Saturday, April 15, 2006

Donna ... oh, Donna....

I am not twisted. I am not morbid or sadistic.

I only want one (or six) of these suckers:

for their marvelous potential in rounding out Superman teams.

And, if Troia just happens to be on the board when I field them and she just


to get in the way


well, who am I to fight poetic justice?

The Real Amanda Waller

I miss this woman. Can you still recognize her?

Yes, that's Amanda Waller. The real Amanda Waller.

Somewhere along the line, she was replaced by some sort of "mini-me" one eighth her original size:Yes; yes, you! I don't know who you are, girlie, but you aren't Amanda Waller. You look like the lady who does the nightly news on my local tv channel, whereas the real Amanda Waller looks like the newsvan she travels in. You are phat; the real Amanda Waller is fat.

The real Amanda Waller, girlie, eats people like you for breakfast, figuratively and literally. You are, at best, Amanda's lesbian daughter who's a principal at a private school. You have no hairbun, no earrings, no purple eye shadow, no cerulean heels, and no calves the size of black angus bulls. You are a mere slip of a girl; the real Amanda Waller can be spotted from space without using Brother Eye and lights up not merely rooms but entire football stadiums with her fabulous presence.

You are merely another symptom of DC's on-going putsch against fat people. Etta Candy and Alfred Pennyworth, sent to a fat farms. Doiby Dickles, shipped off planet. Vulko, sleeping with the fishes. Chunk, disappeared. Tubby Watts, erased. Uncle Dudley, forgotten. Orca the Whalewoman, her glorious life completely covered up in a society-wide conspiracy to pretend she and Larry Hama never existed. Marsha Mallow cries out, "My editor, why hast thou forsaken me?!"

Ironically, fat characters may be the victims of the PR campaigns of real fat people. Yes, I said, "fat people", not "big" or "plus size" or any such euphemisms; sue me. [Of course, nowadays, some people will sue you for using the word "big", but that's another story.] The media, stung perhaps by criticisms of their common use of fat people as comic relief, have, in some cases, come up with a simple answer; "Fine; rather than risk showing fat people in a bad light, we simply won't show them at all."

For whatever reason, though, fat people are now virtually absent from the DCU, furthering the illusion that, while New Earth may not be perfect, its abdominals sure are. Why, nowadays you could scrub your laundry on Perry White's rippling torso, so successful has been DC's campaign against Mr. Roly Poly.

DC! As you've recently proven, the vast expanse of the DC Universe has room for characters of every stripe and flavor. Isn't it large enough to have room for some fat people, too?

Next time you show me Amanda Waller, please make it the real one.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Feeding the Ostrich

Absorbacommando Sharif donates a little piece that reminds us: Grant Morrison's homage to the Silver Age Superman fares poorly in comparison to the insanity of the real thing.

In the recent All-Star Superman #3, the legendary Samson and Atlas vie against Superman for Lois's attentions, and Superman, eventually and patiently, puts them in their places, at Lois's insistence. Cute.

In the original story, however...Superman doesn't have to lift a finger, fully confident that Lois and Lana will destroy and humiliate Hercules (whom Morrison relaced with Atlas, for some reason) and Samson completely and casually.

Which, naturally, they do...

My new life goal is to have a reason to say,
"See, dearest? To prove how much I love you,
I'm feeding the ostrich all my old pictures of Superman!"

Gee, whaddaya know; Lana blows. Poorly.

Three guesses how Lana helps the less-than-chivalrous Samson
get the gum out of his hair.

Silver-plated stories are cute. But they ain't Silver.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Comic Book Irony

As surpassingly unlikely as it might seem, I now own a signed copy of Sword of Atlantis #1.

Despite my having given him nothing but grief about that title, magnanimous Kurt Busiek (whose current work on Superman I madly adore, by the way) was kind enough to grant Big Monkey Comics an exclusive interview recently, done by Devon of Seven Hells.

The Aquaman related portion of the interview is now posted for your delectation.

I want to publically thank Kurt for doing the interview (thanks, Kurt!!!) and Jon Cohen of Beyond Comics for helping make it happen.

You're a mensch, Kurt; and thanks for the autographed copy of SOA#1, on whose personalized cover Aquaman, Aquaman, and King Shark are greeting me warmly.Oh, the Comic Book Irony of it all.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Why Gorillas are in Comic Books

Why are there so many gorillas in comics books?

There're probably no more than, say, 130,000 gorillas worldwide. In the U.S., there's only about 350. By comparison, there are over 51,000 dachshunds in the U.S. Gorillas are in the comics all the time; but how many times do you see a dachshund? Almost never, even though any fool knows dachshunds are more dangerous than gorillas.

This is kind of info I have to keep from my dog, because, while a ticked gorilla is still throwing leaves around and having an ostentatious hissy fit, the wily dachshund will have already tripped you, crushed your trachea, and, as you suffocate, be sitting on your chest chewing on your ribs while farting in your face. And wagging his tail.

