Sunday, July 23, 2017

Heroclix Custom of the Week: Snapper Carr

This is latest in my ongoing series featuring custom figures I use in the tabletop miniatures game, Heroclix.  In the last entry, I shared my custom for Apex City's GIANT ROBOT BEAR.  It's not easy to match that for absurdity, unless of course today's figure is...

SNAPPER CARR.

The more you think about the fact that Justice League gave Snapper Carr a flying jalopy,
the more reasonable Lex Luthor seems.


For Snapper Carr I chose a dial that's short (so he can die really quickly) but still annoying (Snapper's defining characteristic).  It's the one-slot dial of some silly concept from Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D., an A.I. monkey named "HENRY".  I'm sure that's an acronym, because Marvel, but I don't care of what (also because Marvel).



This dials gives Snapper 'teleportation', a power he developed after his Justice League days during the "Invasion" crossover.  He has 'super senses', which makes some sense because his hypersensitive observational skills were part of what brought him to the JLA's attention.  

These panels show both his teleportation and his keen awareness of his surroundings <Batman eyeroll>.


The special damage power gives him both 'Empower' and 'Enhancement'; GREAT advantages in any sidekick, that let him help others attack without making him a good attacker himself.

I didn't have enough time to find a panel of Snapper actually being helpful.
But this is a great representation of not-being-a-good-attacker.


He's got the 'Tiny" size symbol which requires some special interpretation, since for all his faults, Snapper is NOT tiny.  

That's a pretty safe assumption.

Since the main effects of "Tiny" size are being harder to hit from afar and being able to be carried by normal size figures, I just re-interpreted those effects with some special traits:

If you are wondering why Green Arrow isn't in that list there are two reasons:
1. Green Arrow isn't an original member of the Justice League and wasn't there when they 'adopted' Snapper; and
2.  Green Arrow pretty consistently couldn't stand Snapper.


And here's his actual sculpt (a repainted Rick Jones):

I thought the fluorescent base might make him an easier target.




Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Comic That Ended the Silver Age #4: Gettin' Real

And now the shocking conclusion to "Snapper Carr -- Super-Traitor"




Batman (who is the world's greatest detective, after all) has deduced John Dough's ugly secret (as if what we know of him already isn't ugly enough!).  He has also deduced that John Dough will be hiding out in the the JLA's own Secret Sanctuary (the location of and access to he got from dopey dupe Snapper Carr).


"And you know why? Because I'm BATMAN!"


However, the JLA isn't well prepared for the encounter with John Dough.  Using some weapons of the type the JLA stupidly ALWAYS has lying around their HQ, John Dough kayoes Superman and Green Lantern and Flash.


If you'd kept Martian Manhunter around this sort of shit wouldn't happen.  He would have phased in and twirled or exhaled or snapped his fingers or conjured up an ice cream from the atoms of the void, and that would have been that.



With the super-people out of the way, Dough gets ready to simply shoot the 'normal' human members of the League. With a normal gun. Not a zappy gun. A gun gun. A Joe Chill gun.

And he was about to get away with it, apparently. Until Black Canary turned out to be... not so ordinary.  Ironically, Dough is relying on the fact that Black Canary (who, remember, is an unknown because she has only recently immigrated from Earth-2) is a normal person.  But, having acquired a super-power as a side-effect of immigrating, she's got a unique talent she can use to defeat "Mr. Normal".


Most of you won't know or remember that her sonic attack WASN'T something she created with her voice; she generated it with her MIND.  


Yes, this is the first time Black Canary uses her 'canary cry' against a villain.  




And that villain turns out to be...not so ordinary.


Well, at least it explains the green suit.


The clues were there from the beginning.  The seduction of the innocent.  The laughing gas from a bouquet of flowers. Ignoring the Atom in favor of kidnapping Batman.  Keep Batman alive in the world's slowest death-trap so that he can watch society turn against his friends.  The 'trump' satellite (as in playing card trump). 

But even without clues the irony is so so painful.  The Joker, of all people, as the champion of THE NORMAL.  Turning the fact that the JLA accepted a 'normal' person, Snapper Carr, into their ranks against them.  Making Batman suffer for his pretensions of hanging out with the super-crowd.  

Sure, the story is written with Denny O'Neil's heavy hand. But in a way that makes the irony that much more painful.  His Joker isn't just stealing a ruby or shooting a librarian; he's winning the war of ideas, he's perverting the acceptance of diversity at the heart of civilization, and turning people against the heroes trying to protect them.  

Truly, what Denny O'Neil did in this story was shockingly subversive.  There was no fake-out in the title (as was so common in the Silver Age): Snapper Carr DID betray the Justice League.  The JLA's HQ is compromised.  The fragility of their position as 'heroes' is revealed.  

And, Denny, using the brick-wielding writing that I have been making fun of, makes darned sure that you KNOW it...

