Sunday, February 27, 2011

Marvel Rating System

Due to Marvel's turning againist CCA, they adopted the Mavel Rating System. It started out in 2001 as:
  • All Ages
  • PG
  • PG+
  • Parental Advisory / Explicit Content
The Motion Picture Association of America got mad as they hold the copyright for the term "PG rating". So, Marvel changed it to:
  • All Ages
  • PSR (Parental Supervision Recommended)
  • PSR+
  • Parently Advisory / Explicit Content
However, in 2005, they switched to a new version of it:
  • All Ages
  • A: Apporiate for age 9 and up
  • T+: Teens and up
  • Parental Advisory
  • Max: Explicit Content

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pearls Before Swine

Clockwise: Rat (Top right), Pig, Goat and Zebra the four main characters
Stephen Pastis (the creator of the strip) tried (failed) to get a comic called Rat (about a depressing philosophical rat) and The Infirm (about a struggle lawyer). He combined elements of both strips to make Pearls Before Swine. Several syndicates liked it, but weren't sure if it was marketable. However, United Media decided to put the strip on the Internet and see what kind of buzz it would make. Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert and fan of the strip) showed his fans the strip, which sparked enough interest for the strip to be published.
  • Rat- He is a megalomaniac rat. He is self-center and acts out his own interest with disregard for other people's feelings. As such, everyone hates him (save Pig). He also thinks he is much smarter than he really is. He has been known to break the fourth wall to complain about the strip. He often writes very bad pieces of literature (such as Angry Bob Vol. I-III) that everyone hates.
  • Pig- He is a kind-hearted, but naive and unintelligent pig. He is Rat's roommate and suffers the most abuse from him, but is dumb enough to think of him as a friend. He has a habit to talking to inanimate objects to the point of forming a "Fruit Buddy" club. His least likable trait is the fact is he is a cannibal.
  • Goat- He is an intellectual goat. However, he can barely stand the stupidity of Pig and cruelty of Rat. He often criticizes the poor quality of Rat's literature (such as Angry Bob Volume II, where Bob "un-dies").
  • Zebra- He is a zebra who tries to deal with the predators attacking him and his herd. A recurring gag early on in the strip is that his herd will do stupid things to try (and fail) to avoid getting eaten. He has a cat named Snuffles (who was revealed to be a terrorist).
  • Guard Duck- He is a guard hired by Pig, because a guard dog was too expensive. GD starts as having a temper-problem, but was changed so he sees the whole world as a battle field. He often suggests militaristic solutions to problems in the neighborhood.
  • Crocodiles- The main antagonists. The Fraternity of Crocodiles (the official name is "Zeeba Zeeba Eata") are a group of stupid crocodiles, who speak very poor English and have odd accents. Their main goal is to eat Zebra (who they called "Zeeba"), but never succeed.
  • Larry-He is the dumbest of the crocodiles and is possibly the leader. However, he doesn't live in the Zeeba Zeeba Eata house. He has a wife, who is much smarter than him, and a son, called "Junior", who is not only smarter than him, but also a pacifist and vegetarian.


The title comes from Matthew 7:6, where Jesus says "Neither cast ye your pearls before swine". In the context of this comic, Rat thinks he is the wisdom being wasted on "the swine" (Pig).

Pearls Before Swine: Sergeant Piggy's Lonely Heart's Club Comic
Various PBS strips

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Giant-Size X-Men # 1

The X-Men (Marvel Girl, Cyclops, Iceman and Angel) and Havok and Lorna Dane are sent to an island to find a mutant, but all of them (save Cyclops) disappear. So, Cyclops told Professor X what happened. Prof. X gathered Storm, Nightcrawler, Bashee, Sunfire, Wolverine, Colossus and Thunderbird to save the X-Men. The team discover that the mutant that the first group looked for wasn't on the island. He is the island and feeds on mutants. So, the old and new X-Men gang up him and launch him into space.
The mutants Xavier gather would later become the second generation of X-Men.
The Essential X-Men

Sunday, February 20, 2011


  • Zachary T. Paleozogt- a.k.a Zot. He is blond hair, blue-eyed teenage hero from an alternate Earth. He flies via rocket boots and fight villains with boundless optimism and a ten-shooter laser gun.
  • Jenny Weaver- She is a very sensitive girl. She is the point-of-view character.
  • Butch- Jenny's bully brother. Due to an accident, he turns in a talking chimpanzee when in Zot's world.
  • Zot's Uncle Max, who is an inventor, artist and surrogate parent to Zot and is eccentric.
  • Woody- Jenny's "sweet", but "nerdy" boyfriend
  • Peabody- Zot's robot guardian / butler
  • Terry- A lesbian friend of Jenny's
  • Ronnie- An obsessive comic writer
  • Brandy- Ronnie's girlfriend
  • George- A genius who is also lazy
  • Bob- A violent and rude "nerd"
  • Elizabeth- Bob's quiet sister
  • Bellows- He hates that his inventions (which are un-friendly to the environment) aren't used any more.
  • 9-Jack-9- He is assassin that can travel through electric signals
  • Dekko- Max's friend turned insane cyborg
  • The Devoes- A cult that thinks humans should have monkeys. They have a guns that turn people into monkeys.
  • Zybox- A soul-wanting super computer
  • The Blotch- A businessman / gangster with a "warped face" that tries to stay out of jail.

