Monday, January 31, 2011

Pep 39: Painful Perspectivitis

Usually, the 3D nature of Pep covers helps the Shield. But on the cover of 39, perspective turns against him
like some sort of artistic auto-immune disease. It's distorted his limbs and jerked them to angles so painful even the Shield can't help showing it on his face. Psst! Shield! The lipstick doesn't help...

Plus, it's obviously thrown off his aim, so he completely missed hitting Attila the Vampire Cat-person Voodoo Japanazi Who Gets His Workout Gear from the International Male Catalog.

Dusty the Boy Bondage seems to have nodded off, or may have already died from having his entire brain exposed. Oh, unless that's his hair. Dusty's lucky! He might have been in danger if Simitar-san hadn't just been shot by Ayikanasiyu, the World's Most Awkward Marksman/Chaffeur and his inable female lookout, Seen-us DeMilo.

One benefit to the perspective though: the odious Hangman is trapped on an Escherian stair/ledge, with zero clearance and steps that approach but never arrive down at the groundfloor action. The farther he is in the background the better. In fact, without my reading glasses, I'd swear he was just a color-reversed Silver Age Batwoman.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Attack of Jean Loring's Brain, VII

So the Wind Pirate is using his Kirby Cube to take over the earth, which will be destroyed in less than three hours by Jean Loring's brain, which the Atom has entered to try and punch out the crazy evil.

Have you ever wondered what the inside of Jean Loring's brain looks like?

It looks like Frank Stella ate and threw up the collected works of Dr. Seuss.

Well, no WONDER Jean Loring's insane, she's got a slice of kiwi stuck in her brain. Atom takes a right at the kiwi slice, follows the fettucini-brick road along the Sea of Go-Go Checks and finds...

a giant pearl of crazy-evil. Which he goes inside. And punches.

And, pathetically inadequate word though it is sometimes... meanwhile...

Aquaman beats the crap out of the pirates...

"Time--to teach--these rude Parisians-- a lesson!"

and Captain Comet sweats.

Comet; we all loved Johnny Storm, stop obsessing over it.

Ray's punching treatment works,

It's not easy to get inside your girlfriend's head. It's even harder to get out.

... and Jean Loring's brain stops destroying the earth, and the Wind Pirate ... well, um, I think he blows up along with his ship. Or escapes. To come back when someone finally lets me write Aquaman.

LOL, oh, Name-Or, you're slaying me! Jean Loring's brain may not contain a pearl of planet-destroying energy. But Jean Loring is ALWAYS a threat to mankind. Why, in order for the world to be safe, Jean Loring would have to be kept completely, I dunno... comatose.

See? I told you!

Well, the world's is safe, the Atom takes some aspirin, and Jean Loring lives to terrify the world another day. What else is there?

Next time, we wrap up with:

The Top Ten Things I Learned from The Attack of Jean Loring's Brain.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Attack of Jean Loring's Brain, Part VI

Well, while the--

I did not say that.

While the Wind Pirate is bloviating in his Kirby Cube high above the earth, where is Jean Loring?

Yes, Atom, we know; that's the problem. More specifically, she has, for no apparent reason, magically appeared in the undersea kingdom of Lemuria.

Oh, Name-Or; you say "hopelessly" like it's a bad thing.

There, when she sees her One True Love, Ray Palmer, again,

she's shocked back into sanity and they have a tearful lover's reunion...

"Today's psychotic episode is brought to you by the letter E."

Psych! You didn't really believe that, did you? This is Jean Loring, people!

Atom's buddy Aquaman, of course, always knows the wrong thing to say:

"Terribly disturbed? In a psychotic state? Um, yeah, Arthur, that's the Jean Loring I know. Who do you think bought me this tie?"

So, the Atom decides to just shrink down and punch the Crazy Evil out of Jean Loring's brain,

while Captain Comet gets his hair done. Really.

"In my business, you meet so many interesting people; bobby pins, please.
But the most interesting ones are the mutants."

Friday, January 21, 2011

Attack of Jean Loring's Brain, Part V

Well, yes, all this Wind Pirate nonsense is very interesting but the re--


If Jack Kirby and Jim Steranko had a baby,
that's pretty much what it would look like. At birth.

Oh, silly me. That's the Wind Pirate's ship. With a big Kirby Cube. You know, I could swear one of my elder brothers had a black light poster like that.

