Tuesday, July 25, 2017

That Time Lois Lane Set Up Clark Kent To Be Murdered!!

In this imaginary story, Lois Lane has married Bruce Wayne!!

Unfortunately, the Gotham syndicate has noticed that Lois is always around when Batman is, so they suspect that she knows his secret identity. So they kidnap her and proceed to give her an intensive interrogation:

Time for Curt Swan to let his freak flag fly!

Well, who could stand up to all those floating words?

Oh, Lois, thank you for setting Clark up to be killed!! (She doesn't know his Superman identity).

But wait...Clark Kent is in Metropolis! How could he be Batman?

Fortunately, criminals are a cowardly and gullible lot:

Yes, Batman commutes to Gotham every day.

Anyway, obviously Clark is in no real danger, and he and Batman thwart the hoods.

But the big takeaway here? Lois Lane is ready to throw non-powered civilians to the wolves. Way to go, Lane.

From Lois Lane #89 (1969)

Tales From The Quarter Bin--Who The Heck Is Reno Jones?!?

Western comics have never really been my thing. But I always thought I was enough of a Marvel Zombie that I had at least a passing familiarity with all of their gunslingers.

Until I found this in the Quarter Bin:

I had never even heard of Reno Jones before.

In my defense, it was an obscure title, even by Marvel Western standards, and it wrapped up before I started buying comics.

So a little history.

In 1972, Gray Friedrich and Syd Shore debuted The Gunhawks, starring original characters Reno Jones and Kid Cassidy.

The premise: Reno was a slave on the plantation of Cassidy's family. They grew up best friends (I know, I know...).

Cassidy joined the Confederate Army once the Civil War started. The Union Army destroyed the Cassidy plantation, killing almost everyone and kidnapping Reno's lover Rachel. So Reno joined up with the Confederate Army. (Yes, yes, I know).

After the war, they wandered around the country, looking for Ruth, and always just missing her, or not realizing she was there before they left, or...

As you may have noted, Marvel must have thought Reno had bigger star potential, because he clearly dominated the covers.

And then Jones dominated the entire series, as Kid Cassidy was killed! Reno was framed for the killing, and went on the lam.

Which brings us back to this issue:

Some have said that this was a Big Deal, as, to quote the Wikipedia article,
With the next issue, the series was retitled to Reno Jones, Gunhawk, making Jones Marvel's second black character to have his own self-titled series, after Luke Cage, Hero for Hire. (The Black Panther had taken over the lead in the Jungle Action series a few months prior, but the Panther's name was not included in the series' title.)
However, it was a short-lived distinction, as this was the last issue of Gunhawk. And we leave on a pretty good cliffhanger:

 And fin.

The last caption promises us that the story would be followed up:

But that was a damned lie. Western Team-Up did debut the following month...

...but Reno and his story were nowhere to be found.

That was the only issue of Western Team-Up, and Reno's story was never, ever resolved.

Until a 2000 mini-series (which I never read, as I was out of comics at the time), which retconned the Gunhawks stories as "dime store novel" version of what really happened. They were never really friends, Reno himself killed the racist Kid Cassidy, he never found Ruth, and settled down in a western town with a new wife. Until the Klan showed up, and it turns out that Cassidy wasn't dead, and he was head of the Clan, and Reno became the 2nd western Ghost Rider/Phantom Rider, and killed Cassidy for real this time.

I'd say it's surprising that Marvel never did more to revive Reno Jones, given his historical significance and the desire for more diverse characters. Then again, it was a Western title, and modern Marvel has had a best a disdainful relationship with that part of their history.

Still, if someone were to write a story establishing that Reno Jones was an ancestor of Rufus "Super Midnight" Carter, I for one would read the living hell out of it!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Manic Monday Triple Overtime--There's A Thin Line Between Billionaire Crime-Fighter And Stalker!

Before we begin, let me preface this by noting that this is one of those imaginary stories.

But still creepy as hell, nonetheless:

So, Batman not only has a shrine set up to Lois Lane, he buys gifts for her that he never gives her.

Bruce, I think you're on the wrong side of the Dobler-Dahmer line...

Still, maybe that's just standard on this imaginary Earth, as...

Superman has his own his own Lois shrine.

Maybe this is Earth-C (for Creepy).

Anyway, Lois dumps Superman for not paying enough attention to her, Bruce swoops in, and all is domestic bliss:

And so super-hero stalking pays off in the end!!

From Lois Lane #89 (1969)

Manic Monday Bonus--God Schmod, I Want My Manta-Men!!

Aquaman is checking out an odd submarine that has been buzzing Atlantis...

Manta-Men? Really?

Yes, really. And they're a much bigger threat then you might imagine...

...as they slow-clap Aquaman to death.

Don't fret, Mera comes to save him.

Still, these Manta-Men had damn well better be in the Aquaman movie, or what's the point?!?

