Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More DeviantArt Fun: Public Displays of Bromance

Courtesy of DeviantArt User jimmymcwicked, I present the ultimate bromance or the bromance that stood the test of time...

Output from the MFET (Masked Facial Expression Translator) - worldwide patent pending:

Not here. Not in front of everyone. I have an image to protect! I’m tough and scary. A hug is so not happening...

Using the UPM (Utterance Predictive Module) of the MFET (Masked Facial Expression Translator) - worldwide patent still pending - this is what Batman will say next:

"Who am I kidding? Despite all your super-powered buffoonery and there's been a lot of that over the years, I still love you, man. Bring it on in for a hug!"

Monday, March 29, 2010

More DeviantArt Fun: Hal is a perfect fit...

This is where Hal Jordan truly belongs. This ultimate truth is brought to us by the GL-fanclub on deviantArt.

The Missing Link: On the Origins of the Forgotten...

No, these my musings on the fossil record, but rather a quest inspired by you (the comics blogosphere at large). Sometimes discussions on the interwebs will remind me of some internet geek fare for which I no longer remember the location. The Missing Link is a sporadic (don’t expect a consistent release schedule as it’s dependent on my memory and my Google Fu) series of posts highlighting the results of my continuing mission and never-ending battle to bring you the long-misplaced corners of internet awesome.

First, there’s this link that I have referenced in one or two posts but never supplied, because I lost the link. It is really on point. My only question is: Where is Dazzler?

Then, there’s this more scholarly work that I rediscovered.  I don’t agree with all the rules. In my opinion, rule 1 is merely one way to go. Rule 3 is optional (although, Pa Kent, Lucius Fox, Uncle Ben and others might beg to differ). I would amend rule 5 to say that if you do explain, make it a really short explanation (2 sentences at most) or have little bits drizzled throughout a series (if you absolutely have to). Rule 8 can be broken whenever you like, IMHO.

For more previously missing (or forgotten) links, watch this space.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Solving the Hal Jordan problem, because the ladies demanded it!

I solve hero problems, a least that’s what I’d like to put on an ad. So, when the heroines of the DCU hired me to rid them off a pesky skirt-chasing Hal Jordan who, as the ladies put it, “creates to an over-sexualized DCU” and “isn’t all that, anyway.”

Now, I’m not an assassin. Nor am I a lawyer. So, I can’t kill him or get a restraining order that prohibits Hal from coming within 2000 feet of planet Earth’s female population.

What I can do is come up with a solution to the problem, which I think I’ve done.

First, I boiled the problem down to its essence: In terms of relationships with the opposite sex, Hal Jordan is somewhat of a dog. Looking at this from a Pop Psychology Perspective, commitment-phobia is the term that comes to mind.

Dog...Commitment-phobia...Dog...Commitment-phobia...How do you teach an old dog new tricks? Commitment-phobia...Dog...Why is the old dog afraid to commit? Maybe he and Carol aren’t really meant to be? Maybe, he has too much of a roving eye?

Here’s what I was thinking....

Set Hal up with someone else.

Requirements? Must love dogs! Just joking.

Okay, here I went with the suggestions of DCU heroines. Firstly, she should be a superheroine, because a lot of Hal’s flirtatious behaviour occurs while on the job. Secondly, she’s got be able to put Hal in his place when he gets out of hand. Thirdly, she should hold Hal’s attention. Lastly, they suggested that she should love drama, because Hal’s a bit of a drama queen in the “I quit!” or “This is over!” and then leaving in a huff department.


MH = S + PIP +A + LD, where:
MH = Match for Hal
S = Superheroine
PIP = Ability to Put him In his Place
A = Attention-holding
LD = Loves Drama

But the formula was only half completed. It needed to be a weighted formula and I felt some of the DCU ladies lacked the objectivity with regard to Hal. For example, they wanted to give the PIP factor a weight of 60 per cent, because they wanted to see Hal put in his place constantly.

