Category Archives: DC Comics

Suicide Squad: Primer

Suicide SquadOn August 5th, the Suicide Squad movie hits screens. Intelligence officer Amanda Waller will take jailed criminals and throw them all together for a mission. Learn more about the Suicide Squad, known and unknown, with this handy list.

Harley Quinn

Oddly, the most popular character is the youngest. The Suicide Squad movie focuses on this criminal psychologist turned Joker fangirl thanks to Margot Robbie’s…fetching smile. Honor student and gymnast, Harley was unfortunately no match for the Joker’s villainous charm. Her first appearance was in the Batman animated series, a mere fourteen years ago, and has skyrocketed in popularity since.

Deadshot

Gun-for-hire Floyd Lawton taught himself marksmanship, and his single missed shot—aimed at a Senator in Gotham City—thanks to Batman. After having a bomb planted in his brain like all the members of the Suicide Squad, he took charge of the operation, proving himself a ruthless and driving leader. His original bio has him as the originator of the Suicide Squad name, because of a disregard for his own life.

Katana

Tatsu Yamashiro, nominally a hero, is gifted in martial arts and with a sword, Tatsu’s brother-in-law killed her husband, whose soul was trapped in the sword she carried. The sword, called Soultaker, stores souls and communicates with her, meaning her husband remains with her in a way.

Captain Boomerang

George “Digger” Harkness, from Australia, battled with the Flash on numerous occasions after honing his skills with his eponymous weapon in poverty and the Australian bush. His proficiency with his hand-crafted weapons makes him a dangerous opponent—in addition to his lack or moral compass.

Slipknot

Christopher Weiss is his name, and rope is his game. A brilliant chemist, he developed a powerful adhesive for his ropes and became yet another supervillain. The ropes are nigh-unbreakable, and he’s trained himself in an extremely violent method of attack. Tying up, maim, or especially hanging–nothing is out of bounds.

Rick Flag Jr.

Son of World War II hero Richard Flag, Rick Flag Jr. has multiple conflicting origin stories. In one, he was a pilot during WWII, and in another, he was born after the way. In a third, an unrelated soldier Anthony Miller was brainwashed consequently believed he was Rick Flag Jr. Invited to join the Suicide Squad without the pressure of a brain bomb, Rick added much-needed structure, in addition to strong military skills.

Enchantress

June Moon must keep herself in control at all times, because otherwise the Enchantress gets out. Her powers are only available when she’s “released” the Enchantress, who is always trying to escape. She stays with the Suicide Squad, and as a result gets help from Amanda Waller on controlling her evil side.

El Diablo

Chato Santana worked for the mob in addition to tattoos curling all over his skin and pyrokinesis at his fingertips. After setting a building on fire to collect a debt he realized there were many innocent children and woman killed in the blaze. He turned himself in, and was inducted into the Suicide Squad after a loyalty test.

Killer Croc

Somewhat well known nowadays thanks to his annoying level in Batman Arkham Asylum, Waylon Jones suffers from a strange condition. He’s over seven feet tall, six hundred pounds, and is therefore the Suicide Squad’s main muscle. He’s tangled with Batman plenty of times, and love the taste of humans.

It’s likely the movie will give us new backstories for a number of characters, but now at least you have the basics. Come back next time for more fun fan information!

Costume Buyer’s Guide 2015

Superheroes are having a bull year. There are more big budget superhero movies coming out in the next twelve months than most people watch movies during the year. It’s been the same for our costume selection, which has added Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, and a great number of other products and themes.

Now that summer is over and all the superheroes have been unleashed until 2016, we’re listing out most popular costumes leading into the Halloween season. Take a look and don’t miss the sweepstakes at the end!

This classic feminine heroine is a constant figure for girls to look up to, it’s no wonder the Deluxe Kids Wonder Woman Costume is one of our most popular looks! Bring the old patriotic fervor with reds and blues to your next Halloween!

Girls Wonder Woman Costume

Tony Stark has pulled himself out of the superhero gutter since his big-screen inclusion, going from a strong B-lister to one of the biggest names behind a mask. The Supreme Quality Iron Man Adult Costume is one of the greatest ways to become the red-and-gold hero this Halloween!

Supreme Quality Iron Man Costume

Kids love the heroes. They love ’em, I say. And kids are full of energy! What better way to combine their two main traits into a perfect costume than with the Deluxe Muscle Chest Flash Kids Costume? It’s a classic move, and the popularity of this costume is proof.

