Saturday, February 29, 2020

Separated at Mirth: Drawbridge Drawings!

Mighty Mouse provides our "Mirth Separation" today, with a pair of "Drawbridge (cover) Drawings"!


...And ADVENTURES OF MIGHTY MOUSE # 155 (Dell Comics, Cover Date: July-September, 1962) - the last Dell issue before the beginning of Gold Key!  

During the Dell Comics period, there were more heroic-action or "public-service-type" covers (like those above), as opposed to Mighty Mouse's days at St. John Comics - when he had a clear sense of determination, as well as outright fun, in sticking it to the cats!  

But, for now, while the cats are away, the mouse will hold open drawbridges...

...from different directions, mind you! 

In rush hour - note the number of cars...

...And at off-peak hours... again note the number of cars...

...And continue "saving the day" - because that's what Mighty Mouse does!  For St. John AND for Dell!  ...And a few other publishers after that! 

...But, it never hurts to have a little fun with the cats, does it?  

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

R.I.P. Russ Cochran

A true giant of the comic book world has has left us, with the passing, on February 23, 2020, of Russ Cochran - publisher, historian, archivist, and (perhaps, first and foremost) fan!

Everyone who visits this Blog, owes an almost incalculable debt to Mr. Cochran, for both the multitude of things he actually did, and the many more things he either significantly influenced or set in motion for others to bring to fruition!

I wrote the following to the mailing list at Grand Comics Database, which I will reproduce here...

As a reader of the original Gladstone Disney comics, and the hardcover "Carl Barks Library", I'd say the world of classic comics has suffered a tremendous loss!  

Those original Gladstone issues were the first such comics to run actual creator credits for those who had toiled for years in unfortunate anonymity.  

They were the first in the modern era to bring Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse to a wide audience.

They were the first to treat the American readership to the great European talents of Daan Jippes, Fred Milton, Victor A. Rios ("Vicar"), Daniel Branca, and Romano Scarpa. 

And they were the first to run letter columns in Disney comics, as was standard practice for most other publishers at the time.  

In other words, it was Russ Cochran and Bruce Hamilton who brought the Disney comic book - and, actually, the funny-animal comic book in general - into the modern age!  

Oh, and there was also the discovery of Don Rosa and William Van Horn!  

...And Little Lulu and EC reprint collections!  ...And so much more! 

Joe Torcivia   

Beyond those comments, I daresay that Russ Cochran (perhaps with Byron Erickson) was the difference between the historic Gladstone Series 1 (1985-1990) and the more tepid (though "spectacular by the current publisher's recent standards") Gladstone Series 2 (1993-1999)... and that's all I'm gonna say on THAT topic!   

Rest in Peace, Mr. Russ Cochran... and thank you for everything!  

Monday, February 24, 2020

Dan DiDio Apparently Ousted at DC

While we never wish for anyone to lose their jobs at TIAH Blog (...unlike certain other less-mannered forums have been known to do), I cannot honestly say I feel bad about the apparent ouster, over this past weekend, of Dan DiDio as DC Comics' Publisher (shared with Jim Lee), a position he pretty much held for 18 years.  

You can read one account of it HERE!  

I don't have to tell you that I've been a DC fan since the Silver Age!  And it took Dan DiDio's time as Publisher to get me to leave... pretty much for good!  

For me, modern era DC (that is post Silver Age, from the Bronze Age onward) reached its height under the leadership of Jenette Kahn and Paul Levitz...

...And was at its absolute best, when under this particular logo!  

But, when they were also ousted, as everyone in the comic book industry eventually is, Dan DiDio entered and began making a slow-but-steady series of changes that were to my distaste.   

Constantly shifting continuity, that an adult with a career could not keep up with - even one as dedicated as I.  You never knew who-was-who and what-was-what from one month to the next.  

It was just after trying to make sense out of the jumbled mess that was "52 Weeks", reaching the end and still feeling lost, that I jumped the (not so) Good Ship DC!

And the over-rendered, grotesque imagery that a classicist like me so despised in 1990s Marvel and Image comics finally infiltrated (perhaps even dominated) DC under Dan DiDio's watch. (Though I'm sure that, as a former Image founder, Jim Lee had a bit to do with that!) I don't need to illustrate it... just go to your local comic shop and look through the DC section!  ...BATMAN can still be "dark" without looking like SPAWN or VENOM! ...And, under Kahn and Levitz, he was!  

To be fair, all of it was not a "hot steaming pile of train wrecks inside a giant dumpster fire"... just MOST of it! 


...But, even that withered and died under DiDio's administration.  

And there's the HARLEY QUINN title... 

