Saturday, October 30, 2010


Minicomics are a way for making comic books on a small budget. They are usually hand made. Creators usually use photocopy to make the panels fit on the small pages. The term has a bit of a complex history.
You're probably thinking a minicomic is a small comic -- what is so complex about that? Well there is more to the tale. Originally, there was a standard size. Digest Comics were 5.5 inches wide by 8.5 inches tall, while a minicomic was 5.5 inches by 4.25 inches. But, nowadays there is no standard size. Sizes can range from slightly smaller than a "normal" comic to the size of a U.S. stamp. Most of them have unusual sizes and graphic designs. Minicomics are usually photocopied, but in larger amounts, offset printing might be used. Currently, the term "minicomic" emphasizes the handmade aspect, rather than the actual size. So, by loose definition, one could say a single photocopied page could be a minicomic. Also, it important to know that most creators directly sell these comics (as opposed to getting a comicbook store to do it). They can be sold through the mail, ordered on websites or even sold by small bookstores and publishers that sell zines(in this context it means that is a small circulation publication). Usually, minicomics have no editors, giving the creators more freedom. The United Kingdom has a similar concept, but their version is called "British small press comics".
Alternate Meaning
The term minicomic has also been used to refer to small comics given away with toys, such as the Masters of the Universe and two of the Transformers toylines.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Too Much Coffee Man

One of this adventures
Publication history"Too Much Coffee Man" can refer to a comic strip by Shannon Wheeler or the main character of the latter. Too Much Coffee Man started TMCM had 300 copies, then it went up to 12,000 copies. During the first run, to save money, Shannon stapled all the issues by hand. He swore (publicly) he would never do this again. Shannon and three friends formed Adhesive Comics, but Shannon became the sole owner when his friends decided to quit. From 1994 to 1996, Dark Horse Comic (they published Hellboy and various Star Wars comics) published the strip in Dark Horse Presents # 92-95. Several issues of TMCM were also publish by Wheeler. The comic was renamed How to Be Happy, with Too Much Coffee Man with the Jan. 23, 2006 issue. The name was simplified to How to Be Happy and TMCM didn't appear again until Jan. 21, 2008.
Too Much Coffee Man (the character) is an everyman who spends most of his time at his apartment or a coffee shop talking / debating about politics or exchanging thoughts. He has also been in a U.S. prison and outer space. Due to excessive amounts of caffeine, his nerves are shot, so he very rarely sleeps. He wears a spandex version of red long johns (referencing how superheroes are sometime called "long-underwear characters"), with a flap for restroom purposes. He has a mug on his head (although it's unclear if this just part of the costume or not).
Other Characters
  • Too Much Espresso Guy- He is a cold-hearted and cynical friend of TMCM. Their friendship seem to be based on a shared pessimism and mutual loneliness. He has an espresso cup strapped to his head.
  • Too Much German White Chocolate Woman With Almonds- She is a mutual friend of TMCM. She worries a lot. She has pale skin and large almonds on her face.
  • Underwater Guy- A parody of Aquaman. He is another friend of TMCM. He has the ability of staying underwater for indefinite amounts of time. However, he wears a wetsuit and diving snorkel and mask.
  • Mystery Woman- She is TMCM's secret love.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Fictional History
Something of an Origin
Prez Rickard was the son of Martha Rickard. She named him that because she thought he was going to president. They lived in a town called Steadfast, where the clocks were all out of sync... until Prez fixed them. A shady business man called Boss Smiley (whose head looks likes his namesake) hired him to run for senator (but Smiley wanted this to be a front), when the age limit for senators was lowered. Prez, who was an idealist, rebelled against Smiley, earning his ire. 45% of Congress (who were under the age of 30) voted to have the president ial age limit lowered as well. Prez was elected president of the United States. His mom became the vice-president. His sister was his secretary. Eagle Free (a native American with deep understanding of animals and friend of Prez) became the head of the FBI.
Prez: First Teen President
Prez in his series had to face very strange enemies. These included legless vampires, led by George Washington's great-great-great-great-great-grandnephew; the political boss, Boss Smiley; and evil chess players. He also was attacked due to his feelings about gun control. He his series was cut short by the DC Implosion (for more info, check the post about that).
Later Appearances
  • Supergirl (1970 series) # 10 (1974): This issues implies Prez is president of the America on Earth-One. The titular character saved Prez from an evil politician and a witch, who looked like the DC horror host Eve.
  • The Sandman # 54 (1993): In here a darker version of the Prez mythos appears. Here his watchmaking skills are emphasised. Here, he became president without Boss Smiley's help (although it's implied he might have pulled a few strings). Prez managed to do miraculous things, like solving the energy crisis. He later meets Smiley again at party, where Prez reveals nothing but rumors is known about Smiley. In response Smiley threatens him if runs again. Prez does run again and his girlfriend is killed by woman obsessed with Ted Knight and did this to get his attention (à la John Hinckley, Jr). After being confronted by Smiley and the end of his term, he vanishes from the public. He died (sources differ on how this happen) and ends up in Smiley's domain. The titular character (the Sandman) saved Prez from Smiley and let Prez go the "other" Americas (in other dimensions) and help them.
  • In the one-shot Prez: Smells Like Teen President, a generation X teen looked for Prez, who according to his mom is his father. Here it's reported Prez died of a brain tumor that Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush's dishonstey aggravated.
  • In Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Lex Luthor created a computer program that took on a human form. Then, it became the Commander in Chief. Its name was "Rick Rickard" and looked like an older version of Prez
The Sandman: World's End

