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In which Mike just rambles on, making baseless and crazy assumptions.

§ June 30th, 2017 § Filed under publishing, supergirl § 4 Comments

Just following up on a couple of comments from my most recent post:

Andrew responds with

“I want to read those comics NOW (well maybe not the Fox and Crow, since my pocket money is finite).”

Fox and the Crow is actually pretty good, though I understand not having the scratch to throw down on everything. The particular issue being plugged in that ad is issue #95, which was the first appearance of “Stanley and His Monster.” Now, the lead stories were based on what I assume is a now-obscure series of animated shorts…at least, nobody seems to be trying to market or “reboot” the characters at the moment, so I’m pretty sure they’re mostly forgotten. But the comic lasted a good long time, with new Fox and the Crow stories illustrated by Not That Jim Davis, squeezing out endless variations on the Crow pulling some kind of scam on the Fox.

But, with the introduction of Stanley and His Monster in the mid-1960s, at a time when lighthearted monster-based entertainment was really taking a foothold, Mssrs. Fox & Crow began to lose their starring position in their own comic. Eventually, with issue #109 of the series, Fox and the Crow were discarded entirely as the title of the book changed to Stanley and His Monster. The previous stars likely seemed too old-fashioned, particularly in a comics marketplace that was focusing more on weird concepts and wacky “modern” humor, where Stanley and friend seemed to fit right in. Too little, too late, however, and the series ended with #112, though S.A.H.M. would be revived years later in a Phil Foglio mini-series and as supporting characters in a Green Arrow storyline, of all things.

Fox and the Crow, however, have mostly vanished, though it looks like they’ve made cameo appearances, or where at least mentioned in dialogue, here and there. I think technically they were licensed characters, so I don’t even know if DC has the rights to them now. I keep thinking about all the licensed books DC published over the years, and how it would be great to have a collection of, say, The Adventures of Bob Hope, despite the fact that the potential audience for such a thing ain’t exactly expanding of late. I’d love to have a Fox and the Crow collection, but given it took years of consumer demand to get even one reprint book of old Sugar & Spike comics out the door, I suspect the forgotten obscurities, especially ones that would cost extra licensing fees, will continue to languish.

But honestly, DC had two chances to get a Stanley and His Monster trade out to an audience that may have been interested by the characters’ revivals. Ah, well.

Andrew also adds

“It looks like those issues of B&B before Batman took over have been passed over for reprints.”

Well, if this series went to a volume 2, they would have reprinted this Supergirl/Wonder Woman team-up. Alas, ’twas not to be.

• • •

Wes Wescovich writes

“I think this may be the first time that Supergirl logo was used on a cover?”

I’m not 100% sure, but I think you may be right. My first instinct was that the logo showed up on one of the 80 Page Giants, and it sure did…a few months later. I don’t see the logo on previous issues of Action, where Supergirl primarily appeared, so it could very well be that the logo made its cover debut on that very issue of Brave and the Bold. If someone knows otherwise, hopefully they’ll let me know.

Once thing I noticed while looking at the Action covers on the Grand Comics Database is there’s about a three year gap between Supergirl’s introduction in #252 and her “going public” to the people of DC Comics Earth in #285. In the meantime she was “Superman’s secret weapon,” privately training and keeping the existence of Supergirl a secret. Three years probably seemed like an eternity to keep a plotline like this going in the late 1950s/early 1960s, though it’s not like this was the grand scheme planned from the get-go. I’m sure it was more like “okay, this is how Supergirl fits into the Superman family of books” at the start, and eventually “hoo boy, this ‘Supergirl’s a Secret’ thing is a drag, let’s put an end to that.” But I’m just imagining a bunch of kids who read the Supergirl stories at the start, grew out of reading comics a few months later, and went the rest of their lives thinking that Supergirl went on continuing her superheroic deeds in hiding from the general public. You know, watching the new Supergirl TV show and thinking “this is all wrong! She’s superhero-ing out in the open!”

I do wonder if anyone at the time made it all the way from Supergirl’s first appearance to her eventual introduction to the world. I’m sure someone did, even with the huge turnover readership likely had at the time. Like I said, three years was a long time in comics then, even if now it can be a not-unheard-of gap between issues in high-profile series. Or, more commonly nowadays, that’s not too far from how long it takes for some event stuff to pay off (like the whole Watchmen in the DCU thingie). Funny how we went from long-running titles with a high turnover in readership to a huge turnover in restarted/rebooted titles trying to get the attention of folks who’ve been reading comics forever. …Well, maybe not so funny.

