Jun 30, 2011

Hulk #178: The Story of Space Jesus.

That was exactly the apostle Mark's
reaction to the crucifixion  too.
So, I've had this old issue of the Hulk sitting in a pile of comics waiting to be read. When I finally read it I realised I would have to share it with you guys. The point of 80 Page Giant is for us contributors to share the stuff that we're reading (or thinking about) that really strikes us. And this sure struck me.

See, I'd long known that Jack Kirby's Him character had been re-imagined as Adam Warlock. I'd also long known that Adam Warlock was kind of a 'space Jesus' type of character. What I hadn't known before was how absolutely freaking literal that was.

So along came Gerry Conway and Tony Isabella to educate me, in Incredible Hulk #178. This issue... this issue... it's a retelling of Christ's crucifixion, starring Adam Warlock as Jesus.

No, I'm not kidding, man. This thing isn't even as subtle about this as a Narnia book. Take a look at that cover. Adam Warlock on a freaking cross. At least Aslan was put to death on a stone table, so you could PRETEND it wasn't a Christian parable.

So let's take a closer look at this thing, shall we?

Jun 29, 2011

More Unstable Molecules

So, scanner's busted.  That means no Nightwatch for a little while.  It also means that my content will have to be from Marvel's digital comics, which I can make screen captures of - and today, that means more Unstable Molecules!  Today's installment comes from 1975's Fantastic Four #164, written by Roy Thomas, with pencils by George Perez, inks by Joe Sinnott, and colours by Petra Goldberg.  Johnny Storm's off on a date, and he's wearing this, possibly because Annihilus punched him in the head too many times:

You can't talk about "winning combos" ever again, Johnny..

Archie One-Page gags.

Oh Ethel. You're so ugly and repulsive!
So when I'm going through and scanning things from my Archie digests I often end up scanning extra pages, because of course when you lay out a digest on a scanner you end up doing two pages at a time. Sometimes you scan two pages you want, sometimes the second page is something else. Maybe it's ads, or the first page of a story I don't want -- and of course sometimes it's one-page strips that are self-contained jokes.

Rather than just delete these, I've been saving the one pagers. So how about I share a few of them today? Yay!

I'm honestly not positive of the genesis of these one-page gags. Some of them are clearly formatted for the single page -- others are clearly taken from Archie newspaper strips. I'll leave it to you (and to my own comments, let's be honest) to try and decide which is which.

As always there's no credits on these strips, so I can't really help you if you're trying to work out who the artist is on them. I can give you a best guess, but that's about it. So how about we get on with the show?

Jun 28, 2011

Let’s Get It On!

Hey there sports fans! (I know there are at least like, three of you out there reading this site). Throughout the decades of comic book-dom, there always rages the debate on who could beat who in a fight, whether it’s Spider-Man versus Green Arrow or Spawn throwing down with The Specter or some such. But what if, say, you took a super hero, stripped away his powers and put him in the cage with an honest to God modern day gladiator?
No, not this one.

Obviously comics have looked at this before, most famously the Superman vs. Muhammad Ali comic from the seventies. Same concept (Supes is depowered) but I’m updating it a little with the modern combat sport of Mixed Martial Arts vice boxing, mostly cause a) it more closely resembles a real fight than pure boxing and b) it’s the only sport I follow.
Seriously though, Muhammad would have creamed a depowered Superman in a boxing match. I wager Cassius took it easy on him.
I took four heavy hitters (pun intended) from the Big Two and stacked them against the sport of men (and women, I suppose). Who can really throw down without their gadgets, invulnerability and super healing powers? Find out!

Jun 26, 2011

Sal's Sunday Punch #2

 The thing one needs to remember about a Sal Buscema Punch is that the punch is not the most vital component. The most vital component is that the guy getting hit goes flying, flipping over backwards and screaming. What this means is that even a horse can get in on this action!!

Hulk #265, Writer Bill Mantlo, Artist Sal Buscema, Colourist our friend Bob Sharen.

Jun 21, 2011

Gut-wrenching embarrassment.

