Friday, August 29, 2008

A fun online hero-drawing program -- in English!

For those of you who haven't already found it, ("Lifestyle for Gamers") has posted its own online hero-drawing program: HeroMachine Version 2.5. Anyone who visits the site can play with the program. It's similar in function to the one at Fábrica de Heróis -- only it features a traditional hand-drawn style, and it's in English instead of Portuguese. Also, the creators are very careful to avoid trademark and copyright infringements, so don't expect to find any Superman symbols or Hellboy parts in the drawing selections.

I made myself a Spectre with the program:

(Y'know, it really is amazing that writers and artists have succeeded in painting the Spectre as a frightening figure. I mean, he's a mostly-naked guy in a cloak, a bathing suit, and pixie boots, for crying out loud. How scary is that?)

Have fun playing with the program, everyone. And have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Spectre: Fighting for better-smelling bad guys!

The Spectre continues his crusade to rid the world of evil-doers who scorn soap and deodorant! Seriously, I think Casper's true motives are quite clear here:

That's right -- if you stink, the Spectre's gonna hunt you down ...

... especially if you smell bad enough to make dead people crawl outta their graves:

Wow. Now THAT's stinky.

No doubt about it, the Spectre really does have a serious issue with bad smells -- and you bad guys WILL hear about it, that's for sure. He seems especially fond of using the word "putrid," in particular:

Attention, manufacturers of personal hygiene products: If you need a commercial endorsement for soap or deodorant, the Spectre is your man, er, ghost!

Geez, that company would make millions. MILLIONS!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hoosier Journal of Inanity: YEAR ONE

Well, actually, I've been posting for more than a year now, and it's been NEARLY a year since Sally talked me into "going public" with comments and so forth. (Thanks, Sally!) Like most people in Blogger Land, I started this blog primarily for the fun of it, and to give myself a place to exorcise some creative demons. The blog has since taken on a life of its own.

Somehow I've also managed to keep the blog going in spite of the occasional technical difficulty and one major life-changing event -- namely, Mighty Mite coming into my world. I think it helps that I haven't limited myself to one topic. Sure, I love comic books and super-heroes, but those aren't my only interests and certainly not all I write about here. I think that by making and keeping Hoosier Journal of Inanity an open-interest blog, it's guaranteed to keep going even after I get tired of picking on super-heroes. However, Hoosier-related topics will probably always appear with some sort of regularity -- because, hey, I was born a Hoosier, and that isn't likely to change anytime soon.

Having StatCounter installed on my blog has also been interesting. Thanks to StatCounter, I know that this blog is now averaging over 200 hits a day. I also know that, on average, 60% of the people who find my blog don't hang around for more than a few seconds, but 17% spend MORE THAN AN HOUR reading the posts here. Wow. Any marketing director will tell you that 17% is A LOT.

It's also interesting to see just what posts people like. The single most popular article I've posted, based on the number of hits it's received, is Superman vs. Green Lantern, Part I and Part II.

In second place, a big surprise: Almost every single time I post an article about anything Indiana-related, I get SCADS of hits, and almost all Indiana articles have received an equal number of hits. There must be loads of Hoosiers out there thirsting for Indiana-related blog posts.

Rounding out the top twenty (out of 204 posts so far), the other most popular posts (and I'm completely baffled as to why most of these are popular) include:

- Worst long-term (but temporary) super-hero hairstyles
- Green Comic Book Heroes: More than most people know
- Dancing with the super-heroes!
- The Batman Movie (1966) drinking game
- "Barry, what's wrong with your head?"
- Hal Jordan's butt forever!
- The Crisis Event to Beat All Crisis Events
- This looks like a job for Superman!
- Batman #237: Night of the Reaper
- Green Lantern mystery art project
- Nightcrawler: Show me the way to go home
- Superman vs. Star Sapphire
- Hal Jordan's tips for picking up women

Seriously -- I wouldn't even look twice at most of these articles, but to each their own, I guess.

