Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fashion Friday: Wonder Woman Photo Manip by "Fan Art Exhibit"

Since I'm kind of run down, I'll just post some pretty pictures.

Do you like this version of Wonder Woman's costume?  I found it online looking for, ironically, some Smallville Hawkgirl photos in anticipation of the upcoming episode.  (The artist has done his own version of Hawkgirl as well.)  They are photo manipulations by Fan Art Exhibit.

I kinda like it.  I'm not too sold on the sandals.  But I wouldn't mind seeing this on the Silver Screen, if ever a Wonder Woman live action movie is made.  The bodice and eagle chestpiece look nice, and I like the blue leather skirt with the Greek pattern (look closely) and the studs.

Here it is in action:

Wonder Woman, on her way to do some spear fishing.

There's a really awesome one here, and a close up here, but it doesn't look like the author wanted them reposted, so I'm only providing a link.  But go check them out!  And take a look at the Huntress and Hawkgirl while your'e there, too!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The bitter, sweet taste of jealousy and disappointment.

I think there's only three jobs in America where you can either be wrong 70% of the time, fail to show up to work, or take months to hand your current project in and STILL keep your job: weatherman, government office worker, and comic book creator.  I really wish I had one of those three jobs, becuase I'd love to point at maps and make up stories about cold fronts, and play board games for a living.  Writing or drawing comic books wouldn't be too shabby, either.

Look at the classic Adam Strange stripiness!!  Look at all the ray guns!!  Behold, the work of Jesus Saiz!

I've been waiting for The Brave and the Bold #36 since MAY, which meant it was due to be released in August, then mysteriously was running late and was due the first week in September, then was bumped to the week of September 29th, and now has been changed yet again to to "Running Late From Publisher."  With each passing week I've said to myself how awesome a classic Adam Strange book is going to be, with each login to my Heavy Ink account I counted the weeks until my share of Adam Strange awesomeness would be in my mailbox, and now, once again, I fall into the bitter cold depths of comics disappointment.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pop quiz for the weekend!

Who is J'onn J'onzz to you?  Not speaking theoretically or ideally, but if you had to pick an incarnation that actually existed in print?  (There's a poll in the sidebar...make a selection!  You can pick more than one, too!)

a.) Goofy Silver Age attracts-all-weird-things alien detective.

b.) Hard-working, wistful, filled-with-awe Silver Age detective.

c.) Sardonic father figure to a clutch of juvenile superheroes.

d.) Uncorruptible noir detective with a limited powerset and vague, yet haunting, past.

e.) Naive do-gooder making the most of the hand he was dealt.

f.) Ticking time bomb waiting to unleash the fury of an ancient planet.

g.) Outsider distancing himself from humanity and embracing his alien side.

h.) Peaceful, stoic warrior, with no outside pursuits and who lives only to serve the League.

i.) Friend and protector of all squirrels everywhere.
(You know you want to pick this one!)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

If I got stranded on a desert island that didn't have a comic shop...?

Aaron at Continued on Second Page Following offered up one of his desert island comic picks.  So of course that got me thinking about mine!

Did anyone ever see Lost, where one of the survivors finds a comic book in the plane after it crashes?  The unnamed comic book has a polar bear in it and people pushing a world-ending (or saving) button on a computer and it's in Spanish.  I didn't read comics when I first watched Lost, so I thought they made it up for the show.  Had I known then what I know now, I would've recognized Alan Scott and Jay Garrick, would've known that comics get translated into other languages, and wouldn't have thought polar bears in a comic book seemed weird.  (It was a real comic: Green Lantern/Flash: Faster Friends.)

Well, that comic wouldn't be my desert island pick as much as I like the Green Lantern mythos.  I don't think I could pick ONE comic as my desert island pick.  But I think I can narrow it down to a few:

Any trade paperback of Justice League International.  If I were stranded with no hope of rescue I'd want a laugh, you know?

Martian Manhunter: American Secrets.  Not only is it noir, not only does it feature my favorite hero, but it's a period piece with such a distinct tone and setting that it's so easy for me to escape into and make me forget my current surroundings.  It is quite possibly my favorite graphic novel, period.  And when the island polar bears and smoke monsters are wreaking havoc, I'd want to feel as far away from that as possible.

I stole this pick from your blog, Frank!

