Monday, December 28, 2009

Belated/Early Holiday Greetings and Rambling about the DC Comics Encyclopedia

A Belated Merry Christmas, and an early Happy New Year.

My $&*# external hard drive died over the holidays, taking most of my files with it, including an awesome scan of Ma Hunkel dressed as Santa Claus punching out a burglar in a Santa Claus mask.  (Which was, incidentally, going to be my Christmas post.)

Oh, well.  At least the hard drive's under warranty.

In an unrelated note, I got the DC Comics Encyclopedia for Christmas.  I'm amazed at how bad the editing is.  On one page, it says that Dr. Light killed Sue Dibny . . . and on another it says Jean Loring is the killer.  How did the editor let such a blatant contradiction slip by?  My guess is either laziness or incompetence.  Or both.  (And that's an error I noticed while flipping through the thing.  I haven't even read through the book yet, and I've already noticed at least one other major mistake and several nitpicky ones.)

Come on, DC.  I expected better, especially considering the price of the book.  Heck, next time you need something edited, let me do it.  My vast comics knowledge, nerdiness, and my ability to utilize an amazing resource known as the Internet will result in much better editing than what's displayed in this book.  And I guarantee my prices are much more reasonable.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My thoughts on Dr. Arthur Light

For the most part, I am against the idea that any character is irredeemable.  Even the worst characters have the chance of becoming well-rounded and compelling under a good writer.  I would say that even the most blatantly stereotypes, bland cardboard cut-outs and hated characters can be saved.  99%  of characters are redeemable, if given to a good writer (in terms of being good characters, not in terms of being moral characters).  But Dr. Arthur Light?  He is in the 1%.

Dr. Light needs to die, die horribly and stay dead.  No cameos.  No flashbacks.  No mentions.

DC needs to treat him like the disgusting piece of garbage he has become and pitch him.  DC has been oblivious to the fact that many fans loathe the character.  And not in the way that DC intends.  He's not a character you love to hate.  He's a character that you want to vanish from comics entirely, preferably after a horrendous death.

Ever since he was retconned into being a rapist in Identity Crisis, he has been defined as being a rapist.  He has no personality outside of that, and even if he did, his character would be forever tainted by his years as "Dr. McRape."

But rather than try to fix this, writers after Identity Crisis tried to "one-up" his portrayal as a rapist.  Since the "rapist" personality has gotten old, they aren't going to make him well-rounded.  They'll just do everything we can to make him sicker and more twisted.

He must have more rapes retconned into his past.  He must rape a bunch of teens he forces to dress as the Titans.  He must turn every conversation to rape.  And in the most recent Justice League of America issue . . .


He must be resurrected as a Black Lantern so he can attempt to rape the female Dr. Light.  All while insinuating that's she's a prostitute and that she wants to be raped by him.  And mentioning the time they swapped bodies and inviting her to guess what he did with her body.  And slowly destroying her clothing until she's left naked.  And making threats against her children which I'm sure we're meant to assume mean he's a pedophile as well.

I said it before, and I'll say it again: Dr. Light needs to die, die horribly and - most importantly - stay dead.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rethinking Justice Society

I haven't been particularly impressed by Justice Society since Geoff Johns left.  But the most recent issue has made me rethink it and the past few issues.  (Spoilers in 5, 4, 3, 2 . . .)

I still think the little "filler story" between Johns and the current writer is fairly bad.  (Although I'm eternally grateful that it was used to show that, in spite of Grant Morrison's better efforts, Director Bones is still alive and awesome.)  The issues after it are flawed, but the story arc is progressing and becoming more interesting as it goes.  Mr. Terrific's "death" was lazy, but the fact that the culprit was a character who has been established as a creepy multiple-murderer makes it slightly less cheap.

The split of the team wasn't great, but that seems to be due to editorial mandate rather than the writing team's idea, so I'll let it slide.  What can I say?  I'm a JSA fan, so in my mind, two Justice Society books are (hopefully) better than one.

