Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Super Heroes with vices part 4 Gamblers

Super Heroes with vices  part 4  Gamblers

There's nothing like the agony and the ecstacy of a gripping card game, when everything is on the line, and fortunes are won or lost at the turn of a card.  Well, apparently.  I wouldn't know, I don't gamble.  I did visit Vegas once, for the spectacle, and I 'gambled' (read contributed) a grand total of $10 to Sin City, just to say that I did.  I don't even take out lottery tickets, which is state-sanctioned gambling after all.  So I'm going on hearsay and Hollywood movies.  And we all know how reliable they are for accurate representation.

But, it seems, that some of our moral post-human paragons are rather fond of the odd game of chance.  Indeed.  At least when Spider-Man chips are the currency...
  Gambit, from the X-Men, is gambling-themed and a reformed villain to boot.
Jack of Hearts was at least card-themed, but I don't recall seeing him at the casino or even at a card game.  Yes, challenge of the post, go out and prove me wrong.

Of course, Bruce Wayne gets into the action again, this time busted gambling and driniking
Omega the Unknown, that cult classic from the '70's, is a humanoid being of superhuman power bio-engineered by an extraterrestrial mechanoid race named the Protar, from the planet Protaris in the Regreb System.  With me so far?  So, when a Protar bio-engineered superhuman hits Vegas, he does it in style, baby!
Of course, over at Marvel, they have institutionalized gambling sessions, primarily revolving around The Thing, from the Fantastic Four.  So when the Marvel Universe isn't reeling from another universe-spanning crisis (and that's few and far between these days.  The Curse of the Cross-over!), and when his own title gets cancelled AGAIN!, it's time to call in everyone (and I mean everyone, including some villains) for a series-ending gamble-gasm around at the Thing's pad.
 Issue 8 of Volume 2 of The Thing was just that, and everyone was invited.
The Constrictor got cleaned out by Hercules
The Thing and the Hulk had another classic tussle
But it finally came down to Mister Fantastic and The Thing.  How could it end any other way?
Hellboy needs little encouragement
 And, as if Bruce Wayne playing the playboy wasn't enough, he's at it again as Batman!
Of course number 23 wins.

Gambling can add a bit of zest to an evening or a night out.  Just don't let it become a life-long habit

(pictures used without permission, but with lots of love and respect.  Please don't sue me...)

Next: Other Naughtiness

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Amon Amarth, Melbourne 16 April 2012

We interrupt our series on Super Heroes with Vices to bring you shots from Amon Amarth killing Melbourne. 
Amon Amarth returned to Australia, and slayed Melbourne!  This was my first time to see them, and they didn't dissapoint.
Enough of me, bring on the Vikings!!!

My images do not belong to the Public Domain. All images in this portfolio are owned and © copyrighted by Peter Pascoe. Any reproduction, modification, publication, transmission, transfer, or exploitation of any of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without written permission from myself is prohibited by law. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Super Heroes with vices Part 3 Drinkers

Everybody enjoys a good drink.  Or 2.  Or 14 or so.  Or...what was your name again?  I've only known ya 5 minutes...but yer za best friend I've eva had!

Now there's nothing wrong with drinking in moderation.  But when you're in control of a car, or a bus full of school kids, or a u.f.o., it's against the law, and also downright idiotic, to be drinking.  We expect professional behaviour from people in authority, and would rightly expect, say, our police officers, to be sober while on duty.  How much more so would we expect super powered folk, who can fire atom bombs from their hands, or irradiate people, or melt you with their eyes, or skewer you with their claws, or any myriad ways that super powered folk can otherwise wreck your life, to be responsible with their alcohol intake?  Especially the ones we like to call 'heroes'?  Moderation or not, if I saw someone who could bench-press 85 tons with a beer in their hand, I would run.  Fast.  Away from them.  Even if they're a friendly drunk, I would hate to be smeared across the chest of some Norse God and member of a super-hero group, just because he thought "Verily, thou looketh ill at ease.  Come hither and embrace me, knave", and...oops, he didn't realize his own strength there, oh well...

All that aside, superheroes are people too (well, except for the trolls, Norse gods, aliens, robots, synthetic humans, demons, angels, resurrected gaseous entities, etc), and it is only natural to unwind, and while most superheroes are still a stuffy lot, there are a few that like to raise the glass.

