February 16, 2011
November 10, 2010
This is a panel from the beginning of Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #2 by Grant Morrison (art by Frazer Irving). This mini-series, the final issue of which came out today, follows a time-displaced Bruce Wayne as he claws his way back to the present day, experiencing various time periods along the way. This Lovcraftin mass of incandescent tentacles is a (the?) Hyper-Fauna, an interdimensional beastie that appears to be connected to the Ancestor Box, an alien device used by Darkseid (a major supervillain, basically the god of evil) to send Batman back in time, rewrite his continuity, and turn him into a living weapon that will destroy the universe on his return…or something like that?
Honestly, that’s where I get kind of hazy on the whole thing. The Return of Bruce Wayne is the culmination of Morrison’s epic run on various Batman titles, a sprawling web of stories that are densely packed with layers upon layers of references to the Caped Crusader’s entire 71 year history. So, as you might imagine, it’s a tad hard to follow at times. That being said, it’s totally worth the extra effort needed to drill down into it all. For anyone willing to take the plunge, I recommend checking out these annotations. And these.
October 13, 2010
Aquaman is an easy character to make fun of…I mean what kind of superpower is the ability to talk to fish, anyway? But in this amazing panel by artist Jim Lee, you can literally feel the full might of the King of Sea bearing down on the Last Son of Krypton. I don’t know what comic this is from, or what exactly is going on here, but Superman must have done something to royally piss off Aquaman! Jim Lee did the art on Superman issues #204-215 (2004-2005), so it may be from somewhere in that run. Obviously, I need to do some more research!
Of course, the best thing about this panel is the school of squid spiraling out into infinity! I’d love to think these are Architeuthis, but given the apparent scale and sheer numbers, the Jumbo Squid (Dosidicus gigas) seems more likely. Still, it’s pretty damn cool!
August 25, 2010
What happens to the poor fish of the seven seas who become injured or ill? Are they left to float and flounder on the choppy waters, unattended and uncared for? Not if Aquaman can help it! For the Sea Sovereign operates an unusual underwater shelter and clinic for his finny friends—and they get all the medical attention they need by…CALLING DR. AQUAMAN!
The above panel (and quote) is from Adventure Comics #188, published by DC Comics in May, 1953. This injured octopus is probably Topo, Aquaman’s constant cephalopod companion during the Golden Age. (One day I’ll write up a full profile on Topo…one day). I’m not sure what kind of injury he could have sustained that would require treatment with splint, but he sure doesn’t look happy!
I can relate, actually. It is one month today since I had surgery on my thumb, and I am still unable to use my right hand for much of anything. Sure, there has been some improvement over the past four weeks—for example, I was able to tie my shoes last week!—but I don’t even have all the stitches out yet. It can barely bend at the knuckle, and I can’t grasp or pick anything up with that hand. And, worst of all, I have to type left-handed! Maybe it is time to call Dr. Aquaman…
This image was posted recently on the Tumblr site Octopus Watch, but no info on the original source was included. So far, I haven’t been able figure out exactly which comic and issue this panel is from, but I do know that the characters here are Green Lantern Kyle Rayner and super villain Major Force. Unlike Earth’s other Green Lanterns, Kyle doesn’t have a military background. Instead, he is an artist whose power ring constructs are a bit more creative than giant baseball mitts or hammers. Exhibit A: this monstrous octopus.
I’ll keep trying to figure out which comic this comes from (that’s just the kind of completist nerd I am), but if anyone out there happens to know, please leave a comment!
This is Octus, an alien cephalopod from the oceans of Neptune that exists in eight dimensions. He (it?) is a member of the Legion of Executive Familiars, a team of super-powered, sentient animals operating in the 853rd century. (Also pictured are Phaethon, Savitar, Wormhole, and Krypto-9.) Octus’ abilities are impossible for three-dimensional beings such as ourselves to fully comprehend, but it is known that this purple space octopus can produce “limpet grenades” seemingly out of thin air. Octus first and only appearance was DC One Million 80-Page Giant (August, 1999), an anthology of eight pieces each by different creative teams. “Tales of the Legion of Executive Familiars in the Age of Solaris’ Heroic Rebirth!” was written by Mark Schultz with art by Georges Jeanty, and the story focuses on the Legion as it interviews prospective members.
DC One Million was a DC Comics crossover event from 1998-99. Basically, it presented a possible future of the DC Universe set in the 853rd century—which is when the first DC title would hit issue #1,000,000 (assuming a regular and continuous publication schedule). The core of the event was a four issue mini-series written by Grant Morrison, but just about every DC title at the time had tie-in issues. Characters from this far-flung future timeline still show up from time to time, usually in other books written by Morrison.
I bet you didn’t think I’d be able to figure out a way to tie Plush Week to Wednesday Comics, but with the Internet all things are possible!
