Saturday, May 07, 2005

Blue Harvest, Green Lantern.

In an earlier post, I doubted the existence of the band "Blue Harvest" and their song "Green Lantern". I happily now admit my error!

Not only do Blue Harvest and "Green Lantern" exist, but I'm listening to the song RIGHT NOW on Superhero Radio. It's got one verse each for Alan Scott, Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, and Kyle Rayner.

Sometimes it's good to be wrong.

Jade the Animated Series

Are you ready for "Jade: the Animated Series"? Well, get ready.

As fans of Silver Age Hawkman stories know, the Absorbascon grants the ability to talk to birds. Well, two little birds just told us that certain producers have been given the green light (so to speak) to produce a pilot for a Jade cartoon series.

JLU for adolescents and adults; Titans for the pre-teens; Krypto for the kids; Jade for the girls.

As Commissioner Gordon once said, "Clever--fiendishly clever!"

Stupid Hero Quote

Which leads directly to our next Stupid Hero Quote:

"And watch the language. You're a superhero."

Who said it and to whom?

Darned Thankful

TV BATMAN: "Expletives will get you nowhere, Penguin."

This is just a brief word to thank all my regular readers and commenters for keeping their language "kid-friendly". Gosh, I appreciate it, because I personally am repulsed by overuse of vulgarities and feel they sap us of the ability to express ourselves more imaginatively. After all, we are afficionados of the artform that enables to say "#$&*@#!!!" when extreme circumstances warrant.

Murder, mayhem, sex, rape, torture, and terror in comics are one thing; plots require them.
But foul language? No, I don't think so. And for those who want their comics unexpurgated of expletives for the sake of realism.... if you want realism, why are reading comic books?

The Dark Knight Returns BATMAN: "Watch...your language, son."

Friday, May 06, 2005

Help me, finny friends!

We need your help. The Absorbascon can NOT locate in any format the "aquatic telepathy sound effect" used in the Aquaman Filmation cartoon.

Although this is probably the single most important comic book cartoon sound effect of all time, it appears not to exist. In a decent world, it would be everywhere: doorbells, cellphones, whale whistles, the sound effect of clicking "Help" on your computer.

Help us rectify this injustice; find and send us that incomparable sonarific sound of submarine mental dominance. The audiophile who finds that audiofile will be loudly lauded as a superhero by the Absorbascon.

A Lack of I.Q.

I'm suffering from a lack of I.Q.

Um. I.Q. as in Ira Quimby, I mean. Ira Quimby is an important, long-time Hawkman foe. As the venerable Comic Treadmill has pointed out, IQ has been absent from the recent rogue redux in Hawkman.

However, in "The Headhunter: Part One", Hawkman says to Hawkgirl, "We took down Firefly yesterday, brought I.Q. and Bloque down earlier this week." Darn you, DC, don't tease me! I.Q. is important; let's see him, please!

Superhero Radio!

Superheroes like to get down and shake their groove thangs, you know. So the Absorbascon is proud to announce SUPERHERO RADIO!, our free on-line radio station with nothing but superhero related music, courtesy of the nice people at Live365. It's our little way of sharing our love of superhero music with the world. It's our sincerest hope that Superhero Radio will make musicians and composers realize that, because comics books encapsulate all of the human experience, all music henceforth should be about superheroes only. And supervillians, of course.

While Superhero Radio is free to you, it is not free to the Absorbascon. That's why we've added the tacky little "Make a Contribution" button above. It facilitates making a $1 contribution to keep Superhero Radio on the ethernet, and it only takes $1 a day to do so. I hope you'll find it worth a dollar to hear superhero music whenever you darned well please!

The Ballad of Barry Allen

Because there's not enough superhero music in the world, we wanted you to know about The Ballad of Barry Allen, by the band Jim's Big Ego. It's a pleasant song with great lyrics, whose creator (Carmine Infantino's nephew Jim), is probably pretty familiar with Barry Allen.

You can listen to an excerpt on-line, pay to download the whole thing, or buy the CD it's on so you can enjoy the cover art by Carmine himself.

Support superheroic music!

Glen Needs Your Encouragement

My friend Glen is well educated, highly intelligent, and witty. An outstanding writer and published author, he loves and understands comics deeply.

But this makes me sad, because Glen has no comic book weblog. Instead he sends long e-mails to his friends or makes long comments on other people's weblogs. This is good for society, but not as good as having his own weblog would be.

We all want to enjoy good comic book weblogs! So please help me convince Glen to create a weblog of his own. Please send him an email encouraging him to create one or just leave a comment here to that effect.

I'm sure he'll appreciate it.


Thursday, May 05, 2005

"Say My Name!"

"I want to kill you at the peak of your powers!"

