Sunday, November 30, 2014

In Case You Ever Need To Go Shopping In Asgard...

From Journey Into Mystery Annual #1 (1965): An "accurate, true-to-scale panoramic picto-map" depicting a "typical Asgardian street scene":

The most important part, of course, is there in the lower right corner of the second page: "To Shopping Center."

It seems that even the talents of Jack Kirby weren't up to portraying the unbelievable glory of Asgardian shopping malls! Don't try to imagine it--the very concept might overwhelm your feeble mortal brain!!

And of course, that makes me wonder if the have an Asgardian version of this:

Song in Asgardian font instead of a Canadian accent, of course...

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Luthor Is As Smart As The Lamest Daredevil Villains!

So, just how smart is Lex Luthor, actually?

Let's watch as he becomes dissatisfied with reform school:

Wow, congratulations, Lex. You're as smart as Leap-Frog.

Keep aiming high, Lex! Next thing you know, Luthor will come up with hydraulic stilts or a helmet that shoots "opti-blasts."

DC--where the most brilliants inventions of the most brilliant criminals are just knock-offs of lame gimmicks of class D Marvel goombas...

From Superman: The Secret Years #1 (1985)

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Red Skull Is Making A List, And Checking It Twice...

In his very first appearance---

Well, wait, technically this isn't THE Red Skull's first appearance...a few issues later it was revealed that this wasn't the REAL Red Skull, just a cats-paw posing as the Red Skull, to better sow fear and whatever. Because even in 1941, Marvel was retconning themselves!

Anyway, in the first appearance of a guy posing as the Red Skull...

...he was keeping a death list!! Just like in Kill Bill!!

But who is that fifth victim??

Anyhoo, the "Skull" keeps whittling down that list...

SPOILER ALERT: Cap wasn't actually dead. This is why George Maxon was a crappy Red Skull...

But once again, who is that fifth name...? That's going to keep me up nights...

BONUS: Since there is no Friday Night Fights this week, let's ease your appetite for violence, by answering the hard does Captain America hit the Red Skull??

So hard he busts through panel borders!!

DOUBLE BONUS: If you don't want people to know you're a Nazi spy...

...don't carry around Adolf Hitler's letter of recommendation in your pocket. Man, this guy really was a terrible Red Skull...

From Captain America Comics #1 (1941)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

I'm Thankful They're Not On The Title Anymore

It's probably too obvious to bring up again...

...but the fact that Millar and Hitch thought this cover scene to be "lame," and felt obliged to ironically trumpet their disdain with a "look at us being too cool for the room" caption, pretty much explains why their Fantastic Four run itself was lame.

Just sayin.'

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Fantastic Four #564 was from 2009

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Earth-3 Howling Commandos?!?

We all know who these guys are...

(click to embiggen to full Howlin' size!!)

..but most of us have forgotten these guys:

I like Sigfried's hat.

Most folks have indeed forgotten Baron Strucker's Blitzkrieg Squad, specifically designed to counter the Howling Commandos.

The following paragraph is cribbed from Jeff Christiansen's excellent Marvel Universe Appendix, a first stop for anyone researching Marvel obscurities:
Ordered by Adolf Hitler to find some way to defeat Sgt. Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker spent hours studying the files on the Howlers. He finally concluded that the best way to defeat them would be to create a commando squad of Nazis who could match each of the Howlers' skills. He recruited the strongman Siegfried to match "Dum-Dum" Dugan; the flute player Otto to match Gabe Jones; the mechanic Ludwig to face "Izzy" Cohen; the charming Fritz to counter Dino Manelli; the horseriding Ernst to defeat "Reb" Ralston; and the aristrocrat Manfred to face "Pinky" Pinkerton. Strucker personally trained the six men under his command, until he was satisfied that they were the equals of the Howling Commandos, and called them his Blitzkrieg Squad.
 The Blitzkrieg Squad only had 8 appearances, including one in the Invaders when they tried to assassinate Churchill. It wasn't the only time they tried to assassinate Churchill...

So anyway, with Strucker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I hoping that these guys turn up, too. Because Ant-Man and Black Panther have to fight somebody, right?

