Friday, June 22, 2007

Lang, Lang, Lang Goes the Trolley


In the grand tradition of DC heroes who enjoy a quiet, civil meeting and then team up, Gravity Girl have become an effective problem-solving duo! And it's just one panel since the last one! "Compressed storytelling" my metal foot! That's just what we call "chemistry," my friend! The chemistry is rooted in deception and paranoia, but still--!

On the sidelines (as always) two typical Smallvillians enjoy some dimwitted small town speculation as to Gravity Girl's identity. (Mrs. Smallvillian: "Maybe she's hidin' her face 'cause she's a Mexican!") They're both dressed in brown, the official color of Smallville, but today Mrs. Smallvillian is wearing her racy light brown dress and feels positively obscene.

Gravity Girl, the Sensible Character Find of 1961!


Wait, are they talking to each other or is this a dramatic reading of business letters they've written?

I'm guessing that immediately afterwards, they both went straight home, had a glass of warm milk, and took a nap. Bah! I'm kind of "over" the Marvel Universe right now, but at least when two heroes meet there they spend a little time whaling on each other for the public's amusement. This stuff... I dunno... *shakes head*

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Legion of Substitute Costumes Bonus: Plant Lad


That's what happens when you forget to water Plant Lad!

Kidding. Plant Lad is a mighty hero with the somewhat useful power of turning into any kind of plant. Which is awesome when the plant is some giant alien number that can move around and eat people, but somewhat less awesome when it's, say, one of your lame immobile Earth plants. Although I suppose that'd be useful for stealth missions. ("I don't remember seeing this potted fern here before--! Oh, well. As I was saying, the new secret codewords for our terrorist operation are...")

Historians will argue that Plant Lad never got rejected for membership by the Legion of Super-Heroes. They're actually correct. Kind of. Technically, he never even got to try out! See, many years ago Plant Lad and I were brunching at that Tartarus-style breakfast joint, the Infernal House of Pancakes. (Try ordering a "Devil's Dozen" donuts there. They'll give you four donuts, every time. Tartarusians, they're not so good with the math.) I believe I'd ordered the sulfur-roasted ham slab-wich, while Plant Lad was enjoying a nitrogen smoothie. Well, you'd never guess who tottered in, blitzed off her royal ass after a long night of partying, with her platinum hair mussed, one white opera glove missing, her magenta collar askew, and a tell-tale vomit stain down the front of her purple bustier. Yeah. Her.

So Plant Lad, bless 'im, was perpetually agog over celebrities back then -- he must have subscribed to twenty different holomags on the subject... People, Pod People, Pod People en EspaƱol, Popular Mechanics (featuring page after page of various mechanics who are popular), The Bismollywood Reporter, you name it! And before I could warn him about what a massive skank she was, Plant Lad rushed over to her and started gushing, and she was having none of it, and the words were just pouring out of his mouth at lightspeed and part of me wanted to grab him and drag him away from her before he made an even bigger fool out of himself. But another part of me wanted to grab my Omnicom, sit back, and record their conversation for posterity.

Their talk went exactly like this:

Plant Lad: --just an incredible inspiration for me, I mean I watch all your holotapes and I buy all your biographical supplements as soon as they come out and I even bought your limited edition line of shoes, like in every color and every size, of course they're not for me, I mean I don't wear them or anything, I mean I'm not a freak, ha, ha, heh, but I have them on this wall of shoes I made, because it's just a really interesting design element for my apartment, they're all like on little floating platforms, I mean "platforms" as in places to put shoes on not "platforms" as in platform shoes, heh, I guess it would be pretty silly of me to put shoes on top of more shoes, ha, uh, I mean how ridiculous would that look, although if anybody could pull it off it'd be you, you're just so elegant and regal and stylish and I think you give the Legion a lot of class which I think is so important, don't you, and by the way I'm a superhero myself, my name is Plant Lad which I guess I should have said before, heh, ha, ha, oh, er. and I can turn into all kinds of plants, and I know that sounds kind of useless, heh, um, but it's really not, I swear, like for instance there are actually a lot of plants that can move around, and they can grab things and they're like really strong and CAN I TRY OUT FOR THE LEGION?!!

Princess Projectra (bored): Aren't you supposed to be dead?

Plant Lad: Heh, ha, no, see, that was--

Princess Projectra: Yeah, I'm pretty sure you died. Who are you?! Do you work here?