Kids Flash Costume

The Supreme Captain America Adult Costume, with its straight-up bursting at the seams patriotism, also lets you masquerade as a popular and well-known hero from his recent Avengers adventures. a full-body outfit helps you lead the Avengers!

Supreme Quality Captain America Costume

The beautiful, dangerous, unstoppable super spy is ready to make her appearance with the Black Widow Womens Secret Wishes Costume! This costume is one of our most popular, and there’s no surprise thanks to its alluring figure and incredible looks!

Secret Wishes Black Widow Costume

It’s also no surprise what one of our most popular costumes is. Batman has been at the top of the super-heap for years thanks to his realistic character and . . . recent portrayal at the movies. So our most popular costume, the Deluxe Muscle Chest Batman Brave and Bold Kids Costume, takes not only Batman’s base popularity, but adds in the following from the Brave and the Bold television show.

Kids Batman CostumeThanks for reading! Don’t miss out on entering our second annual sweepstakes for a chance at great prizes every week until Halloween!

Videos for the Lacking Fan

Superhero fan videos
Superhero fans make their own

Fans are rabid for superheroes. They froth at the mouth for them. Recently we’ve been buried under superhero movies, but for some it does not move quickly enough. They have taken to creating – forging – their own shareable videos to help themselves through the lean months. There are far too many here to count, but we present for you a select few.

Be Kind, Rewind, an indie movie released in 2006, gives us the term “sweded.” The straight-up site for the term (SwededMovies.org) defines it as “the summarized recreation of popular pop-culture films using limited budgets and a camcorder.” This term is well-liked for fans of superhero movies, which traditionally have high budgets and incredible CGI. Taking the spectacle and reducing it to cardboard and flashlights is enjoyed by many. For example, the videos on this page (which include a number of non-superhero trailers for extra flavor).

Lego fans have their very own term, Brickfilms, for movies made in stop-motion brickery. It was no doubt a certainty superhero movies (or more accurately, their trailers) and Legos would meet, with trailers like the following:

This page has a bevy of other videos, but be warned — this rabbit hole goes deep. Where will you be when you climb out again?

It’s nearly set in stone that a DC vs. Marvel film will never occur. There is too much politics, too many issues about creative rights and such forth. But still, doesn’t the following video just rock the house?

It does. It makes one sad to think, for reasons this simple blog could never comprehend, we will never be able to have a full movie with such grandeur. But how could it possibly live up to our expectations? The build-up would be too great, the team assembled would have names vying for top billing – how could any movie made by mortal hands assuage us after being assured of its holiness for so long?

Or maybe it would rock!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this short list of videos, for the fans and by the fans. Tell us your favorite fan-made superhero creations, and come back here for more cool stuff!

Strange, Hugo: Character Corner

Hugo Strange
Hugo Strange

Batman’s villains are many and varied. The Joker’s chaotic jokes, Two-Face’s split-personality shenanigans, and the Riddler’s deadly games are just a thin slice of the delicious villain-cake that Batman has to eat (battle) endlessly. These enemies have their personalities set in stone; their origin stories, though perhaps approached with different details, result equally: Joker is an insane clown, the Penguin is a malformed mobster, Mr. Freeze is in his suit, searching for a way to help his wife. Most of the villains have this attribute, but not all of them.

Hugo Strange, mad-scientist-psychologist extraordinaire, is not one of the simple villains.

“Original” History

Strap in. We’re about to take a ride through the fourth dimension.

Hugo Strange first appeared in 1940, in Detective Comics #36, as a scientist that used a concentrated lightning machine to create a dense fog, in which he would rob banks. He escapes from the city’s asylum (before it was dubbed Arkham) and uses a growth hormone to turn a number of other escapees into mindless monsters. Batman beats him. This version maintains Strange’s bald head, glasses, and enviable neckbeard. He returned in the ‘70s: Strange is found running a private hospital, which Bruce Wayne checks in to for radiation burns. Strange discovers Wayne’s secret identity and attempts to auction the knowledge. A crime boss named Rupert Thorne tortures Strange to death before he can get the information out of him, but it was really a yoga technique to slow his heart, and later plots against Batman and Thorne, “haunting” Thorne and trying to weaken Wayne before taking his place. He is killed, perhaps for real, when his replica Wayne manor explodes.

Strange seems to be truly dead. In that universe, at least.

