Friday, July 27, 2007

LMS: Batman: Year One vs Daredevil: Yellow

Here's the daily Last Man Standing, before I leave for Perth for a holiday. Will be back Wednesday!

Batman: Year One vs. Daredevil: Yellow Art by STEVE LIEBER

Batman: Year One
Daredevil: Yellow
210 lbsWeight200 lbs
BatarangWeaponBilly Club
Arch-nemesis' daughterBangedA Porn Star

THE PLAYERS...Blinded when a radioactive isotope struck him in the face, Matt Murdock’s other senses were boosted to superhuman levels and he was gifted with a unique radar sense that replaced his sight.

When his parents were murdered by a mugger, Bruce Wayne vowed to avenge them by fighting crime. To that end, he trained inn every known form of combat and pushed himself to become a perfect weapon.

THE BATTLE...Staking out the rooftops of Hell’s Kitchen, the Batman spots the vibrantly-garbed acrobat and attempts to surprise him with a Batarang toss. Picking up the object with his radar sense, the Man Without Fear easily avoids the projectile and swings into action. Going toe-to-toe, Batman’s got the edge in fighting skills, but Daredevil’s acrobatics and toughness even things out, allowing him to dodge most of Batman’s martial arts strikes. The Dark Knight retreats to the shadows to spring another attack, a tactic that works well against common street thugs. But DD, using his heightened senses, smells Batman’s sweat and hears his heartbeat and respiration to pinpoint his location perfectly. One well-placed billy club toss leaves Batman laid out and DD swinging on his merry way. One consolation for the fledgling detective–he’s learned from his mistakes, and after a few years seasoning in Gotham City, Batman knows the outcome of another fight with Daredevil will be much, much different.

This is probably the ONLY time in the history of comics that Daredevil would kick Batman's ass.

These Are The Watchmen

OooOoooO! I'm a huge fan of Alan Moore's and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen. It's certainly one of my favourite series of all-time and it's going to be made into a movie, courtesy of Zack Snyder (of 300 fame) at the helm.

Wizard Universe just published this feature about who's been selected to be in the Watchmen movie:

The names and faces from Zack Snyder’s official ‘Watchmen’ cast

By Brian Warmoth

Posted July 26, 2007 1:30 PM

Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder have their cast set, and fans of Alan Moore’s seminal series turned graphic novel will be watching the Watchmen as they make their press debut in San Diego this week.

Variety released the names of the cast who will portray Moore’s aging superhero team in their time of crisis. These are the actors who will suit up for the sought after roles.

Dr. Manhattan

Billy Crudup (“Almost Famous”)


Jackie Earle Haley (“Little Children”)

Night Owl

Patrick Wilson (“Hard Candy”)


Matthew Goode (“Match Point”)

The Comedian

Jeffrey Dean Morgan (“Kabluey”)

Silk Spectre

Malin Akerman (“Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle”

I'm sure there will be a lot of debate over the months (and years) to come about whether some of these actors are well suited for their roles.

Personally, I'm not so sure they got the casting correct. Apart from Billy Crudup, I can't say I know or have seen the other actors in action before, so I can't comment on their acting ability. Based on the LOOK of the actors though, it seems like the only two characters they did a good job in casting was Rorschach and The Comedian.

Ozymandias really needed to be more of a pretty boy...I was thinking Matthew McConaughey or someone looking like that. Night Owl is supposed to be chubby, not lean-built! Not too sure about Billy Crudup for Dr Manhattan though...Crudup can certainly play detached and pathos, but does he have the LOOK?! Guess we'll find out when he's shaved bald, inserted white opaque contact lenses onto his eyeballs and slathered in light blue paint.

Looks like they got the right person, in terms of looks, for Rorschach! Can't wait to see him, since he's the most important central character to Watchmen.

And Jeffery Dean Morgan looks like he'd be a good Comedian too, though I'm more partial to this guy:

Bruce Campbell FTW!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

LMS: Lara Croft vs Indiana Jones

Here's the daily Last Man Standing "article", this time, with the most famous archaeologists/adventurers from pop culture going head to head, mano e womano!

Lara Croft vs. Indiana Jones Art by TERRY and RACHEL DODSON

Lara Croft
Indiana Jones
110 lbsWeight185 lbs
38 DDGuns.38 caliber
53,083Number of Nude Web sites1

THE PLAYERS...After a plane crash stranded Lara Croft in a frozen wasteland, the spoiled socialite battled back to civilization alone. Through
rigorous training, the selfish party girl evolved into an archaeologist/adventurer and the world’s most dangerous tomb raider.

College professor Indiana Jones splits his time as an archaeologist/adventurer. Armed with his trademark bullwhip, Indy’s battled Nazis and death cults to obtain some of the world’s most powerful and dangerous artifacts

THE BATTLE...Deep within an Incan temple in Machu Picchu, Peru, Indiana Jones disarms the last poison-arrow trap before snatching the ancient Vilcanota River scrolls. Packing them in his leather satchel, Indy hears a noise from above and instinctively dives to his right, just missing getting flattened by a stone idol. Cleaning off his dusty fedora, Indy calls his opponent out. Suddenly, a hail of bullets punctuates his sentence, as Lara Croft deftly dives into the room, firing as she somersaults down. Ducking for cover behind broken columns, Indy takes a bullet in the leg. Clearly outgunned, he tosses his satchel at Lara’s feet. By the time she scoops up the bag and notices the scrolls are missing, it’s far too late. Indy’s already disarmed her with his whip and toppled a sacrificial alter onto her legs, pinning her. Ensuring the scrolls are safely in his shirt, Indy grabs his bag and limps out of the temple, cursing that he’s too old for this crap.

