Archive for ‘Comic Books’

May 13, 2012

…Annnnd We’re Back!

So after an unplanned, too-long hiatus, #nerdgirls is back for your reading pleasure. With a couple of announcements:

1.  Help us welcome our newest Nerdgirl – Beth Matthews! Beth is the extremely talented fantasy/romance author of the books The Beauty’s Beast, Heir to the Underworld, the upcoming Beauty and the Bouncer — and she’s a Grade-A nerd. She also knows more than Lucas himself about Star Wars, feel free to talk shop with her. Check out her writer-ly blog at: http://bethmatthewsbooks.com/. We’re thrilled to have her join the #nerdgirls crew!

2.  And now I’d like to formally invite you to join us for the Summer of Nerdery! All summer long we’ll be updating you on news, games, shows, movies and events relevant to your interests. Excitement!

First stop in the Summer of Nerdery: The Avengers. The universe has spun into a perfect singularity of Marvel, Joss Whedon and Chris Hemsworth’s biceps and by now as a proper nerd you should have seen it at least twice. Beth Matthews gives us her review:

……………………………………………………

(How cool is it that Agent Coolson gets his own poster? I mean, seriously awesome, right?!)

So, I’ve been looking forward to this pretty much since the first Iron Man movie came out and they had Nick Fury as the tag after the end credits. I’m a huge geek and I love, LOVE the shared universe that Marvel has created with their various superheroes in their movies. Now, some of the standalone films haven’t necessarily knocked it out of the park (Captain America, the Hulk films), but then some of them kicked serious ass (Iron Man, Thor).

And, I must say, that The Avengers definitely did the latter. Avengers kicked ass, took names and…did something else really awesome…(that is weird description, isn’t it? Why would you write down someone’s name after you kicked their ass? Because you wanted to make sure you checked them off the Ass-Kicking List? Because you want to schedule a follow-up appointment to kick their ass again?) ANYWAY…

And you know why this movie managed to kick ass where other movies in the franchise have done less so?

Because this movie was about the characters!!!

Yes, they were running around doing amazing action stuff and saving the world and all that. But Whedon is a pro, and he knew that if we didn’t care about the people then all the special effects in the world wouldn’t save his movie. (This is where Captain America fell down for me. If they had used sock puppets in the middle of all that action stuff I might have cared more than I did. No characters, no emotion in that freaking movie anywhere).

read more »

January 19, 2012

The 6 Most Unintentionally Hilarious Superhero Reinventions

[via Cracked]

 

There are comic book characters that have successfully been reinvented over the years, like Superman (originally couldn’t fly), the X-Men (originally sans Wolverine) and Batman (originally a cricket-themed adventurer). In all those cases, however, the writers and artists were always respectful to the core of the character, since that’s what made them popular in the first place — changing that would be stupid, because then you might as well create a new character.

Which isn’t to say that it hasn’t happened. Like in …

#6. Groovy Kung Fu Wonder Woman

Even though her creators gave her a horrible sexist superhero weakness, Wonder Woman is still a pretty big deal — if this were a list of the 10 most recognizable superheroes ever, she would not only be there, but also be the only woman.


If this were a list of the superheroes whose live action TV shows we’ve masturbated to, it would be her and Batman.

Part of the appeal is that the Wonder Woman concept is pretty straightforward: She’s a powerful Amazon sent to the world of man to fight crime. It’s that simple. Also she owns a magic lasso and an invisible airplane.

The WTF Reinvention:

All that stuff was tossed aside between 1968 and 1973, when DC Comics decided to update Wonder Woman as a hip kung fu private detective without powers. Or a costume. Or, you know, anything else that might justify the use of the words “Wonder Woman” on the cover.

Wonder Woman #201 (1972)
“You dig this diggity dig diggeroo, hepcat? It’s the ’70s, by the way.”

Though DC was probably trying to cash in on that whole “feminism” thing with this move, it all happens because of a guy: In Wonder Woman #179, her boyfriend Steve Trevor (the male Lois Lane) gets in serious trouble and she has to help him — meanwhile, the Amazons announce they are leaving for another dimension and that Wonder Woman must come with them if she wants to keep her powers. Knowing that Steve would die within two days if left to his own devices, WW gives up her costume and Amazonian abilities to stay with him.

