Sorry folks, we‘re at Wizard World Chicago this weekend so Ty has no time to Bun Toon. See ya back here next week.
Here are a few of the pre-con commissions Ty brought with him:
Sorry folks, we‘re at Wizard World Chicago this weekend so Ty has no time to Bun Toon. See ya back here next week.
Here are a few of the pre-con commissions Ty brought with him:
I wasn’t here last week to clear this up, but I’ve finally pushed my way back onto the internet to tell you all what you think.
For those of us who survived it, the 90s was a time when everyone we admired as heroes were getting raped, maimed, wounded, destroyed, murdered, raped and murdered, and more….all in service of making fantasy super-heroes more “realistic”, the greatest oxymoron in fiction. We’ve still got echoes of that nowadays, what with DC’s chopping off the arms of beloved characters, or Marvel killing off of their flagship heroes…but there’s a sense of none of it being permanent lately. We all KNOW, Wolverine will be back, and Alfred’s missing hand won’t last past the next continuity reboot.
For some reason, though…the atrocities done to female characters left more permanent marks. Black Canary’s sexual abuse at the hands of Mike Grell created physical and emotional scars that lasted for decades. Batgirl’s physical and sexual abuse at the hands of Alan Moore and later, the DC editorial staff, landed her in a wheelchair for a generation (while Batman’s trip to a wheelchair lasted a year and has never been mentioned since).
There’s a new crop of fans who weren’t there during the comic character holocaust, and don’t want to know about it. Especially the female fans, who don’t, as a rule, enjoy the breaking of toys the way we boys often do.
These fans have spoken. And I’m on their side…
Let’s glue the good toys back together and never discuss this stuff again, shall we?
PS: I hope I don’t have to explain the difference between editing and censorship on this subject. I’ve heard a few morons getting confused about that….
But does this make you happy to see this happen to Green Lantern? (I shouldn’t give the editors at DC any ideas….they have a thing about severed limbs.)
Ty has been asked a few times about doing commissions, and generally says no. But after posting some of the sketch covers he’s done recently, he was asked if he’d make it possible for out-of-town fans to get one… As he was giving it some thought, he got to do a bunch for a one-day Toronto comic convention and enjoyed it enough that he decided–yes. Yes, he will!
Email Ty at tybunny AT gmail DOT com, if you would like a sketch cover. Please list your name, mailing address, and which blank sketch cover you would like. We have access to Batman, Deadpool, Thor, Uncanny Avengers, All New Xmen, and Fantastic Four (to the best of my knowledge). You can request characters, situation, etc. and Ty will let you know if he’s able to accommodate you.
**NEW**–I’ve checked and we also have access to The Hulk, Daredevil, The Defenders, Scarlet Spider, and Wolverine blank sketch covers.
Covers will be done in pencil, ink, archival quality markers, Prismacolours…more or less whatever Ty has to hand. They’ll be black and white, with some greytones and occasionally with red marker/ink.
Ty is charging $45/Cdn for these covers (that will include the cost of the book which we purchase from our LCS). That’s for a maximum of two characters–if you ask for something complicated or with lots of characters, he may quote you a higher price. Ask for a quote for a full cover wrap.
Shipping will be $4/Cdn shipping and handling to addresses in Canada; $5/Cdn shipping and handling to addresses in the USA. (Anywhere else, email and we’ll figure it out and get back to you!) When Ty has confirmed with you that he’ll do the sketch cover, we’ll send you a PayPal Invoice. Books will be shipped in a comic bag between two backing boards, in a bubble-wrap envelope.
**NEW** (AND…if you want to have your cover submitted to CGC, we actually have the ability to do that through a recognised representative. Let us know when you email, please. We would find out through the rep what extra costs and time that would add on to the commission)
portrait of me by Ty.
It’s Mother’s Day, and time to celebrate moms, niceness, and cookies, all across North America. It also happens to be my birthday, so I get to indulge myself this morning, and blog up this list of….
