Monday, December 31, 2007

Dignity In Satin: Part One


For a change of pace, I thought I'd give you over the week, the loyal Seven Hellion, something I was supposed to be paid for free.

In 2006, I was contacted about contributing to a Wonder Woman anthology but like most things literary, it never came to be. "No Wonder Woman movie, no anthology," they said so instead of letting it go to waste, sitting in an untitled folder...

Here you go.

PART ONE:

1975 was the year my skull exploded.

On the whole, I can’t recall 1975 all that well. I was only three years old at the time. I am, though, fairly certain that I was probably wrestling with the dilemmas presented to much of America’s three-year-olds. For one, I was probably trying to get that whole "too-cool-for-pre-school" thing down to a funky science. For another, I was probably very much trying to not think of my nose as a thing of play, barring that, how I could actively work it into next year’s "America’s Bicentennial" celebrations. You know, just to give the family something to talk about in their golden years and, well, because I was nothing if not a patriot.

Again, I don’t remember much about 1975 but I am fairly certain that it was the year that my little life changed -- completely. At least I assume it did because, again, I don’t recall much about 1975, but I do know this: my little skull exploded. In 1975, something beautiful was unwittingly (or was it wittingly?) set into motion. Something I, to this day, am only just beginning to somewhat comprehend some thirty-plus years later. I didn’t know it but I’d found ... love . I have not, nor do I care to find a way out to the other side.

In 1975, my mother plopped me down in front of a television, introducing me to Lynda Carter and to Wonder Woman. I was quietly mesmerized sitting there, bathed in the grayish glow of our black-and-white television.

Who was this...this...person? Why was she doing this to me? Why was she making me hang on her every word? Why did Lynda Carter’s portrayal of Wonder Woman have to be so damned... different?

Who gave the character Wonder Woman, this White princess from a fictional utopia, dressed in a star-spangled bikini come to me, a smallish Black child living in urban Washington, D.C., permission to come through my television and seemingly speak only to me? Who let her into my house? Who let her into my heart?

Despite our obvious and vast differences, there was something there. Something I could barely wrap my head around. It spoke to me. There she was, Ms. Lynda Carter, dressed up in a bathing suit, high-heeled boots and a golden rope, smiling (God, that smile!) all the while. She should have looked ridiculous but, of course, she didn’t. She looked regal, elegant. How was she pulling this nearly superhuman feat off? I didn’t know it at the time, but it was so simple – even though but many others in her position failed to comprehend... ..

Lynda Carter knew what many others did not. Superman’s "S" sells itself. As difficult as it may be to believe, it is easy to cloak oneself in "Bat Shark Repellent" and let the moment speak for itself. Lynda Carter found Wonder Woman’s core and let it shine for everyone to see. If the Wonder Woman were to survive, Ms. Carter had to bring to the role that one divine thing women seem to have in greater supply than most men: dignity.

Now, I’m sure, that I was somewhat aware of the concept of the super-hero. To be a super-hero one had to have a costume, powers, or a little boy like the one that Batman had on the tv show... and so yes, dignity had to be in their somewhere, right? Because they were guys, guys who, I guessed, had dignity. Up to this point, I assumed that all anyone had to have to play one of these "supermen" was:

• Show a willingness to puff out one’s chest at the first sign of trouble.

• The putting of fists on one’s hips while spouting ludicrous dialogue at the second sign of trouble.

• Take yourself and not the character way too seriously.

• Don’t ever forget you’re a "serious" actor, after all.

• Above all, be eager enough to earn one’s pay as a serious actor while wearing satin briefs.

In watching that first episode of Wonder Woman, I was taught more about gender equality than any lecture I ever could have sat in at anyone’s school. In Lynda Carter’s first episode, I found out that women, unlike men, are elegant in satin briefs. In satin, I glimpsed dignity.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

"Who Is She? Where Did She Come From?"




*sigh*... Yvonne Craig's Batgirl. You never forget your first crush.


I Miss The Alleys.


The other day I was walking past an alley and what I saw gave me pause.

Was a mugging taking place?

An over-large gathering of rats?

Was it a drug deal going bad?

Was it someone being chased down into the alley?

No.

There were people at this party, hanging out, smiling and drinking wine...

...in an alley.

Hanging out. Smiling. Drinking wine. In an alley.

This city's gone to sh*t.

The economic infrastructure of Washington, DC and with that change comes gentrification. A side effect of that is that, some have demanded that our local city services improve. Trash collected in a more timely manner. Snow removed almost as soon as it hits the ground.

I wish you could have seen this thing. It had been repaved. It had been redone to look like the city sidewalks. It looked inviting.

It looked like a trap.

The people who owned the property overlooking it, had hung potted plants. Balconies had been added so that its occupants could enjoy a scenic view of said alley.

Garbage. None could be found other than in my exclamation.

What happened to the alley?

When I was growing up, the alley was something to be feared and respected. The alley was the place where the things your momma didn't want you to get into happened.

