Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Question of Family

Is there a major family of characters in the Marvel Universe that isn't completely fucked-up dysfunctional?

Just a quick look here:
Magneto's Family - see above
The Richards' family - Nathan is a time-travelling maybe-despot, Kang might be in the family tree there somewhere, Franklin's a near-godling, and Val's a super-genius know-it-all that makes Lisa Simpson look like a piker.
The Braddock Family - One's Merlin's champion, another went insane and got godlike powers, and another is a telepath currently in the body of a Japanese ninja.
The Rasputin Family - Insane godling, Formerly dead teleporting Princess of Hell, and a stainless steel man.
The Banner and Logan families - could be the basis for a series of best selling psychology books if the author's weren't afraid of being brutally killed.
The Mar-Vell family - Half-Skrull heir to the Throne, Two posthumously conceived children.
The Osborn Family - Nope. Not going here.
Mystique's family - Murderous ex-husband (Sabertooth), abandoned child (Nightcrawler), xenophobic racist child she murdered (Graydon Creed) and adopted daughter who rejected her (Rogue).
The Summers Family - and I can just stop right there.

Did I miss any?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Subjects Required

So, I've got nearly 100 images in my cache ready for poster-making. Are there any subjects or categories you'd like to see? Right now, I'm thinking of working on some more generic posters about specific powers/abilities and categories of superheroes, but I'm open to suggestions.

Your thoughts please

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Superman Week Part 5: On the Origin

So, The origin (and there's 25 of them at this point), where do we stand? What's important and what's not?

Should Superman be the Sole Survivor of Krypton? While I think that Superman's sense of isolation should be important and help to make him relatable, I don't think it's worth the compromise of cutting out Supergirl. General Zod and his cohorts and the city of Kandor I can do without either way, but I do think that on the whole, Superman as one of the last survivors is acceptable to me.

Should Kal-El have any memories of life as a child on Krypton? Really, I think I prefer him as an infant who travelled to Earth with no memories of life on Krypton. I think that works because it fits into the "immigrant story" - the notion of trying to honor a culture you only know second-hand through the nostaglic idealizations of the previous generation. That said, him having memories of life on Krypton does add an element of tragedy if he remembers his dead biological parents.

Powers as a child or no powers until puberty? I come down on the side of his powers starting off on day one on Earth and growing slowly over time.

Social outcast as a teenager or high school football hero? Outcast.
Kal-El or Clark Kent? Clark Kent is who Superman thinks of himself as.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Superman Week Part 4: On the Golden Age

In my lifetime (and yours too) just about EVERY single new writer on Superman will sooner or later lament that "in his first appearances" he was a social agitator who stood up for the little guy instead of being for the status quo.

Now, there are two problems with this:

1) It's kind of hard to be a social activist/agitator when you are a billion-dollar corporate icon.
2) The Golden Age Superman is kind of a dick who doesn't accomplish much.

I'm not going to spend much time on the first point because it's been covered better elsewhere. But let's look at that second point.

OK, so yes, in the Golden Age, Superman exposed crooked businessmen with corrupt practices and beat the crap out of them. That's great, and it's a nice cathartic moment for these guys to be on the receiving end of their own bad dealings, but aside from the pulp thrill, it really doesn't help the people who are suffering because of the problem in the first place. I'd be all up on a story where Superman dunks the BP CEO into a plume of oil from the Gulf Spill, but it doesn't help as much as trying to actually help fix the practices that lead to the spill or helping the victims. In fact, it tends to look a lot like super-powered bullying - yes, the guys responsible for the mess are bad and deserved to be punished, but humiliation rarely leads to redemption or turning over a new leaf.

And that's what Clark Kent is for. Clark Kent, the reporter who does draw attention to these problems. Clark Kent who does get the truth out and fights to make sure that justice is done.

So maybe, instead of focusing on making Superman, there needs to be a little more focus on Clark Kent.

Just a thought

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Superman Week Part 3: On Lois

Listen up people, because I'm only going to say this once:

Lois Lane is totally awesome.

Really, it doesn't matter which version of Lois we're talking about; Crazy Silver-Age Lois, Flighty Teri Hatcher "Lois and Clark" Lois, or modern Lois. Any medium, any continuity, Lois Lane is all about sheer determination and drive and a willpower that would bust the entire Green Lantern Corps.

Lois Lane is the best reporter at the Daily Planet. And her primary competition is her husband, who can see through walls and listen to conversations an ocean away. Think about what that takes, and you get a clue for how absolutely no-nonsense Lois Lane would have to be.

