Monday, January 31, 2011

Batwondy! Strikes again!

Check out this gorgeous flirtation scene:
From JLA 61.  The sexual tension, it is palpable.  And entirely understandable, because who wouldn't love Wonder Woman?  Now Batman, he's only likeable when softened up by someone else.  Like Wonder Woman.  He needs someone who won't take his shit, who doesn't hero worship him, who knows him and who he respects.  This is why Selina and Diana are both perfect matches for him.  Well Diana's better, obviously.

And then there's this from JLA 70:
This is where it all came to a head:

From The Obsidian Age storyline, which ran from JLA 66 to 78.

Aww, aren't they lovely together?  I shall leave you to dwell on that, and tomorrow we will see the aftermath.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


I could definitely tolerate seeing more Batman if the scenes were like this one from #66:

And then there's this, but I'm not sure which issue I got it from now.  Batman has just done his disappearing trick:
Usually I'd say that Di's comment is sarcastic, but maybe it's filled with love instead?
Of course, he doesn't really appreciate this, and responds to her possible love and protection with sarcasm:
Again, I'm not sure of the issue number.  And then, I can read so much into this bottom panel too:

I love projecting onto my comics.  More coming later!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bruce and Diana....

Girls Gone Geek have been doing a 12 days of BatWondy series, which I urge you to check out and this has prompted me to look at Bruce and Diana's near fling in JLA vol3.

To whet the appetite, I present you with this:

From JLA number 76, Diana uses Bruce as a baseball bat.  Because who wouldn't.

A more serious look at their potential relationship to come along soon..

Friday, January 28, 2011

Webcomic linky time!

I'm getting slack with real posts again.  Forgive me and please take a gander at these here links, which are my pitiful attempt at today's blog:

What's normal anyway?  - a new webcomic about being trans male.  Only a few strips in so far, but it looks interesting and the art is sweet, if a little amateurish.  I'm sure it will improve over time.

Reynard City - I've been threatening to blog about this for ages.  I discovered it via twitter (@reynardcity since you ask) and from my initial browsings it looks to be about superhero foxes who come to earth.  It's written by folks from my city, and as Norwich doesn't get enough credit for being a creative, artistic city, I feel duty bound to promote things from here.  We aint all farmer hicks you know.

Comics are put up regularly in pdf format and it looks inventive and fun.  They are also looking to get funding to make it into a TV show and seem a pretty ambitious lot.  The comic itself is done by a range of artists, some better than others.  On the whole, the art could do with more nuance but I guess that will come over time.  Check it out.

Moving away from the webcomic side of things:

Before Christmas, Girls Gone Geek did a series of posts on a Batman/Wonder Woman pairing.  It was great.  It has inspired me to collect other BatWondy pairings and I have them all saved waiting to be posted.  Some time soon.  Or tomorrow.

Fuck Yeah Nerdy Nails - oh ye gods I love stuff like this.  The adorable @smash_is_nerdy from twitter is one of the moderators of this tumblr.  Please go look at it!

Fuck Yeah Gotham Slash - Does posts of Gotham slash.  Wonderful.  There's lots of BoP and DinahxBabs stuff on at the moment.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A note to my fellow citizens

Dear motorists and pedestrians of Norwich,

When you are going about your daily travels in this fine city of ours, I would be ever so grateful if you could look around you.  I am the one on the biccyle, with lights, helmet and a flourescent jacket over my rucksack, making me resembling a turtle.  I am not hard to miss and I am quite comical in appearence.

Despite the hilarity of my dress upon said bycycle, I do not wish to be knocked down by a car, bus, coach, minivan or lorry.  I also do not wish to run a pedestrian over.  All you have to do to avoid this is use your mirrors (if you are in a vehicle), or look both ways before crossing the street (if you are a pedestrian).

This simple and effective strategy will prevent raised blood pressure, shock, a certain amount of blue air, my brakes and my sanity.

I thank you kindly for you reading this.

