Super Mega Monkey Ultra Extreme III Alright!!!!

Later, in the privacy of his own apartment, Raxton peels off his outer clothes, again to revel in his awesome power...
-- Amazing Spider-Man #35


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    State secrets all the way down

    To get all Glenn Greenwald for a minute, one reason that liberals have been disappointed in Obama isn't because, like, he failed to fight Republicans hard enough and stuff. It's because in several ways he's continued some of the worst policies of the Bush administration when it comes to the NSA and drone warfare and a relatively obscure topic, state secrets privilege, which is where the government gets court cases thrown out because, they claim, allowing them to go forward would threaten national security. The use of the state secrets argument increased dramatically under Bush but then continued (Greenwald would say increased) under Obama. The latest example is particularly egregious because the court case is not even against the government. It's against a (supposedly) private advocacy group that a business owner is suing for defamation.

    The Justice Department intervened late Friday in a defamation lawsuit against United Against Nuclear Iran, a prominent advocacy group that pushes for tough sanctions against Tehran. The government said the case should be dropped because forcing the group to open its files would jeopardize national security.

    The group is not affiliated with the government, and lists no government contracts on its tax forms. The government has cited no precedent for using the so-called state-secrets privilege to quash a private lawsuit that does not focus on government activity.

    The lawsuit is brought by a Greek shipping company that has been accused of doing business with Iran by United Against Nuclear Iran. Presumably the company thinks they can prove that United Against Nuclear Iran's accusation is hurting their reputation and profits. They tried to subpoena the group's donor list, maybe to show that a rival business is among their contributors. The issue may seem trivial to us, but this company now has no recourse to the law thanks to the intervention of the government. This could nepotism, it could be an indication that the government is engaging in illegal propaganda, or it could "just" be a continued case of overreach of the state-secrets privilege. Regardless of which it is, it seems fishy and a more real type of Federal government abuse of power than the stuff you see Tea Party and Libertarian types complaining about. Which is too bad because it would be nice to see a left-right coalition on issues like these.

    By fnord12 | September 15, 2014, 9:45 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

    Whale of sale

    If Namor seems a little out of character, not getting too mad about potentially being called "fishy" and making bad sea puns, it's probably because this is meant to be a young Namor, since at the time (1988-1989) the only Namor comic being published was the Saga of the Sub-Mariner book that retold his history. That series wasn't even available for subscription (being a limited series), making the use of him to advertise subscriptions the thing that was really fishy.

    By fnord12 | September 11, 2014, 5:43 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link

    Did we win?

    Yesterday was the "Battle for the Net" and so we had the image below at the top of our website. I'm fairly confident that due to our vast influence, we convinced the FCC to support net neutrality. But just in case, here's the image again in a blog post:

    By fnord12 | September 11, 2014, 7:08 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

    SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

    Savage Hulk #3 - I find myself literally without comment on this, actually.

    She-Hulk #8 - Honestly, i knew that Nick Fury had been aged recently but i didn't know the same thing had happened to Captain America (i knew the Falcon was replacing him but i didn't know why). So with last issue's cliffhanger i thought the story was going to be about some old guy that was going to hire She-Hulk to prove that he was really Captain America. Then when Min got outraged about it i looked it up online and it does seem to really have happened. Once again i say unto thee: footnotes would be nice. of course it's just a story and it'll all get reset to status quo at some point in the future, and in the meantime this is a funny story, and i'm still liking Pulido's art.

    Superior Foes of Spider-Man #15 - Another great, funny, interesting issue. It would be fitting (but unorthodox) if the series ends with the characters all having betrayed each other to the point where they can't work together anymore and having gained nothing, and it does seem like that's where we're going.

    By fnord12 | September 10, 2014, 2:13 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link

    Executive Disorder

    Looking at the reaction to Obama's decision to delay his executive action on immigration, i'm reminded about how this was supposed to be the year of the executive order, but so far that hasn't really been the case.

    But right now i'm actually just thinking about the political strategy behind this recent decision. So regardless of whether immigration reform is a good thing and whether or not the executive order would have been constitutional (i think yes to both, but it's besides the point here), does delaying the order make sense?

    The idea is that it's supposed to help red state Democratic senators. But anyone that is against immigration is going to vote against the Democrat regardless of whether or not this executive order was issued. And anyone that would only be motivated to vote because of this issue seems to have more reason to get to the voting booth if it means they have a chance to help Republicans take back the Senate to prevent the order. Meanwhile, all of the pro-reform supporters are demoralized and angry at Obama and the Dems for this, making them less likely to vote, donate, help with get out the vote operations, etc.. So the whole thing makes no strategic sense to me.

    I guess i'll wait until after the election and see all the people interviewed who say, "Yep, i was going to vote for the Republican but since President Obama decided to wait until after the election to issue the executive order, i decided to vote for the Democrat (or not vote).".

    By fnord12 | September 8, 2014, 12:48 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

    Not my Marvel Action Hour

    There have been a lot of Marvel cartoons, but it was pretty sparse for actual Marvel characters in 1989, apparently. Prior to this there was of course Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends and the Hulk, and there were also Fantastic Four cartoons and even a Spider-Woman cartoon. But in 1989 poor Spider-Man had to contend with Robocop and the Dino-Riders, the latter of whom are admittedly almost by definition cool, but i've never heard of them (and who is that dude in the "rear view mirror"? He looks like Dr. Demonicus.).

    It seems the Pryde of the X-Men pilot would occasionally run during this slot as well, so that's something.

    A few years after this Marvel gets back into the swing of things with the X-Men cartoon and a new Spider-Man cartoon and then Hulk, Fantastic Four and Iron Man shows, all of which were, relatively speaking, more faithful to the comics than anything that had come before (except when they literally cut images out of the comics and had them talk to us), but it seems for a brief period your Marvel cartoon options were limited.

    By fnord12 | September 6, 2014, 9:45 PM | Comics | Comments (5) | Link

    Lurkers Beyond Bathtime

    I considered just posting these first two panels without context:

    But i couldn't ignore the unknowable horror of Mr. Bubble himself.

    Marvel had obviously realized by 1989 that its audience was getting older, since it's clearly advertising to parents here. Can't get your kids to take a bath? Put them under the thrall of an amorphous elder god!

    Also, i'm hoping this is a two tub household. Because the younger sister is clearly running to take a bath in the first two panels, and she comes out clean in the fourth...

    ...but she's not visible in the third panel at all. Unless she IS Mr. Bubble, perhaps having allowed herself to be possessed so that the entity may take corporeal form on the Material Plane.

    And why is some of the boy's dialogue in quotes? He's reciting from some unholy arcane text, that's why.

    By fnord12 | September 6, 2014, 12:42 PM | Comics | Comments (2) | Link

    The power to move and my GIANT FIST!

    By fnord12 | September 6, 2014, 12:39 PM | Video Games | Comments (0) | Link

    Action set is all you need to play with power!

    By 1989 my comic collecting was winding down a bit, in no small part due to the arrival of Nintendo. But i never bought a game from the Sears catalog or their hotline, which is good because who knows if the game you ordered would be the game you received. Take a look at the first three screenshots here. The first and third images are swapped (it's a picture of Simon's Quest at the top and Zelda II in spot #3), and the second image is showing a scene from Super Mario Brothers I (which came with the system!) instead of II. I also would not want to have wound up with Wizzard and Warriors, obviously a cheap knock-off of the superior Wizards and Warriors game.

    I do enjoy the duck-faced Koopas and somewhat off model Bowser. I feel like i've seen that style of Koopa somewhere else, but i'm not sure where. But they are particularly nightmarish and i think they should be brought back.

    By fnord12 | September 6, 2014, 12:24 PM | Video Games | Comments (1) | Link

    Something for the ladies

    We've all seen the Milo Manara Spider-Woman cover, so it's only fair to give something back. Here's how the Drama Channel advertises Pride & Prejudice.

    Obsession with that particular scene has apparently reached gigantic and terrifying proportions.

    By fnord12 | September 6, 2014, 12:20 PM | Boooooks & TeeVee | Comments (6) | Link

    Quickie Horde

    Well, it was supposed to be a quickie. I wanted to get one more batch of miniatures painted during my "break" from the comics project, and i went to pick out miniatures where i could just do a standard base coat > wash > quick detailing. And i picked out three of them (the red-headed fighter, the thief, and the zombie). But then i decided i'd take all these unusual translucent miniatures. My original thought was i'd just paint some eyes and highlights and otherwise leave them alone. I mean, they're practically already painted, right? And that's what i did for the red ones. But as i started looking at the green ones, i realized there's a lot of detail in those minis that isn't really visible if you leave them unpainted. For example, i had no idea that the one miniature on the left was three naked ladies hugging each other until i really squinted at it (quite what use that will be to me in a game is unclear) or that the one in the back was a mass of skeletons in an unearthly flame. So i wound up using more paint on them than anticipated. And painting these guys is actually pretty nerve wracking and pretty much push me to the limits of my meager abilities, since if you mess up you can't just paint over it (without obscuring the parts you are leaving translucent. So i didn't take as many risks and there were definitely a few time where i had to scrape off paint with a knife. But i'm still pretty happy with how they came out.

