Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Picture This Scene With Jimmy Stewart And Kim Novak!!

Count Vertigo has Black Canary pretty flummoxed in his first appearance...

Still not as good as Hitchcock...

From World's Finest Comics #251 (1976), art by Trevor Von Eeden and Vince Colletta

Bold Fashion Choices--The World's Finest Team Goes Commando!!

I know that many of you have been asking the same question that I have been asking for years: Boxers or briefs, Superman? Thong or Underoos, Batman?

It turns out that we were all wrong.

Superman is inspecting some mysterious energy that seems to have infected his uniform. And, well...

Damn!! I guess he really was wearing his underwear on the outside the whole time!!

Meanwhile, simultaneously...

OK, not a lot left to the imagination there.

So, Earth's two greatest super-heroe's wear nothing--NOTHING!!!--under their costumes!!


Boys, what would Martha say? (Either Martha!!)

From World's Finest Comics #251 (1976). And yes, the brain of George "Gorilla Boss" Dyke plays a crucial role in this story. Go figure.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Manic Monday Triple Overtime--Another Way Millennial Are Spoiled!

It's 1942 on Earth-2, and Wonder Woman is trying to sneak Black Canary into a Nazi fortress.

Oh, that's "our" Black Canary, Ollie's girlfriend. This tale involves time travel and dimension-hopping and threats to all existence and stuff. Sort of a proto-Flashpoint.

Anyway, Wonder Woman is trying to sneak Black Canary into a Nazi fortress:

OK--I would pay any amount of money if the second Woman film shows us Amazons shooting bullets at babies. Or is it babies shooting bullets at each other?!?!?!

Even allowing for dramatic license and exaggeration, we still need to see Bullets-And-Bracelets with children. No wonder Amazons were so tough. You don't see today's kids doing that.

But..."we" play it in "infancy"? How many infants did the Amazons have? So confusing...

Aside: If Themyscira (and/or Paradise Island, since we're on Earth-2) was hidden away from the world of man for so long, where did they get revolvers? And bullets?

From World's Finest Comics #250 (1976)

Manic Monday Bonus--Maybe We Could Ship One Of These To North Korea?

Nick Fury has been kidnapped!! Tony Stark has been put in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D. combat operations! He's building a giant-ass whajamahoozis!

Where is Fury? The Fixer and Mentallo have him!!

Alright, as death traps go, "welding him to an honest-to-God H-bomb" is a pretty good one, you have to admit.

But did I mention that Tony Stark is on the case?


Yes, Tony Stark invented a device that melts hydrogen bombs! Apparently with no radiation danger!!

Granted, it's not terribly portable, but give Stark a couple of days...he'll miniaturize it! And no one will ever be threatened by nuclear weaponry again!!

From Strange Tales #143 (1966)

Manic Monday--You've (Not) Come A Long Way, Baby!!

It may have been the 1970s, with "women's lib" and all that, but there's still certain things you had to do in a certain way...



The title of this one-pager?

I suspect that the letterer should have bolded, italicized, and double-underlined the "HIM," just to properly put across the author's intent.

And no, I have no idea what our manly man is wearing around his neck. Maybe it's a time travel device to take him back to an era when women would never dare to usurp a male prerogative like proposing marriage...

From Secret Romance #41 (1976)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Tales From The Quarter Bin--Cosmic Boy As Romance Comic Advice Columnist?!?

There's nothing surprising about romance comics having advice columns. Many of them did, back in the day.

Hell, I like to imagine Jack Kirby chomping on a cigar as he answered desperate letters from love-sick teens, advising them on their love lives, or giving hair-care tips.

But there was something special about Charlton romance comics in the mid-70s:

Buck Mason--no relation to the clothing store, as far as I know--had an advice column in many of Charlton's romance comics, starting in 1975, and continuing through 1980.

Of course, it is the 70s--and this particular comic, I Love You #119, is from 1976, one of the most 70s years of the 1970s. so of course, you can't have an advice column without a trippy logo.

