Saturday, October 22, 2016

Today in Comics History Future: Even in the 31st century, no one wants to buy Vision's baseball card collection

Panels from All-New All-Different Avengers #13 (October 2016), script by Mark Waid, pencils and inks by Adam Kubert, colors by Sonia Oback, letters by Cory Petit

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Month of... Board Games! Day 24: Agent 21 Across

Welcome to the exciting world of Secret Agent 21, the Spy of the Future, whose day job was editor-in-chief of the comic TV Century 21! Now who says Grant Morrison invented meta comic books??!

Editorial column from TV Century 21 #1 (23 January, 1965)

Also, he has a game!

"U.S.S. versus S.O.F.R.A.M." from TV Century 21 Annual 1968
(Century 21 Publishing Ltd. and City Magazines Ltd., 1967); creators unknown
(Click picture to SHIELD*-size)

Because I know you're wondering: U.S.S. stands for Universal Secret Service. And S.O.F.R.A.M. stands for the Solar Organisation For Revenge and Murder! Man, the British are not as good with spy acronyms as Nick Fury, Napoleon Solo, or Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

In addition to Agent 21, the TV Century 21 series also featured comics starring Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds, Stingray, and Fireball Get Smart, My Favo(u)rite Martian, and The Munsters! Wha-huh?!?

As for Century 21, it eventually evolved from a British comics weekly into a real estate firm and a mid-range fashion department store. Wow, they really did adapt to the changing markets of the 2000s!

*Surprisingly Hypnotic In Extra-Large Dimensions

A Month of... Board Games! Day 23: I'd tip my hat to you, but I haven't got a hat!

Hey, I wonder if there's any rush to play today's Doctor Who game?

Not unless your name is Saul.

"Travels of the Tardis" from Doctor Who Annual 1968 (World Distributors, Manchester, September 1967); creators unknown
(Click picture to bigger-on-the-insize)

This is the third Doctor Who Annual but the first to feature the second Doctor, Patrick Troughton. Now, I don't know which artist(s) drew the annual's comics and spot illustrations, but whoever it was, they really liked the Doctor's hat:

A lot of people curse the BBC for erasing their master tapes of so many of the Second Doctor's serials, that they've been lost to time. But really, you oughta thank the Beeb: they were just savin' you from lookin' at that big-ass hat.

A Month of... Board Games! Day 22: It's coming up / It's coming up / It's coming up / It's coming up / It's coming up / It's coming up

Dan Dare! Pilot of the Future! uture uture uture uture Hero and champion to all British kiddies the United Kingdom world over! But despite some decent attempts (by Grant Morrison and Garth Ennis) at publishing him in America (by, of all disparate comics companies, Fantagraphics and Virgin), Mister D. has never become the cult hero here in these here United States the way he is in England. We tend to prefer our own homegrown iconic, ultrapopular space heroes like Harry Broderick, Shane Vansen, Dan Holland, William "Hawk" Hawkins, Dylan Hunt, Joel Robinson and William Anthony Rogers. Maybe it's just that Dan Dare didn't have his own annoying robot sidekick voiced by Mel Blanc! I'd get on that problem right now, Fleetway. Or perhaps the BBC could jumpstart interest in "Biggles in Space" by commissioning a television or movie series, probably starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Dan, James Corden as his batman Digby, Greg Davies as Colonel Wilf Banger, Alex Kingston as Professor Peabody, Jon Langford as the Mekon, and some CGI as the good ship Anatasia. I do believe I've just started writing some Dan Dare BBC fan fiction. And of course, the signature tune could be that Elton John classic track "Dan Dare (Pilot Of The Future)!"

Or, y'know, we could just all get to know Dan Dare a little better simply by sitting down around a table of the future and playing his game.

"Dan Dare: Journey to Venus" from Eagle Annual 1986 (IPC Magazines Ltd., 1986); creators unknown
(Click picture to dare-to-compare-size)

Here's the too-complicated-for-their-own-good instructions for getting to the apparently twin planets of Venus and Venus II:

Pilot of the futureverse!
He'll save every one of us!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Notes from the Tin Dispatch Box of John H. Watson, MD

Panels from Sherlock Holmes: The Seven-Per-Cent Solution #1 (August 2015), based on the novel by Nicholas Meyer, script by David Tipton and Scott Tipton, pencils and inks by Ron Joseph, colors by Jordi Escuin, letters by Deron Bennett;
and from Angel Love #1 (August 1986); script and pencils by Barbara Slate, inks by John William Lopez, colors by Bob LeRose, letters by Bill Yoshida

Monday, October 10, 2016

Today in Comics History: Lame follow-up to Dark Reign is published

Page from Daily Bugle #3 (February 1997); script by Paul Grist; pencils by Karl Kerschl; inks by Greg Adams, Al Milgrom, and Chris Ivy; letters by Sue Crespi and John Constanza

Saturday, October 08, 2016

366 Days with J. Jonah Jameson, Day 282/Today in Comics History: This could never happen in these enlightened times

Page from Daily Bugle #1 (December 1996), script by Paul Grist, pencils by Karl Kerschl, inks by Greg Adams, letters by Jim Novak

Speaking of pretty good, often-overlooked J. Jonah Jameson stories, the 1996 miniseries The Daily Bugle is a lovely short series focusing on the journalists of that fine metropolitan newspaper, with nary an appearance by our friendly neighborhood web-slinger. It's about as real as Marvel Comics get, including that issue of Punisher: War Journal where Frank had to wait in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles for a whole issue.

Cover of Daily Bugle #1 (December 1996), pencils by Karl Kerschl, inks by Greg Adams

Like your local newspaper somewhere back in the twentieth century, the whole series is in glorious black and white, which gives it a cool-real noir look. And the script's by Paul Grist — I like his comics artwork a lot, especially Doctor Who and St. Swithin's Day, as well as being the writer and artist on the absolutely wonderful Jack Staff. Artwork here is by Karl Kerschl and Greg Adams:

As far as I know, The Daily Bugle #1-3 have never been collected into a trade, and I'm not sure if they're currently on Marvel Unlimited. But this little stuffed comics guy gives the miniseries two hooves up, and they're well worth hunting down in the back issue boxes of your local comic book shop. Tell 'em J. Jonah Jameson sent you, and also demand photographs of Spider-Man!

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Today in Comics History: Clark Kent wins a Cable Ace Award for his self-insertion fan fiction

Panels from Superman (1987 series) #79 (July 1993), script and pencils by Dan Jurgens, inks by Brett Breeding, colors by Glenn Whitmore, letters by John Costanza

Monday, October 03, 2016

Today in Comics History: Andy Warhol guest-stars on "The Love Boat"*

Page from "Notes from the Underground" in Miracleman by Gaiman and Buckingham #3 (December 2015), script by Neil Gaiman, pencils by Mark Buckingham, inks and colors by Sam Parsons, letters by Wayne Truman; remastered and reprinted from Miracleman #19 (Eclipse, November 1990)

*He really did!