Monday, August 31, 2009

Manic Monday--Waiting For The Namor/Little Mermaid Crossover

To think I was worried that I wouldn't have anything to write about today.

Then the news fairy gave me (and everyone else) an unexpected boon.

Now, I'm no guru of high finance, so I really don't have much to say about the bizness aspects of Disney's purchase of Marvel...although, geez, Marvel, you could have told me you were for sale...I could have scraped up $4 billion if you asked.

But I've got a few uninformed, unresearched, and completely ignorant questions.

#1--So, can we infer that Boom's deal for printing comics of Disney/Pixar characters might not be long for this world?

#2--Disney has been willing to let their characters be in odd cross-company crossovers before, most famously the Kingdom Hearts series of games from Square Enix. So it's not 100% crazy to speculate about some Marvel Adventures/Disney fun (OK, 98% crazy). Who wouldn't want to see Disney's Beauty & the Beast meet up with Marvel's Beauty & the Beat, Dazzler and Hank McCoy? Who wouldn't want to see a Sleeping Beauty/Sleepwalker epic? Pocahontas can turn out to have been an ancestor of Red Wolf! A Quasimodo/Quasimodo meeting? A given!! Pinocchio and the Vision could compare notes on being human!! And who wouldn't love to see the Punisher wandering around Wonderland?!?

#3--That being said, Disney does have a reputation for being pretty conservative, and very sensitive to public pressure. One would hope that wouldn't result in any directives from the Mouse House to tone down any of Marvel's more mature offerings. Disney has kept their vow about being hands-off with Pixar, but that easy with children's cartoons. It might be a different story with stories of, say, civil war in heaven and rebellious angels ousting God and demons being the good guys.

#4--Four words: Marvel characters at Disneyworld!!

#5--Marvel's obviously on a run with their recent movies (but please remember, it's only been 2 in a let's not exaggerate how perfect things have been yet). Will Disney let Marvel Studios continue to do their thing?

#6--Disney exacs can blather on about "bringing assets across multiple platforms"--but how about utilizing some of that synergy and efficiency to make the comics cost less than $3.99?!?

#7 (and most important)--Five words: Stan Lee meets Walt Disney!!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dan DiDio Doesn't Get The Legion

From a panel at the Toronto Fan Expo:

When the floor opened up to other topics, someone inquired whether there were plans to expand on the Legion of Superheroes?

“The problem with Legion of Superheroes is the big cast and my biggest personal problem was the lack of Superboy and the inspiration for the team,” offers DiDio. “That was so key to the origin and so key to so much going on there that without that, without Superboy to inspire the team, it lost its own purpose and just became a team. It was something set in the future, but it didn’t have a real tether to what was going on in the DC Universe currently. What we are trying to do is rebuild that time, rebuild that sensibility, and hopefully rebuild a Legion that is a strong powerful set of characters in the DC U again.”
Now, of course Dan DiDio is entitled to his own opinion. But this statement shows that he pretty much doesn't understand the Legion's history, its success, and why fans love the Legion.

"The problem with Legion of Superheroes is the big cast?" Really? One might ask, then, why DiDio was so enthusiastic about Legion Of 3 Worlds, which not only shoehorned in every tangential member of that cast, but tripled it by bringing in two alternate universe versions. If it wasn't a problem in LO3W, why would the "large cast" be a barrier to a new, continuing series?

And of course, the "big cast" is really no more a problem for the Legion than it is, say, for the Justice League or Society. There's no rule that says you have to use everybody at once. You pick and choose who your team is for that story, or that arc. Very few Legion stories have ever crammed in every member, and few in the future would have to. Just because you have a kitchen sink doesn't mean you're going to throw it in there every issue.

Most obviously, though, one of the very reasons for the Legion's popularity IS the big cast. You have literally a huge legion of heroes to choose from, and the fans love it. The times of the Legion's greatest popularity have coincided with when their cast was the largest.

Problem? The "large cast" isn't a problem, Dan, it's an opportunity.

And if too large a cast is a problem, one might finally ask why DC is busy trying to incorporate the large casts of Milestone (oops--never mind!), Red Circle and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents into their universe.

Secondly, Didio's "biggest personal problem was the lack of Superboy and the inspiration for the team."

Again, this shows a lack of knowledge of the Legion. From 1980 onwards, Superboy was not a regular member of the team. He'd show up for special ocassions, but the title changed from Superboy And The Legion Of Super-Heroes to just The Legion Of Superheroes in January of 1980.

