Monday, December 30, 2013

John and Gillian

Gillian and John
I mentioned the original Doctor Who comic strip. It was a really bad adaption of the first Doctor-era of the show. One of the most notable changes was the introduction of John and Gillian.
As Real Beings
John and Gillian lived in 1960s England. Their grandfather was Doctor Who (the Doctor was constantly mistakenly called "Dr. Who" in the strip). They knew very little about their grandpa. However, they accidentally found and got inside his TARDIS (the Doctor's space-time travelling machine). Doctor Who decided to take them on his adventures. They fought such as enemies as the Kleptons, the Trods (who I did a post on), the Pied Piper and the evil Captain Anastas Thrax. The duo got separated from Doctor Who. However, they reunited with the second Doctor. Due the Doctor's time travelling, it seemed like a short time passed from duo's perceptive. They continued with their adventures. However this time, they fought actual villains from the show such as the Cybermen and Daleks. Eventually, the Doctor Who left them on the planet Zebadee where they went to college. John became a professor and took the name "John Who".
As Fictional Beings
Due to continuity errors in the original comic strip, it was claimed the original comic strip never happened. In the Doctor Who mythos, the Land of Fiction is a pocket universe full of fictional characters. The Seventh Doctor visited this realm and encountered two beings named "John" and "Gillian". They believed they were his grandchildren and tried to refresh his memory (even mentioning the Trods and Kleptons). However, the Doctor claimed that he did none of that. So, "Doctor Who" may just be alternate version of the Doctor that exists in the Land of Fiction. The Eight Doctor is shown to have pleasant dreams of a "less complicated" universe where "people never die", "promises are never broken" and "villains are naught, not evil". In these dreams, he is seen travelling with John and Gillian.
References:
http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/First_Doctor_comic_stories
http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/John_and_Gillian
http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Land_of_Fiction

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Batman Serial

Behold Batman in his low-budget glory
In 1943, Columbia Pictures released a serial based on Batman. For the unaware, serials were (often low budget) short action films that were part of a mutlipart story. Said serials would be shown prior to a movie. In this version of Batman, Batman and Robin worked for the FBI and none of Batman's villains from the comic appear due to regulations at the time.
Plot
FBI agents Batman (Lewis Wilson) and Robin (Douglas Croft) fight against the Japanese mad scientist Doctor Tito Daka (J. Carrol Naish), who is working for Hirohito. Daka's base is a fun house in Gotham's Japanese district. Daka attempts to stop the Duo several times, but always fail. He ends up falling into a pit full of crocodiles.
Influence On the Batman Mythos 
Despite the fact you propably never heard of this before, it was extremely important to the Batman mythos. The Batcave (called "the Bat's Cave" in the serial) and its grandfather clock enterance were introduced here. Originally, Alfred was both overweight and mustacheless. However, this serial introduced the now-popular look of the character.
Alternate Versions and Releases
Several alternate version of the serial exist. In 1965, the serial was collected and reaired as "An Evening With Batman and Robin". The program was just the episodes complete with titles, cliffhangers and credits. Goodtimes' release of the serial edited out the racist dialogue (which was due to it being made during World War II). However, a "restored" version retained the dialogue. In the late 1960s, the shortened versions of the individual episodes were released to the home market on the 8mm format.
References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman_(serial)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0035665/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0035665/trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0035665/alternateversions?ref_=tt_sa_4

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The X-Men Aren't Human

Hypocrite
You probably thought "What the heck?!" when you saw the title. After all, the X-Men comics constantly stress that mutants are as human as anyone else thus shouldn't be persecuted. However, Marvel declared the X-Men aren't humans.
Why did they say this? This happened in the 2003 court case Toy Biz v. United States. Due to a previous court case involving Hasbro, the US law says there are two types of action figures: dolls (which are defined as toys that look like humans) and toys (which includes "nonhuman creatures"). The reason this important is because that toys have less expensive tariff than dolls. In the before-mentioned 2003 case, Toy Biz (and by extent Marvel Comics) argued that their Fantastic Four and X-Men action figures were toys thus arguing the X-Men aren't humans. In case you were wondering, the judge (Judith Barzilay) declared them toys thus making the X-Men legally not human.
References:
http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2008/04/24/comic-book-urban-legends-revealed-152/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toy_Biz_v._United_States

Friday, December 27, 2013

Herman Smirch

Herman at a diner
As part of the Nintendo Comics System, there was a Game Boy comic book. The basic plot was Tatanga (the villain from Super Mario Land) and his armies would invade (with help of Herman) the "real" world then the heroes of the story would summon Mario stop them. Herman Smirch is the only human character that appears in all four issues.
History
Herman got a job at an electronic store. He stole from the store he worked for. Herman was mind controlled by Tatanga. Tatanga managed to get Herman to sent him and his army to Earth. However, nearby two teenagers freed Mario, who drove the villains back into the game. After an unknown amount of time, Herman was convinced by his mom to give up gaming. In a rare moment of kindness, he gave two girls his Game Boy. Despite this, he was hypnotized by Tatanga again (who forced to him to steal another Game Boy) and forced to free the villains. After Smirch made an off-hand suggestion about going to Disney World, Tatanga had Herman steal a jet (and later a shuttle). After the shuttle crashed in Disney World, Smirch ran away. He hid in his mother's house from the police. Unfortunately, the two girls' mother mailed the Game Boy back. Smirch ran away to Wyoming and was forced to release the villains. They later ended up China and set up shop. One of the teens from the first issue freed Mario. Aided by naval weaponry (Tatanga had taken land that was actually owned by America thus unintentionally declaring war), Mario defeated Tatanga and forced Herman to flee. In the last issue, Smirch got a job at Seaside Heights and was forced to free the villains again. Unlike the other issues, Herman disappeared from the plot.
Personality
Herman Smirch is extremely selfish and rude. For example, he declared "Beggars should be shot!" after asked for money by a homeless veteran. Herman stole several Game Boys when he felt he was underpaid. However, he has at least once showed a good side to his personality (although the act would later come back to bite him in the back).
References:
http://www.mariowiki.com/Herman_Smirch
http://www.mariowiki.com/In_the_Palm_of_Your_Hand...

