Monthly Archives: April 2009

DC vs. Marvel Spacemen

Clash of the Spacemen!

Clash of the Spacemen!

This is the fourth post in a series of posts that compare DC and Marvel non-superhero genres.  The first post looked at Westerns (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/dc-vs-marvel-western-heroes/).  The second post looked at war heroes (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/dc-vs-marvel-war-heroes/).  The third post looked at women’s comics (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/04/11/dc-vs-marvel-working-women/).  The genre is space opera and the heroes are spacemen.  This genre is a little harder to differentiate from the common super hero.  After all many superheroes have alien origins.  The very first superhero, arguably, Superman is from the planet Krypton but anyone who knows comic books and science fiction would not argue he is a space opera hero.  The main characteristic of space opera is that the action is almost entirely in space.  Superman has had his share of adventures in outer space but most of his adventures happen on Earth.  Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon are some early examples of the space hero in comic books. 

 

The DC spacemen are Adam Strange, Captain Comet, Knights of the Galaxy, Space Cabby, Space Ranger, Star Hawkins, Tommy Tomorrow and Ultra the Multi-alien.  All of these heroes were brought together in a three issue mini-series Twilight in 1990.  Twilight brought all of DC’s space heroes and characters together in a reboot that is dystopian and very different from the optimistic and naïve tone of the Silver Age originals.  Twilight is a precursor of what Vertigo Press will do on a regular basis when this press is formed in 1993. 

 

These DC space comic books were particularly popular in the Silver Age and I would say this was my favorite non-superhero genre growing up.  Westerns were ok.  I didn’t really get war comics until years later.  Women’s comics in the form of Romance comics were rare and far between.  The space opera titles on the other hand were comics I would keep an eye out for.  Adam Strange, Captain Comet, Space Ranger and Tommy Tomorrow would be the big four of the space men.  The Knights of the Galaxy, Space Cabby and Star Hawkins are much more obscure characters.  An ancestor of Adam Strange and Space Ranger did appear in a comic book together during the Silver Age in Mystery in Space #94.  Mystery in Space was also were most of the Silver Age space men appeared.  Cross-overs at DC in the early Silver Age were few and far between and their common genre identity was probably the cause. 

 

The most famous of all the space men is Adam Strange.  Adam Strange has a ray gun and a jet back pack but aside from that is a normal Earthman or as normal as any comic book hero can be.  Adam Strange is transported to the planet Rann on a regular basis where he has many adventures.  He also has a pretty hot girl friend on that planet.  Alan Moore did a really good story with Adam Strange titled “Mysteries in Space”, Swamp Thing #57, second series.   The title is obviously a take off on the Mystery in Space title.  The relative alien identity of Adam Strange was highlighted.  Adam Strange was offered membership in the Justice League of America, a first tier DC superhero group while the other space men never ever even met first tier DC superheroes.  Adam Strange was also a major player in the recent DC multi-title event the Rann-Thangar War that attempted to flesh out DC space empires in a way similar to the Marvel Kree-Skrull war had many years earlier.

Years later Captain Comet was rescued from comic book oblivion in a Vertigo title but during his original run was very obscure.  Captain Comet is a variation on Superman.  Captain Comet is a mutant that represents what we will evolve into in the distant future who decides Earth is boring and goes off into space.  Captain Comet is nowhere near as strong and invulnerable as Superman but is a fair telepath and telepathy means you know your opponents weaknesses. 

 

A contest between them would be kind of like Kyle XY versus Clark Kent of Smallville and be very interesting.  Kyle would know all about Kryptonite and have the super intelligence to use this knowledge for maximum tactical and strategic advantage. Dime a dozen hoods get the jump on Clark with Kryptonite in Smallville so I think Clark is probably toast.

 

I have not read a Space Cabby story in years but to this day I remember the very interesting premise.  The Space Cabby was a cabby but he had a space ship and he could jaunt around the solar system.  So if you needed a quick ride from Earth to Mars then he was your man.  Space Cabby emphasized humorous adventures and this is in direct contrast to the melodramatic nature of space opera in general. 

