Saturday, November 12, 2005

An Infinite Thought

A thought from Infinite Crisis, Issue 2, Page 1.

I knew this already; I believe I actually posted about it before: Buddy Baker still lives in San Diego. You know, the dry place adjacent to Sub Diego. They use to have a zoo.

Anyway, I assume that Buddy will still exist after IC is over. The man's a literary cockroach; he'll survive.


Aquaman can use some extended 'family'; Buddy's got nothing else to do (superhero-wise). Buddy's just as useful underwater as any fish; I recall he once defeated a Thaganarian warrior that way, during "Invasion". He wouldn't be able to talk, I guess, but if anybody could carry off a silent partner role without being diminished by it, it would be Buddy..

He could help bridge the divide between the Sub and San Diegos, help us learn about marine life, and, face it, Aquaman could use the comic relief.

DC, give us Animal Man as part of Aquaman's 'extended dynasty'!


King Thong

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Quote Poll!

In recent quote of the week battles, the Riddler squeaked past Bat-Mite with "Anyone can kill. Any can slaughter. It isn't hard. It isn't art." and Jonah Hex's "cruel and unusual" quote was a hands-down winner (defeating Lex Luthor).

Thanks to Infinited Crisis there are plenty of horses in the week's Best Quote contest. Personally, I voted for Hawkgirl, though I'm sure she won't win. Sententious, hair-raising quotes are great, but, face it, only Hawkgirl would pop up with a word like "OMACtivated", which made me laugh out loud and hardily.

Vote! And weigh in below to let us know who you think the odds favor...

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Boiled Frog Speaks

In the most recent issue of Infinite Crisis (#2), the Original Superman has made some strong condemnations of the post-Crisis universe. His hypocrisy on this matter is something we will deal with later....

For now, I'm interested in the opinions of our regular readers. I must confess, I myself was a bit taken aback by a certain half page in the issue, in which Phil Jimenez issues a stunning indictment of the post-Crisis world with two simple, kaleidoscopic panels recapping some of the most unpleasant events of the last 20 years. I hadn't forgotten any of those events; they didn't shock me. However, the fact that I was no longer shocked by such events DID shock me. And, for a minute, I saw the "modern DCU" just as the Original Superman does ... with displeasure and disapproval.

Without realizing it over the last 20 years, have I become slowly jaded and accustomed to the "Dark Age" of comics, I, who look for joy and amusement in every panel? If you drop a frog in a pan of boiling water, it will jump out; if you put it in a pan of cool water, and slowly heat it up, the frog will boil to death. Am I a boiled frog?

I'm not ready to embrace the Original Superman's "final solution"; no way! But I applaud DC for giving this character the guts to represent the feelings of some fans; kudos to you, DC, for embracing such self-cricitism!

Let me, at least, take this stance on what's happening -- a viewpoint that DC can NOT have one of their characters take, specifically:

DC is finally rejecting the post-Crisis Marvelization of the DC Universe.
Monthly deaths.
Heroes overwhelmed by personal issues.
Moral uncertainty.
"Bad-ass" good guys.
Conflict among heroes as a main course instead of a spice.
These are the things considered "wrong" with the current DCU and they happened because DC tried to copy what made Marvel popular. Those things have their place in the Marvel Universe and can make for interesting and powerful literature. But in the DCU, it's like watching the King of England take a crap. Yes, it's a legitimate and realistic take on the character, but it's not really what people tune in for, ya know?

Fans who missed the point of "The Dark Knight Returns" and "The Watchmen", fans who'd grown up with a steady diet of Marvel melodrama, fans who wanted comics to merely reflect our world instead of illuminating it: in the post-Crisis world, DC gave them what they asked for. And, lo and behold, almost everyone, it turns out, is dissatisfied with the result.

Perhaps Captain Atom's little trip through the Wildstorm Universe is DC's way of reminding us that they are offering us a world like that if we want it, but that the DCU proper is going to be something else. Not the silliness of the Bronze and Silver Ages (which, despite what you may think, is not something I want to see return) -- but at least something that will inspire and not depress us.

What do YOU think?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The End Times

I am making peace with my gods because, clearly, we are living in the End Times.

Vibe is back and living large.
Jonah Hex is on the stands and the talk of the town.
Catman is a bad-ass.
The Calculator is a leader of the world criminal community.
Aquaman appears to be getting his own show.
Hawkman has a Rogue's Gallery.
Jason Todd is alive.
Mera's breathing air.
Power Girl is from Earth-2.
Detective Chimp is on the case.
Skeets has returned.


The Joker has stopped laughing....

Why Lois Didn't Love Clark

C'mon, you just know that Lois is fag hag!

A strong "career girl" like Lois should be a magnet for the kind of gay guys who hang out with gal pals (which, contrary to the impression that you get from watching teevee, is not something most gay guys do). If Lois Lane lived in our world, she and Anderson Cooper would be tight, man, and shop together weekly.

