Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Well, nothing. Even though Adam Strange is a pathetic wish-fulfilment figure for those with Alien Saviour Syndrome, even though he's a pale Flash Gordon imitation, even though every story he's every starred in has exactly the same plot...
Adam Strange merits an archive volume. Why, without it, how would future generation be able to understand how lame Rannians are?
I didn't start this entry to snark on Corporal Finhead (that's just a bonus). This post is to echo the call of Devon (who erreth not) at Seven Hells for a
MARTIAN MANHUNTER Archive Volume.
Snarking is not required to point out the Martian Manhunter is more important than the Blackhawks (Sorry, H!), Enemy Ace, the friggin' Challengers of the Unknown, and, yes, Adam Strange, all of whom already have Archive Volumes.
Are they among the stars of a popular cartoon show and two comic books? Creo que no, mis amigos. Through his Detective John Jones identity, the Martian Manhunter tied DC's pulp past with its science fiction future, and he continues to help link DC's other iconic characters to one another.
You know, if you want to help make your dream Archive Volume become a reality, you can. The helpful folks at the Unofficial DCU Archive Volume site have already compiled lists of the appropriate stories that would need to be included in Volumes yet to come, but there are many more to be done and you can help. Detective Chimp isn't going to index himself, you know! So chip in and help the fine people who are going to make The Red Bee Archive Volume possible.
Something Awful's FashionSWAT critiques superhero/villain outfits. Since they're looking for hideous/ridiculous outfits to laugh at, most of the characters are Marvel, but DC is fairly represented by Black Condor, Clock King, and the Mod Gorilla Boss. You can't go wrong when the Mod Gorilla Boss is involved. Be forewarned; I myself laughed so hard I had to call my nurse to administer oxygen.
Music god Hoyt Curtin wrote most cartoon themes you remember and all of those you've forgotten. Superhero Radio honors the man who wrote the Superfriends theme.
When you're in a certain mood, there's no adequate substitute for altered comic book covers about transgenderism.
Abandon your life as you know it and move to my former home, White River Junction, Vermont, to study comic books.
If your gay and like comics or just like gay comics or are comical and like gays, visit Prism. And tell 'em "Wanda" sent you...
If, while participating in the Comeback Poll, you wondered, "Who the heck did guys like Airwave and Mr. Scarlet fight?", there's a place to find out.
If, in order to oppose Rann more effectively, you want the plot of every Adam Strange story, it's right below, courtesy of the Adam Strange museum:
- The menace appears on Rann.
- Rann scientists and military leaders are helpless to solve it.
- Coincidentally, Adam Strange arrives from Earth on Rann via the zeta-beam.
- Adam Strange exchanges romantic greetings with Alanna immediately after his arrival on Rann.
- The romance is interrupted by the emergency: Alanna tells him about the catastrophe facing her people.
- Adam Strange and Alanna fly off to investigate the problem itself.
- Adam Strange comes up with a solution to the menace that involves a mixture of science and strategic action.
- The plan is put into place by either Adam and Alanna themselves, or Rann's scientists and soldiers under Adam's direction.
- The menace is defeated.
- Adam and Alanna resume their romance
- Adam fades out and returns to Earth.
This legendary J-Sinn Starr song has been heard of by many but heard by few. We're able to make it available to you courtesy of our friend, J-Sinn Starr himself.
This recording is the 2002 performance by the trio "Adam Black". J-Sinn has promised to also grace us with the inconceivably rare original acoustic solo version.
In related news, SuperHero Radio is now being listened to in India and Venezuela, where it is expected to inspire sweeping societal changes over the coming months, and possible a few dollars in PayPal contributions.
Once upon a time I was hot stuff, totally ha-ch-cha! I was running back-up feature for, oh, 15 years and I had my own book for a while. I even starred in a 15-part serial; I was a star, I tell you.
Then they stuck me with this gorilla-mind-switching schtick. Dang DC in the 1950s and their contract gorillas! I blame the Mod Gorilla Union Boss and his stooge, Sam Simeon. Still, it shows why I was a star and you readers aren't. When I, Congo Bill, discover my mind is switched with a gorilla I say, "So Kawolo's magic ring was no flight of fancy!" Such is my worldly poise. You, on the other hand, would say, "What the @##$@ I've gone out of my @(#$&* mind or Grant Morrison has taken over my @#*$& life!"
Why should you vote for me in the Comeback Poll? Simple: DC OWES ME. I was a star and they made a monkey of out me. And, yes, I had not one but TWO Vertigo minis in the 1990s ... that just shows how much the people still love me, baby!
Monday, May 30, 2005
"Gosh, baseball is an exciting sport! While you're at it, you forget everything else!"
But some hero did. A hero who wasn't playing the game, just watching it. In a coat and tie. Which he changed into to go to the game.
And, no, it wasn't Barry Allen, who was at home organizing his comic book collection...
As Don Markstein's Toonpedia recounts, I have a stupid origin, look hideous, and have an unimaginative quartet of powers (a strong arm, a magnetic arm, a lightning leg, and a flying leg...*sigh*). Have you ever thought about what it's like for me when I do anything OTHER than fight? Like, say, take a friggin' shower? Let's just say I'm not planning on getting my security deposit back.
Even worse! I'm stuck in that vague era some time between the present and the Legion's era. That's right, my bowling league consists of me, Tommy Tomorrow, Space Ranger, and Space Cabby, (scintillating conversationalists all) and we only fight alien races that are NOT known to exist in either your century or the Legion's; go figure.
