Thursday, December 29, 2011

Grandpa Geek

Exclusive Preview: Retelling Superman's Origin Story in Action Comics No. 5 | GeekDad | I have been reading comics for a couple of decades, starting with The Death of Superman. Since then, I’ve gone back and read older stories from the ’80s and before.
Oh, dear. When you talk to me about the Death of Superman, my first thought is the one from 1961. I actually have to search my memory to find another one, and even then I mentally stumble across his near-death from Virus X (the one where he revealed his secret identity by writing it on the surface of the moon) before I remember so-called Doomsday.

I forget my classics aren't everyone's classics, you know?

Then I hit this breathless praise:
This is the first time the DC new universe version has been told, and who better to tell this not-so-secret origin than superstar writer Grant Morrison and his equally super (see the pattern?) art team of Andy Kubert and Jesse Delperdang? Morrison has been steadily fleshing out the character’s beginnings since he first came on board with the Action Comics relaunch debut.
Yeah, I see what you did there. Sigh.

Superman's been around since 1938. In 1948 he finally learned the details of his own origin, that he is the last (or so he thought) survivor of another planet, known as Krypton. (We readers knew, but he didn't.) Between and since, there's been plenty of "fleshing out the character's beginnings", and just because Didio and Lee write pretty press releases doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Even Alan Moore remembered Lyla Lerrol when Superman Annual #11 ("For The Man Who Has Everything", 1985) came around, but I guess that's before your time too, isn't it?

Okay, I'm being unfair. I shouldn't dismiss a retelling of the origin story before I've actually read it: Goodness knows I've read several retellings of it already, and some of them I really liked. But the hyperbolic "nobody but Grant Morrison could have done this" really grates on my nerves. I can't think even Morrison would agree with such praise.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

She loves me like a rock

I don't care if it is the dumbest disguise ever, my Momma says it's good. See Mike Draw.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Living on borrowed ideas : DIDIO: CHALLENGERS Return Reinforces New DC Approach"It's actually very grounded in reality because it starts off as a reality TV show," DiDio said.
He said this with a straight face? He thinks "reality TV" actually reflects reality? Sometimes it's easy to see DiDio started in television writing and showrunning.

I really want to like the new Challengers. If Jerry Ordway is involved, it won't completely suck. And Ordway says this:
Without the luxury of an open ended run, our focus is narrowed, and there has to be some resolution as well.
Well, now, there's a new and different idea. A story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Imagine that.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Farewell, My Rubbery

He wears swim fins over his
super-hero boots?
And he leaves his wife alone on
the boat? Ralph, I think you're
missing the point of this
"honeymoon" thing.
So, there may or may not be a creative embargo on the "world-famous" Elongated Man.

I can't get too bothered over the lack of plans for an action figure: There have been several EM figures over the years, none very satisfying. As paradoxical as it may seem, even an invisible Invisible Woman is easier to render in plastic than a hero meant to look plastic. In all fairness, Plastic Man and Reed Richards figures look just as stiff and lifeless. Maybe, instead of using standard molded plastic, Mattel should look into the process used for bendy, pliable Gumby and Pokey. Or Stretch Armstrong.

Poor Ralph doesn't even have an iconic look anymore. Should they dress him in his original purple tights with removable mask? The maroon-and-black "satellite Justice League" look? The white-and-orchid "Justice League International" suit? Zombie Black Lantern Ralph?

DC clearly isn't interested in building his stock by actually using the character, and hasn't been for at least a decade, since the popular-but-apparently-embarrassing Formerly Known as the Justice League, which itself was a revival. When Grant Morrison was making an Iconic Justice League and needed a stretchy guy, he went with Plastic Man. Ralph and Sue were on DC's "death list" at the time of Identity Crisis. For all that he stole every scene he was in, he wasn't central to the story. The world's second-greatest detective never really tried to solve the only mystery that ever really mattered to him. Even Sue, so cruelly treated by Jean Loring and Dr Light, was only a macguffin. (I don't think DC yet 'gets' how offensive it was for Sue to be raped by Dr Light for no better reason than to be a red herring distraction to the mystery of her own murder.) Ralph's own subsequent death in 52 and brief zombie resurrection in Blackest Light were little more than afterthoughts. And the Dibnys' even briefer appearances as ghost detectives in The Outsiders, well, that was just twisting the knife for this longtime fan.

