Posts Tagged ‘superhero’

Dial H for Hero!”

A mysterious telephone dial-like device that is capable of transforming whomever dials the letters H‑E-R‑O on in into a superhero, or, rather, a series of different superheroes. (Of course, its a little hard to so describe the H‑Dial now, as telephones don’t have dials, they have keypads.) Boy scientist Robby Reed first discovered the H‑dial in a cave in Colorado and used it to protect the town of Littleville. Several years later, teenagers Chris King and Vicki Grant would discover a different pair of dials marked similarly, which they used to become superheroes. Later, others, too, possessed one of the H‑Dials. Currently, the power of the H‑Dial is passing among ordinary people in the New 52 DC era.

As might be expected, a few of the heroes these people transformed into had hypnotic powers.

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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.

This Week in Comics — 2011/12/14

Star Trek & The Legion of Super Heroes #3

The team-up comic is now in its third issue and only now have the heroes of both worlds met. And, of course, they do so by getting into a fight. Its largely a pointless battle, what with Brainiac 5 being invulnerable to phasers because of force field belt, and the other superheros being more than a match for un-powered humans (or Vulcans) even though they are carrying powerful energy weapons. And just one example of that is Saturn Girl using her telepathic powers to make Lt. Uhura drop her phaser.

Fortunately for all involved, the smartest members of each team quickly come to the realization that they all were not enemies, which is a good thing as quickly after, the real enemies arrive: the Fatal Five of the Legion (in powers and weapons) cast as creatures from Star Trek (Gorn, Orion, etc.: the Emerald Eye is wielded by a green Orion woman.) The two teams naturally work together to defeat them.

The Incredibles

The comic series based after the movie “The Incredibles” is now being reprinted in magazine format. I don’t know the schedule but soon the Dash vs. Mesmerella storyline will come out.

Paradise Dungeons” — A Critical History of Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman may be the absolute strangest fictional character ever to become popular. Created by William Moulton Marston, she is explicitly a character created to promote his vision of a sexual utopia in which men submit to women, which he believed was the only possible way for humanity to survive. Despite the fact that she is explicitly an icon of kinky sex, radical feminism, and liberal utopian politics — three things that are not exactly clear winners in American mainstream culture — she’s endured as a major comics character and pop culture icon for decades.

Paradise Dungeon will be the story of that bizarre and amazing idea. From her first appearance in 1941’s All Star Comics #8 to her brand new relaunch as part of DC’s New 52 in 2011, the book will look at the complete history of Wonder Woman and how her utopian politics have risen and been suppressed over the decades, and how Wonder Woman fit into a myriad of eras of history, from World War II through to the turbulence of the 50s and 60s, the rekindled conservatism of the 70s and 80s, the rise of the digital generation in the 90s and 00s, and the present. And of how, in all of those eras, no matter who was working on Wonder Woman, the strange and radical utopianism of the concept survives.

Author and blogger Phil Sandier (TARDIS Eruditorum is using Kickstarter to raise money to get his book published. Since it deals with a subject and character highly relevant to the subject of this blog, I want to pass along this information and help him reach his goal. He has posted the first chapter of the book, excerpted above, and he’s definitely got some good ideas here.

Comic Archetypes: The Golden Age Hypnotic Heroine

History: Looking over the diverse cast of hypnotic characters in the Golden Age of Comics (which is the period from the start of comics publication through the end of WW II) one is eventually struck by the rampant sexism and male domination involved. There were a number of villains whose primary motif was some form of hypnosis in the Golden Age, but almost every one was male, from the shady sideshow hypnotists and crafty con artists to the mysterious mystics and malevolent magicians to the sinister scientists and demented doctors. Which should be no surprise, as there were very few female villains at all during that time. Also, the great majority of these characters were “one-shot” characters who only appeared in a single issue: for re-occurring characters like Lex Luthor, hypnotic control of the hero was a ploy they might use on rare occasions but never specialized in. Strangely enough, or, rather, more likely another sign of the times, is that such hypnotic control was rarely used against or by women. 

There were a few exceptions, of course, such as the reoccurring Justice Society villainess Harlequin, who used a pair of hypnotic glasses as part of her circus clown motif, but she was a much more sympathetic character and eventually reformed, and the one-shot villainess Lady Serpent, who used her hypnotic gaze to mesmerize a female jail guard into letting her escape, yet her foe, the Black Terror, forewarned about her powers, was able to resist her. (Curiously, Catwoman would use use the same trick to escape prison in a much later comic, hypnotizing a female guard with a cat’s‑eye-jeweled locket.) It almost seems as though the comics writers just didn’t want to or weren’t allowed to have a female character, hero or villain, who could control the male characters: it was acceptable for Luthor to put Superman under his hypnotic control, but no woman could. Given the sexism of the culture at the time, that seems a likely explanation. 

But there was one exception to all of this sexism, the most famous heroine of this era and possibly any era. And that was Wonder Woman. 

⇒ Continue reading “Comic Archetypes: The Golden Age Hypnotic Heroine”

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