Batman Nude (No, I’m Not Kidding)

Warning: Some Adult Content

Okay, so DC has published its first issue of Batman Damned under its DC Black Label imprint, and boy is it adult. You actually get to see Bruce Wayne nude, not just from the back but the front. I’m posting an image below as proof, plus I archived two news sources just in case they get “poofed” for their content later on. Actually, that didn’t work, because the archived version doesn’t display the “adult” images.

Here’s a milder version at my archived version of the Popbuzz story, and the non-archived Screenrant missive.

Now here’s the image I captured.

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Before Social Justice and Comicsgate, there were Comic Books

I’ve written about the modern state of mainstream comic books before (DC, Marvel) including how at least some of them aren’t safe for children, and the whole comicsgate vs. social justice comic books drama. Some of this still pops up in my twitter stream, though I don’t respond because, why bother? Still, I do consider the state of the industry as it relates to some of the movies I watch (I caught Deadpool 2 on DVD the other day). And that takes me back to the comic books I used to read, many years…okay, decades ago.

I’ve read some things about the upcoming Captain Marvel movie, which seems interesting, and maps to the original Ms. Marvel comic book of the 1970s, based on a non-superpowered Carol Danvers who appeared in 1968 in this comic book:

Here, Captain Marvel was an alien spy, obeying the commands of his Kree overlords in a spaceship orbiting the Earth, but eventually, he used his space suit’s powers to help human beings, bringing his loyalty into question. Not long afterward, he got a make over and turned into this:

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Why Captain America Reminds Me Never to Give Up

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Promotional image for the 2014 film “Captain America: Winter Solder.”

After all the you’re a racist if you don’t believe Colin Kaepernick gave up everything to be Nike’s “Just Do It” 30th anniversary spokesperson garbage a few days ago, I decided I needed to unwind and experience something to restore my spirit. So I again chose to dust off the DVD and watch the 2014 film Captain America: Winter Soldier.

Why, you ask?

I can’t find the quote online, but I recall that actor Chris Evans, who plays “Cap” in the Marvel movies, said something like “Captain America does good for the sake of doing good. He’s everything I’ve ever wanted to be as a man.”

That’s probably not exact, but I’m betting it’s pretty close.

In the film, he says stuff like:

I know I’m asking a lot. But the price of freedom is high. It always has been. And it’s a price I’m willing to pay. And if I’m the only one, then so be it. But I’m willing to bet I’m not.

And…

Yeah, we compromised. Sometimes in ways that made us not sleep so well. But we did it so the people could be free. This isn’t freedom, this is fear.

He didn’t act ashamed of America and, after all, the guy’s uniform is basically the American flag (I’d like to see someone try to stomp on or burn it while Rogers was wearing it). Steve Rogers is a living reminder why it’s okay to still believe that our nation is made up of people who do good and want to be even better.

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Here We Go Again: Comicsgate

superman

A public service announcement published in a DC comic book in the early 1960s

I’ve heard of this thing called Comicsgate, and after doing a bit of reading, discovered it’s pretty much the same sort of critter that launched the efforts of the Sad Puppies a few years back.

Allegation: The mainstream comic book industry (DC, Marvel) is overrun by Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) forcing their very narrow agenda down the throats of all comic book readers, no matter how totally unrealistic it is, so we independent comic book creators will fight back by creating more classic heroes of our own.

You can find out more about this perspective by following Jon Del Arroz’s twitter feed, particularly THIS and THAT.

Counter-allegation: Conservative, white, racist trolls want to destroy all participation of strong women heroes, people of color, LGBTQ+ writers, artists, and characters, and all other marginalized and vulnerable populations in comic books so comics are totally owned by white people, and we have to stop them.

You can read about Bill Sienkiewicz rebuttal at “The Mary Sue” (a fairly biased publication) as well as on his twitter feed HERE.

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Comic Books Have Gone Crazy

FF3

The cover of The Fantastic Four issue 3 from 1961

“I’ve kept a limited number of comic books from my youth, ranging from the 1960s to the 1980s, and occasionally take a few out and read them. I’m not really into comic books anymore, especially the current titles, and for a lot of reasons.

