Monday, April 30, 2018

Manic Monday Triple Overtime--Maybe If He Had A White Gold Ring...?

Now, I've read a lot of crime comics in my day. But I've never read one where the crime was...well, we'd best wait for the reveal.

We begin with NYC Detective Mark Fabian receiving an anonymous tip (appropriate for a comic called The Informer):

Well, they go there, and bust down the door...but Mike Reeves doesn't seem like much of a threat!

A search of his crib produces nothing!

Reeves' brother shows up!

Well, despite  lack of any evidence of actual crime, they haul Mike Reeves down to the station, and thanks to the miracles of modern communications...

And then Fabian notices the vital clue:

And so, with an intuitive flash:

Leper! Outcast! Unclean!

Yup, in 1954, leprosy was a police matter!!

Well, the local health department alleviates most of their worries...

But wait...who was the anonymous informant?!?

So you turned him in to the police!! What a good brother!!

Let's see Dragnet do an episode about leprosy!!

From The Informer #5 (1954)

Manic Monday Bonus--Bendis Is Leaving!!

This quote from Bendis was floating around the Twitters last week:

A lot of people took exception to his apparent dissing of Superman's rogues gallery.

I'll let Superman fans handle that one.

But dissing Iron Man's rogues gallery? Are you nuts?

This from the man who thought bringing in The Hood (twice), with exactly the same scheme he used when Bendis brought him in as the Avengers big bad, was a good idea.

So let's just take a little survey from the late 70's & 80s. These guys were all available when Bendis "had issues" with finding good Iron Man villains.

Let's not even do the Mandarin, or Ultimo. Let's see what else was available. I'm sure he'd dismiss Mandarin as "done to death." So let's see who else there is.

The Guardsman (or Guardsmen)--Tony Stark designed armor that drove the user--your best friend--mad?! What's not to love? Yeah, nothing there to "dig deep into the wounds" of Tony Stark.

Look--a Maggia leader modeling himself after a Greek myth? And his daughter, herself a dangerous criminal with a tragically scarred face, is your girlfriend?!? Gee, sorry these weren't as good as you wanted. (In fairness, Bendis did use Madame Masque, but more a way to introduce the all-new, all-mystic Victor Von Doom into the supporting cast).

Unicorn--a criminal whose costume is both killing him and driving him insane, and used as a disposable pawn my every criminal mastermind in the book.

Spymaster. Come on, Bendis--SPYMASTER. A super-duper industrial espionage agent who has the coolest toys. You can't find a story for him?

Melter! Blizzard! Whiplash!! 

Sure, minor leaguers, maybe...but they always seem to find someone to pay to upgrade their powers enough to become a serious threat to Tony. Plus, Bendis is all about criminal mastermind uniting the underworld (see his many, many Hood stories). So these guys would fit right in!

Dreadnought!! Hydra-designed robots with seemingly infinite weapons systems that were later rented out to the Maggia and were later given Super-Adaptoid technology? No-brainer!!

Titanium Man!!! A bigger guy in bigger armor who represents the apotheosis of Iron Man's philosophy. You think Putin wouldn't still employ him?!?

Look, Bendis might have healed Doom's face, and had him reform, and dedicate himself to the mystic arts in one of Tony Stark's stolen armors (??) and impregnate Tony's girlfriend (no, I'm not making that up) and lose a fight with The Hood because sure, why not? But instead of all that, Doom should be a perfect villain for Tony Stark. Sigh...

Living Laser!! You can never go wrong with lasers!!

MODOK! If you can't find a use for MODOK, why are you writing comics?

The Ghost!! Industrial saboteur who can turn invisible and intangible? Good enough for the Ant-Man and The Wasp movie. Not good enough for Bendis.

Crimson Dynamo. See Titanium Man. Except he's crimson!!

Grey Gargoyle!! A French scientist who can turn people an things into stone!! Sacre Bleu!!

And then there's this guy:

Seriously, though. If you can't find something worthwhile in Iron Man's rogues gallery, well, you're not really trying.

Maybe Bendis can take The Hood with him to DC...?

Manic Monday--Yet Another Job My Guidance Counselor Never Told me About!

You know, I could use some extra dough.

Maybe I could get a job as a police informant! 

I mean, how tough could it be?

Gee...maybe being an informer isn't in my skill set. I'll just leave that for someone else, I guess...

The Informer #1,2,3 &5 are from 1954)

Sunday, April 29, 2018

What's In A Name--Kitty Pryde!!

You know what's always baffled me?

Kitty Pryde.

Not the character, per se, but her super-hero name. Or lack thereof. And why no sobriquet, no trademarkable name, has ever stuck.

There are others, of course. The peripatetic Luke Cage started out as "Hero For Hire," and later spent a whole issue deciding to become "Power Man" (and even fought someone later over the "rights" to the name). When I was out of comics, he apparently decided to drop the Power Man, and become just Cage, or Luke Cage. But even in his case, he actually had those names, they were used on the cover, and Marvel has preserved the trademarks by endowing them to other teams/characters.

For some reason, Marvel Girl fell out of fashion, so when she's not being Phoenix, Jean Gray's series was just called...Jean Gray.

Of course, her hypothetical daughter, Rachel, also goes through the names like Beyonce goes through costumes at a concert--Phoenix, Marvel Girl, Hound, Prestige, Revenant...but at least they keep trying.

But Kitty Pryde? 35 years later, she's still just Kitty. And they've given up.

Yeah, she more or less sort of adopted Sprite, at one point. And Ariel. (BTW, since when did Xavier let students choose their own nicknames? Does that mean Hank McCoy chose to be called the Beast?!?) And yeah, she became Shadowcat, which supposedly was more or less permanent. As if.

But Marvel's own character pages have her listed under Kitty Pryde, and their official wiki has her not as Shadowcat, but as "Pryde, Kitty." The 1985 version of The Official Handbook Of The Marvel Universe did list her under Shadowcat, for whatever that's worth...

And the "wedding of the century?" Go ahead and Google it. 99.9% of the headlines refer to the marriage of Colossus and Kitty Pryde, not "Colossus and Shadowcat," not "Piotr and Kitty." Even in a massive media event and press release, others have to use their hero names, and she stays Kitty Pryde.

You'd think that Marvel would have some interest in giving her a trademarkable name, at least. But in the only series that have her name in the title (as far as I know...I doubtless missed some), it's been Kitty Pryde and Wolverine, and Pryde and Wisdom, and Kitty Pryde Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Starlord and Kitty Pryde. Marvel seems to have zero interest in establishing her a super-hero name.

[Is it really possible Kitty Pryde has had only one solo series, that lasted 3 issues? How can that be?]

Kitty is a nice nickname--but while it works for a 13 year old, does it work for a grown woman who's headed the Xavier School and saved the world multiple times? (And yes, we all know grown people who still use diminutive nicknames...) Kitty Pryde sounds nice, rolls off the tongue, has 2 Y's...but Peter Parker is a great name, too--yet no-one suggests dumping Spider-Man.

The die was probably cast by the Kitty Pryde And Wolverine mini-series. Sure, by the end she gave herself a new name. But right there on the cover is Kitty Pryde, trademarked, with an "official" logo,  an acknowledgement that this was how fans knew her, and that this was the name that would sell the book. Other names were moot.

Maybe if they had called it Shadowcat And Wolverine...

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Ape Law!!

Because every once in a while... need to see Judge Dredd fight a bunch of monkeys.

From 2000 AD #1375 (2004)

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Best Covers You've Never Seen--Superfriends!!

From issue #1 (1942) thru issue #29 (1948), DC's Comic Cavalcade always featured these three guys on the cover:

Cover by Frank Harry

Often it was a holiday theme, occasionally it was a "split" cover showing a scene from each of their adventures.

But most of the time...

Cover by Frank Harry showed Jay and Alan and Diana just hanging out together, having fun!

Cover by E.E. Hibbard

I know, crazy concept, right? Heroes enjoying each others company? Being friends?

Cover by E.E. Hibbard

I mean, would you ever see this kind of cover today? Let alone on multiple issues?

Cover by E.E. Hibbard

I mean, where's the grimdark? How could a cover of Diana helping the boys sell a fish story ever attract readers?!?

Cover by E.E. Hibbard

And no, these issues never featured the heroes teaming up on the inside--they were all solo stories (along with other heroes, funny animals, Mutt & Jeff reprints, and gosh knows what else).

Cover by Martin Naydel

But apparently, someone at DC thought that the idea that these heroes were friends, and enjoyed each others' company, and just liked to spend time together, made an enticing selling point.

Cover by E.E. Hibbard

Heck, some even thought the idea might be inspiring to kids.

Cover by Harry Lampert and Alex Toth

Still, by 1948, most super-heroes had fallen out of favor, and soon Comic Cavalcade covers (and the insides) were all funny animals, all the time.

Yeah, olden days, etc.

Still, it would be nice if, just occasionally, we'd get a modern cover of heroes just hangin' out and being friends.