    By fnord12 | September 5, 2014, 11:05 AM | D&D | Comments (0) | Link

    Mary Worth gets weird(er)

    Yay! Second brain in my belly!

    Click the image for a bigger version and commentary at the always funny Comics Curmudgeon.

    By fnord12 | September 5, 2014, 9:27 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link

    Marry up

    Pretty sure Min told me it says the same thing in Piketty's book.

    By fnord12 | September 4, 2014, 2:08 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link

    Mostly Furniture Horde

    None of these are actually Bones . Around the same time i was backing that Kickstarter someone told me about a smaller miniature vendor that was retiring and having a close-out sale, so of course i compounded my backlog by getting some from him. These are metal figures, and as you can see, a lot of them are props, like candles and ballistas and a throne and a spellbook. And what was described as an elf boy with a toy bow but which i will use as a halfling. And for some reason he had an echidna and a playtpus and for some reason i bought them. Hey, Echidna was the mother of all monsters, and a platypus combines the powers of a beaver, duck (never pick up a duck in a dungeon!), snake, and alligator, right?

    By fnord12 | September 3, 2014, 4:00 PM | D&D | Comments (0) | Link

    Walking Upright is the Key

    Fnord12 thought i needed to share this with you.

    When Yano was preparing her written texts for the exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum, she says she described Hello Kitty as a cat. "I was corrected -- very firmly," she says. "That's one correction Sanrio made for my script for the show. Hello Kitty is not a cat. She's a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She's never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it's called Charmmy Kitty."

    That's what separates Goofy from Pluto.

    Like my great grandmother would say, there's a clear hierarchy where animals that show their back to the sky are inferior to those that don't (what she actually said was it meant they were there for us to eat. i don't know how these conversations got started, but you couldn't very well argue with a 100 year old woman. you just rolled with it when it happened.).

    She's definitely a cartoon character, a girl, and a friend. If Sanrio wants us to keep hush hush on cats owning other cats, i'm willing to do that.

    By min | September 1, 2014, 7:21 PM | Cute Things | Comments (1) | Link

    Cheetah Ambassadors

    "As the two companions grow up together, the dog's body language will communicate to the cheetah that there's nothing to fear in new or public surroundings".

    By fnord12 | September 1, 2014, 2:50 PM | Cute Things | Comments (1) | Link

    Understanding Comics NOW!

    This again. Tom Brevoort laments the lack of quality comic reviewers. Here's what i said about that last time. And this still comes across as "Oh, no one out there understands the great works of art we're producing!" to me. But let me try to get a little more constructive this time. Brevoort complains that reviews don't bring any "critical faculties or technical knowledge or analytical thinking" to their reviews. And this is where i wish that he still had his more long form blog instead of the tumblr page (and to be clear, i really do appreciate that Brevoort continues to put himself out there and interact with fans despite the fact that so many of the questions he gets are just awful). Because i'd like to see how Brevoort thinks people should be thinking about today's comics.

    Jim Shooter has on his also-defunct blog a multi-part lecture on comics that was eye opening for me, using a random Kirby issue of Human Torch Strange Tales as an example. But so much of what Shooter takes as lessons from that book, from character introductions to panel framing to sequential action, has all gone out the window. Part of the problem is that a single issue can't really be judged on its own anymore (if you look at the question Brevoort was asked this time around, i initially thought it was going to be if there was a point to reviewing a single issue at all given the decompressed nature of modern comics), and part is (charitably) due to evolving art and writing styles. So the Kirby lens is no longer applicable, and from what i remember of Scott McCloud's seminal Understanding Comics, that's really out of date by modern standards too. So i'd really love - no snark - if Brevoort or someone else could take the time to really deconstruct a few issues and show how to apply the "technical knowledge" that he thinks reviewers should be bringing. Alternatively he could point to a reviewer that he does think does a good job, but the impression i get is that there aren't any.

