AND NOW…YOUR OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER OF THE WEEK (4/16/11)

…Maestro Dorn!

Hey look at that a cover for one of these things that has something to do with the character I'm referencing. A RARE TREAT.

From the Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes! 

An ingenious criminal mastermind and master puppeteer who plans each of his gang’s crimes in painstaking detail and then uses puppets to “enact [each] fantastic crime in miniature,” as a sort of rehearsal, so that his henchmen will know exactly what functions they are to perform during the commission of the actual crime. Maestro Dorn and his henchmen are captured by Batman and Robin in April 1952 (Det No 182: “The Human Puppets”).

So, essentially, this guy has a semi-practical, if incredibly boring, crime schtick. Got it. Someone should put him in Scarface and The Ventriliquist’s gang.

AN OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER. EVERY SATURDAY. THAT’S THE HIVE OF SCUM PROMISE.

Max

AND NOW…YOUR OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER OF THE WEEK (4/9/11)

…Roland Daggett

Yes. Yessssss.

From the Batman Wikia:

Roland Daggett is an adversary of Batman. He made his debut appearance in Batman: The Animated Series as a corrupt and powerful businessman, voiced by Edward Asner. The president of Daggett Industries,a pharmaceutical company, he is depicted as being a large, physically imposing man with smoothed back reddish-brown hair and blue eyes…

…He is similar in personality and function to Lex Luthor. It should also be noted that his look (and overall demeanor) bears a striking similarity to Norman Osborn as he originally appeared (minus the “Osborn Cornrows”). He was originally intended to be Max ShreckChristopher Walken‘s character from Batman Returns, but it was decided instead to introduce a new character.

Alongside crime boss Rupert Thorne, Daggett is one of the main recurring antagonists of the series who isn’t a member of the Rogue’s Gallery, and is considered to be a possible forerunner to Batman Beyond villain Derek Powers.

Roland Daggett is FASCINATING to me, as a Batman character, for a couple of reasons.

First off,

Character highlights:

  • Infects Catwoman with a near fatal disease, almost unleashes it on the city so his company can make money off of the cure.
  • Inadvertently turns Matt Hagen into Clayface.

The Norman Osborn influence is so pronounced its borderline copyright infringement. Which sounds like a negative but the episodes Daggett appears in (Feat of Clay, Batgirl Returns, etc) are some of the best episodes of the series. He’s a fun bad guy to watch.

And really, having Batman face off against a recurring foe that served as a kind of “evil Bruce Wayne” figure who doesn’t physically engage Batman so much as create problems with his influence is a cool concept. The antagonism here between Daggett and Batman could almost be seen as a prototype take on the later Luthor/Superman stuff by Timm and co.

Anyway, yeah. Good stuff. Surprising that the character hasn’t made it into any other Batman outlets beyond the animated series, sorta like Carl Grissom.

AN OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER. EVERY SATURDAY. THAT’S THE HIVE OF SCUM PROMISE.

Max

AND NOW…YOUR OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER OF THE WEEK (4/2/11

…Rufus Lane

I want to know more about this Mr. Wimble fella, actually.

From The Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes:

The leader of a gang of criminals who are captured by Batman and Robin in February-March 1949 with the aid of some elderly show-business people from the local old troupers home (Batman No .51/2: “The Stars Of Yesterday”)

I’m not sure who comes off worse here: Batman, for needing the help of the elderly to take down this guy or Lane for the sheer embarrassment of losing like this. I enjoy that the entry acts like retirement homes for old song and dance men are a normal everyday thing. That isn’t a thing, right?

AN OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER. EVERY SATURDAY. THAT’S THE HIVE OF SCUM PROMISE.

Max

 

AND NOW…YOUR OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER OF THE WEEK (3/26/11)

….Carlo

What the hell am I looking at here?

From The Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes:

A vaudeville mind-reader who turns to crime when he discovers that the delicate brain surgery he underwent following an automobile accident actually endowed him with the miraculous ability to read minds. At one point, Carl reads Batman’s mind and learns his secret identity, but is shot and killed by Pete Jorgen, one of his intended robbery victims, before he can reveal the secret to anyone else (Det No. 70 Dec ’42: “The Man Who Could Read Minds!”.)

We’re about two for two here on one-time Batman villains who are also the victims of prior intense head trauma. Who’s this Pete Jorgen fellow? Sounds like a real tough customer. Guy will not be robbed by vaudeville scum.

AN OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER. EVERY SATURDAY. THAT’S THE HIVE OF SCUM PROMISE.

Max

COMICS WHAT THAT I READ THIS WEEK (March 24th, 2011)

New Comics Day, the most wonderful day of the week that isn’t Friday, Saturday or to a lesser extent Sunday, has come and gone. Lets talk about them?

Pretty.

Daredevil Reborn #3 (of 4)

The Jock covers for this book have been gorgeous, this month’s in particular. This was an ok issue. Diggle’s Daredevil stuff has been really hot or cold with me and this mini’s just been alright. The bit with Murdock not being able to drive with a windshield in was a highlight for me, too many writers forget little things like that. Honestly though, I’m more or less just counting the days until Waid/Martin’s soon to be fantastic Daredevil run starts up.

TWILIGHT. IDOL.

Power Man and Iron Fist #3 (of 5)

Fred Van Lente is cramming as much deliberately silly shit into this book and I’m loving the hell out of it. An emotionless villain called POKERFACE quotes “The Gambler”, of all things. This issue does a nice job of balancing a couple of plot threads through the bigger “silent criminal auction” concept. AThe death trap that this issue centers on is well thought out and keeps things rolling. Van Lente’s rarely disappointed me as a writer and this is shaping up to be one of his best. And I will pay him $10 American Dollars to get rid of that god awful white and gold Iron Fist suit (Though the solicits for his appearance in Iron Man 2.0 seem to indicate it’ll be gone soon).

Time Diamond Gangsters

Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #5 (and 6)

Jason Aaron writes a helluva Mojo, though that makes a fair amount of sense, really.

God, I love this mini. Bedazzling and “DARK PHOENIX WOLVERINE” as plot-points. This whole thing is just so weird and spot-on funny that I never want it to end. I’ve said it before, someone needs to put Aaron on a monthly Spider-Man book and fast.

Really nice use of PERSPECTIVE on this cover, right?

BEST OF THE WEEK: Batman, Incorporated #4

God bless the weird as hell Morrison Bat-book shipping schedule. After nothing for what felt like a while, we get two issues of Batman, Inc within two weeks of each other!

Props to Morrison for working in a multi-generational Batwoman team up into the issue while keeping the main El Gaucho thread chugging. I don’t think anyone’s really used the Kathy Kane Batwoman to much effect post-crisis and Morrison just effortlessly makes you want to know more about her.

I hadn’t seen any of Chris Burham’s work prior to this issue but he just NAILS those flashback sequences. A nice mix between Quietly and Cameron Stewart’s styles in many respects.

The big thing about this issue that stuck with me is how the mood of this issue alternates between dark and light in a way that it reasonably shouldn’t. The flashback sequences introduce some boldly weird history and I’m not sure anyone BUT Morrison could pull it off, but he does. The Silver-age Batgirl/Batwoman elements of the mythos have kind of been treated as a blemish that everyone wants to ignore, but what Morrison does is acknowledge how weird and ill-fitting it is (see Robin’s “It makes it all dumb instead of special. Like it doesn’t matter anymore”) and puts that to work for the story he’s telling. It’s things like this that really just hammer home the fact that Morrison’s the best writer in comics these days.

And, holy shit, the DIALOGUE in this thing is just wonderful. “YOU! SHUT UP OR I WILL PUNCH YOU OUT!”, etc.

I guess it’s not much of a surprise that I thought this is maybe the best Batman issue Morrison’s done thus far. Hard to say if it’s better than Batman, Inc #1, though the last page is an INCREDIBLE piece of payoff.

*****

Yeah. That was a positively Chris Sims-ian Batman review, huh? Seriously though, go buy that comic, tear out that last page, and frame it.

What a great stack of books, weeks like this are why I love comics. Except for Daredevil, which was just “decent”, these are comics by three writers at the top of their game. And the art’s nothing to scoff at either.

HIVE OF SCUM. THESE THINGS I TAKE JOY FROM ARE LIKE STRANGE OYSTERS THE OUTSIDE WORLD WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND.

