Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Dissector Special #04.

NOTE: Yes, I've been gone for almost a month, I know. Sorry about that, here's the ceremony for the 2005-2007 Autopsy Awards, I should be back next week with the begining of my catch-up columns for the past month.

Soft music echoes through the darkened room, a murmur of conversation of multiple people blends with the tunes, and suddenly, spotlights bathe the center of an improvised stage. The volume of the music goes up, and an announcer's voice (sounding just like Marcos Mundstock) says "Ladies, gentlemen, and other beings, please give it up for tonight's host... Uaaaaaatuuuuuu the Watcher!!!"

The crowd claps, and a bald figure dressed in a blue tuxedo, looking suspiciously similar to Brian Michael Bendis walks onto stage. "Thank you for your kind welcome! I am Uatu, and many of you know me from my voyeuristic adventures as the Watcher... and not the kind that watches hot slayers like Buffy..." As the crowd laughs, Uatu continues "I was a bit miffed, I confess, when MaGnUs changed the column to The Dissector, mostly because he changed the logo, which depicted yours truly in a very, well, shall we say, flattering light."

The Watcher walks a bit, and looking at his surroundings, he says "You might be wondering about your rather rustic surroundings, and why we've chosen this venue to celebrate the first ever Autopsy Awards. For those of you just tuning in, we're at a small bar located in the city of Montevideo, in Uruguay, a nation of what you'd call "the real world". The place is called "El Hacha", which means "The Axe", and it's the oldest standing establishment in town, having been founded in the late 18th century. It's earned that charming name after one of its bartenders was murdered by an axe blow to the head, also around three hundred years ago."

Pausing, Uatu produces a small purple kerchief from his breast pocket, and wipes his brow. "We thought about celebrating the ceremony at Warriors, over at DC's New Earth, Harry's Hideout, in Marvel's 616 Earth, or even Chalmun's cantina in Tatooine, but we settled on a place that would show no favoritism over a universe or another. Now, enjoy your cocktails and entrees, while we enjoy the first musical number of the night... Daaaaaazzler!!!"

A while later, after the performance of disco era Dazzler (complete with roller skates), the announcer's voice is heard again "Now, to present the first award of the evening, please welcome TV's William Shatner!!!!"

Elegantly clad in a dark suit, Shatner walks onto stage and stands behind the lectern, on which now rests a trophy depicting a bloody saw, like those used by coroners. "Thank you, thank you." the former Captain Kirk says as the thundering applause dies down. "I am here to present the first of a series of special awards. These are not awards dictated by votes, or by the number of times a specific mistake was made, but because they stood out among their peers. The first special award is the Justice Society of America's Cyclone, who in more or less than 20 comics she's appeared in, has never had her costume drawn correctly after the first time!"

The redheaded Cyclone flies onto stage, and when she lands and the whirlwind stops, the audience "ooohs" as they notice she's completely naked, clothes flying away at disparate angles! "I got tired of people getting my costume wrong," the superheroine says as she accepts the award (now covered in Shatner's drool) "so I just decided to get rid of it." More applause, and more drool later, Cyclone exits the stage, followed by Shatner. The announcer then says "And now, for the first award decided by your votes, please welcome Johnny Five!!!"

Gold plated for the occasion, the threaded robot rolls to the appointed place on stage, and its synthesized voice fills the speakers "Woooooohoooo! I'm very glad to present the award for Best Writing Dissection. The nominees are...

"UNITED SOCIALIST SOVIET KINGDOMS.", from issue five of the Books Of Doom, by Ed Brubaker.

"GOTHAM CITY, CITY STATE?", from 52 Week 14, ostensibly by Greg Rucka.

“NINJAS, SMINJAS!”, from issue 93 of Exiles, by Chris Claremont.

“FASTER THAN A RAY OF LIGHT!”, from issue 8 of Battlestar Galactica V4, by Greg Pak.

"MATH IS DIFFERENT IN THE FUTURE.", from issue 31 of (Supergirl And) The Legion Of Super-Heroes V5, by Tony Bedard.

"MY, MY, HOW YOU'VE GROWN!!", from issue 1 of Batman/Lobo: Deadly Serious, by Sam Kieth.

"SCIENCE IS HARD!", from issue 13 of Justice League Of America.V2, by Dwayne McDuffie."

Johnny Five opens the envelope and reads "And the winner is....SCIENCE IS HARD!!!" Dwayne McDuffie trots on stage and grabs the award, only stopping to say into the microphone "I swear I'm not turning the JLA into the JLU!!!"

