NOT ENOUGH SCENES WITH THE SINGING PARROT
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NOT ENOUGH SCENES WITH THE SINGING PARROT
Has it, finally, inevitably, come to this? Has it come to yet another installment of the End of Civilization? Yes, friends, I’m afraid it has, so bust out your copy of Diamond Previews, July 2012 edition, and follow along:
p. 86 – Justice League #0:
At long last, the return of Captain Marvel! That friendly squint, that cheerful grin…thank goodness for this return to a more innocent time!
p. 104 – Batwoman #0:
On one hand, it really seems like the height of obsession that Batwoman (or, yes, her dad) actually spent the time to make sure even the soles of her boots feature little bat shapes. On the other hand…it’s not as if “obsession” is anything new to anyone in the Bat-family.
Also, now I’m picturing Batman hunched over a grinder, smoothing down his Batarang and thinking “needs to be more bat-shaped, more bat-shaped.” Probably best to move on.
p. 108 – Catwoman #0:
Oh. My. God. Just look at this picture! It’s a disgrace! An embarrassment. I mean, come on…Catwoman’s nose doesn’t look like that! What was this artist thinking?
p. 148 – Before Watchmen The Comedian Statue:
I really do think the Comedian’s “’68 Comeback Special” is my favorite concert performance of all time.
p. 149 – DC Comics Super-Heroes Starfire Bust:
…I’m just going to assume you already know what joke I was going to go for here.
p. 149 – DC Comics Super-Heroes Superman Bust:
Yeah, that costume’s a bust, all right.
p. 152 – Ami-Comi Harley Quinn V.2 PVC Figure:
Well, sure, I guess…just don’t look too closely at her face.
OH GOD I SAID DON’T LOOK AAAAAAAH
p. 181 – The Picture of Dorian Gray:
So is this a story about how Dorian Gray keeps a pro-graded slab-sealed copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray comic book adaptation in a box in the closet, and it must remain sealed in the slab for Gray to maintain his youth? Or perhaps I’m misunderstanding something.
p. 239 – Spock On! T-Shirt:
At what point do these shirts cross the line from “one-shot parody” to “basically just a Star Trek shirt?”
p. 275-6 – Peter Cannon Thunderbolt #1:
“Before Ozymandias?” I beg to differ.
(Yes, yes, I know Peter Cannon was an inspiration for the Watchmen character. Just, you know, any excuse to link to that poem.)
p. 299 – Hit-Girl School Girl Statue:
Whew! Thank goodness, I was afraid this would be, you know, kind of weird.
p. 360 – Classic Marvel Figurine Collection Magazine – Hammerhead:
“Oh, wow, a Flattop figure! I love Dick Tracy villains!”
“Um, that’s not Flattop.”
“It’s Flattop Junior? Even better! I’ll take it!”
“But that’s not…ah, hell, sure, enjoy your Flattop Junior figure. Thanks for shopping.”
p. 361 – Marvel Comics The Untold Story HC:
“We can never tell anyone of this. Never.” Beads of sweat were still visible on Stan’s brow.
Jack leaned the shovel against the side of the Buick. “Stan…someone’s going to notice. Someone’s gonna know. We gotta cover our tracks.”
Stan’s burst of anger was sudden and unexpected. He pressed in close to Jack, shouting. “What do you think we’ve been doing? You think I drove three hours out into the desert in the middle of the night for kicks?”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, this won’t do us any good,” Steve interjected. “We have to keep our heads, or we risk losing everything.”
Stan turned away from Jack to look at Steve, obviously struggling to contain himself after his outburst. “Yeah…yeah, I’m sorry guys. I’m just….”
“I know,” said Jack, putting a hand on Stan’s shoulder.
Stan walked a short distance away from the other two men, the only sound that of his boots grinding into the sand. He stopped, pulled out and lit a cigarette. He inhaled deeply, and stared out into the evening sky, bright with stars.
