Friday, July 20, 2007

Tom Morrow: What's the Deal with His Head?


In "Mighty Samson" #16 (Gold Key, November 1968), Tom Morrow and Cindia save an entire city from annihilation but they're the only two characters who appear on panel. Which leaves me really confused about his head.

I don't get it. He's got this taut, muscular body but his head is huge and infantile, with a bulbous forehead and a pug nose and pert little lips. (And yet his hair is receding at a rapid pace.) Is he a mutant? Or Irish? Is it just because he's from the future? Because that Cindia person looks just like him! Are they related? Am I reading too much into this? Does the artist merely draw everybody like that, with regular-shaped bodies and gigantic noggins? Igor Kordley did. So did Dan Spiegel and Mike Hoffman and Ernie Colon! *awaits rash of hate mail for besmirching the good name of these fine gentlemen* Fine! Bring it! See if I care!

...I'm sorry. I'm getting testy again. Where is Weight Wizard with my coffee? And of course I think all of those artists I mentioned are very talented; it's just that sometimes they drew people with really big heads.

Hmm. Maybe if I Google "Tom Morrow", that will explain everything. *taps furiously on keyboard*


Holy crap, he's supposed to be a teenager! With that body? He's ripped! How does that work? Teenage boy with an adult body and a baby's head... feh! Who does he think he is? Someone from the Disney Channel? Or Ivan from season two of "So You Think You Can Dance?" Or that baby-headed marionette from Michael Powell's "Tales of Hoffman" movie? The one who was played by a woman and who was last seen getting spanked by the puppeteer's big dopey assistant? Sorry, I couldn't find an image of that but it's "good old-fashioned nightmare fuel" as they say on MST3K. Er, but I digress.

And don't even get me started on Cindia.

Looks Like Somebody Could Use a Stronger Sunblock


Yes, it's astounding what an inker forgetting to draw in a neckline in a single panel can do to a fella's imagination.

This is "Tom Morrow" by the way, from a backup story in Gold Key Comics' "Mighty Samson" -- and by "backup" I mean "smack-dab in the middle of the book." Mighty Samson's rugged exploits were divided into two chapters with Tom Morrow's boring crap in the middle. I presume Tom Morrow served as an emotional release valve (or "heat sink") of sorts, so that Samson fans wouldn't get overstimulated and start humping one another right then and there.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Let's say it's 1968 and you're a spazzed-out, dork-a-tronic teenage nerdmeister. What's the one thing you could wear that would guarantee a savage beating at the hands of a total stranger?


Yeah, that ought to do it.

Wigged Out

...So I had Weight Wizard organize my collection of ancient romance comics the other day while I steered the ship around a pesky asteroid belt. (When is the United Planets gonna finish cleaning that shit up?! Sure, a spaceway crew was on the scene in their orange spacesuits but there was maybe one guy working while six other people were just floating there, drinking coffee.) Suddenly I hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet and sure enough it's Weight Wizard all out of breath and clutching my copy of "Heart Throbs" #130 (DC, February-March, 1971).

"Here's the dealio," he panted. "I really think you oughta buy one of these!" He presented the back cover, which had a full-page ad for...


"Give me that!" I growled. He meekly handed me the crumbling periodical and I swatted him in the nose with it. "I don't wear wigs," I thundered. "I tell other people to wear wigs!"

Weight Wizard turned pale, but with an eager smile plucking at the corners of his mouth. "But--!" he ventured.

"But what?!"

"Well... I figured maybe you could wear it on top of your cowl. Like the original Captain Marvel! ...Marvel Universe version, of course."

"...That's actually not a bad idea." I have to confess I always liked that look, with the big blond sideburns on the outside of his mask. What? Of course he wore a wig! His real hair is dark brown and curly, and it's massive. Kind of a 'fro, to be honest.

I held onto the comic and after I'd steered us all to safety I studied the ad some more.