You don’t get to pick your mom, that’s old wisdom, but your mom does get to pick your father, and Debbie may have set a world’s record for marrying the worst husband and father in the known universe. Her youthful crush, Nolan Grayson (super-hero Omni-Man to his legion of fans) turned out to be an alien from the Viltrumite race, who mated with his human pet, specifically to create a son with whom Dad can destroy humanity. When son Mark starts to exhibit dad’s alien powers, the biggest Oedipal fight scene in comics history ensues, thousands die and Dad is exiled to space forever. And what does Debbie Grayson do, now that her world has crumbled around her and son needs a mother’s love more than ever? She settles down into the gutter and drinks herself blind. Oh sure, if EVER there was a reason to knock back a few wrist benders, the old “my alien husband tried to kill our son” excuse is a good one, but I’m not sure Debbie needed to open the second truckload of Jack Daniels so quickly.
Kryptonian wife of Jor-el, and mother of Superman.
Lara was an astronaut on her home planet, and she’d been in space a few times (only ladies rode Krypton rockets, as their alien, but primitive catheter technology wasn’t able to cope with the impressive Kryptonian schlongs), so when her world started crashing down around her, she had the training to stay calm and not make terrible decisions…And when her husband tells her there’s a chance for Lara and her baby to survive the end of the world in a space ship he built for the two of them, SHE REFUSES TO GET INTO THE GODDAMNED ROCKET AND GO WITH THE BOY!!
Sure, there’s that moment of romantic self-destruction a good wife offers her husband on Doomsday so he’s feeling pretty manly as he dies, but anyone with an ounce of mother in them goes with the kid or they suck. It’s why Clark prefers Martha Kent, you know, and only ever pines for his Kryptonian father. Jor-el stepped up and saved his son’s life. Lara was a whiny, suicidal dick, and we all know it.
I cannot possibly know the first thing about her parenting skills, and I’m certain Aline Kominsky-Crumb is a kind, decent human being, perhaps a far better parent than I ever am. But…she has written and illustrated a few blunt confessional stories (Dirty Laundry Comics), along with her husband, underground legend Robert Crumb, that feature her obsession with oral copulation, wild sex fantasies, private bathroom time and anything else intensely personal that pops into Aline’s head…ALL WHILE SHE HAS A LIVING, BREATHING TEENAGE DAUGHTER NAMED SOPHIE WHO GOES TO SCHOOL WITH OTHER HUMAN BEINGS! If you think it’s mortifying to see your mom walking about in a bathrobe in your front yard, imagine mom performing fellatio on infamous dirt-bag Robert Crumb while the planet pays to watch it, and get back to me.
Mother of twin bastards, Gabriel and Sarah, who look like Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy because of magic/science, and who were raised by the Green Goblin, the man who killed their mom.
Of course it didn’t happen. It couldn’t have happened, not in a rational world with professional writers and editors who understand their craft…and surely it all went away with the BRAND NEW DAY retcon that fixed all those continuity problems. But the SINS PAST storyline was written by J. Michael Straczynski, published in Amazing Spider-Man #509-514, and it can’t be ignored in a column such as this. Gwen Stacy, virginal Queen of Super-hero Girlfriends decided to give her “special flower” to her beloved boyfriend’s roommate’s father, Norman Osborne, because Normie seemed to be in a bad mood one afternoon when Gwen found him in Harry’s living room. Norman Osborne didn’t rape her, didn’t drug her, didn’t do anything to Gwen but brood in her presence, and she gaped open her thighs and cheated on Peter for the most important sexual moment of her life. And then, rather than tell Peter of her astoundingly unlikely transgression, she decides to go to France, have the kids in secret, and THEN tell Peter about it, so they can raise the perpetual reminders of her criminal infidelity together as a happy family.
But Osborne, in his guise as the Green Goblin, kills her instead, and raises the kids in some kind of hyper-aging chamber so they can kill Peter Parker when they get old enough in eight years.
It may be the worst written comic book story of all time. Certainly the worst comic Marvel ever produced, and something Straczynski did just to see if the fans would break his nose when they met him. So far, his nose remains intact, so fandom isn’t trying hard enough.
Mother of Jason Todd, the used-to-be dead Robin.
Okay, Shelia abandons her child Jason at a young age and leaves her husband to figure it out on his own. Strike One.
