Category Archives: Randomosity

Marvel Digital

I just signed up for Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited — does anyone else use that? How has your experience with it been? I’m looking forward to catching up on some of the comics I’ve missed over the last ten years, as well as looking through some of the oldies but goodies for Random Panel fodder.

I clicked on an ad in my YahooSports Fantasy Football page, which had a promo offer of $4.99 a month, or $59.88 for the year with a pre-paid year-long subscription. Once on the order page, there was a place to put in a promo code, and with a Google search I found CYBER3010, which apparently is their “Cyber Monday” price, expiring at midnight. Putting that in gave me an additional 30% off a yearly subscription rate for a final bill of $41.92. Not too shabby for all the comics you can read!

Note that I am not getting a cut of this or anything, it’s something I was doing on my own and thought was a neat deal that might be interesting to you. If you sign up, or have been a subscriber already, I’d be curious to hear about what you think of it.

Ben Grimm, Chamberlain

I haven’t read it yet, but from “Again With the Comics” comes this great alternate-history Fantastic Four bit:

“Milady, ’tis the clobbering hour” may be my new favorite tag line.

Sunday Bonus – Enceladus

Confession time — when I was at Dragon*Con, I attended a talk in the Science section about the latest findings from NASA’s Saturn orbiter, Cassini, which was pretty amazing. And while technically science stuff is not really what I do here on HeroMachine.com, you can’t have sci-fi (which DOES fit) without the sci.

Plus, this is a totally cool image, so nyah:

For a fuller explanation of what you’re seeing (hint, the moon is not the Death Star trying to escape on full thrusters — “That’s no moon!”), check out the Bad Astronomer blog on Discover.com. In a nutshell, this is Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons, ejecting a bunch of vapor out of volcanoes on one side. The ejecta ultimately forms the majority of Saturn’s E ring.

The person giving the lecture at Dragon*Con was on the Cassini team responsible for these images and she actually talked a fair bit about Enceladus. The team running the magnetic field detection equipment got some interesting data on one pass indicating something funny going on with that side of the moon, so they decided to do a relatively low-altitude fly-through with the visual cameras to see what was going on. They were delighted at the images they got back, showing these huge volcanic ejections.

It was really neat to listen to actual scientists working on actual projects out there on the very edge of explored space, and completely humbling as well. The stuff we’re able to do nowadays is just mind blowing.

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute via The Bad Astronomer. Thanks Phil!

Final Dragon*Con 2010 update

The last few pictures from the Con.

Continue reading

Dragon*Con Ewok sketch

Collaborative marker sketch by Mr. Hartwell and myself.

Dragon*Con 2010 update

Dragon*Con has been fun so far. I passed Edward James Olmos in a walkway, said hi to George Perez. And have seen more unadulterated geek joy than you would think possible.

Half of the experience is, of course, the fan costumes. We’ve been taking a lot of photos (albeit with my crappy iPhone), and thought I’d share a few with you.

I am doing this via the WordPress app for iPhone, which I have never used before, so apologies if this blows.

Guest Post: B.S. Slinger

(Note: The following is a guest post from a writer code-named “B.S. Slinger”. The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of management, but rather are purely those of the author. Who, I hope, has donned flame-proof underwear.)

My name is B.S. Slinger and Jeff has ask me if I would be able to
come up with something for a post today. Jeff and I go way back,
remember the first time I meet him, it was the first day of Day Care.
He has always had a thing about pants. Diaper off and there he was
naked as a Jay Bird watching cartoons. More about the good old
days later, now to the post.

“Welcome to my View on Comics”

Were the first Comic Books painted on cave walls? Did Comic
books really start off as paintings on a clay pot? Who was the first
person to start painting fantasy art? Were the ingredients they mixed
for paint the real reason fantasy came to be? All these questions and
more would be answered here today, but I have no clue what the
answers would be. But they are good questions. The thing I do
know is, I love Comic Books, and I have all my life.

I would like to talk about what Comic Books have done with
the female body. The female body has been transformed, redesigned,
and added to. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, it is down right awesome
if you ask me. No complaints from me at all. Heck, 90% of the artists
out there draw the female figure with bigger than life breasts anyway,
so what man in his right mind would say something against that.
From Angels to Zombies, Comic Books have them all. The good, the bad,
and the beautiful. So, without further stalling, here are a few of my
favorites.

