Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fear the Lobster Tuesday!

As I've mentioned many times as pertains to movies and tv shows based on comics, we are much harder on them than we should be. I don't know if we're too hard on comics, because considering how expensive they are, we have a right to gripe louder than back in my day when you could get ten new comics for five bucks.

So, when you consider the cost versus what you get, there might have been some bright spots in the Silver Age. True, this was the villain you got:


Yes, we have a bad knock-off of the Tattooed Man and Mr. Polka-Dot, but we're only paying twelve cents here.


Okay, we have a really bad knock-off, but again.... twelve cents.


I'm not sure there's any relation between lobsters and webbing. I'm not interested enough to actually look it up myself, but don't lobsters just pinch you and taste delicious when dipped in drawn butter? I've never heard of a "lobster cobweb."

But again.... twelve cents.

And look! In the next issue we get Cat-Man again! He's still not awesome (and won't be for nearly 50 years), but I appreciate the effort:


Yes, things bordered on the ridiculous because the crux of the case was Cat-Man literally having "9 Lives" to use up, so he was free to endanger himself. But he never actually died and came back, so I'm not sure that really worked out. It was more like "I have 9 lucky breaks that will keep me from killing myself in a way that will land me on the Darwin Awards" power. But you'll keep your mouth shut and be glad you got a regular villain.

Because if you complain, we can always see a return to this:


So, while I think we have the right to expect something better for twelve bucks than The Rise of Arsenal mini-series, we shouldn't push people too far, or Grant Morrison will be assigned to write everything and then nothing will make any sense, ever.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, August 30, 2010

In Which We List Who Experiments on Animals Monday!

If there's one lesson we should be taking away from the Silver Age, it's that trying to achieve scientific advancements only leads to trouble. The source of nearly all tragedies usually involves some form of scientific exploration or (most likely) some experiment. With that, I give you Detective Comics #319:


What? A device that can heal scars and renew skin? Well, we can't have that! FOOPH!

And that's a great sound effect: FOOPH! I don't know if I'm going to be able to get through the day without saying it out loud.

Anyway, the well-meaning doctor is screwed, because that's always the case:


I think we can all agree that I'm no artist, but doesn't everyone seem just a bit amused by what happened to this poor guy? I mean, I'm not even sure how he's breathing, and they're all kind of smirking, especially the monkey:


Although considering the monkey was the animal getting experimented on, you can see why he might take a bit of perverse joy in what happened. Hey, just for fun, let's educate ourselves with others who do animal testing these days:

Arm & Hammer (Church & Dwight), P.O. Box 1625, Horsham, PA 19044-6625; 609-683-5900; 800-524-1328; www.armhammer.com

Bic Corporation has a history, but has reportedly suspended their testing and I hope they continue to do so, 1 Bic Way, Ste.1, Shelton, CT 06484; 203-783-2000; www.bicworld.com

Church & Dwight (Aim, Arm & Hammer, Arrid, Brillo, Close-up, Kaboom, Lady's Choice, Mentadent, Nair, Orange Glo International, Oxi Clean, Pearl Drops), P.O. Box 1625, Horsham, PA 19044-6625; 609-683-5900; 800-524-1328; www.churchdwight.com

Clairol (Aussie, Daily Defense, Herbal Essences, Infusium 23, Procter & Gamble), 1 Blachley Rd., Stamford, CT 06922; 800-252-4765; www.clairol.com

Clorox (ArmorAll, Formula 409, Fresh Step, Glad, Liquid Plumber, Pine-Sol, Soft Scrub, S.O.S., Tilex), 1221 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612; 510-271-7000; 800-227-1860; www.clorox.com

Dial Corporation (Dry Idea, Purex, Renuzit, Right Guard, Soft & Dri), 15101 N. Scottsdale Rd., Ste. 5028, Scottsdale, AZ 85254-2199; 800-528-0849; www.dialcorp.com

Johnson & Johnson (Aveeno, Clean & Clear, Listerine, Lubriderm, Neutrogena, Rembrandt, ROC), 1 Johnson & Johnson Plz., New Brunswick, NJ 08933; 732-524-0400; 800-526-3967; www.jnj.com

L'Oréal (Biotherm, Cacharel, Garnier, Giorgio Armani, Helena Rubinstein, Lancôme,

