Wednesday, 29 August 2012

On The Perils & Pleasures Of Comicbook Schools (The Wednesday List)

 In which the blogger takes the theme of school from yesterday's post about The X-Men in the first half of the 60s - find it here - and offers up a baker's dozen of schools -  or school-run events -  from the comics to serve as a momentary distraction from your day;

1. Midtown High, as seen in The Amazing Spider-Man, By Stan Lee & Steve Ditko

From Amazing Spider-Man #17, 1963
Two rows, from succeeding pages, from Amazing Spider-Man #14
2. The Seven Kings High School, circa 1980, as shown in Nelson, ed. by Rob Davies & Woodrow Phoenix, with these pages by I. N. J. Culbard (Blank Slate 2011)

The splendid "Nelson" is the story of one Nel Baker's life from 1968 to 2011. It's a tale told by 54 creators, who each present the events of a single day from a particular year in that period. It's a remarkable endeavour ,and if you've not already had a chance to read it, why not check out publisher Blank Slate's material on it  here or sample some reviews here, here, and here.

3.  The Eighth District Youth Vocational School, Tokyo, from Akira volume 1, by Katsuhiro Otomo (Dark Horse Manga, 2000)

4. The Swots And The Blots by the peerless Leo Baxandale, from Smash! No 51, 21st Jan. 1967

5. Vanderbilt High School, as seen in Scott McCloud's wonderful ZOT!, issues 28 to 36, 1989 to 1991, as reprinted in "Zot! The Complete Black And White Collection", published by Harper 2008

From Zot #33, and the exquisite "Normal"
From Zot #28, & the also exquisite Jenny's Day
6.  A Sports Day And Fete, which we'll assume was associated with a local school, as seen in The Perishers, by Maurice Dodd, as reprinted in 1987's Perishers Omnibus

7. The X-Mansion's X-Lecture Theatre, As Shown In New X-Men #122, by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely, 2002, and the X-Mansion's X-Lawn, As Shown In The X-Men #6, by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby & Chic Stone, 1964.

From New X-Men #122
8. An Unnamed School from Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi (Vintage Books, 2008)

9. An Unnamed Tokyo School circa the early Seventies as seen in 20th Century Boys Book 1 by Naoki Urasawa (Viz, 2009)


10. The Academy Of Law, as seen in Judge Dredd: Day Of Chaos: Elusive Part 03, by John Wagner & Henry Flint. (2000AD #1755. 12/10/11)

11. The Classroom of the dreaded Mr "Chalkie" Chalk, by Giles, from the Daily Express, Sept 20th, 1973, as reprinted in The Ultimate Giles, Headline Books, 1995

There's a lovely article here at the British Cartoon Archive - here - about Chalkie, who turns out to have his origins in a teacher who taught the youthful Giles.
12. A School Conveniently Beside The Sea, Frequented By Aqualad, by an unknown writer & Ramona Fradon, from Adventure Comics #278, November 1960 (Available in Showcase Presents: Aquaman Volume 1 by DC Comics 2007)

13. Riverdale High, as seen in the did-they-really, gosh-wasn't-that-fun Archie Meets The Punisher, by Batton Lash, Stan Goldberg, John Buscema et al (1994)

Of course The Punisher would be there to see no harm comes to Riverdale. It's the vision of the supposedly perfect America his disordered mind clings to when he's justifying all that shooting and torturing and murdering.
What do I wish I'd been able to add to the above? I certainly wish I'd had access to copies of the likes of Jinty. I suspect that the likes of the fondly-remembered Blind Ballerina would've gone straight in. Similarly, the future-school in Superman #400 has long stuck in my mind as a beguiling image, but again, no original, no scans. Peanuts seemed a mandatory inclusion, and yet I used a school-scene from it in the Wednesday List concerning unrequited love a few weeks ago. As always, your suggestions as to what you'd have added to the above would be very welcome.


In The New October Q Magazine


Sitting on page 123 of the new October Q is the magazine's comics column, in which the opportunity has been taken to discuss, in order of appearance,  The Manhattan Projects, the original Watchmen and several of the Before Watchman titles, Days Of Destruction Days Of Revolt, Peter Panzerfaust and Courtney Crumrin.