Luckily, she’s not helpless for very long because she immediately runs into a blind guy called I Ching who teaches her kung fu.

Wonder Woman #179 (1968)
“The secret to kung fu is — holy shit why is my left arm Caucasian?”

A short training montage later, the new Wonder Woman is ready to go back to helping Steve … but then Steve dies anyway, because let’s face it, he was a moron. Even though her dead boyfriend was the entire reason that she didn’t go with the Amazons, Wonder Woman doesn’t even think to follow them into the other dimension. Instead, she opens a mod boutique, becomes a part-time private eye and starts traveling the world with her kung fu master.

Wonder Woman #189 (1970)
“I’ve forgotten why I decided to become a superhero!”

In one adventure, she fights a gang of lesbian hippie child-slaving jewel thieves, probably as a result of the editor asking for a story “ripped from the headlines” and the writer literally combining several news items together. It’s like they were so desperate about doing topical comics that they completely forgot about the “doing Wonder Woman comics” part. In most of these issues the name Wonder Woman isn’t even mentioned outside the cover, since the whole time she went by her alias, Diana Prince.

Ironically, the same feminist movement that DC had clumsily been trying to appeal to was responsible for Wonder Woman going back to normal five years later, when an offended Gloria Steinem began a public campaign to reinstitute her classic costume and powers. DC quickly printed a story where I Ching is killed and Wonder Woman gets hit in the head and loses her memory of the past five years, soon wandering back into Amazon island and into her old duds. Presumably her martial arts expertise was reverted at this point as well, because none of this was ever mentioned again.

Wonder Woman #202 (1972)
Sadly, the secret to Fafhrd’s man-girdle is forever lost to time.

#5. Angel Punisher

Just about every superhero has some kind of strict moral code, usually regarding murdering their enemies (they’re against it). Comics writers put the moral code in to keep our heroes likable, and to prove that they’re better than the murderous, costumed villains they fight.

But comics writers were allowed one guy. One hero who was going to look and act like a villain. A guy whose only power was that he was crazy and had lots of guns. No code. No moral hang-ups. Just a “murder the bad guys” kinda guy. That hero is the Punisher.

The Punisher War Journal, #1 (1988)
“With great power comes great shooting everyone in the goddamn face.”

It’s the one totally irresponsible mainstream comic where all bets are off and everyone dies. It’s awesome.

The WTF Reinvention:

In 1998, to freshen up the character (???), Marvel decided to have Frank kill himself (???).

Punisher (vol. 4) #1 (1998)
“I’ve just killed everyone already. Got shit else to do.”

And things just went downhill from there. All because someone thought it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch to turn Punisher into a gun-slinging angel.

In this miniseries, the Punisher is brought back to life by Gadriel, a guardian angel who decides to give this mass killer a shot at redemption — which in this case means handing him angelic weapons and sending him off to kill demons. His new job also gives him invulnerability and heightened senses, at which point he stops being the Punisher and becomes a male version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The Punisher: Purgatory #1 (1998)
“Anyone else getting a migraine?”

While Frank’s magic glowing guns can kill common criminals, during the course of this series he mostly uses them to fight the hordes of hell in order to fix his karma and have a chance of seeing his family again in heaven. This is the sort of bullshit premise that could have only come from the mind of a coke-fueled TV executive pitching a toy-friendly Punisher animated series where they don’t actually show him killing people, and yet it was written and published by Marvel Comics themselves.

At the end of the miniseries, the Punisher winds up as a sort of guardian angel himself, drawn to helping out people who need it instead of just blowing the heads off of criminals. And when he does come across criminals, he now gives them a chance to repent and walk away before dispatching them, the most blatantly out of character part of the whole mess.

Punisher (vol. 4) #4 (1999)
Why would angel guns need horns?

Apparently being some twisted, angelic disciplinarian with guns was supposed to make the character more likeable, but again, that’s not what the Punisher is about. This run completely undermined the intent of the character who had the simplest goal of any superhero ever (“Kill all the things”). After one more miniseries of this same shit (this time guest-starring a very confused Wolverine), Punisher was brought back to normal. Thankfully it only took the next writer a few panels to fix all the damage.

