Saturday, May 24, 2008


Consider asking your local comic book store to try PISTOLFIST from BlueWater Comics; we're trying it here at Big Monkey.

It's about a runaway slave in early America who dons a mask to fight for freedom. And, c'mon; you can't beat Benjamin Franklin as a supporting cast member: "I caution you again, sir, do not address me as 'Chief'!"

Pistolfist #1
Author(s): J.S. Earl and David A. Flanary, Jr
Artist(s) Andres Guinaldo
Cover Artist(s): 2 covers: Joel Robinson and Mario Gully

How precious is your freedom? Would you fight for it? Would you dare to die for it? Set amidst the American Revolution, this critically-acclaimed series follows the saga of a mysterious, masked runaway slave whose destiny is helplessly entwined with that of a famous, yet frail, Benjamin Franklin. Inspired by true characters and events, you’ll soon discover why fans and fellow creators alike have chosen to “rev it up!

Oh, and for those of you who are budding costume designers (Hi, Jeremy!), there's a contest to design a costume for a modern day version of the character. Oh, make sure it has pilgrim shoes; I just love the pilgrim shoes.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Eyes Have It

As I've mentioned before, and more than once, the real reason I pick on Hal Jordan so much is to try to mask and defuse my utter terror

of him.

For Hal Jordan wields the most powerful, the most terrifying weapon in the entire DC Universe:


The Fourth Wall means nothing to Hal Jordan.

You see, he knows you're watching him.

And, it's okay, because...

because he likes to be watched.

And -- although it's best if you don't think about it -- it works both ways.
Yes. Hal Jordan is watching you, too.

Though he tries to convince you he can't really see you...

When he turns his transquartomuralistic vision on you the reader, it sucks your soul out of your eyes.

Your soul is a mere power battery on which he charges his spent and empty sense of self-worth.

"In brightest day,
in blackest night,
no reader shall escape my sight

let those who worship Marvel's might
beware my eyes,
both left
and right!"

Every year at the annual Klordny party, Hal used to slay the entire Corps with his dead-on impersonation of Tomar-Re.And Hal loves to slay the entire Corps!

"Great Guardians! From either angle..
...I'm just as beautiful!"

In this panel, Hal tries to blame last night's debauchery...

on poor Liberace.

"My GOD, my thumb is beautiful!"

"And to think...
they gave Flash a museum...!"

"Now, Hal, using the doll...
show the court where Flash touched you."

"Highball" Jordan? No, no...

"Eyeball" Jordan.

"Let's see what was it I had to do before leaving town. Oh yes, now I remember..."

"Kill and eat my neighbor, Mr. Johnson!"

"Did you know that my power ring can make you forget anything I do to you, Sally P? Even when it involves energy-construct aardvarks, like it did last week?"

He only makes it look easy. He actually has a daily routine of Extreme Eyercise to keep his peepers perfectly poppable.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Eyes of Hal Jordan!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Things That Made Me Happy...

in my comics this week.

