Archive for the Superman Category

7 Got Milk? ads featuring movie versions of comic book super heroes

Posted in advertising, Batman, comic books, movies, pop culture, Superman, Superman Returns with tags , , , , , , , on August 25, 2011 by Paxton

I love the various advertising campaigns for milk.  From as far back as the 80s, they’ve had some of the more consistently entertaining commercial and print ads ever. There’s just something about them I enjoy.

Everyone remembers Michael Bay’s “Aaron Burr”.  Or the fun “Milk it Does a Body Good” commercials.  Or the ubiquitous “Got Milk?” print ads.  Classic advertising.  I especially like the ones I’m going to show you today. They are all print ads for the “Got Milk?” or “Body by Milk” campaigns and they all feature movie versions of comic book super heroes.  I love explosions of pop geeky culture like this.  I found many of these while thumbing through old magazines I had in my garage.

Please to enjoy.

Batman Begins The Dark Knight
Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008) – Two of the greatest Batman movies we probably will ever see.  The Dark Knight is great, however, for re-watchability, I pick Batman Begins every time.  I love the sequel, I really do, but when I want to watch a Batman movie I put on Batman Begins.

Superman Returns
Superman Returns (2006) – I love Brandon Routh.  However, this movie sucked.  One giant missed opportunity.  The lead was great and the effects were awesome.  But everything else was wrong.

Green Lantern
Green Lantern (2010) – This movie ended up exactly like Superman Returns.  The lead was great and the effects were awesome, but everything else was a fumbled missed opportunity.  Kudos for a great looking ad, though.

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25th Anniversary Review of John Byrne’s Man of Steel Part II

Posted in 80s, comic books, pop culture, Superman with tags , , , , on July 7, 2011 by Paxton

Superman Week

John Byrne’s historic six issue mini series, The Man of Steel, just turned 25 years old.  The series would (re)introduce Superman after the Crisis on Infinite Earths mega event which finished up early Summer 1986.  I am reviewing the series for it’s 25th anniversary. On Wednesday, I reviewed issues #1 – 3. Today, I’m going to review issues #4-6.  For more information about Crisis on Infinite Earths, see my article on Strange Kid’s Club here.

Issue 4 gives us a full introduction to the new Lex Luthor. Instead of the bald mad scientist we all know, Lex has been re-imagined into more of a business mogul, a la Donald Trump. And I think it works much better. In the beginning of this issue, Clark and Lois are going to a party thrown by Lex, so Lois shows up at Clark’s apartment to pick him up. We see several awesome panels of Clark shaving with his heat vision and Lois discovering Clark’s barbells which he keeps to explain why he is in such great shape. But Lois comments they are too light for Clark to keep such a great figure and Clark has to mentally remind himself to get heavier weights (he can’t judge very well because he has super strength). Clark and Lois then head to the event on Luthor’s yacht and it is besieged by terrorists during the party. Superman saves the day, takes down the terrorists, and then Luthor tries to hire him into his payroll all while explaining that he knew the terrorists were going to hijack the boat but he did nothing so he could see Superman in action. The mayor was in attendance and justifiably angry that Lex put all of his party goers in danger, so he has Superman arrest Luthor.  Luthor’s lawyers have him out in less than two hours but afterwards he confronts Superman and literally threatens to kill him in front of everyone in the city in the near future.  And boasts that he’ll never be arrested for it.  It’s intense.

