Thursday, July 31, 2008

A favorite moment from Batman history

In the wake of the hoopla surrounding the Dark Knight movie, many longtime Batman fans are waxing nostalgic about their favorite moments, big and small, from Batman's very long comic book history. Here's a small moment from Batman history that's been MY personal favorite for a long, long time. From Batman #234 (1971):

I think it's Jim Gordon's reaction that sells this whole scene for me. Regardless, I still love it.

Thank you, Neal Adams. :-)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

YES to bringing back Barry Allen ...

... because the DC Universe can NEVER have enough people around to tell Hal Jordan how fabulous he is:

(NO, they aren't talking about what you probably think they're talking about. ;->)

From JLA Year One.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A match made in hell

This never REALLY happened -- and I think we can all be grateful. It's quite likely that any comic book featuring a teamup between THESE two would very quickly degenerate into a full-blown porn mag. No, this image is actually, merely the cover illustration from DC's Secret Origins #36. See? -->

The issue itself contains solo (origin) stories of Hal, Tom Kalmaku, and Ivy -- and that's all.

Still, the idea of Hal Jordan and Poison Ivy together ...! The mind boggles at the thought.

Well, at least everything would be green.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Green Lama #3 (1945): "The Riddle of Toys"

Admittedly, the primary reason I started reading, and have continued to read, the comic book series Project Superpowers is due to the presense of the Green Lama. I'm rather fond of the character, and I rather like what Alex Ross & co. have done with him in terms of his powers. Many other super-heroes from the Lama's era (the Golden Age) are more or less Superman clones in terms of their abilities. For me, though, the Green Lama has always been just different enough from other Golden Age heroes to be much more than a "Superman clone." After all, Superman isn't a practising (and rather blatant) Buddhist, and he certainly doesn't wear green -- and I've always been fond of "green" heroes, anyway. Besides, unlike many other super-heroes, the Green Lama is a pretty easy-going guy (though definitely NOT nonviolent) and never seems to take himself TOO seriously.

Most people have never seen an old, original Green Lama comic book story. So, let's have some fun and peek at The Green Lama #3 (1945), featuring the work of legendary artist Mac Raboy, and featuring the closest thing the Lama has to an arch-enemy: Falstaff!

Falstaff (named after the beloved Shakespeare character from Henry IV and The Merry Wives of Windsor) is kinda like the Burgermeister Meisterburger from the old Rankin-Bass stop-motion TV special, Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (1970), in that he robs children of their toys. Unlike the grouchy ol' Burgermeister, though, Falstaff is generally a jolly guy -- though that doesn't stop him from having his thugs pull guns on poor little kids. (Here's an interesting bit of trivia: Actor Paul Frees, who did the voice of the Burgermeister, also did the voice of the Green Lama in a 1940s radio serial.) Anyway, Falstaff is a lousy, rotten toy thief who creates real problems for toy lovers, and for the Green Lama. Hide your action figures, fanboys and fangirls, and read on!

The tale begins in New York, with a bunch of kids playing outside on the street ('cause, hey, that's where kids played back then). One kid has a big, shiney new toy fire engine, and he's showing it off to his buddy: "Mr. Jerome, who owns a toy store, is my pop's friend and he gave this to me!"

Suddenly, a thug leaps out of the shadows and takes the fire engine away from the kid. He then shoves the kid and leaps into a getaway car.

Witnessing the crime, though, is wealthy playboy Jethro Dumont, alter ego of the Green Lama! He says his words to transform into the Lama: "Om Mani Padme Hum!"

Green Lama flies after the car, but the bad guys see him. The car suddenly emits a smokescreen, and the Lama gets lost in the smoke. The car gets away.

After changing back to civilian attire, Jet has a word with the boys and learns that the one kid, Bobby Stout, received the fire engine "only yesterday."

Jet promises to get Bobby a new fire engine. He pays a visit to Mr. Jerome's toy shop and while there tells Mr. Jerome about the theft. Mr. Jerome says he'll go ahead and give Bobby a new toy himself, and claims there was nothing special about the one that was stolen. Jet then leaves the store, but he still feels a bit suspicious about the theft. Why would anyone want to steal an essentially "worthless" toy?

