Friday, March 17, 2006

Is That A Bowling Pin On His Head?

tv star

Yes! Yes, it is. A bowling pin with some pretty embroidery and two cow horns. Apparently the Supervillain Costume Barn was having a clearance sale. And nobody was happier about that than Maur-Kon, the bad guy from Marvel's "Shogun Warriors" #6 (July, 1979). And sure, installing a TV camera in front of the toilet made sense at the time, but who could have guessed some asshole would pirate the signal while you're trying to pass that tainted pulled pork sandwich you ate last night?

immense enjoyment

"Inside Combatra, Lord Maur-Kon is enjoying himself immensely..." Then why are both his hands in plain sight? And why is he crying? Oh, I understand now. Maur-Kon used to run with a Mexican gang, and they gave him those badass teardrop tattoos they're so fond of. And judging from the elaborate mustache, Maur-Kon also used to be lead tenor in a barbershop quartet. Man, that must have been a hectic schedule. 2:00 PM: pop a cap in Julio's ass. 2:15 PM: join the boys for a medley of Steven Foster tunes over at the Senior Citizens' Center. 2:30 PM: hold switchblade against Paco's right cheek and demand to know "why he always gettin' loud wit' me." 2:45 PM: head over to the Wal-Mart for more mesh t-shirts and mustache wax.

Naw, I'm just funnin', Maur-Kon. So, this is probably the first time anybody on the planet has mentioned you in any context at all in over twenty-five years. How does that make you feel?

from behind

Pfft. I have the feeling this wasn't your first time, honey.

And now, some vaguely inappropriate sound effects.

doosh doosh doosh doosh

Er... yes. Indeed. "Doosh."

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Grating Scott!

You may have picked up the few subtle hints I've scattered, here and there, that maybe, just maybe, I HATE SCOTT KOLINS' COSTUME DESIGNS!

(Ow! I think I just wrecked my voice -- and I was only typing that!)

I think Kolins as an artist is technically competent but otherwise overrated. Yes, fanboys, he draws "realistic" which God knows is a plus for readers with slim-to-no imaginations. But his characters are -- almost to a man! -- ugly. He refuses to use spot blacks, leaving that up to the colorist in even the most obvious situations -- which means that when Kolins draws a villain with eyes that are meant to be little dots of light in a pool of darkness (Grodd, Zoom) the colorist has to fill in the black part. But colorists can't do that, so they usually try to compensate with a muddy purple-gray. Which looks horrible. And here's the thing -- I've seen enough pencilled comic book pages to know that all the penciller has to do to indicate that a shape must be colored in a solid black is to draw a little "X" on it. That's it. Two short pencil strokes. Having read an interview with the guy, it seems to me that Kolins is confusing laziness with artistic flair. Sure, Kolins, there are great comic artists who don't use spot blacks. Moebius, for example. Or Geoff Darrow. Trust me. You're no Moebius or Geoff Darrow.

And Kolins' costume designs are fugly with a captial FUG. Let's take a look at some of his handiwork.

johns rogues

There's Magenta in the purple and silver outfit. A simple, boring, but pleasant enough outfit that's marred by the ridiculous gauntlets. Besides looking goofy, they're utterly impractical. Sure, she's a show-off with the magnetic powers, so she can float a lot of things around instead of handling them. Fine. Now let's see her eat a hoagie.

There's Murmur, with the leather fetish (yawn) costume and the hokey mask and the bad haircut -- because he's CRAZY! -- and he doesn't belong in a Flash comic at all but that's really Geoff Johns' fault. Anyway, I give Kolins points for the pointy-tipped jester clown collar, but that's it.

There's the new Trickster, who dresses like a jackass, but then he is a jackass. So good job, I suppose. That said, his costume is one of those trendy numbers that is not going to age well. Not to mention, it looked tired and out-of-date even when it first appeared.

Girder I have no problem with. And Mirror Master's costume is ugly, but that's not Kolins' fault. Aw, hell! Y'know what? I think I'll blame him for that one, too. (Fucking Kolins.)

Weather Wizard had a pretty stupid costume to start out with but Kolins' redesign is no better. The wide yellow stripes in a stunningly vague tornado shape make him look like a turtle. And check out the treads on the bottom of his jumpsuit. It looks like he's wearing ballet slippers.

But I reserve my deepest hatred for his design of Blacksmith. The costume is overdone and it's in a hideous shade of purple-gray because Kolins can't be bothered to SPOT HIS FREAKING BLACKS! (...Ow! My throat is really sore now!) Check out the huge rings on her upper arms. What are those, napkin holders? Look closely and you'll see completely unnecessary cut-outs that reveal her inner calves. It doesn't look good from a design standpoint, and it sure as heck ain't sexy, unless you're living in Iran and such a scandalous display is forbidden by the Morality Police. And then there's her face. Her ugly, ugly face.


