Author Archives: Paul O'Connor
I saw Avengers Age of Ultron a second time.
It was a fine action spectacle. I expect I will see it again.
A second viewing brought me no closer to really understanding that Thor subplot, though. Near as I can tell, Thor has a vision of going to a rave with Stringer Bell, then succumbs to a bit of Franchise Service involving the Infinity Gems before flying back to headquarters and using his lightning to power-up a new superhero.
It makes no sense.
Hey, if it’s good enough for Joss Whedon, then it’s good enough for me. The Avengers director all but admitted that the reason for that cave scene was to get Hemsworth’s shirt off. And I suppose that is reason enough.
I hope you liked the movie! Go see it, if you hadn’t, though the notion of a Longbox Graveyard reader having not yet seen this movie is about as nonsensical as the Vision’s origin (either in this movie, or in the comics!). So go see it again — or see Mad Max: Fury Road, which is better.
And join me back here in a week for a message of grave import regarding the future of Longbox Graveyard!
What’s this? A mysterious package arrives at Longbox Graveyard Secret Headquarters!
(Actually, it’s not a surprise at all, as I ordered it. But I pretend otherwise. Coy self-deception is a survival trait for comic book bloggers).
Within, red wrapping.
(Nice of this eBayer to go to such bother. I would have just tossed the thing in a box).
And within that wrapper, within that box … it’s the Mole Man!
I was all set to tear the box open … but this is a pretty cool box. I particularly liked the “Then & Now” information panel that made up one side of the box.
Ah, but “WHY Mole Man?” I hear you ask. Why did I buy this bust?
I don’t particularly like Mole Man, and I don’t collect busts. I’ve sold off or given away nearly all of my comic book stuff.
Yet here I’ve purchased a Mole Man bust!
Don’t blame the Value Stamp per se (though a different Value Stamp cost me my copy of Hulk #181 … that’s another story).
No, blame that portrait of the Mole Man, excerpted for a Value Stamp. You see, when I set up this blog, back in the dim days of 2011, I set up a Twitter account to go with it, and Twitter required an avatar. Child of the Bronze Age as I was, I “naturally” flashed on using a Marvel Value Stamp. I scrolled through the invaluable on-line listing of Value Stamps and settled on one that was a portrait with a good “read” and a funny expression: Mole Man.
Not really thinking more about it, I took to Twitter as the Mole Man.
Of course, if you follow me on Twitter … all you see is that damn Mole Man face.
With no small degree of regret, I admit to 27K-plus Tweets on Twitter. That’s a lot of Mole Men!
OK, so I’m the Mole Man. I can go with that.
My Unintentional Avatar is made sweeter through the intentionality of Glenn J. Smith, a Longbox Graveyard reader and Twitter spirit animal who fixed me up with a less gloomy version of the original Mole Man:
With my avatar thus afforded the legitimacy of an individual’s artistic expression, I’ve come to embrace the Mole Man.
(You see, I become more like Mole Man each moment!)
Then I wrote an impassioned plea for why Ian McShane should play the Mole Man on film.
But, really, those were baby steps, leading up to owning my very own Mole Man bust.
I’ve been looking for this bust for years. Really!
Yes, I know it is readily available on eBay. That’s where I got it! But I set strict rules for the acquisition of my Mole Man.
Specifically, I wouldn’t pay more than twenty bucks for it.
I spent the last two or three convention seasons hunting for Mole Man on dealer floors up and down the west coast, but never found my quarry (and the prices, overall, of these Bowen Designs statues were not encouraging).
So when I found a slightly damaged version on eBay, for $14.00 shipping included, I pounced like a ravenous Moloid!
And now Mole Man resides in a place of prominence on the bedroom deck that doubles as my office in my new beach condo digs.
It has been a long, strange journey, but I cannot escape this fate. My bust is here at last …
… and as for me …
… I AM THE MOLE MAN!
(goo goo g’joob!)
Longbox Graveyard goes to the dogs with this Top 10 List of the greatest comic book super-dogs of all time!
It’s Super-Blog Team-Up time again! Super-Blog Team-Up is a loose collection of comic book blogs and podcasts that come together several times a year to opine on a common topic. In the past, we’ve tackled superheroes calling it quits, ret-cons, bad guys, team-ups, and alternative time lines. This time, we’re offering Top 10 Lists — a subject near and dear to my heart!
My past Top 10 lists have been (mostly) serious … or as serious as things get in funnybooks. I’ve listed my Top 10 Captain America Villains, Top 10 DC Comics Characters, Top 10 Marvel Comics Characters, Top 10 Superhero Lairs, and many more. With the Longbox Graveyard Super-Animal Showdown recently drawn to a close, this Super-Blog Team-Up seemed the ideal opportunity to add the Top 10 Super-Dogs to my roll of honor!
Before we get to the list, a few ground rules.
First, I am interested only in characters that appeared first or primarily in comic books. Animation is a whole ‘nother business … so you won’t find characters like Underdog or Dynomutt here. While some of these characters would also appear in animation, they are first and foremost comic-book dogs. Get it? Got it? Good!