Let's see... I already am "bewitching" and "daring". Admittedly, "winsome" and "demure" would be new ones for me but I'd just as soon not, thank you very much. And I often make a "split-second change to a new personality." Just ask Weight Wizard! ...Although now that I think about it, I'd be more accurately described as "bi-polar." Let's see... blah, blah, blah, "surprising new adventures"... "life of the party"... yeah, been there, done that. And I've never heard of this "Sarnel" fiber before. Is it any good?


Oh, it's not. You've failed to impress me, wigmaker! Still, you may show me your wares, for my own amusement. BEGIN! *imperiously snaps fingers* (I just made a split-second change to a new personality!)


Ah, the "I'm incubating a nest of possum babies in my hair and I don't care who knows it" wig.


The "OMG Carol Burnett is teh sexy" wig.


Wow. So they let Steve Ditko design a wig!


I didn't know they still had flappers in 1971. I'm guessing a grandma ordered this one and she jitterbugged in front of her mirror until she broke a hip and collapsed onto the floor, yards away from a telephone. When her family came around to check up on her weeks later, they found the granny dead on the floor with her cats lapping at her corpse and her dog wearing the wig. ...Cripes. That was morbid, wasn't it? My apologies. Let's forget this ever happened. Next!


The "Melted Beehive!" She thought she could rival the height of Night Girl's hair! Little did she suspect that Night Girl's hair has heat vision.

And finally...


Party out back, business up front. Unfortunately, the "party" is an Antebellum cotillion circa 1855, with slaves and everything. Gross.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Did She Move Into an Apartment or a Cow's Stomach?


It's the Swamp Thing's city place! In fact, he might still be there, disguised as the drapes or... Good Lord! *choke* Your purse! Drop your purse! Drop it! And run! Run! Don't look back! I'll stay here and fend him off! Don't look--!

(Are they gone?)


Suckers. *rifles through credit cards*

There's exactly one appealing item in this room and it's the door. And I love how the mom's outfit is only barely frumpier than her daughter's. They're both huge fans of voluminous, tent-like coats. Because after all, what's sexier than looking like your legs have been amputated and jammed up inside a church bell?

Gender Reassignment Challenge: Gravity Girl to Gravity Guy

(Sorry about the delay... my internet was on the fritz from Monday evening to about forty-five minutes ago.)

From the article “Am Me Ever Peculiar!” in the mini-magazine “Funny Book Purgatory!” by cartoonist Nedra Scott on Earth B-1234)

