Tentacle Tuesday: Justice League of America

JLA’s roster has rotated throughout the years, but for the sake of this post, only the seven original members will get cephalopod tussling privileges! Here they are, with the conspicuous absence of Batman and Superman who are no doubt rushing behind the scenes to rescue everybody (but don’t worry, we’ll get to them as well):

The Brave and Bold no. 28 (February-March 1960, DC). Cover pencilled by Mike Sekowsky and inked by Murphy Anderson.

I’ll start with Superman, otherwise he’ll get offended – you know how susceptible he can be. Rather, a double whammy of Superman and Flash, who stumble upon some rather adorable (aside from their propensity to eating people) tentacled aliens. Of course our superheroes decide to make a race out of it, because concentrating on saving some planet or other is clearly not exciting enough – and Batman just happened to be hanging around to give the starting signal. Some afternoons are just that quiet. Race to Save the Universe!, scripted by Denny O’Neil, pencilled by Dick Dillin and inked by Joe Giella, was published in World’s Finest Comics no. 198 (November 1970, DC).

Nevertheless, this dynamic duo does allow itself to get distracted from its marathon, just long enough to defeat this green cutie:

Don’t underestimate kittens.

Incidentally, Superman already has a Tentacle Tuesday all to himself (Tentacle Tuesday: It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a Tentacle!) Still, here he is collaborating (more like ‘rescuing’) Jimmy Olsen from an intriguing green (why must they always be green?) monstrosity with worm-like tentacles. Ugh, not the most appealing. These pages are from The Voyage of the Mary Celeste II!, scripted by Jerry Siegel, pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by George Klein and published in Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen no. 75 (March 1964, DC).

DC’s “Big Three” – its most iconic and popular – are of course Superman, Batman and Wonder-Woman. As far as the latter is concerned, as much as I love this character, seeing as we already have two Tentacle Tuesdays posts in her honour – Tentacle Tuesday: H.G. Peter and Wonder Woman lend a hand and Tentacle Tuesday: More Golden Age Wonder Woman Wonders! – I think I’ve said everything I had to say on the subject. Thus, we move on to Batman, albeit briefly because there is also Tentacle Tuesday: All Aboard the Batmarine! to peruse. He’ll have to share the stage with Superman, but I’m sure he’ll be a good sport about it.

World’s Finest Comics no. 110 (June 1960, DC). Pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by Sheldon Moldoff.

The cover story is The Alien Who Doomed Robin, scripted by Jerry Coleman and inked by Sheldon Moldoff.

Our next JLA member is the Martian Manhunter, whom I have a strange soft spot for. It’s well known that girls just can’t resist green skin! In honour of this bias, here are not one, but two excerpts from stories featuring tentacles front and centre.

First, two pages from The Beings in the Color Rings, scripted by Dave Wood and illustrated by Joe Certa, published in House of Mystery no. 148 (January 1965, DC).

And for dessert, a page from The Supernatural Masterpieces!, scripted by Dave Wood and illustrated by Joe Certa, published in House of Mystery no. 150 (April 1965, DC).

Naturally, Aquaman has encountered more than a handful of octopuses in his long undersea career – I went on about that in some length in Tentacle Tuesday: Aquaman and his Octopus Sidekicks. I have plenty more where that came from, so there surely be a part II to that particular tale… in the meantime, here is a rather striking cover that didn’t make it into that post.

The Brave and the Bold no. 73 (August-September 1967, DC). Cover pencilled by Carmine Infantino and inked by Charles Cuidera.

The cover story is Glag the Destroyer, scripted by Bob Haney, pencilled by Howard Purcell and inked by Sal Trapani.

Last… and maybe least, because I could never warm up to him… is Green Lantern. The following pages are from a story pencilled by Gil Kane, who doesn’t generally get glowing reviews from WOT. Nevertheless co-admin RG wrote an ingenious post combining our common dubiousness about Kane and percolated it through specifically Green Lantern covers – the result is Hot Streak: Gil Kane’s Green Lantern, which impressed, if not quite convinced, me.

Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Earth!, scripted by John Broome, pencilled by Gil Kane and inked by Vince Colletta, was published in Green Lantern no. 70 (July 1969, DC).

I hope you enjoyed this overview of the Justice League of America as filtered through the rather eccentric lens of tentacles.

~ ds

Tentacle Tuesday: Unpopular Mechanacles

Greetings, tentacle lovers! After a hearty breakfast of cephalopod pancakes (no octopuses harmed), one can sit down with a quiet cup of tea and enjoy today’s crop of mechanical tentacles.

I tend to follow a chronological order, so our first is E-Man no. 1 (October 1973, Charlton Comics). The cover aside, these images have been taken from a recent reprint, which accounts for the somewhat garish colours. I am hardly a fan of Joe Staton, so this is starting off on a somewhat less aesthetically pleasing foot, but mechanical tentacles are en flagrant délit in the cover story. Besides, E-Man has a certain innocent charm.

