Friday, May 12, 2006
In the Marvel Universe, there is a family of timeless, god-like beings called the Elders of the Universe. Among these is the Gardener. The Gardener dresses simply, in a robe and sandals. Ostensibly it's because he's a deeply spiritual man who is One With Nature... but if you ask me, he's just trying to put even more visual emphasis on his spectacularly feathered hair. I mean, look at that glorious mop! Sure, he pulls the old "humble hermit" act when he's around other people, but you just know the moment he's alone, out comes the hairspray, a brush, and a hairdryer that runs on the Power Cosmic. Better yet, he accessorizes with Adam Warlock's soul gem and a bird with an identical hairstyle! (Lookalike pets... what is this, a Marvel comic or a Hanna-Barbara cartoon?)
And now, a completely imaginary romance between the Gardener and the Incredible Hulk, hastily cobbled out of random panels from "The Incredible Hulk" #248 (June, 1980).
Angry sex! Yes, Gardener, the Hulk really knows how to work over a guy's "staff." The Hulk and the Gardener were quite the couple after that. They went everywhere together -- quarreling constantly but just as often stealing away for more furious lovemaking. The Hulk moved into the Gardener's ashram and took to wearing (tattered) hemp pants and restricting himself to a macrobiotic diet. He'd only eat whole, live deer and yaks and manatees and such. For his part, the Gardener started going around shirtless, and he learned to appreciate the simple pleasures of leaping over the Grand Canyon in a single bound, pounding military vehicles into unrecognizable lumps of steel, and referring to himself in the third person. But such volatile romances rarely last. Annoyed by the Hulk's absolute refusal to either do his share of the housekeeping or to go out and find a damn job, the Gardener accepted Xemnu the Living Titan's invitation to join him in a glamorous ski vacation, and summarily kicked the Hulk out on his ass. The Hulk was devastated, and even contemplated suicide.
The Hulk couldn't go through with it, however. Because he weighs 1040 pounds and has skin like rhino hide, so the rope just snapped in two. Still, he was mopey for a long while. Love had died in his heart.
Aw! A happy ending! Turned out Xemnu had also invited Quasar and the Living Tribunal on that ski trip, and was apparently expecting some kind of "four-way" to occur. The Gardener was humiliated. Finally, he returned to the Hulk, because he knew their love was meant to be. Also because he's an enabler, and in some dark corner of his mind he gets off on taking care of someone who doesn't appreciate him.
(Okay, so maybe the ending's not that happy.)
Thursday, May 11, 2006
By Doctor Blockade Boy, M.D.
Starfioriasis is a fungal infection of the skin. In its advanced state, it causes the victim's skin to turn green, with darker, fist-sized lesions. Unlike the viral disease "Shingles" a.k.a. "Herpes Zoster", which affects only one side of the sufferer's body, Starfioriasis affects limbs on alternating sides. It will spread to cover the entire trunk of its victim with one odd exception. For reasons as yet unknown to medical science, it leaves a large, oval-shaped patch of unaffected skin in the center of the chest.
Starfioriasis is rampant on many alien worlds where hygienic conditions are not commonplace. The average Starfioriasis victim is female, between eighteen and twenty-four years of age, tall, slim, and has a great rack. Concubines-turned-rebel-warlords are particularly susceptible.
Currently, there is no medical treatment for victims of Starfioriasis. It is not fatal; nor is it permanently scarring. In fact, it will often spontaneously vanish, leaving no trace that it was ever there at all. Until then, infected persons are advised to make themselves comfortable by wearing as little clothing as their modesty will allow. Ideally, they should run around bare-ass naked. Exercise is highly recommended, including running, jumping up and down in place, and chopping one's enemies' heads off with a sword. When sitting, it's best to do so on a fur-strewn castle floor or a massive, ornate bed surrounded by gauzy curtains. For maximum comfort, it's suggested that the Starfioriasis victim spread his or her legs as far apart as humanly possible, or crouch on all fours and glance backwards with a friendly, inquisitive expression. Patients are typically put on a strict diet of bananas and corndogs. They are instructed to eat these very slowly.
(Many thanks to Walaka for pointing out the goofy costume of Starfire's boyfriend Dagan to me, thus giving me the idea to tackle Starfire's awful get-up. Check out his dissection of Dagan's duds on his blog. Two words: stovepipe fez. Haw!)
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
I'm not kidding. That's me, right behind him, there! I think I look very handsome and rugged, in a "Moose" from Archie Comics kinda way. I know... you're wondering, "What happened to your sweet-ass goatee and muttonchops?" *sigh* Long story.
Cool cat Tom Foss has links to even more Civil War parody banners on his blog.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
When Denny O'Neil wrote this book, they could have used this same cover but replaced the gauntlet with a bottle of Jack Daniels. "Must... save... booooozzze...!"
The one thing about Iron Man that really strained my suspension of disbelief was that darn briefcase. I just couldn't buy that Iron Man could cram his entire suit of armor inside the thing! Powerful rockets and pop-out roller skates on the bottom of the boots? Sure, why not? A device on the palm of the glove that can blast through a brick wall and yet doesn't tear Iron Man's arm off with the recoil? If you say so, man... whatever. Just don't try to tell me that a man-size suit of armor that's able to withstand the impact of a bazooka shell is collapsible and can fit inside a briefcase. His name is Tony Stark, not George Jetson. Yeah, yeah, I know there've been countless nerdy schematics drawn up to try and support this crazy idea. "But the armor is really flexible!" the nerds squeak, pathetically. "It's like chainmail!" Yeah, not buyin' it.
