Saturday, December 16, 2006

Criminal Genius

Okay, I can honestly say that didn't --and wouldn't have-- occurred to me.

Gotta go to the store and check this out. Better take a flamethrower.

You know.

Just in case.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Hating Looker: A Full-Time Job


Looker, Looker, Looker.

You know, I'm really hard-pressed to imagine what one could do to make "Jean Grey knockoff" character like Looker worse.

Secret magical heritage from an underground kingdom (with a pun-based name, of course)? Powers activated by Halley's friggin comet? Name that rhymes with "hooker"? Career as a model? Violently aggressive eyeshadow that would embarrass a drag queen? Costumes that would embarrass a 30th century prostitute? Severe vanity, enslavement to the idealized female body image, and general offensiveness to women?

A bow?

Oh, I know! She needs a connection to some trite overused but completely unrelated monster mythos; let's make her a vampire.

According to the Comic Treadmill, Mike Barr wanted Looker's origin to read like a pulp adventure. Wow. Given that, I have to upgrade Barr. I used to think he had Olympic-level "Missing the Mark" abilities; now I realize that they were, in fact, superhuman "Missing the Mark" abilities, far beyond those of ordinary men.

Is it any wonder Batman left the title immediately after her origin arc? "I'm going back to Gotham, " Batman was heard to say, "where people like this are my enemies, not my allies."

Looker, at least, gave us One Shining Moment, when she was blown up by Breach in Infinite Crisis; I laughed so hard, milk came out my nose, which was surprising since I wasn't drinking any at the time.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, Exhibit 19 in the People v. Enemy of Society Mike W. Barr: Hooker, the Girl Gift Wrap.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Hating Katana

Oh, how could one not hate poor Katana? By pitying her, I suppose...

She's clearly one of those characters from those parlor games they play at DC's annual Klordny Party. You know, where the editors point at a writer and artist standing together at the punch bowl and say: "A new character! Female hero! Thirty seconds! Go!"

"Quickly, Jim!" the writer says knowing well enough when to use adverbs. "Draw one of those clay Chinese guard statues."

"Heroic red and yellow?"
the artist mumbles, lurching for his sketchpad.

the writer agrees, "just give her .... a sword. A big shiny sword."

"Wht yr gnna c'l ur, M'k?" the artists asks, gripping a yellow pencil between his teeth.

"Let's see, a sword ..." mutters the writer. "KATANA! We'll call her Katana, after her weapon! And she'll be a Japanese martial artist with ties to the Yakuza and a trained samurai with twins and an ancient mystical sword that itself has an evil twin..."

"5 seconds left!"

"Hey, wait," the artist says, "Is this a Chinese costume or Japanese?" The writer hisses back, "I dunno, just superimpose a Japanese flag motif, who cares? Besides, it's not like they're going to actually --"


Star Sapphire's new costume does not make me believe in sexism in comics; but the Outsiders does. In the Outsiders, the previously established characters were all guys and were pretty cool: Batman, Black Lightning, and blue blazing Metamorpho. The women were all newly thrown together, slapdash, stock characters: Little Blonde Girl with Rainbow Powers! Kick-ass Samurai Asian Chick! Ugly Girl Who Wants to be Pretty and Thereby Control Men!

You know, I really have to be grateful for the Outsiders. I never really understood what the kids mean by "lame", until I started Hating the Outsiders Week. The Outsiders are a pretty good demonstrative definition of "lame" and they are helping me develop operational ones too. For example, "If you are named after your weapon, or vice versa, then you are lame."

And, no, Green Lantern doesn't count; it's Power Ring who is lame.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Captain Marvel Sex Facts!

Cap's a catch.And even E. Nelson Bridwell knows it.

Cap's a bottom.Or likes to boost Junior's self-esteem.

Billy's an easy mark.Or a good actor.

Cap is chub-friendly.But kind of demanding.

Cap likes animals.
A lot.

Billy visits prisoners.
They appreciate it.

Cap's really into vegetables.And vice versa.

Cap's sex life is strange.
But there's stranger.

Hating Black Lightning and Metamorpho?

Okay, I have to confess: I don't hate Black Lightning and Metamorpho.

But I do hate what the Outsiders did to them.

They were originally cool (well, in Metamorpho's case, bizarre). They actually were outsiders. Metamorpho, like Captain Marvel, pretty much existed in a world all his own (the Haneyverse, don't you know). Black Lightning was a real "street-level" hero, when most heroes were busy battling against Mordru or the Construct. And they were legendary for being the Guys Who Turned Down Membership in the JLA.