STILL, I've got a couple of reasons to vote for me! First, I'm the guy who redeems any other shabby character you like. You're there at the geekstore counting out pennies to buy the Madame Fatal Archive Volume 2, when the local comic book toughs, wearing their Starman leather jackets and Rough Trade Superboy tees, slouch out from behind the Image Comics back issues and start to deride you between threatening snurfs on their DC Direct Sandman Mystery Theater asthma inhalers. What do you say? "Hey, he's better than Ultra!" Stymied by the inarguability of your retort, they back off, impressed. THANKS TO ME.
Next, in the current issue of Legion (#6), it's shown that a comic book with me in it is so valuable in the 31st Century it's used as an irresistible bribe. That's right, bub; I'M AN INVESTMENT COMIC BOOK. Stare at those longboxes cluttering your hallway and think HARD before you vote!
Finally (and this is the biggie),I'm the guy who got rid of Adam Strange. Yes, ME, Ultra the Multi-Alien! I displaced Strange from Mystery in Space, and then was awful enough to get the whole thing cancelled 8 issues later. If it weren't for ME, you'd still be reading monthly stories where Corporal Finhead saves the sobsisters of Rann from Killer Crabgrass, Cybercicadas, or the Dew of Death. If Thanagar needs a merc to take care of their little Rannian problem, I'm their guy!
Doesn't it seem, sometimes, that other comic book companies have the monopoly on cool sounds? TWHIP. SNIKT. Oh, I'd love to make some people regret those sounds!
But, trust Onomatopeia, we've got sounds of our own, and we'll be literally looking at them in our new feature "The Sounds of Silence". Zowie, what fun!
But first off...have you ever noticed that sound effects are one of the big differences between Golden/Silver age comic books and Bronze/Modern ones? Really, take a look. Golden/Silver age stories had the occasional sound effect (BANGing guns, SLAMming doors, and Prof. Lang WHACKing Lana's buttocks with a hairbrush, usually) when the plot required you to notice the noise. But for the most part they're more like silent movies.
Once you hit the Bronze Age...yowtch! Cover your ears! Sound effects started to SPROING forth from the pages of DC stories. I wonder what accounts of the sudden visual noisiness of comics?
Sunday, May 29, 2005
The rumors are true.
Superboy DOES listen to Superhero Radio, even in the 31st Century!
As do many other people worldwide, including listeners in Spain, Australia, Hong Kong, the US, the Phillipines, Venezuela, the UK, Korea, Mexico, Japan, New Zealand, Canada.
In fact, on any given day SHR has between 25 and 60 listeners, who tune in for an average of 39 minutes and 14 seconds, at which point, overwhelmed with super-inspiration, they expertly sew themselves jarringly bright costumes off-panel and take to the streets to bring justice to their fellow citizens. Or, at least, so I assume.
So, as you can see, Superhero Radio is an investment in our future. Why, if it's not around for Superboy to listen in the 31st Century, it might cause a time paradox that would destroy all of existence, past or future.
Fortunately, there's way to stop that. No need to gather all known superheroes on a satellite to marshall their forces against the onrushing walls of unreality! Simply donate $1 to Superhero Radio using the PayPal button in the sidebar and preserve justice for yourselves and our posterity.
Hi, I'm Hal Jordan! No....really!
I'm Harold "don't call him Hal" Jordan, cousin of Green Lantern (you know, the real one). Our grandfather, Lawrence Jordan, was the original Golden Age Airwave. Howcome they never mentioned him or me in Green Lantern? Is cousin Hal embarrased of us, or something?
His costume was green, yellow, and red; I think some sort of law required it in the Golden Age! I swapped out the green for blue (much more modern), added these kicky yellow go-go boots I bought at Diana Prince's yard sale (I had to fight Lois Lane for them, and, let me tell you, she can HIT!).
Unlike my fellow candidates below, I'm still alive! I think I was last seen in JSA, where someone wicked (the Ultrahumanite, maybe?) had trapped me in a big bell jar and was using my electromagnetic abilities to power, um, something wicked. Sorry, the whole thing left me kind of shaken; after all, I only weigh 140... Do any of you remember?
I was kind of looking forward to a comeback so I could hang out my cuz, Hal. He could use a sidekick, now that Itty's gone!
Hello, citizens, Mr. Scarlet here.
Before Daredevil donned the red and yellow, I was a District Attorney by day, crimefighter by night.
Before Batman offered to adopt Robin, I had already adopted my sidekick, Pinky.
Before Adam Strange put fin on his head, I had a paisley-thing. Before Sandman got Kirby-ized and slapped on a purple holster, and I had a yellow one.
Before Tony Stark even started shaving, I had a cheesy moustache.
Though mostly forgotten now, I was a true pioneer. Sorry you didn't vote my comeback; I would have looked great in the JSA. And I could have prosecuted that villain, Atom-Smasher, for them! I could have dated the Crimson Avenger and, together, we'd have painted the town red! Oh, well...
First of all, I wanna say, "I did not get stepped on!" That was Steel, a Wolverine-rip-off with a fake Golden-Age legacy, whom I never got along with.
Nobody steps on Vibe, meng! I was strangled to death by an Ivoid, which is much more dignified. Did you know that I was the first JLAer to die in the line of duty? Is that cool, or what? I'm, like, the "Lightning Lad" of the JLA....
