Thursday, March 31, 2011

DCU Travel Posters: Ivytown

Our next DCU travel poster is for the Atom's burg, Ivytown.

By the way, when it was first introduced "Ivytown" was one word. Then they started to treat it as two words ("Ivy Town"). The fact that comic book lettering is all upper-case and is often kind of squunchy hasn't helped, and DC still doesn't do it consistently. I'm going with the one-word spelling, because it's the original one and because "-town" is much more commonly used as a suffix in place names than it is as part of an open compound.

Poor Ivytown. Unlike, say, Metropolis, Gotham, or Central City, it doesn't have a distinctive skyline or identifiable landmarks. The same was true of Coast City, but we got around that by choosing a skyline that was clearly on the water, had Hal Jordan zipping through, and was tinted green. But Ivytown doesn't have those kinds of geographic or chromatic short-cuts for us. Hm....

Turns out there aren't a lot of good images or information to work with for Ivytown. Mostly it's characterized as being centered around its prestigious school, Ivy University. The rest of it was quite vague, even for the Silver Age. It took writer Gail Simone to lavish some details on the Little Town That Could in her quirky All-New Atom series. Thanks to her and artist John Byrne, we do have this:

Ryan Choi's first view of Ivy University.

Okay. That's a pretty unique view, particularly with that statue there. I can work with that. Abstract that view a little bit, and we get...

A little color block variation for rhythm and balance. Collegiate font for the university setting. The red of the weird statue to bring out the Atom's logo. A cameo appearance by Ray Palmer himself. Really, the only thing missing is a silhouette of mad Jean Loring lurching around in a paranoidal panic, swinging a hotel cigarette stand above her head.

These are starting to look kind of nice on my one bedroom wall, by the way...

The next one, I'll let you contemplate in advance. It's one you probably couldn't get anywhere but here. The next DCU travel poster will be for Apex City. You think about that for a while, and see what your mind's eye comes up with...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Geoff Johns versus Aquaman

Make no mistake. I will not like everything that Geoff Johns does with Aquaman. But I am confident that he will do right in setting the character back on track. Why? Because the evidence is clear that Johns understands the three steps to re-establishing an iconic character.

1. Acceptance of the Essentials

Geoff Johns respects the essence of a character's myth. What is the essence of a character's myth? Isn't that act of deciding what a character's essence is subjective? Perhaps. But on the whole "essential" means the elements mostly commonly associated and accepted by the wider public as part of the hero's mythos-- not just the parts the writer happens to like.

The main point here is that Johns does not begin with the presumption that the character is essentially... stupid. He does not think, "Whoa, this character's basic story is ridiculous, and now it's totally broken." Why? Because, regardless of exactly how he terms it, he looks at the characters as mythic. And, as a serious student of mythology knows...

myths are always ridiculous.

Myths are full of trickster spider-gods and holy castrations that birth goddesses and people turning wine in water. A billionaire who beats up muggers as a hobby? Ridiculous. The world's most powerful being contents himself with living as a bullied milksop? Ridiculous. A princess created out of clay by an ancient immortal, magical, and scientifically advanced sisterhood and imbued with superpowers by Greek gods, who, coming to America to fight our enemies foreign and domestic and teach us that male aggression can only be tamed through submission to the happy controlling bondage of women's power of love, meets a lookalike war nurse with the same name as hers whom she can immediately pay to move to South America so she can assume her identity? Really, the word "ridiculous" simply does not cover it.

Geoff Johns does not shy away from the essential ridiculousness of the characters he tackles. He embraces it He accepts that the ridiculous essence of the myth is part of what makes it powerful, part of why the characters persists, long after more "realistic" characters have been forgotten and abandoned.

2. Incorporation of the variations

Well, where I was taught this concept we didn't call it "incorporation"; when talking about myths, we called it "syncretism". Regardless of what you call it, it's a step beyond just accepting the essential myth. It's accepting the value of the essential myth-- and all the variations of the myth that have arisen, even when they seem to be in conflict. Its highest expression is the attempt to reconcile the variations of a myth, into one larger, more powerful version of the myth.

Like it or not--or like how he does it or not-- this is exactly what Johns does. Sometimes there's a quite of hand-waving, even to the point of literary legerdemain. But generally, since the outcome is "mythically desirable" to the public, they happily suspend their disbelief of whatever means Johns uses to get them where they want to be.

