Jun 30, 2010

Homages to Todd McFarlane's Spider-Man #1

As an extra added bonus to our Spider-Man Week, I thought I'd take off from Olivier Agustin's comment on the list of the top 5 most important Spider-Man artists of all time!

Now, we know that Todd McFarlane drew this bestselling issue of Spider-Man #1 back in 1990, and it went through multiple printings:

But overlooked, I think, is the fact that it's most likely the most homaged cover of the modern era! In fact, McFarlane himself keeps going back to this cover. It's a cover that's so recognizably Spider-Man's, that any similar pose is considered a tribute. Let's look at some of them!

Top Five Spider-Man Artists Who Don't Get Enough Credit

Welcome to the first installment in our Spider-Man Week! Today, we list five Spider-Man artists who don't get enough credit. These are five artists that I really enjoy, but seem to not really get the attention they deserve. Ready? Let's go!

Jun 29, 2010

And Phil Jimenez knocks it OUT of the freaking park!

Wonder Woman #600 comes out this week. It has a fancy schmancy cover by George Perez (which doesn't involve cramming 259 characters in one piece), and to celebrate, DC Universe: The Source is promoting it all week. One of their features is an essay by Lynda Carter, TV's Wonder Woman, on what the character means to her.

And another? Well, as it turns out, the reason they didn't get George to do his trademark "Let's get everyone in one shot" montage picture is because they got someone else to do it. Phil Jimenez, long known as George's hijo, and who I think is an edgier (if not cleaner) version of George when it comes to art, does the obligatory poster piece. And knocks it out of the park.


Five Spider-Man Stories You Should Take the Time to Read

Welcome to the second installment in our Spider-Man Week! Today, we list five Spider-Man stories you should take the time to read! This is not a list of top 5 stories of all time that feature the webslinger, but just five stories that are really entertaining that you may not have heard of, may have dismissed, or don't get much publicity. So I'm going to ignore, like, the entire Stan Lee/Steve Ditko/John Romita run here, since you can get those in an Omnibus and various Masterworks Editions and Essentials, and everyone knows they're classics (and if you don't like classic comics, then you won't like them anyway, capiche?

Dear Santa, I want this for Christmas. Thank you. -Duy.

Shall we start? Yes, yes we shall.

Easter Eggs in Comics: Popeye in Marvels #1

Welcome to another installment of Easter Eggs in Comics! Click here for the archive!

In Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross's Marvels, we see the Marvel Universe through news photographer Phil Sheldon's eyes. It was their first high-profile project, and the project that catapulted them both into superstardom.

As was typical of Ross, this series had its fair share of Easter Eggs. For example, when Captain America first appears, he's the subject of a lot of news broadcasts. The reporters interview the man in the street. So who should one of the interviewees turn out to be?

That's right, it's the one and only Popeye the Sailor Man!

Is that awesome or what?

Jun 28, 2010

Top Five Most Important Spider-Man Artists of All Time

Welcome to the first installment in our Spider-Man Week! Today, we list the five most important Spider-Man artists in history. These are the five artists that redefined Spider-Man, for whichever generation it was they drew him in. Ready? Let's go!

Jun 27, 2010

Links of Note

 Sometimes, stuff is just to cool not to share. Here are some interesting things currently going on in the comic book world.

  • The Huffington Post has a 13-page preview of Joshua Dysart and Cliff Chiang's Greendale. Published by Vertigo, the story actually came from Neil Young. Yes, that Neil Young. It's been getting glowing reviews, like, everywhere. Based on the 2004 concept album of the same name, it's being called the first "rock novel."
  • Comic Book Resources has a joint interview with Jim Lee and Dan Didio on where DC as a publisher stands today. Outstanding in it is an exclusive preview of J.H. Williams III's new Batwoman series.
  • CBR also has an interview with Adam Beechen on writing Batman Beyond. In it, he says that Terry may meet "his" Catwoman. I kind of thought that Ten was his Catwoman.
  • Ty Templeton, famed artist of Batman Adventures and Spider-Man/Human Torch, has started a webcomic! Yay!
  • Art Spiegelman teams up with the Pilobilus dance troupe to create a homage to early 20th century cartoons, including Happy Hooligan and Little Lulu. I wonder whatever happened to his planned "comic rock opera."
If you have any other cool stuff regarding comics out there, paste 'em in the comments!

Jun 26, 2010

Spider-Man Week

From Monday, June 28 to Saturday, July 3, I ran Spider-Man Week, covering lists and a couple of articles for everyone's favorite red-and-blue-wearing webheaded wallcrawler!

