Mindless Philosophy: 2011 in review

In case you’ve been wondering I’ve taken a brief holiday hiatus in order to get through the multitude of celebrations the wife and I attend with our families this time of year.  However have no fear, I will be returning to my regularly scheduled blogging shortly!  Until then here is the year in review from the good folks at WordPress.com!  Take a peek.

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,600 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Friday Funny Pages: A Woman, A Swamp Monster, And A Wizard Walk Into A Bar . . . .

When taken out of context some comic book panels can really raise the question, “what the fuck?”  I believe this one does just that.

This panel also illustrates what I think is missing from a lot of comic books today which is, pure zaniness.  Not to be confused with silliness.  Silliness is useless.  Zaniness on the other hand, at least how I define it, is a desire to do something new and creative in the most outrageous way possible.  I mean with comic books there are no limitations so why not occasionally build a genuinely good storyline with a zany crescendo?  Often times these days, as with almost every other medium, comic books are rehashing or returning to older concepts.  So on occasion we’ll see some zany in the funny pages, but it’s a return to another creators zany.  Not original, fresh zany.  That’s harder to come by.  Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of great comic books out there now, really quality stuff from all the publishers.  As far as I’m concerned however, comics are taking themselves far too serious.  Sure they’ve matured with the audience, and comics aren’t for kids anymore, etc. etc.  Zaniness doesn’t necessarily have to be for kids either.  Perhaps it’s just me though, perhaps I’m just part of a rapidly shrinking audience who enjoys a zany approach and outlandish characters in my comic books.

If you feel the same way then check out the rest of the book from which this panel comes from Man-Thing #14 written by Steve Gerber, with art by Val Mayerik.  If you want unpredictable adventure and something different around ever swamp soaked corner you’ll want to take a peek at Steve Gerber’s entire run of Man-Thing especially the blockbuster Giant Size Man-Thing #3 where the Man-Thing meets a new special pal.  Go check it out, all of it, right now.

That is all!

Friday Funny Pages: I Was Wondering Where They Got To

 

Today I grace your sightballs with a few precious panels from Star Wars: The Return of Tag & Bink Special Edition #1.  Written by Kevin Rubio with art by Lucas Marangon, I would dare to say that Tag and Bink are one of the most beloved Star Wars parodies of all time.  They are right up there with one of Rubio’s other Star Wars parody creations Troops.  Both Troops and Tag & Bink have an “in continuity” comedic style that masterfully fills in scenes and details that go unviewed in the movies, and with a hilarious goofball twist somehow it all winds up making perfect sense.  It’s difficult to explain here to the uninitiated, but let’s just say that if you are a Star Wars fan there’s a good chance you will enjoy Kevin Rubio’s take on the universe.  Although if you consider yourself a Star Wars fan and DON’T know who Tag & Bink are there’s a good chance you aren’t really a Star Wars fan.  Oh burn!

And because I was idle for a few weeks here, and missed one or two Friday Funny Pages, I will grace you with a BONUS panel from the issue.  This image takes place a little earlier in the book (as the setting should make obvious) and just happens to feature a small cameo from a character from one of my other sci-fi fandoms, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  Yup, that’s Arthur Dent wandering around on Jabba’s sail barge.  Just another reason I enjoy these books so much and think Kevin Rubio is a genius.

This just gave me a thought.  I know there are plans for a Star Wars comedy cartoon series in the works with Seth Green at the helm, but if they really want that show to work they should get Kevin Rubio involved.  That would be television gold.

Just a suggestion.

That is all!

Friday Funny Pages: What Is Going On Here?

 

Bad touch Batman!

Batman and Robin.  There are countless homosexual innuendos that spring up surrounding this dynamic duo, everyone has heard them before.  Sure it’s amusing, and some people prefer Batman without Robin because it prevents such awkward moments from cropping up in the comics.  Personally I’m a big fan of a Batman with Robin, I like Batman to have that youthful counterpoint to his brooding aged pessimism.  Generally Robin is a little more easy going and provides a bit of comic relief to the stark, grim nature of Batman.  Of course that comparatively jovial tone can be over done, and when taken too far Robin becomes annoying.  It all really depends on the writer, and which version of the Boy Wonder is being portrayed.  Overall though I like to see the one two punch of Batman and Robin taking out a villain.  The partnership creates the possibility for more complex story telling and allows the character of Batman to execute more dynamic crime fighting maneuvers.

