Archive for October, 2008

Friday Night Fights: The Final Chapter

Bahlactus has been running Friday Night Fights almost every week since March 2007, and he’s decreed that tonight’s gonna be the last one.

That’s some 19 months of face-rockin’, chin-checkin’, pain-bringin’, and head-bustin’. Over 70 weeks of kicks to the face, fists to the face, baseball bats to the face, and car batteries to the face. Bahlactus freestyles all the participants every week, and a while back, he was actually giving away comics to the folks who signed up. I enjoy the heck out of Friday Night Fights, and I hate to see it end, but Bahlactus is the man, and if he wants to call the series quits, I ain’t tough enough to stop him.

So we got multiple themes running tonight — we need some righteous violence first, our theme is still “Ladies Night,” so a woman’s gotta be involved in the righteous violence, and it’s Halloween, so we need to add some monsters into the equation. Let’s spin the Wheel of Hurtin’ and see what comes up.

From 1998’s Vampirella #3 — a comic with some serious pedigree, as it was written by none other than Grant Morrison and Mark Millar, with art provided by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti. Let’s set our scene — Vampirella is looking to dust a bunch of vampires. Our favorite scantily-clad pseudo-vampiric vampire hunter has a bomb to take care of most of them, but for the leader, sometimes the old ways are best:

In other words, Vampi’s gonna drive a wooden stake through a vampire’s face.

Nice. A very happy, gory, vampire-free Halloween to us all.

But dangit, I can’t let the last Friday Night Fights go with just one fight. Lemme dredge up the fight I was originally going to use, if the last round hadn’t hit on Halloween. This is from 2004’s JLA #90 by Joe Kelly, ChrisCross, and Tom Nguyen, in which Wonder Woman, in an artificially-induced dream sequence, uses the back of the Joker’s head to refurbish a wall.

Wwwwwow. That’s why ChrisCross is one of my favorite artists.

And finally: Bahlactus, thank you. I, and probably everyone else who’s participated in and enjoyed Friday Night Fights, owe you a whole bunch of six-packs in gratitude for all this fun and mayhem. Thanks, thanks, a million, billion thanks.

Always bet on Bahlactus.

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Howling for Halloween

Okay, I could go on and on and on and on about how much I love Halloween. It’s my favorite holiday on the calendar — better’n Christmas, better’n my birthday, even better’n International Shoot a Nazi in the Face Day. I love costumes, I love scary movies, I love scary stories, I love scary stuff in general, and I have since I was a little kid. I’m still the family freak as far as Halloween goes — no one else in the family cares a thing for horror or monsters or Halloween.

But like I said, I could rattle on about this forever. So instead of reading me waxing rhapsodic about the Best Holiday of the Year, let’s just enjoy a dozen spooky comic covers, a’ight?

Everyone have a safe and scary Halloween out there!

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The Monster Show

What’s that ya say? Tomorrow’s Halloween? Well, by gum, let’s dig up some nice monstery comics and see how they look?

Hellboy: In the Chapel of Moloch

Hey, Mike Mignola is back writing and drawing Hellboy again! The technical term for this is: “totally sweet.” Hellboy investigates a case where an artist of middling talent takes up residence in a spooky church and sculpts up a honkin’ huge statue of a demon called Moloch. And the statue actually bleeds when you cut it! Turns out the church was the headquarters, centuries ago, of a Moloch-worshiping cult, and the forces of Hell still have influence here. Will Hellboy go for a simple, quiet exorcism? Or a great deal of smashing and breaking and shooting?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Man, it’s great to see Mignola drawing Hellboy again. He ain’t lost a trick, either — this is spooky, moody, eerie — and yeah, very action-packed stuff. And the writing remains top-notch. Mignola drags up all kinds of creepy historical and semi-historical tidbits to help move the story along. A cult that roasted babies alive? A saint who fought in the Crusades even though he’d been decapitated? Ooky, and fun. More please, Mr. Mignola.