Plant Lad: No, heh, what happened is I faked my own death, ha, I guess that's where you're confused, but--

Princess Projectra: Yeah, so I'd like to order the Satan Scramble with Faust Fries...

Plant Lad: I don't work here, ha, ha, but anyway I think I'd be a really valuable addition to your team, um...

Princess Projectra: ... and could you get me one of those cardboard Prince Evillo crowns? I'm gonna make my boyfriend wear one the next time we do it.

Plant Lad: Oh, heh, ha, I said I don't work here, I'm a superhero, er, oh, um...

Princess Projectra: So you're out of crowns?

Plant Lad: Heh, oh, er, huh?

Princess Projectra: Forget the food. Your service sucks. I'm going to tell my daddy to buy your restaurant and atomize it.

Then she left. Plant Lad stood there gaping for a moment, and then he s-l-o-w-l-y ambled back over to our booth. He slumped down in his seat. "Was it everything you dreamed it would be?" I asked.

He just stared down at his placemat for about a minute. Finally, without looking up, he mumbled, "She smelled like drain cleaner."

Poor dope. To be honest, he probably wouldn't have made it into the Legion anyway. Y'see, Plant Lad's people go through "active" cycles and "dormant" cycles. The "dormant" cycle, which lasts about four months out of every Earth year, begins with them getting kind of logy and dull-witted, and then they just stop moving altogether and become as stiff as boards. (But not in the good way.) So he's basically useless 1/3 of the time. Unless you're me, and you're clever enough to put him to work as a figurehead on your pirate ship!

But I dunno. Maybe he could have impressed certain skank-like royals (who then would have sponsored him for membership) if he'd dressed flashier. Like he does now! I convinced Plant Lad that his tall, lanky frame can pull off any look, and especially the look of a rock star! Check him out!


Oh, Plant Lad! Orange is definitely your color! It speaks of exotic orchids, clay flowerpots, and... er, pesticides. The woven midriff is based on a trellis, and I echoed that pattern with the hood and with the cut-outs on his boots. To visually round out his alarmingly equine face, I gave him oversized mirrored shades. The shades also send the subtle message, "I'm too important to make eye contact with you; inquiries can be made through my publicist." His knobby chin is adorned by a scalloped, leafy goatee of my own design, and of course the logo I created for him is proudly displayed on his left breast. Now, that's the look of a winner!

And the rest of the known universe evidently agrees with me! I'm happy to report that Plant Lad now enjoys thriving careers as an intergalactic New New Wave musician and two-time Beat the Living Crap Out Of You League champion... when he's awake, anyway. For the present, though, he's securely strapped to the prow of the H.M.S. Exquisite, scaring the holy bejeebus out of enemy ships.

Not a bad life, if you ask me.

Lana's Gonna Walk da Erf


Oh, the Langs know that Venom is hiding in Lana's cleavage. They're aware. But they're certainly not going to give the perfidious symbiote the satisfaction of talking about him.

This Is Exactly What It Was Like For the Menendez Brothers


(Having recently gambled away Lana's college fund) Professor Lang is eager to support her entry into the world of law enforcement. Sure, he's suggested she take up other life-threatening hobbies in the past -- skydiving, spelunking, piranha farming, succrology* (admittedly, that last one takes a while) -- but the flightly redhead just flat-out refuses to die.


"I trust something in a muddled, fleshy pink with an enormous zig-zag pattern will suffice--?" Meanwhile, Pa Lang nabs the opportunity to once more nip down to his dungeon -- I mean, "workshop"! Workshop!

*I'll save you trouble of Googling it. It's the collecting of sugar packets. There, isn't that amusing? It's not? And I shouldn't have to explain a joke? Oh.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Kid and Super-Ego


So Lana hasn't even finished her first superheroic mission and already she's referring to herself in the third person? Blockade Boy disapproves.

(Back at the police station, the bad guy's lawyer will arrange for him to view a police line-up of girls with white socks, black pumps... and huge glowing belts.)

Stop, or My Hobo Will Shoot


"So I'm not bleeding internally right now... that's a pleasant notion..."

And the unremitting perkiness--! Ugh! I know I've spoken out against "gritty" depressing superheroes before, but this nonsense is really too much. I mean, would it kill her to spend a panel grimly, silently wrenching the bad guy's arm out of its socket? Just as a sort of palette cleanser?

