Sunday, September 30, 2007


After my Marvel Vs. DC: Who Rules the Seas? post and reading the latest Aquaman, I've had a lot of time to evaluate my position and realize that I was completely right in picking Sub-Mariner as best King of Atlantis. This is not a statement on who's the better character, just in how the character is used.

Namor is not a superhero. Just because he was a member of a few groups does not make him one, especially in the Marvel U. He is an ally, someone heroes go to for support. He does not fight because it is the right thing to do, he does it to help friends who are real superheroes, like Captain America, the original Human Torch and Sue Richards. He can be King of Atlantis because it is his number one priority, as being the king of the most advanced civilization on the planet should be.

Aquaman is supposed to be a superhero. He spent more time doing the day-to-day running of the Justice League than anyone besides J'Onn and regularly patrolled the seas for trouble. This is not how a king should operate. Kings go to war to defend their kingdom, or to make sure their allies stay in power, not to save luxury cruiselines from pirates. Granted, being in the Justice League when they are saving the Earth or the universe from Despero or Starro or Kanjar Ro makes sense, but the JLA handle more routine crisis like natural disasters and UN peace missions. How would a king(a real one who actually runs the society) be able to juggle both superheroing and governing without his subjects feeling neglected? It's why Atlantis is constantly being overrun.

Reading Tad Williams' work on Aquaman, I can see how well Aquaman(even a fake one) works when facing a real supervillain, not just a usurper. He fought Vandal Savage and one of the most convoluted masterplans in comic history. We need Aquaman saving lives in his own series, not just while he's in the Justice League. It's okay for Namor to be a pompous ass, not one of DC's Big Seven. That's for the minor League.

In other comparisons, I can't see how anyone can see Jamie Reyes/Blue Beetle as anything like Spider-Man, besides the bug theme. Spider-Man is about two things: wise-cracking and guilt. Always has been since he let the man who would kill his uncle go free and made light of a cop's job while doing it. Peter Parker had to keep his identity secret from those closest to him and went out as Spider-Man because it was the right thing to do and to work out the troubles of his personal life. His earliest stories were almost always about his self-doubt and how he has to find the strength to overcome. Usually he had no one to rely on, and was more than likely trying to save his oddly elderly aunt.

Blue Beetle is something new entirely. I don't know if there has ever been a superhero whose personal and superhero lives have been as entwined as Jaime's. His family and friends are his support system for both aspects of his life, and that hasn't been done before. To see Jaime's parents help him cope with his new career and his web of friends help him combat reimagined second-rate villains is fantastic. John Rogers is writing a new take on teenage superheroics, very interesting and entertaining on it's own merits.

Beyond the fact that Blue Beetle and Spider-Man started their hero careers as teens, there is no real basis for comparison.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


So my brother Brian has a different approach to reading comics. Instead of the week-to-week grid I'm on, he stops by his shop every two months a picks up a stack of books. Because of this, I try my best to make sure I don't let it slip what happen in any book he currently reads. Having no such deal with the people in his shop, he found out that Bart Allen died and Wally West came back, without actually reading both of those stories.

So we're talking a few days ago, and he's glad that Wally's back, but he wished Bart didn't have to die for it to happen.

Me: "You know how he died, right?"

Brian: "How?"

Me: "Beat to death."

Brian: "What?! By who?"

Me: "Who else?"

Brian: "The Rogues?"

Me: "Yeah."

Brian: "That's a little extreme for them."

My oldest brother Clayton reads mostly Marvel stuff but wanted to get back into Justice League of America when he found out Flash was coming back. He, too, knew that Bart had died, but not how.

Me: "Know how he died?"

Clayton: "Nah, how."

Me: "Beat to death."

Clayton: "What? Who killed him?"

Me: "Guess."

Clayton: "Gorilla Grodd?"

Me(thinking that would have made more sense): "The Rogues."

Clayton: "Huh? Why?"

I couldn't answer him because I was at work and had to relinquish the phone. Also, I still don't know why the Rogues all of a sudden thought the best way to avoid prison was to kill a popular hero in the open as if everyone didn't already know the Flash was fighting the Rogues at the time of his death.

Friday, September 21, 2007

"Cheer Me Up" Post

Over at Living Between Wednesdays, Rachelle would like to hear a good "how comic books had a positive impact on my life" story. I don't know if mine is that good, but she's offering free stuff. So read on...

After leaving college and starting working my "real" job, I became something of a shut-in. Talking to people has never been one of my strong suits. Without the almost mandatory relationships that come from attending school, I talked to basically no one but my family. I didn't go out unless it was to eat or celebrate one of my nieces' birthdays.

And to buy my comics, which I would wait to read at home. I wasn't as open with my comic geekness back then, and people only found out about my fondness if I slipped and read one out in the open. I didn't like the questions that came from being "outed" as a comic reader. People treated you as if you were mentally challenged and that offended me to no end, mainly because, you know, I'm brilliant.

I used to buy my books at a place called Geseppi's(or Geppi's or something), but it closed, so I had to find a new spot. Back when Big Monkey Comics was called Beyond Comics 2, I decided to make that my new comics place. It was a two story place and appealed to me for the fact that it seemed that only black guys worked there. Being a black comic book fan means running into a lot of white guys, so it was kind of wild to be in BC2.

Anyway, besides the occasional questions about when stuff comes out, I didn't talk to anyone in the store, employee or customer. But there was a clerk named Kevin who was friendly and struck up conversations with just about everyone who came into the store. When BC2 moved into a smaller place, they gained a window alcove where you could sit and hang out a while. Which I did to talk about comics with Kevin, then Tarq, Devon, Jerome, Sherin, Drew, Kat, Martin, Damani, Tim, Seel(well, you don't really talk to Seel), Scip, Big Mike, Ulie, Rambo, Ben, the credited Andrew Carl, Brian & everyone else it would take many lines to name. I found a group of people I could talk to about comics who weren't family.

Soon enough, it became a regular Wednesday(Thursday if there was a holiday) thing, where we would talk about comics, politics, movies, music, anything that came to mind. These people I saw once a week became my friends. I would go to Kevin's house for parties, go to movies with people from the shop, tape a public access show on Saturdays and play HeroClix for time to time. I started reading Devon's and Scip's blogs, and then decided to make one of my own.(That's right. I started a blog while trying to stop being a shut-in.) When Big Monkey moved to it's current spot near U St., most of us went with it because we just liked hanging out there.

I feel as though my real life didn't start until I let everyone from Big Monkey in. I have friends I can be more open with then I ever could before. I have a release for my thoughts. A super cool Canadian gave me this awesome sketch. The trip home from the comic store is even better than the rest of my week.

If it wasn't for comic books and Big Monkey, I'd be where I am right now as I write this, but I wouldn't be happy and I'd probably just be watching TV. Being around other people who shared my passion for comics made it easier for me to be me, pretty much. Because of comics:

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Batman: World's Greatest Father? + Sorry About The Kick In The Nuts, Mike & Ben

Twice in one week, DC has treated us with a smiling Batman: in Robin #166 & in Catwoman #71 . He's holding a baby. It's so sweet, my teeth hurt. I'm 120%(even though that percent's not possible) behind the new(old?) interpretation of Batman. Whether he's defending the Club of Heroes to Robin, making sure Hal can pay off working ladies, or just showing up for the fight, Batman should always have just a touch of humor to him. This is the man who made his sidekick dress like moving target.

If you haven't read Green Arrow and Black Canary Wedding Special #1, you should. With this one issue, Judd Winick makes up for the mess he made of Trials of SHAZAM! Not saying you should read Trials, though. The wedding invitation reactions are hilarious, but what really got me was Superman's reaction to the GA and BC getting hitched. I love it.
Then you get to the ending, and well, it's shocking, to say the least. And to Big Mike and Dr. Benhatton, my condolences. But, you gotta admit, it's not like there are choices to fill that particular void. I am not laughing.

Amanda Conner's art is the real draw of this book. Her facial expressions remind me of Kevin Maguire, but her art has a more manic quality to it overall. Look at this spread.

Look at Hawkman pining for Hawkgirl. The utter cuteness of Big Barda & Mister Miracle and Buddy & Ellen Baker. The quartet of comedy featuring Flash, Alan Scott, Beast Boy & Power Girl. The maid of honor's seat. All great. But this is my favorite:


Monday, September 17, 2007

Union Jack: Legacy Hero

During the latest Big Monkey Podcast, Devon makes a point about Starman Jack Knight and says the idea of legacy heroes didn't really exist before Starman. I threw out the name "Union Jack," but didn't have a chance to finish the thought.