  • Okay, bravo; whoever came up with that solution deserves a Leslie Thompkins Humitarian Award! Elegant. In character. Explanatory!
  • "Why don't you call it the Star Chamber?" He really does have a good sense of humor, you know.
  • How fabulous is spooky new Sandy "Sandman" Hawkins? Very.
  • "It doesn't matter; we always show the victim's family."
  • His last name is Miller? How perfectly generic and delightfully unspectacular!
  • The Faust Family photo.
  • Zowie, that Dexter Bennet's a corker; at least JJJ was an HONEST bastard.
  • I have to admit these are very interesting new versions of the Fourthworlders... .
  • John Stewart designed that "room"? LOL, how many seconds did that take?!
  • Giant metal banana.
  • So I assume that strip joint used to be the old Central City Community Theater...? It would explain a lot.
  • Why the jar can't be opened; now that's comic book irony.
  • "She really loved that tray." Is Spider-Man becoming one of my favorite books, and does this signal the end of the world?
  • Lightning's battle cry; wish I'd thought of it first! It's almost as good as "This is going to be oomphy!"
  • Batman cheering up Superman by visiting him in jail.
  • "My toof!"
  • Catwoman gets back to business without missing a beat, thanks to Pfeiffer.
  • Paparazzo Parker; clever idea.
  • The Redbird; now, why didn't I think of that?
  • "Is that a euphemism?" made me laugh out loud.
  • Okay, seeing Wonder Woman's head on Aquaman's body is darned disturbing.
  • Good bless you, zany Tom Peyer, for making Flash not only readable but wacky fun.
  • The Penguin's meta-commentary.
  • Clever use of Lichtenstein, Mr. Slott.
  • Yeah, I'd be hesitant to admit I'd been fighting Mr. Polka Dot, too.
  • Best. Finger-puppets. Ever.
  • "Somebody flattened her." Snort!
  • Thank you, Dwayne, for writing a conversation between the Big Three that actually sounds like a conversation between the Big Three.
  • "You only need to make him scream, Dad; I'll handle the rest." Oh, you naughty, naughty man!
  • The new Snapper Carr.
  • If getting their butts handed to them by the Human Flame doesn't prove Red Arrow and Hawkgirl don't belong in the League, I don't know what could.
  • Even I am impressed by a slash page that quotes both Williams Shakespeare and Charles Schulz.
  • If those kids don't get codenames soon, I'm going to have to assume they're going to die soon.
  • Paper Doll; great villain.
  • Granny Goodness discovers a new mode of transportation, including its disadvantages.
  • Sigh; if only he'd pour himself down MY throat... .
  • Even Batman has to smile at the fact that, well, Batman's not stupid.
  • The Flash's winter jacket.
  • The Godmobile.
  • Felix's sign; no home should be without one.
  • She's reading "Faust"? Isn't that a little over the top, even for them?
  • "Let me give you my six secrets of survival!"
  • The Human Flame making a fool out of Lex Luthor.
  • Oh, and for those of you who don't already know it: Athena's eyes are famously grey, not green.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Advice from My Grandfather

My grandfather, a columnist, is dying.

He was rather a well known public personality in my hometown, so there's a good deal of public reaction, well-wishing, and remembrance. And the circumstances are prolonging the phenomenon; since he is very strong and extremely stubborn man, he is not going quickly, despite having been able to receive no food or drink for seven days now.

My grandfather, a Mark Twain-like figure among the locals, is a man of stories; to him, life is not just a thing to be done, but a thing to be talked about. He understands the power of narrative and helped many people -- generations, really -- of my fellow Yorkers realize that life has a story to tell, at every level, every day.

It's an odd situation to be the relative of a dying or recently dead public figure, even just a local one. There are so many people who feel they know your relative so well from his public work. But usually they don't.

The writer, the actor, the performer; they are edited by themselves and others, and what the public sees is a just a version of them. Be wary of assuming that you know what someone really thinks and feels from what they write -- bloggers included. I've been amazed at some of things I've "discovered" about myself based on the perceptions of readers. For any given subject X, various readers decided that I love X, I hate X, I'm a merciless critic of X, I'm a nostalgic supporter of X, I'm deadly serious about X, I find X absurd and hilarious, I know nothing about X, I'm an X-pert, or I don't deserve to live in a world that has X in it.

My advice on reading either blogs or comics is relax and enjoy, if you can; your favorite writers are probably more interested in telling a good story than in fitting into your idea of what their continuity is. Don't waste time trying to figure out what I -- or any other writer -- "really thinks" about something. As my grandfather always used to say, "It's just a column; it's just another story."

Whatever Happened to...?

When last we saw lovely lady lawyer Jean Loring, she was plummeting into the deep ocean from a great height, where a shark zoomed in to attack her.

An unconscious Jean Loring versus nature's perfect killing machine. That poor, poor shark.Now that Jean's free of the Black Diamond, there's nothing to hold back her crazy-evil. Funny; it's all sort of familiar, too. Oh, yeah, that's right...

Anyway, this, and our recent commentary about disappearing supporting cast members and "supporting castastrophes" makes me want to ask you the question....


