Superman #349

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Superman, the world’s greatest superhero. Without Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s creation all of us may have lived crummy lives. Other powered beings have appeared in literature throughout the ages but Superman was a fucking rock star. Creating the model which all our costumed heroes we love were formed, I will always tip my hat to the Man of Steel.

Even with the respect I have for the inspiration he’s provided, my last crack at a Supes review was less than kind. But hey, in my humble opinion he wasn’t portrayed in the best light. If you’ve read any of my previous work, you would know I’m a sucker for EVERY back issue I can get my grubby fingers on, so the Last Son of Krypton and I were bound to cross paths again here in Two Staple Gold.

This issue caught my eye for more than just the fact some guy dressed up like Wonder Woman looks to be giving Supes a terrible case of constipation. I also have a lot of admiration for the writer Marty Pasko and renowned artist Curt Swan. Apologies to both creators as I poke a little fun at Superman #349 “The Turnabout Trap” cover dated July, 1980 published by DC Comics.

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Returning from an interstellar adventure that “took longer than expected” our hero is bent out of shape for potentially being late for work. No time for a shower or morning coffee when you fear Perry White will tear you a new one. After swooping through an open window at the Daily Planet and changing into his alter ego Clark Kent he prepares to face his angry boss. Instead of finding a perturbed Perry he discovers they decided to change the plumbing while he was away.

supes3493.1“We replaced Clark’s regular Folgers Crystals with Peyote, let’s see if he notices…”

Everyone’s genders have been switched. On the plus side, Jimmy Olsen…err…I mean Jenny Olsen sure can rock a neckerchief like nobody’s business. Utterly stunned, Clark needs some fresh air. On his way out of the building various theories enter his mind. A practical joke perhaps or maybe Red Kryptonite is to blame for what he’s witnessing. As he exits, a window washer falls from her perch and is saved by…Superwoman?! Clark has a hunch and uses his super vision to look towards the Justice League Satellite. There his suspicions are confirmed, all of his friends have been affected by gender swapping.

supes3494.1“Black Condor? Nice try but on this world he goes by Captain Nair.”

Now believing he is trapped in an alternate dimension, Superman attempts to fly into space and search for a gateway. Instead he’s met by an impenetrable dome surrounding the Earth. He takes a crack at it to no avail and as history has proven, If Supes can’t punch his way out of a problem, magic must be involved. With his smash tactics foiled he chooses to return to the bizarre world he’s trapped in and investigate his doppelganger “Clara Kent” who must also be Superwoman.

supes3496.1“You better believe Human Resources is gonna hear about this one!”

But wait! Back at the Daily Planet, while stalking Clara from a windowsill, Superwoman flies by him. How can this be? He remarks how odd all of this is but what I find more disturbing are his Peeping Tom tactics. Whotta creep. Done with all this pondering rubbish, Supes wants the straight dope directly from the horse’s mouth. Bad call Big Blue. Fearing he’s a villain, Superwoman and Superboy ring his bell. Slapping a helmet filled with Kryptonite gas over his head, he’s now their prisoner. Super sucky.

supes3498.1“Groovy! We finally found a use for our spare SUPER Bong!”

Fearing Superman would gain access to their secrets if kept in the Watchtower, The Turnabout Justice League stake him to the ground in the Mojave Desert. He is left under the watchful eye of Wonder Warrior. This leads to my favorite part of the book by far. In all of Supes old adventures, a myriad of  powers would emerge relevant to any predicament he found himself in. This is no exception but easily one I didn’t expect. When talking about odd abilities of comic heroes with your friends, feel free to pull this one out of the arsenal…the dude can A Capella Lullaby your ass to sleep!

supes34910.1“I betcha Wonder Warrior regrets smashing his Keurig right about now.”

Superman lures buzzards over and they break his helmet with their beaks. Now free, he has a quick scuffle with Wonder Warrior, pummels him and steals his Lasso of Truth. That time on the hot sand provided him just the clarity he needed. Certain of who has been the mastermind behind his misery but alas, the culprit isn’t easily found. How to get the mystery miscreant’s attention? Scrawl on a billboard with a giant crayon. Damn, and they say you learn nothing in Kindergarten.

supes34913.1“Ok, That’s officially SUPER STUPID and I’m not entirely sure it’s a crayon.”

There’s only one Imp in the DCU capable of creating that kind of itch in Superman’s britches, Mr.Mxyzptlk! How did Supes put it all together? Super Intuition? Nah, Mr.Mxyzptlk doesn’t know about his secret identity. With every other human experiencing the gender bending, Clara Kent and Superwoman were two different people. Fine deduction skills there Clarky boy. Those who consider Batman “The World’s Greatest Detective” can bite my bippy. Only one question remains. Why is Mxyz out to crap on the Man of Steel’s Wheaties?

supes34915“I’m pleased to realize the act of Catfishing didn’t originate on our planet.”

A year prior in Superman #335, Mxyz was exiled from his dimension and Supes helped him return in time to marry his fiancee Miss Bgbznz. But you see, Mr.Mxyzptlk is one shallow little hombre. When it’s revealed his sweet gal is actually a gaaah, he takes it out on the Blue Boy Scout. Before he can make a mad dash with his crooked derby hat, Superman snares him with the Lasso of Truth he scooped up earlier. Forced to obey, Mr.Mxyzptlk says his name backwards and is returned to ZRFFF. Everything returns to normal…or does it?

supes34917.1“Silly Lois, Clark’s only worried he was going to have to feign interest in Theatre.”

The Verdict:

Silly, fun and whimsical. All these words can be used to describe what I’ve just read and quite frankly, I love that. It it the most memorable tale ever told? Hell no, but unlike my review it’s  classic kid friendly entertainment.

Dark and gritty comics are cool. I enjoy them as much as the next fan but every once in a while a jovial romp is just what the Doctor ordered. Provides some chuckles and the nostalgia tank gets refilled. Punch your ticket to Happy Town and rescue a copy of Superman #349 from the bins. It’s Two Staple Gold.

