The Case of the Chemicals Indicated

I’d say that a funny thing happened on my way back from a long-overdue visit to
family in California, but it involves the Transportation Security Administration and wasn’t really funny — except insofar as it was Batman’s fault.

Batman figure, modeled on 1950s incarnation of the character, in plastic bubble packaging on cardstock

At the Bay Area fixture Cost Plus World Market, I picked up a figure like the one
shown here.

A-Ha Moment

I was in line at a store earlier, barely moving, with a full interior wall on the left and half-wall division to the right.

When I arrived the woman in front of me was slumped against the left wall; as people shuffled forward she slumped against the right, then against the left wall as we shuffled forward again, back to the right, etc., repeat, all the way to the front.

It was the slowest homage to the video for “Take On Me” I have ever seen.

Related: 23 Skidoo Oh Hell No Coin Drop

Up Your Nose with
a Rubber Flux Capacitor

This one’s been percolating for a while.

mockup of faded, beat-up Golden All-Stars Book cover of 'Welcome Back to the Future Kotter' with photos of 'Gabe Kaplan as Professor Kotter' and 'Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly', plus inset of red-eyed John Travolta titled 'With the Sweatbots featuring Vin-E Barbarino'

And there’s no time like the present. Not only have we reached the once-far-off date
to which Marty and the Professor traveled in the second Back to the Future film, but this year saw the 30th anniversary of the first movie in that trilogy as well as the (somewhat less heralded) 40th anniversary of Welcome Back, Kotter’s premiere. Thus, in the grand tradition of my poster for Captain America and the Maltese Falcon and DVD case for Tarzan of the Planet of the Apes, here’s a Golden Books tie-in to that hit TV show from another dimension, Welcome Back to the Future, Kotter.

One Flash, Two Flash,
Red and Blue Flash

close-up of Teddy Sears as Jay Garrick in Earth-Two Flash's costume including winged helmet
Teddy Sears as Jay Garrick in The Flash Ep. 2.01 “Flash of Two Worlds” © 2015
CW Network. Photo: Cate Cameron. Character
TM/® DC Comics.

I didn’t see Tuesday’s Flash episode until after midnight — so it ended up a birthday present. And it was a gift to all the fans who’ve loved DC’s multiverse for decades. I’m honestly not able to put my reaction into words, because it basically involved giving
the astral projection of my 6-year-old self a high-five.

Allred in Black & White

My contributor copy of Michael Allred: Conversations, edited by Christopher Irving for University Press of Mississippi, arrived yesterday. The longest of its 13 interviews — some Q&A, some article-style — is the wide-ranging talk that Stefan Blitz and I had with Mike for Comicology in 2000. It’s a smart little hardcover sure to be a fascinating read.

high-contrast photo of Mike Allred in black outline and fuzzy black coat

Allred made a bit of noise with Grafik Musik before really turning heads on his creator-owned pop sci-fi existential superhero adventure Madman. Even a cursory list of his credits wouldn’t be complete without mentioning his Marvel work on X-Force, FF, and most recently Silver Surfer or the Vertigo series I Zombie, created by Allred with Chris Roberson and now a hit CW show whose cool opening credits feature his art.

Oh Hell No

TV screen displaying grid of Philadelphia on local news in which colors and lines identifying event areas during Pope's visit to the city strongly resemble the red, horned figure of Satan complete with goatee

I can’t be the only person who sees a certain horned figure looming. You had one job, Graphics Department. One job.

Related: A-Ha Moment The Devil You Say Coin Drop

Yvonne Craig 1937-2015

Photo © 1967 ABC / 20th Century / Greenway.

TV’s Batgirl, Yvonne Craig, left us last month at 78. She was more than just that description — to fans of Star Trek, in which she appeared as the green-skinned Orion woman Marta; to Elvis aficionados, having co-starred in two of his films; and of course to her loved ones, as wife, sister, mentor, and philanthropist.

Rounds of the Night Table

Heidi MacDonald, a longtime journalist and editor who runs comics site The Beat, coined a great phrase several years ago: “satisfying chunk”. More than ever that’s what I’m after when reading new material, with issues costing 3 to 4 bucks
a pop — not just a steep price on the face of it but one that suffers in comparison to copious collections of recent material that easily best the per-chapter price of single issues and usually throw in extras to boot. There’s also a wealth of archival material now available nearly impossible to even imagine a couple of decades ago.

I greatly appreciate series that compel me to reread often, too, and reward my doing
so in different ways:

Comes a Dawn

Batman standing in the rain on rooftop next to lit Bat-Signal

We got a new trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice last month to coincide with the sprawling media crush of San Diego’s Comic-Con International.

