Friday Funny Pages: Mighty Marvel Meatloaf Marching Band

 

I don’t know about you, but I love old ads from classic comics.  Me and several of my friends consider ourselves connoisseurs of fine advertisement cheesiness!  For my money the best ads can be found among the pages of comic books heralding from the 1970’s and early 1980’s.  A plethora of goodies can be found in those decades, from dynamic video game adverts to epic promotional toy campaigns!  All of them more outlandish than the last.  If you think about it comic book ads have to be crazy and eye-catching or how else do you expect to distract a reader away from super powered heroes doing battle with brightly colored villains long enough to even glimpse at your product.  Perhaps the most effective are the advertisements that incorporate the heroes of the comic company into the ads, momentarily tricking the readers into thinking the ad is just the continuation of the issue they are reading.

Like the legendary Hostess Fruit Pie ads in Marvel comics.  You’re flipping along reading your X-Men comic when suddenly Captain America bursts onto the scene, or Dr. Strange appears out of thin air.  Suddenly things just got interesting!  What are they doing in this X-Men comic?  And wait, is that Dr. Doom?  What’s behind him in that crate?  What’s going on??  Wait, what??  Fruit pies?  Captain America is rescuing a stolen shipment of Fruit Pies in my X-Men story?  Oh wait, Ha ha!  This is an ad!  Got me again Marvel!

Well here’s something else along those lines, except here you turn the page to find Meatloaf rocking out hard, while at the same time voicing his concerns about the funding and support of the 1987 Special Olympics.  A typical Wednesday for him.  But seriously, look at that first panel, ol’ Meatloaf is really giving it his all, and how the hell is he holding that guitar?

And here’s another question:  What era was Meatloaf popular in?  He’s one of those guys who always seemed eternally old to me.  It was like he was popular at some distant time, but had moved on.  I don’t really know anyone who is a hardcore Meatloaf fan, and trust me I know a lot of people with many varying musical interests and stemming from various musical eras.  I guess it’s because he’s been an actor for so long too, and to me it seems like any musician who turns to acting has passed their musical prime and gone on to other things.  I don’t know, Meatloaf is weird.

That is all!

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Friday Funny Pages: The Horror!

My sister sent me a stack of comics that she found at a yard sale last year, it was about the same time I decided to start doing Friday Funny Pages so I went through them searching for amusing panels.  This image comes from an issue of Captain America that she sent me.  In the issue Cap was fighting his ol’ Nazi vampire nemesis Baron Blood.  I have since filed away this comic among my several long boxes and I don’t remember any of the other details, and am too lazy to go searching for it.  So I apologize for my lack of background information this week!  I’ll try and make up for it next week.

Anyway I just really enjoy this panel for a few reasons.  First, Cap’s expression here is just great.  Second, the words.  When you pair the words in this panel, with Cap’s face in this panel . . . . I just find that combination really amusing.  Lord Falsworth, destroying vampires, comic book gold.  Third, Captain America fighting vampires.  When you think of heroes who battle the supernatural your thoughts turn to Dr. Strange, Blade, or Dr. Fate but not generally Captain America.  Of course Cap has actually met up with several paranormal threats during his time, you’d be hard pressed to find a hero who hasn’t had a close encounter with the paranormal, but it’s still funny to think about.

So that’s it.  Just a quick one this week, and as always keep reading those comics and if anyone comes across some chuckle worthy panels point me in the right direction and I’ll post em here!

That is all!

(Oh and if anyone was wondering, the one way to totally destroy a vampire is to cut it’s head off, which Cap does here with the edge of his shield.  Badass.)

Why the Avengers Need Ant-Man!

With Marvel Studios now in full swing cranking out movies such as Captain America and Thor, and with the Avengers looming on the horizon there is a lot of excitement brewing among comic book fans and fans of comic book movies.  2011 is going to be an epic year for super heroes on film, we’ve already had the Green Hornet, and soon we will have Green Lantern, Priest, Captain America, Thor, X-Men: First Class, and a new Conan just to name a few!

