I am the Reason They Invented the Word "Belated"

Here I am, back again and filled with residual holiday spirit. Hope everyone had as delightful a holiday as I did, with roasted beasts and dogs and children underfoot and a nice soft couch to curl up on at night. As a special super-late present to you all, here is the post that I intended to put up on Christmas Day:


There are a lot of Batman Christmas comics out there, and a lot of good ones, but I have to say that this is my favourite. It's part of a small subgenre of super-hero Christmas tales in which everything is magical and peaceful and nobody commits a crime due to seasonal Santa voodoo, only with Batman singing.

We open with Commissioner Gordon laying a cunning trap in order to de-Grinch the Dark Knight Detective, if only for one night. I think that this is really where this issue gets me, as I grew up with a post-Miller Batman who would have called Gordon weak and smashed the Bat-signal for this. Instead:

We get the best "aw, shucks" face that Bats has ever sported, and the entire rest of the story consists of he and the GCPD's Finest belting out seasonal tunes.

Well, almost the whole issue. A series of silent montages reveal all of the things that might have happened if there wasn't so much Xmas cheer floating around the city: a group of children return a present that they have stolen, a man refrains from shooting and robbing a blind man collecting for charity and a woman does not commit suicide. It really does convey the spirit of the season.

Also: in Gotham City a blind man not being shot and robbed constitutes a Christmas miracle.

Merry retroactive Christmas, everyone.

Archie Sunday: A Heartwarming Tale of Corporal Punishment

The issue: Archie No. 109. The set-up: Archie has a gig as a DJ in daily school assemblies, but power has gone to his head and he's started accepting bribes from students to play their original compositions and thus catapult them to, uh, regional fame.

The payoff: Mr Weatherbee brings in Mr Andrews to settle things once and for all.


The story could have ended there, of course, but fortunately for you and me it didn't. See, the recording equipment was on during that little bit of negative reenforcement, and...

Phil the off-brand Archie Andrews and his red-shirted pal get in on the action. (A side note: looking at Phil and his pal, I can't help but picture them as the Rosenberg and Goldstein to Archie and Jughead's Harold and Kumar. For every wacky scheme that Arch and Jugs get up to, Phil and Red are just off-panel making a flying machine out of seagulls. Every time Archie has to dash frantically between simultaneous dates with Betty and Veronica at two different restaurants, he high-fives Phil as he passes him running in the opposite direction, having told Shannon that he had to go to the washroom so that he could go assuage Michelle's suspicions. Delightful!)

And so, at the All-New, Corruption-Free Archie Andrews Lunchtime Music Spectacular the next day:

And that's how Archie became the wealthy young gadabout we all know and love.

Move over, "Jimmy Olsen's Blues"

I noticed long, long ago that the lyrics that musicians in super-hero comics sing are rarely... less than awful. Now, I could simply be biased due to having read too many issues of Teen Titans featuring Bob Haney-style mod-rock ("Yeah yeah yeah! Rock rock rock!"), but I'm still almost physically shocked when I encounter a funny-book singer actually singing something that humans might pay to listen to. Imagine my shock, then, when I read Action Comics No. 6 and found what might just be my favourite song about Superman, ever. And before you ask: yes, this includes "Sunshine Superman", "Superman's Song" and even that one where 3 Doors Down asks about whether I will still call him Superman if he goes crazy.

As a bonus, here's a Golden Age Clark Kent shutdown. That guy just can't get a break!





 If this has not yet been recorded by a brassy chanteuse then the world is not as magical as I'd hoped.

Second bonus: adorable music fan Lois Lane.

Archie Sunday: Veronica's Got Rubber Band Banks in Her Pockets

There's been a lot of talk about Archie's proposal to Veronica, and most people tend to fall on the pro-Betty side of the debate. And while we all know that pretty much everyone in Riverdale sucks, I think we should consider what it's like to hang out with Veronica. 

Take this little story, for example.


And Veronica throws a serious party.

That. Rules.


Is that...A WHOLE HAM?!?! AND A TURKEY? What a rad party.

Being friends with Veronica is basically like having T.I. as a pal. When they get married, Archie can have whatever he likes.

Snakepit: best read with a beer in your hand

Strange Adventures just got in an order from the awesome Microcosm Publishing, and I was super stoked because the newest Snakepit comic was in there. I've loved this diary style, punk-infused comic since I read the collection, My Life in the Jugular Vein, when I was on tour with my band last fall. Snakepit is simple concept: Ben Snakepit draws a comic for every day of his life. Every day has three panels, and a song to go along with it. Most days include come combination of work, band practice, eating some kind of delicious-sounding Mexican food (it takes place in Austin, Texas), and getting blazed. It's pretty minimalist in style and content, but deceptively so. Ben manages to sneak a lot into those three panels, from cute moments and jokes to pretty astute observations about punk music, relationships and getting old. The mundanity is part of what makes Snakepit more addictive than a bag of Doritos. (And I really like Doritos.) Each collection is a year in Ben's life, and after reading one through, you feel like you really know the dude. Like he's your roommate, giving you updates about what band he saw last night, or the lady troubles he's having. My favourite parts of the comic are always when Ben goes on tour, which he's done a lot. When you'er touring with a band, your day always feels like it fits into the rhythm of a Snakepit comic: driving somewhere/show/after party or something fun in a city/good dinner/show. You really can't fit more than three events into a day. Ben totally acurately represents the way tour is a combination of extremely bananas and pretty boring. But the tours are super fun to read about especially since Snakepit is a veritable who's who of rad American punk bands. Seriously, I much prefer these comics to like, Skyscraper, for finding out about awesome bands.

Snakepit 2008 is the definitely the quietest year for Ben. He's getting older, going to bed earlier. He's in a committed relationship, and he only goes on one tour.

 He gets and Playstation, so that dominates a lot of the action in the comic for a while for a while. But as a reader who's pushing thirty, I appreciated this. And since I feel like I've seen Ben partying for a few years, it's kinda nice to see him settle down. It has all the visual jokes, great music and burritos that I've come to love.