Category Archives: Ty's Top

The Top Ten Captain Marvels

So now Carol Danvers has been switched from Ms. Marvel to Captain Marvel, a change in rank that might not be a promotion, given that I’m more likely to listen to a woman than a military man about almost anything.  By my count, she’s something like the twelfth or thirteenth character to use the concept, and that doesn’t include Doc Samson or the Flash stealing the Big Red Cheese’s original costume…

Given that I have a blog and twelve spare minutes today, I have no choice but to rank the Captains Marvel for the breathless internet public.
I don’t want to…I HAVE to.

Here now, the

TOP TEN CAPTAIN MARVELS

#10

Amalgam Captain Marvel.  

The easiest Amalgam of them all was little more than a wasted opportunity.  He does nothing but occupy space, he didn’t even make the cover of either of the issues he appears in.  Once you get the idea that both Marvel and DC had characters with this name, the effort is done.  There’s the stink of laziness all over this guy, and considering how clever and fun the Amalgams were, this is inexcusable.

Kree-Shazam…oh, forget it.

BEST STORY:

Not applicable. He’s an empty suit

#9

Mahr Vehl.

I must be a modern comic. Look at all that detail.

The “Ultimate” Captain Marvel is nothing of the sort.  Though some of the Ultimate comics update and re-imagine traditional Marvel characters with a sensibility better suited to a 21st Century reader, this particular Ultimate character is nowhere near as fun, sympathetic, or memorable as any other version of this character, including the Amalgam one.  The Ultimate Gah Lak Tus and the Ultimate Vision (both in the story Mahr Vehl first appears in), are  equally second rate compared to the 616 Universe. Don’t fix what ain’t broke, peoples.

BEST STORY

Ultimate Secret. But I’m being kind.

#8

Monica Rambeau

Who remembers me? Show of hands…

You have to give points to Marvel Comics for trying to create a black female super-hero (who wasn’t a mutant), who would kick butt and take charge.  A sort of Ororo/Storm for the Avengers, but using someone else’s name.  The problem was, the writers and editors never let the character earn her place after she was created by Roger Stern and JR JR in a Spider-Man annual.  She complained about being out of her league too darn much, she never really mattered in the stories she was in, never was given a major role in the Marvel U, and she gave up the name without a fuss when the opportunity came about, calling herself PHOTON.

Her last issue before the name change. Did anyone buy this?

Even when she became leader of the Avengers (briefly) she screws up on her first mission, accidentally merging with the Atlantic Ocean and barely surviving the watery event.  After that, she’s relegated to crowd scenes when EVERY character in the universe has to gather to get smacked around by Thanos or Dormammu or someone.   I think she was in MARVEL DIVAS a while back, but who read that? When the idea to be inclusive meets stories that barely rise above tokenism, you end up with this mess of a character.  It’s too bad.

BEST STORY:

The Spider-Man Annual, when her potential was yet unsquandered.

#7

Noh-Varr

The boy, before he was a captain.

My fondness for No-Varr comes from the Grant Morrison/JL Jones mini-series from a 2000 (Marvel Boy), that involved the character turning New York state into a giant swear word.  Though he started out stealing the name

What? Another stolen name?

from a 50s Marvel character, he graduated to stealing the more famous name, becoming the bad boy version of Captain Marvel from an alternate universe, and that means I can CHANGE him and make him better if only he’d let me.  That’s true love.   And as the “bad boy” Captain Marvel, it’s appropriate that he first takes the Captaincy when he joins the “Dark Avengers”.

He’s currently an Avenger called Protector, a name he stole from Atlas Comics (a company that stole their name from Marvel’s 50s incarnation, Atlas Comics…this is all so fun), and his costume is a mess of black and white stripes and boxes that looks like it took all of twenty minutes to design. Oh well, we’ll always have Marvel Boy.

The all-new “Protector” hero.

Stolen again!

BEST STORY:

He just wants someone to tame him, I swear.

#6

Genis Vell

Cool update on a classic costume, and some interesting cosmic story lines, though I could have done without the insanity stuff and the alt-universe sister showing up, also claiming to be Captain Marvel.  For a while Genis Vell thought his dad was Starfox/Eros, the super-rapist of the galaxy, but it turned out Genis  was the son of a Kree traitor instead.  Either way, no father’s day cards.  At some point, our hero drops the name Captain Marvel for the name Photon, which Monica Rambeau obviously gave up as easily as her Captain Marvel identity.  Monica can’t hold onto anything.

BEST STORY:

The run of issues by Peter David, despite the crazy and the sister.

#5

Freddie Freeman

Forgive the racism, it was a more “innocent” time.

The “Robin/Bucky” of the Fawcett Marvel world, Captain Marvel Jr. rose

The REAL Captain Marvel Jr.

above his origins to be a fairly strong character on his own.  The artwork for the Little Blue Cheese was consistently wonderful:  Mac Raboy and Kurt Schaffenberger in the Golden Age, Dave Cockrum, Don Newton and Kurt Schaffenberger in the Silver Age and Jerry Ordway in the Bronze Age, ol’ Freddie Freeman lucked out with some great visuals throughout his career, and he even had time to play first base for the Atlanta Braves for a while.  Plus:  Who doesn’t love the Tiny Tim vibe?  God Shazam us, every one.

BEST STORY:

Anything by Mac Raboy.

#4

Mary Marvel

Apparently, girls like giant butterflies.

Called Captain Marvel in the POWER OF SHAZAM series, so she counts too.  When I was a teenager, Bob Oksner was the illustrated for all the Mary Marvel stories in SHAZAM!, and these were the highlight of my month when she’d appear in the back up tales.  I had a crush on her…a line drawing.  I know it’s wrong, but I did.  She was the ultimate girl-next-door, in a way that Supergirl never quite was.  And the eight year old girl version of her from Jeff Smith’s run was amazing.  HATED what they did to her in all the awful Crisis/Countdown/Crisis/52/Blackest Night/Crisis nonsense.  Shameful handling of a great character.  I’m waiting to see that they don’t screw her up in the Gary Frank series she’s in now.

BEST STORY:

The new Monster Society of Evil by Jeff Smith…where Mary is about eight.

