Sunday, December 28, 2008

Far Out Morts

Hey, I'm back!

Eric was right. Kraven the Hunter was a Spider-Man villian for many years until he committed suicide. He has recently been replaced by a younger female version, although the relationship between the two, if any, has not been explored as of yet.

I have recently purchased "Star Trek: The Complete Collection", with just a ton of Star Trek comic books. Of course, this means I have a whole new resource for Morts. So here are two of my favorites.

So, Trekkies, who are these Morts?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Hunting the Mort

As you may or may not know, Jennifer and I have been talking budget lately and have decided that I need to cut down on the number of comics that I have been purchasing. It is at this point that I realize how much of my identity is wrapped up in being, "the comic book guy" (not the Simpson's character, but just the guy in our little group that knows his comic books really well). With the loss of several titles a month, I have a real dread that I will lose that aspect of my identity. Just as I was feeling at my all time lowest, however, I discovered the Joanna didn't know this guy, who is our newest mort. So my title as THE comic book guy is secure for now (unless, of course, she has studied up since our conversation and can now tell me his identity).

Monday, July 07, 2008

Morti-Colored Kryptonite

Jericho and Starfire (Kory Anders) are two of the Teen Titans and the namesakes of two of the cutest and most rambunctious cats ever.

Okay, it has been too long since I updated, but that is the by-product of having to turn in my laptop with my resignation letter. Nowadays, I get to surf the 'net only when Jennifer brings her computer from work and doesn't need it for herself. Anyway, I won't be blogging much this summer, so I have to make this one count.

I was reading comics the other day (surprise, surprise) when I came across an add for the new series of "Showcase" action figures. Part of the ad really caught my attention:

I love the gimmick of including other heads to simulate Supes being affected by Red Kryptonite. Truth be told, it got me in a nostalgic mood. I have very happy memories of reading silver age "Red K" Superman stories, where Clark is turned into a giant or an infant or a robot. Red Kryptonite, and Kryptonite in all of its various incarnations, just so perfectly sums up what made me love comics in the first place: that silver age emphasis on just fun escapist story telling where anything could happen, but nothing really changes. Seriously, when was the last time you saw "Superman, Lion-Headed Man of Steel" in a comic book?

Okay, before this devolves to me just complaining about the current state of comic books, the discussion of Kryptonite leads me to our Mort game for today. As the picture below shows, back in the silver age there was a whole rainbow of different types of Kryptonite, each with its own plot-advancing properties. Simple question then: Name the different types of Kryptonite and what each one did.

Speaking of nostalgia, I have often in this blog extolled the virtue of Ambush Bug, one of my all time favorite characters in the DC universe. Because I read a disgusting amount of comic book news websites, I have known for a while that a new Ambush Bug mini series was coming, but I didn't know that it would receive the sort of hype that it has. I literally sqealed with delight, for example, when I saw this house ad in most of my DC comics a few weeks ago:

I have no clue what "unvictorious" means or how it relates to the "plot" of the mini-series, but that picture is just so perfect for the type of humor Ambush Bug brings to the universe. When comic books are taking themselves more and more seriously, we need a character who will point out the silliness of it all and say lighten up.

The Ambush Bug comics are notoriously bad for biting the hand that feeds it, which is why it is so surprising to see the amount of editorial support this mini-series is getting. This weeks "DC Nation" (the last page of every DC comics comic) was even dedicated to hawking the series.

So, in short, support the Bug and bring comedy back to the comics!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Purrrfect Morts

The Wrath was a Batman villian who is kind of the Reverse Batman (his parents were criminals who were killed by a police officer in front of him and he therefore dedicated his life to "avenging" them). He appeared in a very good Annual of Batman in the 80's and a recent story arc in Batman confidential which was also a lot of fun.

The Golden Age Daredevil (now known as 'Devil in Project Super Powers due to copyright issues)watched his parents die, dedicated himself to fighting injustice, and was mute. He also throws boomerangs.

Okay the new morts are not difficult to any one who has read DC comics, but they are related to the blog entry I wrote here. So who are our teen age heroes?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Back to Blogging

Joanna was right about Ord from Breakworld. If Joss Whedon ever manages to finish his run on Astonishing X-Men, maybe we will get the end of the story for this character. Alright, I've got a couple of Morts for you. One is DC and the other is an INDY character that has become popular lately, who are they?

Monday, March 31, 2008

A Green Mort (Not Gamma Induced)

Jennifer was so close, but alas no cigar will be awarded for last weeks mort, who was Cheeks, THE TOY WONDER (attention to detail is important. Cheeks, the Toy Wonder (Carp, now I have to write that the whole entry or be labeled a hypocrite), was the ill-fated sidekick to Ambush Bug who appeared and died in Ambush Bug #1. Cheeks, The Toy Wonder (really, couldn't I at least use abreviations?) fell out of the back of a garbage truck and through Ambush Bug's plate glass window on page 4. Cheeks, the Toy . . . oh forget it, Cheeks died a scant 10 pages later when he was unable to defuse a bomb left by terroristic Republicans (get it? because he's not really alive, just a doll). He would return in the follow up mini-series as a cannibalistic zombie doll, but that is a story for another day.
My assumption is that this weeks mort will not be that difficult for any of you, but you have surprised me on this sort of thing before. To give you a little extra help (and to take advantage of my keen new scanner) here are the stats for this Mort from the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.

