Thursday, June 30, 2005

A Dumbell of Couples or a Couple of Dumbells?

Okay, soon I'm going to end the poll on Thangarian pleasure devices. But before I do, I have to speak out on behalf of the "Dinner Party Dumbells", which haven't received many votes.

Whatever they are, they affected the Hawks pretty darned powerfully (and they aren't exactly delicate people). What's more, they saved Dwyanna and her husband's marriage (whoever they are). And the darned thing's STILL glowing.

So, apparently, is Hawkgirl...!

Swiss Army Knife Man!

Okay, as confirmed here and at several other blogs you know and trust, the Composite Superman is officially the greatest character ever. And we know he could whoop any hero (without time-based powers) on the block and humiliate them horribly in the process.

But let's REALLY geek out here for a moment. Let's stop to appreciate the versatility of the Compster, who has, what is it, some 25+ superpowers. With a bit of super-acting ability he could impersonate almost any member of the Justice League.

Superman? Yes. He has all the powers of the pre-crisis Supergirl, Mon-El, and Ultra-Boy...combined. Superman is his be-yotch, te asseguro.

Batman? Yes. With the stealth of Invisible Kid and the genius of Brainiac 5, no problem. And with a touch of thought-casting, he could inspire fear directly into your brain!

Wonder Woman? Maybe, but it would literally be a stretch. Most of her powers are pretty "standard" except for the Lasso of Truth. CS would have to fake that using a combination of the powers of Chameleon Boy (for its appearance), Sun Boy (the thing does glow), Elastic Lad (it stretches out), and Saturn Girl (mind-reading). With practice, it's doable.

Flash? Yes. He has the combined speed of Ultra-Boy, Mon-El, and Supergirl (she who could move fast enough to break the time barrier). And with Phantom Girl's phasing, he could "vibrate" through things.

Plastic Man? Yes. Elastic Lad + Chameleon Boy + Bottle of Tequila.

Aquaman? Maybe. CS would have no problems superizing underwater. The main thing would be whether Saturn Girl's "super-thought-casting" would give him enough control over sealife.

Green Lantern? No. Try as I might, I can't think how even the Composite Superman could duplicate the whole Talking Power Ring/Hard Light Construct shtick.

The Martian Manhunter? Yes. Phasing, telepathy, flight, superstrength, "martian vision", superbreath, shapechanging; he can do all that in his sleep.

The next time you get asked the standard question, "What comic book character would you be?", show your geekspertise and say the Composite Superman. Like the Captain Action figure, he can be almost any hero you want him to!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

This week's comics

And now a selection of quotes from the comics I bought this week.

"Run, Wally. Run."
I wasn't going to get this issue of the Flash. Devon of Seven Hells told me, "No, you want to get this; trust me." When Devon, who erreth not, tells you you need to buy something, you do. I did. He was right. I should have seen "it" coming, because of something odd I noticed about the forthcoming DC Heroclix set....

"Would you like me to remove that from the cave?"
Every year, I think Batman's rogue's gallery can't get any better or more interesting; then it does. This year is no different!

"Because we have yet to identify the ass that needs kicking."
That's Wonder Woman, in the OMAC Project. Must say, I did NOT see that ending coming!

"Suggested action: destroy android."

The Manhunters are dead; long live the Manhunters! I can't believe that even Geoff Johns can make Hal Jordan interesting, but it's working. I think GJ lit one of those black candles during Underworld Unleashed...!

"Your mother is a remarkable woman, Cassandra."
As a classicist, I applaud Greg Rucka for his spot on use of Greek mythology, and capturing the sound and feel of classic myth so perfectly. You can tell Rucka's read a lot more than just comic books.

"Nabu has departed with the Blue Beetle on a pilgrimmage to Imhotep's tomb."
I got "Endless Flight", the trade paperback of the restart of Hawkman's title. Only now do I realize how tightly connected everything is. You really deserve to get all three trades of Hawkman's series (the other two are "Allies & Enemies" and "Wings of Fury"). Do, and you'll appreciate the brilliance of what Hawkman's re-creators have accomplished. And you'll be convinced that we haven't seen the last of the Blue Beetle's scarab...!

"Select a design motif or totem to represent your alter ego."
PLEASE treat yourself to a copy of The Batman Handbook: the Ultimate Training Manual. I thought it was going to be just one of those "Worst Case Scenario" handbooks thinly covered with a Batman patina. It's much cooler than that! It's so cool that I expect page 57 to start a nationwide epidemic of children throwing boomerangs at burn victims; you heard it here first.

The Sounds of Silence

Krash! is fairly self-explanatory.

Thud! is the sound of a papoose being hurled unceremoniously on the hard earth. Try it yourself at home and you'll find it's pretty accurate.

Blamm! is the sound of sharp, small explosion, usually of a container. It should not be confuse with Boom!, which is used for larger, uncontained explosions, or Ka-booom!, which is for buildings being blown up.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Fantastic Farces

Some images from the forthcoming Marvel Heroclix set "Fantastic Forces" give me the opportunity to mention Heroclix AND snark on Marvel. Here I go...!

Who's idea was it to have a character based on a grilled cheese sandwich machine?
And this thing, well, I'm uncharacteristically speechless. Whatever that, Krypto will kick its ass before breakfast.
Yes, if I were a superhero this is just the thing I would wear.
And this would be who exactly ... the Inextrudable Turd?
Did Marvel buy the rights to Valdemort?
A touch of paint and Extrano will grace our DC Heroclix board!
OH YEAH; the Aquascooter! Now Aquaman can chase my Mordru-on-Water-Skis custom!
Who stole Wonder Woman's horse?
Exactly when would it be useful to do this when fighting crime?
This gem is from Heroclix's new sculptor, Hieronyomous Bosch.
Oven-Mitt Man No More!

Pleasure with the Hawks!

toys 6
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

The Absorbascon is a PLEASURING device?
Well, of course, it is!