Adam Strange Archives, any volume.  With no hope of rescue, I'd like some upbeat escapist science fiction stories to keep me company.  Besides, it would help foster the dream that maybe a Zeta Beam could manifest itself and transport me away from all my island troubles.  Not only that the art is beautiful and colorful, and there's tigers with horns on their heads and giant city-destroying magnifying lenses.  Need I say more?

Oh, and I'd need a soundtrack to go with all those comics.  Elton John's Greatest Hits, anyone?  What, no one?  Well, I guess that's why they call it the blues.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Do We Feel This Way About Comics Now?

I recently was pleasantly surprised at work when a student let me read her essay detailing how Batman, being a superhero without powers, inspired her to choose a career in nursing that would let her help others and be a hero to them.  I was pretty moved by reading it, because not only is it inspiring to hear about the dreams of youth, but the fact that a fictional character could have a profound influence on someone makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

And my second thought was this: are adults similarly inspired by comics today?

In today's world, I think not.  Fifty years ago?  You be the judge:

Justice League of America #15, 1962

Could you honestly see anyone over the age of ten writing a letter like this to DC?  This guy is talking about hope, faith, justice, a belief that humanity can improve itself.  Now all I see when I look at the world is snark, cynicism, and complacency.

There was an exhibit of comics books at the Yale Law Library highlighting superheroes in court, lawyers, and the law, in which one of the lawyers interviewed stated that comic books inspired him to become a defense attorney (whose specialty is defending spies, to boot.)

What are modern comics inspiring us to become?  What do superheroes fight against and what do they stand for, if anything?  I don't know if any hero believes in anything besides "stop the bad guy."  Have superheroes ever fought any domestic evils like corruption, organized crime, or just your run-of-the-mill mugger in recent years?  To me, it seems that these crimes are too small for big-time superheroes to be bothered with.  I'm not suggesting another "Hard Traveling Heroes," but a simple change in perspective once in a while to show how regular people are inspired (or not) by their hometown heroes.

And where have all of comics' supporting characters gone?  The lawyers?  The cops?  The city mayors?  The regular citizens who looked up in the sky or out beyond the stars for their heroes?  Why must cops become costumed vigilantes to become "heroes?"  (Or become the Spirit of Vengeance for that matter.)  Renee Montoya was as heroic as any superhero when she was "just" a detective.  And in addition to that, Clark Kent did some heroic things while he was Clark Kent, and so did Bruce Wayne.

I want to believe in something again, DC.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I'd play cards more often if they had superheroes on them...

Hey!  Look what I found!

Some lucky comic fan owns this sweet commission, which was drawn by the one, the only, Kevin Maguire, and inked by Joe Rubinstein.  I think Keven Maguire should make a whole series of JLI playing cards.  Wouldn't that be awesome?!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Comic Fan Art That Makes Me Happy!

Sunday has now become my arts and crafts day since an artist's studio just moved thirty seconds down the road from me and I signed up for a class.  After spending my whole life drawing horses, I figured I'd give drawing people a try.  And boy, is it hard!

I love me some comics fan art, and here's some awesome examples:

Caleb over at Every Day is Like Wednesday sometimes puts a web comic up on his blog.  Here's his "The Showcase Presents: Justice League" series, which is quite amusing, especially when Batman shows up and punches people in the head and J'onn J'onzz keeps reminding Jonah Hex that the JLA Satellite is a non-smoking facilty.  (And who knew that J'onn's laser vision went "PYEW PYEW!"?)

Every now and then, SallyP treats us with a drawing of hers, and wow was I happy to see one featuring my favorite Martian!  Not only it's J'onn's (and Guy's) expression priceless, but the shading is so, so lovely.  Definitely check it out!

And, last but not least, Eyz from G33K Life has an ongoing "Superbuddies" strip which is based on the JLI years.  (Plus some other strips, too!)  Booster and Beetle are always up to something, and J'onn's Oreo addiction gets him into his fair share of (hilarious!) trouble.

Have fun and to all you artists out there, keep drawing!

Just some more fun for the weekend...

I like a good dose of humor in my comics.  Here's a panel from Time Masters: Vanishing Point #2 that made me laugh out loud:

Click the image if you're presbyopic!

It's moments like these that really make me miss Dan Jurgens writing Booster Gold, let me tell you.  Because "Me?  A tool?" is a line that rivals Giffen and DeMatteis on the Scale of Comics Hilarity.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I have no idea what a "GLO BALL" is, but this isn't what I had in mind...

Apparently Hal Jordan has a snack cake made in honor of him.

