Saturday, December 03, 2005

"Big Monkey" Business

My pal Scipio has a cool new venture with Big Monkey Comics, a one-stop shop for all your comics needs! You can get comics, cool tie-in merchandise, peruse the latest comics news and make your voice heard on the forums. It's pretty damned nifty already, and it promises to get even niftier. Check it out!

And in honor of Big Monkey, I want to relate my own "big monkey" experience. First off, I want to say that I should probably just stay the hell away from Central City, after the whole Abra Kadabra/Safeway incident and now this. So anyway, I was touring the Flash Museum. (I had to evade multiple security measures to get inside at 11 PM on a Sunday, but what can I say? I hate crowds.) I headed straight for the display of Flash's Rogues and got a deep, booming laugh from all the "fashion don'ts." Next thing I know, Gorilla Grodd smashed through a wall, in search of some weapon in the museum's collection. (And yes, wiseasses,I know gorillas aren't monkeys. Shut your pieholes for ten seconds and let me finish talking.) I flung off my $400 Kenneth Cole peacoat, revealing my kick-ass superhero togs, and shouted, "Stop, in the name of--" and then Grodd nailed me with a weird-looking raygun, and then this happened.
Blockade Baboon
Say hello to Blockade Baboon. (Baboons are monkeys, see?) I think you have to admit that even with a prehensile tail, I was still pretty stylin'. I started hurling things at Grodd, like the replica weaponry on the Rogue mannequins. And the replicas were all fully functional. (When it comes to safety, those Central City folk... well, let's just say they're not the sharpest knives in the drawer.) So, I started battering Grodd left and right with electro-shock boomerangs and exploding yoyos, and every time he came after me, I just leaped nimbly out of the way or turned myself into a monkey-sized steel wall. As for Grodd's "mind powers," well what do you think the yellow things on my costume are for? Snacks? Okay, they're for snacks too, but mainly they're mental deflectors that bathe my whole nervous system in a warm, comforting blanket of anti-psychic energy. Plus the ones on my shoulders can each hold, like, three Milky Way bars. But I digress. I finally managed to take Grodd down with Heat Wave's flame pistol, but my monkey fingers couldn't work it exactly right. I was trying for "lightly toasted" but I ended up with "charbroiled." The smell of burnt gorilla dingleberries... not pleasant! I'd stopped Grodd, but his monkey raygun didn't have a reverse setting. (And frankly, why would it have?) And I couldn't talk, or even write legibly! When the Elongated Man showed up, I had to work my baboon ass off to seem adorable as freaking possible, just so he'd take me home with him instead of sending me to a zoo or an animal shelter. Three long, grueling months later, he and his wife took me with them on one of their interminable road trips, I got my monkey hands on a wish-granting Navajo totem, and ker-POW! So long, suckers! There's just one thing, though...

You know how when somebody loses a hand or a foot, they can still feel phantom pains? Sometimes... I can still feel that tail. [shudders]

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

New, Improved Blog: Now With More Fugly!

I took Phillip's suggestion that I show the original costumes of all those poor dopes I try to help out. So now you all can check out the regular duds of Atlas, Miss America, and Fury right on this very blog! I'm still looking for a decent image of the Red Bee. (Apparently he doesn't photgraph well. Must be the gauzy sleeves.) Anyway... enjoy!

Update: I finally got some good scans of the Red Bee. By the way, I was so worried about Hector getting frozen in that blizzard that I waded out into the blinding whiteness myself to look for him, bringing along with me an extra jacket that he could keep. And I ran into the Red Bee! I guess he popped up along with that extra Lex Luthor due to that Infinite Crisis nonsense that's going on right now. Well, the Red Bee promised me he'd get the jacket to Hector right away, and then he gave me directions to a T.G.I. Fridays that was apparently situated right on the mountaintop!
Red Bee Sucker

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Tiaras of a Clown: Fury

What's her deal:
Oh, lordy! It's a big ugly mess, but here goes: Lyta Trevor Hall's mom used to be the original version of Wonder Woman (from the WW2-era comics) and her dad used to be the square-jawed war hero and frequent hostage Steve Trevor. Lyta inherited all of her mom's super-powers and started doing the super-hero bit under the codename, "Fury," after the mythical Greek vengence demons. Then Lyta's home dimension ceased to exist and she was shuffled off to a different Earth where her mom was another superheroine named "Fury" and her dad was, well, nobody knows. As so often happens, Lyta married a super-powered teammate -- Hector Hall, a.k.a. "the Silver Scarab." Hector, who is essentially the Hank Pym of the DC Universe, pretty quickly lost his shit and turned into a literal monster, died, came back as a new version of the "Jack Kirby" Sandman, was unceremoniously booted back into the afterlife by the "real" Sandman, and came back again as the latest version of Doctor Fate. Lyta, for her part, had a son by Hector, lost the son when the kid became the new "real" Sandman, lost her shit, and got spells placed on her by not one, but two separate god-like magicians. Hector and Lyta finally found each other and everything was wonderful for about fifteen minutes. Then Hector got stripped of his powers and the both of them were teleported against their wills to a mountain range in the middle of a blizzard. And you thought Nick and Jessica had it rough! Oops, almost forgot. First appearance, Wonder Woman vol. 1, #300.