As McDuffie leaves the stage, the announcer says "For our next award, please welcome Mr. Stan "The Man" Leeeeeeee!!!!"

Stan Lee walks on stage in the midst of the applause, affable as always, and as he positions himself behind the lectern, he says "Excelsior, true believers! And those of you who read DC comics as well!" As the audience's laughter dies down, Stan says "I'm here to present the first of the awards not given by any special circumstance, or by the reader's votes, but for sheer quantity of dissections. In this past two years that the column's been running, of over a thousand nits or dissections, the company with most dissections, and by a difference lower than 20 over the runner up, DC Comics, is... Marvel Comics!!!"

The Man's face goes ashen, as he looks up "Is this some kind of sick joke? Why the hell was I asked to present this particular award? What, you want a No Prize? Is that it? Alright, no more Mr. Nice Guy!!!!" The previously jolly comic book legend starts trashing the stage, when suddenly, a vaudeville style cane grabs him by the neck and removes him from view.

Uatu hurriedly enters the stage, looking flustered, as he says "What better moment than this than to present our next vote-in award? To present it, please welcome Benny Hill!!!"

Benny Hill walks on stage, and smiling, rapidly pats Uatu several times on the top of his head "Thank you Uatu! Yes, I know what many of you are thinking. Benny Hill is dead! Yes, of course I'm dead. But I'm the Benny Hill of Earth-23, where I still make fun of British people for the amusement of the whole world. And that's that. The nominees for Best Art Dissection are the following:

"REACH OUT AND TOUCH...", from issue #182 of X-Men V2, by Salvador Larroca.

"HELP! I'M SHRINKING!", from issue #4 of X-Men: The 198, by Jim Muniz.

"I ALWAYS PRACTICE SAFE VIGILANTISM.", from issue #40 of Countdown by Manuel García."

Benny opens the envelope and looks at the slip of paper inside "Can you say landslide? Because all votes where for our winner, except for one. The winner is... "I ALWAYS PRACTICE SAFE VIGILANTISM", by Manuel García!"

García, or rather someone wearing a plastic bag over his head walks on stage, grabs his saw-trophy, and says "MMMPHPHWOO!"

The music blares up, and as the mysterious figure leaves, a spotlight falls on Uatu, who's in a corner of the stage. "Our next presenter comes from a land down under, so let's please give it up for Crocodile Dundee!!!"

A rugged figure walks on stage, and sizes up the award in front of him "Well, it ain't a knife, that's f'sure mate. But it is bloody big, I'll tell ya. I'm here to present a special award for single issue with the most dissections. And the awards goes to Civil War: Battle Damage Report!!!" The audience claps, but nobody comes on stage to claim the award, Crocodile Dundee picks it up and leaves with it.

Uatu walks on stage again, and tugging a little at his collar says "Well, no hard feelings, right Marvel Handbooks team, eh?" Let us welcome our next presenter, a random Spanish-speaking person, who also speaks English, like the millions that live in the USA and could be consulted by writers when attempting to give their books some ethnic flavor!!!!"

A completely un-stereotypical person walks on stage, dressed in a gray suit "Hello." he says with just a hint of a Latin accent. "Let's just call me Manuel, and that's as stereotypical as I'll get. It's not even my real name."

"The nominees for Best Coloring Dissection are:

"THE INCREDIBLE COLOR-CHANGING CAPE", from issue #29 of Teen Titans V3, by Jeromy Cox.

"I DON'T CARE IF YOU'RE GREEN OR WHITE!", from issue #32 of the same book, also by Jeromy Cox.

"I ALWAYS PRACTICE SAFE VIGILANTISM", from issue #40 of Countdown, by Thomas Chu."

Opening the envelope, "Manuel" reads the contents and says "My, this was a tight race. The winner, by just one vote, is once again "I ALWAYS PRACTICE SAFE VIGILANTISM", by Thomas Chu!!!"

A second figure (or perhaps the same as earlier), head covered in plastic bag, climbs on stage and raises the saw-trophy over his head "MMMWROREEE!" As the figure leaves, the announcer says "For our next award, please welcome.... is this for real? This can't be right.... uhm... OK...the Dungeon Master from the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon!!!!!""

Bald, short, and red-robbed, the Dungeon Master pops onto stage, and climbs behind the lectern "Yes... the next award is to the Book With Most Dissections... and the winner is....Countdown To Final Crisis!!!!"

Dan DiDio's mustachioed's visage appears hovering in a gigantic hologram "THANK YOU!!!!!", while in the audience Paul Dini sighs and says "I think he missed the point..."