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Endless Impostors

In Neil Gaiman's critically acclaimed The Sandman, among the most important characters are the Endless. The Endless are cosmic beings that embodied the concept they named after (Dream is the lord of dreams, Death is a Grim Reaper-like pyschopomp and so on). In some of the spin offs, there are several people that claim are Endless, but are lying.
Dread
Echo and her army
Echo was introduced as the transvestite lover of a person attacked by the original Corinthian (a living nightmare). Echo and Gabriel Ashe became serial killers. The second Corinthian and man-turned-bird Matthew stopped them resulting in Gabriel dying and Echo losing an eye. Her life went downhill. Thieves knocked her out and found her "dead".  In reality, she was taken to the Dreaming (the domain of Dream) and reborn as the third Corinthian (as the second one was turned mortal). She joined Brute and Glob's attempt to rebel against Dream. They went to the House of Mystery and Secrets. The Houses gave her massive powers (by having her absorb the Nightmare army). They also brainwashed her to think she was an Endless member named "Dread" and that Dream imprisoned in the souls of men, but she got free. Cain managed to de-power Echo by saying out the truth (thus it was no longer a mystery or secret). Dream told her that she would be unmade, but he thought he would sooner or later find a place her in his realm.
Duplicity and Deceit
Garamas and Gyges
The titans Gyges and Garamas learned the Presence (the divine creator of DC Universe) abandoned creation. They were worried since their positions of authority were now in danger. The duo decided to break into the Dreaming and take control of it. Upon arriving, they are greeted by Lucien (a servant for Dream). They claimed to be Duplicity and Deceit of the Endless and were here for family business. Lucien saw through their deception and pointed out duplicity and deceit are synonyms for each other while the Endless are supposed have different domain. Turned away, they decided to become the Presence themselves.
References:
http://www.comicvine.com/the-endless/4060-40483/
The Sandman volume 2: "The Doll House" and volume 9: "The Kindly Ones"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endless_(comics)
http://www.comicvine.com/the-presence/4005-56244/

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

500th Post

This is my 500th post
Thank you all who read my post and followed my blog. For this massive occasion, I will talk about one of the first comic book creators that got me into comics: Jack Kirby.
Early Life
Jacob and his parents
Born August 28, 1917, he was given the name Jacob Kurtzberg. At first, his life seemed no different than other teens during that era: fighting in the street, wasting time at the movies and so on. However, he began to draw on every piece of paper he could find and watch movies (which fueled his interest in storytelling). His schooling was not very good. Because he lacked a teacher, he learned about comic book storytelling techniques from Alex Raymond's comic strip Flash Gordon. Jacob's evolved an exaggerated style designed to look interesting on a comic page, rather than a realistic one. He enrolled at the Pratt Institute, but dropped out due to his family's financial problems.

Finding Work
Created by "Teddy"
Kurtzberg attempted to find jobs related to his set of skills. After seemingly endless failure, he got a job as an "in-betweener" for Max Fleischer. For the unaware, an in-betweener is an artist that creates the frames of animation in between the extremes (the frames with the most extreme actions). However, he jumped ship to avoid a possible labor strike. He worked for Lincoln Newspaper Syndicate doing various strips and gags.

Fox Feature Syndicate 
An example of his work
Jacob finally managed to work on superheroes. Unfortunately, he worked for Fox Feature Syndicate, which was owned by Victor Fox, who was notorious for under paying his employees. He worked on such projects as Blue Bolt and Lone Rider. At Fox he met Joe Simon, who convinced Jack to do additional freelance work with other comics . Eventually, Jack Kirby quit Fox.

Timely Comics
The Cap's first appearance
Joe Simon and Jacob Kurtzberg were hired to work for Timely Comics Company. At the time they joined Timely, the only star characters they had were the Sub-Mariner and the Human Torch. The duo attempted to create a new star, which began a series of failures; Comet Pierce, Red Raven, Hurricane, Tuk the Cave-Boy and Mercury. Then in the late 30's they created the still-famous Captain America. During this time, he took the pseudonym Jack Kirby. Due to practices of the day, they saw very little profit and left.

DC Comics
This seems ill-advised.
DC Comics kept Kirby and Simon busy. Their works were characterized by their humor and plot twists. The audience loved Jack's characterizations and backgrounds. They worked on such things as Sandman, Manhunter (both altered copies of previous strips), The Newsboy Legion and Boy Commandos.

The War and Pre-Atlas
One of his monster comics
Kirby and Simon were drafted for service in World War II. Jack Kirby was in the Fifth Division, Third Army. His superior was General Patton. Jack was an infantryman. However, he was forced to leave due to frostbite.
In 1945, he and Joe worked for Harvey Comics Company on Boy Explorers and Stuntman. They later worked for Hillman Publications, then Crestwood Publications and later Foxhole. He did such works such as Young Romance, Boy Explorers and Police Trap. Due to upheavals in the comic book industry, Kirby had trouble finding work. He did several newspaper strips. After working for DC (and creating the Challengers of the Unknown), he went back Atlas Comics (formerly called "Timely Comics").

Marvel Renaissance 
Kirby, his creations and Spider-Man during this era
At Atlas Comics (which would be renamed "Marvel Comics" later on), he did monster, love and western comics. By 1961, superheroes were regaining popularity. Stan Lee was told by Martin Goodman to make a superhero comic, and had Jack Kirby help with the title: the Fantastic Four. This ushered in a "Marvel Renaissance". Stan Lee developed the Marvel-style of writing (which has both artist and writer work on the story). With Stan Lee, Jack created Doctor Doom, the Incredible Hulk, Ant Man, Thor, Iron Man, Nick Fury, the Avengers, the X-Men and Silver Surfer. When his workload cut down, the quality of the work improved. Unhappy with Marvel for various reasons, including the emphasis of Stan Lee as creator, Jack left Marvel Comics in 1970.

