Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spider-Man: Rock Reflections of a Super-Hero


The theoretically still-upcoming and terminally ill-fated Broadway musical disaster porn Spider-Man:Turn Off The Dark has taken on the comic proportions of a Max Bialystock production, particularly as no sign has yet been given that they’re going to call it off. One imagines Bono and Julie Taymor are probably creeping through the theatre’s basement with sticks of dynamite cradled in their arms, amazed that no one’s called their bluff before now.

With the dogged determination driving forward the debut date, you’d think Marvel had never had a successful musical theatre property before. Long-time comic fans (i.e. “old people”) may remember that Captain America had been slated for a Broadway musical way back when dinosaurs were only available on cassette, and don’t forget that Marvel scored Tony and Academy Award success with their production of Kiss of the Spider-Woman, a musical rom-com about Jessica Drew’s topsy-turvy love life. Sort of a super-powered Bridget Jones’ Diary (PS I just saw this movie last Friday and, no, that’s not what it is about).

Of course, way-y-y-y back in 1975, Marvel (and Lifesong Records, a company which couldn’t sound more like a front for the kind of skeevy cult you’d find on episodes of The Streets of San Francisco or ChiPs if it had a permed guru in a white dashiki and Italian sunglasses talking to the cops at poolside), there was Spider-Man: Rock Reflections of a Super-Hero! An admittedly impressive – if inordinately obnoxious – rock opera based around the life and hardships of Peter Parker, narrated in intervals by Stan Lee and featuring the musical stylings of the Marvel Universe, if the flipside of the album art was to be believed (I bet The Falcon rocks the handclap. I seriously bet he does).

The irony is that if he did
this while he was flying,
he'd fall to his death.
The album was largely put together by assorted members of West Virginian prog-rock combo Crack The Sky, a well-received Seventies debut who – through a series of circumstances so sad and strange and grimly amusing that I can’t help but wonder if I made it up – never made it big outside Baltimore. No joke, I send thee to their Wikipedia article, if you can Adam ‘n’ Eve it.

As for the album itself, it’s twelve(ish) tracks of original songs recounting in what certainly feels like painstaking detail the origin and general big-event storylines of Spider-Man.

In-between the tracks, Stan “The Man” himself tacks on handy narration in a surprisingly deliberate and clearly enunciated tone so very unlike every other narration, interview or audio track I ever heard the guy put together. He’s enunciating so clearly and speaking so deliberately that, after the second or third narration track, you can’t help but suspect that he’s being held captive somewhere and is sending coded messages through the dialogue tracks. Let’s see, if we take the first letter of every stressed word from alternate sentences, and omit proper names whenever Stan rattles his gold-link necklace ... yes, I think Stan’s telling us the cross-streets near the building where his kidnappers have taken him! Let’s roll, team!

"But Mom, all the other
Gods are outside playing
stickball! Why do I have to
stay inside and practice?"
It's legitimately strange to listen to Stan in remastered audio, speaking with such broad spaces that you have to assume someone told him that the album was falling a little shy of the proposed running time. I also learned that - at least back in 1975 - Stan is very selective about his "R"s. Sometimes - like in Peter Parker - he hits them like an ESL student with a grudge. Other times, they're non-existent - he pronounces "Murder" as "Muhdeh", as a for instance. If you listen to the tracks, pay close attention, it'll drive you nuts.

The songs are performed in a variety of styles, starting with "High Wire" - a celebration of web-swinging and definite gender assignment (chorus lyric: “I’m a man – I’m a Spi-i-i-i-i-ider-Ma-a-a-a-n!!”), the intro of which sure keeps you guessing. There’s a touch of Diamond Dog-era Bowie, but then there’s some classic R&B-influenced guitar, so maybe there’s a dash of Jeff Lynne and ELO? But wait, maybe it’s a little more … yeah, Meat Loaf. This could be Meat Loaf. Except the singer sounds like Neil Diamond. ANYWAY THERE’S YOUR FIRST TRACK.

He's actually quite skilled,
but it was still a mistake to
have let him play a drum
memorial at Captain Mar-
Vell's funeral ...
Following that is a wistful reflection on dual identity, “Peter Stays and Spider-Man Goes” (Think “Too Old To Rock ‘n’ Roll” era Jethro Tull, maybe) followed by the INCREDIBLY OBNOXIOUS “Square Boy”, the first of two songs on this album that do their goddamndest to get stuck in your fucking head until you Jesus Christing die. In fact, I waited until this point to direct you to Amazon’s MP3 album Download page – where you can hear short samples of each of these tracks (although do keep in mind that they’re out of order for some reason or another) – so that I could warn you that “Square Boy”, some strange homage to the Andrews Sisters recapping Peter’s encounter with the radioactive spider, is highly toxic ear candy. No need to thank me, it’s my civic duty.

