Archive for July, 2012

Spam Storm!

Over the past two days, the blog here has been under the effects of a spam storm. Over 200 spam comments were blocked and ultimately deleted in that period, the most in all of the history of the blog. All of these spam comments were designed to promote just one website, a blank page designed to drive clicks to a random harvesting site.

Its hard to figure out whether there was any kind of intelligence to the storm: the spam was quite easy to detect, as there were only two or three different comment text blocks in use. They all also used much the same pitch to attract clicks to the harvesting site, a rather come on toward blog owners to increase their cashflow return from the blog through the use of a technique that I won’t mention by name because I don’t want it to show up in web searches, which is also why I’m not listing the harvesting website, either. It was also pretty apparent that at least one of the text blocks was by someone with a limited knowledge of English, whether just by lack of education or if English was not their primary language.

However, to cut down on that spam storm, just so that I don’t have to keep cleaning it out of the queue because it always gets caught, I have turned on the requirement that only registered members can comment. That shouldn’t be a problem as the regular commenters are already registered.

Hypno-Girl — Atomic Rocket Comics

Atomic Rocket Comics (“Italy’s Most Mysterious Comics Publisher”) is an Italian comics publisher who has a website featuring a number of comic heroes, so mysterious that is doesn’t have any actual published material (those pages are listed as “Work In Progress”).  The characters all seem to draw from 50’s and 60’s era European comics, which were heavily influenced by the 30’s pulps, featuring characters such as Paper Man, Shadow Boy, Shrunken Boy and Shrunken Girl, Iron Mask (“The Bounty Hunter From Outer Space”) and the one of particular interest, Hypno Girl. As with their predecessors, these characters primarily have either no superpowers or just one superpower. They are also drawn in the style from the previous periods. (Although I have to admit that I think the picture of Doctor Actom on page 13 of the online magazine looks like an action figure as opposed to artwork.)

I was originally drawn to the website through the following  promotional video for Hypno Girl.

The video itself, as can be seen, is pretty stereotypical, although I do like the the spiral special effects and the “eye in the pyramid” pendant with its potential connections to occult organizations. The newsreel look of the video compliments the 30’s pulp feeling. The 60’s “mod” look with the white hairstyle, black ensemble and black&white checked spiral glasses is also a nice touch.

The only information about Hypno Girl other than the video is contained on page 8 on the online magazine. Unfortunately, its all in Italian, but it is also a part of a Flash presentation so its entirely graphic in nature and its very hard to read, too. Unfortunately my limited Spanish vocabulary doesn’t help in trying to figure out a divergent Romance language in this case.

The Return of the Hypno-Hustler!

Marvel is unleashing a new web comic series, the All-Winners Squad.

NECA Drafts "All-Winners Squad"

All Winners Squad: The “All-Winners Squad” is an ensemble of Marvel cult favorites. Together these previously overlooked characters are destined to make an impact in their own irreverent way. At long last, the All-Winners Squad will break free from comic book pages and obscure corners of the Internet, spreading their unbridled awesomeness to fans everywhere.

The All-Winners Squad is truly anything but awesome: its a collection of forgettable and forgotten second-raters and beyond, heroes and villains and others. Members include such forgettable characters as Frog-Man, the Walrus, the Unicorn and Ruby Tuesday under the direction of Mr. Fish and the Trapster.

Oh, and the Hypno-Hustler. And Squirrel Girl and Howard the Duck.

The National Entertainment Collectibles Association, Inc. (NECA), in partnership with Marvel Consumer Products, will bring their notoriously hip creative to a full line of offbeat All-Winners Squad merchandise launching this fall. Toys, apparel and collectibles will celebrate the solidarity of these newly revived characters. The line casts the spotlight on each member of the All-Winners Squad, giving each a chance to shine individually as well as with their squad comrades.

If nothing else, it means I could actually get a Hypno-Hustler collectible figure for the collection. However, the character artwork showed me something I didn’t figure before: for a lead man in his band, the Hypno-Hustler plays a bass guitar.

Now I expect some will rise to the defense of Howard the Duck and Squirrel Girl. I know Howard the Duck was one of big names at Marvel back in the days and Squirrel Girl was some of Steve Ditko’s last work at Marvel, but neither are hardly that big these days. I was never a big fan of Howard the Duck although some of early stuff was amusing. Certainly they’re out of place in this lineup, just because they both weren’t villains like the rest.

Eve the Illusionist’ — “Red Dragon Inn” (Slugfest Games)

You are among a party of hard-working and hard-playing adventurers. Your party just got back from a hard adventure delving into ruins, fighting filthy creatures and finding lots of gold. You all got back to civilization, and, after getting your armor and weapons fixed, replenishing your supplies and paying off any old debts, its now time to party.

Well, at least that’s the intent, and that’s the theme of the game “Red Dragon Inn” by Slugfest Games. In it, players select one of the adventurers and attempt to drink the other characters under the table or manage to ‘acquire’ their gold during their stay in the public room of the Red Dragon Inn. Naturally, the other characters are trying to do the same thing. The cliché character types include such characters as Fiona the Volatile, Dierdre the Priestess, Zot the Wizard (with Pooky, his psychotic rabbit familiar), Gerki the Sneak and Dimli the Dwarf. But the one that caught my attention was Eve the Illusionist and one of the cards that the player can use during play.

Eve defies description, mostly because no one knows exactly what she really looks like without her illusions. Her powers have saved her fellow adventurers countless times from extremely gullible monsters.

The Good: Eve is a very skilled Illusionist.

The Bad: She’s been known to use her skills on her fellow party members when she gets bored.

Sounds like my kind of character.

And the particular card? It is this:

Eve the Illusionist is one of the characters in the first expansion set (which has been updated, as the original character set was underpowered) to the original game, which now also has a second expansion set. Its a fast and fun game that takes several amusing liberties with the whole dungeoneering trope and for that reason alone I plan on getting copies of all three at some time.

Universo — “The Legion of Super-Heroes” Part 1

The foes of the legendary Legion of Super-Heroes are themselves indeed legion and legendary: beings like the enigmatic Time Trapper and the monstrous master computer Computo, the dark magician Mordru and even the infamous Darkseid; groups like the Fatal Five, the Dark Circle and the Legion of Super-Villains; whole races like the Dominators, the Khunds and the Controllers. Most have had their fleeting victories, their rare moments of triumph before the Legion defeated them.

Yet there is one opponent who can claim to have achieved his goal of world domination against the opposition of the Legion, not simply once but twice, and both times for extended periods, to the point the Legion was forced to battle him as underdogs, something no other opponent of the Legion throughout its long history and many revisions has achieved.

That opponent is the malevolent hypnotist (or telepath) Universo.

⇒ Continue reading “Universo — “The Legion of Super-Heroes” Part 1”

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