The Isotope Communique
Posts Tagged ‘Evel Knievel’
Ghost Rider: Screaming for Vengeance

Just this week Nicolas Cage told the Late, Late Show that he’s just signed up to star in a new Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance film by the guys who made Crank. And that got me thinking about all the places the first one went wrong.

Although I’m not, I probably should be the biggest Ghost Rider fan on the planet. I have a pretty well-known life-long fascination with daredevil stunt bikers, at the age of nine I even visited this one’s house and was disappointed not to see a ramp up the side. It’s also no secret that I absolutely love me some circus folks, too. And as a kid I so wanted to grow up and join these guys who had a clubhouse just up the street from my house. And is there any comic character who better personifies all that than Johnny Blaze? But Hollywood’s previous attempt just left me cold.

So please movie people, don’t make the same mistake as last time! If every frame, and I mean every single frame, doesn’t look like a some Judas Priest album cover or the bottom of some hesher dude’s skateboard it’s not worth making! We don’t need a brilliant plot, although Jason Aaron has proven it can absolutely be done, what we need out of a Ghost Rider movie is one part Sons of Anarchy, one part Squidling Brothers Circus Sideshow, one part Joe Lansdale weird witches brew, one part folk hero from beyond the grave… all wrapped up in a crappy heavy metal bar band soundtrack. And for years to come people should be able to freeze frame their BluRays and say “dude, I’m getting that as a tattoo!”

This is the Ghost Rider movie I want. Bring it on Hollywood!

My Favorite Patriotic Comic Characters

Happy 4th of July!

I hope you are all out having an excellent day of fun in the summer sun and having lots of barbequed meats! I’m sure you’ve seen various lists of the most patriotic comic characters over the years, and if you’re like me, you’ve come away feeling that whoever wrote them didn’t really do their homework. How is it that even those “definitive” lists leave off so many great American heroes?!

So in celebration of this most American of holidays I decided to make my own list of patriotic comic characters. When Uncle Sam called – they listened! This list is by no means attempting to be a list of all of them, so if you have a favorite star spangled comic character who you think deserves to stand tall with the following flag-waving superstars, go ahead and add them to the comments section… but they better be good!

Yes, of course Captain America has to be the first up on this list. He’s the quintessential patriotic hero who has been the star of some of the best superhero comics throughout the years and continues to still rock on the comic stands today. He’s survived not one but two terrible movies and still leaves you excited about his next one. If that isn’t American, I don’t know what is! And plus… during WW2 he decked Hitler!

In all of the years I’ve spent reading lists like this not even once have I ever seen Rueben Flagg, Plexus Ranger in one. Seriously?! He’s the star of a little book called American Flagg!, which just so happens to be one of the best science fiction comics ever put to paper. Rueben’s a patriot through and through, he’s got that awesome flag-themed jacket, and even spends most of his off time participating in the kind of extracurricular activities most of us Americans approve of.

Whether she’s called Captain Liberty on the live-action tv show, or if she’s the shoe-throwing American Maid from the comic and cartoon (awesomely drawn by artist Rene here)… this character from The Tick is definitely one of best patriotic heroines ever. She’s got that true can-do attitude that all great Americans are made of. And that episode where she’s appointed by The City to be local guide for The Immortal? Hotcha!

Who could forget Judge Dredd, the most patriotic character after Captain America ever? Tongue planted firmly in cheek, the writers behind Dredd revel in all the best aspects of America-gone-wrong and serve up some great social commentary with a scoop of butt-kicking to boot. Apparently when Dredd’s comics were imported here from overseas, the Brits claimed we American’s didn’t “get the joke” of Dredd’s whole ultra-violent, neo-fascist, shoot-first, pro-American world. Sorry, my British friends, we actually do get your sense of humor… perhaps you don’t get ours? (cheeky grin)!

There really is no comic that makes you feel more proud to be an American than Wally Wood’s Cannon (which originally ran in US Military Papers, sports naked ladies on every page, and has the hero fighting both the Commies and the Nazis) but since that comic doesn’t have a hero who wears generous amounts of stars and stripes… this entry goes to Miss America instead. I’m sure there’s something more American than blonde bombshells but I’m apparently too dumb to think of what that might be!

“Gimme a blue!” Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s pill-popping madman Nuke was a reaction to the excesses of Sly Stallone and Chuck Norris flicks, when such post-trauma-syndrome heroes were all the rage. But all the torture Nuke endured by the Viet Cong didn’t excuse his crazed, gun toting, war mongering in the streets of downtown NYC… but hey, thanks to his cheesy face tattoo he always looks cool doing it anyway!

Don’t believe what the DC suits try and tell you, Wonder Woman has one of the most recognizable, classic and downright good looking American superhero costumes ever. You work those stars, WW! And the character’s real life creation is one of the best historical origins in all of comics (there really aren’t very many comic creators who have lived as interesting and truly American lives as Dr. William Moulton Marston). And seriously, doesn’t this just make you feel patriotic all over?

And last but not least… my personal favorite all-American hero…

When I think of patriotic heroes there’s no one who comes to mind before Evel Knievel. There are few American icons who are more bold, more crazy, or more rags to riches than this daredevil stunt-jumper. Ads for all his cool stuff dominated 70’s comics, he even had a comic of his own, and his toys were almost as indestructible as the man himself. For those fellow Knievel fans, check out these illustrated guides to Evel’s injuries, go see the rock opera about him, and join me as I raise a glass in his awesome American honor today. We miss you Evel!

Don’t these star-spangled patriotic heroes make you feel great on this 4th of July?!

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