Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wonder Wednesday 03-31-10

First off, I just realized that Cathy's and my birthdays this year fall on Saturdays, so look out! I'm envisioning something along these lines:

Who's down? Everyone from that video is invited, except Lindsay! Keep your sorry ass far away! Ahem, anyway... on to this week's Wonder Wednesday! Today's feature is Oracle.Whom... you probably know better as Batgirl!Originally, Batgirl was created to spark interest in the waning Batman TV series in 1967.
Yvonne Craig portrayed the high-kicking heroine, roaring into action on her lavender, lace-trimmed Batgirl Cycle. (On the show, all her gizmos were referred to as "Batgirl this" or "Batgirl that" to differentiate them from Batman's devices which were simply "Bat this" or "Bat that." I guess Batgirl's were made out of estrogen or something.) In addition to her defining role as Batgirl, Yvonne Craig also played another 60s icon, the green slave girl on Star Trek:She even had her own theme music! Check it out:

I also distinctly recall seeing this commercial when I was a kid:

In the comics, it was explained that Barbara Gordon, Commissioner Gordon's librarian daughter, had fashioned a feminized version of Batman's costume for a costume gala, but en route, Barbara stumbled upon her father's attempted kidnapping by the villain Killer Moth. Leaping into action, Batgirl saved him and in the process, became smitten with the thrill of crime fighting. She never made it to the costume gala, but instead decided to adopt the Batgirl identity full-time. The Dynamic Duo became the Terrific Trio.Batgirl was an instant star and quickly joined Batman and Robin in a flood of merchandised items.The first Batgirl doll was made by Ideal in 1967 for a line referred to as the "Super Queens" which also included Wonder Woman, Supergirl and surprisingly, Mera, Aquaman's wife. (Maybe not THAT surprisingly, as Mera did appear on Aquaman's Saturday morning cartoon series.) The doll isn't completely accurate. Most notably, she has black hair, rather than red. These dolls were a huge flop. Little girls didn't want super hero dolls and little boys didn't want dolls period. Therefore they are incredibly rare today, selling in the thousands.With Batman in syndication, constantly luring new children into the colorful and exciting world of super heroics (including ME!) Batgirl easily became one of the most famous female heroes in the world. But sadly, the 80s were not kind to the female heroes. Supergirl died and Batgirl was crippled when The Joker shot her, lodging a bullet in her spine.Barbara, now confined to a wheelchair, immersed herself in computer technology and became the super hacker Oracle, supplying Batman and other heroes in the DC Universe with any information they require. Most notably, she operates with Black Canary and other female heroes as the Birds of Prey.
Oracle is easily one of the best-written and developed heroines in all of comics... which is why DC has kept her in that role, despite the fact that Batgirl is far more iconic, especially among non-comic readers. They have attempted to introduce two new Batgirls to fill the role. First, assassin Cassandra Cain:And more recently, Stephanie Brown, the daughter of minor Batman villain Cluemaster.Neither have any hope of ever becoming as popular and iconic as Barbara, though. The new Batwoman was an attempt to at least put a redhead back in a batsuit.But despite her comic being (in my opinion) the BEST comic out there, she's Batwoman, not Batgirl and it's Batgirl that's the icon.

But the fact that technically Barbara Gordon is no longer Batgirl hasn't stopped her from appearing in pretty much ANY series of licensed DC merchandise. Her image has emblazoned dozens of tee shirts and twice now, she's been included as part of Mattel's Barbie line.First she appeared in a sparkly black and blue uniform, reminiscent of the shimmery purple suit that Yvonne Craig wore on TV. This doll was part of a series along with Supergirl and Wonder Woman (and later Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and Catwoman). This Batgirl was also issued in a boxed set with her Batgirl Cycle, sadly sans lace trim.And more recently, an adult-skewed collector's doll was issued, wearing a black leathery uniform, with metallic gold and black cape. Once more, Wonder Woman and Supergirl appeared in this series, along with Black Canary.

For some reason, Batgirl's uniform seems to be the most diversely interpreted of the heroes. Some see her outfit as being black on black, citing the fact that her cape and cowl are rendered in the same midnight blue as black hair is in comics and her bodysuit is typically colored darker than Batman's. However, others (myself included), see her costume as more literal to the comics, blue on gray. That is how Tonner interpreted it when they issued their recent collector's doll:
Then again, on TV, her suit appears all purple!Originally, it was supposed to be the same color as Batman's cape, but it didn't quite turn out that way, allegedly because the costume designer was colorblind!
So, despite the fact that her career as Batgirl seems to be gone for good in the comics, she still remains one of the most famous and recognizable female heroes outside of comics and that fact doesn't appear to be changing any time soon!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tune In Tuesday 03-30-10 Jenny Owen Youngs

For my second Tune In Tuesday, I'm getting a bit mellow with an artist that I just discovered, Jenny Owen Youngs. I dig the singer/songwriter type and she adds a great layer of humor to her lyrics. First is her single "F*** Was I." The F-bomb is edited out, but if you buy the actual MP3, it's there in its full "Parental Advisory" glory.

Next is a song that I thought was a b-side/bonus track kinda thing, but apparently it was actually released as a single with a video and everything. And a neat one at that (as was "F*** Was I"). I like when people make good videos. They don't all have to be "Thriller" but just put SOME effort and artistry into it. Too often, they're just people singing at the camera or dancing in a spare room or in front of a green screen. Give me MORE! Ahem, anyway, here is her video for "Hot In Herre." Hopefully, you'll realize why I thought it was a b-Side/bonus track. Also, if you're a furry (and please don't tell me if you are), all I can say is "Bonus!"

It's hard to pick a favorite bit in that video! I think The Sasquatch is my favorite, followed by the playing drinking Don't Break The Ice with Santa Claus. And then it's like, "You think you've seen it all? Here, Russian Dancers! You like that?!"

And finally, here is her latest single/video, "Last Person." Err, what was I saying about dancing and singing in front of a spare background? Oh well, it's not bad, actually. I've seen a LOT worse and at least there's some art direction. Also, kudos for the use of the phrase "zombie eyes." I'm pro-anything zombie.

Happy listening!

Monday, March 29, 2010

MANic Monday! 03-29-10 Kellan Lutz

Wow, two gross, rainy, cold Mondays in a row? Not fun. Time to brighten things up! New Moon came out on DVD/Blu Ray last week, so in honor of that, my hunk du jour is sexy vamp Kellan Lutz! Enjoy!Yeah, I don't really care about New Moon. No matter how hot the guys are, that's not enough to get me to sit through a terrible movie or TV show. Oh PS, check out that peek-a-boo tummy shot. YUM!
Blogger's being a pain in the ass and I can't load all the pics I wanted to... not that this isn't an ample dose of Lutzliciousness.
Mmmm, pecs. If you ARE interested in New Moon, if you buy it from Target, along with either Astro Boy or Band Slam, you get a free $5 Target gift card... but then you're stuck owning either Astro Boy or Band Slam. Sucka! Also, Band Slam, I kinda get seeing as it's aimed at teens, but Astro Boy?!
Possibly the best picture in the history of photography below:
Have a good week!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Oh, It's Officially Fucking Friday, This Time!

I only joked about Fuckin' Friday, but voila, this opportunity to take on the snootier-than-thous have raised the flag. California brat McKay Hatch sent Joe Biden a Cuss Jar that he expects the VeeP to put money in to solve our problems. He and his way too happy-in-boredom friends are on a crusade and have even seen states institute No Cussing legislation.Story With Video Here:No Cussing

I'll let my friend Lily Allen take it from here:
Even this kid fuckin' hates your bitch ass!So's your Gram!
So is the nation's retarded cousin that they so foolishly had watch their house for a while, who rubbed his dick on all their dinning utensils, Had loads of sex in their beds with trashy bitches, stole all their money and spent all day smoking pot and playing video games listing to The Black Eyed Peas on repeat. THAT DILDO hates you!
Yes... even the prince of mother fucking peace! Cocksucker!And even more importantly, Madonna is having him excommunicated from her hoo-hah bogus religion. Remove that red tread wristband, suckaaaaa... cocksucka!

Fuck that fucking brat bitch and his goddamn, piece of shit crusades! FUCK HIM!

So lookee, I figured out what my theme for Friday is!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What Starts With "Th?"

Welcome to... uh oh. How about Thirsty Thursday?No? Gosh, what else is there? Thumbs Up Thursday?Thumbelina Thursday?Thanksgiving Thursday?Er... Thundercats Thursday?No, Thundercats effen SUCKED! Hated that show! How about just... Things Thursday?Or... Thor, God of Thunder Thursday? That one has three th's!
Thor doesn't deserve a whole day, though! (Or though, I suppose...) Well... technically, Thursday is actually named after Thor. Um... okay, I'm going to have to think some more about this one. See you tomorrow... provided I can think of a topic that starts with F. Heh heh, I just thought of one, but I can't use it! Cheeky!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wonder Wednesday: Power Girl

Just as Tuesday is the day on which new music is released, Wednesday is the day that geeks from coast-to-coast flock to their local comic shop to pick up the latest issues of their favorite series. I could've gone with "Comic Book Wednesday," since I don't plan on discussing Wonder Woman each blog, but... go with alliteration whenever possible.I just finished this excellent book by Mike Madrid, The Supergirls, which is an in-depth examination of comic book super heroines from their inception, to the present. Definite thumbs up! Pick it up, if you're a comic fan!

Today's subject is discussed quite a bit in this book, Power Girl.Power Girl... how can I put this, has the most famous duo since Batman & Robin. Ask any geek who Power Girl is and their universal response is, "Only the most famous rack in comics!"Someone needs a pair of Forehead Tittaes.