However, without a doubt the most ambitious comic book project is the upcoming Avengers film, scheduled to be released May of 2012 which will also be a year rife with comic characters on the big screen such as Ghost Rider, Spider-Man, and not least of all the final Nolan Batman!  For anyone who doesn’t know about the Avengers (which if that is the case I don’t know why you’re reading this) they are a team of super heroes, Marvels answer to DC’s Justice League.  The company’s top heroes unite with some lesser known up and comers to fight larger threats that each individual hero may be unable to handle separately.  The storylines in the comics generally deal with major villain conspiracies or cosmic threats such as alien invaders or some other grand impending doom.  The Avenger’s roster has changed over the years.  The team has grown and expanded even fracturing into multiple teams, a west and east coast crew, but there have been a core group of heroes who were the founders and cornerstones of the Avengers throughout their comics history.  Three such Avengers are Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor.  They have become iconic heroes involved with the team and are the old school Avengers that most readers are familiar with; they have appropriately become known as “The Big Three.”  It just so happens that by the end of this year each of the Big Three will have been featured in their own movie, what a convenient buildup to an Avengers movie!

Let me just say right off that I am really looking forward to the Avengers coming together on the big screen, it’s about time we get multiple heroes appearing in the same movie!  Iron Man with Robert Downey Jr. has been highly entertaining, and the trailers for Cap and Thor look outstanding, and don’t forget about the Hulk!  My only complaint is that it would seem that two crucial members of the Avengers have been completely glossed over, heroes who have been a part of the team since the beginning and have stuck with it ever since.  I am of course talking about Ant-Man and the Wasp, the hero and heroine who can alter their sizes.  He can communicate with insects; she can fly and shoot bio stingers out of her hands.  Ant-Man just so happens to be one of my favorite Avengers and in fact one of my favorite heroes in comics!  From everything we’ve heard about the Avengers movie it is all but confirmed that Ant-Man and the Wasp will NOT be appearing in the film, at least not as their hero personas.  I have a pretty enthusiastic fandom for Ant-Man and this news brings me down quite a bit, which is why I have come up with this list of reasons why the Avengers need Ant-Man!  So take a look!

 

#1-Ant-Man is a Founding Avenger!

That’s right, Ant-Man and the Wasp were original Avengers when the team first formed to thwart the plans of Thor’s evil brother Loki.  They were Avengers even before Captain America was unfrozen from his arctic nap!  Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne have been Avengers in some capacity since the beginning and though they might not be household names their history still remains.

#2 –The Couple Dynamic

Every hero has their gal or beau.  Iron Man has a flirtatious thing with Pepper Potts, Thor has Jane Foster, Cap pines for Sharon Carter, heck even the Hulk gets puppy dog eyes for Betty Ross.  Those heroes are fighting for their significant other to ensure their world is safe and often times they might even have to come to their rescue.  There aren’t many heroes however who fight side by side with their wife or husband but that’s exactly what Ant-Man and the Wasp do.  I think that dynamic, of a couple together in big epic battles, would add something interesting to the Avengers team.  They all have something to fight for, but how cool would it be to have the person you most want to protect fighting alongside you.  I just think that would be a small element that would really set the Avengers apart.

#3-Different Personalities

Both Ant-Man and the Wasp are fairly unique characters and not your typical brooding hero figures.  First off, there are already a limited number of women involved in the Avengers, we might be getting the Black Widow and there is a slight rumor about Ms. Marvel making an appearance.  But I think the Wasp would be a great addition to the cast.  The Wasp isn’t your typical tough and buff badass female hero, she of course is capable of great heroics and well trained, but she is pretty much enjoys her “girliness” for lack of a better word.  In the comics Janet Van Dyne enjoys fashion and designing clothes, she even has designed costumes for other heroes.  Ant-Man in the same respect is also not the typical alpha male hero.  He can be intense at times, but for the most part he is laid back and knows when to make suggestions and when to follow orders.  Fairly level headed.  This I think would be a nice break from what we will have with Iron Man the cocky billionaire industrialist, Captain America the leader and war hero, Thor the (literal) God, and the punch first and ask questions later Hulk.

