Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Night Fights: Smokin' Joe - Round 4: Room With A View!

Tonight's round of Friday Night Fights: Smokin' Joe comes to us courtesy of JLA#1,000,000 by Grant Morrison, Howard Porter, and John Dell.

Synopsis: Justice Legion A, the JLA of the 853rd Century, is attacking the 1990's JLA Watchtower. Each team has split up to tackle their opponents. Here, John Fox aka the 853rd Century Flash has somehow been led into a strange, unidentifiable room. The red, yellow, black, and flesh-tone color scheme looks....familiar.

(Click to enlarge)

Lava lamps! A circular bed! An iris-shaped doorway! Lightbulb-lined art displays! And Huntress, to boot! Now that looks like a swingin' shagadelic pad that even Austin Powers would envy!

But what's the strange secret of this mysterious talking, changing room?

(Click to enlarge)

Plastic Man -- Coolest. Insides. EVER.

But, wait! Notice where the gym's entrance is in relation to our Ductile Detective. So that means 853rd Century Flash would have entered the "mystery room" through Plastic Man's....

...that "iris door" was his....

Some things are better left unsaid!

Tonight's fight music is "In My Room" by Yaz (aka Yazoo).

For more feng shui fracases, click here. And don't forget to vote!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Nice Guy" Finishes Last ..... In Poetry!

And the "Worst Reworking Of A Martin Niemoller Poem" Award goes to....

......THIS GUY.

(Courtesy of Ami and later Thom.)

Some guy named Joe Tom Collins felt so beleaguered by his role of "Nice Guy" that he compared his plight to that of a Nazi Holocaust survivor. Worse, he cannibalizes this poem by an ACTUAL Holocaust survivor to do it. Here's Joe Tom's version:

When the Feminists came for the Rapists,

I remained silent;
I was not a Rapist.

When they locked up the stalkers,
I remained silent;
I was not a stalker.

When they came for the Players,
I did not speak out;
I was not a Player.

When they came for the men who they got bored of,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a some one they were bored of yet.

When they came for me, the nice guy,
there was no one left to speak out.

If Black Lantern rings really existed, I'd want one to land on Martin Niemoller's grave so that he'd rise up from the dead and slap the shit out of this clown.

Man, I don't know where to start:

1. Feminists have a standing army with law enforcement powers? When did THIS happen? Do they also have laser satellites?

2. Given #1, wouldn't punishing all the rapists while sparing the non-rapist men be a GOOD THING?

Look, Joe-Tom-Whatever. It's a simple equation: More rapists locked up = Fewer rapists on the street = Fewer women, children, and even men raped = Safer living conditions = Win.

Without rapists, there would be less general distrust of the rest of men, which might help even YOUR chances of getting a date or even just talking to women. See how that works? And that's just covering the purely selfish end alone. Got any female loved ones, Joe-Tom? Sisters, mothers, platonic friends, whatever? Any whom you might worry about? Think how not being afraid would benefit THEM, too. You worry less about their safety, and they worry less about their safety, because they ARE safer. Win-win all around.

If all the rapists in the world got locked up, provided they received due process, I wouldn't be silent. I'd be yelling "Drinks are on me!!!"

3. Ditto for stalkers?

4. The continuum he uses (rapists=> stalkers=> etc.) completely misses the point of Niemoller's original poem. Take it from a fan of the original poem: Me. A few years back, I had even begun writing a post (since aborted) titled "First They Came For The Manga Collectors" in response to the arrest of Christopher Handley. Here's the thing: The whole point of the poem is that every group on the continuum is unjustly targeted for prosecution and/or persecution when in fact they have not harmed or threatened harm to anybody. It works for Handley's case because his manga collection did not harm or exploit actual children, yet he was prosecuted as if it had.

But rapists and stalkers? They ARE inflicting or threatening harm on others. And if you sympathize or identify with them, you might as well tear up your "nice guy" card, because you're NOT a real one.

Also, compare the punishments that Niemoller and Handley received versus the "oppression" that poor put-upon Joe Tom has to undergo. Niemoller spent 7-8 years in Nazi concentration camps. Handley went to jail. Being called a whiner, or being told "let's just be friends" or even "get lost, creep"? Not the same! Not the same!

