Monday, February 28, 2011

Giantess Covers

The image of Allison Hayes straddling an expressway on the Attack of the 50 Foot Woman poster may be the most iconic of all Giantess images, but there are plenty of comic book covers to throw into the mix.

Seven years before the Attack of the 50 Foot Woman came the cover to Love Diary #16 (May, 1951) published by Our Town Publishing. Talk about a redundant question: Isn't it quite obvious what is wrong with Gloria? She appears to be about 35 feet tall. There are a few example of photo covers playing around with perspective or photostats to create this sort of effect. I've heard about having a man in the palm of your hand, but this is ridiculous. Is there a rim shot smilie?

Here's one that I only recently discovered. I love digest comics, but there's nothing small scale about the ladies on the Best of DC #57 (February, 1985). Pat Broderick's cover is a pretty liberal interpretation of the "Revolt of the Girls Legionnaires" story from Adventure Comics #326, but it certainly is effective. There's something pretty ironic about Shrinking Violet towering over the boy Legionnaires. Fun stuff, and it's a wraparound if I recall correctly.

Back to romance with Love Journal #16 (November, 1952), also from Our Town Publishing. Do you recognize the artwork? If you can make out the signature on the pic I've provided, you'll see that it's none other than Big John Buscema. He drew plenty of romance books during his career and certainly drew a number of giants during his Thor days, but who knew that he combined those elements back in '52? This is a great one. Also, I'd like to read the investigation into the dangers of 'petting'.

Rita Farr (aka. Elasti-Girl) of the Doom Patrol is probably the most famous giantess in all of comicdom. While she appeared at full height on many 1960s covers, my favourite Easti-Girl cover is Barry Kitson's cover to JLA: Year One #5 (May, 1998). Wow! Was that really 13 years ago? On this cover, Rita and the original DP make a triumphant return and Kitson's use of perspective really makes the image leap off the page. Good stuff.

Let's leave off with a fantastic cover by romance master Matt Baker. Diary Secrets #30 (September, 1955), was the final issue of this St. John title. As far as I can tell, this issue consisted entirely of reprints, but the cover had never been used. Was it newly commissioned, or just something from inventory? Either way, it's a tremendous image, with four men vying of the attention of the radiant blonde. Did that rather striking flower come from another world and cause her growth? Who knows?

Married With Clickers: Episode 8 - Rebecca

This week, we tackle Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca – the 1940 Best Picture winner. Kat is a big fan of Daphne Du Maurier’s original novel. Scott is a big fan of Kat. So, will we agree on this film? Will Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine sweep us off our feet or push us off a cliff? This film has some great performances, an intense atmosphere and the least friendly housekeeper in film history. We also share our thoughts on Morning Glory, The Long Goodbye and a Film Noir lecture series at the Revue Theatre here in Toronto. Let us know what you think: send us an email at marriedwithclickers (at) or leave us a voicemail at 206-338-0793

Friday, February 25, 2011

Trade Marks: Human Target (2010)

Let me begin by saying that, while I really love original Human Target stories from the 1970s appearances and quite enjoyed Peter Milligan's re-interpretation of the character, I have not seen a single episode of the new TV series. As I understand, this miniseries is some sort of tie-in to the TV show. In this tale, Christopher Chance is sent off on an worldwide odyssey in an attempt to collect evidence that will clear the conscience of a mafia head. In this sense, it has more of a James Bond vibe to it, filled with exotic locales and a horde of henchmen in hot pursuit. It sounds like a good formula, doesn't it? The problem is, the execution is extremely sloppy. First of all, the big twist is apparent in the first issue. Second, the action sequences suffer from 'Wash, Rinse, Repeat' syndrome. Just how many times did Chance lose his gun in the middle of a fight? My next problem is the lack of characterization, as the supporting cast is not fleshed at all and probably should have been left on the sidelines.

