But I just fabricated the perfect player skin for a Johnathan:
Now I can live out all of my fantasies of gnawing my way through the bowels of the earth!
But I just fabricated the perfect player skin for a Johnathan:
Now I can live out all of my fantasies of gnawing my way through the bowels of the earth!
Hip-Happy Heroes comes to its inevitable conclusion with the tale of the proudest fatty of all: the indomitable Bouncing Boy!
Bouncing Boy, aka Chuck Taine, is a special case, as he didn't just become fat, he started out fat and got fatter. In fact, Chuck was one of maybe ten fat guys left in the far-off and evidently calorie-conscious world of the Thirtieth Century, and possibly the only one who wasn't a decadent crime-boss or corrupt politician. No, Chuck was a simple delivery boy in a blue suit:
Even the moost brilliant scientist has a fatal flaw, however, and this one's was his extreme frugality. More specifically, his tendency to put top-secret formulae into old pop bottles instead of investing in proper transport containers.
He probably should have spent a bit more money on his delivery guy, too, instead of hiring Chuck. See, Chuck is the stereotypical fat guy, which means that a) he has no self-control, and therefore is unable to resist stopping off at the robot fights on his way to deliver the fluid.
b) He can't go fifteen minutes without a snack of some kind, so he buys himself a pop from a vendor.
And c) he's just a bit stupid. So not only does Chuck pick up the wrong bottle, he, like Jimmy Olsen before him, manages to drain the whole foul-tasting thing before he realizes that he's probably just poisoned himself.
Happily, this all takes place in an origin story, so not only does Chuck gain the power to turn into an even fatter guy and bounce around instead of staying the same size and dying, but he isn't fined and/or jailed for destroying an important scientific discovery. Presumably he was fired, but that just paved the way for him to join the legion of Super-Heroes and eventually marry a girl who could split into two. So... good job on the gluttony, Chuck.
Of course, the saga of Bouncing Boy doesn't end there. As is the fate of most extremely silly characters, ol' Chuck was somewhat... despised by a fair number of people. And so, the Matter-Shrinking Projector was deployed.
Suddenly, Bouncing Boy was no longer a fat guy who could swell up like a balloon, he was just a skinny guy with a bad haircut. As was always the case in such situations, he was immediately (mostly) booted from the Legion and started devoting all of his time to picking up chicks.
"There we go." said the writers, dusting their hands, "No more fat guy troubles for us." But! The show was not yet over. I'm not sure if Bouncing Boy fans started voicing their displeasure or if a fat guy in the Legion was just right somehow, but the idea wouldn't go away.
The forces of irony must have had a hand in making Superboy the second Legion fatty, considering his terrible behavior when introduced to Iresa: during the terrible reign of Dynamo Boy he was given a two-panel dose of Bouncing Boy's power before being summarily booted from the clubhouse.I don't think that he learned anything from it, but it sure was fun to watch.
Not long after, the entire Legion was imprisoned by arch-fiend Nardo, and the intrepid Matter-Eater Lad attempted to eat his way to freedom. Captured and due to be executed, he was saved by Superboy, but the strange interaction of ray-gun and Kryptonian youth caused a curious change in the lad from Bismoll:
Yes, the curse of Bouncing Boy had struck again! Now the boy who was dinstinguished by his constant eating was morbidly obese! Oh, the humour!
Finally, though, during the Legion's struggle with the villain Evillo (the man so determined to get his point across that he dressed like the Devil) the universe righted itself:
Evillo's chief scientist, a man with a lot of issues to work through, acted as a deus ex machina to fix all of the Legion's physical defects: one-armedness, excessive fat, fat deficit, etc. Finally all was right with the world. Worlds. Galaxy-wide planetary federation.
So for those of you keeping track, Bouncing Boy started out fat, got fatter through the effects of something that should have killed him, got skinny through the influence of something that probably shouldn't have done what it did, briefly got fat again (not pictured) thanks to some crazy ray and was finally restored to his old self for good by a semi-insane scientist with an upside-down face. What fun!