5. Oh, I get it! The original poem is about NAZIS, and he's railing about FEMI-NAZIS! Just like Rush Limbaugh! Sounds like he's been dipping into Limbaugh's Oxycontin stash, too.

6. I notice the succession is rapists, then stalkers, and then it jumps straight to players. What about batterers, molesters, serial gropers, and sexual harassers, to name a few categories that are worse than "players"? Totally omitted. Falling down on the job there, Feminist-Army-In-Joe-Tom's-Head!

7. Being a player is ILLEGAL now? Really?

8. Also, why are "Rapists" and "Players" capitalized, but "stalkers" isn't?

9. By the way, he couldn't come up with a better tumblr design than the "facebook" template? How imaginative! No wonder women find him boring.

10. Speaking of which, using Joe-Tom's own internal logic, wouldn't "the men who whom they got bored of with" and "the nice guy" be ONE AND THE SAME??

11. Another thing women like? Guys with a grasp of spelling and grammar. You might want to employ the "spell check".

12. To prove that even a stopped clock gets the correct time twice a day, there's an actual kernel of a valid point in Joe-Tom's post. Men DO tend to get unfairly stereotyped too frequently. Even the attached cartoon itself  about "nice guys" is rife with unfair generalizations and assumptions. (Any guy who makes the "nice guy" complaint is spineless, manipulative, and has weight and hygiene issues? Really?) However, Joe-Tom: Your bitter, misogynist, meandering screed? REALLY. NOT. HELPING.

Look, I get it. I wasn't always married or blessed with a steady girlfriend. The single world can be a frustrating and often less-than-equitable place..... for all genders. And, being only human, we all, men and women, have vented our frustrations with the opposite sex (or the same sex) on occasion while we were single, often while heavily consuming liquor and/or food. I'll be frank: Many guys, myself included, have visited the "women don't like nice guys" castle at some point when they were single. The operative word, though, is "visited". The problem is when you live there.

Judging by his tumblr, not only is Joe Tom living there, he's also adding annexes. And they're clearly not up to code.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Night Fights: Smokin' Joe - Round 3: FNF-- Seinfeld Style!*

Tonight's entry for Friday Night Fights: Smokin' Joe features the type of fight that only Jerry Seinfeld could love. Here we have 1984's Alpha Flight#6, written and drawn by John Byrne. Here, Alpha Flight's Snowbird goes head to head with the great beast Kolomaq.

And with that, Kolomaq engulfs both himself and Snowbird in a blinding snowstorm. Pay attention to that last part, because it'll be very important in understanding what happens next.

As you can see above, John Byrne is a talented artist who packs a lot of detail in his art.  Historically, he's been quite the workhorse, taking on writing, pencilling, and sometimes even inking multiple monthly books at once, rarely needing a fill-in or missing a deadline. Whatever flaws Byrne has had either as a writer or an artist, you can't fault his work ethic.

So what was the deal with THIS???

In the above page, Snowbird transforms into a great white bear and attacks Kolomaq.

No, really! You'll have to take my word on it!

Above, Snowbird-as-a-bear grapples with Kolomaq, causing them to tumble off some sort of embankment. The freefalling causes Snowbird to panic and transform directly into an owl. Unfortunately, she's forgotten the customary step of changing into her human form first, causing the transformation to be excruciatingly painful.

At least, I think that's what happened.

Snowbird flies back up to the top of the cliff and changes back to her human form, only to confirm that Kolomaq is still alive and daring her to attack again.


Snowbird attacks Kolomaq in her human form, causing the great beast to stagger and fall. But before she can ascertain his condition, Kolomaq shoots a dozen ice daggers at her.

No, I'm not making this up!

After all that, Byrne can't possibly give us any more blank panels, right?



So Snowbird carries out her grand plan of goading Kolomaq into attacking her with all his might. In the process, he also unleashes his attack against the nearby cliffside as well.

(I think.)

And now.... The CLIMACTIC FINISH!!!



What's happening now?

Oh, look. More blank panels!

Apparently, Kolomaq's attack has weakened the cliff base.

And that means.....


And lots of them!!!

Ok, who actually won this fight?



