Saturday, March 28, 2009

Yesterday I went outside...

I just realized that I've talked about this everywhere except my comics blog. So here goes.

I will be co-writing an issue of my friend Dean's comic Butterfly. The issue is the second one out from the current strip up on the page right now and will be a part of the current story-arc.

It's not a huge deal, but I'm really excited about it since it's my first comic credit of any kind. I'll be sure to post a link to it when the finished product goes up. Until then, take a look at the page and get caught up. It's super good stuff!

Superhero Smackdown Rd. 1 - Jack Kirby Region

Round 1

1 Scarlet Witch vs. 16 The Goon - If we’re talking, bring the walls down, my god what can we do to stop her, House of M Scarlet Witch, then this is a no-brainer. But personally I hated that incarnation of the character and I’m not about to let her waltz through this tournament untouched simply because some writer decided to use her as the catalyst for one more crappy multi-title event in the Marvel U. So bring all the power you want to this fight, Wanda, because this dude is a brawler. The Goon is no stranger to magic. Hell, he lives in a world where multi-eyed tentacled monsters, werewolves, undead gunfighters, and zombie priests are the norm. So what if the Scarlet Witch can bend reality? Sure didn’t the Goon go on a very successful mission into another dimension for Dr. Alloy? The thing about guys like the Goon is, they don’t tend to care when reality gets all bendy. It doesn’t affect them the way it might affect other people because their feet are planted so firmly on the ground. The Goon is the sort of guy that never gives up. Scarlet Witch is just a spoiled magical debutante with daddy issues. Maybe daddy could have stopped that wrench to the head, but Wanda sure as hell ain’t. WINNER - THE GOON

8 Dr. Doom vs. Emma Frost - The cold, calculating Mother Superior of the X-Men versus the most diabolical mind in the Marvel Universe. One has nigh-indestructible skin, the other has nigh-indestructible armor. One can level the entire might of a country against his opponent, the other can level a mind in less than ten seconds. One can use super-science to travel back in time, the other…shit. Doom wouldn’t have an easy time thinking his way around someone like the White Queen, but he could do it. Seeing that she was almost un-killable in her diamond form, which she would resort to almost immediately upon finding him immune to her psychic barrage, Doom would eventually turn to science to help him win this fight. With Emma distracted by his robot army, Doom would sneak back in time to a point before Frost’s powers had even truly manifested, making her an easy target. WINNER - DR. DOOM

5 Namor vs. 12 Sabretooth - I could describe this in all it’s boring detail or I could just tell you that Namor dropped a whale on Sabretooth. Let’s go with that. WINNER - NAMOR

4 Thor vs. 13 Nightcrawler - Kurt Wagner is brave, strong, pious, but he’s no match for the God of Thunder. WINNER - THOR

6 Dr. Strange vs. 11 Colossus - Piotr gets a bad draw in the first round. Colossus is one of the strongest heroes in the Marvel U. He was one of the few combatants in the entire tournament capable of going toe to toe with the Hulk. If he draws any other opponent here, maybe this underdog goes all the way to the finals. But Stephen Strange is arguably the most powerful person in the entire Marvel Universe. Just imagine Dr. Strange casting a Heat Metal spell on Colossus’s metal form. He would boil the man’s insides. And that’s just one of many possible ways to bring the gentle giant down. WINNER - DR. STRANGE

3 Wolverine vs. 14 Black Panther - This is hands down, without doubt, the most super-cool badass battle of the awesome in the entire tournament. The feral super-soldier versus the Panther God, the man who lives forever versus the King of Wakanda, adamantium versus vibranium, hunter against hunter. There are people in the Marvel Universe capable of matching Wolverine in hand to hand combat. There are others still who are capable of subduing the man entirely. T’Challa, the Black Panther, is one of the few men on the planet capable of doing both those things. Wolverine is a badass, there’s no arguing that, but just because he’s indestructible doesn’t mean he’s impossible to defeat. Where Wolverine is a very powerful mutant, he is just a mutant. The Black Panther is an idea. It’s a helluva lot harder to kill an idea. Just ask the Joker, or Lex Luthor. At the end of this long and very bloody day, T’Challa stands victorious over the broken body of the X-Men’s greatest warrior. WINNER - BLACK PANTHER

