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.