art of comix

yesterday i headed over to one of my area malls and dick around for a few hours. so i ventured into the bam store and steered myself right toward the comics section and started to read AVX. first issue i grabbed was WATXM. wtf is up with the art in this book? can someone tell me please? my niece could draw better characters than that and shes 8! the story was meh. then i picked up xmen legacy featuring the AVX war. you know what i saw? better art work. i am not sure if the same artists are working on the same books or there are different ones. but for god sakes pick a style of art and stay with it. i havent seen crappy artwork since Excalibur #37 through Excalibur #39 [prometheus exchange]. if i were in charge of the x-titles the artists from watmx would be cleaning out their desks.

Start the Conversation

Mystery Boom in Virginia Likely a Meteor

Tuesday evening, residents across Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Suffolk, Va., dialed 911 to report what sounded what a large explosion. Today, a NASA scientist explained that it might have been a meteor.

The area is home to several military bases, so residents are accustomed to loud sounds. This was out of the ordinary, though; several 911 callers reported a loud noise that rattled their screen doors and windows. One woman told the local television station, WAVY, that it felt like an earthquake.

That's not uncharacteristic for a sonic boom created by a meteor, said Joe Zawodny, a senior research scientist at NASA Langley Research Center.

"A sonic boom is pressure wave, and it mimics an explosion," Zawodny told Life's Little Mysteries, a sister site of "They can be quite forceful, and can definitely rattle walls and windows."

Meteors come in different flavors. Some are iron meteorites, which melt and burn on their way down but remain intact, Zawodny said. The sound is most consistent with a golf ball- size rock of this nature traveling upward of 1,000 mph and leaving a trail of sonic booms as it flies across the sky, most likely quite close to the ground. [ Video: Meteors from Halley's Comet]

Or it could have been caused by a more energetic event. "Other things are made of materials that break up on way down. This thing could have come in sizeable and disintegrated, and that energy dissipated as one big boom as it broke down. So it could have actually been an explosion," Zawodny said.

One thing it most likely was not caused by was a supersonic military airplane. "That's always first thing you think of, but that's a very distinctive sound," he said. "You hear a double boom from a plane's sonic boom. And those sonic booms are fairly local and don't occur along a path, as this noise did."

"There's no doubt in my mind that it's consistent with a supersonic rock, or something else coming in from space," Zawodny said.

Sonic booms from meteors are not a rare event, occurring a dozen times a year over the U.S. This rock was most likely a remnant of a meteor shower associated with Halley's Comet that peaked on May 6, Zawodny said. [ Photos of Halley's Comet]

Zawodny pointed out that this explanation is not conclusive, however, unless someone witnessed the meteor's fire trail.

"The only other thing that I've been holding open as possibility — and this would be quite rare — is this could be a result of an atmospheric ducting phenomenon," Zawodny said.

This phenomenon requires just-right weather conditions to create layers in the atmosphere that then act as a wave guide and channel sound waves from one place to another, sometimes over long distances.

"We've had the right temperature profile in the area [to create an atmospheric duct]," Zawodny said. "There could have been an offshore Navy thing that made sound that traveled along the duct inland. It would have had to be a really huge sound, though."

"It's a really remote possibility," he added. "But I'm a scientist, and without conclusive evidence, you gotta have a little wiggle room."

This story was provided by Life's Little Mysteries, a sister site to Follow Life's Little Mysteries on Twitter @LLMysteries and get space science and exploration news @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.    

Start the Conversation

Whale Shark Feeding Frenzies Mystify Scientists

If this year is like the last few, one of the most mysterious creatures in the world will soon descend upon the waters off of the Yucatan Peninsula. The blue, plankton-rich waters will become an all-you-can-eat haven for hundreds of giant whale sharks, an annual event known as "afuera."

As writer Jim Tharpe wrote Monday in the Washington Post, the sharks feed on plankton at the ocean surface in a "swirling mass." Nowhere else do whale sharks gather in such numbers in full view of human eyes – and researchers are using the opportunity to learn more about these elusive giants.

"Amazingly, the largest fish in the world, which is the whale shark, is one of the least known," Rafael de la Parra, a biologist and coordinator for Mexico's whale shark conservation Domino Project, told LiveScience. [ Images of whale sharks]

Mystery beasts

The sharks live their lives largely out of the sight. Little is known about where they go and what they do when they aren't in shallow-water feeding groups like the ones in Mexican waters. Satellite tags, which beam back information about animals' whereabouts, have given some hints, said Robert Hueter, the director of the shark research center at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida.

Hueter, de la Parra and their colleagues have tracked 42 whale sharks from the Yucatan area with satellite tags since 2003. They've found that the animals swim massive distances. One female turned up in the Southern Hemisphere halfway between Brazil and Africa. She'd traveled a minimum of 4,500 miles (7,242 kilometers) in 150 days, not including vertical distance diving or any curves on her route.

"We're working on the hypothesis that they are going down there to give birth to their pups, at least that's one place that they're going," Hueter told LiveScience. The theory is consistent with observations of small whale sharks in the area, he said, but so far the team hasn't seen another female take the same journey.