She becomes an illegal abortion provider in Gotham, and simultaneously kills a teenage mother and unborn child through impressive medical incompetence. Strike Two.
The Joker finds out about her mistake, and tracks her down to an aid station in Ethiopia, where she is embezzling funds and selling medicine on the black market. Joker blackmails Sheila into replacing the life saving drugs she’s stolen with highly poisonous Joker toxin, and also, into handing over her son for a crowbar beating by the evil clown so she can avoid arrest. Strike Three, and four and five through nine. Joker used the crowbar quite a bit.
With this monster as his mummy, I no longer blame Jason for being such a irritating little bitch.
Daughter of the Demon. Lover of the Bat. Mother of the Creepiest Robin Yet.
Maybe it’s her upbringing – she was sired by a terrorist father nearly a thousand years old, and that kind of generation gap is tough to overcome. Also, her parents met in the audience at Woodstock, so there’s all that hippie baggage, too. But when Talia gave birth to her son Damian, she went from being Batman’s sometimes girlfriend/enemy/paramour/Emma Peel Stand-in/leather fantasy chick, to spectacularly crappy mother. She didn’t balance parenthood and career well, and spent Damian’s toddler years organizing the League of Assassins while the kid was raised by murderer-nannies and wet-nurse hit-men who preferred open hand kill techniques to Teletubbies. And once the lad survived to twelve years old, Talia abandons Damian to his estranged father, a lunatic who lives in a cave and who takes rugrat-Robin into gunfights because baby sitters tend to die around Talia’s boy. If Ms. Head thinks the Justice League is a pain in the ass, wait until she gets into it with Social Services and the family law courts system.
In the movies, she’s a blue lizard hottie with a nudist streak, just like so many of my college girlfriends, but in the comics, she’s easily the worst mom of all time, human or mutant.
Her first son, Graydon Creed, she gave up for adoption and “kept an eye” on him until she realized the child wasn’t a mutant like herself, and therefore, too icky to love. Things go wrong, Creed becomes an anti-mutant crusader as a adult, and messes with the granddaughter of mom’s lesbian plaything, so mother eventually travels back in time and shoots her son in the head.
But everyone makes mistakes with a first child.
For her next bout of motherhood, she willingly cheats on her then-husband with someone who claims to be Satan. Her second child, Kurt Wagner, is born with blue fur and a tail, and naturally the townspeople begin chasing mom and child with pitchforks and torches, purchased at bulk discount prices. But even though she’s got a magic power to turn into anyone she wants, and she’s been learning stealthcraft and all sorts of useful skills to avoid detection for decades, what do she do with her cute, fuzzy blue newborn? She tosses him in a river like a bag of kittens and hopes he drowns.
Nice one Mystique. I hope someone kicks you in your shape-shifting balls.
That’s it for Mother’s Day, and my Birthday. I’m off to celebrate in my own way, and it just might include handing my kids off to the Joker for the afternoon. They’ll be okay, we have a nanny-cam.
PS: Scroll down for Saturday’s Free Webcomics, and play with the navigation-buttons up top. And stay tuned for tomorrow’s BIG HOVERBOY ANNOUNCEMENT! Art Land is too much fun to ever leave!To share post:
In the spirit of Easter Monday, the day that Christians believe that Jesus resurrected and started showing off a little of that holy spirit, I’ve turned my attention to the subject of resurrection in comic books.
We’re all thrilled that Joker was brought back to life by editor Whitney Ellsworth in his very first appearance. And we cheered Superman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Luthor, Bucky, Reed Richards, Captain Marvel and Captain America when they all returned from the dead. And Batman when he comes back, and whoever is next to go…it’s all part of the gig. But what about the mistakes? The horrible retcons and the undoing of GREAT farewell issues? Because I’m a cynical bastard at heart, I tend to focus on the screw ups and the terrible tales…I love that stuff.
