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Posts Tagged ‘Comic Books’

If I had to pick one comic book that I considered “the weirdest” growing up, it would have to be Richie Rich.  The title character was described as “the poor little rich boy” but I never found anything remotely poor about him, either literally or figuratively.  I suppose, one could make the argument that deep beneath the surface, Richie was a troubled soul.  In the end, all the riches in the world couldn’t buy him the one thing he desired most: true friendship.  Of course, in retrospect, making friends probably wouldn’t have been so hard if he hadn’t been such a dick.

1I can just imagine him in his best Crocodile Dundee: “Haha.  That’s not a car.  THIS is a car.”  Then reverses over the kid’s toy.  And quite possibly his little hand.

1

How much does it cost to ship in an endangered tortoise from the Galapagos Islands?  And then stud its shell with precious gems?

1

DON’T try this at Dodger home games.

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Nothing says “destitute and starved for affection” like a kid taking an old soup can for a walk.  But Richie looks pretty happy.  Happier still when he later fires a full broadside at the enemy ship.

1

It’s like: “Dayamn, my top is so brilliant, I need sunglasses to play with it.”

1

Structurally unsound, impractical, and energy deficient, but the new President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council has to represent.

1

Yeah, I’m just going to look the other way while you finish grading my test.

1

100’s are aerodynamically superior to 50’s and 20’s.

1

Money doesn’t actually grow on trees. It grows on stalks so, technically, your parents weren’t lying to you.

1

This is actually a great idea.  Next time you break a window, it’s automatically paid for.

1

If only golf courses came with shops that allowed you to purchase golf-related items like golf balls – or hire non-chatty caddies.  “Yo, Overalls.  I’m putting over here!”

1

Which all results in this.  Sad but not surprising.

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Lois_Lane-028-09a

“They sure don’t make ‘em like they used to” goes the old adage, and nowhere is this more evident than in the ever-evolving world of comic books.  From Superman battling nazis to Spiderman meeting President Obama, comics have a rich tradition of embracing history and reflecting social and cultural norms.  What was perfectly acceptable ten, maybe twenty years ago is now often viewed with an even mix of horror and amusement.  “What were they thinking?”we ask.  But before we get all smug and self-important, let’s remember that ten, twenty years ago, readers were saying the same thing.  And ten, twenty years from now, they’ll probably look back on us and marvel over OUR ridiculous conceits and misguided earnestness.   So adorably/annoyingly politically correct.  It’s a wonder they ever got anything done!

With that in mind, allow me to present Comicdom’s Most Dated Covers: A Trip Down Lois Memory Lane.  We’ve come a long way, baby!

1Note to Lex Luthor: If you can’t get your hands on kryptonite, have Lois bake up a batch of her home made muffins.

1Lois teams up with the villainous…Pat Boone?!  Some 40 years later, Pat shows up at the American Music Awards in leather and sporting a dog collar.  Prescient?

2

18lqrzilka2lvjpgThis guy carries around jumbo jets without breaking a sweat.  How much weight DID she gain?!

21-1

Super catfight!

1First Pat Boone, now Perry Como.  Throw in Paul Anka and you’ve got the Triumvirate of Evil, 1960’s version.

1

“I’m ashamed of my physical deformity so I’ll just wear this lead-lined safe on my head so that people don’t stare.”

1I’m going to guess: actual biological father.

1Easy there, Aquaman.  Keep yer underoos on.  Until it’s your turn.

1Seems a tad overly-elaborate – but I’m sure it all makes perfect sense in the book.

1

In this case, the actual story couldn’t possibly do justice to the kinky version we’re all imagining in our heads.

titanman

Sorry, Lois.  You made your deathbed.  Now lie in it.

Lois_Lane_101

Wow.  She is REALLY desperate to get married.

1Following in the proud tradition of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.

loislane110Hey, do you mind if I borrow your child for this undercover investigation I’m doing?

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1THE SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN

Writer Nick Spencer is at the top of his game here, exploring the private and professional lives of a group of B-team villains, The Sinister Six – who are actually made up of FIVE members hard-luck members.  They’re sneaky, opportunistic, and completely disloyal, but you can’t help but love ‘em.  

