Friday, December 30, 2005

My Year in Review

The Absorbascon's Year in Review,
done as a Heroclix Expansion Set.

REVs, LEs, and Uniques

1-3 Thought-Robots
4-6 Denominated Henchman (Southpaw LE)
7-9 Nameless Underlings (Artsy-Face LE)
10-12 Delicious Hostess Fruit Pies (Cherry Pie with Real Fruit Filling LE)
13-15 The Penny Plunderer
16-18 Vibe (Paco Ramone doing "the Robot" LE)
19-21 Dominominions (generic)
22-24 Dr. Domino
25-27 The Red Bee
28-30 Bees (generic) (Michael the Bee LE)
31-33 Phantom Lady
34-36 The Fadeaway Man
37-39 Congorilla
40-42 The original Black Condor
43-45 Hugo Strange
46-48 Gnor's Hotdog
49-51 Batman-Clobbering Robin
52-54 Batman Bitchslapping Robin
55-57 Killer Moth
58-60 Mr. Scarlet
61-63 The Mist
64-66 The Awesome Human Flying Fish
67-69 Phantom Zone Cats
70-72 Catman
73-75 Blaze
76-78 Simon Stagg
79-81 Blockade Boy (Jeremy Rizza LE)
82-84 The Original Starman (Ted Knight LE)
85 Orca the Whalewoman
86 Uncle Sam
87 The Phantom Stranger
88 Vartox
89 Toyboy
90 The Green Arab
91 Boy King
92 The Kryptonite Monkey
93 Bizarro-Titano
94 The Light ("The Unknown" LE)
95 Amethyst
96 The Composite Superman (Joe Meach LE)

217 Rex the Wonder Dog (Clik Brick LE)
218 The Infuriated Vurm
219 God
220 Night Girl
221 Topo

001 Bacteria Cloudburst Formula
002 Word Association
003 Mid-Crisis Life-Makeover
004 The Living Death
005 The Gay Place
006 Breakdance Fighting

001 Incest
002 Drama

01 Marsha Mallow
02 Forgettable Moll
03 Major Mynah
04 ROGER the Ore-Crusher
05 The Rabid Racoon
06 The Innocent Dupe
07 J. Edgar Hoover
08 Dr. Curry (as long as Arthur's going to be a Bystander in his own comic, shouldn't be one on the Heroclix board, too?)

001 Yellow Ceiling Tile
002 The Ecstacotron
003 Atomic Warhead Arrow
004 The Queer Machine
005 The Saltwater Telegraph
006 The Polished Aluminum Flying Pan

300 Multiwoman of the Challenger-Haters (with four dials: "Moody", "Rather Peeved", "Royally Ticked", and "Monthly Visitor")

301 The corpse of Multi-Man

Happy New Year, everyone!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Head of the Family

You know the scariest thing about
Hal Jordan is?

By far?

He's the smart one in the family.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Hal's Head & Sinestro

The DCUniverse doesn't have Beavis and Butthead.

But it does have Hal Jordan and Sinestro...

"I've got to get loose!"
"Heh. Heh heh. You said... you said 'get loose' ..."
"Shut up, you jugeared jackass."
"No, Hal's Head, you shut, you shut up. ZAP!!"
"Ow! Stop it, Sinestro -- Settle down!"
"Are you threatening me? I am the great ... Sinestro! You must bring me TP for my--"
"If you don't shut up, I'm gonna shove a green box glove in your piehole, buttmunch!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Batman's Haiku

Special thanks to "jeff r." for spotting this week's heroic haiku!

Nearly broken with disillusionment in Infinite Crisis #3 and seemingly ripe for the Original Superman's overtures of friendship, Batman, even breathless and halting in step and speech, still manages to stutter out a haiku:

This wasn't supposed
to happen; I can't breathe. Can't...
do this anymore.

Ah, the traditional "powerlessness" speech we expect in a "Crisis". But this one, from Batman, of all people, resonates strongly. Such a statement from unbreakable Batman! And the knowledge that he's responsible for the ruination of so many lives!

But Batman does not break, and those who've read the issue get to see why not.

We've seen what kind of haiku Batman can compose under the direst pressure. What about YOU?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Hal's Head versus the Fifth Estate

Hal's head, the symbol of post WWII man, is so rich in symbolism that, well, it practically spews forth symbolic power from its every opening. It is, for the post-war comic book reader, the veritable Fountainhead of Meaning. Why, just take these panels below as another example.

Hal Jordan, the conservative post-war man decked out in jacket and tie, is joy-riding in his impratical gas-guzzling convertible, accompanied by his attractive boss/ lover/ alien-mind-controlled, dominatrix-style arch-enemy, when "suddenly"....

Carol "Eagle-Eyed Capitalist" Ferris, ever alert for threats to her property (Hal Jordan included), warns of an approaching attack by the insidious liberal institution of the Fifth Estate! Carol's no fool; she knows that any free and random object with 20 feet is just itching to whack Hal Jordan in the head.

Hal, his intellect stultified by years of driving the Hurtling Steel Box of Doom that is industrialized society, responds as any late 1950s conservative company man would from this unexpected attack from a newspaper on the far left: "Huh?" God bless you, Hal.