(Hey, Green Lama -- by the 21st century, that toy may not be so worthless and may, in fact, become a hot item for toy collectors! But, I digress ...)

The next day, at a boys' baseball game in Central Park, a boy named Jimmy is showing off his new baseball glove to his pals: "Robby Steller is my pop's friend and he autographed this glove himself! See where he signed his name!"

Three guesses what happens next.

(Now, just what kinda scumbag pulls a machine gun on a little kid?! Geez!)

However, standing on a terrace with a great view of the park is Tsarong, Jethro Dumont's buddy from Tibet. Tsarong sees the theft and calls Jet, who immediately transforms into Green Lama and goes after the crooks.

This time, the Lama succeeds in stopping the car, but the bad guys still give him some trouble:

(I gotta admit, one of the reasons why I love green super-heroes so much is that, for some odd reason, they're all so endearingly clumsy. Hey, Jet -- did you forget you can fly?)

Jet finds out where the boy who lost the baseball glove lives, and pays a visit. He finds out that the glove was autographed by famous pitcher Robby Steller and it was "the only thing he ever autographed!"

Playing on a hunch, Jet then decides to pay a visit to his friend, Lieutenant Caraway of the NYPD (who apparently knows that Jethro Dumont is the Green Lama). Jet describes the bad guys' getaway car to Caraway, who checks his records and verifies that it was stolen. Jet tells Caraway to watch out for checks with Steller's name forged on them.

Readers are then given a peek inside Falstaff's hideaway, which indeed shows a clerk practising rewriting the baseball glove's signature.

Later, while out and about, Jet spots the bad guys and follows them into a local five-and-dime shop. Just as the bad guys hold up the store clerks and steal a bunch of toy mechanical men from a store case (all the while asking Falstaff why the heck they're stealing mechanical dolls), the Green Lama shows up.


Green Lama hauls the crook back to police headquarters and turns him over to Caraway. It seems that Caraway likes having Green Lama around so that he can use him threaten crooks: "If you don't start talking, I'll let the Green Lama take a swing at you!"

The crook claims to know nothing except that all members of Falstaff's gang were to meet at 4th and Main at 3:00. Caraway determines that they must be planning to rob the bank on that corner. Green Lama changes back to Jethro Dumont and goes to the bank, posing as a customer.

Sure enough, at 3:00, Falstaff and his gang show up at the bank and turn loose the toy mechanical men they previously stole. The toys march toward the bank vault and blow it wide open. Jet then changes to Green Lama and confronts the bad guys. He has better luck against them this time.

Yeah, that's right -- Falstaff's the toy store owner, and he took advantage of that position to have the local kids tell him all about the toys they had. Whatta jerk.

So, why did Falstaff steal the "worthless" toy fire engine at the beginning of the tale? Well, it turns out that he'd hidden the key to his personal safe in the toy, and then accidentally gave away THAT toy instead of one of its duplicates.

Oops! This definitely makes Falstaff a candidate for an episode of America's Dumbest Criminals.

Jimmie Johnson wins at the Brickyard

If I may be allowed to give my opinion of yesterday's running of the Brickyard 400 (yeah, that's right -- BRICKYARD 400. That's what we Hoosiers call it, and what we'll ALWAYS call it, no matter WHO the sponsor is. Nya, nya, Allstate!): The race was BO-RING!

It certainly wasn't the drivers' fault. There were massive issues with the tires. At one point, a right rear tire blew and practically took out the entire side of the car (Matt Kenseth's?). Hey, when THOSE tires go, baby, it's very dangerous. So, of course the officials established mandatory yellow flags for every 10 laps or so, which made for a VERY long, VERY boring, VERY frustrating race for all involved. At least no one suffered any major injuries. Major kudos to the pole sitter, Jimmie Johnson, for figuring out a strategy to climb on top of the mess and win the race!

