Friday, August 04, 2006

Blockade Boy Needs You!

I'm sure many of you are wondering -- although none of you have asked -- how I can get away with my sweet-ass goatee and muttonchops when I'm travelling in an era that frowns on such follicular extravagance. It's really quite simple. I just make sure my civilian identity comes from whichever walk of life justifies big, bold facial hair. Here are some of the aliases I've used, along with the time period in which I've used them:

  • The Vicomte Bloque-DuBoise, a nobleman (1937-1949). Accessories: monocle, top hat, enormous medal-bedecked sash. Accent: French.
  • Bucky Attaboy, 4-F character actor specializing in cowboy sidekick roles (1941-1945, 1950-1953). Accessories: plaid shirt, boots, cowboy hat with the front of the brim bent straight upward. Accent: nearly unintelligible.
  • Doctor Blake Boyd, high-priced psychoanalyst (1948-1982). Accessories: tweed jacket with patches on the elbows, straight-stemmed bulldog pipe, thoughtful expression. Accent: Connecticut.
  • Blockade Doggie, tormented beat poet and occasional surfer (1959-1967). Accessories: sweatshirt, bongos. Accent: mumbled Southern Californian.
  • "Bulky" Boynton, motorcycle enthusiast and professional bouncer (1968-present). Accessories: leather jacket, sunglasses, WWI German army helmet, sneer. Accent: Midwestern whiskey-throated growl.
  • Bob Kane-Hoyt III, trustfund radical (1969-1973, 1988-present). Accessories: pants woven by Central American Marxists, copy of Das Kapital, platinum American Express card. Accent: never really settled on one, since I spent most of my time sighing and making disgruntled clucking noises.
  • Boris "The Steel Wall" Arkady, professional wrestler (1976-1989). Accessories: leopard-skin tights, satin cape, bullhorn. Accent: Russian.
  • Bill K. Poindexter, Nasa engineer (1977-1985). Accessories: hornrimmed glasses, short-sleeved white dress shirt, clipboard, bad posture. Accent: nasal Floridian.
  • Blox-Boi, struggling Nu-Metal keyboardist and cube-gleaming sk8er (1995-2002). Accessories: baggy pants, tuke, the stench of failure. Accent: whiny Brookline.
  • Bollocks Kapow, snooty techno DJ (1993-present). Accessories: hoodie, mirrored shades, busted glow stick. Accent: really bad faux-Swedish.

I hope that clears things up. And now for the matter at hand: It's been just over a year since I took over Jeremy's blog, and I think it's time for a makeover. (For myself; not for the blog.) For starters, I'm going back to my natural hair color. I know that sounds like no big deal to you folks, but my hair has been dyed some color or other pretty much continuously since I was six years old -- not counting that unfortunate business with the Super-Stalag of Space. And now I have to do something about my facial hair. Since it was dyed to match my hair I'll have to shave it off and regrow it. Which is fine by me, since I feel like switching to a new style. And that's where you, my charming and handsome and/or beautiful friends come in! You see, I can't make up my mind! I've narrowed it down to four styles:


A. The "Doctor Strange"

B. The "Dum Dum Dugan"

C. The "Wolverine" and...

D. The "Highfather."

I need you guys to vote for which style you'd like to see me adopt. Use the handy mini-poll box located over the links section. (You can vote as many times as you want; it's cool by me.) Whichever look gets the most votes by 10 PM Central Standard Time on Monday, that's how I'll wear it for the forseeable future. Through the magic of time travel, I'll be able to show you my new look, along with a brand new costume, on Tuesday's post!

Full schedule for next week:

  • Monday: Rescue Me: Bird-Man
  • Tuesday: My new costume and facial hair!
  • Wednesday: Rescue Me: Steeplejack
  • Thursday: Time-Travel Challenge: Grunge to Rockabilly
  • Friday: I present two costume redesigns to the Mighty Thor.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Rescue Me: The Miracle Man

When the Scourge of the Underworld set out to rid the world of its criminal element, he sure picked some easy targets. Low-level bad guys like the Miracle Man were trotted out after years -- sometimes even decades -- of disuse, for the sole purpose of getting whacked before an audience of drooling fanboys. They were cannon fodder, like the stars of an Irwin Allen film. ("Look, honey! Jennifer Jones! My lands, I haven't seen her up on the big screen in -- oh, she's dead.")

