Thursday, January 31, 2008

Do We Really Have To Do This?

From the solicit for issue #1 of the forthcoming Skrullapalooza:
“Suppose a close friend, someone you loved, someone you fought alongside turned out not to be the person you thought they were. Suppose that person that you thought you knew was in reality someone who wanted to destroy everything about you, everything about your life, everything that you cared for, and everything you had fought for in your life..."
Yeah, that was called Millennium. They were Manhunters. And DC did it 21 years ago.

Whatever you might think of the completely unoriginal premise of the series (SPOILER ALERT: Just like the Millennium series two decades ago, no one significant will turn out to have been a Skrull, and those who are revealed to be Skrulls will make ABSOLUTELY zero sense given what we've seen these characters do/think over the past few years), I dread the execution.

It's not bad enough that Bendis doesn't give a flying fig for anyone else's continuity, so he'll screw the pooch as badly as he's already done with Spider-Man in New Avengers.

What makes it worse is that Bendis really has no conception of how to write a tension-filled, paranoia based story. We've seen that in his Avengers mags, with 75 straight issues of wise-cracks based on variations of "you're a Skrull" "I'm not a Skrull" "you seem Skrully to me." That might work in small doses (maybe), but it's been the only card in his deck so far.

And it completely destroys any credibility and tension the set-up has when you're doing a constant Borscht Belt comedy routine instead of actually investigating or exploring ideas.

Am I being too harsh? Well, let's look at this preview panel from a couple of pages Newsarama posted today.

You're looking Skrully to me...Let's enumerate the problems:

A) Again with the comedy. Yup, in Bendis' universe, even eminent scientists constantly crack wise like Spider-Man. Given the constanting repeating of each others' statements and the incesscent "comic" Skrull paranoia, it's a wonder these guys had time to invent Pym particles, unstable molocules, and advanced armor.

B) Kontinuity Kop: Why is Reed acting like this is "new," when Tony Stark already SHOWED HIM this exact same Skrull body and TOLD HIM it was completely undetectable in New Avengers: Illuminati #5? (If you want to argue that it's not the same Reed and one of them is/was a Skrull, I'll reply that you're just covering for the fact that Bendis can't even keep his own continuity straight...and then I'd answer that Tony would know that Reed should already know, and so should have immediately known Reed was a Skrull. Don't mess with Kontinuity Kop, dammit) If Bendis can't even keep his own little hobby horse's continuity alligned, why are they letting him play with the rest of the Marvel Universe?

C) Bad art alert: who, exactly, is saying "or it's a trick" and "maybe Wolverine's a Skrull?" You can't tell from the balloon, which trails off to nowhere. It had better be Pym saying it, because it's completely out of character for Reed to say something like that (unless he's a Skrull...aaargghh). But if it is supposed to be Pym, Yu managed to draw the panel in such a way that there's no possibility to give the character a dialogue balloon. I'll qualify my opinion by admitting that I'm no fan of Yu's work, but I find this typical...stilted layouts in panels, indecipherable expressions on faces, and a general inability to convey what's actually going on. Not to mention an unhealthy fascination with female victims' boobs.

And that's just 1 panel!! Oh, goody, I'm so looking forward to 8 issues of this...

Remember, kids, show your contempt for this by ALWAYS referring to Secret Invasion as Skrullapalooza. You'll feel better, I promise!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rogue Reminder

Just over one day left in the poll over on the right sidebar...check out my nominations and the insightful commentary, and then vote for who has the best rogues' galley. It's neck and neck, so your vote will make the difference!!

Where's My Money?

As you may recall, way back in the halcyon days of three weeks ago, we discussed Marvel's new rules for the Spider-Man universe. And their little two page spread made it exceedingly clear that "absolutely no one knows that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Not Daredevil, not the Avengers, not anyone."

And as you may also recall, I made a bold prediction: "I'll bet you a billion dollars that Bendis blows this in New Avengers..."

Well, here's today's New Avengers Annual #2:

And by absolutely no one, we mean all the Avengers, Ms. Marvel, and 58 S.H.I.E.L.D. agentsHmmm, that didn't take long.