That first face? A gentle giant of a vegetarian, our simple minded cousin who wants only to live in peace and indolence with Jane Goodall and her Everything Bag by his side. The second? Pure Evil with a Kung Fu Mouthgrip. There was no serpent in the Garden of Eden, folks; they just couldn't see the dachshund's legs. Forget that movie everyone's hyped about; when they come out with the sequel, "Dachshunds on a Plane", then I will be scared.

Yet gorillas, not dachshunds (or any other dog, for that matter), are the big threats in so many stories. Scores of gorillas, many of them bent on world domination. How many gorillas do you know in real life interested in world domination? Zero. Again, gorillas pale as a threat when compared to dachshunds, all of which are bent on world domination. Charles Heston would've lasted about 3 seconds on the Planet of the Dachshunds, people.

Yet in the comics, no animal guest star comes even close to the gorilla. Even perennial favorites like horsies, birds, and sharks. Gorillas have them all beat, and can turn up anywhere, except, you know, in an Aquaman story.

I think only dinosaurs come close to the gorilla in their comic book Q Rating. And dinosaurs aren't a threat to anybody. Not like dachshunds, which are a threat to everybody.

Smart money's on Schatzie, folks. I know what really killed the dinosaurs.

So why are gorillas everywhere in the comic books? Okay, I will tell you.

First, though, I need to qualify; when I say "everywhere in the comic books", I mean, "everywhere in DC comics" (and most of the older comics put out by other companies that DC later bought out or sued into submission for violating their copyright on the word "gorilla"). Marvel doesn't have gorillas; Marvel has zombies instead.

As our simian cousins, gorillas symbolize for us our baser, animal selves, our impulses toward violence and aggression. Everytime a hero faces a gunwielding thug, a pavement-cracking monster, a domineering supervillain, he's facing a manifestation of the antisocial human urge, the impetus toward violence for personal advancement at the expense of others. In short, as a rule, the antagonist in a most comic book stories is "the Evil Ape Within Us All". The hero represents our "better and wiser" selves, struggling to conquer the part of us that would shortsightedly harm society for personal gain.

Thus, the comic book battle between Good and Evil is a symbolization of the inner struggle between the Angel and the Ape in our souls. Small wonder, then, that one of the most common tropes in comics is an initial meeting between two heroes where a misunderstanding leads them to fight, usually ending when both parties think better of it, check their natural aggression, and work out their situation intellectually, through talking together.

Similarly, it is understandably axiomatic that heroes (who represent the cooperative spirit of society) work well together and villains (who embody selfish individualism) do not. The inversion of this pattern, therefore, often packs a punch in comic book lore. Conflict and crosspurposes among the member of a hero team or cooperation by the members of a Rogue's Gallery stab at our innate fears that the society that sustains us is potential unstable. DC's made good currency of this lately with the Secret Society of Supervillains versus the dissolution of the JLA. In Alex Ross's Justice, the Legion of Doom takes the threat one step further by not only banding together, but pretending to adopt humanity's best interests as its own.

Meanwhile, back in the jungle... . When a hero confronts a gorilla as his antagonist, he's facing the purest symbol of amoral, antisocial, animalistic selfishness. Mind you, I'm not saying that's really what gorillas are like; as previously mentioned, gorillas aren't really nasty at all (not like the you-know-what, which I can't type now because the dog just walked in the room and, trust me, it knows when it's being dissed and I have no intention of ticking off something that lives in my house and can eat bones). That's just what gorillas symbolize in our culture.

So when a comic book gorilla evinces intelligence, talks, plans, and uses higher abilities to plot its antisocial agenda, it becomes the personification of our fear that the Forces of Evil will finally get their act together, curbing their own animal natures just enough to advance their own agenda and become serious threats to our society. This is why writing Gorilla Grodd as a rabid savage is stupid and boring.

This is why it is very cool, on the other hand, that the well-written Gorilla Grodd ran the original Secret Society of Supervillains in the 1970s comic, on the JLU animated series, and (I'm betting) the new Society now that Alexander Luthor isn't in charge.

Anyway, that is why there are so many gorillas in comic books.

Or maybe they're just cool and pump up sales; who can say?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Name Game

My new poll about finding a first name for poor, mononymous Mr Bones, has me in a nominal mood. T.O. Morrow; Roy G. Bivolo, Joe Coyne; I can't help loving guys with those wacky comic book names! So, I'd like to denominate my own favorite comic book (or comic book-y) names, then seek your nominations of your own.

Marsha Mallow. You immediately know what she's like. Only Vandal Savage beats her out for Best Aptronym. I've always wondered why the two've never met. Perhaps in the current JSA Classified storyline she'll turn up. With her carefree "eat now worry later" attitude, she's just the person to befriend, bed, then help reform everyone's favorite "Type A" Neanderthal.

"Bony" Donut. Okay, there is no character named "Bony" Donut. But there really should be, don't you think? Some skinny girl sidekick, surely; but whose? Bullock? Maybe Wildcat.

