BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE: Take “The Human Target” Out To The Ballgame

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

Comic Book universes are huge and diverse, going through countless genres and containing both nitty-gritty realism and utterly fantastic science fiction or fantasy. And yet, they all take place in the same universe, no matter how different they seem. You can get a idea of just how crazy this is by looking at Marvel’s movie/TV empire, where Daredevil and Guardians of the Galaxy are both taking place in the same universe despite the fact that one of them is about a guy beating up mob bosses (and the occasional ninja) while the other one has both a talking raccoon and a talking tree.

However, as a result of this, sometimes characters get lost in the shuffle. They are technically part of the universe, but they rarely interact with it. Maybe it’s because their adventures are on the more mature side, maybe they are stuck in another dimension that the usual heroes don’t go to so often, or maybe, they aren’t seen because that’s just the way they want it…

Such is the case of Christopher Chance, AKA the Human Target. He’s not a completely unknown character- he’s been the subject of two short-lived shows based on his comics (the most notable being a two-season FOX series starring Mark Valley and James Earle Haley), but he’s firmly in the D-list of DC Comics. And those were both pretty different from the comics and had little indication of taking place in a world of DC Comics. In fact, when it was announced that the Human Target would be coming to Arrow, some people were surprised to find out that he even was a DC character. That’s probably because he doesn’t interact with the rest of the DC Universe all that much. Or maybe he does, but we just don’t know it.

Because, you see, the Human Target is a master of disguise. He becomes the would-be assassination victim using heavy prosthetic-work and a knack for copying voices and body language. And in this installment of Bizarre Baseball Culture, Christopher Chance figuratively steps up to the plate:

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 10.29.36 AM Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 10.30.43 AMGO BELOW THE JUMP FOR MORE:

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BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE: The Kool-Aid Man Cometh (W/bonus Kool-Aid Commercial)

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

There is a man. A man unlike any other other. He’s not really a man, he’s more like a anthropomorphic water-pitcher filled with Kool-Aid. He is the Kool-Aid Man, and he is the subject of this installment of Bizarre Baseball Culture:

KAMcoverOH, YEAAHH! It’s time for The Adventures of Kool-Aid Man #1 from Marvel Comics in 1983. Go below the jump for more:

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BEST OF 2015: BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE- The Time That Bullseye had a 2-issue Baseball Miniseries

Originally published May 16, 2015.
In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

One of the things you realize when you think about superhero fiction too hard is that a lot of the criminals could probably become rich using their technology or skills in more legal pursuits. For example, find the right quiz show for the Riddler, and he’s rolling in dough. Captain Cold or Mister Freeze could easily make a mint if they applied their freeze-weapons toward something like refrigeration. Heck, even the people who write the comics know this, and in the 1980s they turned Lex Luthor from a supergenius with lots of high-tech inventions into a corrupt supergenius billionaire superexecutive who had made his money from his many high-tech inventions.

Which leads me to Bullseye. Bullseye’s a Daredevil villain, created by Marv Wolfman and John Romita Sr. in the 1976 and perfected by Frank Miller in his run on Daredevil’s comic book. Bullseye’s entire shtick is that he basically has perfect killer accuracy with basically everything, even harmless stuff like playing cards. He’s arguably Daredevil’s second-greatest foe (after the Kingpin), and is directly or indirectly responsible for the death of at least two of Daredevil’s girlfriends (only one of whom got better).

But, still, that shtick with the accuracy, wouldn’t you think he could make a great pitcher?

Well, there was a 2-part miniseries at the turn of this decade that basically grabbed a hold of that idea and ran with it… Bullseye: Perfect Game.

It’s a surprisingly good short look at obsession and perfection, with some nice easter eggs for fans of baseball and of comics and a great ending that I’m sort of bummed out I’ll spoil in my summary…. BELOW THE JUMP:

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BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE: Marvel Adventures Spider-Man 34 brings steroid accusations, hallucinations, and a angry father

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

Sports have many problems. There are performance enhancing drugs, exploitative agents, a culture that honors people and asks their opinions for no other reason than that they are strong, and stupid adults who ruin everything.

And in Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #34, we get a hard-hitting glimpse at how this affects high school baseball in a Marvel Universe. BECAUSE SOMEBODY HAD TO TELL US!

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 1.39.53 PMPublished in 2007, this issue was part of the Marvel Adventures/Marvel Age imprint, a set of ongoing series that were meant for all-ages of readers. To make it more readable for younger folks, these series cut down on more complicated backstories, featured characters (like Spider-Man) that most kids would have been familiar with from TV or movies, featured younger versions of some characters (this Spider-Man is still in High School, for example), didn’t have as much violence, and eliminated bad language and sexual innuendo.

