Widow Miss Muffet Part 4

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In terms of sheer volume, Dick Giordano’s work nearly gives me a heart attack. An index of all his work takes up nearly nine pages.* In little tiny type. And that’s just through early 2003.

And his art? Gorgeous — both when he was penciling and (as so often happened) when he was inking other artists.

But his impact as an editor and innovator is even more impressive. During his tenure, Charlton launched its line of “action heroes.” Those heroes—Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, The Question, Sarge Steel, etc. — are about the only thing most people remember about Charlton.

Years later at DC comics, Giordano played a key role in the development of The Watchmen (which Alan Moore loosely based on Charlton’s action heroes.)

Dick was also at the helm when Frank Miller broke ground with The Dark Knight Returns. And Crisis on Infinite Earths? That was Dick’s idea.

For much of the 1980’s Dick was the voice of DC. His “Meanwhile…” columns ran in all DC comics—giving readers behind-scenes scoops and always ending with a soothing, “Thank you and Good afternoon…”

“My syntax was poor, but that’s how I talk,” said Giordano. “I sound like Yogi Berra.”*

*from Dick Giordano: Changing Comics, One Day at a Time

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↓ Transcript
SCENE: Cut to hospital room. An old man is lying in bed, hooked up to life support. Mitzi is there dressed as a bride. A priest is reading out loud from a Bible. There's a nurse in the background.

CAPTION: That night I dreamt about my upcoming romance...and the beautiful wedding that was sure to come!"

PRIEST: ...forever, until death do you part?

OLD MAN/PATIENT: I...I...D-D-D...

LIFE SUPPORT MACHINE: BLIP! BLIP!

Widow Miss Muffet, Part 3

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“Ask anyone who the two nicest people in comics are…and they’ll say Archie Goodwin and Dick Giordano…

“You’ll hear a lot about Dick’s niceness in the following pages, so I’ll lighten up here about all that and give you the dark side of Dick Giordano.

“Hmmm. Well, so much for that!”

–Neal Adams, March 2003
from the Foreword to Michael Eury’s Dick Giordano: Changing Comics, One Day at a Time

Of all their many collaborations, this 1978 oversized comic may be the oddest and most insanely fun from the team of Neal Adams (penciller) and Dick Giordano (inker.) Image and characters ©2010 respective copyright holders.

More about Superman vs. Muhammad Ali

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↓ Transcript
SCENE: A young, beautiful woman (Miss Muffet) is typing on her computer.

CAPTION: "I knew that my perfect man was out there...looking for me! The decrepit, old dear just needed a little help! So I placed an ad in the personals!"

AD: "Looking for sugar, daddy? Gorgeous SWF, 19, ISO older SM who has more $$ than I can spend!"

(*In search of.)

AD: Why waste time looking for true love when you can buy it now? Not healthy? Not a problem!!

MISS MUFFET: Gee! I hope I’m not being too subtle! I'd better ask for a notarized bank statement!

SOUND EFFECT: Send!

MISS MUFFET: There! Now all I’ve got do is find a wedding dress I can wear to the funeral!

Widow Miss Muffet, Part 2

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I am extremely grateful to my friend Michael Eury for permission to quote from his book Dick Giordano: Changing Comics, One Day at a Time.

I’m going to be relying on Michael’s book (a lot!) over the next few days as I pay tribute to Dick.

And, luckily for you, it’s a great read. Well written. Well researched. And (like Dick himself) not afraid to be a bit silly while making a point.

For instance, here’s a snippet from Michael’s intro to the book:

“I wish I could say that the first thing I noticed about Dick Giordano was the mastery of his inking line, or his knack for drawing sexy women, or even his editorial run on Aquaman. My appreciation of those and countless other Giordano attributes came later.

“The first thing I noticed about Dick Giordano was his really groovy sideburns.”

Okay, maybe that’s too silly. We’ll try again tomorrow.

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Widow Part 1

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I love doing single-panel gags. Good, quick punch lines are a joy—if not forever then at least a couple of seconds.

But I also enjoy writing actual stories. And few stories have brought me as much pleasure as “Widow Miss Muffet.” Mainly because it gave me a chance to work with Dick Giordano.

For quite awhile now, I’d been thinking of serializing one of my comic book stories on the web. But which story? After Dick passed away on March 27, I realized that “Widow” had to be the story.

Dick Giordano helped make Last Kiss possible. He was there from the start–although I wouldn’t meet him until years later.

The first Last Kiss gag I ever wrote featured romance art by Dick. All of my Last Kiss comic books have had Giordano covers. And I’ve recycled Dick’s old art (to his great amusement) for countless snarky Last Kiss gags.

In addition, Dick (when asked) was generous with valuable info about comics, artists and (Gasp!) life itself. And—to top it all off—he agreed to draw “Widow” for me.

Unfortunately, it was the only time we ever worked on a story together.

So enjoy. Subsequent episodes will be smaller. But they’ll be often. In fact, the next one is tomorrow!

Love & Last Kisses,
John

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↓ Transcript
PANEL 1-SCENE: An attractive, middle-aged woman (Auntie Maim) is talking to a little girl (Muffet) who turns out to be her niece. As Maim talks, we see a scene from her past in the background. It's Maim as a young woman being carried off by a bare-chested South Seas native.

CAPTION: "My Auntie Maim had the perfect life! She married an elderly tycoon who died during their honeymoon from what Auntie said was...'An overdose of happiness!' Afterwards, Auntie bravely carried on...partying and traveling all over the world! And she always had the most amazing adventures!"

MAIM: and, instead of sacrificing me to the volcano, the chief carried me off to his hut where we...uh, played a special sort of wrestling game for adults!

MUFFET: Gosh, Auntie! Did he pin you?

PANEL 2-SCENE: Maim leans in close to Muffet.

MAIM: Baby, I got pinned more often than a cheerleader at a frat party!

MUFFET: ???

PANEL 3-SCENE: Cut to Muffet all dressed up in oversized adult woman's clothes, pretending she's getting married to her stuffed animal (rabbit), Mr. Fluffy.

CAPTION: "I wanted to be just like Auntie Maim! when I grew up I was going to marry an old codger with a sick heart and a Healthy bank account!"

MUFFET: I now pronounce us, husband and wife!

PANEL 4, SCENE: Cut to a shallow grave where Mr. Fluffy is apparently buried. (We can see his ears sticking out above ground.) Muffet is crying.

SIGN ON GRAVESTONE: Mr. Fluffy
Beluvved husband of Mitzi Muffet!

STORY TITLE: Widow Miss Muffet

CREDITS: Script by John Lustig, Art by Dick Giordano

MUFFET: Goodbye, Mr. Fluffy! At a time like this (Sniff!) there’s only one thing to do!

PANEL 5, SCENE: Cut to close up of Muffet, crying, but smiling.

MUFFET: I'm going to Disneyland!