Tuesday, February 27, 2007

CIVIL WAAAAH! Marvel Comics, 2007

Because I demanded it -- my take on Marvel's big-ass crossover event, Civil War!
Brace yourselves, dear reader, for a breath-takingly fresh analysis on this epic crossover that will forever alter the way you feel about superhero comics. Read on only if you are really committed to challenging your perception of comics and their place in your life! It's all part of my Tony Robbins-like mission to help improve your life during Relevant Content Week here at Dave's Long Box!

Ah, I'm just fucking witcha.
What am I going to say about Civil War that hasn't been said on dozens of blogs and message boards already? Do a Technorati search and go nuts – there's more analysis and criticism of the series out there than you can shake a fake Uru hammer at. If you really want to know what I think, read on – just don't get your hopes up for anything Earth shattering or even original.

Civil War #7 - that bastard was late! Wasn't this supposed to be a 2006 crossover? We're a quarter of the way into 2007, for Chrissake. I'm sure the accountants at Marvel are happy with sales, but from a publishing perspective you'd think Marvel would be a little embarrassed.

Seriously, what the hell? How many major books has Marvel published in the past couple years that have been spectacularly late or have gone AWOL altogether? That Kevin Smith Black Cat mini-series? Or Ultimate Hulk/Wolverine? That Daredevil/Bullseye book? What about Daredevil: Father? I'm sure I'm missing a few. If Marvel's purpose is to use comics as a glorified R&D lab for Hollywood , they've got nothing to worry about. But if your main purpose is to actually publish comics – I can't see how you could look on any of these late or MIA books as anything but a failure.

"Wasn't this supposed to be a 2006 crossover?"

At the end of the day sales justify all, so if suckers like me (and maybe you, eh?) stick with a late book and it still sells well, there's no incentive on Marvel's part to change. I just can't help wondering if there are folks at the Marvel offices with some integrity who are just mortified at how unprofessional this makes them look. This is Stan Lee's legacy? For all the lip service given to the fans, if you cannot publish a book in a timely fashion or at all but still expect "Marvel zombies" to stagger in every Wednesday and loyally keep buying your product, I think you're taking your readership for granted and are indeed holding them in contempt.

It just pisses me off. I'm not one of those guys that freaks out when somebody writes Reed Richards out of character or changes Thor's belt buckle or some shit. At the risk of sounding dismissive, there truly are more important real life things to get outraged about. But if you can't publish books when you say you're going to publish books? You're just not treating the consumer with respect. And as an American capitalist pig, I cannot handle that.

See, I told you I wasn't going to say anything new.
Let's move on to the fanboy griping and throat kicking, shall we?

