Okay, maybe that’s really more “descriptive” than “ironic,” but it’s all about the marketing, man.
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Okay, maybe that’s really more “descriptive” than “ironic,” but it’s all about the marketing, man.
Sometimes you just need a cosmically-attuned Albert Einstein to come in and straighten everything out.
from DC Challenge #6 (April 1986) by Elliot S! Maggin, Dan Jurgens & Larry Mahlstedt
- Friend of the site Rob Kelly gives us not only a Dick “Swamp Thing” Durock PSA, but an Adrienne Barbeau one as well.
- If Superman #701 hasn’t been kicked around enough for your liking, here’s Dr. Polite Scott explaining why that one scene with Superman diagnosing that person’s heart condition is dumb.
As Scott notes (and I’ve seen forms of this criticism pop up elsewhere), the point that this whole “Superman walkin’ the country” hoohar came from guilt over being accused of not doing enough to save someone’s life. …So let’s end the issue with Superman not doing enough to save someone’s life. Sure, why not.
Also, I suspect removing “flight” from his travel options is increasing the number of Superman-preventable deaths in the DC Universe. …This whole comic is a test for potential Superman editors, isn’t it?
- COMPLETELY UNRELATED: Thor is walking across the United States to get in touch with the non-divine, and happens upon a fellow with some heart trouble…resulting in the greatest sequence of comic book panels you will ever see.
- Costuming for the Green Lantern movie and the Thor movie has been revealed, and lo, blood rained down from the sky, and brother did turn upon brother.
Well, I think they look okay.
- Announced is Vertigo Resurrected, a series of reprints of some classic Vertigo comics, and, most notably in this first installment, the first publication of the Warren Ellis Hellblazer story about school shootings that was pulled off the schedule after the Columbine murders.
I’ve seen some inquiries here and there whether this means we’ll see the canned “Swamp Thing meets Jesus” story at long last…not holding my breath, though I’m curious what DC’s going to do when they reach that point in the paperback reprints.
(RELATED: Why DC hasn’t jumped ahead and put out reprint volumes of Mark Millar’s Swamp Thing work, taking advantage of the current amount of press he usually gets. That won’t last forever, folks, so ride those coattails while you can!
…for one of our very semi-occasional Midnight Madness sales, so I’m downright pooped as I write this (at 1:40 Sunday morning). Thus, all you’re getting today is a photo taken at said event, featuring Employee Aaron and Kempo, his lovely significant other:
I’m pretty sure this photo is weapons-grade cuteness.
Anyway, they’re going to the San Diego Comic Con next week, so if you see them there, be sure to ask Aaron to show you his cat ears. It’s good luck if you rub them.
NEED SOME WORK
from Nancy and Sluggo #180 (May-July, 1960)
(NOTE: There may be spoilers for some plot elements of Watchmen, in case you haven’t read the book or seen the movie.)
So I was contacted by some folks over at Wizkids Games, asking me if I’d be interested in a review copy of the Watchmen Heroclix set. Well, most of you folks know how amused I am by the various permutations of Watchmen ephemera, so how could I say no?
And there it was, sitting on my porch waiting for me only a day or so later. The packaging is quite impressive, standing a good fourteen inches tall:
Making the Watchmen clock symbol resemble a Heroclix base was pretty clever, I thought. You can’t tell in the photo, but in the black part of the packaging are dark gray images of clock gears falling.
Pop the sucker open (it has a magnet-sealing flap, which is appreciated), and here’s what you see inside:
Contrast adjusted to increase visibility…I’m no expert photographer, sadly. But the box makes a nice display for the figurines, which are firmly lodged into their packaging slots and not just rattling around in there. There are also clear plastic lids that cover each tray (removed in the above photo to prevent getting a reflection of my mug glaring back at you), so you can just prop this up somewhere and display your figures without worrying about dust or pet dander or what have you.