Glad you could explain that, Snowbird. Otherwise, it might have been really confusing!

And there you have it, folks: The fight about....NOTHING. Eat your heart out, Seinfeld!

Tonight's fight music is the latest song by Mike Doughty, "Na Na Nothing".

By the way, the front page of the comic indicates that the comic came out during what Marvel called "Assistant Editors' Month", in which the assistant editors all filled in for the main editors. That explains a great deal.

For more fights about something, click here. And don't leave your vote blank!

(*Apologies to Brian.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, Lois Lane!

According to Sue at DC Women Kicking Ass, today is Lois Lane's birthday!

Lois Lane holds a special place in my comics heart. Some of my earliest Silver and Bronze Age comics memories were of her Silver and Bronze Age solo adventures as well as her appearances in the Superman books. I particularly liked the Bronze Age period, where she relied less on Superman to rescue her and really got to shine. She was kind of a pioneer female character, not unlike a comics version of Kate Hepburn, treading into waters where few women tread.

I have to say, though, that my favorite era for Lois was during the late 80's and much of the 90's. That was when Byrne rebooted and chronicled the Supes franchise, and also later when he handed it off to the likes of Roger Stern, Jerry Ordway, Dan Jurgens, and later Louise Simonson. And here is when Lois really got to shine. She wasn't afraid to stand up to anybody, even Luthor. As good a reporter as Clark was, Lois was clearly better.

We got the Super-Engagement. I remember the issue where Clark revealed to her that he was Superman, and how she reacted in a completely realistic and believable way. Then came the Super-Marriage. Lois learned to accept the ups and downs that come with being married to the most powerful superhero on Earth. Yet throughout that time she didn't lose her uniqueness and become just another stock love interest. Lois was a strong presence in her own right, and often proved to be a didactic character in Supes' life.

Unfortunately, Lois has gotten the short end of the stick the last few years. She was separated (geographically) from Supes for most of the New Krypton storyline, and then got shunted to the side once again in "Grounded". She made more appearances in SUPERGIRL over that period than in any of her hubby's books. Paul Cornell's Robot Lois got more actual panel time than the genuine article.

Even the current Flashpoint mini with her name in the title short-changes her on panel time. "Lois Lane And The Resistance"? Ha! Issue#2 read more like "Grifter And The Resistance", with Lois relegated to a mere guest star in her own mini.

Also, it often seemed like some at DC didn't get what marriage entailed. I'm a relative rookie at marriage (just passed the 2-year mark this week), and even I can see where DC has messed up over recent years. For example, in Winick's "Decisions" mini, we were supposed to believe that Lois wouldn't know her husband's political beliefs. REALLY??  And as much I enjoyed the Chris Roberson chapters of "Grounded", let's be honest: the "Grounded" arc wouldn't have EXISTED had Supes had confided in Lois like an ACTUAL husband would do with his wife. It seemed that many modern writers and editors wanted to avoid dealing with the Super-Marriage like it was Virus X. And now, thanks to the DCnU Reboot, it's gone.

I agree with Sue: Of all the female characters who deserve a solo book in the DCnU and didn't get one, I'd put Lois at tthe top of the list. In that spirit, I'd like to pose a question to you folks:

What creative team would you want on a Lois Lane solo book? And why?

The rules? Merely that the suggested creators be currently alive.

I have a few of my own:

1. Gail Simone (W) and Nicola Scott/Doug Hazlewood(A). This one's a no-brainer. Gail's not only a wonderful writer, but she's the go-to person for strong female characters. She even handled Lois and Superman masterfully during her too-short Action Comics run. Nicola has been one of DC's top artists over the last decade with her work on Secret Six, Wonder Woman, and especially Birds Of Prey. And Doug? He's one of the best inkers in comics, as readers of Animal Man, Superboy, Adventures Of Superman, Flash, and the aforementioned Nicola Scott books will attest. No matter how good the penciller he's teamed with, their art always looks substantially better with him than without him.