Yours, in fear of her life.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Because of Steve, I bring you tastelessness

Following on from this post about that disastrous Black Adam mini, I bring you scans of Adam doing interesting things with a yeti's insides.


Friday, January 21, 2011

And then I bought Gail Simone's books

Which is Secret Six, Birds of Prey and also Action Comics 896.  Ok, so Action isn't really Gail's, but it does have Secret Six in it.

I'm glad I bought Action, otherwise Secret Six 29 would have made no sense.  And when you have an issue which narrated by Ragdoll who thinks he's an angel in heaven, you'd really like to know the backstory.

Action Comics was Lex vs Ra's with the Six in the way.  The art is adorable, Lex is sneaky, there's something about a prophecy and I sort of want to pick this up now but I shall hold off till Superman comes back to it.  Hopefully with a heroic and admirable personality.

The Jimmy Olsen back up was very surprisingly good.  Chloe Sullivan from Smallville features and had a wonderfully Chloe line - you're kinda unintentionally cute when you're ineffectually jealous Jimmy Olsen.  Have I mentioned how badass Chloe has got in SV season 9?  She's badass.

Birds of Prey had possibly my favourite line of the week.  Batman turns up to help out the Birds (under Oracle's permission, not just because he decided to), and Dinah comments:

"But Damn it;s good to see him back.  And not just because he makes a bigger target."


Dawn continues to be cute and vomity.  I didn't know that was possible, but apparently when i can't smell the vomit it is possible.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wonder Girl one shot and Superman 707

Nicola Scott gives Cassie a really wide face.  Almost aquiline.  I like it, but it's always surprising to see it.  More surprising is that Scott isn't the inside artist.  Some pencils seem a bit off but the colouring on this si great.

Even more surprising is that this isn't a bad issue, at all.  After seeing the previews - basically of Cassie's mum being horrible to her - I expected the worst.  But I like Cass, so I bought it anyway.

It turned out to introduce a new heroine - Solstice, who's an Indian girl clad in sunlight and gold clothing, whose parents know she is a superhero.  I want to read more about Solstice.  The issue ended with Cass and her mother hugging, which was pretty adorable.

I don't think this issue will change anything, it didn't reveal anything major (as I don't expect DC to do much with Solstice, although I fervently wish they do), it didn't explain or link to the Wonder Woman but it turned out to be good enough.

As for Superman, this title was not as dull as earlier ones, but not as good as last the issue.  First there lots (and I mean lots) of exposition.  Then Superman fails to be Super in any way and is actually rather rubbish, then he's mean to Lois.  Then we find out he's being mind controlled, then the Superman Squad turn up.

I can't help noticing there's a lot not-white characters being introduced this week.  Are DC paying attention?  Are they making their books more diverse?  I hope so, because the Superman Squad is the only bit of this book I'm really interested in.  Well, that and the ass whupping Lois is going to give Clark when he gets his mind back.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Thinky thoughts about lovely comics

New comics day is now a Wednesday for the UK, yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!  However I am probably not going to manage to get in to the shop on a Wednesday lunchbreak, so i'll still be picking them up on a Saturday.  Still, it's nice to know I've got the option if I so want.

Right, I am very aware that I haven't reviewed the weekly floppies for aaages.  The thing is, December happened and I only had about 3 spare night during the whole month so this sort of dedicated reviewing got pushed aside.  Then I found I was forgetting what happened in the previous month's issues, so now I reckon some reviewing would do me and my little old memory some good.

Aren't these special covers just wonderful?  I mean I bought the Green Lantern Emerald Warriors books just for the special ragey logo.  I still have a beef with the Supergirl logo being pink (grrr) but all the others are simply fabulous.

I'm not sure what book was my favourite last week.  It might have been Batgirl 17.  Steph teams up with Damian, but not really because he's a moody ten year old and takes after dear old Dad, but anyway, Steph discovers that Damian doesn't know how to have fun.  So she takes him to a bouncy castle and jumps up and down in it with him.  This is adorable.

In other Robin news, Damian describes Alfred as an adeqaute servant, and that his culinary skills leave much to be desired.  Damian also likes to hang upside in his room.  For fun and profit.  (Maybe).