Huntress especially didn’t hide her distaste for the guy. Heck, given the rumour Hal spread her participation in a threesome with Lady Blackhawk and Hal, I didn’t blame her. I managed to calm her down by showing her the tape of who was actually involved: Some blond guy called Maser and Ralph Dibny. Yeah, that was some bottle of Grappa. I mean, Ralph?

After we finished laughing about Hal’s taped escapade and lack of creativity* in replacing the names of those involved, I managed to convince them of the following weighted formula:

MH = S(20%) + PIP (20%) +A(40%) + LD(20%),where the factor called Attention-holding (A) has the greatest weight (40%) and is thus the most important factor to consider.

*Note: Oracle did a wonderful skit on Hal’s suspected thought process (which was hysterical in more ways than one) the morning after, “OMG, did I?? Did we??? And they weren’t even Barry or Ollie! Think dammit. I have a rep to protect. I can’t just swear these guys to secrecy. No, I have to make something up that’ll make me the envy of every red-blooded straight guy...again...Think, man...Think!...That’s it! I’ll say I had a girl-girl-boy threesome. Lemme see...Maser is blonde. What woman do I know who’s also blond? Lady Blackhawk. Yes! Ralph wears Purple. What woman do I know who wears Purple? I know, Huntress! Or is it supposed to Lavender or Violet? *facepalms* OMG, maybe I am gay. I mean, I knew the names of those the colours on the gay side of the spectrum, didn’t I?” *slaps his forehead*

Who knew Babs was such a barrel of laughs (or is it venom)?

Anyway, I fed the formula into the computer and let it run.

The results indicated that I needed to look outside of the DCU. Specifically, Hal’s perfect match lives in the Marvel Universe. We’re going to need Access to help out on this one...And DC hardliners, please don’t hate the researcher or his methodology, hate the results (if you must).

Without further ado, I give to you Green Lantern Hal Jordan’s perfect match:

Jessica Drew (a.k.a. Spider-woman)!

Below, is how she did factor-wise...

Factor #1: (S or Superheroine)
Jessica is that and so much more. Her powers are superhuman strength, speed, reflexes, endurance, heightened senses, sticking to walls (useful for keeping an eye on a flirt like Hal Jordan), an immunity to poisons, drugs, and radiation. She can’t fly, but she can glide. It should also be noted that Spider-woman is so super that she is another example of what I call the Great Spiderman Paradox that states:

Spider-man is great (some say iconic character) spider-themed character. Once a great themed character exists, it is nearly impossible to create a similarly themed character (whether related or unrelated to the original great themed character) that works at even a minimum level. However, contrary to expectation, the vast majority of spider-themed superheroes (of just about every comic book universe) work exceedingly well. Sadly, this is not true for non-spider-themed heroes.

Factor #2: (PIP or The ability to Put him In his Place)
Spider-woman possesses a “venom blast” (a focussed blast of bioelectric energy that can stun or kill normal human). I can picture Jessica hitting Hal with a zap to the back of the head when he gets out of hand.

Factor #3: (A or Attention-holding)
Jessica can hold any guy’s attention, because she’s a knock-out (even with the mask that’s evident). She’s also had her own solo animated series back in the seventies, voiced by Joan van Ark. So, she’s a celebrity of sorts and Hal strikes me as the type to lose his mind around celebrities. Then there’s her title of officially having the best-looking hair in the entire Marvel Universe. That right there should make Spider-woman a match for the guy who thinks he has the best-looking hair in the DCU and acts (read: poses over-the-shoulder with hand in hair) accordingly. However, as unfair as those advantages seem, she still has an ace up her sleeve: She can secrete pheromones that make any man attracted to her. Sniff around Jessica and you might never want to sniff anyone else.