#4-Possibility for Interesting Developing Storylines

Ant-Man has an interesting story arc.  Because of the pressures of being surrounded by all these great heroes he kind of loses it.  He goes through a bit of a personality issue, not being able to decide if he wants to continue to be the oft over looked Ant-Man or the over compensating Giant-Man.  He goes through several heroic identities to fit in with his more powerful comrades.  Eventually believing he needs to do more to equal the “Big Three” he lashes out at the Wasp, they get a divorce, and withdraws to his intellectual pursuits.  All of which is very character driven storytelling and could make for some interesting tangents as the Avengers movies progress through their inevitable sequels. 

#5-Ant-Man is a Real Scientist

Iron Man is a genius don’t get me wrong, but he’s just more of a tech guy, weapons, computers, etc.  I would call him a high-tech MacGyver.  Hank Pym however does it all!  Biology, physics, robotics, etc.  Ant-Man is a smart dude and there is always need for another sharp mind when threats come down from the likes of Kang the Conquerer and Dr. Doom.  With S.H.I.E.L.D being involved heavily in the movie universe, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind taking advantage of his scientific talents as well.

#6-Visually Dynamic

I can just picture Ant-Man on screen shrinking down hopping on an ant’s back and soaring through a crowded battle scene.  Or growing huge and sending guys soaring in every direction.  Imagine the Wasp zooming in and out between bad guys shooting them in the back of the head with her flashing laser-like stingers.  I think the presence of these two characters in a battle scene would really liven things up a bit and get away from the other heroes techniques which basically consist of punching or smashing enemies into submission.

#7-Ant-Man is Not Useless in a Fight

I just want to clear up a common misconception about Ant-Man and the Wasp.  When they use their powers to shrink down to small size they are not useless in terms of fighting ability.  Many people think ‘Oh well they’re small, so why wouldn’t someone just step on them or swat them away?’  That’s not how it works.  When Ant-Man shrinks down the normal laws of physics do not apply, he is actually able to retain the strength he possesses at normal height.  So if someone steps on him, he simply pushes the foot off and is capable of fighting back.  When in a brawl he is nearly impossible to see, but is capable of leaping up and delivering imperceptible punches and jabs, not to mention summon swarms of ants and bugs to attack villains for him.  He also has a great supply of various gadgets at his disposal.  Though Ant-Man won’t be going toe to toe with the likes of Thanos or Galactus in a typical fight Ant-Man and the Wasp can definitely hold their own.

#8-Strategically Effective

When you are a member of a super hero team your life isn’t just a constant battle against hordes of robots and armies of men from outer space.  Often times there is a great deal of sneaking around, gathering information, and spying on the enemy.  What characters are more suited to that task then Ant-Man and the Wasp?  Certainly not Thor, I’m sure he’d draw some attention.  And not every villain can be defeated by simply unleashing the Hulk.  Occasionally there is more finesse required, a delicate touch if you will.  That’s when we need Ant-Man.

#9-So Much More Than Simply Ant-Man

If you’ve got Ant-Man in the Avengers movie you get so much more than just Ant-Man.  With him comes the Wasp, all his scientific expertise, as I mentioned before he can also become Giant-Man adding another heavy hitter to the team when needed, think of all the other things you can shrink down for easy transportation, and not least of all you get the potential for Ultron as a future villain in the franchise.  Hank Pym was the creator of this insane cyborg killing machine which has plagued the Avengers in the comics for decades.  It would be great to see Ultron take on the Avengers in the movies one day. 

Hank Pym using his powers to become Giant-Man

I’m all for Ant-Man, he and Wasp are great characters and it is a shame they are more or less being ignored for the continuity of the movies.  I’m sure the Avengers will still be great even with the absence of Ant-Man, but I really think it would help to rocket that movie beyond all expectations if they would take a chance and include such unique characters the likes of which haven’t been on screen since the days of the Incredible Shrinking Man and the Attack of the 50 Foot Woman.

