Tag Archives: the Avengers

Daughter and Daughter-in-law Toons! Yayy!!

This is normally where there would be a witty comment from Ty that makes people laugh and laugh.

I had all sorts of things I was going to say to sound just like Ty–but I forgot what they were. I’m tired, I’m busy, I have deadlines–it takes sleep and time to be funny! Can’t do it.

So here’s the part where I say something mildly salacious and just a wee bit naughty…here’s the part where I realise I’m about to introduce the idea that today’s Toons are done by the daughter, Katherine Templeton-Smith, and the daughter-in-law, Jessica Costley, so I have to get out of that faint whiff of blue.

Phew! Past that!

So, Ty’s too busy signing and sketching and generally telling hilarious stories (I’m guessing, since I’m stuck here in Toronto and he’s swaggering around Calgary having just a great time!) and he couldn’t get a Bun Toon ready for today. He begged each of the children to do a Toon for him…the daughter, who is the youngest child, and pretty determined to show that she can outdo anything her brothers do, had it almost completed before he left yesterday morning. As her father’s daughter, she distills for you the essence of an Archie Comic.

written and pencilled by Katherine Templeton-Smith

Our daughter-in-law Jessica was the other person to get her “assignment” completed. Jessica distills for you the essence of living with a son of Ty:

It’s funny because it’s completely TRUE!! (Which reminds me, guys–there’s still several more boxes of Kellam’s stuff by the front door).

Tomorrow, will be the boys’ turn to show off their Toons. I chose not to post them today because…well, because they’re not done, actually. Like all good freelancers, they’re trying to ‘push’ their deadlines.

Not-Ty the Guy OUT!!

Now here’s where Ty says something funny and introduces his

Bonus Girl-Accomplishment Moment!!

Don’t have a cartoon for this but, hey Ty–After taking part in the Fibonacci Contest, your daughter is representing her school for the Math Olympics!! Yayyy!! (If you’re at Calgary Expo, and you read this–can you tell Ty, because he probably won’t have a chance to read this for a day or two?)

And from our daughter-in-law Jessica Costley who is a baker, an Avengers’ birthday cake she did a year or so ago:

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I know this will be a shock to you--but Ty can be JUST as opinionated as all the other guys. Here, he tells you what HE thinks.

Click here for all the Bun Toons EVER!! And done by Ty!

The End of the World Rapture Bun Toons! YAY!

This might be our last time together...

According to some pretty responsible sources in the media, today might be the last day of the world, and all the devout, religious people get to go bodily to heaven later this evening.  Sounds like a party, I hope there’s not much looting when it’s just us heathens left behind.

Yes Cap and Thing aren’t in their current outfits.   Don’t write me.   I hope to see you next week, with a bun toon for those left behind on Earth after the Rapture.  I hope the internet survives the end of days, as I have emails to catch up on.

Ty the Guy OUT!

UPDATE:  The world did NOT end on Saturday, citizens.  Go about  your day, and please, frequent your local malls and businesses. 

Here now, your BONUS Rapture Comic Book Moment:

You all knew there HAD to be Rapture Comic Books, right?

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For last week's Bun Toons, also about a god...click here

For every Bun Toons ever, click here.

Roy Thomas and Ty Templeton? Sometimes things work out perfectly!

I’ve mentioned once or twice on this blog that my first ever comic book that I purchased with my own money was Avengers #58

Start collecting comics right here, and then get back to me.

Rascally Roy Thomas, Big John Buscema, Gorgeous George Klein…PLUS the Vision joins the Avengers, and has a good cry.   I suggest that it’s one of the best comics of the Sixties, and certainly one of the reasons I’m addicted to these funny books in general and the Vision in specific.  I had older brothers, and had read comics for a year or so previous, and even had a copy of the Avengers from just two months before, bought by my Grandmother I believe…

I still have these original copies, still in pretty good shape after all these years. Thanks Grandma.

But #58 is where I start spending my own 12 cents a month on these things, thus Roy Thomas and Ultron and these characters mean a LOT to me.

So you can imagine my unspeakable joy in being asked to collaborate with Roy Thomas on an Avengers project.  The Hero Initiative (a charity organization that helps out comic book creators in retirement and in need with medical expenses and other necessities) wanted me to ink a cover that Roy Thomas had penciled.

Fig. 1. The Rascally One himself.

You heard me right.  Roy Thomas pencils.

He edits. He writes. And now, he draws!

