Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"Man Reversible The" Moore's Alan

Here’s a great little "Time Twister" from Alan Moore, originally written for 2000 AD. Before Watchmen and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Moore worked on short science fiction stories for the the long running U.K. weekly, even then playing with time and sequence in his storytelling. Of course, the idea of a person living his life backwards isn't completely Moore's - I'm sure I've read an old science fiction story somewhere with the same premise, at least - but Alan Moore always manages to make great comics from whatever he starts with, and "The Reversible Man" is no exception:

"The Reversible Man"
Script: Alan Moore
Art: Mike White
Story scanned from The Complete Alan Moore Future Shocks, Rebellion, the Studio, 2006

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Some Less-Than-Spectacular Spider-Man Foes

Hey, Pennsylvania readers! Did'ja know Spider-Man once made a visit to your friendly neighborhood? Too bad he only had time to visit a prison and the Appalachian backwoods. This was during a story that had Robbie Robertson imprisoned for covering up some past crimes of Tombstone, his lifelong tormentor. Since, as far as big-city comic book writers know, Pennsylvania is crawling with inbred hill-folk, it only stands to reason that Spider-man's one recorded visit to the state would lead him head first into the buck-toothed, in-bred-ed-est hillbilly clan possible. "BANJO" was actually a ten year old kid mutated by radiation from Three-Mile Island into a hulking disfigured brute, seen above. Don't you love that custom logo, like this guy was ever going to be used again?

DISCLAIMER: At no point in this story is Spider-Man ordered to "Git them panties off! Git 'em right on off now, y'hear?" a la Deliverance. More's the pity.

SKINHEAD was a (lower-case) skin head racist who ran afoul of Spidey and his one black friend, the Rocket Racer. Later, while escaping the authorities, he ran into the Empire State University lab and found some bad web-fluid Peter had been working on. He got drenched with the stuff while fighting Rocket Racer, and it turned him into a protoplasmic horror in short order. Yes, apparently bad web fluid can make mooks into monsters. It's entirely possible Jameson was right!

Daredevil #300, in which Daredevil finally, decisively, defeated the Kingpin was barely off the presses before Web of Spider-Man was trying to cram a half-assed NEW KINGPIN down our throat. Kingpin's son, Richard Fisk rapidly gained 300 pounds and shed his hair to take over his father's empire in the much reviled "Name of the Rose" storyline before quickly disappearing. Not to worry though: the Web of Spider-Man guys couldn't backpedal fast enough, and the new Kingpin's next appearance revealed him to be Richard's friend, who had undergone plastic surgery as part of some convoluted scheme. Then of course, the real Kingpin returned soon enough, and the whole thing was ignored. That's commitment to your story, guys!

P.S Pretty much every version of the Rose sucked, too. Especially the "Blood" one.


Monday, May 11, 2009

DC's Hall of Silver Age Elseworlds First Pages

Anyone remember the flap that accompanied DC's pulping of its Elseworlds 80-Page Giant before it was even published? Because of an allegedly too-violent story about Superman's babysitter? You know, the only story from that collection that actually saw print, albeit in the Bizarro Comics hardback a few years later?

Well, a few thousand copies did escape pulping, the controversy is officially ten years old now, and whatever objections DC may have had to its publication are long since irrelevant in a DCU where horrific, nihilistic violence is the norm. What better time, then, to trot out a great feature by Mark Waid and Ty Templeton that would have shown some never-were-but-should-have-been imaginary stories from a Silver Age that never was? I've seen the whole Elseworlds 80-Page Giant, folks, and this is probably the best thing from it, so enjoy!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

We Predict You Will Be Pleased With Prophetic Pup!

Greetings, curs and canines! PROPHETIC PUP here! I’m filling in as special guest blogger for this column retelling the story of my fantastic debut in Superboy #136: “Danger of the Doom Statues”! Your regular blogger somehow got a splitting migraine after reading this thrilling tale of how I, the amazing PROPHETIC PUP met and joined the Space Canine Patrol Agency, so he asked me to fill in for him!

I remember it like it was yesterday; the SCPA were having auditions, and they were busy reviewing new applicants. Of course, none of them were up to SCPA caliber:

Krypto was going to show up with a big surprise, or so he thought, anyway. But then it was MY turn to shine:

That’s right! I perfectly prognosticated Kryptos surprise present, as covered here before, at Again With the Comics! You should have seen the look on Krypto’s smug face when everyone knew exactly what he had in his package! Sometimes, when it’s cold in comic book limbo, and I can’t sleep, I pull up an image of his pissed off expression on my crystal ball cranium and gaze at it in the mirror, and I laugh and laugh.

As if that wasn’t amazing enough, I conjured up another vision of the future:

And maybe it wasn’t exactly an emergency, but I was technically correct:

Then, all I had to do was make a third prediction and I would be in the club! Easy, no? Well, NO, actually:

Hey, don’t look at me! The mists of time closed in too soon! NOT. MY. FAULT.

Sure, my powers pooped out at a crucial moment, BUT, I was able to ruin Krypto’s surprise and waste his time, so that’s got to count for something, right?

Anyway, I was able to determine that a HOUND would lead Superboy into a deadly trap, and a HOUND would rescue him, but that it wouldn’t happen until sometime within the next 24 hours. At that point, the SCPA were called to Tail Terrier’s home planet to deal with an invasion of giant fleas:

The giant fleas were all part of a Black Cat invasion led by a criminal kitty named Tricky Tom:

Eventually, the gang was captured, but not before (and unbeknownst to the SCPA) Krypto was captured in a Kryptonite trap, and Tricky Tom slipped away. Luckily, Superboy came looking for his pet. UN luckily, that brought him closer to fulfilling my prophecy!