It's called Glo Balls, I kid you not.  [Insert joke here.]

I have no idea if "Glo Balls" existed before, or if this is something completely new.  I tend to walk past the Hostess aisle of the grocery store and make a beeline for the Oreos and Pepperidge Farms instead, but now I'm going to keep an eye out for this.

Pic shamelessly stolen from here.

Do they glow in the dark?  Do they disintegrate if you put them too close to a bottle of mustard?  Is Hal Jordan's costume really made of sparkly coconut sugar?  You be the judge.

If you look in the background, you can see "Flash Cakes," which sounds a lot classier.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

75 Favorite Moments in DC History: Number 51

51.  J'onn J'onzz, G'nort, and Kilowog go out on the town.  (Justice League America #51, 1991.)

I love it when a great story can be told in a single issue.  Here's one of my favorite single issue stories from the JLI years.

It all started when G'nort came to town...

Do I really need to say any more?

Well, after the world's least-competent Green Lantern comes back to the JLI Embassy and finds there is no welcome home party for him, he finds Kilowog, who is bored to tears.  Kilowog has the brilliant idea to go for a night on the town, which would've been okay, until J'onn hears about it.

And this is how J'onn is roped into babysitting the two of them for the night.  I mean, what could possibly go wrong, right?

A dozen shredded men's suits and a stage full of terrified spandex-wearing Broadway actors later, the three "aliens and proud of it" superheroes decide to close the night out with a nice, relaxing dinner.

Extra points if you know what villain is attacking J'onn!

What, you think they'd get off the hook that easily?

And you didn't think Beetle and Booster wouldn't rub it in after they had to go bail J'onn out of jail, did you?

That poor, poor Martian.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Would all the nice characters please raise your hand?

This article on Newsarama, got me going about something I've been thinking about for a long time: what's happening with all the nice superheroes?

Quite a few people seem to be unhappy with Judd Winick's characterization of Ice (Tora.)  Back during the JLI years, she was sweet and mild, and in the current series Justice League: Generation Lost, she seems to have lost all that.  And, as you can see, straight from the horses's mouth, she seems to have deliberately lost all that as a result of DC's editor, or Judd Winick, or both:
Ice is not to be messed with. For real.

If you’ve been reading JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST, you know the character’s been going through her share of soul-searching. But how does one character go from pensive, shy flower to elemental badass?
Which begs the question: what's wrong with nice characters?  Ice used to be sweet, nice, and shy, and JLI fans liked her despite that (or because of that.)  Though she wears a unitard, she wears a cute little cut off sweatshirt that not only is reminiscent of 80's fashion, but shows she's modest.  I remember the exchange she had with her best bud Beatriz (Fire) about her outfit, which highlighted the differences in their respective personalities.  Despite their differences, they were best friends.  Not to mention the fact that Guy Gardner, perennial (if lovable) jerk, fell for total nice girl Tora, proving that opposites attract and that somewhere deep down, Guy Gardner does have a heart.

We can be different, and we can be best friends.  How awesome is that?

So why the need for editors and writers to make sweet characters into "badasses?"  Are they more believable?  Do they suddenly become cool if they swear a lot and beat bad guys to a bloody pulp?  Do comic writers have something against nice people?  Is this some kind of "ideal" they are writing towards and can't break out of, rather than trying harder and showing a more diverse view of people?  Is it to target a certain demographic?

And not just nice girls seem to be disappearing, but nice guys, too.  Not everyone has to be a badass, male or female.  Not everyone needs to be nice and sweet, either: in fact, seeing two different personalities like Fire and Ice interact was a lot of fun.  Is it too much to ask for a little variety in our characters besides "standard ass-kicking hero personality?"

Try harder, DC.

Monday, September 13, 2010

This is my brain on Mondays

This means my brain is not working today.  I did have one profound thought as I was lying in bed last night, though.

Brian Fraim drew this.  Cool, no?

Because, as you know, all great thoughts happen in either the shower or while brushing your teeth.  But the really momentous ones?  They happen when you're drifting off to sleep.

Catwoman, by George Todorovski.  Awww, she's holding a cat!

So what was this profound, Earth-shattering idea?


"Hey...if Wheel of Fortune ever did a DC-themed Before and After puzzle, it would go like this: 'SELINA KYLE RAYNER.'  HAHAHAHA!  I'm a genius!!  I have GOT to post this on my blog!!"