Originally, I started collecting them in the late 1960s when I was in Junior High, and I’d been reading them since I was old enough to read because they were so much fun. In the ’60s and ’70s, I was mainly into Marvel comics (Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the X-Men and so on), but I rediscovered DC in the late 80s when they did the first reboot of their titles.

More recently, I used my local public library system and checked out Vertigo DC graphic novels such as V for Vendetta and The Watchmen as well as the Sandman (the Wesley Dodd costumed hero, not the other guy) because they were more edgy and I was an adult. In the case of the first two titles, I wanted to understand the basis for the films they became, and in the Sandman’s case, I just enjoy the character and the 1930s vibe.

I’ve kept in touch with how comic books have been morphing in more recent years, and generally give them a wide berth. The superheroes I once admired and who taught me about courage, innovation, and adventure, had become unrecognizable as well as unoriginal. Numerous reboots later, all of the old villains and storylines had been rehashed ad nauseam, just like what we see in both the film and television industries, and I don’t intend to pay for the privilege of being bored.

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An Unrequited Life

depression

The dance lessons were not working. He’d let Jeremy and Terri talk him into taking jazz dance and it worked out exactly like the yoga lessons, the tennis lessons, and the single, miserable trip to the ice skating rink. Conrad remembered sitting on the ice, nursing his bruises, when a little girl no more than five effortlessly zipped up to him and said, “It’s okay. I fell a lot when I was first learning, too.”

He never went back, and he would never go back into that dance studio again.

“Face it, Conrad. If it’s athletic or physical, you suck at it.”

“Hey, give it a chance.” Jeremy was trying to be encouraging. He had met Jer and his girlfriend Terri in English Lit and the three became fast friends, but they were so much different from Conrad.

“Sorry. I’m going home. See you tomorrow.” Before they could object, he opened the door of his VW Bug, slid in the driver’s seat, and started the engine.

It was a beige ’72 Beetle, and he was so much like it. Simple, easy to maintain, and non-descript.

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Visitors

aliens manning

Cover art for the comic book science fiction series “The Aliens.”

NEW YORK - Anne Cenzeno, Associated Press - 22 March 2176 - In the aftermath of the return of Earth's first interstellar ship the "Aquila" commanded by Colonel Allen Parker, the delegation of four alien beings whose ship they encountered in space are being taken on a guided tour of Manhattan in the company of the Aquila's command crew.

While some have welcomed our first visitors from the stars, other groups have organized protests which have erupted along the publicized route of the tour through Times Square...

“There seems to be elevated levels of anxiety, fear, and anger from many of your citizens, Colonel Parker.”

“Yes, unfortunately, my species isn’t very enlightened when it comes to differences and change, Zarz. We have a hard enough time dealing with variances within our own people groups.”

“I wonder if they are all your people, Colonel.”

“What do you mean?”

“My comrades and I detect that although, to your senses, everyone nearby appears to be of your species, some indeed are not.”

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Diminished

grasshopper

© @any1mark66

Everyone told me shrinking an object or a person while maintaining that object’s original properties is impossible and they’re right. Planck’s constant prevents it. That means no Ant-Man, Atom, and no little subs like in Fantastic Voyage.

Surprise. I’m only six-inches tall. This grasshopper doesn’t know I’m standing in front of it because I’m not. I’m a hologram. My perceptions have been projected into a half-foot tall holographic matrix.

Fascinating, except for one thing. I can’t disengage from the matrix. I’m stuck inside the projection of myself in my backyard.

“Hello, tiny.”

“Helen?” What…how can you see me?”

“I arranged your little accident.”

“What? But why?”

“When I come back from my business trip in three weeks, I’ll discover you were killed in a home lab accident. Tragic for the widow, but I’ll inherit your fortune and your hunky lab assistant, Harold.”

“Helen, why? I thought we loved each other.”

“You’ve always loved your gadgets more than me. You never even noticed me screwing Harold practically under your nose. Go hop around with your friend.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of November 28, 2017. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

I think I’ve written a few stories prompted by photos of insects lately, so how could I make this one different? Well, when I was a kid, I really did read the old 1960s comic books about Ant-Man and The Atom and was fascinated by the idea of being able to shrink way down in size. Also, one of my favorite science fiction movies to this day is the 1966 film “Fantastic Voyage.”

