Pop Culture Gadabout
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
      ( 2/15/2005 04:23:00 PM ) Bill S.  

"YOU CAME/YOU SAW/YOU CONQUERED ME. . ." – I’m late as usual in responding to this comic book meme, first inspired by two separate comics by the remarkable Fred Hembeck – and pushed to extremes of photoshoppery by blogger Alan David Doane, but I didn’t want to miss it altogether. So today, while driving a two-hour trip to and from work, I tallied my personal list of 100 Things I Love About Comics. It’s not meant either as a definitive or a qualitative list. It’s a Love List, people – and love looks not with the eye, but with the heart. And so. . .:
  1. "It's all just lines on paper!";
  2. 60's cartoony, trippy, yet thoroughly angst-ridden R. Crumb (early Zap, Mr. Natural, Plunge into the Depths of DESPAIR, et al];
  3. Yancy Street;
  4. Kirby & Lee full-firin' on Fantastic Four;
  5. Fremount the Flea running of president on the slogan "Jes' Fine" (the only two words in his vocabulary);
  6. Dell Comics Pogo and Simon & Schuster collections of Walt Kelly's newspaper strip;
  7. "Puny Parker" pounding his hand against the wall because he can't reveal who he really is;
  8. Ditko & Lee full-firin' on Amazing Spider-Man;
  9. Philbert Desenex ravaging the lust of his life with his wart-hog nose;
  10. Gilbert Shelton's much missed "Wonder Wart-Hog";
  11. Physical distortions (Flash gets a big head, Jimmy Olsen turns into a human porcupine, Lois Lane gets fat) in Silver Age DC comics;
  12. John Broome & Carmine Infantino full-firin' on The Flash;
  13. Those issues of Showcase that introduced revamped supertypes to the Baby Boomers;
  14. Carol Danvers (as rendered by Gil Kane & Joe Giella) in a cocktail dress;
  15. John Broome & Gil Kane f-f on Green Lantern;
  16. Dan Clowes' goofy rewrites of Lois Lane stories in a cocktail bar setting;
  17. The coffin filled with a mulched victim of a misdirected wish in an EC rewrite of "The Monkey's Paw";
  18. EC horror;
  19. Warren horror under Archie Goodwin;
  20. Last Gasp horror (Skull, Slow Death, et al), particularly when it was rendered by Rich Corben, Greg Irons or Jack "Jaxon" Jackson;
  21. Hino Horror;
  22. Jaxon movies away from what he'd call the "cynical" stuff to do beautiful Texas history (Commanche Moon);
  23. Charlier & Moebius' Lieutenant Blueberry;
  24. Sergio Aragonés, Dennis O'Neil and Nick Cardy's Bat Lash ("Will he save the West . . .or ruin it?");
  25. Aragonés & Mark Evanier's Groo (Will he save civilization . . .or ruin it?);
  26. An unseen-for-decades-but-still-remembered "Li'l Abner" Sunday sequence featuring a character named Alfred Hatchplot;
  27. Pre-S.W.I.N.E. "Li'l Abner";
  28. Maggie and/or Hopey strutting their stuff;
  29. Jaime Hernandez' Locas, which (sorry, Sean!) reaches me at uncritical levels of pleasure that the more stylisitically consistent Palomar can't;
  30. But, hey, Beto's Palomar, too;
  31. Peter Bagge & Gilbert Hernandez' Yeah!, my favorite of this twosome's mainstream experiments - it reminds me of Cosmo, the Merry Martian;
  32. Cosmo, the Merry Martian, a short-lived Archie Comics series;
  33. Those moments when the Incredible Hulk pounds on the door of his reinforced prison, while poor Rick Jones wearily guards the other side;
  34. The monstrous, as opposed to the childlike, Hulk;
  35. Kirby & Lee on those early issues of The Incredible Hulk; Bruce Jones & Johnny Romita Jr. during a more recent run;
  36. Doug Moench swiping a bit from Richard Matheson's Legend of Hell House in an issue of Marvel's Werewolf By Night - and me catching it;
  37. Marvel's 70's monster titles, in general (Man-Thing, Tomb of Dracula and Werewolf, in particular);
  38. Michael Gilbert's Mister Monster;
  39. The time Roy Thomas sent the X-Men to a Greenwich Village coffee house;
  40. Peter Milligan, Grant Morrison & Joss Whedon's three very different takes on the X-mythos;
  41. Superboy & the Legion of Superheroes when they were a second feature in Adventure Comics;
  42. The back-of-the-book feature they replaced: "Tales of the Bizarro World";
  43. Clark Kent winking at the reader;
  44. The adventures of Superman as a boy before they were written out of continuity;
  45. Kim Deitch playin' in Hollywoodland;