Ant-Man (1962) was inspired by the Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

 

To validate my points about Hank Pym you have to look no further than the new Avengers cartoon, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on Disney XD.  The writers of that show have done a great job with the Avengers as a whole.  There is clearly a strong love for the characters and each hero is showcased perfectly.  There is an emphasis on the individual personalities, their strengths, weaknesses, and how they work with the rest of the team.  Ant-Man is written perfectly in that cartoon, and Joss Whedon should pay attention to how the Avengers work on that show when directing his juggernaut of a movie project.

Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Watch this show!

But alas though we may not see Ant-Man fully in action during the Avengers movie of 2012 there may still be hope for a solo project later on.  There are still rumors floating around that Edgar Wright is indeed planning on directing an Ant-Man movie, and perhaps we might see Ant-Man and the Wasp with the team should the Avengers do well enough to garner a sequel.  Who knows?

Anyway keep Ant-Man in your thoughts this movie season . . . .

That is all!

Thor Looks Appropriately Epic

First off the newest Thor trailer was released recently and word on the street is that another Captain America trailer is on the way as well!

This new trailer can only be described in one word, EPIC! Granted it is only a movie trailer, but from what we’ve seen in these first two previews of the film I have to say that it certainly looks like this movie has captured the grandeur and sprawling splendor of Asgard with a good mix of the mundane Midgard. In the first trailer we got more of an idea about what Thor would be like on earth, heavy on S.H.I.E.L.D elements with Thor running around in a t-shirt and jeans. In this trailer however we see much more of mythic Asgard, Thor in his full battle regalia, along with some new scenes on earth. I’m especially liking the Destroyer armor, that shit is straight out of the comics! Most importantly we see how the two settings are going to mix, that there seems to be a great balance of the visual spectacle of the Gods mixed with the small town america aspects of the film which ultimately endear Thor to the world of men.

To be honest I was a little worried when word came down to us that Thor would take place in both Asgard and Midgard. Originally the rumor was that the movie would be set entirely in Asgard, with Thor amongst his fellow godlings. I was pretty excited for the prospect of a chance to really set up Thor’s character in Asgard in an epic realm with a feeling and story akin to the Lord of the Rings. Pure myth and fantasy, with perhaps a lead in at the end where Thor is banished from the land of the Gods which would work into the Avengers extravaganza. However after seeing this and the other footage from Thor I think this mix of settings that Kenneth Branagh has put together will be even better. It looks like we will not be shorted any amount of myth and fantasy in this movie, and we will have Thor’s earthly set up out of the way and fully explained by the time the Avengers movie rolls around. Plus it will set the Thor movie apart from the other Avengers solo outings, in that we will have an obviously different movie from Iron Man, and a mix of two worlds unlike Captain America, which will be entirely set in the era of World War II with little or no connection to the modern-day of the Avengers.

All of this will be quite a benefit to each individual movie in the long run, and each individual series of movies (assuming there is going to be a Captain America 2 and Thor 2) because in these initial outings we get to develop these unique characters in very different ways which gives a specific feel and focus to each hero. This helps alleviate the stereotypical super hero movie cookie cutter plotlines and hopefully continue the costumed hero genre (as long as they are done well) for a long time to come. Also this could make for a very successful Avengers series of movies. The Avengers has a great many fans excited, but it is a project that I have heard some nervous grumblings about as well. More or less some fans are claiming it will never be done right with so many big personalities involved both in front of and behind the cameras. I however believe that Marvel Studios has established, quite successfully, that these various heroes are very unique individuals with certain skill sets which they bring to the table and if the studio wants to do the Avengers right, they will throw a big earth shattering problem at this assembled team of do gooders and let the movie be a playground for their heroics. Spotlighting what we already know about these heroes while at the same time showing them in a team and working together to save the day. Not to say that there won’t be some friction among the members (Hulk and Thor mayhaps?) but they really shouldn’t over think the Avengers, they’ve already got the really cool pieces in place now they just have to put it together with the same attention to detail and focus on talent that they have with these other movies in order to make one epicly cool movie!

And on that note, that is all! Maybe next time I will discuss the upcoming DC movies, who knows?

The Avengers Big Three