From there, it’s an upbeat and peppy “New Point of View” with the Sears-bought synthesizer set to “reggae” and the songwriting tuned to “primetime Gabe Kaplan vehicle theme song” (Here’s a second one for free: It sounds like the Starlight Vocal Band haunted by ghosts). Then comes the eponymous “Spider-Man” (which starts with a Who-like riff and makes the most advantage of the lead vocalist’s Neil Diamondesque qualities by sounding exactly like a Neil Diamond song), and “No One’s Got a Crush on Peter”, which has a bit of a Wild Cherry sound to it BUT keep in mind, too, that the backup singers who carry this piece are supposed to be the Fantastic Four. The Seventies were a goddamn mess.

Surprisingly, Ben Grimm is
an alto.
Now: I don’t know if this has ever come up in these pages before – and I don’t see why it should have – but I feel now’s the time to mention that I am of the opinion that any musicians after, say, 1965 producing or performing a doo-wop song should be punished by Face Murder. This is a type of murder I invented which is entirely face-centric. It takes an artist’s touch. Sorry Sha-Na-Na. I mention this because of “Gwendolyn”, the doo-wop diddy meant to capture Peter’s sudden head-over-heelsness with poor, doomed Gwen Stacy. If this really is her theme, though, I feel like she deserved getting her neck broken.

Following “Count on Me”, which sounds like the Partridge Family, frankly, we get to the first song dedicated to Spidey’s impressive rogues gallery: “Dr.Octopus Pt 1” and “Dr.Octopus Pt2”.

You might remember his
long-running team-up
book, "Power Man and
The MGs"
You may be aware that the only superhero property to legitimately get to Broadway was in the form of “It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s … Superman!”, a critically celebrated but unfortunately unpopular 1966 offering from the team of Charles Strouse and Lee Adams.

Now, the thing with this musical is that, however trite and reedy some of the songs were, everything the villains sang was pure gold. The villainous genius Dr.Sedgwick sings “Revenge”, a delightfully funny song of exceptional value to anyone who cares to remember the billing order of all the Nobel Prizes given out for science in a particular decade. Gossip columnist Max Mencken attempts to seduce Lois Lane with a nihilistic ballad about man’s existential irrelevance in “We Don’t Matter”, while the pair of them team up for the very catchy “You’ve Got What I Need” ode to evil bromance. On top of this, there’s salacious secretary Sydney (played originally by Linda Lavin) trying to steal Superman away in his identity of Clark with “Possibilities”, a song which has had legs outside of the musical.

So where I’m going with this is that – no matter how bad the hero’s musical material – you should expect that the villains might have the GOOD parts, the songs that really rock. THIS IS NOT WHAT HAPPENS WITH DOCTOR OCTOPUS, because he instead gets a very weird, bombastic version of The Who’s Tommy with maybe the most obnoxious chorus in musical history:

“We love Doctor Octo-
Doctor Octo-
Doctor Oc – To - PUS!”
(repeat til dead)

"...And to hear the
lamentations of their cellos."
The song takes place during a dream Peter has in which Doctor Octopus has conquered the world and turned all of its citizens into mindless slaves. A dream. This happens in a dream. Keep in mind that one of the benefits of having super-powers in an imaginary world of a made-up record album is that you don’t have to have incredibly weird, stupid things happen in dreams. Doctor Octopus can actually conquer the world and turn its citizens into mindless slaves! He can! And then you can have them fight! Someone tell the world of music publishing!

The coda to Doc’s braggadocious rap is this series of threats offered to the world of super-herodom:

"Captain America, The Avengers, you will fall at my feet, you will all surrender /
Fantastic Four, and you, the Hulk, you’re gonna cry like a baby and you’re gonna sulk /
Power Man, and you Silver Surfer, you messed with me long enough and I’m gonna hurt ya /
Thor, Black Panther, I’m gonna turn you all into go go dancers"
He says something after that, but I can’t make it out (anyone?), but also I don’t care because I’ll still smarting that he rhymed “Surfer” with “Hurt Ya”.