Factor #4: (LD or Loves Drama)
She lives in the Marvel Universe and those Marvel heroes really love their drama. She’s been on a Marvel Universe team or four in her time and Marvel teams are like soap operas sometimes. So, drama is inherent in her life. More specifically, she’s been on a team with Iron Man and one side to the multi-faceted Iron Man can be best described as “Drama Queen Hal Jordan with WAYYYY more follow-through.” If Iron Man were a member of the JLA and didn’t like how they were doing things (like Hal ranted about in James Robinson’s Crying Shame), he’d quit and actually create his own Justice League. In fact, he’s done this twice or thrice over the course of his Avengers career.

But why would Jessica Drew even give a guy like Hal (with his rep) the time of day?

Perhaps, it’s out of feminist solidarity? This is reaching on my part, but Jesssica is a member of the all-girl Lady Liberators (which include Sue Storm, Storm, Hellcat, Tigra, Black Widow aand others). Is there a greater act of liberation than liberating an entire universe of purportedly the biggest manwhore there is in said universe?

Maybe Hal reminds her of Nick Fury (a long time friend / boss / supporter), who in terms of looks is a more tough-looking, eye-patch-wearing, version of Mister Jordan (back when he had the white highlights)?

Maybe it’s because Jessica is a Private Investigator in civilian life and is therefore more DC than even she knows? DC Comics is really Detective Comics Comics, remember?

Okay, I really don’t know why. This is just fanboy spit-balling here, people.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Novels about Superheroes - a rare detour for me...

Novels are generally neglected by 1truegl, but there are three that are somewhat intriguing to me.

First, there’s “Black and White” co-authored by Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge. It features two female former BFF superheroes as its protagonists who are forced to team up. Black and White is the first in something called the Icarus Project series of superhero novels. Here’s a review from SFsignal. The next novel in the series “Shades of Gray” will be available June 2010.

The second novel I’d like to direct your attention to is “Devil’s Cape” by Rob Rogers. It’s a story about revenge with some “pastichey” characters spanning 35 years. Here’s a review from Sfsite.

The one I’m most excited about is “Ex-Heroes” by Peter Clines. It’s cross-genre novel that actually features a superteam of sorts. Here’s more information.

Throughout this post, you may have noticed my subtle reference to team-ups and superteams (it’s the subtle bolded and italized text). It’s surprisingly rare to have a team-up or superteam novel, considering all them pages that make up them novels. The non-solo aspect is probably a big part of the reason I’m intrigued by above three offerings, because I'm crazy about superteams.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Yet another cut scene from JLA: The Movie (inspired by a discussion on art)

A comment I made a while back (about “fallen angel art”) at Comics Make Me Happy inspired the following scene (provisionally entitled “Underfoot”) from JLA: The Movie...Yes, sometimes I find MY OWN comments to be such a source of inspiration I feel the need to link to them.

When and where?
This is near the end of the first movie...The setting for this scene is Earth (Do we have to use NYC?)

Superman, J’onn, and Wonder Woman had just left for Apocalypse via boom tube a minute before. Booster and Beetle are relaying this fact to the rest of the league, who arrived after Supes and company had left.

The camera slowly cranes up at an angle that captures the league looking up at the sky above them.

Suddenly, there is a huge explosion in the upper atmosphere. In the wake of the explosion, we see a giant open Boom Tube and three figures falling from the sky (all fallen angel-like).

We also see an armada slowly flying out of the boom tube. Near the front, we see Darkseid standing on the deck of the main destroyer (in his typical “I shall crush this world underfoot” dead-stare-and-hands-behind-the-back manner).

“Ted, those three...It’s Supes and the other big guns,” Booster says, a shocked look in his eyes.

A closer shot of Superman, Wonder Woman, and J’onn still falling from a dizzying height. It seems as if their falls are taking forever.

A medium shot of the ground and the rest of the JLA looking up. The camera then zooms in on Booster and Beetle.

“Superman!!!” Beetle screams.

