Thursday, May 31, 2007

My New Art

I'm the proud new owner of some artwork by Patrick Gleeson.

This one is, of course, the crowning jewel: it's the first page of the Pfeiffer run on Aquaman. You know ... the one that had Aquaman in it.

That alone would make it worthwhile, regardless of what it was a picture of. But it's a dead floating panda. Not only is that one of the most brilliantly synoptic images in comics that's been created during my lifetime, it is a perfect example of the appropriate use of silent panels and cinematic technique (which I've railed against when they are used for decompression). Besides, like any true Washingtonian, I harbor a secret, seething hatred of all things panda.

This next one is another masterpiece of comic book illustration, where words are not necessary; it's the first view of the new coastline of San Diego.

Note how the panels "pan out" in subject, from the intimate loss of a single loved one to the vast scope of the entire disaster. Oh, Sub Diego, we hardly knew ye.

The third may not impress you much, "why, it's mostly some fish in panels without the background filled in!" Ah, but it's one of my favorite comic book pages of all time, in its subtlety and power. Yep, it's just fish swimming in an aquarium in their usual random way. That is, until the last panel, where they are suddenly facing the same way. Toward to the sea. Toward Aquaman. Who's coming.

It's enormously creepy and a reminder of how scarily powerful Aquaman is; he's not a mere force of nature, he's a force over nature. He tosses around the biosphere like Batman would a batarang.

The final one doesn't have the same kind of simple power as the others, but it's a marvelous example of the use of different visual ranges to tell a story and the use of different spaces to contextualize the images with one another. Besides, it's got both Lorena and Koryak.

I'm still trying to figure out where to display these in my house and which (if any!) should be at the DC Big Monkey store.

I think the dead floating panda one will just go over my bed.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Groovy Chick Month 11: Mrs. Thirteen

If Daphne from Scooby-Doo lived in the DCU, whom would she grow up to marry?

Dr. Thirteen!

Marie Thirteen is today's groovy chick. Dr. Thirteen may be somewhat unprepossessing, but, his wife? Va-va-va-voom!

This is how she looks when suddenly awakened by a strange noise in a spooky house.
How does she walk in that thing?

Intelligent and independent, she's also every bit the ghostbreaker her husband is.

Nor is she your typical damsel-in-distress. Here she is breaking a large vase on the head of an extraterrestrial invader; yes, really.

Marie Thirteen--Vasebreaker!

And she's a lusty woman, not afraid of her needs! Here she is hungrily eyeing Dr. Thirteen's butt:

Terry, is that a table leg, or are you just happy to see me?

She seems to have passed away at some point (due to "magic-related causes"), it's still a bit vague whether she was Traci Thirteen's biological mother or what. It's quite hard to picture her living in "Hell's Heart, Washington D.C.'s worst neighborhood" (*snicker*). I am SO sure.

It doesn't make much sense to me, but then again, she lives in universe where no one questions Hawkman's continuity. Still, such a groovy chick, central to backstory of two such interesting characters as Terry and Traci Thirteen, deserves a better, fuller end-story.

I wish some writer would tell it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


THE FIRST BIG MONKEY COMICS PODCAST is now available on line!

Thank you for your suggested "Do's and Don't's"; they were very helpful and we did our best to follow them. I hope you enjoy the show, because we certainly had fun doing it. Please be merciful with your feedback (it is our first attempt at such a thing and we hope to improve).

Once Ben figures out how to set up "the RSS feed", it will also available on what my grandchildren call "the I-Tunes" so you can listen to it on something called "the I-Pod". If you know how to do that, please go tell him.

The podcast features some bloggers you just may have heard of before:

Our topics are the current writing on JLA, Marvel's 50 State Initiative, and Decompression in Modern Comics Writing. Any topics you'd like to see us discuss on future podcasts? Just write Ben and let him know.

This podcast was easy for us to arrange because conversations like this go on all the time at Big Monkey (and I mean ALL the time). Please join us at Big Monkey, where the Conversation About Comics is non-stop fun!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Shocking Revelation

I am such an idiot. I can't believe Brad fooled me like this! And please forgive me if you figured this out already yourself.

But I didn't figure it out until this morning.

The Legionnaires aren't in the present to resurrect Lightning Lad.

They are here to someone else entirely, using lightning.