Anyway, following that is “Green Goblin”, a narrative piece spoken over music and a song I hope to have played at my funeral, then two forgettable outros in the form of “A Soldier Starts To Bleed” and “Time Will Show Me The Way”, and what I hope you take away from this article is that while Turn Off The Dark is going to be a mega-disaster, I sure hope you take a moment to realize that it’s not like it’s gonna be the first bad Spider-Man musical. Now. What do we have to do to get Adam Warrock to cover this album?


"AHHH! THE MIC IS LIVE!!! AHHH!"

By the way: I don't know why I never thought of doing this before, but if you'd like to share the pain and also contribute back to this site a little bit, you can download a digital copy of Rock Reflections of a Super-Hero from Amazon here, or order a real honest-to-goodness CD here. Proceeds go to my subsequent therapy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Many Foes of Luke Cage, Power Man (Part 1)

That is a really sweet-ass snakeskin onesie.
He’s no Batman or Barry Allen, but Luke Cage – the former Power Man – has as weird and varied a rogues gallery as either hero on his best (and weirdest) day. Enjoying a resurgence in popularity in the mainstream Marvel universe – along with no small number of his fellow Bronze Age graduates from Moon Knight to Misty Knight, Paladin to Iron Fist and Ms.Marvel to Spider-Woman, to name a very few – Luke Cage is in the readers spotlight in a way he’s never been before.

As a kid, Power Man and Iron Fist was one of my favorite books, largely for its incongruous action heroes and breezy, chummy supporting cast. In retrospect, the stories weren’t exactly the best comics had to offer, but they did send me scrabbling back to find the individual issues of its predecessor titles.

Even having had an opportunity to gather under the banner of The Flashmob, most of Luke Cage’s really insane and pretty offensive villains are nonetheless relegated to the wastebin of history. With that in mind, let me take you on a meet-and-greet of the grittiest street-level cats the 1970s had to offer.

One'a these days, bang-zoom!
#1 The Great Entertainer Jackie Gleason as Rackham, the Racist Prison Guard.
Cage’s rise from framed jailbird to super-blaxploitation poster child came by way of Rackham, the former captain of the guards at the penitentiary where Cage was interred and where a secret experiment gifted him with the super-strength and bullet-proof skin he utilized as a crime fighter. You can recognize Rackham from a distance by the pervading smell of pork chops and a speech defect which requires every sentence he speaks to end with the word “boy”.

Although starting off as a fairly by-the-book racist prison guard – you can pick up a half-dozen of them for ten bucks at any prison movie stock character shop – and having lost his position of corrupt power thanks to Cage, Rackham returned to plague Power Man again. Rackham’s even responsible for a storyline featuring two of Cage’s former cellmates donning cheap costume shop leftovers and turning to something resembling super-crime. So. He’s got staying power, just like the Silly Putty he so resembled.

If you had to compare Rackham to any other classic Rogues Gallery villain from one of the mainstream heroes, he’s probably most like Clayface, if just because he’s such a big, doughy load of chicken fat. Actually, let me write that one down for a Yiddish Batman parody – the villains known as SCHMALTZMANN aw you know what I’m already bored with that.


That expression conveys all the emotion of
suddenly reconsidering one's decision to load
the handles of one's knives up with napalm.
#2 Your 2001 World Series Champ – DIAMONDBACK!
Willis Stryker was a former running buddy of Luke Cage’s – back before Power Man picked up the sobriquet, sweet threads and Hero for Hire gimmick – and, in fact, was the guy who framed Cage and sent him to jail. Motive! Someone’s got it!

Stryker goes on to build a seriously fuckin’ pennyante criminal empire using the awesome super-villain name Diamondback, and maybe one of the most hilarious gimmicks any weapon-based super-character has thought to have: Knives, but with GAS CARTRIDGES IN THE HANDLES. So he can throw a knife at you – and to be fair, he’s quite good at that – and then when the knife is sticking in the wall behind you, poison gas or knockout gas or fart spray or PAM can spray out all over you, messing you up. As an aside, sticking someone with a knife will also mess them up, gas cartridge or no.

Back when I was younger: I never read Captain America, but was always dimly aware that there was a character named Diamondback (and Cottonmouth, more on that later) over in Cap’s book, and I sort of blithely assumed it was the same character. And then I heard that Cap was fuckin’ Diamondback, and HO HO, boy, superhero comics sure got daring when I wasn’t looking.

