Posts Tagged ‘Parody’

You want the long or the short answer?

May 7, 2012

FUNday is back on Alpha Flight Collector (for this week) and if you think that wolves wearing spiked collars gnawing off children’s limbs for sport is fun, then you’re in the right place! Wait, what? Yes, that’s the main story of this week’s issue. Fortunately, it has nothing to do with a cameo appearance by Puck, but is sure is a hoot!

Wolverine #16
Nov 2011

Since Wolverine got back from Hell in issue #5 of his solo series, he hadn’t had such a good time of it all. Previous to this issue, he was tricked into murdering his own children, driving him to spend most of issue #15 repeatedly jumping off a very high cliff to smash his own brains to bits on the rocks below. Then he called his girlfriend Melita Garner to tell her that he’s not coming back and to tell everyone not to come look for him.

Oh, the drama, Logan!

OK, so what would you do if you were Wolverine’s girlfriend and he called you from a payphone and told you he weren’t coming back and not to come look? Would you:

  • A) Call the FBI and CSIS and file a missing mutant report
  • B) Contact Alpha Flight, the X-Men and the Avengers and convince them to go after him
  • C) Ask one of the telepaths on Utopia to use Cerebra to locate Logan’s unique mutant signature and then ask Cyclops to send the Blackbird to rendezvous at those coordinates
  • D) Get out your iPhone and record a youtube compilation video of a couple of dozen superheroes sitting in front of drab grey backdrop answering the question, “Who is Wolverine?”

If you picked D, you win! Interspersed the main story (see above re: wolves wearing spiked collars gnawing off children’s limbs for sport) are two full pages of single-panel headshots of superheroes responding to an off-panel interviewer. One of the 28 heroes interviewed is Puck, who answers, “The second toughest Canadian I know.”

Goran Sudzuka drew him barely poking up from the bottom margin of the panel, which looks even funnier when you see the entire page layout. It should remind readers of the calendars on the back of various Marvel Age issues from the 1980s when we saw the same sort of thing.

The original artwork shows the entire page and gives a good view of just how much empty space there is above Puck’s head – compare it to any of the other panels and you’ll get the joke.

Click to see big version.
Note: these images have been digitally inked and are not the original pencils.

Well, it’s a short FUNday post for this week (yeah, I know, I said this before, couldn’t resist).

Sasquatch and Northstar trade rumors: fact or fiction?

January 24, 2011

When Disney bought Marvel in the summer of 2009, a slew of superhero/cartoon mashup images flooded the Internet. Popular images at the time were “Spidey with Mickey Mouse ears” or “Mickey Mouse in a Spidey costume”, those sorts of things. Well, after everyone had their fun, it turned out this was nothing but hype and hysteria. Or was it?

Since then, a few official mashups between Marvel characters and Disney properties have surfaced – but as truth is stranger than fiction, we didn’t get Donald Duck wearing an Iron Man suit as predicted. Instead we got Tron variant covers to promote Tron: Legacy, (one of which is an Alpha Flight appearance) and the ESPN NBA preview for 2010-2011. For those of you keeping score (get it? Haha I love FUNday posts!), ESPN is four-fifths owned by ABC, which is an indirect subsidiary of Disney.

ESPN The Magazine
Nov 1, 2010

Published biweekly since March 1998, ESPN The Magazine is one of the top magazine publications out there, ranked 35th with a current (latest data from 2009) circulation of approximately 2 million subscribers, making this one of the most widespread appearances of Alpha Flight, ever. The magazine in its current format is 10×12 inches (the same size as Life magazines) and carries no issue number, just a cover date. Extrapolating from its inception date, this issue would be approximately the 331st regularly published issue, being briefly available on the newsstands from October 22 to November 5th, 2010.