So Lois surely gets *snicker* "hit on" by lots of meek mild-mannered fresh off the farm types, ones who haven't quite figured out their own "secret identities". You know--Alarm Clocks, as they're called, guys who are wound up but haven't rung yet and awakened from their Sleep of Self-Deception. Imagine Lois Lane, Girl Reporter, repeatedly embarrassed by the relevation that (once again) her latest beau is a BOQ (editor's note: Big Old Queen). Can't you hear the water cooler taunts of cosmosluts like Cat Grant and smalltown girls who know the score like Lana Lang?

"So, Lois, how was your, um, 'date' with Blue Devil? *snort*! Are you bringing him to the office Christmas Party?"

"Don't be silly, Cat; he'll be too busy sliding down chimneys! *tee hee* Besides, he wouldn't want to clash with the holiday decor ... say, Lois, I bet Mr. Scarlet or the Red Bee is available!"

The bicked witches! I'm sure it's like some cruel scene from Sex in the City or Desperate Housewives. Can you imagine poor Lois Lane stuck on Desperate Housewives? Shudder!

For decades, sexist male writers have angled the Clark/Superman/Lois triangle as an ironic tragedy for Clark. Puh-lease! The real story is one of a doomed Fruit Fly, longing for a "real man" but who attracts men interested only in her brain. Then, when the total package comes along in the form of Clark Kent, all Lois can think is:

"Oh, great, another farm fag!
this time I'm not falling for it!"

Oh, the comic book irony.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Fastest Tongue in the West!

Drier'n a rattlesnake's belly; Faster'n a Yankee Gatlin' gun; Sharper'n a Bowie knife 'n' jest as lahk to cut tuh the bone:

The Wit and Wisdom of Jonah Hex!

''Muh Mammy alluz tol' me thet no matter how bad things look, thar's alluz a bright spot of hope somewhar! 'Course, Mammy never had tuh face a firin' squad.... "

Lesser humorists must struggle through with wit that is merely Shavian or at best Wildean. But some lucky few Americans are blessed with Hexian wit!

"Some day, when the frontier's a mite more civilized, women drivers is gonna be outlawed!"

Oh, he has a ruff and tumble exterior perhaps! But don't be fooled; Jonah Hex should be played not by a Clint Eastwood but a David Hyde Pierce!

"We wahr plannin' on leavin' soon as I finished muh strawberry shortcake!"

Bill Maher? Jon Stewart? Ham-fisted pikers!

"Durin' th' war twixt th'states Ah had jus' 'bout as much'a muh country's gratitude as Ah could stand! Damn near killed me, all thet gratitude!"

"We won ever' damn battle we wuz in! Cain't understand fer the life'a me how we managed to lose the whole blamed war!"

"I'm afraid this will mean a change in Washington's liberal Indian policies."

"Which one d'ya mean-- takin' their lands, killin' their braves, or starvin' their squaws and papooses?"

Daffy Duck? Jack Benny? Pshaw; we've got Jonah Hex!

"If'n you keep distractin' me thet way with all thet bawlin', Ah might fergit tuh ask fer thet five hunnert dollars yuh owe me!"

Eschew the cross-dressing antics of Milton Berle and Martin Lawrence in favor of ... Jonah Hex!

Don't read Jonan Hex for the enormous body count and frontier justice; read it for the knee-slappin' Western wit!

Really, folks, if you ain't readin' the new Jonah Hex or the Jonah Hex Showcase yer missin' out on a whole passel'a comic book goodness.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

There is nothing wrong with your Absorbascon Apparatus

Do not attempt to adjust the picture. Bat-Mac is now controlling the transmission. Straight outta London to the ghettos of Georgetown.

For one night only, I've been given control of the Absorbascon. And you know what, it's bloody hard work. It really makes me realise how much effort Scipio puts in to this to entertain you 700+ readers a day.

Some of you may be doubting if "Scipio" even exists. I know he does. And he is a disturbed man.

I've just spent half an hour in his dark basement, queering up his vast DC Archive collection.

However, I can now answer the question you have been wondering for several months:

That picture of the Vibe custom Heroclix he posted here. It actually exists. It wasn't Photoshopped, He paid US currency to get one made.

I'm leaving now. Let us never speak of this again.

One-Horned Haiku

Oh, dear; oh, my.

Ever since her creation by Marston, Wonder Woman has been bursting with symbolism. Well, this scene is a perfect example! Here, artistic license has even been taken with the unicorn's horn: instead of being a sharp spiraled cone with an icicle-like appearance, it's a thick shaft with a tapering head, kind of like a ... a rocket. Yes, it doesn't take a exegetical genius to see what that horn symbolizes:

the writer's pen.

You can feel the writer's struggle here. His metaphorical pen (as represented by the unicorn's horn) stabs toward haiku, poking at the muse of poetry (here personified by Wonder Woman), but missing every time, as the correct meter dodges, avoids, and evades him.

