Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Real Life Superhero Speaks Out

Hardwire, a regular reader of the blog and a Real Life Superhero, sent me an email clarifying the Real Life Superhero movement (as first mentioned in this post):

I just thought that maybe I would clear up a few discrepancies regarding the RLSH movement, and the community as a whole. I saw some of the comments, and it seems that the majority of people reading the post are uninformed.

First off, we're not all vigilante nut jobs. The majority of our community consists of men and women looking to do good through volunteer efforts, charitable fundraisers, and, of course, security patrols. Dark Guardian himself is a tremendous help to achieving these goals, as he has organized several events and drop-offs, and is in the process of getting Superheroes Anonymous, a RLSH organization, state (and later federal) non-profit status. In regards to what I do/have done, I have worked with Habitat for Humanity down in New Orleans, helped clean up my neighborhood, and have patrolled my city a ridiculous amount of times.

The uniforms, costumes, whatever you want to call them - yeah, they're a little unnerving, and they make us look a bit silly, but it also tells people we're harmless. We are no danger to American stability. If anything, we're boosters!

Yes, there are nut jobs who call themselves RLSHs, and think we're all about busting in crack dealers' skulls. Fortunately, those people typically just sit on forums or Myspace all day, talking about what they'd do, or making up fantastic stories.

Real Life Superheroes are just regular men and women who dress themselves in heroic alter egos, and set out to make a difference in someone's life, their neighborhood, or the world. They are selfless, compassionate individuals, with a strong sense of duty, honor, and responsibility. I can't say that I'm up there with the best of them, but those that are make me want to try.

You have my full permission to use this in a blog post.

Batman Vs. Darth Vader

Actually, this is exactly the sort of high-concept stuff the entertainment industry is looking for these days.

"You gotta gimme something sure-fire, that can I sell! I'm up to my ass in whiny autobiographies and morally-conflicted bounty hunters."

"Uh...Batman versus Darth Vader?"


"Cloverfield Monster versus Godzilla?"


"Lost: The Movie?"


"Twilight 2?"


"Legally Blond 3 direct to DVD starring that chick from Gossip Girl?"


"Vampire versus Mummy?"


"In 3-D?"


Matt Damon! Hates James Bond

"...Bond is an imperialist, misogynist sociopath who goes around bedding women and swilling martinis and killing people. He's repulsive"
--Matt Damon

Friday, January 30, 2009

Real Life Superheroes: World Superhero Registry

"I am a man who will make a difference in this world. Some may call me a hero, a super-hero, a vigilante, or a nut job. I fight for all that is right and just. I protect the innocent and punish evil. I will drive myself self into the ground to help make this world a better place. I now only live my life for justice and the betterment of mankind."
-- Dark Guardian, real superhero

From The World Superhero Registry FAQ:

Q: What is a Real-Life Superhero?

A: A Real-Life Superhero is a person who does good deeds or fights crime while in costume.

Q: What is the purpose of wearing a costume while fighting crime or performing good deeds?

A: There are a variety of purposes. Here are a few:

-To inspire others

-To illustrate commitment to an ideal

-To protect one's privacy

-To avoid litigation

-To protect one's safety and the safety of one's family

-To conceal vulnerabilities in one's protective gear

-For concealment or camouflage

-To have more fun with public service

Q: Is this a role-playing game?

A: No. This is a movement among ordinary people to make the world a better place in an extraordinary way. There are always those who will take something less seriously, but the Real-Life Superhero community is generally composed of sincere, well meaning people who have finally decided to go out and make a difference.

Q: Is costumed crime-fighting legal?

A: That depends on how it is done and where it is done. Citizen's arrest statutes vary by state. Some states ban the wearing of masks. It would be wise to review the laws of your state and adjust your crime fighting strategy to comply with them. Some Real-Life Superheroes are sanctioned by the local law enforcement, others are forced to avoid the police at all costs.

And from their "Philosophy" page:


Mistakes are unacceptable when one is dealing with matters of Life and Death. Getting into a battle with a villain risks not only the lives of those involved, but those of anyone within range of their weapons.

Non-lethal means of apprehending a villain provide an essential safety-margin, although even non-lethal techniques can sometimes result in injury or death. Sound judgment is always essential to prevent tragedy.

Unless a Hero chances upon a major crime in progress, careful research and planning are essential to any action to be taken. Poor research and planning could result in trying to apprehend undercover law-enforcement officers and other undesirable outcomes


Although it may be tempting to pursue petty criminals due to the ease with which they can be found, in many cases it does not truly serve the cause of justice, nor is it worth the risk.

