Saturday, September 15, 2007

Extreme Chamber of Blockadeover Horrors

I'm working on those redesigns for some of the female characters in "So Super Duper" and I'll post 'em either tonight or tomorrow. Right now, I have a terrifying e-mail to share with you all, from my most prolific commenter, "Anonymous."

Yes, the guy who comments (and therefore loves) me most is Anonymous. Sorry, MaGnUs, but this guy's got you beat. Not only does he comment multiple times on the same post, but he even adopts different "voices", conflicting opinions, and on occasion even signs his Anonymous posts with the names of different people. I don't know where he finds the time!

This morning I received a message from the gentleman behind the Anonymous mask. Yup, now I know his real name! I made a solemn promise to never reveal it, though... and that's just as well, since the abomination I'm about to show you might inspire some of my more rabid fans to hunt him down with a torch and a pitchfork, like in an old Frankenstein movie. Rest assured, dear readers, this revolting abortion of high-tech fabric and otherworldly technology was instantly banned from the now-legendary "maybe" pile the nanosecond I laid eyes upon it, and I shall do everything in my power to keep it from coming to pass in my own universe.

Now, steel yourselves, my friends... for THIS!


*ULP*... *HORK*... Hang on... *wipes dribble of vomit from corner of mouth*

Okay, I feel a little better now. How's everyone holding up? Anybody faint? They did? Crap. Somebody grab the smelling salts. ...We good to go now? Okay.

Anonymous has a blood curdling tale to accompany this nightmarish costume design:
So, it's like 5am here, and there's a knock at the door. I stumble across the place in my footie pajamas, wiping my eyes and hoping it's another supermodel with a flat tire or millionaire looking for someplace safe to hide his cash. I open the door, and there's a horrific flash of color.

No, wait. It's just two jerks in loud costumes. This had better be damn good.

One, all in yellow and blue looks normal enough, except that his skin, eyes, hair, and goatee are all colored to match. The other is wearing what looks like a loincloth made of oranges and violets and has the worst skin condition I ever did see. Chalk-white. Maybe he's had a scare. Or maybe he's a zombie. There's a Native burial site just down...well, you don't want to hear about that.

The duo invite themselves in and the goateed guy starts making waffles.
Turns out I own a waffle iron. Hm.

Anyway, they start telling their story. Goatee is Barricade Brat of Earth-3, as it turns out, and he's been on a roadtrip with Bizarro-Blockade-Boy. Scanning wi-fi signals as they drove through my neighborhood, they caught me reading your blog and decided they want in.

Wow. These waffles are awful. But one of these guys is evil and the other is eating my television remote, so I'm humoring them as well as I can.

"We wish to help our Blockade Bro'," BBrat (so he insists I call him) explains. There was also talk about their own formerly robotic dingi, keeping them as souvenirs-slash-weapons, and...well, it was too early for that, especially with the waffles trying to make an escape, so I cut that talk short and tried to hurry them to the point.

"Me and Bratty-cade am designing costume," BBB shouts as I shoo him away from my cat. "Me am sad it am so ugly." Then there was a quick argument over whether the Bizarro conjugation of "beautiful" should be "ugly" in that context, but I'll spare you.

I present you with what they described, mostly because they're threatening to make me walk the plank, and I really don't want to find out how they'll force the issue. Alas, none of us can draw worth a damn, except Bizarro-Blockade-Boy, and he only wanted to make turkey pictures after tracing our hands. And my laptop doesn't have any actual artsy software, so it was all in Microsoft Paint based on the template you provided.

Ready? Take a deep breath, because we're going in.

BBrat insisted on maintaining the classic colors, even though it made coloring the skin impossible with a palette of sixteen colors. Red and silver might have made better options, but I was overruled. By which I mean I was smacked in the head with a begonia. I don't remember owning one of those either, by the way. In any case, your hair in this scenario is dyed to orange (or silver--ouch!), and has very light muttonchops (or are those sideburns?) that sculpt up at the ends. For subtle contrast, there's also a soulpatch dyed purple. These are supposed to be a shade or two darker than the costume colors. Oh, and there's a Superboy-like spit-curl, which appears to balance out the other (facial hair) features.

The costume itself is all one piece, though a complex piece. From the capeless collar, we spread across your upper back to the sleeves. Sure, this reduces the frequency of backrubs, and sure, it's sort of an atrocity. But we're not done, yet.

