Sunday, September 30, 2007

Words To Live By 2

E. Honda wins!!
Damn you, Fraction and Brubaker, are you reading my mind again??!!??!!

Panel from my fondest dreams--err, from Immortal Iron Fist 9# . Consumer tip: Victory wenches are much better than defeat wenches.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mehr Spaß mit Deutschem!

Der Mann ohne Furcht
No, no, it was Der Affleck, not Der Damon....
Drum snare.....

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Friday Night Fights--Gojira Style!!

I apologize in advance for the awesomeness of what you're about to's so fantastic, it might just blow the crap out of your monitors, so be careful.

Let's set the scene: Marvel Universe, 1977. Godzilla--yes, Godzilla--is menacing San Francisco. So L.A.'s own super-hero group, The Champions--no, not the Order--head over to deal with the King of the Monsters. Angel--no, not the dreamy vampire detective--is "SWOT"ed by Godzilla:

Warren knocked down by a dangeropus piece of tail

Told you so. Now it's up to the Son Of Zeus to save the day and prevent the Angel from ending up like Bambi.

Looks like I picked a bad week to give up steroids!
Brace yourselves, true believers:

Down goes Frazier! Down Goes Frazier!

But now, a serious note: don't try this at home, or:
This is what I think of your Registration Act, Stark--Roar!
Godzilla will destroy the Golden Gate Bridge AND the S.H.I.E.L.D. Heli-carrier. And you'll have to clean it up.

Bahlactus said knock you out. I'm gonna knock you out.

The most awesome scene EVER is from Marvel's Godzilla #3, 1977. Seriously, this is one of the most stupendously outrageously cool series ever. Seriously. Plus, in a later issue, he fights Devil Dinosaur. Really.

What If?® Marvel Wasn't So Greedy

Recently there's been a lot of complaining--definitely justified--about how DC is using the Countdown mess as an excuse to suck dollars out of pockets, with the near-infinite number of tie-ins and crossovers. (Hey, didn't you just break your promise not to complain about Countdown anymore? --Ed.) (No, I'm not blogging about Countdown, it's just a tangential reference --snell) (Yeah, right--Ed).

But let's face it, true believers, Marvel is doing the same thing. Yes, it's usually on a smaller scale--you could survive nicely without reading any World War Hulk crossovers, or X-Men Messiah, or Civil War: Power Pack. And yes, they're usually of much, much, much much better quality than Countdown (not that that's very difficult). (Hey--watch it! --Ed.)

But look what's available next month: that's right, it's What If? Planet Hulk. Now don't get me wrong...I love the concept of What If? But part of what's fun is with the premise is to see what the long-term differences in "history" would have been. If you're what iffing something that ended 5 minutes ago, we don't even know what the short-term implications of the event actually it's hard for the audience to amazed, because the results can't be all that shocking, can they? If I did a "What If? You hadn't read this post," it wouldn't be terrible good or insightful, since we can't know how reading this post will impact your life. (Rather badly, I think --Ed.)

It's like Clue, with three alternate endingsAnd this isn't a one-time thing, either. The December solicits have a What If? Civil War and a What If? Rise & Fall of the Shiar Empire. Again, since we haven't begun to see what the final fallout from those stories is, a what if things would be different is pretty silly, if you ask me. I wager you dollars to donuts that within 2 months we get a What If? Spider-Man One More Day, published 5 minutes after that story wraps up...and it shows us that everything woiuld have been terrible and awful if Straczynski hadn't ended it precisely the way he did.

Which leads me to one more cranky note: All too often, these immediate What If?s are written by the same author who wrote the original story it's based on (e.g. Pak & WI Planet Hulk). That screams a little bit of onanism to me...because 99% of the time the What If will have a dire, awful, "see how everything sucks" it really is just the authors' way of saying, "See, I told the story the best way possible the first time!! Love me." Yup, Pak is going to show us 3 different ways Planet Hulk and World War Hulk could have turned out...dude, if you didn't use those ideas the first time, I'm betting they were neither as good or interesting. What's the point? This is just a money grab, not a legitimate storytelling exercise.