Probably the highest profile (ex) drinking superhero would be Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man.  Being a flamboyant ladies man and rich playboy outside of his high tech Iron Man suit, he certainly liked to entertain, and liked a drink or 5.  Which came at quite the cost for him, as he suffered 2 major bouts of alcoholism in his career, the second one the most dangerous (in the '80's), which cost him his company at the time, his ability to be Iron Man, and very nearly his life, as a broken homeless guy.  He had fallen about as far as you could go, while being able to crawl back.  Early on, Iron Man's Achilles heel was his dicky heart, but more pronounced over time, was his self-induced alcoholism.  He was, several times, his own worst enemy, and ultimately, he had beaten himself more thoroughy than any other super villain or corporate competitor.
  But he recovered and has helped one other notable superhero with a drinking problem, whom we shall read about shortly.  Tony Stark's case was extreme, and went beyond a mere vice, to becoming a life-threatening situation for him.  Incredibly, in a storyline that is still unfolding at the time I am writing this, Tony Stark got knees-up drunk again, but for a deliberate, specific reason.  And the ramifications of this are still playing out.

Another super-hero, who was having problems with her alcoholism, was Carol Danvers a.k.a. Ms. Marvel.  She straightened herself out, with the help of Tony Stark.
These two superheroes were extreme examples.  Most other superheroes that like a drink seem to have it under control.  Like Adam Warlock (and Pip the Troll) here, in a bar in outer space...
Even stuffy old Daredevil has been caught out (and please, no blind jokes)
Wonder Man and the Beast are good mates, and like to share a drink and a song and a stumble
Wolverine likes a drink.  Mind you, it takes rather alot to get him drunk, what with his healing factor and all, but, evidently, it's not impossible...
Of course, Logan is a class act...
She-Hulk is a friendly drunk.  Which is rather fortunate, really, as you wouldn't like to see her angry...and drunk...
And no doubt we have all had one of those moments we would like to forget, and use the convenient amnesiac effects of alcohol to hide behind...
Choose your drinking buddies carefully, as Hellboy found out the hard way.

But for Legendary Drinking, nobody beats the Gods themselves, and Other Legendary Folk.  Wonder Woman can chug away with the best of them...
Ares, the God of War, sometimes good guy, sometimes bad guy, won't let a little thing like social responsibility hold him back.

Hercules is renowned for his drinking abilities!
His drinking buddy, Deadpool, needs no further encouragement...
But the drinking contests between Hercules and Thor, are the stuff of legend, and the Halls of Asgard ring with the sounds of merriment as their epic clash continues (much to the merriment of tavern-keepers in Asgard, I bet).
Is there that much alcohol in the Nine Realms?
Thankfully, yes.  And in Asgard, it seems that even Captain America will have a drink, with Storm, and Iron Man (is he off the wagon this week?)
Asgard looks like one big drunken orgy to me, which is pretty much what you would expect of the heaven for Vikings and Swedish Death Metal fans.  Hail Asgard!!!
So just remember to drink in moderation (unless you are in Asgard), especially if you are a super-hero, because no-one would want someone with the strength of a god, and the intellect of a child to be drunk and in control of the strongest mortal muscles in the world, now would we...

(pictures used without permission, but with lots of love and respect.  Please don't sue me...)

Next: Gamblers

Bonus Drinkers: Hercules vs Galactus!

  Let's face it.  Hercules is not the brightest chap at the best of times.  But he does like a good time, and he knows how to live it up.  Herc was on a bender while in exile from Olympus and was given a vial of "the most potent liquor in the known universe" by a snail-like alien who described  its thus: "One drop of this stuff can turn a black hole inside out".  The mind boggles at the epic mischief that an immortal could get up to with a vial of this stuff.  So what does Herc do?  He spikes Galactus's drink.  With the whole lot.  Of course.

And how does Galactus react?  Ppft.  Galactus is the only surviving drinker from the previous universe prior to the last Big Bang.  He loved it.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Super Heroes with vices Part 2 Other Smokers

In Part 1 of Superheroes with Vices, we looked at superheroes (and a couple of non-super characters in Marvel and DC) that enjoyed a good cigar, either every now and then, or (in the case of Nick Fury), fought WWII and the Cold War with a cigar as a permanent feature.  Cigars can  be seen as symbols, adding airs to certain characters.