Commission by Bruce Timm

Here's the schedule.

June 28: Top Five Most Important Spider-Man Artists of All Time
June 29: Five Spider-Man Stories You Should Take the Time To Read
June 30: Five Spider-Man Artists Who Don't Get Enough Credit
             Homages to Todd McFarlane's Spider-Man #1
July 1: Why Electro is Awesome and You Should Never Screw Around With a Steve Ditko Design
           The Five Most Important Spider-Man Moments
July 2: Top Five Spider-Man Writers of All Time
July 3: Top Five Spider-Man Villains

If you're a fan of Spidey at all, be sure to join in on the fun! And even if you're not, we'll still have Comics Techniques and Tricks and Easter Eggs in Comics, as well as those pieces where I just talk!

Jun 25, 2010

Can We Get Over Wally West's Costume Yet?

So there was a bit of an uproar a few years ago when Barry Allen was announced as returning as the main Flash. Fans of Wally West - myself included - felt cheated that "our" Flash was getting pushed to the side, even if, we acknowledged, that they had pretty much already done with him what they could do as a DC Comics mainstay. The truth is, Wally had been developed so much that a very significant chapter, even a book, in his story was over. He was at the same point that Barry was in in 1983, when they decided to retire him.

Then we were told that Wally would be a backup feature in Barry's Flash book, and there was an uproar because he was "just" a backup. Then we were told that they were going to figure out something else for Wally, and he wasn't going to be the backup feature anymore, and there was an uproar because he was going to be absent, mainly. And then there was an uproar because they decided to change Wally's costume. Some people decided it wasn't different enough from Barry's. Some people decided it took too much away from Wally West.

To which I say, can we get over this yet?

Seriously, folks, DC can't win. They made up their minds to bring Barry back. I don't like it as a fan of Wally West, but objectively, I can see how it's a smart move. And I really get everyone's complaints about the whole thing about Wally being demoted (but again, to be fair, he was already demoted before Barry Allen was announced as coming back). But the costume, folks? Really?

For those who are saying it's not different enough, look at that again and tell me that you can't tell from a glance which one is which. Aside from Wally's costume being darker, the emblem, the mask, the belt, and the eyes are completely different. It takes no more than a passing glance to really get who's who, and in faraway group shots, it either (1) doesn't matter which one is which, or (2) will be made clear through speech balloons. If you can't take the time to pay a closer look at the pictures, then how are you ever going to survive reading some of the more picture-dependent comic book stories, such as Watchmen, Top 10, or anything from MAD? Seriously, you pay so much for a comic; don't just breeze through it. Enjoy the artwork. Take it in. Look at it. Soak it up.

And for those who say Wally's costume is too different, all I can say is, WOW, the Internet has really paved the way for all sorts of complaints, because back in 1993, when Mark Waid, Greg LaRocque, and Roy Richardson did "The Return of Barry Allen" and really kickstarted Waid's run on Flash into high gear, Wally's costume was already different, and no one complained about it. Furthermore, no one ever said anything about how "they're too alike." In other words, the previous two complaints were nonexistent back in 1993, and I thought that we were supposed to be a "more sophisticated audience."

Even when Brian Bolland did the cover for the trade paperback, he paid tribute to Barry Allen's first appearance and did the "film reel" cover. But you'll note how it's clearly a different Flash in the reel from the one breaking out of it.

Note also how Wally's got the Batman eyes and the V-shaped belt (which I like better; it's more streamlined) going.

But then you have people complaining about the emblem! Oh no! It's two streaks instead of three! Again, like I said, no one complained when it was done on this guy:

The animated Flash from the Bruce Timm-helmed Justice League and Justice League Unlimited series resembles the costume they gave to Wally so much that if anything, Wally's new costume is more "Wally" than the old one ever was. When kids think of the Flash, a lot of them think of this Flash. They know it's their Flash.

Which leaves the question of the mask. As you can see, the nose is covered, so it resembles Batman more, and differentiates Barry from Wally more, in case people still need another visual clue on how to tell Barry and Wally apart. Well, in 1999, to cap off his run, Mark Waid did a storyline involving a "Dark Flash," a darker version of Wally named Walter West from another timeline. (This was when they were trying to test the ultimately-to-fail Hypertime concept.)

