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"…Joker does not die unless his joker card is destroyed"

§ May 31st, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on "…Joker does not die unless his joker card is destroyed"

“V versus The Joker”

“Two people heavy on insanity. V uses his to help other people and society, but nonetheless operates on a different mental level than others. Joker – what else can you say?
Both are great at bold, complicated plans no regular person would try.
Who is standing at the end?”

“is there prep?”

“no prep.”

“If their is no prep joker will lose badly. V owns.”

“V obviously in a straight fight. I would love to see them have a conversation though.”

“im gonna say joker cause no way he will put up a stright fight and i dont know for sure about v but joker does not die unless his joker card is destroyed”

“V is like a low level deathstroke- Has strength,speed,endurance,healing,and brain power to put him on meta-human stage.”

“they both laugh at eachother when they first meet at how insane they are and then V guts him with a knife.”

“V is like Batman-lite… hech he is more like Punisher-lite”

“Actually in terms Of V. Remember he lives in a hitler like society where he can barely get his hands on anything. Not every hero has billions of dollars to get equipment.”

“you never know for all you know when V does that hand thing you find out it was one of jokers guys in disguise then a metal card flies into V’s skull from behind hay it might happen you guys cant count the joker out people he once took fear gas to the face from scarecrow it didnt do NOTHING to him and he almost killed the guy with a chair.”

Some Tuesday night notes.

§ May 30th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Some Tuesday night notes.

So a while back I mentioned that there was a glitch in the ordering system over there at Twomorrows…for some reason, another person’s order got appended to my account, which made it look like I was trying to mooch two free magazines instead of one from their Free Comic Book Day giveaway.

Well, apparently it was all sorted out, since I got my magazine today (Back Issue #3, if you were wondering). Phew, I was beginning to worry…I kept picturing Twomorrows putting a big banner on their site reading “MIKE STERLING IS A BIG CHEATER-PANTS” if the ordering problem never got addressed.

A thought that occurred to me over the weekend, and never got around to posting…I hadn’t seen any kind of sales bump at the store on X-Men comics during the lead-up to the new movie’s release. I mean, the X-books usually sell fairly well, but I haven’t seen any increased or unusual demand for trades or new issues or anything…aside from the first issue of Wolverine: Origins, which was going to sell well, regardless.

I haven’t seen much increased demand for the Superman comics either, beyond a few extra sales of some of the trade paperbacks DC made available to retailers on a consignment basis (including Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale’s Superman For All Seasons).

Not sure why, unless folks just prefer their superhero action in moving picture form instead of dead trees ‘n’ staples form (which is clearly obvious, given the real money movies make versus the lemonade stand money comics pull in).

I just noticed that I had the wrong date on my X-Men movie review post all day. Sigh.

X-Men: The Last Stand

§ May 30th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on X-Men: The Last Stand


Well, actually, all things considered…X-Men: The Last Stand was a perfectly watchable popcorn movie. It ain’t deep, it ain’t meaningful, but the film never drags its feet, Sir Ian McKellen (Magneto) and Hugh Jackman (that claw guy, whassisname) steal the show yet again, and overall, it’s more of an even film than the previous two efforts. It never quite reaches the heights of the best parts of the previous two installments, but then, there’s nothing in this movie that reaches the nadir of “Do you know what happens when a frog is hit by lightning?” Oh, and speaking of which, Halle Berry (Storm) even manages okay this time.

Anyway, I’m going to talk about specific elements of the movie, which will involve revealing big plot details, so SPOILER ALERT is in effect. When you next see a picture of Sir Ian striking yet another pose, the SPOILERS will be over.

Okay, ready? If you haven’t seen the movie, skip to the next pic of Sir Ian…last chance!


