Thursday, August 24, 2006

All-Star Crap and Garbage

I think the world has stopped caring about All-Star Batman and Robin, but I just had a quick thought:

Do you think that maybe, just maybe, Frank Miller actually does have some sort of plot twist planned that will give a reasonable excuse for Batman's ridiculous new personality? The fact that they've made it to the Batcave kind of rules out Batman not really being Batman. And I am out of ideas. I am just trying to give Miller the benefit of the doubt because we all loved Dark Knight. But seriously...

Quotes like this from Miller don't fill me with hope that there's any kind of plan for this series:

Superman is in it, Lois and Clark are in it. Vicki Vale has a very big part in it as well. I want to reintroduce Batgirl, the original one, and of course, Gordon will be in it. There will probably be an appearance by Wonder Woman as well...and Catwoman, who’s another “must-have” character when you’re talking about Batman.

And Green Lantern will be in it, and Martian Manhunter, and Daredevil...and OOO!!! Emma Frost!

He has no plan.

It really doesn't matter because the issues come out so far apart that no one remembers what's happening anyway. We had four issues of driving in a car while Dick tried not to throw up, called Batman 'queer,' and sort of mourned his freshly slain parents. All the while being showered with obscenities from the world's greatest detective. That's basically all we need to know, I guess. I mean, we can just forget all that Black Canary stuff because I think we were just supposed to acknowledge that she has boobs, and they bounce when she fights.

The DC website is showing the release date for issue 5 as Nov 29, but issue 6 is out on Oct 11. I'll assume that they have accidently mixed up these dates, but I am not changing this blog's official Count-Down until I have proof.

I can think of at least two things wrong with this Batman and Robin cover:

Like, seriously! Why is it taking so long? Are they adding shading to Wonder Woman's rump?!

And why do I still care?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Darwyn Cooke: Boy Wonder (or how I learned to stop worrying and love Robin)

I could write forever about why and how much I love Darwyn Cooke's New Frontier. I'm not going to do that, because it's not like anyone needs convincing. It's clearly awesome.

I just want to point out one thing in particular about these books that I was really impressed by.

In just four pages, Darwyn Cooke made me love Robin with no reservations.

This is just so beautifully and perfectly done I almost can't stand it. It makes me want to cry.

Isn't it just so much better than, say, this:

Christ. Anyway.

It took me a long time to warm up to Robin. Years, really. I'm like a lot of Batfans; I like Batman as a loner, and sometimes it just doesn't make sense for Batman to have a partner. Especially a kid in primary colours. And sometimes it just seems that Robin is there for no reason. He's just been around for so long, that no one even bothers to examine what the hell he's doing there.

I've really liked the post-Crisis treatment of Batman and Robin's (Tim Drake) relationship. I'm sure there is going to be some drama ahead, what with the Son of the Demon making a comeback right after Bruce offers to adopt Tim legally as his son. That's going to be interesting. I really love Nightwing as a character. I like that the Robins get older, but Batman just keeps on rocking his mid-late 30s.

I listened to the podcast of the Big Three panel from ComicCon in San Diego. Grant Morrison said that he feels that Batman has learned more from Robin than Robin has learned from Batman. I really liked that comment. There has been a lot of attention in recent Batman comics (and by recent, I mean over the past few years) on the rather large family Batman has now assembled over time. He can't really consider himself to be a loner anymore, and I'm really into that. So I give credit to all the writers for making me like characters that I really wanted to hate. And for making me ok with a non-lonely Batman.

Someone asking a question at comic con to the JLA panel said that he would like to see Nightwing be a part of the new Justice League. The whole crowd, the panel, and myself all went "ooooooo!" That would be rad.

My point is that Robin is good with a little effort on the writer's part. Sometimes I'll be reading a perfectly good Batman story, and then there's an annoying kid hamming it up and ruining everything. It's often a jarring and unwelcome reminder that I spend a great deal of time and money on what is intended to be children's literature.

But, done right, you have one of the most touching relationships in comic book history.

Have you seen Rachelle's baby?

When I was in the Toronto airport a couple of weeks ago, I saw a dude that looked exactly like Clark Kent.

Ooh baby. THAT Clark Kent. I wrote Dean Cain a little birthday letter at the height of my crush on him, and he sent me back a postcard. Signed.

If I had a scanner, I would show it to you.

Internet sugardaddies that would like to buy me a scanner may form a line to the left. No shoving.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Talk about your one-sided conversation!

