Saturday, June 04, 2005

Generation Gap

[Geez, maybe next time I should just read Newarama BEFORE I post...]

Comics ate his brain? I don't think so! Wise Tom at CAMB tackles the pink elephant in the DCU's living room. As the DCU moves forward in time, some of its characters are stuck with one foot in the past. Let's join Tom in looking at the problem.

DC's principle on-going characters roll up their pasts behind them. Take Two-Face. When Harvey Dent was first scarred by acid, there was a plastic surgeon who could have helped. Why didn't he? Because he was trapped behind Nazi lines. Don't hear that one any more! Luckily, with most characters, their histories are broad enough that they have no trouble with a floating "ten years ago" as the beginning of their careers.

But the DCU is starting to show "generational strain". The original JSAers have one foot nailed in World World II and so, unlike their colleagues, can't "roll up" their pasts behind them. "Rabbit tricks" help: magical energies, Ragnarok, blah blah blah. But think about how old Ma Hunkle must be, or Molly Scott or Joan Garrick; 80, 90 years old, gang.

Thanks to some creative writers, the history of the JSA's original run neatly parallels the real-world history of comics. Their world, our world. In the '30s, mystery men emerge and form the JSA; superhero comics, including the JSA begin. In the '40s, the JSA helped in WWII and was in its prime; the JSA and similar characters were at the peak of their popularity. In the '50s, a post-war society lost tolerance for 'mystery men'; a post-war society lost tolerance for comic books. It's so tidy, so nicely symbolic, no one wants to let it go. But pretty soon, we (and DC editorial) need to.

Even if sufficient excuses abound for the JSAers continued vitality, the gap between them and the current generation widens with each passing year, making it impossible for their progeny and inheritors to "roll up the past" behind them. Case in point: how can Black Canary continue to be as young as she is when her mother was a crimefighter in WWII? Yeah, I know her Lazarus incident might help, but you get the point. If you continue to do that sort of '"rabbit trick", you suddenly have to admit that people like Black Canary, Green Lantern, and Green Arrow are all much older than Bruce, Clark, and Diana. Ollie's got a grown son, for pity's sake!

The original Teen Titans create a complementary problem. Batman's accumulating Robins awfully fast for guy his age. As long as there's a Nightwing, the current Robin must not be allowed to get older (and so on, for all the other characters). This is what happens when you allow not just stories but "events" like the original Robin going to college or the death of Jason Todd. You insert indelible time-markers into continuity and, as Shazam himself once said, "that way lies madness".

What's the way out? Keep your eye on the World Egg (formerly Krona, the Big Fat Blue Plumber Guy of Doom) that originated in the JLA/Avengers cross-over and was featured in the recent Crime Syndicate storyline. I have a feeling we'll be getting a whole new DC Universe.

Perhaps several...

One thing DC does need to let go of: the idea that Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman came first. The efforts made to force this idea have been heroic enough to change the course of mighty rivers, but it simply cannot work long-term. Instead of insisting that they were the first among the modern generation of heroes, DC should consider doing the opposite: make them the last. The Big Three aren't the start, they are the end, not the base of the modern generation but its pinnacle, not the seeds from which other heroes grew but the ultimate evolution of the current heroic wave.

What do you think?

Friday, June 03, 2005

Batman Archive Volume 6

Because I approve so strongly of DC's Archive Volume Series, I hope to entice you to buy them by dangling little gems from them before you. Where else but, say, Batman Archive Volume, can you hope to savor quotes like:

"A metallic sound! Let's crash in!"
Batman, from Fowl Play.
When you're Batman, that's always your first reaction.

"The only place where it's June in January is Florida."
Robin, from Sing a Song of Villainy
Say it ten times and your head will start to throb. I read the story and I still don't understand it.

"Our work is very secret so you must agree to sever contact with the outside world and stay here for three years!"
From the Citadel of Crime.
I'm not sure who said it; I assume it's Joe Quesada.

"We were never pigmies at all!"
Batman, from Pigmies in Giantland.
Nothing gets past Batman!

"This statue will put the kibosh on you, snooper!"
Random thug from The Isle of Yesterday.
Wouldn't you love to talk that way at work, even just for one day?

