WIP Christmas Spectacular 2015! – On YouTube!

The What If Podcast tells glories of Christmases long long ago, or at least a Top 7 countdown of Christmas Comics podcast-co-host The Franchise owns! Including the one and only Great Lakes Avengers! Plus a dramatic reading of “I’ll be Doom for Christmas” from Marvel What The–?! #10.

Over The Top Tales: http://www.indyplanet.us/front/produc…

The WIP is featured on theslimjames.com/wip


As well as iTunes:





A Slideshow showing the synthesis of Machine Man-Thing 2099

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When I had this silly idea, I figured it would be best to keep it simple and do an homage to two of the more famous covers of the 70s, Machine Man #1 and Man-Thing #1. Using the wonders of MS Paint, I put together a hideous amalgamation  and sent it over to my man Turner. What he sent back to me was better than I hoped for. He’s truly talented.

Check out all the other Machine Man-Thing 2099 posts on GiantSizeComicThings.com!

Over The Top Tales – New Comic Available!

Over The Top Tales is available for purchase at IndyPlanet.us/product/126499/

99 Cents for Digital Download

$2.50 for a Print Edition (plus shipping)

Late last year I worked on a comic book, “Over The Top Tales”, which is a pair of stories set in World War I. A full length, black and white comic, “Over The Top Tales” features:

The Beacon –  A young black man from the United States’ 24th Infantry Regiment as he is thrust into action on the front lines of WWI, even before the U.S.’ official involvement! Will Tyler Durham die for a country that won’t even acknowledge his existence in combat?

Into The Mud – Another young soldier who sinks deep beneath the surface of the Ypres Salient in 1917. What emerges will horrify both you and him!

If you’re interested in WWI, horror comics, or black and white comics, give it a look here!

And if you want a sneak peek of what’s inside, take a look over at GiantSizeComicThings.com!

Friday Top 5 – Fourth of July, Top 5 America Heroes

It’s that time of year again, when the country celebrates Americana on our birthday, the 4th of July. In between parades and fireworks and barbecues this year, I want you to take a moment to consider who the real heroes are: cornball patriotic super-heroes draped in red, white, and blue costumes. Here are five:

  1. Uncle Sam – Could he be any more America? A spiritual entity created by the “Founding Fathers”, he can apparently change size (one of America’s core values), has super strength (like a Ford pickup truck) and can transport himself and others to a pocket dimension known as “the Heartland”. I’m going to come up with my own hero…Uncle Tom. His secret lair? The Cabin, of course.
  2. Spirit of 76 – This flunky, a sometimes broke-ass Captain America, holds the record for the only Marvel 616 in-continuity death to take place in a What If issue, Volume 1 #4, which I discussed on the What If Podcast.
  3. The Phantom Eagle – Okay, I already discussed him on Monday. A World War I flying ace, not nearly as cool as he sounds.
  4. Captain Flag – Proof you can make the American flag ugly, by making a candy-striped cape out of the thing, and a short-sleeve costume. Luckily he’s really generic, too.
  5. Star Spangled Kid and Stripesy – Stars and stripes forever, hopefully not forever. The gimmick of the only adult sidekick for a younger hero does little to save their godawful outfits.

Some of these also made the cut in my discussion on Captain America in the Civil War (not the Marvel one, the America one) in the latest episode of the What If Podcast!

Friday Top 5 – Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

With the finale of Agents of SHIELD upon us next Tuesday, and the recent formal announcement of a second season, and while the reaction to the show has been mixed, to say the least, things may be picking up on the next season with “The Fridge” inmates being released leading to slightly more interesting “monster of the week” scenarios.

I would conject that AoS was forced to pace itself in regards to “supervillain” nemeses so as not to “undermine” the threats present in the recently released Thor and Captain America movies. We’d seen limited threats in the MCU over the course of the existing movies, yet AoS would be tackling such things every week, right off the bat? It would behoove the universe as a whole to “build up” the threats, and I think we’ve seen that on the back nine (so to speak) of the season.

So while that may explain the dearth of “name” supervillains, it doesn’t cover up the fact that AoS started as a generic spy drama, with people being covert and not having much character, and a drama with “rounded edges” since there’s some Disney/kid-friendly vibes crossing over there. It only took the dissolution of SHIELD itself and the characters to go rebel for the characters to have some purpose.

But I digress. With Season 2 on the horizon and “The Fridge” wide open, one can only hope there are more “guys” (in the dude phraseology for established characters, females are welcome as well). With that in mind, here are my Top 5 characters that should make an appearance:

5) Iron Patriot/War Machine/James Rhodes/Don Cheadle – Nothing to do with The Fridge, but Don Cheadle has a TV show and has appeared as a hip thrusting Captain Planet, so clearly he’s not a film elitist. Why hasn’t Rhodey flown in and had a chat with Coulson? If the agents of SHIELD are now fugitives and Rhodes works for the US government, this appearance is well within reason for the second season (Iron Patriot shows up, we get a “misunderstanding” battle, the Iron Patriot lets the agents go in a show of compassion over following orders).

4) Doughboy – A white emotionless, brainless blob.

