Friday, October 12, 2007

The Shadow... Mighty Dorky Avenger!


Yeah, I'm familiar. Crazy gun-toting motherfucker in a trench coat and a pimp hat, has an Adrien Brody-sized schnoz poking out over a red scarf...?


...The hell--? Who's this loser? And why is he striking that pose Storm Boy took when he found out Gadfly Lad had used "his" hazelnut-flavored coffee creamer that he had paid for himself and that "nobody else is supposed to touch because [he] put [his] name on it and everything." And then Gadfly Lad demanded to see a receipt, and then things really turned ugly. There was a savage, unforgiving slap-fight, during which Storm Boy tried to yank the flying harness he'd designed off of Gadfly Lad's back. Gadfly Lad shrunk down and pelted Storm Boy with paperclips and push-pins, while Storm Boy took after him with a fly swatter. (No lightning allowed indoors... office policy.) Finally, Eyeful Ethel ventured out of her office (a rare favor) and made them break it up; the noise was interrupting her conference call with her press agent and a commemorative bobblehead manufacturer.


Well, you'll save them, anyway. Thirty years later, you'll find them in the attic of your stepfather's house after the old man finally kicks it, and you'll be filled with a peculiar sense of shame. And when your son asks you why you're crying, you won't be able to tell him why, and you will see his face go pale as the last remaining shreds of respect he had for you flicker out...


Ah, yes... Shiwan Khan, attired in his customary Dockers, windbreaker, and kicky little scarf. Is he plotting to rule the world or knock over a liquor store?

?--And why is the punctuation suddenly Spanish-flavored, kind-of??


Oh, c'mon! Just call it "the Danger Room" and get it over with. Still, they've managed to tackle one problem I had with the old version of the Shadow: he didn't say "razz-matazz" enough. (He's going to stop that lion with a Bob Fosse routine! Might I suggest "Steam Heat"?)


Thrill as the Shadow battles such fearsome adversaries as the Fetching Little Pillbox Hat Robot... the Viking Porn Star... and the Asymmetrically Booted Nazi!


Yeah, this comic ain't "selling out." Although the owners of the "Shadow" license sure as hell did.

("Whamo"? ...I gotta lie down now. I don't feel so good.)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

If ABC Promises to Stop Airing "Cavemen", Will You Come Down?


...And to top it off, he really has to pee right now.

Damn. Even for an Italian dude in Bedford-Stuy, this'd be a lot of chains! Or maybe he's a rapper, and the giant clock fell off.

Kidding. This is the-not-at-all-clumsily-named Oswald Clum, the "celebrated drama critic." Of Mesmero's one-man spectacular, he wrote, "A disgrace that such garbage should appear in a Broadway theater--!" So, Mesmero put a little whammy on him, and Spider-Man got to have his 7,384th flashback to That Time He Didn't Save Gwen Stacy. He saves Clum, though, with Denny O'Neil crowing, "a perfect catch!" And so Mesmero was left stomping in a huff about his shitty little dressing room, plotting to hyp-mo-tize a whole bunch of critics this time. I imagine he spent the rest of the evening re-blocking his stupid baby bonnet, checking his purple diaper for signs of leakage, and tightening the pointless air hoses on his back, and then... what th'? Somebody's in my apartment! It's... aw, hells, naw!


Hey! Quit it! Gah! Stop! Dillweed! Call 'em off, Mesmero! Don't make me climb into that suit with you and clobber your ass--!

And where'd you get kryptonite, anyhow?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Triumph is a Dish Best Served Flame-Broiled


Mmm... triumph.

As you can see from this panel, the reviews for Mesmero's one-man show are in, and the critics have not been kind. (It's a good thing Farley Granger didn't pull this shit on the closing night of "First Impressions", huh?) The sad thing is, Mesmero looks ten times better in that fireproof gear than he does in his own costume!

I wonder if he's still wearing the bonnet.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Tell-Tale Boutonniere

From "A Bouquet of Roses" in Charlton's "First Kiss" #20 (May, 1961): the delivery of an anonymous bouquet riles a woman's work-a-holic husband, so she decides she can best regain his attentions by secretly arranging for more "mysterious" bouquets to be sent to her house. When her scheme fails to pan out, she returns to the florist... and learns some surprising information. Prepare your heart strings for imminent plucking!

Legion of Substitute Costumes: Phantom Lad

I'm off of work now, sitting nudely in my condo, with Cootie curled up on my lap, and a two-liter bottle of Sun Beam whiskey in my paw, so I can finally write about what happened yesterday morning.

