Thursday, September 30, 2010

An Arbitrary Panel With the Name of This Blog - Featuring The Suave Pickup Stylings of Mr. Dirk Morgna

Just so the blog's a bit thematic, I'm making this a regular feature. And also just to emphasize the name of my blog may not be the jazziest, catchiest, the coolest or the hippest...but you can't beat all the retroactive advertising.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Spidey's Sick Day/Snow Day - The Amazing Spider-man #277

I've been sick the past couple of days and woke up today after a night of fever remembering this story from the mid-eighties, which was during the high point of my Spider-man fandom. Right away it will be noticed this is during the black suit era, not the suit that was Venom but the handmade version that the Black Cat whipped up for him because she preferred it to the classic, more colorful Mexican wrestler version. I actually feel the same way, even though I'm usually a rabid traditionalist when it comes to costumes.

This particular story, "Cry of the Wendigo" by Charles Vess (story and art), was not the first story in the issue but a backup feature. It was certainly the better part, as the first part was just a tie in to the Daredevil "Born Again" storyline that would be Frank Miller's swansong work on the character who originally catapulted him to well-knownness. I think however it's possible that the Vess thing was meant to be the entire issue but ran too short so they had to whip up the lead-in, but that's just a guess.

So in the superior back-up story, we are first treated to the eye-grabbing splash page shown above, as Spider-man appears to be inexplicably lost in a blizzard. But after a series of panels where he seems to freeze to death, it is revealed...

...that it was all a dream.

Feeling restless, Parker's not about to let a little thing like a blizzard stop him from swinging around the city, I know I sure wouldn't - though of course I'm Canadian.

Meanwhile, in another part of the city it is revealed that the Canadian ambassador and his family have arrived in town. I actually only realized, rereading it today, that it was supposed to be the ambassador from Canada. Well, what did I know when I was 12? They don't name my home and native land, but they refer to having journeyed down to New York and brought the weather with them. Trivia: The current Canadian ambassador to the U.S. is Gary Doer, who used to be the premier, kind of like governor, of my province, Manitoba.

It turns out to be fortunate Spidey has left his cozy bed, as there are nogoodniks about who promptly kidnap the ambassador's little daughter. Spidey chases their van and grabs the girl, but then he is on the run when...

So there is the inspiration for the title, and the other clue of it being the Canadian ambassador. Spidey meanwhile is starting to realize that he's ill and should be in bed. A cold or flu is hampering his strength and other powers considerably. However, when the baddies show up again, Spidey proves he is worthy to be called hero...

After some dazzling Spidey acrobatics and various kicks to the face, he carries the girl to safety but tells the now contained bad guys he will have to send the police after them. One is about to shoot Spider-man in the back - bearing in mind the cold and blizzard are hampering the old Spider-sense - when a sudden blast of snow, led by what appear to be some icy claws, descends on the villain.

After getting the girl back to her parents Peter wisely chooses to head for bed, leaving kidnappings and so forth to New York's many other superheroes.

I'm glad I remembered this. It's a simple but great story. It's nice to see a superhero take on regular villains and I am glad nothing terrible happens, and at the same time, with the dream and Wendigo (does it really exist? - we are left to ponder) it has sort of a horror feel. I sometimes think the horror aspect of Spidey could be played up more - I mean in a lot of ways, he's much like a fifties sci-fi movie monster (an influence seen in several Marvel characters) only his spider-ness doesn't manifest visibly.

That was an era when I was really into Spider-man, and now that I've been able to sample several different eras of Spidey, I still personally prefer it. He was somewhat less angst-ridden and more heroic than in some earlier versions. Issues during this time, usually written by Tom DeFalco and drawn by Ron Frenz, often had to do with Spider-man feeling discouraged by overwhelming odds but having to pull himself together, which probably helped bolster my own spirits during my early adolescence.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tossing & Turning...Mutant X...Teen Titans...Adam...Mr. Jupiter...Lilith...Emma...Mad Mod...Thunderbirds...

