Friday, January 20, 2012

I agree with Sherri Ly of Fox News about DC Comics!

Sherri Ly of Fox News,

Thank you SO MUCH for speaking out the TRUTH about DC Comics!

WASHINGTON - Most people think of comic books for kids,

Kids of ALL ages! Why, Simba Information claims that one in four comic book readers are over 65!

but many of today's comics are anything but that. Turn the pages of DC Comics now and you will find plenty of blood, sex and violence.

It's a sign of the times, I'm afraid. Like you, Sherri, I miss the good old days when DC Comics would never have been sullied with



and violence.

It is part of an edgy makeover that has caused controversy among some comic fans.

And it takes so much to provoke controversy this famously placid fanbase, Sherri! Clearly, this is world's worse than when Speedball became Penance, when a Latin America wrestler broke Batman in half over his knee, and when Superman/Flash/Wonder Woman/Green Lantern killed Zod/Zoom/Max Lord/the entire Green Lantern Corps and then the entire universe. .

DC Comics' characters include the likes of Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman.

Ah, sorry, Sherri; otherwise I agree with you completely, but I must correct you on this one small point. There are no characters that are "the likes of Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman." Only Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman are "the likes of Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman." I am surprised a comic book expert like you doesn't know that.

Today, some of these superheroes would make Archie and Veronica blush. "They more or less darkened the characters up. Today, they introduce a lot more reality into it like homosexuality, adultery, all that stuff. It's in the books now," said comic collector Joe Blackwell.

Oh, SO true! I weep that the home medium of Archie and Veronica is being sullied by

violent superheroes


and adultery.

He started reading comics when he was eight years old, but they didn't look like the ones in stores now.

Joe Blackwell? The one in the "Rap with Cap" letters column in Captain America Vol 1 #160 (April 1973)? He's about my age then!

There is Batman and Catwoman having sex on the rooftop,

Remember this one from our childhood, Joe?

a drunken Bruce Wayne,

or the Batman Year One adaptation?

and graphic images of blood-splattered battles with heads chopped off.

Can't they keep it tidy, as they did in the Golden Age?

Sigh; we all miss the Spectre.

"It's sort of like a fictionalized Playboy for kids at its worst,"

said Neil Bernstein, Ph.D., a child psychologist and author of "How to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble."

Hm. That sounds way too much like a "Delinquency for Dummies" book; needs a punchier title!

Critics worry the once family friendly genre has gone too far. Psychologists point out the overexposure to sex and violence for young children can encourage aggression.

"I think too many kids would be put in harm's way or at risk," Bernstein said.

The female characters are more sexualized.

Totally with you on this point, Sherri. In my house, only MEN can be sexualized, like it should be.

One of the most noticeable transformations is Starfire. The character goes from a kids Cartoon Network superhero in a full-length jumpsuit to a scantily clad, voluptuous version in the comic Red Hood and the Outlaws. This Starfire is shown in a barely there bikini or the equivalent of pasties over her breasts and a thong. "Do you want to have sex?" she says propositioning her boyfriend's pal, and later says, "Love has nothing to do with it."

Oh, agreed! I don't know why they couldn't have just stuck her original portrayal:

I much preferred her as an unwilling sex-slave of sadistic slavering masters. This whole independent woman with an uppity "Down With Love" attitude approach? It sends the wrong message.

It is these kind of images and suggestive language that concern Bernstein.

"It's a misrepresentation of reality. It sends the wrong message," he said.

It's true, it is a misrepresentation of reality; few comic book readers are going to have voluptuous, scantily clad women asking them for one-night stands. Particularly alien princesses. I can honestly say it has never happened to me!

Relationships are portrayed as one night stands with rampant promiscuity. The treatment of women is more misogynistic.

"We want our kids to think sex is an act between two consenting mature individuals who care deeply for one another. That doesn't really come across and it's too easily to misconstrue things particularly for a kid," Bernstein said.

Sigh. We all miss Jim Corrigan.

