Podcast - Episode 117: Justice League


We saw Justice League! It's the story of a badass woman teaming up with two beautiful teenagers, an impossibly sexy sea man, and Ben Affleck to bring Superman and his chest hair back from the dead. 

We didn't hate it!

Thanks for listening, and you're lucky I was even alive to post this episode because the cover of the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter damn near killed me:


I mean, come on, Hollywood Reporter. You can't just post that without a LOT of warning.

Armie Hammer for Warlock, 2020!

Kitchen Nightmares

You know what? Every comic book blog is going to be talking about Guardians of the Galaxy today (sentences I never thought I would write, say, four years ago), so I am going to go in a different direction and talk about something important.

My two great loves in life are super heroes and food. I like my kids and stuff, but I LOVE super heroes and food. These two interests are combined in the The Official DC Super Hero Cookbook..

Batman knows that Green Lantern green pepper pizza is disgusting.
Batman knows that Green Lantern green pepper pizza is disgusting.

I have been desperately trying to get my older son, who is four, interested in super heroes. Since he shares my love of food, I thought this cookbook would be a good gateway.

Most of the recipes involve cutting food into super hero shapes (like watermelon W’s in a Wonder Woman themed fruit salad). A lot involve stencils and coloured sugar and other things I am not ever going to do. Some things are just insane. Here are some highlights and lowlights.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...5000% of your daily recommended food colouring intake!
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...5000% of your daily recommended food colouring intake!

My son REALLY wants me to make this for him. Basically whenever I ask what we should make for any meal, he requests the “tall Superman yogurt thing.”

I’ll be straight: I am not a mother who cares a great deal about my kids eating 100% natural stuff. But it seems like taking yogurt and adding a half pound of food dye is weird. And yogurt is kind of my go-to food for my kid when I don’t want to do anything more than slop some stuff from a container into a bowl (and that’s if I’m being fancy and not just letting him eat it straight from the container). So adding an hour of work to that process is unappealing. Also, I don’t have parfait glasses or long fancy spoons. Or fresh raspberries! What am I, Bruce Wayne?!

However, I would very much like to see Superman eating this dainty thing.

A much more plausible Superman-inspired food is this fun cheeseburger:

Turn it upside down for a Bizarro Burger!
Turn it upside down for a Bizarro Burger!

See, now there’s a creative food endeavour that I can get behind! Cut a cheese slice into a Superman symbol, eat the parts I cut off, squiggle a cute little S on there. I love it! I don’t know what that spinach is doing there because that is like Kryptonite to my son, but this burger is definitely something I would consider doing someday.

Also adorable and not too much work, but possibly insane:

"Mom, can I have my hot dog now?" "Quiet! I'm trying to get this knot tied!"
"Mom, can I have my hot dog now?" "Quiet! I'm trying to get this knot tied!"

That’s what happens when Krypto is a bad dog.

Some of the recipes aren’t even trying:

Why haven't I been sticking pictures of Superman in ALL of my food?!
Why haven't I been sticking pictures of Superman in ALL of my food?!

Green Arrow has a terrible idea for your kid’s lunch:

Speedy! I get it!
Speedy! I get it!
I hate you, Mom.
I hate you, Mom.

Oh boy. Sorry, Ollie. Nice try. You are grossly overestimating your popularity with the kids if you think they are going to eat a lettuce leaf full of celery and gooey chicken in your honour.

Aquaman, on the other hand, knows exactly what the kids want:

Who's the lamest super hero NOW?
Who's the lamest super hero NOW?

Yeah! Just throw a handful of Goldfish Crackers in your cereal, kids! Booyah!

Martian Manhunter is desperately trying to get your kid’s love:

"I have an extra X here, if you want to...kids?"
"I have an extra X here, if you want to...kids?"

“Kids. May I suggest placing a fondant X on your cupcakes? It will be super fun. Please, kids, come back. It will only take me an hour or so to make and roll out the fondant.”

