Violence Fight: the quarrelers! (2 of 2)

After getting to know Bat/Bad Blue, Ben “Fierce Eagle of Nevada” Smith and, last but certainly not least, Lick Joe, let’s meet the rest of Violence Fight‘s colorful personalities, shall we?

Lee Chen - He has went over to the mainland of China in his child age for learning assassination ken (hands)
"Assassination Ken (Hands)"?!?

First, we have Lee Chen, the fourth and final playable character, who certainly looks representative of the 80s, with his mullet and pr0n moustache. :) I still don’t know what “Assassination Ken (Hands)” means; that’s the kind of phrase one would expect from an automatic translator, which would certainly explain a lot about the “Engrish” seen in this entire game…

And now for the bosses:

Ron Max - The owner of a stock farm. He has destructive power, and especially his head is so hard that it can destroy rocks.
Certainly a hard-headed fellow...

Out of San Antonio, Texas, here’s Ron Max. Boasting “destructive power” (unlike the constructive power shown by the other characters so far, of course), we are also told that “especially his head is so hard that it can destroy rocks”. I think he’s wasted as the owner of a stock farm, as he could instead have used his head (ouch!) to get ahead (groan!) in the world.

Note also the names of his two “mortal techniques”: health head butts and health blow. One wonders whose health he’s talking about. Does he gain health from head butting his opponents? Or do his blows diminish his adversaries’ health (again, unlike the blows of every other fighter, of course)? Inquiring minds want to know.

And, finally…

Tony Won - He is the don of 'Black-Will-O'. He has overwhelming power as a prospective winner of this great event. He is capable of doing anything to win.
With a name like this, he has already Won. (ouch! what was that for?)

… the big boss himself, Tony Won, leader of the poorly named “Black-Will-O” crime syndicate (which we suppose is the “Mafia” part of “Mafia, reckless drivers and general businessmen“). Other than his “overwhelming power” and being “capable of doing anything to win”, he seems to imitate Ron Max, with a technique called health claw. If you ask me, I think Ron should sue. “Hey, buddy, I’m the guy who came up with randomly adding “health” to technique names!” :)

Violence Fight: the quarrelers! (1 of 2)

With such a great plot, you’re probably expecting the characters in Taito’s Violence Fight to be (ahem) colorful, interesting characters, and I believe you won’t be disappointed…

Let’s start with the main character, mentioned in the intro:

Bat Blue - Street champion of the last year. Has a reputation for plenty of technique and it's sharpness.
Can you beat Bat's technique's sharpness?

Bat Blue (sometimes called Bad Blue) is, supposedly, the main character in Violence Fight. He’s the “street champion of the last year”, though we’re not told exactly what street he was champion of. Not only has he “a reputation for plenty of technique”, but all that technique is reputed for “it’s sharpness”!(1)

Bat/Bad isn’t the only playable character, though; three more of the fighters competing for “no. 1 quarreler” are also available to the player.

Ben Smith - Former marine. He is nicknamed Fierce Eagle of Nevada. He has strong jumping force.
"Strong jumping force"? Yikes!

Boasting “strong jumping force”, Ben Smith, a.k.a. the “Fierce Eagle of Nevada”, is the second “quarreler” trying for “the no. 1 place of the USA”. It’s not clear whether he’s black or a Native American, as his appearance is ambiguous. The only thing we can be sure is that he jumps higher than the competition. Hey, if it was good enough for Batroc the Leaper…

Now for the third playable character, and certainly a fan favorite (or he would be, if this game actually had fans):

Lick Joe - Former professional wrestler. His profession was revoked because he killed 13 wrestlers during playing. Although his bodily strength is very strong, his movement is slow.
In Soviet Russia, Joe licks YOU!!

Ah, Lick Joe. There’s so much to say about him and his introduction screen.

The name: how did a wrestler ever get the nickname “Lick”? I assume it’s “lick” in the (slang) sense of beating someone up, but still…

The fact that he was expelled from professional wrestling after killing 13 opponents. Sure, the first one could have been thought to be accidental at the time, and, stretching a bit, maybe even the second, but nobody did anything after the third? Or the fourth? Hell, they still let him fight after twelve dead wrestlers in his wake? Hello?!? Note that it’s a legitimate professional wrestling federation we’re talking about here, not the illegal Violence Fight competition that Lick joined afterwards.