However, as I very briefly explained, Planck’s constant prevents real-life shrinking (learn more at PhysicsForums.com and this BoingBoing.net article).

However, if you could create a holographic matrix of the correct proportions and then project your perceptions into the construct, you would experience being small without actually being small (at least as far as my fake science goes).

Just don’t let your two-timing wife know. Otherwise, you’ll end up like our hapless and nameless scientist.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Now read Diminished: The Expanded Story.

Counter Invasion

wight

© Google, March 2016 – The Needles Headland and Tennyson Down – Isle of Wight

“Do you think you and your commandos can pull it off, Nick?”

The Army Sergeant chewed on his cigar filling the air with what he thought of as a “sweet-smelling aroma,” and his C.O. and good friend Captain Sam Sawyer didn’t mind the breach of protocol in his office at Allied Command.

“Why the hell not. It’s what we joined this man’s Army for, ain’t it?

germans in guernsey

Germans in Guernsey – Found at the “On the Wight” blog

“Great. You and your men will board the sub for the Isle of Wight at 23:30 hours.”

“You’re sure he’ll be there, Sam.”

“Our best intel says he’s personally inspecting the Nazi installation at Carisbrooke Castle. Your mission is to invade the castle and assassinate Adolf Hitler.”

“Just one more thing, Sam. We’ll need the Captain.”

“Me? I’m not…”

“No, not you. I mean the Captain.”

“He’ll be there with your commandos, Nick. Don’t think he’d miss this one for the world.”

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Sgt. Nick Fury and His Howling Commandos with Captain America

I wrote this story for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use a Google maps image and location as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 148.

Today the Pegman takes us to the Isle of Wight and specifically to Carisbrooke Castle.

Yesterday, I wrote an alternate history story about the origin of Captain America after reading something suggesting that actor Will Smith was initially considered to play the title role in the 2011 film Captain America: The First Avenger.

Last night, with that still on my mind, I re-watched the 2014 movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The previous film depicted a version of Fury’s “Howling Commandos” but without Nick of course, and the sequel mentioned them in a display at the Smithsonian.

This morning when I saw the Pegman’s location, I did what I always do, open up a couple of Wikipedia pages. I was curious about the involvement of the Isle of Wight during World War Two and I found something interesting.

There initially had been plans for the Germans to invade and occupy the Isle of Wight and use it as a staging ground for the air blitz of London and southern England. However fears of Britain’s sea superiority resulted in Hitler rejecting the plot.

Then I read the article called How the Isle of Wight could have helped Hitler win the war: Nazi leader was talked out of his plans to invade the tiny island and, having recently written a few “alternate history” tales, decided to craft my wee story around the premise of the Nazis successfully invading and holding the Isle of Wight.

Throwing caution to the winds, I included Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos or at least Nick and his C.O. Captain “Happy Sam” Sawyer with an “honorable mention” of Cap himself. How would the war in Europe been different if Fury’s team were successful and they killed Adolf Hitler sometime in 1941?

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

The True Origin of Captain America

will smith captain america

Actor Will Smith depicted as Captain America

“You must be the puniest nigger I’ve ever seen, boy. What’s your name again?”

“Johnson, Samuel G., Private, Sir.”

Sam Johnson was the most unlikely soldier in his unit, but then again, he would have been an unlikely soldier in any army in the world. He’d suffered from a number of ailments in childhood including rheumatic fever. His family was poor. Papa died when he was only a baby and Mama had to work three jobs just to keep him fed. They had no money for doctors and his old Aunt Bessie said it was only Mama’s love that kept him alive.

He grew up but not very much. He was tall, but thin, his clothes fitting him like loose blankets. Because of his ill-health, he wasn’t fit for much hard work, but what he lacked in muscle, he made up for in heart and determination.

Like most colored folk, he expected the white folk to call him “nigger,” “coon,” and the like, and he took more than his fair share of beatings, not just because he was a colored man, but because he fought back. To say he fought back meant that he had the will, but he could no more throw a solid punch than Josephine Baker could win the Miss America Pagent.

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