I've tried to keep this blog G-rated, but I can't keep the secret any more; the Hawks are KINKY people. Wild screaming crazy monkey flying gorilla kind of kinky.

Watch below as the evidence mounts...

Rub Down

toys 3
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

Still supporting Rann?

Sit back for a moment and consider either:

(A) getting a torso rubdown from Hawkgirl;
(B) giving a torso rubdown to Hawkman;
(C) all of the above.

This is how it usually starts with the Hawks. But note the device of indeterminate function in the foreground...!

Oiling Up

toys 2
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

This oiling up process (using an appropriately space-aged atomizer) is often part of Thanagarian foreplay.

Hawkgirl laps it up, while working that innocent "tee-hee" routine, as if she were Richie Rich's girlfriend, Gloria.

But she can't hide her true wild screaming animal nature; it reminds her of war paint. Rowwrr!!! Even I want Hawkgirl, the saucy minx!

The Toymakers

toys 7
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

And toys?

Huh, you think the people who invented home-shopping, Tivo, the internet, etc., didn't apply their fervid little minds to

Oh, they did.

Even Shayera -- who is one tough number -- seems a bit daunted by the tiny Ecstacotron her husband is ready to start the evening with...!

Hawkman's Plan

toys 11
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

Oh, Hawkgirl's all smiles when Hawkman reaches for the maces and restraints.

But when he starts leering toward some of the other toys in the playroom, even Hawkgirl wonders if she's bitten off more than she can chew!

Sh'yeah, I'm sure that's how it is with Adam and Alanna; as if!

Just In Case

toys 4
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

Hawkman just loves that old Ball and Chain, doensn't he? And I don't just mean Hawkgirl!

Dang, look at that stuff; that's the kind of equipment you see only in the movies (and I don't mean Spielberg!). Apparently, Hawkman grabs the ball and chain "just in case" the Benoit-bow he's already holding isn't enough for Shayera.

I can't show you more, but just ask yourself what kind of couple's pleasure requires THAT THEY BOTH WEAR CONTACT LENSES?

Yeesh, I need a cool drink!


toys 1
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

Turnabout is fair play, and the Hawks know all about the "turnabout" game!

While Hawkman beats his drum as a, ahem, "communication" device, Hawkgirl's purchased a new electric Insertifier at the very sight of which, Hawkman shallows his gum!

Who's your daddy NOW, Hawkman?

Couples Night

toys 5
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

Sometimes the Dibnys and the Palmers come over for one of the Hawks'


"dinner parties".

And the Hawks are very, very ready for them...

Rising to the Occasion

toys 8
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

Oh, as if they're only going to use their anti-gravity devices to fight crime?


The Hawks make FULL use of their anti-grav technology for their own pleasure, I assure you, and they use it on FULL. Turn it on ... all the way!

I have GOT to get one of those nets...

10 Seconds Later

toys 10
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

So, what's it like, when you're
wild screaming Hawkfolk and
you've got anti-grav technology and
high-tech pleasuring devices that make Adam Strange faint if he merely looked at them?

Well, all I can say is it looks like this ten seconds afterwards...

Monday, June 27, 2005

Flying Solo

toys 9
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

Sometimes Hawkman doesn't make it home from JLA meetings till really late.

"No problem!" says Hawkgirl.

"I've got plenty of things to keep me busy until then!"

Still siding with Rann, anyone...?
Make mine Thanagar...all the way!

Nice hat, dear

Nice hat, dear
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

Here's the next installment in one of our recurring series,

Batman and Robin are NOT Perfectly Ordinary Americans.

Perfectly ordinary Americans do not spend their afternoons wearing bird-hats while strapped to a treestump together.

That Batman ... does he know how to show a kid a good time, or what?


Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

The Absorbascon does not shy away from the tough issues of our time.

Should Robin be introduced in the next Batman film and, if so, who could play him?

Oh, I know what some of you will say. It's stupid and unrealistic to have the Dark Knight saddled with a kid in a red, yellow, and green circus costume.

Hmm...okay, I'll grant you that. But it's also stupid and unrealistic to dress up like a bat and fight crime using rope, smoke bombs, and boomerangs, yet Batman pulls that off pretty well, too.

Do you want a cinematic Robin?
What should he be like?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

When I Was Born

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

When I was born...

the Blackhawks were still fighting giant Nazi robots.

NO, I'm not THAT old; those giant Nazi robot were built to last!

The Brigadoon Poll

As we've been discussing, too many useful and interesting cities lie in Limbo waiting to return to the DCU proper. As DC is fond of saying lately, they offer us a whole universe; surely it has room to bring back these fictionopolises as part of it!

Granted, I want ALL these cities back. But let's give DC a sense of the popular demand for each. Our new poll is on which of the fictionpolises you want to return to the DCU. Remember, you can vote for as many of them as you want!

Just so's you can review before ya vote:

Brick City
New Venice
Federal City
Midway City
Civic City
Calvin City

At the moment, Federal City is in the lead...

Built Like a Brick City

Return to Brick City!

Wherever it is....

The last in this series on the Forgotten Fictionopolises of the DCU is Brick City, former anti-crime arena for Black Lightning, part of DC's stable of solid secondary heroes, and the one of the few people to turn down membership in the JLA because they were "a bunch of jive turkeys". Indeed!

Brick City is the mysterious El Dorado of the DCU (uh, not the one from the Superfriends, who worked with Black Vulcan not Black Lightning, but that's another story). Thanks to an ambiguous introduction of BC, it's unclear whether it's a city or just a neighborhood. In the real world, it would have to be a nickname for a neighborhood; nobody would name a town "Brick City". For that reason alone, we should assume that in the DCU it's a city; DCU cities are almost always named something like "Simplistic Adjective City". Civic City, Central City, Coast City; Brick City.