The story seemed to quit meandering in the past issue, and it's managed to peak my interest just when I was starting to think the story was going to go in circles.  Johnny Sorrow is an awesome villain that I'd like to see more of . . . but his sudden fixation on Stargirl is more than a little creepy.  Heck, he was already unbelievably freaking creepy when he was fixated on Sand.  And depending on your interpretation, he might have actually raped Sand when he was still a young sidekick.  This makes his focus on Stargirl wrong on so many levels.  (Wrong, but definitely compelling.)

But why Stargirl?  If I recall correctly, she didn't interact with Sorrow at all during the storylines he appeared in.  I'm hoping an answer to "why Stargirl" is on the horizon, because I'm getting a little tired of the question going unanswered.  Because I can't see a good answer to the question, and if it seems like the writers pulled it out from where the sun don't shine, I'm going to be majorly ticked.

Even though I've spent a good chunk of this post complaining, I'm still feeling more optimistic about the direction that Justice Society is going than I have in a while.

I'm also crossing my fingers about JSA: All Stars.  Some of my favorite C-Listers are in that book and I really want to love it.  But I couldn't really tell from the first issue if the series is going to be any good.  I'm not much for "grim and gritty" so I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thoughts and Musings about Women Comics Bloggers

Since I became a comics fan, I've read quite a few blogs, many of which were written by women.  Women may be a minority in the comics audience, but from my experience they are a vocal minority.  If something ticks them off about a character or a storyline, they are more than willing to let you know.  It's great.  They are sharing their love of comics with the world and tackling issues that they find important.  As far as I'm concerned, the more fans discuss and debate comics, the better the comics community will be for it.

But there's a trend I've noticed with some women comics bloggers.  Women in Refrigerators, When Fangirls Attack!, Zamaron . . . maybe it's just the blogs I've read, but it seems like women comics bloggers are focused almost entirely on women's issues.  There's nothing wrong with that . . . but I can't see myself ever do that.  It's just too limiting.  Too restrictive.

There are countless things that you can comment on in comics: plot, character development, the current trends and direction of the comics industry.  There are endless amounts of debates to be had: Should Spider-Man have organic web shooters?  Are editors overstepping their bounds when they mandate storylines?  What's the ideal Justice League line-up?  Did the X-Men end up embracing racist thinking when they adopted the "homo superior" talk of Magneto?

Why limit yourself to just "women's issues" when there are so many other issues that are out there to discuss?  Why should the be-all and the end-all of the woman comics blogger be women's issues?

If a character is well-written and complex, I don't care if they're a man or a woman.  As long as they're a fully-fleshed out character, I'm happy.  I didn't care, and in fact didn't notice, that the superheroes on Batman: The Brave and the Bold were outnumbering the superheroines by a huge margin until it was pointed out to me.  I was too busy having fun watching the show and geeking out over the appearance of some of my favorite C-Listers.  I didn't care what the exact male-to-female hero ratio was as long as the show was good.

I'm sure plenty of people would disagree with me on that.  They would argue that there aren't enough women in comics and that it does matter whether that character is a man or a woman.  It does matter if there are less female heroes out there than male.  That because of this, there should be more focus on women's issues in comics.

That's fine.  If they want to blog about women's issues, more power to them.  But I'm not going to restrict myself to only a narrow range of issues.

I love comics.  I also happen to be a woman.  The two have nothing to do with each other.

Edit: Fixed really stupid typo.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Musing about comics and manga

I love superhero comics.  I also love manga.  This makes me wonder: how many comics fans are also manga fans?  Manga is unlike American comics in many ways, the most prominent being that American comics tend to limit themselves to the niche of superhero comics.  But there is manga in pretty much any genre you can name.

But that doesn't necessarily mean that a fan of superhero comics would like manga.  If you like seeing superheroes, you aren't going to find many Japanese comics with American-style superheroes . . . or very many with Japanese-style superheroes, since the superhero genre is a tiny percentage of the manga market.