Uatu chuckles while the spotlight shines on him, and says "Our next award was decided by your votes, but it's the first of two that goes to something positive, instead of mistakes. To present it, please welcome Mr. Chuuuuuck Noooooooorriiiiiiiis!!!"

Chuck Norris walks onto stage, kicking and punching at the air "Hey partners! I don't present awards, I am PRESENTED BY THEM!!!! YEEEHAW!!!!!!! But allow me to introduce the nominees for Best Quote:

"Electricity can only be replenished by whisky. This is actual physics. Don't argue with me, I am a doktor." Doktor Sleepless, Doktor Sleepless #1.

"Look at the Concorde: you used to be able to cross the Atlantic in three hours flat. Then the cunts stuck the future in a museum." Billy Butcher, The Boys #9.

"From the state of ridiculously tall and gorgeous amazons with perfect skin. Alba-chusetts, West Jessicabiel-burg. Stupid Alba-chussets." Brenda Del Vecchio, Blue Beetle V7 #18.

"Super-friction, Brainiac. Super-friction creates static electricity. Super-static-electricity creates... Shakkaboom. (...) My dream, my rules, you clockwork moron." Superman, Superman V1 #666.

"That is, without a doubt, the nastiest tasting stuff I ever put in my mouth." Wonder Girl II, Countdown #32.

"I'm getting lectured on CHILD SAFETY from a man who's gone through FOUR ROBINS?" Wally West (obviously to Batman), The Flash V2 #233."

Chuck throws the envelope in the air, and roundhouse kicks it open, catching the slip of paper with his teeth. He reads it, and announces "And the winner is..... Doktor Sleepless' whisky quote. by Warren Ellis!!!!!"

Doktor Sleepless jetpacks down from the ceiling, grabbing the award without stopping "YES!!! I SHALL EXPERIMENT WITH THIS AWARD!!! AND I SHALL CREATE.... THE FUTURE!!! Or perhaps, some kind of cataclysmic event that eradicates all life on Earth..." and flies away.

The announcer laughs nervously as he says "I could have sworn that was Warren Ellis dressed as Doc Sleepless... Anyway, please welcome our next presenter, Adam West!!!"

Adam West saunters onto stage, waving at everyone. "Thank you, thank you, old chums! I'm here to present the award for Best Lettering Dissection. The nominees are... the following:

"I DON'T THINK WE'RE SUPOSSED TO MENTION THAT IN FRONT OF TONY, HE MIGHT GO AND TELL HIS DRINKING BUDDIES...", from issue #16 of New Avengers, by Richard Starkings & Comicraft's Albert Deschesne (letterer).

"COCONUT PLANTATIONS ARE ILEGAL IN THE DC UNIVERSE.", from issue #1 of The Question Quarterly, by Willie Schubert (letterer).

"OH D?OS M?O!", from issue #16 of Blue Beetle V7, by Phil Balsman.

"WHA?", from issue #490 of Uncanny X-Men, by VC's Joe Caramagna."

West pulls the envelope from his pocket and opens it "And the bat-winner is... "WHA?", by VC's Joe Caramagna!!!" Joe walks onstage, and gladly accepts the award from "Batman" "Thank you, I'm a reader of the Dissector, and this is a great honor! Thank's for your votes, and don't take yourselves too seriously!!!"

The announcer says "Let's give it up for Mr. Caramagna, and keep clapping for our next musical number.... THE VILLAGE PEOPLE!!! And not that crappy new line-up, the original ones!!!!"

The whole audience moves to tune of the classic YMCA, and after minutes of frenetic dancing, Uatu walks on stage again. "Our second positive award is presented by... yours truly. I love to watch, and some moments are just to cool. The nominees for Best Moment are:

Peter Parker pwns Kingpin, from Amazing Spider-Man #542.

Superman kills Lex Luthor with a superloogie, from Superman V1 #666.

Matter-Eater Lad shows you why pointing is rude, from (Supergirl And) The Legion Of Super-Heroes V5 #33.

Tek-Knight humps a meteorite, from The Boys #10.

Namor rips off Venom’s tongue, from Sub-Mariner V2 #4 of 6.

Earth Green Lanterns swear their oath, from Green Lantern V4 #24."

Uatu smiles "And the winner is.... Earth Green Lanterns swear their oath!!!"

Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis trot on stage, and accept the award and say in unison "IN BRIGHTEST DAY, IN DARKEST NIGHT.... YEAH BABY!!!!!" and run off stage really happy with their saw-trophy.