No molds broken nor minds blown, this is clean entertainment and deserves to be owned. That’ll be $2 for the parting rhyme. I accept cash, credit or a pair of Black Condors shorts. Tell ya what, bring the skivvies and I’ll throw in a Turnabout League fan casting for free.

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David Schultz is the Creator/Co-Host of the Parlipod Podcast. Give it a listen on Soundcloud or via the GWW Radio Network. If you have a comic you would like to see reviewed on Two Staple Gold or just want to harass Dave, follow @lavahog on Twitter.

 

 

 

*All images/video clips are rights of their respective owners. Links to external sites are used solely for informational purposes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Flash #163

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“I like weird and wacky!” No, this isn’t a code word to get into the fetish club downtown. Ahem… I think. Rather, It’s a statement that tends to be uttered at least once by every fan of the Silver Age. It’s also remarkably true. The majority of stories published between ’56-’70 had to flirt with the bizarre. Some just had a dance, others brought it home to meet the folks but either way it was a glorious era to be absurd.

If you’ve ever read any of my previous work, it’s fairly obvious I’m a huge fan. Not my utmost favorite age (that would be Bronze) yet who can resist all of those whimsical plot threads and colorful creativity?

Barry Allen actually kicked off this period in the pages of Showcase #4 and despite his O.G. status, I  haven’t read many of his adventures during that epoch. A lot of books cross my desk but the moment I saw this cover urgency struck. I mean c’mon, there he is in his talk to the hand pose insisting that I save his life. Naturally, I cracked it open post haste. The scarlet speedster needs ME! Or did he? Let’s take a gander at The Flash #163 ” The Flash stakes his life–on–you!” cover dated August 1966. Written by John Broome, penciled by Carmine Infantino with inks from Joe Giella.

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lineI may be showing my age here but personally whenever someone proclaims “STOP!”, my mind immediately flashes to Estelle Getty rocking a glock. Anyone else recall the 1992 cinematic masterpiece “Stop! or my Mom will Shoot”? The hours I spent as a 14 year old watching this flick filled with phallic follies and stale punchlines. What IS funny though, a Flash cover reminds me how wrong I was to believe Sylvester Stallone turned a corner as a comedic actor. The power of Back Issues at work here people! I digress…

 “Yo Ma, whaddya think of MY Meatloaf?”

The villain in this book BLOWS. Pretty bold way to describe a guy but it’s no exaggeration. This tale starts with him using a powerful puff to dissipate our hero. See what I did there? You better, I expect my readers to come equipped with a gong to punish me for my pathetic puns.  This scoundrels real accomplishment isn’t defeating a Justice Leaguer on the teaser page. It’s overcoming his uncanny resemblance to the Iron Sheik and claiming victory by other means than a headlock.

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“I think Hulk Hogan would prefer the Whistle Tickle finishing move. “

The Flash is speeding his way around Central City while on a pier, a little girl accidentally drops her doll into the ocean. No job is too small for the fastest man alive. He zips over water to grab the lost toy. Nice to see Flashy boy isn’t above some blue collar rescuing of inanimate objects. The writer notes this small act of kindness will play out later on. Hmm… wishful thinking, the Barbie taking a dip is retconned as the origin of the Anti-Monitor. Bit of a stretch? They say I’m a dreamer.

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“How many times I’ve said ‘never’ after a night of drinking. You got a lot to learn kiddo.”

Back to the Iron Sheik lookalike. His name is sure to instill terror into the hearts of men, ready for it? Mr.Haddon! Yeah, more like your 6th grade History teacher than treacherous tyrant. I’ve got the wrong subject though as it turns out he’s quite science enthusiast. So much so, he’s created an insane invention. Let’s try to wrap our minds around this: According to Haddon, belief in ourselves is based on how others feel about us. So he’s developed radiation that will erase a populations memory of a specific person. They forget someone exists and that person will disappear. You really got to have a broken Beaker to come up with that one. This weapon still needs some fine tuning. Witness the saddest first appearance in DC Comics history, Haddon’s cat “Jessica”. This furry feline only wanted some milk but received oblivion. Someone get Selina Kyle on the horn.

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“R.I.P. Jessica the Invisible Lab Rat Cat 1966-1966.”

Haddon uses the radiation on Central City. Now that no one remembers Barry, he begins to turn into a mist. He tries to run around  and get the attention of someone, but they just think he’s a nut job in a funny suit. Reduced to nothing more than second hand smoke, he still believes crime waits for no man..er..ghost thingy. A store alarm rings in the distance and Flash races to the scene to discover Haddon robbing the joint. With bags full of cash in each hand he takes a trick from the Big Bad Wolf Handbook by Huffing, puffing and blowing the Flash around.

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“What do Marty McFly and the Flash have in common? Great at fucking up timelines.”

Guiding Barry’s wispy form back to his lab, Haddon lays out his evil plan. With the Flash incapacitated he’s free to steal and use the money to move to an island and become it’s King. Seriously. Once the final person stops believing in the Flash…poof. Haddon is so confident in himself, he chomps on a congratulatory stogie and leaves Barry in his lair. So if no one can remember the Flash, how is he still alive? Rewind to that nugget on the docks.

flash16311.1“Where the hell are this kids parents? Is her Dad the Gorton’s Fisherman?”

YES! The little girl with a case of the butter fingers! That’s right, she would “never, never, never” forget him for rescuing dolly. The scene itself where he discovers she is the lone believer does play out a tad creepy in a lock down Chuck E. Cheese kind of way. If you find that odd, it doesn’t stop there. The Flash still needs to regain full form by refreshing the rest of Central City’s memory. In the age before e-mail, my baby…she wrote me a letter.

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“As bands in the 90’s understood, flyers were the ultimate promotional tool.”

Just like memes in modern times, people believed everything they read back in the day. Kinkos be damned, Barry just writes a butt load of leaflets and hands them out to people on the street. By golly, it actually works! The more they read, his body is restored. Now at full strength, The Flash is ready to smash the ‘Stache.