  • Okay, Stan Lee shows up in his required cameo early on, and, though the man has received some grief from me in the past, I did appreciate that X-writer Chris Claremont was given a cameo as well. I mean, the man has toiled in the X-Men mines for 30 years, surely this is the least they could do for him.
  • For a very, very brief moment, as the “In the not too-distant future” subtitle flashed on screen, and we went into the Sentinel battle sequence, I thought we were gonna see the “Days of Future Past” storyline. Yeah, I know, I wasn’t really expecting it, but there’s always that little fanboy voice in your head that whispers these things to you, and you can’t ignore it.
  • In the “works on paper, not in live action” department, we have a tie between the Colossus tossing Wolverine “fastball special” bit, and the “Angel flying” effects. Neither are terribly convincing.
  • Kelsey Grammer as the Beast worked better than I expected…I mean, he never looks like anything but a guy with a blue furry suit glued to him, but what the heck, it was close enough for horseshoes.
  • Is it just me, or did the sun come down awfully fast just before the climatic battle scene? Okay, it was about sundown as Magneto was hauling the bridge over to Alcatraz Island, but it seemed like it was still fairly bright out as the bridge dropped onto the island, and then it was suddenly pitch black as Magneto’s crew were disembarking.
  • Speaking of Magneto’s minions…okay, a while back I finally got around to watching Robocop 3 via the Netflix. In that film, there’s a wild street gang terrorizing the community…and of course, they’re dressed as stereotypical “punk rockers,” with Mohawks, leather, studs, oddly colored hair…you know, typical movie punkers. And as I was watching this, I thought briefly about how you don’t get enough of that kind of casting and costuming any more for your typical movie street gang…just dressing a bunch of extras up as what you think punk rockers look like and instructing them to act crazy and menacing.

    Well, it lives on in the new X-Men movie. Okay, it’s modernized slightly, with a lot more tattoos and piercings, but it’s basically the same thing. Look, I find my amusement where I can get it.

  • Rogue wasn’t so much a character this time around as she was a thematic plot device, demonstrating that while the threat of a “mutant cure” is held in low regard by most mutants, there may be actual cases where such a cure would be desirable. This grey area is barely touched on, and when it is it’s usually in the implied context of “Rogue, why would you want to cure yourself, even though your power basically cuts you off from any kind of human contact and clearly makes you miserable?” Of course, it’s all a moot point anyway, since the last pre-credits shot of the film seems to indicate that the cure is only temporary.
  • Yes, I said “the last pre-credits shot” since there is a coda at the very end, after the thanks to the caterers and the soundtrack album info. You know, I wish filmmakers wouldn’t do these, since, um, credits are a lot longer than they used to be.

    Anyway, I told you a couple days ago that some knucklehead started to blab about that ending…he didn’t give away the whole deal, but just mentioned the character involved. That was enough for me to figure out what that coda was going to be as soon as all the elements involved in that coda had appeared on screen.

    Grrrr…that dumb kid.

  • Famke Janssen looked very menacing as the out-of-control Phoenix, though she didn’t get to do much more than stand around as special effects swirled things around her. Still, there were some nice Phoenix visuals involved…and as for that character she killed off early on…well, we never did see a body, did we?
  • WOLVERINE: “Get everyone out of here…I’ll stop Phoenix, I’m the only one who can!”

    KITTY PRYDE: “Um, actually, this mutant kid we just rescued has the ability to strip away the powers of anyone in his proximity.”

    WOLVERINE: “What did you say? Couldn’t hear you, what with all the fighting.”

    KITTY: “Oh, nothing, nothing…you just go do what you do best. Good luck with that.”

    Okay, given that Phoenix was dissolving anyone who got to close too her, getting Leech near enough to effect her wasn’t likely…but still, I know you thought it too. DON’T DENY IT.

  • I knew from the moment they confronted each other on the street outside that clinic that we were going to get a Pyro versus Iceman battle, and I wasn’t disappointed. I even pictured the two of them, shooting their fire and ice powers at each other, with the “beams” colliding in the center, EQUALLY MATCHED. We did finally get an Iceman that was completely iced-up, like in the comics…not sure the effect was 100%, really, but I appreciated the effort.
  • I also liked seeing Jamie Maddrox, the Multiple Man, make an appearance, albeit as a bad guy. Makes me want to see a live-action version of Peter David’s X-Factor (not that I’m holding my breath). Juggernaut was silly but fun, Kitty Pryde finally gets some significant screen time, and Colossus was wisely kept underlit or in shadows (but we get a nice gag of an unarmored Colossus hauling a huge TV under one arm through the school halls).
  • Standout scenes: Wolverine attacking Magneto’s forest camp, Phoenix destroying her family home, Sir Ian McKellen doing purt’near anything. I particularly liked that McKellen’s Magneto expresses genuine shock and loss at the passing of his greatest rival.
  • Kind of a downbeat ending, with major characters having died, especially since the plan appears to be that this will be the last X-Men movie…though I wonder if the box office take will change that.


