Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sleestak's Movie Review: Geez, Danny

Went to a movie yesterday up at the local shopping center and decided to see The Bourne Assassinator The Shooter starring that one guy and Danny Glover. I enjoyed the movie enough even though the dialog was liberally sprinkled with gratuitous wingnuttery from both sides of the political spectrum. My only question was about actor Danny Glover. The last time I saw him in a film from a few years ago he looked his usually hale and hearty self. In The Shooter Danny had a speech impediment and looked awful. Was all that aspects of his character or is somethign else going on?

The previews for upcoming films were interesting. First off, they showed Next, a film based on a story by author Philip K. Dick about a guy who can see his immediate future and as long as he doesn't run out of options, change things for the better. Movies based on his work haven't fared well in the translation from text to cinema but even though it features Nicky Cage it seems like it might be okay.

Secondly was the trailer for The Reaping featuring Hillary Swank. I generally like Hillary but this is one of those films that you can't wait for it to come out just so the trailers will finally stop being shown. Is it only me or was anybody else thinking how awesome the film would be if instead of a Christian apocalypse all those swarming locusts were actually the Zanti Misfits exiled to prison on earth without our permission? That would be sweet.

Then the trailer for the next installment of the Bruce Willis franchise, Live Free or Die Hard, was shown. I was wondering how come with all his ass-kicking of evil that John McClain wasn't the head of some secret spy organization by now or at least the President of the United States. I'll see it anyways. Damn you, Hollywood!

On a side note, I did notice that trailers for Die Hard and Next had some action sequences in common where the hero narrowly escapes horrible death by the coincidences of nearby moving objects landing or suddenly positioning in such a way as to prevent a hurtling airborne car from crushing them. It's like there is a place in Hollywood where all the suits meet and compare and trade the next cool of cinema cliches' to make the rounds.

The evolution of cool f/x cinema gimmicks goes something like this: Once the sequence becomes old hat after being featured in a few movies it will then naturally progress to making appearances in an original Sci-Fi channel movie or two as f/x guys get access to the software program used to create the scene. The sequence will then bounce around in advertising spots for household cleaners or microwavable meals for a while before it disappears in favor of the newest cool effect.

Tags & Links: Al Rio Art

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Comic Book PSA: Superboy endorses the NRA

PSA from World's Finest #62 - Superboy endorses the NRA

From World's Finest #62 (January-February 1953).

Several decades later in Gotham City, Bill would unfortunately use the skills he honed as a juvenile sharp-shooter in a murder attempt on the Batman.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Thanks for the Foozle

Marshall Rogers


Grocery Store Artifact: Supergirl of Earth-Retail

In the Giggety Lantern Corps post about The Brave and the Bold #2, I showed what is bothering me about the way the relationships between Supergirl and the male members of the DCU, particularly Hal Jordan, are being portrayed.

Let me explain why it skeeves me out.

As a supervisor at my last job something happened a few times. One of our employees was a young, blond female about 17 years of age who worked as a cashier. She could be described as attractive and was often compared in both looks and brain power as "Maryland's Jessica Simpson" as she was pretty but dumb as a box of particularly retarded hammers. She was incompetent at the job, and that was due to her youth and incredibly short attention span. She was easily distracted, never shut up and lost track of what she was doing whenever something shiny, dull or even lackluster happened to catch her eye. She was also a huge pain in the rear.

Miss X, as I will call her, was a flirt who had many bad habits. She was the type of young lady who acted out in ways both good and bad for the attention that got her. When at the supervisor counter I would periodically look over all the registers to make sure we were taking care of the customers. If I happened to catch the eye of Miss X while doing so she would start acting out, dancing in place and gyrating like a party girl on spring break. This, I gathered was her attempt to be sexy yet coy. When this happened I would roll my eyes if alone and make a note in the shift-log or tell my co-worker, who was female, to walk by Miss X's register and tell her to stop flirting and do her job.

