Thursday, March 23, 2017

Road to Flash Friday part 1 : Green Lantern

Once again I´m taking a short break from cleaning up the laptop to finally start the three part crossover Three Of A Kind that was going through GREEN LANTERN and GREEN ARROW and culminated in FLASH issue 135.


I don´t think I can do four posts in one day so we will probably have to skip the FLASH FRIDAY post for this week but since I finally did manage to do the obligatory Marvel post before a DC post I wanted to put it up on the blog just in case. And to have some new content. I don´t know what my next post will be but don´t be too surprised if the next DC post is not the next part of this story but rather a remembrance post in honor of the great. late Bernie Wrightson as he did the bulk of his work on DC titles. 


Coming back to the story at hand it was a team up between the three new versions of The Flash, Green Lantern and Green Arrow who had all taken up the hero mantle of their predecessors after their death - well temporary death as it later turned out - and in one case after the original had gone rogue. I´m talking about Green Lantern Hal Jordan here who had gone over to the dark side as Parallax and butchered the entire Green Lantern Corps. Well, he left some stranded in the vastness of outer space without ring power and some of them survived but no thanks to him. He didn´t care if they lived or died so he might as well have killed them given the chance. In any case the three heroes are taking a vacation together mainly to smooth out the problems between Wally West and Kyle Rayner with Connor Hawke as the operating conseglieri or mediator if you will.

And Wally West had any right not to like Kyle Rayner. I remember back at the time when Kyle was introduced into the DC universe he brought a lot of new readers to the title but a lot of old readers left - me included - and not only because of the disparaging and stupid way in which Hal Jordan´s entire history as a hero ( and also the complete Green Lantern Corps ) was wiped out for a cheap sales gimmick. Most of the newbie readers who were Kyle Rayner fans accused the older readers of just not being open to change and in some cases that might have been true but there was more to it. Now here somebody will probably come with the old - and absolutely incorrect - argument that you like the version of a hero you encounter first the most and since you get attached to that version it will always be the one you prefer. That kind of school of thinking has always be around and I don´t think at this point in time they can ever be taught otherwise.


How I know that this is not true ? Simple. When I started reading comics Hal Jordan was Green Lantern. There were some other Green Lanterns in the comics but Hal Jordan was always the Green Lantern of earth. But Hal Jordan is not my favorite Green Lantern. Anybody who has read this blog for a longer period of time knows that my favorite Green Lantern is Guy Gardner. Whom I didn´t read until my military service got me stationed in Munich where they had a real comic shop with a lot of american comics. And at that time the Norbert Hethke Verlag published the first issues of the Keith Giffen / J. M. DeMatteis JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA in Germany for the first time. So you might say that this was just a fluke.


But it was the same with the Flash. When I started reading comic books Barry Allen was the Flash. But my favorite Flash is Wally West. And the first time I read his adventures as the Flash was at the same time when I first met Guy Gardner. Now you might say that this is the common factor and that this is the reason why I like both versions of them better than their previous incarnations. Which might be true but then it goes against the argument that you like the first version you encounter the most since this was more than a decade after I first encountered the original heroes.


Talk about a late bloomer. And then there´s the matter of Green Arrow. Okay, I know some people will write some nasty comments about this but I never liked Connor Hawke. But not because I hated him but because I had no real interest in him as a character. I was always an Oliver Queen guy. Ever since he evolved from a´the cheap Batman knock off with a bow and arrow you might know from BATMAN - THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD carton series into the social consciousness of the Justice League he was my man and the best series he ever had was LONGBOW HUNTERS followed by the Mike Grell penned series that DC is now finally making available again for a new generation in trade. That is the best Green Arrow you will EVER read.


Okay, now that we have debunked the myth that you always like the first version you read the most you might ask where my dislike of Kyle Rayner stemmed from and the answer to that is very simple. Like the readers who defended him so vehemently he just didn´t get it. And that is one of the reasons why I could understand Wally West. Because Kyle Rayner didn´t get him and never could. He didn´t come in where Wally West came in.


He didn´t start out as a kid sidekick and had to work his way through the ranks. He did not have to work hard for years to earn the trust of the superhero community that he could take up the mantle and be as capable as his role model had been. He didn´t have to defeat his predecessor´s worst enemy in a baptism of fire during which he even surpassed him. He did not have to go through all of this to become a hero so he never could understand what being a hero really means to someone like Wally West.


And that is the second reason why I never liked Kyle Rayner. Because he didn´t get it. He did not get it what it means to be a hero and especially a Green Lantern. On most planets when you were chosen as the acting Green Lantern of your space sector your old life was over. It didn´t matter if you were a doctor or a banker or a factory worker from the moment that little green ring slipped itself on your finger Green Lantern you were. But not Kyle Rayner. Despite now being the only Green Lantern for the entire universe he still treated it like a job that you could do eight hours of the week and then do something else like he would pursue his art stuff. Where he also never quite succeeded which should be no surprise to anybody who had seen his ringslinging. The two laws of design I always believed in are Form Follows Function and Keep It Simple and it is clearly apparent that with his needlessly over elaborated ring creations Kyle spends way too much energy on looks and not enough on great ideas.


Okay, back to Kyle Rayner´s new role of hero, his defenders would say that he was thrown into it without a handbook and that he had a really rough start with his dead girlfriend stuffed into a refrigerator which started and entire feminist movement. But it´s not like he later made much efforts to find said handbook. I mean there was a storyline where he finally thought about asking some other heroes for advice how they go about their heroing stuff - but that was in issue 72 and he had become the new Green Lantern with issue 51. so for two years and a half he was only winging it ? And it was not like ALL the former members of the Green Lantern Corps were dead and he couldn´t ask them for advice. Gnort was still around, Guy Gardner was still around and even if he didn´t want to ask him for help which excuse did Kyle have for not talking with John Stewart ?


No, people may call Kyle Rayner the torchbearer and say that he kept the Green Lantern Corps alive when nobody else did but he never understood what a Green Lantern is and what he can do. The two most significant moments in that regard were in a Justice League Of America story where the new Lord of Dreams had to explain to him that that ring he has on his finger is basically a wish ring from the fairy tales and in GREEN LANTERN REBIRTH when his ring suddenly spoke and Kyle Rayner said : " I never knew you could speak. " to which the ring simply replied : " You never asked. " Which is something every reader of the old GREEN LANTERN comics knew. Yep, the ring is like an Encyclopedia Intergalactica which can tell you anything you wish to know provided you ask the right question.


Rest my case. Anyway, here is the first part of the crossover and over the years Wally West has learned to work with Kyle in the JLA and they even gained some kind of friendship although I doubt Kyle will ever understand what a pauper he is compared to someone of Wally West´s Airwolf - ness.   

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

It´s that Williams feeling of DEJA VUE again

There have been no posts the last few days because I seriously needed to take a break from blogging to get some sleep and I also had to clean up the laptop because I had too much stuff on it. And while I´m not finished with that I thought I could let my readers reap the fruits of all my hard work.


Because I spent the entire day Yesterday getting all the cult siren clips I needed for the posts and the episodes of Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends Of Tomorrow and all the other stuff that´s clogging the laptop on DVDs. And while the laptop is burning the files I like to do something else which was getting rid of all the doubles in my folder with all the material from the old Williams Verlag Marvel comics. The funny thing is that while I was going through the files I was hit by the realization how epic Marvel comics used to be. So I wanted to put some of them on the blog which should provide my german readers with some flashbacks from their childhood while my readers from outside of Germany might enjoy this peek at how Marvel comics were presented in another country. I have tried not too put too many pages of the same kind into the post so that is well balanced and if readers like it maybe it can turn into a regular thing.

By the way, I was so busy the last few days that I didn´t even notice that I broke the 2,000,000 hits mark. Yay, me ! And of course all the visitors who have helped make that happen. I will try not to let you down and it looks like you are enjoying this content so I must be doing something right.


We are keeping it german as Today´s first celebrity birthday is Hugo Egon Balder who turns 67. He is of course best known as the presenter of Tutti Frutti and I just love wikipedia because I have never heard it be described anywhere else as a soft - porn tits - out show but I guess it kind of was.


Now usually I would go into a tangent to explain the show to my foreign readers with lots of animated GIFs of dancing bare chested sex bombs and whatnots but since I made a separate post for Monique Sluyter and the Tutti Frutti Girls I can just put that link on the blog and you can click it. 


Hugo also had a music career although he´s known to Today´s audiences as the receiver of ten tv and entertainment awards and a producer and host on various successful tv shows which means you get your video from Genial Daneben with Bernhard Hoecker and sexy Verona Pooth after all.



Since I posted a video of Hubert Kah last year I want to switch it up this year with Roger Whittaker who celebrates his 81st birthday. Although he was born in Kenya and lived in Britain for great parts of his life I always thought of him as german but the truth is that when he recorded his first songs in german he had to sing them phonetically because he didn´t speak the language. By the time I became aware of him he had of course learned to speak german quite well and he had a big following. He released 25 albums in Germany and is also known for his trademark whistling ability.



William Shatner turns 86 and since I don´t want to repeat myself too much in this section he only gets a short mention but you can check out last year´s post for a TekWar video and I specifically chose the picture below.


Because that´s my not so subtle segueway to artist Mort Drucker who celebrates his 88th birthday. He has contributed to the world famous MAD magazine for over five decades and some sources list him as being born on the 29th of March so don´t be mad if that´s the date you have listed.


Mort Drucker is of course famous for his movie parodies and when I was in school my allowance was so low that it was almost non existent so I did not have the money to watch all the latest movies. The only thing I could afford was MAD so instead of seeing the movie I read the spoofs and had to imagine the plot of the movie by the jokes they made about it. And even now I sometimes get the movie scenes mixed up with what I read.


The picture above is one example since I´m pretty sure that dialogue was not in the movie ( although the cleavage was ). If you want to check out some of Mort Drucker´s work THE BRONZE AGE OF BLOGS has three posts on Mort Drucker, The Milking Of The Planet That Went Ape , The Six Million Dollars, Man & Neuronic Woman and Mad Revisionist Westerns .

As a video I chose this animated version of Mort Drucker´s The Oddfather even though the quality of the picture and sound is really beyond abysmal.



We start the Dearly Depated section of the post with Steve Dillon who passed away rather recently. He is of course best known for his work on Punisher and Preacher ( hmm, both start with p ) of which the last one has just been finally adapted as a tv series - which I still haven´t seen.


Steve started his career with the title story of Hulk Weekly for Marvel UK and later worked on the Nick Fury strip before becaming one of the artists on british cult comic magazines Warrior and 2000 AD. What is really weird is that I´m about to read something from Steve Dillon from those days as Today my latest comic order from the guys at Comic Express arrived which includes all issues of Eclipse Comics Axel Pressbutton series that reprints some classic UK comic material by the likes of Brian Bolland or Alan Davis.


In fact I found out about this comic while looking for issues of Alan Davis to add to my order ( I also got rare Gene Colan issues of DC´s Silverblade and Eclipse Comics Ragamuffins ) and after doing a bit of online research I ordered all the issues. At first I was afraid the inside would be in black and white but it´s full color. If - like me - you have no idea what the heck Axel Pressbutton is there is a post on LOOKIT ME I THINK PEOPLE CARE ABOUT MY OPINIONS and you can find the Zirk short story by Brian Bolland that is mentioned there on COMICS A - GO - GO ! ( god, Brian Bolland draws some beautiful females ). Also check out SAVAGE TALES for the story Cold War, Cold Warrior by Alan Moore and Gary Leach and the FORBIDDENPLANET blog has some Steve Dillon pages from Laser Eraser And Pressbutton.


Like most british artists Steve Dillon had worked on the Doctor Who comics which brings us to Mary Tamm, the first actress to play the part of Romana on the tv show. She only accepted the role of companion when the producers told her that she would also be a timelord and the Doctor´s equal and she left the show when the writers returned Romana to the old stereotypes. She was much sexier than Lalla Ward who came in after her.


Originally I wanted to post a trailer from the Doctor Who series with Mary Tamm but then I found this little nugget. Since she left during Tom Baker´s tenure she never got to interact with Sylvester McCoy on the show but after she left and before Sylvester landed the role of gallifreyan time traveller both appeared in the 80s action movie Three Kinds Of Heat.



If you are anything like me you want to see more so here is the full movie with Robert Ginty, Victoria Barrett and Shakti Chen for your enjoyment.



Another shoutout goes to Karl Malden whom I always watched in The Streets Of San Francisco and although I have no video for him - at least this year - here is Mort Drucker´s rendition of him from the movie Patton.


There is also no video for Bud Sagendorf, the artist I always associate with Popeye ( and who for some reason was NOT the main artist on the FAZ´s edition of classic comics ) because - again - I had a Popeye video in last year´s post and there already is a cartoon video in this post. Still I wanted to mention him so I could post this wonderful strip I found since last year.


Since I didn´t prepare this post I was caught a bit by surprise that Today is Bernard Krigstein´s anniversary or otherwise I would have done a post on him. As it is I´m posting the only work of him I have - the complete story The Bath from Tales From The Crypt issue 42 - and while Bernie is best known as EC Comic artist he also had done work in early issues of MAD.


Our last anniversary is Chico Marx which fits right in with the tone of this section as I can imagine him feeling right at home playing the piano with all the Tutti Frutti babes around him. And I´m sure the kind of anarchistic humor the Marx Brothers displayed in their movies had as much influence on the makers of the EC comics, 2000 AD or MAD as they had on me. Even at a very young age I got that there was something special and at the same time inappropriate about their jokes and I watched their movies at any chance I got. Here is one of my favorite scenes ( which is sadly not the complete scene ) where they show the basics of the sales pitch.  



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