Showing 1 - 10 of 241 posts found matching keyword: comic books

Welcome to Gotham City, where the giant ink pad props are filled with real ink
from DC Special Series #6 (1977)

I might have watched that Gotham television show if there had been a greater emphasis on giant props. Or *any* emphasis on giant props.

(Also in that issue: Captain Comet cures his own concussion with telepathy, Wonder Woman saves the U.N. building with her lasso and invisible jet, and Green Lantern quotes Rhett Butler. Because comics are awesome.)

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You can keep your Romero, Nicholson, Ledger, Leto, and Phoenix...

Come hither... and die!

Nope, nothing crazy happening here

A perfect example of how normal people laugh

...*my* Joker is Jack Lemmon from Some Like It Hot.

I'll show them how many boners the Joker can make!

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And so begins a series of backup stories first appearing in Superman #354, released 40 years ago.

It's easy to look at this series by Superman stalwarts Julie Schwartz and Curt Swan and see what the old-timers got wrong about the far flung future forty years forthcoming. (Sorry. You can't talk about Silver Age comics without a lot of alliteration.) Flying cars, domed cities, and passenger flights around the moon are still more dream than reality.

What is considerably more impressive is what they got right about contemporary life, and I don't mean the giant flat-screen TVs.

We didn't know what it meant, we swear

Superman-III's main antagonists aren't mad scientist or sentient computers. No, in the "future," Superman still has his hands full with intolerant Nazis. Their rhetoric would sound crazy if it wasn't something we heard every day on Twitter and Facebook and White House press releases.

Or saw at Navy football games.

We didn't know what it meant, we swear

Despite the predictions of many over the years (myself included), comic books still exist in 2020. And it's a good thing, too. We need the Man of Tomorrow as much as ever to lead us in the never-ending battle for Truth, Justice, and the American way.

He's unusually proud of his swim trunks

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The difference between Superman and Santa Claus...

Superman doesn't care for your reindeer games!
Superman's Christmas Adventure #1, 1940

...is that Superman doesn't need you to leave out cookies and milk.

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He will never wear that again

This is far better than most comics published by DC these days
Created by Kerry Callen of KerryCallen.Blogspot.com

That's my Batman!

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Lessons comics taught me:

Someone is making money teaching this technique on the Internet
Wonder Woman #178 (1968)

How *not* to pick up women.

Hashtag Woke

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Batman Day was this past Saturday. It should not be confused with Batman's birthday. According to the 1976 DC Comics Calendar, Bruce Wayne was born on February 19. Or April 7, depending on whether we're talking about the Earth-1 or Earth-2 version. (Don't even get me started on Earth-3.)

If you missed the date, don't blame yourself. Batman Day crawls blindly around the calendar like its namesake. In the past five years since it was created, it has never been held on the same date twice: July 23 (2014), September 15 (2018), September 17 (2016), September 23 (2017), September 26 (2015). If you can find a pattern in those dates, congratulations! You can be the super villain who crashes Batman Day 2020. You can call yourself "The Sequencer" and wear a costume covered in brilliantly colored, shiny sequins. Trust me; that's how comic book villains work.

In celebration of the "holiday," 10 cities across the globe gave promoters permission to shine the Bat-signal on their skylines despite it not being a Bat-emergency. Fans in Barcelona, Berlin, Johannesburg, London, Melbourne, Mexico City, New York, Rome, Sao Paulo, and Tokyo. That's a lot of cities for one hero to visit in a day. Batman's a billionaire, not Santa Claus.

The event advertised participation in 13 cities, but Los Angeles denied permits and Paris had an infestation of anti-government rioters (a situation that sounds more like a job for Superman). Meanwhile, Montreal's celebration was interrupted by a nutcase with a megaphone, which if you ask me, is about as Batman as it gets.

This town needs an enema!

Hrm. He needs more sequins.

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Friend Chad recently asked me if I had any interest in the upcoming Joker movie. You know the one. It just won the Golden Lion award for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival. My answer, in short, was no. In long, it was *hell* no.

As a longtime reader of comics, I have a well-established mental image of what I expect from Batman and his rogues gallery. As a general rule, I don't enjoy films about gangsters (which Joker was in the 40s) or films about serial killers (which Joker has been since the 80s). I've seen both Bonnie and Clyde and Natural Born Killers exactly once, and that's each one time too many.

My biggest problem with the film is that the Joker is unequivocally a villain. Pure capital-E Evil. However, a story's protagonist has to be relatable to its audience. Just as the short-lived Joker comic series of the mid-70s focused on its eponymous star's zany antics (and minimized the collateral damage), to put the character at the center of a film it becomes necessary to humanize him, to turn him from villain to anti-hero. No, thank you.

Call me a prude, but I don't see any reason to make a film exploring how someone becomes a narcissistic, mass-murdering sociopath on the scale of the Joker. In fiction, the Joker has beaten a child to death with a crowbar, slaughtered an entire talk show audience on camera, and gassed the United Nations General Assembly. All for giggles. If such a monster existed in the real world — an Osama bin Laden-squared — would you pay to see that person's biography on the big screen?

Joker works best in comics as a larger-than-life malevolent force of nature, the personification of the chaos that Batman strives to eliminate from the world. That's exactly how "Why so serious" Heath Ledger played him (and "This town needs an enema" Jack Nicholson before that). If you insist on reinventing the character, I'd say making him mortal is the wrong direction to go. Forget realism for a character that is inherently unreal. Give us a film about how Cesar Romero's wacky Joker earned his place as Gotham City's Clown Prince of Crime with a painted-over mustache (the anti-Groucho Marx!). Or choose to elaborate on any random Joker entry from silly The Super Dictionary.

Joker is a liar! Beets are NOT good to eat.

But don't try to remake Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy with a super-villain behind the greasepaint. Once was enough for that one, too.

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I don't think this means what you think it means

The Super Dictionary has a well-deserved reputation for, shall we say, unusual definitions of words, but the above is not really a page in the Super Dictionary. It's a poster by artist Marco D'Alfonso currently for sale on m7781.storeenvy.com.

I still have my original Super Dictionary on the shelf right in front of me, and I'm sure that its actual definition for "happy" is much less warped.

I don't think this means what you think it means either

Never mind. Super Dictionary, you win again!

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From "The Tower of Prey", The House of Mystery #203, (1972), art by Nelson Redondo:

Ever wonder what kind of person would model their life on the villain of a comic book horror story?

Some people need to overcompensate for their... shortcomings

The bomb, wind, bullet, and airplane-proof building at the center of the story appears to be based on the then in-development World Trade Center. The angry woman who blames the greedy developer who "stole" her property has much in common with the landowners who sued the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey over their ability to use eminent domain to seize land from reluctant landlords. Lawsuits lead to the Supreme Court.

You probably know who won in real life. In the comic, it's the landlady's raven-claw curse that carries the day. What a happy ending!

Wish fulfillment

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To be continued...

 

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