Tagged: Wolverine

Pretend superhero powers boost helpfulness in real life

Pretend superhero powers boost helpfulness in real life

I won’t lie — I usually find it cute when my sons and my husband geek out over Superman or Batman. But there are times when the antics wear thin. Like when my 3-year-old refuses to wear his glasses because “Wolverine doesn’t wear glasses.” Or when he chases our cat around the house, fists flying, screaming, “BATMAN!”

Now the journal PLoS One has published a study to inspire hope in mothers like me: Scientists said Wednesday that experiencing a Superman-like power of flight, in a virtual reality simulation, made people more helpful. In real life!

via Pretend superhero powers boost helpfulness in real life – latimes.com.

Dennis O’Neil: Much Ado About Iron Man

Iron-Man-II-Tony-StarkMaybe you’ve been on a vision quest in the Himalayas, or maybe you’ve just been in a coma, so I’ll try too negotiate the next few hundred words without dropping any spoilers. The subject is the movie that looks like it will be the summer’s monster, Iron Man 3, and by now, most of you have seen it, or are planning to see it, or have at least read reviews. As a lowly scribe who once wrote the Iron Man comic book – yes, kids, it was a comic book first – I might be expected to have an opinion about it and I do. But I did promise no spoilers and to state what I liked about it would probably constitute a spoiler…

What’s a fellow to do?

Go at the problem from another angle? Okay: What I did not like about the movie was all the kabooms. Lots and lots of fireworks. Big explosions. Then more big explosions. Hey, no elitism here: I understand the entertainment value of pyrotechnics and to complain about explosions in a film designed to be a summer blockbuster is kind of like attending the opera and bitching about all the screechy singing. But maybe a little moderation? I wearied of all the noise and shrapnel and flame coming at my 3D glasses. Enough was enough. Less might have been more. Anything stuffed down your throat will eventually make you gag.

There you have my major kvetch: the explosions.

I guess I could complain that the villain’s motivations could have been more thoroughly explained, but you might not agree. And if we got rid of a few explosions, the movie would have been been a tad shorter and that might have benefitted it. But none of this constitutes major inadequacy. You pay for your ticket and you get what you paid for, that special kind of summer respite that only happens in cool theaters on hot days. It has been significant pleasure in my life for some 40 years and it still is. (You think I’m not going to see The Man of Steel and The Wolverine and even The Lone Ranger when they grace the multiplex in a month or two? Ha!)

But superhero movies are maturing, as did westerns and badge operas and science fiction before them. While still delivering the spectacle and fantastic heroics that characterize the genre, they’re being put to other uses, too. They’re telling the kind of stories that help us define ourselves, which is something stories have always done. First, there was The Batman trilogy, which was, beneath all the swashbuckling, a tale of redemption.  Now, we have the Iron Man movies, which, if you squint a little, also constitute a trilogy and use the character of Tony Stark to…

Whoa! I promised no spoilers. So, if you haven’t already seen it, watch for the scene in which Tony mentions a cocoon and the shot of Tony standing on a cliff. They’ll tell you what I think the movie is really about.

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman


New Who Review: “Hide”

Quite often ghosts are described as spirits who cannot bear to leave their loved ones.  That appears to be the case in this week’s Doctor Who adventure, as an old house seems to be the home of a creature (or two) that makes you want to run and…

by Neil Cross
Directed by Jamie Payne

Caluburn House is home to a roaming spirit who has been appearing for centuries, calling for help.  A former espionage agent and his assistant are dedicated to discovering her secrets when The Doctor arrives.  It’s evident quite quickly that the ghost is not all she appears to be…and she is not alone.  The Doctor is stranded, and Clara has to get past what appears to be a resentment by the TARDIS to save him.

Bluntly, this is the story people were expecting when they heard Neil Cross was writing for Doctor Who.  An indeed, it’s the first script he wrote – he had this idea first, and came to Moffat with it.  Rings of Akhaten was good, but didn’t have the edge one would expect from the creator of Luther.  A solid story with a stellar cast, including two exemplary guests.


