Saturday, July 21, 2007

Scipio's Birthday (Observed)

Yesterday was my birthday, which this year happened to fall on Vin Diesel's Birthday (Observed) on the Absorbascon Calendar. Our schedules didn't allow us to celebrate it together this year, so I spent a very quiet day walking the dog, getting a haircut, tidying up the house, and hanging my Patrick Gleeson Aquaman art. It was utterly delightful.

But...

I had to admit there's a gift I want that I haven't gotten:

THUGS.

No, seriously. Not real-life thugs, but the new "Thug" Heroclix token in the recently released Marvel Expansion Set "Avengers" (AvB008).


Why do I want Thugs? Because they are exactly what "bystander tokens" should be used for, and Wizkids has finally figured that out!

Bystander tokens were introduced in the Heroclix, oh, quite a few sets ago. At first, they were exactly what the name implied: bystanders. They were one-click generics: the Scientist, the Security Guard, the Paper Boy, the Skipper, the Millionaire and His Wife, and the Rest. There were no special rules for them, however, so they quickly became "meat shields" (figures you used to keep your valuable figures from being targeted). I have always found that unpleasant and inappropriate; I play Heroclix to replicate the feel of comic book battles, not to have scores of paperboys and deli workers running interference for Doomsday.

The scenes became even more ridiculous when tokens became the way of representing heroes' supporting cast members. Really, nothing spoils the "comic book feel" of a game better than watching Ma & Pa Kent tackle Batman so that the Joker can throw a grenade at him or "hearing" Superman say, "I'll carry baby Lian Harper in front of me as a shield, so that when Luthor attacks, it will kill the child instead of mussing my hair!"

What you (well, I, at least) want is tokens for generic bad guys, the guys whose job really is to serve as "meat shields" for the villains, to tackle Batman while the Joker readies his grenade. Ya know: goons.

There've been goons in Heroclix before. The first two sets gave us four such figures (Criminal, Thug, Henchman, Lackey). Problem was, as figures, they each had at least 3 to 5 clicks of life, so you paid in points for excess clicks that weren't useful at all. A related problem -- their stats had to be really crappy to keep the point cost down -- made them an even worse value. And, since there are only so many figures in each set, players didn't like valuable slots to be taken up by crappy no-names. Then, when "bystander tokens" came along, they were superseded.

The advent of the new Thug token signals the solution: tokens designed to be used by villains as cannon fodder. But my problem is...

I don't have any. Nor do I have any efficient way of getting any.

THAT is what I want for my birthday: Thug tokens. Lots and lots of Thug tokens. Please! If you know of anyone who has extra Thug tokens, I would LOVE to have them. I'll even pay the postage! I just want to surround my villains -- particularly my Batman Enemies -- with Thugs.

Even if I don't deserve them, the Batman Enemies do.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Society Signatures: STARMAN!

Starman.

Or, rather,

STARMAN!

Why didn't I think of it sooner? Starman solves all problems. Starman is the ne plus ultra. Starman will supply me with a new signature saying.

In his later years, Starman used to spend weekends dancing at the disco with his Twin Twirling Pick-Axes of Fabulousness. In fact, Kyle Rayner lost one of his girlfriends that way.


That's a fairly fun phrase, but it doesn't really work unless one is spinning a pick-axe in each hand. Try getting on the Metro that way.

Let's give it another try, shall we?

When your life is as DRAMA-filled as Starman's, you develop the kind of nonchalance that classifies an attacking squadron of enemy planes as "some mischief".


Well, that's fine, but a bit generic.

Hm. This isn't what I was hoping for. I need something different. Something special. Something that only Starman could come up with...



Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. End of contest. Not only is

"Hit the ground! This is going to be oomphy!"

my new signature phrase, I hereby offer it to the world. Everyone deserves to be saying "Hit the ground! This is going to be oomphy!". When your spellchecker doesn't like it, just add it to the dictionary, as I just did.

Shut your trap, you stupid bullethead;
it's a Starman-y word.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Things That Made Me Happy...

in my comics this week.

