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Bizarro Back Issues: Green Arrow Meets Xeen Arrow, His 100 Foot-Tall Alien Counterpart (1958)

Adventure Comics #253, DC Comics

I haven't really watched any of DC's current television offerings, but to be honest, I'm actually pretty impressed with what I've heard. It seems like they're really going for it in a way that Smallville only ever did in its final season, going right to these big, weird superhero stories right out of the gate. I mean, if you'd asked me a year ago, I would've told you that there was no way we were ever going to see a telepathic talking super-gorilla show up on the CW's version of The Flash, and yet, here we are, living in a world where Gorilla Grodd is starring on a live-action TV show.

With that in mind, I'm guessing that we're only one, maybe two seasons away from TV's Green Arrow meeting up with Xeen Arrow, the hundred foot-tall alien Green Arrow from another dimension, a character who may in fact be Jack Kirby's strangest co-creation.

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Bizarro Back Issues: Astro Boy Against Lord Satan! (1962)

Astro Boy: Robot Land, Osamu Tezuka

If you've read one Astro Boy story, then the odds are pretty good that it's 1964's "The Greatest Robot On Earth." It's considered to be a high point not only for Astro Boy, but for Osamu Tezuka's career, a massive, sweeping story full of Earth-shattering fight scenes and a villain who, despite his horrible acts, isn't entirely evil. It was even revived as the basis for 2003's Pluto, one of the greatest comics of all time, where Naoki Urasawa retold the story as a murder mystery from an entirely new perspective. It is, by any measure, one of the all time greats.

But let's be real here: Why would anyone ever talk about that comic when the very next volume has a story where Astro Boy fights Lord Satan in an amusement park full of robot deathtraps?

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Bizarro Back Issues: The Most Terrifying Superhero Story Ever! (1942)


I've written before about how a lot of the fun of reading Golden Age comics is in seeing people who have no idea what they're doing scrambling to figure out the limits of a whole new medium, but if you ever need definitive proof that it was the Wild West back then, just flip through the pages of 1942's Scoop Comics.

It's the home of an early superheroine called Mother Hubbard, and if you haven't heard of her, don't worry. I hadn't either, until I read about her in Jon Morris's League of Regrettable Superheroes, and I think he said it best: "Back then, everyone in a cape and cowl fought a few Nazi masterminds. Only Mother Hubbard confronted a race of gnomes who pried the eyes out of children's heads with a crowbar!"

Now that is how you sell a comic book.

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Ask Chris #247: The True Story Of American Independence

Ask Chris #247, Herbie art by Ogden Whitney

Q: For the holiday, what have been the best appearances of the founding fathers in comics? -- @rj_white

A. There is one story of the dawn of American Independence that comes to mind: The time that Herbie Popnecker teamed up with George Washington's sentient teeth and started up the Revolutionary War.

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Bizarro Back Issues: The Power Rangers Get Extreme (1996)

Power Rangers Zeo #1, Extreme Studios

This week, Boom Studios --- which, in the interest of full disclosure, is a company I've done some writing for --- announced that they'd acquired the rights to Power Rangers with plans to launch a new series sometime this year. It's pretty exciting news, but at the same time, the news about a bunch of teenagers with (shockingly positive) attitudes coming to comics always gets me a little bit down, because it reminds me of one of the biggest missed opportunities in the history of the franchise.

See, this isn't the first time that the Power Rangers have made an attempt at conquering the world of superhero comics, and there was a time when they only made it through one issue with a story that was more notable for the books that it advertised and never came out than what happens in the issue itself. The year was 1996, the comic was Power Rangers Zeo, and the man who had the license... was Rob Liefeld.

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Ask Chris #244: The Hal Needham Expanded Universe

Ask Chris #244, Megaforce Movie Poster Art

Q: Which 80s action film should be licensed as an ongoing comic next? --- @kingimpulse

A: When you get right down to it, '80s action movie nostalgia in comics probably hit critical mass back in 2006, when IDW published that Scarface sequel, based on the premise that Tony Montana did not actually die from snorting his body weight in cocaine, taking a shotgun blast directly to the back, and falling twenty feet into a shallow pool filled with irony. That thing was next-level bonkers, but at the same time, the fact that I'm not actually making that up means that there's really no limit on what you can do when you're trying to bring this stuff back for comics.

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Bizarro Back Issues: Wild Dog Makes The World Safe For Pornography (1988)

Wild Dog, DC Comics

If you're not familiar with Max Alan Collins and Terry Beatty's Wild Dog, the simple explanation is that he's DC's version of the Punisher. I don't know if that's exactly what they were inspired by, but it's hard not to look at the two characters and see a pretty huge influence in Wild Dog and how he works, especially when you consider how popular the Punisher was getting in the late '80s.

The thing is, Wild Dog doesn't really feel like he's meant to be an equivalent as much as the product off someone reading comics about a perpetually grumpy vigilante who runs around with a giant skull on his chest and saying, "Well we can do something weirder than that."

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All For the Wookiee: The Star-Warsiest Moments In Last Month’s Star Wars Comics


Welcome back to All For the Wookiee, where we take a look at the recent Star Wars universe offerings from Marvel and pick the most Star Wars-ish moments. From deranged protocol droids to mad alien queens to rogue troopers, we have it all in this last month’s comics.

This installment is jam-packed, with two issues (5 and 6) of the main Star Wars series from writer Jason Aaron and artist John Cassaday, the penultimate issue of Mark Waid and Terry Dodson's Princess Leia miniseries, and issues 5 and 6 of Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca’s Darth Vader. And yes, we will discuss "The Moment" in the newest Star Wars issue and what that means for the new canon.

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Bizarro Back Issues: Usagi Yojimbo Destroys All Monsters (2003)

Usagi Yojimbo: Travels With Jotaro, Stan Sakai

Ever since I wrote about how great Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo is a few weeks ago, it's been the only comic I want to read. As a result, I've been re-reading the entire run, and it occurs to me that even though I wrote at length about how great it is, I might've actually undersold it a little bit. I mean, I talked about the craftsmanship, the accessibility, the commitment to historical accuracy and the effortless way that it's blended with myth and legend, the instantly engaging characters and all that stuff, but when you get right down to it, that's only part of what makes that comic so great.

I mean, I didn't even mention the time that Usagi fought Mothra and summoned the King of All Monsters. That seems like something worth mentioning, right?

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Ask Chris #242: The Worst Place In The World

Ask Chris #242, background art by Dave Johnson

Q: Which city in comics would be the worst to live in? In Gotham there's nutcases with random crimes, but New York and Metropolis attract trouble on a your-city-will-be-killed-at-once scale. -- @rj_white

A: That's the thing about living in a fictional universe, RJ: Generally speaking, it is an absolutely terrible idea. I mean, our world may have its share of pretty awful troubles, but at least you can rest reasonably assured that you won't have to deal with being poisoned into a smiley death by a murderous clown just because you wanted to go check out the museum's new exhibit on original folios of Shakespeare's comedies, or got bonked on the head by a dude in a lime green suit and suspended over a vat of boiling acid because you were really good at crossword puzzles.

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