The NBA Preview [for the 2010-2011 season] in this issue consisted of a short article, followed by a series of thirty variant cover images based on both current events in the NBA and Marvel characters. ESPN went out of their way to make all of the artwork freely available to anyone who wanted to use it – and why not? Disney was just moving money from one bottomless pocket to another to create these images, anyway. The project is explained by the introductory text to the article:

When the Walt Disney Company, which owns ESPN, bought Marvel Entertainment last year, our reaction was quick: “Sweet!” Not because we thought we’d be invited to the opening of “Iron Man 2.” (Didn’t happen.) We just realized that now we could e-mail the guys who draw Spider-Man, The Hulk and Captain America and put a whole new spin on the idea of synergy — which is exactly what we did. Result? A pairing of Marvel’s ability to create iconic images with our season preview of the NBA, the league that trumps all others in producing larger-than-life superstars. Together, we developed concepts for all 30 NBA teams, which Marvel’s artists then turned into “variant covers.” Combined with the rest of our 2010-11 outlook, it’s a spectacle we think you won’t want to miss.

And if that’s not enough of an explanation, ESPN, in their maniacal style of media frenzy, also produced a “making of” video for those who still couldn’t wrap their minds around it or preferred to watch a clip on the Internet to explain why a printed sports magazine was doing something with comic books.

Some of the variant covers were based directly on classic Marvel covers and other Marvel images and really hit the mark, and others, well, were more difficult to conceptualize.  Falling into the latter category, the Toronto Raptors, who ESPN predicted would finish second to last in the Eastern Division (and at the time of this blog post are in a tie for second to last place in their division, coincidentally), naturally picked up the font of the Alpha Flight logo from v3, along with Alpha Flight jocks Sasquatch and Northstar, courtesy of Marvel cover artist John Christopher Tyler.

The accompanying unflattering caption explains what you’re looking at:

WHO ARE THESE GUYS?

Alpha Flight is a team of obscure superheroes from Canada. The same could be said of the Raptors– minus the superheroes part. Marvel figured the eight-foot Sasquatch and speedy Northstar (shown sporting a No. 96 jersey) could give Toronto a boost on D: The Raptors allowed a league-worst 119 points per 100 possessions with starters Andrea Bargnani (7) and Jose Calderon (8) on the floor. High-flying DeMar DeRozan (10) might be the team’s next star– which mans he’ll fly the coop as soon as he can.

For those of you who didn’t memorize his OHOTMU entry, Sasquatch is ten feet tall, not eight as mentioned in the caption. In the cartoony background, a few of the more widely known Marvel characters gesticulate their unfamiliarity with the Alpha Flight heroes, which is also a glaring error, as of course all of them have met, notably Wolverine. Notice also that the members of the Raptors pictured are wearing Alpha Flight costumes – Andrea Bargnani in Guardian’s costume and DeMar DeRozan in Shaman’s.

At first, you’re all, “obscure superheroes? OMG” and then you’re all, “what’s with the unfinished feet in that image? WTF” but then when you realize that Jose Calderon, at 6 foot 3 inches, is wearing Puck’s costume, you’re all “LOL”, which is what FUNday is all about!

FUNday returns, vital organs forcibly removed, etc.

January 3, 2011

After a brief hiatus, FUNday returns to Alpha Flight Collector! This week’s installment is heartbreaking. It might even tug at your hearstrings. Or, as Weird Al might say, “I’d rather rip my heart right out of my rib cage with my bare hands and then throw it on the floor and stomp on it ’til I die” [than read this post]. It’s FUNday, not Valentine’s Day, so you decide!

Strange Tales II #1
Dec 2010

No, not that Strange Tales and no, not that other Strange Tales, and no, not volume I of Strange Tales. This is volume II of what is the fifth series to be named Strange Tales, this one distinguishable from the others by the MAX imprint, Marvel’s explicit content line. Containing an anthology of stories of various lengths, topics and themes, a cavalcade of indie artists draw and write with their own inimitable style, sometimes producing gems, sometimes less gem-ful but always without limits. Wild Child appears in the first story in a few panels.

The first story is an untitled and uncredited eight page Wolverine story by cover artist Rafael Grampá that takes place at an underground mutant fight club, mashed up with a story of lost love too bloody to even describe. The story opens with Sabretooth ripping out Wild Child’s heart in the ring, but don’t worry, his healing factor kicks in just fine and he’s shown later joking with Victor in the locker room. Still, it’s an impressive accomplishment to come back from a ripped out heart.