Furthermore, it's unclear where in the U.S. Brick City might be and what its realworld analog is. St. Louis sometimes calls itself Brick City, but Black Lightning strikes me as a pretty firm northerner. Lots of people swear Brick City's in Ohio, but that's mostly Clevelanders trying to get themselves noticed. The Rap Dictionary (consult your own copy) lists Brick City as the nickname of Newark. Given that Black Lightning hung out in the east coast cities of Metropolis and Gotham, and that Brick City was portrayed as a wretched wasteland of poverty and crime, Newark as the real world analog of Brick City just plain feels right.

We didn't have much time to get to know Brick City, but its principal exports were despair, gang warfare, and malt liquor. Gotham's problem is it's so good everyone wants a piece of the pie; Hub City's problem is it's hopelessly corrupt; Vanity's problem is it's designed to attract evil; Brick City's problem is it's achingly poor. The simple honesty of that is, frankly, refreshing. Much of crime stems from poverty, the desperation it creates, and the damage it does to familial and societal structures. The other cities in the DCU can be hard to identify with, because, face it, you don't know anywhere quite like Metropolis or Gotham. If you've ever lived in a city with a ghetto, then you DO know a place like Brick City.

DC, bring back Brick City, home of poverty! Fighting Maggedon and Starro is all well and good, but shouldn't we have a place where there's a simple realworld enemy like hopelessness, impoverishment, and addiction? And who, Absorbascommenters should continue Black Lightning's fight there?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Vurm, infuriated

ho slaves
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.


That is what Starman offers! Each panel, each balloon, each caption! The Golden Age Starman is the bon bon of drama; you can't consume a whole box all at once, it's all you can bear to take in a morsel or two before collapsing.

In this panel, Vurm is infuriated, and, trust me, ya don't want to infuriate Vurm. The fading hum of machinery! The fist clenching! The squinty grimace of constipated consternation!

Villainous invective (you meddlesome fool!)!
Frustrated hyperbole (you've prevented my greatest triumph!)!
Threats of protracted death by a Named Horror (for that you will suffer death by The Knife Torture!)!

And, for those of you who have not yet fainted, the stunning Minion Injunction:
"Ho, Slaves!"

No wonder Starman was cancelled; it probably killed all its readers!


Originally uploaded by Scipio1.


what exactly do you think Batman's skull is made out of, anyway?

Perhaps Dr. Scott at Polite Dissent could give us an estimate on the number of remaining brain cells Batman should have by this point.

I'm taking the "15-20" point spread in the betting pool...


Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

Bruce Wayne's head is as tasty a target as Batman's, it seems.

"Hmm," thought the thug, "there's a familiar wack to this guy's skull. Could it be that Bruce Wayne is Batman...?"

Is that the look that's always being hidden by the white slits on the cowl when Batman gets klonked? It's priceless! It says, "but...but... I'm Batman! Help me, Grant Morrison!"

Punching Bag

punching bag
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

Punching bag: 1
Batman: 0

I'd hate to have seen how badly the punching bag would have beaten Batman if he hadn't trained with Ra's in Tibet first...

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Middleton Manhunter

The Middleton Manhunter
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

Poor J'onn J'onnz. Separated cruelly and irrevocably from his home, which is now a dead and empty place.


I'm not sure why the creators of Martian Manhunter put him in Colorado. When you think "hardboiled police detective" or "displaced alien who walks among us", do you immediately think, "ah, a typical Colorado story"? I don't.

But they did. I guess the main reasoning was that Dr. Erdel was an astronomer type and should live in an observatory high in the mountains. Thus, even though in his first story, J'onn is shown wandering around Paris at one point, he still settles in the hometown of the yutz who destroyed his life. J'onn is so co-dependent.

Anyway, "Middleton" doesn't sound like a metropolis, yet there are its towering skyscrapers in the background as J'onn gets haplessly sucked off (yet again). A mile-high city, indeed! Did "Alterior City", "Mountainopolis", or "Verticalia" simply not occur to them?

Places named things like "Middleton" are where you stop off to get a soda during a trip cross-county and are amazed to discover that people still sell Shasta. It's so undistinguished that there are 21 places in the U.S. named "Middleton". Yet J'onn's Middleton was large enough to attract rampant mafia activity and alien/superpowered menaces, including the world-conquering Appallaxians. Go figure.

But now it's GONE. I can't even tell whether it's been retconned out of existence. The last reference to it I remember was the revelation that John Jones worked with Robby Reeds' father on the Middleton Police Force (five years ago in the "Silver Age" crossover).

Appropriately enough, there really is a Middleton, Colorado; it's a ghost town. Maybe J'onn stayed because it reminded him of Mars.

So is there a crime-ridden, alien-magnet metropolis in the middle of Colorado or not? I like the idea; very X-Files. It's weird, and face it, J'onn is too.

DC! Bring back Middleton and give J'onn a home (with a nice view of the night sky, but no fireplace).


Bruce Wayne replaces Carson on Queer Eye. Gods, how I miss the Quarter Bin, the most consistently intelligent on-line discussion of comics ever.

Jotace is so much FUN! He's now unearthed embarrasing candids of much-reviled Atom-Smasher's acne-snarred adolescence , burly firemen helping Wonder Woman introduce a girl to love on a trampoline , and one of our neglected favorites, Congo Bill, defeating villains using nothing but onions.

Opal City won our "Favored Fictionopolises" poll, because Robinson made it seem cool and interesting. Following distantly were, well, all the other cities in the DCU, based mostly on order of safety, it seems. I'd still like to know which lunatic voted for Hub City.

There was a tie in our "Gayest Black Condor Cover" poll ,between "Another Angry Boyfriend" and "Up, Up, and Away!"

The Absorbascon is taking up a collection to hire deprogrammers to save poor deluded H at Comic Treadmill from the Kirby Kult and its leaders. Just use the SuperHero Radio paypal link at right to make a donation...