The changes to DC comics appear to mirror the changes on the big screen. Remember the original Batman TV series? The superhero defeated the villains without a drop of blood shed. Fake punches came with a "Kapow" across the screen. Compare that to 2008’s Batman: The Dark Knight. In the comic world, that sells.

Indeed; any pre-New52 hero worth his salt knew how to do it tastefully:

snap their necks. Just as fatal as decapitation, but less blood. Saves on red ink, too. Kids need to know that being a criminal--and fighting them-- can be a clean and pleasant experience for everyone, including any bystanders watching.

"I think they're definitely trying to push the envelope, get people's attention with it," said Jared Smith, President of Big Planet Comics.

He sells hundred of titles at his Vienna, Va. comic book store, some for adults, some for kids. The re-launch of DC Comics he says drew a lot of attention. Sales surged for the new editions. A lot was driven by the hype, but sales he says have since leveled off. Many liked what they saw, but some turned off fans stopped buying.

"It made a lot of people unhappy with it or it was something they just didn't want to read," Smith said.

Important point, Sherri! I'm sure the reason that most of fans were unhappy was because Starfire was underclad, rather than, say, that DC invalidated most of the continuity they'd had spend the last thirty years patiently reading and paying for. Because, heaven knows, if it weren't for Starfire's overt sexuality ruining it, I'm sure I'd be an avid follower of Red Hood and the Outlaws.

These types of changes seem to be cyclical with comics to drive up sales. Smith says DC Comics had fallen behind its main rival Marvel and wanted to make a big change. In the last five years, he said DC Comics has gone from a more "lighthearted" comic that is "fun adventure for everyone" to one that is "much more violent, and in some cases, much more graphic in the violence."

I agree, Sherri, completely with your decision to point out that DC is only turning "darker" to keep up with Marvel, which is relentlessly grim with wife-beater Henry Pim, alcoholic man-whore Tony Stark, and obvious repressed-homosexual Dr Doom. But I also agree with your decision to focus only on DC's shortcomings and ignore Marvel's, whose big-budget movie success for 20th Century Fox are probably part of what is making Fox News criticism of DC Comics possible.

DC Comics was contacted for the story, but would not discuss its reasons for the re-launch or the content of its books. In a presentation, Smith says DC Comics "described what they were trying to do was to boost their sales, but they also wanted to bring back some old readers who may not read comics anymore, but also attract new people who have never read comics."

Based on his sales, Smith says the company was successful at getting lapsed readers to come back, but not necessarily bring in new comic fans.

DC Comics uses a voluntary rating system, like others in the industry. It serves as a guideline for buyers and there is no requirement that stores enforce it. The racier more graphic comics are rated teen (T) or teen plus (T+). That means they are not meant for young kids to read.

Middle schoolers who saw the comics had mixed reaction on the age appropriateness of the images. "There's a lot of sexual activity," Diego Meneses said immediately after looking at an edition of Catwoman. Under the guidelines, Catwoman's rating is T+. Meneses said you should be at least 16 years old to read it.

Look, I'm 100% on your side, Sherri; so, just one word to the wise: probably not a good idea to make a 12 year-old read something labelled by its publisher as "for ages 16 and up". Oh, and don't take little Diego to see "The Exorcist" or "Deep Throat".

Marguerita Garcia's jaw dropped when she took one look at the comics. "Scary," she said.

Garcia has an 11-year-old daughter who likes to read comics.

As in Archie & Veronica? Or as in Punisher War Journal? I think specifics will really help us make our case, Sherri!

She says parents need to be aware of what their kids are watching and reading. As for these comics, she said "I think it's too much even for 15."

I know! It's very disturbing and frustrating! If only publishers had a simple convenient labeling system for indicating that a book isn't for any 15 or younger!

Another 12-year-old didn't flinch at the images in Batman Detective Comics with the Joker's bloody head pinned to the wall.

Now, Sherri! Let's not overact, as that could undercut our case. That's not the Joker's head, just the skin peeled of from his face. As a comic book expert, you should be a little more particular about what qualifies as decapitation.

