Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rainbow envy

Over at the Weekly Crisis, they complain about the latest member of the Hulk Family: Red She-Hulk!

I dunno. I think Mort Weisinger would've face-palmed Joe Quesada for not coming up with it earlier. (Heck, he would've face-palmed anybody within arms' reach for not coming up with it sooner!) One thing I grudgingly respect Mr. Weisinger for is how he made sure to wring as much mileage out of a concept so that no one else would come up with their own version of a character or concept. I think that's one of the reasons behind all of the different Lanterns nowadays. It might seem a bit silly to some fanboys, but in lieu of any genuinely new characters being created by the Big Two this is the sort of thing we'll probably see more of in the future.

I mean, really. What new characters have been created by the Big Two that wasn't a re-invention of an old character or wasn't already tied in with another existing character? It's the Silver Age all over again! Captain America's showing signs of growing a family. Ben Reilly looks to be returning in Spider-Man and Spider-Woman is getting the push as the next big thing. Iron Fist did some sneaky franchise growth recently by flying under the radar. I wonder which character will be franchised next. Ghost Rider? Punisher? Green Goblin? Aztek? Blue Devil? Gorilla Grodd? Stay tuned, true believers!

Unified Superman Theory

Man, I'm just digging lots of the stories posted on io9 today...

They discuss a post that attempts to explain the Man of Steel's powerset.

In my head, I kinda subscribed to the "psychic Superman" explanation for his powers. This could fit in as well. I'll have to read it in more detail... The comments section is fun to read and even touches on the whole Clark Kent disguise thing.

Oh. And io9 links to clips of the new Superman/Batman video release. There. That should help boost their traffic.

This sounds... FANTASTIC!!!!

io9 wonders about what the increase in Cosmic Ray activity can mean.

Don't those guys read any comics?

Perhaps I can steal... I mean, borrow these plans...

... for a Power Loader suit!

Perhaps I can use these Power Loaders to lob SUVs at those blasted seasickness cannons... Hmmm....

Drat! They're onto me!!

The Department of Homeland Security has discovered my one weakness, darn them!

A seasickness gun!

My army of clones will surely be devastated by this development! Must rethink my plans...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mimsy Were the Borogroves

As a former web developer, Free SF Reader can be a horrific site with poor navigation and rollovers which make me afraid to use my mouse.

As a sci-fi fan, the poor site design can be overlooked for the free treasure within!

Cases in point:
1) Mimsy Were the Borogroves by Henry Kuttner and his wife, C.L. Moore
Follow the link to hear part 1 of an audio recording of this amazing story as read by William Shatner.
2) An essay by Amy H. Sturgis, discussing possible reasons for the continued interest in the works of H.P. Lovecraft and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Marvel Apes

Just picked up the Marvel hardcover collection for the Marvel Apes miniseries. (I picked it up at a step discount at the New York Anime Festival! More on that later...) At first I was a bit skeptical, maybe because I judged the book by its cover. (Truly, that cover didn't do anything for me.) Now that I'm reading it, I've found that it's quite the hoot! Truly a lot of fun! Since this collection only reprinted the mini-series and a few other bits and pieces, I'll have to scour the back-issue bins to find some of the one-shots that have been published since then...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Superboy and the two Wizards of Oz

When I saw that title at the Newsarama Blog, I thought we were in for an exciting story from Superman's past!

Imagine my disappointment when it was more ruminations on the Siegel case. Mind you, I think the heirs of Siegel and Schuster deserve all the money they can get, but I thought DC was finally going to do a neat story starring the Boy of Steel.

Sure would've been fun. I would want Eric Shanower to be involved in some way. If he writes, I'd try to get Stuart Immonen for the art chores. Publish it in a nice tabloid-sized edition that's very bookstore friendly. Something special...

There's gotta be some term...

...for when a character is "IRREVOCABLY CHANGED!" so that "NOTHING IS THE SAME!" as the status quo is changed to garner some interest. Kinda like Wolverine in the Fatal Attractions storyline, but then the creative teams just sort of leave the character in that screwed up state without returning the character to their original state or moving them on and having them grow.

Like Cyborg when he became Cyberion. ("Cyberion?" WTF?) Or Barbara Gordon after she'd been shot by the Joker. In these two instances the characters "got better", but what about those characters still sitting in limbo waiting for someone to remember them? Like Alpha Flight?

It reminds me of the Sid character from Toy Story. Via Wikipedia:
Sid Phillips is a hyperactive, ten-year-old boy and the main villain of the first film. He was Andy's vicious neighbour (until Andy moved), and the worst nightmare any toy could have. Sid is a young, bratty skate punk with metal braces, whose idea of fun is terrorizing his sister and destroying toys in various methods (exploding, burning or in his "mad doctor" plays). He also enjoys skateboarding. He is voiced by Erik von Detten. According to an interview, Sid is named after a former employee at Pixar who would take toys apart and sometimes rebuild them in different and disturbingly odd ways.

