Friday, October 31, 2014

It was this or Katniss Everdeen costumes...

Apparently, I live in the dog-spider state, since that's the most Googled Halloween costume in Washington state, according to an infographic from SumoCoupon. Catwoman topped three states, as did Batman and Katniss; I have no idea what's up with all the bananas.

Anyway, although I didn't have time to do this strip until today, I had the idea since in the old Batman '66 Catwoman was played on various occasions by Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt. None of whom look anything alike, nor was there any explanation as to if they were all supposed to be the same character, or not. I kind of figure Batman will take any girl with kitty ears at her word and call her Catwoman...
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Thursday, October 30, 2014

80-Page Thursdays: G.I. Combat #204!

...well, that's problematic. From the days when war comics were as wholesome as a glass of milk before bedtime (1977, in this case!) G.I. Combat #204, with stories from Robert Kanigher and art from Dick Ayers, Sam Glanzman, E. R. Cruz, and more. "The Sound and Fury of War in Seven Blockbuster Tales!" Three of which feature the Haunted Tank, in battlefields from Bastogne to the South Pacific...back to Germany. There's not a lot of continuity in those stories, yeah.

One of the tank's crew this issue, Gus, was black; yet doesn't seem to have a problem with tank commander Lieutenant Jeb Stuart keeping a Confederate flag on his tank and claiming to see and be guided by the ghost of his ancestor, General J.E.B. Stuart. Admittedly, Jeb didn't seem to have a racist bone in his body, and Gus seemed to accept that Jeb had gotten them out of a ton of sticky situations one way or another. Still, I wonder if you could write a completely post-modern Haunted Tank story. I think it's been tried a few times and gets fixated on racism, and the significance of the Reb flag today rather than in WWII; but I think there's some mileage that could be gotten out of if the General was real or a manifestation of Stuart's mind trying to deal with the horrors of war or simply insanity. While blowing up Nazis. (Wikipedia says the Haunted Tank was DC's second-longest running war comic, behind only Sgt. Rock.)

Also this issue: E.R. Cruz draws a couple O.S.S. stories, one with frogmen, the other with a film director versus his Nazi counterpart. I kinda liked that one.

Dick Ayers draws a story set during the blitz in London, and there's a short tale of two pilots dueling in the skies: a German baron, and a black man. Those two were credited to Bart Regan, a pseudonym of Robert Kanigher. I don't know how many 80-Pagers G.I. Combat, but I think I had seen a few.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014


With Wolverine "dead," Marvel seems to be pushing Sabretooth really, really hard: it's kinda like when Taco Bell has shrimp tacos. You're not sure why this is happening--the end of shrimp season? Some sort of die-off? Cleaning out the nation's freezer? But the Bell somehow presents it as a special event, and you know it was never meant to last, even if against all odds it somehow become really popular. I had Taco Bell the other day and was lamenting my beloved Beefy Crunch Burritos--the ones with the weird red Fritos that I don't think I've ever eaten outside of a burrito--which may explain today's metaphor. The why of it, anyway.

And now I'm hungry. Swell. Continued next week with an unexpected guest-star...that we've seen already.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

There's a reason they call it Earth-Haney.

I noticed it before in a issue guest-starring the Creeper, where he had yet another new job; but I wrote that off to just not paying a lot of attention to the Creeper's continuity. Then I saw it here, and figured unless it was a character as well-established as Clark Kent, Haney was going to put them in whatever job necessary for the story. Like today's book! From 1978, Brave and the Bold #141, "Pay--or Die!" Written by Bob Haney, art by Jim Aparo.

When several businessmen are blown to pieces, Batman begins working the case by checking their books, and finds out they were all in debt and making weekly cash payments, as to a loan shark: "Longreen." Black Canary gets involved when her career as a designer is derailed by her employer's sudden explosion. But the bomber knocked her clear, then escapes both Canary and Batman; and through "a quaint mispronunciation" come to the conclusion the loan shark "Long Grin" is none other than the Joker!

To break the case, Batman uses Alfred as bait; letting work slip that Bruce Wayne blew Alfred's pension, and that he needs to borrow "fifty big ones." The Joker takes the bait, and Alfred has a sly wit:

The Joker is able to get Alfred, even with Canary and Bats tailing him, but Alfred plays it cool, convincing the Joker he's going to recoup his losses with some insider trading, or embezzlement, either or. But after a drink from the Joker, Alfred can't recount enough details for them to find the Joker's hideout. After Canary is captured, Batman realizes Joker gave Alfred a bomb in the wine, a "chemical-timed explosive." Finally finding the Joker's hideout (which turns out to be a funeral home next to a burger joint with a giant, laughing clown mascot, because Haney) Alfred attacks him, putting him in a headlock, planning to take him with him. Canary stops the Joker's men, and Alfred is unmasked as Batman, giving the Joker a brief laugh until Bats forcibly uses the Joker to give Alfred a blood transfusion to defuse the chemical, since he knew the Joker took the antidote.