In issue 5, Byrne starts things off with a clever inside joke.  There is a great shot of Superman holding up Luthor’s green battle armor from the Kenner Super Powers toy line.  A sly little reference that illustrates why I love Byrne’s writing.  Anyway, this issue introduces Bizarro although he’s never really called that within the story.  In the beginning, we see Superman holding the aforementioned green armor in front of Luthor accusing him of a bunch of things having to do with that armor.  Luthor, of course, feigns ignorance and lists out all the reasons why Superman can’t prove Luthor had anything to with the armor.  Realizing he has no proof, Superman leaves while proclaiming that he will someday make Luthor pay for all of his crimes.  While he was in the office, Luthor scanned Superman’s cellular structure with the intent of creating a super duplicate. The results are immediately fed into a cloning tank (instead of waiting to properly analyze the data) that seemingly successfully creates a duplicate of Superman. However, the duplication process was built on the assumption Superman was a mutated human being and the discrepancy caused the duplicate to fail and collapse (which, as I said, could have been avoided by properly analyzing the data first). Luthor, now armed with the knowledge that Superman is an alien, orders the duplicate destroyed.  Next, we meet Lois’ blind sister Lucy. She is so distraught by her recent loss of sight that she attempts to jump off the balcony of her sister’s apartment. Bizarro saves her (we have to assume he escaped because we aren’t told), but she’s blind so she thinks it’s Superman. Superman runs into Bizarro, who has disguised himself as a Bizarro-Clark, and immediately gets into a fistfight with him (sort of a hallmark of Byrne’s Superman). They battle each other for the rest of the issue throughout downtown Metropolis. Finally, Bizarro and Superman collide in a spectacular mid-air collision that reduces Bizarro to a fine dust that falls over Lucy Lane and cures her blindness.  We are led to believe that the creature somehow knew its sacrifice would cure Lucy’s blindness.

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25th Anniversary Review of John Byrne’s Man of Steel Part I

Posted in 80s, Batman, comic books, pop culture, Superman with tags , , , , , , , on July 6, 2011 by Paxton

Superman Week

John Byrne’s historic six issue mini series, The Man of Steel, just turned 25 years old.  It was released during the Summer of 1986 to “clean up” the ever increasing super powers and ever more complicated back story of DC’s flagship super hero. For years, this series was the official origin of the post-Crisis Superman.  What’s “post-Crisis”?  Glad you asked.

Twenty six years ago (Apr 1985), DC released their multiverse changing event Crisis on Infinite Earths. I discussed the genesis of that historical mini-series over on Strange Kid’s Club in a very special installment of Forgotten Favorites. That megaseries changed the landscape of the DC Universe. It ushered in a time of change. Heroes died.  Heroes lived.  But after all was said and done, everyone had to pick up the pieces and move on.

Crisis #1

DC was using the event to update and modernize their heroes. After the event was over,  George Perez would relaunch the post-Crisis Wonder Woman.  Batman’s origin would be expanded and revamped in Frank Miller’s famous Batman: Year One. And it also was time for DC to give Superman a new start. In the years leading up to Crisis, Superman had become entirely too powerful. I talked about some of his more ridiculous “super powers” earlier this week. The time of Superman igniting suns with his heat vision and juggling planets had come to an end. Crisis writer Marv Wolfman pitched DC on a Superman reboot that would eliminate the super pets, the surprisingly large number of Kryptonian survivors and power down the Man of Steel to more “normal” levels. Wolfman even wanted to eliminate Superman’s adventures as Superboy. Surprisingly, Wolfman made a similar pitch to DC back in the 70s but they rejected it. Now DC was all ears.

Wolfman decided to hire popular writer/artist John Byrne (who had just left Marvel) to help him flesh out the details of the story. Wolfman and Byrne sequestered themselves away and came up with a multi-year plan for the new Man of Steel.  A month or so after the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths, John Byrne would kick off Superman’s triumphant return with a 6 issue mini-series (re)introducing the new post-Crisis Superman to comic readers.  At the end of that series, Byrne would take over writing and drawing Action Comics and the new Superman title and Marv Wolfman would take over writing Adventures of Superman with Jerry Ordway drawing.

Man of Steel 1b

Each issue of Byrne’s 6 issue series would re-introduce aspects of the Superman mythos back into the DC Universe.  I’ll take a quick look at the first 3 issues today, then I’ll look at the final three issues tomorrow.  I haven’t read this series since the mid ’90s, so it’ll be interesting to see if it’s still any good or if it’s totally dated.

