Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Visit Uranusburg!

From Mystery in Space #49 (Feb 1959)

I hear you can get Flame Jewels for next to nothing there.


Halloween Horror: Claws For Alarm

There are many television shows and movies that can traumatize a child. The episode of the Twilight Zone with the killer doll that torments Telly Savalas, the one Johnny Quest that featured the brain-sucking Robot Spy and the freak-out of the possessed Zuni doll in the original Trilogy of Terror.

All those shows messed me up. Yet none terrify like the two classic Warner Bros. cartoons where the Abbot and Costello team of Porky Pig and Sylvester the Cat are being hunted by homicidal mice.

The concept of the killer mice was initially featured in 1948's Scaredy Cat but was much improved upon in the sequel, 1954's Claws For Alarm. In the films an oblivious Porky and terrified Sylvester stay overnight in an abandoned hotel, only to be ruthlessly attacked by killer mice during the course of their visit. Sylvester is aware of the attacks and does his best to inform and protect Porky, only to be doubted and ridiculed. The idea that sadistic, homicidal and territorial mice would be organized was both fascinating and frightening, and makes you wish for the whole story about how these relatively modern towns came to be ubruptly and entirely abandoned by the residents.

Together, these two short films surely permanently scarred the psyches of children the world over for years.

The Warner cartoon crew often returned to, and in most cases improved upon, previous works. Some stories were just too good not to repeat and often they were better the second time around. Both films contain story elements that would play with improvement if swapped into the other film. For instance, the idea of a back story is shown in Sacredy Cat when a scene reveals that another unknown cat, previously captured, is being led away to execution by a gang of mice. Given the intricate set up of traps and tiny elevators the mice seem to have a long and bloody history of dealing with the strangers in their midst and dispatching them in nasty ways. This idea that the mice have a history of dealing with intruders is missing in the second film. The second film gives me the impression that the mice are just winging it for kicks.

The ending of Scaredy Cat is weaker than that of Claws For Alarm. Where Scaredy Cat has a goofy ending, Claws For Alarm is foreboding as Sylvester flees in a car, unwittingly bringing revenge-minded mice with him as stowaways in the dashboard. Ideally, a good edit of the separate cartoons into a single longer feature would create a superior film containing all the best scenes of both while supporting or eliminating the weaker moments.

The basic concept of Scaredy Cat and Claws For Alarm has been used several times in live action film. I imagine that if you look in literature or other media you might find that while Warner was probably not the first to use the idea, they did it to such great effect that it remains to this day as part of our cultural awareness. While in 1977's Mouse Hunt starring Nathan Lane and Lee Evans the characterizations were more of the Abbott and Costello variety, the basic plot of the Porky and Sylvester cartoons was left pretty much intact and used for humor as the pair futilely battle a cute mouse who finds exception to a massive house renovation.

While Mouse Hunt was played for laughs, the plot of the 1973 television movie Don't Be Afraid of the Dark was pure horror. The horror film didn't stray far from the concept of the Warner Bros. cartoons and is recognizable as being descended from them in spirit, even if done unintentionally. In the film, Star Trek and True Grit alumnus Kim Darby inherits an old mansion and moves in with her husband. Shortly after moving in the family is plagued by tiny demons that cause mishaps and death among the residents. The film was effectively frightening and caused me to look at electrical wall sockets with suspicion for weeks.

If you get a chance go ahead and watch Scaredy Cat, Claws For Alarm and Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, you won't be sorry. Keep the lights on, though.

And now for your enjoyment, a wily mouse wielding a knife while contemplating murder.


Happy Halloween

I was inspired by Bully to post this.
The Thing poops bricks courtesy of a sneaky Spider-Man, from Marvel Two-In-One annual #2 (1977)


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Comic Book Editorial: Peter Puptent as geopolitical commentary?

Was this Peter Puptent filler cartoon in a DC comic book actually a geopolitical "stealth editorial" by Henry Boltinoff?