The story went over well, and, like with Spider-Man's black costume, the suit became so popular among a certain sect of fans that they wanted Wally to switch to it full-time, and they really came crawling out of the woodwork when it was announced that Wally was going to get a new costume. What these guys failed to acknowledge is that, much like the alien costume, it may look cool, but it didn't fit Wally's personality, so why would he wear it? Still, it seems that the new costume reminds everyone of Walter's costume, even if the only thing it took from Walter is the mask.

With a synthesis of three Wally-centric things, Wally West's new Flash costume is so much more "Wally West" than his previous, it's-all-Barry-except-for-the-belt costume ever was.

But honestly, folks, it's all so superficial. This hatred of Barry Allen - a fictional character - on account that he pushed Wally West - another fictional character - to the side is a little ridiculous, not to mention myopic. If Wally West still had his own title, and it was on the same stature as Barry's, then I bet everyone would be reading both. But since it's not, we get people boycotting Barry's title. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with not buying a comic book, but reasons like this are ridiculous. For a character that can't ever acknowledge your own existence, you're depriving yourself of good characterization, good artwork, and good contemporary-styled Silver Age ideas.

The Flash by Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul is one of the best books on the market. I highly recommend it, and Wally West was always "my" Flash.

Jun 24, 2010

Comics Techniques and Tricks: Alan Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz

Welcome to another edition of Comics Techniques and Tricks, in which we showcase techniques that only comics can do! Click here for the archive!

Today's comic trick comes from Alan Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz, who in 1990 did Big Numbers, an unfinished comic book series about shopping, fractal mathematics, small-town life, and the dynamics of real life and the imagination.

In this comic trick, Sienkiewicz takes the Frank King Gasoline Alley trick I showed you last time, and refined it for a modern audience and a longer format. See, the Gasoline Alley strip was great to look at, but if you read it in any direction, well, it didn't really make much sense in terms of telling a story. And it didn't have to; it was one page, and it looked great. But in Big Numbers, the technique had to be adapted to tell the story efficiently. So it's the same technique, except that you read it in your regular left-to-right, up-to-down way:

Pretty cool, huh? Bill Sienkiewicz did the art, but Alan Moore is credited for really detailed scripts, so I think they both deserve the credit for this one.

Jun 23, 2010

Why Classic Comics are Good for Boys, and Not So Good for Girls

So maybe you have kids, and maybe you want to introduce them to comics, because you loved comics when you were his age and you want them to experience the magic. Unfortunately, the current market is too full of overly complicated, whether literally or visually, not to mention how annoyingly expensive it is to keep up with all the "event" stuff going on.

One easy way is to go back to old comics, because those are simple and were created for young boys in mind. For example, one of my nephew's favorite comics is the classic "Flash of Two Worlds," which has clear, solid storytelling filled with wonderful (literally, i.e., full of wonder) ideas, such as the multiverse and colorful villains like the Fiddler and the Shade.

So that's great fun, for young boys! And even young girls! But what about if you want the girls to have a positive female role model, instead of continuing to look up to male characters? Well, that's where it gets tricky.

Unfortunately, strong females in comics are unfortunately really hard to find,and if you have kids and you don't want to give them complicated stuff, it gets even worse. Not only are most superheroines just female versions of male superheroes, they also had the tendency to be portrayed as "stereotypically female," which in comics was treated as a major weakness.

For example, we can take a look at Batgirl, in this cover to Detective Comics #371.

"Oh no! A run in my tights! Surely this means I will endanger your lives, you non-understanding men!"

Then there's this cover to Action Comics #360. Even after Supergirl was revealed to the world (after months of her being "Superman's secret weapon"), she's not only just a clear inferior copy of Superman who just happens to be female - she doesn't even get the cover to herself - she also has problems with stuff like, you know, getting fat.

Even Mary Marvel, an excellent character from the Shazam family, isn't without her issues. My 5-year-old niece looked at this chart and laughed, and said to me, "Beauty's not a superpower!"

And Stan Lee was especially notorious for treating women this way. When the Avengers get into a big fight with the Hulk, where does the Wasp go?

I know that times have changed, and that girls should, in theory, have more role models now (this is a post for another time). But these old, classic stories have a lot of entertainment value, especially for kids, but the sheer amount of sexism in them would require you to sit down with your children and guide them and make sure they're aware of it.

There are comics that come out these days too, that would be good for your kids! More on this in a future post.

Jun 22, 2010

Easter Eggs in Comics: Top 10 #1

Welcome to another installment of Easter Eggs in Comics! Click here for the archive!

