Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Importance of Briefing Arthur

I just got back from San Diego, where, swimming off the coast, I was able to catch up with Aquaman. I wanted to explain to him the plans for his series in 2006 (I'm sure he hadn't gotten the memo, and when you live underwater it's hard to access the internet frequently). Immediately after our conversation, I dashed to make a transcript, which follows.

"Mr. Curry, Mr. Curry! Have you heard that your title teeters on the verge of cancellation due to low circulation?"

"It's okay, sir. DC has a plan for reviving the title."

"Um, well, actually, sir, you aren't going to be in it. At least for a while. Someone else will be in the role of 'Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis' ."
"Someone else as Aquaman, sir; for marketing reasons, he looks a lot like you. Here, look at this picture."

"Indeed, sir. It's going to be an underwater sword & sorcery storyline by the man who writes Conan the Barbarian."
"Er, uhm-- well, sir, it's sort of like what Peter David did. That they later abandoned. And then Rick Veitch kind of did something similar, except you were nice instead of grouchy. Then they abandoned that, too."

"As you say, sir. Nevertheless, it's really ... out of your hands now.""I'm afraid that's not possible, sir, since you won't be in the seascape for a while."
"Um, actually, you can, sir. Will Pfeiffer already fixed that for you. Anyway, ordinarily, characters in your circumstances are sent to the Island of Misfit Characters in Silver Age Limbo, but ..."
"Please come back, sir! The good news is while you're not Aquaman in the comics you'll be Aquaman on teevee instead."

"You'll have to take that up with Marketing, sir. Meanwhile, instead of being in Limbo you and some of your cast will be on the WB, which is nearby. Are you game?"
"Thank you, sir; you're a good sport. We'll look for you on TV, and hope to see you back in the comics as Aquaman soon."

Vibe Rater

Once again, like Ultraman, I am frozen in self-conflict as my many powers (supersnide, miscontextual vision, superscreed, incredibility, supersnarktriloquism, etc.) all struggle to lash out at this panel (a wonderful Christmas gift to me from our own Captain Infinity from his Detroit JLA collection):

"Is that the best you can do, Paco?
I've seen vibrators that can do better!"

That's five kinds of creepy, Ralph. Even Paco, who's been around the block more than once (on both sides of the street), is mortified by Ralph's admission....

Please comment; I don't have the strength to!

Friday, December 16, 2005

What I want for Christmas from you

Okay, I put out a lot here on my blog (elsewhere, too, but that's not important right now). So now, gosh darn it, I'm asking for something in return.

It's Christmas, which is not big in my family, so I won't be getting hardly any gifts (the boys have to save their money, because dance mats aren't cheap). But YOU can make up for that, by sending me any of the following things:

1. Scanned pictures of Hal Jordan getting hit in the head, like this one which was a present from Kalinara. [This one's particularly nice, because (a) that's Kyle hitting Hal with a lead pipe (b) at this point in his career, Hal's been konked so many times he can't even feel it any more). If you don't have any comics that contain pictures of Hal getting hit in the head, original fan art of Hal getting hit in the head (preferably by something yellow or otherwise embarrassing) will do.

2. Scanned pictures of Vibe. As unlikely as it may seem, I have only ONE issue of the Detroit League, which featured Vibe. Perhaps that's why I like him so much? Anyway, any picture of Vibe will do. If you're moved to get rid of your Detroit-era league issues of JLA, but the EPA won't let you dispose of them at any federal facilities, you can send those to me, too! You can't imagine the joy they will bring me. In fact, it's best if you don't think about it.

3. Scanned pictures of Aquaman humiliating people with fish. It will give me something to look at during the eight months of Sword of Atlantis.

4. Mike Zagari. Suit sold separately.

Send gifts here.


Christmas with the Scipios

I'm still in trouble for getting my sons certain videos last Christmas, which resulted in a trip to the Emergency Room and a broken lamp.

I've been warned, "Keep it normal this year!". So this year I'm sticking with more practical gifts for Ramone and Paco (who, as you can see, inherited my tendency toward exhuberant dance).

Some pants and a belt.

A nice sweater and a jacket

A DVD and a magazine subscription.

A poster or two.

A video game or two.

It doesn't get more normal than that at my house, folks!

Red Bee + Green Arrow

Let's put a little Red and Green together for the holidays, shall we?

Green Arrow could use some pizzazz in his Green Team (particularly if most of them did, in fact, just get blown up in the most recent issue of his book). So let's bring back ...

