Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Corpse in the Corner Tuesday!

From All-Star Comics #20:

There, there.... confide in the shirtless man wearing the feathered helmet.

We've been robbed! A man is dead!

Dammit, my dinner is getting cold!

But, honey... this will bankrupt us.... and our loyal employee has been killed!

Oh, you've always got an excuse!

You know a girl like this. You might even be married to her.

But don't worry. This has a happy ending:

Best. Death scene. Ever.

Best. Dialogue. Ever.

That was quite the tragic death. Well, gotta run!

Seriously, who gets stuck getting rid of the corpse in the corner of our headquarters? I'm betting they dump it off on Wonder Woman....

See you tomorrow!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lava Men and Ice Dragons Monday!

From Avengers v1 #5:

Apparently, the Justice League was having such a rousing success with annoying teenage mascot Snapper Carr that Marvel felt they should do the same.

The appropriate sad thing is, he gets the same billing as the Wasp. I don't know which of them should be insulted more.

Some of these panels really don't need my help. A bunch of adolescent boys fighting to touch the big guy's "mallet" just kinda writes itself.

Um.... kid you don't need to tell your dad I let you touch my mallet. That can just be our little secret!


Wow, that's quite a detailed map you've got going on there. If that's all it's going to be, was the visual aid really necessary?


Enough of that. I promised and I deliver. Cue the Ice Dragon!

From Superboy & LSH v1 #257, for all your Ice Dragon needs.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Girls Gone Wild Friday!

It's as sad as you might think:

From Superboy & LSH v.1 #252. I'm sure the writer meant for the artist to really convey Saturn Girl kicking some serious ass, but this limp noodle of a fight scene is what we got.

Who was to blame? On the one hand, the artists (Stanton and Hunt) had long since crapped up the visual portion of the title by this time, but how do you draw Saturn Girl "going wild"? I mean, she's a telepath. She sits around and thinks. We should actually be glad she made any physical contact at all. I probably would have just drawn her stamping her feet and nagging Lightning Lad again.

Fun fact time from All-Star Comics #19!:

It wasn't seen up to this point, but apparently there was a piano in the Justice Society's Headquarters:

.... and yet there was no piano bench. Do we make a comment about Diana being on her soap box again, or would that be too obvious?


The Atom also apparently had a .... *ahem*.... appreciation for a woman's hands.

Hey, I'm not judging! We've all got our things! I swear, I'm not judging!


A little classic Tootsie Roll ad from famous Captain Marvel artist C.C. Beck!

Yeah, mom. Tootsie Rolls give us energy! If you don't let me eat this candy, I'm turning you in to Homeland Security!

Check out the weird promotional prize at the end. Semaphore signal flags? Really? I can't think of anything more pointless than my chubby 6 year old self standing around the back yard with these stupid things in my hand. This is the kind of pointless gift my great-Aunt Myrtle would get me (along with a commemorative fifty-cent piece I wouldn't be allowed to spend).

I love the selling text though:

These may help me later in life? What the heck kind of life do you think I'm going to have where I may have to depend on some cheap plastic flags? I know I'm reading comics, so that implies a certain underachievement and all, but what exactly are you getting at? Geez!

Now I'm all upset. Cue Colossal Boy fighting a dinosaur!

Much better. Thank you, Superboy & LSH v.1, #233!

See you Monday!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Avengers Assembly Required Thursday!

From Avengers v.1 #3 and #4:

These panels are kinda out of order. I call that "artistic license."

Okay, I know this is mostly symbolic, but wouldn't you hate to try and follow it up?

Step forward, Captain America! Stand with your fellow Avengers.





(followed by uncomfortable silence)

Uh.... nice stepping, Cap.

So, what do we do now?

Uh.... we've got a Wii in the rec room.


Ok, everyone get that? We don't need to worry about Thor, Iron Man, or Giant Man. We just need to cover the Wasp. Anyone else see the pattern developing here?

I hate to break it to you, Cap.... but you did have the Sub-Mariner back in your time. According to the 41 issues of The Invaders in which you were core members of the same team and fought Hitler side-by-side, I think one could argue that you've met.

I seem to recall there was an explanation later as to why Namor didn't recognize Cap during this encounter, but not for vice versa.

Yeah, Jan. You've done too much for too long. Sit a spell. Take your shoes off.

