MANTIS 23: KANG, THE CELESTIAL MADONNA AND THE DEATH OF AN AVENGER

FOR PART 1 OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF MARVEL’S SUPERHEROINE MANTIS CLICK HERE  

Giant Size Avengers 2GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS Number 2 (November 1974)  A Blast From The Past

Call me crazy, but since this story includes that rarest of things: a superhero death that is final I would have gone with the title Death of an Avenger instead of a cliché like A Blast From The Past. 

Anyway … THINGS GET “TIMEY-WIMEY” FROM THIS POINT ON AS THE CELESTIAL MADONNA SAGA CONTINUES!

A BLAST FROM THE PAST

Synopsis: Nighttime in New York. The former Avenger Hawkeye, who has also quit the Defenders since the last time we dealt with him, opens up this installment by capturing a gang of jewel thieves.

When he turns them over to the police those cops tell Hawkeye (who probably slept the day away after a night of partying) about the day’s big news: Kang the Conqueror is back and he kidnapped the Avengers that morning. Kang boasted of his plans to wage war against the entire planet while waiting for something called “the Celestial Madonna” to reveal herself.

Mantis as the MadonnaHawkeye rushes off to Avengers Mansion where – even from several blocks away – he can see the incredibly bright artificial satellite called the Madonna Star still blazing away. Anxious crowds still surround the area, drawn by fears that the star means the end of the world and by rumors of some kind of “Madonna.”   

Inside the mansion Hawkeye finds the Swordsman, the butler Jarvis and Pharaoh Rama Tut – Kang’s other self. (Explanation below.) The three bring Hawkeye up to date on everything from our last installment, including the increasingly tense international situation after the slaughter of Egyptian troops at the hands of Kang’s creation. Continue reading

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CAMILLE PAGLIA BLAMES THE DEMOCRATS FOR DESTROYING JOURNALISM WITH THEIR ANTI-TRUMP HYSTERIA

Camille PagliaProfessor Camille Paglia – another of us former Democrats (like President Trump himself) who have grown disgusted with how low that party has sunk – weighed in on the circus that the Democrats’ corporate media has reduced itself to.

Fake News was one of the topics Paglia discussed. The link is below. First some excerpts:

Paglia called what she said the Democratic Party has done to journalism “absolutely grotesque” and warned it would take decades to recover.

“It’s obscene,” she said. “It’s outrageous, OK? It shows that the Democrats are nothing now but words and fantasy and hallucination and Hollywood. There’s no journalism left. What’s happened to The New York Times? What’s happened to the major networks? It’s an outrage.”

“And I think it’s absolutely grotesque the way my party has destroyed journalism. Right now, it is going to take decades to recover from this atrocity that’s going on where the news media have turned themselves over to the most childish fraternity, kind of buffoonish behavior.”  Continue reading

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DANITES: GUNSLINGING “KNIGHTS” OF THE OLD WEST

FRONTIERADO IS COMING UP ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 4th!

Berenger Avenging AngelThe Frontierado Holiday is about the myth of the Old West, not the grinding reality. The Danites – the gunslinging Knights of the Mormon faith – are an underutilized and underappreciated element of Old West fiction.

The opportunities for action presented to a Danite could start as early as the 1838 Mormon War in Missouri. After that there’s the Illinois Mormon War in the 1840s which ended in the Siege of Nauvoo.

Following that conflict the Mormon Exodus to the West began, with “Deseret” (later called Utah) as the ultimate destination. Danites – like Christian Knights of long ago protecting Pilgrims headed for their “Holy Land” – safeguarded Mormon travelers from attacks by hooded anti-Mormon gangs, from armed outlaws and from various Native American tribes along the way.  

Berenger Avenging Angel 2In Deseret itself there were conflicts with Mexican raiders after the end of America’s war with Mexico (1846-1848). Danites would also be called upon to battle various Native American tribes in Deseret, in the role of oppressors rather than oppressed much of the time.

They would also fight Navajo armies to stop them from seizing Paiute Indians as slaves. (The anti-slavery aspect of Mormonism is often overlooked.) Plus the Danites faced the task of driving off armed bands of prospectors wanting the gold and other precious metals of the area.

There was also the Utah War with the Mormons fighting the United States Army from 1857-1858. On top of that add rumored armed conflicts among competing factions of Mormon leaders with the Danites caught in the middle like Mafia gunmen serving their respective “Dons” as it were.

NOTE: This blog post is interested only in the neglected potential of Danites as mythic heroes and/or villains in western sagas. I know that in real life the Mormon Church downplays or distances themselves from the Danites because of the violence often associated with them. Continue reading

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RAGNAR THE DOG’S NAIA FOOTBALL PRESEASON TOP TWENTY

Ragnar rankingsRagnar the Dog is a nut for college football!

He usually waits til August to start with his preseason rankings, but this year he is so impatient for the season to start that he insisted on publishing them now.

Have a look at what this handsome little pooch predicts for the 2017 NAIA football season.

