Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Elongated Man's Stretchable Sleuth

Ralph Dibny was fascinated by contortionists as a kid, and found that one thing they all seemed to have in common was an addiction to the soft drink Gingold. Why, it would take quite a detective to put that together, based on a fixation with pliability. Could this convergence possibly lead to Ralph's isolating the active ingredient in Gingold, dosing up on the stuff regular, and enhancing his performance to become a second rate Plastic Man? Indeed!

Unlike Eel O'Brien, Ralph was only thought to be a crook when he made his debut as the Elongated Man, making fast friends with the Flash. I guess he lacked that certain something though, because he wasn't offered more than a back-up series, and it took years to land a spot on the Justice League. In the meantime, Ralph gained fame enough to attract the attention of a delightful heiress, and his marriage to Sue Dibny was about the most original and noteworthy thing about him.

From second banana to background team player, Elongated Man rode his association with the Justice League until their first volume was canceled. Even with the slim pickings available, Justice League International still left Ralph on the shelf for two years, until they needed to staff a spin-off team. Once they burned the engine up on that one, Elongated Man was retired until such a time as he and his wife could be used to fuel the tragedy in a crossover, and they were both permanently laid to rest.

Solo Blog
Ralph Dibny, the World-Famous Elongated Man

Ductile Detective
Who's Who Vol.VII: The Elongated Man (9/85)
The Top 10 Elongated Man Covers
Ralph Dibny Can't Keep It Together (Identity Crisis #1, 2004)

22,300 Miles above the Earth
Justice League of America #133-134 (8-9/76)
Justice League of America #221-223 (12/93-2/84)
Blue Devil #4, #5 (10/84)

"Oh, NO! Lake Michigan!"
Justice League of America Annual #2 (1984)
The New Teen Titans #4 (1/85)
Justice League of America #233, 234, 235, 236, 237, 238,239, #241, #242, #243
JLA Classified #23 (Late July, 2006)
JLA: Incarnations #5 (11/2001): 1st Story, 3rd Story
Infinity Inc. #19 (10/85)
Justice League of America #244 (11/85)
Justice League of America Annual #3 (1985)
Justice League of America #246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 252, 253, 254, 255, 257
Legends #1 (11/86), #2
Justice League of America #258 (1/87)
Legends #3-6 (1-4/87)

Justice League Spectacular #1 (1992)

Identity Crisis
The Flash #208-209 (May-June ’04)
Identity Crisis #1 (8/04), #2-5 (Sep-Dec. 2004), #6, #7
JLA#115, #116
Batman and the Outsiders #1-5 (December 2007-May 2008)
Green Lantern #43 (Early September 2009)
Blackest Night #1, #2, #3

Detroit League in JLA/Avengers (2003)
Justice #5, #6, #8

Signed Glossies

One Word: Plastics

Saturday, December 25, 2010

2005 Zatanna Art Book Piece by Brandon Peterson

Click To Enlarge

I really hated Peterson's work when he first started out as a generic Jim Lee/Art Thibert clone, but the guy really grew into an incredible artist in his own right. This was partly due to incorporating a greater variety of influences, but one Image contemporary I don't recall noticing in Peterson's previous work was Whilce Portacio, though this piece definitely recalls him.

More Selections from Brandon Peterson's 2005 Artbook!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Motor City Links

1:10 Variant covers by IVAN REIS
As the end of BRIGHTEST DAY approaches, our returned heroes and villains begin converging in one area as the ultimate protector reveals itself against the ultimate menace!
Retailers please note: These issues will ship with two covers each. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
Issue #21 on sale MARCH 2
Issue #22 on sale MARCH 16
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
The great Aquaman preview series is almost done, and whatever crap Martian Manhunter got up to should be wrapped up, as well.

Once dead, twelve heroes and villains were resurrected by a white light expelled from deep within the center of the earth. Now, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Firestorm, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Deadman, Jade, Osiris, Hawk, Captain Boomerang and Zoom must discover the mysterious reason behind their return and uncover the secret that binds them all.
In this second volumes, which issues #8-16 of the series, find out whether Deadman is truly destined to wield the White Lantern and who the new Aqualad is. Plus, Firestorm’s dueling alter egos take a bizarre journey, while Martian Manhunter returns to Mars to learn about the strange creature that’s stalking him.
On sale MAY 4 • 240 pg, FC, $29.99 US
The second hardcover collection of meandering, repetitive story snippets by artists that don't compliment each other drawing characters seemingly drawn from out of a hat.