Maybe that's it. When a character's been messed up, when they were used as cannon fodder to show how dangerous a threat was, when they were pulled and stretched and twisted so no one recognizes them, and the marketing and licensing people are left shaking their heads wondering "How are we going to sell action figures of that?" and there don't seem to be any positive changes coming anytime soon, I'll say "Sid got 'em".

So... Alpha Flight? "Sid got 'em."
Aquaman? "Sid got 'im."

That works for me...

The Secret Book of Jung

Now this is a book worth picking up.

If it ever comes out.

The animated version would be awesome!!

Character worth saving from oblivion: Tyrannus

According to Wikipedia:
In the Roman Empire, Tyrannus claims to be a "sorcerer", but is actually a scientist far ahead of his time. He was exiled by Merlin to Subterranea, a network of caves and tunnels miles beneath the Earth's surface. There Tyrannus discovers a race of orange-skinned semi-humanoid Subterraneans who are eager to find in him a new master to serve. He also discovers a pool of liquid which he drinks to maintain his youth through the centuries. The Subterraneans acquaint Tyrannus with examples and records of technology designed by the Deviants who were their original masters. Tyrannus' scientific genius enables him to master and improve upon the Deviants' scientific wonders over the centuries. Tyrannus becomes Emperor of the Tyrannoid Subterraneans, and an aspiring conqueror.

In the modern era, Tyrannus is finally ready to use this technology and the Subterraneans in conquering the surface world. Tyrannus makes several attempts at conquering the surface world as well as fighting wars against the forces of a new arrival in Subterranea, the Mole Man.

Here's a character who's lived for thousands of years, belonged to shadowy conspiracies (which existed long before The Illuminati and The Cabal) that manipulated events behind the scenes, and controlled an army of little dudes that look like The Greys.

Truly, if there was ever a character with untapped possibilities for some nice conspiracy stories, here he is. Take him out of his quaint Roman uniform, add a touch of The Count of St. Germain, add some UFO conspiracies, and take him as seriously as the X-Men creators (Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum and John Byrne) took Magneto seriously, and you've got a character who could be as cool as Ra's al Ghul. It's not like it would take much to give him a makeover, just a reassessment of and commitment to what's already there.

Spooky Ooky...

Xenophilia links to an article, but offers quotes, on the Roswell crash and how it was, indeed, an alien spacecraft.

Well, at least, that someone was told it was a crashed alien spacecraft...

(Really, I just wanted to include the cool picture above. I've had dreams where I've encountered beings like the one in the black and white photograph. I just wanted to show you what they looked like.)

Scott McCloud brings back memories...

I was a bit old when the silent G.I.Joe issue Scott McCloud discusses came out. I think I must've been in high school when the TV show was on so I didn't get bitten by the "Go Joe!" bug. I knew about G.I.Joe and had picked up a couple of issues -- I liked the faux HYDRA-esque COBRA, but the military action hero thing didn't float my boat.

Now, ninjas I could dig.

With that cover, I think I'd guessed at the time that Larry Hama was trying to bring some of that ninja magic Frank Miller had woven into Daredevil I think I thought it was a good issue. Enough to buy it anyway.

But I'd been exposed to special comic storytelling issues by that time... by that time I'd started collecting Kitchen Sink's Spirit reprints, and I'd seen new storytelling possibilities in a reprint volume of Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson's Manhunter. Plus in Goodwin and Simonson's work on the Alien and Close Encounters of the Third Kind adaptations, I'd been exposed to the power of caption-less and dialogue-less storytelling. Still, it's nice to see in Shaenon Garitty's appreciation how one book made a difference for someone younger than me and in their appreciation of sequential storytelling.

Mighty Mutant Forbears

It's always fun while reading a book to be pointed in a new direction of exploration.

To wit: I was reading TwoMorrows' fun Marvel Comics in the 1960s, and I'd just gotten to the article describing the introduction of The Uncanny X-Men, when Pierre Comtois points to mutants being a staple of science fiction. He specifically cites two books: A.E. van Vogt's Slan (which is not unusual since everyone seems to point to that classic when discussing mutants) and Henry Kuttner's Mutant. Since I hadn't heard about this last one, it was off to the Internet!

Here's what I found at Free SF Reader:
In this book by Henry Kuttner from the 1950s, homo superior has arrived, and again, they are in hiding. The book contains several pieces about this new race, and they are telepathic. It deals more with their problems, and what it is like to be a telepath, or what it is like to have problems with these abilities when you have been telepathic before, and that sort of thing, compared to the more action oriented approach of Van Vogt, for example.

There is some conflict between the various political groups within the telepaths, and the overall story is told from the point of view of one of the last survivors of the early days, after he has crash landed in bad weather.