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Megaton Man

Tiny wrists!
Trent Phloog has a job as a hero in Megatropolis as Megaton Man. He is a overly-muscular, dim-witted hero. He has super strength, durability, flight, "Megaton-Vision" (X-Ray Vision), and self-detonation, the last power is activated when he says "Overkill". How he got these powers are unknown, two possibilities of how he gained these abilities were given:
  1. He was bitten by a radioactive frog (reference to Spider Man)
  2. His powers were the result of a military megasoldier program (reference to Captain America)
He was originally Megaton Lad (likely a reference to Superboy) and had a dog sidekick Plutonium Pup (Krytpo parody). After the death of PP and his 21st birthday, he actually called himself Megaton Man. He is a member of the VM gang. Due to an error in his bureaucratic paperwork, MM has to re-take his high-school exams. During his first time in high school, he played the clarinet. Trent is married to Stella Starlight (the alter ego of a superheroine Mother Earth) and the two had a child. Recently, Megaton discovered alternate versions of himself: the Golden Age Megaton Man, the Silver Age Megaton Man and the Russian Megaton Man (likely a reference to the Russian Zod).
Supporting Cast
  • X-Ray Boy- Larry Barton is the sidekick of Megaton Man. He ordered fake x-ray goggles from an ad, but by mistake got real ones released by the Pentagon. The power burned off his left arm (don't worry he replaced it with a robotic one) and fused into his eyes, turning them green. The Pentagon asked for the goggles back, and because the power remained with him, he gave them back. The goggles killed the people at the Pentagon. Now, Larry's friends aquired the goggles. He is a member of the VM Gang. He is not to be confused with a villain of the same name.
  • Yarn Man- Bing Gloom is called the latter, because his body is completely made out of yarn. He was a member of the Megatropolis Quartet, but is now a member of the VM Gang. Kozmik Kat is his sidekick.
  • Phantom Jungle Girl- Donna Blank is an activist and also a superheroine (although has no actual powers). She is an ally of Megaton Man.
  • Cowboy Gorilla- He is a talking gorilla from Texas. He was a member of the Megatropolis Quartet and now is an on / off member of the VM Gang.
  • Kozmik Kat- He is laid-back, anthropomorphic feline version of Megaton Man. He will attack people within reason and doesn't believe in violence againist women. He is possibly a parody of Streaky the Super-Cat. He is a mascot for the VM Gang.
  • Gower Goose- He is a cowardly anthropomorphic goose and a heavy drinker. He helps the VM Gang by doing odd jobs. He is a good friend of X-Ray Boy and has a crush on Moonstone of the Tomb Team. He runs a radio station and is presenter for WUCK radio station.
  • Kickstand Kid- He is the first villian Megaton Man fought as Megaton Man. KK is a young boy with a robotic body with guns built into every part of it. Due to the fact MM is bulletproof, KK was easily defeated.
  • Dr. Software- He was an enemy of the Megatropolis Quartet (which is now disbanded). He plagues Megaton and his old enemies.
  • Bad Guy & Bulky Guy- They are two clumsy behemoths. They caused chaos for various incarnations of Megaton Man. They have been defeated by the current Megaton Man, Miss Megaton Man, Golden Age Megaton Man and Anti-Matter Woman.
  • Irving the Living Cactus- He is an enemy of Yarn Man. Irving can use his spikes to rip Yarn Man apart. He was seemly killed by an electric shock at the hands of X-Ray Boy, but he was merely dehydrated. He was thrown into a river populated with chemicals as such he gained a new anthropomorphic form and became an enemy of VM Gang.
  • Tomb Team- They a group of supernatural beings living in catacombs of Ypsilanti Cemetery, Michigan. The team only speaks German. Megaton Man, Yarn Man and Cowboy fought them and the TT seemly perish in battle. But, Count Dracula brought the Frankenstein Monsters back to life and is trying to do the same with his daughter. Members of the Tomb Team were:

    • Forbidden Frankenstein- He is a “purple behemoth”.
    • The Bride of Frankenstein- The wife of the the guy above. She speaks both English and German.
    • Dracula's Daughter- A green-skinned vampire that isn't affected by sunlight. She pesters her dad a lot. She bit Cowboy Gorilla and put him out of action for a long time.
    • An unnamed now deceased werewolf
    • The Mooncat- She is a spoiled nurse turned demoness

Sunday, October 10, 2010

King Tut

Batman (TV Series)
First appearing in “The Curse of Tut”, Professor William Omaha McElroy (played by Victor Buono) was an overweight egyptologist working at Yale University. During a student riot, he was hit on the head and got amnesia. Then, he thought he was King Tut reincarnated. He tried to take over Gotham, but the titular character and his sidekick defeated him. In the process, he was hit on the head and returned to normal. His next appearances would follow the same pattern: he would get hit on the head. Thinking he was Tut, he would go on a crime spree, only to have Batman and Robin stop him. Then, somehow he would get hit on the head and returned to normal. He couldn't get jailed, because of what he did (see insanity defense). In a notable episode, he created a drug like potion called “abu raubu simbu tu”, which he could use to “subdue the human will”. Despite being tricked in taking the drug, Batman (who was unaffected due to the fact he coated his stomach with buttermilk) got him to take the drug and he became Batman's slave and was taken to the police station, where his real self came out. In Tut's final appearance, when digging for valuable minerals near the Wayne Manor, he dug into the Batcave and discovered Batman's alter ego. Batman used a spray to mind-swipe the henchmen, but Tut escape. He was going to reveal Bats' identity, but when Batman was provoked to raise his voice, a rock hit Tut and turned him back and forgot Bat's secret. Adam West (who played Batman) said in Back to the Batcave that Tut was the only villain made for the series that was a success.
Batman Confidential # 26
Recently, a very different version of Tut appeared in Batman Confidential # 26. Now, Tut is Victor Goodman (homage to the actor Victor Buono). Vic is an evil Egyptologist, who kills rich people and leaves clues, akin to the Riddle of the Sphinx. Batman teamed up with the Riddler, who was mad at Tut for stealing his trademark habit. The duo took down Tut.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Tut appears several times in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold cartoon. But, he only appeared in jailbreak scenes. In “Day of the Dark Knight!”, he appears (in a jailbreak scene) with other Adam West Batman villains: the Archer, Shame, Louie The Lilac and Egghead. Due to copyright reason with FOX, he is referred to as Pharaoh in the synopsis.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Terrific Whatzit

No one would think Merton McSnurtle, a "funny animal" turtle, would be a superhero. But, he was given super powers by Prince Highness (entity of good) and Prince Lowness (entity of evil). They gave him these power to settle to bet: if a completely honest person had super powers, would the power corrupt him? McSnurtle was the only person that they could find that fit the bill (he was too lazy to be evil). With these powers, he decided to become a superhero. When duty called, he would remove his shell and don a costume similar to the Golden Age Flash's. Then, he would fight crime as the Terrific Whatzit (he was called this because it was hard to tell what animal he was without the shell). He fought crime for 17 issues in Funny Stuff. Later he appeared in Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew # 9, he was retcon so now he was the uncle of Fastback a member from the titular team.
Powers and Abilities
His main ability was super speed. However, there was variation in the power, but speed was emphasised the most. He had a "Automatic Conscience", which was an annoying voice in his head that wouldn't shut up, until he solved the crisis at hand. His shell was also removable, which is odd for a turtle.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ultra the Multi-Alien

Ace Arn was from an unspecific time in the future were space travel was common. One day, he crashed on an alien planet. Four aliens from four other planets shot him with ray guns that were supposed to turn him into one of them. But, they all fired at the same time. As a result, each quarter of his body was transformed to be like that of one of the aliens, giving him a very Metamorpho appearance (and a combo of their super powers). Combining the first letters of the home planets the alien and the first one of his name, he got U-L-T-R-A, and dubbed himself "Ultra". He discovered a device that could turn him back to Arn and vise versa. He had several adventures in Mystery in Space, till the comic got axed.
Wizard Magazine featured Ultra as the "Mort of the Month", a featurette showcasing low-quality characters. Grant Morrison used the character in Animal Man (as a denizen of Limbo) and in the Aztek mini-series. In Starman # 55, he, with the aid of Space Ranger, looked for the fourth Starman's cosmic staff. In the Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. storyline, Young Justice, Star-Spangled Kid and S.T.R.I.P.E. tried to stop a group of Larroo (one of the aliens that attacked Ace and turned him into Ultra), who plotted to turn everyone in Blue Valley into Larroo. It was also mention while the Larroo invented the ray they sold it to other races. In Infinite Crisis, Ultra (somehow) traveled back in time to the present and (with other space-themed heroes) aided Donna Troy in the fallout caused by the Rann-Thanagar War. In Superman/Batman # 31, he was among the alien heroes being overwhelmed by an alien force and went on a rampage. In issue 33, he (with the mind-controled alien heroes) tried to destroy the titular characters, but his mind was released from the mind control and Despero (who did the mind control) was defeated. In Action Comics # 867, Brainiac attacked the planet Larroo. Superman could do nothing as Brainiac capture (and shrunk) a city, containing the four races that were involved with Ultra's origins, that was trapped in a force field created by Ultra. The aliens' sun was destoryed. In the same storyline, Ultra appeared as one of the heroes fighting Brainiac on his ship. Although he hasn't appeared recently, Vixen (half-jokingly) says he is a potential Justice League member.
Each quarter of his body (and it's limb) has a different power. They were:
  • The upper right of his body was super strong.
  • The upper left has magnetic powers.
  • His right leg gave him flight.
  • His left leg is a bolt of lightning.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Wow. It took him an entire page for Logan to look left and right.
What is it?
In comics, decompression refers to a type of story-telling that has strong emphasis on art and character interaction. However, this tends to make the plots longer. Decompression is often used in widescreen comics (a type of comic where the panels are usually very wide for a cinematic effect).
Decompression had a strong effect on mainstream comics in the 1990s and 2000s. Traditionally, comics have several (sometimes unrelated) stories in one issue. However with the rise of decompression, usually comics only have one story. It is often claimed the influence of Manga caused decompression. Manga, which is usually less costly to print, uses decompression extensively. The 1974 manga Shin Takarajima (by Osamu Tezuka) popularized the technique. The "cinematic style" became very popular and was used a lot by other Japanese artists. Akira (by Katsuhiro Otomo) was one of the first manga to use this style and become popular among comic fans. The Authority (by by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch) was one of the first of commercially successful Americans comic to use decompression (the dominant style for the first twelve issues). Due to the success of that comic, the style had been adopted by comic creators across the US.
Of course, like many things, decompression had it's share of critics and has been a subject of debate. Critics have accused the style of over-stretching the length of the plots, hence thinning out the pages' content for more sales and money, despite a limited amount of work. Defenders claims that the style doesn't over-stretch the plot, but makes the characterization more rich. Some see the style being driven by trade paperbacks' popularity. Said paperbacks, usually collect six comics and the style (with stories lasting several issues) would give a desirable length to the stories.
Due to the criticism involving decompression, comic creators Warren Ellis, Dan Slott, and Brian Wood decided to experiment with a new style, which they dubbed "Compression". In Warren's Fell, Global Frequency, and Planetary, the stories only last one issue and Nextwave only has two issue story lines. Slott's story archs involving the She-Hulk and the Thing usually last from 1-3 issues. Wood's Demo and Local are all single-issue comics, where sometimes there are no recurring characters so the stories can be self-contained "short stories".