Batman knows what’s up:

Serving Face.
Serving Face.

I have been seriously considering making that my avatar for all social media. I could look at that picture all day. What is this food? Who cares? I think it’s a pita pizza with a custom cut tortilla or something. But that mouth. THAT MOUTH!

Speaking of amazing pictures, I am about to show you the most incredible thing I have ever seen. I warn you that you cannot unsee it. I give you: The Plastic Man cheese toast:



"Please kill me!"
"Please kill me!"


Also, these instructions:

You know...without the eyeballs it's kinda just cheese toast.
You know...without the eyeballs it's kinda just cheese toast.

Mmmmmm…I love some edible candy eyeballs on melted cheese. Especially with garlic butter.

I assume you can use your favourite brand of edible candy eyeballs. Try to shop local. I have a guy.

I promise if I ever attempt to make anything in this book I will post pictures. And the book is worth getting, if only to flip through and giggle.

The Unfunnies: Homer and the Terrors of the Deep

This one is pretty terrible.

That's right Homer: pave the ocean so you don't have to deal with the inconvenience of irregular topography! Dynamite the reefs to save you the indignity of potentially cutting yourself on a coral protrusion! Drug the fish, for they might someday bite you! You jerk.

Homer, by the way, is one of DC's "everyman" characters - along with Ollie, Lucky and Stan - who skipped from job to job as the thematic gag strips demanded it, and since they were the chumps who usually showed up in Aquaman's comics, they all got to be skin divers. Horrible, lazy skin divers.

- this one's from Aquaman No. 34

The Unfunnies: I Believed in You, Little Pete

Though the comics that I've designated Unfunnies usually existed solely to fill space (or possibly they were part of some attempt to circumvent mailing regulations, I've never been too clear on the nitty-gritty), every once in a while DC took a stab at sneaking a little extra advertising into one, and I'm sure that they never found a more willing shill than the odious Little Pete:

Not only does Dr. Means reinforce Pete's lying ways, but he jumps on the cash-fuelled Trik-Trak bandwagon without hesitation. 

Here's the regular ad that ran in DC books about the same time:

Note that Trik-Trak was made by Transogram, makers of Ka-bala, the incredible home occultism game, and that Ka-bala is the other product that was stealth-advertised in an Unfunny. What does this all mean? I have no idea.

- Little Pete's shame was found in Challengers of the Unknown No. 44, while the Trik-Trak ad is from Aquaman No. 19.

Hip-Happy Heroes Part 2

It's Fat Week, day 2, and here I come with another installment of Hip-Happy Heroes, that rollicking look at the temporary fatnesses of the heroes of yesteryear. Today: it's grab-bag day!

Hip-Happy Hero : Aquaman

Yes, even the beloved Aquaman was no exception to the rule that every character had to get fat at least once before the 60s were through, though in his case  it was less blubber and more blimp.

1. How'd He Get So Big?

One day, as Aquaman and Aqualad were patrolling the seas, they happened upon a raft-bound castaway. They towed him to safety, whereupon he made a startling revelation:

The old man explained that Aquaman could now transform himself into a big fat blimp, a wide thick wall, a stone giant and a long thin arc. Then he died, before he could go on to explain why he hadn't tried to use any of these powers to, you know, try to escape a hideous death on the pitiless waves.

2. What Were the Social Ramifications?

Of all of our Hip-Happy Heroes, Aquaman probably gets off the lightest (so to speak). There's nobody hanging around making cracks about how he should join the circus or complaining about having to pick him up or anything. Aqualad worries a bit about how he might burst, but then that kid always was a worrier. Plus: he uses his fatness to save a ship, so big bonus there.

Before you ask, yes, the Aqua-blimpiness does wear off on schedule six hours later. In true Silver Age form, Aquaman uses up his new abilities just as fast as he can, one after the other, and then they are never spoken of again.

