Archive for October, 2007

Friday Night Fights: Clobberin’ Corrigan!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, big dawgs and kitty-kats, y’all know what happens on Friday nights, right? Bahlactus commands that there be fightin’ — so fightin’ thar be!

From the origin of the Spectre, from 1940’s “More Fun Comics #52” by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily:


Hey, it’s fightin’ cop Jim Corrigan! Playin’ a little chin-checkers! Watch that hat fly!


Boy, Jim Corrigan sure does like to fight! Is there anything else he likes to do?



Holy guacamole, that Jim Corrigan sure does love to fight!

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How about a nice Hawaiian Punch?

“Sure!” WHAMMO!


The Brave and the Bold #7

The new storyline starts off with Wonder Woman and Power Girl fighting a horde of mummies. Once they’re dispatched, Power Girl accidentally reveals, while touching Wonder Woman’s magic lasso, that she’s heading for the Fortress of Solitude to kill Superman. Whuh?! Well, PG’s been hypnotized by someone — a short investigation leads the two heroines to the supposedly-destroyed-but-secretly-hidden Library of Alexandria. There, they run into the rotten Dr. Alchemy, an old Flash villain, who manages to transfer his mind into Power Girl’s. From there, Alchemy ambushes Superman at the Fortress and turns the whole place into Red Kryptonite, which brings about a thoroughly grody sequence where Supes mutates rapidly through a bunch of gross-and-drippy alien forms. Wondy ends up saving the day, but no one can figure out why a minor Flash villain like Dr. Alchemy would come up with a scheme to take out Big Blue.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Red Kryptonite is a darn fun plot device, though it’s been a while since we’ve seen it used as lightheartedly as it used to be in the Silver Age. The character interplay is pretty good, and George Perez’s artwork is as dandy as ever.


Powers #26

Quick recap: Former superhero Christian Walker lost his powers and became a cop, paired with Deena Pilgrim. They spent several years solving murders of super-people. Pilgrim accidentally got superpowers from a supervillain, and they burn her up unless she kills people. Walker, meanwhile, was chosen to become an intergalactic super-cop protecting Earth. In this issue, Pilgrim is on the run from the law, is apparently Patient Zero for the Powers Virus that’s been killing people all over the city, and she’s madder’n heck at Walker because she thinks he lied to her about his powers. Meanwhile, mysterious drug pushers (or powers-pushers? Can’t tell yet, but they’re muy mysterioso) are victimizing kids all over the city.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Whoa, Deena’s gotten way scary. I got a bad feeling this storyline isn’t gonna end well for her. And by gum, I think this is the first “Powers” issue in at least several years where no one got nekkid and no one got bloodily dismembered. There’s still swearing galore, so you know it’s still Bendis doing the writing.


Booster Gold #3

Some bad guy’s stolen the powerful Supernova costume from Booster’s 21st century ancestor, and they plan to use it to kill Superman! But Rip Hunter, Time Master, discovers that they have a very devious plan — they’re going to kill the doctor who delivered Jonathan Kent’s great-grandfather, leading to his death during childbirth. As a result, the Luthors find baby Kal-El and Lex ends up killing him as a teenager. So, Booster and Rip have to travel to the Wild West, where Booster gets drunk with psycho gunfighter Jonah Hex, and Skeets gets to ride a horse (not an easy thing for a hovering robot the size of a dinner plate). Booster saves the doctor, gets back to Rip Hunter’s time machine, and then crashes into a couple of guys on a Cosmic Treadmill.

Verdict: Another thumbs up. The art is fun, the story is fun, and this series hasn’t made any serious missteps yet.


Death of the New Gods #1

Actually, this is one comic I absolutely refused to buy. DC kills off a whole boatload of Gentleman Jack Kirby’s characters. Why did I skip this one?

Because DC Comics has spent the last couple of years wallowing in cheap deaths of good characters for nothing more than shock value, hoping for some “Death of Superman” media coverage and a short-term boost in sales.

Because none of these shock-value comics have been worth spit, and I don’t expect this one to be any different.

Because relying on nothing but shock value is a good way to get your readers completely bored with shock value.

