Category Archives: Randomosity

Stan Lee interviews Rob Liefeld

If you get the chance, head on over to Comics Alliance to read Chris Sims' take-by-take breakdown of great early Nineties video of Stan Lee interviewing Rob Liefeld. Chris is a very funny writer and the whole article is a quick and amusing read. Choice bits include:

3:09 - We've got to admit, there's something utterly hypnotic about watching Rob Liefeld draw pouches and armbands on a guy, and it's only made better by the pure joy in his voice when he explains to Stan that they're full of explosive boomerangs.

5:04 - As Liefeld rushes to finish the drawing on Stan's deadline, Stan starts joking about how his suggestion to add spikes makes Cross a collaboration, and starts referring to him as "my character" and "our creation." He's laughing. Rob's laughing. Steve Ditko is gritting his teeth.

Chris also makes a very telling serious point, though:

0:25 - This is quite possibly the most mind-blowing moment of the video, as at this point, it comes out that the latest issue of "X-Force" had sold OVER FIVE MILLION COPIES. Just to give you an idea, Diamond Comic Distributors' best-selling comic for July 2009 was "Captain America Reborn" #1, which came in just under 200,000.

Comics were big, huge, ginormous, incredibly big business. Like the real estate market, some of that was artificially inflated by speculating investors buying many copies of each big issue, but still, the industry today is a fractured, tiny portion of what it was then. Five million copies of X-Force, folks, that's a lot of paper being pushed to the public.

You can view the video on YouTube if you like. Chris' regular site is "The Invincible Super-Blog" and is a daily must-read for me, the guy's a hoot.

Real life costuming

In lieu of my usual "Bad Costume Wednesday", I wanted to take this chance to show you some of the stellar outfits I saw while at Dragon*Con this past weekend. I was really blown away by the time, dedication, hard work, and imagination people put into assembling these costumes. What struck me the most was not only how good they looked, but how much fun they were having. Almost without exception, they were eager to stop for pictures, and were happy to strike the most super-heroic of poses.

When you see comic-book clothing brought into the real world, you're immediately faced with problems you never have to consider when you're just drawing lines on a page. How do you hide the seams of a soft boot top as it joins with the shoe? Where does Flash's zipper go? How do you keep a cloth face mask from slumping off your cheeks? These guys and gals have dealt with all of that and more (don't ask me how they go pee, for instance, I'm pretty sure it involves some sort of complicated AMA-certified device).

So without further ado, I bring you the Best of John and Jeff's Magical Mystery Dragon*Con Tour in photos.

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Great comics artists

The Onion AV Club has a great article up featuring their list of the most influential comics artists of all time. It's a great introduction to guys you younger folk might not have heard of, but who nonetheless have influenced the comics and cartoons you love. Even old-timers like me can learn from it, too.

Plus, you gotta love a guy who can put together a paragraph like this:

He had legions of fans, even though he couldn’t actually draw; when he—along with Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, and other controversial artists—helped form the creator-owned Image Comics in 1992, the world learned that he couldn’t write, either. Since then, it’s been revealed that he can’t do much of anything else. Still, there’s no denying that the guy owned the 1990s. It was a strange decade.

Three guesses who that's about, and the last two don't count. Anyway, check it out, it's a great article. And if you think someone was left off the list who ought to be included (Frank Miller, John Buscema, etc.) let 'er rip in the comments.

Blog fail

Yeah, it turns out I have no idea what "Friday Hero Dissection" means, which is what I am supposed to be doing today. So instead I am going to post this insanely cute picture of this kid who, let's be honest, could be any one of us when we were younger, and by younger I mean "at any time in the last six months":

One heck of a costume

One heck of a costume

Be prepared to set your Cuteness Deflector Shields to Ten if you click through to, folks. You've been warned.

I gotta come up with something else to do on Fridays, I'm drawing a blank here. Suggestions welcome, consider this an open thread, yadda yadda yadda.

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.