It wasn't easy resisting the urge to take all twelve of my entries this year from DC's original The Brave and the Bold series. As many of you are aware, B&B is my all-time favorite run of comics. Instead, I limited myself right up front to just two, and decided they wouldn't be issues I used in TDCCCs past. Choosing the two was no easy task—there are so many stories I'm absolutely bonkers over—but I managed. Which brings us to
7. Batman and The Hawk & The Dove, The Brave and the Bold #181 (DC, 1981)
Nobody writes a more poignant super-hero yarn than Alan Brennert, as he aptly demonstrates in this tale of two heroes so stuck in the Sixties that they have become walking anachronisms. Steve Ditko's Hawk and Dove, created as they were to reflect the turbulent times in which they were created, always danced on the edge of caricature , and here Brennert and B&B artist supreme Jim Aparo shove them over that edge. It takes Batman, portrayed here as a level-headed man of reason instead of an obsessive madman, to help the now 30ish duo shed themselves of the psychological chains keeping them shackled to their past and bring them into the present. There's plenty of action along the way, of course, but there's also some incisive characterization of a far more subtle nature than was par for the DC course in the early '80s. It's a shame this story was immediately declared non-canonical, and H&D made teenagers once more.
Perhaps the greatest compliment I can pay “Time, See What's Become of Me” is to note that I cribbed from it shamelessly in my depiction of Hank and Don Hall in my novel Lash House, available to read here.
7. Daredevil meets the Hulk Daredevil #163 (Marvel, 1980); “Blind Alley” by Roger MacKenzie, Frank Miller and Klaus Janson
Hulk is rumbling around in NYC, as he often does, and he’s quite agitated, as he mostly is, and this time Matt Murdock is in the vicinity (at a posh dinner party) and recognizes the jade giant’s thundrous heartbeat with this super-acute hearing. He slips away from the party to see what he can do, and confronts the Hulk as Murdock. He manages to actually talk Hulk down, so he transforms back into Banner. Later, after Banner hulks out again (in a subway car), DD again confronts him in costume, and again tries to talk him down, but they end up fighting – well, Hulk starts smashing and DD, despite his best efforts to avoid the big guy’s fists while still trying to calm him down, gets busted up pretty bad (as one would expect). His heroism triggers something in Hulk, though, who leaps away howling in despair.
Although more or less an interlude-type story in the midst of longer story arcs going on in DD at the time, with the Hulk mainly serving as a foil for Murdock/DD, the interactions between the two are quite well done, and even moving. When I re-read this recently while making my choices for these posts, I was pleasantly surprised at how well it holds up. And Roger MacKenzie really doesn’t get enough credit for scripting the initial run of stories in what is usually called “Frank Miller’s first run on Daredevil.”
Last Edit: Dec 19, 2019 12:23:59 GMT -5 by EdoBosnar
Post by thwhtguardian on Dec 18, 2019 10:25:19 GMT -5
My entry today is going to be a little brief but I'll expand on it after work:
Ghost and the Shadow
I love this crossover, and others like it, because it used a character I loved(in this case the Shadow) to get me interested in a character I had never given so much as a second glance before(Ghost). Despite loving the early/mid 90's output of Dark Horse I never went in for Ghost as she looked just like every other vapid 90's femme fatal with nothing to her other than tits and guns but this crossover with the Shadow made me see that she had a unique back story to her that set her apart from the rest and I've followed just about every other book she's been in since.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
Strange bedfellows is a theme I like when it comes to team-ups/crossovers.
The first Superman/Joker encounter I saw was the one written/drawn by John Byrne in 1987. I enjoyed it immensely. A short while later, I vowed to track down any pre-Crisis Superman/Joker encounters (in the pre-Google age, one had to either come across something or find a book that had a bibliography; that wasn't an easy thing).
Here, Superman and the Joker are forced to team up to take on the Prankster so that they can save Perry White's life. Seriously, guys, what's not to like? Superman + Joker = FUN! Throw the Prankster into the mix - and you have a scenario that is loaded with flavour.
I like "cross-pollination" when it comes to team-ups/scenarios. Sure, it's great to see Superman take on Luthor more than once, or have Bats face the Joker on numerous occasions, but how fresh is it when we see rare scenarios? Anyone who's a wrestling fan, and is contributing to my wrestling thread here, knows that a never-before-seen team-up/encounter is far, far more appealing than watching the same two wrestle for the hundredth time. Well, it's no different in the comic world.
I've read a few Superman/Joker stories, pre-Crisis and post-Crisis. Alongside Byrne's story, this is my favourite.
Written by: Dan Jurgens Drawn by: Kevin Nowlan DC Comics 1995
When a faraway asteroid catches the attention of LexCorp, reporter Clark Kent rushes out the capture the story. Kent can only hear the distress call coming from it, recognizes it as Kryptonian. The Man of Steel flies out into outer space to investigate and comes across a ship with hundreds of eggs and well, Ridley Scott and the readers knows what happens next.