Everybody loves Magneto.  He's universally recognized as the X-Men's greatest foe, even if he's a member sometimes.  He's in basically every X-themed cartoon and video game, he was played by Ian McKellen for three movies, and now he's killing Nazis and looking badass doing it in X-Men: First Class.  But before Chris Claremont revitalized him in the late '70s, he had some rough years.  He fought Captain America, and recruited a new highly-generic, albeit charmingly Jack Kirby-y, Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.  He fought the Defenders and turned into a baby.  He was in an incredibly embarrassing episode of the '70s Fantastic Four cartoon, where Reed Richards defeated him with a wooden gun.  Here's a taste:

And there's this, where Magneto's mad at a flunky, and...well, I'll let this panel speak for itself.

(Avengers #47, written by Roy Thomas, art by John Buscema and George Tuska)

Unstable Molecules

While I work up the courage to write more about Nightwatch, here's something I came across and just had to share with you - because I hate you.

"You can call it swinging, Flash.  We're both adults."
(Amazing Spider-Man #335, written by David Michelinie, art by Erik Larsen and Terry Austin)
Where to start? The giant arrow over Flash's junk?  Felicia's animal-print pants that correspond with no actual animal?  Or maybe the fact that they've coordinated their shoes with these fashion travesties?

Jun 18, 2011

Gap Fillers: An Incredible Hulk #290 review.

Al Milgrom art.
When you're collecting comic books, especially when you're collecting back issues, you always end up with gaps. There's always one or two issues that escape you. Because of the serial nature of adventure comics, especially super hero comics, this means you end up with unfinished stories.

This is worse when you're younger and don't have a lot of income, or a lot of control over how you get your comics. You end up with stories you never seem to be able to finish. And inevitably the story is the conclusion of a whole bunch of important plot threads and you're left dangling.

Incredible Hulk #290 is one of those issues for me. I had a long run leading up to it, then a bunch of issues after it, but never #290 itself. It took me about 15 years to finally get #290. You can't imagine the anticipation I had when this issue finally arrived in my hands. Here it was, a story I hadn't read that was a conclusion to a long storyline I'd loved and read about 5 million times when I was a kid.

You've all been there. You know what happens next. You read the issue, telling yourself not to expect it to be the greatest thing ever and sure enough... it's not. Usually it's not BAD, it's just that this comic you've been anticipating for years is, well, just another issue in the series. It's not a massive, super special issue. It's not a classic, world-beating story. It's just another comic.

Incredible Hulk #290 is not just another comic.

Who Watches the Nightwatch Part 1: Respawn

4thletter! is a great comics blog.  As a Venom aficionado, I've especially enjoyed Gavok's We Care a Lot feature, a series of articles which chronicles the character's "lethal protector" escapades through the '90s and beyond.  For the next little while, I'd like to shamelessly rip him off emulate him, and run a similar series about a character's obscure '90s adventures.  But here's the twist.  I'm not going to write the article about a character like Venom, who's been featured in movies, TV shows, and made into innumerable action figures.  That would be too easy.  Too enjoyable for both me and this blog's tens of readers.  Instead, I'm going to write about a character nobody likes.  A character that nobody ever liked.  Not even me - and I like Cardiac.

"Where's my mini-series?  Annex got one!  Annex!"
(Web of Spider-Man Annual #10, art by Mark Tenney and Keith Williams)

Jun 17, 2011

Archie Metaphors: Kissing = Sex.

Best guess at the artist? Dan DeCarlo
When reading Archie comics it's important to remember that they were written and drawn (for the most part) by a bunch of dirty old men.

They're comics aimed at pre-teens, with stories about teenagers, written by men in their 30s and 40s. As such there tends to be a surprising amount of layers to the stories. They can't, for example, show full-on sexual relationships in these comics. On the other hand, it would be pretty realistic for Archie, Betty, Veronica and the gang to be sexually active, right?

So Archie comics get around this using a really simple metaphoric formula.


Now as always (and as we discussed when talking about Jughead's sexuality) it's basically impossible to talk in absolutes about Archie comics. The degree to which kissing = sex therefore changes from story to story. In some stories kissing is a straight up substitute for sex. For example in the strip we're sharing today.

Jun 14, 2011

The Geoff Senior Sideways Shot, Part 1

Sal Buscema has his trademark punch. He's not the only artist with a signature style.

Geoff Senior is one of my favorite Transformers comic artists ever. He started out with Marvel UK, where he drew the famous Ultra Magnus/Galvatron battle from the multi-part saga named "Target: 2006". He later drew several issues of the US title, including the extra-long issue 75, some issues of the follow-up title Transformers: Generation 2, and one issue of the 2007 movie tie-in comics by Titan.
One of his preferred perspective choices to convey a particularly dynamic scene is drawing a character from the side. Not at an angle, not diagonally, just perfectly straight on from the side.