Spoilers for a DC Comics Christmas story from the late 1980s.

§ December 28th, 2015 § Filed under dc comics, publishing, supergirl § 6 Comments

christmaskaraSo Roel asked, regarding my link to last week’s Question over at Trouble with Comics, just why that particular Alan Brennert Christmas story with Supergirl and Deadman was referred to as “infamous.”

To be honest, I didn’t think much about that particular description…I just figured it had something to do with the pre-Crisis Supergirl appearing in the post-Crisis universe and someone somewhere, either a pro or a fan, got bent out of shape over it or something. And, it appears, after being pointed in the direction of this article by my fellow Troublemakers, that there more hoohar swirling about this particular comic than I realized.

The article itself focuses on the (basically confirmed) idea that folks in charge of the Superman comics weren’t terribly enthused about the pre-Crisis, totally-wiped-from-continuity Supergirl all of the sudden being brought back for a Very Special Story that was not under the purview of the Super-editorial offices. And if one were to look to the comments on said article, rumors aplenty are to be had about what may or may not have happened in regards to the release of this particular story…rumors that I’ll thank my kind readers not to reproduce in my comments section here, please. But anyway, there’s the “infamous” bit of business about it, I suppose.

I also saw elsewhere (in a post on a comic news site that has since been deleted, it seems) some commentary inspired by the Trouble with Comics Question column, wondering just why this specific Supergirl/Deadman story is held in such high regard. I personally think it’s a good, strong story (in a comic filled with some top-notch funnybookin’), in which Deadman learns a Very Important Lesson that just because no one knows about the effort and sacrifice one makes to do the right thing, doesn’t mean that doing the right thing isn’t important or unappreciated. For Deadman, who is literally an invisible spirit that the living world can’t know about, it’s an idea he needs to learn to accept, that he isn’t any less a hero just because his heroism is unrecognized.

For the reader, who is presumably aware that this is the Supergirl who was written out of the DC Universe due to the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, we are reminded that just because the characters don’t “exist” in “current continuity” anymore doesn’t mean those stories suddenly stopped meaning anything to us, now. It’s hard not to read a sort of implied criticism in this story about how stories and characters “count” or “don’t count” in terms of where they fall vis-à-vis universe-wide continuity-changing events. This comic is copyrighted 1988 (with a cover date of 1989), so this was only a year or two past DC’s kinda/sorta linewide reboot in Crisis, which would make Supergirl’s appearance here one of, if not the, earliest return of a pre-Crisis character that specifically references the pre-Crisis universe. Kind of a surprise kick in the pants to folks still getting used to the New DC of the “there’s-no-stopping-us-now” variety.

I don’t know that really explains why this is as highly regarded as it is, beyond it being a well-written comic with great art by Dick Giordano. It could be seen the sort of fan-targeted deeply-referenced insular story that isn’t good for the long-term health of the medium, with a punchline that only makes sense if you were there for Crisis and can understand just who that blond gal is talking to Deadman. But it is a nice Christmas gift to those fans, a quiet metatextual reminder after the bombast of the crossover event, that those characters and stories may be in the past, but they’re not forgotten.

Plus, who doesn’t love a good Deadman story? C’mon, let’s get serious here.

Also, according to the in-show dialogue, Smallville has a comic shop.

§ March 28th, 2011 § Filed under cartoons, supergirl § 8 Comments

So I finally wrapped up my watching of the Superman: The Animated Series DVDs, and in the third season episode “Unity,” Supergirl (in her civilian get-up) is given some comic books by a friend. First up, a probable precursor to Garth Ennis’s Jennifer Blood:


Here’s a slightly larger image of said funnybook:


In a way, I sort of admire the purity of it. Though I kinda hope it’s actually about a woman who turns into a gun. Who also carries a a gun.

Here’s another comic that shows up a bit later:


Again, a better look:


This one is an object of a brief gag in the episode where Supergirl reacts in disgust at the very idea of a spider-based superhero, a direct slam, of course, on Marvel Comics’ Incredible Hulk.*

The hero of this one looks slightly like a pro-wrestler — appropriately enough, given the original Spider-Man’s initial brush with rasslin’ during his origin. But I could see this guy rising up and bellowing “SPIDER POWER!” just before whipping out his finishing move, or whatever it’s called. I’m unfamiliar with the proper parlance. Also, it looks a bit like this character borrowed a helmet and gloves from Japan’s Ultraman.

Anyway, now the Superman series is down…time to move on to Justice League! Bring ’em on, Netflix!