And the "New 52"... I mean, seriously, in which of these series would Ralph fit? When they were trolling for members for the new Justice League International, it was Plastic Man whose name came up. He was dismissed, but at least he was considered. Where's Ralph? (Do I sound bitter?)

So I get it, DC. You could bring them back, you just don't want to. Julius Schwartz said he'd never have created the Elongated Man if he had known DC owned Plastic Man. That's that.

Tell you what. Just print that blasted Showcase Presents The Elongated Man Volume 2 and I'll buy the thing and stop bothering you.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Taste the rainbow

I really want to like the new Green Lantern animated series. I had hoped to see more of Hal Jordan and his "civilian" supporting cast, which I thought would be possible with a series focusing on one character.

However, DC Animation obviously feels that teams are what pays the rent these days. That, and a desire to attract younger viewers, would be why they chose a hero who comes with 3599 dressalike teammates and a full spectrum of color-coded bad guys. We only meet three Red Lanterns in this episode, but you know the other colors have to be in the wings. And any Green Lantern series that doesn't include Star Sapphire should turn in its power rings.

Another decision I'm not crazy about was to pull a Star Trek Voyager on Hal and Kilowog, stranding them 18 months'  travel time back to Oa at whatever the ring's top speed is, vs 9+ months to repair the warp drive: Either way, It guarantees we won't be seeing any familiar faces unless their backstories are significantly rewritten. Or unless the Guardians had more than one of those experimental starships.

But it does cut down on the number of dressalike teammates we're likely to encounter. And I liked Batman: Brave and the Bold. So maybe this could work. I found myself liking this man, this Hal Jordan who seduces an AI navigational system. Hal, have you met Jim Kirk? I'll bet you would get along famously. Kilowog sure isn't Spock, though.

Actually, characterization is pretty consistent with the comics, as I've come to expect with Timm/Dini DC shows. There's a reason these comic books have lasted as long as they have, and the producers have wisely chosen to keep a lot of it.

Which still leaves two really big problems. One, SPOILER ALERT, is the fact that the Big Damn Green Heroes... lose. This setup wasn't content to put Hal and Kilowog umpteen kessel runs away from anything familiar: We spent an hour (less interminable commercials) getting invested in our three ringslingers and drumming up a serviceable bit of "how are they going to get out of this one", only to discover that they don't get out of it. Another Green Lantern dead, and the planet he rode in on destroyed. Most of the people were relocated successfully, including our casualty's wife and child, on a completely new planet with nothing but the shirts on their backs. I mean, thanks for not letting us all die, but you couldn't have just moved the bomb? There's a lot of unapologetic onscreen death and destruction in Green Lantern.

The other really big problem is CG animation. I was hoping that once I saw it in extended action, it would grow on me. It didn't: I felt like I was watching someone play a video game. Give me old-fashioned hand-drawn cel animation every time.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I wish I'd said that

Ralph Dibny, the World-Famous Elongated Man:
An ear -- In the Fireplace!: Reviewing "Ten Miles to Nowhere!"

To me, this is one of the greatest Elongated Man stories. Yes, it has some silly, far too coincidental aspects, but there's a lot of great characterization. I believe that Ralph was one of the earliest heroes to develop a personality (back then, heroes used to be distinguished just by uniform, hair color and powers).
Yeah, that and Carmine Infantino made Sue Dearbon Dibny so doggoned cute, and Ralph just the right blend of handsome and goofy.

Sunday, October 02, 2011


The suddenly-svelte Amanda Waller in Suicide Squad gets all the attention, but she's not alone. Commissioner Gordon in Detective is looking distinctly Year One-ish, with vivid red hair: How long has this been going on?

And how about that bat-family portrait in Batman? See how much shorter and slimmer Dick Grayson is? How could he possibly have passed for Batman for the last year-plus?

What about Perry White in Superman? Heck, what about Morgan Edge, who's been not only youthified, but apparently Samuel-L-Jacksonified?

They told us up front they were going for a younger, less experienced DCU: I don't know why anyone should be surprised by what we're seeing in the books.

On the other hand, I'm not sure who they thought would see it as necessarily an improvement, either.

