I’ve been gleaning a lot of inspiration from legendary comic artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko lately. Here are the results. All, except the 2001 painting which is 12″x12″, are 8″x10″ on black canvas. Which is a bitch to paint orange and yellow on. Some are commissions, some are trades, some are gifts, all are for fun.
In 1979 the shit must have been seriously piling up, or there must have been a shortage in super hero toilet paper, because under license of Marvel Comics Group the company Oh Dawn! Inc. released one of the most bizarre comic related items ever. “The Amazing Spider-Man and Incredible Hulk toilet paper”. Yes. Toilet paper. Shit tickets. With spider-Man and the Hulk printed on it.
Their images weren’t just on the box mind you, but I’ll get to that in a minute. The box itself is a nice collectible piece, featuring some original art by what looks to be John Romita Sr., although it could be by an artist named Dave Hunt who was known at the time to draw a decent Spidey for other licensed Marvel stuff, including comics.
The sides, including the top and bottom all had full color illustrations on them. Some were original for the square format, others were just stock photostats that were used over and over again for different products.
And while the outside shows Hulk and Spider-Man going at it, the inside tells another story all together. Literally.
The back of the box reads as follows “presenting an all-new, action-packed confrontation between Marvel’s mightiest super-stars!” This might have had something to do with the fact that both the spider and the green guy were on TV at the time.
So yea. There’s an original story printed right on the tissue.
So without further ado, I present to you “The Gamma Gambit” written by Jim Salicrup and Michael Higgens. Art credit isn’t given, but it appears to be by an early Hulk artist, Marie Severin
So there you have it. Both Bruce Banner and Peter Parker attend a gamma powered/atomic generator exhibition at Empire State University. But they weren’t the only two in attendance, as the Leader and his Mechanoid robot break on to steal it. Am I the only one who thought having an experiment like this at a college was a bad idea? Anyhoo…when the Leader goes to gamma-blast an innocent victim (Peter) Bruce jumps in to take the brunt of the blast. And you know what happens next. All in all, this story, expanded, would have made a fine issue of Marvel Team-Up for sure.
I don’t think ill ever wipe my butt with it tho. ‘Nuff said.
I painted an 8″x10″ sign for my local comic shop, Beyond Comics. The owner Jon is partial to The Mighty Thor, and there is no other better source to choose from than Jack “King” Kirby. I pulled an image from online of a classic “Marvel Masterworks” pin-up page. I was lucky to find a pen and ink version as well
So here is the commission in 5 easy steps. Actually, painting on black canvas is harder than it appears
Step 1. Blocking in of the colors
Step 2. Adding another layer of color. The black canvas doesn’t want to let the paint saturate very well, and if you continue to brush color over “wet” color, you’ll wipe it right off. Having a hair dryer handy really helps
Step 3. Lining in some black. This is the fun part, using a brush to “ink” the line details. This is the way the old guys did it, so this is the way I (try) to do it
Step 4. Blocked in the lettering in white, because under painting will help make the red I planned on using for the lettering brighter. Also added a few more color layers for depth
Step 5. I noticed Thor’s left arm looked kinda f*d up, so I decided to paint over it and re-do it. And last added red with white highlights to the Beyond Comics logo. Also adding the white outline around the figure shows off the line work better. All in all, a lot if fun to do. Thanks for inspiring me Jack!
Sometime around 1980 the Mego Micronauts line moved to Italy, to be distributed and marketed through a company called GiG.
To read more about the Italian I Micronauti line, see Innerspace Online for all the details.
The Italian releases were identical to the American releases, having the benefit of old stock and the original molds to work from, so the line pretty much contained the same figures and vehicles all around.
The real stars of the I Micronauti line were the Magnos. 6″ figures with magnetic ball and socket joints. These figures came with “steeds” that they could combine with and make a centaur figure.
There were 7 mango figures released: Baron Karza, Force Commander with their respective steeds Andromeda and Oberon.
Emperor and Megas also started out as an American Lion Rock (Mego’s main distributor) limited release, but is much more common in the Italian market.
Now the exact origins of King Atlas and Lantaurion (from the planet Magma) and Green Baron and Pegasus (from the planet Floron) aren’t exactly knows as they have also seen a release in the US Interchangeables line as Lord Meto and Metallion
Another big player was Red Falcon, a repurposed Microman magnemo called Death Cross. Dubbed “the winged prince of all the Micronauts” he was probably the most elaborate and expensive releases if the Italian line.
And lastly one of the stranger items produced carrying the Micronauts brand was “Micronite“, a blatant rip off of another older American toy: silly putty. These small paper ads were purchased from an eBay auction, came straight from Italy and are probably more rare than the actual figures themselves!
Last summer my friend Dave and I went to downtown Baltimore to visit a little place called Geppi’s Entertainment Museum.
The Museum was opened in 2006 by Steve Geppi, who also started/owns Diamond Distributers (one of the largest distribution companies in the US) and contains pretty much his personal collection of comic, movie, TV and Baltimore history memorabilia.
