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I particularly like Swamp Thing’s Popeye arms.

§ October 24th, 2014 § Filed under cranius, reader participation, sluggo, swamp thing § 2 Comments

So I received a letter at the shop yesterday from the possibly-pseudonymous “Sluggo Jr.” who, inspired by my most recent Swamp Thing/Sluggo mash-up post, sent along a page crammed on either side with pencil drawings, sometimes featuring best pals Swampy ‘n’ Sluggo teaming up, sometimes just Sluggo facing menaces on his own (like fighting a knife-wielding Charlie Brown and a bat-wielding Henry).

Here are a couple of samples:


I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone do the “Cranius middle-finger” joke before. Well done.

I was only going to scan those two for now, due to time constraints — I’ve been working long hours, as you might imagine — but I just glanced again at the paper and have to present this one, too:


I could read about the adventures of Sluggo and Swamp Thing all day. Thank you, Sluggo Jr., for your fine contribution to the arts.

Looking forward to the eventual 14-part crossover with Swamp Thing.

§ May 21st, 2014 § Filed under cranius § 6 Comments

Guys, did I somehow miss this before, or is it first revealed in this week’s issue of Sinestro


…that Swamp Thing’s semi-nemesis Cranius is a member of the Yellow Lantern Corps?

Because this is the greatest thing.
 
 

image from Sinestro #2 (July 2014) by Cullen Bunn and Dale Eaglesham

I might spoil a bit of Swamp Thing #0 in this post.

§ September 10th, 2012 § Filed under cranius, swamp thing § 35 Comments


So I went into this New 52 Era of Swamp Thing under the presumption that, well, everything that had gone before, all that Vertigo stuff and Challengers of the Unknown team-ups and Alec’s brother Edward and so on, was still part of the Swamp Thing back story. Okay, maybe not Edward, but what I figured was going to happen was that, as part of this new direction, the focus would be more on “moving ahead” and not so much “worryin’ about all that old stuff.” You know, not going too out of the way to just throw out all those old stories, but, hey, we’ve got new stories to tell, let’s all just jump in with this fresh start and let’s go, gang!

I thought that about Swamp Thing, simply because there wasn’t really too much that directly contradicted anything that had gone before…well, sure, there’s some small measure of retconning, and tying in Arcane to the whole “Rotworld” business, which is all well and good. But it wasn’t like, say, Fury of Firestorm, which explicitly reboots the entire concept of the character, ignoring anything that happened before. It’s more like the Green Lantern books, where, aside from some minor continuity tweaks, they continued on pretty much business-as-usual in this brave new New 52 world.

Well, Swamp Thing #0, part of DC’s Zero Month, where we get a peek at the backstories of their various characters, sorta did away with that preconceived notion of mine. We get an altered version of Swamp Thing’s origin as well as a drastically altered Arcane. Arcane had been tied to the Rotworld concept before, but I figured it was one of those minor “retconnings” I’d mentioned before…that he was still a mad scientist whose search for immortality put him at odds with our mossy hero, but now, in the New 52, we were going to learn the real truth behind all of his previous shenanigans.

Nope (and here comes the SPOILER part)…turns out he’s an evil monster who can disguise himself in the flesh of other humans, has served the Rot for centuries, and hunts and kills Earth elementals like our pal Swampy. Also, he was directly responsible for Alec Holland’s death and (presumably) the rise of the human host-lacking Swamp Thing that we all were familiar with from previous series.

You may be surprised to hear that I’m cool with these changes…Swamp Thing exists under the long shadow of what Alan Moore had done with the character, and the New 52 reboot gives this new creative team the opportunity to retool basic concepts of the series in order to do new and hopefully interesting things. And so far, it has kept my interest. I’m okay with Arcane’s new status quo, making him a sort of “anti-elemental,” and doing away with his horror movie “mad scientist” origins, though…I can imagine the plot permutations possible to keep those original Arcane stories sort-of in continuity. I mean, Abby Arcane has to come from somewhere, right?

Besides, to make a point that has been made many times over…it’s not as if those previous Swamp Thing comics stopped existing or anything. I can always reread those if I want.