Now, the figures themselves…there are twenty-five different pieces, with five of those pieces featuring two characters. Sculpts look good, though as can be expected the larger pieces have better sculpts and nicer paint jobs…but they all look fine (with some quibbles, noted below). But all the characters are easily identifiable, and there is a good variety of poses. Since folks are going to ask, here’s the list:
Big Figure (sculpted with a beard and mustache, which he doesn’t have in the comic, but does in the movie)
The Comedian (sporting his flamethrower)
The Comedian (1940s) (crouched down one knee, lit stogie in mouth)
Dr. Manhattan (“hovering” in his lotus position, a giant gear behind him, representing the scene on Mars)
Dr. Manhattan (‘Nam era – double-sized figure, translucent blue plastic)
Hooded Justice (most of the figures have the usual googly-eyes that nearly all Heroclix figures have, but it really works well on this piece…that’s some angry, piercing glare H.J. has)
Knot Top Leader
Larry and Mike (Big Figure’s henchmen)
Mask-Killer (Ozymandias in the outfit he was wearing when he killed the Comedian)
Moloch the Mystic (in his prime, with golden cape and turban)
Nite Owl II
Nite Owl II (Cold Weather Gear) (very attractive piece, with the costume painted in a shiny silver)
Ozymandias (in costume)
Silk Spectre I (the molded stocking straps make the legs’ sculpts look a bit awkward…there’s a sentence I wasn’t expecting to type today)
Silk Spectre II (posed in a fighting stance on a series of steps)
Walter Kovacs (carrying a “The End Is Nigh” sign)
And the double-figure pieces:
Comedian and Nite Owl II (Nite Owl crouched with a hand weapon, Comedian aiming his rifle)
Nite Owl II and Rorschach
Ozymanias and Bubastis (Ozy seated in his chair, one hand on Bubastis’s head as she lays curled around the chair)
Silk Spectre II and Dr. Manhattan (Manhattan is “floating” behind Silk Spectre…feet are on a black post which matches the base)
And then there’s this piece, which I can actually give you an image for since it’s on the paper wrapping of the package:
Intrinsic Field Experiment 15:
This is an interesting and visually striking piece (that blue plastic into which the skeleton is embedded is translucent)…if I’m reading the rules card correctly (and keep in mind I’m not a Heroclix player) it appears this piece can give a friendly character a Dr. Manhattan-esque power, like teleportation, or destroying other pieces on the gaming field. As this particular effect is used, the piece’s dial is turned a certain number of clicks (the more powerful the power, the more clicks turned) until (again, if I’m reading this right) Dr. Manhattan himself is “invoked” and enters the game, whereupon he presumably ruins everyone’s day.
I mentioned a rules card…each piece gets a card, giving a brief explanation of who the character/s is/are, their point values, and their specific abilities. (The bio for Nite Owl says he was “forced into impotent retirement,” which is kind of a brilliant summation.) Some of their abilities are given special names, like Rorshach’s Flurry ability being referred to as “Give Me Back My Face,” which is all kinds of hilarious. The Comedian’s Ranged Combat Expert skill is called “Dallas, 1963,” which…uh. And according to the Dr. Manhattan card, “the powers of Dr. Manhattan can’t be countered,” so there you go.
Also, the rules cards refer to the main characters by the team name “The Watchmen,” which may stick in the craw of the graphic novel purists (since the “team,” such as it was, is never actually called that, but, hey, you’ll live. Besides, for game purposes, they gotta be collectively referred to somehow, so “The Watchmen” will just have to do.
Now, as I said, I am not a Heroclix player. I don’t know how good these pieces are in terms of gameplay. As a Watchmen fan, I’m reasonably entertained by these figurines, and I like that the packaging is designed for easily displaying them. But for playing…sorry, no real idea. I’d think that Dr. Manhattan would be bit of an unbalancing factor since, when you get right down to it, this is really the only character with superpowers in the Watchmen milieu, but I think it’s safe to say this has been taken into account by the designers. Anyway, if any of you folks out there have specific questions about this set, go ahead and let me know in the comments and I’ll try to answer. If they are detailed gaming questions, use small words and talk me through it, and I’ll do my best.
So, to sum up: neat souvenir for Watchmen fans, though a bit dear (it appears to retail between $60 to $80, which is about right for the number of figures you’re getting, considering usual retail prices on Heroclix booster packs), but alas, no real idea how it adds to the game beyond simply giving you new characters and powers to throw into the mix. But maybe that’s enough.
About the title of this post: I do so love Seymour and his position in the story, since he’s the one that could potentially undo everything everyone’s worked for. A Heroclix figure featuring Seymour could, I think, have the ability of undoing a previous turn, or something. I don’t know…would that work in the game? Let me know, pals.