Mark Waid, and Jim McLauchlin, the two folks who asked me to help out, asked me to “tweak” the art so it was a little more “on model” for the characters, but I was torn…I figured anyone who might want to bid on a Roy Thomas original comic cover for charity might not want it obscured by the inker.  I sure wouldn’t.  So I tried to clean up the drawing without obliterating the one-of-a-kind Roy Thomas pencils.

Here’s what I came up with.

I added a wing to Thor's helmet, and those little round things to Iron Man's hips, but otherwise tried to keep as much to the original as I could manage...while tarting it up with shading and linework.

And I couldn’t be happier.  How often does anyone get a chance to work with one of the people who inspired them as a young child?  And with the very characters that were involved in that inspiration?  And for a good cause?  Sometimes things work out perfectly.

Go here to check out the Hero Initiative Website and their entry on this cover.

And if you’ve never heard of Roy Thomas, SHAME on you.  He’s one of the most important creators in comics, and besides being responsible for about a third of the Marvel Universe, and a small chunk of the DCU,  Roy is the reason you’ve heard of Conan, and probably the reason you’ve heard of the Golden Age of Comics.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, you Roy Thomas Moment from Avengers #58:

ALSO:  He apparently played baseball in the Seventies…

 

Unless it's just a common sounding name...

 

THE TOP SEVEN REBOOTS IN SUPER-HEROES

This blog has weighed in on the Wonder Woman costume re-design, and it got me thinking about how often it’s done, and how often it’s done well.   Later I might offer up the list of the worst re-imaginings in the land of Super-Heroes…but today, in a happy mood, I offer up the best costume changes/ret-cons of our little world.

THE TOP SEVEN SUPER-HERO FRANCHISE REBOOTS

Feel free to disagree.

#7  Legion of Super-Heroes:


In 1972, Dave Cockrum and Cary Bates, took the Fifties-style small town teens from the future and made them the sexy teen swingers of the Seventies.  Then Bates along with Mike Grell turned them into THE comic for teenagers with a libido.

PROOF THE REBOOT WORKED:
They went from minor back-up series to pushing Superboy out of his own title within a few months.  See what showing a little more skin can get you, girls?

My favorite “teen” super-hero team ever.  Every now and then, I consider asking the wife to dress up as Seventies Saturn Girl, but that would be wrong.

SATURN GIRL: BEFORE: Wooden and uninteresting. AFTER: Vavoom!

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#6 Avengers

Avengers disassemble, and then reassemble, and then we'll have a vote.

With issue 16 we find out that everyone left from the original team is quitting and they’re handing the mansion, and the name “Avengers”, over to a bunch of B-level bad guys as a sort-of “halfway house” for super-villain reform.  They do leave Captain America behind as their keeper, but to be fair, Cap wasn’t an original Avenger either….

So instead of a team with just the “Marvel Big Shots”, it became a team soap opera about the entire Marvel Universe, where anyone could join… reformed villains, minor league players (with canceled titles), big stars like Thor and Iron Man, as well as members of the FF, X-Men, New Warriors, and Defenders, were welcome.

PROOF THE REBOOT WORKED:
Check your comic collection and the best-selling sales lists every month and get back to me.

And six zillion other titles out this month

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#5 Green Arrow

No matter how much we might retroactively enjoy the Jack Kirby issues of the Golden Age Green Arrow, there’s NOTHING about that character to attract your attention.  He was a cheap ass imitation of Batman–a millionaire crime fighter with an obsessive gimmick and a sidekick- where the writer need only substitute the word “arrow” for “bat” and VIOLA!  You had a Green Arrow story.

Is that the Arrow Signal? Let's hop in the Arrowcar, and leave, trusted boy-assistant!

Arrow-crap, fans.  But then along came Cary Bates and Neal Adams in Brave and Bold #85, fall of #69, and Green Arrow was completely made over.

The start of the "relevant" comics of the Seventies.

He looses his millions.  He becomes a loud-mouthed left wing rant-machine, with a chip on his shoulder for the down and trodden that he’s more or less held onto until this day.  Besides growing a funky beard and silkier threads, the Emerald Archer gained political awareness and was used as a voice for various writers to dig into their liberal or libertarian bent.  It made Green Arrow actually INTERESTING, and he remains that to this day.

Proof the Reboot Worked:

I know people with Green Arrow tattoos, and it’s ALWAYS this version:

What sort of a pussy would tattoo the Golden Age Green Arrow on their body?

#4 Batman

The reboot was a little more than the yellow oval.

