Saturday, December 30, 2006

Which Superhero are you?

Your results:
You are Spider-Man

Green Lantern
The Flash
Wonder Woman
Iron Man
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Pegged me pretty well

What Kind of Comic are You?

Super Hero Comic
You are SUPER HERO COMICS! You're everything that's good and slightly old fasioned! You're honorable, fair, and attractive, though at times you can be predictable. You have a strong moral code that you abide by at all times. You may also have problems connecting with the opposite sex. But don't worry, you'll get the girl in the end!
Take The Quiz Now!Quizzes by

I can't blame Ragnell for nailing the manner in which this meme goes off the rails.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Superman / Batman Annual #1

I had to switch mental gears a couple of times while reading the S/B Annual until I realized (to stretch a metaphor to the breaking point) that it's best to take it out of gear and just coast. Yeah, it was pure fun.

Being utterly unfamiliar with Deadpool (I didn't know who he was supposed to be), the fact that he didn't get to say his name was only annoying. I guess readers with less DC history might wonder who the parallel Bruce, Clark and Lois were.

In a way, it reminds me of the 2001 two-parter in Superman #168 and Detective #756, where Batman and Lois sneak into the White House to steal President Luthor's kryptonite ring.

I missed seeing one of those long, convoluted expository monologues Weisinger would have had someone say. But then the panel would probably have exploded.

Monday, September 25, 2006

He's back!

Yes, Robby Reed, creator of Dial B For Blog, is back from a lengthy and mysterious hiatus with a ten-part series on Ira Schnapp.

Ira Schnapp, you may ask? Who he?

Well, if you love comic books, he's probably a big part of the reason why.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usLet's check my work.

First: Yes, they cheated by changing silhouettes and bow color, but it's not like it's the first time they've done that.
Forward center, a Green Lantern: Oh, you know it's Hal.
Two o'clock, a Green Arrow: I'd love to see Arsenal, but it's far more likely to be Connor.
Well, don't that beat all. It is Arsenal, probably to be known as "Red Arrow" now. Unless someone thinks "Arsenal" starts with an R. Maybe the belt was a "graduation" present from Ollie. Ollie never was one of the DCU's great thinkers.

Perhaps it's time for Fawcett's Golden Arrow to put in an appearance. (In light of this development, things don't look good for Connor Hawke in his upcoming miniseries.)
Top, a Hawkperson: Look at that headpiece. It's Hawkgirl.
Top left: Given his vapor trail, that almost has to be Red Tornado.
Check. The worst-kept secret in comics.
Top right: Bulleteer.
Right center, behind Superman: Zatanna. Second thoughts: Vixen.
Well, at least I put Vixen somewhere. I really wasn't expecting Black Canary, but if someone had to "graduate" from Birds of Prey, she's the logical candidate.
Above Zatanna, to the right of Batman: That silhouette is so generic it could be almost anybody, but given all the talk about a Teen Titan "graduating" into the JLA, I'm thinking it has to be Cyborg.
And taking the Bald Black Guy chair, previously held by John Stewart and Dale Gunn, we now have... Black Lightning? Another oops for me.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Better late?

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI know, I know, I feel terrible.

Thank goodness for Mark Evanier.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Ashes to ashes, pulp to pulp

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI think it's safe to say that Booster Gold is getting more attention right this second than he ever has before. I can almost hear speculators raising prices on his #1 issue.

Booster would have liked that.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

And Lo, there shall come... a Template!

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usNothing like a makeover to make a blog feel... heroic.

(You know, I'd like to just keep my mouth shut and hope you think I'm clever, but I honestly didn't think what this color scheme reminded me of until after I'd done it.)

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI sure hope I'm not the only one who knows who Zook is/was. No, wait, I know I'm not. Scipio remembers.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Monkey Woman -- No More!

I'm sorry, I'm inconsolable.

The very idea that Stan Lee might be offended that one of his "superheroes" is *gasp* an actor. I mean, really. You hold an open casting call for a television series, and an actor shows up. In Los Angeles. What are the odds?

I'm also tickled that, at least once in each episode, Stan says something that proves beyond doubt that he doesn't read comics, not even characters he created.

"Heroes don't kill people."
"Disco is dead."
"Can you imagine Clark Kent or Peter Parker revealing his identity?"

It's OK, Stan. This show's target audience doesn't read them either.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I'm in love.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usHow can you not love Monkey Woman?