Man, Sir Ian had some great “I’m usin’ my powers” poses in this film.

So, to reiterate…perfectly fine ‘n’ brainless action movie. Maybe a few too many characters, and maybe not enough plot…but that even one watchable X-Men movie was done is nothing short of a miracle. That there were three X-movies that were reasonably entertaining…well, no one is more shocked than me.

But, really, let’s not have a fourth one. No reason to push our luck!

EDIT: SPOILERS in the comments section, too, just so you know.

Whenever I think of Alex Toth, I think of this drawing.

§ May 29th, 2006 § Filed under obituary Comments Off on Whenever I think of Alex Toth, I think of this drawing.

This is from Superman Annual #9 (1983), written by Elliot S! Maggin and inked by Terry Austin…but that image is just pure Toth, with dynamic action that drives the eye across the page. The whole book is like this, with Toth’s style taking what would have been a reasonably entertaining Superman/Batman team-up and turning it into something special and beautiful and funny and genuinely exciting, all at once.

It’s this comic I think of whenever I see certain superhero comics on the stands today, all splash pages and static poses, with pin-ups instead of plot progression…I see these comics and I can’t help but think “Boy, these people really should take some lessons from Alex Toth…that guy could move a story along!”

Here’s the definitive collection of Toth links, in memory of his passing. Go see what we’ve lost.

(Post updated 10/2016)

Some shop notes.

§ May 28th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Some shop notes.

As I’ve referred to previously, young girls (and their parents) continue to pooh-pooh the current Supergirl comic in favor of Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes. It’s hard to imagine any incarnation of the Legion as an entry comic for new readers, but something about this new version is really grabbing the attention of children, at least at our store. Adding Supergirl to the mix (a recognizable, non-scary version of Supergirl) can only help its appeal.

I hate to beat a dead horse (yeah, I know, “since when?”) but that Supergirl comic is such a missed opportunity. What, there weren’t enough anatomically-improbable, appallingly-written and drawn comics starring female characters, which mistake “cheap titillation” for “strong characterization,” that DC had to add to the pile with a title and character that might otherwise have attracted that elusive young girl demographic that’s long since been lost to manga (if they’re reading comics at all)?

Speaking of the new Legion series…this cover design on the first issue (reused on issue #7 and the new ish) is going to be the new version of this cover design, isn’t it?

Pal Dorian looks at Newsarama and DC Comics forum reactions to the revelation that the new Batwoman is “the gay.” Comedy gold ensues.

Which reminds me…I can’t wait for the Marvel site to start up its forums. You thought the DC forums were a carwreck….

No, I haven’t seen the new X-Men movie yet. Though, thanks to one loudmouth from the game store next door, I now know the nature of the surprise post-credits sequence. I really need to start taking my cattle prod to work.

A little violence never hurt anybody.

§ May 27th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on A little violence never hurt anybody.

from The Comic Reader #109 (August 1974) – art by Alan Hanley

from an ad in The Comic Reader #136 (October 1976) – art by Don Rosa

"His bird-morphing abilities would definitely amaze and dazzle the audience!"

§ May 26th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on "His bird-morphing abilities would definitely amaze and dazzle the audience!"

From MSNBC: “Readers reveal their favorite ‘X-Men'”

“Nightcrawler. What an amazing cat-like X-Man! You’d want this guy on your team, trust me. My girlfriend, Deb, sometimes even calls me this because of my combination of speed and balance (as if Bear wasn’t good enough for her!). Jeesh. —Bear”

“Mr. Sinister is by far the best. He’s actually Cyclops’ father so that adds a whole new edition. Even more stunning is his ability to morph into any bird, whether it be a parrot/eagle/canary. And last but not least is the undisclosed comic book secret that he is actually Magneto’s fraternal twin. I think it would be great if they brought this evil mutant to life on the big screen. His bird-morphing abilities would definitely amaze and dazzle the audience!”