For the first thirty years of the Batman franchise, the Caped Crusader  spent MOST of his time fighting giant blenders and oversized pool tables, or aliens with transmutation rays, and time travelers. The Adam West Batman TV show was a faithful reproduction of the Batman comics of the fifties and sixties, not a spoof of them.
But after the big payday provided by that TV show, Bob Kane, the original coordinator of the Batman studios, finally retired and passed the editorial decisions onto DC more directly, and the “New Direction” Batman was born.
At first, the changes were fairly slight, mostly just a yellow oval around the bat-symbol.  But at the start of the Seventies, the team of Denny O’Neil, Frank Robbins, Irv Novick, Dick Giordano and Neal Adams, re-imagined Batman as a scary-as-bat-shit street fighter with a grim attitude about the world.   They dropped Robin off at college, closed up the Batcave, moved downtown into a penthouse apartment, tossed out the Batmobile, and made Joker into a homicidal maniac.  Hmmm…that’s chocolately bat-goodness all the way.

PROOF THE REBOOT WORKED:

Forty years later, which version does the current Batman comic resemble?

#3 SHOWCASE COMICS and the DC SILVER AGE:

Flash/Green Lantern/Atom and the Julie Schwartz revolution.

The rebooting of comics itself for a new generation is often credited to Showcase #4, which introduces the all new FLASH into the modern era with a spiffy new jump suit, and no more goofy helmet.

My wife's favorite Super-hero costume is Green Lantern. Make of that what you will.

It’s quickly followed by Green Lantern’s spiffy new jump suit and no more goofy collar, then the Atom, Hawkman and the Justice League follow quickly behind…all under the watchful eye of editor Julie Schwartz.  As much as I like the quirky old Golden Age versions of all these characters, I doubt I’d be that big a DC fan without the dawn of the Silver Age.

PROOF THE REBOOT WORKED:
Fifty years later, you can’t kill these Silver Age versions.  The fans consider them “definitive”, no matter what.  Long periods of oblivion, retirement or dishonor is nothing to these guys, who can come back after mass murder, marital infidelity, suicide, and crumbling bones.

#2 X-Men (Giant Sized X-Men #1) 1975

Behold, the license to print money.

This issue saved the X-Men franchise—five years dead at that point… having had so few fans, it had once been canceled while Neal Adams was drawing it.  Len Wein and Dave Cockrum (again!) created a new generation of X-Men who quickly took over as the definitive X-Men for everyone currently breathing.

PROOF THE REBOOT WORKED:
Besides the landslides of money, you mean?  Later on, Marvel tried re-launching the original line-up of X-Men under the name “X-Factor” and fans still preferred the new guys two to one.

Whoops. It turns out the problem was us all along.

PROOF #2:
This worked so well, a couple of years later, Marv Wolfman and George Perez lifted the plot almost scene for scene to reboot the tired out Teen Titans franchise with a new generation of characters.

An entirely original idea, we promise.

#1 Watchmen

Quick quiz: Which one of these is popular?

The Charlton Super-Heroes are purchased by DC and rebooted by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons into the best selling graphic novel of all time.  If  Moore and Gibbons hadn’t killed off so many of the just-purchased trademarked characters in their mini-series, they might have been allowed to use their real names.

PROOF THE REBOOT WORKED:
DC tried their own version of Watchmen, by collecting the original incarnations of the Charlton Heroes together in a mini-series called “THE L.A.W.-Living Assault Weapons” ….No one on Earth read it.

See the blue guy with the atom symbol that looks like he might be Doctor Manhattan? Up above the guy that looks like he might be Rorschach? He's not. And neither is the other guy.

There are many reboots/redesigns that didn’t make the list.  Doctor Who, James Bond, the Wally Wood Daredevil costume, even Wonder Woman herself had a lovely re-imagining at the hands of George Perez, but I start with a limit of seven, and these are my top choices.  If you disagree, I’ll happily refute you in the comments section, but I’m fairly sure I’m right, as it’s my blog and I always win.

Ty the Guy OUT!

TOMORROW:  A preview of the new comic series I’m working on!

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Comics that Matter (to me, anyway)

One of the nicer things that my vast fame and fortune has brought me is that I get interviewed from time to time about the comics that were most influential on me and my career…the comics that matter.  And I’ve been asked enough that the answer is down to a science now.