Over the last week and a half I've been watching the first season of Mutant X. I saw the box for only $15 and remembered I liked it, so I went ahead and got it and have no regrets. It's the kind of simple show that many superhero fans tend to hate, but I like it because - despite it being based on no one particular comic book - unlike a lot of live action superhero shows it doesn't really seem to try to find the middle ground between comics and regular live action for non -comic fans. It just has a lot of straight up superheroics, albeit plain-clothesdly, but this was coming out early in the decade that I sometimes think of as the plainclothes era. And there is at least an explanation in the concept for the characters not having flamboyant outfits, which is that they try to keep a low profile. It's obvious that it was meant to spin off from the success of the X-Men movies, but with the difference that these people gain their powers after birth, and fight to protect a world that "doesn't know they exist" rather than one that "hates and fears them." I personally can never decide which one of those phrases describes my own life, but I digress. I can definitely see an argument for the show being a generic mishmosh, but I like that it sort of has elements of many superhero teams. For instance, they have a cool base and jet that seems a lot like...well, practically everybody, but they also all get special rings like the Legion. I'm kind of a sucker for any story with special rings. I also like that the effects and sets on the show are very basic. Some might criticize, but I personally like a concept show that just makes do with what it has and goes ahead and tells crazy stories. I like that the show just goes ahead without trying to seem plausible, most shows trying to seem believable just end up insulting my intelligence. This show rewards my faith, my suspension of disbelief. I get a kick out of techno karate scenes, what can I say. It is certainly the kind of show that, for better or for worse, bears the distinct stamp of the time in which it was made, making it an inevitable eventual time capsule.

Now, in watching it, I was trying to decide who their leader Adam most reminded me of as far as older mentor/team leader types go. There are many obvious comparisons such as Reed Richards, Niles Caulder, Professor X...but two of those guys have superpowers, and of course two are in a wheelchair and one of those is also slightly creepy and questionable. The quality Adam does share with them all is his superintelligence. He can technobabble as well as Mr. Fantastic, and invents some nifty gadgets.

Adam is fatherly but slightly mysterious. He is usually benevolent but can occasionally fly into a temper and chastise his young charges. He is able to be friends with them but never lose their respect. So that's when it dawned on me.

Of course, he's like Mr. Jupiter from Teen Titans in the late sixties and early seventies! Both are super intelligent but not super powered, have secret bases with training facilities and seemingly unlimited resources. Both are named after mythical father figures. Both possess mature good looks and are sharp dressers. Both are trying to teach the young heroes to use non-lethal means to make the world a better place.

And of course, both often appear in the company of a pretty girl with mental abilities.
In the case of Mr. Jupiter it is the ethereal, if slightly aloof, Lilith, who often experiences precognition.
In the case of Adam, it's the warmer Emma, whose powers of empathy, or "telempathy" as it's sometimes called, sometimes manifest a bit like the powers of Princess Projectra of the Legion, but also sometimes give her a kind of precognition.
Emma even has red hair in one of the seasons.

Once I realized Adam was making me think of Mr. Jupiter, it suddenly dawned on me that, although the obvious comparison of the show's villain, Mason Eckhardt, is to Andy Warhol, in a less specific sense he dresses quite sixties mod with his plastic framed glasses, shag hair, and finely cut pin striped black suits.
Which of course invites comparisons to...the Mad Mod!!!

Granted I used a pic from the cartoon show to make an easier comparison. But I do have a feeling that the makers of Mutant X were probably fans of Teen Titans, or at least channelled it as one of the many influences on this fun show, which also reminds me a lot of Thunderbirds, one of my all-time favourites.

(Mason Eckhardt is certainly mad, one of the things I enjoy is the staple plot element, at least in the early ones I've been watching, where some henchman of Eckhardt's, eager to prove himself, tries to get a prestigious assignment. It's fun to see how their inevitable foiling at the hands of Mutant X lead to the chilling Eckhardt, portrayed wonderfully by Tom McCamus, to, shall we say, dispense with their services.)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

It's For Real and It's Spectacular

Teri Hatcher is finally coming to Smallville as the mother of Lois Lane. Since Lois' mother is dead in Smallville continuity, she will be appearing via old Lane home movies, according to my sources, in the 8th episode of the season. This technique gets around the fact that Teri is really only about fourteen years older than current Lois Erica Durance and still a bit young to be the mother of a 30-something. I find it quite exciting - among my many disreputable comic fan credentials is that I was a fan of Lois and Clark. Teri was actually the first incarnation of Lois that made me understand why Clark was so hung up on her. I don't mean just that she was attractive, but her Lois had a lovable personality beneath her brash demeanor. Erica Durance has played the part a bit differently, in that while Teri's Lois was using her tough exterior to conceal a certain softness, Durance is tougher through and through, though certainly likable.