"To get anywhere in life, you have to break all the rules." BBrat has a point, I guess, even if he's the worst chef ever. "He doesn't like long sleeves and bare legs? He'll change his mind when his costume is ONLY long sleeves and bare legs!" No matter how much he twirls his moustache, I'm thinking no, he/you won't. But there it is. From the collar, we go into the sleeves. They're voluminous sleeves, though it's unclear in the picture. Baggy sleeves out of Golden Age Quality Comics.
I talked them down from making it sheer, at least. The seams are done up in orange piping that gets all twisty, attach at the...I'll call it a belt for now, and then--I swear they wanted it this way, and it wasn't my idea, the damn things flow into the toes of the boots! The piping becomes the soles, and then there's another pipe across the boot rim.

BBrat said something about "liquid fabric" to explain why you weren't going to trip over them. BBB held onto a boa made of violets and made flapping motions when he tried to explain it.

The sleeves are held together in front by a tasteful (so they tell me) gold chain.

Oh, the belt? That's a super-high-tech anti-gravity apparatus, they tell me. It has kilt-like qualities, so you can feel free to wear what you like beneath, without violating the Comics Code. But it's also a holographic billboard that lets you strobe messages as you see fit.
Fighting in a library and can't banter with your foes? Program in "you're about to be Blockaded!" and make your feelings and wit known.

And there's a bench around the insite for Cootie to sit. There's also a mechanism to retract any surplus sleeve that's in your way, and feed it out when there's not enough. Oh, and there is plenty of space in case you need to carry weapons or tools with you.

Things I think I should draw your attention to, in case they're unclear given the artistic tools at hand, include the recurring "BB" motif. The pendant dangling from the chain is a gold mirroring of an Interlac B, of course. The cut-outs extending from the sleeve (following your collarbone along the top) likewise resemble the Interlac letter. We would also trim your soul patch to a simplified version of that shape, one stem, where it looks more like a 20th century T. Finally, when you stretch out your arms, the mega-sleeves will hang much as your current BB symbol does. Or not so finally. That's a pinky ring on your left hand. Gold-colored Legion flight ring, with amethyst flakes in your classic insignia. You can punch people and leave it on their foreheads like Pulp vigilantes did.

Similarly, while not to the extent that others have tried, the tops of the boots are intended to very subtly evoke tower crenelations.

Lastly, I'm asked to tell you that the belt/kilt gadget "am Bizarro-belly-shirt."

Be grateful. I talked them out of swapping the colors on one sleeve.
BBB hate asymmetry.
I'm sorry you had to go through that, Anonymous. If I ever run into these two, I'll give 'em each a punch in the 'nads on your behalf.

Extreme Blockadeover: Dr. Tectonic, Part Two

My "Extreme Blockadeover" contest ends tonight at midnight, so don't put it off any longer! Stop being tormented by the alluringly handsome image of me that haunts your every waking hour... scribble it down and e-mail it to me, before you lose your goddamn mind!

They say you always remember your first... contestant, so I was pleased as punch to get a revised costume design from none other than Dr. Tectonic! I've got fashion fever and the only prescription is a new outfit! What do you prescribe, Dr.?
Okay, you got one more out of me. Seeing what worked and didn't work for everyone else was very educational, so I decided to give it one last try. Especially since everyone has now learned the word "crenellations"!

Even reduced to a headband, the hat really wasn't working, so away it went. Kept the gloves and boots, of course, and the knee-guards; why not? The facial hair is a little exotic, but I think it's handsome. I wasn't really expecting the shirt to do what it did -- it just kinda happened -- but I'm pretty pleased with it.

And of course, you needed A CAPE because they are awesome. It looks a little dorky in the picture because I had to position a fan to blow on it so you could see the shape; the natural drape of the fabric is normally much better. Please note that I steadfastly resisted temptation and did NOT give you little round tower-tops epaulets for the attachment points. The cape is held on with buckles like the ones on the boots and gloves.

You also might not be able to see the waistline of the pants very well because THE MODEL'S HANDS ARE IN THE WAY, HELLO! It's the crenellation motif again.

Please note also that the only offensive capability you have here is your natural charm, so make sure you only go up against foes who might be, y'know, into you if you use the old masculine wiles; fortunately, in this outfit, that should work pretty well.
You forget, Dr. Tectonic, that the guys who aren't "into me" (and technically I'm "into" them, a-thank you very much) are scared shitless by my raw masculinity so I can work the hero thing from that angle as well. But that's a minor quibble. Let's see what you came up with!


