Category Archives: Randomosity

Mutant economics

Matt Yglesias posted a link to this discussion over mutant economics at "Ecocomics", a blog I frankly never heard of before, and I got a good laugh out of it:

Tragically, most mutants use their powers to either save the world or terrorize it. At least this is the popular depiction in Marvel Comics. Imagine what Magneto could do if he worked in construction. For one thing, all of those New York City public works project would have their completion dates moved up from 2018 to roughly five minutes from now. But instead, he spends his time sinking Russian submarines and making asteroid bases to live in. For the love of God, the man has the power to build himself a high-tech home in space. He could repair the Hubbell telescope with no trouble whatsoever.

It's actually a really good thought experiment. I don't know how interesting a comic built along these lines would be to read -- intense labor union discussions with management about the impact of Bob the Mutant Builder on the new collective bargaining agreement aren't inherently visually appealing -- but the fact is that a) most people, mutant or otherwise, would rather live quiet lives of desperation rather than trying to either save or destroy the world, and b) mutie's gotta EAT, knowwhatImsayin? Your average non-Magneto mutant needs to put bread on the table and pay for custom Nikes to fit over his three-toed feet, and for that you need a J-O-B. Why flip burgers at McDonald's when you could instead use your heat-vision power to be the best welder in the state, with a salary to match?

Anyway, the column was that rare intersection of thoughtful and comics so I thought I'd share it with you all.

For further Watch reading

With a tip-o-the-hat to (of all things) Radley Balko's libertarian "The Agitator", here's a great list of other comic series you might like if you enjoyed "Watchmen".

"Watchmen" now a Saturday Morning cartoon!

With many thanks to Runt82, I can't clap loudly enough for this amazing take on "Watchmen", coming soon to the small screen from DC Animation. Click on the big "Play Movie" link to launch it, but be sure to have your drool bucket handy because it is pure awesomeness. I hope "Bubastis Bites", the super-cool replacement for "Scooby Snacks", make it to my store soon.

I do plan on taking in the actual film tomorrow as soon as I can slip away, but in the meantime this scratches the itch nicely. Hope you enjoy it!

The evolution of breasts

I've made an extensive study of the scientific literature*, and I haven't been able to find any data on why the breasts of humans are far larger, and far more important as secondary sexual features, than in any other primate. I was prompted to study this vital issue when noticing that the average breast size of your typical super-heroine has increased dramatically since the genre began, as you can see in the following comparison:

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Review: Batman, The Brave and the Bold

Once again DC kicks Marvel's animated ass with its latest Caped Crusader television show, "Batman: The Brave and the Bold" on Cartoon Network. I don't know why DC can't make a decent live action film while Marvel's are awesome, but the reverse is also true -- I have yet to see a Marvel animated show I liked, while DC just keeps cranking out hit after hit.

And this one's no exception.

Taking a break from the Bruce Timm-designed "DC Animated Universe" style, "B:BB" hearkens back more to a Jack Kirby, square-jawed dynamic. This is super-heroes by way of "Raiders of the Lost Ark", non-stop action with just enough character and plot to keep you interested. The creative team has put together a very tight product, starting with the nifty device of an opening scene featuring a mini-adventure with Batman and some other character different than the episode's main "Guest Star". This confused me at first since I am, when you get right down to it, just barely above the "low-functioning imbecile" level on most standardized intelligence tests. I kept checking my TiVo to make sure I hadn't screwed up the times, accidentally recording the last minute of the previous episode. But once I figured it out, I really dug it, kind of like getting a super-cool toy in your box of Lucky Charms.

I also like the opening theme music, it's got a toe-tapping, hard-driving beat that keeps me socking bad guys all night long.

I can't believe I just wrote that sentence.


Moving on, like in the classic comics series, each episode of "B:BB" features Batman teaming up with another super-hero to tackle a case. Typically companies do this to give a boost to their B-list (or C-list, or in some cases -- I'm looking at you, Kamandi -- D-list) characters, hoping to drive sales a bit. But it also works from a story-telling perspective, letting someone else take the focus for a while so the writers don't constantly have to think of what else they can put poor Bruce Wayne through. Because honestly, after a bazillion comics and half a bazillion movies and a quarter bazillion animated series, the ground's been pretty well churned, you know?

