Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Today is Batman Day!

Happy Batman Day! I celebrate the occasion with you by taking another look at Jack Kirby's above first drawing of the Caped Crusader, from the cover of 1973's The Comic Reader #100 (and over here you can see an alternate version of that cover that I hadn't seen before today).

Three of my favorite Bat-memories are: enjoying the Neal Adams artwork on his early 1970s Batman stories; marveling at the Marshall Rogers artwork on his late 1970s Detective Comics run; and being in attendance at the midnight premiere of Tim Burton's 1989 Batman side-by-side with an incredibly electrified audience of hard-core fans just like myself.

In an extensive article regarding Batman Day in today's Chicago Tribune, Neal Adams is quoted as stating that Gotham City is more like Chicago than New York City partly due to the fact that Chicago has a preponderance of alleys while NYC has a dearth of those crime-ridden urban passageways.

I will of course be helping myself to a copy of the free  Detective Comics #27 Special Edition generously being offered by DC Comics. You can use the map over here to see where you can pick up that special comic for yourself, with 1324 locations indicated in North America, 26 in Europe, 26 in Australia, and 12 in Asia.

Again, Happy Batman Day!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Flash Gordon in the Comics and on the Sink

Back here I told you how much I liked the classic-inspired artwork of Evan Shaner, and these days the gentleman is breathing some fresh air into Flash Gordon. On the left above is Mr. Shaner's sharp cover to Flash Gordon #1, while on the right is a (vintage?) Flash Gordon hand towel that we keep next to the hayfamzone kitchen sink (and which we are afraid to launder, not wanting to fade the brilliant colors).

Also I have been enjoying Doc Shaner's tweets, including one in which he wrote he wouldn't mind if Bill Watterson wanted to draw an issue of Flash Gordon and one in which he bemoaned panel-layout complications caused by winged characters.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Jim Steranko on Jack Kirby's New Gods

On Sunday nights, Jim Steranko holds court on ebay and answers questions from fans for hours. It's always a lively and fun discussion and yesterday Steranko had a superlative comment about Jack Kirby:

"Jim, ever thought of drawing NEW GODS? I really think you would crush it on that book."

"When Kirby was at the top of his game--it was HIS GAME for decades--no way no one could ace The King! He was the Best of the Best!"

Of course Jim S. and his escape artist background served as the real-life inspiration for Jack Kirby's Mister Miracle character, and an article about Steranko graces the pages of the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly.

Jim Steranko and Jack Kirby

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Byrne Doubt? Burned Out!

It was just a week ago that I showed you my pages of Jack-Kirby-based John Byrne original artwork on the occasion of the latter gentleman turning 64, and this week Mr. Byrne wrote that he doubts he will return to producing comics because he prefers working on commissioned drawings and on his Star Trek photonovels.

I was sorry to read that.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Miss Idaho is Wonder Woman

The headline earlier today in The Drudge Report told how beauty queen Sierra Sandison from Idaho (who happens to be diabetic) visibly wore her insulin pump during a swimsuit competition, but my eyes were drawn to the fact that the young lady was wearing a Wonder Woman t-shirt in the above image that was on the Drudge page. What a great statement!

Interestingly, the source article that Drudge links to uses the same photo but with the Wonder Woman logo and the Miss Idaho sash and the insulin pump cropped out, as you can see below. U.K. newspaper The Telegraph credits the image as a Facebook photo, and I guess Telegraph readers should consider themselves fortunate that the paper bothered to include a photograph at all. But the way they butchered the heart out of that picture would tend to make me suspicious about what other editorial decisions are being made at The Telegraph.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

To "the" or not to "the"

Do you say Howard the Duck, or Howard Duck?

Do you say Daffy Duck, or Daffy the Duck?

What a difference a "the" makes!

Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn (himself the grandson of mathematician Max Zorn from whom we have received the theorem known widely as Zorn's Lemma) wrote a column about how everybody says "Smokey the Bear" even though that character's official name is "Smokey Bear." You can read the article over here.

Mr. Zorn compiled the below lists of characters that do not and that do have a "the" in their name:

No "the"
  • Adam Ant
  • Br'er Rabbit
  • Bugs Bunny
  • Daffy Duck
  • Deputy Dawg
  • Donald Duck
  • Eddie Eagle
  • Fozzie Bear
  • Garfield Goose
  • Hello Kitty
  • Huckleberry Hound
  • Krazy Kat
  • Magilla Gorilla
  • Mickey Mouse
  • Mighty Mouse
  • Porky Pig
  • Precious Pup
  • Priscilla Pig
  • Roger Rabbit
  • Tom Cat
  • Top Cat
  • Tweetie Bird
  • Woodsy Owl
  • Woody Woodpecker
  • Yogi Bear
 With "the"
  • Babar the Elephant
  • Bill the Cat
  • Felix the Cat  
  •  Ferdinand the Bull
  • Fritz the Cat
  • Frosty the Snowman
  • Howard the Duck
  • Kermit the Frog
  • Opus the Penguin
  • Puff the Magic Dragon
  • Rocky the Flying Squirrel
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Tony the Tiger
I hope an academic somewhere will write a dissertation on this matter.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Joker's and The Joker

Back in the 1970s my brother owned a hot dog stand named Joker's in Chicago.

Of course there was no in those days but I reliably got my fix of comic book news from The Comic Reader and The Buyer's Guide. When those sources informed me in 1975 that DC Comics would be publishing The Joker as an ongoing title, I immediately approached my brother with an idea. As a promotion, why not give out a copy of The Joker #1 to the customers of Joker's? My brother green-lighted the idea and I arranged with my comic book guy, Joe Sarno, to purchase I-forget-how-many hundred copies of The Joker #1.

And the rest is history.