The Red Bee

and make him part of the team!

It's a natural. Arrows sting with their pointy tips; so do bees. Ollie's a hip metrosexual; why shouldn't he have a gay buddy?

Everyone laughs at the Red Bee because (like many Quality Comics creations), he looks like a total flamer in his diaphanous pink blouse (well, that and the whole "fighting crime with bees" schtick).

Go with it, I say: MAKE him a total flamer. Face it, we live in a post-Queer Eye world; being gay (and, possibly, truly fabulous) isn't exactly a media taboo any more, so DC should wake up and smell the cappucino.

Groups are named after him. He's got a long history. The Brits like the name. He's a lawyer, which Ollie could probably use for all those paternity and sexual harrassment suits. He helps kids learn. He was in both Starman and Animal Man ... and the Absorbascon (if that don't make ya cool, what does?). Blockade Boy has given him extra outfits (although, for me, nothing says "My disguise must strike terror into their hearts" like pink gauze).

Anyway, I am serious about putting the Red Bee in the Arrow Family. Ollie's going to be mayor of Star City soon; he'll need a District Attorney, which is what Rick Raleigh (a.k.a. The Red Bee) does. GA wouldn't lose any readers, I daresay, and gay readers and non-gay fans of the Red Bee (both of them) would swarm to the book like, well, bees to honey.

"Oh, he's too LAME or SILLY," someone is preparing to type. Wake up and smell the cappucino, folks. Detective Chimp? Captain Carrot? Brother Blood? The Red Bee's time has come.

Besides, if you think the Red Bee is too silly, then you're probably not reading Green Arrow anyway.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Batting Practice

That reminds me,

speaking of Snapper feeling all queer and tingly inside...

you know the real reason Snapper left the Justice League?

Let's just say,
Sue Dibny wasn't the first!

Sometimes, it's too easy...

You remember when the evil Ultraman from Earth-3 was paralyzed because all his powers were trying to attack someone all at the same time?

That is almost exactly how I felt when I noticed THIS panel in a JLA story, starring -- no, not Hal Jordan --


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

From this week's Aquaman

Aquaman, doing what he does (rather than, say, hitting Nazis or swinging swords).

"CHOMP", indeed.

Wow, that looks really ...

what's the word I'm looking for?

Oh, yes.


I'll miss that sort of thing in the post-Sword-of-Atlantis DCU.

My Favorites this Week

Quote from someone else's blog.
"Kyle Rayner became a god once, and the first thing he did was cut his hair."

Background detail.
The road sign outside of Arkham in "Legends of the Dark Knight" that says HITCHHIKERS MAY BE ESCAPING INMATES. I really wanted to see an International Symbol of some kind on this sign.

Inexplicably villainous behaviour.
Dr. Light kills 17 students at Mia's school to spook her into running home, so he can follow her there. Dude; couldn't wait till 3:30 PM? How busy are you? Guess when you work at the speed of light, you get impatient.

Kirbyesque moment.

Heh, nice one, Palmiotti and Gray.

Best unexpected reference.
Do not buy Teen Titans this week for the Brother Blood-bath. Buy it for the jaw-dropping Carrot Captain saga that begins within--seriously. My favorite part? Fox and Crow as tv newscasters. I never thought I'd live to see Fox and Crow, in any capacity, back in a DC comic.

Hottie of the week.
Captain Atom. Yow. The combination of the new "outfit" and Camuncoli's art; yow. No one has ever made Captain Atom sexy before, and the "oops where did I leave my genitalia" problem makes it pretty darned tough to do.

Weekly Wow.
I respectfully steal the "@#$ yeah!" concept from my better, Dave of Dave's Longbox, and adapt it to my own wicked purposes.

Captain Atom also gives us the Weekly Wow. I never really liked Captain Atom before. Now I do.

The Eyes of Hal Jordan

I'm not saying Hal Jordan's not ... not trustworthy, mind you.

I mean, lots of people glance around.

Out of the corners of their eyes.

Their masked eyes.


In extreme close up.

I'm just saying...

he really is one severely shifty-eyed brothermucker.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Sword of Haiku

Haikuesday at the Absorbascon is on hiatus today, in protest over certain matters.

If, however, anyone is inspired to write haiku by this drawing:

who am I to stop them?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Put THESE in your seascape!

Custom Heroclix figures courtesy of Totaltoyz

As previously discussed, the Sea Devils are painfully groovy in their special underwater way.