The kid is devilspawn, I'm telling you.

Then I found out Bryan Q Miller who does Batgirl also writes for Smallville.  I recently bought the box set and am now up to the JSA episode of season 9.  I think Mr Miller's involvement with Smallville makes him 300 x more awesome.

Speaking of the Batclan, Red Robin was also a lot of fun.  Robin and Tamara Fox find themselves  in the Unternet and their choice of costume is really quite interesting.  I've no blinking idea how they got into the Unternet (or even what it is, which demsontrates why I need to review my comics).  When the other heroes turn up they also look different - Bart is in a Flash costume, Kara is a silver age Supergirl dress, Cassie (Wonder Girl) looks divine, and Cass Cain is in a Batsuit.  Kon is in a blue Supersuit with yellow arm bands, M'gan M'orzz has a white sleeve suit on, Aqualad is in a variation on Arthur's classic getup, and Jamie Reyes, Garth and Raven look pretty much the same.

It's a gorgeous splash page.  Kara and Cassie (Sandsmark) look especially great.  Kara looks so determined and sure of herself, and like she's having fun.  Cass looks like a modern goddess.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hurrah for Norwich Theatre Royal!

Last week I was looking for interpreted (into BSL) performances at my local theatre - Norwich Theatre Royal.  I knew they had interpreted performances, I've seen some before and as I'm gearing up to do my level 3 I thought I'd go see some shows and gaze in awe at the fluent, accomplished terps they use.

I went to the What's On page, as you do, and expected to have to scroll through each show to find which ones had signed performances.  How tedious.  Then I noticed they had a listing for Audio described dates.

A-ha!  They are disability aware, there will also be a hyperlink to the signed shows!  There wasn't  Oh dear.  So I emailed them asking for a list of signed shows and asking why they didn't have a list on their website (seeing as they had gone to the bother of the listing the audio described dates).

This was at 11.41 am on 13th January.  At 14.19pm the same day I got an email back, giving me info about the signed shows (including the names of the interpreters) and saying:
"I am sorry there isn't a separate list on the website, and I will ask our Data & Online Manager if this can be arranged"

On 17th January at 13.33 I got another email saying:

"I have updated the website too, and will endeavour to do so for future signed events"

Wow.  They fixed it almost immediately (well, in 4 days, that's immediate enough for me).  You can see the hyperlink on the website here.

Congrats Norwich Theatre Royal!  I am incredibly impressed with the theatre and stunned that they took my query seriously and then did something about it.

Now I have tickets to see Yes Prime Minister (signed), and am thinking about another 2 or 3 shows!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

JLA - Pain of the Gods

In my recenbt marathon run of JLA v3 I read Pain of the Gods.  As it's a self contained story and I enjoyed it I thought it would be perfect for New readers....  Upon rereading it prior to writing the review I changed my mind.

Whilst it is a good story it's also quite heavy handed.  Each hero comes face to face with death - either their own or a person they failed to save.  The story is about how they cope with the threat of mortality and how they support each other.  A lot of the dialogue, especially in the group scenes, reads like group therapy.  It's almost like Chuck Austen wanted to write a story about loss and had to fit the JLA into that story.  I'm not convinced that that's the best way to approach storytelling.

There's also the situations that they find themselves in - Green Lantern interrupts a couple of Domestic Violence incidents but one woman is knifed.  J'onn J'onzz does his undercover detective thing and confronts a cheating husband, who then threatens to murder his wife.  Violence against women to prove a moral point coupled with casual sexism makes me yawn.

Then I thought about the title some more - 'Pain of the Gods' is very grandiose and dramatic.  It seems a wee bit self important, like the genre is taking itself way too seriously.

Then again, some scenes are well done and the art is great.  Have a gander:


OK, one of those panels might be more scary than great and another one might be a reference to a Superman movie, which might be why I like it so much.