Jessica Rayne (Emma Grayling) Hit the ground running in her short acting career, striking gold with the role of Jenny lee in Call the Midwife.  She’ll be back for the anniversary special An Adventure in Time and Space, playing Doctor Who producer Verity Lambert.  She also appeared with the rest of the Midwife cast in a sketch on Red Nose Day this year, with a particular guest star.

Dougray Scott (Alec Palmer) Has had an impressive career, both for the roles he took and the ones he almost had.  He was originally scheduled to play Wolverine in X-Men, but when production on Mission Impossible II went long, he had to give up the role.  He was also in the race to be the next James Bond, a part that eventually went to Daniel Craig.  He’s currently appearing in the thriller mystery series Hemlock Grove.

Jamie Payne (Director) has worked mainly in television, including three episodes of Call the Midwife and several genre shows like Primeval, Askes to Ashes and Survivors. I really liked the jump-cutting from several camera angles during conversations – gave the scenes a more disjointed nature.  Even more so than the Krafaysis in Vincent and the Doctor, the beasts are just lonely for each other, and reaching out for anyone who can help them.

THE MONSTER FILES – The Crooked Man follows a theme in Doctor Who of late – he’s not actually named in the episode, and he’s not actually a bad guy. The Doctor realizes it’s not actually trying to harm anyone, it’s just rapped in the same time/space event as Hilla Tacorien.  To make its movements a bit off, they filmed the suit actor moving backwards, and then reversed the film, resulting in being a bit irregular-looking when played.

Similarly, The Caliburn Ghast is another example of a phenomenon mistaken for supernatural when it’s just super-science. Scaroth of the Jagaroth was also spread across time, manifesting itself as seven distinct beings in City of Death.

Hmmm…a being appearing at several times in history, seemingly connected in some way… Oh, never mind, just a coincidence…

BACKGROUND BITS AND BOBS – Trivia and production details

NOTHING BEATS AN ASTRONAUT – That spacesuit may look familiar – it’s the one Ten wore in The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit.  He wears the same helmet as he enters Bowie Base One in The Waters of Mars,

STAY CLOSE TO THE CANDLES…THE STAIRWAY CAN BE TREACHEROUS – Not really a hint or anything, I just loved the way Clara hung onto the candelabra long after the candles got blown out.

THE QUESTION’S NOT WHERE…IT’S WHEN – The TARDIS didn’t used to get used in the body of an episode.  Usually it was a device for bringing the adventurers to the crisi of the week, and is them promptly forgotten about, or like in last week, taken off the table dramatically.  It’s really only in the Moffat years did it get more often used as a tool to solve the mysteries of the week.

“Member of the Baker Street Irregular, the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” – A real covert ops department in the British government during WWII, those were both nicknames for the Special Operations Executive, also known as “Churchill’s Secret Army”.  One of its members was (yes, that) Christopher Lee.

“Experience makes liars of us all” – There are SO so many lines in this episode that could easily be applied at The Doctor.  Palmer is talking about his brief life in espionage, and later laments the deaths he has caused – imagine how many times more The Doctor feels these things.

“Whiskey is the the eleventh most disgusting thing ever invented” – Ignoring the potential correctness of the phrase, this is just another passing use of the number eleventh that permeates the series, all alluding to the fact that The Doctor is in his eleventh regeneration, starting with matt’s first episode The Eleventh Hour.

“A blue crystal frm Metebelis III” – Oh boy did that one make the Whofen squee.  The planet Metebelis III was possibly the first attempt to create an arc storry on Doctor Who.  It was first mentioned in Carnival of Monsters as a planet he wanted to Take Jo Grant to after his exile was lifted.  He made a few attempts to reach it, finally succeeding in The Green Death, retrieving one of the blue crystals.  As he explains in this episode, the crystals enhance mental energy, which in that past episode, allow a group of people to break from the control of a sentient computer.  He gives the crystal to Jo as a gift as she leaves his company, only to have it reappear in Pertwee’s last adventure, Planet of the Spiders.  Here allowed a mentally handicapped man to read, and eventually to be healed of its damage that cause him handicap.