Since Wild Child is dead, having been killed by Omega Red in Wolverine Origins #39, this appearance is obviously not in continuity, as clearly indicated anyway by the plot.

The difficulty factor in identifying Wild Child is that he isn’t mentioned by name – he appears in the ring in one panel unnamed, then on a large promotional poster, also unnamed. On the next page, another portion of the poster is shown, with what is likely the words “Sabretooth VS Wild Child” but you can only see the rightmost portions of this text, and even the “Child” part is obscured by Wolverine’s arm. It’s almost as if Rafael Grampá were trying to say, “Fans, I respect you. You know who these characters are. I’ll give you the barest of hints and I’m sure you can figure it out without captions”, a complimentary nod to the MAX imprint’s intended audience of older, more sophisticated readers who don’t need to have these things spelled out.

Of course the same sophisticated readers can flip back a page to see an image of the Red Skull’s butt as he serves drinks in a strip club wearing nothing but a thong and a choker as The Watcher slips a dollar bill into Ms. Marvel’s ass crack, but hey, you get the point!

A short FUNDay post. Still fun, just shorter!

April 5, 2010

Here’s a version of an old wedding toast, modified for modern technology:

A good blog post is like a woman’s dress. It should be long enough that it covers everything, but just short enough to keep everyone interested!

Well, this week’s FUNDay’s post covers everything and it sure is short!

Marvel Age #60
Mar 1988

Marvel Age was a monthly series featuring previews of upcoming comics, news articles about various subjects, advertisements, humorous pieces, and the occasional interview with creators and Marvel staff. Long removed from the Internet age, it was a great way (sometimes the ONLY way) to get news about what was going on in the world of Marvel Comics. Cartoon Puck appears on the calendar on the back cover.

This issue was concurrent with Alpha Flight #56 and solicited issue #57 in the section, “Marvel Coming Attractions”:

ALPHA FLIGHT #57 – The Alphans discover that nothing in space can be taken for granted as they become the catalyst for the creation of life on a baren world! But the life that’s created is out to kill Alpha Flight! “Life” is written by Bill Mantlo and penciled by Jim Lee. Direct Sales only. $1.00.

The back pages of many Marvel Age issues featured a comical calendar with staff birthdays, one-liner jokes and parodies of various Marvel characters. The back cover of this issue had a calendar for December 1987 featuring cartoon Puck on the 21st. For those of you who aren’t calendar savants, that was a Monday, which put Christmas on Friday of that week. Credits for the calendar are w-Mike Carlin, a-Ron Zalme and c-Paul Becton.

Sasquatch with no swimsuit in a swimsuit issue!

March 22, 2010

Sorry to get your hopes up again, but if you scroll down, you’ll see he’s not wearing a swimsuit so GOTCHA again! Will you ever learn not to click on naughty post titles on FUNDay? Will this joke ever stop being funny? Will it ever start being funny? Great questions, answered in today’s FUNDay post!

Marvel Swimsuit Special #1
1992

Those of you who keep track of frivolous details like issue numbers will be surprised to read yet again about a swimsuit issue from Marvel numbered #1, but yes, they started over with a slight re-naming. The title of this issue was changed from “Marvel Illustrated: Swimsuit Issue #1“, presumably to avoid litigation from Sports Illustrated, but that’s a comic book legend, we think. Along with the name change, the issue number reverted to #1. The format of the swimsuit special changed dramatically from the previous issue to include only pin-ups and fake ads, but no articles nor interviews. The theme of the pin-ups was a photo shoot of party guests at T’Challa’s engagement party in Wakanda. Guardian (Heather), Aurora and Sasquatch appear in pin-ups wearing swimsuits, or less.

On a full-page pin-up by Terry Shoemaker and Bob Wiacek, Aurora, Guardian (Heather), Meggan and The Wasp appear, flying about among the birds.