It was particularly good to be able to speak highly of The Manhattan Projects, Days Of Destruction Days of Rage and Courtney Crumrin. They're all books which I've not reviewed so far on TooBusyThinking, and I'm pleased to have had the chance to emphasise their quality in Q.

Of course, the comics column is just the slightest fraction of what Q has to offer this month. I heartily recommend it.  

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

On Stan Lee, Jack Kirby & Werner Roth's "The X-Men" (The Year In Comics No 34)

From X-Men 17, by Lee, Kirby, Roth & Ayers

There's a new post in The Year In Comics series that's just gone up at the Sequart Publishing site, and it focuses on Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Werner Roth's work on The X-Men between 1963 and 1966. It's one of a series of posts I'm working on as part of the run-up to a book on the first wave of Marvel superheroes that I appear to have agreed to write. I hope you might consider visiting Sequart - here - and taking a look at a post that touches on Greenwich Village beatniks, the stifling pressure to conform in early to mid-Sixties America, and the quietly radical nature of The X-Men in an industry that had been emasculated by Senate Sub-Committee, Seduction Of The Innocent, and the Comics Code Authority just a few years before.  

A panel from X-Men 14 which shows that the censors at the Comics Code Authority weren't always protecting the nation's young as they ought to have been doing. For, yes, the "chick" who's "meltin'" the "bongos" of the beatnik on the far right did indeed declare that Bernard The Poet's verse was doing "wonders" for her "libido". Scandalous.
Apologies to anyone who's popped in here to kill a dead moment of the day only to find that this is a far briefer Tuesday post than usual. Deadlines, dentists and family gatherings have eaten into the day to a detrimental degree, but the Tuesday TooBusy post will, for whatever its worth, be back to normal next week. However, there will be a couple of new posts up here tomorrow,  including a Wednesday List inspired by the contents of the earliest X-Men issues. Should you find yourself with a stultifying second in the day that can't possibly be filled in any other way, then you'd be very welcome to come and waste away your time here instead.


Sunday, 26 August 2012

On Grant Morrison & Chris Burnham's "Batman Incorporated" #3 (Part 2 of 2)

In which the blogger concludes a hearty huzzah for Batman Incorporated #3, the first part of which might be found here;

It's hard not to regard the first two issues of Batman Incorporated as being deliberately virtuosic performances. In the first, there's more than a suggestion that Grant Morrison was determined to re-establish himself in the modern-era's market-place, slamming through a sequence of action-saturated set-ups which never once lacked his characteristic wit and ingenuity. Demon Star was richly layered as well as kinetic, compassionate and good humoured in addition to being marked by a purposefully oh-no-they-haven't scene set in an abattoir. Common sense insists that a writer of Morrison's quality and achievements couldn't possibly have felt the need to reassert his preeminence. Yet it very much looked as if he was fiercely set on defining his work in contradiction to the dominant storytelling norms of the New 52. Whatever the culture of blokeish blood and shock could achieve, Morrison could too, and he could do so while spinning far richer and far more idiosyncratic tales than most - if hardly all - of his peers could ever aspire to.

Batman Incorporated #2 also seemed designed to vigorously establish that Morrison's work could do more than simply flourish in the here and now, and with all of its distinctive and contrary virtues intact as well. Elegantly weaving an entire issue from the long and complex back-story of Talia al Ghul, Morrison paraded his commitment to the heresy of judiciously bridled, richly-textured continuity. The opposing credo, which holds that the reader is inevitably alienated by the very presence of such, let alone by the sight of it being discussed in a detailed flashback, appeared to be thoroughly undermined by both the issue's sales and its many favourable reviews.
Given how distinct and discrepant both issues were in the light of the majority of today's super-books, it's impossible to believe that Morrison was unaware of at least how different a path he was taking.  If not a statement of independence and opposition, then at least a purposeful refusal to follow anyone's else's sense of the age but his own.

