27 March 2008

Gratuitous Ass Shots In Comics no. 4

It's by Frank Cho. What do you expect? The man loves to draw tushies. Like this one, this cover will probably help sell a few more than expected thanks to the Hulk's cousin.

This is her second appearance in DGR's "Gratuitous Ass Shot In Comics". Her first one was

26 March 2008

Moon Knight Is A Man's Man, You Dig?


(click to lunar-size)

So a man dresses smart and wears frickin' perfume so that he may, I don't know...smell nice, maybe!...and Moon Knight gets to call the guy "Pansy" and "Twinkletoes"??

Man, that Moon Knight has issues.

Then again this was from Marvel Spotlight #29 which was published in the mid-'70s, a decade when men were men and real men splashed Brut all over themselves. None of that sissy Frenchy stuff.

A few pages later, "Twinkletoes" was shot dead by the bad guy. Moon Knight didn't even care. Bastard.

B&W pages from ESSENTIAL MOON KNIGHT vol. 1

25 March 2008

Super-Villain Team Up: MODOK'S 11 tpb (Marvel, 2008)

The title sold me. "Super-Villain"? "MODOK"? "11"? A big giant head is recruiting eleven (well, actually just eight but MODOK'S 8 doesn't have the same pizzaz and can't be considered an homage to an old movie starring Frank Sinatra) C-list Marvel villains to pull one mother of a heist: to steal a hypernova that acts as a power source for a spaceship piloted by aliens called the Infinicide. Or so it seems. Without giving anything away, MODOK's true scheme is amusingly shallow and is only revealed at the very end. In between, we get lots of fisticuffs, double and triple crosses and some great lines from series scribe Fred Van Lente.

When you write a book featuring bad guys, you can either go the serious, gritty route or you can do it the funny way. I'm glad that Van Lente chose the latter because there's no way readers are going to take a giant head seriously. And other than the Puma, Armadillo and the Chameleon, who I personally have a soft spot for, the rest of MODOK's posse ring no bells in my head. Like the SPOT? Who? Did he fight Spider-Man one time?

But not to worry because MODOK'S 11 is not only fun to read, it's also newbie friendly. Enough back story is given to most of the bad guys so you know who everyone is and what motivates them. Not much in the way of a detailed origin flashback (hey, it's only five issues long) but enough is given for the reader to play catch up. And it is to Fred Van Lente's credit that he managed to give at least three of the villains here more depth to their character and make the reader root for them to succeed. Or at least not to end up dead or captured.

All the villains invited by MODOK to join his team have one thing in common: they don't have a dime amongst themselves. So when MODOK offers them 5 million dollars each to become his "minions", they all jumped onboard without a second thought. They are so desperate they don't even wonder why a giant head with an IQ of a million needs them anyway. This question is answered but like the eight villains, the reader is also fooled by MODOK whose true complex scheme is so much more selfish than mere theft of a hypernova. But MODOK himself is seemingly fooled when it turns out that more than one of his recruits are working for someone else on the side. With almost everyone betraying everyone else, the reader is kept guessing at almost every page on how the damn thing is gonna work out in the end.

On the visual side, Francis Portela does fine work pencilling this mini series. He gets it that MODOK'S 11 is a fun book not to be taken too seriously and it shows in his work. It's vibrant but not too realistic.

Super-Villain Team Up: MODOK'S 11 is a nice little book that actually succeeds in making the reader appreciate MODOK (well, it succeeded on me anyway). The writing is tight, the art is perfect and the plot is a roller coaster ride with an amusing pay off at the end. It sure is a refreshing change from reading about Marvel heroes turning Tony Stark into their personal bitch (not that the guy doesn't deserve it but you know what I mean).

22 March 2008

Yet Another Gratuitous Ass Shot

Time to highlight another gratuitous ass shot in comics. Yay!