A slightly silly story, with the added effect of derailing Black Canary's new career before it even begins...
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Monday, October 27, 2014

Last weekend at Pac-Con...

I was finally able to meet the man, the myth, the legend...

No, not Deadpool! I mean...

No, not that one either! I mean I was able to get Stan Lee's autograph!

The con was pretty fun, although as usual I was disappointed I was only able to get a pile of books, rather than a mountain. Plenty to blog over the coming weeks, including a return for 80-Page Thursdays! Better get started on that, then.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

I don't think I'm having Stan sign this one. Maybe.

Pac Con starts today, but I probably won't go until Saturday. The Youngest expressed a somewhat surprising interest in going, so we'll see about that. (The girlfriend/soon-to-be wife, not so much.)

I have a copy of Silver Surfer #18 that I planned on having Stan sign--and still do, if I can find the damn thing. It wasn't in the box I was positive it was, and since I had that issue out to blog about it in may take me a moment to dig up. Wish me luck!
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

How do you get out of Lost Valley? Practice, practice, practice...

I'm usually up for a random issue of Turok when one falls into my lap, which is fine since there really isn't any continuity from one Gold Key issue to another. Even if sometimes you wish there was. From 1972, Turok, Son of Stone #80, "Deadly Aim" Story by Paul Newman, art by Alberto Giolitti.

Still trapped in the dinosaur infested Lost Valley, Turok and Andar get out of a narrow scrape with a tyrannosaur-type by sheer luck--and their one-hit kill poison arrows. Turok encourages the younger Andar to practice, starting with a high tree fruit as a reward. And the practice comes in handy when they find a strange white line, the "medicine" of a strange tribe, to protect them from the dinosaur "honkers." The tribesmen use a boomerang-like weapon, which is new to Turok and Andar, and Turok is captured.

Before Turok can be sacrificed, Andar is able to make a long shot to cut the rope holding him, a shot he probably wouldn't have even been able to try without their earlier practice. Turok returns the favor, shooting a boomerang out of the air to save Andar; and the pair escapes into the Lost Valley. A fun issue, and I'll have to keep an eye out for more soon...
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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Four five six, pick up sticks."

In Sinister Foes of Spider-Man, the Sinister Six is five guys--ostensibly because that way it seems like they have a mysterious secret member, and it's one less guy to split the take with, but it's mainly because they're kind of jerks and it's not like there's anyone jumping up and down to join them.

Also in regular Marvel continuity, the Black Cat is currently super-pissed at Spidey, since the Superior Spider-Man roughed her up and threw her in jail! And I can't remember who pointed out that the Marvel Legends Juggernaut figure looks like Shrek, but I can't unsee it.

I thought I had more Spider-Man villains lying around, but apparently not next to the set where I shot this one on the fly...still, we'll be more prepared the next time we check back with Felicia and Satana.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Marvel's What If? hasn't been a regular series for some time, but still returns every so often, usually as a one-shot related to an event. Like today's book! From 2010, What If? World War Hulk #1, with "What If the Heroes lost World War Hulk?" Written by Mike Raicht and painted by Lucio Parrillo; and "What If Thor Entered World War Hulk?" Written by Michael Gallagher and art by Patrick "Spaz!" Spaziante.

Sometimes, What If? seems to be written in defense of how a story actually went down: if you thought that went badly, get a load of this. And it's also an excuse to showcase your heroes getting killed right and left. The first story takes that tack, as the end of World War Hulk runs smack into Secret Invasion: when the Skrulls' queen is killed (I think it was Spider-Woman, but I don't recall) their bishop takes over and declares the Hulk a prophet. Especially since Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man, the two the Skrulls most feared, were killed; their invasion is now wide open, and they begin exterminating humanity.

The Vision manages to convince the Hulk to join the heroes and villains still resisting, but the Skrulls are a step ahead: with Wasp replaced by a Skrull, Yellowjacket is turned into a "genetic time bomb," who blows up everyone except the Hulk. Beyond furious, the Hulk uses a beacon Reed Richards made to summon the Silver Surfer, and the Hulk convinces him to bring Galactus to destroy the Skrulls' new homeworld, just as he did their last one. The Skrull bishop dies wondering if "he" loved them, after all. Against his will, the Hulk survives, to become the new herald of Galactus, the World Breaker.