Apprehending prostitutes saves no lives, protects no property, and does not significantly advance the cause of justice.

Apprehending casual drug users is also of limited value to society.

When confronted by an essentially victimless crime, the appropriate response is, more often than not, a stern lecture.

And, if you should require it, legal advice is also available.

Characters I Kinda Dig: Quantum and Woody

Cracked/Mad Feud Reaches Fever Pitch

Sylvester P. Smythe was seen slapping Alfred E. Neuman with the backs of his hands yesterday, as the decades-old feud between Cracked & Mad continued its bloody reign.

News of Mad Magazine's recent hardships only added gasoline to what has already been a dark spot in the usually sunny world of humor periodicals. Cracked, (which is actually no longer a periodical) (which also actually hasn't even used Sylvester P. Smythe in years) tried to send an olive branch of sorts to Mad in the form of a post written by Daniel O'Brien.

Entitled, "Cracked Officially Starts Feeling Sorry for MAD Magazine," the post is a love-letter of sorts to the magazine that started America laughing more than fifty years ago.

"I wanted to reach out to you, but I just got so busy; see, we were installing hot tubs in all of the Cracked offices at the time, which required a ton of my attention, (you can’t install hot tubs within five feet of a chocolate fountain, which we’d just installed in October). They’re kind of tacky, I know, but we had some extra cash so why not, right?"

O'Brien also gives us a glimpse into the rich history the two humor magazines share:

"Oh, but one more real quick thing. As different as we are, (in terms of success, our adaptability with regards to the shifting trends in media, our superior sexual behavior), we do have one similarity. According to legend, longtime MAD editor William Gaines reportedly kept a voodoo doll in his office, in which he would stick pins, all labeled as various MAD “imitators,” (Cracked, Sick, The New York Times), and he would remove a pin whenever one of these imitators would stop publishing or disappear. At the time of Gaines’ death, there was only one pin left, and it was labeled “Cracked."

Which, of course, brought to mind:

It is my belief that only Obnoxio the Clown can bring these two sides together and restore the friendly rivalry they shared in the good old days, the days of reading material made of paper.

Occasional Links: Turner D. Century Edition

Turner D. Century: Best superhero name EVER!

Mickey Rourke pulls out of Wrestlemania AND JUST ABOUT BREAKS MY HEART!

Arrested Development movie still on (and Michael Cera on board)...

...and here is a mini-documentary of the cast talking about it.

USA Today demonstrates how to utilize popular culture figures in a manner designed to increase our knowledge and personal safety:

"And if someone is bothering you and won't stop, flag the real-life version of Paul Blart. If you don't see a mall cop nearby, go into a store and ask an employee there to call mall security."

Cats say: "stupid humans with their stupid toys"

A Ghost Rider movie sequel and more Nicholas Cage as Johnny Blaze...

Seth Rogen Green Hornet movie still on; Adam Sandler to cameo as "certain surprise superhero."

Will it be...TURNER D. CENTURY??/?/?

Oh yes, there will be Tribbles...

A brief history of the A-Team movie. Formerly considered for the role of Hannibal:

And Turner D. Century, updated for modern comic book readers:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Protect Yourself At All Times"

Regular readers will probably notice this anyway, but just to be clear:

This site will no longer be host to my opinions on politics, feminism, ethics, morality, and, most importantly of course, "which comic is bad?" I certainly might on occasion put the question out to you, the reader, without any sort of deep commentary: for example, I might show a comic book cover and ask for your two cents. But for reasons of personal peace & safety, I can no longer "get too much into it" anymore.

On one hand, there is the taboo against expressing certain views that are not "the correct views." For example, the view that an artist might hold a degree of personal responsibility for what they produce. On the surface, this may not seem like that much of an explosive and divisive thing to say. It is an opinion, and not one that includes a request for governmental interference or any other compulsory limitations. However, just to mention such an opinion provokes such a reaction of hysteria, that it is clear to me that there can be no rational discussion in this format. And that's too bad.

When the breaking of this aforementioned taboo is coupled with the obsessiveness of certain hardcore fans, it produces something that I personally find disturbing and dangerous. And when I show somebody who is unfamiliar with this aspect of comic book fandom and online discourse what the results are -- both the reaction on my blog and off -- they get scared for me and usually suggest I shut Occasional Superheroine down completely.

I've done this for about two years now. Over that time, I have encountered many wonderful people. I have had many, many people email me privately and thank me for being so open about my experiences and opinions, and I have saved every email to remind me that this was not all for nothing. It is in deference to these people that I am explaining the current direction of this blog, rather than just quietly let the change take place with no acknowledgment.

