Gordy Tells Justin Comics [Episode 36] : Occasional Fish Dicks w/ Mark Russell

geek-prez
Mark Russell, writer and visionary behind DC’s Prez, stops by this week to talk to G&J about everything from Cart Dracula (get ready for some big news, Drac Pack!) to Eagle Free and everything in between. Do we contemplate the fate of all mankind at some point? You know it. Plus, we get a little sample of Mark’s tasty Frankenberry fan fiction. You don’t wanna miss this one, Prez Head!

Apologies for the sporadic drops in sound quality. Skype was being a real sore ass that day.

 

Podcast: Download | iTunes

Top Twosday: Comic Book Fatties

Fatties have it rough in comic books. There’s never been a lot of them, and the few there are usually tend to be joke characters or strength-themed villains on a team or something. DC used to have Amanda Waller, a bad-ass fatty who talked shit to Batman and ran the world, but they decided to make her a smokin’ hotty for their New 52 initiative.

In honor of Fat Waller’s death, I bring you two of the best, most underrated fatties in comics history.

#1 Chunk (Wally West-Era Flash)

Chester P. Runk was a big fat scientist with a boatload of social disorders who fucked up one of his experiments and got a matter transmitter stuck in his stomach, turning him into a kind of walking black hole. From then on he needed to eat precious metals to keep himself from imploding and getting trapped in the pocket universe that formed in his tummy. So he called himself “Chunk,” went out into Central City, and started robbing banks for their tasty jewels and sending bullies to his belly dimension.

How fucking great is that?!

Chunk had a whole redemption arc in The Flash, where Wally West helped him get his powers under control, reform his criminal ways, and start eating garbage instead of diamonds, just like a real hero. He hasn’t been seen since.

#2 Big Bertha (Great-Lakes Avengers)

Big Bertha is a mutant–or maybe an “Inhuman” these days, who knows/cares–fatty in the often overlooked spin-off team, the Great Lakes Avengers. Technically she’s not a pure fat, because when she’s not using her mutant gifts, she looks like a straight up super model. But when she wants to get serious about shit and start punching on guys with names like “Unus the Untouchable” and “Batroc the Leaper,” she turns into a big ol’ behemoth.

With her increase in size and cholesterol comes a surge of strength, endurance, and, I imagine, an unquenchable desire for Baconators. Like all fat people in Marvel, she is not allowed on any non-joke Avengers teams or comics.

Gordy Tells Justin Comics [Ashcan 03] : Prophecy Boy, He’s a Power Man

gtjc-ashcan03

In a throwback to shows of yore, Gordy downs a few Red Alerts(tm) and tells Justin all about one single comic. He manages to recall countless minute details, none of which help anyone to understand one thing about the plot or basic story elements. It’s dense, like a nice, thick cream. But if you’re as big a fan of fantasy tropes as G & J are, you might wanna grab your own proprietary beverage and give it a listen.

 

Podcast: Download | iTunes

Top Twosday: StarCraft Units

StarCraft II’s third and final expansion, the title of which is probably something like “Prophecy of the Gigamind,” has taken the world by storm. How am I supposed to know what it’s called? I’m too busy playing it!

I’m also busy selecting the top two units in the history of the series. I’ve run the numbers, consulted the experts, and hacked the Gibson. Now, I share with you the results of my research.

#1 Dark Templar (Protoss)

zeratulNothing comes from the shadows like a Dark Templar. Zeratul?! I mean forget about it. Their superior stealth and zany brain-powers make Predators look like a bunch of snoozy duds. Dark Templars just grip it and rip it, 24/7. They don’t even have time to slow down and sew up those little capes of theirs. How could they, anyway?! Too hard to see in the shadows! I dare you to talk shit about their scrappy little capes.

No? That’s what I thought.

#2 S.C.V. (Terran)

scvYeah, you read that right! These poor fuckers have it rough out there, and they never really get their due. They’re the only units you can really tell are affected by this constant war. They’re exhausted, jumpy, and can occasionally lash out at you for no reason. Plus, they smoke ciggs non-stop, which also means they’re cool. They’d probably have night terrors if we ever let them sleep. They’re like the Amazon warehouse guys of space.

We salute you, the common man.

Disagree? Don’t you dare! Who could possibly deserve this honor more?!