Via StatCounter, it's also fun to see under what search terms people have found this blog. Recent favorites include:

- Green Lantern Loves Power Girl (No comment)
- Meadowville Indiana (Someone's been watching the movie On the Town)
- Hal Jordan sex life (Again, no comment)
- sexy superheroes (Aren't they all?)
- french lick (I hope they were looking for the Indiana town name and not something else)
- green lantern slash bang (Er ...)
- Batman hates Green Lantern (Well, of course he does!)

Strange. So VERY strange.

SO, with all the attention this blog is getting, I think it's high time I threw together a custom banner, instead of using the generic one from the template I'm using (pretty though it is). Question is, what to feature in the banner? Oh, decisions, decisions! I'd appreciate some help in the matter, so feel free to take the poll in the upper right-hand sidebar, and/or leave a comment here, if you wish. Sea needs a new banner!

Thanks, everyone. :-)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

On wearing a Green Lantern shirt in public

I admit, I own a large number of Green Lantern t-shirts. Mr. Sea teases me about them, but I'm really quite fond of my shirts.

I also admit that I don't often wear t-shirts in public. Admittedly, I'm not really a big t-shirt fan outside of the house -- t-shirts are usually casual wear for mowing the lawn or in lieu of a good pajama top.

When I DO venture into public places in a t-shirt, though, these days it's almost always in a Green Lantern t-shirt. (Yes, I'm a geek.) However, I'm usually VERY careful about which ones I wear.

For example, I learned very quickly not to wear THIS one if I want to avoid harrassment:

It attracts more comments than any other GL shirt I own, but it attracts comments like the following:

"Kyle Rayner is better than Hal Jordan!"
"John Stewart is better than Hal Jordan!"
"Guy Gardner is better than Hal Jordan!"
"Superman could kick Hal Jordan's ass!"
"Why the hell did they bring back Hal Jordan?"
AND the ever-popular, "Hey, I thought Green Lantern was a black guy!"

Then there's THIS shirt, which has a fuzzy Green Lantern logo. That's right -- FUZZY:

Favorite comment: "Looks like moss is growing on your chest!"

Nope, no more fuzzy shirt in public. Sorry.

I'm rather fond of THIS particular shirt, since only true Green Lantern fans get it:

Here again, though, the fans that DO get it tend to bombard me with the same old "So-and-so-is-better-than-Hal-Jordan" comments.

(That, and NEVER wear the shirt to an air show -- unless you want to receive loads of very confused looks from pilots.)

Then there's this nice, simple, non-fuzzy shirt:

Most people who recognize the symbol merely say, "Nice Green Lantern shirt!" However, I DO occasionally get the question, "So, who's your favorite Green Lantern?" Oooooooh, that's just asking for yet another "So-and-so is better than so-and-so" confrontation, like what I get with other shirts.

I found a fool-proof answer to the question, though: "Kilowog!" After I say that, the other person almost always laughs and nods in agreement -- and then leaves me alone.

My favorite Green Lantern shirt? It's THIS one:

Simple. Cool design. Nice, neutral colors. And everyone seems to like it, whether or not they know anything about Green Lantern.

Oh, the peer pressure, the peer pressure ...! Sure, I could just NOT wear ANY Green Lantern t-shirts in public and therefore avoid ALL of this hassle. But where's the fun in that?

The Spectre is a stickler for personal hygiene

That's right, bad guys: Don't forget to wear your deodorant, or the Spectre will melt your guns.

Monday, August 25, 2008

THANK YOU, Hoosier Olympians!

The 2008 Olympics are over, and many of us in Indiana would especially like to congratulate and thank the Olympians from our home state. Congrats on making it to the games, and thank you for representing not only our country but Indiana!

