Friday, August 31, 2007
Sure J'onn J'onzz needs to man up occasionally. But when he's fighting a normal human, watch out, brother!
Situation: J'onn is undercover, posing as a UN official while investigating a reported alien killing. Local law enforcement, however, is not being cooperative. J'onn is the dude wearing sunglasses:
OUCH!! That's a faceplant!! But this is J'onn J'onzz, Martian Manhunter, so one punch ain't enough. You gotta keep pounding away...
The end result:
That's right: the winner of Friday Night Fights is the cat who didn't throw a single punch!! J'onn J'onzz knows how to take a beatdown AND still win the fight!!
Now if only he could have done that against Doomsday...
Bahlactus went down to Georgia, he was looking for a soul to steal...
Passive resistance footage from JLA Annual #1, 1997, beatdown art by Ariel Olivetti
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Weekly World News has ceased paper publication. It will still be available as an online entity, but that hardly the same thing.
What, you don't believe the stories? Well, as I always tell my skeptical friends, they wouldn't print it if it weren't true, would they?
So farewell, Batboy. Au revoir, Manigator. Sleep well, Avocado Baby. Time Travel Dog (from the Future!), you will be missed. Alien who endorsed George W. Bush, please don't lose touch.
And Ed Anger. Most of all Ed Anger. Keep writing those frothy editorials. Please. Please don't ever stop being "pig-biting mad" or "angrier than a beaver in the desert."
I'm sure I'll try to check in online occasionally. But it just won't be the same... there won't be the element of surprise we had every week, while I waited for the foolish person in line ahead of me to challenge the cashier on the price of EVERY SINGLE ITEM in her basket. And the only relief available was reading about diet secrets from the Dead Sea Scrolls, or the government plan to make all our money radioactive to track terrorists, or...Sigh...
So, who's getting custody of Britney's kids?
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Let's see ethanol or bio-diesel save Superman's life...the ban on leaded gasoline is clearly a Luthor plot...
SPOILER ALERT: Just so you can sleep soundly, I will reveal that Jimmy Olsen did NOT "die for this," despite the guru's threat. Whew!!
Bizarre scene from Jimmy Olsen # 118. Much much more about this story, including why Jimmy is all scruffy, the guru mastermind, and the kryptonite love beads (seriously) in next week's exciting series of posts...
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
OK, once again this one might not be an actual continuity error. But since it involves some characters being incredibly, well, ill-informed, I'm running with it anyway.
Let's go to this panel from "New" Avengers #32:
Now, if this looks familiar, it's because the last two issues of new Avengers have been absolutely nothing except our heroes sitting around saying "Are you a Skrull?" "Why no, are you a Skrull??" Seriously, aside from a plane crash, the past two "action-filled" issues have been nothing but a snore-inducing paranoid "Who's a Skrull?" parlour game.
Of course, none of this is necessary. Aside from the fact that it doesn't make sense for one of them to be a Skrull (after all, they just exposed and killed a Skrull agent, Elektra, so you wouldn't expect a Skrull to be doing that), there's another fact they're forgetting. Skrulls can't do super-powers.
Sure, they can change shape. But aside from the Super Skrull, they can't mimic super-powers. Marvel's own online encyclopedia tells us,"Skrulls only take on the appearance of an object or person and none of that object or person’s characteristics." In other words, except for the Super Skrull, they don't do powers. And the Super Skrull could only do it after massive biotech surgery AND the deployment of a special power broadcast asteroid.
Now, certainly Skrulls could impersonate someone non-powered. And surely some powers could be mimicked with advanced technology. But it seems to me that, rather than question everybody's motives and alibis, a more reasonable first step might be "who's been using their power?" Wolverine and Luke Cage should be smart enough to know this. So should Bendis.
So, maybe not a continuity glitch. But characters (and an author--I'm looking at you, Bendis!) who should have known better. And good lord--if Marvel is going to keep let Bendis write the Avengers books, could someone please explain the concept of pacing to him?!?