From Sgt. Fury Annual #1 (1965)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Golden Age Idol--Sergeant Spook!!

The best thing about Golden Age heroes is that, no matter how goofy the starting premise, within a few months they could get even goofier.

Hence today's Golden Age Idol, where we look at-- Sergeant Spook!!

(Please forgive the poor quality of these first few scans--you work with what you've got)

We start with the soon-to-be-aptly-name Sergeant Spook (he's never given a first name, as far as I can tell). He's working in the lab to investigate a murder--apparently they don't have lab techs in this town...

But Spook is about to learn a hard lesson--don't smoke in the lab!!


Well, he's dead all right!

Except he's a ghost now!!

He's invisible to everyone, and can't be heard...

But he can still touch things, and interact with the real world...

...which leads to a couple of issues worth of "let's watch an invisible guy toss crooks around":

But creator/writer/artist Malcolm Kildale must have gotten bored, or realized how limited that premise was, because by his fifth appearance, Sergeant Spook suddenly realized that there were other ghosts around town--and the were committing crimes!

And yes, the ghost of Jesse James' horse was there, too!

Well, Spook captured him--but what do you do with a ghost prisoner? That's when things get really weird...

Ah, "Dr. Sherlock"! Please don't sue us, Doyle estate!

So yes, it turns out that "Ghost Town," which contains pretty much the ghost of everyone ever, is on "the other side of town." Spook's new sidekick, Dr. Sherlock, explains the rules as he escorts the cop "home."

Phew--there may be no heaven or hell in this universe, but at least the deceased have democracy!

Well, this is kind of a Riverworld-style mash-up, isn't it?

Wow, democracy and no poverty?!? How can I sign up for this afterlife?!?!

So, they have a ghost trial for ghost Jesse James, in a ghost court using ghost rules!

Guilty, guilty, guilty!! (Along with Ali Baba and his 40 thieves, whom Spook also subdues!)

Ah, but there is unrest in Ghost Town, as a number of those who don't approve of post-life socialist democracy--Julius Caesar, amongst others--use the trial as an excuse to revolt!

Napoleon leads their army--look, a ghost war map!!

Despite having King Arthur and The Duke of Wellington available, the good guys put Sergeant Spook in charge of their armies, in this cross-time, cross-cultures clash!

The good guy win, and Napoleon finally realizes:

About time, short-stuff!!

So the series proceeded onward, with the discovery of more Ghost Towns around the world, like:

Slave ghosts!!

And we learn that, even in the afterlife...

...American foreign interventionism is a rampant!

Which leads to Sergeant Spook kicking the (un)living crap out of King Tut...

After that the strip settled into a very weird groove, with a mix of Sarge Spook helping fight human criminals back home, dealing with uppity ghosts (like ghost cavemen!!) and dealing with supernatural threats (such as the evil scientist "Crazy Doctor Zorka" making zombies, thus trapping the dead people's ghosts!). Oh, and there was also plenty of ghosts fighting gorillas!

The feature would continue for a long time in the pages of Blue Bolt, and slide over to appear in other comics published by Novelty Press. Eventually the strip was taken over by other hands, and Sherlock Holmes Dr. Sherlock would be shuffled aside, and Spook would get a (living) boy, Jerry, as a sidekick. The stories, sadly, got much less weird, and settled more into a crime-fighting/adventure groove, without the many famous ghosts and insane theology.

Still, Sergeant Spook is just sitting there, public domained, waiting for someone to revive him. Bonus: they could use the real Sherlock Holmes now!!

All panels taken from Blue Bolt #1-#14 (1940-1941)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Manic Monday Triple Overtime--Namor Invents A New Power!

It's 1939, and Namor is skulking about New York City, spying on us "murderous humans." But even then, Namor was a fashion plate:

Lesson, kiddies:

Don't smoke, and if you do, don't make your dress out of flash paper!

Welp, now he's done it.

But it's the Golden Age, so it's perfectly acceptable for Namor to pull a brand new power completely out his ass:

Let's see Aquaman do that!!

Even make then, Namor had the gracious manners of a prince:

Oh, Sub-Mariner!!

From Marvel Mystery Comics #2 (1939)