Back off the What If?s, Marvel. Now. Especially since the Watcher is now a murder suspect. Uatu needs a break...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bilden Sie Meine Marvel

You know, I don't speak a word of German, so I'm not entirely certain how or why this is in my collection...

This explains why capitalism triumphed in Germany
...but there it is, in glorious color. And then there's this pinup, which BabelFish is no help at all in translating:

Es clobbering Zeit!
I will say's very, very odd to see the team's name abbreviated as F.V. instead of FF...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I Officially Apologize to DC...

...for all my kvetching about Jason Todd being brought back to life. Seriously.

I mean, I still think it was incredibly lame to revive him by having Superboy-Prime punch the universe. I mean, that is galactic-level stupid.

But it's not the stupidest. Join me, my friends, for the comic that put the deus in deus ex machina, JLA #124.

My main man Mark already covered this one in his excellent series on JLA/JSA team-ups, but I think this particular plot twist deserves a teensy bit more attention.

The fun began in JLA #123, and while you might want to test my urine, I promise this plot description is NOT an acid flashback. An accident with one of Flash's spare cosmic treadmills sends Earth-Prime comic book writer Cary Bates to Earth-2...OK, to fill in our younger readers, Earth-Prime was our Earth, the real world, where all the DC heroes (and presumably Marvel heroes, too) are just comic book characters. Barry Allen/Flash visited there a few times--not coincidentally in issues which Cary Bates wrote, and he just also happened to appear in. Uhh...ego much, Cary?

Anyhoo, Bates ended up transported to Earth-2, where the Wizard and the Injustice Society of America enact a typically over-complicated and Rube Goldberg-like plan. He zaps Bates with a spell that A) turned him evil, and B) gave him reality-altering mental powers. He then uses those powers to easily defeat the JSA. (Question from the audience: why go to all that trouble and not zap yourself or one of your cohorts with that spell? A: Who knows??) They then disguise & brainwash the JSA to act and dress like the Injustice Society. The JLA, who have come to Earth-2 along with Earth-Prime writer Elliot S! Maggin to find Bates, then proceed to kill the JSA.

No, it's not a dream, not a hoax, not an imaginary story. In a pretty tepid battle, a couple of light punches from the Justice Leaguers is enough to kill the disguised Justice Society members (well, they are old, I guess...). Dead. Really, really dead. Don't believe me? Check out these panels:

Good detctetive work there, Batman... a little late, though

Told you. Dead dead dead. Which leads us to #124, and one of my favorite covers of all time (even with the gigantically terrible BAtRobin costume featured so prominently):

Man, this cover scared the crap out of me as a kid...

So now the JSA is hanging around Earth-2 fighting disasters because they feel guilty about killing the JSA. Hawkman tries to make them feel better, declaring, "We may have delivered the blows that actually destroyed them--But it was the villainy of a yet unknown enemy that tricked us into it. (Question from the audience: So it was OK when you thought it was villains you had killed? A: Shut up.)

The Injustice League finally attacks the JLA, and thanks to the tremendous guilt they feel over killing the JSAers who looked like the villains, they're completely unable to fight effectively. Plus, the fantastically super-powered and evil Cary Bates, in a contemptible under use of his abilities, makes the JLAers see ghosts of the departed heroes. Boo hoo.

Fortunately, despite the inability of Earth-1's greatest super-heroes to deal with the likes of the Gambler and the Sportsmaster, there's one JSA member left to make it all better:

I wonder who HE could be?


Oh, THAT He!!

Well, apparently the Spectre's pleas worked with the Big Guy, because just when things seem darkest:

It's like magic...only Holy digging our way out of coffins or Lazarus pits or rituals or anything. Just poof, they appear out of thin air, ready to rumble, no questions asked. Now that's service!! And after they vanquish the really stupid bad guys, Spectre leaves us with this thought:

Religion--the lazy writer's plot solution

Oh, heavens-to-Betsy, Spectre, why not let them remember? When word of this got out, it would have to mean the total triumph of the Earth-2 God over other religions, right? "God Resurrects Justice Society" headlines would pretty much guarantee 100% attendance next Sunday, don't you think?

