Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Me am getting head injury!

While some people would argue that Hal Jordan is actually a caricature in himself, here is the mostly-forgotten Bizzaro-World Green Lantern, the self-named Yellow Lantern.

The Yellow Lantern first (and I think last) appeared in DC Comics Presents #71 (July 1984). He is a typical example of the comedic inversion of the DCU heroes. Instead of being fearless and a cosmic force to be reckoned with like his counterpart Hal Jordan, the Bizzaro-creature is devoid of any power of any kind and is a cringing, useless coward. Despite the contrary nature of the unliving doppleganger some things appear to be universal in regards to Hal Jordan.

Getting hit in the head.

...and a sterile head bandage to Scipio for starting the Hal's Head stuff.

National Gorilla Suit Day and global annihilation

You can't celebrate National Gorilla Suit Day without mentioning the embodiment of the Best and Worst example of the man in a gorilla suit that was ever captured on celluloid. No, not Bigfoot (though that guy comes in on a close second). In hushed, reverent tones I speak of...

Robot Monster

Now that's a gorilla suit for the ages!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Fred Hembeck's worst day ever

It's Fred Hembeck's birthday!

A birthday is one of those milestones that make you start thinking about years past. Opportunities seized, your challenges met, celebrations and successes.

I wonder if Fred ever looks back and recalls the disappointments? I know I do. Every. Minute. Of. Every. Day. So...I'm going to share the sadness and remind Fred Hembeck of that period in 1979 when his career very nearly came to an end at the uncaring hands of insanely jealous fellow "professionals".

What do I mean? I am referring to that dark day when his art was destroyed by the color correction from hell.

I don't have the backstory on what happened here but back in the 70's it was not unheard of to have the printers take it upon themselves to "fix" what they thought were incorrect color directions for a comic. I mean, it isn't like DC has no idea what they are doing, right? If the destruction of Fred's art was at the hands of a colorist, then he was an idiot or an outright mean person to screw up on a popular character. I can empathize with what must have been Fred's soul-annihilating disappointment when he received his comp copy from DC and discovered his hard work was mutilated!

To me, this Hembeck strip as it appeared in the October 1979 issue of Superman #340 made no sense. Everyone knew that Hal Jordan's weaknesses were the color yellow, cheap bimbos and soap, so what the heck was going on here? Defeated by a foe bearing wood? What is up with that stupid costume? Then I realized after an hour or so that Hembeck was guilty not of sloppy work, but the crime of trust in his fellow man. The fool.

Being the perceptive sort of fanboy I eventually puzzled out what had happened...And calmed down. This wasn't the Hal Jordan Green Lantern put into the wrong costume by a drunken artist! No. It was the Golden Age Green Lantern known as Alan Scott! Unfortunately the damage was done and Fred Hembeck's hilarious strip was ruined for eternity.

But what of the average reader? Hopelessly mired in established continuity the typical fanboy must have gone ballistic. I imagine that they rushed from their basement for a visit to Dad's work to use a IBM Selectric 2 to send off tens of letters of flaming righteous contempt to DC about the inaccurate Hembeck strip.

Undoubtedly, sales for all DC titles must have plummeted causing some kind of...I don't know, company-wide implosion or something.

So in the interest of accurate comic book history I'm going to do something I once swore I would never approve of....A retcon!

Here is the color-corrected version of the Hembeck strip. Now it makes sense, doesn't it? It's still funny! I don't know about Mr. Hembeck, but it feels as if a stone has been on my chest for the last 26 years and it has finally been removed.

This is my gift to you and the world.
Happy Birthday, Fred!

I hope the guy that screwed over Fred burns for eternity.

Caption The Meme Contest

Out of crushing boredom I thought I'd make up a contest based on the Always Remember meme unintentionally started by Dorian at postmodernbarney. The best original submitted caption(s) for the unfinished comic memes I started below will get featured here. As a bonus the winning entry just might get my review copy of Wrath of the Phantom Army. Maybe. I dunno, I may not feel like paying for shipping. Especially to overseas locations. So, no promises I can't keep.