Wait, he’s not already on the show?

He’s an Arnim Zola guy, anyway, so why not?

3) Hammerhead – SHIELD is focused on international and large scale threats, but why not throw in a mobster angle? He could be dealing alien/SHIELD designed weapons. Of course, he might be a “Spider-Man” guy, so we could have a Quicksilver scenario all over again…but lamer.

Gangster much?

2) MODOK – Okay, he’s the one everyone wants to see (or at least thought was the “Clairvoyant”, before it was revealed to be Bill Pullman…Paxton…Pac-Man). Hydra’s been well accounted for in SHIELD, but shouldn’t remnants of AIM be in play as well? Speaking of AIM…

MugD.O.C. Mug Designed Only for Coffee

1) Man-Thing –All but confirmed by Maria Hill (that’s mild facetiousness). But does she need to explain “who or what a Man-Thing” is? Not to me, but then again, this is GIANT SIZE Comic Things, so I’m a nerd. We’ve seen Extremis in play, so a mushed up origin story pertaining to those experiments could tie in with the Deathlok arc going on, as well as define “monster of the week”. Also, as I mentioned in “Captain America/Man-Thing Conspiracy” episode of the What If Podcast, Man-Thing guards a swamp that serves as some sort of dimensional portal, a type of portal that could tie in with the various “backdoors between worlds” Loki spoke of in the Thor movies…Man-Thing is the missing link!


Z is for Zaran

Well, here we are, at the end of the month, and the end of the alphabet.  I hope you’ve learned some new things about old favorites, or been introduced to some characters you might not have heard of before.



We will end the month with Zaran, the lazy alias of Maximillian Zaran.  He was originally a British mercenary, but trained in all forms of armed combat and survival skills, becoming the super villain known as the Weapon Master.  (Really, code names were not his specialty).

He fought, and lost to, Shang-Chi and Captain America on many occasions.  He mastery of knives, bows, staves, maces, guns, spears, nunchaku, and shuriken did not seem to help him at all.  He is also an expert marksmen, but clearly not as good as others such as Bullseye or Deadpool.  He was teamed up with Batroc the Leaper for a while (who you might know from his brief fight in the newer Captain America movie) and was often teamed up with him in brawls.

During the super hero Civil War, he was captured by the Thunderbolts and forced to work with them, although did not last long on the team.  Currently, I am unaware of where he is, or what he has been up to.  He is a character that I feel could be used as a larger threat than he has been.  I feel like he is too basic though for mainstream continuity and therefore will always be regulated to a loser that appears for a one or two page fight.  I think he could do what Taskmaster did, and train troops for others.  After all, the MU is full of henchmen, and it seems like an army of Weapon Masters might be able to take down a super hero.  Food for though, Marvel!

Thanks for journeying with me through the alphabet and through the Z-list characters that populate the MU.

Y is for Yo Yo



Yo Yo Rodriguez, or Slingshot as she goes by, was a part of the Secret Warriors, a team of unknowns recruited by Nick Fury to help him take down Hydra.  If you haven’t read Secret Warriors, I highly recommend it.  It ran for 28 issues and is a great example of Jonathan Hickman’s storytelling ability.

Yo Yo is the daughter of the Griffin.  If you don’t know who the Griffin is, here’s a picture to help yourself to.



Yeah, kind of weird.  I’m not entirely sure how he had a kid, but hey, who am I to judge?

Anyways, like the rest of the team, Yo Yo was brought into the fold and battled against Hydra as well as Osborn.  She has super speed but also can slingshot her body back to where she began running, which seems like it might not be helpful in some situations, but would be nice at others.  While in a battle with Gorgon, she had her arms cut off.  Luckily, being friends with Nick Fury means that robot parts are never too far away and that it’s heard to truly die (see Agents of SHIELD as an example).  During her recovery, she became very close to Stonewall, her teammate and the son of the Absorbing Man.

Nowadays, the Secret Warriors are dissolved and most seem to have fallen through the cracks, or died.  Hopefully the rest make a reappearance at some point as they were an excellent team and a great example of new blood that the MU needs.

X is for X-Ray



X-Ray is a member of the U-Foes, a villainous group with origins tied to the original Fantastic Four.  They tried their best to be bombarded with cosmic rays, and succeeded in getting more than the FF had.  He is made out to be the Human Torch of the group, but it is worth noting that their powers are vastly different, and X-Ray has a master’s degree in engineering, which I think is far above the education of Johnny Storm.

X-Ray has control over radiation.  He cannot turn his body into its normal form, but is instead is a living energy field of radiation.  He can transform, emit, and absorb all sorts of types of radiation, and is intangible and invisible at will.  However, it appears that some things, such as lead, or Thor’s hammer, can still harm him in this state.

He has battled Hulk and Thor alongside his team, but always come up short.  However, more recently the U-Foes registered as super heroes with the government and helped Osborn when he was in charge of SHIELD (which he renamed HAMMER).  They attacked Volstagg, an Asgardian which resulted in a devastating catastrophe and was the catalyst for the Marvel event Siege.  Since then, I have not been sure what they are up to, but I would guess they are still lurking around somewhere.