane away from her man! Tune in for future installments of Lana Lang: Hussy-Hater!!

From Superboy #90 (1961) as reprinted in Superboy #165 (1970).

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Remember how, as a young Marvel maniac, you discovered that there here once been a TV series called "The Defenders," before you were even born?

And, as a young and naive Marvel maniac, you were certain that any show with that title had to be great? And you would ponder whether or not it might include the Silver Surfer, or Nighthawk, of if it would just stick to the Big Three? And wonder if it maybe was even better than Batman '66?

And yet it remained a mystery, because in those pre-VHs, pre-Netflix days, there was no way you were ever going to get to see it. And remember how none of the adults around you seemed to remember anything about it, as nuts as that seemed?

And that just made it even better in your mind, because with no reality to compare it to, the concept of a Defenders television show kept growing brighter and more exciting in your mind. Oh, the infinite possibilities--were there episodes guest-starring the Guardians Of The Galaxy?

And then, the rapturous day came, when your mother told you that she had been at the flea market, and she had actually found some comic book versions of that very TV show you had been bugging everybody about!

And you slowly pulled them out of the bag, ready to be bedazzled by the sheer awesomeness that you knew these comics had to possess.

And... discovered the crushing bitterness of disappointment, and your youthful dreams of how bright and shiny the world could be died an excruciating death.

At least, until you found out there had been a show call The Avengers...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This Am Zod Me Want!!

Superboy is using a Kryptonian "thought helmet" to receive a mental history lesson about some of Krypton's greatest criminals:


Yes, in Zod's very first appearance, he tried to use an army of "imperfect duplicates" of himself to take over Krypton. Because an army of dummies with a poor grasp of grammar is a wonderful way to overthrow a super-science society. "Me want to overthrow Krypton" indeed!!

And, as he gets banished into the Phantom Zone for the stupidest coup plot ever, enjoy his uncomfortably tight shorts:

So, what I'm saying is, I really hope this is the Zod we get for the new Superman movie: Viggo Mortensen* as a buffoon in tight shorts who creates a ton of imperfect imitations of himself because that's the best way he could think of to conquer Krypton.

Because nobody said Zod had to be smart...ruthless and evil, sure, but not smart.

*(Editor's note: yeah, we just read that Viggo is not actually going to be in Superman: Man Of Steel. But it's late, snell is tired, and there's no way he's going to go back and re-write anything at this point. Please feel free to insert your own favorite actor into the Zod role.)

From Adventure Comics #283 (1961), as reprinted in Superboy #165 (1970).