Second, this list is heavily biased by the Bronze and Silver Age superhero sensibilities of Longbox Graveyard. Most (but not all) of these mutts are traditional comic book canines that have been around for decades, and all but one of my pooches hails from the comic book “Big Two” publishers. My apologies to all the contemporary, hip, indie comics hounds that I have unfairly consigned to the dog house!
Third, there is no third rule … aside from the restriction that David Letterman used to offer when introducing his nightly Top Ten — “Please, no wagering!”
Without further ado, and in reverse order (to help preserve the suspense, natch), here’s the Longbox Graveyard Top 10 Super-Dogs!
The list leads with an honorable mention for DC’s Space Canine Patrol Agents!
A product of DC’s wonderfully unhinged Silver Age, the Space Canine Patrol Agents (SCPA) were a kind of all-dog counterpart to the Legion of Super-Heroes. First appearing in Superboy #131, the group included a dog you know — Krypto — and a whole bunch of C-list canines, like Tusky Husky, Prophetic Pup, and Chameleon Collie. Close your eyes and you can imagine this lot opening their meetings with their sacred oath — “Big dog, big dog, bow wow wow! We’ll stop evil, now now now!”
I can’t begin to parse through the SCPA membership for this list, so they all get in with an honorable mention (and one member of the crew will shortly get much more than that). For more on the too-weird-not-to-be-true SCPA, head on over to the indispensable Dial B For Blog, which has enough vintage SCPA art to get your tail wagging!
Wilson was an alternate-universe mutt experimented upon for cosmetics testing. With the experiment deemed a failure, poor Wilson was thrown away … only to rise as Dogpool!
Animal testing for the cosmetics industry? On dogs? Now, there’s some true villainy!
Dogpool appeared in an astonishing 29 issues of various Deadpool comics (if Comic Vine is to believed), which either says something about the staying power of this character, or the vacuous nature of Deadpool books! Fingers are crossed that Dogpool gets some spotlight time when Deadpool comes to the silver screen in his 2016 movie debut!
Did you know that the Punisher had a dog? And did you know that this dog was so tough, even the Punisher couldn’t kill him? Meet Max!
Max was totally off my radar until Dean Compton — frequent Longbox Graveyard guest columnist, host of The Unspoken Decade, and the world’s biggest Punisher fan — convinced me that Max deserved a place in the Round of 32 in last month’s Super-Animal Showdown.
Max is a savage Rottweiler who guards the Punisher’s safe house. He was wounded in the line of duty — so badly wounded that the Punisher put him down with a knife. But wait! So outraged was fan reaction to Max’s death that a retcon later established that hard-hearted Punisher actually performed some kind of surgery on Max and saved his life!
And so there you have it … Max, the dog even the Punisher couldn’t kill!
(And let’s not be exploiting any more poor Rottweilers to guard our safe houses, OK?)
As near as I can tell, Destructo only appeared once — in 1961’s Superboy #92 — but if you’re Lex Luthor’s dog, and you wear a Jolly Roger cape, you’ve got to make the list …
Gaining super powers by a run-in with young Lex Luthor’s time machine, Destructo went on a rampage, impersonating Krypto and ruining the Dog of Steel’s good name! This adventure alone was enough to earn Destructo the title of Krypto’s arch-enemy … this is one super-dog overdue for a comeback!
The honor of being the sole non-DC or Marvel comics dog in my top ten goes to Archie’s loyal dog, Vegas!
If we were just talking about the classic, canonical, Riverdale version of Archie’s pet, he likely wouldn’t make this list … but Vegas’ stand-out appearance in the zombie-infested Afterlife With Archie was emotional and unforgettable. I reviewed that surprisingly impactful series here — and I don’t want to give too much away about Vegas, in case you haven’t yet read Archie’s excellent undead adventure — but this image should give you an idea of why Vegas rates the seventh spot on my list!
Now, this is pure cool. A Soviet space dog that drifted off course, mutated into a super-intelligent psychic that projects his thoughts with a stereotypical Russian accent, still wears his CCCP space suit, and serves as security chief on the space station the Guardians of the Galaxy calls home? Damn, it’s all I can do not to make Cosmo #1 on my list!
I just about leapt out of my seat when Cosmo made a cameo appearance in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, as one of the many captors of the dread Collector. When the Collector’s headquarters went boom, I turned to my son and said, “If Cosmo bought it, I’m walking out!” Fortunately, a quick shot showed Cosmo trotting to safety, and so the dream is alive that we will see Cosmo facing down his frenemy, Rocket Raccoon, in the inevitable Guardians of the Galaxy sequel!
#5 Pizza Dog
Also known as Lucky, Pizza Dog is the lovable mutt that Hawkeye rescues from the Russian mob in his recent breakout series by Matt Fraction and David Aja.
Lucky becomes a memorable supporting character in the series, and even stars in the brilliant issue #11 of the run, a book that told the kind of story that comics do better than any other dramatic form — a story related from Lucky’s point of view, using only the senses and sensibilities of a single and extraordinary dog. A great story about a great character, from a team at the top of their form (and good enough to snag an Eisner, too!)