The above version is known as the “Earth-One” version. In the Earth-Two version, the origin is the same, up to his apparent death in the forties. Having barely survived the fall, Strange is left crippled and unable to enact his revenge, during which time the Batman of Earth-Two dies. He finally regains his health, and uses his earlier weather machine to take revenge on Batman, Robin, and Batwoman. I know I just said Batman died, but it was the Earth-Two Batman. The Earth-One Batman joined with the other two somehow. Strange was defeated, and ended up using the Cosmic Rod to commit suicide. These events were erased from existence in the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline in 85-86.

We’ve all had days like that.

The next version of Dr. Strange is the “New Earth” version. His origin is similar, but he discovers Batman’s secret identity even quicker – it quickly becomes the running theme for later versions of Strange. He makes his own version of the Batman suit to try and defeat him, attempts to turn public mind against Batman, and kidnaps the mayor’s daughter. He is shot twice and dumped into a river. Having faked his death, he makes his triumphant return by murdering a millionaire. He vows to destroy Batman, in mind and body, using Scarecrow’s toxin. He is nearly successful, but falls into the ocean while fighting Scarecrow.

Sure you are, Strange
Sure you are

Deciding he must kill Bruce Wayne if he wishes to become Batman, he kidnaps Catwoman and confronts Bruce Wayne, who maintains his innocence, escaping and returning as Batman. During the fight, the Batmobile explodes, seemingly killing Batman for once. Strange broke into the Wayne manor wearing his Batsuit, fighting Nightwing and Robin, escaping quickly. The explosion did not kill Batman, but did temporarily confuse Wayne, making him forget he was Batman. Strange suffers a breakdown, voluntarily checking himself into Arkham. He participates in a few smaller adventures, featuring Strange in secondary roles, land him on another planet with a number of other villains.

We’ve almost got the threads unraveled.

In 2011, DC combined all of its existing franchises into one continuity. The Hugo Strange in this continuity – dubbed “Prime Earth” – worked at Arkham Asylum, alongside Harleen Quinzel. His first appearance was in 2012. He hasn’t done much of interest, but is a presence nonetheless.

Extras

Hugo Strange grew in the public eye thanks to his magnificent presence in the Arkham City video game. He is able to discern Batman’s true identity, and gets Wayne interred as a result. This kicks off the events of the game. His appearance in the game tracks with his comic book look, but otherwise he is an unknown entity.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this strange character corner. Come back soon for more fun fan information!

July Fourth Superheroes

July Fourth Captain America
You’re welcome

Two of the most well-known superheroes, Captain America and Superman, are both patriotically-minded. Captain America’s red, white, and blue fandom is well-known, and Superman (who, some would say, is the Ur-example of a superhero) was raised on all-American values straight from the vein of the land, by Mr. and Mrs. Kent. So, what adventures do they, and other classic capes, do during this summer holiday, July Fourth?

First off, there’s a likely supervillain attack during these dates. There’s actually a Batman villain named Calendar Man, who pulls heists based on holidays. There are so many villains, in both universes, that the idea these characters have a day off – especially during July Fourth – is almost unthinkable. But not completely.

DC:

As Superman is the star-spangled boy scout, he likely enjoys July Fourth a trifle more than the others (even though Wonder Woman’s outfit is red, white, and blue from beginning all the way until nowish), and so it’s up to him to make it fun. Sometimes he has it at the JLA watchtower, address: the moon. There, it’s a tasteful cocktail party, during which they view the simultaneous firework shows all across the U.S. in a glorious panorama of flashing colors that only the super-privileged few can witness.

He also might invite the other superheroes down to the farm. John and Martha Kent know a thing or two about feeding superheroes a healthy home-cooked meal. As long as he can handle a healthy dose of Diana-is-so-nice-you-two-should-get-together, Superman no doubt enjoys having his brightly-dressed and patriotic friends over for dinner.

Marvel:

Depending on what version of Captain America we’re wrestling with (either the movie version, recently awoken and still with one foot in the forties, or the comic book version, which was thawed from the ice in the sixties and is now a little more caught-up). Given the first version, Cap will probably love the classic arrangements of July Fourth, the bbqs and the fireworks and Off, a spray which usually fails to fulfill its promise in relation to bugs and their distance from you.

If we have the comic version of Cap to manipulate, he’ll see the normal trappings and want to kick it up a notch. He’ll set up the fireworks himself, plan the buffet in immaculate detail, and have the SHIELD lab boys develop a powerful new anti-insect toxin which is safe for humans. Since comic books must have a conflict, this will result in a powerful, dangerous new villain that arises, somehow, from the chaos of the event, and must be put in his place by the assembled Marvel cast, be they Avengers or otherwise.

