Friday, November 10, 2006

Clay, Pigeonholed

bbhead100906 I thought you might like to see some interesting clippings from the Marvel Universe version of "People Magazine."


From 1996: "There's an exciting new tyrant in town, and his name is Vince Vaughn! The lanky dictator recently forced critics to bow to his iron will with the indie feature "Swingers." Currently Vaughn is dominating the set of "Jurassic Park 2" where none shall oppose him -- not even the accursed Spielberg. When asked about his plans for the future, Vaughn haughtily replied (in a voice like a cold steel hand closing around this reporter's throat) "The staff of 'People' shall know the wrath of Vaughn if they do not appoint him 'Sexiest Monarch Alive' within the fortnight! Soon Vaughn shall topple all box office records and unleash a wave of postmodern, self-aware sex appeal crashing down upon America -- nay, upon the world! Every knee shall bend before Vaughn!" Vaughn is also a terrifying force in the nightclub scene, annexing the territory of a different starlet every night. Although some insiders worry that the non-stop partying will make short work of Vaughn's face and figure, it's the opinion of this reporter that Vaughn is a god amongst mere mortals and that his glory shall never diminish. All hail Vaughn!"


Aaaaannnd from this year: "The Fantastic Four recently ejected embattled despot Vince Vaughn from the set of his latest film, 'Fred Claus,' after he arrived for work looking puffy and melted. Vaughn's dissipated appearance has long drawn the ire of human rights groups and many teenage girls. (Although he looked relatively fit in 2004's 'Dodgeball' that individual was later proven to be a Vaughnbot.) The popular megalomaniac's whereabouts are unknown at this time. In a related story, Vaughn's former partner in screenwriting and evil, Namor Favreau, has been forced by his growing obesity to give up battling superheroes and to instead focus on directing invasions of the surface world from behind the scenes."

Thursday, November 09, 2006

My Dinner With Antron

membroshead Hey, guys! Don't panic... I know I usually only show up to deliver messages like "Jeremy's computer crashed and there'll be no more blogging for three-and-a-half years" or "Blockade Boy went out line-dancing with Battallion and that was a week ago and we haven't heard from him since" but this time I'm just here for fun. Blockade Boy thought you might like to hear about my visit with my cousin, Antron, "the" Antron, the one from "Micronauts" #36 (December, 1981).

Antron was in town on a sales call -- he works as a rep for a company that sells those vinyl deals that separate ceramic tile floors from carpet in office buildings -- and he invited me out to dinner. It was great seeing my cousin, especially because I don't often get the chance. When we were larvae, my parents and his parents got in a huge fight over a liverwurst sandwich someone had dropped on the ground at a picnic and that led to a lengthy estrangement. At age twelve, Antron witnessed both his folks getting stepped on by a fat guy at the beach. Antron quickly found himself homeless. Unable to find employment both because of his speech impediment and the racist propoganda put forth by the Royal Family, he developed an addiction to sugar water. To support his habit, he fell into a life of crime. Swept along by the revolutionary tide of the new Baron Karza administration, Antron cleaned himself and joined the military. I only saw him once during this period. I was shocked by how much he'd changed. Formerly a very solemn but sweet young man with bright twinkles in his eye-facets, he had become a grim, strident fundamentalist who had even taken the extraordinary measure of shaving off his sweet man-perm (the traditional hairstyle of our people) and painting his carapace dark gray in order to emulate his hero, Baron Karza. He was like a stranger to me.

Since the collapse of Karza's regime and the new spirit of egalitarianism and economic freedom that has spread over our land, my cousin has abandoned his Karzist philosophies and reinvented himself once more. Now a happy and successful vinyl... um, thing salesman, he divides his time among work, charitable causes, his wife and egg-sacs, and, of course, maintaining his kick-ass man-perm. He looks back on his days as a revolutionary with both pride and bemusement, and he had some interesting tidbits about the famous counter-revolutionaries known to your planet as the Micronauts, and especially about their leader, Commander Rann.


"Rann was a racist dickweed-dickweed," said Antron. "Sure, he was a big-big astronaut hero but his political views were as provincial as they could get-get. He just couldn't believe someone-someone with our background could engage him in a fair fight. I remember a Microverse Today article where he said he thought all the insectoids fighting-fighting for Karza were grown in a test-tube or something. Jackass-jackass. I could hold my own with that brain-dead space-jockey because I got educated-educated -- something that was illegal when the Royal Family was in power. Karza did-did everybody a favor when he wiped out those throwbacks. And then we were left with their skanky-skanky daughter, what's-her-name with the hooker wig... bah!


"I remember when I had a shot-shot at Rann. Just the two of us-us, mano-a-pincer. It was sweet-sweet. My squad-squad had followed the Micronauts to Earth and had them cornered in a school, which was I thought was delightfully ironic-ironic. I pinned him against a wall-wall and grabbed a spiky Earth artifact to finish him off.


"And then I don't-don't know what happened. He flipped me around in some kind of freaky ballet maneuver and stuck my ass in the wall and I do mean-mean my ass. It took-took Lobros and Centauria to pry me back out. It was-was humiliating. You know-know, I still get cramps back there when it rains?" Antron silently chewed some of the lima bean we'd been dining on, and I could tell his mind had drifted back, to another time, to another life, when he'd been a warrior. He didn't say much the rest of the evening. I may not see my cousin again for quite some time, but I have no doubt that I will see him again.

He's a survivor.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Legion Of Substitute Costumes: Color Kid

bbhead100906 As part of my ongoing effort to redesign the costumes of anyone who's ever been rejected by the Legion of Super Heroes, I now turn my attentions to Color Kid. A.K.A. Ulu Vakk (a special cleaning attachment designed for getting lint off of insulated boots) the Kid has the almost useless ability to change an object's color. Yes, I said "almost." Because he can alter certain minerals, such as... (wait for it)... Kryptonite. Yup, that can come in handy. Sadly, however, he looks like Wolverine's twink cousin.


And that's before he started smearing white greasepaint on his face! My challenge here was to design a costume for a color-themed hero and make it fresh. I liked that his costume was mostly black-and-white. I wanted to stick with that motif, especially because it's almost impossible to pull off rainbow colors in large amounts... unless you're my favorite Flash villain. And then I hit upon the idea of putting all the color in his hair. I knew I wanted the hair to be long, for maximum visual impact, and at first it was just going to be long and straight like Fabio's. But I figured that would be impractical in a combat situation (which for the Legion of Substitute Heroes would probably consist of a really vicious slap fight) so I pulled it back in a high ponytail... samurai style! Only now he kind of looks like Rainbow Brite. Shit.


Oh well. Anyway, as you can see, the costume is harlequin-themed, with a little domino mask as an accessory. He was hardly a bad-ass before and I didn't think his new look needed to be bad-ass either. I just didn't want him to look quite so much like a mousy secretary from the 1950's. And hey, now he'll get a lot of camera time when he's in the crowd at sporting events!

(Rainbow Brite... goddammit...)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Daredevil: The Man Without A Decent Dry Cleaner

bbhead100906 In case anybody is wondering, Jeremy is still watching football games, but he won't be posting on them anymore because according to him, having to sit there with a pen and a piece of paper trying to catch every secret dick joke turned the experience into a massive chore, and also he got the feeling the football posts weren't that popular anyway. The next time he posts it'll probably be a movie review or sumpin'.

Okay! So in "Daredevil" #11 (December 1965) we discover that The Man Without Fear is heavily into role-playing.


Oh Lord, the cops think Daredevil's inviting them to some sort of secret, costume-themed sex party. "Quick! Get the Captain! And help me think up a new 'safe word!'"

Here we have a key difference between Daredevil and one of his closest classic DC analogues, Batman: sure, Batman would go undercover as a supervillain, but would he be so uptight about the condition of his bat-suit? Of course not; that's what willowy English manservants are for! I'm also guessing Batman doesn't spend any time wondering how his costume would look on other people. Unless you count slash fiction. ("A low, gutteral sigh escaped Batman's cupid-like lips. He imagined his fearsome costume stretched across Ra's Al Ghul's mighty frame, the cowl beautifully framing the madman's bristling fu-manchu. His gloved fingers tenderly stroked the unconscious Green Arrow's handlebar mustache as he contemplated the sight...")

Monday, November 06, 2006

Legion Of Substitute Costumes: Chlorophyll Kid

bbhead100906 The Legion of Substitute Heroes' roster is composed of dedicated young men and women with powers too lame to qualify them for the Legion of Super Heroes. (I know what you're thinking: they're lamer than Bouncing Boy? Sadly, yes. Hell, my power's lamer than Bouncing Boy's. It's a bitter pill to swallow, I must admit.) But so what if the subs are a bunch of goobers! With my help, they could at least be stylish goobers!

Take Chlorophyll Kid, for instance. Here's the Kid in action, displaying his own special brand of incompetence.


I know he's a mite chunky, but did he really have to dress in a green Hefty bag? With cutesy little leaf shapes on top? And a photo-realistic tree on his chest? Here's how I would have styled him:


(After putting the lad on a strenuous diet-and-exercise program, natch.) Did you know that the Kid has leaves for hair? It's true! I read it in "Secret Origins." If I were him I wouldn't hide that freaky shit; I'd cultivate it. So I'd give the kid a groovy sixties-style mop-top and matching muttonchops, and then I'd make him ditch that bag of lawn clippings he charitably calls his "costume" for a nice form-fitting number with leafy details on the chest, boots, and cape. See, I figured I could suggest a leaf with the vein-like ribbing and the shape of the cape, without resorting to just slapping a picture of a plant on the costume.