On the cover to "Iron Man" #118 (January 1979), artist Bob Layton makes it appear that Tony Stark was already wearing the chest plate under his clothes, like he used to do in the Olden Times when he needed it to keep his heart from going kablooey. I like that idea... because it frees up more space in the briefcase! Not sure what that would do to the fit of his crisp designer suits, though. He'd have to wear big baggy shirts and jackets all the time. Like the Beyonder! (Ew.) And inside the comic, where Layton is finishing John Byrne's layouts, the actual scene is a bit different:
Do you believe that his entire suit of armor fit inside that dinky little briefcase? Well, good for you, because I sure as hell don't. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.
So let's forget about the armor. What else do you think he managed to stuff in that briefcase? I'll start!
1. Fully-stocked sushi bar
2. Pint-sized homunculus valet, packed in dry ice
3. Hot tub!
5. Crystal chandelier
6. Pipe organ
7. Wig, mink coat, and one-of-a-kind Bob Mackie gown, for special "undercover" missions
8. A complete Sentinel robot. Just because he can.
9. One of the islands in the West Indies; I forget which one
10. His soul
Monday, May 08, 2006
In "Strange Adventures" #22 (July 1952) Adam "Captain Comet" Blake attempts to enliven his dull civilian job as an information clerk by dishing out wholly spurious information to gullible young nerds. And if that doesn't work, there's always the completely edible suit he's wearing. The jacket and trousers? A delicate black truffle mousse. The shirt? Stitched together from only the finest cuts of veal. And the tie? A salmon. Blocked by Captain Comet's knee (um, that is a knee, right? I know he's a mutant and all, but GODDAMN!): the salmon's head, which still has the skin on it, and which gazes balefully out at the knickers-wearing preteen loser before it, knowing full-well that the moment the kid sets foot outside the library, a bottlecap beanie-wearing ruffian will punch him in the gut and steal his milk money.
Despite his best efforts, Captain Comet allows his futuristic mind to drift away from the situation at hand, and reminisce about the exciting events of the previous day, when he was summoned by a bunch of wizened old extraterrestrial men in floor-length blue robes.
Screw jeans and Hawaiian shirts! This is a what I call "Casual Fridays", my friend! Plus, they've installed a small roller derby rink in the middle of the room. Too cool! And do those desk chairs look comfy or what? I bet they recline.
I understand they've already instituted the robe policy at the headquarters of American Express. Floor-length robes for everybody! Whoo-hoo! The only downside? If a guy chooses to "go commando," it leaves a funny smell on the chair. Check out the orange guy's hat. Nope, he's not wearing a backwards baseball cap. Although I admit that would be kind of awesome. Let's look at another one of those charming chapeaus, in more detail.
Remember that hip-hop trend of wearing a sun visor backwards and upside-down? This is kind of like that. (Side note: is this still a trend in your time period? I can't always keep the fashion trends straight, what with me being a time traveler and all. Say, have, tall, pointy wizard hats become popular for men yet, in your era? No? Oh, right, that's next year. Something for you to look forward to!)
On the icy world of Lukan, the only natives we ever see are fully grown, male, and shirtless. Yay! And they're all made out of some crystalline substance. Boo! In a grand old sci-fi tradition, there seems to be a planet-wide uniform, and it's black underpants. The guards wear the tighty-blackie numbers you see here, while the leaders wear longer, baggier versions. I guess instead of asking for your rank, a Lukanian crystal man might demand, "Boxers or briefs?!"
Side note: I can understand that if you were a crystal man and you saw a fleshy pink alien creature rushing towards you, that you'd feel a mite anxious. But really, dude, did you have to pee your pants like that? I mean, that puddle is freaking huge! How many cups of coffee did you drink this morning?
Belly shirt sighting! In 1952, yet! Okay, so it's not quite the same thing, but still. This is a little closer to the get-up Lana Turner wore in "The Postman Always Rings Twice." Check out the high-water panties. Don't want to expose the belly button, now do we? That would be utterly pornographic. Just imagine if Jim Balent had designed this outfit. It would look like about three strands of mint-flavored dental floss.
In the exciting climax of the story, Captain Comet takes one look at the metal circlet on Radea's head and says, "Oh, honey... no. Just... no. You look like a Renaissance disco nightmare in that thing. Here, allow me...!"
See, there's bad jewelry, and then there's really bad jewelry. But you scoff. Who ever heard of a piece of jewelry that could control someone's behavior? *rolls eyes* Such a thing exists in your own time! It's called a wedding ring, people! Gah! (Not that it's foolproof, I'll admit.) Okay, now that Captain Comet got that circlet off Radea's head, I really want to do something about her hair. Oh, well.
Back at the library, Captain Comet has to deal with an antagonistic blonde. Lucy Lane's cousin, perhaps? As you can see, the haughty hottie has been engaging in the ancient Chinese practice of hand binding. Her right paw is now utterly useless, but I'll be darned if it isn't a tantalizingly delicate little thing. Do you think these two might secretly have a thing for each other? I mean, they did decide to coordinate their wardrobes that day. (Just like Weight Wizard and I used to do. *bittersweet sigh*) On the other hand, check out Captain Comet's expression. His words may be casual, Hugh Grant-style dithering, but his face says, "I don't care how many flowers you stick in that bleached-blonde rats' nest you call your hair, it still ain't gonna distract people from the mustache, bitch."