Yet, despite that lack of Superboy, the Legion from that point onwards was popular enough to be able to support two separate title simultaneously--twice. The Legion of the 1980s and 90s was very popular, and reached creative and sales heights it hadn't when young Kal-El was attached.

Yes, some foolish DC editorial moves retconned Superboy out of the Legion's past--2 or 3 times, actually. I won't rehash that here. But to say that "we don't want to publish a Legion title because we screwed up Superboy" is the same thing as saying "we're going to punish you fans because we did something stupid 20 years ago." Thanks, Dan.

"...without Superboy to inspire the team, it lost its own purpose and just became a team?" Come on, Dan, are you serious? Do the JLA or the Outsiders spend every issue worrying about their "inspiration" or "their purpose?" (Except, of course, for Justice League: Cry for Boredom). For 2 decades the Legion did just fine by being inspired by "corrupted legends" about a Superboy, or by Mon-El, or whomever...and it worked just fine. Unless you're going to have them genuflecting "this is for you, Superboy" every issue, I don't see how this is any different than how you treat the Titans or the JLA. And i can't see why it would take more than one issue to re-establish their inspiration, if you think it's that important.

"It was something set in the future, but it didn’t have a real tether to what was going on in the DC Universe currently." That's not just wrong, it's just plain ignorant of DC history.

Without Superboy as a regular, the Legion fought off Darkseid and Ra's Al Ghul. They participated in several line-wide events, such as Legends, Millennium, Zero Hour and Countdown. They had at least 3 members who had mini-series set in the 20th century. Hell, for a couple of years they had half the team actually stuck in the 20th century. They were linked (albeit somewhat tenuously at times) with the L.E.G.I.O.N. and R.E.B.E.L.S. titles. They've had modern Superboy and Supergirl as members. They're constantly time-travelling into the 21st century these days, partying with Superman and the JLA and the JSA. They hung out with Batman in Brave & Bold. They were responsible for resurrecting both Kid Flash and Connor Kent Superboy. Mon-El is the star of the Superman comic book these days.

Don't have a real tether to what was going on in the DC Universe currently? Dan, what the frak are you talking about?!? If you're paying attention, the Legion has been "tethered" more strongly to the DC Universe than half of your 20th century DC books.

Finally,Dan, to get to the dreaded bottom line, if these are problems, why is DC printing trades from these non-Superboy eras, and fans demanding more? I know, I know, you'll whip out your standard "that's a different division of DC" line, like you always do. But the fact remains--someone at DC sees the sales potential of the Legion despite "large casts" and "untetheredness", while you just opine about the "problems".

Dan, the Legion is more popular and better than you think it is. If you're really this ignorant about the history and potential of one of your oldest super teams, you're doing a poor job as Editor. If not, and you're just ladling BS to cover the real reason ("we're waiting for Geoff Johns to be ready"), then be honest with us.

But instead of a thriving, vital Legion, what we have now is what almost precisely fits the vision DiDio described: a back-up feature with just a couple of characters appearing at a time, wandering around the 21st century. Yawn.

"What we are trying to do rebuild a Legion that is a strong powerful set of characters in the DC U again." You know, that sounds exactly how you enthusiastically described the Milestone characters in July of 2008. Do you see why I'm concerned, Dan??

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Maybe It's The Umlaut...

I know that I mocked the overlong, unwieldy title of Jericho Drumm's new ongoing, Doctor Voodoo: Avenger Of The Supernatural.

Why, then, do I think this is such a cool title?

Maybe it's because Amadeus Wölf is also the name of an Irish race horse, which is just cool.

Maybe it's because "stalker of the supernatural" has pleasing alliteration, whereas "avenger of the supernatural" just sounds grating, a blatant attempt by Marvel to put the new Sorcerer Supreme firmly into the ever-expanding Avengers camp.

Maybe it's because I'm just more lenient on 40 year-old British comics. Especially since, in his original appearances, Amadeus Wölf's name was--and I'm not making this up--Cursitor Doom. Which in and of itself is pretty cool. (His name was changed for the American Quality reprints...why? Who knows??)

Perhaps it's because I'm just an inconsistent idiot.

Or maybe it really is because of the umlaut...

Go on, rock me, Amadeus Wölf!!

Friday, August 28, 2009


OK, loyal readers, each and every one of you is expected to use this phrase in actual conversation this weekend:

Oh, all right, the "I'll kill you" is optional.

This quote is extra great because is comes from Arthur Nagan, former head of the Headmen, a scientist who managed to get his head transplanted onto the body of a gorilla (hence, the name Gorilla-Man):

You know, that really wouldn't be so bad, because then you could go around naked all the time, and people couldn't say anything, because if they said "Hey, you're naked," you could just gesture at yourself and say, "Dude, gorilla body" and they'd have to give you that one, so you could just keep on keepin' on...

