Friday, October 26, 2007

D-List Monsters of Super-Hero Land: The Mole, Part Three


At last, Maxwell House brings you a coffee so rich, so flavorful, that it's evolved into a sentient organism with the capacity for speech. Disclaimer: brace yourself for its shrill, screaming "WHYYYYYYYY?!!!" as you pee it back out. (It's a bit of a diva.)

So, who is this lovely woman, and why does the Mole have it in for her? Let's ask the Mole Man himself!


What th'--?! He's takin' a dump! Aw, HELL no. Damn it, Mole--! You can't just treat the sewer like your own personal... toilet... okay, I guess you can. But couldn't you rig up some kind of partition out of a cardboard box, or... hey! What about a nice Japanese screen? Certainly, somebody must have thrown an exquisitely-painted Japanese screen down there. Or maybe you could just cover yourself with a blanket.


Wait a minute...! Chemical plant in Gotham... grotesque villain... hackneyed writing...! I think I can see where this is headed. Although why Gene Colan decided to dedicate the foreground of that second panel to two rats about to "get it on" is still a mystery.

But yeah, the Mole started out as a guy who habitually tunneled into banks and out of jails, until he wound up in the wrong sewer pipe at the wrong time.


"Somehow" it changed him -- near-instantaneously, mind you -- into a monster that resembled the animal he was already nicknamed after. This is a convenience for the Mole's friends, who won't have to update their greeting card lists.

The Mole resolves to tunnel into Wayne Manor from below. But wait! That's where-- oh, I smell a wacky complication!


This is when Batman still had his headquarters under that skyscraper with the big tree inside, and hadn't moved all his tacky, Vegas-y crap back into the gaping hole beneath his mansion. But the Old School Batcave still had a smooth, level floor, and scads of pendant lights, and even some big, expensive looking (for 1981) computer equipment. And yet, the Mole seems terribly blasé about the whole thing. Y'see, he's been around. After a guy's tunneled into Hef's Grotto on Funnel Cake Night (don't ask) it takes more than a mysterious cavern to grab his attention.

That night, the Mole sneaks back in, and cuts the electricity.


Are you troubled by Restless Bosom Syndrome? Poor gal... her left breast is afraid of the dark, but she's the one who has to get out of bed and do something about it. Oh, and Sandra? Haley Mills called. She wants her hair back.

By the way, I sleep in a similar fashion (albeit on a huge slab of granite): nude, except for a lightning beast hide arranged over my lower body so that it almost completely conceals my junk, and moaning suggestively. I figure, if some loser (okay, Storm Boy) is peeping at me, I might as well give him a little thrill. Because I firmly believe that charity begins at my junk.

How does the Mole's scheme turn out? Not so great...


And then Batman floods the Batcave -- because he can do that, apparently -- and the Mole is literally flushed out of the story. Congratulations, Batman! You stopped the Mole after he only killed two people! That's actually a fantastic improvement over your dealings with the Joker! ...Except you never took the Mole into custody and you have no idea if he's still out there. Which doesn't stop you from kicking Sandra's ass out of your mansion. Huh. Never mind, then.

Still to come: a werewolf; a tree monster; a paper monster -- which, I'm sad to report, is not a processed version of the tree monster; and The Perfect Fighting Machine (in a pink muscle shirt, yet)!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

D-List Monsters of Super-Hero Land: The Mole, Part Two


What I Hate About Roy Thomas' Writing, Exhibit A: a character saying out loud and to nobody at all, everything that is happening in a panel, including his own actions. Just think how much more suspenseful and interesting that first panel would be without any speech balloons. We can see a mound of earth following him from panel one to panel two, so there's no need for him to state that he's being followed by something underground. His clothing, location, and physical attitude indicate somebody who's running in a panic. All that wordiness contributes nothing to Gene Colan's fantastic artwork. Now, if this was drawn by somebody as incompetent as, say, Rob Liefeld, I could understand the need for descriptive speech -- and puh-lenty of it, given that Liefeld probably wouldn't even draw the guy's feet -- but with a master like Colan all those words just get in the way.

