Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Simple Supergirl Solution

There’s been a lot of controversy in the “blogosphere” lately over Supergirl. I won’t point out any one article – they’re everywhere- but the general consensus is that the most recent iteration of Supergirl is too skinny, too sexed-up, and too, well, trashy to be an acceptable Supergirl. I haven’t been buying her book (can’t say I’ve ever been much of a Supergirl fan) but the art I’ve seen is all nipples, torso, and micro miniskirts. It’s a bit much for a sixteen year old, yes? I like cheesecake as much as the next guy, but with teens, it’s just skeevy. Apparently, the modern Supergirl’s behavior is also questionable at best, with complaints of an angry, confused Kara smoking and partying, but again, I’m not reading, so I couldn’t say. One need not be a regular reader to see that there’s definitely a problem if the editor has to show up, hat in hand, begging for female readers on the “DC Nation” page. The thing is, if DC wants to course-correct, they have the perfect solution right in front of them:


The DC Animated Universe has become it’s own thing, but their Kara was pretty much perfect: Cute, but not a Lolita. Brash, but not obnoxious. She has realistic body proportions. She loves her cousin and wants to be like him, but definitely has her own mind. Her outfit is cute, but age-appropriate, though I wouldn’t know how fashionable it is or isn’t. DC wouldn’t even have to retcon her (most recent) origins, just tweak a few things – isn’t there some plotline about her being sent to kill Kal-El? I’d ditch that, and say it was a hoax. Supergirl should like Superman, okay? It’s weird - for all the trouble DC is having with this character, it seems to me that the solution is right under their noses. Whadda YOU think?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Passion of the Bee Boy



Greetings, Again With the Comics readers, I’m Bee Boy, and I’ll be guest hosting this blog while your regular host is recovering from a series of severely painful insect bites…of some sort. I recently read the disturbing saga of Lana Lang, Insect Queen, and thought you people deserved to know the forgotten chapter of the Insect Queen story, as well as the story of LYING BASTARD Superboy’s greatest betrayal! Or should I say... BEE-trayal!



But I’m getting ahead of myself. I wasn't always a Bee Boy – I used to be a normal kid named Kim, living in Africa with my dad, a jungle guide! Dad had a broken leg when Professor Lang and his daughter Lana showed up needing a guide to the Lost Pyramid. I volunteered to take them – NOT one of my brighter moves, as it turned out, and away we went. I found out later that Superboy flew them to Africa on a platform, then returned to America. I guess if you’re a pretty redhead, mister high-and mighty can make time to be your personal intercontinental taxi service, but if you’re a poor, freakish bee-bodied misfit, you’re shit out of luck.

Er, back to my tale: Lana was so beautiful, and her hair smelled so pretty that I kind of got us lost and didn’t even notice the storm clouds rolling in. Before you know it, we were caught in a downpour. That’s when beautiful Lana turned into the Insect Queen:


I was pretty freaked out, to be honest. A sight like that might have been enough to turn me off girls right then and there, but human sexual orientation was about to become a non-issue, in the worst possible way! Wouldn't you know it, right after Lana mentions that she doesn't think she can turn into an ant lion twice:


How convenient! So this little pink creep has been following Lana around "to check on you"! I'll bet he's "checking" on her! Little peeping tom bastard! Oh, Lana, can't you see how badly they treat you? Why won't you love me?

(Choke...) Anyway, Lana turns into a cicada-girl, and chases the natives away, but not before I catch an arrow in the lungs. Doctor Lang couldn't be bothered to take me into the city: "Hmm... the jungle bio-lab of my friend, Dr. Pelham is only a few miles that way!" I'll never forget those words. Did I mention I was never paid for any of this? DAMN YOU DADDY!


Once in Doctor Pelham's "hospital", he wasted no time testing his crackpot bee theories on me:

I flew off, and Lana came after me, trying to tell me how great it is to be a freak. Easy for her to say! She tried to cheer me up by showing how we could do the old "sober up the drunk" trick with our insect powers:

But nothing helped. I'll admit it, I fell for Lana hard. What do you want from me? I mistook her pity for love, and I got carried away:

Eventually, Lana had to contact Superboy to rescue me from those hunters. Of course , as soon as pretty boy showed up, it was all over for me and Lana:

Then, something wonderful happened - Lana lost her memory and came to live with me in my giant honeycomb! It was a beautiful dream come true, or as beautiful as a dream involving freakish insect-human hybrids can be:

But it was another lie! Another lie from a lying liar who lies!! With nothing left to lose, I decided to go out on a suicide run:

But I couldn't even get that right! Super-Jerk had a good laugh. How I hate him. How I hate me.