Matrix Essentials, Maybelline, Ralph Lauren Fragrances, Redken, Soft Sheen, Vichy), 575 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10017; 212-818-1500; www.loreal.com

Max Factor (Procter & Gamble), 1 Procter & Gamble Plz., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-983-1100; 800-543-1745; www.maxfactor.com

Mead, 10 W. Second St., #1, Dayton, OH 45402; 937-495-6323; www.meadweb.com

Melaleuca, 3910 S. Yellowstone Hwy., Idaho Falls, ID 83402-6003; 208-522-0700; www.melaleuca.com

New Dana Perfumes, 470 Oakhill Rd., Crestwood Industrial Park, Mountaintop, PA 18707; 800-822-8547

Olay (Procter & Gamble), P.O. Box 599, Cincinnati, OH 45201; 800-543-1745; www.oilofolay.com

Pantene (Procter & Gamble), 1 Procter & Gamble Plz., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 800-945-7768; www.pantene.com

Physique (Procter & Gamble), 1 Procter & Gamble Plz., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 800-214-8957; www.physique.com

Ponds (Unilever), 800 Sylvan Ave., Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632; 800-909-9493; www.ponds.com

Procter & Gamble Co. (Clairol, Crest, Gillette, Giorgio, Iams, Max Factor, Physique, Tide), 1 Procter & Gamble Plz., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-983-1100; 800-543-1745; www.pg.com

Reckitt Benckiser (Easy Off, Lysol, Mop & Glo, Old English, Resolve, Spray 'N Wash, Veet, Woolite), 399 Interpace Pkwy., Parsippany, NJ 07054; 973-633-3600; 800-333-3899; www.reckittbenckiser.com

Shiseido Cosmetics, 5-5, Ginza 7-chome, Chuo-k, Tokyo, 104-0061, Japan; 212-805-2300; www.shiseido.com

Schering-Plough (Bain de Soleil, Coppertone, Dr. Scholl's), 2000 Galloping Hill Rd., Kenilworth, NJ 07033-0530; 800-842-4090; www.sch-plough.com

S.C. Johnson (Drano, Edge, Fantastik, Glade, OFF!, Oust, Pledge, Scrubbing Bubbles, Shout, Skintimate, Windex, Ziploc), 1525 Howe St., Racine, WI 53403; 800-494-4855; www.scjohnson.com

Suave (Unilever), 800 Sylvan Ave., Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632; 212-888-1260; 800-782-8301; www.suave.com

Unilever (Axe, Dove, Lever Bros., Suave, Sunsilk), 800 Sylvan Ave., Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632; 212-888-1260; 800-598-1223; www.unilever.com

Vicks (Procter & Gamble), 1 Procter & Gamble Plz., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-983-1100; 800-543-1745; www.pg.com

and, of course, Iams the dog food company, for funding the mistreatment of dogs, cats, and other animals in the name of research. Screw you, Iams.

So, print the list and shop accordingly! Hitting these jerks in the wallet is the only thing they understand.

Yeah, I was in a mood. Animal abuse pisses me off.

I'd be surprised if an artist didn't develop Dr. No-Face. I'm always amazed at the intricacy of some characters and can imagine an artist taking a stiff drink before getting to work, but you don't even have to draw facial expressions with this guy.

Hey, who do you think is the worst character to have to draw over and over? I'm betting it was the Jack of Hearts:


See? If you had to draw the Jack of Hearts or Dr. No-Face a hundred times per issue, you'd go for the one where you didn't even have to draw ears.

I'm Batman. I am driven by my obsession for justice. I cling to the shadows and...


well, apparently, I like big-ass monuments to myself the size of Mount Rushmore.

Casey the Cop was the worst cop ever:


I don't care if I'm running a shooting range, if a cop sees someone entering my establishment with a firearm and suspicious intentions, I'd appreciate a little assistance before things start happening.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cat-Slap Fever Friday!

Hey! It's more Cat-Man! I guess someone thought this would be the perfect nemesis for Bats. They were totally wrong, of course, but at least we were back to the villains for an issue, with nary an alien or robot in sight!


You know what we haven't seen in I-don't-know-how-long? A Random Bitch Slap! (tm!)


Yes, in this issue you not only got the return of Cat-Man in his not-totally-ineffectual-but-not-the-badass-he-is-today early days, but you get a Random Bitch Slap! (tm!) Some days, it all falls into place.

