Blog Archives

The Baxter Building bathtub

ff49September is Cosmic Zap month here at Doctor Xaos Comics Madness blog, and this is the last one for the series. I’m including this post on a Tuesday because this year brought us a September woefully short on Sundays and Thursdays, and because I wanted to finish the formal series on a more hopeful note. Namely, reading Lee and Kirby’s Fantastic Four with my kids.

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Superstar

warlockjesusSeptember is Cosmic Zap month here at Doctor Xaos Comics Madness. Today I’m talking about the heroes of the Zap, and their common concept: hippie Jesus.

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It was already happening

ragnarokSeptember is Cosmic Zap month here at Doctor Xaos Comics Madness, and today I’m talking about its remarkably early onset. Read the rest of this entry

Paint my van

paintedvan2September is Cosmic Zap month here at Doctor Xaos Comics Madness. “Cosmic Zap” was Steve Gerber’s term for the proliferation of mystic, space-SF, psychedelic stories throughout Marvel Comics and perhaps comics in general during the mid-70s, especially those written and illustrated by Jim Starlin. I’m posting about it through the month because it’s my birthday (the 4th).

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That duck, ’nuff said

howard4Where to start? It’s not too surprising that Marvel featured an in-fiction parody character, right? There have been quite a few of them, and in an era of constantly-launched and constantly-canceled comics titles, of complete editorial chaos, of plummeting sales in the obsolete newsstand venue, and badly-stumbling attempts to get superheroes into other media, Howard was a solid hit. Read the rest of this entry

Today is for taboo II

newrepublicThe topic is Marvel mutanthood and racism, and its relationship both to prejudice against black Americans and to Jewish-American identity, or a sector thereof. It’s the sequel to Today is for taboo earlier this month. Read the rest of this entry

Justice comes by night

What would you do?

What would you do?

BONUS POST: Thanks to Larry Lade and his June pledge at the Doctor Xaos Patreon! When I talk about “stepping out of the river,” I’m talking about Marvel superheroes and titles very similar to them. It doesn’t mean no comics at all, and that holds especially for 1992 or so, when I phased out of superheroes but continued buying tons of titles, and became a dedicated comics pusher upon my entire social life for about the next 15 years. Read the rest of this entry

Fizzle

FOOM #11

FOOM #11

In 1976, my first issue of FOOM came in the mail, about Jack Kirby’s return to Marvel. He actually hadn’t been gone all that long, but at that time DC and Marvel were perceived as Ormadz and Ahriman, and even that was too vague for me to process because the Marvel fanfare said nothing about what he’d been doing during his … uh, hiatus “over there,” i.e., the New Gods collectively speaking, and others.

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MCI misdemeanors and felonies

All right, let's get it over with.

All right, let’s get it over with.

BONUS POST: Thanks to Markku Tuovinen and his May pledge at the Doctor Xaos Patreon! Jared Sorensen once cogently explained why dungeons have doors: so the player-characters can break them down. Think about it; if you didn’t want them to do it, then you would have just put a wall there. Mind control in superhero comics is precisely the same in its purpose: so a hero can shake it off. Fully or just enough to resist doing the one single dastardly thing on which the villain’s plan hinges, either way.

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Doom’s face

FF #10, postmodern R us

FF #10, Stan & Jack in “postmodern R us”

In the unbelievably awesome Fantastic Four Annual #2, when Victor von Doom puts on his mask for the first time, a minion protests, “But master, it has not completely cooled yet!” and in the from-behind panel when he’s putting it on, vapor rises from the contact point to remind us of how hot it was.

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The Black Panther(s), the Coal Tiger, and US

Compare him to any other Marvel character who gets to sit on a throne and think about stuff.

Compare him to any other Marvel character who gets to sit on a throne and think about stuff.

BONUS POST: Thanks to Larry Lade and his March pledge at the Doctor Xaos Patreon! All you comics nuts probably already know how Lee and Kirby were developing an African black character called the Coal Tiger in early 1966, then changed the name to the Black Panther.

You might not know that the original name Coal Tiger wasn’t neutral by a long shot, as at the time, it was the media term for post-colonial African nations. The relevant name here is Patrice Lumumba, leader of resistance against the Belgian colonial government, author of Dawn in the Heart of Africa, important participant at the All-African People’s Conference in 1958, advocate for nationalizing the resources of the Congo Basin, then briefly the first prime minister of the Republic of the Congo in 1961. Read the rest of this entry

The Silver Surfer is ridiculous

Gotta get up with the sun to catch the tasty waves

Gotta get up with the sun to catch the tasty waves

A while back I posted at the Forge about playtesting Doctor Xaos, and came up with this little skit, now partly modified for excellence and context:


“Come on … the Silver Surfer? I mean, with a surfboard?” Read the rest of this entry

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