Let’s find out.

MOS 1a
Issue 1’s prologue begins on Krypton and we learn that this new Krypton is very similar to the Richard Donner version from the movies. It’s very scientific, the landscape is antiseptic and the people are detached from each other. However, despite being highly evolved, their planet is dying. Jor-El is making preparations to rocket his son to Earth. He explains to Lara that he chose Earth because the yellow sun would super charge his Kryptonian cells, making him a “super” man and superior to humans so he can one day rule the planet. The rocket takes off, we see the planet explode and then the prologue ends. We pick up with Clark in high school. He’s a football star. A jock. And kind of a douche. And he’s unaware that he’s an alien. Pa Kent shows him the crash site and explains how he was found in the fields after crashing to Earth. Clark must come to terms with not being human and learning to deal with his burgeoning powers. In the epilogue we see Clark, with help from Ma and Pa Kent, create his super suit and the disguise for Clark Kent. The suit is normal fabric. We learn that Clark emits a force field around his body that protects things close to him, like his clothes. Things outside the field, like his cape, can be torn up or destroyed.

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12 of Superman’s Most Absurd Pre-Crisis Super Powers

Posted in 80s, comic books, nostalgia, pop culture, Superman with tags , , , , , , , on July 4, 2011 by Paxton

Superman Week

Everyone knows the many standard powers of Superman; fly, super-strength, super-speed, super-breath, invulnerable, heat-vision, etc.  Not everyone knows, though, that he didn’t always have many of these abilities. Not only that, Superman has several other super powers that are less used, but still kept in his back pocket for just the right moment when he can whip it out and dazzle everyone.

As the years went on, and writers kept getting more…”creative”…Supes powers were quickly growing and getting more out of control. These little known powers had stacked up over the years until finally DC had to say, “Dammit, that’s enough” and launched the massive Crisis on Infinite Earths event to just level the playing field.

Let’s take a look at some of the lesser known, and therefore more humorous, of Superman’s Pre-Crisis abilities .  I’ll include panels of Superman using the ridiculous powers when I can.  If you have trouble reading the text, click the images to make them bigger.

Super Ventriloquism 1 Super Ventriloquism 2
Super-Ventriloquism and other voice “powers” – Not only Super-V, he had a whole bag full of voice powers that writers tended to wield at their hip like gunslingers. Superman could throw his voice over great distances and also possessed super-voice-mimicry, which means he could make his voice sound like anyone else. That power must come in handy at parties when you are stuck talking to the guy who won’t leave you alone and keeps asking you to come check out his “sweet van” out in the parking lot.  The one painted all white with no windows (aka RAPE van).  If you were Supes, you could throw your voice across the room as someone else calling your name and you can get the hell out of there. Nicely done, Superman.  Or, you could just punch a hole in the rapist’s face because you are, you know, SUPERMAN.

Super Mathematics
Super-MathematicsSuper Mathematics? That looks a lot like regular mathematics to me. By the way, Super Douche, isn’t 20 x 16 x 10 = 3,200?

Super Weaving
Super-Weaving – Yes, that actually happened.  Super weaving.  Not weaving at super speed.  Super-weaving.

Super Hypnosis
Super-Hypnosis – Apparently this is why no one recognizes Clark Kent is Superman.  And it apparently works even when he isn’t concentrating on using it (I guess that’s what makes it super hypnosis?).  However, I prefer to ignore this power and assume that everyone in Metropolis is just that dumb to notice they are the same person.  Or they really just don’t care.

Super Telepathic Will Control
Super-Telepathic Will Control – In an early issue of Superman where he’s kidnapped by aliens, he whips out telepathic will control, which allows him to override someone’s mind and make their body do whatever Superman wants.  If he can do this, then why would he ever need Super Hypnosis?