“Subset of the Eye of Harmony” – The Eye of Harmony is traditionally the name of the Black Hole that Rassilon stabilized and set in the core of Gallifrey, to use as a power source for all Time Lord technology.  In the TV movie it’s said to be on the TARDIS itself.  There’s a couple of theories to explain that, the most plausible being that each TARDIS is connected to the original Eye on Gallifrey.  But with Gallifrey now trapped in the time lock as part of The Doctor’s actions in the Time War, the Eye is likely a stand-alone power source.  It’s recharged itself lately on Rift energy, like the one found in Wales.  This is in fact the time time the Eye has been mentioned in the new series.

“In four seconds the entropy would drain my heart – in ten seconds I would be dead” – It is assumed that the conduit that Emma opens would prevent that eventuality, as they were in the pocket universe for more than four seconds.  Once the way was open, the TARDIS opened up for Clara (by itself – note that modern Clara hasn’t got a key) and made the dangerous trip.  And then again at the end of the episode.  Presumably the trip through that conduit is not as arduous as a full blown trip in the time vortex, which explains how The Doctor and The crooked Man survived it hanging onto the outside.

“Every lonely monster…needs a companion” – See earlier comment about statements not always referring to whom they’re originally said about.


“Is she real?  as in, actually real?” – That’s another “Clarallel” – it’s very similar to a line Future Oswin spoke in Asylum of the Daleks, asking The Doctor if he wasn’t a figment of her imagination.

“Cold…warm…cold…warm” – What interesting is that it’s supposedly it’s Hilla and Emma & Alec who have the connection.  But the connection gets MUCH stronger when Clara walks through the odd manifestation The Doctor chalks off.  At first, many folks online thought it was because Clara herself was the anomaly.  That wasn’t the case, but since we learned later that the ghost was a temporal anomaly, might not another temporal anomaly also strengthen the link?

“It sticks out, like….a big chin.” – We’re not talking about Emma anymore, are we Clara?

“We’re all ghosts to you” – Here we see the sum total of Earth’s history, from its fiery origin to its fiery end.  And Clara can’t cope with it.  She imagines how insignificant humans must look like to him.  Wilf had a similar conversation with The Doctor, saying “We must look like ants to you”: The Doctor replied “I think you look like giants”

“You are the only mystery worth solving” – As before, The Doctor may well be talking about Humanity as a whole…but he may well be looking straight at Clara and talking to her specifically.

“It doesn’t like me” – Clara’s belief that the TARDIS “doesn’t like” her was first referenced in Cross’ last story, and it was easy enough to wave off as worry.  Here’s it’s placed flat in the middle of the room and has a lampshade on.  Theories have abounded that Clara may be an anomaly of time, as Captain Jack became when Rose made him a living Fixed Point.  More than a few people have drawn more than a vague connection there, suggesting that Clara may be related to Jack in some way.

The interaction between Clara and the TARDIS is priceless, from Clara called her a “cow” to the TARDIS choosing Clara’s own image, because it’s programmed to project an image the viewer will trust and esteem, and realizing the only person that means for Clara is herself.  Considering the title and plot of next week’s episode, it’s clear this plot thread will be followed quite a bit more.

“You need a place to keep this” – The Doctor’s confusion is understandable – there’s been either an umbrella stand or a hat rack in the control room for almost every iteration of either the ship or the Doctor.  It’s almost conspicuous in its absence.  I earlier posited the theory that what we’re seeing as the control room now is the default design, the design for a person who couldn’t care anymore about how it looks, and one who wasn’t expecting guests, so they wouldn’t need a hat rack.

“Clara – what is she?” – As in The Almost People, The Doctor is ostensibly just out for an adventure when he’s actually looking for information about his companion from an expert source.  Emma has nothing but good to say about her, which should please The Doctor, but likely only makes him more curious.

“Don’t trust him…there’s a sliver of ice in his heart” – but is it at all possible that based on this statement from earlier in the episode that she’s lying?  She’s a powerful enough psychic empath that The Doctor seeks her out to get a reading on Clara – odds are she’s right about what she sees in him. She just may not understand the whys and wherefores that cause d it, and assumed the worst.

NEXT TIME ON DOCTOR WHO – One of the more promising titles in the series – Journey to the Center of the TARDIS – in one Saturday hence.

