The All Things Fun! Blogs

3Nov/10Off

Vidcast Footnotes

By Glenn Walker

Hopefully y'all have been following the All Things Fun! Comic Vidcast broadcast live every Wednesday, and if not, get yourself over to its special webpage and enjoy.  As I said, it's live every Wednesday morning at 10:30 AM sharp Eastern Standard Time, and available for viewing, as are all the episodes, throughout the week afterwards.

I, along with co-hosts Allison Eckel (fellow blogger) and Ed Evans (All Things Fun! owner), discuss the new comics that come out that day for the week.  We like to think we offer our own unique and informative view of the comics world and what's going on within it and around it.

Although, sometimes fifteen to twenty minutes just isn't enough to explain some of the references made during the vidcast, and it certainly isn't anywhere near enough time to justify the vast storehouse of useless comics knowledge spilling out of my head.  Hopefully these show notes might help.

Deadpool

I am not a nice person.  I have been known to tease young children, take candy from babies and frequently have poked X-Men fans with pointed sticks, but nothing was as terrible as when I convinced Allison that there was not only a Golden Age Deadpool, but also a Silver Age Deadpool.  I'm a cruel, cruel man.

In reality, Deadpool was created for Marvel Comics in 1991 by the infamous Rob Liefield.  The wildly popular character is in many ways an in-joke for comics readers, even his real name, Wade Wilson, is a reference to DC Comics' mercenary anti-hero/villain Deathstroke (aka Slade Wilson).  His healing factor and super-reflexes are a product of the same program that created that other Canadian superhero, Wolverine.  The 'merc with a mouth' often talks to the readers directly, and rarely shuts up, to be honest.  The character is so popular that hardly a week goes by without some Deadpool offering from Marvel Comics.

Squirrel Girl

This one, a teenaged mutant super-heroine with rodent-like abilities and the power to communicate with, yes, squirrels, was created by comics legend Steve Ditko in 1992.  In her first appearance she and her sidekick, a squirrel named Monkey Joe, first fought, then teamed up with Iron Man, and then when the Golden Avenger was defeated, she was victorious against the sinister Doctor Doom.  Don't laugh.  This really happened.

John Byrne created the Great Lakes Avengers in 1989 as a joke, another in-comic reference to other characters, in this case conceptually, to another DC Comics idea - the Legion of Substitute Heroes.  These heroes had dumb powers and were ridiculous characters but would serve as back-up, should the real heroes fall in battle.  Squirrel Girl was a perfect fit for the team.

Her service on that team led to the character being featured in the recent I Am an Avenger #1 and writer Brian Michael Bendis choosing her to become nanny for Luke Cage and Jessica Jones' daughter in upcoming issues of New Avengers.

The Micronauts

When the Japanese Microman toy line came to America in 1976 as Micronauts by Mego, Marvel got the license for their comic book adventures.  With Bill Mantlo on story and Michael Golden on art, characters, history and an entire universe - or more accurately a Microverse - was created simply based on the toy designs and one or two names.  Just my opinion, but for about a year or so, them's was some darn good comics.

Two concepts remain after all these years.  First Bug, who continues to appear as part of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy and in their cosmic-based mini-series epics.  The other, Captain Universe, is equally cosmic.  Whenever a person, any person, is in a time of crisis, the Uni-Power, also known as the Enigma Force, can transform them into a cosmic-powered superhero known as Captain Universe.  Interesting idea, he's the hero who can be you.  Notably, Spider-Man once became Captain Universe, and he beat the living snot out of Firelord.  Yes, really.

Giant-Size Man-Thing

Hmmm.  Let's take the second part first.  Man-Thing was Marvel Comics' swamp monster counterpart to DC Comics' Swamp Thing.  Like the Doom Patrol and the X-Men, and the Red Tornado and the Vision, this was one of those times when both major comic book companies came up with a concept at roughly the same time, summer of 1971.  Sometimes great minds think alike, but it's notable to mention that The Heap, the swamp monster from the Golden Age, predates them both by nearly thirty years.

Unlike Swamp Thing, the Man-Thing was frequently used as a tool to tell stories, or the catharsis for other stories.  They were rarely about him.  Other characters surrounded him and were launched after appearing with him, such as Wundarr, Foolkiller and Howard the Duck among others.  And as the Guardian of the Nexus of All Realities (don't even ask) it seemed like anything could happen when Man-Thing was around.

Now for the embarrassing part.  In the mid-seventies, Marvel upsized several of their comics to more pages and more cents with a line they called Giant-Size.  Almost every Marvel comic had a "Giant-Size" version, including, you guessed it, Man-Thing.  Over the years, this double entendre has become a legendary joke in the industry, but it should be noted that Giant-Size Man-Thing lasted for an entire year, five whole issues.  And I just bet that writer Steve Gerber giggled like a madman every time it came out.

That's all for this time.  I'm sure there will have to be more explanations of obscure and arcane info from my twisted mind that makes into our live vidcast.  Maybe next time I'll teach y'all how to pronounce all the 'O' villains in the Justice League's rogues gallery…

Last 5 posts by Glenn Walker

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