Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sun-Filled Flakes of AK-47's Wednesday!

The quality of art in comics ebbs and flows over the decades. I like most of the artwork that's in most titles these days to some degree, but considering that comic books have been cranking along for over 70 years now, there's an expectation that the artwork is going to be a lot better than what our grandparents and great-grandparents had (especially if they expect us to crank out four bucks for what used to be one thin dime).

But I'm always extra-impressed when I see some awesome covers from days long past. Check out these pretties from the Sea Devils run in Showcase:

Is there a Cover Hall of Fame?(tm?) There is now, and these are in it. I never really got into the Sea Devils. I mean, how exciting is it to watch a team of skin divers swimming around? Not much. But these covers are great!

I am a middle-aged man with an awesome set of action figures. You know what I'm not ready for? This:

I'm sure someone can explain this to me. An AK-47? Where on Earth did this come from?

This is less unnerving, but every bit as head-scratching:

I don't really see the Superman connection here, nor do I understand why someone who has flown into the outer space and plunged into the sun would be so easily impressed as he clearly is here. Then again, I don't really "get" much about Superman.

Superman! A giant robot is attacking Metropolis!

I'll be there in a minute! WHEEEEEE!

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Hero, the Lady, and the Giant Yellow Pterodactyl Tuesday!

Courtesy of Showcase v1 #23!

Green Lantern, Philosopher....

Carol Ferris, Manipulative Shrew....

And Giant Yellow Pterodactyl....

It's yellow, like ALL pterodactyls were! And that happens to be Green Lantern's one weakness! Curse the luck!

I was never a big nut about dinosaurs, but I didn't realize you could just sock one of them in the face and they'd get all wounded about it and leave you alone. I think the next time you run across someone who is really into dinosaurs, you should hit them with this factoid and not back off of it, no matter how angry they get. Just insist that you've seen documentation of such a thing with your own eyes.

What fun! See you tomorrow!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Crime is Unsportsmanlike Conduct Monday!

I've been married a long time, almost 20 years now. I think what encourages Beloved to stick around despite my many shortcomings is that I have no interest in sports of any kind. It has no bearing on my existence as to how well Randy Roidrage and the rest of the overpaid Birmingham Buttslappers play their games on a weekly basis.

So you can imagine how excited I was to find a complete set of Superpro:

Nothing says "We're desperate for you to buy this" like putting Spider-Man in the opening story. For a character with such little potential, I think they would have needed Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, and three different versions of Wolverine for this to generate any serious interest.

Although this guy had the right idea:

"Super-Football Man" isn't a dumber name than "Superpro." In fact, it's much more expository. "Superpro" could mean a pro at anything.

Superpro apparently has the skills of everyone who plays football. I guess. I really didn't pay that much attention. But he's place-kicking someone here:

And he speaks in football jargon:

And I don't know if this is called anything other than "tackling," but he's doing it here:

And here, he's speaking in football jargon and dropping names to show you he's really cool and we should like him because he likes Spider-Man and Daredevil and we do as well so we should all buy this book, shouldn't we?:

And finally, an endorsement from Spider-Man himself:

Wow, these are terrible. I don't know if I'm going to be able to go through them all, but I'm going to try. See you tomorrow!

Friday, June 25, 2010

I'll Trap You in Your Own Icing Friday!

Good times from Batman #130!

Unfortunately, the flashing lights and popping noises caused Batman and Robin to believe they were ambushed by gunfire. Three reporters and a pizza delivery boy were hospitalized before they realized their error.

Two things:

(a) We have just established that fighting with milk isn't cool no matter who is doing it. And (b) this picture makes me uncomfortable for several reasons.

You know what we don't get enough of these days?:

That's right! Batman fighting on top of a giant fake birthday cake. The crowd singing in unison at the end made this particularly cringe-inducing. The next time someone does something of which I approve, I'm going to sing "Happy Birthday" to them. Whether they want me to or not.

See you Monday!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Will Accept Your Faulty Science if It Means I Get to Wear Tights Like Yours Thursday!

Since we touched upon the first appearances of the Silver Age Flash in Showcase v1, it only makes sense to look at the Silver Age debut of Green Lantern, another reboot of a popular Golden Age hero.

I'm not going to bore anyone with the details, but the Golden Age Green Lantern had a weakness to wood, which made some sense. After all, wood is an organic substance of unique chemical composition.

But along comes the Silver Age.....

Because, you see, things that are yellow have their own unique chemical composition which renders the ring ineffective?

Wait, what? Because they don't. This makes absolutely no sense. But Hal Jordan knows a cool thing when he sees one, so he's prepared to buy into any nonsense Abin Sur tells him:

Considering he's about to be handed an alien weapon, I really don't blame Hal for not calling shenanigans on this, but even my seven year-old, below-average scientifically inclined brain knew that this wasn't passing the smell test. But this huge, illogical plot device not only presented problems for Hal almost every issue, but it continues to this day.