"You do not understand that you are hurtling too fast along a lifepath with sudden twists and turns," the paper tries to symbolically convey to Hal. "Seduced by your jeweled rings of power, you and your companion's mindless embrace of materialism have rendered you faceless and blind. Why, there might be thousands of others like you wasting their abilities in thoughtless toil and obedience to distant and uncaring masters... and you'd never even know it! It's all right here; for god's sake, read between the lines!"
I'm sure, if we could see the paper better, we'd note that, in classic comic book irony, it was called The Guardian.

The paper tries to thrust its unwanted truths into Hal's face, but (oh the comic book irony!), Hal is too close to the truth to see it. "Ring--useless! Must be ... YELLOW JOURNALISM!" Hal thinks only of protecting the status quo: "The Lover/Possessor of Capital! The Car/Icon of Postwar Mobility and Freedom! Myself / Symbol of the New Suburban Man! I must save them all!"

But is Hal equal to the emergency?

Oh, thank goodness. Fearless test pilot Hal Jordan was able to handle a piece of errant paper. As Hector Hammond once said, "Oh, Hal Jordan ... my hero." Let's all be thankful there aren't many topless jets for Hal to fly, otherwise Coast City would have been destroyed years ago. Of course, it was anyway, when Hal was off selling toys or something, but that's another story.

Anyway, the moral is clear: driving the modern industrial society forward is a two-fisted affair, and you (like Hal) must be ready to both dismiss distracting attacks from foolishly idealistic journalists while boldly piloting on an unpredictable path with an immovable car-crushing mountain of economic necessity on one side and a constant precipice of ideological error on the other. Like Hal, you must stick to the path!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Can Batman Dance?

As previously promised, it's time to examine, one by one, whether our heroes can dance. Let's start with Batman. Can Batman dance?

The off-the-cuff answer is obvious: "Don't be an idiot; Batman can do anything." Batman can diagnose your injuries while you're falling through space. Batman can make a telephone out of some loose change and a glass of saltwater. Batman can open a safe with his teeth, kill you with one kiss, and assemble a bat-baby-crib without any instructions. Batman can do anything.

It's probably more accurate to say, "Batman can do anything the story needs him to do." But there is a subtle "running joke" that crops up now and again over the last 60 years of Batman: Batman knows how to do everything obscure, but some times normal things escape him.

Oh, it's subtle and seldom important; little things, really. Batman can't sing (except for the one on JLU). Batman knows about movies but never watches them. Batman (or at least Bruce Wayne) doesn't understand children. Batman knows nothing about video games, baseball, or popular music. In short, the implication is that Batman has no time for anything purely fun or frivolous. Makes sense; why would he?

Dancing surely falls into the category. Why would Batman know how to dance?

Simple. While Batman has no reason to know how to dance, Bruce Wayne has every reason. Dinner and dancing with the ladies is Brucie's bag. It's all smooth and suave when you're out with BW, and when Bruce asks the band to play, he dances to the bossa nova, the music of complacence.

Besides, you just know Alfred was giving Little Brucie ballroom lessons in waltz and foxtrot from age 7 on. "Come, Master Bruce! The terpsichorean arts are a mainstay of any young gentleman's education and a key that will open many social doors. Now, on this go-round, maintain the frame of dance with a firm but not rigid steadiness of the arms ... and mind my feet, please."

Besides, the squarest version of Batman ever, Adam West, could not only dance, but spontaneously invented dances out of whole cloth, while drugged, to which entire websites are devoted.

So you better believe Batman can dance. Batman stays up late at night in the dark recesses of the cave, playing that bongo vinyl LP that Jack Knight gave him after their Solomon Grundy adventure, inventing all sorts of avant-garde dances that subtly incorporate martial arts maneuvers, just in case he needs to disarm a roomful of tuxedo-clad ninjas while in his Bruce Wayne identity on the ballroom floor.

Just in case.

My Christmas Story

This is not a story I am able to tell in person without breaking down and crying, so I will tell it to you here.

On Christmas Day some years ago, I left the house for the first time in about five or six weeks. My jaws had been broken in four places, and the surgeons had inserted a plate in my mouth and wired it shut to hold everything in place so that the bones could knit. For over a month I was at home, unable to speak, drugged senseless, awake long enough only to drink through a straw shoved behind my teeth and to use the restroom. I had lost nearly 20 pounds. Except for someone who came to look in on me every few days, I was alone and in nearly constant pain.

On Christmas Day, however, someone came to take me out. It had started snowing that morning, hard, and no one was traveling anywhere who didn't have to. I did.

My companion drove me through the worsening storm to an obscure and downtrodden cinema on the northside of town, where it seemed there was but one employee to handle tickets, concessions, and the projector on Christmas Day. I was helped to my seat and given a Coke, and I almost cried from frustration when it took more effort to drink it than I could muster.

The cinema was almost empty, with no more than 8 or 10 people attending the opening of the film, which wasn't showing anywhere else in town.

But I was there. I got to see Batman: Mask of the Phantasm when it opened that Christmas Day.

I got no presents that year, sang no carols, attended no feasts. But it was the best Christmas I have ever had. It was the best Christmas I'll ever have.

I was still alive.
The snow was pretty.
The movie was wonderful.
And I had never been happier in all my life.

I finally learned that day that it is the simple things in life that really make us happy.

Merry Christmas to you all.