Tricky Tom escaped, but soon he received a telepathic message from the PHANTY CATS, the pet cats of the Phantom Zone criminals, exiled with them all those lonely years ago. You may wonder why the Phanty Cats just happened to be floating around, watching all of this, and the answer is that the denizens of the Phantom Zone are ALWAYS floating around, watching everything. They are probably watching you on the toilet and in the shower, actually, since they haven’t much else to do.

The Phanty Cats trouble me on an existential level: I often wonder if they participated in their masters’ evil deeds, and were therefore also deserving of banishment, or if they became evil as a result of their unjust banishment…


Er, pardon me. I am a dog, you know. Noticing a sixth statue where once there were only five, Superboy flew in closer to investigate, and found a new lead coated statue of Jor-El on the floating rock. That’s when Tricky Tom and the Phanty Cats sprung their trap:

Here is where I have to set the record straight. I’ve gone on the talk shows about this, and I’ve had to address this in my memoirs, and I maintain that my third prediction WAS accurate, and I DID earn my place in the Space Canine Patrol Agency. My critics have relentlessly charged that no “hound” led Superboy into danger, and that he in fact led HIMSELF into danger, flying too close to a group of statues that HE KNEW were made out of Kryptonite. I however contend that Superboy’s recklessness and stupidity were well documented by this point, and that Krypto’s need to be rescued was what caused Superboy to be in that sector of space in the first place. Sure, maybe I could have predicted: “A cat and three ghost cats and his own gullibility and to a much lesser extent a hound will lead Superboy into a deadly trap…and a hound will rescue him”, but that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, now does it? Predicting the future is as much an art as a science, so I say I should be allowed to claim a certain amount of artistic licence in my work.

And something else is still tugging at my tail to this day: I still don’t know how Tricky Tom found a piece of Kryptonite large enough to sculpt into a statue of Jor-El, how he knew what Jor-El looked like, how he had the skill to sculpt a life-sized statue of him in such a short time, or with what tools he did it! Then there’s the logistics behind how he coated the resultant sculpture with lead, and how he got the finished, dried, and coated statue on the asteroid with the other statues in time for Superboy to fly by! I’m pretty sure the Phanty Cats must have commissioned some of the work in advance, but if so, I’ll never know how they paid for it all. After all that effort, I’m almost glad for them that Superboy didn’t just fly past without noticing!

Keep in mind, the SCPA knew nothing of this. As they lay slowly dying, Krypto had to explain the whole situation to Superboy the only way he could; by MORSE-CODE TAIL THUMPING:

So I wanted to go to Earth and tell Krypto that I was glad my prediction was wrong. For some reason, instead of cracking me on the head with a gavel and sending me packing, the entire SCPA piled into a spaceship and headed to Smallville to drop in on Krypto and Superboy. Once in Smallville, we decided to split up and tour the town.”Lets split up and take in different sights, then report back and swap experiences!” chirped Paw Pooch, as the Kryptonite radiation ate away at Krypto’s brain.


Krypto missed this asinine exchange, however, so he thought Hot Dog was “on the case” and rushing to the rescue:

Only to find rescue was the last thing on that stupid shit’s mind:

I’ve been on the team, and Hot Dog is exactly as much of a dimwit as he appears to be, believe me.

Surely Tusky Husky will help, then, right? Hells, no, Dawg. Hes just tryin’ to get a little “tail”.

Horny Husky is more like it.

Wait! Here comes Paw Pooch! He must be the “hound” of the prophecy!

By Canis Major, I’m no expert on Earth’s synchronized rowing sports, but I’m pretty sure that introducing an eighteen-legged, talking costumed superdog from space as a last minute ringer for your entire rowing team constitutes some sort of rules violation. On the plus side, this is the internet, so this is probably a fetish for someone out there. Enjoy, Earth sickos!

Who needs Space Canines, though, when you have improbable dumb luck on your side? Superboy and Krypto saw a ray of hope when, out of nowhere, a movie crew started setting up for a shoot nearby! Superboy tried calling them for help, but weakened by the Kryptonite, they couldn’t quite hear him. Luckily, a kid on a bike happens by:

And thus, I earned SCPA membership in the time honored psychic tradition: by impressing a bunch of credulous rubes with a sufficiently vague “prediction” that could be willfully interpreted as “accurate” after the fact. Needless to say, as a dog from space, I was totally familiar with the Earth term ”autograph hound”, meaning a human who collects the signatures of other, more famous humans! That is exactly what I meant when I said a HOUND would rescue Superboy. Yeah. Wanna make something of it?

Anyway, that’s the story of how I gained membership in the incomparable Space Canine Patrol Agency! Too bad Superboy #136 was their last appearance ever, and neither they nor I would ever be seen again. Who could have seen THAT coming?

PROPHETIC PUP has retired to Earth to pursue a career in parapsychology and the supernatural. His instructional videos and Pup’s Psychic Milkshake Powder can be purchased online at WWW.PROPHETICPUP.COM. He has appeared on John Edward’s Crossing Over (in the audience), has written and self-published several books on psychic phenomena and is a member of the Psychic Friends network. PROPHETIC PUP is a LICENSED PROFESSIONAL CALIFORNIA PSYCHIC, so you know you can trust his readings! Good day, and good Karma.