Mindy Newell: Take A Lesson

Newell Art 130304Are you sick and tired of all the crap that’s going on down in D.C?  As in Washington, D.C., not DC Comics.

Believe it or not, me, too. Here is a breakdown of the last 4½ years of political discourse between our political leaders:

“You did it.”

“No, you did it.”

“I’m telling.”

“No, I’m telling.”

“That’s my ball.”

“No, it’s not, it’s my ball.”

“You cheated.”

“So did you.”

“I dare you.”

“I double-dare you.”

For Christ’s sake, grow the fuck up, children!!!!! Or take a lesson from The Avengers – beat the shit out of each other a la Iron Man and Thor, then realize you made a mistake and come together as a team to fight the real bad guy!

I missed the Oscars this year because I watched Tootsie and Kramer Vs. Kramer on Turner Classic Movies, part of their “31 Days of Oscar” routine. I did read and hear about them, though, especially McFarlane’s performance as host, and watched YouTube to form my own opinion. McFarlane’s comments about Jews really offended me. In fact, most of his spiel offended me. Although I do think he’s very smart, and I tend to agree with him when he’s on Bill Maher…to tell you the truth, I’d rather he’d stick to political commentary – I just don’t find him funny.

Reading Lawrence Wright’s latest book, which is about Scientology (Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & The Prison Of Belief). Picked it up because I was so impressed with Wright’s The Looming Tower, which is about the radicalization of Bin Laden, the birth and growth of Al Quada, and 9/11. The later is highly recommended to understand what happened and to help put today’s politics in context – I believe we are still politically paying for the attack on the World Trade Center, and in that way, Bin Laden – may he roast in hellfire for eternity – was successful. The former book, however, is not as eye opening for me; I’ve always known that Scientology is nothing but a big scam set up by a hack science fiction writer who wanted to “get rich quick.”

Scientology is L. Ron Hubbard’s definition of “there’s a sucker born every minute.”  Scientology is a Seduction Of The Innocents and its victims need a good lawyer. Matt Murdock, where are you? Take these Kingpins on. Challenge the organization’s “church” status in court and get their tax-exempt status revoked. That would help a lot of the poor schnooks who have been taken in by the scam.

The Who have it right. Hope I die before I get old.

Wolverine is lucky to have an adamantium skeleton and regenerative powers…my dad had another seizure/stroke a month ago. He’s not coming back from this one. Not really. My mother is physically and emotionally a wreck, on the verge of stroking out herself. The delivery of health care in this country is a disgrace. It’s in the control of the banksters and the insurance companies and price gougers, who get rich off of the sick while reimbursements from Medicare are being cut down to nothing, and since staffing is the biggest expense that medical organizations face, hospitals and nursing homes are forced to use the axe, the result being that patient care is dangerously compromised.

I can’t think of a super-hero from whom we can take a lesson on this one, who can fight this.

Can you?




Mindy Newell: Four-Color Valentines

Newell Art 130211DC released Young Romance this week, using the title of one of the overlooked and (imho) underappreciated gems of comics history, the seminal romance comic that was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby and was published from 1947 to 1975. I’m old enough to remember many of the stories contained within those pages; they were attuned to the morals of the times, and regularly told tales of unrequited love, of compromised love, and of love triumphant.

The characters were easily identifiable: there was the bad girl, the bad boy, the good girl, and the good boy.

The bad girl (think Betty Rizzo in Grease) smoke and/or drank, wore too much makeup and perfume, wore incredibly slinky dress that didn’t leave much to the imagination, preyed on other women’s men, and was quite free with her, uh, favors. Not that anything was ever shown except for kisses, but somehow Simon and Kirby – especially Kirby with his magnificent art – definitely got the message across of what followed that forbidden kiss off-panel, even to a young and innocent girl like me.

I always rooted for the bad girl.

The bad boy (think Johnny Strabler in The Wild One) smoke and/or drank, rode a Harley or drove a wicked muscle car with fins, wore a leather jacket with a one-size-too-small undershirts and jeans, had a ducktail and a comb, dropped out of high school and worked at the gas station, and was always hot for the good girl.

I always wanted the bad boy.

