Monday, September 29, 2008

Pulped Fiction: The Drunken Abusive Superman!

Recent mass pulpings of DC comic books have been in the news of late, for both booze and bad swears but the pulping practice at DC actually stretches back to 1955!* World's Finest editor Mort Weisinger had to recall 800,000 copies of World's Finest #74 when he discovered writer Bill Finger's "The Battered Batman", a jarring tale of alcoholism, rage, and abuse. In the story, a grateful race of aliens sends Superman a case of cheap Space Wine as a gift, but the rocket bearing the booze bounty passes through a cloud of red Kryptonite dust, and when Superman tries the Ripple, the Red K tainted hooch immediately turns him into a surly abusive drunk. Batman tries to intervene, But Superman smacks him around and berates him until he collapses sobbing. The next day finds Batman wearing sunglasses much to the surprise of the public. Batman will only admit to walking into a door frame 17 times, but Robin becomes concerned and fearful for his mentor. The story is resolved when, as Superman is kicking and insulting Batman, Perry White appears from nowhere and attacks the Man of Steel, pushing him through the wall! The Daily Planet editor subdues the drunken superhero, finally administering a dose of curative Kryptonian detox serum that returns Superman to normal. It is then revealed that "Perry White" is in fact Ar-Rone, the Kandorian Perry White lookalike, who saw the situation from Kandor and enlarged himself to rush to Batman's aid. Then Bat-Mite and Bizarro Krypto arrive in the Legion of Super-heroes' time bubble to fly Batman to the ER.

Of course, none of this was remotely appropriate for DC's young audience, nor would it pass the Comics Code. In a Comics Journal interview years later, Bill Finger would only cite "exhaustion, dehydration, and extreme stress" as a reason for the gaffe.* Upon seeing the printed copies of World's Finest #74, Weisinger hit the roof, ordering the entire run pulped, and retreated to his office to bolt down a bottle of scotch*. He then called in errant Finger for an impromptu weekend rewrite, and badgered artist Curt Swan into redrawing the story, lashing the two with a yardstick for the duration.* The two reworked the story into the more prosaic "Contest of Heroes" that eventually saw print. Few copies of "The Battered Batman" remain, hoarded by the wealthiest and most eclectic comic book aficionados. For now, the original story of the Drunken Abusive Superman remains an elusive comics legend.

*LIES! All lies! None of this happened at all.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Evidence Supports Red Hulk Theory

SPOILER WARNING: Spoilers for HULK #6 below!

My Red Hulk theory got a real shot in the arm with this weeks HULK #6 featuring Green Hulk's showdown with Red Hulk, as Thor and A-Bomb stand by on the sidelines. Hulk ultimately wears out "Rulk" (ugh...really?!?) and knocks him out. Green Hulk leaves, A-bomb reverts to Rick, and tries to shout out Red Hulk's identity to the receding figure, before being stopped by none other than Doc Samson:

Then General Ross shows up to chime in as well, eliminating two suspects at once:

Finally, a telling comment from Red Hulk:

Exactly what an arrogant military thug with an abiding contempt for a milksop scientist might say upon a reunion with said milksop's emerald alter-ego. Glenn Talbot is the Red Hulk. You know I'm right.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Clark and Jonathan and Jack Ride the Night Train

Apparently, DC Comics recalled the cover to Action Comics #869 due to the depiction of Clark Kent drinking a beer (cue "the vapors", fainting couch) which was edited to show the pair drinking soda pop. But what few know is that the beer cover was itself a rework of an earlier, riskier draft:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fatman, The Human Flying Saucer

Part of the fun of doing this blog is having the ability to share unusual comics from my collection with my readers. Today we have Fatman: The Human Flying Saucer #1, co-created by C.C. Beck and Otto Binder. Beck and Binder had long since seen their previous collaboration, Captain Marvel, litigated out of existence, and the two re-united in hopes of making (Shazam!) lightning strike twice.

Unfortunately, it was not to be. The series only lasted three bimonthly issues in 1967, a victim of the end of the camp craze, and a corresponding slump in comic book sales. As a fan of C.C. Beck's immaculate cartooning, I really think it's a shame that Beck and Binder couldn't make a go of this, because it becomes obvious as I page through the yellowed pages, reading the text pages touting the reunion of Beck and Binder, that Fatman: The Human Flying Saucer was a hopeful labor of love for the two creators. Fortunately, I have a (signed!) copy of the first issue of this forgotten classic to share! The first story in this 64-page first issue, titled simply "The Big Introduction" recounts the origin of our corpulent champion:

Click images to enlarge

"The Big Introduction"
Originally printed in Fatman, the Human Flying Saucer #1
April 1967
Script: Otto Binder
Art: C.C. Beck

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hulk Juggles Circus Animals, Posing as Mechano the Robot Clown

The Hulk Juggles Circus Animals While Posing as Mechano, the Robot Clown.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Gallery of Profoundly Disturbing Comic Book Covers

Hi Pals! In lieu of content, wacky comic book covers. Be warned though, the images to follow are cursed things. Beware lest ye be driven to madness, for once seen, such things cannot be unseen. Some of the nightmares that follow are not safe for work...or sanity!

....And finally, courtesy of France, we have this nightmare fuel, only the most fucked-uppest comic book cover I ever done seen:

You're welcome! This article was made possible by the Grand Comic Database and OUR FINE SPONSORS:

Saturday, September 06, 2008

A Real Superbaby?

Reader and long-time pal Mike Coco sent in a link to a story about a real-life Superbaby. The original article. was first printed back in May 2007, so little Liam Hoekstra is almost three years old by now. Let's wish the Hoekstra family best of luck with their super-strong toddler!