DC Comics... Again
One of the Fourth World Saga's main titles
Jack Kirby jumped ship to DC Comics. He took over Jimmy Olsen. He revamped the Newsboy Legion. He created the Fourth World Saga (which would be influential to the DC Universe), O.M.A.C., Kamandi, a new Sandman, the Demon and other works. In 1975, he returned to Marvel.

Final Years
One of his final works
Back at Marvel, he worked on Captain America, a Silver Surfer graphic novel and Black Panther. He created new characters such Devil Dinosaur, the Eternals and Machine Man. However in 1978, he left. He worked on various animated shows (such as doing character design for several episodes for Thundarr the Barbarian) and various independent comics (such as Silver Star, Captain Victory and Destroyer Duck). He managed to come up with a conclusion to the Fourth Wall Saga. In 1987, he retired. He died in Feb. 6, 1994 leaving behind numerous fans.
References:
http://kirbymuseum.org/biography/
Kirby: King of Comics by Mark Evanier
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0181262/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast

Monday, December 23, 2013

Capes

Titan fighting Thor Kid with Bolt watching
Plot
Bolt is told to show Thor Kid the ropes at Capes Inc (a team of superheroes, who being a superhero is their job). Big Brain is told by an unseen person that the company is losing funding. Captain Cosmic reappears after being assumed dead for fifteen or sixteen years (both dates are used). Despite most being concerned, Bolt (who has seen this all before) simply shrugs it off. Bolt and Thor Kid save Machine Head (a mob boss) from being killed by Titan. A cyborg with a swastika on his chest breaks out his prison cell. Commander and Bolt see a news report that says there is a massive super villain jailbreak. The next day, Bolt is attacked by an unnamed villain. After the Comet Twins explained their back story, Captain Cosmic gets mad at the Commander, who won't pay him for the time he was absent in. Thor Kid and Knockout fought an armored villain while Bolt and Commander fought the super strong Doc Cancer. However, they convince the villains to fight each other. Thor Kid goes on a date with Knockout. The next day, the cyborg attacks Capes Inc. and kills several members (including one of the Comet Twins). Knockout discovers Big Brain is using his powers despite claiming he lost his powers. Big Brain explains his plan, merges with cyborg and flies away. A month later, Capes Inc. is recovering (using funding they got to fight Big Brain) and the remaining Comet Twin is CEO.
Capes Inc. Members
  • Comet Twins- They are two elderly superheroes that were active during World War II. Along with Big Brain, they founded Capes Inc. They used to be rivals. However, they exposed to a meteor that makes it so they have to been within 30 feet of each other to retain their powers. They have super strength, invulnerability and flight. One of them (they aren't named) dies and the other became the new CEO. 
  • Big Brain- He was a World War II superhero as kid hero. He came up with the company. He used a Nazi weapon he found (the cyborg) to create a threat in order to earn funding for the team. He lied about his losing power to avoid suspicion. He reactive it again and is forced to flee when he found out. He has telekinesis. This power increases with age.
  • Thor Kid- He is a main protagonist. His ancestors made a copy of Mj√∂lnir for Thor to use when he lost the original. When Thor got the original back, he gave back the copy. It passed on for generations. Thor Kid is the current bearer of the hammer. He is a newcomer to the team. 
  • Knockout- She is a member that use boxing gloves that give her super strength and invulnerability. She becomes a love interest for Thor Kid. She wears a costume to make her bust size look bigger (which gets her more cash). 
  • Captain Cosmic- He was a superhero in the late '80s. Due to a battle with the time-travelling Chronodile, he was launched 15 or 16 (both times are stated) years in the future. He discovered his wife spent all his money and got remarried. 
  • Bolt- He is a main protagonist. He was struck by lightning. This gave him super strength (and seemly super durability). He acts as a mentor to Thor Kid and is desensitized to a degree when it comes the weirdness of superheroes.  
  • Commander Capitalism- He is an older patriotic superhero. He has old fashion values (which managed to angered Bolt's wife). Despite this, he is well liked by his teammates,
  • Claire Voyant- She is a member that hits on male members.
References:
Capes issue 1-3

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dracula

What a weird costume
A long time ago, I talked about a Dell Comic superhero based on Frankenstein. However, he wasn't the only superhero they had based on a classic horror monster. There were two more: Werewolf and today's subject Dracula.
Biography
Our hero's real name never revealed aside from being called "Count Dracula". He lived in an old castle, where he did experiments on bats. He accidentally drank a special chemical that gave him bat powers. Dracula came a superhero in order to redeem the image of his family (although since his identity is a secret  I have no idea what he hoped to achieve). He fled Romania when the Soviets took over. He went to America and adopted the identity Al U. Card (at least it wasn't "Doctor Acrula"). Fleeta, his female lab assistant, became the his sidekick and gained similar power. However, this happened in the final issue.
Powers
He is able to transform into a bat. He can control bats. He also has ultrasonic hearing.
References:
http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/d/delldrac.htm
http://www.toonopedia.com/dracdell.htm