"It looks pretty awesome. It has a lot of colors … It's pretty creepy to look at, but not too much," he said.

Hm. One of those is gross. The other is terrifying. Your mileage may vary.

The content of the teen and teen plus rated comics seem contradictory to the audience targeted by the advertising inside. The images of bloodied bodies and sex scenes are accompanied by ads for Legos and milk.

I agrees; it's kind of sad really. Given the bloodied bodies and sex scenes, some ads like these would work much better:

"Why are we advertising for little kids in a comic book that's rated for mature teens? What's wrong with this?" asked Dr. Bernstein.

It's an interesting point! I just assume it's because in current society mature teens are the people most likely to have little kids.

At Big Planet Comics, Smith points parents who come looking to the kids section. The more mature DC Comics he tells them are not for young readers.

"There was definitely a shift on some of them towards a much more R-rated type of comic book," Smith said.

Don't expect that to change. DC comics is banking this is the future

Oh, and the past, too!

Read more:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Scipio reads the Solicits

Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Backup story art by GARY FRANK
1:25 Variant cover by MIKE CHOI
1:200 B&W Variant cover by JIM LEE
On sale APRIL 18 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Combo pack edition: $4.99 US
In the five years that the Justice League has been a team, Green Arrow has never once been a member. And he intends to rectify that right here, right now! One member against his candidacy: Aquaman!
Plus, in “The Curse of Shazam” part 2, Billy arrives in his new foster home just as an ancient evil is uncovered halfway across the world.
This issue is also offered as a special combo pack edition, polybagged with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.

ZOMG, cannot wait to watch Johns's Aquaman dissing Green Arrow. Or just punching him in the quiver.


Written by DAN JURGENS
On sale APRIL 4 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The plan was for the JLI was to be installed as Earth’s official protective team. But once Breakdown attacked, that all came to a swift and sudden end. Now, as the pall of death and injury hang over the team, all that matters is survival. Featuring the introduction of a surprise new team member!

Well, that's cheery. Now with 63% less 'bwahaha' than the next leading brand. Isn't it vaguely odd that JLA should be funnier than JLI? And a surprise new team member? I assume this will be Vibe, whose appearance in the N52 is overdue. Perhaps this time he'll actually be from Puerto Rico. Or Tenerife. There's a LOT of dancing on Tenerife.

(Previous interior art shown)

Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
1:25 B&W Variant cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
On sale APRIL 25 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Part 2 of “The Other League”! As a deadly hunter continues his murderous quest for the Atlantean trident, an unknown chapter of Aquaman’s life is revealed! Before he was a part of the Justice League, Aquaman was Arthur, the man from Atlantis, and leader of a mysterious team of adventurers. Armed with weapons forged in Aquaman’s past, these men and women were on their way to becoming the most powerful people on Earth – until it all came crashing down.

Deadly hunter = ... the Fisherman? Let's hope so. A mysterious team of adventurers = ... the Sea Devils? NEPTUNE PLEASE let it be the Sea Devils.


Art and cover by CLIFF CHIANG
1:25 B&W Variant cover by CLIFF CHIANG
On sale APRIL 18 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
To march on Hell itself, you’re going to need some sensational weapons – and Wonder Woman intends to call in a few family favors to get them! Armor of Hephaestus? Check. The pistols of Eros? Check! But will any of it be enough to wrest an innocent soul from the grasp of Hades? And what does Hermes know that Diana doesn’t…yet?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA, Wonder Woman pulls a Punisher pose with the Pistols of Eros; "Eat hot desire from my love gun, suckers!" This is automatically one of the greatest covers of all time. Kudos unto Azzarello for realizing that the Olympians aren't Amish and, just as in the ancient world, their appearances and tools would reflect the current state of humanity.


Variant cover by KENNETH ROCAFORT
1:200 B&W Variant cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
On sale APRIL 25 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The Flash gets pulled into the Speed Force that gives him his super-speed powers…and he learns he’s not alone in there! Introducing Turbine, a prisoner of the Speed Force who just wants out – even if it means trading places with The Flash!