There are many things to praise about the miniseries"Batman: Dark Detective", the return of the team Englehart, Marshall, & Rogers, the first issue of which came out this week: giant props, lunatic schemes by the Joker, a competent Two-Face. Okay, sure, Roger's & Austin's pencils are a little rusty, and Englehart's dialog hasn't improved over the years, but it's a fun comic book story, unencumbered by worldshaking implications.

It also reminds us why the Joker is 9000 times cooler than Bane. [Heck, Marsha Mallow is cooler than Bane.]

You remember Bane, don't you? He was the "Hush" of the 1980s. Random villain with no agenda other than defeating Batman, and with little sensible motivation. Who is then made to seem important by having him throw every other major Bat-villain at Batman before attacking him directly. Who, once the big confrontation is over, looks around for his cue cards and no longer serves any purpose. Same monosyllabic, abstract name thing, even. Of course, in the 1980s, professional wrestling was in, so Bane was your basic Mucha Luchador. In the 2000s, I guess, trenchcoats are in. Or surgeons. Or mummies. Something like that.

Bane and Hush, well, suck on so many levels it would take longer to catalog than the 1186 Greek ships that sailed against Troy. But the new Englehart story reminds us why...

Both Bane and Hush used others to do their dirty work, using real opponents to chip away at Batman so that he was at his nadir when they finally approached him. It's like in Heroclix when your opponent has Despero, Amazo, and Bizarro whittle away at Batman then kayoes him with the Security Guard pog. Do we say, "Dude, the Security Guard pog rocks, it's so borken!"? I should hope not. Then why foolishly elevate Bane and Hush, who are Security Guard pogs, with, I might add, worse costumes?

Yes, it's no accomplishment to defeat the hero when he's next to dead already. But the Joker?

"I want to kill you at the peak of your powers!"

Now THAT is a villain.

Stupid Hero Quote, aka H's Game

"What would Brian Boytano do?"

Yes, one of my favorite superheroes actually asked himself this question, out loud.

Which one?

You can get it, if you just think about it (H) !

Oracle Explains it All for You

So, what are those blogs I'm linked to? I'm glad you asked that question, Senator...

Otherworlds. It's like a reality show about a guy trying to open a comic book shop in the Richmond region. If you've ever thought, "What would it be like to open my own comic book shop?", tune in and find out.

Seven Hells. By my good friend, comic book store manager Devon Sanders. Wait, no... With his razor wit, outre perspective, and unparalled knowledge of comics, his blogs threatens to outstrip mine in popularity. He is... my enemy! I must DESTROY HIM.

The Comic Treadmill. If you like DC, this is the blog, the one we all look up to. When I speak its name, the lights dim, background noise stops, and my dog howls.

Superfrankstein. Very visual; very funny, thanks to the ever-amusing Tom Peyer. And you just never know what might turn up!

Postmodernbarney. Comic book store guru Dorian is revered for his Wildean wit and outlook; a must-see.

Contest of Champions. A DC Fanboy's dream! Funny and truthful talk about how fights between comic book characters would really turn out.

Near Mint-Heroes. A great DC site that doesn't get enough play, celebrating among other things the wackiness of DC covers.

Progressive Ruin. Mike Sterling's sharp eye and insightful thoughts make this a popular blog.

The Snark Free Happy Joy Comic Blog. It's motto is "Reclaiming the Biff Bam Pow!" and Adam West is its patron saint. What more do you need to know?

Free Bodies!

Let's look at one of the Free Comic Book Day books: "Free Bodies" from Mortal Coils Comics.

It has four stories in it! Yay, I like feeling like I'm getting a lot of bang for my buck (even when it's free). Three out of the four stories, I liked; not a bad average!

"Godpoint". Two lady janitors who relocate randomly whenever they sleep and then make sardonic repartee wherever they show up. But why I can't imagine. Honestly, I understood not a word of this story. Except for the one sentence in Latin, which was perfectly clear.
"Pit Stop". A nice, Vertigo-esque tale. Two (I assume) running characters, off on their usual magic-chasing errands, encounter a love-sick stranger who learns painfully, "Thou Shalt Not Steal." Has the patented 'quick crushing intimacy' with characters that moves Vertigo stuff along so efficiently. Love the air-brush-y art by Chris Srnka.
"Fetch". A silent film of a story, using only pictographic ballons (a la "Impulse"), about a store owner with a pet lion. Cute!
"I Didn't KnowThis Place Had a Cellar". Also cute. A light superhero parody tale set in a bar (the Hero Happy Hour series). I liked it, even if it only had one joke.

Perhaps this is a sampler of what the company has to offer and previous familiarity with the characters and their situations would help? I can't quite tell.

Oh, and I really liked the lettering by SnoCone Studios, odd as that may sound.

