The DC Universe as a Living Metafictional Entity

Grant Morrison stated that he intended to prove with his series FINAL CRISIS that the DCU is a living thing. He also said he intended to have sex with it, but that's besides the point. So, was Morrison serious about the DCU being a living thing or was it mad ramblings meant to sell books? I believe it's the former. So let's examine the DCU and through it the super hero genre.

The Super hero genre and the DCU in Three Dimensions

Now, it is said of super heroes that the two ends of the spectrum are Superman and Batman and every else is somewhere in between.

Superman<---------all heroes------------="" other="" the="">Batman

There's a bit of a problem here. It's flat. Nobody likes flat fiction. That's its own problem. It's a problem relating to this subject in that nothing exists two-dimensionally. We need a three-dimensional model for this thing to exist properly.

Through this necessity we can examine the super hero genre and the parts that comprise it. The DCU offers prime examples of these three dimensions and through them some insight into the genre.

This diagram is simplistic of course, but it makes for a decent base to move from. Let's go through these dimensions briefly.

Superman represents the science, or more aptly science fiction, in this equation. A being from another planet, and a futuristic one at that. He is also considered one of the most powerful characters in comics. His nickname "The Man of Tomorrow" invokes the image of hero performing fantastic deeds in a world we can barely image, but is getting closer every day.

Wonder Woman is a direct link to mythology with her origins and powers stemming from Greek Myths. This is magic. This is the unexplainable. This it the pool from which the genre sprang from. Superman was not the first super hero. Odysseus, Gilgamesh, Arthur Pendragon, the Monkey King and many other preceded him by centuries. Wonder Woman is the representative of the past.

Batman is the best of humanity. He has taken personal tragedy and used it as a catalyst to transform himself into an ideal. His skills are vast and varied, encompassing multiple physical and academic disciplines. He has taken the lessons of his past, applied them to his constant preparation for the future and thus made himself incredibly formidable in the present.

So we have out three dimensional construct. Time to put it into motion.

Applying the Fourth Dimension

The Fourth Dimension is time. Nothing stays static. We are all moving forward on the timeline. When we are discussing movement in relation to super heroes, there's only one character that exemplifies this:

The Flash moves the genre. We have had the Golden Age, Silver Age and the modern Age of comics. The Flash has been key to each transition. The creation of Barry Allen marked the beginning of the Silver Age. Barry Allen meeting his Golden Age predecessor Jay Garrick introduced the concept of the "Multiverse". The concept of the Multiverse was shelved during the 1985-86 series "Crisis on Infinite Earths" which included the death of Barry Allen. This series also transitioned the genre out of the Silver Age.

With Barry's death, we saw Wally West take up the role. This was the first time a "sidekick" has moved on to permanently graduate up. Wally West as a character was also at the center of DCU moving past the 90s grim and gritty trend. Writer Mark Waid spent the 90s taking Wally West, who was a well written and very unlikable character, and turning him into a model of character development. This was the beginning of a mini Renaissance for the genre which led to Waid and Morrison launching JLA. The exploits of the heroes took on a scope that was usually reserved for major "events", and this was due to amazing writers pushing their way to the forefront. This was made easier by The Flash, courtesy of Mark Waid, paving the road with a red blur and lightning strike.

The Imagination of the Imaginary

Grant Morrison wrote in "Batman R.I.P." that the Fifth Dimension was Imagination. This brings us to a character that can create anything he imagines.

Green Lantern like the Flash has had different characters taking the name. The common element to these characters is that each had a ring that could manifest anything they imagine. What is fun to note here is that the three main characters to take one the role of Green Lantern also represent each of the three dimensions I wrote of earlier. The Golden Age character was Alan Scott, and his ring was powered by magic. In the Silver Age, Hal Jordan received his ring from an alien race. Kyle Rayner took up the role and although he received his ring from the same aliens he brought out a different aspect to the character in that he was an artist. It was his humanity that set him apart from the others.

