Wednesday, May 30, 2012

JL #17 "A Matter of TIME!" Afterward

So what did you think?

The "theme" of this issue was partnerships. Not only was all the work done by pairs, but even the work that was done singularly was done by two people working independently (Green Lantern and Aquaman). Black Canary and Green Arrow open the adventure (again) by what they consider a "routine" job. Green Lantern and then Aquaman working NOT together stop (sort of) the rocket. Then Hawkman and Hawkwoman find Chronos' head-quarters. Superman and The Flash think they can solve the whole problem on their own (they're wrong; this series isn't called SUPERMAN, ya know). Then the Flash and the Elongated Man manage to knock Chronos out and wrap him up. I enjoyed doing that scene, because I enjoy making connections to previous issues. The Flash was captured by Chronos back in issue #11, and he references that meeting here.

This story was based on SUPER FRIENDS #22 by Denny O'Neil and Ramona Fradon. However, in the original story Chronos has three idiot assistants called Seconds, Minutes, and Hours. They were not in continuity before that and were never seen again. Also, and more importantly, they are totally worthless, and end up causing Chronos' down-fall. When the Super Friends can't figure out a way into Chronos' head-quarters, they decide to convince him and his gang that the time wave has gone rogue and stopped ALL time so that they will turn the wave off. It's a hoakey and stupid plot and doesn't work nearly as well as *my* action ending, if I do say so myself. :-)

In the SUPER FRIENDS story it is Batman and Robin stopping a gang in Gotham City instead of Black Canary and Green Arrow stopping Two-Face (who was well known due to the BATMAN FOREVER movie). Aquaman cleaned up after Superman, not Green Lantern. Then it was Wonder Woman noticing the blimp instead of Hawkman & Hawkwoman. Since Wonder Woman still saves Superman (and the Flash) from the time wave, I figured this was a fair division of the labor. Re-reading it now, I think I gave all of the members something to do. Believe me, with twelve members it wasn't always easy!

I like that I kept Martian Manhunter at the satellite during the entire story. Similar to issue #6, he  manuevers the other members while staying on monitor duty. This time, however, he never "ups" the code to "red," meaning Aquaman and Green Lantern don't have to come in. I know I thought about not using all the members here, but like I've discussed before, with only so many issues coming out (and this particular issue being new after more than a year) I ended up included everybody. In the next two, I wouldn't. :-)

I also should say that I was really enjoying drawing these stories. I have to say that I really like the way the JLAers would interact with each other in my stories. These panels reprinted here, for example; I think I was getting better at body language and character placement. I know I had fun with this issue and the next two, and I think it shows in the work. This one, being the first one back after a short sabbatical, seems more tentative than the next two. But maybe that's just me....

The other thing I liked about this story was that Black Canary, who I have tried to show as a tactitian similar to Batman, derides Superman for busting forward and trying brute force first and getting caught in the time wave. I suppose if you were Superman you would always try the obvious way first. On the other hand, if you were the one hanging out with Superman, I think you would always be thinking things through, if only to try to keep up with him! In my mind, she definitely belonged in the League.

One more thing about Black Canary in this issue....I had her and Green Arrow riding on her motorcycle without wearing helmets. In Japan all students MUST wear helmets when they ride their bicycles to school, and when this issue came out, SO many people said, "Isn't she supposed to be wearing a helmet!?!" It hadn't even occurred to me, haha!

This issue was well received by my students so I continued with the two stories I was already beginning to work on. Next up: an adaptation of another one of my favorites, this one based on the real JLA issue "Doom of the Divided Man!"

Magnificent Seven: The Avengers

I have seen THE AVENGERS, and I thought it was long and overly talkative. The last 1/4 was pretty good, although during most of the film I kept thinking, WHY did they pick these characters? And that got me thinking....what if YOU were in charge, and you could have picked the seven members? My guess is you would not have picked the seven that appeared in the movie!

There have literally been dozens of different Avengers, so if you were in charge, ala a government edict of some kind, mandating who would be in the group, there would be quite a lot of drama in the choice. In fact, long-term fans of the comic-book already recognize that scenario as the main plot of THE AVENGERS #181 (March 1979).

Now, I am going to go out on a limb and say that I am not going to choose any of the super-powerful characters for my Ultimate Avengers line-up. In my opinion, none of the super-powerful characters need to have "team-ups." Sure, in the AVENGERS movie they were fighting an alien invasion. On the other hand, do you really think seven people (six really, not counting Nick Fury) could have stopped it? There should have been cameos by Spider-Man, Daredevil, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four! But I get off topic. I only want to say that you won't find Thor, The Hulk, or Hercules on this list. Not only because of the power disparancy, but because I don't see these guys as "joiners."

This is the obvious choice, and I don't see how anyone could question his inclusion. In a better movie, he would have had more of the Nick Fury lines and Col Fury would have been a supporting character. He's fast, he's strong, he's smart, and he's got leadership and military training. One of the scenes I really liked in the movie is when Cap (played by Chris Evans) takes it upon himself to order some of the police around, and then, after disposing of an alien or five, walks off while we hear the police chief barking those same orders at his staff. Captain America belongs to and with this group. As Stan Lee himself says, "Nuff Said."

The friendship between Iron Man and Captain America should be the moral and emotional core of The Avengers. Although their friendship has taken some hits during the recent MARVEL event, the terrible "Civil War" storyline, I believe they really are friends. They may move apart temporarily, but there is a respect and affection there that can not be broken. Iron Man is the inventor as well as the powerhouse of the group. Plus he's their moneybags, as well in the personage of Tony Stark. So he should stay.