3. Expansion of the mythos by extension or elaboration

Timid writers fear adding any new to a mythos, sometimes out of overwhelming respect for the character. This is particularly true for writers who started as fanboys. Brash writers contradict or at times throwout the existing mythos, trying to turn the character they've been given into a different one (e.g., Peter David on Supergirl). Respectful but bold writers keep older essential elements, but do not hesitate to add appropriate new ones (which we'll call expansion by extension) or extrapolate older elements into new directions and territory (which we'll call expansion by elaboration).

A simplified way of looking at it. is that the writer asks himself or herself:
  1. What are the top ten things "everyone knows" about this character and how can I best make them work together?
  2. How can I make the" other stuff" part of that and make it cool?
  3. Once that's done, how can I make the story bigger or deeper in way consistent with what I've put together?

A brief look at John's treatment of three classic characters, all of whom he brought back from utter extinction, shows his application of these principals.

For Hawkman, he focused on essential elements (Shayera as Hawkgirl and the relationship with her, the reincarnation and connection with ancient Egypt and history, the museum setting, the Thanagarian connection), incorporated variations and history (e.g., quickly merging the blond Golden Age Hawkman with the black-haired Silver Age Hawkman into the brown-haired modern Hawkman, putting all of Hawkman's rogues gallery back into play one by one, bringing back Golden Eagle), and expanded on the mythos (e.g., creating a new and unique fictionopolis for Hawkman to replace the vague and unessential Silver Age setting of Midway City).

For Flash, he re-established the essentials (Barry Allen the slow and methodical police scientist, his relationship with reporter Iris West, his friendships with Wally and Hal, Central City and its Rogues' Gallery, bringing Capt Boomerang back from the dead), incorporated variations (e.g., keeping the "speed force", the West-Park family, Max Mercury, and Jay Garrick, re-setting Bart Allen and making him Kid Flash), and elaborated on the mythos (e.g., making Barry the generator of the speed force rather than its recipient, creating co-worker characters for Barry, putting a new spin on the Reverse Flash's powers).

For Green Lantern, he stopped the "GL-of-the-decade" cycle by restoring the GL essentials (test pilot Hal Jordan, the importance of fearlesness/willpower, Carole Ferris, refurbishing the Lantern foes, revitalizing the Corps and the Guardians), incorporated variations (e.g. finding off-world roles for John Stewart, Guy Gardner, and Kyle Rayner) and elaborated on existing elements into new territory (e.g., taking the existence of a ring of a different color (yellow) and the association of "willpower" with the "green" lantern and extrapolating those into other color rings with their corps and own associated mental states).

Lest you think I'm just a Johns-nut, I have to confess I do not like all of the results of what Johns has done. The GL Corps bores me, the Flash's stories are still achingly slow, and Hawkman has still not found a stable place in the DCU. But there is no question that Johns has done the (apparently) impossible in getting these three characters (each of whom has been completely written off as toxic, irredeemable, and, well, dead) back on track.

Similarly, it's important to point out that Johns is not the only writer who takes this approach. Kurt Busiek and, of all people, Grant Morrison do as well. Taking this three-pronged approach to mythic revitalization doesn't mean doing it perfectly. Busiek did wonders with Superman in almost no time at all; however, his work on Aquaman was less successful because, I think, he mis-identified what the essential elements of Aquaman were. Morrison seems to take this approach (he masterfully boiled down Superman's origin and did essential characterization work on Jimmy Olsen and Lex Luthor in All Star Superman, and has steadfastly tried to incorporate outlying Silver Age and Bronze Age variations into the Batman mythos); he's just undone by his inability to weave it all into a coherent whole (or, for that matter, a coherent story, or even coherent sentences). If you take a look at other good writers working on revitalizing existing properties (such as Levitz on Legion), you'll be able to spot the approach.

How exactly will Johns apply this approach to Aquaman? He's already given us some clues, such as his revitalization of Mera (acceptance), the recasting of her homeworld as a other dimensional penal colony for former Atlanteans (incorporation) and creation of the new Aqualad (an extrapolation of the conflict between Aquaman and Black Manta). Time will tell how he will apply it further, but for now it appears that Aquaman is in good hands.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Welcome to Atlantis!

Well, well, well.

Aquaman is getting his own title again. Kudos, Anax Orin!