Lloy Ball of Woodburn – Volleyball
Amy Yoder Begley of Kendallville – Track
David Boudia of Noblesville – Diving
Kelci Bryant of Carmel – Diving
Amber Campbell of Indianapolis – Track
Tamika Catchings of Indianapolis – Basketball
Lauren Cheney of Indianapolis – Soccer
Leroy Dixon of South Bend – Track
Mary Beth Dunnichay of Elwood – Diving
Thomas Finchum of Indianapolis – Diving
Haley Ishimatsu of Indianapolis – Diving
Christina Loukas of Bloomington – Diving
David Neville of Merrillville – Track
Samantha Peszek of McCordsville – Gymnastics
Ariel Rittenhouse of Indianapolis – Diving
Bridget Sloan of Pittsboro - Gymnastics

Also congrats to those Olympians who may not call Indiana home, but have Hoosier ties due to attending Indiana schools:

Kayla Bashore, Indiana University – Field Hockey
Shannon Boxx, Notre Dame – Soccer
Kelley Hurley, Notre Dame – Fencing
Kate Markgraf, Notre Dame – Soccer
Gerek Meinhardt, Notre Dame – Fencing
Kara Patterson, Purdue – Track
Aarik Wilson, Indiana University – Track
Mariel Zagunis, Notre Dame – Fencing

WELL DONE, everyone, and thanks again!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Artist Ivan Reis is the KING of TEETH

Okay, everyone, SING ALONG! (To the tune of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat")

Brush, brush, brush your teeth,

Brush them everyday!

Put the toothpaste on your brush,

To help stop tooth decay!

Floss, floss, floss your teeth,

Floss them every day!

Use the string to clean between,

And keep the plaque away!

Clean, clean, clean your teeth,

Clean them every day!

Your teeth will shine for years to come,

In the most beautiful way!

Brush, brush, brush your teeth,

Brush them every day!

Happy, healthy teeth you'll have,

If you treat them right today!

(Dedicated to the American Dental Association.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Guy Gardner vs. Metamorpho!

Ladieeeeeeeeees and gentlemen! Step right up for the fight of the century! (Don’t look, Sally!)

In ONE corner, Guy Gardner -- all-around scrapper and badass Green Lantern.

In the OTHER corner, Metamorpho (Rex Mason), the Element Man -- meaning he can transform into just about any element and use the properties of that element. (It’s an ability that also, technically, makes Rex one of the most powerful super-heroes anywhere; but he never seems to get credit for that for some reason.)

Okay, the fanfare aside, here’s the lowdown on this fight and where, why, and how it occurred:

Justice League Europe issues 11 and 12 (1989) present a situation where Rex finds out that his ditzy ex-wife, Sapphire Stagg, has had a baby boy -- Rex’s baby boy. The baby is being kept at the Akron, Ohio industrial complex of Sapphire’s daddy and Rex’s enemy, the ruthless, greedy businessman Simon Stagg.

The baby, it seems, has powers that are the opposite of Rex’s -- while Rex can turn his body into different elements, the baby turns everything around him into different elements. Simon Stagg has figured out a way to get the baby to consistently produce a new fuel alternative that Stagg is preparing to distribute.

Rex is determined to rescue his son and put a halt to Stagg’s exploitation. He goes storming off to Akron to confront Stagg, with Buddy Baker (Animal Man) and Dimitri Pushkin (Rocket Red) along for the ride, to (theoretically) keep Rex from getting into TOO much trouble.

Even with Animal Man and Rocket Red keeping an eye on Rex, the current leader of Rex’s Justice League Europe team, Captain Atom, is still a bit worried about what Rex will do. He contacts Oberon of Justice League International to see about recruiting additional protection for Stagg.

Overhearing Oberon’s conversation is Guy Gardner, who is a HUGE fan of Simon Stagg’s (“My HERO! Mr. CAPITALISM! The classiest cut-throat I’ve ever met!”) As a member of Justice League International, Guy at this point has suffered the indignities of being punched out by Batman and recovering from a temporary personality change (sickeningly SWEET and SENTIMENTAL) resulting from a blow to the head. Despite it all, though, Guy has remained a real gung-ho scrapper and super-hero, and he LOVES being a Green Lantern.