So exactly how long was Adam Strange sleeping with Alanna before he married her? Let's see, from 1958 to 1975... H is right; Adam Strange is a pig as well as nonsensical. I want a crossover with Bibleman, who would spank the bejeezus of that slimy, opportunitistic archy major. I always hated archy majors.

New Venice

New Venice
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

So, some people thought I'd forgotten my "Forgotten Fictionopolises" series.

Fools! The utter fools!

Decades before half of San Diego sunk into the sea, Aquaman patroled: NEW VENICE!

In September 1959 (Adventure Comics #264), DC introduced New Venice in "Aquaman and His Sea-Police!"

New Venice was "a coastal town", whose streets, as a result of a seaquake, were just under sealevel. It's unclear from the story whether the town changed its name after the incident, or whether the founding fathers were just ASKING for trouble. The latter, I bet.

This being the Silver Age, in the first two panels we learn the situation, the reason for Aquaman's involvement, and the nature of the problem he must solve. Gods, I miss Silver Age pacing. These days, if a waitress asks Aquaman whether he wants coffee or tea, we won't hear his answer until four months later (during which time it will have been spoiled by Previews: "Look for Aquaman to take a few lumps in October...but no milk or lemon!")

Naturally, the little seven-page story focuses on how ingeniously Aquaman uses his finny friends (I love saying that phrase) to foil neovenetian scofflaws (I love saying that phrase even more). But it adds a nice touch at the end. The city has become accustomed to its new waterways and doesn't want to give them up, so when the water starts to recede, Aquaman rearranges the sea to keep them waterlogged. Obviously, the town's Tourism Bureau is more on the ball than the Homeowners Association.

In 1980, Crazy Bob Rozakis revisited New Venice (World's Finest #263), where they've constructed an Aquaman Museum (a la Central City); isn't that cute? In subsequent issues, Arthur and Mera move into town, and Aquaman kicks Dr. Light's behind for him. Light had the brilliant idea of attacking Aquaman with a device powered by FISH; geez, it's almost like somebody lobotomized the guy, or something!

The coolest thing that happened in New Venice was Black Manta's attempt to blow it up with a nuclear missile, while Mera died or went crazy again or the like. Don't ask.

New Venice (now clarified as being in Florida) returned in the 1986 Aquaman mini-series (you know, the one with the pretty blue outfit), courtesy of the late and lamented Neal Pozner. And if you comb through your back issues of the Justice League Animated comic book, you can see that New Venice is there, too; it shows up when Batman's doing some research on Aquaman.

It was a very clever idea (no matter what H says) to create an American city that Aquaman could police while still living in the sea. That's why we now have Sub Diego. Sub Diego is much more interesting than New Venice, but because it's underwater things move MUCH more slowly there, and it takes four months to get a cup of tea.

But let's have DC acknowledge that New Venice still exists. And it doesn't need Aquaman to be its hero; there are lots of good superfish in the sea. Who do YOU think should patrol New Venice?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Asskicking Angel

Asskicking Angel
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.



A Thanagarian will kick your ass using only aluminum kitchen utensils.

AND make some lovely snow angels in the process.

You tell 'em, solidier!

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

Too much Kirby-hating;
not enough Rannie-hating!

They have jetpacks and rayguns and still they need an earthling archeologist to fight their every little battle.


Quality or Quantity?

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
Ooooh, the "genius" of Jack Kirby is being collected in the Kamandi Archive Volume!

Let's get a little perspective on Kamandi, shall we?

Kamandi: 51 issues
Peter Porkchops: 61 issues
Mr. District Attorney: 68 issues
Buzzy: 77 issues
Leave it to Binky: 82 issues
Sugar & Spike: 98 issues
Tomahawk: 104 issues
Fox and Crow: 108 issues
Bob Hope: 109 issues
Jerry Lewis: 124 issues

There; I feel much better now!

They Stole the President's Mind

Reagan's mind
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

By the time the Spectre discovered what happened to the President's mind it was too late to doing anything other than cast a spell to keep the public from noticing.

When I was born

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

When I was born...

The Western hero Tomahawk made friends with a big monkey.

Gorilla, really. Named "Colosso".

Apparently, I was born under the sign of the Monkey Cover.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Drama... Thy Name is Doog!

doog 1
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
Coolest villains? Well, Batman's, of course.
Wackiest? Captain Marvel's.
Best team players? Flash's, natch.

But there is NO CONTEST for the superhero with the most dramatic villains.


Not just the villains, but everything about the original Starman was DIRE CINEMATIC DRAMA. It was more pulp-like than other comics; creator Jack Burnley's art looked more like an EC horror story than standard superhero drawings of the day. And people spoke loudly; LOUDLY, I SAY!!!!

Read a mere synopsis of any Starman story and you'll have to stifle a yawn, maybe two. Read one with the art(in the proper Golden Age mindset) and you too will be gasping out things like, "NOT... THE PAPERCLIP OF PERVERSITY -- EEEEKKK!!!!"

This photo is a good example. That's "Dr. Doog", who is clearly evil because he's bald, heavily inked, and wearing a yellow bathrobe. Sure, sure ... nowadays villains do lots of mean stuff. But when's the last time you heard one of them say something like,

"You are are pinioned by a thought wall!"

Now, THAT is villainous prose, people!

Proof that god exists

Proof that god exists
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
This photo from wonderful Dale,who makes customs and who made me the Adam Strange clix, proves three things.

  1. God exists.
  2. God likes Heroclix.
  3. God LOVES me.

And, yes, of course, I will be commissioning my own Black Condor clix...

Black Condor, the Ultimate Gay Superhero

Frederic Wertham was an idiot. Because he thought Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman were gay? No. We know that Wertham was an idiot because he never mentioned Black Condor!

If you took the Red Bee, the Red Torpedo, the Red Gaucho, Madame Fatal, and Extrano and teamed them up with Jimmy Olsen repeatedly crossdressing, the story would still not be HALF as gay as any cover with Black Condor.