– Max

COMICS WHAT THAT I READ THIS WEEK (March 17th, 2011)

Hey! Hi! So this is still a thing I’m doing. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, etc etc etc. We’re here. I got a stack of six books to read, lets boogie-ooogie-oogie

Buy a damn toothbrush, A-M

Brightest Day #22

Decent issue! Decently done death of a pretty major DC supporting character and I like the new Firestorm status quo they’re setting up here. “Deathstorm” talking like a bro and quoting Star Wars makes me want to see the character stick around.

How have we not gotten a Superboy/Kid Flash race before now is a mystery to me, honestly.

Superboy #5

This is maybe my favorite issue to date? Lemire’s got a good grip on the Teen Titans if their appearance here is anything to go off of, I’d love to see DC put him on that book at some point. Nice to see Superboy and Kid Flash acting like guys who’ve been good friends for years, the Robin/Impulse/Superboy friendship is something I really liked when I started getting into comics and its kinda fallen by the wayside.  The race itself is well put together, ends perfectly. Pier Gallo’s art’s solid, strong Quietly vibe is going strong. Curious as hell as to how Lemire’s going to tie together the supernatural and sci-fi menaces he’s ramping up to.

Party Bus

Best of the week: Knight and Squire #6 (of 6)

Damn. That’s a helluva ending. Cornell has really just done a fantastic job of creating this little UK corner of the DCU that, despite having a rather different feel to it, feels like it fits. This issue, and really the mini as a whole…I think are Cornell’s way of defending and legitimizing “silly” aspects of British culture and kind of striking back against the gratuitously violent aspects of DC comics as of late. This is a wonderful read, I really hope Cornell has another chance to come back to all of this.

Morrison comics are golden brick into my BRAIN

Batman, Incorporated #3

First off, read THIS, because Uzumeri’s annotations are almost essential to working your way through this issue.

As an issue, it’s Morrison’s Batman, so it’s half of a two part puzzle. It’s not an easy read, but the challenging aspects of Morrison’s Batman stories are refreshing in a genre like Super Hero comics where that kind of thing is way too rare. As it stands, a rich read with a damn fine cliff hanger. Morrison’s skilled at making the international Batmen feel unique from each other.

Thor is like THE guy to put on covers if you want shit to get real.

Avengers Academy #11

WEIRD pacing in this issue. Like, just throws you right into everything. That said, Diggin The new Raney’Hanna art team, perfect fit for this kind of book. Korvac’s a weird and convoluted character to use in this situation but he works well as a believable threat to all the Avengers teams that show up in the issue. Fun issue all in all.

Witch-ay Woman

Thunderbolts #155

Luke Cage calling Man-Thing his “dawg”: The Best.

Parker gives us a fun Dr.Strange/Luke Cage team up story and introduces something he’s been building up to for alittle while now with Warden Walker. Felt like a short issue, but considering how quickly this book is coming out (FEELS bi-weekly even though it isn’t), I’m ok with that. Thunderbolts is really the big feather in Marvel’s cap in terms of their top, consistent books.

****

So that’s the last two weeks. I’m really going to miss Cornell’s weird little Knight and Squire mini. Strongly considered picking up the Fear Itself prelude Brubaker wrote but these Marvel events make me wish I waited for the collection. Whatever. A good week (fortnight?) for comics, it seems!

HIVE OF SCUM. STRANGE BONERS AFOOT, GENTS.

 

 

 

Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (“My Girl”)

I now own all of SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES on DVD. Each week, I’m going to work my way through the series one episode at a time.  Dig?

Episode: “My Girl”

What Happens: Hey! Superman’s Childhood Crush, Lana Lang comes to Metropolis! She’s dating Lex Luthor! Explosions! Fashion! Mystery?

Very off-model S-shield

Thoughts:

  • At 20 minutes, is this the shortest episode to date?
  • Clark Kent’s immediate reaction to initials “LL” being to guess “Lana Lang” is pretty funny when you consider how many people he knows with those initials (well, maybe not in the animated continuity). LL dating Lex Luthor: also pretty good.
  • Uh hey there Frank Miller-esque criminal amazon woman

Just missing the pointed teeth and swastika pasties, really.

