Friday, June 29, 2007

Because more people will see it here than there:

I just ran this over at The Siren and TWaOP, but since this place gets more traffic, I thought I'd throw it here, too. I don't know, something about mass media doing less background research than, like, me is pretty Goddamn terrifying.

Fox News is running with an "exclusive" right now about a mysterious Wikipedia edit that would seem to have confirmed Nancy Benoit's death over half a day before police found the bodies.

Here's the edit in question. For those of you unable or unwilling to click through links, I'll summarize, as I love you. Our intrepid internet wizard added "stemming from the death of his wife, Nancy," to a sentence explaining that Benoit wouldn't be appearing on that night's WWE pay-per-view due to "personal issues."

Now, this was one of a bunch of theories floating around that night - wrestlers no-showing is kind of a big deal, "personal issues" is one Hell of a blanket cause, and wrestling fans are occasionally given to bouts of rumor-mongering and hyperbole. "His wife got in a car accident" was the most common explanation for his absence, but I actually heard "he got home and his family was throwing up blood" more than once, and that's now a slightly less insane alternative to the truth.

Anyway, it turns out our anonymous friend, identified only by an IP address, was actually right, even if he was just groping in the dark or just repeating a rumor he'd heard on some backwater forum. Since a story about a guy who goes by "The Canadian Crippler" when he isn't going by "The Rabid Wolverine" killing his family and leaving bibles beside their corpses before hanging himself on his weight machine wasn't nearly sensational enough, somebody thought they'd have to add an air of freaking prognostication to the mix, and now a sentence fragment's been spun into some kind of wacky conspiracy theory.

The post came from Connecticut! WWE Headquarters is in Connecticut! Maybe they knew! And then ran an in-hindsight extremely poorly-thought-outthree-hour tribute to a child killer anyway, just to cover their tracks.

Look, anybody can dismiss the edit as gossip or rumor or blatant lucky-guessery, but it takes a special kind of person to think it's news. They went to the trouble of tracing the IP address' location, but nobody thought to, I dunno, click on the damn thing on the Edit History page? I mean, that only shows you every edit anyone's ever done from that address, which is a pretty good barometer of their reliability.

You take one look at this thing and through the magic of Internet Profiling, you know it's a freaking fourteen-year-old from Naugatuck, Connecticut. He edited the Government section of the Naugatuck page twice, once to swap out the actual mayor and deputy mayor for what're presumably the names of his buddies and make someone else the president of the "Board of WINNNNNNNGS" and another time to add a vice president to that same storied group. I guess to have an order of succession in place in case of assassination or impeachment. Point is, ain't nobody editing that page unless they live in or around Naugatuck. So that settles how I know where he lives - how'd I scientifically determine his age?

Well, he's edited the page on the African wild ass, and extremely endangered species, four times, once to replace the entire page with the word "piss." He's also edited Ron Artest's page five times, generally to point out that Artest is, in fact, a black guy in the most offensive way he can think of. So he's either fourteen or a jackass. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, I guess.

Point is, how the Hell do you look at that and think "damn, maybe the same guy who thought the world needed to know exactly how hard he wants to bone Stacy Keibler has some kind of inside track on this story!"?

Edited 6-29 to add: Well, I'll be, it was all a "terrible coincidence." And he's older than fourteen. My bad.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Pretend I'm the Phantom Stranger.

Now pretend you're grocery shopping, in the chip aisle, and heeding my cryptic warnings to stay the Hell away from that bag of Doritos.More at The Siren.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I have a question. I am raising my hand. Call on me.

I went to the trouble of throwing in the bit of code that truncates posts because kids' heads explode when they see swear words in scanned comic book pages and I'm looking out for the American freaking family.

What I want to know is why it insists on putting the "read more" link on every single post.

Is there a way to make it, you know, not do that?

Shooting Fish in a Barrel: Youngblood Bloodsport #1

In nature, the true predator never aims for the hard targets. No, a smart lion scouts the herd for the gazelle with a bad limp or a smoking habit - they don't want to have to run any more than they have to, so they pick off the slowest or the sickest or the dumbest. Smart gazelles learn to kick, stupid ones learn to be delicious.

Youngblood: Bloodsport
is a three-legged gazelle puffing a pack a day, and I am the laziest lion on the veldt.

To take the already tired analogy to its natural conclusion, were the comics nerdosphere nothing more than a particularly brutal Discovery Channel nature docudrama, Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen would clearly be the slowest, fattest, tastiest, least-aware creature on the whole of the savanna, constantly hunted by a pack of hyenas nipping off chunks of flesh, bit by bit, for months at a clip. But that's neither here nor there.

What is here is the fourth anniversary of the launch of Arcade Comics. As one would expect from a partially-Rob Liefeld-owned company, Arcade hung its hat on Youngblood, with two different minis focusing on the team arriving in 2003 with a third in 2004. The first two, Genesis and Bloodsport, managed three total issues between them and the third, Imperial, only cranked out a number one.