Saturday, December 21, 2013

In Defense of Rob Liefeld

The comic that inspired the review that inspired this post
I am a fan of the comic book review series Atop The Fourth Wall. While I think its host (Linkara) is talented, he is not immune to making mistakes or doing the occasional dumb thing. In his review of Youngblood issue 5, he criticizes the comic's creator Rob Liefeld. I though his augments were rubbish. As such, I am here to debunk his augments.
"You can tell me about the runs from Alan Moore or the revived series from 2011 and that's great. ... But... Youngblood is a team that does not deserve all the hard work of creators!... Let Youngblood die!"
So because the original series was bad, no one should every work on it? Alan Moore's first superhero comic, Marvelman, was a sequel to a series that was about a bland superhero series no cared about prior.
"It's just bunch of unmemorable rip-off character growling and grinding teeth and saying really stupid things and squinting and doing over-exaggerated poses and that c***."
While I agree his art is bad, you have to keep his art in context. His art style was the style popular in the '90s (when the comic was made). Like fashions, comic art styles aren't immune to becoming outdated as is the case of Rob's art.
And yes, a lot of his characters are inspired or based on other characters. However, good creators have done this in successful and beloved series. For example, the following creators did so: Alan Moore (whose famous Watchmen characters are based on Charlton Comics’ superhero line), Grant Morrison (who wrote the Flex Mentallo and Zenith comics, which feature tons of homages to other characters) and Bob Kane (who based Batman on the likes of Zorro and the Shadow).
"Rob Liefeld does not deserve the amount of loyalty he has engendered. What's that? 'Rob Liefeld is really enthusiastic about the industry and is really awesome guy if you know him in person and love comics and everything about the medium?' ... I am enthusiastic about the medium and no one says I should be drawing comic books!"
Barring rare exceptions, no one is asked to write or draw comic books. You have to work to get to make comics. Liefeld, unlike Linkara, actually did go through the trials of becoming comic creator. That combined with his enthusiasm for his job is why people like him.
"Rob Liefeld can't write. Rob Liefeld can't draw. Rob Liefeld can't create! Don't go telling me about how he created Deadpool and Cable. 1) He didn't "create' Deadpool. He created some boring-a** mercenary that spoke in yellow-colored speech bubbles. No one would give a d*** about him if not for the work of everyone else, but him. As for Cable, ... you found one, all of one, character that Rob Liefeld created that's actually good except a good creator is capable of creating more than one good character. Liefeld, on the other hand, settles on creating sixty thousand characters and none of them are good."
Paraphrasing from the TvTropes page “Sturgeon's Law”, most of what is produce is complete garbage. So, how can a creator possibly create good characters 100% of the time? Do people call one-hit wonder musicians (Carl Douglas, Bobby Pickett and the band A-ha) lazy? No, because they were able create masterpieces even once.
As for Deadpool, yes, the character did not become popular until it was in other people’s hands. However, the X-Men didn't become popular until Chris Claremont rebooted him. Yet, Linkara said Stan Lee created the X-Men.
"Companies stop giving him work."
So because Linkara doesn't like his work, he should NEVER be allowed to work in comics ever again? Because he created a bunch of terrible characters?  By that logic, all creators should never get work since every creator creates characters someone thinks are bad.
"Liefeld and his ilk ruined entire generation of comic artists."
Then, explain this: "A lot of artist managed to break free of that style when they realized how awful it looked". This quote is from Linkara's review of Newmen issue 1.
While I agree that Rob Liefeld is not that good of a creator, I still think this argument against him was ridiculous. However, I am not saying I don’t value Linkara or his show. I am saying he should have thought his argument out better.   

Friday, December 20, 2013

Holo-Man

He looks like a rainbow Captain Metropolis
History
James Robinson (not to be confused with the comic book writer) was a scientist working with holograms. The president attended a demonstration of his hologram device. However, it was sabotaged to explode. James Robison threw himself in the way of the blast to protect the president. However, this somehow sent James to "a dimensional plaeteau". Here, the very Shazam-like Laserman explained his powers and that importance of his "Holodisc". Laserman returned him to Earth with a garish costume. He introduced himself to the president and began an investigation to find the would-be murders are. After leaving the White House, he saw holograms of missiles above the White House. According to Holo-Man, this was "the first stage of the invasion of the United States" (how he knew this is never explained). The comic took the reader to check out "the next superiffic issue of The Amazing Adventures of Holo-Man!!!" (the bold and exclamation marks were in the original text). This issue never existed.
Powers
He is a living hologram although he is somehow able to touch objects. By concentrating, he can use his various powers. He can generate hologram illusions, turn invisible and phase through matter. He has the Holodisc, which "unlocks" his powers. He has charge himself every 12 hours to retain his powers.
Holo Squad
At the end, the comic showed a superhero team "Holo Squad". The team constited of Holo-Man, Laserman and three new characters: the kid Wavelength, Utopia (who dresses like a Disney princess) and Laserwoman (who wears a mini-skirt and cape). They are seen with a balding man, who may or may not be a member. Wavelength is shown with a colorful bird and a raccoon that is yellow with spots of red.
On a nearby screen is an unnamed character (who looks like a mix with the original Doctor Strange (see my "Doctor Strange" post) and Stephen Strange with long hair). This seems to be an enemy of the team. Said character appears on the cover despite only appearing here.
Reference:
http://www.misterkitty.org/extras/stupidcovers/stupidcomics325.html

Thursday, December 19, 2013

O-Force

Clockwise: Solomon (left), Ocean, two civilians, Orbit, Ooze,
Overkill, Obituary and Ocelt
History
O-Force was created as a reality television show. Solomon O'Sullivan was their press agent. They had a battle on screen and show it across the national. X-Statix believed that the mission was little more than a set-up to make them look good. Solomon O'Sullivan (via his thought balloons) revealed this was true. The team discovered the reality-warper Arnie Lundberg had took over a small town. Despite warnings from Orphan, they decided to fight Arnie. However, they get beaten by Arnie and his army of the undead until X-Statix came to save them. X-Statix convinced Arnie to become a good guy and heal Ocean's leg.
Members
  • Overkill- It appeared he cared very little for his teammates. In fact, he abandoned Ocean to die. He can project energy. 
  • Ocean- Her legs were blown off (and later regenerated) by Arnie. She can control water.
  • Orbit- He doesn't talk a lot. He can project energy to disrupt people's equilibrium and fly.
  • Obituary- He appears to have superhuman strength (since he shattered a helmet).
  • Ocelet- He had a body covered over with fur. 
  • Ooze- He has grey skin and an odd head.
References:
http://www.comicvine.com/o-force/4060-11482/
http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/oforcexs.htm
http://www.comicvine.com/solomon-osullivan/4005-84635/