Of course, in a dramatic sense, having God make it all better has got to be the worst solution ever, right? Besides, since our heroes don't do anything special to earn this, you have to wonder about the theological can of worms opened here:

*Why doesn't the Spectre pray to revive every fallen hero? Like Wing or Mr. Terrific? Or every policeman or fireman or kid with cancer? Was this a one time only offer? (Two time only, if you count the Spectre himself?)

*Would God have brought them back if the Spectre hadn't prayed for it?

*Do Earth-1 and Earth-2 have the same God? And what about Earth-Prime?

*Since the JSA, post-Crisis I, were sent off to fight Ragnarok, does that mean the Spectre works for Odin???

It's pretty amazing...Maggin and Bates spend two issues complimenting themselves (via their Earth-Prime characters) about what master plotters they are, and the best they can come up with is "God made it all better???" Really??

So let's make it official...Superboy-Prime punching the universe is now only the SECOND stupidest way of reviving a dead character ever. Congratulations, guys.

The first set of panels is from JLA #123, the cover and the rest of the shots are from #124. If I went to Earth-2, would I have super-powers??

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Final Crisis Preview--William Hell

Welcome to another edition of Final Crisis Preview, wherein I tell DC what great characters from the past should be returned to the DC Universe in the pending uber-series, Final Crisis.

It's a little quirky, this time:
I know, he's only William Hell, but I like him
William Hell. Yeah, he wasn't really a vigilante hero, but a white supremacist posing as a hero. But we can retcon that out.

Why should DC bring him into the New, New, New DC Universe? I dunno, I just like the costume and the name, I guess. William Hell. Cool.

One note for future William Hell scripters: if you're gonna take on a costumed identity of William Hell, it's really not a good idea to keep your civilian name of W. James Heller. I'm just sayin'.

William Hell's one and only appearance (as far as I can tell) was in Suicide Squad #4.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Things That Make Me Smile--Uatu Edition

I have no idea what this story is going to be about, or where it may be headed, but there's one thing I do know:

27th precinct? That's Briscoe & Logan!!
Any story that features a composite sketch of a murder suspect, and that supsect is the Watcher, well, that just makes me giggle with glee.

Shady looking character from the Vanguard story in Marvel Comics Presents #1, by Guggenheim and Wilkins.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday Night Karaoke--Hip Hop Jedi Style

It was so successful last week, I'll try it again....*

Yo, Jedi Knight, let's kick it!

Mace, Mace baby
Mace, Mace baby

Play that funky music, white boy
All right STOP! Meditate and listen
Mace is back with a brand new invention
Dark Side grabs ahold of me tightly
Flow like a light saber daily and nightly
Will it ever stop? Yo, I don't know
Turn off the lights and I'll glow

To the extreme I rock the Sith like a vandal
Light up the stage I wax a Fett like a candle

Mace Mace baby
Mace Mace baby

He's a lyrical poet with a master plan

Oh, all right. I'll stop.

Can we please have Friday Night Fights back soon, Bahlactus??

*Due to a necessary impurity in his brain, snell actually thinks this stuff is funny --Ed.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

How Not To Have a Surprise Ending.

Didn't we already see the bachlorette party last week in the JLA Special? OK, OK, we're all sick of ragging on Countdown. And I promise this is the very last time I will blog about it (*editors note: due to a necessary impurity in snell's emotional makeup, this is very likely a hideous lie).
And I should note, this post is a massive SPOILER ALERT for all 12 people who a) still care about Countdown, and b) still haven't read #32. But then again, it's not really a spoiler at all.

I should make clear, although I'm going to rag on the storytelling in this issue, I'm not dissing Dini/Bedard/Giffen/Barrionuevo per se. Rather, I'm giving a scathing review to how the marketing of this portentous mini-series is helping to destroy the actual (somewhat pathetic) telling of it.