Featured in The Brave and the Bold #40 (Feb-Mar 1962)

What was happening in the world in 1962?

United States involvement with the internal affairs of Laos, Cuba, Thailand, China, Nigeria and Vietnam. Strife in Brazil that led to U. S. businesses being nationalized. The War Against Communism, Russian/American spy exchanges and Jon Bon Jovi was born.

So...Did Henry Boltinoff use the comic book character of world-explorer Peter Puptent to sneak in an editorial about current world events? Would a Mom or Dad get the underlying message of the cartoon when reading a comic with their children?

Maybe. Peter Puptent could be a symbol of American foreign policy in 1962, accidentally stirring stuff up in an attempt to ensure domestic tranquility*. In the cartoon, the explorer erred in becoming involved (in spite of the pre-cautionary statement from his unnamed companion that the jungle, like geopolitics, was "dense" and in questioning if any natives were around) in foreign political events. Puptent acted rashly and with ignorance (though with innocent intentions) by interfering in local affairs and sparking a conflict. I'm also thinking that the sound fx in panel four are more representative of explosions in a war-torn jungle and less of some native communication system. Let us not forget that the names that comprise "Peter Puptent" has multiple definitions. The simplest if which would be "Penis Erection" or rather, that of tumescent male genitalia. An image that surely evokes the idea that the United States is a country full of rootin'-tootin' cowboys that has taken on the self-appointed role of the world's moral compass and police force.

DC creative teams were known for being stealthy in them days and everyone has some sort of personal opinion or leaning that is usually reflected in their creative output. Not everyone is as extreme as Steve Ditko or as obvious as Judd Winnick in their work.


* Hah-ha! Now you have that School House Rock song stuck in your head, too!

Halloween Horror: House of Mystery #201

The month of October would not be complete without at least one post somewhere about the classic DC horror story The Demon Within.

Originally featured in House of Mystery #201 (April 1972) it is a tale that shows up every now and then on lists of best comic book horror stories and it is included on my short-list. The Mike Kaulta cover is eye-catching and does not disconnect much from the story, although Kaluta rendered the cover with a definite Gothic theme and the story takes place in a suburbanite setting. In the 1970's, it was often that the covers by Kaluta, Wrightson and Adams were the best feature of a comic book and wildly diverged from the sometimes disappointing story it represented. The Jim Aparo art is his usual competent style, though some of the panels appear to be crowded and rushed. Joe Orlando (plot) and Joe Albano (script) wrote the story. The only part of the script I did not care for when I first read it in 1972 was the totally unnecessary addition of a science fiction element at the end* that caused a bump in the pacing.

The Demon Within is an effectively creepy story, about a little boy named Gary who can will himself to transform into a monster through magic (today, he would be a sales-boosting mutant, but don't get me started on that). Like any bored youngster he uses his gift to terrorize his little sister, frighten strangers and cause mischievous pranks.
Gary isn't yet dangerous, just annoying.

So where is the horror? The answer to that lies in defining just what the "demon" really is and who is "possessed" by it. Like any DC morality tale there are a few plot twists. Mom and Dad are mortified that their son can change into a demonic form and are worried that the neighbors will think less of them because of it. The horror aspects of the tale come not from Gary and his ability to change shape, but in the reactions of his family. Gary is ultimately rejected by his mother and father, a truly frightening thing for any child to endure. That some of the scariest scenes occur off-panel is even more chilling.
The theme that selfish parents were more concerned about appearances than the health and well-being of their children showed up quite often in the "relevant era" of comics. It was a product of the times the creators lived in. Much like the stories of the 1980's often had greedy corporations crushing the lone employee, the comics of the 1970's explored the upset of the former staus quo. Being a short story, The Demon Within did not have the space to lay the blame for Gary's abilities on the parents, unlike when it was revealed Speedy's heroin addiction was the fault of a wealth-obsessed legal guardian and the expectations of society at large.