Yet what was missing in both issues was a sense that the reader might be trusted to collaborate in the storytelling process for at least a few moments in each chapter. So fierce and focused were the opening two episodes of Leviathan that it was hard for the audience to catch its breath and find the space to make their own sense of events. To be that controlling, that superbly directing, is to inevitably appear to be - no matter how brilliantly - manipulative too. It's a business that can leave a comic feeling somewhat cold even as its patently brilliantly done. In Batman Incorporated #3, Morrison and his artistic collaborator Chris Burnham have slowed the pace of their story, eased back on the fisti-cuffs and backstory, and given us the opportunity to take a look around the world that Batman and his allies are fighting to preserve. As such, we're suddenly shown not just the book's protagonists and antagonists, but something of the community that they're both fighting so fiercely to influence. From Gotham Central Station to the toughest of the city's schools, from police headquarters to courthouses and night-clubs, we're adroitly introduced to a life beyond Bat-Caves and super-villain compounds. It's a world that we can't help but recognise after its own absurd fashion, and so the possibility of its loss starts to surreptitiously add to the jeopardy of the piece as a whole.

In the book's opening three pages, Morrison and Burnham sketch out with brilliant economy how the Leviathan conspiracy has subverted the key institutions of Gotham herself. Our understanding of that process is created through a succession of scenes in which schools, social services, the police and the judiciary are all shown to have been subtly corrupted. Without a heroic succession of flights and fights to haul us through this introduction, we're trusted to side with the likes of a kidnapped teacher and a father furious at the indoctrination of his child. It's an encouragement to empathise as well as spectate which helps make the book feel warmer and more emotionally involving. As we begin to grasp just how fundamental Leviathan's hold upon the city is, and as we become aware of the typical citizens who're being menaced by its clandestine accumulation of power, the level of unease and menace in the book exponentially increases. A narrative with nothing but the welfare of Batman at its heart is likely - though not entirely damned - to be a relatively thin and uber-masculine one. The caped crusader is, after all, inevitably going to survive, and his fate will tend to ultimately depend on his capacity to outpunch his opponents. So far, so ultimately predictable. But none of the various Gothamites which we're briefly shown here have any such a guarantee of survival, and their vulnerability even in passing adds a charge of uncertainty to what might otherwise be a fundamentally foreseeable, if undoubtedly brilliantly presented, tale.

More intriguing yet, this great helpless mass of citizens now contain a telling minority of Leviathan operatives. The very people who have always existed to play defenceless victim for Batman to save are now in part in the service of Talia. Not only does this emphasise the impossible scale of the Batman's duties, but it marks the impossibility of them too. Gotham herself is now almost as much the Batman's enemy as it is his cowering, embattled responsibility, and our sense of the Dark Knight's power is suddenly diminished by our awareness of how many folks now stand against him. Seen against that backdrop, the various street-level criminals which Morrison and Burnham introduce to us in the Three Eyed Jacks nightclub suddenly seem ever more threatening and unpredictable. Where once it was possible to see Gotham as little but the backdrop to the warring between Batman International and Leviathan, now the city itself has emerged as a player of sorts. Though Bruce Wayne, in his alter ego as the petty player Matches Malone, seems supremely competent in the way in which he manipulates the likes of Small Fry and the Brothers Grimm, the fact is that the game has changed, and what once seemed like a relatively straight-forward business is now impossibly more complicated. Where we were once encouraged to believe that only a very few opponents could fool and harm the Batman, now any petty crook and one term circuit judge might be playing for the opposite side.
Morrison cunningly and quietly adds layers of ambiguity and unease to The Hanged Man in these sequences. The school-teacher in the service of Leviathan, for example, doesn't express simple-minded cult-speak, but rather hammers home a Occupy-friendly manifesto. With the enemy assuming the rhetoric of the 99%, the state that Leviathan's undermining suddenly doesn't seem to be so unambiguously aligned with the more noble political causes. Though we're used to Gotham being corrupt, this is a corruption of a far more insidious and widespread kind. The schools are rundown, the students disaffected and disobedient, the neighbourhood's one where "many of the students (are) more or less neglected by their parents". The city-state has already proven itself to be unworthy of our affection, and now we're faced with its over-throw by a conspiracy mouthing some enticingly radical views. Knowing what's worth rooting in this conflict is still a relatively easy business, and yet, not quite as easy as it once was. For this isn't a Gotham whose largely-blameless citizens live as bargaining chips in the endless war between the Bat-Family and their deeply damaged opponents. Instead, it's a complex, riven culture of individuals and interests, which leaves The Batman's role seeming far less simple and secure. Morrison skillfully keeps the contradictions largely out of sight and bubbling away in the sub-text, but then, this is a superhero comic. It doesn't need smothering in a great weight of relevancy and smug, look-at-the-writer polemics. What it does benefit from is the suggestion that the situation's considerably more nuanced than 100% good versus100% bad, uncompromised right faced with easily identifiable and sin-saturated wrong. Here, there's a great many other players standing between the Dark Knight and the mother of his troubled, if formidable, son, which suggests a fascinatingly chaotic system rather than a straight-forward Manichean confrontation between our man and their woman.

