Tagged: Aquaman

MARC ALAN FISHMAN: What I’m NOT Thankful For

I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving holiday was amazing. I myself hosted festivities for the first time in our new home. It was here, in 2011 where Marc Alan Fishman finally graduated from the kiddie table. Looks like all it took was making a meal for 10 people, in my own home. But with the assistance of my fantastic in-laws, and even more fantastic(ly pregnant) wife… we done pulled off a doosy. After last week’s lov-in, I unbuckled my belt, let my gut out, and took stock in those things that didn’t quite make me a happy camper. Sure, my initial articles covered some of those (The X-Men, Barry Allen, and Hal Jordon to name a few)… but here we are, nearing the end of the year. What exactly happened that cause my beard to stand on end? Let the hatespew begin!

Epic Events of Extremely Excessive Inanity

To be truly fair, I could spend the entirely of this editorial tearing DC and Marvel both for their predilection to create crappy crossover events. But let’s boil it down to the brass tacks, shall we? Simply put, these money-sucking whores create bloated wastes of ink and paper, all based on the idea that “everything you know will change.” This of course, preys on our fan-boy fear of being left behind. And it would seem over the course of the Aughts, such as they were, the Big Two have perfected their scheme:

Create a main book where all the bullet point action takes place. A few not so significant people will die. One or two major ones might kick it too. A great evil rises up. It looks insurmountable. Then a legion of the most marketable heroes get some brilliant form of upgrade, or a lost and forgotten hero comes back from the dead, or some other deus ex machina reveals itself in the nick of time for one last issue of double page Photoshopped explosions. What follows is generally seven to twenty seven epilogues setting up the next six months of editorial mandated character changes.

But it’s never just that one main title now, is it? These mega-loads of mega-suck bleed into the entire continuity of issues. Soon every book you’d normally pick up features the event-du-jour’s nom de plum across its masthead. What follows is generally exposition taken from bullet point A before bullet point B from the main series. Not reading that series? Well, I guess it sucks to be you. I was loving, L-O-V-I-N-G Matt Fraction’s Incredible Iron Man series until Fear Itself. And for four issues straight, all the world building he’d done was cast aside so I could follow Tony into Asgard to get drunk, swear, and make some action-figure-waiting-to-happen weapon variants for random heroes to use. Did I follow Fear Itself? No. Thanks for wasting my time, money, and love of the Iron Man book.

Don’t think for a second DC skates by here either, kiddos. Those cash-craving carnivores did one worse; they let the deus ex machina implode their entire line of comics. Flashpoint, by and large, will sit in my collection next to Countdown to Final Crisis as a testament to everything wrong with comic books today. “But why did you keep buying them, if you hated them so much?” Well… One – I’m a masochist. Two – the series promised to feature at least one or two characters I’d normally not get to read about. Three; – I didn’t want to come out of the other side confused as to why everything changed. Flashpoint even had the nerve to release wave after wave of mini-series to take us around this “Age of Not Quite Apocalypse.” And while Batman: Knight of Vengeance delivered an amazing Elseworlds tale, it was just that… An Elseworlds tale. Slap any title card you wanted on the cover, Dan, Geoff, and Jim. We all knew it should have said “Flash Point Over There and Distract The Fanboys While We Hit The Reset Button.”

4/5ths of the DCNu

And since we’re on the subject… the next thing that ground my gears was the rebooting of the DC Universe itself. I give credit where credit is due. It was a bold move that in fact did raise awareness, sales, and general levels of hope amongst the comic book readers of the world. But by and large, it was all smoke pellets and Mirror Masters.

Let’s face facts. Superman, Wonder Woman, the JLA, and Aquaman all got the reboots needed to make them matter again. Batman and Green Lantern may have gotten shiny new #1s on their books, but didn’t reboot a damned thing. Batgirl got to disappoint the handicapped community (not that the book is bad mind you, but still…), and a plethora of bad ideas were hurled out with hopes any of it would stick. What we’re left with is a mangled mess of a few fantastic books littered amongst total garbage. All the solid character-building moments that gave DC a strong legacy and continuity were thrown out with the bath water in hopes that a #1 and a power-cycle would somehow make comic books appeal to the masses who aren’t reading comic books. Guess what? Sales may have increased, but not by that much. Walk out on the street today, and ask a passer-by who OMAC, Voodoo, or Captain Atom are. Don’t be surprised when they need to Google it.

It’s still too early to say exactly what impact this reboot is going to make. Suffice to say, I hardly believe I’ll be telling my son “Oh yeah, in 2011, it all changed. DC created the new paradigm by which all comic books were created.” More likely? “Oh yeah, in 2011 DC rebooted everything, because they figured they’d move more issues if they had #1 on them. Superman turned out really good. I kind of forgot everything else.”

The Fallacy of Death in Comics

If 2011 has taught us nothing else, then we should all learn this: Death is meaningless in comic books. In the long-long ago, in a time and place far far away from here… dying meant dying. No mysterious body swaps. No time-bullets. No psuedo-science backtracking. Dead meant dead. In 2011, Marvel iced the Human Torch, Bucky Barnes (again…), and Thor (again, again). Human Torch didn’t even stay chilled long enough to be missed. With Fantastic Four #600, his mighty resurrection (as predicted by just about everyone) came to pass. In Fear Itself, Bucky and Thor each bit the dust. Who here is man enough to say they’ll stay that way for 365 days? With The Avengers movie hitting megaplexes next summer, I doubt Mr. Odinson will be resting for even a fortnight. Oh, and it looks like the Phoenix force is coming back too. As it stands, I can’t even tell you for sure who is alive and who isn’t. Only Ultimate Peter Parker seems to be the most likely candidate for a spot next to Gwen Stacy of the 616 in the land of the “neva’ coming back.” And thanks largely to Flashpoint, DC was able to kill off whole portions of their catalog, with the promise to thaw them out the second sales dip. Did someone say JSA?

Goodbye 2011. May 2012 boast less deaths and less events. See you next week, when my column resets back to #1.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MINDY NEWELL: To Love, Honor, And Cherish Until Death – Or Editorial Decision – Do Us Part

If you’re a regular reader of this column, you know that my daughter, Alixandra Gould – yes, she’s keeping her name – married the love of her life, Jeffrey Christopher Gonzalez, last week. (A big thank you! to Mike Gold for posting a beautiful column last week that I posted on Facebook, then e-mailed to every single person I’ve ever met just to make sure they read it, and which Alix and Jeff thought was terrifically cool.) So of course I decided to write about superhero marriages this week. Not a big leap, is it?

I just finished googling “superhero marriages.” There were “about” 7,750,000 hits in 0.23 seconds, the most recent being a slide show in the Huffington Post posted only four days ago – well, five days ago since this appears on Monday – on November 9, 2011 titled “Comic Book Weddings: 8 Of Our Favorite Superhero Weddings.” In order, they are (1) Spider-Man, a.k.a. Peter Parker, and Mary Jane Watson in 1987’s The Amazing Spider-Man Giant Annual; (2) 1962’s The Incredible Hulk #319 in which Bruce Banner and Betty Ross’ nuptials are interrupted by a “special guest”; (3) The X-Men’s Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Jean Grey (Phoenix) in 1994; (4) Wonder Woman in her eponymous title married Mr. Monster in 1965 – ‘nuff said!; (5) Aquaman and Mera in Aquaman #18, 1964; (6) “Death Waits to Kiss the Bride” screamed the cover of Lois Lane #128 in 1972 – featuring the now iconic picture of Superman holding somebody’s dead body; (7) The Flash races down the altar to stop Iris West from marrying the wrong Barry Allen in The Flash #165, 1966; and (8) Wonder Girl, a.k.a. Donna Troy, marries Terry Long in Tales Of The Teen Titans #50, 1985.)

How did they miss Reed Richards and Sue Storm Richards, a.k.a. Mr. Fantastic and The Invisible Woman? Im-not-so-ho, Reed and Sue are the most realistically portrayed marriage “pros” in the comics universe.

The couple married in 1965, making this year the 46th anniversary of their being a Mr. and Mrs. (They look pretty damn remarkable, don’t they? Must be all those visits to the Negative Zone.) Down through the years, Reed and Sue “have and held, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health,” and have loved and cherished each other through everything the Marvel Universe could and continues to throw at them, including “real life” curves like a miscarriage, potential affairs, political differences, and a brother’s death.

Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson came pretty close in matching the Richards’ record – not in years married, but in a realistic view of marriage – but then Marvel decided to “disappear” their relationship. Clark Kent and Lois Lane had a wonderful thing going, too, but DC recently terminated without prejudice that couple, too.

And what the hell happened to Scott and Jean?

Jean Loring, the wife of Ray Palmer (The Atom) has a “mental breakdown” and goes on a rampage, killing Sue Dibny, the wife of the Elongated Man (Ralph Dibny), in one of the most gruesome scenes I’ve ever seen in any comic.

Betty Banner, wife of Bruce Banner (The Hulk) was abused, suffered miscarriages, was turned into a harpy, and died. She got better and turned red.

Shayera Hall, Hawkwoman, dead.

I’m sure glad Jeff isn’t a superhero.

TUESDAY: Michael Davis

If I rebooted the Justice League: Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkwoman, Martian Manhunter

If I rebooted the Justice League: Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkwoman, Martian Manhunter

According to a friend I trust, when the trailers for the Green Lantern movie appeared, kids asked, “Why did they make Green Lantern a white guy?”

That’s not a joke like “Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings?” It’s because, to folks under thirty, this is the Justice League:

But this is DC’s reboot:

How many ways is it awful? The short list:
  1. Instead of being a team of individuals, they look like they go to the same tailor.
  2. Aquaman is one of my favorite characters, but he shouldn’t be part of the core League. He should only appear when a case involves the seas.
  3. Cyborg is great in the Titans, but he doesn’t have a distinct role in the League unless they turn him into a brilliant scientist. Also, his name is generic—it’s like calling a character Robot. Give him back to the Titans.
  4. One woman? Are you kidding me? Humanity is 51% female, and there’s one woman in the core team?
So, what would my reboot look like?
  1. GMiss Martian photoreen Lantern is John Stewart, a black man who is the one and only Green Lantern of Earth. In the reboot, he’s the guy that Katma Tui (instead of Abin Sur to make it clear that the ring can go to anyone who is worthy) chose to wield the ring.
  2. The Flash, in something like the iconic uniform, is Ricky Estrada, a Mexican-American man with the personality of Wally West.
  3. Hawkwoman is Shayera Hol, a Thanagarian cop who comes to Earth in pursuit of an alien crook. Her partner, Katar Hol, is killed, and their ship is destroyed, so she stays on Earth for longer than was planned, and comes to love the planet.
  4. The Martian Manhunter always seemed goofy to me: a green version of Superman who can change shape and gets weak in the presence of fire? Use Miss Martian instead.
  5. The Wonder Woman from my previous “If I rebooted…” post.
  6. The Batman from my previous “If I rebooted…” post.
  7. The Superman from my previous “If I rebooted…” post.
A fundamental principle should apply to characters like Green Lantern and Hawkwoman: Heroes should be unique—unless someone offers a lot of money to make a movie or TV show about a variant like Supergirl or Batgirl.
Happy 70th Birthday, Aquaman!

Happy 70th Birthday, Aquaman!

Today is a very, very special day in the history of Aquaman–it’s his 70th birthday! And when we say 70th birthday, we don’t mean the birthday DC Comics has seen fit to give him within their continuity–that’s January 29. No, we mean that on this day seventy years ago–September 25, 1941–More Fun Comics #73, Aquaman’s debut appearance, hit newsstands…

So, with Aquaman hitting the big 7-0, and his new series only days away from debuting, the Shrine thought it a tribute fit for a king to reach out and collect birthday greetings from various writers, artists, and performers, all of whom have been involved with the Sea King in some way over these seven decades…

How do you blow out birthday candles underwater? For that matter, how do you light them?

via The Aquaman Shrine: Happy 70th Birthday Aquaman!.


Review: “Justice League” #1

jl_cv1-298x4502-2432106Finally, DC’s new 52 launches (or is that relaunches?) today in stores and online with Justice League #1, written by Geoff Johns and pencilled by Jim Lee, with inks by Scott Williams, colors by Alex Sinclair, and letters by Patrick Brosseau. I’m here with my tag-team partner in the caption box, Marc Alan Fishman, and we’re going to review this in real time. I’m writing the introductory information while Marc finishes up a different project and then reads–

OK. I couldn’t help myself. Read it.

Me too. Wasn’t that quick?

Yeah, and not in a good way. That was… terrible.

Wait, wait, wait. There’s a lot to like here, except the portion size.

I’m gonna take a hard stance on this. If I knew nothing of these characters? I didn’t find this appealing.

But seriously, how many people know nothing of Batman and Green Lantern?

That’s kind of my point. There was a lack of substance to the issue that reeks of everything I hate about comics from the 90s. The art is all flash, bangs, pops, pows, and gloriously meticulous fire / lasers / constructs … But seriously? If this were an animated episode? We just got the first 5 minutes.

10 minutes. But yes, it feels like too little, and that’s a problem.

And what exactly did we learn? Batman’s a cocky SOB, and GL is even cockier. And Superman? Even more? It was like the issue was on autopilot. It’s all establishing shots. Fine, I get that. But this issue is supposed to herald this huge coming together of heroes for the superlative team of all comicdom. If I am a new reader? I’m coming back, or more likely? I’m feeling short changed.


Peter David vs. Hurricane Irene

Peter David vs. Hurricane Irene

Comic book creator Peter David at Midtown Comi...

Image via Wikipedia

Writer of stuff Peter David’s home is on the south shore of Long Island, right in the path of Hurricane Irene– and despite an evacuation order, he’s decided to stay. And even crazier, he’s decided to liveblog it, as long as power and connectivity holds out.

Go visit him there. And hope Peter stays dry and keeps his house in order.

At the very least, it’ll be good research if he ever gets to write Aquaman again.

Photo: Luigi Novi.

If I rebooted Aquaman

If I rebooted Aquaman

For at least a summer, Aquaman was my favorite comic. It was the only comic I subscribed to, and the only reason I stopped subscribing was because as I was such a fanboy that I wanted to be able to pick out the best copy of each issue from the spinner.
I loved everything about Aquaman. I loved his weird underwater world. I loved his relationship with Mera, his girlfriend and then wife who could do everything he could, and could manipulate water as well. I loved his orange and green costume with the scales. I loved his conflict with his half-brother.
Okay, I didn’t love his sidekick, Aquaboy in his stupid shorts. But annoying teen sidekicks were the price of DC superheroics.
So, what would I change?
Make him Polynesian.
Aquaman and Green Arrow appeared at the same time, in More Fun Comics #73 (Nov.1941). Like DC’s Big Three, they slid from the Golden Age into the Silver with few physical changes: Green Arrow was briefly a brunet; Aquaman’s gloves were often yellow before they settled on green.
This is the Aquaman DC is rebooting:
I don’t mind the neckline, though I prefer the boatneck collar of the ’40s and ’50s. But the trident is just a stupid thing to have to carry around. If you want to give Aquaman a gimmick, give him a harpoon gun.
Also, ditch the gloves. He doesn’t have a secret identity or any reason to protect his hands.
Here’s an early appearance of Mera:
I wouldn’t change a thing about her. Superhero comics could use an interracial marriage. If you have to give someone a trident, let it be hers.
Aquaboy? Aquagirl? Heroes should be unique. Forget them, and Topo the Octopus too.
PS. I don’t know how many Aryan heroes DC needs, but really, they can spare a few blond guys.

ComicMix Six Plus Six: New Changes From The DC Universe Restart

comicmixsix600-300x66-5628087As we’ve reported, DC is restarting all their titles in August… which makes everybody wonder: how is the DC Universe going to change now?

Luckily, we actually received a copy of an internal memo addressed to Dan DiDio about some of the changes (that will help bridge that gap with newer readers looking for more reality and accessibility to the DCU) we’ll be seeing after September. Here are the highlights:

  1. Lois and Clark won’t be married anymore. In the new Superman mythos, Clark Kent ends up with Pete Ross. They live in “Boysville” in the low-rent district in Metropolis. Clark’s newer costume will actually double as his “rave-wear” when he and Pete go clubbing on the weekend.
  2. Lex Luthor will never have been President of the United States of America. He will also sport his red locks once again, as he’s not only the founder of Lexcorp Hair Treatment Centers of America… he’s also a member.
  3. Dick Grayson will be de-aged back to 16, where he’ll once again assume the mantle of Robin… for one day. Jim Gordon figures out that Bruce Wayne, the man seeking to make young Grayson his ward, is in fact Batman… because who the f’ else would traipse around Gotham’s seedy underbelly with a minor in a yellow cape? He quickly arrests Wayne for child endangerment. Grayson is sent to the Gotham orphanage where he’ll befriend a beleaguered Freddy Freeman.
  4. Hal Jordan will continue as Earth Sector 2814’s protector… but the Green Lantern power rings will be prone to weakness against yellow, wood, garlic, and especially plaid.
  5. Green Arrow will now use a sniper rifle, because, face it, a bow and arrow to hunt super villains? LAME. He’ll also sport a Justin Bieber haircut, and ditch the Van Dyke… cause kids these days like a clean cut youtuber to such follicle faux pas.
  6. As part of DC’s new digital strategy, Wonder Woman’s series will be released only on YouTube, as an all “topless” motion comic. It’s been described as “like the Gotham Girls animated shorts, but with a revenue stream.”
  7. (more…)

New Info Leaked on ‘Marvel Vs. DC 2′

While at the C2E2 retailers summit a few weeks ago, a few details fans might be excited to find out about were accidentally leaked. At a DC Nation panel, the mid-western retailers were shown a few slides of “in-production” artwork, and DC’s Jim Lee and Dan DiDio were teleconferenced in with Marvel’s Axel Alonso to prime the pump for the 2011 summer event. While cameras and laptops were forced off before the event, a few local shop owners emerged from the panel with some juicy tidbits. Here’s the skinny:

• Current Marvel heavyweight Matt Fraction will be penning the five part mini-series with co-plotters J.T. Krul and Tony Bedard from DC. All that was said was “Access (from Marvel Vs. DC 1) returns a far more powerful man than when we left him.” Krul said. “He finds a way to tap into the power cosmic and gets his mitts on the White Lantern… but that’s really only the catalyst to it all.”


Tim Gunn talks comics fashion

Tim Gunn talks comics fashion

Tim Gunn, fresh off his stint in the Iron Man armor and his guest appearances with Aquaman, reunites with Alan Kistler to discuss super-hero fashion
and judge the looks of Mr. Miracle, Star Sapphire, Power Girl,
Catwoman, Spider-Man and Batwoman on this episode of Crazy Sexy Geeks!