Saturday, April 30, 2011

DC Powerhouses by David Michael Beck

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David Michael Beck made a big splash with his work on the Devil's Due G.I. Joe comics about a decade back, but he seems to have moved on to more lucrative commercial art outside our field. This piece featuring Wonder Woman, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Superman and Batman was posted at Comic Art Fans in 2010. Check out his website here.

More Beck
Martian Manhunter
Wonder Woman

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

DC/WS DreamWar #4 (September, 2008)

Back at the Carrier, Superman helped the Justice League of America remember who they were, then began working with the Wildstorm protagonists to help wrangle the other murderous DC super-teams. The Doctor (with telepathic tag along Martian
Manhunter) metaphysically learned from his predecessors that Chimera was the trailer park kid from WS Earth that could add to reality from his imagination and a volume stolen from the "mother of all libraries," the Athenaeum.

Gen13 was attacked by Raven and Changeling from The New Teen Titans. The Atom was sent to rein them in, but was knocked out before he could reveal himself.

Deathblow, the WildC.A.T.s and Stormwatch fought a war with the Legion of Super-Heroes. Only Bouncing Boy seemed to recall the Legion's prohibitions against killing, and with the help of the Flash (and only after having been stabbed by Warblade,) honor finally prevailed.

The Doctor spoke with Chimera on another plane, learning his stepfather had killed his mother and made him do... "stuff." The kid murdered the man, and figured out a way to "piggy-back" so he could watch the s.o.b. go to Hell. En route, he found his way to the Athenaeum, and stole the DC Comics volume from the library. However, Chimera had used heroes to do the work of villains, which wouldn't stand once their realization in the Wildstorm reality was complete. After all, they were heroes. Chimera recognized his error.

Apollo and Midnighter were waiting outside of "Chimera's" trailer in Arkansas when Doomsday burst out of it. "I knew we shoulda wasted the little #&@% when we had the chance!

DC/Wildstorm: Dreamwar part four, "Resurrection!" was by Keith Giffen, Lee Garbett and Trevor Scott.

ElseWednesday featuring Wildstorm!

Monday, April 25, 2011

JLA #95 (Late May, 2004)

Superman was bitten on the neck by Crucifer, only to have his alien blood spat out in disgust. "He may look human, but the taste of him is unspeakable... Foul!" Crucifer instead ate one of his followers, before sending the Man of Thrall on a mission...

Green Lantern John Stewart hit paydirt while patrolling Baltimore, finding another van full of cloaked creeps. One, the blue-skinned Vortex, managed to knock Stewart out of the sky with a vertigo scream. The Emerald Knight managed to encase most of the group under a ring construct, but the persuasive girl was without, trying to nudge John into letting them go. "You playin' with my head, missy? ...In a word--no." While Green Lantern had more willpower than Superman, the girl was distracting enough to allow Vortex to smash the field. Both Stewart and Vortex were left the worse for wear, so Nudge helped her friend into the van and sped off. Stewart tried to follow, but it was "an effort just to form coherent thoughts," and a giant hand grabbing you from behind never helps. The giant shrank down to normal size, and she assured Green Lantern she and her leather masked companion were not enemies. The duo argued that Stewart had interfered with their sting operation, and the male released a skeletal energy being to trail the van. The girl carried her friend's limp body to safety, and politely asked that Stewart leave this matter in their hands. The energy being managed to tag the van with a tracking device.

Green Lantern reported to de facto leader Batman at the Watchtower on the moon, where the Dark Knight Detective managed to pull a residue sample from where the giant girl had grabbed Stewart. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman delivered ancient Amazonian scrolls that revealed their crusade against a cult of vampires thousands of years ago in Greece. The warriors successfully exiled the bloodsuckers after a final, terrible battle. The recently deceased Queen Hippolyta had been the last living Amazon to engage the cult, whose x-symbol represented the tenth circle of Hell.

The Martian Manhunter knelt down on a laboratory floor, calling out mentally to the Atom, who had vanished into Manitou Raven's stones. The Tiny Titan fell through an unknown space for some time, before landing gracelessly but unharmed on a crystalline surface. In the distance was a tower of similar material. From out of hidden tunnels in the ground emerged bipedal, somewhat insectoid green brutes. The Mighty Mite evaded them for a time, but was eventually encircled and beaten down.