I don't even care what the bananas are for, okay? This woman hangs upside down from a tree and screams like a monkey--on national television. (Well, cable television.)

And lets two attack dogs gnaw on her for ten minutes because she is by Gum not going to disappoint Stan Lee.

If you're not moved by that, well, your heart is made of stone, I tell you, cold hard stone.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Geez, why am I reading this?

Mike Sterling at Progressive Ruin (Hi, Mikefans!) recently allowed as how the recent reboot of the Flash has prompted him to give up on a character he's been following for two decades. This realization has, in turn, inspired him to consider what makes us follow a particular title. What characters or titles did we follow for years, then ultimately, reluctantly drop, and why? What characters, if any, would we continue to follow no matter what?

There was a time I felt obligated to follow everything I could. Oddly, this period matched the period in which my parents were subsidizing my buying habits. Once it became my money I was spending, I cut back significantly, often discarding the hobby completely for months or years at a time.

I used to be a huge Spider-Man fan, but the clone saga was too much for me. It was Straczynski who brought me back to Spider-Man, and then started nudging me away with the Spider-totem. He finished the job by having had Gwen Stacy and Norman Osborn bump uglies, a character decision that still doesn't feel right to me. Norman would do it, just so he could tell Peter all about it later if for no other reason. (And, after all, it was Gwen flippin' Stacy.) But I can't think of any good reason on Stan's green earth for Gwen to have done it.

That is, I think what happens is that I'm attracted to a character for the writing (that is, how the character is handled and developed over time), and I drop a book when either (a) I cease to care how the stories resolve, or (b) the character begins to act in ways that appear to be OUT OF character (as I define it). The Clone Saga ran me away from Spider-Man for reason (a): JMS brought me back when he made Pete a teacher and let Aunt May discover The Secret: Sins Past ran me away again for reason (b).

Civil War is making me interested again, but so far not interested enough to actually buy it.

I was a big DC fan back in the middle and late Silver age, but when Vince Colletta became their art director, everything began to look like Vince Colletta. Crisis was a opeful sign, but I always felt like they kept the wrong earth. Identity Crisis, of all things, brought me back, and the ongoing drive to use every character they own is fascinating to watch. (Detective Chimp? Cat-Man? Dr. Thirteen? Captain Comet? Command-D?)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Not so fast, Jimmy


Didn't Hitchhiker's Guide start this way?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Welcome back to the Silver Age

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usWell, teh Internets is all a-twitter over the current issue of Supergirl. Say what you will about DC Comics these days, they certainly do know how to generate buzz.*

Let's see. Kara Zor-El, check. Kandor, check. Nightwing and Flamebird, check (although they insist on reversing the billing, probably to avoid confusion with those other three (!) Nightwings in Gotham City New York). Superman double, check (I'll be so happy if his real name turns out to be Van-Zee). Everything old is new again. All we need now is Comet the Super-Horse and we're all set.

It doesn't quite look the same.

I can't believe you Silver Age fanboys don't recognize the last-page Big Reveal. I mean, c'mon, it's a huge gimmie. You just saw her. It's Saturn Queen.

See also Seven Hells, Strange Visitor, Pretty, Fizzy Paradise, Fortress of Fortitude.

* Now if only they could do it for Manhunter. Getting Todd out of the closet didn't do it. Maybe the readers are waiting for some hot Kate-on-Cam action.

Armor in the shower? Ooh, look, the tattoo moved!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Let's play "Guess the New JLA"!

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usLet's get the easy ones out of the way first.

Forward center, a Green Lantern: Oh, you know it's Hal.

Two o'clock, a Green Arrow: I'd love to see Arsenal, but it's far more likely to be Connor.

Top, a Hawkperson: Look at that headpiece. It's Hawkgirl.

Top left: Given his vapor trail, that almost has to be Red Tornado.

Top right: Bulleteer.

Right center, behind Superman: Zatanna. Second thoughts: Vixen.

Above Zatanna, to the right of Batman: That silhouette is so generic it could be almost anybody, but given all the talk about a Teen Titan "graduating" into the JLA, I'm thinking it has to be Cyborg.

Biggest surprise: No J'onn J'onzz.

Biggest disappointment: No Flash. Second thoughts: I was really hoping for Jessie Quick.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Monday, July 03, 2006

Tail vs Dog

Something about seeing Superman Returns'* $21M first-day ticket sales described as "only the eighth best mid-week debut in Hollywood history" struck me as funny. I mean, first funny-ha-ha, but then funny-odd, too. So, of course, I did what anyone would do when in need of a good laugh: I turned to Excel.

