31 August 2007

Friday Night Fights: Round 11

Dude, you're wearing yellow pajamas and a mauve cape! Flashy and cute aren't the words I would use. And look out behind you!

Oh, never mind. Carry on.

Spend time with Bahlactus. He'll show you stuff.

Scans from Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus volume one


Happy 50th Independence Day, Malaysia!

27 August 2007

Agatha Christie Mystery Novels In Comic Book Format


Well, I for one am happy at this news. Don't know how good the comic adaptations will be though but I'm game for anything. Can't wait for these books to reach the local MPH, so it's off to Amazon UK I go. For the record, these comic books will be 48 pages long and other than The Secret of Chimneys, the other five books in the initial release will all feature Poirot stories. For a sample of the artwork, look here.

Also, "For those who prefer to use their imagination, 12 Christie novels are being given a facelift with new jackets, just six years after the last revamp." Well, looks like I'm gonna have to make room on the bookshelves for these babies. These upgrades of my book collection will be biting large chunks into my savings....again. Looks like I picked the wrong day to quit robbing banks.

And here you guys thought I only read books that have pictures in them.

Look, Ma! No Nipples!

To all you Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanboys out there, here's the upcoming cover to issue 9 of the comic featuring Faith.

Is she on fire? Or is she just burning her clothes? That's one way to draw a naked lady sans nipples, I suppose. Nice way of pleasing the over-sexed fanboy and the censors, for they are many. Don't forget to order ten copies.

26 August 2007

I'm sorry but what the hell are you talking about?

Darius Drumm from Jack Kirby's Silver Star collection, available from Image.

You never see Dr. Doom or Darkseid just chillin' out with an ice cream and malt, do you? Jack Kirby, left to his own devices, was one crazy cat that's for sure.

21 August 2007

Great Moments In Comics History No. 2: Doom Refuses To Pay

Hey there and welcome to another presentation of Great Moments in Comics History. The first one was about a month ago. This time, it's Luke Cage, Hero For Hire. Unlike the other superheroes, this dude offers his services to anyone who can pay. Man's gotta eat after all. Only in issue 8 of his own comic (volume 1, 1972) he was hired by none other than Doctor Doom and well....Doom is a tightwad.

But first a little background: Dr. Doom, through one of his cronies, hires Luke Cage for $200 a day to track down some robots of Doom that decided to go rogue. These robots have disguised themselves as black men, for some reason, so Doom reasons he needs a black man who can take care of himself to go hunt down these robots. Cage does as he's told and ends up destroying all of Doom's rogue robots because they tried to kill him. Silly robots.

However, when he returns to the Latverian embassy to collect his two hundred bucks, Doom's gone. Oh, you do not welch on a deal with a poor, hungry black man. Especially if he has a skin that is impervious to bullets. Doom is as dumb as his robots it seems.

Most people would probably just chalk this up to experience and move on. Not Cage, oh no. He goes rampaging into the Baxter Building and practically demands the Fantastic Four to loan him their rocket ship so he can fly to Latveria and claim his money (issue 9, Luke Cage: Hero for Hire, volume 1, 1972).

Well, he actually arrives at Latveria and after the required six-page fight with Doom's minions, Luke Cage once again faces Doom:

I'm so gonna use that line whenever someone owes me some dough. "Where's my money, honey?" before I give them an atomic wedgie. Cage and Doom are interrupted by some weird alien something or other wearing a large fish bowl over his head but Cage quickly kicks that guy's ass. Doom is grateful. Which is very uncharacteristic of him.

Is Doom laughing? Was he on medication at this time? The man never laughs. But yeah, in the end Doom does part with $200 and this crazy episode gets a Great Moments in Comics History award.

17 August 2007

Friday Night Fights: All's Fair In War And War

Another Friday night, another fight. This time it's an inter-company tussle between DC and Marvel Comics.

It's DC's
Mr. Mxyzptlk as Lobo while Marvel's The Impossible Man pops in as Galactus.

And biting is allowed.


When the chips are down, always bet on Bahlactus.

16 August 2007

The Incredible Hulk #359 (Marvel Comics, 1989)

Incredible Hulk #359, collected in volume 4 Visionaries - Peter David: The Incredible Hulk, has the Hulk play dice against the Devil and win. I would have preferred to see him lose which means Hulk would end up in Hell and that would have been one hell of an adventure to read. Yes, that pun was intended. Yes, I know it's bad. All puns are bad, dontcha know?

Hulk has just been fired from his job as an enforcer in Las Vegas when Glorian, a gold skinned dude who travels on a rainbow confronts him.

In any other town, when you see a golden boy with a rainbow running around main street, you would probably stop what you were doing, stare for a minute, call up your friends and family and point. Maybe take a photo. In Vegas, you can't be too sure. He could be the mayor. Anyway, Glorian the golden boy needs Hulk to help him fulfill a contract. Apparently, Glorian made a deal with a Mister Cloot that he would turn the Hulk into a peace loving hippie by midnight or he loses his soul to the Cloot. Silly boy, this Glorian. You never stake your soul on anything especially to someone with the name like Cloot. The name sounds like something you hear in the toilet. "Cloot, cloot, cloot". Erm...yeeahh.

But Hulk won't play. Turn Hulk into a noble, self-sacrificing dude? You nuts? This is the Gray Hulk. He wants money, babes and power. Oh, and to kill Banner the wimp. Not for him is the life of a Samaritan. Gray Hulk is not a bleeding heart liberal. Gray Hulk is a neocon Republican.

But then Mr. Cloot reveals himself to be the Devil himself and he wants both Glorian and Hulk's souls to come keep him company. Okay, now Hulks wanna play.

Devil gives Hulk super-sized dice to roll with. Everything has to be big with the Devil, hasn't it? You think he's compensating for something?

I like that. Hulk stomps the ground to get the dice to roll the way he wants it. The Devil accuses him of cheating. Right. The Devil. Accusing someone else of cheating.

The Shaper of Worlds chooses that moment to come in and stop the Devil from reneging on the deal. The Shaper is Glorian's master or something like that and he's quite upset at Glorian. Making deals with shady people, staking his soul, wrapping Hulk in a rainbow. That's just wrong, so Shaper takes Glorian away to be spanked. Cloot/Devil goes back to Hell and Hulk is left alone thinking what the hell just happened.

Yes, that pun was also intended.

15 August 2007


Let me get something out of the way quickly: DC Comics' The War That Time Forgot was all sorts of insane. If it was any more insane, big guys in white coats would come around, firmly drag it away into a van and drive it to a nice place somewhere in the country where all other insane books live. As it were, this 500-odd page book is usually kept in a dark room somewhere, its existence denied by those who own it and its pages browsed through only on lonely, rainy nights when the wife's away and the kids are asleep in their rooms. It's that kind of book.

TWTTF chronicled the adventures of U.S. soldiers who get sent to a remote Pacific island during the period in Earth's history known as double-you-double-you-aye-aye. As the story begins, a detachment of Marines are parachuted over the island to find out what happened to the two previous recon patrols that never reported back.

Safely landing on the island (but not before encountering a pterodactyl on the way down), the Marines discover empty enemy bunkers with bowls of rice undisturbed and empty foxholes with rifles and machine guns but no soldiers. Looks like the enemy just got up and left. But why? By the way, nowhere in the entire collection was "Japanese" or "Japs" referred to though it's pretty obvious who the previous occupiers of the island were.

Anyway, the Marines soon find out why the "enemy" up sticks and left the island:

Yeah, soldier. That must have been it. Earthquake wakes up prehistoric creatures who were in suspended animation all these years. Makes sense to me.

With that exposition out of the way, TWTTF never again refers to it. From now on, it's just dinosaur vs G.I. The soldiers are attacked by ancient, giant lizards on land:


Yeah, that tank is underwater fighting a giant coelacanth. I told you this book was insane.

The soldiers also get some trouble in the air:

From encounters in the hot, steamy jungle:

To the cold, frozen wasteland (I think the editor wanted some of the stories to take place outside of a hot Pacific island):

TWTTF doesn't have regular characters who appear in every issue. Instead we get guys who appear for a two or three issue story arcs. Most of them have something unique to make their adventures stand out. Like, there's the two man task force codenamed, "The Suicide Squad". No Deadshot in this squad, natch. Deadshot would have killed all the dinos before lunch. This Suicide Squad consists of Morgan and Mace. Mace accidentally caused Morgan's brother's death in the Winter Olympics (event: Toboggan racing) and Morgan volunteers for any mission that Mace is in....just so he can keep an eye on Mace. And shoot him if Mace decides to run.

But my personal favourite are the stories featuring Mac and the G.I. Robot. They get a four issue appearance (#101-104) where Mac reluctantly takes the robot on a test run in a dinosaur infested island. Here's Mac making all those war bonds work by teaching the robot some snazzy dance moves to impress the girls:

They soon get to be good friends, though, and none too soon for what do they bump into on that island? No, not more dinosaurs. They get to meet this guy:

It's a giant Japanese robot soldier!

Giant Japanese robot soldier can't be killed. Nothing can stop him....except maybe regular human sized American robot soldier?

And to top it all off, we also get to see some hot dino on dino action:

And dino on white gorilla fisticuffs (it's a mysterious island in the Pacific, of course there will be a giant gorilla there! A white gorilla? BONUS!)

I've never read the original colour version but that's not a problem. I prefer the black and white reproduction. Without colour, we can see the beautiful linework by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Even Joe Kubert has a one issue fill-in here. And there's no need to nitpick the ludicrous dinosaurs that appear in this comic. I don't think accuracy was what they were aiming for here. They came up with a book about dinosaurs terrorising soldiers during World War Two and by golly, they made it fun. Of course, if you read this collection it's advised that you read no more than three or four issues per sitting. It can get pretty boring pretty quick if you try to read it all in one go. It's like good chocolate cake. Eat a few slices and save some for tomorrow. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But never forget these wise words: DC SHOWCASE PRESENTS THE WAR THAT TIME FORGOT is fookin' insane.

14 August 2007

Martha Stewart IS Sue Storm

What? Yeah, like Jessica Alba nailed the Sue Storm likeness. C'mon, look at that photo. Should have cast Martha Stewart instead. I believe it was a wasted opportunity by the studio not to offer her the role of the Invisible Woman. Or was she in prison at the time? I would have loved to see Martha Stewart in a Fantastic Four spandex.

Perhaps I've revealed too much about myself.

12 August 2007

Silver Surfer #18 (Marvel Comics, 1988)

Galactus spanks monotone coloured punk in space. Silver Surfer watches in awe.

That's it basically for issue 18 of Silver Surfer (volume 3, 1988). Oh sure, there's a story as to why the devourer of planets and wearer of the funkiest headgear is pwning a black-and-white guy in a bathrobe, but really the story is irrelevant. It's almost page after page of slam bang action in the good old Marvel style. But if you insist to know...the In-Betweener (the b&w guy) wants to kill Galactus and make himself the Universe's head honcho. He tried to kill Galactus when the big G was down but failed. So In-Betweener planned to hurl Galactus into a black hole. Too late, the G-man wakes up and IT. IS. ON!

Seriously, I'm not gonna say much this time. How can I? It's frikin' Galactus duking it out with a pretender for that is what the In-Betweener is. Nothing but a Goddam poseur. Tear him a new one, Galactus! You the man!

Yeah. Galactus likes to repeat his name. Don't take my word for it. Let Kevin show you.

Galactus doesn't give a monkey's arse about anything other than the fight. That's just who he is. A good thing too, 'cause that flying thing are our heroes trying to help Galactus by having both of them get sucked into the black hole.

The black hole transports everyone into another realm, a realm of Lord Order and Master Chaos, the beings who created the In-Betweener. They are pissed off with him so they pressed the cosmic "DELETE" button. Bye-bye In-Betweener. And Galactus (with the heroes) get shoved off back through the black hole and back into our Universe. Yay!

10 August 2007

Friday Night Fights: Obelix Gets Down...

...and boogies like its 49 B.C.

Welcome to DEM'S GOOD READIN' first ever Friday Night Fights, sponsored by Bahlactus. When Bahlactus speaks, you better listen and obey. Always Bet On Bahlactus.

From An ASTERIX Adventure: OBELIX AND CO. by Goscinny and Uderzo

08 August 2007

Justice League America #34 (DC, 1990)

Why do I love the post-LEGENDS Justice League? Simply because it was fun, dammit. There were some people who didn't like the snappy dialogue and the off-beat adventures that this incarnation of the League had. Those people are dead to me, dead. Giffen and DeMatteis were the Alan Sorkin of comics at the time. It was the only comic at the time, I think, that even had Batman crack wise deadpan-like once or twice. And the Booster Gold and Blue Bettle double team? Fergedabouit. Comedy gold, they were.

In JL #34, the Gold and the Blue decide to open a holiday resort called "CLUB JLI" complete with casino on the Pacific island of Kooey Kooey Kooey. The League was actually invited to establish an embassy on the island by the tribal chief so his small island can boast a powerful deterrent force of super-heroes. Smart man. The resort and casino idea was never part of the deal. That was all Booster and Beetle. Of course that idea was unauthorised and unknown by the rest of the League especially by their boss, Max Lord. This was the 1990 pre-Countdown to Infinite Crisis Max Lord. He's still somewhat of a good guy in this series.

Club JLI quickly becomes a success and attracting all sorts of people including Z-grade villains Major Disaster and Big Sir who arrive on the island incognito to try their luck at the blackjack table. Actually, it isn't luck. Major Disaster learns that Big Sir, a somewhat simple minded lunkhead (who once destroyed Barry Allen's face back in the early '80s), has the Rain Man like ability to count cards. And just like that scene in the movie, (which was where Giffen and DeMatteis probably copied...erm, took inspiration from), Major Disaster and Big Sir are soon raking it in.

Big Sir's so good at counting cards, he broke the bank much to Beetle's displeasure:

Losing all that money was bad enough. What made it worse was that Beetle and Booster "borrowed" all the money for their capital from the Justice League's accounts. Now, not only are they bankrupt, the League is as well. Max Lord soon finds out and rushes over to Kooey Kooey Kooey with murder in his mind. Prophetic, I must say.

Meanwhile, Aquaman shows up all angry-like. He tells the newly bankrupt venture capitalists to evacuate the island because it's about to dislodge itself. Apparently, all the construction on the ground has awaken Kooey Kooey Kooey.

The damn island is actually alive! It's alive, it's awake and it's going walkabout. And it's taking the natives, tourists and shocked heroes along for the ride. The chief knows about the island being sentient. He just didn't tell anyone else. Didn't think it was a big deal. He's a card, eh?

Major Disaster and Big Sir are oblivious to all this at first seeing as how they have moved upwards financially. With the money, the Major wants to go forward with his plan to RULE THE WORLD!

I like that panel. It features cameos by three characters from Mike Barr's Maze Agency, a whodunit comic book that was very well written and beautifully drawn but hardly anyone read because it didn't feature any superheroes. I'll talk about that series one of these days. Why were they inserted in an issue of Justice League? Well, they shared the same penciller: Adam Hughes.

Anyway, back to the story...

Well, when your villain name is Major Disaster you shouldn't be surprised, really. He should have picked Tsunami Man or Agent Orange or something more bad ass. Agent Orange is not so bad ass but, c'mon, it is a bit better that frickin' Major Disaster if he knows his Wiki. So, he lost all the money and is back on skid row (no, not the band, wiseguy).

What about Blue Beetle, Booster and Aquaman? Their fates were resolved in the next issue but it's this issue that I consider a classic: the concept of a sentient island that goes swimming to another location once it's awake is just great. This is the kind of bizarre stuff I like to read in my super hero comics. Sure, punch ups between spandex clad guys and gals are nice and all but sometimes writers need to be creative and come up with silly stupid cool stuff like Kooey Kooey Kooey so that nerds like me will talk about it in their blogs in years to come.

Justice League America #34, January 1990. Good times. Gooood times.