Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Speaking of Superheroes and Sex In the City...

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Thursday, October 19, 2006


Yeah, That's Cool, Too...

From Penny Arcade!

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Create Your Own Native American Superhero!!!

In honor of DC's "Relaunch Native American Superheroes" Month, we present a handy guide so you, too, can create an original Native American Superhero just like REAL comic book writers!

Some Things to Keep In Mind:

1) There are only two Native American tribes: Navajo and Cheyenne. And sometimes Apache.

2) All Native Americans live in teepees or pueblos located on impoverished reservations somewhere Arizona-looking.

3) All Native Americans are magical and good-looking, kind of like elves!

4) All Native Americans over the age of, say, 65 look like they are really 257 and are shaman, kind of like Gandalf!

5) All Native Americans, therefore, have a grandfather, great-grandfather or third cousin twice-removed who can impart magical knowledge to them, if only they would give up the White Man's ways and return to the land of their ancestors. Sometimes, this relative is dead and appears as a ghost or severed skull.

6) All Native Americans have an English first name and a two-part Indian last name that usually combines an animal and an adjective and always sounds cool. Most Indian ancestors, being magical, were able to see far enough into the future to pick names that describe their descendents, for example, a fast-runner conveniently named Wingfoot.

7) Every Indian tribe in America is familiar with the concept of Manitou, no matter what the Algonquins might tell you.

8) Nearly all Indians are veterans. Occasionally, they are social workers. Exactly one is a doctor. There are no Native American scientists, astronauts, lawyers or business-people.

9) All Indian superhero costumes must feature buckskin, beadwork and leather fringes. Extra points if you can work in some feathers, preferably in the form of a "warbonnet." Female Indians traditionally dressed like a frontier version of Britney Spears or backup singers for OutKast.

10) All Native Americans are chiefs, or are related to chiefs.

11) Your Indian superhero must have a code-name that sounds "Indian," like Thunderbird, Warpath or (God help us) Super-Chief.

12) Native Americans are ALWAYS serious and never, ever crack a smile or show any emotion other than stoic resolve, kind of like Vulcans! Likewise, all Native Americans speak very formally at all times.

Finally, remember that all Native Americans have inherent super powers, like super-tracking, ultra-vision or animal telepathy, again kind of like Elves! Or maybe Vulcans!

If you stick with these handy hints, you'll be cranking out original (not to mention culturally sensitive) Native American superheroes in no time! Good luck!


Sunday, October 15, 2006


Coyote Rising

Review of Coyote Rising, by Allen Steele.
Normally, I wouldn't read a sequel before the original, but I had read some of Steele's work before, specifically Clarke County, Space and Labyrinth of Night and found them interesting, if excessively snarky in the Larry Niven and worst of Robert Heinlein (The Cat Who Walks Through Walls) tradition. Coyote Rising, the sequel to Coyote, fortunately has virtually none of his previous smartassery as it tells the story of the inevitable conflict between the rebel crew of the URSS Alabama (refugees from a theo-fascist America) and the next wave of colonists from the successor-state Western Hemisphere Union on the title planet, a moon orbiting a gas giant of 47 Ursae Majoris. The first half to two-thirds of the book goes well, alternating between straight narration and first person diary accounts from assorted colonists. The final third, however, seems rushed, with a Pollyanna ending that undercuts the drama of the climax, as though the author suddenly realized he was up to 300 pages with no denoument in sight. There were several other things that annoyed me: first, not enough information about the planet (despite several maps and even a calendar). I wasn't expecting an Encyclopedia entry, but for all the bare descriptions of the geology, flora and fauna, Coyote seemed about as alien as Southern California in a TOS episode. Second, we learn virtually nothing about the guiding principle of the Western Hemisphere Union, social collectivism, even though it is mentioned nearly every chapter and is given as a reason for the colony's failure. If it's not important enough to flesh out, why even mention it? Third, the bad guys are mostly cardboard cutouts, from the honorable bad guy who does the right thing to the chief bad guy who can be counted upon to go berserk at the most dramatic moment. Fourth, the sentient aliens seemed to serve no purpose (except maybe for a sequel) and smacked of The Man Who Would Be King paternalism. Fifth, Steele seems to lack the chops to handle technological change. The second wave arrives 250 years after the Alabama, but their technology may as well be identical and is pretty primitive to begin with; log cabins? Hide coats? Is this the twenty-second century or the Lewis and Clark Expedition?
Overall, a promising start despite the flaws, but an annoying ending. I still may be interested enough to read Coyote and the final installment Coyote Frontier, but they won't be high on my list.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Holy Two Dimensions, Batman!

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Sunday, October 08, 2006


Recent Comics I Have Read

52 #22: Eh, sigh. Okay, in what jurisdiction can you throw someone (even someone with a previous conviction for rape) from a moving bus just for being an obnoxious jerk and the police let you go without much more than a stern talking to? Pretty obvious Metropolis is not located in South Dakota. "Super Chief" is a moronic name, and does NOT translate into "Saganowahna" in ANY Indian language (the Cayuga word for chief, for example, is hahsenowah-neh). "Manitou" is an Algonquin NOT Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) concept. Nor am I aware of any Haudenosaunee tradition of euthanasia. Just...really bad. Not much better than "Apache Chief."

