Tuesday, July 31, 2012
I haven't posted for a few days because I've had some relatives in town and have been seeing the sights with them. One of the places we visited was the Baltimore inner harbor. There are some museum ships there (I featured the submarine Torsk in a previous post) and we went aboard all four of them. However, off in the distance I noticed an Algol class roll-on-roll-off transport ship, one of the two which are supposed to be based in Baltimore. These are unusual ships that were originally designed as high-speed (33 knots) ships carrying containers but were purchased by the government to serve in the Rapid Reaction force (see models of the two configurations). During Operation Desert Shield/Storm in 1990/91 they steamed at an average of 27 knots and performed the work of an estimated 116 World War II-era break bulk ships. Seven of the ships carried 11% of all the cargo transported to the Middle East. Some of them also supported Operation Enduring Freedom. They are large at 946 feet long, over 105 feet wide and a draft of nearly 37 feet and displace over 55,500 tons fully loaded. Never know what you might find looking around a harbor.
Friday, July 27, 2012
A new hero has appeared in Metropolis coincident with the creation of the Club of Heroes, with masked vigilantes from all over the world descending on the city to vie for the honor of being leader of the club (World's Finest No. 89, July-August 1957). At the same time Superman is experiencing blackouts and a new hero is appearing who calls himself Lightning-Man and seems to have similar powers as the Man-of-Steel. These blackouts happen at the same time each day, leading Batman to suspect what is causing them. Sure enough, it turns out that when Superman had disposed of a large Krytonite asteroid heading for earth by launching a large rock at it and knocking it back into space, a small chunk of the deadly mineral broke off and went into orbit around the earth. Each day its radiations caused Superman's blackouts, but he was hero enough to still want to do good so he created an entirely different persona for himself (Lightning-Man) and went into action anyway, not remembering what he had done after the events. Whew - have you got all that??? Anyway, in the end when all is revealed Superman is voted leader of the Club of Heroes, for stamina is nothing else. I had remembered reading the comic in my youth and always liked the Lightning-Man costume so I decided to do a figure of him. I used a Toy Biz Silver Surfer body and the arms, legs and head from a Daredevil figure along with a cape made from T-shirt material.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Yesterday I ran a post about Superman losing his super powers and adopting another costumed identity. It wasn't the only time he did that! In World's Finest #178, September 1968 on a space mission Supes gets slimed by an alien defense system and loses his superpowers. Unwilling to give up his costumed vigilante second job, he adopts the identity of Nova, with a cape that helps him glide rather than fly and which is also strong enough to restrain an opponent and has little jets that shoot knock-out gas. Of course he eventually gets his powers back, but it was kind of entertaining to see him struggle with bad guys without his superpowers. He even pulls his punches when hitting bad guys because he's conditioned himself to do that with his superpowers but it just means he's punching like a pansy boy. To make Nova I used the body from a Toy Biz Daredevil and the arms, legs and head from a Silver Surfer. The cape was from a Dr. Doom figure.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Superman is diverting a comet threatening inhabited planets (from Superman #172, October 1964) but it's impregnated by Kryptonite and he rapidly begins losing his superpowers. He contacts the people in the shrunken Kryptonian city of Kandor, which he keeps in his Fortress of Solitude. They select a blond guy named Ar-Val to replace Superman as the defender of Metropolis. Problem turns out to be that Ar-Val seems to have a different set of priorities then the original Superman. So the old Superman adopts a new identity-wait for it-the Former Superman in an attempt to take on Lex Luthor and Brainiac. He gets a boost of borrowed powers from some of the Legion of Superheroes, including telepathy, super magnetism, invisibility and Elastic Lad's stretching powers. Doesn't help. He's captured and when Ar-Val finally is convinced to intervene the Former Superman sacrifices himself to save the new one. Ar-Val determines that he doesn't deserve to be the new Superman and sacrifices himself in order to transfer the superpowers back to the original so the old Superman can abandon his Former Superman title. Thank goodness!! I used a Toy Biz Daredevil body and the head from a Superman and a cape from Dr. Doom in the conversion.