Jurgens created a great crossover that sounds odd but when you have two alien species fighting. Slam dunk for sure. What made it good was Jurgens using the Superman mythos of the further Kal-El is from a yellow sun, his powers lessen. Deep space and away from a yellow sun makes for a slightly depowered Superman versus Aliens and their Queen. Also add that acid from the aliens can really do some damage to him, makes for a good fight. The mystery of the Kryptonian is revealed to be someone close to Superman and makes for a great added danger to the series.
Kevin Nowlan, who in my opinion, is comics modern Renaissance man. Writer, penciller, inker, colorist and letterer, the man is perfect in all of them. Here Nowlan shines with his pencils and inks making it a visual treat. The pages are ripe with action, some gorgeous emotional panels and just amazing to read.
There was a sequel, but this is the better of the two.
Post by Crimebuster on Dec 18, 2019 10:54:34 GMT -5
7. Patsy Walker and Linda Carter
Patsy Walker #99 (Marvel, 1962)
Quick, what's the first crossover in the Marvel Age of comics?
Nope. It's not that one. Not that one either.
Cover dated February, 1962, just one month after Fantastic Four #2 hit the stands, Patsy Walker #99 features an honest-to-gosh crossover with Linda Carter, Student Nurse. The story is fine - one of those things where Linda Carter shows up to teach kids at Patsy Walker's school about nursing, and all the boys have a crush on her, jealousy ensues, whatever. But the real fun is just seeing Stan beginning to cut loose with his weird ideas that would shape the Marvel Universe, like this crossover between two teen titles, bringing them together into one shared universe.
That shared universe, of course, would later come to be the Marvel Universe, as both leads were eventually brought into the MU proper - Patsy Walker as Hellcat, and Linda Carter as Night Nurse.
This issue also features a story where Soviet Premier Khrushchev visits Patsy's home town and meets the gang, and is so impressed by the vitality of American youth that he rushes home in fear, knowing America is destined to win the Cold War with kids like this becoming the next generation of leaders. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but this does actually feel like Stan just deciding to cut loose and do whatever the hell he wants instead of just churning out the same old thing.
Day 6. Transformers/G.I. Joe Publisher: Dreamwave mini-series issues 1-6, 2004
Courtesy of writer John Ney Reiber and artist Jae Lee (LAST person I ever expected to see on a Transformers comic) we get a teaming of 2 major and beloved toy collections: Autobots/Joes versus Cobra/Decepticons with a change of venue into World War II. So not only is there a toy cross-over, but we also receive a story moved from current times into a retro/alternate historical fantasy. Cobra has found the Matrix and begun using it to create Decepticons for military supremacy in Europe. America creates a rag-tag mixture of Allied combat warriors and Autobots called G. I. Joe to confront this new Axis power of Cobra. Let the war games begin! Since this comic is NOT connected to any "true" Transformer or GI stories there is death and mayhem across the board for humans and Bots.
Some amazing artwork and redesigns of Transformers into military ordnance by Jae Lee redeems a somewhat confusing story. The visuals and concept alone made this a MUST get at a time. This was a big reintroduction for many people into the comic book world of these incredible toy lines. Toy spectacular toys combining (pardon the pun) into one great adventure. This one pretty much sets the restart of a trend in these 2 series into ongoing and different mini-series. Not the 1st time these guys all got together (Marvel did it a few times with less stunning results and me and my friends doing it with the actual toys for more fun) and yet, it was truly a strongly anticipated venture we all wanted and waited for. Some will dislike and many are correct in the art being too dark and murky (publisher or printer fault?!?) but there was a thrill and excitement for a lot of us (meaning me in particular) collecting this one fresh at the LCS!!! I can only say YOOOO JOE and Autobots Roll Out for this one...
Last Edit: Dec 19, 2019 7:45:10 GMT -5 by brutalis
Gimme a home on the ol' prairie where I can sit in my rockin' chair reading my favorite old comic books of yesteryear!
I don't have much to add in regards to this comic that everyone doesn't already know but would like to mention one thing that is turning out to be a recurring theme in my list this year: this is another good example of a writer taking an existing character as a guest star and getting it right. IOW, looking at what makes the character tick and NOT slavishly imitating it but building on that basis with their own style, their own ideas, their own story.
Because you CAN do all that and still remain true to the spirit of the original conception - if you're smart and talented and motivated enough. Unfortunately, in comics this is the exception, and a rare exception, rather than the rule - especially, for some reason, with Kirby's characters, so that's another reason why I think this crossover is pretty special.