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wrath

Here he is in his rip-off glory.
What would Batman be like if he was evil? Aside from the Joker. Aside from Owlman. Aside from Prometheus. This post is about Wrath.
History
Wrath's parents, two wannabe burglars, were killed by then-rookie cop James Gordon (in self-defense) on the same night that Batman's parents were killed (June 26th). This would led the boy (his real name was never revealed) to become Wrath. Because Gordon is friends with Batman, this led Wrath to adopt an evil Batman motif to get under Gordon's skin. Wrath started off doing hits and fell in love with Grayle Hudson, who is a daughter of one of Gotham's mob boss. Eventually, Wrath attempted to kill Gordon. However, Batman stopped his various attempts on James' life. Wrath figured out Batman's alter ego and defiled his parent's grave. This led to Batman to investigate while Wrath attacked Alfred. Later, Wrath kidnapped Leslie Thompkins and said he would only give up Leslie for Gordon. When Batman arrived with Gordon, Wrath naturally shot Gordon. However, this turned out to be a ruse. Wrath and Batman fought. During the fight, Wrath accidentally activated an incendiary device and fell into the resulting fire thus killing him.
Powers and Abilities
Like Batman, Wrath has no powers. To make up for this, Wrath used fighting skills and weapon mastery (especially when it comes to knives and firearms). His weapons included bombs, a grappling gun and retractable claws on his gloves and boots. He was also a skilled bomb-maker.
References:
http://www.comicvine.com/wrath/4005-50593/

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Gen¹³

Clockwise: Roxy (top left), Fairchild,
Burnout, Rainmaker (?) and Grunge
Original Team
International Operations created a "government internship" project for gifted youths. Among the student was Caitlin Fairchild. Her power manifested and her body became denser and stronger. She fled the compound with Grunge (who can absorb the properties of objects he touches), Roxy Spaulding (who has gravity control) and the psionic Threshold (who was in disguise). Later, the fire-manipulating Burnout and weather-controlling Rainmaker. It turned out the project was a prison-like testing ground for "gen-active" people (think mutants from X-Men). Threshold convinced the team to return to the base as part of a trap. John Lynch and Pitt helped the students escape to La Jolla, California. John Lynch formed the Gen¹³ (since they are the 13th American generation) team the ex-students and became the mentor of the team.
They also discovered several important things. They learned about Team 7 (who had been part of Gen 12). Roxy and Fairchild turned out be half-sisters. Lynch was revealed to be Burnout's dad.
Worldstorm Reboot
The team was updated and modernized often losing many of the dated 90s aspects. The people testing on the "gen-active" people was changed to the subcontractor Tabula Rasa (which was controlled by the sadistic Doctor Cross). Cross artificially engineered Gen¹³. The team members were now children kidnapped from employees of the company.
World's End
After attempt to escape International Operations, Gen¹³ were accidentally flung into the future. They attempted to discover how survive in this world and what caused this.
References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gen¹³
http://www.comicvine.com/gen-13/4060-40400/
http://www.comicvine.com/freefall/4005-23472/
http://www.comicvine.com/grunge/4005-23471/
http://www.comicvine.com/fairchild/4005-23578/
http://www.comicvine.com/threshold/4005-25112/
http://www.comicvine.com/rainmaker/4005-23473/
http://www.comicvine.com/burnout/4005-23474/
http://www.comicvine.com/john-lynch/4005-4589/

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Skrull Kill Krew

This is a really specialized team.
History
The Fantastic Four brainwashed three skrulls into thinking they are cows. The "cows" were slaughtered and served as meat. The people, that ate the meat, had skrull DNA was transferred into the hosts' cells. This caused a condition, "Skrullovoria Induced Skrullophobia". This made the affected able to shape shift and have an irrational hatred / fear of Skrulls. This would ultimately kill the hosts over time. However, some people was killed at a much slower. Ryder recruited several affected people for his Skrull Kill Krew team. Members included Ryder, Riot, Moonstomp, Catwalk and Dice. Due to the condition, they pooled their resources to kill skrulls via huge and powerful guns. Their crusades led them fight Captain America and Baron Von Strucker.
The second version was formed in Secret Invasion. Ryder and Riot were told by the Delroy Garret Jr. 3-D Man that skrulls infiltrated the Inititive. As such, the trio went on a quest to kill all these skrulls.
Members
  • Ryder- He is the founder and leader of the team. He also has super strength, teleportation and super reflexes along with his shapeshifting. He likes to turn his hair into tentacles. It has been suggested he is actually a skrull brainwashed into thinking he is a SIS-affected human.
  • Riot- Heidi Sladkin is a punk rocker. Her preferred transformation was a insectoid and armored form. She has sharp spines and super strength in this form. She seemed to die at Camp Hammond, but she turned out to be alive. She helped form both the first and second teams.
  • Moonstomp- He is a British Neo-Nazi. His hatred of skrulls tend to override his hate of non-whites (although he feels guilty). He can shapeshift and uses a clawed hammer. When his condition became worsen, his skin darkened much to his chagrin. 
  • Catwalk- Kimberly Dee is an ex-fashion model. She can turn into a cat-like form with claws, fangs and super athletic powers.
  • Dice- Rob Fortune is an ex-surfer. He turn his limbs into explosive-blasting weapons and breathe underwater.
  • 3-D Man- Delroy Garret Jr. helped form the second team. For more info, read my post on the character. 
References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skrull_Kill_Krew
http://marvel.wikia.com/Skrull_Kill_Krew_(Earth-616)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Doctor Strange

The original Strange threatening the world
What? You thought I was going to talk about the sorcerer supreme? No. I'm talking about the original Doctor Strange: an one-shot Iron Man villain.
History
He (his real name was never mentioned) was struck by a bolt lightning. This "increased the electrical power of [his] mind". He was arrested for an unknown crime. We first see him in prison. He faked dizziness to get near a machine. He rigged it so he would control over Iron Man. Iron Man (unwillingly) freed Strange. After returning to his base and his daughter, he threatened the world with his "S-Bomb". As such, the world's nations launched nukes at his base (which survived via a dome force field). Iron Man burrowed underground to get into the base. He destroyed the power source of the base, but drained the energy in his suit in the process. However, Strange's daughter, Carla, decided Strange was a worthless jerk and (wanting to rebel) gave Iron Man a flashlight. Iron Man used the batteries to revive himself. He then captured Doctor Strange.
Powers and Abilities
According to Strange, the lightning bolt "increased the electrical power of [his] mind". This made more intelligent (possibly to superhuman levels). He is a skilled technician. He has a base that can generate nuke-proof force fields. It is never explained if he built the equipment in the base or somehow acquired it.
References:
Marvel Essential Iron Man volume 1