1RAT QUEENS

Established notions of the fantasy genre are upended in this wild and whimsical series about “a pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing maidens-for-hire”.  Equal parts dark fantasy and dark humor combine for an epic tale of magic, adventure and, above all, friendship. 

1ALEX + ADA

In a near future of advanced technology quite literally on the heels of a robot revolution, mild-mannered Alex Wahl is sent an unexpected birthday present from his grandmother: a Tanaka X5 android.  Bewildered and little creeped out, he decides to return the gift to the manufacturer, but there’s an earnestness and beauty to the android he names Ada that gives him pause.  The Luna Brothers have a knack for cracking dialogue and wonderful character-driven stories (see Ultra), and this title – written by Jonathan Luna and Sara Vaughn – holds the promise of comparable greatness.

5c47b60c1f25f87351b9c5c25a764d82_mTHOR: GOD OF THUNDER

To be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of Thor. I’ve always found him – well, kind of dull.  But in the hands of Jason Aaron, the God of Thunder is transformed into a rich, engaging, humorous character.  The latest story arc, The Accursed, is epic high fantasy with a Game of Thrones vibe but a spirt and style all its own.  

JUSTL-25-15-08c83JUSTICE LEAGUE (FOREVER EVIL)

A continuing tie-in to the major “Forever Evil” story arc running through the DC titles.   Alternate/Evil versions of the Justice League from a parallel Earth have orchestrated a take down of this planet’s heroes and triggered a super villainous uprising.  While there are big battles and action aplenty, for my part I’m enjoying the smaller, character-centered stories that shed light on the behind-the-scenes machinations of Earth’s new criminal power brokers.  Double-crosses, shifting alliances, and hidden agendas – writer Geoff Johns does a masterful job of building suspense and doling out the unexpected twists and turns.  Like a comic book version of a serialized cable series. 

Check them out if you get the chance, then report back!

Snow Monkeys update: Down 12 points with three quarters of football still to play!

Today’s entry is dedicated to long-time Stargate fan Jill Bratcher, AKA majorsamfansg1.  All the best for a speedy recovery and return home, Jill!

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IM poster

Dis would have been a great movie if it had been half an hour shorter. And made a lick of sense.  Monster can imagine script notes session went someting like dis:

Producer: Dis skript full of plot holes and not make much sense.

Writer: Dats okay.  Me fix it.

Producer: By applying logic so it easier to understand?

Writer: No.  By making it so complicated dat audience simply assume dey too stoopid to understand.

Well, me have news for makers of Iron Man 3.  Monster not stoopid. Me have GED from Pyongyang Institute of Higher Learning and Dance!

x

Alternate nicknames included Satsuma, Valencia, and Clementine.

Movie begin wit Tony Stark seeing a therapist because he suffering panic attacks after Avengers movie.  How dese panic attacks figure into plot and pay off at end of movie.  Spoiler alert: Dey don’t!

Meanwhile, U.S. government rocked by string of bombings orchestrated by villain called de Mandarin!  Why he called de Manadarin?  Well, in original comic books, he called de Mandarin because he be of Chinese descent and adopt title of Chinese bureaucrats of Imperial China.  In de movie – well, he not Chinese but Middle-Eastern so he called de Mandarin because…mebbe he named after de orange?  It was either dat or Tangerine?

When Tony’s bodyguard get injured in an explosion dat, in retrospekt, not make any sense at all (we’ll get to dat), Tony vow revenge and dare Mandarin to come after him.  So bad guy respond by blowing up Tony’s cool mountain-side home.

Oh, Timmy!  You little scamp!

Oh, Timmy! You little scamp!

At dis point, fairly more-or-less straightforward movie take a hairpin turn when Tony end up in Tennessee to investigate similar bombing there.  He befriend lovable little rascal of a kid who all sorts of quippy and cute and no doubt shoe-horned into story to appeal to young audience.  Dudes, it’s a movie based on a comic book character!

While Tony enlist brilliant kid’s help to recharge his armor, he investigate apparent suicide bombing by local soldier and pay visit to his mom at local bar. COINCIDENTALLY, she happen to be waiting for someone to give dem a top sekret file on her son.  A top sekret file dat, for some reason, also contain information on other soldier blown up in similar explosion.

