Thursday, October 28, 2004

"I solemnly swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States and always, always listen to Batman."

I've wanted to show this for a while. It's probably my favorite panel from a comic ever.

The Brave and the Bold #94
Rebels in the Streets
March 1971
Written by Bob Haney
Drawn by Nick Cardy

This kid builds a nuclear device (hey, it happens) and holds Gotham hostage! All the bougie grown-ups gotta give control of the city to the kids, man! They just keep screwing things up! Batman and the swingin' Teen Titans know the score, so Bats...

... heads to the D.C. to tell the president to step off.

That's what I call a war game.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

They tried to shut me down in reboot 3

Hey, wow, has anyone noticed that Brainiac 5 looks like a green Eminem?

And you know what they say about green Eminems am I right ladies LOL SEX

Friday, October 22, 2004

Ultraverse First Issue Spectacular! — Part II
Prime #1 — Prime Time!

Writer: Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones
Penciler: Norm Breyfogle
Letterer: Tim Eldred
Colorist: Paul Mounts

Kevin Green is Prime! At least I think he is...

Prime, the musclebound goon in gold and garnet on the cover, spends the first several pages assaulting a gym teacher he (allegedly!) saw diddling girls on the playground. Biff! Pow! The Norm Breyfogle-drawn strongman scares the crap out of Coach McDiddlecuty as well as the girls he's attempting to protect, as would be expected, even if Prime weren't a slathering hothead, which he is. Unable to deal with the fear the girls show, Prime runs away like a big baby. And then we learn more about Prime...!

... what?

We don't...?

What the hell? What's this crap about the government shocking guys who saw Prime, Prime busting up Afrika Bambaataa's "drug house," and all this stuff with Hardcase on some tv show about Ultrahumans?

The "drug house" stuff's actually pretty funny. Prime drops in through the roof of a house with a gaggle of hoochies loitering out front, only to be confronted by Afrika and a couple of white thugs. He rants about how drugs are bad (m'kay), they blast the crap out of him with automatic weapons, and when that doesn't work they throw the guns at him! Haha, just kidding. They bring out a flamethrower. FWOOSH! This story is recounted to a government agent, who also hears some "testimony" about Prime from the aforementioned gym teacher. What does the government know about this Prime...?

Then it's the crap with the Ultratainment Tonight show. Hardcase, whoever that is, doesn't want the media up in his grill, somebody called Prototype has gone dead or missing or something, and then Prime flies off to Somalia for reasons I don't quite understand, then flies home when his body begins to discombobulate. Man, I'm glad I didn't remember all this, 'cause I'd be pissed about not learning anything at all about Prime in this first issue. This guy, though:

I like this guy. He's from the government. And he's here to help. Very comforting, in a 'roided up Dick Cheney sort of way. He swiped that vial of Prime Goo from Mr. Bambaataa. Wait... a piece of Prime? What's all this about...?

Now, I don't remember everything about puberty. What I do remember, though, is that it wasn't as glamorous as eyebeams or flying or even blue fur. And the government wasn't involved in any way. And it was itchy. Man, was it itchy. Thankfully, though, it wasn't so goopy as we see here:

And I didn't learn what "DOOSH" was till several years later.

A handful of events from the Prime series stick in my mind, the funniest being that best of 1990s teen-superhero-comic tropes, the "teenage superhero tries to be all cool and wears chains and acts tough 'n' shit" phase! Complete with a facial scar! Thankfully, it was done as a bit of a gag. My favorite concept was the gentleman to the right, a reanimated Prime-husk called... PRIMEVIL! He hung out with a guy with a pumpkin for a head and Necromantra, the evil, slutty version of Ultraverse heroine Mantra. I guess it all had something to do with Godwheel, which must be why I can't access those memories. I don't remember Primevil going after the real Prime, but can you imagine being a kid who sprouts goopy, superstrong bodies, sheds them, and then one of 'em comes back to beat up on you? Now that's a special time in a young man's life!

Marvel Buy-Out Status:

Spider-Prime. Good god.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Update-Type Thing

More Ultraverse stuff is on the way (hopefully) early this week. Reading is fine, but comprehending and writing is something else entirely when I'm distracted by sleepiness and sinus pain and such. Here is a thing for looking at, to tide you all over. I'm not sure if this ad I saved from an issue of Wizard ever ran in the comics, but since so many people in the comics blogowhatsis — and my own Amelie — love Young Heroes in Love so much, here goes:

Mark Loves Young Heroes in Love
click = really big (641K)
"Young Heroes in Love" is
© Dan Raspler and Dev Madan.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Ultraverse First Issue Spectacular! — Part I
The Strangers #1 — Jumpstart!

Writer: Steve Englehart
Penciler: Rick Hoberg
Inker: Tim Burgard
Letterer: Tim Eldred
Colorist: Paul Mounts

And it begins!

This is the true story of six strangers, picked to ride on a cable car and have their lives changed forever! Find out what happens when people stop being polite... and start throwing billonaire industrialists into the street for making out with robot women in public before the cable car gets hit by lightning from the Moon and fight a woman with a clam on her head! This is The Real World: San Francisco!

Wait, what? It's The Strangers? Oh! IT'S THE STRANGERS!

I tell you, that Steve Englehart... I probably like this stuff a lot more than I should. Everyone shouts! All the time! I mean, everyone, and not just when they're excited. There are fewer periods here than at a transsexual convention, but damned if I don't find it enjoyable.

