MJ Revisited

There's still a lot more off-panel fun to have with everyone's favorite cheesecake statue:

I know, I know...

But Hey! I live in Idaho.. count your blessings I didn't do a Senator Craig joke!

(Mental note....)

(...and, lazy caption placement, I know. Anxious to get out the door and start my Friday. Sorry.)

Happy weekend, everyone!


Sorry.. Something came up. No time for creative posts.

So, to quickly keep your minds in the gutter...

Man, the Google searches for WW are a goldmine...

Hopefully more tomorrow.

Ah HA!

I only bought 3 comics this week, the best one at face value looking like Ex Machina. So, no Most Wanted this week. I'm sure that my writeup would only read something like, "Another great issue, as always. Great title, blabbidy blabbidy..." anyway. Jeez, that Vaughan guy's annoying like that.

So instead, let's ponder a question of serious import:

"Tell me Dinah ... just between us girls, what's the REAL reason you're marrying that known cad, scoundrel, and scallywag Oliver Queen?"

I knew it!

(Yes, that's photoshopped. Barely. Dialog was deleted, but not added to. Sometimes it's too easy.)

Happy Birthday, Mr. Kirby.

Thank you, sir for ... well, everything!

Bonus Kirby Goodness!

Jack Kirby. Mr. T. My head explodes.

Quite Contrary

Boy, that was a long and busy weekend! I finally decided to finish all of those household errands that were put off for far too long. I spent a lot of time Spring (Summer?) cleaning, sorting through videos, doing yard work, and a lot of my little pet side projects are slightly closer to completion. Even went on a particularly long dog walk. I kept myself too busy to even find the time to read my weekly stack. Well, all of them anyway.

But, it's Monday! So back to the grind!

And by "grind," I mean "tastelessly juvenile crappy photoshop jokes!"

When we last left our dear innocent Mary Marvel she was given all of Black Adam's power and all of the corruption that comes with it. Since she doesn't was to start ripping people in half willy-nilly, she seeks guidance from Zatanna. Why? Who knows.. just go with it. Z ports her back to her li'l magic bedroom and warns Mary not to touch anything. But soon curiosity gets the better of her, and our dear Mary is caught rooting through Zatanna's bedside table...

Well, someone's gotta make Countdown worth reading. May as well be me.

Most Wanted

Well, it's been quite the busy week! Mandatory overtime at work and all... So, sorry for missing Wednesday's (semi) weekly feature. Eh, you get what you pay for.

In addition to work, I'm currently doing a lot of early planning with what will hopefully be a new and highly acclaimed feature here at The Want List. It's still in the early planning and construction stages (and I do mean 'Construction'), but details will be coming. On either success or failure. Could go either way at this point.

Anyway, this was a pretty good week for comics. And it was pretty hard to choose which one to open first - epically with a new Spirit, Astonishing, and Starlord. And that Walt Simonson Superman #666 is real tempting...

But, in the end, I went with the second issue of a 3-parter where the 1st issue was good enough to really hook me in. It doesn't hurt that it's illustrated by an artistic genius and scripted by the god of all comics.

Batman #668
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: J.H. Williams III

This one has all the makings of a three issue trade masterpiece. And, I admit that after several issues of him on Batman I'm still waiting for Grant to yank me into Awesometown like I know he can. This may be it. Judging by the first two, at least.

The Setup: It's a Most Dangerous Game in a haunted house set against DC history throw-away stories. And that's a perfect premise for Mr. Morrison. And, come to think of it, perfect for Mr. Williams III, who sells it brilliantly.

Issue one set up the yearly (?) gathering of odd-ball heroes by their benefactor as premiered by some very old DC comic story where they all were jealous of the Batman's fame and in stuck in his shadow. Typically, for years past The Batman doesn't even deign the C-Listers with his presence. This time, for his own reasons, Batman shows up. Reasons unknown to the reader. As of yet.

The you-know-it's-coming trap is sprung, a hero dies, and Batman (with Robin) is out to solve it. Unless the villain and the house get to them all first.