7. Spider-Man, Iron Fist, and The Daughters of the Dragon - Marvel Team-Up #63-64 (Marvel, 1977)
I got this Chris Claremont written and John Byrne drawn two-parter as part of a box of old late '70s British and American comics that I bought from a jumble sale in the early '80s. I was probably only about 11-years-old at the time, so was the perfect age for Kung-Fu flavoured action like today's pick.
I think I'm right in saying that these two issues essentially finish off a storyline that Claremont had begun over in Iron Fist's own title. Certainly, it's clear from this story that Iron Fist and the villainous Steel Serpent have met before, but the reader doesn't need to know about those previous encounters to enjoy these books.
The plot revolves around some mystical Kung-Fu mumbo-jumbo concerning a partially completed tattoo on Iron Fist's chest and the "Kung-Fu power" it gives him, which the Steel Serpent takes possesion of in the course of a fight, leaving Iron Fist barely alive. Enter Misty Knight and Colleen Wing (The Daughters of the Dragon) who stop the Steel Serpent from killing Iron Fist and take him to safety. Spider-man's connection to all this is somewhat minimal -- especially in the first part of the story, where he's little more than an observer, although he does get involved in the fight between Iron Fist and Steel Serpent somewhat. The second issue functions as much more of a traditional team-up between Spider-Man, The Daughters of the Dragon, and Iron Fist, with the latter eventually defeating the Serpent, who dies from over-using the mystic power of the Kung-Fu energy doohickey thingamabob.
Anyway, surfice it to say that this a fantastic two-parter, full of cool Kung-Fu action, romance, snappy dialogue, and a touchingly three-dimensional portrayal of Misty Knight and Iron Fist's relationship. The John Byrne artwork is absolutely gorgeous, and puts across the martial arts action and the story's quieter moments with equal skill. No wonder that these two issues were some of the most re-read in my collection as a youngster.
Last Edit: Dec 19, 2019 1:24:41 GMT -5 by Confessor
7. Supergirl and Krypto from Superman #149 (1961), by Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan, and Sheldon Moldoff
The original "Death of Superman" is a classic that should not be forgotten, and what I loved most about the story was the amount of energy it put into the aftermath--what the world would be like without him and how his legacy would endure.
The answer to that second part is Supergirl and Krypto. While only a few panels are spent on this, I've always loved the idea of these secondary Superman Family members stepping it up and working together to fill the void left behind by their mentor. An extremely touching coda to an extremely powerful "what if" tale:
Grand Dictator for Life of the Classic Comics Christmas
Post by codystarbuck on Dec 18, 2019 12:35:43 GMT -5
7. Green Arrow #27-28
Oliver Queen meets Travis Morgan
Green Arrow meets The Warlord!
Mike Grell launched the Warlord in First Issue Special, in the mid-1970s and created their best-selling book, a mixture of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E Howard, and Michael Moorcock, with healthy doses of the great swashbucklers of cinema. He also had a long run drawing Green Arrow, in back-up stories in Action Comics and as artist on the revived Green Lantern/Green Arrow. After a stint away from DC, where he produced Starslayer for Pacific and Jon Sable, for First, he came back to DC and gave the world Green Lantern, the Longbow Hunters. Its massive success led to a regular Green Arrow series. Grell relocated Ollie and Dinah to Seattle, injured Dinah, removing her Canary Cry , and had Green Arrow as an urban hunter, tracking down vicious criminals, assassins, and serial killers. Into this world, one evening, came a former US Air Force officer, Travis Morgan, an SR-71 surveillance plane pilot whose aircraft went down after a mission over the USSR, during the Vietnam War. He crash landed over the Arctic, into a tropical jungle and found himself in an other dimensional world, called Skataris. There, he found his true calling as a freedom fighter, battling the wizard Deimos, who used ancient Atlantean technology and "magic," while Travis built a home and family, and went on extended adventures. A time or two, Travis re-emerged in his own world, where time passed differently. His young daughter was an adult woman and he met up with a Russian scientist. Now, while travelling, he had come to Seattle and suddenly, a lot of people were trying to kill him. Bad move on their part, as he carried a nasty broadsword and a .44 Automag. Travis eventually learns why everyone is so mad at him; they think he is Green Arrow, who he closely resembles! Travis goes and tracks down Green Arrow, who many know is Oliver Queen, since he stopped wearing a mask. The result was a bit shocking...
The whole premise is built on the fact that Grell drew Travis Morgan pretty much the same way he drew Oliver Queen, except that Travis had longer hair and it and his goatee were white. The reason for this? Mike Grell is fair haired and wore a goatee, in the 70s!
This was a fun crossover, as issue 27 sets the stage, with Travis, who is kept in shadows, keeps encountering people who have problems with GA. He then punches Ollie at the end of the issue, leading to the team up in #28, to take down a mobster who tried to kill Morgan. It's a great two parter, which featured former Warlord artist Dan Jurgens on art, inked by Dick Giordano.