Someone who helps New Earth discover Earth One (the Bronze Age version of Earth); someone who will in the near future make it possible for New Earth and Earth One to team up to (somehow) preserve the version of the 31st Century that these Legionnaires call home. That's why they had to come to the past.

In fact, Lightning Lad is surely the final member of their team and should arrive any issue now; he's probably the source of the lightning they use in their resurrection scheme, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if he loses his arm in the process.

It's the only thing answer that puts all the puzzle pieces into place, including why retailers have been encouraged to double their orders on an upcoming issue of a particular comic.

Nice one, Brad; very, very nice. I owe you one.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Great Things

The new "GOON" shirt that's now available from Big Monkey's on-line store, in a wide variety of colors to match any supervillain's outfit.


Best thing I've found at Wikipedia for a long time comes from the entry on Tyroc.

Scream effects

Among the screams in Tyroc's arsenal:


Jon's new sidebar item over at Facedown in the Gutters.


Heh. Heh heh. Speaking of Jon, he was part of the Big Monkey podcast last weekend; it was great to have him there, except we kept breaking up every time he said, "I write Facedown in the Gutters". Well, that would explain a great many things, Jon...

The new "Duo Character" figures that will coming out in the summer Heroclix sets.

"Duo Characters
A character with the attack symbol
is a duo character. Duo characters may
not be carried and have the Duo Attack
special ability.
DUO ATTACK (optional):
Give the character a power
action to make a duo attack. It makes two separate
attacks against opposing characters as free actions
(making two separate attack rolls). These attacks
may be close combat attacks, or ranged combat
attacks with a single target. Resolve the first attack
before making the second; the character’s damage
value is modified by –1 for the second attack, to a
minimum damage value of 1. If the character is KOd
as a result of the first attack in a duo attack, the
second attack is not made."

We don't know yet who might be on such dials, but it's interesting to speculate! I hope it's used to make generics (say, GOONS) with a little more utility.


Blockade Boy has gone back to weekday posting. Thank god.


My new SUB DIEGO heroclix map, which came in the mail this week from Xion! It's subtastic! Thanks again to Kyle Latino for designing it; Kyle, all water-breathers thank you.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Just for you, Hal!

Who says I don't like Hal Jordan?!

I made him Power Battery pogs to recharge him during Heroclix games. I've had custom Heroclix made of some of his good friends, like Black Hand, Dr. Polaris, and Sonar. Why, I even gave him a heavy yellow lamp!

But some people are never satisfied, and fans of Hal are at the top of that list. So I wanted to make Hal some special bystande
rs tokens, something to really enliven his Heroclix game, to bring meaning to his play.

Ah! I have just the thing!

And using the Green Lantern Team Ability....

he can juggle EIGHT of them at a time!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Groovy Chick Month 10: Cassandra Craft

Okay, put on your thinking cap: without knowing anything about her at all, who is automatically, conceptually, by definition the grooviest chick in the entire DCU?

Why, the Phantom Stranger's girlfriend, of course. I mean, Julius H. Schwartz, I feel special just because I'm in the guy's extended network, and she's his GIRLFRIEND.

She's the girlfriend of the Phantom Stranger, who could have any man, woman, or mythical construct he wanted. And she just gets groovier from that point on, if such a thing is possible.


She rescued the Phantom Stranger after he got mugged on New York subway and nursed him back to health. And she was smart enough to know to leave his gloves on, because if you take them off, the multiverse ends. Happened once, in 1985, I think.

Oh, and, yes, he really did get mugged on the subway. Mystically mugged, mind you, but mugged nonetheless.


And tough enough to survive simultaneous attacks by Dracula and Frankenstein's monster. She's also psychic. Not a "the Padres will win this year" kind of psychic. A "I know certain things when I need to know them" kind of psychic. Would you expect any less of the Phantom Stranger's girlfiend?

If you're wondering how any mortal could possibly gaze upon the full glory of the Phantom Stranger naked (well ... except for the gloves) and survive, well ... she can, because she's blind. Hence the pink outfit.

Her own grooviness is the only fashion accessory she needs. Although in Grant Morrison's Zatanna miniseries (issue 2) she's wearing the Phantom Stranger's medallion.

Just let that sink in.

The Phantom Stranger

That's Cassandra Craft. Here she is sassing the friggin' Phantom Stranger when he tries to pull his "I walk a path none should follow" routine.