The whale sharks also take deep dives. The deepest observed dive, Hueter said, was 6,325 feet (1,928 meters) below the ocean surface – more than a mile and a quarter. The sharks make these dives in a long, slow glide, Hueter said, leading researchers to speculate that it's a way for the animals to cover long distances without expending much energy.

Reproduction riddle

The reason for the deep-sea excursions isn't the only whale shark mystery. No one knows anything about how the animals breed, said Jennifer Schmidt, a biologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago who has studied the genetics of the animals. One of her studies suggests that female whale sharks may save up sperm from a single mating to fertilize multiple pregnancies, but whale shark courtship has never been observed.

"The genetics tell us that there seems to be a large degree of migration and interbreeding between animals around the world," Schmidt told LiveScience. "There must be a place where adult males and females meet to breed, but we don't know where that place is."

Most feeding aggregations seen around the world are made up of adolescent males, Hueter said. The sharks that feed in Mexico are a slightly more inclusive slice of whale shark life, with more adults and females present. Still, the sex ratio is 2.6 males to every female, and no one knows why.

Diving for clues

Nonetheless, studies of the Yucatan feeding frenzies have answered some questions about whale sharks. For one: What do they eat? The sharks are drawn to the site by an upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich water that leads to plankton blooms. Plankton is the main source of sustenance for these filter-feeding sharks. In particular, the afuera area – so named because it is "outside" the Mexican government's official protected zone for the sharks – is a spawning spot for a type of tuna called the little tunny. The fish probably spawn at night, Schmidt said, and their eggs rise to the surface in the morning.

Next, she said, "the sharks come in and literally swim at surface level with their mouths wide open just vacuuming in the eggs."

Because the sharks feed at the surface, researchers have been able to figure out how they eat, as well as how much. It turns out that whale sharks have a unique filtration system: Their mouths are equipped with pads that "look like scouring pads from your kitchen," said Philip Motta, a biologist at the University of South Florida who has studied the afuera whale sharks' feeding behavior.

As the sharks swim along, water probably hits these pads at an angle, Motta told LiveScience. The water continues through, but the plankton get deflected toward the back of the throat. The set-up probably prevents the filtering pads from getting clogged, Motta said.

"There's no other fish that has anything like this," he said.

 For all their size (they can grow to more than 40 feet, or 12 meters, in length) whale sharks don't eat as many calories as might be expected. According to research by Motta and colleagues published last year in the journal Zoology, a 20-foot (6.2 meter) whale shark is estimated to consume 6,721 calories (28,121 kilojoules) per day. In comparison, a moderately active human man should consume around 2,500 calories per day.

It's impossible to know in advance whether the sharks will stay "afuera" or aggregate inside the protected zone this year, de la Parra said, but the research team plans to continue research on the sharks' genetics, growth and movements. They're also monitoring whether ecotourism affects the sharks' behavior. Numerous boats carry tourists out to feeding aggregations to get close to the sharks, Hueter said, which is good for conservation awareness. However, he said, many sharks already show signs of run-ins with propellers and boats, so ecotourism can be a threat.

Hueter and his Mote Marine Lab team aren't sure if they'll have funding to continue studies in Mexico this summer. They're watching a few remaining satellite tags from previous seasons, Hueter said. They are also monitoring shark populations in the northern Gulf of Mexico, looking for contamination from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It's likely to be tough, Hueter said, but the team hopes to draw blood from swimming whale sharks to check their health. As filter feeders, he said, whale sharks are particularly vulnerable to ocean pollution.

"They can't just keep their mouths closed and swim away and feed somewhere else," Hueter said. "Even if oil is present in microdroplets that have been dispersed, they are processing a lot of volume of water, and even the smallest trace of pollutants can become concentrated on their gills."    

Start the Conversation

Five things you never knew about Pac-Man



Having been a part of the pop-culture landscape for over 30 years now, Pac-Man is a pretty familiar character.

He has adorned cereal boxes, been the star of a Saturday morning cartoon program and appeared on virtually every gaming platform to have ever been released.

That's not just systems from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. It also includes essentially every cell phone that has a screen, long-dead portable systems and plug-and-play devices for your TV. Along the way, the little pellet-muncher has built an empire that has allowed publisher Namco-Bandai to survive the worst the economy could throw at it.     

But even the most well known icons have their secrets. This week, at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Toru Iwatani, creator of the game, offered a postmortem on the industry's biggest franchise-and told a few tales most fans have probably never heard.

Here are the five most surprising:     

The point of the game was to attract girls

While today's player is slightly more likely to be male, gaming in the late 1970s was pretty much exclusively a men's club. Iwatani wanted to change this, creating something that could appeal to both women and families, he says. 

"The reason I created Pac-Man was because we wanted to attract female gamers," he says. "Back then, there were no home games. People had to go to the arcade center to play games. That was a playground for boys. It was dirty and smelly. So we wanted to include female players, so it would become cleaner and brighter." 

Each ghost had specific orders

When you play the game, it might seem as if the four ghosts are actively chasing you. That's not exactly true. Iwatani intentionally avoided programming them with that purpose, since that would have resulted in Pac-Man zipping around the screen with four ghosts always right behind him. 