I'll be talking more about Geoff Johns taking the seahorse reins of this new title later. For now just celebrate with this Atlantean travel poster:

Unlike in the previous poster designs, in this one I have depicted the city (kingdom?) from above. After all, that would be how you would approach it. Besides, Atlantis's traditional domes make a great abstract design. Aquaman is symbolized with the "Aquasymbol" in place of the 'A's in Atlantis and the overall color scheme. His silent invisible power is represented in the concentric circles that are the visual shorthand for his aquatelepathy, causing schools of fish to fall in line with his commands.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

QUANTITY is good: World's Finest on B:B&B

Really, if you're not a fan of the "Batman: Brave & the Bold" series on Cartoon Network, something is seriously wrong with you. In fact, being too serious is probably what is wrong with you... I have to paused to publicly appreciate the most recent episode, in which Batman teams up with Superman. I could talk about how it's a fun and clever story that uses both characters to their full advantage, showing them both as well-rounded people with different but complementary personalities. Which, really, is already more than I have a right to expect from a "kids' show". But instead I'm going to focus on the sheer QUANTITY of good old-fashioned comic book fun in the episode. This thirty-minute show (and that includes the copious kiddie commercials) had all of the following. In began with John Di Maggio's passable impression of Victor Buono portraying King Tut (or, as he is wisely renamed, "The Pharaoh") turning citizens into zombie mind-slaves, as he did using the chemical Abu Rabu Simbu Tu on the Adam West series. Plus, you got to see the Pharaohmobile. In a brilliant mash-up, Pharaoh's bank heist by thwarted by Batman and Robin dresses as mummies, an homage to this cover: It even had Vicki Vale there to take photos, just like on the cover. The bandages were soaked in buttermilk "the one thing that repels 'Pharaoh Rays' ". Bat-fans will remember that coating his stomach with buttermilk was how Batman inoculated himself against Abu Rabu Simbu Tu on the '60s show. That's all pretty much in the first two minutes. Oh, and then some other things happened...

  • Jimmy pretends to be dying in order to trick Superman into revealing his secret identity.

  • A Lois Lane dream sequence of herself super-married with children on a picnic, exactlly reproducing the cover of Lois Lane 23:

  • Batman and Superman go to Kandor to fight El Gar-Kur (Jimmy Olsen's evil Kandorian lookalike from Action #253).

  • Krypto clobbers Superman.

  • Jimmy Olsen, Super-Freak from Jimmy Olsen #59:

  • Batman saves Superman from Metallo... by using the Whirlybat.

  • Jimmy Olsen Super-Genie from Jimmy Olsen #42

  • An attack by Mr Mxyzptlk, foiled by a knock knock joke.

  • Jimmy Olsen Human Octopus from Jimmy Olsen #41

  • Lex Luthor in his Black Business Suit outfit.

  • Jimmy Olsen the Wolfman from Jimmy Olsen #44

  • Just as in the Superman movies, Lex Luthor stealing kryptonite meteorites from museums.

  • References to Lois's ridiculous Silver Age schemes to trick Superman into marrying her.

  • Jungle Jimmy Olsen and his Gorilla Bride from Jimmy Olsen #98

  • Red kryptonite.

  • Superman calling Lex Luthor a "diseased maniac" as he did in the original Superman movie.

  • A dead-on Noel Neill imitation for Lois Lane.

  • Jimmy Olsen, Human Porcupine from Jimmy Olsen #65

  • Lex Luthor wandering around in his Prison Greys, even though he's not in prison.

  • Bizarro Jimmy Olsen

  • A reprise of the King Superman story from Action 311, complete with an exact reproduction of this scene.

  • Lex Luthor using his kryptonite ring just as he used during the Frank Byrne run on Superman.

  • Jimmy Olsen, Super-Brain from Jimmy Olsen 22.

  • Superman getting hit with a tomato.

  • "Don't call me 'Chief'!", "Great Caesar's Ghost!", and "Well, what are you waiting for?!"

  • Lois Lane typing while wearing those damn white gloves she used to wear in the Silver Age.

  • A bank heist by the Toyman.

  • Lex Luthor's all-seeing monitors that he used to use in Challenge of the Super-Friends.

  • The containment devices that Jor-El used to send Zod & Co. into the Phantom Zone in the movie "Superman II". Including the mirror thing.

