Saturday, March 31, 2007

Be like Johnny Storm, and get your April's Fools in today!You know, 'faarp' may be my favorite non-Simonson sound effect.
Barry Windsor-Smith, writes, draws, inks, and colors Marvel Fanfare #15, one of my favorite Thing stories ever. Poor Ben runs a progressively more harrowing gauntlet of April Fool's jokes, from a booby-trapped breakfast to a fake H.E.R.B.I.E., finishing with the Torch dumping Ben in the Pogo Plane hanger, filled with balloons and banners. This sequence beats out even the bit where the Thing wakes up with 'stubble,' actually bits of drinking straws Johnny glued to his face. ("Mebbe I'm reverteratin' or somp'n!") Why? Because Ben doesn't have enough fingers to count off the months!

Have a happy April Fool's Day, and remember, if that sack's on fire, let it burn! Read more!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Not gone, but a legitimate question nonetheless.
It's the edited for time version of Dark Knight Returns.
From the Dark Knight Returns, written and pencilled by Frank Miller, inks by Klaus Janson. Scanned from the Complete Frank Miller Batman, which was a bit tough to cram into the scanner. OK, I got nine panels out of thirteen from that page, which didn't quite work...

I was going to be out of town for a couple days, but now I'm staying with the kids and the dogs and it'll be about as relaxing as it sounds. Still, it made me think of this page, since I've always wondered why Clark is giving Bruce the heads-up call there, especially in light of the throwdown in the fourth issue.

It's not like Bruce, at this point in the story, was in any position to do anything, if something happened while Superman was gone: he was just about to put the Batman suit back on after years out of the game. It's also odd that Bruce pretty openly regards Clark as a totally weak sellout, a tool of the man, an utter douche; yet here Clark still calls him like they're still the best of friends. Maybe not the best of friends, maybe friends that don't see each other as often as they used too, but still on good terms.

Maybe, even unintentionally, this page says something about Superman. That once you've earned his friendship, you have to go a pretty long way to lose it. (There's some older, pre-Crisis Superman issues where he acts like he's still friends with Luthor, he's just a little exasperated at his behavior for the last twenty or so years.) Or maybe that Batman, not unlike an ex-president, still gets the daily briefings.

Anyway, we'll see if I get anything else done this weekend, and have fun either way. Read more!
OK, one more.
Oh, I'm boned.
Will of the warrior!  Also, Sentinels can't hold their liquor.
Pretty sure letting a child play with Bender counts as reckless endangerment.
I was feeling kind of guilty for taking pictures of toys instead of these weiner kids, so I had to compromise.
This one wasn't even my idea, the wife and kids were big fans of the Gender Bender. The little one tried his best to climb into the ring himself, and I should've got a photo of that before I dragged him off it, kicking and screaming... Read more!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

(Mostly) Off-topic: I'll freely admit to enjoying this way too much.
The Creech there is McFarlane standards.
WWE Smackdown/Raw ring, five dollars at Walmart. I saw this in the clearance aisle, slept on it for a day, then during my lunch break I swooped in before it disappeared. As I put it together at work, someone asked me if it was for my kids, and I laughed and laughed...
Yeah, I'm gonna reach like I wanna tag in. But I so don't.
I haven't watched wrestling in years, and have no intention of putting the WWE-brand stickers all over it; but I knew a lot of toys that would look good in the ring.
It's an operating table.  And I'm the surgeon.
There's the classic match-ups...
Tonight, on Battle of the Unposeable Network Stars...
Some of which stage better than others.
It's no less in character than anything else at Marvel lately...
And, then there's recreations of current events...
I didn't have my Ms. Marvel figure handy, but she seems a more likely candidate for backstabbing. She's been gunning for queen bee since she got back.
Or, maybe how they probably should've gone down.
And with that, Iron Man's heel turn was complete.
Strangely, I don't have any wrestling toys, but I seem to have a ton of folding chairs, pipes, foreign objects, etc. somewhere. May have to pick at least one wrestling figure up at some point, to get a championship belt, but only if I can get one in Kilowog's size. I did have a sticker in mind that would be perfect for the ring, but of course it wasn't where I thought it was going to be... Read more!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Time for more mileage out of the same post...I mean, answers!
Didn't Mike do a Dracula adaptation for Topps too?
Anybody remember Topps Comics? Uh-huh...I have a couple issues of Ray Bradbury Comics, less out of fondness for Bradbury's stories (although I remember some from when I was a kid) than following an artist. The above is from issue four, Mike Mignola adapting "The City," and the other issue I know I have I bought because of the Ken Stacey cover.
I'm sure there's been some orange in Hellboy somewhere. Right?
More renowned is the Howard Chaykin/Mike Mignola/Al Williamson adaptation of Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. This is from the first issue, "Ill Met in Lankhmar," and this page has more color than any Mignola page I can think of since. (I'm probably wrong, but just an impression.) Could be a stylistic choice, could be color artist Sherilyn van Valkenburgh, I don't know.
What The? had it's moments, but also a lot of utter hackery.
Boy, I had to look this one up again: From What the? #2, "They Call Me Woof'r'eam" Written by Al Milgrom, Mignola pencils, Al Williamson inks. Probably the strongest single issue of the book, that I can remember right now. And hey, there's some Byrne stuff that's funny. On purpose and not bitter angry, funny!
Aside from this panel, there's about 8 more, from an 8 page story, that I should scan up here.
Mignola and Steve Purcell's Rusty Razorclam, President of Neptune. Still waiting for more of this.
Wait, that side's glass too? She can see us? Oh, hell.
Hellboy: Almost Colossus #1.
I keep seeing issue #3, but not #4. Pain in my side, tell you what.
Rocket Raccoon #1, Mignola with Bill Mantlo.
I'm really kicking myself right now for not picking up the comic-style versions of Hellboy, but I already had a couple movie figures, so...
And lastly, from Heads, a short Hellboy story that I believe was a backup in an Abe Sapien issue. There's a variant action figure with the attacking Japanese heads, and I absolutely misread the solictation when that was coming...