The alley was the place where only the rats, pushers, junkies and trash collectors dared enter.

The alley was a place where Peter Parker could leave Spider-Man behind.

The alley was a place where people who took shortcuts got cut short.

The alley was no place to wear pearls and take the family.

The alley was never any place I ever wanted to be on a Friday night. I respect the implied threat.

The alley was a place where bad things happened to people, good and bad. I guess I should be happy that people feel as though the city is safe enough to hang out in Martha Stewart-esque alleyways but what gets me is the lack of respect.

A certain lack of respect for the city. A certain loss of what had come before.

A certain lack of appreciation of just how far this city has come.

I miss the alleys, on purpose and out of respect.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Buying Comics

It didn't occur to me until yesterday, I hadn't read a comic book in nearly two weeks.

It was freeing.

Comics. They aren't my whole day anymore.

Yesterday, I made my way to Fantom Comics (Good people there) and looked at the racks and something interesting happened. I looked at them as a fan. Not as a retailer, as a fan.

I didn't look at their racks and wonder how many they ordered or how many they needed to re-order. I didn't have to worry about any of it. They were just there waiting for me.

Me.

I looked at the racks and realized that I didn't have to read anything I didn't want to anymore. I realized wouldn't have to put up with the nonsense I was subjected to in order to do something I loved.

I really wasn't enjoying my comics like I used to.

I had come to regard them as folded pieces of colored paper.

I walked out with 6 comics. No Countdown crossovers, no X-anything, just the things I wanted to read at the time.

I walked out knowing that I was free to be a fan, again.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

This Blog Is Mine Again.

As of today, "Seven Hells!" and I am no longer employed or associated in any way shape or form with Big Monkey Comics or its ownership.

The reasons are many.

It's been a long time coming, in all truth. All I know is that it feels incredible to not have to carry someone else's burdens.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Obsidian And The Comics We See In Our Mind

When Geoff Johns installed Obsidian into The Justice Society of America, the blogosphere, once again, was somwhat unhappy.

Why? JSofA writer Geoff Johns, inexplicably threw out his playbook and suddenly became a bad person/writer and decided to ignore Obsidian's sexuality, making him The JSofA Headquarters' "security guard."

He put the stealth character in the background. Entrusting him to protect their collective history and be its first line of defense. Didn't Johns know he was allowed to explore Obsidian's sexuality?

After everything writer Marc Andreyko had done for him in the pages of Manhunter. Andreyko was the one who put Andreyko in a stable relationship. Andreyko gave him a circle of friends who accepted him for everything he was, is and could be. Andreyko made you think of him as a person.

Todd.

Todd Rice, Obsidian. A good man, who smiled easily.

Todd Rice, son of Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern.

Todd Rice, brother of Jennie-Lyn Hayden, Jade.

Yes, Andreyko did all of this.

He installed this "anomaly" into his being.

Now, when use "anomaly," I, in no way, mean to suggest that his sexuality is anomalous. It is a part of him and should be honored.

The anomaly lies in his portrayal as being well-adjusted. Obsidian has always been, let us say, "unique" in his actions.

From his father, he inherited his powers and the desire to use them for good. From his mother, he inherited mental illness. He's always tried to find balance and in Manhunter, he found it. I was truly happy for the character.

Now, we go to the comics we see in our minds: with Obsidian's inclusion in The JSofA, many thought the threads laid down in Manhunter would be re-visited in JSofA. We'd get Todd, maybe his partner, Damon, would stop by for a visit with his father-in-law. Hell, maybe Hawkman would even walk by and the jokes would ensue.

No, what happened was Johns put the character of Obsidian literally into the background's tapestry.

The comic we saw in our head where Todd was a well-adjusted JSofA'er never came...and the internet lost a little bit of its collective sh*t.

Jump forward a few months to Justice Society of America #10 to a scene within a locked room containing a man removed, a man of steel, a Superman.

A Superman wrestling with the fact that everything he thought he knew may be absolutely wrong.

From The Man of Steel's shadow a voice assures, "They're frightened. Sometimes they get frightened easily. I don't."

Wraithlike, he explains his absence, saying he has been in the future, weaving the Shadowlands of Kingdom Come.

He assures this Superman that he has joined a society, one dedicated to helping, helping a world well worth saving. A world that is trying to become better.

Did I just read a frickin' scene where Obsidian is giving Superman clarity?

With that one scene it became very clear, Obsidian is as creepy as ever, and even better as powerful and well-adjusted, ever.

Best of all, given space, he, as a character, transcended the expectations/limitations of "the comics we saw in our mind" becoming, in my opinion, all the better for it.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Marvel Misses Its Mark

And the first shot has just been fired across the bow.

What does it mean? I don't know but I think it's a wonderful move on DC's part.

Supposedly, 2008 is due to be a MAJOR year for shake-ups within The DC and Marvel Universes.

The addition of longtime Marvel artist Mark Bagley to the DC talent roster sends a signal that 2008 will definitely be a year for change.