We have known, for literally months, that Eclipso was going to tempt Mary Marvel into evil. We've known because we've been told again, and again, and again. It's been part of the promotional material. And not just somewhere more "obscure", like an interview in some magazine or a random comment made at a con. Nope, this is stuff that has been inside the very comics DC has had us reading for months.

*It's been in promotional posters (WWMMD?), and on two page spreads ("and there shall come and ending...").

*More than 2 months ago Dan Didio spilled it in a DC Nation column.

*Last week, Elisabeth Gehrlein did it again in the DC Nation column.

*As if that weren't enough, the 2-page center book promo spread, also in this very issue of Countdown (not to mention available at comics shops for weeks), shows it explicitly.

So there's no way any sentient being could be reading DC comic books could not already know that Eclipso is tempting Mary Marvel.

And what does DC give us as the "surprise reveal," in a full page splash, no less, on the final page of this week's Countdown?

You know those blind fish they find in underground caves? THEY aleady knew it was Eclipso...
Oh my God. You mean Eclipso is back? How could we ever have known? What. a. shocker. Oh, wait, no it's not, THE AD IN THE VERY CENTER OF THIS ISSUE ALREADY TOLD US, you putzes!!

Deep breaths, Brian, deep breaths.....

As I said, maybe Dini et. al. didn't know DC would be blowing the so-called surprise. Then again, they've been doing it for months, so it's hard to credit that. So we're left with these options:

*Dini et. al. didn't know the shock ending was spoilt, and nobody in DC editorial bothered to say, "Um, guys, this really isn't going to be a surprise...maybe you can punch up a slightly different ending."

*DC editorial didn't know Dini was going to end the issue that way (given the state of editing at DC these days, it's pretty certain editors aren't even reading a lot of the books before they go to press...).

*Everybody knew, but didn't give a hairy rat-fart about whether the ending worked or not. Countdown has become the Contractual Obligation Album of comic book series. We know it doesn't work, we're not even going to try, but the contracts have been signed and we have to finish this, so let's just do it with as little effort as possible. Seriously. If this series were so important to DC, they would have taken the same care to avoid spoiling the end of this issue as they did the Arrow/Canary Wedding Special. Yeah, that wasn't great, but at least they cared enough not to give away the surprise twists in all the ads and advanced solicitations. With Countdown, they just didn't give a damn, and disrespected the story and the fans.

It's bad enough that absolutely nothing happens (and VERY SLOWLY) in this series. But when something finally does happen, it's something they've spoiled themselves months ago. Bravo, DC. Well played.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

GAARD! Speaks!!--Amadeus Cho?!?

Gretzky shoots, but GAARD with the save!!
Hi, everybody....GAARD!!! here.

I know this Snell guy has been mocking me pretty relentlessly, and I've just got to defend myself. I certainly am NOT the lamest character ever in the Marvel Universe, and I'm doubly certain that I do not have the worst name ever.

Take, for example, Amadeus Cho. He's been getting a lot of good press lately, and GAARD!! just wants to make two points.
X-Men villain + sponge=Mastermind Excello!!

First of all, when a teenager keeps telling you how smart he is, he's usually not. 7th smartest person in the world?? Yeah, right.

Secondly, laugh at GARRD!! as you will, one fact is indisputable: Mastermind Excello is the STUPIDEST name for anyone, hero or villain, ever. It sounds like a new type of squeegee mop. Really. Mastermind Excello. If he really were so smart, he'd find a way to make people stop calling him that. Mastermind Excello. Snort.

And by the way, it's not a hockey stick--it's a COSMIC SCEPTRE!! Show some respect!

GAARD!! is from the inimitable Fantastic Four #163. Picture of *snort* Mastermind Excello *guffaw* is from Hulk #110.

Monday, September 17, 2007

...But Then Again...