And so, on this, the arbitrarily chosen anniversary of one of the bigger resurrection tales in history, I list
MY SEVEN LEAST FAVORITE RESURRECTION STORIES IN COMICS
Created by Andy Lanning, Dan Abnett and Jackson Guice for DC Comics in the late 90s, the character of Mitchell Shelly was a lawyer who could not die. Shoot him in the face, he was back in ten minutes, thanks to an experimental nanotechnology formula coursing through his veins that fixed any hole, rupture, exploded heart or crushed skeleton he bad-lucked his way into that issue. And you know, if you left it there, you have an interesting idea. But the concept of an un-killable lawyer wasn’t pants wetting enough for these guys, Old R-Man had a GIMMICK, too! Every time Mitch died and came back, he got a brand new super-power, because you know, that’s logical. Sometimes when he picked himself up off the ground, he could fly, or shoot beams from his eyes, or he suddenly understood the intricacies of feng shui, and it was different every time. Then it got weird.
He developed this device he wore around his wrist called “The Resurrector”, which allowed him to know what powers he would get, depending on how he next died. So it was ENCOURAGING him to commit suicide. It was a Suicide Watch, clearly, but they hadn’t the courage to name it . Can we all say ICCCCKKKK at the same time?
The scripts were actually okay, really, and the art by Butch Guice was excellent…but how could a series based around so wholesome and friendly a concept as continuous suicide ever get canceled?
Oh, THIS old tale. An industrialist ingests an experimental formula, gains super-intelligence-and-mad-strength, dons a Halloween goblin costume, fights Spider-Man, kills the love of that hero’s life, and ends up impaled on his own rocket glider. Gone, dead, gone—a beautifully told tale that runs from Spider-Man’s first year, until issues #121-122. And at least this time, the experimental formula is going inside an INDUSTRIALIST. No more undead lawyers.
You couldn’t bring a character like the Goblin back after so dramatically correct an ending as he saw in #122. But a fleeting twenty years later, towards the end of the universally despised CLONE NONSENSE, we discover that Osborn was alive and well, and had been behind damn near every piece of evil shit that happened to Spider-Man in the years in-between, including the Clone Stuff, Spider-Man’s tax audit, Gwen Stacy’s lost virginity and the death of Aunt May.
The explanation? See, the Goblin had long ago healed himself of that nasty bout of “impaled chest cavity” disease more or less just because he was all “super-heal-y” and stuff, we just didn’t know… and he had more or less just gotten up off the slab at the morgue, replaced himself with a recently chest-impaled homeless guy, and wandered off to Europe to secretly pull the strings of damn near every piece of evil shit that happened to Spider-Man in the years in-between.
A world famous Super-Villain and equally world famous billionaire industrialist, went wandering undead around Europe for twenty years and did not get noticed. Lucky guy was only world famous in the United States I guess.
Though there have been a few good Norman stories of late, the Osborn resurrection made us all victims of the Gwen-Stacy-gave-Norman-her-virginity-and-had-kids-with-him-that-grew-up-to-try-to-kill-Peter story line that made a generation of Spider-Man fans physically ill a few years back. And that I cannot forgive.
Iron Man – The Crossing – Timeslide
Not a resurrection in the technical sense, so it’s lower on the list than it should be. For its sheer nonsense factor, it should be around #2, but here’s the 411: Around Avengers #395, it started to come out that Tony Stark had been a long time agent of Kang, the Avengers time traveling enemy. And now Iron Man was working against the Avengers and the only way to stop him was to travel back in time and pick up a teenage Tony Stark from BEFORE he was a Kang agent, and strap the teenage Stark into some IRON MAN armor and let the teenage one kill the middle aged, drunken Kang Bad Guy Iron Man so he could be replaced by a new, commercially friendly TEEN IRON MAN.
Lordy lordy, it was awful. A special kind of awful. And thankfully, it all wrapped itself up in less than a year, as the entire Avengers franchise was handed over to Rob Liefeld to clean it up, and it was swept under the rug like the skin of a dead animal. Imagine a time when Rob Liefeld was an improvement on what you were getting previously, and pray you never read these comics. Pray hard.