    For my part, obviously my Timeline reviews are more functional and mostly about how things fit into continuity, which we know isn't something Brevoort cares about. And my opinions there and especially my Speed Reviews here are exactly what Brevoort complains about, just me vomiting up my immediate impressions ("Here's what i think about this comic. BLAAAARGH!"). And i know Brevoort isn't talking about people on random blog sites; in fact his complaint is that the reviews on Newsarama and CBR read like random blog posts. But i have put Understanding Comics back in the bathroom for a refresher read. And i would really love if there was some sort of lesson for modern comics that might change my opinion that the attention to craft that the old school artists and writers had isn't lost, just changed.

    By fnord12 | August 29, 2014, 1:23 PM | Comics | Comments (2) | Link

    But what if we just wanna complaaaaaain?

    Riffing off the Knee Defender controversy, Matthew Yglesias says if you don't like how much space you get on a plane, you should pay more.

    In the past, though, he's said that airplanes have gotten crappier because of deregulation. But even then, the quality was better because the prices were fixed at higher levels, so you were still paying more.

    By fnord12 | August 27, 2014, 6:14 PM | Liberal Outrage & Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link

    Kevin Drum is feeling peak-ish

    He and John Cole of Balloon Juice are coiners of phrases, apparently. I actually find it hard to believe. The "We've reached Peak X" phraseology feels like it's always been around.

    By fnord12 | August 27, 2014, 6:11 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link

    Maybe this is the angle we need to play up

    Unrealistically sexy female comic characters can ruin your relationships.

    By fnord12 | August 27, 2014, 6:09 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link

    SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

    After what i hope didn't come across like too much of an old man rant in the post below, i've got three enjoyable comics this week. Some spoilers below!

    Elektra #5 - Definitely more of a grounded issue after the recent surreal stuff, and that's a nice change of pace (although i liked the previous issues fine too). This latest assassin's limited precog ability reminded me a bit of Spider-Man's spider-sense although it must be more difficult to manage; Spider-Man gets instinctive warnings (which i imagine translates to "duck!" "dodge left!" without him knowing exactly why) whereas this guy is seeing in his head things that will happen seconds before they actually happen. So he still has to be able to react to what he's seeing. Which maybe is why this guy might be a master assassin (that we never heard of before) but he's never played in the superhero world. Anyway, i continue to like the art and i'm happy that there's some movement on the plot, some character work for Elektra, AND some nice fights this issue.

    Ms. Marvel #7 - And this was just great. For once, these fill-in art issues have not been a derailment, and the Wolverine guest star fit very nicely into the theme of the book. I've been saying that this book is a lot like the early issues of Spider-Man, but it's done with with more foresight (thanks to lots of books having taken this route already, from Ultimate Spider-Man to Invincible), so that we can really see Kamala develop in a planned way. And so i really liked how this issue had her learning that in order to be a super-hero, she's going to have to sometimes hurt people (and yes, even punch giant sewer alligators in the eyeball), and seeing her come to grips with that. And if the book lasts, i can imagine her even perhaps rebelling against that convention. It's a fun book, very human, lots of in-joke humor (in the sense that she's such a fan girl of Wolverine), and of course some non in-joke humor in the villain, who is a cockatiel clone of Thomas Edison. What's interesting is the pretty delayed reveal that her powers are indeed a result of Inhumanity. There's been enough going on in this book that i'm no longer worried, as i was at first, that the book would lose its audience due to its decompressed storytelling, but it's still an unusual decision to wait this long before confirming that she's tied in with the larger Marvel universe beyond her choice of name.

    Daredevil #7 - And this issue shows me that this book really could be my anchor book. It's an Original Sin tie-in and it also shows me what's been going on in Wakanda with the new Black Panther. And it's all done really well. I found the use of technology in Wakanda to be consistent with past appearances and appropriately handled, and the new Panther to be intriguing. And Daredevil's combination of super-heroics and negotiating tactics to be great. And i liked Waid and Rodriguez's (artist Javier Rodriguez gets a co-plotting credit) twist on what we thought the Original Sin reveal from last issue was. The memory that DD got last issue was seemingly of his father beating up his mother, but it turns out that his mom was having a postpartum depression freakout, and his father was really just defending him from her. And that sounds like it could be pretty awful, but Waid approaches it with i think the right amount of sensitivity; if anything it may come across a little too much like a PSA for postpartum disorders at the end (and the lettercol is replaced with an info sheet from Postpartum Support International). But it's still a nice twist on what we thought from last issue, which got some people pretty upset. So it's definitely an enjoyable issue and part of an enjoyable series. As far as being my anchor book, though, the problem is that it's just Daredevil! As much as Waid and team have been doing amazing work with him and as much as previous teams going back to at least Frank Miller have had great runs, he's just never been a character that i've loved. Which is why i was extra disappointed when Waid left Hulk, even if he hadn't been working the same magic there.