Wait -- did she just call a man in an opera cape and fedora ridiculous?

"What? Like I'm going to stay here rather than traipse off to a desert in Egypt with a weirdly dressed nameless guy I found unconscious last night in a subway station?
What kind of a wuss do you take me for, Mister?!"

I've read lots of comics and most of the ones that have the Phantom Stranger in them. In all of that, I can think of only five characters who've ever sassed the Phantom Stranger and lived to tell about it: The Spectre, Darkseid, Eclipso, Dr. Thirteen, and Cassandra Craft. That's might impressive company.

There are none so blind as those who will not see the grooviness of Cassandra Craft. If you know her, you love her. And if you love her, you are ...

the Phantom Stranger.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Things That Made Me Happy...

in my comics this week.

  • The patented Sneaky Legion Fakeout that Mark Waid pulled; nice one.
  • Robin. Robin is so cool. Robin is, oddly, both more accessible than Batman yet still more terrifying. When Batman goes spooky it's creepy, but when Robin does it, it's FREAKY, because he's a kid.
  • The cover of Wonder Woman 9, featuring Chang and Eng Bunker in drag!
  • Batman's firm grasp of metaphor in WW9.
  • Was Birds of Prey a fabulous free-for-all of face-smashing fun, or what?
  • Whoa; Tora wakes up grumpy. Break out the ice coffee.
  • I think I'm going to start saying, "DARK VENGEANCE! SSSSS!" every time I get into a comic book argument. Or in line at CVS.
  • Usually I'm not fan of splash pages, but the mind-blowing page 2/3 of Countdown totally deserved it.
  • Good lord, 'the History of the Multiverse' actually made sense and was accessible to new readers; Siegel be praised!

Advise me about comic book podcasting, please!

This Thursday evening, I'm participating in my first "podcast" (I think that's what the kids call it nowadays; we used to call it "ray dee oh").

I'm joining Devon of Seven Hells, Ben of Those Wednesdays, Jonnie of Jon Hex Lives, and Jon of Facedown in the Gutters. I fully expect brain-lightning to crackle out of the skulls of these unstoppable rampaging man-children, kind of like Validus's family reunion.

Meanwhile, I've listened to some of them there "podcasts" that other people have done, and it certainly has generated a list of do's and don'ts in my own electroblasting brain. But you have more experience in this medium, so I'm asking you:


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

To Inmate #374002

Dear Lex,

Hey, I got your letter; the robot carrier pigeon you constructed out of spare parts from the warden's old VHS player arrived yesterday.

Wouldn't miss your birthday party for the world; count me in! As for my suggestions, well, you asked for it, here goes...

Kryptonite disco ball

I think that'll make it easier for all of us to relax, don't you?

The fireworks rocket with your head on the top?
Definitely! I mean, it was a big hit at the Legion of Doom Reunion!

Your "pizza storm" idea
does sound cool;
just make sure Pengy brings enough umbrellas for everyone.

I'm up for the Living Hot Dogs from Planet Bollparc (remember how much fun they were during the pantie raid on Beta Omega Pi, LOL?)...

but I have a suggestion on the condiments!
Red kryptonite ketchup. Heh. Heh heh.

K-balloons, if you've still got some.
Tom Morrow says he can make an android to blow them up for you.

Devil's food cake? Yes. But NO ICE CREAM! Remember what happened last time...
Besides, ice cream isn't really, you know, evil.

Oh, and, I know it's none of my business, but...
I wouldn't invite that reporter lady from your carpool, even though she is a babe.

Let me know if you need me to bring beer,dude!

B. Manta

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Groovy Chick Month 9: Nurse Lea Tauntsalot

You say you want a "naughty nurse"? Have I got the woman for you...!

I've spoken about this particular groovy chick before, during my encomium of Captain Storm. She's the woman who nursed him back to health with her own brand of "tough love", Nurse Lea Tauntsalot.

Okay, okay ... her last name isn't really "Tauntsalot". Like Lois's black roommate, Lea doesn't get a last name. Frankly, that's probably for the best. Given that she's Hawaiian, and in a comic book, her name is probably something like "Kamanawanaflaya".

Lea's grooviness comes not from trendy clothes or fighting skills. It comes entirely from her ability to wield her domineering personality to crush brave warriors without even raising her hand. Well, and the crisp white nurse's uniform is pretty snazzy.