The Supergirl of Miniberg!
Exploit Comics # 285 / NPP / June 1961 / a: CURT SWAN / s: LEO DORFMAN
Lanford Lang (who in reality is Gravity Guy) foils yet another attempt by Kendra Clark to reveal his secret identity. Kendra’s convoluted scheme – involving the town square’s “painted waters” (intensely dyed and probably toxic) fountain, a trained pigeon and a pinhole camera – meets swift retaliation, as Lanford uses his “magno-wind” powers to knock her flat on her ass in front of (apparently) Miniberg’s entire population. Kendra is humiliated (“My shirt is torn! Why, everyone can see my midriff!”) and dashes home to change clothes. She finds herself running faster and faster until she flies up into the air! She reports this event to her parents, who respond with not one, but two life-changing revelations:
1. She’s adopted.
2. She’s most likely from outer space.
Gobsmacked Kendra is informed that her mom and dad discovered her as a baby in the wreckage of a rocketship but since she resembles a human being they love her anyway. The Clarks surmise that puberty has activated “some alien organ”, allowing her to fly. Kendra declares in the very next panel that she will embark upon a career as a crimefighter, a decision which her parents support whole-heartedly. Ma Clark sews for her an ugly blue suit with red granny panties on the outside, (what might be history’s very first) go-go boots and a cape. Kendra adds a papier-mache “princess” mask to the ensemble by way of protecting her identity, modestly dubs herself “Supergirl” and flits through an open window, into her first adventure! Uh-oh! There’s a robbery in progress! Kendra discovers she has quite a large (and random) collection of superpowers. She uses “super hearing” to eavesdrop on a police scanner, “x-ray vision” to find thieves who tunneled into a bank vault, “heat vision” to melt through the door, “invulnerability” to make the robbers’ bullets bounce off her chest, “super strength” to clobber them senseless, “super breath” to blow them through the air to the police station and “super-ventriloquism” (you heard me) to make it seem like they’re confessing. Gravity Guy finds out! He’s perfectly livid. (“This ‘Supergirl’ sounds like a real wildcard! Will she use her tremendous powers for good? Or evil?”) Supergirl lends Gravity Guy a hand in tackling numerous bad guys and disasters. He ever-so-grudgingly accepts her help, all the while searching for her weakness.(“Crimefighting is a dangerous business for a girl! Even a Supergirl! If she’s not careful, she could be hurt!”) Soon enough, Supergirl starts screwing up, falling from the sky over a rock quarry and dropping a priceless emerald because it feels “hot.” Gravity Guy finds chunks of a similar green mineral in the rock quarry and deposits them in a chest, which he tricks Supergirl into opening. She yelps in pain! Immediately she passes out and starts to glow a sickly green. Gravity Guy removes her mask. Looking even smugger than usual, he flies her unconscious body to the Clark home. With zero prompting on Gravity Guy’s part, the Clarks tell him everything they know. Gravity Guy calls for his “friend” Professor Lang. The professor relates his latest discovery: the supposed emerald and the other green rocks that injured Supergirl were in fact meteorites which have a “poisonous effect” on whatever the heck species Kendra belongs to. Gravity guy gives the Clark family a good stern lecture. (“Suppose a criminal found one of these rocks and used it on Supergirl while she was saving someone! More than one life could be lost!”) Professor Lang has another surprising discovery! It’s another meteorite, only gold, and he theorizes it could remove Supergirl’s powers without (otherwise) harming her. Ma and Pa Clark give the Professor the go-ahead. (Kendra is still knocked out.) It works! Gravity Guy uses his powers of “Magno-Amnesia” (magnesia?) to re-order the blood flow in Kendra’s brain. It gives her “a tiny stroke” and wipes out her memory of the last few days. Kendra wakes up! She wants to know why she’s wearing that strange costume! Everybody laughs.

(With apologies to the great Scott Saavedra, whose writing style I kind-of, sort-of, tried to mimic there, after a fashion and in a way. It was tough, too. For one thing, I swear way more than he does.)


In a gender-reversed universe, “Gravity Guy” would be just as much of a tool as Superboy. He’d also be the big fish in his little town – the original hero – and so he wouldn’t wear a mask. “Lanford Lang” would be a bespectacled coward with bad posture and the dull-witted population of “Miniberg” wouldn’t think to draw a connection between the two 5’9, red-haired and freckled sixteen-year-olds. (Also, the mask was already ultra-masculine and it was homely as hell.) I didn’t have to do much to Gravity Girl’s costume to make it suitable for a Silver Age boy hero. The skirt is now trunks, and they’re admittedly a tad longer than Robin’s, if only because I personally loathe the combination of bare thighs and covered arms on male heroes. Still, I think I made the trunks short enough to be plausible for that time period. I don’t know what the hell that black thing on Gravity Girl’s chest was supposed to be and I don’t care to know, so I altered it into a more attractive symbol. I’m still not sure what it stands for – an atom? Some kind of road sign? The overhead view of a 19th Century Utopian community? – but it certainly looks nicer. I framed the symbol in thick black lines to make it clear that the top is a one-piece and not that effed-up “twin set” or whatever the hell Lana was wearing. And to balance the top, I added black trim to the trunks, cape, gloves, and boots. I changed the red on the belt to green; I figured as the star of his own comic, Gravity Guy wouldn’t be wearing a superpower-bestowing accessory that called attention to itself.

Monday, July 16, 2007

So Who Thinks They Want to Be a Superhero Who Can Dance With the Stars?

This panel has zero to do with fashion, but it's so resplendently awesome that there was no way I could live with myself if I didn't post it.


Gee, Your Corpse Smells Terrific


Thirty-three years ago today, the CIA's nerve-damaging chemical compound XBD-8 was first tested in the field. Today you people know it as "Axe Body Spray."