It's a good thing I wasn't faced with my first comic buying decision 7 months earlier:

Ooh, that's gonna be a 5 minute major!
Yeah, Zuul only knows how making this my "first" comic would have changed things. Yes, your eyes don't deceive you...that's the Thing, in hyper space, fighting a hockey goalie named "Gaard." Dressed in a bright red and yellow uniform that would have embarrassed even a WHA player. And, SPOILER ALERT: Gaard is really Johnny Storm...the Johnny Storm of Earth-A (yup, the Earth A recently so important in She-Hulk #21, were Reed Richards is the Thing, and that world's only super-being).

And in virtually every way that FF#170 was great (to me, at least), #163 was awful. Aside from the ridiculousness of Gaard (man, it's painful to type that), we have:

*an incredibly convoluted wrap-up to a ridiculously convoluted arc, involving Arkon trying to cause nuclear war on three different dimensional worlds so the resultant energy would somehow power his own. With everybody jumping between worlds and the goofiest pseudo-science imaginable, this is the type of issue that is incomprehensible not just to newcomers. After 32 years *I* can't make sense of it.

*Rich Buckler's pencils are flat and unimpressive, rescued somewhat by Joe Sinnot's inks.

*Unlike Power Man and Puppet Master, Arkon and Gaard make a particularly unimpressive villain combo.

*They're playing HOCKEY in HYPERSPACE!!!

Thus are the whims of fate. If this were the first issue of the FF I picked up, I likely wouldn't have been hooked. Maybe I wouldn't have even gotten hooked on comics in general.

Or maybe i would have become a hockey fan...GAARD!!!!!!!

Staggeringly lame cover from Fantastic Four #163. Let the word go out...from now on GAARD shall always appear in all caps and boldface. GAARD!!!!!!!!! Did I mention he was a hockey goalie in hyper-space???

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The First Time

Oh, how I remember my first.

I'd had other comics before, plenty of them. My mother and grandparents would always pick up some for me at garage sales or a drug store, eager to give me something to read. But they were always a hodge podge--some Little Lulu mixed in with Spider-Man, Superman and Uncle Scrooge, a Batman with no cover. And I read these things 1,000 times each. But because of the scatter shot approach, I never got a clear sense of a comics universe, of there being continuing series and creative teams and serialized stories. And I had never purchased them myself, so there was never a sense of personal ownership, of a conscious choice being made. And then...

My mother was grocery shopping at Meijer Thrifty Acres (think proto-Super-Wal-Mart). After much nagging, she gave me 50¢ and a choice: I could buy 2 comics books ("Still Only 25¢") or a Mad magazine.

Oh, the care with which I studied the magazine rack!! The weight of that decision!! The consequences!! For what I purchased that day changed my life forever (I'll leave whether it was for the better to others to decide):
Sweet Christmas!!

Fantastic Four #170.

Why? I don't know. I can't even remember what other comics were on the rack that week, or which issue a Mad (someday I'll get ambitious and look it up). The other comic I bought was Incredible Hulk #199, but for some reason that one didn't impact me like this one did.

One thing I'd like to note: sometimes it's far too easy for us older folks to dismiss some stories as "too dependent on knowing the continuity" and "too difficult for new readers to pick up." Maybe, maybe. But I think maybe we underestimate the ability of some readers to get intrigued by that, and to enjoy a story despite not understanding everything that was going on 100%. This issue, for example:

*was the third part of a 3-issue arc

*featured Power Man (just Luke Cage these days), whom I had never heard of

*was the resolution of an arc where the Thing had been transformed "permanently" back into Ben Grimm, and had to leave the FF because their "charter of incorporation" said they always had to have 4 "super-powered" members (tough luck, Batman, or Captain America!). But Reed created an "exo-skeleton" for Ben, so he could be the Thing at will (and yet, somehow still feel mopey for himself!).**

*had the Puppet Master as a villain, and it certainly puzzled the young me how Ben Grimm's girlfriend could have a father who was a bad guy.

*Sue and Johnny were barely in it--they were gone after 4 pages, and never even used their powers!