[MoCCA] Best Of The Books

There were a couple of [MoCCA] Best of Books in this Wizard article, but I'll just publish the one about Fun Home. For the entire article and more reviews of awesome books, go to this link:

[MoCCA] Best Of The Books

The Wizard staff sounds off on the future smashes and hidden gems that made MoCCA a comic buying bonanza

By Sean T. Collins

Posted June 26, 2007 5:40 PM

Come six o’clock in the evening this past Sunday, one question was on the lips of every indie comics fan in downtown Manhattan: What did you get?

Each year, the MoCCA Art Festival sees a blend of books vie for the attention of the comics cognoscenti. From hand-stapled minicomics straight from the local copy shop to phone-book-thick hardcovers from acclaimed indie pioneers, the sequential art that will set the scene for the following year can frequently be found here. Particularly since 2003’s convention, when the one-two punch of Craig Thompson’s rapturous autobiography Blankets (Top Shelf) and editor Sammy Harkham’s trailblazing avant-garde anthology Kramers Ergot 4 (Avodah) debuted to huge sales and huger acclaim, the unofficial title of “Book of the Show” at MoCCA has become one of alternative comics’ most sought-after honorifics.

So what won the hearts and minds of con-goers this year? Wizard Universe lined up the Wizard staffers in attendance to share the books that blew them away. Consider their suggestions a great place to start your summer reading, and a taste of what makes MoCCA a must.

Brian Cunningham, Executive Editor: “This may be old news by this point, but Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home still impresses the hell outta me. Her panel and reading at MoCCA truly engrossed me and demonstrated how the medium has matured with storytelling as riveting as any classic prose novel. Also while at the festival, I loved the stylish pop-art-meets-’50s-kitsch quality T-shirts being sold by Emily Ryan Lerner (check ’em out at and distinctly Watchmen-esque wear from a guy whose name we never got but we have his email (—all really neat stuff. And I was impressed with the raw honesty of a minicomic my girlfriend picked up: Boobage by Monica Gallagher ( You can laugh at the title, but I was entertained by the author’s humorous confession of how her diminutive bra size negatively impacted her teenage life in a way only a comic book can convey. Oh, and someday, I'll save up to buy some Evan Dorkin Milk & Cheese original art. Someday...”

Speaking of Milk & Cheese, I absolutely love the work that Evan Dorkin does. It's irreverent, it's off the wall, it's laugh out loud funny. Check out his Milk & Cheese and Dork Vol.1 and Dork Vol.2 series!

[MoCCA] Festival Award Homes In On Bechdel

And yes, it's not just won critical acclaim, but Fun Home has also won an award from The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art [MoCCA]!

The ‘Fun Home’ creator discusses her drive to become a cartoonist and adds a MoCCA honor to a landmark year of acclaim

By Brian Warmoth

Posted June 25, 2007 4:25 PM

The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art’s annual Festival Award covers as wide a spectrum as any honor, having gone in years past to creators as diverse as comic book legend Neal Adams, Maus creator Art Spiegelman and New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast. 2007’s recipient Alison Bechdel adds the accolade to a breakthrough year of recognitions for her graphic novel Fun Home, which garnered a National Book Critics Circle Award, in addition to top mention on the 2006 reviews lists of The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly and Publisher’s Weekly.

Bechdel received the Festival Award from MoCCA’s Kent Worcester following her one-woman panel about becoming a cartoonist and her personal history that shaped Fun Home, the autobiographical story of her family and her experiences as a lesbian.

“I wanted to see representations of people that looked like me,” Bechdel began, describing the lack of gay and lesbian characters she felt the need to counteract when she began making comics. She characterized her role as a cartoonist as more akin to that of a journalist than that of an artist. “It was very important to me not to compromise my particular point of view and my specific experience with the world as a lesbian,” Bechdel explained, looking back to the beginning of her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For in 1983 and the lack of mainstream attention she had received for her work prior to Fun Home’s massive success.

“At a certain point I realized my big breakthrough wasn’t happening—this embrace by the mainstream that I had imagined,” Bechdel said. “I was getting more readers, and a wider range of readers, but it was still a quite precarious way to make a living. By the end of the ’90s, more and more gay newspapers were folding [and I was losing income]. My own publisher that published my books folded, and things started looking grim.”

Bechdel’s career had stretched for two decades before Fun Home found a publishing house.

“In 2003 I sold it to Houghton-Mifflin, who was a mainstream literary publisher, so that was very bolstering emotionally, and also really saved my ass financially,” she chuckled.

Fun Home was a long, involved process, however, as Bechdel explained. “It was a very personal, intimate project, and it took seven years to complete it. I found out when I came out to my parents as a lesbian when I was 19 that my dad was gay, and shortly after that he died under certain mysterious circumstances, and pretty likely committed suicide—he was hit by a truck.”

She described Fun Home as “a powerful and intense story that I felt like I needed to tell for a long time” that congealed into the long-form graphic novel now circulating.