Anyway, I wanted to thank you (or "chu", for all mis hermanos latinos) for voting for me (or, I guess, my brother Armando) in the comeback poll. Via the Ouija board, Armando tells me I also won a poll over at the Comic Treadmill. Quien es tu papi, eh?
The case for my comeback (as carried out by Armando, a.k.a. Reverb) has already been made. I just want to assure you ("deseo assegurarte") that Reverb is even cooler than I am (but not as snappy a dresser) and that he looks forward to working with the JSA rather than the Conglomerate.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
Cute: Wonder Woman's watchtower security code is 003. Well, of course, it is!
Glorious: Hippolyta "unlocked" the full power of Wonder Woman's armor, that is, activated the magic lasso. I was happy to notice that with WW could command those ensnared not merely force the truth out of them. The "command" part has been forgotten by a lot of people (including writers). I can recall getting in to huge arguments at HCRealms that Wonder Woman should have mind control and no one believed me...
Sweet: Seeing Abnegazar, Rath, and Ghast.
Wonder Woman. Rucka's going to some lengths to mislead into the thinking Diana will ask for her vision or her mother back after her quest to the Underworld. Personally, I think it's really obvious she's going to ask for the restoration of the little boy Medousa petrified.
Hawkman. If Hawkman's dead (for now, which the most recent issue of "Wizard" confirms (torn to death by Manhawks, ya know; nasty), and Charlie Parker's going to make a surprising announcement, and Charlie Parker was supposed to be dead, then don't you suppose Charlie Parker is actually Katar Hol reincarnated (as has been theorized by one Barry Freiman of Chicago, Illinois)? I mean, the Charlie Parker we knew wouldn't become a wealthy entrepeneur overnight.
Flash. Didn't anybody else see that murder coming? I certainly didn't; caught me completely off-guard.
Green Lantern. Looks like we're finally going to get a Coast City with some personality (no persons yet, but personality). That's good, that's something the GL mythos always lacked; you couldn't name one landmark or even recognize the city without Hal flying over it.
Batman. Speaking of maps, when is DC going to get off its duff and make a poster out of the map of Gotham City?
Green Arrow. While I didn't enjoy seeing the Riddler drawn as the Joker's twin, I did enjoy seeing him beat the snot out of Ollie just for giggles.
Aquaman. Okay, the old cop guy has got to be the murderer, can we get back to the regularly scheduled story now?
The Atom. Get out of the lawn, Ray! Alan and Hal are waiting to induct you into the "My Significant Other Became a Supervillain" support group.
Friday, May 27, 2005
No one can duplicate the madness of the Silver Age. It was a time when a superhero could say, with a perfectly straight face:
"Then, for a while, I was Hitler?"
And be correct.
But who? And why?
It is, perhaps, the most visually arresting character DC ever created.
The Composite Superman.
DC just released a statue of him and, as a result, the internet is abuzz by the unsilverized saying "What th--?!" I always assumed everyone knew who the Composite Superman was; guess not. The topic's been covered beautifully elsewhere, so here I'll try to gather some of that together for the curious and nostalgic.
In short, he was Joe Meach, who ruined his high-diving career when Superman had to save him during some jackass stunt (World's Finest #142, 1964). Superman kindly gave Joe a job as janitor at the Superman Museum (rank has its privileges, you know), but Joe was bitter and resentful. Through a classic silver age mishap, Joe acquired the powers of the entire Silver Age Legion of Superheroes, remade himself as the Composite Superman and set out to humiliate the World's Finest. Humiliate them he did, but his powers (and his memory of them) faded before he got around to finally destroying Batman and Superman. In a comeback story, a wicked alien manipulated events to recreate Joe as the Composite Superman, a tale that managed to redeem Joe in the end. No one could do a better job of summarizing the plot and meaning of the story than this synopsis.
The impact of the Composite Superman on the minds of the young was enormous. As weird as the half-Batman/Superman was, the green skin (which symbolized his continual use of the 12th level intelligence of Brainaic 5) put it completely over the top. Be forewarned; once you've seen this page of him using the powers of the lamest Legionnaires to defeat Batman and Superman simultaneously, the image will be burnt into your mind's eye forever. Of course, Batman and Superman stood no chance against him. Zero.
After his two appearances, Joe himself never appeared again (he dies at the end of the second story and Superman takes steps to ensure that another Composite Superman cannot be created). But so strong is his "iconic resonance" that visual and narrative references to him keep turning up.
Since the Composite Superman's power came from the Legion, it was only fitting that a version of him turned up there (Legionnaires #25). Shape-shifting Durlans can copy only shapes and appearances, not powers...except for the "Composite Man", a Durlan who fought the Legion by copying all their powers. Shudder!
The modern inheritor of World's Finest, the Batman/Superman title (issue #6) , gave us another reference to the Compster, when the tiny Toyman creates a giant Composite Superman/Batman rocket for reasons no sane person wants to discuss.
Young Justice did justice to old Joe Meach when they fought Craydl, the assistant of Impulse's evil twin, Inertia (don't ask; it's a Flash thing). Craydl, an artificial intelligence composed of green technoplasmic goo, uploaded Robin and Superboy's DNA into itself for copying, but only got halfway through, resulting in the Composite Superboy, brilliantly customized here. Certainly it was the wittiest reference to the original character!
Despite being dead, Joe Meach seems to have his own blog (as previously noted by Progressive Ruin) but apparently getting hit twice by lightning has not imbued him with superblogging-power. He even showed up (it seemed) in an episode of Justice League Unlimited, a cameo that stunned watchers whether they knew what it was or not!
