Monday, February 28, 2011

No color today? Is the blog broken or something?

Although I remember the big treasury books of the 70's, and later I was a huge fan of Marvel's Savage Sword of Conan magazine; a lot of the other magazine-style comics of the time I missed completely. I almost never saw anything like Creepy or Heavy Metal, and while I have a soft spot for some of the old Marvel Super Specials like Raiders of the Lost Ark, I never saw a lot of those, either. Which means I must've bought today's book long after it left the newstand: Bizarre Adventures #32, featuring a bitchin' Joe Jusko cover.

The theme of the issue was gods, and opens with an exquisitely drawn Thor story from Alan Zelenetz and John Bolton. Most readers are probably familiar with Bolton for his run of X-Men backup stories; but his art looks amazing in black and white. The story isn't too shabby either: during a yearly festival, Thor always has to miss the party and visit the Norns, keepers of fate.

Can't we have one party without someone bringing in a horse?

Years ago, in the time of the vikings, Thor heard the desparate prayer of Runolf, who was alone, lost at sea, and doomed. Odin tells Thor to leave it. The Norns tell him Runolf's fate is sealed. Even Heimdall chimes in with some advice, and he's basically the doorman. But Thor stubbornly refuses to let a brave man die ignobly...
A norse fights sea horse, of course, of course...oh, that's terrible.
I'm not sure if the Norns are in the details, as it were, and can't tell if Runolf was 1. fated to die alone at sea; 2. fated to die at sea because of Thor; or 3. fated to die at sea because of a giant sea horse. This is a "Thor learns humility" story, which is pretty common for him; but undercut a bit by the fact that Thor would be such a jerk by the 20th century that Odin would kick his ass to earth. (Oddly, I like this story for Thor; but conversely feel that Hercules should never learn humility, even if he gets beat or realizes he's been an ass...)
I always forget Hama drew a fair amount, too.
Also this issue: "Demon's Bridge," an entertaining short story of swordsmen, demons, and gods; written and drawn by Larry Hama! I think he also did this little teaser piece for the next issue, and I love it:
Wow, the direct market really did do a number on newstands.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Shortlist: In San Futuro, he is the Law!

On today's Shortlist, we have a character I don't have a lot of comics from, that isn't hugely popular or about to be made into a movie, and isn't appropriate for small children, the elderly, or the easily offended. But my god, he'd look cool on the action figure shelf: Pat Mills and Kevin O'Neill's Marshal Law.

(Cue booming voice:) In a world...where genetic manipulation, cybernetic implants and anabolic steroids (lots and lots of anabolic steroids...) gives rise to super-soldiers. After the war, the soldiers return home, some becoming super-heroes--glory hound, cult of celebrity, perverted super-heroes--and others becoming straight-up gangsters. Marshal Law is the guy they call when they go bad, the licensed "cape-killer." And while he hates his employers, the capes, and himself; the Marshal loves his work.

Marshal Law shares a lot with Mill's other (co-)creation, Judge Dredd: it's a satire disguised as an action book, and like Dredd, Law is kind of unlikable most of the time, but is still usually in the right. Coupled with O'Neill's frenetic, insane art; Law would be the lone sane man in an insane world, except he's probably a bit nutty himself.

But that costume--basically bondage gear in primary colors with a few slogans on it--and the giant guns--almost always with a little graffiti on them, like 'phone this' for fighting E.T.'s--would be eye-catching even on a shelf full of superheroes. A removable hat would be a necessity as well, although I don't think he looks quite right without it. Odds of it happening? Um, like negative none. Even if DC Comics collects and reissues Marshal Law, I still don't see DC Direct hopping on that one.

Scans from Marshal Law #4 (Epic) and Marshal Law: Secret Tribunal #1, both written and co-created by Pat Mills, art and co-created by Kevin O'Neill. Man alive, if a Nemesis the Warlock figure wouldn't look cool as hell too...
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Gah, fooled again!