“Don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll survive the fall,” Booster says. “You know, super-dense molecules—”

“You don’t understand,” Beetle says. “Look at his trajectory - he’s coming down right where I parked the bug!”

The Mighty Crusaders are coming back (using a series of posts by yours truly as inspiration????)

From what I’ve read here, the DC bigwigs have read my “If DC ever created the own FF” series of posts (collected here, here, and here). Please leave your “way to go 1truegl!” or “You are so awesome...” or “You truly ARE the One True GL...” in the comments, to which I will modestly reply “Why thank you, commenter, I was merely doing my blogger’s duty and you’re awesome for telling me that I’m awesome.”

This Mighty Crusaders line-up will feature The Shield, Hangman, The Web, and Inferno. Yup, that’s four. Choke on that, Marvel! You don’t own the rights to the four-hero team as concept like your propaganda says you do.

I’ve been aware of the Red Circle characters for many years and even red the backend of DC’s Impact comics back in the 90s, so I’m familiar with previous incarnations of the Crusaders that have traditionally featured larger rosters. In fact, in Final Impact (the swansong of DC’s Impact Comics imprint), there were a lot of cool developments with the The Shield (two brothers share the persona at the time).

I didn’t read the JMS one-shots, but I’ve heard that they quite different from the originals and the Impact Comics versions.

Of course, Didio has said that they were going back to the original versions or use them as strong inspiration for the new titles. So, I thought the heroes might turn out to be vastly different...

The heroes are they were and as they are now:

The Shield:
Basically, the source of his powers (his suit) was similar to Iron Man in one of his incarnations (decades before Iron Man existed) and his origin (serum experiment) was identical to Captain America (a year or so before Cap existed) in another incarnation. The Impact line of the 1990s went the suit-powered hero route. Now, he’s nanite-powered techno version of the Detroit-league Steel.

Hangman is creepy guy who carries a noose (not a lasso, a noose). Now, he’s more supernatural and immortal.

The Web:
Originally, Web was a criminology professor who fought crime in his spare time, all in an attempt to understand the behaviour of his bad seed bro. Now, he’s apparently a do-gooder who gets his missions from the internets.

I was never really into Inferno (hardly remember the character), so I can’t really make any comparison. I hear that the present day version has fire powers and a mysterious past.

Of course, 1truegl would have gone a different way in terms of reworking of the characters’ origins (and powers and motivations) as well as the roster.

The big question on my mind: Where is Blackjack and will DC keep his much adored origin?*

For those of unfamiliar with Blackjack (a non-powered vigilante) or his origin, I’ll repost my thoughts from a comment thread right here:

Blackjack has a dull origin (that I’ve tried to mentally block out, so this could be wrong): Dude gets locked up by robbers but manages to escape by using a playing card [Ace of Spades, i think]. Dude goes, “Ace of Spades saved my life...I think should become a masked hero as a tribute...” For real, I think that’s the gist of it...

Maybe I should look up Blackjack’s origin, because I might’ve been hard on him...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Short Fiction about Superheroes (Part 5)

If you haven't read them yet, here are Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of this series.

Today, I want to divert your attention to anthology called Lords of Justice, which differs from other anthologies I have spotlighted as is comprised of four novellas. Novellas usually start at 17500 or 20000 or 25000 words, but can go up to about 40000 words. However, these word count limits aren't universally agreed upon (and any ensuing arguments are arbitrary at best).

Here’s an interview from Static Movements with three of the four authors. There is a lot more in this short interview than self-pimpage, including the revelation of each author’s favourite superhero and their take on comparing comics and prose. By the way, the other author is actor Michael Boatman (probably best known for his role in Spin City back in the late 90s).

Then there’s the upcoming anthology called Chicks in Capes, written by about female superheroes. Lori Gentle has more on this project here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The truth about Dan Didio...

Years ago, when a comic book writer whose writing I dislike (present tense, because I still do) became way too influential for my liking, I left the whole comic book reading thing all together. And that was just a writer.