Bechdel presented a series of photos and video of her creative process as well, demonstrating the sequence of steps she uses to combine color washes with her inked pages and text. She also showed examples of the original texts and dictionary illustrations she incorporated into her artwork.

“I copied a lot of different texts in Fun Home,” she said, presenting images of paragraphs, photographs taken by her father and drawings from other sources that she painstakingly studied and integrated into her own hand-rendered scenes.

“The real story of this book was about becoming an artist,” Bechdel stated, looking back on the photos taken by her father that she said ultimately made Fun Home a collaborative effort between the two of them, since she was using his comprehensive photographic records of their house for reference.

Before receiving the Festival Award at the panel’s conclusion, Bechdel fielded several questions from the audience, revealing the shock she experienced when she first saw the TV show “Six Feet Under” and noticed the many similarities between it and her memoirs, and the fact that the font used in Fun Home was based on her own lettering designs.

Secret Stash: Fun Home

Here's the review of Fun Home from Wizard magazine:

The hidden shame of a family and the pains of growing up with an overbearing father collide to make Alison Bechdel's stunning graphic novel the next Maus

By Kiel Phegley

Posted June 4, 2007 4:00 PM

Writer/Artist: Alison Bechdel
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin


KIEL PHEGLEY (Staff Writer)

WHAT I READ: Genre comics with a focus on fun over angst (All Star Superman, Scott Pilgrim) and book-length series with a strong sense of history and imagination (Love & Rockets, anything by Seth).

WHY I DIG ‘FUN HOME’: The antithesis of every pretentious, boring autobiographical comic, Alison Bechdel’s honest memoir portrays real, fallible people rather than stereotypes. To top it all off, it’s an extremely smart, literate comic—and not in that “The Kingpin just quoted Shakespeare” way.

There’s something I have to get off my chest.

I scammed a free copy of Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home off of a book publicist at the New York Comic Con before I ever knew I’d review it in Wizard. But when the award-winning graphic novel memoir gets an affordable and accessible softcover treatment this June, you need to go out and buy it. Entirely revealing in its depiction of Bechdel’s life growing up with her family, the book holds a magnifying glass over key moments in her development (her first lesbian experience, her father’s sexual involvement with young men, etc.) to display an absolute depiction of one family struggling through its dysfunction.

“I think what most people respond to in the book is the way I expose my family’s secrets,” says Bechdel, a 24-year veteran of the alternative comics scene who’s most known for her strip Dykes to Watch Out For. “I don’t think that’s quite lost its appeal yet, even in this age of gutspilling memoirs. I think the other thing is, I didn’t just spill my guts. I tried to sort them all out, to label and examine them. I think that provides a more satisfying reading experience in the end than just a pile of guts.”

The study of those family innards took Bechdel seven years to complete as she toiled over the details of her upbringing. Those details mostly focus on her relationship with her father Bruce, a well-read, closeted gay man who, in her opinion, committed suicide. From the museum-like detail her father applied to decorating both the Bechdel residence and their family-operated funeral home (aka Fun Home) to the stern manner in which he’d introduce his children to classic literature, the relationship between father and daughter was often a strained affair whose doors only opened wide after Bechdel’s adolescent discovery that she was a lesbian.

However, writing off Fun Home as another self-indulgent, diary-like autobiographical comic is a massive mistake. I’ve read countless, whiney, “my life was so rough” indies, and what makes Fun Home such a dominant, true-life comic is that Bechdel not only tells a complete story, she does so with an unabashed, well-thought style that will drag you into the highs and lows of experiences. There are panels in the book where Bruce trades his quiet decorating for an angry and physically abusive demeanor and where Alison lays out her own obsessive compulsive tendencies like uncontrollably drawing loops through words and ideas in her diary that make her anxious. But those parts never made me dislike the Bechdels. They made me sympathize with them in an effective, almost uncomfortable way. It’s like watching your role model cousin laugh and cry her way through a confession of what went on behind the closed doors of her home.

“I flailed around for a very long time,” explains Beschdel of her approach to a full-length book. “Suddenly having 200-plus pages of a graphic novel sprawling out before me was sort of like getting out of prison—it was scary, and I wanted my walls back. But as I plugged along, I discovered that this larger form had its own constraints and rules and strictures.”

Although, being the book nerd I am, the thing that brought Fun Home’s themes into clearest focus for me was the way the structure and story intersected with established literary classics from Bechdel’s past. Whether it’s her father’s romantic comparisons of his flawed marriage to the life of novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald or Bechdel’s own attempts to tackle the behemoth that is James Joyce’s Ulysses, the string of smart (and occasionally sarcastic) literary nods played important roles in the lives of the Bechdel family, serving as an engaging and fateful doorway into their personalities.

“I started noticing individual literary parallels fairly early,” recalls Bechdel. “It took a long time of working with that material before I could see the larger patterns underlying it, and get some perspective on why I had this tendency to read my parents as fictional characters.”

Readers nationwide must identify with the parents-as-fictional-characters ideal, too. Time named Fun Home “Book of the Year” and classrooms across the country have begun teaching the tome alongside graphic classics such as Maus and Persepolis.

“I visited a bunch of classes,” explains Bechdel of her interaction in the book’s academic crossover. “Sometimes students got a little hyperfocused on the personal aspects of the story. But I’m trying to find ways to turn my answers to those intimate questions back onto the writing, back to questions about the aesthetics of memoir and graphic narrative.”

Those aesthetics were lost on a library in Marshall, Mo., though, when it attempted a very public ban of the book from its shelves. Eventually, in mid-March of 2007, the ban was overturned. Still, the ban created more press around the book than had been there before and brought new family heartache as Fun Home became a critical sensation.

“Sharing the intimate details of my private life with thousands of anonymous strangers was nothing compared to showing this book to my mother and brothers,” admits Bechdel. “It’s been strange seeing this very intimate book get so much attention. Of course that’s a good thing, but there’s no way to really be prepared for it. I have all kinds of conflicting feelings, and so does my family. Though we haven’t really talked about it very much.”

THE LAST WORD In the end, Fun Home isn’t just important in the comics scene—it’s an important book, period. Merging the world of pop culture and high culture in a dizzying display of storytelling, the book cannot be passed up and should be passed on to everyone you know.

Alison Bechdel's Fun Home

Purchased Alison Bechdel's Fun Home yesterday from Minotaur and I can't wait to open up the plastic wrap and start reading it! has a pretty awesome tool which allows potential buyers to preview some of the contents of books sold on their site, and here's the preview for Fun Home:

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Click and be blown away!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

LMS: Boba Fett vs Deadpool

I've really missed this section that Wizard magazine published oh so many years ago, so I thought I'd slowly bring it back, courtesy of placing it here in this blog!

Boba Fett vs. Deadpool Art by Ed McGuinness and Jason Martin

Boba Fett
UnknownWeight215 lbs
TalkWon'tShut up

THE PLAYERS...The most feared bounty hunter in the galaxy, Boba Fett's Mandalorian battle armor, the countless bombs and guns, and his cold calculating mind, have served him well against bounties across the galaxy.

Before he gained his powers in Canada’s “Weapon X” project, Wade Wilson was a small-time mercenary. Nowadays, Deadpool combines his superhuman strength and regenerative powers to dish out death and low-brow chuckles with equal skill.

THE BATTLE... Earth. Far from the galaxy’s most wretched collection of scum and villainy. At least, that’s what Boba Fett thinks as he exits Slave-I and begins hunting his mark. Suddenly, a boisterous “Hey, Abbottttttt” catches his attention, as a left boot catches his face. Screaming about Armor-All and the dangers of smoking, Deadpool lets loose a fury of kicks, jabs and headbutts. It’s all Fett can do to concentrate, let alone block the assault. Firing off a continuous round from his BlasTech EE-3 blaster rifle, Fett barely keeps the Merc with a Mouth back. Realizing his foe’s absolutely nuts, Fett reverts to an all-out blitz. Three concussive grenades, some laser shots and a burst of flame later, he knocks the ’Pool off his feet. Snagging him with his grappling hook, Fett whips ’Pool on over and lets loose a blast straight to his head. Case closed.

Trakker's gonna lead the mission, and Spectrum's got a super vision!

Speaking of M.A.S.K, I never realised, but they actually have the two box sets of the cartoon series sold here in Australia! I wonder if these two collections make up the entire cartoon series run of M.A.S.K?

Already have the Transformers box set, so I don't see why this isn't something else I'd be getting in the new future.

Sourced from AUS.
In stock. Last updated 2:15 am.

$56.99 AUD

Add to wish list

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M.a.s.k. Collection 1

Led by Matt Trakker, the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand is a secret organization that fights crime in an unusual way. By donning specially charged masks they have extraordinary powers to fight the villains of VENOM, who pose a real threat to the free world with their own special equipment. In addition to the masks, our heroes, and their counterparts, have super vehicles capable of a wide range of defensive and offensive actions, from changing a car into a jet or becoming a submarine. Trakker meets each unusual situation by requesting his computer to pick the agents best suited for the job. As each agent has special talents some are better for a particular mission than others. VENOM, led by Miles Mayhem, always has their hands full when their evil plans for control are met by the crusading forces of M.A.S.K.

Title: M.a.s.k. Collection 1
Year of Production: 1985
TV Standard: PAL
Format:4 DVD
Region: Zone 4
Running time: 950 mins
Aspect Ratio: TBC
Rating: G.
Released: 8-11-2006

Sourced from AUS.
In stock. Last updated 2:15 am.

$56.99 AUD

Add to wish list

Note: Items featured on this website may not be held in our stores.
When would I receive this item? Click here...

M.a.s.k. Collection 2

Led by Matt Trakker, the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand is a secret organization that fights crime in an unusual way. By donning specially charged masks they have extraordinary powers to fight the villains of VENOM, who pose a real threat to the free world with their own special equipment. In addition to the masks, our heroes, and their counterparts, have super vehicles capable of a wide range of defensive and offensive actions, from changing a car into a jet or becoming a submarine.Trakker meets each unusual situation by requesting his computer to pick the agents best suited for the job. As each agent has special talents some are better for a particular mission than others. VENOM, led by Miles Mayhem, always has their hands full when their evil plans for control are met by the crusading forces of M.A.S.K.