I'm a fan of both American comics and manga, but it isn't because they're so similar.  It's because they're so different. Manga and American comics both appeal to me in different ways.  I love superheroes, and American comics are loaded with them.  I like manga because of the huge variety that it offers.  I've read manga in the genre of martial arts, detective fiction, sports, romantic comedy, fantasy . . .  Which one I'm reading at any given moment is dependent on my mood.

I wouldn't be surprised if there was a fairly big crossover between the American comics and manga audience.  I also wouldn't be at all surprised if there were big chunks of both audiences that think the other genre is inherently inferior to their beloved genre.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Something to be Thankful For: Public Domain Laws

Public domain is a wonderful thing.  If you're interested in seeing 1940s Superman cartoons, they are now in the public domain, so they can be freely distributed.  In fact, Wikipedia actually links to every episode so you can easily find the one you want to download (or download them all).  Just scroll down to the bottom of the page and you'll find a table with the episodes and the download links.

Oh, and no posts over the holiday weekend.  I'll be out of town, in a place that has been lost to the mists of time.  (In other words, no Internet access.)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Flash: Rebirth #5- What were they thinking?

Some minor spoilers behind the cut involving a character's new costume.

"Turtles Forever" Review

What do you get when you cross the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shows from 2003 and 1987? Sheer, overwhelming awesomeness, as shown by "Turtles Forever," a direct-to-DVD movie which was aired on CW4Kids today.

Through some means, the 1987 Turtles end up in the dimension of the 2003 Turtles. I missed the first 30 minutes, so I don't know how exactly, and frankly I don't care. Even if the set-up was immensely stupid, the rest of the movie would make up for it. The Turtles, of course, must team up to defeat both sets of villains.

Fans of the older show will be happy to see the villains Shredder, Krang, Bepop, Rocksteady and the Foot Soldiers appear, and enjoy the appearances of Splinter and April as well. Fans of the newer series will also get their version of Shredder, as well as Hun, Karai, Splinter, Casey Jones and April. And of course, both sets of the Turtles.

This is a shining example of what a crossover should be. Whoever wrote this was obviously a fan of both shows, and they treated both casts of characters with respect and kept them in-character throughout. The interaction between the two groups is priceless, with the 2003 group notably annoyed by their goofier counterparts, and the 1987 group poking fun at their overly-serious counterparts.

Even though I've never watched the newer version of the Turtles, I was able to follow the action and keep up with the cast of new characters with almost no confusion, and I suspect the same would be true of people who have watched the 2003 version only. The writers cleverly used the two groups being unfamiliar with each other's worlds as a way to sneak in bits and pieces of exposition, but never enough to distract from the plot or the flow of the story.

Some of the best moments are related to the differences in the two worlds, with the 2003 Turtles being dumb-founded by the 1987 April ("What's with the yellow jumpsuit? Do you work in a car wash in this world?") and the 1987 Turtles reaction to the 2003 Shredder being some sort of alien entity. The 2003 characters are perplexed by the 1987 Turtles occasional asides to the cameras and look around in confusion to try and find the person they're addressing. (One character even yells: "Who do you keep talking to? There's no one there!")

But don't think that the show is all goofiness. There is plenty of action, and there were several moments where I thought "Holy crap. How are they going to get out of that?"

There were times when I thought they were being a little too hard on the 1987 Turtles, but there was one moment that really made up for it. At one point, the 1987 Turtles are warned by the 2003 Turtles that they might die if they go along for a fight. The 1987 characters exchange some glances and then say they're coming.

If you're a fan of either TMNT show, this is well worth watching. Heck, if you're a fan of any incarnation of the Turtles, this is well worth watching, as they sneak in references to the comic and the live action movies as well. It makes me want to dig through my old tapes and watch old episodes of the 1987 series. It also makes me want to check out the newer series, which I initially rejected because they weren't my Turtles.

If this is 4Kids' way of apologizing for their dubs of Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon and One Piece . . . it's not enough. But they're one step closer to earning forgiveness.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Plastic Man Recap: Episode 1- The Weed

From out of the pages of DC Comics comes the world’s newest and greatest superhero: Plastic Man! He can spring. He can stretch. He can fly. He can bounce. He can change his shape. And he can even dance!