I’ll admit that the movie looks impressive on its own terms. While Man of Steel had potential as a riff on the superhero genre with a heavy sci-fi bent, however, it was a terribly misguided Superman film. Based on the footage and conversations regarding its sequel, Zack Snyder continues to be at least as far off target in translating DC’s oldest, greatest icons from page to screen as he was in adapting Watchmen a half-dozen years back. (See my non-spoiler post or my longer review of Man of Steel, and my detailed review of Watchmen, for more.)

For Pete’s Sake

According to a headline on Monday, “The Supreme Court Just Quoted Spider-Man”.

Text about stare decisis and overturning prior decisions including highlighted lines 'in this world with great power there must also come great responsibility'

If you had the trifecta of this, upholding the first African-American President’s expansive health-insurance plan, and ruling that marriage is a right inclusive of same-sex couples under the Constitution in your latest United States Supreme Court Actions Your Ten-Year-Old Self Would Never Believe office pool, I really gotta hand it to you.

Coin Drop

I didn’t have the exact 21¢ in change in my pocket earlier tonight that I’ll usually make sure is on me when I go to Chipotle, where I know my sofritas bowl is $7.21 with tax, but I did at least have a penny. The cashier apparently thought the penny was too in-significant to ring up, however, because I still got $12.79 in change for my twenty-dollar bill (and single penny). So not only wasn’t I rewarded with the “How did you do that? You-- You’re a warlock!” look of wide-eyed wonder I’m used to in today’s world when the register displays round change, I’m now out a fricking penny.

Related: 23 Skidoo A-Ha Moment Cold Beans

Past of Future Days

This post is currently down for maintenance.

Worlds Enough and Time

At this week’s TV “upfronts” we got trailers for CBS’ new Supergirl, to air Mondays at
8 p.m. ET come November, and the CW Arrow/Flash spinoff DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, which bows at midseason. [bad links]

Rip Hunter, Kendra Saunders / Hawkgirl, Martin Stein, White Canary / Sara Lance, Atom / Ray Palmer, Captain Cold / Len Snart, and Heat Wave / Mick Rory as portrayed on Legends of Tomorrow

Ra's al Ghul is practically a millennial next to the immortal Vandal Savage, who’s mentioned in the latter.

Girls, Power

DC and Warner Bros. announced the Fall 2015 launch of DC Super-Hero Girls yesterday — a line of media content and merchandising in partnership with Mattel targeted at girls aged 6 to 12.

Young, newly designed versions of Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Katana, Bumblebee, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn flying, running, and/or jumping towards the viewer

Why am I so conflicted about this?

Kind of Blue

Here’s our first look at Melissa Benoist in costume for CBS’s upcoming Supergirl.

Photos: Bonnie Osborne / Warner Bros. Entertainment © 2015.

A friend was decrying the dark blue on Facebook and he’s not alone there. I don’t
mind it myself. Bruce Timm & Co. opted to go in that direction for the WB Superman animated series in 1996, harkening back to the earliest depictions in the comics as well as the 1940s Fleischer cartoon shorts, and I think darker colors in general tend to work better in live-action portrayals. The Flash has done all right with a mostly lighter superhero — in tone — wearing a darker red than we get on the page. (Of course, Man of Steel went dark too…)

Color Wars

marker-style drawing of fight between pale-skinned blonde woman in white dress with gold trim and brown-skinned brunette woman in blue dress with black trim

You either know about The Dress or spend no time on social media and probably don't even watch the news. Kevie Metal's Minister of Illustration, Kevin Kobasic, posted this gem to his Facebook page last night. (I sincerely apologize for linking to Buzzfeed.)

Related: ... in Translation Ozy Ozy Ozy See You Next B'ak'tun!

Smartypants Folderol

I expect that cyberspace is full of goofs on Benedict Cumberbatch’s name. The other day, however, I awoke from a dream right as I was putting together a list of just such a thing. I felt compelled to write down as many as I could before it all faded, and a few more that I brainstormed in the process, which brings us to my utterly unnecessary but hopefully amusing enough...

Top Twenty-One Things That Are Not Exactly Benedict Cumberbatch

21. Barleycorn Cabbage-Patch

20. Gryffindor Hufflepuff

19. Orthodox Crucifix

18. Ambient Temperature

17. Budapest Architect

16. Marzipan Coffee Cake

15. Broken-Tooth Crackerjack

14. Basketball Pick-Up Game

13. Batmobile Catapult

12. Baggy-Pants Hammer Time

11. Booster-Seat Kiddie Chair

10. Baltimore Quarterback

Hit the ’Zine

ACE logo -- three letters in circle

I’m happy to help spread the word that Jon B. Cooke, a familiar name to folks who enjoy reading about the stories behind the comics, is helming a new magazine called ACE — All Comics Evaluated set to launch in March. The moniker is meant to indicate both that each issue will include a price guide and that stuff from across the incredibly wide spectrum of today's comics scene will be covered. I wrote a retro-spective on Robin the Boy Wonder for the first issue, as his 75th anniversary is nigh.