"H Is for Holocaust!" from Adventure Comics #442 (August 1975)

Aquaman Rules

Stray Thoughts on an Aquatastic Episode of Smallville!

Amazing new diving suit turns wearer into Aquaman



Art and cover by FREDDIE WILLIAMS II
The mystery of “The Puzzle Men” concludes! Only by piecing together clues and weaponry from the past will the All-Stars be able to get to the bottom of Arthur Pemberton’s master plan!
On sale MARCH 9 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US


When a Martian meets a woman

Koma Designs Martian Manhunter Resin Model Kit

The Comic Reader #219 (September, 1984)


Written by PAUL DINI
Satanic sorcerer Brother Night lost his magical powers when Zatanna defeated him atop Mount Diablo. But in prison, he’s forged a bloody pact that could make him the most dangerous nemesis she’s ever faced! Last time, her friends barely escaped with their lives; this time, they might not be so lucky!
On sale MARCH 23 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Zatanna #7 (2011)


Written by TOM PEYER
In a 3-part tale from BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #169-171 featuring art by Tony Harris, The Dark Knight encounters Frank Sharp, an exceptionally ugly man who has the ability to make people do whatever he wants just by shaking their hand. Sharp is out to make a name for himself in Gotham City’s worlds of politics and crime — if Batman doesn’t stop him first. Plus, a tale illustrated by Harris from HOURMAN #22, guest-starring Young Justice!
On sale MARCH 16 • 96 pg, FC, $7.99 US

Cool Stuff BONUS! 1966 Batman "Blue" Cards, Part 1!

Daily Batman: Mime-hating Bruce Wayne edition

Cool Stuff BONUS! 1966 Batman "Blue" Cards, Part 2!

The Bronze Age Batman Boogie

Cool Stuff BONUS! 1966 "Black" Batman Cards, Part 1!

Daily Batman: Break-in at Tiffany’s by the truly incomparable Adam Hughes

Cool Stuff BONUS! 1966 "Black" Batman Cards, Part 2!

Bruce … Is It Really You?

Cool Stuff: Bar-Bar-Bar, Bar-Bar-Barella and Batman Stuff!

Daily Batman: Enter Batgirl

1957: Batman Predicts the Quiz Show Scandal

Batman: Odyssey #4 - Dec. 2010

Neighbor from hell Catwoman on MadTV.

The Justice League XXX – Another Studio Joins The Superhero Porn Bandwagon

Daily Batman: The Bat and the Cat, Interrupted

Batman: Odyssey #5 - Jan. 2011

Batgirl is shocked –shocked!– by the homosexuality

WTF? Wednesday: Boys Will Be Boys

Daily Batman: A naked leg being the invitation, or, “Who’s your Dada?”

Travel Posters for Your Favorite Superhero Cities [Art]

Daily Batman: The name game


Daily Batman: the little Robin has a holiday package to share

Monday, December 20, 2010

Justice League of America #178 (May, 1980)

The Atom and Aquaman arrived aboard the Justice League Satellite via an instantaneous transporter tube. They were met by Zatanna, Batman, Green Arrow, Black Canary and Superman. “How come everyone looks so glum?” Aquaman replied, “I think ‘grim’ is a more appropriate word, Atom… and I expect your expressions reflect the reason for this emergency meeting!”

Zatanna explained that through her monitor duty, she realized the various attacks on League members by giant animated chess pieces had to be connected. “Isn’t it obvious what’s happening? You were in the opening gambit of some cosmic chess game, manipulated by some unseen force! A force that can attack again, at any moment, without warning!”