#4 Rex The Wonder-Dog
We need to fire up the Wayback Machine for the #4 hound on our list …
Debuting in 1952’s The Adventures of Rex The Wonder Dog, and appearing in DC adventures right up into the 21st century, Rex would have a serious pedigree even if his early adventures hadn’t been created by comics legends Robert Kanigher and Alex Toth! Rex’s forty-six issue run through the 1950s benefitted from some terrific Gil Kane covers, too.
A kind of canine Captain America, Rex was a German Shepherd in the U.S. Army’s K-9 Corps who received a super-soldier serum injection, serving in World War II and Korea before becoming a crime-fighter, battling aliens and dinosaurs, and fighting alongside the future Justice League of America. A wonder dog, indeed!
#3 Ace the Bat-Hound
Ace hasn’t the resume of Rex the Wonder-Dog, but he gets on the podium of our Super-Dog Top 10 because … Batman!
Because nothing that works in comics isn’t worth over-doing, Ace’s appearance was a foregone conclusion when Krypto took the comics world by storm in 1955. A scant four month’s later, Superboy’s dog was joined by Batman’s hound, Ace, in the DC universe of super-animal stars!
Ace never caught on like Krypto, but c’mon. He wears a Batman mask, and he hangs around the Batcave. Ace is awesome just walking into the room …
The surprise winner of the Longbox Graveyard Super-Animal Showdown rates the penultimate position on our list!
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and making his first appearance in 1965’s Fantastic Four #45, Lockjaw is the unforgettable teleporting super-dog of the weird and wonderful Inhumans. That alone would ensure that Lockjaw made this list, but the four-footed Inhuman has had a long and surprisingly successful second act to his career, first headlining his own book in Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers, and then playing a supporting role in the new fan favorite Ms. Marvel series.
Fifty years after he was born, it seems that Lockjaw is still a pup. Respect!
And respect is what it’s all about for the #1 entry on the Super-Dog Top 10.
It’s Krypto, of course!
C’mon, who else could it be? Krypto is the sine qua non of dogs in capes!
First appearing in Adventure Comics #210 in 1955, Krypto was an instant hit as Superboy’s pet. The pilot of Jor-El’s prototype rocket that would eventually bring baby Superman to Earth, Krypto was knocked off course and reached our planet later than baby Kal-El, but still in plenty of time to partner with Superboy in many of his Silver Age Adventures, and even becoming leader of the Legion of Super-Pets!
Lockjaw may have (narrowly) defeated Krypto in their recent showdown, but in the long view of history, there’s only one possible Top Dog when it comes to super-pets. All hail Krypto, the greatest Super-Dog of them all!
That will do it for my Top 10 Super-Dogs. Please share your thoughts in the comments section, below! And also take a look at the many other fine Top 10 Lists on offer from my fellow Super-Blog Team-Up colleagues:
- Super-Hero Satellite: Top 10 DC Comics Titles That Ended Before Their Time
- Idol Head of Diablou: Top 10 Most Important Martian Manhunter Villains
- Marvel Superheroes Podcast: Top 10 Avengers (An Age Of Ultron Tie-In)
- Too Dangerous For A Girl: Top 10 Worst Super-Heroic Hairstyles
- Chasing Amazing: Top 10 Favorite Moments Of The “Chase”
- Fantastiverse: Top 10 Avengers Greatest Super Battles
- Mystery V-Log: Top 10 Avengers Covers
- In My Not So Humble Opinion: Top 10 Avengers Sketches
- The Unspoken Decade: Top 10 Avengers Moments
- Flodos Page: Top 10 Green Lantern Ring-Slings … That Don’t Appear In Modern Continuity
- Between The Pages: Top 10 Wackiest DC Comics Covers
- BronzeAge Babies: The Top 10 Bronze Age Characters (x2!)
- Legion of Super-Bloggers: Legion Who’s Who Top 10
- Vic Sage via The Retroist: Top 10 Comic Character Deaths
- I’m The Gun: The 10 Best All-Star Squadron Covers
Thanks for reading! And if you are ready to make room for a super-dog in your own home and heart, remember that there are thousands of awesome shelter dogs looking for a good home! Please visit my friends at Adopt-A-Pet.com to find your new best friend!
NEXT MONTH: #148 Longbox Soapbox
The big week is here — Avengers Age of Ultron is screening in theaters around the world!
To get you in the mood for the latest big-screen adventures of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, here are links to the many Avengers articles previously published here at Longbox Graveyard!
Before they had even heard of Thanos, the Avengers defended earth against alien invasion in the Kree-Skrull War …
And on a less cosmic scale, I reviewed the bumpy early road navigated by the old-school Avengers in the first year or so of the book …
Just days ago, I looked at the Oedipal origins of the Bride of Ultron …
And you can view some groovy Avengers art in my Pinterest Gallery!
Thanks for reading. Avengers Assemble!