Thursday, July 31, 2014

Challenge of the Super Friends, Episode 12

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Episode 11: "The Final Challenge"

The Super Friends welcome new member Aquaman to their fight for justice!
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This episode of Challenge of the Super Friends opens like gangbusters, with an intergalactic chase between Wonder Woman's Invisible Plane and Black Manta's Manta Ship:
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Wonder Woman calls for back-up from Batman and Apache Chief, flying in the Bat-Plane. The two heroes show up on the Manta Ship and nab the Legion of Doomers, only to have Bizarro show up and grab them. This brings in Superman, which in turn causes Black Manta to call for help, which in turn again causes Green Lantern and Hawkman to fly from the Hall of Justice and get involved. It's a bench-clearing brawl!

Suddenly, however, some of the heroes and villains are sucked into a dimensional vortex, where they are greeted by Father Christmas:
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This is Vaartu, self-proclaimed leader of this universe, and he's had it up to here with all this petty squabbling between the Super Friends and The Legion of Doom (hey, both sides do it!) so he's going to end all this nonsense once and for all: one member of each time will face off, and whoever wins the most matches will get to go home. It's a real Contest of Champions!

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Green Lantern and Hawkman, having no common sense or accumulated memory, team up with the Legion of Doom to try and find their collective missing members. Of course, Luthor has a secret plan to destroy the Super Friends. But in the meantime, four of them travel to this super-cool atomic dimension that doesn't make a whole lot of sense but looks really rad nevertheless:
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Back on Vaartu's planet, Batman and Riddler are put in a giant maze, with each of them narrowly escaping death. But Batman ultimately makes it out, putting the Super Friends ahead.

Next is Aquaman and Black Manta, who are put on one side of The Lake of Terror (formerly known as The Cuyahoga) and have to cross it. Sounds simple enough, right?
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Aquaman is making good time, especially when Black Manta is grabbed by a giant clam. He calls for help like a little bitch, and Aquaman, being too nice a guy for his own good, help his old foe escape:
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The clam then grabs Aquaman, allowing Manta to win the race. Aquaman is beamed back to his friends looking dejected, and now the score is even.

Out in space, the remaining Super Friends learn the heard way (again) that the Legion of Doom cannot be trusted. Robin and Samurai end up in a weird geometric universe, where a Mxyzptlk-like imp helps the good guys escape when Sinestro and The Toyman pull a double-cross.

The next challenge involves Wonder Woman and Cheetah having to cap a erupting volcano, which the Amazing Amazon wins by sort of cheating. Cheetah can only whine, while the Super Friends are now up 2-1. The fourth event features Apache Chief and Scarecrow (because AC doesn't have any arch foes, other than litter on the highway), which is won by the Scarecrow. The game is now tied, so it's up to Superman to defeat Bizarro by overcoming a giant space robot!
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Luthor and some of the others learn where their fellow bad guys are, and head to Vaartu's planet, with the Super Friends close on their trail. Superman gets zapped by the giant robot's Kryptonite vision, but nevertheless wins, meaning certain doom for The Legion of Doom!

Despite pleas for mercy, Vaartu sends the five LODers into a river of acid, where they will slowly die. The Super Friends don't think this is right ("Even the Legion of Doom deserves a fair trial!"--Superman), so they grab Vaartu and rescue the Legion of Doom. Vaartu transmogrifies into the various creatures they saw during the tournament, enraged the Super Friends would dare question him:
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The Legion of Doom defeats Vaartu (using their recently-arrived HQ), which inadvertently saves the Super Friends, as well. This leads to an awkward moment, and Vaartu is sick of the whole thing, beaming everyone back home. Robin muses that maybe they should have allowed Vaartu to put the Legion to death. But Wonder Woman reminds the Boy Wonder this isn't Texas, and that Vaartu wasn't really dispensing true justice. Plus, the Legion of Doom have to live with the knowledge they lost...when they challenged the Super Friends!


This episode is over-stuffed with ideas, creatures, and set pieces, from the Star Wars-esque opening to the giant skeleton at the end. After several episodes of non-participation, it was great to see Aquaman get a solo spot, even if he does lose the contest against Manta. I guess it does make Aquaman look a little square, but I was happy to be reminded he's a solid, upstanding sort of fella.

This episode's Aqua-Content: High

 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Random Panel of the Day #1058

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International Covers Part 6

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More awesome international Aquaman covers from F.O.A.M.er Chance van Pelt!

Fun Fact: In some countries, this site is called The Wassermann Shrine.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Aquaman Annual #2 Layouts by Yvel Guichet

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Here are two pages of super-cool pencil layouts for Aquaman Annual #2 by Yvel Guichet. Looks like someone is having a rough time of it!