The granddaddy of the preposterously stupid resurrection stories of the Batman Universe. Show of hands, how many of you knew Batman’s famous butler had died? We ancient fans, in our mid-forties, recall a time (Detective #328) when Alfred pushed the Caped Crusaders to safety one evening, whilst they were menaced by a giant boulder, and he was squished flat by this boulder and left for dead by Batman and Robin who wandered off to put a little Aunt Harriet in their lives. (An editorial decision had hoped that folks might stop thinking Bruce and Dick were gay if they had a spinster aunt living with them. Well, obviously, the gays never go near the spinster aunts!) Sadly, with crime to fight, there was no time to go back and get Alfred’s body for burial, or even to think much about it after a while, and Batman and Robin
left Pennyworth’s rotting corpse to the hands of a mad scientist named BRANDON CRAWFORD, who we find out (in Detective #356) sort of fiddled around with Alfred’s dead body, hoping to resurrect him. He had mixed results, bringing Alfred back to life all right, but accidentally turning him into a boil covered telekinetic super-villain named the Outsider. After turning the Batmobile and Batcave against our Dynamic Duo, the OUTSIDER effects kind of “wore off” and that was that. Smiles all around.
And then they kicked Aunt Harriet out of their lives, and resumed what they were doing before all this nonsense began. Alfred NEVER talks about it. Neither do we.
I have had enough of bringing Doctor Doom back from the dead. The first eighty-six times they did it, it was all kinds of fun-cookery, but after a while, who didn’t notice the pattern? As soon as someone kicks Doctor Doom’s ass, and he falls off a cliff, into the nether-lava, we all know IT’S NOT DOCTOR DOOM. It’s a clone, or a robot, or his brother in-law, or his chiropractor. In fact, any time you start to think you have the drop on Doctor Doom, you might as well pack up and go home, because it won’t be him. Face it. Doom is a pussy. A complete pussy. He wouldn’t go into battle with a real enemy if there was any danger on the line, and he’s shown it over and over again. He hides at HOME. Punk ass pussy. You know that green costume he wears? It was originally BLUE, but the gallons of coward urine this knee-knocking candy boy has been spraying from his terrified urethra has stained it green over the years.
That’s right, Doom. You heard me. You’re a coward, and I’m calling you on it. What are you going to do? Send your best friend from summer-camp after me in a Doom Suit? Call me when you grow a pair. Ty’s new rule. You CAN’T KILL DOCTOR DOOM anymore. We no longer care.
Jason Todd. Robin II
If we depend on my obviously fuzzy memory, Jason was either an orphaned circus boy (like Dick Grayson), or an jerk street kid who stole the wheels off of the Batmobile on a whim and became Robin the Second. I seem to recall that Jason was fairly popular when first introduced, and equally unpopular once he’d morphed into the “total douche” version of Robin after the CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS (or “Ass-Hat-Robin”, as he was known at the time). But rather than just “improving the writing”, (a tactic abandoned in a number of comics throughout the nineties), DC had a phone line poll to see if the brat lived or died. After a judicial application of tire-iron to the boy’s skull, at the hands of the Joker, the phone calls were counted. The kid lost, and Crap-Robin was mercifully Dead. Gone. Dead. Batman got mopey. Tim Drake eventually showed up as the new Robin. We got on with our lives…
Enter Superboy-Prime and the glorious, magical, transcendent RETCON PUNCH.
I’ll try to explain this to the unfamiliar, and you’ll believe me insane when I do, but here goes: There’s a version of Superboy from a parallel world, and that world got destroyed before THAT Superboy had much of a chance at a career of super-ing Instead of saving banks from teenage Lex Luthor, Superboy-Prime got to see his universe wiped out, and as a reward, he got to live on a farm in the parallel nether-world of Paradise Wonder Cove Land, with an older version of himself that was married to old Lois Lane. And there was a teenage version of Luthor there, too…with a terrible perm and metal pants. So Superboy-Prime did what any teenager with the powers of a god would do (when the only nearby female was married to an older version of yourself)…he punched the walls of his pocket universe in frustration. And each punch changed someone’s history back here on Earth (including dead Jason Todd’s), because, like, the Super-ripples of continuity super-frustration and confusion, went forth from the parallel world and just…”did stuff” to the universe, man. POW! The Doom Patrol is sort of not dead. POW, Brother Power the Geek has a muskrat farm in Ohio. BANG. What ever the royal f**k your head could blort out, could be explained away by one of these retcon punch things….