  • The Awesome Human Flying Fish.
  • Batman completely pwned the Legion of Super Heroes. Priceless.
  • Catman's "dear John" letter.
  • Cal Durham's cape, with all its glorious pointlessness and impracticality.
  • Finally, after decades, someone put a stop to Wally's incessant interior monologue. Maybe I'll be able to stand him now!
  • I keep trying to drop Catwoman; but I can't because Will Pfeiffer writes it too well.
  • Stryker's Island is west of Metropolis? Hm. That's strange... .
  • Billy and the ants.
  • Kryptonian babootch reference? Nice.
  • The real Awesome Human Flying Fish.
  • Dr. Allard's accident. Certainly didn't see THAT coming, Tad!
  • Wow; do NOT screw with Oracle.
  • He's come along way from being a Killer Elvis, hasn't he? Or has he?
  • The "Rude Mechanicals"? Genius. Kurt Busiek should just be forced to generate villains for Superman 8 hours a day.
  • You do realize that's not really Athena, don't you?
  • The sideburns make Tim Drake really really hot.
  • So ... THAT's who's behind Amazons Attack. Clever, Will; didn't see it coming.
  • Batman using the Siamese Human Knot? So brilliant I almost fainted.
  • It's not a soldier's job to stop war, Superman; just to win it.
  • The real frickin' Awesome Human Flying Fish, people!
  • The Punishment of Inertia. Now, that's legendary, and I mean that literally.
  • If you think coffee makes you irritable, well, don't try kryptonite.
  • Batman holding a baby. Works every time.
  • Oh my god, it's the Robin Revenge Squad!
  • "Una"? Cute.
  • Billy and the cockroaches.
  • People beating up Kobra. Works every time.
  • Well, of course that's what the Palmerverse looks like. What did you expect?
  • Dirty, stinking Rannians fear the Absorbascon? Damned right they do!
  • The real frickin' Awesome Human Flying Fish kicking butt!
  • For those who don't catch it, that one panel is from Jimmy Olsen #44, "The Wolf-Man of Metropolis", which is reprinted in the new trade, "The Amazing Transformations of Jimmy Olsen", available at Big Monkey Comics.
  • Why Holly leaves Gotham.
  • Enforcing respect for teachers.
  • The return of "the Jimmy Olsen Look" and the reason for it.
  • Okay; didn't expect to see a Batman costume come out of that.
  • The ad for the Iceberg Lounge.
  • GIGANTIC Captain Marvel!
  • So ... THAT's who's behind the sinking of San Diego. Clever, Tad; didn't seen it coming.
  • The Return of the Kryptonite Monkey. I just love the Kryptonite Monkey.
  • The real frickin' Awesome Human Flying Fish kicking Aquafake's butt!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Central City Haiku

By now, most people are aware of the phantasmagoraphobical horror that is Central City and its insane effects. But most people aren't aware that Central City is large enough that it developed sentience. Stuff like that happens in comics; remember the Construct?

Anyway, like most sentient beings, it really doesn't care about anything other than itself, and so usually is pretty quiet. I mean, who's it going to talk to... Keystone? I can't imagine Keystone is much of a conversationalist; it probably just talks about NASCAR and American Idol.

Occasionally, though, if the situation is sufficiently dire, Central City will talk out loud to itself about its concerns (but unless you're Jack Hawksmoor, you're not going to overhear it).

Such is the case in this example, where Central City actually managed to compose a self-concerned haiku entitled "There It Is":


"It's enormous! A
tornado that size could cause

terrible damage!"


How big does something have to be for Central City to consider it enormous? I don't want to think about it.

Do you possess enough sentience to compose a haiku about Central City or the danger it faces?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Flash Dash

Last week was a big one at Big Monkey DC!

On Thursday, we were honored to have Mike Carey with us for a signing; what a delightful and gracious person!

Occasionally, I had to "help" the signing line move along, but, hey, that's why I bought a pitchfork in the first place. My favorite part was Jon Carey's attempt to convince Mike that he was his long-lost, previously unknown eldest son, and that they should write a book together for the Minx line.

"Mike Carey, you are .... .... ...
NOT the father!"

Mike said on his site:

The amiable mob at Big Monkey kept me busy and entertained for an hour and a half – after which some of them actually crossed town to hear the reading at Olssen’s Books, which was very cool. If any of you guys are reading this, it was great spending time with you.

The vibe at Big Monkey was just amazing. I didn't realise I was the first guest you'd had in. I'm honoured. The interview was a lot of fun, too. I'll definitely stop by the next time I'm in DC.