So, Buck Mason presents:

Buck's Bag!!

Now in all likelihood, "Buck Mason" was just a pseudonym for one of the editors, or whichever intern was being punished that month.

But what if...Buck Mason were a real person?


Look, I'm 99.999999% certain that the editor was loathe to runs two full pages of text, so they just re-purposed some Enrique Nieto art from another story to use.

But what if...what if that's the real Buck Mason?!?

I would totally take advice from that guy! Just look at the woman on his arm! See the way everybody is gazing at him with adoration! Dig those clothes!! Every woman loves him. Every man wants to be him!!

So, despite what is surely a most mundane reality, I choose to believe that there really was a Buck Mason, and he and his girl were probably members of the Mike Grell-era Legion Of Super-Heroes who came back to our time to set history right, by giving love advice to certain teenagers, making sure certain relationships did (or didn't) happen, in order to protect the future from Darkseid. (That might be the best story idea I've ever had, which is why I'm not allowed to write comics)

Buck Mason, ladies and gentlemen.

Buck Freakin' Mason.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Wrong Kind Of Legacy!

Gee, it's been almost two years since I've slagged the Punisher.

Well, let's take care of that, shall we?

Marvel continues to put out "primers" on the lead characters to launch Legacy. And gee, this week they released one on good old Frank Castle (it's free on Comixology!!)

And how does Marvel choose to represent their...um...hero?

Ah, there's your Legacy...the Punisher shooting at two different heroes, and blowing the head off a kneeling man. Look, kids--comics!

(And yes, I know, those were "mercy bullets" he used on Daredevil. But those were real bullets Frank was shooting at Spider-Man, as he believed the Jackal that Spidey was a murderer. And the Punisher tried to murder an innocent man.)

Oh, and you can never forget the comical self-justification:

"Never letting any criminal off easy" means executing them in cold blood, without trial or due process. Or blowing their heads off while they're kneeling.

"The innocent will be protected." Unless you're Spider-Man. Or someone else Frank made a mistake about.

Of course, he (and Marvel) never seem to consider that the crooks the Punisher executes might have families themselves. So "preventing families from enduring what he went through" is a straight-up lie. There are thousands of widows and orphans out there who probably don't feel like they've been "protected" by Frank's bloodlust.

Bonus reminder: Punisher sided with Hydra during Secret Empire.

So, you know, I don't care if they're dressing Frank up in Rhodey's old armor. The Punisher sucks, no matter the wardrobe.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Friday Night Fights--After-Image Style!!

This week's Friday Night Fights shows why the Flash is never outnumbered!!

The Flash has beaten Mirror Master, and left him for the Central City police to pick up.

Bad move, because the rest of the Rogues rescue his unconscious body, and take it to their hideout.


The CW show should be this much fun...

Spacebooger wishes the Trickster was using his special yo-yos, instead of a boring old dart gun.

Fists faster than the eye can see from Flash #256 (1977), by Carey Bates, Irv Novick and Frank McLaughlin

Now is the time for you to go and vote for my fight. Why? Flash just beat up more crooks in one fight than in everyone else's Friday Night Fights combined (I'm guessing). So go vote!!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Gilligan Could Have Used His Help!!

Popeye and company are stranded on an uncharted island in the middle of the ocean, and it's Popeye's job to build them shelter.


Daaaaamn, Popeye.

While you're at it, I've got a few bookshelves that need assembling...

From Popeye #63 (1962), as reprinted in Classic Popeye #63 (2017)

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Dial E For Eternity--The Weirdest Origin Story Ever?

OK, maybe not really the weirdest...

...but Hit Comics #25 (1942) is a very odd story for a Golden Age comic.

Now, I've read an awful lot of Golden Age origin stories, and the general operating procedure is usually get the origin--the gaining of powers or adopting the identity--over as quickly as possible and get on to the fighting bad guys. There are exceptions, of course. But with the limited space in anthology titles, and the low likelihood that any one character would become a hit, why waste time world-building? Wait until they become popular, then expand the origin and backstory!!

