30 November 2007

Friday Night Fights: Sucka Punch Round 10

This week, I'd like to feature that fight. The fight which was apparently decided by 5, 343 people (out of 10, 614) who bothered to call.

A poignant scene. Little did we know, that Superboy-Prime was also watching from his limbo world.....and punching. The little bastich.

Wanna see how the other contenders are doing? Punch here.

Wanna see more of this blog? Punch here

29 November 2007

Aquaman DOES SO Matter! or John Byrne Hurts A Child's Feelings

From Byrne Robotics Forum:

"In my first studio in my former house, there was a fireplace with a wide mantle. I set my Super Powers action figures in a line along this shelf (in alphabetical order, which hardly anyone ever seemed to pick up on!) One afternoon, during one of my summer parties, I wandered into the studio to find a small clutch of my fellow professionals had gathered in there. One of these was a good friend, who had brought with him his wife and small daughter (maybe three years old). I walked in to find her sitting on the floor playing with my Aquaman figure. "She was bored," said my friend, "so I gave her Aquaman to play with. He doesn't matter." His exact words, burned into my brain. I took the toy from the child* and replaced it on the shelf. "Does to me," I said."

*Don't swing at the easy ones

On the one hand, you could say, "Gee, what a dick!" But on the other hand, they were his toys and saying Aquaman doesn't matter? Dude, dem's fightin' words in the Byrne homestead.

26 November 2007

Well, This Sucks!

From the Marvel Masterworks Message Board:

I know someone was asking about the Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four Hardcover a short while back. But in the latest Shipping/Product Update from Marvel both of the above Hardcover Collections were cancelled. No further information was offered along with the cancellations. Sorry folks.

The Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four Vol. 1 HC (SEP072265, $24.99) has been cancelled.

Power Pack HC Vol. 1 (OCT072174D, $24.99) has been cancelled.

I was looking forward to the Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four HC collection. I have the Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man hardcover collection volume 1 (and even reviewed one of the issues
here) and thought it was a good fun read and truly an all-ages comic. I guess the numbers weren't good enough for the FF or Power Pack to be solicited in hardcover format. Disappointed, I am.

I hope this doesn't mean the end for the hardcover collections of the other Marvel Adventures titles because I'm not gonna pick up the digests. Ya hear me, Marvel? I like 'em big and hard.....uhm, the books! I'm referring to the books! BIG sized and preferably with a HARD cover.

Screw dem digests. I wanna be able to see what I'm reading.

EDITED 27/11/07 TO ADD: It may not suck after all. It could be a postponement rather than a cancellation. These books could be re-solicited sometime in '08. Here's hoping.

Look, Kids! This Blog's For You!

cash advance

But what about the little children? Won't someone think of the little children?!

Thanks to
Snell for the head's up.

23 November 2007

Friday Night Fights: Sucka Punch Round 9

Asterix and Obelix are upset that this year's Thanksgiving dinner is an all-seafood affair (from Asterix and the Great Crossing by Goscinny and Uderzo)

For the rest of the blog, click here. Because Bahlactus commands you to.

22 November 2007

Norman Rockwell's "Freedom From Want"

So it's Thanksgiving day today in America and it reminded me of this famous painting by Norman Rockwell who I keep confusing with Nelson Rockefeller but that's neither here nor there.

Anyway, this painting makes me uncomfortable. Look at creepy cousin Charlie on the top left there. He's got his serial killer look all ready to go. And his lil' sister Cynthia. Check out her eyes. That's a bad seed, that one.

And why isn't Grandpa helping Grandma with the turkey? The hell, Pops? You standing there just looking...help the old girl! But of course when this thing was painted, times were different. She probably already did the laundry, cleaned the house, plowed the field and baled the hay. Back in them days, women were women, gosh darnit!

Also, no one at the table is making eye contact with each other except for the two closeted lesbians on the right and left sides of the table.

Uncle Ron on the bottom right hand of the corner is looking at us and saying, "If they only knew what I was doing to that bird three hours ago"

Great, great Aunt Agatha is smiling because she has secretly replaced the fine giblets usually found in the turkey with her own. Let's see if anyone notices...

And the bowl of fruit has a baby's head in it! WTF!

20 November 2007

Sith Lord Smackdown: Maul Doesn't Know When To Quit

Aww, you gotta be kidding me! Those were the first words that came to my mind when I first flipped through Star Wars Visionaries. SWV was a showcase book for Lucas' ILM dawgs to tell their own Star Wars stories and charge the kids USD$17.95 for the privilege. The first story, "Old Wounds", featured a cyborg Darth Maul on the hunt for Obi-Wan Kenobi. A cyborg Maul. Seriously? No back story was given on how the hell he crawled out of the pit in Theed and managed to get himself a robotic lower body. Like this story here where Maul takes on Vader, the how is really not important. A Darth Maul story is a guaranteed fanwank material.