Despite the problems with some dialogue in this trade on the whole it is a enjoyable, but I think you need to be a dyed in the wool JLA fan to really like it.  It's by fans, for fans.  If it was produced differently, with the emphasis less on corny group support this would be far more accessible to new fans.  Which is a pity, cos I'd love to recommend the book for it's art.

Has anyone else read this?  Did you like it?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Black Adam: The Dark Age

Massive spoilers ahead.
Who decided this mini was a good direction for Black Adam?  I really liked him, Isis and Osiris in 52.  he was a sympathetic character and they had an interesting dynamic.

And now, Black Adam is a cannibal.  He's got Isis' bones.  He's going to find a Lazarus Pit to resurrect her.  He has no food, so his faithful servant/follower insists on being Adam's dinner.
I am not kidding.

What, Adam being responsible for genocide wasn't dark enough for you?  You had to have him tucking into a human leg?

And then... Isis is resurrected, completely sane (what's her secret? Everyone else is driven mad by the Lazarus pit).  Then she falls to rotting pieces.  Adam somehow fetches her bones out of the pit (HOW???), leaves, meets a yeti, stabs it and uses its still living guts as a rope, so that he can recover his bag filled with his wife's bones, which he has carelessly dropped down the cliffside.

If you would like to see scans of this delightful scene, please leave a comment and I will post the scans for you.  They're incredibly tasteless.  This whole mini is incredibly tasteless!

By the way, this sentence at the top of the word balloon is one of the worst I have read in a long time:
Where's the punctuation?

As for Adam's magic word, it turns out to be a phrase.  Chocolate Egg Cream.  It's a dessert.  That's ridiculous.  It's less ridiculous than the one he gets hampered with in Countdown (which I haven't read yet, so I don't know why Adam gets a new word).  Why on earth would you just give him one word though?  All he would need to do is read the dictionary aloud till he got the right one.  Sheesh.

Peter J Tomasi wrote this.  I thought he had a good reputation?  What gives?  The art is by Doug Mahnke and is also pretty terrible.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Superman/Shazam: First Thunder

Spoilers ahead

OK, first of all, how did this get through what is essentially an all ages book?

Secondly, the ending for First Thunder made me tear up.  I won't post it all, instead here is one page that contributed towards the emotional state:

Judd Winick gets Superman.  This book is great.  Go read my review of it here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mr Manhunter

You appear to be having a moment of stupidity. Go away and think about what you've just said.

From JLA 63, the Golden Perfect story arc.  A fabulous arc by the way.

Don't mess with Mary Marvel

Whether she's in costume or out.


Yeah, I love her.

From Power of Shazam   #30.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

This should happen more often

I forget which JLA issue this from.  Possibly from one just after the Obsidian age.  Any help?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Oh do go away

Also from the Golden Perfect story arc, this time it's JLA issue 64.

This was the only reference to sexism made in this story, sexism didn't seem to be part of Jarhanpur's culture so it seemed like this was thrown in to a) rile up Wonder Woman, b) set him against the heroes, and c) show how much of a bad guy he is.   A hint - decrying sexism within your comics is most effective when you decry all sexism, and not just when it suits you.

I'm guessing that Jarhanpur is meant to either in the Middle East, or in Asia somewhere.  It's not entirely clear what country it is modelled on.  Which is part of the problem.  America gets to be defined as America,  Britain and Western Europe get fairly distinct identities, but as soon as you get past the old iron curtain, or head into territories not dominated by white folk, superhero comics seem to put each culture and society into one giant melting pot and you end up with generic ex Communist country or generic non white country.  Characters become caricatures and the creators seem to have done absolutely no research on said country.

It's depressing and more than a little racist.  Because hey, they are all the same over there.  Not like us.  And their evilness can be shown in just a few offhand statements that us in the enlightened West would never ever think, no sirree.


Sunday, January 09, 2011


Hell I''d be surprised too!

Clark looks like he's enjoying it a little too much.  Lois won't be pleased.

From JLA 37, vol 3.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Herald book review! That I am shoehorning into the LGBT book challenge!

