Saturday, September 08, 2007

You're still a Boy to me

The Superman-Prime Revenge Squad (6 figures at 697 points)

ID Name Points
J085Martian Manhunter
177
le027Power Girl
120
U081Black Adam
150
le066Superboy
127
jl101Rolling Head of Pantha
23
cd217Krypto
100

Friday, September 07, 2007

Things That Made Me Happy...

in my comics book world this week.

  • The new "I Read Like a Girl" tee shirts for sale!
  • Mary Wollstonecraft smacking J-J Rousseau in the crotch with a wooden paddle.
  • The most recent Big Monkey Podcast with its Dramatic Reading from Adam Strange.
  • Scarecrow's deathtraps. Good for you, Scarecrow!
  • Diogenes versus Alexander the Great.
  • Damnation-vision is one of the best powers ever.
  • "Unarmed photographer wanted. Must have patience and a thirst for vengeance. Apply to J. Hex."
  • The Family Circus explains Foucault.
  • Green Arrow is a black belt metrosexual? He was a billionaire playboy; of COURSE he is. DC's really pulling out all the stops to make me warm up to GA, aren't they?
  • Aqualad and Francis Bacon.
  • Luthor and Brainiac, together again, and defeated by the great fruit flavors of Airheads candy.
  • Kirk and Spock playing football with hand grenades.
  • Plastic Man and Lao Tzu.
  • Jimmy Olsen's Giant Head.
  • Hey! Somebody remembers what Jim Corrigan is supposed to be like!
  • Scotty Beatty's unusually poetic origin of Lex Luthor.
  • Now I want a sidekick named "Neutrino"!
  • You have to admit turning Wonder Woman, the creature from clay, and the Martian Manhunter, the flammaphobe, into candles is some grim irony!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Least Likely to Change: Green Arrow


Talking about Green Arrow is always difficult. Particularly right after breakfast.

But Green Arrow is one of the handful of characters who has remained around since the Golden Age and through all the subsequent ones.

How much has he changed, or, more precisely, how different is the current, modern Green Arrow from his Golden Age version?

Uses arrows? Uses trick and gimmick arrows (no matter how loudly fans insist that he doesn't)? Is a wealthy public figure? Has a ward who assists his crimefighting under the name of "Speedy", while wearing a red and yellow outfit and using arrows? Lives in Star City? Civic-minded do-gooder? Is well known and respected among the superheroic community, no matter how absurd his schtick? Total lack of regular, non-laughable foes?

You know, in many ways, Green Arrow has changed surprisingly little. But again, I have to correct myself. Green Arrow has changed a lot; he grew ridiculous, secret-identity-ruining facial hair, acquired a sociopolitical patina, cultivated cantankerousness, fired his original sidekick for becoming a drug addict, went on a roadtrip in an RV with some brain-damaged toy salesman, lost his fortune, changed his costume and became a dark loner, died, acquired an illegitimate offspring (or, uh, two...? I lost track!), started and stopped a romantic relationship with Black Canary 142 times (roughly... I kind of lost track), came back from the dead with a new body, raped our childhood with the help of Stanley & His Monster, spent a year looking for a piece of jewelry he lost, studied some martial art (somewhere, at some point; I lost track), acquired a second or third fortune (I definitely lost track), adopted a prostitute, fought the sound-effects guy from Police Academy, started hanging out with Black Lightning, got replaced in the Justice League (three times; I kept track), became mayor of his city, and proposed to an old flame.

But how much he's changed isn't the question; it's how different he is now from his Golden Age version. Yes, he's changed alot, but he's come back to a form surprisingly similar to the one he started in. What's now his backstory has changed a lot; but most of his changes in the last several years have been centering back to the core of his Golden Age version. He's being portrayed less as a self-centered, pompous hothead, and more as a talented individual looking to better himself and the world. Less serious about himself and his opinion than about what he does. Almost, you know, respectable (if not likeable).

I'm not necessarily making the case that Green Arrow is the Least Changed from his Golden Age version. I'm just saying he's probably not as different as you think.