I'm proud to have had the opportunity to express myself so openly regarding a whole range of issues. I am glad those opinions are on this site, and I have no plans to remove any of them. And in the future I might print some of these opinions in a book or in an alternate format. But like I said, I've been doing this for a couple of years now. In that time, I have had to weather at least fifty of what I refer to as "forest fires." These have included other people publicly ridiculing my most personal tragedies, and sending me explicit and threatening emails. The ferocity of these attacks have shocked even the most cynical comic industry friends I know.

Friends of mine who are professional comic creators tell me that some of this will not go away regardless of whether I post my opinions or not. Once I get into the realm of writing comics, there will be those who will go ballistic regarding even the seemingly most harmless plot point. I accept that. I accept that a wall, to an extent, has to go up. That you have filter a lot of the noise out, and perform the balance between letting fans in and keeping abusive people out. And that you can't react, that reacting and defending yourself publicly only throws gasoline on the situation. Okay. I get that.

But to regularly post opinions on this blog -- opinions that it has already been established some people do not react to rationally, or use and distort to pursue their own agendas -- only increases my exposure to this sort of abuse. I can't do it anymore, even to "be brave." I'm almost 35 years old. My health has never been quite as robust as I would like, and there is a tendency in my family to expire in one's late 30s/early 40s from heart-attacks and stroke. My dad died at 42, and his dad died at 40. Massive heart attacks. I don't need a doctor right now to advise me to stay away from stress, because I am more than aware of this. I have an immediate family member who is gravely ill, and another who I've been too preoccupied to give the help she really needs to raise her child. This is real life, and this is what's important.

My writing career is important to me as well. I think the people who create nefarious reasons about why I have a writing career are only about a few degrees above the anonymous emailer who writes about how I "fuck to get ahead," how I am a whore, complete with explicit descriptions of all the sexual favors I must be so freely giving. To me, it's all part of the same continuity. This has been done to women in the industry before -- and not just by men, but, most sadly, by other women. I particularly enjoy the conspiracy theories about how Marvel controls the content of my blog. Wow. Marvel Comics has never, ever expressed a single opinion, direction, or any words whatsoever to me regarding my blog, except for the comment, when we had our first communication, that I had a "powerful voice" in my writing. That was it. I have saved on Gmail hundreds of emails from people telling me that I have a powerful voice in my writing. So I guess Marvel and those hundreds of people were on the same page.

To be honest, some of the ways I've been treated within my own "community" have disillusioned me to a degree that "Goodbye To Comics" just couldn't touch.

But I'm still very grateful to the fans, to the people who have written in, to the friends that I have made through this blog. I hope you can think of this blog as a place where you can find out some relevant news about comics & pop-culture, be introduced or reintroduced to some great comic book creators, and can have some good conversations. I will also keep you posted on what's going on with me and my projects.

Part of me is too exhausted to even wrap my head around New York Comic Con, but I think I will use the opportunity to do what I did before I wrote "Goodbye To Comics" -- just getting in touch with the nuts and bolts and heart of what makes comics positive and fun. I did that for a whole year before "GTC," and while I wasn't very well-known, there was a purity to it that sustained me.

Onwards and upwards, folks.

Frankie Dunn: You forgot the rule. Now, what is the rule?
Maggie Fitzgerald: Keep my left up?
Frankie Dunn: Is to protect yourself at all times. Now, what is the rule?
Maggie Fitzgerald: Protect myself at all times.
Frankie Dunn: Good. Good.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Characters I Kinda Dig: Sally Brown

Occasional Links

Jeff Parker, author of the exceptional Agents of Atlas series, asks the question, "Why Not Wildstorm?"

Pink Kryptonite ponders the idea of free, high-quality comic content by way of Monty Python.

C.B. Cebulski reminds everyone to keep everything in perspective.

Remember CONTRA? Well, you can keep those memories alive with these radical customs by Jin Saotome!

And the crew at Comics Should Be Good shows us all what Final Crisis #6 was really missing!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Characters I Kinda Dig: Rocket Raccoon

Super-Heroes...For Children?

Another post on "superhero decadence" from The Hooded Utilitarian:

"The reason decadent super-heroes can seem so, so wrong isn't because sex and horror are wrong; it's because super-heroes are really meant for kids. There aren't stories where Thomas the Tank Engine turns into a vampire. There aren't stories where the Snoopy is gang-raped. There aren't stories where the Cat in the Hat starts ripping people's arms off. Because, you know, that stuff is for kids, and, aesthetic atrocity aside, you don't want to fuck up the brand."