So a cable car carrying 59 people (we're shown the number over and over again) gets hit by lightning from the moon. In the ensuing chaos the cable car crashes into some guy in a Miata (which I assume is meant to impress me, but I don't know shit about cars except that they roll on wheels), an old man with a terminal illness suddenly feels better, and Candy, aka Hookerbot 5000, beats feet down the street.

As we're introduced to our heroes we're also introduced to their powers. Much as I like it, it gets a bit heavy-handed, including the obligatory "black guy wearing purple," and the scene we see off to the side: David, having (ahem) burst into flame, goes to the doctor, as, the world being what it is for gay men these days, he worries about any changes his body might go through. Like, say, combusting. The doctor tells him he should maybe see a priest.

They're out trying to live their lives while bursting into flame and exploding and running fast and being robots in lingerie when they hear some crazy lady is tearing up downtown San Francisco! Oh no! And, somehow, they all end up in the same place to confront her. That can only mean it's time for my favorite part of reviewing a team book...

... THE STRANGERS ROLL CALL!

Moonstorm!

She's some black lady from the moon or the clouds or something. In the first issue she talks in some indechipherable moonman language, but after that, seeing as she's a tall black woman, she talks like Storm from the X-Men. Does she know something about the mysterious lightning bolt? Could be!

Jiffy Pop!

Hugh Fox: tough guy. His normal clothes are spandex, somehow making him look like less of a freak in his costume. He blows up, sending shrapnel from his body, and wears a vest despite the fact that being topless would better accomodate his powers. He just wants to accentuate his abs.

Ms. Blackwell!

Fashion designer Elena La Brava gains dealy aim with, uhm... clothes. Her scarf, actually. wh-PSSSH! Since everyone in comics is the best at what they do before they gain powers, she's the top fashion designer in, I dunno, a ten-block radius.

Flamer!

David Castiglione is a gay man with... oh man... he... he's on fire. And not only is he on fire, he... jeez... he's on fire in every color of the rainbow. And no, he doesn't run a flower shop; he's a baker.

Kunta Sprinte!

Leon Balford, in case you didn't notice, is black. His friends wear open shirts and brightly colored tank tops. He's a speedster, and his first thought upon discovering this is, hey, maybe I should call up Michael Jordan to play ball. If I were a fast black kid I'd go back in time to race Hitler and Carl Lewis.

Real Doll!

Candy doesn't get a last name 'cause she's a pleasurebot created by billionaire industrialist J.D. Hunt, aka the guy thrown off the cable car. The Jumpstart gives her the ability to think for herself. Fortunately for the perverts of San Francisco, that doesn't include thinking to put on some damn clothes.

And Bob!

Bob Hardin is some guy who goes to art school with Hugh. He gains the power to change stuff into other stuff. Plus he's boring, so that makes him the leader, I guess.

AND...

Who is the mysterious Pilgrim? Stay tuned to find out!

Those might or might not be the characters' real code names, but since they don't even have costumes until the next issue I decided it'd be best just to wing it.

As far as goofy punch-'em-ups go The Strangers was up there with the best of them; no real weight to it, plenty of melodrama, and over-complicated plots and character motivations abound in the series. And any resemblence to a team made up of Storm, Nitro, Bullseye, Human Torch, Quicksilver, the Vision, and Molocule Man is purely coincidental.

MARVEL BUY-OUT STATUS: Spared. The last issue contains covers for three more unpublished issues, but the team, for whatever reason, played no part in Marvel's wholesale destruction of the Ultraverse. They got off lucky.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The Ultraverse First Issue Spectacular! — Prelude

Because nobody explicitly asked me not to, and it's too late to stop me now, starting soon I will be digging into the box packed to bursting with Ultraverse titles and reviewing the first issues of these superhero comics no one but me ever really cared about. I'll make you all care! Or maybe make you all resent me for wasting your time. I dunno. This is as much for me as it is for, uhm... well, no, it's just for me. I loved this crap when I was 15.

I was fucked from the start, you know. I've mentioned before that I became a hardcore comics reader with The Infinity Gauntlet, which as far as I knew was the first big "every superhero gets together and whups up on a guy" series ever. "Secret Wars"? That was just a toy line in my mind. Vaguely aware these characters shared a universe, IG smacked me in the face with it, and I wanted more. I came in on Valiant's books right on time for Unity, their attempt to slam all their books together into one universe. Malibu Publishing's Ultraverse, though... I was there from the start. It all seems pretty silly now, but the idea of a bunch of writers getting together and plotting the direction of a whole universe of brightly colored superhe— sorry, a universe full of Ultras, well... I had to have it. And I got it. Almost every fucking issue of it. And soon, you all will suffer for my capricious youthful spending.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Up a Creek with John Kerry
(or: the extent of my political blogging)

Mark: Where'd they find a picture of him looking pensive in a turtleneck?
Amelie: He was probably walking down the streets of Boston, while the brisk air blowed his hair away from his care-worn face...
Mark: haha. So he's all melty and wrinkled from years of CARING SO DAMN MUCH? hee.
Amelie: They took it at a studio! The guy responsible for this movie is one of his best friends, ever.
Mark: Ah, okay.
Mark: That's what I was looking for.
Amelie: That's why he's so wrinkled! He loves us all so much, and that has made him old. If you look at it, he's really like Jesus... in a turtleneck.
Mark: "John Kerry for President: He's Turtleneck Jesus."