Before Oberon can offer a solution to the Metamorpho-vs.-Simon Stagg situation, Guy butts in and volunteers to protect Stagg.

(Meanwhile, there’s stuff going on in a side story about Blue Jay and the Silver Sorceress -- but that's a story for another time.)

So, now we have Metamorpho, Animal Man, Rocket Red, and Guy Gardner, all with different agendas and all about to converge on Simon Stagg’s location. Throw the Metal Men into the mix, too, because it turns out that Doc Magnus is on Stagg’s payroll (and apparently blissfully unaware of Stagg’s underhanded schemes). Yep, there’s a real mess in the making here.

When Rex, Buddy, and Dimitri arrive at Stagg Industries, Rex immediately barges in, pushes his way past his ex-wife and her current husband (Java, Simon Stagg’s brutish bodyguard), and makes his way to the baby’s room. He’s a little shocked by what he sees.

Due to the baby having no control over his powers, he’s a danger to everyone around him. So, Doc Magnus has rigged up a sort-of robotic room to care for the baby while also keeping him isolated.

At the same time, Guy Gardner arrives and pushes HIS way to Simon Stagg.

Back at the baby’s room, Metamorpho flies into a rage over how his son is being treated. Rex knocks out both Buddy and Dimitri and breaks into the baby’s isolation chamber.

Before he can reach the baby, though, GUY shows up:

The fight is on!

Yeah. Metamorpho has turned to gold. Green Lantern power rings, at this point, don’t work against anything yellow, including GOLD. Guy really should have thought about that one before tangling with Metamorpho. (‘Course, Hal Jordan made the same mistake years earlier in a fight with the Metal Men. Gold took him out rather easily. But, that’s a story for another time.)

Things really start to get ugly.

But Guy’s never been one to give up if he can help it. No, sir.

Unbelievably, the baby sleeps all through the ruckus between Rex and Guy. With Guy now down for the count, Rex finally gets to see his baby son for the first time -- and, awwwww, he gets all teary eyed. Before he can pick up the kid, though, MORE trouble shows up.

So NOW we have Metamorpho vs. the Metal Men (Gold, Platinum, Iron, Lead, Mercury, and Tin) -- while Guy just lays there on the floor, unconscious and bleeding all over the place (including all over a rather angry-looking rubber ducky). I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about the fight with the Metal Men, ‘cause this article is primarily about Rex vs. Guy. Suffice it to say, Rex defeats the Metal Men rather handily -- primarily because he has ALL of their abilities and then some.

During the fight, though, the robotic room becomes damaged, and a robotic arm ends up flinging the baby across the room. “My son!” Metamorpho yells -- which stops the Metal Men in their tracks, because they hadn’t known exactly WHY Metamorpho was there. The robots just don’t think it's right to keep a daddy away from his son.

Before Metamorpho can try to catch his son, though, Java dives into the room and saves the baby -- and then immediately gets his arms melted off due to the baby’s powers. (Doc Magnus immediately sets to work making Java a pair of prosthetics.)

It turns out, though, that Sapphire can hold the baby without any trouble, and so can Rex.

(Meanwhile, Guy is still unconscious on the floor.)

Then Simon Stagg steps into the room and starts haranguing Rex. Rex’s response is to hand the baby to Stagg.

Yep, turns out that Grandpa is immune to the baby’s powers, too. Surprise, surprise, Stagg immediately has a change of heart about his grandson and decides right there and then to treat him better and to stop using him to produce fuel.

Problem solved, Rex, Buddy, and Dimitri head back to Europe, with Rex expressing some disappointment.

And, back at Justice League International headquarters, “after a long, long nap ...”

Yup. Ya just can’t keep Guy down for long.

Story = Keith Giffen and Bill Loebs. Art = Bart Sears