A couple of years ago, DC Comics produced a line of 13" cloth-wearing action figures... or dolls if you will. One of the first females they made was Batgirl.I think Power Girl came next.Upon receiving both, I noticed the obvious difference in their bust size. Not that Batgirl isn't stacked in her own right, but of course Power Girl out-bazooms her. Upon examining them, I realized that the front torso of both was a separate molded rubber piece. DC Direct in their ingenuity, came up with interchangeable bosoms! This HAS to be a first! (Yet they never figured out how to do rooted hair. They just issued their females with molded plastic "action figure" hair.)
Okay, so just who is Power Girl? Poor, poor dear. She has one of the worst back-stories of any character. Originally, she was the cousin of the original Superman from the 1930s and 40s, who lived in the parallel universe of Earth 2. (No, it doesn't make sense that the world where the first super heroes lived is Earth 2, and the world where super heroes appeared later, is Earth 1, but Earth 1 was the "main" comic book universe, so there ya go.)
Technically, she was the Earth 2 counterpart of Supergirl, but since didn't want to come across as a knock off of Superman, she chose the codename Power Girl instead. Yes, Power WOMAN would have made more sense, but there's nothing that can be done about that now. In an early story, one of her teammates presented her with a logo for her costume, a P inside a shield just like Superman's S logo. She flew into a rage and called him a "male chauvinist pig." In an early issue of her own current series, she revealed that she'd planned on eventually adopting a logo to put on her chest, but she could never think of one, and eventually the cut-out became her trademark. In other words, she's not bad, she's just drawn that way. Nevertheless, a comic fan did stand up at a recent convention and ask, "Are you ever going to fill Power Girl's hole?" HEY-OOOOOO!!! Eventually, she switched to a more modest scoop neck top. I read an article in which the writer of these 70s stories commented that his artist was a bit of a breast man and if you look at those old comics, PG's bewbs get bigger and bigger with each subsequent issue!On Earth 1, Supergirl and Batgirl were best friends. On Earth 2, Power Girl became besties with Earth 2's closest counterpart to Batgirl, Batman's daughter The Huntress. Okay, is that REALLY the most practical method of tandem flying? Really?! You know a woman didn't draw that scene! In 1984, DC streamlined it's line and eliminated the parallel Earths and duplicate characters. Since there could only be one Batman, Earth 2's Batman was wiped out, and along with him went his daughter The Huntress. (DC created a new Huntress, in a similar costume, but without ties to Batman.) Power Girl by all rights, should have been eliminated as well, but she was popular enough and had a different name than Supergirl, so DC kept her around... they just screwed up her origin.She discovered that she was "really" from the lost continent of Atlantis, making her distantly related to Aquaman. Now, her powers were magical, rather than Kryptonian. I can't keep track of all the changes they wrought upon her. I know at one point, they took away her Krypton-specific powers like heat vision, x-ray vision and super freeze breath. I seem to recall that instead of Kryptonite, she was vulnerable to "unprocessed materials." Like... if a tree fell on her, she couldn't stop that, but if a truckload of 2X4s fell on her, she could, because the wood had been processed... I think that's how it worked, anyway. It was confusing to everyone and it took them a good 20 years to "fix" her.
And how did they do that? They revealed that the whole Atlantean thing was false and that she was... the cousin of Superman from a parallel Earth. REALLY?! You put her, through all that crap, only to go right back to her original story?! Sigh!
Recently, she switched back to her old peekaboo costume.Super heroines' costumes may not be the most practical, but PG's is better than some others. Plus she exudes strength and power as well as femininity. The writer of The Supergirls offers a tale about seeing The Watchmen with a female friend, when the female star, The Silk Spectre first appears in-costume, slowly descending a staircase in her patent leather leotard, thigh high boots and garter belts, his friend, an independent, intelligent woman, whispered, "I want to be her!" People may criticize women's depictions in comics, but there's something to be said for the fine balancing act between sexy and skeezy. But what about the children? DC Direct produced a couple of Power Girl action figures in addition to the 13" doll for the collector's market, sold in comic shops, but when Mattel chose to produce a PG figure as part of their mass-market DC Universe Classics line (above), sold at Walmart, they packaged her in this ridiculous manner:"What boobs? Nope, no boobs here!" It looks like her neck is BROKEN, her torso is so twisted around to concealed those bad puppies! It reminds me of when actresses get pregnant and on their TV shows, they're always carrying shopping bags and such to conceal their bumps. It would have been funny if they'd just packaged her backwards, but then people would have criticized her for having too shapely an ass. Currently, Power Girl serves as the leader of the Justice Society of America, dedicated to training the next generation of super heroes.
She also stars in her own solo series, illustrated by the talented Amanda Conner, one of but a few female illustrators in comics. (Although that number is steadily growing as more and more women are drawn to the previously, predominantly male-centric field of comics.)While she wasn't included in Mattel's recent "Famous Friends" Barbie line, she was adapted into a beautiful collector doll by Tonner, which is too expensive for me, but doesn't she look great? I LOVE the metallic blue fabric they used for her gloves and boots!

Despite existing for like 30 years, she's just now storming the spotlight and climbing up to the A-List. A bit overdue, but better late than never! Kudos, PG!