But, naturally, they fairly leapt at the chance to join *snort* "the Outsiders". Now, that, folks, is how to lose your street cred in record time.

Of course, a hard look at their secret identities helps none. Metamorpho is, in fact, Rex Mason, a wealthy, debonair, jet-setting adventurer with an insanely devoted, gorgeous, heiress girlfriend and powers that render him virtually indestructible. Black Lightning is, in fact, Jefferson Pierce, an Olympic gold medalist in the decathalon and high school educator.

Yep. Them's some "outsiders", huh.

Thanks to the Outsiders, Black Lightning, instead of fighting drug dealers in the streets of his hometown, was out defending ... a foreign country. A European foreign country. A monarchic European foreign country. As outsiders so often do. And Metamorpho, instead of living his incomparable swinging life, became hired muscle for Latveria Lite.

Yeah, I hated what the Outsiders did to Black Lighting and Metamorpho.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hating Halo

There are nine levels in Hell and, in each, you are greeted by Halo, wearing a different costume.

Halo, for those of you blessed by ignorance of her, was a member of "the Outsiders". Because nothing says "outsider" like teenage blondes with rainbow-striped hair and a skating outfit.

Why did the editor not stop this monstrosity? Oh, that's right; the editor was Len Wein. Can't you hear the pitch? "It's Rainbow Raider meets Kitty Pride! It's Rainbow Brite meets Jade! It's Color Kid meets Amethyst!"

It's head meets hammer is what it is. If I'd been there, I'd have worn my Punisher T-shirt and there would have been no survivors.

Halo is an underage re-animated corpse with amnesia. Let's just call that Strike One.

Strike Two: Halo's origin involved not one but two moronic Mike W. Barr homonym-based characters: Syonide and the Aurakles. Didn't I hear them play at Ladies Night at the Black Cat on 14th St.?

It is axiomatic that homonymous characters are stupid. They are based on rhyming, which appeals to the lowest levels of literate humor (naturally, there are lower levels of humor that are subliterate, such as Bodily Function -based humor). Rhyming is for children, who delight in discovery familar sound patterns as they acquire language; nursery rhymes, Dr. Suess, the poetry of Maya Angelou. Nothing in comics is stupider than the "rhyming demon" shtick that poor Etrigan got stuck with. I mean, how bad is it when I feel pity for a Jack Kirby character?

Strike Three: Halo has a spectrum of powers, one for each color of the rainbow. I dare you to say that to non-comic book reader without being embarrassed. I dare you to say that out loud without being embarrassed.

Color-coordinated kryptonite?
Okay, that makes some sense; I mean, sapphires and rubies are kind of like that. Color-coordinated emotional spectra and the Green Lanterns' "necessary impurity"? Um... well, marginal, but I'll buy it in a broad metaphorical way. Actual color-based powers including the Purple Ray of Unhealing as wielded by a woman named "Violet"? Shoot me now, then subscribe me to Power Pack and G.I. Joe.

Note that I've reached three strikes just instrinsic to her character; I haven't even touched on what she's actually like or her storyline. I may do that at some later date, but only after consultation with my physician.

I'd really like to try to explain to you how much I hate Halo, but I only know about 7 or 8 languages, which means I don't know nearly enough words to attempt the task. The League of Halo-Haters; The Halo Revenge Squad; The Legion of Halo's Doom; I belong to them all.

Here's how much I hate Halo. Some poor mad fool has made a Halo custom Heroclix figure (no doubt as part of his craft therapy at The Home). One of you self-styled Halo-lovers better buy it soon, or in a month or so, I will buy it and set it on my windowsill under a magnifying glass to watch it slowly melt away, as a sort of a Christmas gift to myself...!

So act now; save Halo, save the world.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Outsiders Week!

In the spirit of Yuletide, I'd like to devote this week to


Even though a week is clearly not enough time for that... .

There are so many crimes against comics for which Enemy of Society Mike W. Barr should be tried, but creating the Outsiders is the one that should get him the chair. Once that's done, they should turn the current on again for about another twenty minutes just to make the corpse twitch. Hey; I'd watch that on YouTube; Pay Per View, even!

My reasons for detesting the "Outsiders" are both manifest and manifold. Even more than "the NEW Teen Titans", they were a loose grouping of ersatz characters cobbled together in the Marvel mold. "Fear us for we are a rough and tumble bunch of ass-kicking rebels! We have contempt for authority just like you young people! We are McBain, a loose-cannon cop who doesn't play by the rules! We are ... OUTSIDERS!"