Now and forever, friends, HIP-HAPPY MEANS PLUMP!
Ha ha! I have returned, overcoming a month's worth of illness, romance and computer failure to bring you the tale of a plucky little guy by the name of Molecular Master! Here, look at him sitting around in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes No. 201:
Molecular master gets to try out third, after Infectious Lass has made Star Boy barf and Porcupine Pete has studded the whole damn place with quills - note their abundant presence above. Which, actually, is kind of gross. I know a few people who would have to leave that room pretty quick-like after they realized that it would be like being in a big pile of toenail clippings or used hair or whatnot.
I don't know how I feel about the Molecular master's power:
Also, i think that that might be a carbon atom, which is kind of boring. I just don't know...why does making an atom really big make it all crackly and energy-tastic? are all of my atoms doing that right now? And what does he do with the really big atom, anyway? Split it?
And just why the hell isn't he called the Atom Master, anyway? Gosh darn it, I want scientific accuracy fro my minor Seventies Legion characters! Isn't this the magazine that brought us the Chlorophyll Kid, causing literally dozens of youngsters to know that chlorophyll has something to do with plants? Oh, the shame.
So anyway, Molecular Master makes it through the first portion of the Legion application without anyone bellowing "REJECTED!" at him. Meanwhile, ERG-1 (you know, Wildfire) is roaming the Legion clubhouse in my favourite form, that of a blobby little pink cloud of antimatter. This is his second appearance after seemingly killing himself while saving Colossal Boy a year earlier and he's trying to get back to his uniform so that he can have some limbs again. Sadly, all of the Legion's technology seems designed to make life difficult for blobby pink guys and so:
He tries to possess the one person on the premises who isn't covered in Legion tech. But what horrible secret does the Molecular Master conceal?
By the way, I love the Molecular Master's costume. It's A-1.
Dang. That is one creepy android. I appreciate all the work that went into making all of those robotic facial features (check out the massive power supply going into that eyebrow! I'll bet he could make Mr. Spock run and cry with one hydraulically-augmented raising of that little number) but hawk-nosed tube-men with wildly staring eyes might just be a new phobia of mine.
ERG-1/Wildfire is upset about the other aspect of the Molecular Master's power: the highly poisonous breath. I like that at this point there no longer seems to be the need for someone to shout "There must be kryptonite in the gas!", though I would think that any gas potent enough to have an effect on Superboy might not require such a roundabout method of delivery. Just heave it through the front door in grenade form and he'd kill himself by sucking it up for easy disposal. Super-villains, huh? Always over-thinking.
Ah, the Miracle Machine, as recently featured in Final Crisis (and eventually featured in Matter-Eater Lad's bowel). The Legion really shouldn't be surprised that folks try to kill them for this thing. Perhaps they should at least hide it behind something opaque - you know, give the homicidal maniacs a bit of a challenge.
Don't worry, though. ERGfire has used the Machine to restore himself to his suit (and certainly not to fashion himself as new human body, no sir), thus sparing the Molecular Master the embarrassment of standing there dramatically while that big atom completely failed to do anything to the inertron. Psh. Big atoms...
That's not quite the end of the future's best-dressed android, though. A few years later, in Legion of Super-Heroes No. 281, a bunch of Legionnaires are trapped in the past and run into the little scamp. It's a weird issue: Roy Thomas and Paul Levitz team up to produce a weird script, while Steve Ditko and Bruce Patterson compliment it with some weird art.
In this issue, the Molecular Master no longer has the awesome power of the Big Atom. Instead, he can sort of generically control molecules, causing things to fly around and warp out of shape and so forth. I think at one point that he turns some air into rocks. Surprisingly, this is not an improvement. The absence of the big atoms has made me miss them.
Molecular Master still has a robot nose but its not as terrifying. Thanks for showing me that, Superboy. I'll sleep easier tonight!
