Superman and Batman Play “Who’s the Pitcher? Who’s the Catcher? “

I don’t know if the expression started with Ren & Stimpy, but the first time I heard it was on one of their more adult episodes. With all the noise about a joint Batman-Superman movie, I have to wonder: “Who’s the pitcher? Who’s the catcher?” I’m not suggesting one position is better than the other. I just really wonder who would be what.

Batman and Superman

What do you think?

Brazil is more progressive than the U.S.

We all appreciate a bit of Catwoman ass. Sexploitation is a central theme in comic bookery. But Brazilians don’t mind mixing it up for even more provocativeness . The Brazilian versions of Batman The New 52 #0 and Catwoman The New 52 #0 mix things up a bit to reflect their liberal sensibilities when it comes to transgender characters. Here are the American and Brazilian versions. As for the Catwoman pose, I remember looking like that once when I tried to do a flip over a sofa … except the arch in my mid-back was severely hyperextended the wrong way across the back of the furniture and I’m pretty sure my face didn’t look as serene as Selina’s. She’s a mighty flexible gal, that Catwoman.

Catwoman and Batman 52 #0 issues from the U.S.A. Catwoman and Batman 52 #0 issues from Brazil

And here’s your bonus. The Catwoman spine-breaker image above reminded me of a chick I saw on Discovery Channel’s “Is It Possible?”. I found a picture of her in a costume close enough to Catwoman’s just for the effect. Sorry, I don’t feel like manipulating her head and hair to look even more like Catwoman. I feel lazier than normal tonight. Anyway, her name is Zlata and she’s about the bendiest contortionist I’ve ever seen. Ouch. Cringe. Egad.

Zlata the Contortionist in Black Latex

Batman/Joker Spectra Chase Card by Simon Bisley

I went on a scanning binge a couple of Saturdays ago. With no particular place to go and I being too tired to do any real work, I made images of a bunch of stuff and will be posting them periodically. I’m focusing on showcasing  large scans of unique items that may not be too easily found from other sources online. Hopefully you’ll find them interesting and useful.

Back in the early 1990s as the sports card world discovered the collectibility of comic books, an explosion of non-sport trading cards flowed out of established producers like Fleer and Skybox. Soon, a bunch of new players cropped up and joined the fray with their own properties or those properties for which the acquired the rights.

Very quickly new technologies like holofoils and graphix chromiums and translucent ice cards and turbo laser thunderbolt armageddon metal extreme cards or some such woo-hoo pushed the manufacturers to up the ante on gimmickry. Yes, I fell for it. At one point, I was buying more comic book cards than I was comic books themselves. It was fun.

DC Comics Edition Master Series 1994 Skybox Trading CardsDC Comics worked with Impel in the early 1990s to release a series of cards depicting characters in its universe. Then, in 1994 Skybox and DC teamed up to release a Master Series version of the DC universe. Master Series cards are typically on heavier stock with glossier finishing and have higher quality artwork which is often contributed by a variety of well established artists. We bought a box and put together a set or two. Out of the box came a wicked “spectra” foil double sided chase (i.e., special, rare) card by Simon Bisley. It was numbered DS2 and depicted Batman on one side and Joker on the other.  Here it is with scans of front and back side by side.

Batman Master Series DS2 Trading Card from Skybox, Batman and Joker by Simon Bisley

And here’s your bonus. Can you tell me how all of these people are connected?

Rupert Murdoch, Eunice Huthart, Angelina Jolie, and Simon Bisley

Post #400 is Actually #401: Batman Issue #400 and others

Blogs, comicsI was going to save the 400th post for this spot, but after getting a chance to see a special screening for Man of Steel, I had to go with that one first. Sooooo, this is the 401th post that should have been the 400th.

In celebration, I figured it would be fun to show off the covers for some of the major comic book series that have reached the 400th issue. This isn’t supposed to be a comprehensive list, but it’s a lot of them since having a title run to 400 issues means the series has been in steady publication for over 30 years (if the comic comes out in the normal monthly release format).