And don't you love the reporter's moral qualms? I sure hate running this story that will sell a billion copies, get picked up by the AP and insure a respected place in my chosen profession for the rest of my life. But, doggone it all, the public has a right to know!

Boy, does this take me back to my single days:


Thank goodness for women who settle. If it weren't for women just giving up on their true loves, I never would have found a wife.


Well, that's an interesting test of the sincerity of one's affections. So, if she really wasn't that into him, may I presume her body would have rejected the costume and it would have burst into flames? That actually would have been kind of cool, but I think old Cats is just reaching for validation here.


I think we're all surprised that trap worked.

But it did, because there were more pages to fill, and it gave Bruce an excuse to call Ace:


I'm the first to say I got a little weary of Ace's role consisting of getting pat on the head by Robin before Bruce and Dick left on a mission and getting told "There's no need for you on this mission, boy!" But putting two chemicals that explode when mixed in the dog's collar is a little too reckless for my taste. Here's how a dog's mind works:

I sure am bored.

Hey! Is that something dead?

I would love to smell like something dead!

I think I'll roll around in it as hard as I can, and get that dead animal smell all over!

Wow, that feels great! I think I'll grind even harder!

KA-BOOM!


You see the problem. Maybe Bruce just could keep one of the chemicals in the heel of his shoe and the other in one of those bat-ears on his cowl. I mean, the heel of his shoe is where he kept the radio that he used to signal Ace in the first place. It seems like we could have made things more efficient and avoided unnecessary risk to the dog. I'm just saying.

See you Monday!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Giant Bottles Thursday!

One interesting thing I've noticed while going through these issues of Detective Comics around issue #300 is the staggering number of Clayface appearances. The Joker, the Penguin, Two-Face, the Riddler, the Scarecrow and Catwoman are nowhere to be found (although we did get the first appearance of Cat-Man). But Clayface has appeared three times so far in their absence. I guess all the shape-changing lent him to enough weirdness that it was worth bringing him back.

But Detective #313 gets us back to some good old-fashioned detective work. Like this:


As is mandated by human biology, whenever someone has a net or a lariat thrown over them, a crook will drop his gun. It is some sort of involuntary muscle spasm that cannot be controlled. Batman employed this little-known medical fact often to his advantage. Stay in school, kids!

You know what we haven't seen in a while?


That's right! Robin trapped in a giant milk bottle! I can remember all those classic Mike Hammer novels where he'd get trapped in a giant milk bottle. That's a great homage to the classics!

This one takes a little background. See Batman, talking and all that?


Well, here a smarter-than-average-comic-book-bad-guy doesn't waste any time and tries to kill him right away:


That's a pretty good strategy, and would work any other time except in the Silver Age. Why didn't it work this time?

You know the answer!


A robot, of course! Because it's the Silver Age, and if I'm selling you a comic for twelve cents, I'm going to give you twelve cents worth of thought in my stories! What are you going to do, demand more value for your dime and two pennies?

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Since Squirrels Aren't Carnivores, How Scared Should You Really Be of a Giant One? Wednesday!

Here's something of historical reference for you hardcore nerdlingers from Detective Comics #310:


Who does that look like? Yup! The Elongated Man!

I originally thought that this "Rubberman" character was a precursor to the Elongated Man, considering we've got a stretchy guy wearing purple and all that. But, as is sometimes the case, I was mistaken. It turns out Ralph had shown up nearly two years earlier than Rubberman:



I know! It's amazing to me that, with the Silver Age Flash and Green Lantern in full swing and ushering in a new age of comics, Batman stories were still as lame as they were.

Still, in the very next issue we had a gigantic cash register, and that's always a good read:


I nominate "Legs" Danton as having the worst mobster name ever, right behind "Pouty Lips that Make You Bi-Curious" O'Halloran.

That notwithstanding, Detective #311 gave us the origin of Cat-Man, who (when he wasn't forgotten entirely for years at a time) would become the paragon of ineffective villainy until his badass reboot in Villains United.


That's right. Anything a "mere woman" could do, a man could surely do better. It's casual statements like these that make me understand why the Women's Movement was such a big deal. It's hard to believe people seriously thought this way. But then again, some day history will judge us as well.

Hey! It's a gigantic statue! Whew! It's been almost five pages since we've seen some over-sized prop in a Batman story!