What am I to do when I see the bloody fingerprints of The Boss of my favourite superhero comic publisher on everything I don’t like about said publisher?

I don’t know yet, but the first step in my process is to research the problem.

Who is Dan Didio?

Dan is OBVIOUSLY a Marvel plant. A sleeper saboteur, if you will.

How do I know this?

Exhibit A:
The one thing Marvel has over DC is far less complicated continuity. Didio knows this, yet he green lit several major events that seemed to have the primary function of loading another level of complications onto DC continuity (Infinite Crisis, Countdown, and Final Crisis, I’m looking at you). And then, last I heard, Dan got the same writer I mentioned at the start of this post to pen something called Multiverse (which could be disastrous knowing how great Final Crisis turned out). Be afraid, people.

Exhibit B:
Before Didio’s reign, DC killed off about one popular character per decade. During this Didio age, characters with big, small, and medium-sized followings are getting killed off every six months. This type erosion of intellectual property and fan base is exactly what I would want if I were the Marvel bosses.

Exhibit C:
This is one is the most conclusive piece of evidence I have and that is: His name is Dan Didio. Who chooses names like that? Marvel. That’s who! Here are some examples: Bruce Banner, Peter Parker, Reed Richards, Susan Storm, Rich Rider, Scott Summers, Matt Murdock, Warren Worthington, Victor Von Doom, Wade Wilson, and many others.

I rest my case.

Calling all prose writers who like superheroes...

I came across this yesterday: 

At the very least, their prologue and character profiles (running the gamut from serious to not serious) are worth reading through. I’ve come across similar non-superhero projects like this before where a story and characters have been set up for writers, but usually they restrict you to say five characters (not the sixty of superhumans available here). In addition, you may choose to create your own and have one or more their creations along for the ride, which sort of makes it more like a comic universe.

Monday, March 8, 2010

MGK raises some legit points about a crying shame....

So, I’m guessing James Robinson isn’t a Roy Harper fan. Seriously, rip off a guy’s arm and kill his daughter??? Really??

Even if you liked the first six issues of the series, the last instalment is... well, I think Mightygodking said it best here. Be warned, folks, some of his language is not for the sensitive, but given issue #7’s subject matter...

The comment that summed up ‘The Making of Cry for Justice’ and the general state of DC’s decision-making best is this one by Lister Sarge:

“I’ve known for a long time now that trusting DC editorial is like putting your sexual organs in a tiger’s mouth. Sure there’s a chance it won’t bite, but do you really want to take that risk?”

Amen to that, Lister Sarge.

Another comment that gave me something to think about was this one by Brian T:

“This stuff isn’t going to end as long as the inmates responsible for Graduation Day, Infinite Crisis, Identity Crisis, Countdown, Titans East and too many other gratuitously violent and rape-y comics are running the asylum.

Unless Jim Lee somehow manages a hostile takeover, expect crap like this to continue being the status quo.”

Yeah, the same group of peeps are responsible for all of those “masterpieces.” Jim Lee? Hmmm, well, that’s an idea isn’t it?

Another option would be to petition Warner Bros, citing how the Didio reign is seriously eroding their licensing and movie / tv feasibility of DC’s core brands by way of the overall tone of the current source material. The thing to remember is that some pretty tame movies have lost box office dollars as result of the public’s views on the more extreme source material.

Pretty soon Dan Didio will be coming out with a little self-congratulatory statement at the back of all DC’s comic books:

Kids, this is the story of how Cry for Justice mini series came to be and how I rediscovered the talent that is Mister James Robinson. Remember that name - it becomes important later on...

You know, a year ago when we first wanted to rip off Roy’s arm and kill his daughter, it didn’t quite feel appropriate at the time. In the wake of my disappointment, I found out that James Robinson (who’d just been given the writing duties on Superman) was just stoked as I was about physically and emotionally torturing Roy Harper.

