Friday, August 31, 2007

The Big Catch-Up, Part One: The Rest of August.

A lot has happened since I last posted here. Well, that's not true. Only like two things happened. In any case, those two things took a lot of strips to happen. So, in order to cut down on the load time for the posts, I'll be posting them in two installments. What follows is the remainder of August's posts.

The bank manager doesn't really care that his bank is in the process of being robbed- he has insurance, after all- but he is quite annoyed that the psycho who's doing it won't leave. The man has a business to run, after all, and he can't do so much as fill out a claims form until the Shocker leaves.

TIL: The Shocker's habit to refer to himself in the third person.
Today's Lesson: Bank managers won't care if you can rob a bank, but loitering is another matter entirely.

08/23:That cameraman is quite cowardly. The Shocker does, indeed, look like a guy in a padded suit and he is one of the few super-villains whose silliness is a canonical fact. If you've played "Marvel Ultimate Alliance", in fact, you'd be treated to no less than two scenes when the heroes mock the Shocker for his lameness. So, all in all, Jameson has been right about one thing as of this comic strip.

TIL: Jameson's ACTION POSE in panel three.
Today's Lesson: Super-villains like to pose for photo-ops. Especially if they're the Shocker.

I like Maria Lopez's cameraman more than that schlub Jameson has. I don't know whether it's his confident smile or blazing red ensemble, though. The other guy looks like a cross between Hunter S. Thompson and Dale Gribble from "King of the Hill", and his lines have all been on the cowardly side.

TIL: Red Cameraman.
Today's Lesson: If left to themselves, super-villains will begin monologuing.

In this day and age, it'd probably be impossible to get exclusive photos of that creep. What with camera phones and digital cameras and all those nifty gadgets, the entire robbery was probably on YouTube seconds after it happened.

TIL: Jameson's stutter in panel three.
Today's Lesson: Los Angeles has questionable masonry.

There needs to be more continuity between the daily and Sunday strips. The wall we saw falling yesterday was maybe crumbling just a little, not enough to do more than maybe bruise or bump an unfortunate pedestrian. Then, today, it suddenly erupts into the entire building collapsing. What's more is that it's a sentient explosion, as it's clearly aiming for Maria Lopez.

TIL: The falling masonry aiming right for Maria Lopez in the first panel in the third row.
Today's Lesson: Some cameraman have the ability to change the color of their clothes when faced with danger. This is a defense mechanism, and rarely works.

You certainly did, Jonah. Thanks a lot.

TIL: Jonah's look of bemusement and the return of his stutter, both in panel three.
Today's Lesson: If you save Maria Lopez's life, she will crush the life out of you.

It looks like Jonah is a kindly old grandfather having a tender moment with his granddaughter or something. Also, I think we realize that's where Maria would be if not for Jonah. She had no need to point it out.

TIL: Not Jameson and Maria's budding romance.
Today's Lesson: The quickest way to a girl's heart is to save her life.

Gasp! Do my eyes deceive me? Is that our favorite vigilante, the Land Captain? Perhaps in the face of an evil like the Shocker, he has chosen to wield a revolver. Or, perhaps, it's just a gimmicked flare gun. My breath, as they say, is held.

TIL: Maybe Land Captain! Also, the cheesy dialog.
Today's Lesson: Super-villains choose getaway cars that have convenient features, unless they can fly or something.

It's not Land Captain, after all. It's a cop. I am disappointed.

TIL: The structure of the second two panels. Or maybe just second panel? It could be either!
Today's Lesson: People who can make vibro-gauntlets may not know anything about guns.

That poor cop looks so sad that his gun fell apart. I hope someone helps him pick up the pieces. Perhaps he'll be inspired by this escapade to build a gun that is immune to being vibrated apart, or perhaps learn some martial arts and become a costumed vigilante. I kind of hope he does both.

TIL: That poor cop.
Today's Lesson: A super-villain will break any law he can, from robbing banks to speeding.

The rest of this big catch-up tomorrow! I hope.

