Thursday, February 26, 2009

What's that thing?

"I don't know, Tadpole, but whatever it is, it's obviously not Jewish...!"

Monday, February 23, 2009

Blown Away

Ordinarily, I try not to get to political here. It's just a blog about funny or interesting things in comic books, after all.

But I'm finding it hard to keep silent on a recent news item, in which an 11 y.o. shot and killed his father's pregnant fiance.

With a 20-gauge shotgun that his father gave him for Christmas.

This is a 20-gauge shotgun:


Would you give that to an 11 y.o. as a Christmas present? The gun, I mean.

For those of you who only watch cop shows, not hunting shows (and, yes, people, there are still hunting shows), imagine getting hit by a 44 magnum... twice... at the same time. That's pretty much what a 20-gauge does. Just ask the pumpkin.

Where did this happen? Pennsylvania. Of course it was in Pennsylvania. If you aren't from Pennsylvania, you probably don't know that kiling things is one of the principal pasttimes there.

I'm from Pennsylvania. And I'm from one of those families. I'm not a rabid gun-control nut. Really I'm not. We had a revolver or two in the house and we were glad of it. And I'd have one in my house now... if it were legal. Which it's not. So... I don't. Really. Anyway...

My father was a hunting guide, both in Pennsylvania and in Canada, so he not only killed things with guns, he taught other people to... for a living. Me included. Which is something to remember next time you think of getting all pissy at me in the comments section (tee hee!).

Here, in fact, is a recent photo my cousin took of himself, hamming it up.

No, I don't know why one would bother to shoot a pig. Don't ask. Just be grateful I'm sparing you the deer photos (literally labelled "Bambi") with visible wounds. And before you harsh on my cousin, he's Army, so remember you're paying him to know how to shoot things for you so you can sleep soundly at night.

Anyway, all this is just establishing my bona fides: I'm not a radical anti-gun nut. In fact, I might still go hunting, if it weren't so hard to do it while holding a pomegranate martini. And who wants to risk getting blood stains on Capezzios?

But really. It wasn't even a hunting rifle. It's a shotgun. If you give an 11 y.o. a 20-gauge shotgun for Christmas you're pretty much begging to get shot.

One of Batman's most powerful moments occurred not in his own comic book, but in Aquaman's. Crime had taken root in Sub Diego and Aquaman needed some way to arm the police force, lamenting that Sub Diego, being underwater, was a city without guns. "A city without guns," Batman said quietly; "Imagine." Aquaman's nightmare was Batman's dream.

Most political issues are pretty easy to avoid in comic books. But those that relate directly to the subject of most modern comics -- crime -- are hard to avoid. Like the death penalty.

Or gun control.

Pep 8: Poker? I hardly know 'er!

Let's see how long we can avoid talking about the elephant in the living room of this particular cover, shall we?

Um, that portal emergence of the Shields is kind of interesting; is he supposed to be hiding in a sarcophagus?

Love that silver-garbed chippie in the background, who seem to be evoking some sort of Venus from the sea motif.

Also I note the dress of the assistants--

He's shoving a red hot poker at her v'jayjay for crying out loud!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

About time...!


This May, DC Comics will debut its first-ever all-new title for Free Comic Book Day: BLACKEST NIGHT #0, the prelude to “Blackest Night,” the biggest comics event of 2009!

Featuring a story by writer Geoff Johns, BLACKEST NIGHT #0 is illustrated by top art teams Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert and Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy. The issue also features an introductory text page by Johns that sets the stage for new readers and a cover by Ivan Reis.

The issue includes a lead story that leads directly into BLACKEST NIGHT #1, as well as a special guide to the various Corps that have recently emerged as forces in the world of GREEN LANTERN.

BLACKEST NIGHT #0 (JAN090005) is solicited in the January Previews. It is scheduled to arrive in stores on May 2 and has a Final Order Cutoff date of February 26.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Things That Made Me Happy

in my comics this week.

