Monday, January 28, 2008

Mexican Spider-Man's Super Sexy Bikini Adventures!!

El Sorprendente Hombre-Araña (the Surprising Spider-Man) was published in Mexico from 1963-1973, and for a long time, it simply reprinted the American run of Amazing Spider-Man in Spanish:

After awhile, it looks like the publisher either ran out of or overtook the available licensed material, and original stories created in Mexico specifically for El Sorprendente Hombre-Araña started to see print:

I've been to Mexico a few times, and they are most definitely aware that sex sells, with slinky busty babes adorning most advertising and even the most innocuous products. Their comics are no different, as you can see:

I also have to wonder, are these stories considered canon to Mexican collectors? Is "Misterio del vampiro de la playa del bikiní" held in the same esteem as, say, the Master Planner arc or the Stone Tablet Saga? Inquiring, idiotic minds want to know!

A few original villains were added, and go-go Gwen was always there to greet them:

I can only speculate on the story contents, though it looks like they've cut up a lot of comics from all over the Marvel universe. Case in point, here we have Spider-Man versus Odin: for the Heart of Gwen Stacy!

Or maybe the longtime Mexican fan has one more reason than the rest of us to be outraged by the recent "Sins Past" story. I mean, how could Gwen Stacy have been sleeping with Norman Osborn after her tempestuous tryst with... J. Jonah Jameson?!?

Re-purposed Daredevil cover + Bikini clad babe = mucho dinero.

Yes, Mexican Spider-Man must have found the infamous Parker luck somewhat mitigated by being constantly surrounded with hot-pantsed babes. ¡Hágale frente tigre, usted apenas golpean el jackpot!

As usual, all images are from the GCD. Adios, Amigos!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Super-Villain Makeover: The Man-Elephant

SPOILER WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for She-Hulk #25.

Given my frequent focus on lame super-villains, I feel obliged to report when one of them gets an upgrade. Some time ago, I wrote about the Man-Elephant, a former She-Hulk foe, as one of my Thanksgiving Turkeys. He makes a return in She Hulk #25, where Peter David reintroduces Manfred Haller at the end of his rope. Broke, ruined by Tony Stark, he heads to Africa in search of answers and direction. Once there, he is directed to an old wise woman:

The gem, probably a shard of Cyttorak, transforms Haller, just in time to stop a band of rebel thugs from raiding the village. The now Ganesha-powered Behemoth charges forth, a Juggernaut level threat with a major grudge against She-Hulk.

I couldn't help but notice something else; in my previous post I wrote: "Man-Elephant was last seen traveling in India, where his resemblance to Ganesha can usually score him a free meal and a place to crash." Eerily prophetic, eh?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

To Be Bee-Man or Not To Be Bee-Man

Another comic-flavored byproduct (i.e. dropping) of the ignoble Harvey Thrillers line, the morally murky malcontent named Bee-Man made his debut in Double-Dare Adventures #1 (1966). In a daring twist, Bee-Man was actually a super-villain, an utter rotter named (ironically!) Barry E. Eames. That's about the most remarkable thing about this otherwise goofy, lame character. Somehow, lame villains are better.

Bee-Man's origin began when saboteur Barry E. Eames hijacked a returning Mars probe to collect and hold ransom a rare meteorite. Eames tracks the probe to his hidden landing spot, only to find the meteorite packed with giant stinging space bees. The bees sting him and infect him with their unearthly venom. He shortly finds himself lured back to the meteorite and transported to Mars:

Whatever. The Martians aren't mentioned again until the next issue; the rest of this story is Bee-Man establishing himself as public enemy #1. This calls for a montage:

Thus is born a new criminal mastermind wielding the unstoppable battle combo of googly antennae, nostril blasts, and nectar-based weaponry.

Note too, the disconnect between the lead character's name in the title and the story. Alternately called B-Man, Bee-Man and the Bee throughout, his name is just one of the many bad ingredients in this failure casserole.

And of course, Bee-Man has a shameful weakness; his junkie-like craving for sweet, sweet honey:

Holy crap. I guess he can always eat his grenades if he gets hungry, though. Finally, we close with our newly-minted mastermind taking his spoils home to his honeycomb hideout:

I admit, I am a sucker for cutaway hideout diagrams. Having established his villainous bona-fides, the Bee promptly turned face in issue #2, hastily selling out his Martian lords to the government and joining the F. Bee I., a quickly assembled government Bee-reaucracy linked to the real agency. As crappy a villain as he was, he made an even more forgettable hero, and was never seen again after that second, final issue of Double-Dare.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Ask Golden Age Wonder Woman

Advice on love, life, and relationships by Dr. Golden Age Wonder Woman, Ph.d

Dear Golden Age Wonder Woman-

I’ve known my best friend since second grade, but things have been strained between us ever since I got married. Carol has remained single, and I can hardly speak to her anymore without hearing mean remarks about marriage or my husband! She seems jealous and resentful of my marriage, and angry that she’s still single. Recently, she told me that she saw my husband at a bar kissing another woman, and has demanded that I confront him about it. I don’t believe her, but she says that if I don’t talk to him about it, she’ll break off our friendship! What should I do?