Punisher (vol. 5) #1 (2000)

Punisher (vol. 5) #1 (2000)

#4. Professor Hulk

From his inception, the Incredible Hulk has always been about a normal man (Dr. Bruce Banner) struggling with his inner demons, which are represented in the form of a green monster with a fondness for purple pants.

Marvel.com
We’ll discuss the levitating, double-amputee Hulk another time.

Central to the story was Banner being forced to live like an outcast while hiding from the military, which proved tricky given his tendency to grow large and smash things whenever he became upset. It’s that paradox that made the stories interesting — that and all the cool mindless violence.

The WTF Reinvention:

In 1991, however, Marvel did a story where Banner gets his shit in order and, through hypnotherapy sessions, cures himself of his anger issues … leaving him as an 8-foot-tall green-skinned science professor. So not only can the Hulk form coherent sentences now; perhaps most offensively, he also wears full clothes.

The Incredible Hulk Online
Stan Lee must be spinning in his $100 bill Jacuzzi.

But such a dramatic reversal of the character’s very core couldn’t last for long, right? Actually, it went on for eight years, with Banner staying in his Hulk form the whole time since there was really no reason to turn back into a skinny little nerd anymore. Not only that, Hulk also turned into a full-fledged superhero, joining a philanthropic organization called the Pantheon and eventually becoming their boss.

Obviously, Hulk’s new social status required him to class up his act even more:

Incredible Hulk #402 (1993)
Thirty tailors died constructing that suit.

Incredible Hulk #405 (1993)

So yeah, he wasn’t really the Hulk anymore in the traditional sense. He could still smash a tank pretty good, but preferred using his brain before his massive fists. More importantly, he no longer found himself in that sort of situation as often as he used to. One storyline was completely centered on Professor Hulk dealing with the fact that a close friend had contracted AIDS — which was a great way to raise awareness and all, but not exactly the kind of drama you picture when you pick up a comic with a giant muscular abomination on the cover.

Incredible Hulk #420 (1994)
“KIDS BUY HULK COMICS FOR TENDER PATHOS!”

But wait, if he’s that muscular giant when he’s feeling calm, what happens if he gets really, really angry? Well …

Incredible Hulk #425 (1995)
Why are his pants torn?

Eventually Professor Hulk was revealed to be just another split personality (which they seriously called “Professor Hulk”), meaning that Banner was never really cured at all. It took his savage version 15 minutes to ruin all his good work and punch things back to normalcy.

 

#3. Punk Storm

Storm is one of the X-Men’s most popular mutants (after Wolverine, Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Wolverine) and also one of the most powerful, due to her incredible ability to control the weather.


She’s most helpful when clearing scary freeway fog.

Originally, Storm was treated as a goddess in her native Africa due to her powers and benevolence, and even after joining the X-Men, she retained that serene, majestic and somewhat naive quality. She’s one classy lady, is what we’re saying.

The WTF Reinvention:

What happens when you combine Storm, punk rock and (we’re not shitting you here) Mr. T?

Uncanny X-Men #173 (1983)
Likes: The Sex Pistols. Dislikes: Fools.

Chris Claremont, the writer of the X-Men at the time, decided it was time to give Storm a new haircut. Then, as a joke gone horribly wrong, the artist did a sketch of Storm with a Mr. T look, since this was the ’80s and the guy was everywhere. To the artist’s shock, the editor liked that look and forced him to include it in the comic, despite him arguing that it was a “monstrously bad idea.”

As any accomplished anthropologist will tell you, fool-pitying naturally follows the mohawk wherever it grows, and Storm was no exception. Storm simply said screw it and proceeded to start taking on whole gangs with her bare hands just to show how badass she could be.

Uncanny X-Men #180 (1984)
Also, at some point she became a Drow.

The change was completed a few months later when she was hit by a ray gun that stripped her of her powers. This would be no big deal, except that the whole point of being in the X-Men is that the characters are mutants. It’s the number one criteria for joining and staying. But not only does Storm stay, she challenges a fully powered Cyclops to a fight for the role of team leader.

And wins.