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“If I could only have Tom Selleck’s lush head of hair, I would be UNSTOPPABLE!”

Haddon is enjoying some Magnum P.I. fashion and Kooey Kooey Kooey servitude in a tropical locale. Heavy is the head that wears the crown  as he can’t quite put a finger on how he achieved his success. Screw it, He’s still living the dream. King of an island, armed guards and plenty pineapples can’t erase the feeling someone is out to get him. Paranoia proves to be prudent if not effective. The Flash promptly busts his party up and puts his shiny melon behind bars.

Was this one a classic? Nope. Not even close. The story proved to be terribly boring. Had the writer opted to embrace the insanity of the time period it may have been saved. Take the Mind Erasing Machine for example. I don’t have a problem with it’s function being vague but they should have went all out with it. No cool design, colorful beams of light or anything really. Just an old burger warmer from Wendy’s.

There’s a back up story featuring Abra Kadabra but by this point you can tell the creators had better things to do with their day than care what got published that month. I suppose an argument could be made Infantino’s pencil work is the one redeeming quality but we’ve got a flat liner here. Four color Ambien. The Surgeon General advises against reading this prior to operating machinery.

Thanks for the iconic cover guys but here’s to wishing I could wash my brain clean of this one. Maybe watching some T.V. will help with that…oh HELL yes!

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David Schultz is the Creator/Co-Host of the Parlipod Podcast. Give it a listen on Soundcloud or via the GWW Radio Network. If you have a comic you would like to see reviewed on Two Staple Gold or just want to harass Dave, follow @lavahog on Twitter.

 

 

 

*All images/video clips are rights of their respective owners. Links to external sites are used solely for informational purposes.

 

Marvel Two in One #96

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Who doesn’t have a soft spot for Marvel’s hero made of rock? I’m talking of course about the Thing. Since 1961, Ben Grimm has been one of the cornerstones at the House of Ideas as a member of the Fantastic Four. Personally, in my younger years I was enthralled with him. Throw downs with the heaviest hitters were always a big draw. Any issue trading punches with the Hulk were an absolute event.

Marvel recognized his popularity and gave him a team up book in 1974. Thanks to the Two in One series, I get to wax nostalgic here on Two Staple Gold and it’s Clobbering Time… all the time.

Here’s the best part though, If your like me you may have lost track of the “Ever Lovin’ Blue Eyed” Thing over the years. No biggie. He’s like a friend that remained unchanged and will always be there for you. Revisiting his adventures is always a comforting experience. Or so I liked to believe.

Time to take our meds and see if this ish makes us sick or cures our blues. I present Marvel Two in One #96 “Visiting Hours” cover dated February 1983. Written by Tom DeFalco and penciled by Ron Wilson.

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lineHere’s a tough pill to swallow, the Thing got his ass whooped. Boxing with the Champion is generally a bad idea and he’s landed in the local Hospital. Reed Richards has decided that is the best place for him citing the Baxter Building’s lack of “medical facilities to asses the true extent of his injuries”. This is the first of many odd decisions to fit the narrative, considering Mr.Fantastic discovered the Negative Zone but can’t handle some boo boo’s. Even worse, Reed acknowledges Ben is a sitting duck if his enemies decided to strike. Most intelligent man on earth my ass, more like world’s biggest dick.

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“Well, you could have tried other options Nurse but Yancy Street is one way only.”

Like Richards, the Mad Thinker  is a prognosticator. The classic FF foe seems to believe he has Orange Hides obituary ready for print. He has no intention of doing it himself but who can blame him? I would never leave my lair with a lousy haircut like that. It’s cool though, as we are about to find out the rest of the Marvel Universe will pick up his slack.

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“Villainy 101: Get pissed and throw shit.”

Spider-Man is on his way to visit his pal Benjy when he encounters the first nefarious nasty to crawl out of the woodwork…MECHO-MARAUDER! Never heard of him? Then your life is short on finger blasts. The dude is a straight up joke and Spidey makes quick work of him. It’s worth noting this battle is the start of instances with sexual innuendo that litter this issue. I’m sure if I asked Tom DeFalco if my suspicions of sneaking in some naughty dialogue were on purpose, he would probably punch me in the face. I wouldn’t fault the guy though, who didn’t get a little randy watching Valerie Bertinelli on One Day at a Time back in the 80’s? Sexy sweaters Tom! Who can resist?

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“Didn’t Aunt May warn you about palm tapping? You could go blind Pete!”

I’m going to skip over a few guest appearances during my summary. There’s just way too many. One that can’t be ignored is the debut of Nurse Hasslebutt. Aptly named and tough as nails, she takes no gump. The Web Slinger and Mr.Fantastic are no match for her mouth while she kicks everyone out of the Thing’s room despite their pleas to stay. Hard to find characters in comics that command such consternation. I imagine her origin includes a bite from a radioactive Amanda Waller.

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“She’s gotta be Hydra…or hungry.”

Crash… Boom…Bang! Loud noises are another foil to this script. Everyone needs to make a grand entrance and how better to do that than smashing through a concrete wall. That’s all fine and dandy, problem is the Thing never notices. Actually, NONE of the Hospital staff notices. Time for a full scale evacuation maybe? Seriously, check out Mole Man here just rolling up in an underground death tank. Is this a Healthcare facility or a drug den where everyone is so doped up on morphine they pay no attention subterranean slime balls?

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“I’m not having my blood work done here, those needles are outrageous!”

Why let the men have all the fun? The Grapplers, a team of female wrestlers led by the miserably monikered Poundcakes, have a bone to pick with the Thing. Unlike some of the other interlopers, they can’t manage to break in thanks to Captain America standing watch. This battle is boring as all get out but I really just needed an excuse to include this panel in the article. “Dirty DeFalco” strikes again or should I seek professional help?

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“Last time I answered to Poundcakes was back in Prison sweetheart”

What of Marvel’s malevolent dictator Dr.Doom? He’s aware of his  adversaries recent ailments courtesy of the Daily Bugle. That’s quite a haul, New York to Latveria, hope he tips the paper boy. Surely, he of all people would love to take advantage of this situation. Nah, he’d rather go flirt with an oil can or something.

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“Villainy 102: Stay pissed and continue to throw shit. Congrats, you graduated”

Back to those so called “Jackals”. Looks like they brought Secret Wars to the streets. There is one criminal who has a more sensible plan. The Sandman is one sneaky dude. Slithering through the shafts, he has found success where all others have failed and enters our preferred patients room. What’s he going to do? Smother him with a pillow, fill his cracks with granules of gloom until he snaps? Heck no! Sandy has shown up to pound some brews and smoke some stogies. You see, unlike the other barbarians at the gate, Sandman doesn’t have a grudge but rather gratitude towards the Thing for turning his life around.

 

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“You guys go ahead and duke it out, I’ll be dry humping a vent”

That’s how this comes to a close. Sandy and Ben enjoying some cigars while chaos reigns in the parking lot. I hate being the person to bring this up but If the bad guys really wanted to send Ben Grimm to the graveyard, they should have reached across company lines and hired the Joker to do the job. Experience matters.

 

“Somebody get Nurse Hasslebutt a Snickers!”

The Verdict? The Doctor is out. Overall, It’s ok. The humor is alright but far from Bwah Ha Ha funny. The art is decent enough for the time period. If your not a completist there really is no reason to seek this out. To be fair, if you can find it in a dollar bin, there are worse ways to spend a buck. Consider this baby Rated Meh.

 

David Schultz is the Creator/Co-Host of the Parlipod Podcast. Give it a listen on Soundcloud or via the GWW Radio Network. If you have a comic you would like to see reviewed on Two Staple Gold or just want to harass Dave, follow @lavahog on Twitter. The last caption was the 250,000th time a Snickers gag was used on the internet. Balloons fell from my ceiling as I wrote it. Yay me.

 

 

*All images/video clips are rights of their respective owners. Links to external sites  are used solely for informational purposes.

 

 

 

 

 

Adventures of Bayou Billy #1

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Video Game properties don’t seem to translate well to other media. Full disclosure, I’m the furthest thing from a “Gamer” but I say this only because there has never been a single movie based on a game I’ve found enjoyable. As a kid in the 80’s I was addicted to Nintendo. Hours were spent in the pursuit of defeating Kid Icarus, Metroid and other cartridges that needed a hearty blow of air to work. I can’t say I played much of Konami’s Bayou Billy.  What I do remember distinctly was owning this issue and it’s place among the magazines in the can. Hey to it’s credit, it beat out Readers Digest every time.

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If this was bathroom fodder when I was twelve years old, why the hell would I read it now? Because, despite the location, I remember actually enjoying it. I’m also a sucker for nostalgia. Can’t resist a good ‘ol whiff of the past.

Here are the aces at Archie who drained the swamp to bring us this 8-bit adventure.

Credited as R.P.M., the writer was Rich Margopoulos. He’s scripted for Warren Publishing on Vampirella and other horror comics. From what I can tell, Archie ran him ragged during this era, putting him to work on a myriad of titles. Rich also has Marvel and DC credits under his belt.

Amanda Conner is a fan favorite artist that started out as Bill Sienkiewicz’s assistant. She’s illustrated for a variety of publishers, Most notably at DC, for her work on the Power Girl and Harley Quinn books. Her illustrations have also been featured on television and film.

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A couple things that I have to let you know off the bat. Billy never wears shoes and EVERYONE speaks with  exclamation marks. I did a little research. This series only lasted five issues and unless someone’s asking a question, It’s nothing but shouting. Even the senior citizens are excited.

byb4.1“Sorry, left our Whisper 3000’s back in Joisey.”

What’s a typical morning in the life of a tough guy? How about some alligator wrestling, saving an elderly couple from a mugging topped off by some courtroom testimony, all before the syrup hits the hotcakes. Oh, that dude getting locked away has a flame thrower for an arm! Crap, all this action is making me shout. Never let it be said this story had a knack for dilly dallying.

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“That verdict was pretty quick but Juror #6 really had to piss.”

Billy also has the Cajun charm ladies find irresistible, putting the moves on assistant D.A. Annie. She barely has time to close her briefcase and he’s trying to schmooze his way into her briefs. He manages to get some lip action and leave her flustered. I imagine he must smell terrible but when you’re a perfect blend of Crocodile Dundee and Sex Panther, it’s just called musk.

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“Want to score babes and balance blades? Roll around in horse shit.”

After tongue wrestling with Billy, Annie receives a call instructing her to go to a pier at midnight if she wants the scoop on the local crime family known as the Gordon’s. Because nothing is safer than agreeing to meet a stranger in the middle of the night right? This woman has to start re-evaluating her life choices. As expected, two goons arrive on a boat and they have bad intentions. She’s skilled in karate though, kicking ass in heels saves her from cement galoshes. Using the boat as means for her escape, a stray bullet rips through the foggy night and grazes her​ face.

She ends up in the swamp. Disoriented and injured she discovers a large home among the wild. Salvation at last! Using the final bit of strength in her body to knock on the door, it’s answered by who else, a shirtless Bayou Billy. Some guys have all the luck huh? He was probably just chilling, watching Crocodile Hunter reruns and snacking on nails before a damsel in distress just fell into his arms. Sounds like a damn fine Wednesday night to me.

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“Hubba Bubba…and I’m not talking bubble gum.”

News gets back to the Gordon’s that Annie escaped and patriarch “Big Daddy” is none too pleased. The hit was ordered by his son Rock without his authorization. Annie wasn’t a big enough fish to fry and thanks to this ill advised decision they now have Billy and his team all riled up. Oh yes, I did say team. This guy has a cast of characters that are full on G.I. Joe knockoffs named Broadside, Sureshot and Tracker.