So, Superboy obviously came back later, cured me, and I’m now living happily ever after, right? WRONG. There was no antidote, I had no hope. Superboy never came back. Some big hero! Lana never came back either - I tried giving her a "buzz" on the phone, but she never returned my calls.

ZZZZZZ!!! Those sons of bitches at DC won't return my calls these days, either. I mean, if I'm not going to be cured, can I at least get some work? DC's bringing back everyone else these days, so why not me? I keep trying to tell them, I'm ripe for a comeback in these emotionally conflicted times! I can be dark and troubled! I was "emo" long before that was even a word! It juzzzzt makezzzz me ZZZZZZOOOOOO MAD...BBBZZZZZZZZZ!!!

...Easy, Kim, easy.
You're a BOY, not a bee...
You're a BOY, not a bee...
You're a BOY, not a bee.

Anyway, as you can see, I'm the victim here. Can't you find it in your heart to care about the fate of a little emo bee boy? I exhort you, Again With the Comics readers: Send your postcards and letters to DC COMICS, demanding my return!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Little Man, What Now?


I've been meaning to mention how much I've been enjoying Gail Simone's All New Atom series, and this article at Newsarama just made that task a lot easier. Gail explains how the All New Atom came to be, her thoughts behind the stories she's writing, and hints of future plans, including the return of Ray Palmer, and more importantly, the BUG-EYED BANDIT.


The book isn't exactly setting the sales charts afire, being one of those fun light-hearted series that fans seem to clamor for, but never actually buy. Artistic instability hasn't helped, nor has the fact that it's a new guy, Ryan Choi, stepping into the suit. I'll never understand why fans are so resistant to change when they weren't buying the old character. I think Gail's been doing a great job of introducing Ryan and bringing him into the newly weird Ivy Town. I also like that Ivy Town is weird as a direct result of the previous Atom's presence. I just wish (MIKE NORTON) that they could get (MIKE NORTON) a regular artist (MIKE NORTON) on the book.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Not Comics: IDIOCRACY

I’ve been busy, busy, busy lately, but I didn’t want to let much time pass without recommending IDIOCRACY, the Mike Judge film that probably never showed at your local theater, and may blow through retail just as fast. King of the Hill and Office Space creator Judge can't seem to catch a break with FOX, who continue to treat his projects like toxic waste, despite continued success. Idiocracy will probably end up being another cult film classic, but this film really shouldn’t be ignored. The story concerns Private Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson), a low level functionary in the US Army, who’d prefer to stay out of sight in his meaningless clerk job. Army brass “volunteer” him for a year-long cryogenic freezing experiment, also freezing a prostitute named Rita (Maya Rudolph), as the experiment also required a woman who wouldn’t be missed. Once initiated, the doctor in charge is arrested on prostitution charges, and the cryogenic chambers are forgotten.

The building is eventually demolished, and the chambers are abandoned in a trash heap, only to be unearthed when a garbage avalanche frees them. Joe wakes up 500 years later to a dysgenic nightmare, with the whole world dumbed down to the point that he's the smartest man alive by default. He wanders a changed USA, where crassness and instant gratification are the orders of the day. The English language has devolved to a combination of valley girl, gangsta, hillbilly and grunts. Clothing is shiny, disposable, and festooned with gaudy ads. The most popular show on the multi-screen TV is “Ow, My Balls!” featuring a man being repeatedly hit in the groin. Technology still exists, but no one is smart enough to operate or repair it. It’s pretty grim for the human race, and passive Joe finds himself forced to step up and take an active role. As possible futures go, this one seems as likely to actually happen as any Star Trek, Matrix, or Blade Runner scenario.

Idiocracy is first a comedy movie, of course, and satire doesn’t come much blacker. The film is a deft skewering of the worst excesses of our current culture and a bitterly funny cautionary tale. It’s not for everyone, and starry-eyed optimists who believe in the inherent nobility of the human soul need not apply. FOX barely distributed Idiocracy at all last summer, so who knows how long the DVD will be available. Get it while you can, it’s highly recommended.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The M.O.D.AVENGERS!

These cute li'l rascals are the M.O.D.AVENGERS from Marvel Adventures:The Avengers #9, the best comic of the year already, and it's only January. Who's going to be able to top a comic where all of Marvel's top heroes get turned into MODOKs? Good luck, Spiegelman!

CAPDOC: Cranially Augmented Patriot: Designed Only for Conquest



STORMDOC: Storm, Transformed (into an) ORbiting Mentality Designed Only for Conquest



SPIDOC: Sentient Post human Intellect Designed Only for Conquest



HULKDOC: HULK DESIGNED ONLY FOR CONQUEST, PUNY HUMAN!!