Picture from Avengers #32
Question: if Kal-El were to go nuts, and go on a killing spree, and he were going to kill you, how would you rather he did it?
First up is the super-loogy:
As I see it, Pros:
*Quick and relatively painless
*Cool sound effect
*Embarrassing as hell to acknowledge that someone spit you to death
Than there is the super-whistle:
*Not as gross as being covered with Kryptonian spit
*A definite "coolness" factor while repeating the story to others in Hades
*Sorta like Scanners!
*Poetic justice for Jimmy!
*Looks pretty damn painful
*Very unpleasant sound effect
*Inevitable Krypto jokes when discussing your demise with smart asses
Me, I think I'd prefer the loogy. But everyone please vote, so when Superman does go beserk, you can help him out by having your method of execution ready to go.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Oh, not the main titles, of course. You can't have the Flash or Superman worry about housing for the poor while pounding on bad guys--that would spoil the escapism.
But the "side" titles...that was fair game. And while Jimmy Olsen spun off in the direction of super weirdness, (mainly thanks to Jack Kirby), Lois Lane decided to get all socially conscious on us.
It made sense...Lois was a reporter, after all, when she wasn't hounding Kal-El to marry her. That put her in touch with a lot of the "issues of the day." And with E. Nelson Bridwell editing, Robert Kanigher put out a string of some of the most spectacularly "PC" comics ever.
Let's start with #106, November 1970. Let's note for the record that the cover is 100% accurate, and the title of the story (unfortunately) is "I Am Curious (Black)."
Aside: Those of you old enough will remember that I Am Curious (Yellow) was a fairly infamous Swedish film of 1967, that was banned and seized by U.S. customs for nudity and "explicit" sex. It surreptitiously made the rounds of both art and porno theaters, and was quite famous for a film no one ever actually saw (even Gwen Stacy mentioned wanting to see it once!). So why, exactly, DC decided that made a good basis for the title of this story I'll never know (aside from the obvious color pun).
Anyway, the splash page declares "It's Today! It's Now! It's The Moment Of Truth!" Lois has been given the assignment of her life: to get the scoop on "Metropolis' black community." Gee, maybe the fact that Metropolis's' black community (there's only one?) is called "Little Africa" might be a reason for some of the resentment, eh?
Lois is unable to make any headway, because not one single black person in all of Little Africa will even speak to her. An activist dismisses her as "Whitey." Even an old blind woman walks away from her because (and I swear I'm not making this up) "When she heard me speak...she knew I was white!"
So, this being DC, Superman lets Lois use his "Plastimold" to make her a black woman, so she investgate the "nitty gritty" in Little Africa. And learn she does. With all the serious earnestness of an ABC Afterschool Special, Lois a) learns that ghetto landlords suck, b) gets close to the activist who called her Whitey, c) saves his life with a blood transfusion, d) learns that it is indeed hard out there for a pimp...oops, sorry e) and the activist learns that all white people aren't devils.
I'm damning this story with faint praise. It's actually pretty good, and 37 years ago it must have seemed pretty radical to some in it's audience. And while it comes off today with somewhat of a smug botique liberal attitude, it never oversells its points. SPOILER ALERT: We never find out if Lois gets her Pulitzer.
She ends up, though, covering the conflict between the Pueblo and evil land developers who are going to flood out their village. Singing Rain, the chief's sister, dies after hitting her head on a rock, and makes Lois promise to raise her infant, Little Moon, as her own (Little Moon's father, you see, is MIA in Vietnam). Lois promises, and takes the child back to Metropolis, where she gets all kinds of protestors: people saying single women shouldn't be raising children, American Indians (protesting in full tribal outfits) that "you stole our land--now you steal our children." It's a mess.
Then, on a bridge, a skidding "army truck" forces Lois' car into the water. With her last breath she shoves Little Moon to the surface to save him. But then, a GI from the truck dives in and saves her. Holy Coincidence, it's Joseph Bright Wing, Little Moon's father!! He had just escaped from a "VC prisoner of war camp!" He was on that truck, on his way to a "discharge center." At the exact time Lois was going off the bridge with that baby. Uncanny.
Again painfully earnest, this one lacks the impact of "I Am Curious (Black)" for a couple of reasons. It seems far more cartoony in its portrayal of Native Americans and their problems. And aside from Superman and Lois, virtually every white person in the book is virulently, stereotypically racist. Among our winning quotes:
Still, I shouldn't grade too harshly. The issues heart is in the right place. And again, for 37 years ago (sheesh, I'm old) it was probably ahead of its time.
Friday, August 24, 2007
That ain't no sticks and stones, baby.
Who's the black private dick who's a sex machine to all the chicks? Bahlactus. Damn right.
Jaw-rattling punches provided by Justice Society of America #42
Thursday, August 23, 2007
For example, Don Rickles--yes, Don Rickles--made a cover-featured guest appearance in Jimmy Olsen #141. Click the link to see why Kirby+ Rickles = madness!!
Anyway, DC went so far as to give comedians their own comic books. Whole titles!! Bob Hope had a comic book at DC--The Adventures of Bob Hope lasted 109 issues!!
And then there was Jerry Lewis. The Adventures of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis ran for 40 issues in the 1950's, and after the comedy team broke up, The Adventures of Jerry Lewis sprang forth instantly to replace it, and ran until 1971!!! The title produced such amazing crossovers as this:
Now, not to say that this particular comic was good (the few issues that I actually read were abysmal), or that we need Jerry Lewis back in the DC Universe (but why not?).
But since DC feels the need to constantly reinvent itself, why not revive the comedians-in-comics concept? Instead of Jerry Lewis, what about Jeer Seinfeld? Steve Martin? The Adventures of Carrot Top? I know I would read a comic book featuring George Carlin or Gilbert Gottfried.
Just picture the new DC Universe, teaming with panels like this: the Joker, in a kangaroo suit (don't ask), pointing a machine gun at Jerry Lewis. Translate that to a Parallax-possessed Kyle Rayner pointing a meson gun at Rita Rudner, and we have a certifiable hit on our hands.
And at least it's better than that Countdown crap.
Cover and panel from Jerry Lewis #97, 1966
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Chastised by Commissioner Ungrateful, Batman must formulate a plan to catch the master criminal. Meanwhile, is the skies of Gotham, Wonder Woman shows up, skywriting!!
please forgive some of the skewed scans...artist Bob Brown was letting his freak flag fly in the page layouts.
Nice of her to save the greenhouse emissions by not using her plane. Oops, did I say plane? Just a few seconds later, Batgirl responds:
Q: How many super-heroines does it take to change a light bulb? A: That's not funny!!
Wow, a super-powered love triangle. What is the inevitable result? Of course, you're right: SUPER CAT-FIGHT!!
Well, that set back women's rights a few decades, eh? But wait! The lovely crimefighters proceed to shower Batman with gifts, distracting him from his search for Copperhead:
Good question, Dark Knight...both as Bruce Wayne and Batman, he has to beat the girls off with a stick!! Playboy or crime-fighter: he's a chick magnet.
But wait!! All is not as it seems. Stunningly, the ladies are not actually in love with Batman!! It's all part of a Machiavellian ruse to trick Copperhead into feeling secure enough to rob a museum that Batman has rigged with an alarm!!
Now, far be it from me to quibble with the Dark Knight's awesome J.R. Ewing-type planning ability. But, I have to say, having two female superheroes pretend to be in love with you & you pretending to be so distracted by all the attention that you can't fight crime anymore is not one of your top thousand plans, is it? Really, is that the best you could come up with, Bruce? "Smarter" 1960's-style plans Batman could have tried:
- Pretending to be dead, so Copperhead would strike
- Pretending to turn evil, so Copperhead would strike
- Since this is Brave and the Bold, staging a fight with another DC superhero, so Copperhead would strike
Instead, the Caped Crusader chooses the "fake love triangle plan." Granted, Copperhead is a major-leaguer, so you have to think outside the box...oh, wait, no he's not! This is something out of Three's Company, isn't it? Batman's OMAC plan made more sense...