But… that doesn’t stop it from having steroid accusations, a angry father, sports agents, and other fun stuff! It also has a baseball uniform with a Koala Bear on it, which is cool.

Go below the jump for more!

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BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE- The Time That Bullseye had a 2-issue Baseball Miniseries

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

One of the things you realize when you think about superhero fiction too hard is that a lot of the criminals could probably become rich using their technology or skills in more legal pursuits. For example, find the right quiz show for the Riddler, and he’s rolling in dough. Captain Cold or Mister Freeze could easily make a mint if they applied their freeze-weapons toward something like refrigeration. Heck, even the people who write the comics know this, and in the 1980s they turned Lex Luthor from a supergenius with lots of high-tech inventions into a corrupt supergenius billionaire superexecutive who had made his money from his many high-tech inventions.

Which leads me to Bullseye. Bullseye’s a Daredevil villain, created by Marv Wolfman and John Romita Sr. in the 1976 and perfected by Frank Miller in his run on Daredevil’s comic book. Bullseye’s entire shtick is that he basically has perfect killer accuracy with basically everything, even harmless stuff like playing cards. He’s arguably Daredevil’s second-greatest foe (after the Kingpin), and is directly or indirectly responsible for the death of at least two of Daredevil’s girlfriends (only one of whom got better).

But, still, that shtick with the accuracy, wouldn’t you think he could make a great pitcher?

Well, there was a 2-part miniseries at the turn of this decade that basically grabbed a hold of that idea and ran with it… Bullseye: Perfect Game.

It’s a surprisingly good short look at obsession and perfection, with some nice easter eggs for fans of baseball and of comics and a great ending that I’m sort of bummed out I’ll spoil in my summary…. BELOW THE JUMP:

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Spider-Man’s appearances in BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE

As you would know unless if you’ve been living under a rock the last day or two, Spider-Man is coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In honor of this, here are the web-slinger’s appearances in BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE:

2007’s TRIPLE-A BASEBALL HEROES

The crossover between Marvel Comics and AAA baseball that you never knew you needed, Spidey is one of the main characters in this comic. There is also a serious error, however, as Peter Parker is portrayed wearing Yankee regalia, which goes against the well-established fact (to Spider-fans) that Pete is a Mets fan.

2008’s TRIPLE-A BASEBALL HEROES

Spider-Man has a much smaller role in the second AAA/Marvel crossover, but does still appear, so it counts.

BILLY THE MARLIN

One of the greatest achievements in human history, right up there with fire, the wheel, the polio vaccine and Mario Kart. I mean, just look at this:

MarlinsSpideyCoverIn this comic, Spider-Man aids Billy the Marlin in stopping Doctor Doom, who has arrived in Miami to kidnap Jeff Conine in order to force him to join the Latverian National Baseball Team, or something like that. It’s amazing. I did not make that up.

Peter Parker Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #33

The last (for now) Bizarre Baseball Culture featuring Spidey, this issue is entirely about Peter Parker’s love of the New York Mets and how it was a bond between him and his Uncle Ben. Features an appearance of an off-brand and talking Mr. Met.

So, there you go! Spider-Man’s appearances in BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE! Enjoy!

 

 

Bizarre Baseball Culture: The Shield must solve “The Ballpark Murders”

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

One of the main types of Superhero is the patriotic hero, wrapped in the flag, fighting crime and evil not just to protect a city, but to protect a country. The quintessential patriotic hero, of course, is Captain America. But, contrary to popular belief, he was not the first. No, that honor goes to The Shield, “G-Man Extraordinary”, who first showed up in Pep Comic #1 in January 1940. By contrast, Captain America didn’t appear until March 1941. The Shield- created by MLJ Comics (which eventually became Archie Comics)- is actually Joe Higgins, who gained his rather generic superpowers (strength, invulnerability, etc) from  a chemical formula (much like, yes, Captain America eventually did).

Anyway, given his patriotic get-up, it was probably inevitable that the Shield would one day crossover with the National Pastime. And, in fact, it happened rather quickly in Pep Comics #7, which came out later in 1940. It can be found here, written by Harry Shorten and drawn by Irv Novick.

Anyway, onto the story:

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 12.52.04 PM

We begin with the standard organized crime villains (these ones belonging to “Al Moroni”), not unlike the ones we’ve seen in plenty of previous installments of Bizarre Baseball Culture. It’s sort of weird that we don’t really ever seem to run into actual supervillains in these things, especially considering that the vast majority of these Bizarre Baseball Culture stories involve superheroes.

(JUMP for the rest of the story)

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