Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Place With No Face

Okay, I've never been invited to the Grand Opening of a website. Until today.

The Vic Sage site opens tomorrow; see you there.

Friday, January 26, 2007

"Because You Demanded It"

I wasn't going to discuss "the image" that everyone is talking about. Usually I pride myself on my irrelevance, and consider the Absorbascon not so much a forum for the comic book issues of the day, but a refuge from them.

But a regular reader has "demanded" my comments on it, and I'm happy to oblige.

To me, it's primarily just a visual representation of the "return" of the multiverse. (another thing readers have been "demanding" for years). It's likely that, as we used to say, "this scene does not appear in this comic!" Still, I don't believe that the mulitverse is going to remain a pure abstraction; surely, we are going to be treated to a trip or two to some other earths.

I don't expect a total undoing of the status quo; most the characters you've feared or hoped might get shipped off to other earths are ones we have already seen on "our" earth, One Year Later. DC has only recently relearned the joy of playing with its entire universe of characters and letting them interact with one another. It seems unlikely and unwise that they would move in the opposite direction.

Therefore, I imagine that the multiverse is intended as a mechanism for increasing the possibility of characters' interaction. Elseworlds might become places that "regular" characters can visit. Readers' ridiculous obsession with the world of Kingdom Come can be indulged on an earth all its own, rather than trying to shoe-horn current continuity into that unpleasant future. Character errors can be fixed more easily, particularly deaths that didn't work out well.

Like Vibe's.

Actually, on the whole, Vibe's death "worked well". It was an exceedingly tragic moment, ennobled by its crudity and pointlessness, rather than being gilded by some puffed up Universe-Saving Sacrifice or Weeping Heroic Multitudes. It was 100 times more real than Barry Allen's "death by apparent desiccation while having my life flash before me and I comment on it". I mean, as real as being strangled by the detached hands of an Ivoid can be.

Readers liked Barry's death because it was so "noble". Huh; dying to save the universe(s) doesn't seem "noble" to me, it just seems like common sense. That didn't move me much. Dying to save a single kid you don't even know (and who just dissed you)? That's noble; that's how Vibe died. It certainly is tragic.

The most similar death I can recall is the last death of Metamorpho, when virtually no one attended his funeral. But even he died sacrificing himself to save his fellow JLAers, not choking to death on a dirty empty street with not a person there.

But this post is not to advocate the Return of Vibe via the multiverse, sorely needed though it is; I mean, everyone knows that needs to happen.

This post is to advocate the Return of Barry Allen.

I don't advocate his return because I'm a big fan of his; I never was, really. All the time I knew of him, he was a boring guy with exceedingly far-fetched adventures based on extremely sketchy "science", pitted against wan, one-dimensional gimmick crooks.

But let's face some facts (at least, as I see them!).

1. His successors as Flash have failed. I'm not talking about their powers or how well they defeated the villain; I mean as characters. Wally showed promise, but it was only fufilled on the JLU animated series. In the comics, he was almost desperately "matured" into less intelligent, lower-class version of Barry, completely losing any of his original charm. Same thing, more or less, happened to Bart. Instead of just giving us faded copies of Barry Allen, why not just give us Barry Allen and be done with it?

2. Don't bother objecting that bringing back Barry Allen would "negate his noble sacrifice". That was over 20 years ago. Besides, it still "happened" to the degree anything in comics does. We've seen Barry again, repeatedly since he died. Barry's death has been milked, well, to death. He's a much more interesting character now; let's take advantage of that!

3. Everybody's doing it. If DC has not been wise enough to avoid mistakes it has at least been wise enough to recognize them afterwards. DC's brought back a host of characters who died, simply because they needed them and we wanted them. So be it. I think it's just fine if publishers want to give readers what they want, just as long as they don't give us what we expect or demand. Ollie Queen and Hal Jordan are not my favorite characters in the world, you know; I've dissed them enormously and repeatedly since they returned. But I'm still glad they're back, because they work in a way there replacements didn't. Barry would be the same.

4. His time has come. Some version of CSI or a knockoff thereof is on every network every night. I think it's time for a comic about a forensics cop, one who just happens to be the fastest man alive. Plus, in our world of hip-talking jivester heroes straining to be edgy, I would welcome the return of the Squarest Man Alive.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Public Notice on Green Lantern

I now officially recognize that it's not Hal Jordan's fault.

Hal's brother Jim, using a power ring.

Clearly, it's some sort of genetic defect.

P.S. This notice should not, in any way, be intereted as an abrogration of the right to make fun of Hal Jordan nonetheless. Void in Louisiana.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

52 Things That Occurred to Me...

about the return of the multiverse.