The second story is more optimistic, which actually makes it more irritating: Thor and the Warriors Three move their return to America up, and happen to arrive in time to change the end of World War Hulk. While punching it out, Thor and the Hulk pause to help a subway car full of people stranded in the blackout, and call a truce. Everything is worked out far more peaceably, and the Hulk returns to Sakaar to rule. (Which wouldn't really work for future stories, even if it would make sense.)

Fun fact: the Sentry is completely useless here, as usual.
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Monday, October 20, 2014

After years of jokes, I finally get my hands on my own...

...and it's a bit beat-up and torn, but Giant-Size Man-Thing #1, "How will we keep warm when the last flame dies?" Written by Steve Gerber, art by Mike Ploog, inks by Frank Chiaramonte. And once you get past the jokes about the title, man, what a weird book.

As is often the case, the Man-Thing seems to lurch around the background of his own book: a cult that worships entropy wants to stop an environmental group from setting up an experimental commune in the Everglades, so they use the power of the Golden Brain. As you do. The entropists summon up a golden demon, but the Man-Thing defeats it and the Brain is lost. In the swamp, the Brain vaguely remembers it used to be the Glob, and fought the Hulk once; but grows itself a new body with seemingly no memory and joins the environmentalists.

The head of the entropists, having handled the Brain before, is able to assert control again, and reverts it back to the Glob and sets it to destroy the commune, Omegaville. Man-Thing intervenes again, tearing the Glob to pieces. The head cultist tries to get the Glob back into the fight, but it instead covers him, smothering him to death.

Maybe it's because I've been watching old Hammer horror movies this week, but it's like the seventies were full of weird pseudo-hippies and/or vaguely satanic cultists. And monsters. Also this issue, reprints of silly old Marvel stories; a Stan Lee/Steve Ditko story with a jewel thief and an ice monster hoax, a Jack Kirby one where a scientist abuses super-speed, and Goom, the Thing from Planet X!

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Friday, October 17, 2014

The poster from 2012, the mask from 2011, but I've had them for two comic-cons...

This week's issue of BPRD: Hell on Earth (#124) is an excellent, single issue story; a great place to start reading. And super-creepy. But if you've been reading since 1994's Hellboy: Seed of Destruction #1, you are both old, and in the possession of a pretty good pile of comics. Especially if you're not trade-waiting, and you've been getting the assorted Mignolaverse books like Sledgehammer 44, Lobster Johnson, and Baltimore. Strictly speaking, the latter isn't in the same universe, but it's Mike Mignola so it's going in the same box!

However disorganized you may assume I am...let me assure you, it's far more so. But most of my Mignola-books were together in a box...that got full. And has been in my garage, so I haven't been putting new issues in. Problem, or opportunity, for a proper longbox home for them? After some liberal application of packing and duct tape, yeah! It's reinforced and water resistant!

I've had this in mind forever, so it'll be nice to finish putting all those issues in there. Plus, it's a good opportunity to re-read a ton of them. Have a great weekend!
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Today: Morbius vs. the lamest Halloween party ever...

A "monster mash"? More like a dead man's party, from 1970's Fear #30, reprinted in 1993's Morbius Revisited #4, "The Vampires of Mason Manor!" Written by Bill Mantlo, pencils by George Evans, inks by Frank Springer.

After facing the bizarre dimensions of the monstrous Helleyes, living vampire Michael Morbius and former C.I.A. man turned vampire hunter Simon Stroud find themselves attacked by real vampires! Which neither really believed in up to that point, even though there had been plenty of evidence: Morbius's victims, while traumatized and drained of a bit of blood, wouldn't turn into vampires themselves, yet there were several apparently tearing up Boston. Morbius is actually convinced he's hallucinating this fight, even as Stroud tries to convince him otherwise and the slain vampires turn to dust.

While back at the police station, Morbius's girlfriend Martine is unable to convince the cops of the dangers of a vampire, until the vampire breaks loose. Morbius and Stroud have their own problems, with Morbius going crazy with bloodlust right before they crash into a party full of vampires! So intent on blood, Morbius bites a vampire's neck, then helps Stroud capture one, who doesn't seem especially curious about how he came to be a vampire: he had been bitten, woke up a vampire three days later, and was drawn to that mysterious house. Morbius and Stroud take their prisoner back to the cops, to find Martine had herself been turned to a vampire!

Ah, I need to find that next issue or the reprint: I suspect Martine was cured, but I'm not sure it took; she may have been an actual undead vampire later on! I'm watching old vampire movies as I type this (the Vampire Lovers and the Return of Count Yorga) and I still think Morbius deserves a shot at B-movie fame. I'm sure Disney will get right on that.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Will Kitty Pryde be able to save Pool and Kurt? Or will Cyclops wreck things, as usual? And how many Star Trek episodes has Deadpool watched, anyway? None of these questions answered next time!
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