Cyborg Maul never forgot that he got pwned by a Padawan. A Padawan! Maul may have looked scary and had a cool lighsaber but the fact remains that a trainee Jedi who was already hanging by his fingertips managed to jump over him and cut him in half. So now he wants revenge and he's not gonna let a small detail like a missing lower torso stop him. Now that's determination! Maul follows a trail that leads him to a small moisture farm in Tatooine.

(click and drag to enlarge)

Whoa, Obi-Wan was hiding under the Tatooine desert sand all this time waiting to ambush Maul? Age has not diminished his bad-assedness. Sith Lord and Jedi Master fight for a couple of pages for old times' sake but it's Uncle Owen who jumps in and finishes it once and for all with a blaster shot to the head. You don't mess with a moisture farmer, pal. These guys take no shit from nobody!

Getting cut in half by a Padawan was bad enough, now he gets bushwhacked by a farmer? Oh, the shame. All the other dead Sith Lords are gonna pick on Maul in Sith Hell for eternity now.

19 November 2007

Sith Lord Smackdown: Vader vs. Maul

C'mon! Who is the fan who didn't want to see this duel? You lie, sir, if you raised your hand. It's a fight that only the comics can bring. It's Darth "Iron Lung" Vader vs. Darth "my voice was dubbed by Sean's mate in the movie Sean of the Dead*" Maul.

Star Wars comics mostly suck. A few others blow. They take themselves way too seriously, is the problem. The only ones that are okay are the old Marvel Star Wars comics (which were so bad the dial went around and ended up in 'Good') and the anthology based Star Wars Tales. It was in the latter title that this fight occurred.

The plot: Darth Vader is on the hunt for the rebels who stole the plans to the Death Star. The trail leads him to the volcanic planet of Kalakar VI. While searching for the rebels and the plans, however, Vader discovers that it was all a ruse to lure him onto the planet by a trio of Dark Side fanboys who think Vader shouldn't be the no. 2 guy in the galaxy. They want Maul to take over. They brought him back from the dead so he can kill Vader and once again be Palpatine's apprentice.

With that out of the way, let's see some lightsaber action!

(click and drag mouse to enlarge)

Maul easily subdues Vader who is after all just a paraplegic in a cool black costume with a cape. Choke an Admiral long distance and he's a tough guy. Put him one on one with a tattooed psycho with thorns on his head and he's crying for his mommy. But Vader has one desperate move up his robotic sleeve, though.

(again, click and drag mouse to enlarge)

Hey, didn't Yoshimitsu use the same trick move in Tekken 2? And Vader, we learn, has so much self-loathing that he has no problems stabbing himself in the gut just to win a fight. Issues? The man has plenty.

From Star Wars Tales vol. 3

*Pete Serafinovich who was also in the brilliant sitcom Spaced as Simon Pegg's rival.

18 November 2007

As the kids say nowadays, "PWNED!"

Deathstroke is doing the fingers to the nose meditation thingy. That means he's tuning his senses so he can hear the heartbeats of his opponents and the flutter of a butterfly's wings in Nicaragua.

Whoa! Ninja slide step. Nice maneuver, Deathstroke. And Cassandra Cain is arse over heels, kids. I cannot say that I've been following this Batgirl's career in the DCU but I don't think she would make a rookie mistake like that. Must be the drugs in her.

From Teen Titans vol. 7: Titans East trade paperback.

16 November 2007

Friday Night Fights: Sucka Punch Round 8

Bahlactus on the other hand has no problems getting the ladies.

From Liberty Meadows, Book Two: Creature Comforts by Frank Cho

12 November 2007

I Used To Burn Comics...For Fun!

I remember this one time back in the early 1990s when I used to burn the comics that I didn't want anymore. I don't know why. Must have been going through a pyromaniac phase, but yeah, for a few months in my life about 15 years ago, I set a pyre in the back lawn and looked on with glee as the comics I deemed unworthy to be included in my collection were destroyed by the cleansing blue flames. Yes, the flames had a blue tint to it. Must have been the acid in the paper or something.

I really don't remember anymore the titles that I destroyed. The Detroit Justice League was one of them I think. You know the one. It had Gypsy and
Vibe. If you ever read that period of Justice League, you'll agree that hot flames of purity were its only deserved fate.

Had no problems getting rid of those issues. Others were the "Crossroads" issues of The Incredible Hulk. It was the one where Hulk was banished into this limbo world where he could wander in peace which was what he always wanted. I don't remember much about it except at one point he teamed up with a big giant yellow puffy ball who was also banished there for some reason.