  • Acts-of-villains riders.
  • Well, as unlikely as it may seem, the Outsiders has officially become interesting.
  • Really, don't you think Gizmo should have replaced his glasses by now? Or at least his eye? Does he not have an image consultant?
  • Heh. Calling him "Carl".
  • Talking bombs. With shark faces. I love comics.
  • Hm. Barbara Gordon... Red Lantern...?
  • She's a Major? ROTFL!
  • THAT is the perfect title for the last issue of Robin. Nice one.
  • "Psyche!"
  • Wait is that... a giant bullet-shaped cenotaph? Instant classic.
  • Robin beats Shiva. Pure brilliance. That is why I love Tim Drake.
  • Heh. Calling him "a transformative figure".
  • That's the first explanation of the Outsiders that has every made sense to me.
  • Not at ALL something I expected to find out about Superwoman. Psyche, indeed.
  • Geo-Force working for a servant. Delicious!
  • DC really needs to start selling notebooks with that black hand symbol on them.
  • Roy Raymond, Jr. I am nonplussed. In a good way.
  • Batman and Rocket totally need to go out.
  • I assume that kissing him is pretty much like eating a mud pie.
  • Okay. Metamorpho is officially really creepy now.
  • Huh. Don't you think that she, of all people, would be a bit more freaked about getting a doll in the mail?
  • Now that is the way to quit your job. On live teevee.
  • Ryan is right; it is Nekron, isn't it?
  • Roy's "Marsh Marsha Marsha" moment.
  • Hm... Halo's possible role in the Blackest Night? Interesting. Yeah... I just said "Halo interesting".

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fill in the Blank

Shamelessly stolen from Diamondrock's recent post on Title Undetermined.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pep 7: Beating Them to a Pulp

Among long-time Shield-fans, this cover is affectionately nicknamed

"#$&*! you, Doombots!"

Okay, I lie. Naturally, whoever drew this cover did it long before Dr. Doom was created and never saw him. But who can say for sure that Kirby didn't see this Shield cover and was inspired by it? Why, I wouldn't be surprised if this very cover were Kirby's inspiration for both Dr. Doom and Captain America. This, along with a bottle of gin and a five o'clock deadline. And the guy in the back in the orange, hitting the Shield with a broom? Obviously the inspiration for "The Witch of Metropolis" (Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 77). Hix, hex, hox!

Anyway, whoever drew the Pep covers (I'm sure one of you all know who it was) was pretty clearly steeped in the pulp style. Just draw the Shield with a less garish costume, perhaps just jodhpurs or a trenchcoat, and you have a pulp coming to the rescue of that uncomfortable looking girl who appears to have mega-stapled to a nearby yellow submarine.

Still... isn't nice to a cover that has some actual action (well, action-detective-adventure, really) on it, rather than just the pose-y glam shots we get nowadays?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Deep beneath Wayne Manor

This one I'm proud of. ..

Heroclix needs some love lately as the company that had the license and was making it got closed, and it's been shopping for a new daddy. My sources tell me prospects actually are good, but in the meantime, players are a little sad.

This should cheer them up!Oh, yeah. As Dick Grayson said, "the cave's not the cave without all the stuff."

Hindering terrain is provided by the three most identifiable trophies (the card, the penny, and the dinosaur), as well as other trophy cases, and an old bat-signal. The Batmobile awaits on an elevated platform, flanked by a bottomless pit; if a figure get knocked into it, it's out of the game!

The Batsub gives some water terrain for a visit from Aquaman and stalgmites/stalactites serves as blocking terrain (one of them is actual a rock arch, and you can walk through it). The giant floor map of Gotham makes me happy, and you can exit via the staircase or Alfred's service elevator. Perhaps a Wayne Manor map should be made to place adjacent, eh?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Things That Made Me Happy

in my comics this week.