    Bonus DC comment: Wanyas is still giving us Forever People, but it's another Giffen-less issue. It's Starlin art this time, and it's fine, but i think i really just want OMAC again and i'm not getting that here.

    By fnord12 | August 26, 2014, 9:35 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link

    Ok, Axis! Here we come!

    JSFan's question hit me right after i found out that my two current favorite Marvel books were being cancelled, and so it mixed in with other thoughts that were floating around in my head, so i wanted to wait a little bit before responding.

    It's worth noting that before these cancellations, creative team shifts were announced on Iron Man and the Hulk, and i wasn't interested in following the titles after that. Which already put me in a really weird spot where i'm not reading any of the "big" titles about the more obvious characters. We've stopped reading Avengers, our forays into the X-titles didn't go well, same with Fantastic Four, and i can't bring myself to read Spider-Man after Brand New Day.

    At least compared to my local comic reading friends, i liked Bendis' Avengers run more than most, but even i was souring on him in the end, and the things that i soured on made me unable to enjoy his X-books. And i've never liked Dan Slott or Matt Fraction. I feel like i ought to like Jonathan Hickman but i'm unable to. And Uncanny Avengers convinced me i'm not a fan of Rick Remender. Brian Wood's x-title started off promising but we got sick of that pretty quick, too. So that pretty much leaves me off of all the core Marvel books.

    And that's fine because Marvel has been admirably running a second stream of quirkier or more "indie" style books. And we had been reading a lot of those, from "FF" (where Allred's art overrode whatever i don't like about Fraction) to Superior Foes and New Warriors. And i'd also put the Waid/Samnee Daredevil in that category, and also the Hawkeye book even though that's another one i'm not getting. And this new wave of female led books: Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, Black Widow, She-Hulk, Elektra. But FF was cancelled, and now SFOES and New Warriors are as well, and we've decided to drop Black Widow. I'm also pretty ambivalent about Captain Marvel. I think Ms. Marvel is great and after the latest issue She-Hulk is moving up there for me, and so far Elektra has been pretty good. But my crisis of faith at the moment is that none of those books are awesome books that, by themselves, would get me to the comic store. They are books that i'd pick up while i'm at the comic store to get something great. Maybe Ms. Marvel and Daredevil should be, but i'm not feeling it at the moment. They're books i put in the middle of my pile and am always happy to read, and i usually enjoy them more than i anticipate i will, but they're not the ones that i save for last because i know i'm going to love them.

    Now, i should mention that i don't actually go to the comic store. Friend Wanyas picks up my books for me. So on momentum alone i'll probably keep getting what i'm getting. But i really am feeling like i need an "anchor" book or i am going to continue to let books drop and eventually stop picking up Marvel monthlies. Especially since a lot of the books i'm getting are skirting the cancellation line.

    But all of the above is just ebb and flow. At one point in the 90s i was down to just Peter David's Hulk, so it's not the first time i'm just not interested in Marvel's current output. I came back in a big way with Heroes Reborn and enthusiastically stuck around when (pre EiC) Quesada launched the Marvel Knights line. And i was pretty enthused with the Return of the Mega Crossover era (moreso beginning with Civil War than House of M) in the beginning. So it's entirely possible that Marvel turns things around in a way that gets me picking up more books again.

    But to get to JSFan's specific question, i stick with Marvel books because i'm very much invested in the Marvel universe. Not necessarily specific characters, but the universe itself. If it was just the characters i think i would be satisfied with the movies or would have switched over to the more manageable Ultimate universe. I grew up with the idea of Marvel as a contiguous ongoing story, and i like to keep in touch with that story, even if i can't or won't get all the pieces. I've said all this over in the Timeline project and elsewhere on this blog, but the huge and intertwining aspect of the Marvel universe makes it unique, intriguing, and bigger than the sum of the individual books. Even books that are pretty terrible quality wise become great because of what they add and the way they get built upon. I think that's awesome and in its own special way makes the Marvel universe "story" at least as appealing to me as an A+ quality Neil Gaiman Sandman run.