THANK MERCURY for new Flash villains. I am SO sick of the Rogues.


Written by J.T. KRUL
Cover by MIKE CHOI
On sale APRIL 18 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Ever since a tragic accident turned him into the überpowerful Captain Atom, Nathaniel Adam has wanted nothing more than to connect and relate to the people around him again. But coming face-to-face with a future version of himself is not what he had in mind! What is the meaning for this strange encounter? What impending doom is the future Captain Atom trying to avoid? And what exactly is the timestream?!

My only real question is when Captain Atom meets himself is he as bored by him as we are?


Art and cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER
On sale APRIL 25 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Jason Rusch rockets to Europe to thwart the next Rogue attack, only to find that other Firestorms have beaten him to it! Introducing the all-new Firehawk, France’s own atomic defender, and Hurricane, Great Britain’s officially sanctioned Nuclear Man! Meanwhile, out of the ashes of last issue’s shocking climax, Ronnie Raymond and the Russian Firestorm, Pozhar, begin a long, mutual descent toward the dark underbelly of the Firestorm Protocols. New cowriter Joe Harris (Ghost Projekt) continues this acclaimed series with superstar artist Ethan Van Sciver, who provides another stunning issue of full interior art!

Um... Firestorm, Inc.? Really, ONE Firestorm is bad enough, DC; settle down.


Written by ANN NOCENTI
On sale APRIL 4 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Part two of a three-part story introducing new creative team of Ann Nocenti and Harvey Tolibao!
Green Arrow faces off against the enraged father of three beautiful sisters, which might not seem so unusual for Ollie until you add in the part about being trapped in a frozen tundra with a horde of bloodthirsty, mutating animals. Things aren’t what they seem as Green Arrow must race to uncover the truth about this “family” before he becomes a monster snack – or a frozen corpse!

Ladies and gentlemen, Oliver Queen starring in... "The Hangover" III.


Cover by J.G. JONES
On sale APRIL 11 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T • FINAL ISSUE
Guest-starring The Blackhawks! It’s Mister Terrific vs. the technological monstrosity called Digitus – and to destroy his greatest foe yet, Michael may be forced to destroy Holt Industries! But as one enemy is defeated, another rises from a shocking source: the U.S. Government! Also, betrayal rocks Mister Terrific’s life when he discovers that his ex-girlfriend, the mysterious Karen Starr, may be more than she seems.

The Blackhawks? Mister Terrific? Karen Starr? The U.S. Government? Hey, it's Cancelled Comics Cavalcade!


Cover by RYAN SOOK
On sale APRIL 18 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
As more and more of the Challengers of the Unknown are killed in action, the remaining few must press ahead on their quest! They have to uncover the secret behind the talismans they’ve been collecting before Ace and the spirits from the Well of Souls can finish the job that started with the plane crash!

"As more and more of the Challengers of the Unknown are killed in action"... now THAT is about the only Challengers comic I can imagine enjoying.


Art and cover by PHILIP TAN
On sale APRIL 25 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Hawkman has a violent encounter with a past adversary: the beautiful alien shapeshifter Askana, who once tried to kill him! But his time she needs his help, claiming that agents from her homeworld have tracked her to Earth to terminate her. How can Hawkman trust her – or help her?

Why do I get the feeling that Hawkman's past has a lot more going for it than his future?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

DC's Second Wave

So according to the today's news from DC Comics:

In May of 2012, DC Comics will release a “Second Wave” of titles as part of its historic DC COMICS-THE NEW 52 initiative. Six new, ongoing series will build on the shared universe and bold concepts introduced in September 2011 with the renumbering of DC Comics’ entire line of comic books.

Featuring a variety of different genres and storytelling sensibilities, the titles in the “Second Wave” will be helmed by some of the most legendary writers and artists in the comic book industry, and will also feature the first ongoing comic book series written by acclaimed novelist China Miéville.