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, I'll be here all week.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dragon*Con 2010 With Booster Gold and Blue Beetle!

Dragon*Con was last weekend.  And look who showed up!

It's Blue Beetle with not one, but two Booster Golds!  One must be back from the future doing some super secret reconnaissance that he can't tell Ted about.

Ted gave up on Booster and decided to hide behind Babs and Kate Cane.  Are Blue and Gold having one of their little lover's quarrels again?  Well, it didn't stop them from fighting crime together.

And who's that on the right?  Black Canary, straight from the JLI!  Luckily, Guy Gardner was wayyy on the other side of the group.

It's a shame B'wana Beast had to show up and knee Booster in his shiny leg, though.  I wonder what he said to him to prompt that sort of reaction.  Ouch!

But the best part about Dragon*Con?  Krypto showed up!

Much thanks goes to Frank, who suggested the idea to me, and to the Irredeemable Shag, who was the one who attended Dragon*Con and took these great photos!  Don't forget to stop by Shag's blogs, ONCE UPON A GEEK, and FIRESTORM FAN!

And make sure to stop by Frank's blog, The Idol-Head of Diabolu, to check out the awesome Martian Manhunter cosplayer!

It was all fun and games until...oh noes!  Krypto got attacked by some horrible Kryptonite-bearing fleas!  Where's Luthor?!  This must be his doing!

75 Favorite Moments in DC History: Number 52

52. Blue Beetle and Booster Gold steal J'onn's cookies (Martian Manhunter #24, 2000.)

I wasn't a huge fan of the Martian Manhunter series, but there was one bright spot in those thirty-six issues that almost makes up for it.

In Martian Manhunter #24, we take a trip back in time to the Justice League International days, and as usual, the michevious Blue and Gold are up to something:

The amazing thing is, I had no idea who Beetle, Booster, Maxwell Lord, Fire, Ice, OR Guy Gardner were when I read this issue, and I still thought it was funny.  Even this Maxwell Lord guy was amusing to me and I wanted to know more about him.  I had only sought it out to satiate my Martian Manhunter fandom, and had yet to read any Justice League International titles.  Now, of course, this all makes a whole lot more sense.

Obviously, this must translate well to new readers, because I sent the above panel to my non-comics-reading-but-Smallville-watching-friend and she found their "impish grins" amusing.

This is also the reason why "Choco Addiction," along with fire, is listed as a weakness on J'onn's DC Wikia page.  Recently, it seems, they went back to referring to "Chocos" as "Oreos," which I like.

And where are you going to ever find another Guy Gardner panel like this?  Muahaha.

And nor does seeing exchanges like this ever get old in my mind:

Martian Manhunter #24 could very easily have been an issue of JLI.  One minor quibble is that Ostrander made Booster the instigator and Beetle the somewhat-unwilling participant who realized they'd gone too far, and really the roles should've been reversed.  But, hey, it's good fun nonetheless, and  I like a good laugh from my comics every now and then.  Actually, more than every now and then.

I'm hoping that that little teaser image of a JLI banner shown in DC's editor column last week means an eventual return to the good ol' JLI days.  Wouldn't that be nice?

Oh, and one more.  I couldn't help adding this one in:

That's the Maxwell Lord I miss!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Friday, September 10, 2010

Something I bet you never thought you'd see in a kid's comic...

After Batman and Robin's little shower scene at Sally's blog, I was reminded of this:

Batman: Harley and Ivy #1

How did this get into a comic aimed at kids, I'll never know.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Why I Don't Care About Harvey Dent, and Neither Should You

"Vanity keeps persons in favor with themselves who are out of favor with all others."  --William Shakespeare
[N.B. I can in no way replace or supercede what Scipio of the Absorbascon has written about the character Two-Face.  It is superior to any other analysis of the character I've ever read, and it is what made me think harder about the character.  I had started writing this before the Absorbascon came back to the land of the living, so I was hesitant to post this at first.  However, I think there's something I can add, albeit small, to an analysis of who Two-Face is, is why he became that way.]

Here goes nothing...

What prompted this was a posting on Scans Daily about Batman Annual #14, which many Two-Face fans consider an important story (and which Scans Daily considered the "definitive Two-Face story,") as it revealed his psychosis came about because of an abusive childhood, and that he probably would've become Two-Face without getting acid thrown in his face becuase his mind was already fractured.  To which I cry foul.