Of course it’s hard to tell what any given character would do for July Fourth, but we can at least be certain we’ll be enjoying ourselves as well. So go on, have a great weekend.

Father’s Day in Comic Book Land

Missing father
It’s really common

Father’s Day is Sunday, June 21st this year. It’s a day out of the year when we appreciate the hard work and dedication our fathers have poured into us, and are rewarded with ties, cologne, homemade cards, and macaroni pictures. It’s too bad no one ever celebrates it in the comic books.

With the sort of-exception of Superman (his actual parents are dead – since his planet blew up – but his adoptive parents are alive), the comic world is full of orphans. The obvious example is batman, whose parent’s deaths are part of his origin story, but this is a long-standing tradition from both Marvel and DC. It’s more prominent in Marvel (thanks mostly to Stan Lee, who was in love with the idea): Peter Parker’s parents are nowhere to be seen and his grand-uncle Ben is killed as his origin, a large number of X-Men are orphans (such as Cyclops and Professor X), Daredevil, Sue and Johnny Storm from the Fantastic Four, and even Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp.

It’s an all-too common trope that we see repeated endlessly in superhero books and movies. And it’s not reserved for the capes, either! Plenty of superhero villains are orphans, as well as classic characters like Luke Skywalker (sort of), Harry Potter, a whole lot of fairy tale characters, and most child video game characters.

Why does this idea come up so much? At the beginning it was for obvious reasons: Batman wanted to avenge his parents by capturing criminals. Superman’s dead biological parents are a necessity in order to get him to Earth, and Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben was killed to teach Spider-Man an important lesson that would help him become a superhero. After that, it begins to become more of “the parents will get in the way of the main character,” especially in video games and literature. Eventually, it comes down to being parent-less, even just one, gives more emotional credence to a character, gives them more freedom, and allows for easy angst.

It’s a tragic event for anyone to go through losing a parent, and commonly something that creates a drastic change. When a character has this as part of his or her beginning, it is rarely ever treated as this, though this is usually because the death has happened far enough in the past for it to be a partially-healed pain, or have them never know their parents.

We’re thankful that the frequency of deaths in real life doesn’t match what it is in pop culture. This Father’s Day, be sure to appreciate your father from keeping you from being a superhero.

Happy father's day

Origin Story: Graduation and the Hero

What's your origin story?
What’s your origin story?

It’s the end of the school year, which means you or someone you know may be graduating shortly. It’s the perfect time to find an item that will help you stand out in the crowd, no matter what color your robes are. It’s an important time for any person, and we’re going to look at the superhero version of the graduation: The origin story.

Everyone knows the most famous origin stories, but why? It’s because they give a good emotional balance to the character. Superman was told the importance of helping others, and from adoptive parents Martha and Jonathan Kent he was given a keen sense of the goodness in life, something that never left him.

Bruce Wayne, witnessing his parent’s violent murder, was left shocked. He dedicated himself to preventing the same kind of tragedy for anyone else, as well as harnessing his fear to become something that would empower him instead of debilitate him. Peter Parker, accidentally allowing the man that would kill his Uncle Ben to go past, learned quickly the phrase “with great power comes great responsibility.” He learns that his powers give him the chance to help people, and that he must either accept the calling he’s been given or do nothing even though he could

All of these origin stories have one thing in common: a period that tells them what it means to be a hero. It gives them a challenge they must face continually to remain heroic.

What was your origin story? It’s possible you haven’t encountered it yet, or it might have happened long ago. You could be going through it now. It doesn’t have to be over by the time Pomp and Circumstance plays. It may very well be difficult or painful, but being a hero has never been easy.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this discussion. Come back next week for more superhero talk!

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” – Christopher Reeve

New Superhero Movie Information

Superhero movies are becoming bigger and better with each passing year, and we eagerly collect new information like a chipmunk searching for nuts. We’re here to let you know some of the amazing new rumors that are flying around about upcoming DC and Marvel movies!

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Avengers: Age of Ultron

Ultron Actors

Most of the big names related to the upcoming Avengers movie have been known for months, but there are a few hidden ones that have yet to see light!

For instance, did you know that famous British comedic actor Rowan Atkinson will be in costume as Ultron robot #4? He was apparently very excited about the role, stating it gave him a chance to “expand his dramatic muscles.” Multi-academy award winning Meryl Streep has been tagged to be the voice of one of Tony Stark’s new suits under the name “Jarvina.” We’re excited to hear that these veteran actors will be joining the already-talented cast of the new movie.