So, could the Green lantern Rings have a connection to the Fifth Dimension that is home to the likes of Mister Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite? Well, that's speculation for another time, but the possibility is there. It's fairly evident in the mechanics of the Rings. Previously, when charged, the rings could create nearly anything for twenty-four hours. Currently, it is usage to depletes the charge. Perhaps the rings tap 5th dimensional energy and the process and mechanics of tapping the source has changed.

Speaking of Mxysptlk and Mat-Mite, since the Fifth Dimension is imagination, were they created by characters within the DCU? Did Superman creat Mxyzptlk? Time to move on.

Identify the Vampiric Space God in the line-up, Please.

FINAL CRISIS crystalized the concept of something outside the genre preying upon the genre. The Multiverse changed them and then they changed the Multiverse. The Fouth Wall was broken and we were introduced to the Fifth Wall. We are shown a mechanism containing 52 universes, each containing stories. These stories influenced the Moniters, which in turn had influence in the 52.

The Multiverse or 52 is the in comic representation of the superhero genre. It is something created, which has taken on it's own life and now influences the culture. It nourishes young minds and imaginations, only to have some of those minds grow up to contribute new stories to it. It's a symbiotic relationship. The genre has a will of it's own. It has a voice speaking to us in the gutters of the comic page. It has reached out beyond it's original medium to capture new minds and imaginations.

It grows. It consumes. Yes, it even poops.

The DC Universe is at the heart of the super hero genre, and the DC Universe is alive.

Politics goes full contact

2010 is going to be an all out political brawl. Our Pop Star-n-chief has been exposed and is disparately trying to maintain his image and pass more of his agenda through. He's getting criticizes more than ever and is well on his way to surpassing Jimmy Carter as the biggest flop to hold that office. He's doing his State of the Union Address in which we'll get to watch him look back and forth between his precious teleprompters like, as Mark Stein put it, "he's at Wimbledon watching the world's slowest match".

Yesterday in the mail we got a little something from our Congressman. Yay for junk mail, but at least this one was useful. It told us, in print, exactly where this guy stands. If what he has on there sounds good to us then he's the guy to vote for. The Missus and myself had a brief chat about it going through the items on his list. This is also important because Congress is going to be going out of their ever-loving minds with this election and this was the first strike upon the Nozz Compound.


I'm expecting shenanigans on the level of TRANSMETROPOLITAN. The Democrats are as popular as syphilis right now, but they're all over the place. The Republicans are seeing the error of spending money like Oprah and have a tangible goal. So we have a few hundred power grabbing, constituent fucking, bullshit artists playing musical chairs and they're all looking at you.

Yes you. The person reading this. Unless it's Mark or Richard. They're safe. Until we annex their countries to get more votes.

They're coming to your TV to tell you about how someone else sodomizes livestock and lies about issues. They're coming to talk radio to reach through the airwaves, pinch your nose close, and when you open your mouth to gasp for air they're gonna shove as much propaganda down you're throat as possible. There's going to be so much stuff taken out of context that reality will lose all meaning!


Warren Ellis compared modern politics to Sumo wrestling. Deep traditions with tons of ceremony that has devolved into "get the other fat fucker out of the ring as quickly as possible."


Mad props

Got word a little while back that the artist that I had slated for the next Tales of night Life installment had to back out due to other obligations. I mentioned it to Kat Hogan last night. This morning there was art waiting for me in my inbox.

Kat Hogan freaking rules.

Human Target

Mark Valley and Chi McBride are well worth the price of admission. It's cool bodyguard stuff and based off of an old DC Comics character. (The character first appeared in and old SUPERMAN comic) In the comics and in the old TV series on ABC starring Rick Springfield, the main character Christopher Chance would use is abilities as an actor and master of disguise to impersonate the people he's protecting, thus becoming a human target. Well, that angle got dropped in favor of straight bodyguard work with an emphasis on problem identification and solving. Got a ton of action in there as well.

I like it. It's fun TV. I also like that in the last episode instead of having the female characters on there portray hapless damsels for our heroes to save they ended up being competent, and very important to the story. Nice little bait-and-switches going on.

Check it out on Fox. Right now it's the best mid-season show I've caught.

As expected Life Unexpected is freaking awful

Oh, where do I even get started?