Speculation runs rampant as to whether or not DC intends to reboot a good portion of its universe next year and having the first artist to help launch the Ultimate Universe line sends a not-so-subtle message as to where DC may soon be headed with this soon.

Bagley on Batman?

Bagley on Superman?

Doesn't matter. Anywhere he goes, he's more than likely to deliver, on-time and quality-wise.

A good move on DC's part, I think. I honestly can't wait to see where they're headed with this.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

My Gog!

Just got done reading Justice Society of America #10 and after seeing this scene...

Who'd've thunk it, it makes me believe those old Chuck Austen Superman trades...
























...just may have some use after all.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Big Monkey Podcast: THE UNTOLD STORY

Many have stated, "I don't know how you guys continue to keep The Big Monkey Podcast staying so damned awesome! God, I want to have my funny babies with you."

I have miraculously made 21 kids in the past 6 months.

Scip? None.

Now it can be told: what it takes to put together a Big Monkey Podcast.

Like The Justice League, we all don't live in the city. Many of us live on palacial estates overlooking the poverty, crime-stricken cities. At least I do.

Every other Thursday the call goes out. The red phone rings. It's Scip's manservant Paco, telling us it's time to assemble. I remove my smoking jacket and kiss my new wife good-bye, heading to the elevator, leading to my personal underground subway car which leads to Big Monkey Comics, various archery ranges & strip clubs.

Ben, resplendent in jodphurs and after spending the day perusing his steam-powered Information-Scope 20001, is the first to arrive at the store. Ben, having bathed in lilac-scented water and having read a stack of "girl comics" is prepared to moderate that which no sane man would.

Jon Brooks is next to arrive by a dune buggy powered by the sound of a million "Excelsiors!" Brooks is the hardest to corral as his day job as a world renowned voice coach/cicada specialist keeps him busy around the world.

Jon Carey is next, swooping through the window on a silken line, disheveled, gun at the ready. Ben, who has become expert at this point, patches him up, hands him his "medicine," props him in front of a mike and awaits "magic time."

Scip, as always arrives via golden spaceship, fashionably late (tipsy) and complaining of exhaustion, having freshly returned from spending too much time hanging out in various Macy's with new best friend, Tim Gunn. Scip is then led to his special chamber where he is bombarded with his essential "re-vita rays," which we don't have the heart to tell him, is actually just a buffet table with extra heating lamps.

Soon, I arrive. Before the podcast can begin, we lay hands upon a stack of Hot Stuff comics and pledge to uphold "The Blogger's Code," which basically says we'll use spel-chek whenever possible.

Next, the roast pig is brought out and they sup upon its flesh. I don't eat meat. I draw sustenance from the love of my many, many female admirers.

Next, the table is cleared of all debris, the lights are lowered and we sit at our chairs emblazoned with our unique symbols and attuned to our individual bio-rhythms.

Our golden cups raised, we let out a yell.

We are ready...

...AND THAT IS THE BIG MONKEY PODCAST!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Kudos To...

JAMAL IGLE!
I've been surprised. I like surprises.

Tomorrow's Teen Titans #52 is being drawn by one of my favorite artists, Jamal Igle.

I had NO idea.

In the "House of Seven Hells!" this man's name on a cover is an easy sell.

Why?

Month in, month out, he's been delivering with quiet reliability.

There's no guessing with this man's artwork. His character's are "on-model." He renders a hand as a hand. His characters express themselves with their hands. A face expresses the writer's full intent. His characters occupy their own space and interact within each others.

Best of all, he's constantly looking for it, a new way to lay out a page, a new way torender a subtle something unique to the way character carries him or herself.

It's a certain something that can't be taught and Igle's art has it in abundance.

Over time, Jamal Igle's become an artist I've come to respect.

His art lets me know exactly what's going on on the page. His art makes me want to turn the page and go back and look at it again.

That's makes for a good comic and Igle does nothing but.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Countdown To...?

It's taken 24 weeks but I think I'm finally there.

Countdown* has not made an impression on me, at all.

Almost from the first issue this book has been troubled with lackluster art, continuity problems and continuity dependent appearances by Kyle Rayner and The Question (Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps and The Crime Bible, respectively) have had people creators and fans alike, asking if the right hand knows what the left is doing.

Other events such as The Sinestro Corps have eclipsed it in scope and immediacy.

Amazons Attack! did nothing for Countdown but make it feel unnecessary and especially tedious.

Furthermore, as much as I enjoy Countdown's writers Palmiotti, Gray, Bedard, Beechen and McKeever's individual works, they just don't seem to be gelling well as a writing unit.

These are very good writers. It's just that the material they're being given isn't very compelling.

The lead characters of Donna Troy, Kyle Rayner, Jason Todd, Trickster, Pied Piper, Holly Robinson, Mary Marvel and Jimmy Olsen aren't very compelling and just seem to be put in the path of a bullet for no other reason than editorial edict.