Finally, and maybe most importantly — because the New Gods were created by Jack Kirby. You don’t use cheap shock value as an excuse to go mess with characters created by the King of Comics, and that’s all there is to it.

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Comics, Radio and Beer!


Wow, very late notice here, even for me, but if you like comics, goofy skits, music, and getting liquored up AND you live in Lubbock, you won’t wanna miss Crisis on Metropolis Island, a special event hosted by the guys who run KTXT-FM’s Radio Free Metropolis program. It’s happening October 19th — that’s TOMORROW — at 8 p.m. at Jake’s Sports Cafe at 5025 50th Street (next to the unwisely closed-down 50th Street Hasting’s store).

Expect skits, silliness, alco(hic)hol, various hollering people, comics-related entertainment, and at least one guy wearing some old, stretched-out Venom T-shirt who should’ve taken a bath before he showed up at the club. Everyone please avoid getting arrested, as the Lubbock cops are very sensitive about stuff that happens at Jake’s.

And no, I won’t be able to be there, blast the luck. I have to help cover one of the high school football games for the paper. Y’all spare a thought for me while y’all are boozing it up and getting beat up by sorority girls.

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Bite me.


Oy, I’m in a rotten mood. Yesterday started out just fine. I got a half-day off, ate a stellar lunch, and watched “Shaun of the Dead.” And then I sat down to make Halloween cards for the first time ever, because the Halloween cards in the stores are frickin’ awful. “Oh, look it’s a happy pumpkin, and he wishes you a ‘Boo-tiful Halloween!'” DIE, HORRIBLE SAPPY HALLOWEEN CARDS.

Anyway, I put a pretty good design together, went to start printing them out, and bam, the printer starts fritzing up on me. Can’t afford to get it replaced or (Hah!) fixed before, um, 2014, so Halloween cards will have to wait for some other year.

So anyway, I’m cranky, and the only thing that gives me joy is zombie movies, so let’s look at dead people.


Marvel Zombies

This series has been Marvel’s big cash cow for the past couple of years. The series, which made its debut in 2006, was written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Sean Phillips, with gory, hilarious covers by Arthur Suydam. The series gets its name from a nickname for die-hard Marvel fans, and it gets its premise from dozens of zombie movies over the years. It’s set in an alternate universe, where every Marvel Comics superhero and villain has been turned into a flesh-eating zombie. Oh, but these aren’t the mindless shamblers from the movies — they’ve got all their powers, all their intelligence, and they’re almost impossible to destroy. But they have so little willpower that they actually manage to completely strip the planet of all meat-based lifeforms in just 24 hours.

After that, the zombies fight non-zombified characters like Magneto, the Silver Surfer, and Galactus hisself. The zombie-heroes are already pretty gloppy at the beginning, and they keep losing more and more chunks of themselves as the series goes on. Spider-Man loses a leg, Wolverine loses an arm, Captain America gets the top of his head lopped off.

Since that first series, there have been three follow-up series, including one that guest-starred Ash from the “Evil Dead” movies. The Marvel Zombies have been made into toys, action figures, games, T-shirts, and probably Christmas ornaments, lingerie, and breakfast cereals at this point. Seriously, Marvel will slap the Marvel Zombies on anything.

In the end, honestly, I give the miniseries a thumbs-down. The plot is shallow and predictable, and the characterization is just bloody awful. Sure, getting zombified is sure to wreck your psyche, but the only character who expresses the slightest regret about eating his friends and family, much less committing global genocide, is Spider-Man. Dialogue is also fairly weak, just because the Hulk is the only character with any sort of unique voice. The rest of the dialogue is pretty interchangeable.

Like I said, the covers are just plain awesome. They’re all zombified parodies of classic Marvel covers. But if you want some good zombie mayhem in your comics this year, shamble past this series and sink your teeth into “The Walking Dead” or “Zombie Tales” instead.