OK, let's begin with the hole in my soul. You see, I'm adopted and that causes there to be a hole in your soul. For years I mistook it for my liver and whereas I assumed that the insane amount of whiskey I consumed in the winter of '97 was processed through it in a Herculean biological function it was really just being poured right into the abyss. The hole in my soul is deep indeed.

It is only through the wisdom of the CW's new show, LIFE UNEXPECTED, that I have discovered that the only way to fill the hole in my soul is to hunt down my biological parents and inflict myself upon them. Only the ensuing maelstrom of drama may fill that hole.

Pardon me, I just finished watching the program a few moments ago and must dispense with the large amount of bile that has welled up in my mouth. I'll be right back.


OK, I'm back now. TV Guide has compared this show to GILMORE GIRLS and its not half as clever. It seems the message is if you're a 15 year old girl and get pregnant you are supposed to either "handle it" (translation: have an abortion) or keep the child and raise it yourself. How dare a girl realize that they are in no position to raise a child and know that their are thousands of couples out there who would move mountains to bring a child into their family. But wait, the child had health problems, so none of the perspective parents wanted her. Oh and she was three by the time her medical problems were resolved, and that's way too old for anyone to want her.

Nobody wanted the cute little blond haired girl, with no biological parents in the picture to snatch the child back months later.

I'm capable to buy into a high school student being bitten by a radioactive bug and gaining super powers for the sake of a good story, but this is too much for my suspension of disbelief.

Let's look at this character, Lux, or whatever cute quirky name they gave her. Moving past the fact that her not getting adopted is completely stupid, she's become the Wise Child. We all know the Wise Child, the one with all these deep insights that is so insightfully deep and spouts lines that real kids who are their age would not even think of. She certainly turned out well considering she's been bounced through the oh so horrible foster care system which is of course a living hell for any poor hole-filled soul that finds them self in it. No set of foster parents in Lux's near 16 years have been decent. And certainly there are those poor kids who do get stuck in foster care and don't get adopted, but they don't turn out like Lux. Many end up in juvenile detention. The system isn't perfect, but you can't have this horrible situation and have the kid involved turn out so good.

So, our little heroine tracks down her birth parents to get their signatures so she can get emancipated. The bio-dad, Nate, is caught completely flatfooted because he didn't know she existed. The bio-mom, Kate, who looks about 3 years older than Lux if that, gets to be all angst ridden over what she did to that poor little girl. So, instead of giving the girl a chance at a good life with a couple prepared to be parents, she should have kept the child. I'm sure she still would be a successful radio talk show host if she had. Everything would have been great for everyone.

So, onward Lux going getting the signatures she needs to get emancipated and standing before the judge, who takes no consideration for the circumstances, the wishes of anyone involved, or the fact she wasn't a family court judge and sticks Nate and Kate with joint custody.

More drama goes on and leads to Nate and Kate in the sack even though they just spent the entire episode arguing and Kate had been nothing but acidic to Nate. But them Kate turns around a proposes to her radio co-host and they're going to take care of Lux. OMG! Will the jackass co-host discover what happened? Will Kate and Nate get together to raise Lux? Can this crapfest possibly get more contrived?

I don't have a problem with any of the actors or actresses involved. They all played their parts well enough and they'll have no trouble moving on to do something worthwhile with their talents, but this show is garbage, and needs to go away. I am actually scared that some poor girl out there is pregnant and watches this and takes the option of giving their child up for adoption off the table. It absolutely disgusts me that the process is being shown like this. It's being depicted like this horrible sin that a young woman might realize that she is not ready to be a mother but doesn't want to abort the pregnancy. Lux asked "Did you ever consider keeping me." and the answer was no, but considering she could have ended up medical waste she should have been damn happy.

It is my wish, as I sit here typing this in my FINDER: SIN-EATER t-shirt, that I take all the episodes of this show, and everything about it, the scripts, advertisements, and Nate's really stupid Milf t-shirt and shove it deep down into the hole in my soul. I will do this because television has sinned, and I must cleanse it before I enjoy new episodes of SUPERNATURAL later this week. And I do this for you people who actually read all of this. I have watched this thing so that you don't have to. You probably didn't watch it anyways since I think LIE TO ME was on at the same time and if you're watching LIFE UNEXPECTED rather than LIE TO ME you have chosen poorly.

