Friday Funny Pages: Has Anyone Seen Dr. Doom?

This has been a busy week for me, well I guess I should say it’s been a busy/lazy week for me.  My wife has been out of town the past few days so when I haven’t been busy doing something, I’ve made sure to be busy doing nothing at all.  I have sat in front of the television this week longer than I have in a very long time.  I’ve taken this opportunity to rewatch some Babylon 5, perhaps the best run of the show, the third season.  I’ve been alternating B5 DVDs with those of the the show Extras, starring Ricky Gervais.  It’s been a nice mix of dramatic sci-fi and uncomfortable humor.  All that being said I’ve been a bit lax on my blog posts this week, but fear not!  As you can see of course I did not forget about the Friday Funny Pages, and I already have a few blog ideas lined up for next week and, spoiler alert, I’ve been working on the last phase of the Terrordrome Renovation project!  So fear not loyal readers (reader), you’ll get your Wits fix, as I like to call it.

Anyway onto this panel from the classic Silver Age pages of the Fantastic Four.  Continuing our Dr. Doom theme this week brings us one of the earliest days of the bad doctor.  This of course is brought to us from the Mega Marvel Masters themselves Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.  I really enjoy this panel because it encapsulates so much of Dr. Doom’s personality in one little rectangle.  First off whenever Dr. Doom is looming around in an open doorway you know nothing good will come of it.  Many a brave soul have met there end after laying their eyes on such a scene.  Also I just really like his line here, “Did someone mention my name?”, every good villain has that line at some point and it shows how self centered they are and just how bloated their maniacal egos have become.  When not planning revenge based plots, or building evil robots Dr. Doom keeps an ear out for people talking about him.  Classic.  I love it.

This panel comes from an issue that is full of zany goof, Fantastic Four #10, The Return of Doctor Doom.  In the issue the story stops mid-way to cut to a scene of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby themselves, suffering from a bout of writer’s/artist’s block.  In a very meta-before-there-was-meta, style the two comic book creators are feeling somewhat at a lose chronicling the adventures of the Fantastic Four because several issues back Dr. Doom seemingly was launched into space and lost to the infinite void.  Recognizing Doom’s grand style of villainy Lee and Kirby feel there’s nothing exciting left for the FF to undertake and doubtlessly worry about sales dropping as the Fantastic Four fall into a peaceful life free of Dr. Doom.

Too bad that Doctor Doom was lost in space!”  Says Stan ‘the Man.’  “He was possibly the greatest villain of all!

Next to Stan Lee Jack Kirby ruefully sits at his drawing table, his face buried in his palms.

Yeah!”  Kirby adds.  “We sure can’t come up with a menace like him everyday!

And then, it happened!

That of course leads to Doom’s appearance.  Dr. Doom, under threat of death, forces Stan Lee to call Mr. Fantastic on the phone and ask him to come over to their studio to supposedly work out some plot details for an upcoming issue.  Of course when Reed Richards arrives, Dr. Doom is waiting for him with a gas gun of some kind and the whole plot of the issue takes off again.  Long story short Dr. Doom somehow joins the FF and Mr. Fantastic is the villain of the issue.  But what I really like about this issue is that within the universe, of the Marvel Universe Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are big enough properties that Dr. Doom would think to work them into his plans and Mr. Fantastic apparently drops whatever he’s working on to come over when they call.  Those guys are big shots!

Anyway, I need some coffee and a few more episodes of Babylon 5!

That is all!

Here's a little bonus for you, from the first appearance of Lee and Kirby! This issue is worth a fortune! A fortune I tells ya!

Friday Funny Pages: Spider-Man VS Superman

Today’s madness begins a special Friday Funny Pages crossover series, I’ve got three or four of these lined up that I think are pretty amusing, at least to me.  The dual franchise images I have planned all come from a trade titled “Crossover Classics the Marvel/DC Collection.”  This particular image dates back to 1975 and the very first Marvel/DC hero crossover.  Written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Ross Andru this issue has a plethora of other well-known credits of course spanning both publishers. 

Heralded as “The Battle of the Century!”  This was to be a comic book event like no other, bringing comic fans the best of both worlds Spider-Man and Superman in one amazing series! 

I guess. 