The caption incorrectly describes the scene:

These native birds used to be the most colorful, beautiful sight in the Wakandan skies. But, when the Wasp, Guardian, Meggan and Aurora joined them for some early morning aerial antics, these feathered fantasies found themselves taking a back seat to the flying females. The Wasp sports an always trendy solid color bikini while Guardian wears a functional yet formfitting circuitry bikini. Meggan displays her fish print two-piece with Rio cut bottoms. And last but not least, Aurora boasts a rousing wrap-around one piece.

As you can see in the image, the Wasp (below) is the one wearing the fish print two-piece, not Meggan (left). Meggan is wearing the one piece and Aurora (above) is wearing the solid color bikini. The circuitry bikini explains how Heather (right) would be able to fly in that scene, assuming it’s a version of her EM suit, but I don’t want to know where the power pack is hidden.

Later, a pin-up by Mike Mignola features Logan, Sasquatch and the Beast. Sasquatch is the one with the chimp on his head. Bizarrely, Sasquatch is not drawn with a swimsuit, but rather in his natural fur. Maybe Mike didn’t get the memo. I mean, it just doesn’t make any sense to draw him that way in a swimsuit issue.

Here is another version of the same image, corrected to fit in with the rest of the book!

FUNday returns, dead horse beaten! Yay!

March 15, 2010

After a brief hiatus, (during which I heard a really funny joke: the Canadians won a gold medal, in hockey, no less, yeah right), Monday FUNday returns! Everyone knows this is impossible because the USA won the gold in hockey in 1980 and have kept it ever since, so how could Canada have won it? And besides, duh, do they even play hockey in Canada? So it’s just, ah, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet, can you? Speaking of which, here’s this week’s FUNday issue!

Marvel Year-in-Review ’92
Duh, 1992

Technically renamed from Marvel 1992 – The Year in Review so that it would rhyme better (not making this up, folks, of course, the next year’s issue was named Marvel Year-in-Review ’93 which doesn’t rhyme at all, so it appears their cunning plan didn’t exactly work out so well), this 48pg magazine-sized comic is one of the most ridiculous books you’ll ever find. Containing fake ads, fake classified ads, fake interviews, fake articles and all around goofiness from cover to cover, this self-described magazine of “Scathing Self-Satire” mocks just about every character and comic of Marvel Comics in 1992 – and Alpha Flight isn’t spared! Northstar appears on a page in a silly response to the revelation that he is gay in Alpha Flight #106.

But we’ll get to that later. In a very long-winded section, “Fakes, Fangs and Fabrications” by Peter Sanderson, an exhaustive look at the previous year’s happenings in Marvel Comicdom includes several insightful reviews of Alpha Flight issues. Here are some Alpha Flight related excerpts:

Alpha Flight renamed the principal members of the team “Core Alpha.” As if these guys could core an apple, let alone an alpha.

Heh, this was in Alpha Flight #104.

With great fanfare Northstar exited the closet in ALPHA FLIGHT #106 – only to discover that everyone had him figured out a hundred issues ago.

Alpha Flight embarked on a World Tour in issue #107, only to lose their luggage somewhere in Symkaria.

Symkaria is the fictitious Balkan neighbor to Latveria and home of Silver Sable, as well as the subject of an ongoing joke in this issue.

ALPHA FLIGHT #108 revealed that the evil Nazi disembodied brain called Brain Drain (can you say that out loud without laughing?) languished in a snowbank for nearly fifty years and yet remained alive. Readers wondering how Brain Drain’s brain obtained oxygen and nutrition over this time may write to Scott Lobdell, c/o Marvel Comics.

Alpha Flight’s junior team, Gamma Flight, was promoted to Beta Flight in #112. That’s nice, but getting a raise and an office window would have been better.

Later, Northstar gets his own page in an article called, “Northstar’s Hair-Raising Revelation” which is essentially a single joke beaten completely to death.

What’s the big deal?

     When the famous Olympic athlete, Canadian superhuman and Alpha Flight founding member Jean-Paul Beaubier made an impassioned revelation in the midst of a battle through downtown Toronto last March, for some reason every major news agency in the civilized world leapt upon it like a piranha on a side of beef.

     So Northstar is gray …. this is news?