My final complaint is a bit of a nitpick, but I truly feel that it is very good example of the laziness of many of today's artists and editors. Back in the Golden and Silver Ages, artists kept swipe files and stacks of books to be used for photo references. In today's world of Google Images, artists should be able to accurately replicate any place, activity, costume, custom, animal etc... One sequence showed a shocking lack of research. Chance is skiing down a mountain in the Swiss Alps. There are mobsters on skis in hot pursuits (shades of every other Bond movie, as well as The Lazarus Affair). Anyone who has every skied or watched the sport on TV knows that there is a huge difference between alpine skiing and the sport of ski jumping. The poses struck by Chance and his pursuers makes it look as though they have traded in their downhill skis for some Nordic jumping skis. I'm 99.9% sure that Bruno Redondo simply looked up 'ski jump' in Google Images. That's lazy and the editor should have caught. That kind of thing really bugs me as it takes you right out of the story. This one should be avoided and I am not at all surprised that I found it for $6 just a couple of months after publication. Trade Mark: D+

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Add It To My Want List: Marvel Comics Super Special #6

I've got a handful of these magazine sized books, and many of them are quite solid - often helped by the higher quality paper. I actually think that Jaws 2 is a fun film that cannot helped but be overshadowed by its predecessor. I'm not entirely sure how well a giant shark story would work in the four color world (does one listen to John Williams while reading it?), but what really intrigues me is the art team. I had no idea that Gene Colan and Tom Palmer worked on this book. That's what I love about comic books, there's always an interesting surprise just around the corner. Also, the Bob Larkin cover is quite fun.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Steve Ditko Cover of the Week: Beware the Creeper #2

I'm not sure that anyone has done more effective 'menacing faces' covers than Ditko. This design concept is evidence of the enormous impact Mort Meskin had on Ditko. This is one of his earlier covers after his move to DC, and he really fit right in with the changes happening over there in the late 60s. It is a very moody piece, announcing to readers that the Creeper is a very different type of hero. I am really disappointed that Ditko broke away from DC after such a short period of time. Under Jack Alder's guidance, the DC production department had become fertile ground for innovative covers. I truly think that Ditko would have produced his best covers ever if he'd been around from 1969 through to 1972 or so. It's too bad.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Single Issue Hall of Fame: Marvel Super-Heroes #16

I've always like Herb Trimpe as an artist, as he does solid work and is a very strong storyteller. I still think his best work was his first full length story – the Phantom Eagle from Marvel Super-Heroes #16. How many artists hit the ball completely out of the park on their first at-bat in the big leagues? This is a fun title to collect, as it features a rotation of headliners and creators long before Marvel got into any true anthology titles. The character The Phantom Eagle is unlike anyone else at Marvel during the 60s, but he did join the long list of character names swiped from Golden Age publishers. A First World War flying ace, he was probably Marvel's answer to the Balloon Buster, but Gary Friedrich and Herb Trimpe manage to come up with a very original character; no easy feat in 1968. This is a superb book, and it's still a relative bargain as far as Marvel Silver Age books go. Oh, I almost forgot. You also get some great reprints, including mid-50s Captain America, Black Knight and Sub-Mariner stories and a real rarity in the form of a 6-pager from 1942 starring The Patriot.

Married With Clickers: Episode 7 - Escape From The Planet of the Apes

Hey folks, if your significant other complains that you failed to deliver on Valentine's Day, just tell them about me. Instead of roses, chocolate and a romantic dinner - I shoved a microphone in front of my wife and made her talk about Escape From the Planet of the Apes. In all honesty, we had a lot of fun and champage was enjoyed throughout the recording (we'll blame any lack of intelligence on that). This film gives a lot to the viewer: everything from a discussion on infinite regression to a chimpanzee in a bubble bath. It's not every day that Victor Newman and Khan Noonien Singh (a.k.a. "KHAAANNNN!!!") appear in the same film. What did we make of all of of this monkeying around in early 70s Los Angeles? Does the nostalgia hold up for Scott? Will Kat Geek Out or Freak Out? Tune in to find out. You'll also hear our quick thought on The American, Adam and Sukiyaki Western Django. Click the link below to go to our new Libsyn podcast page:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Gil Kane Cover of the Month: X-Men #33