Instead, it's only Blinky, the red ghost, who doggedly pursues you throughout the game. Pinky, the pink ghost (naturally), simply wants to position itself at a point that's 32 pixels in front of Pac-Man's mouth.  The blue ghost, Inky, is seeking to position itself at a similar fixed spot. And Clyde, the orange ghost, moves completely at random.

Because the player constantly has Pac-Man on the go, however, the ghosts are always changing direction and trying to achieve their goal, which adds to the challenge of the game.     

What, exactly, does Pac-Man mean? 

You may have heard the story about how a pizza with a missing slice inspired Pac-Man's design. But it turns out the game was designed entirely around food.

"I thought about something that may attract girls," says Iwatani. "Maybe boy stories or something to do with fashion. However, girls love to eat desserts. My wife often does! So the verb ‘eat' gave me a hint to create this game." 

That theme continued with the game's name. In Japanese, "puck puck" is akin to the U.S. saying "munch munch". So the original name - Puck-Man - translated as "Munch man". (A savvy Midway Games official changed it to Pac-Man when the game hit the U.S. to discourage vandals from shaving off part of the "P," thereby creating an obscene word.) 

The missing puzzle piece 

Pac-Man was designed to be as simple as possible, to attract a wide audience. The limits of technology in 1980 made this a little easier to achieve. Iwatani says he's happy about this now, but at the time, there was one more thing he wanted to add to the game. 

"I wanted to have a shelter and it would move up and down," he says. "When the ghost comes, the ghost would be pinched by the shelter which would disfigure the ghost."

The ghosts were almost just one color

It's kind of hard to picture Pac-Man without the brightly colored ghosts today, but when the game was being developed, Iwatani says he was pressured hard to change that.

The president of Namco ordered him to make the ghosts a single color - red, to be precise - since she believed players would be confused that some ghosts, perhaps, were Pac-Man's ally.

Iwatani refused the order and on questionnaires to the game's testers, asked if they would prefer a single color ghost or four. Not a single person wanted the single-color option. That ultimately convinced the president she was wrong.    


5 Comic Book Spinoffs (That Never Should Have Happened)

When a comic book becomes incredibly popular, the only logical thing a publisher can do is create a spin-off exploring other characters. Sometimes you get a series that can carry its own weight, like the Batman spinoff Robin, but more often than not you’re left with duds like these five titles.     

1. Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane

Between 1958 and 1979, any character of moderate significance warranted a spin-off, and for evidence of this you need look no further than Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane. As the title would suggest, the book was a means to explore Superman’s other half in greater detail because Supe’s own book was dedicated to action, adventure, justice and other things the average adolescent male certainly didn’t really give a damn about.     



The problem with giving Lois Lane her own book is right there in the title: even when the sister is doing it for herself, she’s still playing second fiddle to the Man of Steel. To be fair, it wasn’t terribly likely that anyone would buy one of these things to follow the exploits of a middle-aged white woman who couldn’t deflect bullets with her chest. To be unfair, most issues broke down to Lois somehow getting into a wacky situation that her sugar-daddy would have to get her out of. 



The title itself was also a bit of a misnomer, since Superman spent half of Lois’ book sticking his penis into other women. Despite representing truth, justice, and the American way, Superman just couldn’t commit to one woman and Lois spent an absurd amount of time trying to trick a man with heat vision into marrying her. The only time Lois ever acted like she might be an independent woman was when she was battling Superman’s other love interests, which included Lana Lang, Wonder Woman and a mermaid he met in college.     



2. Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen 

In an effort to prove that the Superman franchise was ripe with interesting characters that could carry their own weight, publisher DC comics gave Jimmy Olsen, ace photographer and b-list sidekick, his own book. Much like Lois Lane, Jimmy wasn’t profitable enough to venture out on his own without Superman’s name slapped across the top. Grandmothers everywhere brought home Jimmy’s adventures to grandchildren who learned what true disappointment was as a result. 

Now that he was a headlining act Jimmy did anything but be Superman’s friend. Seriously, look through a gallery of Jimmy Olsen comics where he isn’t trying to kill Superman:




Thrive off of Superman’s tears:




Or move in on his alleged girlfriend? 



When not trying to bring the world’s greatest hero to his knees, Jimmy also spends his time trying to learn Superman’s identity for the purposes of exploitation. And how does he do it? Classic death hoax. 



3. Trouble 

Spider-Man’s many series are known for their liberal use of retcon, or making significant changes to the plot or characters by altering past events. Retcons are usually the result of a character’s death, lingering plot holes, or writers feeling that a story won’t be able to continue in the same direction. Spider-Man has suffered from all three in his history because he’s simply that amazing.     



Apparently, one of the lingering plot holes was about who actually gave birth to Peter Parker. “Trouble” tries to answer this by tackling the age-old conundrum of teenage pregnancy. In this instance, the teen in question is May, otherwise known as Aunt May. Back in the seventies she was a bit of a problem child and had wild, unprotected sex with both Ben and his brother Richie. 