The cover story is The Beginning, scripted by Nicola Cuti and illustrated by Joe Staton:

Going towards a much darker note (both in terms of printing and content – and to be honest, I by far prefer this dark-ish colour palette to the rainbow of E-Man colours), here is The Absolute Power-Play of the Parasite!, scripted by Martin Pasko, pencilled by Curt Swan, and inked by Frank Chiaramonte, and published in Superman no. 320 (February 1978, DC):

Next, dramatic Rebirth!, scripted by Marv Wolfman and drawn by Gil Kane (Tentacle Tuesday Dabbler!), published in Action Comics no. 544 (June 1983, DC):

There’s even a sort of pin-up in that issue: The New Brainiac, pencilled by Ed Hannigan and inked by Dick Giordano.

So much flair and poise!

In a previous post (Tentacle Tuesday: Mechanical Tentacles) I promised that I would stick to but a few instances of Doctor Octopus and ne’er again return to him. However, I would like to point out this familiar fellow in the lab coat (top right):

…So You Want to Work for Globex, Huh?, scripted by Gail Simone, pencilled by Óscar González Loyo and inked by Steve Steere Jr., was published in Simpsons Comics no. 66 (January 2002, Bongo). Sometimes Simpsons comics are real fun to read, and this is one of those instances.

~ ds

Tentacle Tuesday: Doin’ the Watusi, the Frug and… the Tentacle Crawl

« The vibrating tentacles produce hypnotic music that people can’t resist! »

This is the last Tentacle Tuesday before Christmas, so wishing all of our lovely readers a splendid (and safe) evening, whether you celebrate Christmas specifically, something else altogether, or nothing at all.

As far as I’m concerned, one of the most important components to creating a holiday mood (aside from being with my family, of course) is music. If it’s played by an octopus, so much the better – and one not? Having a lot of arms is surely handy for playing many instruments at the same time. One must say this is a musical edition of Tentacle Tuesday – so put on a record, preferably of the old-school vinyl variety, and swing your tentacles (or whatever appendage you do possess) along!

Grumpy Shark (1946, Belda Record & Publ. Co.) Written by Bob Bellem and illustrated by Mel Millar, this comic is part of the Talking Komics series issued by Belda Record & Publishing Co., in which a record was sold alongside the comic to delight both eyes and ears of its young audience. I didn’t know octopuses had whiskers – live and learn!
These panels, which I have been seeing all over the place with no attribution of artist or issue number (tssk, tssk) are taken from Aquaman Meets Aquagirl!, scripted by Robert Bernstein and illustrated by Ramona Fradon, and published in Adventure Comics no. 266 (November 1959, DC). Of course Topo, Aquaman’s pet octopus, is adorable as well as talented, and probably deserves his own post… but in the meantime, he has to share space with Aquaman’s other tentacled encounters.

Speaking of Topo… he’s been getting some attention recently, and unsurprisingly his musical talent is involved:

Page from Heroes of the High Seas (January 2011, Picture Window Books), scripted by J.E. Bright and illustrated by Art Baltazar. « Capstone Publishers and DC Comics have joined forces to produce a new children’s books series, DC Super-Pets. The series will focus on the super-powered pets of heroes like Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and Green Lantern… »
Page from The Swinging Superman!, scripted by Otto Binder, pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by George Klein, and published in Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen no. 88 (October 1965, DC).

And to prove that octopuses dig LPs, too, I’ll include this nifty poster:

Poster by Sébastien Feraut (known as Niark1), a French illustrator. Visit his website!

On a connected subject, I heartily recommend this Soviet cartoon, which involves all manner of sea-creatures (yes, including several octopuses!) playing all sorts of instruments – don’t worry, it has subtitles in English.

Merry Xmas, folks!

A splendid seasonal piece by Taly Reznik!
And finally — hope you’ve remembered to mail out all your Unholiday cards! Never forget that the ever-vigilant Cyäegha has its eye on you! [ artist unknown… so far ]

☆ ds

Tentacle Tuesday: Métamorphoses

« My imagination grew wilder, the most unexpected associations flared up in my mind, and as I kept trying, the reception room kept filling with strange objects. Many of them were born, apparently, out of the subconscious, the brooding jungles of hereditary memory, out of primeval fears long suppressed by the higher levels of education. They had extremities and kept moving about, they emitted disgusting sounds, they were indecent, they were aggressive and fought constantly. I was casting about like a trapped animal. All this vividly reminded me of the old cuts with scenes of St. Anthony’s temptations. » [source]

Today’s topic does not involve a man becoming a cockroach: that has been discussed often enough. My current area of interest concerns the many strange and striking ways in which a living form becomes a completely different form under the influence of a supernatural power or its natural inclination, of witchcraft or the whimsy of a writer whose imagination flares up much like it did for poor A. I. Privalov, depicted above trying to create a a sandwich and a cup of coffee and ending up with a roomful of horrors…

This strange creature surely illustrates the perils of getting stuck mid-metamorphosis!