"I'd better take the box down to the Army and Navy Post Office Inspectoscope!"

Batman, from The Box.
What, no Bat-Inspectoscope back at the cave?

Joe Travers, from The Underworld Surgeon
Well, it's not exactly "PAPERCLIP LOQUACIOUS JOURNEY", but it's still pretty good.

"Why should he say he whistled off key when he really whistled that sonata in the true key of C Major?"
Batman, from the Human Key
Did you know Batman had perfect pitch? It solves more crimes than you realize...!

The Gay Guardian...or not?

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
Black readers get Black Lightning, Green Lantern John Stewart, Mr. Terrific.

Who did gay readers get? Extrano. *Sigh*.

But I have convinced myself: Extrano was NOT GAY.

1. No one who knows what a hairdresser is would have that hairdo. Not gay.

2. "Sex is highly overrated"? Not gay.

3. Anyone gay guy who dresses like that would not have "taken years to figure out what they want". Not gay.

DC: I want a real Hero.

Crime Doctor!

crime doctor
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
I've had a request for more information about the Crime Doctor. Happy to; I love the Crime Doctor!

The Crime Doctor started operating in July 1943 in TEC#77 ("The Crime Clinic"). He was both a "doctor of medicine and doctor of crime". As a physician, he helped patch up criminals injured on the job. As an expert diagnostician, he was paid by criminals to analyze their difficulties in pulling off a job and he would "prescribe a cure" for their ills. You could even buy a "house call" and he would accompany you on your crime to make sure it succeeded. His first story is contained in the Batman Archives Volume 3.

The Crime Doctor (Dr. Matthew Thorne, by name) was cool enough to reappear a month later in the August 1943 issue of Batman (#18, "The Crime Surgeon"). As in his first story, Dr. Thorne's criminal tendencies came into conflict with his oath as a physician. When Robin is shot by his thugs, the Crime Doctor stops and performs emergency surgery to save the boy's life. Thorne himself is shot to death at the end of the story by an angry client, because in those days there were no malpractice suits.

Doc T had it all going on. He was a surgeon to the underworld. He was an expert crime consultant. He was a "gimmick" criminal and combatant in his own right, using his medical equipment as his weapons of choice. The inner conflict between his two chosen careers added character depth.

But you can't keep a good villain down forever. A short 44 years later (1987), writer Mike W. Barr reintroduced the Crime Doctor into continuity in TEC#579. Dr. Thorne's return in this post-Crisis period was part of a conscious editorial attempt to freshen Batman's Rogues Gallery (this is period that gave us Abbattoir, the Corrosive Man, Kadaver, Scarface & the Ventriloquist, the Ratcatcher, the Reaper, a reduxed Mad Hatter and Clayface).

Six years later (1993), the second season finale of Batman The Animated Series was "Paging the Crime Doctor", starring Dr. Matt Thorne (again by Mike Barr). This version was a fairly innocent physician, forced into crime by his brother, Mob Boss Rupert Thorne (a character who had originally appeared in Batman comic books in the later '70s). Connecting the Thornes was a nice idea, but the innocent characterization of Matthew was much less interesting than his original comic book version. In fact, the plot of this episode was more like a reprise of the "The Underworld Surgeon" (TEC 131, Jan 1948), which was not a Crime Doctor story (you can read that one in the recently released Batman Archives Volume 6).

I think the next time the Crime Doctor appeared was in May 2004, when (as discussed by the eminent H at Comic Treadmill) he was brought to justice by Dr. Mid-Nite, for whom he would be a perfect arch enemy. This Crime Doctor is FAR from innocent; icky. I was afraid his scuffle with Dr. Mid-Nite was a throwaway, but given his role in Villains United 2, I think he'll be an on-going character, not easily forgotten. Not by Catman, at least...

Creo que no

Creo que no
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
If you've never visited El Blog de Jotace, then do. It helps if you know Spanish, but even so, it's frequent amusing visuals are usually self-explanatory. You don't really need to be able to conjugate "sentir" in order to understand panels where Jimmy Olsen is doing drag or Dr. Doom is being attacked by squirrels. What better reason to learn a language?