Meme Entry 1: Wonder Woman and the Goddess Aphrodite from Wonder Woman , v2, #225 (March 2006)
Caption to beat:
"Wonder Woman...Should have gone totally Black Canary on her ass"

Meme Entry 2: Bloodstone and actor Brad Carter from Marvel Presents: Bloodstone, v1, #2 (Dec 1975)
Caption to beat:
"Bloodstone...Should be sure of his sexuality after 10,000 years"

I have only one copy of WotPA, so there can be only one winner. After/If I get some responses go ahead and vote for your favorite.

Oh, if you want to remain anonymous in the responses that's fine. Just put some kind of unique identifier in your comment.

Not Isaac

Tonight, the E! Channel Live From the Red Carpet pre-show for Screen Actors Guild Awards has Ryan Seacrest down on the floor meeting the stars. Appears the E! Channel got some brains, as Isaac (It's-okay-to-grope-because-he-is-gay) Mizrahi is nowhere to be found at the pre-show. Odd, considering that everyone in the media had just a few weeks before considered him the wonderful savior who by groping Scarlett Johansen and several other stars rescued the Golden Globes from crushing dullness. If that was true, you would think he'd be in demand by E!, since he has also been attached to do the greetings at the Oscars. Were I a Multimedia Suit, I'd pay Mizrahi what he wanted because his wonderful presence would help ratings and the stars would appreciate the exposure to his charming self. If it were true. I have a feeling he will be unable to do the Oscars due to illness/prior commitment or at least will be under tight control by producers anxious not to upset the guests.

Most telling I think was that tonight when Eva Longoria met Ryan Seacrest on the carpet she stated "I'm glad it's you and not Isaac."

I never really expected the popular media nor E! to speak out against Mizrahi, so I guess the best punishment we should expect him to receive is to have the shiny people and entertainment outlets ignore him for a while.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Gail Simone hates freedom

In the DC comic book Birds of Prey #57, Gail Simone takes the opportunity to use the character of the Huntress to propagandize the Youth of America against "illegal" and "unconstitutional" wire-tapping. In this particular issue the Huntress takes offense that someone would access her cell phone without permission, like there was something wrong with doing that.

from Birds of Prey #57, v1, (Sept 2003)

This subtle critique of our fine and patriotic fight against terrorists is inappropriate in a comic book. As a parent, I am shocked that innocent children that pick up a copy of this magazine expecting to see only large breasts and high kicks are being seduced by Gail Simones' subtle liberal and terrorist-enabling views. Children must understand that in the war against our enemies that the ends must justify the means. Especially against those personal enemies like reporters or citizens with contrary opinions. BoP #57 has sown confusion and oogy feelings among America's innocents and that is something that should not be caused by a comic book. A comic book must by its' nature be inoffensive and neutral. It should follow a sort of code of conduct or something as written by some body of authority, possibly by our government. That way insidious propaganda will not creep in and poison the spirits of young Americans.

What's the matter, MISS Simone? Why would you hint as far back as 2003 that the Oracle (who, like our Government, only hacks and eavesdrops on the evil for the good of America) is doing something wrong? The Huntress routinely beats up bad people without regard to "rights" and I don't see one squawk out of you about "civil liberties". You can't pick and choose what parts of the Constitution you agree with and disregard the rest, you know.

Your protestation proves you must be guilty of something. Who have you been chatting with? I demand you tell us how innocent those lengthy calls to that Mr. Albert Kaydah really are. Don't be surprised if you and everyone else in your left-wing, Greenpeace-hugging, medical-marijuana-puffing hippie cabal ends up on a No-Fly List.

Except for Ed Benes. He draws women pretty.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Groin Injury Saturday: Someday the bear gets you

In the Luna Brothers kind of icky follow-up title to the well done Ultra book of last year, the new issue of Girls gives readers what must be a comic book groin injury first. First, that is, outside of furry publications (which do not count as real comics).

Girls is the story of a group of trailer trash and rednecks who find themselves at the beachhead of an invading alien ecology. The best part of this series is that the townsfolk act much like I imagine people actually would behave in a similar situation. They run, cower, squabble and do selfish things. In panic, they also act real stupid.

In issue #9 of Girls a group of locals seeking a way out of the force field that has confined them to a small area around the town gets surprised by a curious bear.