#3

Billy Baxter

That’s not a typo, I mean Baxter, not Batson.  This Captain Marvel, published briefly by Myron Fass Enterprises in the mid-sixties, has lived in my heart for decades.  His comics came out when I was about five years old, and since I have a couple of these, I  cannot view them with any objectivity.  They are simply wonderful building blocks of my childish psyche. “SPLIT!” is as powerful as “Flame on!” as far as I’m concerned…and that’s quite a co-incidence as this Captain Marvel was illustrated by Carl Burgos, creator of the original Human Torch.  Included in this series was the equally trademark squatting characters of “Dr. Fate”, “The Ray”, “Plastic Man”, “The Destroyer” and “The Bat”, proving Myron liked to live on the edge of lawsuits for thrills.   The Bat is the best, because he changed his name to “THE RAY” to avoid a DC lawsuit (even though the Ray was a Quality Comics character) and his costume looked exactly like the Martian Manhunter.  You could see why the company was called “MF Comics”; I think it was an abbreviation for something other than the publisher’s name.   This is the original squatter on the Captain Marvel title, so it gets extra points for picking at the corpse first.

BEST STORY:

All of them. There’s only six issues of this guy.

#2

Mar-Vell

This one picked at the corpse of the Billy Baxter version, technically, as it came out about two years after MF’s title.  His original appearance in MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #12 was less than thrilling, and his first couple of years in his own title wouldn’t have left much of an impact on anyone…but then HOO BOY, we get the Gil Kane version, with the new costume and Rick Jones in ish #17.

Now we’re talking.

I love how that version of this familiar name went back to the idea that the Captain and a young boy would share the same identity, and would change back and forth with a bolt of lightning. I mean, if you’re going to steal a character, steal it full out. That’s bold.
But the quality of the art and stories improved so much, I forgave the obvious rip-off and dug right in. By the time Jim Starlin came along, Cap was amongst my top five favorite Marvel comics.

BEST STORY:

The Trial of the Watcher, and sadly, the Death of Captain Marvel.

#1

Billy Batson

The first, the original, at one point the best selling comic book in the world, and the basis of the SHAZAM catch phrase for Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. (you youngsters can look Gomer up, I’m not explaining everything.)
He was almost called Captain Thunder or Captain Lightning, but smart marketing heads prevailed, and, as Captain Marvel, the character ended up the quintessential super-hero of the Golden Age, perhaps the best super-hero of all time. The mix of serious business and lighthearted fun was perfect for the war era, but it hasn’t translated well into modern versions and the character has been relegated to misfires and almost-gets-it-right stories for decades. It’s hard not to love the Jeff Smith and Jerry Ordway runs, and I’m sort of digging the Gary Frank version coming out now in the back of Justice League, but I can’t see how you could improve on the C.C. Beck and Otto Binder version from sixty years ago. Besides three Captain Marvels, this series gives us Lieutenant Marvels, Uncle Marvels, Hillbilly Marvels, Bunny Marvels and a sharp dressed talking tiger named Tawny. Beat THAT, comics industry.

Pictured above: Courtroom sketches from the 50s

For some reason, because the Captain could fly, he wore a cape, his secret identity was a reporter, and his arch villain was a bald scientist, DC comics felt he was a trademark infringement on Superman. Eventually a court did as well, and Fawcett closed down their publishing line in 1957 to avoid a large cash settlement.
Lawyers are scum.

BEST STORY:

The original Monster Society of Evil. Was there a second choice?

So, Carol has a hell of a legacy to live up to.  (And of course, Genis Vell was called “Legacy” in his early appearances, so that’s taken as well).

We’ll be keeping an eye on you, Ms. Danvers.  We expect Monster Society quality stuff, or at least a .285 batting average for the Braves.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your BONUS Captain Marvel moment.

Legendary sax player Stan Getz got into the Captain Marvel action with this classic album from the 70s. Apparently ANYONE can use the name at this point.

420 special: The Top Ten Pot-Heads in Comics

It’s 4-20 you degenerate low-lives.

Welcome to my blog.

It's "Mary Jane" and her dreaded catch phrase. We all know what it means.

As a straight laced kid from the suburbs growing up in the late sixties, I never cared much for the drug culture or its humor.  I didn’t like Cheech and Chong records or Wonder Warthog comics, and the Grateful Dead were for those bigger kids who skipped auto-shop a lot.  But around the time I turned 18, Paul McCartney was busted for possession of one hundred and thirty-eight kilos of wacky weed in his luggage by the Japanese, and I figured pot smokers can’t be all bad.  The man wrote Hey Jude, for God’s sake.

My drugs of choice turn out to be caffeine and sugar, conveniently blended into a Coca-Cola, which I treat like a life altering addiction, but in celebration of today’s hippie holiday, for all the great music that cannabis brought my generation, and in some sense of minor protest for all the poor innocent people in jail because of insane prohibition laws, I present to you…

#10- Buddy Bradley

It's morning in America.

As our art-form’s most self-destructive asshole (and I’m including Doctor Doom in that), Peter Bagge’s delightful anti-hero, Buddy Bradley obsesses over old records, argues with everyone he knows, and gets high a lot.  That thrilling lifestyle has sustained the character for decades of a drain circling angst-com unfolding in various series alternately named “NEAT STUFF” or “HATE”.    Lately, Buddy’s dream is to become the crazy, one-eyed, old man who lives at your local junk yard, proving that stoners don’t always let their ambitions atrophy.

FUN FACT POT-HEADS WON’T REMEMBER TOMORROW:

Peter Bagge has said Buddy is part auto-biography, so when visiting Peter, bring thai stick and an eye-patch.

——————————————————————————————-

#9 – Tank Girl

It's impossible to find an image of Tank Girl without some smoke in her mouth.

Like most of the young women you know, Jamie Hewlitt’s Tank Girl lives in an armored assault vehicle in a post-something Australia, devotes herself to anarchy, smokes da blunts like Snoop Dog’s chimney,  and dates a mutated kangaroo. Tank Girl comics are exercises in delightfully surreal nonsense with no discernible point, which is also what you get after a good drag of some Toledo Window Box, so I’m told. The 1995 motion picture (starring Lori Petty) turned this obscure cult character into a much more famous obscure cult character.

FUN FACT POT-HEADS WON’T REMEMBER TOMORROW:

Mr. Hewlitt also created a fictional cartoon band called the Gorillaz which made some amazing albums and videos about ten years ago.