Janet Pym has gone through a lot of changes since her debut in the early Sixties as a partner for Ant-Man. She's now less of an airhead and more of a tactician and warrior. Yet, she still likes to go shopping! In fact, she is famous for never wanting to appear in the same outfit twice. I think this trait makes Jan even more appealing as a character. The Wasp brings power (her laser-like "stings"), intelligence, beauty, and skill to the team. Plus she was one of the original members, a fact that the movie producers shamefully ignored. I would much rather have had her than The Black Widow; sorry! 
Unlike most of the other characters on this list, Wanda Maximoff and her husband, the Vision, really have nowhere else to go. The Scarlet Witch has a mutant ability to affect things; she calls these blasts of energy her "hexes." She can take down such big-name bad-guys as Ultron or change daisies to roses. She's powerful, but each hex takes its toll on her energy; she can only create so many before she has to rest. Her husband is an android who can change his body to the hardness of a diamond or the wispiness of vapor. They were once one of MARVEL's most popular couples, but John Byrne went and ret-conned some of their history, and now they are mess. If I were in charge, I would re-boot over the last 30 some years and return them as a couple and leave them the hell alone.

Every group needs a stealth character, and in The King of Wakanda the Avengers have one of the best ever created. Also, he's no slouch in the strength and speed departments or in scientific knowledge. I don't want to ask Hank Pym (aka Ant-Man/Goliath/Giant-Man/YellowJacket) to join, so Black Panther can take the scientist role in the group. T'Challa is a very well-rounded character who deserves this spot. And hey, it doesn't hurt that he isn't another Caucasian male.

Unlike almost all other super-hero groups, the Avengers seems to thrive on having a rotating membership. The Hulk quit in issue #3. All the remaining original members quit in #16. The Black Widow once joined the group just to quit it in the very next issue! Hawkeye comes back swearing to stay forever, only to get pissed-off about something and quit in a huff. She-Hulk seems to love avenging until the writer leaves and the new guy doesn't want her to stay. Ms. Marvel is everybody's choice for replacement, until she gets a government job and has to leave. And of course, new characters and/or new members are always popping up and in and then out again! Goliath, The Vision, The Beast, Tigra, Firestar, and Triad are just a few of the characters who showed up and stayed!
So my 7th Member is "All of the Above." Personally, I always liked The Falcon. However, in his introduction he was portrayed as not really wanting to be a member, so unless something happens to change that I have to assume he is still not a joiner.

So...who would YOU pick?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Happy Birthday, Wisconsin!

Today is the anniversary of Wisconsin's admittance into the United States.

Date of Admittance
May 29, 1848

Parentage Wisconsin was inundated by pioneers after the War of 1812, when the US presence kicked out the original British-French-Canadian settlers. The name probably comes from the French spelling of "Ojibwa," a Native American word for "our homeland" or "gathering of the waters." 

Place in the Family:
"Adult" Thirty
Two years after perpetual brides' maid Iowa (Dec 1846)
and two years before attention-hungry California (Sept 1850)

Because some States do go backwards

Fun Wisconsin Facts
Wisconsin shares its anniversary with Rhode Island, who ratified
the Constitution on May 29, 1790.
Wisconsin couldn't have waited one day, to get their own individual day?

"The Badger State"
I am pretty sure I've seen badgers in
states besides Wisconsin....
now Cheeseheads....those
I have never seen outside of
Green Bay! 

State Flag
Obviously a flag designed by committee! There's the motto (Forward),
the badger, fruit of a loom, a sailor, and a miner, plus the name of the state
and the hours it took to design this.

First City You Probably Think of
When You Think "Wisconsin"
Actual State Capital: Madison

State Size (Area) is 23rd of 50.
Population is closer to 18th of 50.
(per 2000 Census figures)

Wisconsin Sports
MLB (Milwaukee Brewers)

NFL (Green Bay Packers)

NBA (Milwaukee Bucks)

Personal Wisconsin Fact
My sister went to Beloit College in (wait for it)
Beloit, Wisconsin, so I have been to The Badger State
quite a few times.
Very beautiful country! ...

Famous Necessities from Wisconsin

Yeah, Liberace drank Blatz.
Sure he did. And he was straight, too.

Good vs Evil (1)
Golda Meir
born in Poland
grew up in Milwaukee

Joseph McCarthy
one of the worst political bullies of all time

Anybody From Wisconsin
Ever Grow Up To Be President?
Arthur Bremer shot George Wallace,
who wanted to be President
TV Celebrities From Wisconsin
Ellen Corby
"The Waltons"

Gary Burghoff

Oprah Winfrey
Queen of the Universe

Tom Welling

Tony Shalhoub

Film Celebrities From Wisconsin
Spencer Tracy
2-time Academy Award Winning Actor

Orson Welles

Gene Wilder
Good vs Evil (2)
the first name in "magic"

Jeffrey Dahmer
creepy serial killer

Musical Wisconsinners
Steve Miller & his band
"The Joker," "Abracadabra," etc

Les Paul
Guitarist and Guitar Designer

Wisconsin Literary Figures:
Thornton Wilder
Pulitzer Prize winning plawright

Ron Kovic

Other Famous Wisconsinners
Frank Lloyd Wright
called the greatest US architect

Danica Patrick
NASCAR racer 

Famous Fictional Wisconsinners
"Happy Days" 

"Laverne & Shirley"


Most Famous Wisconsinner
aka Barbara Millicent Roberts
from Willows, WI (dob 3/9/59)

A Song For You....
Here's "Sleepwalk"
played by Les Paul
you can really see how great he was in this 
music by Santo Farina, Johnny Farina, and Ann Farina