Someone owes me a billion dollars....

Oh, and by the way, congratulations to Bendis for using the EXACT same plot device is BOTH of his Avengers mags released today. Both here and in Mighty Avengers #8, Ms. Marvel and crew have the drop on the "New Avengers," and both times she chooses to pretend they weren't there and lets them go. I'm not sure how many more times he can use that cliche before it gets worn out, but dammit, Bendis is going to keep trotting it out until we find out. But, man, twice in the same day? That's skill, bro. Mad skill.

And thank you, Marvel...this is exactly why you had the Civil War, so we could perpetually avoid the consequences of it. Why bother to have a universe-shattering mini-series to establish the Registration Act if you're always going to puss out and not have anyone actually enforce it???

Anyway, where's my billion dollars?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tales From the Quarter Bin--The Mighty OOP

Well, we've had our fun with German, so now it's time to look at what the Greeks do with Marvel comics:

Look at that caveman go...Yup, in Greek, Thor apparently is OOP.

OOP, Thor did it again...Not really, of course. It's actually theta omega's just that in that funky title font they're using, it sure looks like OOP to American eyes. Look, here it is again, in a less-odd font:

Foreign languages i can handle..foreign alphabets freak me out, thoughHeck, I can even do it here, with character map: ΘΩΡ!!

Man, I wonder why the hell I never thought to start up a Theta Omega Rho fraternity in college for comics nerds...a Thor frat would so have kicked Animal House's Deltas' asses...and picture John Belushi as Volstagg...

Anyhoo, back to the comic. I've got to say, this is one craptacular comics package. Seriously. The cover represents a story that is not even in the issue!! What we've got is Thor #126 (the first chapter of the epic Lee/Kirby 6-part Hercules story), a Tales of Asgard story, a short Western (!), and a lengthy Kull the Conqueror story!!

Not too bad for only 45 somethings (seriously, I don't know Greek currency), you might be saying. Except, half of it is in very muddy black & white, with every other pair of pages kinda sorta partially(and only partially) re-colored by the rankest amateurs. For example, in the Thor story, the splash is "color," pg 2-3 are B&W, 4-5 color, 6-7 color, 8-9 B&W, and so on. And the color...I seriously believe they had only a 4 color press. Check out this page from the Asgard story:

This isn't the worst example...but I couldn't pass up BDSM LokiAbysmal. I'm pretty Loki's NOT supposed to be dressed like George Michael's wild night out...they just didn't have enough crayons for his (green?) leotard. I hope all US comic exports to Greece weren't done this poorly...

And just so you can see the wide range of Marvel's available in Greece in 1978, check this out--I don't know whether it's a sales chart or just a list of what's coming out this month:

I would comment if I understood any of these besides OOPAnd while I ponder why, exactly, a comic sold in Greece has the Comics Code stamp, I can take one very valuable lesson from this:

Whenever I'm bored to tears with JMS's version of Thor, I can wake myself up by thinking, "OOP! OOP! OOP!!"

ΘΩΡ, indeed....

Monday, January 28, 2008

Mismatch of the Millennium

Ladies and gentleman, children of all ages, preeeeesenting the most lopsided and ill-conceived superhero battle of all time:

7o's marvel cover copy could make ANY battle sound interestingYour eyes do not deceive you, dear reader: Thor vs. Stilt-Man. The Norse God of Thunder versus a nerd in a suit with hydraulic legs. The Avenger who can go toe-to-toe with the Hulk, against a loser who regularly thrashed by Daredevil. Thor, who had left the Avengers not much earlier because he felt he was too strong to hang with mortals, battling a guy on freaking stilts.

Oh, Len Wein tries really, really hard to sell this, pumping up Stilt-Man's rep beyond all imagining. They gave him an adamantium stilt suit this time, for example. Ohhhhh, scary. Listen to Stilt-Man's inflated sense of self:

Famous bad prediction #101
This is rather like Pee Wee herman knocking down Mike TysonOh, no, not a "man who change his very height with the speed of thought!!" Why, that would make him nearly as powerful as Ant-Man!!