———————————————————————————————

#8 – Jughead Jones

He barely opens his eyes, he’s lazy and aimless, he plays a musical instrument, he’s constantly got the munchies and has a strange disinterest in his sex drive….when you add that to the fact that “jug” and “pot” are almost synonyms, Pothead Jones has been hiding in plain sight for decades.
There are moments where he believes he talks to his dog.

FUN FACT POT-HEADS WON’T REMEMBER TOMORROW:

He’s been so blitzed for fifty years, Jughead never noticed other  people stopped wearing that hat.

————————————————————————————-

#7 – Spider Jerusalem

Created by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson in 1997 for a series called TRANSMETROPOLITAN, Spider Jerusalem was reportedly inspired by Doonsebury’s Uncle Duke, who was originally inspired by Hunter S. Thompson, who was entirely inspired by illegal substances.  Spider lives in a futuristic world that has eliminated the bad side of drug use, including addiction and lung cancer, so every citizen is free to smoke the remains of Keith Richards if the mood hits them, and with Spider, it often does.  In between trying a little of every chemical he can find, Mr. Jerusalem is a cyberpunk/gonzo journalist that topples governments with his columns, all created while he’s so baked he has no hope of remembering a word he’s written by the next day.

FUN FACT POT-HEADS WON’T REMEMBER TOMORROW:

Before Spider shaves off his beard and gets a haircut in the first issue, he resembles legendary grass-ingester, Alan Moore.   It’s a “tribute”, apparently.

——————————————————————————————–

#6 – Fritz the Cat

Robert Crumb’s iconic underground comic character became iconic because it was adapted into an iconic underground movie by Ralph Bakshi a few years after the not-so-iconic comics came out.  A casual glance at anything Crumb worked on at the time involved illicit sex, racist imagery, misogyny and drug use on nearly every page, so Fritz wasn’t especially important in the grand scheme of things.  But the animated film blew America’s mind when movie-goers across the heartland watched a cartoon cat do this in 1972:

Pictured: Things Sylvester Pussycat did not do.

FUN FACT POT-HEADS WON’T REMEMBER TOMORROW:

After the film came out, Crumb was so disappointed in it, that he quickly killed off Fritz the Cat with an ice-pick to the head, delivered by an groupie/obsessed fan who loved Fritz’s movie and didn’t take rejection well.  She was also an ostrich.

————————————————————————————

#5 – Bluntman and Chronic

Artwork by Mike Allred

From the moment he released his indy-darling uber-movie, CLERKS, Kevin Smith has been associated most prominently with his on-screen and in-comic book alter-ego, “Silent Bob”, a pot dealer with conversation issues.  In the film CHASING AMY, the already fictional alter-egos of Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes are turned into fictional alter-alter-egos in comic book character form.  To add to the meta-textual confusion, both Jay & Silent Bob and Bluntman and Chronic became actual comic books, published in the real world.

FUN FACT POT-HEADS WON’T REMEMBER TOMORROW:

Kevin Smith still makes films, but no one sees them anymore.

——————————————————————————————-

# – 4  Marijuana Man

Created by multi Grammy award winning recording artist Ziggy Marley, (son of the equally legendary Rita Marley), written by Joe Casey, illustrated by Jim Mahfood, and published (theoretically) by Image Comics in 2011, Marijuana Man is an alien from the planet Yelram (spell it backwards and be amazed!) who is traveling the universe to bring back life giving THC to his dying planet.  I swear to Rasta I’m not making this up.  I’ve never actually seen a copy, though there are a few articles online from last year promising the issue is just about to come out.  If it did, I didn’t see it.  Perhaps the creative team got distracted by something…

FUN FACT POT-HEADS WON’T REMEMBER TOMORROW:

Ziggy insists the character can’t be considered a bad influence on readers because Marijuana Man doesn’t actually smoke the ganga. He gets his superpowers from mystically “connecting with it” through contact alone.

——————————————————————————————-

#3 –   Zonker Harris 

If Peter Pan had never grown up in the 1970s, instead of not growing up in the 19th Century, he would be Zonker Harris.

One of the original lead characters in the long running Doonesbury comic strip by Garry Trudeau, Mr. Harris is a full time professional slacker who has been a competitive sun-tanner, low-stress nanny, and outspoken advocate for hemp since the early days of the series. And Zonker shows no sign of stopping in his lifestyle choices as of 2012.

He started off as the crazy roommate everyone had in college, and evolved into the crazy unmarried uncle that can’t hold down a job.   I’m waiting for the day that Garry Trudeau writes a series of strips where Zonker is actually arrested and put in jail for his lifestyle, to give America a taste of how horrible and unfair it would all be to see it happen to someone you know and love.

FUN FACT POT-HEADS WON’T REMEMBER TOMORROW:

Lest you think America’s favorite cartoon deadhead is exclusively a comic STRIP character, he and a friend appeared in Spectacular Spider-Man #56.  Check out the bottom right corner, it’s Zonker and Mike Doonsebury, courtesy of John Byrne.  You’ll notice someone is enjoying some Mary Jane, man.

———————————————————————————————

#2 – The  Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers

The clown princes of comix, Gilbert Shelton’s Freak Brothers appear in stories that are exclusively about the finding of, purchasing of, and smoking of weed.  I think there’s ONE story that focuses on their car breaking down, but it was driving to their dealer to buy weed when it did.  Just so you don’t think they’re a one-joke idea (and that idea is weed), Fat Freddy is often looking for things to eat, and he has a cat that spends a lot of time confronting his poop issues.  But other than that, it’s about weed.

Is it just me, or is there something wrong with all their noses?

FUN FACT POT-HEADS WON’T REMEMBER TOMORROW:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YINWUjFQRDU

There’s actually a few minutes of a stop motion Freak Brothers Film online.  It  was in motion for a while, but it stopped.

——————————————————————————————–

#1 – This Guy

This single one-page gag strip by Crumb features the anonymous comic character most associated with getting high for an entire generation.

I saw this poster in a thousand bedrooms when I was a teenager.  It was certainly my first head-on encounter with the work of Crumb, Comix and nefarious, unauthorized behavior that was rampant in the early 70s.  Even though I never smoked those awful doobies as a teenager, and was suspicious of people who did, this poster was somehow very appealing.  I hope it wasn’t the obvious limp phallus in panel four.