This is at least the second time I've been fooled by the Mike Mignola cover for Justice League Quarterly #14. For one thing, of course there's no interior art by Mignola in there; for another, the cover copy promises "Reunion!" but the characters really hadn't met before.

The bulk of this issue is wrapping up plotlines from DC's attempted relaunch of Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt. Oddly, the wikipedia entry mentions the character is owned by the estate of his creator, Pete Morisi, since his death in 2003. It makes me wonder if, say, the Question and Blue Beetle, would revert to Steve Ditko's estate; and this discussion is sadly more interesting than the issues of DC's Thunderbolt relaunch that I've read. Or this one.

Captain Atom is again in his default role as government tool--not quite tool, really, but still taking orders from the man. Here, Blue Beetle is goofy and useless, Nightshade...does something. Ugh. Throw in a new Judomaster; and all this issue does is make you again realize how Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's made a silk purse out of a sow's ear when they rejiggered these characters for Watchmen.

From "Havoc Unleashed!" Written by Paul Kupperberg, pencils by Michael Collins, inks by Eduardo Barreto. Per the GCD Indexer Notes: "Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, Nightshade, Judomaster, Thunderbolt and Sarge Steel were all characters created by Charlton Publications and purchased by DC. The only other Charlton character owned by DC not shown here is the Question." That's not quite true: you forget Peacemaker, which is a little surprising, even if he was probably dead at the time, Kupperberg wrote his limited series. (There is a slight nod in the dialog to Peacemaker; it's a little too cute.) Looking that up, I realized on the two posts I did on Peacemaker, I started typing his name as 'Peacekeeper' halfway though; and I don't think anyone noticed, which tells you all you need to know about that.

Maybe I'd be a little easier on this issue if they had thrown in the Question; it probably couldn't have hurt...wait, I've seen L.A.W., so nevermind.

The rest of this issue is uniformly pretty bad: a Crimson Fox story, a Jack O'Lantern tale--the Global Guardian Irishman, not the guy that occasionally gives Spider-Man the hassle--and a Praxis story. Why there's a story here about a Klingon moon here, I don't know.
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Valhalla! Days without Ragnarok: 2."

I know someone'll flip me off in my afterlife, too.

The Surtur Saga in Walt Simonson's Thor is just a little bit cooler, for me, than the X-books Inferno crossover. Although, Inferno had cooler crossovers, like the Daredevil and Excalibur issues. There were several smaller crossovers for the Surtur Saga, mostly caused by the Casket of Ancient Winters; which caused unseasonable snows in West Coast Avengers and Amazing Spider-Man.

Ragnarok, the twilight of the Norse gods, doesn't come up that often in Thor...well, kinda. I want to say, maybe five, six Ragnaroks since Thor's first appearance in 1962? That's not so many...

More of Nightcrawler's afterlife later, but next week, Doom! Not the Doom we usually have, either...

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011


That's earth, but what the hell is that other stuff?
That...that is more of Thor's...undercarriage, than I was expecting to see today.

Little secret? I hate Red Bull. Hate it, and I'm a man who enjoys his caffeine. OK, this comic doesn't feature that Red Bull, but El Toro Rojo. He's a Deviant, posing as an 'enmascardo,' or what would probably be better known as a luchadore; in order to get at the Eternal Vampiro...

You know, it may have made more sense if this issue was Thor fighting down a case of Red Bull. Why Vampiro is living the life of the luchadore is never really explained, but Thor gets sucked into this mess after getting bounced out of Asgard, by the Destroyer, powered by the spirit of Sif. And it's not really explained how Vampiro, who was a full-on Eternal with an arseload of powers; gets beatdown by El Toro Rojo, who appeared to have an invulnerable skull and horns.

And as was painfully typical for a Thor comic of the time (and several years after...) Thor loses his hammer for sixty seconds and turns back into Dr. Donald Blake, as he often does when the issue needs to last longer than an Hostess ad.