The power of a living child may be beyond you, dumbassOK, wait a minute--battling a living god MAY be beyond you? You're Stilt-Man, for chrissakes!! You couldn't handle Black Widow!!

And after a 6-page battle (SIX PAGES!!!!), Thor finally remembers he's the God of Thunder, taps his hammer on the ground twice, and fries Stilty with lightning. Easy peasy (finally!). Yet somehow, Thor, who has fought Hercules, Ares, Iron Man, Hulk, Silver Surfer, etc, etc., feels the need to give Stilt-Man some mad props:

Stop rationalizing, Thor--it took you SIX PAGES to defeat Stilt-Man...Odin is embarrassedA mighty foe? A MIGHTY FOE?!?!?! By Odin, what the Hel are you talking about, Thor? Stilt-Man couldn't give Volstagg a tough time!! Who's next on your "mighty foe" list: The Owl? The Chameleon?

What is especially may have noticed the cover blurb pimping "Stilty's new partner!" Who, on the last page, is revealed to be Blastarr!! Len Wein, you have Blastarr waiting in the wings and you send Stilt-Man on as the warm-up act???

Truly a puzzling choice of villains. Len Wein was his own editor on Thor at the time, so it was apparently all his decision to have the God of Thunder a) fight Stilt-Man, b) have Stilt-Man give Thor a tough time, c) use an awful lot of dialogue to convince us that Stilty was actually a threat to Thor, and d) feature this battle on the cover (no doubt a vast boon to sales..."Hey, Billy, loan me 35¢ quick...Thor is fighting Stilt-Man!!"). Despite having the entire Marvel Universe to choose from, this was his choice?

Wein had done some interesting things in his 2+ year run, but clearly he had run out of ideas on what to do in the mag. His run ended 2 issues later.

Oh, and you probably can't tell it from those scans, but the interior art is by young Walt Simonson, in his first stretch as regular Thor artist. Walt's signature style was still evolving, and was buried under very heavy inking by Tony DeZuniga.

OK, I know I've over-reacted here...but good gosh, Thor vs. Stilt-Man???

So, anybody out there have their own nominations for Mismatch of the Millennium?

The New England Patriots versus the Arizona Cardinals of super-hero battles is from Thor #269, 1977.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

More Lessons from Jimmy Olsen #54

After yesterday's doctoral thesis, I felt that I wouldn't be doing my duty as an educator if I didn't present portions of the other two (2!!!) stories from that issue, in convenient panel-sized doses.


DC baby grammar: Me am loving it!A) Lucy Lane is a slut.
B) Lucy Lane chooses her boyfriends based on whether or not male babies find them attractive.
C) Jimmy takes creepy stalking to a whole new level.

Gee, and I had believed Totem Tom was a real Indian...A) Wrestling is fixed.
B) Jimmy knows way more about male armpit hair than I'm comfortable with.
C) Lucy Lane had better hope that cuffs and collars match.
D) I think this may be the only comic book reference EVER to armpit hair. Wow. Cool.

In Metropolis, all signs must announce the stunt's purpose in their first sentenceA) Metropolis has a county fair??
B)Obviously, not a well-attended county fair, according to the sign
C) Metropolis' citizens are easily amused, apparently. Superman is your resident hero, and the most entertaining stunt you can come up with is to shoot him out of a cannon?

Uhhhh.....passA) Kids!! Mixing chemicals in medicine chests can cause cool things to happen!! Try this at home!
B) This is an immensely disturbing image in about 20 different ways.

Alaways be deferential to midgets caught searching your reporters' desksA) If you can't tell whether that small human is a baby or a midget, put them in front of a typewriter!! It's a full-proof test!!
B) Perry White cannot tell small children and midgets apart
C) Perry White is scared of midgets.
C) Babies smoking cigars? Hey, this was pre-Surgeon General's report!! It's all cool!


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Lecture Regarding Out-Of-Context Innuendo

This phrase now haunts my nightmares"Mount me, Master Olsen?"