(And how can you tell this man is bad? No necktie. Why, you can see his collarbone and everything. The pervert.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Legion of Substitute Costumes: Tusker


How do you solve a problem like Tusker? Sure, he got rejected for Legion membership during the oppressive Dynamo-Boy Administration. And that evil little turd was rejecting some solid candidates, like the dreamy Animal Lad. "The" Tusker, however, was not a solid candidate.


The real Legion would have bounced his sorry ass out of there in a Rimbor minute with their classic "out-of-control powers" excuse. And in Tusker's case, it would actually be a legitimate complaint!

("Great stars!" gasps Overbite Kid. "His fangs are extending to fantastic length, l-like an elephant's tusks!" I suppose I should mention here that elephants can do that in my era, what with roughly 1,000 years of evolution to work with. I watched a remake of "Dumbo" the other day. It's now a horror film. Makes "Hostel" look like "Pippi Longstocking." Which is admittedly a lateral move.)

So what could I do with Tusker? And I do mean "Tusker" without the pretentious fratboy "the" in front of his name. No way I'm calling him that. And when I catch him calling himself that, I hasten to remind him that he's "a" Tusker, and that's about it. And then I give him a friendly slap on the ass to show I'm not cross with him. Anyway, how could I make the big dumb lug at least halfway cool, much less halfway viable as a superhero? I gotta admit, it was a struggle. I tried dressing him for the tundra, complete with a parka and Captain Cold goggles. No dice. At one point I actually had him walk around in a floor-length mink coat, with a big silk top hat tilted rakishly on his dopey noggin. (I kid you not, and I honestly don't know what came over me.) Finally I settled on just armoring Tusker up. Like my idea for Stone Boy, only with far less skin, therefore laser-blasting every atom of sex appeal to smithereens. Am I repeating myself? Haw! The very notion! Shame on you! Because I gave the armored suit a little thematic twist and a very special weapons system I had Storm Boy whip up during one of his rare sober periods!


The armor is painted in shades of red, the better to show off the gleaming white tusk motif. And also, it looks like the inside of a mouth. Yeah, that's what it looks like. Details? The visor is still based on Captain Cold's Inuit-styled shades. And with such a walrus-like henchman, I couldn't resist making him grow what used to be called "friendly muttonchops." Those are the kind that meet over the lip to form a mustache. Like they're shaking hands, I guess. But wait, what's that peculiar contraption emerging from his glove? It's a high-tech, thought-activated dental tool, buddy! There are different tools for yanking out different types of teeth, and they're all contained in those gloves. Now when Tusker gets in a scrap with a fabric store security guard (or whoever else is keeping me from taking the sewing supplies that are rightfully mine) he can commemorate his victory by collecting one of his vanquished foe's molars! I think Tusker is really getting into his new hobby -- not that he's been any less sullen or taciturn since I gave him the new costume, but the Tupperware containers of bloody teeth have sure been piling up in his cabin!

This Looks Like a Job for a Pert Teenaged Busybody


Of course by the time she gets done explaining herself, the victim will already have been stabbed to death.

Pinky and the Brainless


"I-it's frightening! My little girl... doing these amazing things!" God help Ma Lang if her daughter ever changes a tire or gets a college degree... she'll be overcome by a full-blown case of the fan-tods. (Fun fact: Mrs. Lang once petitioned the city council to rescind her personal right to vote. They agreed. Unanimously.)

And Lana... why would it even occur to you to try lifting that STEINWAY (product placement!) piano with your pinky in the first goddamn place? (I'm picturing a Geoff Johns rewrite of this scene where the piano's weight tears her finger right off her hand while Clark Kent peeps through the window, a single tear running down his noble cheek.)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Legion of Substitute Costumes Bonus: Weight Wizard

The crew of the H.M.S. Exquisite has the distinction of including five individuals who were rejected for membership by the Legion of Super-Heroes and one bad-ass Brigadier who could give a space-rat's ass about those stuck-up phonies. Although the Legionnaires have purchased costumes from me and as such are valued customers. What's that, you say? Weight Wizard and Plant Lad aren't on the official list of Legion rejects? Apparently their try-outs were so embarrassing that the Legion didn't even bother to record them! I wasn't there for Weight Wizard's. I found out about the whole deal one day when I came home to find him splayed out on the divan, crying his eyes out. He still refuses to divulge all the details. The more I think about it, the more I'm sure he didn't actually try out for the Legion, he came on to someone in the Legion and got "rejected." Timber Wolf, maybe. Huh. Now I'm kinda pissed.