“Damn you, Weisinger,” he whispered. “Damn you.”
p. 375-6 – The Quotable Star Trek Voyager Trading Cards:
“Assist me.” – Seven of Nine
“Can you hand me that?” – Tom Paris
“Hey guys.” – Harry Kim
“Hmm, the coffee’s a bit cold.” – Captain Janeway
“Aaaah-CHOO!” – Chakotay
p. 380 – Luke Cage & Power Man Yellow Previews Exclusive Shirt:
Oh, nothing, just the best thing in this month’s catalog. Even with the seemingly extraneous ampersand in the item’s name.
p. 381 – G.I. Joe “Silent But Deadly” Previews Exclusive Black T-Shirt:
“Snake Eyes. G.I. Joe’s deadliest soldier. Fast. Lethal. Unstoppable. Strikes like a type of fart.”
p. 390 – Amazing Spider-Man Gwen Stacy Costume:
This isn’t really a costume so much as just “clothes.”
p. 401 – Star Trek TOS Enterprise Mini-Vehicle:
Ladies and gentlemen…Captain Kirk’s toilet.
p. 431 – Star Wars Jaina Solo ArtFX Bishoujo Statue:
You’d better hope Han Solo doesn’t find out how you’ve been leering at his daughter, you space-pervs.
p. 455 – Amazing Spider-Man Movie Glasses:
Finally, cat’s-eye glasses have been updated for the 21st century.
p. 457 – The Big Bang Theory stuff:
Okay, so I’ve finally seen a few episodes of this show. At no time have I heard a single utterance of the term “bazinga.” I’m going to assume this has simply been an elaborate joke you TBBT fans have been playing on the rest of us. I wouldn’t put it past you, you nuts.
p. 475 – Monopoly Marvel Comics Collector’s Edition:
Do not pass GO, collect FOUR BILLION DOLLARS from Disney anyway! Hooray! Money money money money
p. 475 – Monopoly Sonic the Hedgehog Collectors Ed:
Do not pass GO, do not coll…whoa, Sonic’s passed GO already. Man, that little bastard is fast!
According to my referral logs, my site is getting swamped with people searching for “john byrne forum closed” and variations thereof. And sure enough, at least when I go the site, I get an “access denied” page. So, from all appearances, it looks like the forum is shut off to the casual drive-by fan looking for some cheap, inadvertently-humorous entertainment. Probably for the best, frankly. At least you can still check out the commissions page, which features some nice work.
So anyway, to all you folks Googling me up looking for answers to that forum’s closure…sorry, can’t help you. But if you wanna talk about Swamp Thing, then I’m your guy, mostly. Unless you’re annoying about it.
In nearly completely-unrelated news, we turned up a copy of this at the shop the other day:
A Wolfrider’s Reflections – Songs of Elfquest softcover book from 1987, featuring lyrics and sheet music for songs inspired by Richard and Wendy Pini’s legendary fantasy comic franchise. You can see the lyrics in full here (including some by fantasy author Mercedes Lackey…I’m assuming that’s the same person, anyway). Anyway, I only bring it up mostly because the name of the publisher is “Off-Centaur Publications,” which is both terrible and fantastic.
My brief mention of this book on the Twitter did inspire pal Andrew to reminisce about his past fascination with a certain series of fantasy novels.
Ladies, gentlemen, and otherwise: Laugh-Out-Loud Cats #2000. …You’re welcome.
It’s been a while since I’ve dipped into the Gold Key “Reader’s Page Monsters” well, but I’ll occasionally run across those pages, and they’re always fantastic. …A while back, after one of my previous postings, I had someone opine on another site that these drawings obviously weren’t actual submissions from children, since the line thickness on the drawings was more-or-less uniform and thus the monsters looked like they all came from the same hand. I suspect the answer to this is simple: that all the submitted drawings had to be traced or redrawn for the sake of reproduction. I’m sure many of the images arrived as light pencil drawings on lined paper, or crayon on construction paper, despite the instructions to readers to “draw in black ink on white paper.” And even if they did follow instructions, that probably didn’t mean the pictures were ready for reproduction straight out of the envelope.
Or maybe these were all drawn by some Gold Key intern or bored staffer and I’m fulla crap. It’s totally possible.
Anyway, I promised monsters, so here they are:
Yes, the big yellow critter with green and red spots and an overly elaborate tail doesn’t want to attract attention. Got it.