How different do YOU think the modern Green Arrow is?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Haikuesday with Grant

Let's spend Haikuesday with the one, the only, Grant Morrison, who put this in the most recent issue of Batman, in his ongoing "Black Glove" story.

"We have your children
Advantage - - Evil."
"Hh. I don't think so."


Sure, counting those dash/pauses as syllables is cheating. But, after all, this is Evil we're talking about!

What haiku can you compose to celebrate Evil, Batman's inevitable triumph over it, or the author of this battle, Grant Morrison?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Absorbapog Update

Here's an update on the Absorbapog Project!

I've gotten good pictures from various folks for the ones in RED. I'm still soliciting photos for the others. This past Sunday we saw the Yojimbo and the week before, the Dirty Cop. I wonder which we'll see next...?

  1. The Scrapper* (he's fast in a fight)
  2. The Gashouser* (he's bigger than the Scrapper, but still fast)
  3. The Dirty Cop (extra points for raincoat or cheesy moustache)
  4. The Gunsel (look weaselly; gunsels are always weaselly. The Gunsel has Stealth).
  5. The Black Belt* (Ariel...?)
  6. The Lieutenant (the boss's number one guy. Should not be hefty, because he'll have Leap/Climb)
  7. "Two-Gun" (I don't care if you're a grandmother of four, if you can get two real pistols in your hands in the pic, then you are Two-Gun)
  8. The Gunwoman (in a pantsuit, I should think)
  9. The Gunman (what's the male equivalent of a pants suit?)
  10. The Slugger* (maybe with a baseball bat...?)
  11. The Gunslinger (he watches the Country/Western channel)
  12. Yojimbo (Asian guy, black suit)
  13. The Punk Kid* (if you're a bit long in the tooth, I'll just take off the 'kid' part)
  14. The Hireling* (he's a little nervous but he needs the money)
  15. The Running Dog (this guy is very good but very hyper, kind of wild-eyed)
  16. The Hoodlum* (extra points for a hoodie or a 'newsie cap')
  17. The Enforcer* (this guy looks ... unpleasant)
  18. The Bruiser* (this guy is big but slow)
  19. The Tough Guy* (this one has Toughness, so please look you could actually take a punch to the face without falling over)
  20. Judo Guy* ("I paid Joon Rhee good money for those classes and now is my chance to show off for the boss!)
  21. Judo Gal* ("I am totally going to show up that jackass, Judo Guy!")

Least Likely to Change: Flash

On the one the one hand, the Flash has pretty much the same schtick he's always had: he's fast.

On the other hand...

Let's start with one basic fact: the modern Flash is not the same person as the Golden Age Flash. That, in my book, automatically disqualifies a character from being "least changed", as long as people like Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, and Diana from Paradise Island are still around. The modern Flash is a different person that the Golden Age one. Other than becoming a villain, I'd be hard pressed to think of a bigger change then, well, WHO YOU ARE.

Some will pooh-pooh my position as needlessly conservative. The character is "the hero who's the Fastest Person Alive", they'll say, and whether it's Pietro Maximoff or Johnny Chambers doesn't make a big difference. I understand their position; it's rooted in a view of the heroes as instantiations of mythostructural archetypes. But my reply remains "Piffel!"

Their position is based on the idea that it's the hero identity, not the private one, that matters. That the costume is what matters, not the person in it. Call me old school if you like. But I do not, and have not wavered one iota in my position that Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Hal Jordan, et al.-- those are their real identities. Those are actual people (um, I mean, "actual people in the comic books", of course!) who choose to put on costumes to fight crime and protect others.

If I hear one more person regurgitate the post-modern pap that "Bruce Wayne died when his parents were killed" or "Kal-El wishes to blend in with earthlings out of loneliness", I'm going to slap him. Real people have parents, develop crushes, go to school, pay bills, have sex; just like Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, et al. We don't identify with Batman and Superman; we identify with "normal" people (!) like Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent and then thrill when they don their costumes to become Batman and Superman. Golden Age writers understood that; most modern writers don't.

