Superman Returns: Who’s Your Daddy?

I went and saw Superman Returns today and I liked it. It was a good follow up to the spirit, if not the actual story of 1978’s Superman. Unlike most films that rely greatly on FX, if you mentaly edit all the effects out of the film is there is still a story. Not much of one but more than most.

A few parts of the film made me say ‘tsk‘. Like when Superman used his little known power of Super-Republicanism to spy on Lois and her family when at work and in her home.

The other was Superboy. No way will I buy that Superman had a child born out of wedlock. That’s just not my Superman. I could believe Lois would because she is a dirty, dirty girl. It is more feasible to my mind that a pregnant Lois got exposed to some Kryptonian artifact that was left around in her apartment and it changed the kid’s DNA than having them doing the Titano. I also doubt he’d leave the Earth without knowing he impregnated his girlfriend.

I’d rank Superman Returns up there with first Spider-Man and X-Men films as the way to do a comic book movie right. It had flaws, namely the slavish devotion to the Donner/Salkind style, but I still recommend it.

That said, it will be a crime if Krypto the Super-Dog isn’t in the sequel.

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Headed for PMITA jail?

Every time I drive in the vicinity of Forest Drive & Spa Road in Annapolis while I have the radio set to 88.1 NPR, the Howard Stern Show breaks in over the station. The intrusion lasts only a few minutes until I manage to get through the stop lights and pass through the area, then the radio reception return to normal.

I have these questions:

  • Since the network that carries that Stern show is accessible only through a paid-subscriber broadcast am I illegally “downloading” and receiving copyrighted content?
  • Will the MPAA and RIAA come after me for listening to Stern without paying for it?

I’m freaking out.

I’m too pretty for prison.

Those convicts will be on me like a psychic on a rich widow.

The I’m Leaving For Work In 15 Minutes Post

The Ferrett gives us the pros and cons of having a Robot Pope from a picture I posted last year.

I check El Blog de Jotace daily. I don’t understand a word but fortunately he posts pictures that have plenty of subtext, so guys like me can enjoy it anyways.

I never want to see the words Hayley Mills and vagina in the same sentence ever again. Angels do not have yoo-hoos.

The twins look like they are being held at gunpoint and forced to perform. No wonder they are so messed up today.

Yeah, right.

The Prophecy of Evil Space-Nazi Yoda.
Probably referring to Angelina Jolie’s next spawn.

Bozo the Masturbator.
“More innocent times”, uh huh.

Vigilante through the ages…

The Golden Age modern cowboy Vigilante who rode a scooter as he appeared in Action #42 (November 1941). He or some successor of his was killed (or not) recently in some mini-series or other. I’m sure he’ll be back. Once Whedon makes the jump from Marvel to DC, I suspect the Golden Age version will rove the spaceways in a starship fighting injustice as a Space Cowboy or something.

Here is the next Vigilante with District Attorney Adrian Chase wearing the non-tactical ski suit with the night-safety reflection tape in New Teen Titans Annual #2 (1983). Chase became the new Vigilante in one of the most obvious tales of foreshadowing that ever appeared in comics. I suspect this was on purpose, since back then the new Vig did create a lot of buzz among fans before he appeared. Chase eventually retired and two more people wore the suit. But when they both died (here and here) in displays of amateurish dumbassery he went into action again and eventually shot himself because he was sad.

The next person who wore the ugly suit showed up in Deathstroke #10 (May 1992). This one was an out of control cop and like most strong women in 90’s comics the depth of characterization was that she was either in heat or being a bitch. I confess I pushed the character entirely out of my mind because of the dull suckness of it until a commenter reminded me of her. The only thing new about this character was the belt buckle that pointed to the “Fun Zone”.

Here is the new, new, new Vigilante from the final page of issue #6 of Vigilante (April 2006). An insane psychiatrist, this guy psychoanalysed himself and was proved to be a lousy doctor and tactician. He got beat up a lot but has a hot girlfriend. He has the power to ambush people and pull the trigger of a pistol.