Anyway, Diamondback made for an appropriate foe for Luke Cage, and cut a pretty sweet figure in his snakeskin onesie, but his story is cut fairly short on accounta he threw some of his knives right straight up in the air over his head and … well, they came down. GAS CARTRIDGE BOOM and goodbye Diamondback. To that end, the classic mainstream Rogue he most resembles is … I dunno, Kraven by way of Kingpin and an inner ear disorder, or Captain Cold if Captain Cold’s main gimmick was to shot himself in the face with his cold gun and get killed doing that.


#3 MACE IS THE PLACE WITH THE GUY WITH A MACE FOR A HAND
Vietnam vet and asymmetrical muscle development aficionado Gideon (are you fuckin’ serious?) Mace made up Cage’s third-ever villain as an attention-hungry paramilitary psychopath with a spiky iron basketball for a shifting hand.
Look out Ba-Low!

Mace’s gimmick involved organizing a militia to violently take over Manhattan island, as a wake-up call to a ‘soft’ nation who’d disrespected their soldiers and were growing complacent in the face of corruption. So. He’s a Tea Partier, with a metal hedgehog where his tiny American flag is supposed to sit.

He actually proves to be one of Cage’s most ardent foes, and even gets upgraded to a fight with Spider-Man. He eventually gets his funding and organization together enough to create “Security City”, a seemingly idyllic throwback to 1950s Americana which was effectively a repressive prison where nonconformists were brutally punished. Like they were in 1950, actually. So, bravo for his superb vision.

Mace eventually upgrades his mace-hand to fire from his arm like a cannonball, an inspired bit of engineering in a world where Newton never got around to writing a third law. Firing a gigantic iron weight from your arm stump seems like a good way to guarantee ending up with a mace attached to one’s shattered shoulder-stump. Also, how lucky was Gideon Mace that, when he needed to replace his hand, he could draw on his own surname for inspiration? Imagine if his name were Evergreen? Cotton? What about Hogg? Oh, how I wish it had been Hogg.

The classic mainstream Rogue he most resembles? Brainiac, if Brainiac had been more concerned with building life-size cities instead of stealing miniature ones and also if Brainiac had been named Maceiac and also if he was kind of an idiot.


I got nothing.
#4 How do you get to The Phantom of 42nd Street ? Practice.
Possibly one of my favorite throwaway villains ever, because the Phantom of 42nd Street was two guys. “How do you mean, Humble Editor?” I can hear you asking. “Did they take turns disguising themselves as a single villain in order to provide alibis for their criminal activities? Were they competitors trying to lay claim to a single gimmick, or to take mutual advantage of a rumored menace?” Well, no, try this on: It was one guy sitting on another guy’s shoulders wearing a robe.

That’s right, the same gimmick the Little Rascals would use to try to sneak into a fancy restaurant or the way the Peanuts gang might try sneaking into a Triple-X movie theater – sitting on each other’s shoulders and wearing their dad’s coat and hat.

I don’t even know how that counts as – what, a power? A weapon? Being tall isn’t a super-power, unless you’re, say, twenty-five feet tall. A dwarf on a normal guy’s shoulders is just a guy who can see how dusty the top of the refrigerator is and has to duck when going from room to room. What in the world is their strategy in case of a fist-fight? “When he hits what he thinks is our solar plexus, he’ll just be punching you in the face, and then your head will snap back and crack me in the nuts! BRILLIANT!”

Mainstream Rogue he most resembles: Batman’s foes Scarface and The Ventriloquist, if they could take a moment to come up with an even dumber gimmick that leaves them open for more face-punching.


If this WERE a Martin Lawrence film, then this
moment would be accompanied by a fart sound.
#5 Diary of a Mad Black Fat Woman
Rounding out – literally, ho ho ho – the first installment of this feature is the incredibly embarrassing and … and just so Steve Engleharty villainess, Black Mariah! Talking like a slightly brain-damaged Moms Mabley and looking like King Kong Bundy standing in for Martin Lawrence, Black Mariah runs a scam ambulance service which collects wealthy dead people (when they happen to drop dead in public – no joke, that’s part of their strategy) and then strips them of their cash money and house keys, so they can break in and steal they shit. And this is a PROFITABLE BUSINESS SOMEHOW.

And just in case you didn’t think this character had legs – well, obviously she does, they’re the girth of tree trunks and have their own double-chins. If you didn’t think she had staying power, though, think again – she came back! At one point, she had knitting needles with poison tips, which must have been a downer for her nephews when their Christmas sweaters arrived with curare smeared all over them. She should have stuck gas cartridges in the handles.

Rogue she most resembles: Catwoman, after swallowing a Golden Corral buffet line whole.