Anyway, are there any questions from the audience?

Q: So Jimmy had super-powers in this story?
A: Yes and no. He did, but for only a few seconds.

Q: What's the deal with the giant, super-intelligent red ants?
A: Oh, they were just a dream.
(Boos from the audience)
A: Wait, see, it was a dream caused by red kryptonite!!
(murmers of interest from the audience)

Q: Where did the red kryptonite come from?
A: Mr. Mxyzptlkk brought it.

Q: But how was Jimmy Olsen affected by red kryptonite? He's human!
A: Well, you see, while Mxy was flying around Metropolis, a "sudden gust of wind" blew off his hat, and he didn't realize it was gone.

Q: What's that got to do with red kryptonite affecting Jimmy?
A: Well, Olsen found the hat, and saw the Mxy had written his name inside it (Really!). And when his wishes started coming true while wearing it, Jimmy realized "it must be a magical hat that possess the magical powers of its mischief-making owner!"

Q: So what did Jimmy wish for?
A: Well, after money and sex (seriously), he wished that he had Superman's powers "for a few hours." And he also wished for immunity from "green kryptonite." Not all kryptonite, you see. The tragedy of incomplete wishes. Or, in this case, too-specific wishes.

Q: Where does the red kryptonite come in?
A: Well, it turns out that Mxy had the red K stashed inside his hat to surprise Superman with. So when Olsen wished he had Superman's powers, the red kryptonite in the hat immediately affected him, putting Jimmy to sleep, and giving him a crazy dream about being king of the ants.

Q: That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard! You're making that up!
A: Nope. Here's proof positive.

Can any more exposition be fit into one panel? We should have a contest...Q: But Mxy can already do literally anything he wants to Superman with his magic powers! Why would he need red kryptonite ?
A: You'd have to ask Mxyzptlk that question, sir.

Q: But wait!! In that panel, Superman's holding the hat with red kryptonite dust pouring out!!
A: No, sir, that is a Superman robot, not an actual Kryptonian!

Q: So that "mount me" business was all a hallucination?
A: Yup.

Q: So it was Jimmy's own imagination producing giant red ants and "mount me" and betraying Superman?
A: Yup!! As I covered in a previous lecture series, Jimmy Olsen has a deep-seated, seething hatred for Superman that he usually keeps hidden, but comes out every few issues. Not to mention sexual domination fetishes involving large insects.

Q:This has gone on rather longer than you thought it was going to, hasn't it?
A: Yes, ma'am.

Q: Anything else to add?
A: The giant ants' leader was named MGORO. The ant Olsen mounted was LLANIX. The Superman-robot destroyed the magic wishing hat, instead of wishing for something incredibly useful like world peace or for Mxy to talk backwards or an end to the writers' strike. No one even attempts to offer an explanation as to why Olsen would be such a dingleberry as to wish for super powers for only "a few hours." Mxy never comes looking for his hat, never finds Superman, nothing is ever followed up on. All in all, a typical Olsen Story.

Q: Thank you, professor.
A: That wasn't a question.
Jimmy ascends to the ant throne (in his fetid little imagination) in Jimmy Olsen #54, 1961.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday Night Fights--Slamtrak Style!!

The scene: Kyle Rayner has been Green Lantern for about 10 minutes, but the dreaded Mongul has shown up, and he's in the mood to kick some Green Lantern ass, and he doesn't care if it's Hal Jordan or some rookie.

Even then, Kyle got no respect...Fortunately for our inexperienced hero, mullet-wearing Superman shows up to help. Less fortunately, despite some good blows, Supes is unable to gain the upper hand.

Get a haircut, hippie!

Get bent, establishment pig!

Face rocking funWell, since this is Kyle's book, he gets to deliver the knockout punch, right? So how do you take down the pissed-off-and-as-strong-as-Superman intergalactic conqueror? One word, baby:

Fortunately, Kyle's trains are more frequently on time than Amtrak'sSLAMTRAK!!!!

Now that is officially a KNOCKOUT.

Fortunately for our universe, Bahlactus has no "necessary impurity" in his ring!!