I totalled the most recent month's estimated circulation figures for each of the four monthly* titles starring Superman. Then, working with a arbitrarily-assigned average of $2.95 per issue, I calculated how many months of sales it would take to produce the same gross as one day's ticket sales.

That would be 19.6 months of all four titles.

That didn't seem like quite enough hilarity for one day, so I took it in the other direction. According to Box Office Mojo, the average movie ticket price is $6.40.*That means about 3.3M tickets sold*.

Of whom no more than 130,000 had actually bought a Superman comic in the preceding month.*

*I haven't seen it: We're not talking about the movie's quality or lack thereof here.
*Yeah, I laughed out loud again at the idea that All-Star Superman and Superman/Batman are still considered "monthly" titles, but I decided to be as generous as possible.
* First-day sales for Superman Returns might not conform to that average, but having no reason or basis to change it, I went with it.
* Possibly some multiples to fans who saw it more than once, but again, with no data I'm not going to over-complicate this parlor game.
* Probably fewer, since Superman and Action are continuing the same storyline at the moment, and presumably a few people bought both. Neither All-Star nor Sup/Bat had a release in the most recent month listed by ICv2, so I didn't count them.


Mike Parobeck, 1965-1996: I miss him too.

The Kendra Monologues: So, I wasn't the only one creeped out by Hawkgirl #53.

So who HASN’t been attached to the role of Wonder Woman?: I don't know what's worse, the people who say "fandom won't accept an Asian in the role" or those who say "I won't accept an Asian in the role unless it's part of the character" (that is, unless a Big Honkin' Story Point is made of the fact that Wonder Woman is an Indian).

Saturday, July 01, 2006

You know, you coulda phrased that better

NRAMA: Noticeably absent (and for some time) is a female creator in that group. Big picture wise, why hasn't a women creator made it into the tight circle of Marvel creators?

Joe Quesada: Because currently there aren’t any female writers working on any of our major titles. That said there are female editors at the summit.
Joe, feel free to glance around the split-in-half Interwebnet and see just how well that insight went over. Or don't.


Oliver Queen is an idiot. No, really, he is. I mean, more so than usual.

Sweet Fifteen

Cousin Buzzin'tm

Don't mince words, Evil Robby Reed, what do you really think of Superman Returns?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Finally I've cranked up Photoshop and created a fab title graphic like I'd meant to from the beginning. Hope it works OK.

Image Hosted by

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The literary oeuvre of Jimmy Olsen

Reporter, photographer, man of action, turtle man, elastic lad, transvestite: Many are the faces of James Bartholomew Olsen of Metropolis. Come with me now as I explore another facet of the Olsen Experience: Best-selling author.

In Jimmy Olsen #29's "The Superman Book That Couldn't Be Finished", a publisher asks Jimmy to write a novel, a fictional adventure with Superman. Jimmy, naturally, figures that after all the real adventures they've shared, this should be a piece of cake*, and eagerly agrees. After securing his pal's permission to use his name and character in the book, Jimmy begins a tense tale of nuclear blackmail in which a stray bolt of lightning accidentally detonates The Bomb. Superman saves Jimmy, but...


"Superman and I would have nothing left to do." And now you know what caused the Great Disaster. Well, Jimmy, maybe Kamandi's up for a rousing game of pinochle.

For his next draft, Jimmy casts himself as the intellectual type: Having taken up science as a hobby, he invents a mind-reading helmet, which (being the good citizen he is) he uses to detect crimes and warn Superman. Until...


He's going to blow Superman's most closely guarded secret for national publication, and the only reason he can think of not to do it is that he doesn't know it. Some pal.

Note the progression of Jimmy's hair. That's how you know things aren't going well for Jimmy: His hair gets mussed.

Matters don't improve. Superman is dying of kryptonite poisoning and needs a blood transfusion...but the doctors can't break his skin. Superman travels to the past and becomes Samson...which can't happen because his hair can't be cut.


What did I tell you about Jimmy's hair?

So, of course, Jimmy shares his problems with Superman, and of course Superman has words of advice for his young pal. Eventually you will remember and write the book, he says with the confidence born of optimism, faith in his friend, and time travel.

