Saturday, April 01, 2006

Odds are...

Lois and Clark are freakier than you are.

MUCH freakier.

"Shock story of the year", indeed.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Return to Batman Returns

I saw "Batman Returns" the other day; you know, the one with the Penguin and Catwoman.

It's not as bad as I thought.

Now, caveat emptor et prende cum grano salis; I'm the guy who loved movies like Sky Captain, the Punisher, the Hulk, and Dude, Where's My Car? I own my own copy of Coneheads. Really.

And, yes, the entire film limps horribly from a painful infection of Tim Burton's childhood obsessions with Toys, Christmas, and Feeling Freakish and Alienated. And, yes, it seemed like they hired the Penguin to play DeVito, rather than DeVito to play the Penguin.


When the Penguin is in full "running for mayor" mode and in Pengy drag, the character nicely straddles the ridiculous/threatening divide. As one should, one feels both contempt and pity for the Penguin. Having Oswald's situation with his parents mirror Bruce's is a nice touch connecting the characters. If the essence of the Penguin is a man who wants the finer things he feels he deserves, but shows himself unworthy by his willingness to take shortcuts to get them, then the film capture that, too. On the whole not as fabulous as Burgess Meredith, but what's being attempted in the portrayal is a heckuva lot more complex.

The film even nicely incorporated of the some of the basic elements of "the Penguin myth" from other media, including "Penguin Runs for Mayor" and "Penguin Gets Control of the Batmobile".

As for Catwoman, well, the film did use most of her Golden/Silver Age origin; an amnesiac woman who was not so much evil as simply self-centered, more amoral than immoral.

While the first movie (the one where some old actor played the Joker) showed the reins of power shifting out of the hands of mobsters and into the hands of villains, the second film showed white collar crime (Schreck) also losing its grip on the city in the face of its larger than life Mego Action baddies. The film even had the wisdom to make fun of some of its predecessor's greatest stupidities.

Maybe I search too hard for left elbows in films (particularly comic book ones). But it's better than simply throwing out the baby with the bathwater every time a film doesn't live up to my hopes....

An Informal Survey

I am in the process of preparing for a meeting with the publisher of a local alternative newspaper in an effort to convince her that her publication should review comics and graphic novels (as it does films, exhibits, plays, and books).

Do any of the periodicals in YOUR area review comics? Have you ever asked them to? If I reproduced here a copy of my argument, would any of you use it talk to your local publishers? What evidence would you present if you were I?

The world will not give comic book fans -- or anyone else -- anything we aren't willing to ask for!

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Most of Dale Totaltoyz customs that we feature here are ones I've bought or ones that are on sale at the Big Monkey Ebay store.

His latest creation, however, is not:

This Unique is labelled "Avril Francesca", with a point value of 8-lb 7-oz.

I think congratulations are in order; his most lifelike yet. I suspect he may have actually had help on this one.

I haven't seen the dial, but I suspect it starts with an activation click, then picks up Perplex.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Barry's Lifestyle

Oh, I've heard the rumors. They've been circling ever since Barry came back in the last issue of Infinite Crisis.

But I don't believe them. Nope.

So what if Barry's engagement to Iris was .... two years long?
"I just LOVE jewelry, Iris! And I'm glad you don't mind waiting for ... so many things."

So what if they couldn't have children until Barry had access to 30th century marital aids?

Thank goodness Iris doesn't suspect your special feelings for Green Lantern, indeed.

Iris was completely unaware of these baseless rumors and if she had heard any, she would have found nothing out, because, after all, she is a reporter in the DC universe, who are incapable of noticing the glasses on the ends of their noses, but are very good at getting kidnapped and falling off buildings. Besides, she lived in Central City, and spent most of her time just getting from Point A to Point B.

Really, Barry? What part?

Then Iris died. For a while. How convenient. What did Barry do without her?

When you live in Central City,
borrowing in the JLA teleporter makes assignations with young husbands a snap.

Anyway, while Iris may have been immune to rumors because she was a crack reporter, Fiona Whatsername was rather a modern broad, and knew her pink from her fuschia.

"I have no idea what you're talking about Fiona, and why are wearing my coat?"

Whatever happened to Fiona after she got too close to Barry and suspicious about his, um, lifestyle, and his weekends with Hal Jordan? Oh, that's right...

she died.