This is a bit of an interlude issue, since this storyline involving the Celestials, the Eternals and the Deviants, multiple pantheons of gods, and the Ring of the Nibelung; would go on for almost another year. (And we discussed the Eternals and the Deviants about a bazillion posts ago, and I'm still not a huge fan of either, even if they're posing as wrestlers.)

From The Mighty Thor #290, "Ring Around the Red Bull!" Written and edited by Roy Thomas, guest pencils by Arvell Jones, inks by Chic Stone.
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Monday, February 21, 2011

Not very prepared today:

I wish I could remember where I saw a review of DC Universe Legacies, since I picked up a couple from the marked-down box. #6 has a nice George Perez Crisis cover, but the issue itself isn't great. (The gist is, nobody remembers the Crisis the same way, but continuity is sketchy in-story.) #6's backup is a Legion story with Giffen art...that's just a shaggy dog story.

#7's opener, with Bane and Doomsday, is also weak; but the backup is better: the Atom's friend Professor Hyatt pulls a coin with Morgaine le Fey's face on it, out of his time pool. The Atom goes back in time to investigate, and gets a front-row seat to the fall of Camelot. Featuring the Silent Knight, the Shining Knight, the Demon, and Merlin and Arthur done in the style of Camelot 3000. Fitting, with artist Brian Bolland! So, great backup, even if the Silent Knight has to announce himself for like a panel and a half.

Recently at Battlegrip, there was a post on Solomon Kane: Castle of the Devil; and I then lucked into a copy of it and the first issue of Marvel's Solomon Kane limited series from 1985. Which I still need to sit down and read. Still, looking forward to it, and it was less than four bucks for both!

I did read some other stuff, though; we'll see if I'm back on track tomorrow. Page from DC Legacies #7, "Snapshot: Reunion" Written by Len Wein, art by Brian Bolland. And "Red Shadows" page, adapted from Robert E. Howard's story, script by Ralph Macchio, pencils by Steve Carr and Bret Blevins, cover and inks by Blevins.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Shortlist: Magnus, Robot Fighter

Created by Russ Manning for Gold Key, Magnus: Robot Fighter has done tours of publishing duty with Valiant, Acclaim, and currently Dark Horse Comics. (Their first issue wasn't too bad, and included a nice reprint of the first Gold Key issue.) In the year 4000 AD, the robot 1-A raises and trains Magnus to defend humanity from rogue robots, aliens, and laziness. (If you've seen WALL-E, you've seen how the average person would get with robot servants, although you never see that many fat people in Magnus...)

How Magnus hasn't to date got a video game, to say nothing of an action figure, is beyond me. The guy's whole deal is karate-chopping robots. A sandbox game where robot crime escalates as Magnus's robot-fu technique improves wouldn't have to be especially deep plotwise to be fun. Some of those robots got mighty big, and he's also fought aliens, including a crossover with Predator.

Magnus not only deserves an action figure, but by god he needs an action feature, too: if any figure needed karate-chopping action, he does. (I wonder how that would work: your basic DCUC or Legends style articulation, but with one shoulder given over to the spring-loaded chop? Traditionally, the karate-chopping arm is a unarticulated piece, and I wonder how well it would go with elbow and wrist joints.) Hell, I'd go for a Gold Key wave: Magnus, Turok, Dr. Solar,, I don't know. Mighty Samson? Andar, Turok's sidekick? Dagar the Invincible? It'll never happen, although if movie versions ever pan out, Turok or Magnus might get lucky.

I don't know the character very well, but I think Dr. Solar might be interesting for a live-action adaptation. That said, it would probably become Dr. Manhattan: the Movie. Still, a figure of him with a light-up chest emblem; or to go old-school, a face that turns green in cold water, would be neat.

Scans from Dark Horse's Magnus, Robot Fighter #1, "Metal Mob, part one: Taken" Script by Jim Shooter, art by Bill Reinhold; and reprinting Gold Key's Magnus, Robot Fighter #1, script and art by Russ Manning.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Need a comic and a bean burrito? Um, better hurry.

