mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sluggo Saturday #25. 



from Nancy and Sluggo #189 (January 1963)


Friday, October 23, 2009

Yes, I said "naked Catwoman." COME AND GET ME, GOOGLE SEARCH USERS. 

Following up from yesterday...the picture I was trying to pull out of my memory, rather than digging out the magazine and refreshing my recollection, was this one, provided by an anonymous commentator. I had a few details incorrect, such as there not being Harley Quinn in lingerie, but rather a naked Catwoman (bet you're clicking through now!). The specific animation "no-nos" illustrated in the drawing (also listed by Jarrett in yesterday's comments) are as follows:

1. Guns
2. Drugs
3. Breaking glass
4. Alcohol
5. Smoking
6. Nudity
7. Child Endangerment
8. Religion
9. Strangulation

Now there are guns all over the place in Batman: The Animated Series, but the drawing shows a gun putting a Fearless Fosdick-esque hole right through the Caped Crusader, so maybe the guns were okay in the cartoon so long as no one was shown getting hit. Of course, there was that episode I was discussing last time where Gordon was shot during a police raid, but it's not like we saw it onscreen. I think I saw a clip of an interview with Bruce Timm or Paul Dini talking about this particular episode and how they were somewhat surprised they were allowed to get away with it.

Drugs and breaking glass...weren't there references to "drug busts" in this series? Obviously, that's different from the intent of this particular ban (represented by a hypodermic needle in the Timm drawing). And I could have sworn there was some glass broken at some point, though that may just be me filling in details in my head rather than recalling any actual events in the show.

And religion...characters on the show sure did say "my God" or "oh my God" a lot, which always kind of surprised me, since I thought even a mild epithet such as that may be verboten. Okay, again, not was probably meant by the ban on religious content, but still I wanted to note it.

Jon notes being freaked out by some elements in particular Batman episodes when he was a five year old, which 1) made me feel old, since I was an adult when this show started, and 2) made me think about the vague childhood memories I had of television shows I watched when I was a kid. Watching Batman and some of the weird-ass stuff that popped up on that show, it made me think on occasion "I wonder if there's some adult walking around now haunted with some bizarre image or sequence from this show that s/he only half-remembers from childhood, and has no idea where it came from?" I know I had more than one or two of those types of memories, some of which having been cleared up by the internet (like this intro to a kids show and this segment from said show). If you may forgive me an old fogey moment, I can't help but wonder in this age of everything ending up on DVDs/the internet/etc. if memories of shows like these ever get a chance to become mysterious and vague, fleeting images seen once and filed away in some dusty corner of the brain. Ah, I'm sure they do and I'm just overthinking it, but there you go.

Chad mentions the Two-Face origin episode as being a significant example of the mature storytelling possible even with the limitations placed by Standards and Practices...something I myself noted...back in April? Good gravy, I've been taking my time going through these DVDs, haven't I? I think adding impact to Harvey Dent's transition to Two-Face is the fact that he'd been a recurring supporting character in the series up 'til that point, and thus had even more audience sympathy than a character introduced in the same episode he becomes a villain.

And Roel mentions that the animated translation of the Bane storyline from the comics was oversimplified to the point of hurting the narrative. I haven't seen this episode in my DVD-watching yet (though I may have caught it on TV, if I'm recalling correctly), but it sounds like it's a similar problem with the Superman/Doomsday DVD. In the comics, you really did feel the loss of Superman as the character literally did not appear for half a year or more, and his actual titles were suspended for a couple of months. In the animated version, Superman is "dead" for what, ten minutes? You don't get a chance to miss him, and the impact of his alleged "death" is lost. For Batman, of course no one expected the studio to have a series of Bat-cartoons with Bane running around, Azrael taking over, Bruce stuck in a wheelchair, etc. But I've no reason to doubt Roel's analysis of the adaptation, but I'll find out soon enough when I get to that episode in my Bat-marathon.

And Tom asks "Where's MODOK," which got me to search on the phrase "BATMODOK" which turned up only a reference (no image, alas) to a convention sketch on a message board. I can picture a giant-headed Batman in a floating chair fairly easily. Probably actually happened in one of his comics during the 1950s, I bet.

Speaking of kids shows, my primary exposure to Soupy Sales was the late '70s revival of his program, which was silly and wonderful and I only ever got to see a handful of them, but I loved them dearly. Soupy was a very funny person, and I'm sorry to see him go.

So long, Soupy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

So there was cowlless Batman, fighting a ninja in front of an erupting volcano. 

