Thursday, April 28, 2011

Trailer Thursday!

So once again we find ourselves at another trailer Thursday. This week we're featuring another fan made trailer. This one a Batman 3 trailer that, frankly, looks freaking awesome! For your viewing enjoyment we present "The Batman Complex".

Monday, April 25, 2011

What If He Wasn't The Batman?

Ever wonder what would have happened if Bruce Wayne had been interrupted in his thought processes by something besides a bat? What kind of hero would he have turned out to be?

In 1974, we were treated to a two-page answer with some pretty cool results. Unfortunately, the color isn't the best in some of these alternates, but see what you think. Click on the picture to see the full size page.

So looking at this we see a few interesting options. The Scorpion is, of course, a Spider-Man villain. The Stingray became a Marvel hero in the 70's. The Owl was cool because Batman's evil counterpart from Earth 3 was Owlman. The last two...well, I guess you can say Iron Man was the last one. Shooting Star might have been original enough.
Of that group, I'd have to give The Owl the biggest chance of being a star. What do you think?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Stupid Names

Some heroes have cool names that roll of the tongue. Others (especially the villains) seem to end up with something that could never really be taken seriously. Here are a few examples:

Crazy Quilt

His weapon was colors. He fought Robin, the boy wonder (back when he was literally a boy wonder) and lost. This is Batman or anything...and lost.

The guy's outfit made his masculinity look questionable to say the least. His choice of a villain name sealed the deal. Seriously, even Rainbow Raider laughs at this guy.  Naming yourself after a deranged blanket really isn't the best way to forever emblazon your name into the annals of criminal masterminds forever. Instead, it's a way to become the punchline for a lot of jokes in comic book blogs in the future.

Blue Jay

A long-forgotten DC hero who was essentially a Hank Pym knockoff, Blue Jay wins the award for the second least-scary bird-hero-name ever (Robin, is of course, the winner).

Every bird out there seems to have a hero or villain named after it (Hawkman, Red Raven, Robin, Falcon...shoot, even Hummingbird is out there), so in order to avoid confusion I guess he went with the only choice no one else wanted.

So let's stack all this up: he's a hero who is about six inches tall with blue wings and he calls himself Blue Jay. Yeah, I can see where this might cause problems gaining respect among his peers.

Elongated Man

I'm not making this up: I was 18 before I finally figured out how to pronounce his name.

Oh, we had Plastic Man and Mister Fantastic, but who in the world thought up the name "Elongated Man". It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, you know. Now consider that a lot of the comic book readers in the Silver Age when he came out were actually kids, and you can see where this might have been a weird choice.

Was he just trying to impress everyone with his vocabulary? Was Rubber Band Man already taken? How about Stretchy Guy or something? Tell the truth: have you ever used the word "elongated" in any conversation ever? I didn't think so.

The Spook

Another Batman villain, this one just showed up for a few issues in 1973 before being taken down for good. He was originally played up as a ghost character (thus his name), but Batman's detective skills brought him down and proved he was nothing more than a talented escape artist.

Talented in escape maybe, but choosing a name? Not so much. It brings more of an image of Casper the Friendly Ghost than some criminal terror to be afraid of. The only thing you can give him is that he was able to, for one issue, outsmart the Batman by stealing the Batmobile.

Mister Who

Before he became a Doctor, he, just kidding. This obscure villain "terrorized" Doctor Fate for a while during the Silver Age.

A brilliant scientist, he created a formula that changed his appearance, made him grow as he needed to, and even let him blend into the background colors of a room. Doctor Fate was able to beat him, as you can imagine.

But the name? Seriously, that's the best you could come up with? I can just hear an Abbott and Costello routine playing through that.

"What's the guy's name? Mister something."
"The guy Doctor Fate's fighting."
"The guy who grows big and stuff."
"The guy in with the beard! Mister what?"
"Oh never mind. Let's watch that British Sci-Fi show you like. The one with the Doctor guy. What was his name again?"

And on it goes...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Trailer Thursday: Hawkeye in Thor

You'll have to watch carefully, but at the 24 second mark we see a guy holding a compound bow as lightning flashes. That's either Hawkeye, Green Arrow, or Robin Hood. I'm going to put my money on the former, and I'm hoping that's not all we see of him in this film (though I've read that really is the extent of his cameo in "Thor" before taking a bigger role in "Avengers").

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

We Made It To The Top Ten!

Besides being a comic fan, I'm also a computer geek and as such follow a lot of blogs besides comic book related ones. Today I was hitting the MakeUseOf blog and found that they had posted "10 Comic Blogs That Every Comic Book Fan Should Read." Some of my favorites were there (if you don't read "Comics Alliance" or "Chris's Invincible Super Blog" you miss some great stuff), but then on down the list I got a very pleasant surprise!

That logo looks familiar...

We made it in there!

It's a HUGE honor to be in a list with CBR, Comixology and others like it. Thanks to Saikat Basu for not only reading this blog but taking the time to tell others about it!

