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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