Maybe it was simply a choice of this poster, or the one with the cat gripping a metal pipe,  saying “Hang in there, baby.”

That decade was difficult.

FUN FACT POT-HEADS WON’T REMEMBER TOMORROW:

In the over a thousand viewings I have had with this comic strip, I did not notice until today that the second word is misspelled.  That’s how observant I am when I’m sober.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, you comic book stoner bonus moment.

Not just cocaine, but HITLER'S cocaine. I wouldn't mess with that stuff...

Stan Lee Presents Bun Toon Countdown 2011 #4! Yay!

Before we continue with the pulse  pounding countdown of the Top Five Bun Toons (and the Five No One Loved) of 2011 ,  let’s take a moment to salute the living legend himself, true believers, on this, his 89th birthday…..STAN LEE!

Stan Lee, pictured here in a moment of confusion, attempting to grab Robert Downey's man-boobs.

Stan Lee needs no introduction:  He created Batman, King Arthur and James Bond, as well as writing the original plot for Gilgamesh.  As curator of the Hobo Art Museum in San Francisco, Lee helped introduce America to the great whittlers of the 20th Century, and as a philanthropist, Stan Lee  established the first School for Bombast, on the campus of Yale University in 1973.

Stan Lee, in a moment of confusion, attempting to grab Hugh Jackman's man-boobs

Stan Lee’s famous nickname “The Man” has inspired others in the comics biz to adopt a similar nomenclature in tribute, including artist Steve Rude “the Dude”, writer/artist Ty “the Guy” Templeton, and letterer Emma “Not a Fella” Campanella.   Famous baseball player Stan The Man Musial was so inspired, he began using the nickname long before before Stan Lee did.

Always willing to adapt to the times, Stan Lee attempts to grab this lady's girl-boobs.

Ahh, enough of the silly… I kid around with the boobie grabbing and the whittling museum, but it’s all done with buckets of love.  Without Stan, there’s a vast wasteland of Richie Rich digests and Lois Lane Annuals and that’s the comix biz.   But Stan gave us Spider-Man and the Hulk and The Fantastic Four and so many others that no one could count ’em all up without a handbook.  He reached into the hearts of kids and adults on every continent, probably everywhere that civilization exists, and spread out little pulp paper bits of joy that changed the world, and every last one of us working in the field wish we could grow up to BE him.

Happy 89th Birthday, Living Legend!   You’re a real life hero to all of us.

I'm pretty sure he's rubbing this guy's nipple.

NOW BACK TO THE 2011 COUNTDOWN!   First a TOP FIVE BUN TOON-

By one of those cosmic coincidences that only the Watcher truly understands, the Number #4 Bun Toon on the 2011 hit parade features none other than the Birthday Boy himself.   It comes from February, and it asked the most magical “What if…?” of all.

Clearly, making fun of American comic books does fairly well on this blog, getting thousands and thousands of hits.  Making fun of Belgian comics has a different result.  When you consider the huge hoards of Belgians roaming the internet looking for suitable comic-based entertainment, the Bun Toon below should have done better.  But well…c’est la vie.

Maybe people were thrown by the French, who knows?  As the saying goes in Paris, “Il fait froid ce matin, et ma auto ne marche pas”.  Now that Tintin is a huge movie star, perhaps this toon will get some attention.   Maybe then, I’ll be as big as Stan Lee.

A boy can dream.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Come back tomorrow for the strangest Bun Toons of all….

Click here to be taken to the complete and utter history of Bun Toons online, since 2010!

And…don’t forget, today is the day that the legendary banned Elseworlds 80-Page Giant #1 sees print. Okay, it saw print when it first came out. In Ireland. Everywhere else it got pulped. And okay Kyle Baker’s story (the reason for the ban) has been printed and reprinted and then a couple times after that. But yayy!! Now ALL the pages are in print and there’s a few drawn by Ty Templeton.

Get it today at your Local Comics Store!!

HAPPY 45th BIRTHDAY STAR TREK! YAY!

Anti Gravity device at work.

Even though I had the wonderful privilege of working on Star Trek in a very peripheral capacity a few years ago, writing a Trek Graphic Novel for IDW, I still consider myself, first and foremost, a fan…hell, I’m a sickening Trekkie.  I have been since I was a kid, and watched these marvelous stories in their first run, back in the 60s.

And I have a blog, so I’m obligated to mention this birthday of sorts, and make a few personal observations about the show and its characters and what they’ve meant to me as the five year mission stretches out into its 45th year.

On the Sapphire Anniversary of NBC airing “THE MAN TRAP”, I give you my personal choices for —

THE TOP FIFTEEN star trek CHARACTERS of all time!

15- GARY MITCHELL

I'm rosebud, okay? And I'm not a sled this time.

Ah, Gary Mitchell.  For a character that made only one appearance on the show, he’s held a place in my heart ever since.  I think it was because he was Kirk’s best friend since his Academy days, and Gary represented the loss of youth that adulthood inevitably brings.  I don’t want to let him go anymore than I want to let go of my toys and comic books.  Gary was a little less disciplined than Kirk, a little more boyish, and it’s why he wasn’t promoted as fast.  But when Jim loses his best friend in the first episode, it hardened Kirk into a man, and made him a little more relaxed about staying youthful, all at the same time.  When I had a chance to write that Star Trek graphic novel for IDW a couple of years ago, my first chapter strongly featured Gary Mitchell.  I still don’t want to let him go.

14 – SPOT, PORTHOS and the TRIBBLES.

Who's a pretty endothermic quadruped? Yes you are...

 I’m an animal lover.  I live with three cats at the moment, and have shared my life and dwelling space with dogs, fish, birds and various other life forms since I was a kid.  A house ain’t a home until it has a pet in it, I always say, and Star Trek was no exception.   The fact that Data the android owned a cat, and treated it with calculated amounts of affection rung my bells.  And if you’ve never heard or read Data’s ODE TO SPOT, you’re in for a treat:

Felis catus is your taxonomic nomenclature,
An endothermic quadruped, carnivorous by nature.
Your visual, olfactory, and auditory senses
Contribute to your hunting skills and natural defenses.
I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,
A singular development of cat communications
That obviates your basic hedonistic predilection
For a rhythmic stroking of your fur to demonstrate affection.
A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents.
You would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.
And when not being utilized to aid in locomotion,
It often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.
Oh Spot, the complex levels of behavior you display
Connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array,
And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,
I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.