“The excitement of the initial launch of DC COMICS-THE NEW 52 was in seeing the re-imagining of these classic characters and concepts,” said Bob Harras, DC Entertainment Editor-in-Chief. “The ‘Second Wave’ is all about world-building.”

DC COMICS-THE NEW 52 “Second Wave” includes:

  • BATMAN INCORPORATED – Writer: Grant Morrison. Artist: Chris Burnham. The acclaimed ongoing writer of ACTION COMICS, Grant Morrison, presents a fresh take on BATMAN INCORPORATED, in which the Batman brand is franchised globally in preparation for a major international threat.
  • EARTH 2 – Writer: James Robinson. Artist: Nicola Scott. The greatest heroes on a parallel Earth, the Justice Society combats threats that will set them on a collision course with other worlds.
  • WORLDS’ FINEST – Writer: Paul Levitz. Artists: George Perez and Kevin Maguire. Stranded on our world from a parallel reality, Huntress and Power Girl struggle to find their way back to Earth 2. Perez and Maguire will be the artists on alternating story arcs.
  • DIAL H – Writer: China Miéville. Artist: Mateus Santoluoco. The first ongoing series from acclaimed novelist China Miéville, this is a bold new take on a cult classic concept about the psychological effects on an everyman who accidentally gains powers to become a hero.
  • G.I. COMBAT – Writer: J.T. Krul. Artist: Ariel Olivetti. Featuring the return of a classic DC Comics series, THE WAR THAT TIME FORGOT, along with rotating back-up stories and creative teams – including THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER, with writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti and artist Dan Panosian; and THE HAUNTED TANK, with writer John Arcudi and artist Scott Kolins.
  • THE RAVAGERS – Writer: Howard Mackie. Artist: Ian Churchill. Spinning off from TEEN TITANS and SUPERBOY, this series finds four superpowered teens on the run and fighting against the organization that wants to turn them into supervillains.

The six new series will replace BLACKHAWKS, HAWK AND DOVE, MEN OF WAR, MISTER TERRIFIC, O.M.A.C. and STATIC SHOCK, all of which will conclude with their eighth issues in April.

“Many of the characters from our canceled books will appear in DC COMICS-THE NEW 52 titles, and in some very surprising ways,” said Harras. “We’re developing stories that reach from cultures around the globe to parallel worlds. We’re just getting started.”

Setting the specifics of the changes aside for a moment, I am delighted that, simply put, DC had a PLAN. They didn't simply assume that all the books in the New 52 would do well enough to continue and had books ready to replace them with. Just as with its decision to revamp/reboot all its lines and to go same-day digital, DC is clearly doing more forward-thinking than they used to. I mean, maybe it's possible they are doing this on the fly, but I don't think so; it must take a while to scheme and staff new series, so I assume they must have had all these series saddled in the stable and ready to run. Good thinking, DC! Who said we learned nothing from the DC Implosion?

I haven't been reading BLACKHAWKS, HAWK AND DOVE, MEN OF WAR, MISTER TERRIFIC, O.M.A.C., or STATIC SHOCK, but apparently not many have been. I did give Mister Terrific and Static Shock a try, because I like those characters. But one of my New Year's resolutions was not to continue reading comics that aren't good just because I'm fond of the characters within them; and so, I dropped those titles pretty darned quickly.

It's sad; they are two characters who could definitely "rise up the ranks" (unlike, say, GEO-FORCE). Mister Terrific has a Golden Age legacy and a good modern background in the JSA titles; he's got interesting "powers" and, frankly, looks hot. Static Shock has youth appeal and is essentially the only "electricky" hero in the present-day DCU (at least, assuming that there is no Black Lightning in the new universe). I certainly find them more interesting than 'Cyborg', Marv Wolfman's unimaginative offspring, who's been elevated to take the Martian Manhunter's place as 'the founding member of the JLA whose publishing history doesn't merit his inclusion'.