Then there is Future Vigilante, who is a cyborg version who appeared in the DC opus Kingdom Come (1996). I’d like to see a steam-punked Vigilante (his body repaired after the events of 7 Soldiers (April 2005) by time-displaced Victorian-era mad scientists), in his own twisted series.

The Not-Vigilante

I’m curious about this character that appeared in 1st Issue Special #11 (February 1976). This guy was named Assassin and not Vigilante. Interestingly, there are parallels between Assassin and Vigilante 2005. The costumes are similar and in both stories, Assassin and Vig are under the care of ineffective psychiatrists, get beat down a lot and have hot girlfriends. A major difference is that the Assassin has scary mind powers and even brain-blasted a few criminals (and readers) into imbecility. I’m wondering if Codename: Assassin might have been an attempt to revive the Vigilante franchise by DC but was changed for some reason. It might explain why a stylized “V” is on the costume of a character named Assassin. If nothing else it might reveal that the writer and/or artist of the 2005 mini has a good comic collection and used it for reference.

Swipe? You be the judge.

More comic art swipes: Dr. Strange and X-Men

M.D. #1 (Apr-May 1955) & Dr. Strange #169 (June 1968)

  • As initially mentioned by BookSteve in comments to the post about the Adkins/Finlay swipe, here is the source and the offending panel. This was just shameless.

X-Men #132 (April 1980) & Astonishing X-Men #15 (August 2006)

  • I’d call this an homage even though Whedon went through too much of a contortion of this Hellfire Club story to have Kitty just happen to solidify deep in the earth in a small cavern that held some breathable air and waist-deep water. If intended as a hat tip to previous creators, it’s fanboy-ish, awkward and clumsy.

Dr. Strange, Master of the Swiped Art

In what became known as the self-proclaimed Marvel Age of Comics, new heights of quality story-telling in comic book art was achieved by ground-breaking artists like Ditko, Steranko and of course Jack Kirby. Steve Ditko in particular stunned readers with his wonderfully bizarre landscapes of surreal dimensional space while drawing Dr. Strange in the Strange Tales anthology series of the 1960’s.

In my opinion some of Steve Ditko’s best 1960’s work was during his tenure on Strange Tales. Art that was at first average swiftly improved in creativity. It appeared as if Ditko wasn’t all that interested in Dr. Strange at first or was not sure what direction to take it creatively. It was somewhere in the story arc with Strange fighting to survive against Super-Villain Team-Up of Dormmamu and Mordo and while seeking the cosmic entity Eternity that Ditko really seemed to start to care about the character and the work that he put into the book. It was this period I have come to think of as Ditko Unleashed.

After Ditko ended his tenure other illustrators stepped in to perform the art duties, most notably, Marie Severin. Other artists, while competent enough, were not in Ditko’s or Severin’s class and had to refer to outside sources for their inspiration. One of these artists was science fiction aficionado and fanzine editor Dan Adkins.

While browsing Datajunkie’s site I rediscovered this classic science fiction image, drawn by the great pulp and SF artist Virgil Finlay for the for the reprinted S.S. Held story, The Death of Iron in the 1952 Wonder Stories Annual.

The picture rang some bells so I looked through my Dr. Strange collection and found this page depicting a worried Stephen Strange contemplating threats from other worlds in Dr. Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts #169 (June 1968, v1).

It is a safe bet that before the internet and greater interest in pulp magazines it was easier to use another artists’ work as a muse and have the swipe pass unnoticed by fans. It’s unlikely that other professionals did not recognize the origin of the image but I bet this page made the kids’ eyes bug out when they saw it (Scenes like this are also part of the reason why Dr. Strange was a must-read title among college students back in the late 1960’s).

This swipe is as obvious, though ultimately a bit more harmless in its deception, as the one spotlighting Bob Kane’s artistic integrity and creativity vis a vis Batman, as related at the Vallely Archives.

True Deli Tales

I work the delicatessen. This is my story.

