Friday, May 29, 2009

Your Happenstance Page for today:

Oh, that hadda make a few bucks for Hannigan there.
From Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #2, "Shaman, part two" Written by Dennis O'Neil, pencils by Ed Hannigan, inks by John Beatty. Found my old copies of "Shaman" in a drawer the other day, and gave them a re-read. They held up pretty well, although I think this series led to an unfortunate glut of five-issue story arcs, most of which could've been edited down an issue or two. Most of those were set during Batman's increasingly busy first year in action, too...
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

X-23 and Maestro got Marvel Legends, and Solo didn't...yeah, seems right.

Ugh. I've got several days worth of posts scheduled, and not much for today. Great.

The other day, I went for a good long bike ride along the river, then took a little break for a nap under a tree. I was hoping to wake up in the future, with a big ol' beard and stuff.

You can imagine my disappointment.

In other little disappointments, I was inexplicably just wishing I had a Solo action figure. Not Han Solo, no: the Marvel character from the 90's. (Actually 80's onward.) Green costume, guns, "While I live, Terror dies!" Let's take a look, at a pin-up from Web of Spider-Man Annual #10 by Tom Lyle and Sam De La Rosa, and you bet your ass I got that one out of the quarter bin. OK, honestly, it was fifty cents. For some reason, I got to thinking about Solo as the Bizarro Deadpool. Anti-Deadpool. Deadpool's opposite number. Something like that. Both have (mostly) monochromatic color schemes, tons of guns, and teleporters. But where Deadpool's a mercenary, Solo's a freelance anti-terrorist. Where Solo's pretty handsome under his mask, Deadpool's a wreck. Deadpool's a clown, while Solo is deadly serious, and kind of unlikeable.

If Solo grabs you, you can check his wikipedia page: he does predate Deadpool by five years; although the only story I really remember Solo in was Erik Larsen's Sinister Six story in Spider-Man. That, and I think Solo's main purpose in most of his appearances was to storm in shooting and foaming at the mouth, putting Spider-Man in the role of having to keep Solo from murdering terrorists or alleged terrorists, or civilians, depending on the situation. Which seems kinda quaint now, doesn't it?

And, now I just devoted a fair portion of my day to thinking about Solo. I don't like him, and storywise there's multiple problems with him; but he seems like he'd be a good foil for Deadpool, if not a lot of other Marvel characters. You just have to stomach him long enough for him to get his beatdown...
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

NOIR: It's not for everybody.

Second page after the bump!

If you saw the Marvel solicits for August (you can check them here at CBR) you may have noticed Punisher Noir and Luke Cage Noir. Not necessarily bad choices for that sort of thing, although I'm not sure is by Noir they mean stylistically noir, which would be a bit more downbeat than even the gloomiest Marvel book; or just set in a stereotypical noir time period of the thirties. (I haven't read any lately, but I've read most of Jim Thompson's books, which is like Noir 101.)

So far there's been X-Men, Spider-Man, and Daredevil Noir books: the Daredevil in particular is admittedly a regular DD story with the dates changed, and possibly a little more freedom in bumping off characters. So, who's left for a possible Noir book of their own? I keep thinking of characters that won't work: Captain America Noir doesn't sit quite right. Hulk Noir...boy, you'd have to jump through some hoops on that one. You don't have to start with the private detective or the grifter or the serial killer (I need to re-read the Killer Inside Me but I hate being seen reading it...) but it doesn't hurt.

Deadpool would work great as a Noir book, almost a gimme, if the writer is willing to go at it balls out. No heroics, no hearts of gold, no happy endings.

Open with establishing shot of a particularly crappy looking stretch of beach at night. Garbage floats ashore, and broken-down docks can be seen in the distance. And I don't care if the rest of the book is black and white, but Deadpool gets his traditional yellow caption boxes.

CAPTION: The papers call it "the Deadpool." On account'a it's a tidal pool and, duh. Why bother racking your skull for a clever name, when you can use the first thing some newsie shouts out?

(Seagulls circle the terrible looking water. Cans and debris float.)
CAPTION: So many stiffs are pulled outta here, the cops oughta spring for a full-time diver. Or at least a kid with one of those nets on a pole. Better'n nine times outta ten, it's a completely unrecognizable lump. Sometimes, if you squint, you can tell it usedta be a dame. Or a kid.

(Cops on a boat, ready to hook a floater out. This floater isn't missing parts!)
CAPTION: And once in a month of Sundays...

(Cops hook the body: as they pull it up, we see the terribly scarred face. Vomiting noise in background.)

