Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 End O' The Year Thursday!

Before we move forward, let's take one last look at 2009!

Series of the Year: Secret Six

This was a no-brainer, because if Gail Simone writes something I'm going to at least enjoy it. If she writes something and it has the Secret Six in it.... well, let's just say it gives me a reason to live. Deadshot. Rag Doll. Gail Simone plots. Beautiful artwork. It's like Christmas every month.

Mini-Series of the Year: Avengers/Invaders

Marvel and Dynamite Entertainment did a great job of recycling the old "team from one time era finds itself in combat with the team from another" plot. This was a story that went at its own pace and resisted pressure to turn every page into a pandering slugfest. Some day, I may get my Invaders monthly again.

Television Series of the Year: The Big Bang Theory

I know this is the third season, but I just recently hopped on board the bandwagon. When I watched the pilot, I dismissed the show thinking it was going to be the typical "nerd spends years trying to woo the affection of attractive woman" shtick. But, to my delight, that running plot was placed on the back burner and the focus has been on dysfunctional friendship of the four misfits. And any show where intelligent people visit comic book stores on a regular basis and make comic book references without shame gets a big thumbs up from me. The audience for this show is consistently growing, and it's well-deserved.

Movie of the Year: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

I know, but it's not like I had a lot to choose from. You would prefer The Spirit or Watchmen? I didn't think so. Besides, if you could forget everything you knew about these characters from the comics, this was actually a fun ride. But because it wins more by default, I wonder if last year's Incredible Hulk would have done better if Marvel had waited until 2009 to release it.

If I'm allowed to have a favorite that has nothing to do with comics, I'm going with Up:

When I heard the premise, I had high hopes. This movie exceeded them in every way. This was a visually beautiful film, of course (can we expect any less from Pixar?), but it was also a very moving story of love and friendship that everyone should see. I didn't get my sequel to The Incredibles, but a class act like Up will certainly keep me placated until next year.

And those are my takes for 2009. Agree? Disagree? Well, that's what the comments section is for!

See you tomorrow! Stay safe!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Shucks and Potatoes Wednesday!

From All-Winners #16, we once again see why the 1940's were the Golden Age of Comics:

That rocked my world. I think they missed a bet not giving Agatha Whitley and her class of produce-profanityin' schoolchildren their own series. Swoon!

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Now Robin Knows How a Piece of Toast Feels Tuesday!

When it comes to comics, there are your readers who like "daytime" heroes and those who prefer "night-time" heroes. Your "daytime" heroes are along the lines of Superman, Captain America, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the like. Your "night-time" heroes are more like Batman, Daredevil, Ghost Rider and the Secret Six. It's strictly a metaphor, but you get the idea.

Batman, having based his whole shtick on a nocturnal animal with liberal borrowing of Dracula, was a character clearly meant for grim, "night-time" stories. But that didn't seem to discourage anyone in the slightest. Cue the mechanical dinosaur!:

The stories were embarrassingly bad, but you have to admit.... Gotham City College must have had one awesome Mechanical Engineering Program.

The other problem I had was with the sheer ineptitude of Batman and the like when they were forced to be happy and carefree vigilantes driven by the memories of having their loved ones murdered right in front of them. We've seen Batman trip on a banana peel, but let's give Robin his moment to shine:

I've had a cat or two in my day, and I'm not discounting how relatively ferocious they can be. But again, they are only "relatively" ferocious considering their size. Yes, they have sharp teeth and pointy claws, but even the most aggressive cat can be dispatched by someone who.... oh, I don't know.... is outfitted with an arsenal of weapons designed to take down hordes of armed criminals. Just hit him with the anti-shark spray and get back in the game, Robin!

Did I mention the mechanical engineering feats that take place on a regular basis in Gotham City? I'm not just blowing sunshine up your skirt, Mary Lou!:

What amazes me is (a) that these things actually work and (b) Batman will never use a gun, but has no problem sucking human beings into a giant vacuum cleaner. And how does Bruce know the specs of these things, anyway? I think he reads up on them, and then plans his assaults accordingly. Let's see, if I jump the gang at their hideout, we won't be able to jump into the giant toaster....

Oh, Silver Age. My cup runneth over.

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I'm Not Leaving Until I Find Lorenzo Bagg Monday!

Howdy! I hope everyone is rested up, because there's plenty of goodness from Batman #58 and 59!

But first, can someone tell me where in the Blue Heck I'm supposed to find Lorenzo Bagg??

Oh. All right, then. I suppose that settles that. Moving on.

You know how I'm always saying that guys who dress in formal wear are much more badass than the guys who dress in tights? There is an exception to every rule.

Ladies and gents, I give you the first appearance of Deadshot:

As any Secret Six reader will tell you, Deadshot is seriously awesome. But he actually sat dormant for a good thirty years or so, a forgotten one-shot bad guy (putting him in league with The Gong), until he was given a revival and a bitchin' costume upgrade:

This does not vindicate the Golden Age Sandman's purple and yellow tights debacle in any way, shape or form. I think I'm just saying the hood does a nice job of covering up that little mustache. I loves me some Deadshot.