Here's why:

That story portrayed Harvey Dent as a victim.  By being "acted upon" rather than acting, Harvey Dent becomes not a villain but simply a man in need of help.  It puts him down to the level of The Ventriloquist, who suffers from a true split personality.  One thing that I've noticed about older comic book stories is that characters actively chose to become who are, be it hero or villain.  Batman swore an oath on his parents' grave to fight crime.  It's an aspect of comics that seems to be eroding today, as more heroes are conscripted into service (like the Jaime Reyes version of the Blue Beetle), rather than having this choice be the product of deliberation and soul-searching, and I believe that current trend has seeped into comic book villainy as well.

Judging by the comments on Scans Daily, it's a lot easier to accept a man becoming a villain after suffering an abusive childhood rather than just being a regular guy who suffered and accident and snapped.

One commenter asked: "what do you think of the idea of Harvey having a sort of vanity to him? That he has this drive in him to look perfect and handsome. This could go along with the abusive father idea that his getting his perfect physique getting ruined was just one first domino that got knocked back and eventually lead to his break down and becoming Two Face."

To which the original poster answered:

"I think it's the sort of thing that has to be handled with a delicate hand, if it's handled at all. People won't feel too bad for Harvey is he's a vain guy who goes crazy because he's no longer pretty.

I like the idea that he, say, uses his good looks and charisma to get ahead politically as a way of actually doing his job better. But no matter what, it's a very tricky attribute to use if you want a Harvey Dent that people will actually care about."  (All emphasis mine.)

To which I say: you're not supposed to care about Harvey Dent.

In a small way, the author proved my point.  You are not supposed to care about Harvey Dent.  You may be able to empathize with his rotten luck, you might still hope for his redemption, but you are not supposed to sympathize with him to the point of losing sight of his evilness.  If you do cross that line, then Harvey Dent isn't a villain any more, but at best a vague and ill-defined anti-hero.  The sad thing is that many readers consider the original version of the character simplistic, and the modern split personality version full of depth.

Let's go back to the Golden Age, to Harvey Dent's first ever story, to see what I mean.

Harvey Dent choose to become Two-Face.  Now, can you care about someone who chose to become a villain?  Perhaps.  But not in the same way as you do a victim of abuse and a psychological condition.

In his origin story, Two-Face choose to become a villain.  He was not a victim.  Not only that, but he likes being Two-Face.  Why?  Because it liberates him.  On the first page of his first story, Harvey Dent (called Harvey "Kent" back then, which was later changed) is seen reading a copy of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and it's obvious to see inspiration was drawn from Robert Louis Stevenson's novella.  By operating under the persona of Two-Face, Harvey Dent is liberated to act on his darker impulses, just like Dr. Jekyll was.  Because he was free to act out his impulses against society, even his "good" side had darkened:

The problem with the current incarnation is this: modern Harvey Dent doesn't like being Two-Face.  By relegating him to multiple personalities, he's trapped inside of the same body as "Two-Face" while the two absolute-good and absolute-evil personalities constantly vie for dominance. It's not liberating.  He has no control, he can't make his own moral code. In the Golden Age incarnation, he was empowered, he was freed by his accident to adopt an arbitrary moral code that put him in a position of power.  Harvey Dent choose to become Two-Face.  Sure, he did it in a roundabout way--by letting the coin decide--but he chose to flip it, knowing full well it could come up bad heads.

So why did Harvey Dent become Two-Face?

Well, first off, Harvey Dent was vain.  He was called "Apollo" by the press.  His girlfriend, Gilda, was a sculptress who sculpted a bust of him on more than one occasion.  Though his girlfriend doted over him in the hospital while he recovered from his acid attack, she didn't react too well when the bandages came off, and neither did he:

Not only that, but Gotham's citizens didn't react too well, either:

Having defined himself by his looks and having a girlfriend who "worshipped beauty" was enough to cut Harvey Dent down to his core.  He feels as though society has completely shunned him.  He was being treated like a criminal, a monster, so why not play the hand Fate dealt him and act like one?  If that's how the world sees me, then that's who I am. That is the very definition of defining one's self by appearance. True Vanity, with a capital V.  (Interestingly enough, he was portrayed as an occasional bit-part actor in the Batman Sunday strips.)

His faith society was so broken down that he believed that without his looks, there is essentially no difference between a good man and a crook, and so arbitrary was Fate and society's rules, that he consigned his future to a simple coin toss.  And why not throw your fate away?  If the world is such a rotten place that all your good deeds and hard work wind up getting you punished in the end, why not just be bad, and enjoy a life of crime and give in to your darker side?

