Monday, April 21, 2008

Adios, Dave's Long Box!

Here's my reaction to Dave Campbell's decision to discontinue Dave's Long Box:

Don't worry, Dave. I'll get over it (sob!). Good luck with the ABC blog.

(P.S. I forgive you for topping my April Fools' Day gag. I mean, how can I hold a grudge when Remar is involved?)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Truth In Advertising: Titans#1 (NSFW)

In a more honest world, this is what the ad for Titans#1 would have looked like:





But seriously, folks, this is just sad.

I've been following various Teen Titans incarnations since I started reading comics. In fact, "Teen Titans" was one of the books that first got me hooked on superhero comics when I was a kid. And I'm not talking Wolfman/Perez Titans. I'm talking Haney/Cardy Titans. Old school Titans. Back when I was 9 years old and starting to read my older cousins' and friends' comics.

Being a Titans follower has had its peaks and valleys. For every "Requiem for a Titan", "Judas Contract", "Who Is Donna Troy?", "Technis Imperative", or "Titans Tomorrow" storyline, we've had to suffer through stuff like the Deo Kids or "A Very Special Damage", or Bill Jaaska. We've seen Dick Grayson evolve from Robin to Nightwing, but we've also seen Cassie "Wonder Girl" Sandsmark devolve from a spunky, independent young heroine to a needy codependent who keeps getting her ass kicked. So it hasn't always been easy.

But the Titans were one of the first indelible impressions the superhero comics world made on me when I was a nine-year-old kid.

Now picture a modern-day 9-year-old reading Titans#1 and seeing this:

Not a pleasant thought, especially if you are the parent of said nine-year-old. If my pre-teen nephew or especially my pre-teen niece were reading something like this, I'd fling it away from them as if it were a poisonous snake.

I won't lie to you and say that I don't find the image of Starfire above pretty. But I'm a grown man. If I want to see pretty pictures of naked or scantily-clad women in erotic poses, I have plenty of options. There are plenty of places I can read that.

The question here is whether an all-ages superhero team adventure comic should be one of them.

And, no, I'm not going the old Freddy Wertham route here. I'm not asking "Should DC be allowed to publish a book like this?"

I'm asking whether or not they should publish it.


Well, at least there are Titans books out today that I would have no qualms about giving to my younger relatives.

Too bad the main current-continuity books aren't among them.

(Special thanks to Samantha.)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I Knew It!

I haven't made it to my local shop, but I read something interesting regarding Secret Invasion on Sally P's blog. It involves who is a secretly a Skrull.

And I have to say, I knew it all along.

What gave it away? Well, it was this little blog cartoon by Chris Sims. Specifically, this panel:

And the best part? The identity of the poster who tipped Chris off .


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Change of Plan!

Well, it looks like the "Rein of Terra" has ended.

Here I was all psyched about the new direction I was taking my blog in, renaming it "Rein of Terra" and fully dedicating it to chronicling and celebrating the legend of Superman's greatest foe of all time, Terra-Man, when everything was shot to hell by a twist of fate.

A big, blue, furry twist of fate.

A big, blue, furry, snarling, 350-pound twist of fate with huge teeth who confronted me at my home today and told me in threatening, but scholarly, terms that if I did not immediately change my website back to its original title that he would, well, eat me.

So, "Stars and Garters" it is, then.

C'mon, don't look at me like that. Could you really say "no" to this guy?

Didn't think so.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


This here's Tobias "Notintheface" Manning, Jr., and I'd like to welcome y'all to the debut of my brand spankin' new blog Rein of Terra, my unofficial Terra-Man website. This site is dedicated to chronicling the legend of my legendary ancestor, Tobias Manning aka Terra-Man, the greatest super-villain in Superman's Rogues Gallery.

Why the bold new direction, you might ask?

Well, you all may know I've been posting anonymously here for almost a year, and there was a reason that I withheld my true identity until now. Y'see, because a lot of you posters generally favored superheroes, I was afraid bein' descended from a supervillain, let alone Earth's greatest supervillain, might cause me some problems. But y'all have been so nice over these last few months I've decided to say it loud an' proud.

(By the way, another thing I've decided to change is my accent from my previous midwestern tone to a more appropriate inflection. I'm not quite used to it yet, so you'll prob'ly see me cuttin' in and out of my accent enough to make Kevin Costner green with envy.)

So come right in, relax, sit down a spell, and enjoy!

And now a special poll for all you Terra-Man fans...

Who's your favorite version of Terra-Man?

A. The original Pre-Crisis space-cowboy (Terra-Man Classic)?

B. The Post-Crisis industrialist-turned eco-terrorist?

C. The 19th-Century thief who used Chronos' stolen future weaponry to take over a western town in the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Once and Future Thing"?

D. The self-repairing 41st-century android bounty hunter from the Legion of Super Heroes episode "Unnatural Alliances"?

Discuss amongst yerselves.

My ancestor's love life...

One thing you could always say about my ancestor Tobias, it was that he was quite the ladies' man.

Why, back in Action Comics# 469, he....

Uh..... he......

Never mind.

Alright, move along! Nuthin' ta see here!

Tobias' Rowdy Reviews

Today, I reckon I'll look at an old comic from February 1980 with some sentimental family value: World's Finest#261.