I love this caption:


Wait. Wait. "We'll buy a copy and take it back to 1958"? But, causality... changing the past... existing in two places at the same time (or are Superman and Jimmy of 1959 dead?)...

Don't you see? This is the real origin of Infinite Crisis. This book that Jimmy never actually wrote, just retyped from a future edition. This "1959 first printing" that now never existed, because the first printing was a year earlier, in 1958.

Thanks a lot, Superman.

(Story by Otto Binder, art by Curt Swan and Ray Burnley. Man, I love that look.)

* And this is only #29. Elastic Lad, King of the Giant Ants, the monster in extra-dimensional horror movies, the Giant Turtle Man--none of that has happened yet. Look at all the great plots they throw away in this story. I love the Silver Age.

Friday, June 09, 2006

An impossible mission

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI don't do reviews primarily because I don't want to commit spoilers, and I don't know how to review them without doing so. That's why most of the books I talk about are decades old and spoiler-proof.

But I must say that the further I got into the new Wonder Woman #1, the bigger my smile got. I won't tell you much about specifics, but I can say that writer Allan Heinberg gets it. This is a perfect #1 issue, which sets up a new status quo, supporting cast and rogue's gallery while discarding nothing from the character's 65-year history.

Wonder Woman doesn't have to live in a world of Greek mythology, but she is mythology personified. Heinberg and the Dodsons give her grace, dignity, and stature. She isn't an outsider in any of her worlds: She's a bridge.

The artwork is... gorgeous. Breathtaking. I wish I could get a high-res scan of the double-page splash, without word balloons, to use as my computer desktop.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Bat-Girl Has No Idea

Oh, yes, Kathy. Batman is absolutely the right person to convince Betty Kane not to spend her evenings in a bat-suit. His persuasive reasoning worked so well with that underage tagalong in a bright yellow cape, the extradimensional imp in baggy shorts, and, well, not to put too fine a point on it, you.

(From Batman #139.)

The Super-Teacher from Krypton

Jor-El must have built it, it's got his color scheme

Or, as Robby Reed, creator of Dial B for BLOG, calls it, the Super-Teacher A-hole.

The "adjective-noun-noun" structure sounds like manga gone wrong. If this thing were called "Krypton Genesis Herodotron" it would probably have had its own comic. Would probably still have it.

I mean, is that one ugly robot or what? I guess Jor-El can be forgiven for creating the Edsel of DC robotics, given that he took the time to build it at all in the face of planetary armageddon. And he thoughtfully programmed it to teach the use of super-powers. Apparently, on a planet as advanced as Krypton, it isn't enough for those who "can't do" to teach: They build robots to enhance skills that nobody on the planet has, or can possibly acquire without leaving the planet. Interesting use of resources, given that they didn't have space travel.

You know, it's just possible that they made fun of Jor-El for reasons other than the planet-blowing-up thing.

This story typifies a popular theme in Superboy (and Superman) stories which we may call WWJD (What Would Jor-El Do?). In such stories, we discover that Jor-El apparently had sufficient time between bouts of being humiliated by the Science Council to anticipate every aspect of his son's life on Earth and leave messages for him--mostly encouraging, though not exclusively so. See also The Day Superman Became the Flash, in which it's revealed that Jor-El fastened a video tape to the outside (!) of Kal-El's rocket explaining "Why Earth?".

There's also a healthy dollop of LJSC (Let's Jerk Superboy's Chain), as Superboy's shaky adolescent self-confidence is undermined and his fear that he just isn't smart enough to manage his powers effectively is exploited for cheap entertainment. They returned to this well a year later with the introduction of the Legion of Super-Heroes, who (like Super-A-hole) arranged for Superboy to fail at tests, so they could call him "loser!" just to see how he'd react.

Read the original Super-Teacher and Legion stories.

EDIT: Super-Teacher returns, with appalling implications. Read Robby's summary, and the original story.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Five (plus one) reasons to love Space Cabbie

Space Cabbie's on the cover, but they don't mention it!
So, Devon at Seven Hells says:
Will someone please, please, please explain to me the appeal of Space Cabbie?
Sure. In fact, I'll give you Five (plus one) reasons to love Space Cabbie:

Otto Binder.
Gardner Fox.
Gil Kane.
Bernard Sachs.

Like the Phantom Stranger, he doesn't have a real name. How cool is that? I see 'em hanging out together over coffee and Krispy Kremes between Crises. "Cabbie! Stranger! The doughnuts are hot now!"