Most people are probably quite familiar with Gil Kane's work as a cover artist for Marvel during the 1970s. Kane also contributed quite a few covers to Marvel during the late 60s in titles ranging from Tales of Suspense to Sgt. Fury. While many of these are quite solid, I really think they pale in comparison to his DC work on Green Lantern, The Atom and the various Science Fiction titles. Something just didn't add up at Marvel, and I think much of it has to do with the production department. Take this cover to X-Men #33. I think it is certainly one of Kane's strongest covers for Marvel during this period, but it still manages to fall short of greatness. I like the lay out, and the smaller mutants juxtaposed against the giant Juggernaut. The colour choices, however, really diminish the cover's potential impact as everything seems muddy. If this were an Atom cover, the images would pop right out at you. Anyone else see a real distinction between his DC and Marvel covers during the 60s?

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Reading Pile: October, 1989 Pt. 2

Ugh! Looking back (thanks to Kang's Time Platform at Mike's Amazing World of Marvel Comics), I see that while Marvel was cranking out a ton of titles back then, very few of worthy of note. That's likely why my pickings were slim and I steered clear of most Marvel from this point onwards.

I was getting pretty solidly hooked on the Silver Surfer at this stage. I had always liked the character and, while I wasn't truly on board at the time this volume launched, I was a dedicated really for 80 consecutive issues or so. For anyone who has complained that the late 60s series consisted of too much navel gazing, they will be pleasantly surprised by the inter stellar adventures here. While the series was good at this stage, it wasn't until Thanos' return (in just two issues' time) that things really started cooking!

I loved the Avengers as a kid, and stuck with them for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. If memory serves, Avengers West Coast (I always preferred it as WCA) was actually quite a bit better than the main title during this era. I think John Byrne was doing really good work at this stage, and I really liked the return of the original Human Torch a couple of issues earlier. This was a weaker issue as I was not such a huge fan of the whole Acts of Vengeance thing.

Avengers #311 is another Acts of Vengeance tie-in. Overall, it's pretty uninspired but you've got a pretty good roster at this point. I always enjoyed the interplay between She-Hulk and Starfox, but they did not even appear in this one. This is a pretty forgettable issue and is surprisingly uninspired considering the fact that it involves an attack by a horde of robots. I would stick with this title on and off for a few more years, but it was more out of a sense of duty than anything else. What did I miss that month? Not much.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Reading Pile: October, 1989 Pt.1

At this point, I am in my penultimate year of high school and a knee injury has taken me out of the second half of the football season. I had a lot more time on my hands and was really getting back into comics after taking quite a few years off. Here's a look at some of the DC Comics I picked up that month.

I had read the Longbow Hunters, but wasn't really 100% into the ongoing series just yet. With Green Arrow #26, I became truly hooked and didn't leave the series until it ended with #139 (I didn't even mind Connor Hawke). Oliver Queen quickly became one of my favourite characters of all-time. I'd always liked him with Green Lantern and as a JLA member, but he always seemed a bit one-dimensional. This was a strange one, but it managed to really open my eyes.

Detective Comics #609 was a good one for me. I was really digging the two main Bat books during this period but, to be perfectly honest, I didn't love the Mud Pack story arc. I was quite intrigued by the Anarky character in this initial story, as he seemed quite unique. I was also just head over heels for Norm Breyfogle's artwork. Everyone I knew was talking Todd MacFarlane all the time back then, but I would sing Breyfogle's praises. Those praises fell on deaf ears.

I scooped up Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn #1 when I saw it on the shelves. Was I a sucker for #1 issues at this point? Maybe a little, but I remember really getting into this miniseries. Green Lantern was always second-tier for me as a kid, but I found Hal to be much more interesting here. I'd like to revisit it, and I'm sure I've got most if not all of the floppies somewhere. I never did read the second Emerald Dawn. I heard that I didn't miss much.

