In other cartoonish news, my drawing of the superbeing Fondue-head (a monster who skewers his enemies and dips them into the vat of bubbling cheese in his skull) got me first prize in the Raspberry Brothers’ create-your-own-suphero contest last night. Victory is mine, and this makes up for Evan Dorkin’s response to Fondue-head when I presented the character to him years ago as a suggested foe for his characters Milk and Cheese, which was to send me back a letter simply showing Fondue-head skewered with his own fondue forks (for which I’m quite grateful, in all seriousness).
The most exciting thing going on involving comics this summer is arguably something that has nothing to do with new or changing characters, though: It’s the family whose home was saved from foreclosure because they found a copy of Action Comics #1 as they were cleaning out their stuff to move. Now they’re loaded.
J. Michael Straczynski, much as I love him for creating Babylon 5, sounds like he may not be bringing the same level of excitement to the Superman and Wonder Woman comics he’s now writing for DC. After fighting a vast, complex war in space, JMS is now depicting Superman deciding, I kid you not, to go for a very long walk. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman’s entire reality has been altered by time travel-type shenanigans, with the primary headline-getting result being that in the new reality, she wears pants. I guess if JMS combines the walking and the pants-wearing plotlines at some point, we’ll really have something. (A more beautiful walkabout idea, it seems to me, is Steve McCurry’s quest to make fitting use of the very last roll of Kodachrome film, with which he was entrusted.)
I think this ad for one of the Superman comics in question sums up how much the stories may resemble bad heartbreaking-dilemma-of-the-week “traveling loner” TV shows. One good thing to come of the Wonder Woman pants is that DC executive Dan DiDio, called upon at a comics convention to sum up what he thought of the change, uttered the funniest (intentional) thing I think I’ve ever heard him say, which was: Wonder Woman’s pants are “the epitome of where we’re standing at right now as a people.”
Two superpowers I’m not feeling enthusiastic about lately are (a) veganism, which is amusingly depicted as a source of psychic abilities in the swell Scott Pilgrim but still doesn’t tempt me to try it (much as I admire those disciplined enough to do so), and (b) combining Rainman-like data-sorting abilities with a trade-off in the form of lost emotional, empathic, or moral sensibilities, which I gather is for some reason a real mental tension, valorized to some degree in that popular Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series (not to mention House to some extent, etc.). There is no math score high enough to give you license to be a jerk, please recall. We wouldn’t want the bi punker sociopath genius of the Tattoo series becoming an across-the-board role model, much as we like some of those qualities.