On occasion when a supervisor had to give Miss X some selective counseling about keeping a neat cash drawer and to quit her habit of giving out $100 bills as change when she meant to give a $20, she would move in very close. If the supervisor were near something she could lean on Miss X would "innocently" move in very close, actually pressing one of her breasts against his arm all the while giving him her undivided attention. When spoken to, her directed stare, brow furrowed from intense concentration and the odor of burning insulation should have been the big red flag to the supervisor that something was up. When the supervisor nonchalantly shifted away so there was some space between them, Miss X would a moment later move in closer and re-apply to his arm the illegal mammary gland.

If I was out at a bar goofing on age-appropriate chicks I'd be totally into scenes like that. A woman laying her breasts up on someone else in a public place could be considered an encouraging sign of progress by some guys in the dating scene. But at my age and assumed maturity when a 17 year old girl shows a personal interest I swiftly recognize it is likely she is being disingenuous. I am not so easily manipulated as that and the attempt to do it leaves me disappointed with their character and serves only to annoy. Anyways, who besides enemy soldiers guarding a prison cell in a bad action movie falls for that crap?

Those behaviors from teen-agers are why I don't think the Supergirl/Hal Jordan flirting scene was so harmless. A 17 year old shouldn't be doing it and a mature adult shouldn't be accepting it. I kind of doubt given the history of both characters that the writers were trying to make the point to the old guard heroes that just because a new hero is young and inexperienced they are not careless and foolish with their abilities.

I don't spend my day chewing on pens out of frustration and constantly reminding myself that all the 17 year old girls I observe walking around are not available for sex. Instead of Hal Jordan using two pages trying to hide an erection, I would rather have had him remarking that he couldn't believe Kara was so young because she was confident and competent beyond her years.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Comic Book Ad: So realistic, the cops will kill you!

World's Finest Comics #029 (fiche
From World's Finest Comics #29 (July-August 1947)

Pretty sweet toy.

Wowzers! Those post-Congress and parent group comic book covers were incredibly lame. The lame factor was especially high on those of World's Finest with Superman, Batman and Robin getting all chummy and acting like tourists instead of fighting crime and dropping evil-doers from the top of buildings. Often though, the sanitized and cheery covers were there merely to fake out Mom and Dad about the interiors so they wouldn't see Batman letting some villain die in an acid shower death-trap of his own design originally intended to scour Robin of his flesh.

You know the ones...

"A grisly fate, but one that he deserved."
"Right, Batman! Let's go for ice cream."
"Ice cream is not good for young, healthy boys, Robin. Instead, let's have some 100% American steaks served with vegetables from our Victory Garden."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sleestak reviews: The Brave and the Bold #2

What I appreciated about DC's 2007 revival of the classic team-up title is that in The Brave and the Bold #2 the team of Mark Waid, George Perez and the rest took one of the most annoying story concepts in the Luck Lords, from arguably the worst Silver Age tale ever of the Legion of Super-Heroes and made it pretty enjoyable and readable.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Giggety Lantern Corps

Perhaps the Guardians didn't choose the best Green Lantern in Quagmire when assigning him to escort Supergirl through space to another planet in this preview from the 2007 Brave and the Bold #2.


"Hey! Blond girl! I hear that Krypton went around its sun twice as fast as the Earth's?
So that means you're really 34 years old! Alllll-right!"

Like this sequence is any less creepy than the one with Hal "17" Jordan and his internal dialog.

Tags & Links: She was 28!

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign

Never mind the dog
When I first saw this sign on a fence a few blocks up from where I am currently (and temporarily) residing bearing the slogan "Never mind the dog, beware the owner" accompanied by a drawing of a fist clutching a pistol, I thought to myself that the dire warning held little weight.

First off, no dog barked when I walked by. So that was my initial clue the owner was all talk and no action. Secondly, I felt that surely, anyone who can afford a gun could also spare the change for a few garbage bags to hold all the yard trash and maybe send a few bucks over to the neighbor kid to mow the lawn every now and then. The sign, I felt, was all show and the home owner was trying to fake out the thieves with empty threats.