The Composite Superman was undefeatable, except by his own failings. The very idea of the Composite Superman is like that, too; it's still with us, butso powerful (or just wacky!) that it can only express itself in short glimpses.
Shocking but true, folks.
H's sterling scholarship has earned the Eye of the Hawk Award and my forgiveness for his inability to appreciate the glory of Vibe.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
We'll watch them change that tune over the next year.
Of course, they're really only talking about "box office fantasy" characters, as their inclusion of such figures as Indiana Jones, Luke Skywalker, James Bond, and (fer cryin' out loud) Austin friggin' Powers makes clear. But the sheer duration, variety, quantity, and adaptability in the use of the Superman and Batman characters make them hands down winners over Spiderman. Come now! Even a non-DC-partisan should be able to see that...
Inspired by the glory of Vibe, I now extend the offer. For whichever hero wins the Comeback Poll in the sidebar I will make a public case that they merit a comeback.
So pick your favorite, while I practice the mental gymnastics that will require for this daring exercise...
from The Return of Donna Troy
"Oh, yes... they... will!"
from The Absorbascon
Johnny Bacardi, the pro-Thanagar forces welcome you into our number.
I call upon Contest of Champions to turn its legendarily objective and expert eye on the conflict and tell us, who should win in a fight between Thanagar and Rann?
Hello. I am Strange. Professor Hugo Strange, specialist in zuperhero zychology. I have been engaged by ze Hungarian Zychological Azzoziation to adrezz ze problem of ze "Alien Zaviour Zyndrome".
Human zyches can be divided, if you wish, into two types: zoze who are confident zey will be wanted by ozers, and zose who are not.
Zose who are confident in zeir zelf-worz, of courze, still like to be wanted. Zey engage in healzy relazionzhips wiz zose who want zem. For example, when ze Thanagarian Army posters callz out to zem, "I Want You!", zey react pozitively and ally zemselves wiz ze liked-minded confident people of Thanagar. Admirable, strong people. People who can endure pain. People like
But I digrezz.
Ze weak-willed, ze underconfident ones, ze zeek out zose who NEED zem. Zis bolsters zeir zenze of zelf-worz, but zey grow increazingly dependent on ze ego-gratification of coming to ze azzistance of zose in need. Zis dynamic, when combined with cultural or razial differenzes between ze zaviour and zose he zaves, becomes "Alien Zaviour Zyndrome", ze inability to find zelf-worz except zrough zaving alien cultures.
Many zuperheroes zuffer from zis zyndrome; we call zem Alien Zaviour Zyndrome Zufferers, or AZZZes, for short. Zadly, a member of my own family haz zuccumbed to zis zyndrome, my American cousin, Adam. Poor cousin Adam! Despite an illustrious career as a despoiler of primitive tribal cultures of Earth, he haz, over ze years, become a total AZZZ. Adam, and zose like him, azzoziate only wiz ze desperately needy and intentionally helplezz people, zuch az ze people of Rann. It is to be expected, perhaps, yes? Ze zyndrome in perhaps inherent in ze American mindzet. Except for BATMAN!
I caution you, my American friends. Do not zuccumb to ze zyndrome; do not risk becoming an AZZZ by aiding ze zelf-crippling Rannians, who will trap you in a stranglehold of codependenzy. Zeek out zose wiz whom you can develop an interdependenzy of equals, confident people, strong people, like the people of Thanagar, people who can wear leazer boldly, and hoods, people who can give you pain and take pain and withstand a whipping and who are strong, who are people like
"I'm hear to warn you consumers. There are knock-offs out there, other blond earthmen mysteriously transported to distant planets where they regularly save a beautiful love interest whose father is a brilliant scientist. Don't be fooled by imitations!
"I'm also here to support my good friends, the Thanagarians, in their recent interplanetary police actions. Hey, nobody knows better than the original space hero Flash Gordon that sometimes you have to kick some tail to keep the universe a decent place, safe from insidious aliens who evince far too many of the Seven Deadly Signs of Evil!
"That's just what the keen Thanagarians (who, with their decorative yet functional wings remind me fondly of my friends, the Bird Men of Mongo) are doing in their recent attempts to correct the depredations of the incense-sniffing elite of Rann.
"Support my friends and yours, the Thanagarian people, and don't be fooled by cheap imitations of me!"
Here he is.
The hero of Rann.
About to be executed for spying against Thanagar.
How did our hero get out of this? A brilliant plan?
wasn't he saved by someone else?
A Thanagarian, wasn't it...?
I have trouble remembering these things...
In the Silver Age, storylines weren't "decompressed". Nowadays, it takes a six issue arc to catch a purse-snatcher running down the street, because during the chase you have to recount the incident's relevance to your origin story, argue on the phone with another member of your team, question your role in the larger superhero community, have conflict with either Superman or Aquaman or both, then muse on your complex relationship with the local authority figures.
In the Silver Age, you defeated other-dimensional world-conquerors, their planet-shattering weapons, & their slavering hordes in 11 or 12 pages (not counting splash panel), with enough time left for a panel or two of snappy repartee with your sidekick/girlfriend/comic relief character. Yes, in that happy era, heroes even made time in their schedules to save falling cats that probably didn't need saving.
In this case, so plentiful were heroes, in fact, that another hero rescued the cat first.