Burnham's decision to eschew the straight-jacket of butch'n'bleak comics pseudo-realism means that his panels are filled with beguilingly characterful individuals. Again, Gotham appears to be filling up not just with a few extra layers of complexity, but with recognisable human beings too. Even the scene set in the Bat-Cave is composed of fundamentally distinct types, each of which has been given a quite distinct and precise identity which plays with but never conforms entirely to superheroic norms. Obviously, Burnham lacks any fear when it comes to the matter of whether his work will be taken seriously or not. His Nightwing is wonderfully lithe, confident, and good-natured, his Damian a perpetually bad-tempered pre-pubescent who's forever threatening to tear his own forehead off with the force of the world's most ferocious scowling. There's such a confidence and ambition on display throughout Batman Incorporated #3, as if both creators are going to push the world of Batman as far as they can in the direction of the fondly absurd while simultaneously loadingup the text with as much tension and conflict as possible. The mole in Gordon's police force, for example, is given an expression of entirely unconvincing innocence which may be the funniest single panel not containing Bat-Cow so far this year. Others might have been tempted to portray him with a villain's air of maliciousness and guile, but Burnham and Morrison opt to show him as an unremarkable, if obviously devious, mole. It's a choice that suggests that Gotham's being overrun by a mass of profoundly commonplace individuals, by an entirely different order of tough-to-spot challenges to Batman's control of the city. This process of making sure that every character is as fascinating as they're individual even extends to the villainous bit-player Smallfry,  whose viciousness and then terror creates an alluring figure out of a generic knock-off. 

It's telling that Batman Incorporated #3 feels at its most satisfying when its admittedly fine action scenes are being delayed by moments of character and exposition. Few creators can make their most prosaic scenes feel more entertaining and substantial than their well-worked, adrenalin-triggering set-pieces. Morrison and Burnham's impressive command of their craft, and their refusal to accept a narrow definition of how it ought to be used, even extends to what seems like a powerful echo of Will Eisner's Spirit tales in the scene of Lumina Lux's singing. Just as there's an impressive command of the deep history of craft here, there's also a mastery of today's conventions too. The Hanged Man's third page is constructed from nothing but the same ubiquitous horizontal panels which are so often poorly used in the work of his contemporaries. Yet in The Hanged Man, they've been constructed with such precision and flair, with such an attention to the rule of thirds, that they work as a rich, involving sequence. If the first few issues of Batman International established the book as one which can be both fearsomely action-packed and steeped in a complex mythos, then the most recent in the series declares something perhaps more radical yet. Comics, it seems to insist, can be fascinating when they're paying no attention to shock and blood at all.
    There'll undoubtedly be folks who'll tell you they didn't like Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham's Batman Incorporated #3. A few of them may even have read the issue. In matters of taste, of course, there's no disputing. But they are still quite wrong.


    Thursday, 23 August 2012

    On Batman Incorporated #3 (Part 1)

    The discipline and ambition of it all isn't in any way distracting. The audacity and the creative expertise isn't either. The story's everything. But it's impossible not to look back and wonder how the trick was worked. Why does Batman Incorporated #3 feel so satisfying as well as so much fun?