 

Ultra the Multi-Alien is the comic book equivalent of a winner of the Rotten Tomatoes award.  The comic book was so garish and over the top, obscure and just plain bad that you couldn’t help but like the title.  Prez and the Geek would be two other Silver Age titles that merit the same type of award.   An Earthman due to a bizarre ray gun malfunction received the body parts of four other aliens.  Each body part has a different power.  Kind of like the movie The Fly but instead of merging with one insect, the character merges with four insects and of course more is better.  I hereby create my own superhero based on this premise!

 

Beware of Insectoid the Multi-Insect Man!  He has the claws of a praying mantis, the wings and eyes of a fly, the stinger of a scorpion and the antennae of a ant that gives him some other super senses that insects generally don’t have.  Anyone interested in this character should contact me at foxhugh@yahoo.com.  Only serious requests will be considered!  So I guess that means no requests will considered.

 

The Marvel list is much smaller and includes Captain Jet Dixon, Captain Marvel, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Speed Carter Spaceman and the Star Jammers.  I would consider myself a bit of a comic book historian and I never read or heard about Captain Jet Dixon or Speed Carter Spaceman until I did some research for this post.  This is unfortunate since based on my research they are pretty classic space men in the Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon mold clearly fit the premise of this entire post.

 

The Galaxy Rangers and Star Jammers are Bronze Age space men.  They are about a thousand times more relevant and famous than Captain Jet Dixon or Speed Carter Spaceman.  The adventures of the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Star Jammers do take place almost entirely in space but are still more superheroes than spacemen.  The tolerance of fans for non-superhero genres during the Bronze Age of comics was a lot lower than during the Silver Age and superhero elements had to be grafted onto heroes from other genres in order for them to survive.  I mention the Punisher as hero that combines war hero and super hero elements in my war hero post and I think this is similar phenomena.

 

I think the Star Jammers are basically the X-Men set in space and have their origins in the X-Men titles.  The Guardians of the Galaxy started more as space men but then evolved into superheroes.  The premise is that in the future solar system planets have been terraformed and genetic engineering has been used to make humans that can live in these terraformed planets that are still pretty inhospitable.  So you have a crystalline humanoid from Pluto and a super strong soldier from Jupiter, etc.  The first issue that premiered caught my eye and they wore futuristic but non-superhero clothing and I liked the premise.  Years later the costumes changed and they started hanging around the Avengers, got a ton more members and became the Avengers in space. 

 

Something similar happened to Captain Marvel who was a Kree soldier who wore a very space man kind of costume and used a ray gun but later got one of the coolest superhero costumes ever and lost the ray gun and gained some nega bands and lot of other cool powers to boot.  The Kree is a intergalactic empire consisting of thousands of worlds that often is in conflict with the Skrulls.  These are very much ray gun and space ship aliens.  The Skrulls even use flying saucers.  Heroes like the reborn Captain Marvel even have a category in the Marvel Universe and are considered cosmic superheroes. 

 

The adventures of cosmic superheroes take place in space but this is a cosmic space far away from anything Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon could handle.  In many ways this cosmic version of space is magical and more importantly mythic.  Characters like Galactus, the Watcher, the Silver Surfer, the Elders of the Universe and Thanos have adventures in the cosmos not space.  They have no need for space ships or ray guns and can often alter reality through a super science that is the power cosmic.  This genre transformation process seems to be a hallmark of Marvel as opposed to DC.  The Skrulls may have thousands of world under their dominion but hide like ants when the Silver Surfer was the herald of Galactus in their original appearance in the Fantastic Four Galactus Trilogy that created Marvel’s cosmic space. 

 

DC takes non-superhero heroes and lets Vertigo Press do really interesting things with them while maintaining their core genre identity.  All non-superhero heroes in the Marvel universe end up becoming superheroes!  Night Nurse, who I mention in my women’s comic post (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/04/11/dc-vs-marvel-working-women/) ends up becoming the nurse of superheroes years after her original appearance.  I guess if I have a choice of being transported to the DC or Marvel universe then I should pick the Marvel universe since I am about a hundred times more likely to become a superhero in that universe than the DC universe and that was pretty much my life goal until I was six and “grew up”.  I put the phrase in quotations since someone writing these posts has arguably not grown up!

