Wednesday, November 25, 2015
What does Eminem and your average Integr8d Fix have in common? Comic books, man. As a boy, I had two Power Records, a brand that released dramatized versions of comic books on 45 rpm, complete with a book sampling most of the comic's artwork. The first was a stand-alone Superman adventure I think was written by Elliot S! Maggin, where aliens fell to earth in the form of silver-hued bullets. The second one, I only had the record, but it was intense: Captain America and the Falcon confront the mystery of The Phoenix, a man whose thirst for revenge is born from Cap's battles in the world war before his frozen suspension. I didn't get hooked on Eminem's 2013 release "Rap God" until I was putting together a hip hop playlist this September. Not unlike when Anj and I discovered Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre back in college, I was wrestling with an angry mood over someone who cheated me of recording time after I gave up eleven Sundays of my life to give...his initials are B.S., no kidding....BS a bassist for his band's practices, among other favors, at zero recompense. DMX's "X Gonna Give It To You" plays as the background for that hilarious Rick and Morty montage where Rick and his grand daughter Summer train together, lifting weights, bulking up, so they can pummel the Devil and random bullies afterwards. I decided to get in touch with my aggression, so I put on that, "Go To Sleep," then found my way to "Rap God," which soon hooked Angela and I with, as always, those deft, juvenile, utterly slik Eminem cadences. I even looked up "Supersonic" by JJ Fad, a song whose hook I knew from school days. Angela said the case for swiping "Hey Lookin' Boy" wasn't worth nearly what the Chicago band that performs "Hey" is suing for, $25 million, I think, but I pointed out that was a way to get a few thousand listens out of the TMZ crowd, too. But who was that voice? It sounds like some kind of gangster movie serial from your grand parents' day. I couldn't get away from how familiar it seemed. I haven't listened to that Power Record in even more years than it's been since I watched cheerleaders dance to "Super Sonic," while we played the beat from the percussion section. (You don't care about the label "band geek" when you get to put showing off and music together in one go. Besides, how else was I really going to get out of the house back then?). But there he is, Captain America. "Look! I was going to go easy on you..." That's Cap talking to his partner, the Falcon, as he's throwing him off the trail with a ruse, so he can take on The Phoenix vendetta alone. Not very partnerly of you, Winghead. "Something's about to happen, I can feel it!" is Cap thinking to himself. "And if he's as bananas as you say, I'm not taking any chances." That's Captain America referring to Baron Zemo II, referred to in this story as "the Phoenix." Here, since Rick and Morty started this whole thing, maybe you'll get a chuckle out of this pairing of Rick and Eminem. Speaking of the Falcon, Anthony Mackie plays him in the Marvel Cinemaverse, but Mackie also plays Papa Doc in 8 Mile! Eminem's interest in comic books is fairly well-known. I wonder what's the chances he's going to find Integr8d Soul Comics Number One, where one page features a Rap Bot with "a laptop in" his "back pocket"? You can pretty much bet Em had the Cap 45 rpm when he was a kid, because he samples it again for "Groundhog Day." (His lyric "Captain America on It could've been Dr. Dre's idea, too, or maybe even a fresh sampling of old vinyl had simply turned this up and caught their ear. Possibly after it turned up in the huge list of samples used by Jurassic 5 a couple years before? If you want a clinic on sampling, check out the LP, Jurassic Five, classic hip hop group (whose new track "Golden" led the way to the J6's invasion of my hip hop playlist), especially track "Lesson Six (The Lecture)." The song samples 31 completely different recordings...and somewhere in there is the Power Records version of"And A Phoenix Shall Rise!" presented in Captain America and the Falcon #168.
Saturday, November 14, 2015
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Braniac-5I am busted: I know he's a formidable exemplum of genius in science fiction DC, but I've read a fraction as much about him as the other folks I mention, save for Inspe---you'll see. But what I know about Legion of Super Heroes means it's always at least in the 30th century. Rick doesn't do time travel. There's your loop hole. So, that's it for that. On the other hand, in the pilot, Rick DID go to "a future dimension" to get Morty some broken leg serum, though maybe he avoids that so he doesn't have too much fun and lose his portal gun charge. Parallel dimensions, hanging out with the Flash...there's ways, but, you know, good thing Rick and Morty isn't a story engine concerned with making a plan match up like so, because time travel, once it is out of the bag, is either a broken mess or a considerable part of your storyline as you keep your details all moving along in this strange order. He's more likely to be eluding Green Lantern than working with him. Fighting evil alongside the Flash and his friends? Yeah, give me a break. He doesn't have enough black in his union suit, which is much more in the Albert Einstein “I could care” or Bruce Banner “I am going to rip it to shreds probably anyway” mode, lab coat short hand and brown pants handy for handling accidental loads when you meet things you didn't expect and they seem hungry. Let's face it, if he'd showed up in a Lee/Kirby joint around 1967, Rick Sanchez would've turned out to be the super-villain! To give the story heart, Morty would win the FF over, probably with help from Sue Richards, and I could even see the duo and the quartet parting on good terms, albeit mixed reactions.
