Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tirade: Guardians of the Universe

Of the universe? No, I don't think so.

There are upwards of 125 billion galaxies in our universe; let's assume the same is true of the DCU. If the Guardians have decided their universe into 3600 sectors, and since galaxies are, on the whole, rather evenly spread out, that means the average Green Lantern sector would contain...

34.7 million galaxies.

That's ... a lot of galaxies. Our galaxy, which is a fairly typical one, has about 100 billion stars. That would make the number of stars in a Green Lantern sector about...


That's ... a lot of stars. But if they don't have planets with life on them, they don't really need policing, of course. How many life-bearing planets would there be to protect? Well, let's continue to assume our galaxy is typical.* Let's also assume there's (currently) no other life in our galaxy (which is conservative an estimate as you can get). Still, that would mean an average galaxy has one planet on it that's currently rocking with life. One life-bearing, protection-worthy planet per galaxies would mean at least...

34.7 million relevant planets in each Green Lantern sector.

That's ... a lot of planets. And it seems fair to say that the DCU is little more teeming with alien life than ours seems to be. So 34.7 million is a serious lowball estimate. Do you think DC wants us to imagine Green Lanterns as policing 34.7 million planets each? I don't think so.

DC; please don't call the Guardians the "Guardians of the Universe" any more. It's just stupid, and not in the same way that power rings and kryptonite meteors are. It's not "suspension of disbelief" stupid, it's "insulting the readers' intelligence" kind of stupid. Ignoring science is one thing; you need me to accept a Rainbow Brite "emotional power spectrum", sure, fine, no problem, sounds fun, and now I can have a powerful ring to color coordinate with any outfit. But ignoring math is something entirely different. I can swallow an internal logic for the DCU that is different from that of the real universe, but not one that's not really consistent with itself.

But please concede what it seems pretty clear you really mean: they are the Guardians of the Galaxy. They live at the center of the galaxy. Not the universe. The universe has no center (or, if you look at it another way, every point in the universe can be treated as its center, meaning that if you think you're the center of the universe, you're correct).

If the GLCorps protects the galaxy that means each sector has about 27 million stars in it and if, say, one in a million has life on it, that gives them each 27 life-bearing planets to take care of. That seems a little more in keeping with the GL stories I've read. And even that small number still would mean there's about 97,200 planets in New Earth's galaxy that support life!

*Yes, I know that not really true because of the large number of dwarf galaxies, but that only changes things by about 2 orders of magnitude. The point remains valid, even if you divide all the numbers used by 100.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Custom Heroclix Map: Legion HQ / Weisinger Plaza

Here's the perfect (but quite belated) Klordny gift for all my fellow Legion fans:

a Heroclix map of Weisinger Plaza, the place where Legion Headquarters sits.

Now, Wizkids itself has made a Legion-oriented map but, except for its use of Interlac, it's a rather bland and generic future map. I wanted to make something more like how I think of the Legion.

First thing you'll notice as the navbeam guides your autoflyer over the Plaza is that the future is not bland; it's eye-pokingly colorful, like Mr. Nebula's Eventual Revenge. Read any old Legion story (particularly as gloriously reproduced in the Archive Volumes); the 30th/31st century is aggressively colorful, like a Easter Egg gone postal.

Second you'll notice the "Super Hero Clubhouse", complete with Legion cruiser, Time Bubble, Mission Monitor Board, Legion flag in the courtyard, and, of course, the Planetary Chance Machine. Oh, and that garden beside the Old Upside-down Rocket-ship isn't just a fancy; early Legion stories always depict the HQ against a background of trees and plants.

No visit to Weisinger Plaza would be complete without a tour of the Superman Museum and a stop at the Nine Worlds Ice Cream Parlor; I recommend the Martian ice cream.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Things That Made Me Happy....

in my comics this week.