7 Storm vs. 10 Nick Fury - Even without the might of S.H.I.E.L.D. behind him, Nick Fury is a difficult man to beat. He’s spent his entire adult life coming up with ways to defend the Earth from super-powered threats and building the network of contacts and set of skills necessary to be successful at it time and time again. Storm is one of the most powerful mutants on the planet, capable of bending the very weather to her whim. But hey, Nick Fury’s thought of that. WINNER - NICK FURY

2 Magneto vs. 15 Captain Britain - Um…Magneto. WINNER - MAGNETO

Superhero Smackdown Rd. 1 - Stan Lee Region

Round 1

1 Professor X vs. 2 Daredevil - Matt Murdock is smart, resourceful, and an expert combatant. Professor Xavier is the most powerful mutant on the planet. He would get inside of Matt Murdock’s head and spin for him a nice fantasy. In minutes, Professor X would have DD believing that he was a successful civil liberties lawyer with a wife named Elektra, two beautiful babies, a dog named Bullseye, and perfect 20/20 vision. WINNER - PROFESSOR X

8 Spider-Man vs. 9 Cyclops - This is the one that’s going to seriously piss people off and you know what, maybe I’m playing favorites here? The beauty of this sort of thing is that we can all debate it later and you can all call me a crazy Summers-loving hack if you want to. But I’m giving the edge in this one to Cyclops. Scott Summers never gives up. When you stop and consider all the things he’s faced in his relatively short life as leader of the X-Men, that’s saying a hell of a lot. When the world faces rogue gods or alien invasion, Cyclops is always on the frontline while Peter Parker is usually swinging through the background, cracking jokes and feeling slightly ineffectual. Perhaps the Cyclops of old, who was fond of constantly second guessing himself, would slip up against the webslinger. But Morrison and Whedon fixed that Cyclops and made him into the man I always knew he was, not just the man we always thought he could be. The new version finds a way to beat Spider-Man. WINNER - CYCLOPS

5 Norman Osborn vs. 12 Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze) - So we found out recently that Johnny Blaze (and all the Spirits of Vengeance for that matter) is a badass instrument of god in the war against evil here on Earth. In the most recent Ghost Rider issues by Jason Aaron we’ve seen a more powerful Blaze than we ever thought possible, and that was just the tip of the iceberg. So if it’s Ghost Rider’s job to seek out and haul in the baddest of the bad, and if he can feed off the evil they do to make himself that much stronger, what chance does the Marvel Universe’s most putrid evil-doer have against him? That’s right Johnny, drag that grinning bastard down to Hell. WINNER - GHOST RIDER

4 Captain America (Steve Rogers) vs. 13 Ant-Man - Hank Pym is a brilliant scientist capable of serious feats of strength and ingenuity. Captain America is Captain America. Do the math, Mr. Pym. It’s what you’re good at. WINNER - CAPTAIN AMERICA

6 Jean Grey vs. 11 Venom (Eddie Brock) - Jean Grey thinks past the symbiote and shuts down the human that it’s bonded to. Then when it latches onto her in an attempt to find a new host, it finds itself in a psychic battle for dominance with the greatest force in the cosmos; The Phoenix. The phoenix purges the evil from Jean’s soul. WINNER - JEAN GREY

3 Fantastic Four vs. 14 Beast - Arguably the two most brilliant scientific minds in the Marvel Universe square off against one another in this battle. They were going to fight, but McCoy and Richards got into a debate about the benefits of Negative Zone science that lasted for days. Eventually, Johnny Storm gets bored and goes to look for a date, Ben Grimm passes out in the corner, and Sue Storm storms off to bed in a huff, angry that Reed has been ignoring her once again. Once alone, the Beast uses his superior strength and agility to overpower Reed Richards and turn his own science against the unsuspecting remaining three members of the Fantastic Four. WINNER - BEAST

7 Iron Man vs. 10 Kitty Pryde - If John Constantine is the guy the DCU always underestimates, then Kitty Pryde is that person in the Marvel Universe. A few years back this probably wouldn’t have been any kind of match at all. But something happened to young Ms. Pryde while none of us were paying attention; she grew up. Where once there was a reckless and self-conscious young X-Man, now there is a powerful and confident female warrior. Over the past few years, Kitty successfully rescued Colossus from the bottom of the world, dismantled the X-Men single-handedly (okay, she was being psychically influenced, but come on!), and then when all hope seemed lost and none of Earth’s greatest heroes could save the world from imminent destruction, Shadowcat did it for them. Tony’s a helluva warrior, an original Avenger, and an all-around bad mother flipper, but he’s still too reliant on that suit. Kitty takes him out of it. WINNER - KITTY PRYDE

2 The Hulk vs. 15 The Punisher - The Hulk is invulnerable and the Punisher shoots things. WINNER - THE HULK

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sort of like Connor Kent.