For fans relatively new to comics it is unfortunate that the realities of the current market do not allow for the the high number of anthology comics today that it did in the past. While the books were primarily full of filler and throw-away stories you could find the occasional classic gem.

For those of you who want to know how the story of Gary ends, here is a spoiler-link to his fate.


* Why use a laser when a knife will do? Seemed superfluous.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Jango's Got The Blues!

From Phantom Stranger #27 (Oct-Nov 1973)

Now that's some Talaoc-y goodness! I miss 70's comics.


How bad can eternal damnation be if it has air-hockey?

Pretty cool break room for this BBQ grill company except for that whole "suffering the eternal torments of the damned in a fiery Hell" theme it has going. Fifteen minutes of that and I'd be ready to get back to the factory floor.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Savage Sword of Cheesecake

One of my favorite books of the 1970's was Marvel's Conan the Barbarian and Savage Sword of Conan magazine. Being a Pulp fiction fan I could not get enough of Howard's creation and eagerly bought whatever was produced in the genre. Titles Conan, Kull, Tarzan, Gullivar Jones, John Carter and even Skull the Slayer got my cash.

My entry this week for Ragnell and Kalinara's Cheesecake/Beefcake Week is from the adaptation of L. Spraugue DeCamp and Lin Carter's Conan the Buccaneer that ran in the magazine Savage Sword of Conan #40-43. What makes this story unique in Marvel's books of the time is the frontal nudity displayed by the curvy Princess Chabella in her appearances over the next several issues as SSoC was not specifically directed at the mature market.

From Savage Sword of Conan #40 (May 1979).
Link to pointy NSFW version.

Nearly every scene shows her bountifully exposed. In her first appearance in issue #40's splash page it is all "Hello, girls!" and it doesn't stop there as we ride the Marvel Express Train to Breastville. Chabella is soon kidnapped and sold into slavery, where she and Conan have adventures and Conan kills people.

While the story never became the full-on pornography that issue #34 was, there were plenty references to interracial sex, domination, violence and bondage. Particularly when Chabella was a slave-girl and Conan was the meat-puppet of a queen. At first, Chabella was humiliated by her exposure and took pains to cover herself against her loss of station and the unwanted attentions by those around her. Practical matters like running from demons, however, forced her to not worry about how she looked as she focused on staying alive.

Admittedly, I fully appreciated the art of John Buscema and Tony Dezuniga and the lack of strategic censorship on the story. But here is where Marvel got clever. I don't recall if this scene is in the novel since it has been years since I read it, but it was hilarious.

"Skin is only skin, after all." It was a direct statement about the art form in the book and the soft-core porn of most SF & Fantasy novels in the genre. It was also very nearly an editorial directed at twitchy fanboys. Where in issue #40 I was "Hey, breasts!" and told my comic-reading friends about their appearances in the book, by issue #42 I didn't even notice them until Roy Thomas once again called them to my attention. Unbelievably, Marvel Comics had desensitized me to breasts. It is interesting that in the first scene where Chabella is reminded she is inappropriately clothed is also the first panel where the practice of Editorial Swimwear is applied.
The next issue and conclusion of the story in #43 has Princess Chabella appearing in only a few panels early in the book. After all, now that she is fully clothed and has had the obligatory Thank You Sex with Conan the story has little use for her. The magazine is in the Sword and Sorcery genre after all, and it's time for the hacking and slashing with the pointy objects and the inflicting of the pain.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Multiple Choice

Sleestak is seated in the break room with some co-workers when one of the moran floor drones who stocks groceries comes in and asks if he actually paid for the sandwich he was eating.

How does Sleestak reply to the implication he shoplifted?

: "Why, certainly! Here is my receipt for this fine repast. Thank you for keeping us all honest, my good man. Dang, fellas. There goes a young man who takes care of his company and by extension, all of us."

B: "Dude, if you saw me pick up a sandwich, then how could you miss seeing me wait in line with all these people here for fifteen minutes to buy it? If you think think there is a problem then get a Manager and I'll discuss it with one of them."

