Friday the 13th is traditionally regarded as a day of ill omen. But how unlucky can it be when it also marks the kickoff of TDCCC ’19, amIrite? So ready or not, here we goooooooooo!!
Comic book crossovers have been with us almost from the medium's beginnings. In fact, I was sorely tempted to include the very first super-hero crossover—The Human Torch vs. Sub-Mariner in Marvel Mystery Comics #9 (1940)—on my list. But the truth is that for all its historical importance, it's not particularly good. Still, I knew I wanted to include at least one Golden Age story. I finally settled on the only time two Quality Comics heroes shared an adventure:
12. Phantom Lady and The Spider Widow
Feature Comics #69-71 and Police Comics #20-22 (Quality, 1943)
Allow me to quote myself, from my coverage of this storyline in American Comic Book Chronicles 1940-44: “Feature Comics dropped ... Frank Borth's “Spider Widow and The Raven,” but not before [it] participated in a six-episode crossover with “Phantom Lady” that ran through both Feature (issues #69-71) and Police Comics (#20-22). It was the only time two Quality heroes teamed up, and Borth spent much of it on misunderstandings and petty bickering between the ladies with a crass Raven playing both sides.” It was all very tongue-in-cheek, displaying the same playful attitude towards the super-hero genre that made the work of other Quality creators like Jack Cole, Paul Gustavson, and Klaus Nordling so delightful.
Unfortunately, this is not a story arc likely to be reprinted anytime soon, but if you want to check it out for yourself, you can download all six issues from either the Digital Comics Museum or Comic Book Plus.
I read this at the age of 6 when Marvel UK reprinted it (yep, Marvel UK). In the late 80s, Marvel UK put out a "Super Powers" annual. This was one of the stories reprinted. And then I got a copy in adulthood.
It's one of my favourite Superman team-ups ever.
Supes and GL battle a shape-changing entity in another dimension. At one point, the entity, N'Gom, disguises itself as GL - and uses the power ring to create Kryptonite. The Man of Steel and Green Lantern work together to not only defeat their entity, but leave the dimension.
This is mystical, epic stuff.
And one of many reasons I like it is because it's a team-up where both Supes and GL are required. There have been team-ups where one half can appear redundant. One might ask, "Why is Batman in this crossover?" or "Did Superman really need to be here?" In this story, the talents/abilities of both heroes are required.
Jim Stalin pencils. Marv Wolfman writes. Jerry Serpe is the colourist. Their talents come together well (and let's never forget the letterers, in this case Ben Oda). Steve Ditko is probably my favourite when it comes to other dimensions, but with all due respect to the late Mr Ditko, the dimension in this story is rather awe-inspiring.
This is an outstanding tale - and one I've been happy to revisit on many occasions. If you haven't read it, track it down, but only in colour!
Last Edit: Dec 13, 2019 15:00:13 GMT -5 by Deleted
Post by Icctrombone on Dec 13, 2019 9:20:07 GMT -5
12 Crossover : Michael Mauser/ Ms. Tree The P.I.’s #1-3 Writer: Max Collins Artist: Joe Staton/ Terry Beatty First Comics 1985
I was a pretty big fan of First comics from the start. They had a line up of creators that rivalled any company with names like, Jim Starlin, Howard Chaykin, Mike Baron, Steve Rude to name a few. This series starred Mike Mauser who was a regular in E-man and Ms. Tree who was published by aardvark vanaheim. I confess to not being to familiar with Tree’s adventure, but this three issue mini does an excellent job of filling in her backstory.
The Story: Mauser has a woman come into his office asking that her husband, who she suspects of cheating on her, be followed. Tree has her husband come into her office asking that she follow the wife. Tree is temporarily occupying an office in Mausers building after her place was destroyed by an attack by the mob. The two detectives meet while doing opposite ends of the same case tailing the couple to a comic shop, where they had dealings with the shop owner. The detectives hear gunshots and rush in to see them both holding a single gun over the shop owners dead body.
I was always a fan of Joe Staton's artwork and he manages to work in some cameos from the E-man and Ms. Tree cast. This is # 12 for the way the mystery is unravelled and one of the most unique intercompany crossovers. They even feature a cameo by Mike Mist.