A couple of other points: another change that bumps up against my preconceptions of the character is the specific reference to Alec Holland’s death being “five years ago,” which I need to wrap my head around given the kinda real-time progression of Swamp Thing’s previous adventures. I always thought Swamp Thing’s timeline was more along the lines of twenty-something years, which was a problem when there were stronger ties to the regular DC Universe, but less of a problem once it was moved into the DCU-free Vertigo line. Now that it’s back in the DCU as of the New 52 relaunch, “five years” is the new across-the-board paradigm for this Age of Heroes, and I guess Swampy’s got to fit in there somehow.

Another thing is Arcane’s appearance, which originally was the result of being poorly-repaired by his Un-Men following his fall at the end of his debut story. Now, post-New 52, I guessed he always looked like that (or his appearance has a different origin, or the same origin recontextualized, or…well, I certainly nailed that down). Not a complaint or a criticism, just an observation.

One thing I’m sure we can all agree on, however, that of all the details regarding the New 52 version for Swamp Thing, this is the most important thing: Cranius is still around:


So remember friends…even if you’re put out by Swamp Thing’s recent changes, at the very least the return of Cranius offers us all some hope.

Someday I will have to answer for the things I have inspired.

§ March 25th, 2012 § Filed under cranius, sluggo § 11 Comments

It came to him in unquiet dreams borne of reading both the recent Nancy Is Happy collection and this site, said reader John L., and thus did he create this most terrifying image. What is seen cannot be unseen:
 
 
 

BEHOLD

SLUGGIUS

YOGI NOOOOOOO

§ February 29th, 2012 § Filed under cranius, sir-links-a-lot, swamp thing, what is it good for § 9 Comments

Ah, how could I have forgotten CRANIUS:


When wondering about how many “classic villains” Swamp Thing actually had, I totally forgot about Cranius, the most Un of all the Un-Men, until my blogging brother Tim O’Neil was good enough to remind me of our brain-handed friend.

Don’t worry…I’m not going to get all Cranius-crazy on you again, but yeah…the return of Cranius. Wouldn’t that be something if that were the case?

Anyway, in some site news…I almost decided to fix the commenting settings to require names and email addresses from folks who want to leave a comment, but decided I didn’t want to inconvenience everyone. Besides, it’s not as if someone couldn’t stick a fake email address in there or anything. However, I can ban IP addresses…I don’t want to, and hopefully I won’t have to.

Enough about that…let’s get to some more entertaining stuff:

  • Happy Birthday, Superman!
  • Here are some Frank Frazetta-inspired Cerebus drawings by Dave Sim…including a interesting color commission that sort of expresses Dave’s feelings about superheroes.
  • Finally, one of these “Keep Calm” things that I actually like…almost certainly because it features a certain Little Stuffed Bull of some note.
  • Andrew picked a good’un for the latest installment of Nobody’s Favorites…but mostly I’m just jealous of that post title that I wish I’d thought of first.
  • And now, some “Then…KOREA” pics.

    First, from the aforementioned Bully, the Little Stuffed Bull, comes this slightly revamped version of a post of his from a couple of days ago:


    From the equally aforementioned Andrew comes this shocking tale of an evening’s festivities gone horribly wrong:


    And the esteemed Dr. K has this, a tale of tragedy:


    Oh dear.

Bring me Swamp Thing figures in tribute…THIS I COMMAND.

§ April 29th, 2011 § Filed under cranius, pal plugging, sir-links-a-lot, swamp thing § 13 Comments

Well, my plan was to talk a little more about the whole Swamp Thing hoohar on Monday, after folks have had more of a chance to read and process the character’s reemergence in this week’s Brightest Day #24. But, as many of you have emailed, commented, and Tweeted at me about in the last 12 or so hours, there’s some other big Swamp Thing news this week: MATTEL SWAMP THING ACTION FIGURE WITH EXCLUSIVE PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES available only at this year’s San Diego Comic Con!


OH MAN. And he comes with a case shaped like his head that apparently doubles as a mask:


It seems as if the figure may be available beyond SDCC, but the accessory Un-Men figures are exclusive to this release, such as (what appears to be) Ophidian:


…and of course, the incredible Cranius:


I mean, c’mon, who deserves a Cranius figure more than me? …Well, okay, Wein and Wrightson, but I’m a close third, dammit!

So, since it’s about as likely I’ll be able to travel to Mars as to the San Diego Comic Con, I’m gonna have to plan a way to get my mitts on this thing. Plans probably won’t involve murder and mayhem, but I guarantee nothing.