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Green Days


Green Arrow and Black Canary #1

In the wake of Oliver Queen’s death, Black Canary is dealing with her grief by beating the snot out of bad guys as brutally as possible. In fact, she’s also keeping Ollie’s body preserved in a big glass tube — she’s convinced it’s not really Green Arrow. Everyone thinks she’s nuts — everyone except Batman.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s got a few problems — Black Canary is mostly an observer of other people’s detective work, and Green Arrow barely shows up at all. But the detective work is pretty good, and the big secret is fairly well done. Cliff Chiang’s artwork is just drop-dead gorgeous, too.


Green Lantern Corps #16

There’s a lot of stuff going on in this one. There’s the Battle of the Planets, with Mogo, the Green Lantern planet taking on Ranx, the crazy Sinestro city, Kilowog fighting Arkillo, a monstrous Sinestro Corps member, Sodam Yat, a Daxamite GL, wreaks havoc inside Ranx, and members of the Green Lantern Corps and Sinestro Corps fighting each other everywhere. Things look bad for the Lanterns until the Guardians of the Galaxy change their governing laws to allow Lanterns to kill Sinestro Corps members.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s pretty chaotic, and there are tons of characters — but I’m impressed that we still get treated to some good character moments. That’s hard to do with that much stuff going on.


Green Lantern #24

Meanwhile, on Earth, the Sinestro Corps War continues as the bulk of the yellow-ringed fearmeisters lower the boom on our big blue marble. They’ve got most of their heavy-hitters in the battle, including Sinestro, Superboy-Prime, the Cyborg Superman, and Parallax, still possessing Kyle Rayner’s body. Parallax actually swallows up Hal Jordan when his ring runs out of power, but the other Green Lanterns have a plan to save both Hal and Kyle.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Some of the dialogue is really, really hokey, and the plan to get rid of Parallax is a bit, um, stupid. Still, some nice ring-slinging, some decent plot-advancement. I’m looking forward to more of this — it’s the best crossover series DC has had for a long time.

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Animal Crackers

I’ve got a lot of reviews to catch up on this week, but we’ll start off fairly slow with just one.


Captain Carrot and the Final Ark #1

I’ve really been looking forward to this comic, because I was a big, big fan of “Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew” back in the day. I think a lot of folks were. It’s gotten a real cult following over the years, even though DC has generally thought of it as the ugly stepkid they hid in the attic. Funny animals weren’t cool. Well, Marvel didn’t act particularly embarrassed by Howard the Duck or Spider-Ham, but DC couldn’t stand to be reminded about their moderately popular and well-received funny-animal superhero comic.

Then it seems DC changed its mind overnight a couple years ago. The Zoo Crew made a guest appearance in a “Teen Titans” comic a while back, DC announced they were going to release the old series as a nice, fat anthology (which then got cancelled, blast the luck), and they announced this new miniseries on the team. And they’ve made it a tie-in with (yeeech!) “Countdown,” and have even designated it as “Earth-26,” which means the Zoo Crew is now officially in-continuity for the first time since “Crisis on Infinite Earths.”

So, here’s what happens: The Zoo Crew are back in costume, but it’s still illegal on their earth to be a superhero, so they’re just making a promotional appearance at the Sandy-Eggo (that’s “San Diego” for the pun-impaired) Comic Convention. There’s also a great deal of tension between the land-dwelling animals and those that live in the ocean due to an incident where a young goldfish was killed by toxic waste. Alley-Kat-Abra is still in prison for killing Little Cheese and framing Captain Carrot, and American Eagle has joined the team. President Mallard Fillmore resigned in disgrace, only to be replaced by the equally shady Beneduck Arnold.

And yeah, believe it or not, that’s all just background.

As for the story itself, while the Zoo Crew are at the comic convention, they’re attacked by the Salamandroid, a heat-generating cyborg who they end up completely unable to catch. Later, the Salamandroid appears on TV to make a terroristic threat against Gnu York City. The heroes try to track down the threat, but are surprised when the monstrous Frogzilla makes an appearance on the beach at Corny Island.

