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.


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?


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?


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."


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....


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.


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.


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.


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...


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.


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.


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.


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.


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007


Kudos To....


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:


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.


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







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Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Baltimore Comic-Con

...and another one comes to a close.

I've said it once and I've said it before. Baltimore Comic-Con is the best comics convention out there.

The best thing about BCC?

You don't have to try not and hang your head in avoidance of "Wrestling Superstar Virgil" or leap past Lou Ferrigno in order to get to the long boxes.

What did I see?

What did I learn?

I got a sneak peek at The JLA Wedding Special.

If there were any doubt, The Justice League is returned to greatness in writer Dwayne McDuffie's very capable hands.

Trust me, you'll want to pick this one up.

Cully Hamner, when not drawing and in between singing to editors, has still not become Black.

He was in great spirits and drew an incredible, incredible Wonder Woman for me. I'll show it to you all soon.

He also had on display the first issue and a half of the upcoming Black Lightning: Year One mini-series.

It is beautiful and for continuity pornographers, several panels feature a young baby I can only assume is his daughter, Thunder (of Outsiders fame.)

Howard Chaykin is the ti*s, I'll tell you what. We reminisced on misspent youth and Blackhawk. If anyone can tell a dirty story like this man, I haven't met him. Chaykin's the man. He's living proof that it's all in the delivery.

Caught the Mike Wieringo Tribute panel. It was very touching listening to their wonderful remembrances of the man who history will probably count amongst the legends of the comics field.

Bob McLoed (Action Comics) was there, as well. He did a drawing of Lady Cop for me and I am not ashamed to say this: my legs buckled a bit upon receipt. The man is a true artist's artist.

Talked to Mike Hawthorne, late of Queen & Country and currently of Vertigo's Un-Men ongoing series. A nicer guy you'll never meet. He also told me he has the first 5 or six issues drawn and in the can. As if I needed more reason to admire the guy.

Franchesco of Savage She-Dragon and Green Lantern Quarterly fame was there at his first BCC. He's one hell of a nice guy and I was glad to hear he's already wanting to come back next year.

Other stuff:

Peter Tomasi & Rags Morales on Nightwing?

Exactly what this character needed. Solid writing and art. I think this'll be what Nightwing needs in order for readers to return. For the past two years this character's been in nothing but a holding pattern, what with a truly sh*tty Bruce Jones story-arc where he becomes a male model while Jason Todd takes his name and kills people in some crazy attempt to do something or other.

Did I mention the female Nightwing?

No. I didn't.

Marv Wolfman's work on the title, I heard, hasn't been bad. Just enough there to make me care.

Hopefully, this team'll help us all remember that this is a character second only to Batman in cunning and history.

Tomasi on Green Lantern Corps? I'm there.

At the DC Nation panel, someone asked if we'll see a new Hawkman series in the near future. DiDio looked like he wanted to burst. That's a good thing.

Don't die Dan DiDio. I like you.

All in all, I had an great time. Conventions like this do nothing but make me appreciate the hard work and devotion these creators put into their work. That energizes me and helps me enjoy the medium all the more. That's what it's all about, after all.*

*Apologies to "Wrestling Superstar Virgil"


Friday, September 07, 2007


Baltimore Bound

Well, it's that time again!

The one time of the year I let my four-color fandom fly forth, wild, high & tight.

Baltimore Comic-Con!

If you read this blog, feel free to come up and say, "Hi." I'd love to meet ya!

If you want to watch a man stride like The Colossus of Rhodes across a convention floor, there's Ben.


Thursday, September 06, 2007


When Comics Are Good: Thor #3

Monthly comics, when done well, came be pretty euphoric.

Thor #3 is a cause for sheer euphoria!

A god speaks in soliloquy and all a man in a metal suit of armor can do is listen.


If there's ever been a greater punking in comics than the one Thor gives Iron Man, I've never seen it.

Wait a minute, on second thought, maybe I have.

Yup, it's that epic.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007



Last week, after much discussion and shooting down of things, we chose not to discuss Marvel's "event," Annihilation on last week's Big Monkey Podcast.

The reason why we chose not to do so were simple.

Only two of us (Ben & Jon B.) had even bothered to follow it. Why is that, I wonder?

Traditionally, space adventure is often thought of very highly. No one need look no further than "The Kree-Skrull War Saga." DC's criminally never reprinted 1988 event "Invasion." Those fond feelings often don't translate into blockbuster sales figures, at least where space opera is concerned.

For example, let's take Rann-Thanagar War. Of the four "big event books" (The OMAC Project, Villains United & Days of Vengeance) that led up to Infinite Crisis, R-T War was Big Monkey Comics' hardest sell.

I've always wondered why. Was it that, of the four, it had the least "star power?"

Villains United featured writing by fan-fave writer Gail Simone, ass-kicking art by Dale Eaglesham, telling the story of six villains vs. a secret society of super-villains numbering in the hundreds.

Days of Vengeance worked on the premise of a few C-list magic based heroes proving what it is to be a hero in a futile attempt to contain DC mainstay, The Spectre.

The OMAC Project had strong ties to Batman and served as a launch point for a future Checkmate series.

Written by Dave Gibbons and drawn (most of the time) by future Green Lantern artist Ivan Reis, Rann-Thanagar War mainly focused on the conflict as seen through the eyes of Rann's Adam Strange and Thanagar's Hawkman.

Of the four R-T War was the least well-received. As I remember it, the blogosphere's reactions to it all were more interesting than the actual war, with various blogs declaring war upon one another in the name of the hated Rann or our beloved Thanagar.

(Guess which side I came down upon.)

But I digress, we left Annihilation exactly where we left it... nowhere. What is it about "space adventure" that seems to only translate to critical acclaim and not "fan favorite" status?

Is it that the Big Two of DC & Marvel's sole focus seems to be on superhero fare?

Are the events of Countdown or World War Hulk just that more interesting?

Is it that space opera ain't very good for the bottom line?

Is something like Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps Corps an anomaly, an exception rather than the rule?

What do YOU think?

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Saturday, September 01, 2007


Big Monkey Podcast Mows Down The Competition

The one in which I speak of John Deere and Oprah in the same sentence.

The one in which I, a realist, have no faith in a Wizard.

The one in which I give Teens the rub.

(That sounded bad.)