Friday, June 16, 2006

Evil Was Doughier Back Then

The Royal Flush Gang Daily Regimen... Of EVIL!

10:00 AM: Wake up and have your first cigarette. While smoking, shave face and/or legs. Splash on some Aqua Velva and/or Jean Nate.

10:10 AM: Breakfast! 32-ounce T-bone steak, six poached eggs, one whole coffee cake, two baked potatoes with all the trimmings, one of those big wooden salad bowls (filled with meringue), and three fingers of bourbon.

10:45 AM: Nap time.

11:00 AM: Have a cigarette. Use "stellaration" machine to irradiate some more playing cards and see if it can maybe beam last night's Dodgers game into the television set.

12:00 PM: Lunch. (Finally!) One entire roasted chicken, swordfish steak, two loaves of sourdough bread drenched with melted butter, Boston cream pie, a punch bowl (full of pork gravy), two gallons of clam chowder, a fudgey bunt cake filled with Miracle Whip, and a vodka tonic.

12:50 PM: Smoke break.

1:00 PM: Throw Royal Flush costume into the washing machine. Discover washing machine is broken, then remove costume and in lieu of cleaning it, spritz it with Hi Karate. Attempt to remove wrinkles by flattening the costume beneath a pile of Playboy and/or Glamour magazines.

1:05 PM: And now for some "me time!" In floor length mirror, admire self. Primp bouffant hair-do or false beard. After about half a minute of this, realize you're feeling a bit faint from standing and do the rest of your primping while reclining in bed.

1:45 PM: Another cigarette. No, make that two.

2:00 PM: Briefly wonder about what's causing the numbness in your left arm. Then forget all about it.

2:01 PM: Notice amateur film footage of Superman on TV. Make cutting remark to teammates about the Man of Steel's barrel chest and burgeoning double-chin. And then it's fondue all around!

2:15 PM: Strategy meeting. (You may smoke.)

2:42 PM: Awaken to the stench of melting polyester and discover that everybody at the table has dozed off and someone's cigarette has started a fire in the shag carpeting.

4:00 PM (or whenever the firemen say it's okay to re-enter your headquarters): Exercise! Three jumping-jacks, four push-ups, then jog in place for one minute. Reward yourself with a cigarette.

4:05 PM: Nap time.

5:00 PM: Dinner. Rack of lamb (deep-fried), two ham hocks, garlic mashed potatoes served in a reclaimed oil drum, a small salad (kidding!), cherry pie, strawberry milkshake garnished with a candy cane, raw cookie dough, and a boilermaker. Do your best to ignore the stabbing pains in your chest.

5:55 PM: Smoke break!

6:05 PM: Conference call with Felix Faust. Suspect he's trying to work some kind of hex on you and abruptly hang up the phone. When he tries to call you back just let it ring.

6:20 PM: Play that Monopoly-themed drinking game Amos came up with. Accuse Jack of hiding advantageous "Community Chest" cards in his wig. Have a cigarette. Or three.

8:37 PM: Pass out.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Cat-Man Fancy!

I think I'm falling in love with Cat-Man. Not the modern version from "Villains United" and "Secret Six." Although he ain't too shabby, either. (Love the stubble, dude!) No, I'm talking about the Silver Age version, and it's all thanks to his appearance in "Detective Comics" #318 (August, 1963). Why do I find him so appealing? Well, there's the obvious, that he's a hunky guy in a classically handsome costume. I'll even forgive the underpants-over-tights thing -- but only for him! Also, he's a "bad boy," which has a certain appeal. But the main thing I love about Cat-Man is his sense of style. Sure, he drives a car with a freakin' tail on it, but that same car has spring-loaded "legs" that can pop out and allow the vehicle to leap over crevasses and ravines. What else? Well, here's how he'd kill you.

Death with a smile. Might I suggest this as a suitable punishment for the Mad Hatter if he gets out of line in the current "Secret Six" series? (You're welcome.)

And the topper? He's a costume designer! You know how I normally feel about rivals, but I just can't stay mad at Cat-Man! He sure as heck chose a good candidate for a costume redesign, too... but I'm getting ahead of myself. First some backstory: On page two of this comic, Bruce Wayne and Kathy Kane are going through the same old rountine in their grotesquely unbalanced relationship:

Criminy, Kathy! Bruce is a first-class creep. Him and his sycophantic l'il ward. Kathy should dump his sorry ass. And Cat-Man agrees with me, because he wants to give Batwoman a total lifestyle makeover!