I wasn't totally sure about this one, but then I realized I could drape the cape over my shoulders like you kind-of suggested, and that gave it the color balance it needed. And now I really love this design! Plus, the hair is bangin'. It's a sleek, smart costume all the way around.

Good work, buddy! This is one for the "maybe" pile!

Friday, September 14, 2007

There's Still Time to Enter!

So send me a costume design already! The deadline slams down like a steel wall at midnight tomorrow night, Central Standard Time. That's more than enough time to knock together something to knock my socks (or pants) off! My "maybe" pile is burgeoning with the potent imaginings of my readers, and they're all so good I still can't pick out a clear front-runner. Will the design you send me wind up on top of the heap? There's only one way to find out! So send me sumpin' before it's too late!

In the meantime, I wanted to share a new drawing sent to me by Jonathan Munroe -- it shows me dressed in the design he submitted, minus the aviator's helmet.


Jonathan writes:
Just because I had some extra time at work, as well as to show you what the hair looks like. Surprise! It's just as you imagined.

Here you are at the futuristic wheel of the Exquisite , shouting "Charge!" or "Arrrrrrrr!" or "Pulsar Stargraaaaaaaaaaaaave!" as you barrel through the void.
Or maybe even "Janet Pyyyyyyymmmmmmmmm!!!"

Well, I thought it was funny, anyway. And what are the odds the hairstyle looks just like I'd guessed it would? Maybe I'm part-Naltorian!

Oh, and my post about forcibly undressing Tusker has some of my readers concerned over my treatment of the big lummox, so I might as well clarify: Tusker's a great guy -- loyal like a bulldog, he is -- but if he's going to survive out here in the wilds of space he's going to have to toughen the eff up. So I sometimes find myself having to act like a really sexy drill sergeant around him. I'll get 'im there. And anyway, he knew when he signed on with me that when I tell a man to take his pants off, he'd better goddamn well take his pants off or I'll do it for him.

Hell, I even put that part in the classified ad!

Extreme Blockadeover: Phillip Ginder

Phillip Ginder sent in a quartet of designs (okay, technically it was a trio) that show off my awe-inspiring pelt to full advantage. Take it away, Phil!
Okay, I keep seeing all these costume designs on your blog, so I said, "What the hell!".
The first two are the same with different backgrounds. Pretty simple stuff, big tough boots paired with lots of hairy flesh is a look I thought you might enjoy. I was inspired to do these by Lydean Kind's "belly shirt" design, actually. I liked the crenelations on the bottom of the shirt but not the shirt itself. What I was trying to get at with these designs was sort of the "inverse" of that; covered belly, exposed pecs, + crenelation. My artistic skills leave much to be desired and HeroMachine wasn't giving me what I wanted so it ended up as these sorta Captain America stripes.
(I decided to only show one of the first two designs he sent in, since the background was the only difference between them.)


Interesting, but the equal distribution of orange and purple makes my eyeballs itch. Also, I'm not really sure what's going on with the orange highlights on the purple shorts and boots. Is it supposed to be iridescent, kind of?
The third & fourth pics have matching gloves & belt if that sort of thing is important to you. I personally like the shorter gloves.


I dunno... the main part of the costume is so close to looking like a girdle anyway that it almost needs the bigger gloves to distract from it. Hmm.
The fourth pic is a little closer thanks to MSPaint, but really I don't like the stripes too much. I'll try and refine it and send you another one, but I think you get the idea. (Imagine solid orange w/ purple crenelation.)


This is better (and I'm looking forward to your revision) because the crenelation makes for a more interesting silhouette. Exactly how would the crenelation be purple? Would it be like a thick outline, maybe? Because the stripes/bars just ain't workin' for me. Anything else you'd like to add, Phil?
Oh yeah, the hair! The hair & beard is based on my own because I have no imagination. I actually have about 1/8th of an inch of hair on my head 'cause fully bald looks kinda crappy with my skull, but obviously you don't have that problem.:) My beard pretty much looks like this but it isn't orange.

Hope you like the designs!

-Phill (aka devojane, aka devophill)
The beard is great, and of course a dude with a beard like that would have an ever-present cigar. (Even Peter David's Aquaman had a cigar, but he could never smoke it because, y'know... he was underwater.)

I'll have to pass on this batch -- reluctantly -- but it sounds like your upcoming revision has a lot of potential.