Calvinpitt of Reporting on Marvels and Legends had a pretty good guess on the first panel: I think Mignola did do the cover for the first issue of The Machine from Dark Horse, part of the rather short-lived "Comics Greatest World" with Ghost and X. Kind of an interesting visual, but I barely remember it either... Read more!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Time for...Guess that Mignola Panel!
Oh, I know you don't know this one.
I was cleaning up my comic room this afternoon, and a shelf collapsed on me. Including this comic, luckily enough. Eventually, I regained consciousness and was able to feebly call for my dog, who came down, licked my face, circled twice, and lay down. Sometime later, my wife wondered where the dog had gotten to, and found me...

Well, maybe it wasn't that bad, but the disorganization is reaching critical mass. This next issue was also in a random box, and was recently reprinted:
And in this panel, Fafhrd kills That Yellow Bastard.
As long as we're here, my hard drive had some more Mike Mignola art, some of which I've posted before, some I hadn't got around to yet.
You can tell this one's old, it's from What the?! was funny.
I also remember a ton of covers from him for Marvel in the early 90's--a batch of X-Men Classics and assorted annuals.
Yeah, I've used this one before, but I really like it.
Then there's Cosmic Odyssey, Gotham by Gaslight...
Insert smoking section joke here.
Amazing Screw-On Head, Dr. Gosburo Coffin (sp? I just put that one away, damnit)...
And I know you needed more Rocket Raccoon in your lives.  Yeah.
...a batch of DC annual covers that were often the highpoint of the book, a really good Legends of the Dark Knight...
There's a variant action figure based on this particular issue, that I thought was Hellboy 'with Japanese head.'
One of my son's favorite comics, one of the first he ever read, was Hellboy: the Corpse, which he still loves. ("What do babies like?") Thanks, Mr. Mignola. I'll be with you for the rest of Hellboy, regardless of who draws it.

Tomorrow: answers for each panel! Mostly because I wanna go to bed. Read more!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Aquaman kicked in crotch.
Originally uploaded by googum.
Between mainstream Marvel and DC titles, there's probably a baker's dozen worth of characters that are kings (rarely queens or other royalty, although not unheard of) of their own country. Dr. Doom or the Black Panther are probably Marvel's most well known monarchs, while Black Adam is in the tailend of a kingly reign at DC's 52.

Then of course, there's kings of their respective Atlantis...Atlanti? Atlantises? Ahem. Kings of their respective cities of Atlantis, Namor the Sub-Mariner, and Aquaman. What else do Namor and Aquaman have in common that they don't share with these other rulers?

Besides the water thing. OK, and besides being tools.

Fine, I'll tell you: Namor and Aquaman are dethroned all the time. Almost constantly. Sometimes, they are off the throne so long, it might seem like they're never going to be king again, and then bam! Back to Atlantis, where they're roped in again. Namor usually has to beat down Attuma for the 90th time, while Aquaman has more variation but less memorable usurpers. In the picture above, the Joker briefly took over, in a little story set in continuity right after the classic Joker-fish.

It would be fair to say the other kings are occasionally dethroned. Doom's been removed from power more than once, and I can't recall: how did he reclaim the throne after Waid's "Authoritative Action" storyline in Fantastic Four? (That return seemed awfully quick...) Even Black Bolt's been cast down once or twice.

But Namor and Aquaman...whenever they have their own book, even if a writer takes great pains to avoid it (such as making Aquaman 'underwater Conan' or recasting Namor as a corporate 'shark' in a suit) eventually someone hits that ol' reset button and brings them back to king. The argument probably is, the throne is part of the underwater setting that makes them (both) unique, and it should be used to set them apart from surface heroes. And the counter is, the underwater setting is harder to relate to for readers...and sometimes looks dumb.

Of course, all of this is just a rambling string of consciousness, in a vague attempt to justify posting a panel of Joker kicking Aquaman in the junk...