Who made the above speech and who rescued the cat instead of just talking about it...?
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Is this a prelude to excoriating the Return of Donna Troy that came out this week? Sorry, don't have the stomach for that. Still haven't recovered from throwing up when I read the name "Athyns". No, this is about the recent Batman 640, wherein Judd Winick (who's given to pretentious narration blocks) describes Batman as the "Cerberus" of his city.
Judd is using the "Cerberus" metaphor to liken Batman to a guardian because Cerberus is "the guardian of the underworld". Dark and creepy Gotham = Underworld, therefore Batman = Cerberus. Problem with the metaphor is, Cerberus's job wasn't to protect the people in the underworld; his job was to keep outsiders from getting in, and insiders from getting out. That's exactly not what Batman does; the metaphor is strongly inapt. Wrong, basically.
It may seem like I'm being pointlessly pedantic. Pedantic, sure, but I hope not pointlessly. Western literary tradition is the basis for comic books; it's our "cultural continuity", if you will. Every time we're sloppy in our literary references, we weaken our ability to use our cultural tradition as an efficient "common language" for communicating ideas. It's like when a bad writer writes Superman or Batman out of character; bristling, we object to the damage to our idea of what the character is. If any character can behave in any old way, then they all cease to have any meaning. What's true for comic book characters is true for mythic characters as well, and when you refer to Cerberus but ignore his "character" you rob it of meaning and weakening the power of our cultural continuity.
Please don't do that, DC writers; you wouldn't like me when I get snarky.
I love this man, and I don't care who knows it.
It's fairly safe to say that Paco Ramone (a sonic superhero codenamed Vibe) isn't one of DC's most beloved characters. Never was.
He was supposed to be the Sensational Character Find of 1984. Young, urban, Latin, hip. Or at least what the 1984 media shorthanded as hip (you know, breakdancing and such). And edgy? Why, the man had a soul patch decades before decent people wore them. Refreshingly, Vibe was always drawn short; why should you have to be 6 foot tall to have superpowers?
Paco had his problems, though. Fashion sense? Vibe's outfit is what I would expect in an Imaginary Story where a young Robin was brainwashed into joining the Royal Flush Gang. Dialog? Vibe was saddled with a Hispanic accent/dialect, and dialect plays poorly in comics, a medium ill-suited to registering subtleties of sound (a fact which didn't help the rest of his attributes, either: the music, the dancing, the sonic powers). In fact, if you read carefully, you knew his accent was a put-on for street cred (a la Black Lightning), but no one remembers that part. Attitude? Like many ghetto characters, Vibe got stuck with a "Chu doan know nuttin 'bout life en el barrio, meng" schtick. Ugh.
I didn't read JLA at that time, but I love Vibe in retrospect. Despite his Reagan-era trappings, Vibe is very Golden Age. Golden Agers were bright and shiny and his hideously mishmashed color scheme would fit in perfectly. Can't you picture him shopping with Alan Scott, Ted Knight, Charles McNider, and young Dick Grayson? Like other Golden Agers, he had a deceptive persona he adopted as his private identity, and played the role very broadly. And in true Golden Age style, his personal life led him into conflicts which he then used his powers to resolve, rather than every story starting with a supervillain slugfest.
Vibe does cameos in the JLU cartoon, but in the DCU proper, he's dead. When DC decided it was time for the real Justice League to return, they had someone step on Vibe (no, not Atom-Smasher, although I wouldn't put it past him). Since no one can come back from the dead (except Clark, Hal, Ollie, Diana, Jason, et al.), I don't expect to see Paco again.
But I want a Vibe comeback anyway. That could be accomplished by bringing his brother, Reverb, back into action, maybe even re-name himself "Vibe" in his brother's honor. He knows Aquaman, Zatanna, and Martian Manhunter, so have them introduce him to Black Canary. She could help him with his sonic powers, and lord knows "Birds of Prey" could use some beefcake hanging around. She could eventually plug him into the JSA, even. After all, he would be continuing the legacy of a "Golden Age-ish" hero!
Just don't let Atom-Smasher step on this one.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
but Devon of Seven Hells has posited that this may be the most beautiful of all Batman covers.
I can't say I disagree. But I'd be interested in the opinions of others. Naturally, it's quite subjective matter!
Unlike the Rann/Thanagar War ...
What's that? There is no such miniseries, you say? True enough. But, according to Devon (who erreth not) at Seven Hells, there was supposed to be. But the whole thing got too bogged down and the project was abadoned so as not to hold back the other four, "The Spectre's Hissy-Fit", "Batman Enables the Enslavement of the World", " The Secret Society of Unpleasant People", and "Putting Rann Out of Our Misery".
The set up was there: Themiscyra rudely plopped by Hera off the coast of the U.S., where it was suddenly cordoned off by warships. The Amazons were about to go to war with the Americans, I tell ya. DC's not going to let the ideas go to waste; without "Amazons Attack" the ideas will find there way into Wonder Woman, probably right after Donna is brought back.
The handcuff cover lends credence to this theory. With diplomatic immunity, Diana wouldn't really be susceptible that kind of arrest ... unless, say, her country was at war with ours?
Monday, May 23, 2005
If you compose, perform a song about him (or any of the candidates) and send me a decent mp3 of it, I promise to air your little ditty in rotation on Superhero Radio for all to hear! Unless it's naughty. Or crappy. Superhero Radio does not air naughty or crappy music; that's MTV's job.
Any musicians out there up to this challenge of the musical superfriends?