Except for funny books like Disney, Archie, Dell, Whitman, etc., the majority of the comic books that have arrived at the illustrious number 400 are from Marvel and DC. There are several ongoing gag books, particularly in Europe that have run the total number of issues into the 1000s but we’re focusing mostly on comics with continuous stories — typically superhero tales.

So, here are covers from comic books that have reached the 400th issue. This is not a comprehensive list since I didn’t do much research. If I’ve missed any big ones, leave me a comment.

1. Batman #400 (1986)

I love this comic. It was one of the first comic books I bought back in college. This anniversary comic that actually had some thought put into it. It has a wicked cool Bill Sienkiewicz (pronounced “Bill Smith”) and a fantastic Doug Moench story. It’s a thick comic that has several contributing artists including some of my favorites: Art Adams, Brian Bolland, Michael Kaluta, Rick Leonardi, Steve Lightle, Steve Rude, and Berni Wrighton plus several more.

Batman #400, Anniversary issue Cover art for Batman 400 by Bill Sienkiewicz

2. Detective #400 (1970)

What’s cool about this anniversary issue is that it’s not only a Neal Adams issue (the cover and the interior), it’s also the origin and first appearance of the Mat-Bat.

Detective Comics #400, Neal Adams, First Man-Bat

3. Dell Four Color #400: Space Cadet (1952)

Gay Comics 1955, #1Painted cover by Alden McWilliams. I like that. I also like the name of the comic.  It’s as unintentionally funny in the modern day context as as Gay Comics (1955). Speaking of gay, here’s a version we modified for a bit of fun. As you gaze upon it hum “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady.

Four Color Comics #400, Tom Corbett, Space Cadet

4. Uncanny X-Men 400 (2001)

The Uncanny X-Men and its derivatives are titles that we cut our teeth on in the 1980s before they become too confusing and commercial for my tastes in the 1990s. By issue 400, I had actually stopped reading X-Men altogether. Still, cool cover by Ashley Wood.

The Uncanny X-Men #400 cover The Uncanny X-Men #400 full cover

5. Sgt. Rock #400 (1985)

War comics are hit or miss with me but it’s worth noting that this particular war hero’s stories had a very long run.  The series actually began as Our Army at War with a title change to Sgt. Rock in issue #302.  Sgt. Rock actually didn’t even enter the series until issue #83. Hmm. Maybe we shouldn’t give this title credit as a 400 issue. Oh, well. Clever cover by Joe Kubert.

Sgt. Rock #400, Joe Kubert cover

6.Amazing Spiderman #400 (1995)

The issue had two different covers, both drawn by Mark Bagley and Larry Mahlstedt. The version shown below is a white embossed special issue of the newsstand version. If you can’t tell, it shows a tombstone with Spider-man swinging in front of it. The storyline is titled Death in the Family and in it, Aunt May or a clone or an actress or an old lady that happens to be Aunt May 269 reveals to Peter Parker or or Ben Reilly or Tom Jones or some sort of doppelgänger or who-knows-what that she has always known he was Spider-man or the Scarlet Spider or Spider-bot or Spider-Balls or something. I can’t keep track of which is who and what is how much.

The Amazing Spider-man #400, Death in the Family, alternative cover

7. Superman #400 (1984)

Painted cover by one of my favorites: Howard Chaykin.

Superman #400: Anniversary issue cover by Howard Chaykin Cover art for Superman #400

8. Fantastic Four #400 (1995)

The cover by Paul Ryan is made from a foil-like substance that refracts colors in a cool way.  Is that Dr. Doom on the cover? Does the Thing have boobs? And what’s the deal with the Watchers dying? And where’s Mister Fantastic (Reid Richards)? You can tell we don’t read FF either.

Fantastic Four #400, prismatic foil cover

9. The Incredible Hulk #400 (1992)

Prismatic cover by British artist Gary Frank.

The Incredible Hulk #400: prism cover

10. Avengers #400 (1996)

Giant Size issue with wraparound cover by Mike Deadato and Tom Palmer.

Avengers #400, Giant Size Avengers #400 wraparound cover

11. The Mighty Thor #400 (1988)

Sort of a big Kirby-esque cover by Ron Frenz and Brett Breeding.