Superman delivered the unconscious and shabbily dressed Faith to Castle Crucifer before being dispatched to the moon. At the Watchtower, Wonder Woman was struggling with the allegorical manner her sisters had written their scrolls, unable to decipher the means by which the Amazons defeated the cult. "Gods forbid my ancient sisters write short, declarative sentences. Kal-El talked Diane into taking a break, and when she wasn't looking, ignited her scrolls with heat vision.

In a Gotham City alley, the Batman found a police detective trying to wipe away the Tenth Circle symbol from the murder scene. The detective drew on Batman, while two cultists approached from behind. A bullet flew through the Crusader's cape, and he went down...

"The Enemy Within," part two of "The Tenth Circle," was by the famous X-Men creative team of John Byrne and Chris Claremont, joined by the inks of Jerry Ordway. Both the Atom and Green Lantern's dialogue was inappropriately informal and even irritating for the characters. Between Stewart's will and Crucifer talking up Faith and Wonder Woman being his near equals, Superman really looks like a punk. The backdoor pilot that is the second super-team is becoming increasingly obvious in identity. Finally, Atom aside, this has been a vampire story, which is something Claremont could rock hard with the X-Men and Bill Sienkiewicz, but not with John Byrne and the freakin' JLA. Besides, the X-Men never needed to revive a second old school hero team over vamps, at least before their latest series somehow managed to drag Spider-Man into the muck.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Direct Currents: April 2011

John Constantine To Return To The DC Universe

I don’t know where. I don’t know when. I don’t know how.


The Absorbascon
DCU Travel Posters: Atlantis
DCU Travel Posters: Ivytown
Middletown Travel Poster

Amazon Princess
Donna Troy by Bubba Shelby
Chrissie Zullo

The Aquaman Shrine
Super BB - 1978
Superheroes Margarine Ad - 1978
Roxanna Meta is AquaLass!
Scion is Mera!
The Justice League by Bob Strang
"Strength In Numbers" - 1996
Justice League Puzzle - 1988

Atomic Surgery
Prisoners of Gravity (1993): The Sandman Interviews
Happy Birthday To the Periodic Table

Being Carter Hall
Read: Hawkman v.3:no.4
Read: Hawkman v.4:no.19
Read: Flash Comics #19

Comics Make Me Happy!
Martian Manhunter redesign by Joel Ojeda
Never pass up an opportunity to poke fun at Batman...
The Crocheted Manhunter
It's takes a little guts....

Michael Lynch corners GREEN LANTERN
Calamity Jon Morris corners SUPERMAN

Diana Prince: Wonder Woman
2011 Custom Life Size Wonder Woman Statue
JLA/WildC.A.T.S. "Crime Machine" (1997)
Justice League of America #0 (September, 2006)
Wonder Woman in Sensation Comics #1 (January, 1942)

Diversions of the Groovy Kind
"The Man with an Inbuilt Panic Button" from Atom and Hawkman #40 (September 1968)
Black Lightning in "The Last Hideout" (from World's Finest #259, July 1979)
Remember When...Hawkman's History Could Be Summarized in Four Pages? (World's Finest #261, November 1979)

Every Day Is Like Wednesday
Suicide Squad, starring Ronald Reagan
Is this every Zook and Cryll shared appearance from the past ten years...?
March 23-30

Firestorm Fan
Firestorm commission by Kevin Maguire
Firestorm Fan Returns – April Fool’s Hijinks!
Firestorm by Ethan Van Sciver – Possible Future Cover?
Project Rooftop Firestorm by Stefan Grambart
Jim Lee redesign of Firestorm costume from 2003

Girls Gone Geek
Sartorial Smallville: A Critique
Friday Favorite: Damian

The Idol-Head of Diabolu
O’Neil & Netzer Announced for RETRO-ACTIVE 1970s Martian Manhunter!
Manhunter from Mars Annual #12 (1995)
"1967 Manhunter from Mars Movie Monty Moran Promotional Still"
"1967 Manhunter from Mars Movie Mister V Promotional Still"