- "Aquaman" by Chemical People
- Donderevo's cover of Chemical People's "Aquaman"
- "Robin, the Boy Wonder" by Jan & Dean
- "Batman and Robin" by the Spotlights (1966)
- "I wanna live where Wonder Woman lives" by Vitapup
- "Robin the Boy Wonder" by the Marketts
When you start a comic book blog, your comics books become not just stories, but ammo. Who knows? Careful examination of some old books may lend evidence to the theory that that wasn't Dr. Light with Sue Dibny, it was Adam Strange in disguise. Or something like that.
The new need to do research among my comics book made me realize I needed to file them. "Gosh," I thought, because when you've read enough Silver Age comics, you start to think things like 'gosh',"it's been a couple months since I filed my comics, I bet." Um, well... five years, actually.
So I'm taking the opportunity to "free" some of comics that are taking up valuable space in my shortboxes, in fact, almost one and half long boxes worth. "Freed Comic Book Day" is opening my eyes...
Impulse was an incredible (except at the very end where it dissolved into too much Flash-y time travel/speed force nonsense). I laughed, I cried. It all stayed.
Superman. Sorry, Clark. Nothing seemed to move the storyline forward. People complain about the Legion, but it feels like Superman gets rebooted monthly with each issue. And the Luthor presidency? A completely wasted opportunity. What did Luthor actually DO when was president? There was some kind of alien war that was a pale imitation of "Invasion", I think, but (except for the death of Hippolyta) it didn't do anything. Note to DC: changing Superman's costume is not character/plot development.
Flash. Not only does the world's fastest man have the world's slowest book, it mostly just runs in circles. Here's the entirety of the last five years: Wally versus some anti-speedster (Savitar, Blue-Eyed Wally, John Fox, The Black Flash, the Reverse Flash, e al.) and Wally lost in time/space with Linda as his anchor. Great; she's my anchor. Let's have Wally run out to the middle of the Atlantic, DROP ANCHOR, and run back to being the charming, goofy would-be womanizer everyone loves on JLU.
Green Lantern. Hey, I like Kyle a lot. Loved the "imagination" angle on Green Lantern, loved Kyle-as-big-hunk, loved Kyle the regular guy/hero. Still, I'm "freeing" the lot of his books. Major problems included his location; without a fictional city of his own, Kyle lacked context. Quick, name two GL-Kyle stories, other than the refrigerator story and the Berg-bashing? Didn't think so!
What should I do with my Freed Comics? I may give them to Jack at Big Monkey or Devon at Seven Hells as donations to their stores. Regardless, I'm sure I won't miss them.
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Mikester at Progressive Rann, ah, I mean, Ranagar's Ruin, oh, I mean Progressive Ruin, has noted that a Google search for "Rann" terms up many more entries and images than one for "Thanagar".
I should think so! The bulk of those are undoubtedly real estate listings by offworlders hoping to salvage something out of their Rannian properties before Thanagar takes over.
In any case, the adjacent image in one of the ones that turn up when you google Rann. It's from some Japanese site, so I'm not sure what it's about.
But I can guess who's Rann and who's Thanagar...!
I ADORE Batman! I'm from the na-na-na-na-na-na-Batman of the '60s generation, baby. Once you been hooked by Adam West, brothuh, you hooked fa' life.
And so, to prove that Batman is my hero (and why), this post is the first in a (what could be an endless) series:
How smart is Batman?
Batman is so smart...
he can friggin' read punch cards.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
As you can see, Bill makes marvelous customized toys. Are you downcast because DC Direct won't make that "Joe Coyne, the Penny Plunderer" action figure you want? Can't go on without a one-of-kind "Madame Fatal" posable mannekin? Just contact Bill today!
Isn't it REMARKABLE how similar the Manhawks look to Rannian space-helmets?
Same color scheme. Same fin on the top. Both fire laser beams.
Did you ever wonder whether the Manhawks might be a secret genetic experiment of amoral Rannian animal-torturer Sardath? Just an idea.
Dr. Light. Despero. Manhawks. Adam Strange. Nuklon (a.k.a. Atom-Smasher).
Face it: characters with fins on their heads are EVIL. Seven Hells, are you listening? Is this one of your Seven Deadly Signs of Evil?
You'd recognize his "villain name", though; another villain adopted it and became very, very famous...
"If I travel to Eros tonight in my sleep, I must be dressed in my Wonder Woman costume!"
Now, c'mon, DC; don't you think that would sell? Particularly on thongs.
Plus "traveling to Eros" would be the latest euphemism for physical lovemaking!
Friday, May 20, 2005
The good news is, in the last two days nearly 100 people listened to Superhero Radio! Thanks, I'm enjoying it, too.
The bad news is, I have only received a total of $3 in donations (see Pay Pal button at right) to support it.
Even a $1 contribution makes a world of difference; thanks, I appreciate it!
END OF COMMERCIAL
Ladies and gentlemen, the winner in our "Clobbering Batman" poll: Robin, the Boy Wonder.
Coming in a close second was the bitterly disappointed God, the challenger. Sorry, God; you've got almost as much iconic resonance as Robin, but he had irony on his side.
As promised I will forward this message to a certain person of my acquaintance who speaks regularly with certain other people who work at the Marketing Dept. of a certain delightful comic book company.