Some of you may know that the wonderful blogger Sea-of-Green has written a book, AND has had it published.  This makes me incredibly in awe of her.  What makes me even more in awe is that it's good.  It's called Herald and is the life story of the Greek God Hermes (part of it anyway).  I downloaded it about a year ago and finally got round to reading it this Christmas on my BRAND NEW KINDLE!!!!  Which is the most exciting present, ever.  Anyway, since I entered the LGBT challenge I thought this would be a good way to ease myself into it.  Doubtless Sea will be surprised at it being included within the challenge, but bear with me, I think Herald is a valid inclusion.

NB: I will refer the author as Sea, not as Houck, because Houck is a pen name and I know her as Sea.  I will also assume that readers of the post know something about Greek mythology.  If a name or reference eludes you either leave a comment asking for clarification or look it up.

Here we go.

Herald, by N.F.Houck

As a long time fan of Greek mythology and the Greek Gods I'll admit that this book is a typical sort of read for me.  I've always been a fantasy buff and as a kid my favourite books described the Greek, Norse and Celtic pantheons.  However, I have located very few books which turn the stories of the Gods into a novelisation format, and that is what marks this book out as special.

Told from the point of view of Hermes, herald to Zeus and Hades, trickster, liar and god of merchants, communication and travellers, we start with a trial against Hermes, brought by Hera.  This introduces us to the major players on Olympus and helps set up the characters.  The Muses then interrupt the storytelling and insists that Hermes does it properly, so we skip back in time to Hermes birth and his first adventures.  We learn about his relative strength when compared to the other Gods, how he invented the lyre, how he got his winged sandals and helmet and his attributes as thief and liar are developed.  The first trick he plays on his brother Apollo is amusingly told and conjures up some bizarre images of sheep as shrubbery.

Later on in the book we learn about Hermes lovers, his children, the other mythical beings of Ancient Greece (for example Pegasus, dryads and naiads, the Gorgon sisters) as well as the often complex relationship between the Gods.  Through Hermes' eyes we also get to see many other famous stories of the time - Athena's birth, Hephaestos' capture of Ares and Aphrodite, the creation of Winter, as well as touching upon other beings such as Boreas, Adonis, Eris and Narcissus.

Sea makes it clear that the Greek pantheon is vast and she weaves each story and event into one cohesive narrative.  This must have been pretty difficult to do as the Greek stories are not neatly presented anywhere.  Like all mythologies, there are many different versions of each tale in existence and no 'official' linear guide.  It is up to each reader to develop their own narrative and pull out the versions of the stories they feel most comfortable with.  Herald is one such book and the way in which it presents the events is admirable and easily understood.

As for the LGBT content.  Well, the rules of the challenge do say that books with minor LGBT characters can be included.  To that end, let me explain how this book is LGBT friendly.

Apollo - God of healing, music and reason.  In my understanding of the stories he is also closely associated with the sun, drawing the sun across the sky in his chariot, but this is not the case in Herald.  Anyway, at one point in the book Hermes and Apollo are discussing sex and Apollo lovers'.  Here we find out Apollo takes both female and male lovers.  Now, Apollo is a major character in the book, being a close friend of Hermes and one of the 12 Olympians, however his sex life is relatively unimportant to the plot.   At one point we see Hermes and Persephone taking a detour to avoid Apollo and Cyparissos as they are it in a field, but that (and the aforementioned discussion) is all we see of Apollo's sex life.

I ask you, how often do you see a male lead having both male and female lovers?  I know that this isn't a work of fiction on Sea's part, she is working with centuries old stories, but she could have chosen to ignore the God's bisexuality (for want of a better word).  Included in the end notes are these passages:

"Cyparissos is the least significant of Apollo’s male lovers (Hyacinthos being perhaps the most celebrated). However, like most of Apollo’s lovers, he eventually met with a tragic end. (When Apollo mentions this unfortunate trend among his lovers in chapter ιθ′ [19], he’s not kidding. No wonder nymphs ran away from him.)
There’s a common misconception that all of the Greek gods were bisexual, an error fueled by knowledge that pederasty was practiced in some (not all) ancient Greek city-states. To further confuse modern readers, the ancient Greeks didn’t have categories for sexual orientation and didn’t label people as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, etc.; sex was merely sex and differentiations weren’t all that important to them.
At any rate, here again the Olympians reflect the different attitudes of the various Greek cultures. In some myths, Apollo, Zeus, Poseidon, and Dionysos had male lovers in addition to female. Hermes, Ares, Hephaestos, and Hades are not known to have had male lovers. "

The preferences of the Gods could have been glossed over.  They could have been presented as entirely heterosexual, or any homosexual acts could have been presented in a negative manner.  They're not and they weren't.

The other LGBT friendly aspect of the book is found when Hermes first discovers his role as psychopomp - escort of souls to the underworld.  In this he discusses how different souls react when they are dead.  Some hold onto their bodily shape, some adopt new shapes:

" The souls of crones would appear as young maidens, or the souls of wizened patriarchs would be as muscular youths. Rarely, men would appear as women, or women as men"

(emphasis mine)

Sound familiar?  It is not necessary for Sea to include this detail in her book, it doesn't advance the plot, it doesn't affect Hermes, but it's an easy way to acknowledge trans people and to make the book more effective at building a realistic world, reflective of our own.  It's great to have LGBT characters who are leads in a story, but it's also equally important to see them in the background, living normal lives.

Lastly, even though the challenge doesn't cover Intersex characters it's worth mentioning that we get to see Hermaphroditos too.  So named as he's the son of Hermes and Aphrodite.  The naiad Salmacis takes a fancy to him, so much so that she permanently fuses with him - together they become neither male nor female.  Hermaphroditos deals with and accepts his new situation, and is accepted by the other Gods.  You get the feeling that the Greeks were a whole lot more accepting of bodily differences than we (the West) are today.

In summary, Herald is an enjoyable book that successfully makes sense of the Greek stories.  Not everyone will accept or agree with the version of events presented within, but as I see it that's part of the fun of reading new versions.  For someone unfamiliar with the Greek stories and looking for way in this would be a pretty good place to start.

Now, all I need is for Sea to finish her sequel and for someone to write a similar thing from the point of view of Athena.  And Artemis.  And then for people to do similar with the Norse and Celtic pantheons.  If you've got any recommendations for me, please tell me in the comments!

A note: information on downloading the book can be found here.  It reads successfully on the kindle although some formatting is lost.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Extra daily link post

A week or so ago I mentioned that I wrote a guest post about Huntress for a tumblr account named DC Women Kicking Ass.  The post formed part of a series on memorable moments in the DCU for women.

Well, guess what?  Now there's gonna be poll!  It will be open Monday to Tuesday and you all have a list of 30 moments to choose form.  Ego says I should tell you all to vote for my Huntress entry.  But my gut says vote for one of the Wonder Woman moments. of which there's 8.  I'm torn between snapping Max's neck,  sacrificing her eyesight, putting her foot down on Batman or spending a day with Lois.

But then, there's so many other great moments to vote for..both great in themselves and also with great write ups... such a hard choice.  The full list is here, go vote!