Metapost: Not Dead!

I am not dead, and neither is this Blog. However, the computer I usually used for updating the Blog pretty much is. Luckily, I have this one to use until that one gets fixed. So basically expect updates to resume shortly. I also have plans for this here Blog... of an evil sort?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Oracle Speaks!

Okay, prediction time! Again! Jonah and Maria will both arrive on the scene while the Shocker is committing his daring daylight robbery. After a brief argument, the Shocker will notice them and decide the really big money is in ransom, especially since there's no super-folk around to stop him. So he'll kidnap both Jonah and Maria, and hold them hostage for a while. Meanwhile (or, as the strip likes to use, while), Peter and Mary Jane will be enjoying their vacation. At one point, however, they'll hear the desk clerk listening to the radio reports about the Shocker.

At that point, Peter will screw his courage to the sticking point and decide, "Bounty on my identity or not, I have to save them!" Mary Jane will be disappointed but supportive, and the pair will make it back to the city post-haste. It will all end with a minor skirmish between Spider-Man and the Shocker which will somehow end Maria's crush on Spider-Man and cancel Jameson's reward for Spider-Man's identity. Time will tell if I'm correct, which is doubtful.

TIL: Cheery Jameson.
Today's Lesson: Police scanners are still used by top-notch television reporters, and Maria Lopez.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Introducing "Today's Lesson"

Listening to music while on the computer may help me stay awake, which would mean more updates! So I'm going to totally start doing that. Also, I'm trying out a new feature: "Today's Lesson". This stems from me doing half the post and forgetting that "TIL" stood for "Thing I Liked" and not "Thing I Learned". That is how bad things have gotten, which will hopefully be rectified soon.


Not to pick nits or anything, but if it had something had enough force to shake apart an armored car, wouldn't the guards inside (being not made of metal and all) be turned to jelly? I may be wrong, but in my mind that's how it works.

TIL: The road design in the first panel is kind of weird and neat, since the bottom corner looks like something from an MC Escher painting.
Today's Lesson: Average men have a greater fortitude than armored trucks.

I take this to mean that the Shocker either hasn't been in the strip before, or hasn't been in the strip for a great while. If it's the first option, then why exactly is he in one of the Sunday title panels?

TIL: The security guards work for Galahad something or others. That's kind of neat.
Today's Lesson: An armored car being shaken apart by a man in a flamboyant quilted costume in Los Angeles will attract a total of zero curious bystanders.

08/17:Ah, so I guess the Shocker has had a past career in the comics. I'm still confused about Shocker's gauntlets, but assume they're there so that Spider-Man can snatch them away when he eventually returns and end the criminal's wave of crime in an efficient manner. We can only hope that the Shocker has the gauntlets on a lower setting for the guards than he did on the truck, because a direct hit like that would kill them messily. If the gauntlets even have settings.

TIL: The stab at relevancy in the first panel is pretty keen.
Today's Lesson: Super-villains become pouty when people do not recognize them.

This adds further credence to Shocker's status as a returning villain. Interestingly enough, he seems to be stealing a smallish bag of money and another empty money bag, both of which are just modernized versions of the classic money sacks used by villains such as the Beagle Boys of "DuckTales". One can only hope he busts out those sacks next.

TIL: The money bags, of course.
Today's Lesson: Beliefs of great responsibility coming with great power mean nothing when on vacation with one's wife and there is a price on one's secret identity.

Is Jameson making a pun in the second row's first panel, or is that just a poor choice of adjective on Stan Lee's part? Well, not so much poor as redundant. You would think someone like Jonah would realize this and get out a thesaurus to avoid it. Also, would it be so hard to make sure the Shocker's gauntlets and victims looked remotely the same on Sundays? I see the second row's third panel and imagine him attacking some hospital orderlies.

Jonah's comments make it seem as if the Shocker is a newcomer to the strip, which confuses an issue I thought was over with. Not to mention the fact that the footage was shot with a phone camera. There are many things wrong with that, mainly that the person with the camera would have to be standing less than twenty feet away to get footage that good. Wait, is that footage in the bottom row's first panel taken from inside the armored truck?!