NOTE TO EDITORS: You CANNOT allow writers to use just ANY substance to help them be inspired. NO ingesting cactus and anything with little pictures of Care Bears printed on them.
Anyway, a Superboy-Prime punch caused the highly tire-ironed and very much ripped-apart-in-an-explosion Jason Todd to just “wake up” in his coffin and claw his way to the surface. And the digging out section of his week didn’t require any air, but it did require temporary superhuman strength, to push the six feet of dirt and coffin lid off him, but then that went away.
Aunt May dies beautifully in Amazing Spider-Man #400.
Comes back with a bomb in her head, about four years later.
At the time they killed off Peter Parker’s perennial pill popping Aunt May, I thought it was a poor choice, as the character was too important to the basic Spidey dynamic to lose (especially after so many other core characters had died… Uncle Ben… high school sweetheart Gwen… best friend Harry, favorite high school teacher Professor Warren, and best villain, the Goblin, amongst others). But it was impossible to argue the story wasn’t touching and memorable. May gets a sense that it’s “her time” and she and Peter go to the Empire State Building, where she confesses to Peter that she’s known he was Spider-Man all along, and she tells him that she’s secretly proud of him and Ben would be, too. They discuss tiny details of their time together, and wrap up a lifetime of love. Then she goes home, lies down, cradles Peter’s face, gets a sudden worrying fever, and dies, while Mary Jane waits in the hall outside with her Aunt Anna.
Go read the story and try not to cry. I’m sobbing like a bear caught in a leg trap just typing this.
But a few years later, Howard Mackie returned Aunt May to the world or Spider-Man using a little known writing trick called “not giving a crap if you suspend disbelief or not.”
Here’s the rub: The Aunt May who died at home, surrounded by family, friends and detailed memories of their lives together, was, in fact, an actress, hired by Norman Osborn, and given DNA altering compounds and plastic surgery to more closely resemble Aunt May…all because Normie wanted to make Peter experience the death of a loved one, essentially as a really mean prank. This was part of his being behind everything awful that happened to Peter scheme mentioned earlier. Why KILLING the actual Aunt May wouldn’t have been a far meaner prank is beyond any mortal mind to comprehend. Instead, the Goblin kidnaps the REAL Aunt May and replaces her with the actress…then, after carefully not killing Aunt May at all, he surgically implants her with a bizarre weapon/device/bomb in her skull that makes nearby people melt into piles of DNA goo if Norman presses a button. THEN, he puts May Parker into suspended animation, to pull out as a goo-melting dead-Aunt trump card, should he need one in the middle of a battle. Which he does in Spider-Man #75.
I swear to god Marvel published it. I didn’t just dream it. It may be the single worst retcon of all time. And I’m including the much maligned BRAND NEW DAY, which resurrected Harry Osborn with the delightfully succinct “I’ve been in Europe”, where the undead are clearly commonplace.
What happened at the editorial meeting where someone said “Let’s bring back Aunt May, wire her head with a flesh-gooing weapon, claim the one in the gravesite next to Ben was a genetically altered actress, and the fans will just ADORE it!”?!? How could a loving and forgiving god have allowed this comic to be published?
I’m sure I missed some. Hammerhead escaping a nuclear explosion by turning into a ghost. Red Skull becoming a disembodied spirit of hate…and ALL those Life Model Decoys taking one for the team. If there’s an especially awful resurrection I left out, let me know in the comments section.
Til then, happy Resurrection Day!
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 GuyShare:
Responding to constant nagging from the wife (ignoring me wasn’t working), Ty scanned me the rest of the pages for the McDonald’s Happy Meal Box art he did years and years ago. (I’ve actually finally seen a photo of the boxes; hoping to post those soon.)
It’s fun to see some of the old art…especially stuff featuring Catwoman. Ty used our cats for inspiration: if you spot a Siamese kitty, that was Batman (seriously. And Ty will swear ’til he’s a very old man that it wasn’t because of Batman, but a cricket-playing friend whose nickname was that). Near her should be a tiny white kitty, and that was Epiphany Proudheart a/k/a Piffy.