Friday, November 09, 2007

Basically Anything That Is Awesome


"Gotham City belongs to the Mutants!"

Wait, I'm thinking of that other big bald dude who slapped Batman around in a junkyard. But anyway, there it is, folks! PINK MUSCLE SHIRT! Although the ensemble, when taken as a whole, looks more like hospital scrubs. He's a disorderly orderly! No, Mister Wayne, you may not have an extra helping of Jell-O! *SLAP!* For realsies, guys! With the sleeves chopped off (to better showcase his "guns"), the Perfect Fighting Machine has the air of a Hulked-out "Dr. 90210." (Yes, Dr. 90210 = Bruce Banner, with surgically-enhanced dimples.)

But then I see the bare feet, and I wonder if the Perfect Fighting Machine going for a martial arts thing, instead. And his mom accidentally washed his karate pants in the same load as her red blouse. Now all the other kids at the dojo are gonna laugh at him! The big, dumb dope.


Wow. The Batman really needs to quit smoking.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

He's Just Mad Because the Spray-Tan People Forgot to Do His Head Again

THE MEGA-POST IS DEAD! For a while, anyway, because I really need to spend more of my free time fending off total financial ruin. What does that mean for you, the Blog Consumer? Merely that I'll be approaching this crappy Denny O'Neil story from "Detective Comics" #480 (Nov./Dec. 1978) not in a couple of big, steaming chunks, but panel-by-panel... Gravity Girl-style! *pauses, waits for thunderous applause to die down* That's also the reason I took the "D-List Monsters of Super-Hero Land" thing off the title, because everybody, myself included, would've gotten sick of looking at it after its sixtieth installment, or whatever.* And for the morbidly curious, I'll occasionally post little tidbits about my own life. For instance, Storm Boy finally snagged himself a new boyfriend! I know; I can't believe it either. I still haven't laid eyes on the guy, so he might be fictional. I don't even know his name... Storm Boy only refers to him as "Ox." (Haw!) I may have to run a "background" check on the dude. Y'know. As a friend. I'll tell you more about the situation next week.

So... let's get this damn thing over with started! Yay!


Lookin' good, Hugo Strange! You been workin' out? ...Kidding. It's not Hugo Strange. I wish! Nope, this big dumb slob doesn't even get a name -- although Doctor Moon calls him a "gork", which is medical slang for a vegetable, and which allegedly stands for "God Only Really Knows." Nice, huh? And yes, I know I promised he'd be wearing a pink muscle shirt. And he does, in the actual story. But they couldn't put something like that on the cover. It wasn't 1985 yet. Remember 1985? That was the year when everybody wore pink muscle shirts! Everybody! Even the Reagan Administration! Even the Pope! See, the Perfect Fighting Machine was a trendsetter! Only he didn't realize it. 'Cause he was a gork.

Regarding Batman's tantalizing "dude in distress" pose... it's funny, but I have a similar sawhorse-type setup in my home. Only I make the guys scooch up a little, so it's centered more under their waists. Huh. Maybe Batman's just tuckered out, and slid down a tad. Did I travel to Gotham in 1978...? Maybe. I can't remember.


You mean, besides all the DC heroes with actual super-powers?


Nothing at all.

*As of 12/29/07, all posts on this story have their own tag ("Perfect Fighting Machine"). There, now. Isn't that better?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

D-List Monsters of Super-Hero Land: The Origami Monster, Part Four

Welcome back! So... Batman's and the Creeper's plan of surprising an uptight middle-aged bachelor in his own bedroom--? It doesn't work the way they'd hoped.


Rather than being "scared spitless", as the Creeper so cutely put it, Watley boots them out on their sorry asses. Still, that whole "I'll call the police" business had to be a bluff, given that Watley lives in Gotham, where the police own a massive spotlight with Batman's symbol on it. I suppose the Creeper is a "wanted man" (by a very narrow definition of the term), so they might hustle him out of there, but all Commissioner Gordon would do is hold Batman's cape for him while he rummages through Watley's underwear drawer.

...I'm trying to imagine what kind of "Creeper Symbol" the Gotham P.D. might develop if they ever wound up cooperating with the irritating little queen. Maybe a cannon that shoots red fur boas a hundred feet into the air?


What's wrong with this picture?

...And why does it piss me off so badly? Is it because it's a cheap, pointless gag that borders on complete incomprehensibility? Yeah, that's the ticket. Also, it's a "background joke", but Jim Aparo has drawn the panel from a perspective that points directly at it. Holy balls!

And if something as minor as that can send me into a frothing fury, you can just imagine how I feel about the Simon Pegg-alike in Garth Ennis' "The Boys." Or any gratuitous appearance in a super-hero story of the Three Stooges.

Anyway, Batman has an idea to draw the Origami Monster to them by creating "an irresistible target." Perhaps he could arrange for Bela Abzug to do nude jumping jacks on the roof of an abortion clinic, set to the greatest hits of Elton John. But no, the Creeper has figured out how he can implement the Batman's plan, whilst simultaneously torpedoing Vera Sweet's chances to advance her career!


Check it... Ryder's new show is directed by the Frankenstein monster! Good for you, dude! It's never too late to get your degree from the DeVry Institute!


"America: Get Your Freak On!" That's what it says on all your currency, right?

I'm sorry, but I have to draw the line somewhere. And it's at Vera Sweet's unending collection of "Dogpatch Chic" polka-dotted business wear. My eyes can't take it! Why, Vera? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?

"Minutes later", Ryder heads out into the streets, where Batman swings over his head and offers up a compliment -- before asking him "Don't you worry taking stands like that will endanger your secret identity?"


Yeah! Suck it, pre-Crisis Clark Kent! Of course, I'd like to think that a real hero would've noticed that the entire city of Gotham has floated up in the air and flipped upside down. (Seriously, what the hell is everybody walking on?!)

Batman has no time to figure out if he should be happy or mad about Ryder's dig at his barrel-chested alien buddy, because he has to go shanghai Watley -- in a disturbing panel, which shows him muffling the spindly demagogue with a blue-gloved hand, and telling him, "Easy, doctor! I just want to show you something! Hope you're not afraid of heights..." Sounds like Watley's going to join the Batplane Mile High Club. Whether he likes it or not. Still, I have a feeling he'll like it, if you know what I mean.

Their business concluded (entirely off-panel and within my own imagination), Batman deposits Watley on a roof, with a crisp new hundred-dollar bill between his butt cheeks. And then The Golly-Gosh Batman kicks some origami monster ass!


Batman calls that a kick? Feh. Cyd Charisse could've done the same thing, standing perfectly upright. Plus, she'd have executed some cool, sexy maneuver where she leaps up in the air and does the splits and then a scissor-lock thing on the origami monster's head, and sexfully crushes it to death. I dunno. Maybe Batman's saving that for his "finishing move."


Wait, so was there a squeaky-voiced, toddler-sized origami monster back then, too? Tracking down that kid in Watley's kindergarten class who ate paste, and giving him a wedgie? 'Cause that actually sounds quite adorable.


Y'know, if it wasn't for the placement of the bat-symbol, I'd think Batman had somehow absconded with Ma Hunkle's rack in this panel.


Conveniently for all involved, issues of religion, race, sexuality, or economics never even came into play with regards to Watley's motivations. To be honest, I'm not quite sure what to make of that. It was probably done to avoid offending people -- although, folks with extreme political/relgious views are pretty much incapable of not being offended. And while I think a lot of humanity's basic motivations can be boiled down to fear (or greed), the idea that Watley is merely a "scared little boy" seems rather condescending. The hidden message here is that all Watley needs is a little psychological therapy (and a good lay) and then he'll become a Democrat, like any sensible individual. And might I add, yikes. (I wasn't terribly fond of either of your major political parties when I was stranded in your era. Er, no offense. But don't worry; once Ralph Nader becomes President-For-Life, you'll all be much happier -- oh. Oops. I guess that counts as a "spoiler." Forget I said anything.)


Yes, if there's one thing Republicans and Democrats enjoy, it's burning paper!


So every time somebody watches "The O'Reilly Factor" a wino is murdered?

That sounds about right.

Tomorrow: Batman vs. the Perfect Killing Machine!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

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

At the end of my last post, Batman had set the paleo-conservative origami monster ablaze, like so many copies of "The National Review." The monster merely reformed itself out of more 8.5" x 11" sheets of plain white paper (which were conveniently stacked nearby), and ran away, shaking its little paper fist. Meanwhile, Dr. Clayton Forrester Watley continues to preach from his bully(ing) pulpit:


The montage has spoken! That night, the sexy young brunette broods in a chair by a ginormous window. "Liberals are a cowardly and superstitious lot," she thinks. "How can I strike fear in their hearts?" Just then, a slutty black cocktail dress and a bottle of hair color in "Piss Blond" #17 crash through the glass, slicing her face to ribbons and necessitating some cut-rate plastic surgery. "That's it!" she declares. "I shall become a total bitch."

Also, Jack "the Creeper" Ryder decides it's time to confront Watley.


Wow, a statue of a gazelle (or what the hell ever) taking a dump? That is elegant! But where the heck is that smoke emanating from? Does he have a hotplate back there? 'Cause I'm telling the landlady.


Is he checking out her (admittedly ample) ass, or does he just covet that skirt? With Ryder, it's a real toss-up.

Later, at the Batcave -- which the Creeper visits so often during this story that he might as well just move in -- the jaundiced juggernaut of justice does his best impression of that clingy dude who has no other friends and tries to fill the awkward pauses in your conversation with awful jokes.


Creeper, you're pissing off The Dadgum Batman, here! Do you want him to punch you in the face? Because he totally will.


Oops, my mistake. I was thinking of the post-Crisis Batman. This one just politely asks you to stop. And if that doesn't work, he'll send you a strongly-worded letter. And if that doesn't work, he'll use his "Bruce Wayne" identity to secretly drive you to financial ruin. Also, you can stop checking your mailbox for any invitations to the Justice League, 'cause they ain't comin'.

Action sequence! Batman and the Creeper follow a bilingual and sloppily punctuated distress call ("Ayude! Help me! Ayude, por favor!") and discover the origami monster attacking either a mother and her little kid, or a hooker and a midget.