Hmmmmm.... you know what this story really needs? A gigantic cat-shaped killer robot. Oh, there's one!:



Even the back-up J'Onn J'Onzz story gets into the act:




The Silver Age.... Give us twelve cents, and we'll give you some combination of aliens, giants and robots.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I'm Sure Safety is a Top Priority in Real Travelling Carnivals Tuesday!

Yes, I know that between World's Finest, Detective Comics and his own self-titled book, I've been doing a truckload of Batman-related posts. I expect this will change relatively soon. In my defense, it's hard to read something else when it seems like a guarantee that the Silver Age Batman will give me something.

Like these little dandies from Detective Comics #309:

Death.... rides a wheeled polka-dotted dinosaur.

I don't know who is running this carnival, but I see a lawsuit in the making:

Considering the kind of giant-sized exhibits they usually have at museums and gas stations in Gotham City, I would hardly think this statute is a jaw-dropper, but bear with me.

Seriously? It can be pushed over by one guy? And they're wheeling it around a crowded event?

So, besides having a four-story statute that one guy can push over getting tugged down the middle of the festivities on wheels, that sword is apparently real. While I applaud the attention to detail, it's a little disturbing that someone thinks dangling a twelve foot sword above the heads of the general public is a good idea.

And what is the deal with this fun house?

A giant metal hand grabs you. But don't worry, as there is a perfectly sound explanation:

(A) Can you imagine the number of injury claims to be had when a giant iron hand grabs you and lifts you off the ground? What insurance carrier would go along with that? And (B) the fact that there is a "crush human" setting tells you that maybe, just maybe, this is a really ill-conceived entertainment concept.

But as long as everyone worships Batman at the end, I suppose it's okay:

I am the Avenger of Evil, striking terror into the hearts and souls of criminals everywhere. I am also the King of Mari Gras! Come on, ladies! You know what I want to see! You've gotta earn these beads!

I haven't decided what I'm going to incorporate into this blog next, but with issues like that, it's hard to turn away.


See you tomorrow!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Domo Arigato, Mr. Alpha Roboto Monday!

They seemed to think they hit a creative vein with robots, so meet the latest robot-in-a-Batman-story from Detective Comics #307:


Normally, I'd make some sort of smarmy comment, but words escape me where this panel is concerned:


Or to be more specific, with that weird Jerry Lewis-looking thing they're showing Alpha on the screen:


This is a very curious choice when it comes to illustrating emotions. First and foremost, I'm not sure what emotion is being conveyed there, other than "huffing paint causes brain damage," which isn't really an emotion at all, but more of a cautionary tale. But that is seriously disturbing, and certainly not what I would use as a paragon of human facial expression. It's almost like the artist was just yanking us around to see what he could get away with.

Oh, DC Comics! Give me something I can understand... like sexist comments:


There! That's much better.

It's a fact that if there is only one woman in the room and there are two single guys, they will start trying to "c-block" the other. This applies even if said woman in the room is the Silver Age Batwoman:


It is also a Law of Nature that said woman will only pay attention to the nicer guy long enough to curry the jealousy of the guy who treats her like crap. Anyone who has already been to junior high will know that this is a Universal Truth.

But take heart, nice guys! Girls pull their heads out of their collective behinds at around age 30. That's why God invented Playstation; so that you could have something to do whilst you wait.

This panel really got to me:


I would totally understand if Alpha was consumed with thoughts of Batwoman, but having Batman in the mix is .... well, let's just say it's interesting. It may be that Alpha is interested in Batwoman and Batman, which is fine with me if that's the groove everyone is on.

But who else is in that little bit of mental erotica?

You know it:


Jumpin' Jennifer Lopez on a Hippity-Hop, that is the funniest thing I've seen in days!

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Greatest J'onn J'onzz Story EVER Friday!

Yes, the Batman story in yesterday's Detective Comics #306 was all kinds of bitchin' but you know what? Someone was really pounding down the vitamins that month, because the back-up story (which I admit, I usually barely skim because I don't find J'onn J'onzz that interesting) was every bit as delicious. Shield your eyes and take it in slowly, lest your head explode from the awesomeness:








Yes, the "animals" were all big robots, but it doesn't matter. Why? Because giant animals are cool, even if they're robots. Some would argue especially if they're robots.

See you Monday!