C: "What..the hell? [Expletive Deleted]! Listen, you [Expletive Deleted] grocery fascist! I'm the last [Expletive Deleted] anyone in this [Expletive Deleted] place needs to [Expletive Deleted] worry about! Now, you [Expletive Deleted] get your [Expletive Deleted] [Expletive Deleted] out of my [Expletive Deleted] face and get [Expletive Deleted] back to [Expletive Deleted] stocking the [Expletive Deleted] shelves with [Expletive Deleted] pretzels! I mean...[Expletive Deleted]. Idiot. If you ever [Expletive Deleted] talk to me again I will kick your [Expletive Deleted] [Expletive Deleted] [Expletive Deleted] out of it's socket. Get the [Expletive Deleted] out of here."


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ring that Belle

"Not so fast, team!" Liberty Belle presses the telephone re-dial button. "Hello, Tom? Yeah, ring that bell again. Like that. Mmmmmm. Oh, yesyesyes...don't stop! Ring it again! Again! More! Yeahhhhhhh..! Okay, team. Now we can go."
Liberty Belle gets rid of some tension right in front of Hawkman and the U.S. President in All Star Squadron #1 (December 1981)


Comic Book Ad: Attack of the BULL-MOC!

It's not a poster for a 1950's monster flick as cautionary allegorical tale about the dangers of atomic power, but it could be!

From Phantom Stranger #3 (Dec-Jan 1952-1953)


Halloween Costumes: Right and Wrong

Much is being made recently of Halloween costumes being too sexy.


I dread this time of year. Well, once this fabricated non-issue is over with we get to deal with the War On Xmas nonsense again. Is it any wonder that people get depressed over the holidays?

The costumes that are referenced in all these articles are made for adults. So, while the articles may have a point about how women and men have to dress to fit in and be accepted in society I find the inherent sexual fantasy themes of the attire as being no big deal. These costumes are for sale all year long and it isn't normally as party-wear. How many costume parties do people hold during the year anyway? Like select groceries, costume sales get a small boost around Valentine's Day and a huge one around Halloween for nearly the same reasons. I think sex-LARPing is silly, but you want to play "Zorro meets the Candy Striper" in your own home, the home of a friend or even total stranger, then I say to that: Rock on, you crazy cats!
Now, if you want to get all upset about hyper-sexualized Halloween costumes then look no further than the children's costume market for examples of what is inappropriate.
Wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. Fetish-wear is not for kids.

As an adult and parent, if these costumes were just kid-sized representations of grown-up uniforms I'd have less of a problem with them. Dressing up a girl as a kitty-cat is okay, but tweaking the costume so she looks like she works a downtown street-corner is not. USO Chorus Girl and Goth Cheerleader is not something I want to see a child wear, ever. Don't get me started on the Underground Sex Club Catwoman costume.

Target stores have pulled some costumes due to complaints that they show too much skin for teens, like the Supergirl one, even though it is labelled and presumably sized for adults and young adults. The ones for younger children based on the same character have an age-appropriate design. But then the standards of what is too revealing a costume for a 17 year old is a bit different than those for the 12 year old. As ever, parents should be involved in some aspects of child-rearing and decisions. I would not want my 17 year old wearing the Supergirl costume.

I have not seen much attention given to this subject by the main stream media yet and I would like to. Hopefully when someone does address the sexualized nature of children's costumes it will be approached maturely, be factual, non-sensationalized and won't be filled with histrionics, reference 9/11 or contain Red State/Blue State finger pointing.


Monday, October 23, 2006

The Mundane Adventures of the 1950's Phantom Stranger

Most of today's fans are familiar with the Phantom Stranger, the mysterious mystical observer and reluctant participatory protagonist of all things magic in the DCU.

But in his 1950's series he was much more mortal and less the supreme sorcerer than he is today. Back then he fought crime! The Phantom Stranger always seemed to show up just in time to foil some Ponzi scheme or other grift. The Stranger became involved whenever someone was about to be victimized by con-artists who used the trappings of the supernatural to take advantage of the stupid and gullible.

