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Monday, September 25, 2006

Haney vs. Kanigher! And This One's For All The Marbles!

Over the past year or so here on the ISB, I've given a lot of time over to discussing the ridiculously awesome works of Bob Haney and Robert Kanigher.

Haney, of course, is the creator of Metamorpho (who once fought a two-foot tall world-conquering cyclops from space with the aid of a laser guitar) and the Silver Age Teen Titans (who battled the inimitable Ding Dong Daddy Dowd), along with several issues of Brave and the Bold that didn't make a whole lot of sense.

Kanigher, on the other hand, has written pretty much everything up to and including DC's romance titles and a run on Wonder Woman that included villains like Egg Fu, but around here, he's mostly known as the creator of Sgt. Rock, The Haunted Tank, and of course, the unstoppably awesome Metal Men.

So with all that, it begs the question as to Just Which Bob is Crazier, and the ISB never backs down from a good ol' fashioned loon-fight.

For the answer, we turn to relatively neutral territory: 1991's Sgt. Rock #13, which, despite all appearances to the contrary, does not include the original Suicide Squad. Instead, it's got two stories by Kanigher and one by Haney, along with art from Joe Kubert, Ross Andru, and Russ Heath.

Admittedly, Sgt. Rock is Kanigher's home turf, but, well, there aren't a whole lot of Metamorpho issues laying around with Bob Haney backups in them, so that's how it's got to be for this Mind-Melting Battle of the Madmen!

Round One!

With the opening story, Flytrap Hill, Kanigher doesn't really get as crazy as he did when, say, the Metal Men fought a giant, gurgling chemical monstrosity, but it does dabble in the realm of the logistically impossible--and the unthinkable.

The story revolves around Lonesome, a young kid assigned as a runner to carry Sgt. Rock's requested permission to retreat from Flytrap Hill. To be fair, though, the only reason Rock requests permission to retreat is that the combat-happy Joes of Easy Company won't stop following him when he tries to battle the entire German army by himself, and keep getting blasted with flamethrowers for their troubles.

Regardless, Lonesome, who appears to be about fourteen, is sent out with the orders and roughly two hundred pounds of equipment and high hopes of making friends with Rock and the rest of the Company. Unfortunately, as Kanigher always says, nothing's ever easy in Easy.

Said difficulties in this case are presented by the fact that three panels after leaving camp, Lonesome is shot, in turn, by an enemy sniper, a low-flying Messerschmitt, and a Tiger Tank. And he is also grievously bonked on the head.

Still, he perseveres, limping and crawling his way up to Rock with the sealed retreat orders, but his gutsy triumph inspires Rock and Easy Company to get up and beat the living hell out of the Nazis, rechristening the site of the battle as "Lonesome Hill" in his honor.

Let's go through that one more time, for those of you in back: in the span of six pages, Lonesome is shot non-fatally by a fighter plane and a tank.

Although to be fair, that sort of thing happens a lot around Sgt. Rock.

Haney, the ball's in your court.

Round Two!


Now this is what I'm talking about: Young Army Ski Trooper Davis finds himself facing down his old foe Hauser on the same mountain they competed on against each other as profesional skiers back before the war--except that now, Hauser, who utterly demolished him in competition, is now a scout for the Ratzis.

It's an utterly predictable story, but considering that it's got captions like "You claw your way thru a blizzard of slugs," it's oddly satisfying to see Davis and Hauser shoot down the mountain punching the bejeezus out of each other.

Advantage: Haney.

Mister Kanigher, your response?


Uh. Wow.

You win this time, Kanigher.

For Those Of You So Inclined:
| Showcase Presents Metamorpho |
| Showcase Presents Teen Titans |
| Showcase Presents Haunted Tank |


Blogger Steven said...

You, sir, are the master of scrolling comedy. I read about a runner surviving being shot by a tank (and bonked on the head) and think "Well, what could be crazier than that?"

Then I hit the space bar and see skis. Oh! (btw, is the story written in, gasp, second person?)

And I say to myself, "well, it ain't getting crazier than that." And hit space bar.

"HOLY CRAP" indeed, good sir. "HOLY CRAP" indeed.

9/26/2006 12:10 AM

Blogger Winterteeth said...

Yes, yes, yes, the craziness is all well and good but why is the original Suicide Squad on the cover if they aren't in the issue? Do the dinosaurs mention them in passing? I am now officially intrigued.

9/26/2006 12:52 AM

Blogger Corey said...

I am also of the oponion that this is the greatest use of scrolling comedy ever.

9/26/2006 2:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The latest ISB entry starring Sgt. Rock has me talking to myself. Awesome.

9/26/2006 11:58 AM

Blogger Brandon said...

Thank you. Well put, sir.

Now, if only there were some way to assign numerical values to the craziness.

9/26/2006 12:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somehow, having Russ Heath drawing giant monsters does not seem crazy to me. Now, not using any excuse to have Heath's dinosaurs, that would be crazy.


9/26/2006 1:27 PM

Blogger L8on said...

What makes it even better is that, apparently, Haney and Kanigher hated each other in real life. I read a bitter exchange between them in some article awhile back. But, to be fair, most of Kanigher's freelancers hated him.

9/26/2006 6:33 PM

Anonymous timmdrums said...

I still think the kid getting bonked on the head wins it for me.

9/26/2006 6:48 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

Now, if only there were some way to assign numerical values to the craziness.

I propose we use a system of units known as Haneys, with a baseline 1.0 Haney being the craziness of, say, your average Metamorpho Story, like when he plays against the element robots with an atomic football, or possibly the Teen Titans story with the giant killer robot called Honey Bun.

Once you'd surpassed a 10.0, however, you get in the range of Megahaneys, or as I like to call them, Siegels.

9/26/2006 8:34 PM

Blogger Steven said...

Oh, I hate converting to metric...

carry the one...

How many Siegels are there in a Mantlo again?

9/26/2006 11:34 PM

Blogger SallyP said...

Well, it's not quite Nazis riding dinosaurs, but it will do in a pinch.

9/27/2006 9:33 AM

Anonymous Dwayne "the canoe guy" said...

How stupid are you guys? Lonesome was never bonked on the head, he was klunked. And as any WWII fan can tell you, a klunk is about 4 mantlo's short of being a full-fledged bonk, which COULD have been fatal under the proper weather conditions. Also, Lonesome probably rolled a natural 20 before he left on his mission.

9/27/2006 3:56 PM

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