Last week when Marvel announced the all-female team of Avengers, you better believe we were stoked! We studied the A-Force artwork to figure out who everyone was and got right to researching the superheroes we didn’t know. Now, we’re even more excited and can’t waitread Secret Wars in May.In this week’s video we’ll tell you why A-Force is rad, which mutant powers we’d use to make lunch, and our thoughts on the girls not included (namely Maddy’s #2 favorite superhero, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl). A-Force Assemble, indeed!
“Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.” – Gwyneth Paltrow
“I fought a killer and didn’t even smudge my makeup.” – Rose Pressey, Flip that Haunted House
After a fun time with my grandson – soon to be 14 months old! What’s that saying about time flying? – on Friday at Gymboree, I drove over to Sephora to buy some concealer for my 61 year-old under-eye bags and of course ended up spending too much money on other shit that I probably didn’t need and which I justified by telling myself that I hadn’t splurged on said self in a year so stop worrying and learn to love the bomb, as Kubrick so aptly put it.
Anyway, driving home I got to wondering about what kind of skin care and make-up the superheroes use.
There are dozens – hundreds? – of mascaras that claim to be waterproof (though I’ve never used one that stands up to the pool or the ocean) and that will stand up to the most exhausting and sweat-inducing workouts and ultra-triathlons. There are dozens – hundreds? – of foundations and blushes and lipsticks and eye shadows made by companies, from deluxe department store brands to those found on a drugstore carousel rack, that claim to “lasts all day!,” withstanding everything from a walk in a tropical monsoon in Mumbai to a passionate, epic 24 hour tumble between the sheets. And there dozens – hundreds? – of skin care products promising to turn back the clock and/or replace more invasive products like Botox or Juvaderm or – going all the way – cosmetic surgery.
So what does a superwoman wear while she’s pummeling – and being pummeled by – her equally meta-powered enemy? Surely Superman needs a little styling gel to keep those oh-so-sexy Kryptonian curls and waves mussed in just the right places?
After all, no super hero wants to be seen with puffy, dark-circled eyes and a turkey neck. Doesn’t inspire much confidence in the civilians to be seen looking “tired and drab” when you set out to stop the latest threat to Earth.
WHOOSH! The Flash needs help. Yeah, that – ahem – flashy red suit of his is designed to withstand the friction and wind he creates as he rushes to help, sometimes hitting velocities beyond the sound barrier. But what does he use to prevent the certain skin damage to his wind burned and chapped cheeks, chin, and lips?
Speaking of skin care, here’s some other meta-human types that could some help with their epidermis:
The Thing. ‘Nuff said!
Iron Man. “What?” you say. “Tony Stark is enclosed in technological armor. He doesn’t have to worry about sun exposure!” Yes, but it gets hot inside that face plate. After a hard day at the office, there’s nothing the man needs more than a really good skin care regimen to cleanse out those pores and remove the layer of dead cells. May I suggest a little exfoliation two to three days a week with an at-home peel?
Power Girl: You do a good job covering up, Kara, but you’re forgetting that delicate skin in your décolletage area. I recommend a moisturizer with an anti-antioxidant ingredient (vitamins C and E, for instance) and a SPF factor of at least 25. But stay away from moisturizers containing retinoid or alpha hydroxy acids, because they can make your skin more sensitive to the sun and its photo aging properties, especially in the summer or in equatorial climates where the sun is always strong.
Starfire: Lady, I know you’re an alien, and that orange skin indicates the presence of melanin which helps protect the skin from sun damage, but really! With that costume exposing more skin to photo aging than Bettie Page on a beach shoot, you are risking looking like a prune before you’re 30! Hey, I’m the first one to say flaunt it if you’ve got it, but – never mind the moisturizer, you must cover up if you don’t want to develop a raging case of melanoma!