*drains bottle in one swig*

Okay. So it turns out Frigid Queen was working overtime because she was avoiding going home to Phantom Lad. So of course, Phantom Lad has started hanging out at our office, pretty much all day, every day. What the hell? I know he says he has a job, but... ugh. I'd better start at the beginning.

It's 8:28 AM. Frigid Queen is at her desk, making notes from a reverse visi-phone directory. Nightmare Boy is zonked out at reception, with his long, raven hair tumbling onto the desk in an attractive fan pattern. There's a smug smile on his pallid face. Meanwhile, the com system is buzzing like mad. Then, Phantom Lad breezes in, like he owns the goddamn building. And I swear to the Luck Lords, the fucker looks skinnier and dustier and more washed-out every time I see him. And he smells all tangy and shit, like a mix of cinnamon and body odor, but at the same time he has this attitude that just makes me want to... gah! I'm getting ahead of myself again. You'll see.

So Phantom Lad sweeps past me in that dumb, tattered glow-in-the-dark cape he always wears (with matching boots!) and even though it's never done me a damn bit of good all the other times I've tried, I say "good morning" to him, and he doesn't even look at me. He plops his bony ass down on Frigid Queen's desk with his back to me, and the two of them start arguing about something. The gist of their spat is: he'd said something just hideously insulting to her while they were having sex the previous night, she'd kicked him out of their apartment, and now he was back with some cheap-ass "make-up" gift. (Her first words to him were "What's this crap?" if that gives you any idea.) But I can tell by her tone that they're headed for a messy, desk-clearing makeout session (they've always stopped at "third base"... so far) and so I mosey on over to the only other person in the office just then: Nightmare Boy.

The lazy Lothario's nap has kicked into high gear, and he's smacking his lips and mumbling things like "Oh, yeah, baby... you like that, baby? I think you do...!" And then his body starts making these humping motions, so I slap him upside the head to snap him out of it. With a snort, he jerks awake, yelping an obligatory "TERRIFYING VISIONS OF THE FUTURE!" as he does so. He rubs his eyes. "Man, that one was a doozy," he confides, his crimson eyes huge with feigned innocence. "Bad... stuff, happening... soon. So, what can I do ya for?"

I ask him if he has any messages for me. He just shrugs, and says "How should I know?"

So naturally, Phantom Lad takes this opportunity to rattle his bony frame over to the reception desk as well, and he starts bullshitting with Nightmare Boy about some hot dame Nightmare Boy had picked up that weekend. And he's still ignoring me. But I can't stop looking at him, because he's wearing my clothes! By which, I mean he was wearing pants and a top from my old menswear line, back before it tanked and forced me into a life of space piracy. But of course, he'd somehow managed to screw it up. It's simultaneously bleached all to hell and grimy. I'm pissed. The funny thing is, he still looks better than how he used to dress. Here's a before, from his "Legion of Super Rejects" phase:


Also, and I can't find a picture to back this up, but trust me, I'm pretty sure he wore his hair in one of those high-up samurai ponytails. Heh. But yeah, Phantom Lad kind-of, sort-of tried to do the "Legion of Substitute Heroes" thing, only his group was solely focused on trying to convince the Legion of Super-Heroes to admit them. (Bank being robbed? House on fire? Old Durlan needing help oozing across the street? Well, tough shit, because the Legion of Super Rejects is too busy with their letter-writing campaign.) And the group disbanded after a month, and then I never heard anything else about Phantom Lad, until I met Frigid Queen.

And here he is, now:


Don't ask me what happened to his eyebrows. They probably dried up and blew away. And boy-howdy, is his complexion scary. He looks like he's made out of wax. Which would be cool if was from Plant Lad's planet and not from Bgztl, where they all look like Earthmen. Anyway, Nightmare Boy says something douche-y like "Diggin' the threads! Vintage, am I right?"

And while I'm reeling from the idea that something I designed two years ago could be vintage, Phantom Lad proudly informs Nightmare Boy, "It's an original Blockade Boy." He glances over at me for the first time ever and adds, "Y'know, the Blockade Boy. The cool one."

Meanwhile, I'm still so horrified by the idea of this tool wearing my clothes -- albeit badly -- that all I can say is, "You're not supposed to wear those pants with that top; they match too closely, and it makes the whole ensemble look--"

And he just makes this raspy scoffing noise, without even turning his head.

And I lose it.

I grab his shoulder with one of my furry mitts and I say, "Are you brain-dead, ya dumb bony bastard? I said, you're wearing my clothes wrong!"

He goes intangible and flounces out of my grasp. "I don't talk to rats," he sneers at me. "I step on 'em."