Each week Plastic Man will face the world’s greatest collection of villains.

There’s action. There’s comedy. There’s danger. There’s Penny! There’s bad luck Hula! There’s plenty for everybody on the Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show!

Depending on whether you like corny old cartoons, that little intro could either send a shiver of horror down your spine or cause you to grin in anticipation.  Since I have no taste, I'm in the latter category.  The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show was on from 1979-1981, having a grand total of 61 episodes.

Which is funny considering that the first 35 were released as Plastic Man: The Complete Collection.  In fairness, the show's title changed after that, but I still feel gipped.  I paid for the complete collection.  Where's my Baby Plas and Plastic Man Family, darn it?

But enough of my whining.  Let's dive right into, shall we?  (Be warned: this recap is long.)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Plastic Man Episode Index

Beneath the cut is an episodes list for the The Plastic Man Adventure/Comedy Show.  Why am I posting it?  Because I'm planning on recapping the episodes.  Maybe not all of them, but I'd like to post enough recaps to give people a good idea about what the show's like.

I'd like to write recaps for them all, but I'm not going to commit myself to 35 episodes worth of recaps.  (Not counting the 26 Baby Plas and Plastic Family episodes, which were apparently not included in the Plastic Man: Complete Collection DVDs. I hate false advertising . . .)

This list will function as an index for my recaps, and I'll link to the recaps as I write them.  If nothing else, it's worth a look for the corny, pun-filled titles.  And the amazing amounts of alliteration and assonance.

Friday, November 13, 2009

No More Event Comics

As of today, I'm swearing off event comics.  From henceforth, I refuse to buy any event comic until they come out in TPB.  Probably not even then.  I may still flip through them or look at scans posted online, but I'm not paying a penny for them until they're in TPB format.


There have simply been too many event comics, one after the other after the other.  I no longer care about how much Final Crisis of Infinite Doom is going to "CHANGE THINGS 4 EVAR!"  Because it's a freaking lieCrisis on Infinite Earths forever changed the DC Universe.  It was what an event comics should be: epic, world-shattering and incredibly well-written.  The entire DC Universe is measured by whether an event happened pre-Crisis or post-Crisis.  None of the recent event comics can claim anything like that.

Event comics are rarely anything but an attempt to boost sales, with the storyline being of secondary importance . . . if it ranks that high.  But no one seems to learn.  Readers continue buying event comics in droves regardless of how horrible they turn out to be.

Comic companies should be focusing on making their regular titles as good as possible.  Event comics are a distraction from that goal.  Event comics continually sabotage the regular titles by forcing the writers to drop everything in order to tie in to the latest event, completely ruining the story flow and derailing the plots the writers have been working on.

Maybe the next event will be different.  Maybe it will be the next Crisis on Infinite Earths.  But I think that's about as likely as my blog becoming the next Internet phenomenon.  Or the devil giving free sleigh rides in hell.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Overanalyzing Comics Details: Judomaster's Power

The current Judomaster has an unusual power: she can't be hit by attacks specifically aimed at her.  Explosions and unaimed attacks can hit her, but not if you're actually aiming at her.

However, I have to wonder if she couldn't be easily taken down by someone using a more "defensive" martial art like aikido.  Aikido focuses on using your opponents attacks against them, heavily emphasizing throws and holds.  Rarely are actual attacks used.  So, in theory, you should be able to take her down simply by using her own momentum against her or putting her in some sort of hold.

Since she's used to not being able to be hit, she probably isn't the greatest martial artist.  She never actually has to worry about enemies hitting her, so she can just wail on them with impunity.  That would lead to sloppy form as well as an extreme level of overconfidence.

She also seems to think that judo consists entirely of kicks, so that further supports my theory that she can't be that great a martial artist.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Nitpicking Judomaster

I'll have to admit that I'm not much for Judomaster.  Mostly because I know almost nothing about her personality.  Johns at least gave us some basic idea about the characters that he introduced in Justice Society of America, but Judomaster was the least developed.  I've heard she appeared in Birds of Prey, and maybe she was a three-dimensional character there, but judging by Justice Society, she's a cardboard cutout.