The museum itself is approx. 16,000 square feet and is located at Camden Station at Camden Yards. Steve is also part owner of the Orioles…but before all this he was a simple comic book store owner who had dreams of bigger and better things. I used to buy back issues at his basement location (Geppi’s Comic World) on Edmonson Ave. in Baltimore when I was in grade school.
The frikkin’ place is huge and is full of so much vintage pop culture memorabilia it’s enough to make any fan boys head explode. Original 1 sheet movie posters, first edition/issues of comic books, bizarre Disney collectibles among a ton of other insanities. What follows is just a sample of the stuff inside, so I should just let the pictures do the talking…
My main objective was to see a lot of vintage Marvel Comics stuff, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed
Once again, this is just a smattering of what’s inside. There is so much cool stuff in there eBay would probably crash if this stuff ever went up for auction.
And don’t forget to shake Superman’s hand before you leave
So if find yourself at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and you need something to do, go visit Geppi’s Entertainment Museum and kill an hour or two. And if you’d like to get me something, I’ll take that Action Comics #1 if you don’t mind
So I was reading through some old back issues of The Incredible Hulk, as I am often want to do, when I noticed something very interesting; an illustration of Darth Vader with a hood. Wearing a hood to be more exact, something which as far as I know was never done before (for obvious reasons.)
The ad screamed “Darth Vader Lives!” which was impossible because I had seen him die like 10 times already in the movie! I mean, it looked like he died, I mean…I think he’s alive??… which is what my 10 yr old self kept wondering over and over.
What I was actually looking at was a ad for the newly emerging Star Wars merchandise (including a knock-off light saber) being sold through “Heroes World”, mail order toy store from New Jersey. But what impressed me most was the artwork: I knew it right away the minute I saw it. It was the work of the Joe Kubert School of Art.
Now known as simply the Kubert School, it was founded in 1976 by legendary comic artist and creator Joe Kubert. It stand still to this day as the only accredited school devoted entirely to cartooning. Sequential storytelling, illustration and design…basically teaching students how to successfully make comic books. As a 60 year veteran in the comics industry, Joe Kubert was best known for his work on Tarzan, Sgt. Rock and Hawkman for DC comics. His two sons, Adam and Andy are both well known comic professionals as well.
The first ad appeared in the May 1978 issues of Marvel comics (note the name “Hans” Solo…kinda like that better) The comic books usually have a few months lead-in time, so the actual issue probably went to press a few months earlier, say March or February. Which places them right after Christmas of 1977, the summer Star Wars hit theaters.
Now it’s a well-known fact that Kenner slept on the merchandise for Star Wars at the time, which meant the toys weren’t even available to buy for that upcoming Christmas season. But other manufacturers were ready, and Heroes World was ready to take advantage of it.
Later ads focused on the more popular and consistently top selling Mego Corp.’s WGSH line as well as other interesting Marvel licensed (crap) toys. The Heroes World catalogs themselves became quite collectible, and all had lush illustrations provided by the way cool Kubert School of Graphic Art and Design. The kind of school I really wanted to go to as a 10-year-old…
Now what made these ads stand out against the others is that they were entirely hand drawn. It wasn’t full of the usual cut and paste stock clip art that was normally used, it had breath and life because it was done with pen and ink. Now while I fully appreciate what digital can do, there really is nothing like holding an actual piece of art in your hands, that was done by hand.
Now the 46 year old me is wishing he could still by some of these toys at these 1978 prices…because to buy most of these back now would cost quite a bit more.
Even Gene Simmons was getting in on the act. Gotta respect a guy who likes comics and has a 25″ tongue.
These conversations usually start out something like this: “Who can kick Wolverive’s ass?” Then it quickly turns into “no, Wolverine can’t be killed” which segues into “he’s died before” to “who has handed him his ass the most” etc etc…so after discussing this subject ad nauseam, my son David and I decided to compile the top 5 ass kickings dealt to poor ol James Howlett aka Logan aka The Wolverine.
It all pretty much started when we were discussing the new X-Men movie, “X-Men: Days Of Future Past”.
My son told me that (in the movie version) it’s Wolverine who goes into the past, not Kitty Pride, who is the central character in this classic story line by Chris Claremont and John Byrne back in 1981, X-Men #141/142. This bugs me.
Since when did Wolverine all of a sudden become the face and focal point of the X-franchise?? Don’t get me wrong, I love what Bryan Singer and his screen writers had done previously in the first 2 X-movies, but seriously?? We’re looking at another X-Men The Last Stand if you ask me…but I digress. The bone of contention here is simply this: is Wolverine the toughest Marvel super hero ever or is he just a big ol pussy? Let’s look at the facts: First of all, if we judge this strictly on movie continuity, Wolvie is a coward who only fights women. Beautiful women at that.
Dave: All of his big fights in the 3 movies he gets his butt handed to him by a girl, and one held her own against him while she was naked. I rest my case.
David: I got nothing smart to say here, just hot.
But true comic fans know only the comic continuity counts in important discussions such as this, so we began bringing up decent examples of how he’s been horribly wounded yet was still able to come back. I pointed out a scene in New X-Men (by Morrison/Quietly) where Wolvie was burned by a Sentinel and Scott “Slim” Summers aka Cyclops ( THE REAL LEADER OF THE X-MEN) tells him to “stop smoking”.