Friday, October 1, 2010

Forbush Man

Not Brand Echh
Forbush Man was a revamp for Irving Forbush, the mascot for a Mad-like comic called Snafu. Like his predecessor, he was a mascot for a comic. In FM's case, it was Not Brand Echh, Marvel's silver age parody comic. Although appearing on the cover of issue one, he doesn't get a story 'till issue five. In The Origin of Forbush-Man, it's revealed he was Irving Forbush, a fictional gofer for Marble Comics. His Auntie Mayhem was responsible (albeit indirectly) for his costume. She slammed a pot on his head (when she was mad at him) and gave him the disguise he wanted so he could be a hero. He later cut two holes in it and put on red long johns (with the letter F on the front). Numerous in-jokes imply Forbush might be Jewish. When he went to fight crime, (having no powers) his dumb luck was necessary to defeat his foes (such as the Juggernut (Juggernaut)). In his next appearance, he tried (and failed) to join the Revengers (Avengers), S.H.E.E.S.H. (S.H.I.E.L.D.) and the Echhs-Men (X-Men). However, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band invited him, but he decided to "quit while I'm still behind". In issue 13, in a loose parody of Silver Surfer # 5, he battled the Strangie (the Stranger). There was more Jewish references and superhero parodies (Spidey-Man (Spider-Man), The Thung (The Thing), The Human Scorch (The Human Torch) and The Simple Surfer (Silver Surfer)) appear.
What The--?!
He became one of the staple characters of What The--?!, which poked fun at the Marvel Universe and beyond. He died in a parody of the Death of Superman at the hands of Dumsday (Doomsday).
Please note the Nextwave series may or not be part of the Marvel main continuity. He is a member of the New Paramounts (funded by the Beyond Corporation©, yes the "©" is part of the name), whose members are former Not Brand Echh characters. Here, he has an illusion casting ability called Forbush-Vision and is a villain (and possibly a Broccoli Man robot). Tabitha Smith (who was unaffected because apparently she has no mind) managed to kill him.

In Not Brand Echh and What The--?!, he had no powers, but lots of dumb luck. In the Nextwave, he has Forbush Vision, where the victims are exposed to hallucinations that make them think they're in a hellish (from their point of view) reality and slowly die, while trying to resist. Despite claiming he is "the greatest power in human history", he is easily defeated by Tabitha Smith.