Ollie Queen, self-important boob that he was, denied that any of this affected his role as Star City’s “ordinary folk” protector. The bishop that materialized in a transporter whose high-density plastisteel booth was shattered by a staff that subsequently put Green Arrow on his sorry ass made a convincing counter argument. Superman and Batman were subsequently struck by eyebeams of kryptonite and lightning, respectively. Black Canary tried to kick the bishop, which sounds like a naughty game, but nothing came of it. The Atom shrunk into Aquaman’s palm, then was tossed into the bishop’s featureless face for a two-fisted atomic punch. The bishop then showed the Mighty Mite the backswing of his pimp staff.

As the bishop fired eyebeams at Zatanna, the Heiress of Magic stood firm with her arms crossed. “Dleihs mrof-- tcetorp em morf sih syar!” The star-shaped shield held. “Dleihs hcaer tuo-- tcetorp ym sdneirf-- tel meht thgif tuohtiw raef…” Aquaman benefited from the protection, as he ran up and slugged the bishop. “I may be an Atlantean out of water, Black Canary, but I was born to endure the pressures of the ocean depths-- and few things, living or unloving, can stand a blow that might well stun a whale!” Sure enough, the sea king cracked the chessman in half, with Black Canary delivering a sonic “coup d’grace” that blew the bishop to pieces.

The Atom studied the debris, and concluded it was of extra-terrestrial origin and “That chesspiece was more powerful than all of us combined. It let us win… but don’t ask me why!”

A silence fell over the room. Green Arrow then broke it with the accusation that new member Zatanna froze up in battle, which he would only know from hearsay since his bitch ass was down before the first round. “I… sensed a presence surrounding that ‘chesspiece’ …an identity… familiar, but unknown… and somehow I knew… it meant us no real harm…” Ollie was dyspeptic over Zee’s reply, but she had no time for his bull, sensing something important was waiting to be found in the monitor room that may “unlock this entire mystery…”

In a spaceship hovering over Mars II, Despero had forced J'onn J'onzz into a deadly game of chess against his Justice League friends, with the lives of his surviving Martian people hanging in the balance. “I knew you could see reason, J’onn! That’s why I chose you for this little enterprise, after I finally managed to escape from the Krill… Now… shall we begin again? Just pick your piece, and I’ll use my third eye to teleport its larger counterpart into the Justice League’s presence…" However, the knight that was teleported found an empty Satellite, seemingly costing Despero the game by default. Despero protested, until he was attacked by one of his own Justice League chess pieces, which turned out to be the actual Atom.

As it turned out, the Justice League had arrived through the magic of Zatanna, who had disguised the heroes as Despero’s gameplay replicas. The Martian Manhunter explained, “I hoped you’d notice-- I had my ‘bishop’ destroy the memory bank record for every Justice League member-- active or inactive-- except my own!” The League got the message, then began fighting all of Despero’s pieces en masse, without the benefit of J’onzz’s benevolent guiding hand. The heroes began to falter, until the Atom called, “Superman! We’re in trouble-- but we’ve got maybe one small chance! And when I say small, I mean me! Remember I said these chess pieces were made up of independent atoms? Well, maybe I can knock those atoms into a series of chain collisions-- if I hit them small enough, and fast enough! I tried something similar with Aquaman-- but he didn’t have your speed!” Superman feared the move might be suicidal, but went along, casting the Mighty Mite at another bishop. In a microcosmic game of billiards, the Atom managed to set off a reaction that destabilized all of the chessmen, causing them to explode. Despero called out no’s while Atom recited yeses at this turn of events. “Face facts, Despero, you’ve just been hustled-- courtesy of the master chessman of Mars!”

Under the moons of Mars II, Despero was escorted away in chains by two Martians in heavy blue robes. “I-- and my people-- owe much to your sensitivity, Zatanna,” as well as the League’s might. Zee had caught the Martian Manhunter’s clue, which prompted Superman to scan Mars II with his telescopic vision, and the Heiress of Magic did the rest. “Simple matter or not, the deed deserves a reward, and you all shall have it… a celebration at the palace of heroes… as my ever-honored guests!” Of course, in the midst of this revelry, Green Arrow had to make it all about hi m by whining to Black Canary that he was far from Star City and the people who actually needed his worthless self. Ollie walked in the opposite direction from his fellows to mope as Dinah looked on...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

1990 Mayfair Games DC Heroes The Justice League Sourcebook: Steel - Deceased

So who did we miss? Well Zatanna, who did not receive a character card in 1989, as she was only making occasional appearances in the Spectre's series at the time. I figure she's doing plenty fine for herself these days though, so I think we'll skip her this year. Thanks to Zatannadays, she's had a disproportionately heavy presence on this blog for some time, anyway.