So his vision makes things…radioactive, I guess? This monster is more dangerous than one might think at first glance. Though admittedly, having legs like stretched-out Slinkies would possibly impair his mobility, so perhaps the danger is minimized.
I am willing to believe that being hypnotized by mod colors was a widespread problem in the 1960s.
Reminds me a bit of Superman’s greatest nemesis, the Iron Eater (as seen here). Also, the Moon Goons apparently don’t believe in crop replacement, given the notable lack of “moon plants” on our satellite. …Then again, they never say it’s our moon. Maybe these guys are over on Endor terrorizing Ewoks. …It’s fun to imagine things, isn’t it, kids?
images from Ripley’s Believe It or Not! #14 (June 1969)
1987 bookmark, found in a book purchased at a garage sale. The Bat-ears are a little worn, but still, woe betide any master criminal who dares try to lose someone’s place!
Well, sure, Batman’s isn’t too far off the mark:
And Wonder Woman’s is…well, okay, she is a warrior, so I guess this one can slide:
…but this one doesn’t feel very…Superman-y, you’d have to admit:
And this one makes me laugh, because I’m a bad person:
In comparison, the Green Lantern one felt a bit tame:
…so I decided to do a little copy editing:
And yet, strangely, still in character!
A couple of you expressed difficulty in spotting the overgrown Swamp Thing in that splash page from Saga of the Swamp Thing #22 I posted yesterday:
…so I thought I’d help you along with a minor visual aid:
You can see Swampy’s head in the lower left corner, his right arm across the image underneath, and his left hand sort of sticking out above him, there. Hope that helps!
Anyway, we have some interesting submissions in the “iconic Swamp Thing panel” discussion going on in the comments to yesterday’s post, so feel free to chime in, if you’d like.
In other news:
- Kevin Church, Max Riffner, and Rick Hiltbrunner just started up a new strip (a spinoff from Lydia, itself a spinoff from The Rack) called Signs and Meanings, so go on over there and enjoy yourself some free webcomicking.
Okay, that was a lot of links all thrown together there. Lemme try again.
New free webcomic, Signs and Meanings. Church ‘n’ Riffner ‘n’ Hiltbrunner. Go read it.
- So our partner business is participating in this Mission: Small Business program via Chase Bank, in which 12 businesses will receive a fairly sizable chunk o’change. We need to get 250 votes to be put into the consideration pool for this grant, so if you could go here and vote for “Seth’s Games and Anime” I would appreciate it, since both our businesses would benefit. Plus, I could finally build that rocket car to…um, help me deliver comics more quickly. Yeah, that’s it. …Thanks, pals! (NOTE: Facebook account required to vote. Yeah, I know, sorry.)
So Tom Spurgeon had a Five-for-Friday call for entries recently, asking folks to “Name A Character Or Characters Or Title And Then Name Four Iconic Visually-Driven Single Moments For Your Choice.” I saw that in my feed-reader and was well on my way to gathering some choice Swamp Thing panels, when I realized I’d missed the deadline. Ah, well…you can read other folks’ entries over at Tom’s site (which as I write this is experiencing some technical difficulties, but should be up again soon), but I thought I’d share a few of the panels I was thinking about.
First one that came to mind was this one from Swamp Thing #1 (1972), which I’ve featured on the site before:
…And then there’s this, though there are lots of versions of that panel to choose from!
And there was this panel from issue #7 from that first series, which maybe isn’t an “iconic” pic that immediately comes to mind when one thinks about “Swamp Thing,” but it’s Swampy in an overcoat slapping Batman around, and that’s always great:
The next panels I thought of were a pair of splashes that are in fact connected plot-wise. In Alan Moore’s first story arc, Swamp Thing finds out he was never actually a human being, but a plant “infected” by Alec Holland’s memories. Traumatized by the revelation, he collapses in some Louisiana marshland and lets himself take root, resulting in this startling image from Swamp Thing #22 (1984):
I remember showing this page to…hmm, someone, can’t recall who, but that person couldn’t tell that was Swamp Thing beneath all that overgrowth. I had to sort of trace my hand along the image…”there’s his head…see his arm, there?” …
The follow-up to this in the next issue, when Swamp Thing finally snaps out of it and uproots himself in time to come to Abby’s rescue:
Such a great, detailed image by Steve Bissette and John Totleben. When Bissette and Totleben first came onto the book a few months prior, Swamp Thing began his visual transition from a generally smooth-ish skinned monster with his plant-like nature represented by twisted roots covering his body, into a creature that actually sort of looked like it was comprised of plantlife. It was this particular storyline, though, that finally brought us a Swamp Thing that really looked like a big ol’ walking swamp.
