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From the One Foot in the Grave Department:
Today is a sorrowful occasion. It marks the anniversary of the next-to-last day in the life of the Red Bee.
When we last saw our hero, he was fighting drug thieves. As a reward for his efforts, he was invited to the inaugural meeting of the All-Star Squadron!
All-Star Squadron #31, March 1984
That's him there, drinking coffee between the Human Bomb and Smilin' Batman™! They were just some of the many, many heroes who attended, including Sandman and his sidekick Sandy, Sargon the Sorcerer, Spectre, Speedy, Star-Spangled Kid, Starman, Stripesy, and Superman, just to name the "S"s. (Shining Knight was invited but couldn't make it. I'm not kidding.)
Seating for the event wasn't alphabetical; it was arranged by gimmick. Red Bee was given a seat beside Black Condor, because they are both color/animals. Or maybe because no one else wanted to sit beside the guy in the see-through blouse or the guy in the blue dickie. (Something tells me those guys wore a lot of perfume.)
The agenda for the meeting — set by none other than Franklin Delano Roosevelt himself! — was to discuss how the heroes could help the War Effort. That topic was sidetracked pretty fast when the living embodiment of the American spirit, Uncle Sam, crashed the party and asked for help on an alternate Earth where the Nazis were doing even better than they were here. Which, frankly, was pretty good.
This being a comic book, several of the heroes felt it was their duty to go save an alternate Earth. That seems like a pretty strange decision to make just two months after Pearl Harbor, but sometimes you've just got to drop everything to go punch Nazis.
All-Star Squadron #32, April 1984
Obviously, Red Bee, champion of the poor and trainer of bees, chose to follow his Uncle Sam to war. He always was braver than he was smart. Given that I already told you that today was his next-to-last day alive, you can probably guess what's coming next.
Tune in tomorrow for the Red Bee's last stand!
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Batman was computer dating in 1966. Take that, Match.com!
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Powerless is DC Comics' latest television show on NBC. Unlike the teen soap-opera dramas crowding the CW lineup, this one's a situation comedy, a cynical workplace lampoon similar to Fred Savage's late-90s Working. Fresh-faced Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical) is the newly hired straight woman setting up punchlines for by a fantastic cast of comedians led by Alan Tudyk (Suburgatory), Danny Pudi (Community), and Ron Funches (Undatable), among others.
The series (at least the pilot episode) was tooled to long-time DC Comics fans like me. Many fan reviews online claim the show is a DC version of Marvel's Damage Control comics, but that's not quite fair. For decades, one of the biggest differences between the Marvel and DC comic universes was the way the general public responded to super heroes. Marvel citizens lived in distrust and fear, while DC citizens tended to embrace their supermen (at least until DC saw how much money they were losing at the box office to Marvel movies and made their wolds much, much darker places to live). The characters in this sitcom are definitely old school DC denizens, the sort who would be employed by Hero Hotline.
If you're the sort of person who has heard of Damage Control and Hero Hotline, this show is aimed squarely at you. Since the series takes place inside a four-color comic book world, characters are bright, and reminders of DC's enormous cast of heroes and villains are dropped early and often. A heavy emphasis is placed on the trappings of Batman comics — which only makes sense given that Batman has been DC's best seller for going on thirty years. But that's not really the good stuff. This is the good stuff:
Look! It's Starro the Star Conqueror, the first Justice League villain, making a throwaway cameo appearance! Starro is essentially a giant purple space starfish who mind-controls heroes to do his bidding by putting tiny clones of himself on their faces. That's the Silver Age of comics in a nutshell, a generation better suited to comedy than dour Zack Snyder action films (which, frankly, aren't suitable for anything).
The Powerless pilot also references such minor DC characters as the Global Guardians' Jack O'Lantern and Justice League Europe's Crimson Fox, neither of which is exactly a household name even among people who consider themselves DC Comics fans. Most of these references are used as setups for punchlines, but its still a pretty niche market.
Unfortunately, Powerless dedication to aging comic book fans may mean it's not long for broadcast television. The pilot only attracted about a million viewers. That's not a good start. TV By The Numbers gives the show a 50/50 chance of making it past May, which is a shame. Even Working got three seasons.
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I just got my hands on BATMAN 1 BATMAN DAY SPECIAL EDITION: DIRECT MARKET EDITION. Yes, that is its actual title (a reprint of June's BATMAN #1), and it's every bit as stupid as the comic itself.
The entire issue, all 20 pages of it, is devoted to Batman's attempt to save a 747 from crashing into Gotham City. That's not what's stupid. That's noble, and writer Tom King is trying to demonstrate Batman's heroic nature in the struggle. What's stupid is that Batman tries to save this plane by riding it like a cowboy.
To sum up, Batman sees a plane get hit by a missile, then plots a course to intercept using the Batmobile's ejector seat. (The Batmobile is destroyed in the process, not because of the ejector seat, but because Batman drives it off a bridge before ejecting.) In midair, Batman removes the rockets from the ejector seat so that when he lands on the plane, he can attach them to the underside of the wings. (Because Batman can stick to planes.) Batman then has his trusty butler Alfred remotely control the power to the thrusters to provide lift for the plane. (Ignore that there's no explanation for how these Batmobile ejector seat thrusters have enough fuel or power to lift a 747 despite needing Batman to put the Batmobile in the ocean to get him to the plane.) Meanwhile, Batman rides on top of hte plane with a rope... for no apparent reason.