  • Sort of off-topic but not really: the quality of this episode animation-wise is…off. Simpler than usual, almost. And the transfer on this particular episode is not great. Wonder why that is?
  • I like the way they position Lana in contrast to Lois on the show: Lana’s always been the “girl who got away” but now she knows Clark is Superman, so it makes the romantic tension between alittle more interesting. Logically, he WOULD find a girl from his past who knows his secrets, who knows the real Clark Kent, appealing.
  • Sidebar: I love the character of Mercy. Giving Lex a tough-as-nails girl friday who just does his dirty work is a brilliant conceit.

Creep creep

  • Oh man, Lex’s boner face.

You've seen it. You can't unsee it.

  • While we’re on the subject, you get the sense that Lex genuinely cares for Lana here, which is a change of pace from the disposable women we’ve seen him with so far in the show. The only reason he turns on her is because she’s being unfaithful to him. I like it. Lex is human, after all.
  • This episode feels very noiry, with the whole Lana/Lex/Clark triangle/espionage plot. Batman:TAS gets more associated with this kind of thing (because, yeah) but I feel like a number of Superman: TAS episodes have this feel.
  • Superman saving the deer and delivering the corny “open season on terrorists” line is perfect Superman right there.
  • The reference to Batgirl by Lana is, I think, only the second reference to Batman we’ve gotten on the show thus far. Might be wrong.
  • Oh Lana. Stepping out on Lex Luthor with Superman is like the worst idea of all time.
  • Oo a reference to Central City too.
  • Lana’s plan here of “eavesdropping on Lex, fucking up his plans by telling Superman, and expecting no negative consequences” is a pretty shortsighted one.
  • Surely nothing bad will happen at the LEXCORP LEAD & ALLOY?

Lead & Alloy & Kryptonite & Ghosts

  • I can’t imagine liquid lead flows EXACTLY like water but what do I know?
  • Superman: Forever doomed to be the plaything of loud, outgoing women.

Overall? Decent episode, but nothing too showy. The Lex portions of the episode are fantastic, really great to see an episode where he isn’t motivated by power or greed but, well, LOVE. What the episode lacks in the great villains or set pieces of the past few episodes it makes up for in solid character work. Really, have any of these episodes so far been less than “Very good”?

Next Episode: “Tools of The Trade” (No clue what this one’s about)

AND NOW…YOUR OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER OF THE WEEK (3/5/11)

….Bob The Goon

If I got a jacket that cool, I'd work for a homicidal maniac too.

Look, all you need to know about Bob The Goon is that in the ’89 Batman movie, The Jacker asks him for a gun, Bob gives him the gun, and then he shoots Bob, seemingly for no reason. AND he got his own action figure WITH POWER KICK ACTION.

He looks so happy.

For more information of Bob The Goon, check out this YouTube video.

Have a good weekend, kids.

AN OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER. EVERY SATURDAY. THAT’S THE HIVE OF SCUM PROMISE.

Max

 

 

AND NOW…YOUR OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER OF THE WEEK (2/26/11)

….Chandell/Harry

You are wasting your time, lady

(Image source: http://bat-mania.co.uk/main/villains/chandell.php)

From Batmania.uk!

Chandell turned to a life of crimed after being blackmailed by his evil brother Harry. Above on the left is Harry, with Chandell being on the right. As you can see Liberace the famous pianist played both roles. Chandell’s plot was to murder both Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson then to marry Aunt Harriet so he can get his hands on the Wayne’s Foundations funds. He would then use the money to pay off his brother Harry.

Two pianists. Both played by Liberace. The ’60’s were something else, huh? This would be like if Lady Gaga showed up on Smallville playing a super-villain version of herself herself. I’d actually argue this isn’t a terribly obscure Batman character since everyone knows who Liberace is. But as far as I know, this guy hasn’t shown up anywhere else the way Egghead and King Tut have. The two parter he’s featured in is a fun one and, for as much as people rip on the Adam West Batman tv show, stuff like this really gave the show a fun, smirky-but-everyone’s-having-a-good-time tone that hasn’t been completely replicated since (Morrison’s Batman, Inc and portions of Batman: The Brave and The Bold come pretty close, though).

I’ll leave you with this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jPGBQ77ddU

AN OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER. EVERY SATURDAY. THAT’S THE HIVE OF SCUM PROMISE.

Max