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.   

Finishing this post took a bit longer than I thought because I had to prepare some material so I can do a Pascual Ferry post on his birthday Tomorrow but before we start with the fun part of the post I want to include a few links I have saved for a long time. But since I mentioned Kyle Rayner I can use them to show you that I´m not alone with my opinion about him : M´Rabo Mhulargo on BRAINSTOMPING has an enlightening post on Kyle Rayner, el infame as well as two posts on the so - called Mary Sues which seem to be the female counterpart to Wesleys like Kyle Rayner.


We kick off the bonus section with model / actress Karen McDougal who celebrates her 46th birthday and believe it or not the brunette sexbomb taught pre- Kindergarten before winning a swimsuit competition which launched her career as a glamour, promotional and swimsuit model.

In high school Karen was a cheerleader going by the nickname of Barbie which might have had more to do with her 34D - 24 - 34 measurements than her wholesome sweetness like they told her. They are also largely responsible for her becoming first Playmate Of The Month in December 1997 and subsequently Playmate Of The Year 1998. I pity the generation who has to grow up with a PLAYBOY without nudie pictures and I´m glad I got to see Karen´s pictures. She´s one of the hottest women to ever be featured inside Hugh Hefner´s famous mag in fact the readers of PLAYBOY voted her as the No 2 Sexiest Playmate Of The 1990s. She also pursued an acting career during which she appeared on Charlie´s Angels, the movie Joe Dirt and as Shelly in an episode of Anger Management in 2013.

Pretty boy Richard Grieco turns 52 and I remember that when he was on 21 Jump Street everybody thought he would have the big career but Johnny Depp ended up with that destiny while Richard had the short lived spin - off series Booker which probably nobody remembers anymore.

On a comic book related note he did the voice of Ghost Rider in the Fantastic Four and Incredible Hulk cartoon and Tony Dracon on Gargoyles.

He also played Loki in Almighty Thor and if that doesn´t sound familiar don´t worry it was not a Marvel production. Besides guest - starring as Steve Botando on Veronica Mars his greatest claims to fame were If Looks Could Kill in which he gets mistaken for a spy and skin flick Mutual Needs with Rochelle Swanson although he didn´t have any sex scenes with her. 

Speaking of midnight movies, Serena Grandi, famous sex symbol of italian cinema in the 1980s and 1990s celebrates her 59th birthday. She had wild success in many erotic movies with famous director Tinto Brass because of her voluptuous body and 40D - 24 - 40 measurements and most often the plot of the movie was that she is too much woman to handle and tries out various horny candidates which leaves them satisfied but her frustrated.

Besides her nude roles she is known to horror fans from Le Foto Di Gioa, called Das Unheimliche Auge in german and better known as Delirium in the english language. In the movie she uncharacteristically doesn´t take her clothes off but the movie was still a success because Sabrina Salerno, the italian pop queen with the built - in bouncing action ( whose cult siren post I just re - posted last week ) had a nude scene in it. Serena also played the role of Euryale in the second Hercules movie with Lou Ferrigno because they needed to fill the cleavages Sybil Danning had left empty.

What wikipedia won´t tell you is that Serena also was in Stormtroopers II based on the comic by Bonvi which strangely enough was very popular in Germany and during my time in the military everybody was reading this.

Now I had written in an earlier post that it´s a german comic series but it actually comes from Italy and they did two live action movies, one in 1976 and the second one in 1982 which is the one with Serena Grandi. I could only find episodes in italian because since Star Wars came out you can just forget searching for this on google, all you get are stormtroopers.

We are staying in that time period as Teresa Ganzel turns 60 who is best known as the blonde knockout in The Toy from 1982 where she co starred with Richard Pryor. Who gets to wear a Spider - Man costume in that film.

Bursting with bosomness and a sly, kittenish sense of humor Teresa often played ditzy, busty blonde bimbos and became famous as a recurring cast member of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, having replaced the late Carol Wayne as the Matinee Lady in the popular Tea Time Movie skits. You might remember that I mentioned Carol Wayne in Mike Zeck´s birthday post and if you missed that you absolutely HAVE to google Carol Wayne.

The blonde bombshell with the mega inflated body of a living blow up sex doll predestined for the adult industry ( her exact body measures are not known but it is assumed that they were around 39DD - 24 - 35 ) made dreams come true when she did a nude PLAYBOY pictorial in February 1984.

With a curvaceous body that must have been the envy of most porn stars of that time she had many fans who followed her guest appearances on such television shows like I Spy, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. , The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. or The Fall Guy. She had roles in the movies Gunn, The Party and Heartbreakers in which she had a nude scene. Carol appeared in many sketches on The Red Skelton Show but she gained her greatest fame for her 100 plus appearances as the Matinee Lady between 1971 and 1984. In Love American Style she played a secretary that constantly distracts her boss with her big gazongas . She would´ve made one hell of a Power Girl !

So both Carol Wayne and Teresa Ganzel got famous through appearances on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson and I found a clip with both. 

The retro vibe continues as musical pioneer Chaka Khan celebrates her 64th birthday. She was the first R & B singer to have a crossover with a rapper and it was a big hit when I was in school because hip hop - as we called it back then - was the next big thing. Later on it was coined as rap music when it became a huge commercial success but I think they are using the term hip hop again. The more things change as they say ...

And how fitting is it that french actress Corinne Cléry turns 67 because she is best known for her roles in the scandalous erotic movie The Story of O and the Roger Moore vehicle Moonraker and it´s also Wernher von Braun´s anniversary who was a big part of the american space program.

To take things even further Corinne Cléry also starred in The Humanoid with Bond Girl Barbara Bach and Richard Kiel, who played Jaws, Roger Moore´s main antagonist in Moonraker. Since we had Mort Drucker´s birthday Yesterday I was looking for his version of the movie but I couldn´t find it mainly because the Moonraker spoof Moneyraker was drawn by Harry North and you can check it out at THE JAMES BOND 007 DOSSIER .

Our first candidate in the Dearly Departed section is the great italian actor and director Ugo Tognazzi and usually I would put him last but there are some connections at work here. Ugo was not only in Sunday Lovers with Roger Moore and I Viagiattori Della Sera with Corinne Cléry he also appeared in The Conspirators with Britt Ekland who was a Bond Girl in The Man With The Golden Gun with Roger Moore. Ugo Tognazzi also played Mark Hand in Roger Vadim´s comic adaption Barbarella although he is mostly known for La Cage Aux Folles. You may know the american remake The Birdcage which is one of the few remakes that is better than the original version. Because I tried to watch the original a few times and I just couldn´t while I managed to finish the version with Robin Williams.

Ugo also did a ton of rom coms with cult sirens like Gina Lollobrigida, Elke Sommer, Catharine Deneuve, Jodie Foster, Leslie Caron, Claudia Cardinale, Senta Berger, Romy Schneider, sexbomb Ornella Muti or Edwige Fenech.

Going through the movies with Ugo on YouTube I only found complete movies in italian and since I don´t have the time to go through them all I using the opportunity to put a video from one of his many collaborations with the delightful Ornella Muti wearing a swimming suit on the blog.

Last but not least a shoutout goes to movie legend Akira Kurosawa who put China on the map where the international cinema is concerned and now I am glad that I kept this for the end because it´s a nice bookend. I would like to continue with the Pasqual Ferry post but I should probably get some sleep before I pass out. Here are the Top 10 Kurosawa Films.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest / best of the best

Take me, subtract movies and you get zero.

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