TIL: Jameson's drunken stare in the bottom row's middle panel.
Today's Lesson: The Shocker will pose for video cameras, and even allow them to follow him around while he collects his loot.

Earlier today, I was reading the second "Marvel Masterworks: Amazing Spider-Man", which collected issues #11-19, and the first annual. The final few stories involved Spider-Man disappearing from the public eye after his Aunt May had a heart attack and needed someone to stay with her until she became well. I bring this up because the situation in those issues is pretty much the exact same thing happening here, save for a few minor differences. The two main ones are that Maria Lopez has taken Flash Thompson's role as "Spider-Man Fan" and Peter's reasons for giving up his identity for a bit and vanishing from the public eye are far less noble. Comic strip Peter is kind of a whiny jerk, isn't he?

TIL: Peter and Mary Jane's hotel room either has multiple fireplaces, or their couch transformed into some sort of legless chair. Also, it looks like Peter has lost his bottom half.
Today's Lesson: Even in Death Valley, one of the hottest places in America, the hotel rooms have fireplaces.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mary Jane's Harrowing Accident!!!

08/10:My imagination inserts a thought balloon into the first panel. It is the guide's thought balloon, and it reads, "Don't those two know I can hear their whispers?" This is why he is whispering in response. The rest of the guide's appearances will consist of him acting as if he doesn't know who his charges really are.

TIL: The third panel is kind of nifty.

Looks to me like the burro gained a moment of super-strength and was either unaware or unable to stop his foot from plowing into ground. This caused him to lose his balance, and his super-strength. Either that, or he slipped on some rocks. You could pick either one.

TIL: The middle panel. Action Burros are GO! Even if that action is somewhat ambiguous.

It's nice that the guide is going out of his way to pretend that he doesn't know that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Meanwhile, the last panel boggles my mind. They obviously know the Shocker's power lies in vibrations, hence the "NEXT" box. Why, then, does the villain say that he'll electrify Hollywood? He's not Electro, after all. Sadly, I think we can expect more of this inappropriate quipping until the end of the storyline.

TIL: The Shocker's patience. Poor guy must be itching to do something by now.

Yes, that perfectly even path sure is steep. They could have at least made an effort to have the art match the narrative. A month ago, I made the prediction that this storyline would have no excitement to it. What with those crazy burros and the Shocker, I think we can safely assume it was a shoddy prediction.

TIL: That guide sure does stick to his act.

I can see where Mary Jane is coming from. I almost slipped and fell in the parking lot at work today (it's not paved, but covered in gravel) and wanted nothing more than to sit down for an hour or so. So our near-accidents were pretty much the same. Except she had a burro, which I suppose makes all the difference.

TIL: Shocker has been saying that for a few weeks now, and I have to admire his perseverance. Hopefully it'll pay off soon.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Amazingly Huge Colossal Update Spectacular!

When the unintended hiatus started, things were moving at a snail's pace. Jonah had a reward out for Spider-Man's identity, Maria Lopez was crushing on Spider-Man, and Peter Parker had put the identity into semi-retirement. Also, he was being whiny because his wife is launching a film career. However, I was still reading and saving the comics every day (I had time enough to do that) and watched as the Parkers watched Jonah rant and rave. Then, suddenly, I didn't even have time to do that. I came back, expecting the strip to have moved forward ever so slightly. Well... you'll see what happens when we get there. For now, it's catch-up time!

Peter looks honestly crestfallen that he is not considered one of his wife's "people". In fact, he looks sort of glum throughout the strip. The sign on Maria's van brings me happiness, however, because it looks as if it's used for Maria's show and a watch shop.

TIL: The sign, of course.

The curse of remarking on a daily strip like this is that sometimes there's absolutely nothing to remark upon. I realize they're trying to set up a "will he or won't he" thing concerning Peter and his Spider-Man identity, but we all know he'll jump back into right when a super-villain or some other madman raises their ugly head.