There is just so many ways the artist could have drawn Sue Richards without showing off her butt. It's a nice butt, admittedly, but just a tad gratuitous I feel. Still, a cover's job is to attract attention and I bet you Fantastic Four sold slightly more than usual that month thanks to that butt. So mission accomplished, Marvel.

Click on the link in the "Labels" section below to see more ass shots if you're so inclined.

Captain America #318

How the heck is a guy on skates outrunning Cap anyway? The man's on a motorbike! What? Blue Streak's skates are rocket powered you say? Who cares?! It doesn't matter how snazzy looking his armour is or how powerful his skates are, he's still a villain on roller-skates!

He should go up against Dazzler, not Captain America.

Secret Skin: An Essay In Unitard Theory by Michael Chabon

There's an interesting article by Michael Chabon, author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay among other works, in the latest issue of The New Yorker that explores the idea of super hero costumes. Check it out: Secret Skin

20 March 2008

In 1992, They Thought What They Did Was Cool

I wonder where these guys are today. Drach from Edinburgh, Tom Warchocki (West Seneca, NY), Brent Richter of Colorado Springs, Marc Formosa (Hockley, England)...your kids today must be very proud that dad got his picture printed in a comic book back in 1992. That's like super awesome, dude!

Y'know, kids? Those little things you get when you're intimate with a woman. Y'know...woman?

Yes, I belong to the camp that thinks cosplaying is only cool when the participants are nubile yet over the age of consent Japanese girls who dress up as their favourite manga/anime characters. Skinny white dudes in make-up? No...just no.

Still, none of them can hold a candle to this guy....

From Lobo: Infanticide #3 (DC, 1992) by Keith Giffen and Alan Grant

18 March 2008

Lobo's Back (DC, 1992)

My scanner is kaput. I just want to get that piece of info out right away. As a blogger who irregularly posts, a scanner is most essential. Especially since this blogger blogs about comics...books with pictures, basically. So yeah, I'm a little bit p.o.'d that my 'Made in Taiwan' scanner decided to give up the ghost today...and I've only had it for about 6 months. So I hope anyone who reads this understands why there aren't any panel scans and things like that. Luckily Comics.org had a cover scan. (Edited to add: Special thanks to Maxo from Great Caesar's Post for providing the three panels scans you see below. Check out his blog, whydontcha?)

So anyway, Lobo's Back.

Previously, I wrote about Lobo: The Last Czarnian and it's re-issue in the brand new collection, Lobo: Portrait of a Bastich. Well, Lobo's Back is included in that collection as well. Joy.

This time, the Main Man is killed. Shocking but true. I didn't know he could be killed but for the purpose of this mini-series he could, so there you go. Hard up for some hard creds, Lobo takes up a seemingly easy job looking for a bounty called Loo. He finds Loo at the end of issue #1, they fight and Lobo gets bushwhacked by Loo's partner, Brother Feces.

No, seriously.

Lobo is literally cut in half by a midget who lives in a pouch (tied to Loo's belt) filled with shit. Hey, if that won't make you interested in picking up Portrait of a Bastich, I don't know what will. The remaining three issues of this mini-series deals with Lobo's attempt to go back to the fight and square things off. See, Lobo, for some strange reason, ends up in Heaven after being cut in half. Heaven can't handle him so he gets transferred to Hell...and Hell won't have him either. Seems he was having too much fun in the depths of the Inferno. So Lobo gets reincarnated back to a new body; first as a woman and then as a rabbit before finally going back to his own body and getting the upper hand on Loo and Brother Feces.

This being a Lobo comic, there are lots of mindless fighting and swearing and bodies getting ripped to pieces and stuff. A fun, fun comic perfect for the entire family. But like most or I should say, all, Lobo comics, the plot is paper thin and the action scenes are repetitive. Lobo acts like a jerk, kills people, moves on. Lather, rinse, repeat. Now imagine four issues (about 96 pages) of that. No wonder we rarely see Lobo nowadays. His shtick got old pretty quick back in the 90s. His cameo in 52 was probably what prompted DC to bring back his old books for the new generation of readers (if there are any).