The following scenes are hilarious*, as everyone attempts to apply all the bear attack survival techniques they learned from television and folk-wisdom. Of course, everything they know is wrong and the bear acts like a typical hungry predator.

As proof that cousins should not marry one of the group attacks the bear when everyone else played dead or ran away.

Now...bears are big animals that weigh alot. They have teeth and claws and can take a heck of a lot of punishment. It is something of a truism that shooting a bear will often serve only to enrage it. Bullets hurt and if they do not kill it, will make a bear very grouchy. So if small arms fire will not stop a big omnivore, what did this guy think he would accomplish by kicking it in the crotch?

Oh. "Suicide By Bear". That explains it.

* Yes, some of the word balloons were censored by me. Buy the book yourself if you want the cursing.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Green Lantern takes some "Me" time

Always Remember

Adventures of Superman #911

Oops! I mean...#648. This Infinite Crisis tie-in didn't do much for me because it was basically filler*. It reminded me way too much of the black cover Spider-Man 9-11 issue and those interminable CoIE "Red Skies" issues of the Detroit Justice League when the writer had no direction or clue what to do with the team for 6 months. It was also odd to see Green Lantern sitting on his backside when every other hero in town was lifting collapsed brick walls off the citizens.

Really, it read like someone's rejected script for Volume 3 of DC's 9-11. I kept expecting to see a scene with Lex Luthor shedding a tear to show up on a page.
Good thing there isn't a hell, or I'd be going there.

So I guess those Batman readers who couldn't get enough of the No Man's Land and War Games story arcs from a while back get another heaping helping with the upcoming Battle for Bludhaven opus I'll be ignoring.

* Still better than House of M.

Things I missed....but shouldn't have

My unquenchable hate for all things He-Man made me miss this awesome DOOMCOPTER!

Somehow, I completely overlooked this incredible Monkey Nazi cover from Weird War #89. I am ashamed.

I bought this for a friend's kid, and then realized I should have looked at it earlier because I missed out on the opportunity for juvenile humor.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Mary Jane Watson's sordid past

When early in their careers, many actresses or models have to do things that in later years they would not do. In order to get food or pay the rent, models often choose to appear in questionable films or photo shoots just for a few bucks to hold them over until the next opportunity comes along. The wife of professional loser Rick Jones, Marlo appeared in an adult film, as did Superman. The She-Hulk appeared, albiet unwillingly, in the pages of an adult magazine.

Marvel's permanent has-been-that-never-was model/actress/party-favor Mary Jane Watson is another fame-seeker who paid the bills by supplementing her income with whatever modeling job was available. In Fantastic Four v1 #120 (March 1972) Mary Jane looks to be the featured model of Pin-Up Parade, the sleazy girlie-mag held in Ben Grimm's paws. The magazine looks like one of those that has a disclaimer on every page that claims "All models are at least 18 years of age. Proof of Age is on permanent file at the main offices at 666 Rockefeller Plaza.".

Well, at least she made the cover.
Ben Grimm also shows true class by leafing through a cheap porn magazine in front of a teen-age boy and his boss. Good show! Of course, understanding the Torch/Thing dynamic as I do, the big guy probably found the magazine under Johnny's mattress and he's nonchalantly looking through it without letting on to either Reed or Johnny that he found it, just to embarrass the kid.

Someday, I expect Mary Jane's past will return to destroy her just as it did to Karen Page.

FYI, if you have never read Fantastic Four v1 from issue #1 through #200 (including Annuals), you really should at the earliest opportunity.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

I smell Aqua-Bacon

Fascist Aquaman and his thugs harrass people who were "boating while pink". You can tell Aquaman is bad because he killed a starfish to use as a badge.

That is one bouyant ski.

This was all in good Silver Age fun, but a few years later the City of New Venice would be destroyed. It was totally submerged in one of those stories that turned a goofy 60's story into one that was all 70's seriousness, with Aquaman full of remorse for not saving all his friends. You know..."The city of New Venice! Destroyed! And it's all my (choke) fault!"

Looks like somebody used their volume of Essential Aquaman to pitch the Sub Diego storyline.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Hal Jordan manages to remain conscious

Way to almost blow Ollie's secret identity, Hal. Guess all those years of being a government employee didn't teach you about insecure phones and landline security.