Monday, April 11, 2011

6 Annoying Things About Comics

It's been a very long time since I've looked at something like this, so I thought I'd continue on with more.

Even though comic books are complete fantasy, they do follow a certain set of rules of their own. Even heroes who can fly have laws of gravity and physics around them that the comic writers adhere to. However, have you ever read a comic story and thought, "Even in a world where men can run faster than light and can fly, that doesn't make sense!"? Here are a few of the things that always confused me:

1. How can you be the worlds fastest man and yet carry on a conversation with others while fighting?

Imagine standing still and having someone rip past you in an F-15 jet telling you about their day. Number one, how much of that would you actually hear? Number two, what kind of witty response could you come up with?

You can say all that in a second?
The correct answer is: nothing (unless you're an auctioneer).

And yet, the comic writers continued to let Flash and his villain of the month talk it out while trying to fight it all out. And we're not talking about a quick sentence here or there...we're talking entire conversations with enough time for response on the part of the normal-speed villain. And yet the guys could never hit the Flash with any ray or weapon?

2. Why didn't Superman just throw Doomsday into outer space?

Works every time.
Superman's battle with Doomsday was supposed to be the stuff of legend. Here was the monster who would finally kill the Man of Steel. But through the whole thing I kept thinking: Just throw him into outer space! I mean, once you've decided to kill or be killed for that big ending, just skip the "be killed" part and toss him. Let some other planet with stronger heroes finish him off, or let him just wander on Jupiter and die of boredom.

Come to think of it, why didn't Superman just do that for most of his too-close-for-comfort fights? Giant robots he would get beat down with a million times before hitting would have been a simple matter of flying behind them, grabbing them, and going straight up until you see stars around you before letting go. End of fight.

3. Why set up an elaborate trap to kill the hero, then leave without watching it work?

If you spent weeks putting together some cool death trap, then you finally got that hero you've always wanted to kill into it, wouldn't you want to see if it worked? I mean, how do you test something like that other than finding the dumbest henchman in your posse and saying "Hey, stand right here for a second."

Yet time and again Batman would be put into one trap after another and then the villain would leave to spend his stolen money or whatever and the Caped Crusader would escape. With all the bad guys trapped together in Arkham, you'd think they'd talk to each other and say, "You know, I left when he was in my trap and now I'm here too...heyyyyyyy, wait a minute...I think I've got an idea...what if we stayed in the room until he was dead?"

And all those elaborate traps costing thousands of dollars when a simple bullet would have ended things quickly and cheaply? Hey, if your villains are named Penguin, Joker, and Clayface they can't be too smart, right?

And speaking of Batman gripes...

4. How can you wear a mask under a mask and yet no can see the pointy ears?
Batman had this annoying little habit during the 70's and 80's of wearing his mask under the mask of whatever thug he was pretending to be. Seems a little redundant to me, but whatever.
It's the ears, Batman. I promise.

Sure enough, when the jig was up he was ready to rip off the fake mask and reveal his regular pointy-eared one underneath...yet no one in the group was smart enough to say, "You know, it looks like something is living under Ted's face right now. I don't think that's really his skin. Hey...he's wearing a mask!"

I guess their inattention to detail is what made it so easy to beat them time and again, eh?

5. No one notices the goatee...really?

No resemblance
Put on a pair of sunglasses, walk up to your best friend, and say "hey". Chances are exceptionally good they'll start talking to you and even call you by name. Why? Because a little something hiding just your eyes can't stop someone from recognizing you. Except in comic books, where a little piece of cloth can confuse even your closest allies.

Suspending that disbelief I can do, but when Oliver Queen wears a forked yellow goatee (and he's the only guy in any of the comics who does...even looking at background characters in crowd scenes) and Green Arrow wears a forked yellow goatee, how can no one do the math? Seriously, why bother with the mask? But then again, we have that little inattention to detail that allowed so many heroes to maintain a secret identity through the Bronze Age of comics.

"Here comes trouble! Clark, look...Clark? Where'd he go? Hey, look, it's Superman!" And it's never obvious to anyone. That's why comics were so much fun back then.

6. How can you change into an elaborate costume that quickly?
Tux to this in 5 seconds flat

With the exception of the Flash and Superman (and maybe Hawk and Dove), a costume change should take a few minutes. Consider how quickly you change from work clothes to your "hanging out" clothes. It takes time, right? So how is it that heroes can see a villain attack in panel 1, then jump on them in panel 3 in full regalia and ready to go. Even allowing for that old "I'm wearing my costume underneath this tuxedo" rule that every hero seemed to follow, it still takes a minute.

Does he have tearaway clothing on at all times?
Doesn't even break stride

Forget superheroing, going from tux to costume in 5 seconds should qualify you to be a headliner in Vegas!

And how do you stuff a cape under a shirt and not have someone thinking you've got some kind of deformity going on back there?