How groovy is Lea? Propriety, convention, professionalism -- these are as nothing to her. When met with her Fire of Ancient Hawaiian Kings Who Battled Unknown Seas (tm), nothing remains of them except charred embers, baby.

It's her first day on the job. He is her first patient. Captain Storm is to be the first recipient of the gentle kindness of Nurse Lea. Soon she will crush his spirit under her iron will; then she make him her sex toy. Why? Because that's what physical therapists do, baby ... when driven by the Fire of Ancient Hawaiian Kings Who Battled Unknown Seas (tm)

"Those who are tardy do not get fruit-cup!"

"Do you want me or do you just want to lie there and 'daydream' with your 'wooden leg', Lieutenant?" And Captain Storm begs for less bondage, more discipline! "Wait-- please..?" Oh, it's immediately, pathetically clear: it's a match made in Hell! She forces him to earn her "love" by enduring an endless series of humiliating tasks designed to break his spirit and make him her love-toy.

"Dance for my amusement, my little one-legged monkey; dance!"

"You're not a man; you're not even a little girl!
Little girls can play hopscotch!"

"Higher! I want you to fall as far as possible when your arms finally give out,
so your pain will be that much greater as I laugh
over the broken marionette of your shattered body!"

"Crawling on all fours like the dog you are!"
Who knew there were graduate schools in nursing on Apokolips?

"Blessed Kameamea, I can't stifle the laughter any more! I've broken his spirit so completely-- ah, the laughter, it's bursting from my eyes and flowing down my cheeks...!"

"mmmmWell, I was asleep,
until you woke me up again, you sadistic witch. Kiss me!"

Here she comes a-taunting, with her smile of sick delight!

"Why, you're my little prize, Bill! But you're weak; you can't handle it all. You can't 'man my battle stations' 24 hours a day, Bill, and that's what I want, that's what I demand. You're weak, Bill, and you're going to crack. And when you do you'll lose me, because I despise your weakness, Little Billy Spankypants. In fact, I'm turning away right now. I may be leaving you right now, Bill...!"

You know, with that flower in her hair, she becomes nursing's version of Niecy Nash. She's so cruel, in fact, that, apparently, she changes her name to Wanda for no reason at all.

Maybe it's just to confuse Captain Storm, so that when he calls her by the wrong name, she can give him a tongue-lashing: "Simpering sissy! You must call me 'Wanda' now! And your name is now Billy Spankypants. Speak, Billy; SPEAK MY NAME!"

Perhaps the writers themselves became afraid of her, and changed her name lest they accidentally say "Lea Tauntsalot" three times in a row, and bring her monstrous self from her world into ours.

So, why does Captain Storm endure it? Well, obviously, it takes all kinds. But besides that, Nurse Tauntsalot is HOT AND SAUCY!

DANG! Well, now we know why she stays with him!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Retcon tee shirt

Why We Love the Phantom Stranger

Because this is not out of character for him.

52 Fixes

I was happy to note in the final issue of 52 that Rip Hunter was going to check on whether anything in the past of New Earth had changed as a result of Mr. Mind depredations.

Let's hope so. DC's already quickly and subtly put both Black Canary and Wonder Woman in the original JLA.

I can think of a few things that deserve to be fixed or eliminated. At least, 42 of them, in fact; I ask you to supply the remaining ten!

1. Donna Troy. Please, DC, stop trying to be so metatextual with Donna. If there must be a Donna Troy, keep it simple. Hippolyta wanted a sister for Diana, and the gods let her make one; end of subject.

2. Jason Todd. Let's just say Jason, who was older when he was Robin than we remember, survived his brush with 900 numbers, retired from Robinhood, then got ticked and came back when he found out Batman had gotten a new Robin.

3. The Rolling Heads of Ganglords. While you're taking the cosmic whiteout to Jason's past, make sure you dab the scene where Jason brings a duffel bag of severed heads as trophies to a gang meeting. If you want to use him as a "Black Sheep" hero, that's fine, but we don't really need heroes (in the DCU) who kill people and cut off their heads.

4. Hush. You don't really need me to explain that, do you?

5. Aquaman. It occurs to me I may have mentioned this one before. This is about the third reality-altering event in the last few years to provide a perfect opportunity to return Aquaman to a version recognizable to the public, both in appearance, powers, and behavior. You blew it the last couple times; don't blow it again.