Then I realized I should have known better. If years of experience living in Texas, New Mexico and Maryland have taught me anything it is that even the most destitute redneck in America usually has a fully equipped and lethal arsenal that could put the military forces of some nations to shame. I don't know how some people do it. A lack of any means of employment seems to be no barrier to owning many thousands of dollars worth of weaponry, SUV's and plasma televisions even as six children share a single pair of shoes. A quick look through the window of any Maryland home into the living room often reveals stacks of guns and mounds of loose ammo piled about. One thing you can count on in some states (particularly Maryland) is that no matter how many rusted Buicks on cinder blocks with weeds growing out of the hood there are in a yard there is somehow always enough money for guns.

Oh, and beer.

Dang, I almost forgot the one other thing. They typically have plenty of cash for marijuana also. No soap or food not made entirely out of processed corn fructose for the kiddies but always plenty of cash available for recreational narcotics.

So all you lying, thieving neighbors in San Diego beware! Such a dilapidated home means this particular occupant can probably back up his claims to being armed against burglary with a dozen cruise missiles and that the sign on his fence means business.

I know this one does...

beware of god

Tags & Links:

Monday, March 19, 2007

The H.P. stands for Happy!

I was reading some of my 1960s era Iron Man comic books today and got to thinking that Hap "Happy" Hogan getting a job as chauffeur as a reward for saving Tony Stark's life way back in Tales of Suspense was sort of a waste of story potential. Hogan didn't do much except mope after the boss' secretary and get rescued by Iron Man much of the time. Imagine how awesome the original series would have been if the pity-job went not to a morose, punch-drunk loser of an ex-boxer but instead to a racist author with suicidal urges and complex mommy-issues.

I really think H.P. "Happy" Lovecraft would have been the greater asset to Team Stark.

Tales of Cthulhu - H.P. "Happy" Lovecraft

Tags & Links: 70 Years after Lovecraft (via Boing Boing)

When vandals are confused

It's a mailbox, you idiot!


What's the last sound a cat hair makes before hitting the ground?

So I'm sitting on the couch preparing for my important phone interview and I notice three large cat hairs spinning lazily through the air of the room inches away from my coffee cup. I'm about to reach out to move the cup when the wandering trio enters the column of steam rising from the coffee and instantly fall, the swirling warm currents around the cup pulling the hairs right into my drink.

I've been coughing a lot more than usual since coming to San Diego two weeks ago. I initially thought the cause was the change in weather but now I suspect I'm trying to expel hairballs.

I hate cat people.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Oh, my God! He's going to miss the dirigible!

I happen to like Captain America, so suffer my postings.
Captain America falls
In Captain America #236 (August 1979), Cap falls from an airplane after a plan to attack a villain's balloon headquarters goes awry. Captain America is so awesome he even manages to live through the fall and walk away after it.

Sniper, my ass.

I'm still ticked about original Supergirl dying in the pages of CoIE and I'm not letting this go, either.


Countdown to ruining Mary Marvel begins

Adhesive latex accentuating the headlights and a micro-skirt that would embarrass Supergirl to be seen in.

Countdown Solicit - Mary Marvel
That outfit is what DC is having Mary Marvel (the avatar of good magic, the last hold-out of purity and a strong female character who as far as I know hasn't been raped yet) wear in the upcoming Countdown series. Okay, Mary is probably possessed by the evil baddie Eclipso or something when she dons the sexy plastic and engages in semi-public electro-stimulation of her secondary sex organs, but when all the thud and blunder is over with after her Seduction of the Innocent story I would bet that Mary decides to opt for a fashionable "costume update" that won't be as as innocently wholesome as her usual Shazam-wear. Mary Marvel has a long and distinguished history stretching back to the Golden Age of Comics of not showing off the goodies primarily because her character is not defined solely by her sexuality.


Henry Boltinoff teaches us another lesson

This two-page gag featuring Doctor Rocket that appeared in My Greatest Adventure #21 (May-June 1958) is an example of one of those jokes that you could do in the less-socially aware past, but is not appropriate for today. Written and drawn by Henry Boltinoff, the feature is clearly filler material to bring the page count of the comic book up by occupying unsold ad space or the lack of story content. While the entire set up leading to the punchline is awkwardly padded and drawn out for the sake of filling a page the feature nonetheless manages to educate and enlighten a reader, even if they are not aware of it doing so. The gag contains elements of class war, anti-intellectualism and slavery.