Hip-Happy Hero: Wonder Woman (and Green Arrow, Kind of)

Another crazy adventure of the JLA lands Wonder Woman in the fat soup. Green Arrow too, kind of, though with him I feel that the shortness is more key than the fatness.

1. How'd She Get So Big?

Well, the Justice League were chasing aliens at a carnival, see, and they stumbled into a funhouse mirror-cum-trap, with hilarious results!

All in all, this mirror thing was a pretty fattening experience, as Wonder Woman and Green Arrow both chunk up pretty darn thoroughly, while Flash comes down with a bad case of Thunder Thigh. Heck, even Green Lantern's head looks curiously enormous.

2. What Were the Social Ramifications?

Social ramifications don't really come into this one, unless you count the fact that the Wonder Woman was rendered too fat to fight effectively and so humanity was almost crushed under the heel of an alien overlord. I'm sure that that would have led to some awkwardness at the water cooler.

Oh! and having to get help from Aquaman just to lift your arm, that's pretty embarrassing.

3. Well, How Did She Get Back to Normal?

Well, after the incredibly difficult fight for the future of the planet, Green Lantern remembers that he has a magic wishing ring that can do anything, so he fixes them right up. But only after the incredibly difficult fight for the future of the planet.

4. Can We Apply Her Method to Our Own Lives?

If you have access to a magic space ring then I say go for it. Plus, use it to make me a new computer.

Hip Happy Hero: Blue Beetle

Yep, poor old Ted Kord managed to snack his way to tubbiness, smack in the middle of the Giffen League's heyday.

1. How'd He Get So Big?

Snack food and a sedentary lifestyle were Ted's undoing, though just how he managed to be sedentary while fighting Despero and the like is beyond me. Anyway, he chubbed himself up good.

2. What Were the Social Ramifications?

As can be expected, ted got a lot of ribbing from his team-mates in the League, as well as super-villains, passers-by, Rocket Red's kids and society at large. And he got fired from the League over it. Plus, I think that it may have been one of the reasons that he got the hell beat out of him in a boxing match with at-his-jerkiest Guy Gardner. it was the least respect that... It was the second-least respect that he ever got.

3. Well, How Did He Get Back to Normal?

In the shocker of the century: through diet and exercise. I know, I know: what a chump. He knew at least four Green Lanterns, right?

4. Can We Apply His Method to Our Own Lives?

Well sure, if you're a chump.

And remember: Hip-happy means plump! Good night!

Gone Fishin'.

This one goes out to Car Pool Keith, my twice-a-day friend, who has been talking about going fishing since January, who is probably fishing right now and who will likely be talking about fishing until next January. The man knows how to stick with a hobby.

So: we're all familiar with the concept of the comic book character who has hunted all there is to hunt and so must move on to hunting people, or super-heroes, or super-villains. Manhunter, Kraven the Hunter, the Hunter - all of them have a little of the ol' General Zaroff in them. But hunting isn't alone, no sir. The fine sport of fishing has made its impression on the funny books as well.

Now part of me wants to dismiss this as the comic book equivalent of the tendency for comic strips to feature lots of golf jokes. A sort of "write what you know and you'd rather be doing" kind of thing, I guess. But then the part of me that wants this post to have a cohesive theme speaks up and reminds me to say that I now think that it's more like fishing is the stunted little brother of hunting, that it may not have pith helmets and charging rhinos but, by god, it's going to make do with hip waders and wide-legged stances and lots of puns involving the  word hook! Fishing can matter, dammit!

Sometimes, fishing is just a means to an end. Here we have "Crusher" Crock, the Sportsmaster, dressing up like a fisherman in order to steal things. This is his schtick, though - heck, that mask is his only real costume. The next time he appears, he might be a baseball player or a water-skier or a dartsman.

