Saturday, August 05, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 217: Beetlemania

Panels from "Peril in the Pacific" in Blue Beetle #31 (Fox, June 1944), pencils by Herman C. Browner (?)

Friday, August 04, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 216: Diamonds Are for Lana

Hey, you're forgiven if you've forgotten Captain Fearless, a Golden Age superhero who headlined his own comic book (wow!) published by that giant of comics, Temerson/Helnit/Continental (who?) and who made all of two appearances before his book was unceremoniously cancelled (aw). Captain Fearless, we're told, "has no superpowers, but his horn can summon up his ancestor for assistance." (Citation.) Why, by those standards of posessing horns, I am twice the superhero he is! Other heroes who took the spotlight in the anthology oriented Captain Fearless include "Alias X," "Rusty Dugan in the French Foreign Legion," "Grit Grady, Adventurer" (what was his mother thinking when she named him that?), and "Citizen Smith: Son of the Unknown Soldier." Well, then, we at least half know who the Unknown Soldier was. There's the ripped-from-the-headlines action-thribble adventures of Sergeant "Dick" Carter of the U.S. Border Patrol, who keeps Mexican banditos out of Texas, Mr. Miracle (no, not that one) and Captain Stone, whose exciting escapades take place...under water.

But for the moment let's tear out all the pages of our copy of Captain Fearless #2 except those that feature Diamond Jim, "adventurous American in the Kimberley region of South Africa." Oh man, there's no way this feature isn't gonna get problematic real fast. So instead let's focus on D.J.'s damsel in distress, Lana, who hires the aforementioned Zircon Zhames to protect her from "Rocky" Stone — geez, doesn't anybody in these comics not have a nickname in quote marks? "Rocky" has threatned to steal "Lana's" diamond "mine" so when "Rocky' "kidnaps" both Lana "and" Diamond "Jim," you'd expect it to be Jim to the rescue by standing up against the "bad guys." Not so:

Panels from the Diamond Jim story in Captain Fearless Comics #2 (Temerson/Helnit/Continental, September 1941), pencils and inks by Saul Rosen

HOLY COW LANA! You go girl! You receive today's ward to defying bad guys and provided the only action that will take place in those comic book! Sisters are doin' it for themselves, baby!

The last panel of the story threatens promises "further adventures of Diamond Jim in next months' issue of Captain Fearless," in which I'm certain he will have his ass saved by a tortoise. Unfortunately, this was the last-ever issue of Cap Fearless, and nobody ever saw Diamond Jim, ever again. But I'd sure give Lana her own comic book feature.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 215: Under the sea, under the sea / The Master Race gets a punch in the face / Take it from me

Look, I will hear no taunts or jeers against Aquaman, Superhero of the Seven Seas. Sure, he talks to fish — I mean, who doesn't? — but he's one of the most powerful beings on earth and especially under the sea, so take a seat, Jack, if you intend to mock the Aque. How tough is he? Why, in his very first appearance, he's fighting Nazis. Were you fighting Nazis in your very first appearance? I think not.

Panels from "The Submarine Strikes" in More Fun Comics #73 (November 1941), script by Mort Weisinger, pencils and inks by Paul Norris

Wondering what happens to those Nazis in this here very story? Well, let's check it out over at the Grand Comicbook Database, huh?

Don't. Threaten. Aquaman.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 214: Let's All Spit on the Nazis

Gabriel Jones (he of the Howling Commandos) and Peggy Carter (she of the late lamented cancelled-too-soon Marvel Cinematic Universe TV show) have been captured by the Red Skull! Who always looks so very villainous when he's portrayed by one of my favorite artists, Frank Robbins!

Panels from Captain America (1968 series) #175 (May 1975), script by Steve Englehart, pencils by Frank Robbins, inks by Frank Giacoia, colors by Stan Goldberg, letters by Tom Orzechowski

All tied up (and no place to go), how will Gabe and Peggy resist the Red Skull? Well, by the ancient art of gobbing:

Hah! Nice one, Gabe! And a scene or two later, no sooner has the Red Numbskull washed the spit off his rubber fetish mask than Peggy adds her personal touch to the situation:

The moral, and this story does have one: spit at Nazis. As often as possible. Yeah, it's as simple as that.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

The 1978 2017 Amazing Spider-Man Mighty Marvel Comics Calendar: August Arm-extraning

"August Is an Amazing Amalgamation of Arms!" in The Amazing Spider-Man Mighty Marvel Comics Calendar 1978 (1977); pencils by Sal Buscema, inks by John Verpooten, colors by George Bell
(Click picture to polymelia-size)

While we're all getting ready to go back to school, Peter Parker is going straight to heck, just like the spider that bited (bait? bitaten?) him so radioactively! That boy ain't right, 'coz he's got eight arms to hold Gwen! Well, six arms and two legs...just like a normal spider. This back in black illustration from Sal Buscema is based on the classic Amazing Spider-Man #100, which had this blow-your-little-=spidery-mind cover by legendary Peter-artist Spider-artist John Romita, Sr. He drew it on a chalkboard!