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Yesterday I posted the Batman Revenge Squad so I'm following up today with the Superman Revenge Squad. Unlike the anti-Batman squad, these guys are humanoid aliens from other planets. They have been monitoring earth from their orbiting spaceship, waiting for an opportunity to strike against their great foe Superman. Now I'm not quite certain why Superman doesn't just look up in the sky with one of those super-visions of his and nab these bad boys, but apparently he doesn't. The Anti-Superman guys happen to spy the inaugural meeting of the Batman Revenge Squad and decide to team up with them so that they can secretly plant explosives that will kill the man of steel and the dark knight in their secret lairs - the Fortress of Solitude and the Batcave. Of course they are foiled in the end and are taken to an appropriate prison - earth-bound for the Anti-Batman guys and a space prison for the anti-Superman crowd. As for the figures, I used two Superpowers Collection Superman figures and two Toy Biz Superman figures for the conversions. The biggest problem was finding enough bald heads. These consisted, left to right, of Professor X, Gideon, Luthor and the Rankor Trainer from Star Wars. The "S" symbols were painted in Kryptonite green.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
While Batman is a hero he also has enemies. He has lots of enemies. In fact over the years his enemies have been legion. Four of those bad guys have a grudge to work out so they form the Batman Revenge Squad in order to get even with Batman for putting them away for their crimes. As featured in World's Finest No. 175, May 1968, the Batman Revenge Squad join forces - sort of - with the Superman Revenge Squad (more on them in a future post), although there seems to be a lot of bickering, and try to destroy both Batman and Superman. They don't succeed-well, duh, what would you expect-but they were pretty interesting so I decided to make them one of my early conversions. They had an interesting logo with a skull with bat wings, which was kind of interesting. I used three Toy Biz Batman figures and one Batman Returns figure. I liked the fact that Toy Biz issued their figures with differently shaped faces. I did the logos freehand and tried to make them as consistent as possible.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
When Superman and Batman agree to give Perry White and Commissioner Gordon a tour of the Fortress of Solitude and the Batcave all seems well and they are quite appreciative. However, shortly thereafter two new criminals appear on the scene-the Anti-Superman and Anti-Batman. The Anti-Superman has the superpowers and he makes an Anti-Mobile for his non-powered counterpart. They begin to give the World's Finest team a hard time, with Anti-Superman even chasing Superman around with Gold-Kryptonite, which would take the man of steel's powers away permanently. Throughout their encounters it becomes clear to Batman that, while the two Anti's have a good deal of insight into their technology and mode of operations, there were important things they did not know. Turns out the Anti's were Perry White (Anti-Superman) and Commissioner Gordon (Anti-Batman). While in the Fortress they had been exposed to Formula X-22, which turns good people bad (now why would you even have something like that?) and a serum to make them young again, making them young bad guys. They also use a ray that gives Perry superpowers but it needs recharging so they don't have time to use it on Gordon. Everything is sorted out in the end and the editor and commissioner are returned to their older, more law abiding selves. I used a Toy Biz Batman for Anti-Batman and painted the black cape green. I would never do that again and would use some green T-shirt cloth, but this was an early conversion and we learn as we go along. Anti-Superman used a Toy Biz Superman body with the head from a Captain America. This time I dyed the cape to make it darker. I might use that technique again because the effect worked very well.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
This will be a brief post since I set up the story details yesterday in the post on Aeroman, so refer there for background. At the end of the story we are introduced to a number of the different heroes from other planets, most of whom appear very humanoid. Superman and Batman see a familiar shape appearing out of shadow and low and behold, they see, as Superman says, "A dead ringer for earth's Boy Wonder." But he is instead, Zardin, the Boy Marvel from the planet Nangar. Obviously there were only minor modifications required to a Toy Biz Robin figure, but for the symbol on his left chest I used a hole punch on yellow paper, then freehand drew the symbol. I also modified the mask with a little up-stroke on the outside edges. It was simple but fun to add another character to my collection.
