Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sick of being sick!

Y'know, April has really been my least favorite month of the year so far, because I've spent a good chunk of it SICK as a DOG. Oh, I don't have swine flu, never fear (oops, I mean, "Flu H1N1 strain of influenza type A." It's unfair to blame all this on piggies -- the piggies ain't responsible!), but this lousy cold I've had has managed to hang on for nearly two weeks now. It's REALLY getting old. It seems like one day, I'm NEARLY fine, and then the next day, I have a relapse. My throat is sore, I have virtually NO energy, and all I want to do is sleep -- and yet I can't sleep because I'm in too much pain and I'm coughing so much. Heck with worrying about swine (oops -- H1N1 strain of influenza type A) flu. The ailment I already have is bad enough!

At least Mighty Mite isn't sick again. Mr. Sky has a cold, too, but so far it hasn't hit him has badly as it hit me.

Speaking of Mr. Sky, he's asked that I extend a huge apology to everyone, because the online comic strip My Pal Itty is on hiatus until further notice. His new job is just taking up too much of his time right now, unfortunately for Itty (but fortunately for Mr. Sky's career). Sorry about that, folks! He DOES plan to finish it someday, though -- the goal is to have 31 finished strips, total.

Anyway -- sorry about all the whining. Just to make myself and everyone else feel better, here's an image of Hal running into his own power beam:

I feel better already!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Tick on playing chess


Whoa. Better never sit the Tick down for a nice, friendly game of Grand Theft Auto!

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Tick's View on Super-hero Dating





No room in his brain for a libido, huh? Seems to me that a lot of heroes (Hal Jordan, for example) have room in their brains for nothing BUT their libidos.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Eye been sick!

First things first ...

So there, TF -- you ornery critter!

Anyhoo -- Geez loweez, toddlers are such germ factories! That's right -- Mighty Mite has officially made the jump from babydom to toddlerdom. And with it has come a whole plethora of interesting germs, including whatever gave her a nasty cold last weekend that was subsequently passed on to ME. I missed two days of work, and now I'm playing catchup (though, miraculously, none of my books blew up while I was out of the office. It's frickin' amazing.). AND, to top all that off, a bunch of my in-laws are coming to town for a long weekend. Ah, well. At least I like my sister-in-law and nephew.

"Her Babyness" will have a good time this weekend, I'm sure. It's hard to say with these modern babies.

Sigh ...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Blue comic book heroes -- a popular hue indeed!

The color blue, aside from being one of the additive primary colors, is one of the most common colors to appear on comic book hero uniforms. Not only that, since the Golden Age era of the 1930s and 1940s, many comic book characters have had colors tagged to their names, and blue has long been a popular choice. Having a color attached to a character's name often made it sound more interesting to creators AND readers. It also gave the creators a color scheme to work with, and it made it easier for the publisher to establish rights to the character.

Heroes with blue costumes or even blue skin are nearly too numerous to count, but following is an alphabetical listing of Blue-named heroes that have appeared in comic books over the decades.

Blue Beetle


The first Blue Beetle was Dan Garrett, a rookie police officer who gained super strength by ingesting "Vitamin 2-X." He originally fought crime using simple gadgets and a roadster. Initially a plain-clothes hero similar to the Green Hornet or the Spirit, Blue Beetle eventually adopted a bulletproof chain-mail costume, and gained a teen sidekick named Sparky. He first appeared in Mystery Men Comics #1 (1939), published by Fox Comics. He appeared in comics sporadically up through the mid-1950s, when the character was sold to Charlton Comics. Charlton revised the character, and Dan Garrett (sans Sparky) became an archeologist who fought crime using a mystical ancient Egyptian scarab.


In 1966, Charlton Comics reworked the Blue Beetle character and created Ted Kord. First appearing in Captain Atom #83, Ted Kord was an inventor who took on the mantle of Blue Beetle upon the death of Dan Garrett, becoming a much more gadget-based hero than his predecessor. In 1983, Blue Beetle (along with the other Charlton characters) was sold to DC Comics, and the character soon became a member of the Justice League, often teamed with another hero, Booster Gold. Ted Kord appeared off and on in various DC publications until his death in the comic book series Countdown to Infinite Crisis (2005). However, due to the time-travel exploits of Booster Gold, the character still appears in current DC continuity.


The third Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes, is a teenager whose powers somewhat combines those of Dan Garrett's (via the mystical scarab) and Ted Kord's (via heavily gadget-based, though alien, armor). Jaime Reyes (who first appeared in Infinite Crisis #3, 2006) is now the primary Blue Beetle in DC Comics continuity, and is currently a member of the Teen Titans.