He was like a one-man Scooby-gang!
While early issues did not have the Comics Code Authority seal on them (because the CCA didn't exist until 1954), it may be that DC saw the writings on the wall and conformed to public pressure and expectations. The editors may have ensured that while the Phantom Stranger stories could hint at the mystical, it was always revealed that the monster or mystic event was always mundane.

The mystical was frowned upon in popular media in the 1950's (a parallel would be the Fundamentalist outcry against Harry Potter today) and it was discouraged to have it shown as real. Here are the rules for the how to depict the supernatural in Part B of the CCA:

General Standards Part B:

1) No comic magazine shall use the word "horror" or "terror" in its title.
2) All scenes of horror, excessive bloodshed, gory or gruesome crimes, depravity, lust, sadism, masochism shall not be permitted.
3) All lurid, unsavory, gruesome illustrations shall be eliminated.
4) Inclusion of stories dealing with evil shall be used or or shall be published only where the intent is to illustrate a moral issue and in no case shall evil be presented alluringly nor so as to injure the sensibilities of the reader.
5) Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism, and werewolfism are prohibited.

While nothing specifically forbid the Stranger and other characters from being wholly magikal* it was better to be safe than sorry back in the 1950's. No sense in pushing your luck as a publisher.

However, many companies knew how to be subtle and fly under the radar, and in their many anthology comic books DC made it a specialty. In fact the creative teams played it so clever they always left themselves an "out" in the event someone complained about content. If DC received a complaint that they were promoting Satanic values, mysticism or whatever by having the Phantom Stranger mystically disappear at the end of a story they could reference the panels in question and easily dismiss any criticism.

Yes, the Phantom Stranger did mysteriously vanish on many occasions. But there was nothing supernatural about it at all.
He disappeared by simply walking away when no one was paying attention.


*So? I'm feeling Claremontian tonight.

Comic Book PSA: The Family Favorite

"What's a mother going to do?"

If it was my Mom I'd get a slappin' for being a spoiled little brat.

Today, I guess you send themn to their room where they play X-Box and chat on the net with their MySpace friends.

From Mystery In Space #50 (March 1959)


Sunday, October 22, 2006

BoP #99 set my fanboy-sense a-tingling!

So I'm reading Birds of Prey #99 today and I'm thinking "that fight scene and conversation looks kind of familiar."

So I check my copy of Cerebus #39 and what do I see? A scene similar in layout, spirit and humor as that of Dave Sim's Moon Roach. MySpace-Batgirl is just as deluded and crazy as poor "Kevitch" was.

Gail Simone? More like Gail SIM! Yeah, that's right. I said it.

Nice homage from the team, intentional or otherwise. Oh, and let us not forget a special kudos to the art team for the great photo refs used to draw the features of that sexy gun-runner Yasemin. There is no such thing as too much Jessica Alba and Allysa Milano, you know.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

It's A Woman's World!

In the future, women will rule the solar system, conquering all of known space while remaining stylish and sexy by wearing stewardess uniforms with fishnet stockings.

In this delightful tale of gender role inversion, society is tuned topsy-turvy when Greg Dexter, a man and member of the weaker sex, wants to join the Rocket Brigade so he can kill alien women. Greg faces constant prejudice as all the women of Earth treat his dreams of equality with harassment, scorn and derision. Does Greg succeed in proving his inherent value and break through the "glass ceiling" of the Rocket Brigade?

Find out by reading the entire story here at flickr: It's A Woman's World!

Panel from Mystery in Space #8 (June-July 1952)


Friday, October 20, 2006

Comic Book PSA: Hop on the Welfare Wagon!

From Mystery In Space #8 (June-July 1952)


Grocery Store Artifact: Sweeping generalities

The broom with the gray and green bristles on the left is rapidly becoming my favorite broom of the three. Today a co-worker agreed that the broom I prefer to use to sweep the deli floor is
also her favorite broom.