Monday, July 16, 2012
Sometimes as I'm reading a comic I find a character that catches my attention and I decide to do a figure of him, her or it. In this case I was reading World's Finest No. 163 from December 1966 about this bad guy named Jemphis who kidnaps superheroes, hypnotizes them and then sets them against each other in gladiatorial-like games. Of course Superman and Batman manage to break free of the programming and lead the revolt of Superheroes to overthrow the bad guy. One of the extraterrestrial superheroes was a guy named Aeroman and I rather liked his look. In one part Superman (who was robbed of his superpowers) uses an Aeroman jetpack. So when I did the figure I found a jetpack to use on him. Otherwise I used a Toy Biz Daredevil body and head coupled with a Silver Surfer arms and legs for Aeroman. Next time I'm going to feature another character from the same issue.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
There's a new hero in town and he's competing with Batman to be Superman's World's Finest partner (in World's Finest No. 163, December 1966). It's on the teams 1,000th case together and this interloper shows up when Batman's not on the scene and going further to solving the case. Batman seems to be on the ropes; he's exhausted and falling asleep at night while the Nightman is out working with Superman. In the end Batman wants to have it out with Nightman and the two duke it out, but Batman ends up on the floor. Can it be? Is there a new sheriff in town? Turns out the whole thing was sort of friendly practical joke on Superman's part. He hypnotized Batman into creating the Nightman identity and when he fell asleep at night he got back up and changed into the Nightman togs and went back to work - no wonder he was tired. In the end Batman figured out the whole thing and dressed his robot up in the Nightman costume, which is how they had their fight. All's well that ends well and everyone had a good laugh. I took a Batman figure and built up the "batears" with putty, removed some of the belt detail and repainted him. The cape is from T-shirt material.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
So Batman wakes up early one morning and decides to take the Batplane out for a solo flight. All of a sudden he fades out and finds himself in an alien Batcave - quite literally. Turns out he's been teleported to the plant Zur-En-Arrh by that planet's own Batman, a fellow named Tlano, who has been observing earth's Batman and has styled himself after the caped crusader. Although his planet is far more advanced than earth scientifically, they are about to be invaded by an alien race and Tlano has teleported Batman because earth people on his planet have super powers just like Superman. The pair of Batmen battle the alien invaders and send them slinking back to their own planet with their tails between their legs - OK, actually they didn't have tails, just antenna. I liked the look of Tlano Batman and used one of the Animated Batman figures as the base. He had a plastic cape so I just painted it the right color, but had to change the bat symbol on his chest and belt buckle. I also added the red frill of costume at his shoulders with T-shirt material.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Originally published in Adventure Comics #266 (Nov. 1959), this is the story of Lisa Morel who, when she spots Aquaman trapped by a giant clam, leaps into the ocean and finds she can breath under water. Giant clam? Sounds like Venus on the half-shell, doesn't it? Anyway, turns out Lisa is really a reject from the sunken city of Atlantis. Turns out over the centuries when some babies were born in the domed underwater city of Atlantis they were unable to breath under water so they were sent to the surface in a protected boat. Lisa was one of these and, I guess when her adrenalin kicked in when she saw Aquaman in danger she just went all Atlantian. But later her powers went away again and she reverted to non-Atlantian. So how could you tell one of these Atlantian cast-off's? They have purple eyes. Didn't Elizabeth Taylor have purple eyes? Do you think she could have been??? Anyway, I used a Toy Biz Dagger body and the head from a Psylocke for the Aquagirl figure, mostly because the hair looked sort of water-blown.
Sunday, July 8, 2012
OK, so there's this guy who calls himself Zebra-Man who is terrorizing Gotham City with the strange force powers he exhibits. He can force open vault doors, tip water towers and shove everyone nearby away from him at will - handy power if you're feeling claustrophobic at a party. Batman appears but after tracking this guy to his hideout Bats is exposed to the same energy, but without the control belt Zebra-Man wears. So Batman is basically walking around expelling everything and anyone he comes close to. He finally figures out a way to bring himself and Zebra-Man together by turning a manhole cover into an electro-magnet - not sure exactly how he did that. Grabbing Zebra-Man's belt he basically turns them both off, energetically that is, and the case is solved. When I was going to do these figures I decided I needed to do them both at the same time. Zebra Batman is made using a Superpowers Collection Batman figure and Zebra-Man uses a JLA Atom figure, appropriately painted with the control belt. The stripes were actually kind of fun and were done with a paint brush.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
This is a view of my backyard and some damage from a storm that ripped through here Friday night. It was a deceptive event, fast moving and bringing very high winds but only a little bit of rain. Unlike Hurricane Irene last year, which knocked out power to a wide area, this one was worse. I've heard a couple of different estimates but it's a lot. I was without power for about 49 hours but some of my neighbors have yet to get their power restored five days later. A couple of them have given up the ghost in this oppressive heat and sought shelter with friends and family. It's amazing how mother nature can just whip through and shut you down. I am alternately annoyed and awed by that power.
Monday, July 2, 2012
Detective Comics No 241 from 1957 was a comic I owned as a teenager but mom, bless her heart, like many moms over the years, bless their hearts, disposed of them when my back was turned (I joined the navy). I had some great stuff but then it was gone and as I got older I started picking up some of them again. The other component was my passion for customizing action figures and I always thought the Rainbow Batman would be a great project. It took me a while to get around to them but I eventually did. The story was that Batman wears a bunch of outrageous costumes and in the end it's revealed because he's trying to divert attention from Robin because he's injured. The hardest ones of the lot were the "Bulls-Eye" batman and of course the "Rainbow Batman" with all those stripes. Even the cape. For those collectors who cherish Superpowers Collection action figures yes, I used a bunch of them. The capes were cut from T-shirt cloth and the Rainbow Batman I had to glue different colored stripes onto.