Monster-Size Hulk

Four different stories as Hulk fights… MOOOONSTERRRRS! We get one where Hulk takes on Frankenstein’s Monster, possibly even returning him to standard Marvel continuity. The second story features Werewolf by Night. The third one is a short little two-page comedy starring Marvel’s classic giant monsters. The last one is neat — mostly text by Peter David, with a couple of illustrations, as the Hulk takes on Dracula himself.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I loved the one with Frankenstein, and I thought the story with Dracula was outstanding. This is the Dracula from Marvel’s classic ’70s series “Tomb of Dracula” with a ruthless, megalomaniacal, grandstanding Count Dracula — a character I’ve long enjoyed.

Marvel Adventures: The Hulk #13

Marvel’s all-ages books all seem to be exceptionally good, and this one is a lot of fun. The Hulk tangles with the Living Pharaoh, and he’s managed to enslave most of Marvel’s heroes by turning them into mummies! And they’re pretty creepy mummies, too! Can Hulk, Rick Jones, and their pet monkey (Um, what?) figure out a way to stop the Pharaoh in time?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m impressed that they managed to make what’s basically a kids’ version of “Marvel Zombies.” Yes, it’s a little scary, but still fun.

The Goon #29

Skinny is back from the dead as Mr. Wicker — he’s basically a wood-covered, burning zombie. Yeah, takes all kinds. And the orphans get a new playmate — Merle the Werewolf’s son, Roscoe the Werepup. Roscoe claims to be able to fart and whistle at the same time — we’ll see if this amazing talent eventually becomes useful.

Verdict: Thumbs up again. This one has zombies, werewolves, wood monsters, and more. Great, if slightly crude, Halloween reading. But you wouldn’t want the Goon to be anything but.

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Zombie Apocalypse!

Well, now, y’all know about my MMORPG of choice, right? City of Heroes/City of Villains is all about playing as a superhero (or a supervillain) using your powers to fight evil (or to rob banks) and styling around town in your spiffiest spandex outfit.

Well, a few weeks before October 31, they start up the annual Halloween Event. Most years, it’s involved some giant pumpkin-headed monsters roaming the city and a chance to go “trick or treating” — click on some doors, and you’ll either get a treat (an in-game reward of some kind) or a trick (an attack by vampires, werewolves, or other monsters).

This year, they’ve added something new. At random times in each city zone, the sky will suddenly turn an ugly reddish-black color, a short snippet of spooky music will play…

…and the zombies come out.

And not just one or two — hordes of the rotting flesh-eaters…

Zombies!

ZOMBIES!

ZOMBIES!

ZOMBIES!!!

Whoooo! Whattarush! Halloween really is the best time of the year, ain’t it?

(P.S.: Ya know what Lubbock needs? A good ol’ fashioned zombie walk.)

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Happy Monkeys!

Tiny Titans #9

The lengthier storyline this time concerns Beppo the Super-Monkey getting hold of a magic wand and then turning everyone into monkeys. This leads, as expected, to an awful lot of hijinx and monkeyshines. We also get to meet the Atom’s family (Snap! Snap!) as they hang out in Batgirl’s flowerbed.

Verdict: Not much happening here, but I’m still giving it a thumbs up, because it included Mallah the Super-Cute Beret-Wearing Gorilla, as well as a sound effect that just said “Monkey”. That’s absolutely awesome, people.

Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes #4

Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the Hulk hang out together, beat up a bank robber, and then discover that the sonic-powered supervillain called Klaw the Unconquerable has a new career: country-western singer. And he performs wearing his supervillain costume, wearing his funky little megaphone in place of his hand, and wearing a spiffy little cowboy hat on top of the whole thing. It’s not the most surreal thing I’ve ever seen in a comic book, but it’s gotta be close. So is Klaw’s new passion of twangy music legit, or is this just another scheme?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Supervillains as country music stars — I swear, that’s absolutely brilliant. And yeah, the other characters are great. The interplay between Spidey, Shellhead, and Greengenes is outstanding. Hulk seems to get the most laughlines — his attempts to live the country-music lifestyle are very funny, and it’s nice that he’s so fond of his pants — but Spidey and Iron Man get their share of great lines, too. Heck, even Klaw’s band members are pretty nicely depicted.