In other Smallville related news, Chloe Sullivan is set to make her comic debut this week, after many teases and false hopes, in the Jimmy Olsen backup in Action Comics. It's about time she was incorporated into the Superman comic world. It may seem like the tail wagging the dog, but Jimmy himself first appeared in the Superman radio show in the early forties before being adapted into the comics. There are more modern cases of extra-comic characters being incorporated into the comics, Harley Quinn coming to mind first. Not clear is if she will actually be Lois' cousin as in the show.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Some Stray Thoughts on the Smallville Season 10 Premiere - Spoilerish!

- The picture above in no way represents the episode. But I liked the ones with Zatanna.
- I think about 40 people were either knocked unconscious or regained consciousness in the new episode, titled "Lazarus"
- It gives some people conniptions how the show rearranges Superman chronology but I like it, it makes it unpredictable; and you can always tell the writers did their homework.
- The adult Lex clone was nicely creepy, and, in one of the show's patented reversals from previous Superman history, I liked that he was older than the last time we saw him, as opposed to the clone from the comics in the nineties who was younger (and an Amish Australian, I think)

- Another example of the Smallville patented reversal was in the episode when they made you think Ollie was going to lose his fortune, but then he didn't.
-They're really teasing us with the Superman costume, but I got a feeling we won't see it on Tom until the end of this, the final season. So I'm really not going to think about it till then.
-Hopefully this season we'll see all the heroes they have featured so far on the show that aren't regulars; Aquaman, Black Canary, Flash, Cyborg, Hawkman, Dr. Fate, Stargirl, the Wonder Twins, Zatanna, Martian Manhunter, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl...did I miss anybody?
-The effect for putting on the Helmet of Fate is like The Mask...which I kinda dig. I would have also liked to see Chloe launch into a rendition of "Cuban Pete"
-I'm not crazy about the oppressively dark mood of the show, come on, let's have a little fun!
-That being said, I do feel what the show is striving to do, in the long run, is lead the entire superhero genre into a lighter mood, but by first starting where it's been this decade, in shadows. Who better to lead than the original superhero?
-I got a little misty when Pa Kent appeared, and I think the whole scene was kind of a tribute to
The Adventures of Superman #500
-Wear a
tighter shirt next time, Lois!
-I think if they ever have any more of the Legion members, actor Jesse Comacho would make a jim-dandy Bouncing Boy, one of my favourite characters.

-The little Alexander Luthor clone is interesting, and obviously a bit of a tribute to the Crisis on Infinite Earths kid...who I think later became an A-1 nutjob, though I haven't followed continuity too tightly in the last few years. But didn't we learn that all this time it was his hand that people keep seeing at the beginning of time, or did I dream that?
-The Fortress Jor-El simulacrum really needs to lighten up.
-I've got a feeling I know what that shadowy figure at the end portended, people kept saying things like "Darkness is coming". Hmmmm...

-Cool! But the show has been known to throw curveballs.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What is YOUR Desert Island Comic/Collection/Trade Paperback?

If I ever, for some reason, had to make the sad choice of only having one comic book, collection or trade paperback with me for the rest of my life - this would certainly be a top candidate. It's a great sampler of DC's team-ups and group adventures since just before the Silver Age to the eighties. It starts off with "The Terrible Trio", a story that teams the most famous characters, Superman, Batman and Robin against three big baddies. Other highlights for me include a two part Green Arrow (pre-goatee)/Aquaman adventure from Adventure Comics #267 with art from Ramona Fradon; a super-groovy Atom/Flash team-up from Bob Haney and Alex Toth; Adam Strange and Hawkman together in "Planets in Peril", which possibly began the Rann/Thanagar relationship still being explored today. It's nice to have the first pairing of teen heroes that would become the prototype for the Teen Titans, from Brave and the Bold #54. There's an odd but interesting story about how Tomar Re, the birdheaded Green Lantern, suffers guilt because Krypton was in his space sector, and wonders if he could have done more to prevent its destruction. There are also some indispensable team-up stories like "The Flash of Two Worlds", without which it is difficult to imagine comic history, and the first teaming of the Justice League and the Justice Society. There is also the first Dennis O'Neal/Neal Adams Green Lantern Green Arrow story, the one that kicked it all off. I'm not a huge fan of the Hard Traveling Heroes era but I acknowledge it has a place in comic history. As the volume goes on, it gets to a couple teamings that are interesting though not particularly hard hitting - Batman and the Creeper, and Superman and Swamp Thing, the latter by Alan Moore, whose work I usually don't like. I find the story here to be okay but nothing special other than the opening shot of a stubbly, addled-looking Superman driving a car.

