Sunday, March 20, 2011

Introductions are in order.

No, I'm not introducing anyone or anything. In this past Friday's "Five for Friday" feature, Tom Spurgeon asked his readers to provide, and I quote, "Five of Your Favorite Comics/GN Introductions". Well, sometimes I'm pretty hit and miss with Tom's FFFs; occasionally I'll immediately think of more than five of the given topic, and sometimes it's a real struggle to come up with anything even close to that number. Sometimes, I can't think of anything at all, and I don't participate. That was the situation this week.

Now, when it comes to text introductions to graphic novels and collections, generally, if I read them at all, they don't really stick with me. More often as not, it's just a friend, collaborator, inspiration, or acquaintance of the writer and/or artist, paying back a favor or gladhanding a little. Sometimes I wonder if someone like Walter Cronkite himself could even be bothered writing an introduction to a Peanuts collection; bet a nickel that he had an assistant do it as a favor to ol' Chuck Schulz. For the life of me, I couldn't think of any forewords/introductions that I thought were remarkable enough to come out of hiding in the vast, cobweb-bedecked, shuttered up and boarded-doored archive of my mind.

So, the next thing I thought of were actual intros in the comics themselves; one which occurred to me was those long-winded speeches that the Phantom Stranger, the Rod Serling of Comics, would give before the lead stories in his 70's comic. They fit the character, and Len Wein in particular excelled at it. And then I thought of one other example: the introduction slash infodump that Jim Starlin gave us in Strange Tales #178, via a character named "Sphinxor from the Star System Pegasus", when he relaunched the Adam Warlock character and began that memorable, and short, run of stories back in the mid-70s...and enraptured young David Jones of Horse Cave, KY in the process.

But, alas, I could think of no others, and that's why you won't see Johnny Bacardi among this week's participants. But, thought I, perhaps I could share that Starlin-written and illustrated intro with all of you. And that's just what I'm gonna do. Below, from Strange Tales #178, cover dated February of 1975, the first (and only, I guess) appearance of Sphinxor, and a nifty recap of the Adam Warlock story to that point.

Now that's an introduction. Amiwrong?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

"Let's just say that me and Super-Hip, we go back."

Above is a page from dead-comic-walking Doom Patrol #20. The Patrol, due to the machinations of the powers that be at Oolong Island, their former base, as well as the hissable Thayer Jost aka Mr. Somebody, have been evicted from their home.

They need transportation back to civilization, and Cliff Steele calls in a favor. And as you can see above, that favor is none other than JBS mascot Tadwallader Jutefruice, aka Super-Hip! You know, the fellow flying in the header at the top of this very blog.

Since this is such a momentous occasion, merely the first in-continuity appearance of Tad's alter-ego since, appropriately enough, the Mento-Elastigirl wedding in the later days of the first DP series, and I wanted to share it so much with everyone...well, I couldn't wait to get the comic and scan it, or download it, so I ganked it from CBR's preview, where I read it first. You all probably know how much I'm in the tank for this comic in the first place...and dropping Super-Hip, even older, fat Elvis-style Super-Hip...well, I for one was completely geeked by it.

Best of all, since Giffen is doing some of the best writing of his career right now, and dare I say in particular on this comic- he has done an unsurprisingly great job of reintroducing him. Many writers, especially those who perpetuate the sour tone that has become de rigeur at DC these days, would have made him a pathetic figure. Pill junkie, perhaps. What if it had been James Robinson? J.T. Krul? Shudder. But Giffen gives us an older Tad, like I said Fat Elvis or Wayne Newton style, living large in Vegas- perfectly logical and very gratifying for someone like me, who loves the character mostly because, well, I thought he was really neat and cool back in 1966.

My friend Jason (@jason1749) Last Name Unknown on Twitter said "Jeez, Giffen's writing that book directly at you now, isn't he?" and given that the sales figures for DP are so low, that may be true- I may be the only one still reading at this point!

Regardless, I thought that this was just far-out, fab, gear and groovy and wanted to share.

Oh, and DC? I beg of you- next time you need cannon fodder for your big multi-issue line-wide crossover doom-and-gloom event, please forget Giffen has done this, OK? Thanks.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Happy Birthday Will Eisner.

Today would have been the late Will Eisner's birthday. Here's a page from 1946.

Google paid tribute today by creating this swell graphic; go here and click on the Spirit's mask.