I've just said too much, haven't I?

Anyway, use the phrase. You'll be glad you did.

Quote of the week comes from Avengers Initiative #27, by Christos Gage and Rafa Sandoval and Roger Bonet, which really ticks me off because every time I get ready to drop the title they come out with a GREAT issue like this one so I have to keep reading it. Sigh...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Study In Scarlet?

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however goofy, must be the truth.

From Antarctic Press' November solicitations, in the latest Previews:


Yes, ladies and gentleman, the stupidest (and yet coolest) idea ever:

Man, you just know this is going to suck. And you also know I'm going to have to buy it, you incredible bastards.

Can I at least hope Watson is a samurai as well as a doctor...??

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Answering The Questions Other Dare Not Ask!!

There are certain questions about comics that others shy away from asking, perhaps because they are too deep, too dark, too frightening.

But not here at Slay Monstrobot. No, sir, we will gaze right into the abyss, and hope that it gazes back.

Tonight's question?

We know that Ant-Man--whether he's Henry Pym, Scott Lang, Eric O'Grady or Garrett Morris--had the ability to control ants via the cybernetic circuitry of his helmet.

The Question That Others Dare Not Ask is:

Could Ant-Man control this guy??

I mean, then Ant-Man really would be a force to be reckoned with.

Plus, he could have commanded the little guy to kick the Flash's ass:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

One Down, Two To Go?

Hey, remember back at the 2008 San Diego Comic Con, when DC announced the acquisition of the Milestone characters, and made a huge deal about integrating them into the DC Universe, and Straczynski's Brave & The Bold stories were just going to be a start of a glorious future? When Dan DiDio declared, "You’ll be seeing other characters show up in other series [outside of the JLA and Teen Titans]. It’s going to be very organic and very natural in the way that we bring them in...." Not to mention,

There is a depth to these characters, there is an awareness to these characters, there’s a strength in personality, and there’s great development in these characters. When you have characters like ICON, Static, Hardware, the Shadow Cabinet...these are great characters and great concepts in their own right. This isn’t about a diversity issue – this is about bringing great material into the DC Universe, and being able to add value to everything that we do.

And 13 months later?

5. kryptofan1 asked:
Do you have plans for the Milestone characters (other than Static in the Teen Titans) after the Brave and Bold stories?

DiDio: At this particular time, we have Static in the Teen Titans, and we're looking at a storyline that might be built around Static later in the run. But right now, no other plans.

Oh. Never mind.

So much for "value added," eh? So much for the grand plans of a mini-series wrapping up the old Milestone continuity, or DiDio's statement that the characters would be at the "forefront" of the "big storylines in the DC Universe."

I can't help but wonder if the canning of Dwayne McDuffie from JLA had something to do with this; maybe he took his toys and went home.

Or maybe the DC Borg Collective finally found a species it couldn't assimilate.

But let me remind you of a prediction I made three weeks ago: "I predict dismal, flaming failure followed by a thorough under-the-carpet sweeping for DC's attempts to integrate 3 disparate continuities into their recently re-convoluted universe."

One down, two to go.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Manic Monday--Finally, Something I'm Glad My Parents DIDN'T Buy Me

After all of my kvetching about the comic-book-ad toys my parents never bought me, here's one that I'm fairly glad I never received:

Now granted, like most comic ads, this one uses the teensiest bit of hyperbole to give us the hard-sell...

...and used the tiniest bit of lies/exaggeration/Golden Age science to bolster its point...

Still, the ad's description of the breakdown of the radium atom, and how the "radiumscope" actually works, is pretty accurate for 1942:

Still, I shudder at the pre-atom-bomb idea of giving radioactive toys to children. Here, kid, hold this up to your eye for hours at a time!

Learn first hand what happened to Madame Curie!! Marvel as your eyes and brain are bombarded by radioactive particles!! Discover if Stan Lee right about radiation granting super-powers!!

The best part?

You might get lucky and still find one of these at a garage sale somewhere, awaiting to delight "future generations."

Yes, I know the amount of actual radium in one of the babies was probably (maybe) not enough to actually, you know, slaughter millions of kids. But the thought of comic book novelty peddlers pushing radioactive material on to kids...shudder.

Perfectly safe radioactive isotopes peddled in Blue Ribbon Comics #22 (1942).

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bye, Mark

It's suddenly a sad day in the blogosphere, as my pal Mark has decided to bring an end to his blog, Comic Coverage, after a 3-year run.