Extreme Blockadeover: Nicolas M., Part Two

Nico was nice enough to send me a revision of his original costume design, based on my comments!
Instead of working on the many, many things I needed to get accomplished tonight, I played a little bit with the costume design keeping your advice in mind.
I got rid of the flash of bare leg because I decided that shorts would look silly with boots that high, and I wanted to keep the boots.

I couldn't decide on an appropriate logo, so I just used a simple star, cause your a star baby! (or maybe 'cause it's a pre-existing brush shape in photoshop elements and I am too tired to try for something freehand).

It's still a very simple looking design, but I like it. Thanks for having the contest. This has been fun.


Nice! I like this a whole lot better, Nico. The addition of a purple "imperial" soul patch in the middle of that close-cropped orange beard is a great little detail. And I see you managed to draw in the chest hair without a sink hole swallowing up your house or a flock of rabid canaries attacking you.

Congratulations! It's goin' in the "maybe" pile!

Legion of Substitute Costumes: Tusker (Revised)

When I designed Tusker's last costume, I was trying to "think outside the crotch" and devise a male costume that didn't rely on sex appeal for it's primary visual impact. In retrospect, I wound up creating a garish eyesore. So I scrapped that costume -- literally, by tearing it off a startled and terrified Tusker and tossing it into the atomic incinerator while he watched with big confused tears running down his cheeks. Then I patted him warmly on the shoulder and buttocks and explained I was making him a much better costume. That cheered him up, just a little.

Tusker had trouble working those thought-controlled automatic dental tools on his old duds because, well, he's rock-stupid... so I decided to go low-tech this go-round. I also wanted a more iconic look for him. Starting with the dentist angle, the image of a bloody smock appeared in my mind, and from there I imagined a leather apron like butchers (and serial killers) use, and I finally had a concept that combined the stylings of dentists, butchers, blacksmiths and Olde Tyme executioners:


The leather is crimson instead of boring old black or brown because it stands out more, and it looks good with Tusker's pinkish skin and carrot-hued hair. And as you can see, ol' Tusker has some new mouth bling goin' on! The last time I tried to get him to replace one of his tusks with a gold-plated version he balked at the last possible second. But after Weight Wizard kicked one o' those choppers clean out of his mouth he really had no choice in the matter. I think it makes him look pretty tough! The two dental pliers can be held by straps on his belt when he's not using them to de-fang an enemy. The beautiful silver of the tools is carried through on his costume by his chrome-plated "T" symbol and his steel-toed/heeled boots. I'm taking the whole crew out on the town when we land on Rimbor and I think this new look should net him a lot of hot sexy action! And if he's lucky, some of it might even be with women! (Heh, heh...)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Extreme Blockadeover: Lydean Kind

I've been collaborating with Storm Boy on my sales pitch for the Brigadier Blockade Blowout Event at Rimbor's black mega-market this Sunday, and I think it'll be pretty sweet. I just hope my voice is booming enough. (...Aw, who am I kiddin'? Like an elephant, I am!) I'm also fitting Tusker for his new costume, and he was nervous about showing more skin, but once I explained it would make him a "babe magnet" he showed a lot more enthusiasm. I even designed a sweet new symbol for him. It's graphic and clean, and it would even look right at home on the Legion mission board, y'know, if they ever... induct -- heh! Haw! HA HA HA oh GOD I can't even SAY it without laughing HA HA oh JESUS CHRIST! Oh! *wipes tears from eyes*

Meanwhile, I have another set of costume designs to peruse! Kick-ass! These are from "Silvercat", a.k.a. a young (?) lady (?) "named" "Lydean Kind" but as you know, I trust no one at this point when it comes to names. Some quick anagramming shows that the letters "Lydean Kind" can be rearranged into:
  • "LinK and dye"... some kind of advertising ploy?
  • "diaL Kenny d"... hang on, I'll try it. ...Nope, he never even heard about the costume contest. Or so he claims.
  • "Lend any kiD"... holy cats, it's a creepy temporary adoption scheme! Probably for celebrities, who hoist the kids on their shoulders at photo-ops and then deposit the hapless tots behind a Taco Bell somewhere. Or maybe this is a savings-and-loan for toddlers.
  • andy KindLe... which is one letter away from the name of one of my favorite stand-up comics, Andy Kindler.*
Y'know what? Maybe I'm just paranoid. Okay, forget it, "Lydean." Whatever your secret is, it's safe.

She writes:
I honestly can draw, but I'm tired and my hand hurts and I'm running out of paper, so you get modified HeroMachine stuff. Sorry.