Okay, on the bright side, Scott Shaw!’s artwork is as great as it ever was, and the puns are of the same wonderfully low quality as they were in the original series. I’m not too overjoyed with the thin plot — sure, they had a lot of backstory to go through. But really, that backstory is another problem. Basically, they’re tying the Zoo Crew into the grim-and-gritty DC vision of comics, where cartoon cats kill cartoon mice and aquatic species are an oppressed racial minority. It’s a fine background for a normal comic, but the Zoo Crew should be a more lighthearted book.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m still a big fan of the Zoo Crew, and what we have in this issue is still a lot of fun to read. I’ll go ahead and pick up the other two books in the series…

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The Duh Files: Goalposts and Binoculars


Hey, hey! It’s Saturday! Almost time for the Texas Tech-A&M football game! The angriest, angstiest game in the country! Everyone start boozing now so you’ll have no idea who you’re punching in the second quarter! Gosh darn, is there any prominent instance of poor sportsmanship that I haven’t gotten to yet?

Y’all thought I wouldn’t get around to talking about the most infamous Tech-Aggie game of all?

November 3, 2001. Tech shut out the Aggies 12-0… but this happened afterwards.

Fast summary: Tech fans stormed the field, tore down one of the end zone goalposts, and chucked it into the Aggie stands. Much hollering and hitting followed.

You ain’t gonna hear me defend very much that went on there. Tech fans, I’m telling you this fer true: there are only TWO good reasons for you to ever run onto the field.

* First, if the running back gets injured, and Coach Leach looks up into the stands, points at you, and says, “I need a new running back fast — get down onto the field and get ready to catch the game-winning pass!” then you should feel perfectly free to run onto the field, catch the pass, and collect your smoochies from cheerleaders.

* Second, if you are being chased by angry bears, no one will blame you if you run onto the field to get away.

But those are the only times it’s allowed. No, you may not chuck the goalposts anywhere. No, you may not fight with the Governor’s Chief of Staff. They have Mad Secret Gubernatorial-Stooge Ninjitsu Skillz, and they’re mean drunks besides. You should feel free to stay in the stands and enjoy the game. You should feel free to holler and cheer and get your guns up. You should feel free to enjoy some nachos, a coke, and one of those nasty concession-stand pickles. You should feel free to go to the restroom if you gotta visit Captain Leakey… but for the sake of all that is holy, don’t touch anything you see in there! You should feel free to go home after the game, high-five your fellow fans, send congratulatory e-mails to Michael Crabtree, and enjoy a nice glass of milk before bed.

You should feel free to be polite to the Aggies, because they want us to be thugs. As my momma always says, if you’re nice to those who hate you, it heaps coals of burning fire on their heads. (That’s a figurative expression — please don’t heap real coals of burning fire on anyone’s heads.)

But no, you are not allowed to endanger yourself and others. You are not allowed to fling stuff at the other team or their fans. You are not allowed to run amok like a bunch of brain-dead mumbling nimrods. The Aggies get mad when you steal their schtick.

Okay, by now, I do believe I’ve successfully inoculated myself against any charges that I’m encouraging bad behavior, yes? So let’s get back to razzing the Aggies. ‘Cause there’s a lot of talk about the goalposts and Tech fans, and not a lot of talk about Aggie fans. Because the Aggies didn’t really do themselves proud either. There were a lot of Aggie fans throwing their fists around — the governor’s Chief of Staff, Dr. Mike McKinney, said a Tech fan slugged him in the head… but it turned out that another Aggie was the person who hit him. Neither side had clean hands in this one.

But let’s take another quick look at the esteemed Dr. McKinney. Yes, he sustained a nasty wound in the brawl, and needed eight stitches. But his righteous outrage started to look a bit funky a few days after the game.

In initial interviews after Saturday’s game, McKinney said he was assaulted by an unidentified Tech student.

In offense reports from the Tech Police Department released to The Avalanche-Journal on Wednesday through the district attorney’s office, the student who hit McKinney, Reginald Wallace, said he was trying to prevent fighting when McKinney shoved him and hit him with binoculars.

The A&M student told Tech police that he got angry and punched McKinney in the eye.

Wallace, 23, could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

In a sworn statement, student Nicklos Beihl said he tried to break up a fight between two men, identified in the police reports as McKinney and Wallace.

“After the separation of the two men, (McKinney) proceeded to make threats to the police and other stadium workers that they will hear about this later because of some ‘high’ governmental position that he held,” Beihl told police.

