Archive for November, 2007

Friday Night Fights: Sex, Ducks and Violence!

Wow, what a week. It ain’t even over yet, as I got work to do tomorrow afternoon. Actual work, not “sitting at home playing videogames” work. Truly, no one has ever suffered as horribly as I have. But I know a great way to soothe my deeply wounded soul — Friday Night Fights!

From 1997’s Lobo the Duck #1 by Al Grant and Val Semeiks: When Bevarlene catches her, um, well, boyfriend Lobo the Duck foolin’ around, she does what any mild-mannered um, well, girlfriend would do in that situation: she beats him with a metal pipe.


Wauugh, indeed.

The moral: Guys, don’t fool around with trashy green-skinned chicks. Gals, keep a metal pipe around to use on your idiot um, well, boyfriend.

Comments off

Lubbock Sketch Club to be featured on "Texas Country Reporter"


Got an e-mail late yesterday afternoon from Will Terrell from the Lubbock Sketch Club. The folks from “Texas Country Reporter” visited Lubbock a few months back to profile the Sketch Club, and he says he’s finally gotten word that this episode will air this weekend.

Here in Lubbock, “Texas Country Reporter” airs on NBC at 6 a.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. on Sunday. I know, I know, that’s way too early, especially on a weekend. Still, if you wanna see it, better record it, Tivo it, or just get yer worthless carcass out of bed and turn on the tube.

If you still can’t manage that, it looks like the folks at TCR put most of their shows on YouTube eventually, so you should be able to see it then.

Anyway, big congrats to Will and everyone else at the Sketch Club for grabbing some pretty major publicity.

Comments off

Holiday Gift Bag: Essential Showcase

Let’s face it, economic conditions this holiday season are not all that great, and you may be thinking that these comic book anthologies that collect just 4-6 issues at a time are too expensive, at $20 or more a pop. But there are some bargain options out there for you.


Marvel calls them “Essential”; DC calls them “Showcase Presents.” In both cases, they’re very affordable collections of old comics. Price? About 17 bucks. What makes them such bargains? Well, they’ve got at least 500 pages of comics. And these are comics that have been out-of-print and unavailable for a long time. They come in two basic flavors — classic Golden and Silver Age stories of popular characters like Batman and the Hulk, and less-classic but still fun stories of more obscure cult favorites, like Killraven, the Haunted Tank, Hawkman, and Dazzler. You can get the original Stan Lee-Steve Ditko “Spider-Man” comics, those old Superman comics with Brainiac and Kandor, the first appearances of the Legion of Super-Heroes, old stories about Howard the Duck, the Man-Thing, Jonah Hex, the House of Mystery, and many, many more.


If there’s a downside, it’s that all the comics are in black-and-white, and the paper quality isn’t the greatest. It costs more to print comics in color, and more to use high-quality paper. But you’re still getting the original stories with the original art. It is a trade-off, but it’s a trade-off in the readers’ favor.


If you’ve got a comics fan on your list, consider picking them up a volume or two of these. They’ve got Madagascaran Metric Buttloads of classic old comics for a fraction of what you’d pay for the originals. It’s a gift for them, plus a gift for you at the same time.


Go pick some up.

Comments off

Random Grab Bag

Whatta we got today? A little bit of everything — a dark and gloomy police procedural, a comedy book, and a straightforward superhero punchfest. Let’s get to ’em.


She-Hulk #23

Okay, first of all, look at Shulkie’s hand on that cover. Can you spread your fingers that far apart? I can’t. I’m not sure anyone can do it without getting their hands broken. I don’t think She-Hulk getting her hands broken is a part of the current storyline, so I’ll just chalk it up to lazy artwork.

Anyway, last issue, we had She-Hulk with a miniaturized Titania punching on her eardrum while a full-sized Absorbing Man punched on her face, plus we had Jennifer Walters with a broken neck but still walking around arresting perps. Wait, aren’t Jennifer Walters and She-Hulk the same person?!

Anyway, in this issue, Titania finally gets knocked out of Shulkie’s ear, but that doesn’t make it much easier for her to beat Absorbie. But we get to see him turn into everything from steel to Legos to a shark-human hybrid. And the broken-necked Jennifer Walters is revealed as a friendly Skrull named Jazinda. Wait, isn’t the Marvel Universe about to go to war with the Skrulls?!

Verdict: Thumbs up. Still not sure I’m down with the idea of She-Hulk as a bounty hunter, but the story has been pretty entertaining so far.


Groo: Hell on Earth #2

Groo, mighty barbarian warrior but a few crackers short of a Lunchable, has been made a general. Hey, he’s never been a general before! That means it’s time to go find other armies to fight. His own army is terrified of him — they think (quite rationally) that he’ll end up getting them killed. While Groo is marching around looking for an army to fight, the Sage is wandering to various villages trying to get them to stop polluting the air so the glaciers in the north don’t melt. Of course, the only people dumber than Groo are the other people in Groo’s world, so folks can always find new reasons for misunderstanding the Sage or increasing their smoke production — after all, Groo has an army, and everyone’s afraid he’ll attack!