Batman and Superman didn't decided to become Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent; it's the other way around. They had a choice of what to do with their powers and circumstances, and they made it. Don't deny them that humanity, that nobility. Without it, they aren't heroes, no matter what they can do, just emotionally crippled nutcases. Do that to your Marvel heroes, if you want, but leave your filthy deconstructionist paws off the DC heroes. Don't make Baby Adam West cry.


So...

The Golden Age Flash was Jay Garrick, a happy-go-lucky chemist and college grad, who acquired his powers as a result of an accident when he was performing an experiment.

The Modern Flash is Wally West, the nephew by marriage of Jay's unrelated successor. Wally isn't a college grad. Last I heard, he was a mechanic, although for most of his career (including right now), his money just seems to come from nowhere, or maybe the Speed Force. Like it forms into his costume, maybe the Speed Force magically fills up Wally's bank account, as if it were Zephraim Cochran's Companion. Wally, at least as he's been written outside the JLU, is anything but "happy-go-lucky".

The Golden Age Flash wore a jogging outfit and a shiny Mercury hat; he did everything with a smile. The Modern Flash wears skin-tight Speed Force (tm) brand spandex that covers his head and his hands, and a cowl with wings over the ears; he does nothing with a smile.

The Golden Age Flash, still pretty much unchanged and in great shape, continues to fight crime as a member of the Justice Society, having new adventures, still smiling and serving as an example to the younger generation of heroes. In fact, he served as a mentor to Kid Flash, when the Modern Age Flash, rather than mentor the kid, shipped him off to be raised by an elderly dynastic relative. I mean, the second time the Modern Age Flash, rather than mentor the kid, shipped him off to be raised by an elderly dynastic relative.

The Modern Flash, who's famous for stories that get nowhere fast or that run in circles, was so tapped out as a character that they killed him off and brought him back, and almost nobody noticed. Now, desperate for something to do with the guy, they've made him the head of a thinly disguised Incredibles knock-off, so that if we're not interested in him, maybe we'll at least be interested in his kids.

And, like most parents, he doesn't smile a lot.

The Golden Age Flash's powers came from science. Yes, really really bad, absurdly inaccurate science. But science nonetheless.

The Modern Flash's powers come from a New Age mystical source, called ...
  • the Green?
  • The Lady of the Lake?
  • The Morphogenic Field?
  • The Red?
  • The Ether?
  • The Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth?
  • The Clear?
Gosh, why can't I remember it, it's something really clever like, oh, yeah:

"the Speed Force".

Call me old-fashioned, but I'll take Bad Science over Bad Mysticism any day.

In short, the only thing about the Flash that's remained the same since the Golden Age is the name of the hero and the fact that he runs fast. I guess for some people, that's enough; I'm just not one of them.


How much do YOU think the Flash has changed?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Yojimbo

As promised, Sunday is our day to reveal the personalized Heroclix tokens I've been making of the readers of this blog. Next up is the Asian bodyguard, or 'Yojimbo'.

This token gets its stats from a Marvel pog, the "Frenchie Duchamp" from the Avengers set. That's that set where pogs really started to get useful! Who is Frenchie Duchamp? I dunno; sounds like a forgotten member of the Blackhawks or something.

It has solid Attack and Defense Values, and as a gun-wielder has a range of 6 and does 2 clicks of Damage. All this for only 8 points!

As for the Yojimbo, well, don't let that Dean Cain face fool you. This guy will cap you faster than you can say hello and if he's out of bullets, he'll just bite your nose off.

He's a Yojimbo, he's daddy was a Yojimbo, and his father before him. Maiming and killing is just another family tradition, so if you get an invitation to the reunion, pass.

He's dressed for casual clubbing, so your "dangerous bodyguard alarms" don't go off the second you see him; it's part of his style.

And who is portraying the Yojimbo? It's Australian Heroclix player Eugene Chee, who's never lost a game, it's said, because opponents are afraid he'd bite their noses off.

Yeesh, how tough must you be if Australians are afraid of you...?!