For a long time I was a huge fan of DC/Marvel crossovers, this particular trade was one of my first comic book purchases, but as time goes on the crossover concept has lost most of its spectacle for me.  I don’t know why exactly, perhaps it’s my better understanding of the commercial motivations of the publishers, or the fuel these crossovers lend to the fiery and pointless Marvel vs DC fandom debates, but overall the crossovers don’t do much for me these days.  This could also be in part to the impermanence of the crossovers, they all seem to happen so randomly and without much consequence.  Perhaps if there were some type of stop and go crossover continuity that relaunched every ten years or so when Marvel and DC decide they need money bad enough to team up once again.  Although such a continuity would be rather bland and boring because writers have learned that you can’t really proclaim one superhero better than another because the fans will have a shit fit.  If they showed the Hulk ripping Batman in half it would be a clear Marvel bias, and if Superman were to beat Thor the rivers would run red with DC blood!  If there were ever a Marvel/DC crossoververse the issues would be extremely vague and full of random deus ex machina unifying events that would ensure the heroes never actually fought long enough to determine a victor, but rather teamed up to achieve some amiable end. 

But enough of my comic book rhetoric, let’s talk about this panel.

This panel could, and should, be the entire crossover of Spider-Man VS Superman.  In a straight up fight Supe wins, sorry Spidey.  As much as I don’t really care for Superman at all, there’s just no fight to be had here.  HOWEVER through the magic of the comic book creators involved in this story that is not the only thing this tale was about!  You see the issue did not only see a team up between Spider-Man and Superman, but it also saw the sinister pairing of Lex Luthor and Doctor Octopus!  That’s where things get good. 

It just so happens that Peter Parker and Clark Kent are both attending the World News Conference in New York city (so they apparently have been living in the same universe all along, but Superman just hadn’t ever gone to New York? Or heard of Spider-Man?  Silly.) But when villainy strikes Spider-Man and Superman are called into action!  Long story short Luthor and Doc Ock make the two heroes think the other is behind the attack, the villains zap Spider-Man with a mega dose of red sun radiation temporarily giving him powers and strength equal to Superman, and a battle royale ensues!  That is of course until the red sun radiation wears off and we have the two panels shown above, as Spidey realizes he’s no match for the Man of Steel.  

Of course later the two heroes come to an understanding and team up to bring the evil doers to justice and they all live happily ever after!

The one thing that I can still appreciate about crossover events is the sheer amount of goofiness involved in their creation.  Whether it’s uncanny devices like a red sun radiation gun, or transdimensional tournaments of transpublisher celestial beings uniting the two universes together, the zany cleverness and creative effort put into initiating these hero showdowns is always reminiscent of the oldest days of comic books when the cheesy, the harebrained, the unexpected, and the unbelievable were regular elements of these astonishing tales.

Until next time, that is all!

Friday Funny Pages: Nick Fury’s Favorite Shirt

 

Christ!  This week has really flown by.  Yard work, cleaning up old toys, and dressing as a viking (don’t ask) have really made time fly as it were.  Here it is, Friday already and time for another Friday Funny Pages!  Todays panel comes to us all the way from the 1960’s and Strange Tales #151.  This was the first issue for a young up and coming comic book artist named Jim Steranko!  Based on layouts by Jack Kirby and written by Stan Lee this issue was of course destined for greatest.  Jim Steranko would later go on to take over both the drawing and writing credits for the book, making Nick Fury into what he is today (Samuel L. Jackson?).

When I was searching through my comics for fodder for this segment this particular panel made me chuckle.  Out of context you see Nick Fury waking up after apparently being captured by HYDRA, and the first thing that springs to mind is “I needed them clothes!”  Not the fact that he’s trapped, captured, and surrounded by bad guys.  Though I guess the security deposit on a tux is pretty astronomical.  That’s exactly why James Bond doesn’t rent his tuxedos.

Anyway, of course the real reason he needed his clothes was due to the fact that they were lined with SHIELD crafted spy gear to assist him on his mission and without them he was going to have to rely on his wits to see the mission through, that is if he ever makes it out of HYDRAS glass box of death!  Will he?  Won’t he?  You’ll have to read the issue to find you!

Till next time dear readers!

That is all!

Friday Funny Pages: You Look Faaaabulous!

First off let me say happy April Fool’s Day!  Today is the day you can go out into the world and start punching people in the face or kicking them in the groin and as long as you yell “April Fools!” afterward it’s all okay, right?

Anyway, now let’s take a look at the great, great pair of panels we have here today.  This of course comes from the late, great Jack Kirby drawing one of the earliest Fantastic Four adventures.  What I find so hilarious about these panels is that in the first image he has just come up with this idea to make Alicia (his step-daughter) a doppelganger for the incapacitated Invisible Girl and mere “Minutes Later” he has been able to put together an FF uniform and a convincing blonde wig!  This of course implies that the Puppet Master’s mastery is not limited to puppets, but that he is also a master stylist and fashion designer as well!  If this super villain schtick doesn’t work out for you PM, you should think about opening a salon in Soho, those are very trendy at the moment.  Just saying, think it about it you sassy bitch! 

(Though it might help to cut back on the creep face while you have those scissors in your hands.)

That is all!