Not Kid Eternity, though. This first story is almost nothing except world building!

Apologies for the poor quality of some of the panels to follow. You work with what you've got...

We begin with a Criswell-type challenge:

OK, sure. Why not?

This is all in service of...KID ETERNITY!!

It's 1942, and it's a tough time to be a merchant ship in the Atlantic!

A youngster spies a German sub...

...the ship tries to defend itself...


The Nazi torpedoes don't miss...

Death ensues...

This is probably a good time to remind you that in 1991, Grant Morrison retconned it so this wasn't actually the Kid's Gran'Pa, but a sexual predator who took young children out to sea to abuse them. So, fuck you, Grant Morrison.

The ship sinks...

...and the vicious Nazis make sure there are no survivors.

Well, that's the end of the story, right? Nope, because an American destroyer arrives, and:

But they were to late to save Kid!

Now, let me point out that we are at the end of page six, and our hero still doesn't have powers. That's pretty leisurely for a Golden Age book.

Also, note that the villains have already been beaten, by other folks. In the typical book, the hero would gain powers, and then go stomp the villains himself.

Not Kid Eternity, though. Now settle in for nine pages of crackpot theology!!

We end up in what looks like a pretty standard version of heaven:

Ah, but there's a wrinkle:

Please note that, until DC retconned him from Earth-X to Earth-S in the 70s, Kid had no name. None that we ever learned (or he ever remembered). Just Kid.


Now, this was late 1942. 1941 was the release of the critical and popular success, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, which operated on the exact same premise: a man looked like he was going to die, the angel took him "before his time," and they had to rectify the error. So, you know, totally ripped off. Ahh, but who would pay attention to a 10¢ comic book?

We can also ask exactly what shape the Kid would have been in if he we was supposed to have survived, bullet-ridden and half drowned. There's a What If for someone...

OK, look, however old you may believe the Earth is, there's no way Mr. Keeper was fetching souls for two million years. Unless he was fetching animal souls...or alien souls. Maybe he was engaged in some other service for 1,981,467 years before humans emerged?

Anyway, we have a remedy for the Kid:

In Mr. Jordan, the guy's body was cremated before they got him back to Earth, so they had to find another recently deceased corpse for him to inhabit. I know, ewww. Here, though, Keeper puts Kid back into his original body--filled with lead and no doubt nibbled on by fish...but hey, there's no place like home, right?

And like Green Lantern, Kid gets his own oath:

The oath is swiftly forgotten--I don't think it's ever used again--but here we see the similarity to the Marvel Family: a magic word & lightning!

Mr. Keeper takes Kid on a tour of heaven Eternity!

We're 11 pages in--11!--and we still don't have any powers, or a purpose for the Kid. But by all means, continue your tour of Eternity!

So, wait...heaven has "recorded" all of the "greatest deeds of history and mythology"? Why? Is that, like, heavenly Netflix?!?


They've also recorded metaphors and symbolic representations!

Yes, Keeper, isn't it about time you broke the news to the Kid about how you frakked up?

OK, now throw in the reward, so he won't blame you!

Wait--you accidentally ended my life 75 years early--and now it MY responsibility to fight evil?!?

Now, note, in the earliest appearances, the Kid didn't just summon heroes of the past--he literally became them!! So, again, like Billy Batson becoming Captain Marvel, with attributes of gods and legends. But also like Dial H For Hero, he can be a different hero every time!

Yeah, and there's other perks of the job:

So, what the hell do we have here? A premise borrowed from an Oscar-winning movie of the previous year, in a comic story in which the hero doesn't even use his main power once in the story. The villains are rousted by outside hands, and the Kid never gives them a second thought. We start with a WWII story which suddenly takes a nine-page detour into heaven, establishing a very, very weird afterlife.

Goddamn I love this comic book.

So, surprisingly enough, after our first story, our list of whom Kid Eternity has summoned--the purported reason for this feature--is:

Nobody 1.

It won't remain that way for long...