In Part 2, we will look at Cigarette smokers, and other smokers.

Cigarette Smokers

Marvel seemed to have alot of cigar smokers, at least up until Joe Quesada introduced the No Smoking policy for Marvel characters (in the mainstream titles.  I believe the MAX line was exempt from this).  Which is fair enough from his point of view, as his grandfather died from a heart condition related to his smoking.  There didn't seem to be alot of cigarette smokers at Marvel, however.

And yet...

I don't know about you, but for Tony Stark, a man with a heart condition, I think smoking would be the first thing he should give up.  But, hey, he had some other, more serious vices to play with, as we will see later in subsequent posts.

While the occasional cigar may seem recreational (unless you were Nick Fury, in which case they were mandatory), cigarette smoking is more of a habit.  And there seems an air of the rebellious, or even self-destructive with cigarette smoking, as well as a certain 'cool' factor, even today.  For superheroes, who generally rely upon being fit and healthy, cigarette smoking seems counter-productive (unless you happen to have a healing ability, like Wolverine).  So the characters drawn to cigarette smoking were more along the lines of characters in the DC Vertigo line, particularly if your character had been written at some stage by an Englishman or an Irishman.

John Constantine, in the title 'Hellblazer', is a chain-smoking magician, who, for whatever reason, favours Silk Cuts, though he has been seen to smoke Malboros or Camels as well.
He was also famously diagnosed with advanced lung cancer in the story arc 'Dangerous Habits'.  He managed to wriggle out of that one with some creative deals with devils.  Lucky bugger.

Garth Ennis, the Irish writer who started his run on Hellblazer with the above-mentioned story, went on to co-create another smoking hero, the Reverend Jesse Custer, or 'Preacher' as he is perhaps better known.  An altogether more wholesome character than John Constantine, who can be a right bastard, but still with a vicious edge, and an axe to grind against God.  And, of course, a smoker.  When you possess the Voice of God, you probably want a bit of gravel in there for extra effect.
 And speaking of right bastards, there's no getting around Spider Jerusalem, from Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan.  An iconic bastard for iconic times.  And chain-smoking bastard to boot.

Pipe Smokers

Now we come to an odd group of smokers, the Pipe Smokers.  If cigars add a touch of class and sophistication, this is even truer for pipe smokers.  There is an element of decadence, or an air of intellectualism about pipe smokers.  And you may be surprised at who has been caught with a pipe in their mouths.

Reed Richards, a.k.a. Mister Fantastic from the Fantastic Four was, early on, an occasioanl pipe smoker
Other intellectuals who indulge in pipe smoking included Leonard (Doc) Sampson (Psychiatrist, later Gamma-irradiated super adventurer)

And that most decadent of alter-egos, Bruce Wayne
While I don't recall ever seeing Batman with a pipe, it seems that he liked to unwind as Bruce with a pipe, even sharing this indulgence with Commissioner Gordon.
And as Batman, he wasn't above giving tobacco as a gift

  Another intellectual super-hero who has been caught with a pipe is Charles Xavier, a.k.a. Professor X of the X-Men

Other Smokers


 As for smokers of...other substances, there is very little evidence of that sort of thing going on in mainstream comics.  I mean, the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers have that sort of thing covered in the underground comics scene of the late '60's and '70's...

But they're hardly super-heroes, now are they.  But the odd hint is dropped here and there, like this one in Warlock, of Pip the Troll (again)
And while Doctor Strange never got actually 'busted' in his Ditko era, he always seemed to be around swirling incense and smoke (and we all know what that is used to cover up...), and his 'astral' form looked awfully 'smokey', we may just have to acknowledge that the Doctor Strange of the '60's was just a cracking read while smoking (or tripping, or whatever else happened back in the 'fuzzy' '60's). Meanwhile let's have a little giggle at the references that were placed, like this classic of Doctor Strange 'emerging from clearing mist' (that looks awfully like a smoke-ring), and encountering some very psychedelic guardians, on his search for a chap called 'Dormammu', whose head happens to be 'on fire' (Rather fortunate, if you need to spark up).  Boom!
And just what the hell is Batman up to now...?!?

(pictures used without permission, but with lots of love and respect.  Please don't sue me...)

Next: Drinkers