Crossing the streams, Tintin style

Thanks to the French comics news site ActuaBD, we now know that even American creators know their classics. In this short comic from Fantastic Four Giant Adventures #1 (2009), Paul Tobin and Dustin Weaver show how The Thing dreams in a clear line style (albeit with a less than clear line story).

Keen eyes will notice that Weaver also included Tintin creator Hergé in the first panel, but also his long time collaborators E.P. Jacobs and Jacques Martin. Now that’s crossing the streams. I also like which characters from the Marvel and the Tintin universe were mapped. Especially the Calculus-Richards mix is pretty neat.

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The Dostojewsky Roundabout

Late last year visual wizard Dave McKean posted this wonderful little circle comic on his Twitter. It originally ran in the New York Times, on the occasion of the great Russian’s 200th birthday.

Indicentally, McKean’s website is like a tumble back to the nineties, clickable maps and all. Charming!

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Walk a mile in Michel’s shoes

For the second year in a row French sneaker brand Caval is presenting an exclusive limited edition based on the long-running racing BD Michel Vaillant, coinciding with the release of the latest album in the series, Pikes Peak. This time, the design feature asymmetrical stripes in red and blue on a white base, mimicking the colours of the Vaillante logo (and the French drapeau).

More details refer to the comics : the embroidered Vaillante logo on the heel (the right one is opside down, elements from the comics on the insides and the portraits of the main characters on the insoles. A pair will set you back 170 Euros, but a little metal label with the name Vaillante adds that extra oomph for 10 Euros. Available for pre-order from Caval.


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January 10, 2016

For a precious few dates in my life, I can exactly pinpoint where I was at the time. I still remember sitting in an ill-lit room, doing integration tests before a big software release. We largely played music that day.

(from the quite glorious Bowie by Mike Allred and Steve Horton)

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Tintin Rocks (Or “Rocked”)

In December, 2017 French heavy metal band Shinray decided to shake up some social buzz by recording a rocking version of the theme to the classic Tintin cartoons. In their video, they dressed up as the characters from the cartoon and the comics, with the amazing effect of having Captain Haddock on guitar, and Professor Calculus on drums (you’d get hard of hearing from less…). I think it’s cute.

Judging from their website, though, Shinray didn’t do that much since…

(Thanks to the wonderful Facebook community, La Franco-Belge, which celebrated its 10th anniversary only last week. Huzzah!)

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December 8, 1980

People my age will probably always remember this date as the day the sixties finally died, and the world lost some (a lot) of its innocence. John Lennon, late of the Beatles and one of the major figureheads of late 20th Century counterculture, was shot on the steps of his own home.

To remember this, and not deviate too much from comics, here are some pages about the “Boss Beatle” from The Beatles Complete Life Stories, as published in September 1964 by Dell (so way before Yoko).

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All Hail The Handsome Doctor

Back in 1949 serums were the talk of the town when combatting diseases, which lead to feats of heroism like in the above advertisment strip for Gillette safety razors (with a compartment for used blades!). And when I’m talking about heroism, I don’t mean the brave pilot who landed outside of the landing strip, but I’m referring to the rugged doctor, of course.

This strip brings up so many questions :

  • How does it take 8 hours to administer 200 serums?
  • Why does that doctor insist on shaving for an interview on the radio?
  • “You flew the serum! Why…” — because she’s a pilot?
  • What’s “M-m-m-m Handsome” and how can we get this more cringe?
  • Were there antiserumers back then?

Anyway. Luckily we’ve come a long way and gender bias is a thing of the past!

(Image from Fantastic Novels vol. 2, issue 6 – March 1949)

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It’s the comics that’s the problem!

Just like social media and the iPad these days, Pokémon and Heavy Metal and horror movies before that, comic books are at the root of all that’s wrong with kids. I wouldn’t know what’s wrong with kids, but even Socrates had a few things to say about them.

Anyway, thanks to the efforts of Frederic Wertham c.s. we know that it all boils down to comics, their sordid subjects and lurid images. But even years before Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent (1954) people knew it was better to burn them, as is suggested in this fragment from 1948’s Pitfall by the lead character, married insurance adjuster John Forbes, who later (and I quote IMDB), “falls for femme fatale Mona Stevens while her boyfriend is in jail and all suffer serious consequences as a result.

But, like I said, it was all because of the comics.

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Now that’s what I call ephemeral (also, stamps)

I’ve writtten before (quite a lot, actually) about collecting stamps about comics, and I’ve written about counterfeit stamps, fake stamps, satirical stamps and collectibles looking like stamps, but this is going one step further.

Turns out in 1964 comic artist Marie Severin (Dr. Strange, the Hulk, Not Brand Ecch) was asked to design a number of stamps to be included in Marvel comics, as an early precursor of the mid-1970 Marvel Value Stamps that led countless gullible young readers to cut up their comics and thus destroying their later value (ooh, shudder).

Severin designed 36 stamps, which were later divvied up by a collector. Recently, a set of five stamps featuring, amongst others, Captain America and the Rawhide Kid, were auctioned off for 1320 USD, each in their own frame with faux copper nameplate. I’m not sure if the owner got tired of them or something, but they’re already back up for sale. For 2000 USD. Even Picassos don’t become more valuable by 50% that fast.

Still, they’re quite nice sketches. I love how she painstakingly added the perforation.

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He’s a hulk, and a menace!

Thanks to the services of some good souls that shall remain anonymous, I came across a number of issues of the early 1980s Marvel UK run of The Incredible Hulk weekly, which mainly consisted of black and white reprints of Hulk stories from the late 60s along with some editorial content and posters.

What struck me, though, was that the comic also ran a half-page strip chronicling the mishaps of a hulk-like boy who also looked a lot like one of the mainstays of British comics, straight from the pages of the Beano, spiked hair and stripey top included. Apparently the general mood in the British comics industry was mellow enough to allow Marvel to parody Dennis the Menace without DC Thomson even clearing their throats.

The strips were made by Tim Quinn and Dicky Howett, who also did strips like Earth 33 1/3 or The Fantastic 400 in other Marvel UK weeklies. And my inner child kinda likes them. Especially the huge belch.

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