6. Lex Luthor. If there's any concrete reason that Luthor's presidency needs to remain in continuity, I can't think of what it might be. Let's go right from CEO Luthor to Project Everyman Luthor to Mad Scientist on the Loose Luthor and leave it at that.

7. Black Lightning. Let's lose "Education Secretary" Pierce, Dead Niece, and Young Adult Daughter Who Sprung Full Grown from the Head of Judd Winick. While you're at it, consider losing the Head of Judd Winick as well.

8. The Joker. I think we could all struggle along just fine without having to remember Last Laugh.

9. Bizarro. Likewise Emperor Joker. Stick with the simple and more traditional "failed clone of Superman" backstory. It's more consistent with his usual portrayals anyway.

10. The Slab. Almost forgot, Last Laugh is what moved the Slab to Antarctica. Either (a) forget about "the Slab" entirely (b) re-place it wherever it originally was.

11. Gorilla Grodd. I have no idea what writer was stupid enough to change Gorilla Grodd into a carnivorous primitive generic monster, but he's already cashed his check, so let's just forget it happened and move on.

12. Catwoman. Most people ignore the absurd, insulting, and out of character idea that the freaking Catwoman was ever a prostitute. Let's just make that official policy, shall we?

13. Knightfall. Really. What would it hurt for this whole thing to have happened on some other earth? We can forget Bane, Azrael, and Shondra Kinsolving in one fell swoop; I find that an irresistible trifecta.

14. Obsidian Age. No one understood it, no one liked it, and it didn't do anything.

15. Millenium Giants. See "14. Obsidian Age".

16. Booster Gold. I think we can all agree that remembering that Booster saved President Ronald Reagan from assassination is no longer in our best interests. Same with his sister, "Goldstar".

17. Extreme Justice. I mean, who's going to argue against that? Dan Vado? The Wonder Twins Fan Club?

18. "Slideways" and "the Kitchen". After all, why waste any time?

19. Black Canary. Let's put "Dinah gets raped and has her throat cut" in the same trash bin as "Dinah dates Ra's Al Ghul and falls in the Lazarus Pit". Then we can all be happy.

20. The Sea Devils. The Sea Devils are not, and have never been, environmental terrorists; the Sea Devils are, as everyone knows, superior beings. Have them be just as they originally were, but hosting an underwater "Josh Bernstein" style adventure series on TV. Because you know they know how to work the camera!

21. Plastic Man. No, not his illegitimate son; Fernus. Send Fernus to the furnace, wrapped in, well, pretty much anything else Joe Kelly's written for DC. This one, by the way, works well with forgetting Emperor Joker (#9), which is what gave us "Scorch".

22. Vibe's death. I mean, can't we just say he got really really sick for a while? Please?

23. The Sword of the Atom. I'll say more on this later. A lot more. But let's just keep "Ray and Jean break up" and jettison the part about the Littles living in the Amazon jungle.

24. Lana Lang. Oh, where to start. Lana is pretty much a one-person generator of Stories That Need to Be Retconned/ Erased by Hypertime / Punched by Superboy / Eaten by Mister Mind. Starboy; Insect Queen; Lana the Manhunter; Conduit. Those are all safely gone, so let's send Mrs. Pete Ross, Vice-President and President Ross, little baby Clark Ross, and Luthorcorp CEO Lang to join them. Lana is most meaningful when she symbolizes the wonderful small-town life that Clark had to give up in order to be Superman.

25. Wonder Woman. Bana-Mighdall, and all that that implies (including Artemis The '90s Extreme Wonder Woman).

26. Green Lantern. At this point, is there any really reason to keep the "Hal Conquers the Universe/ Becomes the Spectre" baggage? Corrigan died and the Spectre created trouble before finding a new host. Pretend Hal got killed by Sinestro or a falling ceiling tile or venereal disease. Or never died at all.

27. Green Arrow. Oh, yeah, and Green Arrow, too. Connor Hawke isn't worth screwing up with Ollie's age/timeline. No, really; he's not. He's just part of the failed '90s experiment of replacing Silver/Bronze Age characters with Iron Age hipsters. It's enough to show that Ollie's a jerk every time he opens his mouth and give him an ex-prostitute for a kid sidekick; he doesn't need an ex-junkie ward, an illegitimate son he intentionally ignored, and Kevin Smith's revivification of Ollie Queen that managed to "rape our childhood" by turning Stanley & His Monster is a typical Alan Moore/Vertigo tale of incestuous child molestation/satanic worship.