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Hot Stephen Colbert Action!

The Amazing Spider-Man #573

It’s the end of the “New Ways to Die” storyarc, which really ought to get an award for both the dumbest storyarc title and for dumbest new villain — namely, Anti-Venom: former regular Venom Eddie Brock now wearing some kind of negative-colored Venom outfit and with a mad-on for the current Venom, Mac Gargan, the former Scorpion. Hey, I just felt some of my brain cells die just from describing that! Anyway, Spidey and (snicker) Anti-Venom beat up Norman Osborne and Venom and various people and then everything goes back to the regular status quo.

Oh, but what everyone really cares about is the backup story, which stars Stephen Colbert, host of “The Colbert Report.” Most of y’all may remember that Colbert briefly threw his hat into the presidential race earlier this year — well, in Marvel’s continuity, Colbert is (A) exactly like his rightwing blowhard character on “The Colbert Report” and (B) is an actual candidate for the presidency. Well, Colbert’s candidacy ain’t goin’ so well. His most recent contribution is from Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson, and it’s for a measly $100. His rallies are marked by an awful lot of apathy and not many people. In frustration, he gives up his campaign, until he runs into Spider-Man fighting a supervillain called (GASP!) the Grizzly! He helps Spidey beat the bad guy and gets to go web-slinging with the Wall-Crawler.

Verdict: Thumbs down for the main story. Dull, dull, dull, and stupid, stupid, stupid. However, a big thumbs up for the Colbert backup story. Much fun, very goofy, and still fairly action-packed. Ya know what’d be cool? If Colbert ends up becoming president of Marvel’s version of the USA. That’d rock soooo hard.

Atomic Robo: Dogs of War #3

Robo has managed to put most of the Nazis’ walking tanks out of commission, but now he’s on the trail of the Nazibots’ designer, Otto Skorzeny. But there’s another Allied agent tracking Skorzeny, a British agent called the Sparrow, and they end up getting in each others’ way and on each others’ nerves while they’re doing their Nazi-bashing. And complicating things even more are some more Nazi experimental monsters closing in on everyone.

Verdict: Thumbs up. More over-the-top action and Nazi bashing. All the action here takes place in and on top of a speeding train, which keeps things nicely focused and intense.

Captain America #43

Several different things going on here. We get World War II flashbacks with Cap, Bucky, and the Human Torch. We get Bucky smoochin’ with the Black Widow. And best of all, we get the return of Batroc the Leaper! Batroc’s French may be the most accurate it’s ever been (as far as I can tell — it’s not like I can read French anyway), and he actually manages to uncover Bucky’s secret identity as both the new Captain America and as the former Winter Soldier.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Hey, it’s Batroc the Leaper! BATROC ZE LEAPAIR!

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Blue’s Anatomy

drmanhattan

Well, most of y’all probably know that they’re making a movie of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic graphic novel “Watchmen.” And one of the things people have been wondering is how they’re going to deal with Dr. Manhattan’s… well, his costume, or lack there-of.

Of course, in the comic, Dr. Manhattan has transcended human feelings of modesty and propriety, and he spends the vast majority of the time completely unclothed. But would Hollywood actually release a movie that featured one of the lead characters running around for most of the movie with no britches on?

Previous photos and trailers from the movie have left the question up in the air — Dr. Manhattan has either been seen wearing one of his few costumes, or he’s been filmed above the waist or from the back. One scene from the first trailer appeared blurred, but you couldn’t tell if it was because the studio purposely blurred out his crotch, or because he was just glowing so brightly that it made it too hard to see his, um, area.