I would like to formally introduce myself. My name is Stephanie and I also "contribute" to this blog. And when I say "contribute," I mean I read it when Rachelle says she's updated it. I have had every intention of posting, about a variety of things, but I don't have a scanner, and that really puts a cramp in my style. But they didn't have scanners in the old days, and they still lived. If you call that living.

You know what else they didn't have in the old days? Alternate universes, or Frank Miller, or Pop Tarts... I could go on. They instead made up for it with an abundance of weekly strips written and drawn by George Herriman, titled Krazy + Ignatz. This is my favourite comic, and the writing is incredible (the mixture of slang and phonetic spelling built the foundation for my obsession with cat language, and interpretation). Despite the basic scenario of every strip being comprised of a mouse named Ignatz hurling a brick at Krazy Kat's head (who always interprets this as an act of love), this comic, that ran for roughly 30 years starting in 1913, is amazingly inventive and sweet.

The best thing about this comic (to me) is the fact that it is never confirmed if Krazy is a male or female. Every other character in the comic has a gender, but not Krazy. Ignatz is a boy, he loves/hates Krazy, Officer Pupp is a boy and he totally loves Krazy. Krazy is gender-neutral and he/she loves Ignatz. Krazy is referred to as both a female and male in the comic's run, and because of Geo. Herriman's astounding intellegence, I refuse to believe that it is an oversight. I think it's a delicate social commentary that I am too thick to understand. It's very complicated.

One of the most uplifting moments in my short-lived telemarketing career came when I placed a number of calls to kiwi farmers in Coconino County (this is where the comic is set, you see), and got to talk to a number of natives about the status of Krazy Kat there, most of them had heard of the comic, and even when I pulled some guy's chain by asking if he was Officer Pupp, everyone had a cheerful manner about them.

In the background, I swear I could hear the hollow thud of a freshly baked adobe brick hitting an unfortunate kat's kranium. You know what I'm talkin' about?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Showcase Presents Superman, Volume II: Hilarity

Is anything funnier than Silver Age Superman?

Here are some panels that made me actually laugh out loud from this latest volume. I'm only about a third of the way through so far, but I had to share these:

To add to the comedy, they keep referring to that thing as a sea monster. That's a walrus. A very big walrus.

This is great. Mean Superman decides to dress Perry White in funny costumes for his own amusement. But nothing beats him turning Perry into a 'bum,' then taunting him, then taking his picture. The best part? I'll bet Superman didn't even have a dime on him.

What makes Superman mad? When ladies don't notice him...or his fake arm.

Then there was this whole other story that just needs to be told pretty much in its entirety because it's just that amazing.

It's the story of a love affair Superman has with the mysterious Mighty Maid. They meet, they both have the same powers, they fall in love in a hurry, and Superman decides to ask her to marry him. This naturally makes Lois sad. And it doesn't help that Superman is being a real ass about it.

Nice, Superman. Real nice.

Anyway, it all turns out to be an elaborate hoax. Overly elaborate if you ask me. Suspiciously elaborate, even. Because Mighty Maid turns out to be none other than Superman's teen cousin, Supergirl.


Ok, here's the worst part: Supergirl was not even really in on the gag. She was being kept totally in the dark. So basically you have Superman telling his child cousin to make out with him in public and not ask questions.

And why was it that he insisted on this ridiculous plan? There were some aliens who wanted to wipe out every last Kryptonian, and since they believed him to be the last one, he tricked them into thinking he left Earth for another dimension, never to return again. That would force them to give up, and not blow up the Earth as planned. So it was noble. And COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY!

Superman basically had one objective: keep Earth from being blown up by angry aliens. The only plan he could come up with involved making out with his cousin for a few days. I just don't buy it. If that's the only idea you have, you have to think a little harder. Clearly Superman was just looking for an excuse. Any excuse.

Everything ends well for Lois.

I love so many things about these two panels:

a) Lois is falling off a building, and she looks almost bored. It just happens so often.

b) Lois is rescued in mid-air...actually, not even technically rescued yet...and all she's concerned about is Superman's marriage.

c) "It's true! Supergirl is 15 years old!", wait. Gross, Superman. That's not funny. That's gross.

d) Lois just heard Superman say that he almost married a 15 year old and all she can think is "Gee, still a chance for me!" Yup, Lois. He's all yours. Quite a catch. Guard your daughters.