Aquaman Annual #2 comes out tomorrow!


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Random Panel of the Day #1057

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Aquawoman @ SDCC 2014

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A spectacular Aquawoman spotted at the 2014 San Diego Comic Con!
 
 
(h/t: F.O.A.M.er Andy Kapellusch)
 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Random Panel of the Day #1056

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Aquaman San Antonio

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F.O.A.M.er Chad Bokelman alerted the Shrine to the plight of Jonathan Vela, aka Aquaman San Antonio. In addition to appearing in costume at various cons as the Sea King, Mr. Vela apparently also regularly appeared at children's hospitals and charities.

On July 25 Mr. Vela suffered a stroke, a devastating event for anyone, let alone someone so young. With astronomical medical bills on the horizon, friends of his have set up a Give Forward page to accept donations. Head over there (link immediately below) and consider donating, or at the very least spreading the word. Help an Aqua-Fan out in his time of need!

https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/v375/aquaman-s-recovery-fund


The Fire and Water Podcast, Episode 95

sgTHE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST: Episode 95
The official podcast of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE and FIRESTORM FAN

Episode 95 - Interview with Alan Brennert

In this very special episode, I talk with comics writer, TV writer, and author Alan Brennert about his career both in and out of comics. Alan has written classic stories for BATMAN: BLACK AND WHITE, THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, DAREDEVIL, DETECTIVE COMICS, and his newest book is PALISADES PARK, available from St. Martin's Press.

Have a question or comment? Looking for more great content?
THE AQUAMAN SHRINE - http://www.aquamanshrine.net
FIRESTORM FAN - http://firestormfan.com
THE FIRE & WATER TUMBLR - http://fireandwaterpodcast.tumblr.com  
ALAN BRENNERT: http://www.alanbrennert.com

E-MAIL: firewaterpodcast@comcast.net

Opening theme, "That Time is Now," by Michael Kohler. Closing music by Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge of The Bad Mamma Jammas! http://www.facebook.com/BadMammaJammas

Alan Brennert's Comicography:
Batman:Gotham Knights #10
Batman:Holy Terror
Brave and the Bold #178
Brave and the Bold #181
Brave and the Bold #182
Brave and the Bold #197
Christmas with the Super-Heroes #2
Daredevil #192
Detective Comics #500
Secret Origins #50
Star Trek #12
Wonder Woman #231/232 (w/Pasko)

Thanks for listening! Fan the Flame and Ride the Wave!



Sunday, July 27, 2014

World's Finest Comics #127 - July 1962

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Comics Weekend "Aquaman's Finny Commandos" by Jack Miller and Ramona Fradon.

It's Adventure Sunday!

Hey Aqua-Fans, Ramona Fradon is back, and it's a real humdinger:
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Aquaman and Aqualad notice the special flare given to all sea captains for just such a purpoise. Captain Rader, however, isn't concerned, sure that he is prepared with special tricks for any attack Aquaman might dish out. But he quickly learns the error of his ways:
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...and so ends another adventure for Aquaman and Aqualad!


As much as any Aqua-Fan worth his sea salt loves Nick Cardy, it was great to have Ramona Fradon back for this issue. She does her usual superb job, from the great cutaway detail shot of the bad guy in the fake Puffer Fish, to that full-length panel of Aquaman pasting the bad guys while Aqualad watches admiringly. I could look at that shot all day.

I think the idea of the flare given to all sea captains by Aquaman is a new idea; I have to think the constant use of the Bat-Signal over in the Bat titles (which, of course, World's Finest Comics technically is one) had some effect on Jack Miller, who thought, hey, why not give Aquaman something similar?


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Aquaman (Vol.8) #33 - Sept. 2014

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Comics Weekend "Meet Your Maker" by Jeff Parker, Paul Pelletier, Sean Parsons, and Rain Beredo.

This issue opens with Aquaman hip-deep in fighting his own finny friends, thanks to the hellish creation known as The Chimera:
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As Aquaman tries to defend himself while not harming his loyal subjects, The Chimera peers deeply into the Sea King's mind, causing them both to black out. When Aquaman comes to, some of his men have found him. They are the ones who break the news about the attempted assassination of Mera.

While they head back to Atlantis, Mera is dealing with the now-jailed conspirators, one of whom gets a punch in the face courtesy Tula. Mera asks Tula why, since she was loyal to Orm, she is now working to defend them. Tula states that they are trying to make Peace, which should be the goal of any good king. Then, finally, the royal couple are reunited:
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The conspirators believe it is Aquaman's mere presence that is causing the earthquakes. Vulko, wasting away in a nearby cell, mutters to himself that this is, in fact, correct, but he knows that Aquaman will never believe it--or anything else Vulko would ever say.
 
