...from thirty years ago. I feel so old.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
You're thinking, yeah, yeah, seen it before. It isn't that hard to do. You select an area and desaturate the color in that area. It seems to be a lot of folks' favorite image editing trick. But that's not what's going on here.
If you follow the link back to her Flickr photostream, you'll see several other angles on the same people, including one taken for the San Francisco Chronicle. It's a gray Santa suit, a gray wig, gray body paint, and gray contact lenses. you have to get really close in to see the only color she couldn't cover, the pink corners of her eyes.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Is it Power Girl's ever-expanding breasts? No, that's a long-accepted part of the character. Is it her fluctuating Kryptonian breastal vent? Let's face it, if it weren't for that, PG wouldn't get any press at all. Is it her camel toe seam? Sadly, no, she's had that for a while too.
Isn't it obvious? Power Girl is crosseyed. You're all looking at the silly window and haven't noticed that Amanda Conner can't draw PG's face.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
...after death and dismemberment and the destruction of universes, after Identity Crisis and Death of the New Gods and Final Crisis and the Darkest Night...
...the DC Universe is still a place where this can happen.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The original Green Lantern, you may recall, wore a uniform of red, black, purple and yellow. Now that's a color scheme to strike fear into evil-doers.
But he had nothing on Bob Phantom, published by the company that would one day become Archie Comics. Origin? We don't need any of that. This is the flippin' Golden Age. How can you not love that costume? Green, red and orange. He reminds me a little of Kurt Busiek's Crackerjack, from Astro City. Orange and green are not often used together in superhero costumes. Nor anywhere else, now that I think of it. And with good reason. Plus those bare arms and legs, which says to me that this is a man who does not give a rat's ass what you think.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
For most of what I think of as the first three ages of comics (gold, atomic and silver), anniversary issues meant nothing. It was assumed that readers were children, with rapid turnover and short attention spans. You'll notice that the smallest thing on the cover is the issue number.
Surely if #300 mattered to anyone, they would have introduced a better villain than the Polka Dot Man. It wouldn't have taken much: The Matt Hagen Clayface had just debuted in #298, and he proved popular enough for a return appearance in #304. Surely the schedule could have been shuffled enough to swap stories.
Ah, but that is the genius of hindsight. I'm sure at the time, the Bizarre Polka Dot Man looked far more promising. You never know. Detective #400 introduced the Man-Bat, who struck me as a one-note character, but somehow he's still around.
Detective Comics #300 marked 25 years of continuous publication. It wasn't quite 25 years of Batman: That had to wait until Detective #327, for reasons you'll know if you think about it. That issue was a big departure from what came before, since it introduced the Infantino "new look" Batman, but still there wasn't a single mention anywhere in either comic of Detective's, or Batman's, silver anniversary.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Apparently two library employees - it seems to be unclear whether they were assistants or professional librarians - in Nicholasville, Kentucky have been fired for denying a child access to material the pair considered pornographic.
That material? Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Personally, I don't remember any porn in that book, which suggests three possibilities: my aged mind can no longer remember what I've read, there was a distinct lack of explicit sexual content or it wasn't very good. I'd guess that would do for ranking them in descending order by likelihood, too, come to think of it.
The original article says "a book from The League of Extraordinary Gentleman series". Tell me if any of these suppositions sound false:
It's in a library, so it's probably a collection, not an individual comic.
If it had been the first volume, the article would simply have said "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", not "a book from the series".
An explicit, realistic copulation between Allan Quatermain and Mina Murray is depicted in volume two.
That said, remember the two women were fired for taking it on themselves to decide that the 11-year-old shouldn't see this book. Library policy is that it's nobody's business but yours (and parents, in the case of a minor) what you read.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Yes, this is Ross Bagdasarian (stage name David Seville, composer of "Come On-a My House" and "Witch Doctor"), producing one of the many speed-shifted voices that went into his most lasting creations, Alvin and the Chipmunks. If you loved this show too, there's a brief history and gobs of images at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
No, bad guys never die in comics, no matter how much they may deserve it. That kind of thing only happens to characters like Stephanie Brown (Spoiler / Robin / Batgirl).
Sunday, September 13, 2009
And there's Supes chillin' in the background too. The next time someone asks "Why do people go to DragonCon?" show 'em this.
(Well, there's all those cosplay girls, too, as well as this really tight radio theatre group.)
Thursday, September 10, 2009
I almost got a hernia in my reaction to this article. Not kidding. I'm in pain. But it's a good pain.
...I am absolutely thrilled that the buck now stops with a woman at DC Comics. I am overjoyed – nay, almost orgasmic – that certain men will now have to regard Diane Nelson as their boss. It is karma working on the most basic level. Let these men explain to Nelson, who has worked with one of the most famous female fantasy writers in the entire world*, how women don't have the natural aptitude to edit and create comic books. Let these men explain to her the employment and dismissal history of female editors in the DCU over the last ten years...
Wow! That's awesome.
* Diane Nelson previously managed the Harry Potter franchise for Warner.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
BREAKING: Disney to Acquire Marvel for $4 Billion: The Walt Disney Company has announced it will acquire Marvel Entertainment, Inc. in a stock and cash transaction worth 4 billion dollars.
What makes this deal huge, as far as content goes, is the fact that under the terms of the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of not only Marvel itself, but also over than 5,000 Marvel characters. Disney will now benefit from any movie or a game based on characters such as Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men and many others; extending its reach to the young male population it had somewhat neglected will definitely be good for the entertainment giant.
Now Disney and Warner each have their own pet comic book company. NBC-Universal already owns Walter Lantz Productions, but don't seem too interested in it. Viacom-CBS-Paramount has a spectacular collection of properties, but again, little apparent interest in comics.
Disney has proven they can sustain and exploit legacy characters. Wonder if Marvel will start handling Disney comics? Or if Disney will start producing Marvel-character movies?
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
For most of their history, comic books had been priced at a dime. Oh, there were Nickel Comics, and the annuals were generally priced at a quarter, but these were definitely exceptions to the rule. Not that there hadn't been inflation anyway; that dime bought you a 68-page mag in 1940, a 60-pager in 1944, a 52-pager in 1950, and a 36-page issue by the time the Silver Age started.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
"So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it."
You may find this an odd suggestion at first, but I firmly believe that Gene Wilder (as he portrayed the role of Willy Wonka) would have made an outstanding Doctor Who. I realize he’s not British, but outside of that, he played the role perfectly. Next time you watch the 1971 version of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, watch Wilder’s portrayal closely. He is brilliant, bizarre, spontaneous, and full of enthusiasm. He’s very Doctor-ish.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
As [Supreme Court nominee Sonia] Sotomayor was growing up in a family in which no one had gone to college, people prodded her to excel.Okay, I can sort of see Richie Rich. God knows how many little tykes were driven into reactionary liberalism by Richie's conspicuous consumption.
"The females were expected to achieve more," said her younger brother, Juan Sotomayor. She loved comic books -- Archie, Casper, Richie Rich -- so much that, after her father died, her paternal grandmother and aunts once convened a family meeting with her mother. "They were concerned about the role of the comic books in my sister's life," recalled her brother, an allergist outside Syracuse, N.Y. "It was maybe corrupting her."
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Friday, March 06, 2009
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Of course, mine isn't a character-centric blog, it just sort-of looks like one, so I thought I'd leap onto the passing bandwagon and do what many editors did at the time: A crossover by the most generous definition of the term, where a character would look up and exclaim "Gosh, lookit that, the sky is red, wonder why."
So the least I can do is link to the blogs that are doing this: The Aquaman Shrine ; Justice League Detroit; Speed Force; Being Carter Hall; the Doom Patrol; Plastic Man Platitudes; Dispatches from the Arrow Cave; I am the Phantom Stranger; Idol-Head of Diabolu; Mail it to Team-up; and the mastermind behind it all, Firestorm Fan.
Since they've all found their heroes on the spectacular Perez/Ross cover to the original hardbound edition of Crisis on Infinite Earths, I thought I would too. Forgive the resolution, but with 500-plus characters on the cover, well, they can't all be Superman. Poor Ralph didn't have a huge part in the story, either, as I recall. I would have found him sooner if he'd been wearing any other costume.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
I finally realized that he was never going to get to one of my own favorite moments from this story because it is not really a tearjerker moment (for all that Pete Ross has just been killed). It is, instead, as succinct a statement as one could ask of just how awesome Superman can be -- in fact, how awesome comics storytelling can be.
As he stands in the wreckage of the WGBS television studio, his secret identity revealed, his boyhood best friend dead in his arms, Superman finally speaks. "Toyman...Prankster...Let me ask you one question: Do you know what radio waves look like?"
The reply comes back through the toy Superman: "Huh? No! Why?" But the red-and-blue blur has already disappeared, headed toward the source of the criminals' transmission.
Before the pair can take another breath, Superman is there, bursting through the wall, announcing, "Because I do!"
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Day 12: The Fantastic Four
Early period: Fantastic Four #70, Jan 1968, by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott. This issue (spoiler!) actually ends with this scene, and isn't resolved until the following issue. The big green guy is an android, an "ultimate weapon" prepared by the Mad Thinker (defeated an issue or two back) and accidentally activated.
Boy, I hate when that happens.
This issue also contains a full-page panel of Reed and Sue musing on the love they share and the child that will soon be theirs. You can see Sue's new miniskirted uniform on the cover: We never find out if those unstable molecules can stretch into a maternity uniform.
Later period: Fantastic Four #369, Oct 1992, by Paul Ryan. Everybody, but everybody, is in this issue, as Sue battles her evil side Malice on the astral plane. Those of you who thought the corruption of Mary Marvel was unprecedented should probably look this story up.
Well, this was actually a lot of fun. Maybe I should continue looking at random character's covers at odd intervals. After all, we didn't do Captain America, or Batman, or Daredevil, or Wonder Woman, or the X-men, or Green Lantern, or the Hulk, or Captain Marvel, or Doctor Strange, or Plastic Man, or Thor, or Elongated Man...
Oh, crap, that's twelve more days...
Previously: Days 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11.
The story in Flash #90, Dec 1947, is really just an excuse for the Flash to play all nine positions in a baseball game. I keep meaning to dig this story up (it's reprinted in 80 Page Giant #4) to see what the other team had to say about it. Not to mention the league position.
I wanted to choose the first Elongated Man, of course, or "Land of the Golden Giants" (another sentimental favorite), but was there ever a more provocative cover than this one, from Flash #128, May 1962?
I don't remember if I was disappointed or relieved when we caught up with Barry and he was wearing street clothes. I mean, you've seen how tightly his uniform fits. No way does he wear a shirt and slacks under it.
Oh, well. If I'm prepared to accept the expanding-costume-in-the-ring thing, business-casual space travel is nothing.
Both of these covers, by the way, were pencilled by Carmine Infantino. Frank Giacoia inked "Nine Empty Uniforms", Joe Giella inked "Real-Gone Flash".
Previously: Days 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.
Monday, January 05, 2009
An out-and-out sentimental pick: I mentioned back on day 4 that Marvel comics didn't come to my little town until 1967. My only previous exposure to these characters was those awful television cartoons. This, Tales of Suspense #93, Sep 1967, was my first Marvel comic ever.
I could have done worse. 12 pages of Colan-Giacoia greatness, 10 pages of Kirby-Sinnott energy on Captain America, and this awesome Colan cover emphasizing the sheer bulk and power of the massive Titanium Man.
I felt kind-of cheated that both stories were continued from the previous issue, and both were continued into the next as well... But I bought the next issue.
Forward over four years to Iron Man #46. By now, Marvel's distribution arrangements allowed it to publish more monthlies, and they responded by immediately splitting Tales of Suspense (and its companions, Tales to Astonish and Strange Tales) in two. Gene Colan was busy with Daredevil, so this cover was by Gil Kane and Ralph Reese.
(I guess, since we're not now reading The Guardian #400, you know who won this battle.)
Previously: Days 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.
Day 9: The Spirit
The Spirit?!? Way to rattle my cage! I've never seen most of these! Which is, of course, my loss. There are no bad Spirit stories, only good and better. And there are no bad Eisner covers, for all of them show characters and situations that the page can barely contain.
My first choice is my (and reportedly Will Eisner's own) favorite, "The Story of Gerhard Shnobble", from Sept 5, 1948.
Mr. Shnobble has just been fired from his job, and has decided that today is the day to become famous. He intends to do this by throwing himself off the roof of a building... and flying.