The good girl was a secretary or a librarian or a nurse or a high school senior or a college freshman. She wore modest clothes and flats, pink lipstick, no jewelry except for her grandmother’s pearls, and never smoked or drank.

She was so boring.

The good boy was a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer or the BMOC (big man on campus) or the high school football team’s star quarterback. He wore a suit and tie or chinos and a windbreaker, never showed body hair, and always obeyed the speed limit in a Chevrolet or Oldsmobile – definitely your father’s car – and above all respected the good girl and would safely see her to the door after a date and say good night with a chaste kiss, saving “the act” for the marriage bed.

No thanks.

My preference for the “little bit of naughty” also made me veer towards those characters in the superhero world, caped and non-, that I imagined had some, uh, good times, when not saving the world.

I think Adam Strange’s relationship with Alanna moved quite quickly into intimacy, even before they were married. After all, Adam could not control when the Zeta-beam would either take him to the planet Rann or return him to Earth, so there was no time like the present, right? Though I do hope that that damn Zeta-beam didn’t snatch Adam away right at wrong time, if you know what I mean, for Alanna’s sake.

Certainly Sun Boy, a.k.a. Dirk Morgana, was an out-and-out roué: check out a little story called Triangle in Legion Of Super-Heroes #320, February 1985, a tale I dialogued over Paul Levitz’s plot, with artwork by penciler Dan Jurgens, inker Karl Kessel, letterer Adam Kubert, and colorist Shelly Eiber. But I always had a thing for Rokk Krin, a.k.a. Cosmic Boy. Maybe it was the black hair and the blue eyes, but there was just something about Rokk – I knew he was not above stopping by the 30th century’s version of the Bada Bing or hitting on the boss’s wife. And succeeding.

I know the newest couple in comicdom is Kal-El of Krypton and Diana of Themiscrya, but the pairing of these two, the classic “good boy” and “good girl” of DC, just doesn’t float my boat, y’know. Now Diana’s mother, Hippolyta… that’s a woman whom I suspect walked a bit on the wicked side in her youth. She just too worldly just knows life, with all its ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies, too well. It’s in the way she holds herself, the way she talks, the way she rules.

Lana Lang may have started as a “good girl” in Smallville, but I think once she left home she had some fun. Getting over Superman throwing her over for Lois, she let the “bad girl” come out in college, cutting classes, never missing a beer bash, smoking the ganja, and saying yes to whoever asked. As an adult she may be the “sadder-but-wiser-girl,” but damn, the woman knew how to party.

And of course there’s Selena Kyle, who brings home the bacon and fries it up in a pan. Hey, the lady knows what she wants. I’d like to see her paired up with Wolverine, the “bad boy” of comics. Hard-drinkin’, hard smokin’ Logan hooking up with Catwoman.

Oh, yeah





Mindy Newell: Pro Action

Newell Art 130204No, this is not a column about that. Get your minds out of the gutter, people!

I was working in the Special Projects department at Marvel Comics as an assistant editor when my boss, Executive Editor Bob Budiansky, called me into his office.

“I have something for you that will be absolutely perfect,” he said, “because you’re the only one in the department who will really appreciate it. I talked about it with Tom (DeFalco) and he agrees with me.”

“Okay,” I said, a bit apprehensive and yes, curious.

“The NFL approached us about doing a magazine aimed at kids who love football.”

“Okay,” I said, getting excited.

“It’s going to be like Sports Illustrated For Kids, only concentrating on football, of course.”

“Okay,” I said, trying stay dignified and professional.

“Each issue will also feature a full comic, plus news, articles and tidbits about Marvel.” “Okay,” I said, really trying to stay dignified.

“You’re going to be the editor.”

“O-KAY!!!!” I said, totally forgetting about dignity and professionalism and giving Bob a hug.

NFL Pro Action had its debut at Super Bowl XXVIII, January 30, 1993, where the Dallas Cowboys met the Buffalo Bills in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome for the right to claim the Vince Lombardi Trophy (Dallas won, 30 – 13). More than 71,000 fans found a copy of the magazine waiting for them in their gift seat cushions packs. Wolverine and Cyclops also distributed copies of NFL Pro Action at the inaugural NFL Experience, a celebration of football that has now become an annual four-day event, starting on the Thursday before the game and ending after the game on Super Bowl Sunday.