28. Red Arrow. Speedy was hooked on cocaine for ONE ISSUE, people, thirty years ago. "Beloved" as that atrocious story is supposed to be, it's crippled the character ever since. Brad Meltzer can force real JLAers to say how wonderful he is every issue, but he'll never be more than the Drug Addict Leaguer as long as that story remains in continuity.

29. Hawk & Dove. Not just the two female ones; the previous versions, too. Vietnam, the Lord of Order & Chaos, Monarch ... face it, folks, everything they touch goes straight to Heck.

30. Matrix Supergirl / Australian Alexander Luthor/ They Stole Luthor's Brain. Sure, it was fun while it lasted, but it seems to already be out of continuity or part of a general consensus of silence.

31. Brainiac. This one's rather a mess, so everyone's left it alone for quite a well. But we could have our cake and eat it, too, I think: Brainiac is a renegade Coluan genius who augmented his intelligence by incorporating AI directly onto his skull, and has lost his humanity (or "coluanity", I guess) as a result. This works with his three main character points: "freaky alien collector", "evil computer", and "ancestor of Brainiac 5".

32. Kyle Rayner. I like Kyle; I have always liked Kyle. He's sexy, fun, clever at using his powers. But he's in the way and his absurd near-deification as Ion is a pig in a dress no matter how they spin it. Kyle; enjoy Earth 8.

33. Leslie Thompkins. I have literally not heard of anyone who approved of "what they did to Leslie Thompkins." If you want her out of the way, let her stay abroad doing missionary work. But let's just say that Spoiler died from her wounds and Leslie wasn't able to save her, despite her best efforts.

34. Captain Marvel. Do we really have to wait until Trials of Shazam is over before we declare it null and void?

35. Nightwing. Okay, it's not really a retcon per se, but I think that "Nightwing" as a brand, is badly damaged (and in many ways, never really flew). Despite the resonance with Kingdom Come/Earth 22 (which I hate), let Dick Grayson become Red Robin. Maybe then writer can write him as Robin Grown Up rather than a confused Marvel-lite member of the Legion of Super-Emos.

36. The New Guardians. I think I'd pay to forget the New Guardians.

37. Primal Force. I'm one of the few people who actually bought and liked Primal Force, the doomed "Shadowpact" of its day. But that time is over now.

38. Hawkman. Hm. That's hard to narrow down, isn't it? Pure confusion eliminates most unpleasantness from Hawkman's backstories already. But Golden Eagle's betrayal of Hawkman was a big waste of the character (and, like everything Hawkman, very confusing). Scratch that.

39. Firestorm. I'm pretty sure there's only one thing I'd change about the current Firestorm: the cancellation of his series.

40. Dr. Thirteen. I don't want a world without Dr. Thirteen in it, and I don't think the Phantom Stranger would either. Making me unhappy is one thing ... but you really want to tick off the Phantom Stranger?

41. The Penguin. Can we ignore all the "Penguin as punching bag" stories? For pete's sake, the Penguin was Burgess Meredith, not Peter Lorre. I want to see him start to kick some tailfeathers.

42. Two-Face. As long as we're forgetting the Hush thing, let's forget Vigilante Dent and the whole clumsy "I'll rip my face open" thing.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Have Faith ... in Science

Heroes of Science (300 pts)

  • Rookie Mr. Terrific (58 pts)
  • Unique Starman (106 pts)
  • Rookie Steel (112 pts)
  • The All-New Atom (24 pts)

For a 400 point version, add
  • Exp. & Vet. Science Police (40 pts total)
  • Rookie Dr. Mid-Nite (43 pts) + TRIAGE (10 pts) and FLASHBANG (5 pts)

A Message to My Finny Friends

If you do not act today, Aquaman will be cancelled, as of #57. This is not a hoax, not a dream, not an imaginary story.

If you are interested in saving it, you may wish to contact DC. I'm not sure exactly how to do that but I'm sure some of you do.

Tad Williams is giving us fun, fast-paced comics that are worth the cover price. And if Didio et al. weren't stopping him, I'm sure he'd bring back the original Aquaman, because (as everyone in the book keeps saying) AJ isn't the real Aquaman.