Jim Shooter
Mort Weisinger, mean as a snake at his nicest...
I Aimed to be Better Than the Worst
Growing up with The Legion of Super Heroes
Secret Marvels/Marvel's Secret
A Leap of Fate


Justice League Detroit
2010 Vixen by mic?
2010 C2E2 The Vixen Convention Commission by Eric Canete
2009 Morbidly Obese Vixen Commission by Derrick Fish
2007 San Diego Comic-Con The Vixen & Captain Atom Cosplay

Kevin Nowlan

Once Upon A Geek
My New Blog… B’wana Beast’s Blog

Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine
Blackhawk #47, 1951

Power of the Atom
2005 Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Absolute Edition cover by George Pérez

Silver Age Comics
Mystery In Space #81: Another Viewpoint
Atom #7
Is Barry Allen A Pervert?
How Old Is Superman?

Subject : THE SUICIDE SQUAD (Task Force X)
I believe in miracles . . Amanda Waller, you sexy thang
Killings my business & business is good
Amanda Waller by returning Portuguese artist Aliera
Pimp Daddy Darkseid
Proper disposal of a pedophile 101 with Catman & Deadshot

Supergirl Comic Box Commentary
Supergirl #62
Original Supergirl #62 Cover? Editted
Supergirl Shrine
Review: Legion Of Super-Villains One Shot
Review: Legion Of Super-Heroes #11
George Perez Hero Initiative Justice League #50 Cover

Weekend Review Section 12/31/10

Wednesday Is Any Day For All I Care by Professor Frank Diabolu

Comic shop comics by J. Caleb Mozzocco

Comics Of The Weak by Tucker Stone

The Buy Pile by Hannibal Tabu:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

DC/WS DreamWar #3 (August, 2008)

In Siberia, Stormwatch and the Legion of Super-Heroes had a brutal confrontation.

The Amazons of Themyscira launched an attack on the vampire nation from Wetworks.

The Justice Society of America continued their assault on Tranquility, Oregon. Grifter gunned down Dr. Fate.

Batman, Superman and Green Lantern launched an attack on the WildC.A.T.s headquarters. After a lengthy battle with Zealot, the Dark Knight died by her sword. This shook Superman to the core, as he realized something was very wrong when Green Lantern never mourned the death of his own best friend, Green Arrow. Kal-El reached out to Martian Manhunter's telepathy, only to have the Alien Atlas again assert that Chimera wanted the Wildstorm heroes dead. "Tell me who Chimera is, J'Onn. J'Onn?"

DC/Wildstorm: Dreamwar part three, "Mettle!" was by Keith Giffen, Lee Garbett and Trevor Scott.

ElseWednesday featuring Wildstorm!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

JLA #94 (Early May, 2004)

Manitou Raven, a shaman displaced three thousand years in time, cast telling stones in the Badlands. On the ground were traced circles with "x"s in them, and their effect was ominous. A flood of bat shadows enshrouded Raven, and carried him off.

Batman investigated the murder of a teenager in a Gotham City alley. He had noted a pattern of missing cases in other cities that disturbed him. Before her death, the girl had drawn a circled "x" in chalk on a wall.

In Metropolis, Superman spotted a robed cult filing into a van. When he tried to ask questions, he was attacked by a massive member that only grunted. Once the thug was down, a girl stood between him and the fist of Steel. Her words allowed her to take mental control of Superman.

In Keystone City, Wally West pursued the trail of missing children at Batman's request.

At the JLA Watchtower on the moon, the Dark Knight gathered Wonder Woman, the Atom, the Martian Manhunter, and the Flash to consider clues. The Caped Crusader had managed to find out that all of the missing kids possessed a metagene, and Princess Diana thought that x-symbol looked familiar. The group split up to pursue angles.

On the abandoned prison island Key Mordaz off the coast of Florida was hidden a high tech laboratory. A seated figure worked a computer bank and a headpiece that allowed him to track people with a metagene. His beautiful young assistant accused a third fellow concealed by a leather mask of allowing a particular person of interest to elude them while sneaking off to party in Miami. A fourth individual with a metal fist demanded to see some action. The seated figure announced he had found something...