Wait, what's that he's saying?


What a silver-tongued devil the Wind Pirate is! Now wonder Bosun is in love. By the way, if you didn't know a moment could be plundered, well, you learned it here first. Really, some clever writer needs to bring back the Wind Pirate and put him on into a villainous Stentorian League with Dr. Domino, Dr. Polaris, and Sunspot. Oh, and Solomon Grundy, just for laughs. Nah, scratch that; a clever writer could never do the dialog.

Anyway, where's the real threat in this story? What's become of Jean Loring's brain?!

Oh, that!

Well, Captain Comet did the only humane thing....

He shoved his fingers in Jean Loring's brain and killed her.

Gee, if only someone had done the same thing to T.O. Morrow's other abductee, the Meanest Woman Alive, Iris West.

Oh, wait; that's right...
Someone did.

P.S. Just kidding! As if that goober Captain Comet could possible stop Jean Loring's brain! It will return in the next episode of...


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Attack of Jean Loring's Brain, Part IV

So, last time in "The Attack of Jean Loring's Brain", we explored the mystery of who was watching Aquaman get his ass kicked by a tornado via a spy-eye screen. We determined that it wasn't Name-Or from the hapax legomenon kingdom of Lemuria, or Flunk Flashman of the Secret Society of Super-Villains (even though both of them did have spy-eye screens and were watching the Battle of the Brain Bowl [Jean Loring's Brain, 54 - Earth, 0])

So who IS this mysterious figure?!?!?

If I had a toady, I'd make him wear a magenta beret and sweat-cuffs, too.

Oh, I'm sure most of you have already guessed! It is, of course...


Okay, fess up; NONE of you guessed the Wind Pirate. That's because, like Lemuria, the Wind Pirate had never been heard of before and hasn't been heard of since. But I'm sure you can guess his story. He's your basic "Navy weather scientist who, because he was too valuable, wasn't allowed to go to sea, which is all he ever wanted, and who has therefore now gone insane with pirate-mania, and has an abusive relationship with his sidekick." He's been taking advantage of the chaos and weather instability caused by the attack of Jean Loring's brain to make his own ill-timed bid for world domination; the time to conquer Earth is not about three hours before Jean Loring's brain completely destroys it.

And, meanwhile

there's poor "Bosun", the sidereal sidekick of this psycho space pirate! So enamored of the Wind Pirate,
"And you will kneel, and tell me that you love me...."

but so ill-treated

Bosun gets Ye Olde Bitch Slappe

even when it's just verbal abuse.

"Shut up, you toady, I'm watching Aquaman's ass.
I mean, Aquaman's ass get kicked!"

It's sad, too, because Bosun's obviously really hot and the Wind Pirate is, well, Sonny Bono in a Gilbert & Sullivan production. The whole thing is very Harley/Mr. J "Mad Love"...

*Sniff*! "I... don't know how to lo-ove him..."

"But there's so much more I want to show you, Cap'n! The Cherry Blossom Festival! The Ile de France with all the gulls around it! Niagra Falls...!"

Tragically, it's not to be. There's no romance in piracy, folks.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Attack of Jean Loring's Brain, III

So, when we last left Jean Loring's brain, it was buffeting Aquaman around like a wet ragdoll, forcing Captain Comet to think about Thomas Aquinas, driving the Atom into a violent sexual frenzy, and indulging in an orgy of destruction by means of unnatural disasters.

Speaking of destructive orgies and the resultant unnatural disasters...

Wally will sleep with just about anybody, won't he?

Again?! You young people are insatiable!

Such is the madness that Jean Loring's brain inspires in others!

Meanwhile, Sigh.

Meanwhile, someone is...
watching Aquaman's ass get kicked, via one of those omnivident cams that Lex Luthor used to use on Challenge of the Super-Friends. You know, the kind that can watch whatever action the reader is seeing, no matter how unlikely it is that a camera would be able to zoom in on that action, at that angle, at that time. I don't know what they call in in the DCU, but in our world we call it "Google Earth".

But... who is watching Aquaman?!

Is it... this guy:
Nothing says high-tech like a fishtank full of Kirby dots and a digital crossword program.

Nope. That's just flashy Flashman and the Funky Bunch (a.k.a. the original Secret Society of Super-Villains).