OK, so I had some issues with Civil War, primarily revolving around characterization and logic.
I can understand where the pro-registration people are coming from, although some of their motivation seemed a little loopy. For instance, Reed Richards had like, three different reasons for his pro-registration stance: 1) protecting his incredibly powerful wife from Bad Things, 2) some bullshit about Reed's uncle and Joe McCarthy, and 3) because he is so frickin' smart that he has predicted the future using mind-bogglingly complex social dynamics formulae and has determined that this is the least catastrophic course of action to take. I think I got that right. The last reason actually makes sense and is courtesy of the new FF writer Dwayne McDuffie, who is awesome.
"Maybe they should have beta-tested Clor more thoroughly."
Since Marvel has given me several different motivations for Reed's actions, I'll pick the one that makes most sense to me. But then - and this is stupid - he creates a murderous clone of Thor to help round up everyone who disagrees with him and oops! Clone Thor (Clor) kills Giant-Man. Maybe they should have beta-tested Clor more thoroughly. Incidentally, the pro-reg heroes forget that they have Pym Particles that can shrink Giant-Man's corpse and unceremoniously bury him in a HUGE grave without so much as a casket.
What the hell?
And Tony Stark, aka Iron Man? I can see how he would be in favor of the Superhuman Registration Act, sure. But does he have to create an all-villain squad, the Thunderbolts, to track down people who disagree with him. The new Thunderbolts include cats like Bullseye, Green Goblin, Lady Deathstrike... mass murderers. But hey, times are tough, the pro-reg people have to make difficult decisions, etc.
I call bullshit on that. You know who would make Clor? Dr. Doom.
And who would put together the Thunderbolts? Dr. Doom.
Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man are good guys! Heroes don't do shit like that! Don't give me that crap about moral ambiguity or complex characterization - I want my comic book superheroes to act like good guys! Reed Richards saved Galactus' life once just out of sheer principle - that's the Reed Richards I know and love. That's my homey.
Let me be clear: being pro-registration isn't what makes the Civil War versions of Tony Stark and Reed Richards dicks, it's what they do during Civil War that makes them dicks.
The other problem I have with Civil War is the application of real world logic and politics to the Marvel Universe. I don't think that the series is meant to be an overt commentary on the state of American politics - if it is, it's incredibly ham-fisted. Sure, there are some superficial parallels and some themes - freedom vs security - that apply, but I'd caution against reading too much into Civil War.
But series writer Mark Millar has created a daisy-chain of logic that would work - if the Marvel Universe were the real world. Millar has said that his sympathies lie with the pro-registration camp:
In the real world, no, I would not be psyched about opening the morning paper and reading about which major city was trashed last night by brawling demi-gods. But that's applying real world logic to this big sprawling fun fantasty world, and it's a slippery slope. If you want to get all logical and shit, any of the following elements in the Marvel Universe would irrevocably alter the fabric of modern civilization:
  • adamantium
  • vibranium
  • Pym Particles
  • unstable molecules
  • The Savage Land
  • mutants
  • powered armor
  • the Helicarrier
  • Asgardian gods
  • aliens
  • arch-villains (Doom, Magneto, Kang)
  • Atlanteans
  • Sentinels
  • Stilt-Man
Think about it. Just about any one of those common elements of the Marvel Universe would, if one were using "real world rules," alter the nature of the world to the point that it wouldn't be recognizable to us. And therein lies the problem.
Unlike DC Comics, Marvel has always prided itself at setting its stories in the real world. The heroes don't hang out in Metropolis or Gotham, they hang out in New York City. Indeed, 90% of all heroes in the Marvel Universe live in or are within commuting distance of Manhattan. The point is, Marvel heroes are fantastic and colorful precisely because they exist in a real setting where they contrast vividly against the plain background. A little suspension of disbelief is required on the part of the reader in order to make this work. You can't think too hard about this shit or the illusion is dispelled.
The problem I have with the outcome of Civil War is that it seems to be leading to a distortion of some of the unspoken ground rules of the Marvel Universe. In the upcoming The Initiative books, Tony and Co create a vast superhuman national guard, with one just-add-water superteam for each state. All super-powered folk have to be registered, and seemingly all of the registered folks are drafted into military service. It's kind of a cool alternate-reality idea, but I'm not as psyched to see how it plays out in the Marvel books for the next year or so.
Bottom line: the thing that makes Marvel heroes special is that they are special. They're rare, colorful characters that are contrasted against our world. If you set these comics in a cluttered, sci-fi world where the very presence of heroes changes the balance of civilization, it kind of robs the Marvel books of the thing that makes them appealing in the first place.
Having said all that, I have to admit that I kind of liked Civil War just because it was a big, sprawling hero vs hero story. If I read this as a kid, I would have loved it and been a little disturbed. Millar wrote some good set pieces and delivered a fair share of dramatic smack downs. Steve McNiven's art was incredible. I really like McNiven's work - dude knows how to put a panel together. Some of the inking on the final issue looks a little rushed - check out Johnny Storm's putty face over there - but overall I think the art was top-notch.
Plus, on a deep fanboy level, I love it when superheroes kick the ever-lovin' shit out of each other, and if nothing else, Civil War succeeds on that level. So that's my olive branch to the much-maligned Civil War.
Before I go, I have some questions about Civil War that I need answered.

