Saturday, December 10, 2005

What Aquaman Does

Some sad Marvel cynic on another blog (which shall remain nameless) finds it oh-so-amusing that silly DC folk like me (including me specifically) can be so passionate over an 'obvious D lister' like Aquaman.

Uh-huh. Well, I know what Aquaman can do. I don't really know what Namor does, other than throw hissy fits and make long speeches while bursting through the surface of the sea; I mean, Lloyd Bridges can do that on a bad day. I guess Namor's pointy ears, itsy bitsy footsie wings, and preposterous speech patterns make him cool.

I wouldn't know what's cool; after all, I read Aquaman.

Anyway, for those who just don't get it, this may help.

Here's Aquaman, casually bitch-slapping all-powerful sorceror Felix Faust into submission with some flying fish while the entire Justice League stands around pathetically helpless. "Thud", you'll note, is the sound of a wizard getting hit in the face with a fish.

Superman stops you. Batman captures you. Wonder Woman defeats you.

Aquaman humilates you.
Every time.

Everyone bested by Aquaman is publicly humiliated, with an indelible scarring effect on their permanent criminal record.

"Say, Shifty-- how'd you wind up here in the joint?"

"Oh, in mid-heist, I was bitch-slapped by a flying fish, then after being pinned to wall by an archery-trained octopus, tiny hermit crabs attacked my testicles and my screaming brought the cops. And all the while, Aquaman just stood off to the side with his hands on his hips, laughing and laughing...."

Do you have any idea what happens in prison to people who've been captured by sealife? I don't like to think about it. Okay, okay-- I do like to think about it, but that's beside the point. Let's just say it's the kind of stuff even HBO won't show.

Being humiliated by Aquaman ends your criminal career. That's why the guy's got next to no rogue's gallery; no one wants to go up against Aquaman a second time. Cutlass Charlie? The Invisible Un-Thing? Shark Nelson? Even the AWESOME HUMAN FLYING FISH? Gone; done; history.

Everyone's afraid to tackle him; it seems easy, but when he beats you -- and he will -- he will humiliate you and your career will be over. Nope; it's just too great a risk.

Aquaman does not have time to punch you; he's too busy laughing. Got to wrap this up quickly, so I can get to bed and dream up new ways of torturing people with fish! "Ever wonder what it would be like if a pufferfish swam down your throat while an electric eel nested in your colon? Let's find out!!!"

The man loves his work. I do, too.

The Original Batman

"Woo hoo, the Original Superman's back!"

Big friggin' deal. What's he gonna do ... PUNCH the universe back into place? Only if they let Wolfman write the story! Superman's just a weekend warrior, a chairman of the board who doesn't know enough to sit back and enjoy his golden years while the real execs who actually know how the world works run the show.

What we really need, you silly people, is the Original Batman.

"Brother Eye" would last all of ten minutes if that guy were around again. Why, he would just fly up to it on his jetpack (with Robin in tow, to play nurse and mop his forehead and say, "gosh!"), rip out some wires and be back in time to dedicate a statue of himself, clobber Calendarman, enjoy one of Alfred's sumptious but low-fat meals, then go out to put the kibosh on a racketing mob while restoring a youngster's faith in Christmas. Next issue, Alfred would be in the background dusting a dead OMAC propped up as a trophy, while Batman perfects a new DNA test to determine whether someone is an illegitimate child of one of the Green Arrow family and Robin practices his nuclear submarine piloting skills.

Those people would be helpful right about now, not the Original Superman.

Women and Comic Books

It's my sense that this blog gets a larger share of female readers than other comic book blogs (probably because I'm 100 times more likely to focus on Power Girl's boots than her boobs).

Are you a woman who reads comic books?

Wel, then, our sister site, Big Monkey Comics, has a new feature for you:


FanFatale is a forum that invites female fans to discuss a topic on women characters in comics, women creators in comics, and women into comics.

The first topic is on women and violence in comics, with specific reference to Gail Simone. The second is about the use of pregnancy and babies in comics, with an eye toward DC's planned parenthood in 2006. Let me know if there's a new topic you're dying to discuss!

Please contribute a few thoughts and help spark what we hope will be a welcome venue for conversation and debate!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Love Aquaman; Hate the Sword

I like Aquaman. I really like Aquaman.

That's why I won't be buying this crap, described by the author as J.R. Tolkein meets Tom Clancy. That's like Scylla and Charbydis, gas or electrocution, Loeb or Miller. Just shoot me now, and, while you're at it, cancel my current subscription because the fine set up that Pfeiffer and Arcudi have done with Sub Diego is going to be shot to hell anyway.

”Mostly, it's to have a fresh start,” Busiek responded, “and not to constantly be dealing with some of the narrative problems that have plagued Aquaman over the years.”