  • Superman stranding a little girl's kitten in a tree. I had to pause the recording until I stopped laughing.

  • Krypto's Dog-House of Solitude.

  • This hilarious scene from Lois Lane #26:

  • The climatic battle between Batman and Superman from Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight". Yes, really. With exact poses from the fight.

  • Jimmy Olsen, Giant Turtle Boy from Jimmy Olsen #53.

  • A "Superman is a dick" reference; or at least, exactly as close as you can get away with on TV. I almost fell out of my chair.

  • This wonderful scene from Jimmy Olsen #30:

  • The robots that Superman fought in the Fleischer cartoon "The Mechanical Monsters".

  • "Luthor's Lair", complete with statues of famous villains from history.


  • Metropolis's "Mayor Swan".

  • Superman himself actually giving the "Faster Than a Speeding Bullet" speech.

  • Super-ventriloquism as a plot point.

  • An attack by Silver Age Brainiac, complete with his original motivation and his space monkey, Koko.
And the best thing about the above list is that it isn't just a fanboy nostalgia-fest. Any kid can understand and enjoy the episode without getting a single 'reference'. Writers of DC comics could take a clue from the writers of the Batman: Brave & the Bold cartoon when it comes to giving us bang for the buck. In an era where DC is trying to squeeze stories into fewer pages, they need every lesson they can get in abandoning decompression and embracing fast-paced, old-school plotting.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Keeping the Kiddies' Attention

Over a three-martini lunch, the editors of MLJ Comics must have meet at some point to discuss the ending of their latest Shield story. And how to keep the little buggers reading the Shield's adventures in Pep Comics. Because, lord knows, they didn't want to have to write any more of that Riverdale crap. Jeez, that stuff gives me the creeps.

So, which martini were they on, you think, when they decided to have the Shield not only violate the Fourth Wall and warn kids to read the next issue ...

but have him do so over the silhouette of a fresh corpse?

Now that's wholesome Golden Age entertainment. I'll have what they're having!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Blow me down!

Truly, no good deed goes unpunished.

Here I try to give you some good clean old-fashioned fun, like mad Jean Loring wrecking the planet with earthquakes, tsunamis, and hurricane and the tragic story of unreciprocated love between a pirate and his bosun.

And what I get for this selfless entertainment of the people?


Yes, Totaltoyz secretly set a custom-made Wind Pirate Heroclix figure upon me, in all its absurd glory. Accurate right down to the marzipan magenta skull-flower on his Cap'n Crunch hat.

In case you wondering what the Wind Pirate can do, he sits appropriately enough on a Major Disaster dial; here is his card...

Although the Wind Pirate was not given a name in his one and only story, his backstory on this card lists him as Navy weather scientist Gilbert Sullivan. I assume his middle initial is "N". Probably for "Nancy" (family name, I'm sure).

I'll have to team him up with one of my Jean Loring customs. Or have a new one made, with her in a torn magenta dress and special powers that let her destroy entire portions of the map. Then once she's kayoed she becomes a special object that gives those same powers to adjacent colleagues.

But now I'm also going to need a Bosun figure with some sort of minion power ("Bitchslap: Wind Pirate may Mastermind attack damage or pushing damage to Bosun, making Bosun really hot") and a Piratical Parakeet pog with the power to Perplex ornithologists and Hal Jordan.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Costume Malfunction


Ordinarily, I try and stay apart (if not above) these kinds of discussions. But this one I can't find the strength to be silent on.

In the words of a U.S president, "This must not stand." Actually, it doesn't look like it does stand. It looks like it teeters around on 4-inch high-heeled hooker boots.

I'll concede there are some things I like about the design elements. It does simplify Wonder Woman's costume, and that's good. It boils down and unites WW's many costume elements into a few simple pieces and ties them together. The tiara, breastplate, belt, boot top complement one another. It makes a little more sense as a costume than Marston's original majorette outfit. That said, however...

You know when you're researching superhero costumes on-line and your search turns up all those cheap naughty ones from, you know, "Dream Dresser" and such? This looks exactly like one of those pictures, right down to the Realistic Plastic Bracelets, Luxurious Black Polyester Wonder-Wig, and Lip-Gloss of Truth.

I do not know this Adrianne Palicki. I am sure she is fine person, a dedicated actor, and serious about her role. But I also know, just by looking at her, I could kick her ass. Heck, she'd probably fall over and break one of her skinny skinny legs while chasing me (assuming that those rock-star pants even allow her to run rather than just skitter). Lynda Carter was a beautiful woman, yes. But she had substantial hips and thighs and shoulders, not just the bones where those muscles are supposed to be found, and her breasts didn't balloon out of her costume. She was a WOMAN. This is just... a wonder.

Always hopeful, I've been trying to just close my eyes every time I see "brought to you by the people who gave you Ally McBeal and Boston Legal" in articles on this show. But this image has finally opened my eyes....

in horror.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

DCU Travel Posters

There's no bigger fan of the fictionpolises of the DCU than the Absorbascon. They are such a unique part of DC's world, I've always wondered why DC didn't put out more memorabilia and "souvenirs" from the cities their heroes call home. I used to wear my "Central City Track" shirt running for years, but no one ever caught on... Postercards, posters, mugs, maps-- heck, I'd rather have those around my house the some crap from, say, Jacksonville.

For example, remember those delightfully streamlined and powerful travel posters of the past? Artist Justin Van Genderen has done some amazing posters in that style for Gotham City and Metropolis. You deserve to buy them today.

I only wish I could convince Justin to do the same with my other favorite DC cities, like:
Coast City, the City Without Fear
Apex City, America's Madhouse
Fawcett, the City That Time Forgot
Star City, the City So Screwed Up that Green Arrow is the Best They Can Do
Opal City, the Gem of the Bay
and of course
Central City, Largest City in the Universe and Home of the Flash.

Foreign travel posters would be great, too! Think of all the special locales that could be posterized, such as Bialya, Qurac, Kandahq, Oolong Island, Themyscira, Santa Prisca, Markovia, Parador, and--- okay, maybe most of those places aren't really vacation spots. But it would still be great to have some city posters!

Maybe your purchases and letters can convince Mr Van Genderen to make us some more DCU travel posters. Meanwhile, while I'm no artist, here's what I hacked together today on Photoshop:

Why, that would make me want to dash out of Keystone across the river for a long and fast-paced weekend!

Oh, and before anyone criticizes me for exaggerating the skyline of Central City...

that's actually TRACED from a Flash story.

Friday, March 11, 2011



01 - The Impromptu Warning
02 - Don't Do It Now
03 - Crude Art
04 - Tala
05 - Stop Those Miscreants!
06 - Random Also-Rans
07 - House Ad
08 - Hal Dances On Friday Night
09 - Random Also-Rans (Reprise)
10 - Cooler
11 - Who was that man?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

You too can play... "The Game"

I'm sick with a bad cold, headache, fever, sweats, the works. I'm alone with no one to take care of me. And it's pouring rain as it has been all day.

But you know what still comforts me...? You know why I'm not depressed...?


Supergirl, the Heroine of Vain. The Queen of the Clockwork Universe. The Bride of Destiny, the Sultana of Fate, the Dateless Duenna of Determinism.

Because Supergirl reminds you...

You life is a meaningless game in which you are utterly powerless.
Your every triumph leads to defeat.
Your life is nothing but a series of obstacles, delays, and frustration.
And you're fat or going to be fat.

Shall we play...

The Supergirl Game?

If you roll 1-4, you lose a turn. This will be after being shackled to a mundane life of deceit and mediocrity in a ratty pig-tailed wig, losing your powers, gaining a powerful foe, or fighting the destructive viruses that lurk within the human blood stream. Or all of the above.

If you manage to avoid all that with a roll of 5-6, you get to


Ugh. Of course he's 100% bottom.

and/or thus regain your powers.

Oh, squee! Our powers are back and we are getting ahead 2 spaces! There is hope, I wonder what's 2 spaces--
Gosh, that's swell! Now I can be an even better Secret Weapon for Superman, since I'm now less vulnerable than he is! Nothing can stop me now as I go ahead 3 spaces to...

Oh. Um. Okay. Infinity. That's a hard one to fight, isn't it? Guess I'll just bravely except this setback as I go 2 spaces in reverse where

Oh, no. I become... FAT?! No, no, no! Maybe... maybe my adopted parents are right. Maybe it's... just a phase! I'll wait it out then press forward to

Wait; that's pointless!

Oh not! Not again! *S0b*!