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Solicits for the DC reboot madness

Posted in Batman, comic books, Superman, The Flash with tags , , , , on June 14, 2011 by Paxton

Well, the whole DC relaunch thing has the comic fanboys losing their damn minds.  In case you don’t know, it seems comics fans are up in arms because DC decided to reboot all their titles back to #1.  Comic blogs everywhere are kvetching about it.  CT from Nerd Lunch even deemed it necessary to talk about the relaunch.  CT mentions that he hates some of the costume redesigns, but I like them.  Especially Flash.  They just look more modern.

Now, I’ve read comics since the early 80s.  I started with Flash and then ventured into Superman, Batman, X-Men and The Fantastic Four.   I still read comics, but I tend toward the trade paperback collections and don’t really care about single issues anymore.  I don’t care what number is on the cover, I just want good stories.  But I look forward to this relaunch as a “wipe the slate clean” and start fresh with cool ideas.  Almost buried in the announcement of the reboot is the fact that DC will also start distributing comics digitally the same day they release them in print.  That’s huge.  Reading comics digitally is growing quickly in practice, much to the consternation of comic book fans everywhere.  With the iPad and other tablet computers, we finally have the perfect way to read a digital comic.  I am looking forward to doing just that.  I have been reading digital comics for the last few years now and while I prefer print, digital isn’t bad (especially when I get a tablet computer).

Anyway, I was reading The Source, the DC Universe blog, and they gathered together all the solicitations for the new reboot titles. There are lots of cool and interesting titles that have been announced.  Let’s take a look at them.

Action Comics 1 Superman 1
Here are the Superman reboots.  The two images above are for Action Comics #1 (left) and Superman #1 (right). In the solicit you can also see covers for Superboy #1 and Supergirl #1.  Like I said I don’t care they are rebooting Superman, because, technically, they already did it once back in 1987 with John Byrne.  This Superman #1 is interesting because it’ll be written and drawn by George Perez who took over from John Byrne back in 1989.  I’m actually a bit surprised they are rebooting Action Comics due to it’s history.  I mean, it was about to hit #1000.  But they got Grant Morrison to write it, which is awesome.  He did the spectacular All-Star Superman series with Frank Quitely.  I’ll definitely want to check these out.

Detective Comics 1 Batman 1
Here are the solicits for the Batman reboots. Detective Comics #1 is on the left and Batman #1 is on the right. I like Batman, I’m just not a huge Batman fan. Rebooting Detective Comics back to 1 is interesting to me because of the history (like Action Comics). It also nearly hit 1000. However, also interesting is the fact that this will be the first time that Batman has EVER appeared in a Detective Comics #1 (or #2-26).  I’m surprised they didn’t reboot Detective Comics back to #27.

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12 comic book covers featuring super heroes and their secret identities

Posted in comic books, pop culture, Superman, The Flash with tags , , , , , on April 22, 2011 by Paxton

I was perusing one of my favorite sites, Cover Browser, the other day. It’s great. It has hundreds of galleries of comic book covers. Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age as well as more modern comics, you can see it all. Some of the images are of great quality and some are blurry scans that look like they threw the comic book into the air and tried to take a picture with a cell phone from 2001. But it’s great fun to look at old issues of Superman, Batman, Hulk and Iron Man. You can find some real gems.

Looking through you can see all types of trends and gimmicks companies used when creating their covers. Anything to capture the public’s eye. One of the more prevalent gimmicks is to have the superhero appear on the cover alongside their secret identity. I’ve gathered 12 such examples of superhero and secret identity co-existing harmoniously on a comic book cover. Not only that, I’ve split the list into two sections. In the first section are 5 comic book covers featuring super heroes fighting their secret identities. The second section will feature the superhero interacting with their secret identity.

So here are the first 5 covers featuring superheroes fighting their secret identities.  Thanks to Cover Browser for the majority of these images.

Action Comics 341
Action Comics #341 – Battle of the Alter Egos.  Turns out the “extra” Clark Kent is another survivor of Krypton that DC loved to throw out in the ’60s and ’70s. He took over Clark’s identity and Supes had to straighten things out.