It was a true labor of love for me, for, as regular readers of this column know, I am a die-hard Big Blue fan and lover of football, having grown up in a family in which every Sunday during the season revolved around going to the game. My Dad got tickets to the Giants from a buddy of his who worked at the now-defunct Jersey City Herald-Tribune newspaper when he returned stateside from World War II.

The magazine had a broad mix of pop culture, trends, NFL and Marvel-related topics, including a comic. The kick-off issue of NFL Pro Action featured Troy Aikman about to get sacked by Wolverine, who was tearing through the cover. (Yeah, Wolvie hates the ‘Boys, like any good Giants fan.)  In addition to an Aikman profile and trading card inserts of NFL superstars and Marvel’s super heroes, the magazine also included a look at the “little people” (5’9” and under) of the NFL, including the great Cowboy running back Emmit Smith at 5’9” and Barry Saunders of the Detroit Lions at 5’8”, an article about the Punt, Pass & Kick program which had been recently revived and spotlighted NFL players who had participated in PP&K as kids, an opening day photo shoot of Niners rookie Ted Kelly and – especially poignant yesterday – strength tips from the late, great, 10-time All-Pro, 12-time Pro-Bowler and member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team Junior Seau – yes, I met him, too, and he was also a wonderful, wonderful man.

Each issue of NFL Pro Action also included a 16-page custom comic and the premier issue starred the X-Men and Howie Long – who held up a copy of NFL Pro Action on FOX NFL Sunday, got a ribbing from Terry Bradshaw, and said that his kids were more impressed with his appearing with the X-Men than anything else he had done. The story, by Ralph Macchio, Chris Maarinin, and Keith Williams, with lettering by Dave Sharpe and colors by Ed Lazzerlli, featured Wolverine getting his ass whooped by Long in the Danger Room – the X-Men’s holographic “gym” – and then, humbled yet inspired by this encounter with the NFL star, Wolverine used what he learned from Long against the evil mutants called Morlocks, who live beneath New York City in forgotten subway tunnels.

It also featured Rogue’s Tailgating Tips. Turns out Rogue “favors baby back ribs smothered in barbecue sauce fresh from San Antonio, dim sum, shrimp dumplings, and sticky sesame rolls from Hong Kong, foot-long hot dogs smothered in ‘craut, peppers, onions, ketchup and mustard from Coney Island, and Cajun crawfish, crab legs, and roast pork from the best restaurants in N’Orleans.” Of course, it helps if you can fly to all these places on the morning of the game.

It was a fun gig, and, yeah, there were perks besides going to Super Bowl XXVIII to make any football fan drool. Going to an absolutely scrumptious 12-course dinner with the guys from NFL Properties on the Friday night before the game at a five-star Atlanta restaurant where waiters in white gloves and tuxedos stood behind you and gave you fresh silverware – and I mean sterling silver – for each new plate, and poured a fresh bottle of wine especially picked to match the new cuisine on each new plate, which included a fine champagne to go with the sherbet offered between the lobster and the filet mignon to “wash my palate” – yeah, I got drunk, and it was fun – while sitting next to and yakking with Peter King from Sports Illustrated, meeting Troy Aikman and Steve Young and Emmit Smith (again) and Sam Huff and Junior Seau (as mentioned) and Alex Karras and Dan Reeves and John Elway…

And then there were the not-so-much-fun things that happened, like missing the bus back to the hotel after the Super Bowl and getting lost in Atlanta on a Sunday night after the game…yes, and getting back to the hotel was an adventure, let me tell you. I wandered into a hotel, where a snooty hotel clerk wouldn’t let me use the phone to call a cab, for one thing. I got back to the hotel about two hours after the game, finally having hailed a cab out in front of the hotel – and a big thank you to those folks from California who let me share that cab with them.

And the big wing-ding, ultra-faaaaabulous Saturday night Super Bowl party, at which I met a member of the Atlanta’s city council, and had an interesting conversation, which went like this:

“So, how y’all like HOTlanta?”