From Legends of the DC Universe #26 (or #27?), "The Fishy Laugh" Written by Steve Englehart, pencils by Trevor Von Eeden, inks by Joe Rubinstein.
Read more!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

It's just like Crisis on Infinite Earths, except Dove doesn't die, and no Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman...wait, come back!
Well, Hal got bored during monitor duty, and three phone calls and half a keg of Pabst later...
Since anthology books here in America are virtually extinct, this rare specimen is also long gone: the anniversary issue guest-starring everyone: Showcase #100, "There Shall Come a Gathering" Written by Paul Kupperberg and Paul Levitz, art by Joe Staton. To mark the hundredth issue, they decided to cram in every feature character that had appeared in the book. Considering that ran the gamet from Green Lantern, Flash, and the Atom to Sgt. Rock and Enemy Ace to Fireman Farrell, Anthro, and Angel and the Ape; they had an uphill climb ahead of them. Many characters made their debut or got tryouts for solo books in Showcase, and you can tell the ones that made it big pretty easily.

The story opens with a lot of the namebrand superheroes--your Justice Leaguers, Teen Titans, Metal Men--and Rip Hunter's crew, and Hawk and Dove; on the Justice League satelite. Years before Crisis on Infinite Earths, the world goes almost 'red skies' crazy: weather and volcanoes running amok, people and animals displaced in time, your usual crazy DC disaster crap. Adam Strange and the Atom...well, I was going to say they figured out the earth was being pulled out of it's orbit, but the computer flat out tells them all that. I swear to god, I want the magic godlike operating system of the 70's, like the one that solved all the Riddler's puzzles on Super Friends, except I want it with Majel Barrett's voice instead of Casey Kasem's.

Whatever's doing it, the whole planet's in a stasis field, which admits radio waves but blocks Green Lantern's ring from contacting Oa. Since the earth is being moved through space faster than light, it's screwing up relativity, and that's as much explanation as you're going to get for the time distortion. And I just realized I saw this same plot, but more plausible, on Invader Zim. Ow.

Rip Hunter decides to check the time stream for the problem, because damnit, go with what you know. Most of the heroes head for earth for damage control, and Green Lantern and Adam Strange start looking for whatever's moving the earth, with Flash and Atom in tow. Barry and Ray seem to be wondering why they are on this mission, and I suspect the answer's as simple as Hal wanting someone to show off to.

Scanning, Hal finds a power source, which is both yellow and invisible. Guh? Adam suggests using the Doppler effect, which somehow involves Hal making a giant prism to make the ship visible. Um...kay. That one's at least in the scientific ballpark, I think. The ship launches giant robots at the heroes.

Meanwhile, things below continue to get worse: Rip Hunter's timesphere is trapped in a disturbance in the timestream, taking them off the board. The Metal Men work crowd control and get attacked by Anthro's dad, the angry caveman. And Wonder Woman's taking a jog and stopping a train...and that's a Hostess ad. Eh, count it.

Desperate, Lois Lane makes an emergency GBS broadcast, to plea for Superman's help, to no avail: Superman never had a starring spot in Showcase, so he's not coming. Ditto Batman, in a proud tradition of heroes being up a creek and backup nowhere to be found. (I'd have to say this is way more prevalent in 80's Marvel, but it's kind of rare to have this many heroes in, and some of the biggest names out.) Figure Supes and Batman are off-planet, or involved in one of their World's Finest team-ups; and the lamer the better, as it makes it more fun to imagine Lois delivering the verbal beatdown when they got back. (Per a Simpsons episode, I picture Supes and Bats lying on the hood of the Batmobile, wistfully gazing at the clouds: "Is there anything fluffier than a cloud?" "If there is, I don't want to know about it.")

Admittedly, I haven't read every Superman or Lois Lane story, but in every one I've seen from the GBS years, Clark, Lois, and on occasion Lana are less professional on camera then a local UHF sports guy broadcasting live from Hooters, with three beers in him. They give editorial asides, show up late, wander off camera, and don't seem to take any cues or direction, ever. I don't know if this is from a lack of research, or if comics writers and artists were just jealous or assumed TV was for lazy slackoffs.

Anyway, after wrapping/wandering away from an emergency broadcast, Lois is approached by newsman/TV host/security consultant Jack Ryder. Jack's employment history has always seemed a little spotty, even for someone prone to running around in speedos and a feather boa. He wants to see if Lois has any 'inside info' on what the super-heroes are doing about the world ending situation. Which is as good a cue as any for the Challengers of the Unknown to come in through the window (from a helicopter) in their pinkish uniforms...boy, that Howard Chaykin update seems like a better deal now, doesn't it? The Challs try to broadcast for help, but the interference is too strong (despite what GL said before about radio signals getting through) although the sensors (presumably, the Challs' sensors, not the GBS sensory array) indicate 'a massive output of energy somewhere in the mid-west.' They leave to investigate, with Lois in tow, and joined by the Creeper.