In Alan Moore, Gene Ha, and Zander Cannon's Top 10 for America's Best Comics (ABC), one police precinct keeps the peace in a town full of superpowered beings.

 As you can tell, this makes for a lot of inside jokes and gags, and is therefore a prime spot for me to go Easter Egg Hunting every now and then.

For example, this is the first panel in the first issue of Top 10.

Check out the ads!

"Time for a change of outfit? Stop in at the PHONE BOOTH!" plays off of the conventional trope in which Superman used to change in a phone booth.

"1 Million Cured! Logan's DNA Dietary Supplement! With Extra Adamantium!" references Wolverine's healing factor.

"Hold it! Better call ACTION Insurance!" comes complete with a drawing of a Superman-type figure carrying a car, just like Superman did in Action Comics #1.

Pretty cool, huh? And that's just the first panel of the first issue!

Got an Easter Egg for the Cube? Email it to comicscube@gmail.com

Jun 21, 2010

Why Not "Graphic Novel"?

Regular readers of this blog may notice that I hardly, if ever, use the term "graphic novel." Here's why.

Jun 20, 2010

For Father's Day: Knights Above Opal

In honor of Father's Day today, I've decided to take a look at my favorite father-son pair in comics: Ted and Jack Knight, respectively the first and seventh Starmans (Starmen?).

There are so many reasons to read James Robinson, Tony Harris, and Peter Snejberg's Starman, which is the story of Jack Knight's reluctant taking up of his father Ted's heroic mantle, and his growing relationship with his dad is one of them. When the series starts, Jack's not exactly on good terms with Ted. In fact, he makes fun of his tights-and-powers past:

But when his brother David, the current Starman, gets killed by one of his dad's old enemies, Jack has to jump into action, not to save the day, but to save his own bacon. Ted gets mad at him for mocking "the life," but then Jack finds it in himself to fight, and in the process, he becomes the seventh Starman, under the condition that Ted uses his knowledge of cosmic energy to try to come up with scientific improvements and developments over the years.

One of the best parts of the entire series is Jack and Ted's growing relationship with each other. They go from two people who simply can't get along to two people who try so damn hard to get along but find it too damn hard, because they're all each other has left:

I won't ruin the ending for anyone who hasn't read it and who plans to, but suffice it to say that the distant-yet-trying-so-hard-not-to-be relationship between Jack and Ted is one that, to some degree, any man can feel as it pertains to a father figure. At the end of the day, when you're all grown up, there's so much to try to reconcile, and if we're lucky, we can reconcile as much as what's hanging over our heads.

Those who know me know that there's not much I can actually relate to as it pertains to this particular day, but I still find the dynamic between the first Starman and his son to be a very a powerful relationship that is one of the reasons why Starman is the only comic book series I own an entire run of. One of my favorite stories is " ," which is in essence just a "catch-up" story in Starman: Secret Files and Origins #1 - one of the ones where it's just an excuse to tell you what the Starman franchise is about. In it, Jack tells his tattoo artist the story of his father, while Ted tells Jack's girlfriend Sadie his son's. At one point, Ted tells Sadie that Jack used to keep a scrapbook of Ted's exploits, but that Jack burned it in his rebellious years. It hurt, yes, but as Ted says, "it was his to burn." When Sadie asks Ted if he himself has started keeping a scrapbook of Jack's exploits, Ted says no. He was too much of a scientist to be sentimental.

The ending of that particular story?

Happy Father's Day, Comics Cubers!

Jun 19, 2010

New Banner

Anyone who can name the titles for the logos I used for the banner gets a no-prize.

Spider-Man Week

Greetings, Comics Cubers!

On June 28, is going to be Spider-Man Week at the Comics Cube!

That means that every day, we at the Comics Cube (and by "we," I mean me and my symbiote) will have a top five list of various things related to Spider-Man. Here's the schedule:

June 28: Top Five Most Important Spider-Man Artists of All Time
June 29: Five Spider-Man Stories You Should Take the Time To Read
June 30: Five Spider-Man Artists Who Don't Get Enough Credit
             Homages to Todd McFarlane's Spider-Man #1
July 1: Why Electro is Awesome and You Should Never Screw Around With a Steve Ditko Design

           The Five Most Important Spider-Man Moments
July 2: Top Five Spider-Man Writers of All Time
July 3: Top Five Spider-Man Villains

If you're a fan of the webbed wonder, we hope you join us! And don't worry - we'll still have all our regular features throughout the week.