We love Jotace, despite his attempts to politically mix oil and water, as in this poster. To that we say, "Creo que no, Jotace!"

For all you Brabarians

For decent people
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
"Hey, Bra!" is now the official greeting of the pro-Thanagarian forces...

A or B? Joker, B

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
Some people SHOULD play dress up.

A or B? The Joker, A

Originally uploaded by phil h.
Some people should NOT play dress up.

How Smart is Batman

tooth pick
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
Smart enough...

to pick a safe open with his teeth.

Even Robin is amazed, and you'd think he'd be used to that kind of thing.

Martian Music

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

I have been asked to announce the release of my new theme song, somewhat unimaginatively titled "The Martian Manhunter Theme", now playing on SuperHero Radio.

It is a well-meant attempt to fuse native Martian melody and harmonic tradition with Terran instrumentations.

I am not well poised to evaluate its merits, but I can state from experience that it sounds better if you listen to it while eating Chocos.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

More than he seams

spectre seamster
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
I love the Golden Age.

After Jim Corrigan dies, chats with God, discovers he has supernatural powers, and disintegrates his enemies, what does he do?

Sews himself a costume.

On panel.

Which is odder? That he wears a costume, that he can't simply "poof" one up, or that hard-boiled detective Jim Corrigan is an expert seamster?

Batwoman has the final word!

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
Hi, I'm Kathy Kane, also known as BATWOMAN! Halo (who seems easily confused anyway) thought she was the last of the Comeback Poll contestants, but she forgot about me. Most people have, I'm afraid.

But I'm still doing well in the poll, because, well, I'm fabulous (and Bat-Mite is my publicity agent). In fact, I would be winning if Scipio weren't rigging the voting so that Vibe wins (I'm not a bad detective, you know!).

In essence, I was Batman, Robin, and the Barbara Gordon Batgirl all rolled up into one. I had a fortune like Batman, I was former circus aerialist like Robin, and, like Babs, I was a sassy feminine crimefighter who, armed with a red purse and laughing at danger, defied Batman's wish that I get out of the vigilante biz. How much cooler can a character get?

At the moment, I, myself, am either dead (killed off-panel by anonymous goons from the League of Assassins...I deserved better!) or never existed (that's why I'm all ghostified in this picture).

But Kathy Kane aside, you could still have a Batwoman. Draft Onyx. Or Sasha Bordeaux, once the OMAC mess is over. Have the Huntress finally grow up some and put on a decent red and yellow costume instead of that pilates instructor/streetwalker outfit she's tramping about it now. We had none of that in my day, missy!

Just make sure the new Batwoman's got SASS. That's made me and the first two Batgirls popular and something Gotham could stand more of!

Absorbascomments requested!

Pardon my neediness, but...

According to stats, about 300 people visit us here at the Absorbascon every day. Yet we don't get too many comments. I understand; I myself usually don't make a comment every time I visit a blog. But today I feel the need for a little evidence other than just a graph that people actually visit here of their own free will *sniff* *sob*. Like Killer Moth, I want some tangible evidence of (mild) success to put in my (empty) Hall of Trophies.

So, if you've got a moment, make a comment in a recent post. Disagree with me or call me a Thanagarian trogolodyte or blame me for dividing the blogoverse over the Necessary Police Action on Rann. Evaluate the tracks playing on SuperHero Radio. Tell me which Absorbascon feature is your favorite, what you want a poll on, what your blog focuses on, and which thing you may have learned or discovered from here was the most fun or interesting.

The Absorbascon...because Thanagar cares.

Best Quotes from this Week's Comics

Villains United
"You may call me by what the papers call me...the 'Crime Doctor'."
For me, the Crime Doctor totally has the Gorilla-cover factor. If he's in it, I buy it. What does Dr. Scott at Polite Dissent, think of his appearance, I wonder?

"Paperclip loquacious journey."
That kind of goes without saying. Five-Kinds Kyle is fast-becoming my favorite Aquaman comic relief character (right behind Tempest). This issue wasn't as horrible as its predecessor (how could it be?) and now that it's over we at least have a Sub Diegan police force, armed with underwater guns, policing an extremely well enumerated population. Extremely.