GI-DOC: Gargantuan Intelligence Designed Only for Conquest



IRONDOC: IRon-Outfitted Neo-futurist Designed Only for Conquest



WOLDOC: Wildcard, Omniscient Lupine Designed Only for Conquest






Thursday, January 18, 2007

Number None With a Bullet


I got Gunmaster and Bullet the Gun Boy #88* as a Christmas present from pal Mike, and all I have to say is: Dude, what the hell did I ever do to you?

The cover tells you everything you could possibly want to know about Gunmaster, a.k.a. Clay Boone. Why, you even get full schematics of all his weapons, so if you ever meet Gunmaster, you’ll know how to jack his shit up. This comic also tried to incorporate some of that late ‘60’s “relevance” that caused even Western and War comics to suddenly develop a social conscience, so Gunmaster is a quiet, peaceful gun seller who hates violence. Kind of like being an atheist priest or a vegan butcher. Except for when he's dressed in his fabulous white silk Gunmaster costume...at which point he will go BUCK WILD on your ass, and possibly shoot you in the groin:

Ha Ha! I joke with you! No, this comic is far, far too dull for any groin-shooting. In “The Crossbow War”, Clay and his young…companion…come riding into a small western town to peddle some guns and hate some violence. The local top crook, Snakehead, has the whole town under his thumb, but Clay has a peaceful solution:

Get it? TELLUB…BULLET the Gun Boy? See, his last name spelled backwards is “Bullet”, and…you’ve gotta love that silver-age subtlety. Anyway, they go to Clay’s wagon to find ALL THE GUNS MISSING. Snakehead totally ripped him off while no one was looking! Smooth move, Gun-Lax. Undaunted, Clay teaches the townsfolk how to make crossbows and other jerry-rigged weapons, so when Snakehead returns he’s met by nonlethal resistance (Except for Gunmaster, who’s shooting everybody.) Finally, Snakehead is down, but:

So the big star of Gunmaster’s story ends up being…the hardware man from town. I hate you, Gunmaster! There was a second story in this issue, but it was even stupider and more boring than this one, so I refuse to discuss it.






*That's #88 by Charlton Comics numbering, which means absolutely nothing. Charlton's issue numbering was notoriously random and insane. This was actually one of eight “Gunmaster” comics published by Charlton, numbered 1, 4, 34, 15.5, Q, -62, 88, and “PANTS” respectively.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Character Obscura: The Glob


Let Mike Sterling have his Swamp Thing - my introduction to the "man turned swamp monster" concept was via the Glob in Incredible Hulk #129. Of course, later on I found out about Man Thing, and then Swamp thing, and then the Heap, so the Glob is sort of the William Henry Harrison of Swamp monsters. I liked him as a kid, anyway.


Did...did the Glob just pimp-slap the Hulk ?!?





Monday, January 15, 2007

The King and Queen of the Fantastic Four


I love this cover to Black Panther #27. It is, of course, an homage to Fantastic Four#3, and it's about time someone picked a different cover to ape than FF#1. Looks like this confirms what's been rumored up until now, that the Black Panther and Storm will be filling in for Reed and Sue Richards as members of the Fantastic Four, with the Thing and the Human Torch returning to the team after brief absences.

Works for me. I like both Storm and the Panther, and I've mentioned before that I don't mind changes to the FF's roster. The Panther is practically family to the FF, having made his debut in Fantastic Four #52, and frequent visits thereafter. I don't believe I've ever seen Storm interact with the Fantastic Four much at all, so it ought to be fun watching her put up with Johnny and Ben.

This points out one thing that I don't think I've seen mentioned before: the Black Panther/Storm marriage has served to free Ororo up from the X-Men line of books, whose notoriously oppressive editorial control has kept her and most other mutants off-limits to the rest of the Marvel Universe for the last couple of decades. I know that when I started hearing rumors that one of the X-Men would be joining the New Avengers, I hoped it would be Storm. They went with Wolverine, of course. Now I get the last laugh, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Dwayne McDuffie has in store for the new Fantastic Four!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Good News For Stilt-Man Fans!

As if they didn't have enough problems already, Stilt-Man fans suffered a blow recently when the bandy-legged supervillain was shot in the groin with an RPG by the Punisher in Punisher War Journal #1. I posted a eulogy here awhile back, mourning comics' loss, when commentor "R-Lex" pointed out that a new Stilt-Man had been introduced in Marvel Team Up #9. From the issue in question:


Looks like that may have been the guy Punisher whacked. Punisher War Journal #4 is supposed to feature the funeral of Stilt-Man, and the deceased may well be identified as Wilbur Day at that point, but who cares? Either way, there's still another Stilt-Man out there somewhere, and that's good enough for me! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm of to search the internet for Stilt-Man armor schematics.