Oh, and those strange rumors about Elongated Man's ... social evolution? I don't believe those either!"Not so fast, Ralph!"
"I was just about to ask you the same thing, Barry..."

Si, estoy tan saguaro!

I owe Superman an apology.

I am sorry, Supes; I done you wrong. I said, loudly and publically for all the internet to see, that Superman is a cloddish farmboy who can't dance (at least, not anything other than the Shufflefoot Dance).

But, in my own defense, I must explain that that was before I saw.... THIS:

How could I have been so ... so WRONG?!?!?!?


I apologize, Superman; no one can hollow out a weird-looking cactus, get inside and dance the mambo like you!

P.S. If you're thinking this is one of those "out of context" panels where, if you know the whole story, it all makes sense ... think again. Superman's dancing the Cactus Mambo as part of day-long scheme by Jimmy Olsen to convince some kids not to go uranium prospecting. Really.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Routine Morning at Wayne Manor

God bless Evil Omar and the boys at "About Heroes" for bringing this panel to light.

Apparently this day begins "like any other", so this must be how Bruce & Dick wake up every morning. Hm; looks like Bruce fell asleep while still manacled to the bed. By the way, I'm assuming that Bruce's knee; I really hope that's Bruce's knee. If it isn't Bruce's knee, that would explain why he's put a cold shower on their agenda. Heh... "going down to the Bat-Cave" to "repair the Batmobile"; guess that's what the kids are calling it these days.

Anyway, Bruce is either so in need of a cold shower or still enervated from last night's rooftop romp with his ward that he's completely screwed up his haiku, with one too many syllables in his first line and one too few in his last. I'll edit it slightly for him, giving us:

That was a good sleep!
C'mon, Dick -- a cold shower,
and a big breakfast.

Don't you feel better now? I know I do.

What haiku occurs to you to celebrate the joy of waking up with your partner, like Bruce & Dick do?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Patterns of Villainy

Exactly one year ago, I first posted my thoughts about the Dynastic Centerpiece Model, the set of archtypes clustered around a central hero that are so common in DC comics (the "Batman family" for example).

One idea that I threw out at the time but never followed up on was that villains in certain archtypes also attach themselves to the "Dynastic Centerpiece", that is, the hero. I meant to get it, but then I discovered Vibe, and noticed something odd about Hal Jordan's head, and then the haiku thing started and ... well, time flies when you're having fun.

Perhaps now that I actually have a reader or two on occasion, I can get some help thinking about the Antagonistic Archtypes of DC (and, I'm sure, other comics and literature).

Off the top of my head, these are some of the likely categories, followed by some quickie examples...

The Mocker: The Joker, the Trickster, the Prankster
The Heroworshipper: Hugo Strange, Cicada, the Silver Swan, Black Manta
The Untouchable Crime Lord: The Penguin, Lex Luthor, Veronica Cale
The Former Ally: Sinestro, Two-Face, Silver Age Lex Luthor, the new Red Hood
The Dark Reflection: Killer Moth, Zod, Devastation, Rival, Inertia, Prof. Zoom,
The Femme Fatale: Catwoman, Encantadora, Star Sapphire, the Cheetah
The Mental Opponent: The Riddler, Mxyzptlk, Ares, Hector Hammond
The Physical Opponent: Mongul, Blockbuster, Giganta, the Shark

Am I off base? What other villainous archtypes do DC heroes tend to have in their "anti-dynasties"? Remember, I'm not looking for merely a shtick; lots of heroes have villains with freezing powers, but that's not an archtype. We're looking for some that defines a storytelling role or a relationship with the hero.

And live!

Oh, Ollie, thou of little faith. No one ... but Hal Jordan.

Remember, Ollie; practice makes perfect. A punch from Superman is just the kind of thing that helps Hal wake up and clear his sinuses. Better'n coffee.

Clix Ahoy

Wizkids, the folks who make Heroclix let people vote on what the feature figures in their next collector's set will be, and the next set is now being voted on.

The choices are between the Metal Men, Astro City, and, oh yeah, um, some Marvel and Indie stuff. Grendel (the guy in Venom's costume), B.R.P.D. (who I think are like the GCPD, only sneakier), and Marvel 2099 (because Marvel's long-since run out of characters from this time period).

Naturally, I'm encouraging you all to vote for:

Astro City.

Why? Because the Metal Men custom clixs on our Ebay store haven't sold yet...