Sadly, Copperhead's "serpent's seventh sense" warns him something's up, so he breaks off his robbery, and Batman must hurry back so that Jack and Chrissy and Janet...uhhh, sorry, Batman and Wonder Woman and Batgirl...can resume their fiendishly clever plot, But wait....no, don't actually kiss her, Bruce!!
The lips that destroyed a thousand super-heroine careers have struck again!! I can think of worse things than having Linda Carter and Yvonne Craig hanging all over me. But now, in a series of events that even I, as a male, find humiliating, Batman has to battle the "kooky romanticism" of his clingy love-slaves in order to find and stop Copperhead. They're hanging on him and giving him presents and...
OK, I have to stop. It's just too damn embarrassing. There's another 10 pages of the ladies' love thwarting Batman efforts to catch the bad guy. And because of their lovestruck state, Copperhead defeats Wonder Woman (read that again...not a dream, not a hoax, not an imaginary story...Copperhead defeats Wonder Woman) and Batgirl, and then he poisons Batman. But Bruce finally mans up, knocks out Copperhead, Batgirl gives him an antidote, and everything is back to normal:
Monday, August 20, 2007
Now, before anyone quibbles, the guy on the right is referred to as "Arthur" by J'onn, who also identifies him as one of the JLA's founders. So it is Aquaman, and not the "new" Aquaman.
Aquaman, the original Orin/Arthur Curry, who had been transformed into the Dweller from the Depths, died in Aquaman #50. Died.
Granted, the story left open some possibility that Orin could maybe possibly somehow resurrect himself via magical means. So the fact that he turns up in JLA #12 is not, in and of itself, a continuity error. It does, however, mean that J'onn and Arthur are incredible dicks.
The JLA believe Arthur to be dead..they went to investigate his apparent demise. Think about this...these people are supposedly his friends, he's one of their founding members. And he doesn't bother to tell them he's alive. How would that make you feel, if you thought one of your buddies had kicked it, except he hadn't, and he neglected to tell you...and was all the while spying on you? And J'onn is helping him. Without some attempt at an explanation of why the charade is happening, the only conclusion is that J'onn and Orin are huge assholes.
And while were on the subject, remember how J'onn is so so careful not to read any one's minds without permission? Apparently, that respect for privacy ends when it comes to surreptitiously spying on your friends. Whether by hidden cameras or super-vision or some magic spell or whatever, this is somehow OK???
And of course, big raspberries go to DC editors and Meltzer. A character died? Who cares what another author intended? I'm bringing him back, no explanation, no concern as to how or why or continuity or anything. Outstandingly stupid, especially since Meltzer won't be around to clean up his mess. So now we have 2 Aquamen running around? How's that gonna work?
Oh, never mind. They'll just wipe out the new one in Final Crisis, anyway, just you wait. Until then, remember: in any DC title you read, any permanent character development can and will be completely ignored and over-written by another writer, with no attempt to have it make sense. Because DC continuity is just wiki-continuity, waiting for the next guy to change it at 2 am and not worry whether anyone notices, because nobody is minding the store.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Really. They promise. No more crises after this one. Zero Hour II, maybe...but no more crises.
Anyhoo, they're obviously going to give us another retroactive reality reboot.
And why not? After all, it's been almost 4 months since the "stunning" revelation that the multiverse was reborn, and no one has done a single interesting thing with it. Not one. I mean, Duella Dent is the best they can do? A bunch of Monitors sitting around debating in a back-up feature? "Flash of Two Worlds" this ain't.