24 weeks in and we still don't know their story.

24 weeks in, I haven't been made to feel like I should care about their story.

24 weeks ago, I signed on to see Jimmy Olsen die. According to DC it was something that must happen. 24 weeks later, Jimmy is alive and in a sewer, hanging out with underaged boys in his underwear.

This may be as good a time as any to question where this comic is ultimately headed.

For 24 weeks now, I have done nothing but defend this comic and week in week out, I've been testing myself finding new ways to do so.

So, there you have it, my reasons for wanting to stop counting.

So, my question to you is this:

"Why do I still want to stay?"

*Thanks to Jon Carey for the image.



Special thanks to Jon Carey for the popozao new banner, too.

Oh! By the way...

Hey, kids...

New Big Monkey Podcast: The Writer's Block Edition!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

DC Di-Retch


Dear DC Comics, please do not let interns design your covers for extra college credit.*

*Next time use the back cover as the cover, DC. Lens flare kills, kids. Kills.

Friday, October 19, 2007

All-Out Living! With The Viking Commando!!!!


Three months late but here, nontheless! Kids, it time for another edition of....


"ALL-OUT LIVING WITH THE VIKING COMMANDO!"*

Matt Worzala asks:


What's a good way to let your roommate know they need to help out more with chores, that won't lead to awkward tension between the two of you?

Dear Matthew,

Sharpen your ax!


Next, awaken your village by singing a song full of plunder and one's testicular roundness and virility. Have the village children make torches, light them and have them form a circle just...
"yay-big." Gather your roommate (by force if necessary,) bind his palsied wrist to yours with a leather strap, preferably one your father used to beat you with and have an all-out ax fight.

Hit him in the head with sharpened ax.

Repeat as needed.


Awkward tension becomes that feeling in your wrist as you haul his body back to the kitchen to get yourself some of last night's salted pork.

Googum asks:

Viking Commando,
Why haven't you made a comeback yet? I mean, Sgt. Rock just had that limited, and Enemy Ace and Unknown Soldier have done stuff at Vertigo, so aren't you about due? If Balloon Buster gets a prestige special before you, I will lose all faith in god and man.

Dear Googum:

Have you seen the state of comics lately? I have no desire to "come back." Come back to what?

A world that doesn't inherently appreciate the genius of my being a Viking who is very much a Commando. I volunteered for duty in scribe Frank Miller's
Holy Terror, Batman! comic, only to be told by DC Comics they thought I'd be in their words, "a bit much, even by our standards."

That is the reason I won't come back. Without me, no one will know how utterly ridiculous this book will be.

There is your "balloon buster."


Gyuss Baaltar asks:

Viking Commando, This weekend all my friends have made some time for pillaging and plundering the village one county over. However, my wife has reminded me that the lawn needs mowing. What should I do?

Hagar? Is that you again? Be a man. Have the damned boy do it. Go and raid your England!

Kushiro asks:

Viking Commando:
I'm considering doing something with my investment portfolio. Despite the continued gains in the Dow Jones, I'm getting a bit nervous that the worm might turn soon and we could see a massive downturn. Should I move into safer short-to-medium term deposits, or do you think I'm wrong and I should remain in stocks, corporate bonds, and maybe even expand into something like futures?

Dear Kushiro:

The worm does often turn in all matters financial. I ask, what lies in your future? Planting within a wife's womb a Viking of stout heart? Then, I suggest short-to-medium term deposits. If that is the case, that is the safer way to go, I think. This tact will prove safest. If this works out, test the market with a few low yield bonds before investing too heavily.

If that fails, invest in a sack and steal some gold.


Allan asks:

Dear Mr. Commando, I have lost the taste for battle. I no longer yearn to feel the warm spray of my enemy's blood splash against my skin or smell that deliciously smoky blend of burning wood and human flesh. In the past, I would have shared my feelings with my friend Barry, but the last time I sought your council, you advised my to cut out his tongue, which means he is no longer speaking to me. I tried discussing this with a wise man who had made a study of the ways of the warrior's mind, but I became so confused by his use of words such as "existential" and "ennui" that I had no choice but to sever his head from his body and slaughter his wife and children to ensure that his bloodline would never again be able to mock me for my lack of an education.

So, I now turn to you, Viking Commando, whose wisdom I admire and whose judgment I respect. What can I do to rebuild the bloodlust that is the trait of every true warrior? And if it involves pills, can you suggest a wise man who can provide me with a prescription without causing me to fly into another fit of murderous child-killing rage?


Yours gratefully,
Allan

P.S. Gail will show us the way!

Dear Allan:

Your lament reminds me of a story: Once, the god Loki made a wager with dwarves. The wager was so that if Loki lost, he would have to surrender his head to the ax of a dwarf. Loki lost this bet and in time the dwarves came to collect their debt. A god prince's head. Loki gladly submitted to the fact that the dwarves were owed his head but in no way could they claim any right to any part of his neck. Loki and the dwarves debated long into the night.

Obviously, the dwarves were owed his head but they all could not agree upon which parts exactly constitute neck and which parts exactly constitute head.

Conversely, Loki managed to keep his head indefinitely.

Although, the dwarves did sew his mouth shut...

What was your question again?

As for "gail," that can only be found in the lamentations of the womenfolk.

...and so ends another edition of "All-Out Living! With The Viking Commando!"

*Thanks to James Rambo for the Photoshop help.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Number One of "Seven Hells!" Comics' 5 Greatest Douchebags

Somebody call The FBI 'cause this little b*tch has been commiting hate crimes for over sixty-five years.

Arrest his ass for blocking the rooster.

For wanting everyone around him to be as ho-po' as his punk ass.

For treating a true player like a redheaded stepchild.

For trying to steal a true pimp's stable.

For hating on a man who for 65 years has kept two fine young ladies plush in his garden of pimply delights.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you The High Priest of Hatin', that Kaiser of The C*ckblock...

Pubic Enemy Number One...

Comics' Greatest Douchebag Of All Time...

(May the squirrels forever forage for your nuts.)

1. REGGIE MANTLE

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Number Two of "Seven Hells!" Comics' 5 Greatest Douchebags

Help shoot Hulk into space, don't consider consequences: CHECK!

Help usher in laws violating others civil liberties: CHECK!

Hunt down former allies who disagree with said laws: CHECK!

Imprison former friends if they disagree with said laws: CHECK!

Become head of espionage group to make it just that much easier: CHECK!

Create clone of a Nordic god and set it against your former allies: CHECK!

After Norse clone kills a two-story tall Black man, assign someone to dig a hole for said man, have him wrapped in a tarp, buried in chains in front of his whole family: CHECK!

Arrest best friend, Captain America, march him like a dog, handcuffed in front of a mob and not allow for his being possibly killed: CHECK!

Do so while completely sober: CHECK!

Kind of impressive when you see it all in one place, don't you think?

Congratulations, Tony... without even hardly trying, you became a better villain than I ever could hope be.

Hell.

All I've done lately is try and get elected mayor of Sub Diego.

2. IRON MAN

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Number Three of "Seven Hells!" Comics' 5 Greatest Douchebags

I've put more children in danger by dangling than this guy...

Just ask AQUAMAN.

3. ME.
Doctor BLACK MANTA

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Number Four of "Seven Hells!" Comics' 5 Greatest Douchebags

What is it with these people?

It's always about them.

White guys who keep those below, below the glass ceiling.

You know who I'm talking about.

Those two Atlantean kings who hate on men with big penises and doctorates and sh*t.

As much as I hate Aquaman, Namor, The Sub-Mariner just might be worse.

Always getting between Reed Richards and his baby's mama.

Disgraceful. A baby needs his daddy, *sshole.

I don't think he particularly likes Blacks either.

Here he is commiting a hate crime.

4. NAMOR

Big Monkey Podcast Is Sweet...Except When It's Not.


The eleventy-billionth Big Monkey Podcast is, much like Ben Hatton, up and running.

Thrill to the adventures of everyone explaining to Scip that Iron Fist is just a comic.

Swoon as we all get the Blues.

Listen in shock and awe as we show you that five men can talk for one hour without cussin'.

------------

Interested in reading Empowered Volume Two?

Read this first.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Number Five of "Seven Hells!" Comics' 5 Greatest Douchebags

I like this guy. For an midget, this guy goes big.

We have a lot in common.

Stupid blond guys are always getting into his sh*t.

Stupid blond guys
are always getting into my sh*t.

He has a black soul.

I have a large Black Manta ship... to go along with my massive Black everythangs!

I heard he once cut his brother's girlfriend Sif's hair because she wouldn't give him any play.

Hateful.

Spiteful.

Pitiful.

I wholeheartedly approve.

If you did not know, that means I approve with my whole heart.

Loki is a "pimp," children.

Note the pimp cup.

His cup tells his story.

5. LOKI

Friday, October 05, 2007

Best Quote Of The Year

Taken from Dark Horse's January solicitations:

EMPOWERED VOLUME 3

ADAM WARREN (W/A)

On sale Mar 12
b&w, 208 pages
$14.95
TPB, 6" x 9"

As if life as an often-struggling superheroine weren’t already hard enough, now costumed crimefighter “Empowered” discovers that another female superhero is ripping off her distress-prone persona—and cashing in, big-time! Even worse, her relationship with live-in boyfriend (and semi-reformed Witless Minion) Thugboy has run afoul of an extremely literal set of “power issues” ! Worse yet, a singularly bloodthirsty and ruthless ninja clan is gunning—no, make that shurikening—for Emp’s best friend and karaoke partner, Ninjette! Can our unlucky but still plucky heroine prevail over all these obstacles as well as the further threats posed by foreign fanfiction outrages, her own supersuit’s attempts to manipulate her self-esteem, and the revelation of (gasp!) her real name?

• “Empowered just may be the best graphic novel I’ve read all year.”
—Devon Sanders, Rack Raids

"Seven Hells!" returns with all-new material next week...

Thanks to Graig of "Rack Raids" fame for hippin' me to the quote.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Black Manta Presents... "Comics' 5 Greatest Douchebags" Week!


You heard right, dammit!

Starting Monday...

Not ONE!

Not TWO!

Dammit... this is taking too long to type.

FIVE, dammit, of comics' greatest douchebags as only the staff of "Seven Hells!" can bring it to you...

Live and direct from Washington, D.C.

Douche Central.*



*Lovely and talented Big Monkey Comics patrons excepted and that guy who sold me your bike for like a dollar. He's alright in my book.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

19 Questions & 1 Statement


1. What the hell was he doing there on Page 6? (Justice League of America #13)

2. Between this and DC's pulling the trigger early on Parallax in the pages of Countdown, do the editors ever like, you know... talk to one another?

3. Oh, my God. Are Jai and Iris actually growing on me? (Flash #232)

4. Can we keep her in the red leotard and hooker boots, please? (Wonder Woman Annual #1)

5. Is it me or does everything that American Apparel makes look like something Donna Troy once wore?

6. Was I the only one surprised at how much I enjoyed The Umbrella Academy #1?

7. Am I the only person warming up to All-Star Batman & Robin, The Boy Wonder? (All-Star Batman & Robin, The Boy Wonder #7)

8. Can we we all agree that if there's ever a Mr. Terrific series that Keith Giffen should be the first choice as writer? (52: The Four Horsemen #2)

9. You know when the sh*t's hit the fan? When Batman's cracking the jokes.

10. SNAPPER CARR?!?

11. Is there anything more "gloriously rotten" than Showcase Presents: Batman and The Outsiders, Vol. 1?

12. If you haven't done so already, find the Doctor Thirteen: Architecture & Mortality trade paperback. It will complete you.

13. A cross between The Martian Manhunter's costume and Sailor Moon's, if there's a costume more designed for "cute" than Miss Martian's, will you please let me know?

14. How bad-ass was the last page of Teen Titans #51?

15. Has Blue Beetle surpassed Batman as having the best supporting cast in comics?

16. Kids, how utterly wonderful is Blue Beetle's mom, Mrs. Reyes?

17. Are Raven and Starfire Jonni DC's answer to Beetle & Booster? (Teen Titans GO! #47)

18. Did you rejoice in Thor's whupping Iron Man's ass as much as I did? (Thor #3)

19. Can we have more of J.H. Williams' Batman, please? (Batman #669)

20. Did this issue make you miss "death traps" as much as I do?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

One Flew Over... Arkham Asylum?

A friend of mine was watching "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" the other day and noticed something kind of cool.

Three of its stars went on to play Batman villains.

Can you name which three actors and which villains they played, respectively?

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Also, when The Teen Titans (Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad) formed, what was the reason behind Supergirl's not being available to join the team?

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Also, because you wanted it:

Coming soon (for at least one more time), the return of Kyle Rayner: ADULT! and tomorrow, the return of the weekly feature 19 Questions & One Statement.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

500th Post!


Geez, where does the time go?

Nearly two and a half years ago, I started this blog with the words, "I have nothing to say to you today."

That really hasn't been a big problem since.

I was going to do something big for this post but well, I'm a bit swamped this week.

Douchebaggery abounds and I must answer its call. (Ummm... hint, hint.)

On that note, I ask you a question:
"What brought you here?"

I'm curious is all. I see new and familiar faces here everyday and I'm beginning to want to put a bit of context to the whole thing.

Thanks for showing up and take care!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Crisis Of Infinite Births II


Continuing our look at DC's biggest "event" crossover, It's "Crisis Of Infinite Births II" or "How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The 90's."

WAR OF THE GODS:

Major character contribution:

DC did make a half-assed attempt at truly integrating Son of Vulcan into The DCU. Most people were impressed that a man could be in the vicinity of Lobo while wearing a skirt and come out the other side unscathed.

Circe moved up in Wonder Woman's villain pantheon by trying to take over the world.

The first of 1,253 attempts.

(This just in!)

Make that 1,254.

Wonder Woman Annual #1
comes out next week.

The "not-so-much":

Umm... I really don't think it did anything other than sport George Perez covers.

Moving on....


BLOODLINES:

Major character contribution:

Hitman! A hard-drinkin' assassin with a heart of gold.

Or as I like to call him: an Irishman.

The "not-so-much":

Pretty much all of it. Loose Cannon? Imagine (or don't) Lobo being molested by a Smurf, this is what you'd expect from that most unholy of couplings. I'm pretty sure his creator, Jeph Loeb ain't sitting around waiting around on royalty checks from this one.


ZERO HOUR:

Major character contribution(s):

The return of The Justice Society of America from comics limbo.

Removed the prostitute angle from Catwoman's origin.