I have to go to Taco Bell to get a comic with Nightcrawler, rather than just the bloody comic shop...
I should've mentioned this earlier. I think Blog@Newsarama tipped me off this year, or maybe Comics Alliance: more Marvel Comics packed in with Taco Bell's kids' meals, or sold separately...damned if I remember what they cost, though.

I think they were reprints of Marvel's all-ages books this year, rather than new issues; and I was slightly disappointed that there were no new Chris Giarrusso Mini-Marvels strips either. Of course, I firmly believe everything should have Chris G. strips at the end. Sandman would've been better with Chris G. strips--that's a bold statement, but I stand by it.

On the plus side, this year's Taco Bell books do have Nightcrawler in the X-Men story, and the Iron Man comic features MODOK and the Atomic Robo team of Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener!

So, if you're there at three in the morning this week, see if there's any left!
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"The Story of Char."

This was written with Random Happenstance's traditional regard for historical accuracy...that is to say, just about none. I looked up a couple traditional Viking names and places and that was it.

As we mentioned before, 'Char,' of course, is played by a Viking Spawn figure, and he's a good one. The other "vikings" are some of my Oldest son's wrestling figures; they've been conscripted into background roles before for Bastards of the Universe, but I still could barely tell you who they are, and I bought them.

Missed an episode of Nightcrawler's afterlife? Check out one, two, three, four, five, and six. Read more!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

You should have to kill the whole thing yourself, before you can put "Dragonslayer" on your business cards...

Last week, we started our look at Eilif, the last Viking, in Walt Simonson's Thor. The old man had attempted to trick Thor into killing him, in order to get into Valhalla; instead, Thor made him his shield-bearer and took him into battle against the giant dragon Fafnir.

The battle joined, the heroes are too quick for Fafnir, but Fafnir's armor is able to withstand even Thor's mightiest blows. Eilif comes in too close and is unhorsed from Cloudrider, and when Thor moves to his aid, Fafnir has him from his chariot. Now Fafnir has him, and worse, the magic fades and Eilif is an old man again.

But Eilif won't quit, dragging himself up above Fafnir and striking. Eilif's spear penetrates Fafnir's armor; enraged, the dragon turns his attention away from Thor. Thor manages to drive the spear into Fafnir full force, killing him, but Eilif is no more. Enraged, Thor takes Fafnir's corpse to make a pyre for Eilif, and the Valkyrie maidens come for the last viking.

Strangely, this wasn't the end of Eilif's story, as he'd appear during the Surtur War in Thor #351. Taking full credit for offing Fafnir, too.

Back from a pretty substantial death, in eight issues: I don't think Superman returned that fast.

This is the weird part for me: so we've got the mortal Viking heroes, collected by the Valkyrie upon their deaths, here back on earth and used against Surtur's demon army. I kind of wonder what happened if they got killed again, do they end up back in Valhalla again? I think this was the last time we've seen Eilif Dragonslayer, so no telling.

Scans from The Mighty Thor #343, "If I Should Die Before I Wake..." And #351, "Ragnarok and Roll, Too!" Art and story by Walt Simonson, letters by John Workman Jr, and colors by Christie Scheele.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Hawkman was doing "let's give everyone a damn power ring" before it was cool.

Some time ago, we saw Sinestro walk all over Hawkman in an old issue of The Secret Society of Super Villains. But we never saw Hawkman get him back...

...and we still haven't, since this was from a dream. Specifically, the Atom/Ray Palmer's dream of the frustrations of working within the system and fears of the JLA going bad, as manipulated by Dr. Destiny, in Justice League America #72, "Destiny's Hand, part I" Story and art by Dan Jurgens, finishes by Rick Burchett.

At the time in the regular continuity, Sinestro was dead, and Guy Gardner had only just taken the yellow power ring, which was still a novel idea. In the dream, the fascist League has "complete jurisdiction over meta-humans," as J'onn J'onzz demonstrates by incinerating Star Sapphire. (Hal shrugs it off.) Hawkman captures Sinestro, and takes him into have his arms amputated, which is even meaner than Hawkman usually is.