Cover of Amazing Spider-Man (1963 series) #100 (September 1971); pencils by John Romita, Sr.; inks by Frank Giacoia; letters by Morrie Kuramoto (?)

Obviously Marvel doesn't wanna spoil the surprise of an abounding-armed arachnid, so they say that reveal for the very last page of the story. Go ahead, tell me this wouldn't get you to pick up the next issue, True Bulliever!

Final page of Amazing Spider-Man (1963 series) #100 (September 1971); script by Stan Lee, pencils by Gil Kane, figure inks by Frank Giacoia, background inks by Tony Mortellaro, letters by Artie Simek

Hey, make sure to celebrate all the birthdays of the Marvel greats listed in this month's calendar, but on August 28 please set aside a special cake 'n' fireworks for Jack Kirby's 100th birthday this very year of 2018!

And note: since the dates on the calendar contain references to the stories in Amazing Spider-Man issues #87-100, why don't we check in with Spider-writer the amazing Stan Lee?

How's that workin' out for ya, Stan?

365 Days of Defiance, Day 213: Batman kicks Nazis*

Batman teaming up with Sgt. Rock may seem like one of those crazy stories from Earth-Haney, but for The Brave and the Bold it's just another ordinary day in the pre-Crisis Age. Yeah, this story probably took place on Earth-2, but what does it matter? Their Nazis deserved kicking too.

Panels from The Brave and the Bold #162 (May 1980), script by Bill Kelley, pencils and inks by Jim Aparo, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by Jim Aparo

* Exactly what it says on the tin.

The 1978 2017 DC Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters: August Ablaze

"August: Black Lightning" in The 1978 Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters; artwork by Rich Buckler and Vince Colletta
(Click picture to I'm-just-talkin'-'bout-Black-Lightning-size)

As the Bellrays sang

Storm cloud coming
Coming straight to you
You can’t run for shelter
There’s nothing you can do
I’m a new sensation
I’m on fire
Overload your systems
Gonna jump your wires
I’m Black Lightning!

Why yes. Yes, he is. And he's having, as Sly and the Family Stone sang

It's Heat Wave, stage of comics and TV screen, and he is, as the Talking Heads sang

In fact, they're having a regular, as the Muppets sang

Okay, enough of that. Oh hey, look, Superman showed up to congratulate Jeff on handling Heat Wave all by himself. Great timing, Superman. Thanks for stopping by after the work is all done.

Later in prison, Heat Wave received some hot news via a telegram

Well, I'm going to allow that one, since that's Jane Wiedlin, Queen of My Heart. But here's how it really looked:

Say, who is that Mystery Mastermind, and how much time does he spend at the Western Union sending mysterious missives to his multitude of malicious minions? Well, let's feed the data we have into the Super Friends super-computer (sorry, I don't have a clip for that), fill in the blank squares as instructed, see what it prints out on its cute little futuristic punchcards. Hey look, free confetti!

Know who it is yet? Well, think about it and use your noggin! And, speaking of noggins and heat, here's another vital clue...I think:

Ah ha! We;'ve solved the mystery! The Mastermind is none other than sinister brain-guy Egghead!

Wait though. He's dead. And from a different universe. Hmmmm, could it be this Egghead?

Or maybe this one?

Huh. I dunno either. So for more clues, see you in September


Monday, July 31, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 212: The Line Is Drawn

Panels from 52 #32 (February 2007); script by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid; breakdowns by Keith Giffen; pencils by Patrick Olliffe; inks by Drew Geraci; colors by David Baron; letters by Travis Lanham

Sunday, July 30, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 211: The Rocket's Red Glare

Not only has the New Hate-Monger — I dunno, Rush Limbaugh this time, prob'bly — stolen Cap's shield and painted a nasty swastika on it, he's also plotting to destroy everything we love and hold close top our hearts with anthrax missiles! That didn't work when Zemo plotted it and it won't work now, Hatey!

Panels from Captain America (1998 series) #27 (March 2000), script by Dan Jurgens, pencils by Andy Kubert, inks by Dan Green, colors by Gregory Wright, letters by Todd Klein

Whoops, that's not good. But while the Monger (Hate) taunts Cap and Nick Fury face-palms, Steve Rogers reveals that, like Batman, he has had prep time and he always had a scheme to take down the missiles. With righteousness.

With good aim of his shield and the aid of the Falcon, Captain America does exactly that. Wrap it up for us, Cap 'n' Nick!