Meanwhile--there are going to be far too many 'meanwhiles' in this post, and there's no way around that...thesaurus? Oh, get bent. In space, the yellow robots are manhandling our heroes, until they are saved by Space Ranger. And his pink shapechanging alien/D.T. sidekick, Cryll. I'll own up to liking Matter Eater Lad and Crystar, but I hate Space Ranger.This is slightly less embarrassing than being rescued by, oh, Space Cabbie or Color Kid, but not by much. I'm not a fan of the Ranger, and can't stand, or understand, his helmet. Getting inside the ship, the group is attacked by a plant monster, which Space Ranger defeats by shooting out it's grow-lamps. Arrgh. The victory doesn't count for much, since as Adam Strange points out, the earth is still hurtling away from the sun. Let's see your 22nd century science help now, Space Ranger! God, I hate him.
Admittedly, DC throws a great mixer.
All together now: "Meanwhile..." This one's right on the page, so don't blame me. At the detective office of O'day and Simeon, better known as Angel and the Ape; their 'Found Persons Agency' has collected a pile of Showcase b-listers and refugees. Drumroll,, let's not:
--the Inferior Five (superhero parody group, with the disturbingly hot Dumb Bunny)
--Bat Lash (western conman, supercool)
--Firehair (redheaded 'Native American' stepchild, I guess; convinced he's under a spell or really high, he opts to sit down until it's all over)
--Tommy Tomorrow (grandson of the Red Tornado's creator...what, he's not? Well, that would'a made more sense. He's really another future DC space hero. With a terrible, terrible name.)
--and a bunch of DC's Archie knockoffs.

Dumb Bunny is actually Angel's half-sister, although I don't know if that had been established by this point. Also, to be blunt, Bunny and Angel probably forget that fact all the time, leading to tearful reunions and cries of "Sister? Sister!" at least every couple of weeks.

Sam Simeon had been collecting these time-displaced refugees, per Angel's request, for no real reason. Bat Lash speaks up, suggesting maybe they should look into whatever's causing time to go "loco." Tommy Tomorrow also speaks up, since he has a ship on the roof (?) and has found out all he can there. Angel, Tommy, and Bat head west to investigate; oddly, the ditzy (oh, c'mon, she totally is!) Angel seems to be leading the group, and I think Bat and Tommy are just looking for an opportunity for 'alone time' with her.

Next, we have a couple of 'red skies'-style pages, with heroes fighting natural disasters, time-displaced dinosaurs and Nazis, etc. So very Crisis, I swear. Aquaman and the Sea Devils protect the shoreline, while Dolphin rescues Sugar and Spike. Chest first.
Spike's going to have a breast fetish...well, for pretty much ever, yeah.  Moreso now.
Also, she rescues them from a car trapped underwater, but they're little kids, who was driving? Were their parents crushed in the crash? Aquaman leers knowingly at Dolphin, like he knows both her origin and what she likes for breakfast, although I don't think they were seen together before, or again until they hooked up in Peter David's Aquaman run.

Back in space, the heroes are stuck until the Phantom Stranger shows up; and they perform a seance to bring in the Spectre. That sets a bad precedent, Spectre: now every kid with a Oujia board is going to be calling you to extract a terrible revenge on their enemies, or to get them more weed.
Again, why is Superman so hung up on giving Lois powers, when she can make that jump, unhurt, and without her skirt flying up?
On earth, the Challengers' group finds a really ugly alien green monolith. Looks like it's made out of formica. Rocky and the Creeper manage to force open a hatch, and Lois is able to...make what appears to be a ten-plus foot jump, off a cliff, over Rocky's shoulders and through the hatch before it snaps back shut. All somehow without an upskirt shot, which just proves this comic's old. The rest of the group is stuck outside, and Rocky is a little steamed that the fate of the planet may rest in the hands of a "dumb broad!" That's either sexist, or he's read Lois Lane.
Here, Bat Lash crosses the line from 'cad' to 'bounder.'
As the Spectre fails to stop the earth...really? Wraith of God pre-Crisis Spectre, "not bound by the physical laws of the universe...becoming as large as the universe itself" Spectre? Weak. Tommy Tommorrow's ship lands on top of the countertop monolith, out of sight of the Chall's. His blaster can cut through the roof, but it regenerates so fast only one can get through. (Why not go one at a time?) Bat suggests drawing straws, and Angel wins and gets inside before Tommy can stop her. Bat admits, "She was a pretty little thing, wasn't she? But there are plenty of pretty little things in this world--and I only got me one skin!"

So, the fate of the earth comes down to Lois on one side, bashing defending robots with impressive judo skills; on the other, Angel, dodging robots through sheer blind luck. Unfortunately, you can't punch or luck out your way through the aliens' final defense: hard radiation.
There's obviously a joke to be made about the pink thing between Hal's legs, but I'm trying to take the high road here.
In space, using Green Lantern's ring, Phantom Stranger's magic, and everyone's willpower; the Spectre is able to put earth back where it belongs. Sarcasm...burning throat...filling lungs...Or close enough. The Stranger says some mysterious crap about the final battle being not yet won. But for this batch of heroes, the crisis is over, the party is just getting started, and what are Hal and Cryll doing there? Friendly hug...Cryll looking up at him...let's just go on.
Fun Fact: Lois hates blondes.
Lois and Angel have reached a control room, which bears a little examination. The alien responsible for this whole mess looks like a sparkly ribbon in a floating bubble, with tentacles or energy coming off of it: not a great design, but distinctly non-human. So why do all the control panels have levers and knobs...and easily pulled out wires? Did the alien buy it second-hand or something? The effect is like putting Flippy the dolphin behind a set of turntables: theoretically Flippy could smash things with it's face and maybe somehow scratch a record, but it doesn't seem ergonomic or practical, eh?