Gordy Tells Justin Comics [Episode 35] : Halloween Jammers 2015

superedit

Happy Post-Halloween! OooOOooOOoooh! In this spooktastic eppy, Gordy continues his downward spiral into insanity by trying to convince Bergo that the Flash is real. Not spooky enough for you?! OK, well how about Apocalypse versus Dracula?! How about porno zombies?! How about Supergods?!?! Something in there is bound to make you wet your trousers, so just go listen to it already.

“No one wants to see the Flash walk and talk. They wanna see him run and scream.”
-Justin

Podcast: Download | iTunes

Moldoff on my Mind

Shelly-header

You probably don’t know who Sheldon Moldoff is, but I think about him a lot. Shelly — as I like to imagine his friends called him — started working as an artist for DC comics when he was 17, during the great depression. Seventeen! In those early days, DC was comprised of two kinds of people: rich, cigar-chomping sociopaths (executives) and poor-but-earnest rumble-toughs just looking to get by (creatives). There were exceptions to be sure, but the exceptions proved the rule.

Back then you only worked as a comic artist because no other respectable industry would hire you. Can’t get a job as an ad man? Cool, fuck off and go a draw a Hawk guy for kids and simpletons for a tenth of the pay, which is what Sheldon did. And he did it well.

moldoff - Batman

Sheldon had his hands in everything at DC in those early years. He drew the cover art for the first appearances of the Flash, Green Lantern, and Wonder-Woman. He had a one-page insert comic that appeared in Action Comics #1, right beside the first appearance of Superman. He was given control over the Hawkman book, where he introduced Hawkgirl to the world. He was everywhere.

Eventually, he was secretly hired as one of Bob Kane’s ghost artists, where he would go on to create a slew of bat-characters that survive to this day. Mr. Freeze, Batgirl, Batwoman, Bat-Mite, Lord Death-Man, Clayface, Ace the Bathound – the list goes on and on. Officially, Bob Kane was given credit for breathing life into all these kooky kats, but he had virtually nothing to do with any of them. And Shelly was, as far as we know, totally cool with this arrangement. We know he wasn’t in it for the fame because there was no real fame associated with comics at the time. Eventually we’d get a tiny handful of corporate figureheads like Stan Lee or Bob Kane, but even that wouldn’t come until the 60s. Kane told him that as long as he kept his mouth shut, he’d have steady, paying work on the regular. For a depression kid, that probably sounded like a pretty sweet deal.

And unlike most everything else that came out of Kane’s mouth, this was true. He paid Shelly (very little) for fourteen years, taking credit for his work the entire time.

At one point in the 50s, Shelly was drawing at least 350 pages per year, and that estimate is probably on the low end. That’s a fucking insane number by any standard. He was doing all of Kane’s work, plus a slew of other personal projects that never quite took off in the way Batman did. By the late 1960s, DC was throwing the golden age creators overboard in favor of an up-and-coming pool of young talent, and ol’ Shelly got the boot. He went into animation for a spell, created promotional comics for restaurant chains and the Atlanta Braves, worked the convention scene, and then he died.

moldoff-Hawkman

There were a lot of unsung heroes in those early days of comics, and a lot of very public villains disguised as heroes. Shelly stands out for the sheer number of enduring characters that he introduced, but the broad strokes of his professional life story were common as sin. Hell, a lot of the shit he had to deal with still goes on at Marvel and DC to this day.

So, why do I think of him so much? Why does any of this matter?

I dunno, maybe it doesn’t. Shelly took a job, eyes wide open, and cashed his checks. End of story. I guess I just love the idea of Shelly as the underdog. Bob Kane will be remembered for a mountain of timeless work he never actually created. Shelly will be lost forever in the garbage heaps of Limbo. But he got the job done before he vanished into the ether and we’re all better off for it.

He’ll never get the credit that he deserves, and that’s a goddamn tragedy. But the moral of Shelly’s story isn’t as depressing as it may seem. The fact that Sheldon spent his professional life hunched over a drawing table for pennies while Bob Kane took the credit for his creations proved that the craft was more important than the money. And those creations will keep living well past our own expiration dates.

I don’t want to put words into the guy’s mouth, but the fact that today’s comic book pages are filled with the same Bats and Hawks that Shelly birthed from those well-worn fingers is probably closer to immortality than you or I will ever achieve. Sheldon’s kids aren’t even human, and they’ve achieved immortality.

What have your shitty kids done?