Let's just call it what it is. The DCU hasn't absorbed the Wildstorm universe: It's the other way around.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Compare and Contrast

Remington Steele: NBC television, 1982-1987. After four years of romantic tension between the male and female leads, the producers have the characters get married. The show dies after six more episodes, partly due to failing ratings (and partly, it must be noted, because NBC programming preferred Hunter and scheduled it in Steele's time slot).

Moonlighting: ABC television, 1985-1989. After two and a half years of romantic tension between the male and female leads, the producers (and the characters) yielded to temptation. The show's ratings took an immediate nosedive (aggravated by the stars' lengthy absences, Cybill Shepherd to have a baby, Bruce Willis to make Die Hard) and never recovered.

Catwoman: DC comics, 2011. After seventy-one years of romantic tension (off and on, mostly off through the height of the "seduction of the innocent" scare and the Comics Code) and endless did-they didn't-they hints and parallel-world cheats, Batman and Catwoman have undeniable on-panel sex in the rebooted issue #1.

In a similar vein: If you loved Starfire on Cartoon Network's Teen Titans, you'll hate her in Red Hood and the Outlaws.
Shortpacked! by David Willis - Math

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Last month I told you that, for no reason I could easily articulate, New Avengers #15 caught my eye. I told you how moved I was by the heroism of Squirrel Girl, and I expressed my hope that she wasn't being set up to die in the siege on Avengers Mansion.

Well, [SPOILERS], she wasn't, but what happened was worse. Bendis apparently lost interest in the story: That's really the only explanation I can come up with. The locked-down mansion that resisted the full-out attack of a team of Nazibots? Daredevil blew the front door off its hinges (something the Nazibots were apparently unable to do), then heroically led SG and baby Cage into the basement. (Did they not tell SG there was a basement?)

Cut to later, when the family Cage rewarded DD for knowing where the basement was by offering him an Avengers ID card. What happened to the Nazibots? "Well, we ain't goose-stepping, so I guess it worked out." That's a direct quote, and that's all the explanation we got. I guess they didn't finish bringing down Avengers mansion, since that job gets done over in New Avengers Annual #1 (also on sale this week) as a result of a completely unrelated siege. Does Marvel not have editors?

So after an issue to show us what a formidable threat Squirrel Girl actually is, her bacon gets saved off panel... by Daredevil? This goes far beyond unsatisfying, into the realm of downright insulting.

Monday, September 12, 2011

So far, so good

DC's New 52 is a decent collection of comics. Not everything is award material, but then only DC editorial may have thought it might be. But mostly it doesn't suck. I've already spoken about Justice League and the fundamentally wrong-headed idea of issuing it first. (Team-ups are something you build up to, not something you lead with.)

Week two gives us thirteen more titles. These are not detailed reviews, just hit 'em fast and move on first impressions.

Action Comics: Since I haven't drunk DC's kool-aid, I'm not predisposed to nominate Grant Morrison for sainthood for deigning to write Superman. Philosophically, though, I do like the approach. It is actually fun, as a comic named Action should be.

Animal Man: You can tell they like Morrison around here.

Batgirl: I'd almost rather The Killing Joke be written out of continuity than see Barbara freeze in a crisis because of flashbacks to it.

Batwing: Even in-story, marketing is the reason this character is wearing a bat. Have you no shame? (At least he isn't being called the Black Bat, which must have been tempting.)

Detective Comics: Ew. Thanks for reminding me why I stopped reading Batman. Is there supposed to be any detecting going on around here?

Green Arrow: When Green Arrow is a better Batman book than Detective, you're in trouble.

Hawk and Dove: Why does this look like an unused (with good reason) inventory story from 24 years ago?

Justice League International: Why does the Hall of Justice even exist? Why are we getting Justice League spinoff titles before the actual Justice League title begins telling contemporary stories? The book is counting on us already knowing and liking these characters: I thought this was supposed to be an All New DC Universe?

Men of War: Wow, real continuity. This isn't Frank Rock, who still served in WWII.

OMAC: Finally someone remembers OMAC is a Kirby concept. Surprisingly good.

Static Shock: Skimmed it. Found nothing that demanded a closer look.