Actually, I don't see what the big deal is. It's not like crazy people are dressing up like overly-hyped superhero villains and stabbing babies.

Occasional Links: The Alien Symbiote Plague Edition

I'm in bed today recovering from some sort of alien-virus spore that is living within my body. While Reed Richards tries to help me recover, I thought I'd take a moment to round up a bunch of links:

The Green Hornet movie has apparently been zapped. Aint It Cool News quotes HitFix as reporting that Sony has placed the film on "life-support." If you remember, Seth Rogen was to star in this adaptation.

Enjoying Project Superpowers? You might also like this radio show with one of the lead characters: The Green Lama.

Hulu is running the Spider-Man: The New Animated Series. It's a great way to get your NPH on!


I don't think I've had the honor to read Mike Deadato's run on Thor, but this custom figure by LooseCollector on the Fwoosh kinda makes me want to!


Entertainment Weekly believes 2009 is a great year for "Werewolf Movies". I don't know if all that's true, but I do know it's a great year for Werewolf Webcomics!

Also, my BBC-loving, formerly Hull-living, fish-and-chips-eating, Magners-drinking BF is rather partial to this series.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Woman Killed Over Facebook Status

A British woman was murdered by her estranged husband after he found out she changed her Facebook status from "In A Relationship" to "Single." Apparently, her telling him that they were through was not enough to convince him. But a **Facebook Status** ! Well! That's real.

Hey, I like the Internet. I like communicating through it. I like being reminded of a friend's birthday through one of the several social networks I'm a part of. Even being looked up by some old grade-school acquaintance after 25 years is rather neat. Go, Internet!

The downside to Internet communication & socialization, however, is that a lot of these quirks, conventions, and unwritten "rules" have become realer than real to some people. It's the New Real. It's Realspace.

Yeah, yeah I know:

"Get off mah lawn you damn kids! In my day we scratched initials in trees and it meant something, goddammit!"

The Ultimate X-Men Toy Collection?

As a follow-up to yesterday's Ultimate Marvel Legends Action Figure Collection post, Phil has sent in a link to his own impressive X-Men toy collection (check out the rest of the photos at the link):

I would say that the two collections contrast in that the X-Men one is more mint-in-box oriented -- but impressive nonetheless.

Occasional Links: Obama, Phantom Zone Sirens, Dumpy Sabretooth, more

Dan Goldman's Obama webcomic for, "Yes We Will," re-imagines our new president via a Philip K. Dick fever-dream. To summarize, It's 2012 and Barack Obama is ready to usher in a new age for mankind...

Phantom Zone Supergirl...

...and Phantom Zone Madonna

Beanie Babies makers Ty insist that any similarities between their "Marvelous Malia" and "Sweet Sasha" dolls and any First Family is totally coincidental:

"The Oak Brook-based company chose the dolls' names because "they are beautiful names," not because of any resemblance to President Obama's daughters, said spokeswoman Tania Lundeen."
Frankly, I expected more frankness and candor from the creators of Oats the Horse and Swirly the Snail.

Is it really fair to nominate spoof movies like "Meet The Spartans" and "Disaster Movie" for Razzie awards? These movies freely admit they are dumbass. Were there not better movies to nominate? It's like making fun of farts for smelling bad.

Dan at the Mind Leak blog has envisioned his own version of the cover to Final Crisis #7...

...and Rich at Comic-by-Comic just "Can't Believe It's Not The Black Lanterns"

And finally, Liev Schreiber talks to Details about the upcoming movie "Wolverine":

"I started to read blogs in the comic world with things like 'That's the dumpiest, most out-of-shape Sabretooth I've ever seen in my life!'"

Being dissed on a blog? Who would have thought it!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Best Marvel Action Figure Collection In Comics?

People who visit our home will immediately notice the focal point of the livingroom: a large built-in bookshelf filled with Marvel Legends action figures. My BF is close to completing his collection, missing about five figures. He has also recently taken to customizing action figures.

Recently, we have added a "wing" to house the spill-over.

Is my BF's collection the best Marvel action figure collection in the comic book industry? Or is there anyone out there who dare challenge his awesome accumulation of assorted action figures?

You decide.

Highlights:Mighty Avengers

New Avengers

Dark Avengers

X-Force New

X-Force Old

Brotherhood Of Evil Mutants

Hulk Cast

Omega Flight

Marvel Knights


Iron Man Baddies

more photos forthcoming...