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Element Girl

Element Girl originally a supporting character for another superhero. However, she managed get herself several re-imaginings.
Metamorpho
Urania Blackwell was a secret agent working for the American government. She duplicated the events that gave Metamorpho his powers in order to gain powers herself. Elemental Girl found Metamorpho and tried to strike up a relationship with him. However, Urania constantly fought with Sapphire Stagg (Metamorpho's  human love interest). In the end, Metamorpho ultimately chose Sapphire. Afterward, Urania lost touch with him.
The Sandman
It turned out Element Girl lost her job for being too conspicuous (due to her monstrous appearance). She became depressed and isolated herself. When she attempted to kill herself, her body adapted to survive. Death of the Endless told her to ask the source of her power, the Egyptian god Ra, for death. When she does so, Urania died (by being turned to ash) with an expression of joy.
Flashpoint and New 52
A new version of Element Girl appeared in Flashpoint. This version is called "Element Woman". Emily Sung (Element Woman) was among the heroes that helped Cyborg fight Wonder Woman and Aquaman. She was shown to have a crush on Cyborg. She met S.H.A.Z.A.M. (six kids each with one of the powers of Captain Marvel) and decided to protect them. In the New 52 universe, she helped Cyborg fight Ocean Master and joined the Justice League.
Emily has a childish and socially awkward personality. In fact, during a battle, she offered people juice boxes. Despite this, she managed to join the Justice League.
Powers
Both versions have the same powers as Metamorpho. They can turn their bodies (or any part of it) into any element in the human body. They can also reshape their body into various shapes (similar to Plastic Man) when using the before-mentioned power.
References:
http://www.comicvine.com/element-girl/4005-45403/
Showcase Presents Metamorpho volume 1
http://www.comicvine.com/element-woman/4005-77737/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Marvel_(DC_Comics)#Captain_Thunder_.282011.29:_Flashpoint

