Thursday, September 29, 2016

Monkeys > Magicians!

Marvo the Magician has a sidekick, Tito the "highly-trained" monkey.

And honestly...

...when you have a monkey who can do that, who needs magic?

We're looking forward to it, Marvo!

From Sure-Fire Comics #2 (1940)

How To Describe The Fortress Of Solitude In 21st Century Terms!

Needed to be said:

You tell him, Clark.

Now if only someone would dare say that to Batman...

From Action Comics #964 (2016)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

2000 For 2000

Today is a pretty big day...

It's the 2000th issue of 2000 AD.

Two thousand. Think about that. You add the runs of Action And Detective, and you're still shy of 2000. That's a lot!!

[Yes, yes, I know some of you will say "it's not the same" or "it doesn't count" because 2000 AD is weekly. I'm not sure why that matters--2000 consecutive issues is 2000 consecutive issues, to heck with the frequency.

And let's not forget that Action was a weekly comic for the better part of a year, pretty much doing the same thing that 2000 AD has always done, as an anthology series with rotating features. So if you feel that being weekly somehow makes #2000 for 2000 AD less legitimate or noteworthy than Action's upcoming #1000, well, than you damned well better subtract 30-some from Action's numbering and celebrate a lot later if you want to be consistent. Plus the fact that Action is twice monthly these days. Plus the fact that Action rebooted and did a second volume for 5 years before returning to its original numbering, so you can hardly claim with a straight face that they had 1000 consecutive issues. I'm just sayin.']

Anyhoo, I can't claim that I have the deepest knowledge of 2000 AD's history, although I am a current (digital) subscriber, and have a probably-not-entirely-legal digital collection of a lot of their past issues (shhh, don't tell Dredd). And I'm sure not going to claim that I love everything that has appeared in it's pages--some stuff seems to be too British to translate well, and some long-running features are pretty continuity-dense for a newbie to penetrate easily. Then again, that may be a feature, not a defect.

Thrill-master Tharg has a pretty good explanation why that is part of 2000 AD's success:

2000 AD creates entire worlds, entire fictional universes, dishing them out in 5-6 page bursts every week for 40 years.

And if you think about the sheer number of creators whom we revere today that cut their baby teeth working for 2000 AD, well, we American comic book fans owe 2000 AD on heck of a debt of gratitude.

So all hail 2000 AD!! 2000 progs down, many thousand more to go!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Answers Man's Wrongest Answer EVER!!

From the Ask The Answer Man column in Adventure Comics #455 (1978):

I love you, Bob Rozakis, but this is so wrong!

Leaving aside all of the economic issues--sure, I know they couldn't continue to produce 100 pages monsters for 50¢ or 60¢--I'm really not sure you can say "contains no reprints" as a positive, and not a negative.

Nothing against new stories, but for a comics fan of the right age, those reprints were a godsend.

Recall, if you will, in that mid-70s era, these old stories were nowhere as nearly accessible as they are today. Comic shops certainly weren't as available to the majority of readers. There were no trade paperback collections or omnibi awaiting us in bookstores. There was no internet or Comixology, no place to legally (or even illegally) download gigabytes worth of old comics.

So for a lot of those older Silver Age stories, and especially the Golden Age tales, these 100 Page Spectaculars were literally the only source a couple of generations of comics fan had to access them, aside from the random garage sale or flea market.

My first exposure to Kid Eternity, and the Silent Knight, and the Star-Spangled Kid, and Superman Red/Superman Blue, and Wildcat, and Johnny Quick, and...well, let's just say that for me, and no doubt a lot of today's creators, our first exposure to a massive chunk of DC history came from the reprints in these humongous comics.

Marvel, of course, had a much shorter history. Yet during this era they had entire books dedicated to reprinting the early Silver Age stories of Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, the Avengers, etc. Meanwhile, aside from the reprints in the 100 Page Spectaculars (and a few other similar projects), DC showed little interest in sharing its past.

So, yeah, yay for Dollar Comics. But boo for no reprints!!

Ape Law!!

There's someone new bringing law and order to the streets of Mega-City One:


Yup, an intelligent ape is acting as a "jimp" (judge imposter), fighting the bad guys...

Bat burglar? Gee, that's familiar looking fellow...

But our jimp makes a monkey out of him!!

You can count on...

From Judge Dredd Megazine #376 (2016)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Manic Monday Triple Overtime--Because Some Mornings You Just Need To See Mary Jane Go-Go Dancing!

Back to work? Bleccch, right?

Let dancing Mary Jane make it all better for you!

Plus, she takes pictures!

And gets rescued by Spider-Man!!

OK, all better now. Back to work!!