On a personal note, early on in my blogging days I received a very encouraging email from Mark. And he was one of the first to link to me here at Slay Monstrobot. Not to mention, his was one of the first comic blogs I read regularly, and a part of my inspiration to do my own blog. So, in a very real sense, he's to blame for my being here.

Mark brought a unique perspective to the comics blogosphere, with his vast experience (i.e., he's almost as old as I am) and near encyclopedic knowledge of comics books backing up his love for the medium.

Plus, and perhaps most importantly, his position as an actual working (and paid!) artist gave him a perspective too often missing from comic criticism, and gave extra credibility to his work, especial in features like "WORST Covers Ever."

Damn, he can write AND draw? No wonder his blog was so good...

So good luck to you, Mark, in whatever adventures your post-blog life takes you to. You'll be missed around here...and I hope you'll still drop by with your comments and observations.

And all my readers, swing by his old crib, wallow in his archives, and see how it's supposed to be done.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Justice Delayed=Justice Denied??

About 14 months ago, Dynamite announced that they had obtained the American rights to produce an original Judge Dredd series, shepherded by Garth Ennis and John Wagner.

We here at Slay Monstrobot were pretty excited about the announcement. 'Cause we loves us some Dredd. Hell, we even liked the version DC did back in the 90s.

But since then, silence. Nothing. Nada. Despite Dynamite president Nick Barrucci's announced plan to publish "a new Judge Dredd series featuring all new stories in early to mid 2009," nothing seems to be pending. There's not even a mention on the Dynamite web site.

So what gives? Did the deal fall through? Has Dynamite been distracted by having to arrange infinite variant covers by John Cassady and Alex Ross for all their titles? Are they too busy putting out Stargate prequels and Evil Dead mash-ups and the all-important Galactica: 1980 to make time for the series that they themselves made a big announcement about acquiring?

(Note...please please please give us an Evil Dead/Sherlock Holmes series...because we haven't run the mash-ups idea into the ground quite thoroughly enough yet).

Basically, what I'm saying is: Dynamite, where the hell is Dredd??

Oh, and while you're at it, Dynamite, how about some in-print and reasonably priced Dredd collections? Thank you.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Premise Fail 2 (Spoiler For Batgirl #1)

WARNING...may contain a SPOILER for BATGIRL #1...proceed at your own risk. In the meantime, gaze at these picture of Plato. SPOILER after the Greek dudes.

OK, here we go...

So, at Gotham U., Philosophy 480 is a required class??

For freshmen?!?

(What, is this taking place in Denny O'Neil's Hub City?)

And a 400-level philosophy course spends the first day asking "What is free will?" Makes you wonder what was covered in Philosophy 101...

(Hee, hee, get it--"SPOILER for Batgirl"!?!? Damn, I'm so clever...

Premise Fail

From Blackest Night: Superman #1:

So, Evil-Dead-Earth-2-Superman needed a shovel to dig up Pa Kent's grave?

A shovel??

I guess those Black Lanterns aren't so tough after all...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Archie Meets The Punisher--The Golden Age Version

As the DC Borg Empire is assimilating the "Red Circle" heroes, perhaps we should note just how...hmmm, let's say bloodthirsty the costumed adventurers from the House That Archie Built were.

In Pep Comics #1 (1940), we're introduced to the Comet. In typical Golden Age fashion, we don't start out with an entire origin story, or even origin pages. Geoff Johns would drag this out to a 12-issue miniseries, but we get the full skinny on the Comet in the first four panels!!

Perhaps he should have taken the name 'Dr. Embolism'Ah, Golden Age Science...

Don't cross the streams!!
Sir, Scott Summers' lawyer is on line 1...
Keep reading, and see the danger it will cause in good hands!What a delightfully low key, silly origin. And look who our creator is:

No Plastic man style silliness here...Why, then, we must be in for a daffily fun caper here, right?

Hahahaha, you poor naive fools. Get ready for a Frank Castle-fest.

Granted, the Comet is up against a pretty vile group of gangsters:

We also inadvertantly cause a plague, but what the hell, right?But he gives them a stern warning:

Yes, because homeless gangsters are so much more likely to turn to goodHowever, if they were smart, they wouldn't be criminals. So when Comet catches one of them back in the typhoid business:

You don't need to keep witnesses alive to turn on their accomplices when you're going to kill the accomplices, too!YOW!!!

And when he catches up to the deceased's comrades?

Sir, Scott Summers' lawyer is still holding...
Insert joke about Comet cleansing crime...DOUBLE YOW!!!