I'm willing to cut her some slack since she's shown the ability to look beyond physical appearances.  (Judging by her relationship with Damage.)  I know pretty much nothing about her personality aside from that, but oh well.  At least I know she isn't shallow.

However, two (nitpicky) things about her bug me.

1) Her constant high-kicks.  Judo focuses on throws and holds, not kicking.  But it seems that the only thing she does in fights is kick.  If her name was "Kickboxing Master" it would work, but it doesn't fit someone named Judomaster.

2) Her name.  Sonia Sato.  Sato is a common Japanese surname.  Sonia, however, is not a Japanese name.  You could write it with Japanese characters, but that doesn't make it Japanese.  If she's supposed to be American, then I wouldn't take much issue with that, since Sonia is a common enough name in English.  But she's portrayed as Japanese, so she should have a Japanese name, darn it!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Golden Age Comics- What They Got Right

I've decided that there is one thing that is desperately lacking in today's world of comics.  Something that was prevalent in the Golden Age: comics with several, unrelated stories.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Types of Writers Epilogue

In my past six posts, I examined 6 types of writers that appear in comics.  With the possible exception of the Mind-Screw Specialist, all of them have one thing in common.  They have forgotten an essential truth of comics: Comics are supposed to be fun.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Types of Writers, Part 6- The Vampiric Writer

In this last post of the "Types of Writers" series, we will examine the Vampiric Writer.  (And, no, I don't mean Anne Rice.)

Types of Writers, Part 5- Mind-Screw Specialists

Since I've gone several days without posting, there will be two more "Types of Writers" posts tonight (including this one).

Without further ado, let's examine the Mind-Screw Specialist.

Types of Writers, Part 4- The Artiste

Today, we will examine the Artiste.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Types of Writers, Part 3- The Pastor-Writer

Today we will examine the third type of comic book writers I will be showcasing: The Pastor-Writer.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Types of Writers, Part 2: Character Assassins

Today, we will be examining another type of writer that appears within the comics industry: Character Assassins.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Types of Comics Writers, Part #1: Bloody Writers

In my next few posts, I will be showcasing some of the types of comics writers.  Please note that these are archetypes.  Few writers will always fit within a given category, but many writers will fit within a particular category more often than not.  Also, these types are not exclusive.  A writer may fit within several types, and some of these categories will involve quite a bit of overlap.  The first type of comic book writer we'll be examining is: Bloody Writers.

[Some disturbing (written) imagery to follow.]

Friday, October 23, 2009

Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show Profiles

Here's a quick rundown of the main characters of the old Plastic Man TV show.  I haven't watched all the episodes yet, so some of this information may be a little off.  Some spoilers will follow.  (In case anyone really cares about a really old superhero cartoon being spoiled . . .)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Plastic Man DVD

Plastic Man: The Complete Collection is out on DVD!  For those of you who've never heard of it, it's a Super Friends-era cartoon starring Plastic Man.  (The full title of the show was The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show, but they apparently decided that was too long for the DVD cover.)  I've seen some episodes on Youtube and I'm a huge Plastic Man fan, so I couldn't wait to buy it.

I'd highly recommend it if you're a Plastic Man fan.  Although, be warned, it is a Super Friends-era cartoon, so it is extremely corny with tongue in cheek humor, and some really bad puns.  I have no taste, so I eat that kind of stuff up.  Your own tastes may differ.

Cry for Justice and Robinson's Rambling

Why is DC giving James Robinson five pages to pat himself on the back in Cry for Justice?  Seriously.  At the end of every issue, he gets five pages to talk about character history and his creative process, but it's mostly just tooting his own horn.  (In his defense, he does brown nose Grant Morrison for a little while before turning back to the important subject: himself.)

Normally, writers have to wait until the TPB to prattle on like this, or make due with a single page of their thoughts (if they're lucky).  If Cry for Justice was a great series - heck, if Cry for Justice was a good series, I might cut him some slack.  But it's not, so I'm not.  No writer should be given this much time to talk in a comic unless they earn it.