Original Fury
Crimes against fashion:
The only parts of her costume I can stand to look at are the cape and that fire-engine-red body stocking. The rest of her ensemble is fugly on a galactic scale. The tiara: ridiculously large and convoluted. The boots and bracelets: thigh-high/elbow-high monstrosities that are ancient Egyptian by way of "George Perez segmented robot arm." The WWE Smackdown Championship belt -- er, I mean, "girdle": like something Elvis would have rejected as being "too tacky." And the very best, very stupidest part of all: that shoulder-pad-type-thing on her left side that moulds completely around one breast. (Comfy!) Our Lyta was quite the trendsetter. She anticipated by years the kind of huge, asymmetrical, completely unnecessary costume accessories that Rob Liefeld somehow managed to popularize.

Our meeting:
I was vacationing in my secluded ski cabin in the DC Universe, time-wise between issues #77 and #78 of JSA. The next thing I knew, Hector Hall showed up on my doorstep, looking ruggedly handsome as always with his prematurely silver, Caesar-cut hair and his sweet-ass Vandyke beard. Oh yeah, and he was carrying Lyta's unconscious body. I welcomed Hector inside and did my best to make the star-crossed couple comfortable. Hector feard Lyta was in a coma until I pointed out that she was snoring quite loudly and making occasional pawing motions, like she was dreaming about chasing rabbits. I got them both out of their soaking wet costumes (Hector fit into my clothes perfectly!) and then I bundled Lyta in some blankets. I offered to help Hector warm up by spooning with him but he declined. So, to pass the time and get Hector's mind off his troubles, I got out my sketchpad.

My presentation:
First of all, can I just say that I love what you've done with the Doctor Fate costume. That Egyptian collar is boss as all hell. But Lyta could definitely use my help. I mean, her super-persona is named after the mythical furies, but she looks about as intimidating as a Vegas showgirl. Wanna see my ideas? I've been tinkering with this for a while, ever since my pal Scipio pointed out how god-awful Lyta's costume is, so I've got the drawings all made up! You sit there, and I'll stand here and turn the pages. Gosh, you look tense. Let me just knead some of those kinks out of your shoulder muscles... no? Okay.

Fury 1
The first costume could be worn by Lyta or her mom. It's based on the "old school" Wonder Woman outfit. I replaced the stars with moons, the eagle with a bat, and I altered the color scheme. I retained the red and gold from Lyta's current outfit and added a heaping helping of black. That's because black costumes are always spooky (unless you're Havok). I also made three big changes to the old Wonder Woman design. One, I replaced the tiara with a helmet because helmets hide more of the face and that's more mysterious and menacing. Hey, where are my manners? Can I get you a drink, Hector? I've got vodka, scotch, brandy, you name-- no? Very well. So... the second thing I did was to change the old bustier-style breastplate into an infinitely more practical chest plate. It hides the cleavage and it has straps, so there's no way Lyta's boobs could pop out and flop around -- since, let's face it, nobody wants to see that. Lastly, and this part is optional as it's extremely theatrical, I gave the costume a huge cape made from grizzly fur. It adds a barbaric flavor. And also, to quote Ann Miller in "On the Town," I simply love bear skin! What? Oh, sure! Go right ahead and check on her. I'm sure she's just fine...

Thanks for joining me in the hot tub, Hector! God damn, but you're a hairy man. Not that I'm complaining, mind you! Oh, the drawings? Fine, fine. Are you sure I can't interest you in that drink? No? Alrighty then.

Fury 2
Here's an emerald green dragon-themed number made out of leather, with a jagged-edged cloak of some thinner material. Chiffon, maybe, I dunno. Huh? Sorry, I didn't realize I'd put my foot there. Where were we? Oh, yeah. I figure we could use a pearlescent paint on the leather detailing, like the scales and the dragon logo. The mask has horns and red lenses that look like reptilian eyes. And to really set the colors off, we'd have to get Lyta to bleach her hair almost completely white. Mmm, those bubble jets feel fantastic, don't you think? Well, you can really feel them over here, where I'm sitting. Aw, c'mon! I won't bite! There you go. Careful, don't slip! Yikes! No, no, I'm pretty sure that's just a big fiberglass tube for one of the bubble jets. Go ahead and put your hand back on it. Hey, wait!

Hector's response:
Was to leap out of the hot tub and slip back into the dry clothes I'd given him. He dressed the still-sleeping and otherwise naked Lyta in one of my smoking jackets and bolted for the door. I tried to reason with him, even pointing out how I'd seen a horde of bloodthirsty hell-beasts in the area just that morning. Still, he insisted on heading back out into that blizzard, without even a coat or mittens or even one of those little knit caps with the pom-poms on them. Ah, well. He'll be back.

They always come back.