The failure of their series is sad not only because I like them and because they are good characters with great potential, but because they were two of the pillars of DC's effort for greater ethnic diversity among its more visible heroes. Sure, the characters aren't going away, and may even be repurposed (I wouldn't be surprised to see Mister Terrific move to Earth-2 or Static join the Teen Titans); that's not the issue. But there's no question that, without titles of their own, they will be much less visible. I'd rather see them replace Batman and Guy Gardner in the Justice League International title.

O.M.A.C.? Well, it's crazy and that's not necessary bad; but it's Kirby-crazy, and that's never been a good fit with the DCU, in my opinion. So, OMAC, don't let the Boom Tube hit you on the way out.

As for HAWK AND DOVE, well, I'm not sure it's a concept that has ever worked all that well. They were meant to represent a cogent political and philosophical conflict during the era they were created. Attempts to re-cast them as agents of "chaos and order" or infuse a romantic conflict failed, and as plain old super-heroes, they just don't seem to cut it. Frankly, they seem as though they'd be more comfortable on some other Earth.

I crow on and on about 'liking war comics', but the reality is, I like the IDEA of war comics, I like the existence of war comics. That doesn't mean I gravitate toward reading them, and, in fact, I haven't been reading either Blackhawks or Men of War, so I'd be lying if I said I'd notice their absence. That said, I'm glad DC is following up with G.I.Combat. Sounds like it's going to be mostly "weird war" (which was always DC's strength in war comic), and that's what's most likely to get people like me to read it.

As for the Runaways-er, I mean 'the Ravagers'-- well, a spin-off of the current Teen Titans and Superboy inspires me little. I mean-- aren't you supposed to create spin-offs from things people LIKE....?

Batman Inc, well, that's in the big box o' Morrison, so there's no help for it. If it were going to be fun, using 'Batmen' in other countries to show cultural differences and to tell stories a bit more light-hearted -- or even just different -- than would work well in the current version of Gotham City, that would be great. But it's Morrison, so instead it will be cryptic, elliptic, and apocalyptic; for now, count me out.

Earth-2; now, there's the stuff. That's the other shoe we've all been waiting for. The revitalization of the JSA and their legacy characters was one of the great success stories of the previous age of comics. And now that the JSA no longer needs to fit in around the edges of the JLA, it can, and I'm guessing will, expand to become a JLU style organization for its Earth. I'm hoping it includes VIBE; I'm sure you are, too. That's the kind of wackiness Earth-2 will enable, much like a World's Finest starring Power Girl and Huntress, the 'breakout' characters from Earth-2 who suffered most from the effects of deracination when they became Earth-1-ified.

And speaking of wackiness: DIAL H. Really, it don't get no more wacky than that, and I am definitely on board for an issue or two just see how they play with the concept.

P.S. Read the Ray. I've been waiting years for a comic book about a permanently naked, hot Asian lifeguard and I don't want to see it cancelled. Besides: giant flying mutant jellyfish and the attack of "the Purple Rose of Cairo"? We need more of that sort of thing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

GIANT PENNY WEEK, epilog: The Batcave map!

Our epilog to Giant Penny Week is a Heroclix map of the Giant Penny's home: THE BATCAVE!

Bruce's study has three points of access to the Batcave:
  1. the service elevator behind one of the bookcases (which originated in the Silver Age);
  2. the bat-poles (!!!) behind another bookcase (from the TV show, natch); and
  3. the long winding stone staircase behind the grandfather clock (the usual means of descent during the Golden Age and early to mid Silver Age)

Rather than separate "rooms", the Batcave's areas are distinguished by levels (marked with numbers) as the cave floor terraces down to the waterline at Elevation 1. Batman's central 'work area' with the Batcomputer flows directly into the Batmobile's turntable area and the causeway out of the Batcave. Note the stone stairs go over the causeway and open up there to form a balcony looking out on the Batcave. As for how the Batplane gets out of the cave, um.... I dunno. A tunnel. Or a winch. Yes, it's usually a winch of some kind.