"Con" Connors. A recurring grifter in Superman stories. "Gee, Jimmy; think we should trust him?"

Dick Hunter. Snort.

Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald. Fine, fine. He's not in a comic book; but he's on Passions, which is kind of the same thing.

Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot. Enough said.

Cooky La Moo.
If this woman is not in the new Wonder Woman at some point, there is no God.

Prof. Keenbean. Did you know that Richie Rich was the star of far, far more titles than any other comic book character in history? At one point, I believe, he was in 25 titles simultaneously, teaching us to be proud of the excesses of capitalism.

Tinya Wazzo. I don't want to live in the 30th century for the tech, or the excitement, or the interspecies culture. I just want to know lots and lots of people named things like "Tinya Wazzo" and run around making excuses to say their names all day long. "Hello, Reep Daggle; Querl Dox and Rond Vidar said you'd know where Tinya Wazzo went."

Oh, but I could "naming" all day; surely you have favorites or your own....?

Seven Hells Haikuschriftfest

One year ago, I was no longer alone in the blogosphere.

My friend and colleague Devon Sanders is one of the best prose writers I know, certainly better than I. But his sterling reviews of comic books were languishing in obscurity. Oh, as you would expect, they were being published on line, and at a famous site. But it was one so large that occasional features, like his reviews, despite their quality, could go unnoticed.

All that changed exactly one year ago when Devon struck out on his own and created what you know now as Seven Hells, the Absorbascon's "cousin". Taking after its author, Seven Hells is manly, two-fisted blogging with a refined urban style; not without reason are Hawkman and Wildcat its "patron heroes".

Devon doesn't go unnoticed any more! So busy is he hanging with the like of Kurt Busiek, Brad Meltzer, and Jimmy Palmiotti, that he can barely spare time for guest-spots even in his favorite books like Manhunter:OK; two questions.
One. What are you doing here?
And two. You 're black?

Forget Pinhead; to honor the Seven Hells blogoversary, I present the never before seen face of the author of your Seven Hells of pain, of pleasure:

The Devon Sanders.

I'm not good enough a writer to compose a haiku in honor of this event.

But I bet you all are...!

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Odd Couple

Most people think that the only comic book theme Neal Hefti ever wrote was the theme to the Batman television show (including its dadaeqsue lyric, 'nananana nananana'; so avant garde, even for the sixities).

But he also wrote the lyrics to another well-known television theme. Those lyrics, which you've probably never heard (with good reason), are below, and I'm convinced that Hefti had another comic book pair in mind at the time he wrote them.

For the record, I'm okay with the "youthful ward" thing; poor boy and rich man, helping each other out. It's okay, it's the way of the world.

But ... "boy pals"? No. No, that's just wrong...

No matter where they go

They are known as the couple.

They're never seen alone

So they're known as the couple.

As I've indicated

They are never quite separated,

They are peas in a pod.

Don't you think that it's odd.

Their habits, I confess

None can guess with the couple.

If one says no it's yes

more or less, with the couple.

But they're laugh-provoking;

Yet they really don't know they're joking.

Don't you find

When love is blind

It's kind of odd.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Vibe is the Spice of Life!

If no one else will, then I will speak the unspeakable, mention the unmentionable, and eff the ineffable. Like the bold and innocent boy who shouted that "the Emperor has no clothes" when all around him were cowed into silence, I must declare:

The DC Universe has no Vibe.

Reading the DCU without Vibe is like drinking coffee black. Yes, Dan, it's a great blend, but... it would taste so much better IF ONLY...! And, sure, I know people who like their coffee black, but do you trust any of those people? I mean, really? Supervillains drink their coffee black, gang, and they're the same people who prefer a universe without Vibe in it.

Vibe could take down a multiversal vibrational tuning fork. In fact, he did, in the original Crisis. And if Dick turned to him and said "Forget him; focus on this", you wouldn't hear Vibe complaining that it was too big to handle; sh'yeah, as if.

Negating vibrational frequencies?
Okay, the dude's
name is "Vibe", tu sabes. No sweat, primo.

Vibe would love to go to the game with them. The Puerto Ricans, they love the baseball. Can't you imagine the hilarity that would ensue with Hal, Ollie, and Paco at the ballpark? Ollie and Hal in their muted polo shirts and Paco wearing, well, what Paco wears?

Vibe coulda done that, too; and he'd have done it while breakdancing, I might add. Of course, so could I, or, for that matter, Stargirl or the killer from Identity Crisis, since we all wear the same boots.

I bet Vibe could even make Jonah Hex smile.
The laughing, the dancing, the festive outfit and fonny ahsent.
"Oh, Cisco!" "Oh, Pancho!"

And if Vibe had been there, not only would Hal and Julie have had a night far, far beyond "amazing", but they'd remember Paco's name the next morning and forever after, te aseguro.

Face it, folks; life tastes better with Vibe!!!