Stormwatch: Week two of The New 52, and already we're getting footnoted flash-forwards to books that haven't been published yet. DC Editorial, this is a Calendar; Calendar, DC Editorial. Get to know each other, will you? Characters I don't know are introducing themselves clumsily and giving me no reason to like them. J'onn J'onzz' presence just looks intended to manipulate me into buying the damn book. Interesting how they mention his Justice League roots here, but not in Justice League or Justice League International. If they don't think he can carry his own book, why do they think he's going to lead me into Wildstorm? I think I'll start calling him "the Martian Moses."

Swamp Thing: Alec Holland and Superman stand around and talk. *Yawn*.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

All-Star Justice League?

Those of you who follow these spasmodic emissions (both of you) have doubtless long since given up expecting anything like reviews from me. That's one reason I wasn't inclined to write a review of Justice League #1. The other reason is that I think I already read this book when it was All-Star Batman and Robin.

There is no way the book could possibly have lived up to the hype that preceded it, and I think we all knew that going in, so I'll resist the temptation to throw stones on that basis. Although given that it is being written and drawn by people with publisher-level authority within the company, it's hard to place the blame for that anywhere else.

I could hop on my traditional soapbox of overly-decompressed storytelling: There's about 4 pages of actual story in this issue, at best. This flaw isn't unique to the New 52, so I guess I should let it slide. Perhaps, with seven lead characters to service, Justice League should be a 48-page or 64-page book. But then I don't know anyone who thinks Jim Lee can meet the long-term deadlines of a 32-page comic, so maybe not.

I could also gripe about overly-rendered artwork. I don't need to see stitches and seams, boot treads and beard stubble. (And lots of green lens flares.) Superheroes are inherently unrealistic: Photographically-exact renderings of same is obsessive to the point of mental illness (is "anal-retentive" spelled with or without a hyphen?), and undoubtedly a contributing factor to missed publication deadlines (see above). But All The Big Kids Are Doing It Now.

I think I can complain in fairness that in this issue of Justice League the second member -- well, the second person who will, some day, be a member -- shows up on page 6, the third on 17 (in a pre-origin appearance in which he doesn't interact with the others), and the fourth in a final-panel reveal on page 23. And the villain--

Wait. Is there a villain in this book at all? I mean, from the point of view of the police, there are two, but they are supposed to be the heroes (not that they act like it). Ah, there's a glimpse, briefly, on page 5, and another on page 10, and again on page 15. Those of us who've been reading comics for decades know it's an Apocalyptian Parademon, but certainly nobody in story knows what it is. And since we're doing a soft reboot and everything is new except when it isn't, nobody's going to tell us, either. Batman and Green Lantern must not be too worried about it, though, since they expend far more effort sniping at each other than worrying about whether Gotham Power and Light has subcontracted meter-reading to Granny Goodness. But it's extra-terrestrial, and Superman is reported to be extra-terrestrial, so it must be his fault, let's go beat him up. That's Some Mighty Fine Police Work There, Gree-- Oops. Well, that didn't work. The end.

The World's Greatest Heroes aren't off to a great start. It's pretty, but ultimately empty. Next issue was solicited as Batman vs Superman, which doesn't fill me with optimism, only deja vu. Bad enough that Everything Old is New Again, but when Everything Old is Always New Again For The First Time Ever, I feel like Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates. 

Hm. 50 First Dates vs the New 52. Now I get it.

Who is she?

Could this woman...

...first seen (we think) in Flashpoint #5, and apparently making at least a background appearance in DC's "New 52" in every #1 in September...

Could she be... the all-new 2011 Time Trapper?

Joining The Dots On The New 52 Strange Woman | Bleeding Cool

Personally, I'm rooting for her being the Sensational Character Find of 1983, Harbinger. [I'm not alone!] But comics being what they are, that doesn't mean she isn't the Time Trapper as well.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Oh, DC, now you're just being cruel

In the final week of the old DC Universe, amidst all the meta-textual farewells (Justice League, Teen Titans, Superman) and placeholder issues of series that won't have a place in the New 52 (Batgirl) and brief glimpses into an Elseworlds that mostly isn't all that interesting (Flashpoint this'n'that), we get this gem of a one-shot from Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, and Sal Buscema.

With those names together on the credits, seems like this ought to be a Marvel book.