Where are all the mutants? Did they just kind of collectively shrug and say, "Yeah, we've done this storyline to death. We're sitting this one out."

Since when can Atlanteans fly? Look at the image below of Namor and his Atlantean/Celtic warriors flying in to save Cap's bacon. First, mad props for putting Namor in his disco biker uniform, I love that shit. But they're all airborne. I mean, Namor can fly because he's a mutant - what are all those other blue guys doing? Vogueing as they plummet to their death from a great height? Explain.
Where's The Wasp? Is she so tiny that I missed her or was I not reading carefully?
Does anybody notice that killers like Bullseye are fighting alongside Iron Man and crew? We're told that the Superhero Registration Act is wildly popular with the public, but doesn't anybody take issue with all the mass murderers fighting on the "good guy" side? I'd write a letter to my congressman if that happened in real life.
Would Captain America really break down and cry because some buildings got fucked up? I could see how the breaking point for him would be, "OMG, I'm about to kill one of my best friends with this here shield. WTF am I doing? LOL!" Yes, Cap speaks Internet. I just can't see Cap going all emo because of some collateral damage. That's a normal work day for him.
Clone Thor? Is that really a good idea? Because when the real Odinson returns, I think he's going to be more than a little pissed off at Tony and Reed when he hears about Clor.

Is Civil War going to irreversably change the status quo of the Marvel Universe forever and ever? Wait, I'll answer this one: no.

Hey, if you made it this far, congratulations. Apparently I had a lot to get off my chest. It's all part of my quest for relevance and timely, life-altering blogging during Relevant Content Week.

Relevant Content Week Begins!

This week I'm going to try something crazy - I'm actually going to "review" some comics that I purchased recently. Yes, for once I will actually post content that is relevant to Today's Comic Book Reader (which is a fancy way of saying I will be bitching and moaning about Civil War).

So join me, won't you, as we embark on a journey of timely commentary. Join me for Relevant Content Week - it will change your life.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Cleaning out the My Pictures folder

It's time once again for me to purge my My Pictures folder. At work I frequently attach pictures to emails for humorous or ironic effect. The kids love it. However, I dread the idea of sending the same image twice - how uncool. So on occasion I have to purge, and I mean purge like an 18th century French aristocrat - noisily into some rose bushes.

These fine images cannot go to waste, so I inflict them upon you, gentle reader. Yes, this is what passes for content around here these days.

New! Yellowjacket action figure with corpulent, dismembered leg of the Blob!

Laser polearm Viking wookie alert!
Laser polearm Viking wookie alert!
Laser polearm Viking wookie alert!

Because I love Carol Channing.

Nazi yeti cyclops alert!
Nazi yeti cyclops alert!
Nazi yeti cyclops alert!

Wake me up and let's go-go in The Whambulance! The Legomancer himself Dave Lartigue is responsible for this work of genius.

A Dave's Long Box reader sent this image of yours truly grafted on top of the head of a despondent, institutionalized Matthew Modine from the film Birdy. I can't remember who sent it, which sucks. Email me, mystery artist, so you may receive acclaim.
(Is that just a trick of the light or does Campbell/Modine have a serious unit on him?)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Jonah Hex Ultimate Spaghetti Makeover!

Man, what the hell is up with Jonah Hex's freaky-ass facial deformity?

An incident in Hex's violent past left part of the Confederate gunslinger's face disfigured, Two-Face style. A molten tomahwak left him with a boogly right eye and a weird strip of flesh that stitches one side of his mouth shut. The end result is a lead-slinging Frankenstein who terrifies children and dogs.

Being frighteningly disfigured would be an asset for a gunfighter like Jonah Hex - I'll bet more than one opponent has been startled by his groteque mug for a split-second too long. On the other hand, having a face like Darkman would make it hard to keep a low profile when there's a price on your head. To say nothing of eating or dental hygiene.

It begs the question:

Why doesn't Jonah Hex at least get that unsightly strip of flesh taken care of?

I know the dude lives during the 19th century, but surely he could find a dentist in some town with a straight razor and some grain alcohol who could slice that sinister skin stitch in six seconds.