I stuck with the classic purple and orange and they're all variations. I gave you dark purple with orange accents. Some chunky technological bracers and a belt to keep all your art supplies and stuff. I probably should've played some more, but, again, tired, hand hurts, so feel free to pick and choose (like you wouldn't anyway)

On the last one I tried to give a subtle crenelated effect to the mask. Otherwise, I think they speak for themselves.

So, yeah, I have no chance of winning and you're going to let the entire internet know I'm a lazy bastard (or would be if I was a guy). Oh well.
Hmm. Sounds interesting. Let's peruse her collection!


Not bad!




Yikes. No thanks, I don't do the belly shirt thing. And the mask stands out too much from the rest of the outfit.

But I love the second one! It's going in the "maybe" pile, in fact! It's classic with a twist -- the castle cut-out -- which really sets it apart. And there's just enough crenelation to make it distinctive without overwhelming the eye. And of course, the beard rawks. Good job, Lydean!

*In my opinion, one of the funniest jokes Andy Kindler ever did was this: "What I hate, is when a comedian bases a joke on an incorrect premise. Like this one comic, he starts his set with 'So I was in the store the other day and I see they're selling sugarless chocolate. Who's that for?' ...IT'S FOR DIABETICS, that's who it's for! Yeah, so I was in the hospital the other day, and I saw people getting injected with insulin, what's that all about? Who's that for?"

Extreme Blockadeover: Nicolas M.

The H.M.S. Exquisite has a new, turbo-charged, eight-gazillion-cylinder nuclear engine and I've set course for Rimbor and the galaxy's largest open-air black market! Once we arrive we'll try to sell everything we can before the U.P. can show up and take my pirate's license away.

I wish there was somebody on my crew who was missing enough body parts to qualify as a replacement but no. They're all just strutting around, showboating their non-amputated arms and legs, like they're trying to piss me off on purpose, goddammit. I'd volunteer for an operation myself if I wasn't planning on quitting the space pirate game anyway. I just wish I could keep some of the great stuff I've stolen -- like this great Imskian hairbrush set that I use for grooming my eyebrows. I'm morally opposed to guys "shaping" their eyebrows through hair removal but I do like to make sure they're nice and combed. Sometimes I "set" them with a little gel.

Which brings me in a roundabout way to the latest entry in my costume design contest! It's from Nicolas "Nico" M., who was faced with major interruptions -- like power blackouts and emergency phonecalls -- every time he attempted to delineate my chest hair! It's eerie. Clearly, some diabolical force was trying to prevent him from entering my contest. Weight Wizard's ghost, perhaps?

First, Nico sent me a "joke" entry, but it's so brilliant that I'm going to share it with you all anyway.


Gah! Scary! Nico explains:
Considering that I faced power outages and other distractions the first few times I tried to work on a costume, maybe it’s not odd that I finally ended up with an outfit not for you, but rather for your evil earth-3 (or whatever their calling it these days) counterpart Barricade Boy, the hairless wonder.

He originally used his power to turn into a moderately sized chain link fence to commit petty crimes, but these days he calls himself a hairstylist. Meaning that he mugs people and threatens to zap them with his depilatory laser unless they hand over their wallet.

Sorry, a real entry should be forthcoming.
I should hope so. Hell, you should hope so, because your nightmarish imagery caused one of my billions of beard hairs to turn white, and I'm a little pissed off at you right now. *yanks out white hair and grunts, manfully*


Now, this is more like it. And don't worry, I'm picturing it with a copious pelt in all the exposed areas, not just the calves.
OK, here’s a real costume. I suspect that it may be a bit too simple for your taste, but I wanted something that didn’t distract too much from your body. With luck, the cut of the arms and chest serve to emphasize your size. The flash of skin at your legs is there mainly cause I’m a bit of a leg man.
Aw, so close! I like the combination of the close-cropped hair and beard. The neckline is perfect. And I think the gradated colors are absolutely terrific. It's striking but it's not garish, because the colors are still predominantly solid. The boots are perfect, being a solid, darker color that doesn't compete with the rest of the outfit. However, I don't care for the high-water tights. Exposed calves are cool, but I think raising the hem to just over the knee would have worked a lot better. The way it is, it almost looks like regular pants that shrunk a little. Also, with the simple silhouette of the garment, it needs a logo somewhere to focus they eye. It doesn't have to be big. It could just be on my left man-breast, like a badge, or maybe on the waist, like a buckle (you know how I like to design those belt-less buckles.) As it stands, I'm going to have to pass on it.