Wonder Woman wanted to speak with Manitou Raven about the x-symbol, but he wasn't answering any pages. She rustled up the Martian Manhunter, who spoke with Raven's wife Dawn, and learned of his meditative journey to the Badlands. The two heroes searched the area, and found the point where Manitou had been taken. The Amazing Amazon saw the marks on the ground and signs of struggle. She intended to query the Amazons Archives on Themyscira about the symbol, and told the Alien Atlas to inform Batman of their findings. She hoped a telepathic link to Raven could be established. "Can you not sense it, J'Onn? This is ancient work. And unspeakable evil!

The cultists' van pulled up to a creepy mansion a couple of hours outside Metropolis. The girl led Superman out on a psychic leash, and introduced him to Crucifer, a rather dandy vampire. The girl didn't want to see Superman hurt, but Crucifer had his own influence working. The vampire expected to find the Kryptonian delicious as he sank his fangs in. The girl ran off, and was followed down into her cellar of self-pity by a blue-skinned boy in a skull cap.

The Martian Manhunter brought Manitou Raven's telling stones to the Atom, and when conventional technology failed to detect anything within them, the Tiny Titan shrank down to explore close up. The Mighty Mite vanished into the stones, as J'Onn J'Onzz tried in vain to reestablish telepathic contact.

Faith, black-ops telekinetic, wandered the streets of San Francisco in a tie top shirt like Daisy Duke. She was abducted by the mentally manipulated Superman. At least she only spoke in Spanish when talking to a fellow Latino, but it still smelled like 1976 in there.

"Suffer the Little Children," part one of "The Tenth Circle," was by the famous X-Men creative team of John Byrne and Chris Claremont, joined by the heavy inks of Jerry Ordway. It was not magical. Byrne took top billing, so he presumably plotted the piece and drew it, and as a consequence he gets most of the blame. The story is uninspired and crowded, while the art looks more like Ordway hampered by Byrne's pencils rather than accentuating them. The script by Claremont is long, rambling and funky, with dialogue that doesn't sounds like it belongs in any of the known characters' mouths.

Friday, April 15, 2011

2010 Doctor Fate Commission by Chris Stevens

Click To Enlarge

Alakazam! Photobucket fixed my blog's images!

I personally didn't get enough use out of Chris Stevens' deviantART gallery last week, and went back for seconds. Normally I'd run one of this blogs regular featured characters like the Huntress or Power Girl, but this Hector Hall incarnation Dr. Fate was too cool to pass up.

Chris Stevens Commissions

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Great Comic Book Heroes: Captain Marvel & The Spirit

"The problem with other superheroes was that the most convenient way of becoming one had already been taken. Superman was from another planet. One of the self-denigrating laws of all science fiction is that every other planet is better than ours... Superman had all other planets tied up legally. Those one or two superheroes who defied the ban were taken apart by lawyers (nothing as super as a writ)... The answer, then, rested with science... The Shield... Steel Sterling... Captain America... the Human Torch... And not only science... flying men, webbed men, robot men, ghost men, minuscule men, flexible-sized men -- men of all shapes and costume blackening the comic-book skies like locusts in drag..."

"Understandably, this Pandora's box of men-of-steel was viewed gravely by Superman... The most savage reprisals in comic books were, just as in revolutions, saved not for one's enemies but for one's own kind. If, for a moment, Superman may be described as the Lenin of superheroes, Captain Marvel must be his Trotsky." Jules Feiffer continued by describing the Shazam cast as "A Disneyland of happy violence," with Dr. Sivana singled out as "uncannily" resembling Donald Duck. "The Captain himself came out dumber than the average superhero -- or perhaps less was expected of him. A friendly fullback of a fellow with apple cheeks and dimples, he could be imagined being a buddy rather than a hero, an overgrown boy who chased villains as if they were squirrels. A perfect fantasy figure for, say, Charlie Brown."