The first one is BATMAN #251, THE JOKER’S FIVE WAY REVENGE.  This is the first DC comic I ever purchased with my own money, and WOW, what a doozy to start with.   There’s a great saying that goes–”The Golden Age of everything is 12 years old”.  That’s when your opinions form, that’s when you find the best version of TV, movies, comics, fiction, girls…the stuff that you measure all the others against for the rest of your life, and this is one of the comics that falls into that category for me.  I often wonder if I’d be doing this for a living if my first comic had been something by lights lesser than the great DENNY O’NEIL and NEAL ADAMS!  And it’s not just a comic by these titans, it’s the comic that re-introduces the Joker to the world, with a brand-spanking-new homicidal bent to him like never before.

In previous years, the Joker had been a tepid character…robbing banks with rubber chickens, and kidnapping clowns, and the like (gems like “JOKER’S MILLIONS” were still undiscovered by me at the time, so I didn’t know Joker much beyond his TV show version…) But this story involves Joker murdering his entire gang, just to make sure he got the one member who was an informant.  He kills these guys with bombs, electrocution, and ends with tossing an old guy into a shark tank, wheelchair and all.  Illustrated by Neal Adams in his “new” exciting style, this was like no other comic I’d ever seen, and I instantly wanted more, more, more.  Sadly, Neal only drew one further  Batman comic (for a while anyway) before handing the series over to the wonderfully skilled Irv Novick…but it didn’t matter.  I was addicted to both Batman and Neal Adams for the rest of my life, and still am.   As an adult, I go back to this comic and re-read it, and I use it as a teaching tool in my TORONTO CARTOONISTS WORKSHOP classes to show off story and character construction.  Fortunately, it’s not just my own nostalgia that makes this comic a classic, and everyone I show it to, is as blown away by it as I am.

Next up:  These two issues of the Avengers were the first two Marvel comics I owned.  Purchased by an older brother when I was about seven years old, and left (in very lovely condition) at my Grandmother’s apartment until years later when I got to read them, probably at the age of twelve.  Again…for a first introduction to these characters of Cap, Thor, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Blank Panther, Yellowjacket, Wasp and of course…the Vision…this was a magnificent place to start.  EVEN AN ANDROID CAN CRY is often cited as one of the best written superhero comics of the sixties, and I’d be in no position to argue.

Roy Thomas‘ script is touching, exciting, and intelligent, something this child of STAR TREK and TWILIGHT ZONE (my favorite shows as a kid) recognized as different from the other stuff that comics were about.  And the artwork by John Buscema and George Klein is stunningly good.  It remains, to this day, my mind’s eye version of the what the PERFECT Marvel comic artist should strive to achieve….with layouts that jump around the page, but still lead the eye correctly from panel to panel.  Human bodies, drawn with exquisite anatomy and detail, are leaping and jumping from the first page to the last, and the second issue in the two parter is essentially a long conversation about what to do with the android in the building that tried to kill us.  A conversation?!?  And it was that exciting and lively?  If I ever get half this good as either a writer or a penciler, I get to retire with a smile.

These three comics (along with a few issues of Mad Magazine, Tintin and Asterix that were also left to me by older siblings) are the bedrock foundation of my love of this biz.  If, instead, I’d purchased as my first comics, BROTHER POWER THE GEEK, PATSY WALKER, or RED WOLF, we can rest assured I’d be a baker or a plumber at this point in life.

Besides getting me into the lifestyle…I’ve been influenced more directly by these comics by mining them for scripts and images more than once.  Seen above, my cover for BATMAN ADVENTURES #31 is clearly an homage or an all out steal of the #251 cover.  At the time I drew it, I was not conscious of the similarity, but that’s what an influence is…it’s there inside your brain telling you “If you want to make it more dramatic, make the Joker one hundred stories tall!” without realizing why you’re doing it.  It’s not theft, it’s INFLUENCE…

The Vision story I stole far more directly.  When I was assigned the writing chores with AVENGERS UNITED, one of the first scripts I turned in was a re-working of Thomas/Buscema’s original VISION story, only with the twist that my issue was called “Androids Can’t Cry”, and I switch out the ending.  This one I WAS conscious of ripping off, and I had so much fun playing in the sandbox that had been there since I was a child, it’s hard to explain the joy.  When I met Roy Thomas, years later, the first words out of my mouth were babbling nonsense about apologizing for stealing his story, but I couldn’t help myself, etc.  I’m certain he walked away from the meeting believing I was a madman and has mercifully forgotten me.

Since I brought ‘em up, next time out in “COMICS THAT MATTER” I’ll discuss the early Tintin and Asterix and Mad stuff that sits inside my brain, below even this superhero stuff.

Ty the Guy

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