Jun 18, 2010

Watchmen, the Charlton Action Heroes, and the MLJ/Archie Heroes

So here's something you may or may not know. Did you know that Watchmen was not supposed to feature original characters?

 Top Row: Dr. Manhattan
Bottom Row: Rorschach, Nite Owl, Silk Spectre, Ozymandias, the Comedian

Nope, when Alan Moore wrote his proposal for the series, he had in mind some characters from Charlton comics, which, at the time, had just been purchased by DC Comics.

So for example, going clockwise from top left: The Question, a Randian Objectivist, was turned into Rorschach; Captain Atom, with nuclear powers, was turned into Dr. Manhattan; the Blue Beetle, a rich scientist complete with a Golden Age predecessor and flying animal-themed vehicle, became Nite Owl; Nightshade, a woman who was dating Captain Atom, was turned into Silk Spectre (although it could be argued that she was pretty much just substituted with Black Canary, who had no powers and a superheroic mom); and Peacemaker, who preaches peace with guns, was replaced with the Comedian. As for Ozymandias, he was derived from Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt, who trained his body to near-perfection.

In all these cases, Moore and Gibbons took the characters to even more extreme degrees - Dr. Manhattan, for example, was more distanced from humanity, and more powerful than Captain Atom.

So, that's something you may already know, but did you know that the Charlton heroes were not Moore's first choice for this series?

Moore conceived the idea that eventually became Watchmen with the MLJ characters, better known as the Mighty Crusaders, or the Archie Heroes, because they were being published by Archie Comics:

Moore never says how far he went in his treatment, just that the dead superhero to begin with (the one who would later be the Comedian) would be the original Shield (that's the dude in the middle up there). And then it would draw out the rest of the Crusaders, including Joe Simon and Jack Kirby's third (by my counting) patriotic superhero, Private Lancelot Strong, the second Shield:

I don't know how that particular final product would have resembled what became Watchmen. It or anything that didn't involve the Watchmen characters probably would not have had the impact that it did, since a huge part of Watchmen was what someone like Dr. Manhattan brought to the table, but I do think it was interesting that in 1983, even before Watchmen, Archie was (under the Red Circle imprint) already putting out the characters in more contemporarily-drawn and written stories (with art and story by Rich Buckler):

I do think it's a safe bet that Fly Girl would have been in the Silk Spectre position, though. And Hooded Justice from Watchmen seems to be inspired by MLJ's Hangman. (That's the green dude with the noose in that group picture above).

Alan Moore has even said that in general, the very bare bones of the Watchmen plot could be applied to any small superhero universe (meaning not Marvel or DC). This is true because the story wasn't really about its plot, but the nuances and devices they used to tell it. So technically, you could take the barest treatment of Watchmen and apply it to any other property. Moore said he thought of using the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents:

And in 1995, Douglas C. Atkinson wrote, for fun, a script that featured the other Archie Heroes: Captain Hero, Pureheart the Powerful, SuperTeen, and Evilheart, which you can read here (I recommend reading it. It's good fun):

Watchmen has been blamed for kickstarting the grim-n'-gritty movement, but honestly, I'd like to see someone take a more serious look at properties like Cat-Man and Kitten:

And I would honestly pay serious money if someone actually made this loser, the Captain Marvel of the 1950s, worth reading. No, seriously. I would fork over like 4 dollars an issue for six issues if someone made this guy contemporary, relevant, and good to read. Because I think it's impossible.

Thanks to Dial B for Blog for the Pureheart/Superteen/Captain Hero graphic, and to Comic Book Artist for the information!

Comics Techniques and Tricks: Art Spiegelman

Welcome to another edition of Comics Techniques and Tricks, in which we showcase techniques that only comics can do! Click here for the archive!

Today's Comic Trick comes from the legendary Art Spiegelman, creator of, among other things, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus.

In "A Day at the Circuits," published in Arcade Comics Revue #3 sometime in the mid-70s, Art Spiegelman uses arrows to direct your attention to the next panels. Sometimes, there exists more than one arrow, and it's up to you to choose your own adventure, so to speak.

Having seen Art Spiegelman talk twice and use this example each time, I can say it's even better when he's reading it aloud.

And look, it ends in the middle of the page. Pretty cool, huh?

In addition, have you checked out Cross Panel Comics lately?