     Well, apparently these days it is, along with Vice Presidents misspelling vegetables and epileptics having seizures in response to Mary Hart’s voice. But the media furor over Northstar’s idiotically obvious statement was so overwhelming that at the Canadian super guy’s press conference, many of us journalists were forced to sit almost out of earshot.

     Until now, the superhuman community seemed immune to the effects of social peer pressure, at least so far as it related to their hair. Everyone’s known for years that Fantastic Four leader Reed Richards is partially gray, as is his evil-looking twin brother, Nick Fury. Then you’ve got the all-white mutant squad: Magneto, Cable, Quicksilver … heck, a contact deep within Wilson Fisk’s organization implied that the totally bald Kingpin of Crime is really a closet gray who shaves his head to conceal the truth. (‘Course, I don’t recommend asking Willie about that to his face.)

     So again … what’s the big deal? Psylocke goes from being a purple-haired Brit to a blue-haired Oriental and no one bats a lash. The Hulk’s sking changes from green to gray to green and the media collectively yawn. But, hey, a second-string super hero like Northstar tells everyone he doesn’t use Grecian Formula and suddenly it’s circus time.

     Sean Larkin, noted Toronto-area hair stylist and tonsorial spokesman with the “Silver Grail” salon chain, thinks he has the answer to this puzzling situation. “While the loss of hair color is becoming more and more accepted in our culture, it’s still considered by some to be a major faux pas to mention it in mixed company.” Uh-huh. Right. Let’s ask someone else’s opinion.

     “Before the public statement, people just thought he was an arrogant celebrity,” noted Toronto media consultant Mark Asquith. Ah … now we’re getting somewhere. The media hoopla obviously must have been due to the resounding revelation – Northstar is really a courageous arrogant celebrity.

     – Steve Saffel

The entire page is on a gray background, of course. Note that the image above is taken from Alpha Flight #106 and is the actual image from the panel where he utters the words, “I am gay!”

Somehow the joke continues in an inset:

Peer Perplexity

Marvel Year-In-Review contacted a few of Northstar’s peers – other muscular guys who wear tights in public – to get their reactions to this raving controversy. Their responses were less than illuminating. In fact, most of them seemed more confused than anything else by the whole thing.

Captain America
MYIR: Do you feel there is any problem with Northstar’s decision to remain gray in the face of public opinion?
CA: Did you say –
MYIR: Yes, do you feel he should be forced to conform?
CA: Of course not! It is every man or woman’s inalienable right to maintain whatever lifestyle they wish, so long as it does not infringe upon the personal freedom of any other person.
MYIR: So you feel freedom of hair color is guaranteed in the Constitution.
CA: Yes, I – wait, what did you say -?
MYIR: Thank you, Captain.

USAgent
MYIR: What is your response to the uproar over Northstar’s revelation that he is gray?
USA: Gray! Ohhhh … so that was the problem! Well, that’s just the kind of crud I’d expect from a Canadian, especially a French-Canadian. No real American would be caught dead worrying so much about his hair. If you want to look like a real man, you just use a little chemical enhancement. President Reagan proved that!
MYIR: Uh … right. Thank you.

Reed Richards
MYIR: Do you feel Northstar’s gray hair presents any real problems in his line of work?
RR: His what?
MYIR: His gray hair.
RR: His…
MYIR: Gray … hair. Dr. Richards, do you have a hearing problem?
RR: No, no, it’s just that I expected you to say –
MYIR: The question, Dr. Richards, was: does Northstar’s open grayness represent a threat to his standing as a super hero?
RR: Well, of course not. But if he did want to change, with just a few adjustments to his basic genetic structure I could provide him with any color hair he could possibly want, and perhaps even give him the ability to change it at will. It wouldn’t be a problem at all, compared with changing things like his-
MYIR: Thank you, Dr. Richards.

It’s hard to believe an entire page was written based on this one joke. It’s about as insane as writing an entire blog post about it, but that’s what FUNday is all about!

Alpha Flight – Canada’s finest…. beer?

February 1, 2010

Since there’s nothing more fun in the whole world than beer, this week’s FUNday post might be the best ever. We’ve seen Alpha Flight statues, coins, and totem poles, but this tops it all off: Alpha Flight beer! Canada’s Finest!