Harold the Hunchback

You remember him, right? The mute hunchback, who was a Denominated Henchman (tm) of the Penguin, then became a Batman wage slave. Well, food slave, really, since Harold never left the Batcave to spend any money. Bruce is a shrewd one: supplying cave-and-board in exchange for a mechanical genius to repair all your bat-paraphernalia is a pretty good deal. "Alfred, whatever time you've gained from Harold's being with us, I want you to spend clipping coupons." Who says billionaires can't be frugal?

The last I saw of Harold, I think, was before the Gotham Earthquake, wherein he (and Ace the Bat-Bernard) presumably died. Or did Hush The World's Greatest Neurosurgeon (copyright Polite Dissent) make him over one afternoon into a Demosthenetian Abercrombie & Fitch model? I may have nightmared that; the whole Hush story is just a muddled, blurry mess in my mind. And outside of my mind, too.

Hoppi (sp?)

No, not the Marvel Bunny. I mean Wonder Woman's Indian co-worker at Taco Whiz; I really liked her. I was terribly amused that Gail Simone recently had Etta Candy refer to Wonder Woman's working at Taco Whiz pre-Zero Hour. I think that should be one of Etta Candy's literary functions: to repeatedly refer to every stupid, embarrassing thing Wonder Woman's ever done or been party to, in any medium. The courtship of Darkseid; marching against milk companies, fighting Dr. Domino; the dress shop. There should never be any other evidence that such things every happened; just Etta, acting as Meta-Candy.

Anyway, it's probably best that we've not heard from Hoppi again, because if she came back we'd probably discover that she's now the Ambassador to/from India, or the U.S. Secretary of Nutrition or something. Kind of like how Jeff Pierce became Secretary of Education and Linda Park became the World Expert on Hyperspeed Physiology (tm).

Woozy Winks

I didn't read Kyle Baker's Plastic Man (because, like most other modern versions, it missed Jack Cole's central concept that Plastic Man was the Straight Man in his own comic), so the last I saw of Woozy Winks was his origin story, the one where he was a crackerjack fighting-machine secret agent (the Green Dragon!), until he got trapped with a bleeding Plastic Man, and went permanently loopy from the glue-sniffing effects of Plaz's plasma. I love that story.

Since which, Plastic Man has become a Marvel character, ruined by soap suds, and saddled with an illegitimate son due to an insanely slavish devotion to Mark Waid's elseworld of "Kingdom Come", which to me is just about as stupid as continually referring to Alfred's "Batman II" or Bob Haney's Super-Sons. I couldn't care less about "Offspring" (and, apparently, neither does anyone else); let's get back to Woozy.

Wally's Mom
I adored that woman. Unimpressed by her son's superhero/superstar status, she was an inveterate nag whose sometimes-dead husband, Rudy, was a species-traitor and longtime louse. The last I remember of her, she'd given up on trying to turn Wally into a decent human being, married David Niven, and adopted a life of international adventure, all of which was highly uncharacteristic of her. Since Wally's mom was one of the few superhero parents ever to become a recurring castmember, and one with such a strong and memorable personality, I find the blackout of information on her very disturbing; Wally has not once mentioned her since she got married. Did she contract a rare, fatal fever plague after handling pirate treasure on a Caribbean cruise? Is she working for Checkmate? Did she and David go scuba diving in the South Pacific and get eaten by Jean Loring? We may never know.

Oh, and it's not just her. Mason Trollbridge. Chester Runk, the fifth most dangerous man in the world. Connie. The McGees. Chuck Cunningham. Detectives Scylla & Charybdis, or whoever those guys were. I swear, "The Flash" is the Diff'rent Strokes of comic books: once you're seen in it, you're never heard from again. Perhaps they're all just lost somewhere, wandering purposelessly along one of the vast boulevards of the sprawling madness that is Central City, pestering passers-by: "Can you tell me who I am? Have you seen my Dynastic Centerpiece? Are you my mommy?"

Supply answer if you can, but also tell us,

who are your favorite missing supporting cast members?