As I explained in my very first post, Weight Wizard wasn't wearing his costume at the Super-Stalag of Space. That was just a nice t-shirt and cargo pant combo I'd found for him at Old Space Navy. My old 21st Century buddy Jeremy sketched Weight Wizard (and Plant Lad) in some older costumes I'd designed for them.


But that was years ago (my time) and I thought you all might like to see how I'm gussying up Weight Wizard's short, stumpy frame nowadays.


"Weight" + "Wizard" = THIS. I designed it all, including the hairstyle and the nifty scales tattoo. I wanted to make him look a little like a sorceror, ergo the "Doctor Strange" by way of "Iron Fist" feel of it. ("Karate Kid" who?!) The robe hugs his torso via the latest in Colorforms Technology. Cover up the nipples? Not on your life, buddy! I need 24-hour access to those babies! The sleeves are voluminous to support the wizard theme, but the rest of the costume is tight because what little there is of Weight Wizard's body is in fine shape, and also you can't put baggy clothes on a short dude without them looking like a Jawa. And although Weight Wizard is a natural blond, I thought he looked more "mystical" and grown-up with black hair... that had a huge spiked-up purple forelock smack-dab in the middle of it. And yes, although I loves me some hairy chest, it was worth it to get rid of Weight Wizard's chest hair to make room for that tattoo. And the rest of him is still kinda hairy, so, y'know. It's a win-win for me.

I'll get to the rest of the crew over the next week. And I'm allowing Storm Boy to write his own post, which should be... fun. *rubs temples, hoping to stave off incipient migraine*

I've added the "Legion of Substitute Costumes" tag to all my old posts in this category. So instead of having to click on each item in a list, you should be able to hit the tag and pull up every "Substitute" post, including this one. I'll be working on getting every post I've done tagged up, so the tags are actually useful. (A radical idea, I know.)

Ask Mister Greenjeans!


I don't know that I'd trust the cognitive abilities of any man who's buy trousers like that. Although they may have been purchased by Mrs. Professor Lang, if that dress is any indication. (It was originally solid pink, but then she got mowed down by a monster truck.)

Damn Imperialist Venusians!


"Because God knows the ancestors of those dumb face-paintin' shmoes we passed on the way over here couldn't have done anything this cool! D'ya think maybe Leif Ericson made it this far south, or... naw! And I can't think of any other white guys who might've done this! I guess it's th' dang Moon Men!"

Professor Lang is so enraptured by his white colonialist fantasies that he doesn't even notice the legendary Ninth Wonder of the World: namely, Earth's Largest Chia Pet.

Yo-Ho-Ho, Check Me Out

brigblock200New headshot! Because the old one made me look like Axel Rose, as delineated by Margaret Keane. My new mask/do-rag gives me a nice swashbuckling look, plus it helps me to *click* strike terror in th' craven hearts o'me enemies, me hearties! There's none 'at sail the spaceways wi' a mask so orange nor a beard so purple as ol' Brigadier Blockade! YAARRRGH!!! *click* Sorry. Stupid robot voicebox. Anyhow, I'm not the only one aboard the H.M.S. Exquisite with an exciting new look! This week, along with the ongoing adventures of Lana Lang and her hideous new belt, I'll be showing you my makeovers of my crew: Weight Wizard, Tusker, Rainbow Girl, and Plant Lad. I never mentioned Plant Lad before because he's in a hyper-dormant state right now and has actually petrified like an old Sequoia, so I strapped him to the prow. His official title is "Kick-Ass Figurehead." When he wakes up he'll get a share of all the loot we've plundered. Which right now is about 80% ankle socks and banana clips, but hey! A job's a job.

Also, I have an important announcement to make. The "request line" for makeovers is closed for now. I need to concentrate on finishing up all the series I started before I can promise to do anything new. I've made some serious dents in the "Rescue Me" makeovers and I've gotten a good start on the Fearless Five/Teen Tyrants "Moral Reversal" makeovers (and I'll also get to that "Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends" version of it) and the "Legion of Substitute Costumes" makeovers, so that's something, but it's still a ton of artwork and I only have so much time. I'll do Steven's "Criminal Accessories" idea (i.e. giving classic villains funny hats and such) at the end of this month. Everything I've promised to do up to this point, I will do. But I can't promise anything beyond that. Fair enough? Alrighty then.