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“No worries, that gator has frequent flyer miles.”

Big Daddy has sent his gang , known as F.I.S.T., to the bog. This acronym is never explained but it must relate to the game. I’ll just think of it as Floppy Icicle Slum Trinkets. That work for you guys? Great, let’s move on. Billy had found a homing device in Annie’s boat, so he and his boys are ready for a battle. They setup booby traps that would make Kevin McCallister proud. Even with all the high jinks of swinging logs and other pitfalls, I’m most impressed with this action:

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“We shall defend this shower curtain to the death!”

While Tracker, Sureshot and Broadside take care of the scraps, there is a full on siege at Billy’s house. F.I.S.T. also has it’s share of colorful customers, presumably to mirror video game bosses. The monikers are fucking horrid. I keep thinking whoever made this up was a giggling stoner being fed some funky brownies. Mr. TNT, Kid Creole and Lighting Rod (see what I mean?) bring a full assault as Annie is scurried into a secret panel. Good God, she may just the most gullible lawyer…ever.

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“Damn girl, at least make him take you to McDonald’s first.”

The evildoers get their licks in but Billy just can’t be killed. Electric shocks and gunfire prove to be no match. But wait, scratch that. The guy avoids certain death only to get snagged in a choke hold by a baddie called “Cut Throat”. Is this the end for our resident mullet rocking macho ultra-male? Hell no. Thankfully, Annie realized a crawl space wasn’t for her and smacks Cut Throat over the head with a frying pan. Rather than give her props, Billy wonders when his team will arrive via “Billy-Mobile”. Yeah that’s right, dude’s got cars named after him. If your wading in the seas of cheese anyway, “Billy-Buggy” would have been the better option. C’mon now.

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“Hmm, not sure the garbage truck takes discarded super villians”

This pondering is all for naught as just when you think it’s time to make kissy face and roll credits a bomb falls in front of our leads. Say so long to Billy’s stately swamp estate. Now you gone and done it! Utterly enraged, our hero wrangles up the culprit responsible and threatens him with a venomous snake. What’s the point of that? He wants a signed confession of guilt for blowing up his pimp palace. Had Annie been a counselor worth a lick of salt, she may have wanted to mention the law about a signature under duress being invalid but whatever…why start being smart now.

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“Like exchange Christmas cards close?”

I have to be honest, I really wanted my sense of sentimentality to rule the day and like this issue. Didn’t happen. It’s just lousy. I can see why my adolescent self enjoyed it. No substance but the wall to wall warfare makes for an easy read. Every kid wants to be a reckless, wisecracking action hero. Just doesn’t hold up once…you know…a girl actually talks to you.

This goes straight to the garbage bin but oh the memories folks. They must be worth something. No? Had to try. On the bright side, Jughead has a massive case of the munchies and wants you to say no to drugs. Thanks Archie Comics, you may have considered taking your own advice before publishing this rag.

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David Schultz is the Creator/Co-Host of the Parlipod Podcast. Give it a listen on Soundcloud or via the GWW Radio Network. If you have a comic you would like to see reviewed on Two Staple Gold or just want to harass Dave, follow @lavahog on Twitter.

Images rights of Archie Comics

Justice League of America #70

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There’s just something about the Creeper I like. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the colors and offbeat costume or my affection for those on the B-List. What I can say for certain, there’s not too many great Creeper stories out there. I’ve enjoyed some of the original Ditko material but if someone were to ask me “what’s the greatest Creeper story ever told?”, I would reply it’s yet to be written.

When Justice League of America #70 (cover dated March 1969) landed on my desk, I was excited. Here it is, this could be the one! Not only is this book written by a legend in the field, just look at this cover. He toys with the League in all of his gaudy greatness.

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The answer sadly is… no. This is not the book that breaks the mold for the Creeper. All is not lost though as this is the debut of a character that will change the DC Universe forever! Are you excited for the big reveal? No? Understandable as who I’m about to introduce would be lucky to get a kazoo serenade. Ladies and Germs, this is the first appearance of… Mind Grabber Kid!

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“One thing is for sure, Dishpan hands need not apply”

Mind Grabber Kid gives the Creeper a run for his money in the tacky garments department but as we will come to find out, lacked the staying power. I’ll get more into that later. First, I mentioned a true luminary scripted this jazzy jaunt, so let’s talk the talents who put this together.

It was written by Denny O’Neil. Whew. I mean, c’mon. The man left classics at every turn of his career. His runs on Green Lantern/Green Arrow and Batman with Neal Adams are  considered some of the most iconic books of their era. He also edited a Daredevil run by some guy called Frank Miller. GREATNESS.

Art chores were handled by Dick Dillin and Sid Greene. Dillin started drawing for Quality Comics, most notably on the Blackhawk series. He later moved on to DC and spent 12 years as the penciller on Justice League. Greene inked for many publishers for over 30 years but his true claim to fame was helping to define the look of DC’s Silver Age characters.

As promised, back to Mind Grabber Kid. I’ll affectionately refer to him as “Grabby” even though, unlike others in a position of power, he sticks with brainwaves only. He’s hitting the scene for the first time and busts up a robbery right out of the gate. Not too shabby. The onlookers however aren’t as impressed with his heroics as they are with the exploits of the J.L.A. being broadcast on TV in a nearby shop.

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“We just got our asses kicked by…Forbush man???”

This fills Grabby with jealousy. So much so that when Shrek like Extra Terrestrials who love oven mitts send a transmission to Earth, he intercepts it with his mind and delivers a terrible reply. In a nutshell, he claims the League are just prick bastards that must be destroyed.

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“All of our controls are hot…VERY HOT!”

Where is the Justice League of America while all this is going down? They’re terribly bored actually. Watching a baseball game is a option but leave it to Batman keep their biscuits busy. Well, provided he doesn’t have to do any of the work himself.