Sunday, December 8, 2013

History of Youngblood

Youngblood is one of the first Image Comics superhero team. Youngblood is a government superhero team. A major theme of the comic is superheroes (in this case, the Youngblood members) being treated as celebrities.
Original Team
Clockwise: Diehard (top left), Battlestone,
Shaft (not member), Chapel
The original team was sent to Saddam Hussein stand-in Hassan Kussein / Kussain (his surname is spelt both ways). It was led by Battlestone. However when Gamble talked back to Battlestone, Battlestone murdered him. Diehard captured Battlestone and the team went back to America to put Battlestone on trial. Battlestone was fired, but otherwise unpunished, by corrupt politicians. Battlestone called them monsters for wanting to activate another clone. The members of this version were:
  • Battlestone- John Helix Stone was the leader. He had a no nonsense personaility. He also appeared to mentally unstable since he killed someone for talking back to him. He got away free via corrupt politicians.
  • Diehard- He is supposedly a "genetic superman". In reality, he is a cyborg. He has super strength, flight and durability. He also has a Captain America-like shield.
  • Gamble- He seemed to have not any superpowers. He was killed by Battlestone. According to the politicians, he was a clone that they can replace.
  • Boggs- He seems to have not anything superpowers. According to the politicians, he is a clone that they can be replace.
  • Chapel- He is a "cold-blooded killer for hire". He uses guns since he lacks any superhuman abilities.
  • Riptide- She is the sole female member. She has water manipulation and generation.
Home and Away Team
Away team (clockwise: Riptide, Sentinel (middle), Psi-Fire, Cougar, Photon, Braham)
Home Team (close wise: Badrock, Chapel, Vogue, Shaft, Die Hard, Combat)
The original team was absorbed into the second version. This version was split into two teams: the Home Team and Away Team. This team did various tasks for the government such as killing Hassan, fighting the alien invader Dark Thornn and recapturing the villain team the Four. The government formed the Bloodpool team to train new members. Despite foreshadowing, clones of Gamble and Boggs weren't members. Things started to go wrong when Crypt killed several superheroes. The Home Team consisted of:
  • Bedrock (later Badrock)- Thomas John McCall is a teenager. He was transformed into a rock monster via drinking a chemical. He has super strength and durability. However, he acts like a teenager. His name was altered to avoid a lawsuit from Hanna Barbera (creators of The Flintstones).
  • Vogue- She was a Russian woman forced to flee to America due to the KGB killing her parents. She is trained in hand-to-hand combat. She has a cosmetic corporation.
  • Shaft- Jeff Terrell is a government agent. He was assigned to lead the team. He uses a bow made out of anti-gravity technology (thus removing the need for a string).
  • Photon- He is a renegade alien with fire powers (although the fire is green for some reason) and flight. 
  • Diehard 
  • Chapel
The Away Team included:
  • Sentinel- Marcus Langston used a special suit of Iron Man-like armor. This suit gave him flight, super strength, invulnerability, blasters, force field creation. He had a generator in his chest that powers his suit.
  • Combat- Kh'ambt is an alien from a honorable warrior culture (although this trait is missing in his first appearance). He has super strength, invulnerability and alien weapons.
  • Psi-Fire- David Waller was an psychopathic and sadistic member. He has telekinesis.
  • Cougar- Daniel Tsuchida is an immigrant with animal-like features and powers.
  • Braham- He has super strength and invulnerability.
  • Riptide
However, the team didn't stay with just these members. More members joined. These new members included:
  • Knight Sabre- Mikey Graves can absorb aggression and anger then convert it into kinetic energy. He can manifest this energy in a variety of ways.
  • Dutch- Jake Holland joined to stop his former friend Gigger (who went evil). He is at the peak of physical perfection and has technopathy and guns.
  • Troll- Bartholomew J. Troll is a thousands of years-old troll. He intentionally acts as the team's comic relief (which increased his popularity). 
  • Sentinel II- Brett Butler was hired as a replacement for Marcus (although he would return).
  • Alan Keever- He is Youngblood's liaison with the US government.
  • My sources mentioned Lucifer / Alexander Graves and Die-Hard II. However, I think these were mistakes since I couldn't find any evidence of their existence.
Third Team
Battlestone formed a third team. It mainly consisted of members of previous teams. Bloodpool was absorbed into Youngblood due to budget restraints. Riptide was killed. Although Knight Sabre seemed to have done it, Toby King revealed Sentinel killed Riptide. After Marcus was imprisoned, the team disbanded. Members were:
  • Sentinel- Marcus Langston stole a magic book that could rewrite history. He rewrote the book to alter his future. When Riptide got the book, he attempted to steal and ended up murdering her for it. He framed his teammate Knight Sabre, but Toby King revealed the truth. Marcus was imprisoned in Supreme's Hell of Mirrors.
  • Task- Ryan Orsini was genetically altered and experimented upon on a molecular level to make him a juggernaut in combat. This gave him super speed, strength, healing and durability. 
  • Psilence- Monica Caine is a mute psychic.
  • Alan Keever
  • Battlestone
  • Badrock
  • Diehard
  • Riptide
  • Cougar
  • Vogue
  • Dutch
  • Shaft
  • I couldn't find any info on Lord Dredd 
2009 Youngblood
Clockwise: Badrock (top), Johnny Panic, Shaft, Cougar, Doc Rocket and Diehard
The US government reassembled Youngblood. This was little more than a PR stunt. However, the team went rogue upon discovering an actual threat: an insane ex-Allied Supermen of America member Spacehunter. After they did so, the US government formed another team to replaced the rogue members. Rob Liefield randomly interrupted the plot with a new Youngblood team and no explain what happened to the previous plot. The president was kidnapped by a future version of Badrock and someone called "Jeriko". No issues were produced after this. The first 2009 Younglood team consisted of:
  • Task- Ryan Orsini was assigned to become the leader of Youngblood when Shaft was thought dead. However, the other heroes did not respect him.
  • Doc Rocket II- She is the granddaughter of the Allied Supermen member of the same name. Like her grandfather, she had superhuman speed.
  • Johnny Panic- John Paneczik is the world first "post-postmodern" superhero. He uses a chemical that gives him illusion creation.
  • Badrock- He became injured mid-series.
  • Diehard
  • Cougar
  • Shaft
The next team was:
  • Sentinel III- The title of Sentinel was given to an unknown person. He wore the same armor Marcus did (since the armor was property of the US government). 
  • Spyke- She was a said to be an unpredictable and temperamental member. She has claws coming out of her hands that she can use as weapons.
  • Jamm- He was a flamboyant member. He has super reflexes and sonic powers (although he never uses the latter).
  • Hatch- He is a former black ops member. He is described as being a combat specialist.
  • Sundance- She is an immigrant that has fire powers.
  • Task
Liefield's revamp team included:
  • Sentinel IV- Kiesha Langston is the first Sentinel's sister. She designed the Sentinel armor. As such, she was given the armor to pilot.
  • Big Brother- He is a man in a giant robot similar to ones used in mecha anime.
  • Badrock
  • Diehard
  • Photon
  • Vogue
  • Shaft
References:
http://www.weirdspace.dk/RobLiefeld/Youngblood.htm
http://www.weirdspace.dk/RobLiefeld/MarcusLangston.htm
Youngblood issue 0 and 1
Atop the Fourth Wall episodes "Youngblood # 1", "Youngblood # 2", "Youngblood # 3", "Youngblood # 4" and "Youngblood # 5"
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ComicBook/Youngblood?from=Main.Youngblood
http://www.weirdspace.dk/RobLiefeld/Photon.htm
http://www.comicvine.com/combat/4005-27429/
http://www.comicvine.com/troll/4005-5183/
http://www.comicvine.com/dutch/4005-5246/
http://www.comicvine.com/knight-sabre/4005-5185/
http://www.comicvine.com/psilence/4005-5186/
http://www.comicvine.com/task/4005-5184/
Youngblood (2009) volume 1 and 2

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Flex Mentallo

This is a weird one.
Doom Patrol
Flex and his "halo"
The original version of Flex Mentallo appeared in Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol. Flex Mentallo was a picked-upon weakling. However, he went through a process that gave him the awesome power of the "muscle mystery". He later investigated a conspiracy involving the Pentagon. He attempted to turn the building into a circle. After he failed, he lost his powers and memories. He was later seen on the Danny the Street. When he regained his memories, he got the help of the Doom Patrol to help them stop the conspiracy. They discovered the Telephone Avatar was a villain in the Pentagon planning to turn the world into a "machine", where nothing is accomplished. TA was using Wally Weaver, a psychic, to further his own goals. It turned out Flex Mentallo is actually a fictional character created by Wally, who also brought him to life via his psychic powers. A dying Wally returned Flex his powers. This allowed Flex to make the Pentagon a circle thus depowering the Avatar. Dorothy used the Candlemaker to destroy the Avatar. Flex left knowing his task was done.
Flex Mentallo Miniseries
Flex fighting Mentallium Man in the original comic
(see below)
Flex also had his own miniseries. While the original issues of the comic had bright colors, the trade paperback recolored the comic so it had more subdued colors and greyness. According to the colorist, the TPB is how the comic was supposed to be and was approved by the creators. The story line moves along two tracks, one focused on Flex, the other on Wally Sage.

Flex learned about the villains Faculty X, who are trying to create social unrest, and
found a clue that pointed towards the Fact (who isn't real). We meet Walley Sage, who is reading a homemade comic about the Fact before finding a phone. Flex revealed Wally had brought him to life before he died and he thought that the Fact may have been brought to life in a similar manner.

The world started to metaphorically crumble around Flex. Despite this, Flex continued to try and find the Fact. Wally started to talk someone on the phone. Flex met an old man, who had gained a crossword that if he finished it he would gain a magic word that would make him a god. Not wanting be a god that looks down on humanity, the old man decided to not use the magic world and gave the crossword to Flex. Wally revealed over the phone he is committing suicide and just wanting to talk to someone before dying. Flex found a slip of photos that had the Fact on them. Flex found an address on the photo and decided to go to it.