Jun 17, 2010

On Marc Swayze and Mixing Styles

As a follow-up to my earlier post about mixing styles, I found an old article in Comic Book Marketplace #120 detailing the rise of Captain Marvel and family in the Golden Age. (By the way, does anyone get this? No one else had spin-offs that went in their own comics but Captain Marvel. There was no Supergirl back then. Robin didn't have his own title. But Captain Marvel had Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Junior, Mary Marvel, Uncle Marvel, and Hoppy the Marvel Bunny. Does anyone else understand this?)

In it, Marc Swayze himself recounts how he got the Mary Marvel job.
"They had sent me several sketches of a flying hero in a red suit," he recalled. "I didn't let on that I didn't know the name of the character."
When editor Ed Herron told him, "We couldn't distinguish your art from Beck's," Swayze asked, "Who's Beck?"
 Well, I guess that settles that! There's a lot more interesting stuff in the article, like C.C. Beck recounting that one of the secrets to Captain Marvel's success is a very sparing use of superheroics, which I'll undoubtedly talk about in the future!

Zander Cannon's Heck

Zander Cannon, layout artist and inker of Top Ten and artist overall of Smax (both written by Alan Moore), has opened up a new Web site for his project, Heck. It'll be compiled into a book (or as you folks may call it, a graphic novel) when it's done.

In his words:
Heck is a project that was born out of a local Minneapolis-St. Paul project called the 144-hour Graphic Novel Project.  Each 12-page chapter would be produced in a single 12-hour session, for a year, which would culminated in a decent-sized graphic novel without significantly impacting one’s free time.  Naturally this project collapsed for all involved, myself included, when the reality of burning a whole Saturday once a month started to impede on our spouses, children, and more interesting weekend plans.

By that time, however, this project had grown to the point where I could not abandon it.  The concept was plucked out of a shuffle of old mid-quality ideas as a modest pulp adventure, but as I wrote and drew it (simultaneously, in most cases, and very fast), the characters by necessity came to life and started to possess dimensions that I hadn’t planned on.  The various forces that were shaping my mid-thirties horned their way in and made the relationship between a man with a shotgun and his tiny mummy sidekick the representation of a lot of my own thoughts about fatherhood, responsibility, guilt, and heartbreak.

I know.  It’s ridiculous.
What're you waiting for? Read Heck here!

Jun 16, 2010

What Watchmen Means to Me

Watchmen, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, is, to me, the greatest piece of work ever produced in any medium.

While I could come up with a bunch of objective and technical reasons as to why it is the best piece of work ever produced in any medium, I realize that such a label is subjective, so I'm going to give off the most subjective line of reasoning.

The Increasingly Fine Line Between Western and Japanese Comics

People who know me expressed surprise at my putting Osamu Tezuka at the top of my top 10 most influential comics artists list. In all honesty, it surprised me too, because I don't read manga myself, nor am I an anime watcher. But recently, I started asking a bunch of questions about the nature of comics and exactly what made it different from manga, and the answer I came up with?

Not a whole lot.

Jun 15, 2010

Easter Eggs in Comics: Tintin in Teen Titans Spotlight #11

This is the first of Easter Eggs in Comics, an indefinite series focusing on inside jokes in comic books! Click here for the archive!

In Teen Titans Spotlight no. 11, cover-dated June 1987, by RJM Lofficier and Joe Orlando, the Brotherhood of Evil somehow find their way into an alternate earth that has been taken over by mutated creatures after a nuclear holocaust. They're forced to be on the side of the good guys for a while, and that's where they meet a guy named Tin.

Look familiar?

Later on, Tin tells them the tale of his planet's sordid history, a tale that goes back all the way to when he was a teenager, and he had some very recognizable friends.

Ringing a bell yet?

I'll wait for you to think about it.

Okay, give up?

Yep, "Tin" and friends are Herge's Tintin, Captain, and the Professor!

Fun stuff!

Got an Easter Egg for the Cube? Email it to comicscube@gmail.com!

RIP Al Williamson

Al Williamson, one of the cornerstone artists of the New Trend movement of EC Comics, has passed away.

I only discovered his work in recent years, and I don't think he was as skilled as Wally Wood or Bill Elder, but Al Williamson was a part of that group of revolutionaries in EC Comics, the one company that said that "The house style is quality." In particular, I'll never forget his short story, "50 Girls 50," which was showcased in Weird Science #20.

His work, like that of his entire company's, was very influential, and Al Williamson's career spanned all the way to 2009. He was so good that at one point, Frank Frazetta was inking him. And when called upon to do Flash Gordon, he did one worthy of Alex Raymond:

Rest in piece, Al Williamson. Thank you for your contributions to this medium I love.