But despite all of this (or perhaps because of this) I was hooked for life. I had to buy the next issue, and of course as a result I became swayed by the in-house ads and crossovers, so soon enough I had a whole list for my mom to take to the store every week. I had no concept of publishing schedules or which day comics were released, so I know I became really annoying in bugging her every week when she got back. "Did they have the new FF? The new Spider-Man (he had only one book back in those days...)?" Soon enough I had actually subscribed to several Marvels, and would haunt my mailbox, waiting to see if any comics showed up that day!

And because they were my first, I ALWAYS had to read the FF. Even through some of the worst runs in memory (I'm looking at you, Tom DeFalco), and the "Marvel sold it's soul to buy some Image street cred" days, the FF was mine. They were, and are family.

So what hooked me, at first? Maybe it was the cover, which was pretty dynamic. Maybe it was the cover logo:

World's Greatest Comic Magazine, indeed
I could do without the picture of the Four up there, but I still feel that this was the best logo the FF have ever had. Strong, forceful, still hasn't been topped.

Maybe it was the (in my young eyes) perfect splash page:

That Thing pose still gets me, 31 years later... This was George Perez's first issue as regular FF penciller. He'd done a few back in the 160's, because Rich Buckler apparently couldn't handle on a big time monthly. From the letters column in FF #169: "...due to schedule difficulties, Rich 'Swash' Buckler is dropping the art chores on the F.F. to concentrate on DEATHLOK and a less strenuous, bi-monthly title or two..." Ouch, babe, called out on the letters page, long before the bloggers could diss you. Now, George Perez wasn't George Perez yet, but that splash page (and the rest of the issue) grabbed be hard.

This was fairly early in Roy Thomas' second run on the FF, and while he was no Shakespeare, he knew how to balance exposition and character in his dialogue, and keep things moving (at least to this young reader). And then there is his deathless Luke Cage dialogue:

This panel dedicated to Chris Sims
Yes, Luke, we can dig it.

So this is the one that started it for me. Who knows what would have happened if I had picked Mad magazine, or a different comic altogether? Would I have become a DC-head, instead of a FOOM member? (Disclosure: don't tell Stan Lee, but I read a fair amount of the DC's anyway. A neighbor lad and I had a comic sharing arrangement, where he could read mine and vice versa; he had a lot more DC's than I did, I had more Marvels than he) Only the Watcher knows...

**SPOILER ALERT: The Thing was only "permanently" Ben Grimm for 10 issues. Damn you, Galactus!!! Damn you to Hell!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Public Srvice Announcement

A note to all pop sociologists:

Or is that too bitchy?
The phenomenon of "mean girls" isn't new.

Cover of Charlton's Love Diary, July 1975.

Bonus panel: I guess the song was correct!!

Shoop shoop

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday Night Karaoke--Jedi Style!!

Well, because we need something to do with Friday Night Fights on hiatus, that's why!

So sing along, people!!

Who's the black Jedi Knight
That's a force machine to all the chicks?
Ya damn right!
I don't dig on no swine

Who is the Jedi that would risk his midi-chlorians
For his brother Jedi?
Can ya dig it?

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men

Who's the cat that won't cop out
When the Dark Side's all about?
Right on!
Get in the trunk, Beaumont
They say this cat Mace is one baaad mother...
I'm talkin' 'bout Mace!
I am sick of the mother...snakes on this mother...Jedi transport

He's a complicated master
But no one understands him but his Yoda

No, you ain't right yet
Apologies to Richard Roundtree and Isaac Hayes. Samuel L. Jackson, please don't hurt me.

Eagerly awaiting Bahlactus' command....

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Eight characters in search of a storyI don't do too many new comics reviews, because I figure other folks out there have got that covered better than I can.

But man-o-man, is New Avengers bad.

Not just issue #34. But the whole series.

OK, I have to do paragraphs longer than 1 sentence now.

One of the reasons Countdown is so awful is that it's just killing time. Nothing happens. Piper and Trickster encounter some DC universe figure, are unfunny, and flee. Lather, rinse, repeat. The "Challengers of the Unknown" (please) hit another world, Atom's not there, on to the next. Lather, rinse, repeat. Jimmy Olsen needs to demonstrate his powers to a super-team, they don't work because he's not really in danger, on to the next team. Mary Marvel become infinitesimally more "evil." Lather, rinse repeat. There's simply not enough story here to fill out 5 issues, let alone 52. It's an exercise in padding.