From Amazing Spider-Man #59 (1968). The cover is by John Romita. The panels are layouts by Romita, pencils by Don Heck, inks by Mike Esposito

Manic Monday Bonus--Why Comic Book Terrorists Hate Comic Book Americans!

It turns out that we have no idea how the 1% lives, at least in the DC Universe.

Katma Tui was injured by some cosmic space thingie, and is recovering at Carol Ferris' mansion while being tended to by Green Arrow and Black Canary.

A doctor is finally summoned, and after the decision is made to take her to the hospital...

Bad move, archer!!!


"Those rich Americans are always being carried!"

Man, I guess the income gap is even worse than I imagined, because somehow I had no idea about this phenomenon!!

Then again, judging by their behavior, these aren't the brightest terrorists:

Well, that's really all I had. Let's just watch Ollie and Dinah kick some terrorist ass:

So, rich Americans--avoid having anyone carry you, because that will just make you a target for terrorists. That means you should go easy on the litters and such, as well...

[Note to Sally--Hal was on Oa, being Hal, when this was happening...]

From Green Lantern #97 (1977)

Manic Monday--Superman Needs More Monkeys!!

You know what Rebirth Superman really needs?

More freakin' apes!!

Also needed:

A mynah bird given super-powers and intelligence by kryptonite--but he's evil!?! Yes!! Add it to my pull list NOW!!

You know what else we need?

Nah, never mind. That's just silly...

From Super-Team Family #167 (1974)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

And Then There Was That Time Galactus Ate Krypton...!

A mild-mannered reporter with amazing powers has shown up at the Daily Bugle, and asked Spider-Man to tutor him in the ways of being a super-hero.

But Pete's a bit suspicious, and has Reed investigate "Virtue's" origin...

Well, no wonder nobody trusts Kal-El these days...I guss we'd better take all the extra-terrestrial infants sent to Earth and drown 'em or something...

From Marvel Knights Spider-Man #16 (2005)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

So, Just How Old Is Tony Stark?

You all know how much I hate the tragedy of sliding timescales.

The understandable desire of trying to keep our heroes at a certain age, combined with the apparently irresistible need to ties their histories in with certain fixed historical events, leads to all sorts of unnecessary cognitive dissonance.

Like Captain America not being awakened in the 1960s any we keep having to get unnecessarily specific, various marvel writers have had him unfrozen during the Clinton administration, and now even the George W. Bush era.

Of course, that means that Cap now slept through the Civil Righs movement, slept through Watergate, slept through the Bicentennial, slept through the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin all those stories are sorta kinda quietly elided out of history, a sub rosa retcon. All because someone needs to put a specific date on things.

But what about Tony Stark? In Tales Of Suspense #39 (1963), Stan had him injured in the Vietnam conflict. Oh, but we can't have Tony Stark be that old, see, so the Iron Man movie (and subsequent comics) set Tony's injury and capture to an unspecified time in Afghanistan.

All right, that's vague enough (because, sadly, there's always some conflict going on in Afghanistan) that we're not tied down to a specific time and date that a) hurts our brain and b) will require yet more historical shifting in a couple of years.

Ah, but that's not good enough for Bendis. In this week's International Iron Man #7, he feels the need the to ignore subtlety, and tie things down as specifically as humanly possible.

I'll keep this as spoiler-free as possible, through the magic of captions!

In this tale, we get the story of how Tony Stark's parents started their relationship... thing progressed...

And of course...

Oh, dear.

Even if you allow for some imprecision in these apparently precise captions, some rounding up or down, you end up with the conclusion that Tony Stark is most likely 34 tears old. That he was born in 1982, the year I graduated from high school. That, even allowing for super-genius and inheriting a massive arms company and what have you, there's pretty much no way he could have become Iron Man until after 9/11. So all those fights with Crimson Dynamo and Titanium Man and other Soviet stooges? I'm not sure what happened there. Those issues where Tony got involved in groovy campus protests of the most 70s kind? Nope!

Sigh...I HATE sliding timescales...

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Night Fights--Redwing Gets Stoned Style!!

We've got some rock-kicking in this week's Friday Night Fights.

The Grey Gargoyle has routed the Avengers, and now he's threatening this woman for having the temerity to move into his old apartment and throw out his chemicals while he was presumed dead.

Fortunately, Sam Wilson is on the job!


Whoa!! Two-footed face-kick!!


So much for the Falcon!!

Oh, all right...

SPOILER ALERT: The cavalry shows up!

Spacebooger is curious how the Gargoyle turns some things to stone but not others...

Bird vs. stone is from Avengers # 191 (1980), by David Michelinie, John Byrne and Dan Green

Now is the time for you to go and vote for my fight. Why? Because I deliberately held off on most of the "stone" and "rock" puns I could have used. So go vote!!