Batman shouts at the lady to vamoose. ("Vaya la policia, seƱora! Ahora!") The Creeper, forgetting what "Bats" had asked him to do three pages earlier, goes on the offensive.


Yeah, I don't think that insult really deserved the "SNAP!" sound effect. (Was that sound produced by the fire escape breaking off, or a really appreciative off-panel beatnik? "Crazy, daddio!" *snap, snap* Or maybe it's a road company of "West Side Story.")

The Creeper nails the origami monster in the noggin, and tears its head off, because it's only super-strong when the plot calls for it it's concentrating, like a paper doll version of Ultra Boy -- er, not that I own any of those.


Again, we see how the pre-Crisis, Dang Ol' Batman was prone to gaping like an EC protagonist at anything even slightly out of the ordinary. Once, a Denny's waitress forgot to charge him for his orange juice. He went into a fugue state and burned the place to the ground.

And now, A Shocking Twist! (If you're not Scipio or Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator, anyway.)


Wait for it...


Aw, hells no! Get the fuck out of here!


How's about you practice cramming it, huh, nerd?

Tomorrow: the stunning conclusion!

Monday, November 05, 2007

This Just In: Rob Liefeld's "Captain America" Model Located


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

"The Brave and the Bold" #178 (September, 1981) opens with Batman assaulted by a windstorm of paper, while on the trail of a serial killer. "Ten victims in three weeks -- ranging from junkies and derelicts to a few college kids who had a bit too much to drink!" thinks Batman (sternly, natch). And in each case, a chain of paper dolls was draped around the victim's torso.

A caption box then informs us that "Nearby, at the studios of WHAM-TV" (all George Michael, all the time), this is happening:


September, 1981, folks. Thank goodness people stopped subscribing to that paranoid nonsense by your own year of 2007, huh? Am I right? Who's with me, people? ...Guys?

*crickets chirping*

One citizen who's filled with outrage (at Dr. Laura's Clayton Watley's ability to score his own TV show) is Jack "the Creeper" Ryder, whose manager informs him "Lotsa people want to hear what he has to say, Jack! Besides... that could've been your show! You're the one who gave up newscasting to work in security, remember?" And while Ryder's regretting that bone-headed career choice, made for him by another writer (probably not Ditko) back in an issue of "World's Finest", he's nearly run over by a gal in polka dots big enough to psyche out Deborah Domaine -- not to mention, she probably has the Don Henley song, "Dirty Laundry", playing in her brain, 24-7.



Anyway, I'd never seen this Vera lady before or since this comic, but I think she's just the bull's balls, as we say in 2987. And, of course, I love how the purple-suited "Ryder" engages her in some grade-A, catty repartee, before ducking out to put on stripey green Speedos and a red fur boa. Subtext? You're drowning in it!

Thanks to Watley's skills as a rabble-rouser, his audience members have apparently switched off their massive 1981-style television sets (approximately the size of an oven and weighing in at just a few grams lighter than a dwarf star) immediately after the end of his program, and have moved into the streets looking for somebody to pelt with debris.


Granted, the Creeper may be exacerbating the situation by allowing Batman to roger him on top of that roof, in plain sight, right across from that playground.


He's skipping out of danger!

Naturally, his impish gadding-about leads him right into a confrontation with the Origami Monster.


The origami monster is all about the environment.

The monster uses the term "pollutant" a lot, and while it does have a dehumanizing ring about it, it's also vague and off-puttingly euphemistic. I mean, who talks like that? Outside of supervillains, religious fascists, radical socialists, and -- okay, so I guess there are some nuts out there who do talk like that, but here, for some reason, it seems rather toothless. I'm torn over it, to be honest. The origami monster and Watley are both intolerant reactionaries, but it's hard to pin down exactly what they're reacting against, because their terminology is so goddamn toothless! (Although the origami monster seems to have a major grudge against winos.) I'm sure this intellectual shilly-shallying was a necessity in the mainstream publishing world of 1981, but it doesn't make it any less annoying. On the other hand, most politicians, pundits, and religious leaders don't really say what they mean, when they express a view that they're certain will encounter any amount of opposition. For instance, fear mongers (and their fearful followers) will say that they oppose gay marriage, not on the grounds that they don't understand gays or that they think gays are weird and gross, but because they're certain that the very existence of gay marriage will somehow stop heterosexuals from getting married. Which doesn't even make any sense, but it gives the homophobes something to latch onto that sounds like a positive (helping to preserve an institution... that was never in any danger from that quarter, but whatever) instead of a negative (trying to oppress a group's freedom). So in that sense, the origami monster is just as self-deceptive and prevaricating as the people it parodies. It's just that I can't imagine this aspect of its personality was intentional.

Okay! So anyway, the origami monster at this point has the Creeper bundled up like so much ground chuck, and it launches a fearsome attack on Batman... that could be duplicated by any rowdy third grade class:


Thankfully, Batman's keen mind recalls that FIRE BAD.


Fahrenheit 451: the temperature at which goofiness burns!

That's not the end of the origami monster, though. Check back tomorrow!