A desk should hit Green Arrow every month.
Mon-El? Okay, I really didn't expect that. The Superman titles continue to intrigue!
"Barry Allen, CSI". Red bow-tie and all.
Where Dr. Langstrom may sit.
Merlyn? Too dangerous for Blackgate?! Well... it made ME laugh.
So I guess Barbara enjoys have a rolling timeline, huh?
"He's bald, you know. He should wear a hat."
The Cat. The honest to god Cat. Haven't see ya since the '40s. Good to see ya.
A new villain who's going to spend lots of time looking for a new stylist each month.
Kal-El's realistically complex relationship with the citizens of Kandor.
Okay, how bad is it when Ragdoll pities how crazy you are?
"It's crime fighting. The fight never ends."
Dick chooses to take the train.
The worst costume ever.
I laughed out loud at "love lift us up where we belong."
Ah! The Riddler gets some respectful portrayal! Thanks.
Visualizing Sean's loss. That's comics at work, people.
Kyle breaks the law.
The Justice League versus pirates.
Puddin' makes an appearance.
Aquaman versus the Justice League.
Of course Batman's in on the secret. Batman should always be in on the secret.
Spot the sea star.
Superman faces up to the truth about Krypton.
Kyle's painting project.
And, once again, I thank the artist for remembering that the penny is from 1947.
Another fine Lexcorp adult entertainment complex.
Aquaman teaches us about global warming.
One-handed barbell-lifting.
Wilson's spot of tea.
Winslow's birthday present.
Most symbolic paint spill ever.
Hm. Does that pennant mean Dick is a college grad now? Because that would be good.
Once again, Aquaman shows why he's the real leader of the Justice League.
Scar's developing into an interesting story-teller.
The perfect motto for a giant typewriter.
Secret Six's splash panel!
I'm still really amused by Mongul's detachable arm with the kung-fu grip.
Whoa. I guess staring at the sun can leave you blind.
Barbara's birthday gift.
It warmed my heart to see Harvey's car again. Joker's, too.
It took me a while to figure out what Alex was saying about her father. I really wish I hadn't.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Legion of Super-Girlfriends

Everyone knows that Lois Lane used to be a selfish, irresponsible, nitwit. At least, that's how she was after the Silver Age hit 'er. As I've pointed out before, there's a big difference between

Golden Age Lois Lane ...

and Silver Age Lois Lane....
But there's no immediate point in rehashing Lo-Lo's well-known foibles. But the reintroduction of the two pillars of the Silver Age, Hal Jordan and Barry Allen, does prompt me to do a brief synopsis of the character of the other...

Girlfriends of the Silver Age
Sue Dibny,Brainless debutante;

Carol Ferris,
Ice queen;

Jean Loring,
Paranoid lunatic;

Shiera Hall,
Independent ass-kicker;

Vicki Vale,
Pointy-tata-ed, bondage-loving sexpot;

Iris West,
Vicious, emasculating witch


Sue Dibny,
Brainless debutante;

Carol Ferris,
Ice queen;

Jean Loring,
Dangerous lunatic;

Shiera Hall,
Pro-active ass-kicker;

Vicki Vale,
Phone-sexing, porn-loving sexpot;

Iris West,
Demeaning ballbuster

Recapping, that's...

Sue Dibny,
Brainless debutante;

Carole Ferris,
Ice queen;

Jean Loring,
Freakin' lunatic;

Shiera Hall,
Relentless ass-kicker;Vicki Vale,Finger-licking-bad sexpot;

Iris West,Spirit-crushing psycho-sadist.

And, for those who are still unbelievers...

Sue Dibny,
Brainless debutante;

Carol Ferris,
Ice queen;

Jean Loring,
Gibbering, slavering lunatic;

Shiera Hall,
Ready to kick your gorilla-dog's ass;

Vicki Vale,
Martini-guzzling, bunny-wannabe sexpot;

Iris West,
Just plain mean.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Pep 6: The Shield Schwings His Weapon

The key thing about this Pep cover?

It's not crypto-phallic. At all.