Really, if you think about it, no-one wanted Roy to be the red version of Green Arrow. I didn’t. James didn’t. So, logically all of DC fandom didn’t either. That’s how in touch we are with our core fan base. Indeed, it was the fans who decided that things had to turn out this way for Roy and we’re all about the fans...

You’re welcome.

Yes, Didiot strikes again.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Short Fiction about Superheroes (Part 4)

If you haven't read them yet, here are Part 1 and Part 2 as well as Part 3 of my posts on Superhero short fiction.

In my continuing search for short fiction anthologies about those heroes with superpowers or those without powers who are just super, I’ve come across Super-Human: An Anthology by Dan Membiela.

That’s right, it’s by Dan Membiela, not edited by Dan Membiela. Yes, if we want to get technical, it should’ve been called Super-Human: A Collection, because Membiela is the sole author of all eight stories collected.

That said, it’s probably a pretty clever naming strategy, since the author is more known for penning superhero comics. In addition, the name avoids the slightly odd yet popular collection naming convention that takes the form of ‘Story X and Other tales’ that to my mind limits the market to the author’s existing audience and pins all hope on Story X. In fact, putting aside the relative fame of the author within his or her genre for a moment, the success of the collection depends on Story X being the author’s most well-known or most award-winning or best story (in his or his publisher’s opinion). Another thing that the ‘Story X and Other tales’ titles have going against them is the product info aspect of names. For example, Story X may be a superhero story called The Cat in the Mad Hatter’s Hat, which doesn’t scream capes and cowls. That’s where multi-author themed anthologies have always had the upper hand on single-author collections – the former are “theme-explicitly” named or strongly allude to a specific (sub)genre or trope. The anthology version of The Cat in the Mad Hatter’s Hat would be The Purr to Action: A Feline Superhero Anthology or Cat versus Hat: A Feline Superhero Anthology or something better. You get the idea, though.

Nuts. I just thought of a pseudo-technicality that allows Mister Membiela to call his collection an anthology. Never mind, I’m not deleting the above paragraph. No,

Anyway, here’s a review from the Silver Soapbox.

As previously mentioned, in terms of prose fiction, I prefer short fiction over novels. In terms of short fiction, I prefer anthologies (books) over monthly magazines. So, for the last couple of years I’ve only kept up with anthos and have neglected the (monthly and quarterly) zines.

Subsequently, I’ve only recently discovered A Thousand Faces: The Quarterly Journal of Superhuman Fiction, a magazine that is available both for sale in print or online for free on the interwebs. I’ve already read a pretty entertaining story online involving a Mister Brass.

Instructions to read A Thousand Faces webzine for free:

1. Click on the cover of A Thousand Faces (They should really have “Click Here to enter” on that cover – See, it’s not our fault.) This will take you to the Editor Frank Byrns’ column called “Thinking outside the longbox” (clever name) which gives little blurbs about each story contained in the current issue.
2. Click on "New Fiction" on your left.
3. Click on the Story you want to read and enjoy!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Another cut scene or dvd extra from JLA: The Movie...

The scene opens with a steamed up bathroom mirror...

Cue this song:

The mirror gets wiped clear, revealing Hal Jordan’s bare upper body. Comb in hand, he’s lip-syncing and pointing at his reflection...He’s singing to himself about himself.

The Watchtower hallway.

This is from the back shot of Hal.

Hal, now fully uniformed and sporting his Ipod, quietly sings along ("We made our connection...") while shuffling rhythmically down the hall, twirling around every half a dozen steps, on his way to transporter / teleporter room. He’s got a hot date.

"Hal!" Suddenly, J’onn ghosts through the wall a foot in front of Hal.

Hal falls over from being startled and plucks off his earphones. “Damnit, Martian. When will stop doing that??”

J’onn turns awayin the direction of the conference room, and telepathically answers, When it no longer amuses me. "Hal, It's an emergency. We're needed.”