First up is the queen of comic books herself, “Wonder Woman.” What
costume hasn’t she made look good. Even her secret identity is as sexy as
all get out, with that naughty school teacher look and those little black
glasses covering those bedroom eyes. Does anyone even know what color
eyes she has? I think the only time that we even notice that she has eyes
is when she is using her secret identity. All these years, people have
believed it was her magic lasso that made you tell the truth. What man
wouldn’t tell her anything she wanted to know looking into those eyes.
And her costume! I love how she looks in the stars and stripes. There
is nothing old about her Glory. Long live Wonder Woman! Long live the
Queen!

Next up, the lady that puts the storm in “stormy relationship.” None
other than Storm herself, the white eyed beauty. To me, her best costumes
are the white ones. I like the way they compliment the dark tone of her skin.
When she rises into the air, with the dark clouds swirling, and the lightening
striking all around her, it’s just electrifying! The only drawback that I ever
saw in her was the mohawk. Never cared for it. It didn’t do her justice.
Give me the long flowing white hair that, to me, is her trademark.

Another angel in the sky, real wings and all, is Hawkgirl. With her ready
for flight body framed by those beautiful wings. What could be more angellic
than that? There’s nothing hotter than a woman with her own mace, that
actually knows how to use it. Hooters ain’t got nothing on this bird girl.

When you have the lean, and you have the mean, you’ve got to have
some green. She-Hulk definitely has the green. She is the first thing to come
to mind when I hear the phrase, “Go Green.” When she was with the Fantastic
Four, their name should have been changed to the Fantastic One. She made
her costume look hotter than the Human Torch.

Now for my “A” list of “Bad Girls.”

The thief that stole my heart was Cat Woman. She’s the sexiest kitty
out there. I think she should win the hottest comic book cover ever with
the one that has her in a wedding dress. WOW!! in EVERY way! Her skin
tight outfits? All I can say is, “tight is right.” She wouldn’t have to be a thief
to get me to chase her. No wonder she always leaves Batman swinging.

The next one is as natural as they come: Poison Ivy. Makes you want to
go out and buy stock in calamine lotion. The sexiest redheaded villain
out there. She just makes you want to turn over a new leaf! She can tie
me up with her vines anytime. There are few better at making thing grow
than Poison Ivy.

The last, but certainly not least girl, is no joke. The Joker is not the only
guy that Harley Quinn drives crazy. The cutest thing in pigtails you have ever
seen. She can hit me over the head with her mallet and smash my face
with her pie any day.

There are hundreds of women in the comic book world. Take your pick,
there has to be at least one of them that as caught your eye. If you’d care
to share, we’d all like to hear about your favorite comic book beauty. I
guess just to be fair, girls, you tell us about your hot hunky heroes
(husbands and boyfriends not included).
Get your comic on!!
B.S. Slinger

p.s. Jeff, a plastic cup from your hotel bathroom is not a souvenir.

Random cool photo

Can you believe this is an actual animal, right here in the real world!? It’s called a fangtooth fish and it looks like it swam right out of a comic book or adventure movie. Too cool!

(Via Andrew Sullivan. A Fangtooth fish is displayed at the Natural History Museum’s new exhibition ‘The Deep’, on May 26, 2010 in London, England. By Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.)

Thing I Love – Axe Cop

A friend on Facebook (he teaches “Lord of the Rings” in college, so he’s pretty much the Greatest Person Ever) posted a link to this site and I have been laughing my head off all morning reading it. It’s possibly the awesomest comic book idea ever, pairing the story-writing skills of a five year old (literally, it’s written by a five year old) with the art skills of a 29 year old illustrator. Truly funny stuff. Check out The Adventures of Axe Cop here, and take a look at just two of the many hilarious panels:

axecop1
axecop2

You too can thrill to the adventures of such secondary characters as Sockarang (he has socks instead of arms that he can fling out and retrieve like boomerangs) and stand amazed as anyone touched with blood becomes some bizarre version of that thing.

Plus, dinosaurs with chain guns for arms. Seriously, this kid is going to grow up to be Chris Sims at this rate. It’s great fun, by all means check it out for a wonderful weekend time waster.

Sidekicks

(We’ve got another guest post from Hammerknight this week in his “Comics Talk” series. Many thanks, HK!)

The Dictionary says; 1. a close friend. 2. a confederate or assistant.

Sidekick Application
sidekick-app

But as we all know a Sidekick is more than that. Over the years there have been many Sidekicks paired up with our Comic Book Heroes. Some famous and some not so famous. If you sit down and think about it, how important are Sidekicks, could our Heroes have made it with out them? What does it take to be a Sidekick? Who gets to name them? Where do they come from? How old is a Sidekick? Why are some replaced and others just fade away? Who finds who, the Hero or the Sidekick? And what is up with some of those costumes they wear?