Kyle's version of Blood on the Tracks comes from Green Lantern #53.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Universal Translator

There are some things, some actions, that can be portrayed better in comics than on the screen.

And vice versa--some types of things are better captured on TV or film.

But there is one thing that is absolutely common to both forms of media:

There is acting...
Must--emote--harder...chew--scenery--longer--than co-starsAnd there is SHATNER ACTING!!!

Sp-ooo-ck!! This--great--scene--comes from IDW's Star Trek Year Four #6. Can your logic answer that, Spock? At least his tunic isn't ripped open this time...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My Villains Could So Whoop Your Villains!!

One of my droogs and I were having a conversation the other day, discussing why he found the Batman movies so much more satisfying than the Superman flicks.

Amongst the points we discussed was that in the 5 modern Batman movies, they never recycled a villain (yeah, I know, the next one ends that), yet in the 5 modern Superman flicks, Luthor was the villain in 4 of them (and it was the camp Luthor, too...)

Of course, this spiraled us into a discussion of why that had happened that way, and we reached the conclusion that part of the reason was that Superman had a lame-ass rogues' gallery, especially as compared to Batman. Yeah, you got Luthor. Brainiac's not bad, but apparently they don't want him for a movie (not to mention that he's been essentially MIA in the DC Universe for awhile). Parasite? Well, it would be hard to build a movie around him. Plus, he's purple. Toyman, Prankster, Mr. Mxyzptlk? They exist merely to make Superman look silly...since it's so hard to compete with him on a physical level, they're around to frustrate him mentally. Again, hard to make a good 90 minutes there. Bizarro? Given that so few comic writers can do him justice, I'd be reluctant to let Hollywood take a crack.

Really, not a lot of good, interesting, telegenic villains there, are there? And if I were less charitable, I'd say Superman, for the #1 hero, has a completely terrible set of recurring villains.

Which, of course, directed our discussion to: who has the BEST rogues' gallery? Of course, much of this comes down to both personal taste and familiarity with the heroes. That said, let's throw up a few nominees, shall we?

THE FLASH--specifically Barry Allen and Wally West. Includes Mirror Master, Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, Heat Wave, Abra Kadabra, Zoom, Grodd, Weather Wizard, Trickster, Pied Piper, Mr. Element, the Turtle (!), etc.

*It's actually called the Rogues' Gallery. Huge step up in this competition!
*Large. Flash could fight a different Rogue every month and not have to repeat during the year.
*Diverse powers
*Frequent team-ups, various combinations
*More, deeper characterization of the villains than you generally saw in the Silver Age

*Not that powerful (at least as used): These guys could rule the world if they put a little thought into it...but they're happy to piss away their massive powers robbing banks and jewelry stores??
*Most are one-dimensional in power and use. OK, Heat Wave can make heat. And??
*Lost a lot of respect when they got all weepy after killing Bart Allen. "We didn't mean to kill him?"!!! What the hell do you think you've been trying to do EVERY SINGLE ISSUE FOR THE PAST 50 YEARS, dumb asses, with all those death traps??

BATMAN. Includes the Joker, Two Face, the Penguin, Catwoman, the Riddler, Killer Croc, the Ventriliquist, Ra's Al Ghul, Black Mask, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Bane, KGBeast (greatest villain name ever!!!), Scarecrow, etc

*Large, maybe even larger than Flash's, depending on whom you count.
*Incredibly diverse and interesting (at least among the main ones--let's ignore knock-off losers like Calender Man, Signal Man, or the Globe, shall we?), representing how #$%^'d up Gotham City is.
*Great mix of crazy, cunning, powerful, and strong. A lot more types of stories can be told with this mix than most other heroes.

*Several are too easy to camp up (I'm looking at you, Joel Schumacher--wasting an opportunity to use Two Face like that is a capital offense!!) and not take seriously. Too much 1960's TV show baggage?
*Too many crazies? Too much Arkham??

SPIDER-MAN. Includes Green Goblin, Dr. Octopus, Elektro, Chameloen, Sandman, Mysterio, Venom, Jackal, Kingpin, Vulture, Lizard, etc.