But enough of this. You all came to my cowtown sideshow to see the Mole, didn't you? Let's investigate, along with The Dad-Burned Batman!


Journey to the Center of Apache Chief's Sphincter!


Told ya so.

Careful, Bats -- he eats of lot of Moroccan food.


"Good God!"

Y'know what would have been better than Batman saying "Good God"? If he said "Eep!" or "Yowza!" or even "Oy gevalt!" I mean, why half-ass it?

But yeah, that's the Mole. Yes, I know. I'm just as disappointed as you are. From the boring, naked, Clayface-Lite body to the blandly unattractive face (practically swiped from a Sal Buscema human character) and the inexplicable slick-back hairdo (what is he, Alec Baldwin?), the Mole is one lame monster. Almost is bad is his habit of saying "Huh-huh" in every other panel. I can't read this comic nowadays without thinking he sounds like Butthead, of "Beavis and..." fame.

You might think the Mole was created especially for this issue, but you'd be wrong. Because this is a Roy Thomas story, and his hard-on for continuity is rivaled only by (the Marquis de) Geoff Johns.


Oh, its not good when you enter a jail cell and the other inmates are looking at you like that. (From what Storm Boy tells me, anyway.) Retreat, Mole! Retreat!

Next: More Mole! Including a panel where he terrifies a coffee cup.

You heard me.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

D-List Monsters of Super-Hero Land: The Mole, Part One

I still have a lot to say about the Spook -- in fact, I just snagged a "Detective Comics" with one of his earlier appearances -- but I figure you all might be anxious to see some different D-List monsters. So I'll get back to the Spook (and his suction-cup shoes) another day. And now, let's all brace ourselves for the pants-wetting terror of... the Mole!


Oh, I can sympathize with Batman. Only last month, I had this Plantar's wart that just would not go away. I tried putting some dry ice on it, and I swear to the Luck Lords, not only did the damn thing actually get bigger, but a squeaky, scoffing voice issued from it, informing me that it "washes [its] balls in ice water," just like that Russian mob guy that Paulie and Christopher tried to kill in the snow, on "The Sopranos." One night, when when the wart was about the size of a bottle cap, it just opened up like a flower, and a handsome, well-hung (proportionately, anyway) little faerie-man (with hummingbird wings!) flitted out of it. He was beautiful. I was moved beyond words. I didn't cry, though. AND I'LL FIGHT ANY MAN WHO SAYS I DID! *looks around, menacingly* Anyway, the tiny fella pretty much immediately slammed into my patio door and knocked himself out.

And then Cootie ate him.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah. The Mole. I don't understand why the Batman's minor medical crisis warrants an entire cover, but...



Yeah, that'll jack up your prize-winning rose bushes.

And yes, this is a Roy Thomas story. Which means it's chock-full of horribly, wonderfully bloviated caption boxes like these:


"Not quite the Witching Hour"? Then who gives a shit?

And if you ask me, this comic would have been a lot better if they would have added an accent mark to the "e" in "Mole". 'Cause then the story could have followed a mysterious figure, named after a type of delicious Mexican sauce. I'm picturing a cross between "El Mariachi" and "Iron Chef." ("Today's mystery ingredient is... a machine gun!" *cue kick-ass gun battle*)

But wait! What's that intriguing poster I spy on the left side of the frame? Computer, zoom out!


Why, it's an advertisement for Batman's lounge act, "Urban Terrorist", in town for one night only, at the Gotham Cabaret! Thrill as his rendition of "September Song" devolves into a prolonged rant about America's criminal justice system! Then retreat into the lobby and buy one of his cassette tapes from that creepy college kid in the scaly green shorts.

The Mole is so mind-bendingly goofy horrifying, I don't dare fully show him to you, just yet.