Blue Belly


Also known as Jumo the Magnificent, Blue Belly is a member of the MysteryMen, a super-hero team that first appeared in Flaming Carrot Comics #16, 1987. While eating, Glen Gilke swallows what he thinks is a Swedish meatball but it's actually a marinated meteorite. The meteorite leaves him with a permanently blue-glowing stomach and invulnerability to everything but leafy vegetables and wicker furniture. In the film version of MysteryMen (1997), Jumo/Blue Belly doesn’t appear, but film viewers are treated to a new “blue” character, the Blue Raja.

Blue Blade


Blue Blade, alias Roy Chambers, was a non-superpowered Musketeer-based hero who originally fought crime mostly on horseback. Initially, Blue Blade appeared in –- and ONLY in –- USA Comics #5, in 1942. He faded into obscurity until resurrected by Marvel Comics in 2007 to appear in their comic book mini-series, The Twelve. In current Marvel continuity, he is deceased.

Blue Blaze


The Blue Blaze first appeared in Mystic Comics #1 in 1940. In 1852, on his way to a masquerade party, Spencer Keen visits his scientist father, who has discovered a power –- the Blue Blaze -– which causes dead creatures to come back to life, stronger than before. A tornado hits, destroying the lab and seemingly killing Spencer, who is then buried in his blue masquerade costume. In 1940, Spencer rises from the grave, now superstrong and invulnerable, and fights crime as the Blue Blaze. The character lasted for four issues and has yet to reappear.

Blue Bolt


The first Blue Bolt (alias Fred Parrish), who debuted in Blue Bolt Comics #1, 1940, was a Flash Gordon-like character notable for being one of the first comic book heroes to earn a comic in his own name, and for being one of the first comic book heroes illustrated by Jack Kirby. Blue Bolt appeared in his own title until 1951, when Star Comics officially converted his series into a horror comic. He has yet to formally reappear in comics.


The second Blue Bolt is the son and kid sidekick of super-hero Captain Thunder. Transformed into a living electric dynamo by freak accident similar to one that gave his father powers, Blue Bolt tracks down Captain Thunder -- who has been in hiding due to being framed for treason -- and together they embark on a series of adventures to clear Captain Thunders's name. The duo first appeared in Captain Thunder and Blue Bolt #1, 1987, published by Hero Comics.

Blue Bulleteer


In the 1970s, Paragon Publications/AC Comics, believing that the character Phantom Lady was public domain, planned to publish new comic book stories of the character. As it turned out, DC Comics had already acquired the rights to the character and they threatened legal action. AC then changed their Phantom Lady into a magic-based super-hero named Nightveil and made her part of Femforce, the first and longest-running female-only super-hero team. Nightveil (alias Laura Wright) was also provided with a Golden Age-style backstory similar to Phantom Lady’s, except that in her previous incarnation she was a nonpowered markswoman known as the Blue Bulleteer.

Blue Circle


A former criminal mastermind, Len Stafford decides to turn over a new leaf and fight crime as the masked hero Blue Circle. Blue Circle battles the criminal underground assisted by other former criminals, grouped into his Blue Circle Council. The character first appeared in Blue Circle Comics #1, 1944. The comic lasted five issues.

Blue Demon


Alejandro Muñoz Moreno was a real-life masked professional wrestler known as the Blue Demon, widely considered the best Mexican wrestler of all time. Outside of his professional wrestling career, Blue Demon starred in several films, from 1964 to 1977. He also starred in his own comic book series, in which he battled vampires, mad scientists, and zombies. He passed away in the year 2000, buried in his Blue Demon mask. The public never saw his real face.

His son carries on his wrestling legacy, as Blue Demon, Jr.

Blue Devil


While battling a real demon, Dan Cassidy, a stuntman and special effects expert, becomes permanently trapped within a “blue devil” special effects suit. Due to his enhanced abilities and his odd appearance, Dan fights crime as Blue Demon. The suit gives him super-strength and is infused with high-tech weaponry. Blue Demon also, often carries a trident with demonic powers. The character first appeared in Fury of Firestorm #24, 1984, and soon had his own title, which lasted for 31 issues. He is a minor character in DC Comics continuity and has been affiliated with several super-hero teams, including Shadowpact and the Justice League.

Blue Diamond


Not to be confused with the Golden Age supervillain of the same name, Blue Diamond debuted in Daring Mystery Comics #7, 1941), published by Timely Comics. During a battle against his ship and a German sub, archaeologist Elton T. Morrow is injured when a diamond he found in Antarctica shatters during an explosion. Morrow later discovers that the diamond fragments have given him super strength, invulnerability, and skin as hard as a diamond. He becomes the super-hero Blue Diamond and joins the Liberty Legion to battle Nazis during World War II. Due to his powers also halting the aging process, the character still appears in Marvel Comics continuity.

Blue Eagle


First appearing in Avengers #148, 1976, James Dore, Jr., is a member of Squadron Supreme of Marvel Comics’ alternate world Earth 712. James starts his crime-fighting career as the masked American Eagle, picking up after his father, who had been American Eagle during World War II. James later changes his name to Cap’n Hawk before settling on Blue Eagle. Blue Eagle flies via artificial wings and anti-gravity technology and wears an armored costume. He also often uses a helmet and shield.

Blue Falcon


Originally appearing in the 1976 animated cartoon series Dynomutt, millionaire Radley Crown, proprietor of Crown Art Gallery, fights crime as Blue Falcon. Blue Falcon is a very serious, gadget-based hero similar to Batman who relies heavily (usually to his detriment) on his robotic dog, Dynomutt. Though Dynomutt is supposed to be the sidekick, Blue Falcon usually takes a back seat during battles with villains. In 1977, the duo appeared briefly in their own comic book series, published by Marvel Comics. The series only lasted six issues, but Blue Falcon and Dynomutt also regularly appeared in the comic book series, Hannah-Barbara’s Laff-A-Lympics.

Blue Fire


After exposure to a blue glowing substance gives him the ability to transform his body into living flame (and yet walk through walls without damaging them), Jack Knapp decides to use his powers to fight evil as Blue Fire. Blue Fire first appeared in Wham Comics #2 (not to be confused with the later British comic of the same name) in 1940, published by pioneering comics publisher Centaur Publications. Centaur stopped publishing in 1942.

Blue Flame


With powers similar to those of the Human Torch, Blue Flame fought against jewel thief S.Aitan (Satan) in Captain Flight Comics #11, 1947. It was the Blue Flame’s only appearance in what turned out to be the comic’s last issue. The Blue Flame’s alias is unknown.

Blue Jay


First appearing in Justice League of America #87, 1971, along with his colleagues from the Champions of Angor, Blue Jay is a super-hero with the ability to shrink himself to seven inches in height. His wings appear as he shrinks, giving him the ability to fly. After his planet, Angor, is destroyed, Blue Jay comes to Earth with the intention of helping it combat the problems that destroyed his own world. A minor character in DC Comics, he was a member of the Justice League for a time.

Blue Lady


Novelist Lucille Martin becomes the Blue Lady after an accident with a mysterious bluebird ring gives her super speed and strength. The ring turns out to contain a gas developed by Japanese scientists to aid their fight during World War II. Lucille Martin then decides to become a costumed hero called the Blue Lady. She first appeared in Amazing-Man Comics #24, 1941, published by Centaur, and lasted for three issues.

Blue Scorpion


Originally called the Black Scorpion (but renamed after the female crimefighter of the same name appeared), Blue Scorpion is news publisher Ben Wright. After his brother dies in prison fighting a wrong conviction, Blue Scorpion vows to carry on his fight for justice, with help from his partner, Stinger (originally Dart), and two armored cars called Butch and Sundance. The character is heavily influenced by the Green Hornet and the Spirit. He first appeared in Black Scorpion #1 (published by Special Studios, Canada), 1990.

Note: In March 2009, a character with the same name and clothing appeared in association with the graphic novel anthology, Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology. In the story “Blue Scorpion & Chung,” Blue Scorpion appears with a Korean sidekick named Chung. The story explores the working dynamic between Blue Scorpion and Chung, via its similarities to Green Hornet and Kato.

Blue Shield


First appearing in Dazzler #5 (1981), the Blue Shield, alias Joe Cartelli, wears a belt containing microcircuitry that gives him superhuman strength, speed, endurance, and near-invulnerability. Long-term exposure to the belt causes his genetic structure to absorb his enhanced abilities, so he no longer needs the belt except to generate a protective force field. Blue Shield remains a minor character in Marvel Comics and is currently affiliated with The Initiative.

Blue Streak (Bluestreak)


Not to be confused with the Marvel villains of the same name, the first Blue Streak debuted in Crash Comics #1, 1940 (Holyoke Publishing). Don-Vin is a nonpowered hero and self-proclaimed “Defender of the People" who fights against “ruthless dictators." Blue Streak is aided in his efforts by his sidekick, Tago.


The second Blue Streak is Jim Dare, a nonpowered circus performer who decides to fight crime after his brother is murdered in front of him. He first appeared in Headline Comics #13 (Prize Publications), 1941.


The third Bluestreak, who first appeared in A-Next #4, 1998, is Blue Kelso, a mutant with super-speed powers. Formerly a member of the X-People (affiliated with the X-Men in Marvel Comics’ MC2 universe), Bluestreak is currently a member of the Dream Team.

Bluestreak is also the name of a Transformers robot that has appeared in several Transformers comic books.

Blue Tracer


Like a “tracer bullet fired from a gigantic cannon,” the Blue Tracer is an armored vehicle with the capabilities of a tank, airplane, and submarine. It’s also armed with machine guns, cannons, and torpedoes. Attacked by a supernatural race known as the M'bujies, engineer “Wild” Bill Dunn builds the Blue Tracer to fight against the M'bujies and the Axis during World War II. Bill himself is sometimes referred to as Blue Tracer, and he has a kid sidekick, Boomerang Jones. Blue Tracer first appeared in Hit #1, 1940, published by Quality Comics, and lasted for thirteen issues. Blue Tracer is currently the property of DC Comics but has yet to appear in their lineup.

Blue Wizard


Blue Wizard (alias Craig Travers) is a member of the British super-hero team the Amazing Three (not to be confused with the anime series of the same name). After transforming into the Blue Wizard by saying the words "Rings of Zorr," he can fly, create illusions, and perform various other feats courtesy of his magical cane. The other members of the Amazing Three include Oakman and the Blue Wizard's sister, Sue (alias Tanya, deceased). The trio first appeared in Jackpot, 1979.

Blueflyer


Hero of Sydney, Australia, Blueflyer is Museum of Australia security guard Max Steed. Upon donning his mystic bracelets, he gains the power of super speed and the ability to built up an electrical charge, which he uses to battle villains. He occasionally appears with the super-hero team, the Guardians of Justice. Blueflyer was first published by Cult Fiction Comics, 2003.

Bluewing


A "master of the art of kwondito (eating)," the sword-wielding hero Bluewing first appeared in Bluewing #1, 1989 (South Boston Comics), created by independent cartoonist Joel Danford. Bluewing primarily battles ninjas, zombies, and other undead creatures.

Deep Blue


Half-sister to DC Comics' Aquaman, Deep Blue first appeared in Aquaman #23 (1996). Deep Blue (real name, Debbie, daughter of Tsunami) can control sea creatures and affect the size of aquatic plants by touching them. She cannot breathe out of the water.

Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys


In Sensation Comics #1, 1942, young Tommy Rogers decides to put a costume and fight crime, being inspired to do so after reading about the hero Wildcat. Tommy also recruits his friends, Tubby and Toughy, and together the trio fight crime as a nonpowered all-kid hero team, Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys. The three boys wear identical blue costumes, except Tommy (as the leader, Little Boy Blue) wears a red hood and boots. Eventually, they acquired a female teammate, Little Miss Redhead. The team lasted as a backup feature until 1948. They were little seen until 1988, when DC Comics revived the team, briefly (as the sons of the original trio), to defeat Dr. Light in a backup story in The Flash #51, #52.

Red, White, and Blue


A trio of U.S. military agents, Red, White and Blue fought against enemy agents and the Axis during World War II. They consisted of Red Dugan (Army), Whitey Smith (Army), and Blooey Blue (Navy), assisted by FBI agent Doris West. They first appeared in All-American Comics #1, 1939.

Modernized super-powered versions of them were designed by Mark Waid and Alex Ross for DC's Kingdom Come (1996).

If anyone out there has any detailed information about other comic book heroes with “blue” names (and, please, I’m interested in cataloging heroes, not villains), I’d love to hear from you!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

(Super)Rubber Ducky, You're the One!

Batducky:

Wonder Ducky:

Super(girl)ducky:

Flash Ducky:

Magneto Ducky:

Green Lantern Ducky with spectacularly bad hair:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Great Googly Moogly!! YES to hope and dreams

I don't watch American Idol or any similar shows that appear on TV worldwide. And I know this is being linked all over the place and reported on the BBC, and CNN, and a myriad of other news agencies. But ... holy cow, I am just astonished by the video of Susan Boyle singing on Britain's Got Talent last Saturday night. YouTube has disabled video embedding for all clips of the video, so click here to see the video's YouTube page. It's worth watching just to see the flabbergasted expression on the face of professional snothead Simon Cowell.

Wow. I mean, it doesn't hurt that I absolutely love the song "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables, but her singing voice is gorgeous. It's not Patti Lupone, but it's gorgeous. She's definitely inspiring to nonglamorous fortysomething females everywhere!

Weird as this seems, she kinda reminds me of Jim Nabors. As Gomer Pyle, audiences were used to laughing at Jim Nabors and what a bumpkin he was. But when the man opened his mouth to sing, it was nothing short of amazing.

(Of course, we Hoosiers love Jim Nabors. No one sings "Back Home Again in Indiana" better than he does.)

Good for you, Susan Boyle! Well done!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Grown men with wrenches shouldn't be sidekicks

Doiby Dickles -- PLEASE don't dress like Alan Scott EVER AGAIN.

EVER.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Blue Lanterns: The Dimmest Bulbs of All? (Green Lantern #39)

I'm sorry, I can't help it -- I just HAVE to comment on something in Green Lantern #39. PLEASE tell me I'm not the only person who's been laughing under my breath like a maniac (a la Flash:Rebirth) at this. SPOILERS, spoilers, spoilers...

After the reader is treated to an altercation involving Larfleeze the Orange Lantern (VERY intriguing, I must say), the scene switches to Hal who, along with his two Blue Lantern "buddies," Saint Walker and Warth, is flying back to the planet Odym to confront Ganthet and Sayd. Y'see, the blue ring that Walker stuck on Hal's finger last issue WON'T COME OFF, and Hal's pretty pissed about it -- especially because the blue ring keeps messing with him.

Well, not only does Hal tell the Blues to more or less shove their hope, he yells at them for FORGETTING to tell him that their power doesn't work without a Green Lantern around. "You could've let me know that before I agreed to go to Ysmault WITHOUT backup," he snarls at them.

The Blues sputter at this. But, but, but... they can still FLY. And, and, and... the rings DO protect them from SPACE. Yeah. Big flippin' hairy deal.

The Lanterns meet up with Ganthet and Sayd, and Hal tells Ganthet that he's grateful for everything Ganthet's done for him and all, but there's NO WAY he's leaving the Green Lantern Corps. Apparently (surprise, surprise!), that was NEVER the intention.

Ganthet replies, "As a GREEN LANTERN, Saint Walker, not as one of you [insert implied 'DUMBASS' here]. HIS will can power our ENTIRE corps."

Ohhhhhhhhhh ... NOW they get it! Oops.

Now Hal is REALLY pissed. He ain't no power battery! Not only that, Ganthet and Sayd tell him that they are "unable" to remove his blue ring.

Something to hope for? Yeah, RIGHT. Hal more or less tells the Blues AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON and flies off to resume his search for Sinestro. The whole time, he's fuming about the whole "hope" thing. To Hal, hope is useless because it's too passive -- HE's Captain Action, after all. Besides, he thinks he doesn't have anything specific to hope for.

(Oh, Hal, Hal, HAL ...! You have such an EASY way out of this predicament! Just think about that one thing that you hope for every day of your life, and repeat these words: "I HOPE I get laid! I HOPE I get laid! I HOPE I get laid...!" I'm tellin' ya, that blue ring will be off in NO time.)

(At the very least, you can try HOPING you'll get that stupid ring off!)

While Hal is out in space arguing with BOTH of his rings, a command from the Guardians comes through, demanding that Hal get his ass back to Oa PRONTO.

Hal heads back to Oa like a good Green Lantern, and when he reaches the Guardians, they flip out. AHHHHHH! A blue ring!!! Get rid of it! Get rid of it! Get rid of it! Get rid of it! By golly, they're gonna get rid of it if they have to blast Hal's hide off the in the process! PUT HIM TO THE TORTURE!

So, while blasting Hal left and right and putting up with his HEY LEGGO STOPIT CUTITOUT screaming and yelling, the Guardians spout and sputter about the Red Lanterns and how the Alpha Lanterns are gonna take 'em out, and how Hal has to stay on Oa until they get that blue ring offa him, blah, blah, blah ...

(See, THIS is a big reason why Hal Jordan is one of my favorite super-heroes -- this kind of crapola ALWAYS happens to him. And yet he keeps bullheadedly forging ahead, only to end up getting into even MORE trouble. He's such a dumbass. I love him.)

Lucky for Hal, John Stewart shows up and pulls his bacon out of the fire. Salaak (with Stel) also shows up to report on something weird going on with some new Lanterns...

AND right at that moment, Larfleeze shows up and starts causing trouble.

Like I stated earlier, the Orange Lantern(s) is VERY intriguing. It'll be interesting to see how the Green Lanterns get out of this mess.

I think this issue also shows that, apparently, the only Lantern dimmer than a Green one is a Blue one. Cracks me up.

(And, of course, the only being stupider than a Green Lantern OR a Blue Lantern is a Guardian of the Universe!)