The worse part of all this is that Cry for Justice is apparently going to have a "resounding impact on the DCU."  That and it's going to lead into Robinson's run on Justice League.  So apparently, we're going to get lots of "heroes" who use immoral means (torture, murder), characters who die without even being properly introduced (three so far) and characters who get their personalities mangled.  The most annoying thing for me is the shock deaths, since I liked one of the characters killed.  Heck, I never liked the other recently deceased, and I'm still ticked at how cheap his death was.

Is the whole "killing off characters for shock value without properly introducing them" something that's Robinson's always done, or did he only start doing that recently?  I can't imagine that his Starman run would be so universally praised if he used such a cheap story-telling technique frequently.  But then again he killed off Blue Devil, Crimson Fox and Amazing Man in a Starman issue that Starman didn't even appear in.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Top 5 Things That Will Make Me Drop a Comic (Aside from Terrible Writing)

In no particular order, the Top 5 Things That Will Make Me Drop a Comic:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Are Event Comics Inherently Evil?

I have come to the conclusion that event comics are inherently bad.  Now, don't get me wrong.  Some event comics are true gems with wonderful art, compelling storylines and memorable characters.  These are the minority.  It's like finding an honest politician.  In theory, some have existed, but their numbers are so few that no one believes you when you actually manage to find one.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Justice League: Cry for Justice #4

I am really starting to loathe Cry for Justice.  Before issue #4, I merely dismissed it as a mediocre attempt to prove that DC Comics was REALLY KEWL because they have people dying and heroes acting like a-holes.  However, it got worse.  Spoilers behind the cut.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Justice League of America 80-Page Giant

I'm only going to comment on the Vixen/Green Lantern story.  Because, well . . . Shining Knight is in it, and he's the only reason I picked up this book in the first place.  The stories okay, but the more you know about the characters, the more holes you'll notice.  Spoilers and a very long rant, ahoy!

Justice League of America #38 Preview

I looked at the preview of Justice League of America #38.  I'm not impressed.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Mature Content in Comics . . . Or the Lack Thereof

It used to be that kids were the main demographic that read comics.  But comics are no longer written for children.  Over time the audience age gradually increased until we have today's comics.  Now, the main audience is teenagers and adults.  Is this a sign that comics have matured?

Not really. 

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Look out! Here comes the Spider-Lizard!

What do you get when you cross Spider-Man with a lizard?  Apparently, a very popular pet according to this article.

This particular species of lizard is blue on the chest and legs and red on its back and head.  I suspect they messed with the photo a little for the article though, because all the other pictures of that type of lizard I could find had a much duller shade of red and blue.  Either way, it's still an incredibly cool looking lizard.

Now all we need is a red and yellow turtle to match the Flash's costume.  :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Introduction to Me

Hello.  My name is Lady Momus.  My name comes from Momus, the Greek god of satire, mockery and writers.  Here are a few tidbits about me:

1) I'm a huge comics fan.  I like a lot of the shows and movies that Marvel has done, but when it comes to comics, I'm definitely a DC fangirl.

2) My favorite comic book was Justice Society of America, but now that Geoff Johns has left, the quality has gone down.  I'm hoping the new writers can hit their stride soon, but from what I've seen so far, I'm not holding my breath.  No offense to Bill Willingham and Matt Sturges.  I know the JSA is a difficult team to write stories for.  There are a lot of members to juggle, and you have to have a fairly extensive knowledge of the DC Universe just to understand who all the characters are.

3) Some of my favorite books which are no longer in print are Young Justice, ImpulseShadowpact and JSA.  Yes, I know I've listed Justice Society twice, but a JSA TPB is what got me into reading comics rather than just watching shows based on comic books.

4) I probably won't be posting every day, but when I do post, the posts will be fairly long.

5) This blog is about comics and superheroes, so anything and everything about them is fair game for a post topic.  (Well . . . almost anything.  I'd like to keep this blog PG to PG-13ish.)