On a depressing note, this evening I realized that my current career path is such that I am in a position where I actually have a favorite broom.

Today at approximately 5:10 pm, I died inside a little bit more.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

DC's Topless Super-Heroine

Back in the bad old 90's of mega-hypersexualization and exploitation of the female form in comics there was one ensemble series that routinely portrayed a super-heroine in revealing poses, skimpy costumes and even showed her as topless in several issues.

This book was not not from an adult comic or magazine publisher. Rather, it was part of a regular line-up of what would later be called a 'legacy' book, and was intimately tied to the history of the Zero Hour DC Universe.

That book was L.E.G.I.O.N., which would later change to R.E.B.E.L.S. as the theme of the story changed.

L.E.G.I.O.N. starred several powerful females, a proto-type Emerald Empress (who was morbidly obese and made svelte by the Emerald Eye), an amnesiac and time-displaced LSH-era native of the phantom dimension of Bgztl and the mysterious Stealth, a fighter of indeterminate powers who used the awesome power of Gymkata against her foes.

Under the hand of Giffen, Stealth was an unusual character. Much of what she was remained undocumented. She was basically the skilled ass-kicking hot chick every series seems to require. Stealth had some sort of sonic ability, making her the outer-space equivalent of the Black Canary. She also had a strange physiology. She healed fast and to become pregnant she had a biological compulsion to assault, rape and kill males (it wasn't clear how she mated and conceived, but the damage to the male was always traumatic and fatal. I suspect teeth were involved, somehow). She was also featured in an alarmingly nasty issue written and drawn by Giffen, who went all out in his meaty, graphic rendering of an alien gestation and birth.

But it isn't Stealth this entry is about. Stealth was pretty, but she always wore the usual 90's martial art attire of the average fantasy stripper. Stealth was usually depicted as clothed, if however in skimpy fashion. Rather, I'm referring to the powerhouse of the L.E.G.I.O.N., the sensitive character who was often the conscience and tender soul of the group: Strata.

Strata could often be seen in tortured poses that showed her buttocks and breasts at the same time. She often bent forwards, giving the reader a peek at the goods at the front and rear. Strata was used as pure cheesecake by the artists and was often held as a captive in chains or under some form of mind control by a sadistic man. Strata was constantly in danger and in spite of her great physical and emotional strength was usually rescued by a male with much weaker powers.

In fact, it was over several issues of R.E.B.E.L.S. that the exploitation of Strata hit high gear, in which she was gratuitously topless in nearly every scene she appeared in. The issues had the surprising bonus of her nudity not being being creatively hidden by placing her in what is called Editorial Swimwear, where a clearly nude character is "dressed" by the use of strategically placed smoke, shadows or random objects such as furniture or plants.

Behold, DC's hard-core nudie book featuring Strata, in all her glory!

From R.E.B.E.L.S. #4 (February 1995)

Is she hot or what?

The egregious use of a female form for the titillation of fanboys/girls was so extreme that this scene even had one alien copping a grope, and Strata didn't take offense. She must have been asking for it, having dressed like that. A girl can't expect to walk around topless and not have some guy go for her goodies.

Issue after issue of gratuitous frontal nudity and not one negative letter was generated. This one went right under the radar, or everyone liked her rack enough not to complain that DC shoved it in our faces every issue. If this book was published today the internet forums would be overwhelmed with posts made by finger-wagging amateur comic book critics demanding Didio's resignation.

The going to work in 15 minutes links

Fortunately, they spell-checked the plaque.

Have a vendor training the staff for two days about a new product roll-out for our department which is a pretty big deal for our core business. The presenter kicks off the training with a gay joke. Nice. Guess he didn't get the memo.

A Sermon on Were-Wolves.

Teach geriatric bulemia to kids!

The ASL Browser.

Trashing the oceans. Yikes!

