Christmas Special: A Holiday Treat

I don’t normally do this sort of thing for a variety of reasons, but what the heck? It’s Christmas!

So in the spirit of giving, here’s one of my all-time favorite holiday specials in its entirety: The four-page saga of “The Night Prowler” from House of Mystery #119–reprinted for your enjoyment in the wonderful DC Universe Christmas trade paperback–by the team that brought you Swamp Thing, Len Wein and Berni Wrightson.



(Click for larger images)






The Science of Batman, Chapter One

In an effort to better understand the world’s greatest vigilante detective, we here at the ISB Institute for Super-Heroic Studies have sunk a good deal of this year’s research budget into distilling and categorizing the varied elements that comprise his identity.

Tonight, the first of our findings.



Further information on the subject can be found in Dr. Miller’s 1987 thesis on the subject, as well as the leading online resource.

The Next Great Literary Masterpiece

Normally, I stick to talking about comics here on the ISB, but while I’ll break to talk about movies or video games every now and then, only twice before has it been my honor and my privilege to draw your attention to the greatest prose works of the twenty-first century.

Tonight, another instant classic joins that august lineup, but unlike Chuck Norris’s Western masterwork The Justice Riders or the landmark pro wrestling/espionage epic Big Apple Takedown, this latest work of unrivaled genius comes not in the form of a novel, but rather an unfinished short story. And even more surprising?

It has arisen from the world of fan-fiction.

Crossover fan-fiction.

Sharp-eyed ISB readers might recall from my recent shameless boosterism that I’ve been playing through Rockstar Games’ Bully again, and while I was looking around for a fan-site I saw once that explained all the room trophies, I stumbled upon what is undoubtedly the greatest piece of short fiction ever written.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…



Yes: The Warriors.

You can click on the above picture to experience the magic for yourself, and really: I cannot recommend the experience highly enough. In two short chapters comprised of just over five hundred words, an author known only as “medayugiohman” has blown all other contemporary literature away, and there is nothing–nothing–I could add to make it better.

But that won’t stop me from pointing out a few of my favorite passages.

Take, for example, the introduction:


JIMMY!yelled young peter kowalski

Huh? what is it is someone giving you trouble?

no it’s the whole town there hurting.

Who is it?

Some gang i saw the back of there vests it said…The Warriors.


Right from the start, the author lets us know that we’re not dealing with your average story here. This is a story that, quite simply, doesn’t have time for things like description, setting, spacing at the end of sentences, attributing dialogue, or anything else the Ivory Tower of academia has declared as “necessary” to tell a story. No, this one hits the ground shouting and only stops for an ominous pause as Cleon and his crew are namechecked for the first time.

And then things just go nuts:


CHAPTER 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Has anyone in the history of the English Language ever had the balls to cap off a chapter break with eighteen exclamation points? I think not.

Suck it, Hemingway. Suck it hard.


(jimmy walks into the funhouse)

alright now you gotta fight.

(after fight)

pretty good now come to the docks and get ready to leave tomorrow.



One of the things you’ll notice right off the bat is that medayugiohman has taken a bold, minimalist approach to action sequences, which forces the reader to focus on his stark, Mametian dialogue. And it’s the right choice, too: Why waste time describing a thrilling, action-packed fight scene to your readers, when the one that plays out in their imaginations is no doubt superior to anything mere words–even those of a master like this one–could possibly capture?


hey jimmy why were you gone so long?asked petey.

initiation in a gang.Im leaving tomorrow.

WHAT!you cant leave ill be picked on an…

Dont worry i asked them and they said you could come.

Um…okay but what about russell he’ll probably destroy this pla…

he can come to.

okay then.

(the next day)

(russells dressed as a pirate and petey is in his bunny suit becausehe was in a hurry and didnt have time to put on his other clothes)

alright i kinda lied the boats gonna be here around 11pm tonight

oh so im in a bunny suit for nuthin.



It’s in this section that I’ve found the only “problem” I’ve seen in the entire story, which is of course the idea of Petey showing up to depart in his bunny costume. To me, it seems like it would take longer to put on one’s Halloween costume rather than regular clothes, and I’m a little surprised that the author went with an odd visual gag (which, admittedly, still works beautifully in text) when the rest of his prose is so cerebral.

But perhaps I’m second-guessing it. With the story still unfinished, the possibility remains that Petey’s odd behavior (or perhaps… deception?) will be explored in the future.

For now though, it remains, like all great literature, open to interpretation in a way that hearkens back to James Joyce’s watershed Transformers / Jem and the Holograms crossover, Synergys Wake.

Experience the magic for yourself, won’t you?

Attention, Civilized Planets!!

A Brief Message From Stardust, The Super Wizard:










More from the exploits of Stardust the Super-Wizard (and further proof that when both Kevin Church and Matt Fraction recommend something, it’s probably a good idea to buy it immediately) can be found in Fantagraphics’ recent I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets, by the bat-shit crazy Fletcher Hanks.