Now, about this panel.  I really don’t know what the hell is going on here, but this is one of the most awkward panels I have ever seen.  I would like to thank David Tavolier for submitting today’s image.  As soon as I saw it I knew it was perfect for Friday Funny Pages.  There are several things that are disturbing about this.  1: Shirtless Robin.  What was just going on here?  2: Batman in full gear.  When you put Batman in his full costume in front of a shirtless boy it just gives off a creepy vibe.  His costume ceases being a superhero disguise, and suddenly seems more like some kind of S&M suit.  3: Batman has “experience.”  Hand on the shoulder, leaning in saying, “If you want to talk to someone who’s had experience in that area . . . ”  Yikes!  4: Robin is peering into your soul.  The Boy Wonder’s direct eye contact with the reader is unsettling.  Is it perhaps a cry for help?  5:  This image wasn’t questioned.  I mean, come on!  The artist drew this panel and didn’t think, Hmmmm this might come off wrong?  I’m convinced they knew what they were drawing, they knew I needed a good Batman rape scene to go along with my Superman rape scene from a few weeks back.  So thanks for that, and thanks for providing more fodder for the Batman/Robin gay joke extravaganza!

 

That is all!

Friday Funny Pages: Watch Your Mouth Red

“Oh . . . . shoot!”

You’re soaring through the air holding on for your life dangling from a haphazard chain of pokemon as they desperately attempt to escape the suction of a raging typhoon below.  I’m sure if any of us were in this situation we’d have the exact same response.

I am a huge Pokemon fan.  As much as I love the various games, I think the real gem of the franchise is the cartoon series, especially the original production which was brilliantly goofy and hilarious.  I always liked that, from start to finish, Ash never really had his shit together and in many respects was a horrible trainer, as Brock and Misty would often point out.

I’m not well versed in many other anime series, or manga for that matter, but because of my huge devotion to Pokemon I long ago bought the Pokemon Adventures manga collections written by Hidenori Kusaka with art by Mato.  There are some major differences between the cartoon and the comics.  Firstly there is the whole reading flow of manga which still confuses me on occasion.  Secondly the main character Red.  Despite his general appearance Red is not Ash.  Red is not simply an alias for our pal Ash, and the storyline of the manga is pretty intricate, not just a black and white take on the show.  Taking some main points from the games and the cartoon, the comics really expand upon those familiar touchstones and blow up Pokemon into an epic saga that sees rivals uniting against a common enemy, widespread conspiracies slowly unraveled, begrudging respect earned for the main character, and an alliance of unlikely heroes brought to bear on a villain who was attempting to suppress the inherent goodness and pleasant competitive spirit of the pokemon trainer lifestyle for his own personal gain.  Oh, and it’s still goofy and amusing.  Trust me it’s pretty entertaining, and a bonus: Red doesn’t arbitrarily throw his Pikachu into every fight.  You actually get to see a much wider array of pokemon taking it to the streets then you ever do in the old cartoon.

The above image comes from Pokemon Adventures Volume 3, towards the end of the entire arch when Red, Blue (Red’s rival who is still pretty much Gary, verbatim.), and Green (an original chick trainer who is not based on any other familiar characters) find themselves in the deepest of the trouble they get into.  We can see that Red is having a time of it here.  I just think it is incredibly amusing that they decided to translate this with simply “Oh . . . . shoot!” and not just a scream, or maybe a “Hang on!”

Just “Oh shoot!”

Funny.

Anyway until next time go find the old Indigo League Pokemon series and watch through it, you won’t be disappointed.

That is all!

Friday Funny Pages: When You Gotta Go . . .