Free SF Reader also features a handy Wowio link so you can check the stories out for free. Amazon also has a Kindle edition, for those of you living in the 22nd Century.

But poking around a bit more, I discovered that Henry Kuttner had written other books worth investigating, including stories about pulp hero Thunder Jim Wade. Never heard of him? Well, neither had I! But it's available at Amazon!

According to Wikipedia, Henry Kuttner was admired by professionals like Marion Zimmer Bradley, Ray Bradbury and Roger Zelazny. Mr. Kuttner also corresponded with H.P. Lovecraft, and wrote several stories that added to the Cthulu Mythos. Certainly, a man worth further study...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Floating Heads of Marvel Comics!

Again from Comic Coverage, an appreciation of the unique Marvel cover design, floating heads.

Mighty Marvel Monsters

Just found this over at Comics Coverage. Of course I discover this only after Mark Engblom announces he won't be blogging anymore!

I always seem to find these really cool blogs after they've ended.

I betcha if there is a Rapture, I'll find out about it long after it happens...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

...but will he use his powers for good or for evil?

Wow. This is kinda like the gadget that Pyro (the comic book version, not the movie one) uses. Suddenly the idea of a teenage kid inventing web-shooters to fight crime and swing from building to building doesn't seem so implausible anymore.

At least that one works. This movie, which purports to show you how to create hover shoes, is not as credible. I don't think The Wizard has anything to worry about.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Speaking of Morbius...

...I was looking for images of Morbius recently (getting ready for Halloween I suppose) and noticed that all of his images have him depicted with his mouth open. Now, I know he's a vampire, which means the artist is obligated to remind the reader of that by showing Morbius with a mouth full of teeth.

It just made me wonder... with that smashed-in nose, could he have some respiratory issues which force him to breathe through his mouth? Is he, as Garrison Keillor might suggest, a mouth breather? This might add a bit of poignancy to the character, where his affliction has turned a Nobel Prize-winning scientist into a mouth-breathing monster. Kind of like a pulp monster reverse version of Flowers for Algernon.

Just something to think about...

Even CNN is getting in on it!

CNN tries to prognosticate as to what properties Disney might be interested in as they run a slideshow on Marvel's next 5 superheroes. CNN's candidates: Sub-Mariner, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Doctor Strange and Morbius.

Morbius? Are they kidding? Morbius might be a contender for one of the villains in Spider-Man 4 as stated here, so I don't know whether CNN is basing this on actual development info or if they asked Karl in the copy room what he'd like to see. I suspect something along the lines of the latter.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Public Domain Heroes!

There's now a Wikia which lists superhero characters now in the public domain!


I'm tempted to throw in a joke about this but it's too late and it's time for me to go to bed. Maybe some other time...

I'm only mentioning this one once...

...because it's a secret, but I'm splitting off my showcase of characters I've created to a separate blog: The Mighty M4!!

Why "The Mighty M4!!"?
a) For "Mighty Man and Monster Maker"! Poser and DAZ Studio are like the 21st Century versions of that famous toy. Plus if I learn zBrush like I hope to, I can make more mighty men and monsters! But we'll see how that goes...
b) I wanted a separate place to show my characters. I didn't really want to throw a whole bunch of these pictures up on deviantArt or any of the other sites.
c) For now I want to use this here blog as a catch-all for all sorts of weird and fun stuff, and I was afraid my characters would get lost in the mix.

Anyway, head on over and check it out. No more shall be said about this...

This one spooked my wife...

I came across a link to this story from Unknown Country. There's an accompanying video which has gotta be seen to be believed!

After my wife watched the video, we had a long discussion over whether or not the creature (if it was real and not made in some special effects shop) could really be classified as an alien or not. We reasoned that even though it didn't look human, that didn't mean it came from another planet. Afterwards, it made me realize how watching and reading lots of sci-fi and fantasy might make contact with non-human beings easier to grasp and contemplate.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Again, with the WOW envy...

Over at, there's an announcement of a new version of the WOW Modelviewer.

When I was playing COH, I found out about this and instantly saw its possibilities for creating comics and machinima. So of course I posted on the COH message boards about something like it being available for CO*. No one else seemed to share my interest as they only kept going on about the CO* EULA. How about an official dev-created version, I asked? Nope, nothing more than declaring I was pipedreaming with more reminders of firm statements about the EULA.

It was one of the many times I felt like CO* would be stuck in a dead end if it was being run by people who posted on the forums.

Not dead yet...

Now that the sidekicks are in school, I have my computer back!

Only one more year and one more sidekick left before I'm left alone at home during the day. Then... surely, there will come a cleaning!!

...because this last little sidekick tries to help with the care and cleaning of the secret lair. It's tough cleaning the giant robot dinosaur if she keeps activating its controls. Sheesh!! Do you know how hard it's going to be to get those burn marks out of the floor?