Title: M.a.s.k. Collection 2
Year of Production: 1985
TV Standard: PAL
Format:4 DVD
Region: Zone 4
Running time: 925 mins
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0
Languages: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Rating: G.
Released: 14-3-2007

Behind The Mask

Oh mein gott (bit of German there for those who were wondering)! The 80s toys/cartoons revival must certainly be in full swing in the comics/entertainment world. ToyFare (a subsidiary magazine of Wizard) just released an online article of M.A.S.K, one of my favourite cartoons and toy properties of all time!

What a great time to be reviving these long-lost favourites, in light of the success of the Transformers movie. Here's the review in full from Wizard Universe:

'ToyFare" takes a peek under the helmets of the '80s toy classic!

By Jake Rossen

Posted July 24, 2007 9:15 AM

Illusion is the ultimate weapon! David Copperfield’s dating advice? Nope, that was the motto of special ops squadron M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand), an elite team that used transforming vehicles and powered helmets to battle the forces of V.E.N.O.M. (Vicious Evil Network Of Mayhem). Together, they conspired to separate your parents from their M.O.N.E.Y.

The bastard child of G.I. Joe and Transformers, M.A.S.K.’s formidable history as a cartoon and toy classic is long overdue for honors in the pages of ToyFare. Get ready for a history lesson, only with less George Washington and more flying cars.

A Brief History of M.A.S.K.
Or: Who the hell spells “Command” with a “K”?
Though the elite team known as Mobile Armored Strike Kommand was
ostensibly formed to combat worldwide terrorism, it had ulterior motives: to make Kenner even richer following their billions in Star Wars toy revenue.

Both the cartoon and figure line debuted in 1985, introducing a M.A.S.K. team that was dispatched around the globe to foil the latest plot by the evil V.E.N.O.M. The team was put together Mission: Impossible-style by a computer based on their skills and the usefulness of the two-vehicles-in-one transports they drove.

The 65-episode first season was supported by two waves of toys, totaling 16 different vehicles and the Boulder Hill base, each with one or two figures with removable masks. Everyone’s mask did something different in the cartoon (one shot knives!) and Trakker, who drove four different vehicles, wore four different masks over the life of the toy line.

The mini-comics that came with the toys revealed the origins of both groups, including the fact that Trakker and V.E.N.O.M. leader Miles Mayhem developed the M.A.S.K. technology together. Unfortunately, Mayhem lived up to his name by stealing the technology and killing Trakker’s teenage brother. The DC comic book series further revealed that both organizations were backed by larger groups.

The second season of M.A.S.K. shook things up, pitting the two teams against each other in a race around the world—but it only lasted 10 episodes. However, the third wave of vehicles in 1987 included some great new designs as well as the debut of long-overdue vehicles like Manta. The fourth and final wave was devoted to “Split Seconds,” vehicles that split in two and came with both a pilot and a holographic clone, but the toys were not as good as previous waves had been.

That would have been the end if not for Kenner’s Vor-Tech. The cartoon ran for a single season in 1996 with a similar mask/vehicle conceit, and a single wave of toys—some based on M.A.S.K designs—was available in stores.

Who Was That Masked Man?
How Scott Trakker became Scott Evil
Today, he’s known for turning toys into pimps on his Adult Swim show Robot Chicken. But in 1986, actor Seth Green (Austin Powers) was doing a little toy pimping of his own. That was the year a young up-and-coming actor just happened to scam his way into the Mecca of childhood: the 1986 Toy Fair.

“My dream destination was over in the Kenner showroom, where the second year of M.A.S.K. was being unveiled,” Green recalls. After crashing a tour group and suffering through the specifics of Chuck Norris’ Karate Kommandos, 12-year-old Green finally caught sight of his Holy Grail, being shilled by a faux Matt Trakker. Needless to say, he was entranced.

He returned later in the week when the display was unattended. “As a group of purchasers came through, I found myself welcoming them to the presentation, introducing myself as Scott Trakker, and explaining how, with my ‘dad’ away on business, I would be leading them through the next wave of toys. Somehow, I bullsh**ted my way through the presentation.”

Green’s stunt attracted the attention of security, who approached him along with some higher-ranking types. To his surprise, they endorsed his work. “Seeing a kid so excited about the product made the line more desirable,” he says. “I got offered a presenter position at the following year’s Toy Fair.” Sadly, it wouldn’t be for M.A.S.K., but for a new line called Sky Commanders.

Five Masks We’d Like to Own

At a certain age, the ol’ paper bag with eyeholes doesn’t cut it anymore. We’d love to rock these M.A.S.K. helmets and their corresponding powers.

WORN BY: Brad Turner
Allows the wearer to create a holographic double. Perfect for skipping work and prostate exams.

WORN BY: Alex Sector
Grants the ability of flight. We’d tell U.S. Airways to stuff it, and maybe poop on their control tower.

WORN BY: Buddy Hawks
Not what you think; it allows the wearer to pass through solid objects. Good luck keeping us in the pen, pigs!

WORN BY: Sly Rax
Who hasn’t wished they were able to shoot sawblades at people just by looking at them? Not us, that’s for sure.

WORN BY: Bruce Sato
With a glance, this helmet allowed the wearer to levitate objects using beams from his eyes. Beer me, Superman!