Was the Miracle Man lame? I don't think he had to be. He made for a heck of a menace in "Fantastic Four" #3. Unfortunately, the big twist ending of the story required him to be a fraud. He didn't really have astounding reality-bending powers. He was just a remarkably talented mass-hypnotist. And when a story pits the Fantastic Freaking Four against a hypnotist, who do you think will win? I think that kind of ruined him for a lot of comic writers.

If you ask me, he just needed a change of venue -- from comics where the heroes save the entire planet on a monthly basis to one where they're more prone to punching out gangsters. The Miracle Man could have had a field day in that setting. With his power of instant hypnosis, which you have to admit is still damned impressive, he could have set himself up as a crime boss or a cult leader or something. He could send anybody who crossed him into a nightmare world of self-destruction ("A free corndog? For me? Thanks!" *blam!*) It worked for Doctor Psycho. And Spellbinder, on the "Batman Beyond" cartoon. I don't see why the Miracle Man couldn't have made a go of things.

And he could definitely have used a new look. That old-timey vaudeville magician get-up was looking cheesy even back in the early sixties. Here's an idea for styling the old guy:


I call this look "The Archbishop Desmond Nosferatu."

The Miracle Man was already kind of old, with a thin frame and prominent cheekbones. I figure I could have put him on a strict, Moby-esque diet, shaved him completely bald (all over), made him look even more skeletal and startling with the judicious application of makeup, and slipped him into some clerical robes. That way attention is drawn to his eyes, but he's still dressed in something mysterious and memorable -- but not so much that it takes attention away from his eyes! That's why I went with all-white. At first I thought about just putting him in a nice three-piece suit, maybe accessorize it with a cape and a sword-cane or sumpin' but it just seemed too mundane. Plus the churchy garb goes nicely with his name.

Tomorrow: a desperate plea from Blockade Boy!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Rescue Me: Lionfang

Scourge killed a lot of Marvel bad guys, probably because their costumes sucked so badly. I think I can do better.

The circumstances of Lionfang's death are pretty sketchy. He seemed to have died at the end of "Luke Cage, Power Man" #13 (September, 1973) when Power Man caused him to fall from a trapeze. Eighteen years later, in Captain America #394, Scourge claimed to have killed him. (He also got rid of that pesky John Wilkes Booth!) So if, in fact, Scourge did kill him, poor ol' Lionfang didn't even get to die on panel.

And I think that's a shame, because Lionfang had hella potential as a villain. A scientist with a helmet that allowed him to transfer the strength, agility, and ferocity of jungle cats into his own body, and to transfer human intelligence and the ability to speak into jungle cats? I'm sorry, but that's kind of awesome. Throw in the fact he was hiding out in a circus, working as a lion tamer, and you've got four-color magic. A vengeful scientist masquerading under the big top? Pure Lon Chaney. (As in "He Who Gets Slapped.") Okay, so giving him the ability to shoot lightning out of his hands was watering down the concept slightly. But on the whole, the crazy fucker could have rocked. All he needed was a little love.


I know, I promised a beard and I didn't deliver. But dig the helmet! I thought it looked better with the chin covered. There could still be a beard behind there; it's just you can't see it right now. I pared the nutty color scheme from his original outfit down to red and black. The pointy deals on the shoulderpads are antennae for sending and receiving various powers to and from his jungle cats. I put them there because they had no place on the lion-head helmet. The helmet itself? It's a little Hawkman-like. But mainly I was thinking of that one guy with the tigers from "Gladiator." Rawr! The big difference between Lionfang's helmet and Hawkman's helmet is that Lionfang is wearing a black mask under his. That way he can enjoy the "shadowed eyes" look all the time without breaking the laws of physics. The black mane on the back is attached to the helmet. I can just see Lionfang all alone in his circus wagon, late at night, fine-tuning the controls on his helmet and grooming his wig...

Next: Rescue Me: The Miracle Man!

No Super For You!

I gave Membros the day off so he could attend Antron's funeral (got burned to death by some kid with a magnifying glass). So I have to tell you myself that my "Lionfang" post will be delayed until late, late tonight. I'm still stuck in the design stage. I've been sketching and sketching. Jeremy asked me why I looked so frustrated, and I told him I couldn't come up with a costume worthy of Lionfang, and then he guffawed and said "If you can't even design a costume for a fourth-rate loser like Lionfang I think you need to just give the fuck up and get a job at McDonalds or that nine-planet ice cream shoppe you're always talking about" and I didn't like his tone at all so I grabbed his nose between my index and middle fingers and twisted it real hard until a little blood came out and that was the end of that.

