Friday, October 20, 2006

Things That Made Me Happy...

in my comics this week.

  • Virtually everything Film Freak does, says, or simply is, in Catwoman.
  • The colored dot symbol Catwoman is using for drunken speech. Circles I've seen; but coloring them in is so much richer. I want a color coding system now; blue & purple means "Sad Drunk"; yellow & pink, "Happy Drunk"; red & orange, "Belligerent Drunk"; and so on.
  • Bruce Wayne, in Robin. If you think Bruce Wayne is a jerk, then you aren't reading Robin.
  • Martian Manhunter's art project in 52.
  • I demand that Wizkids produce a Special Collector's Set of Heroclix with Gladiator Giant, Dynamole, The Crimson Ghost, E.S. Pete, Fireface, Jack of All Trades, The Tornado Ninja, Lady Liberty, Immortal Bald Man in Armor, and Poledancer.
  • Skeets, kicking @$$.
  • Ah; NOW I see why Atom-Smasher went to jail...!
  • Ollie Queen's campaign manager; nice touch.
  • Is this the end of ... Super-Chief?!?!?!
  • J'onn's Little Plan That Backfired; oops.
  • The beauty of Matt Wagner's prose for Batman in "Mad Monk"; you deserve to read "Mad Monk" and its predecessor miniseries with Hugo Strange.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hall of Handsomes

I've been asked to participate in "Beefcake Week" ... and so I shall, with:

The Hall of Comics Handsomes.

Ben Oda.

In case you don't recognize the name, Oda was the Japanese-American who pretty much
invented lettering. His is the mainstream of EC and DC's lettering styles, and he even taught the man who created the Archie house style of lettering. Ben was also really handsome.

Jim Lee.

You think Jim Lee's
art is pretty? Not as pretty as he! I have this recurring dream about him and Jimmy Fallon having their RV break down during a thunderstorm right outside my spooky castle...

Allan Heinberg.

Handsomest Jewish comic book writer that Oklahoma every produced. In this picture, he's using his sexovision to light the candles on the dinner table. So sexy even the Hulk went gay for him! Allan... call me.

Brian K. Vaughn.

The "K" is for "knockout"! Classically handsome, 5 o'clock shadowed, the master of the Head Shaved From Necessity is 10 times sexier than that goof Rosenbaum on Smallville. That face says, "Don't move! I've got mojo, and I'm not afraid to use it!"

Paul Azaceta.

Everything about him says, "You will abandon your current life and join me in what the squares call 'sin' in my bohemian artist's loft ... and you will thank me for it daily." I mean, just look at that woman's smile!

Paul Harmon

Creator of "Mora". Zowie! When the wind knocks down lighter comic creators, Paul will still be standing there, strong as a rock for you to grab on to.

Sean Chen.

Not even his constant coworkers can get over the beauty of artist and designer Sean Chen; their envy is palpable.

There are more, of course. But no such list would be complete without the ultimate comic creator man-babe:

The Madman Bob Kanigher.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Class, Dismissed

So, when exactly did the lower class take over comic books?

Comic books used to be a refuge from the grimy tedium of the workaday world. It was all about sitting around in your smoking jacket with your pipe in your study, reading about murders in the paper, and muttering out loud to yourself, "The time's not ripe yet to go after the Eviscerating Bandit -- but soon...!"

It wasn't just Bruce Wayne; all the old gang were stand-up regular upperclass joes. Sure Clark Kent was originally a farmboy, but in the Golden Age, he used to sport his tuxedo all around down, shufflefooting on high society dancefloors and getting grapefruits shmushed in his face by toothpick-chewing toughs. Alan Scott, engineer/broadcaster, stank of privilege, and his replacement, Hal Jordan, spent half his conscious hours in a white dinner jacket doing the samba with society swells.

Jay Garrick? Successful (if somewhat clumsy) chemist. Ted Knight? Never seen without a tuxedo and a nearby manservant. Ollie Queen? Wealthy gadabout.

But, somehow, somewhen, the world changed. NASCAR became a "sport"; poker became a spectator event on television; Las Vegas became acceptable; Target & Wal-Mart supplanted Saks & Bloomingdales. Men stopped wearing hats in the streets and started wearing them in restaurants. Women turned in their high heels for sneakers. Ties were replaced by bluetooths and gowns by jeans. People no longer aspire to higher class, but struggle to maintain a lower- class facade, no matter what their finances.

Back in the day, Carter Hall was an archeologically-oriented sophisticate; Ted Grant was a medical student, then a wealthy celebrity. Nowadays, Carter is some sort of barely restrained savage and Ted Grant is some beer-swilling Wolverine-lite, and a reader can only assume that criminals can literally smell either one of them from a block away.

Was it the younger generation's fault? Nowadays, people are permitted to call themselves college graduates who should be secretaries and chaffeurs, and, in any previous decade, would have been. But, Roy and Dick, wards of millionaires, never went to college? Donna Troy? Wally West? Kyle Rayner? Slackers, hanging out at coffee shops, instead of hitting the books. And don't get me STARTED on Jack Knight... The main next generation hero I'm certain went to college? Helena Bertinelli -- gangster's daughter.

In Gilbert & Sullvan's The Gondoliers, the Grand Inquisitor sings the story of king who promoted everyone in his domain, so that he would not be the only person enjoying wealth and privilege. The end result? Once the marks of privilege became commonplace, people disdained them, and sought out the styles and delights of the underprivileged.

That's the world we live in now. Our comic books reflect it.