This small exercise was to prove a point: on every page of every golden, silver, even bronze age DC comic book, there's at least one panel that would look great on ancillary merchandise (you know, magnets, mugs, tees, posters, etc.). Why doesn't DC capitalize on this? Why are there not "365 Days of" desk calendars for every character from Amazo to Zatanna? The Wonder Woman Archives alone contain enough images to put a unique tee-shirt on the backs of every single lesbian and gay man in America.
Just read the gosh-darned (pardon me, ladies) comic book weblogs, DC! What's the one thing almost ALL of them have in common? Excerpted panels and covers, that's what. Alex Ross's mannerly 17th century Dutch paintings of heavily carbohydrated superheroes aren't the only thing people want to see on merchandise, ya know. You own the rights to a nearly inexhaustible supply of images that form part of the bedrock of pop culture; start capitalizing on it. Great Caesar's ghost, just open up a shop at CafePress, start slapping panels on product and see what sells. It doesn't even cost you anything.
Time-Warner seems to have finally awakened to what a property it's got in DC. Unveiling the new DC logo, pushing up release dates on anticipated titles, creating materials relevant to its forthcoming films before the films come out; there's evidence that someone is finally figuring out the main thing that Marvel always far outshone DC in: self-promotion. T-W has managed to shill the Looney Toons characters into gazillion-dollar marketing icons, despite that fact that their only good work was done 50-60 years ago. T-W, take advantage of the forthcoming films on the Big Three, and market your old comic books silly.
Based on the theories of Devon (who erreth not) at Seven Hells, I have determined that this is most evil object in the world.
Speaking of Devon, is there a reason that the good folks at DC Conspiracy aren't working with him to publicize their independent comics? After all, he is the manager of the largest comic book store in the nation's capital.
Speaking of DC Conspiracy, why aren't they linked to Yet Another Comics Blog, who's holy mission is giving away interesting independent stuff to those of us stuck in the two-company shuffle?
And since YACB runs a "Monkey Cover Day", oughtn't they link to Big Monkey Comics?
Then wouldn't Big Monkey link itself to Comic Riot, since both are "reality shows" about what it's like to open your own comic book store?
Don't mind me; just thinking out loud!
Thursday, May 19, 2005
And if further proof is needed of Batman's super-wallop-taking power!
Ya know, Bruce, bloviating with pointless exposition is not a particularly strong tactic again Superman's left hook.
Pre-Crisis Superman's left hook; just think about that for a second. Why is Batman's detached head not sailing toward Antares at this point?
Aquaman, covering his sensitive sonar-ears to block Robin's girlish shrieks as Batman's teeth go flying across the satellite, actually forms a plan. Unfortunately, there are no giant sea turtles in geosynchronous orbit 22,300 miles above the earth.
Flash approves with a thumbs up; he never liked Batman anyway....
"Will nothing stop this man's constant supercilious moralizing!?"
Robin's more literate than people give him credit for.
Robin looks so embarrassed. "Ugh, I should have accepted the offer from Hawkman; I'm the sensational character find of 1940, I could do so much better than this..."
An oldie but a goodie ... and still the Joker's favorite way to get gum off his shoe. Apparently, he's already managed to kick the Bat-logo off Batman's chest.
The Joker's quite limber, isn't he? Must be those yoga classes at Arkham.
Try that maneuver sometime with a friend and see how many tries it takes to send him flying over the bannister or simply snap his spinal cord.
I'd love to go shopping in Gotham, where apparently stores carry purple suede shoes and oversized orange and yellow toppers a-plenty...!
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
The Riddler was very good to Frank Gorshin. Before he got the role, he was, in his own words, a nobody. As the Riddler, he skyrocketed to overnight fame, and became a headliner in Vegas. As a multitalented actor/comedian/impressionist, he never faded into 'has-been status' but maintained a respectable career, capped by his acclaimed performance as George Burns in a one-man show. Unlike some actors who came to resent the typecasting that followed their career-making roles, Gorshin was grateful to the Riddler.
But the reverse is equally true. The Riddler had been around for over a decade before he "met" Frank, and had only managed two appearance and not much notoriety. The Joker, the Penguin, Two-Face, Catwoman; those were Batman's recurring enemies. The Riddler was more like the answer to a trivia question: "What seldom-seen Batman enemy once robbed a bank underwater?"
With Frank's portrayal, the Riddler came to life in a way he never had on paper. The mania that drove him, the nearly unrestrained enthusiasm for his crimesprees and peculiar M.O. made the Riddler the very picture of brilliant obssessive/compulsive (before we even had a word for it, I think). The Riddler became a A-list villian instantly, solely on the strength of Gorshin's bracing performances. So committed was he to his vision of how the Riddler should be, that after John Astin took his place in the role for an episode, Frank was driven to return as the Riddler just to see the character portrayed properly.
The Riddler has had some bumpy patches on his road since then, as inferior and unimaginative writers, unable to rise to the demands of writing such an intellectual villain in a complex way, took the easy way out. Rather than struggling to craft appropriately elaborate schemes and clues for the Riddler, they copped out and wrote him as a buffoon, a has-been, a mere annoyance. Recently, he received a well-deserved redux, and remains a challenging and intriguing villain not just for Batman but for the entire DCU. But that never would have happened without Frank.
They were good for each other, and for us.
Rokara Soh, "Birds of Prey", Animal Man
Hey, Thanagarian art-martyr Rokara Soh didn't have to waste time talking to future plant-food like you and me. Yet he takes the time to stop and help others better understand themselves and their own places in the universe.