The story was called "Showdown At Gotham City" and, along with my awesome ancestor, it guest-starred Tobias' ol' buddy Oswald Cobblepot aka The Penguin, along with that long-eared varmint Batman and (arrgh!) Superman, and it was told to me by a couple of jaspers named Denny O'Neil, Rich Buckler and Dick Giordano.

Our story starts off with ol' Pengy on a Gotham morning show telling the host how he's found the legendary Butch Cassidy and intro'ing Butch on the show. Butch claims he fell asleep in a cave with some weird gas that threw him into some kind of suspendium animation, which is a fancy name for a big long sleep. But Bats ain't havin' it, and he interrupts the show to expose Ozzy. Luckily, my ancestor Terra-Man shows up to show Ol' Pointy Ears who's boss and traps him in his lasso. Meantime, that dag-blasted Kryptonian shows up to try to stop T.M. and Pengy as they're making a getaway on T.M.'s trusty steed Nova. Ol' Tobias uses Nova to create a super-speed twister to distract Supes long enough to get away. (Heh!)

Turns out that "Butch Cassidy" IS a fraud. He's an actor named Victor Spord who Ozzy coached on Cassidy's history and then brainwashed with his trusty umbrella into thinking he's the real Butch. However, the Bat's interference ruined "Butch's" credibility, so my ancestor decides to tell Pengy that if you can't get rich, get even. This means lurin' Supes to Gotham so Tobias can shoot him with a load of atomic-powered explodin' bullets, softenin' up the big "S" enough so that Penguin can brainwash him into thinkin' that he's the Sundance Kid and that Bats, who's been lured to the same part of Gotham, is a Pinkerton. Supes challenges Bats to a gunfight and is about to ventilate the Caped Crusader when "Butch" suspects Supes isn't really Sundance on account of Supes' fancy-schmancy costume (Really - heh!). "Butch" distracts Ozzy and Tobias long enough for Supie's brainwashin' to wear off, and he takes out my ancestor with (sigh!) one punch.

The Good:

Buckler and Giordano's illoes are real purty, and O'Neil's reporting is real' interestin'. There's a lot of fun in the first half of the book with Toby and Ozzy makin' those caped fools look like the idiots they are.

The Bad:

The ending. (One punch!)

3 spurs (out of 4)

The Origin of Terra-Man in 30 Seconds

(With apologies to Cary Bates, Dick Dillin, and Neal Adams.)

Why Black Adam Sucks....

(Courtesy of 52#3 )

Don't worry, little buckaroos! It's only a scratch. Ol' Terra-Man'll be back up and stompin' that Kryptonian polecat in no time.

Let's git to linkin'...

While my illustrious ancestor has mastered advanced Earth and alien critter technology, I'm nowhere near as gifted. Case in point: I still haven't figured out how to attach links on muh blog settings. Therefore, I'd like to use this post to hyperlink up to other bloggers who have either commented on this site or inspired it.

I'd like to start out by giving a special western-style shout-out to two wonderful ladies who post on this site semi-regularly and share my passion for the Cosmic Cowpoke.

The first one is that spunky lass Sally P and her engaging site, Terra-Man's Butt's Forever.

The other is that Canadian filly Ami Novawings who has, not one, but two blogs: Ami Novawings' Flying Equestrian Comic Reviews and Ami Novawings' Cute Little Spurs of DOOOM.

Here's a guy whose site provides me with lots o' hoots and hollers: Chris' Invincible Terra-Blog.

Next up, I'd like give thanks to Kalinara and Ragnell, who occasionally link me in their site When Cowgirls Attack.

And finally, a blog from a guy I don't often agree with, but he's sort of muh kinfolk so I have to include him: My fifth cousin twice-removed, "Rational Mad" Manning.

Other famous branches on the family tree

Terra-Man ain't the only famous relative in the old Manning family. I've got a lot of kin who are also famous in the sports and entertainment worlds. Sadly, I don't get to see these relations as often as I'd like. (Dadburned restrainin' orders!!)

First off, there are the famous football-playin' brothers Peyton and Eli Manning, who are the quarterbacks for the Indianapolis Colts and the New York Giants, respectively. Like their dad Archie, also a quarterback, Peyton and Eli have inherited the superb Manning aim, which can come in handy either in football or when your arch-enemy's got Super-Speed. Recently the brothers did the Manning family proud by winning back-ta-back Super Bowls in '07 and '08.

Next up, there's actress/singer Taryn Manning. She and her brother are in the band Boomkat. She's appeared in episodes of The Practice, Get Real, Boston Public, NYPD Blue and Popular. She recently appeared in Tim Minear's short-lived series Drive, which also featured Nathan Fillion (who'd make a great you-know-who).

Finally, there's singer/keyboardist Roger Joseph Manning, who co-founded the wonderful early 90's band Jellyfish with his brother Chris, Drummer/lead vocalist Andy Sturmer, and Jason Falkner. As you can see in the picture above, Roger's got the ol' Manning fashion sense. He also founded Imperial Drag and TV Eyes. In 2006, he released his first solo album, The Land of Pure Imagination, featuring the song "Too Late For Us Now".