Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Resolution--Be More Like Zemo!

So, a man has come to deliver supplies to a "remote, unexplored South American jungle."

And whom do we find there?

Oh, Zemo--dominating the natives so they have to carry you around on their shoulders? How cliche!!

What else do you have?

OK, that's more like it!!

You guys know any big group that wants to volunteer to throw themselves on the ground so my feet don't touch the soil? I don't want to get my kicks dirty...

From Avengers #6 (1964)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Best Of The Best

Pound for pound, the best Avengers line-up ever:

I will admit to nostalgia-colored glasses here, in part. This was the team when I first started "getting into" comics, so obviously they have a special place in my heart.

But aside from the slight redundancy with both Wasp and Yellowjacket, this is about as nicely-balanced a set of powers and personalities as you're going to find.

It didn't last terribly long...Wonder Man came in almost immediately, and Thor kept showing up intermittently (part of the Collector's machinations). The began the Michael saga, and the (real) Guardians Of The Galaxy came, along with practically everyone who had ever been an Avenger...

And whatever your opinion of that team above is, you have to admit that it's 450 times better than this line-up:


From Avengers #151 (1976) and Avengers #300 (1989).

Hank Pym (And Hawkeye) COnfuse The Media!

The Avengers are choosing a new line-up!!

And as filler/a framing device, the media is giving us Avengers history.

Things get puzzling when they get to Hank Pym...

When reporters admit they don't understand the topics they're covering!! Tonight at 11!

I hope this poor reporter is retired now, because with several more identity changes/mental breakdowns, he would probably find Pym even more confusing. And with new costumes and female Hawkeyes, well, his poor head would explode.

From Avengers #151 (1976)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Yes, I'm Still Obsessing On Cowboys Fighting Nazis On Mars!

So, remember back in 1953, when...

Holy crap!!

But Paris wasn't alone!

So, when a bunch of mysterious nuclear explosions start wiping out the world's biggest cities, who do you call?

You call a gang of cowboys (and a native American)--Spurs Jackson And The Space Vigilantes!!

Yup, strap on your six shooter and load your rifle--we're going into space!!

The Pentagon--cowboys, and people in tuxedos!!

Well, after "science," they know the bombs are coming from--Mars!!

Yeah--primitive Martians could never bomb us!

Still, there's just one option--put the cowboys in a spaceship, and send the to the red planet!!

Well, after more science, the Space Vigilantes find a suspicious structure on Mars...and:


Well, of course our heroes turn to tables on the rats, and put on their uniforms so they can pull a Luke Skywalker and march right into Space Nazi HQ:

So why are Nazis on Mars?

And you thought they fled to Argentina...

Wait a minute..."the leader"??

So what do you do with captured Mars Nazis?

Well, that seems fair.

But what about that "leader"?

Hitler?!? Spurs Jackson and The Space Vigilantes are going after Hitler--on Mars?!?!

OMG, I must read that now!


And I can't find the next issue, Space Western #45 (1953), anywhere...except one site that was selling it for $180 bucks!!!

Maybe I'll launch a Kickstarter...

From Space Western Comics #44 (1953)

Monday, December 28, 2015

Manic Monday Triple Overtime--Mano A Mano

Look, if DC is going to insist on having Batman fight Superman, because that somehow leads to justice, can we at the very least insist on a straight up gladiator fight?

Isn't that much more tolerable? No innocent bystanders, no collateral damage...just pump in some of the original Star Trek fight music, and you've got you're damned movie!!

Or, if shields and swords are too boring for you:

Of course, if we have to have a Superman vs. Somebody movie, you know who it should be:

Because, man, I would buy an awful lot of tickets to watch Kal-El pummel Hal Jordan...

World's Finest Comics #143 is from 1964, #163 from 1966. and #201 from 1971

Manic Monday Bonus--Got Milk?

I believe that I have uncovered the plot for the forthcoming Wonder Woman movie:

FYI, "Paula" is the Baroness Paula Von Gunther, Nazi spy and long-time Wonder Woman foe, before she reformed...

