Monday, December 29, 2008

You'd think I'd have a long, angry rant for this item, but I don't.

According to this article in the Casper Star-Tribune, Vice President Dick Cheney has "no idea" why he's so unpopular and his approval ratings are so low.

Really? No idea whatsoever?

Here, let me give you a clue, Dickie:

It's for the same reason Lex Luthor doesn't wash his hands.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday Night Fights: KAPOW!! Round 7 - Don't call him "Chief"!

Round 7 of Friday Night Fights: KAPOW!! begins with a question:

From whom did Superman learn how to throw a mean right uppercut?

- Batman?

- Wonder Woman?

- Pa Kent?

- Ted "Wildcat" Grant?

WRONG! It was this guy:


From the classic tale "Jimmy Olsen, Editor-In-Chief!" by Leo Dorfman and Curt Swan, featured in JIMMY OLSEN#63. It's your timeless Silver-Age "Jimmy somehow becomes Perry's boss and acts like a real dick to Perry but he's really trying to save Perry's life or help him pass his physical or some sickly-sweet ulterior motive" tale.

Rube Goldberg would have found Jimmy's methods overly complicated.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

While I'm on the subject of the Marvel Family...

Ok, let's see if I have this straight...

- The wizard Shazam is dead.

- Billy Batson, the former Captain Marvel, is taking his place and now has long white hair and a white suit.

- Freddy Freeman is now the new Captain Marvel.

- Mary Marvel was depowered, thrown into a coma, woke up and first became a black-leather-clad villainess, then a punked-out thrall of Darkseid, and now a black-leather-clad villainess again.

- Mr. Tawky Tawny, the Talking Tiger, is currently hosting the essence of Darkseid's son Kalibak and was last seen ripping people's arms and legs off.

Seeing the current condition of the Marvel Family makes me think of a certain acronym.

But it's not "SHAZAM".

It's "FUBAR".

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The "Cooch Cover" That Wasn't

There's a lot of uproar over this cover:

The problem is that people think that what's underneath the skirt is either her underwear or her bare "unmentionables" heavily silhouetted.
Sorry, folks, I'm just not seeing it.
It looks more like a leotard design, commonly worn by acrobats, gymnasts and dancers. Sure, the material is obviously glossier than your standard leotard (judging by the top of the garment), but it's clearly a one-piece in the leotard style.
Minds out of the gutter, folks.

They tried to make Namor go to rehab, he said "No! No! No!"

Here's Alex Maleev's depiction of the Sub Mariner in Secret Invasion: Dark Reign.

Why does Namor look like he has a 10-year-old heroin habit? Did he ever share needles with Roy Harper?

And does he actually have man-boobs?

Does that make Maleev the new Liefeld?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Night Fights: KAPOW!! - Round 6: Float like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Bee

Round 6 of Friday Night Fights: KAPOW!! features Bundini Brown*. To which many you are probably asking "Who?"

Drew Bundini Brown was a cornerman and assistant trainer for Muhammad Ali throughout Ali's boxing career. He also served as Ali's speechwriter, even coining the popular Ali phrase "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee".

In this scene below, taken from 1978's Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali by Denny O'Neil, Neal Adams, Dick Giordano, and Terry Austin, that's precisely what Bundini* does.

(* Actually, a powerless Superman disguised as Bundini.)


You know who else floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee? Spacebooger.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Na na na na na na na - he's the worst President ever

Although I generally try to maintain a light, humorous tone on this blog, I'm prone to the occasional Keith Olbermannesque rant.

But when I see something like this, you can hardly blame me.

I can't believe he said that. "So what"? The alleged Iraq- Al Qaida link was one of the top 3 rationales that Bush and his cohorts gave for invading Iraq back in 2003. (The other two, the Iraq-9/11 link and "Weapons of Mass Destruction", also proved to be bogus. ) .

So what? So this war cost us hundreds of billions of dollars, our standing in the world, our econimic health, and, worst of all, the lives and limbs of thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. And all for a lie.

Considering that all this was the result of your bad decisions, Mr. President, the least you can do is try acting like you give a crap.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Right Observation, Wrong Time To Make It

I've been catching up on the recent When Fangirls Attack links since Ragnell and Anna have gotten things up and running again (while their studious cohort Kalinara has been slaving away on law exams), and I found an interesting point/counterpoint between Avi Green and Mad Thinker Scott regarding TEEN TITANS#'s 64 and 65.

Apparently, Avi took strong offense to the scenes depicted on #64's cover and in #65's interiors which depict the villain Lycus attempting to strangle Wonder Girl aka Cassie Sandsmark with her own lasso. While Avi's post is terse and doesn't use the word "misogyny" in the post (he referred to it instead as "obnoxious, vulgar, and downright pointless"), he does use it as one of his label headings, so I (and apparently Scott) assume that he believes the scenes to be misogynistic. Scott claims they are not, and that the story in #65 as a whole was about female empowerment.

On my last visit to a comic shop, I had scanned through Teen Titans#65. Upon seeing the story in its entirety, I have to side with Scott.

First, let's discuss the attempted strangulation. Yes, it is violence against a female protagonist. I can see the misogyny charge carrying weight if it were a form of gender-specific violence in fiction traditionally directed much more at female heroes than male ones, such as rape or certain types of torture. Attempted strangulation does not qualify. It happens to both male and female main characters in fiction. In fact, I recently viewed a scene from the soon-to-be-late-and-lamented TV show "My Own Worst Enemy" where Christian Slater's character, government operative Edward Albright, had to fend off an enemy attempting to strangle him, this time with a phone cord. (Like Cassie, Edward emerged victorious.) In this case it's not misogyny, but merely dramatic tension.