In a world of Civil Wars and Kingdoms Come and gods who walk the earth, a "mere" human being can command his own destiny.

How can you not love him?

There's even fanfic about him. I'll bet if he teamed up with Vibe you'd appreciate him.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Sensational Character Find of 2006

Image Hosted by
"Mother of Champions, who can give birth to a litter of 25 super-soldiers about every three days."
Has anyone asked her if she wants to? What if the Mother of Champions is pro-choice?

A litter? Of 25 full-grown men? Oh, there's got to be more to this.

I guess this is a good balance of characters: On the one hand, the new "lipstick lesbian" Batwoman, on the other, this feminist nightmare. They killed Superboy (praise be the Rolling Head of Pantha) to make room for her.

Yeah, this has Grant Morrison written all over it.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Batwoman Beyond

Image from Infinite Crisis 7, Hosted by ImageShack.usSo. It's in the New York Times, so it must be true. Batwoman, as you kids say, is teh gay. A "lipstick lesbian", they call her, meaning she's not one of Those Butch Women, I guess. Meaning they don't have to draw her any differently than any other female character.

Kate (nee Kathy, presumably short for Katherine) Kane. (Not "DuQuesne", one of the animated Batman's really clever moves). Not to be confused with near-lookalike Kate Spencer, Manhunter. (Wouldn't it be interesting if they were the same person? Is it a coincidence that Manhunter is being cancelled about the same time as the new Batwoman makes her first official appearance?)

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usNewsarama is all over the story. In an interview, Dan Didio says:
Her sexuality is not the main thrust of the character; it’s just another aspect of her personality, one that helps her to determine her choices that she makes as she’s fighting crime in Gotham City.
To which Newsarama asks this, which is never really answered:
When you flip that, it doesn’t really apply to say, Batman. You can’t say, “Because he’s heterosexual, Batman’s adventures are thus and so.”
Well, that's not really fair to say. For well over fifty years, the default comic book point of view was heterosexual male. The primary role of the women in their lives was to be suspicious that they never see Clark and Superman together. It may be significant that not long after the introduction of "the spectacular character find of 1956", the first Batwoman, she was being made jealous by a cardboard cutout of Bruce kissing another woman. (Of course, had she not stormed off in a huff, she would have observed that Bruce had been transformed into Bat-Baby, about which the less said the better.)

And for a decade or two, Batman's heterosexuality was an issue in the comics, if only because DC felt it necessary to disprove Frederic Wertham's contention that Bruce and Dick's relationship was a "gay man's fantasy". Not that they ever really did disprove it. From Julie Madison to Selina Kyle to Vicki Vale to Kathy Kane to Talia al Ghul to Silver St. Cloud, there always seemed to be a darned good reason why Bruce Wayne couldn't or wouldn't Love A Woman As She Deserved To Be Loved. He always seems to choose to surround himself with unattainable women, no mean feat for one of the richest men in the DC universe.

Hey, Didio? You want to impress me with how courageous your storytellers are? Make "Kate" Kane straight and have Bruce Wayne come out of the closet. That might explain once and for all why Dick Grayson and Koriand'r couldn't make it work. There's an idea: A "new" character revelation that actually answers as many questions as it creates.

Alex Toth

From the Justice Society to the Super Friends, Johnny Thunder to Space Ghost, his pencil kept it moving. Until now.

Thank you, sir.

Alex Toth's Official Site. The Comics Reporter's Collective Memory entry.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Name game

Is Connor (or is it Conner?) such a common name that two of our second-generation JLAers should have it? Conner (Green Arrow) Hawke and Connor (Superboy) Kent?

What about Cassie? Are we talking about Batgirl (Cassie Cain) or Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark)?

I never have been good at telling the difference between Deathstroke and Deadshot. Putting them both in Villains United was endlessly confusing.

Of course, there hasn't been much reason to be confused about Linda Park (Mrs Flash) and Linda Danvers (Supergirl), or Jason Bard (P.I.), Jason Todd (Robin II), Jason Blood (the Demon), Jason Burr (Kobra's twin brother) and Jason Rusch (Firestorm II). Still, I have to wonder if the phone book in the DC offices just isn't very big.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Image Hosted by"Can someone explain to me the point of Doll Man?" asks Tom of the Fortress of Soliloquy.