Now, if only that giant receptacle were sloshing out some yellowish liquid, we'd have a call-back to the ureatic cover of issue No. 2: "I'll just toss these Nordicans into that briny stream with this industrial silt scoop -- sorry for the dunking, boys!" Yeah, then we'd have something.

Still it has that lenticular 5D action we noted on an earlier cover. Keep your transquartomuralistic Kirby-punch covers, you dead-souled Marvelites who need a punch in the face in order to feel anything! We introspective Golden Agers like to lose ourselves in the endless recesses of Pep covers an its action detective adventure.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Black Glove

The Black Glove

--the real one, not Morrison's--

is vicious and emasculating.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Seven Deadly Enemies of Comic Books

The Seven Deadly Enemies of Comics Books
are reaching out to attack your brain, destroy your pleasure, and lay waste to your medium of serialized entertainment.


which is counted as one with its sneering semiotic sidekick,

Okay, as much as I joke about it, I realize that surrealism & dadaism themselves are not intrinsic threats, or even prevalent in comics. But (in case you haven't guessed) when I talk about them, I'm really just speaking in code. I use "surrealism" and "dadaism" as surrogate terms to denote the tendencies in some comic book creators to ignore the need for perspective, context, and meaning. The emphasis on "cool moments", visually or dramatically, rather than on the entire product or effect of plot and art. Read anything by Loeb and Lee.

Continuity is one thing: there are certain things one might reasonably be expected to know about Batman or Superman before reading one of their stories, without requiring exposition on them in every story. But when knowledge of specific previous stories becomes a necessary key to making sense of a current story, then self-referentialism has taken hold. It's the comic book version of an auto-immune disease, in which a system designed to keep comics sensible and healthy turns against it and starts killing it from within.

Moral Relativism
Defined here as confusing moral ambivalence with sophistication. Yes, it's a grey world rather than a black & white one; but that's makes it that much more important to take stands on right and wrong. Symptoms include heroes fighting heroes rather than villains,
and characters switching sides willy-nilly from hero to villain as the situation dictates.


Using anti-societal characters as protagonists or characters of primary reader identification pretty much limits your audience to adolescents, or those with their mindset.

Nostalgic Paralysis
Nostalgia is fine, you know. In fact, since it's often steeped in offal that's been stewing for years, it can be fertile ground for germinating new stories, characters, and directions (as it is in the work of Geoff Johns or James Robinson, whether you like the particular directions they choose or not). Nostalgia can help a well-rooted literary future blossom, or it can become fetid and choke all storytelling like kudzu in a keyboard. When nostalgia keeps writers from adding to a myth or telling new stories it's become Nostalgic Paralysis.


We often associate decompression with silent panels and dialog spread out to a "slow pace".
So a panel full of all that dialog and captioning hardly seems like decompression, I know.
However, four issues of it does.
When the "storyline" replaces "the story"
is it any wonder that "the trade" replaces "the monthly"?

Post-Modern Deconstructionist Metafiction
An any additional commentary on this would be...
meaningless and pointless.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Pep 5: The Enchantment Under the Sea Dance

Okay, at first I tried to believe that the action on this cover is supposed to take place underwater. Because I see, um, ship-ish looking things. And air bubbles.

Oh, the heck with it! This can only be interpreted as a fractured surrealist landscape colored with a variegated miasma of pastels. It looks like someone put the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and R. Crumb in a blender with some art chalk, and then dipped an issue of Captain America in it.

The Shield has a rudder up his butt, bringing new meaning to "hard to port!", and is blowing off his right foot with a torpedo, surrounded by negative-space-infused textual elements, and ambiguous shapes that could be salmon or submarines, propellers or women's hats, streams or banana leaves, pontoons or hot dog buns.

These illusions disillusioned me; how could our hero, The Shield, participate in such a patent and aggressive display of wicked Surrealism, the Enemy of All That is Good in Comics? And then it hit me, like a torpedo exploding on my shinbone:

The Shield is FIGHTING. The Shield is fighting back surrealism!

Phew! NOW I can sleep tonight!