Let’s break it down, first off, “Could our Heroes make it without a Sidekick?”, that is a very good question. Yes, there are many Heroes out there that do not have Sidekicks, does that mean that they are better than the ones that do have them? The answer to that is “no.” All Heroes get support from someone, be it a family member, a spouse, a Doctor friend, other Heroes and team mates, and yes even the butler is there for them.

So what, you ask, do Sidekicks do for the Hero they work with that the butler does not? Sidekicks can add that little edge that is needed in a fight. They can help cut the Hero free when the Hero has been captured. They can be the bait for a trap. They can create a diversion to help give the Hero the upper hand. And many other helpful things that a person can do that is right there along side of the Hero in the heat of battle.

What does it take to be a Sidekick? It takes a lot, more than some people will ever know. First off, there are some Heroes out there that are hard to get along with. You have to put up with being the butt of the joke and being comedy relief. Most of the time you have to go to school during the day and fight crime at nights, and that leaves no free time to hang out with your friends. You have to be in just as good of shape as the Hero, if not better, in order to keep up with them. You always have to be one step ahead of the Hero, by thinking like them. What helps this a lot is to
have had a life that is almost just like the Hero’s.

Who gets to name them? The Hero that’s who. You know that the Sidekick has to have a name that goes with the Hero’s name. It just would not be right to have a name that didn’t match. For example, there would be no way Batman would have his Sidekick named Potato Kid, it would not fit at all. So the Hero will more than likely name the Sidekick. This does not mean that the Sidekick will always
get a cool name.

Where do they come from? From all walks of life. For the most part, something has happen to their family and they are taken in by the Hero. Sometimes they are big fans of the Heroes and somehow find out who the Hero really is, leaving the Hero with no choice but to take them on as Sidekick. Being born into the family business is another way. But that doesn’t always mean that both parents are Heroes, in some cases one of the parents has been a Villain, but that doesn’t make them any less of a Sidekick. We all know things happen.

How old is a Sidekick? That can be hard to say. Back in the day they were both young and old. Some would start as a young kid that is taken in by the Hero and trained to fight crime. Others were good friends with the Hero, and sometimes even an old partner from days gone by. You have to ask yourself, how young is to young? For the most part the Sidekicks are like the Hero’s kid, and they won’t let their kid start up if they are not ready to. Would you? Now days you have to think about the laws, what would the Child Protective Service do if they see a Hero out fighting crime with a ten or twelve year old. There would be some trouble. A kid can’t even have a part time job without being over sixteen these days. And to take it in the other direction, how old is to old to be a Sidekick? Does a Hero want their Sidekick to be older then they are? Do you really think you would see someone like Green Arrow having his Granny be his Sidekick? Now nothing against Granny, she could probably out shoot him blind folded, but come on, she has already had her time to shine, let the young ones take over. Besides, she is out kicking it with Grandpa.

Why are some replaced and others just fade away? Over the years there have been Sidekicks replaced by a younger Sidekick. This happens when the first Sidekick has moved up and became a Hero. Where did you think Heroes come from? Or that the first Sidekick has had enough of the business and wants to move on in life. One of the sad ways that a Sidekick is replaced, is when they are injured or sometimes killed in the line of duty. Let’s all take time now and bow our heads to pay respect
to all of the fallen Sidekicks and Heroes that are no longer with us. Okay, some Sidekicks just fade away. There are a lot of reasons why. One of the reasons is that the Hero could not bear to replace them after something has happened to them. Another one, is that they have moved over to the Dark Side. Sorry couldn’t help it, they have become Villains. Not wanting to name names, some have had personal problems, like drug addiction.

Who finds who, the Hero or the Sidekick? It has happened both ways. It makes you wonder sometimes if there is a school out there for both Heroes and Sidekicks. Do they have to apply for the job? Could you see the Application for a Sidekick job? Well I did (in my mind that is) when I started to write these. I was thinking it would be cool to make one up and to share it with everyone.

What is up with some of those costumes they wear? Does the Sidekick supply their own costumes or does the Hero? You know that the costume will have to match, in ways, the Hero’s costume. Makes you wonder if the Hero is looking for a mini version of their costume or just something that will help make their costume look better. Some of the Sidekick costumes yell out”Hey look at me, I’m a Sidekick.” While others can stand on their own. Would you want a Sidekick’s costume to be a mini version of yours, a stand on it’s own, or one that would compliments your costume? And if you were the Sidekick would you want a say in the matter?

I hope that everyone has enjoyed what I have to say about Sidekicks. I would love to hear what you think, so post some comments and be heard.

Thanks all,
Hammerknight