Something I never get tired of saying:

Take it! Take your pound of flesh!


A mom and young daughter are shopping for lunchmeat:

Customer: What kind of Salami do you have?

Me: We have Hard salami and Genoa.

Customer: What’s the difference?

Me: Genoa has peppercorns in it.

Customer: Ohhh, give me Hard. My daughter really loves the Hard salami.

Me: Oh. Okay.


Co-Worker: Stop saying ‘flesh’. It’s gross.

Me: Why? That’s what it is. The flesh of dead animals. Killed because they are tasty.

Co-Worker: It sounds bad.

Me: How so? These people know what they are getting. They want some animal cut into bite-sized pieces and I do it for them.

Co-Worker: It’s just wrong.

Me: Hey, if the customers can’t handle the moral implications of eating animals because I hold a mirror up to their ethics then they are free to visit our large produce section.

Co-Worker: Stop it! You are messing with our customer’s heads!

Me: You are messing with my Feng-Shuei.


Customer: What is all that red juice and pink marbling?

Me: Uhmmmm…This is meat. Animals have parts.


Customer: All this meat has fat in it.

Me: Yes, it does. This isn’t tofu. It’s meat.


Me: Aaaaaand… Here’s your cheese. The deeply-embossed thumbprint comes at no charge.

Customer: Cool! I like free stuff.


Me: Sit at home in your dark basement cutting up animals and they call you crazy. Do it at work and they pay you for it. What a world.

Me: At least I respect the sacrifice the animals made. I don’t lie to myself all day about what I eat and where my food comes from. I am not in denial like some people.

Co-Worker: It just sounds cruel.

Me: Can I help it if some customer gets a glimpse of Medusa in Perseus’ shield, only to realize that the image they see is, actually, themselves?

Co-Worker: Huh?

Me: Have you ever read a book?

Co-Worker: Of course I have.

Me: You think I have rocked the foundations of any customer’s belief systems? Do they leave here so shaken by staring into the smoking mirror of truth that they go home, repeatedly say to themselves they are really, really a good person and get drunk on that bottle of whiskey they have hidden in the linen closet?

Co-Worker (To customers): Do you believe this?

Customers (Shrugging): He’s right.

Co-Worker: I can’t believe you are all on his side.



Me: Cage-free and free-range animals are stupid. The only time I want my food out of it’s tiny cage is when the farmers show the animal shock videos of what’s going to happen to it.

Co-Worker: They don’t show the animals videos!

Me: Yes, they do. And after the movie they publicly ridicule them.

Co-Worker: No, they do not!

Me: It’s all about the fear. When the animal knows it’s about to get gacked it causes fear. Adrenalin is Natures’ Tenderizer.

Co-Worker: Adrenalin actually causes meat to get tough and not taste as good.

Me: That’s junk science. I can’t believe you bought into all that 1960’s Anti-War Berkeley propaganda. You hippie. You are a hippie!


Sometimes you have to come out from behind the counter to get to the salads and prepared food that are way up in front of the case and serve them from the front.

Customer: Oh, I didn’t want you to have to go to all this trouble.

Me: No problem.

Customer: I’d have thought you could just do a reach-around.

Me: Hey, this guy doesn’t do reach-arounds.


Me: Doesn’t working in a delicatessen clash with your stance against animal cruelty and exploitation?

Co-Worker: I have to pay the rent. I need a job.

Me: So…You are against animal exploitation as long as it doesn’t affect you personally?

Co-Worker: I’m going on break.

Me: Stay out of the linen closet! Hey, nice shoes. Leather?


Keep in mind this is all done in the presence of customers.


Americans are the new Sabines

We are getting so used to the political corruptions, government incompetence on all levels, vicious hindrance to those trying to accomplish something positive, failure in war, cultural misdirection, having personal freedoms whittled away, spied on and having the data used to do it compromised that by the time anyone can muster enough of an effort to combat the whole messy situation I fear that people will be so used to it they will grudgingly, if not meekly or enthusiastically, shrug and just accept it all.