 

So hard choices, do I pick the famous hybrid space men/super hero men of Marvel or the pure space men of Marvel no one ever heard of?  I will do a little bit of both.  The Star Jammers and Guardians of the Galaxy are superhero teams that are a hundred times more powerful than guys like Adam Strange and Space Ranger and I like these guys to much due to early childhood sentiment to pit them in such an unfair contest without a little tidbit ahead of time.  So Captain Jet Dixon and Speed Carter Spaceman just got drafted.

 

Captain Jet Dixon goes up against Adam Strange and Adam Strange easily beat him to the ray gun draw since he has had a hundred more issues to master target practice.  The Knights of the Galaxy go up against the Guardians of the Galaxy because they both have galaxy in their name and the non-super powered knights are easily defeated by the Galaxy Rangers with their numerous superpowers. 

 

The Knights of the Galaxy were space man types with ray guns and space ships that followed a knightly code.  The knightly code isn’t going to do them much good against a top tier super hero group like the Guardians of the Galaxy.  This mingling of medieval and science fiction is not a first for DC and the Atomic Knights come to mind.  I do mention the Atomic Knights in another post on this blog (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/dc-vs-valiant-universe-2-armorines-vs-the-atomic-knights/).  I also mentioned in the prior war hero post that the mingling of two non-superhero genres is a hallmark of DC rather than Marvel. DC has weird westerns, weird wars and even haunted tanks, supernatural plus war comic.  I love it!

 

Space Ranger goes up against Speed Carter Spacemen and in a low tone of voice informs him that he is the Space Ranger and nobody’s like Carter should flee and Carter does.  The Guardians of the Galaxy then descend on Adam Strange and Space Ranger and give them a space whupping they will never forget. 

 

Captain Comet fights Captain Marvel since they both have Captain in their name.  This is actually a really tough fight to call.  They both have super strength, invulnerability, and flight.  Captain Marvel has cosmic awareness which is kind of like spider sense on steroids but is not an out and out telepath.  Captain Comet reads Captain Marvel’s mind and realizes if you slam the nega bands on his wrists together then Captain Marvel is banished to the negative zone and proceeds to do just that.  Captain Comet is feeling pleased for about one minute until the Guardians of the Galaxy gang up on him and beat him senseless.  The Marvel, kind of, space men win!

 

My other website at:

Fox Superpower List

Other DC vs. Marvel Posts

Big Monsters

Fourth Wall Heroes

Funny Animals

Horror Hosts

Kids

Robots

Sidekicks

Spacemen

Superpets

Teenagers

Transportation

War Heroes

Weapons

WesternHeroes

Women in Refrigerators

Working Women

WereVerse Universe Baby!

DC vs. Marvel Working Women

lois068

The non-superhero genre looked at in this post is women’s comics.  This is the third post in this series.  Other posts include Western heroes (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/dc-vs-marvel-western-heroes/) and war heroes (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/dc-vs-marvel-war-heroes/).  This genre is defined by audience.  Comic books that are designed to appeal to women are considered women’s comic books.  In the US young boys rather than young girls read comic books.  As a comic book addict, growing up in the US, I am all too aware that you do not meet many attractive women in comic book shops and this is a stereotype that is true.  I just got done living in Japan for seven months and the situation in Japan is radically different.  A really big comic book store might be three to six stories high and one floor will be devoted to women’s comic books.  In general, romance comics are considered “women’s comics” in the US.  The vast majority of readers of romance comic books were young girls rather than young boys.  I have to admit that I often enjoyed reading romance comics even as a kid but all in all my interest is in superhero comic books and this is probably due to my gender.  However, for the purposes of this series, romance comics are useless. 