That's why I had these custom clix (you know -- the kind you buy on Big Monkey's Ebay store) made of the Sea Devils!

Note the big honking harpoons! Those are for making wicked nasty wounds in other underwater characters; they work a lot better than swords, which don't have ranged attack. Next week, the guys and I are playing a special scenario we call "Sea Devils: Harpoons of Neptimus".

Forbidden Elseworlds

"Emerald Candidate",
in which George W. Bush receives the ring of power from his fading predecessor.

The Legion of Substitute Icons

As you know, the "JLA" book is being cancelled in 2006. Now, DC has chosen the Absorbsacon to leak, in Wizard Magazine like fashion, one of its special projects in 2006, a new on-going replacement series entitled:

The Legion of Substitute Icons

Since, thanks to various movie, television, cartoon, and comic book projects, DC iconic heroes are better known and popular than they've been since World War II, it's obviously time to replace them with other characters. Abandoning Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Flash, Aquaman, Plastic Man, and the Martian Manhunter, Hawkman, Green Arrow, and the Atom, DC is proudly announcing the Legion of Substitute Icons, starring -- well, featuring, anyway:

The Eradicator, Azrael (formerly of "Sword of Azrael"), Artemis, Guy Gardner (formerly of "Warrior"), John Fox, some guy who isn't Aquaman, Ralph Dibny, the Red Tornado, Charlie Parker, Connor Hawke, and a rejuvenated, amnesiac Ray Palmer (formerly of "Sword of the Atom")

"The LSI is based on a time-honored strategy for marketing our icons," DC head honcho Dan Didio said. "Nothing makes readers appreciate our important characters more than replacing them will poor substitutes. The principle has been used to reinvigorate interest in all our front-line characters, and we'll continue that fine tradition in 2006."

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Elongated Man: Sword of Opal City

As part of DC’s “One Year Later” event, Scipio Garling and Devon Sanders will helm an all-new take on one of the mainstays of the DCU, and when the creators and DC say “all-new,” they mean it. We caught up with Garling for more information on the upcoming stories of the detective (?) of Opal City and just what might be going on in the months to come. First off, that more than a mouthful of a title...

“The new title was my suggestion,” revealed Garling, “and I wanted to do it to clearly signify, right from the logo on down, that this is a different approach, this is a break with what's been going on and a new direction, a new flavor. I'm glad to have seen so many people assuming that the title means more of a Hep & Hipster direction, because that means the title works -- that's exactly the impression we want to give."

The writer explained this new take on the Elongated Man will be more of a dark hipster adventure book … “with clove cigarettes, poets, murky coffee bars, jazz, beatniks, hepcats and more, all taking advantage of that Opal City setting that makes the “hipscape” practically an alien world, full of mystery and wonder,” Garling said.

”But it's not just Hep & Hipstery,” he continued. “There's also science, corporate skullduggery and the occasional superhero in the mix. Think of it as Hep & Hipster if the next city over is a fully-industrialized hi-tech planned community with gates and guards and worse ... schools of children.”

Before Garling goes too far, however, one thing he wanted to reveal upfront (“I should rip the rubber band off fast for longtime Ralph-fans), is that this Elongated Man stars a “new guy” … Jimmy Olsen.

”So in that sense, it's the start of something brand-new -- a new hero, setting out on new adventures. The sword is a metaphor for Jimmy’s pen, since he puts aside his camera and begins to cover the hip scene in Opal, stretching himself as a reporter – literally!” But Garling was also sure to point out at the same time, he and Sanders are not scrapping any of the past history of the Elongated Man, of Opal City, and of all the mythology that's built up around the stretchable sleuth’s world over the years.

”It all happened, it's all still out there,” Garling explained. “Sue’s charred corpse with the tiny footprints in its brain, Hamilton Drew, his brother Ken, Sonar, Catherine Colbert, Duke Donald ... we're not throwing anything away, even if we don't necessarily use it all right away. And we're not killing Ralph (the current Elongated Man), not making him a villain, not scrapping him -- in time, he'll turn up again, and his story is anything but over.”

As for the new series’ setting... ”Suffice it to say that Opal City is hit pretty hard in Infinite Crisis, and its status is anything but quo,” Garling revealed. “Huge upheavals on the Opal citycape, and a chaotic situation full of danger, opportunity, war, political maneuvering and more. Beatnik poets are coming out of the woodwork, the conceptual painters are on the march, performance artists have been disturbed, art theory abounds, and lots more.