This is a creative team that not only still remembers how to put a comic book together, but how to make it look easy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Now I get it

Okay, I'm not very observant. But it finally clicked in my head: Now I know why I don't like Superman's "new look".

It looks like they started from an action figure.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"Squirrel Girl takes out nazis..."

I have not been following "Fear Itself", so I really have no idea what's going on here. I don't even know what made me take a look at New Avengers #15...

Wait, that's wrong. I do know. It was Ken Boehm's rundown of Moments of the Week over on The Weekly Crisis. But the moment he highlighted was not the moment that made me cheer. The moment that made me cheer was the resolution of her sparring match with Wolverine. You go, Squirrel Girl!

And the moment that made me tear up was after she took out the nazis, when she returned to Avengers Mansion (she's Luke Cage's daughter's nanny these days).

Dammit, Bendis, you sucked me in. You had better not be setting her up to die.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Betrayed by Cracked

Back in 2008 (fine, OK, I'm slow), Cracked did one of their famous lists on The 7 Crappiest "Super Heroes" in Comic Book History. Well, fine, there are plenty of lame, lackluster and just plain odd superheroes. You never know what will catch on. I mean, for this list, the prime criteria seems to have been a lame origin, and if we're being honest, Spider-Man?

But number two on Cracked's list is the world-famous Elongated Man.

Really? The only hero you could find crapper than Ralph Dibny was the Black Condor? The man who taught himself to fly?

And the number seven entry that begins the feature is Madam Fatal? The out-of-work actor who fought crime dressed as a little old lady? This is the company you think Ralph should keep?

And the Whizzer is crappy because he gained super-speed due to a transfusion of mongoose blood, but Plastic Man isn't, because he gained his powers after being splashed with acid in a burglary gone wrong? Isn't that also the Joker's origin?

Clearly, that which does not kill us makes us Super Friends.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The City on the Edge of Forever... was Atlanta!

Just a couple of postings ago I ran a photo of Floyd's Barber Shop making a cameo appearance in Star Trek:

Well, of course it was that Floyd's. The Desilu back lot in Culver City was used for, well, everything. In fact, the crossover went the other way, too.

Here's a picture of Ronny Howard (Opie Taylor, of course) riding his bicycle down Mayberry's main street, past the grocery and (just past it, out of frame to the right) a TV repair shop and Floyd's. But that larger building in the distance, the one that blue car is parked in front of? It's Edith Keeler's 21st Street Mission, still dressed for Star Trek instead of its usual role on the Andy Griffith Show, the Grand Theater. Well, I guess Otis had to sleep somewhere when he wasn't under arrest.

The pictures come from the RetroWeb 40 Acres website, a tour of what was originally called the Pathe 40 Acre Ranch (though it was really only 27 acres). De Mille used it for King of Kings. RKO used it for King Kong. Selznick used it for Gone With The Wind. (You may already know that the King of Kings and King Kong sets were destroyed for the "burning of Atlanta" scenes.) The Atlanta Depot was still there when Superman, Andy Griffith, Star Trek and Hogan's Heroes were filming there. So if every town in every TV show and movie looked alike, well, there's a reason. They were all filmed in "Atlanta."

The location given at Wikipedia makes the area easy to find, but if you're an old movie buff, there's really no point. There's nothing to see. It's industrial now.

Saturday, August 06, 2011


Okay, I get it, DC, but you don't. You're tired of these familiar characters. They're all too... familiar. Boring. You want to tell interesting stories, and your creative staff can't work up any enthusiasm for these guys.

So, Everything We Know Is Wrong. These new characters look like the ones we know, and some of them even go by the same name, but it's not them. These are people about whom you think you can tell exciting stories. And you want to trick us into buying a brand new comic about a brand new character by putting an old familiar name on it.

Hey, it worked in 1956 for "The Flash" in Showcase #4.

I just finished the World of Flashpoint mini, in which the world's most determined, most dogmatic skeptic becomes a dark magician in order to... No, I can't even finish that sentence. Why even use the name if you're going to go so far off the rails? Representing this character as Doctor Thirteen is just plain cruel.

But why am I surprised? This isn't your first attempt, and cynicism born of years of reading comics I didn't like featuring characters who shared a name but nothing else with a character I wanted to see more of tells me it won't be the last.