“It’s a beautiful city.”

“Y’know, y’all think we’re a bunch of rednecks, down hyah, but let me tell, sugah, we’all treat our niggers down hyah a hell of a lot bettah than y’all do up there in Hymietown.”

“Thank you, I’ll be sure to tell my rabbi that.”

And the guy who thought I was a hooker, and followed me back to my room expecting to get action.

PRO action.


That kind of action.




Mike Gold: Too Much Is More Than Enough

Gold Art 130123Back in the 1960s and 1970s there was this publisher called Harvey Comics. They were in business to sell comic books to children: Casper the Friendly Ghost, Wendy the Good Little Witch, Hot Stuff, Sad Sack, Little Dot, Richie Rich… well, mostly Richie Rich. As in “I counted 47 different Richie Rich titles from Harvey Comics, not including the daily and Sunday newspaper strip.” Most were bi-monthlies and quarterlies, so to be fair I doubt Harvey released more than a four or five Richie Rich titles every week.

The modern-day equivalent to Richie Rich is Wolverine, who appears in dozens of Marvel titles each month. The sundry Avengers titles, the sundry X-Men titles, Wolverine, Savage Wolverine, Wolverine Max, Wolverine’s Bank Vaults, Wolverine Dollars and Cents… When it comes to that mad little bugger, well, no unemployment lines for him.

Batman is almost as heavily exposed: his various titles, his “family” titles including Batgirl, Batwoman, Nightwing, Robin, blah blah blah. He’s got Batmen stashed all over the world; perhaps the universe. Multiverse. Whatever.

Spider-Man, Iron Man, certainly Captain America… there’s no shortage of work for these guys, either. So why am I bitching? What, am I opposed to the free market?

Aside from the fact that the “free market” is a bigger fantasy than the multiverse, I do not begrudge a publisher its opportunity for success. However, there is the element of uniqueness that makes comics fun. That element is lost, rather rapidly, with overexposure. There are something in the neighborhood of 7200 members of the Green Lantern corps, and if I’m not mistaken all but the Moslem dude has his own comic book. Sarah Palin just found a power ring in her Rice Krispies.

When was the last time there was a truly original, a truly unique, successful superhero launch? Spawn and Savage Dragon? That was 20 years ago. DC Comics rebooted its universe 14 times since then. Before that? What, maybe Judge Dredd (depending upon your definition of “superhero”)? That was back in 1977, when Jimmy Carter was sworn in as President.

Have we lost our originality? No, we simply don’t have publishers with either the backbone or the resources to pull it off. So instead we clone ourselves. The major superheroes are little more than a fourth generation photocopy of what made them unique.

If the marketplace supports mega-multiple titles for its half-dozen most popular characters, why shouldn’t publishers meet that demand?

Because, today, Richie Rich is not being published at all.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil




Waking up in an operating room, much to the surprise of the attending surgeons, Malcolm Weir frantically fights his way out of a secret government installation, located in downtown Los Angeles. Battling through a mass of armed guards and meta-gene operatives, the cyborg warrior realizes he has no memory of how he got there.

The past 11 months are gone.

With a hole in his mind, Weir must retrace his steps for the past year, fighting his way through the nearly endless horde of super powered mercenaries and assassins the government sends after him.

Travel along with Weir, facing some of the most intense action ever put to paper, along with a body count of ridiculous proportions, as he tracks down the secrets trapped in his head.

In the end, Weir must stand alone against a former friend and a squad of the deadliest killers ever created, all to learn the terrifying truth behind Project: Hardwired.

Fans of films like “Bourne Identity” or “Smoking Aces,” or the comics of Deadpool and Wolverine, will love the over-the-top science fiction action of “The Cestus Concern” by Mat Nastos.