If looking delectable and gorgeous is part of the “brand” of taking on super villains, do ultra-women deliberately choose to look their best as they beat the crap out of some megalomaniac with phasers and lasers or even “old-fashioned” dirty bombs and plans for world domination as a subtle means to throw their villains off their games? Think about it. Wouldn’t, say, Arcade, so taken with Storm’s exotic beauty, deliberately lower the level of “play” in his Murderworld so as the woman wouldn’t be too bruised or battered?
Or, on the other hand, would Diana’s Amazonian beauty, enhanced with the understated mineral powder foundation and bronzer, the finest kohl eyeliner, the warmest clay lipstick offered by the cosmeticians of Themiscrya, only work to throw Barbara Minerva, aka the Cheetah, into a jealous frenzy of the nth degree, giving her even more of an excuse to rip her talons into Wonder Woman’s face?
Maybe the Grecian powerhouse should rethink her look when she’s up against women who hate her.
Yeah, if I lived in the alternate realities of Marvel and DC and Image, et. al., and I was a smart marketing or R&D executive at Lancôme or MAC or Estee Lauder or Maybelline or Revlon or Urban Decay, et.al., I’d convince my bosses to develop a line of skin care products and make-up specifically tailored to the super set.
And if it’s good for them, just think of what it would do for us working slobs.
Written by Monty Nero. Art by Salvador Larroca, Juan Vlasco and Sonia Oback
It’s fitting to me that this week Mike Gold pontificated on how mainstream comics are either targeting either the kiddies or the adulties. OK, technically, he was ranting – rightfully so – that the industry at large is seemingly devoid of wonder. Well, Mr. Gold, Monty Nero got at least half right. Amazing X-Men Annual #1 could only be targeting that sect of fans that exist between youngsters and the snarky old. Here’s a book that sets out to cover the smallest ground possible, tell a quick and potent adventure, and wrap up on a deep character moment.
Of course, what we get is a by the book, seen-it-before plot-by-numbers that leaves one wondering what purpose the book serves in the greater scheme of things. Then again, that may just be my inner-old-guy being a d-bag. So, I’m going to make every attempt now to smile my way through what might have once been an angry review. Chins up kiddos!
Nero’s script revolves around Ororo Monroe, also known as Storm (and several dozen other names, as we learn mid-battle cry!). We find out that during her adolescence, a great sandstorm was ravaging a village. Ororo made way to save T’Challa – the Black Panther – but could do nothing else. Flash forward to the present, where a world-weary survivor of that devastation has recently gained mutant (or mystic?) powers. Meruda, now an angry god of the sand, lays waste to his homeland, whilst stealing away a distant cousin of Storm. Cue the opening titles!
Soon thereafter, the X-men arrive on scene, and what follows is a ton of fighting. For what it’s worth, the battle here is at least meaningful, in so much that our villain has just cause to want to hurt the mohawked veteran of Charles Xavier’s school. And while she faces Meruda, Wolverine, Firestorm, Iceman, and the Beast battle an ancient god – resurrected, and holding the soul of Storm’s brethren in check. All in all, if it were a cartoon, there’s be plenty of punching to enjoy.
Artistically speaking, Salvador Larocca lends his formidable pencils to the cause. As I’d enjoyed much of his run previously on Iron Man, many of the same strengths continue on the page. His meaty figures are always placed dutifully in kinetic panels that keep the eye moving through his pages. Emotions are clear, and easily read. Backgrounds, whether they be ransacked deserts of Africa or high tech cabin shots of the latest X-Jet, are beautifully rendered. Inks and colors only add to the final product. I’m always apt to point out the Photoshoppery in today’s modern comics, but here Larocca and company are doing it right. Special effects like the knockouts on Nightcrawler’s ‘BAMFs’, or the almost painterly treatments on Meruda’s sand-constructs just look cool. Where others are quick to use filters and such to mask issues, Salvador does it right – using the tools of the digital art bin to elevate his work to the quasi-future sci-fi space to add to visual excitement of the comic.
If you’re looking to be sated with pleasantry, well, stop here. Amazing X-Men Annual #1 is good clean honest fun. It’s a one-and-done adventure that is worth a gander perhaps for the pretty art alone. And for fans of Storm, well, you’re getting her in rare form here. So, consider this issue a sunny day, clear of rain by a country mile!
Still with me? Good. I can’t take it any longer. Nero commits a sin of the industry that nearly pushed me out as a fan not that long ago. His script and plot are so duh-duh simple that I can’t look past it. Annuals in the modern era are usually used for one of very few purposes: to re-establish a baseline for the book, to give a young and upcoming creator a spotlight that doesn’t require a multi-issue arc, or to set the tone for the next arc to come. Here, we get the second. And with it, nails on a chalkboard to me. Nero to his credit, has had several great successes professionally. Here he dips his toe into the X-waters, but does so tepidly. I can’t help but lay a finger of blame less on him than Mike Marts, the editor.
When given essentially a blank slate and a simple goal (pick an X-Man and write an issue that celebrates them as a character), the possibilities are near endless. Nero picks Storm, one of the most powerful, nuanced, and meaty characters on the team – whomever is on the team this week, I suppose. His choice to use a bit of her past to create conflict is even better; it gives credence to the battle as I’d said. But his choice to deliver the story as a literal straight shot is what grinds my gears. When a plot is as simple as this, it’s a veritable invitation to a debutant ball for a writer! Nero could have played with time, with flashback, with sequencing, or even with the psuedo-science of Meruda and Storm’s comparable power sets.
But he delivers none of it. We literally go from the standard cold-open to the X-men reading about the cold-open to them traveling to Africa to fighting to resolution. I’m even apt to note when a book chooses to do things simply with the beats, it can be made up for with style. Nero though, learns the hard way the Achilles heel of all X-books: more members mean less opportunities.
Ultimately, Amazing X-Men Annual #1 is a book only a tweener could enjoy: simple in plot, heavy in action. But as Mike Gold would note: it’s devoid of wonder. Too engrained in familial angst, monologuing, and excuses for quips or violence. Normally I’d take the opportunity to lay waste to the book with a grand trail of snark behind me, perhaps declaring that this book represents all that’s wrong with modern comics (or some such line). But there’s no need: This book is simply a missed opportunity to be great. And that alone is enough shame for one week.
This August, comics superstar and Arrow Executive Producer Marc Guggenheim (Amazing Spider-Man, Wolverine) takes Marvel’s mutants into space for an explosive new mission for a brand-new 4-issue story arc kicking off in X-MEN #18!
High above the Earth in the floating space station known as The Peak, extraterrestrial threats are monitored by S.W.O.R.D. – the planet’s alien counterterrorism and intelligence agency. From the cold reaches of space, a familiar face returns. The ferocious Shi’Ar warrior Deathbird has landed on their doorstep, gravely wounded and inches from death. Unable to identify the who or what that caused her life threatening injuries, the X-Men are called in to investigate!
Speaking with Paul Montgomery at Marvel.com, Guggenheim shared where the idea for his upcoming arc originated: “The idea really came from the fact I’d been jonesing for an X-Men in space story as a reader. I’d been re-reading the Brood Saga and it reminded me how much I love that concept of the X-Men in outer space. It’s a milieu that suits them really well.”
What horrible dangers await Rachel Grey, Storm, Jubilee, Psylocke and Monet in the cold, lifeless vacuum of space? And are they equipped to handle it? Don’t miss the start of an epic sci-fi horror tale as Guggenheim takes the reins this August in X-MEN #18!
Are they father and son? Brothers? Clones? It all depends on which incarnation of Wolverine and Sabertooth you are reading or watching. Their battles have been so frequent that it takes a lot these days to get you to pay attention to the banter and slashing.