(Still half-in the water with the hook in him, the 'floater' vomits up a gallon of seawater, then gasps in a lungful of air. More vomiting in background, cop chatter, whatever cursing as would be allowed for this thing.)
CAPTION: The catch of the day.

(Four panel grid for this page; Pool in hospital bed repeated four times with slight variations. Probably need some photo reference for the time period, but first Pool in bed, looking calm. Doctors and nurses obviously keeping their distance. Deadpool's face doesn't have to be the usual cancerpuss of the regular books, it can be scarred in a completely new fashion, as long as it's terribly scarred but still expressive. He is bald, though.)
CAPTION: Now, there's no law against doing the dead man's float in the middle of the night, but you couldn't tell that from the cops.
COP #1: Who are you?
POOL: I don't know.
COP #2: What do you remember?
POOL: Nothing.

(Panel two: Either the sun has changed position, or the cops have food and Deadpool doesn't: time has passed. Pool looks slightly agitated.)
COP #1: Where you from?
POOL: I don't know who I am, how would I know where I'm from?
COP #2: Where'd ya get them scars?
POOL: I don't know.

(Panel three: Dark. Possibly a janitor in the background. The cops are getting in Deadpool's face. Pool is mouthing off, not threatened by them.)
CAPTION: After running back through their questions for the third or fourth time, it became obvious the cops weren't gonna take "I don't know" for an answer. That's OK, I had lost my patience too.
COP #1: Why were you in the drink?
POOL: I. Don't. Know.
COP #2: Why would you be hanging around the deadpool?
POOL: Maybe I lost my lucky penny.

(Panel four: Cops are this close to beating Deadpool in his hospital bed. One may actually have some blunt instrument out--brass knuckles, a sap, a nightstick. Even scarred, Pool's smirk shines through.)
COP #1: Last time, punk! Who are you?
POOL: Why don'tcha just call me Mr. Pool?
COP #2: What's with the scars, you ugly piece of--
POOL: I didn't wait half an hour after eating before my swim.
COP #1: Where'd you come from?
POOL: I don't know, let's go to your mom's house and see if I can retrace my steps...

(Page three, full page with space for title, credits. Pool being thrown out of the hospital in a rugby-scrim of cops, doctors. A hypodermic is very obviously sticking out of Pool's shoulder, as he knocks a tooth out of Cop #1's mouth. Wait, did they use hypodermics for sedatives then? I'd have to research that. With or without the needle, the scene should establish Pool as tougher than the average mook.)
CAPTION: Before long, the cops and the doctors decided even with no identity, no money, and no prospects; I was well enough to leave the hospital. Funny thing is, they weren't wrong. Even with a face that looked like it'd been used as a butcher's block, I felt great. Better than a drowned corpse oughta feel, for damn sure. I didn't remember s#!*, but I knew I felt better than I had in a while. Maybe things were looking up.

That's where I would start, anyway. Would Pool go looking for his past? Would it come looking for him? I tend to think no to both. Maybe in a second book, if it came to that. I would definitely think twice about bringing in Noir versions of Wolverine (or Logan, in his own Noir book) or Weapon X. I might bring in a version of Hellhouse, from the early Joe Kelly issues. Pool would take various odd criminal jobs, most of which would be based on his ugliness; then later his fighting ability; slowly moving up the ranks of criminals. Hmm.

That's all for now, but since I hadn't read any in a little bit, I brushed up on a glossary of hardboiled slang from Miskatonic University Press. Check it out and call everyone you see today a dame or a palooka!
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Sunday, May 24, 2009

"America's Pasttime."

Flash doesn't lead off the base, but then again, he doesn't have to.  Now, if Hal would just move it... All together now: Click to enlarge!
Booster did play football, didn't he?
Do pitchers really get a pitching mound, like in old Peanuts strips?  Pool's pitching off Thor's base, Ye Olde Pitching Mounde.
'I learned something about myself that summer.  I learned my skull was a magnet for baseballs.'
Um, I think Deadpool's trying to get the lasso, not...yeah, I have no idea. Three years down, and according to my blogger dashboard, this is like my 1001st post. Um, no: there's a good fistful of drafts and posts that saved multiple times, so not quite. Getting there, though.

Personally, this last year was very much not the best year ever. But, I am glad I have the time and comics and toys to do this blog--a lot of the blogs on my sidebar aren't as lucky, and I miss them. And I'm very grateful to everyone who has stopped by, linked, left a comment, or followed this nonsense. Thanks again.