I really wonder why they bothered with female characters at all back in the day. For example:

Thor? Taking on an entire army of Atlantean soldiers single-handed...

Giant-Man? He's no Thor, but successfully fighting nine guys at once certainly earns you the big baked potato at dinner....

Where's the Wasp?

Oh, here she is!

You know she's the real reason the Hulk left. She was buzzing around everyone's head like a mosquito, and she was still more popular with the group than he was.

Women have it so easy. Yeah, I said it!

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Fine Line Between Genius and Insanity Wednesday!

As I mentioned a few days ago, the Legion went through a low period around the time Dawnstar showed up. Sure, there were a few good issues here and there, but for the most part, things were looking really, really bad for the seemingly-foolproof formula of the teenage superhero club of the future.

But they pulled out all the stops for Superboy & LSH #250.

There was a traitor in the midst of the Legion, and unlike other comics, it wasn't someone they just introduced for the sole purpose of getting killed or turning on the team a la Terra and the New Teen Titans. Oh, no. The Legion has one, and only one rule that has kept it published for over 40 years: When you lose a member, be it through a death or otherwise, the send-off must be bitchin'.

So, who was it that framed Ultra Boy, struck down Chameleon Boy, kidnapped Wildfire and tried to destroy the universe? Give you a clue:

It's the one smirkin'. Not a great poker face there, Brainiac 5!

Hecks, yeah! One of the core members of the Legion betrayed them, which was quite awesome in that (a) it was a vital member of the team and (b) we saw it coming because Brainy had been quite the jerk for the past dozen issues or so. Sometimes, I'd rather be satisfied with a logical answer than surprised by something pulled out of the air a la the entire Millennium crossover event.

Yup.... the smart guy who seemed to save the day every other issue was tired of being taken for granted and wasn't going to take it any more. Could it get any more awesome?

By Superboy & LSH #251, it most certainly could. Who would be the only Legionnaire who could save the universe from Brainiac 5's instrument of revenge?

Oh, yes they did! Matter-Eater Lad schools them all and goes insane in the process to boot. Could this have been the same Superboy & LSH that had taken a dive-bomb in quality for the past two years?

Alas, it wouldn't last. Brainy would be cured in 6 issues, Superboy would wisely abandon the book in 8, the artwork would go back to crap and it would be a long time before the Legion was worth reading again.

But Brainiac 5 going insane and betraying the team was one of the best moments in comics history.

Almost as good as this:

Don't touch this thing! See what I'm touching here? We can't touch it or the hostage is screwed! See what I'm doing right now? Don't do that!


Not really, but it should have happened. That would have been another great moment.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

SNMC Tuesday!

As one foreword-thinking commenter pointed out, the Wasp/Thor panel yesterday is a typical syndrome in comics where you'd have to be an absolute cretin not to figure out someone's secret ID. Although it goes against my principles, we shall henceforth call such an event the Lois Lane Syndrome, because Lois is the worst offender (having been close up to both Clark Kent and Superman yet never being able to prove the two are one and the same).

Another one of several plot devices that gets recycled ad nauseum in comics is the old "backward masking" gag, henceforth known as the Backward Masking Syndrome. Why? Because calling something a "syndrome" sounds bitchin'.

Here's a Golden Age example from Batman #7:

Rekoj? Why, what an odd name! Is it Russian?

I mean, it's one thing if your name spelled backwards is something like "Smith" or "Robinson," but when you spell your name backwards and it looks so weird a reader can't help but process it until your clever ruse is uncovered..... well, you're just begging to get caught.

And I'm not even touching the "queer ad" part.

Also from Batman #7:

The most non-eventful fight panel in the history of the world. I've seen cave drawings that were more intense than this.

You see it, right? They both totally miss each other! I paid 10 cents to see people land a few punches, and they aren't delivering!


From Batman #9:

Wow, Bats really had Robin groomed, didn't he?

We're gonna die, but recite your multiplication tables!

1x1 is 1, 1x2 is 2.... AIIIIEEEEEEE!!!

I know I'm about 50 years too late, but I really feel like social services should be called....

Also from Batman #9:

You can try and tell me all day long that Robin isn't saying anything dirty, but I double-dog dare you to go up to two guys you don't know and say that. Let me know how that turns out for you.