I've posted about Black Condor before and how he'd be the perfect Dynastic Centerpiece for the League of Extraordinarily Gay Gentlemen. But the gayness of Black Condor is so enormous it merits an encyclopedia, a temple, a themepark, a commemorative chess set from the Franklin Mint, a series of stamps, and a Top 100 Gayest Moments of the Black Condor special on Bravo. Want to end the problems in the Middle East? Have DC print ONE COPY of the Black Condor Archives and drop it somewhere in the Persian Gulf; within one year, there will be no new babies born in any adjacent countries, women will gain equality in local society, and sales of Birds of Prey will skyrocket.

Thing I'm kidding, huh? Nope; they'd throw me out of the Gay Bloggers Union! To prove my theory, let's take a stroll through the Black Condor museum. But steel yourself with a supermodel on one arm and a keg of Bud in the other, because Black Condor can make even the straightest of men SWOON...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Condor Violates Your Fourth Wall

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

"Hi, kids! I'm Black Condor!

I'm here to plant my flag...

and you can help!"

C'mon, Doc Wertham; ONE ISSUE of Black Condor would have saved the taxpayers thousands on Senate hearings (to say nothing of Gaines's plane fare).

Oh, have I mentioned the real irony? Black Condor was a U.S. Senator.

Now THAT would get me watching CSPAN!

Another Thrilling Adventure!

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

"Nobody chains half-naked, red-panted boy-toys to a wall and exhausts them to the point of unconsciousness while brandishing a whip in this town but ME, bitch!"

Now, if that been a Stupid Hero Quote, would you have guessed it?

Gosh, comics are so dark now compared to bright and cheery innocence of the Golden Age, huh? Yep, let's all blame Brad Meltzer for that, shall we...?

(Hi, Brad!)

How's it Hanging, BC?

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

"Now you're getting the hang of it!" Condor smirks with his typically smart-ass Golden Age sense of humor.

"And now that I have you where I want you, with your pistol in my hand, I think it's time to teach you to 'hang ten' ... Black Condor style!"

Geez, is it any wonder Quality Publishing never let Black Condor have a kid sidekick.

Falling for Black Condor!

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

"You're rather a Scary Alcohol Mess, aren't you, Sam? But I love a man in a red suit," Condor flirts, "particularly when his lipstick matches!

Once I'm done this 'Adonis in Repose' move, I'll just truss you up tidily with this rope and whisk you away to the top of the Fallick Building thrusting into the sun suggestively behind us..."

Condor's Balls Fly Free!

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

"Wonder Woman?" he titters.

"PUH-lease! I can handle more bondage than she, while pointing my toes effortlessly.

PLUS, I look great in a cape, which she does not, no matter what Phil thinks.

I'm more man than she'll ever have and more woman than she'll ever be!

While another angry boyfriend looks on ...

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

"Oooo, nice red ensemble," BC coos, while still managing the pointy-toe action that accentuates his gams. "That will look lovely on my bedroom floor once I've stunned you with my Eternity cologne gun."

I swear, if DC put out a Black Condor Archive, rentals on Colt Films would plummet and no one would be caught dead at the next International Mr. Leather competition without a blue, purple, or black cape/poncho thingie.

And I would probably never bother to go on another date.

Except with Phil Jimenez. In a Black Condor costume.

Black Condor, Going Down!

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

"My goodness!" Condor thought-ballooned, "Can't let THIS little treasure go to waste! I'm sure I can find someone who'll get a bang out of it; I know I will!"

Why don't planes drop that sort of thing on MY town, gosh darn it?

Whatever fictionopolis Black Condor lives in, that's were I want to live.

Red Means Go!

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

Guys, if you go out on the town wearing RED, you are simply BEGGING for it. It's just like on Star Trek.

Black Condor's insatiable, isn't he? Little miss scarlet pantaloon's boyfriend is NOT happy, you'll note.

"Oh, is this one yours?" taunts BC. "I'll return him tomorrow, after I've taught him who put the CRACK in Crack comics!"

Up, Up, and Away!

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

Some guys like shoulders, some like washboard stomachs, and some like...well, Black Condor's focus here is pretty darned clear.

After a hard night 'patroling' at the bars, he's made his choice, and with a lovely heart-shaped cloud as background, he flies back to the Condor Nest with his prize:

"Pardon my spontaneity, Little Red Riding Boots," he quips to the poor crook in Golden Age patter, "but I'm just flying by the seat of your pants!"

Imagine, if you dare, what happens to you in prison when they find out Black Condor sent you there...

I'm Not That Kind of Boy...Yet!

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

So, you think Black Condor's "easy", just because of the overdone rouge and severely plucked eyebrows? Ha! That's what these good time charlies thought, too!

"Try and put the moves on ME, sweetie, before buying me dinner first and you'll be eating those pearly whites as an appetizer. These boots were made for kicking your teeth in!"

Inwardly, however, Condor is in conflict. "Must... play... hard to get," he inner-monologues. "Must... resist... dashing red-suit suitors!"

Now Chu Are Talkin, Meng!

It''s almost as if some Badinisian thunderbolt were granting me my every wish:

The Rann-Thanagar War results in the return of Vibe.

Please kill me now, because I will never be happier *sniff*.

Dave Bruff, Tim O'Neill; I love you guys....

How Smart is Batman?

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

Batman is so smart...

his DOG is a smarter than 99.9999999% of his enemies.


The, um, Meta-Dynastic Model, I guess

An Absorbascommenter wrote me a private email about the idea of applying our "Dynastic Centerpiece Model" to teams instead of individuals. Let's!

For those who've just joined us, the Dynastic Centerpiece (DC) model is the loose application of a set of character archtypes to building a mythos around a central figure, a "dynastic centerpiece". Here's an example: Centerpiece (Batman), Junior Version (Nightwing), Sidekick (Robin), Black Sheep (Huntress), Elder Statesman (NONE), Animal Companion (Bathound), Female Version (Batgirl), Authority Figure (Commissioner Gordon), Civilian Companion (Alfred), etc. This model applies to many of DC's iconic characters to varying degrees.