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Montana Tech OrediggersNAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) 1. MONTANA TECH OREDIGGERS     ###     2. BAKER UNIVERSITY WILDCATS     3. UNIVERSITY OF SAINT FRANCIS (IN) COUGARS (Defending National Champions)     ###     4. REINHARDT UNIVERSITY EAGLES (Should be the Rottweilers)     ###     5. EASTERN OREGON UNIVERSITY MOUNTAINEERS     ###    

Arizona Christian Univ helmet GOOD6. ARIZONA CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY FIRESTORM     ###     7. LINDSEY WILSON COLLEGE BLUE RAIDERS     ###     8. MARIAN UNIVERSITY KNIGHTS     ###     9. MORNINGSIDE COLLEGE MUSTANGS     ###     10. DOANE COLLEGE TIGERS     ###     Continue reading

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PRESIDENT TRUMP IS SERPICO

Remember the real-life Serpico? If not, he was the cop who blew the lid off the way taking bribes was a way of life for virtually the entire New York City Police Department for decades.

Trump is SerpicoEven the cops who weren’t on the take practiced omerta and refused to talk about the way all the others WERE on the take.

Mascot with demo and repub headsOur de facto Third Party President Donald Trump is a political Serpico – hated by the crooked because he’s not part of their bought and paid for club.

America’s political officials have been rotten to the core for a very, very long time. They are going to hate ANYONE who exposes their corruption. Compared to them even a black-hearted, swashbuckling rogue like Donald Trump can emerge on the side of the figurative angels.

Trump - crooks unite against him

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FEMALE MARSHALS OF THE OLD WEST

FRONTIERADO IS COMING UP ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 4th!

As always, Frontierado is a holiday dedicated to the myth of the old west, not the grinding reality. Here is a look at a handful of ladies who served as gunslinging Marshals.

Ada CarnuttADA CURNUTT

Around 1889 or 1890 Ada Curnutt moved to Oklahoma (formerly Indian Territory) with her sister and her brother-in-law. By some accounts Ada chose to head west to get out from under the influence of her Methodist Minister father and equally devout mother.

When she was 20 years old, Curnutt started working as a Clerk of the Court in Norman, OK. Finding a desk job too dull for her, Ada soon became a Deputy Marshal for United States Marshal William Grimes. Her duties included serving writs and warrants, escorting dangerous prisoners from one jurisdiction to another and, of course, making arrests.    Continue reading

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MANTIS 22: KANG THE CONQUEROR WANTS THE CELESTIAL MADONNA

FOR PART 1 OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF MARVEL’S SUPERHEROINE MANTIS CLICK HERE 

Avengers 129 bid tomorrow goodbyeAVENGERS Volume 1, Number 129 (November 1974)  Bid Tomorrow Goodbye

AVENGERS ROSTER: Thor (Donald Blake, MD), Iron Man (Tony Stark), The Scarlet Witch (Wanda Frank), The Vision (not applicable), The Swordsman (Jacques Duquesne) and MANTIS (Mantis Brandt).

BID TOMORROW GOODBYE

Synopsis: The story picks up where we left off last time. The Avengers and the sorceress Agatha Harkness – the Scarlet Witch’s mentor – have gathered outside Avengers Mansion. Stunned crowds of onlookers have gathered as well, in reaction to the incredibly bright artificial star that appeared over Avengers Mansion like a sci-fi version of the Star of Bethlehem.

Kang the Conqueror, a frequent foe of the Avengers, appeared on the scene, saying that the star was a signal to him. A signal that the time of the Celestial Madonna had arrived and that 20th Century Earth was ripe for conquest.

Kang the ConquerorNOTE: The Marvel Comics character Kang the Conqueror is a good example of ret-conning used in a SUCCESSFUL and REASONABLE way. Kang is the military dictator of 40th Century Earth and had often come back to conquer the 20th Century with his future technology.

When Kang first appeared in The Avengers in 1964 comic books were still considered to be “just for little kids.” This meant that in his early battles against the Avengers no mention was ever made of the familiar sci-fi concept that IF Kang had succeeded in taking over 20th Century Earth it would change the future so drastically that it might result in him NEVER EVEN BEING BORN.

As I said, back in the early to mid 1960s Marvel Comics administrators were still abiding by the conventional wisdom that comic books should be targeted JUST at children who were 10 or 11 or younger. Such children were not expected to see through the flaws of simplistic stories, so comic books stayed “dumb” which kept limiting their audience to little kids in a self-perpetuating cycle.

Stan Lee, whose animated corpse makes cameo appearances in Marvel movies (I’m kidding) was famous for trying to introduce more complex stories that might appeal to older audiences. Stan the Man felt comics could appeal to all ages just like sci-fi tv shows like Star Trek and many others. 

MantisMarvel thrived with that approach from the late 1960s onward. This brings us back to Kang the Conqueror’s role in the Celestial Madonna storyline. The creative team at The Avengers back then used this tale to ret-con WHY Kang attacked the 20th Century so often AND provided a reason why he could feel secure that it would not endanger his existence in any way. (Details below.)

Back to the story: The Avengers attack Kang, whose high-tech armor is beyond even Doctor Doom’s (except when other stories call for it NOT to be). That armor – as usual – enables Kang to go blow for blow with our heroes.  Continue reading

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