You gotta watch out, man! You could get kicked in the balls at any time! Just keeping you frosty.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Off Topic: Time Wasting
Friday, August 17, 2007
7 Easy Steps to Becoming an Unstoppable Killing Machine - FOR KIDS!
- Self-confidence bordering on arrogance!
- Total physical domination over any opponent – even your dad!
- Mastery of your yang, the Brown Dragon Force within us all!
- Special Brown Dragon Wig!
- Privilege of wearing exclusive Brown Dragon Fightwear and Brown Dragon Accoutrements!
Step 1. - Make Your Body Into a Thing Like Steel
The first step to Brown Dragon Ultimate Martial Arts Mastery is forging your soft flesh into an invincible suit of living armor, impervious to pain.
Unless you have access to a spiteful old crone and a goat, I recommend standing on an empty five-gallon paint bucket and flagellating yourself with a bike chain while listening to appropriate music ( such as Martial Arts Mood, the official Brown Dragon soundtrack, item #BD259 in our catalog). Do this every day after school for six weeks and you will become as hard and as rigid as a sword.
Step 2. Conquer the Brown Dragon Within
The cornerstone of Brown Dragon Ultimate Martial Arts is dominating and harnessing your inner Brown Dragon, the yang force within us all. Unless you can seize control and firmly grasp your yang, you will never become a True Master like me, Lord Xavier Hellfist.
Since ancient times, the Wise Men of the Orient have taught us about the Brown Dragon, the embodiment of the yang that lives coiled deep within each of us. The Brown Dragon is maculine, “dark” energy – destructive and stinky. To become unconquerable in battle, you must grapple with your yang, the Brown Dragon inside you.
The process is deceptively simple. Find a quiet, isolated place, like a garage or tool shed. Light some incense (Brown Dragon Scent, catalog item BD #239) or, if your parents won’t allow it, use some air freshener. Calm your mind. Breathe deeply. Imagine a doorway opening inside you. Invite the Brown Dragon in. Be polite. Then -- defeat it in Psychic Combat!
(NOTE: Failure at this stage may result in brain damage, dementia, or an inflammatory bowel disease. YOU MUST NOT FAIL! GRASP YOUR YANG SERPENT! DEFEAT THE BROWN DRAGON! BECOME THE BROWN DRAGON!)
I, Xavier Hellfist, won the 1973 World Fighting Arts Championship with this simple but devastating groinal assault – the Ball Strike.
Developed in the 16th century by frisky Shaolin monks who were always rough housing and playfully striking one another’s privates, the Ball Strike has developed over time from an adolescent crotch punching game into an entire fighting discipline, barudo.
The Ball Strike is almost as potent as the Death Punch, but only works on non-neutered male opponents. Avoid using this technique when fighting women, eunechs, or very old men.
To practice barudo, you must have a suitable target. I recommend buying bull testes from your local butcher and double wrapping them in a plastic bag. Hang the bag at crotch level and you are ready to begin.
Visualize your clenched fist as a meteor rocketing down from space and into your opponent’s crotch. Summon the Brown Dragon force within… and then punch. Optional: scream “BALL STRIKE!” as you punch. This will have no effect against bull testes, but will startle a living opponent.
Practice this 1,001 times. When you have attained mastery, practice the Ball Strike using your knees, feet, and steak knives. You are now ready.
Step 4. Fight Dogs
It can be difficult for a young apprentice to find a challenging opponent to test your mastery of Brown Dragon Ultimate Martial Arts. In years past, students would be cast into pits with cobras, wild boars, or pandas to challenge their skills. Unless you live in an area with an abundance of bears, venomous snakes, or aggressive pigs, I recommend that you practice by battling dogs.
Find the meanest dog in your neighborhood and challenge it to one-on-one combat. Often the mere act of stepping into a mean dog’s territory is sufficient to initiate the duel, but you may have to slap the dog in the snout or throw a rock at it. The dog will attack, but your body is like steel and you can harness the Brown Dragon power to defeat it. If you find yourself seriously mauled or bitten, wait until the next day and repeat the process until your victory is complete. Then eat the dog’s liver.
Now you have tasted real combat – and dog liver.
