9

Hero Box // Sidekick Box

Just wanted to give all my nerd friends a heads up for an awesome new program by Superhero Stuff! Seems they’ve jumped on the subscription box bandwagon (which I’m totally pleased about because damned if I don’t love me a good subscription box). I present to you: Hero Box!

In case you’re unfamiliar with how a subscription box works, here’s the pretty simple concept. You pay a certain amount of money each money, and you’re sent a mystery box based around the theme of the company. I’ve done makeup sub boxes, food, geek stuff. But my PASSION is big two superheroes! So when I saw news of this in a recent email– it goes without saying that I was pretty fuckin’ stoked!

“But Elyse, you fool,” I hear you say, “I only like Marvel! I don’t want a bunch of DC junk in my living space!” First of all, that’s whack (I’m a DC gal)! Secondly, no problem! You can choose to have your box stuffed with either Marvel or DC goodies! Like both? Feelin’ saucy? Choose, “Surprise Me!”

Now while I am affiliated with and do keep an ad for Superhero Stuff in my sidebar, I’ll have you know that I really dislike copious amounts of sponsored posts and advertising on any blog. So I want you to know that these dudes are NOT sending me a free box for review or anything like that (dang, I wish!). I just really love the idea of a specifically superhero-themed box enough to make a post about it. I’ll be buying the $30 Sidekick Box, personally (only workin’ 8 – 16 hours a week, man), and will definitely be reviewing it once my box arrives!

Hope to see what y’all get, should you subscribe!

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7

Batman Day: Elyse’s Favorites!

Well, dudes I was all ready to go with my first post in ages– a typical Wednesday Wants. But when it comes down to it, what kind of Batman fan would I be if I didn’t make a special post for Batman’s 75th anniversary! A shit one, that’s what kind.

It’s no secret to anyone that’s ever met me that I LOVE me some Batman and the whole Bat Universe. Everyday, my dad posts a new Adam West picture on my Facebook wall. Hell, the picture my coworkers posted on our library’s website to say goodbye to me was a sad Dick Grayson.

So basically, there was no way I wasn’t going to whip up a LITTLE something last minute for Batman Day! I’ve already done a post on one good way to delve into the world of Batman, but I’ve never discussed what Bat books and story arcs are my faaaavorites.

SO LETS GET ON THAT, SHALL WE?

Batman: No Man’s Land

In Batman: No Man’s Land, Gotham has faced a devastating earthquake which basically destroys the entire city. The government declares Gotham a “No Man’s Land” and destroys all bridges leading in and out (seems like a trend in Gotham… maybe they should find better entrnces and exits).

So there’s all sorts of power struggles and turf wars and gang violence. PLUS, this storyline marks the first appearance of both Harley Quinn in the DCU proper AND Cassandra Cain, the second Batgirl! Totally recommended!

Oh, and did I mention that it’s penned by my favorite comic book writer of all time, Greg Rucka? Oh yeah. That!

Bruce Wayne: Murderer?/Fugitive

In this storyline, Bruce Wayne is accused of a murder most foul! The evidence is so damning, even the rest of the Batfamily has their doubts! Bruce is in jail for a while, and thus can ONLY be Bruce for a good amount of time. Bats decides that Bruce Wayne is, in fact, the mask and shuns the identity altogether and escapes, leaving the whole Batfamily to untangle the mystery Batty Bats has left behind.

There’s lots of good Batfam feelings up in here, which is what Elyses like best!

Streets of Gotham: Leviathan

One of my very favorite books in the Bat Universe was the short lived Streets of Gotham! It told the stories of crime in Gotham from street level– through the eyes of characters around town, rather than through the eyes of Batman. It’s no secret that Dick and Damian are my favorite duo, so naturally I’m gonna like this book.

This is the second trade in the series and features a really scary story involving Damian (who is just starting to show that he has a heart), Viktor Zsasz, and a character that I wish would come back: Colin Wilkes! Pick it up y’all, for real.

Batman: The Black Mirror

More Dick Grayson as Bats! This is the beginning of Scott Snyder’s reign as the best Batman writer of our time! In this’n, Bruce has come back and Damian is working with him, leaving DickBats to work solo as…. uh… other Batman.

This one introduces James Gordon Jr, who will give you the creeps something FIERCE! You’ll definitely feel on edge throughout the entirety of the book. I CANNOT recommend this more more if I tried. If you haven’t read it, then what the fuck are you even doing?! Get on it! And pick up all of Snyder’s other stuff while you’re at it!

So there you have just a few of my favorites! What are your favorite Batman stories?

6

Character Spotlight: The Case for Booster Gold

Whenever someone asks me who my very favorite comic book character is, I’m always tempted to take the easy path. I really like Dick Grayson, so why not say, “Robin?” Everyone knows who that is! Or Wonder Woman. I do love Wonder Woman. But in the end, I could never betray my top favorite!