Of course, you can tell this is a dream, alternate reality, imaginary story; because Hawkman is actually effective here. Some of you may recall the old SuperFriends episode, "Secret Origins Of The Super Friends," where the Legion of Doom's plot of the week is to go back in time and mess with the origins of Superman, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman so they never become those heroes and thwart their plans. (There's about a bazillion things wrong with this, but just go with it.) Superman and Hawkman are at a parade in Superman's honor when Supes is removed from the timeline, the parade suddenly becomes "Hawkman Day." (It's at about the ten minute mark on the video, after the break!)

"Hawkman Day" is about the most unlikely thing in the whole episode.

Anyway, I only have two chapters of "Destiny's Hand" at the time, but I don't think it was too bad, and I like Jurgen's art. That said, it may be a little telling that the adventures of the evil League were more interesting than the then-current membership, which included Black Condor, Agent Liberty, and both Wonder Woman and Guy Gardner at their most one-dimensional.
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Friday, February 11, 2011

Shortlist: In case I don't have enough plastic...

Over the last few years of collecting action figures, I would have to admit to being pretty fortunate in terms of characters I want, being made into figures, as if just for me. A Scud figure? Enemy Ace and Blackhawk? Heck, there's even three different versions of Jonah Hex that you could buy! Tons of characters that may not get the respect they deserve on the comic racks, but I'm thrilled to have on my shelves.

But have I got every figure I want? Obviously not! (And what would I do if I did, take up knitting?) No, there are still reams of characters, big names and niche properties alike, that I would love to see made into proper action figures. (For our purposes, assume I mean in about the same scale as Marvel Legends or DCUC, with a reasonable amount of articulation...and priced less than it's weight in gold.) So, every Friday for the next stretch, we're going to take a little look at my personal Shortlist.

Today, one of the few figures that I would buy a bronze version of: from Astro City, the Silver Agent:
Cover by Alex Ross.
Without having the back issues next to me, I almost think you see his statue before you see the Agent himself, and it's implied from the start that his ending is not a happy one. Introduced in 1995, it would be fifteen years before his full story would be told...maybe.

From Astro City Special: Silver Agent #1, by Busiek, Anderson, and Ross on covers per usual.
Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson would take inspiration from a number of sources for the Silver Agent, in particular, from Captain America. As you might suspect from his name, he's designed to be an almost archetypal silver-age character; except I'd have to say his chainmail armor would've been a bit too intricate for the printing then.

From a company called Toy Vault, Astro City's Samaritan and Confessor would get action figures back in 1999; but that's just scratching the surface. Still, an Astro City movie is currently in the works, so maybe eventually; although then it would come down to what Busiek can get crammed in there. (Hopefully, it doesn't take the path of Wanted: taking a superhero comic, and bleeding all the superhero elements out of it for the movie...y'know, I say that, but I think I honestly prefer the movie of that now.)

This Shortlist is something I've had in mind for a while, but now I'm putting a name to it. Still, over the last couple of weeks, you probably could add Elric, the Shadow, more characters from Planetary, and Claw the Unconquered. There will be more...
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Visit scenic Skartaris!

Buy insurance first...
This was a two page spread in Warlord Annual #4, but I'm not sure who drew the map, or wrote the page of notes for it. The main story "Sins of the Father...Fate of the Son..." was from writer Cary Burkett, art by Pat Broderick, inks by Bob Smith; but that doesn't necessarily mean they did the map as well. Even GCD didn't help with this one.

The notes, titled "Inside the Hollow Earth," explains how this is the explored regions, and only a small portion of Skartaris. The dinosaurs and mermaids should clue you in to the inexact nature of the map, as should the lack of scale; the notes tell how distance is measured by a bowshot, a league, or a march, meaning your guess is as good as anyone's. Also, the locations of a few specific issues are noted, and tease such back-issue moments as an Atlantean city inhabited by robots, an undersea kingdom, and a cobra-woman.

