Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Inaction Speaks Louder Than Silence

Listed without comment, 10 comic books I have purchased recently, but have not yet read (in roughly reverse chronological order):

1. Avengers Classic #10
2. Simon Dark #6
3. Raven #1
4. Superpowers #1
5. Infinity, Inc. #7
6. Green Arrow/ Black Canary #6
7. Eva, The Vampire Diva #3
8. That Search for Ray Palmer with the Communist Superman
9. 2007 Infinite Halloween issue
10. Eat The Dead, Virgin One-Shot

FYI, I have been reading Marvel Masterworks, Spider-Man, Volume 2 instead. Mostly for that oh-so-conflicted Flash Thompson.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Charlie Brown: "Nice Guy"

We all remember Charlie Brown as the put-upon shmoe -- couldn't kick the football, snubbed by the cute little red-headed girl, getting a rock in his Halloween candy.

The truth is, though, that Charlie Brown was only getting what was coming to him. The self-centered ass deserved to have the ball pulled away, and the cute little red-haired girl was too good for him, and she knew it. And he was lucky it was just a rock!

Here are a few strips from the early years of Peanuts. If you don't have the back story, you might sympathize with ol' Chuck and his latter day woes. But as a careful reader knows, Charlie Brown may have been whining that the girls were off with the other guys instead of a "nice guy" like him, but Charlie Brown simply was not good boyfriend material.

Talk about high maintenance!

(As should be clear here, eldest Raggirl has taken a fancy to Classic Peanuts, and I have been furnishing her with the Fantagraphics volumes as she requests them. Unbeknownst to her, I am happy to buy them because I get to read them myself! She just turned 7 and is already up to Volume 3 [1955-1956]. The strips from this post and the last one are from Volume 2.)


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From Lucy Van Pelt, Part I

In 1969, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross famously "introduced" the 5 stages of Grief in her landmark "On Death and Dying." The five stages are:

1. Denial;
2. Anger;
3. Bargaining;
4. Depression;
5. Acceptance.

Fans of Peanuts were already well acquainted with the Five Stages of Grief, in order, as expressed by Lucy van Pelt in May of 1952.

Thank you Ms. Kubler-Ross, but Lucy has you beaten by 17 years.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Comics Scrabble Move

I am a Facebook Scrabble addict.

My biggest problem in playing is my assumption that various words from Green Lantern are actual Scrabble words. (No 'Oa' or 'Abin').

But it is all better now that I got a Bingo across two Double Word Scores (90 points!) for "ANTILIFE."

Darkseid would be proud!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Stupid Question #8

Is young, hip, skinny Etta hopping around Khund planet with Wonder Woman still married to Steve Trevor like she was back in WW v.2? Steve was still pretty "mature" back WW #1. Have they gone from peers to a May/December romance due to assymetrical aging? Or is new-Etta single again, or perhaps a different person entirely (cousins . . . identical cousins . . .)

Also, why has there never been a Steve Trevor/ Hal Jordan team-up? Do they even know each other from their respective Air Force days? Those two seem like potential best friends who haven't met.

Anyway, the Green Latern at the end of WW#18 played all sorts of combinations in my head. While Hal and Steve are having a guys night out, Etta is confronted by Star Sapphire . . .

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gotham Underground: The Spoiler Better Than the Spoiler

I understand that lots of people have made a big deal about the death of Spoiler, and how its entirely unfair that she didn't get a memorial case in the Batcave. I actually agree, but in a mild kind of way, the same way that I agree that, for example, the cast of JSA should be half the size, and that Sasha Bourdeaux and Michael Holt make a cute couple. If you are going to insist on watering down Obsidian, or breaking up Mr. Terrific, I will sigh and move on.

What has got me worked up much more than the brutal death and posthumous disrespect of Spoiler is the poor treatment of her assumed "killer" in the War Crimes arc -- Dr. Leslie Tompkins. Dr. Tompkins has been a long-time bat ally who completely disapproves of Bruce's conduct because she is a complete pacifist, and strong believer in non-violence, and believes that while Batman's goals are worthy, the use of violence to carry them out will end up being counterproductive.

I don't actually agree with Dr. Tompkins, but she had been consistently portrayed with the same viewpoint -- in flashbacks all the way back to Bruce Wayne's childhood.

Which is why -- far more than Black Mask's torture of Spoiler -- Dr. Tompkin's motive of "by letting Spoiler die, I can show Bruce the error of his ways" is beyond the pale. Dr. Tompkins would not slap a killer to save a room full of babies. And yet, she'd let a hero die for some abstruse moral argument? Didn't buy it. Letting that decision stand is FAR move unbelievable than Batman deciding that Spoiler wasn't a "real" Robin.

So, with all the rumors about the "Return of Spoiler," I immediately looked past Spoiler herself to the next logical conclusion. If Spoiler isn't really dead, then Dr. Tompkins didn't really kill her! Suddenly, all is well in the world.

And that is why, while everyone is waiting for some sort of big reveal at the end of Gotham Undergound, my resolution was in the last page of #6, with Dick Grayson in mortal danger, and a familiar doctor telling him that everything would be all right . . .

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Monday, March 17, 2008

What the heck is wrong with Nemesis?

Apparently, many people are generally upset that Diana wishes to being a relationship with Nemesis in Wonder Woman #18. I've got two short points and a long point about that.

1. It has been obvious since WW #1, when the Steve Trevor was kidnapped by Wonder Woman rogues turned out to not be Steve Trevor, but in fact Nemesis in disguise, that Nemesis was being set up to be the "new Steve." I am just incapable of working up outrage for something that has been clearly building for two years.

2. Better like this than years and years of "will they or won't they" that leads to an inevitable "will" that destroys all the tension that's been building up.

3. The Long Point. What the hell is wrong with Nemesis? No one really spells it out, other than he's "Not Worthy." What the heck does that mean?

A. He's not worthy because he doesn't have the same power level? Can individuals identified as "Alpha" by the OMACs only date other Alphas? Is the problem that Nemesis is only a Gamma or a Delta on the OMAC-rating scale, and therefore does not pose much of a threat? In choosing a mate, ability to compete worthily in open combat should rank pretty low.

B. He's a smart-ass. Yes, he is. But much more in a Ted Kord kind of a way than in a Guy Gardner kind of way. He's not offensive or degrading. He's friendly. He's a "good guy." He's well intentioned. He just doesn't take things as seriously as Diana does. For a relationship, that's a good thing. I always wondered what Wonder Woman and Trevor Barnes talked about over breakfast, and would imagine the "Sensitive Pony-Tail Guy" scene from the movie "Singles."

C. He's not a well-established character. He's not Batman or John Stewart or Hawkman or Steve Trevor. I understand that if your looking at (i) Superman/Lois Lane; (iii) Mr. Fantastic/ Invisible Woman; (iii) Wonder Woman/ Nemesis, the last option looks a little out of place, but honestly, "fame" is about as bad a proxy for a good relationship as "power level."

I'm certainly not saying that Nemesis is obvious dream-date material, but he certainly has potential, and no obvious disqualifying factors. In the end, Wonder Woman is not required to marry Nemesis at the end of their courtship, and is free to decide that they are or are not compatible (that, historically, has been what "dating" is for.)

I'm happy to wait and see.

UPDATE: It looks like I am not alone. Not that I mind disagreeing with a vast majority, but it's enough to give me pause.