Most of the areas of the Batcave are pretty sparse, with just enough "stuff" to make each area unique. The exception, of course, is the hoarder's paradise, the "Hall of Trophies", home of the Giant Penny. I tried to use only trophies that I've seen appear there (or can reasonable infer). See if you can spot:

  • Diver Jones's tiger-headed diving suit
  • the giant eight ball (from a Two-Face story, as we've discussed)
  • Thomas Wayne's bat-man costume
  • a statute of the original Robin
  • a statute of Ace the Bat-hound
  • the Penguin's machine gun umbrella
  • the Joker-in-the-Box from "The 1,000 Secrets of the Batcave"
  • Mr Freeze's freeze-gun
  • The Red Hood's helmet and cape
  • the Tinytown house that saved Batman's life when he battled Dr. Doom, and the sarcophagus Doom died in
  • the harpoon cannon, giant die, and giant chess rook from that same story
  • trophies from the Killer Moth, Mad Hatter, and the Riddler.

Special thanks to Michael Bielaski for the robot dinosaur pic!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

GIANT PENNY WEEK, #8: Haikuesday with the Giant Penny

We have already noted two comic book haikus in the Giant Penny's original story, "The Penny Plunderers":

I call this one "Skinny's Epitaph":

Tough! But that's always
the risk a fellow takes when
he turns criminal.

I call this one "Joe's Two Cents" (a.k.a., "If Joe Coyne weren't a Sarcastic Wise-Ass, He'd be Alive and Batman & Robin would be Dead"):

So long! Here's two cents--
that's all your lives will be worth
in a little while.

But today we round out Giant Penny Week with ONE MORE. It's in Joe's famous meltdown scene, and I call it


It's a pay phone ! I
need a single nickel to
be able to dial!

And that's the end of GIANT PENNY WEEK! Except for tomorrow's epilog, which is about the Giant Penny's home: the Batcave!

Monday, January 09, 2012

GIANT PENNY WEEK, #7: Adventures of the Giant Penny!

As seen at "Comics Make No Sense", there's actual more than one giant penny rolling around Gotham:
"Gosh, Batman; the nobility of the almost-human giant penny!"

As pointed out yesterday, the Giant Penny weighs in the neighborhood of 49,000 pounds, which should mean that every one of the Penny Plunderers in this panel are DEAD (and that Batman is hella strong): And then there was the time that Bruce and Dick moved the 49,000 lb Giant Penny... BY HAND.
Gene Colan was a great guy; but getting the year on the Giant Penny wrong?
ONLY a Marvel person would make that mistake.
Speaking of the Marvel universe, apparently it's where the Giant Penny vacations:
The Giant Penny likes to lord it over pointless Kirbyesque whatnots: "So, what exactly are YOU supposed to be?"
Then (as previously covered the Comic Treadmill's exhaustive examination of ALL giant props) there was the time the Giant Penny decided to go bungee jumping from a helicopter.
Forty. Nine. THOUSAND. Pounds.
Or, one of my favorites: the time it finally had it out with the Robot Dinosaur.
  • "I'm the coolest trophy! Robots are cool; dinosaurs are cool; I am a ROBOT DINOSAUR."
  • "Yes, Rex, you've pointed that out before..."
  • "I'm also the largest trophy! And the most popular! Kids look at the Batcave and say, 'ooo, how cool it would be to have a Robot Dinosaur!' No kids says 'ooo, I want a Giant Penny!' "
  • "Rex, I'm warning you...."
  • "I bet they don't even know your NAME..."
  • "THAT DOES IT---!!!!!"
Little known fact: instead of "rock - paper -scissors" kids in the DCU play "Giant Penny - Joker Card - Robot Dinosaur".

Sunday, January 08, 2012

GIANT PENNY WEEK, #6: Thoughts for Your Penny

So, have you ever stopped to consider... how much the Giant Penny actually WEIGHS?

My estimate; oh, about .... 49,000 pounds.

Happy to show my work, by the way. The Giant Penny is depicted at various sizes, from between about 12 feet high (about twice as tall as Batman & Robin) or up to, oh, I'd say 16 feet high, tops.

Assuming the Penny is 12 feet high (that's usually how it's drawn) it would be about 9.6 inches thick (since it's proportionate with the dimensions of an actual penny, .75 inches in diameter by .05 inches thick).

Since the volume of a penny (even a giant one) would be (pi * radius * radius * height) that gives a volume of between 90 and 91 cubic feet. It's 90.7 if you assume it's a perfect cylinder; it's not, of course, since the heads and tails have raised and lowered areas to form the design. But it's close enough for comic books.

Assume the penny is made of the same stuff as a regular penny (which you KNOW it is, because Gotham City's Giant Props are NEVER just hollow mock-ups; they are always actual working giant versions of whatever they model).

Apparently, I'm not Joe Coyne's biggest fan after all.

In 1947 (that's the year on the Giant Penny, in case you never noticed, and the year the "Case of the Penny Plunderer" was published), pennies were about 95% copper (which weights 542 lbs per cubic foot) and 5% tin (which weights 456 lbs per cubic foot). So, since the Giant Penny is about 86.165 cubic feet of cooper plus about 9.535 cubic feet of tin...

the Giant Penny would weigh an estimated 48,769 lbs. A little less if they used zinc instead of tin.

Which makes some of things the Giant Penny does in tomorrow's post even MORE surprising...

Saturday, January 07, 2012

GIANT PENNY WEEK, #5: Betrayed!

So, after Batman & Robin escape Joe Coyne's deathtrap by making a battery out of two pennies in saltwater and tapping out an S.O.S. into the phone wires, they search the joint and find a clue to the Penny Plunderers next target: a yacht party that had rented some of Joe's arcade machines.

Batman flies after their escape boat with the Batplane, towing Robin along on water skis. Which makes perfect sense in a world where people make batteries out of pennies and salt water. In fact, I'm not sure why Batman didn't just putting giant pennies in the water and friggin' electrocute the Penny Plunderers. Must have seemed more fun for the artist to draw Robin landing on the gang's faces with his water skis. Besides, it would be impossible for a flying craft like the Batplane to hang something like a Giant Penny out the window. Or so you'd think; more on that later.

So, since it's pretty easy to escape a man in a plane and a boy on water skis once you're on land, the Penny Plunderers go to ground at the docks. UNTIL Joe has a bright idea, as bright as a copper penny:

"No, let's not try to escape Batman; let's try to capture him. Just like I did two pages ago, when I failed to kill him because I chose to set up a death trap rather than shooting him in the head. Why? Because I'm not just an obsessive gangster; because I'm a VILLAIN, goddammit, and I'm gonna act like one! Furthermore, just to show how unafraid of Batman I am, I'm going to use MYSELF as bait. Then I'm going to assume that you two losers, who just had the snot beat out of you by a teenager on water skis, are going to be able to "bottle Batman and Robin up" by, I don't know, sneaking up behind him or something, rather than just getting your asses kicked again by a boy in swimming trunks. And in the process I'm going to lock myself, unarmed, in a room I can't get out of, and call it 'trapping Batman & Robin'; I AM A GENIUS!!!!"

Joe E. Coyne: Genius At Work.

Oh, but the room in which Joe decides to seal himself lies deep with the Warehouse of Irony, for it (highly improbably) has a payphone in it. Which of course Joe can't use, because....

The irony of this is not lost on Joe.

Face-melting irony, in fact.

Although the irony not might be lost on Joe, Joe is certainly lost on the irony.

"Betrayed"? MMmm, no, I'd say it's more like you chose something worthless and nearly useless as your "crime symbol", Joe. Appropriately enough. But nothing is ever YOUR fault, is it, Joe?

In case you might have missed it, the caption box underlines the fact that the cause of Joe's death is COMIC BOOK IRONY.

PLEASE tell me this kid grows up to become The Penny Plunderer II.

And Joe Coyne goes to the electric chair, which I really really prefer to imagine being hooked up to two giant pennies immersed in salt water. Joe's story ends here; but the Giant Penny's story goes on!!