Well, at least “his bodily strength is very strong”. That’s certainly better than his strength being weak, or his weakness being strong. Though I’m not sure how it would compare to a guy whose weakness is weak…

Next: the remaining playable character, and the two bosses. Stay tuned!

  1. yes, I know it should have been “its sharpness”, but… accuracy above all, folks. []

Best plot in a video game EVER?

Violence Fight - the story!
Violence Fight (Taito, arcade, 1989)

So much examples of utter brilliance here!

The fact that the competition portrayed in the video game was in vogue among “Mafia, reckless drivers (!) and general businessmen”!

That the game was a struggle for “No. 1 Quarreler”!

That fighters “were gathered from all parts of the USA speaking boastingly of their strength”!

That the “winner” (the quotes are important here, of course) was given “a lot of winning money as well as the honor”!

That Bat/Bad Blue, “in a downtown in L.A.”, along with his manager “Blinks”, “seek[s] for the winning money eagerly”!

“As a matter of fact”, can Bat — I mean, Bad “take the no. 1 place of the USA”?

P.S. – wait until you see the actual fighters quarrelers, in a future post… :)

Bad Comic Panels #10: “Just like a woman! […] you’re too scatterbrained and emotional!”

Just like a woman! Everything I do is for your own good, but you're too scatterbrained and emotional to realize it!
Source: Fantastic Four #23, 1964

Ah, Reed Richards. Few characters have been as consistently portrayed as sexist, in mainstream superhero comics. It’s probably because he and Sue were one of the first “real” couples in superhero comics: they were already dating in the very first issue, and were married in the third annual (1965). Therefore, all the “morals” of the late 50s and early 60s could be seen in their relationship; other couples typically came much later, and the moral zeitgeist had, by then, progressed.

Here we see another great example: Reed (and he isn’t depicted negatively, therefore Stan Lee seemed to agree, at the time) treats Sue as if he was a parental figure (instead of a boyfriend, which he was at the time), and insults her entire gender by saying that women are “too scatterbrained and emotional to realize” how, basically, men know best. In other words, according to this view, women should look up to men, including steady boyfriends and husbands, in much the same way as children look up to their parents, trust them implicitly, and obey them, because parents are adults and are, therefore, the only ones who can be rational and responsible.

And what’s worse is that, in the next panel… Sue agrees! Even though she challenged Reed in the previous panel (with, you’ll note, a childish retort: “go polish a test tube or something!”), after she leaves she admits to herself that Reed was right, that he really knew what’s best for her, and that she — like all women — only didn’t accept it at the time because she’s “too scatterbrained and emotional”.

The early 60s, ladies and gentlemen! :)

Bad Comic Panels #9: “Our Communist overlords will slay us if we fail in our mission!”

"We have no choice! Our Communist overlords will slay us if we fail in our mission!"
Source: Tales of Suspense #50, 1964

Since the Anti-Communism entries in the Bad Comic Panel series have, so far, been about the Soviet Union, I thought that such a “monopoly” would be unfair to our Chinese friends in the 1960s, who have been ignored so far. This, then, is the first of several panels I have already chosen to show that, when it came to crude anti-Communism, Stan Lee and Marvel were equal opportunity stereotypists. :)

The panel above shows four fearful Chinese military officers who have been sent to negotiate with the Mandarin, who, interestingly, was a Chinese super-villain but not a Communist; his demeanour and trappings were all from imperial China (at least, as seen by westerners in the 60s). We’ll be seeing more of the four — and the Mandarin himself — in the near future. Meanwhile, I couldn’t be compiling this list and not include such a delicious quote as “Our Communist overlords will slay us if we fail in our mission” — or, translation, Communist leaders are evil (hey, but aren’t you “commies” as well?) and regularly kill underlings for failing. Then again, that comes straight from the official Evil Overlord manual, doesn’t it?