Over at Amnesty Bay, The Chimera is back searching for Aquaman, ruthlessly working his way through anyone in the way--including a poor dog who barked at him on the beach. Realizing he's making quite a commotion, The Chimera realizes he has the ability to camoflage himself, if in the most disgusting manner possible:
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The Chimera kills a police officer, then changes form and hides in plain sight. After Aquaman is told that Steven Shin survived the disaster at Triton Base and has been moved to a Naval hospital, we rejoin The Chimera as he resumes his search for the Sea King:
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He practically bumps into Aquaman and Mera's friend Jenny, who is out walking Salty. Their mutual friend Erika, a police officer, pulls her gun when The Chimera reveals himself and fires several shots at point blank range. He is about to throttle Erika, but The Chimera then senses Aquaman is headed to Boston, and takes off leaving everyone with nary a thought.

Shin explains that The Chimera looks at Aquaman as both savior and destroyer. Either way, the Sea King is pivotal to its existence, so it's no surprise when The Chimera shows up at the hospital, even though Visiting Hours are over:
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...to be continued!
I've really run out of ways to describe this series, because I find myself saying the same things every month: Aquaman, under the control of Parker, Pelletier, and Parsons, is fun, colorful, exciting superhero derring-do.  It moves along at a lightning pace, and The Chimera is a solid (if icky) new protagonist.
 
This issue's cover is my favorite so far from Pelletier and Parsons' run on the book, the intensity on Aquaman's face is quite convincing and it grabs the reader, as it should. Also happy that Aquaman and Mera are reunited (if briefly), and we get another appearance by Salty the Aqua-Dog!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Random Panel of the Day #1055

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The Fire and Water Podcast: Live From Devon, PA!

sgTHE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST: Live From Devon, PA!
The official podcast of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE and FIRESTORM FAN

Recorded live to tape in Devon, PA, Shag and I--in our first face-to-face-meeting--talk about how the first FIRE AND WATER PODCAST Summit went.

Have a question or comment? Looking for more great content?
THE AQUAMAN SHRINE - http://www.aquamanshrine.net
FIRESTORM FAN - http://firestormfan.com
THE FIRE & WATER TUMBLR - http://fireandwaterpodcast.tumblr.com
E-MAIL: firewaterpodcast@comcast.net

Thanks for listening! Fan the Flame and Ride the Wave!


Aquaman Art Gallery: Paul Norris

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Oh boy do I love this! It's a private art commission by none other than Aquaman's co-creator Paul Norris, featuring the Golden Age Aquaman pasting his #1 nemesis, Black Jack, right across the kisser! "Greets", indeed!

As bad guys go, Black Jack was always pretty hapless. Glad to see nothing's changed.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Random Panel of the Day #1053

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Aquaman Shrine Interview with Sean Parsons

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Writer Jeff Parker, Penciler Paul Pelletier, and Inker Sean Parsons have quickly established themselves as yet another gangbuster creative team on Aquaman, continuing in the rich tradition of very talented folks who have brought us the Sea King's adventures. The Shrine has been fortunate enough to chat with both Jeff and Paul, and Sean similarly generous in taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with us about what it's like to work on Aquaman (whose 33rd issue drops today!):

The Aquaman Shrine: Were you a fan of Aquaman before getting the assignment?
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Sean Parsons: Of course I was a fan of Aquaman. I can remember being little and seeing a water ski show with the cast of Justice League and Aquaman was the best. 

AMS: It was fate!
 
 
SP: I think it was fate. I have an Aquaman villain living in my pool. Our little dog (Macaroni) likes to float around in our pool inside a small inflatable pool that looks like a crab. It reminds me of the Nautilus because it looks like she's in the mouth of a giant creature. I think she thinks she could be Arthur's greatest foe if she could just get past her own form of Kryptonite, chicken wrapped peanut-butter biscuit flavored dog treats.
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AMS: Do you have any particular favorite runs of the Aquaman comic? Any favorite artists? Aquaman has been very fortunate, in having some real greats work on his stories.

SP: Peter David had a nice long run. Anyone would appreciate a chance to stay with a character and guide him for so long. I can't even fault him for the long hair. It was a 90's thing. :) Plus, that was about the time I was breaking in so I was devouring a lot of material in those years. Heck, even I had a pony tail in the early 90's. I tried to kill it, but it came back a few years ago. Maybe Aquaman's long hair could come back as a villain and try to take over Arthur's head again.