Grocery Store Artifact: A fine end to that meal of Tuna Noodle Cassarole you just finished off in your single-wide trailer while watching that Best of NASCAR video.

This month's Kubert-palooza (and students) in PS Magazine. Full of Skynetty goodness.

YouTube: Superman gacks a tobacco lobbyist.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Will your child measure up this Halloween?

Found this Trick or Treat bag at the store today and had to pick it up. I chose the nauseous Monster design over the two others in the series that consists of the not-as-amusing Witch and Frankenstein Monster.

As cute as it is the bag has an unfortunate design feature that allows a competitive parent to suck all the joy out of a kid's Halloween. The side of the bag has a clear window that is also marked to show the candy-gathering prowess of a child as compared to all the others in the neighborhood.

Adults terrified that their child isn't a goal-oriented success by age 5 will undoubtedly pre-load the bag before leaving the house out of fear that the Jones' will belittle their children's inability to successfully panhandle for treats and reveal by extension, the worth of the family. As if begging is an admirable life skill.

The visible level of treats could also engender among children feelings of triumph, envy or shame as they compare their swag to that of others.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

WFA Pandering Tag

Hey, all you Comic Book Bloggers!

From now on, when writing a blog entry specifically to get your blog linked to When Fangirls Attack! and receive the corresponding rise in blog hits, please ensure your entries are appropriately marked to ensure proper attention.

For example, I have discovered that it is no longer enough to post an entry that decries the hyper-sexuality of women in comics even as you exploit the image and expect them to link to you. Apparently, they are getting wise to our tricks.

For example, when I posted this panel from a recent DC comic and said it was not right, I got nada. In the past, an entry like the sample above would have gotten my blog linked like crazy (not that I need their help, I can promote my own blog which I own, thank you). Kalinara and Ragnell are very busy and should not have to worry their pretty little heads about figuring out all the interweb stuff and sorting through all their emails.

Who reads junk-mail and spam? Nobody! But I bet you read those letters that come all registered, don't you? Yep, you do!

So like mail being registered, you can let Ragnell and Kalinara know that you are actively seeking a link using the new WFA Pandering Tag.

Using this tag lets the babes at WFA know you are merely seeking a stat-lift and then they can make an informed judgement [sic] about linking to your site from theirs.

Now your posts should look like this:
See how easy it is? By the way, please ensure you don't cover up the breasts with the tag as it kind of defeats the purpose, then. Those of you who just write what comes to you because you have sincere intentions and concerns about the state of comic books, please post as usual.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sometimes an oil pipeline is just an oil pipeline

Grocery Store Artifact: Cheese box opening instructions

Things I must know:

What if you are right-handed. Is it wrong to open the cheese with the other hand?

Was a hand model used for this picture or was it just made up?

Who's hand was it?

Were they a nice person or evil?


Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday Catblogging

Interesting day off. I woke up to sounds of people upstairs throwing heavy objects over the balcony and down onto the sidewalk. The apartment manager finally hired some guys to throw out all the junk and garbage the missing tenants upstairs left behind a few weeks ago. They also called in an exterminator and he is going through the apartments and spraying everything to kill the bugs they attracted with their slovenly and disgusting habits.

Across the street White Trash Kitty™ seems interested in all the commotion.

Kitty is probably focusing on all the bugs you could see crawling on the mattresses when they hit the ground.


Soon, in an apparatus-jammed power-room...

Whenever Superboy is moments away from death in a Lex Luthor trap, he uses his little known power of the Super-Totally Random Lucky Break to escape!

This isn't a rare, one-time plot-driven ability that will never be seen again like the Super-Hunch or Super-Weaving. The awesome Super-Totally Random Lucky Break was a power that was possessed by every single Silver Age hero and villain and they excercised its use at least once an issue.

From Superboy #86 (January 1961)


Hmmmm, I wonder if Lana Lang is related to this guy.

Pulp Firestorm

Chapter 6

After subsuming the rogue mind of the rebellious Dr. Stein, the Lobrimax Equality of Epsilon 6 returned to the dry lands of its' latest conquest.