So it turns out that MM was working for *yawn* the Time Trapper, who really wanted that Miracle Machine, darn it. I can't remember if the thing was still uneaten at this point - if it wasn't what the Time Trapper was after here then I don't have a sweet clue what's going on. Oh, the perils of writing that hooded buffoon into your stories: I will never remember what the hell is up.
Hey, I just noticed - Saturn Girl is giving him the guns!
Eventually, Molecular Master resorts to throwing rocks at the Legionnaires. Snazzy costume or not, that's pretty lame. Also, this version of the Master exploded when too many people attacked him at once. Were I more fond of the original version of the character, I might have concealed the existence of this one but the big atoms and the horrible robot nose and the Time Trapper connection all come together to spell NOT APPROVED.
There we go. Two hundredth post.
Hello again! It's time for the long-awaited review of the Giant Mouth-Creature! I would have done this thang this past weekend but was involved in a series of celebrations of my great-grandmother's 100th birthday - highly JOHN APPROVED.
On to the beast! The Giant Mouth-Creature (or possibly giant Mouth-Creature - the all-caps nature of comics lettering means that we shall never really know) appeared in a single panel in Adventure Comics No. 321, in which various Legionnaires are subjected to physical and mental torture (fun!) to test whether they've got the stones necessary to keep their greatest weapon a secret. Saturn Girl ends being scanned with some sort of mind-reading device, but avoids giving up info by thinking about heroic feats that the Legion has performed, including this little number:
I've got to say: this is pretty weak. I mean, Matter-Eater Lad is my very favourite Legionnaire, but there's a heck of a lot wrong with this situation. First off: what the hell kind of wimps are these aliens? They have this critter lurking around their village, eating trees - not star basketball players, not baby-sitters: trees - and they're so scared of it's wide-mouthed herbivorousness that they have to call in a special guy to eat the trees for them. I was going to wonder why they didn't just kill the Mouth-Creature if it gave them the willies so bad, but I think I just answered my own question: it's because they can't even defeat a tree, let alone an omnivorous-at-worst sphere with lockjaw that doesn't do much more than glare when some dude just waltzes in and eats up it's bedtime snack. I wonder: if M-E Lad takes too long to do the job will they become frightened of him? Do they accuse people sitting next to them on the astro-bus of "Lurking there and frightening me"? Bah. Bah, I say.
The creature itself? Kind of awesome. I can't decide whether I want it to be able to close its mouth or not, but even if it's a permanent thing, that's a fantastic expression of impotent rage that it's wearing as it watches Tenzil snack. Also, those little rubbery legs are great. Again, how could you be frightened of this thing? It looks like something that you could tip over and use as a planter, without calling in Element Lad to adjust the soil's pH or anything. Heck, you could even get all ironic and use it to grow some Red Andal trees in, if you're that sort of person.
Giant Mouth-Creature: JOHN APPROVED. Wussy aliens? NOT APPROVED
Ah-ha-ha! Super-Detritus reviews ride again! I have no idea why I've gone so long without doing one of these things. Well, partially responsible is the profound laziness that set in as soon as I moved in to my fantastic new apartment (Review? No! Play with the cat? Yes!). Now, though, I'm back, full of vim and vigour and ready to poke fun at the Silver Age.
Today, we're looking at one of the earlier Legion tryouts, in Adventure Comics No. 305. This was one issue after Lightning Lad had sacrificed his life to keep Saturn Girl from... sacrificing her life to keep anyone else from dying whilst fighting some pirates or something (look, it was perfectly clear at the time. There was a little crystal spaceship with a prophecy inside and everything). This was a reasonably big deal, except for the fact that it was implied one page after his death that he would be resurrected. Of all improbable comic book death-undoings, Lightning Lad's was perhaps the most telegraphed.
But no matter! As of when we are talking about, ol' Garth's death is still a fresh wound and everyone's very sad:
Very, very sad, in fact. I like the theme coffin setup that they have here, though it leads me to unhealthy speculation regarding the fate of other Legion corpses. When Sun Boy died, did they just leave him out in the sun? Is there a mechanized hand above Karate Kid, chopping for all eternity? What the hell will they come up with if Bouncing Boy ever dies?