Those issues of Hulk? Ash.

Sure, looking back it was pretty darn silly of me to do what I did. I'm glad to say that I never did it again but there were some bad (in my opinion) comics that got culled back then that I wished I had kept instead, if only for the purposes of making fun of them.

Another comic that I fed to the ever hungry flames was this:

Wasteland was a horror anthology comic. It had several short stories in each issue and they were for the most part good and creepy. It sometimes had a twist ending akin to the old E.C. Tales from the Crypt comics but Wasteland's horror were less supernatural and more psychological. I like one story where a dad and his son was talking in the school gym and right there on the floor was the mutilated body of the gym teacher. His eyes were plucked out of their sockets, his chest cavity was torn open and I think his tongue was cut out as well. Turned out the dad came in and did all that because his son complained about being bullied by the gym teacher. But all the reader saw were just the two sitting in the bleachers, having a calm father and son chat right after killing the teacher. To a teenage Khairul H. that story was all sorts of cool. Pyromania and reading stories about casual murder. I'm surprised I didn't turn all Jeffrey Dahmer on the populace.

So why did I burn this book? I really don't know and man, do I regret it. It lasted 18 issues and I'm pretty sure I had most if not all of them. But I succumbed to the seductive whispers of Mistress Fire and she wanted to eat books with pictures in them so off Wasteland went into her embrace. I guess I had issues back then, huh?

My favourite Wasteland cover.

09 November 2007

Friday Night Fights: Sucka Punch Round 7

You'd expect someone quite threatening, right? The Lizard, maybe. Doc Ock, perhaps. Or even the Rhino. He's big and scary.

But not the KANGAROO!! What's he gonna do? Hop on your face?

Bahlactus dances on your face every Friday Night.

Scans from The Spectacular Spider-Man #242

08 November 2007

SHAZAM! The Monster Society of Evil (Hardcover Collection, DC Comics, 2007)

It's rare to see a superhero comic that is truly "all-ages". Sure the Marvel Adventures line and DC's Justice League Unlimited are kid-safe but for the most part, superhero comics cater to the teenage boys and the teenage boy at heart. A bit of T&A. A splash of blood and guts. It's tough for a parent who wants his/her children to take up the comic reading habit. I never thought the day would come when I have to censor the Avengers if I ever want my kids to read it. The frickin' Avengers, for Heaven's sakes! Razzin frazzin Bendis mutter grumble gripe...

I was gonna write, like, a five thousand word essay on why this hardcover collection is okay for the entire family including grandpa but I thought, "Screw that. Life's too short and I'm tired." So yeah, it's nice. I bought this book solely based on the fact that Jeff Smith wrote and drew it. I liked his Bone series, so I'll give his take on Shazam a shot.

It's a retelling of the Big Red Cheese's origin and his first encounter with the Wizard, Dr. Sivana, Mr. Mind and the Monster Society of Evil. Mary Marvel also appears here and Smith chose to potray her as a small child and not a teen (and definitely not an evil psycho witch in a skintight costume). It's a fast read overall. At 197 pages (not including the bonus pages), the story just flies by and Smith's pencils are easy on the eyes. His strength, in my opinion, lies in the facial expressions. You don't just have faces with gaping mouths to denote that they're talking. These characters emote. They are alive.

For a kid, this book is perfect I would think. Especially a kid new to comics and knows absolutely next to nothing about Shazam. In other words, just about every kid out there right now. When jaded 34 year old me sat down to read it however, I felt like something was missing. I don't know how to describe it but I think it lacked a certain *Ooomph* factor. It's like gulping down a glass of flat soda. Sure, it tastes nice but some extra fizziness would have made it a classic, know what I'm saying?

Overall, I would give SHAZAM! Monster Society of Evil an "Okay" which is lower than "Great" and "Bloody Amazing!" but higher than "Crap".

07 November 2007

Disney's Beauty and the Beast or When the Hell Did I Buy This Comic?

Have you ever gone through your old, dusty boxes or bags or wherever you keep your comic collection and discover a comic that you're pretty sure you never bought? It's possible you bought it because it's there bagged and boarded but you'll be damned if you could remember why you bought it.

Well, with me it's Disney's Beauty and the Beast published by Marvel back in 1994.

When the heck did I add that to my pull list? Hey, don't get me wrong, I loved the movie when it first came out. I even have the dvd today. But in 1994, 21-year old Khairul H. was definitely not reading a Disney comic. I discovered them in my pile of old, uncatalogued comics just the other day. I have a lot of old, uncatalogued, unbagged and largely unread comics gathering dust from the 1990s. By the early 90s, I was buying comics mostly from habit and inertia but the interest in them was slowly waning. The flame was gone, baby.