  1. There are a potential 51 versions of Vibe left, and I couldn't be happier about that.
  2. Is there a world where Power Girl is still wearing that headband, and how do we avoid it?
  3. Is there a world where Marv Wolfman never came to DC, and if so, how do I get there?
  4. Does the Haneyverse exist as a world of its own or is it too self-contradictory?
  5. Will I get to see a world where Koryak finally hooks up with Officer Malrey?
  6. Does the gang at Ace Comics get a universe and how does one get an invite?
  7. Is there a universe in which Ted Knight is the Voice of God? I mean, other than ours?
  8. Does the multiverse mean we might actually get stories told in the Golden or Silver Age style again?
  9. I have no doubt that the Phantom Stranger is exactly the same in every universe.
  10. And that Darkseid isn't interesting in any of them.
  11. Do you now need a valid passport to cross the vibrational barriers between the universes?
  12. Do any worlds still have letter columns?
  13. Is there a world in which Dr. Thirteen is the lead story and the Spectre is the back-up?
  14. Will any other world get its own "line" of comics, kind of like the Animated Universe?
  15. Should it?
  16. Is there a world where The Joker lasted 100 issues and Azrael only nine?
  17. Is President Bush the greatest statesman Earth-3 has ever known?
  18. Have gorillas conquered any of the universes, or did the dachshunds stop them?
  19. Interesting as Waid's Legion might be, can we get back to Earth 247 now? It was much more interesting than this childish generational conflict.
  20. Do all Ranns suck?
  21. What must be the total number of people that any version of June Walton has slept with?
  22. What must be the total number of people that any version of Dale Gunn has slept with?
  23. If any of the old multiverse worlds is familiar to you, which one would be your favorite (other than "Earth-1" and "Earth Prime")?
  24. Are there any worlds where Blue Devil is straight? Bi, even?
  25. Are coupons for Palisades Park from one universe good in all the others?
  26. Is 52 worlds enough?
  27. Mr. Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite knew all along, didn't they?
  28. Are there any worlds where the JLA is even remotely normal?
  29. The multiverse is really just a corporate mechanism that makes it easier for DC to absorb other companies or their intellectual properties, isn't it?
  30. Don't you hope there's a world where Lois still dresses like that?
  31. Is Hal Jordan's ego visible from other universes?
  32. I'd like to think there's a world where Jack Cole lived to see how he is now revered.
  33. Does the multiverse mean we might get to see Toy Boy again? Please?!
  34. Can we please send the Fourth World off to an Earth-4 just to keep them away from decent comic books?
  35. I think that, given his powers, Vibe should be able to transverse the vibrational barriers, so one should be showing up any day. Maybe even three or four!
  36. Can you use Baron Winter's house to get from one universe to the other, even though it's not Metro-accessible?
  37. I believe there's a happy happy world where Wonder Woman is dead and Dr. Domino is not.
  38. Did DC invent the concept of the multiverse or was that pioneered elsewhere in sci-fi literature?
  39. Are there any worlds where all your extra copies of The Death of Superman are actually valuable? And do they have Ebay?
  40. How many panels would it take Geoff Johns to ship Bart and Jaime off to Earth-8 and bring back Barry and Ted?
  41. If he did, would it really upset anybody?
  42. There should be at least one world where all crime and evil has been completely eliminated. By Lady Cop. Oh, and there's no VD any more, either.
  43. Is there a world where Batman's just a pale copy of Green Arrow, or does Green Arrow suck multiversally?
  44. I hope Earth 616 isn't part of the multiverse.
  45. Can we please see a world that's been conquered by, say, Per Degaton or the like? I mean -- what they actually do all day? Exult?
  46. Please tell me there's a world where the writers actually understand Aquaman.
  47. I'd read a book like 52 even if it came out monthly; is that what The Brave & The Bold will be?
  48. Should the Captain Marvel family stay in "our" world or get their own?
  49. Should we get some kind of vote or say in how the multiverse looks? I mean, other than voting with our wallets?
  50. If you could decide at least one thing or person would exist in every world of the multiverse, what would it be?
  51. If you could decide at least one thing or person would not exist in any world of the multiverse, what would it be? And, no, you may not say "Vibe".
  52. Will there be any practical, noticeable changes with the advent of the multiverse or it will it just be an excuse for retcons and the dismissal of goofs and incontinuities?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Anthro of Dupont

If you're reading the mind-boggling Dr. Thirteen story in Tales of the Unexpected, this is for you. If not, well ... do.

Most of you probably recognized that caveman who gets unthawed in the story: it's Anthro.

As the link explains, Anthro was one of the short-lived spin-off series from a story in Showcase. He had six issues of his own, showed up later in Showcase 100 (along with everyone else who'd ever appeared in Showcase) and later still in Crisis on Infinite Earths (along with everyone else who'd ever appeared anywhere plus a few who hadn't). But that was pretty much it for Anthro until Dr. Thirteen discovered him in the Swiss Alps.

What I really like about Anthro-- well, let's just say he was a very special social pioneer. He was ... different from other guys. Let's just say I think he'd be right at home at a Sunday tea dance with the Black Condor and the Red Bee.

I mean, I'm not saying he was a sissy, exactly.

Well, okay. Maybe he was.

Sissy or not, he screwed up his courage, as many young men must, and went out to his first all-male club.

Anthro, sweetie; when I said "club" I didn't mean--oh, never mind.

Of course, the first time didn't work out very well; he was there on the wrong night!

Has there always been a Drag Bingo Night?

Even before he knew whether he was more of a "spear-yielder" or a "spear-brandisher", he learned how to work the crowd.

"Non-chalant"? I've never heard it put so politely before.
Smart money's on "spear-yielder".

Early experiences widened his horizons... and who knows what else!

"His gift of meat almost r-reached my insides without benefit of passing through my mouth"
has its own exhibit at the Absorbascon Museum of Word and Thought Balloons.

Eventually, Anthro grew into quite a talented young man.

And popular, I'll wager.

Then, brimming his confidence (and who knows what else), Anthro found his place.

Twinks can be so stuck on themselves.

He almost got more than he bargained for.

D- Dorian? Is that you?

Once he found a "daddy" in the furry/B&D community, he learned humility, and the comic's storyline was pretty much at an end.

Still, he never lost touch with his softer side.

It's the "pinky up" that really makes the panel special.