*Vast. Never a shortage of candidates for whom to fight next issue.
*Perhaps the most deeply varied in terms of abilities/styles.
*Adaptable to other heroes--more than any other gallery discussed here, Spidey's villains can (and do) interact more with their native universe--other heroes, etc. More of Spidey's villains have branched off to fight other heroes (Sandman, Mysterio, Kingpin, Rhino...) than anyone else's.

*Enough with the Venom already.
*All-in-all, not the brightest bulbs in the pack, are they?
*Given the OMD reboot, who the hell knows what the status of any of these guys is now?

FANTASTIC FOUR. Dr. Doom, Frightful Four, Annihilus, Galactus, Puppet Master, Mad Thinker, Blastaar, Diablo, Mole Man, Psycho Man, Red Ghost, Super-Skrull, etc.

*The most diverse yet. We've got gods, mad dictators, alien conquerors, mad Russian scientists with monkeys, extra-dimensional conquerors...oh, Stan and Jack, thank you.
*Doom. 'Nuff said.
*True world-class menaces. No bank robbers here.

*Sometimes waaaay to one-dimensionally characterized post-Stan and Jack, and not particularly creatively used post-Stan and Jack, either.
*Paste-Pot Pete. 'Nuff said.
*Perhaps a bit stagnant...really, has there been a memorable addition to this group in the past 15 years??

OK, so there you have it. Those are my 4 nominees for the best rogues' gallery. Please vote in the poll on the sidebar. And if you think I've skipped over some heroes villain club unfairly, take me to task in the comments.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Already Sick of It

OK, OK, I apologize for criticizing the tsunami of zombie, please, Marvel, make this stop:

Next year: Zombie Skrulls!!'m a broken man...why must every Marvel marketing campaign feature heroes being something evil? Sob...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Words To Live By 3

Well, Fat Cobra is pretty much the rockingest kung fu sumo in the universe. Not only does he have victory wenches...

Fast Bastard wins!

...but it would appear that he has wenches for every occasion:

Fat Cobra--bigger playa than Wilt ChamberlinNext: Fat Cobra introduces his Morning constitutional wenches, his wenches of 57-channels-and-nothing's-on, and his parallel parking wenches!!

Brubaker. Fraction. Iron Fist #12 And wenches. lots of wenches.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The MOST Disturbing Thing I've Seen This Week

VERY high up on the list of things that I really really didn't need to see:

I wouldn't blame her for turning invisible here...Norman Osborn ogling Sue Richards' breasts.

There's not enough E's or W's in my keyboard to express the level of "eeeewwwwww" this causes. Plus, wholly unnecessary! Thanks, Jenkins and Gulacy!

Then again, we already knew that Norman has a thing for blonds who also hook up with superheroes...or did that ever happen, now?


Paul Gulacy drawing Norman Osborn so he looks exactly like LBJ is from Penance: Relentless #4, an otherwise fun series. I'll say it again: eeeeeewwwwwwww!!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday Night Fights--Wonder Girl Style!!

I can't believe I'm doing this...but, even the crappiest comic book series in DC history can have 1 good beat-down somewhere in 36 issues, can't it?

On Earth-51, "our" Donna Troy is fighting an evil Donna Troy from Earth-Who-Gives-A-Damn. And evil Donna loooooves to talk:

Lordy, is this friday Night Fights or Friday Night Therapy?!?But you shouldn't be talking when you're fighting our Girl Wonder:

Ahhh, that's more like it...Bammmm!! And can we get a pithy action hero send off?

Tru datThank you!!! That's what I call a knockout!!

Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me? B-A-H-L-A-C-T-U-S. Hey, Bahlactus doesn't need to rhyme, bitch!

I apologize, and realize that I might lose my blogger credentials for actually liking 4 panels from Countdown #15. But trust me, the rest of it sucked. Hard. I'm not going soft. Really.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I Have Seen the Light!!

You know what? Joe Quesada was right all along. And I'm man enough to admit that I was wrong.