BUT. But. At least as a weekly, it can provide some illusion of plot motion. New Avengers doesn't even have that. Let's recap what's happened in that book post-Civil War. First they spend FIVE issues on a fight with Hand ninjas. 5 issues. Sure, we had some flashbacks mixed in there, which almost entirely consisted of the "new" Avengers hiding or running from the "mighty" Avengers. But however insanely cool (albeit poorly portrayed and incomprehensible) a battle with ninjas is, five issues??

Then we followed with 3 solid issues of "Are you a Skrull? No, are you a Skrull? Is my baby a Skrull?" And until the end of issue #34, not actually DOING anything to investigate, just sitting around pointlessly rehashing and talking about it (oh, yeah,. and Dr. Strange got busy!). #34 had exactly one good scene, and they spoiled it by putting it on the cover. And why in the the name of the wild winds of Watoomb couldn't Doctor Strange have cast this "Are you a Skrull" spell, oh, I don't know, 2 issues ago???

Now, I like Bendis' writing, in general. And I'm thinking that they've had to kill a LOT of time to kill in order to sync up with Mighty Avengers, which apparently is being published bi-quarterly or something. But stunningly snail-like pacing like this is not only boring, but leads me to the big question:

Why, exactly, does this book exist?

What, exactly, is the purpose of this "team"? What is their place in the post-Civil War Marvel universe? 8 issues in, I don't have a clue, and I've seen nothing that indicates that Bendis has a clue, either. It's like watching paint dry. And then putting on another coat of the exact same color, and watching it dry again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Oh, and Leinil Yu? Worst last page layout EVER.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


using murderers to hunt down heroes--your tax dollars at work!Well, by now most of us have checked out the teaser trailer for Iron Man.

The following is from a DC panel at the Baltimore Comic Con, as reported by Newsarama:

Are there plans for any comic books where the bad guys win? Shooter: "Are you reading them lately? They win all the time."
Waid then joked, "Iron Man for instance. That would be one."
The fan said, "I thought Iron Man was a good guy." Waid replied, "Yeah, I did too."

You've got to wonder: did Jon Favreau have any idea when he signed on for this that Marvel was about to make Tony Stark one of the most despised "heroes" in the comics world? Did they warn him?

And perhaps the ultimate question: what impact will transforming Iron Man into a murdering, civil right abridging, politically manipulating, arrogant bastard will have on ticket sales among one of the movie's key audiences--the comic readers??

It's really cool they used the song, though.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

DC Has Always Hated Its Fans

As much as we looove to pick on DC's current editorial staff for being non-responsive to the needs and desires of its fans, it all fairness I have to point out:

It's always been that way.

Presenting a letter from Jimmy Olsen #121, July 1969. This letter has not been edited by me in any way.

And your mother dresses you funny!!
Wow. The editor just called the guy "dumb." Not just dumb, but emphasized dumb. In a public forum, he dissed a faithful reader.

How dare Alan Williams of Albany, NY write in questioning the accuracy of anything written in Jimmy Olsen?

Who knew Mike Carlin was editing letter columns back then...? DC, holding fans in contempt for 70 years and counting!


On a more personal note, this is my 50th post. Woo hoo! Props to myself for (unexpectedly) having the discipline to actually do this every day. And extra bonus props to those who've been reading, and commenting. I'll keep trying to get better. Now if only DC and marvel would make the same promise...

Final Crisis Preview--Super****

As we continue to approach the newest, latest reboot of the DC Universe, I've continued to try to put forward useful suggestions. You know, ways to improve the DC universe, and characters to revive who could add some spark and sizzle. I've already offered ideas on reviving a lost chivalrous hero of the past and restoring the ancient DC tradition of comics starring comics.