So who the hell is my favorite? Why, The Greatest Hero You’ve Never Heard Of:

BOOSTER GOLD aka MICHAEL JON CARTER

This answer never fails to get me a side-eye, a “why?!” or a “who?!” Yeah, yeah. I know. As far as mainstream superheroes go, Booster Gold is a bit different from his caped peers and that can make for a really off-putting character for some people. What I want to do is shine a little light on a character that doesn’t get enough attention and make him more accessible to the masses!

LETSA GO!

HISTORY

His story starts in the 25th century, where Batman and Superman are historical figures! He was a star football player in college, hoping to make it into the big leagues when his mother fell very ill. She required treatment that their family couldn’t afford, so he started betting on and throwing his own football games. Unfortunately, he was caught, arrested, kicked out of school, and disowned by the mother he risked everything to help!

After being released from jail, he managed to get a job as a night watchmen at the Metropolis Space Museum. After seeing pictures and artifacts from heroes of the past (well… the present for us), Booster decided he wanted to be a hero too! But what’s a dude to do if he’s been shamed and humiliated in his own time? Steal Rip Hunter’s time machine, a super suit, a flight ring, and become a super hero in the past, obviously!

Booster hooks up with manager Max Lord in order to win fame and glory in our time! Max forms the new Justice League International, with Booster as a main player, and thus the shenanigans begin!

WHY I LOVE BOOSTER

When the people who even know who he is find out that Booster Gold is my favorite super hero, they do NOT get it. Booster is an egomaniacal showboater who would do anything for a buck, they say! He’s goofy and has no idea what he’s doing! Why on earth would I like a character like that?

It’s true, that’s how Booster started out. But over the 20-some years of his character’s existence, he’s been one of the most dynamic heroes I’ve ever read. Here are some of the main reasons I love Booster so much.

  • His Friendship with Ted Kord!

One of the first, fastest, and biggest developments for Booster Gold’s character was becoming friends with the second Blue Beetle, Ted Kord. Let me tell ya– these dudes have caused me so much laughter and so many tears!

Their friendship had many ups and downs, but I challenge anyone to find a stronger relationship (platonic, romantic, or otherwise) than theirs. Ted’s death affected Booster so profoundly that it lead to a drastic change in his character as he mourned for several years.

  • He’s Funny!

You may think it’s a recent fad, but the trend towards the grim and gritty and serious within comics is nothing new. In an era of over-manliness (lookin’ at you, late 80’s and early 90’s), Booster was different! It’s a character that dared to kinda silly. He’s always getting himself in trouble and getting into shenanigans. That’s the kind of stuff that I’m interested in!

  • His Character Development!

As I just mentioned, Ted’s death had a huge impact on Booster Gold and his character started to go through many changes. All of these changes have been really organic and human. In his final run before the New 52, he’s sacrificed his reputation and continued to let people think he was a self-serving idiot looking for cash, all the while saving other heroes without them knowing about it. He grew into a really stand-up guy, adopting a daughter and leading his old Justice League group against Max Lord one more time.

SO YOU WANNA READ SOME BOOSTER?

I’m gonna be straight up with y’all. I do not like what’s happened to Booster in the New52. Luckily for you dudes, there’s a load of Boosterful comics to read pre-Flashpoint! And you know it just wouldn’t be a comics post by Elyse if I didn’t lay down the fundamentals chronologically**!

**Not everything Booster has been in has been collected (for instance, the 90’s run called Extreme Justice). I’ve only included things that are available to read in trades or hardcovers and have linked to where I’ve managed to find them to purchase.

 

1.) Showcase Presents: Booster Gold

This collects Booster’s original solo run from the 80’s! It’s cheesy and perfect and filled with amazing ridiculous fashion on buff figures! Could you ASK for any more?!

2.) Justice League International

The book that dared to be different! Like I mentioned before, the late-80’s and early-90’s was a dark, macho time for comics– maybe even more-so than now! And you’ve got Frank Miller to thank for that! His The Dark Knight Returns changed the tone of comics completely and they haven’t been the same since! That didn’t jive with everyone, though. So J. M. DeMatteis, Keith Giffen, and Kevin Maguire teamed up to fight the grittiness with an all-new Justice League! A funny one! In this run, Booster meets Ted Kord and the biggest bromance of DC comics is born!

Vols. 1//2//3//4//5//6

 

3.) Formerly Known as the Justice League

Way after disbanding, Max Lord tries to get the team together again to make a buck or two! This is where it starts to get really goofy! There’s trouble in paradise as Booster and Ted’s relationship becomes rocky! Oh, the drama!