The Leader, on Humility

"In this house are complete records of every plan of espionage activity the dictator nations have ever thought of! Yet -- when I push this button -- the house -- all of you and I -- and those records -- will be blown to bits! Now -- all -- die!!"
Fritz "the Leader" Klaver

Supervillains do not wear their humility on their sleeve, like Batman and Superman with their effete and mild-mannered secret identities. Supervillains teach us that humility is shown not by words, but by humble choices and deeds.

And none more so than Fritz Klaver, the Leader, master of all espionage activities in the U.S. for all dictator countries during World War II, whom it took the entire Justice Society to topple...

and who had his headquarters in Toledo, Ohio.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Stupid Hero Quotes

You're a beautiful woman.
A certain hero starts to slide his arm around you an says,

"That's an odd perfume you wear! Reminds me of the sense-stealing chevergris used by the olden priests of Khem!"

Who is it?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Terror of the Two-Headed Coin

As an inveterate Two-Face fan, I've been looking forward to the "Batman:Jekyll/Hyde" mini. Batman's most psychologically complex villain was owed a solid storyline, certainly after what DCU allowed that idiot Loeb to do with him in "Long Halloween" and "Hush".

But this ain't it, folks.

Like many DCU villains, Two-Face has been the victim of "Savage Simplification", the DCU disease that infects writers' sophistication, wasting away their ability to portray characters with any but the broadest strokes. Jekyll/Hyde is the latest example: "Oh, Dent's a 'split-personality' with poor, good Harvey trapped and fighting evil Two-Face!" Talking to his other self. Calling himself "we".

*Sigh* Two-Face reduced to being Rose & Thorn's prom date. As originally conceived and portrayed until the Crisis, Two-Face was much more realistic and interesting. "Two-Face" wasn't the breakdown of Harvey Dent's personality, he was the synthesis of his disparate good and evil impulses. Two-Face wasn't the evil side of Harvey Dent; he was the combination of his evil and good sides, and that was what made him effective, interesting, and hard to cure.

The above excerpt from his original story makes the point. Two-Face was able to reinterpret good and evil to his own purposes, confusing them so as justify any behavior as acceptable to both his good and bad impulses. But then again ... he was a lawyer.

As Socrates is reputed to have said, "No man knowingly does evil." Therein lay the terror of Two-Face: he symbolizes our ability to justify own our evil. Each of us.

And that scares me a lot more than Sybil.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Need something catchier.

Hal may not have good theme music, but he understands the importance of a quality Signature Exclamation. Posted by Hello

Sean Helps Us Express Ourselves

The esteemed Sean Whitmore over at the fun-filled Snark-Free has broken ground on discussing the function of superheroic exclamations, such as Superman's inappropriate "Great Rao!" I mean, you know Clark's a Lutheran, what the heck is he spouting Great Rao for? What a poseur. Hick that he is, Superman should be shouting "Tarnation" or "Land's sakes" every time a giant monster threatens Townsville, um, sorry, I mean, Metropolis. If he had said natural stuff like that early on, Lex Luthor would have fallen over laughing while attempting to use his molecular decoupling ray and accidently atomized himself into his constituent elements.

Naturally, as a villain, I'll now steal Sean's idea. Hopefully, this will anger Sean enough to seek revenge, sew up a themed costume off-panel, and repair to a hideout in the abandoned warehouse district, because, you know, there just aren't enough of us villains in the world.

I'll contribute a little terminology to the discussion. Things like "Great Rao", let's call those Signature Exclamations. These were big stuff in Silver Age Superman particularly, where even supporting characters got them (Jimmy said "Jeepers!", Perry said "Great Caesar's ghost!", and Lois said "Oh, Mister Grant!")

Signature Exclamations are not to be confused with Battle Cries. Battle Cries are very Marvel. Once of the differences between Marvel and DC is that DC favors Signature Exclamations and Marvel favors Battle Cries.

DC characters live in a world where you and another superguy (who you think is your brother, but isn't) will be playing softball with some boulders in the middle of a field but fail to notice (despite super-vision powers) that nearby is a giant jack-in-box left by gargatuan alien children, until two enormous flame-spouting heads leap out of it attempting to fry off of you the nice playsuit your adopted mother made for you out of old baby blankets. This is a world where one must be prepared to be surprised regularly, so one or more signature exclamations are simply a necessary expedient to make it through the day. You can't say "what th--?" every time someone hits you with an imperfect duplicator ray, you know, or you start to look stupid to the readers.

Marvel characters, on the other hand, live in a world where, because 14,746 superbeings all live on a small island off the coast of New York, you can't even go to the drugstore to get your sick aunt the medicine you can't afford to buy her without running to a battle already in progress that has destroyed at least one city block and more lives than any real-world terrorist attack (but which isn't as good for sales). What's the point of saying "Suffering Spiderwebs!" when no one can hear you, the supertypes being busy hitting one another with flagpoles and mailboxes like a Herolix game, and the normal types being busy bleeding and rotting. For such occasions only a rousing Battle Cry of "Pretenders, Resemble!" or "Exordior!" will do.