-Conflicted in Cleveland

Dear Golden Age Wonder Woman-

I am very concerned about my granddaughter. She recently turned thirteen, and the sweet little girl I knew has turned into a foul-mouthed tramp. I know she smokes, and I have heard her swearing on the phone. She also dresses in trashy, revealing outfits and will probably be pregnant before her next birthday, the way things are going! I have tried to talk to her mother about this, but she told me that she trusts her daughter like a friend! Honestly, have you ever heard such a thing? I’m beside myself with worry – please help, Golden Age Wonder Woman!

-Grandma in Des Moines

Dear Golden Age Wonder Woman-

I have met the girl of my dreams, but there is one problem: she doesn’t want to get married. She’s worried that if she marries me, she won’t get alimony any more, and I say she doesn’t need it if she’s married to me. I don’t make much money, but I’m going to school at night, and I think we can do just fine. Who’s right?

-Frustrated in Mesa, AZ

Dear Golden Age Wonder Woman-

I’ve been working at my current job for over five years, but I cannot seem to make any impression at my office. I routinely bring in high sales and get good feedback, but I keep seeing newer, less experienced people promoted past me. I’m quiet and reliable, but I’m not a “self-promoter” or a showoff. What can I do to get noticed?

-‘Ol Reliable in Milwaukee

Dear Golden Age Wonder Woman-

My wife spends way too much money! We are knee deep in debt, and I’m working two jobs, but every chance she gets, it’s off to the mall for more shoes! I think she’s a spendaholic, but she doesn’t see a problem. Help!

-Wits End, Boulder, CO

Golden Age Wonder Woman is a Doctor of Philosophy, professional advice columnist, and Super-Heroine of note. Her column, "Ask Golden Age Wonder Woman" is syndicated in over 350 newspapers nationwide.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Secret Past of Henry Peter Gyrich

Recently in his always-excellent Permanent Damage column, Steven Grant was discussing his work on the Avengers, and his contribution to the ongoing Magneto/Scarlet Witch/Quicksilver saga. Grant went on to mention some inside jokes and background stories from that time, and I found this bit regarding Avengers#189 particularly amusing:

"On the final page of that issue was a little inside snipe. We cut back to the Avengers, where the government moves yet one more time to take control of the Avengers. Peter Gyrich, the government agent who at the end of the issue shuts the group down, had an interesting double pedigree; named for Jim Shooter's cousin (if I remember correctly, this was Jim's idea and meant affectionately) he was intended to be the grown-up version of a '50s Atlas Comics DENNIS THE MENACE knockoff called PETEY THE LITTLE PEST."

So Gyrich has been a pain in the ass since childhood; not surprising, then, that he has since become a reliable and persistent thorn in the side of the entire Marvel Universe. Today, in Avengers: the Initiative, authority is the "slingshot", and the civil rights of all your favorite Marvel heroes are the "living room window" for this ruthless flat-topped fascist.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

One More Meh

I’ve been writing about this Spider-Man marriage fiasco, so I feel obliged to weigh in now that its been “resolved” in One More Day.

Well, Marvel done went and busted up that Parker marriage real good, didn’t they? I’m completely stumped at their decision to have Peter and MJ make a deal with “the Devil”, especially when a bargain with Loki had already been established. I guess I assumed that Straczynski had a plan, but apparently he was going to use Mephisto too. His story, while more logical, would have screwed up history even worse, so I guess I’m glad the editors won in this case? Or maybe this is the beginning of years of retcons, backpedalling, and stories about stories. Meh.

Understand that I’m not especially upset with this. I don’t think OMD was a very good story, but it hasn’t “raped my childhood” or anything like that. I think its very out-of-character for Peter to entertain a deal with any devil, but he’s done a lot of weird things the last few (15-20) years, including getting married in the first place. I’ve been reading these things for something like 30 years now, and I’m used to these continuity hi-jinx, though Marvel has yet to dabble much with actually altering history/continuity. If I was going to boycott a company over this, I would have done it to DC four “Legion of Superheroes” reboots ago.

To be fair, the marriage was the result of an irrational editorial fiat, so why should its undoing be any different?

Maybe the marriage scenario had become a bit limiting and claustrophobic over the years; many, many scenes in the cramped Parker apartment arguing about money, smoking, and clones. I just hope the new teams don’t try to wring any drama out of his secret identity. We now know that Aunt May won’t drop dead if she finds out, we know Jonah would get pissed off and try to sue, and we know how the entire rest of the supporting cast would react, via the Civil War identity reveal.

