Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Watching the 20th Century, 1909-1910

The Sealed Room https://archive.org/details/DWGriffithsTheSealedRoom1909

Both the first horror film I’ve watched in this project, and the first Mary Pickford film I’ve watched. Mary’s reaction when her character realizes what’s happened to her is priceless. I’ll probably enjoy seeing why she had a reputation for the greatest actress of the silent age.

The Redman’s View https://archive.org/details/TheRedmansView

Even a broken racist is right twice a day? D. W. Griffith paints a remarkably sympathetic portrayal of what the forced exodus of the Indian tribes must have been like from their perspective. There’s even a love story! All the walking scenes do feel like a lot of padding for a 12-minute movie, but it’s a central theme of the story so…

1776, or the Hessian Renegades https://archive.org/details/HessianRenegades

British soldiers kill a Revolutionary War spy hiding in a family’s house; the family rallies the neighborhood to avenge the dead spy. At times I thought I was watching a comedy, like when the family moves the spy from place to place to avoid being found while the house is searched, but overall it works as both an adventure film and a patriotic film.

The Country Doctor https://archive.org/details/TheCountryDoctor1909

The first movie in this project too dark and depressing for me. If it wasn’t a mercifully short 14 minutes, I would have stopped watching it.

Nursing a Viper https://archive.org/details/NursingAViper

Eh. I guess the lesson here is that poor people are murderous monsters and rich people are stupid perverts. Oh, and it takes place during the French Revolution. Griffith’s grueling work schedule is already taking a toll on his work.

Nero https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyVBUC0lMwo

This is what the Italians were up to. This costumed drama, with a cast of about 2 dozen, has two good scenes in it...and then people are just standing around and I can’t tell what’s supposed to be going on for the rest of it.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBDlU_A032U

This was pretty fun. All the actors are just hamming it up for the camera. There are some cheesy special effects, good enough for a high school stage production of Peter Pan, and the girliest Puck ever.

1910

Frankenstein https://archive.org/details/FrankensteinfullMovie

This is my first time visiting the Thomas Edison films in awhile. The Monster costume is pretty good. The last minute doesn’t make sense -- was the Monster only a reflection of Dr. Frankenstein all along? It seems like an “it was all a dream” cop-out ending. What is very interesting is that this Monster is the product of chemistry and not electricity.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz https://archive.org/details/The_Wonderful_Wizard_of_Oz

And I thought Edison’s Frankenstein was different! In this version, Dorothy meets the Scarecrow before the tornado strikes, the tornado transports a cow and a donkey along with Dorothy, Toto, and the Scarecrow, the Wizard is being manipulated by Momba, the Wicked Witch, into turning on the king, and Glinda the Good Witch transforms Toto into a huge dog -- this is some crazy stuff! It also has great costumes and some really impressive flying stunts (I never once spotted a harness).

A Christmas Carol https://archive.org/details/AChristmasCarol

The earliest known film version, another Edison film, makes some interesting deviations. Cousin Fred is not gaily having Christmas dinner without Ebeneezer, he’s suffering alone in poverty, unable to afford to marry. So, in the end, Ebeneezer makes Fred his business partner instead of Bob Crachit. Instead of a slow build-up to learning of his death in the future -- Scrooge witnesses his own death in this version! How that doesn’t drive him completely mad instead of reforming him has me puzzled. The best part that should have been used in all future versions: When Scrooge shows up at Bob’s house, a reformed man, Bob thinks he’s gone nuts and holds up his fireplace poker in case he’s going to have to conk Scrooge on the noggin in self-defense!

White Fawn’s Devotion https://archive.org/details/white_fawn_1910

The acting in the death scene is laughably bad, but there’s a nice, dramatic chase scene that somewhat redeems this film. Apparently this film was produced and performed by actual American Indians, and that makes it interesting, if not a little edgy, when they want to kill the white man. Regardless of what else happens in this film, I feel sorriest for the daughter, because this character is going to be scarred for life after this.

An Arcadian Maid https://archive.org/details/AnArcadianMaid_179

Mack Sennett is just a scenery-chewing ham as the slick peddler, but Mary Pickford shines. Perhaps the first serious actor to understand how to act on camera different than on stage, Mary could hold her own against any actress alive today.

Afgrunden (Abyss) https://archive.org/details/Afgrunden_1910

At nearly 37 minutes, this Danish film is by far the longest I’ve watched yet in this project, and that’s okay. It’s the story of a bored fiance who is seduced by an effeminate cowboy into leaving with him. They marry, he teaches her how to dirty dance with moves that would make Patrick Swayze blush, and she joins the traveling circus with him. He’s a philandering scoundrel but, even when her ex-fiance finds her and tries to bring her back, she can’t get over her physical attraction to her “cowboy” (I’m convinced the Danish weren’t clear on what a “cowboy” was, since all they do is dance). When she attacks his latest love interest, the couple is thrown out of the circus. The wife works playing piano in a beer garden, supporting her now-layabout husband, but when given the opportunity, he tries to force her into prostitution for the money. Luckily, her first and only client turns out to be the ex-fiance, who had tracked her down again and set this up as a way to get to her. She’s overcome with shame. When the husband sees the client is the ex-fiance, he flies into a rage and attacks everyone -- and things end badly. It’s good enough a movie that I don’t want to spoil the ending completely. 

Although most of the camerawork is, typical of the times, set up at a standard medium range (making the screen look like a staged play), there are instances of establishing long shots and even at least one camera pan that was very unusual for the time. The story has symbolism -- the wife’s wardrobe goes from white to black as she loses her purity. The acting is good and the story is always clear from the context, even if I can’t read the close-ups of notes written in Danish. The movie would be even clearer if it was in better shape; it’s simply tragic that a minute of film towards the end is almost unwatchable because of damage to the original film, and the very ending seems cut off, as probably lost to us.

Watching the 20th Century, 1907-1909

I decided this project was getting too big to fit into one blog post. To review from last November, I'm watching 1 movie from 1901, 2 movies from 1902, 3 movies from 1903, and so on. Now, I just finished 1910. This has been fun!

Le Spectre Rouge (Red Spectre) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvJu9I2Z1Ow

Okay, I cheated here. This particular video pairs the silent film with modern heavy metal music. It works remarkably well. The film itself is a weird combination of bland stage magic combined with special effects and aping the style of Melies. The Red Spectre wears what would make a great Halloween costume. It starts out very subtle, but there’s actually a story going on here about the female spirit that vexes the Red Spectre throughout his show and finally attacks him to get his cape. It’s so tantalizingly underdeveloped that I’m tempted to write some fiction now about the backstory here.

Les Terroristes en Russie (The Russian Terrorists) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWzqG9woWJk

There is a great 90 minute movie encapsulated into the first 8 minutes of this short film. A government bureaucrat is killed by an anarchist with a bomb, but the bureaucrat is also shown to be a family man. The grieving widow confronts the female bomber, with her children, in the woman’s cell. When the anarchist realizes she not only hurt the government, but tore apart a family, she begs for forgiveness. The family shows mercy and forgives her in the end. It’s a powerful message that resonates today, about the dangers of hating others for purely political reasons.

Well, that’s probably where it should have ended. There’s a ridiculous final 2 minutes, where the widow not only forgives her, but helps the woman escape from jail. To atone, the woman goes back and tries to talk her co-conspirators out of another bombing attempt, but when that fails she takes the bomb and blows them all up.

1908

The Adventures of Dollie https://archive.org/details/TheAdventuresOfDollie#

This was D. W. Griffith's directoral debut, and you can see that what he brought to his early pictures was an understanding of pantomime and appreciation that motions had to be big and expressive to convey meaning clearly, something the more muddled films before this lacked.

Known today for his racism nearly as much as his film work, it's interesting what a negative stereotype we see of gypsies here. Thank goodness, 97 years later, we don't fear cultures not our own anymore. Oh, wait. Never mind.

It's an interesting choice, showing us so little of Dollie's face. Now, it's possible that this decision was borne out of a child who couldn't act, but the effect makes Dollie an "every child".

The Assassination of the Duke of Guise https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Assassination_of_the_Duke_of_Guise

Supposedly the first instance of French "high art" in film, but it even fails at pretentiousness. There are three interesting minutes in the middle, surrounded by men just standing around in period clothes talking...which of course, you can't understand because this is a *silent* film.

Sten’ka Razin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stenka_Razin_(film)

This was supposedly a 10 minute film, but only 6 minutes of it remains. Six painfully plodding minutes of people rowing boats or milling around. This is the earliest known Russian film biography. You would think Russian history would be more interesting.

The Taming of the Shrew https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Taming_of_the_Shrew_(1908_film)

I expected more from D.W. Griffith after “The Adventures of Dollie”, but I found this one a confusing muddle. Is the lesson you’re supposed to take away from the Shakespearean play that guys who beat their servants get the girls?

A Visit to the Seaside https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPcHJA2ESAM

The complete film is supposedly 8 minutes long, but I could only find less than a minute of it online. It looks like somebody’s home vacation film, accidentally commercially released.

“Leo Tolstoy on Film” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxHr1ku9DGI

It’s unclear if this was footage shot for a documentary, or newsreel footage spliced together, but it is remarkably clear footage of the final days, and funeral, of Leo Tolstoy.

The Tempest https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaXOapmEWLo

This was not the first attempt to bring Shakespeare to film, but it’s the first one you can sort-of follow without needing to know in advance how the play goes. It’s not, well, Shakespeare -- or even Forbidden Planet!

El Hotel Eléctrico (The Electric Hotel) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCzru63JBSE

One of the earliest examples of stop-motion animation in film...I’m sure this nine-minute, plotless example was fascinating at the time. Curiously, the only writing in this Spanish film appears to be in French!

1909

A Corner in Wheat https://archive.org/details/D.w.Griffith-ACornerInWheat1909

The modern movie has finally arrived. D. W. Griffith delivers a full story -- character-driven plot, multiple distinguishable characters, complex scenes, and perhaps the best 12-minute summary of what’s wrong with capitalism on film. Interestingly, this silent film might be best to watch with the sound on your computer off; attached is a soundtrack that seems period-appropriate, but doesn’t always sync up with the action appropriately.

A Drunkard’s Reformation https://archive.org/details/ADrunkardsReformation1909

A simplistic tale, as most of these short films are, highlighted by the little girl who stares up at her father with haunting eyes.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Standard Comics Encyclopedia (Abridged) Reviewed

I am rarely asked to write reviews of anything and I was not, directly, asked to do this one either. However, when I was gifted a copy of The Standard Comics Encyclopedia Abridged by main writer Roy Johnson, I told him I would write this.

The basic conceit is similar to Big Bang Comics, that you’re seeing through a window into a fake, but convincing history of a successful comic book publisher that did not exist. In this case, the publisher did exist at one time -- Standard Comics ran until 1959 when it stopped -- but the fiction is that the comics line not only continued, but grew more popular and bought the rights to other company’s characters along the way. And while Big Bang Comics shares stories scattered from throughout their fake history, The Standard Comics Encyclopedia is an Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe-DC Who’s Who-esque summary of its own fake history.

It’s important to note the “Abridged” part of the title, which I did not notice on first or even second glance. It can be maddening to read the history of these characters and see see references scattered throughout them that lead to more entries you cannot find and read.

The best thing about a book like this is, for a fan of “forgotten” Golden Age superheroes, to see some of these same heroes and read about how things might have gone had their stories never been canceled. The citations to comic books that do not exist, but I wish they did so I could read them, are tantalizingly spread throughout. It is also a good thing that the original characters and the public domain character fit together so seamlessly.

The next best thing is the artwork; this book is richly illustrated with commissioned work Roy Johnson paid for out-of-pocket. There are a few pieces of older, public domain art, but not nearly as much as Roy could have relied on. Gerry Turnbull and Chris Ivy are talents to watch.

Another nice touch that actually improves on the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is that powers and abilities are named and categorized, instead of needing to be separated by the reader from within paragraphs of text.

There are some small flaws. The legal talk on the inside cover names only five public domain heroes, but the book actually contains ten. Some entries could have used better proof reading, like Black Orchid’s entry twice mentioning how empathic she is, and “slayed” instead of “slew” used in the Count Orlok entry.

A peculiar feature is that every entry has a distinct logo for that character. This makes sense for the heroes who would have had their own comic books that featured logos on the cover, but even minor characters have their own logos. The logos vary in quality. Some are perfect. TNT Todd’s is particularly striking. Optima’s is so hard to read that my son and wife could not figure out, from just looking at the logo, what it said.