Here’s the final tally of how everyone finished:

1 Jimmie Johnson
2 Carl Edwards
3 Denny Hamlin
4 Elliott Sadler
5 Jeff Gordon
6 Jamie McMurray
7 Kasey Kahne
8 Greg Biffle
9 Jeff Burton
10 A.J. Allmendinger
11 Mark Martin
12 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
13 Ryan Newman
14 David Ragan
15 Kyle Busch
16 Bobby Labonte
17 Reed Sorenson
18 Patrick Carpentier
19 Clint Bowyer
20 David Gilliland
21 Sam Hornish Jr.
22 Marcos Ambrose
23 Tony Stewart
24 Martin Truex, Jr.
25 Scott Riggs
26 Casey Mears
27 Terry Labonte
28 J.J. Yeley
29 Joe Nemechek
30 David Reutimann
31 Regan Smith
32 Jason Leffler
33 Robby Gordon
34 Michael McDowell
35 Dave Blaney
36 Travis Kvapil
37 Kevin Harvick
38 Matt Kenseth
39 Juan Montoya
40 Kurt Busch
41 Paul Menard
42 Brian Vickers
43 Michael Waltrip

Here's hoping the inaugural MotoGP race on September 14 is an improvement. Hey, there are gonna be MOTORCYCLES racing at the Speedway for the first time in nearly 100 years! That's GOTTA be exciting! :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Crisis Event to beat ALL Crisis Events!

Coming to YOU from the DCU next summer!

FIRST, there was the gut-wrenching Crisis of Infinite Earths!
AND THEN, there was the eyeball-wrenching Zero Hour!
The esophagus-wrenching Identity Crisis!
The hair-wrenching Infinite Crisis!
And the epiglottis-wrenching Final Crisis!

Ah, but Final Crisis isn't the final tale! In the most stunning Crisis epic YET, the Anti-Monitor is BACK (don't ask how; it won't make sense, anyway), and the heroes of the DCU face the greatest challenge of their lives! DC Comics is proud to present ... MIDLIFE CRISIS!

(Yes, yes, I know -- "Midlife Crisis" is a VERY old DC fanboy joke. I dunno what came over me ...)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Why Power Girl will never rejoin the Justice League: Part 7

Once the truth was out, Power Girl could never, ever bring herself to face her male teammates again.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Green Lantern vs. brass rope stand

Just one more little scan from Emerald Dawn II. Whonk!

Hey, Hal -- Brass IS a yellow metal, y'know. I swear that sometimes Hal forgets he's NOT Superman.

*Sigh* ...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Goodbye, Emerald Dawn

With Geoff Johns' new retelling of Hal Jordan's Green Lantern origin story in Secret Origin, it's time to say goodbye to the previous retelling of the tale: Emerald Dawn, and its sequel, Emerald Dawn II.

I admit I'm not saying goodbye to them completely. In keeping with my ongoing comic-book-pruning task, I have them in trade form, so there's no need to hang onto my comic book issues anymore. The issues featuring the Geoff Johns origin tale will probably go away, too, once they're in trade form. For now, though, they're allowed to take up the space being vacated by Emerald Dawn.

Though so far I do like the new Secret Origin story better than Emerald Dawn, I have to agree with some fellow GL fans that there's one thing in particular that I'm gonna really gonna miss from Emerald Dawn. Oh, sure, it's fun to see Kilowog clobber Hal with a big yellow Frisbee in Secret Origin ...

... but NOTHING beats Hal Jordan VS. Big Yellow Sign, from Emerald Dawn:

Big Yellow Sign = 1; Hal Jordan = 0!

Anyway -- GOODBYE, Emerald Dawn. No more shy and indecisive Hal. No more drunk driving. No more Hal spending time in prison. And no more Hal having to explain his sexual orientation to Sinestro one more time ...

I kid! I kid! ;-)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Green Lantern "mystery art" project

Glass House Graphics often supplies artwork for comic book publishers (amongst other clients) in need of art and materials for promotional or out-of-house projects. Following are a bunch of drawings from their Studio Sakka division, which was/has been working on an "interactive project" based on Green Lantern. There's another, similar project based on Aquaman.

I have a zillion of these drawings, done by various artists. The ones posted here represent only a small sampling, and there are a zillion more floating around out there for collectors. Unfortunately, the guy I got them from (who sells and distributes art from Studio Sakka) has no idea what project they're from. All he knows is that it's an "interactive educational book," and that it's being published/distributed outside of the USA. (To me, the drawings look like coloring book pages -- but some of them are labelled "PC-MAC" on the back, so who knows?) At any rate, I'd love to hear from anyone who knows anything at all about these drawings, or the project they're related to.

(This one really cracks me up. GETTIM, Sapphire!):