OK, some notes! The baseball diamond is about three dollars worth of construction paper and foam, with bases made from a cut-up backing board...that I cut off in most of the photos. I'm not a realistic set builder, no: I just try to vaguely approximate where I'm setting the strip, like stage theatre. Nightcrawler's glove is leftover foam. The bat is from a Playmates Simpsons figure, but I'm not positive who. Nelson, maybe. Of course, Nelson can hold a bat, which is more than can be said for Booster Gold and Superman, who both have two clenched fists. The bat was a bit too big for Wonder Woman to grip, but at least she had open hands. (You could definitely get a more realistic bat from a McFarlane sports figure, but I didn't find one marked down that had a bat...) The baseball is Captain Sisko's, from Art Asylum/Diamond Select's Star Trek: Deep Space 9 line: they gave a lot of accessories with those. The ball's actually mounted on a little black stand, but I didn't want to risk shredding the ball removing it.

Now, we ran a lot of superhero baseball panels earlier this week, and it may have occurred to you as well just what a phenomenally terrible idea playing baseball with super-powered hitters like Colossus or Superman would be. That panel with Wonder Man pitching against Thor? WM throws so hard, the ball's almost on fire, which means it's probably faster than the human eye can see, and Hank Pym's catching those? Sure, he's got a big glove, but if Thor tips one back Pym's a dead man.

In the X-Men Evolutions game, Sunspot powers up and knocks out a big one, and Nightcrawler teleports up for the catch. Which is so hard, it throws him back into the Danger Room windows, and Jean has to telekinetically catch Kurt. Of course, in a training situation like this, the danger of superpowered line drives can be written off to being aware of potential hazards, like a live-fire drill. Maybe. At any rate, if you're headed to a game this Memorial Day, have fun, and try not to dwell on Superman's batting average...

With this and the holiday, we're going to be out until Wednesday, but we'll have a new strip then! Hope to see you there...figuratively.
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Friday, May 22, 2009

Despite literally being on home plate, Deadpool's home run is strictly metaphorical...

Still, probably a better slide than any I ever executed.
Leave it to Deadpool to bring us a less...conventional use of the baseball diamond: first, sparring with Warpath of X-Force on the Field of Dreams set in Iowa!
Am I a bad person for wanting to see Deadpool punt Warpath out of his book?

Then, scoring with his dream date, Siryn!
Perhaps an Iowa native could let me know...they don't let you do this, do they?  Let me know, I have a vacation coming up...
Yep, looks like everything's coming up Deadpool, and everything is right with the world--wait, what's going on here--
Admittedly, I'm not that charming when I wake up in a field, either.
Why would Siryn have an image inducer--
How that bird didn't crap on Wade's shoulder, I have no idea.
--oh, dear God! Ick. Kinda defiled the cornfield, too. And Pool either didn't tuck his mask in, or decided he wanted to try the Cobra Commander look.

Typhoid Mary was an Ann Nocenti creation, and as we may have mentioned before, wrecked Daredevil up; as she organized a multi-villain beating while driving Karen away from Matt. (Again.) DD managed to get her into an asylum once, but her multiple personalities put ads in the paper: one to spring her, the other to kill her. ("It's a daily double!" proclaims Deadpool's buddy Weasel, in issue #4. That was the first issue of Deadpool I read and I've been there most of the way since.) We won't mention her third personality, Bloody Mary...seriously.

After kicking the legs out of Pool's attempts to be a hero, Typhoid strolls out of the book, and I'm not sure what her next appearance was. She recently reappeared in the Marvel Universe, but I don't want to say where since it was a surprise reveal. (Here's a hint: not Thunderbolts.) While she hasn't been in as many comics as that, Mary still has a pretty good win-loss record, and I still have her old Toy Biz Vault action figure. With little straitjacket!

A funny story: when I was in high school, my Grandma rented Field of Dreams, and was really excited to watch it, since she said a friend told her it was based on a true story. About halfway through, when the dead baseball players start coming out of the cornfield, my sister and I glance at each other like what the...? A little later, Grandma says "Wait, that's not right..." She was a little concerned about her friend after that.

Panels from Deadpool #12-13, "Drowning Man, parts 1 and 2" 'A Kelly/Woods/Massengill/Wong/Tinsley/Comicraft/Idelson/Harras Production.' Issue #11 is the slaphappy fun Spider-Man mashup, but these issues show glimpses of Pool's darker side and the goal of redemption slipping away from him. But with a very cartoony style, because that really helps make Deadpool what he is. I mean, if, say, Bill Sienkiewicz drew him...OK, that would be pretty sweet. But it might over-emphasize the violent aspects of the character. Not that the violence isn't always there, but the comedy might not work as well. And then you have panels like this...
Even with cancer-skin, it's tough to feel clean after that.
Try to imagine Greg Land or Jim Balent drawing that one. I think you'd feel a little like, well, this:
Why a Thing figure in the bathroom?  What, you don't?
Uh-huh. Weird to remember that Deadpool was based in San Francisco years before the X-Men headed west; although I guess Daredevil did that first anyway.
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

"A surprisingly topical deleted scene from Timing."

Man, there's like the barest of bare-bones articulation on that McFarlane Terminator Sarah Connors; but it is a good-looking figure.

Anyway, while I was enjoying The Sarah Connors Chronicles (which has indeed been cancelled since I did this), I'm less enthused for Terminator: Salvation, which, hey! Opens today. Can't put my finger on why exactly. I'll probably see it at the cheapo theatre, I suppose. I also may need to put a little legwork into finding replacement copies of Robocop vs. Terminator, too.

By the way, although you can just see the top of one of the little robots that came with her, I knocked over Major Motoko from Ghost in the Shell, then forgot to put her back for this picture. I forget what the little robots were called, and I loved the first series and movie; but fell off it.

And just now, days after setting that up: I wish I could've found a gorilla's head mask for Bender to wear there...Actually, I did this a fair bit ago, and just last weekend finally got a Wall-E figure for the Youngest, which he loves. Would've been nice to sneak him in there, but no dice.

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More X-Baseball, and probably not even all of it.

The prettying up of Rogue had begun by this point, but wasn't quite finished yet.
Before we get going on the next one, the ever-sharp Sea of Green pointed out to me another game of X-Men baseball, from Uncanny X-Men #201. Which I should've remembered: it's on my desk at work! It was reprinted for the Toy Biz Marvel Legends Cyclops figure, which is kinda mean, since in said issue Storm whups him good and Cyke is shamed off the team. Still, more baseball! Panel from "Duel" Written by Chris Claremont, pencils by Rick Leonardi, inks by Whilce Portacio; and I still miss getting action figures with reprinted comics. (If I were a He-Man fan paying $30 a pop for the new figures, I would raise bloody hell until I got a comic out of the deal, but that may just be me.)
A more complete team than usual, even without including the Multiple Man.
But, here's another fun-filled, heavy-hitting, bases-loaded...I'm out of baseball references. Steroid-juiced? Look, here's some panels from X-Men Evolution #7, "Beast of Burden" Written by Devin Grayson, art and colors by Udon with Long Vo, Charles Park, and Saka of Studio XD. That's a lot of art crew, but they do a helluva job keeping the comic looking like the cartoon, which is more than can be said for just about every other Marvel adaptation of their own shows. This issue fits in right after the Beast joins the school, and the young X-Men play a (mostly) friendly game with the younger New Mutants.
Nightcrawler could be the most acrobatic, and a klutz, on this show.
The game starts sans powers, but after Scott Summers joins in, the game goes inside to the Danger Room. It's not stated outright, but apparently indoors powers are fair game, which would make most hits easy pickings for fliers like Cannonball. In fact, Jubilee appears to be pitching while flashing fireworks at the batter. The X-Men would appear to be outgunned, but manage to pull out a last minute win, because the name of the book isn't New Mutants Evolution.
There's some baseball terms missed here and there, but not a bad issue.
Once again, I still don't see how DC can have so much more success with their adaptations, and Marvel can't even seem to keep a pretty decent one like this going.
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I don't have the time to watch a whole game, but they so rarely finish anyway...

'OK, we'll give you the alien, the little girl, the reptile, and the bald guy...'
Fine, you don't have to use the aluminum bat, Thor.
Ooh, a Howard Coscell reference. Kids love those.
I'm dying to make a Tiny Toons reference there, but I was trying to save it until Sunday... While titles like DC Comics Strange Sports Stories are no more, there still seems to be a fair amount of superheroes playing baseball. Or, at least there was. Really don't see the Dark Avengers playing a game on a sunny afternoon. Can't even picture that lot out in the daytime, honestly.

But maybe it's time for superhero teams to play ball again. To take a day off from Civil Wars and Secret Invasions and Battles for Cowls and remember that it's not all bad. There's still hot dogs and cold beer and sunny afternoons and friends. Friendly competition, and competition making friends. Think about it, won't you?

...or don't: I broke my thumb playing ball as a kid--well, that's not strictly accurate: I was hit by a wild pitch during practice, and that was the end of my ball-playing days. To be fair, I was pretty bad, but in theory could've got better that year...probably not, but still.