The paper quality is very good. Despite its minor flaws, you are getting a quality product and -- at just $6 for 40 pages -- you would be getting a good deal. This book is available from Indyplanet at http://www.indyplanet.us/product/130078/

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Watching the 20th Century, 1901-1907

I had previously started a similar project, but with books, a full 10 years ago; the project was to read 1 book from 1901, 2 books from 1902, 3 books from 1903, etc. The problem was, I ran out of books from 1906 I was interested in reading.

I'm having better luck, so far, with doing the same thing with movies.

1901

Barbe-Bleue (Bluebeard) https://archive.org/details/Barbe-bleue

1902

Le Voyage Dans Le Lune (A Trip to the Moon) https://archive.org/details/LeVoyageDansLaLune_218

George Melies most iconic and, arguably, best film.

Le voyage de Gulliver à Lilliput et chez les géants (Gullver’s Travels to Lilliput and the Giants’ Home) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IG24gToMurE

1903

Le Royaume Des Fes (The Kingdom of the Fairies) https://archive.org/details/LeRoyaumeDesFes

Everyone should watch at least one Melies movie in their lives. Visionary in his use of special effects and strong visual effects, the French George Melies was a generation ahead of his competitors. For proof of such, compare to the other “classic” film of this time, “The Great Train Robbery”, which has a stronger narrative, and yet still manages to be boring in comparison.

The Great Train Robbery http://www.loc.gov/item/00694220/

Eh.

Alice in Wonderland https://archive.org/details/Alice_in_Wonderland_1903

It looks promising; I wish more of it still existed.

1904

La Sirène (The Siren) https://archive.org/details/LaSirne

Le Juif Errant (The Wandering Jew) https://archive.org/details/LeJuifErrant

Le Thaumaturge Chinois (The Chinese Conjurer) https://archive.org/details/LeThaumaturgeChinois

Le Voyage à travers l'Impossible (The Impossible Voyage) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_g_yqDsXD4M

More of Melies' impressive camera trickery.

1905

The Little Train Robbery https://archive.org/details/TheLittleTrainRobbery1905SilentFilm

Rescued by Rover https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=3&v=QzygbgYCa5U

The Night Before Christmas http://publicdomainreview.org/collections/the-night-before-christmas-1905/

The Nihilist https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFtYcBx3B64

How Jones Lost His Roll https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qlxkfnbmv8k

1905 produced mostly forgettable fare. As in, I just watched all these days ago, and I already remember hardly anything from them.

1906

A Trip Down Market Street Before the Fire https://archive.org/details/TripDownMarketStreetrBeforeTheFire

San Francisco Earthquake https://archive.org/details/tmp_50168

Watching these back to back is really remarkable. The “before” film shows a happy town of playing children and industrious people. The “after” film is like a post-Apocalypse movie, full of buildings that we just watched 10 minutes ago in the previous film, now piles of rubble, the children conspicuously missing, and those once industrious people just milling about idly in the street with nothing to do. Like I said, a remarkable recording of living history.

Dream of a Rarebit Fiend https://archive.org/details/DreamOfARarebitFiend_381

This was by the same Edwin Porter who directed “The Great Train Robbery”, and you can already see that he’s learned a lot from Melies between movies. I still can’t figure out how they made the bed spin without any wires being visible.

Aladdin and His Magic Lamp https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k14dJdstflU

This was fun to watch, mainly to compare and contrast against later versions. I’d love to see somebody superimpose dialogue and songs from the Disney version over this.

The Black Hand https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWRq2EHHFQY

The first movie about urban crime -- but what was really ugly were the contents of a butcher shop circa 1906.

The Story of the Kelly Gang https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYGdLcFJm6k

Don’t remember a thing.

1907

Ben-Hur https://archive.org/details/SidneyOlcottsBen-hur1905

If I didn’t already know the plot from the Charleton Heston version, I would never have figured it out from this 10 minutes of people in costume waving their arms around.

Fight of Nations https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emzbxaeFOhs

Occasionally humorous, but mostly just a strange series of vignettes of marginal conflict, identified by the folk costumes worn by the participants.

Trial Marriages https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eCwYB3ID8Q

I’m glad I watched this and the previous film in this order, as it makes the more realistic fight scenes between domestic partners in this film all the funnier. The dichotomy between pre-marital bliss and then what married life is really like seems spot-on -- I can personally attest to two of these vignettes! This is the first really good movie I’ve seen in this project since the Melies films.

Deux Cent Milles sous les Mers ou le Cauchemar du Pêcheur (20,000 Leagues under the Sea or Under the Seas) https://archive.org/details/Under-the-Seas

I haven’t watched any Melies in awhile, so this was a treat.. This is surely just a surviving clip, as the beginning and end seem severely abrupt. The whole clip runs almost 10 minutes and, other than maybe 2 minutes of padding, flows well. Its centerpiece is one genuinely funny scene in the middle.

Sous Manche Cauchemar Franco-Anglais (Tunneling the English Channel) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T6ePfNjljY

The first half is blurry and hard to watch, but the second seven minutes has held up well. Like Trial Marriages, it’s a prescient film. What I can’t figure out, though, is whether this could be understood at the time as political satire, or only fantasy. I suspect there’s some poking fun at the pomp and ceremony of both England and France going on here by that sly Melies.


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Fantastic Four Comics

By 1961, there were few anthology titles left and none of them were 64 pages long like they were in the Golden Age. So, for fun, I thought I'd try rolling for content randomly (from what was published in that month) and see what would have comprised a Fantastic Four Comics anthology title at the larger page count. Thus, I give you -

Fantastic Four Comics #1 (November 1961)
Fantastic Four: "The Fantastic Four: Part I" (13 pages)
Millie the Model: "Millie's Big Moment" (2 pages)
Suspense: "The Creature from Krogarr" (7 pages)
Linda Carter: no title (4 pages)
Romance: "Too Young" (6 pages)
Suspense: "Midnight in the Wax Museum" (6 pages)
Love: "To Embrace a Dream" (5 pages)
Millie the Model: "Beauty at the Beach" (5 pages)
Suspense: "The Mechanical Men" (5 pages)
Suspense: "Forever Is a Long Time" (5 pages)
Love: "An Older Man" (6 pages)

Fantastic Four Comics #2 (December 1961)
Fantastic Four: "The Fantastic Four: Part II" (12 pages)
Suspense: "Something Lurks in the Fog" (5 pages)
Suspense:  "Why Won't They Believe Me?" (5 pages)
Kathy: "The Smartest Artist" (4 pages)
Suspense: "The Warning" (5 pages)
Millie the Model:  "Millie and the Martian" (5 pages)
Patsy Walker: untitled (2 pages)
Suspense: "Journey's End" (5 pages)
Patsy Walker: untitled (5 pages)
Western: "The Man Who Robbed the Express" (5 pages)
Suspense: "The Coming of the Giants" (6 pages)
Suspense: "Dream World" (5 pages)

Fantastic Four Comics #3 (January 1962)
Fantastic Four: "The Skrulls from Outer Space: Part I" (12 pages)
Suspense: "The Man in the Ant Hill" (7 pages)
Kid Colt: "The Wall of Doom" (8 pages)
Love: "Little Girl" (7 pages)
Suspense: "The Man Who Shrunk the World" (6 pages)
Millie the Model: "The Keys to the Car" (3 pages)
Suspense: "Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall" (6 pages)
Suspense: "The Enchanted Paint" (5 pages)
Suspense: "Somewhere Sits a Lama" (5 pages)
Linda Carter: no title (5 pages)

Fantastic Four Comics #4 (February 1962)
Fantastic Four: "The Skrulls from Outer Space: Part II" (12 pages)
Suspense: "The Scheme" (5 pages)
Suspense: "Midnight on Haunted Hill" (6 pages)
Patsy Walker: untitled (5 pages)
Patsy Walker: untitled (3 pages)
Suspense: "The Wax People" (5 pages)
Suspense: "I Come from the Black Void" (3 pages)
Patsy Walker: untitled (5 pages)
Suspense: "When Aliens Walk the Earth" (5 pages)
Suspense: "They Were Only Scarecrows" (5 pages)
Patsy Walker: untitled (5 pages)
Suspense: "The Spirit of Swami River" (5 pages)

Fantastic Four Comics #5 (March 1962)
Fantastic Four: "The Menace of the Miracle Man: Part I" (12 pages)
Western: "Hoofbeats of Doom" (5 pages)
Suspense: "Monsters on Mercury" (5 pages)
Linda Carter: untitled (4 pages)
Suspense: "He Came from Nowhere" (5 pages)
Suspense: "Save Me from the Weed" (6 pages)
Linda Carter: untitled (5 pages)
Western: "The Toledo Kid" (5 pages)
Love: "Lover's Quarrel" (5 pages)
Love: "My Lips Are Yours" (5 pages)
Suspense: "When the Space-Beasts Attack" (7 pages)

Fantastic Four Comics #6 (April 1962)
Fantastic Four: "The Menace of the Miracle Man: Part II" (11 pages)
Suspense: "The Secret of the Universe" (3 pages)
Suspense: "The Midnight Monster" (7 pages)
Millie the Model: "Millie vs. Marilyn Mansfield" (4 pages)
Patsy Walker: untitled (4 pages)
Suspense: "The Speed Demon" (5 pages)
Patsy Walker: untitled (4 pages)
Suspense: "The Return of the Gorilla-Man" (7 pages)
Patsy Walker: untitled (5 pages)
Kathy: "There Ain't Nothing Like a Teen" (4 pages)
Patsy Walker: untitled (5 pages)
Suspense: "The Cave of Shaggdoor" (5 pages)





Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Audience for the Small Press RPG Publisher

This started out as a Facebook post, but when someone asked me to link to it, I decided it belonged somewhere more permanent, and needed to be expanded as well.

 A little background: there are still people out there, like me, publishing pen-and-paper RolePlaying Games (RPGs), similar to Dungeons & Dragons, but about superheroes or comic books in general. These indie/small press publishers, like me, make use of public domain heroes in two ways: a cheap source of art (instead of paying for new art) and a cheap source of characters (instead of paying to license more famous characters, or just inventing our own that no one will have heard of). I do both, some might do one but not the other.

Ideally, there would be a healthy, growing audience for this material, eager to see any new material enter the market, even if the new material is only different in nuance from material that has come before.

 At issue is that this sub-niche of the RPG market, and the audience that it serves, is in reality very small. Even taking "Golden Age" and "public domain" out of the equation, the number of people still buying any type of superhero-themed RPGs is small. When new games come into that market, it can fracture the fan base for each of the existing games even smaller. The chance of a new game growing the market -- perhaps because it is innovative, or looks really slick and polished -- is slim. There is just too much competition from other sources of entertainment.

There are other dangers inherent in the new guy coming along and producing a new superhero RPG that is only different from previous attempts in nuance -- that is, trying to reinvent the wheel. There may be nothing wrong with earlier versions of the wheel, but because of limited ability to advertise, older versions may be quickly forgotten once the new version of the wheel is released. There is also the danger of over-saturating the market -- fans getting tired of seeing new games that seem just like the old games and being misled into thinking the market has nothing new for them and moving on.

What a new RPG should be doing, then, is trying to coordinate with and complement the existing games rather than directly compete with them.

A perfect example is my Hideouts & Hoodlums and Steve Miller's Nuelow Games. When I discovered Steve's work, I saw that, whereas I was mostly publishing a RPG that included Golden Age public domain work, he was mostly publishing Golden Age public domain work that included some RPG. The two complemented each other perfectly, so much so that we've even tried some cooperative ventures, like Nuelow products with H&H stats in them.

Another way to complement preexisting RPGs would be to stake a claim in some area not directly competing with any one of them. Like, a RPG that took public domain superheroes, but re-imagined them in an urban fantasy setting. Or one that imagined all 1950s public domain heroes as actually being Commie spies.

Another way to stand out by using game mechanics substantially different from what else is out there. Game mechanics can affect not just game play, but what players choose the game for. When it comes to abstract combat, almost nothing beats the old 1984 Marvel Super Heroes roleplaying game. When it comes to adding more calculations and number-crunching to your combat, your go-to game should be Champions. If you want really abstract campaign play and aren't interested so much in battles, then Superheroes 2044 might be your thing. If you want a strong, campaign-focused game where heroes level up and get more powerful over time, then Hideouts & Hoodlums might be your game. What about your game mechanics will make your game stand out? What will distinguish it and make players choose it over so many other options?