Post by Crimebuster on Dec 13, 2019 9:43:50 GMT -5
12. Models Inc. #1-4 (Marvel, 2009)
Patsy Walker and Millie the Model
I'm a fan of Marvel's line of teen humor books from the 40's-60's, so it was a real treat to read this series where Patsy Walker and Hedy Wolfe from Patsy Walker team up with Millie, Chili, and Jill from Millie the Model. Not to mention the fact that Mary Jane Watson is also a co-star. This series brings all the Marvel Universe professional models together for a high fashion murder mystery, as the gang teams up to prove Millie's innocence after she's framed for murder. I really liked the fashion magazine style covers, and the series also had cheeky fun with stuff like a guest appearance by Project Runway's Tim Gunn, where he uses Iron Man's armor to foil a dastardly plot. Good stuff from the House of Ideas!
Spidey and ol' Horn Head have teamed-up many, many times, and most often with very enjoyable results; the two street-level superheroes are a natural fit for each other, I think. But this two-part saga from early 1966 is probably my favourite. It's just a classic Silver Age Marvel team-up, with Daredevil and Spider-Man spending an awful lot of the story fighting each other (of course!), but finally coming to realise that they've been duped by none other than the Masked Marauder. It all culminates in an epic battle, in which Spidey and Daredevil win against tremendous odds, while the Masked Marauder lives (and sneaks off in disguise) to fight another day.
This arc is chock full of excitement and has some great Stan Lee dialogue, with chuckles and superhero angst aplenty. To top it all off, these issues are drawn by my favourite Spider-Man artist of all, "Jazzy" John Romita, in what, I believe, was his first time ever drawing the web-slinger. Oh, and just dig that great, dynamic Romita cover to Daredevil #16...
Last Edit: Dec 13, 2019 9:53:30 GMT -5 by Confessor
Writer: Frank Miller Artist: Walt Simonson Dark Horse Comics: 1992
Dark Horse Comics in the early days was an interesting time for Mike Richardson in creating his company. Original stuff and reprints of Moebius lead to them getting properties such as Aliens, Terminator and others. The Terminator series was pretty solid when it came out; good talent on the minis and made for a fun read. Marvel had a short lived RoboCop comic in the late 80s, but didn't go anywhere. The Terminiator books were good; had a strong fan base, then Richardson gives Frank Miller and Walt Simonson a project... and the outcome is slam bang fun!
The comic book series begins with Skynet sending three Terminators back in time to Detroit to protect a troubled RoboCop from a lone human soldier also sent back to destroy him. Discovering that the technology used to build him is partly responsible for the future development of Skynet, RoboCop sets out to take down Skynet in the post-apocalyptic future single-handedly. Part of the story focuses on his mind, the only part left of him, hiding and moving throughout Skynet's systems, fighting back as best he can.
This is some of Miller's best and underrated dystopian writing; like Martha Washington, it's bleak but with a glimmer of hope. Simonson, who can't do no wrong in my book makes this book a metal on metal tussle for the 90s.
12. Kid Colt and the Rawhide Kid Kid Colt Outlaw #121(reprint issue I bought/own) (Marvel, 1964)
Iron Mask Strikes Again and it takes 2 of the best Pistolero's in the West to take him down! Wonderful Stan Lee, Jack Keller story and one of the very 1st Western Comic Books I remember finding/owning from digging through a box of comic books at the Salvation Army used store in Payson where my grandparents retired. It would have been 1975 during the summer when we grand-kids would spend a month there. I dug around and pulled out at least a dozen western comics (especially remember this one and a Two gun-Kid) that I read over and over all month long sitting on the back porch listening to the wind through the pine trees, the squirrels chattering as they came down the phone wire to the Nut feeder and birds squawking to chase away the squirrels so they could have the nuts instead!
This was the 1st of many more teaming the various Kid's (eventually Two Gun joins into duo and trio team up stories) of the Marvel West and it even includes a early super-villain archetype with Iron Mask. Along for the ride is Sam Hawk, the bounty hunter adding to the fun and games. From this comic me and my cousins would begin cowboy team up playing running around the mountain behind my grandparents house with cap guns and cap rifles. Not a bad way to spend your childhood!
Gimme a home on the ol' prairie where I can sit in my rockin' chair reading my favorite old comic books of yesteryear!
Post by Prince Hal on Dec 13, 2019 11:17:16 GMT -5
12. Christmas with the Super-Heroes #2 (1988, DC Comics) “Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot” Alan Brennert and Dick Giordano
No action scenes, no fights, no criminal plots, no death-traps. Just a night in the life of Boston Brand, aka Deadman, during the Christmas season that says far more than many a mini-series about why people do what they do, super-heroes included.
