Tuesday, June 27, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 27: There Is No Hope at Haley's Circus

No month-long flashback to the death of Martha East (and husband Doctor Tom) is complete without pointing out that while Bruce Wayne lost both his parents
Bruce Wayne: I have lost both my parents.
Alfred Pennyworth: To lose one parent, Mr. Wayne, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.
on June 26 exactly (ahem, clearing throat, obscuring number) years ago, the very next day is the anniversary of the death of John and Martha Mary Grayson, popular swinging couple. Remember: all those years ago, bruce Wayne cheered himself up from June 26 by going to the circus on June 27.


Panels from Nightwing (1995 limited series) #1 (September 1995), script by Dennis O'Neil, pencils by Greg Land, inks by Mike Sellers, colors by Cathi Bertrand, letters by John Costanza

Here's some flashbacks to previous celebrations commemorations of the death of Robin I's parents here, in 2013, 2014, and 2016. Dunno what happened in 2015. Must've had a short case of Robin-blindness.

Anyway, this year's Mr. & Mrs. Robinparents' death is represented by the oboe, as well as their glossy uniforms and substantial blood effects from the never-finished All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder. This one's for you, Mike Sterling!



Panels from All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #1 (September 2005), script by Frank Miller, pencils by Jim Lee, inks by Scott Williams, colors by Alex Sinclair, letters by Jared K. Fletcher

Ah they're no fun, they fell right over.

Stay tuned next year for even more depictions of the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne, because if there's anything that comics love, it's reminding you of Batman's origin! na na na na na na na na na...CRIME ALLEY!

365 Days of Defiance, Day 170: Tempus Fugitive

Tempus! He's a guy made out of clock ice or crystalized time or somethin' and while he's certainly not one of the Fantastic Four's most famous foes, he gave 'em a good fight back in the funkadelic seventies. And it's all due to Willie Lumpkin having a gambling problem, which I'm not gonna explain. There's no...ah ha ha ha ha...time.


Panels from "Cataclysm!" in Giant-Size Fantastic Four #2 (August 1974), script by Gerry Conway, layouts by John Buscema, finishes by Chic Stone, colors by Stan Goldberg, letters by Joe Rosen

Mind you, this is an adventure that took place in Marvel's double-paged Giant-Size series of the mid-70s, so, like Marvel Annuals of the period, they were all self-contained stories (and eventually, all reprints). So I don't blame you if you had ignored or didn't read this story. But hey, look: Mister Fantastic in William Shatner's aging makeup from "The Deadly Years." He's old, y'all!


How will the wolf FF survive? Well, by that little-known secret weapon of the Fantastic Four, one you don't get to see in action too often but never forget it's a powerhouse: the rocky orange brain of Benjamin J. Grimm!


Hey Thing, what time is it? Ah, never mind: you're way ahead of me.


The punches themselves aren't sufficient to defeat Tempus (the deliciously quiescent summertime cooling treat), but it does give Reedd enough time to fire up his big rubber brain and come up with a truly brilliant plan, which is...oh, for Pete's sake, Reed, you're just punching him again! Ben already came up with that plan!


Yay! Success! Altho' reed, always a bringer-downer, reminds the FF and Willie Lumpkin, time-travelin' mailman, that like Santa and that chocolate cake that was sitting this morning on the kitchen counter, there's a little bit of Tempus is inside all of us. In fact, you might even say we just ate Tempus, and he's in our stomachs...right now! AHAHAHAHAHAHA!...Wait, scratch that one.


I can't use my usul joke of "And nobody ever saw Tempus ever again" here, because he has quite a wide-ranging, if ineffective, history of time-related villany across the Marvel Universe. Later on, he fought Thor, the West Coast Avengers, some guys from various What Ifs, Rick Jones, and the Annihilators. I'm imagining that at any moment in the Marvel Universe Gwenpool will be pantsing him. So yeah, getting introduced in a Giant-Size has decreasing returns for villainy over the years.

365 Days of Defiance, Day 169: Us Amazonians know where we stand / We got kids, we got jobs, why do we need a man?

Hey, Marvel Studios? Have you noticed how much everyone loved the kickass, hard-hitting warrior women Amazons in your Distinguished Competition's movie Wonder Woman?

Well, just wanted to point out: when you're makin' the Black Panther film, don't leave out the Dora Milaje.


Panels from Doomwar #2 (May 2010), script by Jonathan Maberry, pencils by Scot Eaton, inks by Andy Lanning and Robert Campanella, colors by Jean-Francois Beaulieu, letters by Cory Petit

Today in Comics History: Happy birthday, Mitch Shelley! Hope you survive the ex...oh.


Cover of Resurrection Man (1997 series) #10 (February 1998), pencils and inks by Jackson Guice, colors by Carla Feeny, color separations by Digital Chameleon, letters by Ken Lopez

Monday, June 26, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 26: And I'll remember the love that you gave me / Now that I'm standing on my own

Years ago on this exact night, June 26 at 10:48 PM, on Park Row in Gotham City, Joe Chill shot and killed Thomas and Martha Wayne but left their young son Bruce alive to live with the burden of what he had witnessed. This, and every night we walk down Crime Alley only to meet the flash of a pair of gunshots, is The Batman and How He Came to Be.

But once in a while...time, space, and opportunity align in an event in Crime Alley that reminds Bruce Wayne what he is fighting for after all: not just justice, not merely punishing crime, but also...out of love.