For those (mercifully) not familiar with him, Funky Flashman, a cheap conman character, was a 70s-era DCU parody of Stan Lee. There’s one severe problem with that concept: you can’t parody Stan Lee. Stan Lee is one of those few people (like Sammy Davis, Jr.) who serves as his own parody. Parody is dependent on being able to exaggerate something’s characteristics to the point of being ridiculous. But that is where Stan Lee STARTS; there’s simply nowhere to go with a Stan Lee parody. As a result, Flunky Flashman isn’t a fun and naughty guilty pleasure; he’s just exactly as annoying as having Stan Lee running around inside your comic book story. C'mon, DC; even Marvel knows that Stan Lee should be limited to cameos. Absinthe is sipped from a cordial glass, not chugged from a keg.

Anyway, although Funky Flashman does have a spy-eye and is watching the Orgy of Destruction (tm), he and the Funky Bunch aren't paying any attention to Aquaman. They're all focused on Captain Comet, their arch-enemy. By the way, just for your own reference: if your arch-enemy is Captain Comet you just might be incredibly lame.

So is it perhaps... this guy:
It is time we used... an unnatural dramatic pause.

Nah, that's just Nameless Plot Device Guy from the fantastic underwater civilization of Lemuria. Duh!

What, you’ve never heard of the fantastic underwater civilization of Lemuria, the Atlantis of the Pacific, which has devoted itself to studying science in isolation, for the last one million years? Don’t feel bad; that’s because Lemuria had never been heard of before in the DCU and never since.

Actually, it's too bad; the idea of an antipodal competitor to Atlantis was a great one. And, unlike the DCU's other undersea cities, Lemuria was based on a real-world legend. Oh, well, I guess it was destroyed by wave of anti-matter; or a wave of Gil'Dishpan soldiers; or a wave of some writer's hand. Quite of lot of authorial hand-waving in this story actually.

For example: why are the Lemurians involved? Because Jean Loring, courtesy of her brain, just magically popped into one of their undersea cities a couple days ago. They recognized her instantly by her hopeless insanity:
Whaddaya mean, "at the moment"? Like, the last ten years?

No, it's not that Lemurian guy. Jeez, it's awkward to keep calling him "that Lemurian guy". I can't believe the writer didn't give him some name, or-- Oh, wait. That'll work! We'll call the undersea civilization's leader who enjoys watching Aquaman get his ass kicked ...


Anyway, it wasn't Name-Or, although he also does have spy-eye tech (even though he lives at the bottom of the ocean) and has been using it to record Aquaman getting his ass kicked by a tornado, and uploading the video to DCUTube.

So, if it wasn't Funky Flashman or Name-Or watching that screen... who WAS it?!?!

We'll find out in the next installment of ...


Friday, January 07, 2011

Attack of Jean Loring's Brain, Part II

Hey, Ray! Remind us why the planet is about to be destroyed? What's the problem again...?

Thanks, Ray!

So, the Crazy-Evil in Jean Loring's brain is now armed with the ability to destroy entire planets. Which it starts to do pretty much immediately.

In case you don't recognize it, that's Captain Comet's butt. There are so many natural disasters, the situation is so bad that the entire JLA is busy handling it. And by "it" I mean "the situation" not Captain Comet's butt.

As a result the only otherwise unoccupied hero is Captain Comet. Does THAT tell you how bad it is when Jean Loring attacks? That the only person left to rely on is Captain Frickin' Comet?

We'll skip -- mostly -- right over the part where some of our heroes try to deal with some of the disasters. In short, Aquaman gets his ass handed to him by a tornado.
Aquaman is, apparently, not smart enough to simply go underwater when a tornado at sea is headed his way.
And neither, apparently, are whales. Or giant pink clams.
Can't really blame the clams, though.
Giant pink clams in NYC harbor... who knew?!

I said, MEANWHILE, while Aquaman is doing an interpretative dance in front of the Statue of Liberty...
"I call this dance
The Time I Got My Ass Kicked by a Tornado in front of the State of Liberty!"

... the Atom is beating the crap out of a little girl.

Attaboy, Atom! Prof. Palmer just hates truants.

Oh, and the Atom also runs a tanker train full of oil into an earthquake caused by Jean Loring's brain.

That might have been easier, Ray,
if you hadn't insisted on remaining at six inches while doing it.