Me nom nom pizza

Like the majority of right minded thinking folks, I like pizza. I keep it simple usually. Give me a regular cheese pizza and I'm happy. I usually go Hawaiian style with ham and pineapple. I'm also a big fan of Papa John's as far as the major pizza chains go. Sure there's some local places like Doughboy's, Kogan's and Delvecchio's that are great, but none of them deliver to my house. I'm OK with most of the chain places. Although if i eat too much Pizza Hut I don't feel so hot later. I usually go for their pasta which is really good.

Watching my good friend and adviser TV la week or two ago I saw an ad for Dominio's which showed the executives watching footage from taste tests and the like. Dominio's kind of gets a bad rap, and the complaints I hear from people about them are exactly the same as the one that were in the ad. I don't have a problem with Dominio's. That was where I'd grab a pizza from if i was picking up one for the family after school. No one delivers out to the old neighborhood. However, Papa John's made a tastier pizza and had those great dipping sauces so when they hit town I converted.

In the ad the executives gave their responses to the feedback they got. No excuses. No spin. No crap. They said it hurt to hear that about their product. That's good, it means they give a damn. Then they said they were going to do something about it. The big differences were going to be spicing up the sauce a big and adding a butter garlic bit to the crust. They also were offering a special on two, two-topping pizzas and a money back offer.

Last night was time to see what was up. I called the Dominio's around the corner and told the fella I was talking to that I had seen the ad. He said the changes were indeed already in effect, the deal being offered was being offered at that branch and that the new pizzas were "Goooood". He sounded pretty sincere about that last bit. It always helps in selling your product if you actually like your product.

The food arrived, the village rejoiced as we were quite hungry. We got a sausage and peperoni pizza as well as a ham and pineapple. The sauce did indeed have a bit more kick to it. I have a bit of a cold but even I could tell. The Missus (whose sense of taste remains intact as she isn't sick) was very impressed with the sauce. What got me was crust. Very flavorful, and very tasty. That was a big win for me. It had me eager to finish the main part of pizza just to get to the crust.

There you have it. The results of what happens when a company takes an honest look at constructive criticism and really cares about its product. Food is like any art, you don't get your best criticism from people who like you. I might just be converting back to Dominio's from here on out. And while you all chew on this information, I'll be chewing on some leftovers.

The system breaks down.

With the government poised to ram its notion of healthcare reform down our throats and my boss now diagnosed with an illness that'll mean him having medical bills for the rest of his life an exchange occurred when he told myself and another guy who does work for him of his future plans:

Him: "I'm singing up for that Public Option when it passes, so you guys can pay my medical bills for me."

Me: "Well, can I have raise to help pay your medical bills?"

Him: "Screw you! You're fired!"

Me: "Now who's gonna pay your bills?'

Him: "Crap."

Behold, the future in 30 seconds.

Pathetic fandom

AVATAR causes depression. This is out and out pitiful. Yes, these people need help. Its because they are idiots. They're getting bent out of shape because life isn't like a movie.


I got bit by a spider and didn't get super powers. I dealt with it.

Yes this is an insensitive response to people would are having thoughts of suicide. They need medication or something. They are feeling these things because reality isn't as great as the movies. The vibrant and wonderful world depicted in the BATTLE FOR TERRA remix is so glorious that they can't cope with real world anymore. I could understand if it was one lone pathetic soul, but there's forums getting loaded up with this stupidity.

It's a movie. Its another in a long line of crap from holier than thou filmmakers and producers depicting the human race as conquering, morally bankrupt assholes. "Behold! This is our future unless we stop advancing our society and start hugging trees!"

Yeah, life isn't like the movies and most likely its not going to turn out the way you always hoped it would. Get a helmet, suck it up, and deal.

Gimme gimme gimme!