I feel a need to create one of those acronyms that we fans love to use. Perhaps I'll patent it. In this case, it's IWASTAP, and it stands for "It Was A Simpler Time and Place". It's my best shot at explaining Doll Man.

At least, some combination of that and the likelihood that the men who created those comics really didn't understand why some characters caught on and some didn't, and so pitched anything and everything they had just to see if anyone bought it. For every Spirit there must also be a Bouncer.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Also Hawkman

Free Image Hosting at Chris' Invincible Super-Blog presents Infinite Crisis in Thirty Seconds, in case you missed it.


Monday, May 08, 2006

Tarukor? I didn't even see her

Does this pose say 'streetwalker' to you?So Supergirl is dreaming the Legion of Super Heroes. You know, that makes as much sense as a lot of things in the Legion's history. She must have eaten some bad pizza to have come up with Bouncing Boy.

But wait. She's blaming it on tarukor - a Kryptonian dreamstate that occurs before adulthood.

Izzat so? Really? Funny how Kal-El never experienced that. Maybe it's a girl thing. Or maybe he did experience it, and imagined he had a Superboy period when he actually never did. Or maybe he actually did have a Superboy period during tarukor, and thought he was dreaming. Or maybe Kal-El is going to wake up any issue now, when his mom Lara calls him down to supper, and discover that he dreamed us.

I have a headache. Damn that Bobby Ewing.

Maybe the writer of Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes forgot to talk to the writer of Superman: Birthright. Yeah, that must be it.

No, wait, Mark Waid wrote both of 'em.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Phantom Lady has no idea

Phantom Lady has no idea
Ragnell of the Written World performs a Phantom Lady Breastospective. If nothing else, it proves that since being acquired by DC, Phantom Lady has had a long run of illustrators who don't know how to draw women.

EDIT: The art is by Chris Jones and Keith Champagne, from All Star Comics 80 Page Giant #1, 1999. The word balloon is in the original (though I've made it larger for readability), and is a response to Wonder Woman's accusation that "Your costume blatantly invites the dark stares of men."

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Basic questions

To think it took Ask Yahoo to answer the burning question, Why does Superman wear his underwear on top of his clothes?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Detective329, page 27

Originally uploaded by dtaylor404.
Carmine Infantino at his peak, inked by himself, from "The Puzzle of the Purple Pony."

Monday, April 17, 2006

The World's Mightiest Mortal

Captain MarvelOver at Comic Book Resources, Eric Larsen has a lot to say about the original (dare I say "real"?) Captain Marvel, and how DC's subsequent attempts to revive the character have gotten it wrong.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Always remember

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usStill the sexiest woman in comics.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Always remember

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAnd, apparently, gave Supergirl the name of her tailor.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Don't joke

When the discussion over on the Marvel Masterworks DC Archives Message Board rolled around to a new page header graphic, I made a tongue-in-cheek suggestion: Rather than, oh, I don't know, using a character that might ever actually show up in a DC Archive, I used Photoshop to create a banner graphic of Jack Kirby's The Dingbats of Danger Street.

I didn't expect them to actually use it.

Image Hosted by

Monday, March 13, 2006

This is a job for...?

Are you old enough to remember when the Adam West Batman was new?

Did you ever think that the show had done nigh-irreparable harm to the comic?

Well... It could be worse. Mark Evanier has the same producer's pilot for Wonder Woman.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

And the adventure continues...

According to Paul Dini, who should know, having just dined with Bruce Timm (Justice League Unlimited) and Glen Murakami (Teen Titans), the end of JLU and Titans wasn't related to ratings, which were just fine. He stopped just short of saying what it was related to, though he hinted it was increased "territoriality" regarding certain DC characters. As a character and his/her corresponding villains are optioned for another series or movie, their availability for other purposes is limited. I'll point out that all of DC's Big Three (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) are on, or headed for, the Big Screen. And that Batman and his various signature villains (most notably the Joker) are concurrently appearing in The Batman over on WB.

There's also the widely-held belief that no animated series really needs to run beyond 65 episodes (which allows it to be "stripped"--run five-a-week for 13 weeks), since "kids don't care about reruns". The last two years of JLU were borrowed time.

On the other hand, there are plenty more animated DC shows in various stages of development, and if the last three years of JLU have taught us anything, it's that the DC Universe is a rich and diverse place. Doom Patrol and Plastic Man have been mentioned, and "Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes" is a likely candidate. A Teen Titans movie has been announced: I wouldn't be too surprised to hear a JLU movie is being planned as well.