You know, I wouldn't mind so much if I thought the book being cancelled meant that DC realizes that the new Aquaman was a big dud and that it's time to bring back the real Aquaman with a big splash. But I'm really afraid they will point to this as proof that "Aquaman can't carry his own title".

How YOU react to this news may make the difference.

Excerpts from Comments on Aquamanifesto:

Anonymous said...

I have stopped buying DC (except for Green Lantern and JUSTICE) because of all the pointless changes. Aquaman is just one of many.

Aquaman is more than just a vague concept and a logo. DiDio thinks he is. Same with Atom and everybody else. Well, it's no coincidence that sales are plummeting at a time when half the DCU is a bunch of strangers.

Say what you will about Sub Diego, but it DID feature the "real" Aquaman. And that's what mattered most.

4/27/2007 11:03 PM

thatsthespirit said...

I agree with most everything you wrote, Scipio. Though I do think there's a place for "Silver Agey" weaknesses. People like Green Lantern are way too close to omnipotent without that weakness to yellow and ceiling tiles.

4/28/2007 12:53 AM

Allan said...

Your's, Mr. Garling, is such a well-written and thought-provoking post that it almost tempts me to buy and then read an Aquaman comic.

4/28/2007 3:43 AM


Jon Hex said...

I liked Aquaman's Sub Diego time mostly because the writer completely forgot about his water hand and just had him be Aquaman, which is pretty badass when you think about it. It was there, the hand, but he never did anything with it. As far as his one hour weakness, I think that is a bit stupid. Maybe just having him be stronger when fully immersed or healing faster in water, but to say he's going to die if he stays out of water for sixty minutes makes it seem like he has to wrap up every problem in fifty eight minutes than jump into a pool.

4/28/2007 5:59 AM

Daniel said...

I'm all for bringing back the real Aquaman. I love the guy, but if they do, I sure hope they don't get rid of Topo. Man, I LOVE that little squid.

4/28/2007 6:28 AM


SallyP said...

I like Aquaman, I always have. I still love the JLA: Year One series with Mark Waid, which has Arthur mumbling in his classic orange and green. I didn't really care for the long hair, beard and harpoon hand.

Let's bring back Aquaman, Barry, Ted Kord AND Wally while we are at it. Heck, they've brought back Ice!

4/28/2007 9:58 AM

Jon said...

Regarding the Dweller/new guy merge thing, I've suspected if something like that wasn't on the cards with the introduction of that Narwhal guy. He seems kinda like the powerful aspects of Aquaman, he seemed right off the bat to be a likely candidate for a merge with the new guy (his "good" aspects), maybe with some Dweller loving thrown in there too. I wish they'd hurry up though.

4/28/2007 6:27 PM

The Mutt said...

Don't TPTB realize that Aquaman is probably the 7th most recognizable comic book character to non-fanboys? (After Hulk and before Archie.)People who have never read a comic in their entire life know who Aquaman is. You'd think that the folks in the merchandising department would be insisting on a return to the Superfriends look.

4/28/2007 7:34 PM

Lui said...

Hear hear.

Great stuff. I agree with everything you've said.

Now if only DC would aswell.

4/28/2007 8:46 PM

Christopher said...

Hooray for Scip!
I love the title and I've always wanted to see Aquaman restored to his original concept-glory. Heck..even Aquaman's villains (e.g., Black Manta) have MORE automatic name recog value than most super heroes!!
I think that Aquaman fits into that cadre of Golden Age DC superheroes, such as Captain Marvel (Shazam), for whom it is difficult to find a way to re-invent or reinvigorate because the original concept is dated and difficult to pin down (and often interpreted differently).
I don't understand those who think that we need MORE moral ambiguity in the DCU. Actual villainous "Bad guys" are the whole POINT of the wonderful black-and-white world of the DCU. If you don't like it...the Marvel side is all about Superheroes killing each other all the time. Do Marvel characters EVEN fight super villains any more??

Aquaman is one of the Golden Age archetypes. Bring him back to his glory done by somebody who loves him. a marine biologist, I would be happy to consult!! There is so MUCH potential....

heh..all this being said, let's be careful what we wish for..we may get it. :-)


4/29/2007 10:39 AM

Caleb said...