Perhaps Wonder Woman should have let the plot succeed, sparing the next generation from excessive fat and calories and lactose intolerance and prostrate cancer and...

Then again, looking at the price of milk today, perhaps the Baroness' plan did succeed...

From The Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia (2010)

Manic Monday--The Only Canadian X-File!

My blog-buddy Siskoid is finishing up his daily dose of covering The X-Files in the next day or so.

As a tribute, I'd like to present the one and only time that aliens actually visited Canada (after all, Canadians are much too nice to collaborate with alien conquerors, unlike we scummy Americans!):

As Criswell said, PROVE IT DIDN'T HAPPEN!!!

So next time you meet a rich Canadian, remember that they're probably really a Britisher dumped there by aliens!!

From Space Western #42 (1953)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Best Genre Mash-Up Comic Of All Time!!!

For my 4000th post (so what? Big deal!), I'd like to take a look at the ultimate comic book ever--one that has everything good in one newsprint wrapper:

Yes, this comic has cowboys.

Cowboys fighting Nazis.

Cowboys fighting Nazis...ON MARS!!!!

And yes, this really happens!

From 1948 through 1952, Charlton published a nondescript little title, Cowboy Western Comics:

Not much to see there.

But in late 1952, things drastically changed with issue #40:

True to its word, Space Western #40 introduced Spurs Jackson and his Space Vigilantes. And the world had a science-fiction western on it's hands!!

I'm not sure why this happened, except perhaps Charlton was trying to catch onto the sci-fi trends that was just barely beginning to bubble through American pop culture. And why not combine it with a western?

Whatever the reason, the creative pedigree was remarkable. The lead feature, Spurs Jackson and his Space Vigilantes, was created and written by pulp legend Walter Gibson, who wrote hundreds (thousands?) of Shadow stories for the pulps and comic strips.

The art for the first issue was mostly by John Belfi. But with the second issue, art chores passed to Golden Age veteran Stan Campbell (here's a nice appreciation of his work).

And we were off to the races:

Set in the "future" of 1955, Gibson and Campbell created a bizarre world, where cowboys armed with 6-shooters would help the U.S. Army repel alien invasions, or keep the commies from using their space bases to nuke us!

Oh, and Earth had space bases, too. And Spurs was also sort of our ambassador to Mars. And...oh, did I mention that the cowboys had their own spaceships? And between round-ups and repelling aliens, they would travel the solar system?

That's one helluva cover by Campbell, clearly homaging the classic Wally Wood Spirit splash page from a few months earlier:

A cowboy western comic homaging a crime comic set in space. What a world!!

Then came the cover I started this post off with...oh, heck, it's a beauty, so let's look at it again!

This was the start of the two part classic where escaped Nazis established themselves on Mars, and were nuking--yes, nuking--Earth cities. So why not send a bunch of cowboys in a rocket to put them down?

And, yes, Hitler was there. And Spurs killed him.

But that was it. After 6 gloriously nutty issues, Charlton decided to go back to boring old Cowboy Western Comics...

...which was followed by Cowboy Western Heroes, which changed to Cowboy Western, which became Wild Bill Hicock And Jingles. Such was life at Charlton...

And that's why I love comic books, and why I'm still doing this after 4,000 posts. No matter how many I've read, there's still so much more to discover. Titles I never knew existed, insane ideas churned out with glee (and sometimes great skill), unexpected authors and illustrators appearing in the most unexpected places, homage covers back in 1953, for heaven's sake!!!

And on a good day, you'll find cowboys. Fighting Nazis. ON MARS.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Confused Holiday Greeting?

You know, you foreigners have some straaaaange traditions... but what the hey:

I still don't get what this has to do with the holidays, but hey, goodwill (and devastating right hooks) to all, right?

From All-New Collectors' Edition #C-56 (1978). Yes, that was it's actual name. Because DC had a real crisis of imagination when it came to naming and numbering their series of Treasury Editions...