What would happen if Ed Brubaker and Eric Powell had a love child?

Well, I think it's obvious.

Superhero Smackdown Rd. 1 - Gotham Region

Round 1

1 Batman vs. 16 Elijah Snow - Elijah Snow is perhaps the most dangerous and resourceful person in the entire Wildstorm Universe, which makes him a formidable opponent for any enemy. But Batman is not just ANY enemy. These two have met on a couple of occasions…sort of…and both times Batman managed to confound (and in one case completely overpower) Snow. Elijah may, at the end of the day, be my favorite single comic character of all time, but I’m not sure that anyone can beat the Batman. WINNER - BATMAN

8 Swamp Thing vs. 9 Zatanna - The ultra-powerful, minds-eye traveling, supreme sorceress daughter of Silver Age hero Zatara versus the Earth Elemental capable of controlling anything connected to the mystical Green. Both characters have been around for years and we still only have a small idea of what they’re both capable of. Hell, I’m not even certain that Swamp Thing can be killed. Not that Zatanna would have to kill him to defeat him. If she could lure him onto another plane, somewhere where he was disconnected from the Green, then it’s possible she could overtake him. But Zatanna often lacks confidence. She would falter, doubt herself, second guess, and in that moment the Swamp Thing would strike. WINNER - SWAMP THING

5 Orion vs. 12 Nightwing - Batman’s greatest protégé would give the son of Darkseid more of a fight than many in the DCU are capable of, but I’m not sure that Dick Grayson has everything it takes to ultimately bring down a god. This is a great battle for the symbolism. During the Final Crisis, Batman (Dick’s surrogate father) sacrificed himself to mortally wound Darkseid (Orion’s true father). How fitting is it then that our tournament pits the adopted son of the Bat against the cast off son of Darkseid. Fighting Darkseid “killed” Batman, even though he struck a mortal blow. I don’t think Dick is that lucky. WINNER - ORION

4 Captain Marvel vs. 13 The Joker - The Captain of the Lightning versus the Clown Prince of Crime. If this were Superman, it would be more cut and dry. But where the Man of Steel is vulnerable only to a rare piece of irradiated rock, Captain Marvel’s weakness is decidedly more human. On the inside Marvel is still just a boy. Lex Luthor proved in Kingdom Come that the Captain could be neutralized if you could control the young man inside. The Joker would have something a little less grand in mind. He’d just kill the kid. WINNER - THE JOKER

6 Aquaman vs. 11 Green Arrow - It’s temper versus temper in this Silver Age showdown. While Aquaman could certainly level the entire power of the world’s oceans against his opponent, Green Arrow is just too smart to ever give him that chance. Ollie would use Aquaman’s own confidence against him, goading him into fighting on his turf, the streets, alleyways and buildings of the big city. Once on his turf, Queen would just need a few well placed trick arrows to isolate the Ocean King and put him down for the count. WINNER - GREEN ARROW

3 Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) vs. 14 Catwoman - As much as I love Catwoman, I don’t see her being a match for the most powerful weapon in existence. WINNER - GREEN LANTERN

7 Firestorm vs. 10 John Constantine - The Nuclear Man versus the DCU’s hard drinking, hard living sorcerer. On paper this probably looks like a no-brainer. I mean, Firestorm can reshape matter for chrissakes. But this is John Constantine we’re talking about, not some parlor trick charlatan. The Hellblazer took Tim Hunter on a walkabout, rubbed elbows with the Phantom Stranger, stood side by side with the King of Dreams, outsmarted the Devil and cheated Death herself. Constantine’s greatest power isn’t his command of magic, it’s that everybody always underestimates him. Firestorm would be no different. WINNER - JOHN CONSTANTINE

2 The Flash (Barry Allen) vs. 15 Robin (Tim Drake) - Tim Drake has really come into his own over the last few years, but Barry Allen outran Death. WINNER - THE FLASH
I just wanted to give my readers a heads up about my friend Dean's costume redesign website, Project Rooftop. Dean gathers a group of highly qualified judges, a couple of guests, and some enterprising artists and asks them to reinvent the to speak. Project Rooftop is the web's premier costume redesign destination. This month's competition (of which there are now winners) is Dick Grayson as Batman. Go check it out, leave a comment, support the cause!