Kristin Hogan is the co-creator, writer and artist of a comic book called Dead Squirrel Girl. Squids play heavily into the story, so she came up with an idea to make squid dolls. Her squids are approximately 19″ long and made of a variety of materials in a variety of colors and patterns. “Batsquid” is made from a bed sheet featuring characters from the 1992 movie, Batman Returns. He costs $38 and there is currently only 1 in stock, so if you want it ACT FAST!
Find out more about the comic and Kristin’s art at www.deadsquirrelgirl.com!
June 16, 2010
There’s nary a cephalopod to be seen on this remixed cover of Aquaman #45 (June, 1969), but when I saw this online yesterday, I figured it was high time to break my silence on the Gulf Oil Spill. Not that I have much to add to the public discourse on the worst environmental disaster in American history..the magnitude of this catastrophe (58 days and counting) is almost too much for words. Of course there are some…words like, mind-boggling, brain-numbing, gut-wrenching, heart-breaking…
What can one unemployed nerd thousands of miles away do but watch in horror day after day as the environment and wildlife of the Gulf Coast (not to mention the livelihoods of everyone who depends on that environment for their very subsistence) slowly get consumed by a relentless, creeping tide of oil. All the while, the leaking riser 5,000 feet down continues to spew out clouds of black death with no end in sight. As Andrew at Southern Fried Science said, “American marine conservation will be divided into ‘before the spill’ and ‘after the spill’ for the next century.”
For the insight and analysis of real marine scientists, you should to go to Deep-Sea News. Dr. M and crew deliver the most comprehensive and thoughtful coverage of the spill you’re likely to find anywhere online. Southern Fried Science also has a page dedicated (and continuously updated) to reliable sources of information pertaining to the crisis.
May 26, 2010
This dramatic scene takes up pages 12 and 13 of Brightest Day #1. (The cover date is “Early July 2010,” but it actually came out a few weeks ago.) The size limitations of the blog don’t really do this splash page justice, but you should be able to tell that there is something not quite right about this monstrous squid, and I’m not talking about its unrealistic size. It appears to be dead, or, rather, undead. Now for some context…
Brightest Day is DC Comics’ follow-up and continuation of last year’s epic Blackest Night event. These stories spin out of the Green Lantern titles, but they pretty much span the entire DC Universe. I’m not going to try to summarize everything (if I even could), but, basically, the dead were brought back through the power of mysterious black rings. These vile Black Lanterns—superpowered zombies, essentially—wanted nothing less than the destruction of all life. Among there number was Aquaman, who had died in the pages of Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #1 (the 2007 revamp of the title, which itself was the spawn of yet another big DCU event). Blackest Night ends not only with the defeat of the Black Lanterns, but with the resurrection of a select number of previously deceased characters, including Aquaman.
This brings us to the Brightest Day mini-series and issue #1. Aquaman and his wife Mera are attempting to rescue a group of children from the clutches of pirates. Aquaman calls on a giant squid for assistance, but to his horror, the titanic animal that answers his summons is a rotting undead monster. In fact, all the sea life that Aquaman calls end up being zombies…which is exactly what happened back when he was a Black Lantern. So, what is wrong with the newly alive King of the Sea? Presumably this is one of the many mysteries that will be answered during the course of the series.
Brightest Day #1 is written by Geoff Johns and Peter J. Tomasi. No less than five different artists are credited, so I’m not sure if this page was penciled by Ivan Reis, Pat Gleason, Adrian Syaf, Scott Clark, or Joe Prado.
A few comments on the squid itself…Aquaman referes to it as a “giant squid,” but this leviathan is obviously no ordinary Architeuthis. Its arms are lined with hooks, not suckers, so maybe it’s actually supposed to be a Colossal Squid (Mesonychoteuthis) instead, but still…this thing is freaking huge! I think that “Kraken” is as close to an identification that we can make. It is only a comic book after all…
April 28, 2010
You don’t often see the Dark Knight getting his ass handed to him by a cephalopod, let alone a giant squid named “Gertrude,” but that’s exactly what this cover by Ed Hannigan and Dick Giordano is showing us.
Batman #357 (written by Gerry Conway) features the return of Clement Carp, a Gotham City crime boss known as The Squid. Carp first appeared in Detective Comics #497 (December, 1980), and this time he is set up on the Gotham waterfront with a huge tank for Gertrude, his captive giant squid. Anyone who crosses Carp gets fed to Getrude, and Batman eventually finds himself in her deadly embrace. The Caped Crusader escapes, of course, and The Squid gets shot and killed by Killer Croc, a former member if his gang. I’m not sure what fate befalls Gertrude, but I would like to think that Batman helped her escape from captivity and return to the sea.
All this took place before Crisis on Infinite Earths, the 1985 mega-event that reset continuity for the entire DC Universe. The Squid has had only one brief Post-Crisis appearance, and he (and Gertrude) may still be kicking (or swimming) around the DCU to this very day.