Pimp My Ride
What was once science fiction is now science fact

Let’s face it, no one tuned into M.A.S.K. for its intricate plotting and character development. We liked to see shape-shifting vehicles blow crap up. And with some extra cash and a spare stick of dynamite, now you can do it in your own town! Human ingenuity has placed transforming vehicles within our grasp, and these are some of M.A.S.K.’s real-life equivalents (RLEs).

5 Condor

Driven by: Brad Turner (M.A.S.K.)
Traffic too backed up? No problem! Just flip a switch and Brad’s motorcycle sprouts helicopter blades and becomes an airborne threat.

RLE: The Super Sky Cycle, an amalgamated wonder created by a former test pilot. The bike goes 60 mph on asphalt and can reach 20 mph in the air. It’s yours for only $25,000!

4 Gator

Driven by: Dusty Hayes (M.A.S.K.)
How many times have we been driving a Jeep, only to feel compelled to crash it straight into the water? Too many to count. Gator can go off-road and right into marine adventures by ejecting a little speedboat.

RLE: Several car-boats have been built, including one model preferred by Cubans trying to cross into the U.S. illegally. For $250,000, you can score the Gibbs Aquada, which tucks its wheels in for amphibious travel.

3 Jackhammer
Driven by: Cliff Dagger (V.E.N.O.M.)
Is your journey to work riddled with gunfights between warring gangs? Have no fear: Dagger’s ride can turn from innocuous Ford Bronco (wait, is that an oxymoron?) to death machine in mere seconds. In addition to armored plating, a turret pops up.

RLE: Most any vehicle can be pimped out with bulletproof glass and a reinforced body, assuming you have an extra hundred grand collecting dust. The rotating gun turret, however, might cost more.

2 Piranha
Driven by: Sly Rax (V.E.N.O.M.)
What motorcycle gang wouldn’t want to dash underwater and extort money from tuna? Rax’s motorbike can discharge its submersible sidecar for submarine subterfuge.

RLE: The Scubadoo, a personal submarine that operates like a bike underwater and sports a helmet for users to breathe underwater. It has no use on dry land, but who cares? You can try one out at participating diving expeditions, but try not to get too excited. You’ve only got air for about an hour.

1 Thunderhawk
Driven by: Matt Trakker (M.A.S.K.)
Team poobah Trakker reserved the coolest wheels for himself. On the road, Thunderhawk is a sleek Camaro. Once the winged doors open, it becomes a flying menace.

RLE: Flying cars have been under development since the early part of the 20th century. Of the current prototypes being tested, the most impressive is the LaBiche Aerospace FSC-1, which can convert at the touch of a button and features dummyproof satellite flight plans. The less you think about the included parachute, the better.

Trades I'm looking forward to getting!

A new issue of the Frank Miller/Jim Lee All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder is out tomorrow! And about time too...there was a fairly long wait between issues #4 and #5, so hopefully this title will be back on its bi-monthly schedule again. I wonder whether the lateness of this book has got anything to do with Frank Miller's burgeoning Hollywood commitments, or Jim Lee's slowness in pencilling, or a little bit of column A and a little bit of column B?

There are a couple of trades I'm looking to get in the next couple of months or so, pending my budget. The only real hobby I have nowadays is comics, but my weekly expenditure has to be budgeted between food, transport and other miscellaneous stuff, so I can't really splurge like I have in the past. Plus, part of my salary goes to the rent, another part goes to my parents and a third part goes to our savings account, so I don't have a lot of room to move, money-wise!

But here's some of the stuff I'd be looking to get:

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures Vol. 1
Writer: Stacie Ritchie and Jess Ruffner-Booth
Artist: Brett Booth
Price: US$19.99

This one's based on the Anita Blake series written by Laurell K. Hamilton. I've never read the novels before but it seems like an extremely interesting concept that I can certainly get to like and enjoy.

Here's the review from Wizard Universe:

If Buffy approached middle age and moved to St. Louis, she’d be pretty close to the title character of this series, an adaptation of the Laurell K. Hamilton novel of the same name by writers Stacie Ritchie and Jess Ruffner-Booth and artist Brett Booth. Anita gets roped into hunting down a vigilante vampire killer; mixed emotions and romantic entanglements ensue. With vampires, blood, scars and a stripper bar all at the center of this arc, one might expect something along the lines of “From Dusk Till Dawn” instead of the comic equivalent of lush violin music punctuated by occasional stab wounds that’s on offer here. Don’t plan on seeing any voluptuous vamps at the stripper bar, either: It’s all male performers built like Michael Turner characters. In fact, there’s not a lot of overtly risqué visual content here at all. The juicy stuff’s in the subtext and dialogue between Anita and the many men she runs across in her travels. The repetitive rhythm of the series—sequences consisting of threat, confrontation, weird quasi-romantic tension, and peace-making deal that leads into the next scene—gets established fairly quickly; this even applies to an exceptionally wince-inducing encounter between Anita and a giant wererat. For pulp romance lovers and Hamilton readers, this sort of book is not without its fanbase, particularly due to Booth’s mastery of slender male physiques and an original Anita story written by Hamilton for the collection. But if action scenes, meaty plots and well-rounded characters are what you need, hunt elsewhere.

