Thursday, August 11, 2011

Comics for Soldiers

I'm going to teach you how to make some soldiers happy.

Yeah, yeah, I hear you snickering; get your minds out of the gutter. And follow these directions...

(1). Go to the Post Office and get a medium flat-rate box (Size:11" x 8 1/2" x 5 1/2"); they are free.
(2). Fill it with comic books. You've got plenty and you know damn well you're not going to go back and read them again.
(3). Seal it up and take it back to Post Office.
(4). Tell them you want to send it via the military flat rate to a soldier stationed overseas; it costs about $11.
(5). Have the PO staff help you fill out the mailing form.
(6). If you do not have the address of a soldier overseas, you can send it here:

c/o Benari Poulten
4th ESC
APO AE 09355

That's a friend of mine in Afghanistan. They've got most of the necessities over there and quite a few "luxuries" (like movies). But they don't have comic books. And there are lots of servicemembers who would appreciate having them; my friend will help spread the comic book love among the troops.

You can also contact Operation Comix Relief. Or you can also just do it yourself.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Marriage: The Perfect Couple

Oh, Scipio, some of you are thinking, you just don't like superheroes being married
AT ALL, do you?

You're wrong; I see nothing intrinsically wrong with the concept of a married superhero. It just fits better on some than on others.

Heck, Animal Man's origin story has him working up the courage to ask Ellen to marry him and his was always a 'family book' (and will be again from what I gather).

We all love Buddy, but... well, c'mon. He's an adult named "Buddy".
He'd be completely lost without Ellen.

Mister Miracle and Big Barda were a prime example; they pretty much work
ONLY as a married couple. On their own, they were just silly/stupid; but together they were silly/hilarious.

Basically, they were like Oliver and Lisa Douglas in Hooterville, but with superpowers. Go look it up, kids.

Aquaman works as a married character. Though he works just as well as a single one, too. As long as he's not saddled with a big-headed, purple-eyed freak for a sidekick.

Art and Mera! You just know those glitter-strewn fun-loving beach-bunnies would go out partying at the pisco-theque every weekend. GET DOWN with your bad self, Mera! Shake what your mother gave you!

Although the Atom's marriage didn't work out so well for him, the Atom actually worked as a married character. Of course, that's mostly because being married to a dangerous world-threatening lunatic is seldom boring. Trust me, I know.

Jean Loring's about to shoot lasers from her eyes, bouncing them off her compact mirror to incinerate Ray. Ray, of course, is already smugly prepared with SCIENCE, and (rather than reveal his secret identity by shrinking to safety) he's ready to refract the laser beams away with a multifaceted crystal.
Truly those two were made for each other.

Many people think of Hawkman and Hawkgirl/woman as the classic married super-couple. They worked beautifully throughout the Silver and Bronze Ages as DC's ideal lovebirds (although the "one true love forever reincarnated" schtick got
really tedious over the last 20 some years). But each also works just as well as a solo act.

It was always pretty clear what kept those two joined at the hips; doing it in mid-air was the only way to keep from breaking the bed every night. And we all know it takes a whole roomful of toys to keep Hawkgirl even remotely satisfied... unless you're Hawkman.

But the two characters who actually work much better as a married couple than they do on their own are, of course...

Green Arrow and Black Canary.

Green Arrow. A presumptuous, loudmouthed, egotistical Batman-wannabe jackass and self-styled billionaire man-of-the-people.

Black Canary. Motorcycle-riding "tough girl" knock-off of her own mom. Just like her mom, in fact, since her mom also married a presumptuous, loudmouthed, egotistical Batman-wannabe jackass....
Private detective Larry Lance.

Despite Green Arrow's flaws (and they are nearly endless), he has the one thing that money and decent characterization can't buy: a Golden Age pedigree. And that's something you need to make the A List in the DCU. Just ask DC editorial about two years from now, when they'll still be trying to convince you in vain that "Cyborg" belongs in the Justice League. Heck, for that matter, ask the Martian Manhunter (that is, if you can find Stormwatch's address).

A Golden Age Pedigree is too important for DC to let characters that have them go to waste (except for, you know, the entire Justice Society), so they've got to make Green Arrow bearable somehow. And the only character ever to keep Green Arrow in line-- or even care enough to try -- is Black Canary.

I've made the case before that Black Canary is a character with enormous potential if only DC would make a Dynastic Centerpiece out of her. Instead, most of her Earth-1 existence has been as part of someone else's cast as "Green Arrow's girlfriend"; ugh. Black Canary, with an even stronger Golden Age Pedigree than GA, having worked her way beyond the glass ceiling from her beginning as supporting character for Johnny Thunder (of all people), relegated to "Ollie's biker-chick girlfriend"? More appropriate is the relationship shown on the
Batman:Brave & the Bold animated series, where Black Canary outshines him and he knows he's darned lucky to have her.

I was so happy when DC finally had them tie the knot! Despite some great attempts to stand them up on their own (such as when Green Arrow came back from the dead, returned to Star City, and started acquiring a dynasty of surrounding characters, or Black Canary's starring role in Birds of Prey), neither character was ever able to hold their own the way their Golden Age classmates (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Flash) could. But as the first superhero couple with Golden Age pedigrees, they would have occupied a strong and unique niche in DC's heroic pantheon. Contextualizing each other, each became much more likable and accessible.

But DC screwed it up almost immediately. DC's not very good at letting couples be happily married... except for Lois & Clark, which made them exceedingly boring. The one couple who could easily stay happily married and still remain interesting -- because each was a well-known hero is his or her own right -- was Black Canary & Green Arrow. Yet DC screwed that up almost immediately.

Such a waste! Think of the fun that could have been had. Double-dating with the Halls or the Frees; fighting the Sportsmaster and the Huntress; acting as each other's partners, without the need for sidekicks. It would have been a fresh paradigm not seen since, well, since the days before Hawkman and Hawkgirl started dying on a monthly basis.

But as far as I can tell, in the New DCU both characters will revert to their Golden Age status quo as singles. Maybe DC will have better luck establishing each as a solo act; maybe this time when they meet, DC will pair them off happily. What do you think...?

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Off the Cuff Haiku

I received these cufflinks as a groomsmen gift at the recent wedding of my wingman, Cobra Misfit:
These also double as Justice League signal devices, by the way.

Nothing cooler! Thanks, Misfit! Hope you and Cobra (Hi, Amy!) are enjoying the cruise. Thanks to you I have to the ability to talk about the Flash...

off the cuff.

The Flash himself is pretty good at off the cuff remarks (as befits someone fast on his feet). Here's just one example.

While Cobra (rightfully) celebrates being married, Barry (deservedly) celebrates being single! Oh, Barry, you suffered through Iris West for so long, I can't blame you for celebrating. And what better way to make a clean slate than by redecorating? Nothing says "I'm cleaning house!" than, well, actually cleaning house. And as part of DC's cleaning house, Barry will be single again.

For those who didn't notice it, let's make it clearer--
Barry's adapting to his situation with a graceful haiku:
I'm single again--
I have to adjust my life-
style accordingly.

Pretty clever how Barry arranged his haiku to play with the word "life-style" there, allowing "style" to do ambiguous double duty as both a noun and a verb. Smart guy.

What haiku can you compose to celebrate the Fastest Man Alive no longer being married to the Meanest Woman Alive?