Anyway, I'm digressing again. My point is, since DC is planning still another reboot (SPOILER ALERT: Hawkman, Donna Troy, and the Legion still won't make any sense, no matter what they do...just let it go, guys), it's time to start putting our two cents in as to who they should revive. If we're going to hit the reset switch, let's make sure they bring make the characters they need to.
Like the Gay Ghost.
I mean, if the new new new new DC Universe doesn't have room for a swashbuckling Earl who fights crime, I don't want any part of it.
Maybe the costume needs a bit of work. But the origin? The nobility? The supernatural elements, combined with the "fish out of water" element of a man fighting crime 200 years after his death? What's not to love? Bonus: he's Batman-approved.*
And why should Rawhide Kid get all the glory??
*Panel from Brave and the Bold #116, in a back-up feature where Batman introduces us to "Heroes Who Wouldn't Die," folks who've come back from the dead to fight crime. Surprisingly, no mention is made of Hal Jordan, Donna Troy, or Supergirl.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Daddy, are those robots?
We have found our future leader. I will follow this child and his holy visions anywhere he might lead. Seriously.
Monday, August 13, 2007
...unless, of course, Godzilla shows up, smashes the strip, and in a fight with the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier smashes Boulder Dam so the casino gets flooded just as I hit the big jackpot...hey, it's been known to happen!! That would be pretty damn cool...
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Answer: cook up a nice batch of prunes!!
Just as Superman has his kryptonite, Green Lantern had his yellow, and Maxwell Lord his weak, weak neck, it turns out one of the Beagle Boys (176-167, to be precise), has a fatal weakness.
Now of course, you may be saying to yourself, since the Beagle Boys were now billionaires, and all-powerful Lords of Duckburg, couldn't he just get his own damn prunes later? Why risk everything they've gained for some instant gratification?
Well, that's where the genius of Huey's (Dewey's? Louie's??) plan comes in:
these are cooked prunes!! By wafting the irresistable scent of cooking prunes towards the giant robot, Huey is able to entice the master criminal out of his robot. Once out, Scrooge ambushes him, takes over his robot, and starts to bash the other stolen robots! Like the sirens to Odysseus' crew, like money to Scrooge McDuck, this Beagle Boy simply cannot resist the smell of his favorite dish. That's why he became a criminal--no self-control!
So if there is a lesson in this for any aspiring crimefighters out there, it's this: prunes are a cop's best friend. Oh, a do a better job of securing your giant robots.
Special update note:
All-out robot carnage presented in Gold Key's Uncle $crooge #115
Saturday, August 11, 2007
First, the scene never takes place inside the comic, always a bonus. No thugs in scuba gear, no knife thrown whatsoever (let alone deflected back at the thrower's partner). The last part of the story does take place on an island, but Shang Chi is tied up the entire time.
Secondly, the cover dialogue. It just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? Say it along with me..."Eat cold steel, pajama-boy!" Something about that sooo says 1974 that I feel 10 years old again whenver I see it.
Admit it: if you struggled into a wet suit, swam out to one of the Florida keys, and threw a dagger at the estranged son of Fu Manchu, that's exactly what you would say. "Eat cold steel, pajama-boy." It's practically poetry.
This was the second issue of Doug Moench's amazing run on the title. For a young kid who hadn't read the first part of this story in the previous issue, or any of the previous issues for that matter, it served as a decent, if confusing, introduction. We had some action, and a good display of the solipsistic evil of Fu Manchu ("Only Fu Manchu may choose the moment of your death").
Most importantly, he had a great, great kung fu fight against a shark. And we learned one of the easiest ways to identify bad guys: they shoot dolphins...
Friday, August 10, 2007
BONUS SPIN-OFF COVERAGE:
SHANG CHI, MASTER OF MARINE BIOLOGY!!
Let me know how that works out for you, Shang...
You're in good hands (of Shang Chi) with Bahlactus!!
All panels from Master of Kung Fu #21, about which we'll discuss more tomorrow.