That's Batman in the middle, there, with his arm outstretched...you can kinda see his little glove-thingies sticking out.

I've noted before that I've been renting the season discs of Batman: The Animated Series from Netflix over the last few weeks, and, as I'm sure will not come as news to most of you, this is some spectacular cartoon work. This really does feel like the definitively iconic versions of these characters, even with some of the leftover details carried over from the Tim Burton films (the Penguin's flipper-hands, the references to the Joker's real name).

A fun thing to do while watching these cartoons is notice just how closely the show's creators toed the line of Standards & Practices' acceptable violence/content levels, and just how much they were able to get away with for a kids show. For example, lots of characters falling from great heights into a river...nearly always followed by a shot of said fallen characters climbing out of the river and clearly not drowned. (I recall an image drawn by producer Bruce Timm, I believe, from an issue of Cinefantastique showing all the things they were absolutely forbidden from doing: Harley Quinn in lingerie, injury to eye, hypodermic needles penetrating flesh, etc. - probably online somewhere, but I couldn't track it down.)

That said, they got away with some amazingly intense material...Batman, under the effect of a fear gas, thinks he sees his parents walking away from him and into a dark alley, followed by two gunshot flashes from within...and then the alley turns into a huge-ass gun that rises out of the now-crumbling and collapsing surrounding buildings, a dark river pouring from the barrel. I mean holy crap.

I just finished the third disc of Season Two, which had the episode where Commissioner Gordon, in his hospital bed recovering from a gunshot wound that he felt he was too old and slow to avoid receiving, telling Batman that he wished he could be a hero like him. And Batman replies "you are a hero." And if you watch that scene and don't get choked up a little...well, you probably thought Old Yeller had it comin', too.

Anyway, great cartoon. Like I need to tell you folks that.

image from season 2 episode Day of the Samurai

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My site is turning into one long fever dream. 

So Employee Aaron draws me as MODOK, and then pal Tom gives us SWAMPDOK...and because it had to happen eventually, here are NANCODOK and SLUGGODOK by J. Caleb Mozzocco:

J. Caleb suggests "Semi-Literate Urchin Given Goal Of Destroying Other Kids," but left NANCODOK up for grabs. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I've mentioned before that Archie's TMNT comics were a bit peculiar... 

...and AWESOME, because here's a monster from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures Special (Winter 1992) comprised of parts from the Wolfman, Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the Mummy (or at least the Mummy's wrappings):

Employee Aaron can't resist poking through issues of this series whenever he has to get its box out for a customer, and he always has to show me the weird stuff he finds there. I'm grateful, of course, since 1) it reminds me that the Archie TMNT comics have got a lot more goin' on than I ever gave them credit for (like I mentioned last time) and 2) it gives me content for the site (Ibid).

To wit: another panel Aaron showed me, with Monsterex reenacting a scene familiar to funnybook fans:

Man, these comics. I really have to find the time to sit down and read these.

In other news:
  • Yea, verily did Chris Sims and Eugene Ahn give unto the people another installment of the War Rocket Ajax podcast, and it lay upon the earth, and from it was begat an interview with comics writer Tom Peyer, and lo, it was good. Amen.

  • Speaking of Eugene, his other, non-Sims-afflicted, podcast People You Don't Know this time features an interview with someone I do know: retrologist Andrew Weiss, one of the most thoughtful and most readable pop culture commentators in our particular niche of the blogosphere. Go listen to his interview and drink in that Bostonian accent. Fantastic.

  • So my old friend Dan went to the Alternative Press Expo, and is writing it up for his website, and he's got five parts so far: 0 1 2 3 4. Profusely illustrated! (And check out who gave Dan the bird!) (It's okay, Dan's used to it!)

  • Comics Should Be Good is running a poll on which Swamp Thing artist/art team is your favorite. I voted...have you?

  • My apologies to Kevin Church for inadvertently stealing his sauce with my post from yesterday. By way of apology, I shall dedicate my two new webcomics, The Scarediest Cosmonauts and He Died Wearing Herringbone, to him.

Monday, October 19, 2009

And now...a Progressive Ruin Educational Minute. 

EDIT: If you wish to continue learning about our friends in the animal kingdom, Mr. Church will be happy to teach you about the chimpanzee.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"The horrible and agonizing death of this chicken is high-LARIOUS!" 

from The Avengers (Steed & Peel) #1 (1968)

Please note the chicken's drool in panel 3, and just how damned pleased with itself the chicken is in panel 7...unaware of its impending terrible fate.

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