From Aquaman #35 (1967), as reprinted in DC Super-Stars #7 (1976)

Manic Monday--For Kids Who Want To Grow Up Smacking Perps Around!!

Handy tip for assaulting a suspect:

Uh...what? Blow that up, Cambot!

Thanks for the handy police brutality tips, Dell Comics!!

No wonder they never signed on the Comics Code...

From Mike Shane, Private Eye #2 (1962)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

America's Beauty Crisis--Thin Shoulders!!

Back in 1950, there was apparently a terrible crisis plaguing the young women of America:

Gasp!!! No!!!

This inside front cover feature, Beauty Briefs, is from Charlton's Pictorial Love Stories #23 (1950). And you might want to avert your eyes, because...well, there are some skinny shoulders ahead!

And so begins the Rocky-style training montage...

The results? Va va voom!!

"Thin shoulders lead to danger--danger to your popularity!"

Well, you could write this off as a one-time thing, not a crisis. After all, they had to come up with a new "crisis" for Beauty Briefs to solve every issue.

But just 3 issues later, in Pictorial Love Stories #26 (1950), guess what body part looms large again?

American boys--obsessed with shoulders!!

You know, I've been a guy for quite a few decades now, and I've never heard another man talk about a woman's shoulders...never. I guess guys were just a lot pickier in the 50s??

Anyone, as in our last vignette, Carol finds a mentor for her problem:

Wait...do I hear Eye Of The Tiger playing...?

And so Clubber Lang goes down Carol's shoulders get effusive male approval!!

"Never forget, with a little effort, any woman can be lovely..."

Or, you know, just don't wear off-the-shoulder dresses?!? Oh, what do I know...I'm a dumb guy.

Did someone mention Eye Of The Tiger?

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Maybe They'll Fly Around In A Terrificar?!?!

If you do something stupid long enough, eventually the competition is going to troll the living hell out of you.

I've complained about it enough enough here, so you know that, in a fit of pique over Fox continuing to make Fantastic Four movies, Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter demanded the cancellation of the Fantastic Four comic, and their removal from all merchandising. Man, I bet that's really hurting Fox, Ike.

Anyhoo, it's now been over two years since Marvel has published an FF comic. TWO YEARS.

And now DC has purposely tweaked the House Of Ideas. Yesterday, at SDCC, they announced a new team:
Jeff Lemire, having just finished his exclusive deal with Marvel, is back at DC, and writing a team named The Terrifics. Consisting of Mr. Terrific, Plastic Man, Metamorpho and Phantom Girl. Or, as that Newsarama article linked to above said, "That's right: a scientist, a stretching man, a brute with physical disfiguation, and a woman who can become intangible."

No, that's not an accident, as Lemire said his goal is "recapture the feeling of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's Fantastic Four."

Others have noticed the similarities to the FF, too, as news/satire site The Outhousers noted: "a team with a smart guy, a stretchy guy, a guy who may look monstrous to some, a girl who can become intangible, and a jokester sounds a little like a fantastic family book, that might not be a coincidence."

So congratulations, DC, on some exceleent master-level trolling. And thank you.

Of course, the downside is that this news maybe implies that DC's "plans" for the Legion Of Super-Heroes are still on the back-back-burner of Geoff Johns' mind--if Phantom Girl is here on a 21st century teams, she's not on the famous 31st century team. It's not necessarily disruptive--Legionnaires have been lost in time before, and the main team continued (and, of course, it could always be a different character named Phantom Girl...).. But given that in the 14 months of Rebirth, the "Saturn Girl is in Arkham" sub-sub-sub plot hasn't advanced one iota, it's pretty clear that nothing substantive (other than one-shot crossovers with Bugs Bunny or Batman '66) will be happening anytime soon.

So--thank you, DC, for poking Marvel in the eye with a sharp stick. They needed it. And frak you, DC, for apparently continuing the shelving of the Legion.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday Night Fights--Losing Your Head Style!!

One of the reasons I started this carny sideshow of a blog is because I wanted to participate in Friday Night Fights.

So, it's only fitting that for my 10th Blogiversary, I present the grandest Friday Night Fight EVER.

It's a hot summer in the North African desert--it's always summer in the desert--and Easy Company has been beset upon by German troops, German APC's, and a British Spitfire that thought they were Germans. Rough day.

Too rough, as Sergeant Rock seems to flake out a little bit...


OK, so now it's ON!!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Don't worry, Rock didn't have to take on the whole platoon by himself with only a sword and shield...

Easy showed up to take them out...

Spacebooger would likes how they set up a sequel story that never happened...

Full-on actual beheading courtesy of Sgt. Rock #373 (1983), by Robert Kanigher and "Trebuk etc." GCD informs us that's a pseudonym for the Joe Kubert School...

Now is the time for you to go and vote for my fight. Why? BECAUSE SGT ROCK JUST SEVERED A NAZIS HEAD WITH A SCIMITAR!!!!! Now go vote!!