You can see the whole video presenting this beautiful thing right below:

Video GameE3 2011AOTS Exclusive


…or if that doesn’t work, you can look at the video right here.

In other news:

  • So apparently there’s going to be an ongoing subplot in the Superman comics about Supes renouncing his U.S. citizenship, causing people who’ve never read Superman comics to threaten to never read Superman comics. Or something. I guess this is really, really important, somehow.

    Hey, remember that time Superman died and he totally was never going to come back? …Yeah.

  • Andrew has a new Nobody’s Favorites entry featuring one of those characters that everyone’s heard of, but doesn’t make it any less peculiar that the character even existed in the first place.
  • So Kevin Church and Max Riffner contributed a swell four-page story to the Panels for Primates online anthology.
  • When making your Deadpool fan film, be careful with your live ammunition. REMINDER: Deadpool is a professional comic book character and his firearm frivolity should not be attempted at home. (via pal Dorian)
  • Bully, the little bull whom, it seems, is quite stuffed, presents: TALES OF THE SPOILER. Good spoilin’ fun for everyone!
  • Hey, pals Randy and Denise have a new book out: Sketch Card Mania, all about the process in producing those collectible insert cards you find in trading card sets, from two veterans of that industry! Randy and Denise are good people and fun, talented artists, and having seen the book at our shop, I can verify that it looks great. SPECIAL DEAL: if you order from Randy’s site, you will get your copies with original sketches from Randy and Denise.

    Congrats to those two on the release of their book!

  • Oh, I totally forgot to link to this…my latest article for The Content Farm site: How to Sell Your Soul to the Devil. You know, in case you were wondering how to go about that an’ all.

Mike Sterling’s Progressive Cranius!

§ May 23rd, 2007 § Filed under cranius § 6 Comments

So in the wake of the news of a new Un-Men series coming soon from DC Comics/Vertigo, the entire comics internet has gone CRANIUS CRAZY!


Arguably the most memorable of Arcane’s army of Un-Men, Cranius made his first appearance in Swamp Thing #2 (Dec-Jan ’72-’73), returned in Swamp Thing #10 (May-June ’74), and that, as far as I know, was it until his reappearance in the ’80s (a reprint of #10 in Saga of the Swamp Thing #18, a flashback shot in Saga #19).

Not very many appearances to be sure, but his impending return in Un-Men #1:


…has internet comicdom abuzz! Cranius Reporter covers your latest Cranius news, When Cranius Attacks focuses on the ongoing Cranius statue controversy, BeaucoupCranius and Invincible Super-Cranius make with the wacky Cranius humor, Lady, That’s My Cranius also cracks wise about Cranius, Mag ‘n’ H at Cranius Treadmill give us some historial overviews of Cranius’ funnybook appearances, pal Dorian at PostmodernCranius turned up some beefcake shots Cranius took during his lean years, pal Tom reviews Cranius’ various TV appearances over at You Know What Cranius Likes while Siskoid’s Blog of Cranius-ery has his roles on Star Trek covered, Chris Butcher at Cranius212 demonstrates Cranius’ impact on comics retailing, Cranius “Brainy” Brown has his top ten favorite Cranius moments, Cranius Worth Reading has somehow managed to turn up a female-friendly Cranius manga (who knew?), Noetic Concranius has several Cranius reviews and images, Mark Evanier’s News from Cranius retells that old story about Cranius’ drunken appearance on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, Bully at Cranius Oughta Be Fun discovers that Cranius…well, isn’t that much fun, Craniusalien finds a rare Steve Ditko drawing of Cranius, and Cranius Hates Your Blog thinks my Cranius joke has gone on way too long.

EDIT: And the Craniosity just keeps on keepin’ on! Be sure to visit Blog Cranius, Pal, Blockade Cranius, chief Craniac Milo at The Unofficial John Westmoreland Memorial Cranius Webring, The Roar of Cranius, and, lest we forget, When Will The Cranius Stop. All vital Cranius resources, so visit early, visit often!

So, CRANIUS! He’s a leader of men:

Well, Un-Men, anyway.

And he looks good sittin’ on top of a pole:

He’s Cranius!


CRANIUS!


CRANIUS!


CRANIUS!

Don’t be fooled by cheap imitations:

There’s only one Cranius!

CRANIUS! I have, won’t you?