On top of it being a great sampler in terms of characters, many of the great writers and artists are represented. Bob Haney, Gardner Fox, Bruno Premiani, Alex Toth, Ramona Fradon and Mike Sekowsky, to name several. Here's a look at the back cover of my copy, illustration by Carmine Infantino and Bob Smith - with a nice array of characters.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Favourite Thing I've Gotten Online So Far

I have the Crisis on Infinite Earths Batman in the picture for scale, what I'm really talking about today is the Secret Origins DC Mini Comics. These were originally sold in little plastic bags with Leaf Tart and Tangy candies in the mid eighties. I believe I got every one at the time except for the Superman one, which means I had Hawkman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, and the Justice League of America. Despite my love of Superman he may have been low on my list of priorities because I was already abundantly familiar with his origin but in the dark about the others, even Batman, as the Batman I grew up with was mostly the Adam West or Super Friends version who didn't like to dwell on the past much. It actually never even occurred to me that he needed a motivation to be Batman, aside from its own innate lure. What kid wouldn't want to be Batman just for its own sake?

So it was from these tiny comics, two panels a page, 16 pages each, that I got my crash course in DC history. Unfortunately, my own copies vanished at some point, so I was left to wander the earth - or my yard at least- alone, forlorn...until I found them up for auction online. Well, it was six of them - in fact the ones I'd previously owned minus Justice League. I was the top and only bidder, so for a buck I took 'em home, which actually amounts to less than I originally paid; though of course they didn't come with any candy this time. Since the older I get, the more I become susceptible to completist fever, I may have to track down the remaining two at some point. But I'm darn happy to have these, and as a collector I find it's all the bargains I get that help justify the occasional insane splurge.

Monday, September 20, 2010

When Comic Book Thugs Look Like...Alfred Pennyworth?!

There is probably an overlap between Batman and Punisher readers - including, at one time, myself - but I thought I'd post this for the amusement or possible dismay of those who are only familiar with the former.

Yes, it did happen, it was not a dream, not an imaginary story, it was in 1988 in The Punisher #10. Any resemblance between this character and Alfred is probably quite intentional, as his name in the story was Alfred Coppersmith. He was the villain of the issue. He calls people "diphead" and everything, he is not to be messed with.

The DC tributes, or ribbing, or whatever it was, did not stop there, as at one point Frank Castle, the Punisher, disguises himself as Clark Kent...sort of.

Story is by Mike Baron, art by Whilce Portacio.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

They See Me Rolling

From Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #69 - I rather think the Nightmobile, which Supes and Jimmy used in their alter-ego identities as Nightwing and Flamebird for tooling around and solving crimes in Kandor, was a pretty cool machine. It's too bad Jimmy couldn't use it to impress Lucy Lane, but on top of it only being used in his secret identity, all of it took place in a bottle on a table in a hidden fortress in the North Pole. Girls never believe it when you tell them about stuff like that.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Collection Room So Far

As a collector I sometimes to like to see where and how other collectors store their stuff, so here goes with my stuff, but this is a work in progress. I intend for this to be sort of a "before" picture, but it might be a while until the "after" happens. I had to move recently and previously did not have one lone room in which to store my stuff, so this is a bit of a novelty for me. I do have about six more boxes that can't be seen, stored elsewhere for the nonce. It's not the hugest collection, but it gets me by.

You can see I'm not finished yet because obviously I don't intend my Super Friends lunch box to be hiding behind a stack of Marvel Essentials forever. Over on the right, on the floor there is stuff I'm planning to get rid of due to it being doubles, or just stuff I'm not much interested in anymore. And that is indeed a Britney Spears Slurpee cup over on the dresser that I use for putting various things in. And you can also see a couple portable drawers full of my cassettes from the eighties. Rock on! Somewhere in there is a tape player.