But now I have my most important suggestion...a way for DC to overcome its biggest current problem. Right now, DC isn't allowed to mention the word Superboy in any of their comics, due to difficulties. Now, this causes a lot of problems, especially since they're trying to use Superboy-Prime as a villain in the Sinestro Corps story. Not to mention that they've been running circles around themselves with "young Superman" references while trying to re-retcon the "original" Legion of Superheroes back into Superman's life.

My solution to this problem?

See, this is already better thanInfinite Crisis
Yes, that's right, Superbaby. Superboy may be verboten, but there's no lawsuit against Superbaby, the lovable adventures of Clark Kent as a Kryptonian toddler!!

Look, all of the Superbaby stories were ret-conned away post-first-Crisis. So just as we've decided to restore the "Clark Kent went to the future and hung with the Legion" stories to the canon, well, we can (and should!) do the same with all of the Superbaby stories.

Besides, who doesn't love stories with super-powered, grammatically deficient toddlers?
This am make me happy!
C'mon, DC, this will work....

Bonus Freudian panel of the day:

I've had this dream so often...
All images from Superboy #130. Go ahead....sue me.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Olsen Vs. Superman Week--It Was Only a Dream!

There's only one way I can end Olsen Vs. Superman week. I mean, there's lots and lots (and lots) more I could share with you...but the only true, perfect way to end the week is:

There's not enough drugs in the world to view this cover safely

My friends, that might be my absolute favorite cover ever. EVER. It just so perfectly encapsulates so many things I love about late Silver Age DC: the attempts to be hip (while disapproving of of such hipsters), Jimmy's resentment of authority figures, the amazing title...this cover sends me into paroxysms of glee. Chris Sims has Rom, I have Hippie Olsen's Hate-In!! Even the blurb in the first panel of the story is perfect--perfect!!--as middle-aged white collar writers try to capture the "lingo" of that baffling youth culture:

Testify, brother!
Anyhoo, our sordid tale gets started when Perry White assigns Jimmy a hot story:

The Daily Planet must have been one INTERESTING paper to read...
Jimmy's method-dressing gets him with Guru Kama, but wait--the guru is really a hood hiding out from the police!! What are the odds??

Realizing he's stumbled into a goldmine by having Superman's "best friend" in his commune, he convinces Jimmy (and the other hippies) of the power of dreams. And because Jimmy Olsen is the dumbest lad on God's green Earth, he can't tell the difference between when he's dreaming and when he's not:

Man, Jimmy is such an idjit

So what is the first thing Olsen does in his "dream?": That's right, aggravated assault on his employer!

Ha ha..sociopathic tendencies are funny!!

Well, things continue in this vein for several pages, as Jimmy uses his "dreams" to avenge himself on Perry, Lucy Lane, Superman...Now, most of us, if we had dreams about hurting those closest to us, we might become a tad bit concerned. But not Jimmy, as the "guru" eggs him on.

Yup, that would be my idea of exciting, too
Sure, why not kill my best friend in my dreams? So Jimmy gets a box full of kryptonite marbles that he has in his souvenir room (?!) and makes up a bunch of kryptonite love beads for his hippie cohort. The inevitable result?

Ahh, the Summer of Love
Fortunately, Jimmy comes out of his solipsistic haze long enough to spot a clue that maybe, just maybe, he's not dreaming (Gee, you think??). Which leads us to this panel, which I teased last week:

Put a Kryptonite Tiger in your tank!
And of course, we have to have Kal-El deliver the stern moral:

Kids, anything cool is bad
Superman solves the culture wars. Beautiful.

And so ends Olsen Vs. Superman Week. This week we've learned that best pals constantly turn on each other; that it's OK to fool your buddies into thinking that you're dying; that it's OK to abuse or kill your friends, as long as it's only a dream; and that DC was certain that sold comic books, because even when that stuff didn't actually happen in the story, they'd put it on the cover. But most importantly we learned this:

Sometimes, it's too easy
Jimmy Olsen is a big big baby.

Jimmy Olsen's Hippie Hate-In took place in Jimmy Olsen #118. It's my scene, and it freaks me out, baby! Speaking of which, Jimmy as a baby is from Jimmy Olsen #78