Monday, June 29, 2009

The Gil Kane Punch of the Week 9: Stop Hitting Yourself!

Sorry I missed last week, but recovering from HeroesCon and finishing up summer teaching made posting difficult. To make up, here's an extra-special splash page from Action Comics 541:

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Gil Kane Punch of the Week 8

That's gotta hurt! Necks are not supposed to bend like that!

Traitor punches out Hal Jordan in "Traitor's Revenge!" first published in Legends of the DC Universe 29, written by Steven Grant, art by Gil Kane and Klaus Janson.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

HeroesCon 2009 in Charlotte

Chris Sims and I are heading up to Charlotte tomorrow for the fantastic Heroes Convention.

As I reported last year, Chris and I had an experience that nearly drove us mad, and I'm hoping this year will be just as much fun. If you're there, say hi. Chris has an undoctored photo on his blog to help you recognize us.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Superman in "Terra-Man's Skyway Robbery"

The third Super Sugar Crisp minicomic from 1980 is "Terra-Man's Highway Robbery." (I have to say that I must have eaten a shitload of Super Sugar Crisp when I was a kid in order to get all these minicomics. But, like most right-thinking kids at the time, I picked my cereal for the prize inside, not for taste or nutritional value.)

Of all the possible Superman villains to use in this, Terra-Man seems to be an odd choice. Don't get me wrong, the space cowboy on a flying horse was a near-perfect Cary Bates creation. It just seems that a more high-profile villain, like Luthor or Brainiac or Parasite or Toyman or Mr. Mxyzptlk or any one of a dozen others would be more appropriate.

The story opens with Clark Kent having a friendly, innocuous chat with Frank, the doorman at Clark's Clinton Street apartment building. Frank, who apparently can talk about anything, mentions how full the moon looks, and Clark, realizing he's going to get sucked in to another one of those conversations, takes off at super speed.

Actually, he sees the shadow of a guy on a flying horse going across the moon. Whatever the case, he dodged a bullet there.

Meanwhile, Terra-Man has broken into the Metropolis Historical Museum in order to steal Cole Younger's pistol.

This all seems a bit excessive just for a pistol, especially when you consider the cost of all of Terra-Man's gadgets. I mean, what's his ROI on this caper? He could probaby just take the money he invested in his drill lariat, his glass-cutting spurs, and flying horse feed, and make a cash offer to the museum for the pistol. It would surely save a lot of trouble. Especially since he plans on ruining the pistol's historical value by rigging it to shoot lasers.

Just how uncomfortable would it be to ride around on your flying horse with a cactus in your hat?

Turns out, it's no ordinary flying cactus--it's an exploding kryptonite cactus. Nothing says, "1970s DC Comic" quite like "exploding kryptonite cactus."

In typical fashion, Superman finds the most complex method possible to escape from the falling kryptonite, and then he quickly captures the "cosmic cowboy."

"Cosmic Cowboy," not to be confused with "Space Cowboy," copyright 1973, Steve Miller.

Superman then further humiliates the guy in a yellow shirt and green cape by "hogtying" him, which leads to some pretty disturbing banter.
Is "I ain't been branded yet" a good retort to levy at a guy with heat vision? And Superman's response at first sounds like he's been watching a little too much Oz.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Gil Kane Punch of the Week 7

I'm a little late with this week's Gil Kane punch, so as an added bonus, I'm giving you a Green Lantern tag team on the villain Captain Challenge from "Thoroughly Modern Mayhem!" in Green Lantern 61 (June 1968) written by Mike Friedrich and drawn by Gil Kane and Sid Greene (reprinted in Showcase Presents: Green Lantern, Vol. 4).

I also declare "Thoroughly Modern Mayhem!" to be the Gil-Kane-Punchingest story of all time!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I would recommend that you buy this book

If you're like me and you like things that are good, then I recommend that you buy this book:

Kevin Church and Benjamin Birdie's The Rack is a fun web comic about life in a comic book store, and even if you've been reading the series online, there are some nice extras that make the book worth owning. Included in those extras is a fantastic interview with the creators, done by me in my civilian identity. So if you're longing to know the secret identity of Dr. K, then the book will be worth the cost right there.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Wonder Woman in "The Angle Menace"

Here's another Super Sugar Crisp minicomic from 1980, this one featuring Wonder Woman in "The Angle Menace."

In this story, Angle Man steals an Egyptian stone tablet from a museum because that's the kind of thing that DC supervillains steal.

I have to say, "The Angler" is a pretty dumb name for Angle Man's weapon. Why not just "Angle Gun"? And what exactly does this weapon do? Sure, it opens up triangle-shaped portals and bends stuff, but it also shoots blasts that aren't particularly angular and circumvents alarm systems. I think it exceeds the purview of the gimmick.

I don't really get the sense that Angle Man has wholly committed to his gimmick. Or, at the very least, he tapped it out long ago, relying on more vaguely defined geometrically based crimes. In fact, he's a pretty lame villain overall, but that seems to be par for the course with Wonder Woman. Her rogues gallery begins with Cheetah and ends with Dr. Psycho. If you have to go three deep, you get Angle Man, and at that point, the barrel's bottom is scraped. Of course, the creators of these minicomics needed villains that could be handily defeated in about 30 panels, so the inclusion of Angle Man makes sense here.

Following the robbery, Wonder Woman is called in to investigate, and she takes one look at the stone tablet and quickly figures out Angle Man's plan.
That is kind of a show-offy way to exit.

Wonder Woman's invisible jet takes her to Egypt, where she catches Angle Man in the act of stealing a pyramid:

I see what Wonder Woman is trying to do there, using parallelism to equate Tuk-Hotep with Angle Man, but isn't it a bit of a stretch to call Angle Man "greatest of super-villains"? Maybe it's just PR. If she says it enough, maybe people will starting thinking he's a real threat.

Angle Man then fires some decidedly nonangular blasts at Wonder Woman, which she deflects with her Amazon bracelets while also explaining that she is deflecting the blasts with her Amazon bracelets.

We also get a sense here about how ridiculous Angle Man's plan is. He's stealing the pyramid to "loot it at [his] leisure." What? This seems simultaneously lazy and inefficient. And where is he going to keep this pyramid while he gets around to looting it for treasure? I can tell him from my own experience with projects that I would eventually get around to--it's just going to collect dust in his garage.

Clearly sensing that defeat is inevitable after his stupid angle gun is destroyed, Angle Man tries to make his escape by distracting Wonder Woman with a falling pyramid.
Once again, Wonder Woman helps the reader along by explaining exactly what she is doing in these panels.

Finally, Wonder Woman messes up Angle Man's ride, Kool-Aid Man style:

Wonder Woman misses an opportunity here to close the deal with a humorous and demeaning quip. I would have gone with, "That was 'a cute' attempt to escape, but now you're going to jail." Or, "You would have to be pretty obtuse if you thought you could get away with this." Or, "You thought you had the right angle, but it turned out to be all wrong!" Or, "Multiply one-half the base times the height, and the answer is some serious jail time!"

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Gil Kane Punch of the Week 6

The Silver Age Atom punches his Golden Age counterpart clear out of his comic, from The Atom 36 (image courtesy of The Grand Comics Database).

By the way, here are a couple of links to some Gil-Kane-punching-related sites:

First, while this gallery of punches appears on a blog that is in Spanish, it speaks the international language of punching.

Second, a nice analysis by Strange Ink of a great Gil Kane punch from Justice League of America 200.