Read what the critics are saying:

With The Cestus Concern, Mat Nastos crafts his most daring and imaginative work to date. Thrilling and action-packed, Cestus moves at a breakneck pace. Nastos continues to show why he is the next great voice in sci-fi.” –Rob Liefeld, Creator of Deadpool, Cable, Youngblood and X-force, and founder of Image Comics

The Cestus Concern kicks off in a bold fashion the refuses to relent. Weaving between The Six Million Dollar Man and Universal Soldier, Mat Nastos sculpts a story of high-tech science fiction that rivals masters of the genre and adds yet another successful story to his already impressive body of work.” –James Ninness, writer of Dust: Withered Earth and Macabre Rising

Nastos delivers visceral sci-fi action from the very first page, and never lets up.” –Tyler James, writer of Red Ten and co-creator of ComixTribe.com.

Equal parts Terminator, Frankenstein and Universal Soldier, Nastos reinvents the classic motifs, creating something truly exciting.” –Adam Lance Garcia, author of Green Lama: Unbound.

Find out more about “The Cestus Concern,” including an exclusive excerpt from the novel, at: http://www.niftyentertainment.com/2012/11/12/the-cestus-concern-the-weir-codex-book-1-by-mat-nastos/

Peter David has stroke

Peter David

UPDATE: Peter’s site is back. Feel free to add well-wishes there.

Peter David, writer of over one thousand comics for everyone over the past four decades, has suffered a stroke. He writes on his site:

I have had a stroke. We were on vacation in Florida when I lost control of the right side of my body. I cannot see properly and I cannot move my right arm or leg. We are currently getting the extent of the damage sorted out and will report as further details become clarified.

His main website, PeterDavid.net, is getting hammered, but we’ll be updating as we have more information. He’s still planning on hitting all his deadlines, though.

Peter, of course, is well known for his comics work, holding the current record for most months consistently published. comic book resume includes an award-winning twelve-year run on The Incredible Hulk, and he has also worked on such varied and popular titles as X-Factor, Supergirl, Young Justice, Soulsearchers and Company, Aquaman, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2099, Star Trek, Wolverine, The Phantom, Sachs & Violens, The Dark Tower, and many others. He has also written comic book related novels, such as The Incredible Hulk: What Savage Beast, and co-edited The Ultimate Hulk short story collection. Furthermore, his opinion column, “But I Digress…,” has been running in the industry trade newspaper The Comic Buyers’s Guide for nearly a decade, and in that time has been the paper’s consistently most popular feature and was also collected into a trade paperback edition.

His latest prose fiction, Pulling Up Stakes, is available from Crazy 8 Press. Part one is available as an e-book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble now, with part two arriving shortly. His latest comic, Richard Castle’s A Calm Before Storm, is a spinoff from the TV series Castle, starring Nathan Fillion.

Coming in 2013: The Cestus Concern

THE CESTUS CONCERN is coming January 2013
The most dangerous man on the planet must get a secret out of his head…before they remove it.
The Cestus Concern
Written By: Mat Nastos
Cover: Mat Nastos and Thomas “Orc Girl” Boatwright
Release Date: January 25, 2013
For the past 20 years, Mat Nastos has been writing, directing, and illustrating for television, motion pictures, comic books, and video games. In 2013, Nifty Entertainment will be releasing the first novel by Nastos, a science fiction action tale called “The Cestus Concern.”
Waking up in an operating room, much to the surprise of the attending surgeons, Malcolm Weir frantically fights his way out of a secret government installation, located in downtown Los Angeles. Battling through a mass of armed guards and meta-gene operatives, the cyborg warrior realizes he has no memory of how he got there.
The past 11 months are gone.
With a hole in his mind, Weir must retrace his steps for the past year, fighting his way through the nearly endless horde of super powered mercenaries and assassins the government sends after him.
Travel along with Weir, facing some of the most intense action ever put to paper, along with a body count of ridiculous proportions, as he tracks down the secrets trapped in his head.
In the end, Weir must stand alone against a former friend and a squad of the deadliest killers ever created, all to learn the terrifying truth behind Project: Hardwired.
Fans of films like “Bourne Identity” or “Smoking Aces,” or the comics of Deadpool and Wolverine, will love the over-the-top science fiction action of “The Cestus Concern” by Mat Nastos.
Find out more about “The Cestus Concern,” including an exclusive excerpt from the novel, at: http://www.niftyentertainment.com/2012/11/12/the-cestus-concern-the-weir-codex-book-1-by-mat-nastos/