 
 

This series of posts pits on-going top characters from non-superhero genres against each other.  Romance comics do not have ongoing characters.  Romance stories after all generally describe first love and an ongoing series about first love is impossible.  There is a type of comic book that appeals to young girls and has ongoing character.  This is a type of women’s comic book that I dub the “working women” subgenre and this subgenre does have ongoing characters.  Working women comic books are about a woman and her job.  The job is generally either glamorous, dangerous or both.  The job is not “super”.  A woman who does super tasks is a super heroine.  Super heroines are often dressed in skimpy, sexy outfits like Wonder Woman and their job is to attract teenage or older males not a female audience.

Marvel has had several titles that center around a female protagonist and her job.  These titles invariably have a romantic angle that is more prominent than in the superhero titles.  Marvels line of working women includes Chili, Della Vision, Linda Carter Student Nurse, Millie the Model, My Friend Irma, Nelly the Nurse, Night Nurse, Patsy Walker, Sherry the Showgirl and Tessie the Typist.  Chili and Millie the Model inhabit the same universe and are rivals.

DC has had three titles with a woman without super powers and a career and these include Miss Beverly Hills of Hollywood, Miss Melody Lane of Broadway, and Lois Lane!  Lois Lane is Superman’s girlfriend and this is the central plot device rather than her adventures as a reporter.  In the Silver Age of comic books, every other story about Lois Lane was about Lois Lane and Lana Lang fighting for Superman’s affections.  Later, Lana Lang becomes Superman’s first love rather than a current romantic interest and in some versions Lana Lang even gets married to someone other than Superman.  I am not sure if the Silver Age love triangle actually got a lot of female readers but this certainly was one of the few DC lines that had affairs of the heart as a central theme but there were three consistent plot twists as well.

One consistent plot twist was that Lois Lane had two goals in her life.  Goal number one was to marry Superman.  Goal number two was to find out his secret identity.  Goal number one was a female goal.  Goal number two was a career goal i.e. the scoop of the century for a reporter.  Goal number one and goal number two seem to be in conflict.  How can Superman let his guard down and trust a woman who wants to expose his secret identity?  However, upon closer examination the two goals may work together.  The rationale of Superman’s secret identity is that he has the secret identity to protect loved ones and be Superman at the same time.  If the secret identity is exposed then he can no longer be Superman.  If Lois can destroy Superman’s career then she can achieve marital bliss with a retired Superman.

The second consistent plot twist was that “inexplicably” Superman wanted Lois Lane to fall in love with his Clark Kent persona.  Or maybe this is not so hard to understand after all.  Superman is a Kryptonian genetically but he was raised by the Kent’s as an Earthling.  One could argue that Clark Kent is the true identity and Superman is the secret identity.  This is certainly the message of the TV series Smallville.  In Smallville, Clark Kent slowly, very slowly, eight seasons and counting slowly, becomes Superman.  Clark Kent wants Lois to fall in love with the person he really is rather than the cape/mask Superman.  I think this is a theme any successful man can understand.  A millionaire wants to be loved for who he is rather than his millions.  Superman wants to be loved for who he is rather than because of his superpowers and fame.  Would Lois Lane still love Superman minus the super and only a man?  The current Lois Lane would, and currently Superman and Lois Lane are married, but I am not so sure of the Silver Age Lois Lane would marry Superman minus his powers although she occasionally did in Silver Age imaginary tales.

The third consistent plot twist was that Clark Kent and Lois Lane both work for the Daily Planet as reporters and they compete career wise.  You would think Superman with all his super powers could easily squash Lois in the reporting game but generally chooses not to due to sentiment and very often out and out loses because Lois, despite being a mere human, is better at the reporting game than Clark.  Lois has a more realistic view of her fellow humans and is actually less naïve and more street wise.  This is similar to the Batman/Superman relationship were Superman’s idealism is a weakness when up against Batman’s realism.  Lois Lane will also use her feminine wiles occasionally and this happens more in the Smallville version of Lois Lane than the comic book version.  The Smallville version is also one heck of a martial artist in a manner similar to the Silver Age version of Lois Lane.