And by the way.... Everyone who has anything even remotely to do with Heroes? Adam loves you.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Avengers Assemble Monday!

Can you do a comics blog without the Avengers? I think not.

We'll see as we progress that the Avengers, while never quite as interesting as their DC counterparts in Justice League of America, had their moments.

Like this very last panel from Avengers v.1 #1:

That's right. The Hulk did a great Mr. T impersonation before there was a Mr. T! I piddy the fool that exposes hisself to gamma radiation!

From Avengers v.1 #2:

Is that Iron Man or a giant, talking, golden salt shaker?

We can't start the meeting without Ant Man!

You can't? Hmmmmmm... you've got the Hulk, Thor, an inexplicably morbidly obese Iron Man.... yeah, considering you've got three guys who could topple a skyscraper with one swift kick, you can probably proceed without the guy who can make himself as small as a bug.


This is one of the most unintentionally funny panels I've ever seen. Read it while playing the Looney Toons theme in your head, and try not to smile. The Avengers weren't exactly poetry in motion back in the day.

You see? It's not that I object to the Wasp because she's a woman, but because she's an idiot.

Miss Van Dyne, if you'll wait outside, I'll contact Thor for you.

Oh.... okay!


I am Thor! Please ignore the fact that I just appeared in this closed room and Dr. Donald Blake has disappeared. There is no connection between the two events, verily!

Whatever you say, you husky God of Thunder!


The biggest prop one can give Robert Downey Jr. is that he took a very unlikable character in comics (especially after Civil War) and made Iron Man a flawed but sympathetic character.

That being said....

Ain't no way Iron Man has anything in his bag of tricks that can repel the freakin' hammer of Thor. Shenanigans!

I'm no chemist (or alchemist, or metallurgist for that matter):

but I've never known of anything rusting immediately.

See? Immediate rust? Can I get someone who knows what they're talking about to tell me if we got shenanigans here?

Great to be back! See you tomorrow!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Chemical King Tribute Thursday!

I had mentioned many posts back that Superboy & the Legion of Super-Heroes had a great run from about #197 to #250, and as I went through these again, I owe you a retraction.

Superboy & LSH was really, really good for about half that long. Right about the time Wildfire was elected Legion leader, things started to tank. More specifically:

The arrival of Dawnstar is about the time to quit reading. Or, as she was called by many, "Yawnstar." Despite the relative hotness of the character, her power was tracking. Yes, tracking. You can imagine how exciting it was to read.

But Tyroc had already faded into the background, so she was pushed hard (although I don't recall ever reading that she was actually Native American) to promote diversity. And that's fine, but if you're going to promote anything, make it interesting (which they didn't). Besides, the Legion already had green, purple and orange-skinned characters, so it wasn't like you were reading a Friends episode every month.

And I do find it funny that a navigational system (that does what Dawnstar supposedly did) invented many years later was called "Onstar." Was someone at Ford a Legion fan with a boring character fetish?

But aside from the fact that she dulled up pages that could otherwise have been devoted to Timber Wolf, I mostly resent Dawnstar for this:

Yup. Someone's gonna die, and unlike other comics, death in the Legion was permanent more often than not. Now, let's see if we can guess who.

Superboy? No, that would be awesome, but his name's on the marquee and that would cause some major Superman retcons, so not likely.

Chameleon Boy? Nope - way too popular and easy to write. When in doubt, disguise Chameleon Boy as the intended murder victim or as a piece of furniture to pop up out of nowhere and thwart whatever hole the writers dug themselves into. He's an instant out from a plot device perspective, and they weren't giving that up!

Saturn Girl? Not in that outfit! She was safer than Superboy at that point.

Colossal Boy? Possible. But he was very easy to write and had a steady gig getting his ass kicked every time he tried to go mano-a-mano with Validus. Probably safe.

That just leaves.....

Oh, crap on a cracker! Not Chemical King!

Yup. The hardest Legionnaire to work into a story (other than a seemingly never-ending stint on monitor duty, dispatching Superboy and Mon-El to do something easy to write like "bust stuff up") met his maker in Superboy & LSH v. 1 #228:

But, as was Legion tradition, even though you hardly ever saw the guy actually do anything worthwhile, he got a great send-off:

Fare thee well, Chemical King! At least you didn't have to put up with Dawnstar!

The title would both suck and blow for about the next two years (especially the artwork), which I will largely skip over to spare you the pain. I'm a cool cat that way.

I've got to go do something boring-but-work-related tomorrow, so I can't promise a post. So, just in case I don't make it, allow me to share this awesome bitch-slap between Wolverine and Jean Grey from Uncanny X-Men #111:

Wolverine smacking the always-annoying Jean Grey? That's good stuff!

But then seeing Wolverine getting bitch-slapped right back? Well, that's three spoons of gravy and it's allllll butttah!

See you Monday!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

All-Star Silliness Wednesday!

At the risk of sounding our age, Beloved and I have permanently abandoned Fringe from our television schedule. The pilot was painfully dull, and last night's extended torture scene of a helpless woman was like watching a staged snuff film. That was irresponsible garbage, and Fox may quote me. House continues to rule my world, though.

Now, if you really want to scare people, work in an appearance of Peachy Pet:

From All-Star Comics #15. Can you believe that there have been no efforts to revive this character? Try forgetting that mug! She wasn't used nearly enough, even back in the day.

Also from All-Star Comics #15:

I bet the boys themselves would be fooled!

Well, I normally don't have identity confusion when I see someone wearing the same suit as me. I especially doubt I'd think someone wearing the same clothes as me was actually me once I saw that the "other me" was actually a woman. I agree with Wonder Woman in that the JSA guys were cretins, but I think she was really selling them short on that one.

Know what's almost as cool as gorillas? Giant insects:

Especially insects turning to crime, like in All-Star Comics #18!

Keep in mind that when insects turn to crime, it's largely society's fault.

Not necessarily the Justice Society's. Society at large. You get what I mean.

Also from All-Star Comics #18:

That's quite the theatrical illustration there, Hawkman. Of course, the ants are infesting the JSA headquarters while you stand there posing like you've just discovered penicillin.

I don't know of anyone who preferred Dr. Fate's half-helmet. Is it just me, or is it getting tighter all the time? It's starting to look like a swimming cap.

I hope I never have to look for a job, but just in case I do, I'm going to remember that sometimes an unexpected answer can make you stand out:

That's pretty good. Another one I've always wanted to say is that one where they ask you, "What are your worst qualities?" I'd like to respond, "I'm a meth addict with an explosive personality disorder!"

But I bet I never do that. Good answer from Mr. Spider-Hater, though.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Feral Fashions Tuesday!

So, let's follow up on my previous Wolverine costume change discussion, shall we? Why bother? Because trivia is fun!

Okay, I pointed out that Wolverine was looking a lot like Timber Wolf when he was put in this costume. That would be because both this look and Timber Wolf's new look came from the same artist, Dave Cockrum.

Turns out Cockrum and writer Chris Claremont couldn't stand Wolverine at the time and didn't know what to do with him. Had artist John Byrne not taken over when Claremont left, they most likely would have done away with the character in some fashion.

But John Byrne did come along, and the first thing he did was get Wolvie out of that suit:

Apparently, Byrne didn't want to draw all those fangs on the costume over and over (also a common complaint of Spider-Man artists who hate drawing all those little webs in the red area of Spidey's costume), so away it went in favor of the original:

So, why did Byrne push so hard to keep Wolverine? Because Byrne, like Wolvie, is Canadian and didn't want to get rid of the Canadian hero. Yup, that's all there was to it. But Wolvie was spared, and while it is hard to imagine a world without Wolverine (the most overrated and overused character this side of Superman), it dang near happened. Yes, comic book fans under the age of 17, your hero almost met the same fate as Sunfire! Sunfire who? Exactly!

Many geeks still hate Wolvie's yellow-and-blue number because they feel it doesn't make Wolvie look like his namesake (which is probably true) and prefer this thing John Byrne came up with later in his run:

Wolvie wore that for a good chunk of the 80's and the 90's.

And wow, is that dull. I hated this look with a passion, but you aren't really a comic fan unless you hate at least one of Wolvie's looks with a passion. For me, you slap a mask on the "Fang" design, and I think you've got it. Barring that, I go for the classic yellow.

And while we're talking about clothes, check this out!:

Talk about an invitation to an asswhoop. I can't imagine they sold a lot of these to teenage boys through these comic book ads.

But while I'm on the subject of ads:

And no, Mom, I'm not gonna explain why that makes my readers giggle.

See you tomorrow!