"Fresh starts" are the narrative problems that have plagued Aquaman over the years.

A new person will be Aquaman? Yeah! That worked brilliantly with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern!

"And we're not killing Orin (the current Aquaman), not making him a villain, not scrapping him -- in time, he'll turn up in the series again."

Well, what more could anyone ask?

"During the course of our Q&A, Busiek also explained how he’s been “intrigued” over how Aquaman has "slowly, slowly" been changed over time, until becoming what the writer feels is almost a “complete reversal” of the original idea…"

And becoming less and less popular as a result. Yes, let's continue that by all means.

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis. No, it's really called that, even though most people think it's a joke when they first hear it. And somehow the title sounds ... familiar.

Oh, that's right: Sword of Atom, the last time that DC out of desperation, let a writer shove a superhero into a Sword & Sorcery dress and make a fool of him.

I'll go on record --right now-- as predicting that, despite Busiek's talent, Sword of Atlantis will be an enormous flop, thereafter to be replaced by

yet another

reboot of Aquaman based on the hit WB series, Devil's Deep, a.k.a. "A.C. = O.C."

If I wanted to read Conan, I would.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Action for ... THE MIND!

Why on earth are you not reading Action Philosophers?

Do you think you're too smart to learn anything about philosophy from a mere comic book? That's what I thought, because I'm an overeducated jackass.

But I was wrong. Very wrong. I've read each issue so far and learned something from each, particularly about how philosophers' personal experiences and their own studies of other people's philosophies helped them develop their own.

Or, are you not reading it because you have no interest in "boring dry philosophy hoo-hah"? Then this book is for you; there's a reason everyone on the internet is raving about how it makes philosophy entertaining, comprehensible, and relevant.

Here's a thought that occurred to me when reading the latest issue, "Self Help for Stupid Ugly Losers", which explains the relationship between Freud, Jung, Campbell ... and their philosophies:

At heart, Marvel comics are Freudian, helping us make the transition out of childhood and working out childhood issues. Guess that's why their characters are childish and neurotic...!

DC comics are essentially Jungian, drawing on the imagery of the collective conscious to help people confront the issues of adulthood and old age. That's why its characters are less "human" and highly concern with issues of legacy and tradition.

As one of MY favorite philosophers is fond of saying:

Read comics.

"Please your lover around the clock!"

Ever wonder how Hal Jordan maintains his rep as the DCU's top man-tramp? It ain't Viagra, kiddies. You don't need Viagra when you've got ... a power ring.

Harder, indeed! Yep, the ring's got powers the comics barely hint at.

"Any blasting done around here --
I'm going to do it!"

Goodness! Let me open a window, it's getting a bit warm in here!

I'm beginning to understand the appeal of Hal Jordan, particularly when he brings his ring into play in the form of a giant blasting fire hose. Where's my H.E.A.T. application?

Boy howdy, charge that ring up and Hal's got the energy to power on for a full 24 hours. The man's a round the clock party; no wonder he needs a Space Bubble of Love for his constant conquests.

He should be careful, though; Sinestro, too, figured out how to use the ring to achieve social prowess. That's why the Guardians finally took the ring from him.

Yep, it was because Sinestro had started to wear his ring ....
somewhere other than on his finger.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Cave supercanem

100 points
Superman Ability
Range 6

Speed 10 8 8 8 7 6 6
Attack 9 9 8 7 10 9 8
Defense 17 16 16 15 17 16 15
Damage 3 3 2 2 2 1 3

It's all about that fifth click, gang.

Fear the dog.

Death Traps

Note to future villains; this is a bad death trap.

Note the pathetic attempt to spiff it up with the "Naughty Dentist" outfit from Dream Dresser and a fancy name like "The Death Machine". We can't hear it, but I'm sure there's some off-screen hunchbacked assistant blowing a 'ta-da' on a kazoo while Doctor Naughty, DDS, makes his presentation. It's still a crappy death trap that's mostly just a pail of water. Rusty, I'll bet. Jeez, Doc; couldn't you afford the Acid Rinse-and-Spit machine? My evil dentist has one.

This? Now this is a death trap, people:

Labelled activation buttons. Gloved hands. Ascots. A cigarette holder (it's off panel, really, I swear). Maniacal triumphant laughter.

And showy fatal stuff. Lots and lots of it.

THAT is a death trap. Or a guest room for your mother-in-law.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Haiku for Mxyzptlk

Some people just can't help being heroic, Superman chief among them.

Even in his Clark Kent identity, the Big S can't stop helping people and changing their lives for the better...

with haiku.

Sir? Let's see if we
can't get you out of the rain.

Now, to make this work Clark has to use the lower-class five-syllable pronunciation of Mxyzptlk rather than the classier four-syllable version, but, hey, that's just the kind of sacrifice a hero makes.

