filbypott asked:

Thoughts on the Flash? (I swear I don't have a list of JLA members I want to ask you about) [I might]

Pretty much everything I have to say specifically about Wally West would be a regurgitation on what Chris Sims went into on his column on Barry Allen, Wally West and how Barry coming back is bad for them both. However, that was a few years and a very successful TV show ago, and in light of, that, I feel the need to take a step back and look at the overall character.

 The Flash overall is one of those perfect heroic concepts: the ultimate specialist, so good at using his one power that he has turned it into every other power you can think of. “The sun, I guess?” is the unifying theme of Superman, but the Flash has speed and only speed-derived powers to bring to bear, forcing the writers to get very, very creative. He has a perfect costume that you can see the appeal of instantly, which is an important element in a visual medium. More than that, though, is his tendency to be the forerunner (literally) of each shift in the superheroic market.

I’m not even the tenth person to say this, but the Flash tends to be the first one to forecast a trend at DC. Square Science Dad Barry Allen kicked off the Silver Age, with its colorful fun, science that would not for one second hold up under scrutiny, vast array of villains and sense of wonder and harmless fun. Wally West kicked off the age of the legacy hero, the idea of a grand unified DC continuity and an era where the superhero was a little more down-to-Earth - Wally worked for the IRS, delved deep into the legacy of the Flash and through it, the history of the DC universe. Barry’s return in turn kicked off the new 52.

I was talking with a Twitter pal this week about how if neither Superman nor Batman are the moral core of the DC Universe any more, who is? He remarked that the Flash might be the closest, and I in turn remarked that if that’s true, the moral core of modern DC created it by being bad at travelling through time. And really, that fits - the post-Flashpoint DC Universe is one where heroes fail more often and the line between good guy and bad is murkier than I’m comfortable with. It’s also, creatively speaking, a place where the brand, and how DC sees the brand, comes first. Elseworlds and imaginary stories are minimized for now - they’re often seen as diluting the brand, and this is why I fear we won’t be seeing a lot of the Multiversity outside of Grant Morrison’s passion projects. Vertigo - the imprint that made me a DC fan, since it was the perfect “what else has this creator done” gateway from the weird college student set to rediscovering the superhero - is a shell of its former self, since weird indie books don’t do much for sales, and the creators they kept happy and kept working for DC aren’t as much of a priority now.

So what is a priority? Well, The Flash as a TV show is currently everyone’s fave (problematic fave, but people are willing to let a lot of problematic elements go if the story is fun and entertaining.) The stated reasoning for the de-emphasis of legacy and continuity is that it was seen as a barrier to bringing iconic characters to other media. Why spend two movies setting up Wally West when you can spend one setting up Barry Allen? Ditto for Hal Jordan, Ray Palmer, etc etc. The Flash right now is the vanguard of the TV and movie age - where the comics aren’t the dog wagging the tail any more, but the other way around, and that in turn takes a different set of considerations.

I think DC’s misstep was bringing Barry back, rather than creating a new, non-straight white guy character to be the new Flash for a new generation. We have a black Wally West and he seems pretty cool, but he’s not “the” Flash any more than Val-Zod is “the real” Superman. But again: TV and movies are the priority, and there’s long-standing wisdom there that women and PoC can’t headline action and superhero movies (and Marvel is guilty of this too, and frankly, given how they have a license to print money at eleven movies into a cinematic universe, have a lot fewer excuses than DC which currently sits at one.) A woman or PoC Flash is harder to sell to networks and studios, and that’s that.

Well, that’s a lot about what Flash means, but not who Flash is, so back on track. Personally, Wally was my favorite, and I’ll admit that it might be because he was Flash at the time I got into it through the Morrison-Porter JLA. Wally and Kyle Rayner were the legacy heroes, and while Wally took being the Flash very seriously (he was a lot more serious than on the cartoon) Kyle was a doofus and often buckled under the weight of the world. Kyle was what a “new guy” hero was supposed to be, but Wally was something new - a “new guy” hero who had fully grown into the role. Wally was proof that you didn’t have to stay the new guy forever. That after enough time, you could be just “the hero.” And I liked that - and I liked that the universe had such a long history that it had enough space to accommodate such a unique take on the successor hero.

I think they still could, but not with the Flash, unless they do another reboot (and please God do not do another reboot. My issues with the new 52 aside, that is the last thing they need.)

Mattel Releases Wearable Utility Belt And Batarang, Crimefighters No Longer Need Fear Embarrassing Pants Mishaps

By Chris Sims

One of the more unfortunate side effects of living in modern society is that we’re expected to wear pants whenever we’re in public. Seriously, they want you to do that every time you leave the house, even though that is clearly an unrealistic proposition for a society that has already perfected pajama technology. It’s an undeniable hassle, but this month, Mattel released something that helps make it a little more awesome: a recreation of the classic Batman ‘66 utility belt, complete with a folding Batarang.

It’s the latest entry in the tidal wave of merchandise that’s been hitting shelves in the truly wonderfulBatman TV series revival that we’ve been seeing over the past few months, and unless you’re willing to get creative with your “Surf’s Up” Batman action figure, it’s the first one you can actually wear. Check out a video of the belt in action below!