A younger version of Wally said Mentallo is in trouble. The "normal" Wally's sense of reality and fiction became blurred because of the overdose of drugs he deliberately consumed. In a bar, Flex met several people that claimed to have met the fictional Legion of Legion superhero team. A faceless man, Mystery Pilgrim, told Flex to find a "teleporter tube", which will lead to the Legion and Faculty X. Wally had a vision of multiple Earths. A lieutenant (from earlier in the story) visited the villain Hoaxer. Wally went more and more crazy while Flex went through a sleazy nightclub. The younger Wally was seen with a Legion member, Lord Limbo.

In a flashback, the Legion's universe was being destroyed by "the Absolute" and they sent to two members with shrinking powers to plant "the seed", which they do. Out of flashback, the lieutenant and Hoaxer arrived at the night club, where they found Flex missing, everyone else dead, and the tube. Flex was teleported to the villain's base. Wally found himself on the moon. He met the younger version of himself. This reminded him of a dream where he met Limbo, who said his imagination is another dimension and the heroes were trapped in it. The young Wally told Wally that Flex is in trouble.

The leader of Faculty X, nicknamed "the Man in the Moon" (due to his moon base and his mask), attempted to kill Mentallo with black mentallium, but Hoaxer and the lieutenant arrived. Wally appeared back on Earth confused. The Hoaxer used his powers of misdirection to save Flex, who used his powers to unmask the Man in the Moon. The Man in the Moon turned out to be a version of Wally. This version was the bridge between Wally's reality and Flex's fantasy. Flex offered to help Wally, which he accepts. The "normal" Wally was now happy and the person he called turned out to be the Fact. Wally found the old man's crossword and finished it. The word turned out to be "Shaman". With the powers of a god, Wally destroyed the barrier between reality and fantasy thus freeing the superheroes.

Powers
In both versions, Flex has the same powers. Flex's powers are ill-defined, but powerful. Mentallo can alter reality when he flexes his muscles. For example, he could turn the Pentagon into a circular shape. When he uses his abilities, the shimmering words "Hero of the Beach", which is referred to as a "Hero Halo", appears over his head.
However in the miniseries, Flex has a weakness (which is not mentioned in the Doom Patrol comics): mentallium. Mentallium is a kryptonite-like substance that had different textures depending on the type. Mentallium has also a different effect depending on the type: black is lethal, pink makes him want him to talk about issues involving sexuality and gender, silver robs him of his sense of humor, ultraviolet can turn him into anyone else (including the memories) and "Lamb and Turkey" has an unknown effect.
References:
http://www.comicvine.com/flex-mentallo/4005-24979/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flex_Mentallo
Flex Mentallo miniseries TPB
http://mindlessones.com/2012/04/10/whatever-happened-to-the-mentallium-man-of-tomorrow/
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ComicBook/FlexMentallo?from=Main.FlexMentallo

Friday, December 6, 2013

Brute and Glob

Jack Kirby
Brute (right) and Glob (left) as they appeared as drawn by Jack Kirby
The duo were originally sidekicks to the Garrett Sanford Sandman, who fought nightmares in "the Dream Dimension". They were contained in domed cells. They would be freed when Sandman blew into a magic whistle. Brute and Glob were nuisances that were fairly well-intentioned and harmless.
Neil Gaiman
Their darker and edgier counterparts
Sandman got a dark revamp with a new version of Sandman taking the role. Brute and Glob were revealed to nightmares that went rogue when Dream (the actual Sandman) disappeared. Brute and Glob were manipulating Garrett in the hope of having a dream lord under their control. The Dream Dimension was just a small corner of the Dreaming (the dream world of the DC universe) that the duo cut off from the rest of it. However, Garrett snapped under pressure and killed himself. So, they took the ghost of Hector Hall and made him the new Sandman (since he couldn't kill himself). They allowed Hector bring his wife in the dimension. However, Dream (having been freed after decades of imprisonments) imprisoned Brute and Glob in "the darkness" and sent Hector Hall to the afterlife.
Later Appearances
Brute and Glob were minor villains in JSA and Lucifer. In their JSA appearance, they reveal what is actually in the darkness that they fear: pleasing dreams of children.
References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandman_(DC_Comics)
http://sandman.wikia.com/wiki/Brute_and_Glob
The Sandman Volume 2 "The Doll's House"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_characters_in_The_Sandman#Minor_dreams

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Glory

Glory, like Supreme, was a character that Rob Liefield created which was based on a more popular character (this case Wonder Woman) that Alan Moore attempted to revamped. Unlike Supreme, Alan was unable to do anything with the character.
Rob Liefield
A good approximation of Glory's original appearance
During Rob's run, Glory was the daughter of the ruler of the Underworld Silverfall and amazon goddess Lady Demeter. Gloriana Demeter (Glory) was trained as a warrior by the Amazons, but had trouble controlling her savagery. Feeling alienate in the Underworld and Amazon's home world (creatively called "Amazonia"), he went to the world of men. She was an active superhero since World War II. She helped many great heroes such as Supreme.
Alan Moore
Alan Moore took over. Glory, wanting to experience what it's like to be human, took the alter ego Gloria West. She also took a job as a waiter. Because the "run" last one issue, very little was accomplished.
Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell
Revamped appearance
This creative duo have been given reigns over the series. However, he has just started. The demons and amazons are revealed to be aliens that live on another planet. Glory was radically redesigned to be much more muscular.
Powers
Being the daughter of a demon and amazon (or aliens depending on the version), Glory has super powers. She has the basic flying brick powers of super strength, invulerability and flight. She also has the ability to go into any dimension "where water meets the air". She is a skilled martial artist. She can use a "glamour" to alter her clothes into the current fashion.
She has many magic items to aid her. She has a sword able to dispell enchantments via touch. Her bracelet (not shown) is sentient and named "Shape". She has a battle axe and golden spear.
References:
http://www.comicvine.com/glory/4005-25000/
http://imagecomics.wikia.com/wiki/Glory