Feiffer took issue with the magic word "Shazam," a damned thing which worked for none of Captain Marvel's readership as it did for Billy Batson. "I had a vague feeling Captain Marvel was making fun of me. More and more of his adventures took on the tone of parodies... I was not prepared for frivolousness on the part of my superheroes!" Feiffer couldn't have cared less when Fawcett settled a lawsuit leveled by National, who felt Captain Marvel too resembled their Superman, and took the hero out of the game. His interests had moved on to more brutal but sophisticated fantasies, produced by a creator whose Wonder Man had also fallen prey to very similar litigation.

"Eisner had come to my attention a few years earlier doing a one-shot black-and-white feature called 'Muss "Em Up' Donovan in a comic book with the flop-oriented title of Centaur Funny Pages... Heroes and readers jointly conspired to believe the police were honest, but inept, well-meaning, but dumb -- except for good cops like Donovan,who were vicious. Arraignment was for sissies: a he-man wanted gore... wandered outside the reach of the law, pummeled everyone in sight, killed a slew of people -- and brought honor back to Central City, back to Metropolis, back to Gotham... In those pre-civil-rights days, we thought of that as a happy ending..."

"Will Eisner was an early master of the German expressionist approach in comic books... The underground terror of RKO prison pictures." Eisner had begun at Fiction House with 'Muss "Em Up' Donovan and Hawk of the Seas before moving on to the Quality Comic Group, where he helped create most of their signature features. "He'd draw a few episodes and abandon the characters -- bequeath them to Lou Fine, Reed Crandell, others. No matter. The Quality books bore his look, his layout, his way of telling a story... His high point was The Spirit, a comic-book section created as a Sunday supplement for newspapers..."

"Just as Milton Caniff's characters were identifiable by their perennial WASPish, upper middle-class look, so were Eisner's identifiable by that look of just having got off the boat. The Spirit reeked of lower middle-class: his nose may have turned up, but we all knew he was Jewish... What's more, he had a sense of humor. Very few comic-book characters did... Spirit's violence often turned in on itself, proved nothing, became, simply, an existential exercise... The Spirit could even suffer defeat in the end... Not that he wasn't virile. Much of the Spirit's charm lay in his response to intense physical punishment. Hoodlums could slug him, shoot him, bend pipes over his head. The Spirit merely stuck his tongue in his cheek and beat the crap out of them... I collected Eisners and studied them fastidiously. And I wasn't the only one. Alone among comic-book men, Eisner was a cartoonist other cartoonists swiped from."

The Great Comic Book Heroes is available from publisher Fantagraphics Books and from in either the slim essay-only or original hardcover formats, the latter with copious Golden Age reprints.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

2010 Captain Marvel Commission by Chris Stevens

Click To Enlarge

Holy Moley! This dude can draw one of the most magnificent examples of the World's Mightiest Mortal I've ever seen! DC needs to get this guy on a faithful relaunch faster than we can all say "SHAZAM!" It's like Ed McGuinness with Jerry Ordway coming in to apply a wash. Chris Stevens' deviantART gallery is a must see!

2010 Chris Stevens Commission

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

DC/WS DreamWar #2 (July, 2008)

In New York City, Wonder Girl and Starfire attacked Gen13.

Within their rocket ship headquarters, the Legion of Super-Heroes considered how they were going to move against their foes. "Chimera Lad wants us focused on Stormwatch. The Justice League will see to The Authority."

During an interrogation aboard The Carrier, Cyborg told members of The Authority and the WildC.A.T.s that the heroes of the DCU had come to bring down all the crumb bums of the Wildstorm Universe. To illustrate the point, the Justice League of America teleported onto the ship and started busting heads. Martian Manhunter and Green Arrow gravitated toward the Carrier's power source, while Green Lantern, the Flash, Superman and Batman addressed Cyborg's captors. Jenny Quarx, The Engineer and Jack Hawksmoor escaped the ship through a teleportational door, but most of their cohorts were taken down. However, Green Arrow was killed in the confrontation.

Meanwhile, the Justice Society of America began systematically destroying Tranquility, Oregon.

DC/Wildstorm: Dreamwar part two, "First Strike," was by Keith Giffen, Lee Garbett and Trevor Scott.