Here’s An Idea I Had About Batman 

So as you may already be aware, I like Batman a lot, which means I think about Batman all the time, and ever since I started writing comics, I’ve been thinking about what I would do if I could do a Batman story. That’s pretty common, right? I mean, surely everyone has a Batman pitch in their back pocket just in case it ever comes up. One of mine, the one that I think could actually work really well, was The Batman of the 30th Century.

The basic idea comes from two things: One, that the Legion of Superheroes is founded as a Superman spinoff, which means there’s a lot of Superman legacy stuff that shows up over the years, and there’s a lot of Flash stuff that shows up from XS, Impulse and the Tornado Twins, but there’s nothing in the Legion’s future that indicates a legacy for Batman. (There’s also nothing involving the Wonder Woman legacy, but, you know, that’s a discussion for another time.) And yet, if you skip ahead to the 853rd Century of DC One Million, the Batman legacy is definitely alive and well.

Second, and the reason it’s so weird that there’s no Batman tie-in for the Legion, is that there actually was a “Batman of the 30th Century.” His name’s Brane Taylor, and he appears in a one-shot story in 1954. It’s not all that obscure among people who read a lot of comics, and with creators’ love of tying things together, it seems mystifying to me that there was never a reintroduction of that character as part of the Legion’s future. Maybe it was the name? “Brane” is, to be honest, kind of awful. But it’s all there, and looking at it as a fan, it seemed natural that you could tie it together. The only thing that you’d really need would be to tweak Brane so that he’d fit in with the teenagers of the Legion, and when I saw (and bought the original art for) Cliff Chiang’s Gatchaman-inspired “Science Ninja Hero Batman,” it all seemed to fall into place. I really wanted it to have a strange feeling of the retrofuturism of the original Legion and its Silver Age roots along with Batman’s darker, more modern aesthetic (there’s a lot of the Morrison run in this, for instance).

So I thought about this for years, and I ended up mentioning it to J. Gonzo, the artist of La Mano Del Destino, and he really loved it and wanted to draw it, and came up with a few ideas his own along the way – Robin and Bat-Mite were his ideas, and I love ‘em. We ended up making a full pitch document with character designs and summaries that I think is really cool, but at the same time, I know that there’s a roughly zero percent chance that it will ever actually happen. So we showed it around to a few people, and now I’m sharing it with you. Enjoy!

X-Men ‘92
Written by Chris Sims & Chad Bowers, with art by Scott Koblish

The book is set in the world of the 90s cartoon, and will be the first comic spinning out of Secret Wars. Marvel will also be diving into the world of digital firsts with this book.

Looks like I will probably be spending some youtube time getting reacquainted with this world. I wonder if it happens sometime in the middle fo the run, or after everything took place?

I only know Chris Sims from comicsalliance, and Scott Koblish from Deadpool ads. Going to have to get a better read on what they can do. I want to want this book, though.

Watch on


By Chris Sims

I’ll admit that I’ve had a few reservations about the upcoming Beware the Batman animated series — mostly because Batman: the Brave and the Bold is probably my platonic ideal of entertainment — but the more I see of it, the more excited I get. And now, Entertainment Weekly has debuted the show’s opening sequence, and any lingering doubts I had have pretty much vanished. This thing looks awesome.

Also, it sounds awesome, thanks to a fantastic theme song by Dum Dum Girls.


Read more at ComicsAlliance.

“We’re just gonna leave this here…” – Japan

The Craziest Karate Robot Motorcycle Movie Ever Made

I sat down to watch 2011’s Karate-Robo Zaborgar, a Japanese film from the director of Machine Girl and Final Pussy… Between that and the Netflix description, Zaborgar had a pretty high standard to live up to, but seriously, you guys? It is the best movie I’ve seen all year, and maybe the most balls-out-crazy movie I’ve seen in my entire life.

Read More

Action Christmas #1 (December 1958)

Story By Chris Sims
Art by Dean Trippe

Everyone knows that before he came to Earth and took the identity of Clark Kent, Superman was born on Krypton as Kal-El, and when that planet was destroyed, he became its last survivor! Until today! When a rocket crashes on the doorstep of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude at the North Pole, the Man of Steel investigates and finds his long-lost cousin, NO-EL! Sworn to bring gifts to everyone on Earth, No-El seems like an ally — but when he starts giving presents to the likes of Brainaic and Luthor, will he cause even more trouble than Kryptonite? Find out in “The Super-Santa From Krypton!” 


That’s right everbody, it’s an all-new, all-action tokusatsu adventure series from me, joebloodyhunter and twobitjusticeleague, with a logo design by bigredrobot, and it’s out on Comixology on Wednesday, September 3!

It’s the first issue of an ongoing series that’s a loving homage (well, that’s the nice way to put it, anyway) to Kamen Rider and Super Sentai, with all the high school drama and rubber-suited monsters that you could possibly want:

Written by: Chris Sims
Art by: Joe Hunter
Lettered by: Josh Krach
By: Dylan Todd
Price: $0.99
Available: Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sequence 01: The Break-Fist Club
KICKFLIP INTO ACTION! Ramp City High School has a big problem: students are turning into monsters whenever they’re faced with stress – and for teenagers, there’s stress around every corner. Good thing skateboard champ Theo and tech whiz Ria are there to stop them, but when the mid-term menace of Testor tears up the library, will they be thrashed before they even start?

Catch the full issue and spread the word, Action Agents! The Ramp City Revolution starts now!

(Well. It starts on Wednesday, but you get the idea).