Second, what Avi doesn't show and Scott does is the story's outcome. Cassie overcomes both Lycus and her power flux problems by tapping into her own natural power, rather than Ares' or Zeus'. Better yet, she appears to have received a power upgrade and a more confident attitude.

This brings me to the third point. Avi is not entirely wrong. TEEN TITANS in its current incarnation has, in Avi's words, been "alternately mediocre and unpleasant" recently. For every one fun story like the Blue Beetle/Red Devil spotlight, there have been things like Wonder Dog ripping out Marvin's throat or Miss Martian almost having sex in a bathroom stall or Ravager skinnydipping. It's like the book can't decide what its target audience is. And one of the worst-handled characters has been Cassie.

Green is also correct about Cassie being treated poorly, perhaps even in a misogynistic manner, but it was not in TEEN TITANS #'s 64 and 65.

It was everything before those issues.

This character, to be blunt, has been crapped on more often than my car in the last few years. We've suffered through such debacles as her involvement in the Cult of Connor in 52 and with the Amazons in AMAZONS ATTACK, the "love triangle" between her, Connor (Superboy), and Tim (Robin) long after Conner died, and the revelation that she only was friends with Supergirl because she was clinging to Connor's memory.

And let's not forget TEEN TITANS ANNUAL#1 from 2006. You want to talk about obnoxious covers and interiors, Avi? Here's one for you:

This is from a story which could have been called "The One Where Wonder Girl Gives It Up". Here, Cassie loses her virginity to the aforementioned Superboy at the "seasoned and mature" age of 16. Yes, I know that this is the real world and that teens are having sex all the time. But is it too much to ask for an iconic teen female superhero (and her male counterpart with the "S") to set an example for our young people, particularly our teen girls? (A group to which my niece will belong in just a few years.)

It wasn't always like this. I liked the spunky young Cassie with the homemade costume and the brunette wig and goggles when she made her debut in WONDER WOMAN and later in YOUNG JUSTICE. I enjoyed her evolution from a bit of a nerd to a strong independent leader in both books.

But since YOUNG JUSTICE folded up its tent, I've seen her devolve from that leader into the needy codependent she became in TEEN TITANS.

But with TEEN TITANS#65, there's at least hope for the character going forward.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Night Fights:KAPOW!! - Round 5: Brother vs. Brother

It's a fact of life: Sometimes brothers fight. My brother and I had some knock-down dragouts back in the day. It happens.

It even happens among superheroes, as this round of Friday Night Fights: KAPOW!!! will demonstrate. Sometimes, things even end in onomatopoeia.

This scene from AVENGERS#23, Vol. 3, by Kurt Busiek, George Perez, and Al Vey, is one of those times.

Synopsis: Simon Williams aka Wonder Man has recently come back to life (again). He has started a relationship with Wanda Maximoff aka the Scarlet Witch. The Vision, who was Wanda's former husband and whose persona was created from Simon's brain patterns, is a bit upset by this, but not for the reasons you might think:

It's obvious from that scene above that ol' Vizh is going through some self doubts and identity issues. But Wonder Man, not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, doesn't quite catch on right away, and this awkward exchange follows:


Wow! Vision hit Simon so hard he's bleeding Kirby Dots!

This round was brought to you courtesy of that Brother from Another Planet, Spacebooger.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

JLA#27: Why Black Canary = Awesome

I had to work late today and couldn't get to my local comic store. However, I came across the following scan when I perused Scans Daily. It's from JLA#27. Here, Black Canary is calling the Big 3 on their shenanigans, namely, holding secret meetings in their other-dimensional "room":

Say what you will about Dwayne McDuffie's handling of the JLA book, but he absolutely nails this scene, especially with Dinah. Since Canary became JLA chairman, we've seen the twin subplots of her continuing evolution as leader versus the continuing machinations of the Big 3. Mc Duffie's been building up to this conflict slowly, with little things like the Vixen secret (originated by prior scribe Brad Meltzer but advanced by McDuffie), Batman's pursuing the Joker against orders, and the establishment of the secret room. But in JLA#27, it comes to a head.

One of my favorite aspects of Dinah's personality is that, quite frankly, she doesn't take any guff, no matter who directs it at her. In part this has been a necessary skill, considering she lives with Ollie. But to see her call out the "Trinity" like this is really impressive. She deals with their actions sternly, but also with a great deal of maturity. She doesn't display a bruised ego like, say, Hal or Ollie might. Instead, she logically argues how their actions undermine the team.

It's obvious to anyone reading JLA that Dinah is almost 100% correct here. There can only be one leader, and she was the one elected. I say "almost 100% correct" because of the line where she mentioned the OMAC's and Max Lord and that Superman just let them happen. Considering all those Satellite League mindwipes that she just "let happen", Dinah may be throwing stones from a glass house here.

Nonetheless, this scene stands out in my mind as one of Dinah's best moments ever. And this is coming from someone who's read the entire Gail Simone BIRDS OF PREY run.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Human Waste Matter, meet Rotary Oscillator.....

Or rather: Shit, meet fan.
It looks like U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has chosen not to "spare the Rod".
It's a hell of an interesting time to be an Illinois resident.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Friday Night Fights: KAPOW!!! - Round 4: Super-Smackdown

The main rule for Friday Night Fights: KAPOW! is that the final blow must come with an onomatopoeia. Rounds 1 and 2 demonstrated the sonic skills of Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. But if you think they're something..... should see their pal, Clark.

Especially if someone tries to assassinate his high school buddy Pete Ross, as this scene in Action Comics Annual#3, written by Roger Stern and drawn by Tom Grummett, will demonstrate:

Don't worry. Pete's OK!

And so is Spacebooger.