Hey, what if Rick found the guy who disappears to die nobly in the Negative Zone in “This Man, This Monster!” from FF#51? Yes, we geekazoids love our shorthand. And no, let's leave at least somebody at Marvel Comics dead.
Finally, let's see Rick and Morty meet Inspector Gadget!I remember when that was honestly the very best super hero cartoon on TV. How about it, Uncle Gadget? “I'm always on duty!” Penny and Summer could carry an episode thread ably between them. Imagine: lines by female characters that aren't about the male characters. I mean, really unusual, creative stuff!
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Saturday, November 7, 2015
The battle with Terrax and the showdown with Galactus seem likely to captivate me. I remember sharing "Terror In A Tiny Town" with Angela on our honeymoon, my second exposure to the early Byrne FF run. I saw some Secret Wars II-era issues but didn't get to collect FF until the brief Roger Stern tenure with John Buscema, so here are probably the most obvious treasures. It seems like I'll enjoy it on one level of wonder, and then come back to the debate and the way it's presented and some would say, stacked, to reward Reed's most unusual decision. 3. Thor #339-350 I have #337 I think and definitely #338, with the premiere of Beta Ray Thor. In this time of replacement Iron Man, Thor's replacement by this cyborg alien is only temporary; the Korbinite Guardian is a hero in his own right, and his need for a civilian identity leads Odin to erase the charm that creates Donald Blake for Thor's persona and puts it on Stormbringer, a hammer made just for Beta Ray Thor. From there, it gets very Norse epic! The Casket of Winters in #345-350 is my primary interest. It's one of, maybe the very first, instance of a story's effects carrying over into other titles, which were also affected by Malekith's weather-bending. Those references do not dictate the entire plot of those other stories, but in a cool way, you can tell the events occur side-by-side in the Marvel Universe. Simonson draws with such energy! shades of Benedict Cumberbatch, it's... 4. Doctor Strange Ah, but these! These are the last of Marvel's original vampire stories, featuring the death of Dracula after a decade of haunting the Marvel Universe. He'd been used in Defenders and X-Men as a villain, but I think Jim Shooter was ready to get rid of the Horror Hangover of the Seventies when he cancelled Ghost Rider and had Stern kill off the Lord of Vampires, and indeed, ALL vampires! I may have overlooked the Hercules Limited Series because it's set in the future, but that sounds fun, too. 5. Alpha Flight #6-8 #12 was where I came aboard, when I read anything at all with Alpha Flight. One dollar WELL spent! My first issue of Alpha Flight! So very nicely drawn. I LOVED this. I enjoyed the choice of colors among all the Flight characters together, very complementary as a whole. Even with no history with Mac, I was drawn into his dilemma at the climax. How awesome/ awful for Heather to walk in right then. Upon reading his first year, I applauded Byrne's ability to make Alpha feel like real people. I am just missing the spotlight on my favorite Alphan, Aurora! I loved reading about her story with brother Northstar in the Official Handbook, but I've never had the privilege of reading those or the Snowbird tale. I like how Byrne also took an unconventional approach, using a rotation of solo stories or pairing off heroes for much of the first year, bringing Alpha Flight together for an epic showdown with Jaxon, Delphine Courtney, and Omega Flight. They really don't spend much time together assembled as a team, so different especially than the claustrophobic X-Men in their mansion together; you might argue, their special training aside, their limitations working together might have led to the tragic end of their first year of printed adventures. John Byrne didn't go into this with a lot of ideas, but this title was one of Marvel's most vibrant! David kept getting his hands on Byrne's titles on trips to town, but I still have a few left unread. I have a very good year of Alpha Flight left to collect, basically.
6. Daredevil #192 Alan Brennert seems to have written only a few comics scripts before going into television, but his Batman stories are often collected in Best of Batman editions. What will reporter Ben Urich do when he's offered a bribe? By this point, he's become the best of Miller's supporting characters especially featured in this era's Daredevil. Ben had no powers, lousy pay, and a dangerous job digging up dirt that revealed to him not only the activities of Wilson Fisk, Kingpin of Crime, but also Matt Murdock's double identity as the secretly-sightless adventurer Daredevil, whos adventures had finally become as dark as Matt's blindness, with a radar-sense of the menace and betrayal on every side.Fnord called this issue "a hidden gem," an unusual honor given to describe a fill-in issue. A great stand-alone plot was supposedly the key to making a first sale at Marvel. My hope is this will rock my socks off in a way similar to another fill-in, Daredevil #219, "Badlands," by his famous scribe Frank Miller, with art by John Buscema.