Now, my rant has been RPG-focused because that's my area of concern, but those making comic books might feel the same way. Every time someone new tries to revive the Black Terror, for example, those already using the character are at risk from the issues I've described above. There are only so many people in the world left who both a) know who the Black Terror is and b) care, and those people likely have a limited budget for multiple iterations of the same character. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Chronology of Fanfiction: Bronze Age

5/17/71 - Inhumans
"You Never Saw the Real Me" (or here)
Medusa returns to Italy for revenge on Count Nefaria.

5/17/71 - Fantastic Four
"One from Four Leaves Three"
Thing, Human Torch, and Sub-Mariner vs. Annihilus.  A re-imagined FF #110.

5/24/71 - Black Widow
"This Is No Time for Clowning Around!"
Black Widow has to catch the Clown before an important dinner date with Hawkeye.

6/14/71 - Black Widow
"Find a Reason to Believe"
Black Widow meets the Astrologer, who gives her a lead on Zodiac.

6/71 - Ka-Zar
"This Savage Land"
Young Kevin Rand is out playing with his prehistoric friends, the tiger-like Zabu, the ape-like Tongoo, and the rhino-like Indro and is late for dinner. Only in the Savage Land could that be dangerous.

6/71 - Inhumans
"You or Me" (or here)
The Titanium Man is after someone -- but is it Medusa or the Countess de la Spirosa?

6/22/71 - Fantastic Four
"The Thing Amok"
The Thing's cure causes some serious mood swing issues. A re-imagined FF #111.

7/4/71 - Fantastic Four
"Battle of the Behemoths"
To get the Thing under control, the FF need a plan that might involve the Hulk. A re-imagined FF #112.

7/71 - Inhumans
"Frenzy in Florence" (or here)
Medusa and the Countess look for help in Florence, but the Titanium Man is tracking them.

7/20/71 - Black Widow
"What's Going On"
Taurus and Zodiac show up with an ultimatum for Black Widow she dare not refuse.

8/7/71 - Black Widow
"Knock Three Times"
Black Widow is a prisoner of Watchlord.

8/12/71 - Fantastic Four
"The Power of the Over-Mind"
Slowly, everyone everywhere begins to succumb to the Over-Mind.  A re-imagined FF #113.

8/71 - Inhumans
"Answers Writ in Titanium" (or here)
Karnak accompanies Medusa to Yugoslavia to find out what the Titanium Man is after.

9/9/71 - Black Widow
"My Dinner with Gwen" 
Black Widow and Gwen Parker talk over dinner.

9/71 - Inhumans
"What Lies Within" (or here)
Triton's rendezvous with Medusa and Karnak en route to Greece is ambushed by men sent by Kang the Conqueror.

9/19/71 - Fantastic Four
"But Who Will Stop the Over-Mind?"
Alicia Grimm and Agatha Harkness will need allies -- for the Over-Mind has arrived.  A re-imagined FF #114.

10/2/71 - Inhumans
"Return of the King" (or here)
Black Bolt rejoins the Royal Family in Greece, only to meet another member of royalty.

10/5/71 - Fantastic Four
"The Secret of the Eternals"
Alicia vs. Sub-Mariner, as Dr. Doom and Silver Surfer take note of the Over-Mind. A re-imagined FF #115.

10/28/71 - Black Widow
"Smiling Faces Sometimes" 
Aftermath of the Zodiac adventure.

11/1/71 - Inhumans
"A Day for Reckoning" (or here)
Black Bolt vs. Dr. Doom.

11/6/71 - Iron Man
"Doomprayer"
Iron Man vs. Earthson, with Marriane's life on the line. A re-imagined Iron Man #43.

11/13/71 - Black Widow
"If You Could Read My Mind"
The Mad Thinker has a plan for the Black Widow.

11/14/71 - Fantastic Four
"The Alien, the Ally, and Armageddon"
FF vs. Dr. Doom vs. Silver Surfer vs. Over-Mind, with the Earth at stake.  A re-imagined FF #116.

11-12/71 - Fantastic Four
"The Flame and the Quest"
The Torch goes looking for Crystal in Honduras, but finds Diablo instead. A re-imagined FF #117.

12/5/71 - Inhumans
"My Future, My Destiny" (or here)
The Royal Family invades Latvia for a rematch with Doom -- and Kang! The end of the Time Box Saga.

12/11/71 - Black Widow
"Behold the Mandroids - At My Baby Shower"
Black Widow's baby shower at Avengers Mansion.  Behind the scenes of Avengers #94.

12/27/71 - Thor
"This Fatal Fury"
Don and Jane lead a ragtag band of rebels against Loki, for the throne of Asgard. A re-imagined Thor #194.

1/2-3/72 - Fantastic Four
"Thunder among the Ruins"
When the Human Torch and Crystal are reunited, Diablo's payback comes due. A re-imagined FF #118.

1/7/72 - Black Widow
"Joy to the World"
Black Widow's baby will be born only if Mr. Kline has nothing to say about it.

1/20/72 - Inhumans
"Suddenly -- the Super Skrull!" (or here)
The Kree-Skrull War crossover begins.  Some events re-imagined from Avengers #95.

2/12/72 - Inhumans
"Homecoming" (or here)
Crystal comes back to Attilan, and Maximus schemes.

2/20/72 - Fantastic Four
"Three Stood Together"
Thing and Sub-Mariner go to South Africa to help the Black Panther. A re-imagined FF #119.

2/26/72 - Black Widow
"All Things Must Pass"
A hero dies at the end of the Kree-Skrull War. Some scenes re-imagined from Avengers #96.

2/26/72 - Inhumans
"Attacks at Home and Abroad" (or here)
The Kree attack Earth and only the Inhumans and some allies stand in their way.

2-3/72 - Inhumans
"Operation: Medusa" (or here)
A new Frightful Four is loose in Attilan, and Maximus has sicced them on Medusa.

3/15/72 - Fantastic Four
"The Horror that Walks on Air"
A reunited FF are unveiling their new New Jersey HQ when Prester John tells them they must go to Jerusalem in the name of God. A re-imagined FF #120.

n/a - Black Widow
"Don't Say You Don't Remember"
Black Widow meets Daredevil in Limbo.

4/5/72 - Fantastic Four
“The Mysterious Mind-Blowing Secret of Gabriel”
Ben and Alicia's child is born, and the Angel Gabriel tells the FF who they must stop to avert the End of Days.  A re-imagined FF #121.

4/18/72 - Black Widow
"Nice to Be with You"
A happy ending for Black Widow?

5/12/72 - Fantastic Four
"Galactus Unleashed"
The FF head to the planet Mars for a confrontation with Galactus' army of angels. A re-imagined FF #122.

5/18/72 - Inhumans
"Return to Attilan"
Karnak and Gorgon track the Frightful Four down to Tunisia to rescue Medusa.

5/25/72 - Fantastic Four
"This World Enslaved"
FF vs. Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse vs. Galactus on Mars. A re-imagined FF #123.

6-7/72 - Inhumans
"In the Castle of the Mandarin"
Maximus visits the Mandarin and Gorgon fights Leonus, as public opinion turns against the Royal Family.

7/72 - Fantastic Four
"Return of the Monster" (planned)
NASA contacts the FF to ask for help – Apollo 16 was 2 weeks away from reaching Mars when it encountered and was captured by an alien spaceship. Namor, Ben, John, and Reed agree to delay returning to Earth to investigate.

7/27-30/72 - Inhumans
"If You Go Carrying Pictures of...Chairman Mao"
The Dalai Lama makes a request of the Royal Family, who then explore the Ruins of the Temple of Yin, while Mao makes plans that will impact the Inhumans.

8/6-12/72 - Inhumans
"Now Shalt Thou Gather Thyself in Troops"
Medusa raids a Chinese base to learn their plans, while Karnak explores Avalon with Prester John.

8/72 - Fantastic Four
"The Monster's Secret" (planned)
Following the abductors back to Mars, the FF make landfall and come into battle with an alien covered in an environmental suit just like the FF are. Namor and Ben make short work of the alien, as strong as he is, and bring him back to their ship to unmask him as the "Monster of the Lost Lagoon". Once they can communicate with him, he explains how he needs help administering medicine to his sick mate and abducted the Apollo crew to do it for him.

8/17/72 - Black Widow
"Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me"
A baby and a house guest don't stop Black Widow from trying to repair her relationship with Hawkeye.

8/27/72 - Inhumans
"Invasion!"
Plot threads begin to come together as the Mandarin and his robots attack Attilan.

9/6/72 - Captain America
"Captain America - Hero or Hoax?"
While in West Germany, fighting terrorists, Falcon, Bucky, and Sharon question if anything is wrong with Cap.

9/72 - Fantastic Four
"The Way It Began" (planned)
Ben and Alicia are trying to get their baby girl, Jill, to sleep and tell fairytale versions of the FF's earliest adventures to her. John, Crystal, and even Namor show up to help tell them.

9/23/72 - Black Widow
"I'll Take You There"
Black Widow meets the X-Men to learn more about Sentinels.

9/72 - Inhumans
"The Third Option" (planned)
Maximus shows up in Attilan and asks that he be allowed to see the forcefield generator that saved Attilan from the Super-Skrull’s warship during the Kree-Skrull War.  Black Bolt refuses and has Maximus put under house arrest, but allows him access to some machinery to work on a different failsafe plan for Attilan.  Meanwhile, in Tibet, a crackdown on dissidents is interrupted by Karnak and some Inhuman guardsmen.

10/72 - Fantastic Four
"Where the Sun Dares Not Shine" (planned)
The Impossible Man has come back after being away from Earth for almost a decade, having finally figured out the trick Reed used to send him away. He wants a rematch with the FF and goads Namor and Ben into fighting him. Because the Impossible Man has trouble telling humans apart, he thinks Namor is Reed and Alicia is Sue. When John and Alicia convince him that this is not so, the Impossible Man demands a rematch with the original FF. Namor lies and says Reed is on the moon, talking to the Watcher, and the Impossible Man heads there.

Two weeks later, the Watcher whisks all of the FF, including Crystal to the moon because he's had enough of the Impossible Man bugging him. This is their issue, he tells them, not his.

10/72 - Black Widow
"Natasha's Outback Adventure" (planned)
Black Widow leads a Sentinel away from civilization into the Outback where she must find a way to stop it.

10/72 - Inhumans
"Betrayer, My Brother" (planned)
Inhumans loyal to Maximus spring the Mandarin, which only serves as a diversion while Maximus seals off just the royal palace in a forcefield.  Then the Royal Family gets the news that China is moving more troops into Tibet to tighten control there.

11/72 - Fantastic Four
"Death in a Dark and Lonely Place" (planned)
On the moon, Namor, Ben, and John fight the Impossible Man, while the Watcher lets Alicia and Crystal stay in his house. Crystal begins to deliver and Alicia talks the Watcher into helping with the delivery. The Watcher interrupts long enough to tell the fighters outside that a baby girl has been born and John asks the Impossible Man for a truce to see his baby. The Impossible Man, misunderstanding how long John needs, leaves the moon vowing to come
back in a few years.

11/72 - Inhumans
"Surprise Is the Deadliest Weapon" (planned)
Maximus and his rebels are surprised by Lockjaw, who finally managed to breach the anti-teleport barrier around the palace.  Lockjawk and Maximus square off with each other, but after a pitched battle Maximus defeats and captures Lockjaw.  Meanwhile, Black Bolt meets with the Dalai Lama alone, but the Dalai Lama turns out to be a disguised Super-Skrull who defeats Black Bolt.

12/72 - Fantastic Four
"The Frightful Four - Plus One" (planned)
The FF return home to the new FF Building in Queens to rest after their battle with the Impossible Man. Namor leaves at once to attend to matters in Atlantis. Johnny and Crystal call up Lockjaw to transport them and their baby girl to Attilan for a visit. Alicia asks Ben to go with her to pick up Jill from Agatha, but Ben tells her to go alone. Alicia complains that Ben takes her ability to handle herself for granted now. Ben apologizes, saying he was merely excited about going out and buying presents for Jill's first birthday party. While Ben is out shopping, he is attacked by the Frightful Four – Plantman, Eel, Rabble-Rouser, and Captain Barracuda – but only to lead Thundra to the Thing for a fight.