That leaves Steel, who had been placed in a vegetative state in 1987, and Gypsy, who went inactive that same year to return to home life as a high school student. However, in 1990, Despero returned to take what life Hank Heywood the third had left, and kill Gypsy's family besides. This was all recorded in their entries in the 1990 League sourcebook, and represented here for your information. Once again, I used a blank character card to award virtual standing to the second erroneously dubbed Indestructible Man, this time with art taken from a Luke McDonnell panel that frankly looks a little too good to ring true. I guess this balances out for my Vibe card, which was a little too poor, even by Mayfair original art standards. I'm kicking myself after having found another McDonnell panel that would have been perfect.

Oh, you're still worried about Gypsy? Well see, there's still time for her to turn up elsewhere on the internet...

Dex: 6
Str: 9
Body: 7
Int: 5
Will: 6
Mind: 5
Infl: 5
Aura: 4
Spirit: 5
Initiative: 16
Hero Points: 40

Density Increase: 1, Extended Hearing: 2, Skin Armor: 3, Ther­mal Vision: 5
• Limitations:
Density Increase is Always On at full AP value.
Buddy (Dale Gunn); Connec­tions: Justice League of America (High), US Military (High); Rich Family (Hank Heywood I)
JLA Signal Ring (see page 121)

•Alter Ego:
Henry (Hank) Heywood III
•Weight: 379 lbs.
•Eyes: Blue
•Hair: Red
•Motivation: Unwanted Power
•Wealth: 6
•Occupation: Adventurer
•Quote: "I'm not that stupid and neither are you." (Justice League of America #249)

Hank Heywood III was the grandson of the original Hank Heywood, who operated as the hero known as Commander Steel during the Second World War. When the younger Hank was in his mid-teens, his grandfather forced him to undergo the same series of painful operations that he himself had undergone in the early 1940s. Commander Steel wanted to spare his grandson the death that had befallen his son during the Viet Nam War by making him a superhuman. These operations replaced all of Heywood's bones with case-hardened steel supports and supplemented his musculature with hydraulic motors that increased his strength and stamina.

When the elder Heywood learned that the Justice League had disbanded and reformed, he offered the team the use of his "Bunker," a futuristic fortress that he had built in Detroit, on the condition that the team accept his grandson as a member and tutor him in the use of his superhuman abilities. Having just lost their satellite headquarters, the League quickly accepted Commander Steel's offer and jetted out to their new HQ.1

Although he harbored a great deal of resentment toward his grandfather for subjecting him to the painful enhancement operations, Steel proved an eager student and served the League well in its struggles against the Cadre,2 Anton Allegro,3 and Amazo.4 Steel's feud with his grandfather came to a head during the Crisis On Infinite Earths, when the elder Heywood decided that the newly reformed Justice League was influencing Hank to rebel against his grandfather's wishes.5 The Heywoods fought a terrific battle that ended when Steel was catapulted through a time warp to the far future. After an encounter with the JLA's old foe, the Lord of Time, Steel returned to the present and discovered that his grandfather had evicted the JLA from the Bunker.6

Sadly, Steel was killed by one of Professor Ivo's androids during the insane scientist's campaign to eliminate the Justice League, which followed in the wake of Darkseid's attempt to rob the Earth of its "legends."7

Steel was one of those inexperienced, volatile heroes. He would plunge into the thick of battle without really considering the possible repercussions. While he was tough enough to emerge unscathed most of the time, this overzealousness was what ultimately cost him his life.

Although he seemed eager enough to accept the advice of Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter when it came to heroics, Steel always had a hard time accepting authority and authority figures. This attitude isn't really surprising when you take into consideration his maniacal grandfather, who was obsessed with having his grandson remade into a cybernetic fighting machine in his own image.

