Friday, May 04, 2007

Another Reason to Love Starman

Starman is no mere muscleman. The inventor of the incredible Cosmic Rod, Starman is a master scientist. As such he is trained in observation and deduction as essential elements of the scientific method.

Thus, nothing escapes his notice:

And, like any good scientist, he even announces his findings for peer review.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Groovy Chick Month 3: Tula

Today's groovy chick was not merely groovy but pro-actively groovy: Aqualad's first girlfriend, Tula, the Aquachick.

As the go-go checked cover of her first comic put it,
"Meet Aqua-Girl! She's wild, wet, and whacky!"

Gosh, that sounds naughty. Particularly the "whack-y" part, which conjures visions of that popular fetish, underwater spanking. Tula: Strap of Atlantis!

Somehow, the whole idea really puts Aqualad in context, doesn't it?

"But, Tula! I'm too afraid to frug! What if I fail?"

"Shut up, you big-headed purple-eyed freak, and do as Tula says!"


"Yes, Tula!"

Tula was a groovy go-go girl; people used to throng to watch her dance with walruses at a frugtastic piscoteque. In fact, she actually worked as a go-go dancer at a submarine dancehall, and, even more astonishing, got Aqualad a job there as a dancer, too. Aqualad can dance? It's a disturbing thought... .

Oh, and please don't just take my word for it: H at Comic Treadmill has the Tula-scoop.
Tad Williams; are there are underwater dance clubs in Sub Diego, not just for the locals, but for wealthy scuba-diving airbreathers to boogie in? Don't you think there would be? Don't you think there should be...?
Before Tula made the scene, Aqualad was just a pessimistic clumsy big-headed purple-eyed freak-boy. Almost over night, Tula's vivacious presence turned him into an incompetent needy big-headed purple-eyed freak-man.

Tula wasn't just a bubbly showgirl. She had spunk, she had backbone, she had gumption. Once, when Aquaman went off searching for Mera's lost comb (again) and Aqualad was off seeking acceptance from and utility with the Teen Titans (still), a dictator took over the throne of Atlantis (again). Who led a rebellion and ousted the tyrant while the hapless Aquajocks were out hunting snipes? Tula, that's who.

Though she was rather rough and tumble, Tula was royalty, at least by adoption. Abandoned as a baby (probably by Atlantean squares unable to withstand even her infant grooviness), she was adopted by one of the royal families of Atlantis and became a Princess of Poseidonis.

How groovy is the idea of an ass-kicking go-go girl princess who walks around with straps, whacking people for being bad (or not bad

very groovy.
I think WW, who is extremely competitive, probably had Tula bumped off. When Chemo failed to finish the job, she probably snuck into the undersea hospital with a big "air-breather" bubble helmet on, and, when no one was looking, snapped Tula's neck. Then, when Dr. Ronal came back to check on the patient, Diana was all "Oh, Doctor, head spasms from the chemical reactions must have broken her neck! I've seen it before, when I was a war nurse, fighting Dr. Poison."
You know how Wonder Woman can be.

Another groovy thing about Aquachick;
girl had some curves. Except under some later artists, Tula always had a full-ish figure (for comics, at least). She was no stick-with-balloon-breasts, like so many other female characters.

Tula (a.k.a., Aquagirl, a.k.a. Aquachick) is one of those characters I had never encountered pre-Crisis. I first saw her in the pages of Crisis on Infinite Earths, doing what supporting characters do: dying.

Her death was decidedly
non-groovy: she was killed by Chemo, who poisoned the waters around her. This was on Earth-4, of all places.

I mean,
really; was Earth-4 worth sacrificing someone as groovy as Aquachick? I think not.

It is in her honor that I store Chemo with my Aquaman-related Heroclix.

And carry a strap.

