Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Today in Comics History: BullQuest

I've been behind several months on reading my digital new comics (that darn iPad touchscreen doesn't work so well with hooves). It came out last year, but I only recently read and very much enjoyed the new Swordquest miniseries, continuing the tale of those classic early-80s Atari 2600 8-bit cartridges — and yes, I had Earthworld and Fireworld to play on my Sears Video Arcade with real simulated wood panelling! Even more than those original classic games, I loved the set of DC minicomics included with art by George freakin' Pérez. My little brain full of oatmeal and pins is properly blown.

The new Swordquest comics are written by Chad Bowers and my good pal Chris Sims, creators of X-Men '92, so I knew this was gonna be good, too. Also: another good pal, Josh Krach, did the lettering! Lettering: without it comics themselves would be nearly impossible!

What I didn't expect was that Chad 'n' Chris would so thoughtfully place a Today in Comics History in the first issue for me to use! I know they did this specifically thinkin' of me. Thanks, guys!

Panels from Swordquest (Dynamite 2017 series) #0 (May 2017 and hey, Dynamite, why you not put publication month on your comic books? it bugs me that you don't); script by Chad Bowers and Chris Sims; pencils, inks, and colors by Ghostwriter X (Scott Kowalchuk); color flats by Karl Fan; letters by Josh Krach

Yay! Thank you, C&C Comics Factory! And imagine my surprise when I got to issue #2 only to find that these guys had actually guest-starred me, your favorite little stuffed bull, in a few glorious panels drawn by Ghostwriter X who I think is the leader of the New Mutants now. here's let me show you the page and see if you can spot me, Bully the Little Stuffed Bull, in the panels below!

Panels from Swordquest (Dynamite 2017 series) #2 (August 2017); script by Chad Bowers and Chris Sims; pencils, inks, and colors by Ghostwriter X (Scott Kowalchuk); color flats by Karl Fan; letters by Josh Krach

I...I am honestly touched, guys, that it's such an accurate and faithful portrayal of me.

In all seriousness, I do heartily recommend Swordquest, which cleverly mixes the mythology inside the original games and comics with the real-life drama of Atari's creation and marketing of the cartridges. Bully says DON'T ASK: JUST BUY IT! Well, actually, you should ask, nicely, at your local comics store, where you can buy the Swordquest collected trade and probably back issues of the series. If, like me, you're into e-literature, check here on Comixology for the trade "paperback" and individual issues.

No, really: it's me. So lovely.

Today in Comics History: Super Soldier wins WWII and hey, wait a minute, why isn't that guy named Jimmy Jones or Rick Olsen?

Panel from Super Soldier #1 (Amalgam Comics, April 1996), co-plot and script by Mark Waid, co-lot, pencils, inks, and letters by Dave Gibbons; colors by Angus McKie

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

In which Bully finds that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting.

Doomsday Clock? The unauthorized sequel to Watchmen? Don't make me laugh. To get me to buy that, you'd have to put my favorite thing in the world on the cover and...

Cover of Doomsday Clock #4 (May 2018), art by Gary Frank

..oh, well played, DC.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Today in Comics History: Batman ruins a birthday party...again

Hey, it's Calendar Man's birthday! (even though it doesn't say that on the probably-no-longer-canonical Super DC 1976 Calendar). Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Julian, happy birthday...y'see, I can sing that song because now, unlike Batman, it's in the public domain.

Panels from Injustice 2 #3 (digital comic, April 2017), script by Tom Taylor, pencils by Bruno Redondo, inks by Juan Albarran, colors by Rex Lokus, letters by Wes Abbott

Oh, and I should probably point out that it's a dystopic alternative future where Superman killed the Joker and Batman has raised a rebellion against him and so both Supes and Bats kill people now and also Harley Quinn and Green Arrow had a meet cute. (It's all true!)\

Nooooo! Clock King! Magpie! Killer Moth! Wonder Bread Man!

So honestly, I wouldn't invite Future Murder Batman to your birthday party, but if you do, at least remember that he brings fireworks.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Today in Comics History: I got to double back again, double back again

Today's Today in Comics History comics history today (well, you know what I mean) doesn't begin on March 18th, but it winds up there eventually and momentarily. Confused? then you ought to have guessed it's another time-travelling with the original DeLorean DMC-12 — accept no ready player substitutes — in yet another alternate universal twist on Back to the Future, Part II! The one with two Marties.

All-around no-good-nik Biff Tannen is poised to take over the world...well, at least, become President of the United States, and you can't even comceive how wrong time would be if we elected to that prestigious office an orange-haired butthead. It's sometime in mid-1986, and Biff has captured Marty and Doc Brown and Doc's in-between-the-realities time machine. Biff orders Doc to set the TM™ for June 1, 1996 (and now you know which panel you can expect to see in this feature two-and-a-half months from now) so he can clean up in the stock market. Doc fiddles with the knobs and Biff steps into the time machine, which looks like a refrigerator. After all, if you're gonna build a time machine, why not make it cool?

Panels from Back to the Future: Biff to the Future #6 (July 2017), story and script by Bob Gale and Derek Fridolfs, pencils by Alan Robinson, inks by Alan Robinson and Jaime Castro, colors by Maria Santaolalla, letter by Shawn Lee

Say, do you know what happened in Hill Valley, California, on March 18, 1884? me, I woulda guessed it was the date of Z.Z. Top's first single hitting the charts:

But no, it's not, and Doctor Emmett Brown knows exactly what happens at noon on March 18, 1884, as he very cleverly noted in the Biff Tannen Museum only (flips through pages in confusion) one issue before!

Panel from Back to the Future: Biff to the Future #5 (June 2017), story and script by Bob Gale and Derek Fridolfs, pencils by Alan Robinson, inks by Alan Robinson and Jaime Castro, colors by Maria Santaolalla, letter by Shawn Lee

So it's clear that Doc's actually sent Biff back in time to 3/18/(18)84 and not back to the future of 6/1/(19)96. Placing Biff squarely in the middle of...

from Back to the Future: Biff to the Future #6

So, four minutes later, when Doc's microwave pizza is done the automatic retreval system on the time machine brings Biff Tannen back (as we say) to the future...

Time travel, ladies and gentlemen. It's confusing, but it usually works out in the end. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go watch President Clinton give her weekly press conference. Join me, won't you?

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Today in Comics History: Viv Vision's internal clock works better than Google Calendar

Panels from Champions (2016 series) #5 (April 2017), script by Mark Waid, pencils by Humberto Ramos, inks by Victor Olazaba, colors by Edgar Delgado, letters by Clayton Cowles

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Happy Pi Day!

Please enjoy it while savoring this crusty, piping-hot take on Captain America (well, technically, The Captain) saving pie! Yum.

Panels from Captain America (1968 series) #350 (February 1989), script by Mark Gruenwald, pencils by Kieron Dwyer, inks by Al Milgrom, colors by Bob Sharen, letters by John Morelli

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Today in Comics History: Comic celebrates Douglas Adams's birthday with two characters boinkin' on a boat

Panel from Dirk Gently: The Salmon of Doubt #9 (June 2017), script by Arvind Ethan David, pencils and inks by Ilias Kyriazis and Dani Strips, colors by Charlie Kirchoff, letters by Christa Miesner

Today in Comics History: Batman story unfolds on so many different video screens, even Ozymandias is confused

Panels from Detective Comics #943 (December 2016), script by James Tynion IV, pencils by Alvaro MartÍnez, inks by Raúl Fernández, colors by Brad Anderson, letters by Marilyn Patrizio