Stay tuned for The Many Foes of Luke Cage Parts 2 through however many there are, I haven't counted yet...

Sometimes comics in the Seventies got really
Inside Baseball ...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Continuity Comics Part Two

I don' think you're doing this right, kid.
Continuity Comics’ editorial and advertising branches painted a starkly schizophrenic portrait of the company. While trying to play to its strengths (the berserk and muddy but nonetheless dynamic art produced under Adams’ watchful eye, the gravitas granted by having a bona fide comics legend overlooking the output, etc), Continuity managed to underline its weaknesses (everything else).

I think those WERE
his last words. You
really stole his
thunder there, man.
Even if it Adams hadn’t explicitly had his hand in every aspect of the company – he was known to routinely add his peculiar editorial flair to every part of the comic except the staples – you couldn’t mistake his unique voice at play in the company’s marketing and promotion. If you’ve taken the time to read Adams’ responses to the many criticisms of his expanding earth theory video or caught up on his blog as best as someone dependent on complete, coherent sentences to extract meaning from the written word possibly could, you’ll recognize the half-distracted, exceptionally annotated and breakneck frantic cadence of his writing in every ad and on every cover.

The ads which populated the interior of the comics near the end of the company’s run – during the simply baffling and obtuse Rise of Magic crossover event – seemed to have been scrawled in desperation on post-it notes and rushed to the typsetter with half of them falling out of the envelope on the way.

Your humble editor distinctly remembers one Rise of Magic-era ad where the copy gave up on trying to sell whatever unfortunately-capsized heap of dreck was meant to be pedded and instead adopted a confessional, intimate voice with the readers. “Continuity Comics”, it says (well, I’m paraphrasing, anyway) “Some people say we ought to change the name because kids don’t know what it means. What do you think?”

Reading that for the first time, I legitimately had no idea who I was meant to respond to – possibly the comic itself? “Maybe,” I replied, “I mean, it doesn’t really flow off the tongue.” The comic remained unimpressed and silent. Perhaps I’d hurt its feelings.

Click to enlarge, I left a lot out that
you're gonna want to know about.
The rambling and broken exclamations continued onto the covers (and, well, frankly … into the scripts as well, but that’s a whole other picture). Not only were the covers themselves freaked-out psychotic episodes full of colorful logos in full-on grinding lesbian embrace and wraparound Where’s Waldo diorama in which “The point of focus” was the little fella in the stripey shirt and glasses, just about every comic had some character or another shouting – invariably in bold type – some puzzling inanity or babbling cacophany.

Here’s a few of my favorites:
  • “SLAG TIME, RAD” (Cyberrad)
  • “Yeah, you’ve got my mother … my … MOTHER! … very … BIG … BIG … MISTAKE!” (Megalith)
  • “? Father … “ (Megalith)
  • “You believe you are gods, Earth 4 … well I am the God of … Hellfire!” “And we bring you recycling!” (EARTH 4)
  • “Im sorry I cannot give you the correct time” “Idiot” (Ms.Mystic)
  • “OUR ENEMY!” (Valeria the She-Bat)
  • “HO HO HO HO HO OHMMMMM” (Cyberrad)
  • and the limitless classic:
  • “RAGE … I’m taking you down! I’m releasing ALL the slaves … I’m cutting your fleet to ribbons … And I’m gonna humiliate you … Just ‘cause you got a UGLY FACE!” (Armor)

Some of these adjectives are
being badly misused.
In its earlier days, no small number of Continuity’s ads were stressing its high standards of art (which it had) and writing (which it didn’t) as well as its timely shipping (nuh-unh) and its kid-friendliness. One well-used full-page ad had All-American Joe Majurac – Megalith, the one Continuity character I’ve admitted to having enjoyed – sitting on the bench of a Nautilus-style weight machine, Continuity Comics in his confident hands, a broad smile on his face as he encourages parents to trust Continuity to bring their kids the best in real, literate entertainment made just for them.

Mind you, this is the same company that had a running gag involving Crazyman repeatedly ripping his female partner’s eye out and also a scene in Toyboy where the hero’s father confronts a group of characters whom he believes to have abducted his child by calling them “flaming faggots” (among no end of other cusses, some bleeped and others not). So … no, not that much, the kid-friendly.