May’s reasoning for doing the deed with two different men was because a palm reader told her no one would ever call her “mom.” Once she realizes that she’s pregnant, that dear Ben is sterile and that palm readers aren’t an effective form of birth control, she runs away from home. She then gives birth to Peter, gives Peter to his father Richie and goes about her life, rapidly aging as though nothing had happened.     



4. Amalgam Comics 

In the nineties, America’s two big comic publishers came together. Literally. The Amalgam universe is what happens when the biggest Marvel characters drink and drive, inevitably crashing their party van through the wall of the DC universe prom. But rather than clean up the mess, the two publishers put pen to paper and made every ten year old boy’s dream an odd reality. 

Characters came about by fusing together the names and/or appearances of two similar characters. For example, Dark Claw is the combination of Batman and Wolverine, which makes perfect sense on paper: Batman is the world’s greatest detective who vows to never take a life while Wolverine is a man who kills people simply on the basis that he woke up that morning.     



Other character choices were so obvious as to be painful, such as Captain America and Superman (“Super Soldier”). 



And others still made such little difference that they needn’t have taken place at all, such as Namor and Aquaman’s “Aquamariner.”     



The Amalgam universe lasted for twenty four issues with several different books. The publishers played up their own fictional history with a fake fan mail column referring to previous issues (that didn’t exist) and animated series (that would never be made).     

5. Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane

Comics have always faced a dilemma: female readership. For some strange reason, the ladies simply don’t flock to comic books like they used to back in the early days.     



In 2005, Marvel noticed that female readership had grown due to the popularity of “manga”, or Japanese comics. To try and win back the dames, Marvel decided to mimic the visual style with actual manga artist and to go in with Mary Jane as the lead. The end result was this: 



Mary Jane was notable for two things: not being Spider-Man and being someone who Spider-Man loved but hadn’t inadvertently killed somehow. However, things were different with Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane. Rather than see Spider-Man thwart the dastardly Rhino or see Aunt May get her skanky groove on, readers were treated to angsty teenage love triangles, homecoming dance shenanigans and eyes the size of unobtainable pectoral muscles we’d be seeing if we read a decent comic. ‘Nuff said.    


6 Comic Books About Musicians Who Should Have Known Better

Comic books and music. Two things that are widely and wildly consumed by people the world over. Musicians read comics, sometimes they write comics. Occassionally you get comic artists and writers playing music. They are two wonderful artistic mediums, no doubt about it. However, unlike peanut butter and chocolate, which are two great tastes that go great together, somehow musicians starring in the comics just doesn’t seem to work out.     

1. Prince

From DC’s ill-fated Piranha Press imprint of a couple of decades back comes this incredibly odd concept for a comic book. Prince, back when he was called Prince the first time around, stars as a sort of version of himself. We say “sort of” because while he is portrayed as around 5 feet tall, and he is shown to be a musician, that’s about where it stops, reality-wise. 

The story, such as it is, is one that could be told in 2-3 pages but instead fills the entire book. Prince and this other guy, named Gemmini, who was his…evil twin…or something, were very close when they were starting out, see. Only Prince learned to use his incredible musical gift for good, and this other fellow, well, for reasons not adequately (read: not at all) explored, his music incites folks to riot and kill each other. 

There’s also some rot about Prince’s current girlfriend being a spy for the other guy or something, but truthfully, everything wrong with this comic (which admittedly was under a gorgeous Brian Bolland cover) can be summed up thusly: Prince, after taking a baseball bat away from the bad guys, sort of… shoves on it with his high-heeled boot and just shatters the thing. Prince, the little 5 foot nothing dude weighing no more than 110 pounds soaking wet, shatters a friggin’ baseball bat.

There’s also a totally weird moment where Prince brings a woman back to life with the power of Purple Rain, but seriously, a baseball bat.     

2. New Kids on the Block 

For a while back in the early 90s, when “boy bands” hadn’t quite become the joke they would be just weeks later, New Kids on the Block ruled the Earth. Based primarily on the song “The Right Stuff” and their good looks, the New Kids were everywhere. By the early 90s, Harvey comics had long since seen their best days come and go but were struggling valiantly to keep up with a changing market that had little place for them. New Kids didn’t help as it turned out, but you gotta give ‘em credit for trying. 

Harvey jumped in so far with New Kids that they published not one, not two, but 6 series starring the youngsters, plus a couple of one-shots. It’s truly sad to see once-mighty comic characters like Richie Rich reduced to trying to shore up the already-sagging careers of men too old to be called kids. Of course that’s not quite as bad as the series where they hung out with a pre-pubescent Wendy the Good Little Witch, inexplicably drawn in a schoolgirl outfit that would wet the dreams of Hentai lovers the world over. Lord save us all. 


3. KISS 

Let’s admit this one up front. KISS eventually did make some awesome comic books. When they had the good sense to get together with Image comics anyway. First though, around 20 years earlier, they came out with this monstrosity. 