Oh, well. At least he didn't knock himself out answering the phone.

Spring, Prince Mengu, high in the air!

One thing that EC's Wonder Woman-clone, Moon Girl had over her comic book template was that the EC version of Steve Trevor was also her royal fiance, Prince (Lionel Mann) Mengu. It's clear they were regularly getting it on, while Princess Diana always shot down Steve's advances. When helping Moon Girl in her adventures he wore a similar costume. He also had some kind of super-strength, but Moon Girl could lift buildings and such.

While Mengu was always shown in Mizrahi-like action in scenes with Moon Girl, this panel from Moon Girl #3 (Spring 1948) makes me wonder if he didn't have another secret identity in addition to the Lionel Mann persona. It appears that Prince Mengu is so fabulous, he can't help checking out the profile of his own butt as he jumps.

Steady now, Bigfoot

Someone stabilized the (in)famous "Patterson film", a ridiculous claim of proof that Bigfoot exists.

If common sense didn't make it obvious before this about the facts of this film, I'll come right out and say it for the reality-impaired: Man In A Gorilla Suit.

Of course, the gullible will continue to breathe through their collective mouths and believe in UFO's, gods and godessses, crop circles and homeopathy.

- hat tip to the JREF

Friday, January 20, 2006

Two monsters beating each other up

Cripes. My entries have been getting way to touchy-feely lately. So I'm going to post this panel of the Hulk and Thing. A couple monsters beating each other up will certainly balance out the sensitivity of my recent posts. Nothing more macho than a big monster fight.

The panel dialog I ripped from a funny entry in the comments section of Tom the Dog.
I like Hulk-speak. It's always humorous.

The gorilla was the funny one

Saw this at a local Blockbuster.

I dunno, a juxtaposition or something.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

John Byrne Week continues with a reboot

Always remember...

No look-see at the career of John Byrne would be complete without mentioning one of the things he is known for, the revamping of a character. For years, John Byrne has been one of the few regular "Go To Guys" a company called when they wanted to refresh a title.

In Fantastic Four, John Byrne successfully proved to everyone that he could not only draw, but write and reinvigorate a franchise title. Known by DC/Marvel fans at the time as being primarily an artist, John Byrne tackled the FF with enthusiasm, turning in incredible art and very good stories. The FF run was 90% hit and 10% miss in my opinion, which is much better than almost any creative team can boast. Perhaps one of the better changes to the group dynamic was the revamp of Sue Storm, the Invisible Girl.

Just a few issues after appearing as a guest on a television show reaffirming her contentment to be a housewife and fourth wheel of the group not defined by society's labels, Sue Storm was mind-controlled by the Psycho-Man to attack her team mates. After she got revenge for the Psycho-Man's brain-rape, Sue Storm publicly changed her FF code name to the Invisible Woman. That was a great move on John's part, in allowing Sue Storm to evolve as a character it gave her and the team a new dynamic and plenty of opportunities for fresh stories.

It was also Byrne, if I recall correctly, who stated what was previously left to perceptive fans to imagine that Ben Grimm would never be successfully cured of being the Thing because of his deep insecurities about being human.

There were a few revamps that were not as successful. The New Universe title The Star Brand was doomed by the powers that be at Marvel by the time John Byrne tackled it. The creative mess was clearly beyond his ability to repair given the time left to him and lack of corporate support.

John Byrne's most successful and well known reboot was of course, Superman.

The Superman reboot is intimately tied into the Crisis On Infinite Earths attempt by DC to refresh their tired and continuity-heavy stable of characters. A reader had to have a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of DC to understand what was going on in a title. While that made for a rich, shared universe, it greatly limited the characters.

By the end of CoIE, Superman was handed over to John Byrne, who must have pitched the pitch of his life to DC. Reintroduced in the 1986 Man of Steel mini series, Superman was depowered and had his origin retold. No longer would he juggle planets or reignite stars with a stern look.

Other than the depowering, there were three story elements that most turned the Superman character on its head.