Or perhaps a poorly drawn manga girl with scissors could help Mssr. Hex... (prepare for comedy)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Lame-ass villain #17: Razor Fist

Razor Fist is an old school Marvel villain from the 70s (Master of Kung Fu to be exact) with a very accurate and descriptive name. Actually, Stabby Hands would be even more accurate, because the dude has foot-long blades instead of hands.

Think about that: getting knives for hands indicates a deep level of commitment to stabbing and slashing things. I mean, if you want somebody stabbed, Razor Fist would be your guy. But he’s sort of a one-trick pony.

Let’s ask the obvious questions here: How does Razor Fist put on his pants? Drive a car? Or open a frickin’ door even? I would imagine that he could learn how to eat with his giant knife hands, although soup would probably be out of the question. But seriously how does Razor Fist work out the mundane task of traveling to the location where he must stab people? What is a day in the life of Razor Fist like? Does he have an assistant or something, to help with bathing and er, wiping?

Much like that issue of Batman where he wraps his injured hands in the form of big fists, Razor Fist could be defeated by a stout locked door. And that, my friends, is why Razor Fist is a Lame-Ass Villain.

(Razor Fist image by Mark Texeira cribbed from Big Wow Art)

Thursday, February 15, 2007


JLA: Gods and Monsters is a cautionary tale about the dangers of steroids, nuns, and pleated skirts and/or slacks.

A one-shot comic by writers Dan Jolley and Josh Krach, Gods and Monsters is the story of a cult of people in pleated legwear who have all been saved at one point by the JLA heroes, who they now worship as godlike saviors. The cultists are manipulated by the mysterious Sister Glory, a woman who may not be what she seems to be… and for the record, she seems to be a buff blonde nun with breast implants in spandex.

The basic idea of Gods and Monsters is pretty cool, but it loses some impact with the addition of elements like these giant “war wheel” flying saucers that the cultists cruise around in for some reason, and the distractingly buxom Sister Christian or whatever her name is. There's a tangential plot line wherein the Justice League heroes are considered public menaces and are hunted by asshole heroes like Captain Atom and Guy Gardner, but it goes nowhere and sort of distracts from the main plot and theme.
Gods and Monsters is a bit of a mess, but Scott Benefiel and Jasen Rodriguez's stylized art makes it a pretty mess, at least. Benefiel draws exagerated, massively proportioned heroic figures that work within the plot and Rodriguez has a nice clean inking style that compliments Benefiel's pencils well.
Everyone in the book looks like they've been hittin' the steroids, particularly Sister Christian and Superman. Lay off the gym candy, Superman, that D-Bol will fuck you up. If your biceps are bigger than your skull, you need to stop and get help before you lose all your hair and grow breasts.
Actually, Benefiel's superhero physiques don't look creepy and vascular and steroidy so much as they look inflated, like everyone's been hitting the Ed McGuinness Gym. I can appreciate that clean, smooth, cartoony aesthetic - there's only so much cross-hatching and scratchy lines a fella can take. The style fits nicely with the colorful, larger-than-life JLA characters. Even Batman looks pretty cool with shiny balloon muscles.
In addition to his fun, stylized rendering, Benefiel brings some solid visual storytelling skills to the book. He has a playful approach to sequential art that really enhances the story and glosses over some of the less-than-gripping aspects of the comic.
Check out this sequence where The Flash stops the Pleated Ones from committing mass suicide by stealing every single poison pill from their hands before they can pop it in their mouths:

I love that sequence. Christ, look at the size of Flash's jaw! Talk about leading with your chin.
Gods and Monsters derails somewhat in the third act, when we learn that Sister Christian is actually... well, that would be spoiling the ending. The big reveal at the end undermines the whole superhero cult concept - without going into detail, we learn that it's all an Evil Scheme from an old enemy you've never heard of. Big whoop.
The art and writing in Gods and Monsters does manage to strike a playful, light-hearted tone throughout the whole book which makes the book fun to read but glosses over the more disturbing aspects of the Pleated Ones suicide/murder cult. I don't think the book should have been painted in virgin blood and oil by Dave McKean or anything, but the creators of the book don't seem to be taking the cult too seriously so it's hard for the reader to do the same.
One of the things I did find adorable was the way Benefiel draws characters with huge gaping mouths. Everybody in the book can unhinge their jaws like a python or like a Muppet. Green Lantern looks like he could swallow a canteloupe whole!
So there you go. JLA: Gods and Monsters doesn't quite hit the mark but you could do worse.
Reading this has made me want to hunt down Scott Benefiel's other work to see how his pencils look with a different inker and to see if he draws all his characters with inflatable biceps and trapdoor mouths. His art may not be a good fit for all aspects of the storyline, but I'd really like to see more of his stuff.
Because really: Muppet-mouthed, hyper-muscular superheroes? Can that be a bad thing?
I say thee nay.
Bonus art! Spot the vaguely inappropriate sound effect in the panel below! And man, look at the guns on Wonder Woman, she is ripped!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Let Fly The Freak Flag!

Today I’d like to talk about personal body armor, the comic book Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose, and grizzly bears.

I read an article (here) about Troy Hurtubise, a mulleted madman from Canada who created a suit of bear-fighting armor, has fallen on financial hard times and has put up a suit of his custom-designed HALO body armor on eBay. This makes me sad.

In case you don’t know, Troy Hurtubise was the subject of a fantastic documentary called Project: Grizzly (not to be confused with Grizzly Man, which we’ll get to in a moment). The film chronicles Troy’s efforts at designing the Ursus series of bear-proof personal armor and his quest to test the armor in the field – in other words, he wanted a frickin’ grizzly bear to maul him.

Digest that for a moment.

This eccentric, Bowie-knife toting, buckskin-wearing fellow from the Great White North was on a quest to meet ‘The Old Man” in mano-a-bearo combat, and the suits he designed, like some redneck Tony Stark, looked like they could stand up to a grizzly and then some.

Here is a demonstration of the resilience of the Ursus suits:

Hmm, I don’t recall that music in the Project: Grizzly movie. The Benny Hill music might have been funnier. But you get the point: this guy is fucking awesome.

I won’t spoil the movie for you, but let’s just say the Ursus armor doesn’t live up to its potential due to an unforeseen but totally obvious set of circumstances. Project: Grizzly is the study of a Quixotic guy who follows his own path, and you gotta respect that.

Troy’s most recent invention was a suit of armor directly out of the HALO video games. It looks sleek and goofy all at the same time. Troy was hoping to get a buyer for the prototype, but has had no luck. Now he’s resorted to selling the armor on eBay.

There’s something admirable about a guy so committed to his dreams, so immersed in his life’s work that he risks everything. There’s a thin line between that level of commitment and lunacy, and I don’t know where it is. But how many of us get bogged down in our day-to-day existence, letting the dictates and requirements of society weigh us down while our childhood (or childlike) dreams slip away? “I can’t quit my job and go hunt for the yeti in Bhutan – I’d lose out on my stock options!”

Maybe that’s why guys like Troy Hurtubise or the late Timothy “Grizzly Man” Treadwell resonate with me. Sure, there are people out there who fulfill their dreams to restore a MiG fighter or rescue a B-17 from an ice field in Greenland or explore the shipwreck of the Titanic like James Cameron, but it’s harder for me to connect with a wealthy retiree or film maker who follows their path, but with safety nets. Guys like Troy and Treadwell really fucking go for it – and some times they fail.

Or get eaten.

As a less extreme example, take Jim Balent, creator of the witchy T&A book Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose. This guy had a pretty good gig drawing comics for the major publishers and is probably most known for his lengthy run on Catwoman. Balent turned his back on work-for-hire art and took the plunge, self-publishing his own small line of Broadsword Comics built around the Tarot title.

Because the dude loves him some witches with big tits.