As I said earlier:
DC wants to have their cake and eat it too. Almost literally. They want to exploit their world-famous Iconic Characters without being tied to the 75 years of history that, well, made them the Icons they are.
But along with the history, you're throwing out the essence of the characters. When you introduced Barry Allen, there were enough points of similarity with Jay Garrick that for fans who remembered the earlier version, this was still the Flash.

I know, I know, it's only Doctor Thirteen, who cares about him?

Well, obviously not you.

I guess Doctor Thirteen will go the way of Ralph Dibny, and be the exclusive domain of the people down the hall in the Showcase Presents office. Who will be the next character you care that little about?

Thursday, August 04, 2011


First look at Henry Carvill as Superman. Lawrence Fishburne cast as Perry White. Look for the film in summer... 2013!?! If anyone still cares about Superman after the DC New 52 version rewrites everything we know.

Sherlock series 2 set to premiere in 2012. "This isn't a delay, we should be clear, as the BBC never announced a 2011 start date at any point." This is also out of BBC's hands, since Martin Freeman has been off in New Zealand playing Bilbo Baggins.

Should Anime Conventions Screen For Sex Offenders? Do We Really Have to Ask? "Obviously not all men who attend anime conventions are pervs, but ever since news of an arrest by a registered sex offender came out, people are wondering if there is more that can be done to keep women of all ages safe without treating innocent male attendees unfairly."

So, there was this past weekend, see, and Cowboys and Aliens and The Smurfs were both released, and Harrison Ford's wife (Calista Flockhart) took their son to see... what? Oh, and on another show, Harrison Ford faces the longest-awaited reunion of all.

Yes, that Floyd's Barber Shop.


This is, supposedly, the actual final cover of the new Justice League #1...unless they change their mind again. Not counting the three alternate covers. You know, I don't even care anymore.

Flash's clean red suit is now interrupted with over-rendered seams and loose yellow threads. Superman still doesn't have his own chest insignia right. Everybody's still got those "mature" high collared shirts, except Wonder Woman because, well, we know what you guys are looking for with Wonder Woman, wink, nudge, say no more.

No greater sacrifice can a super-heroine make than to lose her pants for the sake of her fans.

It's just occurred to me that DC has this New 52 introduction completely backwards. I mean, given that they're determined to restart in the first place. You don't start with the team-up book, you end with it. You introduce the characters individually first and let us get to know them. You know, what Marvel is doing with their Major Motion Picture franchises. They didn't start with The Avengers, they built them.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Multipass - Imgur

What a lovely smile.

LATER: Yes, I know this isn't from any comic book. It's from San Diego Comic Con, though, is that good enough?
Actually, I don't care if it is. It's... hypnotic.

It could be worse, there could be a video...

STILL LATER: Yes, I know this isn't what Leeloo was wearing when she said "Multipass", I don't care.

Friday, July 08, 2011

New answers to old questions

So, did this happen now?
(Only in comic books could such a question be asked.)
Canon Fodder: 10 Possible Story Casualties of the DCnU |

Okay, DC, you've certainly got us talking about the DC Universe with a passion that any owner of trademarked characters would envy. But there are some parts of the discussion you have to be wishing would just go away, and Graeme McMillan adds to that uncomfortable list at Newsarama.

The conflict is obvious: DC (quite reasonably) wants to have their cake and eat it too. Almost literally. They want to exploit their world-famous Iconic Characters without being tied to the 75 years of history that, well, made them the Icons they are. This paradox isn't new to the September launch of what has come to be called DCnU.

Of course, in the Good Old Days, when they wanted to rewrite a character's history, they just rewrote it. Readership turned over every three to five years: Who noticed if Green Arrow had two origins? Who cared if Aquaman and Lori Lemaris couldn't possibly have come from the same Atlantis?

Then Julius Schwartz and Gardner Fox decided that all this stuff actually happened, somewhere... well, it's comic books, none of it actually happened, but you know what I mean. And it takes someone with a special kind of attachment to his diversions to even comprehend the problem.

You young whippersnappers don't remember the tentative speculation. "If there's an Earth-2, and the Justice Society lives there... then is there a Superman there? If so, where's the cutoff point? Which stories happened to 'ours' and which happened to 'theirs'?"