“Phoenix was and is my favorite character in X-Men. I like to own her power to create and to destroy anything. So that she can protect the world from war. And to destroy any human that harms harmless animals like cats all. Also to make peace in this country!”

“Storm, because she control the weather.”

You can add your own suggestions at the end of page 2 of the article. AND YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO. Show Caliban the love!

MSNBC also has a neat photo guide to the X-movie characters. runs a reasonable, if mixed, review of X-Men: The Last Stand – and these folks don’t care for said review:


“Enough of crappy comments.People can talk shit..just ignore it! It’s X-men and I trust that it’s great!I don’t care what people think..the tastes are different!”

And then there was this comment in the thread, which, um, speaks for itself:

“Iunno why but singer to me was never the right guy for x-men…iunno if u all feel the same way as me,i just feel like he left out too much stuff from the get go…he shoulda had gambit,beast,jubylie(or however u spell it),juggernaut,so on ,so on…it made the x-men franchise so un-well done lollll….i mean look at spider-man,it stayed true to the comic book,no changes…exept for the web out of his hand…..but that put aside its perfect,they shoulda stuck to the original look n original story n original everything n everything woulda been perfect…can u imagine if this x-men movie is the last???beast is only in 1 movie???like come on!!!!!!!!n cyclops was always the leader to me,it was never wolverine..anyways im out i have stuff to do,think about it”

On the eBay: “X-MEN ROGUE SCHOOLGIRL COLOR PINUP ART” – maybe not safe for work.

This is safe for work, but perhaps not SAFE FOR YOUR BRAIN: “Wolverine claws, become your favorite mutant”

“Make your own Wolverine claws

Everything is here for you to look like your favourite mutant. All you need to do is finish them to your liking. As they are in the movies, or a all new idea. Your to create.

The Claws are made of solid Aluminum, the blocks as well, and the wires are made of steel.

What you get in this package is,

6 Claws

2 blocks

6 wires

12 set screws

1 wrench

1 Set of Instructions”

This is actually a pretty clever design, which hides the claws’ base in your closed fist…but I wouldn’t, you know, walk around the mall or try to enter a courthouse with them. But still…fantastic. (EDIT: Ack! The auction! She is cancelled! Now I wish I’d saved more of the images….)

Progressive Ruin Presents…The End of Civilization.

§ May 25th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Progressive Ruin Presents…The End of Civilization.

Well, those oddball items in the new issue of Diamond Previews (the June 2006 ish) won’t make fun of themselves, so let’s get started, shall we? (Previous installments: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15…I’ve been doing this for 16 months? Oh Lordy.)

p. 192 – Wizard Magazine #179: Apparently this issue is going to include an article titled “100 Worst Things Ever to Happen to Comics.” I wonder if the early ’90s debut of a certain colorful price guide mag and its encouragement of the speculator market of that time is on the list? (Oh SNAP.)

p. 243 – Lady Death: Fetishes 2006 – “Special Mistress Cover”: Sometimes the Lady Death comics just hurt my brain. There’s also a gold foil edition available on page 253.

p. 245 – Teenage Murder Bait One-Shot Special Edition:

“Wasted youth, teen corruption, drugs, sex and horny teenage girls – tales of all can be found within these pages!”


p. 260 – Darkman Vs. The Army of Darkness #1:

“Dynamite presents the crossover no one thought they would ever see….”

I’ll say. I was all ready to make fun of this comic, but Kurt Busiek, Roger Stern, and James Fry comprise the creative team, and George Perez is providing one of the covers, so, you know, what the heck, could be fun. And you all like the Darkman, don’t you? Don’t you?

p. 333 – Tokyopop is releasing a classic Star Trek manga, just in time to celebrate the 40th anniversary of what’s left of the franchise. Includes a “collectible cover exclusive to Diamond customers.”

p. 399 – How not to sell your Superman shirt:

Oh my goodness, that’s some unfortunate phrasing. (EDIT: Joe Rice noted it as well.)

p. 438 – Star Wars Yoda Back Buddy:

The needle’s goin’ back and forth between “Cute” and “Creepy” on this item.