Story Arcs

1-10: Jenny Weaver, a lonely girl, meets Zot, who is trying to stop robots who what to get a special key. The duo, after some chaos, discover that Sirius IV, a theocratic tyrant, is trying to steal the key and go to his world. Only to discover he was planning to use this an excuse for a holy war against Earth. The duo trick Sirius to gloat about his plan... on live television, leading to a revolt against him.
11-27: Zot had to battle a series of villains.
28-36: This story arch focuses on characterization and end with a cliff hanger where the characters are going to Zot's home.
10 1/2 and 14 1/2- Non-cannon back-up stories where stick figure versions of the characters are in absurd and surreal situations.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gnorm Gnat

I am going to talk about a comic strip as oppose to a comic character. Gnorm Gnat was created by Jim Davis, but he failed to get the strip published. However, his mistakes here led to his more successful creation of Garfield.
While working with Tom Ryan on the Tumbleweeds strip, Davis saw the possibilities of humor with insect characters. However, he failed to get it published. One editor said that despite his good gags and art "nobody can relate to bugs!" (although it's argued that The Far Side [which has many insect jokes] has disproved this). Jim literally killed off Gnorm via getting stepped on. Then, Davis went to create Garfield.
In 20 Years & Still Kicking!: Garfield's Twentieth Anniversary Collection, Davis explained about what the characters were intended to be like:
  • Gnorm Gnat- The titular character. He was suppose to be the straight man and sometimes acts like Walter Mitty.
  • Lyman- An insane buck-toothed doctor
  • Freddy- A fruit fly with two weeks to live
  • Dr. Rosenwurm- A highly intelligent worm
  • Cecil Slug- Stupid
  • Drac Webb- Tries to eat the other characters

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Smurfs

You are probably thinking some to the effect of "why is Skippy talking about '80s cartoon characters on a comic blog?" Well, that cartoon series was based on a Belgian comic.
The soon-to-be creators of the Smurfs were having dinner together. However, Andre (one of the creators) forgot the word "salt" and asked for "schtroumpf" (I think it means something to effect of "thingamajig"). This inspired them to introduce a tribe of small, blue elves called that in their sword and sorcery comic Johan et Pirlouit. The character proved popular enough to their own stories and later comic. In Dutch, they were called the Smurfs, which was adopted by English speakers.
The Smurfs and their Culture
The Smurfs are small blue, look-like, 3-crab apple-tall beings. Despite looking very much alike, they usually have at least one notable characteristic that they were named after. They appear to age much slower than human as most of them are 100 years old. Most of the Smurfs are male, with extremely few females.
Their language is usually what ever language the comic is translated into, but they have a tendency of using the word "Smurf" for multiple meanings aside from referring to themselves, making it somewhat hard to understand them.
Their village is located in forest and they live in small mushroom houses. Despite the fact humans live near the forest, it is difficult (if not impossible) to find the village.
The Smurfs don't use money, but have a cooperative economy, where each Smurf does a job in society and get necessities of life in return.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

EC Comics

EC Comics started out as Educational Comics and was founded by Max Gaines. However upon Max's death, his son, William Gaines, took over and renamed it Entertaining Comics. While publishing a variety of comics, the most well-known were his horror comics: Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror and The Haunt of Fear. These comics had gruesome and ironic tales told by horror hosts. Mad became popular around the same time. Due to the backlash against comic books at the time period, the comic code authority was formed. However, its rules killed off the 3 horror comics. Bill would later clash with the code several times. One notable incident involved a story called "Judgement Day", in which an astronaut doesn't want a robot-populated planet to join the Galactic Republic, because the robots' practice of segregation. The code wouldn't approve this because the main character was black. But, Bill still ran the story. Later, the company would focus solely on Mad, even when it's editor quit due to him not getting enough control of the creative process. Later, Bill made money off of licensing his famous horror comics.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Poster for the movie
300 is a comic book mini-series done by Frank Miller. It was later adapted into the film of the same name.
King Leonidas of Sparta gathered his 300 best men (hence the name) to stop a Persian invasion force despite being outnumbered. The deformed Ephialtes wanted to join, but due to his inability to lift his shield correctly (which would ruin their phalanx) was rejected. For two days and nights, the Spartans held off the Persians. After he failed to sway Leonidas to his side, the Persian king met with Ephialtes, who revealed to him a secret pass that would allow them to ambush the Spartans, which they do. So, the Spartans forced Dilios (a trusted aide) to leave, so he can tell their story. Despite being offered the chance to surrender (and have all his men alive), Leonidas goes on fighting, leading all the Spartans into getting killed. Later, Dilios told his troops about the story prior to the Battle of Plataea.
Both the movie and comic have criticized for egregious historical inaccuracy and the offensive way the so-called "Persians" were portrayed.