4.) I Can’t Believe it’s Not the Justice League

Same feel as “Formerly Known…” Lots of goofiness! Booster accidentally transports the team to the depths of hell where they must run a fast food restaurant called “Beelze Burger.” While these two books are really silly, they contained clues as to what would soon be happening within the greater DCU in the form of the Funny Aneurysm trope!

5.) The OMAC Project

In this one, things start to get serious. Booster has given up the superhero life after the tragic events of Identity Crisis, but agrees to get back in the business when Ted Kord notices something very nefarious going on within his company. Nobody takes Ted seriously due to his B-hero status, except for Booster. And everyone will come to regret that.

6.) 52

Not to be confused with the New 52, 52 was a comic that detailed the goings-on in the year directly following Infinite Crisis. Booster is back to his money-grubbing ways in this one, causing his reputation with other heroes to become even worse than it was (and it wasn’t good to begin with, y’all!). While Booster is the star of one of the volumes, the other volumes are actually really great too! Totally recommended!

Vols. 1//2//3//4

7.) Booster Gold

Finally his own solo run again, hooray! Booster just wants to get back into the Justice League after ruining his reputation, but, needless to say, nobody’s feelin’ that. The others offer him a tentative membership, if he can manage to not be shitty– something he’s finally mature enough to accomplish. Unfoooortunately, Rip Hunter comes along and informs him that he must help to repair a goofed up time stream, and to do that he must draw as little attention and respect from other heroes as possible. So while saving every other hero’s life, he must outwardly appear to be the idiot he once was.

Vols. 1//2//3//4//5//6

8.) Justice League: Generation Lost

Max Lord is back! He’s erased everyone’s memory of his existence except for the original Justice League International and things get personal when everyone seems to remember Ted’s death as a suicide rather than a murder. Booster takes the lead hunting Max down in this really cool run that I’ve read maybe 15 times!

Vols. 1//2

After all of this came Flashpoint, the crossover event that rebooted DC’s entire continuity. Booster is one of the few time travelers in DC and is important to this event because he might just be the only one who now remembers the world before the New 52. What comes of that remains to be seen, but hopefully we’ll find out soon!

So there ya have it! You may decide you want to read some Booster Gold, you might not. But should you try it out and like what you read, please consider supporting the one-shot (Booster Gold: Future’s End #1) coming out soon. With comics, it’s always a “vote with your dollars” situation and the only way to keep your favorite comics going is by actually buying them. Despite what I think about the new Booster, I have to believe that supporting him will lead to good things!

10

Out-Of-Context, Unintentionally Funny Comic Book Panels: Bruce and Dick Edition!

Hey Doodz! So, not-so-recently I got a new laptop. We’re talkin’ about October of last year, I think. I’d really only moved a few things over from the old one to the new one. Just the essentials. Resumes, music, that sorta stuff.

Well, I booted up my old relic again the other night just to see what sort of stuff I’d left behind and found a GEM of a folder. I knew instantly that I needed to share a small portion of the magic here. So without anymore bullshitting:

Out-Of-Context, Unintentionally Funny Comic Book Panels: Bruce and Dick Edition!

 

That’s just a tiny little selection of what I have. Hell, that’s just a tiny selection of what I have on Batman and Robin alone! So I figure, why not share a new one with you every now and again. Laughter is the best medicine afterall!

15

So you wanna start reading Batman, huh? A beginners guide to getting caught up on Batman.

Excellent choice! Aint nobody don’t like Batman. Aint nobody.

Problem is, Batman comics are, like, really fucking old. There’s hundreds and thousands of them. And at any given time, there were several different comics featuring the caped crusader running at once! It’s easy to look at it all and be like:

Well, the good news, you don’t have to read all of them. In fact, you can’t. You might think you can, but believe me. You can’t! Don’t even try. Who do you think you are? Nicholas Cage?! You do NOT have to start from the beginning. But where SHOULD you start, then? WELL, I CAN HELP.

The big name to know right now, in terms of the Bat-family world, is Grant Morrison. A very surreal, bizarre writer, GMo (as he’s lovingly called by comic enthusiasts) has been the driving force behind everything going on in Gotham for the past 6 or 7 years! He’s responsible for some of the most controversial events in Batman’s history, as well as several new major characters and villains, including the fifth Robin! So where better than to start off with his run? And lucky you! All the major essentials have been collected into hardcovers and trades!

So, without further ado, your introduction to Batman!

1.) Batman: The Black Casebook

Kind of a collection of Batman stories that GMo has been involved with. This shows the things he’s changed or retconned or introduced, so you can prepare yourself for the ride ahead.

2.) Batman and Son

Now we’re getting this party started! Here we’re introduced to Bruce’s biological son, Damian– one of my very favorite characters. Her’s a huge snot and will be a super important player in the series.