Meanwhi--I mean-- Anyway, Captain Comet is jealous. Aquaman is doing the aquadance in midair above Liberty Island and the Atom is indulging in catastrophic explosions and child abuse. They have ALL the fun! So Captain Comet decides the best way to be useful while Jean Loring's brain orgiastically destroys the planet is to ponder the works of Thomas Aquinas while a Japanese village is incinerated by a lava flow.

Such thinking is impossible for anyone but the King of Dorks.

With Jean Loring and her crazy-evil brain destroying the world, Ray does the only sensible thing a rational scientist would do under such circumstances...

throws himself at Italian science-babe Enrichetta Negrini in a crazed eruption of long-smoldering desire.
"Can you handle all six inches of me, baby?"

And what does

think of all this?

Oh. Yeah. Right. I forgot.
Not much.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Attack of Jean Loring's Brain, Part I


in 1977, the Earth is under attack from the greatest threat the DCU has ever known:


Don't you wish you could talk that way?
Particularly during times of planet-wide distress?
Oh, and if "Jean Loring and the Orgy of Destruction"
is not the name of someone's band, it should be.

For those of you just tuning into the Absorbascon, you need to know that the girlfriends of DC's iconic heroes in days of yore were not cookie cutter copies of one another. They were not all smilingly supportive confections of sugar & spice & everything nice. They were formidable characters in their own right, with personalities all their own, as we've previously elaborated upon.

It makes an odd sort of sense that extraordinary heroes would seek out extraordinary partners. Any one of these heroes could have opted for a gushing giggling groupie, but... none of them did. Except of course for Ralph Dibny, who was an egotistical, self-centered weasel. Real heroes enjoy a nearly insuperable challenge, and the girlfriends of the Golden and Silver Ages were certainly... challenging.

When introduced in the first Silver Age Atom story, Jean Loring was obviously supposed to be a break from the traditional "Must Get a Man!' mode of portraying women. The opening schtick was that Ray had asked Jean to marry him some 20 times. But she kept saying no because she wanted to focus on establishing her career as a lawyer. Jean was focused, independent, and driven.

But over time "focused, independent, and driven" became "unfocused, incoherent, and driven crazy." I guess it was just too hard for writers of that era to portray a stable career woman. It became easier -- or more fun? --to pick a simpler, single way to characterize her: as BAT-SHIT CRAZY.

Poor Jean. Always caught
attacking innocent people in hotel lobbies in a fit of paranoia. Or threatening to rip a stranger's face off. Or ruling as a demented queen of an alien microscopic world. Or stepping on her friend's brain. Or terrorizing South America. Or being dragged off to Arkham in a straightjacket. Or becoming Eclipso.

Sad, perhaps... but very amusing.

Anyway, as mentioned in the panel above, the Crazy-Evil that resides in Jean Loring's brain possesses the power to destroy the Earth. I mean, even more than usual.

It was kind of T.O. Morrow's fault (you know, the futurist inventor who created the universe's most tedious weapon, the Red Tornado, and who regularly took on the entire Justice League). He got it in his head to take revenge on the JLA by kidnapping...

wait for it...

Iris West and Jean Loring.

Now, usually, I think of T.O. Morrow as one of the smartest villains in town, but anyone who's idea of a plan involves kidnapping the Meanest Woman Alive and the Craziest Woman in the DCU is none too bright. That sounds more like a JLA plan to take revenge on T.O. Morrow than vice versa.

Sure, T.O., maybe you've kicked the entire JLA's butts a couple times. But, really, taking on the JLA is one thing, but... taking on Iris West and Jean Loring? At the same time?! Are you freaking NUTS or what?!?!? Jean Loring will rip off your face and destroy your planet in an orgy of destruction while Iris West demeans you, undermines your manhood, and eats your dog. And if you don't believe that last part, then maybe you can explain what happened to the dog that appears in her apartment for one panel of the new Flash #1 and hasn't been heard of since.

Anyway, he carted them off to some alien world (like ya do), but the planet turned out to be sentient. And how did we learn this?

Because the planet was terrified of Jean Loring.

Being terrified of Jean Loring is one of the basic characteristics of all sentient life.

Yes, Jean Loring was SO crazy that the living planet was afraid she would drive it insane. So it sacrificed a huge amount of its, um, world-energy, I guess, by transferring it to Jean so she would teleport to ANYWHERE else.

Ladies and gentlemen, Jean Loring, Threat to Sanity!

More in our next installment.