    Some of it's down to Morrison and Burnham's urgent determination to simply not waste space. In that, Batman Incorporated #3 isn't a characteristically modern era comic book at all. It's a dense and ultimately affable Silver Age-esque tale, packed with incident, innovation and novelty. It doesn't presume that the reader's already committed to passively persevering with the story before them. Instead, it seems deeply concerned that its audience might at any moment be sinfully distracted by a host of other entertainments, and it's absolutely determined that that's not going to happen.

    The post-Millennium super-book has so often been a corrosively bland, flaccid experience. Page upon page of ill-focused waffling slapped over dull, repetitive visuals. Page after page of mostly textless spectacle, reliant upon all those strange hyper-muscled, manically-rendered obsessions which we've learned to associate with locked-in fanboy syndrome. But Morrison and Burnham, among all too few of their peers, are obviously saturated with the knowledge of  how the comic book used to hook and snare its readers. And so, to name but one example, they pay forensic attention to the apparently not-so-obvious fact that panels have backgrounds as well as foregrounds, and they're enthusiastic in manipulating the relationship the two in order to fascinate the reader.

    Where Morrison's speech bubbles are carrying things forward in a way that's not immediately compelling, Burnham's art is either imaginatively complimenting the text or offering a beguiling if not overly-distracting counter-narrative. When Alfred's called upon to deliver a mass of exposition about "Professor Pyg's pharmaceutical breakthroughs", he's also shown assiduously grooming the unlikely figure of the Bat-Cow. Where Wayne's reminding the longterm reader of how all Morrison's plot-seeding is finally coming to fruition, Burnham's delivering a marvellously complex and enticing diagram showing colourful aspects of the series' complex back-story. Each panel in turn is both an experience in its own right as well as an essential part of the story as a whole. That's as it should be, of course, and yet even in an enlightened age, Batman Incorporated #3 would be an exceptionally fine piece of work.

    But then, The Hanged Man is very much not a product of the age. There's no machismo, no adoration of the hyper-masculine here. Body's aren't traumatically run through, which soapy angst and nihilism are conspicuous by their absence. There's certainly never any pretence in either Morrison's script or Burnham's art that the Batman's somehow real, or even a realistic proposition. This is unashamed fantasy, and it's all the more a pleasure because of being so. This Dark Knight has his moments of representing fearsome, other-worldly qualities, but he's far more often a wonderful, playful conspiracy acted out against the underworld by Bruce Wayne. He's undoubtedly immensely powerful, and yet anything but invulnerable and self-obsessed. Even when disguised as the petty criminal Matches Malone, Wayne's ridiculously huge, mouth-isolating chin dominates the scene, as if to encourage the reader to smile fondly at these over the-top morality tales and their wonderfully ridiculous, magical protagonists.

    Burnham's take on Wayne himself seems to strangely suggest a small lad who's jumped from boyhood into uber-maliness without any of the inconvenience of the intervening years. What could be more appropriate for the Darknight Detective, who never did grow up in the aftermath of his parent's murder? In an interesting reversal of roles, it's actually Damian who emerges in The Hanged Man as the voice of suspicion and caution, his fundamental adoration of his father expressing itself as an almost-patriarchal concern. As such, the story's both a knowing celebration of pulpish blokeishness and a fond, wry smile at the silliness of the same. In the end, it's the clearly pre-pubescent, physically unimposing super-lad in the spray-painted scarlet-and-black helmet who has to take on both brutes and guard dogs alike, and neither Morrison or Burnham has the slightest interest in accentuating the real-world, street-fighting verisimilitude of the scene.

    This is very much not testosterone-triggering comfort reading for the perpetually ladoholic. This is fun, and if the reader wants to take this material and turn its playfully seedy bars and faux-surreal conspiracies into a dark, fearsome and joyless world, then the material will just about bear the interpretation. Yet in between the super-computers of the perpetually crepuscular Bat-Cave, there's a cow who appears to be wearing a superhero mask and a loyal enabling ex-S.A.S. man caring to its every need.


    to be concluded, with a look at the qualities which make the third issue of the comic more satisfying to a blogger who felt just a touch less enthusiastic - see here - about the first two issues of the book;

    Wednesday, 22 August 2012

    10 000 Hours? Mission Accomplished!