Another one I'm looking to get
sometime down the line:

Hulk: Planet Hulk HC (only available in HC now, but I'm guessing they'll release the softcover version sometime down the line)

Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Aaron Lopresti
Price: US$39.99

One of the best storylines to come out from the Hulk series in years, this one is the prequel to the company-wide World War Hulk event at Marvel Comics. I'm not really interested in World War Hulk as of yet, even though Marvel keeps saying that the ramifications from that event would be pretty earth-shattering...and why wouldn't it be since it involves an angry, pissed-off Hulk taking on Earth's superhero population!

So yeah, I'd be looking to get this first and THEN get the World War Hulk trades when it gets released in a couple of months down the line. Here's the Wizard Universe review for Hulk: Planet Hulk:

THE BASICS The Illuminati thought they were banishing the Hulk to a peaceful planet where he could live out his days without harming anyone. They thought wrong. Instead, a wormhole opens up and drops the Hulk on a world ruled by the despicable Red King, who forces Hulk and other familiar faces to do battle in his gladiatorial arena. Not one to bear abuse for long, Hulk and his warbound allies free themselves to take the fight to the king. On a world full of monsters, has the Hulk finally found himself a home? Collecting the entire “Planet Hulk” storyline (Hulk #92-#105, Giant Size Hulk #1 and part of Amazing Fantasy [vol. 2] #15), this hardcover is one-stop shopping for the best Hulk story to come along in years.

THE EXTRAS Aside from the main “Planet Hulk” saga, Marvel’s including the Amazing Fantasy story which tells the origin of super-smart teenager Mastermind Excello, who shows up again in Giant Size Hulk when he goes toe to toe with Reed Richards over the Hukl’s fate. Expect Mastermind to be a big help to Hulk when he returns to Earth during World War Hulk.

THE HIGHLIGHTS In this epic space opera, writer Greg Pak takes a character who’s been put through every wringer imaginable and finds a new one to crank him through. By getting the Green Goliath away from Earth and putting him in a less-civilized—though intelligently detailed and thoroughly thought-out—setting, Pak allows Hulk’s savage essence to flourish. Indeed, Bruce Banner only shows up twice in the whole series. This is the Hulk’s show, baby: He smashes, bashes and slashes his way through an entire planet, reveling in his natural state and taking the fans along for the ride. But this time, rather than a menace, he’s a hero with equally outcast friends and even a love interest. From slave to rebel to king, the Hulk climbs the ladder of fame and honor and finally finds happiness, alongside the strongest supporting cast he’s had since the Peter David days—until the book’s brutal conclusion, which launches the Jade Giant back toward his homeworld.

THE LOWLIGHTS For Hulk fans, there are very few. The biggest drawback would no doubt be the sci-fi setting; though Pak has created a believable and complex society for his saga, the simple fact that the book doesn’t take place on our world may keep readers who like their Hulk stories down-to-Earth away.

THE BOTTOM LINE From great art by Aaron Lopresti, Carlo Pagulayan and Juan Santacruz to bone-crushing battles to even a little romance, Planet Hulk is a smash. By taking a chance and doing something completely outside the box, Pak has produced a Hulk story to which all others will be compared for years. And the best part? It continues right into World War Hulk, the Pak-penned mega-event to which Planet Hulk is an engrossing prologue.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What's Your Superhero Name?

Your Superhero Profile

Your Superhero Name is The Supreme Dancer
Your Superpower is Extra-dimensional
Your Weakness is Tummy Rubs
Your Weapon is Your Caustic Bludgeon
Your Mode of Transportation is Camel

This one is REALLY silly.

What Superhero Are You?

You Are Spider-Man

Quick and agile, you have killer instincts (literally).
And that kind of makes up for the whole creepy spider thing.

At least I'm not wearing my underpants on the outside like Superman.

What Should Your Superpower Be?

Your Superpower Should Be Manipulating Electricity

You're highly reactive, energetic, and super charged.
If the occasion calls for it, you can go from 0 to 60 in a split second.
But you don't harness your energy unless you truly need to.
And because of this, people are often surprised by what you are capable of.

Why you would be a good superhero: You have the stamina to fight enemies for days

Your biggest problem as a superhero: As with your normal life, people would continue to underestimate you

So...I'd be a good Electro, Lightning Lad or Black Lightning, eh? How in the world did they come up with me having stamina to fight enemies for days though!?

The Black Dossier: Would it be worth the wait?

Oh man. Anyone who knows me knows how big a fan of Alan Moore I am. Some of my favourite comics of all time were written by him: Top Ten, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Watchmen, V for Vendetta.

His League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in particular, was just unbelievably good. I loved the way he dropped numerous literary references throughout the two series and the story was just so compelling! What's not to like about Mr Hyde running headfirst into a bunch of the tripods from War of the Worlds, screaming for blood?

So I was absolutely psyched when I heard that he and series artist Kevin O'Neill, were going to come up with a THIRD volume. This wasn't going to be the same team as in the previous two series, and it was going to be a stand alone special edition hardcover book:

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier (Hardcover)

This was originally set to be released October last year. Then the date got pushed back to sometime in 2007. The release date changed to May 2007. But until now, there has been hardly any information as to when this book has even been completed, let alone whether it's going to be released!

If there's one thing I REALLY hate about the comics industry, it's the lateness of comics. Yes, I understand that comic book creators (writers, artists and the like) have their own personal lives and other things to do that might take precedence, but if you've promised your fans that something is going to be shipped on a certain date, then by all means, do your DAMNDEST to try and get it out, if not by that date, then sometime soonish!