  • The Penguin's "hot tub".
  • Happy to know Hal gets as fed up with that stupid oath as much as I do.
  • The Joker bitch-slapping Lex Luthor.
  • Tim Wayne. I wondered whether they'd ever go there.
  • Roy Raymond Junior. Look it up, kids!
  • Will Pfeiffer introducing a cigar in the first act and firing it in the third.
  • The first page of Incredible Hercules (and many of the ones that follow, too).
  • Name-checking Chloe Sullivan and Perry's frank evaluation of the interview scene from Superman: The Movie.
  • So, Mr. Virgil is a guide to the underworld of popular culture, eh?
  • Thanks to Robin and Gotham Underground, the Penguin's seeming more and more like himself these days. Classy; intelligent; strategic; phlegmatic. Let's just hope Wizkids does him justice by listening to their play-testers, who're already complaining that the Heroclix figure of him in autumn's Rogues Gallery set is still unplayable.
  • Ray, that is not a kilt. It's a sleeveless mini-dress with a built-in belt. How can you have lived with Jean Loring all those years without knowing that?
  • I love that the first two paragraphs of Catwoman do double-duty as metafictive commentary to the reader... .
  • So, Megistus wasn't really much more than a poor man's Dr. Alchemy?
  • "Lexoskeleton"? That's hilarious.
  • Vandal Savage, player.
  • "I never tried to cash in." Yeah, that made me laugh. Wally West, who ran superspeed errands for pay in Flash 1. Wally West, who left Keystone to become the hired resident superhero of a California town. Wally West, who on JLU used to do commercial endorsements. Nice try, Tom!
  • Jimmy Olsen bitch-slapping Darkseid. With a bridge.
  • Yeah, how does the freezy breath work?
  • Paragon's simple and ingenious method for stopping three angry Daxamite zealots.
  • The Penguin's method for handling Tobias Whale.
  • As a classicist, I love that Hercules gets misidentified and attacked because of a mistranslation.
  • Hm. A mind-controlling villain named "Spin" in the Flash? That certainly is familiar, isn't it?
  • How glorious is it that this week's entire issue of Catwoman is synopsized in one word in Salvation Run this week?
  • Wow; okay, that is definitely a Galactic Golem.
  • I would love to watch The Invisible Man Out West.
  • Did YOU figure out Superman's Clever Kryptonite Ploy? I'm proud to say I did.
  • Tim Drake's hair. I just love Tim Drake's hair.
  • Okay, did Huntress just throw a Cheetah wanna-be in front of a hail of bullets?
  • The intimation that being on Salvation Run is beginning to drive the Joker sane.
  • Kurt Busiek showing situations that give Superman ideas for broader projects to aid humanity, like the Library of Arctic Alexandria.
  • I like Slam Bradley's foe; who is he?
  • I think including "robot" and "polka" on the list made that question much too easy.
  • Legion of SuperHeroes in the 31st Century No. 13 is the Best You Comic You Probably Won't Buy This Week.
  • Lex Luthor makes an Atlantic Monthly joke. In the middle of a fight.
  • Finally, someone's addressing "Where does Wally West's money come from?" In fact, I like what Tom Peyer's doing in this month's Flash generally.
  • Only Clark Kent would apologize for getting buried under rubble.
  • I guess I have to enjoy Darkseid being dead as long as it lasts.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

FiveThings That will Make Your Son Gay Instantly!

So, be VERY careful with these cultural catalysts!

Danger Island

Uh oh, Chongo! Let's see, mostly naked "Nanoo" Jan-Michael Vincent, mostly naked "Black Samson" Rockne Tarkington, and mostly naked screaming Asian wildman Kim Kahana, all living together on a tropical isle. Really, I couldn't make something that homoerotic up if I had all day (I know 'cuz I've tried).

Dr. Smith

I think my favorite one is where Smith falls to his knees while wearing an ermine cape (although the "There's a monster in my bed!" one rivals the Wilhelm Scream). Really, do you know how long it takes to learn to scream that way? Months. I know 'cuz I've tried. In fact, it wasn't able to do it properly until someone spilled punch on my tan corduroy three-piece at the Homecoming Dance sophomore year in high school.