The Flash #15
Flash vol 2 #15 – Wally West trashed by The Flash.  This is the second Flash series.  Wally West had taken over the Flash costume.  There was a drug called Velocity-9 that gave the users temporary super speed.  A junkie got a fake suit and totally sucker punched the living sh*t out of Wally.

Web of Spiderman #117
Web of Spider-man #117 – Spider-man vs Peter Parker. This is the beginning of one of the most controversial Spidey storylines ever – the Clone Saga. A clone of Peter reveals himself.  He’s this homeless vagrant who then names himself Ben Reilly.  Arguments develop over who is the clone and who is the real Peter.  Peter is discovered to be the actual clone and Ben the “true” Peter.  Clone Peter becomes so outraged he “accidentally” hits Mary Jane in the face. It’s pretty much insanity incarnate and due to high sales Marvel’s upper management kept the creative teams churning out the story for much longer than was originally planned.

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DC Comics going retro with summer one-shots

Posted in 80s, comic books, pop culture, Superman, The Flash with tags , , , on April 8, 2011 by Paxton

I’m a big DC Comics fan. I love Superman and the Flash. I even wrote a post about their many races. So I was perusing the DC comic blog The Source the other day and they announced a fun little event called DC Retroactive.  It takes place this summer and is a throwback to the DC of the last three decades (70s, 80s and 90s).

The event will consist of 18 one-shot comics.  The 18 one-shots will be split up into three groups representing the aforementioned specific decade in DC’s history.  Here are the Retroactive logos for each decade starting with the ’70s.

Retroactive 70s
Retroactive 80s
Retroactive 90s

I love these logos. They look exactly like the logos/typeface DC used in the respective decade.  Like I said, the 18 one-shots will be split up into the three groups of six.  Each group will utilize different writers/artists that are known for their output in that decade.  DC just announced the writers for each decade and what comics they’ll be writing.  They haven’t released the artists for each issue, but you can click the images above to read the full list of writers.  Expect DC luminaries like Cary Bates, Marv Wolfman, Louise Simonson, Alan Grant, and Dennis O’Neill.

My favorite hero, The Flash, will be written by Cary Bates (70s), William Messner-Loebs (80s) and Brian Augustyn (90s).  I’m very excited by these writers.  Bates is a very popular writer from DC.  He did a lot of his work in the ’60s – ’70s.  He wrote a bunch of Silver Age Flash comics throughout the ’70s and early ’80s.  Bates will also write the ’70s JLA issue.  William Messner-Loebs wrote a slew of issues of the awesome Wally West Flash series starting around issue #15 in 1988.  I still have the majority of his issues in my collection.  Brian Augstyn was the editor on the aforementioned Wally West Flash series.  He was the one that brought in Mark Waid in the early ’90s to help him plan a revamping of the series  (Waid would’ve been another good choice to write the 90s issue).  So, from the writing standpoint, these are all solid choices for the Flash books, which are the ones I’m mostly concerned about.  However I am looking forward to the Superman books, too.

Batman in the 70s Superman in the 80s

As for the other heroes, DC got Marv Wolfman to do the 80s Superman book.  Great choice as he helped John Byrne plan out the Superman reboot of 1986, but I would have preferred to see John Byrne also included.  They haven’t announced the artists, so they could have got John Byrne to draw the issue, which would be awesome.  I think Byrne has to be involved in this event because he was such a large presence at DC in the 80s when he wrote and drew both Superman and Action Comics for nearly two years.

Anyway, to see the full list of writers, head over to DC’s The Source.  They should be announcing the artists and other creative teams for these books in the near future.  I, for one, think this is shaping up to be an awesome and wonderfully nostalgic event.  DC didn’t say, but I’m hoping the stories for each decade actually take place in that decade.  I want Barry Allen in the ’70s issue and Wally West in the ’90s.  I don’t want it to just be nostalgic, I want the events to be taking place in that time period.

Should be a lot of fun.