  1. Justice League of America Annual #2
  2. Justice League of America #233-236
  3. Justice League of America #231-239
  4. Justice League of America #241-243
  5. Justice League of America #244
  6. Justice League of America #245-246
  7. Justice League of America #260

As Mayfairstivus drew to a close, these final gifts were presented:

Belated thanks to Tom Hartley, whose offering of a batch of about 30 character card scans was the taste I needed to seek more. He then sold his box set for a very reasonable price to a poor student to facilitate this crossover, because I just had to scan them all for myself.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

1990 Mayfair Games DC Heroes The Justice League Sourcebook: Vibe - Deceased

What kind of Mayfairstivus would this be without setting aside a glass of wine for fallen Justice League members and uttering the immortal (est. 1986) phrase, "next year, in Detroit..." No wait, that's an unforgivable bastardization of the Passover seder. Anyhow, Paco Ramone had gone to a better place in 1989 (surely getting on John Lennon's nerves daily,) so he didn't receive a character card in the 1989 Mayfair box set. However, I decided to use a card blank to create one for him, bleaching the color from a tiny Val Semeiks panel where he drew Vibe running so that his right leg was obscured by his body. It seemed an appropriately awkward and inept shot of the world's most sexually satisfying Puerto Rican. The stats are from the same glorious 1990 League sourcebook that brought us Dale Gunn...

Dex: 6
Str: 3
Body: 4
Int: 5
Will: 5
Mind: 5
Infl: 6
Aura: 5
Spirit: 5
Initiative: 19
Hero Points: 35

Vibe: 8

Artist (break dancing): 3, Mar­tial Artist: 5, Thief: 6

Area Knowledge (Detroit streets); Connections: Justice League of America (High), Street (Low)

JLA Signal Ring (see page 121)

•Alter Ego: Paco Ramone
•Height: 5'9"
•Weight: 170 lbs.
•Eyes: Blue
•Hair: Black

Thrill of Adventure

•Wealth: 3
•Occupation: Former Gang Leader
• Quote: "Word's out on the street is chu guys are the Chustice League. I figure, guys like chu and me, we should be on the same crew." (Justice League of Amer­ica Annual #2)

Vibe's career as a Justice Leaguer was too short. It began shortly after Aquaman disbanded the original League. When young Paco Ramone heard that a new Justice League was forming in his own backyard of Detroit, he decided to give up his position as the leader of the El Lobos, a local street gang, to join the JLA and become a superhero.1 This would have been impossible if it weren't for the fact that Vibe had been born with the metahuman abil­ity to emit powerful vibratory shockwaves.

Vibe's presence on the team caused Aquaman and the Mar­tian Manhunter to harbor some strong doubts about the new JLA, particularly after he got the League involved in a rumble with a rival gang called the Skulls over the El Lobos' turf.2

However, Vibe soon proved his mettle during the League's battles against Anton Allegro,3 the Cadre,4 and Amazo.5 He stayed with the League during the Crisis adventure, when Commander Steel evicted the League from the Bunker,6 and his powers played a vital role in de­feating Despero.7 During Darkseid's assault on Earth's "legends," Paco left his JLA com­rades to seek the familiar solace of the streets. Vibe was attacked by one of Professor Ivo's androids, and despite a valiant effort, be­came the first Justice League member to be killed in the line of duty. The Martian Manhunter brought Vibe's body back to the League's mountain sanctuary, where Vibe was laid to rest in a cryogenic chamber.8

Vibe's brother recently devel­oped a similar set of vibratory powers and joined Booster Gold's team of heroes, the Conglomer­ate, using the code name Reverb.9

Vibe was stamped out of the care-free, wisecracking mold. He was fun-loving, street smart, and uninhibited.

  1. Justice League of America Annual #2
  2. Justice League of America #233
  3. Justice League of America §233-236
  4. Justice League of America #237-239
  5. Justice League of America #241-243
  6. Justice League of America #246
  7. Justice League of America #254
  8. Justice League of America #258
  9. Justice League International Quarterly #1

Sunday, December 5, 2010

1989 Mayfair Games DC Heroes Elongated Man Character Card

This is a good looking card, no? I like when Ralph is shown to have solid muscle/anatomy that is only distorted when he elongates with a specific purpose (beyond perpetually looking goofy.) He's got an heroic face that recalls Jim Aparo, which is hardly ever a bad thing, and I much prefer the purple & white suit.