In a sworn statement, witness Andrea Luhm said she witnessed the fight between McKinney and the A&M student.

“When all calmed down, (McKinney) made clear that he worked for the government and that he was going to press charges,” her statement said.

(All emphasis above is mine.)

So there was one angry, belligerent thug in the Aggie stands — who cares, right? Well, the Aggies cared. They cared a lot. They took one look at Dr. Mike McKinney, using his position in the governor’s office to threaten cops and bystanders, hitting other Aggie fans with a pair of freakin’ binoculars… and they made him the chancellor of the A&M System.

Dr. Mike McKinney, Texas A&M Chancellor/Crazy Binocular Man

And that’s why I have a hard time taking the Aggies seriously when they start whining about Texas Tech and sportsmanship.

Let’s have another Dirk West cartoon before we go, oy?

Awright, let’s play some football. Go Tech!

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Friday Night Fights: Aggie Bootin’!

Well, the Tech-A&M game is tomorrow, but for tonight, Bahlactus demands nothing less than Friday Night Fights!

But surely we can find a way to combine football with butt-kicking? From the late great Dirk West, sports cartoonist extraordinaire:

Wow, Raider Red not only managed to fracture the Aggie’s pelvis and spine, but he also completely shattered the word “POW!” That’s not easy to do, especially with a cartoon boot.

Alright, Red Raiders: Go ye forth and do likewise!

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The Duh Files: Horsies!

“Oh, Scott, you keep making fun of the Aggies for exhibiting poor sportsmanship several decades ago! Surely they’re much better behaved now, right?”

Why, sure they are. In fact, in 2005, they showered rival fans with special gifts!

A sophomore member of Texas A&M University’s Parsons Mounted Cavalry was charged Friday with throwing horse feces onto members of the University of Texas band before the A&M-UT football game.

John Richmond Sullivan, 20, was seen by a University Police Department lieutenant throwing a shovel full of horse feces onto band members at Kyle Field at about 10 a.m. Friday, according to an officer’s affidavit.

UT band director Robert Carnochan told police that he and the band members did not want to press criminal charges, though they did want Texas A&M to discipline Sullivan, the court documents state.

Yep, you can smell the pungent aroma of sportsmanship from here!

Meanwhile, I’ve been asked if I’m running this series because I hate Aggies. Really, I don’t. I hate some Aggie fans, but there are some Tech fans I hate, too. That dude who made the “Vick ‘Em” t-shirts, for instance.

What bugs me is listening to Aggies pretend that Tech is the evilest, wickedest, devil-worshipping-est, least sportsmanlike university ever while ignoring their own university’s various missteps. Claiming that Tech is awful because an Aggie got yelled at by some rude Tech fans would be as silly as, well, claiming A&M is awful because an A&M fan threw horse crap at UT fans.

If you can’t handle sports fans yelling at games, stay away from the games.

And if you can’t handle sports cartoonists making fun of the Aggies, don’t look at the next cartoon.

(All pix from Dirk West’s “SWC Cartoon Book” — hundreds of hilarious football cartoons for just $15. Ask about ’em at the A-J’s front desk.)

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The New Captain America

Taking a quick break from football matters to take care of some actual stuff about comics.

Maybe you’ve heard the news — Marvel is introducing a new Captain America!


According to this article at Comic Book Resources, the character was designed by superstar comics painter (and former Lubbockite) Alex Ross (the illustration above is by Steve Epting — I think it shows off the costume better than the Ross paintings, so far), and it’s definitely not Steve Rogers, the original Captain America who was assassinated earlier this year. Marvel is hinting that it’s a previously existing character.

Some people are freaking out about this version of Cap carrying a gun and knife. I have a hard time caring, actually. I never really got the “Captain America doesn’t carry weapons and never kills” bulldada — the dude’s a soldier and he doesn’t shoot people? I call shenanigans.

Of course, (A) Marvel has a long history of leaking fake images just to make the fanboys flip out, and (B) it’s pretty obvious that this new guy is going to be temporary, too, because everyone knows they’ll bring Steve Rogers back in time for the Captain America movie planned for 2009.

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