Wolverine: Wendigo #1
Mar 2010

A Wolverine comic without Wolverine? Well, he does sneak into a few panels, but this one-shot, originally released as a Digital Comic, is more about a Quebecois detective named Jean Guy, a Canadian Wilford Brimley type who I’d love to see more of. Expertly handled by Alpha-Friendly writer Frank Tieri, Jean Guy gets to the bottom of a Wendigo encounter during a filming of a fictional documentary show, “Monsters, Myths and Marvels”, which Tieri debuted in Marvel TV: Galactus The Real Story #1 one-shot.

Tieri writes some great beer-related dialogue in this issue and let me tell you, Jean Guy is all about beer. Beer on his fishing boat, beer in the interrogation room, and most importantly, a beer poster on the door to the interrogation room featuring Alpha Flight!

Beer!

The image looks sort of like a modified version of a more famous Byrne poster, minus Sasquatch and Marrina, and artist Paul Gulacy got the twins just right in a classic bookend pose. The poster appears again in a subsequent panel in shadow and later, a closeup of the lower left portion reveals a small label on the beer bottle that reads “Alpha Flight”. Well, since we can’t have our own series, we’ll have to take the next best thing! Beer!

Beer!

Alpha Flight is ALL WRONG on FUNday!

January 25, 2010

In the 18th episode of FUNday, we look at a very interesting panel drawn during the Mantlo era that, well, sums it all up! It’s ALL WRONG! Haha, let’s see what happens in:

Marvel Age #59
Feb 1988

Marvel Age was a monthly series featuring previews of upcoming comics, news articles about various subjects, advertisements, humorous pieces, and the occasional interview with creators and Marvel staff. Long removed from the Internet age, it was a great way (sometimes the ONLY way) to get news about what was going on in the world of Marvel Comics. Cartoon Box, Shaman (as Talisman), Heather, Northstar, Snowbird and Puck appear in this issue on the back cover.

This issue was concurrent with Alpha Flight #55 and solicited issue #56 in the section, “Marvel Coming Attractions”:

ALPHA FLIGHT #56 – What could be worse than Box going insane? How about Box going insane while he’s as big as a space ship – and his teammates are aboard?! “Warped ” is written by Bill Mantlo and penciled by Jim Lee. Direct Sales only. $1.00.

Alpha Flight had switched over completely to the Direct Sales distribution method in issue #52, meaning it would not be found on newsstands, but sold only in comics specialty shops. Direct Sales proved more profitable for certain books than others because they could not be returned by retailers for credit. Publishers were freed from the risk of unsold copies, which would be kept by the comic shops as back issues, and could pass that savings on to the Direct Sales outlets by offering a greater discount than Independent Distributors would get.

Well, that’s not so much fun, is it? Just business, but here’s some funny business: the calendar! The back pages of many Marvel Age issues featured a comical calendar with staff birthdays, one-liner jokes and parodies of various Marvel characters. The back cover of this issue had a calendar for November 1987 featuring cartoon Alpha Flight wishing Alpha Flight writer Bill Mantlo a Happy Birthday on the 9th. In addition to a missing balloon tail (there are six Alphans and five tails), the six Alpha Flight members shown are ALL WRONG! Remember that this issue was concurrent with Alpha Flight #55 and by that issue, the very man honored in this panel, Bill Mantlo, had made some significant changes to each of the characters:

  • Box – Mister Jeffries took over the “Blue” Box armor from Roger Bochs (who died in issue #49) in issue #46, and would transmorph it into the dark red/silver armor in issue #49 (although it debuted on the cover of issue #48). Showing “Blue” Box makes no sense as neither Roger nor Jeffries were using that armor at the time. If it’s from the past, it’s not clear which Box is shown there.
  • Shaman – Michael had left Alpha Flight in issue #45 and disappeared off this Earthly plane, not to return until the Dreamqueen issues much later. He was known as Talisman at the time, of course.
  • Heather Hudson – Heather put on the E-M suit in issue #32 and would keep it on as Vindicator. It wouldn’t make sense to show her out of costume. One possibility is that there’s a coloring error and that sections of her all-white clothing ought to have been colored red, but even then, it’s yet another error.
  • Northstar – Jean-Paul had been tricked by Loki to visit Alfheim, the Land of the Elves in issue #50. He wasn’t around at all during issue #55.
  • Puck – Judd had left Alpha Flight for Tibet in issue #50 as well. But that’s not even what’s so wrong about the image: at the time, Puck was tall!!! He returned to his full height in that issue. You gotta love the little head poking up from the panel border, though, heh.
  • Snowbird – Killed by Heather in issue #44. Dead.