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“Green Lantern speaks with his eyes and Batman’s getting the what’s up”

Investigate the Creeper it is then. Our mean yellow-green laughing machine is on a case of his own. He’s out to get the mob and finds out their next move is to rob an atomic power plant. Why? Honestly, we never find out but whatever it’s the groovy 60’s man. Pass the triple dipped white blotter and hop in the van, we have a wild three way to get to.

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“Even further below, at the Earth’s core, nothing happens… but I had to keep it going”

The Creeper acts first, beating up mobsters with ease but the Atom jumps in and pulls a shit for brains move. Distracted, the Creeper gets K.O.’ed and Atom socks the bad guy. That’s all the proof the aliens needed that the JLA are bad for business. Screwed up sense of reasoning there but any excuse to don a Meta-Cap makes it worthwhile.

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“Don’t forget your jackets! It’s chilly out there”

So what the heck is a meta-cap you say? Pretty dope gadgets actually. They can mimic and counteract the League’s powers. Disposing of them one by one, the aliens encounter a serious problem: Superman’s abilities. There’s just too much to try and imitate. I was actually surprised by the “super-suction”. I can only imagine when that comes in handy.

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“Jeez G.L., that sucks..err..blows..umm…”

Don’t forget about our little buddy Mind Grabber Kid. He’s just kicking it at home and hears a news report on the radio about the ruckus. Time to throw the long johns back on baby! It’s also fairly rad that he could care less what his parents think. They just assume he’s taking part in a school play…or sniffing glue.

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“Could have something to do with that Kooky crack pipe”

By the time Grabby arrives at the scene, the aliens had used some atomic junk to simulate a red sun, neutralizing Superman. These guys are legit! Oh wait, one problem. The Creeper registers as a normal human to all of their instruments and when it comes to fisticuffs, those oven mitts don’t cut the mustard.

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“Yeah you have something in common, your both color blind ya knucklehead”

The Mobsters prove to be the dumbest criminals alive. Rather than taking the opportunity to high tail it out of there, they see this as a chance to whack the League. Grabby realizes his spite was misguided and it’s up to him to save the League. Using his telekinesis, he pulls Superman’s hand away from the red sun’s rays.

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“Wurg? Must be the sound one makes while crapping their pants”

Superman bounces back and takes down the overzealous law breakers. He then plays the role of sneaky weasel and tells the Creeper to scoot. Grabby apologizes for lying to an entire race. Oddly, they just say whatevs and hit the road. Mind Grabber Kid learned a lesson on humility, finding inspiration in the Creeper. This kind of annoyed me. The whole book, Grabby keeps stating he is a regular Joe. The dude has some serious powers and is lucky he didn’t get his ass meta-capped into next week. Quite the whiny little bastard if you ask me. We end with everyone happy and the action wrapped up in time to finish watching the ball game.

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“Nobody says liar, liar, pant’s on fire in outer space”

The word I would choose to sum this story up is goofy. That’s not a bad thing. It was so zany however, I was kinda expecting Brother Power the Geek to pop up out of nowhere. This is where it gets his entertainment value from as it’s truly a campy outing. Let’s not forget this dandy dropped in 1969, so the narrative was loyal to the whimsical comics kids enjoyed.

Earlier, I touched upon how this was not a Creeper classic and Mind Grabber Kid’s inability to go mainstream. They both still have merits. For the Creeper, his quality as an anti-hero is on full display. In many ways, he could be perceived as a Joker/Spider-Man amalgam. A misunderstood hero who cracks wise and opts to maniacally laugh when faced with danger. What’s not to love about a wildcard who’s intentions can be difficult to navigate as a tightrope.

Grabby…oh Grabby. At the conclusion of this issue, readers are urged to write in asking for his return. America’s youngsters must have forgotten to lick the stamps as he wasn’t seen again until 1992. Leave it to Grant Morrison to dust him off as “Mind Grabber Man” during his Seven Soldiers project roughly 12 years ago but to love him entitles you crazy cat lady status in comic book fandom.

Not the best story to ever see print, it still has a little bit of something for everybody and is worthy of your attention. Dig in on some early Denny O’Neill and enjoy the trip.

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David Schultz is the Creator/Co-Host of the Parlipod Podcast. Give it a listen on Soundcloud or via the GWW Radio Network. If you have a comic you would like to see reviewed on Two Staple Gold or just want to harass Dave, follow @lavahog on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

Images rights of DC Comics

 

The Savage Sub Mariner #72

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“Just use that cinnamon bun you call a fist to call somebody who cares”

So here’s the scoop, I’m a massive Swamp Thing fan. For my money, all other monsters pale in comparison. Anytime a cruddy creature pops up in a comic with “Thing” as part of it’s moniker it piques my interest. As far as the titular character, other than John Byrne’s take in the early 90’s, Namor has never made waves for me. But the moment I saw the cover for this one, It became a must read. This is also the last issue of the series so I had a feeling the ankle wings were free to fly and some wackiness may be in store.

Before we get started on the story, here are the fine folks who fished this out of their imaginations.

Out of college, writer Steve Skeates started his career as Stan Lee’s assistant performing proof reading duties. It was quickly discovered that editing wasn’t his forte and he began writing for Marvel and every publisher in the industry. Working in multiple genres, he’s had notable runs on Aquaman, Plastic Man and is the co-creator of Hawk and Dove.

Artist Dan Adkins worked primarily in advertising prior to comics. In the 60’s he joined the Wally Wood studio and later landed inking and penciling jobs for a slew of companies. In the 2000’s he illustrated products for Parker Brothers.

Without further ado, it’s time to slap on your bikini and take a dip into The Savage Sub Mariner #72 “From the Void It Came”! Cover dated September 1974.

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We surface dwellers are a bunch of a-holes. It’s true, just ask Namor. He’s swimming through our rubbish and hating on humans. It’s like a PSA reminding people that carelessly throwing a sneaker away really ruins one’s day. Well, in all fairness Namor is already pissed about the annihilation of Atlantis that occurred in a previous issue so a spare tire is just the skin on poo poo pudding.