Alan Brennert, whose every story is a diamond, brings his unequalled ability to see superheroes as human beings to a deceptively simple 10-pager that is reminiscent of “A Christmas Carol,” Greek mythology, and the justifiably admired “Silent Night of the Batman.”
There’s even more, of course, as there always seems to be in any Brennert story. Nestled into the final slot in a Christmas-themed special, this is a beautiful, human story that works on several levels. Of course it’s a comic book story, with a couple of super-heroes teaming up to tackle a problem, but it’s about far more.
It’s about the simultaneous brightness and darkness of Christmas; the loneliness and disregard we all feel at one time or another; the need to look beyond our own narrow vision of things; and the lack of awareness of the plights of others that all of us fall prey to.
And it’s also something of a fanboy reaction to the Crisis on Infinite Earths in which Brennert shows us the most powerful effects of the Crisis -- not the deaths of dozens of universes, thousands of worlds and millions of beings, but the death of one particular human being, and worse, of the forgetfulness of those who survive, who live on another day or another year or decades more.
Brennert takes on the casualness of comic book death, the dismissive wave of the hand that condemns to arbitrary death a supposedly useless or dated or overly complicated character so that a new creator can start afresh with the proverbial clean slate. But the new creators could not turn our memories into so many clean slates.
Problem is, a writer as skilled as Brennert, in just a few panels in this one story, breathes more life into a supposedly moribund character than dozens of less imaginative ones had in the two years after the Crisis.
Deadman, whose only chance to experience life is by denying others any contact with it, is beset with anger and self-pity as he watches the joy of the Christmas season take hold in the crowds of people shopping and jostling each other in the streets.
Brennert uses the moment to show us something about Boston Brand that there’d not been time for in standard super-hero stories: apparently, Deadman goes Christmas shopping every year. In this story he briefly inhabits the body of a plutocrat whose specialty is the leveraged buyout. Like Robin Hood, Deadman uses the billionaire’s body (and charge card) to send gifts to Lorna Hill, Vashnu, and his other old friends at the circus, to his brother Cleve, and even to Rama Kushna, the spiritual entity who gave him new “life” as Deadman. He also authorizes six weeks’ severance pay to the 50,000 people whose jobs he eliminated thanks to his recent financial machinations.
Releasing the venture vulture, Deadman recalls visiting the circus one year but realizing that it just doesn’t work, as he felt like “the spectre at the banquet” or “something out of Dickens.” (Who knew Boston Brand was such a lover of classic literature?)
Spying a young couple skating, he can’t resist just a brief flirtation with the life and human contact he yearns for: “Being able to feel the wind on your face… the chill on the air… the smell of fresh-fallen snow. You forget what it feels like, being alive.”
He takes over the body of a young man and remains in his body for more than just a quick turn around the rink when his companion, seeing that his lips are turning blue, kisses him. He ends up with the beautiful woman on his arm at a festive Christmas dinner with “their” friends.
Enveloped in joy and love and merriment, Brand feels more and more comfortable being “this lucky guy” and we wonder why Deadman doesn’t just do it. Why doesn’t he just live the lucky guy’s life? And why hasn’t he just done that before? Why not turn your punishment into a reward, Deadman?
And so Brennert deftly, subtly raises a question never raised before in all the Deadman stories.
But Deadman can only take his ruse so far. He realizes that he’s stealing what for all anyone knows could be the lucky guy’s last Christmas and leaves his body, “before I can hear the confusion, before I can see the bewilderment in his eyes or the concern and worry in his friends.’”
And he adds, “I always leave before then.”
So he’s done this before. A lot. Thefts of precious moments from unsuspecting people to satisfy his craving for real life.
Cursing Rama for his cruel fate, Deadman sits, posed like Rodin’s thinker when a woman strikes up a conversation. He responds instinctively without questioning at first how she can see and hear him. He assumes that it’s because she’s some kind of magical creature, but thinks that he knows every “spook, sorcerer, mystic, or magician on Earth” and can’t figure out who she is.
She asks him questions about himself, his anguish, and his discontent like a skilled therapist or a caring friend.
SPOILER ALERT: If you’ve not read this story, please read the rest of it now or proceed at your own risk.