What did I miss that month? Well, I wasn't reading cool stuff like Animal Man, Doom Patrol or The Question and I also missed the launch of Legends of the Dark Knight. Next Time: my Marvel books.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Highlighting House Ads: Brawny Stan for Pizzazz

Full disclosure here: I've never read an issue of Pizzazz. If fact, I have no recollection of ever seeing copy of it for sale back in the day. I had, however, seen plenty of ads relating to this magazine. I'm can't think of any book that was pimped as much as Pizzazz in the late 70s. What I really love about ads featuring Neel Nats is how buff and manly he's made to appear. As we all know, he was always a pretty slim guy, but I can picture him telling artists 'add more muscle'. This one is ridiculous, as Stan looks like a lumberjack with giant hands. Typically, I'm fine with made up words, but Pizzastic is beyond terrible. Also, who is standing on Iron Man's foot? No one looks close. Is 'sounds great' supposed to be funny because DD is blind? Who knows? It is all just late 70s Marvel nuttiness. Don't you miss it?

Monday, February 07, 2011

Married With Clickers: Episode 6 - Rushmore

This week, we enter Max Fisher's fantastic world of Rushmore. Does it still make us giggle the way it did last millenium? We also share our quick thoughts on Memento, The Office and the new season of American Idol. Please note: We are moving over to Libsyn. We have a site set up there: and a feed over there, but that one isn't up on iTunes just yet. This will be our final show on Podomatic, although we will post an announcement in the feed when everything is finalized. Please send in your comments to marriedwithclickers (at) or give us a shout at 206-338-0793 or from the UK at 001-206-338-0793.

Exit Stage Left: Silver Surfer #18

Silver Surfer #18 proves that while you can go home again, it may be too late to do much good. The Silver Surfer series was Marvel’s most ambitious project of the late 60s. It was a larger book targeted at a more mature audience. Stan Lee and John Buscema were trying to do something different and while it seemed quite novel at first, the leaden dialogue and ‘villain of the month’ story lines quickly sapped much of the energy out of the series. In an attempt to bring back some of the old magic, Jack Kirby was parachuted in for a showdown between two of his finest contributions to the Marvel Universe – the Surfer and the Inhumans. It’s a decent issue, but nothing truly groundbreaking. I’m not sure what the overall game plan was at Marvel with regard to this series as while a “Next Issue” was announced, so was Kirby’s departure.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Reprint This! War is Hell

Now this would make for an interesting collection! The first half dozen issue of this series consisted of Atlas-era reprints from titles such as Battle Action, Battle and Battleground (hmmm, do I detect a theme?). This is a great opportunity to get familiar with some of the lesser known members of the Atlas bullpen such as Vic Carrabotta and George Woodbridge along with some true legends like Al Williamson and Jay Scott Pike. For some reason, the series featured a couple of random Sgt. Fury reprint issues before entering a phase consisting of some interesting new material. The protagonist, John Kowalski, is something along the lines of a WW2 era Deadman. His spirit moves from body to body, dying over and over again. I've only read one issue, but it was quite good. Many of the stories were written by Chris Claremont and artists include Val Mayerik and Herb Trimpe. They've reprinted just about everything from this era, so why not throw me a bone with this one?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Hidden Gems: Man Bat #1 (1984)

Here's one that I didn't know even existed until a few weeks ago. I was flipping through a bargain bin when I saw this familiar image from Detective Comics #402. I thought to myself: What? 3 Chilling Conflicts? All in one place? Robbins? Adams? All for a dollar? Count me in! I am not sure why DC decided that 1984 was the perfect time for a Man-Bat reprint book. Was there some sort of animation project on the horizon? Were they just trying to milk those Adams pencils for all they were worth? In any event, I am glad they did, because it is nice to have these stories in an affordable format on nice, high quality paper. I know that they have appeared elsewhere, but for those looking to avoid shelling out the big bucks on an Adams hardcover book, this might be the solution for you. I kind of wish they'd included the Robbins drawn stuff, but I understand the polarizing effect he has on people, and we at least got a Robbins pin-up in this ish. Great, cheap stuff!