Jun 12, 2011

Sal's Sunday Punch #1

New regular feature here at 80-Page Giant - Sal's Sunday Punch!  Most Sundays, we'll post a Sal Buscema Punch for your reading enjoyment!

"You didn't save me any mashed potatoes?"
 (Spectacular Spider-Man #189, written by J.M. DeMatteis, art by Sal Buscema)
In this debut installment taken from Spectacular Spider-Man #189, Harry Osborn's holding a special dinner for his wife Liz, son Normie, and brother-in-law Mark Raxton (aka the Molten Man)...in a walled-in dungeon, complete with a huge portrait of his crazy-ass father Norman.  Oh, and did I mention that he's doing this while dressed in full Green Goblin regalia and ranting about the Osborn legacy?  Spider-Man eventually shows up, fashionably late; once Harry totally goes off the deep end, Peter shows him what he thinks of his hosting abilities.

Jun 10, 2011


You know what's a terrible idea?

Toy-accurate ROM Spaceknight cosplay.

(Scanned from some issue of Marvel Age. I should really complete my run of those, because 20-year-old comics propaganda is pretty cheap.)

Good Political Cartoons: Giles

And yet England went on to win that world cup...
I know, I know. Surely political cartoons are those stupid things with big nosed versions of politicians and really stupid labels on everything so even the dumbest idiot can get the joke. They suck donkey's nuts right?

Well, they don't have to. Political cartooning, or perhaps more accurately, cartooning as social commentary, doesn't have to suck. In fact, social commentary is where cartooning and comics have their origin! It's magazines like Punch over in the UK that gave rise to the entire artform.

Which brings us to Giles.

Jun 7, 2011

This One's For Jameel.

Sometimes you're reading a comic and one or two pages just... stand out for some strange reason.
Merry frickin' Christmas.

Sometimes you can't put your finger on exactly why they stand out... other times, yeah, you totally can.

Jun 6, 2011

That Hilarious Racism and Xenophobia in Old Comics!

I'm glad you can tell they're not Korean or Chinese, Bucky.
There's a kind of strange attitude that I've noticed when people are reading old comics that says, "Well, they're old comics, of COURSE they're like that!" Sometimes this attitude is levelled against the structure of the plots, the art, and sometimes it's levelled against the social values represented in those old comics.

Of course they're racist! It's old comics!

This attitude tends to render these comics camp -- we laugh at the racism and xenophobia represented because, well, they're old! When talking about comics from the Super Hero 'Golden Age' (we'll talk about why I think the term 'Golden Age of Comics' is bullshit at another time) this dismissive attitude becomes heightened

It's hilarious when Superman tells us to slap a Jap, because it was World War II and that sort of attitude was acceptable back then. Of course it was okay to say all Germans were bad, or all Italians, or all Japs. After all, we were at war, weren't we?

Jun 5, 2011

Ben Grimm: Jerk

Hey, Ben Grimm - what do you say to your friend when you find out that his wife's been replaced by a Skrull?

(Fantastic Four #357, written by Tom DeFalco, art by Paul Ryan and Danny Bulanadi)
Yeah, uh...not that.

Given that the guy standing next to Ben there is noted evil mind-controller the Puppet Master, Johnny takes this about as well as you'd expect.  They spend the next five pages beating the crap out of each other; at no point does Ben dispel the notion that he's being mind-controlled, nor does he tell Johnny what the hell is going on.  Honestly, I think he just wanted an excuse to smack the Torch around for stealing his woman.

Jun 4, 2011

A little look at 1940s Wonder Woman

So lately I've been reading my friend Andrew Hobart's copy of Wonder Woman Chronicles #1. It reprints Wondie's Golden Age stories from her very first appearance onwards.

I'll be perfectly honest, I'm not a fan of Wonder Woman. This has definitely coloured my reading of these old... ahhh... classics. I'm far, far, too aware of... well... the fact that Wonder Woman is a bondage fantasy. I can't help but speculate on what it must have been like to read these stories as a kid in the 1940s, completely oblivious to the cliches and visuals of bondage. Fetish inducing probably.

At least according to some doctors.