Is it that “all these people… don’t even know what you’ve done on their behalf?”
Deadman answers with more self-pity: “I knock myself out fighting for them, but does anyone know? Does anyone care?”
She confronts him again: “So you want recognition, then? You want glory?”
Deadman is stopped in his tracks, thinking, “I’d been feeling like Job, and here she was, making me feel like Judas and I didn’t know why.”
He confesses that he misses the roar of the crowd, that he was a performer, after all. We get the feeling that he thinks she just doesn’t understand: “There’s nothing like it. I soar. I soared. Literally.”
And for us, the readers who’ve known who this striking, stylishly dressed blonde woman is, the irony rings in our ears like a bell. She pulls off his mask and speaks to him face-to face, sounding for all the world like Achilles or Athene speaking to Odysseus about the shallowness of glory and pride, of the dangers of hubris and the sacrifices required of a hero.
“You soared and were cut down, at your height. Maybe there’s a reason for that…
We don’t do it for the glory. We don’t do it for the recognition.
We do it because it needs to be done. Because if we don’t, no one will. And we do it even if no one knows what we’ve done. Even if no one knows we exist. Even if no one remembers we ever existed.”
And we readers, who know more than Boston Brand, feel the piercing sting of that final line.
Thus this Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future in one captures not just the ethos of a super-hero, but the ethos of Everyman and Everywoman, all of us, who struggle with our need to satisfy our own selfish urges at the cost of our responsibility to our fellow human beings, of the sacrifices required of all of us if we are to live in a community or a commonwealth worthy of the name.
Humbled, Boston calls himself “a putz,” but she reassures him. “No. You are only human. You are still human, Boston. Don’t be ashamed of it; rejoice in it.”
The bells of St. Patrick’s Cathedral ring and the mysterious woman must go. She has “business to attend to.”
Brand demands to know how she can see him and how she knew so much. “I don’t even know your name.”
And in a penultimate line that is surely one of Brennert’s best and bitterest, she looks back and says, “My name is Kara. Though I doubt that’ll mean anything to you.”
And Boston Brand (not Deadman) calls after her, “Merry Christmas, Kara. Whoever you are.”
The story is dedicated to Otto Binder and Jim Mooney, “with respect and admiration.”
To those words, Brennert adds a coda that speaks for many comic fans who had watched an era end in thoughtless indifference and a legacy first ravaged and then eliminated in the name of sophistication, “We still remember.”
Last Edit: Dec 13, 2019 15:42:42 GMT -5 by Prince Hal
"The rarer action is In virtue than in vengeance." -- The Tempest, 5.1
Post by Slam_Bradley on Dec 13, 2019 12:40:07 GMT -5
And my list disappeared into the abyss that is my desk, so I'm flying semi-blind. Which isn't that unusual.
12. Marvel Two-in-One #13 (Marvel Jan. 1976) The Thing and Power Man.
On the first day of Christmas, Stan Lee brought to me, Braggadoom! This is a complete and total nostalgia pick. This was one of the first dozen or so comics I bought on my own. At this point I have no idea why. I know damn well I didn't have a clue who The Thing or Power Man were. I can only suspect that the cover spoke loudly to an eight year old Slam. How can you not love an evil Jolly Green Giant crushing a rock man and a guy in a yellow shirt and metal tiara. So the cover did its job. And while the comic itself is nothing to brag about (it's a pretty run of the mill bronze-age slugfest) I guess it did its job too because Bashful Benjy spent a lot of years being my second favorite Marvel character after Spidey.
Ultimately what the book did for me was show that there was a wider world out there that I'd spend a lot of time exploring. It was clear that The Thing and Luke Cage knew each other and had had adventures before. There was talk about The Avengers and The Fantastic Four. So when all was said and done the comic was a huge success for me and it lead to bigger and better things.
12. Dominic Fortune and Dum Dum Dugan Marvel Premiere #56 (Marvel, 1980); “The Big Top Barter Resolution,” by David Michelinie, Howard Chaykin and Terry Austin
This story was covered in more detail by codystarbuck in another thread earlier this year, so you can find more images and a thorough rundown of the story there. To sum it up briefly, in the late 1930s, swashbuckling, mercenary hero Dominic Fortune runs into Nick Fury’s future pal and right-hand man Dum Dum Dugan, who owns a small circus at the time – which he loses to the house (i.e., Fortune’s love interest Sabbath Raven) while gambling on a floating casino off of the California coast. He has a plan to earn it back from Raven – and keep it from a shady prospective third-party buyer – with Fortune’s help. Much mayhem ensues.