To some degree, I guess, it applies to supergroups as well. Centerpiece (JLA), Junior Version (Outsiders), Sidekick (Teen Titans), Black Sheep (JLElite), Elder Statesman (JSA), Animal Companion (I'm not sure the Legion of SuperPets counts!), Female Version (expand the Birds of Prey a bit...), Authority Figure (DEO), Civilian Companion (nothing there).

DCU - DC = Federal City!

Starman is the native hero of Opal City, quirkiest of the DCU fictionopolises and, judging by our current poll, the most popular one. Now.

But all of that is Robinson redux; Opal City didn't exist until James Robinson created it out of wholecloth for the Jack Knight version of Starman in 1994 (one of the principle new offerings stemming from the "Zero Hour" reboot).

In the Golden Age, artist-creator Jack Burnley set Starman in Gotham. Yup. Gotham. Not "Gotham City" where Batman lived; Ted Knight (Starman) lived in just Gotham, another paper-thin copy of New York City. Interestingly, a reference to NYC in one of the early stories (Adventure No. 63) makes the point that the Gotham where Ted lives in NOT New York City.

Later on, however, Starman was "retconned" (as we call it nowadays) to live in Federal City, whose name alone makes it clear is an analog for Washington, D.C. As we learned in a 1970's retcon, Ted Knight had political connections in Federal City; his uncle was a U.S. Senator, whose daughter (inspired by her cousin's career) became the tantalizing Phantom Lady. To paraphrase Plastic Man, "Yes, we all love Phantom Lady."

Robinson and others respected the Federal City connection by building into Ted Knight's back story a period where he left Opal City to heroize in Washington, D.C.

But I call for the elimination of Washington, D.C., from the DCU.

I myself live in D.C., for 20 years now. [Note: People who live in Washington do NOT call it Washington. In fact, they never use the word "Washington"; even the Washington Monument is just "The Monument". If you meet someone who says he lives in "Washington", he doesn't; he lives in the D.C. suburbs.] But I do not want a D.C. in the DCU. I want Federal City (F.C. !) instead.

  • I want to have a superhero running around in the nation's capitol (something that I know wouldn't go well in the real D.C.)
  • The District of Columbia is, frankly, a stupid name; Federal City is much cooler.
  • I like the principal (American) cities of reference in the DCU to be fictionopolises, so that the DCU feels like its built around its main characters, rather than feeling as if editors tried to awkwardly squeeze a legion of superpowered people into our world.
  • If we're going to have fictional presidents (particulary ones who become supervillains upon retirement, which seems to be the post-presidential career of choice lately), it's more comfortable if they are in fictional context (F.C. rather than D.C.).
Almost every time I read a DCU story set in "Washington", I react so strongly to its being mischaracterized that my eyes roll up into my head for an hour or two, which makes it hard to keep reading, gives me a headache, and makes walking the dog next to impossible. If the story is set in F.C. instead, it will be easier for me to accept Apokolitan-style security devices in the White House and the general idiocy that has been the President Luthor storyline.

A retcon of D.C. as F.C. (heck, "Washington, F.C." would work fine for me) wouldn't affect DCU history and would free up its future a bit. F.C. could be home to Wonder Woman (gods know she needs one) or maybe even (unbelievable!) an actual black hero native to the city! My vote for that character would be the obscure Manager Lad, an underused creation of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko...

Monday, June 20, 2005

Vanity, thy name is Morrison

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
What manner of place is this, where that strangely garbed man perches?

Bizarre architecture! Hideous gargoyles! The highest suicide rate in the nation! It can only be: Vanity!

DC's weirdest writer created its weirdest city (other than Gorilla City). In only ten issues, Morrison's urban nightmare made quite an impression on readers, as you can tell from the comments on previous "fictionopolis" posts.

Vanity was designed to attract a great evil, the shadow god Tezcatlipoca. Along the way, it also attract some low-rent heroes, corrupting them into low-rent villains. Exactly why this is the case I leave to the Absorbascommenters to detail!

I know a lot of Morrison ideas are created as throwaways, but the idea of an intrinsically evil city is too good to lose! DC, bring back Vanity!

But who in their right mind would live in Vanity? Perhaps the Creeper should live there...!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

We interrupt this program...

... for a commercial for Heroclix!

In previous posts, I've mention that in September, Wizkids Games is coming out with a new DC Heroclix starter set and a companion expansion called Icons. It's intended as a good "jumping on point" for those not yet playing the game.

The set will looking something like what's below.
REVs are figures that come on three different dials (Rookie, Experienced, Veteran).
Uniques only come in one version (duh!)
The figures in green have been confirmed.
The figures in red are just my educated guesses.
The figures in italics are characters that there are no previous Heroclix versions of.

Starter Figures (all Uniques)
Batman, black cape
Robin, Dick Grayson
The Joker, tipping pose
Harley Quin, pop gun pose

Icons REVs
Batman, gargoyle pose
Robin, Tim Drake
The Joker, Killing Joke sculpt
Aquaman, waterhand sculpt
Dr. Light?
Dr. Mid-Nite?
Wonder Woman?
Star Sapphire?

Icons Uniques
Flash, Barry Allen
Ra's Al Ghul
Lex Luthor in battle armor
Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner?
The new Red Hood?

Yeah, I know...I can't figure out why there's no Vibe figure either...

Midway City

Midway City
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

Pay no attention to the monster in the picture, or the characteristically brave Thanagarians risking their lives to prevent it from hurting earthlings.

Focus on the city in the background. That's glorious Midway City!

Tall buildings! A big river with pleasure boats! An enormous multi-lane toll bridge!