ARMOR (and Silver Streak)
The fuck is a wennie?
Easily the two most obnoxious idiots in the entire Continuity lineup of bellowing roid-casualties. Two brothers are abducted by the alien slaver RAGE during what appears to be a full-on invasion, resulting in one brother being given some super-powers and sent to work in the alien mines and the other being given other super-powers and a shit-ton of training on how to use those powers to kill aliens in what is CLEARLY a really good idea on behalf of the slavers.

No small amount of Armor’s original run focuses on the boys trapped in space, developing and mastering their powers – at some point, and I may have missed exactly why this happened, but the brother who can shoot lasers out of his hands and who works in the mine is given the name Silver Streak which sounds less like a slave name and more like what happens if you’re into colloidal mercury supplements and you get the shits.

At some point, Armor confronts and ultimately kills Rage, although I don’t think they ever bothered to show it to us, even though the majority of the first storyline is all about Armor wanting to off his former slavemaster.

Despite this, the boys just show up on Earth and start farting around and ruining Megalith for me.
Also, at some point, they find their long-lost sister. She was also abducted by aliens and given super-powers and her name is Scarlet Streak, so go ahead and use my colloidal mercury joke from up there except make it a little grosser and I guess a little gynophobic while you’re at it, too, would you? Thanks.


Way to make me root for kidnappers
over homophobes, Continuity.
TOYBOY
The eponymous Toyboy is Jason Kriter – essentially an engineering-minded Richie Rich with even more fucked-up daddy issues.

The brilliant but isolated little fella longs to spend time with his busy and perpetually absent father, so distracts himself in the meantime by designing and building an array of hi-tech “toys”, everything from super-fast motorcycles to little ambulatory robot assistants to a big robot suit that has no protection on the front so that bad guys can shoot him if they want.

Toyboy eventually discovers that his father isn’t quite as good a man as he’d imagined – the old man, as a for instance, develops a gun which every fourth bullet or so is actually a hypo filled with fear gas that’ll freak a dude out. After you’ve shot him three times, anyway.

Jason’s and his toys have one of the weirdest adventures in the entire Continuity ouvre wherein a mad scientist seeks to gain control of America’s nuclear arsenal with the aid of his robot army – each of whom is made to look like a famous celebrity of some sort or another. It starts off with mostly old-timey comedians, meaning I was presented with a panel at one point wherein I found myself thinking “Oh god, not another comic book nerd’s fucking obession with the Three Stooges”. Lucky me, the reality could have actually benefitted from some obsession.

The ‘highlight’ of this encounter would have to be the super-powerful Dr.Ruth Westheimer robot who takes on an entire armed base, including messing the tar out of a tank … all the while spouting entendres and sex advice. The beat-up pint-sized robot duplicate of a plucky Israeli woman saying “Of course, you can always use a cucumber” may be the companys high point.

This is timeless.


KNIGHTHAWK
(Full disclosure – Knighthawk got his own title printed under the Windjammer line, and that’s where most of what follows comes from)

How do you even pronounce those *s?
This guy, Knighthawk, this guy is a dude who gets cloned and he has sort of useless vestigal wings. Later, he grows up and builds full-size wing prosthetics which allow him to fly, but his identical clone brother who also has wings steals it and crashes to the ground and dies, and later the dude fixes the wings so he doesn’t die when he puts them on. Pity.

Knighthawk showcases the one thing Continuity was doing which made it resemble the comics of the Golden Age – it had the same reckless, breathlessly piled-on, anything-goes invention of the old comics of the 30s and 40s, when nothing was too ridiculous to fly. Please to keep in mind that almost all of the comics released back then were meant for eight-year olds and were terrible to boot.

Knighthawk goes on to become some insanely hardcore vigilante, complete with not only his wing prosthetics but also magnetic guns he can launch from his boots to his gloves and then back again – a trick he shows off while shooting up an orphanage, no kidding.

The Windjammer series ends with an arc in which Knighthawk is blackmailed into joining Theta Force, which appears on the surface to be some sort of parallel take on Marvel’s Avengers. I could say more for certain if any of Theta Force had any personality or did anything.

Next up: Continuity - The Cover Story.

Hey, you guys know where I could score some coke? I got some copy to write...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Artists Alley, Table D-15, you'll be checked for weapons at the door ...

It's the Emerald City Comicon this weekend, and Your Humble Editor has been busy stitching up the moth-eaten holes and washing out the bloodstains on his best Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes for his first event appearance in many a moon.

Because of this, there won't be a full Gone&Forgotten this week, so in the interim I bring you this exceptionally accurate two-page depiction of the life of a comic artist, from Marvel's classic inside-baseball parody mag Not Brand Echh...

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