Friday, November 28, 2003

The Bleak House of Blahgs II: Electric Boogaloo

Some sequels that should never be made:

Unforgiven II: The Bloody Rampage of Will Munny
Leprechaun V: Pot 'o Pot
Vertigo II: Dizzy New Heights
The Return of the Searchers
Straw Dogs II: Revenge of the Mathematician
The Wilder Bunch
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon Again
The Thing From Yet Another World
Forbidden Planet II: Embargo Lifted!
When Worlds Collide Again
World War II of the Worlds
Gold Diggers of 2004
Allan Quatermain and the Forbidden Gazebo of Doom
Die Hard 4ever
Rebirth of a Nation
Citizen Kane II: Citizenship Revoked!
The Apartment Next Door
Return of the Green Slime
Ishtar II
Pulpier Fiction
Once Upon a Time in Burkina Faso
Speed 3-D

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Going Round About Capes

Last weekend, my friend Pete noted that DC's stable of superheroes sported more capes than Marvel's. Immediately I started a chart outlining which characters were caped and which lacked same, but the lists quickly grew out of control. The following discussion, then, focusses only on first- and second-tier characters, in roughly descending order of historical importance and cultural prominence. Basically, I've listed important heroes and villains, plus major supporting characters, who either had their own comic book or back-up feature at one time or another.

Let's begin with Marvel:

Caped Flagship Characters
The Mighty Thor
Dr. Strange
Dr. Doom
Magneto
Storm
The Scarlet Witch
The Watcher
Mysterio
The Vision

Caped Second-Tier Characters
The Black Panther
Quasar
Ms. Marvel
The Mole Man
The Black Knight

Capeless Flagship Characters
The Amazing Spider-Man
Captain America
The Incredible Hulk
Mr. Fantastic
The Invisible Woman
The Human Torch II
The Thing
Iron Man
Daredevil
Elektra
The Black Widow
Wolverine
Cyclops
Beast
Professor X
Marvel Girl
Iceman
Colossus
Nightcrawler
The Green Goblin
Dr. Octopus
Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner
The Human Torch I
Rogue
Mystique
Tigra
Galactus
The Kingpin
The Lizard
The Wasp
Ant-Man/Giant-Man/Yellowjacket

Capeless Second-Tier Characters
Stilt-Man
She-Hulk
Spider-Woman I
Spider-Woman II
Captain Marvel (Marvel Comics Version)
Electro
Bucky
Quicksilver
Crystal
Black Bolt
Medusa
Karnak
Scorpion
Nova

And now, DC:

Caped Flagship Characters
Superman (also as Superboy)
Supergirl
Bizarro
Batman
Robin
Batgirl
Captain Marvel (Fawcett/DC Comics version, i.e., "Shazam!")
Martian Manhunter

Caped Second-Tier Characters
Dr. Fate
Dr. Mid-Nite
The Atom I
The Phantom Stranger
Red Tornado I
Red Tornado II
Steel
Krypto, the Superdog
Beppo the Super-Monkey
Streaky the Super-Cat
Comet the Super-Horse
The Weather Wizard
Raven
Huntress

Capeless Flagship Characters
Wonder Woman I
Wonder Woman II
Aquaman
The Flash I
The Flash II
The Flash III
The Atom II
Green Lantern I (Alan Scott)
Green Lantern II (Hal Jordan)
Green Lantern III (John Stewart)
Green Lantern IV (Guy Gardner)
Green Lantern V (Kyle Rayner)
Green Arrow
Black Canary
Plastic Man
The Elongated Man
Firestorm
Zatara
Zatanna
Swamp Thing
The Joker
The Penquin
Catwoman
Poison Ivy
Mr. Freeze
The Riddler
Lex Luthor
Solomon Grundy
Brainiac
Nightwing (formerly Robin)
Jimmy Olsen
Lois Lane
Lana Lang
Perry White
Alfred Pennyworth
Dream
Death

Capeless Second-Tier Characters
Black Lightning
Blue Beetle I
Blue Beetle II
Booster Gold
Fire (formerly Green Flame)
Ice Maiden I
Ice (formerly Ice Maiden II)
Captain Boomerang
Slam Bradley
Dr. Occult
Johnny Thunder and the Thunderbolt
Mr. Mxyzptlk
The Parasite
Titano, the Super-Ape
Gorilla Grodd
Detective Chimp
Angel and the Ape
Congorilla
Cyborg
Captain Atom
Starfire
Wonder Girl/Troia
Speedy/Arsenal
The Creeper
Shade, the Changing Man
Desire
Destiny
Despair
Destruction
Delerium (formerly Delight)
Brother Power, the Geek
Prez Rickard
Kamandi


This list is by no means comprehensive, but I think I've included most of the heroes and villains that the general public has any hope of recognizing. The results? I think it's clear that Marvel and DC have actually made less use of capes than is generally acknowleged, though it's notable that most of the universally recognized DC characters (Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel) are caped, while those of Marvel (Spider-Man, the Hulk, Captain America) are capeless.

Did this exercise have a point? I've forgotten. Next time, let's talk about the super-animals phenomenon, or maybe all the different colours of Kryptonite. Whee!

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Bah

Well, that didn't make any difference to the archive problem...double rats.

Anyway, enjoy the new look. Coming soon: the great Marvel vs. DC Cape Controversy.