The "Lobo" creative team are all here (Giffen, Grant & Bisley) with Christian Almay coming in for one issue covering for Simon Bisley. Like the The Last Czarnian, a Lobo comic is always fun to read but I'm not sure if it has any lasting appeal. Lobo is written to offend and nothing more. He's like the weird biker boyfriend your sister used to date: he seems like a cool guy at first because the grown ups don't like him but later you realise, he's nothing but a waste of space. Just like Lobo. I thought he was funny when I first read him but fourteen years later...meh. Yes, I called Lobo a meh.

Still, if you're not easily offended and are curious to read Lobo's early adventures then by all means get the Lobo:Portrait of a Bastich trade paperback that includes this mini series and The Last Czarnian. But for Heaven's sakes don't pay retail price for it. You hear me, you bastiches?!

16 March 2008

LOBO: The Last Czarnian (DC, 1991)

Lobo: The Last Czarnian collects the first solo adventures of everyone's favourite intergalactic bounty hunter this side of Boba Fett. Since DC just released an all brand new Lobo collection (Lobo: Portrait of a Bastich (2008)) that includes the very same story, I thought I'd do my usual half assed review of it here.

Last Czarnian collects the Lobo mini-series that first came out in 1990 and it sees the psycho space biker and all round party guy going on a mission to escort a prisoner safely into the hands of Vril Dox, leader of L.E.G.I.O.N '90. Little does Lobo know that the prisoner is none other than his fourth grade teacher. So Lobo isn't the last Czarnian left in the universe after all. The rest of the 90-odd pages sees Lobo making pit stops here and there on the way to L.EG.I.O.N. HQ with his 'prisoner', annoys the locals, gets into a fight, kills a few people and moves on. After a while it gets kinda boring.

The main problem with a character like Lobo is that we know he is basically immortal so there's no danger of him getting killed ever. Even if he is killed, he comes back two panels later anyway. There's no suspense which is why all Lobo comics are presented as 'fun' comics and not to be taken seriously. On the plus side however, it helps that Simon Bisley (art), Keith Giffen and Alan Grant (plot and dialogue) are on the same wavelength and it is obvious they had fun drawing and writing the book. Bisley especially deserves extra credit for his rendition of Lobo which has been accepted as the standard look for the character.

Anyone who is unfamiliar with Lobo need not worry since the writers use a convenient plot device to keep the reader up to date with Lobo's origin. It is revealed that his fourth grade teacher wrote an unathourised biography of her least favourite pupil and excerpts from the book are used at the end of every chapter. Informative and it enhances the plot. Now, that's good writing.

Lobo: The Last Czarnian was hot way back when because it was Lobo's first solo adventure before the doom of overexposure visited him like all other popular comic book characters. Reading it again today, I found it to be just okay if albeit repetitive. New fans of Lobo or veteran fans who may have missed this book the first time around should give Last Czarnian (reissued as Lobo: Portrait of a Bastich trade) a try. Lobo's always fun to read. Just don't expect anything special.

14 March 2008

Friday Night Fights: Knockout Round 10

So, this guy just won't take no for an answer. What's a girl gotta do? Well, maybe she's gotta do...

From Strangers In Paradise by Terry Moore

10 March 2008

Justice League of America: The Lightning Saga HC

You know, there is no way a comic called The Justice League of America featuring Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman could ever be boring. There's just no way.