He gives you the throwaway Silver Age "all's well" ending that you have come to expect:


....only to have his authorial mouthpiece, Green Arrow, clearly call BS on it:




The end, indeed. The end of the Silver Age as we all knew it.  And Denny O'Neil used his painfully heavy style to make darned sure that everyone knew it.  Once Snapper Carr has betrayed the League, we are in new age: the Bronze Age, and nothing will every be the same again.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Comic That Ended the Silver Age #3: Gettin' Crazy


When last we left Snapper Carr and his back-up group, the Justice League of America, 




Batman had inexplicably extricated himself from the death-trap that populist demagogue John Dough had placed him, forgiven Dough and Snapper, and brought invitations to the JLAers to a public debate over abnormal superheroes versus ordinary people.


Do ordinary, average people have death-traps lying around? I guess they do in the DCU.  Probably part of the real estate listings: "good school system, nearby public transportation, with two-person death-trap."


What does it all mean?!?!?


My GOD, John Dough is actually ETHAN HUNT!


Don't believe everything you see on television because that's FAKE NEWS!  That 'Batman' is really John Dough in DISGUISE!  Fortunately Batman is in the slowest-acting death-trap ever, because it's still going on (presumably) hours later when thousands show up for the anti-JLA debate at Golden Stadium.


It's never clear in what city anything is happening in a JLA story, but if that's in Gotham City, I guaranteed the stadium is ACTUALLY made of gold.  And that at some point, the Icicle stole it before the JSA made him put it back.

Just to make sure that crowd is on edge and ready to rumble, John Dough has rented a portable Psycho-Pirate machine to screw with their heads:


That is why you left him with a teevee in the slowest death-trap ever, right, John?


This is where it gets NASTY. Dough has Snapper make the case against the JLA, which is a viciously embarrassing tactic by Dough. If notorious nationally-known super-suck-up Snapper Carr can recognize the danger inherent in the JLA, then, why, shouldn't everyone?!  


Man, dig that damning declamatory discourse!


Then it starts to get skeevy in the stands as palookas enviously ogle Black Canary in the closest late '60s comics can get to portraying sexual harassment:


Is it blaming the victim to note that she IS wearing a cigarette girl outfit and a leather jacket to a public debate?

Black Canary being Black Canary, however, simply beats the snot of out of them in a distinctly unlady-like manner.


"Jeez, lady, all we said was 'you're in great shape'!"

This starts a riot, which the JLA can't stop because Dough's mind-whammy machine rendered them confused and incompetent.


Or, in some cases, MORE confused and incompetent.

The JLA is forced to retreat, police have to stop the unrest, and the Senate calls for hearings on Dough's accusations that the JLA caused the riot.  Phew! A populist demagogue posing as the champion of ordinary people whips up a stadium full of his judgement-impaired followers to the point of violence!  Thank god I live on Earth-Prime where such a thing could never happen. Except during presidential elections.


LOCK. HER. UP!


No wonder Dough got rid of Batman; this is what happens to the JLA when Batman's not around to keep them from stepping on rakes.  

Speaking of Batman, shouldn't he be dead by now? No, of course not; he's had about 127 hours to macguyver his way out of Dough's makeshift deathtrap, which he finally does:


Trump. THERE's a shock.
I guess we now know who build the Golden Stadium.
What better way to broadcast fake news?


Batman goes RIGHT to the Senate hearings (because shit happens FAST in the DCU) and unmasks Joe Dough as an impostor. Dough creates a dangerous diversion so he can escape, which Green Lantern handles in the easiest way possible:  putting the Senate into suspended animation.


In the immortal words of Dorothy Parker: how can you tell?

After Dough has escaped and order is restored, the JLA confronts Snapper and his lame excuses.


If only Snapper had started talking like a normal person WITHOUT having to betray the JLA first.

And then Green Arrow -- dirty stinking pinko commy hippy dumb-ass Green Arrow -- lets fly with the piercing Truth Arrow.


Ollie Queen for Mayor started RIGHT HERE, people.

Tomorrow, Batman and the League confront Dough at the JLA's secret sanctuary, where there are revelations and reckonings.








Friday, July 14, 2017

The Comic That Ended the Silver Age #2: Gettin' Doughy

Today continues our lesson on "Snapper Carr -- Super-Traitor!" (JLA #77 (1969)).

"It's Old Man Withers, the caretaker!"



It begins as all truly great and enjoyable stories do: with Snapper Carr getting the crap beat out of him.

Any resemblance to the current sociopolitical environment is entirely intentional, by the way.

If Snapper were better educated, he simply would have exclaimed "V!"


Fortunately (?), someone comes to his rescue with the ominous/cheery line "There's no need for violence... at least not yet!"

Yes, this is an obvious set-up so that Snapper would see this guy as his savior. But Snapper's too dumb to see that.


Okay, BRACE yourself for the meteor-impact of subtlety that is the writing of Denny O'Neil. 

No, really; brace yourself.  because I guarantee you are not ready.  

Ready...? (You're not, by the way).

Here it comes...


KA-LOOOTA!!!

I've met him, and one cannot help but love Denny O'Neil personally. He's a good and very intelligent man, with a strong conscience, who longed to bring relevant social discourse to a genre known mostly for people in capes hitting one another.  However, he writes with all the subtlety of Hulk throwing Thor's hammer at a rusty typewriter.