Jack Kirby's heirs are attempting to sue Marvel comics for the copyrights to the characters he created. For those who don't know, that' a lot of characters. Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created a ton of characters during the Silver Age for Marvel. These include the X-Men, The Fantastic Four, Daredevil and he did work on the creation of Spider-man although Steve Dikto did the art on his first appearance in AMAZING FANTASY #15 and when Spidey's series launched. If this sounds familiar it's probably because this dance went on over at DC where Jerry Seigel's heirs tried to sue for the rights to Superman.

The stupid part comes from this statement:

"Sadly, Jack died without proper compensation, credit or recognition for his lasting creative contributions,"

OK, that's bull. Here's why. Anyone with only a little bit of knowledge about comics knows who Jack Kirby it. Saying he doesn't get credit or recognition is absolutely ridiculous. The man is a legend. They're making it sound like he was some nobody who toiled away for the evil corporation and got paid pennies and no one knows who he was. Walk into any comic book shop anywhere and ask if anyone knows who Jack Kirby is. Unless the place is packed with kids playing Yu-Gi-Oh and no one in there has actually read a comic, you'll see how well known the man is.

The proper compensation is a sticky wicket. Back then creators rights were pretty much nonexistent. It was all work for hire back then. Today many companies like Image and Dark Horse allow the creators to keep the rights to their creations and that's a good thing. But Jack Kirby was paid a wage that he agreed to do what he did. When he had problems with the company he hopped over to DC to work over there. We are not talking about indentured servitude here. Of course if Kirby was doing what he did today things would be a lot different. But he's not.

This is looking like people trying to get a payday. Its ugly. Everyone looks like a tool in this. Marvel looks like a bunch of cheating jerks. The heirs look like a bunch of greedy pricks trying to cash in on a dead relative. This is bad.

Seriously, what are the heirs going to do if they win this? They'll have the copywrite and then what? Are they going to start publishing X-MEN comings? Will they try to negotiate movie deals for more SPIDER-MAN movies? During the lawsuit with the Seigel's DC stopped using the name SUPERBOY. Even the current Superboy character was bumped off, but its said that was done for different reasons and now, low and behold, now that the lawsuit is settled the character has been resurrected. Will Marvel just let these characters go away? Will they be bumped off? Doubtful, but this whole thing is pointless. Marvel is under no obligation to give anything to the Kirby heirs. They're not under much of an obligation to Stan lee either, but ol Stan is shrewd and savvy with these things so he's well taken care of.

I don't want to demonize the Kirby heirs with this, I really don't. But this isn't much different from a person wanting the government to pay them reparations because their great-great-great grandmother was slave. You can't change history. There is no reset button. The parties involved are not going to let this drop. Expect this to get ugly. Marvel was not wrong for its work for hire policies. They are not the bad guys. No one had a crystal ball back then and could predict that the characters that Kirby created that appeared in comics this you could get for less that a quarter would be million dollar properties today.

This whole thing is a damn shame.

Go Go Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!

In my little fit of nostalgia I've been enjoying old episodes of MIGHTY MORPHING POWER RANGERS which has been showing on ABC on Saturdays. Yeah, this series is over 15 years old. It was cheesy even when it was new. However, for some weird reason the show has been edited to now include visual sound effects not unlike those seen on the old Adam West BATMAN series.

Why? What possible point is there to this, and the other little lame "touch-ups" they've added. Those weren't there when the show first aired. It doesn't add anything to the show for camp value.

Yes, the original series is quite a bit dated. The production on the newer series is vastly improved. The fight choreography, wire work and special effects are all exponentially better. The writing is better. The old series is the purest of fluff. Its impossible to take seriously at all, but I still like it. Its brought me many students over the years.

Today for instance. I see the girl flipping. I don't need to see the word "flip" in bright letters on my TV screen. That's insulting to elementary school students. Yet the show be in all its campy badness.

TV rumblings

Caught episodes of SUPERNATURAL and GLEE that I had missed the first time round. What I love about SUPERNATURAL is that even with episodes like this one (Where Sam and Dean get stuck at a nerd prom) and the TV episode where its totally hysterical and silly the situation they're in the overall season plot still gets advanced in an intelligent manner. GLEE, which is the most glorious of intentional train wrecks, actually took some time to make me legitimately give a damn about the characters, including the amazingly eeeeevil Sue Sylvester.