A ginormous granite throne in an abandoned subway tunnel? Apparently Shazam is subletting his old crib. But check out the new costume! Quite the improvement over Batwoman's frumpy old togs. The cheesy bat-ear mask has been ditched in favor of a feline cowl, and the cutesy pixie gloves have been replaced with sultry opera gloves -- if opera gloves can be though of as "sultry" and I believe that these certainly can be. Like the old costume, this one has a purse. Cat-Man thought of everything! Even new earrings! And they're Cartier, no doubt. Really, the whole look is sleek and sexy. I'm just not sure how he got Batwoman's measurements. Perhaps he made one of his thinner, more slope-shouldered henchmen act as a model. ("Hold still, blast you, or I'll seal your sorry ass behind a brick wall! Like I did with Bernie!") At any rate, I heartily approve of this costume design! But what will Batwoman think?

Why, she seems perfectly delighted! She can't wait to undress that shapely female mannequin! Er... anyway. She pretty much immediately betrays Cat-Man to Batman and Robin. And then Cat-Man seemingly dies in a boat explosion, but... where's the body? (Cat-Man, you clever scamp! *sigh*) So I guess Kathy didn't really take to the costume redesign after all...

...or did she? "Trophy room" my ass! Some Saturday night, after Bruce Wayne has stood her up for the umpteenth time, Kathy's going to get drunk on box wine, eat about a gallon of butter brickle ice cream, slip on the Cat-Woman costume, grab some battery-powered accoutrements from a secret compartment in her armoire, and... uh, reminisce.

Mark my words.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Out In Space

In his "Starman" series, James Robinson made it his business to somehow include every single DC character who had that name -- even this guy right here. And up 'til then, this was the only comic book appearance he'd ever made! ("First Issue Special" #12, March 1976.) He's an alien, with the isn't-that-convenient name of "Mikaal Tomas" and he's the rebel outcast of a warmongering culture that's established a secret base on Earth's moon. I wonder if they brought a covered dish to the Inhumans when they moved next door. Oops! Wrong universe! Annnyway, over in Robinson's "Starman" it turned out Mikaal was gay or at least bi or something, and he even got himself a boyfriend. Good for him! Mind you, I'm always a bit wary when a comic book character suddenly turns out to be gay, because it can feel phony and tacked-on if it's not done right. With Mikaal, he'd only had one appearance that was written by somebody else before Robinson decided to use him, so it wasn't nearly as jarring. And if I remember right, Robinson had Mikaal explain to his boyfriend that his people don't have strict definitions of sexuality. Although Robinson's actual dialog was undoubtedly more florid and pretentious. (Like I should talk--!) But to get to the matter at hand, having just perused "First Issue Special" I now understand that the gay subtext was there in Mikaal's world all along. Observe!

Here's the standard guard uniform on the alien moonbase:

Our model, An'twon, is wearing the latest see-through chapeau from the Space Ranger line of haberdashery for whisper-thin young space rangers. The sleeves of his pistachio blouse are fetchingly puffed, while his coordinating cigarette pants hug every contour of his spindly legs. A hand-tooled skull belt completes the ensemble. I'm pretty sure he's not holding that gun right, but oh well.

Now, let's take a look at what the elite guardsmen get to wear:

I'd like to dedicate this panel to everyone who complains I draw my superheroes with "packages" that are too big. 'Cause I think Mike Vosburg and Mike Royer here have me beat in that competition by a country mile. Jeebus. What's Turran Kha got stashed away in that thing? Two of 'em? Y'know, if my stuff was that prodigious, I sure as hell wouldn't have a skull mounted over it. A "happy face" maybe, but not a skull. Now, if you can be bothered to tear your eyes away from Turran Kha's manhood for a few moments, get a load of the boots. This must be the earliest example of superfluous straps in a superhero comic, predating Rob Liefeld's fashion grotesqueries by at least twelve years. Are the boots going to fall off if Turran Kha doesn't strap them to his knees? And get a load of the dainty little spikes on his jogging shoes. Simply adorable.

How gay is Mikaal Tomas' culture? Well, as soon as "First Guardsman of the Worldstone, Turran Kha" shows up, his boss orders him to... redecorate.

Turran Kha's thinking, "I'm pretty sure this is a table but whatever floats your boat..."

Also, I had no idea that wood was so flexible. I think I'll mold Jeremy's buffet table into a sculpture of an elk.

Near the end of the comic, Mikaal Tomas is sentenced to death by a tribunal that features a sexy lady (why couldn't Ruth Bader Ginsburg dress like that?), the Ming the Merciless rip-off bad guy, and... I'm not exactly sure who or what the third person is.

Death to the man who made this hat! I don't know what "Uncle May's" problem is, but he/she/it looks pissed. I bet they're the "Janice Dickinson" of the panel. And they look like a cross between Christopher Lee and my gramma. Kinda disturbing, to be honest.