Concretely established Batman as an urban legend.

Jack Knight, Starman. Writer James Robinson introduced in Starman a comic that honored DC's Golden and Silver Ages while simultaneously forging it a new and glorious future. Without this book there would probably be no Justice Society of America, as we know it.

Starman also presented us with the concept of the "legacy character," a character building upon the name and legend of a previously introduced hero.

He later passed on the torch and Cosmic Rod of Starman to Stargirl, a character prominently featured in the monthly Justice Society of America series.

The "not-so-much":

In trying to fix Hawkman's origin, it did more harm than good.


UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED:

Major character contribution(s):

Neron, a character whose machinations have tied him to the fates of both Blue Devil and Ralph Dibny, The Elongated Man.

Established Major Disaster as something of a bad-ass. Disaster joined the side of the angels and became a member of The Justice League.

The "not-so-much":

Effed up The Killer Moth.

I mean, really effed up The Killer Moth.


FINAL NIGHT:

Major character contribution(s):

Personally, it made me like The Legion of Superheroes a bit, especially Ferro Lad. I never cared for them before so, I guess...

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Hal Jordan (as Parallax) sacrifices himself for the greater good. The 90's officially come to an end.

The "not-so-much":

Remeber Inferno?

The Legionnaire that got left behind?

My point exactly.


GENESIS:

Major character contribution:

Phil Collins must have had somthing to do with this because it sucked. The writing was weak and unfocused and couldn't maintain the beat.

Led Zeppelin hated it so much they refused to let it be released in trade.

The "not-so-much":

It allowed me to make that joke.


DC ONE MILLION:

Major character contribution(s):

All of it.

Especially the late, lamented Hourman who went on to have his own series and became a member of The JSA.

There will be a DCU a million years from now. In a metatext sort of way, that makes me kinda happy.

Gunfire 1,000,000 will blow his ass uo using his own hand.

The "not-so-much":

None, really. When Gunfire 1,000,000 blows up his ass, we all win.


DAY OF JUDGMENT:

Major character contribution(s):

The Sentinels of Magic
. I kinda liked these guys. They should have called it Primal Force, though. Sales would have gone through the roof.

Oh, wait. That wouldn't have helped.

Shadowpact?

This was also Geoff Johns' first big DC work.

The "not-so-much":

Hal Jordan as The Spectre. Come on, this guy tries to pay strippers with a check. Is this the guy you want deciding your fate or running Cincinnati?


So, where's Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis and 52?

That's another post entirely.

Overall, I'd say DC's 90's "event" output wasn't all that bad.

Kinda like a Lobo appearance, actually.

So, again, I ask you, "Which "event" had the longest lasting character contribution(s) to The DCU?

"Which had the least?"

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Crisis Of Infinite Births


Yesterday it dawned on me as I put JLA/Hitman #1 down:

I'm reading Hitman again. It made me happy. I missed Tommy.

Anyways, that led me to do this, take a look at the thing that seems to spawn heroes.

The "event."

"The event book," to be exact.

Just as surely as something such as Bloodlines spawns a Hitman, a Millenium craps out a New Guardians.

So, let's take a look back at some of DC Comics' major events and see some of the major character contributions these events have had on The DCU:


THE CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS:


Major character contribution(s):

DC's integration into their universe of the Charlton characters. Characters as disparate as The Question, Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, Nightshade, Peacemaker and Son of Vulcan were introduced into The DCU and twenty-plus years later remain impact players in the overall scheme of things.

The integration of DC's Golden Age characters into one shared universe.

The "not-so-much":

Wildcat II.

Wildcat II = butt.


LEGENDS:

Major character contribution(s):

The Flash III (Wally West), the return of The Martian Manhunter as one of DC's "big" characters, The Suicide Squad, Shazam!, Guy Gardner (as a major Green Lantern), The Justice League, Wonder Woman's first interaction with DC's superhero community.

The "not-so-much":

None, really. This book had everything. In my opinion, this is DC most successful "event" in terms of overall completion of story purpose. Every hero it focused on is still having an impact on The DCU.

MILLENIUM:

Major character contribution(s):


None. Other than being DC's first weekly crossover series, this book contributed absolutely nothing to The DCU.

The "not-so-much":

DC's first "out" character, Extrano.

Millenium is also the "event" that did away with The Green Lantern Corps.


INVASION!:

Major character contribution(s):

Having Valor (Mon-El) be the one who seeds the planets that, 1,000 years in the future, become The United Planets was one of the most brilliant uses of retconning I've ever seen.

Vril Dox & L.E.G.I.O.N. The precursors to The Legion of Super-Heroes.

Justice League: Europe.

The "not-so-much":

It tried making Snapper Carr a major player in The DCU by reintroducing him as a member of The Blasters.

The Blasters.

The Blasters, yo.


ARMAGEDDON 2001:

Major character contribution(s):


Monarch, a character who today as the former Capt. Atom, for good or bad, is attempting a major strike against The Multiverse.