Clearly, it's a major American city in the DCU. It has its own police commissioner and District Attorney. It's got a righteously butt-kicking museum oozing with jewels, art, historical artifacts, and not a few alien or occult gee-gaws.

In fact, not only did the Thanagarian Hawkman and Hawkgirl heroize there, so did the outre Doom Patrol, HQing in their creepy old mansion smackdab in the middle of downtown. As far as I know, Midway was big enough that they never ran into each other! [Please correct me if that's wrong.]

It's been repeatedly assumed that Midway is in Michigan. We do know that within a half-day Hawkman-flight north of the city, it can snow a great deal ("Rivalry of the Winged Wonders", Hawkman No. 1), so it sure ain't in Florida.

Two sets of heroes made their home in a major metropolitan area which we know (thanks to JLA Year One) still exists in the DCU.

DC! Please tune us in to Midway City! Who lives there now?

Maybe the Martian Manhunter? Why not. He's been crippled too long by the impractically silly idea that he lives all about the world, improbably maintaining scores of little lives. The man can't (musn't!) live in the Watchtower, for H'ronmeer's sake...

Any other ideas, folks?

Civic City; the Theft of the Crime-free City!

Civic City
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

A major American has completely ... disappeared!

Who stole it? The Japs? The Ratzis? The Vandal Savage? Per Degaton?

Call out the Justice Society!

Yes, Civic City, home of the Justice Society for almost the entire run of All-Star, disappeared decades ago, wiped away with the rest of "Earth-2".

In Kupperberg's Atlas of the DCU (published as an adjunct to MayFair's DC roleplaying game), Civic City was located in Pennsylvania, a fairly sensible choice based on the assumption that it was a Philadelphia-analog.

Civic City was no little hamlet; it had its own international airport and an enormous convention center called the Palace.

Most JSA stories started in Civic City, but seldom stayed there. Of necessity, the JSA were globetrotters. The plot of JSA cases almost always forced the members to split up, each taking his own tack that required him to go to some other city, country, or (occasionally) planet.

Since the JSA was usually on walkabout, you got the impression there wasn't a lot of crime or supervillains in Civic City itself. That makes sense. Would you want to commit a crime anywhere within two miles of the JSA HQ?

Because most of their work was done elsewhere, the JSA's home of Civic City didn't develop much character of its own. But if you wanted low insurance rates, you lived in Civic City, where crime was so minimal that the only major resident villain was a linotyper.

So, who stole Civic City? Was it vibrated into another plane, like the Fiddler, the Thinker, and the Shade did to Keystone? Stuff like that used to happen all the time, you know.

Actually, the "Stolen City" is a case without a crime. We now know (thanks to Geoff "the Monitor" Johns) that Civic City did NOT disappear. In the short-lived "Stars and STRIPE", we got proof of its existence on the post-Crisis Earth: Pat Dugan's son goes to the Civic City Military Academy.

But the JSA's moved to New York where, frankly, they work well. If there's going to be a NYC in the DCU (although I'd prefer there wasn't), then there's got to be a reason that no big hero makes his home there. Having the JSA there explains that quite nicely, as well as the absence of lots of super-crime in the Big Apple.

That still leaves us with Civic City, a metropolis in Pennsylvania that used to be crime-free back in the day, but has no heroes now. Surely villainly must have taken a hold there and it needs a protector of its own!

C'mon, DC! Put someone, or even a group of heroes, in Civic City and bring one of your oldest fictionopolises back into the limelight.

Readers; who would YOU put in Civic City to fight modern day crime?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Calvin City, the big city with little heroes

Here's a fictionopolis DC has forgotten: Calvin City.

That hand in the picture, by the way, belongs to Barry Allen, Science Geek, Bow-Tie Geek, Comic Book Geek, and one of the great superheroes of all time.

Calvin City is where Al Pratt, the Golden Age Atom, lived, studied, and worked (although, to this day, no one quite knows what Al did for a living; I like to picture him as a piano mover). Calvin College was there, but, as we learned in the Silver Age it was clearly eclipsed by its tonier rival...

Ivy University, a high-class institute in Ivy Town, a suburb of Calvin City. Yes, Ivy University, where Prof. Ray Palmer, the Silver Age Atom, teaches.

Yes, Julie Schwartz made no personal connections between Al Pratt and Ray Palmer (in those days, from Ray Palmer's perspective, Al Pratt would have been just a comic book character!). But he still gave them a geographic connetion by relating their cities to each other.

We know Ivy Town still exists, so certainly Calvin City does, too (unless it was obliterated by an atomic blast like the city of Fairfield, but that's a story for another day).

Okay, DC; bring back Calvin City! It needs a hero; who should start living there? It would have to be someone who could stand to have the Atom as guest star.

What hero should DC place in Calvin City, gang? Maybe Black Canary? Mr. Terrific? Dr. Mid-nite? Perhaps Zatanna?

Friday, June 17, 2005

Next Stop, Fictionopolis

Coast City
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

What is it? Why, it's Coast City, of course, one of the DCU's fabulous fictionopolises. This empty shell doesn't really do it justice; you should have seen it when it was an enormous smoking crater!

The fictionopolis is one of the DCU's greatest tools. Although most of them have their origins in the Golden and Silver Ages, they were fairly indistinguishable from one another at the time (much like the heroes who made them home). In the Golden and Silver Ages, there was really no way to tell Gotham from Metropolis, unless there was someone you knew in the frame. Well... if it was dark out or there was a giant prop, you were probably in Gotham.

But as heroes in the post-Crisis DCU began to differ not just in powers, but in tone, philosophy, and personality, so did their cities.

First Gotham and Metropolis began to individualize themselves in ways complementary to their native heroes. Then when James Robinson invented Opal City to contextualize Starman, the phenomenon exploded. Nowadays, it is just as important to have a unique city to stage a hero's adventures in as it used to be to have a kid sidekick.