So in light of all this, I'd say writing Mikaal Tomas as gay or bi or whatever makes total sense to me now!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bride And Grooming

Karnilla took a sip of mead, then casually smashed the goblet in the little satyr's face. "Pray tell me why you be not pleased, my betrothed?" she purred.

"Many reasons have I," replied Baldur. "For one--!" Abruptly, Baldur wrenched the slobbering imp from his left leg and threw him against a nearby cavern wall. "Thou hast 'measured mine inseam' enow, wretch! Think me not ignorant of thine attempts to 'cop a feel.'" The silver-maned god of light smoothed the wrinkles from his garish raiment and strode purposefully toward his soon-to-be-wife. In a deep, clear voice, strangely reminiscent of church bells, he unburdened his heart. "For one, mine legs be so constrained by thine straps and buckles that mine very circulation be impaired, so very much so that I fear I should lose a toe afore our wedding night! Secondly, I recollect with much clarity seeing this self-same skirt on professional figure skater Michelle Kwan. Thirdly..."

"Thou dost enjoy women's figure skating?" inquired Karnilla with a tiny smirk.

"That be beside mine point!" Baldur snapped.

"No, thou has made me curious as to thine other interests!" Karnilla grinned. She leaned forward, like a panther appraising an unsuspecting fawn. "What else might thou do for fun? Shoe shopping? Body waxing? Gossipping about Jared Leto?"

Baldur's shining eyes glared balefully at his betrothed. "Queen of all that is evil," he swore, "thou shalt not get mine goat!"

A rueful titter escaped Karnilla's cruel mouth. "I be not sure I'd want thine goat! I knowest not how thou might have made sport with it!"

"To continue," sighed Baldur, "These gloves be most passing strange. The orange pigment rubs off to reveal a hue as red as roses. And what be the purpose of these so-called 'repulsor rays?'"

"The gloves I found at a garage sale," Karnilla smiled. "Vintage, see? Be they not cool?"

"But mine most pressing complaint," continued Baldur, "is in reference to the chest plate. I see not why mine nipples need screen doors."

Karnilla shook her head. "Silly godling," she clucked. Regally, she arose from her couch and advanced on the white-haired god. She placed her hands on his chest, causing him to recoil in alarm. "Tis no ordinary chest plate, my lord, but a stereo! One dost only work the skull like this...! Her slim, taloned fingers carressed Baldur's chest. As if by magic, a tinny rendition of Wagner's "Fire Music" flitted through the speakers and wafted about the cavern. Baldur winced, his square jaw tightening. And then, fresh tears brimming in his eyes, he softly sighed and submitted himself fully to the Norn Queen's ministrations.

"And besides," Karnilla added, "thou hast not seen it with the hat on yet! Not that the Queen of the Norns wishes to hide her king's gorgeous silver hair, but it dost be traditional, mine love! And hark! Turn it upside-down, and it doubles as a foot-stool!"

Monday, June 12, 2006

No Huggy No Kissy 'Til I Get A Disintegrator Ring

So, I've been reading Jeremy's copy of "The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe" Volume 2, #8 (July, 1986) and I feel I need to point out a major error. The descriptions of what the Mandarin's rings do are totally incorrect. It's clear to me that the writers were just pulling this nonsense out of their asses. Thank heaven I'm here to set things right!

We'll just go down the list, starting with the left column.

Left Hand

Little finger:
OHMU says: "ice blast"
I say: "materializes a set of novelty store hillbilly teeth for a quick, easy disguise"

Ring finger:
OMHU says: "mento-intensifier"
I say: "spritzes Elizabeth Taylor's 'Diamonds and Sapphires' perfume. Contains notes of ylang ylang, lily of the valley, rose, jasmine, and spice. Aim it at your foe's eyes or apply some to your pulse points for a romantic evening with that 'special henchman.'"

Middle finger:
OMHU says: "electro-blast"
I say: "instantly pickles anything, from cucumbers to millionaire playboy industrialists."

Index finger:
OMHU says: "flame blast"
I say: "gives your opponent 'hogdog fingers.'"

OMHU says: "white light"
I say: "so-called 'earring ray' can actually pierce any part of your enemy's body, from their eyebrows to their scrotum."

Right hand:

Little finger:
OMHU says: "black light"
I say: "makes pancakes! But it usually burns them."

Ring finger:
OMHU says: "disintegration beam"
I say: "Post-It Note ray is helpful for reminding yourself of evil errands you need to run."

Middle finger:
OMHU says: "vortex beam"
I say: "lobs a frisbee at your enemy's head. Can be countered with: a bandana-wearing golden retriever."

Index finger:
OMHU says: "impact beam"
I say: "hypnotizes anyone into writing a long, boringly academic blog entry about Starro the Starfish Conqueror."

OMHU says: "matter rearranger"
I say: "don't tell anyone, but... it's a clitoris."

There you go!