The announcer's voice is heard again through the speakers "To introduce our last vote-in award, please welcome the Dissector himself, Grand Admiral MaGnUs, of the Honorary Dissector Scout Corps!!!" Impeccably dressed in Victorian-style British Admiral of the Fleet uniform, only in dark green tones, full of condecorations. Behind him, and to the tune of the Imperial March from Star Wars, marches an honor guard of the HDSC, with their ceremonial saw-haldberd weapons.

MaGnUs stops marching and the troops arrange themselves in the background of the stage; removing his impeccable white gloves to handle the envelope. "Thank you, thank you all." he says, as the applause dies down. "I'm here to present the last vote-in award, the award to "Best Other Dissection", which includes editors and the like. I've always said, from the start of this mission, when I was the Nitpicker, that editors are always at fault for not spotting the mistakes their creators do. The nominees are...

"THEY SHOT MFK!", from issue #539 of Amazing Spider-Man, by Axel Alonso (editor).

"EVEN THE REST OF HER POWERS ARE INVISIBLE!", from the onef-shot Civil War: Battle Damage Report, by Anthony Flamini (head writer/coordinator) and/or Ronald Byrd (writer), and Michael Hoskin (proofing coordination).

"52 UNIVERSES CERTAINLY ISN'T ENOUGH...", from the DC Nation column from the week of September 24, 2007, by Richard Bruning (DC Creative Director)."

Opening the envelope, MaGnUs reads it "And the winner is... "THEY SHOT MFK!", by Axel Alonso!!! Let's give it up for Axel, who at least admitted to goofing up!!!"

Axel climbs on stage and accepts his award "Don't look for the gaff in the second printing and the trade, because we've fixed it!" As Alonso walks off-stage, the Uatu announces the next presenters "Please don't throw any blunt or bladed objects at our last presenters, Michael Turner and Rob Liefeld!!!"

Rob and Mike walk on stage, as security guards deal with the rowdier members of the crowd. Michael Turner says "We might not know much about anatomy, but we can at least stick to character designs." to which Rob adds "Most of the time, anyway. But there are some character designs that just don't seem to be understood by artist, and that's what the last special award is. The Golden Autopsy Award of 2005-2007 goes to... the many shapes of the X-Men's Beast!!!!"

Uatu walks on stage, as the 10 feet video screen behind the stage projects multiple images of the Beast, and he brushes Rob and Mike aside, climbing behind the lectern.

"Uuuh... we just got word that Joe Quesada, who was supposed to accept this award, is still stuck drawing One More Day, despite the fact that it's already been published. Something a deal with the devil or some other nonsense. So, this concludes our awards ceremony, let's enjoy our last musical number, for which we've reunited Swedish black metal band Dissection, and they'll be playing for us their song
Black Dragon! Yes, we had no idea they existed before this ceremony, but come on, they're called Dissection, and look at that song title!!!

The crowd claps as a black leather clad trio takes to the stage, with videos of dragons and gruesome cadaver dissections are shown in the screen behind them. Black metal sound explodes from the speakers, as the crowd slam-dances, including a very drunk and loud trio comprised of Mark Millar, Warren Ellis, and Brian Michael Bendis. Oddly enough, Uatu is nowhere to be seen now. In the background, from a dais, the Grand Admiral of the HDSC surveys all... the awards are done, and it's time to resume the vigil, for NOTHING ESCAPES THE DISSECTOR!!!!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Creator sighting!

While you wait for the column on the latest comics (tis the season for delays), and the reveal of who won the Autopsy Awards, here's another creator sighting:

Joe Caramagna (of Virtual Caligraphy fame), letterer of many books, has sent me the following e-mail: "Hi! I read your blog here and there and I love it (even though I'm a culprit once in a while)! But I do have to defend myself just a little bit (Ha ha). In your latest blog, you name Greg Pak and myself as a culprit for World War Hulk Aftersmash: Warbound #1 in which Dum Dum Dugan says "Your" instead of "You're".

While Greg and myself can both share the blame for an error like that, you can't overlook the team of Marvel proofreaders and editor Nate Cosby (not to throw my buddy Nate under the bus). Greg did spell the word wrong at first, but all of us (or at least ONE of us) should have caught it!

Keep up the great work, the blog is hilarious!"

Thanks for the kind words Joe, I'm glad you enjoy the column. I always blame editors, and by extension, the proofreaders, so much, that I can't be bothered to mention them in every single dissection. Say, Joe, speaking about the proofreading department over at Marvel... think you can get in a good word for me? You know I have a good eye for these things....

Thank you very much for reading Joe, and for taking your time to write.