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.

⇒ Con­tin­ue read­ing ““Dial H for Hero!””

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 http://tardiseruditorum.blogspot.com) 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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