2. Greg Rucka (W) and Jamal Igle/Jon Sibal (A). Greg's Lois on Adventures of Superman was one of her best portrayals in this century. It got frustrating how his caring and compassionate but still fiercely independent Lois was appearing in Adventures at the same time that Chuck Austen's cold and neglectful Lois was appearing in Action. It was like watching two different people. Needless to say, Greg's version was the better one. Like Nicola Scott, Igle has been one of DC's best artists over this last decade. Unfortunately, like her, I see no sign of him in DC's New 52.

3. Ed Brubaker (W) and Sean Phillips (A). This one's my wild card pick. Granted, Brubaker would have to tone down the language and the violence more than in "Criminal". But crime noir seems like a natural setting for our favorite woman reporter. Their latest "Criminal: Last Of The Innocent" is  essentially ARCHIE as a crime noir. If Archie can work in that format, so can Lois.

Any other writer/artist combos you can think of?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Night Fights: Smokin' Joe - Round 2: Bringing Down The Man Mountain!

Round 2 of Friday Night Fights: Smokin' Joe comes from Power Man And Iron Fist#62, written by Jo Duffy and drawn by future Superman artist extraordinaire Kerry Gammill.

In this corner, we have Maggia enforcer Man Mountain Marko.

And in this corner, we have Daniel Rand, aka.....

....... IRON FIST!

Let the fight commence!

But Danny Rand doesn't go down that easily.

Now for the big finish....

Uh-oh! Looks like Fist is toast, right?


Ouch! That looked really painful! But did it work?


In honor of this mountainous melee, tonight's fight music is "Mountains" by Prince and the Revolution.

To see more mountains turned into molehills, click here. And don't forget to vote! And by all means, feel free to join the party with your own entry next week. We could use the company!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Favorite Scene In Time Masters: Vanishing Point

Courtesy of The Guacamole Lantern (by way of Ragnell)

And you, Hal, have no brain.

Booster is totally fucking with him, of course. Booster, like his JLI buddies Guy Gardner and Ted Kord, is smarter than he lets on.

Hal? Not so much.

Reason#774 To Hate Barry Allen's Resurrection

If Wally West is in limbo, then so is this guy.

Meet Chester Runk, aka Chunk. Another casualty of Johns and DiDio's ongoing Barrygasm.

P.S. No, he didn't kill them.

We'll miss you, Chunk!

(This Chunk retrospective courtesy of  Flash#18 by William Messner-Loebs, Greg LaRocque, and Timothy Dzon.)

Saturday, August 06, 2011

This Week's "Gee, Thanks For The Heads-Up, Jackass!" Award Goes To......

Courtesy of Zeke

....Standard & Poors.

Yes, that's the same S&P that gave all those mortgage-backed securities an AAA rating. You know, the ones that crashed our economy? Also the same S&P who kept the AAA rating intact while Bush and Dick "Deficits Don't Matter" Cheney ran up the debt with 2 wars, tax cuts, and an unfunded prescription drug plan.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Spidey Derangement Syndrome

Meet Miles Morales. According to this story in USA Today, he's the new Ultimate Spider-Man, replacing the Ultimate version of Peter Parker, who was killed off in "Ultimate Fallout'.

Miles' co-creator, Brian Michael Bendis, says he was inspired by "Community" star Donald Glover's recent tweet campaign to get a screen test for Peter Parker in the latest Spider-Man movie. (Which is living proof that your efforts can still foster positive change, even if it's not the positive change you originally intended.)

Not surprisingly, this was a hot topic on the blogosphere.

Adding kerosene to the fire was The Daily Mailer's headline misinterpretation of this quote by Miles' artist and co-creator, Sara Pichelli:

"Maybe sooner or later a black or gay — or both — hero will be considered something absolutely normal."

Which the Mailer's headline turned into:

Marvel Comics reveals the new Spider Man is black - and he could be gay in the future

Fecal matter, meet rotary oscillator. Let the shitstorm commence!

Me? I think many people are overreacting to this.

First, it's not even the regular Marvel 616 canon; it's an Ultimate book.

Second, I'm a hell of a lot more upset that the powers-that-be had the 616 Peter Parker make a deal with the goddamned devil just because they didn't want to write him as married.

Third, I don't exactly have a drought of white male heroes, including the 616 Peter, to identify with.

