Aside from the comics, I'm also an action figure nut. Or as I prefer to call them, "wee dollies".
I've acquired quite a collection of both Marvel and DC characters, but until today I've been denied the Doom Patrol. Bandai almost did the DP as part of their Teen Titans line a few years back, but sadly only prototypes (pictured above) were produced. It was a true tragedy, I tell you. Anyway, Doom Patrol action figures are finally a reality! Lookit what I ordered:
I received them today, and they are swank. They now stand next to the Legion of Superheroes on my JLU display. And of course, that led to a whole reshuffling of shelves, and rearranging of ranks, and so forth. I think I'm gonna have to do one of those "shelf porn" deals soon, and show off my loot.
Wednesday has been taking on a new tone in the last few years. I've been adding titles to my hold file for my 8-year old son, so now New Comic Day is an event for both of us. Some weeks, he gets more comics than I do! Gregory is developing into a fantastic reader, and comics are easy, confidence-building reads for him. One book we've recently added to his list is Tiny Titans. I've long since lost interest in both Teen Titans and Titans, but Tiny Titans has been more than scratching my itch for that particular group of characters anyway, without all of the gore and angst. Issue #22 introduces OFFSPRING to the Tiny Titans, as well as his dad, Plastic Man. Later, Elongated Man and Elastic Lad show up for a Stretchy guy party - with ice cream! You see, in the happy-go-lucky world of Tiny Titans, dead characters live, and most like-powered characters form cliques, as demonstrated by the "Bird Scouts" meeting attended by Robin, Raven, Hawk, Dove, Talon and Golden Eagle later in the same issue. If you like elastic superheroes, Tiny Titans #22 is a must have!
Newspaper Comic Strip Spider-Man exists in a strange little world of his own. We've already discussed his shortcomings, so luckily, when it comes to villains, he has it decidedly easier than his comic book counterpart. The only people left reading comic strips these days are old folks and the easily agitated. Venom, Carnage, and their ilk might give Granny the vapors, so Newspaper Comic Strip Spider-Man is left with a fairly lightweight bunch for a "rogues gallery." While most of his classic villains still exist in the newspaper strip, they are usually the tamest, most watered-down version of that character, and usually saddled with a crap soap-opera subplot. But Newspaper Comic Strip Spider-Man's foes aren't just limited to Doctor Octopus, Sandman, and Electro. Many other unique, not-so-threatening threats have been dreamed up by "Stan Lee", all in the name of filling three panels a day, every day, no matter what. Six on Sundays. Without further ado the Deadly Dull Foes of Newspaper Comic Strip Spider-Man:
THE OWL As if Spidey didn't have enough lame villains of his own own, the newspaper strip imports one of Daredevil's corniest old enemies. Further, they tacked on a soapy subplot about the Owl's estranged wife, as if anyone would marry this goofball.
THE PUNISHER also guest starred in this storyline, where, appallingly, he didn't kill anyone. Worse yet, he ended up learning a Very Important Lesson:
MARY JANE WATSON PARKER Understand that in the Spider-Man comic strip, MJ is most beautiful, most desirable woman in the entire world, and all men want her. She's a superstar brimming with talent, and at least one major storyline a year revolves around a scandal involving Mary Jane, MJ shooting some crappy movie, or MJ being "stolen" from Spider-Man in a variety of ways by a variety of perverts. All too often the super-villains are there to hit on Mary Jane or fall for her along the way. The poor Spider-Dope doesn't even realize that his wife has hijacked his comic strip out from under him.
DOCTOR SMITHSON Usually, when a superhero fights a "Doctor", he's a cackling disfigured maniac with a mountaintop lair, a flowing cape and menacing prostheses. Doctor Smithson, however, was just a plain ol' medical doctor, albeit an unethical one with a shaky understanding of what can and cannot be patented. Only in the Spider-Man comic strip could three months of story involve Spidey running around in a hospital gown:
In the story, Peter Parker got a staff position at the Daily Bugle, which led to the dreaded threat of health insurance. Being an asshat, Peter Parker naturally showed up to his physical with his Spider-Man costume on underneath his clothes. Hi-jinx, predictably, ensue. Worse, Dr. Smithson noticed the superhuman qualities of Spider-Man's blood, and called Peter up for further blood tests, leading to months of worrying about the secret identity and radioactive blood samples. They may as well have gone for a Rex Morgan crossover while they were at it.
HUGO Hugo was the loyal chauffeur/goon to fading starlet NarnaLamarr, who ran afoul of Spidey when she tried to kill Mary Jane for winning the role of Marvella in one of those crappy movies I was talking about earlier. These two gave Spidey way more trouble than they had any right to before Hugo was beaten not by Spider-Man, but by sheer dumb luck and his own clumsiness.
THE PERSUADER Too bad his name isn't "The Persuadable", because maybe he could be persuaded to get a decent haircut. While he's at it, he could maybe he could be persuaded to turn in that baby-shit green suit for a proper villain costume, too. The Persuader was in every way a disposable thug, save for his name, but was sufficiently menacing to keep billionaire Simon Krandis pawing all over Mary Jane for a few weeks while Spider Man flailed ineffectually.
BIG TIME: He's all about time and clocks. And he shoots clocks at you. At least he wasn't trying to get into Mary Jane's pants.
TELEVISION: But Newspaper Comic Strip Spider-Man's greatest, most persistent enemy is undoubtedly his own damn television set. It may not retain the same size, shape or position from one story to the next, but it never fails to infuriate our dull-witted hero. Like so many of us, the wall crawler cannot resist its hypnotic allure, but when he turns it on, there is Jameson, always Jameson, reminding him of his many, many failures.
Amazing Spider-Man #611 may get the most attention for guest-starring Deadpool, but wouldn't you know, the highlight of the issue for me was the debut of LADY STILT-MAN. I heartily endorse this ludicrous franchise expansion, and encourage further such action. Paste Pot Petunia, anyone?
Of all the different versions of Spider-Man available, surely Newspaper Comic Strip Spider-Man is the worst. I mean, I love Stan Lee, and I'm glad his brother is getting work, I guess, but man this thing is a dog. I'm not the first person to notice this, but the Peter Parker we see in the newspaper is a more annoying prick than regular Spidey by far. For one thing, he spends entire story arcs trying to defraud his employers while tricking ex-cons back into crime:
Newspaper Comic Strip Spider-Man is pretty dull-witted. He's constantly blundering into situations where he compromises his secret identity, usually because he's distracted by his own internal whining and fretting about how awful it would be if anyone ever found out he was Spider-Man!
His Spider-sense doesn't seem to work too good either. Note that it works great when it looks like someone might suspect his precious secret identity:
But not so much when it comes to pipes, bricks, tigers, and, oh, being pistol-whipped! When it comes to blunt head trauma, Hal Jordan has nothing on Newspaper Comic Strip Spider-Man.
But don't worry about Newspaper Comic Strip Spider-Man. He'll get his rest, the lazy bastard. He spends as much time sleeping, or falling asleep, or having entire months-long dream sequences as he does fighting super-villains:
On those occasions he does haul his ass out of bed, you'd think it would be all web-swinging action, right? Not so fast, kid. Newspaper Comic Strip Spider-Man is just as likely to hang around in his striped jammies all day: