Saturday, January 17, 2009

Comic thoughts drive-by

Wow, it's been a while. December kept me hopping. Between the holidays occurring mid week, I had a small operation at the beginning of the month, my girlfriend a small check up procedure at the end of the month, it's safe to say I spent most of the month away from home and my computer. I did get a lot of reading done, a few of them pulps and I hope to cover those soon: Doc Savage, the Shadow, the Black Bat.

Got quite a few comicbook and superhero related stuff this year. The first two volumes of The Complete Peanuts, two collections of Alaskan cartoonist Chad Carpenter's Tundra, dvd's of an early movie serial The Sign of the Wolf (a weird then modern/old West mixed with the Middle East/Indian mysticism, a different type of Cowboys and Indians movie), and movies The Dark Knight, and Chandu (one of the earliest superhero magicians, his adventures were on radio and predated all those comicbook ones).

A couple of drive-by comicbook thoughts...

The death of the Wasp was fairly senseless, but Hank Pym becoming the new Wasp in one of his ugliest costumes yet? I had some hopes for Slott's Avengers, but that really killed it there.

Spider-man and Obama... yeah, pretty much a classic screw-up. I can understand why Larsen might be a bit peeved though, since there was nowhere near this fanfare when he put him on the cover of The Savage Dragon. To be fair though, that was BEFORE he was elected President and the Dragon is not Spider-man. The best Larsen can hope for is that some savvy comic store owners might direct some of the customers to Larsen's book as well. Won't be any more money directly into Larsen's pocket, but it might generate some future interest in his title and comic line.

Darkhawk is returning to star in a series. Cool. I actually enjoyed Darkhawk and Sleepwalker and felt they deserved a bit more exposure. I didn't care for the concept of The Loners so I didn't pick it up, but I'll definitely have to give this a look see.

After a long even driven story through the Bat titles, titled RIP yet that wasn't about Batman dying. Instead, that actually occurred in Final Crisis. This has been pretty much the rumored ending for almost a year, so it is pretty much a non-event. And, thanks to all the events lately, a cynical readership has developed, no one really believes that this will remain the status quo.

Interestingly, it's comics and stories like this that probably prompted Willingham's comment about getting back to superheroes fighting supervillains and having heroes acting like heroes. Where's the sense of fun in the DCU when every few months another character is being killed off? Ted Kord at the hands of one of his best friends, the Martian Manhunter, the Freedom Fighters, Elongated Man and his wife. Heroes becoming villains and villains cast in the roles of heroes, or at least more sympathetic as they are honest about their nature.

Phil Hester talks about the upcoming mini-series Masquerade over on Masquerade is the third spin-off from Project: Superpowers and this times concerns the masked heroine formerly known as Miss Masque. Like most of the non-powered characters in Superpowers, Krueger had given Miss Masque some super-abilities. Don't know why. Hester had a really curious thing to say though:

But even with a singular focus on Masquerade, Hester promised that the character won't be alone in her debut miniseries, and fans can keep their eyes peeled for both villains and heroes to drop in. “Miss Masque had nothing in the way of a rogue's gallery, and all the cool Nedor and Gleason villains are spoken for, so I was forced to make up some bad guys, which is always fun," he said.
The first part is right. In the handful of her adventures that have been reprinted by Bill Black and others, there has not been much evidence of a rogues gallery. She fought a few crooks that did wear a colorful costume (one was at a costume party after all), but none that could really be considered memorable.

But the last part, that "all the cool Nedor and Gleason villains are spoken for" ought to raise some eyebrows. One, the concept of Project: Superpowers is that all the public domain heroes are part of it as are their villains. But, this infers that ONLY two company's characters are available. Two, unless there are a lot more big projects in the works, I don't see how all the cool villains are spoken for, even if just the Nedor and Gleason characters. Unless his definition of "all the cool" means the Claw. Because that is the only villain from those two companies that has made any kind of appearance.

Because, the biggest theme of Project: Superpowers has been heroes vs. heroes. Dynamic Man has been turned into a villain. Most of the villains of the heroes have been completely absent other than the Claw and he has been on screen once and referred to a couple of times. And, we know he's being used in Death Defying Devil. The Black Terror mini has him fighting the President who so far is not any GA villain I'm aware of though he's part of a secret cabal that is made up of some GA villains, none of whom were part of Nedor or Gleason. But, it does have him fighting a bunch of patriotic superheroes who were duped/brainwashed/or somehow else compromised and those do include some Nedor heroes.

I'd love to know, what list of villains did Hester want to use that he couldn't? Where are they spoken for? Because, I've categorized hundreds of available GA villains, some more interesting than others. And, some of them are from Nedor and Gleason. I don't flatter myself in thinking that he's or Dynamite have heard of my website, but I do know that a simple online research into some of the characters would pull it up if not some of the many Nedor reprints available online.


Public Domain Super Heroes said...

The President in Project Superpowers is another hero-turned-villain. Power Nelson, aka Gene West, who fought against Emperor Seng I in Prize Comics, is now President West, a member of the Supremacy with Emperor Seng II. Yeah, they need to revive some real villains...

cash_gorman said...

I didn't make that connection, but with the last name West and the eye-patch, it certainly fits. Now, if you know where the Black Baron and Godspeed come from...