Damn straight.  Shakespeare can suck it.

And Porthos was probably my favorite character on ENTERPRISE, other than the sexy Vulcan lady, but that was for different reasons.  They sort of wrote the dog out of the series as the seasons went on, I suspect because he was asking for more money than Scott Bakula, but they should have given in to his demands.  The space race of the 20th Century was begun by animals:  Laika the dog, Ham the Chimp, and John Glenn the senator.  I love that Star Trek recognized their contribution to exploring the galaxy and included them.

Even these damn things.

13 – KOR

Evil, but cheerful. Respect.

The first Klingon, (and for a few conventions we attended together, a fun drinking buddy).  There’s a group of Star Trek fans who seem to only be interested in the culture of the Star Trek Badasses.  These fans wear the gear, speak the language, play with the weapons, and occasionally put on Hamlet in the original Klingon.   Of course, Worf, Gowron, Kang and a few others are all part of the glorious tapestry that is Klingon culture, but if it weren’t for John Colicos, and his brilliant portrayal of Kor, all these poor souls would be pretending to be Wookies, I promise you.

12  – Lt. Uhura

Rocking the Gold!

Besides being one of the most important figures in the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, Lt. Uhura was a childhood crush that I’m never getting over.

Back away Templeton. Don't make me cut you.

She was told by no less that Martin Luther King Jr. that she wasn’t allowed to quit the show when she became frustrated by the parts she was getting in the later seasons.  King knew how important it was to see a high ranking African American aboard the bridge, and on away missions, and NO ONE MENTIONED she was black or female except the ghost of President Lincoln.  She was simply part of the crew.  It’s hard for modern audiences to get how big a deal that was in 1966.  I grew up watching Star Trek, and her example (and to a similar extent, Sulu’s) is a big part of why racism makes no sense to me.  If you can do the job, you’re part of the team.

And oh, she was sexy as it gets. I know I shouldn’t have noticed that, but I did.

11 – Commander Will Riker

Like a version of Captain Kirk, but with his own hair, Riker was clearly supposed to be Next Generation’s sexy hero, but he never quite turned out that way.  Instead, he was the middle manager in your office that sort-of behaved like your big brother and wasn’t as cool as he thought he was going to end up in life.  For god’s sake, a trombone?!?  Still, he was the character that got to own Star Trek’s single greatest moment…that cliffhanger at the end of Best of Both Worlds Part One….when Picard/Locutus of Borg tells Riker that resistance is futile and Riker says “FIRE”.  And we all had to wait SIX GODDAMN MONTHS to see what happened.  Riker won me over in those four letters.

10 – QUARK

The hunnies dig big ears.

Star Trek’s great comedy relief character was the main reason that DS9 worked for me.  I was never that fond of Captain Sisko (at least until he shaved his head) and really didn’t like Major Kira – they were both humourless stumps.  But the Ferengi with a lust for profit and a secret heart of gold was Trek’s guarantee of a smile each week.  The one where the Ferengi go to Roswell is tied with Trouble with Tribbles as the funniest episode of Trek ever made.

9 – THE GUY IN THE RED SHIRT

One of them is DOOMED!

He’s Dead Jim.  The poor bastard is up-the-ass screwed.  You know it, Kirk knows it and so does the guy on the transporter who you never heard of before today. That’s what duty is all about, my friend –  staying calm and carrying on.  But don’t despair, he has his own entry in wikipedia, his own society, his own movie!  He’s only on screen for eight minutes, but he goes out a star!

Great career move, kid!

When Picard and Riker wore red shirts in the pilot for TNG, I was sure they were going to die before the first commercial break.   They broke the curse for a few years, but you’ll notice in the new Star Trek movie, the guy in the red re-entry suit that goes after the Romulan bad guys on the big space drill goes SPLAT when the other two don’t.

8 – THE ENTERPRISE

In a universe that included sentient androids, sympathetic hortas and a pointy eared devil as one of the heroes, we’re allowed to call the ship a character.  And she was played by Majel Roddenbery for decades so she even had to sleep with  the producer to get the part.

Look at her warp drives. She was practically begging for it.

The Enterprise was a huge part of the success of the franchise.  It was large enough that entire stories could be set aboard her when the budget ran low for alien rock formations.  It was fast enough that it could get you across the galaxy by five thirty tomorrow morning.  And when the engines canna take it, there’s excitement a’brewing.  When she died in SEARCH FOR SPOCK, I choked up as much as I did when Spock died in the previous movie.  And though she came back, she didn’t have to Pon Farr anybody, so it wasn’t as much fun.

7 –  DOCTOR McCOY

"I’m a DOCTOR, not a plot device!".

Actually McCoy was one of the best plot devices in modern fiction.  Playing hot to Spock’s cold, or emotion to Spock’s logic, McCoy served as the other half of the two-headed Greek Chorus that Kirk and the viewers relied on to get them through the story each week.   What started out as a support character, McCoy became an essential part of every tale, getting his own title card in the second season, and embedded into the Id/Ego/Superego triangle that made the core of Star Trek work.

McCoy at work, showing "emotion".

6 – CAPTAIN PICARD

I have to admit, he wears that uniform as well as Uhura did.

Kirk was a super-hero, but Picard was the father figure that solved everybody’s problems, and managed to make bald men sexy again after Yul Brenner died.  He “made it so” with calm, reasonable decisions, and never lost his shit unless he was gunning down Borg, which was understandable (and damn cool, actually).  Where the original crew was very much a group held together by military rank, and shared duty, Picard’s presence made the Next Generation cast into a family.  Brilliant.

5 – ORION SLAVE GIRLS

 Uh-huh.  That’s right.  You know what I’m talking about.  Almost as much as Vulcans, the Orion Slave Girls became a symbol for Star Trek, even for people that never watched the show.  She featured strongly in the pilot, tempting Captain Pike like an apple in paradise.  She showed up in the final credits of almost every episode.  She and her sisters showed up in a few memorable episodes of ENTERPRISE, the new movie, and every nerd’s dreams for a few decades now.