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“Hey, quit bitching and pick that crap up!”

Let’s travel back in time. Two years according to the writer. As we will come to find out, he likes adding arbitrary details into the plot. An alien life form that looks like space snot floats into a satellite. In the next panel a mysterious hand discovers a destruct button he seemed to misplace. It’s clearly labeled but I suppose working around doohickeys takes it’s toll and the boom key starts to resemble the on switch for the television. The satellite explodes and the galactic goo goes for a ride.

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“The brochure says Cacophonous Caverns is quite the vacation destinat…KABLOOIE”

The debris plummets into the ocean. Settling at the bottom of the sea the booger from beyond admires the aquatic life and decides to form a body. It takes the entirety of those aforementioned two years but it’s successful in creating a humanoid form. This got me thinking. As far as we know it’s never seen a person but has a hard on for fish. So why would it have our characteristics? I would’ve paid to been part of the design meeting. For the headset alone. Yes, this thing decided to use some wreckage as a fashion statement and it’s friggin’ glorious. It’s actually referred to as a “wild party hat”. That’s my kind of shindig! Check it out:

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“RISE and enjoy he splendors of AM/FM radio!”

Cut back to our sulking Sub Mariner pondering his disdain for humans on a dock. There, he’s spotted by two dudes, one of whom happens to hate hybrid species and doesn’t want any “fish men” hanging around. Our next PSA is about prejudice brought to you by Adolph Hitler. No joke. This is a final issue so I understand the impulse to say “fuck it” but quoting the most despised despot from the 20th century is more than a little odd. Anywhoos, the main goon named Bruce goes all Chuck Norris and sucker kicks Subby. Apparently this guy also can’t stand buttons.

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“Pop collar kick! Heeyaa!!”

 I’m going to refer to the mysterious membrane as Slime Thing now as touted on the cover considering he’s rocking extremities and I’ve run out of funny phlegm references. Slimey has been watching the hostilities from the water like a creepy ex in your bushes waiting to witness tubby time. His first impression of our species won’t be favorable as Namor socks Bruce in the kisser, killing him. Bruce’s boy toy by the bay proceeds to tackle the Sub Mariner causing everyone to fall into the sea. Subby comes face to face with Slime Thing and the pal in polyester swims after Bruce’s lifeless body.

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“The Sub Mariner has a psychiatrist for a narrator”

When encountering a monster in the murky depths your first instinct is to punch the hell out of it right? That’s all fine and dandy for some superhero sluggery but I would be inclined to warn him that electronics and H2O are a bad combo. Sure it looks rad to have all that gear on your dome but toasters would make horrible galoshes y’know.

nmr12.1“Well, there goes the neighborhood…er…reef”

 Namor isn’t the advice giving kinda guy like yours truly so they proceed to pound the ever livin’ porpoise out of each other. We do get a nifty little tidbit during the throw down though. Did you know 62% of explosions in fictional orbits are caused by shrouded figures in the Motor City? Me neither, considering I just pulled that stat out of my ass. For no reason whatsoever we are told that was the detonators location. So be weary of the digits in Detroit, they are capable of dastardly deeds!

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“Meanwhile, a hand in Vancouver picks lint from a navel”

Slime Thing emanates flashes from his eyes that blind Namor, yet he continues to fight. This show of will and determination is shocking to his gunky opponent who basically decides “Screw this, I’m out!”. So while Namor has him in an awkward hug, he blows his own head off. Pop goes the weasel baby, ditching one of my favorite looks in the history of comics. Fear not, he didn’t commit suicide but rather reverted to his original form and made course for wherever he originally came from. While traveling through the sky, it proves to be loving ooze, using it’s power again, resurrecting Bruce from the dead. More Like a kid who got his tonsils out compared to someone who just received a new lease on life, Bruce thinks reading a wrestling magazine is the best way to celebrate. Way to go Duchey McDingle.

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“The most unintentionally erotic page of 1974”

Namor is all bent out of shape now he’s been robbed of his vision and realizes if only he tried to understand the creature​ instead of treating it like a soggy pinata he would still be able to wax his own eyebrows. Possibly feeling guilty, the alien flashes again as it passes through our solar system and restores the sight he had stolen. Lesson learned just in time for the end of the run.

I loved this book. Seriously. I will buy every copy I come across in the wild. Is the story THAT good? Nope. The art is pretty iffy and if it wasn’t for the inks by the legendary Vince Colletta, this may have been a tough read.  It’s just so zany, I can’t help but dig the crap out of it. I also have a radical idea.

Marvel should totally bring Slime Thing back. I firmly believe the concept and character is more interesting than Man-Thing. Yeah, I said it. Manny is so damn boring, I would prefer Slime Thing with his crown of circuits any day of the week. Take your stupid elephant trunk and dull continuity elsewhere.

This was his only appearance. One and done. How nobody thought a shape shifting alien with untapped abilities and shitty fashion sense was usable all these years is beyond me. He’s been collecting dust for 43 years. Couldn’t he at least have been tossed in somewhere as cannon fodder or even a punchline? Shame really, I find him quite fun. If anyone at the House of Ideas reads this, call me. I have some great ideas for my new BFF.

To my fellow prowlers of the back issue bins, reel in a copy of this for your collections. If for nothing else than the awesome cover that has zero to do with the actual plot of the book or if you want to get hooked on some classic Namor.

David Schultz is the Creator/Co-Host of the Parlipod Podcast. Give it a listen on Soundcloud or via the GWW Radio Network. If you have a comic you would like to see reviewed on Two Staple Gold or just want to harass Dave, follow @lavahog on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

Thor #391

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Confession time, I don’t like Thor. In comics or in the films, I’ve never been a fan. I’ll even go as far to say he’s one of my least favorite Marvel characters period. I picked up some random issues as a kid because it beat doing my homework while waiting for the bus but I just can’t get into a character that rocks a silver salad bowl on his head.