However, not only was he vain, but untrusting and quick to judge. He was so quick to believe that his girlfriend rejected him that he never gave her a chance to explain herself. Harvey Dent is superficial, and you can't argue otherwise. He was a flawed man to begin with, but not in the sense of being abused as a child or developing a psychological condition, but simply just being a superficial, vain, self-centered man. He wasn't a victim. The modern multiple personalities version doesn't work because "good" Harvey isn't flawed at all, and what's the point of having a character be a living example of Jekyll and Hyde if Dr. Jekyll has no dark inner impulses? Having a split personality just victimized Harvey Dent, and "reforming" him would simply take the form of jettisoning "bad" Harvey, not making "good" Harvey realize his mistakes in judgment and shortcomings as a person, as true reform should.

Not only that, but in the modern version, how can good Harvey be absolute good and the Two-Face persona be absolute evil, when he was never "all good" to begin with?  Who among us has that simple a personality that it is drawn in absolutes?  The human mind is complex beyond comprehension.  Harvey Dent is a man battling his own shortcomings, and to say otherwise is simplistic.  If there are no flaws to acknowlege, no weaknesses to overcome in the "good" side of his personality, then true reform is not possible.  How is this characterization of a flawed man considered simplistic?  Or is it a product of our current times, where we are afraid to consider ourselves flawed human beings, but instead have a tendency to relegate our vices to forces beyond our control?

Reform of a psychological condition requires therapy and treatment. Reform of a shallow, vain, selfish, flawed personality takes the ability to admit you were wrong about life, that you chose to do bad things, that your decisions were your fault, and that if you hope to redeem yourself, you better be willing to humble yourself, admit your mistakes, and grow as a person. That's why in every story where Harvey Dent "reforms," the reformation always takes place off-panel, and always takes the form of an instant quasi-magical cure, because otherwise it would take years of soul-searching.  Curing a disease has no redemptive value for a flawed character.  "Two-Face" is not a disease. Two-Face is not a separate being. Two-Face is Harvey Dent; the dark, nasty, weak side of Harvey Dent that he wasn't mature enough to keep in check when his life hit a speedbump.  To victimize him into an object of pity does no justice to the character, takes away all his redemptive value and the ability to empathize with him, all of which I shall explain more in Part 2.

One modern panel did get the vanity aspect right, though:

Batman: Face the Face

It's a shame the rest of the story didn't expand on this, but by having Harvey acknowledge his vanity as the "sin I keep paying for" shows not only that "good" Harvey had his flaws, but that he was willing to confront them.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I'll Explain Later...

My grand Harvey Dent thesis just needs a bit of polishing.  It's too bad being a perfectionist makes you take forever to get things done...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Does This Count As Beefcake?

SallyP proposed a beefcake challenge over at Green Lantern Butts Forever.  Even though the word "beefcake"always reminds me of that horrid-smelling Hickory Farms beef stick sausage thing that we got in a cheese gift basket every Christmas from my grandparents, I figure why turn down a challenge?  (There needs to be a better term than "beefcake," I swear.)

At first I was thinking shirtless Booster Gold.  He's shirtless in like every fourth issue of his original series.  Nah.  Too easy.  Then I was thinking cover of JLI #34.  Nah, already included that in my Booster Gold cover countdown.  Adam Strange always wears his uniform, or his Earth clothes, and even in that issue where he was in the hospital, the doctors let him wear his shirt.  I then looked through every book I had with Two-Face in it and couldn't find anything, aside from some disturbing stuff in Batman: Jekyll and Hyde, where Harvey Dent is strung up shirtless while being electrocuted, and there's nothing happy about that.

Then, I was thinking, ever see the movie Gypsy?  Where Natalie Wood plays a classy stripper who just waltzes around the stage, does a little dip, then takes off a glove before exiting the stage and leaves the fellas wanting more?

Well, here's the superhero version of that:

Take off your gloves!

The Phantom Stranger takes off his suit and hat.  That's pretty much like seeing him shirtless, right?

It takes a man of mystical powers to make a turtleneck look THAT cool.

Well, he strikes a pose or two, and then hurries up and puts that suit back on like it part of some sort of mystical rule he has to abide by.  Oh, and I forgot to mention, he didn't take off his suit, Cassandra did.  And before you get any ideas about Mr. Phantom Stranger's virtue and what he's doing in a strange girl's bed, it's all because she took him home after she found him after he got mugged and beaten up in the subway and he was taking a little nap.  It's a shame things like finding a beaten up superhero on my way to work doesn't happen to me in real life.