DOLLHOUSE is wrapping things up, and like with Joss Whedon's previous series ANGEL the end is getting build as a fevered pitch. There's a ton of twists and turns and betrayals that I completely did not see coming. If you haven't been keeping up with the show, don't just jump in. You'll be completely confused. Get the DVDs or watch it on Hulu.

I'm seriously considering watching the premier of LIFE UNEXPECTED for the same reason that I bought issue #1 of FLASH: REBIRTH. Yes it's bad reviewing to go into something with a heavy agenda or bias, but I'm wanting to gut it like a fish.

Ice Station: Sandbridge

Greetinges from Ice Station: Sandbridge where the forecast here in Virginia is to be colder than a well digger's belt buckle. The below pictures are of Back Bay which is now covered in an average of two to three inches of ice. I can't even remember the last time that happened. Unfortunately i did not have a camera on me when we spotted a good size dog trotting around out on the ice.

And remember kids, Global Warming is srs biznes.

New blog

Got a new blog. This was created for the 20th anniversary of the dojo and will be collecting many of the fun stories that have come out of the club. While it is mainly for members of the club to enjoy, it is open to all to check out.

Bad Compassion

I heard something so mind bogglingly stupid on the radio the other day I was flat out enraged that anyone with two brain cells to rub together could take it seriously. Unfortunately I hit upon it as i was channel surfing so the show and the person expressing these views eludes me.

A woman was talking about bullying. Now, I think its safe to say that bullying is a bad thing. I've been on the receiving end of it. I think nearly everyone has at some time in their lives. The woman who was speaking talked about herself getting bullying for sticking up for a kid with Downs Syndrome. This lead to an assault on her. The kids responsible received in school suspension, which means they spent their school time stuck in a detention room, and the ringleader received out of school suspension. This is pretty telling of the the time frame as if this occurred all the assailants would be expelled. The tolerance for fighting is zero, and that means that if one student is beating the crap out of another student than the student getting the beating had better not throw a single punch to defend himself or he's expelled.

The story went on that the ringleader, Jerry, returned to school and pushed the speaker into moving traffic. This is not the sickening part. The woman was pretty much advocating punishment by way of hugs and pie for this kid. She found out that Jerry's father had lost his job and when Jerry returned to school after his suspension he was ten pounds lighter. The course of action she said she wanted was the school administration to take Jerry into their office and say "Jerry, you're a good kid, tell us what's bothering you."

News flash: Jerry was not a good kid. Good kids don't bully. Good kids don't bully kids with Downs Syndrome. Good kids don't seek revenge by pushing others into traffic. Jerry was a scumbag. The excuse was made that Jerry was hungry and that's why he did what he did. There's a lot of hungry kids out there who don't push other kids into traffic.

The speaker is a fool. There's good and bad. You can't hug away bad. Compassion is a noble thing, and to show it to your enemies is admirable BUT not if its going to get you hurt. There are those out there who are beyond compassion and see it as a weakness so showing it makes you a target.

Rule one of self defense: don't be a target.

I saw a similar sentiment concerning Islamic Radicals. "If we just knew what the terrorists wanted..." They want you dead for not believing what they believe and you will convert, serve them or die. After a terrorist attack in the UK one por old woman expressed that she wished the terrorists knew that she wasn't the enemy. What she did not understand is that by he very existance and the beliefs she heard that she was indeed the enemy. These terrorist are indocrinated and made to believe that there are Pillars of Islam that don't exist. They believe that to be a good Muslim they must war against those who don't share this belief, and that includes other Muslims. There's no reasoning with them, so you have to beat back the madmen and not tolerate their actions.

It is honorable and good to hold out your hand to aid those you feel need it. However, if you're holding out your hand to a snake, and you know its a snake, don't be surprised if you get bit.

I'm saying it.

AVATAR is BATTLE FOR TERRA with a bigger budget and longer running time.

Tell me I'm wrong.