And all the proof we need is in this story:

Spidey could NEVER fight ninjas in gargoyle masks if he were hitched!I mean, just think about it:
  • Peter Parker gives mouth-to-mouth to J. Jonah Jameson. That story NEVER could have happened had Peter ever been married (let's face it, Tiger--MJ doesn't swing that way).

  • Spider-Man battles a super-powered hood who wants to control New York's criminal families...something Spidey NEVER could have done if he had to worry about maintaining an adult relationship!

  • Spider-Man saves passers-by from a falling billboard, and they blame him. Wow, not only is it a BRAND NEW DAY, but it should be completely obvious to anybody that had Peter Parker and Mary Jane been married, he NEVER could have done that!!
So Quesada was right--there are literally millions of stories Spider-Man stories that couldn't be told if Peter Parker were still married!! And the first story line out of the gate is the best example possible of why such a drastic and radical move had to be made!! Mea culpa, Marvel, mea culpa.

The story I am very unfair to is Amazing Spider-Man #547. I'm sorry, Dan Slott and Steve McNiven, it really was a fun story. You're just caught in the fallout, dudes.

What The #$%^--Reals

Everyone who loves superheroes should read this immediately.

I'm not sure what your reaction will be, because I'm still not sure what my reaction is.

But it should be read.

Oh, and if you're a super-villain, don't plan any vacations to the spots on this map.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Spoiler Alert

Dear Sean McKeever and Mike Carlin,

If you want the surprise reveal on page 16 of the villain who's been lurking around all issue to actually BE a surprise reveal,

Tonight, on Animal Planet...Maybe you shouldn't broadcast his presence ON THE BLEEDING COVER OF THE ISSUE.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Why They Don't let Me Write DC Comics

So I'm reading a reprint of Detective Comics #66, the first appearance of Two-Face. So what do I find?

Yo Apollo,  need you to help me fight Clubber Lang...Picture a spit take here...Harvey KENT?? KENT!?! What, DC somehow botches a reprint of one of their classic stories?

Nope. For his first couple of appearances, Two-Face was actually named Harvey Kent...Wikipedia says his name was later changed "to prevent confusion with Clark Kent."

Well, I'll be damned. I didn't know that, and I'm supposed to know shit like that. And it's no big deal. Harvey Dent is a better name for Two-Face, regardless of potential Clark confusion. Let's just call it another Robert Bruce Banner thing.

But what if...what if his name really was Harvey Kent? What if he changed it soon after he arrived in Gotham? What if he was a relative of the Kents? A long-lost relative, a cousin or nephew? Or...

...what if Harvey Kent is Jonathan Kent's son from a previous marriage that he had told nobody about? Harvey Kent, embittered and unbalanced by this abandonment, changes his name and becomes Gotham City's District Attorney, but is primed for lunacy when that beaker of acid hits his face. OMG...what if Two-Face is Superman's step-half-brother!?!?!?!?!?!

Someone get me DiDio...I got a story to pitch!!!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Great Moments in Bad Predictions

From Captain America Annual #8, 1986:

Fact: Cap will change his mind once the Scarlet Witch kills everybody elseUhh, Cap, is that a money-back guarantee?

Then again, not even Captain America could foresee the coming of Bendis...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Tales From the Quarter Bin--Uggh!

When I was a wee tyke, and had relatively few comics, I of course would re-read them ad infinitum. And some of those DC house ads intrigued the living heck outta young me. Say what you want about late 60's/early 70's DC, but they knew how to do fantastic covers. I wanted to read some of those advertised but unattainable stories soooo badly...

So look what I found in the quarter bin this week:

You have no idea how badly I wanted to read this issue as a kidTeen Titans #24, 1969. In my book, that is one GREAT cover. And in the imagination of 'Lil snell, that obviously meant it must contain a GREAT story.

Uhhh....not so much.

So in a week when Bob Haney is (deservedly) getting a lot of good publicity for the posthumous Lost Teen Titans Annual, let's look back at one of his...uhhh...not so good moments.