The Mighty Thor #400

12. Action Comics #400 (1971)

Superman sure seems to get a lot of gimmicky covers. Here’s a goofy one by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano.

Action Comics #400, Neal Adams cover

13. Adventure Comics #400 (1970)

We’re not big fans of this title, but it’s a 400 issue, so here it is. The story and art were provided by Mike Sekowsky, who was famous for creating the Legion of Superheroes and several of the characters in its membership.

Adventure Comics #400, Supergirl

14. Captain America #400 (1992)

This cover by Rick Levins and Dan Panosian is pretty bland. Therefore my comment about it is too.

Captain America #400

15. Archie Comics #400 (1992)

We weren’t going to do an Archie, but that wouldn’t be fair. Besides, I needed a #16. The Cover is by Rex Lindsey.  As for me, it has always been Veronica.

Archie 400th issue

There you have it. And here’s your bonus. On June 14, 2013, I published my 400th post. Here’s a collector’s item limited edition cover for your viewing pleasure.Comics A-Go-Go! Irresponsible Blogging at its best

Spotlight: Art by Sam Kieth

Mage by Matt Wagner and Sam Kieth

Sam Kieth inked Mage #7, the first comic book we ever bought.

One of my favorite artists is Sam Kieth. He was actually one of the very first comic book creators I stumbled upon when I was introduced to comics in college. Sam was the inker on Mage: The Hero Discovered by Matt Wagner, the first comic book I bought for myself after reading a bunch out of a box that a friend had. There’s a night and day difference between Matt’s own inks and Sam Kieth’s contribution that started in issue #6. Matt’s artwork is more primitive with his own inks, but Sam adds a layer of unusual shadowing and fine brushstrokes that makes the art pop.

The Maxx by Sam KiethAmong his many credits, Sam Kieth is also the creator and artist for the Maxx character from Image, several DC and Marvel stories (including artwork for Sandman stories by Niel Gaiman)m, and the artist on the Batman: Secrets mini-series published in 2006 (which we’re highlighting here). An anthology of his artwork was released earlier this year by IDW and he is currently the artist on The Hollows, a post apocalyptic story set in near-future Japan. By the way, take a look at the black and white statuette based on Sam’s characterization of the Batman.

The Hollows, art by Sam Kieth

The latest artwork by Sam Kieth

Sam Kieth: Batman Secrets

Batman: Secrets is a 5 issue mini-series that tells the tale of a brutal altercation between Batman and The Joker all under the frenzied eye of the media. The Joker knows a secret from Batman’s past and is threatening to expose it. The fourth estate (or maybe fifth column) goes viciously after The Batman decrying his behavior and Joker plays upon that … etc. Go buy the compendium or the individual issues. It’s worth it if you love Sam’s art.

Batman and Joker by Sam Kieth

Batman: Secrets internal artwork

Batman: Secrets by Sam Kieth, artwork for #3

Batman: Secrets, Sam Kieth artwork #1

Sam Kieth, panting of The Batman

Sam was the cover and interior artist on the fantastic Wolverine/Cyber story in Marvel Comics Presents (issues #85-92, written by Peter David). Just like his characterization of Batman, Sam’s version of Wolverine is one of the craziest I’ve ever seen.

Marvel Comics Presents #85: alt= Marvel Comics Presents #86: Blood Hungry art by Sam Kieth
Marvel Comics Presents #87: alt= Marvel Comics Presents #88: Blood Hungry art by Sam Kieth
Marvel Comics Presents #89: alt= Marvel Comics Presents #90: Blood Hungry art by Sam Kieth
Marvel Comics Presents #87: alt= Marvel Comics Presents #92: Blood Hungry art by Sam Kieth

Here’s are two versions of issue #100 by Sam Kieth featuring Wolverine and Ghost Rider on a funny cover. One version was on each side of the flip comic book. Which is your favorite?

Marvel Comics Presents #100, version #1 Marvel Comics Presents #100, version 2

OK, now go visit Sam Kieth’s blog for more fantastic art and information about the crazy mind that creates these concoctions.

Sam Kieth, artist