Here's a Batman head-scratcher:

Batman wears two uniforms? Seriously? All the time? That sounds terribly restrictive to me.

In the future, they can go one step beyond DNA:

That's right. Your pore pattern will be used to identify you. Because nothing stays as steadfast as your pore pattern.

To be fair, I imagine that if we explained DNA evidence to people of that time, it would be considered totally outlandish. Although why the "pore pattern" sounded like a good idea, I don't know.

Ahhhhh... to be back at my post and snarky. It's like a hug from a bunny. It really is.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Have Thread and Uterus, Will Sew Friday!

Sorry, gang, but this will be the last post until Monday, December 28th because of the Christmas holiday. Hopefully, Beloved will actually let me rest up a bit during this break and I'll come back strong!

Strong like heroes, especially comic book heroes, who do their heroic deeds for no reward, no thanks, no acclaim....

.... but they never seem to turn down a big-ass statute made out of precious metals. That, they'll accept.

Sometimes, writers know they're pushing the envelope, so they try and give you an explanation right out of the gate to avoid answering letters later:

You ever get an answer to a question that really just leads to more questions?

So, have a great holiday season, Dear Ones. And remember to be thankful that, at least as far as we know....

.... not even Roy Thomas has tried to bring back these characters! Don't you love how the first thing out of Windlass' mouth is her intent to sew up Superman's costume? Because sewing is what chicks do!

From World's Finest #160, 162 and 163, for those of you scoring at home.

Best wishes! Stay safe, and I'll see you December 28th!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Swingin'-est Blog Ever! Thursday!

An uninformed observer might think that the best thing comics could do from a marketing standpoint is to be as hip and trendy as possible. The Silver Age of Comics taught us that this is a really bad idea:

I've picked on Swingin' with Scooter before, partly because the name of the book is Swingin' with Scooter. I strongly suspect this is where Mike Myers got the idea for his "Austin Powers" character, but I suppose that's between him and DC.

What really doesn't work is Superman using slang. I know he's supposed to be under thirty years of age, but he has always looked like a guy knocking on fifty. And he's a dweeb. Seriously, why do you think he has any foes at all? Who in their right mind would want to tangle with someone who can fly into outer space and lift a skyscraper with his bare hands? Superman's personality is so abrasive that even his incredible power can't keep people from wanting to kick his ass. That, my friends, is a nerd. And using hip language only makes it worse.

And we can see the influence of the awful Adam West Batman television series that validated everyone's claim that comics are stupid. The worst of this is that Robin starts saying "Holy (whatever)!" all the time:

Those of us older than 40 will remember decades of hiding our hobby from the jeers and cruel taunts of non-fanboys. We suffered a lot for you kids. And you're welcome.

Hey! It's time for Fun with Out of Context Dialogue!(tm!):

That's right! You can't put one over on Roy Raymond, with your spaghetti-filled table legs and... stuff.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Delivered Straight to Your Cell Wednesday!

For those of you that missed it the first time, ABC is re-airing Prep and Landing tonight. It was surprisingly good, so check it out.

But first, check out a Great Moment in Comics!(tm!):

What amazes me is that Batman can walk right into a hail of bullets without so much as a flesh wound, but one banana peel leaves him totally gobsmacked.

Why was it a Great Moment?(tm?) Because every moment with a Bizarro anything is a great moment.

Time to Get With It, Cats!:

Not everyone dug the first run of Teen Titans, but I think it was a Silver Age Classic. As this house ad only begins to indicate, it tried way too hard to be hip. Which means you know it's only a matter of time before I plow through it and put memorable moments on this blog. Just a little something to look forward to.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella (and Your Shield from High Caliber Gunfire) Tuesday!

One of the most brilliant marketing schemes was the introduction of the kid sidekick in comics. This gave children a character to whom they could instantly relate, and by the time all was said and done, dragging a child with you into combat with desperate criminals and Nazi soldiers was simply the rational thing to do.

But, of course, it wasn't the rational thing to do at all. It was dangerous and stupid, unless the kid had super-powers like yours (such as Toro or Kid Flash). One of the worst cases of child endangerment came along the lines of Captain America's sidekick, Bucky.

Yup, the Japanese caricature is correct. The adult has a shield and the child has no protection whatsoever.

But we can't dwell on that, can we?

Um.... ok. I'm sure that Bucky will appreciate the sentiment as bullets are whizzing past his head that, metaphorically speaking, one shield is good enough for the both of them.

Of course, in modern comics, there have been numerous explanations given as to why this was appropriate (if not downright necessary), but even the valiant attempt currently in place to make Bucky a prepubescent killing machine (a concept I find hilarious, and I always kind of liked Bucky) can't hide the fact that Captain America dragged a child with him into armed combat, often on the front line, sans any weapons or real protection of any kind. The poor kid didn't even have a helmet.

No, the cynical truth is that, if we are to employ any kind of logic at all, is that the kid sidekick was brought on board by the hero to be the first in line to catch the bullet. It's kind of like in the original Star Trek when the landing party was Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Ensign Rabonowitz. You just knew that if there was a dark cave to be explored or a fight to the death, Rabonowitz was a goner.