Anyway, the nameless alien's master plan is to launch earth into the "planet of enemies of my race," destroying both worlds. I'm not sure what kind of enemies a bubble-ribbon alien would have, he could be trying to destroy the planet of the kittens that play too rough. I also would think launching, I don't know, any other planet would be a better idea than picking the one with several hundred superheroes on it. Still, I suppose if I had just bought the Acme Planetthrower, I'd want the maximum destruction for the money.

Guided by the unseen hand of market, that's the Phantom Stranger's hand, sorry: Angel pulls out the right wires to stop the alien's machinery, and eject the alien from earth, taking the radiation with him. But...but...even if the alien somehow sucked all the radiation out of Lois and Angel, wouldn't they still die of cell damage? Admittedly, I don't particularly want to see Lois and Angel vomiting and losing their hair, but it doesn't quite work there. The women manage to avoid being crushed by hiding under a console...a desk console a creature without legs wouldn't need...and time corrects itself, with all displaced parties returning where they belong. (As far as we know...) As Lois tells her she's a hero and to stop crying, Angel says she's never been so happy to break something.

Looking at this comic now, after years of Crisises and crossovers and 'Where's Waldo'-esque find-the-hero pages; it's almost like a prototype for what was to come. Number of times Angel O'Day has saved the world: Once. Number of times I've saved the world: Er, well, I do a lot of recycling...oh, all right, twice. Happy?

From Showcase #100, "There Shall Come a Gathering" Written by Paul Kupperberg and Paul Levitz, art by Joe Staton. Read more!

Friday, March 23, 2007

08-06-2006 07;11;14PM
Originally uploaded by googum.
Question of the day: Why does Bullseye--Bullseye, a man whose entire schtick is based on throwing things--have a guy on staff to throw knives at, and miss, the Black Widow? Outsourcing? Thug union? Maybe open try-outs? That last one would go a ways towards explaining that vest.

Moreover, where are the Widow's boots? If Bullseye took them...oh, man, that opens up a whole weird avenue of questioning I'd rather leave closed, thanks.

I have to admit, Bullseye is one of my favorite villains, in the sense that I hate him so much. I'm currently doing a little tradewaiting on the new Thunderbolts, which is a little weird since I'm a big Ellis fan; but if Warren let slip even a little hint that Bullseye was going to get a bus dropped on him or a pumpkin bomb shoved up his ass, I'd buy multiple copies. Some of my favorite Daredevil stories have been the ones where Bullseye pretty much breaks and cries like a wee nancy girl, and it seems like it's been quite a while since I've seen that.

From "To Dare the Devil!" Written by Roger McKenzie, pencils by Frank Miller, inks by Klaus Janson. Reprinted in Marvel Super-Heroes Megazine #3.

In other news, of course it rained yesterday, so I was a good, muddy mess by the time I biked home. Managed to keep my bike clean exactly one day, too.

The only new comic I picked up was Cable & Deadpool, which I usually enjoy more the less Cable shows up. Fabian Nicieza gave a good try on psuedo-Deadpool Agent X's dialog, but it didn't quite work for me. Still, looking forward to the next one. The shop sold out of Wisdom, but told me they only got two copies for subscribers; I had short-sightedly just been buying it off the shelf. Doesn't bode well for that title, which is discouraging, but I figure they'll get one for me.

And then, the quarter-books: among other things, some recent Fantastic Four specials, a hodgepodge of older Spider-Man spinoffs, Namor #12 (the Invaders issue--I have it, but like it), a couple issues of 2001, and DC's Sword of Sorcery #5. That last one has a Walt Simonson-drawn Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser story, which should be awesome. I'll let you know.
Read more!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Most of you probably have someone you know whom...whom? Who? Trying to be all proper...whom you think is criminally underappreciated. A friend, coworker, relative that you know is attractive, funny, and charming; but no one else seems to think so. You can plainly see how incredible this person is, but this hypothetical friend is still dateless, considered plain, or just outright ignored.

Yeah, that'd be Static. And Xombi. Pretty much all of Milestone, I suppose. The line lasted more or less three years, but I don't know if the sales were ever great, or if it was merely the 90's crash that finished them off. I was living in Montana at the time, and I only knew one other guy who read them, and he got mad at Blood Syndicate for killing off his favorite three issues in. (Of course, that he had a favorite after three issues of a new title is impressive in itself, isn't it?)

But Static had a lot going for it. The stories remind me of the old Lee/Ditko Spider-Man, updated for the 90's, minus Peter's general self-loathing and recriminations over his uncle's death. Virgil (name another comic character that could pull off 'Virgil.' Yeah, sit back down.) was a nerd, but he had a family and friends. He had a girlfriend, and he had his confidente Frieda, the only person who knew he was Static.