The most important thing relating to the room might be this object that I whipped up, MacGyver-like.

The door to the room doesn't click shut, allowing the feline delinquent who wanders my premises, searching for cheap thrills, carte blanche to go in and sharpen her claws on various items with impunity. Just as it appears, I made this thing out of three hair elastics and a hook from a picture frame. I'm pretty darn proud of it, I just loop the elastics around the door knob and hook the hook onto the, um, metal thing that the clicky thing should click into ideally. It works quite well! It's strong enough the door doesn't budge if she tries it, so there's no danger to her. Why do so many of us collectors live with kitties, the natural enemies of delicate stuff? Probably because they're not judgemental about our lifestyles, as long as the vittles keep a-pouring.

Friday, September 17, 2010

How To Modernize an Old Comic Book Without Too Much Work

The original panel, from Amazing Spider-man #270, November 1985:

And now the modernized, completely fresh and up to date, mature...heck, dare I say it, even "Ultimate", replacement:

That antiquated old story has suddenly been brought 25 years into the future and is now a thoroughly modern, adult piece of literature that you can beat people over the head with if they say comics aren't for grownups! It's that easy!

(Edit: Second panel altered by myself for satirical purposes)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

When Comic Book Thugs Look Like Charles Bronson Part 3

From Amazing Spider-man #331, art by Erik Larsen, who I never liked much but I do kinda like how the whites of Spidey's eyes have expressions. Spidey's line here is pretty tough, though Punisher looks a little embarrassed, like he's thinking "Just let me do the tough guy lines." This is obviously an acknowledged tribute to CB, kinda too bad he has to be the bad guy. I must admit I've been watching Death Wish movies all week on AMC, there's something about them I can't take my eyes off. I just kind of enjoy Paul Kersey's casual, laid-back, go-at-your-own-pace brand of vigilante justice. For some choice Chuck clips and lines, look no further than here.

Bonus comic connection - Gavan O'Herlihy plays the main villain in Death Wish 3, and he was also Brad, the washed up jock fiending on Lana Lang in Superman III. Good things come in threes! He was also the first Chuck Cunningham on the first season of Happy Days, the retconned-out-of-existence older brother of Richie (I assume there was some kind of Crisis at Arnold's that changed reality).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Suppose This is Comic Related...

...since there have been Coneheads and Ghostbusters comics based on the movies of Mr. Dan Aykroyd. I was fortunate enough to meet him last Saturday at an event promoting his line of wine and other spirits. I don't drink but bought a bottle of wine as a keepsake and he was nice enough to shake my hand and sign my Blues Brothers poster as himself and as Elwood. Neat!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Do You Dare to Solve the Diabolically Ingenius Coded Blog Entry in Picture Pun Form?

Above is a picture of Barry Allen in his first appearance and origin in Showcase # 4. The drawing is by Carmine Infantino. It's safe to say that Carmine Infantino probably

than any other artist in the Silver Age. I would guess that Mike Sekowsky is probably second, if we're also talking about when Barry's in uniform as Flash.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Thought This Might Be Fun...Comics Scene 1993 List of Planned Comic Book and Related Movies

Click on image to read the list of projects supposedly in the works at the time. It's interesting they were already talking about Aliens vs. Predator back then. I think that looking back, if I could go back in time and tell people which ones actually did end up getting made, there would probably be some surprise.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