Made by a publisher who had given us reason to believe they were capable of much better material, this comic could probably be introduced as Exhibit A at their bankruptcy hearing for a violating a number of standard comic book rules: 

• Don’t just make up whatever you can think of when it comes to back-story, you’re just bound to disappoint your audience.
• Don’t simply write dialogue that vaguely “sounds like them”. It’s hard to get right and pretty much every person reading it has already heard the band speak before.
• If you are going to draw the band to look like awesome superheroes, DO NOT include actual photos of them in the book that show they are pasty little nancy-boys in real life. 

• Do not cross them over with your regular characters, since fans will later wonder why they are never again mentioned.
• Don’t make the extras more full of awesomeness than the actual comic. 

What’s that? What Awesomeness? Glad you asked! In the 70s, you must remember, the sheer omnipotence that is the internet did not exist. Checking out stories such as this one was almost impossible, so we all tended to believe what we were told. Because KISS was seen, at the time, to be a band of men made of pure sex-fueled man-energy, naturally their comic book had to have that next little step up into the stratosphere, right? Well, according to the article in the middle of the book, a pint of blood was taken from each member of the band and mixed in to the printing ink. For years, rumors had it that it was all B.S. or that the blood-tainted ink accidentally ended up in a printing of Sports Illustrated. Turns out it’s true though, as there exists a signed and witnessed affidavit to the fact. 

Plot? Yeah, there was one, something about ancient talismans that corresponded to the band’s images ending up in the hands of 4 youths from the streets of New York. The talismans make them, as the wizard who inadvertantly gives them to them says, “kings of the nighttime world” and sort of super powerful. Dr. Doom (yes, that Dr. Doom) wants the artifacts, and so they battle him until nothing really gets resolved, and they run out of pages. 


4. Alice Cooper 

Yes, when school was out for the summer, you could tuck into an equally tiresome comic book (which you can read in it’s entirety here). 

Now, to be fair, this isn’t exactly an Alice Cooper comic book. It’s actually the 50th issue of Marvel Premiere, an anthology book that Marvel published from 1972-1981. The book was a try-out kind of thing where Marvel would test the waters for characters and concepts they weren’t totally convinced about yet. Some were legit… over the years it had included the debuts of such stalwarts as Doctors Strange and Who. Such was the case for poor Alice here. Somebody at Marvel was convinced for about 20 years that Marvel really needed to be a part of the music scene. Alice was just the latest victim…er…subject. 

Honestly, to look at the cover you might think it was a cool book. It certainly looks like it should be. And Lord knows they tried. The plot… well…. we think there is one, somewhere… oh yes, here it is: “Alice Cooper is mistaken for a mental patient named A. Cooper, and flung into a lunatic asylum wherein wacky hijinks arise from his repeated attempts to excape.” Fantastic. In actuality, the hijinks aren’t that wacky and then they (spoiler alert!) confuse it all at the end by having Alice talk straight to the reader and imply that maybe he really should be in there! Wow that’s wacky! 


5. Billy Ray Cyrus 

Oh… my… okay, moving on.


6. Cheap Trick 

We’re gonna end on a high note (get it? High note? An article about music, and… oh forget it). 

Yeah right. This is another of Marvel’s incessant attempts to break into the music biz, and it is arguably their most pathetic. This wasn’t even sold in comic stores, it was given away as a promotional gimmick (hence the clever blurb on the cover) with the band’s 1990 (yeah, as in, about 10 years after anyone still cared about Cheap Trick) album Busted. Never mind that this album is usually considered the worst the band ever made, this comic was free and no one wanted it! Today Mile High Comics lists it at 78 dollars in mint condition. Since no one who ever had a copy didn’t shred it, it’s probable that no mint copy exists. Mile High doesn’t even have one, in any condition. The comic was free, and yet still probably outsold the album. Those wishing to taste the awfulness may go look here, but goodness knows we wouldn’t recommend it. 


Written by David Johnson – Copyrighted ©    

Start the Conversation

10 Absurd Comic Book Crossovers

The time honored tradition of the comic book crossover has a long and rich history of not making any damn sense whatsoever. Characters who are popular at the time will meet one another only to leave a bitter and bewildering taste in the reader’s mouth, while publishers usually skip to the bank. Here are ten examples of the phenomenon, which we have painstakingly analyzed to spare our faithful readers. 

1. Superman Meets the Quik Bunny 

Superman, the defender of truth, justice, and the American way, meets the Quik Bunny, defender of almost flavor, and team up to defeat the Weather Wizard, a villain so powerful that every single one of his plots can be thwarted by a disposable poncho or a fuzzy sweater.

Nothing could be more dignified than for Superman to have a pantsless bunny grind the back of his head.

When Supes gets thwarted by foul weather it’s up to the Quik Bunny to save the day which, oddly enough, means drinking an absurd amount of his chocolate milk. Yeah, it was just a promotional piece for Nestle but that doesn’t change the fact that Superman needed the help of a diabetic hare to save the day.


2. Spider-Man and the Not Ready for Prime-Time Players 

Still way better than “Batman vs. the Land Shark”. Less Chevy Chase in tights, too.

