Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pot Calling The Kettle Black Goliath

You know, if I were going to write a history of, say, the Rutles, even though they were a fictional group, I would try to get the "facts" right, try to make sure that what I wrote was consistent with the fictional but known history of the group.

Which brings us to "Avengers Assemble: The Oral History Of The Earth's Mightiest Heroes by Brian Michael Bendis".

That's the title of the back-up text pieces that have been running in all of the issues of the latest incarnations of The Avengers and New (New) Avengers. Why do we have these? Perhaps as a justification for charging us $3.99. Perhaps as a trial balloon for releasing the collected "oral history of the Avengers" in trade. Maybe it's just a hobby, and Bendis likes to do it, and he'll keep going until he completes all 700+ issues of Avengers...but he'd better pick up the pace, because as of last week's Avengers #6, through 9 chapters he's only up to Classic Avengers #30 or so.

Which brings us to this week's entry, when we're covering the return of Goliath and Wasp to the team, and Hank Pym was trapped at...well, let him tell you himself (via Bendis):

12 feet? Let's fact check that, from Avengers #29:

And Avengers #30:

The stories themselves, and every online reference I could find, says Pym was stuck at 1o feet. Not 12, 10.

Now, it took me all of 2 minutes to look this up, and Bendis surely has Avengers resources that far outstrip mine. Yet when he's doing this little project of his, he can't bother to actually look up this fact? Sure, it's trivial, and in all honestly, it's far less of a boner than, say, Stan getting Bruce Banner's name wrong. But that trivial fact is the basis for this entire chapter of the "oral history," and even if these are fictional characters, don't you want to get the "history" right??

[And, before anyone goes "meta" on me, and suggest the Pym interviewed here was a Skrull and this was a tip-off; or that Pym self-aggrandizing his ten feet into twelve was a subtle sign of his lack of confidence and mental problems; sorry, no No-Prize. Because I could get "meta" back on those, if I choose. There are plenty of "editorial asides" in the "book" where the "author" could have pointed out Pym's error, and certainly would have done so if the purpose was to draw in question Pym's memory; and if there was any doubt this was the real Pym, would the publisher still be publishing this with all these interviews intact, given the Marvel Universe public's antipathy for the Skrulls??]

Anyway, then we get lots of quotes from scientists upbraiding Pym for his scientific ethics. Included is this:

Yes, that Bill Foster:

I guess the rules of scientific experimentation are as amendable as the laws in the Book of Oa, eh? "You do not experiment on yourself...unless you've 'perfected' the formula and Tony Isabella wants to create a new hero."

So yeah, you'd think that Bill Foster would be a little bit less self righteous in denouncing Pym for doing what he did. Or, at least, that Bendis would write him as less self-righteous.

Ahh, but he's dead, anyway, so what's the big deal??

Saturday, October 30, 2010


This should go without saying...

But the ladies love Hercules (especially when Don Heck is involved).

Oh, don't's a little Heckian cheesecake for the males...

Pin-ups from Avengers Annual #1 (1967)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Night Fights--Ultimo Style!!

OK, so you people didn't go for the Golden Age classic fight I presented last week. Fine. I'm not bitter. I mean, really, Spy Smasher in the Roman Colosseum fighting Nazi gladiators and Nazi lions and Leonardo da Vinci's secret weapon to win WWII? What was I thinking (sob)?

So I've recovered from that tragedy, and in a blatant attempt to win back your votes, the week's Friday Night Fights will be Silver Age-arific!!

And what could be more Silver Age-arific than Avengers Annual #1 (1967) by Roy Thomas, Don Heck and George Bell??

In this story, pretty much everyone who has ever been an Avenger up to this point in time has gathered, as a number of their old villains have mysteriously appeared and are attacking the heck out of places around the world (SPOILER ALERT: It's the Mandarin's master plan). So, in true JLA/JSA style, they split up into smaller teams, each taking on some of the villains: Iron Man, Goliath and the Wasp take on Swordsman and Power Man; Hercules and the Scarlet Witch take on Executioner and Enchantress (and a Frost Giant!); Hawkeye and Thor head to Africa to face the Living Laser...

Hey, that sounds like kind of a mismatch. Didn't Mandarin give the Laser any backup??

OH YEAH!! Ultimo--the evil robotic Kool-Aid Man of the Marvel Universe!! This is kind of out of Hawkeye's weight class, so Thor takes him on alone!!

Uh-oh! Why is this such a problem? Because at this point in history, Thor was stilled plagued by one of Odin's sillier enchantments--if the hammer's out of his grasp for 60 seconds, he reverts to Donald Blake!! Hey, Odin, what the hell was the point of that (except, of course, to provide easy crises and cliffhangers for the writers? I mean, c'mon, that's just Thor's version of yellow, right?).