There are several things about this issue/series that will stick out brilliantly. First - The art. I can't stress enough how good Williams works with Morrison. Better than Quitely. There. I've said it. The panel placement, the dreaminess, the whole creepy feel he brings to the book is fantastic and perfectly in sync with the story. I honestly believe that if writers can choose their artists (as I'm sure Morrison can - for the most part), that Morrison is the best judge of picking an art style to further his script that there ever was. Think about it. And ignore those blasted Marvel X-Men editorial decisions.

Then, there's the detective work. I'm a huge fan of Batman as a detective first and foremost, and I believe that's why the animated version of him works so well. And why I loved Batman Begins. He's best with the preparation first, the head kicking later. In this issue, Batman - and Robin both, which was a joy to see - go about the business of dismantling this game from the background. And it's clever, the way they do it. It's real detective work and it works. It's not Murder World stuff - it's good deductive skills.

The extra fun in this issue was all of the C-List characters. You end up liking them. Even the gruff, ugly ones. Morrison has that knack for likable forgotten relativity. Bonus attention to the Knight and Squire, which Morrison has a well-deserved boner for, even if the public at large sees nothing of them outside of his scripts.

The extra-extra fun is the artwork. Or did I mention that? God, Williams is good!

Get these three issues in trade, if you're not reading it already. Recommended.

Most Wanted Panel:

They're Everywhere!

Wow! Bendis wasn't kidding about how those pesky Skrulls are going to change everything in the Marvel Universe! And apparently, in universes beyond! Check out Ultimate Spider-Man # 112:


Tee hee!

(Actually, that's a very good USM. Immonen does not disappoint.)
(Clicky for bigs on most of them. But I biggied them after I edited them. So, biggie is blurry. Sorry.)

Under the Radar

This weekend I finally finished going through the absurdly huge stack of comics I took with me camping last week. Yes, along with the gear, food, supplies, and the myriad of other things one usually takes to provide for a week's worth of leisure time in the great outdoors, I brought a large box that contained around 100 comics. Geek, thy name is Soup!

"What's in the box, Dave? More food? Beer?"
"Nope! Comics!"
"You're kidding. Tell us you're kidding...?"

Anyway, out of the entire stack there was one in particular that unexpectedly struck me in just the right way. It's one I never would've picked up on my own, had I not read a few favorable reviews from people with whom I trust and share similar tastes. In fact, it's part of a big event cross-over series and I tend to stay far, far away from those in general. In fact fact, I really don't know why I picked it up; on the surface it's so far out of the realm of what I would typically enjoy.

But, I really really liked it. And I'm betting you will to. Even if you didn't notice it at first. And you probably didn't, so I thought I'd bring it to light.

Annihilation: Conquest - Starlord #1
Writer: Keith Giffin
Penciler: Timothy Green II
Inker: Victor Olazaba

Surprise, surprise. Did this one ever come out of nowhere. Bit of the *Spoilers* follow.

The only thing I knew of Starlord before picking up this issue was a vague recollection of him in one of Marvel's 1970s Sci-Fi magazines. Might've been Epic, or Presents. I dunno. And that's all I remember. The only thing I know about the whole Annihilation thing was that it affected no other Marvel books I'm currently reading and therefore I could totally ignore it. I half expected to be completely lost from the get-go when I opened it up, but handily, there's one of those 1st page synopsis recaps that seem to be everywhere these days. And it easily catches you up to speed with all pertinent information for the issue.

In a nutshell: The forces of the Negative Zone started a war with our universe. They were repelled, but the our universe was devastated, which made it easy for a Borg-like race called the Phalanx to conquer the Kree homeworld. Now they're systemically spreading through everything they can while pockets of Kree resistance fight fringe battles with them. Peter Quill, Starlord, was prominent in both battles and is currently in the Kree underground recovering from injuries suffered defending the Kree homeworld.

From there, it's the story of a reluctant hero being pressed into battle once again. There's some nice flashback bits to his former glory days (I'm assuming these are actual old stories - they certainly read that way), some pretty intense scenes of the Kree surgeons repairing him while he's dreaming these memories, and his eventual (but very reluctant) acceptance to his leadership fate.

But, what really gets you with this setup issue and kicks it up several astronomical notches is the team-building sequence. Since Quill is basically on a suicide mission, they assemble several inmates for him to use in his very own intergalactic Suicide Squad. And, brother... the team?!? It's a doozy!

Kree jail cell "volunteer" #1:

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that's Bug from the Micronaunts. Tell me that doesn't give you a tingle. Just a... *TIK* ...little bit. Man, I loved that character back in the day.

Next up:

Hmmm.. interesting... Could go places with that.

On to #3!:

Ok... that's a Holy Crap! moment there... I always wondered what happened to her! Part of me hopes she still wears that goofy suit. Though it would clash horribly with her new green skin. Then again, what wouldn't clash with that old yellow and green monstrosity!

Our fourth:

Captain Universe?!? Now we're officially into the strangeness territory. This is one crazy space team! The surreality factor, she is high. Starting to look very interesting....

But, let's throw this whole thing over the top. Then whack it hard with a hammer:

OK, ok.. Wowsers! You've sold me. That's.. that's... wow. Just awesome. Only good things could come from this lineup's potential. And, it's Keith freckin' Giffen so it's not only a great premise but it has a great writer behind it.

Ah, but there's one more member of our little team-up:

Ok, that's cool too. Not exactly what I'd pick for a stealth mission, but ... interesting. Plus, it plays for great moments like this:

This is just issue one, but I'm on board for the rest. Giffen is solid as usual, and writing for Quill, Bug, and RR leaves him room for lots of snarky humorous dialog. And he takes advantage. It reads very well - it's a really thick issue, information and set-up wise. Plus, the art is spot on.. it kind of reminds me of a slightly skitchy Moebius with really popping colors. It has a real outer-worldly feel that works very well with the exotic locations required. Very well done.

I usually wait for the trades for the limited series I know will be released that way, but this one's a 4-issue and the price savings will be minimal. I'll get these as they come out, and if the first issue is any indication, I wouldn't want to wait anyway. Recommended.

By the way... the description from the owner of my LCS that eventually sold this issue to me?

"It's Nextwave mixed with Suicide Squad. In space."

Sold! How could you refuse that! Seriously.


Friday night lazy photoshop fun!

If you're like me, you often get caught wondering things like... "What would it happen if you substituted the original sound effects from a particularly sound effects heavy Calvin and Hobbes strip with some Simonsonian comic book ones?"

Well, wonder no more!

(Today's Simonsonian sound effects brought to you care of World War Hulk #3)

Actually... that almost works. It's odd, at the very least...

(Happy weekend, everyone!)

Booster Gold, Revisited

Y'know? After finishing a second reading, the new Booster Gold 1st issue kinda grew on me. I think Kevin nailed down my initial problem with it when he described it as an 80s throwback. Or homage. I can't decide. But it sure did have some typical-for-the-time formulaic writing and set-up at the beginning. As fun as they tried to make it. But it still left a bad taste in my mouth.

I've now noticed that it's only the first half of the comic that reads like those old 80s Booster Golds. Still, it kinda bugged me, I admit, and I actually put it down before that point thinking it's traveling too far downhill for it to make it worthwhile to finish. I'm glad I picked it up again. It totally redeems itself in the last half.

(And that Superboy "Punching history. Please." joke was teh awesome! That one was, too.)

So, I kinda like it now. And the premise is a good one to carry a series. I'll probably pick up the next one. It still makes me feel like I'm a 18 year-old comics reader again, though...

Enough with the breakdown! Time for some crappy photoshop!

Click for Boost

And, was I the only one who thought, after hearing this sound effect:

That this would follow?

Perhaps I've just been reading too much Ambush Bug recently. Like that's even possible.


Strange, but this was my lightest comic week in recent memory with the purchase of only three books. Three. And I stretched to get that many.

I was going to write up a Most Wanted, but with only three books, it hardly seems worth it. And, after reading it, the one I would've initially picked really wasn't as good as I was hoping it would be. Diggle's Hellblazer was much better. Oh, and Immonen is pitch perfect on Ultimate Spider-Man. But, I knew he would be.

The third one I picked up? You can probably guess, as I'm sure a lot of you were looking forward to getting it yourself. Like I said, I found it a bit disappointing, sorry to say. But, I had high expectations. Perhaps it'll get better in the future.

So instead of a real post, here's another soon-to-be famous drawing of myself from that amazing artist known to the world at large simply as "My Li'l Sis."

(I think she was 8 at the time...)

Acquired: DC Comics Presents #81

Price: $3.00
Where: Arch Enemy Comics, Boise, ID

I was recently re-reading my already-owned copy of this particular issue when I noticed a small tear on the back page that made me sad. It meant that I had to get another copy, and so I immediately put it on the list. Normally, I wouldn't bother picking up a spare copy of a practically valueless mid-80s comic that I already own in decent shape aside from a small tear. But with this one, I felt I needed to keep a extra, more flawless copy handy. It's special to me. Two copies would be nice.


Writer and Artist: Keith Giffin

Because it's the single greatest Ambush Bug story ever told!

And by the end of this, you'll agree!

The hi jinx's start with our intrepid protagonist enjoying a quiet round of golf. Well, considering that it's Ambush Bug we're talking about, "quiet" means plowing through the course and other players like a whirling dervish while making loud "Whoop! Whoop!" noises. After he slices his ball into the drink, he grabs his snorkel, dives in, and finally chips it into the hole!

He pops his way to the jewelery store where he has the "rare glowing gem" set into a necklace as a present for someone he recently had a falling out with.

(Superfriends Narrator Voice)

Meanwhile, at the Fortress of Solitude...

Superman is honing his punching skills with a game of Bombardment Ball. (Hey, it's in bold in the comic!) Being Superman, he can't be expected to do it the easy way though, and is just about to reach a blindfolded new high score when who-know-who pops in:

And that, dear readers, is a set-up and premise that would make me shoot bourbon spiked coffee out of my nose and onto Mr. Giffin were I in the pitch room.

After Superman (Ambush Bug) explains the situation to Ambush Bug (Superman), he (Ambush Bug .. I mean Superman .. I mean.. oh, nevermind!) decides that the world still needs a Superman and blasts off to continue the never-ending quest of defending truth, justice, and cream pies, despite his total ineptitude with the powers and leaving Superman (forget it!) stuck in the Fortress.

(Superfriends Narrator Voice)

Back in Metropolis, forty-four hours later...

...Kobra is after the secret to Ambush Bug's teleportation suit and tracks him to his detective agency:

Koko makes a quick exit leaving AB to wrap up a very lucrative Frank Miller deal. After a bit of thought, he figures out that the mysterious, bald stranger who just beat a hasty retreat had to be none other than Lex Luthor! And the chase is on!

(Superfriends Nar... aww.. you get it already!)

Meanwhile, back at the Fortress of Solitude...


Notice, if you will, Kobra's signal device: "Why.. Why.. Why..." That's funny, right there.


Ambush Bug eventually smacks into Kobra and proceeds to set fire to the entire waterfront when he figures out how his heat vision works. Kobra is seriously scared after concluding that Superman has gone crazy and breaks for his ark:

Meanwhile... Back at the Fortress of Solitude... Superman, stuck in Ambush Bug's body, tries to learn the secret to the suit's teleportation...

Soon after, the 48 hour Red Kryptonite effect wears off and our players switch bodies back again to the way things were. Superman (the real one now) lets Kobra get away in order to deal with the waterfront fire. Ambush Bug pops back to help just as Supes is creating a tidal wave to deal with the fire.

What follows this panel is probably the best in-joke splash page ever to see print. Not to be spoiled here. Go buy it yourself.

The story ends with a funny little wrap-up that leaves Superman in hysterics and Kobra plotting a course outside of the DC universe. Seriously.

I've read this issue at least 50 times since I bought it way back when it originally came out. Now I have two copies and can read and re-read my original torn one until I finally read it to tatters. I may do that.. it makes me laugh every time. I credit this particular comic with starting my love for wacky silver-age funny book craziness, which to this day still hangs on me like a Red Kryptonite necklace. Recommended.


Successfully Rescu.... err.. Back from Camping!

Yay! I'm back! And boy, was that exhausting! Me and the doggies had a great time (although Deliah's really hurting now ... more on that in a bit), saw some lovely sights, played many games (The new WoW card game is actually quite fun), ate quite well, and drank to staggering excess. Staggering being literal.

We actually got the exact same campsite we had last year - the best one in the area, in my opinion: isolated, back to the lake, lots of room, great views. The only bad thing about it is that at the particular part of the lake we're set against, the first 50 feet of water is really knee-deep swamp mud. Dogs don't know this. Or care. So, for much of the time I had two really smelly, mud caked dogs running around. Pungent doesn't begin to describe it. After two nights of sleeping close quarter with them (yes, they sleep inside the tent. They've earned it.), I took them further down the lake to a more sandy spot and washed them both down with my Old Spice body wash. It only took two hours for one of them to get muddy again.

I had a lot of fun. Tiring, tiring fun. But, any year when I can get home without the National Guard's help is a success. I won't bore you all by writing about the entire trip, but here's a little anecdote about the most memorable afternoon...

On Saturday, someone suggested that we take a hike up to Ranger's Lookout Point #424, the highest in the state. Which makes it one of the highest in the country. "Bring the dogs.. It'll be fun!"

Spider Sense ... tingling...

So, we loaded up the dogs and headed on out to the Point. Here's Sarah enjoying the view:

You can't drive all the way up to the Point, or even close, really. The only access road leading directly to it is ATV only. You have to hike up there if you really want to see the view. After we parked, I couldn't immediately see the tower. But, someone was happy to point it out to me:

Christ on a crutch!

I gotta tell ya, that was a long-ass hard climb. I wish I'd brought my GPS, really I do, but I'd guesstimate that it was about a 2 1/2 mile trek at a mostly 30 degree slope up. Oh, and at 8500+ feet. I was gasping for air the entire way up. We stopped frequently. The dogs stopped even more often and had to be coaxed upwards and onwards. About halfway up I realized that I forgot to bring them any water. So, I was determined to get to that station if for no other reason to get the dogs some water. If they had water. And boy, do the dogs look tired. Not to mention how often you need to rest and get your breath back... Nevermind! Keep moving! One foot in front of the other! Hup! Hup!

This trek of course reminded me of the time I was in this area two years ago and the exhaustive "hike" I did then. This time, I had a trail to follow and I was able to keep moving after only a few minutes rest; that other time ... I collapsed. Often. And this time I had four other guys to spur me along. Or rather, to not fail in front of. Guys are funny that way.

After a few hours, we reached the top! 9450 feet above sea level! And the lookout tower! Although, it looked much more majestic from 1000 feet lower.

The two rangers currently posted there gave us a little history lesson, told us about the area in general, and about what they do. Their job keeps them stuck there for weeks on end; they live on only what they carry in, and they carry out everything after their "shift" is over. That made asking them for dog water a little uncomfortable for me. But, lo and behold! One of them went to storage and came out with an entire 2 liter bottle with "Dog Water" sharpied on it. Apparently, there are a lot of tired dogs with forgetful owners who visit.

As uncomfortable as their job may seem, the views outside of their office somehow makes it worth it:

After resting for about an hour, we finished the trek down, which was much easier than the trek up for some unknown reason. When we got back to camp, the dogs drank until they puked, then crashed and only woke up for dinner.

As I'm writing this now, 2 days later, the effects of that day have hit me hard; I'm completely sore from the waist down. It really hurts to go down stairs, and I'll certainly hit the sheets early tonight.

But that's not even remotely close to the soreness problems the dogs are having.

Watching them get up and walk - only when they have to, mind you - evokes a strange mixture of pity and comedy. If you've ever seen a really old dog slowly and painfully stagger around the room, then you've got an idea. It's like a drunk with a purpose. Just this morning, Deliah tried her damnedest to get up and go outside only to decide at the edge of the door frame that it's too much work, she could probably hold it after all, and she'd rather stagger back to sleep again. Like I said: Tragic, but funny. Give them a day or so and they'll both be fine.