My Greatest Adventure #21- Doctor Rocket (1) My Greatest Adventure #21- Doctor Rocket (2)
The content and what the story might be trying to say is pretty much what I've come to expect when I read one of Boltinoff's filler strips for DC Comics.

The haggard appearance of the alien servant in the final panel of the strip is telling. The creature does not have the poise and demeanor of a professional servant similar to that of his British counterpart that appears earlier. The presumably forcibly-relocated creature appears frightened and exhausted, as befits someone unexpectedly kidnapped from his native lands to toil in perpetual servitude to survive only at the whim of his upper-middle class captors.

I've often suspected Henry Boltinoff's filler strips to have a hidden agenda in what message it is trying to convey behind the comedy. It may be that this Doctor Rocket strip also contains a commentary of his opinion of class struggles and equality. Not knowing Boltinoff's actual views I could be way off in my evaluation of his strips but I prefer to see him as a kind of hero cautiously educating kids of the Silver Age via covert morality tales. Past and present creators are famous for slipping in messages both good and bad in their work and I'd like to think I'm not reading too much into the strips. Not every comic book needs to be a sledgehammer like Green Lantern #85 to make a point.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Grease doth be thy word

Looks like Dave forgot about Thor's heavenly backup singers...The Hymn-Dolls! For centuries Thor's hot and sexy talent-hunting Valkyries have culled the ranks of the dead for has-beens, never-wases and American Idol winners hot and sexy enough to fill the ranks of the Mighty Thor Army! Thor counts on his ghostly groupies to vo-cah-lize, kick it hard like they do in Sheboygan and sing out loud the highs to his lows and the mi's to his do's!

Thor and Chorus


Yes it is, so shut up

Deep Rising

Is the prequel to


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Comic Book Ad: Mary wants to be popular!

From Black Magic #16 (Sept 1952)

I wish I could confirm who the artist was on this ad. That forlorn expression Mary is sporting sure makes her look like the Silver Age Supergirl in her Linda Lee Danvers disguise after she gets lectured by Superman and sent back to the orphanage.

Tags: Comic Book Ad

Tuesday, March 13, 2007



Captain America #220 - AMERIDROID!!!!!


Captain America #221 - Ameridroid beats up Cap!

Captain America #221 - Ameridroid declares martial law!

Captain America #221 - Ameridroid stops being a nazi

captain america 221 - AMERIDROID is sad!!!!!!





Window Blind

Last week a few retail professionals and at least one strip author touched on the window displays of Comic Book stores. While they did it as a gag I wondered about the advertising mindset of the comic shop proprietor myself.

One of my favorite bookstores of the past was Bookstar. I say the past because while they are yet around they have changed. Bookstar always had interesting window displays, changed it frequently and unless I miscalculated the level of corporate oversight involved, the displays were inspired solely by the wit and artistic talent of the staff.

San Diego's Mysterious Galaxy also has cool themed window displays and were usually interesting enough to lead me to check out whatever genre or author they were pushing that week when I visited them to pick up my SF and Repairman Jack fix.

Most comic book store window displays however, have all the attractiveness of a depressed urban area liquor store. Don't misunderstand, I'm not ripping on LCS owners at all. The product they sell can sometimes limits their ability to create attractive displays. Overhead must be high and few stores have the cash to lay out for seasonal window paintings, props and monthly or seasonally-themed art. While shop proprietors undoubtedly want attractive displays bringing in the casual shopper, placing a current copy of a book in a window guarantees it can't be sold later due to sun damage. Other than Joe Q, sunlight is the ultimate nemesis of the local comic book store.

Comikaze, one of my favorite places to get comics and action figures, was brave or foolish enough (can't decide which) to place collector items in the front window. Often I passed by on my way to the Asian restaurant nearby and glanced at the window with regret at the neat stuff bleached of color by the unrelenting assault of UV radiation. Seeing the limited edition Simpson's Monopoly game washed of most color (yet still going for full price, tsk-tsk) was heart-breaking.

The local Comic Gallery, which I patronize the most, has a small window they fill with posters advertising events or popular characters. While the use of posters has the desired effect of shielding the interior from getting damaged by sun the posters are usually bleached out by the time the cross-overs are done with and are just unattractive.