And a single lava tear rolled down his cheek.

Imagine recruiting this sweet, humble foreign girl and watching her slowly transform into Clubber Lang. We’re guessing the other X-Men were too afraid of her to say anything at this point, powers or not.

Uncanny X-Men #180 (1984)
Professor X, from a distance, closes one eye and mimes squishing Storm’s head, his only recourse.

Once the ’80s were over and T-mania ran its course, Storm slowly reverted into her original personality. Just in case, no one’s allowed to watch Rocky III at the Xavier Mansion since then.

#2. The Robotic Shadow

The Shadow was Batman before Batman: cool, mysterious, dressed in black and with a talent for terrorizing criminals. The Shadow had unnatural powers, a distinctive costume (cloak and fedora) and a suave playboy secret identity.

The Shadow DC Issue #1
And a train boner.

However, with the Shadow it was never about the superpowers — he was always fond of firearms, but more often than not he defeated his enemies simply by messing with their heads until they surrendered (and THEN he shot them).

The WTF Reinvention:

And then they turned him into a giant robot:

The Shadow#19 (1989)
Who has enough chrome to outfit every Mercedes in Compton? The Shadow does.

By the ’80s the rights to publish official Shadow stories had fallen on DC Comics, who clearly had no idea what to do with the guy (they already had a Batman). DC decided to update the character to the present era, which meant replacing his iconic handguns with Uzis and rocket launchers, for instance. Also he drove a flying car.

The Shadow #13 (1988)
Apparently the “present” setting was as poorly researched as the past would have been.

As the series progressed it became increasingly bizarre and ridiculously violent — getting to the point where at the end of a regular issue without any warning, this happened:

The Shadow #13 (1988)
“Also, uh, Spoiler Alert, we guess.”

But superheroes never stay dead for long. Six months later DC finally brought back the Shadow … as a disembodied head. Turns out his inept and offensively yellow-skinned sons, Hsu and Chang (created for this series), had stolen his casket in order to bring his body to the mystical kingdom of Shambala where it could be resuscitated, but in the process managed to misplace everything from the neck down.

The Shadow #19 (1989)
“– hang on, am I a fucking head?!

At this point the comic was barely recognizable as a Shadow series anymore, but it was about to get even worse. Left with no other choice, the scientists/wizards at Shambala place the Shadow’s head on a muscular robotic body they happened to have lying around. Shadow adjusts to this change surprisingly fast and is soon ready to leap back into action.

The Shadow #19 (1989)
Shaaaadooooooow!

The new robot body can zap power bolts from its hands and is equipped with all sorts of weapons, gadgets and Terminator-like kill-vision, which the Shadow uses to literally annihilate an army of around 200 thugs in the space of four pages.

The Shadow #19 (1989)
None of them thought to, y’know, aim at the head.

And Shadow stays this way. In the last page a new story line is announced in which the Shadow will battle his oldest enemy, Shiwan Khan, also a cyborg now for some reason.

The Shadow #19 (1989)
Machine-gun nipples come standard on all new-model robot torsos.

Anyway the comic was abruptly canceled after this story.

#1. Captain America Becomes Captain … Nothing

Here’s everything you need to know about Captain America:

Yeah, the flag getup pretty much says it all, and also the fact that he’s punching Nazism in the face — not just Hitler, but the actual concept of Nazism. Reportedly, the moment the artist finished drawing this page, Hitler’s actual jaw spontaneously dislocated. After WWII was over, Captain America took it easy for a while, but then returned in the ’60s to show all those new superheroes how it was done. Since then, he has remained the most popular patriotic-themed hero in and outside the U.S.

The WTF Reinvention:

Except for that time when he gave up the “America” part and turned into a shitty generic superhero:

Captain America #180 (1974)
“Did … did Captain America just change his pants in front of us?”

Yep, for a while Captain America ditched his name, costume and shield and became … another obscure Marvel character no one cares about, basically. It all began right in the middle of Marvel Comics’ version of the Watergate scandal, in which President Nixon is found out to be a supervillain and blows his brains out in front of Captain America. Cap is so shocked and disillusioned that he tosses his costume and quits patriotism.