”Into that, we drop our new Elongated Man -- an outsider to Opal City, a square from Metropolis, dropped into this rich and complex hipster setting. And he's going to have to figure out his path, find his place in this world as he goes. By the end of our first issue, he'll be traveling with two companions -- the Shoveler of the Scat, a mysterious and not-entirely-trustworthy bop musician who's essentially appointed himself our guy's guardian and guide on the hipster's path, and Knockout, the old Superboy villain -- a vicious lesbian who's the leader of the dyke avantgarde. Why the Shoveler is helping Jimmy, and why Knockout is partnered up with anybody are things we'll learn more about as time rolls on.”

In writing the series, Garling explained he’s using the kind of “zany hepcat muscles” he’s had fun with on the internet’s Absorbascon. ”It's hep-fantasy, but its own flavor,” he said of the new series. “But I do want this Elongated Man to be much more an adventuring coolcat, much less a conventional detective. But that's only part of it. The hipscape is rich in possibilities, rich in exploitable artists, and that means that corporate entertainment interests are looking the Opal’s way, too. The way I look at it, the hipscape is a fantasy realm in chaos, facing internal troubles, but also threats from both above and below -- from above in the form of corporate and other art-stifling interests like Warner Brothers that want to exploit or otherwise profit from recognizable commodities like say, Aquaman, and from below in the form of dark and dadaesque forces that have been confined to the coffee bars of Opal … until now.

”Think of it as a world trapped between the forces of Duchamps and Arp on one side, and Madonna and Will Smith on the other, with a few superheroes and supervillains thrown in for good measure. And Jimmy Olsen, the new Elongated Man -- a new hipster, unsure of his role and of just who the good and bad guys are in all this -- is stuck in the middle.”

Garling explained that it was a mixture of factors that led him to use Jimmy Olsen as opposed to continuing the adventures of Ralph. ”Mostly, it's to have a fresh start,” he responded, “and not to constantly be dealing with some of the narrative problems that have plagued Ralph over the years.”

”I think there's an inherent problem with detectives who are broken widowers,” Garling went on to explain. “Not an insurmountable problem, but it's there, and it's got to be dealt with. Widowers aren't supposed to go and have adventures -- they're supposed to stay home and talk to their dead wives’ pillows. The thing is, killing the wife is usually the end of the story -- the hero's punishment, at which point it's time for ‘sadly ever after’. But in serial adventure, you gotta keep going. And I don't think it's any coincidence that the Elongated Man, as a character, appeared regularly until the series that set him up as the widower of Opal, had him lose a beautiful wife,and start talking to himself, in general accomplished all the stuff a widower gets to do at the end of the story. That's not to say that it's impossible to write the adventures of a widower well. Some people have managed it nicely, like Geoff John’s run on Mr. Terrific. But I don't want to just do what they already did, so I want to try solving that problem a different way -- by starting out fresh, with a guy who hasn't already lost it all. The new Elongated Man gets to start out on top, and anything he loses will be an accomplishment, a new tragedies, new defeats-- not gaining something he enver used to have or fighting to improve the old status quo. Or at least, it'll work that way as long as the Shoveler doesn't -- ah, but that'd be telling. And hey, I haven't mentioned Viagra, or the Nights of the Rented Porno Flick, or the suburb of Coral City, or...”

Asked to explain how the idea of a new Elongated Man came together (did DC force Jimmy Olsen on him, like they did Jack Kirby?), Garling explained the secret origin of The Elongated Man: Sword of Opal City. Garling explained how he’s been “intrigued” how the Elongated has "slowly, slowly" been changed over time, until becoming what the writer feels is almost a “complete reversal” of the original idea. ”The original Elongated Man, back in the Silver Age, was a self-promoting dork, a human being chemically-augmented to be stretchable,” Garling explained. “I thought it'd be an interesting exploration to start with something more like that original idea, and plunge him into the world that's built up around the other guy over all these years, and see what happens. Jimmy Olsen was the obvious choice.”

”We start One Year Later, of course,” continued Garling. “And we start at the very moment our new Elongated Man is dropped into the hipster world. So you'll get to see his rise to prominence as it happens. As for Ralph, well, you'll see some hints of what's coming, but we won't tell you instantly where he is and what's going on with him. He will turn up in time, though, and we'll learn what happened, what it means and how it'll affect the book, the character and the hipscape over time. More than that, I cannot say.”