  • The first was that Krypton was no longer the logical, scientific semi-utopia that it had been portrayed as since 1939. The Byrne Krypton was cold, lifeless and sterile. The people were disconnected from society and one another, and they could be considered walking dead long before the planet was destroyed by runaway science.
  • The second change was the shift in the concept of the Clark/Superman persona. Since his beginning, the real person who was the Superman was Kal-El, Last Son of Krypton. Clark Kent was the mask that Superman wore to mingle with the mortals. Pre-CoIE, Superman started as Superbaby, then continued a career as Superboy until he moved to the big city, and took on the mantle of a Superman. Kal-El had always been 'super' and didn't know how to be human. He faked it best he could, but all he could accomplish was a close simulation.
John Byrne flipped all that. While always a healthy and physically superior specimen, the foundling baby discovered by the Kent's was just that, a baby. The little orphan grew up as Clark Kent. He broke bones, got scraped elbows, played football and dated girls. Not until he matured did Clark realize the need to protect himself from the attentions of the average and not-so-average citizens. In the Man of Steel mini, Clark lamented that all the people he met "wanted a piece" of him. This was true, as the demands of who he was would continue until he was drained or ruined. So Clark adopted the Superman persona as his public face, ensuring that he always had an option when it was time to fade into the scenery. In recent years that concept has reversed again, as often Superman is portrayed as more of a strange visitor than he used to be.
  • The third story element was a shocker. In a very exciting multi-parter Superman killed some pocket universe Kryptonian criminals who had killed the population of that alternate Earth. Fans that believed that Superman never killed had forgotten that most Golden Age heroes did indeed kill their enemies and the Silver Age ones often stood by while the villains died in their own traps. But for about 20 years Superman was known in the comics as having a personal code that he never killed. This made him unique among his peers as even in the late-60's and during the 70's, the other heroes occasionally killed in self-defense.
So when Byrne scripted the execution of the Phantom Zone criminals, there was outrage and shock among fans. Some hated it, some loved the idea. I was of mixed feelings about it, because I liked the Boy Scout Superman. The pre-CoIE Superman was the messiah-figure of the DCU. He was the one everyone else tried to be, but being mortal or otherwise, always came up short. The doomed CoIE Superboy once stated that his power was actually "to do whatever he really needed to do" to save the day. John Byrne removed that ability from his version of Superman and humanized him. In having Superman kill the villains (who would surely found their way to his earth eventually to repeat their genocidal spree), Byrne depowered him in more than just the physical strength category.
It's a testament to John Byrne's Superman work that it was more than a decade until DC decided to revamp the character and his supporting universe again.

John Byrne also tackled DC's OMAC, which was nearly forgotten after having been through some horrible reinventions and aborted revivals by various creative teams. Rumor had it that Jack Kirby was not happy with Byrne's treatment of the character but then, Kirby was also kind of cranky in those days. I really enjoyed it and the series is always one I re-read every 6 months or so for the pure enjoyment of it.

I enjoyed the theme of an alternating time loop that introduced a reboot while also respecting the work of Jack Kirby and others who had gone before.

You can't cover the Byrne reboots without a nod to Doom Patrol and Blood of the Demon. Most fans are upset that the surreal Morrison version of the DP was entirely ignored, as was the deaths of most of the original team earlier. I admit I am one who does not believe that the weird DP can be successful as a concept as it was in the quirky 80's. That was fine for the time and place, but that was then and new concepts have to be tried out. I have to say I totally failed to appreciate the Byrne version of the DP for reasons both in scripting and artistic. While I do not dislike the Blood of the Demon series as much as others seem to, I am in agreement that the last several years of Demon back-story should not have been discarded wholesale, either.

Lois is too stupid to be a reporter

She really is.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Comic Book Ad: Joe Kubert makes crap look good!

Superman v1 #333 (March 1979)

Extremely rare comic art find!

An example of what is probably the only known drawing of Kryptonite by the comic art legend Joe Kubert.

I just might sell one of my twelve mint copies of Superman #333 online for many, many hundreds of dollars.

Scarlett Johansson should have gone totally Black Canary

The wife had the E! Channel’s Golden Globes pre-show on last night and I thought I'd comment on obnoxious creep Isaac Mizrahi's behavior on the red carpet. Due to the recent renewed awareness about the harassment of comic professionals and the resurgence of 90's Image-style over-the-top objectification of female characters that seems to be exploding out everywhere I think this deserves a mention.