...Which is the only mainstream DC comic I still buy, because it can be clever and funny...

...As seen by this tribute to ACTION COMICS # 421!  

But, considering the seismic-shock that it would have taken to separate me from DC... Dan DiDio, and those who worked under him, somehow found a way to create it!  

Of course, I'm fully expecting that he will be replaced by someone worse!  They almost always are!  That is just the state of comic books these days... and why I'm spending virtually all my time - and money - on back issues!  

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: Napole-WHO?!

If I ever have the privilege of writing a FLINTSTONES comic one day, this is the kind of joke I would do.. from BARNEY AND BETTY RUBBLE # 22 (Charlton Comics, Cover Date: October, 1976).

Pushed around for being short, Barney decides to do something about it!

This great meta-exchange between Betty and Barney follows: 


It's the kind of thing you could only do with The Flintstones!  

For reasons none of us will ever know, the BARNEY AND BETTY RUBBLE title was far and away Charlton's best Flintstones-related title (they had several) in terms of story, art, and humor!  

But why this, and not the "main FLINTSTONES title"?  (Example below)

...VS. an ancillary title about "the neighbors"?  

That's what makes Charlton so fascinating!  They defied all common knowledge and practices... and "went their own way"!  ...And we got some REALLY WEIRD and sometimes wonderful comics for it! 

Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine's Day (2020)!

Happy Valentine's Day 2020, from all of us at TIAH Blog, to all of you! 

Oh, and from Bugs Bunny, too! 

We not only have a valentine from Bugs, but a limerick about him as well...

An angry young rabbit named BUGSY...

Was looking for someone to SLUG-SY!

He punched at a fop...

Who was really a cop...

And for thirty days, he's in the JUG-SY! 

Eeeh, I never said it was a GOOD limerick! 

So, while Bugs is trying to figure a way out of his predicament (...He's probably already out!), let us end on a happier image... for Valentine's Day!  

Don't say it with flowers... Say it with carrots!  

Happy Valentine's Day!  

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

"Booked" Solid!

Sometimes I get to feeling a lot like this...

Now, has become one of those times!  

Before proceeding any further, my deepest and sincerest apologies to the readers of this humble Blog - and even more so to those whom I owe personal correspondence!  I've fallen woefully behind on both.  Hopefully, you'll all understand!  

Here's the funny thing... I thought retirement from my 35-year career would make life simple... free-and-easy-like.   



The occasional, odd household chore... 

But, no more of the difficult and unpleasant stuff... 

...And, to a very large extent, I was right!  

Right now, I have the best life I have ever had - and said so to Esther and Averi a mere five days ago!  

And anyone who actually knows my life story would also know how true that is!  

But, a funny thing happened on the way to that "simple... free-and-easy-like life"... That being that so many good things have come to fill it!  

And, while I no longer have a career, or even regular writing work, I have so, so much to fill the time...

First and foremost is this wonderful little person who came into our lives!  

Then, in no particular order - because they are ALL important to me!  

The time afforded me to undertake "The Great Comics Organization and Storage Retirement Project", which has allowed me to revisit so many great old comics, and finally get them into the proper order.  This project is expected to keep me busy for a long time.  It also has provided much material for this Blog. 

Becoming a prolific indexer with Grand Comics Database.  This dovetails nicely with "The Great Comics Organization and Storage Retirement Project", in that, before joining GCD, I would use it as a data resource for my organizing - and now, as I organize various issues, I also update them at GCD!  

It's actually great synergy among "The Great Comics Organization and Storage Retirement Project", Grand Comics Database, and the Blog!  One feeds another... feeds another... feeds another... 

Outside of comics, there are also two important activities that simply could not coexist with working full time at a demanding job...

I've become a local bus transit advocate, speaking at public hearings and legislative meetings - and I have actually affected some positive change for my particular local route by making the case before those who make such decisions. 

That led to an involvement with local politics, which I've found both interesting and gratifying.  

And then there is this Blog, which I love, but have (alas) given a back seat of late. 

Finally, I am now doing some fairly extensive research for a book project!  

NO! I am not writing a book!  It is being written by someone far better at that than I could ever hope to be! 

But, it IS what has finally prompted me to write this post - and force myself to admit that some of the things I promised for the Blog will not come to pass right now. 

But, what WILL come to pass is the resumption of the "Adventures in Comic-Boxing" and "Separated At Mirth" type of posts - of which I have MANY stored up and waiting.  

We will return to those by the end of this week, so please enjoy them, while I make the world a better place for buses, local government, old comic books (and those who index them)... and special little girls!  

As always, your comments are welcome - and will get the usual prompt response.