There’s not much I can say here except that I’ve always loved this story, from the first time I picked up the issue off of the spinner rack all those years ago. It’s a fun romp and the art by Chaykin and Austin is simply gorgeous – and very cinematic. (When I reacquired the issue over a decade a go, I made a point of having Chaykin sign it when he was a guest at the comic show in Zagreb.)
Last Edit: Dec 13, 2019 15:57:59 GMT -5 by EdoBosnar
Post by M. W. Gallaher on Dec 13, 2019 13:21:11 GMT -5
12. Namor and Venus Sub-Mariner #57, January 1973 By Bill Everett
Toward the end of his life, reunited with his greatest creation, writer/artist Bill Everett was doing work that, in my opinion, stands with the best of his 30+ year career. In this issue, Bill revives another character, one he didn't create, but one for whom his stories were the highest-regarded--Venus, Goddess of Love.
While mythological gods and goddesses were no stranger to Marvel Comics superheroes, Venus had gone unused. She didn't fit clearly into the canonical system of deities that had been established in Thor and elsewhere, especially given her wildly diverse catalog of stories from her heyday in the 50's, veering from romance to superhero to humor to horror. I'm glad the job was left to Bill Everett. He works Venus, a.k.a. Aphrodite, into Marvel's Greek pantheon in a team-up with Namor against Ares, but wraps things up, leaving Venus operating under a civilian identity in a story that would have been a satisfying coda on the character.
Why is this a favorite? Lots of reasons, number one being Bill Everett! I just loved this guy's work, and it was a delight to see him uniting his two most notable Marvel features. Second, it's representative of one of my favorite Marvel eras, the one I was initiated into, an era of fresh concepts, an era of old pros and new blood producing a wide variety of styles. Third, it's got pretty girls, rendered in that lush Everett style, where somehow even the coloring was elevated beyond the norm. Fourth, it's a done-in-one, you get all your money's worth, with a character revival that would work as a springboard or a final appearance. Fifth, I really dig the very concept of Venus, this amorphous character that could take advantage of whatever trends might be dominating at the time. I'd missed Marvel Spotlight #2, so learning that this was once a headline comics star, if a minor one, was a big surprise to young Mike back in 1973, and made this memorable. Finally, this was one of my earliest introductions to Namor, one of my favorite Marvel characters. He was never better than when his creator handled him, and I'm glad that this run was how Everett went out.
Post by beccabear67 on Dec 13, 2019 13:24:35 GMT -5
12. Captain America & The (Original) Union Jack - Lord Falsworth Captain America #253 & 254 (January & February 1981) Roger Stern, John Byrne & Joe Rubenstein
Gorgeous art and a tight script, these are almost a Hammer horror film and Marvel cross-over as well as a Captain America and Union Jack one. Picking up from the recently ended Invaders series but set many years later in the present day, Baron Blood once against bedevils England and The Falsworths. It's to be the last adventure for the heroic to the end original Union Jack (and the introduction of the new). Spitfire appears as one of a number of supporting characters as Lord Falsworth's daughter. Her story will continue later in Namor #12.
12. Scrooge McDuck meets Teddy Roosevelt from Uncle Scrooge #287 (August 1994), by Don Rosa
The bottom portion of my list this year consists of stories where a team-up is featured, but that team-up has nothing to do with my affection for the work.
In the case of Uncle Scrooge #287, an installment in Don Rosa's epic "Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck," this is most certainly the case. Sure, Rosa tries to show us how Roosevelt shaped a young Scrooge McDuck and how Scrooge, in turn, shaped him, but it's more cutesy than meaningful in my own opinion.
Instead, what I love about this story is just how outrageously fun and funny it is as young Scrooge finally begins to find his niche...as a cattle rustler in the Old West.
So many fantastically absurd action sequences that make me laugh out loud, including this one:
Is it meaningful? No.
Is it a must-read? Probably not.
Do I care about the team-up at all? Honestly no.
But it's darn FUN, almost in spite of Roosevelt's unnecessary presence, and thus it makes my #12.
Last Edit: Dec 13, 2019 14:22:46 GMT -5 by shaxper