From your LiveJournal I get the impression you don't have a lot of time to spare for something like this, so I really appreciate that you sent me these. If you want to revamp the last one a little, that'd be awesome... but I totally understand if you're too busy.

Thanks, pal!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Your Memories Have Just Been Sold

bbinstinctblurbmediumYour corrupt, ramshackle 21st Century press machine has at last seen fit to publish an article on yours truly, in this month's issue of "Instinct." Go buy a copy, or I'll know, somehow. Go on. Right now! Git! I don't care if you're in Uruguay or whatever. Get your ass on a plane and fly someplace th' dang magazine is available! It's your blogtriotic duty.

Okay, fine. Here's a big image of the blurb.


The writing's okay, I suppose, but I wish people would stop attributing my blog to Jeremy Rizza. Okay, so I crashed at his old pad for a year-and-a-half and he let me use his computer, and I'm still accessing it now, from my glorious future world that you filthy Neanderthals couldn't even begin to comprehend, but that doesn't make him the blog's "author." Why is that so hard for everybody to understand?

I don't really like that picture they used of me, either. That one's from a few months ago, when I was messing around with a re-design of one of my older costumes, just to see if I wanted to cover up my cyborg legs. I decided against it. And my eyes look crazy. Probably from staying up for a solid week working on the damn thing, with only coffee and Weight Wizard's travel-sized hotness to keep me going.

Also, no way, no how am I "bitchy." Storm Boy is bitchy. When you're as big and hairy and as reeking of testosterone (and certain other intoxicating aromas) as I am, you're "gruff" or "saturnine" or "a harsh taskmaster" and that's that.

"...even more bitchily than Mr. Blackwell." Damn it...



Who needs televangelists when you can just speak directly to the Lord himself via whatever gizmo Mister Kline has? ("Are you there, Kline? It's Me, God!") Just try not to piss Him off.
Mister Kline: ...and before I sign off for today, could You maybe do something about this thing on my foot? *hoists foot onto uncluttered desk, pulls off shoe and sock*

God: Suppose you tell Me what I'm supposed to be looking at, exactly--?

Mr. Kline: That white spot... I think it's a Plantar's wart?

God: So? Go down to the corner drugstore and pick up some of that remover.

Mr. Kline: Well... I mean, You're right here, couldn't You just heal it for me?

God: Ugh. Stop wasting My time. I was going to give you a chance to repent for all the terrorism business, but you know what? This is the last straw. You're going straight to hell.

Mr. Kline *panicked*: But, I--!

God: Peace out!

[The shimmering image evaporates, leaving Mr. Kline in total darkness.]

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Jagged Edge Explosion Balloon!


After those one-and-a-half pages of rousing action, we're gonna take a breather while Mister Kline tries to set the alarm on his clock radio.

Listen... I wanna get "real" with you now. Can we "rap"? We can? Good. Thank you.

Over the course of gouging a ragged, bloody hole in this comic's neck and shitting down its windpipe examining this comic, I've grown to enjoy the figurework of George Tuska. His looming, lumbering characters have a warmth somehow lacking in the work of the similarly-styled Don Heck. (Heck's characters tend to have odd, leering, Pan-like faces that make them look like they've endured some seriously botched rounds of plastic surgery.) Sure, Tuska's characters tend more toward the "beetle-browed and oafish" end of the spectrum, but here it's softened by the exquisite inking of Jim Mooney. I just wish that Tuska's backgrounds just once would have had anything at all to do with his figurework. Take this panel. It's as dramatic as any "turning that one knob" panel could every hope to be, and Mr. Kline's immaculately-manicured hand is rendered beautifully. And yet the background is practically a collage. What is all that crap piled up back there? I see a picture frame (not sure there's anything in it), a scrap of wicker, a windowsill air conditioner, a two-by-four... just where th' heck is he? May I expect Fred Sanford to wander in at any moment? ("Kline, you dummy--!") And are all those hundreds of lines radiating from that magenta lightbulb or blister or everlasting gobstopper or what-have-you meant to indicate that it's glowing or just really anxious? (Performance anxiety!)

Oh, and mister letterer guy? Artie? I'm pretty sure a caption about a guy turning a knob doesn't merit the Jagged Edge Explosion Balloon. (My new rock band!) I'm just sayin'.