The Doom Patrol no. 95 (May 1965). Cover by Bob Brown. While transforming into god-knows-what, Dr. Sven Larsen is careful to preserved his impeccably coiffed chevelure. Perhaps he inspired Ted Baxter.

In Return of the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, scripted by Arnold Drake and illustrated by Bruno Premiani, the Doom Patrol battle a scientist crazed with power-lust (while dealing with trouble of their own, like being unable to control their powers – it was apparently decided that a scientist who can become anything he likes is not interesting enough).

That this AVM (animal, vegetable, mineral) man decided to transform into an octopus will not surprise regular readers of Tentacle Tuesday: we know that the octopus is the most perfect form there is!

In the rest of the story, AVM also transforms himself into electric eels, tungsten birds, a building-tall neanderthal man, liquid mercury, a grizzly bear, etc., but it’s all a bit of a let-down after the giant octopus, if you ask me.

I’ll continue with this rather evocative cover by Bernie Wrightson, in which we get a preview peek at a gruesome scene just a few seconds before it actually happens.

House of Mystery no. 204 (July 1972). Cover by Bernie Wrightson.

It all starts with a nasty dream of cranberry jelly…

… and ends with an unwelcome transformation of future bride into hungry monster. In this case, a pretty girl is not so much like a melody, but yet another helping of aforementioned cranberry jelly… perhaps I should have kept this story until Christmas.

All in the Family was scripted by Mary Skrenes and Bernie Wrightson; illustrated by Bernie Wrightson.

If this story of transmogrification made your teeth itch, just have a gander at the following histoire d’amour

Captain Marvel no. 40 (September 1975). Cover pencilled by Al Milgrom and inked by Klaus Janson.

No, hold your horses, I’m not implying anything untoward about Captain Marvel. That thing he’s tangled up with is his lover (or should I say ex-lover) Una. Just a little case of demonic possession!

Um, those are not “eyes of wonder”, more like a demented gaze.

Will Captain Mar-vell be able to kill the woman he loves, even if she’s more of a shell inhabited by a tentacled psychic monstrosity, and despite having lost his manhood, whatever that was?

Stay put for the exciting finale of Rocky Mountain ‘Bye! was scripted by Steve Englehart and Al Milgrom, pencilled by Milgrom, and inked by Al McWilliams!

What do we have here? A harmless trick-or-treating kid transformed by Mr. Mxyzptlk into a malefic octopus? It’s business as usual for Superman in this goofy tale (who, incidentally, was the star of Tentacle Tuesday: It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a Tentacle!) I’m sure most children would relish the opportunity to become an actual ghost or werewolf…

But I am not convinced that anybody would want to be transformed into, err, “Globby”.

Nothing as stylish as an octopus with a digital watch.

These pages were from The Haunting Dooms of Halloween!, scripted by Dan Mishkin, pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by Tony de Zuñiga, published in DC Comics Presents no. 53 (January 1983).

~ ds

Tentacle Tuesday: Monsters with Really Long Arms

A favourite trope of tentacular obsession in comics is populating stories with monsters boasting exceptionally long arms (sometimes more than one pair) that they can wind around stuff with ease. In other words, monsters with tentacle forelimbs. You’d have to abstain from comics altogether to never encounter that of which I speak (or stick to slice-of-life comics, I guess). A little demonstration is in order.

Here’s a trick question: what kind of being lives on planet Octo? Duh: Octo-men! The following Flip Falcon story, illustrated by Don Rico (and not “Orville Wells”, despite claims to the contrary), was printed in Fantastic Comics no. 17 (April 1941).

Fantastic Comics #17

FantasticComics17-OctoMen2

FantasticComics17-FlipFalcon
Interesting that “dog” is used as a slur even on planet Octo, despite there clearly being no canines around.

FantasticComics17-OctoMen
Nasty little brutes, aren’t they?

The Super-Tests of the Super-Pets! (scripted by Edmond Hamilton, penciled by John Forte and inked by Sheldon Moldoff) is every bit as goofy as it sounds. I actually enjoyed reading it, much to my own amazement. Anyway, while Proty II (Chameleon Boy’s pet) transforms into quite a few creatures to pass the super-test, he clearly favours tentacular forms (and who could blame him?) This was published in Adventure Comics no. 322 (July 1964).