Then Wonder Woman cruelly laughs at his powerless projectile of poetry. "Hola!" she interjects meaninglessly. "You can't capture Wonder Woman with the paltry syllabification of a haiku! It requires pages and pages of paragraph after paragraph of wordy narration boxes: just ask George Perez or Phil Jimenez!"

Sadly, there's no way to parse this sequence's narration into a haiku, although it's so desperately needed to capture the moment!

Can you help out the writer by composing an appropriate haiku about Wonder Woman's successful evasion of the thrusting horn?

Monday, November 07, 2005

When I Was Graduated from High School...

they published Fury of Firestorm #1 (because you DEMANDED it!).

Firestorm's heyday, brief and flickering like the candle he resembles, fell smack dab in the middle of the period during which I wasn't reading comics. You know, "adolescence", that period when you can no longer take childish delight in comic books but aren't ready to enjoy them in the layered way an adult does.

During adolescence, without the icons of DC to guide them, many people lose their moral compass and fall into various evils: sloth, dissipation, rebellion, wantonness, emotional overindulgence, Marvel Comics (9 out of 10 Kirby Cultists are lost to us during their teen years). Fortunately, I avoided all those evils until I was an adult (when I could really afford them).

As a result, I was spared Ronnie Raymond, the Peter Parker of the Post-Atomic Era. Ronnie, who skipped the spider-bite part and went straight for a huge dose of radioactivity. Check out that cover: classic Marvel ghost-heads of supporting characters from your private life. To me, Firestorm is the personification of DC's rejection of What It Does Best in an attempt to Ape The Competition.

Ronnie was the anti-Peter: stupid, handsome, stupid, athletic, stupid, and popular. Are the kinds of kids who want to read about a physics-powered hero really able to identify with a guy like that?

I think that's the secret behind whatever popularity Firestorm had (has?): readers didn't want to be Firestorm. They wanted to be Ronnie Raymond....

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Come! Let us ejaculate together!

Holy ejaculations! There's nothing quite as comic-booky as those verbal outbursts, with their absolute construction and bolded lettering.

Verbal ejaculations are a natural part of our (and any) language, but the phenomenon blossomed in the 19th century when piety and prudity inhibited people from using the basics, Invocations of God and Swearing. That's when we got groovy sayings like, "Great Caesar's Ghost!", the ejaculation always on the lips of Perry White.

Another popular one in comics is "Great Scott!" Despite what frequenters of The Rocky Horror Picture Show may think, Great Scott refers not to toilet paper, but to General Winfield Scott (a hero of the Mexican-American War).

Real people still say "great scott" (at least, at my house they do). But not many people still say "great guns".

I used to think "Great guns!" was something that Green Lantern came up with. It's what he used to say before met his bosses, the Blue Non-Meanies, and learned that he was part of the Great Crossing Guard Patrol of Space.

After that, he started saying "Great galaxies!" or "Great Guardians!". Pompous Hal immediately leapt on the opportunity to remind the reader, hey, I'm not a mere local hero, I'm a galactic butt-kicker. Holy head-swelling ejaculations!

But in fact everybody says "Great Guns!" (at least, in my comic books they do). It was a favorite ejaculation of Golden Age heroes, like Superman and Starman. There are, to my knowledge, no recorded instances of Batman saying "Great Guns!"; I can't say I'm suprised.

So Hal Jordan wasn't the first person to say "Great Guns!"; he was pretty much the last!

In group environments like the JLA or the Superfriends, "themed ejaculations" become very important during the Silver and Bronze Age. Since characters' personalities and speech patterns were fairly interchangeable, they were distinguishable only through their powers and appearances. But allowing them "personal ejaculations" was a verbal clue that, hey, they actually are different people, after all. They may seem silly and insignificant, but those themed ejaculations were the first step toward giving those characters individual personalities -- personalities we now take for granted.

"Great Hera!", "Moons of Mars!", "Great Rao!", even "Great Gotham!" and "Great Lightning!" You know who's saying them as soon as you read or hear them. Personalized ejaculations imply individualized speech, differences in background lack that lead to differences in viewpoint, approach, philosophy, morality. Personal ejaculations sowed the seeds that grew into the iconic superheroes we know and love today.

An episode of JLU played on this. During a battle, Wonder Woman (who historically was probably the first big DC icon to start using personal ejaculations) cries out, "Hera help me!" Hawkgirl, annoyed, says, "Do you have to say that all the time?"

The moment wasn't just funny; it led Wonder Woman and Hawkman into conversation about faith, Diana's faith in the gods and Shayera's lack of faith. Up until that point in JLU, Diana and Shayera seemd pretty similar: flying ass-kicking chick-bricks. But that episode made you realize they were completely different people with divergent attitudes and worldviews. All because we all know that Wonder Woman shouts stuff like "Great Hera!" all the time.