    As an aside (and i'm repeating myself from older posts with this too), this is where i think Marvel has a disconnect with a certain (small, cranky) segment of its readers, me included. I've seen Tom Brevoort say things like continuity is fine but it shouldn't get in the way of a good story, and that seems to make logical sense, but i actually disagree when it comes to Marvel universe stories. The continuity is the main appeal of those stories. So when it's discarded (mistakes are one thing, and it's clear from my project that they happened all the time; i'm talking about a very conscious decision to not worry about it), the stories really do have to stand on the strength of the writing and art quality. And frankly, you can get much better standalone stories from other sources. I'm not saying it's impossible to get works of art out of ongoing super-hero comics, but it's not something you're going to achieve on a regular basis.

    And that gets to a difference now compared to when i was just collecting Hulk. At that point there were enough touchpoints with the rest of the Marvel universe that i could see what was going on. I saw the changes to the Avengers line-up, i saw the various Infinity crossovers, i saw bone claw Wolverine, etc. (and by the way, guys, i picked up a lot of the stuff i skipped out on as back issues not long after the fact thanks to the market crash, so just to be clear it's not like i never read Infinity Gauntlet).

    Nowadays, many of the books, especially the more "indie" books, are completely isolated from the Marvel universe. Daredevil has actually been an exception to this; thanks to that and Waid's Hulk, i was able to keep up with the more recent crossovers despite not actually getting them. But all the other books exist in a vacuum. And on top of that Tom Brevoort has been signaling to us old timers that there really isn't a Marvel universe any more and we really need to get over it. I've been unable to fully accept that, but it does have an effect. If there were a clean break of some sort - the sort of reboot that the rumors have been predicting for years now - i think i'd be more relieved than disappointed. But at this point i still feel half obligated and half genuinely still attached enough to the larger Marvel universe story to plug along with at least some books on my pull list. And along the way there have been great writers in recent years that have done some fun books that delve into Marvel "continuity" the way i like - Yost, Wells, Van Lente, Pak, Parker, Gage, Abnett/Lanning and Gillen all come to mind - and i'm sure there will be more in the future. If there isn't a reboot (release me, Marvel!).

    In the meantime, i really do feel like i need a book that connects me more directly with the goings-on of the Marvel universe. And since i don't really love any of the writers of the core books, i was considering just collecting whatever the crossover of the moment was, since those are the books where things mainly "happen" nowadays and they feature most of the Marvel characters. When i suggested that to my local friends they looked at me like i had two heads, but that may nonetheless be the way to go.

    By fnord12 | August 25, 2014, 3:56 PM | Comics | Comments (9) | Link

    White on white murder

    Matthew Yglesias has some snark for you.

    By fnord12 | August 22, 2014, 11:55 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

    And maybe everything else, too

    Pretty much the subtext of most of my conversations about comics.

    By fnord12 | August 22, 2014, 11:46 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link

    Thanks a lot, jerks

    Well, my call to arms in the most recent Speed Review shows the extent of my influence. Both Superior Foes and New Warriors are cancelled.

    By fnord12 | August 22, 2014, 9:23 AM | Comics | Comments (11) | Link

    Recaps 58.1 and 59

    As promised, here's Recap 58.1: The Vain Experiment and our most recent adventure, Chicken God Egg: Journey to Irate Volcano Island.

    By min | August 20, 2014, 10:09 PM | D&D | Comments (0) | Link

    Marvel Sales


    By fnord12 | August 20, 2014, 9:28 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link

    SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

    Black Widow #9 - Man, that is the saddest, schlumpiest Punisher i have ever seen.

    What's wrong, was he all out of wife-beaters and cheap beer? And this was worth a splash panel? An entire page devoted to that? All of Noto's art continues to be stiff. The scene with Crossbones walking around the ship, it's like, you could do better posing action figures, and again, what a waste of space.

    He's dynamically swinging around to grab Black Widow's gun in that final panel, in case you can't tell. Clearly you would frame that shot at close range with no background so that you can't tell exactly what's happening. All of the art is like this. Storywise, i guess it's a basic, albeit content-lite, spy plot, except Black Widow's whole mission here is a cluster and she learns nothing, and there's a scene with her i guess? maybe? capturing the Punisher at the end that is left to our imagination. Continuity-wise, the last time i saw the Black Widow interact with the Punisher, it ended in a pretty bitter fight and the Punisher getting imprisoned by the Avengers. But none of that is mentioned here. It's like, we should be excited to see these characters but we shouldn't expect them to act at all they've ever appeared before. All in all, pretty lame. I don't know how we got nine issues into this series already. Min? Can we drop this?