Actually, everyone focuses on poor Zachary in this show, but the
real danger on Lost in Space was smoldering, laser-cannon slinging, spread-stanced testosterone factory Major Don West.

Pee-Wee's Playhouse

Mekalekka high meka hiney ho! Pee-Wee brought the "high", Conky brought the "meka", Tito brought the "hiney", and Jambi brought the "ho". Dixie the dyke, Miss Vyonne the fag-hag, a cowboy with big boots and a magic rope. I mean, really, what DIDN'T this show have going for it....? Do you how hard it is to find a man like Tito? I know 'cuz I've tried.

P.S. Roland Rodriguez, if you're reading this, call me; I'm still interested.

American Gladiators

Oh, "Militia" you can whack me with your Qtip any day you want (and after renting some of your film work, I know you know how, 'cuz you've tried!). And Wolf? I'll bring the wine if he brings the Rubik's Cube! Actually, American Gladiators does double-duty: it will make your daughter gay, too.

I swear, I think
I'd marry Hellga if she brought the tennis ball cannon to the honeymoon!


Yes, Dr. Wertham was right. Nowadays, if you watch stuff on-line like Burt and Paul tossing each other around on the mat that way, you wind up wearing a digital ankle bracelet at a minimum distance of 500 yards from the local military school. I know 'cuz I've tried. The pure, raw, explosive SEXUALITY of Burton Gervis is too powerful to be denied, and it can overwhelm the underdeveloped psychosexual wiring of many a lad. And how!

P.S. Burt Ward, if you're reading this, don't call me: I'm not still interested.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Why We Love the Phantom Stranger Some More 4

One of the best reasons to love the Phantom Stranger? The Phantom Stranger's Hat.

I bet you're thinking, "Yeah, it's so cool how his hat always stays on his head, except for that one time in got knocked off in Hell in that big Swamp Thing story!"

But you're wrong.

The Phantom Stranger's hat, you see, is not a mere object he wears at will. It's some kind of semi-sentient, quasi-independent entity, that simply chooses to stay with him most of the time. Kind of like my dog.

Sometimes, however, it simply goes walkabout.

In this panel, for example, the Phantom Stranger puts his hat on, which has been noticeably absent for most of the action in the story.

"Even I..."
Modest, isn't he?

Where was it? How did he get it back? Even I do not understand all the workings of the Phantom Stranger's hat. But you know all those times the Phantom Stranger mysteriously disappears? It's not him; it's the hat, and it simply takes PS along for the ride. Kind of like walking my dog.

Here's another one from the Archives of the Phantom Stranger's Naked Head:

Phantom Stranger, corporate consultant.

This is one of those stories where the hat is absent. UNTIL... the Epilogue.

All the Phantom Stranger does in this epilogue is put his hat on. Yes, really.

What the heck is PS's hat doing lying in a previously unseen alley? Rumor has it, the hat sometimes goes off tomcatting with its alley-buds.. You know....Sargon's turban, the Helm of Fate, Eclipo's Phyrgian cap. Sometimes they get in fights and beat up Felix Faust's desert-hat-thingie or the Matter Master's dunce-cap. Other times, they meet up with Zatanna's Red Caterpillar Hat, and... well, you know.

And what's the meaning of juxtaposing the Phantom Stranger putting on his hat with some guy shooting a security guard? What does "meaning' mean in a Phantom Stranger story...?!

Sometimes, the hat gets feisty and decides to chase cars...
"Bad hat! Come back here this instant!"

or just start howling at people it doesn't like.

Oh, yeah. My dog makes THAT noise, alright.

The Phantom Stranger's hat deserves its own Who's Who page, a Heroclix pog, and an indy band named after it.

Sunday, April 13, 2008