So, imagine my surprise as the first Thor Ragnarok trailer dropped and my jaw followed suit. It doesn’t hurt they are adapting bits of Planet Hulk in the flick but still, this is the first time the God of Thunder moved the needle for me. so to celebrate this shocking situation, I’ve decided to give Goldilocks a second chance. Join me as I recap Thor #391 “The Madness of Mongoose” cover dated May 1988.

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“Just don’t call him during dinner.”

I suppose it’s fitting that this book has Spidey as a guest star considering how I jazzed I am for ‘ol Jade Jaws in Ragnarok. But as the arrow on the cover says, “It had to happen” so who am I to argue with the blurb department. Coincidence can go screw.

Before we get fitted for tiger striped boots, it’s a Two Staple Gold tradition to give credit to the creative team that made steel beam battles big in ’88, Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz. These dudes are legends in the biz. I don’t want to sound like a snob, but if your not aware of these gents, minimize this screen and get over to Google for an education.

Our story opens with Spider-Man swinging over the streets of Manhattan in a snowstorm. Typical stuff except this time either he’s eager to get mounted by M.J. or he likes to wear bikinis. Hope Aunt May never discovers the latter.

thor3912.2“Your secret is safe with me Pete.”

Meanwhile, in a secluded hotel room our villain gives us the standard “spewing his evil intentions” routine. He’s in some serious need of dental work but I guess it fits with the whole feasting on living flesh thing. I get it, a Mongoose has fangs but dang, he must floss with jumper cables.

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“Hey buddy, can a Cellsmograph target a dentist?”

We finally get to the star of the book, Thor. He’s returned to Earth in his Siguard Jarlson guise. This look may only be second to Clark Kent in the shameful secret identity department. Seriously, he just threw some glasses on. Snappy as they may be, you would think he might have opted to go more incognito mosquito. He could just wear a cap that reads “I’m not Thor” to the same effect.

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“That’s more like it.”

Asgard’s favorite son is happy to mix with the locals but discovers the apartment he was renting had been demolished in his absence. Baby, It’s cold outside and where will he rest that glorious head of hair? Looks like our hero needs a jobby job.

Luckily for Odinson, he has a buddy eager to hire a 6’6″ Norse God to work construction. This issue is significant to hard core Thor followers as the introduction of Eric Masterson, who later becomes fan favorite Thunderstrike. That’s all fine and dandy but for my money, It’s the debut of Aloysius R. Jamesly. One happening cat who emotes like a champ. Unlike Masterson he was never given a hammer. Probably would have dropped it on his foot while soliloquizing.

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“Did loudmouth here bring the donuts?”

No sooner than Sig starts his new gig, the Mongoose pops out ready to rumble. The battle is on! Well, that is until Thor gets his ass promptly knocked off the roof. He’s without Mjolner. I thought he could summon that thing at will but maybe there was some jealousy at play. Replace me with a nail gun? Enjoy the flight…jerk.

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“Just whip that ponytail around like propeller big guy”

Fret not, Spidey wasn’t just zipping around the city in tight pajamas for nothing. Timing tends to be perfect in comics and is no exception here as Web Head swoops in to save Thor’s giblets. He still has ladies swimwear on the brain though, failing to recognize the large dude he just saved who looks EXACTLY like his buddy Thor is the genuine article. He also forgets that he has faced Mongoose before but he doesn’t have the benefit of editors notes like we do. Mulligan granted, thanks Ralf.

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“That bag has a dope hair cut”

Thor grabs his trusty mallet from his duffle bag that doubles as a bean bag chair and is back to form as a dashing deity. Both brave warriors join forces to kick some bad guy booty and all is going according to superhero 101 until the hammer gets laid down…on the 34th floor. Smooth move Blondie. Should’ve kept the glasses, they made you LOOK smarter at least.

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“The only thing that blows is your decision making”

I already noted our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man has been flakey thus far. It gets much worse. First, he believes that wrapping your legs around a bad guy smothering him with your noodle nest is the best course of action. Next time you need a Mohel just check the yellow pages Parker.

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“Or just put some razor sharp chompers in your crotch”

Then, after Mongoose damages the foundation and flees the scene, Spider-Man would rather haul ass than help Thor hold the building up. I thought that was his forte. Instead we get, “Saving lives is for suckers! Been there done that…Uncle Who? I’m Skedaddle Man!”

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“I left the Refrigerator running, gotta bounce!”

The Wall Crawler sticks around, erecting girders to reinforce the collapsing structure. Pretty easy solution honestly. Everyone is saved, Thor rushes Eric Masterson to the local hospital and Spidey’s pissed he lost out on a day’s pay.

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“J.J.J. would’ve paid extra for those pics of you wussing out”

 

Down to the nitty gritty, I actually enjoyed this issue. Only took about 29 years for me to warm up to it. My inner child is frowning somewhere but it’s actually, dare I say, a fun read.

Should I give this run another chance? Absolutely. DeFalco and Frenz sure know how to put together a good old fashioned adventure. Am I even the slightest bit more interested in Thor? Not one iota. Sorry, it will take a whole lot more than this to get me skipping across the Rainbow bridge whistling dixie.

Sometimes you need a comic to escape your worries or reality for a while. Nothing too deep or thought provoking. It’s a much healthier alternative than cocaine and hookers. Or so I’ve heard. Give this one a shot.

David Schultz is the Creator/Co-Host of the Parlipod Podcast. Give it a listen on Soundcloud or via the GWW Radio Network. To harass him on Twitter follow @lavahog

BONUS: Impress your friends with Aloysius R. Jamesly TRIVIA! Christopher Priest believes he was the inspiration behind the character: “After I left staff, there were issues of THOR that featured a guy named a Aloysuis P. Jamesly, who was blatantly and litigiously me. A mean-spirited Tuckerization that, even I have to admit, was really funny in an insider kind of way. Fans might not find Jamesly that funny, but it was a wicked rip at me, and largely deserved, so I didn’t make a big deal about it.”

Quote from Marvel Wikia

All Thor images are rights of Marvel Comics.