A Public Service Announcement

Here at the ISB, I’ve gotten a fair amount of attention from folks based around the way I like to poke a little fun at the stranger corners of the Silver Age, a task that I can assure you has taken literally twos of man-hours from my dedicated research staff over the years.

But now, I’ve reached the point where I feel that it’s time to start passing my knowledge down, so tonight, I’m going to give one back to the kids. So for anyone out there looking for an easy way to start cutting your teeth on making fun of old comics, here’s a Protip:

There is a story in Showcase Presents Superman v.4 where Superman falls under the maddening, irresistable thrall of his two greatest villains:





You’re welcome.

Chris vs. Previews: August 2008, Round Two

Just in case any of you have ever doubted my commitment to the ISB, I’d like to point out that while the first Herbie Archive came out today, I am not currently reading it. Instead, I am spending my evening guiding you through the part of the Previews catalog that includes things like this:



Never doubt that I love you all.

Of course, Ken Lowery claims that my love comes from a passive-aggressive sense of guilt and entitlement, but what the hell does he know? All that matters right now is that we’ve got this month’s Indy Press and Merchandise sections to get through!





P. 201 – Archie Americana Series v.9: Best of the ’90s: “So this’ll be, what, twelve pages long?”

This joke sent in by young Dorian Wright of Ventura, CA! Thanks, Dorian!


P. 203 – Pals-n-Gals Double Digest #126: Okay, look: The “Realistic Style”–which, when you get right down to it, is no more realistic than the DeCarlo/Scarpelli style, it just has more lines–for the Archie books has got to stop. When it was just the Betty & Veronica story, it was fine; if nothing else, it at least broke up the monotony a little bit, but the charm started to wear off once we got into the saga of Jughead and the unfortunately named Sandy Sanchez.

Now, though, there’s an even bigger problem as they shift it over to a story about Moose and Midge, because when you try to translate the goofy, dumb expressions that come across so easily in the classic style, you end up with something like this:



And really, I’m trying to be delicate here, but I’m pretty sure the image we’ve got is not the one they intended.


P. 233 – The Corps #0: This might just be really funny to me and Chad, but does anybody else think it’s hilarious that when Devil’s Due lost the license to GI Joe, they picked up the rights to the other 3.75″ military figure knockoffs that you can find warming pegs at your local Wal-Mart?

Seriously, that takes enough pure moxie that I want to read this thing just to see if the Corps is going to be duking it out with Serpent Sergeant and his weapons suppliers, Wreckto and the Duchess!


P. 264 – Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files: Storm Front #1: Unlike the second Anita Blake series, which I’m facing down with the resolve of a man who knows he’s got a dirty job that somebody’s gotta do, I’m actually–and bear with me because this is a new and unfamiliar feeling–looking forward to this one, having throughly enjoyed both the first Dresden comic and the novel on which the new one’s based quite a bit.

One thing I’m curious about, though: Butcher’s listed as the sole writer of “Welcome to the Jungle”–which was another reason I was surprised at how well that series was paced–but with this issue, he’s got a cowriter in Mark Powers, who may or may not be the same guy who wrote “World War III” in GI Joe: America’s Elite. I think it’s safe to assume that Powers is probably handling the adaptation, but I wonder how involved Butcher’s going to be on this one. If only there was someone at Dabel Brothers who could answer my questions!


P. 275 – DMP’s Monthly Yaoiganza: And while we’re on the subject of things that are funny only to me, I caught this one when I was flipping through the Yaoi solicitations the other day…



…and then could not stop reading the title to the tune of Snoop Dogg’s Sexual Eruption, which made it even more hilarious than it already is.


P. 315 – Labor Days v.1: This is descibed in the solicitation as being for people who like The Big Lebowski, with art by a storyboard artist on The Venture Brothers.

Oh, Oni Press. You do know how to sell me comics.


P. 342 – Street Fighter II Turbo #1: Considering that they’re based almost entirely around people kicking each other in the face and shooting fireballs made of pure willpower out of their hands, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anybody that I actually do enjoy Ken Siu-Chong’s Street Fighter comics, and I’ll confess that I’m pretty excited about the fact that Udon has decided to take a cue from the game and title their third SF series Street Fighter II Turbo. I can only hope this means that we’ll eventually get stuff like Street Fighter v.7: Street Fighter II EX Plus Alpha, followed by Street Fighter v.8: Street Fighter 3.




P. 388 – Bat-Manga!: Holy shit, you guys!



If October rolls around and they find me with my head blown off, dead of sheer lunatic awesome, this would be why.




P. 486 – Rachelle Fine Art Bust: Okay, it’s nice and all, but…



…it doesn’t really look a whole lot like Rachelle, does it?

SPECIAL BONUS HILARITY FROM THE SOLICITATION: “While many of the Yamashita creations are tagged with the “CUTE & EROTIC” phrase, but RACHELLE is best described as “SIMPLE & INNOCENT.”



And on that bit of Comics Blogger Internet in-jokery, I think it’s time to call it a night. As always, feel free to discuss anything that caught your eye in the comments section below.

If you can stop discussing the debut of Se├▒or Frowny Pumpkin, that is. Dude’s gonna break this Internet in half.

Birthday Presents!



Matthew Allen Smith, who you might remember from his pin-up in the Hard Ones ashcan, brings the pain and becomes my #1 Birthday Hero 4-Ever.

Bully writes a poem that includes a reference to Megaforce.

Kevin brings me the gift of emotional content. Also, a Hickory Farms gift basket of meats and cheeses.

Andrew taps into my most secret–or to be honest, not secret at all–desires.

Dave Lartigue flexes his artistic muscles for a picture you have to see to believe!

Mike Sterling, as usual, makes it all about Swamp Thing.

Mark Hale has a blog? Really?

Dorian talks about subtext, but I’m sure I don’t know what he means.

Jeff Stolarcyk made me a card!

Thanks, guys! And thanks to everyone who came by to wish me well today, too!


For the overly curious among you, more shots from this year’s Twenty-Sixthennial can be found here.

In Memoriam: Dave’s Long Box



And thus, the Comics Blogger Internet just got a little bit worse: David Campbell has called it quits and brought the incomparable Dave’s Long Box to a close.

Despite our rivalry–and the fact that this totally means that I won–I can assure you that I’m broken up about this. Dave’s a phenomenal writer and a constant inspiration, and while I know that he’s not quitting entirely (I mean, he’s still got his daily blog for his corporate paymasters at ABC, and I’m sure he’ll have another project before long), the thought that he’s not out there reading an issue of Avengers Unplugged or mapping out an Alpha Flight adventure is a sad thing indeed.

Thus, in a show of solidarity, I’m taking a Campbellesque few days off to celebrate my victory mourn the loss of Dave and his yearly updates.

Like so:



The images above are from J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck’s Kraven’s Last Hunt. And did I mention this means I won? Because it does.

Edited with new art hotness from Moises Tavera. Thanks!

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sandy Sanchez?

Those of you who don’t religiously follow comics set in Riverdale might be interested to learn that last week’s issue of Jughead’s Double Digest kicked off a “New Look” story where Jughead’s pals attempt to set him up with a girl so that he won’t feel left out on date night.

But there’s a very slight problem.

See, just like the previous New Look story–Betty & Veronica‘s Bad Boy Trouble–“The Matchmakers” introduces a new character as the catalyst for the story, but while the girls got juvenile delinquent Nick St. Clair, Jughead finds himself romantically entangled with Sandy Sanchez.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m all about Archie’s continuing attempts at diversifying Riverdale and she really does seem like a nice girl, and it’s entirely possible that ten years on the internet have given me a filthy, filthy mind, but Sandy Sanchez? Really? Nobody at Archie could think of any reason why that would be a bad idea?

Then again, since the target audience for the Archie books is–at least in theory–still unspoiled by this truly awful world in which we live, this might just be a case of the creators not even bothering to worry about this stuff, and if that’s the case, it opens up a whole new world of storytelling opportunities.

Thus, with a story based around Archie trying to give Jug the ol’ Sandy Sanchez out of the way, I turned to some friends of mine to find out what other stories we can expect from the Riverdale Crew in the future:


“Archie and the gang slug it out on the baseball field in a novel-length saga we had to call: THE UPPER-DECKERS.”
Mark Hale

“Jughead tries to restore a musical instrument he found at the Riverdale dump in a story we just had to call: THE RUSTY TROMBONE.”
Dr. K

“Archie has been getting saucy letters from Betty or Veronica, but which one? Read on to find out in, THE SNAIL TRAIL!”
Ken Lowery

“Archie and Jughead learn what life is like for little people in Riverdale in: THE GRUMPY MUNCHKIN.”
Mark Hale

“Moose is blocking the printer! Archie’s desperately trying to turn in a paper! Will he be able to makes Mrs Grundy Happy when there’s NO REACHAROUND?”
Kevin Church

“Experiments with electricity give the girls quite a buzz when Dilton shows them THE SHOCKER!”
Mark Hale

And my own:

“It’s the field hockey championship, but will a rivalry in sports tear a friendship apart? Find out when Betty & Veronica are: TWO GIRLS, ONE CUP!”


Thanks, guys. And to the rest of you, I am truly sorry.

Friday Night Friendship: Hug It Out, Ninjas

After twelve rounds of prize-fights, Bahlactus has rung the bell on another set of Friday Night Fights, and until the next round resumes on the 18th, it’s time to put aside face-kicks and sucker-punches and reflect on the softer side of things.

So instead of highlighting the anger of conflict, we here at the ISB are going to spend the next two weeks making amends with Friday Night Friendship!





Doesn’t it just get you right here?


Team Arashikage reunites in the pages of GI Joe: America’s Elite #34, but you can re-enact it yourself in the comfort of your own home–with battle damage!