And since yellow is a primary color, wouldn't the presence of it in colors like green and brown make it ineffective against those items as well? Oh, of course not, because of the other colors mixed in with the yellow. Those molecules are affected by the ring because they're made up of a different chemical composition. Except they aren't.

Yes, geeks, I know that there have been several attempts to reconcile this, but an ineffectiveness to something based on nothing more than its color is.... well, it isn't racist like it sounds, but it's certainly stupid.

Know what else caused problems for Hal? He, like the Silver Age Flash, seemed to require a certain amount of Vitamin Bitch in his diet:

And no, Green Lantern probably shouldn't say his secret identity out loud, especially when he's standing right by a doorway like that, because you know Carol was listening to see how he was reacting to her emasculating ways.

I have always enjoyed Green Lantern and the Flash as a core part of the Justice League, but I've always found their individual titles rather dry. I have no explanation for this, other than the fact that I can't eat cheese straight either. It has to be part of a dish or a sandwich. And it really should be melted. I guess that really isn't relevant, but it makes more sense than saying I can't affect cheese because it's yellow.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

You Earthlings Can Breathe Sand, Can't You? Wednesday!

As comic nerdlingers, we've seen the old "trap the hero in the bottom of the hourglass so that he only has a limited amount of time before he's buried in sand" riff. We've also seen super-heroes fight a lot of alien creatures because that's a reliable "go to" move when one has writer's block. Here, courtesy of Showcase v1 #14, we see both:

What made this one stand out is that the aliens are saying this is some sort of suitable habitat. I don't think the Flash or Iris are going to be "survivors" of our planet for very long if you're going to be treating them that way. It's the same reason you don't let a kid have a hamster.

And, of course, we can't go five minutes without Iris being the Worst Girlfriend Ever:

Seriously, Iris? Trash-talking about your boyfriend to another guy? That is seriously not cool. No wonder Barry is always catching food in mid-air: He's trying to impress a waitress so he can dump your unfaithful, ungrateful self.

Was I the only one who applauded when they killed Iris off? I wasn't, was I?

Such a jerk, she was....

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lame to the Last Drop Tuesday!

Most fanboys know that Showcase v1 brought about the onset of revised versions of many Golden Age characters who had disappeared after World War II when they re-tooled the Flash.

Like Watchmen, I appreciate this because it brought new life to the ailing super-hero genre of comics. But that doesn't mean I enjoy these particular stories. So, if you're waiting for me to start doing the Silver Age Flash stories, it isn't happening. I checked out the Showcase Presents The Flash from my library, and couldn't finish it. Egad, Barry Allen is dull. The best thing that happened to the Flash character was when they killed off Barry and gave the mantle to Wally West.

Here's a reason why I just don't cotton to the Barry Allen years. Let's start off with Iris West: Emasculating Shrew, courtesy of Showcase v1 #14:

For my single and newly-married guy readers, let me give you a tip about relationships: If your significant other greets you with a bunch of grief, it's a toxic relationship and you need to cut your losses. If she or he follows up by unfavorably comparing you to other men, you are in a downright abusive relationship. Don't be like Barry.

Barry also freaks out when things are spilled:

Dude, it's water. It's not acid dripping onto someone's face. They'll get it with a rag or maybe even a mop, but those aren't consequences worth endangering your secret identity over.

All I can tell you is that Barry liked to frequent eating establishments with terribly clumsy servers, because it happened in his first appearance as well in Showcase v1, #4:

I'm not saying this is lazy writing, but.... well yes, I am saying this is lazy writing. If Barry's going to repeat himself, it should really be more in the area of saving people from getting hit by speeding cars.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Martyrdom of Captain Triumph Monday!

Captain Triumph: Raging Co-Dependent:

Get it? Because Co-Dependents take on everyone's responsibilities and then get really resentful about it? Eh? Eh?

Screw you. I thought it was funny.

I don't know who it was that decided one should fly in a horizontal position, but this is clearly why that rule was made;

If I could fly, I might actually find that less disorienting than trying to lay on my stomach, but once I saw how silly it looked, I'd probably change my mind.

I'm through plowing through Crack Comics, thank goodness. It had a hilarious name, but most of the stories were neither good enough to read on their own, nor bad enough to give me tons of fodder for the blog, so I doubt I'll pick them up again. Although I will miss you most of all, Madam Fatal.

One last thing: Is it just me, or did Captain Triumph look a lot like Iron Monroe?

As I mentioned a long time ago, Roy Thomas meant to use Captain Triumph in the 1980's All-Star Squadron but never got around to it (thank goodness). When Roy revived Iron Monroe for the Young All-Stars spin-off, perhaps he was thinking about Captain Triumph on some level. Since Iron Monroe was a replacement for the Golden Age Superman in the DC Universe, one might wonder why Thomas didn't simply go with Captain Triumph in the Young All-Stars?