p. 450-2 – Urn of Osiris Buffy the Vampire Slayer Prop Replica: Limited to 1000 pieces, hand-painted, and comes with a certificate of authenticity, acrylic display case, and “care instructions” (“Don’t let your significant other find out you spent 90 bucks on this, or you’re gonna end up wearing it”).

p. 452 – Harry Potter: Hermione Granger Mini-Bust: Attention, dirty old men….

p. 468 – The Freak Brothers Resin Statues: Includes all three brothers, plus Fat Freddy’s Cat. Alas, it’s 500 bones for the whole set, but man, they are pretty cool. So, in case any of you out there who had been wondering what to buy me for Christmas….

p. 469-70 – Pullip Fashion Dolls: GAZE INTO THE EYES OF YOUR DOOM:

§ May 24th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on

How to start a political flame war on a comic book message board in one easy step:

“Bill Clinton, Lex Luthor, and Adolf Hitler”

“Which do you think was a better leader? I think Lex would be the best, followed by Hitler, and then Clinton taking up the rear.”

“So, does anyone know what Supergirl’s tattoo says?”

“I looked up Kryptonian translations, and the symbol Kara has on her back now kinda looks like the word ‘HOME’ inside the pentagon, but I’m not sure. Anyone else have any other ideas?”

“‘I went to the bottle city of Kandor, and all I got was this lousy tat!'”

“she got a tramp stamp? what’s next, dancing for tips in a kid rock video?”

“A tatoo does not make a girl a tramp.”

“It says I have loose morals and I’m undeserving of wearing the ‘S’.”

“No, greed and intolerance are loose morals (or rather poor morals), getting a tattoo has no moral basis whatsover.”

“Guys, guys, enough alread. It’s not like she got it on her LOWER back. That WOULD have been much hotter though.”

“It is funny that people are so freaked out about what a tattoo says about her morals, but forget about nearly heat-vision-blasting a guy in the FACE! […] I’d tend to avoid people who where prone to lasering people in the face.”

“I’d rather have a friend who lasered people in the face. Tattoos are a sign of easiness. Kara will be getting some soon.”

“its not on the small of her back, its between her shoulder-blades, u wouldn’t even see it unless u got her naked(well, tanktop but i doubt she’ll be drawn with one), its just a tatoo she got to make her feel cool.”

“Kara was not acting embarrassed when she showed herself to the tattooist who is a stranger. She didn’t cover herself as she talked to him. So what does that tell you?”

“And what’s undisputable is that it’s the height of lameness for Supergirl to be getting a tatoo; talk about the most conformist form of a rebellion ever to connect to the hip sensibilities of todays’s readers: the various citizens of the worlds, stunted adolescents, or geezers living in the 60s who find sophistication in moronic posturing in children fantasy characters.”

“Jeeze next you’ll be complaining about the ‘devil’ music youngsters play today and how kids have no respect for there elders. Tattoo’s are part of the modern belief that your body can be shaped to how you desire it. Dieting, Body Building, Yoga, Piercing, Tattooing and Cosmetic Surgery; it’s all part of the same social paradigm.”

“It says ‘Kara Zor-el LITE’. The name’s the same, but it sure leaves a nasty aftertaste in my”

Archie versus the Internets.

§ May 23rd, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized § 1 Comment

Presenting Reggie Mantle, early Myspace adopter:

I realize that tempus is fugiting and all that, and I understand that Archie Comics is keeping up with the times in an attempt to appeal to today’s children, but there’s still a small part of me that, despite myself, finds references to current technology in these comics slightly jarring.

Maybe it’s just that I personally prefer the Archie books from these decades, but it always seems to me that the Archie gang’s adventures are perpetually set in the ’50s or ’60s. (Some of the jokes are, certainly…okay, cheap shot.) You know, much in the same way that I always think of the Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics as being set in the ’40s or ’50s, mostly because those were the years of Disney comics master Carl Barks’ prime work. Seeing references to today’s gadgetry in more recent Duck stories seems equally out of place to me.

I suppose there is some small bit of comfort in knowing that no matter what the future will bring us, Archie and friends will probably be there to make silly jokes about it.

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