Google Envy

I can't find myself on Google yet. This needs to change. Somebody give me something super awesome to do!

Superhero Smackdown Rd. 1 - Metropolis Region

I'm writing this for CC2k but they're dragging their feet about getting it up so I thought I'd go ahead and post it here for those few of you who read this blog. I've been hinting at this for a couple of weeks now and I'm ready to stop teasing you.

Super Hero Smackdown
Metropolis Region
Round 1 Recap

In honor of March Madness this year, I have decided to give my greek brethren and sistren a special tournament of their very own. This year, in a 64 hero smackdown to end all smackdowns, RedBeard will bring to you the answer to the question that has plagued mankind since the 1940s; Who is the greatest superhero of all time? The tournament will pit the DC Universe's greatest heroes versus the Marvel Universe's greatest heroes. In the interest of fairness, I've allowed one hero each from the Dark Horse and Wildstorm universes. The winners of the Wildstorm and Dark Horse play-in tournaments were Elijah Snow (Planetary) and The Goon. Elijah Snow will occupy the final 16th seed in the Gotham Region and The Goon will occupy the final 16th seed in the Kirby Region. I spent hours coming up with the list of heroes and trying to assign to them the proper seeding. If you take issue with my estimations, great! Let's debate them! And I encourage all of you out there to build your own brackets and hold your own tournaments as well! So let's get started! First up, we have a recap of the first round of the Metropolis Region.

1. Superman vs. 16. Starfire - Okay, this isn't really a contest at all. Starfire would give it her all for about five minutes before she realized that her powers, which redirect ultraviolet light into flight and energy bolts, were just making Superman stronger. I mean seriously, can you think of a worse idea than blasting the Man of Steel with ultraviolet energy blasts? I didn't think so. Winner - Superman

8. Big Barda vs. 9. Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark) -
Cassie's powers are certainly coming along nicely and nobody could argue that the girl hasn't grown as a warrior and a hero over the last few years. But she didn't grow up in Granny Goodness's orphanage, she didn't somehow escape Apokolips, she didn't manage to master the corrupting technology of the Mega-Rod, and she wasn't trained in combat by the nastiest of Darkseid's warriors. In short, she ain't Big Barda. The battle would be long and bloody, epic even, but in the end Barda's experience and her tenacity would overpower Wonder Girl. Winner - Big Barda

5. Lex Luthor vs. 12. Hawkman -
Give me a frakkin' break. This is a no brainer. Lex Luthor is the greatest criminal mind to ever lace up the boots of a green and purple powersuit. Hawkman is...god, does anyone actually know what Hawkman is? I mean, even DC editorial can't seem to figure it out most of the time. Look, I'll make this simple for you. Nth Metal can do a whole lot of things, but what it apparently cannot do is resist the one thing that trumps all metal; magnets. That's right, Luthor beats Hawkman with a giant damn magnet. Got a problem with that? Winner - Lex Luthor

4. Martian Manhunter vs. 13. Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) - If we're talking Blue Beetle, we're talking Ted Kord. Kord was a brilliant mind and a man of true courage, but I'm just not sure he could stand off against someone like the Martian Manhunter. You could argue that J'onn J'onzz is more powerful than every hero on Earth not from the planet Krypton. That's not to say this battle wouldn't be interesting. Kord is smart enough to exploit MM's vulnerability to fire, but considering that on more than one occasion we've seen J'onn overcome this weakness, I think he goes on to win this match-up. Winner - Martian Manhunter

6. Supergirl vs. 11. The Atom (Ray Palmer) - This may be the most intriguing battle in the entire first round of the Metropolis Region. The Atom is one of Earth's greatest and most enduring heroes. Ray Palmer's scientific mind is rivaled only by that of Superman's greatest foes, Brainiac and Lex Luthor. Indeed, it is his ability to understand and manipulate the universe that led Ray to a stint as a cosmic guardian of the Multiverse. The Atom's ability to shrink to sub-atomic levels gives him a host of abilities that he could employ against Kara. But it wouldn't be enough. Perhaps former incarnations of Supergirl would be overwhelmed by such an experienced foe, but not the new and improved Kara Zor-El, protector of Earth and champion of New Krypton. The confidence and clarity that Kara has found in the most recent pages of Supergirl represents a leap forward for the character that was a long time coming. She is a warrior of New Krypton and Ray Palmer, as powerful as he is, would not be able to overcome her. Winner - Supergirl

