Saturday, October 20, 2007

Artist Showcase: Jon Maki

From Jon Maki of Leesburg, Virginia, we have the idiosyncratically titled, ""Oh Yeah, There's a REASON I Stopped Pursuing My Childhood Dream of Being a Comic Book Artist", which I have decided to subtitle as "Jean's Back-Up Plan"...

Heroclix Theme Team: Say "AHHHHHH!!!!!"

Say "AHHHHH!!!" (9 figures at 394 points)

Name Points
jl025 Dr. Alchemy
Feat: The Society
cd066 Dr. Light
Feat: Damage Shield10
jl043 Dr. Polaris
Feat Damage Shield10
cd089 Dr. Psycho
Feat Compel15
leB005 Dr. Jeremiah Arkham

Friday, October 19, 2007

Modern DeMedici

Mostly I talk about the writing in comics, not the art. But that doesn't mean I don't care about or like art; I used to work in an art museum, in fact.

So, to help increase the attractiveness of my blog to art-lovers and increase my hit count and acquire a new source of "lazy posts"--


I mean...

"to help bring some much-needed artistic flair to the Absorbascon and to offer it as a showcase for budding pencillers"

I am willing to post any fan art you send me on this blog!

Of course, there's a catch. The subject matter must relate to one of our favorites (or anti-favorites) here at the Absorbascon. Examples of acceptable topics include:

  • Vibe
  • The Cast of the Big Monkey Podcast
  • Hal Jordan getting hit in the head (no head-hitting, no post-ee)
  • Orca the Whalewoman
  • Dr. Domino
  • Much-hated Halo
  • The Rolling Head of Pantha (pictures of Pantha's head while still connected to her body will be disqualified)
  • The Awesome Human Flying Fish
  • Dale Gunn, Love God
  • Jean Loring in any state of madness or evil
  • Koryak
  • The original Starman or any of his villains
  • Purple-robed pansies armed with corndogs
  • Major Victory from Who Want to Be a Superhero
  • Vibe
  • The All-New Atom
  • Congo Bill (no, NOT Congorilla)
  • Evil kryptonian cats from the Phantom Zone
  • Geo-Force getting the crap beaten out of him
  • Oysterwoman beating the crap out of someone
  • Joe Coyne, the Penny Plunderer
  • The Sea Devils (or just Judy Walton, Queen of the Sea)
  • Masterman
  • And, of course, Vibe

Send submissions to:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The End of an Era Underwater

"I'm not the real Aquaman. Not even close. The real one gave up his life for me, and it's my job now to make that right."
From Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis No. 27.

Thus ends Tad Williams' run on Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis, and today I applaud his work.

He was given a Sisyphean task of making Aquaman work without Aquaman. A less conscientious writer would have swung off completely on his own tangent (like Busiek did), or ignored any inconveniences of the previous runs.

But Wiliams didn't; he embraced them and used them for his plot. He solved the mystery of Sub Diego, using both traditional Aquaman villains and a Very Special Guest Villain (and he did that while not only dodging the curve ball thrown by 52, the raising of Sub Diego, but using it to his advantage). He explained where AJ came from and what happened to the real Aquaman (something his predecessor couldn't be bothered to do in a timely fashion). He even worked in bizarre elements like Veitch's Lady of the Lake, Windward Home, and King Shark.

He introduced new elements and characters to the Aquamythos, such as Topo, the Clownfish, the Hatch system, and the villains of the Deep Church. He reintroduced Mera, Tempest, Black Manta, the Human Flying Fish, Koryak, Aquagirl, and Cal Durham, making them all part of a much larger story.

You might not adore every single thing he did, but you can't deny his herculean accomplishment in tying it all together! Under Williams' direction, the sea seemed both larger than ever before and more intimately connected, an enormous stage set for decades worth of stories.

And did it move! Aquaman went, overnight, from being one of DC's slowest stories, to one of its best bangs for the buck. There was more going on in one page of Williams' Aquaman than in an entire issue of of Veitch's or Busiek's. I usually had to rest after reading it (in a good way).

Impressively, Williams didn't give in to dissing either Old or New Aquaman. On the one hand, he made it quite clear: this guy ain't Aquaman. On the other hand, Williams also made him more impressive than ever.

By letting go of pushing AJ as a replacement for Arthur, he allowed us to see that, quite on his own, AJ was not too shabby. Busiek's Sword of Atlantis splashed about in search of himself; Williams' AJ saved the world. When the real Aquaman returns (something Williams clearly wanted to do, but was blocked from by DC), his new writer would be wise to take a similar approach!

At the end, he made his point: this guy wasn't Aquaman. But he was going to man up and try to bring him back, and just maybe deserve his legacy in the process of trying. Before Williams started, all I wanted was for the real Aquaman to come back and AJ to go away. Now I want the real Aquaman to come and AJ to stay as his Junior Counterpart (because, face it, "Tempest" doesn't cut it).

