Saturday, July 30, 2005

Groin Injury Saturday: Thor

Well, every blog needs a hook, and mine is going to be serious groin injuries. I dunno, I guess I'm like everyone else who thinks that a slam to old skippy is hilarious, as long as it is to someone else. In my investigations, particularly the classic representations of Banana Peel v Geriatric Female, such things are indeed to be found humorous.

From Marvel Comics way back in April 1978 comes an image of super groin damage inflicted on The Mighty Thor by the alien villain Blastaar. In comic terms, you can tell Blastaar is evil because he's ugly and has a Sci-Fi-ish name that describes not only what he does, but where he is from.

On the cover of Thor #270, our hero is taking a pretty serious blast of energy right in...and to keep it in religious terms since I'm writing about a God,...the "hollow of the thigh" (look it up, it's biblical. Angels don't mess around in a fight).

According to the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition (v2, #2, Jan 1986), here after known as the OHotMUDE, Blastaar can release sufficient kinetic force to "penetrate 6 inch thick titanium-overlayed steel from a distance of 25 feet."

Ouch! "Lay down and die" is right.

But who knows, given all the subtext that is rife in comics (re: DC's All-Star Batman and Robin #1) maybe Thor enjoys it. I imagine that having steel-hard, nigh-invulnerable skin doesn't readily lend itself to experiencing the sensations mortals take for granted. This shocking panel from Journey Into Mystery #99 reveals Thor's inability to feel the caresses of his pet human.

Note the smooth way he bails from an awkward situation while at the same time takes his frustration out on Jane Foster and makes her feel worthless. If that isn't God-like behavior I don't know what is!


Friday, July 29, 2005

Comic Book PSA: Just Say No with Frank Frazetta

Here's a public service announcement drawn by fantasy and comic art great Frank Frazetta.

This entire page, while a nice try, is typical of the awkward attempt by adults to relate to kids. I can't say I care for the attitude of the dope-fiend's friends either. Way to provide a support system guys!

I'm a little surprised they didn't manage to throw in a reference to communism while they were at it.

- Famous Funnies #198, February 1952.


Monday, July 25, 2005

Before the X-Men: There was Tad Carter

I actually never thought I'd be doing a post about the Marvel Mutants or the X-men. Why? Because I'm kind of burnt out on their snikting over-exposure and the years of lackluster stories (Yes, House of M, I'm looking at you, too).

But then a few days ago I happened upon this Lee-Ditko gem (It's an all DITKO issue from when he was in his story-telling prime!) from 1962 and thought I'd share a little Marvel history. Enjoy!

Several months before the X-Men made their debut in September of 1963, and before the Doom Patrol showed up in June of the same year, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko introduced the term 'Mutant' to the infant Marvel Universe and comic-dom.

Published in July of 1962 this short tale tells the story of Tad Carter, a young man who discovers he has the powers of telepathy and telekinesis.

The story has the usual nuclear bogeyman as the cause of Tad's abilities, but also has a social message that reflects the growing civil rights movement of the day. Many elements that will feature prominently in the X-Men and Avengers, and later all of the Marvel universe for decades seem to have at least a partial origin here.

One day Tad is discovered by fellow students using his abilities. Tad is forced to defend himself only to be surprised as he leaves the ground and soars into the sky, seemingly against his will.

Flying over the city towards some unknown destination, Tad is contacted via telepathy by a mysterious stranger, whose elderly image he sees in his mind.

The stranger speaks to Tad ominously...warning him that people are 'savage' and 'primitive' and that he must hide with others like him for safety. The stranger also hints at a 'golden age' of mankind, when he and others like him are to be revealed.

Neat! In one short story you have foreshadowing of the classic Marvel sub-plot of Humans vs. Mutants.

Considering that less than a year later the mutant team known as the X-Men debuted in their own book it makes you wonder how long Stan Lee and others were working on the idea that eventually became one of the founding concepts of the Marvel mythos.

Now...if House of M man behind the curtain Brian Bendis would have had Tad Carter step out of Cloaks' shadow cape, that might have come close to doing some damage to the internet. It would really blow some minds if old Tad was revealed to be the prime mover behind all the problems & struggles that mutantkind had suffered through the years.

Who needs Hawkeye? In super-hero terms, he's the equivalent of bringing a pointy stick to a nuclear bomb fight. Anyone could be Hawkeye... not everyone could be Super-Tad.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Alien Bondage

While bondage themes in comic books are not new, this is the first time I had seen an Alien-Master /Slave-Human cover like this.

His safety word is probably something like Mxyzptlk, which means that since that word is basically unpronounceable, the aliens must be running through a lot of humans.

If that isn't strange enough, a few months later DC published this cover, switching the master/slave relationship.

It's odd that these incredibly advanced beings can traverse a galaxy while blind, but can't take a stroll through a meadow without first conquering and enslaving humanity.


Zen and the Art of the Comfy Chair

Sometimes you really have to wonder what someone was thinking when they publish things like this.

Take a Chair by Stan Lee and/or Larry Lieber & Steve Ditko
- From Journey Into Mystery #82 (July 1962)


The Feminine Hygine Product...FROM HELL

My wife went to the store today and brought home the Fullscreen format version of the Constantine DVD. Looking over the DVD case art I immediately noticed something odd on the back cover...

You'd think that the art directors could have photoshopped the hospital bracelet in his hand a little bit.

Not much...just enough so it would not look so much like John Constantine is struggling against incalculable odds to keep a tampon out of the clutches of the army of Hell...

Originally posted elsewhere 19 June 2005.


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Groin Injury Saturday: Batman

A lot of comic book fans are getting tired of the idea that the Batman, a mere mortal rubbing shoulders with giants, is invincible. Well, let's face it...he's BATMAN! The current over-used cliche is that given enough prep time, Batman will beat anyone down, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and the Flash included.

This idea goes back many nerd-years but has lately gotten a lot of attention, thanks to the Tower of Babel arc of the JLA and the recent Countdown to Infinite Crisis books (where Batman's secret files on everyone are once again compromised and used by an unlikely bad-guy against both the heroes & villains of the comic universe. I still think the man behind the evil curtain is the butler, Alfred, but that's fodder for a different post).

But what happens if he doesn't have the opportunity to prepare? A recent appearance by Batman in a mini-series changed my mind about his ass-kicking abilities forever. Prior to seeing him in the new book I thought it unlikely that Bats would always win over impossible odds. But now I'm now one of those who have to say the scales tip over in Batman's favor for winning any contest. This is because when it hits the fan...Batman fights real dirty.

Yep, when the fight just isn't going his way, the Dark Avenger of the Night goes right for the crotch. So don't even try to tell me he wouldn't be able to take the Man of Steel out of service with a shot from a Kryptonite gauntlet to the Super-Jewels.

Batman is cool. A bastard, but a cool one.

from Batman - Jekyl and Hyde #4
DC Comics, 2005

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