    She-Hulk #7 - It was pretty clever of Marvel to give us two issues of the worst art i've ever seen in a comic book so that when we get back to the quirky weirdness of Pulido i'm willing to embrace it wholeheartedly. This issue actually is exactly what this book should be. A fun "case" for She-Hulk showing both her legal and super-hero sides, and with some good interaction between her and Hellcat. A fun story. Hellcat trying to use Henry Pym's helmet to talk to ants: "It's like talking to a million ten year olds! All they want is sugar!" Since i've already got my scanner fired up, let me use it to highlight some art that i think is interesting instead of just bitching about Noto's bad Widow art.

    Captain Marvel #6 - I have been liking this better since we actually got into the heart of what the Spartaxians wanted the planet for. The resolution here is pretty obvious, but it's a fun bit of space battle and basic politics. We saw the Guardians of the Galaxy movie this past weekend, and one of things that struck me was how in the movieverse, the Spartaxians are as non-relevant as they were in the comics before Bendis' GotG comic. At the very end, Starlord is identified as being half-human and half something that the Xandarians aren't familiar with, and that's it. I assumed that the Spartaxians would play a much larger role in the movie, hence Bendis' revision. The fact that that isn't the case as all makes Bendis' decision - and the fallout here - all the more bizarre. Anyway, i only mention that here since this comic takes an obvious cue from the GotG movie by having Captain Marvel flying away listening to a mix tape. In any event, next issue promises to be about the flerken cat so i suppose it's worth sticking around for that.

    New Warriors #8 - This continues to be fun. As long as Hummingbird says something like "I'm going to fight you with my brain" every issue, i'm good. I am a little disappointed to see the whole issue devoted to these new Inhumans and just waiting until the last panel to advance the Maelstrom's Minions plot or anything else that's going on. But i guess it was good to wrap that part up for now, and i definitely enjoyed the issue.

    Superior Foes of Spider-Man #14 - By the way, this book and New Warriors, definitely my two favorite books right now, are selling less than 20,000 copies each on the direct market. I am obviously not a good gauge of what most people like. But in my humble opinion, this issue is just fantastic. This is a comedy heist book, but since we're talking about art, let's just take a random scene to show some actual sequential art that i can only wish existed in the actual action comics.

    And that's in addition to lots of little breaks to do funny stuff like this.

    And on top of that, humor and intrigue that anyone who likes movies like Ocean's Eleven or Guy Ritchie's early films would enjoy. Except since it's in the Marvel universe, it's about stealing things like a portrait of an unmasked Dr. Doom or the (still alive) head of Silvermane. So that's my pitch. If everyone reading this blog goes out and adds this to their pull list, we can move that 17,826 number up to like 17,831 or so. We can do it!

    By fnord12 | August 19, 2014, 6:38 PM | Comics | Comments (7) | Link

    Well that's a problem

    I'm all for solar energy, but not if it's going to create a vortex of fiery bird death.

    When i think of solar energy, i think mainly of solar panels on our roofs and maybe, as we have here in Jersey, on all our telephone poles. It never occurred to me that we'd have to create some sort of mirrored monstrosity that focuses the sunlight into laser intensity. It might be a question of trying to fit solar into a traditional power plant model instead of distributing the responsibility (and ownership). Or it might just be that solar panels on the roof aren't sufficient for our power needs in all climates (yet?).

    To go back to the Earthship, they are very much designed to work independent of an energy grid, but they also remove the majority of the need for climate control thanks to its use of thermal mass. Climate control is what drains the majority of a typical home's energy. So an Earthship is pretty much self-sufficient, energy wise. But we can't expect to retrofit all existing buildings to be partially underground, even if people would accept that (which they wouldn't). So hopefully this Flamestrike issue is resolvable.

    By fnord12 | August 19, 2014, 11:20 AM | Liberal Outrage & Science | Comments (0) | Link

    Did Thomas Friedman Write This?

    A friend was telling me about a ride at Great Adventure called the Zumanjaro. It's essentially a bigger version of Freefall - you ride up in a car to some tremendously impressive height and then the car drops. As i was reading through their list of "facts" about the ride, i came across this line:

    Plummet back to Earth as fast as a female cheetah stalking her prey

    Stop. Go back. Read that again. I guess because...they both achieve top speeds of 90 mph? But stalking means to creep up stealthily. And why does the cheetah have to be female?

    Oh, and also

    The name Zumanjaro has African influences

    Ow. My brain.

    By min | August 18, 2014, 12:55 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link

    How i know i'm living the dream

    There is a peach pie literally cooling on the window sill, like i'm in a cartoon, plus the pie is surrounded by comic books.