Thanks, Mike; likewise!

Here's Mike with some of the Lovely and Liveley Monkeyettes:



Here's Mike about to be filmed giving Devon an interview (which will air on an upcoming episode of the Big Monkey Comics Podcast).



Speaking of the podcast, we had to scrap the last one; technical difficulties rendered the recording unusable. The good news is, we've gotten some new pro-level equipment, so the podcast should be easier for us to create and upload, with better sound quality. We hope to bang out two in the next two weeks so that we will be "caught up with our schedule". I hope you're still willing to tune in! And, remember, we still want YOU to send us mp3s of your Dramatic Readings to include in the program.

Last Saturday afternoon, we had a JLA/Avengers Heroclix tournament with 12 participants (not counting the staff and me), ably and genially hosted by our avuncular envoy, Judge Tom Price. Thanks, Tom! We even had a guest from France (an airline pilot who, believe it or not, visits us for Heroclix events).

The culmination of the week was ...the Flash Dash!

To celebrate DC's "summer of the Flash", we held a footrace from the corner of the block to the front of the store (trust me, it's longer than it sounds!). The race was officiated by Lance of Lance: The Blog, shown here with the winners.

Anthony, Lance, Jonnie, Big Mike

Those winners are:

Third Place: Jonnie Brooks of Jon Hex Lives and the Big Monkey Podcast. Jonnie is eerily and unexpectedly fast, like a cat all mellow and plopped down comfortably in an armchair that suddenly leaps out of the chair through a window, bolts down the block, then bursts in the petdoor to dash immediately back to his chair and plop down placidly as if nothing had happened at all. That's Jonnie. I mean, except for the licking oneself afterwards part. In addition to the prizes all participants received, Jonnie received a Rookie Flash Heroclix figure.

Second Place: Anthony Fortunato, Turn of the Century Italian Anarchist and Helluvanice Guy. Clearly, Anthony is very fast, but even more impressive is the fact that he wore all black. In Washington DC. In the middle of July. While running. Even then, he didn't perspire; he glowed. I assume his native planet must be warmer than this one. In addition to the participation prizes, Anthony won an Experienced Flash Heroclix figure.

First Place: Mike Pellegrino of Are You Feeling Big Mike and my arch-rival in, well, everything. Of course, Mike won; Mike always wins. Huh; I bet Jon Carey could have beaten him if he hadn't been afraid of spilling his appletini while running. I myself would have beaten him, if I hadn't been slower than he; so there. In addition to the standard prizes, I was forced to fork over, er, happy to present to Mike
  • a Veteran Flash Heroclix figure,
  • a copy of the Flash Showcase Edition, and
  • a coupon for a full massage and facial at the Spa at Mint Fitness.
Congratulations, Mike; you're the FASTEST FAN ALIVE!

All participants received gift certificates at Fleet Feet, coupons at the Bike Rack, and three-day passes at Mint Fitness.

And now, courtesy of cameraman Nate Solloway, it's...

Big Monkey Comics' Flash Dash: the Movie!




Sunday, July 15, 2007

Society Signatures: Dr. Fate

Having surveyed offerings from Green Lantern, Sandman, the Spectre, and Hourman, I'm still on my search for a new signature saying.

Next up at bat is the mysterious Dr. Fate, occult master of the ancient mystic arts!


I'm thinkin' Doc's helmet's on just a little too tight, if ya know what I mean.


Okay, gotta hand it to you, Doc; that's definitely mysterious. But I want something more "Dr. Fate" and less "Mr. Wizard".


You take that helmet off this instant, Jack Kirby!


I'm as patriotic as the next fellow, probably more so. But I don't think "Let's go, Americans!" is going to work for me as a signature saying. Particularly not if it requires me to lurch about flanked by beknickered Bowery Boys.

Care to try again, Doc?

If you think it's bad having to play horsey for Dr. Fate when he's feeling spunky, sweetie,
wait'll you get to prison.



That's more like it! An ancient spellification with some Classical reference and a little "ride 'em, cowboy" action? Very much my style.

But I'm afraid for general utility, I'm still going to have to choose as Dr. Fate's entry his statement from last week:


It's hard to beat that for combining the mundane and the bizarre. Plus, I can say it all the time, and all anyone can do about it is smile. Even if I'm staring into a closet when I say it.