Proud to be stupid.
No, seriously. Why is Batman committing suicide by riding the top of the plane, Dr. Strangelove-style? Batman isn't steering, Alfred is. Via remote control! Batman is just standing there giving Alfred hyper-specific commands ("Give me eighty-two percent starboard, seventeen port."), something he definitely doesn't have to be doing from the top of the plane.
Mr. King, if the point is to demonstrate Batman doing something self-sacrificingly heroic, have him try to stop a runaway train or take a bullet meant for an innocent. Don't go out of your way to showcase how rich and resourceful Batman is only to have him die doing something completely pointless. That's stupid.
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Saturday, September 17 was officially Batman Day 2016 according to DC Comics.
I might have remembered that if there was some rhyme or reason to when Batman Day is celebrated. In 2014, it was in July. Last year, it was September 26.
Just like Batman himself, you never know when Batman Day will strike!
Six Flags Over Georgia has blown the doors off entertainment by announcing their new ride for 2017, Justice League: Battle for Metropolis! Riders will get to help Batman and the Justice League chase down and defeat an animatronic Joker.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution describes it thusly:
"Riders will travel in six-passenger vehicles on a track through rooms in the 'Hall of Justice,' but the motion of the vehicle allows them to enter into a 3-D and even 4-D world."
To be clear, the park isn't in Flatland. Any rider who can ride this ride exists in a 3D world with length, width, and depth. I would think that anyone writing for a major metropolitan newspaper would know that. Clark Kent sure does. (As for a "4-D world," if you can't figure out what a 3D world is, I don't think I care to hear your theory of either spacetime or Euclidean geometry.)
To give credit to Six Flags, that statement wasn't in the original press release. The press release was much more interested in promoting the ride as "debuting one of the world’s best innovative and interactive attractions" for the park's 50th anniversary.
That's an interesting use of the word "debut." Identical versions of the ride are already operational at Six Flags Great America and Six Flags Over Texas, with other copies planned for Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags Magic Mountain in 2017. What better way to celebrate 50 years in business than to providing the exact same shitty experience as you can get a half dozen other parks!
Welcome to the 11th Annual Batman and Football Month at Wriphe.com!
I'm not the only one who feels these two great tastes go together. Check out these custom Fantasy Football trophies.
Pic found on imgur.com
Pic also found on imgur.com
If Batman did play football, he'd win. Which would mean that he'd need his own trophy. I wonder what it would look like?
Yes, of course it would.
Ahem. From a press release by the University of Leicester:
Seven years of student-led research into superheroes between 2009-2016 suggests Superman could be the best-equipped superhero of all, with a number of abilities including the 'Super Flare' attack and possession of high density muscle tissue
It took seven years to determine that the Man of Tomorrow is the most powerful of all super heroes? Damn. The University of Leicester has a pretty good reputation as a research university, but seven years to figure out that an invulnerable man with the powers of flight, heat vision, x-ray vision, telescopic vision, microscopic vision, super hearing, freeze breath, super intelligence, and a perfect moral compass makes him better equipped than all other super heroes? I figured that out in one afternoon in a comic book shop.
To be fair, this wasn't really a study. The press release goes on to point out that the conclusions presented were the result of seven years of essays written as part of a class teaching students to follow the scientific method and develop critical thinking skills. (The press release itself is a bit of marketing aimed squarely at kids who might consider enrolling in the university. Come and study super heroes!) Taken from that angle, I can wholeheartedly endorse this project, especially when it provides conclusions like this:
Though his cape proves to be a vital utility when gliding in comic and media depictions, the student-led research suggests that when gliding Batman reaches velocities of around 80km/hr — which could be fatal upon landing.
Any research that supports The Incredibles ("No capes!"), now that's some research I can get behind.
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News outlets reported earlier this week that Six Flag Great Adventure had to shut down its newest coaster after riders were stick for hours. Those riders should be glad that they only got stuck. They were lucky they weren't killed. But maybe that's what they wanted. After all, they were riding a coaster named for a mass murderer.
Six Flags, which has a contract with Warner Brothers to use Looney Tunes and DC Comics licensed properties, has a history of trouble on their Superman themed rides. But at least those rides are named for a hero. The ride that broke this week is named for Batman's nemesis, the Joker, a character with a reputation for killing his own henchmen because he thinks its funny.
Why would you name an amusement park ride after a mass murderer, fictional or otherwise? Despite what the Joker preaches, murder isn't fun! Would you willingly ride the Hannibal Lechter Transport or the Patrick Bateman HyperCoaster? What about riding the Ted Bundy Experience? Eating at the Jeffry Dahmer Cafe? Shopping at the Ed Gein Gift Shop? Would you let your kids?
Hey, Six Flags, just because a character appears in comic books doesn't make him kid friendly. Using a despicable character to build your brand just because he has "name recognition" is the worst kind of crass consumerism that American culture has to offer. If you care so little about context, perhaps you'd welcome having all television police procedurals refer to murder as a "code six flags." Hey, at least that would get your name in front of millions of viewers in prime time. That's all you really care about, right?
I certainly don't want roller coaster riders maimed or injured, but if you get on the Six Flags' Mass Murder Machine, you can't be surprised when it strands you to die in an uncomfortable position. You knew what it was when you got on it.
It's a sad day when a Family Circus comic strip speaks for my inner monologue.
Shove it up your colons, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War.