    By fnord12 | August 16, 2014, 6:59 PM | Comics & My stupid life | Comments (2) | Link

    Return of the Horde

    Painted Reaper Bones

    We've got some townsfolk on the left, with an ogre behind them (the only figure that is metal; the rest are plastic Bones). Also in the back are a stone elemental and a blue dragon. The the rest across the front are a lizard man, a cleric who is standing on a separate altar, then an owlbear (the first i've seen that's more owl than bear), a ranger, an ettin, and then an armored guy with a skull helmet that i painted like the red skull when he first used the cosmic cube and made himself that gold armor.

    Still more to do but i've got to get back to Inferno.

    By fnord12 | August 16, 2014, 4:12 PM | D&D | Comments (6) | Link

    Nerd Humor

    This made me laugh.

    By min | August 14, 2014, 9:32 AM | Science | Comments (0) | Link

    Blinded from the science

    Kevin Drum has the latest data on his lead & crime beat, and then says this:

    It's a funny thing. For years conservatives bemoaned the problem of risky and violent behavior among children and teens of the post-60s era, mostly blaming it on the breakdown of the family and a general decline in discipline. Liberals tended to take this less seriously, and in any case mostly blamed it on societal problems. In the end, though, it turned out that conservatives were right. It wasn't just a bunch of oldsters complaining about the kids these days. Crime was up, drug use was up, and teen pregnancy was up. It was a genuine phenomenon and a genuine problem.

    But liberals were right that it wasn't related to the disintegration of the family or lower rates of churchgoing or any of that. After all, families didn't suddenly start getting back together in the 90s and churchgoing didn't suddenly rise. But teenage crime, drug use, and pregnancy rates all went down. And down. And down.

    Most likely, there was a real problem, but it was a problem no one had a clue about. We were poisoning our children with a well-known neurotoxin, and this toxin lowered their IQs, made them into fidgety kids, wrecked their educations, and then turned them into juvenile delinquents, teen mothers, and violent criminals. When we got rid of the toxin, all of these problems magically started to decline.

    By fnord12 | August 12, 2014, 5:04 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

    Marvel Sales


    By fnord12 | August 12, 2014, 10:38 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link


    Just in case anyone's lurking out there or using the RSS feed waiting for an update on my Marvel comics timeline, 1988 is wrapped up for now (there will still be pushbacks and such). Taking a little break and reading through all of Inferno before starting up on 1989.

    By fnord12 | August 11, 2014, 8:48 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link

    One simply does not discuss wages in Purgatory

    I stopped linking to Sarah Palin's latest outrageous statements a long while ago, but against my better judgement here's the latest. I justify this in part because she's got her new video blog or whatever now and in part because i'm always interested when people think us vegans are out to force the rest of you - via a stay in Purgatory, apparently - to conform to our way of eating. You may want to go to TPM and watch the video clip of this, or you may want to just shove a sharp pencil up your nose to pierce your brain. It's all the same.

    We believe -- wait, I thought fast food joints -- don't you guys think that they're like of the devil or something?" Palin said. "Liberals, you want to send those evil employees who would dare work at a fast food joint that you just don't believe in -- I don't know, I thought you wanted to send them to purgatory or something. So they all go vegan. And wages and picket lines, I don't know, they're not often discussed in purgatory are they? I don't know, why are you even worried about fast food wages? Well, we believe -- an America where minimum wage jobs, they're not lifetime gigs, they're stepping stones to sustainable wages. It teaches work ethic."

    By fnord12 | August 11, 2014, 11:02 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link

    I know everyone will appreciate a post about my underwear

    I do my clothes shopping on Amazon because i aspire to be a shut-in, and i recently bought a pair of boxer shorts, and they came with this tag:

    Now, when i travel, my number one priority is fitting as many comic books into my suitcase as possible. So you can see why this premise might be appealing to me. But i can assure you that Min would never let me go on a five day business trip with one pair of underwear packed, and that's assuming i even managed to convince myself it was a good idea.

    By fnord12 | August 11, 2014, 10:37 AM | My stupid life | Comments (0) | Link

    Sure, we like stupid stuff

    Please someone give me a primary option.

    By fnord12 | August 10, 2014, 9:57 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link


    Protectors of gravity or just great dancers?

    By fnord12 | August 10, 2014, 3:30 PM | Comics & Ummm... Other? | Comments (6) | Link

    No need to stop here. There's plenty more SuperMegaMonkey where that came from.