Maybe if get to ...

It's just not fair. Life is not fair!

But maybe if I keep waiting and trying I can...

wind up with a boyfriend without human pudenda or a creepy stalker geek who has a crush on me a 1000 years from now and who knows how brutally and pointlessly I'm going to die!.

Always remember, when you're down, folks, that...

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

JPA News!

Fans of the Justice Pack of America!

You'll remember I mentioned that I thought the Flash should have a fast-running dog named Bolt.

How come none of you thought to mention...

LIGHTNING, Wally West's dog?

Maybe the idea of the Justice Pack is so powerful that, like Superboy Prime punching reality, it's changing continuity retroactively...?!?! Yes, that must be it.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

I heart Young Justice

I was sure that I had posted about the new Young Justice series, which I've been asked to weigh in on, but apparently not.

In short (as Comic Guys would put it):

Best. Animated Series. Ever.

And, yes, I'm including BTAS and JLU in that estimation. Flame away.

1. I like the art.
Now, I'm more of a story-guy than an art-guy, but the cartoony-ness of BTAS and JLU always bothered me a lot. Honesty, even "Batman Brave & the Bold" is more realistic than BTAS (and if you don't believe that, compare their drawings of the Joker).

2. I like the balance of tone.
Young Justice is not as wacky as Teen Titans was, nor does it get as dark and somber. That's part of what I like about it. Teen Titans was too schizo and the changes in tone far to extreme for my Western tastes. Young Justice has its amusing moments... and they manage to convey that without relying on a momentary change of art-style, as TT did with its anime style.

3. The YJers are placed in context.
Teen Titans were entirely divorced from the 'ahem' real world of adult superheroes. In the entire series I believe there was only one oblique reference to Robin having a mentor in Batman. Young Justice makes it clear that the JLA supports the group as whole, and has a purpose (secret weapons) and a plan (training) for them. Supporting roles for heroes who don't have proteges (such as Black Canary and Red Tornado) have made it clear that the whole 'village' of superheroes takes an interest in raising the next generation.

4. The YJers interact one-on-one with their mentors.
The YJers aren't just 'the junior Justice League'. They are each also the proteges of individual heroes with whom you see them closely relate, and each in their own unique way: M'gann adoring her Uncle J'onn, Superman's severe discomfort with Superboy's origins, Wally's extended "Flash Family", Kaldur's fond but formal allegiance to his king, Robin's jealousy over Batman's attention to the other kids, and Artemis's obvious strain in the pretense of Green Arrow as her uncle. [By the way, since her full name has just been revealed as Artemis Crock, it's pretty clear why that pretense is being made. ]

5. The adults are portrayed realistically and individualistically.
Superman's not perfect, and he's understandably creeped out by Superboy. Batman is certainly no-nonsense, but he's the one with the most parenting skills and its very obvious that he knows what the kids need, even if that's just a little time playing basketball. Red Tornado respects the team enough to let them work out their own problems without micromanaging. Aquaman's not preachy but shows Aqualad by example how to balance responsibilities.

6. It shows enormous respect and understanding for DCU history and employs it in innovative ways.
There are the obvious things like having Red Tornado as their POC and the Justice Cave as their HQ. Other nice touches include good old-fashioned regular human JLA foes like Prof Ivo and T.O. Morrow kicking their butts. But the recent Atlantis-based episode is a good example of weaving traditions into a new continuity, with Garth having declined the role of Aqualad, Tula injured by invaders, a cameo of Tad William's version of Topo, and the mysterious echinoderm that is oh-so-surely going to wind up at the surface world's Star Labs, where it will earn a new name as an old villain before it troubles the JLA.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Justice Pack of America

There are some ideas you just can’t get out of your head.

This is mine:
The Justice Pack of America.

I mean, after all, if the original Robotman could have a robot dog, then the JLAers certainly deserve them, too

Krypto the Superdog

For all his other super-ness, Krypto can’t talk. He apparently doesn't even bark. He just makes that ‘yip’ sound that only other dogs understand.

Krypto is that rock-dumb but pleasant dog that never gets tired of playing fetch. Particularly with Kenny Braverman's femur.

Ace, the Bat-Hound

It’s really important to me that you realize that Ace – in any appearance, in any media – is not actually a hound. You can tell by the ears. But we are kind of stuck with the name now.