She even looked a hell of a lot like Batgirl that one time.

Orion Slave Girls are what Leia’s Slave Bikini WISHES it was,  if it wasn’t the  nerd-wienie-shrinking girl-next-door virgin pretense that it actually is.    Orion Slave Girls put out, my friend.  And they know how to do the ice cube tricks and everything.

4 –   WORF

No denying it. Worf is the bad ass pimp of the Trek Universe.

He’s the ultimate outsider – the enemy of the federation, sitting on the bridge of the Enterprise, and he can kill you with his left ball if he feels like it.  He was the living embodiment of controlled rage, bottled up in Star Trek’s longest running character (eleven seasons of TV and five of the movies!) and he was just the balance that Captain Picard’s calm demeanor needed to make the Next Generation the mega-hit that it was.

And he owned Gene Simmons' hair with more style than Gene did.

3 –  DATA.

I got no strings, and I have fun. I'm not tied down to anyone.

 The wooden puppet that wants to be a real boy has never been done better.  Pinocchio was the inspiration, but Roddenbery, Spiner and company did SO much with the idea – exploring what constituted identity, sentience and humanity, from feelings of love, duty and creativity, to being “fully functional, programmed in multiple techniques”.

Demonstrate your programming, big boy.

And because they were constantly creative with him, the character actually grows and develops over the course of the series and films.  He learns he has “family”, he learns to dream, and he eventually gets his emotion chip, and learns to deal with genuine fear, sadness, sexuality, and the rest of human experience.   Just like we all did when we got our emotion chips at puberty.

2- MISTER SPOCK

Second only to the Beatles as THE 60s pop icon.

 When I was a teenager, I used to get painful, debilitating migraine headaches.  I mean kick-you-in-the-skull, blinding, enraging pain that would last for days.  There was no medicine that would help and it got so bad some times I thought I’d die from the sheer agony of it all.   With nothing but desperation driving me, I tried Spock’s mantra from many episodes of the show.  “There is no pain.  Pain is an illusion”.  I’d say it to myself, trying to Vulcan the hell out of that problem.

And, by the great bird of the galaxy, it worked. It was a life changing lesson –  that the mind can control the body.  That you can decide to survive the unsurvivable.  You can beat back the worst crap storm if you absolutely need to, by power of will.

Spock means that much to me.  He transcended a mere fictional character and became a part of my basic DNA when I was young.  I got to meet Leonard Nimoy once, and I couldn’t help it, inside my head I was telling myself I was in the room with Mr. Spock.  He matters so much to me that, even though it would have been funny, I resisted posting a photograph of Spock with his shirt off being held at gun point by Nazis .

No I didn't.

But I almost resisted and that’s what matters.   I’ve also tried the nerve pinch thing on the neck a few times, but that part turns out to be fictional.

1- CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK

Yes, that's a laser in my pocket, and yes, you're glad to see me.

He’s tied with Batman as the best Super-Hero ever created, and according to Eddie Murphy,  Captain Kirk is the coolest white man ever born.  I’m hard pressed to put it any better than that.

There’s a moment in the first Star Trek motion picture, where Kirk takes command of the ship before they all head out into space to take on V-Ger, and quite probably die.  Right after he leaves the bridge, Uhura smiles and tells Sulu  that now that Kirk is back in charge, they just might come home alive.  That she was brave enough to go into space, fully expecting to die, tells you much about Uhura’s courage.  But suddenly expecting to survive simply because Kirk is in command…that tells you everything you need to know about Kirk.

Plus, he got to make out with the hot alien ladies, and he got to do this:

KHAAAAAAN!

That’s Star Trek’s other great moment (along with Riker saying “fire.”) and they’re both four letter words.

I don’t know about you, but I wanted to grow up to be Captain Kirk, and like the memory of Gary Mitchell, I’m not quite ready to let go of that idea either.  Star Trek has been my comfort food, my fan favorite, my joie de vie and my guilty pleasure, almost constantly since I was little.  I’m a little older than the franchise itself, but as long as we’re both here, I’ll be celebrating each anniversary with them, with just as much joy as I did the first time the Man Trap came on my TV and scared the poop out of this four year old boy.

See you Trekkies in five years when we pass out the silver.

PS:  I had two runners-up, but a list of 17 sucks…so here are the honorable mentions:

I have a schoolboy crush on Ezri Dax, and I can't help it.

He's somewhat of a retread of DATA's machine-that-wants-to-be-a-man bit, but Robert Picardo made "The Doctor" a unique character all to himself.

UPDATE:   When you type things up quickly at six in the morning, the brain goes fuzzy.  I cannot believe I didn’t include Q in the list, and that’s a mistake.  He likely would have come in somewhere in the top ten, maybe around eight or nine.  Forgive me for overlooking that great character.  Amazingly enough, I’ve gotten emails lobbying for Garek more than anyone, and no mentioned Q at all….so somehow, we ALL forget him!

I think it's possible he memory-wiped me.

 

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your BONUS Star Trek Moment:

Presented without comment.

Happy New Year! Best of Bun Toons for 2010 FINAL!

Hey Folks  – I hope you’re all getting over your hangover and enjoying the bright vistas of the future.  This is the year we all get flying cars, I saw it in a magazine.   But before we step off into our new horizon, it’s one last look back on the best of the year for Bun Toons.    When this toon first went up, we had twenty thousand readers in just two days.   People like fat guys getting jiggy with scientist chicks, what can I say?

Put your mouse overtop and push it, it will get bigger….that’s what she said.

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Here now, another Bun Toon with Batman in it…because Batman is popular, and I’m a shameless whore.

This was the FIRST of the Bun Toons officially launched back in March.  It’s been a fun first year (eight months actually) of web-comic-ing, and I ain’t going anywhere in 2011.

By that I mean I shall continue to do Bun Toons, not that my life has come to a standstill this year.    Sheesh!  Stop making fun of me.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your end of the year, out-of-date- comic book moment of zen:

Bun Toons Countdown 2010 Part IV! Star Trek in Four Panels!

Today we offend the Trekkies.  When this first ran in November, thousands read it, and thousands objected.  Mostly Riker fans, but who really cares about them?