Oh, there are some Battle Cries in DC, but they only prove the point. "Titans, Together!" is so cringeworthily Marvelesque that even the animated Titans series thought it too juvenile to use. It was also too hard for Puny Bunny Tummy, or whatever their names are, to sing. And what could be more "Marvel" than the Wolfman-era Titans?

Signature Exclamations must also be distinguished from Denominative Epithets, which drip from the pages of the DCU like drool from the mouths of those who read Even Rude lyrics. The Caped Crusader. The Last Son of Krypton. The Clown Prince of Crime. The King of Conundrums. The Maid of Steel. The Fastest Man Alive. The Emerald Gladiator. The Pinioned Paladin. The Boy Wonder. And, my personal favorite: The Dominoed Daredoll.

Villains, naturally, get their own special prosodical term: the emotionally satisfying Villainous Invectives. "Super-fools!" "Batsaps!" "Puny humans!" "Insolent wretch!" "My fine-feathered finks!" "Pusillanimous ninnies!" "Nattering nabobs of negativism!" Start working these mal mots into your daily conversation and I guarantee that, while you may lose your job, you'll regain your self-respect enough to seek revenge, sew up a themed costume off-panel, and repair to a hideout in the abandoned warehouse district.

Green Theme

In memory of the late, great Isaac Bowin, we continue our search for a Green Lantern theme song. Our research has eliminated the Even Rude song, because despite the title it's not about the Green Lantern. What do you think?

I guess God couldn't see you through the cloudy, grey sky.Everything is wet and my eyes are bright.I could see the sun below a denim shade, and if I lose my sight than that's the price I'll pay.
green lantern, a superlight, please don't hurt me anymore, I'm crawling to you and oh she's super right.
She's laying open and he's laying low. His biggest fear is her greatest dream.She's no worse, for the moment, keeping secrets in her pocket, holes won't save.And he's still trying to find the hero in you.
It's on in me, you'll be all I need. You'll be safe and sound, when you go down.
Consequences sit behind me on this ride.Morals are make-believe and the guilt just died.Excuses are everywhere but not to blame.My bloated ego will be dripping in fame.
His bloody caution laying on the floor.He finally caved and gave her what she desired.He can't erase and start it, fresh from insecure.He gave until his innocence couldn't give anymore.
It's on in me, you'll be all I need. You'll be safe and sound, when you go down.

In fact, after staring blankly at the lyrics for 30 minutes, not only do I not know what the song is about, but drool began to fall from my mouth and I questioned the existence of the gods. So much for Even Rude. You kids today, with your denim shades and bloody cautions! I blame it on that Casey Kasem fellow.

I actually wrote the Artist Occasionally Known as J-Sin Starr to see whether he could supply with us a copy of his Green Lantern song. Since it's full title is "Green Lantern: Hal Jordan" I'm betting it actually does have something to do with Green Lantern; just a gut feeling.
Meanwhile, the putative "Green Lantern Remix" of this "Blue Harvest" group is starting to seem about as real as the imaginary story in which the son of Lex Luthor and his wife Lois Lane killed his dad after being inspired by old home movies of Lex Senior using animated kryptonite rock monsters to attack Superboy. For you kids out there who might not know, the Silver Age DCU gave us "Imaginary Stories" with wacky plot and character developments not part of regular contuinity. But then the DCU grew up and pretentiously renamed them "Elseworlds", realizing they could charge extra money by printing them separately and on shiny paper.

Complicating the entire affair is this idiot "DJ Green Lantern" who creates dance remixes and frustrates any search-engine-based attempt to find music ABOUT Green Lantern. I can only hope he falls victim to a drive-by shooting by "Rapmaster Sinestro" in a big yellow car....

The Rainbow Raider, on Purpose

"His goggles were supposed to give me color vision, but instead they gave me some fancy color-based powers. I was bitter...sore.... Crime became my outlet."
The Rainbow Raider, Flash #286.

There are an estimated 20 million people in the U.S. with some form of colorblindness. Do they do anything cool about it? No, they just run around in ill-coordinated outfits and mismatched socks; Aquaman is one of them.

But a supervillain like the Rainbow Raider is a role model for us. He takes a handicap that barely exceeds the level of inconvenience, elevates it to a life-altering grudge, and uses it to give a purpose to his life: color-coordinated crime, color that he can't even see.

Much like Joe Coyne (see the Penny Plunderer), Roy G. Bivolo is a supervillain because he turns his own weakness into his strength; the very bane of his existence becomes the purpose of his life. Who says crime is not an art?