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is actually my first “Groo” comic, so I can’t say I get all of the jokes. But the ones I get are good, and Sergio Aragones’ cartooning is, as always, wonderful and fun to read.


Powers #27

Deena Pilgrim, former cop, current carrier of the deadly Powers virus, leans on an underworld boss to get him to lean on the rest of the underworld to hunt down a serial killer. But when the crooks learn that Deena is herself one of the suspects, they don’t like that at all. Meanwhile, exiled hero Triphammer returns to the city to learn that his daughter is one of the killer’s victims.

Verdict: Thumbs up, but it’s a close thing. The problem is that not a lot happens here. Sure, it’s well-written and the dialogue pops, but there’s still not very much going on. Luckily, it should pick up some next issue.

Comments off

Hail to the Kids


PS238 #27

This one doesn’t come out often enough, so let’s recap the basic premise. It’s about a secret elementary school, located about three miles underneath a normal elementary school, that’s designed to educate metahuman children in how to use their superpowers. One of the main characters, Tyler Marlocke, is the unpowered son of two superheroes — he gets to attend the school because his folks are positive he’s going to manifest powers, but Tyler has taken up crimefighting as the sidekick of a Batmanesque hero named Revenant.

Anyway, in recent issues, Earth was invaded, with PS238 as a major focus of the aliens’ attacks. Tyler was infected with a virus that would soon cause humans to mutate into the alien invaders, so he was put into a stasis field until he can be cured. Meanwhile, the aliens have caused a cave-in at the school, trapping the school’s doctor, the mysterious Principal Cranston, and the still-unconscious Tyler.

Well, this story also functions as an origin story for Principal Cranston. The stasis field is having a strange effect on Tyler, as he keeps having strange dreams that he’s Principal Cranston — in his previous job as President of the United States. It turns out that the headband Cranston wears is a power dampener, designed to shut down his very powerful telepathic and telekinetic powers. He was forced to wear it to keep from being impeached for using superpowers to gain political office, and that the founding of PS238 was another condition of Cranston’s release.

On top of that, we also get several excellent cliffhanger moments. Will Tyler recover? Is Moon Shadow dead? Is a favorite teacher quitting the school? Future issues will reveal all, I’m sure.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s always been very heavily implied that Cranston used to be the president, but the full background is very entertainingly told here.

Comments off

Flash Facts

Two comics this week featuring the Flash? Let’s get right into ’em!


The Flash #234

This issue sees the Flash family discovering some more superpowers. First, Flash is able to synch his vibrational aura to his kids’, which allows him to pull the kids to him no matter where he’s at. Jai thinks it’s fun, because it’s like flying. Iris hates it because she thinks of it as being pulled around by a leash. Also, Jai is depressed because he overheard that his and Iris’ unstable powers could kill them at any time, and he accidentally triggers a new power — he can vibrate his genetic code up and down through time, allowing himself to take on a monstrous appearance. No, these powers don’t make a bit of sense, but comic-book science should always be taken with about 20 tons worth of salt.

Verdict: Ehh, I think I’ll give it a thumbs up. I like the kids’ reactions to things, but I do wish we could see some more Flash-centric superspeeding.


The Brave and the Bold #8

Obviously, this issue sees a team-up between the Doom Patrol and the Flash — actually, with the entire Flash family. Niles Caulder, leader of the Doom Patrol, offers to examine Jai and Iris and see if there’s a way to stabilize their powers. Wally and Linda are nervous, because Caulder is, at best, a kook, and at worst, a fairly ruthless mad scientist. Still, they travel to Prague to hear Caulder out. The kids end up getting good and creeped out by Robotman, Negative Man, and Elasti-Girl, and Caulder reveals his plan to link the kids up through another special guest — Metamorpho, the Element Man — and give them a micro-cellular scan to see how to stabilize them. Unfortunately, Metamorpho mysteriously vanishes in the middle of the procedure, leaving the kids dissolving into their component atoms! Caulder thinks Robotman’s body can contain one of the kids — and Wally has to decide which one of his children to save. And bizarrely, it’s found that Metamorpho left the word “Megistus” behind — the same mysterious name that cropped up last issue.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This was a very cool comic. I loved the way the Doom Patrol was portrayed — they’re usually written as somewhat offbeat heroes, but here, they’re terrifying freaks. Even Elasti-Girl, who looks perfectly normal, smiles all the time, no matter how inappropriate, because she thinks it’s the only way anyone will like her. The story is like riding through a really fun carnival haunted house. The whole series has been grand fun, so go check it out.