Hey, was Frieda in the cartoon version? I've barely seen any of it, but I don't think she was, which is a big strike against it. Also, Static's original black costume, with his rotating assortment of baseball caps, worked a lot more for me than the animated costume--which he wears briefly in this limited, having put it together in a sporting goods store on the fly.

Why this particular panel, rather than one of Static in costume? It struck me as odd when I saw it, to see a comic character on a bicycle. Granted, there are far more characters that fly or drive Batmobiles or Fantasticars; but I think the real reason for the omission is that drawing bikes is probably a pain.

I just got my bike tuned up, which with repairs was a hundred bucks, making my wife wonder if it's worth it compared to driving. After being lazy and driving all winter, I rode in to work this morning about 4:30. Love it, although I confess I was a little wobbly at first. Could've used my gloves, but I couldn't find them and had to go--since I leave so early, I pretty much get up and get dressed in the dark, which probably shows. I like the exercise, I like the smug feeling of superiority blended with the occasional thrill of a near-miss that I get from biking, I like spending less on gas and more on comics and toys.

I don't like that this is the longest entry I've had all week and it boils down to 'I like my bike.' Things will have settled down for me hopefully by the time I post this, so maybe I'll get back to 'work.'

By the way, I lost several issues of Static due to flooding, and there's just about the right number of issues for a Showcase volume, DC...

From Static Shock #1, "As I was Saying Before I was Interrupted..."; Written by Dwayne McDuffie, art by John Paul Leon.
Read more!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I got nothin'.
Yeah, big surprise there.
Out of office. Had the day off, but it was so the Youngest could go in for an MRI. That kid absolutely did not want to be touched by the nurses and such, so it's no surprise he also fought like hell to avoid the needle, too. He was sedated for a bit, and came out of it pretty quickly, although he staggered like a drunk for an hour or so. Anyway, I ended up more tired today than if I had gone to work. More tomorrow, and the rest of the Mike Parobeck Dr. Light pictures are up, so check them out.

From Justice League Unlimited #10, "Madness...Madness...They call it Madness!" Written by Adam Beechen, pencils by Carlo Barberi, inks by Walden Wong. Read more!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Oh, the guilt.
It's why the lacrosse team is better funded than debate, kids.

In the world of the Atheist, there's no God and assholes from beyond the grave are congregating in Winnipeg, but as you can see in this panel, Flash and Sgt. Rock comics are still on the spinner racks. Seems a fair trade, really.

With the recent bumper crop of quarter books at The Comic Book Shop, I've forgone buying some marginally entertaining books (Moon Knight, for one) in order to buy twelve-plus oddballs out of the bins. A lot of those have been books I wouldn't usually think of picking up. Some have been entertaining little trifles, like Thor: Son of Asgard or Green Lantern Corps: for a buck-fifty for a story arc, pretty darn good. There's been a couple I honestly regret dropping a quarter on--there's one particularly, almost offensively bad ish of the Warlord relaunch that comes to mind there. But there's been more that I almost feel guilty about not paying full price for.

High up on that list is the Atheist. I was more familiar with writer Phil Hester for his artwork; and while I remembered John McCrea from such books as Hitman and Cruel and Unusual (which wasn't bad, and wouldn't make a bad movie) but I wasn't a big fan. On top of that, this was a black and white book, and a bit more expensive on the cover.

But, this book grabbed me, and pretty quickly: An abrasive special advisor, with a few secrets of his own, starts investigating the mysterious convergence of runaways in Winnipeg, Canada, where they party themselves to death in large numbers. Each issue has enough of a twist and enough character bits, to make you really want that next issue. (I'm torn between trying to push this series and not wanting to spoil it, so I'm going to play it close to the vest here.)

Today's panel is from the Atheist #3, written by Phil Hester, art by John McCrea. I got the first three issues for less than a quarter of cover price of one, but I assure you I'm coughing up for #4. If and when it comes out: a quick check, then some cross-referencing, failed to find the book on Grand Comics Database, which makes me think it didn't get the exposure it needed, or deserves. Give it a shot, and check out those quarter boxes if need be.

How strongly do I encourage you to pick this up? I hadda write this post three different times, as it got eaten and wiped the first two tries. I think the second try was a better draft, but it's lost and gone forever, sorry. The first try I accidentally killed by trying to load IMDB, since the wife and I saw an ad for Disturbia and couldn't remember the character David Morse played on House. OK, I didn't know Morse's name until I looked it up, and it wasn't worth losing a post, but now I know and so on. Read more!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Still on low.

09-11-2006 09;11;09PM
Originally uploaded by googum.
From Batman: Shadow of the Bat #88, "Fruit of the Earth, part one" Written by Greg Rucka, art by Dan Jurgens and Bill Sienkiewicz.

Still awaiting high-speed, and I have overtime and the youngest has an MRI this week, so posting is going to be...well, I hope to post, but content-wise it'll be a little light. I was planning on cleaning out some of the assorted panels and scans, little odds and ends that I never used or forgot about.