    From "The Joker" by Lee & Ditko, Amazing Fantasy #5 (1961)
    In February 2010, I started writing a couple of blogs. As I know I've said before, I'd been ill for more than just a few years and my mind and body alike were in poor shape. Something needed to be done, and after a few weeks it became obvious that this silly, self-indulgent, solipsistic business was a major part of that something.

    Though I'm not sure when I decided to keep blogging until 10 000 hours worth of work had been done, I do know that it happened early on and that it seemed an entirely impossible ambition. In fact, that very impossibility was a good part of why I went with the whole absurd project. I'd long since found it hard to imagine a future that extended beyond the evening of the same day. Yet here was the audacious idea of 10 000 hours. A clearly impossible target, and all the more attractive a prospect because of that.

    Just to pretend to set out to fulfil it was a ludicrous, and therefore life-affirming, business in itself.

    From "Beasts Of Burden: A Dog And His Boy", by Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson (2006)
    Now 10 000 hours have passed. I've checked the tally, I've checked it again. It clearly can't be true, but it clearly is. I seem to have completed the purpose of the blog. I wish it hadn't come in a week when I'd caused a good few people to decide that I was an irredeemable idiot where the Cage post from Sunday last was concerned. Clearly, 10 000 hours haven't taught me how to negotiate my way around such rocks. I thought I could learn to work better under pressure if I attempted a demanding piece in a single sitting. Whatever I may think of both my own arguments and a response or two  to them elsewhere, I could and should have known better than to take for granted the meaning of my piece. Still, another lesson learned. And without having all of those hours to burn up anymore, the pressure to post has certainly evaporated. There'll be time to check and check and check again now.

    It's odd to think that I could throw in the writing and take up gardening, or Latin, or power-boat maintenance. 10 000 hours of carpet restoration, with dog-grooming and ice-sulpting too. Sweet-making, archaeology, bird-watching, or installation art? I have, touch wood, another 10 000 hours going begging now ...

    From Judge Dredd: The Days After, by John Wagner &Henry Flint, 2000AD #1789
    To my genuine surprise, it turned out that there actually was a tomorrow after all. Thank you for your company as I've trundled around the track, no matter how brief our passing moment might have been. For what little it's worth, TooBusyThinking will - despite the unexpected arrival of the end of the track - continue in some form or another. There'll be review or two going up tomorrow, for example. There's an interview which I think folks will be very interested in as well. But I did have such great plans for August, and now I've discovered that I'd already fallen across the finishing line. It seems I need a new impossible project. At the moment, I'm tending towards giving myself 5 years to learn the basic skills associated with producing a graphic novel of my own. That sounds a ridiculous enough business, and since I'm 50 in just a few week's time, it may well be the perfect moment to amble off on such a Quixotic endeavour.

    But whatever, that's one job done. Take that, 10 000 hours! Overall, I had alot of fun, I met some lovely people and I even learned one or two things.

    Huzzah! Never mind the quality, count them hours!

    From Kingdom On An Island Of The Apes, by Doug Moench & Rico Rival, in Marvel's Planet Of The Apes #9, 1975

    Those Tiny, Tiny Cartoon People: A Baker's Dozen Of At-Best Pint-Sized Heroes & Villains (The Wednesday List)

    In which the blogger takes the theme of tiny cartoon characters from yesterday's post about Henry Pym in the first half of the 60s - find it here - and suggests a baker's dozen of super-small folks from the comics.

    1. Green Lantern Leezle Pon;, "a superintelligent Smallpox virus"

    I always liked the idea of Leezle Pon, though something of its absurd appeal disappears when the character's actually shown in its GL uniform. So here's Pon's mention, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, from "Mogo Doesn't Socialize", Green Lantern#188, 1985.