So, great trip all things considered. But even greater to be back home again.

Three Dog Night: Revisited

As some of you may know, I was once lost in the Idaho wilderness for three days. And by "lost" I don't mean "took a wrong turn, forgot where my campsite was." No, I mean "The National Guard used search helicopters and corpse-sniffing dogs to pull my skinny ass out from the top of a mountain." I was exhausted, starving, frozen, hallucinating, and all around very bad off. To this day I'm convinced that if I didn't have those three dogs with me (two are mine, one just followed us. Bet he regretted that.), I'd be dead. They all got steak. It's a great story that I keep threatening to write up. Maybe I will, one day. There's lots to tell, and it's a bit daunting, to be honest.

(A little bit of trivia for ya: That term "Three Dog Night" actually means that it's so cold outside you need three dogs around you to keep warm at night. I've lived that. Yes, I'm not too proud to admit that I've spooned with dogs in the woods. Hi, Googlers!)

I was a local news story for a few days - I think I even had a news countdown ... you know, "Lost Camper Watch - Day 2!" When I arrived at the hospital, there were news crews wanting interviews and everything.

Yep. My 15 minutes of fame. Sometimes they're like that, I suppose.

Anyway, that trip was actually a yearly camping get-together of friends where we basically sit around a campfire and do guy things. While drunk. And, because we're all geeky guys, comics, laptops, and collectible card games are involved. I bring my mandolin, just to be different. Of course, the rules for the trip all changed the year I got lost. Now, party-goers to these annual outings have the bonus feature of making fun of me.

(None of these people are me.)

I get to wear florescent orange road-construction T-shirts, GPS around my neck, am constantly barraged with "Hey, you think you can make it to the cooler without getting lost?" and never allowed to stray from camp. All in all, I get the business. And that makes me pretty much obligated to attend every year from now on.

I really don't mind; these guys rescued me. Plus I have fun with it - hiding and yelling for help and whatnot.

So, me and the dogs are just about to head off for the second re-union of my wilderness excursion. And I already got a taste of it when my boss called me into his office to ask if I could code a script to simplify some internal page testing:

"I understand you're off for that camping trip today?"

"Yep. I'll be taking a half day."

"So ... if you aren't here on Monday ... would you prefer the local Park Service or do you have some new drinking buddies in The National Guard?"

He's a riot.

(By the way - yes, I was lost in August. Yes, I was freezing. It gets damn cold at night when you're nearly 8,000 feet up and only wearing a T-shirt and shorts. I've honestly never been so cold at night.)

So, there'll be no new posts until Monday. Well, maybe a quickie on Sunday night if I've recovered. Assuming that I find my way out of the woods, that is. Har, har. It begins.

Oh! And just to have something fun to post - Here's one of my very first Photoshop mock-ups I made from an old comic ad shortly after my rescue. I sent this around to all the fellas who helped me out.

A few things to note:

1 - Being very new at Photoshop at the time and looking at it again now, this is a really crappy job. Even by my typically crappy Photoshop standards.

2 - I'm yelling "I see bugs!" in the last bit. That's an actual quote.

3 - "Pipp" was my Everquest character's name. I met most of the guys through the game and honestly, I think that's the only name some of them know me by to this day.

Told you we were geeks...

In case you're curious, Here's where I was lost .. and where I'm off to in an hour or so. The video was actually filmed from the very campsite that I tried so hard to find my way back to. It gives you a pretty good idea of the terrain I kept collapsing in. I tried to find an old article specifically about my particular adventure... but the Google, it does nothing.

Enjoy your weekend ... and wish me luck!

Bonus Addition!

Forgot I had this ... Here's drawing my li'l sis (age 10 at the time) made of my exploits after hearing the story:

Click for Biggie. I think I'm yelling "Help!"

This is officially the cutest thing you'll see today. She even got the doggies right.

How World War Hulk *Should* End: Part III!

These are hella fun!

Part 1
Part 2
How WWH will most likely end

Click either panel to Hulkify

Now it's time for a Popsicle! And a beer.

Beersicle? Hmmm....