Comments off

Holiday Gift Bag: The New Frontier

Prepare for the shock of your life — Christmas is only a month away! Hully chee! Time to panic and run around wildly, jabbering nonsensically and purchasing stuff like underwear and bow ties and vitamins for stocking stuffers. Now hold it, hold it, you can solve many of your holiday gift-giving needs… with comics! So I’ll spend a little time over the next month passing along some tips for some gifts you can get for the comics-loving person on your shopping list.

Let’s start with a new favorite that looks likely to become a classic:


DC: The New Frontier

This series was published by DC in 2003 and 2004, and was written and illustrated by a guy named Darwyn Cooke. The story is set, for the most part, in the late 1950s. It stars a huge array of DC characters, from Superman and Wonder Woman to the Flash and the Challengers of the Unknown, but the central character is definitely Hal Jordan, who starts out, not as the superhero Green Lantern, but as the only pacifist fighter pilot in the Korean War. The general plot, without dropping too many spoilers: We follow the emergence of a new generation of heroes as we slowly become aware of a growing alien plot against the earth.

There is a lot of cool stuff in this series. The whole thing opens with an incredibly cool, incredibly cinematic sequence with a quartet of soldiers facing off against dinosaurs during World War II. Everything set in Las Vegas is cool, including the boxing match and the fight between the Flash and Captain Cold. And the book also has one of the coolest characterizations of Wonder Woman around, gorgeous and curvy, sure, but also absolutely hardcore, and tough enough to stand up to Superman and tell him to take a walk.


You’ve noticed that artwork by now, haven’t ya? Beautiful stuff. Cartoony, but also like something out of a pulp magazine. There are also some animation influences in there, too. Superman looks a lot like he did in the Fleischer cartoons back in the ’40s, and just about everything else is filtered through the animation styles of more recent cartoons like “Justice League Unlimited” and “Batman: The Animated Series.” Yeah, it’s simple, clear artwork, but there’s something more complex going on there, too. It’s great for emotion, great for characterization, great for evoking the spirit and styles of the ’50s. It’s absolutely outstanding for action and motion, too.


You can pick up “DC: The New Frontier” as a two-volume collection for about twenty bucks apiece. You can also get what they call the “Absolute New Frontier,” which is oversized, comes in a nice slipcase, and has a bunch of other extras. That one will set you back about 75 bones. You may not want to get this for a kid — though the art has a retro, cartoony feel, numerous people die, and there is some cussin’ in it.


Go pick it up.

Comments off

Friday Night Fights: Black and Blue Friday!

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and you’re still so stuffed full of tryptophan, so exhausted from showing up at the mall at 4 a.m., it’s a wonder your heart is still able to beat. How to get you back on your feet for the weekend? You need adrenaline, excitement, pointless violence, and a big, thick, steamin’ bowl of BOOM-SHAKALAKA! You need FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Our action tonight is from 2002’s “The Adventures of Screw-On Head” by Mike Mignola.


Dum-dee-dum, nothing much going on here. Just standing around and — hey, everyone watch it, there’s an untethered anchor over there. If we’re not careful, it could end up plunked through someone’s chest. So watch it. I said watch it! Hey, did you hear me?


Pff. No one listens to me.

Comments off

Big Bugs


Well, it’s not quite on the scale that your average monster insects in comics or ’50s sci-fi movies are, but this bug is still awfully big

A fearsome fossil claw discovered in Germany belonged to the biggest bug ever known, scientists announced Tuesday.

“We have known for some time that the fossil record yields monster millipedes, supersized scorpions, colossal cockroaches, and jumbo dragonflies,” he added. “But we never realized, until now, just how big some of these ancient creepy-crawlies were.”

“This is an amazing discovery,” Braddy said.

The find shows that arthropods — animals such as insects, spiders, and crabs, which have hard external skeletons, jointed limbs, and segmented bodies — once grew much larger than previously thought, said paleobiologist Simon Braddy of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.

The size of a large crocodile, the 390-million-year-old sea scorpion was the top predator of its day, slicing up fish and cannibalizing its own kind in coastal swamp waters, fossil experts say.

Jaekelopterus rhenaniae measured some 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) long, scientists estimate, based on the length of its 18-inch (46-centimeter), spiked claw.

That’s over eight feet long, people. Almost as tall as I am! It all just goes to prove: giant underwater prehistoric lobster-scorpions are bad news and should be stomped on as often as possible, preferably while screaming shrilly.

Comments off

Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Turkey Day, folks. Hope you all get your fill of turkey and dressing, football, and all the other wonderful Thanksgiving stuff. Our family is having one of our “We can’t all be together, but we’re still eating with family” Thanksgivings — my folks are eating with my sister and her husband, my grandmother’s eating with my aunt and her mother, and I’ll be hanging out at my brother’s house. We’ll be eating pizza, because we ain’t gonna eat no 20-pound turkey.

And if you’ve got the fortune of having plenty to eat and having friends and family, spare a thought for those who don’t have your benefits. There are way too many of them out there, ya know. The poor may always be with us, but that doesn’t mean we should get complacent or satisfied with that fact.

Comments off