I could practically scan this whole book. Every page is comedy gold. I don't know why they don't just market it as such.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Shut Up, Superman (#1)

You know what bothers me about Superman? Shit like this:

Superman, you have not see the moons of Krypton any more than I have. In fact, because you haven't read/watched roughly 71,000 versions of your origin story, I would say less.

This is just such a poser thing to say. And he says stuff like this all the time. It's like some dude who lived in Japan for 6 months and comes back and corrects sushi waitresses all over town.

If I were hanging out with Superman and he said this, I would be rolling my eyes.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Superman/Batman #27: Nevermind

Ladies, Ladies, Ladies!

I love Mark Verheiden, and I was stoked that he was going to take on the Superman/Batman series. I was dismayed when I saw the first cover. I believe my exact words were "I can't help but notice that neither Superman nor Batman are on the cover." Little did I know...

Gender bending is a daring subject matter even for fanfic. I applaud Verheiden for taking it on in an actual comic book. And to do it to Superman and Batman! Bravo. But for all the impressiveness of what he was trying to do, it sadly didn't really work. It was a wasted opportunity.

Basically the story is that Earth 2 Superman (gray hair) and Batman (retired) have been lured into a trap at the Metropolis Zoo. The Ultra-Humanite has placed himself into the body of a gorilla there, using Brainwave, and successfully works it so Batman and Superman switch bodies with The Huntress and Power Girl, respectively. Though they still see themselves as Batman and Superman, to each other and the rest of the world they are now women.

Sounds good so far. I think it would be funner if they could also see themselves as women, but at this point I'm just glad this is happening at all.

Check out Batman (Huntress) saying something a little flirtatious to Superman (Power Girl):

"Trust me, Clark, you're her alright." And yowzaa! You're hawt! Basically that and "Except for feeling a draft, I'm doing fine," are the only funny lines of the whole book. And that's too bad.

It gets boring and confusing because it has to be over in such a hurry. In a few pages they learn what's happening (Brainwave did it), what's going to happen (Power Girl and Huntress are going to fight back to gain control of their bodies and thus destroy Superman and Batman permanently) and what they need to do to stop it (find where their own bodies are being hidden and them...somehow).

All I'm saying is that if you're going to give us something as delicious as SUPERMAN and BATMAN getting switched into the bodies of BUSTY LADIES please let us enjoy the ride a little.

It doesn't help that the boys are so indifferent to their situation. They just keep making small talk about what they've been up to lately.

That panel is kind of cute, though, if you consider that it's actually Superman and Batman. I like the adorable way Batman is holding on.

It's a little icky that Batman is actually in the body of his daughter. And Superman, his cousin. I mean, there's nothing specifically incestuous about what's happening here, but it's still kinda...personal.

It's a stand-alone, so by the end they get back in their bodies and all is right with the alternate world. Supes and Bats don't remember what just happened, the ladies do.

I would have like a 12-issue arc. They could have, y'know, dealt with other superheroes hitting on them. They could have taken a paycut at the Justice League. Superman would have to explain the situation to Lois. Robin would be all confused...hilarious! It would have been better if it wasn't Earth 2, though. I am just not comfortable with Earth 2. I never will be. There, I said it.

Kevin Maguire's art is pretty nice, but it's kinda gross too. I mean, obviously it's boob city, but check out this nasty porn face on Powergirl (Superman). I don't even know what her mouth is doing. Is that her tongue? Lips?

As for the cover art (Ethan Van Schiver and Moose Baumann), have you ever seen Power Girl with long, golden locks? I'm not even going to comment on the boobs, because what's the point?

I want to say thumbs up to this comic so badly. It should have been the greatest comic of all time. Instead it's a wild, mind-boggling ride that's over before it starts. Booooooo.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Superman Mild Bubble Bath: Super Berry Scent

I couldn't resist.

I normally won't buy scented bubble bath because of the raging infections it tends to cause. But it's really hard to find unscented bubble bath, and this bottle had Superman on it. Check out the awesome Jim Lee artwork!
Superman wouldn't give me an infection, would he? I can trust Superman.

Now, I know there are some artificial scents in here. I'm not an idiot. I know that for $2.76 they aren't using natural extracts from real super berries to get the super berry scent.

I know I shouldn't be using you, Superman bubble bath. I know the back of the bottle says 'Excessive use or prolonged exposure may cause irritation to skin and urinary tract," but the front of the bottle says "Superman."