Batman in this world is pretty much a Superman analog in terms of his sheer bad-assery and fame. Everyone knows him and wants to work with him, but he's clearly the top dog. You don't get much of the peripheral stuff in his life -- no Alfred or Robin or billionaire parties -- so you're dealing with pure, distilled Caped Crusader and whatever tagalong also-ran he's hanging with that week.

The stories are punchy and engaging, only occasionally too-preachy, and consistently fun. The art takes a little getting used to, but eventually you warm to it and really hooks you. I hope it has the same longevity the Timm-led series did, because I've enjoyed every episode a lot so far .

If you're not watching it, you've only got two new episodes left, so be sure to tune in on Fridays nights on Cartoon Network. Otherwise you might only have a hundred chances a day as, I am sure, they will run it into the ground like an Impala strapped to a Jet-Assisted Takeoff rocket.

My wife rules

With thanks to everyone who made suggestions about my Christmas gift, I today received from my order of the complete "Who's Who in the DC Universe" run AND the trade paperback edition of "The Perhapanauts: First Blood" AND the first trade paperback of All-Star Superman. Which I just read and loved.

My wife rules!

Plus, hopefully you'll be seeing even more ridiculous super-heroes from the Eighties showing up on the "Bad Super Costumes" Wednesdays in the weeks ahead thanks to this bounty.

Super-hero comics and originality

Frequent commenter Jose had some interesting points regarding the "Sons of Scissorhands" post that I wanted to address at more length. He said:

Granted, fanboys (I’m one) get the urge to outshine Superman, Spider-Man, and Wonder Woman (remember the 90’s ‘Bad-Girl’ fiasco?), but when someone wants to create a unique superhero Super-Skrulls and Amalgam Comics is a good place to start.
Is Badger really a Wolverine ripoff anymore than Black Cat or Ms Fury or Tigra or Cheetah (take your pick, DC or Gold Digger) or Vixen or Red Fox or Silver Fox or Hepzibah …etcetera are to… Catwoman?
Just a thought.

I do seem to obsess over 90's-era Image and I've been trying to define exactly why that is.

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You say Nightwing, I say Blindside. Potato, potahto.

I felt kind of bad trashing Marat Mychaels in the Caption Contest post, so I thought I should look him up online and see what he's been up to since 1992, when the Brigade issue in question was printed. I mean, 17 years is a long time, I figured he'd probably improved since then.

Which, clearly, he has, as you can see at his web site.

But while poking around, I noticed a page from his Store, titled "Nightwing Tryout Page 1" (already sold) that looked an awful lot -- an AWFUL lot -- like his gallery page of Blindside. Whoever the heck that is.

For your convenience, here they are side-by-side:


Look, I'm the last person in the world to cast aspersions on someone for re-using art -- I do it all the time -- but damn. I assume the Blindside work came first, and then was later redrawn with Nightwing's costume as sample submission. But why bother? If you're already a published artist, why do you need to try out for something? And if it was the tryout that came first, did he use that basic script later for Blindside?

There's nothing unethical about any of this as far as I can see (assuming the Nightwing tryout didn't come with a pre-written script), it's just kind of weird. I don't know Marat Mychaels at all, I'd never even heard of him until this morning. His art's gotten much better, and he's a published, successful comic book artist, which is far more than I can say. So props to him for that.

It just seems weird, is all.

(All images © Marat Mychaels.)

Super-hero theme songs

Every hero needs a good theme song, and thanks to this web page, you can hear the music and read the words as you go. Which for people like me, who can neither sing nor remember lyrics, is a Good Thing.

Comic book idea

I had an idea the other day for a comic book while watching "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly." You never get any kind of backstory for the victims in any of these stories, whether it's sombrero-wearing banditos in spaghetti Westerns or red-shirted security guys in Star Trek. They're just cannon fodder. But they've got friends, loved ones, and stories of their own. Someone somewhere is probably going to cry just as hard for them as we will when our hero gets it.

So I thought it might be interesting to have a comics series where every issue features a different story of someone who gets killed on the last page. Sometimes it may be a gladiator losing in the pits of Rome, sometimes it might be a Hydra henchman getting blasted by Iron Fist, sometimes it might be one of Brainiac's cyborg assistants getting evacuated into space by Superman because hey, it's just robots.

Clearly the meds are working today, because the ideas just keep flying!