This got reblogged on Wil Wheaton’s site…I’m still getting a tons of hits from this one a month later.  FULL DISCLOSURE:  I’m a Trekkie…I’ve written a Star Trek Graphic Novel for IDW, and I’ve not only got discs for all 30 seasons of the shows, I’ve got all the Power Record Read Along comics…so no harm done, okay?

There’s so much you can do in just four panels.  First the world of Star Trek…and now…

Coming Soon:  Quantum Physics All in Four Panels…easy as pie.

See you tomorrow, on New Year’s Day for the most popular Bun Toon of the year…tens of thousands of hits, just because it’s all about SEX!

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your New Year’s Eve Comic Book Moment of Zen:

Darn, this is the last day of 2010 that I can promote this issue of Mad Magazine:

Bun Toons Countdown Part III (Blasphemy Edition)! The Glories and Failures of 2010!

Take one part blasphemy  – one part corporate owned super-hero property -and mix well.  You end up with the most popular recurring gag I did this year in Bun Toons.  Super-Heroes vs. the Gods!   Don’t blame me, I was only filling a need.  Coming Soon:  The Mighty Xtapalatakettle vs. Herbie the Fat Fury!

As of this writing, in the fight between Dr. Hawking and the Spectre, the score is Hawking 1,  Spectre 0.

Expect to see more of these preposterous team-ups as I think of religions I’m okay with making fun of.  Scientology, Wicca, Nascar, etc.   My mother won’t let me do the Wonder Woman vs. Mohammed strip I had planned, and the coward in me agrees.

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Here’s one of my favorites from 2010 toons…but it got overlooked in the ongoing media circus surrounding the Palin daughter on Dancing With the Stars.   For weeks, our blog numbers sagged as we steadfastly refused to weigh in on the Palin “voting”  issue, and the following Bun Toons went unnoticed by the interweb during those trying times.

Besides, it only offends blind people, and they never read my blog.

See you tomorrow with the Bun Toon that brought down the 2nd biggest Science Fiction franchise in history, and I’m NOT talking about Planet of the Apes (which is probably, like…sixth or something).

Ty the Guy OUT!

HERE NOW—your team-up of the gods comic book moment of zen:

Okay, sure we still gasp in awe at this.  Did you ever see the ALT cover that came out from Marvel?

I think they used clip art.  And that tag line is so defensive about the whole project, it’s like you caught Marvel drunkenly groping your sister.

By the way, did you notice that I went the entire blog entry without mentioning that the big Mad Magazine Top 20 Dumbest Things of 2010 issue is in stores NOW?  I never talked about it once.

And I never showed you this cover.

 

The Top Five Bun Toons of 2010- plus the awful ones – part 2

My end of the year round-up of the last eight month’s worth of bun toons continues.  I’m an unstoppable juggernaut, and you’re in my sights, web surfers, so get up on the motherboards and RIDE!

Everett Mann seemed to be a hit with you readers.  From the reaction they got, I shall certainly be returning to this character.  Perhaps something in a adult themed dance-drama, or a weird science fiction opera.  One never knows…Until then, here are the first two appearances of…

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The LAST ROUND-UP series of webcomics were my first attempt at recurring characters in the opening few months of the Bun Toons series.  I did six of these in total, and might force them on the public again in 2011, but as there were no swear words, blasphemies, or nudity in these comics, they never caught fire with the good-natured pervs that essentially run the internet.  No matter how much I loved Space Cows…  Here’s one of my favorite chapters, if not yours.

They escaped in Chapter 5, by the way, but were sent adrift into space in Chapter 6.

See you tomorrow for more of the countdown!

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your end of the year countdown moment of comic book zen:

This ultra-rare misprint of Mad #507 was discovered recently in a comic shop in New York City.  Every page was printed up-side-down, and the staples were inserted into the wrong side of the magazine!   Astounding, but true…and I’ve heard there are other misprints exactly like this one out there in stores RIGHT NOW.   You MUST hurry to buy this special mis-printed version of the year-end issue of MAD…or you’ll be covered in fanboy shame.

CHRISTMAS COMIC COVERS V: Tingle Bells, Chestnuts Roasting, and the Seven Most Inappropriately Sexy Comic Book X-Mas Covers!

The nights get longer, and so do these blog titles.

Work the camera, you hot bitch.

Not For Kids today.  Sorry little ones, head out of the room while the grown ups giggle about boobies and stuff.

And big powerful rockets...

It’s Christmas Eve, and naturally, my mind turns to uncomfortable moments of inappropriate sexuality on Christmas Comic Book Covers.  It’s who I am.  At least, I’ve stopped posting images of Santa Claus’ corpse… for now…

Whereas this sort of thing is making a comeback.

Today, check your innocence at the door, and expect to get it back all covered in carpet hair and something awful, as I present to you…

THE SEVEN MOST INAPPROPRIATELY  NAUGHTY COMIC BOOK CHRISTMAS COVERS

#7

Okay, first:  That’s a sex-face that would make Greg Land proud.  I’ve never seen that expression on a girl in any other Archie Comic, or else I would have been a life-long subscriber.  Second:  There’s just a whole mess of wrong in the way Reggie is posed all dry-humpy like that, and though I know it’s part of the ladder, it might have been best not to have that bit poking up between his legs.  Once you start to see it the wrong way, you’re not so sure about what Moose and Archie are up to either.

#6

The girl in the sexy Santa suit is a staple of the holiday season.  I get that.   But the bra-less come hither look that Sue is flashing the reader while her brother and husband are in the room just creeps me the hell out.  And let’s not ignore Ben’s massive sack or the weird, vein-y shape we’re getting from Reed’s head.  Everything about this image shouts “Think of old nuns and baseball or your very soul is imperiled!”.

#5

For children.  Children of ALL ages.  Give this to your thirteen year old boy, and see if you’ll get him out of his room before New Year’s Eve.   You have to admire the marketing to the youngsters.  It’s like a Joe Camel, only for starter porn.