    2. The Wasp: Janet Van Dyne, Be-Winged, Stinger-Firing Avengers Leader

    By John Buscema, Tom Palmer & Roy Thomas, from The Avengers #83, 1970.
    By Steve Sadowski, Andrew Currie & Geoff Johns, from Avengers vol. 2, #71, 2003
    By Don Heck, H E Huntley, Stan Lee, in Tales For Astonish #45
    3. Doll Man; Darrell Dare, Research Scientist, Lover Of Dog Sidekicks & Pilot Of The Toy-Like Dollplane 

    From Doll Man #39, 1950, in which the newly super-intelligent Elmo the Hound lends a paw to his master's crime-fighting activities, with art by Al Feldstein & Chuck Cuidera
    A detail from Nick Cardy's cover to 1973's DC-14 Batman 100-page Super-Specular (The two didn't meet inside the issue's cover)
    From 1948's Doll Man #15, "The Iron Mask", art by Al Byrant
    4. The Numskulls, A Race Of Tiny Creatures Living Within The Skull Of Edd Case, And, Indeed, Within All Of Our Heads Too

    Both panels from "The Numskulls", creators uncredited, from The Beano, cover-dated 18/8/12
     5. "D.N.A. Scrapper-Troopers", as cloned by the DNA Project From The Newboy Legion's Feistiest Member 

    From Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #136, by Jack Kirby, Murphy Anderson & Vince Colletta
    From Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #142 by Jack Kirby, Murphy Anderson & Vince Colletta
    6. The Klanridds, Fearsome Inter-Galactic Invaders From The Distant Planet Klahrr
    From Jeff Hawke: Wondrous Lamp, by Sydney Jordan & Willie Patterson, 1963, as reprinted in Titan Books' "Jeff Hawke: Overlord"
    7. The Micronauts, Micro-Dimensional Freedom Fighters Who Aren't So Small In Their Own Universe

    Micronauts #2, story by Bill Mantlo, cover & interior art by Michael Golden & Josef Rubenstein
    As above, except it's from the previous issue.
    8. The Invasion's Miniature. Teleporting Attack Force, As Defeated By Oberon At JLI HQ

    From Justice League International #22, by Giffen, DeMatteis, Maquire & Rubenstein

     9. Tim Boo Ba, Mighty Tyrant Whose Miniscule World Is Washed Away By A Drop Of Water From A Boy's Glass Cup

    From Amazing Fantasy #9, by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko, 1961, as reprinted in Monster Masterworks 1989
    10. The Superman Emergency Squad; Noble Brainiac-Compressed Kryptonians From The Bottled City Of Kandor

    Cover & panel from "The Last Days Of Superman", from 1962's Superman #156, by Edmond Hamilton, Curt Swan & George Klein
    11. Mega-Low Maniacs, Meteor-Traveling, Universe-Conquering TinyTyrants Seeking To Rule The Earth

    By Jamie Smart, From The Dandy #3583

    12. The Atom; Dr Ray Palmer, Master Of The Size-Change Triggering White Dwarf Star Matter

    The JLA letter's page logo circa #100, by - ? - Murphy Anderson
    Cover by Jim Aparo, a lovely example of The Atom as vulnerable and yet purposeful hero, from 1974
    Cover and interior art by Gil Kane, with story by Jan Strnad, 1983
    13. Green Arrow & Speedy, Whose Inadvertent Journey To The Giant-Filled Land Of Dimension X Left Them Seeming As If They Were "Tiny People"

    "Prisoners Of Dimension X" by Jack Kirby, from Adventure Comics #256, 1958

    Special Bonus Ant-Sized Crime-Fighter . Ant-Man, The Shrinking Super-heroic Alter Ego Of Dr Henry Pym

    Ant-Man and the "Ant Brigade" begin the treacherous descent down the Vision's tongue and into the android's body, by Neal Adams & Roy Thomas, Avengers #93, 1971
    Top absentee from the above who would've been a dead cert for inclusion is the 5-Year Later Legion take on Shrinking Violet. Sadly I lack access to the material to scan and post about her, but she would've been very high on the list.

    For anyone that's passing, there'll be a little personal celebration of a recently passed landmark in this blog's life up later on today. You'd be very welcome to pop in. Things have changed, it seems, change has arrived without my noticing it. Beyond that, tomorrow will most probably bring a review of one of this week's books.