And Now, the Crustacean You've All Been Waiting For


Y'know, I was going to break this sequence down into individual panels, but as you can see, George Tuska (pencils) and Artie Simek (lettering) made it damn near impossible. So screw it. And heck, it is the book's climax, and as I used to say to my dates, "I might as well show it to you in all its uncut glory."
  • The very idea of Demitrius lends itself well to the kind of surreal, almost dadaist fun that superhero comics can do so well. Unfortunately, it's all weighted down by mounds of soggy, pretentious "Marvel Method" prose. Blech.
  • "Creature"? "Transformed non-man"? Sure, a guy sprouts a couple of cranial lobster arms and suddenly he's a monster. Would you have used those words if you'd written the comic where Abra Kadabra turned the Flash into a marionette, Young Gerry Conway? I should think not. Young Gerry Conway is unfair to mutated proto-Serbs!
  • [Setting: the interior of a brownstone in Hackensack. The Del Pieros, a retired couple, are having coffee in their dining room when someone rings the doorbell.]

    Mrs. Del Piero: I'll get it, honey. [She opens the door and sees a twenty-foot-tall man in green coveralls, with lobster-clawed arms protruding from his skull.] Yes...? Oh! You must be the new delivery guy my neighbor Mrs. Totti mentioned... Demitrius, is it?"

    UPS guy: Yea... I am Demitrius -- and I bring DEATH! [He presents her with a small cardboard box.]

    Mrs. Del Piero: Death? For me? But I didn't send away for any death.

    [Demitrius is busy punching buttons on his electronic clipboard, but acknowledges her with a shrug.]

    Mrs. Del Piero [calling to husband]: Honey? Did you order my death?

    Mr. Del Piero [raises coffee mug cheerfully]: Not today, honey! But don't tempt me!

    [They both chuckle at this.]

    Demitrius [presents her with the clipboard and his stylus]: Just sign here, and here, and here.

    Mrs. Del Piero [hesitates]: I don't know if I'm-- I mean, could I send this back? If it's no trouble? It's just that I not ready for death.

    Mr. Del Piero: Who's it from?

    Mrs. Del Piero: Hang on, I'm talking to the delivery guy!

    Mr. Del Piero [louder]: What...? Who's it from? Who sent it to you?

    Mrs. Del Piero [frustrated]: How should I know?!

    Mr. Del Piero: Well, it's got a shipping label, don't it?

    Mrs. Del Piero: Oh, for--! Fine! [she examines the box] Oh! It's from my sister!

    Mr. Del Piero: WHAT...?!!

    Mrs. Del Piero [hollers]: IT'S FROM MY SISTER! [to herself] I suppose I can't send this back to her...

    [She reluctantly signs the form, and Demitrius departs. She carries the little box into the dining room and sits back down with her husband.]

    Mr. Del Piero: Well? Aren't you gonna open it?

    Mrs. Del Piero: Oh, I'd rather not. I guess I'll just put it away somewhere.

    Mr. Del Piero: Like where?

    Mrs. Del Piero: I thought maybe in the -- [catches herself, smiles, and wags her finger at him] Oh! You're a very naughty boy!

    Mr. Del Piero: Almost got you! [grins, takes a sip of coffee] So what are you gonna tell your sister when she calls and asks how you like your death?

    Mrs. Del Piero: I'll just lie and tell her it's wonderful.

    Mr. Del Piero: Ah, so it'll be just like our wedding night! [then, wistfully] ...Y'know, I probably will kill you someday.

    Mrs. Del Piero: Get in line, darling.

    [They both laugh.]

    [Fade out.]
  • Reading the captions, I have to wonder if Young Gerry Conway ever intended for Demitrius to be drawn with lobster-clawed cranial appendages in the first goddamn place. He talks about fire and lightning bursting from Demitrius's brain and grabbing Iron Man, not some kooky monster arms. I'm guessing he had pictured some kinda Kirby-kracklin' energy spewing out from a bloated noggin and not the Golden Age-styled nonsense Tuska wound up drawing. The sad part is, the story's better for Tuska's "mistake."
  • Demitrius to Slasher: "And that is why you are the tool--!" Preach it, brother!
  • "Mister Kline!" Ugh. Once again, this limpest of villain names ruins a perfectly good melodramatic pronouncement. It would have been exponentially cooler if Demitrius had said "Doctor Doom!" or "Kang the Conqueror!" or hell, even "Zarrko the Tomorrow Man!" Anything but "Mister Kline!"
  • George Tuska's groundhog-like fear of delineating shadows makes it easy to pretend that in that largest panel, Demitrius hasn't quadrupled in size after all, but has merely leapfrogged over Iron Man, into the foreground. And as we all know, Demitrius is fond of leaping.
  • Are your appetites whetted for a balls-out battle between Iron Man and Demitrius? They are? Well, too damn bad, because Young Gerry Conway thought the next panels would be best put to use looking in on Mr. Kline and his "uncluttered desk." Heh.