If you played D&D as a kid, like I did, figure you'll eat this up; and the rest of the issue follows suit, with the return of the Evil One, the secret origin of the magic-resistant Hellfire Sword, a visit with the Lady of the Lake from Arthurian legend, and Morgan and his son Tinder...still not reunited, missing each other by that much. Again.

In very super-heroic fashion, Travis and Jennifer go to kick the Evil One's ass pretty much on their lonesome, leaving Tara and Shakira and all in reserve.

I think this issue was the high-water mark for post-Grell Warlord: the book would run for a few more years, but I don't recall liking any later issues quite as much as this one.

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011


Asgard picture from, described as "Asgard Palace background painting from THOR: SON OF ASGARD by Stephen Nicodemus." Looks cool, and beats the hell out of me trying to build a Valhalla set...

Missed an episode of Nightcrawler's afterlife? Check out one, two, three, four, and five. Since I think Thor was still gone when Captain America died, we didn't see Thor give Steve a VIP pass to Valhalla, but you know he would. I don't think Odin or the Valkyries have any more seats in their afterlife, but you know Thor could get his friends through the door. If they die well, anyway; and haven't built any Thorbuster armors...

Norse mythology is weird, even without the Marvelization of it. We'll see more next week, and more of 'Char,' whom Spawn fans may recognize as...a Spawn figure. Oh, it's Spawn the Bloodaxe, and he was featured in last year's Retro Toy Week! Which I should really get started on for this year, now that I mention it.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

You can't buy your way into heaven, or trick your way into Valhalla...I guess.

In Thor #342, as Walt Simonson is getting rolling on the best run on this book ever, we meet "The Last Viking." After rescuing a damsel-in-distress in his civilian identity, Thor hears something, faintly: "Someone...calling to me from a great distance in the language of the vikings." Investigating, Thor follows the voice to Antarctica, and finds a mysterious valley warmed by a volcano, green and pleasant, and home to a seemingly-deserted Viking village.

Following along a cemetery, Thor explores a cave, and is attacked by a series of traps, finally finding "the visage of death!"

Felling his foe, Thor finds it is but an old man, once stout and mighty, now almost decrepit. The last chieftain, and last survivor of his people, Eilif the lost had hoped to use their labyrinth to trick Thor into killing him, in hopes of earning his seat in Valhalla; the alternative being "the 'straw death' that sends men down to Hel." (I wasn't sure if just dying sent you to Hel; I thought you had to be a bit of a bastard to get sent there. Dying in battle got you to the good heaven in Valhalla, though; but I thought there was a middle option.)

Eilif laments that he will die in bed, but at least he got to see Thor before he went. Thor tells him, no, his life is no longer Eilif's own, but Thor's. Back in New York, the dragon Fafnir is looking for a rematch with Thor, and is demolishing the city in an effort to call him out. Thor tells Eilif to suit up, since he'll be going into battle with him. Thor asks Odin for a boon, and gets his chariot, drawn by Toothgrinder and Toothgnasher. For Eilif, Cloud-rider, a huge, winged stallion.

All well and good, but Eilif is still an old man, too frail for battle. Thor tells him there's no cheap seats in Valhalla, and he's not talking to the old man, but to the warrior that dared face Thor. He bids Eilif to touch Mjolnir, and gives him back some strength. Together, they ride to face Fafnir, who looks like a chattier, pot-bellied Godzilla.

We'll finish up this look at Eilif, Fafnir, and the Norse afterlife in Marvel Comics; next Tuesday. Scans from Thor #342, "The Last Viking" and #343, "If I Should Die Before I Wake..." Art and story by Walt Simonson, inks in #342 by Terry Austin, letters by John Workman Jr, and colors by Christie Scheele.

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Monday, February 07, 2011

The Super Bowl's over, so I'm late with "Two Minute Warning."