"You have failed, Space Captain Raymond!" The mentality chortled. "Your useless electric-ray pistols are no match for the future science of Epsilon! Behold, as my mighty Epsilon brain, encoded on a mere 31 miles of magnetic tape, controls my fleet of robot ships by secret space radio! In mere days they will reach the star system of Sol, then all the people of Earth will be my slave!"

Space Captain Raymond girded his loins, bracing himself against the mental assault by the evil vampire of the starways. "You and your evil science will never conquer Earth! For we of the North Am Hemis embrace freedom above all."

The Lobrimax paused, curious. What threat could the Earthman, stranded on the tiny planetoid, be to the mighty Epsilon Empire? "What are you saying? Speak, Earthman! Or think it, I can read your thoughts!"

"I am a free man and hold the rank of Space Captain! I do not hide my thoughts, even from one so evil as you, Lobrimax! We of earth will defeat you because we have learned the secrets of the Universe! We have mastered the mighty POWER OF THE ATOM!"

The Lobrimax screamed. "No! NO! NO! I am undone! Curse you, Space Captain Raymond! We will meet again!"


Thanks to Pulp of the Day for the atomic age pulp cover.

Superboy #86: The love that dare not speak its name (at least in 1961)

In January of 1961, Superboy #86 introduced to the DCU the character of Pete Ross, long-time pal and unknown keeper of the secret identity. Later reboots would turn Pete into kind of a loser and victim with a failed marriage even as he became Vice-President of the US.

But Silver Age Pete was Clark Kent's best friend, who unknown to Clark, knew his secret identity of Superboy and covertly helped whenever possible. Pete was such a friend to both Clark and Superboy he was even chosen to be the new Superboy if the original should ever die or lose his powers.

Pete was basically a Big Man On Campus and was bigger, stronger and more outgoing than the persona of Clark Kent. Pete was, basically, the My Bodyguard guy that nerds fantasized about. Pete was someone who is popular and handsome and makes misfits feel accepted in the other social circles they are envious of. In their first meeting, Pete defends Clark from some bullies.

From there, the entire story turns right to the subtext as Pete offers to be pals.

After spending the evening together with his new friend, Clark is depressed and confused.

Now the elder Kent's were a pretty odd pair, they kidnapped a baby they found on the side of a road, after all. We already know that Superman's mom is pervy for Supergirl, so it shouldn't come as a big surprise that the next day they secretly set Clark up on a date with Pete. They could be motivated by fear, though. No one wants a moody, frustrated teen around that can juggle planets.
Most parents just toss their kid the car keys and give him 40 bucks and hopes he come home sober at a reasonable hour. That's not enough for Ma and Pa. They take steps to hook Clark and Pete up. The Kents' are actually pretty cool in a creepy, pimping way.

Clark immediately gloms on to Pete, who doesn't seem to mind. Oh, and Clark? I think everyone in that room knows your secret, and it isn't that you are from Krypton.

Hmmmmm. What could those "hobbies" be?

Pete is in the Drama Club at Smallville High. Color me surprised.

Cripes. Superboy is crying. Pete Ross made Superboy cry.

Pete's other hobby is playing amateur detective and Clark feels betrayed, as he thought Pete was wanting one thing from him but it turned out to be another entirely.

Don't get ahead of yourself, Superboy! It all turned out to be a big Silver Age misunderstanding, on many, many levels. It turns out that Pete was not trying to prove Clark was Superboy.

Instead, Pete Ross was trying to recruit Superboy into joining the Drama Club.

You know what that means. This entire story is just one big subtext party and seems like it could have been written as another subtle PSA on dealing with emerging sexual identity.

The creators who worked on these books are the same writers, artists and editors who horrified Congress and parents nationwide with lurid pulps and violent comic books, who now had to put out an attractive product people still wanted to purchase while flying under the radar of watchdog groups. Just because comic books are two-dimensional doesn't mean the creators are.