At the prospect of John Belushi getting diced like a drug-addicted onion at the hands of a samurai that’s “for real,” Spider-Man disrupts a live taping of Saturday Night Live. He’s later banned from any future taping by Loren Michaels, a ban that remains in place to this day.     

3. Archie Meets the Punisher 

Frank Castle is contracted by the government to find the drug dealer “Red” hiding out in Riverdale. However, because Riverdale is perpetually stuck in the nineteen-fifties, he’s not permitted to actually kill Red. So it’s just like any other Punisher comic if the Punisher were written for your grandparents. 

Apparently avenging the death of his family involves reinforcing 50’s era sexual repression.

But where the ball-shattering violence is absent, wacky hijinks ensue. It just so happens that Red looks similar to Archie! Split your sides as Punisher dangles Archie out of a window by his wrists, or threatens his testicles with a table saw!     

4. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Meet Archie 

Why do people keep wanting to meet Archie? Has anything even remotely interesting ever happened in Riverdale? 

Any indication why they’re celebrating? Or what’s going on with Archie’s torso?

Look, Ninja Turtles: you’re four totally rad turtles in a half-shell (whatever the hell that means). I have a hard time believing that you don’t have anything better to do than hit on Veronica and challenge Jughead to a hamburger eating contest.     

5. Everyone Meets the Predator 

It might sound like hyperbole, but it’s close enough to the truth to say that every major comic book character of the nineties encountered the Predator in some form or another: 

Batman actually just hates dreadlocks.

This is a bit unfair because Batman actually had three solo run-ins with Predators in three different books. This marked a monumental occasion for the Gotham City Police Department because they were actually doing their job long enough to allow Batman enough vacation time to fight killer aliens. 

Since Superman can fly, is there any tension at all in this scene?

Here we have Superman fighting Predators. Naturally he has to be powered down because there really isn’t much of a fight to be had between the two; the Predator does that weird jaw thing and Superman promptly punches a hole through the back of his skull. Whole thing’s over in two pages, three if you want to throw in a variant cover.

And here we have Batman teaming up with Superman to fight Predators. At this point they’ve met more Predators than Chris Hansen. Zing

Here we see Judge Dredd struggling to remain relevant. 

And here’s Tarzan vs. Predator, which has got to be the most one-sided fight since Todd Brodges vs. Vanilla Ice.     

6. Jerry Lewis Meets Batman and Robin 

Ho-Ho-Homicide was also the name of a Santa Claus slasher flick.


Comedian Jerry Lewis once had his own comic book in a time when comic books weren’t taken very seriously. Lewis (who appears to have been struck in the skull with a shovel, judging by his portrait in the corner there) used his run to have his comic visage meet various celebrities of the time, which wasn’t an unusual practice of the day. However, from this cover we can learn three things: 

1. Jerry Lewis can’t tell the difference between a laser beam and a sun lamp (hint: one key difference is the scent of melting metal).
2. In case of emergencies, Batman and Robin always use the front door.
3. The Joker can really fill-out a sweatshirt. Me-ow.     

7. Spider-Man Meets the Transformers 

Not much of a stretch when you consider Spider-Man and Transformers were both Marvel properties in the mid-eighties. Still, Spider-Man’s total ineffectiveness against fighting giant robots should be readily apparent: he attempts to catch the Autobot Gears in his web only to watch him fall to his death, but only after trying to contain Megatron in his web with similar tragic results. 

This lasted for all of four seconds.

8. The X-Men Meet the Cast of Star-Trek 

Has anything good ever come out of the X-Men coming to, returning from, or interacting with space in anyway? The short answer is “no,” while the long answer is “No, and people should really stop rewriting the Phoenix Saga.” 

But back to the subject at hand. The X-Men of 1996 are transported to the original USS Enterprise to combat Proteus, a reality shaping mutant, who is possessing the corpse of Gary Mitchell, who can also distort reality. The end result is Wolverine getting a Vulcan death-grip. 

“Pick an origin story, you!”

9. The Avengers VS. Godzilla 

The Avengers are Marvel’s B-team, pulling up the rear behind the X-Men, X-Factor, Generation-X, X-Force and any other team that has an “X” in its name. The team’s roster constantly rotates and some line-ups have an easier go at it than others. For example, the line-up of Thor, Iron-Man, Yellow Jacket, Wasp, and Vision had to tackle Japan’s greatest export: a radiation-made monster. 

Having thwarted every giant moth and Japanese military man he could find, big G made his way across the Pacific and hauled ass across America, brutalizing every hero, space robot and unfortunately tall building in his way. It wasn’t until he made his way across the continent and landed in New York City that he was stopped by the Avengers. But here’s something to ponder: where were all the super heroes when he was tearing down Tokyo like a Lego set? Oh yeah, back in New York. 

“Hey, giant lizards aren't our prob- OH MY GOD”

10. Superman Meets Pat Boone 

Finally, we learn that Superman has an often forgotten yet deadly weakness: the pop stylings of one Pat Boone. 

“And if I have time, I’ll tackle that green-yellow monstrosity Lois calls ‘fashion’!”