But as a consolation, please, enjoy this panel of Doctor Abraham Lincoln, Freudian analyst:


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

D-List Monsters of Super-Hero Land: The Spook, Part Three


Sure, anybody can pull off this trick with suction-cup shoes... plus hollow bones, steel rods running from their ankles up to their neck, and a total disregard for the law of gravity.

Or maybe the "startling discovery" is that the Spook forgot to close his robe! (Talk about scary--! I have it on good authority* that the Spook's junk resembles an unbaked brioche.)

The Spook loves to create spectacular illusions that depend on maneuvering Batman into just the right place at just the right time. Conceptually, this is already a bit goofy, but it just gets stupid when these illusions occur in public places. In this story, the Spook rigs a trap door in the middle of Gotham's version of the Triborough Bridge, and a spring-loaded platform in the floor of that museum he's robbing in the above panel -- plus he gimmicked the building's roof! Not to mention, he somehow manages to replace a section of wall in a private home's courtyard -- a wall that borders a street, no less -- with a large section of painted "self-sealing" rubber. ('Cause you can walk right through that shit. If this story is to be believed.)

So to sum up, the Spook breaks into a bunch of places to set up intricate magic tricks, and then he goes back later and robs the joints.

And they say the Riddler is messed-up.

But then, the Spook's ultimate scheme was to subliminally brainwash Batman into wanting to kill him! And then... well, it's complicated.


Yeah, I'd say the Spook is having an "unparalleled episode," alright. He's practically foaming at the mouth! Spook, you're dealing with The Gol-Danged Batman! Didn't it occur to you that he might have outsmarted you by pretending to die before you could? Why are you giving a full confession? Quick, feel up his "corpse" for recording devices! No, really. Give it a good, thorough grope.

*i.e. Storm Boy.

Monday, October 22, 2007

D-List Monsters of Super-Hero Land: The Spook, Part Two

What's that? You'd like to see some examples of unintended homosexual subtext in "Batman" #276 (June, 1976)?

Well, if you insist. (Tomorrow: The Spook, Part Three!)





D-List Monsters of Super-Hero Land: The Spook, Part One

Starting now and lasting until Halloween -- at least! -- I'm taking a jaundiced gander at some D-List Monsters of Super-Hero Land, and every post is going to feature the Gosh-Darned Batman! (Y'know, the pre-Crisis one.) First up, the Spook!


Let's all pitch in and buy the Spook an iron, shall we? 'Cause he's wrinklier than a mummy's balls. And he needs to go a size or two down with his gloves. (The Spook thinks droopy fingertips are positively spine-tingling.)

But I'm most concerned about Batman's fighting stance on this splash page. He's got the Spook by the throat, hoisting him up in the air --as is his wont -- but check out the Spook's feet!


If Batman lets go, the Spook is going to fall a grand total of one inch. Maybe if Batman wasn't attempting to do the splits, or surreptitiously unstick his sweaty junk from his left thigh, or whatever, he could lift the Spook up a tad higher. Jeebus. I know that super-heroes think they look cool when their legs are spread wide open -- as do pole dancers -- but in this case it just seems counter-productive.

So, what's the Spook's deal? He's an illusionist!

*snaps fingers, signaling Tusker to play farty-sounding "stinger" on his ocarina*

Which means the Spook is damn lucky he lives in the DC Universe and not the Marvel one, 'cause over there he'd be pitted against Thor, or the Punisher, or some equally violent brute, and he'd be pounded into little bloody gobbets in his first appearance. And then Scourge would show up and finish him off. The Marvel folks, they don't stand for fakey magician-types. They hate 'em worse than mimes, actually. Just look what happened to the Miracle Man! Sure, Mysterio was a mainstay, but that's only because he wore that protective bubble helmet, and because he chose Marvel's gooiest, whiniest, puss-pants neurotic for his "arch-foe."

In the DCU of 1976, however, the Spook gets to match wits with a fallible Batman who can be induced to utter things like this: