Here's a weird thing about this career that I've found myself in: A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a few disparaging remarks about one Andrew Bennett, the weepy star of DC's I... Vampire, and the next day I got an email from one of my childhood heroes asking, jokingly, what I thought of the Andrew Bennett story that he'd done in the pages of Brave and the Bold. The writer was Batman: Year Two's own Mike W. Barr, and the issue in question was BATB #195, where he and artist Jim Aparo sent Bennett on a team-up with the Caped Crusader to deal with a sudden wave of vampire crime in Gotham City. To be honest, it's really one of those perfect superhero comics for Halloween. It's fun, it's exciting, and as you may have guessed, it's more than a little weird.
Largely because it takes the World's Greatest Detective to figure out that all this vampire crime might have something to do with Gotham's newest business, Club Dracula.
Ever since I wrote that Ask Chris a few weeks back about how I'd rebuild the Legion of Super-Heoroes, I've been seized with the desire to go back and re-read some of the classic Legion stories from the Silver Age, but when I sat down to do just that, I was really surprised. Not because the stories are weird, mind you -- I knew they were pretty bonkers from the first time I read them, and they certainly haven't gotten any less weird since -- but because they threw the light on one of the most grievous oversights of my writing career. See, as happy as I was with the lineup I came up with for that column, I left out the character who is unquestionably the most powerful member, the actual, official "King of the Legion." I speak, of course, of Bouncing Boy.
This week sees the start of DC Comics' big The Multiversity event series, and if the related books on sale over at ComiXology -- ostensibly to get everyone up to speed -- are anything to go by, then that thing's going to be chock full of weirdos. Seriously, I already knew they were going to be throwing Captain Carrot in there, and for some reason people can't get enough of that one story where Batman becomes a Dracula, but there are some deep cuts in there, like that one Chuck Dixon comic where the Justice League are all cowboys, and this weird thing from the '90s called Kingdom Come, where Superman fights Cable.
And then there's Kamandi.
But should Kamandi start crossing over into the main DC Universe, it won't be the first time. For that, you have to go back to Bob Haney and Jim Aparo's Brave and the Bold #157, for a story where Kamandi was sent back in time, and ended up being brainwashed, made invulnerable, poisoned with snake venom, joining up with the mob and punching Batman in the face. It... It's a weird one.
If you were a child in 1990, then you wanted to be a ninja. I actually suspect that this is true for literally every child of every era who has known what a ninja was, but I can really only speak from my own experience, and that experience had a lot to do with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There were other ninjas of course, but while Snake-Eyes never really did much on TV and Sho Kusugi required a trip to the video store, the TMNT were swinging katanas and nunchuks around everywhere you looked. They were everything my eight year-old self wanted to be, and since growing a shell proved difficult, ninja training was obviously the next step.
Sadly, I never had a copy of 1986's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Authorized Martial Arts Training Manual, or else I probably would've grown up into a life of silent assassination and smoke-bomb escapes, rather than just sitting in my office making jokes about comic books. But with a new theatrical movie and ninja interest returning to an all-time high, it's worth looking back now, to see if we can't find out a few ninja tricks to apply to our day-to-day lives. Spoiler warning: Unless your day-to-day life involves the proper handling of a sai, we will not.
We're only a few weeks away from the debut of a brand-new Sailor Moon Crystal animated series, and folks, I could not be more excited. I love Sailor Moon, ever since I saw the original anime during its run on Cartoon Network when I was a kid, and I've been looking forward to the debut of Crystal from the moment it was announced. In fact, in order to prepare for the debut, I've even gone back and started reading through the manga.
The thing is, while I've read a lot of Sailor Moon, there's one piece of the franchise that I've never been all that familair with: Naoko Takeuchi's Codename: Sailor V, which I only picked up recently. And it is fantastic, if only for the story where Sailor Venus beats the living crap out of some MRA gamer dork at the local arcade.
Last weekend I moved to a new apartment, and since I am in fact the World's Foremost Batmanologist, there was a moment where I genuinely considered buying myself a giant penny and putting it in my new office to mark the occasion. I didn't end up doing it, largely because giant pennies cost an awful lot of money even before you factor in what you'd need to spend to get a robot Tyrannosaurus, a giant Joker card and a glass case with a friend's clothes hanging in it, but what really sealed it was going back and looking at the time that Batman himself moved and noticing that even he didn't bother to bring his giant penny.
Heck, he didn't even bother to bring the last three letters of Alfred's name. And if the Caped Crusader himself is going to pack light for a move to a new place, who am I to say I know better?
If you were watching WrestleMania XXX this weekend, then you saw one of the most shocking moments in the history of the King of Sports when Brock Lesnar defeated the Undertaker, bringing a 23-year winning streak at WrestleMania to an end and leaving so many fans with burning questions. Questions like "is it really a winning streak if it's only in effect one night of the year and other losses don't count" and, far more importantly, "how does a loss at WrestleMania affect the Undertaker's ability to protect us from demons who escape from prison and try to infiltrate the mortal world through the medium of professional wrestling?"
Wait, you guys knew that was the Undertaker's deal, right? I mean, we all know about the 1999 Chaos! Comics series about the Undertaker and how he was actually wrestling demons all the time, right? Oh, you haven't? Then by all means, let me explain.
Take, for instance, what the fine folks at Fawcett did back in 1946, when they took a story that, by itself, was nothing special, and then skewed it just far enough that it's one of the most mind-boggling comics I've ever read.
I think I've made it pretty clear over the past few years that I'm something of a connoisseur of strange comic book stories. I love comics where things get weird with that sort of cheerful rejection of all logic, where things don't quite add up, but the truth is, I sometimes get to a point where I think I've seen it all. I start to get jaded, and think that nothing can ever match the weirdness that I've already seen. But every time, I run across a story that makes me realize that in all my years, I've only hit the tip of the iceberg of bizarre stories. And it usually happens when I'm reading a Bob Haney comic.
Case in point: Bob Haney and Jim Aparo's "How To Make A Super-Hero," where the World's Greatest Detective decides it would be a good idea to let a homeless Plastic Man fill in for him while he's out of Gotham City, and guess what? It goes horribly wrong.
If you've been following along with ComicsAlliance's weekly X-Men Episode Guide, you've probably noticed that I have become utterly fascinated with that scumbag Gambit. That guy is just so alarmingly, hilariously sketchy -- especially for a show I watched when I was ten -- that I am in danger of becoming obsessed with him on a level that I don't think anyone has experienced since the heyday of '90s erotic fan-fiction.
So obsessed, in fact, that I decided this week to go back and check out his first couple of appearances to see just where this weirdo came from, and this... this may have been a mistake. I have been reading comics for over a quarter of a century now, and Uncanny X-Men #267 might be the single most incomprehensible superhero story I have ever read.
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