3. Superboy vs. 14. Black Canary -
I love Black Canary as much as the next guy, maybe more, but she's not beating Superboy in a fight. Not ever. Winner - Superboy

7. Brainiac vs. 10. Mary Marvel - This battle would level cities...or maybe just shrink them. Mary Marvel is stronger now than she has ever been. She would level the total might of that power against Brainiac and he would flinch at the awesomeness of it. The Power of Shazam is one of the strongest gifts in the entire universe, but Brainiac exists to control and catalouge those type gifts. In his most recent incarnation, Brainiac almost killed Superman. Marvy Marvel would fight valiantly, she would no doubt wound the 12th Level Intellectual, but in the end his ability to bruise her body and control her mind would prove too overwhelming. Winner - Brainiac

2. Wonder Woman vs. 15. Mr. Terrific (Michael Holt) -
Michael Holt is the third smartest man in the world. His inventions and his complete invisibility to technological surveillance make him a crafty and difficult foe. But you need more than gadgets and smarts to beat a goddess. Mr. Terrific would give her a surprisingly tough match-up, but in the end Wonder Woman would prevail. After all, the third smartest man in the world is still just a man. Winner - Wonder Woman

That's the end of the first round of the Metropolis Region. Not a lot of surprises, but that's to be expected when you've got Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, and the Super Family in your bracket. I promise that the next few rounds will reveal a few shocking upsets. We'll do the first round of the Marvel regions, the Stan Lee Region, later today.

Don't forget to make and fill out your own brackets!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I took Dean to this month's installment of Dr. Sketchy's and he really had a blast. If you don't know, Dr. Sketchy's is a cabaret life-drawing class. It was started by a lady named Molly Crabapple in Brooklyn circa 2005 as an answer to the tedium of art school figure drawing. The point is to get the most beautiful and interesting burlesque dancers, circus performers, and all around freaks available and dress them up in fantastic (and sexy!) costumes so that a group of slavering artists can draw them in an attempt to hone their craft...and win some awesome prizes! Since it's inception, Dr. Sketchy's has expanded to cities such as Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and even our modest little burg, Nashville.

The people who run Dr. Sketchy's here in Nashville are some friends of mine, Miss Lolly Pop and her husband, Larry the Panty Boy. You might describe them as the Nashville Burlesque Power Couple. There's nothing awesome going down in this city that they don't have their hands in. They've been kind enough to include my fiance and I in a great deal of that awesomeness and I am eternally grateful. They're good friends.

So yeah, my friend Dean is sort of this crazy positive energy hurricane. He blew through my life at the beginning of the year and he's been nothing but an amazing friend and a vastly positive influence since. It's Dean that's got me believing this comic book thing may be more than just a pipe dream. He's got this sort of unstoppable mojo, you see. If Dean goes anywhere, you can be certain he's going to make new friends and something good is going to come out of it. And he's a real "spread the wealth" sort of guy. I believe in Dean Trippe, because Dean Trippe believes in me.

I'll stop the cyber makeout and try and get back to the point. So Dean (who has done work for Oni, Image, and is about to be the next big thing at DC) went to his first Dr. Sketchy's and loved it. Between his mojo and my mojo (they work in similar ways, sort of like Batman and Nightwing) we managed to meet two new artists whose work shows a lot of promise. And hey, we may have even found jobs. Not cool comic jobs, real world jobs. But still, this unemployed boy needs some folding money. Beer doesn't buy itself you know.

Dean decided pretty early that he'd be back for all subsequent Dr. Sketchy's events, which will make him the second comic book professional to frequent the event. I bet you didn't know that Nashville, TN was the new hotbed of comic book talent, did you? Give it some time and I'll be the third rising star to come out of Music City.

Take that Tim McGraw. You ain't the only one around here with talent.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Batman & Robin

Go read this.

Grant Morrison on Batman & Robin.


This is the first entry in what will be a chronicle of my (hopefully successful) attempt to break into the comics industry. I'm going to be as open and candid about this very difficult process as I can. This is going to be a long journey but I'm very confident it will result in success. So join me friends, family, and strangers and together we'll surf the bleed.