 

Today’s image arrives to us from the pages of Dr. Strange volume 2 #5, collected in the trade paperback entitled Doctor Strange: Separate Reality.  Written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Frank Brunner this collection of their run is really a pretty enjoyable read and should be on the must read list for anyone who aspires to be an apprentice fan of the good Doctor Strange.

There’s really not much to tell about this one.  The name of the fellow with the full bladder is Silver Dagger, a long running villain of Dr. Strange who is a Christian religious zealot determined to destroy Dr. Strange and his esoteric practices.  Armed with an enchanted dagger made of silver (go figure) Silver Dagger will kill any who get in the way of his mission to destroy the Sorcerer Supreme.  On the left is Clea, the transdimensional girlfriend of Dr. Strange and niece of his arch-nemesis Dormammu!  But of course you already knew all that.

Here Silver Dagger believes that Dr. Strange has been killed, but little does he know that the master of the mystic arts still has a few tricks up his ethereal sleeve.  The spirit of Stephen Strange is able to possess a mannequin dressed in his clothes and uses it to try and take the villain by surprise, to no avail.  Silver Dagger, believing the event was some trick by Clea, laughs off the attempt to overtake him and leaves her unattended while he goes off to take a piss.

Dr. Strange of course had a plan, and the underestimations of the mustachioed Silver Dagger come back to haunt him, quite literally!  I’ll leave out all the details however as I’m sure you’d much rather read it all for yourself!

That is all!

Friday Funny Pages: Halloween Night Special Edition


Tonight you get 3 comic goodies for the price of one, think of it as a Trick or Treat bonus!  I was planning on having this posted earlier today but as luck would have it the wife had the computer with her for most of the day and our evening was tied up in further Halloween festivities.  So now as I sit here watching the Hammer Films Classic The Curse of Frankenstein and Peter Cushing’s wicked portrayal of the villainous Baron Frankenstein I finally have some time to attend to my blog duties!

Capping off this month of Halloween related comic panels I give you this horror ridden trifecta of images from very different origins.  First off I show to you a brief series of panels from Eric Powell’s The Goon.  This excerpt comes from a short story featuring some of my favorite Goon characters, the filthy gang of street urchins known as the Little Unholy Bastards.  Here we see the LUB’s making their break from the orphanage in order sneak out to do some Trick or Treating.  If you don’t know anything about the Goon, these panels give you some idea what the book is like.  If you find horrid old ladies being beaten by unruly youths to be amusing, then you might want to look into reading more of Eric Powell’s work!

Next up is an image that comes from a comic I’ve had in my possession for over 20 years!  Count Duckula #3, written by Michael Gallagher with art by Warren Kremer this book was one of the first comics I ever purchased.  It was read countless times, became a permanent part of my childhood library, and survived a move.  Surprisingly it is still in decent shape.  I was a big fan of Danger Mouse and Count Duckula as a kid, although there never seemed to be even amounts of airings of Count Duckula to Danger Mouse, so it was always nice to be able to find the count in other media.  This panel exemplifies a bit of Count Duckula’s goofiness as well as hinting at the duck vampires vegetarian diet.  Being that it’s Halloween I thought it appropriate to bust out this old favorite of mine.

Finally we have a recent comic book horror crossover and perhaps several of you out there will already recognize it as being a panel from Marvel Zombies VS Army of Darkness.  Issue #4 to be precise, with words by John Layman and an army of artists including Fabiano Neves, Fernando Blanco, and Sean Phillips.  Here we see Ash, the main protagonist from the Evil Dead series, in the grip of one of Marvel comics baddest baddies, Dr. Doom!  In the story Ash has joined up with one of my favorites, Dazzler, in search of a way to reclaim the accursed Necronomicon and halt the zombie outbreak that has spread throughout the Marvel universe.  Long story short they run into an undead Howard the Duck, travel to Latveria, and meet up with Dr. Doom who of course is something of an expert in the dark arts.  Although the Marvel Zombies run of series has been rather played out as of late, this epic crossover was one of the last truly enjoyable takes on the superhero/zombie genre.

So there you have it, although there is little left now of Halloween keep your thoughts dark and your nerves sharp for you never can tell what lurks around the next shadowy corner!  Happy Halloween!

That is all!