Son of Vulcan
"Are you sure a career in polyunsaturated fats is in your best interests?"
I don't have much idea what's going on in this book and I love every second of it.

Justice Society
"Normally I would applaud a giant stomping over the ants that infest this earth."
Snarking on Atom-Smasher is always a winner.

Justice League Unlimited
I used to live there, what can I say. This story also gets a 2005 Absorby Award nomination for "Best Use of Nuclear Bomb by a Villain".

Secret Files & Origins, Batman Villains
"And now I'm a giant, self-propelled, twitching spine!"
If you love the Silver Age, you'll love the Clayface story. If you hate the Silver Age, you'll love the Clayface story even more. Special note to DC Marketing: if Black Mask can have a big poster of the map of Gotham City, WHY CAN'T WE?

Stupid Hero Quote

"One crimefighter in the family is enough! A wife's place is in the home!"

No hints on this Stupid Hero Quote, except one...

it was a man.

Halo asks for your lack of hate

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
Um, I'm "Halo" and I'm kinda the last person in the Comeback Poll. Please don't hate me.

Uh, my origin's sorta...complicated. But it involves ancient energy beings with an unlikely pun for a name ("The Aurakles"? Didn't they open for the Beatles?), Tobias Whale, Baron Bedlam, Jason Bard, Dr. Moon, Syonide, Kobra, the King of Markovia, and multiple body switching. As for my powers, er, just think of me as the Rainbow Raider's little sister.

Do you like the rainbow action in my hair and my I-don't-sweat-I-glow aura? I think they were supposed to appeal to the 'girls aged 10-13' demographic. Oh, and I have an "anomalous brainwave pattern", at least, that's what polite people call it.

I'm sorry, I forgot to introduce myself! My real name is Gabrielle Doe. And Violet Harper. And Melissa Brown. Whichever; I'll answer to hey-you, actually. My codename "Halo", well, Batman gave that to me when he found me unconscious in the middle of a forest in an Eastern European principality. Batman's like that. Always wandering around the world, finding wounded strays, anthropomorphizing them with cute names, and taking them home to show Alfred. "This is my little bird with broken parents, I named him Robin; I found this nasty rat in an alley, I call him Jason; this rabid racoon with busted language skills I call Batgirl 'cuz she doesn't need a real name."

I'm, uh, I'm also kinda the reason Batman left the JLA. So I guess I'm the proximate cause of the breakup of the classic JLA, and the creation of the Detroit League and the Giffen League.

Oh. Please don't hate me...

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Sounds of Silence: Zzat, continued

zzat 2
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
Remember, kids, the Rannian raygun goes "zzat" (number of z's will vary).

By the way, the question Sardath was asked in the previous panel was,

"When will Rannians develop backbones?"

The Sounds of Silence: Zzat!

zzat 1
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
"Zzat" is the sound of a Rannian raygun.

Mmm'not that you get to hear that very often.

Usually, you just here the sound of a Rannian: "Help me, Adam Strange!"

Bouncing Boy Commands Your Allegiance

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
Attention, Earth-fools! I am King Chuck Taine, ruler of the Silver Age 30th Century. You (assuming I let you live) may call me "Bouncing Boy" (but in hushed and reverent tones only).

With the power of super-bouncing under my belt, I have enslaved the colleagues in the Legion of SuperHeroes and, together with them, the universe. Then I married triplets.

You doubt my power? How did the Composite Superman defeat the unbeatable Batman? With MY SUPER-BOUNCING POWER!

Vote for me in the Comeback Poll...or you may be NEXT!

How Smart is Batman?

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
Smart enough...

to build a crib without any instruction manual.

But NOT smart enough to call it something other than a "Batcoop". You can take the man out of crimefighting, but you can't the crimefighter out of the man.

Hal Jordan Sings!

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

The original J-Sin Starr version (2000) of "Green Lantern: Hal Jordan" is now audible on SuperHero Radio. It complements the rockin' 2002 version done by the group Adam Black.

P.S. Hal uses "Secret"; strong enough for the Spectre, but made for a Green Lantern.

The Dark Mite Returns

Originally uploaded by noelani.

Just POPping in from the 5th Dimension! Golly, wasn't I just here in last month's issue of Batman? I have trouble with your concept of "time" here in 3D-land...

Anyhoo, the other Imps and me (my old pal Mxyptlk and the oddly moodly Qwsp) just want to cast our lot in with the Thanagarians.

Well, duh! First, Batman supports Hawkman, just like he did at the Justice League membership drive, so that's my vote. The Rannians tried to chop off Superman's head once, which would have spoiled Mx's fun, so that's his vote. And Qwsp sides with Aquaman who's always been a buddy of Hawkman's.

And, oh yeah, the Thunderbolt, too (magical thunderbolts are the 5th dimensional equivalent of dogs), because he's friends with Hawkman in the JSA and because Thanagar's just "so cool!"

The Riddler Sings!

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
Due entirely to the perspicacity of Ian at the Brill Building, SuperHero Radio is now proudly playing the one-of-a-kind novelty song "The Riddler", written by Mel Torme and performed by Frank Gorshin, ably backed-up by a trio of girl singers whom I like to picture as Query, Quiz, and Echo....

The Sounds of Silence: Fwaash!

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
"Fwaash", apparently, is the sound of the Green Lantern ring when it spouts forth a wash of energy. When the GL ring is used to make constructs, it's silent.

This fwaashing thing is new. It started with Alan Scott, whose power is all flame-y and not construct-y. When he was brought back with the rest of the JSA, artists and writers start soundtracking his use of the ring-energy, usually with a "fwaash" of some sort. Presumably, this was to help distinguish his use of the ring's power from the GL Corps; Alan's power was more like noisy liquid flame, theirs was more like silent solid light.

But now, from what I can tell, when the Corps Lanterns use their rings like fire hoses of energy, they too get the "fwaash" sound. So, something that was originally used to distinguish the Golden Age GL from the Silver/Bronze Age GLs is now used to make them seem more similar.

Go figure.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Jonesing for John

adam strange archive
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
What's wrong with this picture?

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


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.

A, how do you Americans call it?, 'Link blog'...

I suddenly realized I actually LIKE it when other people "linkblog". Supposedly it's deemed "lazy" but, hey, it sure has broadened my horizons.

And so.

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.
The only Adam Strange stories that do not conform to this paradigm are the ones enlivened by Thanagarians Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Of course.

Hal Jordan takes to the air

superheroradio logo
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
SuperHero Radio is proud to announce that we are now playing the much-anticipated song "Green Lantern: Hal Jordan" in heavy rotation.

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.

Congorilla Speaks

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
Hello, I'm Congo Bill; that's me on the left, beating my chest and grunting incoherently. But that's also me on the right, inhabiting the body of a giant golden gorilla. Confused? Just relax and enjoy it folks, it's the Silver Age. It's just like reading a Jeph Loeb story, only there's some internal consistency and attention to plot.

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!

The Sounds of Silence: Krakk! 3

batman hit gl
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
This one will make it impossible to forget...

Krakk = Right Cross.

The Sounds of Silence: Krakk! 2

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

Thanks go out to our special Guest Jaw, the Joker.

The Sounds of Silence: Krakk!

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
"Krakk!", it seems, is the sound of a right cross.

Haven't determined yet what a left sounds like.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Stupid Hero Quote

I like baseball. Really I do. My favorite comic book story of all time is a baseball story. But I'm not such a tool that I would ever say:

"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...

In Praise of Ultra!

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
Okay, yeah, I'm "Ultra". I'm really spacemen Ace Arn, but I wouldn't expect you to remember that. Or to vote for me in the Comeback Poll.

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!


Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
Greeting, readers! I'm Green Arrow villain Onomatopeia, and I've been asked to introduce a new running feature here at the Absorbascon.

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


sb tt
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

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.

Not THAT Hal Jordan!

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

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!

Mr. Scarlet speaks

Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

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...

Vibe animated

Vibe animated
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.
Hi, I'm Paco Ramone, a.k.a. "Vibe", as customized by Bill's Customs (home of the famous "I Want You" Hawkman).

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.