BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE: Baseball with Galactus in Marvel Adventures Avengers #26

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.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE! Avengers: Endgame is breaking all of the box office records, so now is as good of a time as any to bring you a Bizarre Baseball Culture look at a truly bizarre Avengers tale: 2008’s Marvel Adventures The Avengers Volume 1 #26, in which baseball helps our heroes save a planet from Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds.

Well, sort of. It’s more of a non-sequitur thrown in to justify this awesome cover:

Image of cover of magazine, featuring Galactus looking down at the Silver Surfer, Hulk and Spider-Man playing baseball.

And… I’m totally fine with that! It is available to read for Marvel Unlimited subscribers here. Head below the jump for more of this piece:

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Bizarre Baseball Culture: What does “The White Killer” have to do with Baseball?

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.

Way back in the ninth installment of this series, I mentioned how one of the archtypes of superheroes is the patriotic hero. The most notable, of course, is Captain America, but there have been others: The Shield (who starred in that comic), Uncle Sam, Miss America, the Fighting Yank, etc.

This time in Bizarre Baseball Culture, we look at a comic involving one of the lesser patriotic heroes, one relegated (probably with good reason) to the dustbin of comic book history: U.S. Jones. He got his powers- whatever they are (they aren’t really expanded upon) from a scientist, and he fights enemies of America during WWII, as one does. This is what he looks like on the cover of the comic that contained this story, called “The White Killer”:

Wow, what a horrible costume. It’s somebody ate an American flag and then vomited upon Jones’ skin. And then there’s the U and S upon his chest. You know, in case you didn’t get that he was themed for the United States of America by the fact that his costume looks like he did stuff to a flag forbidden by the US Flag Code.

Anyway, the comic, from Wonderworld Comics #33, can be found here. It is in the public domain.

Go below the jump for more.

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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: Anti-Grav Bats and Gladiatorial Battles in Superman Adventures #13

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.

Last time, we looked at a Superman-and-Baseball story from the Golden Age. Today, we are looking at something more modern: Superman Adventures #13, an issue from November 1997 and part of a series based on Superman: The Animated Series, which was on the WB Network (remember them?) at the time. Now, much like the Batman cartoon of the time that I talked about in the opening paragraphs of the Cal Ripken comic, it was an awesome show. It was a masterpiece, not just a great kid show, but a great show period, the best adaptation of the Man of Steel and not one to underestimate it’s audience. It’s the only kids show I remember growing up that actually killed off a relatively important character and never brought him back from the dead.

While Superman Adventures #13 isn’t quite up to that standard, it’s still a very good and fun story about Superman having to fighting aliens at a baseball stadium, and, really, what more can you ask for? It’s well worth the 99 cents I paid for it on the Comixology app on my iPod.

(GO BELOW THE JUMP)

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Bizarre Baseball Culture: Action Comics #50 has Superman being a Superjerk

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.

Superman. Contrary to popular belief, he was not the first superhero, but he was the first to truly make an impact. First appearing in Action Comics #1, this year is his 75th anniversary, and his latest film, Man of Steel, was a runaway success that already has spawned a sequel due out in 2015 where Superman will meet/fight/probably-become-buddies-after-that with Batman. By the way, Man of Steel establishes that Clark Kent is a Royals fan.

But, for our purposes, we are focusing on the past with Action Comics #50, waaaay back in July, 1942. It’s the first of two Superman stories for Bizarre Baseball Culture. There will be another, more modern, story in a few days. I read it in The Superman Chronicles Volume Nine, which I got from my local library. All scans and screenshots are for educational or demonstration purposes only and are being used under the fair use doctrine. Also, I’d like to note that Michael Clair has also covered this story, and his scans are of way better quality than mine. Maybe he has a better scanner than me. Or maybe he somehow has a more flexible thing to put in the scanner than a large Trade Paperback collection. But I digress…

Anyway, go below the jump:

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Bizarre Baseball Culture: Dash Dartwell’s PED use for justice

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.

Steroids and other performance-enhancers are, to sports, a plague. They provide some players an unfair advantage, threaten the integrity of records, and could also endanger the long-term health of the user. The great struggle of 21st century sports has, in many ways, been the struggle against PEDs.

But, as today’s installment of Bizarre Baseball Culture shows, the the view that PEDs are bad goes against human nature and human fantasy. The human experience, the human dream, has always been about becoming better. It is one reason why, for example, that larger-than-life heroes have been popular since ancient times.

So it is perhaps not surprising that fictional superhumans (who by their nature are better than human) have often gone hand-in-hand with PEDs (which by their very nature make the user better than the average human). Steve Rogers, for example, became Captain America after being given a Super-Soldier Serum by the American government. Bane, the villain who once broke Batman’s back and appeared in less-steroidy form in The Dark Knight Rises, got his great strength from a drug known simply as “Venom”. Even Popeye, with his spinach, could be said to be using some type of performance enhancers.

But few stories actually have an athlete using a PED… but I have found at least one, featuring the obscure hero Dash Dartwell (sometimes called “The Human Meteor”), a college athlete who has gotten “Metabo-tablets” from a biochemistry professor that make him superhuman until the pill’s effect wears off.

Amazing Man Comics #22, the issue from May 1941 which contains this story (it starts on page 41), can be found here. Go below the jump for the rest of this installment of Bizarre Baseball Culture.

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