Don’t think about the math.

§ June 24th, 2020 § Filed under pal plugging, this week's comics § 9 Comments

Alas, it has come to pass on this, the occasion of his seventh birthday, that Bully the Little Bull Stuffed with Love, is bringing his website Comics Oughta Be Fun to a close after fifteen years.

Bully (with the assistance of his pal John, who helps Bully type since he’s too small to reach the keyboard) has been one of the purest delights of the comics internet, with an endless library of comics and a staggering knowledge of the artform. Always presented with good cheer, enthusiasm, and delightful humor, Bully was a dependable break from the sarcasm and cynicism that too many others (including myself) often utilized. To read Bully was to read joy, to remember why it is we all love comic books…and we all do remember why, even if it’s buried beneath layers of accumulated mental crud caused by industry shenanigans and less-than-great publications.

Bully was also a good friend to me, personally, and I’m glad to have known him…oh, and his friend John too. More than a handful of times have I asked Bully for production assistance on some post I was trying to put together, and he always came through, bless his little fuzzy heart. And of course he occasionally found time to razz me a little:


Anyway, I am sorry to see Bully wrap up his blog, but am glad we were able to enjoy it for so many years. And of course, despite me continually talking about Bully in the past tense here, he’s still around on Twitter as one of the very few good things on that platform. And, if I know Bully, I’m sure he’ll find even more ways to continue reminding us that comics oughta be fun.

Here’s to you, Bully and John, and please, always remember:

• • •

So, in a minor tribute to Bully’s long internet efforts, let me talk about a couple of fun comics right now! It’s the stunning return of the “This Week’s Comics” category, after being years behind on purt’near everything due to my ongoing eyeball situation. Well, while I still have eyeball issues to contend with, I have been able to get actual prescription glasses, thus allowing me to finally start trying to catch up on my funnybook reading. Oh, and also work and drive and stuff, I guess.

I’m not entirely behind…I did attempt to at least keep up on a couple of titles during those brief periods I could see well enough to struggle through a comic armed with a pair of dollar store reading glasses. And one of those titles was Immortal Hulk, a new issue of which comes out this week:

This continues to be the best comic Marvel is current publishing. Hulk-as-horror-comic is a natural interpretation of the character, one that’s been touched upon many times in the past but not for the extended examination that this series has provided. Psychological and body horror mixed together with nightmarish interpretations of Hulk’s enemies and allies, combined with the overarching existential dread that always lurks behind every plot twist and character moment in this book. It’s lotsa fun, honest!

Ol’ Sam Sterns, The Leader, the fella what got super-strong brains from gamma radiation instead of the muscles the Hulk received, is the focus of this issue, though perhaps you guessed that from the cover. We see the history of the character, from his beginnings to present day, and if you’ve read Hulk comics for way too long like I have, you definitely recognize some of the stops the narrative makes along the way. Certain events are recontextualized for the overall themes the book explores, particularly those of life and death and resurrection, and it’s all endlessly fascinating.

It was recently announced that the series is wrapping up with issue #50, and while it’s disappointing to have one less good comic to read, it is good that the creative team will be given the option to conclude the story on their own terms. Of course, we’re all gonna feel sorry for whoever takes over the Hulk next.

Should note that this is the work of regular series writer Al Ewing, while quest-artists Butch Guice and Tom Palmer fit right in. I hardly noticed the difference.

A confession: aside from Action Comics #1000, I haven’t read any of the recent 80th Anniversary specials DC has released. I want to read ’em, I have a copy of each of them, but, well, I refer you a couple of paragraphs back where I complain about my eyes yet again.

But gosh darn it the Green Lantern anniversary special came out today, and while I have working eyes and good glasses I was going to read the darn thing. And read it I did.

First, of course I was going to go for the ’60s cover variant, with the go-go checks and the swell art by Doug Mahnke and David Baron. I think they did a good job differentiating the different decades represented on the covers…I didn’t even have to look at the small print in the corners to figure out which one was which. (Unlike the Joker anniversary covers from a couple of weeks ago, where…maybe the ’40s one looked like it was trying to evoke the 1940s?)

The contents are a good read as well, starting off with a pleasantly done Alan Scott story that addresses the origin of a particular aspect of that version of Green Lantern. (Will note that seeing Doiby Dickles, the Golden Age GL’s sidekick, being called “Derby” feels so terribly weird to me.) And I know y’all like to kick Geoff Johns around, but his contribution is a simple character piece with an amusing payoff. The rest of the book is enjoyable as well, with nice bits featuring Jessica Cruz, Simon Baz, Sinestro and Kilowog, plus a story where the other GLs talk about Guy Gardner…it’s a good piece, but a tiny bit distressing, which you’ll see when you read it.

The book is filled out with several pin-ups, including a great image of Guy Gardner by Joe Staton, the very fella who helped usher him back into the DC Universe back in those long-ago 1980s. The back pages are a mini-who’s who of the various Green Lanterns, human and otherwise.

Anyway, both of these are fun comics. As they oughta be.

9 Responses to “Don’t think about the math.”

  • Jon H says:

    Is the scene on the Green Lantern book depicting something from inside or are comics not doing that anymore.

  • Mikester says:

    Jon H – for these anniversary issues the cover art is focused on evoking particular decades (the 1940s cover, the 1980s cover, etc.) rather than reflecting specific content.

    I get it, I’d rather have representative covers versus artsy “generic” ones, but I’m okay with it for special occasions like this!

  • Dave says:

    Doiby Dickles being called “Derby” (and who probably calls the Lant’rin “Lantern”) is like Ben Grimm saying “It is time to hit things!” or Popeye saying “Cogito, ergo sum.”

    It’s just wrong.

  • Jack of Spades says:

    And comics were fun.

    Because Bully said so.

  • Dave-El says:

    Right up there with a certain blog called “Progressive Ruin”, Bully’s “Comics Oughta Be Fun” was a favorite destination for comics related blog stuff. “Comics Oughta Be Fun” never failed to make me think, frequently with a smile and a laugh.

    The 80th Anniversary specials from DC can be a mixed bag but there’s usually more to like than not. And in this day and age, 10 bucks for a new 100 page comic is a fairly good bargain. Of the variant covers, I usually like to pick the one with the “Line of DC Super Stars” logo since that was from my kid-hood.

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    This post raised a question that will not leave my mind, so I am putting it here in the hope that I can pass it on to you:

    Who would win a fight, Doiby Dickles or Goody Rickles?

  • Jon H says:

    @Mike: “I get it, I’d rather have representative covers versus artsy “generic” ones, but I’m okay with it for special occasions like this!”

    Oh, it’s fine, just wondered if I’d find out what’s going on if I bought the issue.

  • King of the Moon says:

    I sell “Immortal Hulk” to everyone saying this Alan Moore Swamp Thing character development level and you want to get in on this.

  • Max says:

    We shall all miss the Li’l Stuffed Bull. But, this post has also convinced me to (finally) take the plunge and dive into the Immortal Hulk. I hear it’s “only” going to run 50 issues, so this seems like a good time to start at issue #1, eh? :)