February 16, 2011
November 10, 2010
This is a panel from the beginning of Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #2 by Grant Morrison (art by Frazer Irving). This mini-series, the final issue of which came out today, follows a time-displaced Bruce Wayne as he claws his way back to the present day, experiencing various time periods along the way. This Lovcraftin mass of incandescent tentacles is a (the?) Hyper-Fauna, an interdimensional beastie that appears to be connected to the Ancestor Box, an alien device used by Darkseid (a major supervillain, basically the god of evil) to send Batman back in time, rewrite his continuity, and turn him into a living weapon that will destroy the universe on his return…or something like that?
Honestly, that’s where I get kind of hazy on the whole thing. The Return of Bruce Wayne is the culmination of Morrison’s epic run on various Batman titles, a sprawling web of stories that are densely packed with layers upon layers of references to the Caped Crusader’s entire 71 year history. So, as you might imagine, it’s a tad hard to follow at times. That being said, it’s totally worth the extra effort needed to drill down into it all. For anyone willing to take the plunge, I recommend checking out these annotations. And these.
October 13, 2010
Aquaman is an easy character to make fun of…I mean what kind of superpower is the ability to talk to fish, anyway? But in this amazing panel by artist Jim Lee, you can literally feel the full might of the King of Sea bearing down on the Last Son of Krypton. I don’t know what comic this is from, or what exactly is going on here, but Superman must have done something to royally piss off Aquaman! Jim Lee did the art on Superman issues #204-215 (2004-2005), so it may be from somewhere in that run. Obviously, I need to do some more research!
Of course, the best thing about this panel is the school of squid spiraling out into infinity! I’d love to think these are Architeuthis, but given the apparent scale and sheer numbers, the Jumbo Squid (Dosidicus gigas) seems more likely. Still, it’s pretty damn cool!
October 7, 2010
Adventures Into The Unknown was a horror comic published by B&I Publishing/American Comics Group. It ran for 174 issues from Fall 1948-August 1967. Cover art for the series depicted pretty typical horror fare—ghosts, vampires, zombies, dinosaurs—but monstrous cephalopods were given the spotlight on three separate occasions. Enjoy.
Does the Sargasso Sea exist? And does this legendary graveyard of ancient ships contain a dread, eerie secret too terrible for the mind of man to encompass? Thrill to a story that dares to tell all…”The Derelict Fleet”!
Is that Perry Mason?
Who knows what dread horrors the fathomless ocean depths may hide? Here’s a pulse-pounding story which tells of the KRAKEN–an awful being which rose from out of the unknown itself–and how science struck back against the fearful onset!!
“Laser bathysphere” is totally going on my Christmas wish list. Also, I had no idea the Kraken looked like Zombie Betty Davis!
Nemesis—pitted against terror from the deep! It’s all in the great thriller…”The Case of the Tittering Texan!”
I have no idea what Texas, or tittering, for that matter, has to do with this octopus.
September 29, 2010
Patsy Walker: Hellcat was a five-issue mini-series from the Fall of 2008. Here’s the official description from Marvel (which, you’ll notice, doesn’t mention anything about fighting a Colossal Squid…you’d think that would be their main selling point!):
Iron Man’s one-woman Initiative team for Alaska finds herself in WAY over her head. Patsy Walker, Hellcat, is thrust into a world of magic, witches, rally-cars and demons of all shapes and sizes, and all she thought she was going to do was rough up a few lumber-thieves.
Written by Kathryn Immonen, Penciled by David Lafuente, Cover by Stuart Immonen
Patsy Walker was created by Ruth Atkinson, and she debuted in Miss America Magazine #2 (November 1944), a teen romance comic. Up until the late 60s, the character appeared in similar genre titles like Girl’s Life and Teen Comics, as well as staring in Patsy Walker, Patsy and Hedy, and Patsy and Her Pals. A cameo in Fantastic Four #3 (1965) established Patsy’s place in the Marvel superhero universe, and by 1976 (The Avengers #144), she had been given the costumed identity of Hellcat. She would later join the superhero team the Defenders, where she would meet future husband Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan. Long story short, Patsy was driven mad, commited suicide, went to Hell, developed psychic powers, and was eventually resurrected. She sided with Iron Man in Marvel’s big Civil War crossover event (2006-2007), which leads us into the events of the Patsy Walker: Hellcat series.
September 22, 2010
This is the cover art for a new one-shot ongoing series (it came out last week) called, I think, X-Men: Curse of the Mutants: Namor: The First Mutant…which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is an awful lot of colons for a single comic book title. This story was written by Stuart Moore with interior art by Ariel Olivetti, and it deals with the Sub-Mariner’s quest for Dracula’s (yes, that Dracula) severed head, which, in turn, appears to be crucial to the plot of the ongoing main X-Men series.