While I'm buying a pile of Green Lantern figures, and will give the movie a shot when it gets here; I haven't been regularly reading the Green Lantern comics. Partly, I think the recent adventures of the Technicolor Lantern Corps have been a bit overblown and humorless. (The other part? Pick up the new issue of GL and tell me how many multiple-murderers you see. Sinestro, the Cyborg Superman, Hal-as-Parallax, Larfleeze and the Star Sapphires have killed a few people, even John accidentally blew up a planet once...)

But then, I've read a good chunk of stories about other Green Lanterns, besides the earth boys we know. They were usually back-ups in the regular book; Alan Moore did a couple that have since become major plotpoints some decades later. Often, they'd involve the adventures of alien Green Lantern of Planet X and their trials and trevails for six pages or so. Because these stories usually don't involve established characters like Hal or John or Guy; the alien GL's often meet their demise in unfortunate or ironic ways, which underlines the inherent danger of being a Green Lantern, but also makes the collective Corps look a bit thick. Several are killed for not being told, or ignoring, the restriction on yellow. Well, they are chosen for fearlessness, not SAT scores...

Which brings us to today's story! From Green Lantern Quarterly #2, "Two Minute Warning" By Mark Waid and Ty Templeton, with inks by Al Gordon.

I love the happy little tree aliens in the background of the last page here. See, this was not only a clever little mockery of Green Lantern, but a nice summary of the then-current rules for the power rings. Do the rings still talk to their wielders? During Steve Englehart's run on the book, they were positively chatty. It's also an open question of whether the ring's voice is the ring's operating system or such, or a manifestation of the wielder's subconscious, which would really say something about poor Breeon in this story.

(Somewhat off-topic, but I had the same questions in Transformers: Beast Wars, where the Maximals and Predacons would talk to their own onboard computers all the time; which would be like you asking your internal organs how things were going.)

This kind of story is probably why, in continuity, Kilowog has been retconned to be the Corps' trainer; because a lot of these stories involved alien GL dies, new goober gets the ring, fools around with a bit with no guidance or instruction whatsoever, often gets killed, ring passes to someone else. Typically, you wouldn't want a weapon to train it's new user; but the rings are smart enough to pick a worthy ring-bearer, they could be a little more helpful afterwards...

The framing device in Green Lantern Quarterly was the (Big) Book of Oa, where you could see tales of the Corps history; and possibly apocryphal ones at that. I'll be curious to see if DC brings that back for another book they can tie-in to the movie; or if everything has to be in continuity and matter these days. Ah, I think I know the answer to that one already...
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Friday, February 04, 2011

Traditionally, for a parody, you make fun of something people have heard of...

The cover of What The--?! #23, featuring a parody of Marvel's short-lived NFL tie-in, SuperPro: "The Drop-Kick that lifts!" Written by Hilary Barta and Doug Rice, pencils by Rurik Tyler, inks and cover by Barta. Not their best one, but look what they had to work with.

I think the sales for SuperPro proved the venn diagram of comics fans and football fans to be almost mutually exclusive. Or, it wasn't a very good comic. It's almost a shame: there's plenty of drama in pro football on and off the field, and I'm sure more than a few stories that would work with a super-powered ex-player; but the NFL kind of likes to keep it's image almost Disney-clean. They wouldn't want stories about SuperPro fighting alleged sexual harassment, dog fighting rings, or drug users; just to name a few.

Anyway, out for the weekend: it's time for the traditional buying of Super Bowl snacks...that will all be eaten today and Saturday. Enjoy the game!
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Thursday, February 03, 2011

This morning, Red Tornado, on a pile of...what is that, rocks? Hope it's rocks.

I have had mornings like that, believe you me.
I had the rest of this series, but only recently found Red Tornado #3, "Eye of the Storm!" Written by Kurt Busiek, pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Frank McLaughlin. The android Justice Leaguer has decided humans are stupid and mean, and trying to be like them is also stupid, and accordingly has taken off. Meanwhile, the Construct fights the JLA, the Outsiders, and other heroes, in a battle it's already won: able to inhabit any electronic device, the Construct also takes over the minds of humanity easily. (In previous issues, the Construct made it seem as if humanity was turning on the Tornado, which drove him away from humanity.)