Grell never intended the Warlord to exist in the DC Universe and he was kept out of it, until Crisis, which spilled over into it. Skataris was linked to the Atlantis of Arion an soon, Power Girl, a character in search of a new origin. From there it was all downhill. Really, Warlord never worked without Grell, either as writer or as full creator. He was just writer on the GA series; but, his writing was some of the best of the era,especially for an artist-turned writer. Grell is the defining talent to work on Green Arrow and a heavy influence on the tv series, while Travis Morgan is his baby and screams of being made into a movie; but, DC would have to cut him in on it. Maybe someone will wake up, someday.
Post by Roquefort Raider on Dec 18, 2019 13:01:21 GMT -5
#7 Swamp Thing and Adam Strange
Swamp Thing #57-58 (DC comics, 1987)
Back to the days of the classic Alan Moore Swampy!
Artist Rick Veitch treats us to beautiful renditions of classic designs (Keela Roo, a Thanagarian soldier, looks stunning) or comes up with great-looking new ones, such as mushroom-shaped headgear that look really alien. Veitch also excels at visual humour, as when Strange shakes the hand of a Swamp Thing grown out of cactus and has to discreetly pluck out needles from his hand). These two issues alternate between gripping action and hilarious moments.
The story is part of a long arc in which the titular hero is exiled to outer space and ends up on Rann, the planet where Strange finds himself on a part-time basis to have grand adventures and win the fair lady, John Carter-like.
After the necessary misunderstanding (Swampy is, after all, a walking cactus on a planet where Strange's job is to kill monsters), our vegetal hero gets the chance to rescue Rann's ecology from nuclear war-induced sterility. In doing so, he thwarts the plans (and incurs the enmity) of representatives of the planet Thanagar, Hawkman's imperialistic people. Violence ensues.
While the story itself is neat, it is the way Moore handles Adam Strange that makes this team-up historically interesting. The space hero finds his post-crisis status quo altered slightly on the surface, but deeply in its nature. To wit, Strange is shown not to be on Rann due to a freak accident with some interstellar communication beam, as was established in the '50s, but to have been brought there purposefully to act as a stud, because the planet's population is now unable to breed on its own. His fairy tale princess did not fall for him thanks to his dashing prowess against local monsters, but because that was the plan all along. O, the ignominy! (And the poor man is completely unaware of the situation).
Personally, having read only one Strange story before, I thought this iconoclastic take was both amusing and interesting; especially since this new version of Strange's origin is there for genuine storytelling purposes and not just for shock value ("everything you thought you knew about Adam Strange is WRONG"). Through it all, Strange remains the cheerful and upbeat space hero, and even quite competent if not the sharpest pencil in the box. His somewhat embarrassing new origin doesn't detract from the fact he's actually quite a sympathetic figure.
I don't know if this new take on the character took hold... A horrendous three-issue miniseries saw print a while later, one that tried to build on this tale but decided to go full revisionist on Strange, turning him into a depressed and inefficient loser, killing his wife, destroying his world and sending him in a floating city in space with a crazed father-in-law. I would imagine that the whole thing was soft-rebooted later on, or just plain dropped after Zero Hour, Infinite Crisis or some other big company reset.
A few favourite moments:
- To get beamed from Earth to Mars, Strange has to stand on an exact spot. This time it is in Australia, on a site where... a shopping mall has recently been built. Strange has to forcibly expel a man from a toilet stall mere seconds before the beam hits.
- In said shopping mall, shop signs all refer to distant skies, travel, SF movies, etc. and someone insults him by calling him "bloody space cadet!"
- Rannians speak their own language on several pages, and it is surprising how easily we manage to follow the conversation. ("Smalsh Yegger" is... well, you guessed).
- It's nice to see how Strange's Rannian family genuinely cares for him, even if they tricked him about the real reason he's there.
- Thanagar clearly intends to invade Earth in the near future.
- Aerial combat with Thanagarians never looked so good.
On the sixth day of Christmas, Neal Adams brought to me new duds for the archer...
The Brave & the Bold #85 (DC; 1969)
Arriving on the stands around the time I was born, the Batman, Green Arrow team-up introduced my (And my wife's) favorite look for Ollie and went a long way towards establishing the socially conscious Green Arrow characterization which is a big part of the draw for the character to me. The issue essentially sets up a new status quo for the Emerald Archer, which makes it one of my favorite Green arrow stories that just happens to also feature Batman. NEal Adams art is just an added bonus.
People don't want the Truth. They want only information that supports what they think they already know. -Vess from Invisible Kingdom
I see a comics culture that preserves and appreciates its past, but doesn't wallow in witless nostalgia. -Scott McCloud
Humans beings always do the most intelligent thing…after they’ve tried every stupid alternative and none of them have worked -Buckminster Fuller