Coast City is a case in point. Even though it had been COMPLETELY BLASTED from the face of the planet, Geoff Johns found a way to bring it back to give Hal Jordan a fictionopolis of his own. So, too, Johns returned the Flash to a reconceived Keystone and invented St. Roch for Hawkman. A hero without his or her own city is just a player in someone else's story.

This why a "Contextualizing City" is part of our Dynastic Centerpiece model for building a mythos around a hero. Such cities must be fictionopolises; once you set a fictional superhero in a real city, it contradicts them instead of contextualizing them, and they're doomed. Poor Kyle Rayner is one such victim. It's also one of the things that has hampered Wonder Woman (Byrne's attempts with "Gateway City" did not succeed).

Lots of heroes have them already (e.g., Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Arrow, Atom, Hawkman, Green Lantern). Some desperately need them (e.g., Martian Manhunter, Black Canary).

Fortunately, there are some pre-existing cities still lying aroung in the Limbo section of the DCU Atlas, and in future posts we'll dust some of them off and advocate their return!

I told you so

Usually I'm not the kind of guy to say "I told you so" but...

Well, okay. I am exactly the kind of guy who says "I told you so".

And I did.

I had a survey two months back asking who thought DC was going to outstrip Marvel in sales soon. The very idea was soundly pooh-pooh-ed by most commenters, particularly since Marvel trounced DC in March.

Well, guess what just happened? I told you so.

Of course, this is the part where, as a responsible blogger, I'm supposed to insert palaver about "comics shouldn't be a zero-sum game" and "it's foolish to pit the two companies against each other" and "we should all just be about focused on increasing overall readership for either company" and "can't we all just get along."



Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

Now that "Batman Begins" has refreshed the franchise, it's time to consider a sequel.

I've not hung out at any forums discussing such things, but I'm sure my own expection isn't unique.

The second film would have the Joker as the villain, possibly portrayed by Crispin Glover. I would expect the result of that to look something like this photo (that's not Crispin, but it does look like him).

The film would probably introduce Harvey Dent, since the previous DA got kacked in the first film. Toward the end, Dent would have his little "accident", setting up Two-Face for the third film.

Where the Scarecrow fits in to all this (if at all), I don't quite know. But if I don't get a Joker and a Two-Face that I'm happy with, I'll be, well, unhappy.

Nicholson and Tommy Lee Jones are fine actors, but they were miscast and misdirected in their respective roles. If the animated series can get it right, then so can the big-budget films!

Thursday, June 16, 2005


I like the Shrew Review. Its author brings thoughtful intelligence to her reviews, and, more than any reviewer other than Devon at Seven Hells, she makes it clear why she does or doesn't like something. I disagree with some of her takes, but I think that's mostly because I'm more steeped (or is it mired?) in the pre-Crisis DCU, and that gives me a different perspective. In fact, I disagree with a lot of what she says. But the fact that I like what she says anyway is what makes her work impressive.

I have never said one even remotely nice thing about Marvel on this blog. Until now. One of the wisest things about superheroes I've ever read was said (with incorrect grammar) by Mr. Fantastic: "People like us who don't periodically reinvent ourselves are too quickly forgotten." Of course, it took a DC writer, Mark Waid, to have him make that wise meta-statement.

I kvetched recently about the snoozefest that is Superman's "storyline". But the most recent issue of Action (written by Rucka) actually interested me. Gods help me, I'm actually sucked in by the drama of the amnesiac best friend ex-president turned supervillian after learning the hero's secret identity from another ex-president turned supervillain plot. I just have to figure out how this will lead to Lana becoming Insect Queen again...

Golden Arrow

golden arrow
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

Why don't you know who this man is?

He's Golden Arrow. He's one of the characters from Whiz Comics (the same fine folks who gave us Captain Marvel).

Son of a balloon scientist (don't ask) killed by bad guys, Golden Arrow was raised by an old prospector ("Nugget Ned", *snort*) as a prodigy of the Wild Western Arts of bear-wrasslin, antelope-chasin, and rattler-killin. He was an expert bowman, and for no apparent reason, wore a red and white sash around his waist.

DC owns the character (you can find him in the DC Encyclopedia). If Geoff Johns or James Robinson had come within 20 miles of Green Arrow, they would have sensibly linked him to Golden Arrow, giving him a bit more dignity than he has now as just a Batman/Robin Hood rip-off. Hey, Green Arrow could use all the dignity we can muster for him, because he's a gooberish fanboy, a sleazy womanizer, a loudmouthed know-it-all, and a deadbeat dad.

Green Arrow's ward Roy Harper (Speedy) was raised on a natives' reservation. Lots of opportunity there to link him to a hero of the old West. He might even be a descendent of Roger Parsons (that's Golden Arrow, to you, bub).

Couldn't Ollie be a big fan of the old West? His sassy attitude is very "cowboy", after all.

Couldn't Ollie have been enamored of the Legend of Golden Arrow? Wouldn't that as background give some context to his self-creation as Green Arrow, rather than his current origin (which just makes him seem like a bored, rich lunatic)?

Couldn't his interest in Golden Arrow have brought him into contact with young Roy Harper, and give him a stronger interest adopting as his ward (or whatever their relationship was)?

Great writers do great things. But making connections like this is a no-brainer. Why does it take greats like Robinson and Johns to actually make things like, say, connecting the Green and Golden Arrows actually happen?

Waist down

Waist down
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

Would I lie to you people? No.

As far as Hal's concerned, there are only two kinds of people in the world;

those who want Hal Jordan
and those who want to be Hal Jordan.

Yes, we all love Batman

love batman
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

As the wise Plastic Man noted, "Yes, we all love Batman," or perhaps more accurately, "Batman Begins."

But let's all weigh in, if we would, on what we liked least about the film. Not that we didn't love it; most people did.
Just for contrast.

There were snags in the plot and dialog, sure, but the thing I liked least was

Michael Caine.

He lacked Alfredity, and you know what I mean.

What are your thoughts?