Red's creator, T.O. Morrow; and Red's love interest Kathy Sutton; are two of the only free minds left on earth. The Construct takes over Morrow, but leaves Sutton free to torment her. Showing more spine than other JLA girlfriends like Carol Ferris or Jean Loring, Kathy makes her way to the Tornado, to try and convince him to come back. (She's no Sue Dibney, though.)

There's a bit of continuity patching here, with Red's history as the Tornado Tyrant/Tornado Champion coming into play. Kathy brings back Red, who is far more cheerful and happy than is typical for your android heroes, and he plans to take down the Construct.

I don't know when this series was green-lighted, but this issue was cover-dated September 1985; same as Crisis on Infinite Earths #6. And Red's origin would get altered a bit there, and I'm pretty sure he blew up sometime then, to boot.
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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

"Shooting Schedule."

I was actually ahead of schedule for the Wednesday strips, but an upcoming one references an old issue of Thor on a point I'm still confused about, which I haven't got around to looking for...then I was shooting Bastards of the Universe strips this last weekend, so I'm not sure what I'm doing here.

Cyborg's new, from DC Direct and eBay. I'm pretty sure he came in a Teen Titans box set, and a guy had like ten of them for sale, for cheap. Weird. Also, admittedly I'm not a big fan of the Titans comic, but I think I remember maybe one issue of Flash with Cyborg rocking the gold finish. I think he was more high-tech than usual at the time, as well.

I got Superboy on clearance at Wal-Mart last week--the Wal-Mart that never has DCUC had him and Mary Marvel, who I probably should've also grabbed. Through that happenstance I'm so fond of, I almost have all the Collect-and-Connect pieces for Trigon; a character I don't think I've ever seen in a comic. Like I said, not a big Titans fan.
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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Yeah, blame Sally for this one...

Cover for the an upcoming issue of Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors, from Green Lantern Butt's Forever! Tell me I'm not the only one seeing Guy as Billy Idol there...
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Aquaman gets the Fisherman, Namor gets Tiger Shark. Seems fair.

While I'm not a huge fan of Aquaman or the Sub-Mariner, I usually enjoy their books when I get them. But I'd have to say, while neither has a deep Rogues' Gallery, they do have a couple good ones. Black Manta is probably Aquaman's best, and for Namor, I like Tiger Shark.

He's got a pretty good origin: former Olympic swimmer Todd Arliss was making plans to cash in on his victories, when he was injured while saving a drowning man. (Tellingly, Arliss was thinking of the headlines at the time.) In the Marvel tradition of Dr. Strange or Daredevil, normal doctors could do nothing for him, and with his swimming career seemingly over, Todd takes an alternative-medicine approach. He turns to Dr. Dorcas, who plans to use his 'Morphotron' and the Sub-Mariner to turn Todd into an amphibian. It fixes Todd's back, sure, but also gives him gills, and "the powers and limitations of a shark."

Todd didn't really want to be a villain or a shark-guy, but there he is. He doesn't want to be Dorcas' puppet, and ends up fighting Namor since he's pissed about being held captive. Weakened by the experiment and then distracted by the return of Lady Dorma, Namor gets beat down; and the newly-named Tiger Shark takes off with Dorma as his captive, possibly so he has someone to talk to for his new life under the sea...

Years later, in both the Fox Avengers cartoon and the Busiek/Bagley Thunderbolts, Todd would be shown to be mutated into a more shark-like form; not unlike every shark-guy in comics. I liked him better has a guy in a suit (although he could lose the fringe...) and seem to recall him handing Wolverine his ass during Acts of Vengeance.

Scans from Tales to Astonish #5 (reprinting Sub-Mariner #5) "Watch Out for...Tiger Shark!" Written by Roy Thomas, art by John Buscema, inks by Frank Giacoia.
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