Anyway, new strip on Sunday that possibly maybe has something to do with this. And it's a special occasion for here, so I'd better get going on it. Possibly more baseball tomorrow: another X-Men game, but not one most of you will remember!

Panel one from X-Men Annual #7, "Scavenger Hunt" Plot and script by Chris Claremont, pencils by Michael Golden, inks for that page Michael Golden.

Panel two from West Coast Avengers Annual #2, "Death and Texas!" Story by Steve Englehart (with "creative kibitzing from Mark Gruenwald, editor and Tom Defalco, scripter of the East Coast Annual") and art by Al Milgrom. The conclusion in Avengers Annual #16 is better, and I had forgotten Defalco wrote that.

Page three from JLA #76, "Picking Up the Pieces" Written by Joe Kelly, pencils by Lewis La Rosa, inks by Al Milgrom. A quiet issue after the Obsidian Age storyline, with several team members leaving the book: Plastic Man, J'onn J'onzz, Aquaman, and Kyle Rayner. J'onn and Plas would be back before the end of Kelly's run.

Page four from Uncanny X-Men #379, "What Dreams May Come..." Story by Alan Davis, pencils by Tom Raney, inks by Scott Hanna; and we'll be coming back to this issue later, too.
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Strangedoom, part two."

Part one is here (or further down this page, not a lot of posts this last week!) and click to Doom-size.

Man, I wish I had the photoshop/art skills to drop some Kirby Krackle in that first panel. Well, life goes on.

I forget: Has Doom ever tried that suck-the-power-cosmic-outta-the Silver Surfer again? I mean, not to repeat past mistakes or anything, but if Doom leaves himself a post-it not to plow into the barrier this time, it should work, right? In fact, there's not even a barrier anymore, Galactus dispersed it way back in the Surfer's first issue in the eighties. Or use that machine to drain Terrax or some other herald, heaven knows there's more than a couple spares roaming around. I might miss the Frankie Raye Nova, but maybe could do without Firelord or Air-Walker. Or Red Shift. Anyone even remember that guy?

We saw the other day an "imaginary story" with Doom recruiting the Grey Hulk, and this strip is a definite callback to that one. Today's strip is a day early...since yesterday was really nice out, and I'm busy with "principal photography" for a special Sunday strip. Tonight, I believe I'm on reshoots...

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Monday, May 18, 2009

No prizes for guessing which problem Namor tackles first...

Atlantis was about ten minutes away from being turned into a Sandals resort, before Namor got there...

No subjects, no country, no problem; but no queen? That shall not stand!!

Questions from this page alone: is that octopus alive? Did Namor kick it's ass, too? Are there even octopi in the middle of the Atlantic, or wherever the hell Atlantis is? Topo visits the other Atlantis for one damn day and this happens...What the hell army is the guy in the red outfit from? If Atlantis popped up to the surface in the middle of the ocean a few hours ago, would birds already be eating dead fish off of it? What is with Namor's "Day at the beach" crack? How does he keep his long, luxurious mane looking its best after being in sea water all day?
Oops, format error!
Sigh. This is from Fantastic Four Unlimited #11, "No Man is an Island" (ugh.) Written by Glen Herdling, art by Herb Trimpe. (Trimpe can do better!) The cover and title page announce this issue as "Atlantis Rising Revisited," tying it into to the Fantastic Four event. Event maybe should be in quotes there, and I'm not sure what if any other books crossed over to this one. I know I have Atlantis Rising #1 and some such from the quarter bins: there was a preview issue even, with a nice Alan Davis cover; but I know this one sank like a stone. (Boo!) In comics, there's like two plots for Atlantis: Attacks, or Rises/Sinks. Nobody just visits Atlantis. Their gift shop gets less sales than the Holocaust Museum...

In other news, this Sunday... is three. More on that later, stay tuned!

Panel from Nexus #22, "The Battle for Ylum" Written by Mike Baron, pencils by Steve Rude, inks by John Nyberg.
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Friday, May 15, 2009

I wanted to call this post 'Doom vs. Doom,' but I might save that one...

Visit Latveria's scenic...swamps, or whatever.
[EDIT: In the comments, Don Julian points out: "Jakob Schiesser (the peasant Kristoff says will die anyway) is a German translation of James Shooter." Thanks, Don! Is it coincidence? A dig at the boss? Maybe Comic Book Legends would know...]