Well, this second volume of JLA which collects the "Lightning Saga" storyline, which originally ran through three issues of the League comic and two issues of the Justice Society of America series, proved me wrong. It's probably the first comic trade featuring scantily clad superheroes that I have had trouble finishing. I literally took a week to finish the damn thing. No, I'm not a slow reader, wiseguy. It was just that boring. Here's the gist of the story: The League discovers that several members of the Legion of Super-Heroes from the 31st century are here today in 'our' Earth. No one knows for sure why and the LSH ain't telling and when Superman tried to find out, the good guys end up fighting a psycho computer with tentacles. No, really. Which was also the first really big fight we get to see in this "saga". It also appeared in the Justice Society part of the crossover. The JLA portion of the saga mostly had Power Girl and Black Canary standing like two pinup models posing for a photo shoot. Hey girls, less strutting your stuff and more punching, mmm-kay?? This is a superhero comic book after all. I want mindless punching, maybe some quick quips and the occasional exposition to get the plot moving. But just you standing there mouthing off words? Naaww. It gets tired pretty quick. If I wanted to stare at boobs, I'll go buy one of those "guy" magazines, know what I mean? Work with me here, people!!

There are a couple of done-in-one issues that round up this collection (Walls and Monitor Duty) which I haven't read yet, I admit. I was just too bored with the Lightning Saga that I just had to warn all five people who read my blog to please avoid this book. Go read it at Borders or the local library but for Heavens' sakes don't bother parting with your money for this. Yes, it's that bad. I only bought it because I had the first trade collection. That book wasn't any great shakes either but I decided to give volume 2 a chance just to see if it gets any more exciting. Nope.

Oh, and the whole Legion of Super-Heroes thing? Turned out they just wanted to bring Flash (Wally West) and his family back. Should I have given a spoiler warning? Eh, who cares. I just saved you 25 bucks. Thank me.

06 March 2008

Death And (Probably Inevitable) Return of Orion

Orion of the New Gods apparently died in this issue:

But you can't keep a Kirby creation dead for long. DC's already planning a comeback. Here's a proposal for the cover of a brand new #1:

Buy five copies.

Today's lame ass joke was inspired by this site. I actually owned three of the albums featured there (no, I won't tell you which three).

04 March 2008

03 March 2008

Kids Aren't Reading (Superhero) Comics Anymore...

Comic books (and you know I mean superhero comic books) seriously need new blood in their readership. We old folks won't be here forever and we need them kids to take a look at the stuff Marvel and DC are offering. But these kids aren't doing that, are they? Oh, they're reading all right just not the comics the Big Two are churning out. They rather read manga (nothing wrong with that) or they are reading novels with all those words and hardly any pictures in them (shock! horror!). Why, in the name of everything that is holy, aren't they picking up Batman?

Many reasons have been suggested: the ever increasing price of a 'floppy' (4 bucks for an ad-filled magazine? fergedabouit), just-wait-for-the-trade mentality (Guilty, yer Honour!), no comic shops nearby, comics no longer sold anywhere else but a comic shop (I used to be able to buy comics from the local grocery way back when!).

But here's another reason that I can think of but is hardly ever suggested: the superhero comics are repeating the same stories ad nauseum. How many times are we going to read about Batman foiling Joker's latest insane killing spree? Yet another mutant massacre? It's been done. Also, the sheer amount of history and continuity is just too overwhelming for a kid to just come in and start enjoying the books. Besides, the old stuff weren't that interesting. Try reading a Marvel ESSENTIALS or a DC's SHOWCASE phone-book size reprints. Good Lord, most of them are repetitive nonsense. As a piece of comics history, sure, those books are a nice way to look at the past but give them to a comics newbie and chances are he/she will look at you funny. Most people who enjoy these reprints are the 30, 40, 50 year old comic fanboys holding on to their memories of the days when everything seemed cheap and fresh.

The kids are reading. They're just not reading the good ol' superhero comics. Maybe they are more sophisticated than us?

Eh. Whatever, I'm just shooting the shat here. I'm not really worried about comics going out of business. I don't think it ever will. Maybe it will evolve. But to hear Marvel, DC, Dark Horse et al. announcing they're closing shop? Naaaw, not gonna happen. Fingers crossed.