12/72 - Inhumans
"You Say You Want a Revolution" (planned)
The Super-Skrull delivers a bound Black Bolt to the Mandarin’s abandoned castle only to be met by Maximus.  Maximus explains how his new ally will, while posing as the Dalai Lama, will rally Tibetans in a futile gesture of resistance against the invading Chinese. Meanwhile, Gorgon and Triton lead a unit of Attilan guardsmen each attacking the Chinese army guerilla-style.

1/73 - Inhumans
"My Ally - My Enemy" (planned)
Attilan’s forces withdraw deeper into Tibet, hard-pressed by the overwhelming numbers of the Chinese.  The Royal Family stumbles across the false Dalai Lama telling Tibetans to fight and rally to protect him.

2/73 - Inhumans
"Liberty Is to the Soul of Man" (planned)
The real Dalai Lama comes and frees Black Bolt.  Meanwhile, Medusa and Triton lead their own assaults on Chinese troops, alongside inadequate Tibetan forces, until Medusa realizes the Dalai Lama with her is false. The Super-Skrull decides to shed his disguise and join the slaughter, but then Black Bolt appears, drives the Super-Skrull away, and rallies the defenders back towards Attilan.

3/73 - Inhumans 
"Endgame" (planned)
Black Bolt has the royal family and all the guardsmen loyal to him when he returns to Attilan and retakes the royal palace.  Black Bolt faces Maximus alone, but Maximus was waiting for this to use a teleporter on Black Bolt.  Black Bolt is teleported into the very middle of the Chinese army and can see that they just reached the pass that leads to Attilan through Tibet.

"With a Word, All Made Silent" (planned)
Maximus teleports to Black Bolt’s side so he can taunt his brother.  Black Bolt now knows that Maximus has engineered these events, not so the Chinese army will attack Attilan, but to put Black Bolt in the position where he has no choice left but to use his power on the Chinese army.  After Maximus teleports away, Black Bolt speaks.  His word, “peace,” strikes the army around him like an atomic bomb, ripping through their ranks and killing just about everyone.  Black Bolt sinks to his knees in the midst of the carnage he has wrought and weeps silent tears.

Meanwhile, a universe away, on Apocalips, Darkseid announces he has discovered the Anti-Life Equation.

5/73 - Inhumans
"Momentous Day" (planned)
All of Attilan rejoices at the news that Black Bolt and Medusa's wedding will be in one year.  So speedy by Inhuman standards!  But the rush to prepare is interrupted by news of intruders in the city.  Gorgon encounters Mr. Miracle, Big Bertha, and Shilo Norman.  Gorgon is easily bested by Big Bertha, but before reinforcements can arrive, the three intruders escape.

6/73 - Inhumans
"Where Stalks Stallior" (planned)
Eclipsing the happy news of the wedding is the newer, unhappy news of the prison break in Attilan. Maximus' treasonous allies are escaping with Maximus, though he seems to be their prisoner rather than their leader.  Only Stallior is captured, revealing to Black Bolt that he feels compelled to escape, but doesn't know why.  Shilo watches from the shadows.

7/73 - Inhumans
"Enter: Baron Mordo" (planned)
The escapees meet with Baron Mordo, who bathes them in a spell that increases all their powers.  Maximus thinks Mordo means to be his ally, but Mordo orders Maximus thrown into a cell.  Back in Attilan, Karnak tracks down Mr. Miracle and the two of them spar.  Finally, Medusa intervenes and she and Mr. Miracle call a truce.

8/73 - Inhumans
"The Long Way Home" (planned)
Mr. Miracle explains to the Royal Family about New Genesis and about Apokolips.  Mr. Miracle tries to use Mother Box and Lockjaw together to transport him and his friends back home, but he shows up back here instead.  At the same time, Baron Mordo is contacted by Darkseid and reports that to his new master that all is going according to plan.

9/73 - Inhumans
"Madness Is in the Eye of the Beholder" (planned)
Mr. Miracle and Shilo are modifying an Inhuman skycraft for a trip to the moon when reports of a new disturbance reaches the palace.  Every Inhuman who responds is overcome by hallucinations until Medusa and Big Barda find Madame Evil-Eyes and defeat her before she can mesmerize them. Meanwhile, Mordo's minions attack Black Bolt and subdue him.

10/73 - Inhumans
"Prisoner of Darkseid" (planned)
Black Bolt is brought before Darkseid.  Darkseid slaps Black Bolt around, trying to force him to use his full power.  When Black Bolt resists, Darkseid flings Black Bolt out of a palace surrounded by hi-tech-armed yeti elsewhere in the Himalayas.  Black Bolt flees from the yeti while Darkseid watches and smirks.

11/73 - Inhumans
"Darkseid of the Moon" (planned)
Mr. Miracle and friends reach the Blue Area of the Moon, intent on getting answers to how and why they became trapped here from the Watcher.  But they are shocked by who they encounter instead.  Meanwhile, the Inhumans launch a raid on the palace Black Bolt had escaped from last month.  All the rebel Inhumans except for Leonus are captured and Mordo, waiting for help from Darkseid that doesn't come, is caught.  Maximus is missing from his cell, though.

12/73 - Inhumans
"I Shall Wreak a Terrible Vengeance" (planned)
Darkseid reappears and, still sure that Black Bolt hides the anti-life equation within him, makes one more attempt to goad him into unleashing his power.  He fires his Omega Beams into the air and they race to a distant target.  Shortly thereafter, the Silver Surfer spots the alien energy and, curious, follows.  He follows the beams all the way to Attilan and sees them about to strike Medusa when he whisks her away.  The beams follow them all over the Earth and even the Surfer can't elude them.  Medusa talks him into returning her home to face whatever happens at Black Bolt's side.  The beams are about to strike her when Mr. Miracle returns with Metron.  Mr. Miracle throws Mother Box into the path of the beams and weakens them so that Medusa is not killed, but only gravely injured.

1/74 - Inhumans
"The Terrible Secret" (planned)
Metron is explaining how he transported Mr. Miracle and friends here after foreseeing Darkseid's interest in this Earth.  Metron's scheme was to convince all New Gods present to act together by sealing them off from New Genesis and Apocalips, as an incentive for them to work towards mutual peace.  But he has not been telling all this to the Inhumans – he is telling it to Darkseid himself to distract him.  Baron Mordo has been a double agent working for Metron all along and, working in tandem with Lockjaw, they transport everyone present -- the Inhuman Royal Family, Mr. Miracle, Orion, Lightray, the Female Furies, and Darkseid into a pocket dimension where the Omega Beams will not function. Darkseid seems unconcerned and, as they all attempt to subdue him, they all find their free will abandon them one by one until only Black Bolt confronts Darkseid.  Darkseid stands triumphant, having finally wrested the anti-life equation from Maximus' mind, where it was all along. But before Darkseid can kill Black Bolt, Metron whisks him away.