And I'm not just picking on Cap here:

All these kids made it to adulthood somehow. But Ted Kord is dead. The world makes no sense to me.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Imaginary Pants Monday!

And now, courtesy of World's Finest #143, I am proud to give you a Great Moment in Comics!(tm!)

Well, that is an awkward moment if ever there was one. I'm curious as to where it might be going, yet afraid at the same time.

You know how Friday I talked about how they kind of recycled plots? I also forgot to mention that they just kind of said, "to heck with it" and started using "imaginary stories" whenever the creative well was running dry:

I'm not the most level-headed person out there, but I always thought that all stories in comics were imaginary unless they specifically stated otherwise. In any respect, these stories were usually even more pointless than usual. It's kind of like watching a "very special" episode of Full House.

You may have noticed that whenever Clark Kent or Peter Parker are shedding their clothes to reveal the costume underneath, they never show pant removal. Do you know why?

Here's why:

There are some things that just never look cool. Pants removal is one of them. Thanks to All-Winners #14 for the visual aid.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, December 11, 2009

This Comic Gives Lu-u-uv a Bad Name! Friday!

Bon Jovi is coming to town, which doesn't interest me at all because they've been re-releasing the same song for 20 years, but it does give me a new name to call the process of recycling the same plot device over and over: The Bon Jovi Syndrome!(tm!)

Such is the case with World's Finest. In a six issue run, I've noticed the same plot used four times - shamelessly paraded on the covers, no less.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Exhibit "A":

Okay, here Batman has an inferiority complex (yes, Batman has an inferiority complex), and gets some sort of aggressive personality disorder. And Jimmy Olsen looks like an idiot.

And here, Batman is under alien control and develops an aggressive personality disorder. Note the Random Ray Usage!(tm!)

And now we see Robin and Jimmy Olsen (who should have been killed off back in the 1940's) under alien control and developing an aggressive personality disorder.

And then we have....

well, you get the idea. It's basically good guys acting against type, usually because of the alien influence. Granted in the last story, it's the rest of the world that changes into thinking Batman and Superman are villains, but it's still the same idea: Turn the good guys bad.

And I'm not saying that other comics haven't milked a plot device until it bled. I am saying that we now have a term for it. Rock on!

See you Monday!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Blog that YOU Create! Thursday!

Some days, I just can't find stuff worth putting up, but that's okay, because I have a little stockpile of helpful panels that have been provided by you! Well, not actually you, unless you happen to be Paul George Cornish, who provided today's material.

Here's the worst cliffhanger in modern comics.

Are you ready.

Because this is very dramatic.

Aquaman shaved his beard.

Yes, there will be some major asskickery now, because the man is now going about without facial hair. Get ready to beg for mercy, Ocean Master, because Arthur decided he's losing the hippie look.

Even more unusual....

.... the world's first underwater birthing pool. Seems just a shade unnecessary, considering the surroundings.

And some major weirdness that someone will have to explain to me:

Superman and Big Barda doing a racy video.

Annnnnd.... cue the jealous husband!

And we finish with Clark and Barda talking like co-workers after the annual office Christmas party:

I'm really not sure if this was the worst, or the greatest story ever. All I know is if more Superman stories were like this, I might be less bored by him.

Thanks for the save, Paul!

And if YOU ever want to save my bacon, send your submissions to comicsmakenosense(at) I generally archive them and use the oldest one first when I'm hitting a bump in the road, so if you haven't seen yours yet, don't be discouraged! Most likely, I just haven't gotten to it yet.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Kids are People! Stupid People! Wednesday!

Lois Lane....

No one man could have her.

No one man could tame her.

No one man could could satisfy her darkest passions.

Yes, Lois Lane:

.... in other words, she was a floozy.

Sometimes, there is a panel that is so rife with possibilities, that you just can't pick one joke. Here is such a panel, courtesy of World's Finest #141:

So, I'll just leave it to you. Insert your own "Oliver gives Lois the pearl necklace" joke here. And no, mom, I'm not going to explain why that's so funny. It just is.

The next issue had the debut of the Composite Superman, who I always thought was kind of awesome, even though it made no sense that he didn't have the powers of either Superman or Batman. If you have the powers of all of the Legion of Super-Heroes, it's very misleading to look (and call yourself) a composite of two people who weren't part of the roster. But that's villainy for you:

You know, I'm pretty sure that, although the mask may be impervious to Superman's X-ray vision, you can get a pretty good idea of what he looks like under there, seeing as how the mask only covers one-fourth of his face.

And Robin pipes in with this latest from the Department of the Obvious:

Yeah, we noticed he was green, kid. That was kind of hard to miss. Go detail the Batmobile or something until we need your super-astute powers of observation again.

Hey! Let's Learn Something! (tm!)

If I were the scoutmaster, I just would have sent Bob on a snipe hunt. He's very annoying. That's probably one of many reasons I'm not a scoutmaster.

See you tomorrow!