I say that, but I haven't been near a computer all weekend, and I'll probably go on line, and see DC plans on killing off some beloved b-lister like Metamorpho or the Creeper; or Marvel's putting Bendis or Millar on the rest of their books; and have to work up a whole new tirade...

I did buy another pile of quarter books, and may still talk about some of those, and once everything's sorted we'll have more Mike Parobeck art for the secret, non-rapist origin of Dr. LIght, and a big look at a big issue of Showcase. Until then, check out the sidebar, and see what good little bloggers didn't watch movies all weekend...
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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Off-topic, and kind of gross:
Sure, microscopic society.  How bad could it be?
So, I got my Lamisil prescription today...and I'm officially too open for a blog.
Oh great Rao!  Burn it!  Burn it all!
Funny story, actually: took about two months, and I nearly got Tricore or Socore or some cholesterol drug instead. Honest mistake, and at least two days of that wait was to grow a culture. Yes, that usually should take at least a week. Two days. And hey, getting rid of a discolored toenail is well worth damaging my liver equivalent to a week of binge drinking with each pill. Wait, what did the label say? "Take two tablets"...sonuva..."by mouth." Well, glad that got cleared up.

If only there were some conveniently shrunken superheroes to take care of this for me. We'll have to go with DC characters, since over at Marvel they can only shrink small enough to take care of your ant problem. I wouldn't pick the lineup from this issue--Atom, Superman, Green Lantern, Flash, and Wonder Woman--for my problem. I don't need diplomats, I need slash-and-burn.

Figure Atom has to go for the shrinky-dink as a given. I'd take Orion, Captain Atom, Big Barda, Guy Gardner. Leave no toe-fungus-guy standing. Orion and Barda are all about total war, Gardner can cause serious decimation when he feels like it, and Captain Atom understands that sometimes you have to destroy the village to save it. Probably end up at the very least minus all my toenails, worst case with serious radiation sickness; but it would be faster and a more interesting story.

From JLA #42, "Half a Mind to Save a World" Written by Dan Curtis Johnson, pencils by Mark Pajarillo, inks by Walden Wong. Nice fill-in issue between the Grant Morrison and Mark Waid runs. Read more!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

When the X-Men break something, you know it's broken.
Did I say 'triple checked'? Because I meant to say, 'hooked up to a couple of car batteries.'

That would be kind of nice, actually. None of this hemming and hawing about, wondering if I have to defrag the files or reinstall drivers or update my graphics card or turn the computer on-and-off real fast. A simple, binary, yes or no answer to computer problems, the X-Men way:

1. Turn on computer.

2. Computer explodes, taking monitor, desk, and bystanders with it; destroying all information as it melts into a puddle of ozone-scented goo.

3. Set up new computer.


This was from Avengers Annual #10, "By Friends--Betrayed!" Written by Chris Claremont, pencils by Mike Golden, inks by Armando Gil. It was recently reprinted (in an edited form) and packed in with the Ms. Marvel action figure from Marvel Legends, although she only appears in costume for two panels of flashback. Really, Storm has a longer cameo in this thing, and I'm pretty sure I've complained about this before, but it's a glaring fumble.

In a more cheerful note, this is from like the third or fourth issue I can think of, from about the same timeframe, where the X-Men seem to put more effort into repairing/upgrading/cleaning the Danger Room than they do using it. And look where that got them...

Made the call today to get highspeed, so I'm going to be running pretty quiet over here until then. Loading pictures takes too long and the failure rate's too high to do a long post right this second, but I promise to get more panels from that Parobeck Dr. Light story up later. longer will I have to try over and over to load a single goddamn panel, clicking 'upload image' again and again like a frickin' chimp. I am by no means breaking my back blogging, but when it feels like uploading takes more time than writing the entries, or even reading the comics themselves, then something's amiss. Then again, after badmouthing it for five minutes, it finally went through. Grr. We'll have to see what else trickles out this week... Read more!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

From Secret Origins #37, "All Those Light Years Ago!" Written by Craig Boldman, pencils by the great Mike Parobeck, inks by Ken Branch.

I scanned this in quite some time ago, then set the issue aside and lost it. Found it again, read my son the Legion of Substitute Heroes story, set it aside again. Much later, I found another Secret Origin of Dr. Light (which we may come back to...although it's not very good.) and thought about this one again.

The story begins with perennial punching-bag Dr. (Arthur) Light hobbling in the rain, back to his shabby apartment after yet another beating. The storm knocks out the lights, and a panicked Light scrambles to find matches, birthday candles, anything, but too late. He is visited by the ghost of Dr. Light's past, from the looks of it.

Arthur calls the ghost in his costume Jacob, and the ghost tells the story of themselves, as two young scientists. Together, they have discovered solid light, and have been able to use it for force fields and teleportation...which makes total sense, somehow...Arthur Light wants to give a report to the board, but Jacob Finlay says no, citing rumors of theft and leaks.