Told you.

Anyway, Hawkeye bravely distracts Ultimo, and...

So now, Thor is P.O'd. And you don't want to face a ticked off Asgardian, trust me:

Thus endeth the lesson. Even the powerful Spacebooger couldn't have dispatched Ultimo quite so well, eh?

So go vote, people, go vote!! Restore my wounded pride!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


So I'm reading Secret Avengers #6, and...


Oh, and....


No spoilers, but Shang-Chi + Ed Brubaker = mucho joy.

True Dat

From Captain America #611

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Maybe He's An Insomniac?

So, Amazing Spider-Man Annual #4 (1967) contains a two-page spread illustrating Peter Parker and Harry Osborn's swinging bachelor pad. Why? Because that's the kind of things Marvel Annuals did, silly!

Let's take a closer look at Pete's room, shall we?

Do you see what's missing here??

Where's the bed?? Where the heck does Peter sleep?? (and for that matter, where did he and Gwen...oh, never mind, Comics Code and all that).

Plus, Peter Parker was a college student in the 1960s, and there are no black light posters on his wall?

Also of note:

A full chemistry lab?? In your room? Bro, that's gotta violate your lease or something...and your roommate probably thinks you're running a meth lab--and with Harry Osborn, it's a pretty important NOT to let him think that, right??

A filing cabinet? Really, Peter, a filing cabinet in your bedroom?

Man, that's an awful lot of batteries for a device that Spider-Man doesn't use very often. There must have been a sale at Costco or something...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Golden Age Idol--The Sincerest Form Of Flattery

Long-time readers will know that we here at Slay Monstrobot like to take a look at long forgotten Golden Age heroes, and have our illustrious judging panel decide a) who might be worth reviving in modern day, and b) hopefully finding they're public domain so we can get rich off the idea.

We've looked at a lot heroes in Golden Age Idol--but never anybody like:

Well, actually, that's not true. We've seen someone EXACTLY like Red Rube. Except the other guy came first.

Because if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Red Rube is absolute most sincerest hero ever.

Come back with us to MLJ's Zip Comics #39 (1943), as Ed Robbins "creates" a "new" we find young orphan Reuben Reuben fleeing:

Now, maybe we have seen that before, but let me tell you--Dickens wishes he could have written an orphanage this unpleasant!

A cat o' nine tails?? Really??

Anyway, beaten and scared, Reuben Reuben flees orphanage officials and policeman in the rain, until he finds:

Because America was full of castles in the 1940s--but the greatest generation gave them up to save the world!! Ask your grandparents, kids!

Surprisingly enough, Reuben Reuben is recognized at the castle!!

But the poor unnamed servant dies almost immediately!!

So, Reuben Reuben wakes up to find a dead guy, so naturally he freaks. He runs all about the castle, trying to find a way out, when he discovers:

Yes, all of his ancestors were named Reuben Reuben. Every single one of them. All named Reuben Reuben.

Must have made his search a lot easier is all I'm saying...

But the hall is filled with more than paintings:

And how, exactly, will these ghostly ancestors help him??

Ah, so the orphan is going to get strength and speed and wisdom and other stuff from dead people. Hmm, this is really starting to sound familiar. How familiar?

Oh, come on now!!

Let's run the Billy Batson checklist here, shall we? Young orphan (check!) meets old guy with long beard (check!) who gives him the super abilities of those long dead (check!), which he accesses with a magic phrase (check!) that summons a meteorological effect (check!) which turns the boy into an adult superhero (check!). Oh, an the orphan would go on to work for a news organization (CHECK!).

Captain Marvel is very, very very flattered, is all I'm saying.

So, Reuben Reuben decides that his first task should be to bust up that evil orphanage. But man, it is a REALLY evil orphanage:

And not just regular REALLY evil--it's Wertham-level evil!!

But, of course, as in so many Captain Marvel stories, the gag is dislodged, and...well, speaking of Wertham:

Really, there's nothing wrong with a shirtless stud who is really a young boy putting an adult over his knee and spanking him...

Someone must have liked Red Rube, because he immediately took over as the cover feature of Zip Comics, displacing Steel Sterling.

But Zip Comics lasted only another year, folding with issue #47. That was the last anyone heard of poor Red Rube. Despite the umpteen revivals of the "Archie" heroes by various hands over the past 65 years, no one has so much as mentioned Red Rube. Maybe it was because he was so heavily derivative of another (better and more well-known) character, that no one knew what to do with him. Or maybe that "costume" just wouldn't cut it in the Comics Code era...put on a shirt, Rube!!

So, I think we're going to have to vote thumbs down here. What do you think, new judge J-Lo?

Ummmm.....uhhhhhh......urrrr.....whatever you say, ma'am.