Thank you, Tad Williams.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Defending Hercules

Hercules (or Herakles, if you prefer) didn't rape Hippolyta.

Now, I'll admit that I would prefer that Hercules be portrayed as a hero. That's not because I like the character personally, but because he's a perfect potential addition to the Wonder Woman dynasty.

Although her plots have been going nowhere for a while, her Dynastic Centerpiece Model has been developing...
  • Her connections to her Junior Counterpart (Donna Troy) and
  • Kid Sidekick (Wonder Girl) have been reaffirmed,
  • her Elder Stateswoman (Hippolyta) has been brought back (although Polly hasn't been much of a stateswoman since her return, huh?),
  • she's acquired a Civilian Authority Figure (Sarge Steel of the Department of Metahuman Affairs),
  • a Civilian Companion (Tom Tresser), and
  • a Contextualizing City (Washington; hey, it's not fictional, but it is artificial!).

Okay, so it may not be perfect yet. I myself wouldn't have chosen to give her male characters to fill out the civilian roles in her dynasty, but, hey, at least they aren't reporters. There are a lot of reporters in Washington. I mean, they have their own bars here, for pity's sake. And two former Dynasty members (Artemis the Black Sheep and Pegasus the Animal Companion) have been lost. But, on the whole, WW's dynasty is gaining heft. And Hercules would be a perfect addition as Male Counterpart, particularly since his approach (tactical) would complement Wonder Woman's (strategic).

But writers seems intent on using Hercules as a bad guy. Maybe that's because, as much as she needs friends, WW needs enemies even more. Personally, I blame George Perez, who needed a cheap and easy Overbearing Male Bad Guy from myth to use in the version of the Amazons' origin he wanted to tell. Instead of using the traditional version of Amazons (the one used by both the Ancients and Marston) -- buttkicking women warriors who founded a society that didn't need men -- Perez chose to make them victims.

Why? Because in Perez's mind and time, the only people with virtue are victims, and all villains are victimizers. If you remember, Perez's Amazons were formed from the souls of women who'd been the victims of male aggression and violence. Because, you know, gods forbid women should decide to do anything except as a reaction to or consequence of men!

So he made Hercules an Evil Male, who deceived Hippolyta (et al.) with promises of love, then drugged, enslaved, and raped her. So that the gods could criticize the Amazons for being soft-hearted, trusting, and open to love; women's weaknesses! So the gods could punish them for being equally open to both war and love; so the gods could punish them for being well-rounded people instead of axe-wielding mankillers (so blame Perez the Scythian for that, not Pfeiffer). Once again, Perez paints the Amazons not as exemplars, but as victims.

How shallow. But don't be deceived by Perez the Evil Male into thinking his tawdry tale of date-drugs is the real story!

In most versions of the classical myth in which Herakles meets Hippolyte, she is simply impressed with him as a fellow warrior, and is happy to give him her girdle as a token of friendship and honor. Thing were just peachy until Hera inflamed the Amazons with rumors that Herakles was out to get them. The Amazons attacked Herc & Co., and in the process of defending themselves, Herakles killed Hippolyte.
That's a general schtick in Greek myth; people don't come into conflict simply because one is Bad and the one Good, they come into conflict because of tragic misunderstandings brought about by the gods/fate/the world/circumstances. Mortals are all victims; it is the universe (the gods) that is the victimizer.

Marston's Amazons, while very creepily into bondage, were otherwise darned cool. They were focused on self-improvement, physical development, scientific study, and the joy of accomplishment that can flourish during peace. They were not wussy, whiny victims (Perez) nor violent vicious victimizers (Pfeiffer). The Golden Age Wonder Woman championed the idea that being peace-loving doesn't mean being weak, and that feminism isn't just anti-male-ism. That's part of our childhood that Perez raped, not Herakles.

So, writers: lay off Hercules.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cool McCool

It's been two years since I last mentioned Bob Kane's greatest creation, Cool McCool, a bizarre collocation of Get Smart, Batman, and Jack Benny. Yeah, that's right; Jack Benny.

But this time, thank to the magic of the internet I can actually provide you with a direct experience of the Coolness Himself.

Here he defeats Hurricane Harry. Note the crazy electric harpsichord licks McCool's theme song and the part of the song that talks about Hurricane Harry, which my parents used to teach me the musical concept of triplets. My parents were very musical. And odd

In this segment, he takes on the Owl, with the aid of his semi-sentient auto, the Coolmobile.

Cool McCool

Love that Owlette; she deserves some fan fic.

And GOD BLESS WALLY WINGERT, for his glorious contribution to world culture, the musical tour de force, the School of McCool.

I would KILL for that hairpiece.

2000 words