Fourth, and most importantly, I like the idea that Miles is half Hispanic as well as half black for personal reasons. Because he shares the former trait in common with my wife. And because I have nephews who are predominantly Hispanic and are fellow geeks. And now they have another hero who shares their heritage. I should also mention that my wife teaches a at a predominantly Hispanic school with a minority African-American population. That's a lot of present and future potential readers who just found a more relatable hero.

Many on the Net felt as I do and expressed it. Many other internet denizens went apeshit crazy. Much in the way that Barack Obama's ascent to the presidency caused many white Republicans to develop "Obama Derangement Syndrome", the news of a half-black/half-Hispanic Spider-Man has caused an outbreak of something I can only call Spidey Derangement Syndrome.

Some of it's simple fanboy/fangirl geekery: Essentially, Miles is like Kyle Rayner or Ryan Choi, a new character taking the place of a long-established character in the latter's superhero identity. That's understandable. I'm not immune to it. My posts on the Superman reboot are proof of that. I love Spidey, too. I get it.

But some responders' problems with Miles ran deeper.

USA Today's comments section was full of remarks that Miles looked like Obama or Tiger Woods, as well as many complaints about a "politically correct" or "PC" agenda. Obama comparisons by the ton, including speculation that Miles would be a community organizer. The usual crap.

Here are some comments captured by the "I'm Not Racist, But.." blog:

Larry Doherty from Larry's Comics tweeted this gem:


Ha-fucking-ha, Larry.

And, of course, no summation of apeshit crazy reactions would be complete without hearing the two cents of the man whose name is synonymous with "apeshit crazy". Yes, I'm talking about Glenn Beck. The man who somehow tied this news to some kind of conspiracy led by Michelle Obama. Whatever, Glenn!

The reactions weren't all bad. We had this touching commentary from Sue at DC Women Kicking Ass, as well as this hilarious lampoon from Colbert. Very many reactions were positive.

But too many echoed the sentiments like this:

I find this whole "Woe is me, I'm a white person" trip extremely annoying. And I AM a white person.

I remember Dennis Miller making a joke like this once about whites now technically being a statistical minority a few years back, ending with "And let me tell you, I am SICK of dealing with 'The Man'!!" But Miller was just joking. Some of these guys take the "poor oppressed white people" schtick seriously.

If you're white and you actually believe this, then allow me to respond with the words of Livia Soprano.

Take it away, Livia!



Friday Night Fights: Smokin' Joe - Round 1: Hal Shows His Ambidexterity!

Welcome to the first round of our latest Friday Night Fights bout, Friday Night Fights: Smokin' Joe!Tonight's socially-conscious skirmish comes from Green Lantern/Green Arrow#76, "No Evil Shall Escape My Sight!", by Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams. Synopsis: At the urging of his pal (and self-righteous dick - I'll cover that in a future post) Green Arrow, Hal Jordan attempts to convince slumlord Jubal Slade to abandon his plans to evict his tenants and replace his tenement with a parking lot to make a fat profit. Jubal, humanitarian that he is, essentially tells Hal to sod off.

And then he orders his goons to throw Hal out.

BIG mistake.

I've got to give Hal credit here: He could attack these two thugs with any of a thousand ring constructs. But instead, he just uses his hands.

BOTH of them!

Tonight's fight music for this two-hand takedown is none other than "With My Own Two Hands" by Ben Harper. (No relation to either Roy or Jim.)

For more two-fisted tussles, click here. And don't forget to vote!

And while I'm urging you all to vote, I'd also like to take this moment to invite you to join the party. You can read the tail end of this post to get the rules for this bout. Now is a perfect jumping-on point, because the more rounds you enter in this bout, the better chance you have of winning at least one round and being eligible for the Grand Prize in the final Prize Fight. The more, the merrier, folks!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Things We Learned From The Debt Ceiling "Negotiations"..

We learned that hanging teabags from your hat, walking around in groups of  roughly 100, yelling really loud, and carrying badly misspelled and often racist protest signs gains you instant respect in the Beltway.

We learned that some guy named Grover Norquist, whom nobody has ever elected, somehow currently calls all the shots for one of our 2 major political parties and one of our 2 legislative bodies in Washington.

We learned that Congress, particularly the conservative members thereof, find it an easy routine matter to pass clean unconditional debt ceiling increases when the President looks like this.....

and even this...