I’m not really sure how a top forty hit and radio play somehow undermine a man who is invincible by nearly every stretch of the imagination, but the fact the he feels the need to use every one of his super-powers to stop this jam session can only mean that poor Pat Boone will be leaving that studio in a body cast. Or maybe Superman is just sick of people ripping off black artists. 

What other crossover-cash ins have filled you with nerd rage? Post them below!

Written by Ben Dennison – Copyrighted ©    

Start the Conversation

The 9 Stupidest Lanterns

For the longest time, there was only one kind of Lantern in the DC Universe, green. Then, they added an evil one, the Sinestro Corps. Then they added a Blue one. Then a Red one. Then basically they decided to just go nuts with the colors. But when you’re recruiting police from across the universe for ONE huge organization, forget seven of them, you’re going to have a few losers in the bunch. Here are our favorites, and notice we didn’t even get into the other colors; all of these are the HEROES

1. Mogo

Mogo started off as a joke written by Alan Moore, who had a heck of a lot of fun at the Green Lantern Corps’ expense (half this list is by said crazy Englishman), introduced in a story called “Mogo Doesn’t Socialize.” You see, Mogo’s a planet. 

Yes, a planet. Mogo’s sentient, and has a power ring.

Forget the power ring, though. Think about physics here. If Mogo shows up anywhere, he’s going to throw the entire solar system out of whack. He’d send planets tumbling into the sun, steal moons, ruin orbits…this guy can’t go anywhere. That’s probably why the Guardians, who apparently really don’t like to take back rings once they hand them out, no matter how stupid the recipient is, just have him sending Rings to new Lanterns. He’s basically a cosmic switchboard. 


2. Rot Lop Fan

You might be wondering what this guy’s deal is, seeing that he doesn’t seem to have any eyes or ability to see. Well, that’s because he’s from the Obsidian Deeps, a region of space where there’s no light whatsoever and thus no perception of sight. Or color. The problem becomes immediately obvious, as does the hand of cackling madman Alan Moore. 

It turns out they solved it by turning the ring into a bell and making it something that works with sound instead of light. This seems like an awesome idea because it immediately gives the Green Lantern Corps a huge advantage in their fights, creating constructs out of sound instead of light. So, smart guys that they are, they leave Captain All Ears to it and we never see the guy, or hear about turning rings into bells, again. 

3. Ch’p     

That’s Ch’p. No, he isn’t from a Disney cross over, or an Elseworlds, or some other really obvious excuse for a bad idea aimed squarely at small children. He’s a giant talking chipmunk with one of the most powerful weapons in the universe. No, we have no idea why DC didn’t realize this was not, in fact, cute but instead pure nightmare fuel. Rats with power rings is just not something we want to think about without a large bottle of vodka handy. 

And in case the idea of a sentient squirrel who could run you over isn’t bad enough, he was brought back as a zombie. You know, because cute talking animals portrayed as zombies will totally make us take this crossover seriously, instead of being the dumbest idea this side of zombified Power Pack.     

4. Chaselon

There are a lot of things that can make a superhero intimidating. Huge muscles. Energy powers. Having a Green Lantern ring. Tentacles. Chaselon has two of those going for him, namely the last two. And then there are things that make him less intimidating, like being a gigantic hunk of glass. 

Chaselon is a crystal being, which, yeah, could theoretically exist, but come on. He’s a big hunk of glass. Fighting this guy is like being attacked by a bedazzler bead. He probably only wins because his opponents are too busy laughing to take him seriously.     

5. Bzzd

Hey, speaking of “less than intimidating”, how about a creature that only has the Green Lantern ring going for him, and without it, you could kill him with a piece of plastic costing a buck ninety-five? Say hi to Bzzd, everybody, the only Green Lantern you can squish. 

Bzzd is apparently a pretty seriously tough guy, having taken out space pirates and captured DC’s premiere annoying jerk, Guy Gardner. None of which makes up for the fact that he’s an insect that can be defeated by Raid.     

6. G’Nort

There’s a dog everybody knows. He’s dumb. He’s clumsy. He’s irritating. He follows you around everywhere. And yet, you never yell at him or anything because you just feel bad about it? That’s G’Nort. 

DC heroes pretty much hate G’Nort because, well, he’s a big dumb dog who could accidentally destroy the planet. G’Nort got his job because of a relative who was a popular Green Lantern, proving that defending the universe can easily be done by just hiring everybody’s brother. Nice to know nepotism gets you a nuke on your finger. 

On the other hand, G’Nort has all the traits one likes in a dog: he’s loyal, honest, and forthright. He’s also a huge idiot who’s biggest success was defeating a gang of bank-robbing cats. No, seriously.

7. Dkrtsy RRR

We don’t have a picture of Dkrtsy on here, because he’s never had an adventure that we know about. Why? Because he’s math.

Yes, they hand those rings out to anything that has so much as a semi-sentient pulse, and Dkrtsy is no exception: he’s a “bio-sentient mathematical equation” that gets into your head and erases your brain.

We find ourselves asking a lot of questions, like, how does he wear the ring, isn’t brain erasing kind of unethical, and how can comic books make us hate math?