  46. Sleazy Scandals of the Silver Screen (which introduced me to Hollywood Babylon);
  47. Evanier & Dan Spiegel's Crossfire, which connects to the previous entry, believe it or not;
  48. Art Spiegelman before he became "respectable";
  49. Bill Griffith & Jan Kinney teaching us what we already knew about Young Lust;
  50. Ned Sonntag's tale of forbidden feedee love, "Midnight Snack," in Renegade Romance;
  51. Griffith collapsing his analytically satiric "Observatory" and his post-analytical pinhead into one great syndicated comic strip;
  52. Wally Wood women with seams in their stockings;
  53. Harvey Kurtzman & company's Mad comics - and the Ballantine pb collections of same;
  54. Don Martin paperbacks;
  55. Singin' along to Mad musical parodies as a kid ("My Fair Ad Man");
  56. Shary Flenniken's "Trots And Bonnie," the best of all the NatLamp strips (why aren't these collected somewhere?);
  57. That someone once thought that naming a book Amazing ADULT Fantasy was a good idea - because it'd tell readers how thought-provoking the stories were;
  58. Lee & Ditko's five-page morality stories;
  59. Ditko & Lee with Doctor Strange in the realm of the Dread Dormammu;
  60. Peter Bagge's characters goin' apoplectic;
  61. The anti-comics crusader who scares the bejesus out of himself in an ep of "The Spirit";
  62. A bruised and battered Denny Colt;
  63. Dripping pipes and bricks in "The Spirit";
  64. Dropsie Avenue: the Depression Era setting of Will Eisner's early graphic novels;
  65. Sometime Eisher collaborator Klaus Nordling's little seen Golden Age circus comic, The Barker;
  66. Spain Rodriquez' adaptation of the carnie noir classic Nightmare Alley;
  67. Scott Free & Big Barda;
  68. Kirby doing Jimmy Olsen (even if his Superman heads are retouched);
  69. As seen in DC Archives: Jack Cole's Plastic Man;
  70. As seen in DC Archives: the Quality Comics Blackhawk;
  71. As seen in DC Archives: the real Captain Marvel;
  72. As not in DC Archives: Sheldon Mayer's Sugar 'N' Spike;
  73. Discovering the works of Carl Barks and Hergé as a young adult;
  74. The moment in Kindaichi Case Files where our detective hero announces that the killer is someone "among us!";
  75. That Battle Royale and Kindaichi were among the earliest manga GNs that I sampled;
  76. Iron Wok Jan lookin' all maniacal and full of himself;
  77. Junji Ito's bodies getting twisted into impossible, yet unnerving, shapes;
  78. "The Black Freighter" comic in Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen;
  79. Abby partaking of the Swamp Thing's fruit;
  80. Moore & Brian Bolland doing "just a Batman Annual" with The Killing Joke;
  81. The print-version-only-please League of Extraordinary Gentlemen;
  82. "T.B. Glover"'s scripts for Judge Dredd;
  83. Smart-assed psychic Judge Anderson;
  84. Getting a floppy with one staple missing and putting in one of my own;
  85. Trina Robbins making H.G. Peters look sexier than he ever could;
  86. Charlie Brown standing in front of that "gory display" of comics;
  87. The Complete Peanuts, though ask me again about ten volumes in;
  88. David Boswell's lumpen comics characters, Reid Fleming, most especially;
  89. Reid's spiritual forebearer, Herbie Popnecker, but only in his original ACG incarnation;
  90. Wondering what the progeny of Herbie and Little Lotta would look like;
  91. The Eltingville trivia showdown;
  92. Wolverine MacAlistaire coming upon a widder woman in the middle of nowhere;
  93. The Midwest anarchists (Jay Lynch, Skip Williamson, etc.) responsible for Bijou Funnies;
  94. Smart quasi-grownup genre comics (and a Tip o' the Hat to AiT/Planet Lar!);
  95. The chorus of roaches in Howard Cruse's "Barefootz";
  96. The interpretive dancer in Jules Feiffer's Sick Sick Sick;
  97. The ultra-splattery movies that were made from Lone Wolf And Cub;
  98. The could've-been-a-good-movie that was Frank Miller's Daredevil;
  99. Harvey Pekar in comics and onscreen;
  100. That I still could get worked up over the fate of the animal protagonists of Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely’s WE3. . .
Okay, that’s it for now.
# |

Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

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