.... but suddenly find it impossible to even consider without extracting a pound of flesh when the President looks like this....

Gosh, I wonder why that would be?

We learned that the GOP may have watched "The Town", but the true cinematic inspiration for their behavior during President's Obama's term came from this film:

We learned that many voters and, more troublesome, many Congressmen really don't understand what the debt ceiling really means, nor do they understand the consequences of default. Too many seemed to conflate raising the debt ceiling with increasing spending itself, failing to realize that raising this ceiling only authorized us to pay for obligations we've already incurred, not to incur new ones.

We learned that President Obama has apparently learned many of his negotiating skills from this guy.

"Me begin negotiation by taking high bid off table."

We learned that Obama and the Democrats can't frame an issue to save their lives. They've let the Republicans define the issue almost from day one. The very fact that last year the President and Congress formed a deficit commission, rather than a jobs commission, is proof of that. Too often Obama and the Dems echoed the right wing's talking points rather than advancing their own. For example, Obama has echoed the GOP's use of the word "entitlement" when describing the Big 3 programs (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid). Let me tell you something about the word "entitlement". Too often it's used as a dirty word when, in fact, the opposite is often true. Many things are entitlements because we're genuinely entitled to them. These programs are a classic example. We've paid into them for decades on the promise that we'll reap the full benefits of these payments upon our retirements. Paul Ryan's plan would essentially prevent us from reaping this full benefit. It's like buying a car: Say you sign an agreement to pay $10,000 for a fully functional vehicle. Suppose you pay the full $10k, only to have the dealership inform you that the car you're getting won't have a carburetor, an alternator, one of its tires, and two of its doors, and that you'll have to purchase those parts separately from the original contract, with no refund of any part of your original $10k. That's what the GOP has planned for the Big 3. That's how Obama needed to explain it more frequently with his bully pulpit. Of course, even greater use of the bully pulpit and better framing may not have done as much good as you'd think because of our next discovery....

We learned that the so-called mainstream media, with very few exceptions, won't call the Republicans out on anything. If I'd heard the "both sides are just as bad" meme one more time, I would have vomited. It's like reporting a 100-0 football game as a tie. The Republicans created the "crisis" by refusing the clean increase, period, and they could have gotten us out of it at any time by simply agreeing to the routine increase. But good luck getting most of the media to actually report that. Also good luck getting them to stop treating the Tea Party like a separate party, rather than what they actually are, which is "bad cop" to the mainstream GOP's "good cop".

We learned that the Republican Party defines many words differently than the standard Webster's definitions. For example:

Bipartisanship - Democrats and Republicans working together to do everything Republicans want


Deficits - Something to be completely ignored during Republican presidencies and harped on relentlessly during Democratic ones.

We learned that progressives are the modern-day equivalent of Cassandra in Greek mythology, in that A) they can usually predict the future with stunning accuracy and B) nobody fucking listens to them. Gosh, who could have predicted that giving in so much on the tax cuts in 2010 would embolden the GOP to hold future votes hostage? Besides, well, anybody?

We learned that extreme right-wingers have no problems with terrorists in our government, as long as they're not Muslim and are pushing for things they like. And if saying "Give us what we want or we'll crash the world's economy!" isn't terrorism, then I don't know what is.

We learned that the current Republicans pride themselves on being the more businesslike of the two parties, but have forgotten some very basic business fundamentals. Nowhere was this more evident than their obstinate refusal to even consider revenue increases in reducing the deficit. Many of them even signed pledges to the aforementioned Mr Norquist to never do so. Imagine you're a CEO of a large corporation. Now imagine informing your shareholders at a board meeting that you've signed a pledge to never increase the company's revenues? How long do you think it would take before the board voted for your immediate dismissal? Five seconds? Ten?

We learned that the only tax pledge any politician should ever sign is this one.

We learned that one of the biggest problems with our political system is that a major chunk of the voting population has a much easier time naming all the Kardashian siblings than naming their Congressmen or any of the nine Supreme Court Justices.

We learned that liberals sitting out general elections to teach the Democrats they should move to the left is AN EXTREMELY STUPID FUCKING IDEA.

At least I hope we learned that last one.