He was very well characterized on the "Superdog" cartoon show. Personally, I like to picture him doing a constant inner monologue of his own adventures, like in a Frank Miller book. Because some dogs are very serious people.

Ace is that dog who you can tell from the first moment he looks at you has already sized up the softest parts of your body and how long it would take him to crush your trachea and eat your liver. Just in case.

Salty the Sea Dog

Aquaman's never had a dog, but, it's a very son-of-a-lighthouse-keeper kind of thing to have some stoic, faithful canine by your side as you walk along the beach. Remember all the dogs that had to be thrown back in the sea to keep them alive in Sub Diego? There are water-breathing dogs in the DCU. Aquaman needs one that can communicate telepathically. He would be the quiet leader of the group, helping them to communicate with one another and with humans. And aliens. And other things, like Egg Fu and Geo-Force.

Salty's the kind of quiet, faithful dog that sits by your grave when you die. Until you rise from the dead to command an army of dead fish.

Oistos and Toxeuma, the Arcadian hounds

If the idea of Wonder Woman's having dogs (instead of, say, gorillas) seems strange to you, then you're not thinking about Artemis, Greek goddess of the hunt, whose Roman version was named... Diana. She was always traipsing around with a pack of hunting dogs--just ask Actaeon. It's not unreasonable that Artemis would gift a couple to WW. With Amazonian prey-hunting skills. And super-toughness. And Collars of Truth.

Oistos and Toxeuma are those hyper-alert dogs who you only see as a pair and are never more than five feet from each other.

Rex the Wonder Dog

The original Green Lantern, Alan Scott, had a dog named Streak the Wonder Dog who, quite famously, wound up supplanting Alan as the star of his own book. But the DCU still has another "wonder dog": Rex. Rex has mystically imbued powers like immortality, telepathic communication, and human intelligence. This would make him a perfect companion for Hal Jordan, who, despite his ring, has none of those powers.

Hal could really use a dog like Rex. It would be kind of like Inspector Gadget and Brain the Dog.

Rex is that kind of dog that really loves to be useful and needs to look after its master 24/7. Lucky for Hal.

Bolt, the Hypersonic Hound

The Flash needs a dog. A super-fast dog that’s still super-lazy and moves as little as possible.
That would, of course, have to be a Greyhound.

Can't you see Barry being late for some world-shaking emergency because he's gotta walk the dog and wait until it deigns to go Number 2? As for why the dog would have superspeed, well, just chalk it up to "The Speed Force". Works for everything else, it seems. Geoff Johns would make it all feel so inevitable... Barry would rescue some dog from a racing track ("I know how you feel, my friend, always having to run ..."), and then the dog would wander into Barry's enormous apartment lab poking around because Barry was wrapped up in some experiment and was late feeding him, and go poking around some funny smelling cabinet of chemicals just as a lightning storm was hitting its peak... .

Bolt's that creepy kind of dog that never makes a peep and is either moving REALLY fast or pretty much not all. In other words, a Greyhound.

Jupiter II, the Dog Not From Mars

Jupiter II wouldn't be a real dog; but he would look like one and think he was one.

The Martian Manhunter’s first dog was a dachshund named Jupiter.
Yes, really. But his more famous pet was Zook, the hideous pidgeon-talking space-monkey thing. I’ve always imagined that, at some point, Zook might start to go crazy and became a public danger, so J’onn would have given him a little psychic whammy to convince him he was just a dog, so that he wouldn't have to put Zook down. And so people wouldn't hate him so much for being a space-monkey.

Zook would still have his odd abilities (specifically, to change temperature and stretch his shape). He'd still be able to talk, but only in odd two-word non sequiturs and outbursts, kind of like Invader Zim's "dog". But Zook would have no idea that any of this meant he's obviously not really a dog.

Zook is the kind of dog that... No, scratch that.

and, occasionally, when the mood struck him or the situation warranted....

the Phantom Stray.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Joker's Afro-wig


What's better than the Joker in an Afro-wig telling Lex Luthor a joke as they head to a burger joint for lunch?

Them heading to a burger joint for lunch while Lex listens to the Joker tell him a joke...

in haiku.

A scientist is
testing a frog; he says 'Jump'
and it leaps 12 feet.

We need a lot more of that in comics, I say.

What haiku can you compose in honor of this truly unusual panel?