McMillan logically observes that if the 2011 "soft reboot" has any reason to exist at all, then most if not all of the continuity fixes since, well, ever "never happened". But DC can't afford to actually cut off their continuity and start over, and they certainly can't afford for you to believe they might.

DC's ongoing existence as a publisher depends on us readers buying the stuff anyway, at the very least as if nothing had happened, preferably in larger numbers. In order to continue exploiting their back catalog of material, they can't cut it loose. Why would a reader who started reading with Justice League #1 want to go back and buy this other stuff with the same name if it has nothing to do with the group he's reading now?

But you know, from an artistic point of view, that's exactly what they would want to do. The characters are bound by so much continuity that it's difficult to tell new stories about them. If you're thinking of comparing comic book characters to beloved, iconic fictional characters in other media, consider: There are only 60 stories about Sherlock Holmes, 26 Tarzan books, and 12 James Bond novels. (And not once has there been a "Crisis on Infinite Baker Streets".)

Superman, by contrast, has appeared in over 900 issues of Action, 700 issues of Superman, and uncounted hundreds of stories in World's Finest, Adventures of Superman, DC Comics Presents and dozens of other titles. Is it any wonder some of these stories begin to look alike?

Before the ink was wet on Crisis on Infinite Earths #1, we were asking "which stories still matter." They never said then, and they're sure not going to say now. They can't afford for you to decide that "well, the introduction of Mopee into the Flash series was the defining moment of the character, so if that 'never happened' I'm never buying another Flash comic."

Even this guy has fans, you know.
So if you're waiting for DC to tell you, up front, who the characters are and what their histories were, well, from their perspective that defeats the purpose.

Guns, sharks and boobs falling out of a bustier.
We did everything we could possibly do to get you to pick the book up.
Just shut up and buy the damn books. Or not.

LATER: Of course, I meant "Before the ink was DRY on Crisis on Infinite Earths #1..." Apologies to both of my readers.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Just asking, DCnU

Does Kara still have that tattoo she got in Kandor? Will she have it in September?

Monday, July 04, 2011

Too complicated

Why do you insist on giving us these over-rendered monstrosities? Your characters' costumes should be clean, simple and iconic. That's why the characters are iconic as well. We really, really do not need to know where the seams are. And we do not need to see every muscle and tendon clearly defined. It's a comic book. It's supposed to be unrealistic.

Why does Superman need armor? I'm reminded of a throwaway panel in a fifty-year-old comic in which Superman is doing mighty deeds in a suit of knightly armor because his uniform has apparently lost its invulnerability. Looked silly then. Looks silly now.

Why does Aquaman need fish scales? He's not a fish and has never pretended to be. Besides, with that color he would have to be a goldfish, which doesn't exactly strike fear in the hearts of aquatic villains.

I'll buy that Superboy can be tattooed: His powers don't work the same way Superman's powers do. But why would he want to be?

Why do Supergirl's new thigh boots have peek-a-boo knees?

Why does Robin need feathers? He doesn't stand out enough in red and yellow?

The Flash isn't electric: The air shouldn't crackle around him. Unless his suit is wool. Yikes.

Why does the whole darn JL(A?) need nehru collars?

And Wonder Woman is... You know what? I'm not going to complain. I actually like this. I'd prefer the pants were a deep blue rather than black, but otherwise this is fine.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Are those ruby bullets?

Okay, this is just odd and intriguing enough to warrant a look in, what, October? By then we'll all be pretty thoroughly disillusioned with the New DCU...

Big Dog Ink Travels Back Over the Rainbow…

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Make room for Jimmy

This is perfect. It's just the kind of story I would have sworn couldn't be told in today's DC Universe. Aliens. Girlfriend troubles. A smarmy competitor. A magical prankster with an unpronounceable name. A cheesy plot to take over the world. And Supergirl in a yarn store. This one truly has it all. I love this book.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Nope, it's all still wrong, again, except that it sort of isn't : The DC UNIVERSE Reboots in September, New #1s Across the Line

So they're rebooting everyth... "Don't call it a reboot!"

Oooo-kaaaay. So all they're really doing is redesigning the character costume guide sheets. Well, they've done that before. Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez must be getting pretty old by now. Superman finally loses those red trunks. (Boy, they must really be embarrassed by those.) Everybody gets high collars, except Wonder Woman. (Hey, we know why guys buy that, on the *ahem* rare occasions when they do buy that. At least we put her in pants. See how enlightened we are?)