AMS: Jeff Parker has been introducing a lot of new villains to the book, are there any from Aquaman's (admittedly rather thin) Rogues Gallery that you'd like to see in the book, if only to get the chance to work on?

SP: I'd love to be a part of a cool Black Manta story. We only got to draw him on one of the killer 3D covers. I'd love to see Paul’s take on him in a real story. Visually, he is just a fantastic looking character.

Beyond Black Manta, I'd love to see Jeff and Paul keep creating new forces to challenge Arthur. I can't get enough Topo either.

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I'd just love to see Jeff go nuts bringing new lore to the book. I could see Aquaman getting into it with some fantastic new sea creatures. Paul does a most excellent job bringing those things to life. Maybe have some sexy mermaids come throw some attitude around Atlantis so Mera has to kick some butt. I'd love to see a cover with some mermaids trying to tear Arthur apart and Mera coming in to save the day.
 

AMS: How did you end up with the job as inker on Aquaman?

SP: It was kind of direct, but then roundabout. They needed a couple pages inked on issue #14 over Pete Woods, and I got lucky enough to get a couple of those. Here's where it gets roundabout. Pete liked what I did, and so he asked for me to be his inker on an upcoming project which turned out to be Vibe. It was a monthly assignment and I was stoked to pick it up. Pete's pencils were great and I knew it would be a fun assignment.


The editor on Vibe, Brian Cunningham, was also taking over Aquaman at the time and asked me if I was fast enough to ink Vibe and do two fill-in issues of Aquaman at the same time. I said I could pull it off, so he gave me the two fill-ins with Paul. Paul was happy with the inks, and I loved working with Paul and somehow our fill-in run (Paul was assigned three fill-ins, but someone else inked the first one) turned into a steady run. I guess when DC sees a good thing happening they leave it be. Two fill-in issues have turned into the longest run on a title I've had in the business. It's been really fantastic and I hope we can keep it going for a lot longer.

AMS: Some art teams are brought in to help "save" a book, while others take over following a successful run by other artists. You and Paul were definitely in the latter situation; was it intimidating at all knowing you would be taking over a book whose previous art team was so well received?

SP: Ivan and Joe were just crushing things on Aquaman. A real powerhouse team and I couldn't be happier to come in behind them. It's been a real privilege. Getting to keep Geoff Johns on the book for my first nine issues really helped to solidify Paul and me as the art team on the book. I think if I had been coming into the title knowing we were going to be the regular team I would have been more nervous about it, but thinking we were just pitching in for a few issues took a lot of pressure off of me.

AMS: Do you change your approach to inking depending on whose pencils you're working with? Can you describe how you work with Paul Pelletier's art? 

SP: Yeah, I really try hard to ink everyone differently. I try to look at the intent of the penciler and figure out what style he is going for, and bend my inks to enhance that look for him. I consider myself very adaptable to most styles, but sometimes you get a guy who draws like Alan Davis, but wants you to ink him like Travis Charest and mentally I can't bring myself to change someone's pencils like that. If you can draw like Charest, I can ink you like him. I consider it a fun challenge to push myself to ink new styles. I can't squeeze water from stones though, so if you draw like Davis, I'm going to ink you with a brush. 

With Paul, I think we've changed and grown together through the months and formed into something neither of us started as. Lately, I've been doing some digital inks over Paul as well as some traditional work. I think the result is coming out nicely.

I still ink all the covers traditionally, and inevitably I end up doing a handful of pages each issue with the traditional tools of the trade. When inking Paul traditionally we work via email. Paul scans the pencils in and emails them to be to print out as blueline on Bristol board and I ink those boards, scan it in and email back to Paul and editorial for approvals.

When I get the go ahead, I upload my files to DC's server and I also email the large file to the colorist so he can get a head start coloring. We’ve been very lucky to work with a couple great colorists on Aquaman. First we got to keep Rod Reis from Ivan's run on the book, and when Rod finally stepped away, Paul tagged Rain Beredo in and he’s been doing a knockout job for the team. Add Jeff Parker to the mix and I don't think I could dream up a better group of people to handle the book. Jeff has been doing a great job showing Aquaman as a leader and a real guy. I love his direction on the book. He's also created one of the coolest new villains I've seen on the book, the Chimera, which the public was just introduced to and will be getting to know over the next couple issues. 



Sean was thoughtful enough to send some examples (click to embiggen) of what he's talking about. We thank him for his continuing great work on Aquaman and for talking with us! Thanks Sean!
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