"My words come from the heart in four colors..."

So So Silver Age | "Good" graphic novels and tears of ink
Comics As Literature, pioneered by professional indie blowhard Scott McCloud, is a concept that really bothers me. Not because comic books are not literature, but because I believe they are all literature. When the majority of comics are excluded and denigrated so that a few prestigious authors can get read in college classes and be discussed by the Modern Language Association, a great disservice is done to the medium, this medium, this medium that is my blood. My heart speaks in the language of comics. I think comics and piss comics--when I cry, they are tears of ink, and when I fall on the ground, there is a great THUD outlined in bold black jagged lines.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Bloopers that aren't

I know, I'm a nerd for even looking at Glass House's The Adventures of Superman Bloopers. I guess, then, that I'm at least a semi-uber-nerd, because I noticed some of them aren't really mistakes.

There's a reference to Superman making a crook's gun too hot to hold with his "x-ray" vision, rather than heat vision. That's correct. At that time, in the comics, Superman had no "heat vision": It was a side-effect of his x-ray vision. Later, when it was discovered just how harmful prolonged exposure to x-rays could be, the creators established heat vision as a power in its own right, rather than suggest he was microwaving his closest friends.

It seems to me that Mr Glass is generous with the definition of "blooper", using it to identify anything that betrays the miniscule budget with which these shows were produced. Re-use of locations and re-dressed sets were and are common in television production: Star Trek's Enterprise set only had one corridor, for example.

Now, pointing out that Perry White is clearly reading his lines from the script in his hand in many of the later episodes...that's a blooper. Disappearing and reappearing hats, ties, and glasses abound. (Clark's glasses in particular change shape: Later seasons used different prop frames from those worn in earlier seasons, stock footage from which was still being used.)

The End of the League?

Justice League UnlimitedScripps Howard News Service | No Justice for the League
Take a brilliant show like "Justice League Unlimited" (10:30 p.m. EST Saturdays, Cartoon Network). It's the best series on Cartoon Network, and it certainly is as worthy of praise as anything "Adult Swim" offers. But the audience just isn't there. And that's too bad.
Not having cable, I had no idea that Cartoon Network buries this series at 10:30 pm Saturday nights. I'm at the mercy of home video releases and torrents to see this spectacularly good show. For years I didn't care, because the lackluster 90-minute pilot did nothing to convince me that the show would be worth the trouble.

But not only do they know who Vandal Savage and the Ultra-Humanite are, but they managed to make them sympathetic characters--without contradicting their histories as depicted in the comics.

Ah, well. It's had a five-year run, 84 91 episodes: That's an eternity in animated-series years.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Not on my wish list

Hydro-Man with pump 'n squirt actionPresenting Hydro-Man with pump 'n squirt action.

Yeah, pump 'n squirt action. You want to make something of it? Goodness knows I am...

If I could only get a set of this guy, Zan (you know, the Wonder Twin with water powers?) and Fluid-Man (from "Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles"). Couldn't you just see that? The "Humiditrio"?

The "Wet Wonders"?

Eh. "The Losers."

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Well, the Hall of Justice was already booked

Leigh News - Leigh Today: A wedding fit for super heroes
"Louise had always dreamed of getting married dressed as Wonderwoman and as both of us had been married before and done the top hat and tails thing so this time we just decided to do something out of the ordinary which would be a good day and a good laugh without any pressure. I already had a Superman costume..."
With Elvis officiating. What, no pictures?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

No capes!

The Green Lantern Corps has a dress uniform? (Courtesy of Written World.)

Mag of The Comic Treadmill celebrates Siamese Human Knot Day.

Sleestak of Lady, That's My Skull runs a scan of a snotty letter column reply from Mort Weisinger. (Q: Why do Aquaman's Atlanteans have legs, but Superman's Atlanteans have fishtails? A: "Are you serious? We publish fiction, not documented history.")

And Newsarama has a page-by-page breakdown of Brokeback Mountain... er, I mean, Infinite Crisis #4.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A plea to DC

Detective #233Fred Grandinetti at Newsarama shares my affection for the original Batwoman and her teenaged, hyphenated Bat-Girl. She's usually dismissed as the "jump the shark" component of Bat-stuff and Bat-people who descended upon Gotham City in the late Fifties and early Sixties. Even Bat-Mite gets more respect.