While Jacob is admiring the JLA, or at least Black Canary; Arthur is having financial trouble. Of course, he's responsible for the thefts in their lab, and is being blackmailed/lowballed into continuing the thefts. While he won't turn over his and Jacob's research, Arthur has no problem stealing his associates' work, which he does that night.

This time, Arthur is caught red-handed, by a new hero, Doctor Light. Frantically, Arthur tries to get away, but is caught; and just as suddenly released by the Doctor. Back at home, as Arthur ponders why he was let go, Jacob overplays his hand by calling and hinting that the thief was lucky to get away.

Now paranoid that Jacob will blackmail him, Arthur is then further shaken down by his first blackmailer, who wants Dr. Light's secrets. Later at work, Jacob is cleaning up the damage to the lab (mostly caused by himself) from the night before, when a console misfires and disentegrates him. Arthur is shaken, since he had been wishing he was strong enough to strike at Jacob only moments before; but the incident is declared an accident.

That night, Arthur is confronted by Jacob's ghost, but refuses to accept any guilt in Jacob's death. He accuses the ghost of toying with him. Fleeing, in what would be a recurring theme for the rest of his life, Arthur discovers light keeps the ghost away. He manages to get home, only to be confronted by his blackmailer's chauffeur. Desparate, Arthur goes back to the lab, sets up a forcefield to keep out security, and starts tearing it up, searching for Finlay's Dr. Light costume and gear.

As security tries to get through the force field, they cut the power, which kills the lights, which lets Finlay back at Arthur. Arthur protests that Finlay's not real, and as if to prove it, Finlay casually incinerates Arthur's blackmailer and chauffeur, via TV. OK, that's sorta impressive.

Arthur tries to explain the faulty console killed Finlay, and when he moves it, he discovers the hidden costume. Furious, he points out that the weapons in the suit could have interfered with the console, and Finlay probably caused his own death. Arthur uses the light weapons on the ghost, and declares himself Doctor Light.

Beaten, Finlay's ghost warns Light that if he doesn't get him, one of his "super-hero allies" will avenge him. Pretty chummy with a Justice League he never met, wasn't he? Arthur snaps back that he no longer has to fear ghosts, super-heroes, or "justice itself." Which is a pretty bold statement, as Light would then begin his career as whipping boy, easier to beat than a perp in shackles, as Chief Wiggum would say. There would have to be colossal satisfaction for Jacob Finlay in haunting someone so bumbling, ineffectual, and sad that they did all the work for you. Dr. Light's already living in hell, and while Jacob could make it worse, it's better to let Arthur know that he very well could, if he didn't think it was already bad enough.

Somewhere else in DCU canon, I had thought someone had previously established light kills ghosts, but I'm not sure where. Perhaps from Dr. Thirteen or one of the DC mystery/horror books.

I figured with Identity Crisis and Dr. Light's new persona of 'serial rapist,' this origin would be swept under the rug. But, a little research revealed that both of the above Doctors made appearances in Ostranders' Suicide Squad, with Arthur somehow managing to escape from hell...then sell his soul to Neron, around his appearance in JLA's "Rock of Ages" storyline. Not a man to learn from his mistakes, is the key takeaway here regarding Dr. Light.

What about the ghost Doctor, Jacob Finlay? The horror aspect of his fate seems even more grotesque all these years (and retcons) later: you invent a superhero suit, with the ultimate goal of dating Black Canary, then are killed by your best friend, who goes on to become a supervillain, who you haunt. With me so far? So Finlay haunts Dr. Light and has himself a good undead laugh over Light's jackassery as the Justice League, Teen Titans, and Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys kick six shades of snot out of him. Finlay's ghost could probably drag Light into hell at any time, or at the very least kill him; but is too busy enjoying watching him suffer here on earth.

Then the rapes start. And all of a sudden, haunting Light wouldn't be funny anymore, would it? And Finlay would be stuck, a mere ghost now, powerless to stop Light; and all of Light's crimes on Finlay's head because he toyed with him for years instead of finishing him.

But, Finlay's ghost has even less power than that, since I sincerely doubt we'll see him, or this origin, ever mentioned or referred to again. The continuity just doesn't fit, and I think Dr. Light's Underworld Unleashed look has also been quietly discarded. Maybe some things are bad enough alone. Maybe jamming this origin into the Identity Crisis version would be like cramming together jigsaw pieces that don't fit, like alien superheroes and USAF pilots with magic rings and Amazon princesses and serial rapists.

Back to the issue at hand, Arthur is called 'Arthur Smith' several times in the story, but on the door to their lab, he's listed as 'Arthur Light,' which I had thought was his real name. Also, on the letters page, there's a great writeup on the Doctor: "Well, if I had been unable to beat the Atom, I probably would have thought long and hard before going after Green Lantern, but I don't have a fin on my head either." That explains why he's been in Green Arrow, eh? (Yeah, I went there.) There's also an ad for Suicide Squad as well, featuring Dr. Light in the back row.

Hopefully, I'll be able to add more pictures for this one later tonight.

A quick question: can anyone name an Underworld Unleashed makeover that stuck?

Edit: And, they're not loading. Calling for high-speed tomorrow, I swear... Read more!