Although I enjoyed his work on other books, like Silver Surfer, Steve Englehart's run on Fantastic Four never quite worked for me. Granted, he was in the tough spot of following John Byrne's still-exemplary tenure, and then I was more excited to hear Walt Simonson would be taking over the book.
Clone Thing=dick.
By that point, since he knew he was going to be out, Englehart started burning off planned plotlines, writing under the pen name John Harkness. In the story, the rogue Watcher Aron has captured the Fantastic and Frightful Fours, put them in suspended animation, and cloned himself a ersatz Fantastic Four to serve as his "action figures." The Fake Four, including female Thing Ms. Marvel and armadillo-style Thing, act out old FF adventures issue-by-issue; and are both true to their earliest characterization and surprisingly dickish.
I have no idea what's going on with the coloring here, but I'm going to write it off as printing error.
Meanwhile, in suspended animation, the real FF have nightmares--the aforementioned scrapped plotlines. Most of them weren't very good. I remember one was Reed's computer, which had been name-dropped several times as the "Turino-XL," turned out to be Ultron XI. Or IX. Whatever. It wasn't even a computer Reed built, he bought it, which didn't sound right either. I have long since lost most of those issues, since I was only reading them since I got a subscription the moment I heard Simonson was coming.

But one issue I saved: the Invisible Woman's nightmare. Fantastic Four #330, "Good Dreams!" Written by "John Harkness," pencils by Rick Buckler, inks by Romeo Tanghal. "Doom vs. Doom" would've been a better title, since that's what we've got in the dream. More after the bump!

Earlier, John Byrne introduced Kristoff, an orphaned Latverian boy that Doom took in under his care. Except the kid was less a ward of the state, than Doom 2.0. A contingency plan: if Doctor Doom was killed, his robots would upload a copy of Doom's personality onto Kristoff and make him the new Doom. Great plan, except Kristoff was activated too soon. Doom returns to find Kristoff in power and completely believing himself to be the real Doom and the other to be a fake. Entrenched in Latveria, Kristoff was actually able to drive off Doom, who was handicapped by not wanting to destroy his country.

So, Byrne introduced Kristoff, I think Englehart set up the Doom vs. Doom situation, and eventually Simonson would bring an elegant solution to the table, but this issue shows a possible answer from Englehart. On a typical Latverian morning, a peasant thanks the land for being the least of their troubles; and of course is overheard by Doom. Kristoff-Doom, who is out for a stroll with his Doombots. Kristoff charitably declines to have the peasant killed, since his source has tipped him to an upcoming attack from the other Doom.
'You promised us brunch first, Doom!'
Doom has recruited some A-list backup for his attack: Dormammu, Kang the Conqueror, the grey Hulk, the Absorbing Man, Attuma, Hobgoblin, the Beetle, and Master Pandemonium. Doom's attack was planned for high noon, but he moves it up to eleven, since he knows the Beetle is Kristoff's source. At Doom's order, the Hulk gladly squashes the Beetle, noting that he's repaying a debt to Doom.
Unless Kristoff traded for two draft picks to be named later and his mom's soul, he kinda got screwed.
The attack begins on Castle Doom, with Hobgoblin dying early, falling to "magick." Doom is able to counter it, taking the fight inside, to Kristoff's own army: the Rhino, Abomination, Sandman, Annihilus, Electro, and Mysterio. Kristoff's soldiers, like Kristoff himself, believe Doom to be nothing more than a rogue robot. Doom got the better draft picks, though; and takes out Annihilus as he strolls to fight Kristoff himself.

Oddly, as Doom is stopped by his own Doombots, one tells him "Surrender, Dorothy!"
An unretouched panel!  Really!
As Doom and Kristoff scuffle, the Hulk decides to level the castle, prompting the Dooms to work together. For a moment. Meanwhile, Doom's team outclasses and outplays Kristoff's, and Kristoff cries "Death-" as he flees to a reinforced safe room. Doom knows immediately what Kristoff is doing, since he would do the same; and has Dormammu shield them from a neutron bomb, which destroys Latveria.

As Doom plans vengeance, other forces are starting to move on Latveria: the Soviet Super-Soldiers, Namor, Thor, the Mole Man, the Eternals, the Deviants, NATO, the Warsaw Pact...even faced with the entire world against him, Doom is less concerned with Kristoff's finger on the button, than wanting everyone to get off his lawn. Kristoff sets off hidden nuclear warheads around the world, destroying it. And the moon, as the Watcher sheds a silent tear.