Panels from Batman: Death and the Maidens #6 (March 2004), script by Greg Rucka, pencils and inks by Klaus Janson, colors by Steve Buccellato, letters by Clem Robins

May we, like Bruce, remember those who loved us...and that they loved us.

We all live in a narco-submarine


Panels from Ms. Tree #33 (Renegade, October 1986); script by Max Collins; pencils by Terry Beatty; inks, colors, and letters by Gary Kato;
and from Angel Love #1 (August 1986); script and pencils by Barbara Slate, inks by John William Lopez, colors by Bob LeRose, letters by Bill Yoshida

Sunday, June 25, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 25: Every Rose Has Its Own Origin Story


Panel from "The Mourning After" in Detective Comics (1937 series) #782 (July 2003), script by Jason Hall, pencils by Craig Rousseau, inks by Dan Davis, colors by Lee Loughridge, letters by Janice Chiang

Saturday, June 24, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 24: Shadow of the Batman

How universal is Batman's origin story? So freakin' universal that it even takes place on Earth-S&S (Street & Smith)!



Panels from "New York City, 1938" in The Shadow #100 (Dynamite, June 2015), script by Michael Uslan, pencils and inks by Giovanni Timpano, colors by Marco Lesko, letters by Rob Steen

Well, he sure told you, Mister So-Called Batman's Dad!

Friday, June 23, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 23: Must There Be a Batman?


Cover of Superman/Batman #17 (March 2005), pencils by Carlos Pacheco, inks by Jesus Merino, colors by Laura Martin

You may remember that yesterday, or only one issue ago in comic book time, Batman shot Joe Chill and thus erased his own batariffic future. That is how time travel works, and I'm standing by that. Anyway, Superman travels forward in time to fetch the now-nothin'-but-a-playboy Bruce Wayne (he still lives with his parents, ha!) and brings him back to the Crime Alley, shouting incoherently that his kids grew up to be a-holes and that where they were going they didn't need roads.


Panels from Superman/Batman #17 (March 2005), script by Jeph Loeb, pencils by Carlos Pacheco, inks by Jesus Merino, colors by Laura Martin and Larry Molinar, letters by Richard Starkings

You know, in a world where Thomas and Martha Wayne survived Park Avenue was not the scene of the murder of two of Gotham City's leading lights, maybe they would have supported live theater city rehabilitation enough that it never would become Crime Alley. But maybe even in a world without a Batman, some things are absolutely unavoidable. Like Bruce's double past, as far as Superman is concerned. Geez, Supes, why doncha just fly him into the world where you're both Nazis oh wait you'd only just averted that one a couple issues ago


Hooray! He snaps Bruce back to his real self which makes absolutely no sense in this timeline because there was never ever a Batman at all but hey, for the sense of the story let's roll with it.


For there to be a Batman, the Waynes must die. It's the universal rule of the DC Universe. And don't feel so alone, Bruce: there's a guy just one universe over on the newsstand named Peter Parker who knows just how you feel.

Today in Comics History: Vertigo publishes Magic Eight-Ball: The Comic


Panel from The Invisibles [Volume 3] (1999 series) #5 (January 2000), script by Grant Morrison, pencils by Sean Phililips, inks by Jay Stephens, colors by Daniel Vozzo, letters by Todd Klein

Thursday, June 22, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 22: Why don't you just f-f-f-fade away

As I promised yesterday, tonight we see just another one of the many, many deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne that populate comics history (and this feature)...with a slight difference.


Panels from Superman/Batman #16 (Late February 2005), script by Jeph Loeb, pencils by Carlos Pacheco, inks by Jesus Merino, colors by Laura Martin, letters by Richard Starkings

Okay, here's the short explanation to this scene: Superman and Batman were corrupted by a time-travelling Cosmic King, Saturn Queen and...Magnet Man? Cosmic Consumer? Captain Attraction?...anyway, three time traveling adult villains of the super-teens from 3005, the Legion of Super-Heroes! Then the all-new, all-different Sinisterman and Badman took over the world! Now Clark and Bruce have come to their super-senses and are hunting Cosmic King (oh, yeah, that was his name) to stop him after or before he time-travels, and of course they've popped into the most invonvenient place and time in the entire multiverse, allowing Batman to observe the death of his parents. Talk about noit being able to go home again, huh? Take that, Thomas Wolfe!


So take a moment to contemplate: what happens when Batman prevents Joe Chill from killing Thomas and Martha Wayne? Well, obviously, the Waynes, including Bruce, live! Y&ay! That's a win. But what happens to Batman himself? Think about it, won't you?


No death of the Waynes, no Batman. DC Comics will surely go bankrupt in this timeline! But stay tuned tomorrow to see how Superman personally kills young Bruce to make certain the entire future of the DC Universe timeline is restored!

(No, he doesn't do that.)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 21: Bruce had fun, and it hurt

Yeah, yeah, I know: we've seen it one bajillion times before:


Panels from Superman/Batman #14 (January 2005), script by Jeph Loeb, pencils by Carlos Pacheco, inks by Jesus Merino, colors by Laura Martin, letters by Richard Starkings

But what if just imagine...something different happening that night! What could happen differently, you ask? Surely the death of Batman's parents is a universal constant? Well, tune in tomorrow to see just how correct you are! Answer: not very! Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!