Lois Lane, who can do anything she puts her mind to - expose the corrupt, bring down the criminal, and get secrets and insight on everyone from presidents to alien gods. Lois Lane, who believes in the truth, and justice, and standing up to the odds just because she can. Without powers, or gadgets or suits of armor or magic or decades of intense combat training. Just a recorder and a writing pad.

That's a woman you shouldn't mess with.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Superman Week Part 2: Why JMS is wrong

So, JMS has Superman walking slowly around America "reconnecting" with humanity. Which misses the point.

Look, let's ignore for the moment that Superman's background of growing up on a farm in Kansas is so down to earth that even Sarah Palin couldn't refute it. In fact, let's ignore the Superman as a character for a moment, because JMS is making an invalid assumption that's at the core of this storyline. JMS is assuming that Superman doesn't spend time in what Urban Americans (defined here as people who live in the big cities - say 1 million+ populations) would consider "flyover country". Which in turn assumes that there's nothing happens in that entire part of the country (and similarly, in any small community in any country) that would merit Superman's attention.

That's what's wrong, and it's arrogant of JMS to make that case. Last I checked, this "flyover country" that superheroes seemingly zip through have problems that are a job for Superman. Things like floods, mudslides, earthquakes, mine collapses, bridge collapses, and those are just the things I can think of off the top of my head. If we expand this over the entire planet, we've got even bigger disasters (just go check your newsfeed about say...Pakistan or China), or regions currently being torn apart by civil or economic strife in the rural parts of the country. These jobs? All jobs for Superman. Actually, now that I think of it, I remember it was in an issue of Wizard that one of the articles said "Every job is a job for Superman." I think it's safe to say that when Wizard has a better concept of the character than you do, you're in trouble.

Superman, in the ideal conception, doesn't see the distinction between rural and urban, or the differences in ethnic or national character. He's not interested in these issues and distinctions.

He's here to help.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Superman Week Part 1: Awww

Let's start this off on the best note possible.

Yeah, this'll do. I know that ever since I saw that bit of fanart, that it deserves every bit of recognition it can get. Pity I can't find the source anymore. Help?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pick the Best Caption

Using Incredible Hercules for source material will never get old, will it?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

In which I learn how to say "NO"

Now, I'm sorry to dissappoint, but that's not going to happen. However, in the interest of fairness, I feel I should explain why.

First, if you comb through the archives of posters here, you'll find very few that use any of the images since the reboot. Primarily this is because there's nothing I've seen in the material to date that's any better that what I already have from older, more well-regarded stories. However, it's also because I feel that using that materials for posters gives the material a degree of legitimacy I don't think it warrants.

Second, I'm also going to point out that I really haven't read any of the Spider-books in some time, although I do follow the commentary so I know the general gist of it. The trouble is, I mostly don't care. I've stated that I don't think this is going to get reversed as long as the current editorial group is there, or unless the next film serves as some kind of catalyst.
Third, end of the day, I don't want to read these things. I really don't care about the ineffective, ineffectual, bland Peter they're serving. I've got better things to do with my time.

But thank you for the request anyway.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Question #1: Isn't this STILL a problem for Bruce? That someone with basic reasoning skills could figure out that the resources required to be Batman means that his alter-ego would have to be rich? How many multimillionaires in their twenties and thirties with the combat conditioning of a US Marine could there be in Gotham? (Yes, I know: Thomas Elliot. Hush, you). Now, one solution I can imagine is that to maintain Bruce's cover, he regularly hires actors and celebrities in great to move to Gotham for a while to throw off the scent. Of course, in my own personal imagination, those actors would include Michael Keaton, George Clooney, Val Kilmer, Christian Bale and Kevin Conroy. And I think that would be awesome.

Question #2: Has there ever been a story, in which a Batman-Analogue or some other rich vigilante is adversely effected by an economic downturn or collapse? What would happen if suddenly, you couldn't afford the fuel for your rocket car or explodo-darts? Would that vigilante start stealing from criminals to fund his own efforts? Would even that be enough?

Chris Sims, I demand Answers!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Modern Superhero Comics Explained

I don't think I've ever encountered a single sentence that summed up the problem with current superhero comics so correctly:

Comics like these, though– the creators seem so without hope, that there
are any new stories left to be written.
But if the audience rewards them for
it, the game is the game…

Abhay Khosla on Hawkeye and Mockingbird#3

And...that's about it for now

Friday, August 06, 2010

Posters of Superheroes being jerks

Sorry folks, it's going to be busy from now until the 16th - I'll try to post daily but the posts will be pretty light I fear.