Then David brought up a scene in Astonishing X-Men (by Whedon/Cassiday) where he and a young female mutant (imagine that…) named Armor fall from outer space and have quite a landing. Wolverine states in about 20 min, when he grows back something resembling his nose, that they’ll move on.
Now these are good examples of the punishment this character can take, but before moving forward, let’s have a look at his first appearance and see how well this tough guy fared against a guy named The Hulk. Hulk vol.1 #181 by Len Wein, Herb Trimpe and Jack Abel, 1974
David: And here we have the greatest mutant ever! a 5 foot tall hairy badger in yellow spandex. Awesome.
Dave: one swift “BWOK” to his adamantium skull and he’s out like a light. Oh wait, this was before he had that metal skeleton…
A very humble beginning for the baddest ass in comicdom huh? Well, it took a few more years to toughen this guy up, so without further ado we present to you: “Wolverine is a pussy- his top 5 EPIC FAILS.
#5- Incredible Hulk vol.3 #12 by Jason Aaron, Carlos Pacheco and Roger Bonet, 2012
Dave: Ok now, this got me excited. Because the Hulk’s two biggest protagonists are the Thing and the Wolverine. And this is literally the first time in 50 years a writer had thought to do this. “When you have a Hulk problem…”
David: And then instantly regret not getting one of the other superheroes. Or more.
Dave: Ouch. That’s gonna leave a mark.
David: Nothing says FAIL like having your own weapon used against you. Nothing says EPIC FAIL like when said weapon is attached to your own body. Smooth Logan, smooth.
#4- Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk vol.1 #1 by Damon Lindleof and Leinil Francis Yu, 2006
David: So many one liners here; “Take a break.” “Split.” Uh, so I got two. So there’s not so many. Regardless that unbreakable skeleton ain’t worth much against the jolly green giant.
Dave: If this had happened in Hulk #181 he would have had a “short” career. Get it? It’s cuz he’s short.
David: Bet it sounded like wet Velcro
Dave: If I was Wolverine I’d be wondering where the fuck my dick was.
#3- Giant Sized Wolverine vol.1 #1 by Mark Millar, Steve McNiven, Dexter Vines and Mark Morales, 2009
Dave: Without giving a spoiler, this looks like it would be really hard to come back from.
David: Starting to notice a trend here. Curious, did he taste like beer and poutine. I bet he did.
Dave: wtf is poutine??
(Editors note: this is poutine)
Dave: Whoops. Spoiler:
David: And just like the combo of poutine and beer, it comes back out with a vengeance.
David: Look, he finally killed the Hulk. It only took how many tries? Thank god that near immortality was there, helping failures succeed through attrition.
#2- X-Men vol.2 #25 by Fabian Nicieza, Andy Kubert and Matt Ryan, 1993
Dave: What a terrible cover. Too much lettering and look at that ridiculous holographic card.
David: Holographic Cards, so god damned 90s it hurts! Seriously, my eyes hurt!
Dave: And how about the back side of the wrap around cover? “None of our awkward superhero posing can save him!”
David: Don’t look too concerned guys. Just one of your oldest friends and teammates getting brutally murdered in front of you.
Dave: For the first time ever, a writer uses his brain and writes a story that makes sense. Use magnetism to pull out the metal. Duh. This should have happened in X-Men Last Stand.
David: Magneto is taking his new spa work seriously. “I will open your pores!”
And without further ado:
#1- Uncanny X-Men vol.1 #142 by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin, 1981
Dave: And here we have possibly one of the most famous story lines ever next to The Dark Phoenix saga; “Mind Out Of Time”, part 2 of the “Days Of Future Past” storyline. This is from the second part of the story, and spoiler alert, the cover blurb says it all:
David: ‘Even though the method of blindly jumping at the giant killer robot has worked in the past, Logan please take into consideration the robots ability to turn around and fire its giant death laser.’
Dave: Yea, it’s kinda hard to come back from that.
We must note that this is the first time since his creation, we see exactly what his adamantium skeleton looks like. Up until then, it had only been mentioned. It wasn’t until X-Men #98 (1976) that we found out those metal claws came out of his arms and weren’t just a part of his gloves.
And while were on the subject of the mythos of Wolverine, remember this poignant moment from the first movie where Rouge asks Logan if it hurts every time they come out?
It was actually Jubilee who asked him that in Wolverine #25 and we also find out for the first time that those claws were always there, and were bone underneath those blades the entire time. 19 years later.
Well there you have it. Is The Wolverine the toughest super hero ever or just one lucky Canuck?? And just so you know Mr. Jackman, you’re only 45, enjoy your physique while it lasts. Wait until you hit 46, it’s all downhill from there. You’re gonna end up looking just like me.
Ps: if you think this is nerdy, hit comicbookmovie.com and watch the video for a great continuity check for the movies. We’ve been asking ourselves these same questions for years now…
See the video by Scott Collura here
What a p*$$¥