Don’t let the title fool you since this is not the Ultimate Universe version of Wolverine but the Marvel Universe incarnation and the story is taken from Wolverine #50-55, one of the first stories written by Jeph Loeb when he returned to Marvel. Set at a time when there were just under 200 mutants on Earth, Sabertooth had been taken in by the X-Men but as one would expect, the Xavier Mansion is not big enough for the two bruisers. So they fight. And fight. And flashback to other fights through the years. And they fight. And they fight Black Panther and get lectured by Storm. And in the end, Sabertooth dies. For a little while anyway.
Loeb and artist Simone Bianchi crafted a fine fight for the duo that fans adored and inspired Marvel to turn into a Motion Comic. Now that conflict is being collected on Blu-ray by Shout! Factory, being released on Tuesday. The resurrection of Sabertooth took place some five years later, pretty long for a dead villain.
As with the other motion comics that have come from Marvel, they have been as dependent on the motion technology as they are with the artwork used as source material. Jae Lee’s fine work didn’t translate well in Origin and Bianchi’s similar work made me question how successful this could be. Thankfully, his dark, painterly style works far better – not great, but better.
The 66 minute slug fest faithfully adapts the story although once more, the vocal casting leaves something to be desired. The score helps a lot.
The disc also comes with a 24:00 retrospective as Loeb and Bianchi recount how they partnered up and struggled to find a fresh way to have these two engines of destruction fight one another without boring the reader. Both speak well and it’s a well-done piece that relies too heavily on clips and has Loeb practically begging you to take Motion Comics seriously.
Milestones, the new exhibit at Geppi’s entertainment museum in Baltimore premiered last Friday night with a gala that presented the collection in grand style.
The exhibition, assembled and curated by Michael Davis and Tatiana El-Khouri, showcases both the work of not only black creators, but black characters in comics, Such as Storm and Black Panther, rightly described as one of the most iconic black characters in the medium. Don Mcgregor, classic writer of Black Panther (and co-creator with Paul Gulacy of Sabre) was a guest of honor for the evening, along with a broad selection of comics creators.
It features art from both major publishers and independents, well-known and cult characters, and a wide array of black writers and artists. Artwork includes Ken Lashley’s covers for Justice League of America, Shawn Martinbrough’s work on Thief of Thieves, and the Black Dynamite mini series Slave Island. Kyle Baker’s contributes art from his graphic novel King David, and Denys Cowan‘s careers is prominently featured, including some of Cowan’s initial designs for John Henry Irons, AKA Steel.
What can I say about Black Lightning except for the fake Afro wig (decades before Steve Harvey’s BTW… wait… y’all didn’t know that was a wig? Oops, sorry Steve, my bad) but like I was saying-except for the wig I loved this character the moment I saw him. Yeah, there were some stereotypical thing to him like his real first name, Jefferson but his last name was Pierce and Jefferson Pierce sounded so cool I can give Jefferson a pass.
Created By Todd McFarlane
Little know story: when I was the CEO of Motown Animation & Filmworks I started a comic book imprint called Machineworks. We were all set to do a publishing deal with Marvel Comics which would have given Marvel its very own Milestone like imprint. Think about that for a second: Marvel’s very own Milestone with the clout of Motown Records behind it.
But… the more meetings I had with Marvel and the closer we got to a deal the less secure I felt about being in business with them. So I took a meeting with the Image guys in their hotel suite at 3:30 in the morning during San Diego Comic Con.
Understand this was not an impromptu meeting this was the time the meeting was scheduled for. My Chief Operating Officer was a major Hollywood playa at the time and he hated the Image guys, especially Todd. I mean hated Todd with a passion. I knew all the Image guys for a while by then so it didn’t bug me in the least that the meeting was at 3:30 in the morning in the Image suite… in the master bedroom.
A master bedroom where Todd McFarland, Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Eric Larson, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino were all sitting or laying on a king size bed and that’s where the meeting took place.
My COO almost busted a blood vessel, he was so pissed.
I loved it and at that moment the Marvel deal was dead and we were in business with Image comics.
