Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Hanging On The Telephone

I know exactly how Ray Palmer feels right now. Regular BOABers may've noticed the lack of posts lately. This is because I've spent the last week or so trying to get my Dad's service provider to sort out his non-operational phone line. Said provider are Pipex / Toucan ( I know, you're all saying: Nooo! Pete! why'd 'ya go with that shower of monkeys?!! ). Anyway Pipex /Toucan spell customer service "Fuck you" and are literally doing nothing to fix the problem, so not only is Doree senior going to cancel his account with these saps, I am too. The reason I'm boring you with all this is that, obviously, this means that posts may be even more intermittent for the next couple of weeks, while I find a new supplier. ( And if anyone can recommend one that actually fixes a problem when you ask 'em to, I'd be grateful )
Anyway, just to let you guys know to hang in there, as I plan to be posting back on a regular basis again ASAP. I enjoy doing this blog too much to be stopped now! There's something to be said for a dictatorship, I bet the damn phones work in Latveria....

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Romero's Modesty & Axa

I know we already covered Axa, Enrique Romero's great warrioress of the wasteland / good girl / sword & sorcery newspaper strip ( which unaccountably ran in that bastion of quality, The Sun ) but I just came across these, and thought they needed sharing. Besides, when one is tired of half-naked barbarian babes draping themselves over the post-apocalyptic landscape, one is clearly tired of life itself.

After Axa was unceremoniously cancelled, Romero went on to take over the reigns of the UK's other great newspaper heroine Modesty Blaise. Here's the gals meeting up.

While here's an even better version.

And a couple of Gee-Orgous studies of Mod.

And finally, here's Romero pretty blatantly living out a few fantasies. Apparently, you can get an Axa game on your mobile now, which is about as bizarre as it gets. Still no sign of a movie tho'.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

This One'll Kill You, Batman!

Y'know, there hasn't been nearly enough Batman around here lately, so let's remedy that with one of my faves. Even though I like the moody, twisted, damn near psychotic anti-hero we have now, and even though I liked both Batman Begins & The Dark Knight, Bats doesn't actually seem to be much fun anymore.
Each generation gets the Batman it needs, ( though quite why The Silver Age needed The Reverse Batman or The Zebra Batman is beyond me...) and in the 21st century, I guess we need a barking mad, hate fuelled Caped Crusader with no social skills whatsoever. But the Batman of today, as much as I appreciate him, just isn't MY Batman, y'know?
MY Batman is Bob Haney's Batman, and Denny O'Neil's Batman, and even Frank Robbins' Batman. I liked it when he strolled down the street on a hot summers day, in full costume, checking out the babes ( as he did in one memorable Brave & Bold ). I liked that everybody in Gotham knew him, wasn't freaked out by him, and treated him like just another citizen. I liked it when he was The World's Greatest Detective, and was on first name terms with every mortuary attendant or forensics scientist in the police department. It's what was great about The Bronze Age, you were right between the silliness of The Silver Age & the grimness & depth of The Modern Age, and you could skip between both. Like here, in Bat's one zillionth face off against The Joker.
It's a tight, fun script from Denny, and the art, from Irv Novick & Dick Giordano is brilliantly cartoonish and almost enters the realm of characiture. In many panels here, Ol' Pointy Ears looks decidedly unheroic and ludicrous, all adding to the gag. And the scenes where he laughs are deeply, deeply disturbing. As much as I like the fun Batman, you don't actually want him laughing.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Steve Ditko

Ok, so I forgot Steve Ditko's birthday yesterday. Would'ja believe I was being deliberately obtuse and mysterious, in keeping with Shadowy Steve himself? No, huh?
Well, anyway, as we know, after leaving Spidey, Dichotomous Ditko spent a lot of The Bronze Age producing work that got steadily stranger & stranger, from The Hawk & The Dove and The Creeper to Mr. A. This strip, from the 4th issue of Imagine and scripted by Paul Levitz, isn't the weirdest thing he ever did ( Mr. A holds that honour ), but it's certainly up there. For openers, it may be the closest Straightlaced Steve ever got to being a hippie. It's unbelievably pretentious in a way only '70's comics can really get away with, and in places looks like a lost episode of Dr. Strange. Wherever you are, sir, a belated happy birthday. ( Like he's actually reading this, or is even in this dimension... )

Monday, 2 November 2009

The Origin Of Superman

We've all read Superman's origin a million times, but I really like this version from 1973, by the powerhouse team of Carmine Infantino, E.Nelson Bridwell, Curt Swan & Murphy Anderson. This is from the one-shot Amazing World of Superman, released to coincide with the opening of the Superman park in Metropolis, Illinois.
( Did it open? Was it as great as the Neal Adams illo's show? Anybody know? )
The last two pages do kind of rush things towards the end, but before that, there's some really nice scenes with the Kent's, and of course, the destruction of Krypton is always worth watching again. I remember being really stupidly offended by how they did Krypton & it's citizens in the first Superman movie, but now it seems really odd to see Jor-El drawn in that classic Silver Age style. As all right-thinking people know, the 'Swanderson' team did the best Superman by far, and were the very definition of slick, polished artwork. And this strip was actually Curt Swan's personal favourite of all the Supes stories he did.