Still, Sportsmaster's bewadered magnificence is imposing enough to dissuade folks from trying to interfere as he hooks him a big one. I think that the potential of fishing is evident:

Here's some fishing froom DC Special No. 13:

The Fishermen of Space are a trio of spectacularly dumb aliens who are gathering specimens of terrestrial life to take back home. They use weird claws for hooks and, because they are big dudes, fish for great big things. Things like buses, or ships:

Or airplanes!

The Fishermen of Space don't even know  that they are fishing for humans, really. They just scoop up the biggest moving things that they can find, and I guess the whales were all astute enough to submerge once the giant claws started dropping from the sky. It is likely that these big dumb alien bozos are representing the sporting nature of the comic book fisherperson, though, if only because I have to assume that if they were scientists they might use a more efficient means of gathering their specimens. No, these guys are almost certainly cracking open a few giant brewskis and telling stories about the Miscellaneous Moving Object That Got Away once they get back to their mothership.

Sometimes, fishing for people becomes a lesson in cruel irony, as in this tale from Strange Adventures No. 21, wherein a young scientist and his wife set out with rod and reel to prove that there are living things of some sort at the bottom of a toxic volcanic lake. In a shocking twist ending, however:

The fisher becomes the fishee! Don't worry, though, he gets away. The poor fish-man is left to live his days in a haze of constant regret:

Note, however, that the fish monster is careful to use a rod and hook when attempting to catch a human. This is very important, and is a bit of a mistake. Humans aren't quite as dumb as fish, after all, and you just can't be certain that they'll manage to impale themselves on any barb that you toss out there, even if you put a hamburger on the end. The Fishermen of Space had the right idea there, what with their claws and all.

No, this fish monster is strictly an amateur, the equivalent of a kid with a bent paperclip tied to a stick with a length of twine. If you want to see some human-fishing fish monsters who have it all figured out, man, you just take a gander at Flash v1 No. 119, wherein the Flash and Elongated Man both get to take a shot at figuring out whatever became of some vanished scuba divers:

In an overly-complicated scheme, the fish-monsters capture the divers, put them in a tank in their underwater city, and fish for them with pieces of meat. As I recall, the one who caught a diver got to use him as slave labour.

Note, however, the specialized human-fishing equipment. You reach for the steak and a noose slips over your wrist - seems a bit more plausible than expecting the ol' hook to work. My main question is where they got that steak. Also, how was the diver going to eat that steak? His whole head is encased in diving apparatus, after all - shouldn't he be trying to get out of the water so that he can beat up the fish-guy and take the meat? Not even the Flash thinks to try that though, or even the radical strategy of reaching around the noose to grab the steak.

But this is all pointless exploration of a very tenuously tied-together bunch of examples without an examination of the pinnacle of the fishing-in-comics characters; fishing's equivalent of Kraven the Hunter and Aquaman's most logical nemesis:

The Fisherman!

The Fisherman just takes his theme and runs with it. He's got the waders and the suspenders and he does everything with his hook. He makes his entrances on giant sea monsters! Heck, when he first appeared he was even more into the whole thing:

He had a cape made out of a net! His little hat (since revealed to be an alien parasite of some kind, which kills one of my jokes) is the same colour as the rest of his costume and makes him look a bit like a lobster! Hell, even the caption-voice calls him "bizarre", which is a pretty tough distinction to achieve as a villain in a 60s DC comic.

Clearly, this is a man who has tasted all that life on the sea has to offer. He has fished everything from the gentle sardine too the majestic basking shark. He has tracked the elusive king krill to its lair and emerged the victor. He has ridden the mighty manta ray and feasted on anenome and scorpion fish and sea squirt. Truely he is the ultimate fisherman. But where to go once you reach the top? What do you fish for once you have fished all of the fish that there are to fish?

Yep, you start fishing for people. Remember how I was talking about how people won't just grab onto a hook, even if you put a something delicious on it? Well that's just the kind of challenge that the Fisherman likes. And if getting to fish for people means that he runs the risk of getting shot four times in the back and killed?

Well, I guess that that's just the final proof that the most dangerous fish of all... is Man.