Stilt Power Forever!!

Good News For Speedball Fans!

Speedball fans - all seventeen of them - have had reason to mourn recently as their favorite bouncing, wisecracking masked marvel has been turned into Penance, a horrific dark pain-addicted shadow of his former self. I was never a huge fan of Speedball, as such, but I don't want to see the poor little guy literally put through the meat grinder like this. All I keep thinking of is how...er...unhygienic...the Penance suit is going to become. With the caked-on blood, and the not showering, and the how does he go to the bathroom, m'hey-hey!

Any-way, the good news! Speedball yet lives! Tucked away safely in an alternate time line as of Marvel Team-Up #18 (2006). In MTU #15-18, a parallel-universe Speedball, along with Darkhawk, Sleepwalker, and several other forgotten characters made up the "League of Losers", Earth's last line of defense after all the major heroes are ambushed and killed by a time-travelling warlord named Chronok. Four issues and considerable time hi jinx later, the heroes are victorious. They're also stuck in an alternate future, year 2099. That is to say, an alternate future to the future they would have had, had their original time line continued in it's original, Chronok-conquered state. Try to keep up, son.

Anyway, #16 ends with this (click to enlarge):




In your face, Spiky McGee. Coming soon...Good news for Stilt-Man fans!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Get IN...With the NEW Again With the Comics Era!

Again With the Comics has upgraded to "Blogger 2.0", with a new look and a FOX attitude! I've been playing with the template and some fun new features. Note that we now have post labels, allowing you to read all posts on a particular subject. Look around and enjoy!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Another New Fantastic Four Lineup?!?

See, I don't buy...I can't buy this for a minute. Silver Surfer? Galactus? I'm sure all these cosmic heavyweights are elements in the story, but none of them are joining the Fantastic Four...are they? I saw some preview art online featuring Stardust, but that dosen't mean he/she/it is moving into the Baxter Building...does it? This is probably one of those wacky "alternate covers" that all the kids are crazy for, or maybe the final Fantastic Four #544 cover incorporates Black Panther and Storm somehow, but surely this isn't the main "Meet the New Fantastic Four!" cover.

Is it?!?

Friday, January 05, 2007

After the Snow, an Avalanche of New Comics

Thanks to the Colorado blizzards, I missed my comics two weeks ago and last weeks books were delayed to this week, leading to an avalanche of new comics. Twenty-two new books in all, including two issues each of 52 and Civil War: Front Line. In 52 I'm holding out hope for The Question; we haven't actually seen him die, yet. Come on, Charlie, somehow miraculously survive!

Civil War: Front Line #10 brings the death of Speedball and the birth of Penance. I'm not a doctor or anything, but shouldn't he just keep losing blood 'til he drops? He probably has a "healing factor" now - who knows? To see such a happy-go-lucky character take such a severe turn is pretty disturbing, to be sure.



Nextwave #11 rockets to it's conclusion with the craziest issue yet. The team takes the battle straight to the Beyond corporation, with zombie Dirk Anger in pursuit, leading to a wordless, side-scrolling battle royale between Nextwave and armies of weird menace. Warren Ellis laughs and counts his money while Stuart Immonen provides six stunning double-page spreads of mayhem, featuring It: the Living Colossus, The Living Brain, Beasts of Berlin, Infants Terrible, M.O.D.Elvii, and a giant ape Wolverine. Immonen has made leaps in ability these last couple of years, and this is great stuff. I actually don't mind that Nextwave ends with #12, as I can't imagine how anyone could top this.



Detective #827 brings Scarface back, with Sugar: a new, more disturbing female Ventriloquist. Clearly, there's more to that dummy than meets the eye.


Black Panther #23 begins with the funeral of Bill Foster, as his family is understandably not too thrilled with seeing him buried wrapped in a tarp and chains. Panther picks a side, and we see that Goliath may not necessarily be gone forever:
That's all for now. More commentary to come...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Speaking of Speedball and terrible character names...

Penance Revealed (SPOILERS)

The cover for Civil War: Front Line #10 was leaked today, featuring Penance, the newest member of the Thunderbolts, and if you've been paying attention, it's no great shock to see that Penance is...







SPOILER SPACE













Robbie Baldwin, a.k.a. Speedball. He's been through Hell, and now it's time to grim him up. I was never a huge Speedball fan, so I have no particular problem with this development, though I'm reminded of a previous attempt to darken Beast Boy/Changeling in the Teen Titans about 12 years ago. That never "took", and this might not either. God knows Speedball had one of the all-time worst superhero names ever, being named after the drug cocktail that killed John Belushi. I'll be interested to see how Warren Ellis develops Baldwin's story - I'm expecting lots of rainbows and unicorns, personally... or not.