  1. Wonder Woman beheading Medusa in Wonder Woman #210
  2. Lois Lane and Wonder spend the day together in Wonder Woman #170
  3. Lois Lane makes her debut in Action Comics #1
  4. Stephanie Brown becomes Robin in Robin #126
  5. Kate Kane resigns West Point because of DADT in Detective Comics #859
  6. Huntress/Helena Wayne makes her debut in Secret Origins of Super-Heroes #17
  7. Black Canary and past and current BoP operatives stare down Katrina Armstrong in Birds of Prey #106
  8. Wonder Woman tells Superman, “there’s the door, Spaceman” in the New Frontier
  9. Supergirl gives up her life to save the world in Crisis on Infinite Earths #7
  10. Shiva and Cass fight in Batgirl #25
  11. Stephanie Browns slaps Batman in Bruce Wayne the Road Home: Batgirl #1
  12. Barbara Gordon/Oracle and Dinah Lance/Black Canary meet in-person for the first time in Birds of Prey #21
  13. Renee Montoya realizes she’s going to become the next Question in 52 #42.
  14. Batgirl/Barbara Gordon makes her first appearance and saves Bruce Wayne in Detective Comics #359
  15. Lois Lane risks her life to save a soldier in Adventures of Superman #6311
  16. Barbara Gordon becomes Oracle in the Batman Chronicles #5
  17. Diana, after killing Ares with an axe, punches Zeus in Wonder Woman #33
  18. Zatanna mindwipes Dr. Light and then Batman in Identity Crisis
  19. Helena Bertinelli, the Huntress, stands her ground against the Joker in Detective Comics #741
  20. Lois Lane refuses to believe Superman is dead in All-Star Superman
  21. Batgirl tells Batman not to  talk down to her in Secret Origins #20
  22. Cassandra Cain saves Jim Gordon’s life in Batman #567
  23. Wonder Woman puts her foot down with Batman in The Hiketeia
  24. Wonder Woman wins the contest to go to “mans world.” in All-Star Comics #8
  25. Barda Free stops a tank in Justice League International Annual #4
  26. Wonder Woman snaps Max Lord’s neck in Wonder Woman #219
  27. Barbara Gordon/Oracle hires Dinah Lance/Black Canary as her operative in the first one-shot of Birds of Prey
  28. Amanda Waller fights Granny Goodness in Suicide Squad #34
  29. Wonder Woman sacrifices the restoration of her eyesight for the life of Martin Garibaldi in Wonder Woman
  30. Oracle defeats Braniac in Birds of Prey #73

This could be a mural

Last of the Animal Man scans I promise.  But what a beautiful thing to end on!

I love everything about this.  The colours, the layout, the pencils, everything.

That's all for Animal Man for a while, coming up next: the JLA!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

And now for something a little more surreal

Yes, it's still Animal Man, but by now he is literally an Animal Man.  To be honest, the series was getting very weird by this point and the last few issues I didn't really care for.  But the art is still great.

I really like it when artists play around with layouts, anything other than the standard options draw me in.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Dick King-Smith has died

From The Guardian:

Children's author Dick King-Smith, whose much-loved tale The Sheep-Pig was adapted into the hit film Babe, has died at the age of 88, at home in his sleep.

After fighting in Italy with the Grenadier Guards in the second world war, King-Smith was a farmer for 20 years before turning to teaching and came to writing late in life. His first book, The Fox Busters, was published in 1978 when he was in his 50s. He went on to write more than 100 books, most of which drew on his knowledge of farms and animals because "I like them, I've always kept a lot of pets, and because it's fun putting words in their mouths". King-Smith called this genre of speaking-animal stories "farmyard fantasy" and often wrote about pigs, his favourite animals. One of his early popular books, Saddlebottom, featured a porcine hero, much scorned for the unusual white saddle-shaped patch on his bottom, who runs away on adventures with a cat.

However, it was his 1983 novel The Sheep-Pig, about a runty little pig trained as a sheepdog, that really made King-Smith's name, first winning the Guardian children's fiction prize and then being turned into the 1995 film Babe which achieved both critical acclaim and popular success. It was nominated for a number of Academy awards.

King-Smith's own life was lived far from the glitz of Hollywood. He was married to his first wife, whom he first met when he was 13, for more than 50 years, and lived in a tiny village between Bath and Bristol. In an interview he once described his typical day as "sit down in my very small study in my very old (from 1635) cottage; scribble in longhand in the morning; in the afternoon, type out the morning's work (on an old portable typewriter, with one finger); evening, read day's work to my wife, seeking her approval."

He was awarded an OBE in the 2010 new year's honours list.