Okay. So now I have this mammoth urge to kick his ass, but at the same time my better nature is telling me:
  1. He weighs about as much as two kindergarteners, so it's not a fair fight (even with his phasing ability).
  2. He's the boyfriend of a coworker.
  3. I really can't afford to lose this job. Yeah, yeah, so I have a big pile of space-cheddah salted away somewhere. It's all tied up right now. In real estate... I don't wanna talk about it.
Instead of whaling on him, I just grit my teeth and demand to know what his snide remark was supposed to mean.

He says, "Everybody knows the only way you even got this job is by squealing on your brother. And whaddaya mean, 'your clothes', anyway?"

Reminding myself I'm masquerading as a fictional twin brother nowadays, I hurriedly grunt, "Phyl stole a lot of my ideas."

Phantom Lad gives Nightmare Boy a look, like "Can you believe this asshole?" and then he says to me, "That's what makes him a legend! He sees something he wants? He takes it! Naturally, he was the best space pirate ever, and when the U.P. tried to reign him in, he told them where they could put it! And he's still out there, doin' his own thing. I heard he's got a raygun-running operation goin' on with the Braalian Underground, and a couple of robo-brothels out by Colu. He's a freakin' counter-culture role model, man! But you? I never even heard of you before! So, what was your biggest accomplishment up 'til now? Finishing space-trucking school on your third try?" (His skinny ghost-hand phases tauntingly through my bushy goatee.)

How I keep from knocking his stupid block off, I'll never know. Instead, I stick to verbal sparring. I give him the withering once-over and say, "And you do... what, exactly? Play in a pod bay band? In between sash-shopping and not exercising?"

For the first time, he acts all defensive. "No! I'm a journalist."

"For what?" I smirk. "The Xanthu Shopper?" (And now Nightmare Boy is watching the two of us with bemused wonderment.)

"Screw that noise! I'm a gonzo journalist, on the political beat! You've probably read my stuff in Mother J'onzz or Rolling Asteroid."

"Ah, so you're one of those dim-bulbs who couldn't make it as a fiction writer, so you spot Marte Allon on a space-platform from twenty meters away and turn it into an 'arty' six-page piece about her doing shrooms on Jupiter." (And yes, I did the air-quotes when I said "arty." I despise myself for it.)

Phantom Lad is sputtering now. His jaundiced cheeks are desperately trying to blush, but all it's doing is making his head look like a dried-up nectarine. And Frigid Queen throws her two credits in with this fascinating comment: "Oh, that's not all he writes about! Tell him, honey!"

And she's laughing, and Nightmare Boy's laughing (although I can tell he doesn't even know what he's laughing about), and Phantom Lad darkly mutters that he has to leave. Frigid Queen still won't tell me what she was alluding to. It's driving me nuts not knowing. Huh. Well, I'll pry it out of her. Eventually. I'm charming that way.

But at least I shouldn't see Phantom Lad around the office again, anytime soon.


But this whole "fake twin" nonsense... it's gonna drive me bonkers! Look at me! I've turned into Mike Murdock, for Pete's sake! After all these years of railing against the stupidities of "secret identity" plotlines, I've stumbled right into one. The talons of Karma have got me by the balls.

...No, wait. That's just Cootie. Skedaddle, girl!

Monday, October 08, 2007


Sorry the post is late, everybody. I'm on surveillance! But shh! Don't tell. Also, I had an uncomfortable run-in with Phantom Lad earlier today. I'll post about it tomorrow morning. Frigid Queen is in the alley right across from mine, so I have to wait until she turns her head before I can work on my drawing of her boyfriend. So it's taking a real long time. (Jon, you'll get that new picture of you tonight.)

Y'know what? It kind of sucks working for somebody else after being my own boss! But at least I'm not cooling my hairy heels in the space-pokey -- a.k.a. Takron-Galtos, not the other Space-Pokey, which is a bar in West Lallorwood.

Balls. Where was I? Oh yeah! "Amazing Spider-Man" #207. After ditching Deborah Whitman outside a run-down theater -- and thus cheating her out of the "dinner" part of "dinner and a show" -- Peter Parker maximizes his Jilting Potential by not even showing up for their second date!


Before Giuliani cleaned up NYC, there were Limburger vendors on every street corner! Or perhaps this is a young Thomas Kinkade.

In any case, jerkwad-on-the-go Peter missed a real opportunity that night. Because a chastened Deborah has dared to "tramp it up" and expose her calves! Granted, they're sticking out of a voluminous maternity raincoat, but they're still mighty tempting. Well, maybe that extra from a maritime tavern fight scene in a "Power Man and Iron Fist" comic in the first panel will give her a ride home. With a brief detour for... intrigue! (That'd be my first step in a company-wide crossover designed to promote a new comic called "Power Man and Iron Fist and Deborah Whitman.")