A hearty seconds to all your points. It's worth pointing out that from a pure business standpoint, teh Alex Ross version of Aquaman sells like gangbusters (maybe Justice doing so well has to do with the painting or the 900 other superheroes in each issue too, but still, Justice = One of DC's top-sellers, Aquaman: SoA = One of it's worst-sellers.

For the record, I'm a Davidite (and Morrisonite and Rossite) on Aquaman, but I didn't mind the "Sword of Atlantis" angle at first because it seemed like it was temporary and there was a plan in place to bring about a different, more exciting status quo closer to the original concept.

Of course, that was a year and a different writer ago.

4/29/2007 10:44 AM


rachelle said...

I am really enjoying the new Aquaman series, (I mean, the Tad Williams issues), but yeah. I am assuming that one day we will see the real guy again. It's the same reason I enjoy the All New Atom. I read because I know Ray Palmer is going to show up again. But I'm really enjoying the ride in both those comics for now.

4/29/2007 8:14 PM


Scott said...

With regard to the central core of the Aquaman character, I agree with most of your prescription - strong, fast, tough, amphibious, talks to and controls sea life. However, where you say no magical powers should be added, I would add one caveat - they can usefully add direct control over water itself, even if that's conceived of as a magical connection, and not violate the core of the character. I'm not talking 'hard water' creations like Mera and later Tempest used; I'm thinking that everybody remembers the 'water balls' he'd throw in the Filmation cartoon, and they recently reintroduced those for the version of Arthur brought in to guest star on Smallville (I also get the sense that the Smallville AC is using some sort of supercavitation effect to swim so fast - telling the waters to part before him and the waters behind to push him forward, in other words).

And of course, he needs to be heroic and kingly, rather like Alex Ross portrays him, not regal and pissy like another aquatic hero we could mention.

4/30/2007 10:41 AM


ticknart said...

I started reading Aquaman back when McLaughlin wrote the series and I've always found, usually pretty quickly, something to like about each creators take on him, even the Erik Larsen take. I've had a real tough time since the "Sword of Atlantis" stuff happened. I know Williams has only been around for two issues, but he already took away the thing that was my focus to really enjoy the book, and he re-characterized Arthur.

Do I want the original Aquaman back? Yeah, but do you think that someone could punch the walls of reality again to do it?

4/30/2007 10:45 AM


Anonymous said...

Well said!

Now if only DC will listen . . .


4/30/2007 2:14 PM


Rev. O.J. Flow said...

An outstanding piece of writing there, and I agree with you every step of the way. I can't wait until they bring back an Aquaman I can brag about again. :)

5/01/2007 3:58 PM


Carla said...

I'm going to throw in another HELL YES, on the notion that 1) you said everything that needs to be said on the matter clearly and concisely and you're absolutely not, 'fan entitlement' or not. and2) should Mr. Didio see this, he should see scores of positive feedback and know what the right thing to do is.

5/01/2007 6:36 PM

Vincent P Bartilucci said...

1) I want the real Aquaman back, as well. This Arthur Joseph guy isn't cutting it. But, hey, that poser "Orin" didn't really do it for me either. What? That WAS the real Aquaman? Could have fooled me ...

2) Aquaman's Filmation cartoons did indeed rock! They are probably the primary reason Aquaman is my favorite character.

5/04/2007 5:42 PM


Scott said...

Anyway, on the water balls - even if lots of people have never seen the Filmation cartoons, it's clear that the creative minds on Smallville, a reasonably popular TV show and therefore immediately a wider audience than currently exists for most comics, did see them, and took a page from them for their version of Aquaman. He was more than a little too surfer dude, but he's been shown to be able to literally blow Kryptonians out of the water, and easily lay out multiple guards even when not submerged.

5/07/2007 12:28 PM


The Fortress Keeper said...

Well said.

I loved the initial issues of Kurt Busiek's Aquaman because his depiction of the post-IC seascape was fascinating and offered plenty of opportunities for great stories.

(Plus, Sub Diego was still out there ...)

But, you're right. Those stories could have been told with the original Aquaman as well. The "replacement" aspect was ultimately window dressing, a sop to the "heroic journey" so many writers love to use as an excuse to drag iconic characters through the mud.

And when Kurt left the book and his vision ground to a halt, well what was the point of all that in the first place?

So let's bring back the original Aquaman - although I have a feeling something may be in the works considering that Orin's heroic sacrifice was the best thing about World War III.

5/08/2007 1:51 AM