I don't know what on God's green earth Kolins was going for here, but I'm pretty sure he failed. Miserably. In the storyline, Blacksmith has melded metal with her own flesh. And that's what she came up with for herself. Like a typical Kolins design, it's unattractive and riddled with embellishments that do nothing for the character. Sure, she's "evil." And no, I don't think all female comic characters need to be beauties. But Blacksmith's face looks cheesy cartoon evil, and as such it's not really effective. And it looked really familiar to me. For the longest time I racked my brain, trying to recall where I'd seen that kind of goofy ugliness before. It finally hit me.

bribery lispy

It was in the Dick Tracy comics.

And it didn't look any better back then.



Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Bionic Blockade Man-Boy-A-Tron

bionic ad

I found this ad in Marvel's "The Champions" #10 (January 1977). And let me tell ya, the similarities between myself and these two bionic hotties are startling! For instance, you see the two guys wrasslin' like that? Imagine I'm Maskatron. Imagine Steve Austin is Weight Wizard. Now imagine this happening in a candle-lit room with some house music playing in the background. That used to be a typical Friday night at my place. But wait, there's more!

bionic patch

I also adorn my clothes with huge patches depicting my own face!

bionic lift

Just like Steve Austin, I can lift an accordion with ease!

disguise maskatron

If I shave off my sweet-ass goatee and muttonchops, I look just like that guy who plays Roy on "The Office."

almost invincible

C'mon. I can turn into a steel wall! It's a no-brainer! Also, I can down thirty tequila slammers in one sitting, but another "shot" and ZONK! -- there go my arms and legs!

special mission

Okay, now it's getting downright eerie. A denim leisure suit is what I wear on my "special missions!" But instead of a wrist radio, I take along a roll of duct tape, a rubber werewolf mask, salad tongs, pinking shears, a can of Silly String, a helium tank, and peanut butter. Lots of peanut butter.

But perhaps I've revealed too much.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Rebel Without A Nose

evangelizin' robot

"Also, I have these free copies of "The Watchtower" which I'd like to give to you..." The cube-headed irritant pictured above is "Starshine," a really poorly designed cyborg who served as the kind-of love interest for Rom: Spaceknight in the comic book of the same title. Y'see, when the Utopian alien planet Galador was threatened by the Dire Wraiths, they responded by drafting all the able-bodied young people into a cyborg army. For the longest time and for no good reason, Starshine was the only female among them. She's like an armor-plated Smurfette. And her head pisses me off to no end. Especially her face.

The rest of her is okay, I suppose, in a retro 1950's kind of way. Okay, except for the hands. Those look stupid. And then there's the skirt thing, which has a slit in the middle which runs way too high, affording hapless onlookers a great view of her vagina-free crotch region. I think I saw Bai Ling in one of those. But mainly it's her head and face that I hate. Let's start with the head in general. Rom's head was vaguely masculine in that it was a boxy deal resembling nothing so much as a toaster with eyes. Like David Boreanz! As the first female Spaceknight, they tried to come up with a ladylike version. So there's the completely pointless ponytail on top and a head shape that suggests a dainty, feminine chin and high cheekbones. But really, it's just a diamond shaped box. It looks like you could pry her face off, and there'd be a delicious cured ham inside. And then there's her face: a barely convex membrane with no nose, the barest hint of eyes, and a tiny, snippy little triangle-shaped mouth which is usually turned downwards to indicate dismay, or (more often) disapproval. Like so:
mouth 1 mouth 2

Later, she managed through sheer force of will to rearrange her cyborg body into something butcher and more gladiator-themed. (Physics in the world of Rom: Spaceknight were something of a joke.) Guess which part she forgot to fix.

mouth 3


Monday, March 13, 2006

Pretension Around The Collar

snazzy robe

Now that's what I call a bathrobe! It's a beaut. A real "Sunday-go-ta-meetin'" kind of bathrobe. You wouldn't take that thing into the john with you, no sir! And you couldn't go to sleep in it, either, 'cause you might roll over onto your side, and then the collar would shatter and the pieces would cut the holy bejeebus out of your face. And I'm pretty sure they're made of asbestos.

This delightful garment was worn by Karate Kid in "Legion of Super-Heroes" #288, (June 1982). Artwork by Keith Giffen, back in the brief, glorious time before all his characters looked like chainsaw sculptures. And yeah, the implication in that story is it's a ceremonial robe or somethin' along those lines, since his girlfriend Princess Projectra was about to be crowned Queen of the Entire Freaking Planet of Orando. But I think it was just a bathrobe, and that Karate Kid (the Keven Federline in this situation) told the higher-ups there, "Hey, I'm the future queen's boyfriend, assholes, so I'm gonna wear whatever shit I want to wear, and you are gonna suck it!" Hell, the robe probably has "PIMP" spelled out on the back. In rhinestones.

Now, maybe you think I'm being silly about this. "How can this fancy, uncomfortable thing be a bathrobe?" you ask, the corner of your mouth twitching with impatience for my shenanigans. And I would say, yes, it doesn't look comfortable! Yes, it does look like it's about to eat him alive! But check out what folks on Orando call an "easy chair."

snazzy chair

I rest my case.