Only in comics can one become (somehow) famous for being average. Only in comics can one be 'most normal".  Only in comics can one do so while wearing a bright green suit.

So there is apparently an off-panel heart-to-heart between Snapper and *snort* "John Dough" in which JD completely convinces Snapper to come over to the dark side.  It happens pretty damned quickly because the next time we see them they are still wearing the same clothes.

Bruce, Ray; get off your asses and invent the cell phone already. Cheez.


The JLA only has three smart people in it, and Snapper just took out two of them at once.

Really, Denny? You felt the need to have a genius professor of nuclear physics say 'kinda'?

Key here is that Dough makes SNAPPER do the deed.  This is very cult/gang leader; make the newbie prove himself and his loyalty by doing some culpable act himself while you stand there to apply pressure.

You were always a weak fool, Snapper.
Saying yes to anyone in authority, anyone with a badge,
just like your parents taught you.
Say, do you even HAVE parents, Snapper?

Any resemblance to the current sociopolitical environment is entirely intentional.


Dough lets Atom lie there, but kidnaps Batman and puts him unguarded in a death-trap while he goes away to do something else, because comics.

Jeez, Denny, what kind of corny joker calls something "Operation: Average"?
PUT DOWN THE MJOLNIR AND STEP AWAY.

But what else is Dough up to?  Superman knows because he's the one who still reads newspapers:

HA! A superficially populist politician who plays on the fears and insecurities of the voters afraid of people who are different and of finding themselves in a world where they no longer matter as much as they used, by promising to return them to an earlier, simpler time?
Oh, Denny you and your crazy concepts!

I just LOVE that Hal's staring at his hands.
"These, for example, are not normal; my GOD my hands are beautiful!"

Then Green Arrow -- holy cow I can't believe I'm saying this -- GREEN ARROW calls this out as total BS and is RIGHT.

I... I agree with Green Arrow completely.
Because Green Arrow is right.
Now I need a drink and nap.


Why did Dough duck out on the Batman death-trap? Because he's preparing for a debate against superheroes at a big public rally that evening. How do we know? 

Because Batman shows up to tell us!

What's THIS? The Caped Crusader...OUT of the death-trap? And protecting our villain...?!


What does this mean? Tune in tomorrow, same Dough-Time, same Dough-Channel.






Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Comic That Ended the Silver Age, #1: Gettin' Kookie

Let's talk about the DCU's greatest betrayal, the one that ended the Silver Age:




"Snapper Carr-- Super-Traitor!" Justice League America #77 (1969).  

By that I mean, 'betrayal of one character by another in-universe".  The greatest betrayal would otherwise be Identity Crisis (by DC of its readers), of course.

Maybe you are already familiar with this story, but I'll wager a lot of less experienced readers aren't.  It's one of the most important DC comics of all time, which makes its current obscurity all the more ironic.  

Let's start with a question for those of you under, say, 40: Who is Snapper Carr?  Most of you will answer this guy:
Kara Danvers extra-dickish boss on "Supergirl"

But it's not. That's just one of those examples of the CW-verse slapping a random name stolen from the comics on a totally different character (kind of like how "Felicity Smoak" is actually Firestorm's stepmom).  

Real Snapper Carr was the JLA's teen sidekick in the Silver Age.  Well, mascot, really, since Snapper had no powers or abilities (except super-annoyingness).


There's so much more and so much more WORSE I could show you about Snapper Carr.  
Google it.

Snapper seems to have been modeled on secondary character turned teen sensation Edd "Kookie" Byrnes from the teevee show 77 Sunset Strip; Snapper was introduced in 1960 when Kookie-mania was in full-swing. His look AND his tendency to speak in faux-hip-lingo are dead giveaways. Why put such a character in the JLA, already brimming over with eight of DC's biggest heroes struggling for screen time?  


Right now my fingers are ALSO expressing how I feel about your induction into the JLA, Snapper. At least, one of them is.

As always, writers must have thought that young readers needed "someone to identify with", overlooking the fact that we read comics to identify with the HEROES, not their hangers-on.  I have long suspected that Snapper Carr was really put in the League for Green Arrow's sake:


Leaving behind Snapper Carr would give ANYONE a broad grin.


Specifically, Snapper Carr was there to give readers someone to hate other than Green Arrow.

The universe -- both ours and DC's -- suffered under Snapper Carr for about nine years, thanks to his creator, Gardner Fox.  During which time Snapper was "The Wesley" of the JLA, despite being a total idiot (or sometimes because of it).


"Only SNAPPER CARR is ignorant enough to save us!"

Look how SAD Wonder Woman is that they have to be saved AGAIN by Snapper Carr. "It's bad enough being saved by a man... but by SNAPPER CARR?!  I miss Etta so much."

But a deadly meteor from another dimension was headed directly toward Snapper, heaven-bent on his humiliation and destruction. That meteor?  Denny O'Neil.


"Doom, Thy Name is...DENNY!"

More on that soon....