At no point had this particular assembly of Alpha Flight members existed simultaneously. Credits for the calendar are w-Mike Carlin, a-Ron Zalme and c-Paul Becton, all of whom are excused for not keeping track of Alpha Flight’s members because no one could keep track of all the changes Mantlo had made to the team between issues #29 and #55. Unless you’re an Alpha Flight Collector!

Fred Hembeck Destroys FUNday!

January 18, 2010

In our 17th installment of FUNday, the weekly look at the lighter side of collecting Alpha Flight, we get yet another incredible book by the genius Fred Hembeck!

Fred Hembeck Destroys the Marvel Universe #1
Jul 1989

Originally set as a follow-up to the Fantastic Four Roast, this hilarious classic features tons of characters from the Marvel Universe, including none other than the great Fred Hembeck who appears as himself. Everyone dies, of course, as you can tell from the title, and luckily, Alpha Flight died too! Northstar and Guardian appear in single panel cameos as ghosts. Puck and Sasquatch’s name appear on headstones, and all the rest die behind the scenes.

The general plot is that the big guy at Marvel (who was Jim Shooter at the time) had an evil twin who conned Fred Hembeck into writing a story to kill off the entire Marvel Universe. That actual story was written in 1983 but not published until 1989, by which time Jim Shooter had left Marvel. The 1989 version had to be re-framed to make sense and ended up as a narrative read by The Punisher, who is really Stan Lee in disguise. In the narrative, hero and villian alike face the most absurd deaths with just about every possible wisecrack, gag and fast-paced silliness that only Fred Hembeck can deliver. At the end, Stan Lee tosses all the pages into the trash.

At the beginning of the narrative, a number of heroes rise out of a graveyard as legless ghosts. Two of the tombstones bear the names “Sasquatch” and “Puck”, but the characters don’t appear in the book. Sasquatch’s tombstone can be found in the lower left and Puck’s is in the upper right of this image.

Later, while Cap and Iron Man (Jim Rhodes at the time) discuss their situation while waiting to be processed in the afterlife, Northstar appears very tiny in one corner as a ghost.

After the Fantastic Four are crushed by a boulder and sent to the afterlife, Guardian appears, also as a newly risen ghost. Note that at the time this story was written in 1983, Guardian had not yet been considered dead in Alpha Flight #12 (cover date Jul 1984). By the time this comic was published in 1989, he was still considered dead, but would return to Alpha Flight in 1990. This wasn’t the only sort of thing that dated the 1983 portion of the story, but similar to having Jim Rhodes in the armor, smart Hulk, etc., the changes that occurred betwixt writing and publication would have been obvious to the sophisticated reader in 1989.

Should you want to know more about the timing of the writing and the epic near-fail of how this issue almost never got published, along with several unpublished pages, and the original cover, check out the very long story of it all on Hembeck’s site. You can also see this page (with the tombstones above, a published page). Notice how I put the links at the end of the post so you wouldn’t jump off right off the bat and wander about on some other site, never to return to this one? Clever, eh?

It’s BACONday on FUNday!