One store in San Diego that does not exist any more still had up for display posters announcing the George Perez Wonder Woman run several years after the comic had changed creative teams a few times over. The guy running the place must have been the lazy type because the posters were nearly white from age and exposure. It was only until you got up close that you could make out the pale image of Wonder Woman. From a distance the store appeared closed and looked like the windows were covered due to construction.

While comic book posters in the window are a friendly sign to the fan peering forlornly across a mall parking lot for a place to buy comics and utilitarian for the shop, haphazard poster placement also has the undesired effect of giving the store the appearance of being amateurish, trashy and cluttered.

I'm a comic book reader so I'll go into a store regardless of how the exterior looks as long as there are no loitering junkies holding lead pipes hanging around outside. How I get treated inside makes me decide if you get my money or not. I doubt comic shops can afford to rely only on loyal fan sales to get people in the door, though. As a consumer I'd like to see a changing window display. They can be fashioned inexpensively, allow people to see in and out and can still protect the interior against heat and damage. The casual shopper and their children will more likely enter a place that doesn't have rows of dust-encrusted, neglected Gundam models and aged Death of Superman posters in the windows.

Tags & Links: Find a Comic Book store

The Joy of Mutant Sex

Witches Tales #12 - Harvey - July 1952
This panel from Witches Tales #12 (July 1952) published by the Harvey Comics line was pre-Comics Code, but this horrific bondage scene with a drooling mutant describing oral sex would probably have made it in under the CCA radar even if published a few years later. Bondage never seemed to have been much of an issue with the CCA crew, just frank drawings of torture and sex. Given what they usually let pass as harmless I kind of doubt if the board would have caught the implications of what was really going on in the scene when the the monster threatened to use his "blue tongue" on the captive.

When most people opine about how the CCA nearly destroyed comics I don't see it as entirely accurate. When the CCA came into effect the industry was self-regulated and they made no effort to differentiate all-ages fare from adult product. The comics industry was destroying itself by aggressively producing something that was not at all suitable for children, and I don't mean on the level of a 'wardrobe malfunction' or using the scientific term for female genitalia during a reading of a high school book report. Read some pre-Code Harvey Comics if you doubt that. Besides, the CCA gave us the Silver Age so I can live with it.


Monday, March 12, 2007

My bed smells like cat pee

What could be worse than living with the wingnut in-laws? Why, living with your own family of course!

Leaving Maryland and moving to California was a plus anyways you look at it but until I'm working I am staying in a spare room at my Mom's second house with my sister. She has 4 dogs and 2 cats, all of which are moderately ill-behaved and emotionally or physically damaged in some way.

There is fur everywhere. Everywhere. I mean...Everywhere. The place smells more the like the den of a tribe of Bigfoot than a house with small pets. The cat's litter box is in the spare room where I try to sleep and the cats ignore it, just doing their business anywhere, preferring the very absorbent mattress I need to sleep on over the litter.

I thought it was bad that people will handle food after absently touching one of the dogs, who are known to eat each other's feces if not cleaned up out of the yard fast enough. Today, I actually witnessed one of the dogs snatch a piece of toast out of my sister's hand. Amazingly, she grabbed it back and finished eating it, treating me as if I was a jerk when I pointed out that what she just did was really gross. Shouldn't be surprised as this is a person who uses her hand to shoo away the sleeping cats and brush the hair off the table before a meal.

I hate pet-people.

Bonus: My sister pulling the "My House, My Rules" thing on me. I always enjoy being treated like an intruder instead of family when I visit. Apparently someone has forgotten who-supported-who for several years when someone decided Ya-Ha-Time was a priority over graduating high school. FYI, sport: It isn't your house. Since you are always broke, sick or unemployed you are staying in our parent's second home because you have been a train-wreck for 20 years. I hope you have a plan because Mom retires in a few years and will be selling the very desirable house to supplement her retirement. Oh yeah, when you get upset about people using "your" stuff in the house don't excuse it later by claiming you have OCD. You don't have OCD. You're just selfish.