Show's over, ladies.

Well, there's my contribution to Beefcake Week, classy Phantom Stranger style.

My Pull List

While in the midsts of some heavy-duty Two-Face analysis, I hit a little block and decided I couldn't post on time.  So I figured I'd post my pull list, since I had meant to get around to doing that sooner or later...

Here we go.  Here's what I'm currently reading:

  • Booster Gold (I'm missing Jurgens, but at least it reunites the JLI writing crew.  Not one for change.  Different = bad has always been my motto.  But I got a big soft spot for the "greatest hero you've never heard of" and his little robot sidekick.)
  • Green Lantern (always fun, colorful, and entertaining)
  • Green Lantern Corps (see above)
  • Brightest Day (just can't resist not knowing what's going on with this.  Besides, there are Martians in it.  And squirrels.)
  • Justice League: Generation Lost (hoping Giffen and DeMatteis get switched to this book, along with Kevin Maguire.  And that a million dollars falls out of the sky.)
  • Batgirl (so much fun.  I love this book!)
  • R.E.B.E.L.S. (Vril Dox is really growing on me, that sneaky little out-for-himself-Mr.-Always-Has-a-Plan.  Plus Lobo shows up, and that always means a good time.)
  • DC Universe Legacies (meh.  Adam Strange is in it next month, so there's something, I guess.)
  • Batman: Streets of Gotham (Two-Face backup story, obligated to buy.  Plus, the more I read Batman, the more I'm liking his secondary characters more than him.)
  • Time Masters: Vanishing Point (Booster Gold, Rip Hunter, Hal Jordan.  Too much awesome hair for my brain to handle.  Plus, seeing young Rip = me saying "awwww, how cute!" outloud to the book.  A lot.  This is why I have to comics read alone.)
  • Gotham City Sirens  (I liked it better in the beginning, but it's okay.)
  • Detective Comics (probably going to scratch this one soon.  It's getting hard to comprehend.)
  • Batman (scratched because it devolved into a Batman: R.I.P. missing chapter series.  Plus it had Grant Morrison's name on it.  Yes, I am that petty.  Besides, with the new series coming up, there's too many Batman books out there for me to afford, so I think I'm going to have to drop Batman all together, rather than go in half-way.)
  • Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors (Guy Gardner never ceases to entertain me.)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Understated Panels

My brain's kind of overactive, (as if you couldn't tell.)  I like details, but I like simple details, if that makes any sense.  As much as I love Ivan Reis and Ethan Van Sciver drawing insane splash pages with hundreds of Green Lantern corps members on them, it can get a little visually overwhelming and I can't seem to take it all in.  Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the work it took to draw that kind of visual insanity, and I love looking at hundreds of Green Lanterns in the midst of interstellar battle, but sometimes your eye needs a little break.

What can I say...I like quiet moments, both in comics and in movies.  Sometimes, the world is just too noisy for me.

Let's enjoy some quiet moments, shall we?

Deadman enjoys a cheeseburger in Brightest Day #7.  And bonus: Dove is wearing a hat!

I like seeing characters do normal things.  I mean, they've got to take a break to eat sometime, right?  Plus, that White Ring has a real sense of humor.

A pre-Two-Face Harvey Dent watches over his wife in The Long Halloween.  I love the muted colors.

Oddly enough, do you know what drew my eye in this scene?  The tissue box on the tray table.  A simple little detail that makes so much sense.  When things make sense, I'm happy.

 A human J'onn J'onzz, in the midst of investigating some "American Secrets" catches some much needed Zzz's.

Probably my favorite understated panel of the three.  I remember the first time I read Martian Manhunter: American Secrets and this panel stood out at me.  Why?  Well, for one, the pose is so natural that it's obvious that penciller/inker Eduardo Barreto has a gift for watching people.  Secondly, there's such a calmness to this moment, which in contrast to the consistent tension throughout the book, is like coming up for air after being held under water for a long time.  Since the book employed first-person narration, it's a lot nicer to have the narration scenes overlaid upon moments of quiet rather than on an action scene, where the effect of a film noir voiceover is lost.  And besides, who hasn't taken a nap on the couch and had to cover your eyes like that because of some stray light?

So....enjoy the quiet, while it lasts.