Although I'm glad he didn't. Iron Monroe was badass, at least he was in Young All-Stars. Perhaps Captain Triumph could have been given a boost had he also been revived, but I kind of doubt it. The whole "merging with your dead brother when you rub your birthmark" thing is just a little much for me. I still think everyone missed a bet by not bringing back Madam Fatal.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Criminals and Lawmen Alike Know Their Sewing Terms Friday!

From Batman #129:

I think every story ought to have a Maharajah's outfit in it. Know why? Because it's fun to say "Maharajah."

Ruh-roh! It's another over-sized object! Apparently at Gotham City University, they never taught their engineers the difference between "inches" and "feet" as units of measurement:

On the one hand, I'm disgusted that we've resorted to yet another gargantuan object as a plot device. On the other hand, I find it hilarious that someone felt the need to label it "Display Model." Well, it's a good thing someone said something, because I was fixin' to start doin' some quiltin' on that 6 story tall sewin' machine!

You know, if there's a needle the size of a whaling harpoon hanging from machinery of any kind, you might want to consider going around it, as opposed to swinging right under it. You're just asking for trouble.

I have no idea what Batman just said there. I can't tell if it's some sewing reference, or if it's some 1950's thing, or a combination thereof. I just know that he made some kind of joke, and I don't know what it was. It is neat the way he got their hats to just kind of float in the air like that, so that's something.

See you Monday!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lois in Outer Space, Proof that the French Don't Like the French Language Either and Poop-Flinging Monkeys Thursday!

From Showcase v1:

I'm no astrophysicist but....

.... shouldn't Lois's head be exploding in the cold reaches of space? I mean, presuming she didn't burst into flames when she was taken out of the atmosphere? It just seems like a short-sleeved dress wouldn't cut it.

I took French in high school and college, but I speak it about as well as these guys:

The problem is, these guys are supposed to be French. Zut, alors! The French, it is too difficult to speak correctly when you air undair such menace!

This is one of the most awesome panels ever:

I know people will argue with me that the monkey isn't flinging his own poop, but it's much more enjoyable if you assume that he is. Monkeys flinging poop... that's entertainment right there!

Here's an interesting item for comic book nerds with much more discretionary income than I:

"Bryan Singer, the genius behind the X-Men series, is donating a very exclusive opportunity to the highest bidder: a set visit to the next installment of the highly anticipated X-Men film, as Mr. Singer’s personal guest! The visit will take place in the United Kingdom this coming Fall.

"This once-in-a-lifetime experience will also give the winner a chance to meet some of the actors who may be on set that day. For a full description of this item, visit here. Bidding ends June 24, 2010.

Proceeds, according to the press release, are to benefit Project Angelfood. "Project Angel Food’s mission is to nourish the body and spirit of men, women and children affected by HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other life-threatening illnesses. For more information about the organization, visit here."

It sounds like a very worthwhile cause, and what a nifty prize! We're talking about X-Men: First Class behind-the-scenage here, so if the travel expenses aren't an issue, dig deep and bring me along as your guest!

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

That is One Large Infant Wednesday!

I know what you're thinking: Adam, you've been doing your little Comic Book Funhouse and Edutainment Extravaganza for all these years, yet you never mentioned the Spinner?

Well, courtesy of Batman #129, here he is:

With the Spinner, we see the problem with being a theme villain: You're basically limited to crimes where you can plug in your M.O., which can be dang limiting. Such is the case with the Spinner, who was confined to things like fan factories.

And, as we also see with the Spinner, you might find yourself wearing a little propeller on your melon. It's hard to believe he was able to get a criminal gang put together with that little propeller on his head, but there you go.

If I ever get to write a story for DC, I'm totally bringing back the Spinner. Just you watch.

Batman: Terror of the Underworld:

... unless, apparently, you're one lone punk with a pistol. Seriously, these days, Bats would disarm the guy in a way that would leave him disfigured for life, disassemble the firearm into two pieces, shove one half down the guy's throat, the other up the guy's rectum, reassemble the firearm somewhere in the guy's small intestine, and "accidentally" discharge it two or three times. No wonder sales dipped in the 1950's.

Well, that and this:

Okay, I'm just going to go lay down and try to forget I ever saw that.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Swamp Amoebas, Ram-Beasts, and Over-Sized Cameras Tuesday

From Batman #128:

I shall avenge the murder of my parents. I shall become a creature of the night. I shall become.... a bat!

And one day....

I will fight Swamp Amoebas!

And be a matador of Ram-Beasts!

And fight criminals with blood-curdling weapons like big-ass cameras!

And big-ass tires!

In Batman's defense, I can tell you big-ass tractor tires are very heavy and would actually make very good weapons if you can get them rolling. I was raised in Oklahoma, you know. We know about things like big-ass tractor tires.

The Comics Code really did a number on comics, didn't they?

See you tomorrow!