You know, I've long felt that stretching characters deserve more respect than they get. Elongation is a fantastic power that could be used for reach, strength, evasion, acrobatics... the list goes on. So what do the great minds of comics come up with? Rubber balls, parachutes, and twitching noses. Ugh.

Check that Dexterity of 12. That is massively effective in the role-playing game. The Stretchable Sleuth may not have a lot of muscle behind his blows, but he can connect with great facility. That rare appearance of Detroit favoritism rears it's sunny head again, because Elongated Man owns Plastic Man in this game. Ralph's bodily durability is better suited to street crime than League levels, but it's still nothing to sneeze at. I'd say Ralph's I.Q. is about right, especially given the separate Detective Skill of 6, but his so-called Emotional Intelligence is too much. You don't need an Influence of 6 when you're second string in the Motor City League. Maybe Gerry Conway favored his own creations, but when Vibe and Steel consistently show you up in pure personality? Double ugh.

Belated thanks to Tom Hartley, whose offering of a batch of about 30 character card scans was the taste I needed to seek more. He then sold his box set for a very reasonable price to a poor student to facilitate this crossover, because I just had to scan them all for myself.

Friday, December 3, 2010

1989 Mayfair Games DC Heroes Vixen Character Card

I don't know why the Mayfair illustrators were inspired to give the Detroit League the extra effort to look so nice, but I'm happy they delivered such a noble Vixen image (even with those booties.) It's a shame she was robbed on strength and Animal Mimicry, a power she schooled Animal Man in using, and he got a 13. Buddy became more powerful, but this was still '89, y'know?  The 8 in Dexterity is good though, and the Martial Artist helps. There's plenty here to work with, is what I'm saying, and Mari deserves every bit of it.

Belated thanks to Tom Hartley, whose offering of a batch of about 30 character card scans was the taste I needed to seek more. He then sold his box set for a very reasonable price to a poor student to facilitate this crossover, because I just had to scan them all for myself.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

1990 Mayfair Games DC Heroes The Justice League Sourcebook: Dale Gunn

Dale Gunn is only a footnote in Justice League history, but he was a great supporting character who I enjoyed reading about more than several members of the Detroit team. I was pleased to find his role-playing stats in a 1990 League sourcebook, and thought I'd share them in the Mayfairstivus spirit...

DEX: 4
STR: 4
INT: 5

Gadgetry: 6, Martial Artist: 4, Medicine: 3, Vehicles: 5, Weaponry: 4

Connections: Justice League of America (High); Scholar (Architecture)

Upholding the Good

•Height: 511"
•Weight: 1901bs.
•Eyes: Brown
•Hair: Black
•Wealth: 8
•Occupation: Architect
•Quote: "Hank reminds me of me. Cool outside, burning inside." (Justice League of America Annual #2)

• Background:
Dale Gunn, an old army buddy of Henry Heywood II (father of Justice Leaguer Steel), was sent to Detroit by Henry Heywood I (aka Commander Steel) to build a secret fortress known as "the Bunker" while Heywood I was busy subjecting his grandson to a series of painful operations which resulted in his becoming the heroic Steel. After Steel joined the Justice League and the League took over the Bunker as its headquarters, Gunn hung around for a while and helped the League with its cases, breaking into the super-powered arena by assisting the JLA in its battles against the Cadre1 and a revivified Amazo.2 During the Crisis On Infinite Earths, Commander Steel convinced Gunn that it would be best to allow young Steel to completely break from the people and places of his past, so Dale stopped aiding the Justice League shortly after the group vacated the Bunker.3

An experienced level-headed Viet Nam veteran, Dale Gunn was temporarily one of the League's most powerful assets. He was tough, fair, and sympathetic. Naturally, Dale had a soft spot for Steel, the son of his best friend (Steel's father died in Viet Nam).

1. Justice League of America #233-236
2. Justice League of America #241-243
3. Justice League of America #246