I've mentioned the Legion's Pygmalion-esque love of statuary before, and this is a great example: a statue commemorating the heroic sacrifice of Lightning Lad, a statue of the tragically exiled Mon-El and, just for the hell of it, a Sun Boy statue. I can't decide if the Legionnaires are all hopelessly in love with themselves or with each other. Either way, it's a safe bet that they all have mirrors on the ceiling above their beds.
Now: keep in mind that everyone is very, very sad. Lightning Lad appears to have died, like, within the last week.
I am: Tactless Boy! My abilities include acting like a complete tool and an aptitude for designing shirts that are far, far too busy (seriously, if you've got Showcase Presents: The Legion of Super Heroes, Vol. 1, check this panel out. The lack of colour highlights just how much is going on on this top and just how wrong it is). So, your friend is dead? Well, how can that benefit me?
(Incidentally, the brown-clad guy on the left is Mon-El, playing a "hilarious" joke by applying for membership under an assumed name. Just so you know)
Ah, Antennae Boy. I like the name of your planet, but your ears are possibly the grossest in all comicdom. All I can do is stare at those little hook-shaped growths and imagine the awful things that must happen whenever you are called upon to push through some dense underbrush. I mean, glasses are bad enough, but those things look designed to cause you pain and humiliation.
Every once in a while, that "Three-Eyed Sam from the planet WHAM!" line runs through my head and i try to set it to music or envision just who is singing it. My best guess is that 3-5 sultry ladies are sing-speaking it in unison and that Three-Eyed Sam is a bit like Shaft.
Antennae Boy is one of those applicants who might have had a chance if he hadn't gotten ahead of himself. Given a year or so of training, he might have been able to showcase the usefulness of being able to pick up broadcasts from the future instead of just randomly blasting out sound. Plus, his powers would be very useful for research. Also, no Legionnaire would ever again have to worry about leaving his iPod Yocto behind and having to endure a music-less mission. Over-confidence strikes again! Still, I like that shirt, so:
Okay, first impressions of the Dynamo Kid. Pros: I like the little bow, the crackling energy is kind of neat and a super-hero with a literal rather than figurative fat head is kind of novel. Cons: that's a fairly hideous costume, he's completely tactless, and the little pause before he says his name is super pretentious. Still, you have to give a guy a chance, right?
Just an aside: I hope that if the day ever comes that flying billboards are a reality it's far enough in the future that I have some chance of having developed lightning-based powers. Because I'll want to blast 'em good.
Looking at how fat his head is in this panel, though. I think that that green thing around his waist is a girdle.
You know, this could have been a pretty good plot. The old-school Legion were suspicious as hell, and someone sneaking around taking notes and asking questions would have built them into a frenzy of paranoia, probably directed at Cosmic Boy (because the Legion never suspects the right person until the last second, that's why. Just ask Matter-Eater Lad). It could have stretched a cross a couple of issues, maybe with the Legion getting all perturbed over a series of exposes on all of the dirty teenage sex that was going on in that innocuous-looking yellow spaceship.
But alas, the Dynamo Kid never appeared in 'Secret of the Shocking Sex Scandals' and I've changed my mind about the fat head being charming. I've kind of grown to like the horizontal lightning stripe, though.
Nonetheless, he's NOT APPROVED
Every once in a while, you may see/ have seen me complain about something called "Lazy Costuming Syndrome" - heck, I think that there's a tag for it, I've bitched about it so much (yep, there it is down there). Since I have some good examples of this dreaded affliction on hand, I thought it might be fun to pin down exactly what I'm talking about in these drunken ramblings of mine. NOTE: I'm not actually drunk... this time.