Story-wise, this issue is completely forgettable. It's literally a Scooby-Doo plot, where the evil restaurant owner is trying to drive tourists away from the ski resort so he can buy the land. Look, they even get called meddling kids at one point!

Wally West shares Alan Scott's vulnerability to woodBut since the plot was old school even in 1969, what's left to talk about? Well, there's the great Gil Kane/Nick Cardy art. Or, we could discuss Bob Haney's laughably wonderful attempts to master "hip" teen dialogue:

Is it possible to cram more hip lingo into a panel? Don't worry, Bob Haney will try!!Because really, there is nothing quite like a 43 year old white-collar guy trying sooooo hard and earnestly to cram every single dialogue balloon with lingo he picked up from Laugh-In...and I do mean every single panel.

But then there is the slightly more off-putting stuff. Specifically, the casually stereotyped ethnic characterizations. You see, the ski resort in question is Medicine Mountain, and is owned Native Americans:

Hip AND Indian? Amazing!The chap in the hat is Eddie Tallbow; his tribe owns the resort. Now, I'm not too huge on political correctness, and I'm the first to say that when reading material from the past, you've got to "grade on the curve" a bit, to account for the sensitivities of the time in which it was created.

But Eddie's "wampum" reference (in the very first panel of the book!) is not a good sign of things to come. Virtually every single panel with Eddie contains a "paleface" or "ugh" or "heap" or "flipped his wigwam..." And then there's "old Charlie By-And-By, the "half cracked seer and medicine man" of the tribe." Let's see what an adult American Indian has to say:

We'll just leave the elctric vibrator commentray for another time, alright?Oh, dear.

Even sneaky capitalist Indians speak pidgin EnglisgOh, dear, again!

Hey, maybe we can insult multiple ethnic groups in a single panel:

Good thing no Poles were around, or the panel would implode from ethnic stereotype overloadSigh....I know I'm being too harsh, but the sheer relentlessness of Haney's characterization by stereotype in the story is embarrassing. You might think that the "hip" 1960's teens that Haney was portraying would be a little more sensitive, but then again, they're not really hip. Haney is just parroting popular culture for teen stereotypes, just as he is for his portrayal of Indians. It's Mod Squad meets F-Troop.

Shoot, I'm being too harsh again. But at a time when some DC mags were at least making an attempt to get away from cartoon portrayals of minorities, Teen Titans was wallowing in them. It makes for a truly disconcerting read in 2008.

But it still has a great cover.


This got by the Comic Code??

Why do you think they call him Tallbow??"Wax my slats?" Oh, Donna, you and your Amazonian lustiness...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friady Night Fights--E. Honda Style!!

Earlier this week, I was rhapsodizing on how wonderfully cool Master of Kung Fu was. So it's only natural I turn there for this week's KNOCKOUT!!

The scene: It's the very first appearance of Shang-Chi, who has just figured out that his papa, the insidious Fu Manchu, is really a very very very very evil dude. In classic Bruce Lee fashion, he has worked his way past various guards, and now he must confront Tak, the evil sumo!! Tak is also the cat who crippled Shang's new father figure, Sir Denis Nayland Smith, making this battle a little more personal.

Got that? OK, Jim Starlin, take it away!! First strike to Tak:

Round One--FIGHT!!But Shang-Chi ain't gonna be shut out:

Everybody was kung Fu fighting...Tak may be strong, but he can't match Shang-Chi in speed and technique:

Those cats were as fast as lightning...Oh, no, Shang, don't go for the pony-tail!!!

No more yankke my wankee!!Oh, you did! The inevitable result:

Just like Fu Manchu to send a sumo to a Kung Fu fight..KNOCK-OUT!!!!!!!!!

You know, if anybody out there reads Chinese, I've always been curious what it is saying in the borders around the fights...drop me a comment.

You know who can ALWAYS snatch the pebble out your hand? Bahlactus, that's who!!

Engelhart and Starlin bring us The Rising and Advancing of a Spirit fighting Fat Bastard in Special Marvel Edition #15, 1973. The comics world would never be the same again...