This Week's Big Three

Batman and Robin #14 - The main reason I still read this is curiosity about Dick Grayson as Batman. I like Mr. Grayson for being simultaneously one of the toughest people in the DCU and at the same time one of the more lighthearted (at times). This series has definitely turned out more grotesque and less fun than I hoped, but I keep going with it, for some reason. I want Whirly-bats and I want Bat-Mite. But what I've got is the Joker, Damian (don't people know not to trust a kid named Damian?), and the revolting Professor Pyg. Mind you, the element of Damian does interest me a bit, as I remember reading and enjoying Son of the Demon way back in the eighties, and I'm glad it's been reshuffled back into continuity after status for some time as an unofficial Elseworlds. Ras Al Ghul is my favourite Bat-villain, except for the Penguin maybe, so naturally I'm curious about a character who is his grandson and Batman's own kid all at the same time. I give this ish, oh, let's say a 6 out of 10. Grant Morrison's writing is confusing, the art storytelling is quirky, but on the other hand there are a lot of face kicks and other Bat action. I'm not really feeling the characters much, though, even scenes between Dick and Alfred are kind of perfunctory, not a lot of meat there.
Doom Patrol #14 - Ambush Bug, Ambush there a place for you in this jaded world? Well, he'll make room, if Keith Giffen has his way. The first page of this comic being some of AB's trademark metereferencing is fun, then we get into the more serious part of the issue itself, with Rita Farr grown to giant size and squeezing her ex-squeeze Steve Dayton so we can actually hear the bones pop, via comic book sound effects. Yuck! By the way I'm not crazy about the current version of Elasti Girl's costume, which has some slick looking elements, but then the part covering her midriff looks like a cross between an eighteenth century corset and a third grader's sewing assignment. Maybe I missed something, and it's functional...? Which reminds me, maybe I don't know much about women's clothes but you know that commercial where the mother has borrowed the daughter's shirt? Am I wrong, or is that not actually a really hideous shirt? I don't mind the weird green but then it's got that totally non sequitur ruffle thing off to one side and...well, I just think they should burn the damn thing rather than use whatever product it is that supposedly gets the stains out.

Oh, the copy on the cover says "Super-Chief!", a witty reference to a more obscure DC character, who was a Native American with superpowers from the Silver Age. I'm sure most of you probably knew that. I've only know about him for a couple of years, since first reading about him in Michael W. Barr's book on Silver Age sci fi comics.

Adventure Comics #518 - Saving the best for last...

By the way, I can't now write a high number for the Adventure Comics issue without thinking how now my Adventure Comics #503, which says "Final Issue!" on it is now out of date thanks to the relaunch. It's turned that issue (which was in digest form, by the way) into lies! But in all seriousness, I'm kind of glad they revived this venerable title. I've often said, at various functions - society balls, boardroom meetings, looting sprees - that if there was one title I'd like to own a complete run of, it would be it is, I'm working on the fifty or so issues that were Supergirl adventures, some of the quirkiest early seventies stuff I've read.

But now to this issue. I must admit I like the cover, and I'm not even a big fan of Doomsday. Additionally, I'm not sure if his towering that high over Superboy is meant as sort of symbolic, ie he will cast a large shadow over the Superman legend type thing, but I dig the rendering of that big nasty. Cover is by Scott Clark and David Beaty. The story, "Whispers of Doom", takes us a bit further into Legion continuity than we were in the last issue, as they have now gained a few more key members such as fan favourite Ultra Boy.

Anyway, Paul Levitz, Kevin Sharpe, and Marlo Alquiza deliver a great issue for action, drama and fun. Levitz has still got it, even more so. One of the highlights is a scene where a young Phantom Girl flirts with Superboy - and it's nice to see her in that old unrevealing costume with the big P on the front. We also see a young, pre-Legion Dream Girl, in fact her home world of Naltor provides much of the focus for this story. And there are some other key elements which may or may not be suggested by the cover.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Nicolas Cage

Not much beef on this cake, admittedly, but this is today's Beefcake Week selection from the 1993 Marvel Swimsuit Special. I must admit I really like this one, it's a good gag and the painting itself is actually kind of strangely lovely and skilled, a lot of intricate brush strokes go to make up this striking image. Also I like that this is one of those comic related images that is fairly odd in context, and just plain bizarre out of context. One wonders what future archaeologists will make of this sort of thing.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wolverine's Been Over-Exposed Over The Years, But This is Ridiculous!

Oh, by the way, I'm bringing back "...but this is ridiculous!" I think its time has come 'round again.

I'm really getting into this Beefcake Week idea, mostly due to it giving me a use for the Marvel Swimsuit Specials, so I'll be throwing a few more at ya. I guess this keeps the blog from being too DC-centric, even though I'm sure I've spent less than a hundred bucks on new Marvel stuff in the last ten years. Generally, in terms of overall comic collecting, I'm kinda like 65% DC, 25% Marvel, 10 % other stuff (Gold Key, Dark Horse, Archie, etc.)

I think I can guarantee there won't be any more real brain scamblers like the Punisher one, just nice tasteful ones...sort of. Anyway, I really actually like todays. The art and colours are nice, and the camp fire gives it a nice cozy feel. I could conceivably wear those shorts Logan has on. Let me hasten to add I'm nowhere near that hairy. He is rather hirsute, isn't he? And how often do we get a chance to say the word "hirsute"?