ElseWednesday featuring Wildstorm!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April Fool's Day Blogging

I've been kind of peeved at Google lately. A recent update screwed up my March Madness polls, my scheduled posts keep resetting to unpublished drafts, and even the words I type right now are the result of some coding snafu destroying my first draft of this paragraph. I'm going to go study this weekend, and offer this post recapping holiday shenanigans that never came up on my own Google Reader.

The Irredeemable Shag is usually the ringleader of these April Fool's goofs, and first suggested a 2011 edition in January. His mailing list then promptly forgot all about it, Shag included, or bowed out early. Out of the blue on March 19th, Boosterrific announced that he was going ahead with the plan, and several of us ostriches pulled our heads out of the sand and went, "Oh? Well, okay, I think I'll join you."

The premise this year was to convert your entire blog into something different, devoting it to some obscure property that you have an affection for. Shag of course went the most gloriously nuts by converting Firestorm Fan into B'wana Beast's Blog, dedicated to the curious prevalence of a virtual nonentity for forty years into an enduring cartoon guest star (Justice League Unlimited, Batman: The Brave and the Bold.) Shag created ten entirely new posts, including Why a B’wana Beast Blog?, B’wana Beast in Who’s Who 1985, B’wana Beast gets animated!, Best B’wana Beast Covers of All Time, B’wana Beast Action Figures, POLL: B’wana Beast or Freedom Beast?, B’wana Beast Cosplay at DragonCon 2010*, B’wana Beast Temporary Tattoo, Napoleon Dynamite’s Liger – B’wana Beast’s Greatest Achievement? and my personal favorite, the fan fictional B’wana Beast and Beta Ray Bill – Marvel vs DC Amalgam.
*Caution: May require Kleenex after viewing, regardless of gender

Boosterrific was the one bringing this back, so he sure as heck brought it, with Red Star Fire, the most famous Communist at DC Comics replacing the capitalist running dog Booster Gold. I adore old Soviet bloc propaganda imagery, so the design of the blog alone had me drooling. I don't know how long it will be up at 100%, but it should be accessible through the weekend. If not, the direct link to the permanent content is here.I very much approved of his offering the people a weekly poll to explain what their correct opinion should be, as it was pre-rigged.

Kelson's Speed Force briefly turned Cobalt Blue over: Cobalt Blue, Classic Rogue?, The Flash vs…Barry Allen? The Bronze-Age Origin of Cobalt Blue, “Seeing” Blue: TV’s Cobalt Blue Prototype, Flash Facts: Cobalt Blue, Cobalt Blue T-Shirt Available Exclusively At VA Comicon, Who Is Hot Pursuit, REALLY?

Liquidcross briefly lost the reins to the Indigo Tribe blog to Flash rogue Roscoe Dillon, who tried to prove Nobody Tops the Top. That is, until he found himself Dead and loving it.

Always handy as a bulking agent, I converted five of my own blogs, like Diana Prince as the New Wonder Woman into Wundercar Valkyrie!, dedicated to the Nazi aviation from '40s Hillman, '80s Eclipse, and '00s Moonstone comics. That one was mostly pin-ups and pieces from aborted coverage of one of her mini-series.

DC Bloodlines became Marshal Law's San Futuro Police Blog, revolving around synopsizes of the very mature and anti-superhero first six issue mini-series, plus a few extras. It's actually relevant, since DC (of all places) will be reissuing the series.

Power of the Atom was given over to Dreadstar & Company, a childhood favorite creator owned science fantasy series by Jim Starlin. That one was stocked with remembrances, pin-ups, and crudely glued together custom Overpower cards from when I was younger and even more poor.

I had already planned a fan fiction 1995 Manhunter from Mars Annual #12 and some new icons for the sidebar, but The Aviary of the Osprey kind of laid an egg in terms of raw material in replacing The Idol-Head of Diabolu.

I was running on fumes by the time Vibe's Beat Street Blog spun off from Justice League Detroit. That one was cobbled together, like many of the other blogs, from old crap on my ...nurgh... blog from when I did more there than comic book and movie review. Since I already cover Vibe's stories there, that one descended into music videos, pop-lock educationals, and a look back at 1983's D.C. Cab. Apologies for scrapping the bottle of the barrel on that.