There is a 14-inch Dr. Manhattan figure planned, but I do hope there are future sets of the regular figures, just to fill out the rest of the characters: Rorschach’s psychiatrist, the two Bernies, the original Nite Owl, the remaining Minutemen, the detectives…and maybe another one of those giant Heroclix statue pieces with Ozy’s space squid. A boy can dream.
There’s likely going to be a lot of piling-on of Superman #701 today (which is why I posted my main complaint yesterday to beat the rush), so I’m just going to drop this link here to Elliot S! Maggin’s “Must There Be A Superman” as that appears to have at least some thematic relation to Supes’ current saga.
Now, I didn’t hate the comic…there’s the germ of a good idea here, and there were a couple of nice moments, but Superman comes off a bit too jerky for my tastes. Also, I thought Superman was keeping himself literally “grounded,” walking across the country and eschewing flight as a travel option. At least, that was the impression I got from the publicity, but he gets a couple of flights in there. Straight up in the air, sure, but our boy Supes is still flying.
On the other hand, J. Michael Straczynski’s work on the new Brave and the Bold (#35, art by Jesus Saiz) with the Legion of Substitute Heroes and the Inferior 5 was actually pretty good. Amusing, some clever time-travel shenanigans, and no heavy-handed moral like in previous JMS B&Bs.
The new Simpsons spin-off mini-series Comic Book Guy started up this week, and that was a lot of fun…the multiple covers wrapped around the book parodying various comics were a nice surprise. That Crisis on Infinite Earths one is the best. The “nerd knowledge” requirement is actually fairly low, with the gags remaining funny even if you aren’t familiar with all the specific comics references.
And if you were one of the four people still waiting for the latest comic book series based on the Wild Cards novels, The Hard Call, to finally wrap up…well, #6 is on the stands and waiting for your cold, hard cash, friends. ‘Course, I’m going to have to go back and reread the previous five, because I couldn’t for the life of me tell you what happened in those earlier installments.
…and then there was this bit which seemed awfully un-Superman-ish:
from Superman #701 (Sept 2010) by J. Michael Straczynski, Eddie Barrows & J.P. Mayer
Since when does Superman think it’s too bad some folks aren’t dead?
(Kevin Church has more to say.)
ad from Space Warp (Summer 1979)
from American Splendor #15 (1990) by Harvey Pekar & Mark Zingarelli
It’s seems weird that the comics industry will no longer have a Harvey Pekar roaming its edges, occasionally writing some comics, complaining about not making enough money at it, while still gifting us with low-key stories of humorous observations, of found beauty…and of trying to save a buck. God bless that man.
Internet pal Dave posted a nice appreciation of the man, and Tom Spurgeon has a brief initial reaction which should be replaced by a full obituary at some point today. And I may have written a small tribute to him in Monday’s News Briefs at The Bureau Chiefs.
And here are Pekar’s appearances on David Letterman’s talk show which are so hilariously awkward, and the exact opposite of the typical showbiz shilling that these shows are created to facilitate. Letterman never could get a handle on this guy.
So long, Harvey, and thanks for all the good work you’ve given us over the years. You really were an original.
In other news:
- Kevin Church and Tracie Mauk have unleashed a new webcomic upon an unsuspecting world: FIGHT!. WARNING: comic may contain fighting.
- You know, I’d like to start a comic book empire! Thankfully Don Rico drew a comic explaining exactly how to do that. My favorite bit is on page 2, where it’s explained that you shouldn’t build your empire on superheroes, but on another particular genre entirely. BONUS: Sergio Aragones name-check!
- Andrew has wrapped up his series of Atari 2600 reminisces and has moved on to the Sega Genesis. Nothing to do with comics, really, but Andrew’s a smart and witty writer, and as someone who also had a Genesis, I’m looking forward to future installments.
And this is as good a place as any to announce this…after countless hours of grueling behind-the-scenes negotiations (“Hey, Mike, you wanna take it over?” “Yeah, sure, what the hell”), I will be continuing Andrew’s “Growing Up 2600” here on my site. Should start up soon, though I probably won’t do it on a weekly basis like Andrew did, and I’m sure I won’t be nearly as in-depth and societal context-aware, but hopefully you folks will tolerate my occasional classic video game blathering.