Captain America #176 (1974)
“President Nixon just killed himself. Maybe we should all, like … process that, first.”

However, after a few months of unemployment Cap decides he still wants to be a superhero, and so he starts thinking of an identity that will reflect his new attitude …

Captain America #180 (1974)
“Cut Man. No. Captain Loose Guy. No. Mr. Manningwithoutacountrington DAMN I’m so bad at this.”

… eventually settling on “Nomad” and getting himself the worst costume imaginable. In his debut adventure, the Nomad must battle a woman who is obsessed with snakes inside a movie theater that happens to be playing an old Captain America interview, presumably to underscore just how awful this costume is compared to the old one.

Captain America #180 (1974)
The absence of patriotic quips has forced Nomad to resort to double entendres.

The question is: Why change everything? Couldn’t he just cover the “A” on his old costume and be done with it? At the very least he could have kept his indestructible shield (which accounts for only 90 percent of his fighting style) and give it a new paint job to make it look less patriotic. Maybe put some badass flames there or something. Also, even the comic itself acknowledges that the decision to give Captain America a cape was not so great.

December 22, 2011

DC Comics Holiday Cards

[via GeekTyrant]

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December 20, 2011

Upcoming Superhero Movies Stills

The Avengers

 

Dredd

 

The Amazing Spider-Man

 

 

December 14, 2011

Superhero Breast Awareness PSA’s

[via GeekTyrant]

For all you ladies out there, here is a great set of Superhero PSA ads reminding you to check your breasts for breast cancer and to help spread awareness.

When we talk about breast cancer, there’s no women or superwomen. Everybody has to do the self-examination monthly. Fight with us against the enemy and, when in doubt, talk with your doctor.

This isn’t just see a bunch of pictures of superheronines fondling their breasts, this is an important message. I won’t lie cancer scares the hell out of me, but this is a great geeky way remind women to do a monthly self-examination. What do you all think about these ads?

December 6, 2011

Another 5 WTF Comic Book Covers

[via GeekTyrant]

We got a great response from our readers about our first installment of 5 WTF Comic Covers and it’s only fitting that our Number 5 is a reader submitted cover. Brian Bull was a fan of our Archie meets Punisher cover and sent in a WTF Archie cover from his own collection! No one tell Michelle because this installment only gets crazier from here.

4. Rampaging Atomic Bomb Holding Dino? Call Red Tornado.

HOLY S*** THAT DINOSAURS GOT A BOMB! Wow…actually that T-Rex has some of the biggest biceps of any Jurrasic era beast I’ve seen. Is it really the best idea to send Red Tornado in on this one? Not that I’m hating or anything, I just don’t think high winds are the best way to handle something that will according to Batman cause the Earth to have “No Future”. Also where the hell is the rest of the Justice League? Appparently man made walls were a commodity back in the B.C.

3. Thor Sends A Message to Batman and Robin

Did…Did he mean to do that?! Did the hammer slip or something? Cuz last I checked mama Wayne didn’t raise no b****. I mean he couldn’t even whiz it past his face?! Good job Thor, you really showed him. Now Batman is going to go back to his lavish estate while some underpaid city maintenance man has to clean up your bull s*** scare tactic. Douche.

2. “IT’S LATE NIGHT WITH THE AVENGERS!”

Clearly this is before Dave Letterman hit his peak. What was Captain America and Iron Man on Leno? Why’s he interviewing the reject lineup? The rise to the top is tough, although the famous Hoosier doesn’t seem shamed. In fact, if it wasn’t for his actions (and giant objects) in this issue, it would’ve spelled the end for The Avengers! Hit it Paul…

1. Going Back In Time? “OH YEEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHH!

Of course where would America be as a nation if George Washington hadn’t been given a glass of that sweet sweet Kool-aid to keep him more jacked up than Clint Howard’s face? It’s no secret that Kool-Aid man was there at the signing of our independence, Gettysburg, and many other hot spots in our nations history. Hell it’s a wonder his face isn’t on Mt. Rushmore.


