You are currently browsing the what category

Yes, I know Marvel characters don’t smoke anymore, but I’m sure they’re doin’ it off-panel.

§ July 10th, 2024 § Filed under what § 14 Comments

From What If? #8 (1978) by Don Glut, Roy Thomas, Alan Kupperberg, and Jim Mooney):

That’s Marvel supervillain the Owl threatening Daredevil with a device specifically designed to overwhelm ol’ Hornhead’s extra-sensitive senses.

Now, the hooting, textually the Owl’s own hooting, has got to be annoying to everyone just on its own, whether you have super-hearing like Daredevil or not. But the odors…the odors. You generally don’t think about smells in a comic book, except when there’s a scratch-n-sniff cover (like this or this or God help us, even this).

But wondering what smells exactly the Owl is emitting from his marchine…I just picture people walking into this room, gettin’ a snootful, and crying out “oh Good Lord, it smells like an owl’s nest in here!” And by extension, one starts to think about what all these superheroes and villains smell like, runnin’ around and getting into scraps and building up the sweat in their fancy costumes. Aquaman smelling like salt water all the time. Wolverine smelling like stale cigar smoke. Man-Thing…okay, he doesn’t have a costume, but he’s a walking swamp, c’mon son. Swamp Thing at least can command flowers on him to emit pleasant scents, covering his filth with perfume like 18th century French royalty.

Anyway, superheroes — probably stinky.

Oh for the days when I used to be referred to as “Get on Down Disco Dynamite.”

§ February 14th, 2020 § Filed under legion of super-heroes, superman, what § 5 Comments

So pal Brook (the very one who clued me in to the Hulk single) dropped by on Wednesday after perusing the vinyl record selection at the weekly flea market a town or two over. One of this acquired goodies was the following item, courtesy the year 1978:

And behold the back cover, if you dare:

A closer look at the back cover blurb:

…and if the song title “Lois Gets on Down” didn’t get you to buy this record, surely the idea of “Superman grooving out of sight” would do the trick.

Brook was good enough to let me borrow the record for the week, and…yes, it’s pretty amazing. A number of the songs are disco versions of movie theme music (and I didn’t realize there was another disco version of the Star Wars theme aside from Meco’s, though thinking about it I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised…and the two versions are awfully close). And if you’re wondering, “Mountain Funk” is a disco-ized version of “In the Hall of the Mountain King.”

I’ve linked to a couple of the songs on this record already, but here’s the main attraction…the disco-enhanced recording of the John Williams theme from Superman: The Movie. You’re welcome. And be sure to stick around for the weird vocalizations (surely done by those kind women on the album cover).

Also, if I may add, speaking of that cover…Twitter pal Rob pointed out that the nice young lady on the right of the image bears some semblance to Saturn Girl and her ’70s swimsuit costume, and darned if Rob’s not onto something. And I’d bet one can of Billy Beer that there was someone at that same disco dressed like Grimbor the Chainsman.

A look at DC’s Justice League movie build-up.

§ July 22nd, 2013 § Filed under what § 9 Comments

Of course, one of the major problems DC Comics and Warner Brothers face in getting the Firestorm movie off the ground is that there have already been multiple movies in recent years using the name Firestorm, including at least one major studio release. Not that there isn’t precedent for other, perhaps more descriptive titles for the character: the full name as used in the original series, Firestorm the Nuclear Man, may fit the bill, but perhaps seems a bit too…I don’t know, unserious? for the grim, gritty direction of the DC Comics film universe. The other title used by the 1980s comic series relaunch, Fury of Firestorm (also appended with “The Nuclear Man,” but we can likely safely ignore it in favor of the main portion of the title) may be more in line with said direction. Then again, there may be a third option if DC/WB truly wishes to avoid marketplace confusion, by adapting Marvel’s strategy with the Avengers film and titling the project DC Comics’s Firestorm and I’ll leave discussion whether to form the possessive with ” ‘s ” or just the apostrophe for others.

Now, this is all just blather about the title of the film itself…what of an actual live action film version of Firestorm? The character has, shall we say, one of the more garish appearances, even by superhero terms, though if I recall correctly there was an editorial reply to a letter of comment, or perhaps just an offhand remark in an interview (I’m working on 20+ year old memories here, so bear with me) that the costume was deliberately over-the-top, an overexcited teenager’s idea of what a superhero costume should look like, and given that the dominant half of Firestorm is teenager Ronnie Raymond, well, there you go. However true that explanation might be (and I suspect there may be some after-the-fact rationalization), if they intend of keeping the costume for the movie, an undercurrent of “can you believe this guy’s get-up?” running through the storyline would be the way to play it. However, I say it’s 50/50 whether his fiery hairdo makes the transition.

And it probably goes without saying that the origin will need some tweaking. The ’70s origin of Ronnie hanging with nuclear power protesters who, without Ron’s knowledge, plan on blowing up a power plant…well, that’s a no-go, having the hero even tangentially associated with terrorism, so we’re almost certainly looking at an adaptation of the current New 52 version of the character: Ronnie paired with fellow student Jason Rusch, and Martin Stein as the scientist responsible for their fusion. And if the villain in the first movie isn’t Killer Frost, I’ll go out, buy a hat, preferably a small candied one, and eat it, because if the villain isn’t a bigger, badder version of the hero (and Firestorm does have a few of that type of arch-nemesis), it’ll be a villain that’s thematically opposite.