Things That Made Me Happy...

in my comics this week

  • Wait; so Hal sleeping around all these years was really just a ploy to confuse the Zamarons? Oh, Hal you are both ingenious and selfless!
  • The missing 52 seconds, found.
  • Black cats that say "Gasp!".
  • Skeets made me cry.
  • Jonah Hex, master of the job interview.
  • Sivana, ticked, shot, bleeding, in mortal danger ... but still intellectually curious.
  • Batgirl getting hit in the head with a sword, then pwned by Nightwing. Poor little ridiculously-contrived ninja girl!
  • Crotchgate continues in, of all places, The Monster Society of Evil!
  • The return of the Terrible Trio.
  • Jonah Hex, doing his job without firing a shot.
  • The Crimson Avenger with Titano.
  • Carol Ferris: the Green Lantress!
  • Innovative uses of pseudoderm.
  • It feels so right to see Mr. Terrific leading the JLU, doesn't it?
  • Sterling Morris shows why he is the head of a news network and Helen Fidelity isn't.
  • Camille was a stewardess? Of course she was a stewardess...!
  • The return of the DCU's greatest character: the multiverse.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Groovy Chick Month 2: Sensor Girl

Recognize this face (or lack thereof)? If you don't recognize it from days gone by, check out the latest issue of Justice Society.

Long before Renee Montoya donned the pseudoderm, this was the most famous faceless woman in comics. And if it weren't for this woman, you might not be reading the Absorbascon today.

I was in college, and had been "off" of comics for many years. Till a dealer at Sig Ep hooked me up with some Levitz Legion; "Try it, " he said. "You'll like it." Curse you, Evan!

Paul Levitz, Master of the Multiple Plotline, had introduced some new members to the Legion, including the mysterious Sensor Girl. No one knew what her real name was, what she actually looked like, and how in heaven's name that mask stayed on. The mystery of Sensor Girl is what got me hooked on comics again.

What was groovy about her? Well, the mystery part, yes. She was the "Supernova" of her day, only no one was close to solving the mystery. The common wisdom was that she was Supergirl, somehow feeling much better after her death in Crisis on Infinite Earths. The common wisdom was wrong.

In fact, even DC itself took some time to figure out just who Sensor Girl really was.

Also, her look was FABulous; none of that exposed cleavage for her (or, for that matter, exposed anything). She was proud and aloof; she was very private, didn't hang out with the other Legionnaires, and didn't get called any cutesy Legion-y nicknames, like "Sensy" or "SG". You called her "Sensor Girl" or you wound up swallowing teeth.

Oh, and she was dramatic.

I remember one time in the middle of a Legion meeting she suddenly screams out


while striking a pose worthy of Storm. I forget what her super-senses had detected: children being eaten by space-whales or the approach of a sun-eater or Shaun Robinson's Oscar dress. Something like that.

No snappy patter for Sensor Girl; she used to dole out condemnatory smack talk to her foes that was just barely sub-Phantom Stranger level in its witheringness. She made you want to cover your own face in shame; then she kicked your teeth in.

She also kicked patootie. She single-handedly defeated the terrifying Emerald Empress of Ekron once. Snapped her neck, I think. Eat your heart out, Wonder Woman.

Sensor Girl, gang. She was one groovy chick. And given the way some storylines are headed, you may see her in action again... .

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Groovy Chick Month 1: Melba Manton

Melba Manton was one groovy chick!

She first appeared in Lois Lane 123 (July 1973) in a back-up story brilliantly titled:

Those were simpler times.

Melba Manton was a newscaster at WGBS in Metropolis, and in the tradition of reporters in that city, she didn't just report the news-- she made it.

Who could conceive of such awesomeness as Melba Manton?
None other the Mad Man-babe himself, Robert Kanigher.

In a mere four pages, she solves a murder, sets a trap for the murderer, exposes unsafe tenement conditions, saves an innocent man from being shot, and dashes off to appear on the six o'clock news to talk about it. Oh, and she jumps down a manhole and runs through a sewer, which is always cool.

All this she does while wearing THIS outfit:

If Nubia had had that outfit, she'd still be in continuity.

Melba Manton was five times the woman Lois Lane was, because she did everything Lois did, only better and without needing help from Superman every five panels.

Melba was ingenious and intrepid, sort of like Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space.

Did you know that saving Lois's bacon automatically makes you an honorary member of the Justice League?

Behold, Melba in action, wearing that jumper over a green pirate-sleeve shirt with a red menswear tie!

The Fashion Assassins may be dedicated, but they're lousy shots.

Melba Manton didn't get many appearances, but she was achingly fabulous in each one. Kurt Busiek! I demand the return of Melba Manton to the Metropolis cityscape!