TIL: Peter's casual remark that Maria Lopez has turned into a stalker.

This would have been a prime time for the Land Captain to return, if he was recognized by Stan Lee and whatnot. On another note, it took me a minute to put the second police officer's line and the "NEXT" box together. Also, Peter looks really stupid today.

TIL: The punk in the last panel warms my heart.

The first panel makes it sound like Peter and Mary Jane are on Tatooine (from Star Wars). The second panel makes it sound like Peter is a polygamist. The third panel doesn't make it sound like Peter and Mary Jane are anything but Peter and Mary Jane. I'll leave it up to you to decide if any of these are a good thing.

TIL: The way the Stan Lee/Larry Lieber thing is floating above panel two and casting a shadow in the gutter.

I don't know why Peter is acting so smug, as that's pretty much exactly why he's lying low for a few days.

TIL: Mary Jane's look of pure horror in panel three.

I thought this one was actually kind of funny. Which isn't a bad thing, and much better than the monotony every other day, but I would rather have some fast-paced Spider-Action than Peter mocking Jonah Jameson.

TIL: Peter's mockery of Jameson.

Here, Spider-Man expresses a little known ability: Jameson Jealousy-Sense. A part of his spider-sense, it allows him to know when Jameson is about to prove that he's jealous due to someone's crush on Spider-Man. It is a very obscure power, and this is probably only the second time it's been used ever. The first time was in the mid-eighties.

TIL: Peter's mischievous look in panel three.

Here we are, a week into things, and all that Spider-Man has done is not fight crime and make fun of his boss. Will our fortunes look up? DOUBTFUL. We now continue.
We all know Jameson does have a crush on Maria Lopez, but Mary Jane could have just dismissed Peter as crazy and jealous of Jonah. You know, for the sake of argument.

TIL: The magic floating television set.

Actually, if it was a square, Spider-Man would have to love Jonah. It'd actually be a weird diagram or something, like this:
Land Captain is there because everyone loves Land Captain, in some way or another.

TIL: It looks like Jonah is trying to smash his way out of the television in panel one.


Holy crap, it's the Shocker.

Wait, why is he wearing armor?

TIL: The whole strip is actually sort of pleasing today, actually.

First off, some stuff about the Shocker. He's basically a small-time thug who has become fairly infamous because of how lame he is. The man wears something that looks like a quilt and his power lies not in shocks but in vibrations. Luckily, someone realized that they should not use the name "Vibrator". What's more important is that he has no delusions of grandeur, so if this whole scheme of his consists of anything more than robbing banks I'll be fairly disappointed with his characterization. However, I'll also be pleased that the Shocker is running around doing stuff, as I like him, and am glad to see he lost the armor.

Second, when did the whole "Going to Death Valley!" thing pop up? I need a plot-change sense so these things can't come at me out of left field.

TIL: It's the Shocker!


This is what I want to see more of: Peter Parker being randomly reminded of villains he's fought, along with pictures. Maybe Sandman will show up and we'll have him and Shocker running around! I doubt it.

TIL: Sandman looks so cheery.

Oh ho ho, hilarity. They want to remain incognito, but Mary Jane's fame makes that impossible! Where's the Shocker?

TIL: The check-in guy's outfit.

They're wearing long sleeves and pants in Death Valley? Death Valley, which is characteristically very hot? The donkey sees the foolishness of that.

TIL: Donkeys!

Also, "Barney Google" or "Snuffy Smith" or whatever it is mentioned Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus on 7/30:
Well, now we're up to date. Hopefully this state of affairs will continue for a while.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Metapost: Not to Worry

I'm sorry I haven't been posting at all. My days have been taken up with work, while my nights have been taken up with doing stuff to make sure I don't throttle anyone at work. When stuff is not being done, however, I can hardly keep my eyes open. When things like this happen, it's always the Blogs who suffer. Not to worry, though, by the middle of this month things should be back on a fairly even schedule. Hopefully, I'll be able to catch-up on strips this weekend.