Anyway, my best advice to Marvel would be to move the hell on and never address this again, but history shows that they’ll revisit OMD again and again until we’re all sick of it. Peter’s deal with Mephisto can be argued and loophole to death, but ultimately, it is just dumb and should be ignored like Killer Android Parker parents.

After all these years of reading, my main enjoyment of superhero comics comes from watching the different creators’ takes on my lifelong favorites, not out of any appreciation for their internal consistency. Well, Quesada has been bitching for years about how great the Spider-Man books would be if not for the marriage; let’s see what they’ve got.

Spider-Man: Irreversible Terminal Demise

I'm working on my thoughts about "One More Day / Brand New Day" (I'm neither surprised, nor especially outraged). While you're waiting, enjoy this hilarious article from MAD #485, (with art by F'N Spider-Man alum Todd Nauck) that parodies Spider-Man, Wizard Magazine, and comic-book death. Oh, how you will laugh.*


Monday, January 07, 2008

DC Fatties: Flash, Superman, and Wonder Woman!

After Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane, you might think that only supporting characters got the fat treatment back in DC's Silver Age, but you'd be quite mistaken. Back in Flash #115, a temporarily human Gorilla Grodd transformed Flash into a one ton freak in "The Day Flash Weighed 1000 Pounds!" (Reprinted in the appropriately named 80-Page Giant "Giant Flash" #4).

In the story, Grodd leads a dazed and amnesiac Flash to a circus after transforming him. Flash gets signed on as the new Fat Man, giving the spectators a laugh at the sight of the spherical speedster. Soon, he begins to come out of his confusion:

So he sets off to lose weight fast:

I don't think that's how either dehydration or weight loss work, but it was the '60's. Potato Dehydrato, Inc. are lucky they didn't end up with a reeking roomful of Flash Jerky. And are those potatoes fit for human consumption now? Saturated in greasy superhero sweat as they are, I doubt it.

Not to be outdone, Superman became two tons of Last Son in Superman #221. Can't tell you anything about the story, but the cover says it all:

Finally, Wonder Woman Got some extra junk in her trunk back in Wonder Woman #130, as ably recapped by Gorilla Daze awhile back:

Trevordickery at its finest, but to be fair, "I...gulp...gulp...I ?!?" is my standard response to a lot of my wife's questions too.

Time to shed the fat and move on. More soon.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

DC Fatties: The Fat Boy of Metropolis

In the Silver Age of comics, DC Comics had an obsession with bizarre physical transformations, often depicting their super heroes transformed into aliens, cavemen, babies, ant-heads, and giant-brained future men. When new ideas were hard to come by, the writers could always just turn their star enormously fat for an issue.

Like Lois Lane before him, Jimmy Olsen was plumped up in Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #49. Unlike Lois, Jimmy doesn’t need Superman to mutate him into a tub of lard; he’s stupid enough to be gulled by every phony, swindler, and con man to cross his path:

Professor Potter seems to be under the impression that FAT= EDIBLE MEAT, but he’s a known crackpot, so no surprise. Lucky for Rance, Jimmy Olsen is a dip-shit and doesn’t question why Potter never mentioned his assistant. Jimmy leaves for Perry White’s house, where the two are planning an all-nighter. Of work, freaks. Jimmy stays so late that Perry sets up a cot on the porch. The story makes a point of mentioning that it is summertime, but I assume Perry would make Jimmy sleep on his porch in the dead of winter, too. When Jimmy wakes up:

He gets dressed, explaining that there is an upside to his weight gain; the Maharajah of Bohali will be arriving in Metropolis to reward Jimmy for saving his life the previous year by giving him his weight in diamonds. "Imagine!" the distended cub reporter exclaims, "I'll collect 300 pounds of diamonds!" Thus clad in full Santa regalia, Jimmy heads off to the Big and Tall Men’s shop. On the way, he sees what appears to be a hot rivet falling from a construction site onto an apartment building. Naturally, he climbs to the rooftop, where he finds that his "rivet" is merely a dropped lunch box. I make that mistake all the time, often going hungry at work for fear of burning my hands. In the course of this, who should be sunbathing on the next roof over but a sunbathing Lucy Lane:

Follows a series of zany mishaps wherein Superman has to save his bloated pal from a parachuting mishap and a “Fireman for a Day" assignment, about which the less said, the better. Finally, he happens to be on a circus assignment on precisely the same day the circus Fat Man is sweating his job. The Fat Man's scheming Fat Lady wife intercepts Jimmy and distracts him long enough for the manager to leave. Needless to say, Lucy shows up at the worst possible moment:

The next day, Superman Flies Jimmy to his appointment with the Maharajah:

Memo to self: Never trust anyone named “Rance”. Superman goes on to round up Rance’s gang, and everything returns to normal. Remember, criminals, never try to use Superman as your mule! He will find out and send you to jail where you will meet new, horrible people!

Whoo, I’m winded here! I need a couple of cheeseburgers to get my strength back. Next and last in our portly parade, we have Flash: the Fattest Man Alive.