To mark the occasion, Facedown in the Gutters is celebrating the only way it knows how - by pointing and laughing. We're going a few pages at a time, because any more than that and this post would end up being about twelve thousand words long, and none of us needs that. Well, that and the fact that when I went through to scan stuff, virtually every single panel held some sight more ridiculous or offensive or offensively ridiculous than the last. That said --

Johnny DC is serious, folks; Mark Millar isn't known for his restraint, and I'm pretty sure this book was edited by a sixteen-year-old whose only notes were, like, "you said 'blow job,' oh my God, rad!" and a crudely-rendered picture of a stick man killing his teacher.

Things aren't going to get any better than the cover. This here's one of five variants, and unquestionably the best of the lot. It's hard to go wrong with Frank Quitely, honestly, but Liefeld and Quitely on the same book is like some kind of perfect storm of lateness.

Of the five, it's also the only cover that features anything close to the contents of the book - the other four are weird montage team shots or portraits of Suprema. There is, in fact, a scene where Badrock and Shaft get some lunch, but it's no where near as interesting as Quitely makes it seem, but we'll get to that in another post.

The book apparently takes place in a universe overrun with superheroes, to a point where they clog the skies and have virtually wiped out crime - which is at least partially conveyed by Quitely's cover, as he is, you know, a gifted storyteller.

We open on former Youngblood members Seahawk and Battlestone hanging out in a hot tub, with the former lamenting the current state of heroics.Seahawk wears his mask in the hot tub, I suspect, because without it, he'd look exactly like Battlestone, except without a little skull affixed to his noggin. The over/under on blow job references was five panels; I hope you took the under, because we're on panel two. Also worth mentioning - the baffling hyphenation of "blow-job." Get used to that sort of thing, because I'm pretty sure the letterer was under the impression that hyphens can be appended willy-nilly in the middle of any compound word or phrase at his discretion. It happens a lot.

Seahawk continues his tirade, complaining that the new crop of heroes wasn't "rocketed from doomed worlds" or "traumatized by seeing their parents shot-dead" (see what I mean about hyphenation? "Shot-dead"? What the Hell, man?), and they're only in it for "barbie-pink mansions" and "sports-endorsements" (he just keeps. Doing. It.)

Battlestone replies the only way a character drawn by Rob Liefeld can - by staring directly out of the page and into my soul.I don't know much about Battlestone aside from the obvious: Has a stupid name, also white hair. I think, judging by these few panels, that his super power is the ability to animate unblinking Realdolls with seven-foot arms to keep an eye on me and also offer him cocaine.

By the way, superheroes doing coke! We're through the looking glass, here, people. If you're keeping track, we're up to three blow job references in as many pages.

The pair banter about whether or not they should join a new iteration of Youngblood, capped off by Seahawk asking "is it really such a crime to want to help people again instead of all this 24-hour party crap?"Oh my God! Wolverine and Cyclops were totally blowing Seahawk and Battlestone! That's so extreme! Careful, for I have cut my hands on all the edge!

With that, we abruptly cut to... actually, does the location matter? We got a "Los Angeles: Tonight" blurb over the first scene, but the comic can't be bothered to tell me where we're at after that. Let's just check the two-page spread for clues.Oh. I remember now. We're in Jack Kirby's personal Hell.

This, if you don't remember your Youngblood, is Shaft. Shaft was originally going to be Speedy back when Youngblood was a proposed revamp of Team Titans, which has absolutely no bearing on this but, hey, I'm here to educate. He's currently fighting zombie versions of civil rights leaders.

Because that's totally extreme, see. Old Man Marvel won't let you see this kind of totally radical irreverence! This is where the big boys play!Oh, and they're stealing Supreme's pubic hair. Also extreme! Possibly totally off-the-wall!

Other things to note here: "civil-rights" bags us another superfluous hyphen, none of the jetpacked zombies actually appears to have his jetpack on, Shaft is standing on nothing. Seriously, the guy's like a freaking Colorform, just stuck into the middle of the picture.

Somehow, the vial with the pilfered pube ends up in the hands of Martin Luther King, even though it was pretty clearly being held by someone else a mere page prior. Shaft somehow leaps on his back and aims the zombified icon straight down, while the mysterious radio voice expresses confusion that Shaft isn't phased by having to shoot at beloved civil rights leaders.

Shaft then makes a "I rented Malcolm X because I thought it was about mutants" joke and my sides actually split, pouring my blackened insides about the legs of my chair for all to see.I'm at a loss as to who this was aimed at. There's just... it's just so...


It's like this book was banged out in study hall by a kid who was super angry at his fifth period social studies teacher, or something.