And when he finds the secret mastermind?

You just know he's not going to clean up the 'splat' that guy makesTRIPLE YOW!!!!

No wonder we had that crossover--the Punisher fits in just fine in this universe...

Lesson: don't mess with scientists, I guess....

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Simplified Synopsis of Blackest Night

Let's see, what do we have at the 1/4 point? A recap:

Black rings fly around, enter a grave, dead person arises.

Rinse, lather, repeat. Again and again and again.

Green Lantern and Flash have the same conversation they've already had in Flash: Rebirth and Blackest Night #0 (Barry Allen was apparently revived with short-term memory problems. Hal Jordan, of course, has a ready excuse for his mental problems).

Rinse, lather, repeat.

"Shocking" revelation of yet another dead person revived. Gasp!! Who could have imagined that yet another dead person with ties to a living hero would arise?!?

Rinse, lather, repeat.

I know that Geoff Johns has never been known for giving us the most briskly moving storylines, but this puppy is 25% over now...can we get past the repetitive preliminaries now and maybe get some actual story going?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Manic Monday--My Parents Must Have Really, Really Hated Me

Seriously, there must have been something terrible and vile I did to my parents as a youth. That's the only possible reason for my being deprived of this:

You have got to be kidding me!!

Oh, my....can this be any cooler?


Still, I suspect the "nuclear" part was false advertising...
Ad from Avengers #66 (1969), when I was the perfect age to have enjoyed the greatest toy ever, yet was inexplicably denied this pleasure.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Maybe Roy Needed To Keep A Chart Or Something...

Don't get me wrong--I love Roy Thomas. He had a manic creativity and drive in his stories that make them well nigh impossible to put down.

But sometimes, in his early days, he seemed ridiculously eager to out-Stan Stan. And to that effect, he'd ratchet up the melodramatic dialogue and inter-character conflict to 11.

And sometimes he was so intent on doing that, he'd sorta lose track of his characterizations.

Case in point--Henry Pym in Avengers #58 (1968):

And the same Henry Pym in Avengers #66 (1969):

Oh, Henry...

Then again, Pym had recently had a severe mental breakdown and forgotten he was even Hank maybe that would account for the change of mind on Vision's voice...Roy was just subtly letting us know how crazy Pym was, right?


Then again, there's a fair chance this also had an impact of Pym's problem brain:

Man, Barry Smith was trippin' eh?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Vision Is Radder Than You Think--Finale

I promise, this is really the final time I'll try to convince you that the Vision is radder than you think.

So, after this week of hullabaloo, why do I think the Vision is so damn rad?

Because even after all these years...

...I still get choked up by this scene.

Damn you, Roy Thomas and John Buscema in Avengers #58 (1968). Sniff...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Night Fights---The Vision Is Radder Than You Think Style!!

Well, I guess I can only make one, desperate, last-ditch effort to convince you that the Vision is radder than you think.

And since it's Friday, I can use Friday Night Fights to answer the musical question: "snell, why is the Vision so rad?"

The musical answer, of course, is that the Vision can, by himself, kick the living crap out of the entire Justice League.

OK, OK, quibble away. By "Justice League", I actually mean Marvel's thinly-veiled alternate-universe analogues of the JLA, the Squadron Supreme. And by "entire," I mean three members.

Still, the way the Vision cuts through them here, there's not much doubt he could take of the rest of the Squadron with one synthetic arm tied behind his back.

It starts when Superman, Green Arrow, and Black Canary--oops, I mean Hyperion, Golden Archer, and Lady Lark...sorry--have captured the Scarlet Witch. Their mistake, as we find out (to the tune of death metal group Cadaver and their song Blurred Vision):

You're gasping for breath
Your heart stops to beat

You'd enter your death
And your soul would release

Your death'll have to wait
I choose your fate
You'll find no rest
When your body lies in the chest

I pulverise your dreams
Resurrect you without limbs
No one hears your screams

Add Image...Blurred visions
Of a life to be

An existence pain
To last eternally

I manipulate your will
And you won't hesitate
When I order you to kill

Your death'll have to wait
I choose your fate

You'll find no rest
When your body lies in the chest


By now, even Spacebooger would have to concede: the Vision is radder than he thought!! To be concluded tomorrow...

The Vision (who is radder than you think) destroys the Satellite Era Just...errr, Squadron Supereme in Avengers #147 (1976), by Steve Englehart, George Freakin' Perez, and Vince Coletta.

Lyrics and "video" below...the fight sequence really rocks if you read in in time with the music...

Lyrics | Cadaver lyrics - Blurred Visions lyrics