#4

Who doesn’t love Paul Dini’s JINGLE BELLE?  She’s an adorable little minx who gets into trouble at the North Pole in these adorable little specials that Dini and his pals do every year.   You can ignore the stripper pole image to the left, or the many butt-centric poses she finds herself in, as her stories are usually light-hearted fun that wouldn’t raise an eyebrow, or anything else.  But the big cover above contains what is clearly an image of Santa checking out Belle’s ass, and raising his hand to give it an ol’ rump slap, possibly for stealing those cookies.  This is all fine, until you recall that Jingle Belle is Santa’s teen aged daughter.  Then it all goes straight to hell.   Go wash your eyes.

#3

Why?  Why would Mac Raboy and Fawcett Comics make this cover and force the image of Santa Claus in tights into my brain?  I mean, we can see everything, okay?  Just ew.  It’s bad enough that Santa was riding on Captain Marvel like a pony-boy the previous Christmas, (as seen to the left…imagine the feeling of being perched atop those rock hard buttocks, molded from the flesh of Greek Gods as you fly through the sky, and get back to me…) but does Santa have have to strip down to the spandex leggings when he hangs out with the crippled teenaged boys?  Whertham was right.

#2

By all that is holy, Wonder Woman, run!  Don’t listen to Green Lantern, that honeybee condom isn’t going to help.  Stay true to your Amazon heritage and RUN!!  Okay…I might be seeing smut where it wasn’t intended in this cover (though it’s hard not to see it) but you’ll never convince me the next cover was an accident…

#1

Right?  Right?  That is one damn happy carrot she’s holding onto, and one heck of a pile of snow.  For god’s sake, she’s actually not even wearing pants.  One wonders if Mike Deodato Jr. ever stopped giggling that they actually put this into comic stores.

Tomorrow is Christmas Day, and so I’ll post only lovely, friendly, happy Christmas Covers, I promise.  (I can’t imagine anyone will be online…but just in case).

Ty the Guy OUT!

NOTE:  The Santa countdown has been running all week:

Click HERE for Seven Most Homicidal Santas

Click HERE for Seven Monster Santas

Click HERE for Seven best DEAD Santas

Click HERE for Ten Best Santa vs. Superhero fights

And now your comic book horrible Santa Sexuality moment of zen:

The Ultimate Warrior from the WWE, steals Santa’s pants after…something…happened between them in his Christmas Comic Special.  This is a double page “spread”, and not a cover, or else it would have been #2 on the above list.  The cover itself isn’t that bad….

 

SANTA WARS IV: He Knows When You’ve Been Sleeping WITH THE FISHES. The Top Seven Dead Santa Covers

Ask not for whom the bell jingles. It jingles for thee.

Whew.  That might be my longest title ever up there, but what can you do with sequels? Once there’s a set of Roman Numerals involved, things get ungainly.

After a few days of wholly inappropriate images of homicidal Santas,  monster Santas, and beaten, hogtied Santas, we arrive at the inevitable fate for these poor icons of the winter solstice…

I warn you, this is not for the kiddies.  You think I’ve had some inappropriate images before?   There’s a couple here you don’t want your eight year old to see….  You’ve been duly warned, but I can’t help myself, I’m in the holiday mood and I want to share….

THE TOP SEVEN DEAD SANTA COMIC BOOK COVERS.

#7

I have a newsflash for all concerned:  Santa loses the match.  The cover is a bit of a giveaway, as the Santa I know would be fighting back a little harder while that Zombie lady rips out his throat, unless he was already dead.   At least the brains will keep fresh at the North Pole.   This is an indy comic, so you might not have seen it, but it has the dead Santa spirit in such evidence I was charmed into including it.    The following indy comic…

…doesn’t give you a good enough look at Santa’s remains for it to have made the cut.  It’s nice to see the indies getting in on all the dead Santa fun, but you got to bring me the flesh if you want my vote!

#6

No matter how cute and amusing we may or may not think Casper the Friendly Ghost is, we must never forget that he’s the spectral remains of a dead child, held to this Earth by an unsolved murder, or some other never-resolved trauma of unimaginable sorrow.

And in this issue:  He’s Santa!

#5

We’ve ruled out a robbery, the murderer left behind a dolly and a toy drum, both as valuable as diamonds on Christmas Eve.

Is it just me, or does the entire Justice League seem to be waving their crotches at the dead Santa corpse.  They’re posed awfully strangely.  Maybe it’s just me.  This is a personal treasure of mine, as I still own the copy I bought when I was twelve.  Dead Santa good times.

#4

This delightful image of the Santa corpse stuck in the chimney ( seared into our brains by the movie Gremlins) is rendered here in loving detail by Joe Jusko, Conan cover artist of the Eighties.  One of the better Marvel Holiday issues of this era, mostly because it didn’t have Dazzler in it.

#3

Nick Cardy (who drew my favorite Christmas comic cover of all time, we’ll get to that one in a day or so…) gives us this unquestioned masterpiece of the Kris Kringle Korpse genre.  The best part:  The skeletal remains are still fat, no matter how much of the body has rotted off the skull.  Ah, the joys of the holidays.  Why are people reading this sick, sick, entry?

#2

This special one shot was a spin-off from the series SOUTHERN KNIGHTS, produced in the late Eighties.   No, Carl and Larry are not gay, they’re just carefree assassins with a good attitude and a strong work ethic.  Get your mind out of the gutter and just let the men do their job.  This cover is subversive in every way, isn’t it?  One of those images that most artists only aspire to.  Why are museums usually so empty of these kinds of scenes on the wall?

Okay, next one’s not for the squeamish, but that’s why you’re here.

#1

There’s actually a few lovely dead Santa covers for this LIVING DEAD  series, but in all the other ones, Father Christmas is up and walking around like a zombie.  At least for this one, Santa’s corpse has the decency to sit still and that earns it my number one spot.   If you’re going to be dead, keep in one place, this is not Weekend at Bernie’s, it’s a holy holiday.

If you think any of these made you squirm, come back here tomorrow for the top seven INAPPROPRIATELY SEXY CHRISTMAS COMIC BOOK COVERS.  Until then —

Ty the Guy OUT!

Go HERE for the Top Seven Homicidal Santas.  Go HERE for the Top Seven Monster Santas, and HERE for the Top Ten Santas going down in defeat to super-heroes.

Here now, your Dead Santa Claus moment of zen:

It's Jerry Garcia, get it?

If you’re too young to know who Jerry Garcia is, then I’m too old to be making jokes about him.  And that’s MY moment of zen.