That kind of selflessness almost brings a tear to your eye; even Thanagarian villains are so giving!
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Or, like this "fleeing fiend", you could be a summerstock playwright in a purple hood.
No, really; could I make that up?
Geez, Batman, maybe you should start by taking on the ticket booth girl and then work your way up?
Maybe Rannians aren't so bad. Let's give them a chance.
Oh. There's a Rannian welcoming party now!
About to chop off Superman's head....
Well. At least they found something they can do without asking Adam Strange for help!
"Dude, nobody hits Batman, man."
Well, Dude, here's a news flash: getting hit is what Batman does. A lot.
Have you ever actually see someone punch, say, Aquaman (god help them)? Flash (how?) ? Even Booster Gold (who is 6 foot 5, ya know)? No.
Batman? Taking a wallop is Batman's superpower. Batman gets clobbered in about one of every three stories he's in. And if you stick with me, I'm going to start proving it, because nothing says,"I'm Batman!" like getting wallopped upside the cranium.
Your wish is my command, Jer! The answer is, your typical Supergirl story in 1972 *sigh*, the kind that only E. Nelson Bridwell could have concocted.
Supergirl is clothes shopping (she did that a lot; was she Superman's cousin or Katy Keene's?). A pushy saleslady shoves a pair of sunglasses on her, which, as one would expect in 1972, were mind-control specs devised by a world-conquering alien who says things like, "Silence! A situation has arisen that will permit us to witness this creature's amazing speed and power!" I just love it when villains say, "Silence!"
Supergirl is forced to trick Clark Kent into wearing a pair of mod mindbending eyewear and he in turn tries to foist them upon the JLA. The plot might seem familiar, because one of the Star Trek the Next Generation writers remembered the issue and lifted the plot entirely for a Wesley-saves-the-day episode (Hi, Wil!).
There's also a soul-renching subplot of familial conflict between the alien conqueror, his brother, and a fuzzy magenta subhuman. I know I wept.
Like many circa-1972 stories, you could devote one entire weblog to exploring its wackiness and nothing else for an entire year...
Monday, May 16, 2005
As recent readers, will remember, the Absorbascon recently freaked out at the incomprehensible gibberish about Sub Diegans breathing water instead of oxygen. Kindly Dr. Scott of Polite Dissent answered my cry for help and has issued a second opinion.
Dr. Scott agrees with Dr. Aquaman. Dr. Scott, I owe you a new lab coat!
In case, you don't recognize it, that's the boot of Albert Rothstein, a.k.a. Atom-Smasher, from JSA #56, about to shmush Asim Muhunnad, the leader of Kandaq. Not a distant, "oops, did I just step on an ant?" kind of shmushing, but a, "gosh, even through my size 142 boot I can feel his 200 plus bones cracking, and does anyone have rag with which to wipe his guts off my heel?" kind of shmushing. This wasn't a UN-sanctioned intervention, or a multi-national anti-terrorist coalition sort of outing. It was more of a "hey, let's the six of us overthrow a dictator this weekend, because we're superpowerful and can do whatever we want, and then throw a kegger" kind of outing.
The most recent JSA issue ended in a cliffhanger, with the JSA about to announce whether they would accept Atom-Smasher back. Is this the kind of person you want in the JSA? [Vote in the Absorbascon poll!]
If we need an Atom legacy in the JSA (and we do), let's pick the right person: Damage, who is the original Atom's son. He's in the Freedom Fighters at the moment, but he's redundant with the Human Bomb, so move him to the JSA. Atom-Smasher, with his history of stupid names, costumes, and behavior is at the end of his time as a hero. He was one of the Infinitors, who were the "stand-ins", the inheritors of the JSA legacy while they were away. Well, now the JSA is back, and Albert clearly doesn't belong. The other Infinitors have all moved on or passed away; now it's Albert's turn.
What do you think?
Okay. So my beloved Thanagar lost IN MY OWN POLL. Even though 4 out of 5 comic book blogs side with Thanagar. *Sigh* Adding insult to injury, Rannians are even winning in my poll about Krypto's theme song. *Choke* *Sob*
But I'm not bitter. Oh, no. I promise to defend all Absorbasconners, even Rannie-sympathizers, against destruction when our new avian overlords take over this planet. I'll even make sure you get to bunk together at Thanagarian Re-Education Camp.
MEANWHILE... by way of a warning, consider the above panel.
Batman, billionaire sophicate, babe-magnet, and hero-about-town, sides with Hawkman of Thanagar. Batman stars in 17 different titles, has two concurrent cartoon series, and is about to star in his sixth major motion picture.
Barry Allen, geeky comic-book-collecting bow-tie-wearing goober, sides with Adam Strange of Rann. Where's Barry now, huh?
Oh, and then there's meathead-in-the-middle Hal Jordan, advocating for the guy who laters kills him by shooting an arrow through his heart. Don't any of these people even read their own previews?
Well, someone got really snitty when their fashion eye-wear suggestions were rejected! What superhero said this to the rest of the Justice League?
Sunday, May 15, 2005
The Absorbascon has determined that, as unlikely as it may seem, these young men are the singers of the theme to "Krypto the Superdog", which, whether you like it or not, probably runs through your head an average of once a day. Just like it's doing RIGHT NOW.
They are At Last, and seem like nice, earnest young folk. If they (or anyone else) would like to supply me with an mp3 of Krypto's infectious ditty, I'd be delighted to put in on Superhero Radio.