Some comics are well worth the wait...see the Ultimates series and Civil War. But that doesn't mean they can be excused for shipping late in the first place. I still remember when I had to wait the LONGEST time for the latest issue of Danger Girl and Battle Chasers. The titles grew increasingly late and when they finally shipped, a lot of people had all but forgotten that those series existed.

The Ultimates series was very VERY late as well, and it was well worth the wait between issues, but still, I didn't like waiting! I can imagine how much DC would have lost in sales when fans got tired of waiting for issue #4 of All-Star Batman and Robin to be released.

Cmon guys, if you're committed to making comics, then try your darndest to get them out on time! There are some exceptions of course, like when Michael Turner was diagnosed with cancer. Of course, one couldn't expect him to keep drawing and releasing new issues of Fathom when he's fighting for his life!

But what's the excuse of Joe Madureira and J. Scott Campbell, who worked on Battle Chasers and Danger Girl respectively? Yes, that was YEARS ago, but there was never really a reason given for why their books shipped too late. Were they both too busy playing video games to the point where they neglected to do their pencilling duties? Did they even consider their fans who were growing impatient and wearisome waiting for their favourite comics to be released?

Joe Mad is going to be on Ultimates in the fourth series of the book. That's like a match made in hell for fans...a book that has been chronically late throughout it's entire run, paired up with a guy who's shown on too many times that he cannot meet deadlines. I hope that before Marvel announces the release date of the series, they've gotten Joe Mad to complete ALL the issues already. Yes, it'd be a spectacular series for sure, but I just don't think I can wait that long between issues anymore.

So...when will the Black Dossier be released. And will it be worth the wait? I certainly hope so.

New Avengers Vs Transformers

Alrighty, Wizard Universe recently released this 8-page preview of the second issue of New Avengers/Transformers. Click on the pics for larger images:

Man. Initially, I didn't want to buy this mini-series, but it combines two of my favourite bunches of characters: The Avengers and the Transformers. So I couldn't resist buying the first issue.

It seemed like Marvel and IDW (owner of the Transformers property for comics) wanted to cash in on success of the live action movie (which is doing awesomely well worldwide by the way) and put their two best selling comic book properties together to earn even more megabucks.

The New Avengers and the Autobots meeting for the first time and, as expected, it follows a tried-and-tested but contrived plot device: Two superheroes (or superhero teams) meet each other for the first time; both mistake each other as the villain(s), both superheroes/teams battle each other. It's been done to death in comics...JLA Vs Avengers, Captain America Vs Wolverine, yaddayaddayadda.

Honestly though, who'd win a fight between the Autobots and the New Avengers? Well, first off, if the Autobots were true to their characters, they would hold back and not go all out, since one of their mantras is the preservation of all living things. If it were the Decepticons, sure, they'd do their best to kill and maim, but there's no way the Autobots would kill any of the Avengers...willingly or knowingly at least.

The New Avengers though, would have no problem opening up a can of whoop ass on the 'Bots. They'd consider the Autobots as sentient but non-living beings and with the Avengers' history of fighting robotic threats like Ultron and the like, they'd have no problem trying to terminate the Autobots function circuits.

Let's say though, for the sake of this argument, that both teams don't hold back. Who'd win in a fight? I can't go past the Autobots here. Wouldn't they be just too big and bad and powerful for the Avengers?

Optimus Prime could use his laser cannon and fry the flesh off Wolverine's bones faster than he could regenerate it. Yes, if Wolvie gets within range to use his claws, he could cause a LOT of damage. But he'd never get within range. If Spider-man were caught, he'd be squashed like a bug. His webbing won't do any good against any of the Autobots, and I don't think he'd be too much stronger than any of them, for all his proportionate strength of a spider.

I don't think Captain America can do too much damage with his adamantium shield either, apart from denting a couple of Autobots. Yes, he'd be a hard target to for the Autobots to catch, but other than being the strategic leader on the field in this battle, I'd hazard to guess he'd have almost no other impact whatsoever.

Iron Man Vs any of the Autobots (bar Bumblebee)...that's like a leaf going against a gale force wind. Yes, Iron Man has the most technologically advanced armour on this planet...but the Autobots ARE technologically advanced beings! No contest there. Spider-woman's pheromones would have no effect on the 'Bots and like Spider-man, she'd be squashed like a bug.

Now Luke Cage is a different matter altogether. I think the Autobots would have the toughest time with him...if Luke Cage connects with a punch, it could seriously damage any of the Autobots. And the Autobots can't really kill him either...they can certainly put the hurt on him, but Luke Cage will just get up and keep going at them until he's dead. The best way to deal with him? Get one of the Autobots to pick him up and fling him ten thousand miles away and that would take him out of the battle...for at least a very long while.

Ms Marvel might be pretty tough to deal with as well, especially since she can also fly, but she wouldn't be close to being as tough to deal with as Luke Cage.

Anyway, as skeptical as I am about how this series is going to turn out, I'm still going to keep buying it.

Tyler Kirkham is a pretty awesome artist, but I just can't help feel that he's not really suited to draw big metal robots. I'd love to see him doing more Marvel work sometime in the future, but on human characters and not robots.