What does this have to do with Spawn being number 9 on my Top Ten Black Superheroes Created By White Guys and Louise Simonson?
Todd’s Spawn is not a typical black superhero; he’s not even really a hero. He’s a spawn of Hell who when he was alive just happened to be black. Spawn’s alter ego-Al Simmons was named after Todd’s real life friend of the same name.
Just like that Image meeting all those years ago Todd has an “I don’t give a shit” attitude about what people think and he created a black superhero that transcends what you may think it should be.
Created by Marv Wolfman & George Pérez
Another little-known story. I stopped reading comics all together when I entered high school. I went (yes here it comes, again) to the greatest high school in the history of the world, the High School Of Art & Design. Yeah, yeah. I’m a broken record…
When I applied to A & D I wanted more than anything to be a cartoonist and draw comic books. After I was admitted and it was time to choose my major, my cousin who’s an artist (and before you dismiss him as a guy who just likes to draw bear in mind his work sells for upwards of seven figures and I’m not joking, he’s that kind of artist) told me if I majored in comics I would stave and die.
So I majored in illustration and stopped reading comics cold turkey. Just like that I gave up comics and as luck would have it I discovered the Society Of Illustrators and met master painter Ernie Barnes the summer before I entered A & D so by the time I was in A&D I loved the world of illustration. I went all trough undergrad and graduate school with nary a comic.
Of all places I was a an Elton John concert at Madison Square Garden and the guy sitting next to me was reading a copy of Frank Miller’s Daredevil while we waited for the show to start. One thing led to another and the next day I’m at the greatest book store on the planet called, of all things, Forbidden Planet, buying Miller’s complete run of Daredevil. While at checkout I heard these kids talking about the Teen Titans and George Pérez’s artwork. I asked to see what they were reading promptly got out of line and went to pick up all the back issues of the New Teen Titans.
I loved those books and OMG…Cyborg, at that time, was the best freaking Black character…ever.
Cyborg’s alter ego is Victor Stone, the son of Silas and Elinore Stone, a pair of scientists… a pair of scientists?
Oh no, Marv did-ant!!!!
Oh yes, Marv did.
What’s not to love about Cyborg? His parents were Black and a pair of scientists!!
A pair of black scientists who don’t become drug dealers like Tyrone Cash…go figure.
Created by Len Wien and Dave Cockrum
Storm like Cyborg and Spawn were part of a new breed of black characters created by white boys (or Louise Simonson) these characters did not need “black” in their names because they worked with or without race being a major factor. Black Lightning works that way also but let’s face it, Black Lighting is a cool ass name.
Storm’s not just a black character, she’s a major playa in the power department at Marvel comics and she’s a woman. How cool is that? I read somewhere that Storm is not black; she’s made up of a bunch of different races.
OK, how can I put this diplomatically? I know…
What did someone decide because she was one of the most powerful characters in comics she couldn’t be black?
Nope. Fans old and new think of Storm as a strong black woman and that means if you want to date her you best have a job.
6. Miles Morales
Created By Brian Michael Bendis
A half black and half Latino Spider-Man. Just how on earth could I not love this? I give Marvel shit about some of the black characters in their universe, but man do they get well-deserved props for Miles Morales. Another little known fact: Milestone was named after (equal parts) Miles Cowan, Denys Cowan’s son, and Miles Davis. I can’t help but think (I may be wrong I was once…she sure looked like a man) that Miles Morales gives a nod to Milestone as Static gave a nod to Spider-Man.
Created By Marv Wolfman & Gene Colan
I went to the opening of the first Blade movie at the Magic Johnson Theater in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles. I was there with my then-girlfriend and one of my best friends who also happened to be white. Except for those two the only other white people in the theater were in the movie.
The credits rolled and up came “Blade, created by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan.” I could NOT contain myself so I started clapping like a madman and yelling “yeah.”
But no one else did. Everyone and their mother were staring at me.
This huge gang banging looking dude turns in his seat and says to me, “Are they brothers?” I answered truthfully. “Marv’s my brother.” He said, “Cool” and didn’t shoot me.
I must admit when I was a kid I brought every comic book I saw a Black character in. I hated horror books but Blade was in Tomb Of Dracula so I brought it. One of the best comic book decisions I’ve ever made.
4. Mal Ducan
Created By Robert Kaniger
Who the Hell is Mal Ducan?
Mal was the first black official member of the original Teen Titans. He was an average guy with only boxing skills and I loved that character. Later on DC tried giving him a bunch of powers and that was stupid. I like good old unpowered Mal because as a kid he was me.
I saw myself as Mal, I couldn’t fly I had no utility belt no super speed but I knew I could be a hero just like Mal.
3. The Black Racer
Created By Jack Kirby
The Black Racer is was Sgt. Willie Walker, paralyzed during the Vietnam War. Walker was contacted by the Source when Darkseid first brought the war of the gods to Earth, and told it was his responsibility to take on the role and yada, yada, yada…
OK, the Black Racer was Kirby’s answer at DC to the Silver Suffer character he co-created with Stan Lee at Marvel.
There were about a zillion things wrong with the character. The first is that black people don’t ski.
I didn’t give a shit what was wrong with that character. Jack ‘“King” Kirby had created another badass black character and all was right with the world! Truth be told, Kirby could have created the “Black Player” as a super powered black hockey player and I would have been all in. The Black Racer is still badass for my money today.
2. The Black Panther
Created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
The Black Panther was created at the height of the civil rights movement in the 60s.
The Black Panther party was a black revolutionary socialist organization active in the United States from the 60’s to the 80’s.
Now-how bad ass do you have to be to name a Black character the same as that party and make that character not only an hero but a king of a African nation that was tectonically eons ahead of the United States Of America?
Created by Louise Simonson & Jon Bogdanove
I could go on and on why this is number one on my list, but that’s another article in and of its self. I’ll just say this: Louise was gangsta enough, talented enough and bold enough to put the ‘S’ on a black man.
“I think it would be tricky to have one member of the Storm family black and one white. Is he adopted? I don’t know how you would play that.”
– Mark Millar
“ This speech is my recital, I think it’s very vitalTo rock (a rhyme), that’s right (on time)
It’s Tricky is the title, here we go…”
“Tyrone Cash should be named Super Nigga.”
– Michael Davis
Mark Millar is talking about the possibility the next Fantastic Four will feature a African American in the role of the Human Touch. RUN-DMC is what I think is a pretty clever answer to Mr. Millar’s assumption, namely that it would be tricky but – I think it would be right on time.
Damn – I is clever.
My quote? That’s just another dig at what I think is one of the most stereotypical backwards thinking black characters ever created in comics and it plays into (really) what I’m about to write here.
People are losing their minds over long running rumor that Michael B. Jordan is in the running to play the Human Torch in the Josh Trank Fantastic Four reboot.
I’d like to think that most of the comic book fans are losing their minds because it’s just not true to the source materials. I’m sure if Lee and Kirby sat down and created the Jackson 5 instead of the Fantastic Four there would be some people a wee bit upset if Justin Timberlake played Michael in the movie.
Hell, Timberlake tried to be Michael in real life…err, no.
Like I said. I’d like to think most of the fan outrage is because a Black Torch is not true to the comic.
The sad reality is we all know some of this is racist. There are plenty of racist dicks out there that have or will lose their racist minds at the thought of the Human Torch being played by a black person. But those racists are barking up the wrong tree.
It’s not the Human Torch that they should be afraid of being black. It’s Johnny Storm.
The Human Torch is like any other superhero. When they are in superhero mode it’s about two things: find the bad guy, and beat the bad guy.
It’s the alter ego that defines the character and the Torch’s alter ego is none other than Marvel comic’s original pussy chaser himself, Johnny Storm.
Johnny Storm is all about that ass.
Johnny Storm is like any other male star when they have that kind celebrity. It’s also about two things, find that ass and tap that ass.
It’s not “flame on” the racists should be afraid of, it’s ”where the white women at.”
I assume that most black people are OK with the possibility of a Black Human Torch. I wouldn’t know for sure because contrary to what a lot of white people think we all don’t know each other and on that note the next mofo that rolls up to me and asks if I know Ray Ray is going to get pimp sla…wait sec…I do know Ray Ray.
Some people are getting slick with the way they protest that possibility of Johnny Storm being portrayed by a black guy. And a “possibility” is all it is now, as my boy David Walker says, I’ll believe it when I see it.
Someone posed this question on Facebook, what if a white guy played The Black Panther or Luke Cage?
Experiencing being black (Cage in America, Panther as an African king) to a large degree defines who those characters are. How they relate to the world and how the world relates to them is at least partially driven by their color, fair or not.
The dynamic totally changes if they aren’t black, while the Torch, like Perry White in Man of Steel or Kingpin in Daredevil isn’t impacted by the race of the actor, because the race of those characters doesn’t really play a part in defining the character.
That said, when Will Smith was cast as James West in Wild Wild West, I was against that because I had trouble buying a black man as a top level secret agent in the 1860s, because once again, race impacts that character and there was no way at that point in time that the US government was ready to see a black man rolling like that, no matter how charming Will Smith might be. Bottom line, I just want to see a good comic book movie that respects spirit of the source material and the intelligence of the audience.
– Mike Stradford
I could not have said it better myself.
Mike, unlike me, is cool as ice when he breaks down someone’s argument. Just once I wish my boy would add a little Davis to his damn near perfect logic.
Like this at the end of his response he writes the following:
B L A M!
That’s the sound of me dropping the mike son!
Now back to Mr. Millar’s quote:
“I think it would be tricky to have one member of the Storm family black and one white. Is he adopted? I don’t know how you would play that.”
There’s a couple of ways to play that Mark, ol’ buddy. One way is that instead of white people adopting a black child thus saving him from becoming a drug dealer like, oh, I don’t know, Tyrone Cash.
You remember Tyrone Cash? You should you, created him. He was the black scientist that gains the power of the Hulk, retains his intellect and decides to become a drug dealer.
Oh yeah, that Tyrone Cash – who I’m sure knows Ray Ray, BTW.
Anywho, instead of him being adopted, get this!!! Ready? Both Johnny and Sue are black!
Didn’t think of that, eh?
Hell, let’s go with that one. Both he and Sue are Black and their father is…wait for it…wait for it…
Victor Von Doom!
He’s no longer Dr. Doom, he’s a MD. But that stands for Mac Daddy Doom and he’s a… drug dealer!
That’s all I have, not great but it’s all I could come up with, I ran out of crack so my brain stopped working. Luckily I know Ray Ray and he knows Tyrone Cash so I’m good to go.
New Pulp Author Ron Fortier returns with another Pulp Fiction Review. This time out Ron takes a look at The Big Clear by Christopher Harris.
THE BIG CLEAR By Christopher Harris Short Cypher Press 275 pages
Mason “Dub” Storm was a Special Forces sniper in the first Gulf War and then worked in East African locales such a Somalia with an elite secret platoon. In the end Storm began to question his own justifications for his assignments and just who his puppet masters really were. Ultimately he left the service and returned to his home base of Austin, Texas to pick up the pieces of whatever remained of his soul.
As the book opens, Dub, is a two bit stoner working, whenever he can get a customer, as a private investigator. Because of his drug connections, he comes in contact with Angela Easley, the strung out youngest daughter of one of the richest men in Texas. Her three year old son, Hunter Parsons, has been kidnapped and she begs Dub to find him for her. Well aware he is venturing into a world as alien to him as the foreign battlefields of his past, the weary private eye agrees to help out until the police take over. It all seems easy enough.
Right. Until Dub recalls Angela’s older sister, and her Daddy’s chief business assistant, is none other than the high school sexpot from his youth, Heather Easley. One look at her in her expensive mannish business suit over her hour glass, trim body and Dub finds himself floating in ancient dreams that were never ever going to come true. Then, a friend named Kid, who had been helping him with surveillance, is brutally murdered and Dub’s hands are once again covered in other people’s blood. Gunfights, steamy sex and a mystery with enough twists to give us a queasy stomach abound in these pages.
Harris’s style is a mix of traditional noir and punk giving the narrative a smooth jolt throughout and becomes quickly addictive. He deftly mixes Dub’s confused present with his hellish past and when the two collide viciously towards the finale, it is a satisfying resolution though still an ambiguous one. Dub Storm is one of the most complicated heroes I’ve encountered in a long, long time and one I’m hoping to see in action again soon. This is a well-executed thriller by a writer worth keeping an eye out. Go pick up “The Big Clear” and prove my point.
There is a wonderful thing happening for me and other girls and women who read comics.
A new hero has appeared.
As frequent readers of this column should remember, Kara Zor-el, Supergirl, was the character and hero that rocked my pre-adolescent world. She was smart, brave, and not only did she have the same powers as Superman but she was his secret weapon, which is a powerful message to little girls. And yes, she was pretty, which I don’t think is a sexist thing to say. Everybody wants to be “pretty” when they grow up. Okay, little boys generally don’t want to be pretty when they grow up, but I don’t think they want to look like Quasimodo either.
Not that little girls and women have been without heroes since Kara first popped out of her rocket in Action Comics #252 in May, 1959. Wonder Woman, Princess Diana of Themiscrya, has been with us since All-Star Comics in December 1941. Jean Grey debuted as Marvel Girl in X-Men #1 in September 1963, and Storm – Ororo Munro – was created in Giant Size X-Men #1 in May 1975. Kitty Pryde – she of the 1,001 names–joined the Uncanny X-Men as Sprite in January 1980. The introduction of the Legion of Super-Heroes in Adventure Comics #242 in April 1958, included Saturn Girl, a.k.a. Imra Ardeen.
And then there was Carol Danvers.
Major Carol Danvers of the United States Air Force first appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 in March 1968. In 1977, Carol was empowered by the fusion of her body with Kree genes, and became Ms. Marvel, appearing in the eponymously titled Ms. Marvel #1 in January 1977. She has also been known as Binary and Warbird.
And then, in July 2012, Carol Danvers accepted the mantle of Captain Marvel
Kelly Sue DeConnick, as writer of the series, has taken the ball and run with it. In fighter jock parlance, DeConnick – and through her, Carol Danvers – is pushing the envelope of what it means to be a woman and a hero. To quote DeConnick from her interview with Corrina Lawson in Lawson’s Geek Mom column for Wired magazine, “My pitch was Carol Danvers as Chuck Yeager.”
As the daughter of P-51 fighter jock, I get it. Completely.
Carol’s not looking for medals. She’s not looking for accolades. Yeah, she’s chasing those demons that live beyond the sound barrier. Yeah, she’s out there every day pushing the envelope, punching holes in the sky. But she’s just doing what she’s gotta do. Doing it ‘cause, well…’cause she’s doing it.
Knocking out Absorbing Man by smothering his air supply with impermeable sash.
Comparing the hurt she’s gonna feel knocking out a gi-normous alien eyeball to the pain of a mascara wand in her own eyeball.
Girls and women get that.
We’re out there every day, not looking for accolades, not looking for medals. Just doing our jobs. Juggling family and work and relationships and life and just doing it.
‘Cause that’s what we do.
‘Cause that’s what Carol Danvers does. And if we said to her, “Man, Carol, you surely are our hero.”?
I think she’d just shrug her shrug her shoulders and say, “Whatever.”
‘Cause that’s what a hero does.
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