The "not-so-much":

The choice to make Hawk (of Hawk & Dove) totally destroyed him as a character. Still an awesome HeroClix, though.


Major character contribution(s):

None, really but it did lead to the death of Wildcat II in the Eclipso series so it wasn't all bad.

The "not-so-much":

The eventual death of Wildcat II. A win-win, when you look back on it, really.


So, my question to you is this:

Of the six "events," which one had the most lasting character contribution(s) to The DC Universe?

Of the six, which event birthed the worst contribution?

Tommorow, War of The Gods, Bloodlines and much, much more...

God, help you all.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Buy This...

...with your own money!

Doctor Thirteen: Architecture & Mortality!

The trade paperback comics blogging created!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sketch-A-Palooza: Wonder Woman

Sketch-A-Palooza begins anew and this time with....

Wonder Woman as rendered by Cully "Black?" Hamner!

Now, I have no idea why Wonder Woman is reclining in such a way. I know, it's not very "warrior-like," but dammit, it is soooooo pretty!

If I wrote anything that Wonder Woman were in this is exactly how I would introduce her. Reclining inexplicably, looking right into "the camera."

Picture it:

John Stewart (Taking his seat at The JLA Conference Table) : Starro's attacking Fisherman's Wharf!

Wonder Woman (Reclining on the JLA's glass conference table) : Good! I'm tired of being made to hang around this conference table, anyway...

Or this scenario:

Geo-Force: By my crown...

Wonder Woman (Reclining on the Invisible Jet's wing) : For Hera's sake! Shut your stupid f*****' mouth, you fake little emperor, you!

Or this one...

Superman (Kneeling on the ground, crying again, clutching his "S") : Black Adam's killed millions!

Wonder Woman (Gliding on an air current) : Well, it is Tuesday...

Writing and art!

That's comics, people.

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By the way, the new Big Monkey Podcast is up, up and away...

Thrill to the Deaths of The New (Podcasting) Gods!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sketch-A-Palooza: Lady Cop

Sketch-A-Palooza begins and to start it of with a bang, let's start it off with one hell of a bangin' lady:
LADY COP... as rendered by former Action Comics artist Bob McLeod.

Isn't she beautiful?

That look in her eye? Confident, vigilant, regal. That, friends, is The Eye Of The Tiger.

McLeod perfectly captured the majesty that is Lady Cop, hand firmly on hip, baton in hand, lowered just so, raised just high enough to signal she'll knock your ass out.

If I lived in a perfect world, there would be a Lady Cop comic, drawn by McLeod and it would be featured on Oprah's Book Club. The Oprah-ites would be all "OOOH" and "AAAH" and bum-rush the comic book stores. Housewives would be all up in comic shops while fanboys would be hiding in corners, acting like their moms found their porn stash and stuff.

Me, I'd sell 'em the comics and smile pretty and let more women be dazzled by my wit and how handsome I am in proper lighting.

Oh, yeah! My charm, too.

I'm just sayin', is all.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Kudos To....

THE SPLASH PAGE!

It's the first thing you'll see. It's there to make an impression.

When done right, nothing conveys more information than this, one of comics' greatest and oldest storytelling tools.

Recently, comics have been full of splash pages, unfortunately, in the wrong places. Lately, they've been used in the middle or end of a story to convey "epic scale" and often to the story's detriment.

Just my opinion, but too many splash pages, mid-comic, do nothing but confuse the storytelling. Personally, I've been conditioned to look for the splash (hook) at the beginning of a story and when it comes late, it throws me off a bit.

So, imagine my surprise when I noticed the splash page has made a major comeback. No better examples can be found than in two of this week's new releases:

THOR #3

Why does it work? Artist Olivier Coipel's composition is absolutely beautiful. The "Welcome To New Orleans" sign in the foreground. Thor in the background gently descending towards the surface. Laura Martin's muted palette suggesting twilight.

It's brilliant, gently letting the reader in on the story about to be told.

Best thing about this splash page? The mud on the sign. It's a sad reminder of the city's abandonment. Two years after the flood, it's watermark still there, a reminder of the city's abandonment. It's a small, subtle thing but one that speaks volumes without one word being said.

WONDER GIRL #1

Why does it work? Simplicity. Wonder Girl stands forefront and the first words you read are these:

"Her name is Cassandra Sandsmark. She is the second warrior to be Wonder Girl."

It establishes who she is and makes the reader want to turn the page to find out more about her story and the characters surrounding her.

Artist Sanford Greene, with his round line and Manga-esque influences, is nearly perfect for this character.

He establishes that this comic, featuring this young girl, might be something a young Manga fan might appreciate.

So, yeah, KUDOS to the SPLASH PAGE... and to those who truly know how to use it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Seven Deadly Sins Featuring Cliff Baker, Son of Animal Man

All panels taken from Countdown To Adventure #1
GREED

WRATH

PRIDE

SLOTH

LUST

ENVY

GLUTTONY