Step 5. Weapons Mastery
Becoming an Unstoppable Killing Machine means not only forging your body into an Engine of Death, but also becoming adept at the various Brown Dragon martial arts weapons. We recommend purchasing one of the quality weapons from our catalog, like stick ($10.95 + S&H, item BD439) or numchuk ($59.95 + S&H, item BD4310) or combat tine ($14.95 + S&H, BD310) - each comes with the Xavier Hellfist seal of approval and a 6 page instruction booklet.
Brown Dragon Martial Arts Masters use stealth as well as force. You must become the night by transforming yourself into a living shadow.
We recommend wearing black clothing (Brown Dragon Body Stocking, catalog item BD #212) and standing completely still in a dark garage for 4-6 hours. If somebody sees you, start the whole process again. At some point you will either pass out, wet your pants, or you will Become the Night.
Step 7. Death Punch
Based on dim mak, the fabled “death touch” of other lesser fighting arts, the Death Punch is 127% more deadly. Ask yourself: what sounds more hardcore, touching someone to death or punching them to death? Ah, you see now, apprentice.
Put simply, the Death Punch is a close-fisted strike that harnesses the power of the Brown Dragon in order to totally kill somebody. IMPORTANT: DO NOT ATTEMPT THE DEATH PUNCH UNLESS YOU HAVE CONQUERED THE BROWN DRAGON WITHIN. The goal is to seriously kill somebody else, not seriously hurt yourself.
In order to master the Death Punch, you will need to practice on something other than a human being. I recommend watermelons, canteloupe, or bowling balls. Mount your target on a post at about eye level. Summon your inner Brown Dragon – feel the power flow through you and into your fist. Then… STRIKE!!! As your fist launches like a missile towards the target, scream “DEATH PUNCH!” At the top of your lungs. If you have done it properly, you will kill the watermelon.
After you have killed 66 melons or bowling balls, you will be ready to test the Death Punch on a living target. Find an annoying brother or sister…
CONGRATULATIONS young master! You are now ready for induction into the ranks of the Brown Dragon Society. Please send $25 to our P.O. Box and you will receive your very own Certificate of Deadliness from Xavier Hellfist himself, PLUS our new catalog! Allow 2-4 weeks for shipping.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
MAIL ORDER NINJA TokyoPop, 2006
M.O.N. is a two-issue black and white paperback manga tale of a boy and his ninja from the folks at TokyoPop (am I doing their name right, with a capital T and a capital P?) that is the perfect gateway drug for young kids who aren't ready for La Blue Girl or Overfiend. Yet.
Kidding! There's not a randy tentacle in sight in this kid-friendly book, which deftly treads the narrow line between cute and cool. Writer Josh Elder and artist Erich Owens really strike the right tone with this book, which manages to be accessible to young readers without being patronizing. If there's one thing kids hate, it's material that talks down to them.
Young Timmy McAllister is a plucky little kid who has to deal with bullies, an obnoxiously rich social diva at his school, and a treacherous little sister. He loves his mom's chocolate chip pancakes and the manga Ninja Warrior Gunshyo above all things in life.
McAllister - who shares the same name as Lee Van Cleef's ninja character in the short-lived TV show The Master, BTW - enters the Ninja Warrior Gunshyo Giveaway in the fall Jacques Co. toy catalog, hoping to score a real live ninja of his own to play with. Yes, he wins the contest. It wouldn't be much of a comic book if he didn't.
That's the set-up. The first of two book just sort of playfully riffs on the central idea of "a boy and his ninja" and the second book features a battle against the aforementioned ultra-rich social diva and her own evil mail order ninja, who also happens to be the sworn enemy of Timmy's ninja. Elder and Owens cram the small pages with visual gags, sitcomy situations, and wry humor. If you don't like one joke, you just have to wait a panel or two before they serve up another.
My favorite bits in the book are the little biographical sidebars that they throw in for even the most minor characters, which are often hilarious. If Mail Order Ninja were a movie, it would be full of Trainspotting-style freeze frames with text for each character. The silent compliance of Jiro the ninja to Timmy's wishes is also pretty funny - he'll gamely play with Timmy up in his room because Timmy is his master, simple as that.
There's a multi-page ad for Jacques Co in the middle of the first book that still cracks me up. Jacques is a beret-wearing reformed arms dealer who decides to make ze children of ze world happy with ze toyz! His toyz are insanely dangerous - and therefore insanely popular.