Bad Comic Panels #8: “Da! That is why you will never be dictator!”

Khrushchev: "Da! That is why you will never be dictator!"
Source: Fantastic Four #17, 1963

Unlike other entries in the Bad Comic Panels series, this one’s main quote is from an actual historical figure. I really love how the morally simplistic comics of the 60s (and earlier) depicted their opponents — such as Communists, in this case — as “hi, I’m evil!” card-carrying villains. :) In this particular case, we have a dictator describing himself as such — which is rarer than you might think.

Other things to appreciate here:

  • the Commies are depicted as not just being in competition with the US, or “the capitalistic countries” in general, but as actually living just for beating them. They actually sit around a radio set waiting for news of their counterparts’ demise. Guys, get a life, will ya?(1)
  • not only that, but two of them are shown holding glasses of wine or champagne. Nice! :) Though I’d have though vodka would have been more appropriate…
  • can you really see Khrushchev’s “number twos” addressing him as “Comrade K”? :) And don’t tell me that this was a case of censorship, as, if they printed comics like this, they weren’t particularly worried about what the Kremlin would think of them, or how it would affect US-USSR relations…
  • “Comrade K” is actually depicted relatively benignly here, being the only one among the Communists in the room with a brain. Very different from an Iron Man comic from the same era(2), where he is presented as a sniveling, treacherous coward (we actually see his thought balloons)… and fatter and uglier, too!
  • is the guy on the left, the one wearing purple, supposed to be based on Trotsky? He had been dead for 23 years when this comic was published, you know… Or perhaps that look was based on an “archetype” of the “evil Commie intellectual” common during the 50s-60s… anyone?
  1. in Soviet Russia — and, here, this is actually appropriate –, life gets YOU!! []
  2. the one with the origin of the Crimson Dynamo []

Bad Comic Panels #7: “I’m the Goddamn Batman!”

What, are you dense? Are you retarded or something? Who the hell do you think I am? I'm the goddamn Batman.
Source: All Star Batman and Robin #2, 2005

Another infamous one, by Frank Miller, and much parodied on the Internet. Much like the Tarot example, I’m posting it just so that, when this blog has thousands of readers a day(1), I’m not inundated with emails and comments asking me if I don’t know about this one(2). I’m not going to write much about it, instead referring you to an article titled All Suck Batman and Robin, which talks about this comic in detail.

In fact, ASBAR has a lot in common with Tarot: great art, professionally done, but the plot is absolutely crazy. In this case, it’s kind of worse, though: Frank Miller used to be a brilliant writer, with a long run on Daredevil that defines the character to this day, and other works of art such as Daredevil: Born Again, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Ronin, Batman: Year One, and Sin City, especially the early ones. Today, however, not only does he seem to be the laziest writer in existence, with delays of 6 months or more between issues, and several projects announced years ago that still haven’t seen the light of day, but his writing seems almost to be a parody of himself and the “grim and gritty” style he was so influential in some 30 years ago, with lots of repetition (“Dick Grayson: Age 12”), and mostly unheroic, unappealing, psychotic characters — even the ones supposed to be the heroes. Just read the dialog above… or look at the link I provided for more details of just how insane ASBAR is.

  1. any day now []
  2. OK, and also because I didn’t want to do “crude anti-Communism” twice in a row []

Bad Comic Panels #6: General Fang two-in-one

I could have stretched this one into two separate posts, but since they would both concern the very same character (again, much like Karl Kort, never seen again after this story, sadly), and are from the same story, I chose to do a “two-in-one” with the best / worst two panels featuring this fascinating “yellow peril” villain, General Fang, featured in The Incredible Hulk #5, from 1962.

The first is after the Hulk, disguised as the Abominable Snowman (don’t ask), had destroyed a few of Fang’s tanks and weapons. Naturally, his men are worried:

General Fang: "He dared to advise ME! To the FIRING SQUAD with him!"
Most leaders, even actual dictators, typically have advisors. But not Fang. Nosiree. He is far above that.