The narration, by the way, is supposed to be by the Troll character Pip. As I recall he was part of the Adam Warlock cycle of stories, which was actually a really good seventies saga. I tend to think of the seventies as the time when the Big Two were on their most even keel, in terms of being about equal in quality, though I still lean towards DC just cuz. Super Friends, for one thing. I could go on.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Contribution to Beefcake Week

Yes, SallyP at Green Lantern Butts Forever has declared this Beefcake week, which I figured gives me a chance to get some mileage out of the 1993 Marvel Swimsuit Special, which yes, really happened, and which I still have kicking around. The concept was that all the Marvel heroes, and antiheroes I suppose, go for a beach vacation at Monster Island, the island that first appeared in Fantastic Four #1. That explains the funny little creatures in the background there.

So this is Frank Castle, the Punisher, who has been portrayed by Dolph Lundgren, Tom Jane, and Ray Stevenson. Ladies can decide which of those actors they would want to see in this tasteful little number that is guaranteed to be burned into your mind for all time. Well, he is the Punisher after all. Click on the pic if, for some reason, you want it bigger.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saturday Cartoon: Green Lantern In "The Vanishing World"

Some people would use some of that fancy, hifalutin screen capture technology. I just pointed a camera at the screen and took pics while enjoying some sixties DC Filmation Superheroes. If you haven't watched any of these, they're a trip, and like many retro cartoons, best enjoyed on a big wide screen where you can really see the groovy, spacey graphics stretched out bigger and well, slightly wider than they were originally presented. For your Saturday infotainment, here are some sights and, I guess that would just be sights, from the Green Lantern episode, "The Vanishing World". Just think of this as being kind of like a 2-D Viewmaster on a slight angle and we'll be fine. Okay, this is possibly the lamest idea for a blog entry yet, but here we go.

First is the intro, with the face of a Guardian, and it isn't the colour loss from taking a pic of a TV screen, the Guardians in the sixties Filmation GL really don't have blue skin.

It could be that, despite all the weirdness coming up in the episode, the producers thought throwing a big blue face at the audience first thing might throw them off. But then, cartoon colourists love to annoy comic fans.

Next in the intro:

Hal Jordan in big-fist Kirbyvision!!!

So then the story starts, as Hal, flying in a plane, they got that right at least, is contacted by his faithful sidekick Piefa-what the...? Who's this blue kid???

Yes, there is no Pieface, aka Thom, in this cartoon, instead there is a young man from Venus, I believe, whose name is Kiro (I think that's how you spell it). Perhaps they thought Pieface would be offensive to Eskimoes, or Inuit as we call them in Canada. Strangely, Kiro speaks just like a stereotypical Eskimo, making him simultaneously offensive to the Inuit and the Venusians.

Then the proper title of the episode appears over a shot

Looks like Ferris Aircraft way back there, anyway - though I don't think Carol ever appears. One of the things I like about the Filmation DC cartoons is how the title of an episode appears after some action and sort of floats over the graphics, it somehow makes it seem more like a moving comic.

So it isn't long before Kiro gets his scrawny blue @$$ captured by some space nogoodniks.

They don't like Venusians so much.

GL will have to rescue him, first taking his oath.

The scene of GL taking his oath is nice, and the power battery looks particularly beautiful. Strangely, in the cartoon, he only says the last two lines of his famous oath.

So Hal takes to the air.

And that is my camera playing tricks, he doesn't have red hair in the cartoon. Wouldn't wanna step on Guy Gardner's toes.

So next our heroes are on the Vanishing World, an asteroid that appears for an hour once every year before vanishing into another dimension, hence its name. As can be seen, its wildlife is none too friendly.

But that's no problem when you can zap your troubles away with the power ring.

But it doesn't take Kiro long to get caught by another charming native life form, a pink snake that shoots fire out of his mouth, natch.
I was clearly getting too excited to hold the camera steady by that point, so if you feel like watching the episode, here it is. Though it won't be quite the same as watching it on a widescreen, you will get to hear how sloshed the voice for Hal sounds. Well, it's wonderful stuff. I do so love the superhero cartoons.