I saw twelve issues of BatB in the pile so I was buying them for a year? This is some weird shit! According to Google, the comic ran for thirteen issues. So not only did I buy a comic I don't remember buying, I also have an incomplete run of a comic I don't remember buying. One issue missing. Why do you toy with me, God?

Eh. I'll just give them to my daughter. It's still strange, though.

05 November 2007

Sith Dickery

Sith are mean dudes. They'll kill you if you so much look at them sideways and they could do it long distance as well, like what happened to that Admiral in Empire Strikes Back. They look cool though with that black hooded cloak they wear no matter which planet they're on. For a secret society hiding from the Jedi Order, they sure like to advertise themselves. But yeah, they're mean bastards.

Also, they live by the "There can only be two" rule. One master and one apprentice at any one time. If someone else wants to join the little group, he/she has to kill either one of them.

Oh, snap!

See, total bastardry. Not even a courtesy, "What the hell did you do to my apprentice, bitch?"

Scans from 'The Apprentice' collected in Star Wars Tales vol. 5

02 November 2007

Friday Night Fights: Sucka Punch Round 6

No, I'm not gonna give you the context to these panels. It's funnier that way. Also, WHAPP? I would have thought that should have been at least a KERRACK.

The penciller, Ron Wagner, must have thought this was such a pivotal moment of this particular issue because he chose it for the cover as well.

I love the 1980s G.I. Joe. I love it so much I once tried to have a "G. I. Joe Week" when this blog first started. It only lasted three days.

Oh, yeah. BAHLACTUS!

01 November 2007

Amazing Spider-Man #87

One of the problems of having a superhero secret identity is that you need to keep it a secret even from your close friends and sometimes even your family. You need to do your own laundry, you must know how to sew (not many haberdasheries catering to the super folks out there) and you always need to come up with a good excuse why you come home every night covered in bruises ("It's nothing, mom. I'm okay. I just popped in at the S&M club and some of the girls got too frisky. Couple of the guys too, come to think of it.")

Well, in this issue ol' Peter Parker went and told his friends about his secret alter ego. But let's back up a little bit...

Peter suspects that his Spider mojo is finally running out. He's getting dizzy spells, he can't focus, he's weak all around. This is bad news. No proportionate strength of a spider, no Spider-Man. Just to be sure, he decides to consult Dr. Curt Connors who also happens to be the Lizard on his bad days.


Typical. A specialist is never around when you need one. Wait. Florida? Dr. Connors isn't going on one of his "research expeditions" to the Everglades again is he? On second thoughts, Petey my boy, you're probably better off without the Doctor. Took his family with him, huh? Yeah, Florida's a long trip south. He might need a snack.

Meanwhile, all the gang's at Gwen Stacy's place having a groovy party, daddy-o!

What Mary Jane really meant was, "That blonde bitch's hogging all the attention. I wish someone would break something of hers. Her neck would be nice."

But then, a woozy-headed Peter Parker walks in holding the Spider-Man face mask in his hands:

Naturally, no one can accept this. Gwen is understandably upset. Your boyfriend tells you he swings around the city covered head to toe in brightly coloured spandex, you'd be upset too. Peter, his headache getting worse, runs out and in desperation heads to the nearest hospital dressed as Spider-Man. Curt Connors not there to help him, he'll just go to any doctor who can.

And the diagnosis?

WTF? Y'know, I was expecting something more...oh, I don't know...serious. Maybe a mutation, or a life threatening disease that only Galactus has the cure for. I never expected the frickin' flu virus. Still, those nasty buggers once brought down a Martian invasion fleet so I wouldn't put it past them to mess up with Spidey's juju. But there's one small problem....


But fret not, True Believers. Stan the Man has a deus ex machina waiting in the wings. Hobie Brown a.k.a The Prowler agrees to dress up as Spider-Man while Peter goes back to Gwen and explain that it was all a misunderstanding, honest. With Peter standing there and Spider-Man peering throuh the window, everyone believes Peter's story and all wells that ends well.

This issue appears in the Stan Lee Meets... hardcover collection which was where I first came across it. Stan Lee Meets... collects original stories written by several comic book talents honouring Stan Lee. It also features classic stuff written by Stan like this Amazing Spider-Man issue. The new stuff are mostly quite good. Lots of chuckles here and there. The classic Stan Lee stuff aren't bad but a couple of them, like this Spidey story, made me think that they could have included a better story. What were they thinking?

Hey, we need an old Stan Lee issue in this 'Stan Lee Meets...' hardcover collection."

"Uhm, how about Amazing Spider-Man #87?"

"The one where Spidey catches the flu? Perfect!