Mail Order Ninja works on pretty much all levels for me - it speaks to the 13-year old boy inside me. No, I have not devoured a young boy, I'm speaking figuratively. The writing is fun but not pandering, and the art is expressive and, well, cute as hell. I expect great things from Josh Elder in particular, who is carving a strong career for himself as we speak. Yes, that's what that horrible nails-on-chalkboard sound is in the background, it's the sound of Elder carving.
I often hear people (such as myself) bitch about how tons of comics these days are just being written by aging fanboys for a shrinking market of other aging fanboys, with precious little material geared towards younger readers. Well shame on me if I can't sing the praises of a book that caters to a younger demographic without shutting the door on older readers. After all, those young readers will grow up to be the entitled aging fanboys of tomorrow. And isn't that what it's all about?
Monday, August 13, 2007
A goodbye to Mike Wieringo
Mike Wieringo's credits include Robin, The Flash, X-Men, Fantastic Four, and his own comic creation Tellos. I loved Wieringo's animated-style art, which was characterized by clean lines, a strong sense of structure and form, and a playful energy and sense of fun. My favorite work of his was his run on The Flash - Wieringo drew neat speed effects and one bad ass Wally West. We need more artists like Mike Wieringo in comics, not fewer.
Thanks and goodbye from a long-time fan.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Haappy Birthday Youngster!
Dr. Slump will see you now, Sims!
Friday, August 10, 2007
Why you no post, Dave Campbell?
a) I have been having annoyingly mittent (as opposed to inermittent) outages of my Internet service this week, which, in the words of David Lo-Pan, "pisses me off to no end."
b) I just finished a marathon tour of the LiveJournal slashfic community.
c) I shaved my head and began mixing GIANT BEER BOTTLES and psychoactives (like the guy below) which is not a good idea.
Monday, August 06, 2007
Shameless self-promotion: TEMPLAR
Templar is a five-issue comic book series full of automatic weaponry, zombies, fu, silver swords, werewolves, submarines, vampires, a demon, some blimps, and a commando assault on The Vatican. It's got everything you need in a comic, except tits. Sorry, no tits.
We decided to "publish" Templar online in this black and white ashcan format. Why?
Because we are pure of heart.
Take a look, won't you? Let me know what you think - unless you hate it, of course.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
SUICIDE SQUAD #10 DC Comics, 1987
That's Amanda Waller's honest and entirely accurate reaction in SS #10 when she finds out that the Batman has snuck into Belle Reve Prison, the secret HQ of the Suicide Squad. They couldn't say "Holy fucking shit, it's Batman!" in Code Approved books back then, but that in essence is what Mrs. Waller is saying.
In the aftermath of DC's Millenium crossover, which was as robotic and awkward as it's Manhunter villains, the Suicide Squad catches Batman's attention in a bad way. It seems Batman doesn't approve of the Squad making a mockery of the justice system by using incarcerated supervillains to do its dirty work, and then freeing the bad guys when their community service is done. In Batman's opinion, that's unethical, unconstitutional, and just uncool. So he disguises himself as a prisoner, gets transfered to Belle Reve Federal Prison in the swamps of Louisiana... and it's go time.
Batman fakes out the surveillance camera in his cell, breaks out, finds his costume (which he had mailed as a care package), sneaks into the command center, and downloads the files he needs on to a floppy disc. It was the Eighties, man. Even Batman was rocking the floppies.*
The Wall notices something is amiss and returns to the control room...
Batman is in the house!
Batman is in the house!
Batman is in the house!
Now that Batman has "gone noisy" it's time for him to break out of Belle Reve, and if that means beating up the entire prison population, so be it. He pummels a bunch of guards, incapacitates Duchess with some Batgas (thanks to Alfred's garlic lasagna), kicks a dog,** ducks a bullet and cold-cocks Deadshot, and beats the shit out of Col. Rick Flag for five minutes before somebody calls time out.
Time for the stand-off. On one side we have Batman, who is the best in the world at whatever he does. On the other side we have Duchess, Deadshot, an armed and pissed Amanda Waller, unconscious Rick Flag (off-panel) and the evening maintenance crew. Actually, that may be The Moustache Squad - khaki clad daredevils who battle mid-life crisis with ADVENTURE!*** That's a tough call; The Moustache Squad know how to handle themselves and they might tip the scales the Squad's way. Still, Batman is invincible and The Moustache Squad tire easily.