No, my dears, you are not. The Doom Patrol are outsiders; you know, the freaky kids in high school who wind up founding software companies, opening art galleries, dying in gutters, or moving to Montevideo to do all three. You are surburban Catholic-school girls, toying with dark mark-up and calling yourself "naughty" because you let a boy get to first base without knowing his last name. The Doom Patrol is a group of people who have been labelled as outsiders by others; you are people trying to label yourselves as outsiders. So unsure and insecure about what you are that you need to define yourselves by what you are not.

This is a group that actually called themselves the Outsiders. Now that is what I believe the kids today would call "lame". Oh, and they were founded by *snicker* Batman. Now, it's funny enough when Marvel tries to portray Wolverine (who's in every third Marvel comic) as an outsider. I mean, at least he smokes cigars, wears leather, has funny hair, and drops the 'g's from present participles. But Batman ... ?!

Hey, Batman! I've got some snapshots of you in my photo album wherein you are:

  • chatting with Mr. Barnabas on Batman Island!
  • selling war bonds!
  • piloting the Batsubmarine!
  • testifying in court!
  • answering a summons from your personal searchlight on police headquarters!
  • racing against Willie Von Dort!
  • founding yet another version of the JLA!
  • performing a tracheotomy on a baby with a ping pong ball lodged in its throat!
  • giving your silent stamp of approval to some new hero in issue 3 of their new soon-to-be-cancelled title!

I like my Batman fairly dark, you know. But I'm still not going to pretend that Batman, even at his darkest, is an "outsider" in any meaningful sense of the word, and a credulity-straining tiff with his colleagues in the Justice League won't be changing my mind. Batman's not a naif; he knows that the JLA's job isn't to do everything it can everywhere, but to deal with things that no one else can when it's necessary to do so.

So Batman goes off in a huff and forms a group called "the Outsiders"? Ridiculous. How come the only consistently mature versions of any of DC characters are in its animated line, which is theoretically made for kids? Children get DC icons that act like adults, but we adults get DC icons that act like children. Maybe it's supposed to be comic book irony.

The "Outsiders", as you would expect from a rebellious outsider group, had a high-tech HQ and a VTOL jet, connections with old world royalty, at least one member who's a model, and lived in a "real" city (or rather, Los Angeles). Did DC pay Marvel royalties for the Outsiders? That check should go out every week in the mail right after the ones to Siegel & Shuster.

You know what might have worked for me instead? You know what might have at least been funny?

"Green Arrow and the Outsiders"
; because he's just that kind of jackass.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Now, I know a lot of people don't care about Heroclix, and a lot of people don't care about Aquaman, so I guess this post is for those tasteful few who care about both.

So, please, I beg you, if any of you appreciate them, intend to use them, or are even simply amused by them, let me know. A good deal of work goes into such things, and nothing is worse than the dead silence of "no comments" on such on blogpost.

I've long threatened to produce marine animal pogs (or, as I prefer to think of them, "fishclix") to serve as Aquaman's finny friends in Heroclix games. They're actually much handier than you'd think, at first. The main problem with the Aquaman heroclix figures is their lack of range (oh, if only someone would give him his water balls!).

The fishclix help because they can run interference as self-sacrificing blockers who keep opponents from picking off Aquaman at a distance, allowing him to sneak up and clobber his foes at close quarters.

And they're cheap as dirt! They each cost fewer than 10 points, so it's easy to sprinkle a few --or even a lot -- on any Aquaman team.

Note that each of these piscatorial pogs has the Aquaman symbol at its apex. That's the 'finny friends' ability! It gives them Aquatic movement and, as long as Aquaman remains on the board, they have Willpower & Battle Fury (because they're being controlled by Aquaman, of course).

Notice also that most of them have the JLA Team Ability, which allows them to move without using up any of your allotted actions for the turn. That's important if you want to put a bunch of them on your team.

As for their individual powers, a short trip to the aquatic encyclopedia (as well as H's Finny Friends Compendium) provided guidance. Many fish have natural disguise and evasion capabilities, which I chose to represent variously with Stealth, Deflection, Shape Change, and Supersenses. They are born "blockers", perfect for guarding the King of the Sea.

Poisonous fish like the Scorpionfish get Poison, unless, like jellyfish, they can reach out and touch someone. The shy squid gets Smoke Cloud, which he can use to help out his stealthing companions, but the bold octopus will also use his Elasticity to tie up your opponents. Bioluminescent lanternfish help you see better underwater so they have the Police Team Ability, which improves the ranged attack values of adjacent friends.

More fishclix are possible, of course. Which ones would you want?