We are going to keep trying until we get you to buy the line as we envisioned it in 1973. (Hawk and Dove by Rob Liefield? Who demanded that?)

Okay, I see, the 75th anniversary of Superman will be for issues cover-dated June 2013 (Action #1 was June 1938). Anything can happen in two years.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Everything you know is wrong... again

A new world.
A world full of heroes, familiar yet different.
A world spiralling into darkness with no redemption in sight.

"Jumping on point for new readers"
Obsolete usage: Fully self-explanatory.
Current usage: Discontinuous.

  • When did comics creators get so bored with their own big-name properties that they would rather do ANYTHING ELSE than write for them as they are?
  • Since they clearly do feel that way, why don't they go to work somewhere else?
  • How often do they have to tell us "everything we know is wrong" before we understand that they think we are stupid?

Monday, April 25, 2011

DC’s New Retro-Active Line Gets Era Specific Logos, Writers Revealed | SciFi Mafia

DC’s New Retro-Active Line Gets Era Specific Logos, Writers Revealed | SciFi Mafia

In a brief hiatus to their ongoing mission to drive a stake through the heart of the Good Old Days, DC Comics recently announced they no longer know how to make good comics, and are recruiting their most popular surviving authors to show them how it is done.

What's that? I misquoted the press release?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dwayne McDuffie, 1962-2011

How did I miss this news?

We should have had many more years of reading and entertainment. And he should have become very, very rich. He'll have to make do with fondly remembered and dearly missed.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Early cross-promotion

Here's a very early example of a continued story in DC comics. Sort of.

On the left is Adventure 152, starring Superboy. In this story, prompted by a "what I want to be when I grow up" essay assignment, Clark travels to Metropolis to "try on" several potential jobs. He eventually settles on "newspaper reporter". His essay wins a writing contest, the prize for which is presented by a surprise guest, reporter Perry White, who invites Clark to contact him when he's older.

On the right is Action 144, starring Vigilante. (Just kidding.) In this month's Superman story, Clark happens to find the cover page for the edition of the Daily Planet that contains his first by-line. This inspires him to reminisce about having met Perry White while still in high school, and his later attempts to see White in order to apply for a position as a reporter. The same scene of young Clark winning that writing award is seen in flashback.

Both comics would have been on the racks in the same week of March 1950. Neither story has ever been reprinted.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I Wonder who that Woman is

Gutters - Issue #15
by Evan Shaner
You know, the lasso is the least unlikely part of Wonder Woman's uniform. That makes perfect sense. Every superhero should have one. (Heck, Batman has always had one. Spider-Man has the next best thing. GL can make 'em as needed. Captain America is so damn awesome that you stay where he puts you. And the new kids don't need one because they don't take prisoners anyway, they just go ahead and kill the perps.)

What I don't get is the continuation of the trend to celebrate big honkin' landmark anniversaries by throwing out everything that we've loved about a character for thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy years and starting over with the name and a couple of touchstones.

Ah, well. That's probably what Roy Thomas and Jerry Bails first thought when Barry Allen and Hal Jordan first hit Showcase.

Administrative trivia 2

You know what? I changed my mind. Or maybe I rebooted myself. Have it whichever way you like. I realized that I get more pageviews here than on my general purpose blog, so it really makes no sense to shut this one down and move over there.

So I figure I must have been temporarily replaced by the me from an alternate future (maybe 2017, that sounds sufficiently random) where middle-aged balding fat guys are persecuted by the government after passage of Anti-Normal-Old-Coot Legislation in 2012. Yeah, that must be it. Sounds entirely credible.

Suu-ure it does. I've been waiting for the Earth-2 me to show up for most of my life, but I've just figured out he's me. It's the Earth-1 me I have to watch out for.

Or that nerd Barry Allen. Can't trust a man with a bow tie and crew cut.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Administrative trivia

I have too many blogs and not enough time to keep them all fresh. Therefore, I've decided to shut this one down and include comicky musings in my general-purpose blog, Dreaded Purple Master. All of the EitP posts have been merged into DPM, so nothing's lost. I know you were concerned.

So this isn't "goodbye", just a change of address.