All New Look!

As you can see, I've changed my blog template and added a couple of links. I'm hoping that this change will fix the archive problem...quite a few old posts are missing, and others require multiple reloads to access. So after I publish this post, I'm going to check the archives again and see what happens...

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Monday, November 10, 2003

A Surreal Short Story: Sidestepping

A failed experiment - an attempt at stream-of-consciousness storytelling. There's a reason good fiction writers get paid; they don't write nonsense like this. Still, I think a couple of sentences, read in isolation, are sort of amusing.

Sidestepping

I folded myself into a painting of a choo-choo train coming out of a fireplace - you know, the one by Dali. Dali fireplace, burning itself to death with green flame!

And then, without warning, the universe belched again, and I was hip-checked into another dimension.

The night was quiet when I entered the saloon...quiet but for the fact that Quincy Jones' "Soul Bossa Nova" was playing on the juke...

I thought to myself, "I remember when I thought of this tune as "The Theme From 'Definition.'"

Then the acrid stench of cigarette smoke seared my nostrils, and Icoughed, then sneezed, grey, smoke-stained snot blowing across my upper lip.

"Blurgh!" I grunted in disgust. That was when the lady in red handed me a silk handkerchief. "You know how to whistle, don't you?" she said, "Just put the hanky to your nose...and blow."

Perplexed, I obeyed, and sure enough my nostrils did make quite a whistle as I blew into the handkerchief. But when Iopened my eyes, the lady in red was gone, vanished into the smoky night.

"So it goes," I said to no one, "left with a hanky, but no panky." And so I stuffed the soiled bit of silk into the back pocket of his jeans, wondering...

...BAM! No warning again, falling flat on my face in the dirt, Marty Robbins singing "Devil Woman" as someone tosses an empty whiskey bottle through the space just above my upthrust bum.

I roll onto my back, moaning, and overhear the following:

First voice (male): ...no? I was certain you'd be eating canned bananas. What are you eating, then?

Second voice (female): Taboule. They don't can bananas.

First voice: Oooo, taboule. Fancy.

[Pause]

First voice: Doesn't that have humus in it or something?

Second voice: Nope. Not even fancy. It's just tomato, parsley, and some bulgar-like thing.

First voice: Hmmmm.

[Pause]

First voice: Bulgar...that's like...wheat...or something. If you but marijuana in it, you'd have a taboo leaf salad.

Second voice: [Muffled chewing sounds]

Bad Poems Unfit for Human Eyes

Holy Smashamoley! It's been nearly a month since my last update. Perhaps some bad poetry is in order.

Eye
An EYE
undying
lies amongst
the cries
and anguished
sighs of
those who
failed to
snatch the
prize that
only truth
or courage
buys; and
sees that
ichor in
the skies
rains down
to strike
both witless
and wise.

Silly Nelly and the Jelly
Willy-nilly, silly Nelly spread some jelly on her belly
“Ugh,” she said, “this jelly’s smelly,
But I’ll apply it just for Kelly
So he’ll see me on the telly.”

Poor, poor Nelly! Wed to Kelly
Who’s nothing but a boorish bully
From the wrong side of the gully.

Kelly, scheming, spoke with Sully
(Also from that ghetto gully)
“When those smelly proles see Nelly
With that jelly on her belly
Displayed upon erotic telly
They’ll scream for more, and surely, Sully,
We’ll rake in money willy-nilly.”

“A perfect plan,” chortled Sully,
“Our future’s looking bright and sunny
Our eggs well cooked, no longer runny.”

“And as for Nell,” replied foul Kelly,
“She’ll twitch and grind her sexy belly
Turning men’s minds into jelly
Exploiting supple assets fully.”

Meanwhile, Nelly, feeling sorry
For herself and sick with worry
Consoled herself with rice and curry
Her vision clear, no longer blurry.

“Why should I expose my belly
(sexy though it is) for Kelly?
I should see some of that money
And it better not be funny –
Or they’ll find out in a hurry
Worse than Hell is woman’s fury.”

A tragic trio, watch them scurry
Their lives exploding in a flurry
And unless all three are wary
Their dreams and hopes they soon will bury.

The Individualator
Here I sit at head of class
Flopped upon my flabby ass
Eyes sharp-peeled to catch a cheat
And grind their papers into meat

This I do not want to do
It would leave me feeling blue
So I pray with all my might
That these students know what’s right.

I used to drive a truck
Now I drive a desk
I do not need to say
Which I like the best
I don’t know if it’s permanent
I don’t know if I’ll stay
But while I’m on the firmament
I’ll take it day by day.

You're Not Being Paranoid When They Really Are Out to Get You

Picked up The Zombie Survival Guide a couple of days ago; halfway through it now.

1. Stay alert. Keep a close watch on your environment, and watch for danger signs: increased police activity, hoarding, looting, "random" tests of the Emergency Broadcast System.

2. Equip yourself with care. Keep a two-week supply of provisions on hand at all times, as well as an emergency kit if you have to flee the premises suddenly.

3. Your body and mind are weapons; keep them well-honed.

4. Travel in small groups. Three or four are manageable; anything more is a chaotic mob.

5. And most importantly, be as quiet as possible at all times. If you make any noise, the zombies will home in on your position and eat you alive.