Setting aside any value judgment about the merits of Tarot, you have to admire the guy’s commitment. Jim Balent is 100% geek, and brother, he is letting it all hang out. Have you seen pictures of his Star Wars wedding? Holy shit. That’s hardcore. The guy is living the dream – he’s found a way to make a living out of doing what he loves most. He just happens to really dig supernatural shit, geek stuff, and heaving bosoms. Dude is like Gary Gygax crossed with Russ Meyers. And he found a woman who digs on all the same stuff and I mean, come on. Look at that wedding photo. It’s kinda sweet. Living the dream, baby.

I’m not a huge fan of Tarot, thought I know some people really dig it. But I do admire Jim Balent for taking what I’m sure was a professional and financial risk to self publish and just let his freak flag fly.

Granted, flying one’s freak flag need not involve fannish or dangerous behavior, but it does involve a certain degree of risk and vulnerability. In this age of irony, it can be hard to fully embrace your passions for fear of mockery or ridicule (apparently it is much less hard when there are TV cameras filming you). Living the dream involves living honestly and not giving a shit what other people think of you, and that can be hard. Because let’s face it, people like to make fun of weirdos. Mea culpa.

But God bless all the weird cats out there. Unless we’re just paying lip service to the concepts of individuality and pluralism, you have to salute people like this guy. Or that Ninja Turtles gal whose video got yanked by Viacom. And this guy. Or this guy. Or these people. Him. Even him. Even them.

Which is why the situation with Troy Hurtubise makes me a little sad. If there were any poetry in the universe, some wealthy patron would help him out like they did back in the Renaissance. Somebody throw that guy a line!

I understand that we live in the real world and that shit’s not fair, but I really like the idea of some guy somewhere working late into the night in his garage on something crazy like the world’s first Cougar-Proof Jogging Armor. Or some guy spending his summer vacation trolling around Loch Ness towing a sonar array. Or some kid in Iowa who makes incredible monster masks. Or the old man in England who has been working for years on an orbital rocket and who still looks at the night sky and hopes. *

Man, I fucking love that there are people like that in the world.

*This paragraph brought to you by the Walt Disney Co.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Crap! This came out while I was on my little blogging hiatus. The Official Handbook of the Invincible Universe #2 is the second of two issues that offer a near-complete guide to the heavy hitters and bit players in Robert Kirkman's excellent Image comic Invincible. It's a loving tip of the hat to the old Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe that the late great Mark Gruenwald used to put out back in the day.
Editor/artist/ninja master Dusty Abell gathered a formidable roster of talent to write and illustrate the Invincible Handbooks, including yours truly Dave Campbell. I wrote the biographic info for 17 (I think) entries in this issue, including my favorites Science Dog, Shrinking Ray, and my man Rex Splode. Dusty's great coup was enlisting Elliot R Brown's technical support for this project. Brown was the guy who did all the technical drawings for the Marvel handbooks and is a geek genius. He worked out the science of the Invincible universe and how superpowers work, and he did a kick-ass cross section of Robot's sky cycle. That alone makes it worth getting in my book.
Anyway, it came out a couple of weeks ago and you could probably find a copy if you really loved me.

Blame Brandon, not me

A meme via brash Brandon Bragg at Random Panels. I could have taken the high road and put some thought into my image and strayed away from tired, obvious humor, but I did not.

Monday, February 05, 2007

WOLVERINE #142 Marvel Comics, 1999

Man, remember when Wolverine had bone claws? That was stoopid.

I can’t recall the issue due to lack of caring, but some time during the Time of Great Darkness known as the Nineties, Magneto used his magnetic powers to rip out the adamantium metal that reinforces Wolverine’s skeleton. For what seemed like years, everyone’s favorite mutant madman went into battle without his unbreakable bones. On the plus side, Wolverine weighed 100 lbs less and he could now get through airport security.

The thing that I could never figure out (and I’m sure somebody will educate me) was the bone claw thing. WTF? I have all those old Marvel handbooks and I’ve seen Elliot Brown’s cross section of Wolverine’s skeleton, which clearly show that Wolverine’s claws were artificially grafted on by the same evil Canadians who gave him his shiny skeleton. The claws are clearly mechanical, not natural. So whattup with the bone claws? Somebody’s got some ‘splaining to do.