Howard the Duck?!

Seen briefly in the final stinger at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, Howard the Duck is a classic P.I. character from Marvel’s archives. Director Paulina Pulmonary has been tagged to bring the flatfoot back to the big screen, set for a 2017 release. Seth Green will remain to provide the voice of Howard, Arianna Grande is one of the frontrunners for his young assistant, and Rowan Atkinson has signed on to villain of the piece, “Nazi von Killyou.” Mrs. Pulmonary has said that the name is likely to change.

Future DC projects

DC is preparing for Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad, but what’s next for them? Sources say a six-movie series about Crises on Infinite Earths, followed by The Death of Superman – with Rowan Atkinson as the deadly Doomsday – and then a movie for each of the four Superman replacements.

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We’re very excited about all the movies that are planned for the future, and we can’t wait to see the sweet, sweet silver screen goodness that will be coming soon.

 

Top Superhero Video Games

Superhero video games
Which Superhero game is the best?

Comic books and video games go hand-in-hand. Both existed in our culture together as prime engagements for kids, and it was inevitable that they would eventually meet. Today, we’re going to list five of the best superhero video games. To make things easier for us, we’ve narrowed the selection down to comic book characters, not just characters in video games that could be described as superheroes.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time

While not traditional heroes, these masked creatures were originally comic book characters, and fit the superhero bill otherwise. With up to four players and an insanely fun combat system that was all the rage the time it was released, this simple arcade game provided an unlimited supply of fun.

Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom (2/3)

Fans are split on which game is better, but both the second and third game is this 2D fighting series hit sweet spots. Roster depth on both sides, each character with a unique style and move set, a difficult system to master, and great graphical details.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

Using the same idea as such classics like Gauntlet, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance adds Marvel characters (Over 140!) to the mix, and the end result is an engaging brawler with a bevy of unlockable items and secrets to find.

X-Men Arcade

Get five friends together and pick your mutant, things are about to get wild. Simple controls (attack, jump, and mutant ability) plus a huge range of characters to both play as and battle help this old title stack up. Plus, how many other games let six people play at once?

Batman: Arkham City

Batman: Arkham Asylum
Batman: Arkham Asylum

Arkham City, and its similar predecessor Arkham Asylum, did something no other video had yet accomplished: Make a Batman game where you are as stealthy, strong, and smart as the dark knight himself. Plenty of video games made him strong, others made him smart or stealthy, but all three was an unheard-of event. Rocksteady studios changed all that, and also gave us the greatest superhero video game of all time.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this list. Did we leave any off? Which one was your favorite?

Kryptonite: Why Does it Hurt Superman?

Secrets revealed!
Secrets revealed!

Superman’s powers are many, varied, and seem to be constantly expanding. He can do it all and, even more dangerous for his enemies, has only one weakness: green, radioactive fragments of his home planet called kryptonite. It’s such a wide-spread idea that the term has entered our lexicon (displacing the previous “Achilles’ Heel”) as a person’s, place’s, or thing’s single weakness.

But why, in the context of the story, is kryptonite the single thing that disrupts Supes’ power?

Kryptonite is some fifty-odd light-years away from Earth, and the chance of little bits of Krypton rock not only hitting the planet but surviving the trip through the atmosphere is negligible, but that’s not what we’re here to discuss. We want to know why it is singularly effective in disabling Superman. A lot of people have discussed this, so we’ll break down the popular ideas.

The first requires that you imagine Superman as a big muscle-bound plant. No, wait, stay with us. Plants absorb energy through photosynthesis, using the sun and special cells to produce energy. That’s a simple explanation, but it could explain how Superman is powered by our yellow sun (the recognized reason for his incredible strength) by a similar method. One of the theories is that kryptonite, using some resonance with Superman’s physiology, disrupts this process and simultaneously weakens Superman.

The other theory is that kryptonite actually damages regular earthlings at the same time, but the characters don’t notice. Kryptonite is said to be radioactive, which wouldn’t be noticeable until sometime later, or with extended study. The theory is that kryptonite not only removes Superman’s power (perhaps with the photosynthesis-theory explained above), but also injures through the normal process of micro tears in the body. Perhaps Superman is affected further by the material since he most likely is made up, at least partially, of the same material.

Have your own theory? Let us know! Leave a comment and tell us what you think!