I always thought it was an attempt to emulate the "Superman family" then coming together in the various Superman titles--which must have worked, since there were so many of them ("family" and titles). Superman headlined "Superman" and "Action", and his younger self Superboy carried "Superboy" and "Adventure". He was also (along with Batman) the lead feature in "World's Finest", and even his supporting cast were getting books of their own, "Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen" and "Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane". When Supergirl came along, she shoved Tommy Tomorrow out of "Action" and took over the second story, making "Action" another cover-to-cover Super-title.
Star Spangled
But the best Batman could do was for Robin to appear in solo stories in "Star Spangled Comics", before it converted to war stories. Doubtless in some parallel world, there were "Batwoman" and "Bat-Mite" comics, and Tommy Tomorrow shared "Mystery in Space" with the Batman of 2950.

Superman, however, was a Hot Property (fresh from a successful TV series), where Batman was struggling. And editor Jack Schiff was hampered in a way Superman editor Mort Weisinger wasn't: Weisinger could allow his writers to pull a story out of anywhere, due to the fantastic nature of his character. Another survivor of Krypton? Sure. A city of survivors in a glass bottle? Why not? Lex Luthor can synthesize kryptonite? Okay!

But Batman was a human being who dealt with street-level adventures. His stories had to make some kind of sense. You couldn't produce, say, Dick Grayson's parents after all these years (although another set of relatives did eventually turn up). There was a limit to the untold secrets of Thomas Wayne you could pull out of a hat.

Schiff did, eventually, reluctantly, try science-fiction in Batman, and these tales are widely (and unfairly) considered the series' low point.

Batman #153So, whatta ya gonna do?

Batwoman was, on top of all the other things mentioned in that Newsarama piece, a steady love interest. Batman had never really had a girlfriend strong enough to appeal to both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Batwoman (and Bat-Girl) changed the dynamic of the comic, and I think for the better.

In "Prisoners of Three Worlds", Batman actually told her he loved her.

Unfortunately, that was her finest hour. She had a half-dozen minor appearances more, and then new editor Julius Schwartz turned the comic upside-down, eventually commissioning the creation of another Batgirl.

If DC were to use its new Showcase format to collect all of the Batwoman stories in one volume (they'd fit), I'd stand in line to buy it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Finish the damn' story already

I'm still waiting for my copy of the Day of Vengeance Special to arrive, so I can't review it as such. I have read this week's Crisis Counseling, so I know pretty much what happens (and what doesn't).

I'm pleased by the presence of heretofore minor characters (or missing pieces) of the DCU. One thing the Infinite Crisis lead-in series have done is reinforce the possibility that anything could happen, and that anyone might matter. Why would (to pull an example out of a hat) Nightshade bother to put on her spandex in the morning if nothing she does really makes a difference? Having her take out Eclipso back in DoV #6 puts her on the board as a potential Major Player, something she hasn't been since DC acquired the character. And if Detective Chimp has a legitimate role in a Crisis, then anyone could.

I'm displeased by the fact that the Special invalidates the premise of the series. Okay, "Shadowpact", move over, the Big Boys are back.

I'm pleased at the resolution of the Rock of Eternity's destruction, which really couldn't have ended any other way. I'm displeased by the is-it-or-ain't-it resolution to the hostless Spectre.

Ultimately, I'm displeased by the fact that this special, and the other minis' specials, even exist. I feel cheated, buying into a six-part mini-series when the Powers That Be knew that there would be a seventh part. It's not like the series moved so fast that these threads couldn't have been tied up in six.

I'm further displeased that stories never end anymore, they just lead into other stories. The original Crisis on Earth-One/Crisis on Earth-Two ended. Zatanna's Quest ended. Crisis on Infinite Earths ended. Even Final Night and Zero Hour ended. I find it impossible to evaluate the success or failure of a story that never ends.

I understand the need to maintain continuing characters. I understand that each magazine's most compelling purpose is to make me want to buy the next one. But there are other ways to do that than creating an eternal middle. What I want is a well-told story with a beginning, a middle, and an end, in which characters cope with dramatic conflict, resolve it, and are in great or subtle ways changed by it.

So I can't tell you if DoV is ultimately any good until I know how it resolves--and that didn't happen in the pages of DoV Special. Maybe it will in Infinite Crisis.

Or the first, or second, arc in the upcoming Shadowpact title.

Or never.