8. Flodo Span

So far we’ve had a bug, a piece of glass, a squirrel, and an abstraction on here, and you might be wondering how it could get less threatening than that.

Well, meet Flodo Span. He’s gas. 

Yes, this is a gaseous lifeform. You take away his ring, and he disperses, unable to collect himself until he gets his ring back. In the meantime, he has to avoid being…well…inhaled, we guess. What happens when you huff this guy? 

It gets better, though: he’s one of several gaseous Green Lanterns. What is it with the Guardians?! 

9. Leezle Pon

No, pictured above is not, in fact, one of Hal Jordan’s boogers. That’s Leezle Pon, the sentient smallpox virus. 

You might be saying “Wait, the what that’s the what now?” Yes, apparently, in the DCU, not only can smallpox, one of the deadliest diseases known to man, because senitent, it can even be noble enough to merit getting a Green Lantern ring. But it can’t attend any meetings, because it might infect the Lanterns. 

So, just to recap, the Guardians of the Universe (yes, that’s their actual job title) gave one of the most dangerous and powerful weapons in existence to one of the most fatal diseases known to human history. 

Somehow, we think they’re not quite doing their jobs.

Written by Dan Seitz – Copyrighted ©    


Huge solar flare jams radio, satellite signals: NASA


WASHINGTON (AFP) – A powerful solar eruption that has already disturbed radio communications in China could disrupt electrical power grids and satellites used on Earth in the next days, NASA said. 

The massive sunspot, which astronomers say is the size of Jupiter, is the strongest solar flare in four years, NASA said Wednesday.

[Related: Solar flare to create light show on Earth?

The Class X flash -- the largest such category -- erupted at 0156 GMT Tuesday, according to the US space agency.

"X-class flares are the most powerful of all solar events that can trigger radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms," disturbing telecommunications and electric grids, NASA said. 

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory saw a large coronal mass ejection (CME) associated with the flash that is blasting toward Earth at about 560 miles per second (900 kilometers per second), it said. 

[Related: Planet Tyche: New member of solar system?]

The charged plasma particles were expected to reach the planet's orbit at 0300 GMT Thursday.

The flare spread from Active Region 1158 in the sun's southern hemisphere, which had so far lagged behind the northern hemisphere in flash activity. It followed several smaller flares in recent days.

"The calm before the storm," read a statement on the US National Weather Service Space Weather Prediction Service.

"Three CMEs are enroute, all a part of the Radio Blackout events on February 13, 14, and 15 (UTC). The last of the three seems to be the fastest and may catch both of the forerunners about mid to late ... February 17."

Geomagnetic storms
usually last 24 to 48 hours, "but some may last for many days," read a separate NWS statement.

"Ground to air, ship to shore, shortwave broadcast and amateur radio are vulnerable to disruption during geomagnetic storms. Navigation systems like GPS can also be adversely affected."

The China Meteorological Administration reported that the solar flare had jammed shortwave radio communications in southern China.

It said the flare caused "sudden ionospheric disturbances" in the atmosphere above China, and warned there was a high probability that large solar flares would appear over the next three days, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

In previous major disturbance of the Earth's electric grid from a solar incident, in 1973, a magnetic storm caused by a solar eruption plunged six million people into darkness in Canada's eastern-central Quebec province.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) said meanwhile that the solar storm would result in spectacular Northern Lights displays starting Thursday.

One coronal mass ejection (CME) arrived on February 14, "sparking Valentine's Day displays of the Northern Lights ( aurora borealis) further south than usual."

"Two CMEs are expected to arrive in the next 24-48 hours and further... displays are possible some time over the next two nights if skies are clear," it said.

The office published geomagnetic records dating back to the Victorian era which it hopes will help in planning for future storms.

"Life increasingly depends on technologies that didn't exist when the magnetic recordings began," said Alan Thomson, BGS head of geomagnetism.

"Studying the records will tell us what we have to plan and prepare for to make sure systems can resist solar storms," he said.    


Possible Ninth Planet Rocks the Web


Forget the "Sputnik moment." If two astrophysicists are correct, we may be having a "Tyche moment" -- a ninth planet to add to our solar system. But that's a big "if."  

The two scientists who make the claim, Daniel Whitmire and John Matese from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, say a planet they named Tyche -- that is four times the size of Jupiter -- may be lurking in the outer solar system.

The pair says that the NASA Wise telescope may already have data to prove its existence, but that the planet, if it exists, won't reveal itself for another two years.

That hasn't stopped astronomically high searches on Yahoo! for "tyche planet," which have soared 3,000% in the last day alone.

The researchers have been collecting data for the last 10 years, and though they admit the unusual orbital patterns in a far-out region of the solar system called the Oort  
Cloud could be explained by a ginormous planet, it also could be a statistical fluke.

Many scientists have their doubts about a possible planet: After all, seeing is believing when it comes to astronomy.

"There could very well be something causing the orbital anomalies in the Oort Cloud that are claimed, " says Bing Quock, the Assistant Director of the Morrison Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences. He added, "But astronomers won't actually believe it until they see it, and that's going to take repeated observations."

Time Magazine
California Academy of Sciences