Monday, September 10, 2007

L'il Gerry Conway and the Eastside Boyz


Why yes, it is "KRUNK", isn't it?

Slasher really isn't into the whole "banter" thing. Mainly because it takes time away from his soliloquizing. (This just in: sources report that Slasher was wedded to the sound of his own voice this past weekend, in a grim Socialist ceremony in the crater of a smoking volcano.) Check it: in the second panel, Iron Man turns Slasher's attempted filibustering into a charming bit of overlapping dialog that wouldn't sound out-of-place in "The Philadelphia Story." Take that, "Fingers"!

Extreme Blockadeover: MaGnUs, Part Four

The H.M.S. Exquisite has docked at an out-of-the-way planetoid for repairs. Since the Exquisite is a pirate spaceship I had to take the old girl to a skeezy chop-shop establishment. They're replacing the melted nuclear engine with one they "reclaimed" from a fancy U.P. battle cruiser. Already I can hear the mechanics whispering shit like "That's the famous Brigadier Blockade? I thought he was a cyborg!" and "He's got all his body parts! What's up with that? You can't be a pirate if you still got all your arms and legs!" and "The U.P.'s gonna take back his pirate's license for sure!" and (of course) "Now that's what I call a man! Do you think he'd roger me in the grease pit if I asked real nice?" (I get that last one all the time.) But yeah, word that I'm no longer officially qualified to be a pirate is going to spread pretty fast now. And I'd threaten these guys to keep 'em quiet but it sounds like they're into that. Which is fine, I don't even want to be a pirate anymore (so there!) but if the U.P. catches up to me before I've had a chance to unload my booty (so to speak) they're going to confiscate it all! So I've got to get the Exquisite up and running and off to someplace I can make a helluva deal for all my legally-stolen merchandise.

In the meantime, I've got some more mail! From MaGnUs! And he says...
So, here goes my last batch
Sure it is, buddy. Sure it is...! *thunderous-yet-congenial laughter*


This is the x-costume again, with less skin showing, and less of a gimpy feel to it. I dropped the cowl, but left the goggles, and kept the huge-ass X on the chest, as well as the textured gloves. Black bodysuit, and a belt only as a fashion accesory (like Rogue used to wear); with multi-buckled boots to match. I don't expect you to put this one on the maybe pile, but I just wanted to show you the redesign.
Well, tough shit because I am putting it on the "maybe" pile.


Just for shit and giggles: Detective Blockade goes to Reboot Era and has mutiple pouches to hold all the bullets he needs to kill people who call themselves stuff like "Apparition", "Live Wire" or "Inferno".
Heh. Cute. It's a non-starter for me, of course, because of the gray temples (which don't exactly go with "Boy") and the generic costume. Also, I kind of miss the cigar. Even though I'm more of a pipe man myself. Oh well.


Professor Blockade: Mad scientist get up, again, just for fun. Absent-minded mad scientist.
I know, but I decided to post this anyway. Because I really like the goggles, the bald head, and (especially) the walrus mustache. Koo-koo-katchoo, motherfuckers! The bow tie is a nice touch as well. Y'know, it's a shame this is mostly street clothes, or else I'd consider it for the "maybe" pile.


Kung-Fu Blockade: Just a regular kung-fu fighter outfit, with the sunglasses to give it a modern touch, and of course, a black belt.
Wow! No, thank you. Although I like the idea of showing my big, ape-like feet to all the world. On the few occasions I've walked around barefoot in public, I'd see strangers glance down at my feet and get these ridiculous scrunched-up "disgusted" faces, so then of course I had to pin them up against a wall -- with one of my feet -- and say "You know what your problem is? You just can handle how fabulous my feet are!" (Yes, I sometimes paraphrase dialog from the Whitney Houston version of "Cinderella.") And then I pimp-slap them a couple of times. With my feet.

There, won't torture you again with my designs
Oh! Well, I'm glad we've come to some sort of an understanding...
unless I get new ideas...