Another panel I considered was this one, from the very first Swamp Thing story in House of Secrets #92 (1971), where the Swamp Thing stares sorrowfully down at his wrist, wondering if his golden bracelet is still buried there:
…but I decided I would more likely go with the wordless panel immediately following, which feels much more despairing:
Here are the two panels, together as printed:
…And I could keep going even farther beyond Tom’s four-panel limit, but I’m sure he’s not quite ready to start curating “Fifty for Friday” posts. A few years back, I made a list of my favorite Scary Swamp Thing Moments, and I’m sure there’s more than one iconic Swampy image located therein.
However, I’m pretty sure this remains the definitive image of Swamp Thing for most people in the world.
This is obviously not comprehensive, and I suppose if I’d been able to meet the deadline, I would have pondered it a little longer and thinned down the selection to an actual four-image submission, but I wanted to pass along the first few candidates that popped into my head. I’m sure some of you out there have a specific single Swamp Thing panel that sums up the character for you, and please feel free to share in the comments.
images from Millennium Edition: House of Secrets #92 (May 2000), reprinted from, House of Secrets #92 (June/July 1971) by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson; Swamp Thing #1 (October/November 1972) by Wein and Wrightson; Swamp Thing #7 (November/December 1973) by Wein and Wrightson; Saga of the Swamp Thing #22 (March 1984) by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and John Totleben; Saga of the Swamp Thing #23 (April 1984) by Moore, Bissette and Totleben
ON “DANCING WITH THE SLUGGOS”
from Nancy Is Happy (2012) – get yer own!
Michael G. suggests:
“How about a comic where crucial story-event panels are hidden behind a scratch-off coating like that used on lottery tickets? In fact I can’t believe they didn’t already try that in the early 90′s.”
You know, this idea sounds so probable, especially in the gimmick-laden comics industry of the 1990s, that I think my brain actually tricked itself into believing such a thing actually happened. …It didn’t, at least not that I’m aware of, though if I’m wrong, I’m sure someone will correct and / or remind me. But I swear, I’m sitting here thinking “I know I scratched off something in a comic book…but what? WHAT?” and I’m hoping the answer isn’t “eyes from every character’s face” because that would be a bit weird. But…I don’t know. Was there maybe some kind of contest insert that needed scratching? I have no idea, but Michael G. bringing that up really triggered a very vague sense that such a thing has happened within recent memory.
Anyway, such a coating would have to be on a thicker paper to resist tearing, like maybe on a stiff paper centerfold or, perhaps, on the inside back cover, given that the cover was sturdy enough. How much more awesome, would, say, Wild Dog (already an awesome comic) have been, had the reveal been concealed by scratchable coating? “WHO IS…WILD DOG? Scratch here with a coin or key to find out!”
It did remind me of a particular…adult entertainment card set that we carried, way back in the wild ‘n’ wooly days of the trading card boom, and well out of the reach of young’uns, in which some of the special randomly-packed insert cards did indeed feature this scratch-off technology. I Googled shameful things to bring you hyperlinked, certainly Not-Safe-for-Work proof of these cards’ existence, and here you go. …It’s about as classy as you’re expecting.
And before you mention it, no, I’m not confusing scratching off these cards for my vague memory of scratching off something comic-related. I never once applied coin-to-cardboard on those trading cards, NOT ONCE well maybe once NO I DIDN’T SHUT UP
But anyway, if DC Comics is looking for a way to make that cover for Catwoman #0 even sexier…well, you folks there can have this idea for free.