So I'm gonna shoot for sometime tonight or worse-case scenario early tomorrow morning, like around one-ish. I know, I know. Sorry.

One thing I know for sure is Lionfang's gonna have a cool Abe Lincoln type beard because it's leonine. And speaking of interesting facial hair, look for something fun along those lines at the end of the week!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Rescue Me: The Cheetah

In the "Rescue Me" challenge, I pluck one of Scourge's villainous victims from the mists of obscurity and give them a hypothetical makeover. I mean, even more hypothetical than my usual makeovers, in the sense that I have a policy against helping supervillains. In this case there's no harm, since they're dead!

This time I'm making over the old Captain Marvel villain, the Cheetah. This guy had a couple of aesthetic strikes against him. Starting with the fact his name doesn't even come close to matching his appearance. Since when do cheetahs have brown fur? The guy needs a full-body dye job, but I suppose that's impractical. (And speaking of dye jobs... look for an exciting personal announcement at the end of the week!) But I'll at least give him a new villain get-up. The one he had, with the Doctor Strange-size collar? And the chest-belt, whatever the hell that thing was for? It blew. Chunks. So here's how I would have dressed him.


Since he got his powers from a Kree robot(!) I gave him a Kree-style costume to match! It's the whole "hero's opposite" thing, like Black Adam and the Reverse Flash. In this case, it means a cheetah head symbol based on Captain Marvel's star logo, a partial cowl like on one of my favorite costumes, and bikini "overwear" -- the only type of overwear I'd ever endorse. Muy macho!

Tomorrow: I continue the cat theme with Rescue Me: Lionfang!

Monday, July 31, 2006

Time-Travel Challenge: Dazzler To Flapper

With the Time-Travel Challenge, I take a comic book character who typified the trends of a particular decade, and relocate them to another era... with appropriate alterations.

Chawunky suggested I do this with 70's disco queen Dazzler; Scipio suggested I move her to the 20's and call her Flapper. Well, they really didn't have proper comic books in the 20's. But they sure as hell had comic strips!


From the book "Pioneering Women In Comic Strips" by Robbie Jerrison, published on Earth-36-24-36:

According to her friends and family, Claire Chrismont was a woman of few words. Despite -- or perhaps because of that -- her comic strip "Flapper" was a masterpiece of energy and pacing, with lean, snappy dialogue that only intruded upon the lovingly-delineated artwork when absolutely necessary.

The title character, Alison Blaire, was a shapely, roller-skating madcap with aspirations to a singing career. She was also fond of wearing spangles and sequins, which gave Chrismont the opportunity to decorate panels with dozens of "glitter lines" -- tiny starbursts which surrounded the character like a halo.

In 1926, the year of Flapper's debut, the newspapers were already filled with similar strips, such as Winnie Winkle the Breadwinner, Tillie the Toiler, Fritzi Ritz, and Mazie the Model. Where Chrismont's strip excelled, however, was in its supporting characters. While other comic strip flappers dealt with antagonists who were EITHER comic OR villainous, Alison Blaire was confronted on a daily basis by powerful oddballs who were a combination of both. And although they looked relatively normal, on an emotional level they gave the misfits of Dick Tracy's rogues gallery a run for their money.

Three of these were introduced in the strip's very first year, and they would be fixtures in "Flapper" for decades. There was Victor Von Doom, an eastern European playboy more in love with his own dueling scar than he would ever be with Alison. There was Bruce Banner, a meek, spindly radio show director with a non-verbal "split personality" that granted him the strength to overturn cars and bend lamp posts in half. And most memorably, there was the career-devouring gossip columnist Gail Atticus, whose inexplicable hatred for Alison was equalled only by her fondness for gigantic hats.

Beginning in the 30's, "Flapper" was handed off to a succession of female cartoonists, including Dee Falco, Fanny Dingeroth, and Midge Shooter, By 1958, its popularity had waned, and syndicate editors merged it with "Longshot," a dying strip about a three-fingered jockey. The new strip, Mex-Babies, found the two disparate characters running an orphanage in Tiajuana. It folded after three months.

Jeremy has the entire run of Dazzler in his collection. I'll pause here while you finish laughing. Done? Great. Anyhow, it made research a snap! As for the look, I just put her in a sparkly frock and changed the face paint to a mask-on-a-stick.

Whaddaya think?