I've read so many of his books - most of them when I was younger, and he is such a talented writer.  This is such sad news.  If you're ever stuck for a book for a precocious 8 year old, but them a Dick King-Smith one.  The Fox Busters is about some chickens who decide to find out how to lay eggs with harder shells so they can drop them at the foxes who are hunting them.  The chickens fly into the air and lay the eggs at the foxes, kind of like missiles.  King-Smith writes imaginative, funny, tender stories for children and his books are amazing.

Animal Man artwork...

..from inside the covers this time.

I saved these scans from when I first read the run, back in November now.  I still find them striking, so again I am sharing them with you.

These are from issues 52 and 53 where Animal Man had died and had to fight his way back up the evolutionary chain to become human again.  These artists are *so* talented.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Animal Man covers

Animal Man gabe us some really great covers, and in leiu of a better blog post, I thought I'd share 3 of them them with you.

They've got more in common with real artwork than your regular comic art.  The middle one I particularly love, I find it very moving.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Does Grant Morrison like Superman?

I suspect not.  This is from Animal Man #2.

Rarely have I seen Supes used in such a dickish manner.  So, does anyone know if Grant has confirmed how he feels about Superman?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Power of Shazam - a general post

I was really looking forward to reading the Power of Shazam books, but as I write this they have been a bit disappointing.  I'm up to issue 21 and well, they are just so darn corny.  I think they have been written more for kids than for adults, but I'm not sure how well they stack up as kids books.  I mean, during the set up for Freddy getting the Marvel family powers we see both Mary and Billy interact with him, and also see Freddy by himself, getting attacked by Captain Nazi (leading to the scans featured yesterday).

Billy's first thoughts about Freddy:

I know this was done in 1995, but it seems very old fashioned.  Does this impress any kids nowadays?  I guess, if they were under 11 maybe.  I can't see young teenagers going for it though.  On the other hand, the comic did explain that the Wizard Shazam had kept Fawcett City in a state of perpetual timelessness since the 1940s, so that could explain the old fashioned aspects of the place.

Oddly enough, the girls don't want to join Freddy on him and his Grandpa's fishing trip.  Lucky for them as a rejuvenated Captain Nazi then joins them and takes out Freddy's Granpa:
This just makes him look comical.  Later on Captain Nazi (I can't believe I'm still typing that phrase) also beats up Freddy and he ends up with spinal injuries, meaning he many not be able to walk again.  Two of his girl friends (again, not used in a  serious relationship sense, more in a 1950s flirty sense) turn up at the hospital and completely fail to offer any moral support:

Nice going huys, the school's star athlete has been told he might be paralysed, some sympathy and encouragement might be in order.  Telling him he's better off dead is not the way to do it.

One this this series has done for me is highlight how cool Mary Marvel is.  She's the only one of the Marvels that I actually like so far.  Because of that, here's another great depiction of her.

Back to Freddy.  I shouldn't mock, but this is a hilarious incident to find yourself in:
In a full body cast, stolen by Captain Nazi (that dratted phrase again!).

Lastly, Freddy gets his powers but doesn't change into an adult.  Why?  Because he's an insufferable prat, that's why.

I will continue reading and I hope that it gets more interesting.  There is so much potential with these characters, but right now the writing style isn't quite doing it for me.

All scans from issues 6 and 7 of Power of Shazam.

EDIT: I have now finished the run and some bits improve, others remain dull.  As some of you have asked about buying these issues I've had a look around Amazon and the following 2 trades are available:
The Power of Shazam
Another one, also called The Power of Shazam.  I assume they contain different stories.
Shazam: the Greatest Stories Ever Told contains one story from the Ordway run, about a burns victim who uses some amazing make up gel to appear normal for one day.
The Power of Shazam: issues 5 - 7 in paperback.  This one is currently unavailable.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Stamping out intolerance the Freddy Freeman way

Oh Freddy.  There's nothing like riding a Nazi who's been recently resurrected from the cryogenics lab and hitting him with your fists at super speed.

Evidently, his tactics worked, as the end of the issue brought this:

The above scan is yet another example of the gorgeous pencils/inks/colours in Power of Shazam.

And remember folks, no one likes Nazis:

To Freddy's credit, it was actually Billy who came out with those words.