And then there’s the Red Tornado movie. Man, I don’t know. First, if, as rumor has it, Marvel’s going to have the Vision in Avengers 2: The Ultronening, they’ll corner the market on the “if only I knew what it was like to be…human” thing all superhero androids seem to go through. Second, okay, granted, this movie won’t be out for a while, but right now you think “tornado movie,” you think Sharknado. Or okay, maybe Wizard of Oz, but mostly right now, it’s Sharknado, just grant me my premise here, so there may be some residual association between the hokeyness of that SyFy spectacular and DC’s desperate attempt at padding out the cast of their Justice League movie that may affect audience acceptance. And third, you never know if there may be other worries about brand confusion…not quite to the extent of Firestorm’s issues, but all it takes is one letter from one studio lawyer to trip up DC’s big movie plans.

Let’s not even get started on villains. There’s his creator, the evil supergenius T.O. Morrow, and the Construct, who fought RT in his own mini-series, aaaand that’s more or less it. Maybe there was somebody in Primal Force, but I bet there are people at DC who don’t even remember Primal Force. However, on second thought, the Construct sort of fits the “bigger, badder version of hero” villain formula, so maybe that’s enough to build a movie around. I mean, if you can make a halfway decent movie with Doctor Octopus as the villain, I guess anything’s possible.

Now, about that Wonder Woman movie:

Oh, yeah, like that’s gonna happen.


images from The Fury of Firestorm #1 (June 1982) by Gerry Conway, Pat Broderick and Rodin Rodriguez; Red Tornado #1 (July 1985) by Kurt Busiek, Carmine Infantino and Frank McLaughlin; Wonder Woman #300 (February 1983) by Roy & Danette Thomas and Keith Pollard

This is the worst comic story I’ve ever read.*

§ September 25th, 2006 § Filed under what Comments Off on This is the worst comic story I’ve ever read.*

From The Many Ghost of Dr. Graves #60 (Dec. 1976) comes the story “Lord of Unterweger,” which finds Stacy acting upon her curiosity about her mysterious neighbor:

The owner of the mansion answers, and when Stacy asks to share some of her cake ‘n’ coffee with him to acquaint themselves, the neighbor declines, causing Stacy to way overreact:

That night, Stacy spots a person standing at her window, whom she recognizes as her grumpy neighbor:

But when she approaches the window, scolding him for coming to apologize at such a late hour, she sees quite a different face:

Frightened by the incident, Stacy finds herself with a new resolve to ferret out the secret of her mysterious neighbor. The next day, she returns to the mansion but is spotted before too long:

Man: “Skulking about on private property is a crime, miss!”

Stacy: “Oh! You startled me! But I suppose that I deserved it. My behavior is criminal, but I assure you I meant no harm. I’ll leave immediately!”

Chastised, Stacy tries to split, but the man calls her back:

Her offer for some private nursing denied, she goes to purchase the required medicine, but not before turning to see the ugly face from the other night staring at her from one of the mansion’s windows.

On the way to the druggists, she theorizes that the man is changing form back and forth from ugly to handsome, and that the medicine he requested is in fact just an ingredient for a formula causing this change. She decides that she should cut off contact with her neighbor:

“He has not treated me with kindness and his actions thus far suggest terrible consequences should I return….”

She returns to the mansion, fearing for her well-being:

She wanders through the large house, and happens upon a shocking sight:

The truth is revealed, as the medicine the handsome brother requested is in fact for his sickly Siamese sibling…the handsome brother then proceeds to reveal his sensitive attitude regarding his brother’s health, who’s RIGHT THERE NEXT TO YOU, DUDE:

Stacy impresses both brothers with her generosity and desire to help. Over the next few days, their relationship develops with somewhat predictable consequences:

Upon realizing this, the sick brother decides to take matters into his own hands:

Stacy returns just in time for the surprise twist ending. Go ahead, see for yourself:

Okay, first of all, the handsome brother must be the dimmest bulb on the planet to not notice that he’s bound to his sickly brother by leather straps, covered with flesh-colored rubber or not. IT’S RUBBER, and I imagine that there’s at least one seam somewhere in the rubber coverings. “Hey, what’s this under my stomach strap?”

Second, was it really worth it for the ill brother to willingly allow himself to be bound “permanently” to his sibling, for no reason other than the slight risk that his loving brother wouldn’t take care of him?

Third, the father must have started this pretty early for the handsome brother to not remember that he was ever anything other than a Siamese twin.

Fourth, the brothers must have successfully avoided any and all medical examinations, because I have a feeling that no doctor on the planet anywhere would be fooled by an elaborate network of straps and rubber faking conjoined twin-ness.

And that, friends, is the stupidest resolution to a comic story I’ve ever read. And I’ve read Millennium.

If you have any equally unfortunate “twist endings” that you’ve come across in comics, let me know in the comments section (EDIT: comments link dead) (SPOILERS will be there, of course, assuming anyone does leave any suggestions).

* Over the last couple of days, anyway.