Why mother have dis information on other soldier?  Why bad guys need to get deir hands on dis file?  Why dey just not go over to her place and take it instead of arranging meeting in a public place?  How Tony be so lucky as to just happen to walk into bar and approach soldier’s mother on exact night she be planning to meet bad guys and hand over file?  How possible – LOOK!  EXPLOSIONS!  COOL!

Tony fight bad guys who turn out to be super soldiers wit super-strength, agility, and healing powers.  And, for no apparent reason later on, super fire breath.  He defeat dem, but barely.

In one of movie’s many ridikulous moments, Tony learns all about super soldiers by hacking into super seckret database containing convenient video recordings of experiments on soldiers wit someting called Extremis.  Sometime it work, making dem superhuman.  Other times it not work, making dem blow up. BUT….

We see one soldier blow up because his body unable to accept Extremis.  Dis be explanation for explosion.  But den how to explain explosion of soldier in Tennessee? If his body rejekted Extremis, he would have blown up in lab, not in public?  And what about soldier who exploded, injuring Tony’s bodyguard?  Why he blow up?  If it delayed reaction to Extremis, what all dat nonsense about him getting a briefcase from bad guy?

Tony track bad guy to Miami and get drop on Mandarin who…turn out to be aktor hired to play part of a wanted terrorist.  Very funny – except for fakt dat, even though he be seemingly goofy and unwitting accomplice who assumed deaths were fake, he couldn’t be stoopid enough NOT to be aware of news reports on terrorist acts in his name. Also, he SHOT a guy on video!

Dis little twist bring up another point.  In comic book, Mandarin be one of Iron Man’s greatest villains – but he played for a joke here.  So dis pretty much rule out any appearance of real villainous Mandarin in future Iron Man movies…unless he be some supervillain who just decide to name himself after a laughingstock rube.

Tony captured.  But get his armor back.  But Pepper kidnapped.  And President!  And Air Force One blow up but Iron Man manage to save flight crew in one of movie’s more inspired sekwences.

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Boy!  Dem some spicy nuts!

It all culminate in big extended impressive but over-long climactic battle pitting Tony and his buddy, Rhodey, against bad guy and super soldiers.  Pepper, who now a super soldier because she be injected wit Extremis, help save de day.  And Tony celebrate by blowing up all his extra Iron Man suits, assuming he won’t need dem because bad guys all dead even though he thought he had killed dem before and dey turned up very much alive later.  Also, FYI,  some of dem not really injured and just fell into ocean so chances are – LOOK!  EXPLOSIONS! SO COOL!

Wait a minute.  Pepper now a super soldier?  No, because Tony be a genius.  He fix her.  Uh, if Tony be such a genius, why he not fix himself?  Okay, because Tony be a genius, he also fix himself and remove shrapnel from his heart.  Happy now?  Uh, if Tony such a genius, why he not remove shrapnel from heart two movies sooner?

Wait another minute! What was bad guy’s plan?  To get Vice President in office?  But if dat de case, why not just assassinate President instead of going through big show of kidnapping him, stringing him up, etc? What was point of de Mandarin?  More me tink about it, more me hate dis movie.

VERDIKT: Great movie for people who love explosions – and not much else.

RATING: 4 chocolate chippee cookies.

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DS posterDr. Strange?  More like Dr. Creep!  Apparently, dis guy not familiar wit de Hypocritical Oath, but he all sorts of familiar wit “doctor-patient confidentiality”…if you know what me mean.  No?  Well, let monster put it dis way.  When he around de ladies at work, he like Cookie Monster at a bake sale.  Or Grover at a topless bake sale.

We introduced to Dr. Stephen Strange who be a psykiaktric resident at local hospital  – and major player.  And not necessarily in dat order.  Dis guy more unprofessional den Dr. Bunsen Honeydew at a Science World “History of Lube” exhibit.  He sexy talk wit head nurse and den kiss her – in middle of hallway in front of everyone – which lead monster to assume dey be in a relationship.  But when good-looking mental patient end up in his care, he not have any problem hooking up wit her either.  At one point, another female patient visit him complaining about painful ulcer.  He say to her: “I’ve got an extra bed and I can give you something to help you sleep.”  Sure you can, doc.  Sure you can.

x

Today’s hospital special: Free Temperatures Taken!

Meanwhile, a sorceress who worships a demon puppet is given tree days (Why tree days?  Why not!) to kill an old wizard before he can pass down his power to worthy successor – or, barring worthy successor, creepy doctor who happen to own a weird ring.

Old guy, it turn out, live in downtown brownstone dat renovated to resemble Fred Flintstone’s digs.  He be shacked up wit younger man, Wu, who look after his needs and refer to him as master.  Er.  Yeah.  Old man show him drawing of sorceress and tell him to remember her face.  Really?  How de hell he supposed to do dat?  It be like police putting out APB on actor who played Archie Andrews in de live action movie and distributing comic book for identification purposes.

It turn out old man be on to sorceress and head out to confront her.  She pull de old bait and switch, showing up, den disappearing, den mind controlling innocent woman into pushing him off bridge down to street below.

Old guy get up and limp away.  “Hey, buddy!”somebody call.  “You sure you’re alright?”  Of course he alright!  He only plummeted 20 feet onto concrete and get hit by a car.  You’ll have to do better den dat if you want to kill a wizard!

Cue weird synth music!  Cue inexorable extended guitar solo!  Cue trippy dream sekwence!  Cue astral travel!

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Hey!  Who took away my keyboard?!

Dr. Strange “treat” young woman mind-controlled by sorceress.  He shake hands wit old wizard and get power – also, possible cold.

But sorceress gain entrance to old guy’s bedrock pad and string him up on astral plane where he lose his powers and resemble Alice Cooper’s dad.  Dr. Strange follow and battle sorceress who, it turn out, really just looking for someone to love and have a baby wit.

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Dazzling visual effekts!

Overwhelmed by Dr. Strange’s manly moustache, she try to hook up wit him – but he rejekt her and den blast her wit energy bolt just in case she not get de message.

De End.

Except movie goes on for another half an hour.  Strange goes thru lame ritual.  He become official apprentice sorcerer.  He screw with street performer.  Puppet demon punish sorceress by making her really old.  And, mysteriously, a couple of scenes later, she back to her old self, on Earth, and now a self-help guru.

Now really De End.

Verdikt:  Cheesy and lame but unintentionally hilarious and mercifully short.

Rating: 3 chocolate chippee cookies.

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Avengers - posterDis movie have everyting you would expekt from a summer blockbuster.  Humor!  Fun!  Action!  Dazzling speshul effekts! Cracking dialogue!  Overlong running time!  And some developments dat not make sense – but be pretty cool anyway.

Not exactly low key

Low key he aint

Movie begin at top secret S.H.I.E.L.D. facility where scientists studying glowy box very similar to one we saw in Captain America: The First Avenger.  Dey call it a tesseract and it be a powerful energy source – dat, it turn out, able to open a portal to distant part of de universe, allowing mischievous Loki, brother of Thor, to reach Earth.  He attack facility, put scientist and superagent Clint Barton (aka Hawkeye) under his mind control, den leave wit tesseract.  Nick Fury respond by self-destructing facility wit hundreds of agents inside.  But plenty more where dey come from!

Loki plan to use tesseract to power another portal dat will allow aliens to invade Earth (Why never be really explained.  Because dey covet our resources?  Because dey spiteful?  Because dey pissed off wit Downton Abbey turd season finale?).  To do dis, he need to stabilize power source so, while Hawkeye steal iridium for him, he create distraktion in Stuttgart dat end up wit him giving himself up to Iron Man and Captain America – and, later, brother Thor who show up for classic “pre-Oh, we’re all good guys after all!” fight.

Loki imprisoned in ultra-cool flying aircraft carrier (de Helicarrier) while Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (and Black Widow and, mebbe, Captain America) try to figure out why he gave up so easily, where tesseract be located, and what be up wit his glowy space scepter.

Earth's Least Mightiest Mightiest Heroes

Earth’s Least Mightiest Mightiest Heroes

But it turn out dat scepter have power to make people irritable and, soon, all de heroes be arguing wit each other like de cast of Real Housewives of New Jersey.  At which point Hawkeye lead attack on helicarrier wit mind-controlled soldiers.  Good guys do deir best to kill dese innocent mind-controlled soldiers (Don’t worry.  Plenty more where dey came from!) but it too late.  Helicarrier badly damaged.  As Iron Man and Captain America work to get helicarrier back up and running and Black Widow fight Hawkeye and Thor fall thru sky, Loki eskape after injuring Dr. Bruce Banner who turn into…

Hulk

Temper temper!

De Hulk.  It turn out DAT was Loki’s plan all along!  He wanted Bruce Banner to Hulk Out and cause damage!

But why?  He already have tesseract and working on impervious force shield to protect it.  Why bother wasting time wit superheroes? Because he be mischievous?  It feel like a giant stage weight – but a spectakular, action-packed, very cool stage weight anyway.

Heroes figure out where Loki set up tesseract = on top of Stark Tower! Dey head off to stop him – along wit Hawkeye who seem all better after getting konked on de head. Even though he lead attack on helicarrier and was working for Loki an hour earlier, he immediately accepted and trusted by everyone.  Dis movie have no time for second-guessing!  It have a climaktic to get to!

But bad news for heroes!  And New York!  Loki succeed in opening portal and alien army arrive!  No way to stop dem because portal protected by impervious force field!

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Ah, dey not dat tough.

But great news for heroes!  And New York!  Alien army may look scary and tough, be almost seven feet tall and armor plated, but regular humans like Hawkeye and Black Widow have no problem kicking deir asses or punching deir lights out.  Also, turn out impervious force field NOT impervious after all because mind-controlled scientist who built it created fail safe in de system…despite de fakt he be mind-controlled.

While Black Widow work to turn off portal and heroes battle aliens, Iron Man fly nuke up through portal and straight to alien HQ special delivery.  He power down and plummet – just as nuke explode and portal closes.  Luckily, he saved by Hulk!

Speaking of which: What up wit Hulk?  In previous movies, it take him a while to Hulk Out but, in dis movie, he do it faster den a speeding bullet (Literally – Bruce Banner tell heroes he try to shoot himself in mouth but Hulk spat out bullet).  Up on helicarrier, Hulk a crazed beast dat can’t be reasoned wit and attack innocent people – which be someting he never do in previous movies, only attacking dose who attack him first.  But later, in movie, he seem to have control over when he can Hulk Out (“Oh, I’m always angry” be de excuse) and he not only can be reasoned wit, he aktually take orders from Captain America.  You can argue dat, back on helicarrier, he under influence of Loki’s space scepter – but den why only him and no one else?

Still, Hulk’s “mopping de floor wit Loki” sekwence one of movie’s high points!

Day saved!  Time for celebration!  Even though probably thousands of New Yorkers killed.  World loves Avengers!

Verdikt: And so does Cookie Monster!

Rating: 8 chocolate chippee cookies.

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In no particular order…

CAPTAIN BOOMERANG

Captain Boomeran 1

Captain Boomerang 2He dresses like an Australian flight attendant.

FISHERMAN

Fisherman 1

Fisherman 2Okay, granted, he must do more than his fair share of wading, but those hip boots are NOT flattering.  Is that a bathing cap?

PASTE POT PETE (aka THE TRAPSTER)

P is for Paste Pot Pete

Nice chapeau.

TrapsterPresumably, the gang at Marvel got fed up of being ribbed by DC so they gave him a make-over and a new name.

CAPTAIN COLD

Captain Cold 1

Oh, he must be cold.  How can you tell?  Well, he’s wearing a freakin parka!

Captain Cold 2He looks like a demented elf.

KRAVEN THE HUNTER

Kraven

Kraven 2In the words of my buddy Martin: “Hey!  It’s Freddie Mercury!”

MOLE MAN

Mole Man 1

Mole Man 2His mommy made his costume.

CRAZY QUILT

Crazy_Quilt 1

Crazy_Quilt 2Powers include the ability to induce nausea via his absolutely fabulous costume.

TRICKSTER

Trickster

Damn, those slippers look mighty comfortable.

Trickster 2This is what I imagine my old high school drama teacher would run around wearing if he were a supervillain.

CODPIECE

Codpiece 1

The groin cannon aint exactly subtle.  Pictured above: I assume he has to work himself up by watching porn before he can shoot.

Codpiece 2He’s firing blanks.  Literally.

HYPNO HUSTLER

Hypno Hustler 1

Hypno Hustler 2Uh – groovy?

BARON ZEMO

Baron Zemo 1

Baron Zemo 2There’s nothing quite so fearsome as a Nazi in purple and pink with faux fur trim.

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