Detective Comics #824: No tentacle-rape this time. Not a fan of the artwork, still too stiff and wooden. Penguin remains pathetic. And since when are the Batman and Zatanna such pals?

Eternals #1, 3 & 4: Excellent, excellent miniseries re-introducing the Eternals into the Marvel Universe. I think the last time I saw them, Starfox (stupidest. name. evar) was joining them into some kind of giant floating 'shroom. Wonderful writing by Neil Gaiman and great artwork by John Romita, Jr. Nice touch? The "Who Wants to be a Superhero?" television show that is really nothing but pro-Registration Act propaganda.

Green Arrow #66: Okay, so now I know where Green Arrow learned to use a samurai sword. It's still a stupid idea, though. And why is it no one gives a crap about their secret identities anymore? All these assassins and other teachers Ollie pays to come to his private island and he thinks no one is going to talk? The same guy who rationalized mind-rape in Identity Crisis as necessary to protect secret identities?

Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters #2: It's apparently Native American Superhero Revival Month at DC. I must say, though, Black Condor is considerably better-presented than (sigh) "Super-Chief." For one thing, Jimmy Palmiotti actually did his homework on the Navajo and grounded the origin in real history (The Long Walk; nice touch having Jonah Hex there, btw, though I always thought he fought for the Confederacy) and actual beliefs (the Spider-Woman). Of course, all Native American heroes have to have a magical/mythological origin (just as nearly all of them have to be either Navajo or Cheyenne) because there are no Indian scientists who might fall into a vat of radioactive chemicals or get bitten by a genetically-engineered wombat.

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Damn You, South Park!

God, I hate this series; but I have to admit, this was pretty damned funny.

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Deep Thoughts...



Battlestar Galactica vs. Star Trek

I have mentioned before how I thought the Star Trek franchise could use a Battlestar Galactica-style makeover/reboot. The new season has just reinforced that for me, as Galactica has begun using the Star Trek tactic of incisive social commentary in a fantastic setting. In the case of "Occupation" and "Precipice," it's the uncomfortably fine line between "freedom fighters" and "terrorists" and whether the ends really do justify the means. I think it's a mistake, however, to think of these episodes purely as a critique of the Iraq War; the themes are universal and are no more limited to our current conflict than "A Private Little War" was limited to Vietnam.

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Sunday, October 01, 2006


Recent Comics I Have Read

52 #18: I like the fact that the chimpanzee with the Sherlock Holmes shtick is a Republican.

52 #19: Evil Skeets, eh? Supernova is Kon-El? Do what to who now?

52 #20: And now Supernova is....who? Jason Todd?

52 #21: Just for the record, I did not, in fact, ask for Infinity, Inc. Man, but the art is just really...not good.

Batman #657: Damien? Damien? I'm sorry, but the subtlety eludes me. Was the name "Evil Lad" already taken? Andy Kubert cannot draw children; I don't care who trained the little bastard, no 10 year old has abs like that. And should we really leave Alfred alone with a vicious little killer? Like I said, the concept of "Son of the Bat" doesn't bother me; the execution so far, though, is sloppy.

Captain America #21: I would've really liked this storyline, but for #$%^&^^!! Bucky.

Captain America #22: Much better outline of Cap's views on the Registration Act than the raging, nearly incoherent sociopath we see in Civil War #4.

Civil War #4: Eh, sigh. This would actually be pretty good, if it starred original characters and not long-established properties who are forced to act completely out of character in order to drive the plot along. And why is it that little Damien (there's that name again! Coincidence? Or a sinister conspiracy?) had a "favorite toy since he was three years old," given that we've now established that Iron Man is only four years old and the toy Iron Man is his current armor?

Detective Comics #823: God, this was disgusting! The story was decent, but the artwork was barely above the level of Japanime tentacle-rape porn. And what is George Clooney doing wearing the Bat-suit on the cover? And since when did Stan Lee take the place of Commissioner Gordon?

Ultimate Fantastic Four #34: A wacky misunderstanding among heroes from other dimensions! Just like the good ol' days.

Iron Man #17: Still dislike this art, dislike the smart-ass wise-cracking Iron Man even more. Though I guess Tony Stark as Spider-Man is better than the soul-less fascist asshole he's become in Civil War. And I still have no idea what Nick Fury is doing here.

Justice League of America #2: Still good. Art is a little better.

Ms. Marvel #7: Marvel and Wonder Man hunt down an unregistered mutant who looks exactly like Ultraman. Good art, though; nice action sequences. I like the way Marvel justifies her actions in support of Registration.

Ultimates 2 #12: The Evil Liberal Army gets its ass kicked. Quicksilver vs. Hurricane, Hulk vs. Abomination, and Captain America vs. uh, the W guy? Anyway, all very hardcore action. "Darth Maul wants his lightsaber back, motherfucker!" and "What's the square root of six million, two hundred and eleventy?" = priceless.

Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters #2: Artwork is inconsistent and shaky (not to mention Phantom Lady's gigantic shiny boobies), but I like the concept and especially the portrayal of Uncle Sam.

Union Jack #1: Good character, fairly decent story, marred by creaky dialogue. Gage admits he's no Brit, but whoever is proofreading his dialogue needs to try again. I'm not British, either, but even I could tell the slang is dated. "Old sod"? Is there anyone under 70 who still says that?

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