Super Tests of the Super Pets! (Adventure Comics no. 322)-1-SheldonMoldoff

Super Tests of the Super Pets! (Adventure Comics no. 322)-2-SheldonMoldoff
How is it worse to be a jellyfish instead of some sort of blobby ectoplasm thing?

Speaking of Proty II and ectoplasm, a dozen issues later, the Legion decides to visit his home planet, which is just full of these jello-marshmallow doughboys, Protean citizens all. Part I: The Unknown Legionnaire and Part II: The Secret of Unknown Boy! (both parts scripted by Edmond Hamilton, penciled by John Forte and inked by Sheldon Moldoff) were published in Adventure Comics no. 334 (July 1965).

Adventure Comics no. 334
To terrify Proteans, whose appendages are borderline tentacles, Saturn Girl decides to conjure up a… monster with tentacles.

AdventureComics334-TheUnknownLegionnaire3
In case you didn’t believe me that Proteans have “tentacles”.

AdventureComics334-TheUnknownLegionnaire-2
The shape-shifting Proteans turn into more streamlined versions of themselves, with more pronounced tentacles. I swear, everyone is obsessed.

Next, I’d like to regale you with a fight scene illustrated by Murphy Anderson (yum!): Scourge of the Human Race!, scripted by Gardner Fox and published in Hawkman no. 15 (August-September 1966).

Hawkman15-1964-MurphyAnderson

Hawkman15-1964-MurphyAnderson3
Isn’t it a lovely last panel?

Hawkman15-1964-MurphyAnderson4

If I Can’t Be Clark Kent… Nobody Can!, published in Action Comics no. 524 (October 1981), scripted by Martin Pasko, penciled by Curt Swan and inked by Frank Chiaramonte, offers us a nice helping of tentacles.

Action Comics #524 (1981)

Action Comics #524 (1981)-2

If I should see an octopus
Lift its arms out of the sea
Or see its shadow rising up
Cross the rooftops above the streets
I’d follow those dancing limbs
To the spinning edge of the sky
Where all the boats fall off the world
Into the octopus’s eye

~ ds

Tentacle Tuesday: Cute Critters

Sometimes I stumble upon a comic with a fight-to-the-death scene in which something-or-other- with-tentacles plays the role of a lethal enemy for our hero – but upon closer inspection, in turns out that the ferocious creature is… gosh-darned cute. I mean, how can you kill anything that has adorable whiskers, or tufted eyebrows like Oscar the Grouch?

When your attackers are carrots with tentacles, and they really get on your nerves (although I think Ann is safer with them than with Dr. Maylor), I’d suggest throwing them into a nice big pot of soup, maybe… but if you please, do consider abstaining from flinging acid at them.

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I do believe that prehensile vegetables fit into the category of “cute” – just look at their precious little root-legs! Page from Heroes Out of Time!, scripted by Manly Wade Wellman (hey, cool!), with some very stylish art by Bob Oksner on pencils and Bernard Sachs on inks, printed in Mystery in Space no. 3 (August-September 1951).

While we’re on that topic: things get delightfully wacky and madcap (not much) later in the story. Namely, Napoleon Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin are summoned for help against the tentacled carrot-horde.

MysteryinSpace#3-HeroesinTime-ManyWadeWellman
The Flaming Carrot would not be pleased by this massacre. If only to admire the art, you can read Heroes Out of Time! here.

Thank you kindly for suppressing your urge to sock the creature sporting a unibrow and bloodshot eyes worthy of Christopher Lee; it’s also not his fault he got lumbered with such a shaggy wig.

TheMarvelFamily80
Detail from the cover of The Marvel Family no. 80 (February 1953), pencils by C. C. Beck and inks by Pete Costanza.

Have the goodness to think twice before pitching lethal ice cubes at an owl, even if it somehow grows metal tentacles and threatens to make mince-meat of humanity, because owls are the very cutest.

Action Comics (1938) #257-CongoBill
Panels from The Man-Ape Skin Diver!, scripted by Robert Bernstein and drawn by Howard Sherman, published in Action Comics no. 257 (October 1959).

Action Comics (1938) #257 -congobill-2
“Wiggle-thing”? Excuse me?

Pray, don’t kill anything that looks like it’s wearing a dragon wearing a really bad disguise, including a moustache that looks like a pile of hay.

LeagueofAmerica208
A panel from Fate is the Killer (a preview of a Masters of the Universe story), scripted by Paul Kupperberg, pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by Dave Hunt, published as a promotional bonus in several DC titles cover-dated November, 1982.

If you would be so good as to spare the creature that looks like a mashup of a seal and a mole, especially if it gazes at you mournfully with world-weary sadness.

TheVengeanceofSkeletor-Alcala
Masters of the Universe: The Vengeance of Skeletor! (1982), cover by Alfredo Alcala.

~ ds