Thursday, May 26, 2016

Two Shades of Action Comics

Action Comics # 183 (August 1953)


Ah, Action Comics. The venerable home of Superman has been going strong every month since June of 1938, almost 1000 issues by now.

Take a look at the cover shown above. Please notice that the "Action" and the "Comics" in the logo are colored differently. I hate that! So jarring. Fingernails may just as well be scraping along a blackboard. Please join me in coining the word cacochromatic, which will mean "containing or using a harsh mixture of colors."

Maybe you're as curious as I was as to how many times this eye-poke of a color scheme was employed through the years? Well, I did a little research so we could settle this matter once and for all.

Issue #149 in 1950 was the first appearance of a two-shaded Action Comics logo, so there was smooth sailing for the first twelve years of publication until somebody latched onto this bright idea. It was employed a total of twelve times between 1950 and 1954 (issues 149, 150, 166, 167, 168, 173, 178, 183, 191, 192, 193, 194), and then there was a monochromatic tranquility for the next 51 years.

Issue 824 in 2005 was the next time the monster of two colors presented its grotesque visage (but it must be pointed out that there was a different Action Comics logo from 1989 to 2004, one that did not allow for double coloring). The new generation of colorists and/or editors were apparently hypnotized by this terrible tincturing because the dichotomous dying was applied 40 times between 2005 and 2016.

Have you added up all these covers for a grand total? Me neither. "Too many" is the answer. It never should have happened. How visually offensive it is when "Action" and "Comics" are colored differently! If I could go back in time I would make sure that this two-pronged pigmentation never occurred a single time.

Action Comics # 194 (July 1954)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mutts Goes Underground


I can remember a few times in the 1970s venturing into those dens of iniquity known as "head shops" to see if there was anything I needed in their pile of underground comics. Oh, how those places stunk of incense! (And (naturally) the comics bought from there were infused with the sickly-sweet aroma themselves.) But that was the distribution network for those comics and there was no other way a body could get an issue of Zap Comix, for example. Of course anything goes today and there is no need for incense-heavy poorly-lighted backrooms.

Thanks for the reminder, Mutts!


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Elephant Island is Real


The above photo is not doctored in any way! What you see is known as Elephant Rock and is part of Home Island (Heimaey) in Iceland and is a natural rock formation that just happens to look like an elephant. Wouldn't this have been a much better choice for Oliver Queen to have been stranded on instead of that dreary island that keeps showing up on Arrow?


Monday, May 23, 2016

Creeps, the New Creepy?


Creepy was a fun treat in the 1960s! A decade-later resurrection of the EC Comics of the 1950s, the magazine featuring black-and-white comics by many of the EC artists burst onto the scene from Warren Publishing in 1964. Much of the writing in the early issues was by Archie Goodwin and most of the lettering was by Ben Oda. There were ups and downs creatively for almost 20 years and then, in 1983, Creepy gasped its last.

But wait! I was inspecting the newsstand last month to see if anything new was up in terms of comics and I was intrigued to see a magazine entitled The Creeps. A "Warrant" Magazine, it features stories by "Artie Godwin" as well as others by actual Warren alumni like Nicola Cuti and Don Glut.


I never heard of any of the artists in The Creeps but it's all in good fun and any reader who enjoyed Creepy will probably want to investigate.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

The New DC Comics Retro Bullet

Above is the new DC Comics logo that will begin its tenure with this summer's Rebirth titles. (Allegedly; Superman and Batman and Wonder Woman elements are contained above, but the only one I see is the top of a Superman "S" in the top portion of the C.) I prefer this one to the last two logos that have been used so this will be my favorite DC "bullet" in 11 years, although it does strike me as a child's re-drawing of DC's mid-1970s design:


Many online comments indicate disappointment that the page-turning/peeling logo is being retired (which startles me since I found that one horrendous), but my all-time favorite remains the Milton Glaser bold-yet-elegant design that ruled from 1976 until 2005:


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Jack Kirby's Black Panther


Before today I had never seen the above alternate and unused version of Fantastic Four #52. Very nice! I wonder how many alternate covers like this were drawn by Jack Kirby that I have yet to see. Many, many, I hope. If you'd like to bid on the above specimen, details can be found over here.


Friday, April 01, 2016

Xaime Covers The New Yorker


I have been a fan of Jaime Hernandez's art for thirty-some years now (and you can see some another item I've written about him and his work over here). The new issue of The New Yorker came in the mail the other day and it was great to see that the cover was by this very gentleman! He has drawn some interior spot illustrations for earlier issues but I am just about certain that this marks Jaime's first appearance on the cover. Congrats!

The love came first but now here's the vinegar. What exactly is supposed to be going on in the above very nicely drawn image? A hot dog vending cart is rolling down the aisle in an airplane?  Why? Or is it a commentary on mustard? Or maybe it's merely a fun exercise in surrealism like Luis Bunuel's Mexican Bus Ride in which a jungle sprouts inside a bus filled with commuters? I don't understand it but congrats nonetheless!