Well, there’s a new trailer out, and the new footage looks pretty good. You may be so blown away by the awesome cinematic eye-candy that you may miss one particular scene.

As it turns out, Kevin Melrose noticed something very interesting: the trailer includes a pretty clear (though long-distance) shot of Dr. Manhattan’s computer-generated winkityboo. (That link may not be safe for work, depending on how your boss reacts to demigods with glowing blue winkityboos.)

The next question is: Will comic geeks now refuse to see the movie for fear of seeing some dude’s winkityboo? Or will they just shriek and cover their eyes every time Manhattan shows up on camera?

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Wedding of the Millennium!

weddingofjimmy

Via the Duffster: Kenny Ketner’s gettin’ hitched!?

(For those of you not in the know, Kenny helps run Lubbock’s Awesome Books, home of many used books and some used comics and other used things that are available for purchase. I owe them another visit — it’s been a month or two since I stopped in…)

Anyway, here’s how it apparently went down:

After duck-feeding, we walk over by the lake. We are hugging each other and I say “Hey Sarah,” and she starts laughing and says, “Hey Kenny.” I say, “Wanna get married?” and she says “Yes.” Then I ask her if she said “Yes” just to make sure (her voice was muffled the first time around). I joke like I am going down on one knee and she laughs and stops me. Instead, I hand her the ring from my coat pocket.

Then she takes her ring she got for me (told you she figured it out) and gives it to me.

We both got each other simple silver bands. No pre-planning there, it just worked out that way.

After a while of chatting and hanging out by the lake, we head back to the car. I reveal a box of Ring Pops that I ordered online and give them to her. They are in case either of us lose our rings during the engagement. 🙂

Silver wedding bands and ring pops? Kenny, comic geeks are supposed to exchange Green Lantern rings. Pff, amateur.

(Congratz, obviously)

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Friday Night Fights: Stabby-Stabby!

Bahlactus demands fighting on Friday nights! Dare we refuse him? NEVAR. So let’s get going with another bone-cracking round of FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight, our violentastic artwork comes from 2007’s Sugarshock by Joss Whedon and Fabio Moon. You can find the whole thing at the Dark Horse Presents website. We start out with Wade meeting her handsome prince/groupie…

fnf-sugarshock1

Aw, isn’t it sweet? Whatcha think of this, L’Lihdra?

fnf-sugarshock2

Yeah, that seems like the most sensible reaction. Nobody quits the band!

And next week… GASP! Can it be? The final Friday Night Fights?!

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Beetles, Birds, and Spirits!

bluebeetle32

Blue Beetle #32

Tons of stuff happening here, but let’s keep the summary short. We get an extended origin of the new Dr. Polaris, Jaime gets a stern talking-to about endangering the trust El Paso had put in him by agreeing, even under pressure, to work with the Border Patrol, and Jaime, his dad, and Traci Thirteen try to track down Intergang and fall into a trap.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Some great stuff here — Jaime’s dad beats up someone with his cane, Traci isn’t able to mystically summon anything but carrots, and everyone gets off a number of excellent one-liners. The new Doc Polaris seems moderately interesting, but he’s mostly monologuing here.

birdsofprey123

Birds of Prey #123

Barbara is stuck face-to-face with the Joker, the guy who crippled her — and he doesn’t even remember who she is. The cops scare him off, and Babs and the rest of the Birds need to figure out why the Silicon Syndicate has joined up with the Joker and how they can shut them down. And to do so, they actually partner up with Barbara’s rival, the Calculator, with Infinity masquerading as a metahuman version of Oracle. But the team may be walking into a trap set by a bunch of very powerful and very creepy villains…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice standoff with Babs and the Joker. A few good villains waiting in the wings, though I suspect several of them wouldn’t be much good in a fight…

spirit22

The Spirit #22

The Spirit investigates the murder of a magician and tries to determine what trickery was involved.

Verdict: Thumbs up, just because I’m a sucker for stories about magicians, sleight-of-hand, and all that stuff.

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