Anyway, this issue of Wolverine takes place during the bone claw era, and features Wolverine teaming up with the Canadian super group Alpha Flight* for the 900th time. There’s very little set-up: Wolverine and Co. bust into an A.I.M. facility trying to rescue Alpha Flight founder Mac Hudson, whose cyborg ass is the subject of some typically cruel A.I.M. experiments. For those who don’t know, A.I.M. is a high-tech organized crime syndicate dedicated to Bad Science whose members dress like evil beekeepers. If A.I.M. shows up in your comic, you have a pretty fair chance of MODOK making an appearance as well. I’m not even going to bother explaining the radness that is MODOK – just go here and here and you should be up to speed.

This issue was written by Erik “Savage Dragon” Larsen and Eric Stephenson with art by then-newcomer Leinil Francis Yu, the Filipino sensation who will be taking over the penciling chores on Bendis’ Avengers soon.

Yu’s art is serviceable in this issue but his visual storytelling is a little klunky. I’m not crazy about his interpretation of A.I.M. goons, either – they look a little too steampunk or something to me. Regardless, one can glimpse The Radness in Yu’s work in this issue. Nowadays the guy can do no wrong in my book.

The fanboy in me appreciates the classic Alpha Flight line-up in this book, as seen in the splash page (above). Let’s see, there’s Northstar, Aurora, Sasquatch, Puck, Heather Hudson, and what looks like a Whilce Portacio drawing but is supposed to be Shaman or somebody. Oooh, and look! Pretty purple lasers!

I love/hate Puck, Alpha Flight’s resident dwarf acrobat, but what the hell…? Yu’s version of Puck looks like one of the Mario Bros. in a gimp suit. That’s a little too fetishy for me, thanks.

The weird thing about this comic is Heather Hudson, who once led Alpha Flight as Vindicator and now goes by the codename Brick Haus. As originally created by John Byrne, Heather Hudson was a rarity in comics: a strong female character with a slender, realistic physique. Somehow over the years she morphed from Normal Gal into Miss Boom Chika Boom.

Apparently the powers that be at Marvel thought that Ms Hudson was showing a little too much d├ęcolletage on the cover, so they employed the time-honored technique known as the De-Nudifying Effect. Showing too much skin? Just color those Power Girls and voila! Instant moral acceptability.

Of course, the De-Nudifying Effect is not used inside the book itself, just the cover. Here’s a completely non-gratuitous shot of Heather in the clutches of some A.I.M. pervs who are absolutely chuffed that they were scheduled for this shift.

Alpha Flight are captured with remarkable ease by A.I.M. and M.O.D.O.K., but Wolverine manages to evade captivity and slash a few throats along the way. In the end, M.O.D.O.K. unveils his secret Wolverine-killing weapon, and… to be continued.

Sadly, I did not get the next issue. Can anybody tell me if Wolverine survived? I’ve been waiting eight frickin’ years to find out if he made it or not.

*Not to be confused with Swedish super group ABBA, which Wolverine never belonged to, as far as I know.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

We now resume our regularly scheduled programming


Crisis averted, I breathe a sigh of relief. You can't see me, but rest assured I am doing a little "raise the roof" dance like the kitten to the right as I watch the Merciless Sword of Fate drift off to dangle over some other poor bastard's head.

So now that my generic Personal Shit is done, it's time to blog once again. I have to catch up with that wily bastard Chris Sims, the Road Runner to my Coyote, who blogs like every fucking day. It's embarassing, these damn kids are running circles around me.
Well no more! I'm armoring up and riding into battle on my Segway with girded loins and fire in my belly and a glint in my eye and a load in my pants.
Once again, it is ON. And by on, I mean "telling the same six jokes about crappy old comics and passing it off as new material."
Thanks for your patience everybody!

Next: Wolverine vs AIM vs the de-nudifying effect.