At least, that's Sue's nightmare. The idea of the Dooms recruiting super-villains is a fun one; although it probably wouldn't have gotten through outside of a dream sequence: the Spider-Man editors probably wouldn't be too keen on losing several bad guys. Presumably, if the real Fantastic Four had gotten involved, it wouldn't have ended in nuclear holocaust. The FF would probably have to lump it, picking a side and getting Doom back on his throne. (Maybe. I'm trying not to spoil Simonson's answer, even for a twenty-year-old comic!)
I don't think you see Doom lay down the five-finger blastdown anymore, which is a bit of a shame.
And Doom's super-villain draft picks worked for me: I particularly liked his selection of the gray Hulk. In fact, I think the first comic I ever read with Dr. Doom was a treasury issue of the Rampaging Hulk. We may have to try to see that one later, but it cemented for me that Doom sees the Hulk not as a foe or an obstacle, but as a potential resource.
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Interesting tidbit: Alan Davis hates Hot Stuff. I guess.

(In the bottom right corner!)

Some readers may remember Alan Davis did a fair run on X-Men/Uncanny X-Men as writer--just prior to Chris Claremont's first return to the books--but I also seem to recall those issues as being strictly editorially controlled. I liked his stint, moreso than the prior or following regimes; but nowhere near as much as his return to drawing and writing Excalibur. The above panel is from Excalibur #65, "White Lies, Dark Truths" with inks by Mark Farmer; and it's one of my favorite single issues ever.

Longer posts will be forthcoming, but I think the rest of this week is going to be spotty, sorry. On the other hand, I might get back into the comic shop today, so we'll see. Plus, it's vitally important (to me, anyway) to stay on the daily schedule, and there's a special Sunday post coming up soon: I have to build a set for that one, which seemed like a good idea at first...
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Strangedoom, part one."

"There are times, when my crimes, may seem almost unforgivable..." Yeah, I'll stop now. Click to enlarge!

Hmm. You probably don't have to be a student of Marvel Comics to guess what happens next...anyway, some thoughts:
Shuma-Gorath is best known as the squid-eyeball purple thing from the classic Marvel Super Heroes video game, and "Chaos Dimension" was one of his special infinity moves. Of course, Shuma has a history of Lovecraftian-style monsterhood in old Dr. Strange comics, but still, best known for that weird running-crawl it would do across the screen.

I don't know what kind of magical resistance Doom gives his Doombots. Or what kind of magical resistance you could give a robot. For our purposes, assume 'none.' Wait, that would imply that Harry Potter could magically defeat Optimus Prime, and that can't be right...And of course, Doom yells at his robots. And the toaster. It's safe to assume, Doom yells at everything.

And why would Namor like ketchup potato chips and pale ale? Well, I figure those are kinda tough to get at the bottom of the sea; and Namor's doubtless sick of...whatever Atlanteans eat. Huh. Do Atlanteans cook their food, then? Or is their diet mostly raw eel and unprocessed kelp? Blech.
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dated yet relevant, that's the magic of comics right there.

I was going to take today off (although, "today" is really a couple of days ago, since I usually post a couple days in advance) and just read some comics--in this case, the full run of Ghost Rider 2099. But, what the hell, let's throw out a couple of scans and a couple of thoughts on it.

It's funny: while it's certainly not the worst 2099 book, it's probably not the best one either. It's not as consistently good as Peter David's Spider-Man 2099, and it's not as future-arific as Warren Ellis' Doom 2099 issues. Some of the future-speak tries too hard, and since this is the future as seen from 1994, some aspects are already painfully dated: "I was carrying five hundred megs of hot data in a Latverian bio-implant." What, was your iPod broken or something? Unless it was 500 megs of pixs of Doom Gone Wild, I really don't see how that could be valuable...I didn't get the chance to look it up, but I think you can get a Star Trek flash drive with more memory off the back of the box of Cheez-its. Perhaps "megs" are what currently would be mega-giga-megabytes.

But, there's a lot that works, too. Ghost Rider 2099 held up better than most of the 2099 line in the art front: The first issues had art by Chris Bachalo, and later Kyle Hotz and Ashley Woods would take the reins. And writer Len Kaminski hit on issues that are still coming up today, like the effects of a corporately-controlled news media, for one:

OK, not a very subtle example there, but it would come up more than once in the series. Anyway. Out today, reading comics. Be back soon.
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Monday, May 11, 2009

Why DD and Tasky are no longer on speaking terms:

I mentioned this one the other day or so when mentioning Taskmaster, then scanned it, then didn't load it, then finally wrote this, then had a scan upside down. See?
Here's the right-side-up one, from Daredevil #318.