And he does!
From another era, is the cover to the Warren Spirit magazine #7, April 1975, pencils by Will Eisner, inks and colors by Ken Kelley. I like it because of the devotion and determination of Ebony White, proving he is not just another comic sidekick.
Also clearly shown is that, like Popeye, the Spirit has no superpowers other than being simply indomitable. Like the Timex watch he predated and outlived, he takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'.
Previously: Days 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.
Thursday, January 01, 2009
Early period: JLA #31, Nov 1964, by Mike Sekowsky and Murphy Anderson. I realize that many fans don't care for Sekowsky's pencils, but as far as I'm concerned JLA is the only comic of its time in which Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and the Flash look "right". Sekowsky defines the "house style" everyone else should be trying to copy.
This scene should look silly, but it doesn't. It's dynamic and provocative. What kind of disaster can tear loose a chunk of the cavern floor, complete with table, chairs and occupants, and catapult it into space? I had to buy this issue and find out. (Unlike many comics, this scene actually occurred in this one.)
Later period: Justice League Task Force #8, Jan 1994, Sal Velluto and Jeff Albrecht. I can't say I like the execution here, but the concept... Well, I shouldn't like that either. This is a tentacle rape scene, isn't it? (On the cover of a DC comic, in 1994?)
It may be that what appeals to me is the question that the scene implies: Just how "male" is J'onn J'onzz? He's an alien. Our concepts of maleness and femaleness should be pretty much irrelevant to him.
Maybe I'm just tickled that when he is a woman (I mean... oh, never mind, I'm not going to try to rephrase it), his costume actually covers more skin.
Previously: Days 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.
Well. there are no good Defenders covers. See you tomorrow: Thanks for coming.
Everything that is wrong with Avengers covers is wrong with Defenders covers, squared. Especially "horrified floating heads" disease. It's a wonder the book sold at all. On the other hand, they had a remarkably stable roster for a team that "isn't a team".
Here's the image that introduced the concept, Neal Adams' cover for Marvel Feature #1, December 1971. Our heroes are charging directly at the reader, with something unspecified but obviously destructive going on behind them.
It was a pretty big jolt when I opened the book and saw the art on this lead feature by Ross Andru and Bill Everett -- but it grew on me.
Jump forward to Defenders #11, January 2002 (I didn't know until looking through covers for this that there even was a 2001 restart of the Defenders). This image features an iconic, if uncharacteristically restful, pose of the "classic" team by Erik Larsen. Valkrie's anatomy is a little odd (what, did Rob Liefield ghost-draw this?), but I have to congratulate Larsen for including all seven lead characters without feeling crowded.
And has the Hulk's attention been momentarily diverted by a butterfly? Nice touch.
Previously: Days 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
This is an odd choice for Mag and H, but sure, I'll go along with it.
The Defenders starred E.G. Marshall and Robert Reed, and was one of several legal dramas hoping to ride the coattails of Perry Mason...
Oh. Never mind.
To be honest, the first issue of Aquaman-in-his-own-book I ever read was the first "Sword of Atlantis" issue. (Sorry, H.) He just never grabbed me as a lead feature. For me, the golden era of Aquaman was 8-12 page stories in the back of Adventure. Mmm, all that Ramona Fradon goodness.
Which means that this was the perfect issue of Aquaman, notwithstanding that it was actually Super DC Giant #s-26, Jul-Aug 1971, cover by Dick Giordano. It contained five Fradon gems, including a rare book-length story (reprinted from Showcase #30), the first Aquagirl (a real cutie, too, in those orange-and-greens), and the astounding origin of the Human Flying Fish!
And ooh, looky here, A dramatic Infantino/Anderson cover from Superboy #171, Jan 1971. (Okay, it was Aquaboy, but it's the same guy. Another in a series of newly revealed "first meetings" that neither character remembers later.) This issue was heavily environmental (the "dark strangler" was an oil spill). About the only thing that would have improved that image would have been to make it wordless.
What's that? I broke the rule? Both covers are from 1971? Oh, OK, here's your Nick Cardy cover, from April '62.
Boy, I betcha if Ramona Fradon were doing covers, they'd still be publishing Aquaman today.
Previously: Days 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.