Very impressive, even for a superman. It's not fer nothing that Clark Kent is a writer.

It's raining, you're headed into work without an umbrella, and suddenly you spy your extra-dimensional nemesis, addled and begging for quarters while propped up against a dumpster. Do you manage to compose a haiku?

Give it a try.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Case of the Chartreuse Motive

I don't care what you say, Brad; I know who really killed Sue Dibny.

We all know it wasn't really Jean Loring, because, well, that doesn't make any sense. Duh.

I always suspected it was beloved DC nutcase J'onn J'onzz. I mean, "Identity Crisis" should be the title of guy's biography. "Today I'm a cop! Now I'm a cat! I mean, Bloodwynd! Next year, I'll have amnesia! Again!"

Now I have the missing piece of the puzzle: motive.

Not a jury in the world would convict him.

The real shocker here is not that The Martian Manhunter and Aquaman used their telepathic and other abilities to get away with murdering Sue for painting their apartment chartreuse 20 years earlier.

It's that they live together and both know the word "chartreuse". Lordy, I personally am gayer than Liberace swimming in a pool of "Eternity", and even I barely know what chartreuse looks like.

Amazing men, those two.

Whither the Metal Men?

Ah, the Metal Men.

Metal Men custom Heroclix figures by Totaltoyz, available on Big Monkey Ebay.

Another wacky creation of noted madman and manbabe, Bob Kanigher. Before the Powerpuff Girls, before Terminator 3, before "Friends", there was ... The Metal Men. They had two series of their own, one of which ran seven years.

In a world, where Vibe and the Viking Prince are on TV, Catman is a threat, and Detective Chimp is back on the case, nothing short of Bat-Mite is off the table. What about the Metal Men?

What should DC do with these imaginative characters?

Should they let Morrison weirdify them? Tough call. I'm not sure even Grant Morrison could make the Metal Men weirder than they already are.

Shall Geoff Johns tie them more directly into the larger DC mythos by, say, having them be by-products of the tech that made Robotman (either the original or the more familiar one), or vice versa?

Should they be forgotten as out of place embarassments in a grown-up DCU? If the DCU has Metamorpho in it, can the Metal Men be any worse? When was they last time they were used-- was it in Byrne's Superman?

I'm really not sure what I think. What do you think?

New Song: "Comic Book Man"

Big Monkey Comics Radio is happy to announce that

"Comic Book Man"

by the Aquabats is now on our playlists.

You can listen to Big Monkey Comics Radio for free on-line from the Big Monkey Comics website,, which you can go to by clicking on the Big Monkey Comics logo in the sidebar.

Monkey Plug

What do the Spectre, the Doom Patrol, Supergirl, Vibe, and Black Panther have in common?

They're the topics of discussion at the latest Big Monkey "Comic Issues", entitled,

"I Love You, But I'm Not Buying It".

Do check it out, won't you?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Nine-Month Arc

I was really shocked to hear (courtesy of Wizard Magazine) that one of the following four heroines

  • Wonder Woman
  • Catwoman
  • Power Girl
  • Oracle

will give birth in 2006.

Wonder Woman? Um ... how? Seriously, most people are expecting her to get reclayified in aught-six, later to be regalateanized after readers confirm that not even wearing Wonder Woman's costume will make Donna Troy interesting.

Catwoman? Okay, if Selina Kyle has a baby, then I want a new Catwoman. I want a selfish, amoral, fickle Catwoman, not a nurturing, maternal guardian of the East End.

Power Girl? Been there. Anyone who remembers the last time Power Girl had a baby, raise your hand. Now; who can explain it? What -- where did all the hands go?

Oracle? Now, that would be quite a story! As long as someone other than Dick Grayson is the father. Where is Jason Bard when we need him?

DC is not Marvel. Marvel characters have kids; it's part of their humanity (even when they're mutants ... oh, you know what I mean). But in DC, babies dent your iconic status (even worse than getting married, Clark). Babies make it very very very difficult to ignore issues of the passage of time (Remember when Franklin Richards was born? 1968). Babies are the kiss of death.

Grown up kids can show up, but they have to have done their growing up off-panel. Aquaman's son (Koryak, not Artie); Green Arrow's son (Connor); the real Starman's son (Jack); the original Atom's son (Damage). It's like the five-month Sequence of Maturation in soap operas: Swaddled Baby; First Christmas Season, Object of Custody Battle, Away at School, Hot Young Teen with Troublesome First-Time Romantic or Sexual Relationship.

Have a baby in the DCU and you might as well hang a "Shoot me now!" sign around your neck. Either you or the baby -- or both -- are headed for the afterlife or limbo. I could list all the examples, but it's easier to reverse it; does anyone know of any counterexamples? Hey, where'd all the hands go?

Anyway, I'm assuming it must be Oracle.