Like the cover says, it's the last issue...until #319. Ha, ha, ha. The book seemed to have been floundering for a bit, with a stretch of fill-ins or single-issue stories, a forgettable crossover with Punisher and Nomad...wait, strike that: I said "forgettable," but there is a shot where Daredevil gives Bucky--an infant that Nomad carried on his back, if you recall--gives Bucky a bottle. Not a baby bottle, like a beer bottle. DD then gets Nomad to turn around real quick, and a baby breaks a bottle over thug's head. Why? Just to be a dick, apparently. But, technically speaking, I guess there's at least two memorable panels in there, then.

Where was I? Oh, yes, Daredevil, floundering. Marvel was just about to start a new storyline that would change everything for the Man Without Fear, for a while, anyway: new armor costume, new secret identity, new status quo. Didn't take, but even so, before they started all that business; they decided to have one fun story first.

Unfortunately, A. It's not that funny, and B. Daredevil hadn't had a fun issue in, I'm guessing, well over a hundred. Maybe two. I'm trying to remember if Ann Nocenti ever did a full-on, "funny" issue of DD, and I don't think she did...more after the bump!

It's a mob heist macguffin story: a low-level mob schmoe strongarms for himself a "nest egg" in stolen grease. Yeah, like that Simpsons episode, although I think this issue predates it. Some mob thugs go hunting for the lost "treasure," followed by longtime dweeb villain the Stilt-Man, lunatic Spider-Woman foe the Tatterdemalion; fourth-string DD thugs the Wildboyz, Spit and Jet; and the Taskmaster. Tasky may be the only one of the lot whose street cred didn't hemorrhage and die after this issue...

I didn't have the prior issue, at hand, anyway (EDIT: no, I don't think I ever had #317.); so I forget why exactly Tasky is in on the hunt. Sure, it's a million dollars worth, but a million dollars worth of grease. Dry-cleaning his cape alone is going to eat a lot of that. At any rate, although he had appeared a few times in the book over the last year or two, this would be Taskmaster's last showing in Daredevil. He doesn't go out on a high note, but by this point DD so had Tasky's number: while Taskmaster can easily duplicate all of Daredevil's moves, DD's radar sense also gives him much more awareness of his surroundings. In an earlier issue, DD taunts Tasky into copying a flying back flip, which Tasky does, landing in front of a moving truck.

Jet and Spit were from Ann Nocenti's run, where they were despicable, scary lowlifes. This time, they're purely comic relief lowlifes, like the Dreadnoks from G.I. Joe. This may have been the Wildboyz last appearance, but in their prior showing, they put the finishing touches on a savage beating on Daredevil, that had been organized by Typhoid Mary. Nope, here they're a laughing-stock: getting beat up by Power Pack would have been more credible.

Stilt-Man doesn't need any more abuse heaped onto him, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention Tatterdemalion. (He's the unconscious guy in the red scarf above, but that isn't even a particularly embarrassing moment for him.) Among other things, his Wikipedia entry mentions that he was "among the supervillains who were apprehended and given a choice between jail or assisting the Thunderbolts." Now, "supervillains" isn't really the right term: a former investor who went insane after being swindled out of all his money, in this issue, Tatterdemalion rambles on about poverty being next to godliness, or something. He's a homeless guy, with special gloves that allow him to dissolve items like paper money or clothing: "filthy material goods." Oh, and apparently, "Tatterdemalion's body was supernaturally augmented by Satannish to levels roughly equaling that of Captain America. This entails that his strength, endurance, speed, reflexes, and stamina are all roughly as developed as they could possibly be for human being. This means that the Tatterdemalion is stronger and faster moving than any Olympic athlete. However, he is still homeless and insane."

That is so awesome. Tatterdemalion should be a required character in any and all Marvel videogames. "Why did my costume melt? And how is this hobo kicking my ass?" I guess he appeared in Werewolf by Night a few times, but I'm almost positive he appeared in Spider-Woman at some point; one assumes to attempt to destroy her costume...

For his part, Daredevil fights the whole lot of them, but not only doesn't seem to be putting his all into it, he actively helps them find it at one point. Presumably, it's to keep tabs on those idiots so they don't hurt themselves or anyone else; and to make sure they get their comeuppance. And they do! Still, maybe DD should've looked into keeping that shield after all...

All scans from "Grease Monkeys" Written by D. G. Chichester, pencils by Scott McDaniel, inks by Bud La Rosa. Chichester would do much better work for DD, including the last issue before Kevin Smith's run, #380. That one isn't even a "funny" issue, but has more jokes than "Grease Monkeys."

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