Most media outlets are of the opinion that Mizrahi is a cute, funny and charming guy who rescued an otherwise dull event from boredom. Well, I disagree. He acted liked a pervy jerk, displaying behavior that the homeless guy in the mall engages in hoping that the Police will take him to County Health for three days of cozy beds, detox and hot meals. But since advertising dollars compromises the entertainment and news media you can't expect them to condemn the representative of a show that is generating large amounts of revenue. If everything this guy did had occurred on the street instead of in front of network cameras he would have been arrested. Particularly awful was the grope-out by Mizrahi of Scarlett Johansson's breast.

Mizrahi asked about the support of her dress and under the guise of verifying the design of the fabric, cupped a breast, giving it a squeeze. Johansson laughed but seemed uncomfortable and appeared to be looking for a way out of the situation. I thought I'd see a different reaction from Johansson but being under the unblinking eyes of the media most certainly ensured that she remain in the faux persona of a Hollywood Star and not react like a real person would.

And yet, not much negative reaction from the media about it, which is most disappointing and not unexpected. Take a look at these excerpts from around the web...
From Time.com
With former red carpet wild cards Joan and Melissa Rivers playing it straight on the TV Guide Channel and by-the-book-boy-host Ryan Seacrest orchestrating a mostly bland crew on E!, the arrivals left us unmoved. Fortunately Seacrest’s co-host Isaac Mizrahi took some chances, like cupping Scarlett Johansson’s breast, ostensibly to check out her dress’s built-in support. Nice save, Isaac!
Hey, dumbass! A "nice save" is catching a soda before it hits the floor. Honking a breast like it was a circus clown's old-timey novelty horn isn't.
From NorthJersey.com
But it was Scarlett Johansson's dress that couldn't keep cameras (and hands) off of her in low-cut, rouge Valentino. She was so sexy that E! commentator Isaac Mizrahi copped a feel on camera.
So what they are saying is that "she was asking for it".
From Times Herald Record
During the red-carpet coverage, Mizrahi stole the show early, bantering with Ryan Seacrest and getting up close and personal with the A-List bodies of the red carpet. He found out that Teri Hatcher wasn't wearing underwear but Jessica Alba and Keira Knightley were. He asked Eva Longoria about her (ahem) hairstyle and even felt up Scarlett Johansen, chanting, "I touched Scarlett's boobs, I touched Scarlett's boobs."
Dude! Score!
From Post Chronicle
Isaac Mizrahi has got to be one of the luckiest men in the world. Next to Josh Hartnett, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, and any other individual who's been blessed with a moment of pure ecstasy in getting a palm on the 'Golden Globes' of Scarlett Johansson.
Clever, those reporters. Musta gone to school fer writing or something.
From the unfortunately-named Seattle Post Intelligencer
It has to be said: Isaac Mizrahi is by far the best red carpet host ever -- or, at the very least, in a very long time. Ryan Seacrest's much-ballyhooed red-carpet debut was fine, but Mizrahi was the real reason to keep watching. The affable fashion designer has the Midas touch with celebs. He's kind, yet saucy. And, he has that gay best-friend ease about him, plus, he has that fashionista thing going for him, which is why he can get away with looking down Teri Hatcher's dress, touching her belly and going through her purse (he just grabbed it, handed Hatcher his microphone and rifled through the small clutch). Then he asked Eva Longoria about how she waxes her hoo-ha (Brazilian? Au naturel?) and worried what the purseless (and hence, condomless) Natalie Portman would do if she wanted to hook up with someone.
And it goes on and on and on like that for search-result page after search-result page. Great message, yes?
I would have liked to see, on live television,
Johansson go totally Black Canary on Mizrahi's ass.
Instead of squirming uncomfortably, I think it would have been great if Johansson would have decked him, stopping the merciless beating only when the police arrived to forcibly pull her off of his unconscious, bloodied body. As a career move it would have been nothing but a plus for Johansson to market herself as the Woman Who Won't Take Any Crap From Idiots. If I were in Johansson's place, the cops would have had to multi-taser me into dreamland before I stopped hitting Mizrahi, but that's just me.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Superman v1, #140 (March 1960)

Cripes, Superman! Why don't you just kick Supergirl in the face each time you meet? It would be kinder.