 

December 5, 2011

Animated Classic Comic Book Covers

We’ve seen some pretty impressive Silver Age-themed art from ComicsAlliance favorite (and occasional contributor) Kerry Callen, but now he’s decided to try his hand at something a little different: animated comic book covers! Watch the thunder crash on the front of Dark Knight Returns, see Tony Stark get the shakes in “Demon in a Bottle,” and observe the Justice League spinning endlessly on the terrible Wheel of Misfortune!

November 29, 2011

5 WTF Comic Book Covers

[via GeekTyrant]

Odd? Strange? Unexplainable? All of the above. Starting with Number 5, Archie teaming up with The Punisher is a classic example of what the f*** situations our favorite heroes land themselves in. So come with me on a journey through some of the other misadventures our beloved caped crusaders manage to wind up in what I hope (with your help of course) will be an ongoing series here at Geektyrant.

4. DON’T DROP THE GORILLA BATMAN!

What exactly was Bruce Wayne’s plan prior to lifting a 600 pound ape above his head? Also, Robin is a dumbass. Besides the fact he’s about to snap his ankle upon completing that bo-jank run, Gotham City is clearly far off in the background, the bombs are pointing upward away from the detonation tip on top, and if that gorilla was at all conscious he could most certainly break free so what’s the harm in laying him on his back…or simply removing the belt? To me it’s no surprise the boy wonder died…idiot.

3. Spider Man Comprimises Identity and Aunt May Is A Freak.

It wouldn’t even take a dense villain to figure out the web slingers identity considering she is his ONLY living relative! I feel like even Aunt May should figure this one out…then again maybe she doesn’t care. Life was probably pretty lonely after Ben’s death…and the Doc has something he didn’t…8 hands. Aunt May might be a lady in the streets but I think we all know her bedroom habits after this cover.

2. Can You Really Be That Mad Clark?

Did you think the word “positively” would keep her out Superman? Lois Lane has, is and always will be a trifling harlot and you should expect nothing less! Not that it’s her fault at all…why do you even have this room?! Do you really need to carve her name into a bust that apparently no one else was meant to see?! WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ART CLASSES?! HOW DO YOU EVEN HAVE TIME FOR THAT?! My heads about to explode from the questions that arise from this litany of bad decisions…let’s move on shall we?

1. “I’M THE INCREDIBLE HULK BITCH!”

Finally something I can get behind! Minus “white-bread” in the corner being a typical stereotype, I don’t think you could make a much more legit comic book cover. If only this were a true event…Charlie Murphy wouldn’t have said s*** when he kicked his brothers couch!

 

November 15, 2011

DC Nation on Cartoon Network

During Friday’s premiere of Green Lantern: The Animated Series, the Cartoon Network showed a cool teaser trailer showing off their upcoming “DC Nation” programming block. The shows will include Green Lantern, Young Justice, and the upcoming Beware the Batman, and are scheduled to debut in 2012. The will also be short videos and animation, including an Aardman Animations-produced Batman claymation, “Gotham City Impostors,” “Blue Beetle,” chibi-style “Teen Titans” and “Lego Batman.”

 

 

[via GeekTyrant]

November 9, 2011

Producers Guild of America Loves Stan Lee

The Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced today that internationally acclaimed comic book legend Stan Lee will receive the Producers Guild’s 2012 Vanguard Award. The award will be presented to Lee at the 23rd Annual Producers Guild Awards ceremony on Saturday, January 21st at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.

The Producers Guild’s Vanguard Award recognizes achievements in new media and technology. Previous recipients of the award include George Lucas, YouTube founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Will Wright, and the 2011 recipients Michael V. Lewis and Joshua Greer of RealD.

 

Producers Guild Awards co-chairs Paula Wagner and Michael Manheim said:
“Stan Lee’s creative vision and imagination has produced some of the most beloved and visually stunning characters and adventures in history. He not only has created content that will forever be in our culture but continues to make strides in the digital and new media realms, keeping the comic book industry fresh and exciting. Stan’s accomplishments truly encompass the spirit of the Vanguard Award and we are proud to honor him.”
 Stan responds to this honor:
“I am extremely appreciative that the Producers Guild has chosen me for this distinguished award. I am eager to continue to expand comic book storytelling into the digital space and am honored to be awarded alongside such amazing visionaries.”

[via SuperHeroHype]