2/74 - Inhumans
"Interlude with the Forever People" (planned)
Metron and Black Bolt are in the paradise of the Forever People.  Beautiful Dreamer reads Black Bolt's mind and learns of the danger on his Earth.  The Forever People offer Black Bolt a place in paradise and he turns it down to return and save his world.  His courage inspires the Forever People to summon once more the Infinity Man.  The Infinity Man takes one look at Black Bolt and sees what even Metron missed – that Black Bolt had the power to set things right all along.

3/74 - Inhumans
"With All Life in the Balance" (planned)
Darkseid has seized absolute control of our Earth with the anti-life equation when Black Bolt returns. Darkseid confronts him, but is beaten back by the sudden appearance of the Infinity Man.  With Darkseid pinned down, Black Bolt is free to use his true power – the life equation within him.  Now, when he speaks, his voice is no longer destructive but life-affirming.  Free will spreads everywhere his voice reaches.  He flies over the world, freeing everyone until he reaches Maximus and even frees his brother in an act of forgiveness.  Metron agrees with the Infinity Man that it is time to end this scheme and everyone from the Fourth World (and Shilo Norman) disappears.

4/74 - Inhumans
"Wedding Day" (planned)
Black Bolt and a recovered Medusa have their wedding.  Every good guy who guest-starred in this title for its first two  years comes to the wedding.  And now, thanks to the Infinity Man's training, Black Bolt is able to say “I love you” to his bride.  And everyone lives happily ever after.  

1996 (out of order) - Mister Miracle
"The Gilded Cage" (planned)
Scott Free wakes up in the year 1996 to find he is living a mundane life as an office clerk, married to a woman named Ann Bergen, and has apparently never been Mr. Miracle. Though Scott likes Ann, he knows none of this is real and he finds his Mr. Miracle costume hidden in a locked trunk and activates a Boom Tube to escape.

5/74 - Mister Miracle
"Mr. Alexander's Story" (planned)
Scott returns to 1974, but finds himself disoriented and in the home of a man named Mr. Alexander. As Mr. Alexander talks, Scott slowly learns that Alexander is a writer who was hired by Granny Goodness to write a future fantasy for Scott to live out.  Now Alexander has been charged with trapping Scott and alerting Granny.  He has been bombarding Scott with a hidden ultrasonic weapon to keep him disoriented and locks Scott in a room where he is bombarded further.  But Scott escapes and captures Alexander before he can call Granny.

6/74 - Mister Miracle
"Hijacked" (planned)
A busload of kids being driven to Mr. Miracle’s stage show is hijacked by a costumed man calling himself Sagittarius who plans to hold the kids for ransom.  Mr. Miracle comes on board the bus and convinces Sagittarius to let all of the kids out and just pick one to continue using as a hostage.  The boy Sagittarius picks, though, is actually Oberon disguised by Mother Box.  Sagittarius is startled enough that Mr. Miracle can disarm him and capture him.

7/74 - Mister Miracle
"The Return of Dr. Bedlam" (planned)
Scott is trapped in the skyscraper trap of Dr. Bedlam and finds the Paranoid Pill has even affected Mother Box. He tries to revive her in a science lab he finds in the building, but finds himself evading technicians armed with improvised hi-tech weapons.

8/74 - Mister Miracle
"Big Barda's Other Life" (planned)
Flashback to Apokalips shows Big Barda was previously married.  When her husband died, she found solace with Scott.

9/74 - Mister Miracle
"Bedlam Strikes Twice" (planned)
Scott and Big Barda go to police HQ to explain what had happened in the skyscraper that day and that no criminal charges should be put on an Earthling.  This is when Dr. Bedlam uses two more Paranoid Pills, one in police HQ and the other on an elevated train across town.  Big Barda subdues the police while Scott saves the train.

10/74 - Mister Miracle
"Mister Miracle Meets Power-Boy" (planned)
Scott is performing in a show that involves him being fired into the air in a rocket and escaping while being televised.  The rocket was only supposed to go up so high and then explode, but Dr. Vundabar has turned the rocket into an interplanetary rocket. Scott is transported to the planetoid Juno where resident Superboy-like hero Power-Boy (now 16) has been informed that the rocket is part of an incoming invasion and destroys the rocket.  Scott escapes the rocket, but finds himself trapped on Juno because of a mystery interference keeping Mother Box from communicating with him.  Mr. Miracle deduces that Power-Boy’s powers are the interference and flees from him.  After explaining the problem to him long distance, Power-Boy stays away long enough for Mr. Miracle to get back home via Boom Tube.

11/74 - Mister Miracle
"Christmas on Earth" (planned)
Mr. Miracle is back on Earth in time to join Barda and Oberon on the road, but are caught in a Christmas blizzard and seek shelter in a normal family’s home.  They all share Christmas together, and even Metron stops by for a brief visit.

12/74 - Mister Miracle
"To Take Down Steelfist" (planned)
Mr. Miracle and Oberon are in court to testify in the trial of Steelfist, but Intergang stages a daring courtroom jailbreak, Oberon is taken captive, but Mr. Miracle trades himself as a prisoner in Oberon’s stead.  An Intergang goon slaps a device onto Mr. Miracle that makes him look like Steelfist and he is taken into custody in the confusion.

1/75 - Mister Miracle
"In the Big Joint" (planned)
Mr. Miracle defers from escaping from jail and uses his disguise to find out more about Intergang’s operations from prison, but Barda and Oberon come and break him out, inadvertently freeing a bunch of Intergang convicts too that have to be recaught.

2/75 - Mister Miracle
"The Revenge of Funky Flashman" (planned)
Funky Flashman hires a mad inventor (who resembles Jack Kirby) to kill Mr. Miracle, but the inventor’s inventions wind up chasing Funky away instead.

3/75 - Mister Miracle
"The Lady Is for Singing" (planned)
Barda tries to become a jazz singer, but the Female Furies crash her debut performance and need to be stopped by Mr. Miracle and Big Barda.