January 11, 2010

Ah, it’s finally happened. After sixteen attempts, FUNday has been taken over by BACON! Don’t eat it myself, but I have tried all types in my youth. I especially remember in 1997, my friend Alex Gershon from Toronto came to visit me in NYC and we went out for breakfast. He ordered “Canadian Bacon” at a local diner, just to get a kick out of saying it. Yeah, they don’t call it that up there so he was having a blast. Anyway, I had never ordered it before and was horrified, wishing he’d order something else that wouldn’t lead to an embarrassing scene of utter calamity. Who knows what would come out of the kitchen and the subsequent humiliation I’d endure… but it turned out he got a solid slab of it and was pleased, and made me try a bite. My impression? Ham. Speakin’ of which…

Marvel Age #53
Aug 1987

Marvel Age was a monthly series featuring previews of upcoming comics, news articles about various subjects, advertisements, humorous pieces, and the occasional interview with creators and Marvel staff. Long removed from the Internet age, it was a great way (sometimes the ONLY way) to get news about what was going on in the world of Marvel Comics. Cartoon Puck appears in this issue on the back cover.

This issue had the follow-up results from a poll found on the inside back cover of issue #42 (Sep 1986) where readers were asked to rank the Annuals from 1986 and mail in their scorecard. Of course, the first of three Alpha Flight Annuals were published in 1986, so it was included in the poll. The categories were Story, Art and Overall and you could check one of five boxes: Outstanding, Good, Fair, Poor and Awful. Here are the results, as a percentage of total votes cast for that issue, as published in this issue’s inside front cover in the section “Salicrup’s Section”

Alpha Flight #1 Story Art Overall
Outstanding 17.8 17.7 16.1
Good 35.5 40.3 41.9
Fair 38.7 33.9 32.3
Poor 4.8 1.6 8.1
Awful 3.2 6.5 1.6

A clear majority of readers thought the Story, Art and Overall issue were either Good or Outstanding by margins of 53.3, 58.0 and 58.0 percent! Note that in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election, the winner only received 52.9% of the vote. Nyah, nyah!

This issue was concurrent with Alpha Flight #49 and solicited issue #50 in the section, “Marvel Coming Attractions”:

ALPHA FLIGHT #50 – Alpha Flight embarks on a race-against-time quest to find a cure for the disease killing Northstar. But their search proves to be a fatal one for some of the Alpha Flight members! A double-sized and danger-filled adventure that shall change the ranks of Alpha Flight forever! Guest starring: Loki! Written by Bill Mantlo, penciled by June Brigman, and inked by Whilce Portacio. $1.25.

There was also a solicit for Alpha Flight Annual #2, in the article, “An Annual Tradition” by Sholly Fisch. Here is an excerpt from that article where Alpha Flight is mentioned. Note that Sholly incorrectly identified Heather McNeil Hudson as “Heather MacDonald”:

While the AVENGERS and WEST COAST AVENGERS ANNUALS fill their pages with a multitude of heroes, the ALPHA FLIGHT ANNUAL #2 will be doing just the opposite, thanks to regular ALPHA FLIGHT scripter Bill Mantlo. The ALPHA FLIGHT ANNUAL focuses on just one character, Heather MacDonald a.k.a. Vindicator. As the ANNUAL’s editor, Carl Potts, explains, “Vindicator’s been wondering if she’d be as good a leader without her battle suit.” She gets the chance to test her ability without the suit when, suffering from amnesia, she crashes in one of the small remaining pockets of Ka-Zar’s Savage Land. Her battle suit in ruins, Vindicator has only her wits to rely on if she wants to survive the prehistoric perils that fill the Savage Land!

You probably forgot about the bacon but perhaps now you’re imagining its succulent smell the sound of its sizzles on the grill, well, yes, it’s time for the FUN part of FUNday! The bacon! I mean, the calendar! The back pages of many Marvel Age issues featured a comical calendar with staff birthdays, one-liner jokes and parodies of various Marvel characters. The back cover of this issue had a calendar for May 1987 featuring cartoon Puck on the 9th, imploring readers to eat some bacon and eggs. I have no idea why we were supposed to eat bacon and eggs on May 9th, 1987 except as an excuse to show Puck saying “Canadian Bacon, eh!” Unfortunately, that thing Puck is holding does not resemble what Canadians call Canadian bacon, nor what Americans call Canadian Bacon, nor would a Canadian even use the term “Canadian Bacon” in the first place, unless you actually are Canadian and you’re visiting me in NYC and want to have a little fun. Credits for the calendar are w-Mike Carlin, a-Ron Zalme, c-Paul Becton.