Lazy Costuming Syndrome (LCS) can affect characters, writers and artists. It is characterized by a super-hero or -villain wearing as a permanent or long-term costume the clothes that they were wearing when they either acquired their powers or first put them to use in thwarting or perpetuating crime. There are two major sub-strains of this disease: Strain LB (for Lucky Bastard) and Strain LD (for Laundry Day). This syndrome is not exclusive to residents and writers of DC's 30th Century Earth, but is especially prevalent among them, possibly because virtually everybody in that particular fictional century is wearing some freaky tights-and-tunic-or-whatever getup that could qualify as a super-suit of some kind.
Strain LB affects characters by having them already in possession of a suitable costume when their moment of truth arrives, and occurs in a variety of levels of severity - the mildest cases appear in characters such as the Barbara Gordon Batgirl, who fights crime in a Hallowe'en costume that she was wearing when she happened upon a Killer Mothing-in-progress. Indeed, some experts argue that Gordon doesn't possess the disease at all, as she is perhaps the most severe case of the Coincidentis Virus on record, being a judo-, computer- and gymnastics-expert, who's adopted father the Police Commissioner happened to be Batman's best friend and who stumbled upon a crime-in-progress whilst wearing a superhero outfit and having something to prove re: her ability to smack down baddies.
Slightly more severe is the case in which a character comes from a race or group who share the same power and choose to glorify this in their everyday outerwear. Stone Boy, above, is an example of such. His people run around in bright orange getups that work perfectly well as third-rate super-hero costumes, with a logo and everything. Although I suppose it's possible that those are ceremonial hibernation clothes that everyone is wearing, which would mean that Stone Boy spent a number of years fighting crime in his pajamas. Either way, it's evident that Distant World does not possess an abundance of graphic designers - that rock is hideous.
Polar Boy is another example of this level of LCS, Strain LB, in that he is a member of the cold-projecting subset of the population of Planet Tharr and, judging from the above evidence, this entitles him to wear the little purple-and-fur number that we all know and love so well. Why, it is even likely that he already thought of himself as a Champion of Justice, in a lifelong struggle against the machinations of the evil Sun! Which is why I want to see Polar Boy in a costume modeled after the Kool-Aid Man.
Perhaps the most extreme case of Strain LB known, Fire Lad defied the laws of logic and causality and greatly advanced the field of LCS research by acquiring fire-based powers while taking a pleasant stroll wearing an almost excessively fire-based costume. Neither Fire Lad nor Science has been able to provide an explanation of why he might do so, and the level of LCS in his system at the time has been theorized as being near-lethal.
The LD Strain of LCS has similar symptoms to the LB, in that it causes the hero or villain to adopt whatever they were wearing at the time of their first foray into adventure as their costume. The effect is markedly different, however, in that the victims of LD Strain LCS essentially end up wearing their everyday clothes. The effects of this strain can be seen in heroes such as the Jack Knight Starman or Matter-Eater Lad (just because it's skin-tight doesn't mean it's a costume, Tenzil). It may never be known what percentage of the 30th Century super-human populace are afflicted, due to the above-noted fact that virtually every citizen of that time wears on an average day an outfit that wouldn't look out of place on, say, a one-shot Justice League Europe villain. Documented cases include Bouncing Boy and Mon-El, but by far the most dramatic is that of the ill-used Legionnaire Tyroc:
Note that Tyroc first used his powers at the age of about seven or eight and from that point wore exactly the same high-collared, gold-chained playsuit that he had had on that fateful day, down to the little Robin-style pixie boots. i would commend him for taking the little sleeves off around the time that he hit 14, but I suspect that he did it because they were starting to cut off the circulation in his arms. Perhaps the most telling sign that LCS was involved in the clothing choices of Tyroc is the fact that someone chose to send a small, seemingly non-super boy out to play in a gleamingly white outfit. Extra-dimensional island only sporadically connected to earth or not, no parent in their right mind would even consider such an act unless under the insidious thumb of this frighteningly pervasive disease.
LCS is NOT APPROVED, despite some giggles on my part.