3.) Batman: The Black Glove

Heeeeere we go! This throws you right into the world and story and mythos that GMo wants to create. Pay attention to every detail starting now, because Morrison is a weirdo who doesn’t believe in extraneous. Eveything means something.

4.) Batman: The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul

This one isn’t totally necessary, but it helps you understand the character of Damian Wayne a little better– shows you what his purpose is, a bit. And plus, everyone loves Ra’s!

5.) Batman R.I.P.

No we’re getting weird! If you don’t get this one the first time through, don’t fret! This whole run is worth a second read-through, and it’ll make more sense once you’ve read the whole thing and have come back. Just power through– believe me!

6.) Final Crisis

Oh jeeze. This thing. This is not going to make much sense to you at all. It barely makes sense to long-time readers. But the part you need to take in is that, in defeating Darkseid, Bruce Wayne is “killed.”

7.) Batman: Battle for the Cowl

This one is pretty poorly handled, but has some good moments in the beginning! The way they portray Jason Todd is really unfortunate and over-the-top, but the key thing is that it ushers in the new Batman, Dick Grayson.

8.) Batman & Robin: Batman Reborn

A new day has dawned! This might be the start of my favorite time in Batman. I thought the Dick/Damian (also known affectionately as the Double D’s) team was really a wonderful twist. Shame it couldn’t last longer.

9.) Batman & Robin: Batman vs Robin

The dynamic duo are warming up to each other and getting closer to a huge and bizarre breakthrough. Remember what I said about paying attention to details? Yeah, keep doing that.

10.) Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne

Uh oh, getting confusing! This is basically meant to be read alongside the Batman & Robin series, as it is happening simultaneously (albeit in… different times). Our buddy Bruce, as it turns out, was sent backward in time by Darkseid and is jumping forward, gradually, back to today.

11.) Batman & Robin: Batman & Robin Must Die

Wrapping up the saga of Dick and Damian as Gotham’s Batman and Robin team! Boy, I miss it. Here everything comes together, literally, as Bruce returns to “today” and reclaims his role as THE Batman. What a weird and wild ride it has been!

12.) Batman Incorporated

Batman Inc was a concept I was REALLY afraid of. I did not like the idea AT ALL. But all turned out pretty well, actually. From here you can continue in through all of Batman Inc and into the new 52, which did not retcon Batman’s life too heavily at all (no other hero in DC was safe, however).

All this should give you a feel for the Batman universe. There are a lot of must-reads that have nothing to do with this run, like “Hush,” “The Long Halloween,” “The Black Mirror,” and so on, but I’ll save those recommendations for a later date! For now, this is a good starting point. Make sure you keep wikipedia open next to you, in case you feel lost or have any questions. This is a very “different” run, but will bring you totally up to speed!

2

The Return of Ted Kord

So IGN has reported the return of my second-favorite comic book character of all time (my favorite being Booster Gold), Ted Kord. And I’m preparing for the event much like this:

Don’t get me wrong! I’m excited. Next to nobody has waited for this day with as much longing and desperation as I have. Ted Kord has but a small cult fan following. But it’s because I love him so much as a character that I’m utterly terrified to see him come back.

Ted is a little different than most heroes. He’s often “the guy who drives the van,” so to speak. He’s all brains and no action, but is charmingly upbeat and loves a good pun. Most importantly, he was rarely seen without best friend and partner in crime, Booster Gold (my very favorite comic book character). Their intense and loving friendship almost defined them as characters and is surely what people remember most about the each of them.

 (Their friendship is renowned as the closest in all of DC. Suspiciously so!)

Their adventures were often silly romps and money-grabbing schemes, but there were serious times too. The most serious of Ted’s stories was also his last (and a damn fine story it was!). I won’t spoil too much for you, but Ted’s character bit the big one in Countdown to Infinite Crisis: The Omac Project back in 2005. The story itself was really great and led to a huge sort-of-spiritual transformation of the character of Booster Gold.

 
(Me too, Booster!)

And not a day went by that I didn’t wish Ted could come back. Until the new 52.

I don’t hate everything in the new 52, don’t get me wrong, but so many characters have been handled in a way I despise, that I’m terrified to see what happens to poor Ted. He and Booster have suffered enough.

That being said, there’s the other part of my heart that’s swelling with joy. When comics are a medium you love, then you always want to read new stories about your favorite characters. You hate to see them suffer or die and you feel good when good things happen to them. While I’m scared that Ted will be handled poorly, I’m overwhelmingly proud and pleased that he’s beloved enough to see the light of day again. Rest assured, I will be buying the first issue of his return, every variant, and every subsequent issue, regardless of how things go.