Gird yourself, for we are only on page seven.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Watching JLU with the girlfriend:

Me: Oh, sweet, Green Arrow's in this one. Whattaya think Green Arrow does?

Caroline: Points to things?


Aquaman has another bad day.

Transcript from the Justice League files:

[Trouble Alert sounds, transcription begins automatically.]

Flash: Hi, thanks for calling the Justice League. Your call may be monitored for quality control purposes. My name is The Flash, how can I make your emergency less life-threatening?

Aquaman: Sweet, I knew Batman wasn't on duty this afternoon.

Flash: Oh, hey, Aquaman. What're you trapped in today?

Aquaman: Well, see, funny story, there. Some krill told me that this whale was being all people-eaty, so I figured I'd investigate. Turns out he's, like, some kind of monster whale, and he... well...

Flash: Our connection sucks right now - I'm not getting any picture. Why don't you just cut to the chase and tell me where you're tied up and I'll run down there?

Aquaman: Yeah, see, I'm inside the whale.

Flash: He ate you?

Aquaman: Well, yeah. I put up a Hell of a fight, though. You should've seen it - I had this octopus holding sawfish like swords and stabbing at him, but this whale, man, Jesus, I'm telling you, nothing was stopping him.

Flash: You're, like, literally the only person I know who could've just asked the whale to not eat you.

Aquaman: Dude, I know, but maybe he's got a different king? Maybe he worships Satan? All I know is that me going "hey, don't eat me" turned into "orange shirts are delicious, chow down," and here I freaking am.Flash: Oh, wow, there's some serious stuff inside that whale.

Aquaman: Tell me about it. Lucky thing he ate a Trouble Alert phone, or I'd be digested for sure.

Flash: What's that noise?

Aquaman: What, the accordion? Yeah, there's an old guy and a living puppet dancing around on a shipwreck back there. This place sucks beyond all reckoning, you don't even understand.

Flash: I was a living puppet once. Sad when the day you get turned into a marionette isn't even close to being the weirdest day of your life.

Aquaman: Tell me about it.

Flash: Hey, Superman, get a load of this.

Aquaman: Here it comes.

Superman: Hah hah, did Aquaman get eaten by a giant whale? That's like if Batman hit himself in the face with a batarang, or something.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Meanwhile, two hundred miles northwest of the Time Bandit

Transcript from the Justice League files:

[Trouble Alert sounds, transcription begins automatically.]

Batman: Batman here. What seems to be the... [picture clears, pause, audible sighing] Oh. It's you.Aquaman [on screen, trapped in commercial crab fishing pot]: Double damn it. I was hoping Wonder Woman would pick up.

Batman: You know she has her pottery class this afternoon. So, what happened? Legion of Doom convince you that a magic ruby made of genies was in there?

Aquaman: Shut up. That only happened once.

Batman: Well, you better have a good reason to be on this line - somebody might need me and Black Vulcan to rescue them from an elephant, or something.

Aquaman: Okay, so I'm swimming, right? And I figure I'll talk to some crabs. Because, like, I can? So I'm all "what's happening?" and they're like "your highness! Your highness! Look at this thing we found!"

Batman: Crabs call you "your highness"? You're bat-jiving me.

Aquaman: You can bat-blow me - I'm king of the damn ocean. At least crabs show me some respect.

Batman: My bat-syphilis calls me 'Bruce.'

Aquaman: Anyway, the crabs, they were, like, freaking out about this thing they found, so I figured, what the Hell, there's no crime down here, I'll go check it out. Next thing I know, I'm in a big cage with some chopped-up cod bits.

Batman: You know, up until you called, I thought the Trouble Alert call I'd ignore the hardest was the kid who wanted me to help him get the straw into his pouch of Capri Sun without jabbing a hole through the back.

Aquaman: Come on! You might need me later! What if Black Manta steals Mount Rushmore, or something? Only I can stop his insidious undersea iniquities!

Batman: [singing] La la la, I can't hear you.

[Transcription ends.]

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Who's a whore? Is it me?

It is.

I made up some faintly ludicrous t-shirts and put them on Cafepress for people like me (except with money) to purchase and thus display to the world how hilariously ironic they can be. Get your Hulk Understands None of This shirt before Marvel cease-and-desists me! Or pick up an I Remember Nintendo, Too hoodie and show everyone exactly how funny nostalgia is! (Not very!)

You know what's a silly, pretend word?


On that - the first biweekly Big Monkey podcast has been up for a couple days, and I'm sure you've gotten it from somewhere else already, but whatevs, b, here you go.

And these are the other blogs in question.

I haven't listened to it - while it's true that I rarely shut up, I paradoxically cannot stand the sound of my own voice - but the girlfriend is so doing right now and laughing, so it's probably at least mildly amusing. Though she tends to find me pretty funny, so her judgment's at least sort of suspect.