* Yes, I know it’s Spider-Man. I’m goofing on the obviousness of the cartoon’s reference. This footnote only exists to avoid the inevitable “um, actually” corrections in the comments.

Sometime I just feel like posting a panel with Supergirl in a crazy outfit.

§ December 22nd, 2010 § Filed under supergirl § 13 Comments

from Adventure Comics #415 (Feb 1972) by John Albano, Win Mortimer & Bob Oksner


There are two Supergirl stories in this “52 BIG PAGES – DON’T TAKE LESS! ONLY 25¢” issue…the second one, written by Len Wein and illustrated by Bob Oksner, isn’t tied plotwise to the previous story at all, aside from this bit of probably editorially-mandated bit of dialogue seen here in this detail from the title panel:


I thought that was a nice bit of intra-issue continuity, connecting two otherwise unconnected stories together and explaining why Supergirl is suddenly in a different costume (a costume that’s a little closer to what she wore through most of the 1970s and the early 1980s, and at least had the virtue of not being accessorized with a headband).

It seems I’ve now written a post about Supergirl’s costumes. So it’s come to this.

Words to live by.

§ December 19th, 2010 § Filed under sir-links-a-lot, supergirl § 11 Comments

from Adventure #413 (Dec 1971) by John Albano, Art Saaf & Bob Oksner

In other news:

Yes, it’s another map from an old comic book.

§ September 27th, 2010 § Filed under maps, sir-links-a-lot, supergirl § 7 Comments

from Action Comics #337 (May 1966) by Otto Binder & Jim Mooney


You know, given that the Evil-Eyed People only have one entrance to their underground realm, you’d think folks would have since found some kind of alternative path that didn’t lead right towards it.

Then again, who’s gonna feel threatened by these guys?


Now we humans have smallish eyes with lids, and I don’t know about you, but I’m always getting, like, something blown into my eye out of my truck’s air vents, or an eyelash stuck in there, or just some random detritus flung into my eyeballs by a cool summer zephyr. Maybe I’m just lucky like that. But this guy…this guy…he’s gotta be peeling crap out of eyes constantly.

But on the other hand…the Evil-Eyed People are able to shoot fire out of their eyes, so if their eyes can handle straight-up open flame, having a gnat fly in there probably ain’t no big thing.

…This really wasn’t what I meant to talk about, here. I was going to comment on the map, because boy howdy I love maps in comic books, but…seriously, it’s a map with ant people, giant acorn trees (not “giant trees with acorns,” though they are big, but “trees with huge-ass acorns“), and Evil Eye People. What’s not to love?

Sooner or later we need to gather up all these comic book maps, and feed ’em into a Google Maps/Mapquest-esque database: “How do I get to Star City?” “Well, hang a left at Gotham City, go a couple of miles past the Justice Society headquarters, make a right at Titans Tower, and if you’ve reached Gorilla City, you’ve gone too far.”

• • •

In other news:

  • Amalgam Reborn, by Awesome Hospital artist Matt Digges. Not many there yet, but it starts off with “Batman Beyonder” and how great is that?
  • And now…the Worst Comic Book of All Time, courtesy Dr. K., a professor who’s studied, academically, stories featuring Chop Chop from Blackhawk, so he knows from terrible. By the way, the comic under discussion couldn’t be more racist if it tried, so be prepared.
  • Superman also hates vuvuzelas.
  • Here’s your odd Swamp Thing link of the week: a comparison between the behavior of a particular U.S. political movement of some note and the author’s attempts to cajole his parents into buying him a Swamp Thing action figure. …Certainly wasn’t expecting to read something like that this week. Also, that post made me feel very old.
  • Speaking of Swamp Thing, approximately 3,000 of you out there in the Progressive Ruin Super Agent Force emailed me the link to Daniel Crosier’s Deviant Art page featuring a wood-burned art piece of our favorite swamp dude.

    Here, let me get this out of the way, before anyone asks this:

    FAQ: Wouldn’t Swamp Thing, representative of Earth’s plant life, object to the burning of a piece of a tree?

    A: No. Swamp Thing is a fictional character, and can’t object to anything.

  • For more recent Swamp Thing-ery, hie yourself hither to Roots of the Swamp Thing, which has had a flurry of entries covering recent events and historical material involving the big green fella.
  • And finally:

    “The Joker becomes Swamp Thing Alec Holland does not become part of the Green, the Joker does. All Swamp Thing issues are retroactively taken out of continuity, replacing them with Joker-Swamp Thing. How does this affect things?”

    I shudder to think.