Monday, August 07, 2006

Superman: For Tomorrow

I went to see Superman Returns for a second time last night, and it inspired me to re-read the For Tomorrow series in the Superman comics. 12 of the best-looking Superman comics you'll ever read.
Brian Azzarello, Jim Lee, Scott Williams and Alex Sinclair. This was the line-up that got me back into buying Superman every month.

The story, which I am hoping everyone has read, has a whole lot going for it. A lot of my personal Superman turn-ons. Thanks to the miracle of scanners, I can illustrate those turn-ons.

Turn-On #1: Superman talking about his problems.

The main argument against Superman as a character is that he is boring. Virtually nothing can hurt him, and he can do pretty much anything, so there is no suspense. He can easily get out of any bad situation he gets himself into. Good writers get that the struggle for Superman comes from within. Superman Returns had this going for it as well.

For Tomorrow has a very introspective Superman. Lois is missing, along with hundreds of thousands of others, after a mysterious 'vanishing.' They are presumed dead. Superman is having a rotten time coping with this belief. He forms a friendship with a young priest who is dying of cancer. The priest listens to Superman's problems and questions, which he has a lot of. I think my favourite conversation is when Superman is asking if he even loves Lois, or if he is even capable of love. He wonders if he only feels what he believes to be love, because he's not even sure if he really has emotions that humans can understand. Stuff like that just really gets to me.

The relationship with the priest is really brilliant. And the church scenes really let Alex Sinclair give us some really nice lighting effects, too.

I love at the end of this page how Superman looks downright insulted that the priest suggested that he can't keep track of how many times he has flown over the church. He never even follows up that 'no' with a correction. Just, "No. I know how to count, ass."

Turn-On #2: Superman fighting with Batman

Oh, Batman. You keep trying to fight Superman, but it's just so pointless. And I love it when Superman points that out.

I love the dialogue between Batman and Superman. It's tense. They respect each other, they hate each other, they love each other. It's all there. Always good reading when those two are hanging out.

Sub-turn-on: I like it when Superman wants people to call him Kal-El. And I like it when people call him Kal-El to be mean and make him remember that he's an alien.

In both of the above pages, Superman maintains the 'don't even' face that I love.

Turn-On #3: Superman fighting with Wonder Woman

I'm not a Superman/Wonder Woman shipper, so I like watching them wail on each other. It's always exciting. They both have to use some creative moves. But this is crazy:

Wonder Woman cuts Superman with a magic blade. Superman takes a drop of his own blood and throws it at Wonder Woman!!! Sweet hell. That's awesome.

And check out this wicked backhand Superman gives her:

Ha! I love the look on his face. "Knife, eh? We'll just see about that."

Turn-On #4: Superman showing (or threatening to show) just how powerful he really is.

This requires a little set-up, but basically Superman is having a showdown against Earth itself, represented by four giants made up of each of the major elements. Whatever. 'Earth' is threatening to destroy all life on the planet so it can start over. Superman responds by making a crazy, crazy threat:

What do the giants do? They shut up and leave, that's what. Shit, dude. Superman could actually demolish the planet if he wanted. That's intense.

Turn-On #5: Sexy Superman

Hot damn! And once again, Superman makes my boyfriend look like a giant pile of crap.

What I am saying is, For Tomorrow is awesome and you should read it.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Detective Comics + Simone Bianchi = Hot, Hot Covers

I am so, so into the Simone Bianchi covers on the current run of Detective Comics.

I don't even care that we have gratuitous female nudity all over this last cover. Poison Ivy just makes more sense as a naked lady. And this cover is kind of hilarious anyway. You can see Batman wrestling with the situation. I like that Poison Ivy is always in control of the situation. It's hot. (Of course, she always inevitably loses control of the situation by the end of every story, but still).

The only weird thing about Bianchi's art is that the characters tend to look a little underfed. The ribs stick out like crazy. I mean, your clothes have to be seriously tight to define your ribs that much. And I know that, as far as clothing goes, superhero costumes are very tight. Still, though...look at Robin in this next one:

I really love that cover though. Even though the Dynamic Duo look more like they are doing interpretive dance than fighting crime. Batman is sort of...prancing. And Robin is...surfing?

You know what I really love about these drawings? Batman's utility belt. It's really well defined and realistic. Each compartment is a different size and shape. It's not just a yellow bar divided into little squares that somehow hold batarangs.

On the re-issues they've been adding some spot colour. That looks pretty nice too:


Thumbs up, Simone.

A friend of mine said the other day that right now is a great time to be alive because the best artists and writers are working on the Batman titles. It's so true. And that is why I can still get out of bed in the morning.