New Feature: Try a Comic!

Again, this is just me shamelessly showing off the scanner, but I wanted to spice up the blog by recommending a comic book that you may not have picked up this week. IDW publishing, the 5th largest comic book company, started its life best known as the go-to company for horror themed comics (30 Days of Night among other things). Recently, they have become synonymous with comic book adaptations of popular TV shows (Angel, 24, CSI). What they have not been known for are quality super hero comics, which is why FX #1 is such an odd find.

John Byrne, who has been associated with everything from the Fantastic Four to Superman, lends his familiar artwork to this series about a boy who awakens from a coma with the ability to create virtually anything by mimicking the item with his body and making the right sound effect (by holding his arms out and saying "fwoosh" he becomes a plan; making a gun with his hand and saying "bang, bang" creates real bullets). Despite the company producing this, it is a straight forward super hero book, and a pretty darn good one. In the words of the ominous skull guy that appears at the end of the book:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Ode to a Bug

A little something different this week (thanks to the new scanner), but first who were last weeks morts?

The Marvel Mort (in Purple and Green) is the original Sin Eater, a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who became obsessed with destroying "sinners" after his partner was killed. As a little trivia, he was indirectly responsible for the creation of Venom, as Eddie Brock developed his hatred of Spider-Man when he was fired from the Daily Bugle for pursuing false leads about Sin Eater's identity.

The DC mort (in the horribly clashing purple, blue, and red) is the Protector, one of my favorite comic book stories. In the early 80's the Teen Titans was the most popular comic book DC published. This led to a series of anti-drug comics starring the Titans sponsored by Keebler products. Unfortunately, the leader of the Titans, Robin, was already licensed to Keebler's rival, Nabisco. Therefore, the character of the Protector was created to fill Robin's place.

I have read comic books for an obscenely long time, so long that I can't honestly remember the first one I read or how I started this crazy hobby. Despite this, I most certainly remember the first comic I read that made me love comic books. Ambush Bug #3 is so important to my formation as a comic book geek that when Jennifer and I traveled to Nags Head, NC last year the 7/11 where I bought the issue more than 20 years ago was one of the sites that we had to visit.

As you can see from the scan of the cover, this issue has been read extensively (a new copy would make an excellent birthday present, by the way).

If you've never read a comic book starring Ambush Bug, let me just say that he isn't a character well known for linear story-telling. Basically, each issue of the mini-series was an opportunity for the creative team (Robert Loren Flemming and Keith Giffen) to fire off as many jokes as they could in 22 pages. The rough outline of this issue, as you can tell from this splash page is the Bug introducing us to some of the more obscure characters in DC's past. In retrospect, I think this is why this book made me love comics so much. This issue showed me that, even if much of it is embarrassing, comic books have such a dense history that anyone with the desire and persistence can find a hidden treasure that the rest of the world has forgotten. Take for example:

Egg Fu, a character that was actually resurrected recently in 52, or:

Man, I miss the Super Pets! Or how about:

Bat Mite is awesome, even if he was painful to watch in the Batman cartoon. By the way, notice the fake ads at the bottom of the page. Why are fake ads always hilarious? Something for the dog lover:

Okay, Ace wasn't really that funny. Speaking of funny, Ambush Bug #3 featured the Milton Berle of Comic Book funny superheroes, The Inferior Five:

Of all of the pages in Ambush Bug #3, I think I always most enjoyed learning about Mopee. It is funny how many of the references I missed the first time I read this, but now I get every one:

I don't know if you can see the writing in the scans, but Ambush Bug soon stumbles upon a conspiracy of a fat housewife who has made all of these "classic" characters disappear. In the end of the book, we discover this villian's identity:

Unfortunately for Jonni DC, she can revel in her misdeeds only temporarily, as she soon meets her fate:

This ending was a bit of a running joke in the mini-series, as Darkseid would appear in the last panel of each issue along with a blurb that next issue would show the titanic showdown between the lord of Apokolips and Ambush Bug (therefore guaranteeing huge sells for the next issue).

Okay, I know it was a joke, but one of the most meaningful parts of Ambush Bug #3 was the column you see to your left, which appeared in the letters page of this issue. It is ironic that AB would heap praises upon his favorite comic book issue in what would become my favorite comic book issue. I guess in my own way I have "lived my whole life based on principles that I learned," in Ambush Bug #3. I've learned that it doesn't matter if you are the biggest, or best, or most popular. It doesn't matter if everyone knows your name, as long as you have an interesting story that makes someone smile for a couple of minutes. I also learned that even if your story isn't interesting, there will be someone who sits and listens to it all. After all, you're still reading, aren't you?

Okay, I know some of you only care about guessing new Morts, so here is another one for you. It also comes from Ambush Bug #3. I know I have done this one before, but who is this?

Also, if you think about it, tell me about your favorite single issue of a comic book. What made it special for you?