Full disclosure here, I rarely follow Marvel titles, and I haven’t read this issue (or any of the current X-titles). I did page through it yesterday at the comic shop, and it didn’t seem to contain any actual cephalopods. Prince Namor’s Throne O’ Tentacles™ also seemed to be absent from the story, existing only here in Jae Lee’s wonderfully creepy cover.
See this previous post for more information on Namor the Sub-Mariner.
September 3, 2010
We’ve been having some serious connectivity problems with our home WiFi network, so I’m only just now able to get to this week’s Wednesday Comics post. (I’d better make it quick too, since the modem could decide to crash at any moment!) Normally, I’d probably just skip it, but I really wanted to mark the birthday of comics legend Jack Kirby, who was born on August 28, 1917. He died in 1994, and his indelible influence still shapes the genre today.
Kirby was instrumental in defining the superhero renaissance of Marvel Comics’ Silver Age, co-creating (with Stan Lee) such notable characters as the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, and the X-Men. He also helped create a number of lesser known Marvel characters, such as Metallo, who was actually a suit of high-tech armor worn by human criminal Mike Fallon. Metallo’s first (and only?) appearance was Tales of Suspense #16 (1961), in the story “The Thing Called Metallo.” In it, Fallon acquires the suit, tests its capabilities, robs a bank, and finally attempts to break all the prisoners out of Alcatraz. The panel below (which actually comes from a 1974 reprint of the story in Where Monsters Dwell #26) shows Metallo’s encounter with a giant octopus.
The marine monster strikes! His huge powerful tentacles encircle your struggling form–he tries to destroy you–to crush you as he has crushed so many other creatures…
If you found it upsetting that Metallo punches the octopus to death, know that Fallon gets his in the end. Learning that he has been stricken with an ailment (cancer?) that is fatal without radiation treatments, Fallon must choose to either leave the radiation-proof Metallo suit and get arrested, or stay in the suit and die. It seems like a no-brainer to me, but the story ends with Metallo heading off to the mountains to ponder his dilemma.
August 25, 2010
What happens to the poor fish of the seven seas who become injured or ill? Are they left to float and flounder on the choppy waters, unattended and uncared for? Not if Aquaman can help it! For the Sea Sovereign operates an unusual underwater shelter and clinic for his finny friends—and they get all the medical attention they need by…CALLING DR. AQUAMAN!
The above panel (and quote) is from Adventure Comics #188, published by DC Comics in May, 1953. This injured octopus is probably Topo, Aquaman’s constant cephalopod companion during the Golden Age. (One day I’ll write up a full profile on Topo…one day). I’m not sure what kind of injury he could have sustained that would require treatment with splint, but he sure doesn’t look happy!
I can relate, actually. It is one month today since I had surgery on my thumb, and I am still unable to use my right hand for much of anything. Sure, there has been some improvement over the past four weeks—for example, I was able to tie my shoes last week!—but I don’t even have all the stitches out yet. It can barely bend at the knuckle, and I can’t grasp or pick anything up with that hand. And, worst of all, I have to type left-handed! Maybe it is time to call Dr. Aquaman…
This image was posted recently on the Tumblr site Octopus Watch, but no info on the original source was included. So far, I haven’t been able figure out exactly which comic and issue this panel is from, but I do know that the characters here are Green Lantern Kyle Rayner and super villain Major Force. Unlike Earth’s other Green Lanterns, Kyle doesn’t have a military background. Instead, he is an artist whose power ring constructs are a bit more creative than giant baseball mitts or hammers. Exhibit A: this monstrous octopus.
I’ll keep trying to figure out which comic this comes from (that’s just the kind of completist nerd I am), but if anyone out there happens to know, please leave a comment!
July 21, 2010
“In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.”
-H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu
This is Jacen Burrows’ wrap cover for Neonomicon #1. Written by Alan Moore and published by Avatar Press, this tale of modern Lovecraftian horror is the sequel to Moore’s earlier series The Courtyard. I think this book came out today, but I haven’t been getting out the comic shop as regularly as usual these days, so I could be wrong. Despite the amazing Cthulhu-licious cover, I didn’t pick it up today because I had a crap load of back issues waiting for me in my subscription folder. I’ll keep my eye out for the trade paperback compilation of the series, however.
Avatar Press is an independent American comics company that was, for many years, best known for publishing so-called “Bad Girl” comics. However, they’ve currently expanded their scope to include creator-owned titles by some of the biggest names in the field: Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, Frank Miller, and, of course, Alan Moore. Find out more at AvatarPress.com.
Seriously, Alan Moore and Cthulhu..what else could you ask for in a comic?
Now for something completely different…
Also sighted today at Chapel Hill Comics, this giant plush octopus! I didn’t see a price or manufacturer on it, but it was at least two feet across and ridiculously soft. I’d like to imagine that Alan Moore snuggles up to one just like it when he’s writing his squelchy tales of cosmic horror.