Union Jack was originally James Montgomery(created in 1976), who first donned the guise in World War I. He returned to duty in World War II, after his daughter, Jacqueline, was attacked by Baron Blood, James' brother, John. Jacqueline, injured in the fight, receives a blood transfusion from the android Human Torch and, developing super speed, becomes Spitfire. James has a boulder thrown on his legs by the vampiric Baron and has to retire. The mantle is taken over by his son, Brian(the guy standing next to Spitfire).

Years later(1980 in our time), after Captain America is revived from the ice, James finally helps end Baron Blood with the help of Cap and Joey Chapman, who dons the suit of Union Jack, after Jacqueline's son Kenneth declines to take over the mantle.

Before Rick Tyler, Beth Chapel, & Yolanda Montez, before Wally West & Jack Knight, Marvel gave you a superhero legacy.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Everybody Get Random

I need that jacket. Today.

As a budding HeroClix player, I sometimes think about the Clix I would like to see made, like X-jacket Cyclops. He would have I DON'T HAVE CLAWS(Willpower), Leadership, Close Combat Expert, 9MM(Range Combat Expert) and FIRST X-MAN(Perplex for every X-Men Team member within 10 spaces).

Another idea I had was Noh-Varr Marvel Boy. He would have BUG DNA(Leap/Climb), KREE WARRIOR(Close Combat Expert), PLODEX(Exploit Weakness), SPIT(Mind Control), FINGERNAIL(Energy Explosion), & MUSIC TO MY EARS(Toughness). Yes, I want to build a Morrison team.
The Legendary Heroes Pitt figure? It's huge. HUGE.

We recorded the latest Big Monkey Podcast on Thursday with a special guest:Mike Pellegrino of Are You Feelin Big Mike? To say the least, it was memorable.
Not to put down Justice League of America Wedding Special, but someone needs to let McKone know who is or isn't active when doing group shots. Having Jack Knight in his Starman gear, Black Condor(Golden Age) in costume, Tempest without his white hair and pale skin, Space Ranger(?), and somehow Dr. Fate is just too much for this continuity whore to deal with.
That said, it was the best Justice League writing in almost three years or more. Dwayne McDuffie took what would have been a throwaway special and made it a springboard into the new Justice League storyline. Awesomeness ensues.
Moon Knight will save you.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

This COUNTDOWN Is Becoming A Quagmire!

I know I was harsh on Countdown when it first started, what with Superman telling Jimmy the secret identities of Batman's first sidekicks and the general bleh I feel towards most of the story(ies?). Now, though, I feel as though I have read enough of it to truly say it's just not that good.

When other books have "A Countdown Tie-in" slapped over their titles, you expect Countdown to give you the main story that the book is tying into. The thing is, when you read Countdown, it seems as though the book is a tie-in to other things, leaving you looking around for the whole story.

I think having a book dedicated to "linking" the DCU is a ingenious idea, but it's being done poorly. The central story is broken up into so many side pieces that are known to not be resolved in the series or until the very end that most people will probably wait until that mini-series comes out to read the story. It makes reading Countdown weekly seem like treading water. As it stands, Countdown could have been a series of back-up stories or inserts and would probably have been better received.

Just my opinion.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Tony Can't Count

After reading One More Day Part 1, you know what really bothered me? It wasn't the melodramatic claptrap or the weird shading on Peter's nose. It was in the appendix, with the Spidey costumes.

The Iron Spider suit had three cybernetic arms. Counting Spidey's natural two arms and two legs, that's only seven appendages. Spiders have eight. And then it hit me.

Tony Stark is the kind of guy that would count the "third leg."

Always classy.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Bugle's Planet Daily & Big Monkey Podcast

Last week, the other site I write for, Bugle's Planet Daily, posted the winners of their open call for news articles. The runner-up was frequent commenter Gyuss Baaltar and I thought I would just take this chance to congratulate Gyuss* and invite everyone reading this to check out Bugle's Planet Daily and you can submit your own articles to, to see if you, too, can be a part of the fun.

Also, the new Big Monkey Podcast is up and I thought I would take this time to ask for questions for the group. You can send them to Also, we are looking for a new theme song and you can send them along to Ben, as well.

*Sorry for taking so long to congratulate.