The Lois Lane series lasted 137 issues until September, 1974.  Lois Lane of course survived the cancellation of her series and is also the first character of the Superman family and predates Luthor and Jimmy Olsen.  The Lois Lane series was part of the Superman family series of titles that included Jimmy Olsen, Superman’s best friend.  Superman was so popular in the Silver Age that civilians in his universe rated their own titles!  These titles do not age well at all and unless you grew up reading Superman during this period then you will have a hard time reading these comic books.  DC recently reprinted the Jimmy Olsen series under the moniker Superman Family and this is one reprint that did not sell very well. 

Lois Lane is more relevant and more famous, and then some, than all of Marvel’s working women put together.  Many regard the relationship between Lois Lane and Superman to be the most important love story in comic books period.  The most powerful version of Lois Lane is the Silver Age version.  Lois Lane, like Superman, was depowered later on.  Lois Lane was not superhuman but had incredible fighting skills in the Silver Age.  Lois Lane had mastered the Kryptonian martial art of Klurkor.  I propose Lois Lane goes toe to toe with all of the working women of Marvel. 

The Marvel working women have been transported by evil aliens to the DC Universe.  All the Marvel working women instantly fall in love with Superman when they see him on TV at the apartment the aliens have deposited them in.  The group also finds out from the TV show that Superman’s girlfriend is Lois Lane.  As a group they decide that Lois Lane must be “eliminated”.  Millie the Model goes to the Daily Planet and charms the pants off of Jimmy Olsen and finds out that Lois Lane will be at the Glamour beauty parlor that afternoon. 

The Marvel women, ten strong, storm the beauty parlor.  Sherry the Showgirl and Tessie the Typist, the two most obscure members of an already obscure subgenre, guard the doors.  This is what fourth raters do in comic books.  Millie the Model and Chili have had countless cat fights and this actually makes them a pretty good tag team.  Lois is reading a copy of Cosmo in the waiting area.  Chili pulls Lois from the chair by the hair and Millie punches Lois in the stomach.  As Millie punches Lois in the stomach she reflects that she is much prettier than Lois and Lois could never be a model.  Lois head butts Chili and plants a roundhouse kick firmly in the stomach of Millie.  The two models are shocked and run for the hills.  They have never fought a gal that knew how to fight expertly.  Linda Carter Student Nurse has actually been in a real life and death tussle during her career against guys and has learned that when fighting a guy you use weapons of opportunity.  Linda grabs a can of hair spray and sprays Lois in the face.  This move stuns Lois and the other girls attack at once from all sides and Lois is on the floor being kicked left and right into unconsciousness and the final blow is delivered with a hair dryer that Chili has grabbed.  Chilis nose was broken due to the head butt.  Chili wonders if she will ever model again and wants revenge!  The Marvel girls are victorious and now must kill each other in order to decide who will be the mate of Superman but that is another story.

My other website at:

Fox Superpower List

Other DC vs. Marvel Posts

Big Monsters

Fourth Wall Heroes

Funny Animals

Horror Hosts

Kids

Robots

Sidekicks

Spacemen

Superpets

Teenagers

Transportation

War Heroes

Weapons

Western Heroes

Women in Refrigerators

Working Women

WereVerse Universe Baby!

Everything you would ever want to know about Centrair

centair-3

Hugh Fox Centair Japan

I lived in Nagoya for seven months and used the local airport several times.  The aiport that serves Nagoyais the Central Japan International Airport or Centrair.  This airport is much less crowded than the airport that serves Tokyo and has a ton of stuff to do while waiting for a flight.  For an airport no one has ever heard of, it is surprisingly big and has over twenty shops and restaurants.

Their website is at:

http://www.centrair.jp/en/

More photos at:

http://s883.photobucket.com/albums/ac35/foxhugh/Japan%20Centair/

WereVerse Universe Baby!

Who is Sir Fox?

Sir Fox

Sir Fox

Does anyone out there know the history of Sir Fox?  I bought a ton of Sir Fox type merchandise at an outlet mall in San Marcos, Texas in  the nineties and then never saw the stuff again.  I like the ying-yang, union of opposites,  aspect of a fox dressed like a fox hunter.  Below is a Sir Fox lamp picture I found on the web.  Is this a design concept that keeps being rediscovered or what?

sir-fox-lamp

WereVerse Universe Baby!