Waller wants the floppy disc with 100k of Squad secrets that Batman took. Batman declines; he knows Waller won't kill him in order to keep their secrets. Despite being surrounded by armed people in the middle of a locked-down maximum security prison, Batman weirdly seems to have the upper hand.
Then The Wall drops The Bomb. She says that she's got a nice set of fingerprints from the cell he was in as a fake prisoner, and unless he backs off she'll use all the intelligence assets at her disposal to find out his secret identity and blow his cover.
What can Batman do? He's screwed. That's what happens when you start Playin' the Wall, my caped friend. Batman gives Waller his floppy.**** He also gives her his word never to speak about their agreement or what he's learned there tonight. "I'll find another way of bringing you down," Batman says as he walks out, unhappy.
Where Duchess comes from, promises are as rare as daisies. She can't believe Waller's letting him go:
Boy, I bet Batman was really upset. That must have been kind of awkward for him just walking out of the prison like that after getting schooled by The Wall. There was a long walk of shame to the Batmobile on that day, brother.
Thus ends Suicide Squad Week! Thanks for coming everybody. Drive safe.
*I swear never to write or utter that sentence ever again.
** Kidding. Batman would never kick a dog.
*** Amusingly, two members of the Moustache Squad have no moustaches and one has a beard.
****I swear never to write or utter that sentence ever again.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Friday Night Fights: Total Makeover, Duchess-Style
In Suicide Squad #18, Duchess, the butch beauty from Apokolips, goes up against The Jihad's Manticore II, who has a tail. Duchess likes the tail. She wants the tail. Duchess rips the tail off of Manticore's butt. She beats him with his own tail and spine. The end.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
SUICIDE SQUAD #58 DC Comics, 1991
Yes, comic book rock star Grant Morrison himself appears in the pages of Suicide Squad #58. Writer John Ostrander and Kim Yale slipped Morrison into the Squad line-up - and promptly kill him off - in what is either sly mockery or affectionate piss-taking, or both.
In this comic, an obligatory tie-in to DC's 1991 War of the Gods crossover event, the sinister anti-hero Black Adam enlists the help of the Suicide Squad for an attack on a witch's island chock full of Uzi-toting Amazons and werewolves. I mean, even Black Adam needs help with shit like that.
Squad leader Amanda Waller assembles a small army of Squaddies and second stringers for the assualt, including "The Writer," a pale emo dude who can alter reality just by writing in his laptop. I don't know what version of FinalDraft he has, but I want it.
"The Writer" first appeared in the now famous Animal Man #26 (DC Comics, 1990) , written by Grant Morrison. At the end of his brilliant head-trip of a run on Animal Man, Morrison broke the fourth wall big time by introducing himself in the comic itself to Animal Man as his writer, his creator and ultimate adversary. It was a very well done issue with a surprising emotional resonance that transcended what could have just been a cheap Twilight Zoney storytelling gimmick.
Ostrander and Yale figured, hell, if Morrison appeared in an issue of Animal Man, then he's part of mainstream DC continuity, right? Fair game, right? In Animal Man #26, artist Chas Truog depicted Morrison / The Writer as a ghostly pale British mod, and Squad artist Geoff Isherwood follows form, although here The Writer is dressed in more practical field attire.
The Writer explains his situation to Firehawk and Silver Swan:
Once their ad hoc superhuman army is assembled, the Squad attacks Amazon Werewolf Island, no doubt to weave some plot point into the narrative tapestry that was War of the Gods, which they should have named Yaaawn! instead.
Our man Grant Morrison is doing pretty good, typing away on his metareality laptop and blowing people away just with the power of Story! Robert McKee would be stoked.
You may have seen this coming, but The Writer gets Writer's Block and then he gets Writer's Killed by a werewolf who has probably never even read The Invisibles and wouldn't appreciate good writing if he ate it. What kind of fucked up world do we live in, where a great writer like that can just get killed by an ignorant werewolf? It's depressing.
Maybe it's not a good-natured diss at G.M., maybe Ostrander & Yale are reminding us that the sensitive, the creative, the odd are always at the mercy of the brutal and the stupid.
I think we've all got some thinking to do, don't we? About how you picked on that one Debate Team guy in Jr High just because he was different and maybe he crapped his pants? Or perhaps you were like Grant Morrison getting attacked by werewolves? How does that feel? Talk about it, let it out.
Thank you, Suicide Squad. Thank you for taking us places in our heads we didn't even know we needed to go.