But Fang, reminding me of a couple of bosses I had in the past, knows how to deal with those pesky outside contributions. I bet the other guy, the one with the simian look and the ridiculous huge bowl with a star, will not ever think, in the future, of offering the slightest suggestion to his most glorious general!

The next panel comes a bit later in the story, after Fang has ordered the launch of his missiles into the peaceful neighboring country of “Llhasa”, which is of course not meant to be Tibet (whose real-life capital is “Lhasa”, with just one “L”), perish the thought.

General Fang: "It's time for the hordes of General Fang to strike terror to those who were foolish enough to survive my missile attack!"
Would YOU be foolish enough to survive his missile attack? Come on, spit it out. Would you?

As the caption in the panel says, the Hulk stops the missiles, but Fang doesn’t know that yet, and so he orders his cavalry (just the right choice for attacking snow-covered mountains, I guess) to attack, and to “strike terror to those who were foolish enough to survive (his) missile attack“.

Because, when General Fang attacks your country, to even survive is but mere foolishness. Makes sense. :) I must use this phrase more often…

Bad Comic Panels #5: “You have to get out of here! Your vagina is haunted!”

You have to get out of here! Your vagina is haunted!
Source: Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #53, 2008

No, I won’t go into detail about this panel, or the… story… behind that infamous phrase. For that, I refer you to an article titled, quite informatively, The Stark, Existential Horror of Tarot #53. Mostly safe for work, but you’ll probably wish to take a shower after reading it… and it’s not the blog author’s fault, believe me.

As to the comic itself, Tarot is a pile of contradictions. The stories themselves are a mix of “so bad it’s good” and “so bad it’s bad“, but, on the other hand, the comic is done very professionally, usually with great art, coloring and all that, and the author (Jim Balent) is clearly having fun with it and just doing what he wants (and he can do that, since he owns the publishing company). I also suspect that Balent isn’t above making fun of himself from time to time — there’s no way(1) that he wrote the panel above for drama. :)

The comic currently has more than 60 issues published, and it’s still going, so I guess it sells… though I bet that virtually no one buys it for the plots; it’s probably a mixture of enjoying the “so bad it’s good-ness” and, well, the beautiful naked women(2).

Anyway, this one is relatively well known, but I had to include it in the Bad Comic Panels series; otherwise, when this blog becomes insanely popular(3), people would then ask me about it all the time. :)

  1. we can only hope []
  2. no, there isn’t a black rectangle in the actual comic. I’m trying to keep this a relatively “family-friendly” blog, at least for the moment. []
  3. any day now []

Bad Comic Panels #4: “a pretty young lady can always be of help — just by keeping the men’s morale up!”

"A pretty young lady can ALWAYS be of help -- just by keeping the men's MORALE up!
Source: Fantastic Four #12 (1963)

Yes, if your sense of humor is anything near mine, you may be grinning already, after reading the dialog above. :) But, for the full effect, this entry in the Bad Comic Panels series requires a little more background.

So, Fantastic Four #12, which we’ve already seen before, was, I believe, Marvel’s first “crossover” ever; until then, all of its characters stayed in their books. The Hulk (whose identity wasn’t publicly known at the time) was being suspected of sabotaging some missile installations in a military base, and the FF were asked to help capture him. After a page where the three male members of the Fantastic Four boast, very childishly (yes, even Reed Richards) about how each of them will use his own powers to capture the Hulk, the Invisible Girl, Sue Storm (she hadn’t married Reed yet), says that she probably won’t be of much help (this was before she developed her force field / turn other stuff invisible powers; at the time, her only power was to turn herself invisible, nothing more), and General Ross, without realizing how his words could be interpreted in a later, more cynical age, implies that that’s not a problem, as:

… a pretty young lady can always be of help — just by keeping the men’s morale up!

“Morale”? That’s what they called it those days? 😀

Of course, arguably the best part is yet to come, as Reed — Sue’s boyfriend, and eventual husband — agrees with Ross:

That’s just the way we feel about Sue, general!

In other words, agreeing that her girlfriend — and, by extension, all women — aren’t much good for anything… but that’s OK, because the only thing they need to do is look good. Ah, early Marvel comics. :)