What about you? What comic book trends annoy you when you read them?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Trailer Thursday: The reason you will be busy on June 17th

Here is the latest Green Lantern trailer, and here is the reason why I will not be in the office on June 17th:

Seriously, this looks better than the Thor and Captain America trailer combined. DC looks like they're hitting a home run with this one and may have a "safety net" movie series in case Nolan doesn't come back to Batman.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Smallville's Best Guest Heroes

With Smallville ending in just a few short weeks, I wanted to give them props for what they've done right over the years. I'm really going to miss the show--especially since there is no contender on the horizon to take its place. DC had a platform to give the fans a chance to see live-action versions of their favorite obscure heroes and you never knew who was coming up. No other live-action superhero series in history has run this long or given us this many heroic guests. While some of them were fairly unimpressive, I have to give them credit for the ones they really did right:


They couldn't touch the Flash character because of the legal wrangling about a potential movie, but they really handled it well by giving us Bart Allen instead. The two episodes that have seen him in real action have been good ones.

The thing that sold the role to me was the fact that they made him much faster than Clark. That was a touch I enjoyed seeing. I was afraid they'd make it some close race so their main hero would still seem unbeatable. Instead, they gave us a guy who was better at running than anyone else...just as it should be.


Zatanna is one of the characters that was closest to their actual comic counterpart than any other. The costume was absolutely dead-on. Her powers were just as you imagined they would be. And the actress they chose for the role couldn't have been improved upon. Serinda Swan looked like the model they based the comic character on.

I've never been a big fan of the character in the comics (and that stupid elf costume she had in the 70's was pathetic), but after the events of Identity Crisis and her role in mind-wiping Batman I had to give her some credit. Smallville handled her with a healthy respect that kept her from becoming as cardboard a role as the Wonder Twins in a later episode.


All right, so he wasn't bare-chested and beefed-up like the comic book version, but you have to give Smallville credit for what they gave us.  He had wings, and the helmet was dead-on. He had that brooding quality we were expecting, and those conflicted moments with Green Arrow were a nice touch.

Yes, he's dead now in the series (as of this writing), but he always comes back in the comics.

Doctor Fate

We only got him for that one double-length episode, but give the writers credit where it's due: they nailed the character.  Ok, the crazy secret identity was dumb. Still, when he was a hero, he was absolutely dead-on.

I still have no idea how the actor saw out of that helmet with the lights in his eyes. My biggest complaint is the fact that they only kept him around for a single adventure. It would have been nice to have seen a bigger JSA reunion later on. I know they couldn't touch Green Lantern or the Flash because of movie possibilities, but Wildcat, the Spectre, and even Doctor Midnite or Hourman could have filled the void to complete the team roster.


 Another character from the comics that I wasn't a big fan of, Aquaman turned out pretty cool in his guest shots.

This was another character that the writers were willing to concede was faster than Clark at something. He could outswim the guy with no effort. Again, this made sense and it was good to see the writers give him this edge.

His first episode was so great, but his guest shot in the Justice League episode the following season let him stand out. He's appeared since then a few times. Unfortunately, the Aquaman character himself is pretty useless without water around, so he's been relegated to brooding shots in the background.

Green Arrow

Love him or hate him, you have to admit it's pretty nice to see the Emerald Archer in action. Letting him use a compound bow and even Kryptonite arrows (in the ninth season) showed a lot of detail to attention.  

While I feel the yellow goatee is essential to the character in the comics, I don't think Justin Hartley would look right with it.

I don't know if you've seen Hartley's portrayal of Aquaman for the failed series "Mercy Reef", but I thought he did a great job with it and I would have enjoyed seeing the series take off...especially in Smallville's upcoming absence.

The Legion of Superheroes

We couldn't get the whole roster, so they gave us the three top stars in the team. Cosmic Boy was played out nicely, as well as Saturn Girl. I wasn't as impressed with the Lightning Lad character. I guess it was hard to visualize him married to Saturn Girl as they later became in the comics.

Cosmic Boy made a return visit later on to give Clark a Legion ring he could use to send Doomsday to the future so the Legion could kill him. Lois inadvertently used it instead.

Honorable Mention: Booster Gold

As of this writing, they haven't even cast the part yet, but I had to put him in the list simply because he's one of my favorite heroes and the chance to see him in action before the series closes down shop was a nice treat from Geoff Johns.

I sincerely doubt we'll see the blue-and-gold spandex (or the goggles). I'm sure we'll get something similar though. I'm interested to see if Johns plays off the Legion angle and brings them in to catch him since he's apparently considered a thief in the future for stealing the Legion flight ring and the technology.

UPDATE: In the weeks since I wrote this post (I try to stay about 2 months ahead when possible) they've given us an image of Booster Gold. He really remains pretty faithful to the character. I can't wait to see the episode and see what they do with him. Here he is:

So that's my list of top guests in the series. I know I missed some folks, but I wasn't too impressed with the Star-Spangled Kid, the Wonder Twins, or Cyborg. Like I said before, I'm going to miss this show. It may have gone down hill after Michael Rosenbaum left the show, yet it was the only outlet we had for DC superheroes in the looooong years between films.
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